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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.