Slowly Sipping Coffee

April 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?!

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…

More lows than highs this month!

More lows than highs this month!

The lot at Canyon Lake. We may get a lake view still...

The lot at Canyon Lake. We may get a lake view still…

Phones

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!

It really is called the TexasMan Triathlon, lol.

It really is called the TexasMan Triathlon, lol.

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.

21 thoughts on “April 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?!

  1. Mrs. Picky Pinche

    OMG a plot on Canyon Lake is the jackpot! Like I said, we’ll need to drive up to visit once y’all are settled in. 😉 Your phone bill is really interesting, actually; I like that it’s paid up front–although I’m a Google Fi convert since I like the data rebates. Congrats on completing that triathlon!!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yep, we’re pretty excited about it and are closing on it this Friday. Hopefully, it goes well and there aren’t any issues. I’m still having issues with getting my phone setup with mint, so we’ll see. Their customer service line just goes to voicemail telling you the hrs of their customer service line, lol. I have it setup, recognizes their system, and I can send texts and get online, etc… when i try to make a call (you know use it as a phone) it just immediately hangs up so it doesn’t go thru. Weird, but I’m trying to figure it out. If i can’t get that sorted this week, expect a post called, how I wasted $35 with mintsim, lol.

  2. Mrs. COD

    Ugh, hate those vet bills! I’m glad she’ll be getting better soon though. And congratulations on your triathlon! That’s quite an accomplishment. Hope everything goes seamlessly with the lot closing. We close on our house in KY four weeks from today!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Congrats on your upcoming house closing! That’s pretty exciting. thanks on the triathlon, it was fun, but just long enough that it took some willpower to keep going on the run portion and not stop to walk.

      Zoe has gotten way better since we got the meds for her. Shes on the second round now, so hopefully it clears this all up and nips it in the bud. We’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out, but fingers crossed.

  3. Brian

    The cell phone bill is an area we are trying to figure out. We five phones our bill is almost $300 a month. Ouch. The cheaper option have terrible service in our area, so not sure what to do. Congratulations on your triathlon, you’ve certainly earned a Mint Julep! I’m a casual horse racing fan, my dad love the ponies. 🙂 Here’s to a quieter May.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yikes, those phone bills can get crazy. Our current bill is $80 for both of us to have 2GB data – which doesn’t all get used up each month ever… and then unlimited talk/text. We’ll see how this works out though. If I can get it all set up then it could be a big saver for us at $400/yr vs $960 for the same plan and on the same network we already use.

      Hopefully it’s a quieter May for sure. 🙂

  4. Jason

    I certainly understand those vet bills. Have you guys ever thought about care plans for the dog? We do one through Banfield at $39 a month, but it covers two exams, shots, a dental cleaning, etc. Generally, it is a good deal for us. And since Spooner is our only baby it is worth having this “insurance” in place. I would pay more if it keeps him healthy and happy.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      We have but except for this round of figuring out what was up with our new dog, it’s generally been the yearly checkup and usual maintenance meds 9heartworm, flea tick, etc…) It’s just been crazy lately because of end of life health issues with Quinn, then all was quiet until we adopted Zoe, and evidently she brought the hookworms with her, unbeknownst to us and the adoption place. That has accounted for quite a bit of visits thinking she had dog flu or who knows what, and a vet appt, and a shot, and some meds and bloodwork to say, “probably colitis, here are some pills, and give her a more bland diet”. Only to have it recur in another week or so which led to another visit, and repeat.

      Now that she is getting back to normal with that issue cleared up, we expect it to go back to normal. man, if this was the new normal, yes, i’d say an insurance plan would make a lot of sense.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! You know, it didn’t bug me at all throughout the race or even afterward, so I would say, yes, it probably is better. I still feel it during training though, and it still doesn’t feel 100% – or rather this must be the new normal feeling with it. It still feels “thick” and not as supple as it used to but probably that’s from scar tissue or it repairing itself? Pain or other issues from it though, nope, nothing on that front. 🙂 Woohoo!

  5. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    The lot is GORGEOUS!! And WOOHOO on finishing the triathlon! Great job! We watched the Derby as well. Funny how two minutes of racing can cause so much celebration. It was a good race, although I wish Patch would’ve done better. 🙂 Sounds like the Always Dreaming team deserved, waited for and worked for their win.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! Yeah going into it, Patch had a lot of hype and media attention, but didn’t have a great run. Maybe it was track conditions, but Always Dreaming looked good Saturday. 🙂

  6. M.B.

    About Seattle- If you want to go for a run while you are in town, I suggest Discovery Park, which is woodsy and has a postcard view of the sound complete with islands, sailboats, and so forth or Greenlake for a more urban, but also beautiful place. Seattle has a huge beer culture, and there are a ton of breweries. Generally I suggest avoiding downtown, but Capital Hill has good people watching. Every neighborhood has great coffee shops. There is a ton of ethnic food, Thai, Pho, and Ethiopian are highlights if you like any of those. If you are looking for touristy activities, the best two might be the underground tour and Theo’s chocolate factory tour (which you might need to reserve online in advance). Pike place market is great – but pretty crowded. If the weather is really nice, you want to rent a kayak for an hour and eat mexican food with a great view – Agua Verde is the place.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Awesome, thanks for the tips! I figured I’d it some breweries, but there’s a limit to how much of that you can do in a day, lol. Thanks for all the info, I’ve got some research to do to figure out a plan of attack. It’s nice knowing about the coffee shops too since I’ll land early morning’ish.

      1. M.B.

        Also, if you aren’t a member of car2go, it is a good way to get around and they are running a special for new members. I would take the train from the airport to capital hill station and go from there. RE: breweries, there are several brewery districts. You should not have a problem.

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          Brewery districts is now in my search word list. 🙂 thanks! Also for the car2go app info because I just have Uber bt rarely use it since I live in the burbs. I’ll get that one downloaded. 🙂

  7. SharonW

    I like the kayak rentals at Northwest Outdoor Center (NWOC). Paddle across Lake Union to the Arboretum. My favorite breweries are in Ballard. Also the Ballard locks are worth a visit.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks for the information! I’ll have to check it out and get an itinerary going. 🙂 Kayaking for a bit sounds like a great way to get my muscles stretched out and enjoy the water. I hadn’t even thought about that to be honest.

  8. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    I feel your pain re. your vet bills. Our dog is healthy now, but we spent several hundreds on him through the fall and winter. Ugh! Hopefully, you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that front. Awesome triathlon news! And very impressive – escpecially considering the conditions. I ran my first road race in over 12 years this past weekend. A 5 km. It was a slow time, but I have a standard to beat now for the next one. It’s a great way to stay in shape – working towards these occasional races. They add a certain motivation that just isn’t there when you’re running (swimming/cycling) for its own sake.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Glad to hear your dog is healthy now. I recently read Mrs. BITA also running into some spendy vet bills recently, so yeah… Pets can get unexpectedly expensive, very quickly.

      Congrats on your race too! Like you, I now have a time to beat for my October race that got postponed. I’m hoping I can get the swim a little faster since I won’t be frozen, but it will be ocean, so who knows what the tides will do. I mean swimming back to shore from a mile out is going to be intimidating in its own right I bet. I am sort of tempted to train for freestyle for that one, but then I remembered how easy it was to breathe while bobbing around on white caps and think, Maybe not just yet…
      There ought to still be wind, but hopefully not as hard or constant as it was that weekend, sheesh.

      I find it is a good fitness motivator because as much as I love running, it can get so boring just running 3-4 days a week for 30-50 minutes or so. Good luck with your next race!

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I’m VERY interested in your experiment with MintSim and the quality and consistency of your coverage – we have the TMobile Simple Choice plan (2GB high speed internet, unlimited talk and text, free data in other countries for $80 for the first two phones, $10 for an additional line).

    We pay for my dad’s line as the third and we have totally opposite use behaviors (I use tons of data and rarely talk, he uses thousands of talk minutes and never uses data) so I keep coming up empty on beating the TMobile cost.

    My empathies on the vet bills! Seamus, our pup, also racked up nearly $500 this month because of his allergies and an injury.

    Here’s hoping you and we have much lower, if any, vet bills for the rest of the year 😉

    Did you have a great time at the Derby? I’ve always wanted to go!

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