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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