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Preparing for a move

January 3rd, 2022 at 08:32 pm

Today was a snow day, so DW and I spent the late morning doing inventory for our upcoming international move. It took several hours to do this, glad we got it done with. While doing inventory I decided to do some cooking . I made tomato soup, grilled cheese, and hummus with jicama. I love using up food in the house, makes me feel good! We have to eat up our kitchen and pantry as we can't ship any food products with us. Whatever we don't use I'll bring over to my DD's place, but I don't want stuff ending up as "food clutter" for her. 

I won't have a job right away when we move to Australia, because there will be paperwork for me to complete first. I have been saving for the past year, though, so we are ready for this. 

My last day at work is Friday. With snow days, though, I will only be at work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Can't say I'm disappointed about that! 

Back here again!

January 2nd, 2022 at 11:18 pm

Oh my gosh, it has been so long! I I have been busy with life but realized that I miss the habit of journaling. It really does help you stay mindful of your goals and keep you from spending without trying things through. I'll be back with a longer post when I can write from my laptop. Just wanted to say I'm glad to be back! 

Thanksgiving and Review

November 26th, 2020 at 02:50 pm

I have some quiet time to myself and thought I'd check in. I'm chugging along, keeping hope for the future and trying to do my part. 

I'm not working with my part-time, after-school-hours-job right now because it has to work around my full-time position, which is "fluid" right now due to the rise in case numbers. As long as I stay current with my certification, though, I can pick up more hours when life settles again. 

SO and I looked over my budget now that households are merged. I should be able to save almost 35% of income for the next 12 months. Which would give me a huge boost for the next life adventure in a couple years, which may include a move out of country. The trick, of course, is to keep that savings in the savings vehicle, and not withdraw for this, that, and the other. Because although I say I can save that much money, some of it will be earmarked for "save to spend later", as in a vacation eventually. I need to clearly set aside money for those "spend later" goals. Looks like I will dig into my YNAB account deeper this weekend so I can take the bulk savings and divy it among where it will actually end up being saved and spent. At least that way I will be "honest" with my spending/saving. 

My girls are doing much of the cooking today. My oldest stayed over last night (she only lives 25 minutes away anyway). I'm so glad we're friends now and survived the hellacious teen years! Now if I can get through these years with my youngest successfully... 

Wishing everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving with something to be thankful for! 

September Catch-up

September 17th, 2020 at 09:14 am

Yikes! Where did the last 6 weeks go? It was all about cleaning up, fixing up, packing up. Since my last SA check in, I merged households with SO and we moved into a new place together...I helped my oldest daughter find a roommate and move into her first place... I updated my condo and found a tenant. So glad to be done with all of that!

Now I'm teaching online full time, until the virus situation has been managed and we can return safely. This crisis and the debacle that it has turned into just makes me so angry, I'll leave it at that here.

This weekend I'll take a look at my budget and adjust my savings and investment contributions. I need a closer look at my budget now that SO and I have joined households.

Keeping up the momentum

July 21st, 2020 at 10:59 am

Somehow it is already July 21. I have tried keeping myself busy doing somewhat useful things. We remodeled a bathroom ourselves in my rental over the 4th of July break. That was exhausting but so satisfying to see the finished work!

I haven't done much in the way of planning for next school year because I don't know what grades I will be teaching and the whole structure may change by then anyway. Currently it will be a hybrid model of face to face classes 2 days and asynchronous for 2 days. Then repeat with a second group of students. I can't wrap my head around planning for that just yet. Especially since the school district still has to explain how we can make that happen logistically and safely before it can be implemented.

I have almost paid off my last credit card. I have the cash to pay it off but I do not get another full time paycheck until the end of August so I want an extra cushion of cash.

Next month, with the credit card paid off, I will revisit my retirement and taxable account contributions as my budget gets more breathing room.


June 19th, 2020 at 10:55 pm

I’m now on summer “break” as of Tuesday. I have my part time job still. It pays more per hour than my regular job so I don’t mind working over my break. Since it is considered “essential” work I have had the option to work with health care level guidelines in place. I work around 5-6 hours a week with this job. It is helping me meet my financial goals at an accelerated pace.

I’m also helping my high school senior navigate scholarship applications. It is very confusing, as we look for let them through respected sites but some of these scholarships seem a little shady. We have found quite a few that offer “scholarships” in a random drawing per month. I guess they just want your contact info. But as long as they actually give out a scholarship each month, I’m ok with that. My daughter has a “spammy” email address just for these registrations.

June check in

June 12th, 2020 at 10:26 am

I should post more frequently, but it seems I'm always either on my work laptop or phone. Neither are suitable for writing a blog entry!

June bills are covered and I reached my original summer fund goal. Now I need to write out next goal going forward.

We are still healthy, thank goodness. Actually probably healthier than ever because we are not picking up any illness from kids at schools or on airplanes as is often the case. Of course, I did manage to pick up 4 or 5 extra pounds somewhere...

Today is my last day of work for the school year. Feels a little underwhelming! We should know by the end of June what school will look like opening up in August.

That's it for now, take care, all!

Additional payment on credit card

May 8th, 2020 at 08:15 pm

My paycheck from my part-time job came in and I will transfer that to my credit card balance. This will get the credit card right under $3,000. I could pay this off in full but I also want to build my cash reserves. This card is at 0% until September. I still have no idea what the summer will look like, so I would rather have cash. I usually do some sort of summer job for extra funds and that may not be happening this year.

Besides that, nothing too exciting. I've had a couple of meetings and I am doing job paperwork all day so I can hopefully focus on teaching during the week.

Undigging and Building Up

May 3rd, 2020 at 01:02 pm

Through the challenges of April, I chugged along doing my best, and suddenly it was May...

It took no time at all to update my Ynab budget. I used the same budgeted amounts from last month and the money available is greater than the money budgeted, that's always a plus! Not only that, all of my accounts reconciled at first click.

I think the ease of my budget this month is due to several factors. First of all, I'm not spending as much. There are fewer transactions that I can forget about, or that might get accounted for twice, or maybe it's a bank holiday so it is slower to get synced into my budget.

Second, I finally merged all of my personal accounts into just a few. My rental income still goes to it's own bank, but now I don't have fifty million transfers from one savings account to another. I have my long-term savings right in front of me, in the same bank as my checking. I actually like it, because it is a visual reminder of the equation between my spending and my saving. I have a choice to spend or transfer money to savings.

I still have a credit card to pay down. I am undigging myself from that, but it is encouraging to see another pile that increases. Like there is something to my finances besides undigging, I can also build.

In other news, I still have to pull in my eating. I make this way too difficult sometimes! I am a good rule follower, so I need to follow my own eating rules. Then I can spend less time overthinking what I eat.

The family and I were able to get out yesterday for some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine after so many gloomy, rainy days. There were others on the trail, but many wore masks and everyone was respectful about maintaining distance.

In need of new habits and my stimulus plans

April 19th, 2020 at 12:24 am

I try to follow all the suggestions to get a good night of sleep, but it has been a struggle lately. I’m working from home so my brain is busy planning lessons and designing behavior programs. But still not enough activity with my brain and body. I try to get exercise in each day through walks or a workout video online but the rest of my day is more sedentary than it has ever been. I really think my brain and body are not getting as much activity as in the past and so at night I’m not sleepy.

The other reason I’m not sleeping well is probably because I don’t have a new solid night routine yet. Our bodies function better with healthy routine. My a.m. and p.m. routines are still undergoing “modification” for this new normal. I will not turn this into something to become anxious about. My affirmation: I am kind to myself as I develop new habits.

Financially I am ok right now. I put part of my stimulus on my last credit card, and the other half I am setting aside for repairs on my rental property. I will be going out there next month to look over the property and order any repairs. I just got the 30 day notice from my tenant that she will be moving out. I know that this is not the ideal time to find a new tenant so it is super important for me to build up cash reserves in case it takes time to get another tenant.

Virtual Check In

April 7th, 2020 at 03:15 pm

I have not posted since the end of December, when I restarted my blog. That sounds about right, though, I have been on the go since then. Until about 3 weeks ago when our routine life came to a screeching halt.

I have been working at home since Friday the 13th of March. Fortunately I do get paid since I have a contract. The part time job is limited, though, since it involves face to face intervention. I now conduct a few hours a week of direct intervention in the highest need cases, and will be conducting telehealth where the insurance allows it.

My finances are doing ok, actually. I took chunks such as my tax refund and did NOT throw it all on my final credit card. I put over half of it in savings to build my cushion back up, and to plump up the 'unexpected but they will happen' expense categories. I realized that I throw every spare penny on a debt, and leave the rest of myself so thin, that any little swell or bump in finances puts me over the edge again. I don't need to live so close to the edge! I should not be keeping myself up at night because I spent an additional $150 on an unexpected hiccup. I need to keep those 'unexpected' coffers full. These are, after all, my 'true expenses' (shout out to fellow Ynabers!)

With a little breathing room in my budget, I've been able to calmly look at my budget and work on lowering my 'true expenses'. The easiest way to budget is to not need to budget for something at all.

The rest of my time has been spent learning how to distance teach, keeping my mental health during this time of chaos, and keeping my family as healthy as we can. I'm trying to develop A.M. and P.M. routines that support my priorities. Exercise seems to be a big catalyst to having a productive day for me. I know how important exercise is, but still, since this Covid crisis started, I have been sluggish with developing a new routine. So exercise has been sporadic, eating has been on the rise, and my sleep is terrible. I need to get these habits/routines going!!!

I look forward to catching up with everyone through their blogs. It gives me something to think about besides the health crisis and myself. Health and safety to you all!

Back in time for a fresh year

December 22nd, 2019 at 09:14 pm

I had my first SA blog years ago. When I was experiencing some major changes I decided to start a new blog so that I could focus on moving forward. Now the original blog pops up and I cannot access the new blog. After spending time hunting it down, I decided not to spend any more life energy on that and I started a brand new one. This time I wrote down the username and password correctly!

I am still in the DC area with my 2 kids, one a high school junior and one attending community college. I'm making slow financial progress in this high cost of living area. There are exceptional career opportunities here, though, so I'm staying here until my youngest graduates from high school in 1.5 years.

In the meantime, I'm deciding if I'm ready to leave teaching. A few years ago I completed a post-grad behavior analyst program and currently work in the field part time for experience and to supplement my teaching income. I make a lot more money in this job compared to teaching and honestly, I am enjoying it a lot more. I'm wondering if 10 years in special education is enough.

I'm planning to get rid of all of my consumer debt (again) early 2020, and then make those payments to myself and my investments. That will buy me a lot more flexibility with my future options.

I haven't put my yearly objectives down in words yet, so I can do that during winter break. Happy to be back on SA once more!