Wednesday, January 29, 2014

First 2014 Financial Update and YNAB on Sale (Today Only)

Yes, I'm at it again! Well, I haven't really stopped with my obsession with YNAB and budgeting - just trying not to blabber about it as much.

But every morning, with my coffee, I go back and forth from staring at my budget to browsing the YNAB forum. Because I am now buffered (i.e., living on last month's income), there's not much for me to do on the budget on a daily basis, but I still like absorbing it.

I have clearly defined savings goals: the first two are $2k in Car Maintenance and $300 for Theatre Tickets, and both should be accomplished with my tax refund. Of course, the Car Maintenance will decrease almost immediately as I believe I'll need brakes next service, but I'll be so much closer! And while I realize most people wouldn't make theatre tickets a number 2 savings goal, I'm still me and if I don't budget for it, I will get myself into trouble. A budget is, after all, not supposed to control you but the other way around. Theatre is an important value and I don't mind spending money on it.

That's truly what YNAB has helped me do. Not just the software and forums, but the blog and the podcasts all remind me that my money should go towards what's important to me.

We haven't missed DirecTV (and my electric bill went down almost $20 this month!). Oh, I've missed a few things here and there. I'd been listening to the State of the Union in the car, and if I still had cable, I would've turned it on when we got home. I could have found it online, but I didn't want to be bothered. Riley had had enough of it anyway, so instead I spent some time with her - way more fun! I purchased a Roku and subscribed to HuluPlus, so I watch The Daily Show a day late (which usually was the case anyway) and a few shows, I will have to wait until the season is over - but then I can binge watch. And even with the monthly subscriptions, I'm still saving over $60 a month. (Not to mention the lower electric bill.)

There are other savings goals waiting in the wings. Those categories are currently hidden because I've decided it's better to take them one at a time rather than trying to sprinkle a little here and there. It's similar to why I don't multi-task; one thing at a time works so much better for me.

Except when it comes to paying down debt. While I'm not doing a "snowball" or "avalanche," as many financial experts say, I'm paying more than the minimum. It's been a year now since I've charged anything, and I'm happy and relieved about that. But I don't want to find myself in a situation like I have before where the credit card is my only option. (Interesting that at that time, I wasn't at all ready to let go of the cable. What a difference a year makes.) It's becoming more important to me to pay off that debt nearly every day, but I also have to do what's comfortable for me. My safety net isn't quite as secure as I'd like it to be to throw everything at it just yet.

But it's so much stronger than it was a year ago. I'm loving the progress I've made, and feel pretty good about it.

So today only, YNAB is available for 50% off using this discount. I do not get any referral fee for that discount, but this link has a smaller discount and generates a small referral fee for me and is available every day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Roller Coaster

There's just no other way to describe things right now. Very high highs, and some lows. I'm not much of a multi-tasker so I'm riding these waves of emotions, dependent upon what's in front of me at the moment. Some is thoroughly depressing, some frustrating, and something really great, too.

Yeah, that's cryptic, I know.

But I was just reading back on my last post and how I just need to deal with what I can. Except it's just not that easy. Some of the things I have to deal with bring me down. Like a lot.

I feel like, before I really deal with some of these things, I need to work on my emotional balance. I'm loving my highest of highs, but then it's just that much farther I have to drop. Still...the happy is really quite wonderful. 

Which oddly, reminds me of something I heard on the radio the other day which struck me as incredibly stupid. An expert on earthquakes was talking about myths and urban legends associated with the quakes (being in SoCal, the 20th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake makes the earth shaking all the talk right now).

So she was talking about whether cats or dogs really know in advance as oftentimes people describe their animals acting funny right before a "big one." She was trying to explain that they may feel some of the smaller tremors leading up to a bigger shake and she said it's because their feet are "closer to the ground."

Wait, what?!?

Their feet are NOT closer to the ground. Their feet are on the same ground as humans!

Now, what I think she was trying to say is that the whole of their bodies are closer to the ground, and maybe they feel the smaller shakes more intensely than us. But no, I've never seen paws sink further in the asphalt than my own.

Okay, so why do I bring that up? Because it makes me realize, my own "low ground" is still at the same place. So I get a little higher off the ground with my highs. That's a good thing. The bad things are still going to suck no matter what, so I might as well enjoy the really good things and just deal with the other stuff.

There actually might be an argument to be made that I will have more inner strength to deal with the not-so-great, thanks to the boosts I'm getting from the good stuff going on right now.

So I'll take the roller coaster and enjoy the awesome parts of the ride. And hold on tight for the rest. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Helpless = Lack of Control

Ironic that today's writing prompt in Daily Post's 365 Daily Prompts is "helpless." That's how I'm feeling right now.

I have plans, I have goals and wants, but none of them can happen at this moment. I hate having to wait. I'm impatient and I'm restless and aching to move forward, but I can't. Feeling helpless and not in control do not sit well with me.

I think I've mentioned before that I need to be busy. The busier I am, the more I thrive. Even if it feels overwhelming at times, I know that if I just do one thing at a time, it will get done.

Some things on my list, however, cannot get done right now. When I have to wait for time to pass or someone to get back to me, I somehow think that if I just obsess over it a little more, it will come to fruition. Even though that has never worked for me.

But even as I write this, I am remembering something important. There are some things I can control. There are some things that I can do right now. I have certainly gotten better about being "in the moment," but it's so easy to forget that sometimes. And writing this is meeting one of those goals - get back to blogging more regularly!