Tag: spreadsheets

A Detour in the Journey

February 08, 2018

Hey Everyone,

Life throws those curveballs that can either make or break a person. I have to break it to you that unfortunately the Dopey Challenge has been slightly changed. I’m taking a slight detour and postponing the finale until January 2022. You read that correctly; two years later than the original goal.

This decision was not made lightly. With any journey, it is a good thing to make sure that it is feasible for everyone involved. The reason why is mainly financial. It just isn’t going to be financially possible.

2018 is so that Husband can finish College

2019 and 2020 are to pay off debts.

2021 is to save for this journey

2022- Dopey Challenge

With the postponement of this journey, there is more opportunity to save for a grand adventure. Plus, on the good side, the boys will be 8 and 10 so they can do the 5K and possibly the 10K with me (or at least Monster can) and Husband can run the Half Marathon with me.

I have more time to train properly with more running, eating, and sleeping. All three things I absolutely love to do anyway, but I want to make sure I don’t hurt myself. More time to prepare my body for the rigorous stress it’s going to endure.

Another plus is that my niece and her guardians are going to plan on coming with us as well in 2022. In a house full of males it would be nice to have a manicure/massage with another female or two. . . All the possibilities.

Not giving up, just another detour.

See you on the other side!



A Cold Tax Season is Here

February 06, 2018

Hey Everyone,

Looks like some groundhog saw his shadow so we are getting another 6 weeks of winter. Living in Reno, NV we either get Winter or Summer, there is no in between, not really.  So I guess we are just going to be colder a little longer than usual. Others out there might have a different take on that with a foot (or two….eeek!!) of snow pelting down on them.

Also, while it is cold it is also tax season. I know many people who absolutely dread doing their taxes and wait until the very last day, Tuesday, April 17. In exactly 70 days.  Please, do not procrastinate. I beg you. If you owe something, better to get it over with and pay than to accrue interest. The government doesn’t mess around with people owing money.

Yesterday, instead of going for my scheduled 3 miles run Husband and I buckled down and submitted our 2017 taxes. It took us about a total of an hour doing it together. Over the last 5 tax seasons, we’ve gotten into a pretty good rhythm of how we do everything. During the year itself if there are any medical bills, major expenses (car for the 2017 year for us), etc. we immediately put it in the tax years file in our cabinet. Then when we’ve received our very last document needed to file (for 2016 and 2017 there were more documents needed than usual due to job changes, vehicle changes, and benefits added) we knock it out of the park in less than an hour.

Everyone has different experiences with filing. The first year Husband and I were together I was very impatient, nervous, sleep deprived (having a newborn, and also working swing shift with a full school schedule) so I just started working on it without him. Ended up royally messing everything up so Husband came to my rescue like the knight he is, and fixed everything. Since then I’ll read him the numbers while he puts them into the computer. I learned my lesson.

Now, some people may think of the money being returned by the IRS as a bonus and a reason to go on a spending spree. Probably not a good idea. The idea of having the freedom to buy what you wish not having to dream about it is such a temptation. I understand.

Instead of doing that once Husband and I find out how much of a return we are getting we break it down into a budget. Making sure that we take into account what our living budget is going to look like during the next year. Putting things in the order of importance for our survival. It wouldn’t be very good if we used our entire return to book an all expense paid vacation to Walt Disney World so than when we return we are in the same situation we were when we left.

The management of the money is going to be broken down a little differently this year than last year because of Husband losing his GI Bill in a couple of months so we need to plan for that, while we wouldn’t normally because he would be working a steady job.

First: Replenish our emergency fund

Second: Put aside 2-3 months of rent

Third: Pay off the rest of Monster’s surgery bill.

Fourth: Pay off a low balanced credit card

Fifth: $50 for Dinner

These are our priorities this year. I know that this will look different for everyone but to give you an idea. While I did say that it isn’t recommended that you go crazy and spend it all on a brand new, unnecessary television, or the latest iPhone you could. It’s your money. Be responsible.

That being said every year husband and I budget out the last $50 to go on a date. It’s something simple that works for both of us so that we can do something “fun” together.

See you on the other side


Car Update

January 04, 2018

Hey Everyone,

So in September, I was in a car accident. Both my boys were in their car seats. Everyone involved was okay. Thank goodness. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if they had been hurt. It was only the car that was totaled.

What happened was it was during evening rush hour and we were on our way to the gym to do swim lessons and my training. Everything was stop and go, and the vehicle in front of me stopped suddenly and well. . . the car didn’t exactly stop at the same time. The other person’s vehicle barely had a scratch on it, the bumper came off. And they were super nice and understanding.

We couldn’t drive the car safely anymore. Since Husband had been with his brother at the time (BIL1), BIL1 drove both of them to the accident and so that Husband could drive the car straight to our house until we could find an alternate solution for the vehicle.

Over the next day or so Husband and I were very upset with what had happened because we couldn’t afford to replace the vehicle, make a down payment or make monthly payments, or so we thought.

I called my friend, Mediocre Supermom, and her husband,  Mr. Smith to see what the best options would be for a car replacement. Husband and I know almost nothing about cars and we’re not going to go to Husbands parents for help. I’ve known Mr. Smith since I was like 6 years old, he’s like an older, bigger protective brother so I trust him to help us find a vehicle.

In the end, we got the same exact color, make, model, year and mileage as our old one. I know, super original, but like I said, we know almost nothing about cars and knew we couldn’t afford to have a large monthly car payment so we went back to what we knew, Ford Taurus.

Mediocre Supermom and Mr. Smith loaned us the down payment, which we are paying back to them in monthly installments. The vehicle loan amount came out to be reasonable monthly installments with low % interest, $117 for 36 months at 3.5% interest. And since I constructed my spreadsheet in Excel for my bi-weekly paychecks I was able to calculate what we could do to pay everything down as fast as possible in 2018. It is expected that we are finished paying off Mediocre Supermom and Mr. Smith in February and finish paying off the vehicle in May.

Next time we need to get a new vehicle, we are going to get a large down payment and research what safety features we want to be included. Because while this is a great vehicle. 2005 is getting a little older and so maybe we can upgrade to 2015 model, that fits in with our budget, and not have it be out of desperation to get a replacement.

I am so grateful for having amazing friends. We wouldn’t be able to make it without their friendship and support. Especially on this crazy journey.

See you on the other Side.

Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

January 02, 2018

Hey Everyone,

The last time I spoke with you was in September. Wow! It’s been so long. I know I kinda went off the face of the Earth but I kinda had a whirlwind of chaos enter my life. Don’t you hate when that happens? I certainly do.

Well, I was in a car accident and totaled the car. Everyone was okay, including the other person I was in the accident with and my boys who were in their car seats. It was one of the scariest days of my life. I will go over at a later date in more detail about what happened and how we were able to replace the car within a week of the accident. That was the end of September.

After the accident, I decided that instead of trying to work a budget out every month and not being able to see into the financial future that I would use Excel. At first, Husband thought that I had gone and lost my mind when I made this document, but after I had it set up how I wanted he was a little impressed. I didn’t organize it by month because we get paid bi-weekly, and that would frustrate me to no end. So I did it by paycheck and then put in the amounts that are expected for income and then what bills are coming out in the pay period. All across the sheet until the end of the year. When I put in the formulas the numbers would change accordingly, which is exactly what I wanted so that I can see ahead what time frames are going to be hard for us and see what we can limit, or use some savings on. (Also, if you look the savings is only $75 which is the automatic transfer that happens from the bank each month, not including the automatic savings that comes from my paycheck each pay period, so that is slightly misleading.) I already started putting in the numbers for the 2018 year using expected numbers.

I swear the hardest part was the pie charts. The chart down below in the Expenses for the 2017 year from 10/06 to 12/28. I cannot put the income chart for that same time frame due to legal reasons with my company, but just know that during this time I made 71% of our income.

2017 Expenses Pie Chart

For some strange and blissful reason, people started panicking and calling the call center so the Overtime opportunities got greater and well before OEP started I was working 50+ hours a week, leaving me super exhausted. With the car totaled and needing to pay off the replacement, I decided to throw myself into working as much Overtime as possible. From 10/15- 12/08 I worked Monday through Friday from 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM with two 45 minute breaks before and after my regular shift to have breakfast and dinner with my family. Working Saturdays and Sundays was super difficult but I also worked from 6:00 A.M- 5:00 PM. 8 Weeks straight. I even got sick in the middle of November and had a fever of 104 degrees, with body aches, headaches and some vomiting and diarrhea. Not pleasant, but I pushed through and worked my butt off. I knew that it was worth it in the end.

I did get Thanksgiving off and spent it with my family and some very close friends.

Husband also started his job at Wal-Mart as a courtesy clerk, a.k.a. cart pusher. Since he has classes Monday through Thursday, he works Friday through Sunday. It isn’t the most glamorous job, there are days he comes home telling me about someone ODing in the parking lot, getting yelled at for closing the doors when the person’s vehicle is “Right there” and even, getting told that it is a shame that he can’t do better, on and on. We know that this job is only going to be temporary, i.e. a year. It is a temporary situation to a permanent solution.

Also, you know that chore chart stuff that I made for the boys at the beginning of the school year? It didn’t work for very long. Not because the boys weren’t doing the chores, but because they were too easy. I’ll tell you more about that in a little bit.

The last thing that would be a great thing to acknowledge is that I am so grateful to my company to allow people, such as myself, to be able to turn in our unused purchased PTO and get it the first paycheck in December. Even though we were financially stable and could have put the money towards paying off our “new” vehicle we decided to use it for Christmas gifts for the kids and family. It was our fail-safe measure to make sure that no matter what, we didn’t dip into our Christmas savings. It definitely worked.

Welcome, to 2018. Even though Husband worked New Year’s Eve until 11:00 PM. We did a mini celebration on his lunch break for the kids at 6:00 PM. This is the year that we are buckling down. We are using our Excel document, doing as much overtime as we can stand, and just making it through this year. I will still be running, but not as much as I would have hoped. This is going to be a bumpy road.

See you on the other Side.