Financially, we almost tanked in January.
There was an issue at my daughter's college last semester with the Financial Aid Office receiving the IRS transcript of our returns for FAFSA. They did receive it, but because it was late my daughter's MAP grant wasn't disbursed leaving an unexpected $1,600 balance due from Fall and she couldn't register for additional classes in January for Spring. My EF had $2,000. (This isn't an earth-shattering amount and what I paid took care of our balance due for Spring semester anyhow. I can't complain because she is virtually full-ride living on campus and our share is $3,200 per year).
So Good-bye $1,600 of our $2,000 liquid EF. Then there was the issue of the defunct furnace at my house.
Then up came the furnace issues. It's old and on its last legs. Thankfully my husband's close friend only charges up parts at cost. I spent $325 on a motor and another $178 on an additional part and $25 for a thermostat. We're keeping the house at 67 during the day and 63 at night hoping it makes it. We're using my parent's space heater. Ours died. Its rather depressing.
So good-bye balance of our small liquid EF and then take away a few additional $100s from the budget that's already squeezed and pinched and zero based.
And then there was no paycheck from my subbing in January since Christmas vacation and the pay delay. And the jobs available for January that I've worked aren't my cup of tea. I'm not very good with preschools in the developmental learning program. It is really more daycare and I'm sure that there is a benefit to the socialization, but again its not what I want to do. So while I've worked some, and I'll have a decent paycheck on 2/14 it will be a dry spell after that.
I'm off to California in two days. My SADD is really kicking me to the curb of life, living here in the Midwest where it seemed like an entire week without sunshine. That plus insomnia. And since it seems we're just in survivial mode, we're not doing what we need to do to get the house on the market. Once I return from CA, it must happen. There are endless small projects and some big ones, but it just needs to happen.
We had planned on moving into the rental property which is vacant. We moved some stuff over there. Then we thought that my inlaws might need to go in because of some health issues they have and the distance they live from us. That hasn't happened either. When I get home, I'll have to move to get it rented so we have some income coming in.
My husband was in a car accident in October and we didn't replace the vehicle, rather used the funds to pay the property taxes and toward some home repairs. This is such a First World problem and I hate to complain, but it would be nice to have another car again. Again, First World Complaint and I hate to even write that out, but it's honest and I'm even ashamed to admit. Some people rely on public transportation in horrid weather to get to their jobs. Again, feeling sorry for myself. Clearly no attitude of gratitude here.
The only upside is that there is no new debt and I've not touched the big EF that lives at Vanguard.
I'm able to feed my family whole food and am still staying away from convenience foods.
I was able to purchase my ticket to California round trip for $140 on Spirit with just me and one small carry on. My parents are already there so I won't need to rent a car. Also they are near a Traders Joes and Aldi's so we'll cook at home.
I am planning on doing the taxes as soon as I return, and I am expecting at least some sort of refund from Federal and State.
February has got to get me to a place of productiving and moving forward. Any advice when one is feeling sluggish and totally overwhelmed?
Thanks in advance, SA Friends.
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Financially, we almost tanked in January.
I declared January was going to be UFMC success.
Blew it on the first day. I have, however, decided that my new approach to spending money is going to be buying better, but less.
My family was in need of new towels. I had some Kohl's cash to spend ($30) and I thought I'd use those funds toward that purchase. Certainly $30 should cover new towles for most of us (six). I fell in love the luxury bath sheets by Vera Wang. $25 for one! Their sale was buy one, get 50% off. Plus I had 25% off purchases, so I ended up payingo ut of pocket $45 for new wonderful towels for the family.
Definitely a frugal fail, but I do feel that I scored high in the better quality department.
Next step up to replace will be my every day dishes. I purchased two sets of white ones from Walmart last year in November. Very disappointing, as they are all scratched up from every day use. I used pfaltzgraff for years without wear and tear and just got tired of the pattern. I'll be switching back to that as I can upgrade.
Happy New Year, Fellow SAers!
Wishing everyone peace and prosperity in 2020!
I'm opting to celebrate in quiet fashion at my brother's and skipped the annual get-together with friends who party hearty. One child is sick and staying home; one child is at party with SO; one child is coming to my brother's; and oldest child is with her boyfriend. I'm feeling the freedom of obligation, and doing what feels right for me at the moment (low-key with my brother's family and parents).
Tomorrow is a NSD and payday is Friday. Cruising into Payday again balanced and broke; or adhering literally to Zero-based Budgeting.
Enjoy and be safe and see you on the flipside!
2019 wasn't a real stand out in the books. It wasn't the worst, it was just here. We stagnated. We dealt with some health issues (nothing major thankfully, but a gall bladder removal and then some health issues for the SO's parents).
We had high hopes for fixing up and selling the primary residence, but life got it the way and we didn't move as fast and we've made some poor financial decisions along the way - like thinking we'd move to the rental property that remains unrented (loss of $1,600 per month) and more costly home repairs ($3,500 for mason work on our chimney), etc.
My subbing isn't covering the loss of rental property income and we also understimated the cost of repairs to the home to be sold.
But I'm no longer looking back and lamenting, since I'm not heading that way.
January 1st I begin a comprehensive list room-by-room what else needs to be done here at the primary residence. And I'll tackle it efficiently.
I'll be travelling to California with my older daughter and I have estimated round trip air to be $145 at the most (based on tentative time for travel) and I will split the car rental with her. I have $300 cash saved for that and am expecting at least another $300 from the side gig with biological father and his rental property issues.
Christmas was pleasant - however, we had a new Christmas tree with new ornaments and my sentimental children missed the nostalgia of our normal tree with all the memories on it. We also attended Christmas service at the Evangelical church that younger daughter and I attend and she, of all people, missed the Traditional Mass and ended up going Christmas morning to the Catholic Mass with her grandparents. My mother was lamenting past times as well and I'm sadly unsympathetic to these conversations, and I usually quip in "Well, tell me something that you liked about this Christmas". I really have to work on being immune to the people who are generally Debbie Downers (sadly there are a few in my circle).
I miss my dear friends - one of the dearest ones died in October and the other one moved to OKC. My other friend is a mess and requires a lot of time and hand-holding as she has chosen to take an opioid addict into her home and he also is on a merry-go-round of in and outs of stays in the mental hospital (third stay in 30 days).
I'd like to transform past this. I'd like to be settled mortgage free in a townhome in the subdivision where we have selected.
I have signed up for a writer's workshop (I did a blind submission and got positive feedback on what I entered). Cost of this is $250. I have also signed up for a self help/bible group/book study run by liberal Catholic friend. I have the goal of losing 10 pounds in January. I would also like to drink more water, do cardio 4x a week, and spend time daily on a hobby (reading/writing/stitching).
I am really ready for 2020. I am enjoying everyone's inventory of goals success for 2019. Hoping to join you all in reporting good things accomplished in 2020 one year from now.
Happy New Year's All!
Mine is transformation!
We are in transition, so it is underway. We will hoepfully be in a townhome owned outright by the spring.
We will hopefully have our rental property bringing in passive income again
We will hopefully have a nice family vacation, two smaller or one larger.
We will have three in college in the fall (a freshman, junior, and senior)!
We will hopefully have a better balance of work and leisure.
Currently, our personal lives are recovering from havoc: my inlaws have had major health issues and SO is an only child - compound that with the fact that they insisted on living 50 min away when they relocated here; SO is still in a high stress situation and as his job has become more secure, the stress with the position has taken its toll - he's gained weight and complains of body issues that he's not doing anything about; a very dear friend of mine died - not unexpected, but he was a big part of our lives - including daughter who has started acting; I returned to work as a substitute teacher and have accepted longer-term placements; youngest is in high school now and very active in sports.
I am very ready for 2020 and excited to see where my fellow SA blogges are going and what's your wordZ?
I'm right there with LAL on no gifts. My mother was slow to get on board, but did realize that there are very specific and costly items that my children would like and are saving for.
Older Daughter will be living in CA by herself for a few months; additional funds will help with her food and transportation costs (she's driving her car there on a road trip with SO in February and staying in my parents' condo).
Younger Daughter puchased a dress she's wanted since high school prom in 2017. Her college has a Presidential Ball in February and it is a fancy formal event. The dress was finally on sale 50% off and is handmade in London. She bought it without regrets and is putting any money back into her savings account. Cost of dress was a hefty $320. But she could probably be married in it this summer if her plans go the way she is thinking.
Older Son is heading off to college in the fall. He said he'd like to have "a healthy savings account" so he might not have to work the first few trimesters. He's frugal and budgets, and I admire his goal.
Younger Son is an athlete, playing on the freshman basketball team and also doing club soccer. There is always something needed: new cleats, high tops, an additional training session, etc. He can decide and prioritize his needs and fund some of this.
Interestingly enough, I was at my brother's house on Thanksgiving Day for drinks and desserts and my SIL was having a discussion with her sister on spending limits. They agreed on $150 for each child (so my brother and his wife are spending $600 on her neices and nephews). We stopped gift exhanges a few years ago. It's a world I never lived in and am glad I didn't/don't. They are free to do whatever they choose and I don't mean to be a curmudgeon, but ... I'll stop now.
Our most fun gift tradition is Secret Santa with our immediate family. Funniest year was when Child 3/E was 13 and he put his name on all of the slips and then thought the better of it when no one started to compare notes. He had to confess and re-do, but it still caused a good laugh.
Our gift limit is $30. We also give ideas on things we'd like: I usually get a personalized ornament with the year and everyone's names on it. I've given a gift certificate for a pedicure and cozy socks to Child 1 two years ago, and last year gave Child 3 a Harry Potter Funco Pop Head and coloring book.
I also pick up puzzles at Goodwill that we work Christmas week. We watch our favorite Christmas movies. We also make gingerbread houses ($7.00 for a set at Aldi's) and a Christmas craft or two from Michael's (usually purchased for 70% off a few days before Christmas).
I think its really about the traditions that we have or have had. And for me now gifting is such a small part of the season, but I remember feeling bad at not having much money for grand gifts. Or only one really nice gift (like an American Girl doll one year)
But whatever works for one's family is what should be done!
The PVL (Previous Version of Laura) was probably at this point suffering needlessly stressing about Christmas Nonsense X,Y and Z.
I recall distinctly wondering how I'd explain to the principal at the school why my two sons wouldn't be attending the evening Christmas show when they had tickets to the long-awaited Star Wars premiere. ["They love robots more than Jesus," she commented. I should have laughed right then and there.]
I recall trying to make everything work for everyone else on Christmas Eve when I knew I still had to come home and cook for Christmas Day.
This year, all of our beloved Christmas things are packed up and in storage. I bought a new tree and new ornaments, and my sentimental children weren't too keen on it. "We're in transition," I said to them, "We can do whatever we want this year and what doesn't work we don't have to do next year."
For Christmas Eve, my brother was insisting on a pizza party at his house at noon. I decided that won't work for us because we're attending Christmas Service at the church my daughter and I attend at 2. I simple said, "Sorry, won't work for us, but feel free to drop by my house on Christmas Day!"
And my family is replacing traditional Mass with a non-denominational worship with contemporary music. There was no complaing about that either. And since my niece goes to church with us, my brother moved his pizza party earlier to a brunch.
I've come to realize the devil is in the details! And its only one requested gift to open on Christmas morning plus a $100 bill. We do Secret Santas with our immediate family. Low stress there now as 3/4 of my children drive and have their own money.
I'm having a family friend recently widowed over for dinner on Monday night. My daughter likes orange chicken from Trader Joes, so that will be her birthday dinner on Sunday.
Also, in adjusting to zero based budgeting. Although my bank account balance is hovering there (but all bills are paid and I do have a buffer), my concern about lack of funds has caused me to check my cash envelopes where the money for gas and groceries and other expenses lives.
Time for new versions of everything. Or at least modifications to previous versions are happening.
Money isn't everything as long as you have enough.
- Malcolm Forbes
Well, pay day is Friday and we're cruising on into the last days with exactly $1.68 in the checking account. It's not as bad at is sounds since the budgeting is going decently and we've got gas in the cars and groceries in the cupboards.
The best laid plans didn't go according to how we had hoped and a projected timeline. The money crunch is for the short-term, but weathering it with a positive attitude and sense of humor is the challenge of the moment.
I suppose zero-based budgeting does bring one close to zero. And we're closing in on the win with $1.68.
And so the story begins.