Random thoughts of an upbeat mind

Posts tagged ‘finance’

January Recap

I realized I did not take a picture of my freezer when I started Operation Empty Freezer. There are a few less things in it since I began. I ate a couple and gave away more. You see all that ice build up that needs to go. Yeah, that is the master plan. This weekend I wanted bacon so I asked the young one to look and see if we had any before I added it to the grocery list. Diva pulled out a package that was buried at the bottom that expired 5 years ago… 😲 I’m not sure how this will all work as this is a lot of food for one person to eat. Since we are in a pandemic, it’s not like I can have dinner parties. But I will keep going.

I managed to work out every day except 2 in January. Not bad for a former couch potato. And since I remembered to take my measurements and step on the scale I can say I am down 3 inches and 3 pounds overall. Not amazing progress but moving in the right direction. Fasting last week was not successful. I was doing well until around 7pm when I just got a chill that I could not shake so I had one of those packages of Lipton chicken noodle soup. It helped. I will try again tomorrow.

I read 5 books in January. The Wedding Date was the easiest read I have read in a long time. Took me about 3 hours from start to finish. It then prompted me to read the next 2 books in the series before I needed something a bit more meatier. Alone, I started on Saturday and finished on Sunday I could not put it down. I am currently curling up with Lenny Kravitz’s Let Love Rule.

There were 12 no-spend days in January. Apparently when I don’t leave the house it lessens the likeliness that I will spend money. At this rate when the world reopens in 2024 I’ll be rich!! LOL I hope I am still not trying to finish the contents of my freezer. 😂 Last year was surprisingly a record year at the FT job so we are getting a year end bonus. This will be given out by the end of this month so I will just slide it into my retirement fund.

This month will be more of the same as if it ain’t broke…

Hope all is well in your world.

Stay safe.

February Goals

I’ve had this post in my head since last weekend … Better late than never, right?

Right now I am struggling with life/work balance. I am so unhappy at work I have started looking for another job. I moved to the early shift and still find myself working at least 2 hours overtime almost every day. 😦 The only “bonus” is that I am still leaving work at a “reasonable” hour. I really thought that work would get better since we were bought out but that is not the case. It also does not help that just about everyone in my department is miserable including my manager.

Friday had me running around like a chicken with my head cut off as we’ve just implemented a new pricing process that requires multiple busy people to look at our costs before the quote goes to our finance department and then back to our VP of sales. If she changes a penny, it must go back to finance for approval …

The process is taking 5+ days. Unacceptable, but what can we do. It honestly feels like we are being set up to fail. I am told right now is our busy season and it will slow down but I am not seeing it.

On the fitness side, I am still managing to fit in at least a 20 minute workout into my day every day. My body is tired but I am getting it done. I want to increase the amount of time I exercise but I have not yet convinced myself to work out before work. And when I get home, some nights I am so hungry that I inhale a yogurt before exercising and then choose a 20 minute workout. I still have not attempted a Jillian workout.

I need to get a better handle on my food intake. I was supposed to start tracking it on Feb 1 but … I neglected to. Made myself the world’s most awesome sandwich for breakfast today and yesterday. Put it into myfitnesspal.com only to cry at how calorie heavy it is. No regrets, but it is an eye opener. Also my water intake has fallen by the wayside. 😦

Financially … I have not been as diligent as I used to be with my money. I have been having way too many coffees out. Considering I am/was a one coffee a day kind of girl and 99% of the time it was instant from home as I am not a “real” coffee drinker. I like coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee, flavoured is my jam. This new habit of going for a second coffee 3+ times a week needs to end.

Basically I am a hot mess and need to get myself back on track. This is the month to start focusing on me.


October Budget Challenge

So my girl Carla is doing an October Budget Challenge.  I jumped at the chance to join but the only think that I can think of anything other than stay under budget.

This will be rather difficult this month.

Tomorrow I am driving my mother to run a marathon in NY.  More on that when I return.  My girls are coming with us and it’s Diva’s birthday on Sunday … I already have a gift for her but we always go out for dinner so there will be that.

Next weekend I will be going on a business trip to Denver, CO.  My first with this company.  I am not really looking forward to it.  I leave early Thursday morning and come back late Sunday night.  I have never been to Colorado before and hope I have time to take in a couple of points of interest or good restaurants.  My girls are going to stay with my BFF, so I will need to leave them some money.  Not sure how much will be sufficient.

There are a couple of meals out with friends scheduled.

I have been avoiding the grocery store in my attempt to use up what we have at home.  But lack of planning has tempted me twice to just bring home takeout.  I held strong so far.

It’s going to be a real challenge, but I’m up for it.

March Take 3 Challenge

I am a sucker for challenges or anything that gets me to do something a little different.  Thanks Carla for “dragging” me along. 😉

Finance: Come in below budget.  In all the time that I have been budgeting I can’t think of a time when I was under.  I’m usually at best a little over.  I’m not sure that this is the best month to try this out in as I have a lot of one-off expenses this month.  All 3 passports expire in 2 weeks.  Princess turns 16.  I need to renew the sticker on my license plate.  Property taxes are due.  I am going to limit the finance part to the rest of my budget without these 4 expenses.

Personal: One thought. Time management.  I don’t know where my time goes every day.  In my perfect world I will have time for exercise, reading, crocheting and paying attention to my kids … oh and television cause it’s really important. 😉  This month I am going to try to master the art of working out in the morning, thus freeing up my evening to relax.

Decluttering: There is a pile of crap stuff that’s been sitting in my dining room for far too long.  I have tidied it up but I need to figure it out once and for all.  Since I haven’t really looked at the pile in at least a year it is safe to say it’s not anything critical.  I have 4 desktops to clean off and dispose of.  Don’t ask why, I don’t have a good answer.

I think this is plenty.

January recap & February goals

On Monday I got the dreaded you have reached 100% of your monthly usage allowance. 😦  In an attempt to reduce our overage I banned everyone from using the internet unless it was school related.  When I checked this morning we were 6 GBs over our limit.  This will be an additional $12 on the next bill.  I would love to know what had changed this past billing cycle as we haven’t gone over our 60 GB limit in a long time and usually sit at less than 45 GBs each month.

Oh well, on to business.

January Goals

  1. Fiscal fast for the first 8 days of January, with the exception of a lunch on Jan 7Done
  2. No-Low Spend Challenge

    • Come in on or under my reduced budget – I was over by 4% if you don’t count my tickets to The Lion King, 18.5% if you do
    • No eating out (except for the lunch I have on the 7th) – Nope, my cousin invited me out and I also paid for the meal my BFF “treated” me to as she has not paid me back yet and I don’t intend to ask for repayment as she frequently takes me out to eat.
    • 15 “no spend” days – I had 22
    • Continue to track my spending – I did this and for the first time ever my spending only took up 32 lines on my spreadsheet. (It’s usually in the 50’s)
    • Shop my freezer – Mostly, but I still stocked up on some pizzas towards the end of the month
  3. Exercise 20 times – I tracked 27 workouts
  4. Read 2 books – I only read The Time Traveler’s Wife
  5. Give the blanket to my BFF ;) – Done!
  6. Pick up one of the unfinished crochet projects I have – Nope, I have not looked in the bin yet

Not bad.  I’m starting to think that multi-tasking is not my forte.  But I worked out and tried to keep my spending under control, which were the important goals to me.

February Goals

  1. Stop eating after 8pm.  I find myself snacking while watching the 11 pm news. 😦
  2. Read 3 books
  3. Pick up an afghan and work on it
  4. Shop my freezer
  5. Get back on track with my daily morning and evening reading
  6. Continue to workout at least 5 times a week


On a different note, I forgot to tell you that I stepped on the scale on Saturday and pulled out the tape measure.  I am down almost 4 lbs and 4 inches.  I kinda expected it would be more as I am feeling rather lean.  I am one pound away from where My Fitness Pal thinks I am.  Blasted summer holiday weight gain that is fighting to stay with me. 😦  My cousin gave me bad news.  She said once you get closer to your goal it gets harder to lose the weight.  WTF!?! Well, I am taking that as a challenge and putting on my big girl panties. 😉

2013 recap & 2014 goals

Lately I’ve been thinking about the end of the year.  Not in an introspective kind of way but more in the importance society gives December 31/January 1.  Truth is we are given a “fresh start” every day.  This thought process of now that it’s a new year I get another chance to get it right is troubling me.  I think we get a new chance every day we wake up.

I am going to attempt to change my mindset.  No longer will I wait for next week or next month to do what I should have been doing all along.  Case in point, this past Sunday I said I would start the 30 Day Sculpt and do all 5 weeks.  On Sunday I did not take my butt off the couch.  So I counted that day as my “rest” day and began on Monday.  Tuesday night had me watching the ball drop THEN working out.  As far as I am concerned since I did not sleep it was still a workout for Tuesday even if it was after midnight. 😉

Last year I vowed to:

  1. Spend more time with friends and family.  I can’t say that I made a huge change in my visiting/hanging out.  There are still lots of people on the list to spend time with. 😦
  2. Get active.  According to myfitnesspal.com I moved my body 118 days last year.
  3. Reduce my debt.  Not nearly as much as I would like
  4. Increase my net worth. Yes I have more than doubled my net worth. 🙂
  5. Learn and grow.  I have no idea what I was trying to say here as this is as vague as it can get.

So I’m going to call it a tie. 😉


This year

  • I would like to say “yes” more often.  I am far too comfortable chilling on my couch.  So looking for cheap/free entertainment outside of my house is on the list.  My BFF is now a part of several meetup groups and has informed me that there is no reason why we should be at home often anymore.
  • I haven’t been on a plane in 3 years.  I know first world problems. lol  This year I would like to take my kids somewhere by plane.  I will be on the look out for cheap vacation destinations.  Having said that my BFF told me one of her meetup groups is going to South Africa in November … Oh to dream.  For the 3 of us we are looking at $10K.  I don’t think this trip is a possibility for this year, but hopefully for Diva’s high school university graduation.  I would say Princess but her dream trip is to go to England.
  • I know I just finished telling you that I want to leave the house, but I also want to read more.  Think there is a meetup group for that?  Meet in the mall/park/zoo to read a book?? LOL  I have picked 50 as the number of books I would like to read this year.  I read 20 books last year.  An Exacting Life has been reading books that she owns.  Such a novel concept.

My book shelfMost of these books I have yet to read. 😦  So no more putting books on hold at the library.  It’s time to read and get rid of what I have.

In addition to that I would also like to read the Bible.  Actually if I am not mistaken, the black book in the first cubby of the second row from the top is one of my Bibles.  I have read the beginning and the end, but all that happened between Genesis and Revelation … don’t ask me about that.  I will end my night with pages from the Bible.  I will start my days with The Book of Awakening and The Daily Book of Positive Quotations.  Both books are a page a day so nothing too overwhelming.

  • I can’t forget exercise.  Project Get Healthy continues.  My goal is to beat last year’s exercise number of 118 days.  I think I can do that.  Especially when looking back to see large chunks of time without exercise.  Ideally I’d like to lose some weight too but the most important thing is that I keep moving.
  • On the financial front, more of the same.  Stay on or under budget.  I have set up my budget to keep track of how on point I am on a cumulative basis so I can tighten the reins before it is a complete disaster.  Since I was over-budget by 10% last year, my aim is to be 5% or less.  I would say 0 but that doesn’t feel realistic to me.
  • Learn to really use my not so new camera and post more of my own pictures on this blog.  I have taken 2 classes but still the best way to learn is to just go play with it so I will be doing that this year.  My cousin bought herself a dSLR too and is going to take a course at her local college so I’m sure she will share any knowledge she gets. 🙂

I feel like I am forgetting something but I can’t put my finger on what yet.  I’m sure decluttering my home should be on this list but let’s not get too crazy!! LOL




Sealed pot update

Back in January I started my sealed pot challenge that I learned about from SFT.  The premise is to take a “pot” and seal it.  I know complicated, right?  I found an old coffee can and taped that bad boy up.  I had thoughts of decorating it but well that fell off my radar a long time ago.

The purpose of the pot is to save all your change for a specific goal and time frame.  Unsealing day is December 1, 2013.  I am using my pot for Christmas presents.  I am not sure that I can wait until December as the malls get busy the closer we get to Christmas.

When I was in school, I used to be finished all my shopping before Halloween.  Those were the days.

As of today my pot looks like this.

Sealed pot


Almost 8 lbs!!!

Now my debate is when do I open the pot.  I am leaning towards sooner rather than later, as I have half a mind to roll the coins myself instead of taking it to the closest coin counting machine.  Although now that I have put it out there it just seems crazy and time-consuming.

Any guesses as to how much will it contains?

October recap & November goals

These last few months have been flying by.

October Goals

  1. Exercise 15 times – 9 times last month
  2. Read 2 books – Done, Winter’s Bone and The Slap
  3. 15 no spend days – oh so close, 12
  4. Stick to $650 for the month – Bahahahahahaha not even close
  5. Shop my freezer – Nope
  6. Continue to meal plan – Mostly but last week the plan was not as good as it could have been
  7. Declutter 60 items – Nope

2.5/7 I almost didn’t want to look.  I spent a lot on food last month, like more than double the budgeted amount. 😦  I know there was Thanksgiving in there that I didn’t really account for but I only had to bring appetizers. 😦

Anyhoo, this month I am going to stay out of the stores.  Much easier to stay on budget that way. 😉

November Goals

  1. Exercise 15 times
  2. Read 3 books
  3. 15 no spend days
  4. Shop my freezer
  5. Meal plan
  6. Declutter 90 items
  7. Stick to the budget
  8. Figure out Christmas presents
  9. Only grocery shop once a week

Hopefully now that the weather is getting cold and dark I will be more inclined to stay home.  Since developing self-restraint is not working out so well for me.  LOL


August Recap and September Goals

A quick look back.  Since I was on vacation for 12 days I didn’t focus on remember my goals.

August Goals

  1. Paint and re-decorate Diva’s roomDone.
  2. Declutter 30 items – Done, I have another full garbage bag of “stuff” to go.
  3. Stay on budget – I would love for this one to be a yes, but that isn’t the case this month.
  4. Clean out my girls’ closets – Only did Diva’s.  Princess claims to have looked at her closet but I am not so sure.
  5. 5 no spend days – Only managed 4.
  6. Read 2 books – Nope.  I took 2 books away with me and never even took them out of the suitcase. 😦

3/6 I was so close to an overall pass.  Still better than last month!! LOL

On the money front, I can’t even say what is really going on.  My vacation really just threw stuff for a loop.  I am going to say I was over but I can’t say by how much as I haven’t got a clue. 😦  I am so ready for a new month.

On to the next one!

September Goals

  1. Go back to meal planning
  2. Exercise 20 times this month
  3. Do another cleanse
  4. Read 2 books
  5. Track my calories daily
  6. 10 no spend days
  7. Declutter 30 items

On top of those goals, I am adding the following for the September’s No/Low Spending Challenge.

  1. Use only cash, time to pull out my beautiful hexie budget wallet
  2. Stick to $670 for the month or $22.33/day

I think that’s enough for this month.


July recap and August goals

I must confess I do not even want to look back.  July fell in line with June as an ugly month.

No need to delay the inevitable.

July Goals

  1. Exercise 5 times a week – Not even close.  I worked out twice last month. 😦  Allergy eyes and laziness ran the show last month.
  2. Come in under budget – I was on a budget!?!  LOL  Even if we take out my new camera I was still over budget.
  3. Finish my vision board – Nope
  4. Finish my scarf – Nope
  5. Read 2 books – Nope, I started And the Mountains Echoed and The Power of One, but both were due back at the library before I could finish them
  6. Figure out my travel plans for August and a budget for said travel – Done.  Going on my annual trip to Maryland.  If some of my friends get their acts together I might also attend a preseason NFL game.
  7. 10 no spend days – I had 7
  8. Declutter 30 items – I didn’t, but my girls did manage to get another garbage bag full of stuff out the door
  9. Go through my girls’ closets and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or they won’t wear, tally the rest and determine what, if any, items are needed – Not yet.  This will be done this month
  10. Blog more consistently at least 4 times a week – 21 posts this month 🙂

3.5/10 😦

I wish I had a very good excuse or two as to why my progress this month was crappy.  I was unfocused and it shows. 😦

On the money side …

Budget Actual
housing 35% 31%
transportation 7% 2%
saving 16% 13%
debt 25% 25%
life 18% 62%
100% 134%

It doesn’t look as bad if I don’t include my camera.  LOL  Without my camera I am only 8% over.  Still not good but much better than 34% over. 😉

Alright on to August.  Since I will be away from home for 15+ days I am going to go really easy on the goals

August Goals

  1. Paint and re-decorate Diva’s room.
  2. Declutter 30 items
  3. Stay on budget
  4. Clean out my girls’ closets
  5. 5 no spend days
  6. Read 2 books

I should have a much much better recap next month.