Money, Money, Money!

I usually do a finance update approximately twice a month, since Justin's paycheck (our biggest source of income) comes in just as often. I've been a bit slow about doing a finance update this month, because we've had a lot of transferring of funds going on. Even now that I think most of the transferring is complete, I still can't really show you accurate graphs from Mint, because Mint can't seem to connect to one of our bank accounts (and the amount it has listed in the account is wrong). Nevertheless, since Justin should be receiving his paycheck next week, I will try to give an accurate assessment of what we are doing well and what could be improved – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. This month I figured out how to show Mint a bank account was cancelled! Woo!!

We cancelled a bank account with Chase, and it was beyond irritating me that it would constantly show excess money in that account. I was thinking – "NO! We don't have any money in that account!" and there was this constant add/subtract bit going through my head trying to figure out exactly how much cash we had available. Not fun. Especially if you have to do it every time you check your finances.

(Side note: Here's how to close an account in Mint:

After signing in, look at the left side of the screen where your accounts are listed. It should look something like this:

Click on the edit symbol, the piece of paper with the pencil over it. Your entire list of accounts should appear. Scroll down until you find the one you want to close.

Click on the light blue text, i.e. "paypal account" or whatever yours is titled. It could have the word "checking", "savings", or "credit card" in the title. No matter what though, it should have the little arrow next to it like this does with an amount listed across from the account name.

DO NOT CLICK DELETE. That will delete the entire account and you will no longer have access to any information from the account. Yes, you can re-add it, but why? If you would like to maintain accurate financial data from the time you listed this account on Mint, continue following my instructions.

When you click on the name of your account, you should see a list of options available to you such as: renaming your account, listing the APY, listing fees, etcetera… The bit you need to pay attention to is status. If your account is closed, use the arrow keys to mark the status of the account as "closed".

You will get a pop up informing you that Mint will no longer attempt to download any transactions from that account. Obviously, if it is closed that won't matter and you should click "ok".

Simple as pie, right?! I have no idea why it took me a year to figure it out!)

2. I bought a $2,000 lens.

Before you go all "WTF?! You're trying to save money!" on me, please note that the lens was on sale, offering a rebate, and I had won a gift card towards the purchase price in essence bringing the cost down to approximately $1,000. Plus, there is the whole going to Europe and wanting to be able to capture the images I see using equipment I have rather than merely wishing I had the capability of capturing that which I want.

Unfortunately this lens did not do all that I wanted, and I considered returning it for a bit, but Justin recommended I keep it.

3. In an effort to afford the lens that would do what I wanted, we were fortunate enough to be able to cash out with our Venture Visa for almost enough Amazon money for me to buy a wide angle lens. Yay!! It's nice to occasionally get things for almost free! (We paid 1/5 of the price!)

Now I really will be able to capture absolutely everything as I see it! :)

4. On the same note as lens purchasing, Justin and I signed up for a trial account with Amazon Prime for 6 months. Paying so much for a prime account when we could be putting the extra money toward paying down debt, savings, or paying for our Euro-trip was a bit upsetting for me, so I changed it. We use Amazon too much to give up prime, but a free trial seemed acceptable.

5. We prepaid for the room we will be staying at in Germany. (Technically it is a house found through AirBnb, but either way it has been paid for!) On the one hand this was an expense we could have waited to pay for, but on the other hand it allows us to separate our expenses into more manageable chunks hopefully allowing us to budget better when we are in Europe than if we were to pay for everything all at once.

I think this month we will be paying for the car lease and a hotel room for France, but we shall see. I also have to look for group accommodations in France. I've been a bit slow/lazy about it.

6. Justin and I took advantage of some money making offers last month providing us with a bit of extra money. Yay! (Granted, it was probably only in the $100 range, but anything extra helps!)

7. We were on top of interest rates last month paying very little, but this month our interest rate has nearly tripled since we got behind on a credit card payment. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck! :( Plus, with mint (and the bank accounts) being all confusing like, it's been hard to determine where the last credit card payment came from and making doubly certain we have enough in another checking account to pay even more down on the credit card. (The last thing you want is to have to pay the bank for taking out too much money!)

8. Our Goals

We are currently projected to meet our vacation goal by April 19, our emergency fund goal by August 15, and our credit card goal by March 2015.

Vacation and emergency goals are on target. We will have to work on our credit card goal. Originally we were hoping to meet that goal by October 2014, so we have a bit of work/saving to do.

9. We already filled out our taxes. Money was owed to the state, but we're getting money back from the government. Yay!

10. Justin is now saving for retirement with the help of his company. We also now have dental and vision health insurance coverage (in addition to regular coverage). Oh - and our cars are fully insured. Yes, we could be worse off.

11. I will be getting a bit extra this month as I am house-sitting and watching a 4 year old for a week. Wish me luck.

12. Our debt is back down to where it was in October! YAY!!!

Hopefully, we can keep tackling it by making extra money and saving.

(Have I mentioned that I am totally envious of the blogger I just read about who is going to Italy on plane tickets that cost $450?! Why couldn't I find a deal that good? Or maybe her price didn't include taxes? Those taxes KILL! Or Delta lies. One of the two.)

13. Our assets could be doing better…

This graph lies. Our assets are about where they were in November. We've been paying down debt and not necessarily saving as much as we could be. Plus, I'm not entirely sure what happened to all of that extra money in December and January; I'm not even really sure it actually existed. Too bad money can't talk.

14. Our net income:

We really didn't make that much extra in January. We also aren't doing as well in February as the graph implies. Lies, I tell you! Lies!

But we aren't doing too bad either. Spending less than we make is generally a good thing.

That's our finance story and I'm sticking to it. We spent a lot in January, we made some extra money, and we could be doing better in February, but we aren't spending more than we make. And mint needs some help to get my finance graphs right.

How are you doing this month, so far? Right on track? Slipping behind? Jumping ahead? Any advice for me?

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