Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

I finished credit card churning a pair of Southwest cards a couple of months ago.  The combined total point reward was 110,000 miles, which just so happens to be enough to earn the valuable Companion Pass.

Basically, the companion pass is a BOGO, buy one, get one, on airfare.  It is good for the rest of the current year (2018) and all of next year (2019).

We’ll probably burn up 40,000 points to fly our family of 4 to a wedding this fall.  Frugal Girl still flies free until she turns two years old, and the companion pass means that Shae can fly free anywhere with me now too. So that just leaves a round trip ticket for Frugal Boy and myself.  The same trip would be about $900 in airfare at current prices.

Visualizing Expenses

A lot has been written on the subject of retirement, specifically, “when can I retire?”  Popular rules of thumb are:

  1. Save 10 times your income by age 67 (Fidelity)
  2. Save 10% of your income (too many to quote, but here is a nice write up on why it is probably rubbish).
  3. Multiply annual expenses by 25. (Forbes)

The last one takes the most amount of work, because you actually have to know how much money you spend.  It is also probably the most accurate.  I made a quick mashup of our expenditures for the last full year (2017).  I put essentials on the left and luxuries on the right.  Shelter and food are fundamental in my viewpoint, so they get put all the way to the left.  I could have split out Groceries and Eating Out to better characterize them as necessity vs luxury, but I was feeling lazy.

Two major expenses that will be dropping off in the next few years will be Childcare and Education/Tuition.  The Misc. (pink) category is a catch-all and contains some fat that could be cut out.

Finally, you might notice that I put College Savings all the way to the right, indicating that it is the most cuttable budget item.  Let’s be frank.  Any parental financial assistance is a bonus.  Our goal is to cover all costs after scholarships but if they need to take a loan that’s fine too.

Revitalizing a Worn Down Wheelbarrow

Last year or maybe it was the year before that I snagged an old wheelbarrow that my neighbor was throwing out.  The bucket was in fine shape, but the handles had seen better days.

A new wheelbarrow costs around $50.  I bought some steel replacement handles for $14.

I could have gone cheaper with some $8 wood handles, but I figured that the steel handles would outlast everything else.  Our garage is tight on space, so this cheapo wheelbarrow lives outside all year long in our garden.