Financial goals – UPDATE

It’s been a long month, and my checkbook is telling me it’s been over a couple of weeks ago…

I did do quite a bit of online shopping this month, both for household replacement pieces…i.e. kitchen pots, pans, and other personal care items (make-up, subscription boxes, lotions and potions….you know, misc. stuff).  QVC and Amazon had been my best buddies as I collapsed relaxed on the couch over the past couple of weeks.

Nonethless, I still managed to keep most of my financial goals intact.

Here is my monthly update on my 2015 Financial Goals:

  1. Pay for two years of college tuition, room and board $2,600/mos.  On track.
  2. Graduation, dorm, travel and other miscellaneous expenses for my two college students. $2,000 by July. Nothing saved for this yet.
  3. Fund our HSA (Health Savings Account) to the maximum limits. ($6,650.00 -by December, 2015) This may be a bust.  We will be able to put $1000 in by March, but I’m not sure we’ll reach the $6,650 mark by the end of the year.
  4. Pay cash for our summer vacation to the beach, including spending money, excursions and meals. $2,500 by June  On track.
  5. Max out 401K for the yearOn track PLUS some.  I just upped my contribution to allow for less of a tax burden.
  6. Contribute to daughter’s wedding expenses, including dresses, tuxes, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner.  DONE!  This will be the last time I list this in an update as the goal has been completed.
  7. Stick to food, clothing and gift budgets. $900/mos. Hahahahahahahahah.  Which means, no, not this month. :(
  8. Keep a self-care account. $200/mos.  On track and then some…. With all of the subscription boxes, and getting hair and nails done this month, I went a little lot over budget…
  9. Fund all variable expenses: insurance, taxes, Christmas, home/car maintenance, homeowners association fee, water bill.  On track.  Since I didn’t need to borrow from savings to pay for the car repair, I feel good about being on track here.
  10. Save $3,000 – $5,000 for emergencies.  $250 – $400/monthly.  Nothing put away here.  I decided not to work the extra hours at my part time job (I’ll expain that one in another post) so there wasn’t a lot of extra money to put into the EF.  Hopefully that will change next month when I hope to will stop all the extra spending.
  11. Charitable Giving.  $400/mos.  On track.

How are you doing on your financial goals?  Was January a win or a bust?

I can do so.much.better.

I’m talking about my health goals.  It’s only January, and I seemed to have fallen off the wagon before I even got on.

To recap, here are my top 4 health goals for 2015:

  1. Diet (eliminate sugar, white flour, coke products, etc.)
  2. Exercise (walking every day, working up to running again)
  3. Regular Dr’s check ups (make sure I get blood work done and regular drs. visits)
  4. Self Care (simply being kind to myself and nurturing my body and mind, in the process)

No. 3 and 4 I have down.  Doctor’s visits have been made and/or scheduled. My self care efforts (being kind to myself) are on track as well.

As far as diet and exercise? Not so much.

It appears eating too much food and not moving is a good way of gaining weight, not losing it.   Yeah, I know, that’s not a new concept.  However, even with good intentions (purchasing an online WW’s membership, buying fresh fruit and veggies and running pulling out the treadmill), I still wasn’t able to lose any weight.  Not only have I been eating the wrong foods (and too much of them) I’ve been lacking motivation to move.  The couch calls for me in the evening and I gladly oblige. sigh.

So, I decided to create monthly goals in hopes that I will be able to follow them (more specifically).

Diet/Exercise goals for February:

  1.  Workout on treadmill and/or do workout dvd 4x a week. {If I block off some time on my calendar for the workouts, I may just actually do them.}
  2.  Track points for WW.  {I’m paying for this service, I need to use it.  I’ll get rid of all my trigger foods (snacks) that I have in the house and make sure I have veggies/fruit washed, cut and easy to grab}
  3. Take healthy snacks with me on trips. {I have two out of town trips planned for February and eating out, of course, will be part of it.  My biggest downfall is not being able to track at restaurants and that throws me off on my weight loss efforts.  If I bring a few snacks (i.e. fruits, crackers, etc.) I hope not to overeat.
  4. Do one weight training DVD a week.

Hopefully these simple monthly tweaks will help me get back on track.

How do you get out of a diet/exercise funk in the winter?

 

 

What winter means to me.

http://midlifemommusings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/IMG_1135.jpg

I posted this same pic last year at this time, and it is worthy of repeating.  I will be glad to see January go because then it will be one month closer to spring!

How’s YOUR January going?

Klover Box …a new organic subscription box.

I was contacted by Kloverbox to review their January, 2015 subscription box. I was very excited to receive another subscription box, as I have become somewhat obsessed with them.  This one piqued my interest as it is an organic beauty and lifestyle box.  I’m new to the ‘organic’ beauty product scene, and I was looking forward to trying the products. {Disclaimer:  I was given this box to review, however the opinions that follow are my own.}

Here is the inside of my first box:KloverBox Subscription Box Review & Coupon – January 2015 ItemsEach box comes with a description of the products as well as discount codes to repurchase their products.

KloverBox Subscription Box Review & Coupon – January 2015 Info

The following are the products I received:

  1. Meliora K. Better Cleaning Right Hand Laundry Powder – Value $8  The ingredients of this laundry powder are soap, baking soda and washing soda. This laundry powder was ‘full size’, but still not very big.  I used it exactly as the directions told me for my HE washing machine.  I did a dish towel wash because I wanted to see if it would make them white.  Product worked okay, but did not brighten my laundry.  I would call this detergent a FAIL (for me) as I really like to use liquid.   Also, with only three ingredients, you could make this yourself and save much more money than the $8 price tag.
  2. Lilies and Myrrh All Purpose Healing Salve – 1 oz Value $7.10  This small tube is a healing treatment for cuts, scrapes, burns etc.  I had a cut on my thumb which allowed me to actually try this product. I was quite impressed with the results.  I’d call this a WIN.
  3. Palmetto Derma Intensive Hydration & Firming Serum – FULL SIZE! Value $38 This product is a moisturizing serum with the popular hyaluronic acid which is know to keep skin moist.  I LOVE this stuff.  Makes my face feel great, and after using it for several days, I actually see an improvement.  A WIN!
  4. Angel Face Botanicals Kissed Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser – 2.3 oz Value $11  This is a facial cleanser with chamomile and calendula.  I used it several times, but the scent was offensive to me.  Although it did it’s job (cleaned my face), I probably won’t use it anymore.  A FAIL.

At first glance I wasn’t all that excited about these four little products.  Afterall, the box is $25 a month and it didn’t appear to be worth it.  After trying each product, however, I have changed my mind.  As you can see from the above reviews, I had two wins, but also two fails.  The two wins = $45 in product so, it paid for the $25 subscription price.

 If you are interested in trying this box, Kloverbox offered my readers a 10% discount, using the code MMM10.

Thank you Kloverbox for letting me try your box. It was fun to receive, and has opened a whole new way of thinking about my skincare products!

The $1,574 phone call.

A little while ago I posted about the high cost of hybrid batteries, and that my husband’s car needed one.  The cost was upwards of $3,000, ($3,074 to be exact).  The dealership had already discounted the battery, but if we wanted a further discount, we would have to call American Honda directly.  We wanted a further discount. 

After several attempts to reach someone in the corporate office, my husband was finally able to get through to customer service.  After pleading our case (longtime Honda customers, excellent service records, etc. etc.) he was told a ‘case’ would be set up and reviewed by Honda executives.  It took two days, but my husband received a call back today.  They were willing to give us the battery for $1,500 ….. because they valued our loyalty.  (Hmmmm, free would have been better since the car has less than 100,000 miles, but I’ll take 50% off)

Can you believe one two three phone calls saved us $1,574.00?

I now have enough to cover this cost from our maintenance account and can leave our savings alone.  {INSERT BIG HAPPY SIGH HERE}

Have you ever saved money by just asking?

 

 

It’s tax season…are you ready?

I’ve done our preliminary tax calculations, and I’m hopeful that we will break even and not owe any more.  We just never know from year to year, how our taxes are going to pan out.  As we get closer to retirement, it’s interesting to note that each year we have been paying more taxes while our deductions have been getting smaller and/or gone completely.  For instance, while our 15 year mortgage interest rate (2.75%) has been a blessing, our mortgage interest deduction has been reduced.  Last year we paid $9,600 in interest, this year we paid $7,700.00 (which, of course, is a good thing!).  The difference for us was about $500 more in taxes.

Also, as each child leaves the nest, so does our tax deduction. For some reason I thought we would be able to deduct some of the college tuition that we paid for our daughter, but unfortunately (fortunately?) our AGI (adjusted gross income) is too high.  I’m not complaining, just interesting to note.

Another observation I’ve made while doing taxes, is that my part time salary is not what it appears to be.  Although my husband makes a good living, my salary (under $30,000) added to my husband’s salary puts us into a new tax bracket.  It ultimately penalizes my salary, to the tune of 40% in extra taxes.   Ouch.  Sometimes it seems like my job is not worth the effort.

Since we barely squeaked by from owing more taxes this year, we will either have to lower our deductions on my husband’s paycheck or put more money in my retirement account to make my income lower. (I currently don’t max out my retirement savings because it would take my whole paycheck.)  I think I’ll choose to save a little more now, and pay a little less tax later.  Hopefully.

Of course, by putting more into the retirement account, I’ll have less money in my take home pay.  Less money in my take home pay will mean less money for my budget.   I guess I’ll have to revamp the budget….again.  Glad I figured this out early, so I still have time to fix things.

Did you do your taxes yet?  Are you getting money back, or do you owe?

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