Monday, February 8, 2016

1st Financial Update of 2016

You Need a Budget (YNAB) came out with a new program that is web-based, which I started using Dec. 30. Personally, I like the technical changes.

I decided to start fresh, update my categories, and this new perspective showed me that, hey, I actually have spending $$ available! Now, I didn't go nuts, and I'm still pretty focused on building my Freedom Fund...but I also didn't stress about buying new boots when I saw how worn mine had gotten. I didn't stress about buying a new laptop because my old one was going. I planned outings with friends without stressing about $$.

Sylvia's budget has also gone really well (and she too prefers the new YNAB). She decided to start community college and, for the first time ever, got my seal of approval to dip into her Emergency Fund :) Of course, I told her this can't be a regular habit, but given the timing, it was the best option. Now, we have a better understanding of how much she'll need each semester, and can budget accordingly. Neither of us regret that she took some time off before starting school again, and both of us are confident that community college is the right place for her right now.

She is also budgeting regularly for car maintenance, car insurance, registration, gas/parking and her insurance deductible. There's no way she could afford to live on her own right now, but she is developing good habits and staying out of debt.

Meanwhile, Riley and I have started a car/driver's license fund. As with Sylvia, she will have to wait until she has a job before she can really get going on driving (or anything else), but at least we're on the same page about things.

The new YNAB has an "Age of Money" feature. The goal is for the money you spend to be at least 30 days old. Sylvia and I both have "35 Days" as our Age of Money.

I decided to use my most recent 5th paycheck to fund one annual category in full to alleviate the "monthly" budget (as well as beef up my Freedom Fund), which I'll do again with the next 5th paycheck.

I'm also beefing up Theatre Tix to see Hamilton at least twice and Something Rotten on their national tours. And I have a really lofty goal for my Freedom Fund, but it's more than a decade away.

I'm not sure if it's truly financially viable, but it's a really great motivator to continue cutting costs where I can and dream about being able to afford what I really want!

But in the meantime, I'm making sure there are enough funds to not only cover our needs, but some of the more reasonable wants, too.

I think I'm even starting to believe that we are in the middle class after all!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

eBook now available in Paperback!

It's a little more expensive this way, but I decided to make the book available in paperback form. You can buy it on Amazon or CreateSpace. And, it should also be available in public libraries soon so feel free to ask your local librarian, too!

Also, MyGreenFills is sponsoring a contest for a free washer and dryer! Enter here by Feb. 28:  Samsung Activewash Contest- MAIN

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Admiring my Daughter's Independence

Riley really wanted to see this recently-released movie. So she did. By herself.

I don't think I realized that it can be great doing things by myself until my thirties.

It wasn't until after I dropped her off that I even realized that she was doing what she wanted to do alone. Sylvia and I have both experienced the struggles of trying to make things come together with friend groups and sometimes, it feels like more trouble than it's worth. Riley didn't even bother trying. She had this window of opportunity to see this movie on opening weekend, and we picked the time and theatre and that was that.

Afterward, I told her that I was proud of her for doing this, and she acknowledged that she felt a little awkward when she saw she was the only one by herself (and when the theatre's commercial promoted "togetherness at the movies"), but once the movie started, she was glad that no one was trying to talk to her during the movie and she could just relax and enjoy.

I remember when we were in NYC, I went to see Next to Normal by myself...and was really glad that I was alone. The show is so emotional that it took me several minutes to collect myself to just stand up! And walking back to the hotel was a great time to reflect on what I'd just seen. I didn't need to worry about whether anyone else enjoyed it, I got to have my own authentic experience (and I loved it).

Now, I also enjoy seeing things with friends and the girls. I remember when the girls and I saw The Book of Mormon with two of our friends, and at intermission, my friend Nancy and I just giggled with delight that we were finally seeing it! It's great to have a conversation after about what we liked, what we didn't, what it made us think about.

But when it's too much of a hassle, when you're afraid no one else will get it/like it, when you have this window of opportunity to do something you solely want to do, it's great to just go do it by yourself.

I love that it didn't take Riley decades to discover that.