Welcome to the first installment of our 2021 monthly finance wrap up! When we started doing this last year, I had no idea that it would be come so wildly popular with our readers! I have been told by one reader and friend that she is ONLY here for the First Friday posts. Now if it’s because of my brilliant writing, her mutual love of finances, or possibly her being plain nosy, we will never know. But regardless, here you go, Anna. 😉 Thanks for being excited to talk money. Hopefully others will share your enthusiasm!
Our Personal Finances
We are still adjusting to life on one income. Like I had said previously, it kinda equals out in our take home pay because my paychecks were small due to the Simple IRA contributions and now we don’t pay for childcare and pay a lot less for gas. But it also means we have to work harder to get to our savings rate goals since retirement contributions and mortgage principal alone won’t get us there. Luckily, with the help of the stimulus deposit we got at the beginning of January, we could transfer money to savings at the end of the month to get us to 42% for our savings rate! Hooray! One month in and we are killing it!
We also hammered down some savings goals. I know we had already talked about savings rate, but we didn’t really have a concrete goal of where that was going. So while talking about our future kitchen remodel one day, I asked Philip, “When do we start saving for that?” Like we were just saving for general purposes, but didn’t have anything earmarked for house renovations and such. So we made a plan! So once we get over 4 months of expenses in there, we will divert and start our kitchen fund. Hooray! My crazy little OCD and numbers loving heart is so happy to have it all spelled out and more of a solid plan!
We were pretty good this month! And the things that were most expensive this month I’m going to blame on those dang cute babies of ours.
I increased our grocery budget to include full time formula for the twins and it. is. expensive. And we are even lucky enough that our babies do well on the Costco formula that is half the cost of the regular stuff! I’m so grateful that they are thriving with formula, as it helps me feel a smidge less guilty about not pumping for them anymore. Momming is hard, I feel like I am often in conflicting states of guilt and relief, especially when it comes to feeding. So yeah, formula is expensive. But I’m so grateful for it.
In an attempt to offset our rising grocery bills, I lowered our eating out budget to $120 for the month. That doesn’t seem so crazy low so I thought I’d just to try to test and see if we could do it. Turns out, we can’t. Haha. But we are going to try it again for this month and see if we can stick to it a little better. Freaking burritos, man. They’ll get me every time.
Our main budget buster was medical bills. We had to pay $2500 to the hospital for the babies’ stay, but at least I hit the minimum spend on my new Southwest card! Thanks for the points for a vacation, Anders and Emmett. Unfortunately, you’re not invited. 😂 Good news though is that I am only anticipating possibly one more bill from their delivery. And then it’s crazy to think that all of the expenses of years of fertility and IVF treatments, pregnancies and deliveries are all behind us! Now we move on to glasses and braces and hopefully not too many broken bones in our future with five kids!
Yeah, nope. Nothing to see here on the topic. Zero dollars again this month.
Actually, I’m in a real mental pickle here with how to best grow the blog. I, of course, want to bring super helpful or at least entertaining content to my friends here. However, there are always MORE things that I feel like I should be doing. I need to figure out Pinterest, I need better photos, I need to learn more about videos and editing. And while we’re at it, where can I learn to be a graphic designer??? The list is truly endless.
And while I really want to do all the things, I also have limited time to dedicate to it. Not only that, but those things often cost lots of dollars, and we aren’t exactly making any money doing this. So I don’t know. I’ll probably keep chugging along as I am for a bit longer until I can decide on a specific direction that I need to go. In the meantime, if anyone wants to teach me all the things, please let me know.
In February, we are filing our taxes! We are always excited to do it because we often get quite a large return. I know that isn’t how most people do it, but for us, it works for now. The other nice thing is that in years past, we have always had something we were putting the return towards. A car, a roof, student loans, etc. This is only the second year that we haven’t had our return mentally spent before we even get it. So hopefully we can just stick it all in savings and start working up that Emergency Fund and then kitchen budget!
We also will have a few random renewal expenses though. My annual life insurance premium is due, as is one of the kid’s, our auto insurance will need to be renewed. And on top of that, I just sent Philip off to Costco and I believe our Costco membership needs renewing as well. I’m also trying to wrap up the kitchen refresh, so will be spending money on that. And if we want to get in to the real nitty gritty of my vanity here, I need some skincare stuff. I typically pride myself on being pretty low maintenance, but as I get older I am recognizing the benefit of it. More on that another day though.
I think 2021 is going to be a little more constant for our finances. I think our biggest unknown is just what it will be like having five little kids to feed, clothe, entertain and keep safe. Along with that, we need to figure out the balance of taking care of them and taking care of ourselves. So! Here’s to a good start for January! Fingers crossed for a boring but productive year!