Dreamin

I feel the need to dream a little bit. B and I have been having a hard stressful time recently and need something good to cheer us up. I want to talk about our dream home. Our forever home. The one we will raise our children in. The one we will have happy family memories in.

My dream home is a farm-house. It will be a fixer upper, something old but has good bones. One with a lot of history and with a lot of space…both inside and out.

I want to fix up the house to make it everything we want it to be. To make it fit our lives and the lives of our kids….our imaginary kids :0)  I want it to have plenty of room but still feel cozy. I would love to have a big wrap around porch with a swing and a long driveway.

I want a big barn or a garage for B to put all of his “man toys” in. I want space for a garden, where I can grow my own fruit and veggies. I want to learn how to can everything I grow and be “that” neighbor that everyone loves because she brings homegrown tomatoes over. I want a big treehouse where our kids can play for hours. I want a dinner bell on the porch to call everyone in when supper is ready.

I want someplace where our kids can run and get into trouble…the good kind of trouble you can only get into on a farm :0) where they can ride their bikes without having to worry about cars or traffic. Where you have simple fun. Fun from running and playing sports outside…not sports on the computer or tv screen. I want a simple life. Full of family, friends and love.

I want a big farm-house sink with butcher block counter tops. I want a big wooden table that B made with his own hands. I want family game night, christmas dinner and pancake morning around that table. I want big 4th of July barbeques and birthday parties full of family and friends.

This is what we want. This is our goal we are working towards. I know those of you that already own a home or have kids are probably laughing at us right now. I know most people dream of the house with the white picket fence but never achieve it.

But we will. I know we will have everything we ever dreamed of. It may take time but eventually we will have it. I think you have to believe in your dreams or you will never make it happen.

 Pictures found on pinterest here, here here here here here

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Its A Job Looking For A Job

Truer words have never been spoken…typed. So Much time and energy goes into looking for a job. Once you look for the right one it then takes forever to physically apply for the job. The online applications take forever to fill out then you have to make sure your resume and cover letter are correct and set up well for the job. Its hard work!

My issue I have is that I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’ve had ADD since I was a kid. School was always something that was difficult for me. It was always easy for all of my friends but I really struggled with it. I was always very active and had something going on. Looking back I know why my parents were so supportive of me being playing soccer, running track, performing in the show choir and school plays. It helped me learn responsibility. I knew if I wanted to do something I had to finish my homework first.

Even with all of that I honestly never thought I would go to college. My parents knew how hard it can be to get a job without a college education, they told me I didn’t have to go to a 4 year University if I chose not to, but I did need to get my associates from the community college. I went to CC for a year before deciding that I wanted to get by bachelors. I chose a close by 4 year university. I decided to live on campus even though I could have still lived at home. Looking back at my student loans I shouldnt have lived on campus…but looking back at my college experiences im so happy I did.

I graduated college with a BS in Mass Communication. I interned at a PR firm and a film studio. I have graphic design, radio and film experience. (ps I really want to work on the design of my blog I just don’t have the equipment and time to do it right not…maybe sometime soon) I have all of this experience from college and have no idea what I want to do with it. To be honest I am completely scared to try something new. I stick with the safe jobs and am very afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I think it goes back to the insecurities I had when I was a child with ADD. I’m not afraid anymore to tell people I have it. I think I have accomplished a lot and I am very proud of myself. It just a lot of pressure to find something that you want to do for the rest of your life.

I have completely redone my resume. I have added key words and describe what I do perfectly. I feel really great about it and I hope some good things come my way soon! Wish me luck on my job hunt!

Phone Bill Update

B and I have Verizon as our cell phone provider. We are pretty happy with our phone service…not to happy with our bill. I logged onto our account for the first time in a very long time. We realized that we have so much extra’s and add ons that we don’t even use. I completely changed our whole plan and lowered our monthly bill by $20. Not much but its a start. I deleted a navigation app. that we never used. I also lowered B’s text messages and changed a few other things around. My goal is to start cutting things out of our lives we don’t use and don’t need to spend money on!

Moving Up And Out

B and I decided to move in with his parents in February. We live in a very expensive city a few miles away from Washington D.C. We had our own apartment but quickly realized that $1,400 rent for two new professionals right out of college wasnt really cutting it. We were getting by but we wanted more than just “getting by”.

It wasnt really the amount of money we were spending. The issue was how little we got for our money. We lived in a 650 sq. ft. apartment. No balcony and no amenities. We were running out of room and eventually felt trapped in our tiny place. We love the freedom but this area was killing us financially. Everything is so expensive…you dont get much for your money.

Over the course of a few months we racked up around $7,000 in credit card debt. I honestly have no idea how it happened. We were always really good with our money, never spent for things we could afford. Until we got that card. I think we used the wedding and the apartment as an excuse. We used that card to book our honeymoon, buy a couch and many other things.

Before we realized it we were 7 grand in debt with an apartment we couldn’t really afford. Moving in with the in-laws was the hardest, most grown-up choice we ever had to make. It was a big punch in the ego. I think B really took it hard. I think it just made us feel embarrassed, like we can’t be a real married couple who can take care of ourselves.

When we decided to move back home our goal was to save money and pay down our debt. In the past 6 months we have paid off $4,046.74 of our credit card debt and have $3,340.70 left to go. We havent saved much at all but we havent added anymore debt. Anything we have bough within the last 6 months we have had the money for.

I think August and September will be really good months financially for us. I get paid 3 times this month and B has some extra hours owed to him from his job. We don’t really have big travels or big expenses so we will hopefully be able to save a lot.

Our goal is to start looking for our own apartment by the end of september. We are hopefully looking in an area 45 minutes from the city. The location is still on the high side but nowhere near what it is where we are living at now. I have found that rent is around $1,000 for a 1 bedroom apartment. Most of these include a balcony and lots of amenities. Our commute will be a little longer but I have been looking for a job in the area we want to move to for a while now. It’s hard to find a job but hopefully soon something will come up.

I feel so much better about where we are financially. Do we have more money than we did then? No. But we have to tools and the knowledge now. 6 months ago I started reading PF blogs and have learned a lot. They have really motivated me to get our finances back on track. We now know how to set goals for ourself. We know how to save and how to spend our money wisely.

I am so grateful for everything my in-laws have done for us….but now it is time for us to be on our own.

July Review

I’m back from our vacation! It was a really great time spent with family. There was a lot of driving (around 1,500 miles) and a lot of fun. 

I’m trying something new this month. B and I have never been good with budgeting. I have tried setting up a budget but something always happens and I give up. I have tried the cash system. Just when things are going good I get an unexpected bill or something else adds more money.

I always find its hard to plan the next month when you don’t know whats going to happen. Some months we are very busy and spend a lot of money. Other months we don’t spend much at all. I find its hard to put a limit on things like gas and entertainment. We may not go out to the bar at all one month. Then the next we might go out once a week.

B and I have never actually added up our monthly spending. I have printed it out and highlighted things and noticed how much we spend on certain items. But I have never sat down to put where every single penny goes each month. Thats where the Monthly Review comes in. I am always very aware of where our money goes…at least I thought. I knew July would be a hard month but some of the numbers completely shocked me.

*See that?…Number 5?…$625 on gas!! Holy cow! We traveled around 2,000 miles just on vacations. I knew we spent a lot on gas but to see that number is outrageous. We used B’s truck when we go anywhere farther than 100 miles. My car wont handle the drive but B’s is a gas hog.

*As you also noticed we spent over $2,000 on B’s School. He goes to Community College so its something we don’t want to take out more student loans for. $2,000 is something we can handle to spend. If it was more than that we might have to take out a loan but we really don’t want to add anymore to our student loan. It doesn’t make sense to add all that interest when we can pay for it now. It really wiped all of our savings but we wanted to get it out of the way.

*Food was also really high. We bought a lot of food for the beach and some fast food for all the travels. We don’t eat fast food at all so it was a change. I packed a lot of snacks and food for the road but we still managed to spend more than we normally do.

*We spent a week at the beach and spent under $350! Now that doesn’t include gas but we did get to stay for free. $350 for a week at the beach is great on my book.
If you exclude the gas, school, food and beach we didn’t do all that bad. The Target trip was right before the beach and so was the clothes. We also spent money for fishing license for B. Those are all purchases we wouldn’t normally spend in a month.

I am really glad that I decided to chart out our monthly spending. I think it will really help us to really think about things before we spend and help us to save.

B and I have decided to try a no spending week. We spent 85 dollars on groceries when we came back from the beach (we had no food in the house). We will also be going to a wedding this saturday so we will need to by a gift. I’m thinking around 30$ range. It may sound cheap but I love finding ways to be creative with gifts to make it look like we spent more.

August shouldnt be a bad month for us. Its B’s birthday!..along with my nephew, my brother-in-law and about 8 other relatives. We will be doing birthdays on a budget. I will either be giving gift cards to dinner along with free babysitting from me or I will be baking things. Other than gifts we have nothing special planned that will have us cost more money!

My main August goal is to spend less than we make. We exceeded our monthly income by almost $2,000 in July and we can’t have another month like that.

How do you chart your monthly spending?

July Spending

July is going to be a bad spending month for us. This month is the start of B going from full-time to part-time. School doesn’t start for him till August so he will still be working close to 40 hours a week. I am interested in seeing what his paycheck will be like. By the end of the month we will spend around $2,200 for his school. Thats money we were not expecting on paying, so it throws us for a loop. Because of that extra money our bank account is low. Like scary low…under a thousand dollars. I really don’t like seeing it with that little in it.

 We are also going to the beach for 10 days at the end of the month. 5 days with my family at Myrtle Beach, SC then going north for 5 days with his family at Outer Banks, NC. I am so freaking excited about taking some time off and going away. We are very lucky because we don’t have to pay for much on this vacation. Our stay is free, we just have to pay for our extra food, drinks and other stuff we want to buy there.

That is our only big spending for this month but it really adds up. Since July is almost over im not going to post July goals. Our only goal is to not go overboard. Maybe ill start monthly goals with August. Do any of you budget people out there make monthly goals to set you on a good path?

Goals

This blog is hopefully going to be a place for my husband and I to be more accountable. A place to build relationships with people who will keep us accountable. Here are some goals we have set ourself for the rest of 2011.

 1. Replenish our $1,000 emergency fund.
We decided that it was in our best interest to have a 1,000 emergency fund on hand. Read any financial blog and they will tell you it is a good idea. That E fund came in handy when we had to put money towards B’s classes. He already has his bachelors degree but he decided to go back to school. He goes to community college so his bill for the semester is around 2,000. We took money out of our E fund to put towards his school so it is down to 500 bucks. Within the next month I would like to build that back up so we have a nice little cushion.

2. Save up 2300 by the end of 2011 to pay for B’s classes in January.
B’s decision to go back to school happened very quickly. Not giving us a lot of time to save up for his classes. This time we are going to save around 2,300 dollars for his classes and books when he starts his next semester in January.

3. Find a job that I am happy at and pays well.
I hate my job. I have been here for about a year and a half and I hate it. The hard part is I have no idea what I want to do with my life. It is a big stress for me and very hard to find a job that I love and can make good money at. It’s not all about the money for me but with B in school I must have a good paying job.

4. Move out of the in-laws.
This is a big one for me. I love my in-laws and my family. But I want to feel like a wife. I want to be able to take care of our household and my husband and not have my mother in law cook me dinner every night. We moved in with them in February to save some money. We had a little credit card debt and we wanted to pay it off while living there. We have some things going on the next few months so we are trying very hard to save money so we can move out and get our own place.

5. Buy a camera.
I want a nice camera. I’m not sure what kind yet but I really want to do a better job of documenting our lives. I’m asking for money for christmas so I am going to see what kind I can get with the money I have.

Long Term Goals

 1. Purchas a house by the end of 2012…or 2013
I would love to be able to buy a home by next year. It doesn’t have to be a nice one. A little foreclosure fixer upper will be perfect for us. We will se if we can do it in the next 2 years.

2. Buy a new computer (mac) & Photoshop/illustrator.
I have a minor in graphic design. I have the skills but no tools! I really want a mac laptop. I used macs all throughout college at the labs at school and really love them. I have a PC that I have had for 6 years and I am very surprised it is still kicking. It has been with me through college and I have put that thing through hell.

3. Go on a trip.
Where? I don’t really care. B and I love to travel. I want to go to so many places around the world it is crazy. I would love to go to Europe for our next trip but we might have to settle for some place in the US.

4. Have a baby.
B and I want at least 4 kids. We are not ready anytime soon but hopefully within the next 2 years we can start trying. I want us to own a house and have a good size savings before we have a child. There is something about bringing OUR baby home to OUR home that I think is very important. It gives me a great sense of security…I will wait a little longer to have that security.

 There you have it! Some short-term and long-term goals. What do you think?