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Posts tagged with: finances

2017 Year In Review

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Happy New Year!

Sorry for the “radio silence” over here. We went back to Texas for a week-long visit over New Years and then immediately dove into work upon returning, so things have been chaotic. I’d intended to write up a Year In Review post before the turn of the new year, but better late than never, right?

I’ve now been blogging for nearly 4 years now (I started in March 2014). I cannot even believe it. A lot of life has occurred since that time! For previous years in review, see here:

(Apparently I didn’t do one for 2014??)

2015 year in review

2016 year in review

Here’s a peak at what 2017 looked like for us:

Hubs’ work and school

This year, hubs’ business was ramping down and he started back to school full time (earning straight A’s for two consecutive semesters! Boom!)

Financial

We set some pretty lofty financial goals (which we didn’t hit, for the first year since starting to blog here). Even though we had lots of setbacks and downright financial failures, the whole year wasn’t a bust. We did eliminate the last of our medical bills, closing the door on a scary chapter of our lives related to the medical debt (read here about hubs’ mystery illness of 2013). I also got a huge raise at my full-time job, though it required me to sign a non-compete so I also left my part-time job. The end result is that I actually make slightly less per year (due to loss of part-time income), though I’m happy with the trade-off because I was killing myself working 65+ hour/weeks for 2 years and knew I couldn’t continue forever that way. I make a little less, but I have a much happier, healthier, and more balanced life. Worth it, if you ask me.

Set-Backs

We’ve had a fair share of financial set-backs (and simple over-spending) this year. For one, we grossly underestimated our taxes and got hit hard in April. We also had some car issues: the power-steering went out at one point, we had a tire blowout on the highway, and had to replace other tires later, and we had to replace all our brake pads and rotors. General over-spending occurred, too, explained in some of the posts linked in “Life Happenings”, below.

Kids’ Crafts

The kids were up to their usual crafting shenanigans. I blogged about crafts we made for Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Life Happenings

A major bummer is that we actually increased our credit card debt this year. By quite a bit, actually. I waxed poetic about my thoughts of increasing debt and facing the harsh reality here. To give some context to what’s been happening in “life” as our debt has increased, I had a virtual coffee date and told a tale of two sisters, where I did some over-sharing. 🙂 I also talked about my general outlook on the process of getting out of debt. After all, I’m 3.5-years deep at this point!

Overcoming Debt

In the past couple months, I’ve really gotten intentional about trying to make some hard changes in an effort to get things under control and eradicate our debt. I talked about making our own yogurt (instant pot edition), saving money by checking receipts, using the cash envelope system, cooking from scratch, doing bulk cooking, taking advantage of free museum day and free family races, and utilizing no spend week challenges as a way to tame our spending.

 

We’ve got a long way to go, there’s no doubt. But with the change of the calendar, I feel a fresh sense of renewal. Rebirth. Start-over. All that good stuff. I’ll be back soon with some tangible goals and action-steps for our financial plans in 2018 and beyond!


Parents’ Attitudes About Finances & Kids

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T. Rowe Price Just Released its 6th annual “Parents, Kids & Money Survey.”  For the past three years I have read this survey and I like it because I believe that teaching my kids good money habits is a crucial and important parental responsibility.  And as I look at the results of the survey, I can usually get an understanding of how other parents are handling this situation.

Some of these results really caught my eye and made me ponder:

  1.  Just about half the parents that were surveyed use money to encourage good behavior from their kids.  This is something I am very against, I don’t plan to give our kids money for good grades and I surely won’t use money to try to buy off bad behavior.  These are qualities that are expected in my household.  Same goes for chores.  Now  I totally believe that I should give my children money and teach them the responsibilities that come with said money.  I just haven’t decided on how to go about doing this just yet.  My sister is actually fighting with her son right now, because my parents gave him $50 for straight A’s on his report card.  He expects his mother to pay him $75 for doing so.  My nephew is 10 years old!
  2. Thirty percent of parents raid their kids’ piggy banks.  Wow!  This is simply astounding to me, but maybe I am just reading into all wrong.  Maybe it is more innocent than it sounds – the pizza guy is knocking on the door and you realize you have no cash for a tip.
  3. Sixty One percent of children shop online – including 54 percent via mobile apps.  The immediacy of online shopping is making the world into something totally different.  We already know that our grandparent’s time was for saving, and now this society is all about spending.  But this is turning into a whole new ballgame with mobile apps that tend to prompt spontaneous spending.  Kids definitely think of currency differently than we did growing up due to so many transactions being digital now a days.
  4. 74% of parents admit to being reluctant to talk with their kids about financial topics.  The primary reason was that their didn’t want to have their kids worrying about finances.
  5. More than half of kids expect their parents to pay for most or all of college.
  6. Parents are open to finances being taught in schools:  87% of parents agree that it would be appropriate for kids to learn about financial matters in school.  The fact that it is not, leads me to believe many things.

Now there were much more discussed in the press release.  I suggest reading it and telling me what you all think was important findings in this survey!