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Um, that’s MY money Mr. Obama!

January 10, 2013

Frustrated.

I have been frustrated most of today. I’ve been waiting for today because I knew my take-home pay would be changing in 2013 with the deduction of the health insurance benefits I can now afford (yay for that!) and I really couldn’t tweak my budget until I knew what the amount would end up being (especially with the fiscal cliff ridiculousness).

So I logged onto my bank account to check the deposit amount this morning and almost fell out of my chair when my body went numb from shock.

I won’t go into numbers right now (that’s going to come up in the next budget post) but suffice it to say there is going to have to be some major budget tweaking and getting frugal around here.

Like, pennies are going to be shrieking because they’re being pinched so hard…

I do enjoy a challenge though, so I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and figure this business out so I can get to buying a house more quickly!

Did anyone else have a moment when they saw their first paycheck of the year?

*I’ve been working on some printable budget sheets and such for y’all and I plan to have those available on the site by the end of this weekend. We’re going to start the budgeting next week!*

Have a happy Friday!

2013 Goals

January 7, 2013

Happy New Year!

So, I’m a few days late (and probably a few dollars short), but that doesn’t matter around here!

2013 is going to be a spectacular year! How do I know this? Because I’ve decided it will be.

Of course, this is the time to decide what goals we’re going to achieve this year. I hope you’ve made some, because personally, I love to have goals. They keep me driven, and give me something to shoot for. Without them, I feel like I end up walking in circles.

Without further ado, these are my 2013 goals (I don’t want to call them resolutions because we always end up breaking those by February, right?):

1. Walk a little closer with Jesus – I’m a Christian, and late last year I rededicated myself to Him. I know some of you may not understand this one, or be in tune with that. While my faith is a big part of my life, this blog is not a pulpit and I don’t intend to preach to you (about any topic). If you’re on the same page, awesome! If not, that’s cool, too. We can all get along.

2. Lose 40 pounds – Yeah, I’ve heard from several people that they wouldn’t guess it to be possible for me to lose that much without being deathly ill, but I know what’s there and what wasn’t there before my daughter was born. Parenthood can wreak some havoc on your body, let me tell ya!

3. Consolidate my student loans – I talked about this last year and never ended up following through with it simply because it was scary and A LOT of paperwork. I will have to do this, though, to accomplish my next goal…

4. Buy a house – Heck yes, I want to take the plunge! I’ve lived in apartments, and E and I live in a rental house now. It’s time to make somewhere ours. I get incredibly frustrated paying rent each month knowing that after all these years I still have nothing to show for it. And yeah, I want to nest. I want to paint the walls and hang pictures and not worry about who cares that I did.

5. Grow my small business – Yes, I technically own my own small business although it’s still in the beginning stages. I started the business to make a sustainable side income and while it isn’t crazy-difficult to get a business started, getting a business to make money can be a challenge.

There you have it. Those are my goals. Did you make any? I’d love to hear them!

Today, though, I simply wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope the best for everyone, and I’m excited to see where this next year takes us.

My new office

February 25, 2012

For a little bit at least. My goal for today was to start stockpiling articles for y’all (bloggers do this, who knew?)  but I just had to get out of the house.

Solution: Pack up my laptop and go to McDonald’s, where for the price of a large Diet Coke ($1.97) I can sit for however long and use the free Wifi.  Not a bad deal, I believe, as I can avail myself of free refills and write for as long as I like without being distracted by all the undone chores staring at me at home.

But back to stockpiling posts…I read about this early on when I was researching starting a blog. Basically, it’s keeping a bunch of posts in reserve and either just having them handy for push-button posting or their posting date can actually be scheduled.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but the idea of putting out content that I didn’t freshly write doesn’t appeal to me. It feels a little contrived and artificial and that’s not what I wanted this blog to be about.

On the other hand, though, it would be a really useful way to blog-I would always have something for you.

I think there’s a middle ground with it, so I’ll try it for a bit and see how it goes. Y’all will have to weigh in and let me know what you think, ok?

Can you believe I already need a refill on Diet Coke? Sheesh!

Getting Started.

February 8, 2012

So, I’m just going to come out and say it.

I’m not a “mom blogger”. I tried really hard to fit that mold, but it’s not my gig.

I am, however, a mom who is going to attempt to blog about personal finance with the perspective that only a single parent can bring to the table.

A few things this site won’t do for you:

  • Teach you how to use coupons – I don’t use them. I’ve tried a few times and it doesn’t really do a whole lot for my grocery bill total. We’ll talk more about this…
  • Give you expert banking/investing advice – well, any investing advice really. Many of us are still learning and mastering the basics. Once we get those, we can move on to the investing.
  • Make you feel inadequate – That’s right. This isn’t a platform for me to brag about my net worth, my job, my possessions, my latest travel adventure, etc.  I occasionally read some personal finance blogs that, while a great example that you can change your situation, really aren’t relevant for the person who is just diving in.

Ok, so now what it will do (hopefully):

  • Make you think – about what you want out of life and how to get there.
  • Give you some comic relief – or at the very least that feeling of “wow, I’m so glad I didn’t do that“.
  • Teach me something new – every reader can offer something of themselves (and I hope all of you will in the comments!)…just because you think your viewpoint may not be an amazing observation doesn’t mean that it won’t help someone out there.

I have a vision of what I would love this site to be, and I do hope that any of you reading will jump in and help me start a dialogue for/with the other single parents out there.

Somedays, it’s just a tough place to be. But we’ll get through it!

And now, since I didn’t sleep hardly at all last night I will take my leave and go make up for it tonight.

Have a fabulous night, and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

 

 

 

 

A little clarity, perhaps?

February 2, 2012

Clarity. Have you experienced it?

Every so often I think we find ourselves in moments where everything outside of us melts away and we see, feel, and realize the big truths in life.

These truths seem to strike us a little more often the older we get. Or maybe it’s just that wisdom really does come with age.

Either way, I had one of these moments recently.

I’ve really struggled with the idea of writing this blog.

Let me tell you that writing a blog is really amazing. Knowing that the words you write can impact someone is a big responsibility. As so often in my life, I was able to talk myself out of the idea that this was something I could actually do.

Writing a blog about a topic such as ‘personal finance for the single parent’ also inevitably leads to having to bare yourself blindly to your audience. Thick skin and a desire to better yourself are required, as not everyone will think you’re as brilliant as you’d like them to.

That part is scary, so what better way to head it off than to just quit before you really get started? Right?

WRONG!

I jumped off the budget bandwagon a while ago and while nothing completely disastrous has happened for me financially, there have been moments that definitely would have been bloggable.

Since I’ve missed my window for writing about New Year’s resolutions and clean slates and determination and such, I’ll just be simple about it.

This is SingleMomMoney (but we’re not excluding you single dads!) and while I’m not promising that my attempts will be perfect, I am promising that I will make the attempt–to address the issues that we deal with financially as single parents, and to remind myself that I’m awesome even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

So now that we got that out of the way, how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

DIY Christmas Gifts

December 1, 2011

Saving money this time of year can be super tough. We’re bombarded by the “spend, spend, spend” message from all sides everywhere we go.

I was all set to go Black Friday shopping this year, but after hearing about the random acts of violence that occurred I’m glad that I was home with my daughter and her pneumonia.

With December upon us, it’s time to finalize just  what my “make it” gifts will be.

I’ve had a pretty good idea about the gift for the ladies in my life… ribbon key fobs! (go here for a great tutorial!) I saw these at a little boutique shop and they wanted $10-$15 for one. What a cute and practical way to keep your keys at hand!

I usually do cookie boxes as gifts for coworkers and E’s teachers, so that’s covered. I just have to plan what cookies, and how many boxes.

 

The men. They are the hardest people to figure something out for! It’s my dad, my two brothers, and my cousin. What do you make for men that’s manly and useful?? I need to step up my googling as far as this goes.

So, what are your DIY gifts this year? What are you doing for the men in your life?

Money is Emotional

November 21, 2011

No doubt about it. I would bet (not money!) that every decision you make regarding your money and how it’s spent is tied to some emotion, past or present.

It definitely is for me.

I grew up as one of two children in a single mom household. Recently, I learned that when my mother died in 1995 she was only making a little over $28,000/year. As a registered nurse!

My first thought upon hearing that number was, “how in the world did she do that?” Then, I remembered.

She kept a roof over our head by feeding us a lot of hot dogs, and rice and beans. Nevermind steak, we were eating well to have hamburger helper for dinner!

Nothing in our house was ever new. Our furniture, our car, and all of our clothes were given to us by people who were just clearing out their closets or wanted to help. I know that a lot of our Christmas presents were given to us by members of our then church family.

As a result, it is important to me that my home is aesthetically pleasing, and I enjoy finding a really great deal on a new picture for one of my walls or changing the bathroom shower curtain just to shake things up. We recently bought a bed frame (50% off!) and new bedding (clearance, baby!) for my daughter’s room, because it is important to me that she also have a beautiful space for her very own.

It’s also important to me that she have some new clothes in her wardrobe, because I know firsthand how it feels to be made fun of at school because you’re obviously the “poor kid”. I am very thankful for the hand-me-downs we do get from her older cousin, but at the same time I can’t let her only wear clothing from others.

I’m a little ashamed as I write this now, because as a single mother, I have made it a priority to not ever have to tell my daughter “no” because I can’t afford something. Granted, I don’t buy my daughter anything and everything she asks for but I do feel more materialistic in this moment than I would like to.

Everyone’s money emotions are different, and been have cultivated over time. Whether you’ve been a single parent with one income for a while or you’re just being thrust into living life on a single income, I think it’s really important to identify what those emotions are.

Pinpointing the motivation behind the decisions you make can be one of the most important steps in changing the way you make those decisions.

So…what are your money emotions?

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