Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November Monthly Recap

November turned out to be quite an interesting month. We learned that there will be an addition to our family in May 2012. I’ve accepted a new job, and will begin in January. finally, by far, the biggest financial challenge we faced was coping with a mistake our tax preparer made.  

We’re very excited for a new baby, but along with the great news comes a certain amount of stress over budgeting.  I’ve felt like we made great financial progress, and I know if we really buckle down, we’ll continue too, but there’s also a huge unknown to everything right now.

I’ve been overseeing a call center for the past 6 years, and while I love the people I work with, and I love being able to help our customers, the work that I was doing has become a little stale to me.  I’ve been chasing a new position for the past 5 months.  Really, I’ve been preparing for it all year through this blog.  Starting at the end of January, I’ll be taking over a role in Social Media. It’s exciting and a little intimidating, but I’m happy for the change.

Our Taxes are the never ending story(that is an understatement). Instead of getting $700 back on our Federal taxes, we owed $700.  We were pretty fortunate to have be in a good month for an unbudgeted expense. We were projecting a little more than $1000 in surplus, and with the unexpected tax burden, we ended up making close to $300 in extra debt payments.  Still, this was one of our leanest months for debt repayment.

Here’s how the rest of the month went


  • Overall 2011
    • Increase retirement accounts by 10%
      • We saw Huge gains in November before falling back towards the end of the month. Still, we gained $700, and are up 9.5% for the year.
    • Eliminate Credit Union Debt
      • YTD Paid $2,813 (22.5%) It’s unlikely we will complete this goal
    • Sell Condo (Completed)
    • Move into our own house (completed)
  • October 2011
    • Debt Reduction: Total Owed to $77,000 or less (incomplete) 
      • Unexpected tax bill made pushed this goal out of reach. Still, we’re close at $77,270
    • Balance Transfer: continue to look for a 0% Balance Transfer Option to consolidate several debts at a lower interest rate (Complete) 
      • Starting a 12 month 0% transfer in December. Will reduce the amount carried on our highest rate card, AMEX
    • Savings: Maintain emergency fund at $1000, make extra debt contributions (Complete!)
      • emergency fund is at $1010, made slight extra contribution to debt amount

Debts 10/1/2011: $77,711.00


Total Owed





Amex CC






Credit Union






School Loan






Citi Bank CC



0% (Dec 12)

0 $2,800

Personal Loan




$150 $60,537

Total Remaining: $77,270.00 (12/1/11)
Progress MTD: -$441.00 (-0.57%)
Progress YTD: -$161,963.00 (-67.7%)

November Notes on Debt:
After several months of weighing options, we decided to re-up the Citi Bank Balance with a 12 month 0% balance transfer. Additionally, we made a slight extra payment towards the Amex Bill. Otherwise, this reflects the minimum amounts paid towards debts.  

Amex Cash Back Rewards YTD:  $132.13 ($550 used, overall reward $685.13)
In October, we earned $55.44. Should end 2011 with another $150 in rewards to cash in

Savings 1: $111 (MTD -$274 and YTD -$4,077)
Savings 2: $1,010 (MTD +$10 and YTD +$914)
Total Allocated: Dropping this feature for the remainder of 2011 Due to decrease in Savings 

Emergency Savings:
Savings 1&2: $1121
ING: $863
Total: $1,984 (MTD -$112 and YTD -$8,338)

Retirement Accounts:


Month Start

Month End

Mrs. Lwil’s



PF Account 1



PF Account 2






MTD Change: +$702 (+0.62%)
YTD Change: +$9,765 (+9.48%)

November Spending:
Because of the way I had November set up, we collected a third paycheck.  We were supposed to have paid a third rent payment, but I converted that to cash to make up for some shortage. Still, our spending has added up. We made over 60 unplanned expenses, totaling over $2700.  Some of those are for Christmas.  I need to find a way to factor these in in the new year

December outlook:
We are projected to have a $500+ surplus in December, but with Christmas Looming, that could quickly disappear. We need to renew our discipline going into 2012. we have spent an average of $1700/month on unplanned items in each of the last three months. my 2012 budget needs to improve as well.

December Goals
Debt Reduction: Total Owed to $76,550 or less (Resulting in a 68% debt reduction for the year)
Blog more: post at least weekly in December, expand site to include Tri training.
Cash fund: Start setting away a portion of my weekly cash withdrawal towards medium and long term expenses.


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