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Archive for December, 2018

It's Thursday.

December 13th, 2018 at 09:51 am

How's that for a captivating title for this blog post?

Today is the school's Christmas Show. My last one as the youngest is in 8th grade. I am ready for this experiment to be over. 8th Grade is really difficult this year for both my son and my niece. My son is very laid back and doesn't repsond well to drama. My neice is a drama queen. They happen to find themselves in a swarm of nasty kids - bullying, vaping in the bathroom, oral sex at parties, etc. A co-ed sleepover set for 12/21 was cancelled (after their day long ski trip). My brother and SIL don't want to deal with the event, so I'm taking both of them. My husband, daughters, and mother are also attending the evening performance too, but I feel rather protective of these two and just can't wait for Graduation.

My older daughter is becoming a vegan. She went through the recipes at budgetbytes.com and I should be able to feed her without breaking the budget. She's watching her diet and losing weight. She's off to Asia in the Spring and has to keep her hip dimensions down. She's recently worked with Sears and Groupon but has lost her high fashion look; thankfully, it is coming back. An e-commerce look just doesn't cut it in New York and the international market.

My budget is going OK. Its been spendy because of Christmas and we've dodged any major money bullets. In January the biggest expense will be the labor for the bathroom updates. I've tracked consumables and we are averaging $95 a week. That doesn't include $20/week for hot lunches for my sons.

For the period of 12/14 - 12/20, I'm allowing $160 for all variable expenses ($90 for consumables, $40 for gas, $30 for other).

We have a family outing with my parents and brother's family on Wed, 12/19 to see the light show at our local arboretum. It was below zero last year, thankfully it will be much warmer this year.

I am making major progress on decluttering. Updated new sheet sets. Towles will be next. The pile of hand-me-downs for my friend's kids is growing. We've parted with cribs and a train table. Still adding more and more furniture to the Salvation Army pick up. Our desk project is going to start in January and I'm thrilled about that. My girls' cancelled their gym membership and bought an $80 eliptical on Nextdoor.com. It's a wonderful thing, but its in my family room. It's too heavy to move to the basement and the replacement tub is my bedroom. I keep reminding myself "This is just temporary."

This is a random jumble of things. But it is Thursday. Have a good one!

Mixed Bag

December 9th, 2018 at 07:31 am


Two more major and two minor gifts to purchase and then I am done! Some of the things are already wrapped and around the tree. I'm burning a Yankee Candle evergreen scented perpetually, so my house smells like Christmas most of the time. We've had Christmas music on in the background more, so it sounds like Christmas, too. Watching the Christmas shows on TV too. Loving that aspect of the holiday season.

Not loving the drama that can accompany trying to "plan" and "coordinate" where we need to be. I'm still in recovery from last year's drama and have simply said that my family will visit one place on Christmas Eve (we do Mass as a family at 3). I will go before or after to either my mother's or my brother's. I no longer worry about doing an all day marathon (which is tedious for the intovert!) and then rushing home to cook because I host everyone the next day. So as of this writing, I am waiting to hear where and when I will be going on Christmas Eve.

I am struggling a bit. I am disappointed that the job I had lined up in January is gone since the one I was going to replace has decided to stay. I don't really enjoy job searching, but will have to get back into the saddle. I have rejiggered the budget for January back to what it will be. It is fine, but progress will be slower. I'm economizing better and the area that has seen improvement is consumables/groceries (my daughters each cook one day a week, so I know only plan and shop for five dinners v. seven).

I've adopted a budgeting method that I recently found at TheBudgetMom which budgets each paycheck and relies on cash envelopes. My categories are broad, but limited. We got hit with an unexpected $300 this pay period so for the remaining week til payday it was: Consumables $80; Gas $40; Other $40. I've spend $75/$80 and will be baking cookies for lunch snacks with what I have on hand and drinking some odd smoothies using a collection of 1/4 and 1/8 remainder bags. But its good! And Other will probably be depleted as E (older son) needs a pair of school shoes. (Hello Payless and thankful for 30% off coupon).

I'm also aware that certain relationships outside of my family and demanding a disproportionate amount of my time. And I need to fix this problem and don't know how.

1) My best friend is having relationship issues with someone she isn't in a relationship with but want to be. (I can say that this individual is nowhere healthy enough emotionally or physcially for a relationship - think currently battling addictions - and resides in a different state).

2) A newish friend that I inherited after my cousin died is on the spectrum and has unrealistic expectations about what I should be doing in our "friendship" - I turned up 30 minutes late to an event that I didn't even commit to on Friday, wasn't feeling well, and left. My mother was present for this event and I heard all about the fall-out of my leaving after. Then I ran into this person at Church last night and she was so frosty and snide. I didn't make excuses for myself and wished her a Merry Christmas.

3) Another complicated ongoing relationship just has to fade. Or I'm wondering if it should just end and put a period at the end of the sentence.

I did attend a jewelry exchange for A's class. He is in 8th grade and I didn't bother attending from K-7th grade because this group of moms is like a sorority (and I am the further thing from being a kappa kappa sigma sweetheart). Another friend convinced me to go. And I went. And everyone was as nice as could be. I attended the event a very grand house in a gated community where i had to be checked in. I enjoyed looking at the home decor of this grand place. It was fine. I had a good time. I, for that time, was the extroverted introvert.

I'm not sure why all of this is on my mind. And it isn't money related. But this corner of the cyberworld is a nice to just "be".

Enjoy your day and I'll hopefully update on Friday for the next paycheck budget.

Update

December 1st, 2018 at 08:02 am


I feel as though I've been adulting in the real financial world. I have received 100% of the cash bequest from my grandparents estate. I put 90% in a Vanguard money market for now. I used the other 10% to:

1) get one month ahead on the budget including mortgage
2) added $1K to our vacation fund
3) purchased a new sectional for our family room (last one was purchased in 2009 and it was since upgraded twice by my brother's hand-me-downs)
4) purchased tub and shower and surrounds for our bathroom upgrades
5) paid off semester of community college for younger daughter and 25% of upcoming tuition
6) am making weekly tuition payments for high schooler

We met with our potential realtor and feel that we can reasonably expect $470K for our home (after the bathroom upgrades, painting kitchen cabinets, new flooring in family room, and all over paint job). There wasn't any real shock there, I follow the value on Zillow and adjust down 10%. We're still looking at listing in the Spring.

I set up Vanguards accounts for the kids' yesterday. They haven't received their funds yet, but now there is a place for them to be deposited. I opened UTMAs for the boys and just money markets for the girls with limited agent authorization for myself. This is exlcusive of an education fund with $70K in it, but I'll deal with those funds next.

I am in the process of a major declutter (as in evaluating the place of every object in our home). Christmas was a bit difficult, but I did narrow things down a bit and have packed up the Dept 56 village we aren't using this year (from our hey day as collectors, we were growing Christmas villages along with my parents and brother/then SIL).

I am also feeling very differently about things and consumerism. I won't say that I'm heading towards minimalism, but I only want things that have purposefulness or I enjoy. Turning point for me, I purchased a Lego Harry Potter for son who is 16. It was the only missing set that he didn't have from the last production go-around. I found it for $65. Son's passion is gaming and he's in the process of building a gaming computer, buying one component at a time. I realized that the gift that I wanted him to have isn't necessarily the one he would like the most. So it went back, and I'm going to MicroCenter to deal with his guy there. (We are only doing one gift per child this year in the $80 - $100 range). They do get a second gift from their Advent Buddy on Christmas Eve.

My brother wasn't happy when we stopped the gift exchange with him and his family. Oh well. My parents and inlaws are getting Yankee candles and kid-made fleece blankets. Also some muffins and fudge. Again, they don't need anything at all.

My job for January isn't certain anymore as person I'd be replacing will most likely be staying on. But I've concluded that it wasn't meant to be and I'll keep looking for something that will work and take one class online a quarter.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season! Happy December! I've decided just to continue tracking expenses, use the debit card, and implement whatever hybrid system in January 2019.