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Two steps back, treading water or making progress.

March 10th, 2017 at 12:40 pm

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.

401k Progress!

September 9th, 2016 at 10:54 pm

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 and Z is on his way to Oregon!

September 5th, 2016 at 09:18 am

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). Frown 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.

Where is the time going

August 11th, 2016 at 03:20 pm

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. Frown

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!

Is it May yet????

April 24th, 2016 at 10:34 am

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. Big Grin

I love having 'fun time' plans out on the horizon to look forward to.

10 years!

March 11th, 2016 at 09:55 am

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.

Lil Z - Pinched nerve and a 2016 Goal Update

February 5th, 2016 at 08:52 pm

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!!





Expensive dog fights

September 13th, 2015 at 05:45 pm

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.

The new Kitchen

August 5th, 2015 at 07:28 pm

Here are a couple of few pics of the kitchen. As you can see, we added a peninsula, new cabinets, counters and floors...and some new appliances!

Before:


After:





I asked....and guess what?

September 4th, 2014 at 05:48 pm

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!!


Boomeyers and Buh-bye scary room

September 3rd, 2014 at 09:48 am

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.


More on my work changes and upcoming remodel!

September 2nd, 2014 at 05:41 pm

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.
Frown

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.







Tough few months- But light at the end of the tunnel finally

September 1st, 2014 at 09:09 pm

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.



WE DID IT! CC DEBT FREE!!!!

May 30th, 2014 at 07:24 pm

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!!!

WOOOT.

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!

A day at the lake with the grandkids- gramma heaven!

May 25th, 2014 at 08:38 pm

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.



One more week!

May 23rd, 2014 at 08:18 pm

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!


10 months in the little house!

April 25th, 2014 at 08:13 pm

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.





Another Tax day surprise- and not a good one.

April 4th, 2014 at 04:43 pm

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.

HUGE SIGH.

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.

Balance under $10k

March 17th, 2014 at 04:18 pm

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!

Concert cancelled and no luck with cell phone plan

February 14th, 2014 at 08:01 pm

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!

February 14th, 2014 at 10:06 am

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!


Money Vultures....aka heirs

January 27th, 2014 at 04:59 pm

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. Frown



2014 is off to a good start!

January 8th, 2014 at 09:34 pm

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!

Final post for 2013

December 31st, 2013 at 08:15 pm

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. Smile And REALLY heading towards retirement goals.

Personally, I have set goals to misplace 5 lbs per month- somewhere other than my waist and hips Smile and to carve out time one weekend a month for me.

Well, here's to a Happy New Year to all!

Our 2013 numbers

December 28th, 2013 at 10:49 pm

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. Smile

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.

Paid off my car today!

November 16th, 2013 at 08:08 pm

As planned, I paid my car off today! I am excited that our repayment goals are on track!

This leaves the house payments, the trailer payment and two credit cards. One CC is zero interest. The other, is from my job and we earn 1% cash back plus a 10% rebate at the end of the year. Regardless, the latter will be the next to be paid off, which will happen by April.

The car that I paid off today is a 2005 Kia Amanti that we bought used in 2007. It has 80k miles on it. I hope to have many years left on it. We will continue to pay 'payments' into savings to either pay for repairs, or pay for a new car someday.

A potential blessing for Z

November 2nd, 2013 at 07:56 pm

DD2 got a call out of the blue yesterday from Zs bio dad and paternal grandmother. (Dad and his family have not been in the picture since Z was taken into the foster system almost 2.5 years ago) It sounds like dad took steps over 6 months ago to get himself cleaned up and was ready to see Z. The family was together for great-grandmas birthday and wanted to see Z. Turned out, dad has been clean for 6 months, has a job, a home, and really wants a chance with (custody of) Z- they asked if they could see him today and DD2 got permission and met them. And what makes me smile, is that dad/family are local. Z would be nearby. COuld this be our answer to prayer? I am not sure. But Zs transition to his maternal grandmother has stalled so many times, for so many reasons, maybe there is a bigger plan for him. After the visit today, dad is going to make the phone calls on Monday to see what he can do. We aren't getting our hopes too high, but this could be a potential game changer for Zs destiny.

This past week was very busy, but here are the highlights:

I received my 3rd quarter eval and it was very positive. I have grown into the new title and am on track to get a very good end of year eval/raise. (5-5.5% raise!) Big Grin

I learned my office will be moving (our department is moving) to an older building that the job owns. It will most likely be for a year, while a new addition is built on the current location. But it is going to be a change. My current office has beautiful furniture and a big window/view...my new workspace (maybe office?) will have no windows and the furniture will most likely be old pieced-together items from storage. Its all good. I am of a mindset that I can work anywhere, so long as I have a desk and a computer. (Kinda like moving from my big house to this little house...its not what you look at that matters, its what you see.)

The really interesting thing about the new work location is that it is literally 5 minutes from my house in town. Hmmm...

We are about 3 weeks away from paying off my car!! This is one of our BHAG action steps! (BHAG= Big Hairy A## Goal, which is to retire by 60)

We will be down to a zero interest CC, which must be paid off in April, and our final CC, which will be paid off by April-May. After that, we have our 5th wheel and the house to payoff. 5th wheel will be paid off 1st qtr 2015. House, by BHAG time.

Tonight my sweet little 4 yo granddaughter is sleeping over. She is such a gorgeous little girl. Blonde hair down to her behind and great big blue eyes. And very sweet. We are having fun. She is also Z's 'big sister" She was 1 1/2 when Z moved in with them.

Tomorrow I plan to take little miss home and then have some free time in the afternoon/evening. One week until vacation!!

Day 1 - Christmas Countdown

October 27th, 2013 at 10:04 am

I received a post on Facebook this morning that today is the kickoff for Christmas Countdown. This is a six week plan that helps you get ready for Christmas. Where did this year go? My goodness. Anyway, I do find that organizing ahead of time helps me avoid last minute craziness for the holiday.

I don't have anything on the agenda today outside of football....housework, laundry and making soup in the slow cooker. All the latter are chores that will help keep me on track for the work week ahead. It is a beautiful sunny day, so I should be able to hang all of the laundry outside. (yay!) I splurged on some wonderful smelling fabric softener just for line dry days. I cant wait to see how the sheets turn out!!

The hubs employer was sold recently. (this is the third time since he has worked for them) The good news is that his new 401k has a 5% match! He faxed off the paperwork this morning to enroll and get started. We will start with 5% and up the amount as we pay things off. My 401k has an 8% match, which I have always taken advantage of.

The value on our homes continues to rise. I sure hope this trend holds until we sell the city house next summer. I would love to show a profit for that purchase. By then, we should be debt free except for the country house. Our plan then is to maximize 401k savings and focus on paying off the country house. All part of our BHAG goal of me retiring by 60 and the hub cutting back at 55. (He is 7 years younger than me)

Time to start the laundry and get the soup going. I hope everyone has a fabulous day!








Working at the condo!

September 17th, 2013 at 05:45 pm

I am back at the condo working this afternoon.

This morning I went to one of our locations and conducted training and took care of a few things. Now I am taking a quick lunch before diving into work. It is so relaxing to work away from the phone and normal interruptions- especially with this gorgeous ocean view.

Happy me.

I could easily retire somewhere on the coast with an ocean view. I never get tired of hearing the waves crash, or gazing out at the water, the waves, the sunsets- and I love the smell of ocean air. I grew up in Southern Cali not too far from the beach. I spent all my free time on the beaches.

But I digress from all things financial.

We don't have any extra expense type trips planned until our family trip in November- so for the next couple of months all extra money will be applied towards debt. The new 5th wheel took a chunk out of our debt repayment plan- but we will still have all debt paid off (except the houses and the 5th wheel) by the end of the first quarter 2014.

I am pleased with the growth in my 401k and the value of the homes. The value of both homes is rising nicely. Our plan right now is to put the city house on the market late Spring. The value has increased so that we are back in the black and stand to make a nice profit. But until we sell it, that is just a guesstimate. One of the wise things I did when I bought the house was to purchase within a very desirable school district and within walking distance of the high school (even though my kids were already out of school).

Hopefully, life will cooperate.

For today- I will enjoy the view and the fabulous afternoon breeze.

Ciao!

Reality on a spreadsheet- time to reset

September 2nd, 2013 at 04:25 pm

I am feeling a little better today. I have been taking OTC meds for allergies and am actually asthma free today! That doesn't happen often- so I am going to stick with the allergy meds and see if it continues to help.

Last night, I decided to put all of our discretionary spending for the last two months on a spreadsheet. WOW.

The categories were food, eating out, gas and miscellaneous spending. If I was scoring us on each category we would get a B, F, B and D in those categories for how close we stuck to the budget. But I showed it to the hub, who actually is not too interested in how the finances are budgeted and I think he got it.

So, I am not sure what method we will use to keep us better on track, but the goal is to come in much closer to the budget in the future.

I know some of the spending was for the new trailer and stocking it. I know I was less focused on staying on track because of everything that was going on with the relationship issues. Its just time to hit the reset button and start again.

DD3 has another friend who needs a place to live, so we are going to carpet the third bedroom in the big house and she and her 2yo daughter are going to rent it. This will bring the rental income to $725mo for that house. It is still well under the payment of $1300 mo, but it is $725 more than we were getting and as part of the deal, the girls will feed and care for the hubs two outside dogs and pet sit for my dog and cat when we go on vacations or when I need to work away from home. The hubs wood business is on this property, as well as the little house we are living in, so it still makes sense to keep it.

We will be out of town this week with my job, then, next Sunday, the hub flies back to Alaska for the rest of the month. I am going to challenge myself to see how frugally I can live while he is gone. The 13-15th I am going to Portland with my girls, but aside from that, I should be able to keep expenses down to a minimum. Hmmm...I see a personal challenge headed my way. Big Grin


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