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Quick end of summer update

August 24th, 2014 at 01:27 pm

The summer has been a whirlwind, to put it mildly. DW and I have made plans for the next few years. The girls and I are moving back to my hometown, 3 hours away, for the best interest of the girls. DW is staying behind to finish up the last few years of her orders and will be commuting home ever other week, taking 3 and 4 day weekends (she has tons of leave to use up). This way the kids can finish up school with family close by, in schools we love. When the kids are done with school we will start thinking about where we want to go, but for the time being we want to stay in this area.

Which means the summer has been full of drives back and forth while house hunting, registering kids for school, and scheduling appointments with new providers. On top of the typical summer days of birthday parties, day trips with friends, and our vacation.

We are eager to get settled in our new place, 10 days until we move in. My first day back to work is tomorrow. I haven't had a moment to even reflect on the new job, which in a way is good. No time to waste on worries about whether I will like it or not!

2014 finances

November 17th, 2013 at 01:25 pm

I'm just in the preliminary goal planning stage, but it is invigorating to imagine a fresh new year ahead. Maybe all of my goals may not pan out, but what is that saying, if I shoot for the moon, I may catch a star?

I want to continue on course for retirement savings. Between the two pensions my job offers, and my monthly contribution to my ROTH IRA, my savings is appropriate, according to online calculations. I am nowhere near where others my age are, I am sure, but by the time I reach retirement age I should be fine.

Besides retirement, I want to take advantage of the higher salary I am earning out here. Even considering some of the higher costs associated with this area, I should still be able to save 50% of my monthly income after taxes and retirement. That looks like a large amount, but I also take from this savings for specials such as vacations, big purchases, large gifts, etc. I just keep all the savings in one account instead of breaking it into sub accounts. Well, except for the rental, that has it's own account.

Just giving myself something to think about for goal planning. I didn't reach all of my goals this year but I did make good progress.

Quick weekend round up

July 21st, 2013 at 10:29 am

I was paid $450 for the babysitting this week, I'm glad the parents pay weekly, that keeps me motivated!
This money goes into my savings account for now. I'm putting moving expenses on my rewards credit card so I will pay that off with savings when everything has cleared.

We sold our washer/dryer on Craigslist for $300 within an hour (pricing is everything on CL!). We used some of that money to pay cash for the food and drinks for DD's 14th birthday party. After eating we all went to the pool down the block. Everyone had a fantastic time, I loved watching DD with her friends. They hadn't seen each other since the end of the school year and they were all giggles and nonstop chatter, it reminded me so much of my BFFs and me when we were that age! I'm really praying for my girls to find good friends in our new neighborhood. Good friends just make life so much sweeter!

The credit card bill is really high, since I put all vacation expenses on it and now moving expenses. I will still be able to pay it off by the due date, I think, I'm just waiting for all of the checks to clear and all of the "holds" to be released from online accounts.

All in all, I'm optimistic about the upcoming year. I haven't heard from HR as to my official salary, just looked it up online, but from what I found it is much higher than I'm making now. After taking into consideration the cost of living increase, I should still be able to bank most of the difference between my old salary and my new salary. Plus what I was saving on my old salary. I just can't get sucked into the trappings of having extra money, namely getting used to spending all of the new salary.

I know that looking at my long term goal will help me stay focused on keeping the saving and investing up. We will probably be in our new location for 4 years, and then we can look to something else. At that point we want to have a lot of cash set aside so that we have more choices, since we might be looking at military retirement. That means we may be able to move where we want to, and pick a house we really imagine ourselves living in for a while. Or it might mean more travel jobs. But we want to have choices.

In the meantime, I know we won't be miserable living a simpler life, it can be quite enjoyable!

Things are starting to settle down

May 29th, 2013 at 09:42 am

After weeks of debate and research about where to live/school districts/etc, SO and I decided to keep the house. She will pay half of the house expenses,(on top of the DC housing expenses for herself) so that I can comfortably stay in the house and still be able to save money each month. It's a beautiful house, so this way the kids can stay in a safe, quiet neighborhood that they know and they can continue with their schools as usual. SO passed her promotion exam after nearly a year of studying each and every day, so the extra income couldn't have come at a better time!

Knowing that the housing situation is covered is a huge relief. Also, SO won't have to lose money on a home sale, as the house is still underwater, though slowly going up in value again.

I'm about halfway done with class #3, I can do this, I can do this.

Rebate money added

January 26th, 2013 at 01:30 pm

My rewards check from Chase came today, for $31.44. This bumps my rebate account up to $40 for the year. Slowly moving along!

My former BIL (well, I guess I still consider him the BIL) is a very talented IT guy. He is going to host a website for me that I have been wanting to start. I am going to sell a small selection of teaching and active play products especially chosen for kids with autism and other special needs. Products that I have tested out in the classroom and can give personal feedback on for the customers. I can also sell my own products if I can find enough time to make some more. It will be a niche store that will mostly appeal to teachers, parents, and grandparents of special needs children. The site is still under construction but we are working on it!

It snowed here last night, which caused everyone's world to spin upside down. Instead of 15 minutes, our drive was 1.5 hours, and we saw 11 cars stranded. It only snowed 2 inches, mind you, but it's a huge deal here! I would just stay home this weekend to avoid it all, but I need to get groceries. I'm hoping when the sun comes out some of this stuff will melt, I'm not a snow girl.

Take home pay

January 14th, 2013 at 11:03 am

I was able to look up my pay statement for Tuesday's deposit. Looks like the tax changes, my medical insurance, and dental for the three of us will take an additional $55 per pay period. Not so bad, I suppose. Good medical coverage for me, and dental for my children and myself, for $110 a month. Fortunately the children are covered on my ex's health insurance.

Yesterday was an emotionally draining day, dealing with ex and my impending move with the kids 3 hours away. This issue will require more discussion between the two of us.

Class #2 is finished and exciting news

January 8th, 2013 at 11:01 am

I took the final last night and I have officially passed and finished my course! I have 3 more to go, but I'm going to wait until April to start the next one. These classes are tough for me, and take a lot of time. I need to catch up on the rest of my life for a bit before I dive back in. Not to mention that I am paying for them myself as tuition reimbursement has been reduced to a pittance, so I want to build up more savings before I take out the full tuition.

I am in the process of refinancing my vehicle. It is at 1.9% but if I get the same rate at my other credit union they offer a $250 rebate! I figured I might as well go through the paperwork to get $250. Hopefully, though, they still honor the offer when all is said and done.

SO and I have decided that we will all move when she gets her new orders in a few months. 4 years is just too long to be commuting on the weekends and school holidays. If we had no other choice we would do it, but I don't want to put our lives on "hold" for so long. The new area has an excellent school district and lots of "big city" opportunities for my girls. They don't want to move, but it is only 3 hours from our hometown, so we can visit frequently. Plus I still get school holidays and summers off so we will be spending lots of time back home during these breaks. I have a one bedroom beach condo that I can keep available to stay in for these trips. The condo is very inexpensive, and once the tenant moves out it will be empty. The kids of course would be staying with their dad during these visits, but I can stay in condo.

I'm very excited about the career opportunities for me in the new area. I've been stuck at the same first year teacher pay for 5 YEARS, since there was a salary freeze right after I was hired. I've spent lots of time and money trying to become the best teacher I can be for my students, but honestly it makes absolutely no difference to my financial situation.

The great news about this new location is that teachers of my experience and education make...$20,000 MORE than I am making now!!! Yes, cost of living is higher, but not that much higher. Plus SO also receives cost of living increases as well. Not only that, in this new area I will have ample opportunity to get the supervision hours I need for my long-term goal of becoming certified. So this move should be a very good financial and career move for us.

Refunds and exercise

December 30th, 2012 at 01:09 pm

I'm starting at 0 for 2013. All of my rebates/refunds/reward money will go in this account, to be used for a vacation for the family. Last year I used it for a cruise, which was abruptly cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. So we used that money towards a new car. I'm looking forward to building this account back up again in 2013! So far I have a $5 check I received last week in the mail, I won't deposit it till 2013. I am also mailing out a $20 rebate from groceries which I will receive in 2013.

I'm almost done with my December exercise goals. Yesterday I ran 2.25 miles and then completed 15 minutes of kettlebell workout/push ups/abs/lunges. I have 6 more miles to run in December and one more workout to go. I'm off today and tomorrow so I can get it all done!

For exercise I set a regular monthly goal of running 25 miles and also completing 8 or more additional workouts. I've managed to reach my goal for the past 2 years, with the exception of this year Aug/Sep/Oct. I bumped up my additional workout goal from 7 to 8 last year, but I'm keeping my miles goal the same. I used to run about 50 miles per month, but I found myself focusing too much on getting in the miles, to the detriment of other workouts. I think that I am stronger now that I am adding in other workouts, and my body weight is the same, despite running half as many miles. I guess muscle does help burn fat! Ideally I could run 50 miles a month as well as get in 8 additional strength training workouts, but I guess I don't want that badly enough! I might tweak my goal for 2013 just a bit, though, to keep from getting in an exercise rut. I need to get finished with December's goal and then I will think on 2013.

Had a restful break

December 29th, 2012 at 06:47 pm

I had a fabulous Christmas with my family, and lots of down time.

I weighed myself this morning, and I'm right at 140, which suprised me. My goal weight is anything below 140 and I thought that with all of the desserts and drinks I've had during break that I would have gained. I'm not going to push my luck, though, I'm getting in a good run this afternoon!

I went grocery shopping today and spent $91, but this includes $20 for a deli platter, where I have a rebate to get $20 back in the mail. The kids will be bringing deli meat and cheese for lunch!

I came up with a budget last night with SO in order to keep the house here and keep an apartment in D.C. where SO will be working. The kids and I will stay in the house and she will commute here sometimes on the weekends, or vice versa (about 2.5 hours away). Between the both of us we can manage both places, though this will cut into my monthly savings (retirement savings is still on course). I'm going to keep my 2013 savings goal just the same, I may find other opportunities to reach that goal.

I'm not going to allow myself to get frustrated at how little I will be able to save when the move happens. If I want to stay in this area for the kids then that is the price, 2 households isn't cheap. At least the girls and I have a nice, safe home to live in and SO won't have to short sell to take her next set of orders. I'm going to be pleased with even a little amount that I can save each paycheck, and try not to think of what I used to be able to save!

Ok, I need to get off of this board and get my run in!Good luck to all of you facing fearful challenges, temptations, or difficult relationships. I know every one of us has the strength to do what we know is right, even if it makes us a little uncomfortable for a while!!!

Early morning

December 24th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I woke up super early this morning, so I'm sure I will take a nap later. I love naps on my days off!

My last day of work was Friday so I have this whole week off. I celebrated with plenty of food and drink this weekend! But today I have already put in a good strength training workout. I did a total of about 50 push ups, 20 reps with the ab wheel, 30 squats, 30 plie squats, and 30 tall box climbs with bicep curls. Not sure how long it was in minutes but my legs, arms and abs feel like jello so I will count it as a workout. I also want to do a "long" outdoor run when it gets light out. A long run for me is anything over 30 minutes.

The girls are with their dad this weekend, he returned from his work trip Friday evening, so they were happy to see him. They will return this evening to have Christmas Eve at my mom's house.

This morning I will also deposit the check from ex. I've already paid the bills for the month so it will go to savings to cover any other things that crop up.

I'm adding to my 2013 goals:
-Complete at least 1 pull up or chin up by December 2013! I've never been able to do one, in my whole life. I think I'm in better shape now than when I was younger, so why not do it now, I'm not getting any younger??!! I can google some training routines to help me reach this goal.

2013 on my mind

December 20th, 2012 at 10:35 am

I have a hot cup of coffee, the rest of the house is asleep, I can sit down and really think about 2013!

-I will continue to save 15% of my salary in pre-tax deferred compensation account. I don't intend to touch this money for another 30 years. It has time to grow.

-Complete course requirements for professional certificate: 3 remaining courses in 2013. It might be difficult material and time consuming. It will take some sacrifices of my free time on the home front. But I am learning useful stuff and it will help me with career advancement in the future.

-Save additional $15,000 by December 2013. (I like to send money to my taxable fund in $5,000 increments). It sounds like a lot of money to save, but even if I don't reach it I will get closer than I am now. Or I could play it safer and make the goal $10,000 so that I don't feel like I am worrying about money all the time or stretching my budget too thin.

So I guess the action steps will be:
-set up my finances so that the goals can be funded appropriately. This will be the biggie.
*Goal #1 is already set up through payroll.
*Goal #2 is in progress. I register one class at a time.
*Goal #3 needs to be looked at. There are variables that impact this goal: child support from ex (I plan my expenses out of my own money so that if something goes wrong with child support at least my bills are paid), where we will be living: if we stay in the area I keep my current job, if we move I get another job.


-arrange my schedule so that I can have the time on the weekends set aside for studying.

So not all of the details are worked out yet, but I feel like I have more of a path to follow now than I did before I wrote out some goals.

Financial tidbits

December 11th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I have some kid and dog maintenance expenses coming up, so probably not much extra going into savings anytime soon. Especially with Christmas expenses this month.

I really need to think about my 2013 goals. I want to arrange them so I can see my progress. As it is this year I made a goal, reached it, and then I deleted it and created another one. So I have no evidence of my progress from one deadline to the next.

My progress on current goals:


{+}Additional $3,000 by December 2012 ($2219 on 11/24) *Should meet this goal on 12/15 with my scheduled deposit*
{+} $5,000 to 457 plan (on autopilot)*Met this goal*
{+} Complete 2nd class in certification series of 5 classes *I'm assuming I will pass, I have two more tests and then the final!!!*
{+}Remain close to family and support network *Looks like we will be staying in this house and area while SO lives in a nearby big (and expensive) city, will commute on weekends*

I admit, I didn't set any goal that was too tough to reach, but they were all important nonetheless.

I'm going to catch up on some other SA blogs and get some ideas for 2013!

Progressing

November 6th, 2012 at 11:07 am

I have increased my deferred compensation contribution by 25%. If I just leave it at this new amount, I should have enough for retirement. I should also have my employer's contribution in the form of a pension, but I've always been told not to rely on that. So at least this way I have my own retirement savings to rely on, and pension/social security will be additional. It is a very loose retirement plan, but I'm tightening it up as time goes on.

I am 3 weeks into my second class, 7 weeks to go! Most of my studying and video watching is done on the weekends, and my live online class is one night a week. It makes for many hours of work on the weekends, but I would rather cozy up with my notes, coffee and computer on the weekend than rush through a video here and there after the kids are in bed. I go to bed the same time they go to bed!

In the next month or so I will be shaping up my goals for next year, hard to believe!

No school or work

October 29th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

The whole family was home due to the storm. We've had nonstop rain and wind for two days now, yuck. I guess it all comes to land tonight?

I filled the day with homework for my online class. I also started an apron that I am sending SO's sister for a birthday gift. It is almost complete. The girls and I baked cookies as well.

SO and I came up with a basic financial plan to keep the house if she gets orders to D.C. Managing two households will be tight, but doable. The good news is that I helped SO refinance with her mortgage lender, they did a streamlined refinance over the phone. After all the paperwork goes through we will save about $280 a month! We are both thrilled, and that will really help us keep the house and an apartment for work.

Besides that there isn't much going on. Just Waiting. And shuddering everytime a big wind wooshes by, praying it doesn't knock out a window.

Gotta love September

September 15th, 2012 at 01:31 pm

Last night we met up with friends (planned eating out!) for happy hour dinner and drinks. About $40 for the whole evening for 2 people, can't complain! It was really nice to be with my friends again, a nice break.

Today we run shopping errands and then we will head to a couple birthday parties. One for a baby who is turning 1, and the other for my dad. So we don't have to worry about dinner tonight.

My paycheck posted and everything is scheduled to go out through bill payer and automatic transfers. I still do my automatic savings. My retirement contribution is automatic, then when the balance of my paycheck hits my account I have savings taken out automatically for my cash savings. I've taken money out to pay for unexpected expenses as well as fun stuff like a vacation, it's my general extra cash account. When it gets past $5,000 it gets dumped into the taxable investment account, and I start all over. Not very exciting, and a little too simple for some, but it has been effective.

Welcome,September!

September 2nd, 2012 at 11:17 am

Yesterday was my birthday, and we celebrated by having everyone over to the house. This was the first party we've had where we made absolutely nothing from scratch. And it tasted delicious! To be fair, most of the food was made at the local deli(fried chicken!) and bakery, but it wasn't SO or myself putting in the work. It really didn't cost all that much, especially considering we fed 12 people. I also will get a rebate of $10 for buying deli products.

I did get spoiled for my birthday with gift cards for coffee and a restaurant. My family and friends know me so well! My parents gave me $100, which I was not expecting, that was very generous! Into savings that will go until I decide what to do with it.

All of the dusting and paper shuffling at work last week caught up to me. My allergies are suffering terribly, not a good way to welcome the students. I still have a few days to rest before the first day of class, so I'm hoping to get this out of my system this weekend. I've gotten very little sleep due to the cold symptoms, but I know with time I will flush all of this out of my system and be healthy again. I just need to take care of myself.

I'm debating whether I should register for the 2nd class or not. It's a very tough class, but necessary. However, it also costs $890. If employee reimbursement is available (it may be depleted already) they have capped it at $620 per employee.
Classes start October 15 so I will need to decide soon. Another drawback is that school starts Tuesday and this time of year is crazy enough without hours of studying thrown in. Maybe I will just wait for the Spring session, it starts in January...

No eating out: 1/1 days

Change is in the air

August 21st, 2012 at 11:22 am


There are lots of changes going on around here right now. School and work will be starting back up, that always brings change, every day is a new adventure. On the homefront, my SO is putting the house on the market in anticipation for a new set of orders. I like our life how it is right now and I don't "want" to change! I love living so close to my family and friends. I love my master bedroom suite. I love the people I work with.

But it's time for the pity party to be over. I'm excited about the possiblity of orders in a great location. I'm excited about the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world with my kids. And I have to admit, part of me is excited to start up somewhere different in the world. I know I could easily get too comfortable where I am now, and I'm just not ready to do that yet. It's not our time yet.

As for financial news, I was able to deposit an extra $100 into savings, bringing the new total to $1039. I also received a $15 rebate check, bringing the cruise savings to $1226. We don't go on the actual cruise until the end of October, so I know I can save the total cruise costs by then.

Today I plan on going through the girls' wardrobes, to determine what else needs to be purchased for the upcoming school year. I know it will be shorts for a while, but the weather can change overnight and I want to be prepared.

whirlwind weekend

May 7th, 2012 at 09:43 am

I'm already looking forward to next weekend!

I did a 5K "extreme" mud race this weekend. Mud is much more painful than I thought! There were mud hills, walls to climb, tunnels, water pits,and barbed wire to crawl under. It was great, a lot of fun! I'm also proud of myself for accomplishing this, I'm in much better shape than I was in my 20s, even though I might have weighed a little less back then (I'm 35 now).

There will be some big meetings this week, as well as another field trip. Busy, busy! It makes the week go by fast. I plan on getting my exercise in through a zumba class this evening, followed by a dance class. I've done two sessions of yoga/stretching already this month towards my 555 goals.

On the financial front, I received a $14 check from selling books. This will go right into the cruise fund. I will also be taking $160 out of savings to pay for an appointment for SO and myself.

Hope everyone has a productive week!

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!

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.

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!