Wow, this month was a mess. And of course, it came right as I’ve been having trouble dealing with things. Ugh.
The issues came down to:
- I still hadn’t finished using the stimulus funds for donations/spending at small businesses. So I had to make sure I left the remaining funds in the account.
- My insurance hadn’t deducted my yearly premium, which was $1,107 that needed to be left in the account.
- The guest house rent needed to stay in the account too, though that’s usually calculated.
- I had only used about half of my financial week’s funds, which means I had to make sure the amount I had spent stayed in my secondary account for when I was ready to make a credit card payment.
- I had spent significantly less than usual this past month, so I hadn’t used up the full monthly spending amount.
But even accounting for all of that, I had around $480 more than I should’ve in the account (for a total of $880 in extraneous funds) and no earthly idea why it was there. Which is nice, of course, but also stressful because it makes me wonder if I forgot a bill or something.
As best I can tell, I didn’t. So I just rolled the funds into the money allocations for the month. That said, the saving rates (pre-tax, post-tax and post-tax plus additional mortgage principal) will be exclusive of those funds, since they’re based on how much money I put into savings from actual income over the course of the month.
So let’s see how that all shook down, shall we?
Every month I put $300 into an account in anticipation of having to buy a new vehicle at some point. I’m just barely below 80,000 miles, so hopefully that’s a long ways away. I’d love to have enough to pay for a new vehicle outright. I’m getting close to $15,000 in the account, so it may very well happen. Time will tell.
Since this goal is more than a year away, the money counts in my saving rate.
Car insurance fund
I switched insurance, so I now only have to put away $100 a month. It’d be even less, but I got in an accident two Decembers ago, so that’ll keep my rates higher for a bit longer.
Since I pay yearly, this isn’t a long-term goal and doesn’t count in my saving rates.
Obviously not a savings issue, but it is where a chunk of my money goes every month.
The business card balance was a little higher due to renewing this site’s domain and a few things. But overall the balance was pretty low — around $765.
Again, not a saving goal but where a big part of my check goes. Between both halves of FICA (yay, self-employment) and state/federal taxes, I put away $1,853 toward quarterly tax payments.
Not fun, but paved roads and schools are nice so…
I put $100 into a fund in anticipation of future vet bills for Josie. My goal is $1,500, which I’ll hit next month.
I was anticipating having to draw down this month, but Josie was exceedingly uncooperative and hostile at the vet. So they couldn’t really run any tests without sedation. I’m supposed to collect some urine (whee) for them to test and then we’ll go from there.
Anyway, having funds for the vet is a long-term goal, so it counts toward my saving rates.
Guest house rent
I have a small guest house (very small) that I rent to a love gal and cute (and surprisingly not very yappy) small dog. I get $500 a month there, which I add to my mortgage payment. As such, this counts toward the third savings rate, which includes additional mortgage principal paid.
A teenage relative came out as transgender recently. I know that the surgery for that isn’t cheap, so I’m putting away $50 a month for an eventual gift when she’s ready for that step.
Since this isn’t going to me, ultimately, I don’t count this in my saving rates.
My unit is getting older, so I’m saving $145 a month for a replacement. This is (please god) a long-term goal, so it counts toward my saving rates.
I have an iPhone 7. It’s working perfectly well, but from what I can tell, it likely won’t be able to do updates starting when they release the next model in September.
Eventually, this can cause problems with apps, so at that point, I’ll bite the bullet and replace it. So I’m putting $50 away each month in anticipation of a new one.
Since I don’t know how soon the problems will start, I assume this isn’t a long-term goal and don’t’ count it in my saving rates.
I pay $332 a year for termite protection. They seem to like this house, so it’s definitely worth it. But I was tired of taking the $300 hit every year. So I’m putting away $27.67 a month into this sinking fund.
This is a yearly bill, so not a long-term goal. Thus it doesn’t count in my saving rates.
I put $500 a month into a Vanguard account to make sure I max out my Roth. Since retirement is obviously a long-term goal, this counts in my saving rates.
This one is a little complicated.
My goal is to save a year’s worth of my emergency budget. To that end, I put $200 a month in the account. But to speed up the goal a little, I take the amount left from my check after all of the above have been accounted for, and I round it down to the nearest $100, putting the difference in my EF.
For example, $1,550 would become $1,500 and the $50 would go into this account. This month, that was $87.86.
Obviously, this is a long-term goal, so the money counts toward may saving rates.
In addition to my emergency fund, I also have a savings account for general expenses. Which I only recently realized is kind of weird, since I pay from my savings account for most “emergencies” people use their EF funds for.
But I guess I treat my EF as more of a last resort. Like if I got laid off, I’d have it to live on. Savings for everything else.
Anyway, this month $300 went into that account. This counts toward my saving rates.
This is the retirement account that my S-corp business contributes to. It can put in up to 25% of my salary as an employee. Once I max this out, I will start contributing as an employee to the 401(k) I opened last year.
After all of the above amounts were deducted from my check — and accounting for some money the blog made — I was able to put $1,723.86 into this account.
Thanks to a really good money month in January, which allowed me to make another big SEP contribution, two monthly paychecks into 2021, I’m 27.6% of the way toward maxing out the SEP. Woot!
When calculating the rates, I make sure to account for all income in a given month. So this includes not just my paycheck, but also the guest house rent and any income the blog gets.
So how did I do?
Post-tax plus additional mortgage principal: 52.4%
Since my goal is 50% for that last rate, I hit my mark so yay! It’s especially nice because this paycheck was a little smaller than normal ones.
Okay, so normally I have a whole extra section here, but I’m still recovering some of my mental/emotional fortitude (Aaron and ktiten-time helped but still…) so I’m frankly out of gas at this point.
So short version: I have many advantages that other people don’t, so if your results are different than mine, please don’t let it make you feel bad. If you’re doing the best you can — even if that means “doing the best you can while still enjoying life a bit” — then be proud of that. It’s what matters.