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Archive for January, 2011

What Would I Change

January 30th, 2011 at 04:54 am

Great topic, Ceejay!

Work- I do feel like I am doing the work I am meant to do. I wish there was more monetary reward, but I am rewarded knowing that I am making a difference in the world. Cliche, I know, but I am a big believer in doing something Useful. I am so fortunate to work with a great team, because it really is challenging work and I couldn't do it without them! I need to build more confidence in my work, I am too fearful that I am not doing a good job.

Myself-More confidence. I am building up my confidence this year by being more positive, keeping negative thoughts about myself out of my head, and forcing myself through personal challenges where I usually give up.
I also really need to get my moods back to a healthy place. We've had such a long winter already, I can feel it taking its toll on my spirit. I need to find a way over this and find the positive.

Home Life- I enjoy making our home peaceful. I am pleased with what I have done to make our home a sanctuary for my family. I haven't spent a lot of money doing it, either. Just using what we've got or what I find.

Family- I have great kids, and I am always striving to be a better parent. I need to just enjoy my kids a bit more, be consistent with rewards and consequences, and not take it all too personally when they don't listen. Sometimes I talk down to myself when they don't behave, like I'm a lousy mother, but kids aren't perfect, either.
I want more quality time with my SO! I need to keep this relationship strong as well, and it needs attention just like any other part of my life that is important.

grocery update

January 25th, 2011 at 02:23 am

I'm averaging around $70/week for groceries. I was aiming for $60/week, but I keep finding great deals that I stock up on. So maybe eventually it will get down to $60/week? I'm also not scrimping a whole lot in groceries. I buy what we want, mostly, just try to do it with coupons and sales. I could easily cut it down by really getting tough on the purchases. But I don't have to be THAT tough yet, I'm seeking a balance between smart shopping and being a miser! Otherwise I will not enjoy eating at home and I will one day break down and spend all my money on some restaurant food instead and then be hungry the rest of the month!

Moving Ahead

January 22nd, 2011 at 03:08 am

Yesterday I registered for the certification classes I'll need in order to do my side business. I'm looking forward to getting back into the scene, I'm hoping it will be fun and profitable this summer! Next I'll need to get a business license so I am legit,and just save those receipts. The most expensive part of the business is the intial certification, but that will be good for three years. February and March will be buzzing with training, and then I can work on promoting myself. That's the scariest part for me!

Slow month!

January 21st, 2011 at 02:04 am

Even my 2nd grader commented on how the rest of the year went so fast, but it has been January for a looong time!
Ah well, I'll just keep trucking along. As I've said before, just doing what I'm supposed to be doing is pretty encouraging by itself, and eventually I'll get out of this boring, slow patch. Sometimes boring and slow is good! I remember when I was finishing up my last few classes and working full time, I would have done anything for a "boring" and "slow" month!
I'm contemplating if I should venture into a side business. If I have to admit to myself, I don't really "need" the money. It's more as a creative outlet, a way to brainstorm and produce something of my own. Either that or I need to discover a new hobby!

Craving sunshine...

January 19th, 2011 at 02:12 am

This time of year is always tough for me. I haven't been outside in weeks and I'm craving some sunshine. (I'm a summer girl at heart). Regardless of the temperature, the next day that the sun is out I'm going to force myself to walk in it! I'm not going to cave in and book a spring break vacation somewhere warm. I've worked too hard to build up my savings. There is so much to do in my city when it's warm, I'll just hang in there till it warms up.

I'm using this time to perfect my weekly routine of cooking, child rearing, working, etc. It's funny how good I can feel when I'm just doing what I should be doing! I guess it's all in how you look at things. I've been making a conscious effort to be more positive.

No eating out this weekend

January 17th, 2011 at 03:11 am

Although I've been making a conscious effort not to eat out, I always planned on eating out at least once or twice on the weekends. This weekend SO and I cooked instead, and it was so much fun. Saturday nmight we finished cooking early, enjoyed some wine, and still had the whole night ahead of us. Much better than spending $30-$50 out to eat, to arrive back home much later, full and sleepy.

Eating out on the weekends was a habit for us, and changing habits always involve some degree of discomfort. It felt awkward at first, but then we started to enjoy being home cooking instead of fighting the Saturday night restaurant crowds. By Sunday afternoon we already were looking forward to what we would make for lunch, and mentally pocketed the lunch money.

Rebates are adding up...

January 16th, 2011 at 03:54 am

I started mailing in rebates in October. I realized I'm going to buy the food anyway, might as well get a few bucks back for it. I've been depositing the checks in a savings account dedicated only to rebate checks. The account is now up to $129.00! How did that happen, when most rebates are for $3.00-$6.00? I'm just sticking to it, it's as easy as that. And it's working! Finally!

Getting the hang of using coupons

January 15th, 2011 at 03:43 am

I officially have no shame at the grocery store! Last night I used 24 coupons for pasta along with a bunch of other coupons, saving $36 on my grocery bill. We bought our regular groceries, stocked up on meat and of course pasta. Spent $62 and will be getting $10 back in rebates. I consider that a victorious shopping trip for a coupon newbie!

Long Term Goals

January 11th, 2011 at 03:36 am

After discovering that we had a 2 hour delay this morning due to weather, I figured I had some time to think more in depth about my goals. I had fun with this one!

Long-term Goal(by 2021, I'll be 45)
( )relocate somewhere tropical (seriously!)
action plan:
* need career that can transfer to new location (got it)
* money in the bank to "get by" while getting situated in new home
*stay debt-free so that my financial obligations are minimal
* continue to build net worth through investments

I love Mondays?!

January 10th, 2011 at 02:34 am

Ok, early Monday morning again. Would you believe instead of crying in my pillow I'm a little bit happy? I don't really spend money during the week, so I'm looking forward to a bunch of "no spend" days! How sad is that?!

Seriously, though, I have been doing a good job staying to a planned menu, so I don't need to buy anything during the week. I find that I enjoyed my dinner out Saturday even more after I had "earned" it from sticking to my plan the rest of the week.

Here's to Monday through Friday, working hard, and enjoying your off time even more!

staying true to my goals

January 8th, 2011 at 04:06 am

Lately I've been contemplating purchasing a home to use as a rental. My SO bought the house we live in now, and we all love it here. Yet I don't have any property in my name anymore, and I feel like I'm "missing out" on benefits of real estate.

I've been browsing the home sale listings, and there is a lot more in my price range now. I still haven't decided to do this. For one thing, taking on a mortgage that we don't need automatically increases my vulnerability. One more thing that will keep me shackled to a job. At this point I could actually work just part time, but if I took on a mortgage I would need the security of a full time job in case of vacancies, non-paying tenants, etc.

The other thing keeping me from taking this plunge into rental property ownership is the extra stress. I have always been a "worrier". I'm already worrying if I could find a tenant, if the neighborhood will keep it's value, etc. and I haven't even made up my mind. I have the feeling that making the home purchase will not be worth the sleepless nights and headaches that I bring to myself.

I think what I am going to do is continue to save that extra money each month, continue to invest in my retirement funds, etc. so that I feel that my money is still working for me. In a few years, when we relocate due to SO's job, we will turn our current home into a rental. That really makes the most sense.

I need to practice patience. My kids don't need a mom who is always thinking and worrying about a rental property, they deserve a mom who is living in the current moment and really there for them. I must admit that I have issues with anxiety and I need to start making decisions that are better for my health, including not getting myself overwhelmed with expensive responsibilities.

Grocery totals

January 5th, 2011 at 02:19 am

$69.72.
1/2/11A little higher than my intended goal of $60.00, but I'm happy with it, because we purchased a lot of personal products for the upcoming months.

$61.07
1/8/11 Again a little over, today was a nightmare shopping trip! Lines to the other side of the commissary, in the chaos of trying to get out of there I didn't use all of my intended coupons. Grr!

Saving on food

January 2nd, 2011 at 04:21 am

Food is by far the easiest line item to save on in my budget. I used to average $80 a week for four. My SO and I started using coupons and really taking our time to find deals in the grocery store. Took lots of time, but dropped our average bill to $60 a week, without any difference in our eating habits.

The past month of so, because of holidays and parties, the food bill has not been anywhere near $60 a week. NOw that 2011 is here, though, I'm recommitted to getting our grocery bill average to $60 a week once again.

Today will be our first grocery trip of 2011, I'll post the damage later!

In the meantime, I'm patting myself on the back for eating in last night, despite just returning from a weekend trip and coming home to an empty fridge. Using freezer chicken and our pantry stash, we ended up having a tasty dinner that didn't cost a dime! That saved us a lot of cash,and loads of calories, too.

Satisfaction in 2011

January 1st, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Reading my author biography, I realize I already have achieved the most important things: I am raising my girls in a happy, safe home, and I have lots of time for my family. I know that these things can change in an instant, and each night I am thankful to God that I have these blessings.

In 2011 I have to be honest, really, I'm satisfied with just raising happy, safe children, that I can spend lots of time with, and do what I am meant to be doing on this earth. The rest is just numbers! Of course I'm going to be smart about work and money, but always keep what is really important at the front.