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Archive for February, 2018

New Start

February 28th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I have two more weeks of classes and then I am 1/2 done with the Organizational Development and Change Certificate. The paper writing is hefty, and my confidence and motivation ebb and flow, but with the light at the end of the tunnel for completion of 1/2, I'm propelling forward (maybe more like catapulting).
The feeling of drowning has passed, thankfully.

Suprisingly, DH is still hanging on - migration of the work is complete, but they still need some financial analysts for reports through March or June. He will be receiving a partial bonus on 3/9 since company only met 55% of target revenue. Better than nothing.

I've decided to utilize the tax return to full fund a month's living expenses to give YNAB an honest attempt the way it is intended. I've been fairly diligent on tracking expenses since 1/1 and feel that I can move forward with an accurate idea of how each category should be funded. I also look forward to implement sinking funds monthly.

My parents gifted us their '07 Honda Odyssey. They offered us the car with no warranty or $3,500 which would be the trade in. We currently have an '07 Dodge Caravan that is on its last legs, so this is an upgrade. It has all of the bells and whistles and has been lovingly maintained and its actually a huge upgrade to us. We do consider this a huge blessing and are hoping to make this one last for the next several years.

We have remained at 10% contribution for 401K, but I do need to be more future-oriented in putting other funds away. I am hoping to be able to do so upon becoming employed by target date of June.

I hope everyone is moving forward in 2018 and achieving their goals!

February I Review

February 15th, 2018 at 08:51 am

The areas that I am targeting for controlled spending are consumables (all grocery/household/pet item), gas, and extraneous (including everything else like clothing/entertainment/household items/books for school, etc).

In January we averaged (for Ist and IInd havles)
Consumables - $321
Extraneous - $192
Gas - $138

The total of extraneous for the month was $380, but that covered hot lunches for both sons, Zumba, textbooks, some witner clothing items, and $78 was from my trip to CA with my younger daughter).

In budgeting for Feb I, here are planned/actual:
Consumables - $225/$236
Extraneous - $110/$80
Gas - $135/$80

Observations: We are higher on consumables because we are doing a smoothie cleanse and I spent on protein powder and more produce, and we hosted a dinner party with eight additional people.

Extraneous: I didn't include my NYC spending money since I had been frittering away cash for that, but I did need to dip $35 into that, the rest was just odd amounts for books, socks, a movie admission, etc.

Gas: This is lower than average, mostly becasue I was gone 4/14 days in NYC, there is snow and we are driving less.

The amounts remain the same for Feb II, and I expect that we will fully utilize the amounts available.

I am plodding along with my classes. I am enjoying them and am excited by the prospect of employment on the flipside, the writing is, however, daunting. Just finished one 30+ page paper, moving on to second 20+ page paper.

NYC Spending Recap

February 12th, 2018 at 05:41 am

Our NYC trip was February 7-10th. Seems like we accomplished a lot in a short period of time; we saw Times Square, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller Center, an LOL Comedy Show, my daughter had a photo shoot in Fulton Street Station (awesome images!) with a photographer she worked with in Chicago, I was able to hear my friend deliver the keynote speech at the Federal Bar Association's 5th Annual Fashion Law Conference, Chinatown, and the Museum of Modern Art.

What we spent:

Airfare from Chi to LaGuardia: $33 (used miles and had to pay $11/each in fees)
Accommodations at 109th and Broadway in Manhattan: $0 (thank goodness for family!)
Travel on the subway and bus: $50
Dining out: $190 (one major meal a day for four days)
Entertainment (museum admission/comedy show): $120
Miscellaneous (souvenirs, snacks, personal care items forgotten to pack): $84

Total for overall: $475ish.

Cash-flowed every last dime, banked every memory!


February 6th, 2018 at 09:03 am

I am half way through the ten week quarter and 25% done on my timeline for the organizational behavior and consulting certificate. I'm surprisingly on top of things for school and home. My enthusiasm and energy were keeping me going, but I'm feeling tired and lethargic and just moving toward the end line of this quarter.

I was in California last month and am going to NYC tomorrow for a few days with my daughters. Thank goodness for redeeming miles to fly for free and relatives with an apartment in Manhattan across from Central Park. We were told to bring good walking shoes and are taking a bus from LaGuardia to their place. Sounds like an urban adventure. I'd like to continue to keep on this trend of going places and seeing and doing things. All on a budget of course.

I tracked every red cent spent in January. It wasn't too bad, but could be better. The Miscellaneous category was high due to books (though I did download one on audible for free with a trial membership I cancelled), some needed winter clothing items for sons, and $80 while on vacation (souvenirs and gas for car rental). February is looking MUCH better, though we have everyone living at home now so grocery budget will probably reflect that by month's end.

I did the taxes. Our refunds amount to $6,250. That will be very helpful.

Onward to March.