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Archive for April, 2012

May financial housekeeping

April 28th, 2012 at 01:00 pm

Looking to the upcoming month, I've got some financial housekeeping to complete.
-Increase monthly savings by $50. (increase of $25 per paycheck)
-Receive tuition reimbursement (hopefully in May sometime!) and deposit into savings
-Reach $10,000 savings goal by end of May, and start new savings goal of additional $10,000 by December 2012. Yes, my goals are very exciting (not!)

I don't have any more concrete goals besides just building up the cash- the future is sort of up in the air as far as where we will be living, that sort of thing. If we stay in this area, I guess I'll just keep saving according to plan. If we move in a year, well, the money will come in handy when it comes time to either purchase somewhere else, float me while I look for work, or any emergencies. Or I could just use all of this savings for retirement. I do contribute to retirement through a tax deferred plan as well as an employer paid retirement plan, but it doesn't seem like there is much money in it. I have to add up the total amount of the accounts, but it is a paltry sum compared to the million or so I will need to retire!

I will need to decide where to keep this cash once I make my May goal. The rest of my long-term savings is in a taxable investment account. I hate just piling it up in a savings account, but I'm also a bit leery about putting most of my savings into the investment account. I sure know how to complicate things!

The countdown begins

April 26th, 2012 at 09:45 am

Just a few days left in April, and I'm going to need everyone of them to get everything done! Work is going to be nonstop for the next few weeks. But if I can keep up this pace for a few more weeks then I will be right on schedule to meet all deadlines before the end of the school year. There is an end in sight!

Besides spending on McDs coffee after work lately, I haven't done much spending this week. I've managed to make it home each night without giving in to the temptation to eat out. This has resulted in much less money going out, and more down time with the kids.

I have noticed other SA members "pay" themselves when they have a no-spend day, or if their favorite team wins, etc. I need to start something like that for my cruise. I want to have it paid for by the end of August, and here it is almost May. Time to start getting creative and get that account built up. Maybe each day that I don't buy any food or drinks, I pay myself $3? Or each day that I exercise I pay myself? Maybe both. Reducing caffeine consumption and consistent exercise are both priorities for me, so I might as well reward myself for them.

Also on the financial front, I increased my automatic monthly savings by $50 a month. This should start to make a difference after a few months.

Made it through Monday!

April 24th, 2012 at 09:30 am

I had a very satisfactory Monday. The students were happy and cooperative at school. I stayed after 1.5 hours to catch up on paperwork. Then after a quick dinner I enjoyed a heart-racing (if uncoordinated!) zumba class while my kids had their dance class, which was followed by another hour of my regular dance class. The girls were in a good mood, I got them to bed almost on time and after a hot shower I fell fast asleep. Can't ask for much more on a Monday, that's our busy day!

I received $16 in rebates in the mail yesterday, so that bumps up the cruise fund to $748.

We won't hear anything on the possible new orders for a while, as it's still over a year away. But it's exciting to think about!

Today I have another training after school, so we will get home much later than usual. Well, this should be the last mandatory training of the year...

Making progress on goals!

April 22nd, 2012 at 11:17 am

I talked to ex about future, and he plans on working a job where he is gone for so many months and then time off at home for so many months, like a rotation. So with this situation our family doesn't "have" to stay put in order for him to spend time with the girls. Basically their dad can stay wherever he wants when he is in the states, because he won't be working then- that is his time off. We can plan out trips for the girls to be with him when he is back in the states, and he can fly to be with the girls when he is off until he has to leave the country again. No reason to stay put in an area to be close to their dad if he's not even going to be there. Our girls are pretty familiar with the frequent deployments of their dad, they were raised in that lifestyle. As long as they get to see him when he is not working, they will be happy, as they have always been very close with their dad. That will always be a priority for me.

I don't want to jinx myself, but SO is making progress on the next set of orders! The girls and I used to live there, and they loved it. Their dad could even get a short term rental for when he is off work and with the girls. Shoot, I'd pay for the rental myself so he could spend his off time with the girls out there! The basic expenses would be covered out there through SO (rent and utilities), and then our paychecks would cover all of our other living expenses. I'd have to start the job hunt all over again, which is never fun. But who knows, a new job will bring different opportunities for my career. There are lots of other factors to consider, but the good thing is that we know and love the area, and that's a start.

We still have over a year before we have to go anywhere, but I felt so uncertain about how to move forward. I feel much lighter than I have felt in months, having a bit more clarity on which direction we are all headed, and talking to the girls' dad about upcoming arrangements.

Free "garden" this year, good news

April 18th, 2012 at 09:00 am

I'm pleasantly surprised that most of my plantings from last year returned- hostas, lilies and tulips. In fact, it looks like my tulips multiplied, I don't remember having this many last year. We weren't planning on growing any vegetables this year because we were preoccupied with work and school, but little DD came home with several plants. Her garden club at school has a relationship with a horticulture class at a nearby college and they donated a pallet of plants for the kids. Besides planting them at the school garden, the members were given plants to take home as well. So yesterday we planted a tomato plant, cayenne pepper, cilantro and cucumber. Little DD is becoming quite the gardener from this club! Since we used containers from last year, we didn't have to buy anything. I'm glad to get more use out of previous purchases and looking forward to some home grown produce this summer.

Work will keep me busy for the rest of the month. I've been working furiously on a tough issue that is finally easing up a bit after yesterday's meeting. So I can catch up on everything else that has been needing my attention. It always feels good to take care of things like you should!

Life in general has been feeling a bit more positive... My little brother found a job! I say little, but he's 30 years old! He starts in mid May. The pay is nothing fabulous, but very good benefits that start right away. Since it is a large company there are all sorts of avenues for advancement and other positions that he can go for, once they become available. I'm relieved, it wasn't the money so much I was worried about, he rented out his house and doesn't have any children, so he managed. I was worried about his mental health- he was really becoming depressed about his inability to find work, and he just stopped caring about himself for a little while. I know that positive steps bring about more positive change, so he can make the best of this opportunity.

Back to work

April 16th, 2012 at 09:40 am

I enjoyed a blissfully relaxing break, and today is the day to return to work. I'm ready, though, bring it on!

Besides filling up my car with gas yesterday I had a no spend day. We had barbeque leftovers for dinner with homemade tortillas. Delicious, free, and helped make some room in our fridge.

Tonight after work we will have a quick dinner at home and then off to dance class, followed by showers and bed. Mondays always seem to fly by for us.

Tomorrow I may attend a local real estate investor's meeting... I've been meaning to go to a meeting for a while...

Enjoying my home

April 13th, 2012 at 09:38 am

Besides one night out of town, we've spent the rest of Spring Break at home. I've really enjoyed the time here. Waking up leisurely, exercising, cooking, and taking our time with errands and shopping is just pleasant! We've enjoyed a couple trips to the park with the girls and the dog, done "kid things" we usually don't have time for during the week like Chuck E Cheese and going to a toy store to finally use a gift card. The kids also spent a couple nights with Dad. I like to think that they've had a nice Spring Break!

We've done lots of medical appointments for the family this week, which equates to less time off during the school year. I always feel I've checked something off my list when we complete the Dr. visits.

While we ate out Sunday and Monday afternoon on our overnight getaway, the only other meal we've spent money on was pizza at Chuck E Cheese (with a coupon and we brought leftovers home!) SO mentioned to me how nice it was to eat at home- the food was good, no waiting around to be served, and we didn't have to waste time driving around town to eat. And the savings? I know we have saved at least $100 this week skipping a couple meals out, if we keep it up through the weekend.

We took a couple bags to the thrift store, and my home feels even lighter without that extra stuff. Less stuff equals less cleaning!

I'm investigating a new approach to finances- instead of thinking of ways to work more to earn more money, I'm focusing on how to Need less money. At this point if I'm honest with myself I can say I make enough money for my needs, and some of my wants. I don't really have to make more money. I may be better off thinking of ways to reduce my expenses to a comfortable level and enjoying that, instead of devoting more hours to working. But this is all for another post down the line...

Spending for the weekend? Don't ask

April 10th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I wouldn't be able to tell you anyway, I've lost track. Most of it over the weekend was for food. Now I feel like I'm back on track and will get back to my normal frugal self today!

The good news is that final grades posted and I officially have a big fat "P" for passed! So I will get reimbursed $850 tuition, yay!

Today should be beautiful weather so we plan on grilling, I'm looking forward to that. Groceries have already been purchased for the week, there shouldn't be anything else to pick up.

My tenant's lease ends on April 30, then I will need to find another one. It's a beach condo, though, so I'll be tempted to keep it vacant for the family to use... but I think I'm too cheap for that!

a little of everything

April 5th, 2012 at 09:36 am

Today should be fun at school. I'm trying to keep the day as "normal" as possible for the class, and just throw in some Easter/Spring themed reading/math lessons. We'll make some Easter baskets for art. At the end of the day we'll have a quick egg hunt, and wish everyone a happy break! Anything more than that will disrupt the schedule too much for my students.

The family will spend one night out of town staying at an indoor water park, then head back the next day (it's only an hour away). SO has the week off as well so we will all partake in local fun activities. I plan to take these costs out of our regular budget, shouldn't cost too much. I've also scheduled all of our Dr. appointments during this week, so no time off of work.

I haven't had much chance to check out money during the week, so that's something I'll do this weekend. It should all match up with my budget spreadsheet, unless I've done something wacky that I've forgotten about (been known to happen).

I'm behind on my exercise goals, I didn't reach my running goal for March. I've met my goal every month for over a year, up until last month, off by 9 miles. So sad. But we all got sick, I was finishing up my online class and studying for final, generally other things got in the way. For April I am going to be extra focused. I would "really" like to "make up" those 9 miles from March in April, just to put my mind at ease. My problem is that I actually have to DO IT. But I'm going to give myself a grace period to complete my March miles. It was a rough month, and I need to build some wiggle room in my fitness for months like March.