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.
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.
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.
|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.|
|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!)
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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs. Stir until a soft dough forms.
- Drop dough two inches apart on cookie sheet.
- 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?