Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Goals

My goals for 2013 are as follows... 

 -Write more! Whether that be in this blog or somewhere else, I just really want to get my words out. My hubby gave me a great present for Christmas to jump start the writer in me and I plan to use it shortly.  I also started another blog to track my fitness journey. It's called "A P90X Woman". Please check it out if you're interested in seeing how that goes.

 -Complete P90X. We started our P90X challenge on January 1st and we are scheduled to end it on March 31st. As I stated above, I even started a new blog to document this journey. I am hopeful that it will keep us on track with our exercising and eating healthy, just like this blog did with our finances.

 -Learn Spanish. The hubby and I love vacationing in Mexico and have grand visions of possibly moving there someday down the road. I am a firm believer that you should be educated in the language of whichever country you plan to spend a good amount of time in and therefore, learning Spanish is a goal for me. Not to mention, that several jobs I've looked into here in CA have required the person to be bilingual. This would open more doors on the job front in the future.

 -Take more pictures. I bought a camera this past year and would love to actually use it more! There is a photo a day challenge for each month that gives you ideas of things to shoot. I have been wanting to do it for a while now and just haven't gotten around to it. I would like to do so this year!

-Pay off our final credit card. Our zero interest credit card expires at the end of April and I don't want to WILL NOT get stuck paying interest on it. Therefore, it will be paid off before the deadline. I am targeting around my birthday in March. A nice, little present to give myself :)

 -Save money for a house/condo. Although we have a hard time making up our minds about buying a house or condo, relocating or staying put, etc., we know that having a hefty savings account will be crucial to whichever decision we make. Although numbers may change after we get our new paychecks for 2013, we are targeting saving around $20K this year.

-Take a minimum of two trips this year. I plan to attend my niece's graduation in May in New England, so that's one trip. The hubby and I are anxious to get back to Mexico this year, which would be a second. In addition, it looks like we may join my parents on their first trip to Hawaii. It's been on their bucket list for several years and since CA is on the way, they'd like us to join them if possible. I'm hoping at least two of those trips pan out. We will pay for these trips in cash of course!

-Shoot a gun. This has been on our bucket list for a while now and we'd both really like to learn how to shoot a gun. The hubby and I are determined to do it this year!

That's all I'm going to list at this point. I debated pushing for "13 in 2013" but decided to keep it realistic and go for the big ones I'm anxious to achieve. Here's hoping 2013 goes great!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Goals Update

(One of my favorite pics from our trip to Mexico in 2012)

It's finally time to look back at my 2012 goals and reflect on my progress attempt at progress, while I start to outline my goals for 2013. I'm really excited and looking forward to this new year. I believe it will be my best year yet!

1. Pay off all credit card debt by June 30th! 

Update - PARTIAL SUCCESS! We succeeded in paying off most of our credit card debt this year, with the exception of our zero interest credit card which expires in April 2013. The plan is to pay it off by then. I never want to put another penny towards credit card interest ever again.

2. Save $20K for a down payment on a condo. 

Update - FAIL! This didn't happen. Due to several issues, including discovering that we weren't paying enough in taxes, we ended up changing plans and moving this goal out into the new year. 

3. Buy our first home together.

Update - FAIL! Again, the house buying goal has been moved out a bit.  

4. Succeed in 10-pound weight loss challenge.

Update - SUCCESS! Yes, I so kicked butt in this challenge that Newlyweds on a Budget held. I actually ended up winning a prize, which was an added bonus. Thanks Erika!

5. Indulge in my love for movies more. 

Update - SUCCESS! I have definitely done this in 2012! I actually kept a log of all most of the movies I've seen and it's up around 50. I feel as though I've indulged this passion successfully :) Using the cheap (and sometimes free!) rentals from RedBox, helped make this goal easier to achieve.

6. Blog more often.

Update - FAIL! I had such a great routine going where I was able to get some daily blog time in during the day at work and since that changed, I haven't come up with a new routine that works. 

7. Take a vacation. 

Update - SUCCESS! We got to spend a week in Mexico in 2012. It was glorious! The pic above is one I took while lounging on the beach. I keep it as my desktop pic and it's daily visual reminder of the relaxing trip we had. I can't wait to go back!

8. Finish "What Color is Your Parachute" book. 

Update - FAIL! We moved and this book ended up in storage. 

9. Give yoga a try. 

Update - FAIL! I didn't get around to trying yoga in 2012, but I did already in 2013!

10. Play piano more often. 

Update - PARTIAL SUCCESS! I did play our keyboard a bit before we moved and it got packed up and put in storage.

11. Get on the water! 

Update - FAIL! I didn't get on the water in 2012. Wow, I'm picking up a theme here :(

12. Read 12 books

Update - SUCCESS! I am happy to say that I was able to read 12 books this year, including the Hunger Games and Fifty Shades series. I also found a new author I enjoy, Adele Parks.. I look forward to continuing to read more books in 2013. 

Looking back on this year, I wasn't very successful in the goals I outlined. I'm a firm believer in this quote though - 

I guess some of the goals I thought were important, actually weren't so important to me when it came down it. Hopefully I'll do a better job creating my goals for 2013!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Happy New Year!

I can't believe that 2013 is here already! I have written so many draft posts that I never got around to editing and posting in 2012. That makes me sad. I love writing so much and really enjoy the outlet of having a blog. I hope I can spend more time writing in 2013.

So, there have been some changes on the home-front for us here. We are moving (AGAIN) at the end of this month. We have finally outgrown the tiny pool house we are currently renting and need/want to expand a bit.

We found a lovely 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit in a former condo complex that was turned into apartment units. It has everything on our wishlist:

- Close to work
- More square feet
- 2 bedrooms
- 2 baths
- Washer and dryer in the unit! (This alone is worth hundreds extra per month - honestly! No more lugging our laundry to the nearest laundromat. Sweet! I can't wait.) 
- Fireplace (I have ALWAYS wanted one. I know I may not use it often, but just the thought of having one puts a smile on my face.) 
- Large master tub (I am a bath girl through and through - love them!) 
- Top floor location. (Being so sensitive to sound, this is a priority to me.) 
- A full kitchen! (I know this one sounds funny but our current place only has a fridge, sink and hot plate set up. We miss a stove and dishwasher! This was hard during the holidays when I wanted to cook some nice meals for us.) 

All of these luxuries come with a larger price tag though. I'll be honest that I'm not super comfortable spending more on rent, but we can afford it and feel that it's time... for our sanity and the longevity of our relationship. Not to mention that the house next door decided to build a skate ramp recently and we get to hear that noise every day and believe me, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

We haven't actually committed to the unit yet. We are trying to hold off until closer to the end of the month so we won't have to overlap rent payments. The complex seems to have a good amount of openings and will hold a unit for you for 2 weeks, so if we put a deposit down around the 15th (my pay day), we will be able to time it up closer to the end of the month. This is a little scary though, since we already gave our 30 day notice! Hopefully it'll all work out.

On the money front, things are going okay. It's really interesting how "our plan" seems like a moving target sometimes. We were hoping to be in a house at the end of 2012, but a quick look at our taxes a few months ago showed us that we needed to change our withholding so we wouldn't end up owing a ton in April. Been there, done that! So, we had a bunch extra sent in for our federal and state taxes and a quick estimate on Turbotax yesterday shows that we'll likely owe only $44 to one and $25 to another! I am very happy with those numbers :-) So, going into 2013, we only have our zero balance credit card to pay off by the end of April and our car payment which is scheduled to go to September 2015. Not too shabby!

The hubby starts contributing to his 401K plan starting this month. His company matches 40% of 6% of his salary, so he's putting in 6%. This, in addition to taxes changing slightly in 2013, will impact our take home amounts slightly. We're anxious to get our first checks to see just how much.

I know I've received requests to do an overview post showing how I paid off so much debt and I plan to get that up here soon. It's one of those that has been in draft format for a very long time, so it shouldn't be too hard to edit and get up here. I also want to post an update of my 2012 goals and my new 2013 ones. Another post that will be coming soon!

For those of you who still check out my blog periodically, thank you! For those who are new, welcome and thanks for checking it out. More to come!