Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lottery Fever

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Lottery fever struck the United States the past two weeks. It culminated in 3 winning tickets for a 1.6 BILLION Powerball jackpot. That is insane. I can’t even fathom winning that amount of money.

My department at work has a lottery pool. Ten of us throw in $2 a week and we play the Powerball. I play an occasional scratch-off ticket as well and scratch off tickets are always a fun stocking stuffer in our family. I did not, however, spend any additional money on Powerball tickets as the jackpot climbed over the last couple weeks. As I’ve made clear, I’m on a pretty strict budget and although it’s fun to think about all my money worries vanishing overnight, I realize it’s probably not going to happen.

It’s impossible not to dream though when you are holding a ticket so that’s what I did a little bit this week. What would I have done with my share? I honestly don’t believe I would go crazy with the winnings. I’ve been living pretty simply for quite awhile and I’m not someone who needs a fur coat or 10 fancy cars in the driveway or a mansion. I think if I had an extra million dollars in my bank account, I would still be using my Target cartwheel app and checking the clearance racks before the regular shelves.

I would find a lawyer and trusted financial advisor before I came forward, that’s for sure. I’d set aside a decent amount in trusts for my sons that they can only access after they have their college degrees. I would make sure their college tuitions are paid for. They each have vehicles right now so although I would pay off the small loans they have on them, I would not be buying them fancy sports cars.

I would sell my condo at a discount to someone who NEEDS a home. I would purchase a home in a near-by neighborhood and renovate it if necessary since homes in these neighborhoods tend to have their original late 70’s/early 80’s décor. We’re talking about maybe 1800 square feet, not a mansion. I’d like something with 3 bedrooms so even after my kids fly the nest they know they always have a room to come home to. I’d also like an office space, and a nice big living space to host friends and family and a nice deck for the same reason.

I like my job and co-workers so I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to quit but it would be nice to take a year sabbatical to try and write a novel. How wonderful to be able to try out your dream job worry-free.  Not worrying about paying for expensive health insurance would also be a dream come true.

The hardest, yet most fun part, would be to decide how to help my friends and family. There are some that I would be happy to give a lump sum to and let them choose how they spend their money. I have some friends and family that I feel would probably be better served if I were to perhaps pay a mortgage payment or bill instead. I know of a family specifically that could use some money paying medical bills, I have a friend that I know could use a new vehicle, and others that have similar needs.

No one needs 1.6 Billion dollars, most just need some breathing room… a bit of a break so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed trying to make ends meet. I’ve been there, heck, I’m currently there and I have wonderful friends and family that have been there for me when things have gotten especially tough and it would be wonderful to be able to pay it forward. I pray that the winners of this current jackpot are smart with their money and choices right now. You hear way too many stories of people losing the money by spending carelessly or spending millions on bail money for their boyfriend. Seriously?? I have to admit that I do hope my dating circle might expand a bit if I became a millionaire. Not that I would want someone who would just want me for my money but surely I could find someone to date that doesn’t need bail money for all their drug dealings like a recent lottery winner in the news.

Happy 2016

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already 2016. The years really do fly by so much more quickly the older you get. I think I’m less sad about myself aging and more so that my kids keeping older and more independent. It won’t be long before I have an empty nest and I can assure you that I will not do well with that.

Okay, enough with the melancholy. Despite my earlier words, I LOVE New Year’s. I love the idea of a new year and new possibilities and setting new goals. I am a firm believer in setting goals/resolutions for the new year. 2015 was one of those horrible, no good years for me. My oldest son graduated from high school (good) and moved into a dorm (bad) and his Social Security funds stopped (very bad). Our house and two cars flooded, which was financially and emotionally devastating for me. I am determined to make 2016 a better year.

I have quite a few things I want to work on this year and some would say too many but I think they are pretty manageable and I think they are all pretty important to setting me on a better path so I might figure out down the road that I need to postpone a few but I’m going to give it the old college try and work on them all right now.

Living a more healthy life style is one goal. I am 5’10 and blessed with a wonderful metabolism so I get some grief when I eat like a football linebacker and it’s not that noticeable but just because I don’t look unhealthy doesn’t make it so. If you catch me eating a salad it’s because I’m bored waiting for my steak to arrive. I just don’t like eating rabbit food. I am a country fried steak type of girl and I drink entirely too much diet coke. Water is boring. I don’t know how to put it any other way. I bought myself a Fitbit for Christmas and I’ve set a goal of 50,000 steps a week. I am NOT giving up diet coke because I don’t believe in setting myself up to fail, lol. I do plan on drinking a minimum of 3 glasses of water a day. I also am a major night owl, so I’m aiming to work on that by shooting for a minimum of 6 hours of sleep a night.

Home-wise I want to clean, purge, and organize my home once and for all and KEEP IT THAT WAY!! Martha Stewart (and my mother most days) would have a stroke if they were to show up at my house uninvited. I am not a natural born housekeeper. I am very lazy in that regards. My oldest son is even worse then me. We drive my youngest son crazy with how messy our house always is, even though admittedly, he has gotten a little lazier about housekeeping himself over the years. It’s possible Michael and I are contagious… I want to be able to have friends over on a whim and more importantly I would like to put my house up for sale this summer so we’ve got some work to do.

On a personal level I want to blog consistently at least three times a week, submit at least one piece of my writing a month for publication somewhere and catch at least one movie a month. I need to make some big decisions this year about my career and I want to have some options. If I were to hit the lottery (also hopefully in my life plans for this year!), and I was lucky enough to have the option of redesigning my life with no money concerns, I would choose to take a year off from work and try to write a novel. I love to write. As a single mom, I need to have a traditional job right now with healthcare benefits and a steady paycheck but I hope by focusing on this blog and writing on a regular basis I can at least develop some side income doing something I love.

And lastly finances. Ugh, who doesn’t have financial resolutions every year? I want to stop using my credit cards, KEEP $1,000 in my emergency fund, and put at least $3,000 in my HSA to cover Michael’s deductible (which we’ll meet by March/April even if he’s healthy since Diabetes is a crazy expensive disease). Lastly, I want to increase my monthly income by $250 every quarter this year. So I want to make at least $250 extra in January, February, and March, $500 extra April through June, $750 July through September, and a $1,000 extra October through December. These additional funds can be made through whatever methods I come up with, surveys, pay raises, side hustles, second jobs, etc.

I know, it seems like a lot of goals and maybe I’m crazy. Well, I’m definitely a little crazy but I’m talking about a little crazy setting all these resolutions and goals but I think they’re achievable. I just need to hustle. Truthfully I’ve gotten a little lazy this year. The flood really threw me for a loop and I’ve battled some anxiety and depression as a result and it’s been way too convenient to just get home and settle on my couch and watch too much TV and play way too much Candy Crush this year. This needs to be a big year for me because I lose another huge chunk of money in 2017 when Nick graduates and I need to have a game plan in place since I’m already running short each month trying to figure out how to live without Michael’s Social Security funds. I’m comfortable at my current job and I love my coworkers and the flexibility of the job but it’s no longer paying the bills so I need to stop doubting myself and aim higher.