Category Archives: Goals and Aspirations

Rethinking the budget, again!

I probably spend way too much time obsessing over our budget. In an ideal world, I’d be throwing every penny I have into paying off our mortgage and truly being debt free. However, I know myself. I could easily lose track of the important things in life on a quest to eradicate debt. What does Suze Orman say, “People first, then money”? My family should be a priority when I look at how we spend money. And myself! Hey, I am a person too, right? So with that, I have decided to automatically contribute to an IRA account. Its only going to be $150 a month, but I thought I should start some where. Since I don’t have a 401K at work anymore, its important that I do this. I should be maxing out my IRA, but that is a goal for another year. If there is any money left over at the end of the year, I will trying to add more.

Financial Goals for 2015
Roth IRA – $1,800
College funds for the kids ($100 a month per kid) – $2,400
6 months emergency fund – $20,000
DC trip (summer) – $4,000
Louisiana trip (Thanksgiving) – $4,000
Total money to save this year: $32,200

Savings to date: $228.41
Cash back from credit card: $55.04
Savings from 1/9 paycheck: $173.37
Needed to goal: $31,971.59

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Making Sense of Our Food Spending

This post was supposed to be the first of weekly posts highlighting my meal planning for the week. I was going to share my shopping for the week and what meals I was going to try out on my family. Life has a funny way of laughing at plans. On Wednesday, our brand new heating unit that we are still paying off decided it didn’t want to give us any warm air. My family and I have been sitting in a cold home since then. We called the place that installed it; they came out and said they have to order a part from the manufacture to repair it. In the meantime, we’ve actually used our fireplace and purchased $100 worth of space heaters. Home-ownership woes. At least it is still under warranty! With that, I have not felt like investing any time in cooking or prepping. Also, my husband has been absent due to the end of the football season. I’m going to leave the cooking to him next week since he’s off on Monday and Tuesday!

So instead of grocery shopping, I thought I’d share a few numbers courtesy of mint.com. Last month my family spend $1,189.42 in food-related costs which is about $300 over budget. Here are the numbers:

Groceries $653.78
Restaurants $362.84
Fast Food $91.83
Food & Dining $43.46
Coffee Shops $37.50
Total $1,189.42

Using mint.com, I found that our monthly average for food-related expenses was $1,183 which is almost exactly how much we spent in December 2014. What is our budgeted amount, you ask? Our budget is $650 for groceries (which includes food for my gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan son due to allergies) and $200 for eating out (mostly for my husband who refuses to brown bag it even after years of me complaining). No wonder we were always over budget! So far we have spent $211.95 in January (although some of this was end of December that posted in January):

Restaurants  – $108.43 (celebrated my husband’s birthday)
Groceries – $58.48
Fast Food – $25.99 (hubby lunches for 3 days)
Coffee Shops – $10.00 (Starbucks – all me, I’ll admit)
Food & Dining – $9.05 (hubby brought me cookies to cheer me up and vending machines at hubby’s work)

Not starting off that great, huh? My hope is that we can stay on budget this month of $850!

 

Happy New Year (and all that jazz!)

With the new year, I have resolved to give my blog more attention. I really enjoy having this outlet and I love reading updates from my favorite bloggers. I usually have a massive plan to right all my perceived wrongs at the beginning of the year. 2015 will be a bit different. I have decided to focus on a few important goals and not overwhelm myself. My eight goals are simple and complex at the same time, but I hoping to have more success this year than last. I am honing in on the things that matter most to me: family and health. Here’s more about my plan:

1. Save for trips to visit my and my husband’s families. 

Both of my parents are in their 70s and my nieces and nephews are growing up too fast. Last year, I didn’t manage to make it back to DC like I usually do and I would like to spend a week or two weeks there. These trips are expensive because we have to pay for the flights, hotel, food and rental car. Also, my in-laws have been requesting us visit for Thanksgiving for the last 5 years! I’d love to take the kids to Louisiana to visit family and see my husband’s alma mater. There is a classic football game that takes place that weekend as well and it would be nice for them to experience that tradition. Total estimate for both trips: $8,000. 

2. Save $20,000 for 6 months/in-case-of-life fund.

Since the last of the debt will be paid off this month, I have decided to take Dave Ramsey’s advice and create an “in-case-of-life” fund. This will be used for things like major house repairs, in case my husband loses his job and anything else that pops up. In 2014, we paid over $10,000 for household repairs including AC, hot water heater and light fixtures. I am sure we will need more repairs this year.

3. Lose 20 lbs and keep it off!

This is less for vanity purposes and more about my overall health. The more weight I carry, the more issues I have with blood pressure. Also, my work wardrobe isn’t fitting as it should and I am not about to spend money on work clothes for a part-time job! I am hoping to exercise more and eat better to achieve this goal.

4. Learn two new recipes a month with one being allergy friendly that might kids can eat

It’s a shame when your daughter greets your husband as he came home from work with “Mom actually cooked today!” Yesterday I cooked some butternut squash for my son and he literally threw it up. His words, “Sorry Mom but it was really yucky!” So yes, I am not a good cook and cooking stresses me out! But I am resolving to get better at it this year!

5. Meal plan weekly with at least 4 servings of fruits and veggies!

This goes along with goal #4. I am hoping to save money and time by meal planning. I hope to make sure my family is eating better this year. Also, meal planning should help with the saving goals #1 and #2.

6. Teach my daughter 23 basic rules to reading phonetically

Since her dyslexia/dysgraphia diagnosis, I have realized I need to spend more time with her focusing on reading. My daughter is very smart but just needs some help in this area. Hopefully less TV times and more quality time with mom will assist in this goal.

7. Ensure my son transitions well to kindergarten (as measured by his progress report)

My son is a very unique individual. With his allergies, small stature and potential speech delays, he potentially will have a difficult time entering kindergarten. But we are going to get him ready and really work with him! I hope to end the year with all A’s on his report card.

8. Blog at least two times a week recapping my progress and general thoughts! (self-explanatory!)

Thank you for reading my blog in 2014 and I hope you continue to join my adventures in 2015. Happy New Years!