Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: May 2017

Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: May 2017

Centsibly Rich MayAt the beginning of the year, I posted about my new, exciting vision for the New Year and promised to update you. Here’s how we did at the Centsibly Rich household in May.

Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve beenΒ inspired by the generosity of the Rockstar Community Fund (RCF) since last December. The RCF has touched many lives and spread a ton of good (check out exactly how much has been given on the Rockstar totals page)!

In the spirit of spreading the kindness, I committed to doing at least one random act of kindness, or give one unexpected gift, each month this year. Here’s how it played out in May:

  • We have been blessed to have some of the best teachers (one in particular) for our kids in a local, public Montessori school. The middle school was life changing for both kids, and really helped them to recognize and tap into their full potential (the assumption of the middle school teachers is that every child is brilliant!). We gifted the middle school some money to buy whatever they needed for the classrooms (and will continue to make these gifts when we can).
  • Cait (daughter) and I went to the local ice cream shop with $20 in hand on Memorial Day and bought 4 random strangers ice cream. One man, initially, right out refused to accept our gift. When I told him we were on a mission to spread kindness, he reluctantly gave in and thanked us, but was clearly uncomfortable. Cait couldn’t understand the hesitation and was saddened by his reluctance to accept our gift. There could be any number of reasons to explain his hesitation (cultural, personal, etc). But I think the best response, when you’re offered a gift in kindness, is to accept (no guilt necessary!). And remember the giver is getting a gift in return.
  • Each month, I contribute to the RCF. If you’re interested in spreading the good, check it out here!


Still not into the stats here, friends. But traffic was up in May, thanks to Rockstar Finance (they featured this post and this one too!). Thanks for sharing, Rockstar! πŸ™‚

With a rental property (hopefully) and summer’s arrival, posting may slow down at times. It’s my last summer before my son graduates and heads off to Air Force basic training (next June!) and I want to make the most of it with my family.

My plan is to have one main post on Mondays this summer, and probably, maybe, hopefullyΒ a second post on Thursday or Friday, if I have time (I will have some guest posts on these days, if you’re interested, fellow bloggers). Friday’s Finest may or may not make an appearance, but will be back up and running every two weeks in September.

Financial Updates

Rental Property

Last month, I was so excited to tell you about the rental property we had an offer accepted on. Well, we were scheduled to close on May 31, but now it’s been pushed to June 12 or 13th. The house we’re buying has been a rental for 30+ years…with the same tenant for 30+ years (and 30+ years of stuff!).

In the purchase agreement, the property was to be vacated. The rent was too low for us to keep the tenant and the house is in need of repairs and updates. The tenant did not vacate by the closing date and has some legal (?) document stating he has until June 12 to move (I’m a little fuzzy on the details there).

Anyway, we had the option to close with the tenant still living there (with a written guarantee he’d be out by June 12) or we could push closing back. This was a no-brainer for us. Our fear is we would have to start our journey into real estate investing with an eviction – which would mean extra expenses and headaches. We’re keeping our fingers crossed the next date works out.

(Side note: It’s hard to separate the personal feelings from the business side here – I feel bad for making the tenant move, but can’t make it work, financially and otherwise, if he doesn’t).


From the Mad Fientist Laboratory, here is how long we have until FI, if we stay the current course:

One month less than last month, but still progress! Like I said last month, I’m pretty conservative with these numbers. I figure our expenses a little high and our savings a little low. If we can actually get started with the real estate investments, that will speed the timeline even more.Β 

Savings Rate

We didn’t save as much extra cash in May due to appraisal fees, other house and medical expenses. But the beauty of automated savings and investing means we are still saving quite a bit.

Last year, our savings rate was 46%. My goal is to get it to 51% in 2017. Our savings rate for the year so far is 63%! The tax return skewed the numbers in our favor so it will continue to drop as the year goes on. (For full disclosure, I am including the company match for the 401k as part of savings.)

Our Digit balance is $825, which dropped in April afterΒ I used some of it for vacation. I’ve painlessly saved well over $3000 with Digit so far ($305 in May!).

Personal Updates


They’re growing up too fast! Jake is now officially a senior and Cait is a freshman in high school. And, though they’ve gradually broken us in, we see less and less of them as they spend more time on their own activities and with their friends. So the time we do get with them is always a priority. Because if the past is any indication, time isn’t going to slow down.


I’m still recovering from surgery, but getting better each day. I’m having a few complications from the nerve tumors that are still there, which have led to SI joint dysfunction. Thankfully, it’s getting better with therapy and I’m learning to manage it. Martial arts is still out (I can still teach!), but I can bike without pain, so that’s my exercise of choice for now. I’m grateful to finally get some good exercise! πŸ™‚


Sadly, the rhubarb harvest is over (but I have some frozen for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp – yum!). On the bright side, we’re harvesting strawberries, lettuce and kale now! We haven’t been able to devote as much time and energy to the garden this year, but it’s still doing well. There are more weeds growing between the boxes than usual, but the plants are doing well (for the most part, those poor peppers are struggling, but I think they’ll make it!).

How was your May? Did you reach your goals for the month?

20 thoughts on “Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: May 2017

  1. Glad to hear things are better on the health front. And I love your random acts of kindness. Mrs Groovy is, like your ice cream benefactor, a little uncomfortable with such niceties, but she’s coming around.

    You definitely did the right thing with the rental. Inheriting a tenant is optimal, but if it doesn’t meet your needs, it’s best to part ways.

    Finally, it’s nice to see that FIRE is on the horizon. Six years, eight months may seem like an eternity, but it’s not. And wait till you get down to three years. Those three years will fly by and you’ll be saying, “Holy crap! I’m retired. ”

    Thanks for the update, Amanda. It’s always great catching up with the Centsibly Rich household. You guys rock.

    1. Thanks, Mr. Groovy! You know, I do understand the hesitation to accept the random acts of kindness (and that’s exactly why I usually choose to do them anonymously). And I admit, when it used to happen to me, I would feel guilty and uncomfortable with it too. A couple of years ago when I was the recipient of a $20 grocery card (that I didn’t need nor deserve, in my mind), I decided I should just thank the person and pay it forward (rather than refuse). To me, that’s what it’s about – creating ripples of kindness that spread far and wide. I feel a blog post idea coming on…

      6 years and 8 months does seem like an eternity, and then I worry about health insurance and if we will even be able to make it work at that point. But, you’re right, it will be here before we know it, one way or the other. The key is to find that balance of living for today (while still planning and preparing for tomorrow).

      Thanks for the comments, Mr. Groovy!!! πŸ™‚

  2. Our life is nowhere near as busy as your family’s and I feel like time passes way too fast, so I can appreciate you wanting to make the most of it while everyone is still together. Hopefully your rental sale will go through without any further delays or complications, it sounds like you made a smart call to make sure the tenant will be out. Thanks for the update!

    As far as goals go, we’ve got a long road ahead on the debt front but we made some more great progress in May; our first $5,000 month! We’ve set some bigger financial as well as blogging-related goals for June, it’s all very motivating.

    1. Thanks so much, Ryan! It sounds like you guys are really killing that debt now! Congrats on a great month. Here’s to a great June! πŸ™‚

  3. Glad your health is improving and that you’ve found an exercise you can do comfortably.

    I think you’ve made a good call on the delaying the closing. We had a heck of a time getting the renter out of our newest property, and it delayed the work quite a bit. Much better to let the previous landlord deal with the situation rather than inheriting it!

    Good luck on your summer plans!

    1. Thanks, Emily! I was so thrilled with bike riding working for me…it’s the small things. πŸ˜‰

      On the tenant…it’s definitely less headaches and money for us if we stick to the original agreement that the tenant is gone. Plus, it’s motivation for the seller. Fingers crossed for next week!

  4. Looks like a great month overall. Garden photos look amazing! Good to hear your health is on the mend.

    Fingers crossed the closing and tenant moving out goes smoothly. Sounds like the best way to proceed with the tenant. A fresh start for everyone.

    Have a great June!

    1. Thanks, Brian! I love my garden! It’s more weedy than usual, but the plants look great. And, yes, it’s great to be more active now. Really hoping it all works out with the rental property. Wishing you a great June as well – good luck with the party!

  5. Glad to hear things are improving on the health front. And your garden looks great! It reminds of me fond memories of tending to my grandpa’s garden with him each summer.

    1. Thank you! You know, I wish my kids were more interested in the garden. When they were little they helped a ton, but at 14 and 16, they don’t have much enthusiasm – though they enjoy eating the results.

    1. Thanks so much, Matt! I am enjoying the biking…going a little further each time I go and it’s fantastic! πŸ™‚

  6. Nice update Amanda, especially that you are getting better and enjoying getting out on the bike. Your garden looks great. Hoping all goes well with the closing next week.

    1. Thanks, Amy! It’s great to get more active again. We’re pulling out quite a few strawberries out of the garden right now. It is actually looking good for closing on Monday! Fingers crossed. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by.

  7. So glad to hear you’re feeling better, Amanda! I’m sure you’ll be excited once you can move ahead with your plans for the rental property. I look forward to seeing how things progress in the coming months. You’ll have to post some before and after reno pictures! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, MMM! πŸ™‚ Looks like we are finally closing tomorrow – definitely excited to get moving on it. I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity for before and after photos. The before isn’t pretty! πŸ˜‰

  8. Oh, I didn’t know about the surgery! Glad to hear the recovery is going well–but sorry you had to go through it!
    That’s not a bad timeline on the freedom front. Stinks that the guy couldn’t just accept the gift, but that’s probably a good lesson for your DD, too: there’s stigma around handouts, and it can make people act in funny ways.

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ There is a stigma with accepting handouts, no doubt. It’s interesting to see people’s reactions though. This is one of the main reasons I like to remain anonymous – fewer awkward moments like that.

  9. I am so glad you are feeling a little better, Amanda. Biking is fun, if that’s all you can do, at least that’s a good one. Don’t know what to say about the kids incessant growing. It is as beautiful as it is difficult. I struggle with it and often wish I some healthier zen non-attachment powers. I don’t!

    (Those garden pics!! Sigh.)

    1. Thanks, Linda! I love biking – gets me out in nature, so it’s great physically and mentally. Those garden pics were for you. πŸ™‚ More to come.

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