First Friday Finances for March

The first quarter of 2021 is over! And for me, March seemed to be an eternity. Not only was parenting totally kicking my booty, but I just had so little motivation in the finance department either. While I rarely indulge in “retail therapy,” after a particularly hard day, I went ahead and ordered a bunch of random crap on Amazon. Particularly exciting is my new $6 phone case that I am over the moon excited about. I really go big when I decide to splurge. 😉 But newsflash, the three pack of yoga pants that were $20 are being returned. Because shocker, cheap yoga pants are just that, cheap yoga pants. And then at the end of the month we had the Amazon book sale, and cheap books helped my mood immensely, as I bought more than a few.

Personal Finances

Our net worth on Personal Capital went up again, but that is largely in part due to the equity in our home. With the real estate market going up, our home is valued higher. (Like stupid high, where we think, “We should sell and be rich!” But then we’d also be homeless, so never mind.) This is part of the reason that at the beginning of the year when making financial goals, we wanted to focus on growing our investment and retirement accounts, rather than our overall net worth. So we will just keep fully funding our IRAs, HSA and 401K, and transferring money to our savings account to bump up our savings rate. This month we ended with our savings rate being 48%. We got our state tax return, so we were able to throw all that in savings and bump up our final number!

Another thing that was a little look into the future, is that Maren won a writing contest at school and won a bike! I had no idea this contest even had happened! Apparently of all the first graders, the principal liked her submission about what she would feed him for breakfast the best. Perhaps it was the inclusion of a juice box that won him over?Regardless, I got a call asking if they could give her a bike. Shoot, yes please! And then I had the thought, will this be what it is like if our kids get scholarships in the future? It is a great feeling to have my kid rewarded for hard work. Hopefully in 10 years we aren’t still writing for Huffys, but for some serious cash. Regardless, I’m so proud of Maren!

Budget Items

Our budget buster this month was our house updates and needs…again. But not for reasons you’d think! I am basically done with the kitchen, or at least buying stuff for it. But we had to put more money on our irrigation account (we get flood irrigation for our citrus trees), and we needed a new pool vacuum. Philip had been nursing ours along for the past five years or so, replacing parts as needed and fixing it regularly. But it finally bit the dust and there goes several. hundred dollars. Pools sure are fun to have, but good gravy, they aren’t always fun to maintain.

Our other budget blunder was our food budget. A little bit over in the grocery category but a lotta bit over in the eating out. And for no good reason other than, food is delicious! And sometimes we just want to eat it all and we just want super delicious things and I just can’t provide that normally. So yes, we bought lots of food. And it’s fine. Because it was tasty. And better luck next month.

Blog Income

This is the month that we finally had a bit of affiliate income, thanks to the Amazon book sale! And honestly, we have YOU to thank for that! We appreciate every time you guys click through our links to shop. And honestly, it brings me ridiculous amounts of joy to see that you guys are liking things we link to! So with our Amazon affiliate link, we get a credit when things ship, not necessarily when things are ordered. So for the month of March, we made $4.24 from the book sale. But it shows there are still a handful of things that haven’t been shipped that we could still get some credit for. So hopefully for April that number will be up a little bit.

Also, just as an insider tid bit of info, the book, I Am Enough was the most ordered from our links. You guys will love it. It is seriously so beautiful. Anyway, thank you again and again for shopping with us! I really try hard to help you guys save money on things that I think add value to our lives. And of course, for me that is always kids’ books. Especially sweet ones about love and inclusion.

Looking Forward

Fingers crossed that we get our tax return and stimulus this month! And it’s one of my two favorite months of the year… it is three pay period month, huzzah! Just in time for us to start making some summer travel plans. Although we travel hack as much as possible for flights and hotels, we have a couple little trips planned with the seven of us that we booked homes through rental companies, rather than hotel rooms. And dang it, I just don’t have a million Capital One points to erase all those expenses. I guess I need to increase my spending on that card! 😜

We took everyone to the zoo, and I’m pretty sure we were the zoo.

Wrap Up

I cannot stress enough how nice it is to have automated our savings. Since we have money automatically put into retirement accounts and we never see it in our checking account, it makes it 400 times easier to not be tempted to spend it on burritos and kids’ books. For us, 75% of our savings vessels are built in to our systems, and that last 25% is flexible where we can throw any extra into savings to bump our rate up. It just works so well for us, and I love anything that makes saving money easy.

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