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.”

A Birthday Meal and My February Financial Update with Net Worth

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One of my best financial updates yet! I managed to keep my expenses super low in February. Also check out the post to see my income, savings and net worth!I’ve been looking forward to writing this February financial update ever since the month ended!  February ended up being a month where I had very low expenses.  It helped that the month was shorter than normal.  If only I could have low expenses like this every month!

Mr. Frugal Turtle Turns a Year Older

February was Mr. Frugal Turtle’s birthday month!  He took the day off from work and we spent the day together on his birthday.  I didn’t get him anything for his birthday.  We usually don’t do gifts for any occasion, so this is normal.

I did, however, take him to a Mexican Restaurant that gives free meals on birthdays.  Several of his siblings and their significant others were able to join us for the grand occasion.  There’s no better way to spend your birthday than surrounded by loved ones!

What Else Happened In February?

I ended up getting a nasty cold in the beginning of the month and it took a couple of weeks before I was feeling better.  I’m just happy Mr. Frugal Turtle never ended up getting it.  It had me completely down for the count for an entire weekend!

A new grocery store opened up in the area!  Fresh Thyme opened up late in January and I finally got to go there in February.  For someone who actually enjoys grocery shopping this was a big deal!  There was so much hype about this store that I couldn’t wait to see what the big deal was.

The verdict: it’s cheaper than other grocery stores on some items.  Other items they are more expensive.  Just like every other store.  It just goes to show you that you have to pay attention to prices no matter where you are.

On to the numbers!

February Net Worth

I ended February with a net worth of $115,121.53.  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 Birthday Meal and My February Financial Update with Net Worth”

If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now

If you can implement some or all of the items on this list your journey to early retirement will be short and sweet. The hardest part is actually starting.“The thing to do is to make so much money that you don’t have to work after the age of twenty-seven. In case this is impracticable, stop work at the earliest possible moment, even if it is at a quarter past eleven on the morning of the day when you find you do have enough money.”-Robert Benchley

Dreaming of Early Retirement

While I won’t retire by the time I’m 27(I’m 36), I’m hoping to retire before I’m 45.  I’m getting more and more antsy at work.  I pretty much daydream about early retirement whenever there’s downtime.

Even though I’m not retired yet, the following list are things that I have done or currently do to help me reach early retirement as fast as possible.  If you follow this list, or do only some of the items on the list, it should help you reach early retirement as well!

Max Out Your 401k and IRA if Possible

Look, I know it’s really hard to save that much money.  Start small!  It was only 4 years ago that I was putting in 3% every paycheck.  3% was the amount I needed to contribute to get the match.  I wanted to pay down my debts before I really started investing.

Once I was debt free I slowly started contributing more and more until I was comfortable contributing the max amount.  I’m pretty sure I changed my contribution amount like four times in one year!

Pay Off Debt

Some people suggest paying off all debt before investing anything.  When I was in debt, I saved enough to get the 401k match and then focused on paying off my debts.  Making sure that my emergency fund was fully funded when I was paying off my debt was also a high priority for me.

I kept a fully funded emergency fund because I had been laid off before at a time when I wasn’t in a secure financial situation and IT SUCKED! Thanks to parental help, I made it through, but it’s a situation that I never wanted to be in again. Continue reading “If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now”