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Quick check-in

May 1st, 2017 at 03:25 am

April went by freakishly fast. Financially I did alright, keeping up with things. I do need to make more time for tracking regularly. Personally, I've had bad days and better days. It's a journey.

17 days until I take my board certification exam. I think May is going to fly by as well. Plus my DD graduates in June, so we will be spending lots of time on end-of-year activities.

Hope everyone is doing well lately, I need to sit down and catch up soon!

Progressing slowly

April 10th, 2017 at 12:54 pm

This year my financial progress has been slow, with some dead-ends thrown in the mix. I can get into more detail later, when I feel ready to talk about it.

But for now, I've accepted that I need to plan the future with jut the girls and me. It's not what I planned for, and I worked very hard to try to turn things around when my relationship started getting really rocky. But I'm admitting that it's time to bury the dead, and move on. It doesn't even hurt too much most of the time, which is how I know that I'm really ready to end it. I just feel relieved.

Anywho. My job situation is very secure. I can get insurance through my own work, I will have to contact HR and see how that process works. STBX is not sending me the divorce papers until I've verified that I have insurance set up for myself, I told her I'm not signing anything until that is taken care of. I've limited my monthly obligations as best that I can with 2 teenagers in a very high cost of living area.

My current lease is expiring and there is already another tenant lined up. I would like to find something cheaper but not having much luck. In May I will be using a real estate agent to help me secure an appropriate rental.

I want to make these next 4 years a success. I'm here for a reason, I don't want to waste these moments. There are excellent schools for my DDs and wonderful job opportunites for myself. I'm sure it will be difficult covering everything on my income, but I may have to get creative and pick up some additional hours.

In the past few weeks I've met some very nice ladies so now I have people to hang out with on the weekends. I'm fortunate that I live in a very diverse area and there is a nice population of like-minded women around here!

Ok. No more worrying, the Band-Aid has been ripped off. Now I need to stay calm, and take care of what I need to take care of. This is what life is.

Couldn't sleep, made cheese

March 6th, 2017 at 03:37 am

Sunday morning I was awake at 3:45 am and could not get back to sleep. I gave up and rolled with it. What I accomplished before 9:45 am:

-finished reading a book I started forever ago
-boiled eggs for deviled eggs
-switched up some decor in the living room/dining room with some Easter touches
-took out all the recycling
-took a 50 minute step class at the gym
-made fresh cheese!

I'm most proud of making the paneer, Indian cheese. It was quite simple, if messy. I accidentally bought one gallon of milk too many. I wasn't keen on the idea of freezing it, don't have the room anyway.Instead of making something delicious but not so good for me (rice pudding...), I looked up other recipes that required a lot of milk. The kids didn't like it plain, but they like paneer in Indian dishes so I will grab a curry or other sauce at the international market. If I don't eat it all by then. Good old google!

The rest of the day was spent with the girls. I was in zombie mode by 4pm and took a 30 minute nap to get through til bedtime.

We ate out one time this weekend, well, it was take-out. That gave us lunch the next day, plus we have one more lunch sized portion left. In all about $32.

Ready for the week, go Monday Smile

Wednesday already

February 22nd, 2017 at 03:24 am

DW was in town this weekend and we all enjoyed the beautiful weather together. We had more talks about future plans. I'm still here for now, trying to make headway in a high cost of living area the best that I can.

I received notification that I met all requirements to sit for the board. One more hurdle crossed! I will register for the next test window, in May, as soon as it is opened. In the meantime I will be studying. I have to do it daily so it doesn't feel like I'm cramming it all in a month.

I still feel like I've been treading water financially this year. I've had several pricey expenses in January alone. My portion of daughter's hospital stay, dog's dental surgery, costume fees for dance, and plane ticket to see DW for spring break amount to about $1500. Ah, well, eventually the spending will slow and I can make some progress. Such is life.

This weekend, besides studying, I need to finish up the sewing project I started for a coworker's pregnancy. She's not going to be working too much longer, I can tell!

Thankful for Enough

February 13th, 2017 at 03:39 am

Lately I've been suffering from "option overload". Since I completed my professional program, I've been obsessing about "what's next". There are so many factors to consider that I was losing sleep over it all.

I've decided that what I really want to do is just stay put for now. DW has to finish up 1.5 years where she is before she is eligible to retire, so she will continue to do the visits on long weekends and holidays. The kids want to stay in this area. So now DD1 can continue plans for the local community college and DD2 can plan on attending high school here, as she'll be a freshman next year. I love my current job, and I am still learning a lot professionally. This area is a hot bed of employment opportunities so when I am ready to switch or add a few part-time hours I am in the right place.

The downsides to this area are the very high cost of living and traffic. Because we choose to live closer to work, traffic is not terrible for us on a daily basis, but instead we have to deal with the very expensive housing. I realize it is a trade-off. I won't be able to purchase a home out here, but in this market, for me, it makes more sense financially to rent.

So I'm giving my family another 4 years in the area for peace of mind for the family and employment opportunities for myself. I am telling myself that I have Enough. Excellent high school for my DD2, great community college and public transportation options for DD1, challenging career for myself. By living simply and being mindful of our purchases we should have enough money to cover the high rent, pay for our needs, a few opportunities for all of us, and save for the future.

Why lose sleep and make myself all anxious just to get more, more, more? The grass is always going to be greener. I need to embrace what I have here and make the best of it! In 4 years I can reconsider relocation options, with both kids finished with high school, a bit more experience in the field for myself, and DW at a career point where she can decide to stay in or retire.

I must remember my own affirmation: My needs are always met and my income is abundant.

Back to Reality!

February 5th, 2017 at 11:42 am

I've returned from our short trip to Puerto Rico for my conference. The girls and I had a wonderful time. It was so great to see my kids enjoying themselves! My oldest especially loved snorkeling. When she was younger and we were stationed on an island she did a lot of snorkeling. So when she gets underwater, she looks just like a mermaid, so wonderful to see her happy! As soon as we came back to the surface she was gushing about how wonderful that was, and when could we do it again!

Transportation and food were real budget killers. We ate breakfast in the room, and bought snacks at a local shop but the other meals were super expensive. Since I was there for a conference I wanted to stay on site with the kids, but if I was going just for a vacation I could have found a resort that offered some perks in the form of food or shuttles. We didn't buy any souvenirs,except for a key chain for a neighbor, so no expenses there.

I submitted my resume on Indeed.com and on my professional organization's job site. I have gotten a lot of responses already. I spoke to three companies on Friday, including a recruiter. They all want to interview, even though I haven't even passed my exam yet. It's pretty wild, a little overwhelming! It is more reassurance, though, that I have some job security with this field.

I took the kids to they gym this afternoon and have done some laundry. I updated my budget online as well. Besides all of that I've just been studying. Tonight should be a quiet evening, since we don't watch the Super Bowl.

Saturday Shenanigans

January 28th, 2017 at 08:07 pm

Today seemed to fly by. I took one kid to the mall to watch a movie with her friends while my oldest babysat for neighbors. I then stopped at the bank to cash in our change in anticipation of our trip Monday. Grand total... $117.99. I stuck it in checking account to go towards expenses. I also earned $87.89 in credit card rewards, as well as saved $85.40 in my Bank of America "Keep the Change" program (well, that, plus an additional $20/month deposit to keep the account free). So total $290 in "snowflake" money. A hefty portion of that will be going towards parking. I've researched Uber, cabs, and metro. Our flight is too early for metro, and hiring Uber or cab will be at least as expensive as 4 days of economy parking. And I'm not asking a neighbor or coworker to drive us at 4am on a work day. So I'm setting the money aside now, should be $68. So still about $220 of "snowflake" vacation money.

After the bank I went home, worked on my resume, and took a brief 20 minute nap. Then I submitted my resume to 2 online career centers managed by the professional organization I belong to. I'm sure the resume can be tweaked some more, as this is a new kind of resume for me. But I figure when I update my credential status on my resume I can take another look at it.

After dinner I brought out my sewing machine and materials. I worked on some flannel burp cloths I am making for a coworker who is pregnant with twins, so excited for her. I think I have decided that sewing will be my new, fun hobby. There is something so satisfying about watching something come together right in front of your eyes... That said, I have very, very basic sewing skills. I learned from YouTube. So as I have more time down the road I may be able to take a class here or there.

My youngest joined me for a bit while sewing. She attempted to make socks for the dog. She got two of them done! Dog was not amused. She doesn't care for hats, or socks.

Tomorrow I will take the kids out for last minute shopping for snacks for the trip, clean out the fridge and pick up the house, and finish packing. I'll also be very diligent with keeping my carbs down tomorrow. The last few days I have not been watching anything, and my stomach is protesting. I certainly don't need digestive issues on our trip!

REally I need to just stop thinking about my diet and exercise so much, and just do what I need to do. Seriously, I know what I need to eat and not eat. I know that exercise classes make me feel amazing. But there is a part of my brain that wants to avoid discomfort and stick with the immediate gratification of eating junk and laying around. I operate best when I don't overthink things. I've said it before, when it comes to getting myself to do what I need to do, I like to go on autopilot, and not give myself a chance to talk myself out of anything.

My tax refund is pending and should arrive in our account Monday, perfect timing. It's already accounted for, but it is nice to have the cash in the account just the same.

That's all for now, just a peaceful day around the house.

More progress

January 22nd, 2017 at 06:03 am

Friday I mailed out my complete application to sit for the exam ($6 postage), and paid the $230 fee online. It is hard to believe that I made it to this point already, feels like I have been working on this for such a long time!

I can test either in February or May. I hate to wait until May, but the studying hasn't been as strong as I had hoped as my time has been more divided. I have been accepting 4 hours of additional work on Saturdays with my part time job.

I've also had my time more limited for more important reasons. With my daughter's hospitalization, and the addition of more appointments to keep her healthy, my time has been limited. But of course I don't begrudge that, I'm just so thankful that she is feeling mentally positive again. We've also been doing more together, because she is actually wanting to hang out with us instead of withdraw all the time. Makes me want to sing out in praise! So no, I don't feel prepared for February. But I would much rather delay until May, and spend the extra time with my girls and get my daughter to her appointments as needed. I'm so thankful that we are having good days again.

I completed my taxes online last night, so when the IRS is open for processing them (should be tomorrow), I have that taken care of. I was going to put the refund towards the 0% credit card, but I have that rate until 2018, so maybe I can throw the big amount into savings to give it a big bump. It's my taxable investment account, so I personally would rather make some money there (hopefully!) and pay the 0% card gradually. If I add it to my long-term savings I don't think I will count it towards my "add additional $5,000 to savings" goal for 2017, that's cheating! Smile

My salary increase request at work was approved. I submitted the paperwork after I got my final semester grades for the program I just finished. Now I'm waiting for salary services to notify me of when and how much the raise will be, as it will be prorated for what is left of the school year.

Looks like I need to sit down and determine "how much" is coming in from "where" and figure out the best way reach both of my major 2017 financial goals.

Midweek Already!

January 11th, 2017 at 03:32 am

I've made it to Wednesday! Mondays and Tuesdays are typically our crazy evenings, because of DD2's dance schedule and my second job. So the rest of the week should feel like a breeze when those days are done! I leave work early this afternoon to take DD1 to an appointment, and then I head to my part-time job for 2 hours, if we finish the appointment on time.

Thanks for all of the positive thoughts and support from SA community. DD1 is getting back into her routine, but with some changes that will help us all out. She will go back to classes tomorrow. I'm very optimistic that she will get stronger from this. She is learning a lot about herself and gaining better coping skills. She will continue with regular therapy appointments to monitor depression. Life is such a journey...

As far as myself, I need to bring back my healthy habits. I still need to get consistent with regular morning workouts. And I need to lay off the junk food. I am being gentle with myself from this past week, because I just needed to get through each day. But I know that I need to take care of myself too, and get back into the habits that helped me feel good. I did exercise yesterday, though not the morning class. I did 1.5 hours of classes and it felt so good to be distracted. And of course afterwards, the endorphins from all that exercise. I also slept like a rock last night- so much so that I couldn't wake up this morning for a workout! But I will get it back, I think my body is recovering from the stress of the week. I think the junk food habit is going to be tougher to tackle...

Fortunately my money seems to be going according to budget. The only spending I have been doing is for... junk food. Yeah. A couple utility e-bills have arrived and I will most likely wait until the weekend to send those out, just because I will have more time to devote to budgeting. We still have our conference trip at the end of the month so I want to start transferring the rewards cash and little savings all into my checking account in anticipation of vacation spending. I can do that this weekend as well. I also must get my application for the exam mailed out this weekend!

Dinner tonight will be spaghetti with turkey meatballs. It will be nice to have a real meal at home again!

Fresh Monday

January 9th, 2017 at 03:03 am

Thanks, all, for the words of encouragement on my previous post. My daughter is feeling better, and it's such a help to have the support of professionals to help navigate the whole process of getting to a healthier mental outlook.

I don't attend church, but I do pray and feel a connection spiritually to God. I relied on that connection a lot last week to get me through moments when I was feeling overwhelmed and scared of the future. I would like to find a community of like-minded humans, but in the past did not have much success finding a community where I felt our family belonged. Now may be a good time to research the churches in this area. I am not from this area, so it would be nice to have a community of our own here.

I will be heading back to work today. My supervisors are aware of the issues, but not anyone else. I'll keep the reason vague if anyone asks. Overall, I'm not too concerned with the return. My coworkers can speculate all they want, I have more important things to take care of. Like my kids, and catching up on my work.

My money may not look pretty for a while, when I get the bill for medical copays. Her dad will be responsible for half of it, but it may still be a big bill. I can't think much about that right now, I will come up with a plan when I have more information.

My plan to participate in UFM went out the window shortly into the new year, but I still enjoy reading the daily posts for information.

I hope everyone has a smooth week. If you are snowed in, stay warm and enjoy the downtime.

A very long week

January 6th, 2017 at 04:23 am

I can't believe we returned to work 4 days ago. This has been a very long week.

Without going into too much detail, my oldest daughter is having some serious coping issues, and we needed to seek mental health help for her. Finding providers who return phone calls, have availability, accept your insurance, and can actually see new patients in a timely manner are few and far between. We found temporary support, and she's feeling so much better, but I've had to take off the last two days to deal with all of this.

It has been super scary navigating through the world of mental health. It is still a "closed door" subject, but I've had to get over that discomfort to find the best help for my daughter.

I have cried so much in the past few days, and have felt so many different emotions. When I visited my daughter after the first night, though, I realized that she is not alone and we are not alone. There are lots of other families experiencing similar issues in life.

I am not church-religious, but I do feel very connected spiritually to a greater source. It is obvious to me that we are all part of One. We all experience joy and sorrow, and fear. We are all just trying to make our way through life the best that we can, no matter our beliefs or where we come from.

First draft of 2017 goals

December 30th, 2016 at 06:33 am

My 2017 goals are pretty basic, nothing fancy. I'll tweak them as I give them more thought.

I have also signed up for the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month challenge, thanks to SA! The kids and I will be attending a conference at the end of the month, so extra funds will always be helpful. More importantly, though, a successful challenge will help solidify better habits. Over time I tend to experience "spending drift", where I get sloppy with my spending and saving habits.

Later today I will head to the grocery store to pick up food for next week. I plan to make a big pot of soup to take to work each day, along with my protein shakes. Boring, but effective and cheap. I am heading to Puerto Rico at the end of the month, gotta whip myself into shape!

There will be so many changes this year, which can be exciting. My oldest dd will be graduating high school, and has to decide where she will go next. She doesn't like to talk about it with me, I think she is scared, it's a big change. My youngest wants to stay in this area, but of course that depends on job offers that I may receive after I pass my board exam. DW has to decide if she will retire from the military, or stay in a bit longer. So lots of decisions for the family! It feels overwhelming at times. But I am grateful to have these opportunities, I know that in much of the world women don't have any of these options to consider.

Final exam has been submitted!

December 11th, 2016 at 03:03 am

The final exam to my "final" class has been submitted! What a relief! One less responsibility. I have completed the program and now I meet the requirements to sit for the board examination. As soon as my transcript has been updated I will apply for the exam. Now, when I pass the board, THAT is when I will really celebrate!

One more piece of good news is that I have a tenant for my condo! I received prorated rent for this month, which I was not expecting, because December isn't the busiest month for rentals. Although I am glad I got to enjoy the condo this summer, and it was nice to have a place to call home when I visited, it is much more practical to have it rented out and just book a hotel if needed.

I missed 2 days of work last week due to being sick, and feel like I am finally on the upswing. I know that having so much pressure on me this semester, and not taking care of myself as well as I should have, has not helped me stay healthy. Fortunately, this madness was only for a semester, and now things should start to calm down.

Tonight I'm going to start the "12 days of Christmas Movies" with my girls. I know it's a bit early, but we will be out of town for a few of those days. We are not the kind of family to gather around and sing carols or anything, but I can get them to watch a holiday movie with me! Movies are a low-pressure way for us all to hang out together. On school nights we will just watch a holiday episode of a favorite TV show, since time is limited on those nights.

Forgot to include financial updates!

December 4th, 2016 at 05:52 pm

This is a financial blog, yet I frequently forget to even mention finances! I reviewed my Ynab data from last month. We typically spend a lot on eating out... a little embarrassing, but I budgeted like $300/month on it. Most nights we ate at home, but on the weekends I guess we made up for it. And there are so many great ethnic restaurants around here, eating out became entertainment. I tried in the past to lower my eating out expenses, but never succeeded. Last month, though, I tried something different.

My girls are always watching these Youtubers who put themselves through "challenges" for a month (like drink nothing but water, or go to sleep at 8pm every night, or anything else just for the heck of it). So I asked my kids to join me in a challenge to stay under "x" amount of money eating out each month. First of all they were shocked that eating out cost that much per month. So it's cool that their eyes were opened to what was actually spent on eating out for an entire month. When you look at the spending on just a meal, it doesn't sound like much, until you add it all up.

The girls were great keeping me on track. If I felt extra tired and started to waver on the challenge, one of them would suggest something easy we could make from our menu. Before we ordered any food, one of the girls would ask, "how much have we spent already?".

Now, DW did come down for Thanksgiving and that meal out was taken out of her funds, but besides that weekend, the rest of the eating out was accounted for in Ynab. The grand total for November was $149! We still enjoyed our weekends out and trying new foods, we just were more careful about it, and turned down some of the opportunities we had to eat out. Proud of my kids and proud of myself, now that I know we can do it, I can budget a lower amount for dining out and put that extra cash elsewhere!

Feeling better after some cloudy days

December 4th, 2016 at 05:15 pm

This past week was tough for me. Some of it had to do with hormones around that time of the month, but I think some of it was also "post vacation" letdown. You know, when you return after a few great days of vacation, and you have a nice pile of work in front of you, at home, work, everywhere.

After I got home from work on Friday I was asleep by 8:30. Saturday I got some shopping done, and then took the girls out in town for a lighted boat parade. We didn't get a good view of the boats, but we enjoyed walking around in the evening, with every tree lit up and all of the beautiful window displays to admire. It was a different way to get some more steps!

Today I did some regular weekend chores, like grocery shopping. I took my youngest to the mall so she could find some new jeans. Then when we got back home the girls and I picked up the house and made dinner. I wrapped most of my gifts, and have 2 out of 3 boxes ready for the mail tomorrow. Now I'm able to relax on the couch and enjoy the Christmas lights in the house. So no homework today, but I needed to attend to all of those other things that were piling up. Not to mention I needed to get some fun time in with the kids.

I know that tomorrow will start a better week for me. I plan to wake up early, (haven't done that for a while) to fit my exercise in my day right away. Oh, speaking of exercise, I have worn my Fitbit the last few days. I was inspired by FrugalTexan!

Holy Moly, Finished my Hours!

November 22nd, 2016 at 04:16 am

I calculated all of my practicum hours for my applied behavior analysis (ABA) program. I triple checked with my practicum supervisor and program director. I have met the required 1500 supervised hours of experience!!!

I will be finished with my final class in a few weeks. I will have to apply to sit for the exam, which will be scheduled sometime in February. In the meantime, I have been studying like never before. This is something I am determined to pass.

We will be driving "home" 3 hours away for Thanksgiving. My condo down there is still vacant so I will be staying there. We never stay with my parents because their house isn't in any shape for overnight visitors. And they don't seem to be bothered by it, so that's just the way it is.

We will be going to a lovely seafood buffet for Thanksgiving, about $30 pp. We are each paying for ourselves. This will come out of our eating out budget. I'd rather not spend so much on a meal, but then again, hosting Thanksgiving isn't cheap anyway, and this way we have more free time to enjoy the visit.

I hope everyone here has a peaceful, warm Thanksgiving!

Spend Money to Make Money

November 6th, 2016 at 07:06 pm

I paid $250 for a study program for my field. It was highly recommended and proven to be very effective, but still, ouch.

I will be eligible to sit for our professional exam in December. The exam dates are offered in February and May. I don't know if I will be prepared enough for the February dates, but I'm going to really try to make that exam date. If I have to take the exam in May I won't get results until mid July. Since I'm currently a teacher, I would be expected to accept my contract by then. So I want to know well before July if I'm going to continue teaching or use my new certification in a private practice.

When I do apply for certification and sit for the exam that's another $350+. Then, after becoming certified, I am required to become licensed in my state, $200+. Once all of that is complete, though, I can start on my new career and see where that takes me.

My youngest was sick last week, and her ear started hurting a few days ago. I took her to an urgent care yesterday, and sure enough one ear was infected. She's on antibiotics now and is feeling a little better. The doctor's office didn't bill me, they are going to send an invoice in the mail so I am not sure how much that visit will cost.

Financial updates

October 23rd, 2016 at 04:14 am

I get paid again in about a week (I get paid once a month)so I want to make sure I am staying on track for October.

I have been paying tuition out of pocket, and this last semester I just put on my credit card so I wouldn't take from cash savings. Now I just have to pay it back. In order to do that within the next few months I need to divert my long-term savings (this is separate from retirement savings). I hate to do that, though. I really like watching that savings grow! But it is foolish to pay interest on a card just to keep adding to savings. As soon as the card is paid off I can again put that money towards savings.

Another reason why I still have a balance on my credit card is that I haven't rented out my condo yet. I was doing work on it this summer, and of course enjoying it. Last night I listed it on Craigslist, and will probably list it on another site next week if I get no bites. I have actually had good luck with finding a tenant on Craigslist in the past. I think it's because it's such a tiny place, it's geared for a single person and not a family who might be looking through a realtor.

So when the condo gets rented the money I was putting towards condo expenses can then go towards my credit card. When the credit card is paid off and the condo is rented I can make some serious progress forward again. Sigh, just in time for my oldest DD to start college...

Onto a smaller victory, we ate at home most nights this week. The exception was for a restaurant fundraiser my daughter's school was having, so we ordered 'to go' and ate at home. Last night I was feeling very lazy (I'm kind of lazy, this is one of my weaknesses). I didn't feel like grocery shopping and I wanted to take the girls to eat out. Fortunately, I got myself into "robot mode" and started prepping for the grocery store, with a quick meal in my head to make as soon as I got home. It worked. We saved money from not eating out, and I finished my grocery shopping for the week.

I have planned instead to take the girls to the restaurant for their lunch buffet this afternoon, it's cheaper at lunch time. They serve a delicious Nepalese-Indian buffet. That is food I have not been able to make at home and I haven't found a decent supermarket version of it.

Good Enough

October 8th, 2016 at 02:41 am

I feel like I'm slowly getting into the "new normal" this school year. I'm getting the kids to their appointments and activities on time. Easier said than done with one driver in the house (DW has a new job assignment, but I couldn't move the kids senior year).

I've kept up with my coursework, although I could probably devote more time to my studies.

The girls and I manage to do at least one "fun" thing each weekend. Mostly, though, we all enjoy our down time. The oldest has been babysitting regularly on the weekend and enjoys making her own money. Me, I'm so tired on the weekends, catching up from our busy days.

The house isn't a total disaster- the little odds and ends that everyone tends to leave around are the biggest issue. Of course the girls should know to just bring all of their things up to their room, but I still need to "remind" now and again! The bigger cleaning is done in chunk on the weekends. So it's not optimal, but it's good enough!

Financially, I have streamlined my accounts even more. I've gotten to the point where all of my bills are coming out of one account.
With multiple moves over the past 4 years I've opened a few local accounts, and it was a nighmare to keep track of. Retirement is taken out pre-tax, and then my employer automatically sends 10% of my paycheck to a separate account I listed, so I don't even count that as part of my monthly income. I've always been a believer in David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire. Take everything out before it gets into your account, and then live off of the rest. Ynab has been a big help in keeping the remainder of my money on track.

I've registered for a professional conference for the end of January, the girls are going with me, sooo excited! I will be finished with my coursework and supervised hours by then, so I view the conference as an important networking opportunity. I can write off lots of my professional expenses. Plus, Puerto Rico in January sounds awfully appealing!

An hour of stillness

September 23rd, 2016 at 03:20 am

I stayed in bed this morning with a cup of hot coffee to update my budget and catch up with things. Since the school year started I have been on the go nearly every hour, until bedtime. Things should simmer down soon, as we all get into the groove of jobs and extracurricular activities.

My new position has kept me very busy. You all were correct, the leadership role has gotten easier with practice! It does feel better to just make a decision and say it directly, rather than put things off or try to say things in a round-about way. It feels good to be making progress in this area. The class that I am currently taking is about professional, ethical behavior in the field. There is a lot of information about how to develop leadership behaviors. Like any other behavior, leadership behaviors need to be taught and practiced until they feel natural. So I have been keeping that in mind as I face anxious situations at work.

Despite the crazy busy schedule during the week, I am fortunate that I don't work on the weekends. That is a good thing, because it give the girls and I moments to just breathe and recharge. I don't feel "ready" to plan any elaborate weekend activity, still adjusting to the year.

Financially, I should get a better feel for my budget next week, when I find out what my paychecks will look like. This will be my first check with my pay raise!

Just Do It...

September 8th, 2016 at 03:18 am

Instead of just talking about what I "need" to be doing, I need to Just Do IT. Do the "hard" stuff that makes a huge impact in my life.

At work I accepted a promotion, which is very exciting, but slightly terrifying. I know I can do the job. I have been studying this field for quite a while, and have lots of experience behind me now. I just have some bad habits regarding how I deal with conflict and giving directions.

My professional goal is to be more direct at work. This means having self confidence in what I am saying, and changing some of my communication habits so that I come across as a credible leader. I know that speaking more directly will save time, keep little problems from becoming big ones, and should help everyone perform better. It will also help me feel better. It's no fun to always second guess your decisions, or to be constantly hesitating before saying anything, it's anxiety-producing. I am ready to build some better communication skills!

Goal for this week: Give directions directly, not in a "roundabout" way. Say it confidently, because it is nothing personal, it's about doing the job.

Summer so far...

August 8th, 2016 at 03:36 pm

Well I finished my summer class last week. My daughter finished her summer class last week. I also finished teaching the summer school session as well. I'm down to just my part-time job where I am only working 10 hours a week over the summer (just 6 hours during the school year). So it feels like I have a lot more free time on my hands.

I will be on out of town trips for the next two weekends. Then teachers go back to class to prepare for the upcoming school year. I have accepted the specialist position for next year! Terrified, but excited by the challenge to stretch myself, professionally. I am sure I will miss being in the classroom, but I will be working in the same hall with the kids, and working closely with the students and teachers.

The girls and I are wrapping up our summer with another trip back home a few hours away, shopping for the upcoming year, and trips to the pool. They will also be spending another week with their dad, they spent the first three weeks of the summer with him. Hopefully they have enjoyed their summer. It wasn't too exciting because my oldest had several hours of online homework a day, but we've tried to make the most of it.

My bills are covered for September, without having to dip into savings. That means the summer school check I get next month can go towards my final tuition bill. I get paid 10 months a year, so my next full time paycheck will be at the end of September, which is why it is so important to set money aside monthly and build a cushion.

I am still exercising, but not staying diligent about the early morning classes. It is tough to motivate myself to get up early when I don't actually "have to" get up early.

Lastly, the tenant in my little condo moved out last month. He bought his own place, after renting mine for the past 3 years. We have stayed there a couple weekends this summer, since it is in my hometown and on the beach. It is the first time the condo has been vacant. I was happy to leave it open to spruce it up and enjoy it as well. It is very inexpensive, and I'm a little tempted to keep it vacant for us to use...if it wasn't so small I would consider moving us into it after my daughter graduates next year!

Misplaced my spunk...

July 7th, 2016 at 02:51 am

I'm not sure what is going on with me. I have been off the past 2 weeks, and I've filled my days with different activities, but really, I could have done a lot more. I just feel like I'm losing my spunk, my drive.

I have been slacking off on good eating/exercise habits and now I'm up 10 pounds from my goal and feeling very "squishy". It feels like torture to make myself sit down and get cracking on my homework, even though I'm halfway through this class and only have one more left to go after this. Even my housecleaning routine is a pain to follow. I feel like I have been doing everything "half-arsed" and can't get my act together.

Summers are tough for me because my full-time job is on break and I have blobs of vacation time mixed in with part-time work, kids are out of town, and there are tons of fun things going on. Which is great, don't get me wrong, I love summer! But I think my mind has difficulty transitioning after being "on" from 4:30am til 9pm M-F during the school year to total downtime in the summer.

I am NOT a good routine follower, but it sounds like what I Really need is a good routine! I wonder why I resist one so much?

Maybe if I physically write out a routine, just a simple one, then I will be more likely to follow it. To at least cover the important things. I would be more successful throughout the year if I was better at following a routine, to be honest.

I'll keep you all posted on the results...

Some time to catch up!

June 28th, 2016 at 06:12 am

The girls and I finished school last week. I have the next 2 weeks off before summer school starts. The girls are out of town vacationing with their dad, so I have the place to myself.

Almost like an unwelcome annual event, I get sick right after school lets out. I think it is a combination of not getting enough rest during the crazy last few weeks, and the dust flurries that result from the classroom pack-up. It feels like the worst of this has passed, though, so I am able to enjoy my days off for the most part.

I was able to register for a summer course, after my arm was healed. I'm halfway through that course. Feels like this program is never ending, but really after this summer I only have one more course to go. Then study and pass the board exam.

I am trying not to be anxious about finances in the upcoming year. I get paid 10 months of the year so I
set aside money each month in a summer savings account. I have enough in this account to get through August as of now. When I get my last paycheck for the school year, and factor in summer school pay, I will have enough to cover September. But just the basics, there isn't a lot of extra fat for those months. I do have a long-term savings account (Vanguard taxable account) for any major issues that may arise during this time. That account is off-budget in YNAB.

I'll have to update on relationship in the next post.

Final Stretch!

June 18th, 2016 at 05:03 am

The past few weeks have been crazy, typical for June. I have the final push at work to get through, which usually means non-stop movement and I forget to eat lunch until I drive home. My kids have their end-of-the-year activities and the various rehearsals that go along with those. And of course the typical fun stuff that warm weather brings: baseball games, festivals.

I can't even mention the emotional turmoil that the events of the past week has brought. Fortunately I live in a large city with a very supportive community.

I am progressing through my second-to-last class in my program. It's a tough one! At this time of year the hardest part has been finding time to sit down and do the work. I have all day tomorrow, though. I plan on a mega study session with maybe an hour break for the pool or gym. I should be able to turn in all the work that is due this week.

The hours at my second job are perfect for now. I started this week. It is just M-W-F for 2 hours right after I leave work, on my way home. It gives me more exposure to the field, and a little extra cash, too.

At this moment my finances are on track. I am still loving the nYnab I subscribed to. It has been a big help with keeping finances organized. My finances are going to change quite a bit in August so I will need to stay extra careful as I make budget adjustments.

Back in action

June 1st, 2016 at 03:35 am

About 2 weeks ago DD2 spilled water on my laptop, making it completely nonfunctioning. It looked like a new laptop was in the future. Last night, though, I tried to turn it on one last time before I decided to recycle it. Lo and behold, my laptop is up and running again, good as new. Well, except for numbers 5 and 6 on the calculations pad on the right, but I can just use the standard number keys for those!

17 days left of school! That means very busy days as we wrap up the year.

The kids will be with their dad for a few weeks vacationing out west. That will give me some time to turn over my tiny rental condo, as my tenant of the last couple years is moving out at the end of the month. I always get anxious when it is time to rent out the condo again, but I've had it for nearly 5 years and done well with it. I don't think it has appreciated any but it does bring in a few hundred in positive cash flow monthly.

I will be teaching summer school again this year. I keep most of my same students, and they are only there 3 hours a day, and it is just for one month. It's pretty easy money so I don't mind doing it. I'm also starting a part-time position outside of school so that I can get experience in the private practice setting. That extra cash will go to help boost savings, I'm not sure if I will be continuing the job in the school year.

So life is good. There are some parts that are still murky (relationship)but for my own sanity I am only devoting but so much energy to that at a time. I find that it is too easy to become consumed by issues in my head, without coming up with real solutions. We are talking to a therapist now, but there are still tough decisions we have to make for ourselves. I have to deliberately choose to steer my thoughts towards other areas of importance. End of the year activities with my kids. My career. Summer plans.

I hope everyone has some fun planned in this busy month somewhere!

Lovely day

May 8th, 2016 at 04:02 pm

Although my kids are getting older, I still cherish their ages and stages. Today I really enjoyed spending time with my children as young ladies!

Last night the girls were busy in the kitchen for hours, baking and cleaning up their messes. This morning I was served breakfast in bed, that the girls cooked, served and cleaned up all on their own. When I went downstairs I found a vase of tulips my daughters picked up from the store. Very thoughtful!

After breakfast the weather cleared up so we walked to the farmers market, our first visit of the season. I spent too much money, but it was for good stuff and it was so much fun watching the girls get all excited a bout the different foods. When we were walking home the oldest DD suggested a picnic, so we could make a lunch out of the goodies we purchased. So we gathered up a beach blanket, some drinks, and our dog on a very long leash, and had a picnic. On our front lawn! Empanadas, apples, chips and homemade cake pops that my youngest DD made last night.

We had a few hours to just relax around the house. I picked up pizza for dinner, and we all had a cherry cake that my oldest DD made last night.

DW is out of town for her niece's christening, but she left a sweet card and gift certificate for a spa. It was a nice gesture, we are taking little steps out of the dark pit we fell into.

It was a wonderful Mother's Day, and left me feeling very loved, and thankful for the time I get to enjoy with my girls!

Budget Tweaking

May 5th, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Since I found myself with lot of time on my hands recuperating at home, I decided to try out the new version of YNAB. I have to admit that I had no interest in using something new, especially something I have to pay for monthly. But I had nothing to lose by trying.

My new YNAB opinion? I really like it! Thanks to the importing feature reconciling my accounts is easy. I especially love the way that credit cards are treated, because I use my credit card much like a debit card and pay off monthly. It's an accurate, easy way to see my budget and goals.

I tested out the budgeting software that my banks used as well. But it did not have the credit card treated like an account, which made budgeting confusing for me.

In 34 days will have to decide if I want to pay for the new software or continue making do...

Good old Murphy

May 3rd, 2016 at 05:15 am

Well, looks like I will need to practice being flexible these next couple of months. I broke my wrist this weekend when I slipped in the bathroom. It is a hairline fracture so it should heal up without complications. BUT it is my dominant hand. AND I found out from work yesterday that I cannot come back on 'limited duty' status. There IS NO limited duty in our facility, due to the nature of the jobs and risks associated. I'm calling HR today to find out what my next steps will be. It could be 6-8 weeks before I am cleared for work.

I probably will only take one class this summer or possibly no class. Instead I can hold onto that tuition money, in case I need it to get by til I get regular paychecks again. I don't want to take cash out of long term savings. I just don't know what will happen at this point.

I told my kids that this is a perfect example of why I save and don't spend every penny I make. It's not always a possibility to get a part-time job.

Old hobby revisited

April 25th, 2016 at 06:04 pm

The girls and I spent this weekend at home, just relaxing. We walked to a local park to get some sunshine and extra steps, it felt great to be outdoors.

This weekend my youngest was asking to see the baby books. Shamefully, her book stopped at like 18 months! That is right around the time when our photos started going digital. I vow to get the scrapbook updated! I plan to take some step towards updating the scrapbooks every week. Yesterday I went through vacay pictures on my laptop for 2013 and 2014. I submitted my order to Walgreens online, and with a coupon, I was able to get at least 20 photos for $5. I gave the pictures to my daughter. Next weekend we will go to Michaels and pick out some themed paper and/or stickers so we can complete the pages for her book. Besides, scrapbooking can be very relaxing, and helps you keep your mind in the moment .

Calculating my short-term savings, I have enough to pay cash for one course this summer. However I still have several weeks before tuition is duie in full, so I can still round up enough cash to pay for my courses. I want to be finished with these puppies!

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