Survived the end-of-year work crunch. So crazy behind on everything still, and the deadlines are piling up. (Lots of new government rules and deadlines that affect me next year). It's just going to be one of those years. I Can deal because I know the *crazy* workload is only temporary. I keep telling myself that at least next week is not a deadline week. Hoping to at least feel more "caught up" before I get thrown into January deadlines. I did also decide to "turn off work" for the long weekend. I just need to regroup and spend some time with my family. I expect this is the last weekend that I will have off until May.
MM has decided to attend his assigned high school next year, or the one closer to our house. That makes life so much easier for us. Phew! We still do have to figure out the transportation. He is VERY independent and if we lived somewhere else I'd just let him ride his bike. But it's so dangerous. For whatever reason there is no public transportation options. I want to give him his independence. But... If MH is dropping DL off at school anyway, right by his work, it makes more sense just to get MM to school safely. So I guess I am a little frustrated on the "independence" side of things. But otherwise, both their schools and MH's work are all close together, and only about 2-3 miles from our home. It should make life much easier for the long run. & they can get themselves to/from school if need be.
I guess it's relative. Some of our neighbors are choosing another charter school a couple of blocks from our house, for the convenience factor. I guess convenience is a factor for us, but not *the* biggest factor. But... I've never considered schools more than 3 miles from our house. A client was telling me this past week that her kids were choosing high schools 15 miles apart. It would have to be a really stellar school/situation (or lack of other options) for me to make a choice like that. So while I wish MM could just take the public transit to school, she made me appreciate how simplified our situation will be next year.
On the Christmas front:
My parents were sick and so we didn't see them. My dad had wanted to take us out to lunch on Christmas Day (something different). We've tentatively rescheduled for today.
I think the "no tree" thing was probably just a one year break. So I am not even looking at the sales, for smaller trees. DL(11) decided in the end that he missed the tree. I think we can oblige him next year. This year was just too crazy.
Oh, and the in-laws... Had some wins with them.
For whatever reason, MIL accepts MM(13)'s minimalism. I believe that all he received was a gift card and some cash. (Which is AMAZING!!) She can only accept that in him. She won't accept it in me. She won't listen to my SIL, whose kids drown in gifts from both sets of grandparents. (I don't know that SIL is a minimalist, but the last thing her kids need is more stuff). DL(11) collects video games and cows, and MIL seemed to delight in buying him piles of that stuff. Which is really fine. I was impressed she was able to do that while letting it go with MM. I think she just had *no idea* what on earth to get MM, honestly. (Oh, and he did get some parts for his new computer. I knew there had to be something else! But still, it was all stuff he specifically asked for and was more in the useful realm).
As to the charity gift? Meh. It was kind of over the top. I've brought up my MIL's insanity before and get all sorts of well meaning comments. But it's like, "Why not ask for cash instead?" & stuff like that. Oh, they give us cash. It has to be cash AND gifts. I guess all this to say, they didn't scale back. So now it is: cash + gifts + cash to give to charity. I know that charity is where my SIL has been trying to steer MIL. Like we have enough crap, so let's do nice things for people who actually need it. I'd say she didn't *get* it. But I do hope that it is a step in the right direction. MIL completely HATED the idea 10 years ago, so it is definitely a step in a better direction. She just didn't seem to get the memo that "less gifts" should be part of the "more charity" plan.
We did choose a charity to give $500 too ($500 from in-laws). & then we doled out my work bonus ($200) to 4 charities like we always do. Don't get me wrong. It was really nice to write a bigger check for a charity that we support. It was a WONDERFUL gift.
I've updated my sidebar for 2016 financial goals. I'd say that 2016 went very well.
On the spending side, all I can say is that we are VERY consistent. We spent $85 more than we did last year. HA! (Can't say that we planned it that way). Some categories were the same or within a few dollars.
As to 2017, I won't know our income for another couple of weeks, so will hold off on any goals or budgets or plans until then. I expect things to mostly be the same as 2016.
I'll do some financial updates later, re: 2016.