Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Mrs. Maroon

January 15, 2015

December 2014 Update

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I’m going to stop comparing myself to others… everyone else seems to get their month-end update shared by the 1st or 2nd each month. Not me! The last two months I’ve lamented not posting it until the 11th or 12th. And now I’ve even passed that day for the December update. Instead of beating myself up about it, it’s time to accept reality. My new goal is to post by the 15th. Look…right on schedule!!

 

$12,138 Income: I’m still working half-time hours for my job, but was surprised by a generous bonus 🙂 I filed for reimbursement from the dependent care FSA for $1,100 to finish out the full $5,000 allowed by the IRS. Grandparents for the Minis also included a contribution to their 529 college savings plan as Christmas presents ($100/month for each). In short, a much higher income than normal.

$2,000   Home: Principal and interest on our mortgage, PMI, and escrow account. We also send just over $500 in extra principal in an effort to squash the PMI. Same as before.

$332      Utilities: Electricity, gas, water, internet, and mobile phones. I’m thrilled by this total, month after month.

$3,000   Family: The parents get $100 for a ‘slush’ fund for making purchases as desired without any commentary from the other side… minimal expense for the sake of our marriage. The Minis have it much less exciting. Each gets $100 to a savings account and $100 to a 529 plan. Here is the 529 investment from the grandparents too.

$855      Kids: Daycare, supplies, etc. Mini Maroon #1 has switched from the in-home provider to a more academic setting. The bonus is that we got a special rate, and his tuition only increased by $5/week.

$132      Auto / Fuel: Fuel, maintenance, and allowance for insurance. We received a nice offset from business travel this month. Also, fuel for driving trips is included in Travel below.

$494      Groceries: This category continues to be a target of mine. Bull’s eye plastered all over it! But I will say that we stockpiled some beer and liquor during trips to Texas because Oklahoma has some ridiculous liquor laws – and prices that match!

 "Brewed with peaches and pecans" Need I say more??


“Brewed with peaches and pecans”
Need I say more??

$375      Travel: Three trips to Texas this month! The first weekend of December, Mini #2 and I made the jaunt down to north Texas so I could make an appearance at my office and attend the Christmas party. The boys made a trip to the beach in west Texas the same weekend for some downtime. We also traveled back to north Texas for Christmas with my family on the 26th. The cool part about this trip was that my dad’s grandmother flew down from southern Illinois to join us – she celebrated her 100th Christmas while Mini #2 celebrated her first! In case you’re counting, that’s five generations apart!!

$63        Dining: Several lunches for Mr. Maroon. We also ate out one night over Christmas in Texas. I have a fair bit of family there, and no one wanted to cook for the last night together. Fortunately they chose a delicious BBQ joint that also happens to serve some of the coldest (and cheapest) beer in town.

$60       Home Goods: Consumables, toiletries, medications, etc. Nothing crazy here… Some cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and batteries.

$129      Miscellaneous: Gifts, unexpected items, etc. Our Amazon Prime membership renewed this month. We are more than willing to pay the fee for the free shipping since we do lots of shopping online. A major bonus is Amazon Mom – we get 20% off diapers and wipes, which are delivered directly to the door 🙂 We also bought school pictures of Mini #1 and paid the hosting fee for Mixing Maroons.

$87        Personal Items: Clothing, shoes, haircuts, etc. Expensive this month! The primary culprit was some jewelry repair… The band on my watch had come undone. No idea how that happened, except that it was likely related to one of the Minis. And I had the chain of a necklace repaired. Once again, one of the Minis!

$42        Pets: A bag of dog food. We didn’t technically open it until January, but I much prefer the cash accounting method. I don’t remember much from my college accounting class. But I do remember that the accrual method was WAY too complicated.

$12        Entertainment: Covers Netflix (our cable substitute) and Pandora (you can only hear the same six CDs of kids’ music so many times before losing your mind).

$853      Christmas: WOW! We really had plans to dial it back this year for Christmas. And in all honesty, we did significantly reduce our spending from years past. We still exchange gifts with all of the adults in our families (we have the only two kiddos). In previous years, we had always budgeted $100 for each, plus a little more for us to spend on each other. Add in two kids now, and we’d likely be looking at closer to $1,500. So given that we also used around $100 in gift cards/coupons/rewards where possible, our total outlay of cash was HALF of what it could have been. We tried to help our families understand that the point of Christmas was not the stuff. We may not have gotten as far as we might have hoped in this venture, but progress should always be celebrated. And then furthered in the future.

IMG_4309.JPG


I enjoyed this view each night in the living room.

Even with the extra Christmas spending, we added $3,900 to our endowment. The primary source of these funds was the bonus I received. You should have seen Mr. Maroon. He happened to be joining me in working from home the day an overnight envelope arrived from my office. He was giddy in encouraging me to open it. He immediately started pondering how we should spend it… and no, it wasn’t about toys – extra principal to the house, taxable investments, tax-advantaged investments, etc. In the end, we settled on opening a Roth IRA in his name. If at all possible, he would have transferred the money to Vanguard before the check had even made it into the bank account!

 

I’m really looking forward to the update for January 2015. I spent a fair bit of time working on the spreadsheet to use for the coming year. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s going to work great. And I’m even thinking about sharing a view inside my Excel prowess (actually, I’m a pretty basic user, but they always look pretty!!) with all of you.

215.01.15-2

~ Mrs. Maroon

Could I Pay for College With Diapers?
A Glimpse Into Retirement
  1. Comment by Mrs SSC — January 15, 2015 @ 8:12 AM

    Not too bad! And you shouldn’t be worried about not getting your budget out until the 15th… I’m so lazy I only try to do it a few months of the year.

    I have to say, I am impressed by your utilities bill. Ours is way higher, and I have no idea how to get it down, besides cutting cable and having Mr. SSC divorce me, which in the long run would be more expensive since he gets paid well…
    Mrs SSC recently posted…What ever happened to quality?My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Keep him around for the nice paycheck! 😉 We did cut cable, which helps a lot. I am also amazed at what a difference the gas furnace has made for us. Keeping a very comfortable house in the winter has been super cheap… A luxury we didn’t have back in Texas.

  2. Comment by Mr. SSC — January 15, 2015 @ 8:14 AM

    I post updates whenever umm… wait, I don’t post updates, that’s Mrs. SSC, lol.
    We have a similar ‘slush’/allowance fund. It is awesome for purchases you just don’t feel like justifying. If you have the time, you should check out grooveshark for music. It’s free, and you can search any songs, artists, etc.. and add them to your collection. Then, you can make playlists, and have those. It rocks! (no pun intended) I get no payments from grooveshark for this, but I find everything on there. Mobile might be $ but I just listen at home or work for free…

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    We will have to check out the Grooveshark. I also got an email last week about Amazon music. We may be dropping Pandora after all… Every little bit counts!

  3. Comment by Robin — January 15, 2015 @ 9:02 AM

    100th Christmas? That is awesome!
    We have been trying to reduce our 500 dollar grocery bill as well. Beer is a major culprit in our inability to do so…sigh…
    Robin recently posted…Hug a Tree TodayMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Beer… Hurts the budget. But so tasty! We do have plans to increase our home-brewing efforts in an effort to cut back on the expense. Stay tuned!!

  4. Comment by Mrs. PoP — January 15, 2015 @ 7:29 PM

    Most public companies haven’t released their Q4 earnings reports, so you’re technically ahead of the game. =)

    Yay for stashing money away even in an expensive holiday month!
    Mrs. PoP recently posted…Happy Friday – Happy Retirement!My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Thanks for the confidence booster… I may never be the CEO of a publicly-traded company (mostly because I don’t want to) but I am CEO of our household. I’m happy to be ahead of the pack!

  5. Comment by Holly@ClubThrifty — January 16, 2015 @ 7:49 AM

    Hey, I think you did great. And good job on the bonus! I miss getting year-end bonuses from work! Ugh!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…How I Save Money by Working at HomeMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Thanks! The bonus is a huge perk. It’s my first year with this company, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Quite a nice surprise!

  6. Comment by Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom — January 16, 2015 @ 12:35 PM

    Nice update and the 15th isn’t too late! Nice work almost halving your Christmas costs this year.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted…Interviewed by Debt DisciplineMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I was starting to fall into that horrible trap of comparison. Much better to just play by my own rules and love it!

  7. Comment by Mr Ikonz @ ProjectIkonz.com — January 19, 2015 @ 4:28 AM

    Winding back at Christmas is incredibly difficult, I always seem to get caught up in the spirit and spend too much money!

    Great work on breaking down your expenditure into such granular detail, it must make it easy for your to identify areas of potential savings.
    Mr Ikonz @ ProjectIkonz.com recently posted…How to live large in the USMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Tracking expenses in such detail is our primary way to identify areas of improvement. Without real numbers to review, I could easily convince myself that we were doing just fine, when in fact we could do much better. Nothing is as concrete as the numbers staring you in the face…

  8. Comment by Mr Ikonz @ Project Ikonz — January 20, 2015 @ 8:13 PM

    You’re so right about how important “reality” is. I guess that’s why I keep avoiding it, I’m worried about seeing how much I waste!!

    Time to rip off that bandaid and start budgeting and tracking!
    Mr Ikonz @ Project Ikonz recently posted…How to live large in the USMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Rip your band aid TODAY! Nothing will help you improve your situation more than knowing exactly where your money is going…

  9. Comment by Jason @ Islands of Investing — January 21, 2015 @ 2:55 AM

    Nice job with the bonus! No doubt you will use it wisely 🙂

    I like your comment on the pet food – I’m totally with you on using the cash method, lets not make things too complicated with lots of fancy accrual accounting – simplicity is definitely the way to go!
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…Investing in your loved ones always gives the best returnsMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    The K. I. S. S. method wins out every time! Keep it simple, stupid.

  10. Comment by No More Waffles — January 21, 2015 @ 6:45 AM

    Mrs. Maroon,

    Holy cow, that’s a big bonus! Congrats!

    I also really like how you used your bonus, very responsible choices. Many people would just go out and buy a bunch of stuff because they “earned” it.

    Keep it up!
    NMW
    No More Waffles recently posted…Home Invest Belgium (HOMI) Stock Analysis: Belgian REITMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Thanks! We were thrilled with the bonus too. A while back we would have treated ourselves to “something nice”. But now we know that what we truly want is waiting for us in early retirement.

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