Friday, March 27, 2015

Progress

One of Hubby's college buddies was in town yesterday and he stopped by to say hi. Guess what he does? He is a Financial Planner! His brief visit turned into a several hour chat about finance, portfolio building and estate planning into the wee hours of the night. Right on time. We also talked about general life and having perspective so it wasn't all about money but I must admit that just about every off topic came back to it. LOL. But in such an educational, non-judgemental, non-intimidating way. It was a great catch up and really gave us some clarity on the financial side. I am even more encouraged that we can attempt to take a stab at managing our portfolio on our own.  Even Hubby got excited about finances. We'll see. :)

We are definitely in progress to getting things in order. And have been doing our due diligence and research. Remember my list of things to do? Here's  what we have accomplished this week:

  • Cleaned all of the windows! It wasn't pleasant, but it's done. :)
  • Met with financial planners to discuss our options and their recommendations for us. We have not signed any paper work and not sure if we will any time in the near future, but it's nice to sit down and talk finances with a professional.  I came away feeling more knowledgeable and closer to making a decision about the changes needed to our portfolio.  These are all free introductory sessions where they go over your current standing and discuss their services. But after talking with Hubby's buddy, we are leaning toward managing our portfolio ourselves. And we are totally excited about it. 
  • I changed my name! Yes, I finally made my way to the social security office.  A few days later I went to the DMV and paid for my new license  I've gotten my new SS card in the mail already and waiting on my license.
I didn't get everything done, but the week isn't over yet. I still have the weekend. Still have to make that goodwill drop. 


¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prioritizing Goals

The end of February through March, we've been very lenient as far as the budget goes.  Our account dipped to the lowest it has been since we merged finances.  I have to say that my brain is just not taking to this very well.  When the account gets critically low, I get nervous...stressed. 

I'm also thinking of all the new goals we need to start tackling,  and deciding which comes first is consuming.  I think I now have a good handle on the order (though my opinion changes time to time) but getting a little concerned on how long it will take us to get there. Years, it will take years. Just thinking about it grows my impatience. There are just so many! And all with big price tags.  But other than winning the lotto (which I don't play might I add) or drastically increasing our income (don't know how) I just have to be patient, work on the goals and enjoy life!

I'm going to write everything out and break them down into short term and long term goals.  That way I focus on just a few at a time.  It will still be a little unnerving just knowing that we have so much ahead but I think it will be helpful.  We are currently interviewing financial planners too so I'll talk more about our experience and decisions in a separate post. 

I'll be back with the breakdown of those goals and will also update my trackers in the margin accordingly.

¡Pura Vida!

Photobucket

Monday, March 23, 2015

Back At Home And Back To Business

Back in the swing of things. After the girls trip I stayed a week with my sister, had more arepas and fantastic fresh fruit juices. Sugar cane juice! OMG! I worked the entire week so I wasn't on vacation but it was a nice reprieve anyway.

And guess what, I have yet to file my taxes!! EEK! This is the first time in my adult working life that March has hit (and almost gone!) and my taxes have not been filed and refund (if any) collected. Talk about relaxed state of mind. Geesh. We've been teetering with filing separately or jointly and obviously we lack decisiveness.  From my research, I think joint filing will work more in our favor. 

My usual tax buddy has retired from doing taxes and I am still trying to figure out our best option without spending a small fortune. I can't let this drag into April so I plan on making a decision this week.  

The guest room project is on its way but definitely not near completion. I need to purchase some lighting, bed linens and accessories.  Picture frames need to be filled and hung. But since we've already busted the "home stuff" budget this month, I need to wait until next month to get more things. Here's where we are so far...


 

Just the shell.  Still have to pull it together.  The walls are a french white and I am digging the color.  Can't wait until this project is over and I get to see it come together.

I've been meaning to clean all of our windows as well but their filthy state has me procrastinating. I'm not just talking the glass here, open the window and check the bay! (Is that what it's called?  I don't know.) That's where all the dust grime and bugs collect. LOL. I plan to get that done this week. Lots of water, vinegar and q-tips will be used for this. Not looking forward to this as I have no idea the last time these things were cleaned. The build up is serious. Most of them anyway. I cleaned the guest bedroom windows after painting the room earlier this month, so at least those 3 should just be a quick tidy up. No pictures, too embarrassing. :-s

Hubby and I have a follow up meeting with the financial advisers I talked about this week as well. Then there's my 2-3 personal training sessions. This is going to be my last month for a while. I need to redirect that money to other goals. Did I mention that my mom's car broke down? Yeah, so we want to help her with that as well. Since the warmer weather is upon us I have no excuse not to work out on my own. More running, more outdoor activities, more daylight!

I've got a goodwill drop to make, need to visit the social security office, and figure out my meals for the week. 

My to do list is long but I have to get everything done. And I started today!  

Seriously, this was like 4 posts wrapped in one.  :)) 

¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket

Friday, March 20, 2015

Newlywed Diaries: Adjusting To A Family Budget

Combining incomes and working from one budget has taken some adjustment.  I think we are slowly getting into the swing of things, but it has not come without some growing pains. 

Hubby never worked with a budget before and he'd basically just spend. His only indicator that he was over budget was his card being declined. I know, cringe. And it's not like he's a shopper or gets lavish things. In fact, his friends call cheap. Everyone calls him cheap. He is known for being cheap! :)) But just because you don't splurge doesn't mean you're good with money. He still spent a lot of money on eating out because he did so every.single.day, every.single.meal. He never managed to save much because he never gave himself a budget. 

Me on the other hand, budget crazy. Which can certainly be annoying and Hubby has had some moments of frustration with me and my budgets. But guess what, my system works and his doesn't. ;) Even still, he has made me realize that maybe I need to loosen up a bit. So while he's learning to tighten things up, I'm learning that it's OK if every dime isn't specifically assigned. I'm also learning to develop my patience muscle. I can't expect Hubby to acclimate to this budgeting thing immediately as there will be an adjustment curve. 

We still have moments where we don't see eye to eye, like what constitutes a personal expense. In my head it's clear as day- him there's a ton of grey area. So we go back and forth on this sometimes. We try to keep these conversations light and fun and laugh our way through them. Most times we are successful at it, sometimes not so much. But in order to stay on budget and increase our financial stability, these conversations must happen so that we are successful in our marriage and life. 

¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nostalgia - Butternut Squash Fritters

Sometimes I miss home so badly. And it's not really home I miss, it's my mom. I bought a butternut squash a few weeks ago and it was time to do something with it. Since I've been longing for a taste of home I wanted to try squash fritters like mommy makes. So I called her up and tried my hand.

You know it's a down home recipe that your mom learned from her mom and maybe even went back another generation when the ingredients go like this; first you boil the squash, then you add some flour, add some sugar add some this and some that. Well how much is "some" ma? Man just add til it looks right. Lol. No measurements, you just feel your way to a delicious dish.

Mine are no where as tasty as mommy's but they will have to do for now to get me over this hump. And I know they don't look so hot but they were much better than they look. I'll try these over and over again until I perfect them. Because these must have a place at our table for years to come.


¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Inspiring Reunion

Hey party people! 

Last weekend I got together with some high school...actually junior high girlfriends so we could re-connect and catch up in person. I had been in touch with each of them throughout the years but having them all at my wedding brought the circle back together. We said that weekend of the wedding that we would do a girls trip to really get some time together and we stayed true to our word and made it happen. I haven't even been married for a year so we were definitely motivated and plan to make this a tradition. 

We took a mini vacay to south Florida and had a blast. I ate my belly beyond content and just enjoyed the time rejuvenating those relationships. 

Best meal of the weekend? Arepas!! Just yum. 

The best thing that came from the weekend, besides spending time together, was just discussing life and goals.  So many ideas were born, so much motivation and inspiration was spread. I was fed spiritually and emotionally by our time together. We talked about projects we'd like to do together and I think something really special happened that weekend. I'll just say that I've got work to do!

These are friendships that were formed over 20 years ago and I am grateful that they continue to be strong.  That is all. 

¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket

Friday, March 13, 2015

Financial Housekeeping

Now that we have paid off all debts (except the house), it's time for us to get our financial house in order. I had a meeting with a couple financial advisers a few weeks ago and as they asked me questions I realized that I had let planning for the future sit all the way in the very back of the bus. I hadn't checked my retirement account, much less hubby's, in forever. I had no idea our balances, what accounts hubby had and just felt completely unorganized. Since then I have been gathering all of our account information and creating a portfolio.

I used to have a mint.com account years ago but deleted my account for a few reasons. But now trying to keep track of all of our retirement accounts, mortgage, joint accounts and EF separately may be a bit much so I am considering rejoining to assist me in that aspect.

It is now time to save. It's time to increase our retirement contributions and start contributing to our Roths (need to open one for Hubby). I want to get a substantial Emergency Fund (EF) in place before we attack the mortgage. We have a few more goals to consider as well before focusing on the mortgage but I'll talk about those goals separately and as we get into them.

I now feel like I have a good handle on where we stand and need to start doing proper research and learning the investment game. Time to build our net worth.

¡Pura Vida!
Photobucket