6 Things You’ve Probably Forgotten In Your Budget

laptop preparing budget items

So you’ve finally got your budget set up because you’re tired of me harping on you about it. Great Job!! That’s a fantastic first step to getting your finances on track. Of course it’s easy to remember to budget in your regular monthly bills like your mortgage payment/rent, car payment, utilities, groceries, etc. I bet you there’s a couple of things you might be forgetting to account for though. Here’s 6 that I came up with that you need to remember when you’re preparing your budget: Continue reading

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45 Things About Me

hollygainssomesense.com

 

Another birthday is looming for me. It’s not a milestone birthday, but somehow 45 seems scary to me. It seems like I’m officially middle-age. Not sure why I’m struggling with this one to be honest. My husband died at 35, my grandparents were all well into their 80’s, I’ve had classmates die way too young, so who is to say what middle-age really is. Poor Luke Perry, my celebrity boyfriend, died this week at 52…way too young.

I’ve never been one of these people who wanted to celebrate their birthdays all month long. Most of the time I have the bad habit of looking at the past year and feeling a bit melancholy that I didn’t feel like I was making the progress I wanted. I started a new job this year that is challenging (in a good way) and I’ve been working hard on my writing side-gig this year so I can’t blame it on life being stagnant this year.

I thought about sharing 45 things about me since hopefully I’ve got some newer readers this year. Not sure I’m really interesting enough to come up with 45 things about myself that would hold a reader’s attention to the end though. As a result, I’ve split this up into 15 things about me, 15 things I’ve learned over the last 45 years, and 15 things I have on my bucket list. Continue reading

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Emergency Fund aka Life Has Happened Again Account

emergency fund

My last blog post told how I nearly had a stroke after preparing my 2018 taxes. I originally thought I owed nearly a thousand dollars to the government. This was obviously very unsettling since I don’t have a thousand dollars sitting around. I don’t work two jobs for the fun of it after all. Thankfully upon further review I discovered an error I’d made and although I’m not going to get the refund I did last year, I’m also not going to have to worry about selling a kidney or at the very least my plasma.

What if I really had owed that tax bill though? According to my mother, I drink entirely too much diet coke. I figure attempting to sell one of my kidneys probably wouldn’t have fetched as much as I hoped for since they’re apparently aspartame-laced. My fallback plan was to use a good portion of my emergency fund. Continue reading

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Taxes, Emergency funds, and Losing My Sh**

 

tax forms

My Blog, My Rules

I have very few rules relating to my blog. Basically be respectful and no comments about religion and politics because I believe everyone has a right to their own beliefs and decisions regarding those hot topics.  Different strokes for different folks and all that stuff…

That being said, I nearly lost my sh** last week after working on my taxes. As a single parent of two college-aged boys, I’ve always gotten a very decent tax refund. I know, I know, there are people that say you shouldn’t give the government a tax-free loan. I agree with their reasoning but I know myself and I will fritter away the “extra money” in my paycheck so I set this up as a form of forced savings for the beginning of the year. This money is ear-marked for my life insurance premium due in April and car tags in March. The rest is generally divided up for house/car repairs needed, and hopefully some left over for an emergency fund deposit, debt pay-down, and a small road trip/fun money. Continue reading

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January Update and February’s Focus Challenge

February challenge

Wow, seems like we just rang in the new year and now it’s already February. I did good on some things in January like blogging regularly and drinking a little more water. Some things weren’t so great. I didn’t get to add to my emergency fund, in fact I dipped into it but part of that is just due to my paycheck adjustment I’m still dealing with so that will eventually settle out. January in Kentucky was extremely cold, which was a great excuse for me to stay indoors and not go to the gym. I finally got back to Planet Fitness last week though and I’m going to work on getting back into the habit of regular exercise this month. Continue reading

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5 Small Changes That Can Save You Some Serious Change!

 

Loose change

I am all about being frugal. Let’s be honest, it’s been a necessary way of life for me for quite awhile. I love hearing frugal tips but I am not going to the extreme like some people do. These are some strange, gross, or down right dishonest methods I’ve come across:

Pay for a movie and then sneak in another one afterwards without paying.

Share your partner’s toothbrush or floss. (Gross)

If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. (Again…gross)

There are some simple things I try to do, especially if funds are tight to save a little bit of change over the course of the month/year though. None of these take much effort on my part, nor do they affect my standard of living noticeably. Continue reading

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How to Budget When You’re Broke

I’ve been interested in personal finance for a long time. This blog actually started after realizing I might as well try writing my own after years of reading numerous financial blogs. I figured my love of writing and having a few tricks at juggling a tight budget on a single-mom income could generate at least a few blog posts.

Thankfully it’s been a few years since I’ve actually been “broke” and truthfully I’ve never been truly broke. I’ve always been able to buy food for our family and keep the utilities on and a roof over our heads. I am aware there are people out there that are truly struggling.  If you’re reading this and belong in that category then please reach out to any local resources available to you. Contact your local government or perhaps a church if you need help finding assistance.

This post is for those who just find their budget to be a little tight right now. I get it, believe me. Somehow Christmas tends to sneak up on the best of us, even though it’s the same day EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!! The semester just ended for my kids and they tend to be a little tight on funds then since they don’t work as much with finals and they generally have new books to buy for the next semester. Continue reading

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January Challenge-Decluttering

messy house

Okay, I mentioned on my last post that I was going to create a mini-challenge each month. January’s challenge is decluttering. This is something that should be done routinely, especially if you live in a tiny home like we do.

I’m going to shock you here (unless you know me) but despite my love of planners and lists, I am not a naturally neat person. My work space is usually organized chaos and I’d really prefer you give me 24 hours notice if you want to drop by so I can make sure my house is presentable please.

I would love to be that person with the house that is always spotless but it just isn’t me (or my kids unfortunately). My husband may have been a bit OCD with cleaning and keeping things neat, my mom’s house is always very put together and neat, and you could literally eat off of the floor at my aunt’s house because she probably just mopped it. I am not that person. Walking into organized spaces makes me calm though so I’m determined to develop the neat habit this year to help bring some extra zen into my life. Continue reading

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2019-A Year of Creating My Empire

2019 Planner

If you’re one of the 12 people that regularly read my blog then you’re probably already aware that I’m a bit of a nerd. I love journals and planners, checking my budget, creating to-do lists, writing, and making big plans each and every year. Obviously I really geek out over New Year’s then, right? Just like not understanding people who operate without budgets, I really don’t understand why more people don’t get excited about setting New Year’s Resolutions.

I guess New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years because people tend to get excited about them on January 1st and then when their motivation fizzles out in February they decide resolutions are dumb. To me though, January 1st signifies a blank slate. It’s a time to look back at what you liked about the previous year, what you didn’t like about it, and what you want to accomplish in the new year. I have big plans this year to focus on my writing, hence the Year of Creating my Empire tagline.

It’s been proven (you’re going to have to believe me here, I’m not going to dig up one of the multiple studies to cite) that people who write down their plans/resolutions/goals, etc., are more likely to achieve them. Want an extra layer of accountability for yourself? Broadcast them to the world so your best friend (or enemy) can stay on your case about your progress throughout the year. So, without further ado, here are my goals/resolutions for 2019. Continue reading

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2018 Recap and Looking Forward

I truly can’t believe that we’re just days away from 2019. I’m still working on my 2019 Goals and Resolutions but I personally think you shouldn’t look forward to a new year before checking in on how you did with last year’s goals. Continue reading

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