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Home > Archive: March, 2014

Archive for March, 2014

Little Bonuses

March 30th, 2014 at 05:10 pm

On Friday my employer made an "annual bonus" contribution to my 401K.

Today I made some on-line payments using a new bank account. Those payments were the final requirements for receiving a $125 new account bonus, and I'm looking forward to receiving the bonus in a couple months.

The money in the 401K will stay there until retirement, and the bank account bonus will stay in savings.

One day at a time ... one dollar at a time ... the goal of a financially secure retirement is in sight.

Scheduled a Weekend "Salon" Appointment

March 22nd, 2014 at 05:35 am

Me: "Will you trim my hair this weekend?"
DH: "Sure!"

"Salon" appointment has been scheduled!

And this morning we went to the "gym" (dropped him off at the driving range and I took a 50-min walk along along a lovely tree-lined street while he hit golf balls) and then went to a couple "entertainment megaplexes" (the public library where we read the paper and I got some DVDs, and then to a meet & greet to visit some adoptable dogs).

Such a lovely, low-key yet fun & frugal start to the weekend. Perfect after a rather hectic week at work (busy season has begun).

I have never been able to understand when people say that they want to save but not at the expense of enjoying life now. I say it's possible to do both!

Time to Warm Up My Check Writing Hand

March 15th, 2014 at 08:56 am

I finished our taxes a couple weekends ago. We owe. That's perfectly OK. Since our number one source of income is my husband's business, our income and therefore our taxes fluctuate. We pay estimated taxes based on prior year earnings, and pay no interest or penalties. We don't spend based on what we make (which varies quite a bit); we spend at a sustainable level and save fairly aggressively. We have the money to pay what we owe (it's only a portion of what we earned after all). Owing means DH's business made more money in 2013 than in 2012, so of course owing is A-OK.

We wait until we have finished our taxes to contribute to our tax-deferred retirement accounts (the exception being my 401K contributions through my employer), again because of income fluctuations and eligibility variations. I know most people like to contribute over the course of the year, because that is what makes sense for them. Our approach works for us.

As soon as I finished our taxes (using Turbo Tax Home & Business on-line through Vanguard's site for the discount) I scheduled our tax payment by electronic transfer close to the due date. How nice that you can finish your taxes and arrange the payment but not actually have to pay until the due date! Then I ordered the transfer of funds from on-line savings to our local (check-writing) account.

This weekend I'll be writing checks, lots of checks, for: DH's SEP IRA contribution, my itsy bitsy SEP IRA contribution (not done for years but can do for 2013 thanks to eBay sales), my Roth IRA contribution, and DH's Roth IRA contribution including catch-up. Also my niece's B-Day is coming up so I'll send a check off for her college fund.

In mid-April I'll mail off our first 2014 estimated tax payment.

Lots of checks!!!

This weekend I'll also do my brother's taxes. I usually do his before ours but this year he was slow getting his W-2 to me.

And I've made a decision about my catch-up contribution for 2014. A little change of plans. I won't be making it to my 401K but to my Roth, since I prefer the funds I have selected for myself at Vanguard over the funds selected by my employer and available through my 401K.

Onward ...

Green Onion Re-Growing Success

March 3rd, 2014 at 08:55 am

I took another stab at re-growing green onions in a cup with water after reading the information again and figuring out what I had done wrong the first time. My mistake was treating them too delicately,like herbs (cutting off a green stalk here & there).

Instead, what I needed to do was just whack the entire thing off near the top of the white portion, and then place the root end in a cup with a bit of water. Voila - regrowth starts right away.

Where we live green onions are 68-cents a bunch which I think is really expensive for something that yields just a handful of garnish. Yes, they are tasty and have nutritional value, and there are some dishes (like noodle soup) that they really elevate, but you can get much more nutritional bang for your buck buying other veggies so we very rarely bought them. Now they are back on the menu! As you can see, all the space you need is enough for a glass or two. We decided to go with 2 bunches so we'd always have plenty grown out on hand.

P.S. - I've heard that they lose flavor after a couple re-growths, but still this is a way to stretch a bunch 2-3 times over.