Tag: Improvement

Things We Are Teaching Our Kids about Budgeting

September 12, 2017

Hey Everyone,

People seem to have kids, be having kids, or thinking about having kids. It must be something in the water for people to have that kind of activity. I have two of my own.

Growing up my dad would get paid at the beginning of the month and then would expect to be able to go shopping at that time and that the food would last us the entire month. That would be $300 to last 5 people (2 adults, 3 growing kids) and 1 black Labrador. More often than not it didn’t. We would run out of food about a week into the month and live off of nothing but Top Ramen, pasta (in any way you can possibly think of- dry; with butter; salt and pepper; etc), or just dry cereal. Sometimes it would last two weeks in. I’m so glad that my siblings and I were able to get food at the school, otherwise, it would have gotten even worse.  During the summers, and breaks were the hardest for us.

If you were to hear this, many people would think that we didn’t have money, were poor, or were just down on our luck. The truth is, my dad actually got enough money to support us decently for the entire month and not have to worry about anything. The problem was that my dad didn’t know how to manage his money. Or make wise money decisions.

This is sad that some kids have to go through this. As a way to counteract this with my own kids, Husband and I implemented a way for the kids to earn money, and have the freedom to choose how to spend it, within reason.

chore Chart Since it’s the beginning of the school year I bought 2 different chore chart notations. (To the left is for my oldest). This is a tester model to see if this system is a right fit for my kids. On the left side is the weekly dates. Across the top are 5 repeating expectations for my oldest with monetary values:

Homework- 2 cents

Quiet Time- 3 Cents

Pick Up Toys- 1 Cent

Eye Patching- 2 cents

All 4- 2 cent incentive

So far it is having mixed results for the effectiveness. My oldest is in Kindergarten so he doesn’t come home with homework. So there are two workbook pages that he CAN work on if he wants. Quiet time is during the times that I’m working. I cannot be on the phones at home and have someone hear, “Mommy, can you come wipe my butt? I pooped”. They need to be quiet. Picking up toys is so easy and basic. And eye patching, oh man. With my son’s eye problems, he hates wearing his eye patch, for every day that he wears one for the full 6 hours, he gets some money. As you can see the ones that are consistently being not done are the homework and toys.

At the end of the day, I will put a sticker in the correct spot to show that he accomplished the task and then on Friday I will pay him accordingly. I will give him pennies for each task completed and any incentive that was earned, and also make a separate pile for the money that was missed out on so he can see what not doing something does for him. Once I’ve finished divvying out the pennies we will count and exchange for Nickels and Dimes. Quarters are needed for laundry money so he won’t be getting any of those, unfortunately. But he’s still learning about how to exchange money.

Incentives

On Friday’s I get a weekly report from his teacher about his behavior and anything special that happened so he will get 10 cents for every “Dojo” point he gets during the week as an incentive to listen to his teacher. Also, if he does anything “extra” that is paid out on that day, right after it happens, i.e. putting away dishes, matching socks, taking out the bathroom trash.

Friday is the only day that he can “buy” something. The reason for this is because we needed to limit when he would be able to utilize his money. And make conscious decisions about it, right when he gets it, instead of changing his mind. Plus, if he wants to buy something on Wednesday night, he will have a couple days to think it over if he really wants it or not. He could buy a piece of candy for 50 cents, a soda for $1.00, an hour playing on my iPad for $5.00, and if he saves enough money ($10) he can pay to have a bowling night. Bowling night is something that the boys decided they wanted if they were to save a lot of money.

Also, we are teaching consequences and that some bad or negative choices come at a price. If my oldest son is being mean to his brother then he has to pay a 5 cent fine, pay 10 cents for every “Dojo” point taken away by his teacher, 50 cents for losing his temper/throws a temper tantrum. There are other things that he can do to pay a fine, but he is a good kid.

First Buy

This proud guy has saved $4.50 and decided that he wanted a soda so he with his own $1 money he walked with Husband down to the gas station and bought his own. You can tell he is so proud of himself.

The reason why I’m doing this is that I want my kids to be money smart and learn to make financial decisions, learn the value of $1. I know that next year because things will be different, we will need to change the chores, and also change the values. Next year he won’t get paid for picking up his toys, while his younger brother won’t be paid 1 cent for going on the potty (I am not a fan of potty training).

Being financially smart on this journey is imperative because there is no need to go into debt for a vacation. Start being smart with your money now, so that it will be easier when we cross that finish line together!!

See you on the other side!!

Advertisements
3 Financial Focuses for 4th Quarter of 2017

3 Financial Focuses for 4th Quarter of 2017

September 7, 2017

Hey Everyone,

It’s coming upon the last quarter of 2017 so this is the time of the year we need to be more financially focused to end the year strong and start 2018 even more financially stable.

Here are 3 financial goals that my husband and I are focusing in the 4th quarter of 2017:

  1. Financial Diligence
    1. What I mean by financial diligence is sticking to the budget. I found a great free budgeting document that allows me to use Excel, and see any adjusted amounts. At first, it was a little time consuming to re-name everything because I did it individually for each page and then, my husband seeing my frustration was like, “What the f**** are you doing? You can just copy and paste the name into the cell you want because those don’t have any formulas.” He then proceeded to take over and finished what I had been slaving over for an hour in 2 minutes. I still say I did most of the work, it still got done.
    2. With all the extra money I will be working during the Federal Open Enrollment (FOE) we cannot just spend the money earned unwisely. We need to be focusing specifically putting that extra money on paying rent ahead. The goal is to pay 4 months of rent ahead in 2018 (January- April), so that during January- April when we get the GI Bill and Tax return we can put it towards the rest of the 2018 rent. That may sound confusing, but my husband is losing his GI Bill in May of 2018, so it will no longer be paying for housing or the last semester of his schooling. We really need to be financially diligent so that when we lose 1/3 of our income it won’t be as much of a blow because we have that covered. Wish us luck on that we will need it for sure.
  2. Work, Work, Work
    1. October 15- December 7 is OEP. That is the time of the year that my job hours jump from 40 hours a week up to about 100 hours. That is some hard earned money for sure. The great thing about my job is that we DO NOT HAVE to take any extra over time (OT) that we don’t want to take, outside of the 6-10 hours mandatory. We even have the freedom to spread out the OT to whenever we want to take it. That is fantastic because I still have my training scheduled on my calendar that is not to be missed.
    2. I am actually limiting myself to about 70.5 hours a week so that I don’t get burned out, can spend some time with my family, and still make some very good money. By the end, I will be totally exhausted and want to sleep for a week, but there are only 2 more years (’17/’18) where I absolutely need to push myself to my limits. I probably still will push myself year after year, so that we get closer to our financial goals.
    3. My husband’s goal is to go to college and get good grades. So far he has a 4.0 GPA, part of the honor society, Dean’s list and even does some tutoring for those struggling in his classes. We really want him to finish school, so to help financially he put in his application at Wal-Mart as a part time courtesy clerk (a.k.a cart pusher) on the weekends. It shouldn’t interfere with his studies. That will help us financially put aside some money for 2018.
  3. Forward Dreaming
    1. We cannot be planning and pushing ourselves to this extreme without some dreams of the future. During this post, it should have given you an idea of what some of our financial dreams are for the future.
      1. End of 2017- 4 months of rent paid for 2018
      2. 2018- Finish College
      3. 2019- Pay off 25,000 in debt and save 8,000 for Dopey Challenge Adventure in January 2020
      4. 2020- Pay off 35,000 in debt
      5. 2025- 30% Down payment on a house

This is going to be one turbulent adventure for sure, glad you came along for the ride.

See you on the other side!

2017 Labor Day Run

2017 Labor Day Run

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hey Everyone,

Let me just say that the last two weeks have not been easy. There was lots of stress and frustration for both Husband and me. But we made it!!! September is here and we are going to make the most of it no matter what it takes.

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and lots of people get a three day weekend. Yay!! That’s exciting!! Please, everyone, be safe and don’t drink and drive, or set off illegal fireworks.

This morning I was almost going to skip my long run because I stayed up way too late after having friends over for games (never ever play trivia games with my husband, you will lose badly), ate way too much pizza (6 slices) and soda (3- 8 oz cans of 7-Up), and then staying up even longer because I started a mini- weekend project because of the 3 day weekend.

I still did it!! 11 Miles today. And because people seemed to like my pictures, here’s the proof.

09-03-2017 11 Mile run

09-03-2017 11 Mile Pace

As you can see, I started at 7:33 A.M. PST and I rocked it. I’m still slow and steady at a 10:13 min/mile pace. Looking at this picture, you’re probably wondering what that dip is for. No, I did not suddenly die and come back to life. As amazing as that would be to happen. For the love of my husband when I hit the halfway point/I’m coming back home I send him a quick text of the address and that I’m coming back home so that if anything were to ever happen to me, or he was to worry there would be some information to reassure him. By taking the time to do that, it causes my heart rate to drop. I wonder if my heart rate dropping that fast after being elevated for such a long time is a good thing or a bad thing?

I do know that according to my Fitbit information that my VO2 Max is 50-54 which is considered “Excellent” but I’m not a medical professional so I’ll have to trust the information given to me.

After that run, my body feels like it got hit by a cannon filled with cement, especially my hips. My stomach is screaming at me to fill it with sour cream and onion chips smothered with gravy and salt. For some reason, I have a craving for straight salt.  Totally gross. It could also be that I didn’t eat anything before I ran, so I’m at -1,065 calories for the day.

Dopey13Dopey14

Looking at my face after my long run, I had that look of I just ran 11 miles, I forgot how to speak, so do not ask me.

I am really starting to see some definition in my abdomen, upper arms, and upper back muscles. And every Thursday I’ve been going to Body Combat at my gym for the last couple of weeks so that’s some great cross training going on to add to my overall fitness routine.

For the entire month of September Husband and I planned out what meals we are going to have, including leftover days. It is a lot easier than doing a long run on Sunday, blog post, planning a list for food for the week, shopping for the food, meal prepping for the week and still managing to do all the laundry at the laundromat all in one day. Much easier this way because the list is made Saturday night. Plus, I’ve added a surprise that’s going to happen in a couple of weeks when it comes to food. Something about buying large quantities of food. . .

If you are just starting on this journey with me, or have been with me from the beginning, it’s never too late to join in. The Dopey Challenge isn’t going to be until January of 2020, so you have a bit of time to prepare yourself. Also, you do not have to do all four races by any means. You could set your goal to do the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or have it be your very first Marathon. Any and all fitness levels are more than welcome to come along. We can all learn from each other. Let’s all be Dopey together!

Laundry is calling my name.

See you on the other side!

 

5 Things to Do After a Long Run

5 Things to Do After a Long Run

August 27, 2017

Hey Everyone!

The miles are starting to build up on us, last week I ran enough miles to make my legs double think their strength, but after this routine, I felt like a whole new person. Taking proper care of yourself during this journey is very crucial not just to your physical health, but your mind. We are building and pushing our bodies to their limit, especially as we build miles on our training. This routine is what I do before going to bed after a long run.

Every Sunday night before bed, I make sure that I do these 5 things:Bubble Bath

  1. Epsom salt bath and bubble bath-
    1. I specifically use Dr. Teal’s Soothe & Sleep- Lavender because lavender is supposed to be a soothing scent and used before bed. Filling my tub with hot water, I add  2 cups of the Epsom salt and then allow the salt the dissolve before doing a 20-minute soak. My body really feels so much better after, my muscles are relaxed and feel gelatinous. Just utterly relaxed.
    2. I also add in Foaming Bubble Bath because, why not? If I’m going to take the time to do an entire body soak might as well add bubbles.
  2. Face Mask-
    1. Oh my goodness, after a week of running, working out, running after kids, and just living life our faces need a little cleansing love. I make sure to use my face cleanser and then this Green Tea Wash-Off Mask while I soak in my bath. It says to only have the mask on for 10- 15 minutes, but 5 more minutes can’t hurt too much, right?
    2. As soon as this mask touches my face I can feel the refreshing feel of it working into my skin. There’s just a burst of freshness as it just sits on my face. My husband says I look like a green monster when I do this.
  3. Decompress-
    1. While I’m sitting there just allowing my body to soak, and my face to get cleaned, the stress just melts away into nothingness and I can clearly think about all the wonderful events that are happening or just allow my mind to wander into creative thoughts about my Temperature Blanket, 2018 Financial Goals, gifts to buy for Christmas season (and stay in budget), and quite a few other things.
  4. Audible-
    1. I love listening to stories as well. Even though I really want to clear my mind of all the jumble of life, just laying there listening to Audible will help clear my mind. Right now I’m listening to the Unabridged Peter Pan read by Lily Collins, it is a great story that just takes me to another world. Even though I only listen in 20-minute increments I am able to keep up with the story.
  5. Sleep-
    1. Sleep is one of those important things that we must all experience, otherwise, we become crazy people that randomly start crying at our husband, wait. . . .that might be just me.  I don’t know about all of you but I really need my sleep, 10 hours would be wonderful. Looking at my Fitbit it seems that 7.5 hours is actually what I get each night. During the Federal Open Enrollment (October 15- December 7) it’s looking like I might be getting much less sleep. When you get more sleep after a run it is your body recovering and strengthening itself for your next run.

Start adopting a routine after a long run so that you can recover nicely. Mix and match what works for you, because what works for me will not necessarily work for you. I know some runners that will give themselves an ice bath or will binge on some full body massage. Would love some recommendations in the comments.

See you on the other side!