April 2016 Plan Update

April 2016 Plan Update

Is there ever a dull month? This month involved a broken water pipe and a flooded crawlspace, entertaining both sets of parents for a week, and finding out I’m severely anemic (explains the chronic fatigue for the past several months – Me to doctor: “Not everyone blacks out every time they stand up? I assumed that was normal”). As April wraps up, we have only 5 weeks to go until our big UK/Paris adventure. To say I’m excited would be a tremendous understatement. But at least the trip is forcing us to get some estate planning done (finally! right?). Don’t worry, there’s a whole post coming up on the process and how to save money (you were worried, I know).

Three new Fill-the-Bucket lists have been added to the interwebs (and our comprehensive list) this month from Hey, It’s Just Money, Creating My Kaleidoscope and All Around Better Me. The Roth IRA Challenge is picking up! This month, we had a really inspirational post about balance and side hustling and taking risks by Kara over at From Frugal to Free! Mr. T also jumped into the blog this month with his graphic design with our new series: Northern Expressions! I love that he’s involved in his own way (and I’m loving all these awesome and cool-looking quotes I can print off and put on my bathroom mirror… or wall… or fridge… or leave on random cars…).

The Numbers:

We’ve been using Personal Capital to get a snapshot of our monthly finances. It really is a geeked-out dream for someone like me that loves to see graphs and make spreadsheets. If you don’t like doing that, it’s also really user-friendly and does all the work for you. Best part? It’s free! Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! It has cut down my end-of-the month reckoning significantly since I can see all my accounts together (with graphs!).

Our investments sit at $93,042! Less than $7,000 away from breaking 6 digits! That will be VERY exciting! And the mortgage is down to $71,990. I know the mortgage is going down at a pretty good and steady rate, but this month I’ve been frustrated with the progress here. I want to be DONE with the mortgage and nearly $72,000 is still a lot left! A lot of Googling “Creative ways to pay off mortgage early” leads to suggestions to refinance into a 15 year mortgage (done), pay extra each month (yup), and put windfalls towards the mortgage (uh huh). So, I guess I just need to be at peace with the slow progress. Slow and steady, right? (But secretly, how great would it be to end 2018 debt free?!… I’ll keep dreaming. No one can stop me!)

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for April: 52.7%! That’s pretty good considering it was a pretty high spending month… but thanks to maxing out Mr. T’s 401k contributions, our automated savings combined with our extra mortgage payments are now around 50% of our pay! Next goal: increase our pay! 🙂

2016 Financial Goal Update:

After June’s big UK trip, we’ll start focusing on our 2016 Roth IRAs.

  • $125,000 in investments by the end of the year (need some market help on this one, so I’m not going to focus on it, but if they continue, it might be possible! Currently $93,042/$125,000)
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2015 by April ($5500/$5500) – Done!
  • Max out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500)
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500)
  • Mortgage balance below $55,000 by the end of December ($71,990 – $16,990 left to go!)

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • $1305.50 – 5 Plane tickets to California to see Mr. T’s sister and her family during Christmas break!
  • $19.96 – Celebratory frozen yogurt for the family for Penny’s birthday.
  • $190.60 – Copay for doctor appointment and lab work for anemia diagnosis.
  • $8.50 – 4 wheatgrass juice shots – recommended by my doctor
  • $75.78 – a fancy pantsy iron formula my doctor prescribed. I call it “unicorn blood” because it has a weird name and costs a small fortune. I can only assume it makes me immortal.

Extra Income:

$1.80 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link – A reader tipped me off after my Decluttering Books Post that they had an affiliate link, so I added it in after the fact. Who knew?! This is a few cents less than last month… but still awesome and hilarious to get my very first “passive income” every month.

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “There’s never enough time. That’s why I need to quit my job. But then there’s never enough money. It’s always a trade off between time and money.” (Hmm… I think I’ve seen that before.)
  • “I’m going to keep looking for coins and then I’ll be RICH!” – This was Florin after she found a dime, lost it, and then found a nickel.
  • “We were going to go to Hawaii for our tenth anniversary, but we bought a vinyl fence instead.”
  • “If I work in public service for ten years, my law school loans disappear. I worked for 4 years before getting this job, so I would just have 6 years left. I make way more money now, but it’s tempting to get a government job so the loans go away.”


Northern Expressions: Savings Muscles


The Gazingus Pin: Your Spending Weakness


  1. The Green Swan

    That’s a solid savings rate! Keep it up!

    That’s too bad about being anemic, will you just need to take the iron formula to get it back in line? I’m not all too familiar with it. Best of luck.

    The Green Swan

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes. I have weekly iron infusions and I should be back up to normal in a few months. Luckily it’s fixable!

  2. I know exactly what you mean about being sick to death of the mortgage and just wanting it gone! I’m exactly the same. I mean, I know my money can work much harder if it’s invested but mortgage debt just feels so personal somehow

    • MaggieBanks

      I know! Get it out! Just wish the cure was more than “extra payments” – it’s too simple, but takes so long! The story of personal finance!

  3. Quite the eventful April! Glad you got the anemia figured out.

    • MaggieBanks

      Ugh. Me too! And hope to get those iron levels back up before the UK trip!

  4. Sounds like some good progress, congrats – and what a great savings rate!
    UK / Paris trip sounds exciting. Just out of interest, where in the UK are you going?

    • MaggieBanks

      We’re starting in London, driving to cardiff (through Bath, Stonehenge, etc), up through Wales to the Lake District, over to Yorkshire, up to Hadrian’s Wall, Angel of the North, and Edinburgh and then taking the train from there to Paris. I’m so so so excited!

      • That sounds fabulous! no wonder you’re excited! The Lake District is beautiful – just stunning, and don’t forget to stop in York – another amazing place (and an old stomping ground of mine :-))

  5. Sorry to hear you’re anemic. I hope the unicorn blood helps!

    Congrats on nearing the six-figure investment mark! We are also itching to be done with our mortgage. Once you have taken all the steps you already have, it’s often just a matter of time. Unless you come up with some awesome ways to increase income or decrease spending. We can’t wait to be debt free, either, and it’s almost irrational how appealing it is.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Kalie. I’m hoping to get my iron levels up before our big trip! And ugh! The progress… so slow! But I know we’re doing good. But yes, “almost irrational” is exactly where I’m at!

  6. Kim from Philadelphia

    Maggie, so happy to hear you figured out your medical issue. I hope you are feeling better soon. I’m like you- things have to be pretty bad to make it onto my health radar! I need to work on that!

    Glad to see investments are up (as are ours-yeah!). I think you a making great progress. I do certainly understand that mortgage payoff never seems to happen as quickly as you’d like, but you are doing all the right things. Hang in there!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Kim. I’m hopeful the diagnosis means one day I won’t be so tired! (I just assumed they would diagnose me with 3 children if I ever went in!)

  7. Saving 52pct is super! that will help you get close to 100K any time soon!

  8. Congrats on your savings percentage, that’s rocking it! At least it’s not Unicorn Tears that you have to drink, they can get pretty salty I’ve heard… 🙂

    Sometimes it’s hard to keep the slow and steady mentality especially when you’re already doing everything right, that you can. I feel your pain.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Mr. SSC. I know! I want to see numbers move faster! Ugh. That is the benefit of not paying attention so much. But now that I do…. 🙂

  9. DON’T DRINK THE UNICORN BLOOD! Then you’ll live a cursed life! Hahahaha. I’m glad you got your anemia figured out and are treating it! And you’re SO close to $100K! I’m going to keep fingers crossed for you that you hit that mark soon! But hooray! Your awesome trip is so soon!!! I’m super excited for you, and can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • MaggieBanks

      I didn’t kill the unicorn! And I’m counting down to my trip! I cannot wait as well!

  10. Amazing savings percentage!
    I totally feel you on the pain of the slow & steady… Even my smaller savings goals that are only a couple months away seem to take forever…

    • MaggieBanks

      I have no patience. It’s one of my best traits. 🙂

  11. Wow, fantastic savings rate. And I hear you with the mortgage. I read those articles and say tick, yes already doing those things. I’m with you on the lack of iron, I thought it was just being a mum too but hey imagine what we can do with all this extra energy!

    • MaggieBanks

      I know! I can’t wait to be superwoman! I’ll be so productive!

  12. Congrats on saving more than half of your income, and good luck becoming immortal, I think that’s one of the best goals you could have 🙂


    • MaggieBanks

      I actually think immortality sounds horrible! I don’t want to live past 85! 🙂

      • Even if you could live with your current aged body? A little like the Twilight people, but without the vampireness.


        • MaggieBanks

          Hmmm. Maybe. But getting old and the health that goes with it sounds bad.

  13. J

    Congratulations, Maggie! Sounds like you had an awesome April, except for the anemia. I hope you’re feeling much better now. I’m excited about your investments, you’re so close to getting on the 6-digit territory. Good job, guys! I can’t wait for us to get there as well, maybe in 10 years. Haha!

    I read “celebratory” as celebrity. I wondered what celebrity frozen yogurt was. Fancy, I thought. Forgive me, it’s early.

    • MaggieBanks

      Penny does like to act like a celebrity on her birthday, so I guess that fits! 🙂

  14. Oh, low iron, such fun! I used to have similar issues (though maybe not as bad as yours); eating a handful of pumpkin seeds every day is supposed to make a big difference. Could be worth trying.

    I totally know how Florin feels — I found TWENTY DOLLARS on the ground last year and for a while afterwards I was like, this is how I’m going to get rich! 😉

    Congrats on your progress! And I’m so excited for you to go on your UK trip!! 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Pumpking seeds, eh? Thanks for the tip! TWENTY DOLLARS? Yes… you will be rich at that rate! (And I nearly hyperventilate when I realize how soom I’m leaving on my trip… I’m THAT excited!)

  15. Wheatgrass juice- blech! I had postpartum hemorrhage with each of my babies and had a hemoglobin of a 7 with my last baby. I was close to needing to be transfused. I had double iron pills daily, plus the nurse midwife suggested cream of wheat and lots of beef. I ate a lot of meatballs made with spinach.

    • MaggieBanks

      Frankly spinach-meatballs sound worse than wheatgrass juice! 🙂 How long did it take to get your iron levels back up?

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! That gives me hope that I’ll feel mostly better on my trip and totally better by the end of the summer!

  16. a woman

    nice numbers! keep it like this! And happy happy go go the trip to europe, all these places are amazing 🙂 – I have been there 😉 and I plan again to go there.

    For anemia and iron needs, I received a list from the blood centre donations (to recover after every donations) and contains: beef liver (no.1 ) , liver (pork, chicken, code), bones soup, meat – beef or goat (I don’t like), vegetables like: nettles (free from the nature), red fruit, seeds, etc. and to mix/alternate all these and consume with lemon ( vit. C increases the level of absorption) and not with dairy (calcium reduces the level of absorption). I changed the food style and look, I am still accepted to donate blood every 3 months 😀 (they test me every time, 2 times they reject me). Think to adapt the meal planning related to this :).

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for the anemia suggestions! Taking with vitamin C is not something I’ve been trying! I’ll definitely have to add that to my regimen.

  17. Chris

    Argh, anemia. I used to have it for years from mild to severe. What finally helped was eating lentils / peas / pulses frequently and a banana a day (per advice from my Indian colleagues who pointed out that as vegetarians they eat dhal every day because it contains iron) and adding red beets to my diet.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for your advice Chris. I love to hear people that have been through this and what has helped them. Bananas and dhal. Yum! I can do that.

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