March was a pretty good month. The “year of spending” seems to continue as we had another month and another round of big ticket items show up. Specifically, the fence got replaced, well on 3 sides of the yard anyway. Our other neighbor didn’t feel like replacing the side we share, so that’s fine with us. On the upside, we also got about 30’ of fence replaced that no one paid for. Not us or our backyard neighbors. At $22/ft. that saved us about $330 (that’s going halvesies with the back neighbor). We dumped my bonus into the kids 529’s so they got a nice boost, but beyond that, there wasn’t a lot of craziness in our spending.
A quick look at our FI target shows that we’re still at 84% of our goal, down ~0.5% from last month. That’s all market driven as we’re still contributing the same and just watching and waiting. Some fun stuff that happened last month was our first trip out to look for property for the Lifestyle Change. For more details on that plus where the rest of our spending went last month read on.
Vacuums Suck: Especially When They Don’t
Beyond replacing the fence, we also had our vacuum die. It was an 8 year old Dyson vacuum that we got to deal with the pet hair. The vacuum itself still works, but the motor that spins the brushes died. At that point, our little stick vac was doing a better job even though the Dyson “never lost suction”. It seems this is a common issue, and looking at replacing that motor versus getting a new “non-Dyson” was almost a wash, so we just got a new vacuum. Not a huge cost, but not trivial either.
Knowledge is Power!
We also stocked up on books for the kids to work on reading as well as a bunch of ‘homework’ type books for the kids to work on over the summer. Our youngest likes to “do homework” and complains when she doesn’t get to do any because “monkey see, monkey do” when it comes to copying her older brother. He has done a lot better with his reading and writing since he’s been working with his tutor. We’re hoping keeping him active with writing, reading, and math over the summer won’t let that atrophy too much in his brain.
Pets Can Be Spendy
The pet spending is still a bit high as we’re trying to figure out a good food for our new greyhound. Her stomach doesn’t like the food we’ve been feeding Lola, so we are trying new things there. It hasn’t been easy figuring that one out but hopefully we get it dialed in soon. I think we will just use 2 separate dog foods, since both dogs tend to do better with different brands. Not the most convenient, but meh, pets have their downsides sometimes too.
Finally, a recap of our trip to look at property and how that affected our spending. The little things that popped up were gas, from diving out to Hill Country and driving all over the area we were interested in. Groceries and eating out crept up a little even though it was only a 2 day trip. Nothing crazy, but more than if we’d stayed home. Pet sitting money was another spend that was directly trip related. It’s only $30 but we would’ve spent $30 less staying home.
We were looking at a lot next to a State park, right on a lake, and while we liked the lake, and the feel of the neighborhood, the rest of the area didn’t pan out well for us. Even the neighborhood felt a little tight in regards to home spacing. We think this was because the only fence you could install was a wrought iron style fence that is see through, which gave no a sense of privacy. The main nearby town had a crazy go-go-go feel to it, probably driven by the highway setup. It was a 6 lane highway with a 75 mph speed limit that had one way only frontage roads. These were filled with shopping malls, strip malls, car dealerships, and more, but nothing like the rural quiet community feeling we were wanting. It was a fun trip though and we found a couple of cool parks for the kids to play at.
We looked at a lot more lots around that area, but then realized the other thing that was missing in this area – Hill Country views. Because this area was on top of a ridge, you don’t see any other topography changes when you look out and around the horizon. It didn’t have much of a hilly feel to it. Unlike Canyon lake, where we were driving around this weekend, you get great hills and great views from anywhere around there. So while we didn’t find any lots we liked in March, We found a lot of things about what we do and more importantly what we don’t want in our lot.
That’s it for our March update. Hopefully your spending stayed low and your happiness stayed high.