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Winter has arrived here in Minnesota…I spent 20 minutes digging my car out of the snow this morning and it’s going to be -4 for the high one day next week! Brrr! Hopefully most of you readers are enjoying somewhat less chilly weather. How are you doing on your financial goals so far this season? Share in the comments!
It’s been an eventful couple of months here. Here is my review of November and December!
– November: I rebuilt my emergency fund (it was back to $1,000) and made an extra $1,000 payment on my student loans. The very same day I made that payment, my hubby’s transmission in his car went out :( The repair would have been expensive and we decided that it’s not worth it at this point.
December: My hubby sold his beloved orange car (nicknamed “The Pumpkin”) for $2,000 which went straight toward the purchase of a used car. We saved up another $2k as quickly as we could and bought our first “paid for in cash” vehicle – a tiny smart car. It’s a big change for my hubby, who is a car guy and loves fast cars.
-The hubby and I finished Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We both loved it – yes, even my hubby did! We’re both a little sad that the class is over because it did a great job of motivating us and keeping us inspired. If you haven’t already taken the class, I highly recommend it (especially if you aren’t particularly frugal or you’re married to a spender).
It’s about $100, but the ROI you’ll get is huge. Dave gives you a step-by-step guide for how to pay off debt and build wealth. He also uses humor and specific examples to keep the lessons interesting. You’d expect a personal finance class to be a bit dull, but it was definitely much more entertaining than I had expected.
Frugal Lessons – Murphy’s Law
-Murphy’s law states that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” While we were headed to go drop off The Pumpkin to its new owner, my car started to smell horrible and began making a loud rattling noise.
This was terrible timing considering we were sharing this car (and carpooling to work) until we had enough money saved to buy my hubby the smart car. If the repairs had been thousands of dollars, we would’ve been in a tricky situation. Luckily, the repairs were about $500 (thank God for our emergency fund), which was doable but set us back a bit… my emergency fund will need to be replenished once again.
-My hubby received two payments of $1,000 for The Pumpkin. After he deposited the second payment into his savings account, he realized that his balance was $1,000 lower than it should have been! After some brief panicking over the missing $1,000, we figured out what had happened.
The teller had deposited the money into my hubby’s checking account (in error) instead of his savings account. Whew! Lesson learned: always keep your receipts for banking transactions (especially if there’s a large amount of money involved)!
Highlights of the Month
-This isn’t really a highlight, but after months of putting it off (due to not wanting to spend money), I finally caved and started physical therapy. It won’t be cheap, but from what I’ve seen so far, I think it will truly help. I already knew I had forward head posture (aka “text neck”) but I learned that I also have “Upper Cross Syndrome” – a relatively common muscular imbalance caused by too much time sitting on a computer with poor posture.
Essentially, some of my muscles are extremely tight and others are very weak – the pain is primarily in my neck, but the muscles of my chest, upper back, and shoulders are also affected. PT will help to improve my range of motion in my neck and shoulder (it’s pretty bad right now), strengthen muscles, and reduce pain. I was really impressed with the therapist and I’m hopeful that this will be money well spent.
For those of you who spend several hours a day on a computer – make sure your desk is set up ergonomically and sit up straight! It’s not only important for your health; it’s also crucial for your wallet. Things like chiropractic visits, PT, and surgery are often quite expensive (but may be necessary). The issues that I have (forward head posture and Upper Cross Syndrome) can lead to early neck arthritis if left untreated.
What I Read/Watched
-I finished the last season of Drop Dead Diva (which seemed weird at first but was surprisingly addicting) and watched old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I’m now watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which has more musical scences than I would like, but it’s still pretty funny.
-I’m taking a hiatus from reading books while I get my neck issues under control…so for now, I’ll share my favorite articles that I’ve read lately.
The Gift of Presence, The Perils of Advice (Onbeing.org) – This is a fantastic article on our tendency to try to “fix” everyone else’s problems instead of simply listening to people and being there for them.
The Surprising Reason People Aren’t There for You (Psychology Today) – Do you ever feel like no one has your back? The author of this article suggests that if you want others to start being there for you, you need to take care of yourself first. Why should anyone be there for you if you’re not there for yourself? Give yourself permission for self-care.
How to Know If You’re Killing It as a Millennial (M$M) – As M$M says “Stuff or possessions aren’t much of a sign of success to me. It’s easy as hell to finance (or over-finance for houses) almost everything.”
-I also shared 27 things I’m thankful for this holiday season (including this blog) and a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own blog!
How is your winter going so far?
Other stuff you might like:
Personal Finance Resources:
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
It’s Only Money and It Does Grow on Trees by Cara MacMillan
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
365 Blog Topic Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox
ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income