I am enjoying watching our 401k's growth, but it also makes me nervous given historical trends showing what goes (quickly) up, eventually comes down (corrects). Is anyone else nervous, or am I just being paranoid?
The hub worked 28 hours straight yesterday. One of the mechanics who tag-teams with him fell last week and broke his hip, so they are short staffed. 28 hours is crazy- and it's schedules like this that create an environment for accidents.. The hub wants the hours, but not to this degree. The hub also will work 6 weeks this hitch, rather than 5. Not only will he make significantly more with this schedule, but having just me here, our budget drops as well for the month. The extra will go to debt and savings. With our 401k growth, my son paying me back this year and the hubs extra earnings, we are likely to hit my BHAG a good 18 months early- which means work for me becomes optional that much sooner.
Z and my youngest granddaughter (9) are spending the night tonight. GD also invited her bestie to join us. Should be a fun night. X (age 2) really wants to come too, but he is sick and I do not want what he has...so he'll have to come next time.
With everything going on today, it may be tomorrow before I tackle the freezer inventory.
Viewing the 'BHAG' Category
I am enjoying watching our 401k's growth, but it also makes me nervous given historical trends showing what goes (quickly) up, eventually comes down (corrects). Is anyone else nervous, or am I just being paranoid?
Last night the hub went back to work for a 5 week rotation. I have been reading others' blogs about using up the pantry, freezer and fridge and think this may work for me too! I am certainly going to spend some time Saturday morning figuring out how I could make it work for me. I am not even sure what lives in the burrows of our freezer right now..but no time like the present to find out!
We had to put one of our dogs down on Monday. He was old, and had multiple medical issues. But the clincher was when he swallowed an adult sized athletic sock on Sunday. We were dumbfounded when he did it- and it took a few minutes for it to sink in enough to realize that it was a really bad thing for his frail body and digestive system. He had never done anything like that before. After, I read online that dogs eating socks is not uncommon- but it was certainly not something we expected. The vet confirmed that it was not going to end well for him. So given his age and condition, the hub made the tough decision. RIP sweet Bear.
This month should be a fairly frugal one. The hub arrived home last night, but because of the winter schedule, he will only be here for 5 days and then will head back up to work. Having to spend for only me for the majority of the month seems to put much less stress on the budget. And I am in a frugal state of mind lately.
I suppose one of the reasons I am thinking more frugally of late is that I am nearing the tipping point to being able to retire. Moving from having to work, to working if I want. I am about 6 months out.. At 57, I am not sure I am ready for full time retirement, but I am certainly ready for part time...however, it will depend on some of the changes happening at work. If things go really well, I will want to stay working at least for another year. If not, then I will shift gears and figure out the plan B. It is a wonderful feeling to have options tho!!
DD2 received the reports on the boys from the state yesterday. This is the report created after our trip to the state office for CPS last month. The report discussed the boys history, primarily Z's and it was a stark reminder of why we have fought so hard to keep him safe now that he is back with us. Reading his story makes my heart ache. Suffice it to say that he was in a bad, dark place for his first 4 months of life and again when he was returned to BM for that year and a half. We new most of the story, but there were other things we didnt know that help explain some of his PTSD.
The good news is that the report strongly recommended giving the boys permanency with DD2 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. And now adoption is in full swing. They are projecting 3 months!!! I can not tell you how excited we are to be here, finally.
First of all, Happy New Year friends!
I have started the new year out with a few small frugal choices. First, my cell phone case broke- so I put one in my Amazon shopping cart for $19.99 and then pondered if that was something I really needed to do....
I pulled out the super glue and glued the broken pieces back together...which worked, but also created poky edges that were irritating my hand each time I used my phone. That wouldnt work... So I found a sander disk and sanded on the poky parts until they were pretty smooth- and finally, I pulled out some nail polish (couldnt find any clear, so I made do with red!) and polished over the repair to smooth things out- and viola! my cell phone case is back in business. Savings: $19.99
Then, I used an old bag of red beans from the cupboard, a ham hock from Christmas, and a can of Rotel- put all in my crockpot and let it simmer all day. I am now on my 4th day of very cheap meals.
And finally, my face scrub had run out. Nothing else would squeeze from the tube. Just as I was getting ready to toss it I thought back to my Tightwad Gazette reading days and decided to cut the tube in half and low and behold- there were at least 4-5 good uses left in the bottom. Between uses, I just put one end over the other and it creates enough of a seal to keep it from drying out- stretching my scrub an extra week or two!
This has got me thinking of other ways I have been not-so-consciously wasting money. My brain is now looking for ways to stretch and save a little. Homemade snowflakes, if you will.
Adoption is going slow but steady. The boys are happy and healthy and doing well. 2018 is looking to be a very good year so far!
Some of you may recall that when I started this blog over 11 years ago, I was helping my son with his business start up and taking care of my parents. I used my 401k to help build the business and it did great the first couple of years.
Unfortunately, my son's business, a pest control company, did not survive the 2008-2010 crisis, and I returned to my former job.
A couple of years later, my son opened a new business in an area that was more conducive to year round business, rather than seasonal- which is what it was here. (Bugs and critter problems vary depending on the climate.)
I am happy to say that he is doing PHENOMENAL! He now employs 6 people, and has restored his credit...and most importantly, the business is in a position to start PAYING MOM BACK!
I knew his goal was to someday repay me, but I wasn't sure that day would really ever arrive- but it is here. Part of the repayment will come in cash payments over the next year, and part will be in his making mom a partner in the business and eventually buying me out. In the end, this will have been a very good investment for me. A win-win for both my son and me.
This will put my retirement goals in high gear as we will end up two years ahead on my savings goals by the end of 2018. YIPPEE!
And I am thrilled that my son's dream is coming true. He is a hard worker and is building a very ethical business that focuses on customer loyalty.
Needless to say, I am one proud, happy momma!
Two steps back, treading water or making progress. Some months it’s a combination of all three.
I am making slow and steady progress on debt. Last year I helped DD2 out financially when she lost her job. Today I finally paid off that debt. (yay). DD2 is still unemployed, but she is also still fostering Z and his brother, going to school full time and able to draw unemployment- so she is in a good financial place now. My next debt focus will be back to paying off the remodel on the house.
I have been able to stick with my new year’s resolutions for a healthier lifestyle and it is paying off. I went to the doctor last week and my blood pressure was a little lower than what they say is normal …which makes mine much lower than it’s been in years. I could come off the bp med now, but the med also helps control my migraines, so I am reluctant to. It just feels great that a change in diet has made such a huge difference. Ive lost some weight too - not a great deal, but enough to tell a difference!!
Our trip back to Hawaii is sneaking up on us. Next month already! I cant wait! We planned this almost 2 years ago – which has allowed lots of time for happy anticipation and saving $$. We are READY.
The hubs job is still going ok. However, he is preparing his resume and looking at other options just in case things go south. (He works in the oil industry in Alaska and continued employment is a big question mark lately!)
Z and X are still with us and doing GREAT. BM has a new baby due any day. Because she is not considered a safe option for the older 3 kids, DHS will likely place the new baby in foster care as well. The dad is in jail, has been for several weeks. BM and the dad are in a different state than we are, so I suspect that the baby will be placed more local to them. There is a review board meeting for long term placement of the boys next week. They have now been with DD2 over 6 months, which opens some doors for permanency- it just depends on the board’s recommendation. Since BM has made no efforts for reform, adoption is one option they will be considering.
I was reviewing my 401k records today and was happy to see that my account has grown almost 50k in the past year! Hopefully it will continue on this trajectory until 2020, when I plan to retire. If so, I will have met my savings goals while also paid off my debt goals and will comfortably achieved retirement goals.
I finally turned in that bag of pennies today. $21.43. It is one less thing to worry about as we declutter. I set the money aside to determine what to do with it..
I ended up leaving work early today to pick up Z and bring him home for the afternoon. He was so cute. He honestly is one of the gentlest souls I have ever met. We spent the afternoon giggling and blowing bubbles. Then met up with the rest of the family for birthday dinners. TOnight he is staying with DD1s family- visiting his other cousins.
I am ready for the weekend. Tomorrow night I am having DD1's kids over for the night. DD1 and hubby are DJing a wedding-
Otherwise,not much to report. Very concerned for Julie, aka Ima Saver. It has been quite a while since she has posted- and she had medical issues the last time she did post. I sure hope she is ok.
Happy Labor Day friends!
We are certainly starting to feel fall in the air here in So Oregon! The mornings and evenings are chilly- weather has dropped during the day to well under triple digits. I cant wait for the leaves to start turning. Fall really is my favorite time of the year!
The word on the street is that BM (and BF and kids) are on the way here today from Washington. Also, that BM is already using again (and pregnant). She hasn't told DD2 if the kids will be allowed to stay with her or not. They start school tomorrow. Her plan is still living in the mission. Sigh.
I am going to enjoy this beautiful Labor Day at home. While the hub is in Alaska, I am trying to stay frugal- something that isn't as easy when he is home. Lately, it feels like we are on different pages where finances are concerned. I suppose that is because I am more focused on retirement, since my retirement target is about 7 years earlier than his. His allowance goes into his own checking account, but his spending comes out of the household account, because he likes to 'save' his allowance for toys. Hmmm. Definitely a disconnect there. :/
I have 2 more birthdays this week. DD2 and my granddaughter share a birthday on Thursday. I budget for birthday presents, so the $ is already there. Actually, granddaughters gift is bought, and I plan to give DD2 cash. These two are the last of a string of 8 birthdays in August and September...thank goodness!
Well, time to get productive this morning. I will post an update once we know what is happening with Z. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. This really is an emotional rollercoaster for all involved.
Boy, this year has FLOWN by. It's hard to believe we are already half way through August!
I would love to report that we are closer to our annual financial goal than we are, of paying off the remodel debt, but alas...
We had to get our AC repaired this summer. Cost $1100.
The hub, who works on the North Slope of Alaska had all overtime cut back for most of this year, which was a significant reduction in monthly income.
Before I realized the income reduction, I had increased our 401k contributions- and now I dont want to reduce them...NO NO NO
DD2, single momma, lost over $500 in monthly benefits because she made $80 too much last year...I am still scratching my head over this logic. She is a great budgeter, but is needing some help each month for necessities.
And then lots of little things that just added up.
So, we are no where near where Id hoped this year and the forecast through December doesn't look much more promising for paying off the house remodel debt.
Hopefully, overtime will be reinstated next year...but if not, we are still making strides...just not as fast as Id hoped. At least we are going the right direction...
This weekend, my girls and I are going to see the Lion King in Portland. This trip was paid for months ago..so we are all looking forward to a weekend out of town.
Oh, and I am super excited...I just noticed my blog has now surpassed 10 million views! Holy Cow!
Nothing like sitting down on a peaceful Sunday morning with a nice hot cup of coffee, only to spill it in your lap soaking my lap and the couch. Ouch and darn.
Now that the mess is cleaned up- hello!
April is quickly coming to an end- and thank goodness it is! Between a state/federal exam at work, taxes, and presiding on a board that just held a two day conference...I am broke and pooped. In the midst of this I lost a beloved brother in law and inherited his dog who I will call SG.
SG has been the happy in our world. Yes, he tears his toys up and loves spreading the stuffing all over the house...and yes, his desire to fetch is endless...but his sweet personality has easily and fully won our hearts! He gets along with our other dogs and even our cat is warming up to him.
The hub is starting to take a little more interest in finances this month. A sign that, on my quest to pay off that visa, I may have cut things back past his pain point. hehe. I will have to continue to tweak and more importantly, communicate so that we are both comfortable with the budget while attaining our goals.
The hub took our oldest gs (12!) to the coast to ride quads today - giving me a whole day free to catch up on housework and get ready for the week ahead. My vacation schedule this year is more heavy on the back end of the year, meaning this first half Ive only taken 2 days off and it will be 5 more weeks before I finally get a week off. I will be ready for that week by the time it gets here - we are going camping up on the river for the first time this year. Then, I will have more time off in June and July.
We have reached the 1 year mark until we go back to Oahu. Its been almost a year since we vacationed there, and we knew when we came home that we would return. So, we booked the house for April 2017 and have been waiting for the one year mark to start getting excited.
I love having 'fun time' plans out on the horizon to look forward to.
Today is my 10 year blogiversary! Wow.
Ten years ago, I was semi retired to care for parents and help my son start a business when I stumbled on to this site while searching for ways to make ends meet.
What a fun journey its been getting to know many of you, both here, on facebook and some in person!
Thank you for all the amazing advice, friendship and support everyone has provided over the years!
Today I am attending a funeral service for my next door neighbor. He died in a boating accident last week. Very sad story. We have lived next to him and his wife for 20 years and it is so hard to believe he is gone.
We decided to have our taxes done this year, to see how my turbo tax estimate compared. Holy cow. $3000 difference. I am not sure what button I didn't hit, but instead of paying we are breaking even. I WILL TAKE THAT!! Yay.
Our goal of paying down the house remodel visa is going well. We started the year at $25k and now have it down to $8700!! I moved savings to pay it down so quick, but comparing .75% to 7.99% was a no brainer. I am confident that, barring no unexpected expenses or paycuts, we will reach our goal of paying that off this year. And that, is one giant step closer to my now 4.5 year goal of retirement..as my kids would say, "BAM"...lol no idea what that means.
Ouch- I somehow pinched a nerve in my back last weekend. I think it was the combo of sleeping in a new bed (at the vacation rental) and on a different pillow. I broke down today and went to the Dr. This isn't the first time I have had a pinched nerve- so I am familiar with how to nurse it, and just as I suspected, the Dr agreed with my current strategy of ice, heat, meds and practicing the physical therapy exercises...and said if it still hurts in two weeks to let him know and he will order an MRI.
Nerve pain just sucks. It makes places hurt that really aren't hurting and causes muscle spasms that can drop you to your knees..this one is in my upper back/shoulder and its causing my whole arm and wrist to ache....two more weeks. (yippee)
It is annual bonus time at my job. We have the opportunity to leave the bonus in an account that pays 2%- which I would love to do. But because we owe on the remodel and I am paying 7% on that loan, I will apply the bonus towards that debt. (A 2016 goal is to pay that debt down or completely off, depending on the hubs work schedule) Right now, it looks like we will be able to pay the full $24.5k off this year.(yay)- It is already under $20k. And THAT gets us a giant step closer to our 5 year goal!
This is also pay raise time. I received a 4.5% raise. I had already upped my 401k 3% this year. We are checking to see if the hub can up his- he may have missed the deadline. If he is not able to, I will up my Roth contribution another 2%.
Some of you may remember little Z from my older blogs- our little foster boy that lived with my daughter from 4 months until he was 3. Well, he is in town this week and has spent the week with DD2. I get to see him tomorrow!!! This is the 3rd time DD2 has seen him since he left 2 years ago. It will be great to see him, he has grown so much!!
We have owned labs for years. They are amazingly wonderful pets. Several months ago, DD3 brought a puppy into the fold- a Catahoula/pit mix. I am very leery of pits and their tendency for aggression.
Our labs and the pup have been just fine together until last weekend, when for some reason- we think one was playing and the other was protecting the hub to begin with, the older male lab (10) and the pup got into a fight- ending with staples and antibiotics. Then, they were fine again. Playing and enjoying each other.
Today, the pup went to play with the hub and the lab took it as a threat and they went at it again...only this time, in his effort to break the fight up, the hub ended up at urgent care with two nasty bites needing 3 and 7 stitches. He will also have to take 7 days off work- which is unpaid. :/ All together, that's about $2500 in bills and lost wages. OUCH.
Darn dogs. So now we have to make a decision about the pup. We definitely don't want this aggressiveness with grandbabies around- and its clear that these two don't share well when the hubs around.
Thankfully the dogs are ok this time. DD3 was also bit, but it didn't break the skin- is just gonna leave a nasty bruise.
Again, darn dogs.
I decided to try to negotiate my new salary and was pleasantly surprised when they accepted my request! I asked for $5k more per year. NOW I can say I am super happy with the change. They agreed to keep me in the department I asked for too. Now I am eager to return to work again and focus on the new responsibilities without having to manage a department or people!
The hub and I spent the day looking at woodstoves and kitchen layouts and pricing. It will be tough to stay within budget with so many options- but we will take it slow and make our decisions carefully. It is way too easy to get caught up in the wants rather than staying focused on the needs. Maintaining balance between the two will be key.
We are meeting with the contractor tomorrow afternoon, I am REALLY hoping that his schedule and what we need done will equate to being in the home by Thanksgiving. Now that the ball is rolling, I am motivated to get er done!!
Many of you may remember Boomeyers, a fellow blogger, from way back. She and I have been cyber-friends since we started blogging on here and have always talked about visiting one or the other. Well, next month, she is coming to Oregon to visit! I am so excited. I have been lucky to meet several bloggers through the years...from California to New York- and have always felt an immediate sister-hood and friendship. I hope to meet many more of you someday!!
The Scary Room:
I am ashamed to admit that we have a room in the big house that would make the cut for the Hoarders show. We have appropriately called it the 'scary room' for years. The room is actually a one car garage that was converted to a room. Stuff ends up there either as storage, indecisiveness, or just because. It has been the scary room during my son's renting days, my daughters renting days, and now DD3 and her friends renting days.
Two days ago, WE WENT IN....
A few minutes later we WE CAME BACK OUT after we found black widows.
We set off bug bombs and yesterday, we went back in and got about 50% done. 80% went into the 'dump' trailer. The other 20% is either going to goodwill, salvage yard, or back to the owners to deal with. All in all, there was about 2% that was the hubs or mine that will be kept. Mine is my moms depression glass that has been boxed up and a few keepsake toys for the grandkids.
We will finish the scary room today. Then we will move into the storage room that currently has my stuff from the city house...but has also accumulated stuff from DD3 and her friend who are currently renting the big house. It all needs to be organized so that the room can be easier accessed.
After we are done with these two rooms, we are ready to bring in the contractor to get a bid on the work we need/want done.
One thing I have definitely learned over the years is that STUFF is expensive. It costs to acquire, it costs to store, and it will cost to dispose of. How much easier life would be this week without all this STUFF.
Hopefully- Goodwill will benefit from what we can donate and the rest, well an expensive lesson in less is more.
I am humbled by the well wishes from everyone regarding my post yesterday. I mentioned changes at work- which is something I have pondered for several months actually, but didn't think Id really do it.
Looking back, opportunities and more responsibility just kept coming at work-and it was flattering to be trusted to take on more and more, my department grew-which meant more people to supervise, but my core job duties still had to get done- only they were multiplied because of our company's growth. Sometime during the past several months, I realized that I wasn't happy. My job became the only thing I had energy to focus on- work crept into lunches then evenings and the past several months, many weekends...dread began to fill my Sunday evenings. At 53 years old, with a family I adore, my focus just seemed backwards. I loved having money to splurge on my family, but money does not replace time to spend with them or energy to enjoy it when I do.
So- I will move into something different in the next few weeks after I get back from vacation. I am very grateful that my job is creating a new position to fit my strengths and my new responsibilities will include things I enjoy doing. I am truly blessed that they are making this such and easy thing emotionally to do. Financially, ouch. My cut will be about $14 an hour...but I will still make what I consider a decent salary and will retain my seniority and vacation time (5 weeks a year)- which is SO important to me. And most important, the workload and management expectations will be reduced.
The weird thing for me is that I have always been climbing...working my way up. Taking a step back is foreign to me, and not something many at my job do- so it will be foreign to others too.
So- what do you do with the budget in order to do this? Thankfully, we don't live paycheck to paycheck. And thankfully, we have paid everything off except our house and the 5th wheel we bought to travel in when we retire.
I wont splurge as much, will reduce the budgets for Christmas, birthdays, vacations, etc. And we will have to be more conscientious about things we do to the big house. We wont cut our 401k contributions and will continue to save what we can for rainy days.
And we will hopefully start to see the benefits of the change in our grocery bill when we don't eat out so much! And then there are the bullets I will dodge in doctor bills by being less stressed.
I haven't updated on little Z (foster child) in a while- his world is so different these days. He is still with his mom and they are living in a homeless mission - although they have to leave there tomorrow-and she has no plan of where to go. She has a new boyfriend that she met in rehab and he has been out of jail for a few weeks now- just long enough that they are pregnant. This will be the 3rd child for each of them (not together-so 6 total) and they do not have custody or support any of them- besides Z- and the state supports Z. Thankfully, she needs lots of breaks and lets us have Z often. It is heartbreaking- I want so badly for her to figure out life but she continues to make really bad decisions.
On a happier note- I am enjoying a staycation this week. We are working on the big house and are getting things cleaned up to start some much needed remodel. THe work will start in October and hopefully will be done enough so that I can move in by Thanksgiving.
This has been a tough year with work. Lots of reasons why, but the end result is that I have decided to step down from my position and take a lower paying job where I work. It is a HUGE cut in pay, but I am ready to let go of the stress and accept a job that I can hopefully work until retirement in. I wont have to manage anyone, and I wont be responsible for multiple areas within a department. I am not sure what the new job will entail, but I do know that I will make at least $20k per year less. (ouch). But it is the right thing to do. I am ready to downsize stress. Beyond ready.
So, I am taking a week off- recalculating the budget and preparing things to transition into pre-retirement mode.
In all honesty, I am giddy with relief...while simultaneously worrying about the budget. It works on paper, but....OMG.
Todays balance is ZERO!!!!!
Years in the making- a lifetime of bad decisions, over indulgences, 1 step forward 2-3 steps back...
But today, 5-30-14...we are officially credit card debt FREE.
We have paid off 401k loans, car and truck loans, and now this.
We still owe two mortgages and have a loan for our 5th wheel...but that's it!!!
I actually worked 12 hours today and didn't really get a chance to happy dance until now- but what better place to do so than here with my frugal friends!
What a wonderful day! This morning DD2 and I headed down to the lake where DS, DD1 and their families were camping for the weekend. It is about a 2 hour drive. I spent a very HOT day under a shade cover welcoming on my lap whatever grandchild needed a place to dry off and warm back up after a cold dip in the lake. Since I don't see my sons kids as often as I do the others, they were the two that stayed on my lap most of the day. GS is 4 and GD is 6. I loved every second. My son celebrated his 30th today. Then this afternoon DD2 and I drove back home and I am now enjoying my nice cool house. A wonderful day for sure.
Yesterday, I took two $10 off any item cards that I received from Kohl's, and got two candles for future friend gifts. Normally they were $19.99, but were on sale 50% off, so the candles were free. Cant beat FREE!! Thank you Kohls!
Tomorrow I am going to get laundry and food planning done for the week ahead. I love having an extra day off on the weekend- just that one extra day makes so much difference.
Anyone else excited about a three day weekend? I sure am!
If all goes as planned...in ONE WEEK, I will get to post that we are CC debt free! We have stayed uber focused since the first of the year on paying off the last of a massive debt that we'd accumulated over many years. About 2.5 years ago, we got really serious about facing the numbers and paying things off. We had several credit cards, 401k loans, and a car payment. We have paid off the 401k, car and all but the largest cc by the first of this year. We started the year with a $25,000 balance and we are down to $2499. To say I am excited is a real understatement. It is an incredible feeling when you think something is insurmountable...but then conquer it after lots of hard work!
This weekend my son turns 30. I will get to see all the kids and grandkids on Sunday- we haven't all been together since Christmas, so I am looking forward to it! The kids are all going camping. I am opting just to visit the campground for a day- which will be just perfect for gramma!
And in two weeks, I have a week off! Ive had a day or two here and there this year, but not a full week since last November, so I am really ready for the time off. Vacation plans are working on the country house and then heading over to the coast for 4 days with the 5th wheel.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Life is good!
I LOVE bbq'd food. Steak, chicken, corn, potatoes, asparagus..if it cooks on a grill, I generally enjoy it- but I usually only get bbq when the hub is home from Alaska- because I never learned to bbq myself.
I am learning how to bbq in the hubs absence- and Im pleasantly surprised to realize I CAN DO THIS.
I grilled chicken last week, and steak and potatoes tonight. So far, REALLY GOOD. I miss having my big kitchen- so this is a nice treat. And its not all that hard- just knowing when the coals are ready and how long to wait before turning the meat and when to take it off the grill.
Speaking of missing my kitchen, it is hard to believe that I have been in the little house (390 sq ft) for almost a year. WOW. Funny thing is, I have almost forgotten what is in all the storage boxes- all the 'stuff' that wouldn't fit in this space- stuff that I once thought I really needed, but have learned, I don't- that I can do well with just 6-7 options for work clothes and 3-4 options for non-work clothes. I am able to do laundry once a week, generally in 2 loads, unless I am doing all the bedding. A few pots, pans, cups, plates.
I don't shop much these days. There is literally NO WHERE to put any new purchases. I am constantly weeding more out- so bringing anything new in is just counter-productive.
But after a year, I am struggling with whether to stay in the little house or find a bigger option. Warmer weather is coming, which means outdoor space to augment the small living space is soon an option. But as I mentioned earlier in this post, I miss having a spacious kitchen. And I am tired of fighting the handicapped bar for space in the shower every morning. (the handicapped bar was installed by the factory that made this little house, so removing it isn't an easy option.)
So, what options do I have.
Well, the house in town is still occupied by DD1 and her family, who are very happy there. They pay rent that covers most of the house payment and hope to eventually buy it.
The house in the country is occupied by DD3 and her friend. The friend just found out that she is expecting. They love living out in the country, and enjoy the reduced rent. (Rent is reduced because the house needs a few repairs, and they take care of the hubs dogs)
Which leaves me either displacing one of the content kids, staying in the small house or renting a bigger place. I look at options daily and have yet to find anything that is bigger, in a good location, for a reasonable price.
What to do, what to do.
Last year we got hit fairly hard with state taxes and paid a hefty amount, plus paid quarterly taxes all year. Unfortuately, it wasnt quite enough and we are sending an extra $3k for last year and an extra $700 on top of the $1600 we were paying for quarterly taxes (now- $2300 quarterly).
Sadly, this hits before I rebuilt the emergency fund so our only option is the CC- which brings the balance to just over $14k and sets our payoff date back several months.
The aheader we go...the behinder we get.
Time to head back to the budget and see what I can shave and determine a new payoff date.
I paid $1501 today to get the balance on that final CC debt to $9999. We have paid $14,001 since the beginning of the year! I am so excited to have this bill PIF!
This past month has been a busy one, so not much time to blog- but we are making progress. The hub comes back on Friday- He received a 5% raise this year, so that definately helps- especially since they have limited the amount of overtime the employees are getting this year.
More later..just wanted to document the milestone! Yippee!
The LeAnn Rimes concert was cancelled- reason, east coast weather and cancelled flights. So, we opted to just stay home- the change in plans and refund on tickets saved us about $500 for the weekend, which was fine with me!!
We stopped by the store for our cell phone provider and had no luck with any change in plans to shave $$ off the expense. My job refunds me $90 a month for having a smart phone, so our plan isn't too bad. Our contract is up in December, so I will make a note to recheck then.
I made caprese on sourdough toast for my dinner tonight and the hub had leftover Chinese that he had a few days ago, making for an inexpensive Valentine's dinner...but even more important, we avoided all the crowds.
I am starting my 9th month in the little house. I bought a little toaster oven a couple of months ago ($40) which has come in really handy. I can toast, bake, broil, etc. Between that, my crockpot, microwave, electric skillet, and rice cooker, I can cook everything using electricity and save my propane for heat. Doing this, I can make it almost a month on two 13 gallon propane tanks.
We will most likely move into the bigger house here in the country this summer and save the little house for visitors. I have a few more months to make up my mind. Living in the small space works for me, but I would like more room for the grandkids when they visit. Plus having the washer and dryer in the house where I live and not having to lug it up and down to the other house, is a convenience I enjoy, especially when it is raining/snowing. That alone could be the deciding factor!
Happy Valentines Day!
I am on vacation today and Monday is a holiday, so a nice 4 day weekend ahead. This is the hubs last weekend home for a month, so it will be nice to be off. We are going to a LeAnn Rimes concert tonight. The hub is the fan, this is his Valentines gift from me.
This is my last vacation time for a while. Work is so busy I really cant afford anymore time away for a while.
Speaking of work, I am all moved into my new workspace. It is so different working in a cubicle instead of an office. I can hear everything everyone says and vis-versa. Our team will be in this space for the next year or so, so plenty of time to get used to it.
I am so excited about the progress we are making on paying off the last CC debt. If all goes as planned we will have it paid off in about two months!!
Financially, my focus right now is doing my due diligence on things like insurance and cell phone bills to determine if we can shave anything off those expenses and paying off the debt. Otherwise, things are all budgeted and fairly predictable each month. In a couple of months it will get more fun because 'extra' income will go towards savings! Cant wait!
I paid $3874 towards the last CC today, leaving a balance of $20126. I am so excited to have that puppy PAID IN FULL. But we are still many paydays away from that goal.
My son is visiting and getting some repairs done at the country house. He and his family rented that house a few years ago and when they left, they left some things in dis-repair. He is here to fix them, which I really, really appreciate.
My ex's mother (grandmother to my 3 older kids) is very sick. She recently had surgery and the doctor slipped during the cauterization and burned a couple of deep holes internally. She is 81 and it's not looking look good for her. It is sad to see how quickly the family vultures started circling both her and her bank accounts. She has always been a VERY frugal woman and I am sure has amassed a sizeable nest egg. Unfortunately, her son (my ex) and her brother are both trying to gain control of her finances- neither with her best intentions in mind. It breaks my heart to see her being hurt by those who supposedly 'love' her, focusing on her money instead of her health and wellbeing. I know this is all too common when it comes to money and heirs. I hope all works out for her. My kids are planning to go visit their gramma once things settle down a little. It sounds like its a pretty hostile situation right now.
2014 is off to a great start!
We received the log-in info for the hubs new 401k and the contributions have started! Right now, he is contributing 5% and his employer is matching the 5% (the max match). Whatever we save in this account will augment his pension nicely when he retires.
The hub headed back to Alaska today. We got quite a bit done before he left- primarily moving furniture so that we could deep clean the little house. It is incredible how quickly animal hair accumulates, so I really appreciated the help getting it all cleaned up. We also spent time planning projects here on the country property.
DD1 and her hub have decided they would like to try to buy the city house. They have lived in it the past 8.5 months and have decided it is a good place to raise their kids. The question is, will they be able to buy it. They are looking into their options, and I will wait to see what they come up with.
I learned today that I am getting a $2 an hour raise! This is an annual increase..which amounts to about $350 month or just a little over $4000 this year! I plan to increase my 401k to 10% to absorb it. (One step closer to retirement!!) I made that change to my scheduled contributions tonight!
So all in all, I am pleased so far with the first week of the new year and am hopeful for a wonderful year ahead!
Im so ready to dust my hands of 2013 and get on with the new year!
2013 was a year of financial success, in that I was promoted at work, we paid off massive debt and boosted retirement savings.
But emotionally, it was a train wreck kindof year. A painful test of the marriage - ugh, and our loss of little Z (foster child who was placed with bio-gma after 2.5 years with DD2).
I moved out of my city home and into a 390 sq ft country home- (and am now on month #8!) Small space living has its benefits, but country living on a well has proven to be more stressful than I imagined, especially this past month with the frozen pipes. I am still undecided if I will continue here after the year is up or not.
Ready to put the year behind me, and focus on the excitement of, with the exception of the houses and 5th wheel, being completely debt free. And REALLY heading towards retirement goals.
Personally, I have set goals to misplace 5 lbs per month- somewhere other than my waist and hips and to carve out time one weekend a month for me.
Well, here's to a Happy New Year to all!
The hub is home from Alaska. Yesterday, the poor guy slept almost all afternoon, evening and night. He has been working crazy long hours- then got stuck in Seattle on the way home because of fog, and ended up sleeping in the airport. Needless to say, by the time he got home he was exhausted.
Unfortunately, this morning he was heading outside and slipped on the top step off the porch and landed on his back against one of the steps. OUCH. He took a muscle relaxer and pain pill..and has been out most of the day again today.
Since I've had quite a bit of free time, I decided to crunch numbers to see how we did this past year.
We started 2013 with a staggering $63,226 of debt ( not including the houses). We ended the year with $24,000- which means we paid off $39,226 or 62%. WOW. We anticipate paying the remaining $24,000 by May.
My retirement fund has done well this past year. At the beginning of the year the value- $71,519 and it has grown to $112,886- a $41367 increase!
The value of our homes has increased a combined $32,600. We owe appx $410k on the two homes, their value is appx $445k. A nice increase from where we bottomed out the past couple years (we were seriously in the red for a while). At least we are back in the black on paper on these homes.
I feel like we are finally making strides towards paying everything off and eventually retiring. That is, if I can keep the hub on his feet.
Im looking forward to setting our goals for 2014. I expect a fairly nice annual pay increase in February- which will be split between increasing the mortgage payments and the 401k contributions.
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