The Legacy of Grandpa’s Money

My grandpa, my mom’s dad, was a hoarder.

He was a straight up, legitimate hoarder.

I’m sure much of this stemmed from him growing up in the middle of the Great Depression. It left quite an imprint on his concept of abundance. While it was hard on our family to see him accumulate so much stuff and a pain to clear it all out when he died in 1992, his hoarding left a positive legacy.

In addition to the magazines he kept stacked too high and whatever he filled that 3 car garage full with, he also hoarded money. When driving cross country, he’d stop along the way to open a new bank account. After he died, the family kept receiving bank statements from around the country and finding books with money hidden inside.

His primary account was, of course, in our hometown. He opened it in 1947, 2 years after he came home from the War. Along the way, he added my mom as a joint account holder and she still has that checking account today.

The business of banking has changed a lot in 69 years. The name of the bank has changed many times, eventually settling on Wells Fargo. But my mom still has that account because it was her dad’s. Even though the interest rate sucks, even though they charge her the occasional fee. She has so much pride when she holds up her card and it shows its been open longer than she’s been alive. That’s Gramps’ account and that means something.

And I can’t say that I blame her. I too have Grandpa money. For all the kid’s birthdays every year, we got savings bonds, back when those paid interest. Much of it covered my expenses to go to college. Without my Grandpa money, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate debt free with my undergraduate degree.

He also started a whole life insurance policy for me and my siblings when we were born. My sister cashed hers out to cover the down payment for her house. I still have mine. I’ve kept it as a safety net, just in case, but also because its Grandpa money. It’s what I have left.

My mom and I aren’t making rational financial decisions with this money. It is Grandpa/Dad money and that’s why we keep it. I know whole life isn’t a good investment. My mom knows that keeping her money at Wells Fargo isn’t the best for her money. The only reason we keep it is because of him.

But to honor him, we shouldn’t squander this legacy. After all, what we are cherishing are an expensive account and an inefficient savings vehicle. Grandpa wouldn’t have tolerated that. It is time to cash in and close down these accounts.

Nothing about these accounts can bring him back. The best I can do is do him proud.

Miss you, Gramps!

August 2016 Net Worth


August was a month of different and it came just in time.

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of things and it was time for something different. Thankfully, that fit right into what life had planned.

My grandpa passed earlier this year, but his funeral was this month. We had a party planned for his 90th birthday and no one wanted to cancel it.  I was asked to sing during the memorial service and at first I was hesitant, but I agreed. It was wonderful to sing again. It felt so good to see so much of the family together. To laugh, to cry and to remember.

Hubs broke his phone mid-month. It should have been a simple frustrating event, followed by the purchase of a new phone. Instead of something run-of-the-mill, I spiraled out of control. I’ve struggled with my mental health for 20 years and this was one of the worst episodes I’ve had in a while. I’m still learning to take care of myself, but I’m getting much better at realizing when I need to slow down. This lead to some radio silence and a lot of repetitive motions to try to reset the rhythm of my brain. {Note: He bought an LG Stylo 2. So far, so good!}

Speaking of repetitive motions, I took to cross stitching! It was the perfect activity to enjoy during the Olympics. Boy, did I watch a lot of Olympics. The swimming did not disappoint! My stitching also allowed me to zone out during the crappy commentary and only pay attention to the action. I propose we make swimming a mainstream sport. Whose with me!?


August 2015: I broke through $10k in the house fund and had my first nasty month in the market. It was the closest I’ve been to having my investments go down since I started tracking.  I also skipped my grandpa’s 89th birthday because Hubs and I were both battling a nasty chest infection. As life would happen, I would never see him again.

August 2014: Hubs and I left for a birthday trip to London! I had $27,594 in debt. I paid off my third loan and said goodbye with an obituary. I was hoping to pay off my debt by December 2015. {Spoiler Alert: I finished 9 months ahead of schedule!}

August 2013: I started looking for a job outside of the traditional legal world. So many coffee dates! Hubs and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary.



Retirement: $45,781 (+2,084) $45,000! Look at that! Included is this awesomeness, my 401k is now bigger than my IRA. I contributed $1,895 so there was only a hair of growth here. I still hope I can make it to $50k by the end of next month for my birthday, but that is looking like more and more of a pipe dream. I will hold out hope until the end. $50k or bust!

Taxable: $9,181 NC I’m back to waiting on this account until December. 

Auto Value: $11,619 (-150)  The depreciating asset keeps depreciating.

House Fund: $33,128 (+908) Saving! But gone are the days of major increases here. Summer is expensive! Hubs also upped his 401k contribution so there is less to go around. We had a joint hustle in July and we got paid in August. That counts for most of this. 

HSA: $7,388 (+160) I paid my medical bills! I am not a deadbeat! Somehow, I still managed to log an increase here. In addition to being a deadbeat, perhaps I am also a wizard. This account is starting to throw its weight around. It’s getting so beautiful and big! 

Car Fund: $778 (+50) I had some semi-significant maintenance on my car this month. I went in expecting only ~$80 and I left paying $350! I didn’t see that coming! This whole not owning a brand new car thing is different. I’ve never paid much of anything for maintenance. This time I pulled the cash to cover it out of our cash flow, but I was happy to have this account at the ready. I still think I’m going to use this money to buy out Hubs’ car, but its nice to have the back up. Keep on saving on. 


Car Loan: $5,707 ($377)  The progress is slow and steady here. Nothing to report except FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! Woot! This is the minimum payment on a cheap loan.


Net worth: $102,168. Up $3,431 from last month. 

$100,000!! $100,000!! $100,000!!!

I will be subtle with my celebrating, so I will sit and clap while the confetti rains down on me. It didn’t take me nearly as long to get here as I thought. It’s difficult to comprehend that my initial plan was to have my loans paid off by next month, but here I am with all that paid off, $45k in my retirement accounts and a sizable down payment saved. It feels pretty gosh darn fabulous to have my student loan kick-assery pay off. It provided some incredible momentum.

How was your August?  Ups, downs, confetti?

How do you make sure you spend money on yourself?

Something happened over the weekend. I still can’t quite believe it happened. Everything was in slow motion. It almost felt like I was in a movie.

Hubs and I went to the local county fair. We do it every year. We went with friends, rode some rides and had a good time. Right before it was time to leave, Hubs picked one last ride. Him and the boys went on it. The ride makes me sick so I was thankful to stay on solid ground and get some quality chat time with my BFF.

We saw them get on the ride, saw that the ride was crazy and went back to the chit chat. Then BOOM. Something flew off the ride and landed 15 feet in front of us. The non-riders started gathering and murmuring amongst themselves. What was that? Where did it land? I saw where it went so I pointed the group in the right direction but went back to talking. I hadn’t seen this friend in too long. I didn’t need to see someone’s shoe or whatever it was.

It’s a phone!

I started to pay attention. Someone lost their phone? That’s a bad day. Most of us have expensive computers in our pockets. Someone screwed up by not securing it.

The gathered group figured out where it was and the families on the ground started taking memorial passes at the shattered pieces, commenting. That could be John’s phone or That sucks. 

I was curious. I had to. I walked up to see the damage. I peered over the fence and found it. DamnitThat looks like Hubs’ phone. I tried to keep calm. He has a super common Samsung phone, so let’s not jump to conclusions.

He gets off the ride and he’s calm. That’s a good sign, I thought. But, the people on the ride didn’t know something flew off. All the families on the ground told their loved ones and there were more memorial passes. Glad that’s not my phone  and more That sucks!

Hubs checked his pockets and I’m sure you can see where this is going. It was his phone. His Samsung Galaxy S5 phone was in pieces on the concrete.

My wallet hurts.

My mind started running over what was going to happen next. He needs a phone. Maybe not a fancy phone, but a some sort of smart phone. Talk and Text, yup. Web, probably! He uses email on his phone all the time. My brain kept thinking This is going to be at least $300. 

And then things got really passive aggressive. Let’s walk through it.

I started thinking that he needs to pay for this. He’s the one that screwed up. He should buy the new phone. But what good does that do? All our money is joint. There is no “he” pays for it. We pay.

Then I thought, he’s been complaining about his phone for the last few months, asking to get a new one. This one still worked so we held off, but now he gets to get a new phone. He’s getting what he wants because he screwed up. That doesn’t seem fair.

What about what I want? I’ve conditioned myself to be very careful with my money. The night before the incident I was looking at cross stitch patterns. I’m making a Harry Potter gift for my sister and for a couple extra dollars, I can get the pattern for all the Hogwarts Houses. What I want is $13, but I saw that the shop has sales so I followed it on instagram and Facebook, hoping to find a coupon. He gets a new phone because he screwed up and I wait to spend $13. I only have until the end of September to make it, so waiting could be problematic! Damnit, I’m going to buy that cross stitch and all the floss I need to make it. Maybe even one of those fancy floss organizers!

But why should I stop at that? He gets his greatest pain point relieved because he screwed up, why can’t I spend the same amount he gets to spend. Heck, why can’t I buy all the things? He’s always been the spendy piece of this relationship. When is it my time to blow money on stuff?

Maybe it is time for me to blow money on stuff. Clearly, me waiting for a 25% coupon off $13 is a waste of my time. I spend all this time and effort keeping our bills low, challenging every one, and he goes on a ride, screws up and gets a new phone. What’s the point of all my efforts? I pinch to pay for him to be irresponsible?

But I don’t want to be irresponsible. I don’t want to blow money just to blow money. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am financially. I’ve trained myself to go without, to control my lifestyle. All of my passive aggressive thoughts (and the aggressive ones too) would only turn the ship another direction with lifestyle inflation. Do I need to buy the cross stitch? Yes. Do I need to find ways to spend $300 because he gets to spend that much? no.

Do I have my spending toned down too much? Maybe. But I’m not quite sure how to fix it. I don’t want to be impulsive. When I see something I want, I put it on the waitlist. Then I wait. Sometimes I buy it, but most often, I can go without. I’ve tried giving myself a spending budget. Heck, I even have a special account I’m supposed to spend. But the money keeps building up. Eventually, I transfer it to another account and start over. The current balance in my Kate Must Spend account is $20.01. I’ve had accounts like these for probably 10 years and I can’t remember a time when I ever took money from it.

*shrugs* I don’t know what to do.

A broken phone caused a lot of things to run through my head. Most of them were filled with passive aggression and lifestyle inflationary thoughts. None of it was fun.

How do you make sure you spend money on yourself? Do you have any recommendations for affordable Android phones? Help.