January 2017 for us, like most families, was mostly spent in survival mode. But not because of any holiday hangover as we paid for Christmas with cash. No, three of our family birthdays are in January and I’m on a mission to make memories.
Also, because I am a lousy mom, I missed my youngest son’s 12 month and 18 month photo sessions, but was adamant that we secure his 2 year images on film. Forget the townhouse that hasn’t sold. Forget putting any seeds in the dirt. THIS is important!
THREE birthdays in one party? YES.
We had one huge dual-kids blowout party
with a surprise 40th snuck in for good measure.
These parties required a massive housecleaning effort on the part of my husband and me. Toward the end, I was thinking, UGH, just pull the blinds all the way up and no one will know I didn’t clean them!
Did I mention I made three homemade cakes for the party?
This move alone saved over a hundred dollars. I baked the surprise cake while the hubs was out picking up the pizzas and balloons. I picked up most of the party supplies really cheap or on clearance throughout last year, and made the rest of it myself. We mailed the invitations on postcards made from 4×6″ matte photos for 43 cents each (34 cent postage plus 9 cents per print). The bulk of the cash outlay did go out in January for party food and postage.
After a realistic tally of money spent, efforts exhausted, time & planning invested…
let’s get real:
We’re going to Chuck E Cheese next year.
Speaking of birthdays…we have more births to announce:
We had several baby chicks hatch out, but decided to temporarily house them in the basement to protect them from Jenny, the cold, and nighttime predators.
They were so loud, we could hear them cheep-cheeping from the main floor.
Two of our goats, a mother & daughter, both gave birth on the same day, and now we have two adorable goat kids on the farm.
The little girl is a beautiful chestnut brown with a white belt around her waist. The little boy is a red-head with red knees. I’ll post pictures soon!
…and I’m so relieved I finally got around to scheduling our long-overdue family photography session.
It totally rained, the ground was soggy and it was cold outside.
But we had a great photographer and made it work. Bonus: my kids had zero minutes of warm-up/shy time around the guy with the camera! You’d better believe THAT’s going in my gratitude journal!
Back to business.
Because I was focused on of all the birthday planning and photo taking, I spent less time planning meals, less effort trying to sell the townhouse, and I didn’t write any blog posts.
I remember thinking, I just need another four hours in the day. Four!
You know how ambitious I get.
Instead of planned grocery shopping at Aldi, I rushed to Wal-Mart and Dollar General during my lunch breaks, which brought our grocery expenditures to about 30% more than average.
At my day job, we had a restructuring that increased my workload temporarily and I’m still getting my processes in place for handling those new accounts. I spent several of my lunches this month working, instead of the usual meal planning, writing checks, making phone calls, and other general tasks that I squeeze in where I can.
January is also the month that many of the annual bills come due,
such as our Amazon Prime membership ($107 this year due to new tax laws, thanks!) and our cord blood storage fees ($150). We’ve been actively working on reducing our utility bill by using our wood burning heater in the basement, wearing long sleeves and socks, and blocking drafts at the doors, but I couldn’t tell if that made a difference in the utility bill this year. Alabama weather is so iffy from year to year.
So, here’s the math…
|Total Debt Payoff Percentage:||7.81%|
You’ll notice I combined our credit card debt into one line item now. I have other adjustments to make in the coming months, as time allows.
KEY OBSERVATION: While our Net Worth has increased $4,975 since last month, our total debt payoff percentage backslid a bit because our credit card balances have increased.
I still consider this progress.
We are again in cash hoarding mode since the townhouse still hasn’t sold, and are now considering hiring another realtor to move things along. Our first two go-rounds with realtors didn’t go that well. At least it won’t be up to _me_ personally to market and show the home. The relief of that pressure alone will free me up to get cracking on some other projects. This townhouse costs us about $900-$1,000 per month between the mortgage, insurance and utilities. We could sure use that money toward paying off the credit cards and the townhouse.
At least we don’t have to live in it with toddlers while we keep it show-quality. What have you had to put on a backburner so you could focus on your most important tasks?
Tell me! I want to hear from you. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: I’ve started bullet journaling officially this year, since all my planners kind of look like that by the end of the year anyway. Excited to see if it makes me any more productive or if it’s just another thing to fuel my obsessive need for blank notebooks. Even if that is the case, it’s very relaxing to color in some doodles. You should try it. Even looking at other people’s journals is inspiring.