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July & August & September Wrap Up

September 30, 2021

Money

Net Worth: It continues to grow, yet it never reaches any point where we are ready to talk about any serious life changes. Still, we have been so fortunate. I am actively thinking about how to use our money to improve our quality of life today. Some of this might be spending more in targeted areas, but I’m not sure where that makes sense. Saving for early retirement is a nice plan, but we don’t have a passion (or plan) to retire extremely early. For now, I find a career to be a very valuable use of my time. I understand this may not always be the case, but we have enough options/security with our current savings that I’m not in a big hurry. So, yes, we are trying to eek that savings rate just a bit higher, but also trying to spend meaningfully.

Donations: I’ve been giving to BLM and NAACP LDF monthly, then one-off contributions when I can or when I see a need. I donated to two abortion rights groups to help fight the Texas law and help women there (see the comment from “teresa” on this post for donation ideas). I also donated to a coworker’s fundraiser related to a bike ride for a medical condition that affected one of his family members. I think that is it. I’m glad that I set up some auto-contributions that takes some of the mental effort off, but still allowing me to add causes if they come up.

Spending: We bought some stuff for camping, and paid for a couple of camp sites. (We ended up canceling our original campsite due to poor air quality at that location, and rebooked somewhere else.) I have also booked a campsite for next year’s summer vacation, because that is what you have to do for the best campgrounds, especially weekends. I booked a rental for a long weekend spring break, and am on the lookout for something over winter break. We aren’t planning on flying and we don’t ski, so it has been tricky to find something. We did NOT make any progress on new windows. It is probably a good idea to work on this before cooler winter weather sets in, since it will both improve our heating efficiency.

Money moves: I’ve accelerated my new-as-of-this-spring plan to start using the mega-backdoor Roth, after hearing there is a proposal to eliminate all back door Roths starting in 2022. I’m not sure if that will come to fruition, but in either case, having the money in Roth space is an OK situation. I rejiggered my tax withholdings yet again, because my tax estimating spreadsheet had an error. (I fixed my 2020 spreadsheet when I did my 2020 taxes, but didn’t pull the fix into my working 2021 sheet. I also added that $167/mo child tax credit that we’ve been getting direct deposited into the spreadsheet.)

Life

I haven’t posted here in a bit. I missed my monthly post in early August partly because we had LO home for 2 weeks for summer break. But more so, I was feeling defeated. My brief optimism about COVID wore off… and I just couldn’t. It isn’t just COVID, it is the way it has torn the country apart, even more than we already were torn by the previous presidential administration. Of course, none of this is resolved, but I did find some motivation to post a quick update, in any case. Local COVID numbers are back below 10 daily new cases per 100k, which is not exactly comforting…. but 10 is this nice round number, and it is some sort of threshold for me. The number of hospitalized patients is also decreasing. Delta wave #1 is subsiding. We are still certainly in a different (better!) stage of the pandemic than we were a year ago, but I am still having trouble navigating some of it. And I’m not particularly worried about LO getting COVID (or me or T), I still would like to avoid it. I found this article explaining the possible timeline for pediatric vaccinations helpful. There are ways out of this pandemic [in the US] that aren’t dependent on a pediatric vaccine, but a pediatric vaccine seems likely to be the quickest way out. Right? I mean, I don’t know. I have given up on predicting the future of COVID.

Some good things happened! We went camping! We went with some old friends, which was really nice for a variety of reasons. My parents came to visit for a long weekend. We went to the beach.

Fall semester started, and T is teaching in person again – a smallish class (20 – 40?). I’ve started going into my office somewhat regularly. It is really just a minor change of scenery since we are not doing any in person meetings. I like it though, because we only have one home office. If T is working from home, I usually prefer to just go in to work for a better set up, and I still focus better there. Also, we are technically all “back to normal” (with increased remote/hybrid work), and they might consider taking offices away at some point… so part of it is merely staking my claim on my office! I have an incredibly short commute, so there is limited downside.

After relying a lot on “food boxes” from a local business during the pandemic, I’ve been back to cooking and meal planning normally for several months now, and it is going fine. My new “system” is just a google doc with a link to the recipe (or recipe title if it is in a cookbook), so I don’t forget what we have on hand. Once we cook it, i move it down to the list of things to scroll through if I’m looking for ideas. I got a new “healthy instant pot” cook book, which is super helpful on the days we don’t want to use the stove/oven. I also use Budget Bytes a lot, and also random recipes someone posts. I haven’t yet analyzed the impact on grocery costs. We did had one month (July?) where groceries were cheaper, but that was also during the brief period where I was actually going to stores (and not paying for delivery).

We haven’t had TOO many smokey days, super hot days, or “red flag warning” days. We’ve had no “public safety power shut offs.” It is still relatively early in fire season, and we’re in a big drought, so we’ll see what the coming months bring.

Kid

She is growing up so fast! She’s pretty much adjusted to her new daycare/preschool room, and we’ve (finally) made good progress on getting diapers out of our lives. She’s so imaginative and fun, and really just the sweetest. She loves building, tools, the park, her play kitchen, art, and is really into counting things lately.

Work

Work has been good, although I do feel behind all of the time. I’m happy with where my project is, and my role on it. I do need to bug my manager about my promotion timeline. I don’t think there is much more to say here. Oh, I may have my first business trip since February 2020 next month. I think I could opt out if needed, but if cases don’t surge, I’m open to going.

I think that is it for now, and I’m just going to post this before another 3 months past by!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2021 12:12 pm

    It sounds like things are going really well for you and yours!

    … we are at 150-200 cases per 100K. Fox News is killing people.

    I have lost count of the number of times my son has been exposed at school this year, but it’s either 6 or 7.

    • October 1, 2021 8:51 pm

      😦 Sorry to hear case rates are still so high. I’ve been occasionally of looking at your state’s rates in a hopeless attempt to try to predict when/if the spike in my parents’ state will go back down… It is not promising, they’ve stayed so high for so long! I’m glad DC is vaccinated, but the exposures still are scary and…. it just doesn’t have to be this way.

  2. October 2, 2021 8:23 am

    That reminds me we should double check our withholdings again as well, I didn’t do a great job a few years ago and have been tinkering with it ever since.
    I’ve been surprised by this fire season so far. It was bad for a little while there but then has been ok as far as air quality. I hope it doesn’t flare up too badly this year.
    Yay for LO’s growth and funness!

  3. October 3, 2021 6:54 am

    Glad to hear things are returning to normal-ish for you guys!

    Fingers crossed we get a 0-5 vaccine authorization soon. I’m vaguely optimistic that once there’s approval for all ages and federal mandates kick into gear, the worst of the pandemic will be behind us.

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