Healthy Living

March Goals – I’m Having Nightmares About Squirrels

tumblr_lv98xhjZEx1r6aoq4o1_500Hello everyone! Happy March. I hope all of you had a great weekend.

February was a great month, BUT…

We still have the squirrels. The gif to the left is how I feel whenever I’m laying in bed and I can hear them.

They are still living in our attic and they haven’t been interested in the pest company’s traps at all. Last week, we even saw a squirrel go all the way into the trap VERY SLOWLY and then he/she inched slowly back out.

It’s been over two weeks since they decided that they want to freeload off of us, and I’m really starting to get afraid that they will have babies in our attic since it’s almost that time for them.

Anyway, we had a lot of expenses come up in February, which kind of killed our budget. We had a lot of wedding expenses (I will have a whole post on our updated wedding expenses soon), I finally had my phone fixed (the screen cracked a few months ago, but my phone still worked so I wasn’t in a huge rush to get it fixed), we had to pay the pest company (even though I have no hope for their service now), and some other expenses came up. Was February a budget buster for you or were your expenses right on track?

Even though February was a bad month for our budget, February was a good month for business, and it seems to be flowing into March which is always good too.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for my monthly business/online income update. If you have any online income questions that you would like me to answer in tomorrow’s post, please leave a comment below and I will try to include it. Thanks!

I published my 2014 goals article earlier this year too. Read about them here if you are interested.

 

February Goals Update

  1. Keep our food budget under $400.  FAIL. We didn’t do too well with this goal last month. We went out to eat a lot more than we usually do, but thankfully we went back to normal during the last week of February.
  2. Make $10,000 in business income this month. PASS. February was a good month for my business. Lots of new things happened – I bought another website and added a few new clients.
  3. Finalize the wedding invitations. FAIL. I didn’t even think about wedding invitations in February. I am still in the process of figuring out the timing for everything (such as when the ceremony will start, when the reception will start, etc.), but I NEED to finish figuring that out within the next week. Just because I am interested, if you have had a wedding please answer this question – How many people that you invited actually attended your wedding? Some say 90%, and others had only 75%.
  4. Find tuxes. PASS. We found tuxes. Originally I wanted to go the JCrew route, but the cost was just too high. Instead we went to Men’s Wearhouse since some of the guys are not from the same area as us, and we want everyone to match so Men’s Wearhouse seemed like the easiest route. We are renting Black Vera Wang tuxes and covered some of the cost of the tuxes for the groomsmen and W’s dad, and we also found a $40 coupon for each of them to use as well. I believe the tuxes are $160 for each of them after the coupon and our gift to them.
  5. Run 4 miles, 5 days a week. PASS. I have been doing really well with this so far. Last week wasn’t my greatest week, but the other 3 weeks of February went well. I have been doing T25, running and some lifting.

 

March Goals

  1. Keep track of how many times we eat out. This is something that we either do really well with or we don’t. I want to keep track of how many times I go out to eat this month and try to keep it under two times each week. This might not sound like a hard feat for some, but occasionally I like to go out to eat and I use the excuse that I’m home all the time (and I need to get out of the house) to make me feel better. However, I just need to stop being lazy and I just need to make a healthy meal at home. How many times do you eat out each week?
  2. Make $12,000 in business income this month. I feel like March will be a good month, I can just feel it!
  3. Finalize the wedding invitations. Our wedding invitations really need to be finalized in March so that they can go out in early April.
  4. Finalize other wedding stuff. We still need to finalize contracts for the caterer, find a bartender, make a wedding website, and so on.
  5. Run 3 miles (5 days a week), coupled with T25.  This is pretty much what I’m doing, I just want to keep it up.

 

How did you do in February? What is your main goal for March?

How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions?

 

Reason to Have an Emergency Fund: Medical Emergencies

Reason to Have an Emergency Fund- Medical EmergenciesEnjoy this post from my blog friend Natalie. Emergency funds are extremely important, especially in the case of a medical emergency where you have to pay a large amount out of pocket. 

A few weeks ago, I had one of the scariest things happen to me.

My long-time partner and boyfriend began to start getting really sick. This wasn’t just a case of a fever and the sniffles.

The symptoms were a little bit more serious than that. He began to get severe stomach pains along with a completely loss of interest of eating or drinking.

I will spare you the more gruesome details but it got really bad. It finally ended with his fever spiking to almost 103 degrees and me rushing him to the emergency room of the hospital.

My boyfriend is one of these people who you would never consider being sick. He is one of these people who barely gets a cold. In his work, he works with carpentry materials to help repair homes in the area. This line of work also requires him to lift heavy materials and do lots of physical work. His physical health was so good that it knocked us all by surprise.

Suddenly he was extremely lethargic and could not even get out of bed. The once fun-loving person that I knew was being taken over by some invisible and frightening ailment.

The night I finally took him to the emergency room, my boyfriend was in a state of panic.

 

He was worried about the financial aspect of him having a medical issue.

His fever was out of control and he could barely stand up. He was also in a state of panic because of the costs that would be incurred from all the emergency room bills. I told him to basically shut his mouth up over those types of thoughts as his first priority should be his health.

I didn’t fault him for having thoughts like these.

We just happen to be a couple that care a lot about money and we both work hard to be financially stable. When something like this happens, many would feel unsure about how they will pay such medical costs. This is certainly true in the United States.

My boyfriend was lucky enough to be immediately seen by the medical staff. They ran a series of tests and discovered that his colon was very inflamed. Under the doctor’s orders, his health had been deteriorating to the point where it was decided that being hospitalized was the only option.

My boyfriend’s reaction went into further panic as he realized what this meant especially for the finances.

I tried to convince him of otherwise as I knew stressing out could only make his condition worse. He was placed in a hospital room where he could be monitored by the professional staff.

For the next couple of days, my boyfriend was given several procedures and medications that at first did nothing. I went to the hospital every day and tried to console my boyfriend through this difficult time.

He once again expressed his fears of the cost of being in the hospital. I let him know that there is not enough money out there to replace someone’s health.  I also reminded him that we had an emergency fund that was precisely for occasion like this as this was a bona fide emergency.

 

There is no bigger reason to have an emergency fund than in situations like this.

You just never know when the proverbial crap will hit the fan and require you to have liquid assets available.

We had absolutely zero notice that something like this would happen. Medical situations are one of those things that usually pop out of nowhere and can be very destructive if you are living on the financial edge.

The truth is there are too many people out there that are living paycheck to paycheck. Too many people do not think of having a form of savings as a priority and nothing could be further from the truth.

I once had a friend that had some major complications due to her high-risk pregnancy. She never took the time to save as she felt it more important to buy nicer handbags and other pricey things.

As a result of no savings or health insurance, she winded up with over $15,000 in medical bills.

The resulting stress on her psyche and family caused her even more health problems and later more health bills. She applied for government assistance and was given some help after a big battle with paperwork and authorizations. She could have avoided a lot of stress if she had saved something in advance.

As I write this, my boyfriend is still recovering from the hospital and will hopefully be home soon. He finally accepts the fact that it will not destroy us financially since we have a savings fund and health insurance that has a set limit on what we are liable to pay.

Being able to concentrate on what is important is such a relief in times like these. It has literally helped me sleep at night. I can’t imagine what we would be doing without it.

Having an emergency savings account (Do you know how much you should have? – I have a related post on this on Diversified Finances) is of utmost importance especially in a world that guarantees nothing.

Taking the initiative to do something for your financial future is crucial. Learn from my own story because you just never know when you will need money now. My boyfriend and I are able to focus on plans to get him back to normal health and that is what is important. Please take the time to prepare for life’s unexpected pitfalls so that you don’t end up in the financial hole.

This is a post by Natalie over at Everything Finance.  Everything Finance is a site about just that, everything related to finance.  You can get information about investing, saving money, insurance, shopping, blogging, CD rates, and making money online.

 

Do you have an emergency fund? What does it cover?

 

Fun Frugal and Free Activities

Fun Frugal and Free ActivitiesHey everyone! I hope you are having a good start to the week.

I’ve never been a super outdoorsy person, until recently. Having fun does not automatically have to mean spending a lot of money. And sadly enough, this is something that I have just recently come to terms with.

My life has changed so much in the past year, and with it comes the activities that I used to enjoy, versus the activities that I enjoy now. Before, I feel like all I did was shop. Ah, I have no idea how I found that fun to do every single day.

Having fun by doing things frugally does not mean that you have to hate your life. Lets please not confuse frugal with cheap. I will not just stay inside and look at a blank wall 24 hours a day just to save money. There are so many things that you can do out there that don’t require much money.

Today’s post will be all about the many frugal and low-cost activities that you can do. I also have a post dedicated to the many fun and frugal things to do in St. Louis that I have been working on. Hopefully I can crank that one out before FinCon!

Kayak in a new area.

Kayaking does not have to be a lot of money. At many parks, you are able to rent a kayak for maybe $10 a day. And if you already have your own, then it is free. You can look for a great deal, or score a used one on sites such as Craigslist.

Go camping.

Something that I am always ashamed to admit is that I have never been camping. Yes, I just said that, and yes you read that correctly. Camping in the beginning might be expensive because you have to acquire everything, but after everything is bought, it then becomes very cheap to go camping. Much cheaper than going to a hotel.

Find a place to hike.

I’m going to guess that there is at least somewhere around where you live where you can go for a hike. There is a park right up the street for us where we can go for a hike and it’s great!

One place that we would like to visit more is W’s family property. They have tons of acres and miles of land to explore full of creeks, cliffs and everything else. It is so pretty, and I regret not bringing the dogs there more.

Bike on trails or around your town.

Yes, a bike might cost you money in the beginning, and in some cases it might cost you a lot of money. However, I do believe that the cost pays off because usually it will be a one-time cost, unless you go through bikes like crazy (lets hope not!).

We have been going for bike rides a lot lately, and it’s been a lot of fun. I really wish that there was a way for us to get to the Katy Trail without having to get into our Jeep (there is a river that separates us from the trail, and only cars can realistically go on the overpass since it is a highway), but it is still fun.

Seek out Festivals.

There are so many festivals happening every single month. St. Louis also has many free concerts during the summer with big headliners (past Fair St. Louis music includes: Maroon 5, Steve Miller Band, Nelly, The Offspring, Third Eye Blind, and much more – and all for absolutely FREE) that I happen to miss all of the time.

The botanical garden almost always has something fun also. I always miss the annual air balloon show also. I would like to start doing all of these things!

Go to the library.

I haven’t been to the library in a very long time. I would like to start spending at least some of my days diving into everything. Learning and reading new things, and for free? Deal!

 

What other frugal, yet still fun, activities do you have to add to this list?

When was the last time you did something frugal and fun?

 

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