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November Wrap-Up

December 5, 2019

Net Worth and Money News

Hooray!  We finally received confirmation from T’s university that his tenure case was approved!  The promotion came with a modest raise retroactive to July, and a slightly better raise retroactive to October.  (I don’t understand these timelines, but whatever.)  The overall raise was bigger than anticipated since we didn’t anticipate much at all. I had not been factoring in the back pay at all.  We haven’t received the retroactive raise, nor have we seen the raise on the latest pay stub, so we will have one final influx of cash this month or next month.

We’ve maxed out our usual retirement accounts, including backdoor Roth IRAs (but not megabackdoor Roth IRAs).  I opened a 529 for LO as a place to house any cash gifts and funded it with $1,000.  Despite a megabackdoor Roth (in service of college savings) being next item on our list of financial priorities, we plan to do a mortgage prepayment instead. The mortgage is a bottomless pit, always hungry for more, and there are reasons to continue to chip away when we can.   Even if I can’t keep up with the $25k/year prepayments we did initially. (Also, it was pretty depressing to compute how many years of $25k/year prepayments we would need in order to be mortgage free.)

Our net worth is up about a half a percent for the month, and we didn’t quite hit a 20% net worth increase for the year (comparing early December last year to early December this year).  Still, we made fantastic progress, mostly thanks to the crazy bull market continuing to do its bull market thing.

Spending Bullets (excluding childcare, mortgage, property taxes and car/home insurance – because I want to):

Monthly spend (excluding some major categories as noted above): $4,364.  This is the highest of the year, due to the combination of house projects, an iPhone replacement, and a car seat purchase.

Highest single transaction that hasn’t been featured in a previous 2019 month:
$492.78 for an iPhone 8 to replace my iPhone SE with a cracked screen.  I will eventually get a $50 gift card due to the Black Friday “sale” at Apple.  This narrowly beat out a few other high ticket items, like insulation from Home Depot, mulch from the landscaping store, and a new convertible car seat for LO.

Smallest single transaction:
$2.29 at the grocery store.  I forgot to buy something and ran back in for it.

Most annoying expense:
 $493.78 for the iPhone, because that is a lot of money.

Expense that brought the most joy or utility:
 A bill for negative $5.62 for utilities, since PG&E gave us a $100 credit to try to appease us for shutting off our power a few times.

Donations (for accountability): $0 this month, but I’ve rolled the funds into December.

House Projects

T put away the patio furniture for the season and did a little more landscaping prep to prepare for the rains.

T also bought about $450 worth of insulation, and installed it under the floors of two bedrooms. We have a crawl space, and the hardwood floors were uninsulated. This has already made a huge difference in the ability of the bedrooms to retain heat overnight, allowing us to keep the thermostat a bit lower.  (Baby can’t use blankets yet, so there is a limit to how cold we can go, based on the warmth of her sleep sack.)  Extending this project to the living area is under consideration, although the walls in the living area are uninsulated, and we have a lot more old windows that lose heat.

We’ve also opened up discussion of all of the projects that we said we’d consider after tenure. Most expensively, we’ll almost surely do the roof in 2020.  Painting the exterior is on the list, as are window replacements.  This all won’t get done in 2020 (we’ll probably wait a few years for the windows), but it will get done.  Less expensively, we could  address our entry way situation with some built in options, and figure out a way to make our back patio (currently flagstone) a more useful outdoor play area for LO.


Oh, I don’t really want to talk about this.  November was not great.  We had a big review that went fine… but I worry the value of it wasn’t as high as it could have been. I don’t feel confident in the work that I produced for it.  This is a terrible feeling! On top of that, I had visitors and took a couple days off this month. Then I was sick, and took a day off and was running at less than 100% for a couple more days.  There were holidays. Overall, it wasn’t great in terms of getting things done.

Other life stuff

My parents visited for a long weekend, which was really great for me and for LO.  My dad is semi-retired from his career as an electrician, which means he is working ~6 months each year.  My mom has two more years before retirement in order to be eligible for federal retiree healthcare at her current rates. She’s supposedly part time, but has been working essentially a full time schedule since she is a nurse and can easily pick up hours.

Thanksgiving was quiet, but nice.  We didn’t cook turkey and we (somewhat reluctantly) turned down invitations in order to have some quiet time as a family after having houseguests shortly before.  Having 4 days off together was perfect.

This is random, but we implemented a new chore protocol where we alternate days of responsibility for cleaning up the kitchen and dishes after dinner. My motivation for requesting this system was that this must be done every day, and cannot be procrastinated without having to wake up to a mess. It’s a small change, but I’m extremely happy with this system.

LO is doing so well.  She is walking all over and is the happiest little toddler.  She had a phase where there was quite a bit of crying (likely teething related), but she’s been super content lately, and is so fun to play with. She’s also starting to play with the dog a little (in a supervised and appropriate manner), which is very cute. The dog is really good with her and rarely knocks her over as he runs by.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2019 12:27 pm

    Congrats to T on his tenure case approval!!! And yay for the additional insulation making a big difference!

    • December 5, 2019 5:12 pm

      Thanks!!! It wasn’t a surprise, but one of those “you don’t know until you know” sort of things!

      • December 6, 2019 1:11 pm

        That’s fair but now you don’t have any of the wondering since it’s done 🙂

  2. Long time lurker & well wisher permalink
    December 6, 2019 10:11 pm

    Congratulations on T! Been reading for nearly a decade & it’s wonderful to see you guys finally have that weight and uncertainty lifted off your shoulders.

    • December 7, 2019 3:28 pm

      Thank you! 🙂 Such a long road, and really never would have guessed we’d end up with this awesome outcome a decade ago!

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