February Spending Review

Our total spending this month was $5,906.52. This includes $1,143.25 in state taxes which in retrospect might not make a lot of sense to include since it is sort of arbitrary and we aren’t including income below. Without tax and mortgage, our spending was $3,044.27, which is up about 50% from last month. But, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out since we got the grocery spending down and there wasn’t much arbitrary spending, except that new swimsuit!

Below the table, we present an explanation of part of the Lowe’s spending for de-wasping the garage. Be warned, some of the pictures are not for the faint of heart. Commentary by Mr. Paradise!

Mortgage$1719.00Just principal and interest.
Income Taxes$1143.25Taxes were higher than usual because we had to take money out of the stock market for our down payment. Thankfully we are expecting a federal refund at some point next month.
Auto payment$353.60Yes, we have a car loan. But in our defense it is at 0% interest.
Groceries$374.65An improvement over last month!
Utilities$334.31Our electric and gas was $210.44! Yowza! It was cold here, hopefully it will start to warm up soon! The remainder of this is water, sewer, and trash removal which we pay quarterly.
Shower regrout$225.00We had a bit of a shower leak that we attempted to fix ourselves but actually ended up making it worse. Two handymen spent about five hours regrouting the shower so I was pretty surprised the cost was so little.
Tax prep$156.40This is the remainder of the fee that was on last month's spending review. Pretty reasonable and saved us a serious amount of money because I calculated our itemized deductions incorrectly.
Car service$114.18The Civic needed an oil change and also something about the air filters. Mr. Paradise takes care of this stuff.
Lowe's$110.87Supplies for de-wasping the garage.
Charity$100.00When I did the spending review in January, I realized that this monthly donation to our local humane society had gotten messed up and wasn't getting charged anymore. Now it's fixed but we missed a month so we'll make up for that later this year. I'm also planning a future post on Vanguard Charitable.
Chimney cleaning$100.00Necessary so we can have safe fires.
Clothing$68.13I bought a new swimsuit...I almost didn't because I knew it had to go on here!
Gas$48.34We went over our $45 budget!
Pharmacy$47.93Mostly a whole bunch of allergy meds.
Internet$42.42AT&T, not Comcast!!
Security System$35.99I set it off twice this month by accident, once just by tipping over the plastic things that holds the silverware in the dishwasher...
Cell phone$27.00Monthly fee for my phone. Mr. Paradise has pay-as-you-go, which comes as a $100 charge approximately once a year.
Alcohol$23.19Beer plus two drinks at a bar.
Pet Supplies$11.62Toys, etc. Canned food is included in the grocery line.
Parking$8.40One trip to the airport and one night out on the town.
Entertainment$7.66One Red Box movie, one iPhone game, and of all things, cover at a club.
Car wash$7.00

And now, The Great Dewaspening of 2016

(Second warning here, there is a picture of a scary wasp nest below, skip if this is not your cup of tea!)


I found this small hole in the drywall on Sunday night. I forgot to take a picture of it, but when I pushed at it my hand pretty much went right through. The next day I pull down the patch of drywall and found …


Not ideal. Impressive structure though. A bunch of the fiberglass insulation was eaten through. The wood 2x4s had a little wasp-wear, but overall didn’t look too bad. They must have eaten into the drywall at that point two, which made the hole I noticed.


Here you can see the section I took down… I pulled down drywall until I couldn’t see any more wasp-evidence. Made a bit of a mess , but at least I could see the extent of the nest. The light beige coloring on the paper is all wasp suburbs, extending away from the downtown core.


Awesome-looking honeycomb structure. Of course less awesome is the fact they built it in our house, out of pieces of our house. I didn’t find a queen in there.


Here’s a shot of the area once I cleaned it up and got the wasp nest out. Everything back there was nice and dry, so that’s good.


This is the crack in the concrete where I believe they were coming in. I filled up several other small cracks though, just in case.


….next it was off to Lowe’s for reinforcements. Well, supplies. I spent about $100, but still have a fair bit of nails, etc left over (you can’t buy just a few unfortunately). Side note: got called out for wearing my Home Depot hat in Lowe’s.


…and the new insulation is in. I was careful, wore gloves and a mask.


New drywall is in. Not a big fan of the crack on the right, and the panel above had the same problem. (This got filled in later.)


I also bought some screening, and cut a few pieces to put into the exhaust vents outside.

Unfortunately, this was not our first encounter with wasps in our new house. We are crossing our fingers that this spring doesn’t bring them back, but if they do come, we may have to hire a professional this time. It will be money well spent. Thanks for reading!

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