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2011 Progress Check…. Survey says??????

Way back in January i listed some short term and long term goals. The short terms goals were basically a to-do list I was whining about, and got all of those done in short order. My annual goals were a bit lofitier and required a bit more work/patience/determination.

So, without further ado, below is my original list of goals and their results…

1.Pay off dump truck.  [There is a balance of $1100. It will be PAID OFF in January!]

2.Pay off 3 credit cards. [Actually PAID OFF 5! Yesireeee, $3175 – GONE. Plus, paid down another $2100 on the remaining cards.]

3.Establish an E-fund. [Started out great, ended up needing to use some. Currently have $2,000 stashed. Not bad, but not the $5,000 i was aiming for.]

4.Establish savings for: Christmas, Health, Rainy Day. And set it up to contribute automatically. I use ING Direct so this is the easiest thing in the world. Just need to do it. And not “borrow” from it. [Set-up account for Christmas. Saved $1000 and used some of it for my shopping. Still have about $300 in there for next year. 🙂  Did not set up Health because we may do Flexible Spending at work. FAILED at setting up Rainy Day fund. Unless the cookie jar counts? There’s a few Benjamin’s in there…]

5.Lose some weight. Specific numbers and/or plans seem to have the opposite effect. So, let’s just keep it vague and any victory will be a win! [WOOOO-HOOOOO!!! Lost 23 lbs this year! Down a pants size and feeling good about the progress. Doc would like to see me lose another 20-30 before we go to fertility specialist. Got an ipod for Christmas, so loading up playlists for workouts.]

6. a) commit to making healthier meals [Sorta. Kinda. Not eating as many carbs. Definately eating at home a lot more. I give it a 50%]

7. b) get a complete physical [Done. everything good except triglycerides a touch high.]

8. c) work out at least 1 day a week at the fire hall [I work out at home. As often as i can. Some weeks it’s every day, some weeks 0 days. Hey, i’m busy. I do it when i can. Let’s call it 50%]

9.Paint the downstairs and decorate. We’ve been there 10 years. It’s about time. [FAIL. I got as far as painting some sample colors on the wall. Hubby freaked the ‘f’ out. Back to square one. Found some inspirational idea pics. Just need to find the right shade of paint and hire a painter.]

10.Might as well make it an even 10. Get back into taking lots of pictures and scrapbooking. Now that i have a cricut, i have nothing to do with it! [Took lots of pictures, but haven’t been able to scrapbook much. It really has been a very busy year for me.]

All in all, i’m pleased with the progress i’ve made on my list of goals. It’s not like i was a total loser. I tried. And succeeded, mostly.

Since New Year’s is only a day away, it’s only fitting to write up a list of GOALS for 2012.

  1. Lose 20-30 more lbs.
  2. Get pregnant
  3. Establish a Rainy Day fund to cover Goal #2 expenses
  4. Paint & Decorate house
  5. Pay off my car

That’s it. That’s all i really care to accomplish in 2012. All i really want is to have a family with the love of my life. All other goals are simply pre-requisites to the ultimate goal: children.

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Are we there yet?

This update is long overdue, but here goes…

Jan 2011 – July 2011

  • CC1:   14,350        13,250   
  • CC2:   6,325             5,800
  • CC3:   1,025                 950
  • CC4:   4,910             4,650
  • CC5:   390                          0
  • CC6:   485                          0
  • CC7:   515                          0
  • CC8:   520                       90
  • CC9:   5,225              5,225
  • CC10:   4,150           3,650
  • Total CC’s:   37,895          33,615
  • Family: 10,000                  7,000

So, drumroll please……….. we’ve paid off $7,280 since the beginning of the year! Get out of the way, HUGE snowball rolling downhill! LOVE seeing those ZERO balances!

Thanks to landing some nice contracts and a snowier than usual winter, we have been able to knock down a large chunk of debt. We are also CURRENT on all of our monthly bills, including the mortgage. A small emergency fund is in place for both personal bills and business bills. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…… What a wonderful feeling.

The physical aspects of unloading such a burden are positive as well. I’ve been able to shed 15 lbs since March. My periods (I know, TMI) are pretty regular now. I LAUGH again. I have friends again. I have a good time whenever we go out with friends/family.

Work has improved for me as well. I’m back up to 40 hrs/week plus a $1.25/hr raise. That really helps get caught up. I’ve been throwing extra money each month at the vehicle payments trying to pay them off sooner.

Did I mention we took a VACATION in march? It was hubby’s idea. Surprise of all surprises. Of course, i wanted to pay off as much debt as possible, and maybe stash some aside for the inevitable unexpected expenses. Hubby convinced me that we NEEDED a vacation. It had been more than 5 yrs since we spent any money on ourselves, and we needed to enjoy the fruits of our labor and not be miserly. It took several days to sink in, but he was right. As long as we didn’t accrue any additional debt, and were still able to keep on pace with paying down our debts we needed to spend our money in a positive way and see money as a good thing, and not as evil incarnate. Besides, our 10th anniversary was coming up and he thought we should do something more special than spend a weekend a few hours from home in a so-so hotel in some lame town, arguing about what to do.

So we went on a cruise. Neither one of us had ever been on one before. He found a great deal through his parent’s travel agent. We spent 5 days in the caribbean. It was awesome. We had a BLAST. In fact, we had so much fun, that we decided to work extra hard and save money and do it again next spring. Who would have ever thought? That $1500 splurge allowed us to really RELAX and re-align our senses. It was good for our marriage. Honestly, i didn’t know what to expect. I worried that it could go the other way. It was a good deal, but still a lot of money in what -i felt- was still a fragile personal economy and we hadn’t spent that much time alone together since we’d been married. It paid off ten-fold. He’s still telling everyone what a great time he had and recommending them to go.

So, are we there yet? Have we made enough progress to call it a victory? I mean, everybody has bills, right? Just 6 months ago, my only financial goal was to be able to pay the bills on time every month. We’ve accomplished that. And it feels great. But, it only seems natural to set the bar a little higher.

Discretionary income. It’s one thing to be able to pay your bills, it’s another to MAKE CHOICES on how you spend the money left over when the bills are paid. That concept terrifies me. What if something happens and I need that money later? Was a trip to the movies this weekend really worth it if the electric is in danger of getting shut off again in 6 months? What if an appliance suddenly dies and my small e-fund is wiped out? And then another appliance dies, or the car needs to be repaired? I never thought about these things before because i just couldn’t. I was strictly in survival mode. Food, shelter, clothing. Now that those needs have been met, there’s a whole new set of things to worry about.

So, are we there yet? Or when are we really “there”?

 

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Punch 2011 in the face!

Sooooo…….. Remember those goals i posted before the end of the year? Remember how i said i had 4 (paid!) days off from work for a total of 8 days at home (including the weekends)?

ya……. not so productive.

Here’s the original list, and what actually got accomplished in brackets:

  1. File away this pitiful year  [got a good head start… just didn’t make it into a box yet]
  2. Re-organize my home office and filing system [nope]
  3. Re-organize how i handle unpaid bills. Any ideas? For now, mail is opened, looked at, thrown in a pile and shipped upstairs to form a new pile on the desk where it sits until i either a) pay and file it or b) get a late notice, dig it out, pay and file it. I’m thinking it’s not such a good system [nope… and i need ideas!]
  4. Button up my 2011 Budget [yes! lookin gooooood!]
  5. Get way ahead on EMT homework [finished what had to be done at midnight before class the next day… not so good]
  6. Get MFR stuff organized (payroll, PCR’s, Schedule) [not so much. did get some performance charts/attendance charts posted though]
  7. Work on MFR training for 2011 [nope]
  8. Work on Truck Book for Ambulance [ha. nope]
  9. Make and freeze lots of lunches/dinners [made some (burnt) hamburger helper while rushing to finish EMT homework. i’m not counting it]
  10. Clean house top to bottom [ha! i got the Christmas tree down and that’s it]

So, am i a complete and utter failure?

Truth be told, my time off was not consumed by sipping tea on the couch watching movies. I spent a lot of time out and about with my hubby. That was really fun and really rare. He is a very busy guy and it was nice to spend time with him not really doing anything. I/we also spent a good amount of time with our families – at their homes. Can’t complain about that. Good quality time with the fam is priceless. I’ll clear my schedule any day for them.

So, that said, i’ve decided to make my list a goal for the month of January. Perhaps that’s a little more reasonable. I am pretty stoked about wanting to get organized. Seriously need some ideas though. At work i am the most organized, cleanest person you’d ever met. At home – not so much. Perhaps i’m just lacking the proper tools. Some file cabinets, folders, paper trays should/might/hopefully help the problem.

I am geared up and ready to kick some ass this year. *ahem* My goals for 2011:

  1. Pay off dump truck. (Okay so it’s already scheduled to be paid off. I need a win here so go with it, k?)
  2. Pay off 3 credit cards. (Since 3 of them have a balance of approx $500 this is toooootally do-able)
  3. Establish an E-fund. (Yup – had em, used em, had em, used em. Goal is to put the money in and KEEP it there0
  4. Establish savings for: Christmas, Health, Rainy Day. And set it up to contribute automatically. I use ING Direct so this is the easiest thing in the world. Just need to do it. And not “borrow” from it.
  5. Lose some weight. Specific numbers and/or plans seem to have the opposite effect. So, let’s just keep it vague and any victory will be a win!
  6.              a) commit to making healthier meals
  7.              b) get a complete physical
  8.              c) work out at least 1 day a week at the fire hall
  9. Paint the downstairs and decorate. We’ve been there 10 years. It’s about time.
  10. Might as well make it an even 10. Get back into taking lots of pictures and scrapbooking. Now that i have a cricut, i have nothing to do with it! 😦

I’ve heard once that writing down your goals increases the liklihood off accomplishing them. Well there you have it. Dear 2011: watch your back cuz this year is mine!

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Goals that are not written down are just wishes

Lately i’ve been doing a lot of self evaluation. I’m not the person i wanted to be, life didn’t turn out the way i thought it would. When i was little, i thought that being a grown up was “it”. I could be whatever i wanted to be, do whatever i wanted to do, look however i wanted to look. I really believed that i could control my destiny, my life. Turns out, shit happens.

Without sounding horribly pessimistic, let me explain. Growing up, all i ever heard was “you can be anything you want to be, all you have to do is set your mind to it”. My generation had no boundries like my parents and ancestors did. Girls could wear pants to school, it was okay for girls to be smart, we were encouraged to attend college and be all that you can be. There are no limitations on career of choice, if you choose. This certainly gives you the perception that you are in the driver’s seat of life.

What they don’t tell you is there are stop signs, road blocks, detours, and heavy construction along the way. Such is life. And that’s okay. But i feel like i’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. My foot has eased off the gas pedal and my hands have slipped from the wheel. I’m just a passenger at the mercy of the vehicle, the road. And that sucks.       

So, inspired my one of my favorite magazines, Inc., i have decided to make a list of goals and accomplishments that i would like to reach in my lifetime. Since that’s a really long time, let’s narrow it down to, say, 40-45 years old. I don’t want this to sound like a bucket list. Just a list of goals that would help me feel like i’m back in the driver seat. Although i have been working at a few of my goals pretty steadily the past few months, i haven’t gained much ground. I’m looking for motivation, encouragement. Publishing my list of goals will help – i think. So here it is. I haven’t put much thought into it. In fact, i thought i would make a list 1 – 10 and leave it on my desk and as ideas came to me i would write them down. I figured it would take me days. Much to my surprise, 5 minutes later i had 10 things written down. Apparently i have many goals in life and these were the first 10 to come to mind. So, without further due, here they are.

Lifetime Goals (okay at least by 40)

1. lose at least 50 lbs and keep it off

2. have 3-4 kids

3. be financially independant – be able to live comfortably on only 1 salary

4. no credit card debt, no short term debt

5. Have $50,000 in savings

6. own my own business doing something i love

7. if i don’t own my own business, at least work someplace that i love. A place i look forward going to every morning.

8. take a 1-2 week vacation every year doing something new and exciting

9. have an established retirement account that i contribute to weekly

10. Have a better relationship with God and serve my family

So, there it is. Now that it’s out, i can move to the next step of coming up with a plan to acheive each of the goals. My rationale is this: If i don’t publish the list, then i will only ever have a list in my mind. Once the list is published, that means that it’s complete and the logical next step is to start working on them. Otherwise, the list in my mind will always be a list, ever changing, ever evolving based on current situations.

On to the next step…

 

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much ado about nothing

Wow. So much has happened in the past few weeks, i hardly know where to begin.

With the good stuff, of course. Hubby and i went to a family wedding in Tennessee last weekend. At the last minute, okay two days before, hubby decided to make a vacation out of it. Seriously?! Hooray! I desperately needed a vacation, but didn’t really want to pony up the cash. Don’t worry about it, he says. We NEVER go on vacation. We’ll figure it out. So off we went.

We went to Myrtle Beach for 2 days before heading to Tennessee. We did some internet homework late Wednesday night and found some great deals on hotels and left late late Friday night. Myrtle Beach was awesome – but HOT. We went parasailing! Something i’ve never done before but always thought looked like a blast. And it was!

Tennessee was still hot, but a beautiful wedding. I really really love the south. The people are so friendly and the landscape is just so beautiful. Everything seems just a little bit slower, more relaxed. I would move there in a heartbeat – if i could move my house and family with me. And set up the same way. Hubby’s parents across the street and grandparents next door. My parents and brothers would all need to be there too.

The church was beautiful. Huge. The people there – awesome. Wish we had a church like that back home. The ceremony was the most beautiful and touching i’ve ever seen.

Then, we came home and i went back to work. Not. Fun. Apparently, shit hit the fan while i was gone. Everything went crazy. Suppliers shut us off, customer rejected parts (like 5,000 of them) due to quality issues that, crazy, go back to February. Suppliers raised their prices on petroleum based products (ie: vinyl, plastic) which is pretty much everything we buy. Oy. Why didn’t i just stay in the mountains and live in a cave?

Oh, and my goals? Not so much. Pretty much back at square one. No ovulation this month. No lottery winfall. No raise. No bonus. No new and exciting (and profitable) opportunity knocking at my door. No budge on the scale. No good.

Back to the drawing board…

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Long Time Gone

Wow. I guess i didn’t realize it had been so long since my last post. So many things to tell, so little space…

First off, and most importantly, our finances seem to be stabilizing. Thanks to God for all the snowstorms over the winter. For the first time, we have money to go into the lawn season. Don’t be silly, though. I didn’t say we have “extra” money. Bills are still getting paid only when the disconnect notice comes. I don’t have the option of skipping a house payment or credit counselor payment. This eats up the vast majority of our income. Also, knock on wood, we haven’t had to buy new equipment or make costly repairs to get the season going.

Number 2. ha ha. Dieting and exercising is not going as well as anticipated. Although i am back on track going to the fitness center 3-5 times a week, sticking to low carb is really hard. i’ve been trying to exert myself more at home. i’m not seeing big numbers on the scale, but i have noticed that i am down to the last hole on my belt. so, i must be losing inches. that’s too bad – i’m more of a numbers person! no, no. i need to understand that it is still progress. it just still feels like such a long way to go. i want to be skinny, pretty, and have gorgeous skin NOW!! hmmmmm… my wand must be broken…..

Babies. I have been taking my prescribed progesterone pills as directed. I now enjoy (ha!) regular monthly cycles. Actually i do. For the first time i can look at a calendar and see when my cycle will begin. It’s just the cramping and fluids that i am having trouble getting used to. the cramps are very minor, but for someone who’s never had them, it’s strange and uncomfortable and yet i look forward to it because it makes me NORMAL. Anyway, i am sticking hard to the first 2 goals because come hell or high water i want to be pregnant before the end of summer!!!!!

I am proud to say we have finally moved into the new fire hall. Hubby and the rest of the crew are ecstatic – for the most part. Some of the officers have been difficult for whatever reason and bringing down the rest of the team. Regardless, they are in their new home and plans for hosting an open house are underway. The wife of a fellow FF and i are hoping to be able to participate in the planning and hosting of the open house. we have tons of great ideas and are ready and willing to do the work. Due to the aforementioned officers, hereby known as fuddyduddys, i’m not sure that will happen. you see, they’re pretty old school. they don’t want any attention. they jsut want to do their job and go home. also, they really don’t want to put forth any extra effort. And they dislike women+fire dept. Especially women trying to run their show. WAH!

 

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The pursuit of happiness…

This past weekend we had some beautiful weather. Both Saturday and Sunday were sunny and sort of warm. No need for a jacket. I tried to spend a lot of time outside putzing around the yard, picking up twigs and stuff. Hubby was busy working on other projects, so i had quite a bit of time to spend reflecting on my life while i worked. the conclusion, of course, is that there’s something missing. we built this beautiful house with lots of room for lots of kids. we have the right jobs, the right vehicles. there’s just one thing missing: the kids.

i desperately want to start a family. there’s just a few things that stand in my way. obstacle #1: my weight. although not morbidly obese, the extra cushion around my mid-section is compounding my hormone problem. i need to stick to my plan. sometimes it’s hard, but i need to keep the end goal in mind. obstacle #2: finances. well, this is a work in progress. and for the record, we have made a lot of progress. but, we still have a long way to go. by this december, we should be well on our way. and 2.25 years from now we will have our credit cards paid off. that will be a glorious day!!!

well, now that the weather is starting to get nice outside maybe i can add a short walk (or run!) to my fitness routine. i seem to have plateaued, which is really sad because i’ve only lost less than 10 lbs. what’s worse is that it’s weigh day again this saturday! Yikes!