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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Christmas Comes and Goes -or- Pensive.

So, that time of year is here... and passing quickly. Christmas is easily one of my favorite times of year; yet I am always *so* glad when it is over. Our family made out well this year - and best of all - we did it almost exclusively in cash! Our cupboards are a bit more bare this week as a result, but the holidays felt so much better knowing that we weren't going to be making minimum payments on the credit card for the next ten years paying for our hour of enjoyable gift-opening.

Now, a New Year is upon us, and with that, I am trying to pin my husband down to one goal. To find a shared goal that we can work towards during 2009. Not so much a resolution, but more of a commitment to make some type of impact in where our family stands. There has been much talk of adding a new family member - which certainly has impact! - but I was thinking that perhaps we could commit to something bold that will positively impact our bottom line. (Not that a new baby doesn't have positive impact!) Something like:

No using credit cards. -or-
No dining out unless it is a special occasion (i.e. birthdays, anniversary, etc.) -or-
Moving into a more budget-friendly rental, or perhaps back into my father's home.

As time passes, I realize that I am approaching mid-30s without much to show for all my hard work over the years. I have no retirement savings. We have no life insurance on either of us. We have managed to live way beyond our means this past year (and we have the balances to prove it). So, as 2008 ends, I challenge us to find a way to bring positive financial change to our lives.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to get the things we want -or- Learning.

I recently received my yearly bonus from my employer. In a sense, this is my hospital's form of "profit sharing." My share this year was nearly $700 - not too shabby!

So I was recently approached to consider a family trip to Florida. That bonus would have been a good start to paying towards our rental and gas expenses... It is tempting!

Instead, I let the practical and growing-older-and-hopefully-wiser side of me decide to apply the money towards debt. It absolutely irks me that although I made twice this year what I have *ever* made in the past, the mortgage companies I contacted all nearly fell out of their chairs laughing when I sought pre-approval for us to buy a house with a maximum value of $100,000.

How depressing! And so, I am hoping to turn a new leaf, reduce our monthly obligations, and eventually find ourselves a home to purchase - or at least be able to vacation more often with cash in hand, rather than relying on plastic. Here's a link to one of my favorite budgeting and frugality websites:

I've Paid for this Twice Already...

The 12 Days of Christmas series that is spread amongst various financial wisdom blogs is where I really found my motivation to go ahead and send in the funds from my bonus towards some of my credit card debt. I invite you to search out the information available there. It certainly helps me put things in perspective - and makes me angry that we throw away $775/month on rent!!! Anyhow, check it out. Your monthly budget will thank you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

We're Home! -or- Inertia.

We've been back home for nearly 2 weeks now. We miss the 85 degree weather. And I, specifically, miss my hammock with built-in audio of crashing waves. However, it was great to get home and see the kids!

We've now had our Thanksgiving celebration at my sister Jill's house (I managed to forget my camera); good food and good times were had by all! I also attended the Heritage Feast for Elizabeth's first grade class; they asked parents to bake a traditional family dish and then come to share that dish with all the kids in the class (also managed to forget my camera for this one).

My sister and I managed to hit a few Black Friday sales at 5:30 a.m.; the ONE thing I truly wanted a deal on was sold out but we did manage to find a few good deals on things we were giving or needed for ourselves. We acquired a Dyson DC07 vacuum and that was hugely exciting to me, but not so enthralling to the others in the house. (I'm the only one that seems to be impressed that I vacuumed up nearly 2 pounds of lint and hair with that new machine!!!)

Other than that, we've been fairly sluggish since returning home. Er, well, I have been. Jonathan has been working his arse off with the demands of Walmart during the Christmas retail rush. I worked the first weekend we were home and this Saturday night, but alas, I was home ill last night as I seem to have contracted a nasty cold and did not need to share said illness with the three fragile patients that were in the ICU this weekend.

This week's projects: find 2 more strings of C7 lights for the roofline (we grossly underestimated how long our house is) and continue preparing for the holiday season. I'm going to have to find a little less inertia and a lot more motivation! Happy holidays~