Yeah, that about sums it up.
Ah yes, another year-end post.
Was just thinking, because dh and I were talking about what a crazy year it has been.
The funny thing is that last Jan. 1 I told dh that we could not buy ANYTHING. We would not buy or do anything. This year would be low key.
Then we started getting extra money and decided to do a few things. & the our parents lavished us with all these last minute vacations. It was just WEIRD. But then we were lavished with cash and we actually enjoyed much more than imagined. But all in all was a strange year. I find it even funnier because I came here saying how work is not that important to me, and we are real low key. & then work was crazy and we had a jet set lifestyle.
Which honestly made it hard for me to enjoy this year. Work was really stressful. Not my thing. It hasn't been like this for years. But re-examining our financial situation, I think I finally decided to embrace it. We could use the money. I've pretty much been on vacation the last 5 years. & so it doesn't hurt to work hard once in a while, to show my commitment. It's just the curse/bane of the industry though. Not enough people to fill the jobs. I feel I have been very unique keeping the life balance that I have been able to full-time the past 6 years. (I can think my boss too). But we just lost one too many employees this last year and I really had to step it up.
So this year was really weird. Worked a lot harder but ended up playing harder too. Well, for the long run I look to de-stress and step it down a bit. For now, what can I do. I embrace it.
But here is the craziness of 2007:
1. Dh had his movie premiere (the first "big" movie he worked on). That was pretty sweet. They had a decent offer on the movie but turned it down. Holding out for more I guess. Who knows if it will ever get anywhere now. But it was exciting. He is working on some projects starting in '08 again. Just been so busy with the kids, but now that they are in preschool, he has more time.
2. I tried to make some money off writing. I know I have been down on it in my blog, but really comes down to, I always envisioned writing a book when I was much older. I have the money-making career now, and this should allow me to pursue more hobbies when I am older. & I just couldn't make the time. I neglected my family too much. Really what it comes down to. & work got more stressful. So it's on the back burner but something I will certainly do again once work is lighter or kids are older. Which is fine. I don't find this compromising at all. I love my job. I always figured writing would be better with more age and wisdom. I actually want to go back to get a writing degree some day. I would want to practice the art more too. Take classes. Certainly not a priority today. The kids are. But this year was an adventure! That someone would pay me to write. Strengthens my resolve to write more in the future. Now is just not the time for me. Though I also keep my eyes open for writing opportunities in my field, which probably makes more sense now, for my resume and such.
3. We welcomed a new niece to the world this year.
4. Traveled to Mexico, Japan, Florida (Disney) and Vegas.
5. Took the kids to many zoos and museums and the like.
6. Bought a BIG HDTV & PS3
7. Still managed to build up our e-fund and up our net worth a good $30k (& meet all our other goals).
Yup, that was our low-key, do nothing, buy nothing year.
What the heck??? LOL. But it just turned into that kind of year.
We're starting over. Low-key. Buy nothing. Do nothing. Let's try this again. Big Grin
Well dh's mom, well she wants to retire this year so I think she is facing reality. She said she wanted to go on a family camping trip this year. Which is ironic since we were thinking of going on the same camping trip (ourselves) but it would be kind of fun with the grandparents. Sure, why not. Then again all of our trips this last year were rather last-minute. So we'll see. I won't be surprised if I get invited to China tomorrow. But it is hard to say no to trips to mexico and Japan and such. But we have discussed saying no to anything and everything. We want to keep it low key. Camping was more our speed.
We have been planning a trip to Disneyland though. In the spring. & then camping in the summer. Only low key things for summer. & a low key fall (at home). LOL.
Anyway, dh went to the dinosaur thing with my dad and I don't know. We took him to 2 museums with us last month and he did this with BM yesterday. I guess he is getting hooked. Maybe he really enjoyed Japan. He is turning into my MIL. He told dh that he wanted to do all these trips with us in the coming years. He mentioned Grand Canyon and Yosemite and the like. The funny thing is we have talked much of the same (maybe later than he is talking) so I wonder if he comes along if we might get a bit of a free ride. Hmmmmmmmm.
But I told dh we really needed to crack down (a week or 2 ago, before this) and that if Disneyland was our priority I just didn't know if we could justify the camping trip. Not that it was terribly expensive. But it was a good $500+. We don't even have sleeping bags... So I told him maybe we should save up for supplies this year and stuff, and go next year. Or likely his parents will pay anyway. But I didn't want to over commit. Even if it seemed simple, it would cost money.
& then he comes back telling me my dad wants to take us on all these trips. It's starting to come from both sides. When did this happen?
I told dh our kids are SO lucky. So so so lucky and spoiled rotten. I think with my parents, they just want to treat us to all the things they couldn't afford when we were young. Dh's family has been the same way for a LONG while. But my parent's are totally jumping on the bandwagon. Which is just a shock to me. I guess it is a grandparent thing. These are so not the parents who raised me! LOL.
Sometimes I give up on trying to shelter the kids from being too spoiled. I really want them to appreciate what they have and I make it a point to tell them that we didn't have these things when we were kids. Over and over and over. So they get it.
But my grandpa passed on this year and left $0.5 mil to his heirs. $0.5 mil. We were all TERRIBLY shocked. They never made more than minimum wage. They didn't even have a middle school education, much less high school. It was so mind boggling. & as my parents inherited 1/4 of this, they once again resolve to enjoy their money more than hoarde it (as they do every time a relative dies, stronger each time). I keep reminding them that grandpa was only 80 and longevity runs in the family. He wanted to be able to take care of himself, nursing home or not. By dad having grown up with him thought is was just terribly sad they never enjoyed any of that money. They lived a lifestyle deep in poverty. Their entire 80 years. So my parents have more resolve to enjoy and spoil us it seems. They insist he hoarded too much. Probably. But I am just in awe he would have been able to take care of himself well into 100 if need be (was likely. They died terribly young compared to siblings and such).
I keep wondering at this rate if the kids will have to work. I think of course I want them to be hard workers and learn to take care of themselves. I don't want them to be spoiled. But if grandpa can pass on $1/2 mil, what will our more well-off grandparents pass on? What will our parents with significant real estate pass on? What will we pass on? Will our kids ever worry about money in the ways we did? I know we don't worry about money in any sense our parents did at our age. just as they never worried about money as much as their parents did? (not with the freedom to get high school diplomas and college educations). & so it snowballs.
Ever since we had kids I have fought the tide of spoiling from the grandparents. But it just keeps getting bigger. Honestly, there is no fighting it. I am starting to realize. Is it so bad grandma took them to DisneyWorld when they were 2/4 & Hawaii when they were 0/2? That grandpa will take them to Japan before they hit 8/10? All I Can do is make sure they appreciate everything they have. It's a shame that we can never go back and see where my dad grew up and where my grandparents lived in a shack for most of their days. I think it's important for them to know where they came from. Those are our roots. Money just doesn't grow on trees and it took generations to come where we are. I think that's all I can do, is tell them that continuously. Just as my parents did when I was a child.
As such, 2008 will probably be crazy or crazier yet. Our parents will have many wild plans to give us what more of what they never could before.
But I feel very blessed in a big sense. Here is to the health and freedom to enjoy the craziness. Might as well embrace it.
& if it's a really slow, low-key year, I can't say I would mind a bit. I just hope someday my kids can say the same.
Maybe there is something to just enjoying the money while it is there. I guess you never know if you will be around to enjoy it tomorrow. Which is exactly what our parents are thinking. So might as well enjoy I guess.
Then again, I didn't exactly feel deprived before. I think we have always made it a point to live somewhat in the now. Just not so extravagantly. So it is just weird for me. Being a long range planner, just nothing I want to get used to either. I know our parents mean well. But I find it funny they found it so important for us to be independent and capable and NOT spoiled. But with the grandkids, eh. Seems to have gone out the window. Then they will blame us when they turn to spoiled brats. LOL. Would figure. Isn't that the way?
Or maybe I just overthink it all.
Most of my friends think I am crazy, but I a have a lot of friends back home who immigrated here from other countries. who came from true poverty and such. We all worry about our kids getting so far from their roots and not really understanding how GOOD they have it. That even their primary education is an incredible blessing.
Maybe once you've seen it you always have a fear you can end up back there some day. So I guess I am lucky in that regard I have other friends with the same worries.
Around here, if I wonder aloud if my kids have too much, people look at me like I have a 3rd eye. I figure a place like this forum, it is more understood, at least.
Anyway, here's to 2008. Whatever it brings!
Archive for December, 2007
Yeah, that about sums it up.
I am really frustrated right now. I am working on stuff I could have done weeks ago, but my clients have been really slow. I am not sure what it is. We have been so swamped, that I just let them slide too long? Perhaps...
Oh well, 12/31 is always a huge deadline, but I am afraid this is the worst year yet. By far. I remember stressing last year or 2 and it wasn't as bad as I imagined. But now I remember why I have been stressing. I have THREE clients who want to give me stuff Monday. (Monday, at 5pm? Would figure). Unless they are going to wait around until midnight for #s, not sure I can promise much but a rush. Their loss I guess. I like working under pressure as a whole, but I don't like rushing. Then mistakes are made. So I am frustrated.
On the flip side I will easily pull 20 hours OT this week. $500, whenever I get paid. I am crossing my fingers for Monday. Just not sure. I think I have $500 or so due to me for the rest of the year. I generally really only work OT in the January through april months. But this is a nice start to the season.
Maybe I should hope it doesn't get paid out until April/May. I get a raise come January 1st which should up my overtime rate. I just figure $25/hour after taxes, in round figures, for now. It might go up a dollar or to on Tuesday.
In other news I did my taxes a few days ago. Preliminary. We owe $1000! I think it is somewhere around $1700 with AMT. Our software hasn't been updated for the patch. But take out the AMT and we're at $1k.
Yeah, I planned it down to the dollar, and look where I ended up. Haven't had time to look where I went wrong. Guess hoping this is an error. I just figured, eh, will pay it april 15th anyway. But now I am wondering if I should pay in a small estimate to ensure I get under $1k balance due to the feds. We'll see. Plug it in and see if it lowers my $30 penalty. If not, it will wait until April 15th. At least I have time to scrape it together. there goes a chunk from my car/house fund. Bah.
I also re-evaluated my withholding and it looks okay. The problem I think is my ROTH IRA conversion phased out much of my medical deductions. Maybe the HSA is looking slightly better. I mean I used our advanced software and it should have figured that, but I went wrong somewhere and that is all I could figure. I had more deductions than expected everywhere else. which makes it more scary.
I am also considering upping my emergency fund to $13k from $12k. I feel that at minimum we should have $12k in accessible cash at all times. But another $1k just to kind of keep for stuff like this. Like for the $1k miscalculation of tax bill. Yikes! My dh said he thinks we need a new accountant (joking of course).
Well, we'll see. I got a couple of weeks to ponder. Before final estimates are due for 2007.
Since all of our money is in ROTHS I am glad to not go through that this year. Done done done. Was a lot of tax money in the interim. We converted about $30k over 2 years (at a tax rate of 15% though, which was sweet). I forget that is the other reason our IRA contributions were so dismal this year and last. A good $6k in taxes, plus more for losing a chunk of our medical deductions. But I figure the ROTH conversion was WELL worth it. & we're done! Now it should grow tax-free. Forever. We'll see what Congress says bout that in a decade or 2 or 3... But for now it's looking pretty good. & I don't have to fork over a few extra thousand to the IRS next year. phew.
Oh anyway, in other news, MIL got over her threat not to take the kids (though she was the one that begged in the first place). Dh finally talked me into it, which was fine since I figured I would work much. Just did not think this much!! So he and the kids left me last night. I went to the gym. I worked. I never sleep well alone.
Dh will be back soon. They went to the "Walking With dinosaurs" show in San Jose. I just talked to them. They took BM to a Japanese restaurant afterwards (they went with my dad) and said he had a great time. I was relieved that he was enjoyed. DH finally admitted that it would have been too scary for LM. We have been arguing about this for ages. He really wanted to take him. I really didn't want to spend the money. sure he LOVES dinosaurs, but these would probably just scare him. Plus he is 2. He wouldn't remember if he liked it. So I win finally. Yeesh.
Today I went into work all morning, and I guess I should go scrounge up some lunch. With 2 nights alone with dh it is tempting to go out. But we are terribly broke. Trying not to spend anything but gas and groceries to Friday. So I think we'll just have to eat in.
I never got to making a cake for christmas but I have all the ingredients. A treat I Was thinking about. That's something!
But I will work a few more hours today before dh gets home, and much of tomorrow. I guess his mom offered to watch the kids in the end, if dh worked on some video thing for her. As long as he is productive. (She gets so annoyed when she takes the kids and we don't like clean house or something. Like of course the first thing we do in freedom is clean the house. ??? Is she crazy? LOL. But I am glad dh has a project since I am so swamped. Then again I wouldn't be surprised if he just watches movies all day).
As for Monday I will work as long as I have to. Maybe 5... OR 6... Hopefully get off sooner. I do have a deadline in none of my clients will stick around after that anyway. Will just have to get it all done.
Will relax and enjoy tuesday. & no FAMILY. Phew!!! LOL. Dh is picking up the kids Monday afternoon. MEeting 1/2 way.
& I might just roll into work late Wednesday. I need a bit of recovery. Actually I can get away with taking the next weekend off. Phew. can't say that for another 4 months after... IT's starting!!!
Dh wants to go to San Jose for his dad's birthday around the 31st. I Want to throttle him. We have been there about 10 times in the last 3 months. Our auto fuel bill is insane. I told him we can not afford to keep up this pace. We generally keep it low key during tax season. & this time of year of course is always crazy. But it has been completely out of control. Some business there every weekend. We are going to the dentist in 2 or 3 weeks, and our nephew's birthday another weekend.
He has got to be kidding me. I Was just upset. My parents had birthdays on the 15th and the 28th. No we did not go, because those were the ONLY 2 weekends in 2 months we weren't going. Who cares????? Yeesh!!!! Well, he was there for my mom's birthday yesterday, but I Wasn't. I gave her her gift on christmas.
So that is our fight of the day. He offered to compromise the nephew's birthday, but I don't think that's fair to the kids. Of course I could probably do without either birthday really... I probably won't go to either; I'll be working.
He did tell me that gas might go up to $4 come summer (predictions I guess). HE said we might as well enjoy. He may have a point. Because lord knows we aren't going anywhere near this pace at $4/gallon.
We honestly have barely been over our gas budget, if at all. Our grocery stores are having gas price wars. & I always padded the gas budget because of ever rising prices. But I know we could save a hell of a lot money if we stopped driving 250 miles round-trip every weekend! So here's to tax season. Too busy for the drive.
It's tough though. The problem is kids are older and easier to travel with and he is certainly not too busy for the drive. So I am wary. I have to say it is nice that so little really separates us from substantial time with our family. But we really have to invite them up here more. maybe next time MIL gives us a chunk of cash I should just put it in the driving fund. PArt of me thinks it has been kind of nice. But mostly I look to a calmer few months ahead. It's just too much to pack up and head out every dang weekend.
But yeah, they picked the dates for Florida because they had to be there ON grandpa's birthday. They just drive me nuts with that stuff. They were really peeved I didn't go but it was a tax deadline for Pete's sake. Like they couldn't of moved the party back a few days? But anyway, worked out, I couldn't have gone to Japan if I had went. I just have to remember they drive me crazy, but it worked out. & well, if it's that important to dh.... So be it. There are much worse things he could demand. But I will still grumble when I spend that weekend alone and they run up the credit card with unnecessary fuel expenditures. LOL.
Well, enough procrastinating. Back to work for me!
$9,468.87 - Balance 12/24
$ 175.00 - December Interest
$ 60.00 - Cash to Savings
$9,703.87 - Balance 12/26
Well, Interest posted for GMAC today. I did a large balance transfer mid-month, so had a little more interest than usual. I have one expiring in March or April so might have a few months of over $200/month interest in the interim. Sweet! Then it will be time to pay back Balance Transfer #1. Which is fine. I don't want to really juggle 3 balance transfers. But I took this one out in anticipation of the other one ending soon enough. I have a 5.7% rate locked in at the bank through October, so I will extend these out until October at the least. I don't intend to do any balance transfers in 2009. Let our FICOs rest, cut up the cards, etc. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. EASY money. We might try again in 2010. Since I will now have all the BTs in my name, I am just curious what it does to my FICO. & depends from there how we proceed. If it doesn't make a blip I would consider doing one BT at a time for a while. More than 1 is just more work I guess. I am being optimistic mostly that the money won't be needed so much next year (well, 2009). It has been awesome to help build back up our efund though.
My mom also handed me $60 for groceries (Christmas dinner and such). Since I am just depositing it into the bank, it's challenge money. That was easy money too.
We have a carseat to sell. So might get to $10,750 by year-end. We'll see! Not much else on the horizon.
$9,428.87 - Balance 12/21
$ 40.00 - Sold Pack N Play
$9,468.87 - Balance 12/24
My mom told me she would give me some money for groceries for tomorrow. So I am putting this $40 and that (probably $40 - we'll see tomorrow) into the bank.
Means I should probably hit $9500 tomorrow. With interest that will be $9650 or so at the end of the month.
I think I will be just $300 short. & we were so close. We had all this stuff come up last week that I thought we might come up with an extra $300 (between 2 different $300 opportunities). But they both fell through. What a bummer.
I am not that bummed. But $10k was a good goal. Just not so sure I'll make it. I wouldn't be surprised if I work a good 10 hours overtime next weekend and I am due some overtime anyway. Crossing my fingers if I put in a big weekend that my boss will take pity and give me some overtime 12/31. We'll see. (We just get random overtime bonuses when we work hard.
Not strict overtime or anything since I am salaried).
Thanks goodness for my Net Worth progress. Yeesh. It really helps to look at the big picture. BEcause the small picture is stressing me out. (Though the big picture looks good?)
I am just looking at the checkbook and feel in the red. I am in the red. I have no idea what my bonus will be today (probably not much) and no idea what my raise will be come Jan. 1. ??? It could make all the difference.
I have considered taking a few hundred from the emergency fund. Not much, and I could put it back soon enough. But, then I am thinking, I have to replace my windshield now. I have to get LM into the dentist (just dreading this in every way shape or form - he has an extra tooth - and I just don't want to go there with my baby. What could they possibly do that wouldn't hurt him? I've been through it all and so it is hard to put him through it. But he's 2, and if there is anything preventative we could do...)
So I am just like, how in the heck are we going to pay for all this stuff? Preschool in insane right now (though it will help me to work more overtime, which is the whole point).
I just feel cash poor and it stresses me out. Drained our short-term savings for all the bills, and it will be tight until April. Interestingly, there are no bills over the summer so the short term savings grows quite large in the summer and gives us wiggle room. We will also pull BM out of preschool in the summer, in prep for kindergarten, and I will also get my overtime bonus in may or so. So come summer it will all be looking rosy.
For now, I just feel bad because we got all this Christmas money and my checking account is in the red. Bah. I feel like I failed this year because I Was going to save all that extra money. Put it to retirement or something. Instead it is al bills bills bills.
But really, the worst of all, is the idea of touching the e-fund. I just have to breathe. I Was going to start funding our car fund with my overtime. I was going to get a hefty $5k start in the Spring. So if I have to take an advance on that to repair my windshield, the world will not end. IT's the only way I can look at it. & same for LM. If he needs some work, and it can't wait. I guess, emergency.
For the long run this is not the kind of stuff efund is for. But until we build up more cash, guess it will do. I just have to remember summer will be more favorable. & this time of year is crack down for us. (Save for this preschool thing). I am way to flipping busy to do anything or buy anything. So here's to the next few months).
I think I am just disappointed because I thought I was moving past these stressed out meltdowns. Guess not!
But yeah, I just feel stressed. I couldn't do credit card debt. I think I would have a coronary. I just get this way when my money moves backwards. & I am really stressed at work. So I guess the stress is just carrying over...
Well yesterday was nice. We drove to see family. We picked up Taco Bell on the way, for us and my parents, and we went to pick up my dad and check out the Childrens' Museum. I had never been - it is newer. It was GREAT!!!!!!!! BM is so into science that I am not sure he favored this one. They had some same things, but this one is newer and more polished. & completely geared to younger kids. I asked him which museum he liked more, but this was apparently a tie. MEaning he loved it, but was no greater to him than the other museum.
LM on the other hand, LOVED it. It was right up his alley. Much more so than the exploratorium. They had, for one, an ambulance and a fire truck to play in. Oh, these were big hits. They also hand sand and water play areas which were where the kids spent the most time.
Best of all, it was free. We paid $5 to park, and we had some kind of coupon. I am sure we could have found free parking if we tried too. It was downtown by where we used to work. In fact I know just where we can park free when LM is a little older and up for more walk. (we just don't do strollers).
We usually buy Sac zoo memberships every year, but I am not a big fan of the zoo. I think it is terrible, personally. We come to Happy Hollow in San Jose & the San Francisco zoo is VERY nice. Then you go to Sac. They just don't have the space. Whenever they have a roving display, I cringe. The bug one was full of dead bugs. Lately they had penguins (in the middle of our 110 degree summers) and though I hope they were properly air conditioned, they were stored in a very cramped space. I never liked the place anyway, but I didn't get any joy from their penguin display. All I could think was, "poor penguins."
Every year we get the in-laws a membership there, because they can trade with the zoos in the Bay area, but Sac was always cheaper. Anyway, I guess they stopped reciprocating (probably too many people taking the same advantage). So I bought them a Happy Hollow membership this year (San Jose zoo). BUT, um, I noticed the price looked a little cheaper. Cheaper than Sac! I guess I should have checked every year. Plus they reciprocate with a lot of the museums around here. I realize, we really need to bring LM back a few times. Will keep an eye out for deals and stuff. But the membership will help. I believe it is 1/2 price for the museum with reciprocation, but we'll have to check.
Anyway, before we were just cheap. But now I am kind of just happy to not give my money to sac zoo anyway. Dh did mention, well, could we still get in sac zoo then? I say, who cares. But I think there is some reciprocation. We just don't go enough. I could care less if I go again. Not sure why the kids care when they go to better zoos often enough.
I figure maybe next April we'll just buy a membership. Try to take advantage. No point with my busy season coming up, for now...
Unfortunately the one place that reciprocates with no one is Monterey Bay Aquarium. So expensive. But worth it I guess. Try to go once a year. But I wish we could get even a teensy weensy discount!
Anyway, for dinner yesterday we ordered in Thai with our parents. We were going to do that Christmas, but dh, very forward thinking, called to check, and they are closed this year!!! Bummer! We ordered in last Christmas. We have been looking around but looks like no one will be open. Now it's take & bake pizza for lunch, and dh will cook us dinner. Just something simple.
So we got our Thai food last night. It was DIVINE. They Bay Area has the ethic food way more covered than Sac. So it was a treat.
The kids slept like logs. So we did our job.
Oh, one other thing. If I have cheap tendencies, I get them from my dad. From my parents. YEsterday as we were heading out, my mom called. I had noticed all my tired were 5 pounds low (I swore I just filled them. But then I wonder if I filled them since I got new tires, since they always seem to keep them 5 pounds lower than I like). So I stopped to fill up air. I had plenty of gas so just pulled out 2 quarters at the convenient place. So my mom calls and dh mentions something about it as I am asking him for quarters. So when we got there my parents were all upset I had paid for air. What was I thinking? LOL. I just thought it was funny. The truth is I know all the places to get free air easily in San Jose, and when we moved to Sac, it was like impossible to find. So yeah, this one place charges 50 cents, but it is flipping convenient. Keep in mind they have put in 10 gas stations closer to our house since.
I did go to the closer one and try to put air in one time. The clerk told me it was free. Okay then. Well it was of the new-fangled variety and for the life of me I could not figure the thing out. It looked kind of neat if only I could figure it out. So my family picked on me for not asking for help. They have a point, but I hate asking for help.
Anyway, I fill up our tires maybe twice a year. Eh. But I have been wasting money there for sure.
Funny how 50 cents could cause such a stir. I told dh figure out the free ones and give me a lesson and I swear I will never pay for air again.
Oh yeah, and I almost totally forgot. I got a big crack on my windshield yesterday. My dad said he knew a place that would fix it for $100. But dh called and they are closed to Jan. 1. Does not help. Will be on our own to figure it out. Last time I think we paid closer to $500. But I think we will shop around harder. It needs to be fixed though. Like ASAP. It just keeps growing... Dh was driving me nuts the whole ride, monitoring it. I assured him the glass was safe and it would be fine. But should be fixed all the same... I wasn't exactly worried about is shattering or anything. Dh was so funny. It's just a crack, yeesh. But, blech. More money to spend. I took it as a sign that I have no business looking at cars. I said so much to the crack since I think we were talking about my future convertible when a big rock hit the windshield. I said to the crack, fine, your point is well taken. LOL. LEss money for convertibles, more for window replacements. Yeesh!