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Archive for December, 2012

Year end wrap up

December 30th, 2012 at 03:03 pm

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time off from work this week. I've really been able to disconnect, which is unusual for me.

The end of the year is wrapping up nicely:

1) Kids went to the dentist, and DS has his annual doctor appointment on Monday

2) Finalized the 2013 budget and am pretty happy with where it stands.

3) Organized the rest of my finances, including an inventory of gift cards, getting the kids to deposit their Christmas money in the bank, etc.

4) DH, the kids and I are going to dad's today to see him for Christmas. I usually visit him every couple of weeks by myself, so he'll be excited to see the rest of the family with me.

5) Submitted by 2013 Death Bet entries. Had to make a few late minute switches, but I'm pretty happy with my list.

I do have a few things to do tomorrow. I need to get the year end balances on my 401(k) and other accounts, return a few things from Christmas, and run a few errands. We're planning a very quiet New Year's Eve - at most one family will come over, otherwise we'll be on our own, which means family game night and Ryan Seacrest's show.

I set my 2013 goals on my sidebar. I'm focusing on 2: Paying down my HELOC and losing weight. (Gee, do you think anyone else has New Year's goals to save money and lose weight? LOL!). Here's the plan:

With regard to the HELOC, based on the 2013 budget I layed out, I should be able to save at least $500/month through the 1st half of the year, and $1500/month in the 2nd half of the year. That would be $12k, with the rest coming from odds and ends money. So I think it's reasonable.

With regard to the weight loss, I'm down 7 pounds from the beginning of October. Getting to the gym 3-4 times per week should be doable, and hubby and I are moving to a healthier diet (more toward vegetarian without being over the top). In order to meet the goal, I'd need to lose less than 1/2 pound per week, which I think is a legitimate goal.

I've gotten back to Swagbucks after many months away, and snagged 3 quick $5 gift cards to Amazon. I'm going to shoot for 1 per week, and put it toward my 2013 Christmas fund. I've also gotten back to Viggle, and had enough points to get 3 $5 gift cards there too. I can't wrack these up as quickly as Swagbucks, maybe 1 every 2 weeks, so that will be my 2013 goal there.

I hope everyone has a safe, happy, healthy New Year!

Gift Cards

December 27th, 2012 at 07:43 pm

BankerGurl has inspired me. I went through a pile of gift cards to see what I have. They'll all be used, so I don't want to sell them, but I need to be aware that I have them so I can plan ahead. Here's the list:

1) Verizon Visa GC $120 for renewing my 2-yr agreement.
2) Exxon $279 I buy these for 20% off, then use them to buy my gas.
3) Barnes & Noble $25 GC received for Christmas
4) Starbucks 3 cards totalling $50, rec'd for Christmas
5) Lowes $19.25
6) Staples $40 I'll use this for ink and back-to-school
7) Amazon $10 from Swagbucks. Shooting for $5/week in 2013
8) $15 Itunes GC
9) $25 Home Depot card

In addition, I received a $500 bonus from work, that I can use to buy gift cards from a number of stores. Unfortunately, the list does not include groceries or gas. I can use it for restaurants, or general stores like JCP or Kohls. There's no expiration, so I'll need to think about how best to use it.

I also have $44.72 in Staples Rewards, and $3 in CVS ECBs, both of which will hit on January 1.

My plan is to use the rewards and gift cards throughout the year to help keep my budget on track, during those months when I would otherwise go over. If I don't need them, I'll save them, as none of them expire.

Channeling my inner Dr. Seuss

December 26th, 2012 at 09:54 pm

DH is having a bout of gout. It's knocking him out, without a doubt. (OK, maybe Seuss is better).

It's been on and off for about 6 weeks. He's going to see a rheumatoid doctor and his regular physician over the next week. In the meantime, we have committed to move toward a more vegetarian diet. This will be tough because we're total carnivores, but not impossible. The plan is to start small - 2 vegetarian and 2 vegan meals per week, and smaller portions of meat on the other days. We'll try that through January and see how it goes. There are so many vegetarian items in the regular grocery store nowadays, so we'll try them out and see which ones we can substitute without noticing it.

Aside from that, I'm off from work this week. Using the time to get the house back in order after hosting people throughout the month, and prepping for 2013. And we're seeing the Hobbit tomorrow!