On Setting Goals for 2016

Greetings from cyberspace! It is crazy but do you realize that 2015 is almost over. And this is the time of the year I start thinking of what I would like to accomplish in 2016 and also to do retrospective on 2015. So in the next few weeks, I am going to blog about each area of my goals - what I did well, what I could have done better, and how and what I am going to do to achieve the goal in 2016.  Should be very exciting... Well at least for me. It may sound redundant to you, and if it does, I apologize in advance.  So, stay tuned.


On Dealing with New Healthcare Plan Options

Greetings from cyberspace! It is that time of the year. Open enrollment for healthcare. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) my premiums are going up and not only that, I have three different options.  The first is the most expensive, and is very similar to what I currently have. The second option is a CDHP 1 with a lower deductible but a higher premium and the option of having a Health Savings Account (HSA).  And the third is what they call CDHP 2 which has a lower premium and a HIGH deductible, and like the other CDHP, option to have a HSA. My company will fund a portion of the HSA. With the exception of going to the hospital for infected spider bite, I rarely have the need to go to the doctor, with the exception of my well visit check, which is covered 100%.  So in reviewing what I pay out currently, the best choice for me is the CDHP 2. I can use my HSA to pay for my glasses (or in this years case, perhaps contacts) and it rolls over what I don't use, as opposed to the Flexible Spending Account, you loose what you don't use.  Of course, the payroll deductions are going to be pre-tax, but I will have less in my paycheck. Can't wait to see how this impacts the bottom line for 2016. Let's just hope that any merit increase I get will off-set it. Are we having fun? I'm not!


On Upcoming Holiday Expenses

Greetings from cyberspace! Why are the holidays so expensive? And I am not just talking about the gift? I am talking about the cost of the 'meals'. I mean, for example, Thanksgiving. There are at least 3 potlucks at work (which I am not participating in this year) and not to mention all the friend get togethers (which I am skipping this year) and the family dinner (which is going to be extremely low key). My cousin is getting the turkey this year, but I will help in getting the trimmings, but I have a feeling that this is going to outweigh the cost of the turkey.  I have to go price it out, and I might have to cut back on some items that I want. It all comes down to budget. As it stands, I need to get a gift for a friend's 50th birthday that is happening this weekend. And as for gifts... it is a good thing that I already got Buttercup something. Again, I ask, why are the holidays so darn expensive?


On Variable Expenses

Greetings from cyberspace! One of the areas that bust my budget is my variable expenses. I try to not go over what I allot myself, but dang it, it is really hard! And with the holidays quickly approaching, oh my gravy! It is going to be a pretty low key Christmas for me. I've already gotten Buttercup a gift and shipped it to her. Now it is just to get something for my cousin and her kids (including the grandson). It is not going to be grand, but it will be heartfelt. But back to the variable expenses. Thanks to the wise counsel of our beloved Mysti (big virtual hug to you as well), not only do I want to simplify my financial practices, but my everyday stuff as well. This means personal care items. For example, I need to stick to basic stuff when it comes to skin care, as I like to use organic products as they are better for my skin. So I will be using up what I currently have (such as lotions, and so forth) and start fresh. I've always been pretty much a minimalist in my beauty regime, and will continue to do so.  And this takes me back to my variable expenses. Organic products tend to be pricey, but being that I am not a product hoarder (like my cousin is), this should not be a problem. In fact today, I am going to go price comparison at a few places, and then check for online pricing as well. So when I forecast my budget for next year, I will be looking at cost effective ways to manage my variable expenses. I've been making really good progress in that when I go somewhere, I only use cash, and refuse to put it on a card. I also have a mental limit and I have stuck with it. I optimize any rewards that I have and manage to save here and there. Also I look for opportunities to save, such as at my favorite health food store, if you buy more than $100 of product, you get 10% discount, and when they have their 25% sale, I can get more for my $100. And trust me, I take advantage of that. That is where pricing stuff before I buy comes into play. And so, while I am sitting in a Starbucks, I reflect on some of the changes I hope to make in  2016. I am encouraged and inspired by reading other blogs and gleaning ideas from them. And as always, so glad that there are a few of you out there that read my ramblings and will post a comment. Well, time for me to get out there and price shop!


On Being Out of Sight for a While

Greetings from cyberspace! First of all, a huge congratulations to Mysti for finally getting the house sold and starting a new chapter in her life. My prayers are with you and your family. Another shout out to Sharon for new part time job and being able to negotiate the perks that went with it!  And now an update of my life.

Things has been okay for my daughter. However, I have to come to realize that she is really very careless. She did not keep a good eye on her wallet, and she lost it, which by the way had $600 in it. Earlier she lost her engagement ring. And recently, she accidently threw away her fiancĂ©'s paycheck. (Thankfully they were able to get a new one re-issued and they recently set up direct deposit) Part of this is her inability to stay focused on stuff. She gets easily de-railed and is extremely disorganized. I am almost tempted to look into classes in her area and pay for it. Gratefully her fiancĂ© is organized and  helps her stay on track. And what was the money for? Her utility deposits for the house they just rented. She learned a valuable lesson. They had to sacrafice getting a second car to pay for the deposits. Other than that, she is doing okay.

My cousin has been better about wanting to go out for lunch all the time. After I had that discussion with her about my finances, she has been very understanding. In light of the possibility of my having to pay that tax bill. So, we will see what happens with that. And she has been better with her spending as well.

Yes, he is still in the picture. We are still friends, and yes, I am working on my stuff. It helps that he is away from work a week at a time. it allows me time to focus on my life. We have been hanging out on a somewhat regular basis, and those who see us together sees that he appears to be into me. He acts like we are dating when we are out. However, there are still questions to be asked and answered. A silver lining though is that he is going to accompany me to one of my old roommates 50th birthday party, which is going to be nearly an all day thing and just he and I. What are my expectations? To have some honest dialog about the direction of the friendship. Other than that, it is status quo with him.

Well, my computer finally died. Grrrrr... I was so hoping that it could hold on for another year. Gratefully, Hawk has some good resources to find me a new one right within my budget. So, I found a pretty decent HP for about $500 that had the memory, RAM and things I need. What I really wanted was a MacBook, but that will have to be for another time.  Sigh... just so aggravating. But I do have over $500 saved in my emergency fund, and am making progress on other debts.  Next year shall be very interesting as I have new numbers to put up, which will be for another post.  Let's just say I am simplifying everything right now. I've been putting into practice over the last few weeks cash only. Setting up automatic payments, and just building on the emergency fund. It has been minimum payments, and minimum spending. And in January/February I will be cutting out a lot of expenses. Looking for cheaper insurance, just overall overhauling everything. I want to be able to see my daughter ffor Christmas next year. I want to visit my sister for Thanksgiving. I want to have an actual getaway for a vacation. I want to not have to rob Peter to pay Paul.

So there you have it. I really have not been very motivated to blog recently. I miss it. I just need to schedule the time like I schedule my work out time. For just like after a good workout, writing about my daiy struggles really helps a lot.


On Being A Handful

Greetings from cyberspace.  On my Facebook memory feed, the below was a post from three years ago.

I AM A HANDFUL - unfortunately most women WON'T repost this. I'm strong willed, independent, a bit outspoken, and I tell it like it is. I make mistakes, I am sometimes out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst then you sure don't deserve me at my best. If you are a HANDFUL, repost! :)

I wonder where that woman is, because recently she has been a bit of a coward. But that is changing. In the past few weeks, I have been taking more control of my life, both personal and financial. On the personal front, I confronted Hawk about his back and forth actions regarding our friendship. Bottom line is that we like each other. We're attracted to each other. We enjoy each other's company. Are we going to start dating? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on him. The ball is in his court. Regarding my daughter, she has been a bit needy recently, and I have had to pull the hard line with her, and she does not like it, but she is learning from it. Regarding my cousin, I have had to pull back and distance myself. We are still close, but I am not going to be her source of entertainment. If I want to go out by myself, so be it. Regarding the financial front, I have been putting things into action to set me up to get out of debt with the least amount of stress. I even told my cousin this morning what my goal is for next year, and when I say I can't afford it, or that it is not in my budget, get used to it and accept it.  And if I have to, I will find another room to rent (that has a door for privacy). I will do what I need to do to achieve my goal. Enough is enough. I may become extremely unpopular, but I'm sorry. I've been a doormat for far too long. 

(Rant over)


On Calming Down

Greetings from cyberspace! This morning I am a bit calmer. Just a bit. I am going to do my best to not have to that tax assessment levied against me, but in the event I do, there are going to be some drastic slashes to my budget, even more than I am proposing for 2016. It is going to be bare bones. Every penny I can scrape is going to go to paying off that bill. No extras next year. As it stands, I am going to be cancelling my trainer and gym membership next month. I may end up paying a penalty for cancelling the trainer, but I will take that hit. It will be hard, because I really love my trainer. He has been awesome. I need to have this conversation with him this week. However, I am confident that I will be able to maintain my fitness level as he has taught me so much.  And there are a ton of apps out there. These two alone will free up almost $200 per month. As for my entertainment budget, such as Hulu and so forth, these are staying as they are my source of watching TV, but the cost is low. I keep waffling regarding my satellite radio. The only reason why I am hestiant to give it up is that if I cancel, and then start up again, it will be more costly. However, I can use my iPhone or radio for music. My variable budget is pretty stable, but I will definitely look at where I can cut there. My fuel budget is dependant on the prices of gas. Thank goodness I carpool. I have nominal food budget, so that is pretty stable. So, it is going to be a challenging year for me because I am going to have say no, and stick to it. I am going to have to get creative to entertain myself - cheaply or free. I am going to have to get creative to start saving money so that I can get my own place. In fact, I am just going to have to get creative period. Are we having fun yet?