Evolving Personal Finance » Archive

Un-Frugal Cloth Diapering Pitfalls to Avoid

Un-Frugal Cloth Diapering Pitfalls to Avoid

I thought cloth diapering was an inherently frugal activity, but my eyes have been opened. For some people, cloth diapering might be even more expensive than disposable diapering! But if you avoid just a few pitfalls, cloth diapering will remain a frugal strategy.   The cost of disposable diapers are pretty much all up front: the retail cost of the diapers. Frugality in disposable diapering is all about finding the least expensive diapers that work for your … Read entire article »

Filed under: frugality

W-4 Calculations Don’t Have to Be a Black Box

W-4 Calculations Don’t Have to Be a Black Box

I admit I’ve been a quite confused by W-4 forms for a few years now. In the perennial debate over whether it’s better to get a tax refund or pay additional tax on April 15, my preference is to the smallest refund or owe the smallest amount possible. In the past several years, we’ve done pretty well hitting that nail on the head, but it’s not due to any great spreadsheet wizardry; it’s mostly been … Read entire article »

Filed under: taxes

May 2017 Budget Report

May 2017 Budget Report

If April was defined by our travels, May was defined by our houseguests. Several members of my family came to visit us on two occasions, which really seemed to take over our month. It was wonderful to have them around, though, and they had a ton of fun with DPR. We did end up overspending on groceries because we provided just about all the meals for our guests. We mostly hung out in our apartment … Read entire article »

Filed under: month in review

Lifestyle Inflation: Ubering to the Airport

Lifestyle Inflation: Ubering to the Airport

I realized last month that Uber has become my default mode of transit to and from the airport – to the point that it doesn’t even cross my mind that there are other possibilities! Confession: We spent $175.64 getting to and from the airport last month (4 rides), which is as much as we spent on one plane ticket! I can’t believe I’ve let my lifestyle inflate to this degree – I’m so embarrassed!     This lifestyle … Read entire article »

Filed under: lifestyle creep, travel

April 2017 Budget Report

April 2017 Budget Report

April was a very busy month for us! I gave six talks this month on two trips, one day trip and one multi-day trip to the East Coast. We also traveled to California on two subsequent weekends. Thankfully DPR took all that upheaval pretty well, though it wiped me out.   We filed our tax return on April 15 after preparing it using tax software. We owed a small amount of money to the IRS and gave … Read entire article »

Filed under: month in review

Why We Are Forgoing a 529 (for Now)

Why We Are Forgoing a 529 (for Now)

In 2016, we had a baby, DPR. We expect that DPR will go to college one day, largely because we are over-educated and we expect her to follow in our footsteps to some extent. We want to contribute some money to said college education, although not necessarily pay for all of it. Our parents paid for most of our college educations, which was a great leg up financially as young adults. Funding some of DPR’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: investing, savings

March 2017 Budget Report

March 2017 Budget Report

This was a pretty bad month for us in terms of large, unexpected expenses popping up that didn’t fit into our targeted savings accounts. Our ‘Miscellaneous’ spending category was completely overwhelmed. We also incredibly overspent one of our variable expense categories. Even our targeted savings accounts didn’t fare well; one of them is now negative! But thankfully we have our buffer funds to help us smooth this out. The one success we had was a … Read entire article »

Filed under: month in review

Targeted Savings for the Non-Broke

Targeted Savings for the Non-Broke

As of January, we have resumed our use of targeted savings accounts! I missed this system so in the last 2.5 years when our life has been in flux: becoming funemployed, living apart, moving to Seattle, and having a baby. But said baby is over six months old now and things are much more predictable, so we’re back to using targeted savings.   But pressing “play” on our targeted savings system again is not like starting it … Read entire article »

Filed under: targeted savings

Incorporating New Frugal Strategies

Incorporating New Frugal Strategies

In February we incorporated two new frugal strategies into our wheelhouse of natural frugality in Seattle. Even though we’re earning more than we ever have before (hello 25% tax bracket!), we haven’t outgrown the frugality we practiced during grad school. Having a baby threw things off for a little while, but we’re getting back on track.       A New Type of Grocer   We heard a tip a few weeks ago from one of our friends here about a … Read entire article »

Filed under: frugality

February 2017 Budget Report

February 2017 Budget Report

Our February was very quiet spending-wise. We had a nice victory in coming in under budget for groceries, which has been a struggle for a couple years now. We’re not really going out at all these days, but we did invite friends over to our place and go over to some friends’ houses this month. The costs for those gatherings are just rolled into our grocery spending for the month. We’re planning a couple trips … Read entire article »

Filed under: month in review