Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Promotion!!

Y got a promotion.  He is now the head plumber.  The promotion comes with a $5000 raise.  I'm so proud of him.  He started his plumbing apprenticeship when he got out of the army 9 years ago and now he will be testing for his master license.  Woohoo!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Big Picture vs. Small Picture

I peruse many personal finance blogs and one thing that stands out to me is whether they focus on the big picture or the small picture or both.  Focusing on the big picture means building wealth and bettering one's long term financial situation.  Focusing on the small picture means cutting everyday expenses.  I read both types of blogs but I'm more interested in the big picture blogs because it is my ultimate financial goal to be at least a millionaire.

One area that I really like about the big picture is focusing on earning more money.  I think that it makes for an easier life to save 20% of $100,000 income than to save 50% of a $40,000.  I like earning money and I'm on commission so my earning potential is high.  When I was in college, I waited tables and bartended so I could make more money than I would have from working a minimum wage job.  I've long focused on making more money because I want the better life that more money can partially provide.

Another area that I like about the big picture is investing.  Growing up I was told that investing is only for rich people.  I was never taught that it would be easy to invest a small percentage of my income from day 1.  My first experience with investing was opening my Roth about 7-8 years ago.  Shortly thereafter, I opened up a retail account at Sharebuilder to buy individual stocks.  I do think that building long term wealth needs to include investing.

Housing and transportation make up the other portion of the big picture for me.  We sold our previous house because the taxes were almost $5000 per year and we didn't see that we were getting anything out of the higher taxes.  We pay more now in maintaining our property than we did in town but we feel that is the right decision for us.  We took a huge risk by buying a doublewide trailer on a nice lot, living in it for a year and a half, and building our new house.  We know many people wouldn't downgrade like that to get what they want but we did so we could get the new house we wanted on the lot we wanted.

I think the small picture things are important but I like focusing on the large picture because my long term goal is to build wealth.  I will do a separate post on how I focus on the small picture things.

What about you?  Have you noticed the 2 different mind frames with of bloggers?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

I started Christmas eve off by working until 1.  When I came home, I took a nap.  When I got up, we opened presents with just our family.  The kiddos were very excited.  I received a long down dress coat with a fur collar, exactly what I wanted.  I gave Y a helmet for the new 4-wheeler.  He loved the style but needs a smaller size.  We then made the scallops, King crab legs and fresh pasta with sauce.  When I had asked Lil Punk previously what she wanted for Christmas dinner, she had replied that she wanted ravioli, meaning the canned Chef Boyardee ravioli.  The fresh spinach ravioli was my compromise.

On Christmas morning, we took our time going through our stockings and the Santa gifts for the kids.  We had a lazy morning and then were off to Y's folks house for a noon dinner.  We spent the rest of the day at their house.  They gave us a Kitchenaid mixer.  It is so nice.  And so expensive.  I seem to be the only one who wishes that they would cut back at Christmas.  My mother-in-law is retiring in 3 months at age 59 and I'm worried that they won't have enough to sustain their lifestyle.  Overall, it was a good time at their house.  I even snuck in a quick nap with Baby G.

Today my BFF and her mom made the 3 hour trip to visit me.  They brought me our half beef and we had a wonderful visit.  Her mom made me a quilted throw.  I'm so grateful because I know how much work goes into quilting (and money).  We had coffee and snacked on pomegranate.  I so wish that I loved closer to them.  We chatted about our plans for our gardens next year.  Her mom is taking classes to become a master gardener and I would like to do that at some point too.

I did take Baby G into the doctor today because he keeps pulling on his ears, 10 days after he's been on medication for a double ear infection.  Turns out that he just likes to pull on his ears.  I felt a little foolish but I felt like a terrible mom before when I learned he had a double ear infection and impetigo.

Y and I have been talking about our plans and goals for the new year.  That will be another post.

How was your Christmas?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas!  I'm focusing on enjoying spending time with my family.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Family Drama Continues

I received this news from 2 of my sisters this morning.  My mom is currently in jail.  She beat up my dad, tried to burn the house down, and then left with a rifle threatening suicide by cop.  My oldest sister is up there and trying to get my dad to divorce her.  I hope he does.  He is a decent man who let her rule the roost for far too long.

All this violence makes me physically ill.  Uggh.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Week

I am so close to being ready for Christmas.  I still need to buy a couple things for stocking stuffers.  I am getting Y hot sauce for his stocking.  Lol.  He loves the crap and tries different types all the time.  I mailed Christmas cards yesterday.  I bought them at Walmart for 44¢ apiece.  It seems that the cards I'm getting in the mail are all Shutterfly or something equally expensive.

Lil Punk has her skating program today.  Y's parents are coming down for it so I'm making a potato, ham and broccoli casserole for after the program.  Lil Punk still doesn't really know how to skate but she is getting better.  She still falls but gets up every time. :)

December has been a very expensive month.  I will be thankful when its over so we can get back to normal spending.  December always feels like we're bleeding money.  We are getting half a beef next week that will be $1050.  I have $1000 tucked away for it.  Expensive but well worth it.

In January, we are off to Florida for our vacation that I booked 9 months ago.  I paid for a rental car using my airline miles.  I did upgrade to an SUV so hopefully we should have enough room.  I did order a bag to put our stroller in and I still need to order a carseat bag.  I'm nervous about traveling with kids but Y will be there to help me.  Thank goodness!!  I need to do a separate post asking for some Florida suggestions.

Until about 4 today, we have a simple day planned of watching the Vikings and eating chili.  I look forward to hanging out with the fam before the craziness of Christmas starts.  Have a wonderful Christmas week!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Goal Recap

I think that overall 2014 was a good financial year for us.  I will recap personal goals in a different post.  My income stayed very close to 2013 which is a huge blessing for us.  

  1. Increase regular savings to $10,000-- we achieved this early in the year and have stayed fairly consistent but we only have $9000 in there now because of my BP and Conoco impulse purchases.  
  2. Pay off car--sorta pass.  We paid my car off in July only to turn around and refinance Y's pick-up.
  3. Increase retirement to $100,000.  We blew this out of the water but I won't know final numbers until the end of year.  
  4. Get mortgage under $200,000--I never paid extra so this goal was pretty much let go in favor of others.  It is currently around $202,000.
  5. Increase giving by 10%--we definitely achieved this.  We have given more this year than ever before.
  6. Stick to grocery budget of $500 monthly.  FAILED!!!
  7. Open retail investment account and fund it to $20,000.  I actually added this goal in July.  While I didn't make it to $20,000, we do have just over $17,000 so I'm pretty happy with this one.
I will be happy if 2015 ends as well for us :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Terrible Day

Ugghh!!  I had a terrible work day today.  It started off with a bad phone call at 8:15 this morning in which I was hung up on.  It went downhill from there until I decided to leave early at 4:30.  When I have days like this, I really wonder if I am going to work until I'm 60-65.  If we liquidated and moved to a much smaller, paid off home, we could probably work part time at jobs with less stress.  I like my job but after a day like today, I'm not eager for tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Finances

I bought 54 shares of BP stock today for a total of just under $2000.  BP has plunged with gas prices so I thought it would be a good buy.  I guess this is my own hedge for current gas prices.

Y's boss was fired a couple weeks ago.  His position was posted this week and Y's bosses talked to him about applying.  It would require additional testing for him and one of his bosses even looked up the testing criteria and test sites.  We are hopeful.  We don't know how much of a pay increase it would mean but I'm hoping for about $6000 annually.  If it is less than $4000, we would have to evaluate if it would even be worth it as it is more responsibility.  His boss was making $12,000 more than Y currently makes but he had been passed up for the last few merit raises.

Christmas has been expensive in our household.  I haven't added up the total damage yet.  I am probably about 80% done at this point.  I do need to get my Christmas cards made and sent out.  I did go to a seafood sale today to get Christmas dinner.  I bought King crab legs and scallops, 2 pounds of each for about $60.  Expensive but we rarely go out and we love seafood.

I did finish out the shopping for my needy family of 3 kids.  I got each one an outfit.  The two little boys got a monster truck and the 9 year old girl got a satchel she can color and bling up.  I talked to a couple other members in the group about what they bought.  One guy said that he always gave clothes because he figured that kids in that situation needed those the most.  My first thought as that every kid needs a toy for Christmas.  Another said that he went to Walmart that morning and dropped $120 on gifts for 2 kids because those poor kids needed some good toys.  I gotta say that I agree more with the second guy (but I prob wouldn't spend that much, I spent $90 for 3 kids).  Either way, it does feel good that this group gives back as part of our Christmas party rather than doing some silly gag gift.

Do you think gas prices are going to keep going down or will they go back up?  Maybe I should buy some shares of Conoco.  Hmmm...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bought an ATV!!!

We are the proud owners of an Arctic Cat 650 ATV.  I'm so excited.  It was used and we got it for $3000.  I can't wait for the weekend to go sledding behind it with my hubby and kiddos.  I love living in the country because we have the space to have fun the way we like :)

Anybody else like riding 4 wheelers??