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March Wrap-up

April 11, 2017

We are over a 1/3 through April, and I’m finally jotting down my March progress!

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Mortgage prepayment / check fraud:  We mailed a $10k check in for mortgage pre-payment, but it never arrived at the servicer.  We cautiously assumed lost in mail and put a stop payment on the check and monitored the account.  There was eventually a fraudulent $60 charge at a grocery store in a nearby not-so-nice town.  Everything was reported and refunded, the account was closed, and there was no lasting damage – just frustration and time.  This was partly our fault for using an unsecured mailbox for checks, and we won’t be doing that any more.  In related news, we bought a new mailbox…

I finally sent in the new check this week, so that should take effect soon!

House: If the growth in value of our house was converted to  yearly salary, our home has out-earned me since we moved in.  Insert your own caveats about home equity being inaccessible and on paper only, sellers commission, the money we put into it, potential for a crash, estimate coming from unreliable internet assesments, etc.  Caveats aside, that a is still a pretty mind boggling computation.

Per my insistence, we haven’t started the shower re-tile / bathroom remodel and are sharing the other shower without any issues. No new projects until we’ve finished the ongoing project!  We did get a bunch of drainage rock put in our patio (meaning we had the rock delivered and hauled it by bucket to the back).  There is still a lot of work to go to finish this off, but much of the heavy labor is done. Maybe I’m optimistic. We are the slowest DIYers ever. The bathroom will not be a DIY project, for that reason!

Taxes:  We still haven’t done our taxes completely.

I’m annoyed at TurboTax and other tax software giants for lobbying against a more sane approach to taxes.  We have to fill out Schedule C for a single reimbursement from a government review panel, which bumps us into “small business” category.  I’m not quite brave enough to do the free fillable forms, particularly because we procrastinated so long and don’t have much time. Next year, I vow to use a free alternative to stop supporting this industry.  These tax software companies have their place, but their place shouldn’t be serving people with relatively simple tax situations for >$100.  I’m also annoyed that there is a difference in product and significant price difference between downloaded and online.  Why? Anyway, we’ll get a slight net refund this year between federal and state.  I didn’t do a terrible estimating taxes this year!

Travel:  I didn’t travel for work at all in March. We had our first dog sitting experience for one of Ollie’s dog friends, and it went really well!  This is related to travel because we now have two families to trade dog-sitting responsibilities with, and both have high energy nutty dogs like we do.

We still haven’t decided if we’re doing a Germany / France trip, or if T will attend his conference alone.  Other proposed summer holidays include a backpacking trip, a trip to the Midwest to visit his family at a lake cabin, a trip to a fire lookout tower near Mt. Shasta, and my family is considering visiting us in California. None of this is planned yet, except the fire lookout.

May is looking to be busy for travel, but work travel should slow down after that.

Net Worth / Savings:  The markets continue to go up, and I’m trying to brace for an inevitable correction.  I haven’t really seen a big correction since I was pretty early in my savings trajectory.  My 401k will be fully funded with my June paycheck, then I’ll focus on cash and mortgage pre-payments again.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2017 5:11 pm

    Canada recently simplified its tax system – if you have an employer that reports T4 information (like a US W2), you can have your tax form auto-filled and just make a few adjustments. This has been done in the UK for years. I’ve used a free tax filing software for the past 5 years and I groan when my friends pay for TurboTax and the like!

    • April 18, 2017 8:31 pm

      If you have low enough income, tax software and filing is free, so at least there is that.

      If your income is a bit higher, there are still some options to e-file for free if you are confident enough to forgo the tax software. We just couldn’t pull the trigger this year.

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