You are viewing: Main Page

My Final Design Appointment

April 13th, 2024 at 02:12 am

Today was my final design appointment after my appointment on Wednesday was canceled due to bad weather & a power outage in the design center.

My final paint selections were Slate Tile for the exterior doors & garage door, Alabaster for the stucco, Pure White for cabinets & trim, Agreeable Gray for the walls. These are all Sherwin Williams colors.

I went with Shadow Stone for the brick and Heatherstone Gray for the shingles. I finally settled on Crystal Ice quartz for the countertops. I only wish the Sparkling White quartz had been an option.

I am doing arabesque tile in retro white for the backsplash & fireplace. I opted for silver mirror frames in the bathrooms and upgraded the cabinet hardware from knobs to bar pulls.

For the floors I did Amber Tide vinyl, Portrait White tile, and Alabaster carpets.

The only thing I'm thinking of changing (within 3 business days) is maybe the garage door to Alabaster. The darker colors seem to show the dust more in the sunlight.

First Home Design Appointment

March 29th, 2024 at 09:21 pm

I had my initial home design appointment. The two things that were hardest to decide on were the countertops (granite vs. quartz) and the brick selection.

I probably would have gone with the quartz upgrade if any of the quartz selections appealed to me, but they didn't. I looked online and found some quartz options that were attractive, but the ones this builder has selected were not the better options. So I went with a very popular granite selection that is called a white granite, but nothing is truly white in the granite patterns, just lighter than other selections.

I think I have decided on a neutral, earth tone brick. It's texture is smooth. I was considering a pink brick that had a rough texture, but went with a smooth brick in case I wanted to paint the brick in the future.

So I have decided on everything, unless I just change my mind last minute. I have almost 2 weeks until my final design appointment. Other selections included the flooring - vinyl & tile, wall & trim colors, door & garage door colors, stucco & siding colors, shingle color, and fireplace mantle.

I can't remember if I mentioned my upgrades. My priciest upgrade is the cabinets to the ceiling. I also am adding ceiling fans in the additional rooms, cabinets over the toilets, comfort height toilets, soft close drawers, upgraded the cabinet hardware from knobs to pulls, and added a trash can pullout. I am upgrading the tile in the kitchen backsplash from a subway tile to a mosaic tile and adding the same tile to the fireplace. I am upgrading the tile in the wet areas from large squares to rectangles. Some of the popular upgrades that I passed on were tiling the showers in the bathrooms (very pricy) and painting the lower cabinets and kitchen island. I'm going with all white cabinets.

March 2024 Net Worth

March 29th, 2024 at 08:52 pm

Today is Good Friday and the markets are closed. I can update my investments, but will have to wait until Monday to add my savings & cash, and calculate my total monthly gain.

TSP $1,141,985

IRA $333,541

Brokerage $102,440

Investments $1,577,966

Savings $34,816

Net Worth $1,612,782

Monthly Gain Loss $53,939

Checking $19,155

My brokerage account is earmarked for my downpayment on my home, which is scheduled to be completed 6 months from now. I'm glad to have 6 more months to accumulate savings. I know they say that a downpayment shouldn't be invested aggressively, but I don't want to pull the money prematurely.

I’m building a house!

March 23rd, 2024 at 04:36 pm

Exciting news! Yesterday I signed a purchase agreement to build a new home. I'm very excited & looking forward to the process. It's a bit overwhelming considering all the choices that I'll have to make, but it's exactly what I hoped for so I'm fortunate to have this opportunity. I can't wait to share the updates & progress as I embark on this journey. Stay tuned!

February 2024 Net Worth

March 2nd, 2024 at 02:47 pm

TSP $1,103,630

IRA $322,758

Brokerage $98,764

Total Investments $1,525,152

Savings $33,691

February 2024 Net Worth $1,558,843

January 2024 Net Worth $1,481,220

Monthly Loss/Gain $77,623

Other Assets:

Checking $19,386

Car $10,575-16,372 (estimates)

I added my VIN to Monarch & got a vastly different car value than the one estimated from Credit Karma. Interesting. I really don't look at my car like true asset, but it does have value. However, if I had to replace my car I'd definitely be out more money. 

I am sticking with Monarch. Mint was free, but I paid $50 for the year. I think it's worth it. I think it's the closest to replicating what Mint was. Still keeping Credit Karma as well.

Piling up cash as I really get serious about looking at houses is a big priority. I want to be back in my hometown by Christmas. So if I'm building I need to start soon.


I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

February 5th, 2024 at 12:57 am

Of course, I owe money again this year. I think my former part-time employer did not take out enough in federal taxes. Since we transitioned to the new company this year I can see that my federal taxes paid has increased. Hopefully, I won't owe as much next year.

I did move from the 22% marginal tax rate bracket to 24%.

Federal tax bill $2,941

State tax bill $694

Total owed $3,635

Thankful for the surplus I always seem to accumulate in my checking accounts. It will come in handy.

January 2024 Net Worth

February 5th, 2024 at 12:44 am

Investments $1,448,641

Cash Savings $32,579

January 2024 Net Worth $1,481,220

December 2023 Net Worth $1,470,019

Monthly Gain/Loss $11,201

I don't include the below in my net worth.

Checking accounts $17,979

Car value $11,000

2024 Raise

January 24th, 2024 at 01:34 am

My 2024 pay has posted & we received a 4.7% raise. This translates into $5,456 for the year, $2.61 per hour, and $208.80 biweekly. I will receive a step increase in June. That increase will be another $1.77 raise per hour. I'm always grateful for whatever increases I receive. I have already increased savings & contributions for the year so there are no plans to make any further increases.

Update to 2024 Goals

January 14th, 2024 at 05:43 pm

At the end of December I had about $19k in my checking account, which is about double my goal of $10k. So I decided to up my savings goal to $1000 a month from $500. I continue to end up with more money in my checking account at the end of the year than I need. In 2022 I did a transfer to my brokerage account at the end of December. Since I'm looking to buy or build a home this year I'll keep that money & just increase my monthly contributions. 

Now my revised goals look like:

$23,000 TSP

$6,000 TSP employer match

$7,000 IRA

$6,000 brokerage

$12,000 savings

$2,600 FSA (to fund my vision surgery)

December 2023 Net Worth

January 4th, 2024 at 01:38 am

Investments $1,438,561

Savings $31,458

December Total $1,470,019

November Total $1,388,506

Monthly Gain/Loss $81,513

Not included, but worth mentioning. Checking accounts were $19,208 total & car value at lowest estimate is $11k. This puts me at $1.5 million net worth for the first time.

Happy New Year! 🎆 🎇

January 1st, 2024 at 11:16 pm

I hope your holidays have been wonderful. It was good to have family home for Christmas. We had a couple of outings to museums for the kids, but mainly stayed close to home. We played a lot of games as a family which is always fun.

My mom had a low glucose episode & my dad called an ambulance on Christmas Eve. That was the one low light of our holidays, but thankfully she was fine. After checking her out they were only there about 15 minutes & now my dad knows what to do if this occurs in the future. Yesterday my mom said that she feels her glucose levels have evened out & she's not feeling the swings that she was prior. Thank the Lord.

Due to my mom's health, I ended up not attending the extended family Christmas Day gathering though I sent my assigned food dish which was complimented. It was just green beans, but it's kind of become the dish I can make well since it's what I always make for holidays. I like to spruce it up with potatoes & bacon. Baby Yukon gold potatoes are the best. I only use fresh green beans so most of the time is just prep time. They ran out quickly so I will make more next year. I stayed at home with my mom & we had an enjoyable time watching football & movies that day. 

I am planning to visit my niece & nephew in the spring when I can watch them play soccer. My niece is all about soccer & plays on the advance team. Her younger brother is not quite as into it, but plays as well.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2024!

2023 Q4

December 30th, 2023 at 03:54 pm

2023 Q4 is done for the year:

TSP $1,040,872

IRA $306,280

Brokerage $91,409

Total Investments $1,438,561

For comparison, 2022 Q4:

TSP $810,864

IRA $243,949

Brokerage $79,994

Total Investments $1,134,888

ANNUAL Gain/Loss $303,673

End of Year Housekeeping

December 24th, 2023 at 02:45 am

A few this and that as the year comes to a close.

I upped my monthly IRA contribution to $575 per month, which would bring my annual contribution to $6,900 annually. I'll put in an order for $100 on January 1st to get me to $7,000.

I increased my biweekly TSP contribution to $900 which will max me out for the year at $23,000. They reduce the last paycheck's contribution automatically.

Based on tax efficiency I got out of the high dividend yield fund at Vanguard and exchanged to the tax managed capital appreciation fund. VTCLX return was much better than VHYX this year. I could kick myself for not making this change earlier, but c'est la vie, non?

My last paycheck was about $800 higher than usual so I must have been paid for my performance award. My other paycheck was higher as well after working extra hours on my last weekend.

I'm excited & ready for 2024, but enjoying time spent with family this Christmas.



December 13th, 2023 at 04:41 pm

Yesterday my Thrift Savings Plan balance crossed $1 million for the first time. $1,001,824.87 to be exact. 

My Roth IRA balance is $295,011.92. If this holds steady I can expect to cross $300k next year. 


December 10th, 2023 at 03:08 pm

I signed up again for YNAB. I had done the free trial back in 2016 or 2017 and was throughly confused so after the free trial I let it go. I've been looking for something to replace Mint & signed up for Credit Karma, but I haven't been impressed. I have an account with Empower, but don't care for how they are always trying to sell me their services. I guess that's fair since the service is free. They have to make their money some way. So, I decided to try YNAB again and to my surprise I qualified for another free trial. So far, so good. I feel like they've improved some things as I'm not quite as confused as I was last time. There's still a learning curve, though.

TSP Closing 12/8/23

December 10th, 2023 at 02:44 pm

$994,975.78 was my account balance on Friday. Getting close!

2024 Goals

December 3rd, 2023 at 02:49 am

Contribute $23,000 to my Thrift Savings Plan. My match will be a little over $6,000. 💰

Contribute $7,000 to my Roth IRA. 💰

Contribute $2,600 to my Flexible Spending Account. 💰

Save $6,000 in my brokerage account. 💰

Save $6,000 in my savings account. 💰

Buy or build a new home with $100,000 down. 🏡 

Keep dancing! 💃🏾 

Cherish every moment & memory made. 💗

November 2023 Net Worth

December 2nd, 2023 at 10:41 am

One of my CDs pays the monthly dividend on the 1st so I'm always a day late.

TSP $980,827

IRA $290,549

Brokerage $86,295

Total Investments $1,357,671

Cash Savings $30,835

Total Net Worth $1,388,506

Monthly Gain/Loss +$117,446

Checking $16,841 (included this month just to give an idea of what I usually have for cash flow, not included in my net worth calculation)

Car $15,062 (checked Kelley Blue Book value this morning, also not included in my net worth calculation)

My investments gained another $14,000 just one day later. I'm less than $9,000 away from reaching one million in my TSP. So close!


December 1st, 2023 at 12:49 pm

I had an alert set on my phone to open another CD at Capital One today, but have been thinking that I would just keep it liquid while looking for a house. I have two CDs maturing on January 2nd and February 1st and those are both set to transfer to savings rather than renew. That will give me a nice cushion for the new home purchase. Also, I checked rates this morning and the 5.30% 10 month CD is now 4.30%, which is what their savings account is paying. I can go to 12 months for 5.00%, but I think it's better to hold on to cash.

Net worth looks great for November. I'll post final numbers today or tomorrow. Investments are almost to July 2023 numbers. I have exceeded the high of 2021 Q4, but only because of added contributions. I am on track to max out my retirement plans.

Auto Insurance

November 26th, 2023 at 10:50 pm

When my auto insurance renewed in Septmember my rate was raised by 30% with no changes to my driving record. I know that USAA has never been cheap, but this rate is almost triple what I get when I look at Geico or Progressive. So after 23 years solely with USAA I am thinking about leaving them. Who do you have auto insurance with and what do you think about their service?

Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁🦃🍽

November 24th, 2023 at 12:14 am

I hope your holiday has been a good one. I hope you gobbled till you wobbled! 

Expired Car Registration

November 21st, 2023 at 08:09 pm

A friend posted on Facebook that her car registration expired without her realizing it & I immediately realized that mine did the same. It expired in July. We both had moved since our last renewal. I still don't understand how they couldn't locate me since I have updated both my driver's license & my voter registration to my new address. She ended up paying $70 to renew her registration. I'm not even worried about it. I'm off the week of my birthday (I have so much annual leave to use before the end of the year!) so I'll take care of it then. 

October 2023 Net Worth

November 3rd, 2023 at 12:54 am

October was not a good month financially, but I had a lot of fun. I vacationed in Napa Valley & Lake Tahoe. I got back to dancing again with salsa & bachata lessons. I walked regularly. I lost weight. I looked at future homes. I still worry & pray about my mom, but I had more to sustain & relax me.

Investments $1,240,842

Cash Savings $30,218

Total $1,271,060

Monthly Gain/Loss -$35,869

My net worth dipped below $1.3 million, but I'm not worried.  I don't know what the markets will do short term, but I have faith in investing long term. Next month I will have another $10,000 to ladder into a CD. Capital One is paying 5.3% for a 10 month CD. And my checking account is paying 5.25%.

September 2023 Net Worth

October 5th, 2023 at 02:26 am

Investments $1,277,331

Cash Savings $29,599

Total $1,306,930

Monthly Loss/Gain -$55,424

Quarterly Loss/Gain -$33,096

July was such a promising month, but it's been downhill since then. At least the interest rates on savings is paying a little more. I may lock in some more money in CDs before interest rates start dropping.

Fabulous Weekend

October 2nd, 2023 at 11:56 am

I'm back from a wonderful weekend away about 4 hours north of New Orleans in a beautiful little town called Natchitoches. It's actually the oldest settlement in Louisiana and where they filmed the movie Steel Magnolias. They have a nice downtown on Front Street which runs along the Cane River. I had an event to attend & they also have the car festival this weekend. I saw some really beautiful old cars.

Next week I'll be in Napa Valely, then Lake Tahoe. I'm looking forward to it. The resort in Lake Tahoe has a lot to do according to my friend. I've done too little planning for this trip, but I'm going to just enjoy my time away without the pressure of having every moment planned. We have two tours booked for Napa Valley which should take up most of our time there. 🍷 

Duplicate Credit Card Payment

September 23rd, 2023 at 07:02 pm

I charged the balance owed on my vacation next month to my American Airlines credit card. I wrote & mailed a check, but somehow they also debited my checking account. So o paid twice. Rather than wait on a reimbursement check I'm just going to switch all my credit card purchases to this credit card. I also charged a couple of Trader Joe's grocery runs to my new Kohl's Capital One card in order to get a $15 credit promotion. 

I also started to use my debit card on my new chocking account so I'll start earning 5.25% interest.  I'm trying to be smarter about taking advantage of all promotions & interest requirements.

August 2023 Net Worth

September 7th, 2023 at 03:00 am

Investments $1,333,367

Cash Savings $28,987

Total 1,362,354

Monthly Gain/Loss -$30,326

Wine Country 🍷

August 28th, 2023 at 12:57 pm

Not much to say about the stock market. I hit my high July 31st & it's been down since then. Oh well.

Looks like my cash surplus will be double what it was at the end of last year so I'm starting to think what I should do with it. Fully fund my IRA in January or pad my home down payment? I could do both actually.

I am looking forward to Napa Valley & Lake Tahoe. Flights & hotel have been booked. I booked the rental car yesterday. Now just to reserve the wine train.

For those that have been to either destination, what did you enjoy doing?

Capital One CD Rate Increase

August 10th, 2023 at 11:47 am

The 18 month CD rate at Capital One is now 5.15%. I don't know if I want to lock up my cash right now as I think about buying a home, but it's very tempting. I don't quite have the $10k that I like to have as I ladder my CDs. I'm at right about $8k. If they still a have this rate at the end of the year I may consider the longer term. Right now I have two 11 month CDs at 5.0%.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

August 3rd, 2023 at 02:57 am

I was pre-approved for a mortgage loan. I set the purchase rate at $350k - the absolute most I want to spend - with a 20% down payment. The goal is to pay at least $100k down. My mom has offered to give me $100k, but I think it's best that I not take the money. I would rather her keep her money to make life easier for her & my dad.

I'm looking at home purchase about a year from now when my current lease ends, but at least I know what I have qualified for while I'm searching. Interest rates have really kicked up. My current rate would be 6.50% for 30 years. I hope that the rates fall before I'm ready to buy.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>