Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas wrap up and 2008 goals....

Well, I did it! I spent much, much less on all Christmas gifts than I had anticipated and I feel great about it! I bought gifts for 19 people including 2 that received both Christmas and Birthday gifts, along with all the stocking stuffers and came in at just under $650! I'm quite pleased with this number as I took advantage of several coupons and shopping reward programs. I'm hoping next year to do even better with that aspect of things. I need to be a better planner for next Christmas and work on getting things done sooner. Haste makes waste and in this case that happened for sure. I know I could have done better if I had started sooner. Must work on this for next year!!

As for 2008, I have given a lot of thought to my goals and although I haven't outlined my plan yet for reaching them, these are the things I am thinking of:

  • I am going to fully fund my Roth IRA and again the full match amount from my employer to my Simple IRA.
  • I will continue to stay consumer debt free and I will bring my cash savings up to $10,000.
  • I will keep paying extra on my mortgage each month to drop PMI as soon as possible!

I have my spreadsheet ready and will track everything as the year progresses! Doing this really helps me keep my eye on it. I will spend the next couple of days strategizing how I am going to make these things happen, I may have to alter the goals a little, but I will see how it all plans out.

I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The shopping is done....

Yeah!! I am so happy that it is only the 22nd and my shopping is done!! I have nothing to do but relax until Christmas eve and fully enjoy the holidays! OK, I still have to buy some flowers to take to the cemetery, and I have to buy those the day of, but otherwise, I am completely done! I'm quite pleased that I can sit back and do absolutely nothing if that is what I choose. :) I'm still going to wait until the 26th to add up all the costs, just in case something has slipped my mind and I think of it right before the big day. I don't want to jump the gun thinking that I am done with my holiday spending and then be let down when something comes up. Keeping my fingers crossed that isn't the case, and I really don't think it is.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a very happy new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lunch

Today is a rainy, cold, blustery day and I didn't bring my lunch to work. All morning I was thinking about how I really, really didn't want to go out and get something for lunch, but I have to eat darn it! So, a few minutes after lunch started and I'm still sitting at my desk contemplating leaving or suddenly going on a diet :), I remembered that I have a can of chili in my desk that would be just dandy for lunch today! Thank goodness it was there because I really didn't want to go out in the rain, but even worse, I didn't want to go out and spend any money! Does that make me cheap? I'm OK if it does! ;) I knew that tonight I would be going straight home from work and wouldn't be spending any money. There's something to be said for having a day when no money leaves your wallet. This time of year they are few and far between, so I was ecstatic about a can of chili! Seems silly doesn't it?! Oh well, I'll certainly enjoy this day of spending no money! Hope you all have a day like that too!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Things are coming together

The long shopping day really turned out well. I have almost all of the shopping done, with the exception of one movie for my nephew that isn't for sale until tomorrow. And the last few stocking stuffers that still need to be found. Hoping to have that done tomorrow when my brother and I go out shopping. All of the baking is done and has been delivered to recipients. :) I've even been to the zoo to see all the light displays. I feel so organized and ahead of the game now, I'm starting to doubt myself and wondering if I have forgotten something. I even got most of my baking supplies paid for by work as I will be bringing in a big platter of treats for Friday's office party. I'm definitely coming out money ahead this year and am planning on putting more money away for retirement before the month is over. I took advantage of a Costco rebate check I had to buy my nephew a game he has been wanting for his Nintendo DS, ended up only costing me about $8! :) I've also used my ebates rebate check to help fund my Christmas shopping this year. I've been saving all of my receipts and am looking forward to seeing just how much money I will have spent on the holidays this year. I'll let you all know on the 26th where I came in on the Christmas budget. Until then, I will continue to try to not spend too much money, but more importantly, I will enjoy the holidays. I hope you all will too.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas shopping will be done.......

SOON! Tomorrow I have the day off from work to go and do the marathon shopping day with my mom and sister in law. I have my list of everyone I need to buy for, along with several ideas for each. Thankfully my brother/sister in law and I do not exchange gifts, we just do stocking stuffers anymore. :) I love stockings! You can get some of the greatest stuff in there! I really only have to buy for my Godmother, Grandma, Friend (both Christmas and birthday gifts), finish off a gift for a co-worker and my niece and nephew! That's not bad!

Besides the shopping trip tomorrow, I have one other evening of shopping planned with my brother. This is a tradition that started when we were kids, my dad would always take us shopping on a school night, we would shop really late, probably until about 8:30, which seemed really late to an 8 year old, then we would go out for dinner. It was so fun to go shopping just the 3 of us! Well, since my dad passed away 16 years ago, my brother and I still carry on the tradition and it's still so much fun! That is the night I hope to complete the rest of my shopping, and hoping to not have to go to the mall again until after the holidays!

I have also decided to use my bonus and money from my Grandma to buy some new clothes. But should I wait until after Christmas to buy these and hopefully take advantage of the after Christmas sales, or do I buy something now if I see it and like it? I am in desperate need of some new clothes, I realized this morning that this is the 4th day this week I have stood in front of my closet and have had such a hard time trying to find something to wear. Of course it would help if I would take that stack of clothes to the dry cleaners and get them back, but it would also be nice to have something to wear in my closet that doesn't need to be dry cleaned. What's a girl to do????

Monday, December 10, 2007

A hodgepodge of things....

First of all, the Christmas party on Friday night was amazing! It was at the Seattle Golf Club, which was so decked out in the finest decorations and looked absolutely beautiful! My date was a friend of mine, it was his company Christmas party, and we had so much fun! The food was excellent, and the evening was awesome. I think it helped put me in the Christmas spirit a little bit more. I have been feeling kind of down about the holidays since I don't have a boyfriend this year and after the past 3 Christmases with the same boyfriend, I was thinking this one was going to stink! But I am feeling much better now!

Going to a party like this with a friend was a lot of fun and got me to thinking about not having a boyfriend this year and how much less pressure there is. My shopping list is drastically reduced in size this year compared to the past several years. My ex-boyfriends birthday was on Christmas day, so I really had to do double duty with the shopping, not to mention all of his family. I'm curious to see where I end up on my Christmas budget this year, I think I will be amazed at how much money I am saving by being single! And you know I've got to like that this whole thing is saving me some money! What to do with all this extra cash!?! Hmm, maybe I better just wait and see how much extra cash this really is before I start coming up with grand ideas of what to do with it. Ha!

I am getting ready to do my holiday baking this coming weekend and started to realize I don't have to bake nearly as much this year as in the past, again because there is no boyfriend and boyfriend's family expecting my homemade treats! That makes me very happy, because I have to admit, I was starting to feel like it was expected of me to make all this stuff. I will make a platter of homemade treats for the office party, but those guys don't care if there is less variety, as long as there is a lot of it. It's easy to double and triple recipes when you are already going to the trouble of making something, so it won't really be that much extra work. Actually less work in the long run than coming up with several items.

And then the Christmas bonus will be coming in on the 21st. I wonder how much it will be? Last year it was $250, I'm hoping for at least that much this year if not more. I'll keep you posted on that front.

And now for my 2007 income grand total coming from online surveys..............$493.90. Not bad for not really that much of my time this past year. Hopefully next year this income will increase even more. In the last few months I have been logging in almost daily to the survey sites I participate in and I think the amount of survey invitations for me has increased just from this couple of minutes of time. In fact 62% of that income has come since I started logging on daily and that was just at the end of September that I started doing that. Might be something to think about if you happen to participate in any survey sites.

I can't believe how quickly 2007 is coming to an end and that it will be 2008 in just a few short weeks. I'm doing my best to really enjoy the holiday season and wishing happy holidays to everyone........

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Goals to finish out the year...

Well, last month I didn't budget, but just tracked my spending. For me, I think I spent less knowing that I had to track every penny than when I have certain allotments in each category to spend. I have decided to track again for the month of December and see where I end up. I pay myself first, then if there is money left at the end of the month, I pay myself again. This is proving to work pretty well for me.

My year end goal of having my net worth up to $70,000 isn't going to happen, damn it! But, I should definitely be able to have my cash savings up over $7,000. I haven't narrowed down my 2008 goals yet, but I have been giving them a lot of thought. I will continue to put the 3% in from my paycheck that company matches to the Simple IRA. Why wouldn't I, it's like free money! :) And I would really like to be able to contribute the full $5,000 to my Roth IRA as well. Other than that, I'm not sure what I am hoping to achiever financially speaking. Aside from finances, I have decided that 2008 will be another year for me to train for and run a marathon. Not sure if it will be Portland again, or if I want to try something else. I have thought about Maui, but I don't know. I think I need to spend some time researching different marathons and hopefully have my mind up by the end of February.

I have FINALLY gotten on my shopping for Christmas and just a couple of minutes ago the mail carrier just picked up one of the packages that I have to mail! yeah! I'm on my way. My mom, sister in law and I are all taking the day off from work on 12/14 for our marathon shopping day! We will head out about 8:00am and usually don't get home until midnight or so! Hopefully that day I can get the rest of my stuff done. I really don't have all that much to do, it's just getting to it. I have one more gift that I have to mail, so I really need to get that one taken care of in the next couple of days, hopefully I can mail it out on Monday.

I am going to a black tie Christmas party on Friday night, I'm very excited! I am going to wear a dress I already have along with the shoes, nylons, and all accessories, I don't have to buy anything for the evening! Yeah! Should be fun!

How is December looking for everyone else?