Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: April 2017

Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: April 2017

Centsibly Rich Update AprilAt 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 April.

Random Acts of Kindness

As I’ve mentioned before, I committed to doing at least one random act of kindness, or give one unexpected gift, each month this year. My inspiration came from the generosity of the Rockstar Community Fund (RCF). 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!

I didn’t get out much in April due to surgery early in the month, so the opportunity for random acts was limited. But, at the very end of the month, I took a road trip to Minneapolis (more on that below). While at one of the local pubs, I anonymously paid a stranger’s tab for the evening. (I also contributed to the RCF – if you’d like to spread some good too, go here!)

One thing I have discovered is I prefer to give anonymously (at least when I give money). While I love seeing people’s reaction, there’s just something about anonymity that adds a little intrigue. Any way you slice it, kindness is contagious.


Last month, I wrote about my conundrum with focusing on the blogging stats (income/traffic). While I’m not really into the stats right now, I do love blogging! One of the best things about blogging is becoming a part of the amazing, supportive personal finance community. I’ve been fortunate to make some fantastic friends over the last year. 

It was a little more real this past weekend when I had the opportunity to spend a day with an amazing group of bloggers (and others pursuing FI). Gwen (from Fiery Millennials) and I took a road trip to Minneapolis to meet up for an evening of fun. The weather didn’t cooperate for our grilling and park plans. But we had a great time hitting up some of the local establishments, chatting it up with our new friends, and tasting some local craft beer. As Bill from Wealth Well Done says, these new friends are extraordinary and I’m super grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them better.

Standing (from the left): Budget On A Stick, The Grounded Engineer, me, No Nonsense Landlord, Physician On Fire, RedHoodedSweatShirt (no blog), Bible Money Matters, Apathy Ends, and Amanda of Wealth Well Done.   Seated is Bill of Wealth Well Done and Fiery Millennials.

Financial Updates

Rental Property

Oooooh…big news here, friends!!! We had an offer accepted on a property! It will deserve a few posts of it’s own later, but I’ll share the basics here.

It’s a 3 bedroom, 1450 square foot single family home on a large lot in a desirable neighborhood. That’s all the good stuff (except maybe the larger lot – not sure if that’s good or bad yet).

The bad? Well, we don’t consider this bad, but it needs work. That’s okay! We were looking for something below market value so we could build some instant sweat equity – this one fit the bill.

Rental house

We are fully expecting some surprises after we take possession (around May 31). The things we know we will have to do include: flooring, painting (in and out), new tub and surround, counter top in kitchen, vanity in bathroom, plaster repair (on one wall in particular), and yard clean up (including removing some small trees and that huge stump). There will definitely be more to do, but we have to get in there before we know for sure. If there’s room in the budget, we will get new kitchen cabinets and new drywall. DIY is a passion of ours, so we’re excited to get our hands dirty. We will hire contractors for some of the work when it makes sense (electrical/plumbing). Oh! And the seller is putting on a new roof.

The Habitat for Humanity Restore may become our second home. We got an excellent deal on some amazing tile for the kitchen back splash already – it’s the perfect place to save money on our projects (the tile was $.05/each!).

This whole thing is a bit of an experiment. It’s a way for us to get our feet wet in real estate investing and decide if we ever want to buy a fixer upper again. Stay tuned…


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

Only one month less than last month, but still progress! I have to confess, I am very conservative when figuring our FI date – I take a little off the top and don’t include any of our savings accounts (only investments). 

Savings Rate

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 67%! It looks like a great savings rate at this point but, like I said last month, it will continue to drop as the year goes on. The tax return skewed the numbers in our favor for the time being.  

Our Digit balance is $417, which dropped since I used some of it for vacation.

Personal Updates


As I mentioned in last month’s update, I was recently diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. I have hundreds of (benign!) nerve tumors in my leg. My initial diagnosis was Schwannomatosis, but that changed after I had surgery to remove some tumors. When the pathology report came back I found out I actually have a rare form of Neurofibromatosis (type 5). I’m pretty lucky to only have it in my leg. There is a possibility that it is hereditary, but my kids show no signs of it (and they probably would by now). We’re debating on genetic counseling to see if they’re carriers.

On April 7, I had surgery to remove some of the tumors in my calf – the ones I thought were causing some of my worst pain. Surgery went well and I’m healing up. 🙂 I’m left with some residual nerve pain, which I guess makes sense when you have tumors cut out of your nerves!? It’s gradually improving with time. But I admit, I’m a little impatient and can’t wait to get back to exercising and being more active!!!


Rhubarb is being harvested, cooked, and frozen! This is one of the best rhubarb harvests I’ve had. The strawberries are blooming. Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, peas and beets are all coming along nicely. Alan planted the potatoes for me and we’ll plant the pepper and tomato seedlings, squash and green beans very soon! Can’t wait to start sharing more harvest pictures.

April was expensive for us, but we’re planning a low spend May. How was your April? Did you reach your goals for the month?

30 thoughts on “Centsibly Rich Blog, Money and Life Update: April 2017

  1. Congrats on the successes from the month and speedy recovery wishes your way. This post has inspired me. A lot of people would be down due to the health issues but you keep chugging along. Keep giving value. It’s greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks so much, K.P.! I appreciate the kind words. 🙂 Staying positive is important. I admit, I’ve experienced frustration with not being able to do what I did previously (Taekwondo as ann example). But I’m trying to re-frame it into what I can do and what will promote healing.

  2. Wow you’re yielding so many delicious things from your garden. That’s awesome! And congrats on the rental property. I want to be able to find a way to get in on HELPING people with home DIY projects do I can learn about it. I’m just afraid it will eat up a LOT of my free time! Hope your leg heals nicely!

    1. Yes! The strawberries will start coming in soon! This is my first year for strawberries, so I’m excited. Helping with DIY is a great way to learn. We have learned so much over the years. Sometimes we’re a little slow when doing something for the first time, but that’s okay, we’re always improving our skills. Thanks for the well wishes, Tonya!

  3. An eventful April! Impressive savings rate, even considering taxes.
    Good luck with your health. I’m impressed you are focused on giving back even while enduring your own trials.

    1. Thank you! I’m trying to make this a year of giving and helping. I think it benefits me more than others, but the hope is it will spread! 🙂

  4. Good luck on the health front…healing can be so very frustrating.

    And congrats on the house. How exciting for you, even if it looks like a lot of work. You can get so much awesome stuff at the habitat store, and it really saves a lot of money over Home Depot/Lowes.

    1. Thanks, Emily! I LOVE the Restore! As much as I dislike shopping, I love home improvement stores. And the restore is like one big clearance section in the home improvement store.

  5. Sounds like a productive month! Surgery hasn’t slowed you down one bit. Hope you’re taking time to heal. Congrats on the rental. We had a good month, college decisions done! Glad to have two big ones behind us.

    1. To be honest, I probably push a little too much, Brian. It’s a personality flaw. 🙂 I bet it’s a relief to have all those college decisions made…at least for now. I’m sure you’ll have a busy summer getting ready too!

  6. I’m excited to hear how things go with the rental! Should be a big project. 🙂

    1. I’m excited about it! 🙂 The appraisal isn’t done yet. Once that’s done, I’ll be relieved!

  7. I can’t wait for harvest pictures. I am obsessed with your garden Amanda! I’m so glad to hear you are feeling better, try to be patient with yourself, I’m sure you’ll be up and active in no time. Geez 67% – even with the tax refund, that is positively inspirational!

    1. Linda, I’ll try to take as many harvest pictures as I can, just for you! I really need to get out to the garden and get some more stuff planted this weekend. Thank you!

  8. Congratulations on the rental property! Hope everything goes smoothly for you in the closing and rehab.

    I just got my cold weather plants in. Sounds like your seasons are a few weeks ahead, we should have some good rhubarb to harvest in another week or two. I’m looking forward the the garden pics!

    1. Thanks, Mr. CK! We’re Zone 4 (but pretty close to 5). We had a frost last week, but it doesn’t appear to have caused any damage. We are supposed to be past the danger now…but I may wait another week to put the tomatoes and peppers in. I do think I can safely plant my squash seed now.

  9. Ryan R

    That’s great to hear you are continuing to do better, Amanda!

    I am excited to see how everything goes with your fixer-upper rental. If you and Alan ever need any help fixing something, I have lots of tools, some free time, and enjoy problem-solving 🙂

    Also, if you harvested the rhubarb after the last cold spell you might want to google, eating rhubarb after a frost. Depending on your risk tolerance you might decide to compost it. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but want to make you aware.

    I’m eager to see more harvest pictures in the coming months.

    1. Thanks so much, Ryan! Careful – we might take you up on your offer at some point! 🙂 I appreciate your willingness to help out.

      I harvested that rhubarb before the last frost. I wasn’t aware of the risks associated with frost – but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I still have new growth coming on, so I’ll just use the newer stalks that are protected and check for wilt. Definitely good information to have. Next up: strawberries!

  10. Thanks for the update, Amanda! Celebrating your success. 🙂 I pray for a fast recovery and complete restoration to your body.

  11. So many good things happening for you. The health thing is complicated but I’m happy to hear you have it under control and the worst of the tumors were removed.
    Congratulations on the rental! That looks just like the type of home we’d like to buy if we don’t find the proper land to build on.

    1. Thank you, Mrs. Groovy! You may not want to buy the house if you saw the inside. 😉 But we’ll fix that! I hope you find something soon.

  12. I love reading your acts of kindness section, just sounds so cheeky and fun lately with the ways you’ve come up with to spread the generosity.

    I’m very glad to hear that you’re healing up well from the surgery! Wishing you ongoing good health and less pain 🙂

    Mrs DDU

    1. Thanks Mrs. DDU! I try to be creative with the acts of kindness, but honestly, I haven’t been out and about much. I like trying to think of ways to do it and looking for the opportunities though!

      Hope all is well with you too and you’re feeling great! 🙂

  13. Thanks for making the trip Up North! It was great to meet you and the rest of the crew.

    And congratulations on the home purchase. You’ve got some fun ahead of you, for sure. I’m jealous of that rhubarb harvest. We’re probably a month behind you — I need rhubarb for my Sour Patch kids beer — a summer specialty of mine.


    1. Thanks, PoF! I was so glad we made the trip. It was great to meet everyone! The rhubarb keeps producing like crazy. If I would have known you needed the rhubarb for your beer, I would have brought some with me last week. 🙂

  14. Wow, what an update! You know I’m excited at your rental property purchase and can’t wait to hear more about it, congrats!!! As for your health issues, I definitely feel for you and hope for a speedy recovery, but it looks like you’re handling it all with grace, amazing…

    1. We’re pretty excited to get our hands on the property and get to work! I’ll share all the details once we take possession. And thank you so much for your well wishes. 🙂

  15. Please tell me you make a mean rhubarb pie! I haven’t had a piece of rhubarb pie, and I’m dying for a slice. Thanks for the update, Amanda. I love all the good things that are happening for you. And good luck with the neurofibromatosis. That can’t be easy to deal with.

    1. Okay, no pie, but yesterday I made an amazing strawberry rhubarb crisp! So yummy! Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Groovy! 🙂

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