WEEK 5: Knits, Bits, & Shits

FEBRUARY HAS BEGUN!  GET IT, BITCHES.

Personal Goals

General Health
I’ve been logging religiously on myfitnesspal  despite not staying within calorie budgets.  I may have also joined a [free] February Fitness Challenge with Girl Meets Fitness that starts today!  Did I go to the gym on day one and do the youtube?  WAIT A WHOLE DAMN WEEK TO FIND OUT LOL.

I am Two Weeks Down on the StepBet Challenge  I need to hit at least 14,979 steps 4 days a week and 18,592 steps 2 days a week, every week, until March 5.  I rocked week 2 with flying colors!  There is $26,520 in the pot and at least 35 people have dropped out already.

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 37/120
I got it in TWICE this week – definitely an improvement!

Sub-Goal: Donate Blood – February 20th!

Be Creative
I hit the library on break one day and picked up Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness and have kind of been slogging through it.  I’m finding it more and more difficult to read on the bus which leads us to the other creative thing….

knits

I’m learning to knit!!!  I was telling my friend how I was interested in taking a knitting class and she said I could just come to her knitting circle and teach me!  I went to Loop and picked up a skein of yarn and wooden needles and I’m learning!  I do great as long as a knitter is somewhere near me but I am having a hard time learning how to fix my mistakes.  Despite looking at several youtubes I just cannot figure out how to fix a dropped stitch!!  So I must wait until Thursday to get it fixed and keep going….but in time I will learn to fix my mistakes.

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
I’m up to $71.33 this week using Qapital Only one #wallydog pictures last week on his third birthday but other spending pumped this up!

Save Like a Motherfucker
MoneyTalkNews had a post about Wells Fargo running a promotion where you get $250 for opening a checking account so I have a bank account linked to my mortgage now!  It was $25 to open so I took the $25 from paypal and I rolled a bunch of change at the house (more on this on Tuesday!) so there is now $81.50 sitting in that account and it gains a little interest!!

Mortgage: $63.43/$1,000
Savings: $81.50/$1,000
So $2,000 towards each of these goals by June?Yeah I still got this.

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
We started this training this week and I was told to wait another month or two before I start the CE credits.  Boo.

Learning About Annuities
Someone else at work is scheduling this so

Blog Goals

Why The Fuck Are You Reading This?
I need to get better about using Instagram to promote this blog since it’s my second most popular platform (Facebook being #1 but I’m just not comfortable advertising to that platform yet)

Weekly Updates
5 down.  47 to go!  I like doing this on Sunday nights to share with you all the next morning

Any ideas on how to achieve these goals?  I’m all ears!

SSA.gov – See Where You’ve Been & Where You’re Going!

Hey!  It’s about that time….your W-2’s are rolling in, other pieces of important paper are making their way to your home, and you’re either terrified of writing a check to Uncle Sam or excited to get a lil’ somethin’ somethin’…..

Tax season.

It’s kind of neat to check out your w-2 and see just what your time was worth in 2016.

It’s even cooler to see what your time was worth (“on the books”) for your entire working life.  You can sign up for My Social Security  and see your history of earnings and what your estimated monthly social security benefit would be once you meet the benefit requirements.

To qualify for social security, you have to technically work and pay into social security for 40 quarters – 10 years.  I’ve qualified for social security for quite sometime now and you probably have too if you’re reading this of all blogs.

Your estimates are based on the assumption that you will earn the same salary every year from now until retirement.  I check it at least annually since my salary has gone up a little bit.  Here’s mine so far:

At full retirement age (67): $1,666 a month

At age 70: $2,066 a month

At early retirement age (62): $1,166 a month

Makes you think about that sweet tax break for contributing to personal retirement plans, huh?

The Importance of Saving for Retirement

I like to think by age 67 I will have my mortgage paid off so I won’t have to put $1,000 a month towards that….but even so, what the fuck does one do with a measly $1,666 a month?  Can you live off of that and handle an emergency?

All I’m saying is that people don’t enjoy retirement as much when they are living off of just their social security….because it is NOT ENOUGH.

Boost that 401k!  Open a Roth IRA and start contributing – up to $5,000 annually (and until April 15 of the following year)!  Or at least STOP MAKING MORE DEBT FOR YOURSELF.

Boxed.Com Savings Hack – Act Now!

Step 1: If you have American Express, log onto your account and activate the Boxed.com $15 offer (if you would like a referral link to open an AmEx – send me your e-mail!)

Step 2: Sign up for iBotta

Step 3: Activate the Boxed.com offer – make sure to click the SHOP button at the bottom and download the Boxed.com app

Step 4: Create a Boxed.com account using this referral code (or put ATAA2 in the promo section at checkout)

Step 5: Spend at least $60 at checkout, make sure your referral promo code reflects $15.00 and use your $4 in rewards.

I bought 100 Forever Stamps for $46.75 and 100ct. Zyrtec for $37.99.

 Here’s how this worked for me:

Subtotal $84.74
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00
Referral Promotion $15.00
Rewards $4.00
AmEx Offer $15.00
iBotta Cash Back $12.71
Total $38.03

I get excited about the little things…like getting stamps a day before they go up in price without going to the post office…and almost getting them for free?

What savings hack triumphs do you have?

One Week Down. Fifty One to Go.

How did the first week of my goals go?  Well…let’s see:

Personal Goals

General Health
I went to the gym twice last week which is better than many other weeks.  I forgot to mention in my initial post that my gym will reimburse my gym memberships if I go to the gym 120 times in a calendar year.  120 equals going up to three times most weeks so it’s a bit tough and I have a few months where I was off the bandwagon.  So far I’ve been 32 times since July 5th…in theory, if I go 3 times a week from now to the end of june I can hit that reimbursement!

As you read this, I’m finishing up at the gym right now!  I’ll be down for the count Thursday and Friday so I’m making an effort to get it in early this week.

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 33/120

Sub-Goal: Donate Blood – February 20th!

create! Create!! CREATE!!!
I STARTED A PAINTING!  I got my paints all set up in my Craft Cave and have put two layers down so far.  It feels good but I think I need to get a second one going too because I forgot how much I hate lag time when waiting for paint to dry.

Curious of what Wally was helping me with last week?  I WORKED ON A LATCH HOOK PROJECT!  I pulled a latch-hook rug project out that I started a year ago and finished the block but now need to go back and fix it up.  I don’t want to reveal what it is yet….so here’s another picture of Wally helping me with it:wp-1483926358383.jpg

I picked up Amy Poehler’s Yes Please at the library and finished the book last night.  I’m convinced that Amy Poehler and I are *almost* the same person and feel freshly renewed.  The book set a good tone for my year and was full of awesome quotes to hold close.  I joined a Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 6 books this year – a bit less than the 30+ most of my friends on there have pledged….but I’m realistic and know myself.  I do have a few books waiting to come in at the library and I anticipate finishing this book pretty darn fast.

 

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
I saved $8 this week using Qapital

Save Like a Motherfucker
This week was a bit of a wash as I did go out twice BUT I also got a free catered lunch at work that fed staff for 2 days of lunch, the man and I for dinner, dinner with friends on Saturday…and I’m eating the rest of it for lunch at work today.  I did not actually save yet soooo…

Mortgage: $8/$1,000
Savings: $0/$1,000
So $2,000 towards each of these goals by June? It’s still reasonable.

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
I e-mailed someone at work that does webinars and teaches people the products we sell so he’s going to call me this week to set up some webinars.

Learning About Annuities
I e-mailed someone different at work and they are on vacation so I hope to hear back sometime next week.

Blog Goals

Why The Fuck Are You Reading This?
Thank you to the people that have read for the last week!  I look forward to interacting in the future and hearing what people have to say.

Weekly Updates
Well….one down.

How did the first week of 2017 go for you?

Zodiac Signs and your Money Management

From Thought Catalog’s  What Your Zodiac Sign Says About How Good (Or Bad) You Are With Money by Kara Stevens:

Sagittarius

Sagittarius has a strong work ethic and zero qualms about rolling up his or her sleeves and putting in a hard day’s work. This fire sign is passionate about what they do for a living. They spend judiciously,purchasing items of quality or great usefulness. The financial health of Sagittarius is typically good since they are quite good at socking away a sizeable amount of cash and make careful spending choices.

Accurate or accurate?  I’m only not good at socking away sizeable amounts of cash because I’m adept at throwing sizeable amounts of cash into debt.

I take everything I read regarding zodiacs with a grain of salt!  I’m aware that the stars do not define everything…but it’s fun to think about when mine are often painfully accurate!

How did this post align with your sign?

StepBet Challenge: Money Incentives for Fitness! Starts 1/23

It’s very easy to encourage me to do things when money is involved.  In 2012 I did Weight Watchers and lost a shitload of weight…but now I’m 30lbs up again and am just…..unable to do that again.

So I’m putting money down in ways that I can get back.  One of the greatest investments I have made has been my FitBit Charge HR and several sites that I link to it!

My friend recommended DietBet but I am trying out their partner StepBet for a FitBit challenge where I had to hit my step goal 4 days a week and go above my goal 2 days a week…if I do this, I will get my $40 back and then some.

Sign up and join us for Fitbit for Weight Loss: Goal Getters! – $40 Bet
Starts January 23 and ends March 5.

Not a bettin’ man?  You can also use Achievemint to earn for fitness for free- link your fitness and social media apps to earn!  Sign up with my link and earn 250 points.

 

How do you earn money for your fitness goals?

BJ's List for Today.

BJ’s List Hack – why haven’t I thought of this until just now?

2016-12-17-10-19-36

I’ve gotten very sick of trying to rustle through the coupons and trying to do math at the same time in the aisles – so I’ve made it slightly more idiot-proof!  I have this list and I will not deviate from this list.  Everything we need to get through the winter without ordering delivery every night.

The IB circled next to some is for iBotta – it’s a cash back app where you unlock rebates, scan the items you buy and take a pic of your receipt, and then when you hit $20 in rebates you can cash out to Paypal, Venmo, or other types of gift cards.  Sign up for iBotta with my referral link and get a bonus.

My First Meeting with a Financial Advisor

“You already know the right person…”

That was the subject line of an e-mail I received from my bank last month – offering a free meeting with the “Relationship Banker” for my area.  I looked the guy up on brokercheck (as you should always do when someone wants to deal with your money!) and he’s a new financial advisor.

As you may have guessed by now based on this blog, I am obsessed with trying to figure out what to do with my debt and how to take care of it the fastest.

I scheduled a meeting to meet with the guy at 9:30am on Saturday morning.  I erred on the side of TMI and spent Friday night printing the most recent versions of the following:

  • Paystub
  • 2015 Taxes
  • Retirement Account Statements
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Student Loan Statement
  • Mortgage Statement
  • Insurance Policy Summary
  • 2016 Expenses – exported from Mint.com

It was an hour of relaxed conversation that gave the RB a better understading of my situation and he was able to give me a gameplan.  Here were my key takeaways:

ONE: The majority of my debt are investments

Aside from $1,700 on a 0% interest balance transfer card – my debt are student loans and a mortgage.  I wouldn’t be making the salary I’m making or in the field I’m in without that Master’s – even if it’s not what I went to school for.  I once asked my supervisor if she thought I’d be able to pass the insurance license exam and she looked at me when I was crazy and said “Uh, yeah, you got a Master’s!”so I need to think of this debt as an investment and accomplishment and that it is something tangible.  He pointed out the window and said “there are guys out there right now with $76,000 in CREDIT CARD DEBT”

TWO: Calm down about my student loans

I’m on the Income-Based Repayment plan so as long as I make on-time monthly payments, they will be forgiven in 25 years.  I can’t see myself getting such a raise in income that I will no longer qualify for these so I was advised to make my monthly minimum payments and not really worry about them right now.

THREE: Do something you love and always be open to new opportunities

He strongly suggested that I get back into art and creating and try to find some profit in it – he even suggested blogging!  And I’ve felt it recently and may have even flat-out told my boyfriend that I wanted Windsor & Newton Oil Paints for my birthday next week.

He also mentioned that I should always keep my resume updated and be open to new opportunities because the only way to make more money in our industry is to move around.

FOUR: “Don’t just micro-save, macro-save”

An exact quote form my Relationship Banker on my way out after explaining how Digit and Qapital work and how I’ve been trying to use them for savings.  He also said I should hold off as long as possible on the kitchen remodel.

Instead of throwing all of my money into all of my debts I should be putting my extra money into savings and my mortgage.  Instead of keeping myself poor trying to pay these off I should be building savings so I don’t have to use credit cards when emergencies crop up.  He told me to build up my savings and then look at everything in August and start allocating some of the savings into different debts.  I have until October to pay off that $1,700 before it accrues interest so there’s no rush.  There’s no rush!  Just stop accumulating credit card debt and this will be handled!

This guy is available to me via phone or e-mail anytime I have a question and has a file ready for when we meet again in a year.  I feel renewed and excited for the new year with a new gameplan.

Have you ever met with a financial advisor?  If not, would you?