What a month it was around our household. There was a lot going on and the year of spending seems to continue. Some quick highlights were that we found a lot around Canyon Lake that we liked and are closing on that in a week, woohoo! We finalized our vacation plans up to MT and ID for the summer trip and I can’t wait to get to hang out in that part of the country for a few weeks. Property taxes just keep rising, but it looks like home value is actually commensurate with that this time. I’m trying a new cell phone plan that will drop my part of the bill to only $17/mo. More on that to come. Overall, it was a pretty rough month financially even though it was a great month in every other aspect. For more details read ahead, and for everyone else, we’ll see you next week with a detailed finances post about our Canyon Lake Fully Funded Lifestyle Change projections.
Big Hitters: The Bad – Real Estate and Travel
Let’s start with the “bad” big hitters first, and get those out of the way. Our car insurance was due, so we had that payment hit. We pay bi-annually to save money and not have to remember to pay one more bill each month. Air travel for our epic summer trip finally got paid for this month. Sadly, my single flight up there cost half of our tickets for all 4 of us to fly home. I recently heard that it’s gone up another $200 now, so I’m glad I got them when we did. Plus, I willingly finagled my flight schedule to get to spend a 22 hr layover in Seattle. I get a whole day by myself to explore a city. I haven’t done that since I moved out to Denver back in 2000. I’m pretty excited about that. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on what to do or what to stay away from. We found a lot to purchase out in Canyon Lake, and the escrow for that was $1000. Also our mortgage went up $60 due to the rising property taxes and based on comps from nearby homes, we’re going to be swimming upstream trying to get it reduced this year. Ugh…
I spent $288 tax and all on a new phone and am trying out a new carrier, MintSim. (This isn’t any affiliate link or plug, I just wanted to try them out and figured I’d let you guys know how it works out) I found out about them thru the comments section of a 1500 Days post where he was describing how he gets his phone service so cheap thru Ting. Currently we use T-mobile at ~$80/mo for both of us. Essentially, it’s a $60/mo family plan with $10/mo per line. Ultimately, I won’t be saving much by switching, but the thought is that I’ll try it out and then Mrs. SSC can jump over and then the savings start. The MintSim plan is a 2GB data and unlimited text and talk each month for ~$17/mo/ However, the catch is you pay a whole year up front. So in essence you’re still in a contract even though there is no walk away penalty – you just lose your money. I’m trying the 3 month $35 special they have right now before I make the big commitment. Since they use the T-mobile network, in theory nothing should change for me from a service standpoint. Again, we’ll see and I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. I just initiated porting my number over last night so I haven’t really gotten to try it out yet.
More Vet Bills…
The vet bills were $523 this month as Zoe keeps racking up her cost of living in our house. On the plus side, we found out what’s causing her issues – hookworms. Yea! And Ugh… Because of the incubation period and the length of time she’s had these issues, us and the adoption people figured she had them when they got her. Lucky us… Fortunately, she’s already on her second round of medicine so hopefully it gets knocked out really quickly. This $500-$700/month for the vet is getting ridiculous.
Big Hitters: The Good
Some good financial things to come along this month were our tax refunds of just over $5k, so that was nice. Mrs. SSC got reimbursed for a conference from her school, so that was an extra $545 as well. We also cashed out some old mutual funds that had higher fees than we like, from back when we first started investing and didn’t know any better. These will help cover the land cost next week, so it’s nice to take advantage of the growth in there and not have to dip into the cash reserve for the land purchase.
That’s about it for our April. I finished the TexasMan Olympic Triathlon this past Sunday, despite the cold start temps of (48 degrees) and the sustained winds of 20-25 mph the whole day. OMG it was rough. On the plus side, I still beat my goal of 3:30 and finished in 3 hrs and 25 minutes, woohoo! I wasn’t expecting to hit that goal with the whitecaps during the swim portion and the godawful hills and headwinds on the bike route, but I did, so hooray! The training paid off. Now to take some time off before the Kemah triathlon in October – that one features sharks!! Eeeep!
I’m looking forward to the weekend and having a Mint Julep while watching the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. Any horse racing fans out there? Who else knew that bourbon and mint could have such a nice synergy?
I hope your April went well and your pets aren’t “chewing” into your spending this month.