Mid-year Resolution Check-up: Part 3

Well, here’s the final wrap up of my goals:

Healthy Living Goals:

Less diet coke/more water-Not good, I just really like my diet coke and really dislike plain water. I’ve tried some of the flavorings you can squeeze in your water and just haven’t found one I really like. I like the Propel berry flavored water you can buy in bottles but that gets expensive. I have been better at ordering water in restaurants though, that was financially motivated but I’ll take the small win here too.

30 minutes physical activity 3 times a week-Actually doing okay on this. My new condo has a park right next to it so if I notice I’m short on steps I’ll do a couple laps on the walking path or around the neighborhood. Also bought a tennis racket and hoping to start playing with a friend again and I’m also testing out my son’s gym to see if I want to take over his membership when he leaves for college next month.

Minimum 7500 steps daily, 5 times each week-Nope, a definite fail here. It’s extremely hard getting this when you’re sitting at a desk 5 days a week for at least 9 hours a day. I am trying to at least 4500 a day at this point.

Minimum 6 hours of sleep at least 5 days each week-Another fail. I am not sleeping well at all. Part of it is having teens in the house who work late and then want to meet up with friends after and I just can’t sleep until I know everyone is safely in for the night. But truthfully a lot of it can be chalked up to stress too and who knows, maybe age is starting to play a factor. (Well I checked my Fitbit after writing this and according to it I am getting 6 hours of sleep most nights but I wake up multiple times a night so it’s not a productive sleep-still need to work on this).

Look into meditation-Fail here also. I just haven’t really taken the time to think about this. Probably need to make this a bigger priority since it could help with the stress and no sleep I just mentioned.

So I’ve gone from pretty darn good with my finances, to Not horrible but hang in there you’re trying with my Personal/Career goals, to  Girl, you’re not getting any younger, you better start making better healthy living choices now in my health goals. Obviously I’ve got some work left to do but overall I’m happy with my progress. I definitely recommend checking in on your goals and resolutions mid-year. It’s pointed out to me which goals I’ve been prioritizing and which ones I haven’t. I’m a little disappointed I’m not further along with some of my items but I still have time left this year and even baby steps mean I’m further along then I was before.

Mid-year Resolution Check-up: Part 2

 

So today’s Resolution check-up will cover the Personal/Career goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I suspect I’ve not been quite as successful at these but let’s see, maybe it’s not as bad as I fear.

Personal/Career Goals:

3 hours a week of “me” time-This is a pass. Both my kids are working two jobs this summer and they are pretty self-sufficient at this stage anyways. Between their jobs and friends they stay awfully busy so I’ve had plenty of “me” time this summer

Write 5 days a week-Started off a little slow on this one but right now I’m killing it and I’ve been writing everyday

At least one blog post a week-Fail on this one but trying to do better

Submit three pieces of writing for publication this year-Fail, I’ve only submitted one piece so far. Need to get busy and look for some different avenues on this. Maybe a guest blog post somewhere?

1 trip somewhere-Well, technically I guess this is a pass since we went to Holiday World for a day. I was hoping for some type of vacation this year but looking at my budget I just don’t see how it’s going to happen. I do hope to take a few days and spend some time in my hometown towards the end of the summer though. Boo to being poor!!

1 class taken for work/writing improvement-Fail so far. I do need to figure out what I’m looking for on this. A few classes I’ve been interested in just haven’t fit in either with my schedule or budget.

36 books read-Little behind on this. I’ve read 13 books so far. Pretty confident I will meet this goal before the end of the year though.

Mid-year Resolution Check-up


How is it that we are already half way through 2017? It truly doesn’t seem possible. As such, this seems like a good week to check on my progress with this year’s resolutions. I’m going to break it up over a couple of posts so I can elaborate on my wins/failures for each category.

 

             Financial goals:

  • Keep my emergency fund intact. This is important to me between medical bills that are always looming and the single mom aspect. There’s no second income to fall back onSuccess on this goal. Emergency fund is still intact.

 

  • $3800 in extra income this year from all sources other than my main salary. Sounds like a random amount but it’s not: Failing on this one. Started off strong with a second job at the first part of the year but it got to be too much with my lacrosse club duties and senior activities with my son. Looking for another part-time job as we speak though

 

  • Payoff two bills: On track-one bill paid off and it will be a stretch but pretty sure I can get a second card paid off before the end of the year

 

  • Reduce all credit card balances: Success-all have lower balances

 

  • Find a new home for us that will help us to downsize, both financially and space-wise. It’s a delicate balance between juggling our needs now and for the long-term: Success-we’re in our new condo and although it’s a tight squeeze right now we’ll make it work. The lower mortgage payment helps with our new reduced income and we’ve been able to reduce some other expenses too such as lower utility bills and cutting the cable cord

 

So all in all, I’m giving myself an overall grade of B+ on the Financial side of my New Year’s resolutions. I definitely need to get another second job in place sooner rather than later but other than that I feel like I’m on the right track.

What I Spend My Money On (And what I don’t)

If you’ve read this blog even just a few times you’ll know that we live on a fairly limited budget. One salary doesn’t stretch as far as it did in years past and as a result, choices have to be made as to what I choose to spend our money on and where I choose to save. So today I thought I’d share what I spend money on and also some things I specifically decide not to spend my money on.

Let’s start with what I don’t spend money on:

  • Tobacco products-pretty easy choice here considering my husband died of a heart attack at age 35. Suffice to say I also don’t spend money on illegal drugs.
  • Alcohol-very, very occasionally I will purchase a bottle of Malibu rum and some pineapple juice or a cheap bottle of wine. I almost never buy drinks out since they are so overpriced and I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic beverage
  • Manicures and having my hair professionally colored-I color my hair with a box of Miss Clairol at home (using a coupon of course) and although I might get one pedicure a year since my feet are especially ugly, I don’t bother with manicures
  • Expensive shoes-I just don’t have a shoe fetish like most women. One pair of tennis shoes (which I really should replace more often then I do), one pair of canvas-type shoes, a couple pair of sandals, and two pairs of work shoes
  • The newest and shiniest IPhone/Apple products-I can appreciate these but it’s just not in the budget so I will use my current model of IPhone until it dies (literally-just replaced my iPhone battery in an effort to not have to purchase a new phone). I am using my son’s old Surface Pro for my writing since he decided a laptop better served his needs for school

So what do I spend money on?

  • Internet-we have to have a fairly good internet connection since there are three of us streaming or using the internet almost constantly
  • Netflix and Sling subscription-We’ve had Netflix since the days when it was just a service where they sent you a couple DVD’s in the mail each month. We recently added a Sling subscription when we moved to our new place and I decided to try and “cut the cord” on cable. We were previously paying $134 for internet, cable and Netflix. Now we’re paying about $87 and honestly I’ll probable drop that down a little further once Nick leaves for school.
  • Occasional drinks at Barnes & Noble when I’m writing but I try to use gift cards I’ve either received as gifts, earned through survey sites or I’ve bought via discount sites or when Kroger has fuel promotions
  • Eating out-I’ve tried to do better with this but honestly I don’t mind an occasional meal out with my kids or other family or friends. I do try to save costs when possible though
  • Lottery-but usually only $2 a week through our work lottery group. Hey, somebody’s going to win, might as well be us
  • Health insurance-one of our largest line items but with a kiddo with a chronic illness, this is a non-negotiable
  • Annual trip to Holiday World-a nearby theme park that is reasonably priced and clean. We go with friends every year and spend a full day at the park and then we hang out at our friend’s campsite for an evening and considering this will probably be my only vacation of the year, it’s a reasonable splurge. I know the time is quickly approaching that the boys will no longer have the desire and/or time off to spend vacation time with me so I’ll continue this tradition as long as I can

So there you go. Stay tuned, maybe next time I’ll tell you everything I want to buy once I get in a better/more secure financial place.

June’s Goals

The month of May and Graduation is officially a wrap. Both my boys have officially joined me as Eastern High School alumni. I won’t lie, I did shed a few tears but Graduation was nice, Nick had fun at Project Graduation and even won a microwave, and I think his graduation party was a success as well. Now the boy has to figure out his summer job plans. I have several things on my to-do list as well.

I am feeling a hint of freedom in my life. I still have a bit of wrap-up work to do with our Lacrosse Booster Club duties but I don’t think that will be too time-consuming or difficult. I loved every minute of watching my boy play lacrosse over the last 6 years and I treasure the relationships I’ve formed with many of the parents and players but I have to be honest, I will not miss the busyness that came with acting as treasurer over the last two years.

Crusade for Children is a charity drive that occurs over the first weekend of June that our family has been volunteering/working over the last 7 or 8 years probably. The  local fire departments collect donations from the communities/districts they serve over the course of several days and the money goes to various Children’s charities throughout the area. This generally takes up the first weekend of June so this weekend will be busy with that.

Getting my house finally put together is the main goal of June. I’ve got to get my bed put together, the last few boxes unpacked, and figure out some space-saving measures for our new, smaller home. I’ve given away a few items to friends and family members but I have a few more pieces I will need to purge as well and I’m hoping to be able to sell those and make a little money. I’ve also got to put a maintenance request in for a couple of plumbing issues and I need to talk to my contractor friend to see what ideas he has to close off Michael’s room. Praying he will have some low-cost ideas.

I’m also hoping to squeeze in a few days at Holiday World this month. It’s been a tradition of ours to go with friends for a few days the week of Father’s Day and although I feel a bit guilty spending the money I’d like to do that one more time if we possibly can.

Lastly my writing goals are to keep up with the blog and I’m also tempted to do my own NANOWRIMO during July this year since it’s a less busy time than November normally is for me. I will most likely have a second job by July again so that means this month I’ll need to get some prep work done if I want my NANO month to be successful.

Mid-May Update

Well, I totally underestimated how April was going to kick my butt. I set May goals and even had a blog post on it but since today’s the 20th I think it’s safe to scrap that post.

May has been jam-packed with activities. Nick has prom tonight, and will graduate from high school this Wednesday. Lacrosse season play is over but we have our end of the season banquet Monday evening and I still have a lot to do to work on the lacrosse booster budget reconciliation and preparing to hand it over to my successor. Also have a lot of senior activities to help with including planning some type of graduation party and helping out at their Project Graduation lock-in.

We’ve moved into our new condo and it’s a crazy mess. I thought we were going to be okay space-wise, with the assumption that I would be selling a few more pieces of furniture but then Michael moved all his stuff home that was in his dorm and I realized, Oh Crap!! We have a lot of downsizing still left to do… So here’s the checklist for the remainder of this month:

  • Plan out graduation duties (announcements, lacrosse finances and banquet, grad party, etc). And most importantly find time to ENJOY the moment
  • Tweak new monthly budget as first bills for the new condo come in and with our Social Security payments stopping once Nick graduates
  • Continue updating blog. I don’t want this to fall by the wayside just because I’m busy with life
  • Take at least 30 minutes daily to work on putting things in order with the new condo
  • Read two books
  • Get a contractor in to give me ideas/estimates on how we can close off dining room space that Michael is currently using for a bedroom-contractor has been in, just need to consult with him on his ideas

There you go. I think this is more than enough to try to accomplish for the remainder of this month.

 

April Goals

April 1st! It’s hard to believe that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2017. Time just seems to be flying by the older I get.

I’ve got soooo much going on in my life right now and truthfully I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I decided I should get back to my old routine of setting monthly goals so that I’m sure to stay on track.

Assuming all goes as planned, we’ll be closing on a new condo later this month. Buying a house is crazy expensive, even a cheap one. The actual process of moving is also expensive so my financial goal for this month is a bit vague but very important and that is to be uber-frugal. I’ve got closing funds to come up with, funds for some minor repairs to the condo, painting costs, and mover costs so I’ve got to be really aware of any other spending I do this month. I’m going to cut costs as much as possible and hopefully try to sell some extra furniture and appliances that aren’t going to fit in the new place anyway to try and offset some of these costs.

Taxes are done for all of us so that’s a big stress off my plate but I need to work out a dummy budget for the new place. I have a rough draft in place but of course that will have to be fine-tuned once I get my first utility bill or two and figure out if I can go without my precious cable or not. Also I will have to figure out if I will need to come up with another part-time job this summer.

We purged quite a bit when we were putting our old condo on the market but we still need to purge further since our new place is almost half the size of our last and we’re also losing a garage. I want to sell what we can and donate the rest to either family and friends or Goodwill.

Despite the busyness this month will bring I want to keep some me-time carved out so I don’t lose my mind. 4 blog posts for April and reading two books is the goal.

What do you think? Do I have enough going on to keep me out of trouble this month?

Another Birthday

    Two weeks ago I turned 43…sigh.

I have friends that celebrate their birthdays all month long if they’re allowed to. I’ve just never been one to get excited about my birthday. I know, I know, having another birthday, even if it means you’re getting older, is much better than the alternative of not having another birthday. The only perk of having another birthday for me is getting the “green” cake my mom makes me each year.

I was trying to figure out why birthdays make me a little melancholy every year (because that’s what I do-over-analyze every single thing!). I think part of it is the fact that each year pops up and I think to myself, oh, now I’m 43 years old, wow, this isn’t where I thought I would be at 43. Somehow I thought I would have more and be more. I’m currently living in temporary quarters (Thanks Aunt Janet!) since I can’t find a new condo in my meager price range, still single with no romantic prospects in sight, and my kids are almost grown and both are on the verge of flying the nest.

So I figured I better come up real quick with some reasons to celebrate my on-going existence before I get thoroughly depressed…lol.

  • Two awesome kids, well technically they’re adults now but I don’t see them that way. They are kind, they are motivated and ambitious, generally well-behaved and mannered and I’m pretty sure they love their momma. I couldn’t ask for more.
  • We’re all basically healthy
  • I’m still young enough to create a Part two life if I want.
  • I have fabulous friends and family
  • As much as a whine about being poor, I do know that I have much more than so many others
  • I may be chronically single but lucky for me I am pretty fabulous company and most of the time I can entertain myself
  • I have job security and I don’t mind my job (most days)

I had previously declared 2017 to be the “Year of Holly” and unfortunately so far the year has proven to be pretty consistent with most of my previous years. It’s only March and we’re still having difficulty finding a place that will fit us all that I can afford and to top it off our family has had not one, but two wrecks, but hey, maybe we’re just getting all the bad out early. Bring it on year 43!

 

Sorry Shonda-It’s the Year of No for me

I’m currently reading Year of Yes, written by the amazing Shonda Rhimes. This inspiring lady is the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Executive Producer of How to Get Away With Murder, and has her own production company named Shondaland. How freaking amazing is that? I didn’t even realize that’s something I would love to have…a company named after me. How about Hollywood? Oh wait, that’s already taken. Oh well, back to Shonda. This crazy successful lady in Hollywood actually hired a publicist in order to avoid having to make public appearances because she would get such extreme anxiety at the thought of attending such events. Her sister pointing out that she never said yes to anything was a pivotal point in her life so she decided to say yes to everything presented to her for one year.

I haven’t finished the book yet. Do you want to know why? Because unlike Shonda, I apparently never say No to anything. I work full-time already but I also became treasurer of my previous condo association when no one else would. I’m currently the treasurer of the booster club for my son’s lacrosse team. I also picked up a second job working every other weekend because apparently the 45-50 hours a week I work at my full-time job and the busy lacrosse season wasn’t time-consuming enough for me. I’m in a book club (which I love) but even if life has been crazy busy and I’ve not had time to read the book I will have marathon sessions of staying up until 2am to finish the book and don’t you dare suggest that I skip a month. I think it’s possible I have border-line OCD tendencies when it comes to breaking commitments. If I say I’m going to be somewhere you can bet I will be.

My 20-year old son recently informed me of his summer break plans. He is currently going to college full-time, working part-time in his school’s Health Services department, and working at Lazer Blaze on the weekends. In addition to keeping the Health Services position and the Lazer Blaze job this summer, he is planning on adding a job at GoApe, which is a local ropes course facility, and holding periodic CPR certification courses. Ummm….son….are you crazy?? You can’t possibly have 4 jobs this summer, what are you thinking boy?

I was moaning about his crazy plans at my work last week and my co-worker just laughed and said, Gee, wonder where he gets that from? Ummm…his father? Okay, not fair, he gets it from me. I don’t know how to say no to anything or anyone apparently. I also tend to incredibly over-estimate my ability to do it all without eventually becoming exhausted and perhaps a tad bit grumpy and crazy. I’m not totally sure when this problem came about but I suspect it was after having kids. I think I’ve overcompensated since the kids started school. I didn’t want them to feel like they were missing out just having one parent so I tried to make sure that I was there for every activity/sport/meeting, etc. Know what happens to parents like that? People notice you are always around and they volunteer/elect you to things. It’s a slippery slope folks.

So my younger son, who will be graduating from  high school in a few short months, was watching me work on Lacrosse treasurer stuff the other night and he said, “You know mom, you’re going to have a ton of free time when I leave for college. I think you’ll probably just get really attached to Kobe (his cat) and then you’re not going to want to give her back to me when I get my own place.”  I’m not sure what was more alarming about his observation, that he suspected I was going to become a crazy cat lady or the idea that he was right and I’m soon going to have a lot of free time that I’m not used to.  I immediately started planning for what I could do next. Should I join Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Maybe I could volunteer at a shelter…

Holy Crap, what is wrong with me?? So I thought back to Shonda’s book and I’ve decided for at least 6 months after Nick leaves for school I am going to say “No” more often. No, I’m not dropping out of my book club and I’m not going to become a crazy cat lady locked up in her apartment/condo but if it’s something I’m asked to do that requires a significant time commitment and I’m not passionate about then I’m going to say, “No thank you,” or maybe “No, I don’t have time to commit to that right now.”  I am going to say yes to things that I’ve been neglecting a bit, mostly me. And of course if Shonda Rhimes calls and invites me to Shondaland, I’m going to say Hell Yes! Be right there, got a great idea for a new script!