Our February 2017 Expense Report, Bonus Time, A Boost From Uncle Sam, And A Recipe For Mr. FE’s Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Cookies!

The month of February treated us well where we were able to briefly escape the doldrums of winter and enjoy some unseasonably warm weather. Unfortunately, this short burst of spring-like weather won’t last long where there is a nor’easter coming our way. Time to get the shovels back out. Snowmageddon here we come!

February’s Awesome Bull Run

The stock market’s bull run has been awesome as we were able to reap some fairly high returns in our portfolios. Let’s hope the stock market continues to move up in the month of March and keep this winning streak going.

It’s Bonus Time!

Mr. FE received his bonus early this year. It was truly bittersweet because his company opted to hand out only 6 weeks worth of salary to management in lieu of the 8 to 10 weeks they normally receive. This didn’t make sense because the company met the bottom line in profit, and then some. Mr. FE was given a choice to take up to 2 weeks in cash and put the remaining 4 weeks in his profit-sharing. Instead, he decided to put the full 6 weeks in profit-sharing where we are not in need of a cash infusion. We are happy to have received a bonus, but the reduced amount is baffling.

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The North Shore on an unseasonably warm day!
It’s Tax Time!

This year I was able to get our tax return done early which helped us receive our refund of $4236.00 faster than usual. We should be content, but this refund means we paid too much federal income tax to Uncle Sam throughout the year. Money that could have been invested instead of sitting with the federal government. Hopefully this won’t happen again next year because Mr. FE completed a new W-4 and changed his election. In the meantime, we decided to bump up our investment account by depositing the entire amount.

Net Worth

Our net worth went up 9.79% in the month of February. We arrived at this number by adding up the balances in our checking, 401(k)’s, IRA, our house and car value. Then we subtracted our mortgage due (only debt) and the depreciation on the car. Some people add other belongings such as jewelry, collectibles, etc., but we like to keep things simple. We used Zillow as a general guide on the house value and Edmund’s for the car value. We then compared our final number to the previous month and calculated our percentage increase/decrease.

Our February 2017 Expense Report

This wasn’t a bad month for us where we finished paying off Mr. FE’s medical bills from our new and insanely expensive insurance plan. I also went to battle with our provider to get our epically stupid cable/internet bill reduced.

FEBRUARY 2017    
Description Amount Notes
Mortgage, HOA, Property Tax $1,664.18 No changes here.
Cable, Phone, Internet $185.99 New rate from renegotiating with provider.
Car Insurance $49.59 Insurance for our now five-year old Toyota Camry!
Natural Gas $52.00 Slight increase.
Electricity $83.00 No changes.
Water $32.00 Slight decrease thanks to watching our water usage
Cell Phones $84.37 Total Wireless is going well. Will be switching Mr. FE next month!
Medical/Dental $495.25 Last payment for our juggernaut medical expense from Mr. FE’s medical treatment!
Household Supplies $26.96 Batteries for our fire alarms and light bulbs from Costco. Must protect our abode and also have light!
Food $356.22 A little over our target budget of $85 per week, thanks to us trying to eat healthier. This is a work in progress.
Gas $56.94 Typical this time of year where we don’t do a lot of winter driving.
Other $29.86 Tax software so I can send our taxes to the IRS electronically and encrypted.
TOTAL EXPENSES $3,116.36 BIG improvement from January’s expense report!

Our Plans For St. Patrick’s Day (and a recipe!)

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Mr. FE’s favorite odd green pistachio cookies!
We have no intention to turn this into a cooking blog, but Mr. FE thought it would be a great idea to share his favorite recipe for St. Patrick’s Day Pistachio Pudding Cookies.

Every year we have a tradition of throwing a piece of corned beef in the slow cooker with a cup of brown sugar and Guinness beer. Then we make a side dish of roasted carrots and potatoes (no smelly cabbage here!) and finish the meal with these odd green colored pistachio cookies. Mr. FE can’t get enough of them!

Pistachio Pudding Cookies

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch sugar cookie mix (1 lb., 1.5 ounces)
  • 1 box pistachio instant pudding and pie mix (4 servings)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs. Stir until a soft dough forms.
  4. Drop dough two inches apart on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges begin to turn slightly brown.

Mix Ins: If desired, add 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, dried cranberries, or white chocolate chips.

Source: Betty Crocker

How did your February expenses go? Did you get a tax refund? If so, what are your plans for it?

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Our February 2017 Expense Report, Bonus Time, A Boost From Uncle Sam, And A Recipe For Mr. FE’s Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Cookies!

  1. I always have a chuckle when people compare how big their tax refund is as if it’s some sort of competition. When I explain that, for personal income tax, no refund is in fact the best outcome, they don’t seem to get it. I think that they believe the government is rewarding them for being such good little tax payers bahahahahaaaaa.

    Can I ask a probing question? Your cell phone plan with Total Wireless. Is that for just one phone? It seems quite a lot in this day and age and I see that you still have a home phone rental as well.

    Are you able to ditch the home line and just use your mobile phones?
    Can you get a better mobile phone plan and perhaps a shared data plan once Mr FE comes on board as well?

    Just throwing it out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true about the high tax returns! We would have preferred owing Uncle Sam a few dollars to getting a large return.

      You are not probing! 🙂 The cell phone plans are for two smartphones. I am testing out Total Wireless while Mr. FE is still using Straight Talk. We are planning to join a family share plan for $60 or so once I can confirm that Total Wireless is working out. We live in the boondocks, so we need to make sure Mr. FE can communicate with his work.

      We have no need for a home phone, but our cable company charges more for the internet than they do for the three services combined. Unfortunately, they get away with price gauging because we have no other choices on internet providers where we live. The difference is a mere $18 on internet only vs having all three.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

      1. That $60 per month looks a lot closer to the mark. But as you say, it has to provide good service out in the boonies otherwise not worth having.

        I hate with a passion, companies that price gouge ‘because they can’. I’ll bet ya, if a competitor sets up nearby, your current company will suddenly find economies that allow it to drop it’s prices and probably offer better service as well.

        When that happens, I usually drop the incumbent and try the new-comer just to throw it back in their face. Occasionally, it comes back to bite ya when the new-comer turns out to have even worse service lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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