It is a little late, but the following are my goals for the year:
Get total in savings to $10,000.
Save a cushion in Checking account of $3,000.
Eat out no more than 5 times a month (that includes lunch).
Save all loose change towards my Disney Graduation Vacation in 2014.
Get house organized.
Grow my gemstone business.
I believe these are realistic goals. I am also going to post these goals in my side bar.
It is a little late, but the following are my goals for the year:
The jar that has all the change I keep for my Disney Vacation in 2014 was almost full. So last night I started rolling the coins. My husband wanted to know why I didn't just take it to the coin machine at the credit union. I actually like to roll my own coins. So that's what I did for about an hour last night. I came up with $35 in change! That does not count the coins that did not make up full rolls. I need $2 more in quarters to have another roll. I plan to make a deposit into my ING account next week. So hopefully I will have $45 just from my change to put in that account. My plan is to deposit my change once a month into my Disney Fund. We probably won't go until December 2014. So that gives me two full years to save. If I do this on a monthly basis, I should have enough money by then to have a really nice vacation. Whenever I break any dollar and get change back, I automatically put it aside for my change jar. It's amazing how fast it adds up. And I don't even miss the change!
Last night I could not get to sleep because I kept thinking about the financial goals I want to make for next year. I'm excited because I want to try some new things. Right now I do have an emergency fund. But it only has $25 in it. But I do have money in other accounts. I am, however, going to set specific money aside that will be exclusively for my emergency fund.
After looking at my remaining classes, I will probably graduate in either the spring or fall of 2014. So close! Then I will have my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. I plan to celebrate my graduation in Orlando, Fl. I want to go to Disney World and Universal Studios. So as an added incentive to study hard, I have been saving all of my change. When the jar is full, I plan to cash it in and transfer it to an account I have at ING that is labeled exclusively for Disney World 2014! It's never too early to start saving!
I worked for about 4 hours today. DH was home from work today. So we spent the afternoon together. I love spending time with him during the day during the week. Our goal is to one day both work from home together.
I tried a new recipe today. I made mini chicken pot pies. They were pretty good! The recipe is so easy. I cooked chicken breasts. Once the chicken was done, I shredded it. I also seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Then I mixed it with 1 can cream of chicken soup. You can add peas and carrots but I did not have any. Take a muffin pan and spray with non stick spray. Open a can of biscuits. Put one uncooked biscuit at the bottom of each muffin can. Press each biscuit down and at least half way up each individual muffin can. Put the chicken/cream of chicken mixture in each biscuit. I topped each with a little shredded cheddar cheese. I cooked it for about 15/20 minutes. It was so good!
DH and I have eaten out way too much in the past. I am changing that. Plus it is not healthy to eat fast food all the time. So I am trying to come up with quick and creative recipes to cook on week nights. I do love the traditional dinner and usually try to cook a good meal on Sundays. We are also going to start eating together at the table. We don't have any kids yet so it is easy for us to just plop down in front of the tv with dinner. But that is a habit i want to change too. When I was growing up my parents always ate breakfast together every morning before the kids got up. We always had a family dinner in the evenings at the dinner table. Those are traditions I want my husband and I to have together too, especially after we have kids. Breakfast every morning may be a little harder. But maybe we can aim to have breakfast together at least one morning during the week and on the weekends.
Another great thing about meals at home: we save a lot of money. That's always good!
I started blogging last year but stopped due to distractions. The distractions had nothing to do with money but with life in general. I started college again full time. So that just about zapped up all the free time I have. But I am still very interested in my family's financial health. So I want to try to blog again to keep me on track with my goals. So here I go, starting over again with my blogging! :-)
Last night I went through my purse and found over $6.00 in change. So I rolled up what I could and plan to deposit it into my personal Money Market account later on this week. My DH and I have one joint Money Market and I have a personal Money Market. He has Pension, 401k and an IRA. So I decided to have a personal Money Market as well as my IRA at Vanguard. Plus I kind of view my Money Market as my own personal emergency fund too.
DH gets an extra paycheck in July and I really want to put all of it in our Money Market account. I'm not sure if it is going to work out. We keep getting unexpected expenses. Plus our car is STILL in the shop and the mechanic will not call us back! I feel like going to his shop and just picking up our car. I will NOT use him again!
I am so glad today is over. I'm actually glad this whole week is over. I was dreading this week last Sunday. So now that it is over I can breathe a sigh of relief. I had a lot of extra work this past week. I try to have one or two days off a week. But I worked everyday, all day everyday this week. We are still getting the car worked on. I have no idea how long our car is going to be in the shop. I don't think I will ever use this mechanic again. I'm not even mad about the $700+ that we will have to pay him. My problem is that he does not communicate. He puts in a $150 part charges us $200 for labor and then tells us what he did to the car. He never even asked us if he could put the part in! And then when you call his shop he won't pick up. If he says he'll call you back the next day, he won't call you back for two days! Meanwhile we're calling trying to figure out what's going on! It's so frustrating! What makes it worse is that he is a family friend. I feel like he has taken us for granted. Hopefully we can get through this without it ending on bad terms. But I will never use him again.
DH and I had dinner plans for tonight but they fell through. So we got take out and I am doing laundry at my parents' house. We need to buy a new washer and dryer. I was actually about to start saving for it. This weekend I am thinking about slow cooking bbq pork or slow cooking spaghetti sauce in the crock pot. I'll see what DH wants. He'll probably want spaghetti. We're are supposed to go out to lunch with my Aunt and Uncle on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to that. It's been so long since we've spent some time with them.
Well time to check on laundry...
Just found out that our car repairs will cost about $700. I'll know for sure tomorrow the final cost. On top of that, my blackberry is broken. Money just keeps flowing out...
Well it has been a while since I have posted. A lot has happened since my last post. Back in March I lost a lot of work. It was actually a big chunk of my income. So that set us back. We did have savings to help us. I am so glad that we had savings. Otherwise we would have been in big trouble. On top of living expenses and bills, BOTH of our cars decided to act up! In fact, one of our cars is still in the shop right now. Again, savings is there to save us! But now our savings is super low. I absolutely hate dipping into savings. But it is supposed to be there when you need it.
So the first 6 months of this year has not worked out that great for us. However, I have more work and so my income has gone back up again. That's how it is when you are self-employed. Your income can be REALLY great for a while and then you hit a dry spell. But with the new work I am getting, hopefully I can help my DH rebuild our savings. No matter what though, I am NOT giving up. Dollar by dollar we will build our savings!
February was a blur to me. It went by so fast! I did not do well updating my blog during February. Hopefully March will be better. I did calculate my savings for last month. We we able to save a total of $900. I still want to increase that number but I feel good about what we did save. We are going on vacation for 10 days at the end of March. We are paying cash only for this vacation. So no credit will be used. I've been paying our credit card in full every month. So it feels good to not have any credit card debt.
This month we have a little more to save towards vacation. But we will have no problem saving the rest of the money we need. I've been cooking more at home. We've been able to save a lot of money by doing that. And I have "discovered" freezing food. In the past I would cook a good size meal and put leftovers in the refrigerator, hoping to eat it later. Many times we would forget the leftovers. It would eventually get thrown away. But now I've been freezing our leftovers and our freezer is packed! I like that I can come home and warm up food without spending a lot of time preparing it.
DH has applied for a higher paying position at his job. We really hope he gets it. One of our goals this year is to increase our income. So for him getting a higher paying position is a must! I've checked into doing some freelance work and expanding my business. Also doing some other little projects on the side.
We have been so distracted this month. It has been really hard to blog. But I hope to get back on track in February. We've still been progressively saving. I try to deposit something on a weekly basis. Even if it is just $5, I'm going to make sure I made a deposit. Everything counts. When I didn't have any savings, I decided to save $5 every other week. So every month I saved about $10. I had it automatically taken out of my account and put in my savings account every two weeks. I just forgot about it. A couple of years later, I had a lot of money saved! So saving is saving. Start small and make it automatic. It will grow.
Last week was extremely busy for me. I worked everyday last week. I usually try to have one day off during the week. That did not happen last week. This coming week I should have at least one day off on Thursday. But since we are expecting snow/wintry mix tomorrow and Tuesday, I may have more days off than expected. My plan is to work first thing in the morning and hopefully be done with work at around noon. After that, I'm going to make a deposit at the bank and go home. The snow is supposed to start after noon. I do have one customer on Tuesday, but if it snows I'm going to try to push her to Thursday morning. Workwise it is supposed to be a slow week for me. So if it snows and I can't work much, it won't really hurt me.
Last week I found $3.00 on the floor at a restaurant. The person behind me thought it was mine. I just picked it up because I wasn't sure if it was mine but it could have been. When I got home I realized that it wasn't mine. So I decided to just include that $3.00 in my weekly personal savings deposit. I'll make that deposit later this week.
I have been cheating all weekend with food. I usually don't snack a lot but this weekend I just snacked. Plus I had a girls night out tonight. We went to the movies and then out to eat. I had pizza and kind of pigged out. Oh well, I'll get back on track tomorrow.
I really need to get back to studying for the real estate state exam. I've been distracted lately. Maybe if I get snowed in I'll be able to do some real studying.
DH and I reached a milestone last week. One of our savings accounts reached the $1,000 mark! So now we are going to view that account as haveing a "zero balance" and we're "starting over" as far as reaching $1,000. I figure each time I reach another $1,000, I'll view that account as having a "zero balance" and I have to reach $1,000 again even if the balance is $12,000 or $13,000. Baby steps!
Right now our retirement accounts are at close to $15,000. We are way behind in our retirement savings. So since DH works at a bank he is going to get one of the Financial Advisors at his job look at our retirement to see if we could make any changes this year. I used to have my series 6 and 63 licenses. So I do know a lot about investing. But they expired a few years ago. So I'm not too proud to ask for help. Plus it was only the 6 and 63.
Well I need to get ready for tomorrow. So I will close this blog entry. I need to some sleep!
Non-Financial Goals for 2011
I've posted these in my sidebar also.
[ ] Finish getting Real Estate license. I finished the class and passed the final exam at the end of 2008. I just never took the state exam. So I'm finishing what I started and taking the state exam. I know real estate is not the best field to be in right now. But I just want to finish what I started. So I'm studying so I can pass the state exam.
[ ] Have parents/family over for dinner once every 2 months. I"m a family person. If you don't put forth the effort to keep in touch, you'll lose touch, even with parents/siblings.
___ Jan/Feb ___ Mar/Apr ___ May/June ___ July/Aug ___ Sept/Oct ___ Nov/Dec
[ ] Have a larger gathering of friends once every 3 months (4 gatherings a year). I used to have gatherings all the time but as I got older I kind of stopped. I want to start doing that again.
___ Jan – Mar ___ Apr – June ___ July – Sept ___ Oct – Dec
[ ] Finish reading list of books by 12/31/11. (I have a list of 20 to 40 short and long books.) I'm a fast reader, so I don't see a problem reaching this goal.
[ ] Make an official wedding album. We never made a wedding album even though we've been married over 6 years. I always wanted a nice, official wedding album.
[ ] Make photo albums for all loose photos and hang photos throughout house. I want to organize my loose photos. Also I want our house to feel more homey; so I want to hang more photos through the house.
[ ] Get portrait of DH and I done. We haven't had a portrait done of us since we were engaged.
[ ] Lose 5 pounds a month. I'm an ok size now. I want to get more toned/firmer.
___ Jan ___ Feb ___ Mar ___Apr ___ May ___ June ___ July ___ Aug ___ Sept
___ Oct ___ Nov ___ Dec
[ ] Buy new drapes for living room. An investment that will hopefully last a few years.
[ ] Send out written correspondence (card, letter, etc) at least once a month to friend/family. (No electronic correspondence!) I believe corresponding the old fashioned way is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But there's nothing like getting an actual card or letter in the mail. So in an effort to put a more personal touch in my correspondence, I'm going to send a card or hand written letter to a friend or family member once a month.
___ Jan ___ Feb ___ Mar ___Apr ___ May ___ June ___ July ___ Aug ___ Sept
___ Oct ___ Nov ___ Dec
[ ] Learn one new recipe a month. I have tons of cookbooks but tend to cook the same recipes all the time. I would love to copy what was done on that Julie/Julia movie (one recipe a day) but I don't have time. So this is my modified version!
___ Jan ___ Feb ___ Mar ___Apr ___ May ___ June ___ July ___ Aug ___ Sept
___ Oct ___ Nov ___ Dec
[ ] Get library card. I stopped going to the library 4 or 5 years ago. I need to start going back.
[ ] Get passports for DH and I. We would love to go out of the country. We can't go this year but at least we can get our passports!
[ ] Increase volunteer hours in community to 10 – 15 hours a month.
___ Jan ___ Feb ___ Mar ___Apr ___ May ___ June ___ July ___ Aug ___ Sept
___ Oct ___ Nov ___ Dec
Simply stated, there is more happiness in giving than receiving. I am a firm believer in that!
[ ] Buy a new washer and dryer. We don't have either at the moment
[ ] Make 3 large panels (paint/sew) for decoration in dining room. Just a little project I want to work on
I am so ready to start this new year on a good financial foot. 2011 is going to be a "working" year for us. Even though we have been married over 6 years, we feel like we have wasted a lot valuable time we could have used saving and paying down debt. But sometimes you learn later on in life. At least we are getting it together now and we are on the same page.
I have been so excited about my new financial goals, I've been talking to my mom about it. Now she is on board with changing her finances. She's in her early 60s and has felt it is too late for her. But I convinced her she is not too late. She can save a lot of money in 5 or more years. The point is to get started! So now she's excited about her new goals this year. Saving is so contagious!!
Well I have posted my 2011 Financial Goals. I may revise them by the end of the week. But I believe these will be good goals for the year. Still working on to do list for December. Hopefully I will make it!
On Monday I finalized my financial goals for 2011. I would post them now but I left them at home. So I will post them later. I received a $100 bonus from one of my clients on Monday. So since it was money I was not expecting to get that $100 immediately went to long term savings. Any unexpected money goes straight to savings. I don't even think about it, I just do it. If I start to think about it I'll rationalize a way to spend it. So I just "blindly" put it in savings. Out of sight, out of mind :-)
I'm still working on the to do list that I made for this month. This week I'm going to try to finish that spare room. It shouldn't take more than half a day to do. I have time since I have some time off. My pantry shouldn't take long either. I almost finished the pantry last week. I bought a 5 shelf open bookcase for the kitchen. I have a big, long kitchen. So it will help me stay organized. I keep my spices, potatoes, fresh fruit, flour, sugar, etc on it. It looks really neat in my kitchen. I took advantage of Kroger's sale on vegetables recently. I bought over 20 packages of frozen vegetables at 88 cents each. Plus I am buying 2 or 3 meats every time I go to the grocery store for lunch items for the week. So my freezer is looking pretty good. My goal is to get my freezer and pantry well stocked and then maintain it. I don't want to get super low on food anymore. I find when I do that, I'm more tempted to buy fast food. My mother in law freezes everything. It's just her but her freezer is always packed. So she inspired me to be more conscious of stocking up more. She always has food to cook or reheat.
My DH and I were talking this week and are planning on going to the beach in March. So we are going to save up for it and pay cash. We'll probably stay for a week. Our last vacation was a couple of months ago to Orlando. It was nice but we were constantly on the go every day going to amusement parks. So I'm ready to just relax and do nothing on the next vacation.
Today I made the final payment to my CPA. It feels so good to get that taken care of. I have an extra $250 that I am trying to decide what to do with. I think I may just park it in my checking account for right now.
Normally I keep about $100 hidden at home for quick runs to the grocery store or for whatever else we may need. This is so we don't have to run to the ATM or use our debit card for small purchases. I just started this a couple of months ago and it's been working out nicely. Yesterday my husband and I wanted to get a small heater for our bedroom. It's been so cold and we don't want to have a huge heating bill. So we thought a small heater would help keep us warm at night. I used cash that was on me, so we did not have to use our debit card or go to the ATM.
I live in North Carolina and we are expected to have some wintry weather tomorrow. Last year I would have been panicking because I am self-employed. If I don't work, I don't get paid. Last year I really did not have any savings. So if I missed getting paid due to wintry weather, I would have been in trouble. But tomorrow if I don't work and don't get paid, it won't really hurt. That's a nice feeling. But it would still be nice to make that money tomorrow. :-)
I have a couple of spreadsheets on my computer that I am going to use to keep track of our bills/income/etc. for 2011. I've never used spreadsheets to keep track of our money before. But in an effort to be more organized I am going to give it a try. I looked at Mint.com. But I am not sure I want to put all my financial information online like that. I don't really feel secure doing that.
In addition to the spreadsheets, I have created a notebook that I am going to keep our finances in. It's actually a 3 ring folder. I printed off 12 blank calendars for each month of the year 2011. On each calendar I am going to write down paydays, when bills are due and how much they are, and I am going to keep note of target goal dates for specific financial goals I have for 2011. I like the idea of keeping our information on the computer. But I also love to write on physical paper. Maybe by the end of 2011 or sooner, I will have a preference. But for now I am keeping record on paper and on the computer.
I have $265 to deposit to our long term savings today. But before I make a deposit I'm going to see what else I can add to it to make it a bigger deposit.
The holiday season is busy for me with my work. It's nice to get the extra money but it is so tiring. I'll actually be glad when I can slow down even though I won't have the extra money. Right now we are beefing up our account through the month of January. In January/February, DH and I are going to start paying down our bills. I guess we are doing our version of what Dave Ramsey suggested. We are trying to get some money in savings first. I like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Ultimately, I would like to have one year's worth of an emergency fund.
There are a few things I want to do before the end of December. So I am making a to do list of the main things I want to accomplish. They are as follows:
1. Finish unpacking spare bedroom and get rid of boxes.
2. Clean out and organise pantry.
3. Set up filing system for office and organize all loose papers.
4. Finish setting goals for 2011 and post them.
I feel that if I am able to complete those four tasks by the end of December I'll be able to start 2011 off on the right track.
My ultimate goal is to be a more organized person. I also want to be more proactive in things. I have always been a procrastinator. It's a bad habit that I want to get rid of. I want to continually work towards becoming a better person. I want to get better financially, socially, in my career and other areas of my life. I may be 32 years old but I am still young with a lot of life left. So it's not too late to make good changes and keep improving. I'm glad I decided to start this blog. It will definitely help me stay on track.
Today I earned an extra $20 on top of what I usually get from work. So since it was $20 I wasn't expecting I put it into my savings account.
I've been sick all week with a bad cold. But I've been going to work all week. That's one of the cons of being self-employed. You don't get paid sick days. So if you don't go to work you don't get paid. Last year when I was just starting my business, every penny I made went to bills, rent or utilities. So if it snowed and I couldn't work that day it REALLY hurt financially! So now that I have savings it won't hurt us. But I still don't want to just miss working for my clients.
DH got more responsibilities at work this week. He actually will be switching to another branch. He was asked by the District Manager to move since he is one of the top sales people. His manager told him this will help him reach his goal faster. He is working towards one day being a financial advisor. It's exciting. Plus the extra money is going to be nice.
In preparation for next year's finances, I think I want to open about 4 CDs and create a CD ladder. Each CD would be for one year at my local credit union. I would open one in April, July, October and January. This would serve as part of my emergency fund. I also have an emergency fund at ING Direct. One of my sub-accounts has been designated as an Emergency Fund.
My Bank of America checking account charges a fee if I don't keep a minimum amount in the account. As of now I don't have that amount in the account. So today I converted my MyAccess checking account into their new ebanking checking account. In order to avoid the monthly fee you have to make all transactions though the ATM. I can have no contact with a live teller. That is fine with me since this is not my primary checking account. So I went ahead and converted my personal checking account to the ebanking checking.
Right now I am researching mutual funds I am interested in opening in 2011. I already have my IRA at Vanguard. Now I am considering opening non-retirement accounts there. I am interested in the Star Fund and the Prime Money Market Fund. For my IRA I am invested in the 500 Index Fund. I looked at State Farm's mutual funds. They do charge fees. However, they allow you to open a fund for $250. I think I will probably stick with Vanguard though. I just need to save up the minimums which probably won't take long.
On the way home today I was thinking now may be a good time to open that secondary joint checking account before the start of the new year. Right now we have everything put into one account and DH has access to it with a debit card. Even though we are trying to use all cash for the most part, we will still occasionally use the debit card for gas or grocery. Plus I have automated transfers coming out of that account to other accounts. I want to have an account that is not touched by debit cards or automated transfers. So I think I'm going to open up the secondary checking account and keep the other joint checking for money that comes in and money that goes out. That way I can build a nice reserve of funds in the secondary checking account. I guess it will serve as backup money too without having to touch savings. So I'm going to look into opening a second joint checking at the credit union.
I am also going to look into resuming our $50/month automated transfer into our T. Rowe Price mutual fund. We were doing good with it last year but had to stop. So I would like to get that going again at least by January.
I deposited $120 into our money market account yesterday and $5 into my personal savings. I also deposited another $5 into our money market account today. So our accounts are growing. But....if only bills did not exist!! We have to pay our taxes on our car next week. It's only $63 but I wish I could put that in savings instead.
I am making a to do list for the month of December so that I can start the new year off to a good start. DH and I are also going to the beach at the end of the month for a quick weekend. I need it too because I am exhausted from working! My house is getting cleaned today, which makes me feel so much better. I clean houses. So one of the people I clean for on a weekly basis cleans my house on a weekly basis. We exchange services. So I don't have to pay for it. It feels so good to have your home cleaned by someone else! Plus I have heard that the more organized you are, the more money you save. I really believe that. I feel so much more organized and on top of things, especially financially.
Well I am going to take a nap. I am soooo tired....
This past week has been busy for me with work. I did have Thursday and Friday off. I originally decided not to shop on Friday. So during the day on Friday I totally avoided the malls. However, I kept thinking how much I needed a couple of cardigans. So I decided to go to the mall in the evening just to see what types of sales there were on sweaters. I did find two cardigans that were necessities. So I bought them. I have been thinking for a couple of months about getting them. So it was not a spur of the moment purchase. Plus they are quality and have a classic look. So they will last me for years (hopefully) and are not trendy. So I felt that they were wise purchases. I only spent an hour at the mall and then left. Once I found what I needed, I left the mall. NO window shopping! So I am proud of myself. Plus I knew I would only spend a certain amount and no more. On Monday I know I will be able to deposit $300 into our long term savings. So I don't feel guilty about my two cardigan purchases.
I was very tempted to buy a Coach purse. I've been wanting one for years and have not bought one yet. There is a new Tanger Outlet near where I live. The Coach store there was having a great sale. But I resisted the urge to even look. I have made a promise to myself to save up specificly for a Coach purse and pay cash for it. So that is what I am going to do.
My DH made a $100 deposit to his personal account on Friday. He is trying to beef up his personal account. He got a surprise $200 bonus in his check on Friday. So $100 is going to his personal account and $100 is going to our long term savings. Hopefully next month he'll be able to add another $100 to it. Right now our focus is on our money market account.
I am still working on our financial goals/plan for 2011. But I will post those plans soon. I have also been evaluating how I am running my business. I want to get more clients next year and increase my income a little bit more. I am even considering hiring help. I currently work alone. So I have a lot to consider. Tonight my DH and I worked on his resume. He knows of some higher paying positions that will be posted on his job in January. So he is preparing to post for them. He works in banking and ultimately wants to be a Financial Advisor. So he is working up to that point.
I just finished reading Woman and Money by Suze Orman and The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. Lots of great ideas. I've read these books before but I love to read them over and over again. I think I am going to make a list of personal finance books I'm going to read during 2011. I'll check them off as I read them. I need to find some recommendations on good personal finance books.
Well Suze Orman is on, so I better get going!
I was expecting to make a pretty nice amount of money today from my work. But one of my clients had to cancel today. But I was still able to deposit $305 to our joint money market account today. I keep some cash at home now for little things or in case we are short on cash. My DH and I were talking and decided that we want to stop using our debit cards and start using cash only. It's hard to keep track of expenses when you use a debit card for little purchases. Plus if my husband uses the debit card sometimes he doesn't tell me he's used it or he can't remember the exact amount he spent. It may take a little time to transition to using cash for the most part but I think it will work out better.
I had a great weekend visiting family. My cousin bought another expensive bag. I think she spent about $400 on the last one. I don't think she has any savings. I admit sometimes I wish I had some of the things she buys but it feels nice to save and have a little money. She's a single mom of three boys and I know we bring in more money than she does. So I wonder sometimes how she can afford all the purses, expensive furniture and clothes she buys. It seems like she shops every week. And this week she's going to buy a game system for her and her boys. With all that buying, where is the saving???
My DH is finally on the same page with me when it comes to saving. I'm in charge of the money in our household. But it makes it harder when your significant other does things or spends money and it works against you. But he's starting to see the benefit of us saving money. Plus I think he likes seeing our account balances grow.
I'm going to work on our 2011 financial goals tonight. Plus I have some goals for the month of December that will set us up pretty good to start the new year off to a good start. So I'll be working on finances the rest of the night. I have 2 more full days of work left this week. Then I am off on Thursday and Friday. I can't wait!!! And I have decided to avoid the malls instead of giving in to temptation...
I am visiting my parents today. My dad made BBQ pork. He offered me a BBQ sandwich. So I get a great treat for lunch and it's free!
As of today, all of my bills for the month have been paid except one. It feels good to have everything up to date. My house is clean and laundry is done. So now I can enjoy the rest of the day and weekend. Hopefully it will be a low-cost weekend. I would love to not have to spend anything. But on Saturday we are going to visit relatives. So we'll have to spend the gas money to get there. But at least dinner will be taken care of.
Today my husband and I chose our benefits for 2011. We decided to keep the plan we are currently in. We were thinking of choosing a high deductible health plan. But I don't think we are ready to make the change yet. We'll see how things go for 2011.
I made a deposit to one of our long term savings accounts today. It was for $50. Tomorrow I have to cash a check from one of my clients and send a cashier's check off to my CPA for work he did for me last month. I'll be glad when I pay him off. I hate having bills hanging over my head, especially when the person is also a friend. My CPA is a good family friend. So paying him off is priority.
I am booked with work next week before Thanksgiving. I want to be off Thursday and Friday. So I scheduled all my work Monday through Wednesday. I thought about taking advantage of some Black Friday deals next week. But I'm feeling I should avoid the malls altogether. I am doing such a good job at saving. If I go to the malls, I feel like my old habits will resurface and I'll be spending more than I should. I'm making about $600 extra next week. So I feel like I should direct that money to our joint money market and pay some bills with it.
I went out with a friend today for dinner. She treated me to dinner. So I did not have to spend the twenty dollar bill I sat aside for eating out tonight. So I am going to add that to our long term savings account. My wedding anniversary was in October. A family member sent us a check for $30. But she did not have the correct address. So we didn't get it. She resent it to us and we got it last week. So we are going to add that to our long term savings too. That makes a total of $50 we will add to our savings at the bank this week. I am also going to add at least $200 to our money market account at the credit union this week. Plus my personal savings account will have the automatic $5 transferred to it tomorrow. So I am in an AWESOME savings mood right now! It's fun watching your savings grow. I even got my mom excited and saving with me.
I have had a great Saturday. My house was clean because I had it cleaned on Thursday. I have someone else clean my house....for free! I don't pay for my weekly cleaning services. I will explain later. So I did not have to worry about household chores this weekend. For dinner tonight we only spent $4.35. We had Fettuccine Alfredo. I have started making my financial goals for 2011. So I will be working on that for the next few days. We also will be choosing our health benefits for next year this month. We have to decide by November 19th. We are seriously considering just paying a higher deductible instead of having low co-pays. Hmmm...decisions...
I have debated whether to start a blog for a long time. But I decided to take the plunge and go for it. My hope is to become financially at peace, meaning that I won't have to worry about bills or having enough money in the bank. I love the ocean. It always makes me feel free. My husband and I go to the beach every year even if it's just for a short weekend. We always say that when we become more financially secure we'll take more trips to the beach. We are only 2 hours away from the ocean. But until that time comes we have a lot of work to do. This year we have been working hard at lowering our expenses. We were paying close to $900 in rent (we do not own a house yet) a month. But we found a cheaper place and now only pay $610/month. That was quite an adjustment because our "new" place is not nearly as nice or as new as our other place was. But to save $300 a month, it made the most sense from a financial standpoint. I had a car that we paid off in May. I was paying $300 a month for it. Also we had a furniture payment of $250 a month. (we will NEVER finance furniture again; such a waste!) But we paid that off in September. So already we have a savings of around $850/month! And we plan to continue getting rid of all unnecessary expenses. My husband's car will be paid off next Spring. Once his car is paid off we will not have any more car payments, which would be another $350 in savings each month.
We made foolish financial decisions in the past, trying to keep up with our friends. But we have learned that we have to do what's best for us. And personally, I'd rather have money in the bank instead of all the latest gadgets and luxuries.