Insurance woes

It’s my favorite time of year (please note,  I’m typing this with my sarcasm font). January brings a brand new insurance company and deductibles and so far this year, in the first 27 days we’ve spent the following:

Contacts and glasses for Nicholas: $283.00
Prescriptions for Michael:  $989.68

We currently pay $336.44 a month in insurance premiums. Our deductibles are $3,000 individual/$6,000 family. Once we meet the deductibles then we pay 20% of the next $2,000 towards the individual out of pocket or $4,000 for the family out of pocket. We had the large deductibles last year with Humana but the 20% after the deductible is new with our Anthem plan. This means a minimum of $2,600 more that we’ll have to pay this year then we did last year and that’s assuming that only Michael maxes out his insurance this year and Nick and I are lucky enough to not have to use our insurance plan too much. Continue reading

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2018-The Year of Being Bold

We’re almost a week into 2018 and I’m just now settling on my resolutions for the year. Granted it’s the busy time of year at my work and the juggling long hours with the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays is always a bit of a balancing act but I love setting my goals and resolutions for the year so I wasn’t sure at first why I was struggling with it this year. I realized something this week though as I was jotting down notes about different goals I wanted to accomplish. I realized that my goals for this year were very similar to my goals from last year and the year before. Continue reading

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2017 Recap

 

2017 really flew by. I know I’ve said it before but it seems like the older I get the faster life is moving and honestly I’m not sure I like that. Our family dynamic has shifted already quite a bit and although I can appreciate this stage of life, I do miss my boys “needing” me like they used to.

 

So before I get into my 2018 goals and resolutions, I’m going to provide a recap of my success and failures at last year’s. Continue reading

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December Goals

The months are absolutely flying by. We won’t even talk about my terrible progress with my November goals and obviously we’re more than halfway through December before I could eke this post out. Instead of focusing on what didn’t happen, I’ll give a brief recap of what I did manage to accomplish. Continue reading

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Bye-Bye Cable

As a single parent, I’m always looking for new ways to cut costs, and of course that’s become especially important over the last three years as the boys graduated high school and we lost the Social Security payments we’d come to rely on since Rick died. Losing one monthly Social Security payment in 2015 was tough but when Nick graduated this past May and we lost the second one it became essential to cut expenses down to the bone. Continue reading

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November Goals

Surely there’s no where to go but up after last month’s dismal progress on my monthly goals. I have a few extra days off this month between the holidays and some vacation time I’m using so hopefully I can get some stuff accomplished this month.

Personal goals include reading three books and writing at least one blog post a week. I want to write something every single day, whether it’s a blog post, journal entry or work on my novel. I also want to make it to the gym twice a week this month. I feel like I need to do that to justify the cost of my membership.

Financially I’m aiming for at least five no spend days. I think this should be easily attainable (maybe too easy), I just have to remember to track it. Continue reading

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Different Seasons of Life

This time of year is tough on people. Shorter daylight hours, often cold and gloomy weather, and the stress of holidays, whether it’s because of financial reasons or other reasons can cause a serious case of the blues for people. Holidays aren’t always to blame for the world’s problems though. I have several friends and family members struggling now with different issues and it’s caused some reflection on my part.

There might be 4 seasons to the year but I believe people go through different seasons in their lives as well. I had a brief but wonderful season where I was in the honeymoon stage of my marriage. I had a husband I loved and adored and two beautiful baby boys. We were living halfway across the country from our family for the first time and living paycheck to paycheck most of the time but we were happy with our little family. Continue reading

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Failures and Setbacks

I knew September was going to be a busy month but Wow! I feel like I barely had time to breathe last month. Parents weekend was a fun time though and celebrating with Michael and friends for his 21st birthday was fun as well. It was my first month of working my “full part-time” hours at my second job and although I’m not as exhausted as I thought I’d be, it definitely requires some crazy time-management skills working 60 hours a week and still trying to eke out a life for yourself.

That being said, I totally bombed my September goals. Sigh…

I did not write everyday and I ended up with one blog post instead of 8. I did, however,  splurge and purchase the writing journal I’d had my eye on. I have flipped through it but not started writing in it yet. I want some devoted writing time to spend on it.

I hosted book club at my house but our barn door was not hung yet and neither were any other pictures in my house. Oh well, it was still a fun time with good friends.

Pretty sure I didn’t have 14 no-spend days but to be fair I didn’t track this in anyway. I would guess I might have had 7 or so. It was an expensive month between traveling to Bowling Green for parents weekend and celebrating Michael’s birthday. We also had some car repairs thrown in there. It could have been much worse though because I didn’t have to pay for lodging in Bowling Green thanks to good friends who let me tag along in their camper. Shout out to Jeff and Cyndi for saving me some $$$$$’s.

I also didn’t finish my 30 day AB workout. Why? Because it got too hard, lol. Sigh…

So it’s nearly the middle of October so it seems a little late to be issuing an October goals post but here’s my plans for the rest of the month…

Taking a mini-trip to Pigeon Forge with Michael for his Fall break. Found an inexpensive hotel for one night and hopefully we’ll be able to find some low-cost activities to do.  I’d be happy just finding a corner somewhere to read a good book and do some writing and be “away” from real life for a couple days.

I MUST complete the FAFSA. Not a fan of doing this in October now but also not a fan of having huge college bills for my kids.

Unfortunately it’s going to be another expensive month. Nick’s birthday is in a couple of weeks and I have to buy a new toilet and we have this previously unplanned trip. Hoping fall weather will show up soon and drop my electricity bill even further to offset some costs. I’ve been trying to meal plan also since I’m usually working at least two nights during the week now.

Fitness-wise my goal is to get to the gym at least twice a week and hit my 4500 step goal at least 5 days a week. I know 4500 steps doesn’t sound like much but for someone that sits at a desk for 9 hours a day, five days a week, it’s tough to get even that some days.

I’m also trying to write something at least 5 days a week and read three books. I think I’m going to aim for 4 blog posts. That’s probably more realistic than trying to crank out two a week right now with my schedule.

It’s rough having months like September where you feel like you “failed” at life because you didn’t hit all the goals you set for yourself but you have to keep plowing forward. I have a busy schedule and I like to set lofty goals and I know if I don’t set these goals then I’ll find myself getting lazy in my off hours and I don’t want to get stagnant in life. I might not be moving forward as much as I like but I’m still getting stuff done and without setting these goals the only thing I’d be advancing in is Candy Crush.

 

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Financial Windfalls

Well, another big lottery winner last month and unfortunately, once again, it was not me and my co-workers. One individual won something crazy like $758 million and, in my opinion, made quite a few mistakes right off the bat. The first thing I would do is to get a good lawyer and financial adviser before I came forward and claimed the jackpot since the majority of states require you come forward publicly to claim your money in a press conference. She also called her employer and quit her job immediately. Money like this requires a lot of careful thought and planning.

Of course anyone that plays the lottery regularly has probably thought about the possibilities of what they would do with the money if they hit it big. I know I have. What if you came into some small windfalls though? Do you have a plan for that? I decided to figure out what I would do with some smaller windfalls. Of course most windfalls, whether they be bonuses or lottery or whatever will be taxed but for purposes of this fun little exercise I’m going to use round dollar amounts. I’m going to do $1,000, $10,000, $50,000, and $100,000.

$1,000: I’ve gotten bonuses in this amount before and they were usually handed out around early summer or Christmas so they were used for either summer vacation plans or Christmas presents. If I were to receive one now I would probably earmark half for Christmas and half towards my emergency fund since that’s a little lower presently than my comfort level prefers.

$10,000: $5400 would pay off two of my four credit cards and put a serious dent in a third, freeing up $115 a month that I can throw onto my last cards to get credit card-free that much quicker. $750 towards emergency fund, $2,000 for some plumbing work, $750 for my Christmas fund, $800 for repairs to my car from a previous wreck (body work only), and the remaining $300 for some fun blow money for me and the boys.

$50,000: Okay, now we’re into some life-changing money. Coming into money like this makes the decisions especially hard. The temptation would be to start having some fun and make some frivolous purchases after living lean for so long. I think I’m finally smarter than that though.

$34,500 would pay off all credit cards and student loans. $4,000 towards some plumbing issues and re-doing my master bath, $2,500 towards a family vacation since we’ve not had one in three years and very, very soon the boys will probably officially be out and living their own grown up lives and not willing to vacation with me anymore. $4,000 to the emergency fund, $1,000 for the Christmas fund, $3,000 to Michael’s deductible for 2018, and $1,000 fun money for some updates around the house or some little extra frivolous spending I don’t usually get to partake in.

$100,000: This would be heart palpitation-inducing money and probably throw me into panic mode and cause some decision paralysis for a few weeks. But here’s my general thoughts on allocating this much money: $54,000 pays off all the credit cards, my student loans, my car, and a small loan remaining on Michael’s truck. $5,000 to do the plumbing mentioned before plus add the bath remodel in my bedroom. $3,000 for a better vacation for us, $3,000 to next year’s deductible, $1,800.00 for new washer and dryer, $2,500 for updated kitchen appliances, $5,500 IRA contribution, $1,500 for Christmas fund, $4,000 to the emergency fund. That will leave me just shy of $20,000 and I think I would just keep that earmarked for some charitable giving, and helping the boys with any school expenses that crop up. Paying off so much also gives me a nice buffer in my budget to make much larger payments to my retirement savings and mortgage payoff.

I know, I’m boring. No fancy sports cars or toys for me. I am happy living a simple life and truly the peace of mind of knowing I’m not in debt anymore would make me happier than any sports car or newest smart phone or a Gucci bag.

 

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September Goals

October reward/incentive?

I can’t believe it’s already September. Only 4 months left in 2017. That’s crazy.

This is going to be a busy month I suspect. Starting next week I’ll probably be working my first “full” part-time schedule at the second job. Labor day weekend means an extra day off at the full-time job but unfortunately with the way this holiday (and most of the work holidays it seems) falls, we’ll all  probably be putting in extra hours on the other days to meet our strict accounting deadlines.

The last weekend of the month is parents weekend at Nick’s school and of course that falls on Michael’s 21st birthday weekend. There will be a bit of juggling but since Michael’s birthday actually falls on Sunday and I believe the parent’s weekend activities are just Friday and Saturday then it should all work out.

One of my primary goals this month is to be especially budget conscious. Parents weekend has some costs associated with it and I definitely want to be able to take Michael out to a nice birthday dinner. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication on my part, I spent a fair amount of money on an activity I wasn’t planning on this past weekend so I’m scrambling a bit to make that money up now. Really irritated at myself since I’ve been pretty good at spending money “intentionally” during this lean period.

I definitely failed at my NANOWRIMO attempt in July. I started off really strong then missed a couple days and that was it….threw me completely off my routine and I honestly don’t think I’ve written anything for at least 5 weeks now. Nothing, nada….no blog posts, no work on the novel, not even a journal entry. Unacceptable because it’s something that makes me happy. So my September goal is to write something every single day. Facebook posts don’t count but working on my blog or my novel or journaling does. I found a fabulous journal-type book tonight that I would really like to splurge on but due to my previously mentioned financial fail, it’s not going to be possible this month but I think if I achieve my September writing goal I might splurge on it in October with my fun money.

Also on the list for September:

Read 4 books

Host book club-hopefully contractor will be finished with Michael’s room by then and I can sweet talk my parents into helping me hang my pictures and finish decorating my home.

8 blog posts-that’s two a week. Should be manageable

Have at least 14 no-spend days.

Finish my 30-day Ab workout-currently on day 6

What do you think? Enough to keep me busy for September?

 

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