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Archive for December, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

December 30th, 2011 at 02:14 am

Of course, just days after writing out my lofty 2012 financial goals, I get a suspicious looking envelope in the mail. As soon as I saw the senders address- state department of taxation, I groaned. Sure enough, I got a letter explaining how in 2008 one taxpayer (my spouse) was exempt from state taxes due to military and we filled out Form XYZ. Therefore my exemptions were limited based on the percentage of income I contributed to the household- I claimed too many exemptions for state. Basically I owe about $624.

I could visualize myself getting further away from my 2012 goals. However, I am so thankful I have an emergency fund right now, because we can all expect that these things things happen. Maybe not a tax issue. For someone else (who is smarter with numbers!), it could be a home repair,or an extended, expensive illness. We all just have to do the best we can to prepare ourselves for what will eventually throw our good plans off track.

I will still get to my 2012 goals, I'm just going to be $624 lighter in the beginning of the year.

Love my downtime

December 28th, 2011 at 09:44 pm

Now that Christmas has past, it seems as if everyone has relaxed a bit. I've gone to my friends' houses for meals and done my errands in relative peace. I really appreciate the peace, and I think that my kids do, too. They are happily playing with their Christmas toys. I'm catching up on my rest. My SO is getting lots of study time in for an important test. We all needed this break.

We went to Walmart for wrapping paper and found what we needed. I also picked up some green table items to use right now, my dining room table looks a bit bland. I'm very happy that I stopped in today, I picked up some good deals.

Although the weather was around 50 degrees today, it was very sunny. I decided to go for a run outside, just because I could. If it was any colder I wouldn't have done it, I'm very picky about running temperature! I feel so good now, 2 more miles done for the month.

Moving forward

December 27th, 2011 at 01:25 am

My family had a wonderful Christmas together, we are very blessed. We spent the day in the company of our family, eating a deli lunch and playing with our new toys.

Today we left the house and took the girls bowling. It was fun, something different. We also checked out the after Christmas sales. I picked up nice gift sets to give throughout the year and next Christmas. I plan to go back out tomorrow, I still need to pick up a few rolls of holiday wrapping paper. I don't like to overstock, but I like to have just enough.

Although I love Christmas and had a great time, I have to confess that I took all of my decorations down today! I just like to "move on", no dwelling.

Almost 9 Years Out...

December 24th, 2011 at 02:01 pm

As I'm cleaning up my finacial goals, I'm also looking at my long term goals. I decided to move the action plan of my long term goal into a blog post rather than leave it on my blog setting. This way as I make updates I can log those as well.

I have trouble thinking of 10 years out, but as time goes on I am realizing that 10 years really isn't that far off.
My number one goal: Relocate somewhere tropical. Or someplace very warm that calls my name. Some things, obviously, I can't do right away, like look for a place to live, or job applications. But I want to start working on things that will lead me to my goal.
I have kids, and although they would love to move back as well, I have to be smart about all of this. Their dad lives here and is about to retire from the military. We want the kids to see him as much as possible. My SO is active duty and has at least 7 years left in, so no telling where they will send her during this time. These relationships will always come before tropics!

Action plan:
* need career that can transfer to new location (got it)
* Make myself a true asset in the field, to increase the chances that I could get hired anywhere. Currently I am starting a strenuous certification program that will probably take me 2 years to complete. But with this certification, I should have a lot of options available to me.
* money in the bank to "get by" while getting situated in new home ~ $20,000? I'm halfway there. Then of course I have to keep the money for the next 9 years! I will have to figure out where to store that money for the most bang for my buck.
*stay debt-free so that my financial obligations are minimal
*have some equity in a rental house or some cash in the bank from a home sale (condo purchased, and I now have a tenant!)

There you have it, I'm making progress!

Some 2012 goals

December 23rd, 2011 at 01:32 pm

EF up to $20,000 by the end of June 2012.

Come up with a plan to pay for certification expenses through employee reimbursement, grants, and out of pocket. Though I really don't want to pay for any of this out of pocket, I've paid so much for my education already. 1 class will be covered so far, 4 more to figure out. Total cost of these 5 courses: $4250...

Go ahead and do the divorce paperwork already. (We've been legally separated for nearly 5 years).

Figure out the balance of my health savings account. I started this last year, and the amount not used rolls over from year to year, and can be withdrawn for special circumstances. I just need to be more aware of this account, since I'm paying into it.

Every month: Run at least 25 miles, and log 8 or more additional workouts.

Hmm, saving $20,000 should be the easy part.





Holiday break has begun and 10K goal met!

December 22nd, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I'm a free woman, until January 3! I've had too many sugary baked goods today, but we had a great last day of school and it feels so good to be home, knowing I can relax for a while.

I just transferred money over to EF, I have met my short term goal of 10K saved by 12/31/11! I guess it's not truly an emergency fund, though. I pull money out of it for various "big ticket" things that might crop up, like an expensive car repair, a vacation, summer camp for the girls. It is easier for me to save in one fund than several various places. But as long as this account keeps growing, I'm happy. I've got my eye on my next goal now, 20K by June 2012. That is the only financial goal I have set up right now, I think that I will think about goals over the break and update my list. I know that one of them will be in regards to my schoolin, I'm taking a class in January and I may commit to the entire program, if I like it and I determine it will be financially beneficial to me.

Wrapping up the year

December 19th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Shopping is done. Goodies are all made, too. I even took pictures of DDS by the Christmas tree to post for out of town relatives. This week I will just pick up some party platters (free, I have rebates!), and get a tank of gas. I will make it till the 1st without dipping into savings!!!

Speaking of savings, I am on target to reach my savings goal of 10K by the end of December. I have till 11:59pm, gonna need every minute.

I have some intense meetings this week at work, one a day, so every evening my load will get lighter.

How can this possibly be free???

December 18th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I'm talking about the fabulous endorphin rush that comes after a good run! I had a great run last night and I felt so good afterwards, it really lightened my mood the entire evening. The Last week was a bit tough, with work and home repairs,and I noticed SO and I were getting stuck in a "negative cycle". I would be crabby, say something I shouldn't have, SO would react, and the rest of the evening would be awkward. We would apologize and vow to be nicer to each other. But the next night, something else would crop up, and I would misinterpret something that SO said, get my feelings hurt, and before you knew it, THAT night would be spoiled just a little bit. Yesterday, though, I felt so proud of myself for my run, and felt so good, that the "negative cycle" was broken.

I'm just giving a shout out to any SA friends who are feeling overwhelmed this time of year, or depressed, or just broke, to go break a sweat. Walk, swim, dance, twenty minutes should do it, more is even better. You owe it to yourself! Then come on back afterwards, do your cleaning or just go about your day with a lighter heart!

Only 9 more days...

December 16th, 2011 at 10:33 am

I've sent off 3 packages. One more to send off. This weekend the girls and I will make one more batch of cookies, this will go to a neighbor and some relatives out of town.

I need to be very careful with my money because the 15th through New Years Eve will feel like an awfully long stretch with gift shopping and impulse buys that can tempt. All I have left to pick up will be gift cards, so that will be an easy purchase, no browsing allowed!

I will be very busy with work today and next week, that will keep me out of the stores. And I have lots of plans with the family and friends during break, none of which involve shopping!

Yay, stayed within my budget!

December 12th, 2011 at 10:53 am

My weekend started on Thursday afternoon. Youngest DD and I went to a neighboring town with her BFF and her mother for a Christmas event. We stayed in a hotel overnight, enjoyed the swimming pool the next morning, and then hit the outlets for some shopping. I bought some more gifts from my list, stayed within my budget during the trip.
After returning home Friday night we were woken up by the house alarm at 3am. Our water heater was leaking, and got into the ceiling, setting off the alarms. Very scary, I ran around and turned off water valves, turned off the gas, and tried to take the batteries out of the fire alarms, and then discovered that the alarms were wired through the house. I found the fuse box and shut off the "smoke detector" fuse. This was new to me, I always thought that smoke detectors were just battery operated, I didn't know that they could be wired and connected to the breaker box...
So Saturday morning we had to improvise- no breakfast with Santa, as we had to wait for an emergency visit from the plumber instead. The water heater will be replaced within the next few days, but the plumber disconnected the water supply from the heater so that we could at least turn our water back on. It has been a weekend of cold showers... I pretend I am Pocahontas bathing in the river in the middle of winter Smile
Sunday after church I did grocery shopping, a bit more Christmas shopping, and went on a cookie baking marathon. I have a box of goodies to send out to relatives, and teacher gifts to send to school with DD.
Today it is back to work, always plenty to do!

Lots of growing in 10 years

December 6th, 2011 at 02:58 am

Sigh. It's almost painful to look back the last 10 years. I was married back then, young, with a toddler. I was mostly staying at home with my daughter and taking care of our home and rental house. If we still had that rental house, well, we'd have a lot of money right now. No use looking back with regret, though. AS a couple we had good intentions with the moeny we made but never really stuck to one path of financial growth. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my children while they were young, and I was able to earn my master's degree. My spouse had a wife who took care of the homefront while he was away for work most of the year, and I could drop everything to be with him on work trips when suitable. So the money didn't get wasted, it went to where we wanted it to go. Would I do things differently? Yes. But not a whole lot differently. And not if it meant I couldn't stay home with my kids and I couldn't support my spouse while he was doing his job. Those things were important to our family.

These next 10 years will be different. I am no longer married, and now I have a child in elementary school and middle school. I have a career now, and I'm working on additional certification to expand my career options in the next few years. I purchased a home all on my own, that I rent out. I'm responsible for my bills and savings. I've done great saving on my own, and I plan on continuing down the same path in the next 10 years.
I want to double my salary in the next 10 years. That means I will have to look beyond teaching. I can become a specialist of some sort, or branch out into the private sector for work with children with special education needs.
I am still going to relocate somewhere tropical within the next 10 years. Hopefully sooner, as I want my children to be young enough to enjoy it as a family. I should be able to find a teaching position out there, especially with the additional certification I am going to earn.
So I will keep paddling along, with my long-term goals in mind. Good choices are what will get me to my dreams!