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Archive for December, 2009

2010 goals

January 1st, 2010 at 12:18 am

My big concrete goals are all financial for the next year. A huge amount of my concentration and effort is going to be devoted to preparing for baby, giving birth to baby and then keeping baby safe and happy and well. I'm excited and intimidated, energized and already exhausted just thinking about it. It's going to be an amazing time, I think.

But I do still have a number of pretty ambitious financial goals. I realize that these might not all get done, but this is what we're aiming for. I would say goals #2, #3, #4 and #5 are the most pressing. If we have to cut way back on birthdays and Xmas, and hold off a bit on paying off the Amex card, it won't be a very big deal. But we'll see how it goes.

#1: Build birthday fund of $600 by 2/28/10

#2: Pay off loan to Dad by 3/8/10 (baby's due date Smile ). Balance as of 12/31/09: $6000

#3: Save at least $1000 for trip to Va. by 6/1/10

#4: Save at least $3000 for trip to England by 7/1/10

#5: Pay off 0% Sears card (stove) by 11/1/10. Balance as of 12/31/09: $861.10

#6: Build Xmas fund of $700 by 11/25/10

#7: Pay off American Express credit card (and thus, become CC-debt-free) by 12/31/10. Balance as of 12/31/09: $10,829

So um, we'll be trying to come up with $22,990.10 to reach all of these goals. In an ordinary year, that would be no problem; we bring home about $80,000 net per year, and we routinely put more than a third of our income toward debt or savings. But with the li'lest wild card entering the picture, it's going to get real interesting!

I'm still going to post monthly debt goals as a way to keep track of how much I'm paying off. My January goal: Pay off $1,999 of debt. Beginning balance: $380,860.

December/year-end/two-year goals review

December 31st, 2009 at 05:53 am

First, my December goals and results:

Debt: Pay off at least $2900 of debt.
Balance as of 12/30: $380,860
Goal balance: $381,113
Progress: DONE! $3153 down

Savings: Save at least $650 (all for baby/EF)
Progress: DONE! $660 saved

A. Help AS with couch reupholstery. Progress: AS is about halfway done with the project, but I realized there's not much more I can do to help her with it. Smile
B. Begin to contact daycare options we've collected. Progress: DONE. Now we need to start taking tours and making some decisions.

I looked back at my New Year's goals for 2008 and 2009, because I knew I had at least one two-year goal that wrapped up this year.

In the beginning of 2008, my longer-term goals were to work out at least five days a week, pay off all my credit card and personal loan debt, and begin preparing myself mentally and financially for trying to have a baby.

The first goal was pretty much of a wash this year; working out regularly has always been a battle and this year my laziness won.

I didn't reach the second goal; I still have $16,829 in personal/CC debt. But I feel OK with not hitting it, because we had to contend with AS's year-long layoff, and I decided to build our emergency fund in preparation for the baby. We went from $0 to nearly $7,000, which is money that would have otherwise gone to pay down debt. Considering those factors, I still feel like we did pretty well, paying off or transferring to student-loan debt more than $50,000 of bad debt in two years.

The third goal, of course, we achieved! Got mentally and financially prepared, got pregnant, and we're going to have our baby in March.

My goals for 2009 were to improve in the areas of debt, savings, fitness, environmentalism, creative/crafts, philanthropy and (added later) additional income streams (or "side hustles"). To that end, I planned to have a monthly goal in each area. We also decided to try and photograph our dinner every day in 2009.

I had no problem setting and reaching the debt and savings goals. This is one part of my life that feels very stable, despite the gaping holes still remaining in our financial security. I hope budgetary control is as permanent as it feels. We paid off $29,005 of debt, going from $409,865 to $380,860; saved $6,771.28 for the emergency fund; and fully funded two vacations. Our collective net worth increased from $81,526 to $131,418.

I did OK on fitness for a few months, but sort of slacked off early on, and then pregnancy proved the perfect excuse to completely fall off the wagon. I know it's an excuse because several of my friends are pregnant, and they're still very active. Sigh, oh well.

We did really well on environmentalism; in fact, we improved our lifestyle so much early on that I sort of ran out of ideas. We now take reusable shopping bags 95% of the time; AS makes many of our household products out of bulk supplies, which reduces both packaging and toxic ingredients; we reuse and avoid using ziploc bags and bulk/produce bags; we're accepting any and all hand-me-downs to use for the baby; AS is recovering our couch so we don't have to throw it out; we buy carbon offsets for car rentals; we installed a variable-pressure shower head to save water. Any time we see an opportunity to make a change (as long as it doesn't complicate our lives too much more), we'll take it.

I tried some creative things, including beading, crop art, weaving, sewing and writing, but I found it hard to locate inspiration within myself to really dedicate myself to creative or craftsy activities.

Philanthropy was a bit difficult, since I haven't wanted to commit to an ongoing volunteer position and it's hard to find one-off ways to help. I donated little bits of money and other things (glasses, food) when opportunities arose, and got more involved (writing e-mails, spreading information) about political issues I was passionate about. But this is another area I wish I'd done a lot more in.

In terms of organized efforts to add income streams, I didn't do too well. But I did get two random freelance proofreading gigs right at the end of the year, so I accidentally did better than I thought I would. NT and I sold a bunch of things on eBay, and AS stretched her unemployment out over a full year with her freelance sewing and editing gigs. NT continues to do Pinecone surveys and donate the money to whatever we're saving up for or paying down, and AS has been keeping up on MyPoints and getting the occasional gift card to help out with grocery or clothing expenses.

Oh, and as most of you know, taking photos of dinner went really well until my first-trimester yuckiness hit; and then I was unable to get back into the habit once I did feel better. But we made it through more than half of the year, and it was a fun exercise!

So mixed results overall, but I don't feel discouraged; after all, it took many attempts and different strategies to finally settle into a budget-minded, fiscally smart lifestyle, so if I keep trying, maybe I will find similar grooves in these other areas.

And finally, my last debt payment of 2009

December 30th, 2009 at 09:46 pm

My credit card payment went through, $185 of it to principal. That means we paid $3153 toward debt this month!

I've been really busy at work today, so we'll see if I get time to post my December and year-end results and my 2010 goals. Might have to end up doing it tomorrow; we'll see!

Another December debt payment

December 29th, 2009 at 04:56 pm

Another of AS's student loan payments hit, with $59 going to principal. $2968 paid in December so far.

My credit card payment left my bank account and will probably hit the CC account tomorrow, so I'm still going to hold off posting about full monthly results, yearend results and 2010 goals.

I went over my financial goals with NT and AS this past weekend, and they agreed that some are a bit up to chance with the baby coming, my and NT's income being affected with unpaid leave, and the details of AS's July '10 raise still unknown. But no disagreements about how I've prioritized them, so we'll get done what we can.

The tooth that needed an operation last year is suddenly acting up, throbbing and painful since yesterday afternoon. I've got an appointment for this afternoon to see my dentist; although they didn't do the operation, hopefully they can tell whether I have an infection or something else, or if I just knocked it and made the root sore (it's much closer to the surface since the operation). Either way, I don't know what they charge for last-minute appointments. I hate to see my medical fund go toward something non-baby-related, but this is one of the reasons I HAVE a medical fund that's separate from the baby/emergency fund: so I don't feel like I'm taking from baby.

I also have to figure out how to complete NT's open enrollment for health care today, and I have someone coming over in the early evening to look at a chair I'm selling on Craigslist. Not quite the lazy Tuesday I was envisioning, but at least I have the day off and don't have to fit these things into a regular work day, which would be stressful.

OK, I've got to go eat (groan, chewing is no fun), shower and face the day.

Reached December debt goal!

December 28th, 2009 at 08:41 pm

One of AS's student loans hit and $118 went to principal. That means we exceeded the December goal by $9. There are a couple more payments that should go through before the end of the month, so I'm going to hold off posting about my results.

I have today and tomorrow off, as well as half of Thursday and all day Friday. So I only have a day and a half of work this week! Last week I only worked two days. I've been lazing around like a champ. AS and NT have been spoiling me and doing almost all the cooking and cleaning. We've been watching tons of movies, playing some games we got as gifts and stuffing our faces. Just had my OB appointment and I gained 5 lbs. in 3 weeks. Probably just in the last week!

December 2009 year-end net worth update

December 21st, 2009 at 09:08 pm

NT's UK pensions: 7,250 pounds ($14,500)
14,721 pounds ($29,442)
NT's 401(k): $6,900
AS's 403(b): $2,888
AS's IRA: $1,481
CJ's 401(k): $30,658
NT's flat: 130,000 pounds ($260,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $160,000
Baby/emergency fund (shared asset): $6,771
Total Assets: $512,640

Total Debt: $381,222

Current Estimated Net Worth: $131,418

November 2009 estimate: $127,671

Change in net worth: +$3,747

Summary: I decided to do my net worth calculation at the usual time of month, and to count this as my year-end net worth, even though a couple small payments will go through by the end of the year. It seems more consistent this way.

Our retirement accounts barely increased at all, but of course we paid off my Capital One personal loan, so our net worth still saw a healthy increase.

I will update my "Individual Net Worth" page shortly so you can see how it breaks out.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are conservative. I don't have a way to check NT's UK pensions or flat value, so their values stay static for the purpose of this update (unless I happen to get some info by chance). UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $2 for every British pound, which was the exchange rate when I started keeping track. I maintain that ratio for the purpose of tracking progress, even though the exchange rate is now closer to $1.60 per British pound.

Reached savings goal! and an "aww" moment

December 17th, 2009 at 04:26 pm

OK, it was just a modest goal, but feels good anyway. Smile

The biweekly savings hit, just $25 going to the EF. So I saved $660 this month, exceeding my goal of $650. If I do any budgeting stuff on New Year's Eve, I'll have another $25 to add, but I have a feeling I'll just check my account on Jan. 1 or 2.

I'm excited this morning because I only have 2 more days of work this week, 2 the next week and 2 the week after that. Nice lazy end to a hectic year!

I maybe got screwed on a $70 eBay purchase; I realized it had been over a week with no notice my order had been shipped, and when I went onto eBay the user was no longer registered. I wrote to them last night, but I'm not even sure it went through since they're not registered, so I'm going to file a claim with eBay today. NT does tons of eBay and assures me he's never NOT gotten his money back, one way or the other. Only problem is that was sort of the centerpiece gift from me and AS, so we're going to have to come up with an alternative solution fast! Even better that I have all those days off. Smile

And now for the aww moment. We've been talking about how we should each have a special song that we try to get the baby familiar with while in the womb, and last night we finally got around to making a little playlist and setting the laptop on my belly and playing each of our songs a couple times. Judging from the movement, the baby definitely heard something!

I chose "C'mon Everybody" by Elvis. I like that it's peppy and interactive (eventually the kid can clap and stomp when Elvis says to) and that the chorus is "C'mon everybody take a real deep breath and repeat after me/I love-a my baby, love-a my baby/Hey hey hey, and my baby loves me!"

NT picked "I Believe in Miracles" by the Jackson Sisters. It's his favorite song but it also has some cute and relevant lyrics: "I believe in miracles, baby/I believe in you" and also "Here we are together face to face/Forever in a place that I created/Just for you, you, you/...Believe in dreams and think they are real/And one day soon/The miracle will come true."

AS just decided on hers yesterday after thinking about a few different ones, and went with "Everyday" by Buddy Holly. Some of the lyrics are really cute and relevant in this one too: "Every day seems a little longer/Every way love's a little stronger/Come what may, do you ever long for true love from me?/Every day it's a-gettin' closer/Goin' faster than a roller coaster/Love like yours will surely come my way."

What's great is I'm not going to get sick of any of those songs, so I'll love playing them to my belly a few times a day. Smile

Progress on the December debt goal (finally) and money babbles

December 15th, 2009 at 03:30 pm

It's been ages since there was any movement on this! One of AS's student loans hit, and $87 went to principal. $2791 down, $109 to go in December. I have two student loans and a credit card whose payments usually hit right around the end of the month, so as long as one or two of them go through before the 31st I'm good.

In other money news, AS got her first paycheck! Lower than I predicted by using one of those online paycheck calculators, but a bit more than unemployment. I teased her this morning that she's only making $1.50 more per hour working than she was sitting at home all day, but it's something she loves, so who cares? Besides she'll probably get a raise in July (well-timed since that's about when the baby will enter daycare).

NT received some kind of incentive check from one of his UK retirement accounts for agreeing to some kind of change in their policy. I don't understand British legalese and no one else in my house has any interest in legalese period, so we don't really get it. But 231 pounds we'll take! We're probably going to mail it to NT's mom to deposit into his UK account, since the stamp will cost less than the currency exchange fee our US bank would hit us with if we tried depositing it here.

Still haven't heard from NT's job about their open enrollment period; I REALLY hope it comes before the first of the year, so we can decide on the best route before paying a hefty premium to have him on my plan. (I went ahead and signed him onto mine but I have a feeling it will be financially better to have him sign up for his own plan and get dropped from mine; however we won't know that until his job unveils their new plan. Grr!) I also don't know anything about the premiums on AS's new health care, which will go into effect the first of the year (this month she's still on the private healthcare we got for her while she was unemployed), nor about her 403(b) options. I decided if the 403(b) doesn't kick in January, I'll just have her put another $120 into the IRA we set up for her, and keep doing that until her real retirement starts. It's a traditional IRA so we'll get a tax break on the money we put in it, so it's the same effect as having retirement taken pretax out of her paycheck except the benefit comes later.

In other news, baby expenses have hit $1,373.85 so far this year. I don't think that's too bad, and hopefully I picked a better healthcare option for 2010 that will result in less out-of-pocket; I didn't really understand the difference between high-deductible and high-premium (and still don't fully trust that I get it) but I think I have a better idea now.

Oops, time for my morning meeting!

More reasons to love Xmas, etc.

December 11th, 2009 at 06:11 pm

Yesterday was our company holiday party, and we each got a free lunch (Mexican buffet) plus a bag of candy and a $100 Amex card. It can only be used at certain stores, and at first I was really bummed I couldn't use it for something practical at Target, but then I got to thinking that it's nice we're forced to spend it on a want rather than a need. So we're taking it to Old Navy after Xmas. If you use it before Dec. 31, apparently you can earn a few rewards bucks, so we're going to try and go the 26th or 27th.

I sat with some of my co-workers to eat. I hardly socialize with them since proofreading is a quiet, solitary job and I don't usually go to the happy hours. We were talking about fave cereals and I mentioned that Honey Nut Cheerios with soymilk was my No. 1 choice. I didn't know one of the ladies was in charge of Friday breakfast treats for today, but lo and behold, Cheerios and soymilk was one of the choices! Yay!

Also today, one of the project managers came to my desk with a big basket of groceries. One of our clients sent it to us, which is weird because I think they're not renewing our contract. Anyway, I'm one of only 3 people who work on the account, and the project manager said she and the writer weren't interested, so I got the whole thing. Best of all, it was all organic or whole-foodsy stuff, and it all happened to be vegetarian! Except for one item I put on the free table, it's all stuff we'd buy for ourselves anyway: tortilla chips, salsa, crackers, cookies, peanut butter, strawberry jam, Vermont cheddar and bread.

We took a few quick holiday photos with our photographer friend last night--one in front of the tree with NT and AS kneeling down, ears to my belly as if they were listening to the baby; and one on the couch with our cat (who with typical cat perverseness decided he didn't want to sit on our laps, even though normally that's all he wants in the world--we finally got him to "sit" there by holding a pen and letting him attack it--that's one of his other favorite things).

The spreadsheet hasn't really simplified yet, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. Once all the pending transactions come through and I get paid for the freelance work, it should start to look more normal.

I'm impatiently waiting for AS's first paycheck, and for info on her health care and retirement plans, so I can start more accurately planning our 2010 budget. I did start a spreadsheet where I listed the financial goals I hope to achieve in 2010--it looks ambitious, but doable if we can manage to keep bringing in extra income, and if my calculations of what I think AS's paycheck is going to be are correct. I'm hoping my two recent proofing jobs will lead to a nice side income.

Reminds me, though--I should go update a Craiglist post and slash the price of the item. We listed a $200 office chair and asked for $100, but I'm going to reduce it to $75 and see if anyone bites. If not I'll keep reducing it until someone takes it, because we're not going to have an office once baby gets here.

Crazed finances

December 9th, 2009 at 04:50 pm

My head is spinning with all the financial stuff I'm trying to keep track of right now! We still have (I think) a pending transaction from the Thanksgiving trip, plus waiting on my dad's check to fund that trip, plus waiting for CC bill to pay off rental car and some presents to me that I told AS & NT to charge to that card, plus numerous Xmas gift pending transactions, plus waiting to be told who to invoice for some freelance work I did that will be paying for our holiday party, plus keeping track of line items for Xmas shopping for each of us (and figuring out which Paypal & Amazon transactions come out of which spending category), plus needing to deposit several checks and some cash for the laptop fund. Whew! I'm not used to juggling so much all at once in our checking account, but so far I think I'm doing OK.

The good news is, we finally raised the money to pay sales tax on the laptop we'd saved up for. AS got paid for a couple of sewing jobs that have straggled in from her business, my parents sent us $20 for our anniversary, and NT did a Pinecone survey for $3. So NT ordered an iMac Pro last night, and it should come before Xmas. Woo hoo! Our current laptop is draggy and touchy, dropping the wireless connection every couple of minutes, flickering wildly if the screen has been idle for a minute, trying to eat CDs when we put them in to load to our iPods. Still, we hope to sell it for parts at least and be able to put that money toward something. We have an equally useless iMac with a busted CD drive that we hope to clear of its files and sell for parts as well. We'll probably put that money toward paying off my dad, because the sooner we pay him off, the sooner we can start saving for paying off the stove we bought on 12-months-no-interest from Sears, and for our meet-the-baby trips to Va. and UK next year!

Also, the aforementioned freelance work: Someone at my job, totally unrelated to the other woman who recently sent me some freelance proofing, asked me to help her with a side job she was doing. I've already worked 5 hours on it, so at least $200 coming, and I might get one more little chunk of proofreading before the project is done! We're going to put that money toward our holiday party and to help offset the cost of gifts for our families. (We probably could have covered it with our spending money over a couple weeks, but this way we won't be flat broke all month.) We've got most of our gifts ordered (except for NT's parents & sister & grandma, but we're just going to order restaurant GCs online for them). I still want to send out cards to my siblings; I don't get around to this most years, but since I had such a good time with them at Thanksgiving I feel motivated. I was hoping to get pics from NT's company holiday party to include, since they'd be festive, but I haven't seen anything yet. Well, we have our photographer friend coming Thursday, so he'll take some much more professional shots anyway and we can send those.

Yep, this has got to be the busiest December ever! We had to sit down last night and make a prep list for our party Saturday, because we have haircuts and a prenatal class that day, so we want all of our food and drinks sorted before then. We picked foods that can be made the day before, so all we have to do when we get home from haircuts is arrange them prettily.

It happened!!!! Capital One personal loan is GONE!!!!

December 4th, 2009 at 03:23 pm

I'm truly overcome with happiness right about now!! I checked the account first thing this morning and it was just GONE. I didn't realize that would happen, but since it's a personal loan and not a credit card, it's like the account was never there. It lets me log in and says zero balance, but when I try to look at past payments or any other info, there just is none!

Then I deleted the entire line from my debt spreadsheet. My credit card/personal debt is now down to two items: my last credit card with $11,104 left on it, and my loan to my dad with $6,000 still to pay.

Our minimum debt payments per month now total $2,422, including mortgage. That's the first time it's been less than $3,000 since I added NT's bills to mine and AS's!

I'm so glad to get rid of this loan because it was my last consolidation of other debts that I did. One of my first entries on this blog in 2007 was contemplating moving a few high-interest loans into this personal loan, but I was a little scared because in the past, every time I did a balance transfer, I would end up racking up the card's balance again anyway. That didn't happen this time.

The loan started at $30,000 in June 2007 with 8.99% fixed interest and a $623 fixed monthly payment for a five-year term. So it would have gotten paid off in 2012 if we hadn't paid extra. We paid it off in half the time!

Over the past year we got excess student loan money refunded to NT in checks, and we chose to put that toward this loan instead of the student loan. So $5301 of the balance is now sitting in a student loan, but one with a 6.8% interest rate and tax benefits. That loan is on the back burner because it hasn't come due and we only pay interest right now, but it's actually our highest-interest debt now that the Capital One loan is gone, so after paying off my dad, the credit card, and one of AS's student loans, it will be next in my sights, but probably not until 2012.

I guess that's about all I have to say about this loan. Time to happy-dance my way over to the Old Debt Graveyard and bury this sucker for good!! You can come with me if you want!

PS: Oh yeah, and that's $2704 down, $196 to go on my December debt goal. Almost forgot about that part. Smile

Progress on December savings goal

December 3rd, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Our regular biweekly transfer over into savings occurred, just $25 to the EF this time. Still, that's $635 saved, $15 to go on our December goal.

Just checked my personal loan account online again, to see if somehow my payment posted already...nope, have to wait, hopefully only until tomorrow morning! Smile

Progress on debt, sent off personal loan payoff, etc.

December 2nd, 2009 at 10:53 pm

First of all, many thanks for the responses to my last post, not only the kind congratulations and comments but also the suggestions and perspectives on daycare/babysitters/staying home. It's an issue that will require full examination of each option, and I'll take all of your opinions into account as I go along. I'm open to all points of view, so I appreciate anything you have to tell me!

My credit card payment hit, with $188 going toward principal. $986 down, $1914 to go on the December debt goal.

Also, I decided to send my Capital One personal loan payoff payment early! I have over $2000 in my checking account that is just reserved in case of medical expenses, so more than enough to keep the account in the black until payday on the 15th (since medical bills never need to be paid right away). I also took $600 from the emergency fund as planned to help with the payoff. Getting rid of this loan will also eliminate a $623 monthly bill, so it's well worth it. I'm hoping the payoff will post on Friday and I'll be able to do the happy dance as well as finally add something to the Old Debt Graveyard page again.

Yesterday, NT got a $50 holiday bonus from his job, so we added that to the laptop fund, and also counted and deposited our change jar (another $44) and the one-dollar bills I've been setting aside from my spending money ever since Ima Saver suggested it ($20 more!). We now have $1002.30, so we went to order our rejiggered Macbook Pro which is $999 with free shipping...except we forgot about sales tax! LOL. That's an extra $75, so we still need to raise $71.70. Ah well, we're getting there. NT is going to start setting aside his $1 bills too, and we have an office chair, some CDs and a couple other things we can try to sell.

Hmmm...I feel like there was one more thing I was going to blab about, but my pregnant brain has let me down again, and it's almost time to leave work, so it'll have to wait! Smile

Anniversary! Plus pregnant brain is back...groan...and daycare shocker

December 2nd, 2009 at 05:14 pm

Today is the third anniversary of when AS, NT and I made our lifetime commitment to one another! This has been such a hectic fall and winter that it all but fell by the wayside. The first two years I looked up what kind of anniversary it was (paper, cotton) and made sure we all gave each other gifts to match, but this year the only thing we planned is dinner out tonight at a new, nice-looking Italian restaurant. NT did write the nicest note to us this morning though; reminded me that, during the first year of dating when NT was in England and we were in America, his letters and e-mails were the main thing that kept up our faith that this crazy idea was really going to work out. And it has, better than I ever could have imagined! Happy anniversary, sweeties.

And now, the return of pregnant brain. I was absent-minded and distracted during the first couple months of pregnancy, but by mid-September I was pretty much back to normal. Now, again, I find I'm doing stupid things, or having little slips of the memory or other brain functions that I take for granted. Today in the breakroom I was getting ice out of the freezer and somehow dumped the whole bin onto the floor. Then when I was updating my spreadsheets, I noticed my calculation of what should be in our savings account was over by $20. I'm always so careful with that, so I have no idea what happened! After some agonizing, I took the $20 out of my EF line item; the only other budget category is NT's schoolbooks, which I haven't touched in ages, so it must be something I did when I typed in the new EF total recently. Then again, when updating my Number Crunch worksheet, I came out with a dollar surplus that I couldn't account for. I just hope this new stupidity doesn't seep into my proofreading! It did make me realize that if I were truly out of commission ever, all my budgetary stuff is just in my head. I need to set up a binder of log-ins, bill due dates and other information so that NT and AS could muddle through if I couldn't handle finances for awhile.

Yesterday afternoon was slow at work, so I finally got around to calling some daycare providers. Our initial list only includes downtown providers that are right on our bus line or mere blocks away. All I can say is, yowch! I'd seen in several reports that Minneapolis rates for infants average $1200 per month, so I'd prepared for that amount. What I hadn't considered is that daycare outside downtown is probably cheaper, meaning to get to a $1200 average, downtown rates have to be significantly higher. The six places I contacted range from $1300 per month to--get this--$2246 a month!!

Actually, only one place I contacted was over $2000. The ones we can consider (because they cost less than AS's monthly salary) are $1300 to $1452.

It hurts, but I think we're still going with this option. AS has just started back at a job that she's truly passionate about, so money isn't the issue there; plus, for moving to England, her main option (not being a legal spouse) is going to be through employment or starting a business, so she needs work experience. It's essential to our big-picture future plans.

NT and I like our jobs a lot but they're not our lives' passions. However, the salaries are significantly higher than AS's. If we have a hope of raising a kid while continuing to accelerate debt payment and retirement savings, our jobs are both key. And in this uncertain economic environment plus shaky healthcare situation, having two jobs with healthcare options is much safer than just having one. I'll never forget what happened to my SAHM sister when she had a miscarriage while her husband was between jobs and healthcare for the new job didn't kick in soon enough.

So that's the deal now, but it's a situation that I'll revisit frequently to make sure it's really the best and smartest decision for our family.

December goals progress

December 1st, 2009 at 03:24 pm

Our four mortgage payments hit:
UK#1: $257 to principal
UK#2: $54
UK#3: $57
US: $373

And one of AS's loans hit:
$57 to principal

So in total we've paid $798 toward debt, leaving $2102 to go in our December goal. Still trying to decide whether to pay off my personal loan using the "float" money of healthcare funds and the laptop fund, or just wait till payday in two weeks. We'll see if I can stand the wait!

I also transferred the surplus of NT's UK flat-rental income over to his UK savings account, which came out to US$610. So just $40 to go on the savings goal.

If today stays slow at work, I'll get started on calling daycare providers. Gulp! I'm afraid they're going to be very reticent with their info, trying to get me in for a visit, and that I'll get annoyed. I'm also a little worried about prices. We'll definitely be paying a premium to find a provider that's convenient to our bus commute. Cheaper than buying a car still, though. At least I think so. If not, we may have to rethink our strategy!