We’re going to Aruba! and My April Financial Update with Net Worth

I’m coming for you Aruba!

I’m super excited to finally be writing this April financial update!

After staying in the great state of Minnesota all last year, Mr. Frugal Turtle and I decided it was time to get away.  Work has been hell for both of us lately and a vacation has been desperately needed.

After much hemming and hawing for a couple of weeks and getting recommendations from family members, we finally decided on a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Aruba.  There will be more details in a future post and I can’t wait to share them!

Frugal Turtle Earns Money!

Not me.  The website!  A few of you awesome people took my advice and clicked on a referral link.  Thanks to you this site earned $60 last month.  Thank you so much!

It’s pretty good timing because I have some website related expenses coming up that I can put that referral money towards.  Again, thanks for supporting this blog!

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

I love reading Michelle Gardener’s blog Making Sense of Cents.  I’ve been reading it for years.  I find her life fascinating.  Her blog is really interesting and I drool over her monthly income reports.

Out of curiosity (and a growing desire to make money blogging) I invested in her course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (not an affiliate link, yet.  I want to finish the course first).  I’m super excited about it.  Unfortunately, my day job has been pretty demanding and I haven’t done more than scan through the material.

I bought the course when Michelle had a sale going on, so I got it for $169.  That’s a pretty big one time expense for me, but I’m really happy that I did it.  I have no regrets and I can’t wait until I have more time to dive into the material!

Groceries, Groceries, and more Groceries

So, I’m not sure what happened in April, but I spent a ton of money on groceries.

Actually, I do have a theory on what happened, I did ALL the grocery shopping myself.  Mr. Frugal Turtle and I usually go grocery shopping on Saturdays, which is our normal day off together.  We try to split the grocery bills fairly evenly, but we really don’t keep track.  Unfortunately, our mutual employer has gotten really busy lately and we no longer both have Saturdays off together.

Since Mr. Frugal hates grocery shopping (especially alone), and I actually enjoy it (I know, I’m weird), I went grocery shopping on my days off.  And did all the shopping for the month of April.  And somehow spent over $300 on groceries.

I realize that’s probably about average for a frugal couple who hates to waste food, but I didn’t think we spent that much!  It’s really got me curious as to what we both spend on groceries each month.  I think I’m going to keep track of all grocery store receipts for both of us for a few months just to see what we actually average on grocery expenses.

On to the numbers!

April Net Worth

I ended April with a net worth of $121,995.71.

My goal for this year is to end the year with a net worth of $150k.  If I can reach $125k by the end of June I think I have a good shot of reaching that goal.

My net worth includes my retirement accounts and my regular savings account.

I use Personal Capital (affiliate link) to keep track of my net worth.  Personal Capital is really easy to use and I have to admit, I’m kinda addicted.  You can link your credit cards, banks, and investment accounts to this site and it updates all the time.  I log in and check my net worth almost every single day.  It also has a pretty sweet retirement planner that tells you what you can work on to make your retirement even better. Continue reading “We’re going to Aruba! and My April Financial Update with Net Worth”

Financial Regrets That I Wish I Could Go Back and Change

I’m really happy with my life right now.  I have a home, a great boyfriend, an adorable kitty cat, a job that pays me well, friends, family.  I could go on and on.

But looking back at the choices I made 10-15 years ago just makes me cringe.  What was I thinking!  I wish I could go back and change a few things, but alas, I can’t.  I will have to life with my financial regrets forever.

How many of us would love to go back and make different choices?

Here is what I would do differently if I could go back and make some changes.

I would have gone to a Technical College instead of a four-year college.

It would have been cheaper.  I would have been done with school sooner.  I would have found a job quicker.

There are many choices to major in at a Technical College.  I wish I would have gone into the medical field.  Sonography is just one of the many interesting degrees that is offered.  Median salary for Sonographers- $79,000!  I’d be happy with that!

What I did instead was spend six and a half years at a four-year college accumulating more and more student loans because I kept changing my major!  For some reason I felt that I needed that Bachelor’s degree.  $26,000 of student loan debt later I received that Bachelor’s degree.  I’m not convinced it was worth it.  This financial regret would end up being the majority of my debt. Continue reading “Financial Regrets That I Wish I Could Go Back and Change”

A Movie Date! and The March Financial Update with Net Worth

March was the second month in a row where I kept my expenses under $1k. In this update I also talk about my net worth, income and how much I saved.Welcome to my March Financial Update!

I can’t believe it’s April already!  I love it!  The sun is setting later and later every day.  It’s slowly warming up.  Migrating birds are flying in from the south.  Summer is just around the corner!

March was a pretty good month for me, financially.  I had my second month in a row with expenses under $1,000.  You can read last month’s financial update here.  Income was also strong due to a three paycheck month.  Don’t you love those?

Mr. Frugal Turtle and I had a rare date night in March.  We went out to dinner (he paid) and then we went to a movie.  He paid for the movie as well (what a guy!).  I paid for the drink and snack.  It’s always a shock to the wallet when I have to pay close to $15 for one tub of popcorn and one soda.  Oh well, we had a great night and really enjoyed the movie (Logan).

Taxes are done!

I spent one joyous night early in March filling out my taxes and was refunded a total of $602 from federal and state.  I qualify for the free e-file so I took advantage of that.  I’ve used TaxAct the past couple of years and they seem to make doing taxes a little easier than most tax programs I’ve tried.  I’m not an affiliate for them, I just use and like their program enough to recommend it!

As soon as both the federal and state tax refunds were deposited into my checking account they were transferred to my IRA.  It was such a great feeling to transfer $602 to my retirement account!

On to the numbers!

March net worth

I ended March with a net worth of $118,030.34.  My goal for this year is to end the year with a net worth of $150k.  If I can reach $125k by the end of June I think I have a good shot of reaching that goal.

My net worth includes my retirement accounts and my regular savings account.

I use Personal Capital (affiliate link) to keep track of my net worth.  Personal Capital is really easy to use and I have to admit, I’m kinda addicted.  You can link your credit cards, banks, and investment accounts to this site and it updates all the time.  I log in and check my net worth almost every single day.  It also has a pretty sweet retirement planner that tells you what you can work on to make your retirement even better. Continue reading “A Movie Date! and The March Financial Update with Net Worth”

10 of the Best Bloggers That Create Delicious and Frugal Recipes

Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonders!

It’s my version of a blog round-up post.  This weekend I wanted to focus on the bloggers who create yummy and inexpensive recipes for all us hard-working, money-saving people.

This weeks Weekend Wonders include bloggers who create delicious yet frugal recipes for everyone to enjoy. They share all the best tips on saving money.I’m always on the lookout for more recipes to make.  I have dozens and dozens of recipes saved in my Favorites file from before I discovered Pinterest.  Making recipes is like reading books; there’s just never enough time to make them all!

Being a vegetarian these are vegetarian friendly bloggers, but rest assured all you meat eaters, most of these bloggers also enjoy coming up with meaty dishes as well.  Since becoming a vegetarian I’ve realized that I can still eat the majority of the meals that everyone else eats.  I just simply leave out the meat that a recipe might call for.  It’ll still taste delicious-usually.

My Stomach is Full and My Wallet is too

Beth over at Budget Bytes knows how to create a recipe!  She’s saved me many a nights when I had no idea what to make and I wasn’t craving anything.  Her one pot meals are quick, tasty, and since they only require one pot, fast to clean up!  Beth also has the prices broken down for all her ingredients so you know how frugal each recipe is.  One of my favorites from Beth is her Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac.  So good on a chilly day!

food family simple living

Missy, the mastermind behind Graceful Little Honey Bee has a plethora of frugal recipes and meal ideas.  I especially like how she explains how to prepare food for the freezer.  You can freeze celery?  I honestly didn’t even know that was a thing.  It usually just sits in the drawer of the refrigerator until I throw it away.  Her tips are super helpful so nothing goes to waste! Continue reading “10 of the Best Bloggers That Create Delicious and Frugal Recipes”

How the Path to Early Retirement is Like Learning to Drive a Car.

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed. – David Viscott

Want to take control of your finances and reach for early retirement, but you're confused with where you should start? Let me help you with the first step.

How many of you were scared to learn how to drive a car?  I know I was!  I was scared, nervous and excited.  And you know what?  Taking control of your money and fighting for financial independence and early retirement gives me those same feelings!

Scared that once I am retired something will happen and I’ll have to go back to work.

Nervous because I’m doing so well on this journey so far and I don’t want to mess it up!

Excited because the thought of freedom and financial independence is exhilarating!

This post has been stewing in my head for about a week now and when I finally was able to start writing, the thought hit me.  The road to FIRE is like the road to getting your driver’s license.

There are so many steps to achieve both.

The first step is learning.

Before you actually get your license you have to take a class and learn the rules of the road, right?  When is it safe to pass?  What does that sign mean?  Should you use your high beams or low beams in the fog?

While financial independence doesn’t require you to pass a test, it is a good idea to learn about 401k’s and IRA’s, fees, taxes, investments, withdrawal rates and so much more.  It’ll make the journey a lot less confusing.

Start reading books on financial independence.  Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is great and one that I’ve read about five times now.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is also great for helping you get out of debt.  He also has a radio show that is pretty entertaining and I highly suggest checking out.  I listen to it on my drive home from work.

Then there are the hundreds of personal finance blogs with tons of tips and tricks to help you along your journey.  Mr. Money Mustache and jlcollinsnh are two of my favorites and provide a ton of information on the FIRE movement.

I started reading books and websites when I was deep in debt.  Like $50k in debt.  I knew I had a long way to go, but I wasn’t sure what I needed to do exactly.  After doing a bunch of reading I started doing Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. Continue reading “How the Path to Early Retirement is Like Learning to Drive a Car.”