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Archive for December, 2016

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!