Going Over Budget

I might have been overly optimistic when counting our cash for this first quarter.  I overestimated our tax refund by about $900 and then some money we had counted on coming back to us from overpaying our escrow account this first year will be held back, too, as  “cushion” by our mortgage company.  Total, we fell about $1,600 short of what we thought we’d be bringing home in these first two months of the year.

On top of that, we (perhaps stupidly, perhaps not) signed up for a Chase Sapphire card in advance of our big Europe trip in order to start racking up airline miles.  The 40,000 point bonus comes only after spending $4,000 in three months.  The problem:  we don’t normally spend that much in three months outside of our mortgage, etc.  And you can’t funnel student loans through it.

I arranged and rearranged our plan this year and we decided to go ahead and complete our kitchen appliances.  Here is the dismal before:

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Lover-ly.  I especially like the fake plant eating the window over the sink.  I couldn’t live with the black dishwasher for long, so I slapped a stainless steel magnet over the front, but that couldn’t help the fact that the dishwasher was original to the house (20+ years).

We went to Menards and thought we were making the best decisions.  We went with a floor model, deeply discounted LG dishwasher with $100 rebate and a reasonable microwave under $200.  We were gung ho about installing these things ourselves to save money. Famous last words!

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It didn’t go well.  The dishwasher we came really close to installing ourselves, but the water going in wasn’t working because the line was kinked.  The microwave was a whole cluster of badness and we found out pretty quickly we’d need to move our outlet into the cabinet above the stove.  We needed a plumber and an electrician.

Our little DIY project quickly exploded in our face and pushed us $425 over budget which was depressing.  On the up side, we are doing amazing at knocking down Kris’ student loan.  We’ve taken it from $19,000 at the start of the year to just $13,200!  We won’t be able to pay off the rest as quickly as we have been, but we are still on track for finishing it up in September.  You know, pending nothing terrible happening.  *knocks on wood*

In the meantime, we have our updated appliances to stare at.  And they are a good reminder that budgets aren’t always set in stone and it’s far better to underestimate than overestimate.

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