2014 thus far
The first quarter of the year wasn’t great for finances (or for a lot of other areas). Between taxes and residual “moving expenses” (i.e. furniture) we barely broke even. We saved less than $500 a month average in cash, far less than more modest budgets show we could. Our retirement savings was stronger than ever, but that comes out before we get our net income, and it feels emotionally less like an accomplishment.
The second quarter got off to a rough start. We paid over $5000 in taxes between federal and state, much of this due to some late 2013 income that didn’t have any taxes withheld. Our April savings was negative (hard to overcome $5k in taxes), but somehow May is looking really really good. June will be a touch worse since I’m expecting to buy a plane ticket to the midwest to visit. I’m super spoiled this year, getting to visit in December, April, and August, plus visits from my parents (march) and maybe my sister (fall).
Cash flow has also improved. I track our spending in a sort of revenue / expense manner, ignoring things we’ll be reimbursed for other than noting that we need to wait and monitor that the cash shows up. We both got several reimbursements lately, and looking at my banking doesn’t make me nervous.
Whether it was smart or not, I cashed out my stock in my former company. I questioned myself “if I had this money today in cash, would I use it to BUY this stock?” No. I wouldn’t. It didn’t really make sense to hold it, even though I have no reason to think it won’t do well.
I still haven’t done anything with our pile of cash (future downpayment). I tried to open an Ally CD, but ran into address / identiy verification issues since we recently moved. We don’t have utilities (included in rent) and my USPS address confirmation change is long gone. Those were the two verifications they suggested. I’m sure there is a way to figure this out, but the hurdle was enough to stall progress. This is stupid. Opportunity costs!
We have basically decided against buying a house anytime soon, but are occasionally visiting open houses to get a flavor or the market. Basically, even when we make compromises, I’m not happy with the prices. And it might be a bubble. Who really knows? We can afford a house we’d like, but I don’t want to spend that much on a place to live. I just don’t. So, let’s hope it is a bubble?
I’ll be booking our bigger vacation of the year, a December/January vacation. I’m still figuring out the details, but I think it is Patagonia centric, with flights through Santiago and Buenos Aires and some time in each city. I had some rough estimates, but plane tickets alone were looking like $1700 each. I super wanted to see the Bolivia salt flats, but it wasn’t compelling enough to sway me from Patagonia, and it is far away from most everything else. South America is huge and amazing, and I could spend at least 6 months wandering it…
I’ve dropped my obsession with another trip to France (France/Spain border area). Someday.
I may have a separate post about my career transitions. Things are improving almost every day, but I still miss my old job sometimes. It’s hard. While in a big-picture sense the career shift might be a good move, in the short term benefits are pretty limited. I left my old career/job not because I was looking for something else, but because it was what I had to do to for my personal life. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m starting over, and boy is that HARD.
I hope to blog a little more regularly this summer, but no promises!