2018: My Year of Financial Stability

To put it bluntly, 2017 was a year of financial ruin for me. I lost my first home to a short sale as the result of a messy divorce and spent several thousand dollars moving cross-country for a new opportunity. The blow of both of those life changes left a bruise that still lingers….. but 2018 WILL BE my year of financial stability. 

I made 3 major commitments during my first full weekend of 2018, and I cannot do them alone. 2 of the 3 will also take the same commitment and support of my fiancé and (step)daughter.

1.     We are now only eating out once a month. This is HUGE for us as we used to eat out once a week at $100+ a pop (from boozing during dinner). That’s over $400/mo on what?! Nothing that is leaving a long-lasting impression on me other than wider hips. My fiancé and agreed to only eat out once a week and limit our alcohol consumption during those meals (one drink v. two)

2.     The second one ties in to the first one but requires slightly more elaboration. I have spent the last few years sharpening my leftover remake skills, because honestly, who wants to eat the same thing 4 nights in a row? I have vowed to not only make more meals at home, but develop more variety in my meal options, freeze half of large meals I make for future meals when I am too tied to cook, and buying less pre-made ingredients and ready-made meals and make more from scratch. 

3.     Get control of my finances!! My fiancé struggling from a low credit score due to a lack of credit v. bad credit. One of the things he did was to create a Credit Karma account and monitor his score weekly. He would get emails every time his score went up or down. His score jumped nearly 100 points in less than a year based on suggestions CK made. So here I am like SIGN ME UP! I created my account and spent about an hour perusing all the features an account offers. One of my favorite features is an outline of all your accounts reported to your credit score in order of highest to lowest and organized by category (credit cards, car loans, students loans, etc). I’m going to attempt my own version of Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method – starting with the smallest and working our way up. 

So my January money goal is this – pay off a credit card bill from Christmas for $487. 

 

My goal is sharing my personal financial goals is to 1. motivate myself (I put it in writing for all the world to see, now I must act on it!), and 2. to serve as inspiration to others. Financial security is no easy feat – it takes times, dedication, and encouragement from others to reach your goals. So happy goal chasing!

2 Coworker Gift Ideas well under $10 each

The organization I work for has very strict rules on gift-giving: it’s generally discouraged but if you choose to exchange, the value of the gift has a $10 limit (and no booze). $10 these days won’t get you very far, so here are 2 coworker gift ideas that are not cheesy and come in well below the budget.

  1. Stovetop Potpurri

I found this idea on Pinterest and made it my own! I put the following ingredients in a bag and printed out an instruction tag on how to make.

  • 2 oranges (whole)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 3 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

My mother used to do this at Christmas and the smell always brings back fond memories of my childhood!

 

Hot Cocoa & Chocolate Goodie Bag

I saw this idea on At Home With The Barkers and thought “genius!” (Although I must admit that I forgot to take a pic of the goodie bags before lugging all 32 of them into work, so photo cred goes to AHWTB)

What you’ll need:

  • Goodie bags (I bought mine from the Dollar Tree – best store ever!)
  • Candy canes
  • Bags of small marshmallows (put a handful of marshmallows in sandwich baggies)
  • Boxes of Starbucks Hot Cocoa packets (8 per box)
  • Several bags of Godiva, Lindt and Ghirardelli chocolates (I used peppermint bark, coconut, mint chocolate chip, and sea salt caramel)

I bought enough of each ingredients to make 32 goodie bags and placed one of each of the above (including one of each kind of chocolate)and tied it off with curly ribbon to make a bow – viola!