First Friday Finances for September

By Melissa

September wasn’t the worst! Thank heavens! And while we didn’t hit a crazy high savings rate, we also didn’t overspend by thousands like we had in the past two months either! So let’s break it down and see how things shook out. 

Our Personal Finances

Our investments are down this week, dang it. Philip tried his hardest to not look at our Personal Capital account but isn’t it hard when you just want to know?! So while our investments are down, we employ the same thought process as always, which is: we are in this for the long haul. Don’t panic. Don’t stress. Keep investing. 

I stopped working this month! I told Philip to prepare himself for our savings rate to go down since I’m done. Up until now, roughly $1800 a month was going straight into my Simple IRA. But if I’m not working, I’m clearly not contributing to that at all. I am a little bummed that we weren’t able to max out the IRA for the year. When I set it up, I had planned it to max out in August, but then COVID hit and I didn’t work for two months. So that initially is what pushed my max date back. And then when I stopped working a month sooner because my pregnant body was failing, it shortened our timeline. Regardless, I’m proud of us for being able to put away almost $10K in pre-tax income this year before I stopped working.

On top of that, we refinanced our house this month. More on that later, but as we are waiting for the new mortgage to close, we didn’t have to make a mortgage payment this month so we didn’t have principal payments that we could factor into our savings rate. All that being said, we ended up with a savings rate of only 33% this month. It’s our lowest we’ve had all year. Boo. But honestly, it is higher than we probably had all of last year, and we know that this next year without me working it will be harder to get it as high as we had been earlier this year. Hopefully we can get it back to 40%!

Budget Items

Well, since I didn’t have a baby or two this month, our healthcare spending stayed low. Shucks. We pretty much stayed on budget this month, except in the miscellaneous/gifts category. 😬 That’s where we counted all of our random summer and toys clearance that we happened on at Walgreens and Dollar General, as well as the school supplies we stocked up on to send to our kids’ classrooms. We went a little over in our grocery spending too, mainly because every time I go to the store, I keep thinking, “What if this is the last time I can go to the store for a little while? I should probably get a little extra _________.” But hopefully now that we are stocked up on cereal, apples, applesauce, snacks and crackers, etc., we should be set for October!

Blog Income

We are still working slowly on the blog income. We were able to get $2.42 in affiliate income from our Amazon links, probably due to the sale on the LEGO advent calendars that I linked to. (That is on sale again for less than $20! Snag it now!) Philip also got notice that he received a referral bonus (only in points) from the Achievement app, which means that someone used his referral code from this blog post on the best money making apps! So while it isn’t technically income, we are appreciative of anyone who uses our referral links that provide us with a few bonus points.

That being said, we won’t know for another month or so if anyone has used our credit card links for the Chase bonus that I talked about in our Instagram stories. (If you missed it, you can get 80,000 points as a sign on bonus with the Chase Sapphire card right now! Here is the link to our post on traveling with points, in case you need that. 🙂

Looking Forward

October is going to be GREAT!!! We are having TWO BABIES this month! Hooray! As I get further along, I am really hopeful that the boys can grow and develop enough that they can avoid NICU time. Not only would it be so wonderful to have them come home at the same time I do, but it would obviously save us from having to meet out of pocket maximums for them too. We are prepared for the worst, but really hoping for strong and healthy babies.

Also on October 13 and 14 are AMAZON PRIME DAYS!!!! In years past, Prime Days have been in July, but with the virus this year it got pushed back. We are hoping to be able to find some really great deals for our family! And better yet, find some great deals to share with you! We are Amazon affiliates, so obviously the things we link to we get a very small commission for (at no additional cost to you), so hopefully we can find you some good deals, which would provide us with a little income also! It’s a win win!

Wrap Up

September really wasn’t bad! I feel like our finances were pretty stable/boring. No huge unexpected expenses to throw off the budget. No major bonus sources of income to boost our savings rate. Just a whole lot of normal. I feel like it was a good intro to what life and finances will hopefully be like moving forward. I felt like with me stopping working, it wouldn’t feel much different financially, and I’m pleased that I was right. 🙂 Obviously we lost my income and investing abilities, but the take home feels the same! We aren’t paying for childcare, which helps significantly. And when I filled up both vehicles with gas at the end of the month, I realized it was the first time for filling up all month! I just don’t go anywhere now, which helps!

Now, I just need to mentally get where we are financially. As stable as our finances were, I felt like I was all over the place. It wasn’t great. I’ll blame it on hormones for the moment. I can do that, right? For the next week or 50? So here’s to a better October with less emotional drama and a better savings rate! Fingers crossed! Let’s do this!

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