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Belated January Wrap Up

February 19, 2020

Net Worth and Money News

Our net worth ticked up again, hooray! It rose about 1.8%. I’m front loading my retirement again, and switched T’s as a percentage of his income. That will ensure that a bunch of savings come out when he gets summer salary.

I discovered we’d been grandfathered in to Capital One 360s old savings account, and the rate had plummeted. I moved everything over to an account getting more interest.

I hope to do taxes next month, and my goal is to do it without TurboTax. In past years, we waited until too close to the deadline and got frustrated enough to just pay for TurboTax. It isn’t even really about the money, it is about not wanting to support the tax prep software industry. Our taxes are not totally trivial, but they are something two educated people willing to put in a bit of time can handle.

Spending Bullets (excluding childcare, mortgage, property taxes and car/home insurance):

  • Monthly spend (excluding some major categories): $2046, which seems very low for us!  
  • Highest single transaction that hasn’t been featured in a previous month: $217.05 at IKEA for toy storage, a lamp, and a few other miscellaneous items.
  • Most annoying expense: $140 for a “dig proof” dog bed. We had an incident with a Roomba freaking out the home alone dog, and he started freaking out in his crate and digging up his bedding. He got over his neurosis, but we did end up with a new bed.
  • Expense that brought the most joy or utility:  $14.19 for a poke a dot book that LO is OBSESSED with.
  • Donations (for accountability): None this month, will have to roll over into next month.

House Projects

I feel like January was mostly just a struggle to keep our house in order. I can’t remember any improvements, but I’m sure T did some maintenance tasks here and there.


I’ve been at this job 5 years. It has had ups and downs, but in general, it is a really good fit.

I regularly feel out of my depth, including right now on this new project. We have the most amazing project manager, who not only is extremely effective at his job of project managing, but also could do probably 30% (or more!) of the jobs on the team, many of them better than the person actually assigned to the job. This includes my job. I mean, obviously he can’t do ALL THE JOBS at the same time, and the idea is that he may some day retire and the rest of us will have to rise to attempt to fill his shoes. . . But it is a little disheartening to know that he could just do everything I’m doing, and he could do it faster and better. It is also good, because he knows what I should be doing and can help if I’m stuck. I think this type of manager is not the norm, and I am lucky to get to work with him. But that also makes it hard/impossible to impress him!

Other life stuff

My dad is temporarily in the area again working for a few months, and mostly driving me and T crazy. He stayed with us for about 2 weeks, then stayed with my uncle for a bit, and just now found his own temporary place. Now that he has his own space, I hope we can enjoy the luxury of getting to spend time together on a more regular basis. My house is just too small for hosting long term guests, unless perhaps they were an extremely conscientious and quiet guests (he’s not).

LO is doing so well, and is so much fun! She has started talking a bit. She has started climbing on everything (eek!). She is a happy little kid, and we are so lucky to have her. The one nap schedule is working out fantastically for our family, although she occasionally takes 2 naps if we have car time.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2020 10:32 am

    Oh, that one nap transition. We just did the same for our second kiddo. Our whole house has such a better time on weekends. My son isn’t resenting always having to come home for a nap because of little sister so it’s all good.

  2. February 21, 2020 11:07 am

    Thank goodness I caught this post – I too was grandfathered into a super low rate at Capital One! That’s annoying.

    I always think that I should do our taxes by hand (are you getting the forms and everything), especially since you can easily check your numbers with TurboTax’s. We did a lot of weird things in 2019, though (Backdoor Roth IRAs, sold RSUs, etc.).

    I struggle with this same thing at work – I have the same role as folks who are 25-30 years older than me. It’s unrealistic to think that I should be at the same level (owing to a few decades less experience), but can be disheartening.

    • February 22, 2020 9:00 pm

      I caught the capital one thing through social media too. Super annoying.

      T did them by hand one year. This year, I did them first in TurboTax (without paying), then tried FreeTaxUSA. I would have filed with them, but I couldn’t get them to accept a backdoor Roth IRA for both of us. It seemed to (maybe?) handle the first one correctly, but refused to route me through the right (same as before) questions when I repeated the same thing. I finished everything else in FreeTaxUSA. Unlike TurboTax, FreeTaxUSA allows you to have the filled out tax forms without paying. Then, I used the Free Fillable Forms from the IRS and basically copied the FreeTaxUSA output to help me along. Finally, I added two Form 8606 to capture the backdoor Roths.

      In summary, I entered all my information into three separate interfaces, which was super fun. But, it was all the same result, which is good. It took a big portion of a Saturday, but at least I didn’t pay TurboTax the $140 they were asking for.

  3. middle_class permalink
    February 23, 2020 1:33 pm

    I am very bad at commenting. However your post prompted me to take 2 actions. I front-loaded by 401k contribution and am trying to do my own taxes using Turbo Tax.

    I feel like an idiot but Turbo Tax is still confusing for me, so I may run back to our accountant..

  4. middle_class permalink
    February 23, 2020 1:39 pm

    Also congrats on parenthood!

  5. February 25, 2020 11:42 am

    How are you filing if not using TurboTax? All manually? I can’t do them like that anymore. I feel like I should but I don’t. It’s just a bit too complicated.

    Aw, poor pup getting freaked out! Sera destroyed her crate just because she didn’t like being in there, we finally had to get rid of it because it was useless.

    And thanks for the advice about the Roomba, I finally started using it and I am really glad we bought it.

    Yay for having a great manager! And I would point out that, though I don’t know if I succeed, I try to be that manager and as that person, I don’t expect my reports to be better than me at their jobs when I’m working with them but I know they will surpass me if I enable them to. I am not impressed by people who are better or faster but by people who are doing a good job, period.

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