March! A thrilling month in the Banks house. I took a business trip to my office in the Midwest and met some interesting people on the plane. Also, we got new carpet in our whole house which we’ve been working up to for awhile. We wanted to get all of the energy updates done as well as everything decluttered before adding new, fluffy clean carpet to the home. The carpet we had was over ten years old, stained all over, very hard, and had all sorts of pet hair and dander from previous owners (which were not good for Mr. T’s dust allergies). Now, we feel like we’re walking on clouds! And I know all of the hidden pet hair has been vacuumed up!* I’m sitting on the floor as I type this because it’s just so wonderful…
Here on the blog, we celebrated a week of numbers! We looked at how much we spend, the percentages to know for retirement calculations, and then formulated a few new potential plans! If you haven’t weighed in on those, please do! We love to hear the feedback! We had some awesome guest bloggers continue the Roth IRA Challenge Series: Creating my Kaleidoscope and She Picks Up Pennies both took the challenge. I love seeing the many different ways people get an extra $5500! We would love to see more people take the challenge! A few more people shared their Fill-the-Bucket Lists on their blogs this month: FI Big Sky, Tawcan and Dream Beyond Debt – All of them are epic. I’ve also added all the current Fill-the-Bucket List Participants to the original Fill-the-Bucket List post. Go read all of them if you missed any!
We started 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!
Big news this month! We did it! We successfully saw our investments surpass our mortgage balance! YAY! (Thank you markets and extra money coming in this month!) Our investments sit at $88,102! And the mortgage is down to $74,200. Next awesome target? Surpassing $100,000 in investments!
We got our $900 tax refund, but that went to the new carpet (worth it). We also got our energy rebate check just this week which I used immediately to max out our remaining Roth IRA for 2015. Now we can start chipping away at the $11,000 for our 2016 Roth IRAs.
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 March: 46.2%! If you include both the Roth IRA Maxout (not included in that percentage) and the energy rebate check as income, the percentage actually climbs to: 56.5%! Yup. We’re killing it! (Extra money this month helped significantly, obviously.)
2016 Financial Goal Update:
- $125,000 in investments (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 $88,102/$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 ($74,200 – $19,200 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:
$1387.40 – New carpet! It cost about $2700, but we purchased some discounted Lowes gift cards in December in preparation. So, only $1387.40 was on this month’s expenses.
$143 – Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe in London.
$79.96 – Tickets to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in London.
$137.92 – Tickets to Matilda the Musical in London – Can you tell we love theatre?
$110 – Passport renewal fee for me.
$4.99 – 4 passport pictures at Costco. I look like a felon. WHY do I want 4 of them!?
$6.45 x 2 – 2 Priority legal flat rate envelopes to apply for my passport. The first one came back because I forgot to sign the form. Facepalm.
$56.34 – The usual Trader Joe’s imports as well as some microwave dinners to eat in my hotel room on my business trip.
These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:
- “People ask me why I do this because, as most of you know, I’m wealthy. But I do this because I think we can bring hope to someone. We can make a difference. And I’m pretty sure we can make money along the way.” – my CEO.
- “When we got married, we used to talk a lot about budgets. But then we just settled on: ‘You go out and make as much money as you can and I’ll stay home with the kids and spend as little as possible.’ But it was my idea to pay ourselves first for savings!”
- “It’s time to retire, move to Hilo, Hawaii, and buy myself a Mustang GT!” – One of my seatmates on the airplane.
- “My 19-year old son said he wanted to move back home. I said ‘You’re absolutely welcome here to get back on your feet. You get three months. After that, you’re no longer on my payroll.'” – The “single mom success story” on my airplane ride.
- “Boring work days are the leading cause of sword purchases.”
*The header image shows our old carpet with Mr. T pulling out some tile we had in the corner of our living room. The previous owners were going to add a stove, but never did. So we ripped it and carpeted the whole floor.