August Goals and Life Update – We Sold The Camaro

August Goals and Life Update - We Sold The CamaroHello everyone and happy August! I haven’t done a life update since last month’s goal’s update, so I am happy to publish this today.

July was another great month. We went on a long cruise, went to a few state parks, enjoyed the great weather, and overall had a great month.

We had one big change for the month of July though…

 

We got rid of the Camaro.

Yes, I said it. After owning the Camaro for about 1.5 years, we decided to get rid of it. We loved it, but we decided that right now was just not the time to have it.

It was not practical when it came to gas mileage (we want to start going on more road trips), the dogs couldn’t go in the car (not with leather seats!), and the car had drag tires so it couldn’t be driven in temperatures less than 45 degrees or if it was raining. I also couldn’t drive it because it was a manual and had too much power (I could literally only do burnouts in it), so we were practically sharing one car which got difficult even though I worked from home.

Yes, so there were plenty of reasons to get rid of it!

Instead, we sold it and bought a car that gets 36 miles to the gallon. Much better than what we had before! This car has all wheel drive, four doors, and can be driven whenever.

I won’t lie though, I was sad to get rid of it. I know, I know, being attached to a car is pathetic, especially in the personal finance blogging world. I loved the car though and it was a lot of fun. Also, my dad had a Camaro that he bought in 1984 brand new and he had it until he got sick, and it was his favorite thing ever.

He was waiting for the new style to come out but passed away shortly before they released it, so I had an attachment to the Camaro we bought.

I know he would have loved it!

 

Our cruise honeymoon.

We went on a cruise last month. It was a 7 night Caribbean cruise. It was a lot of fun and it was our first cruise.

Cruising is definitely the best way to have a relaxing vacation. Each day we ordered room service breakfast (pictured above), we would walk around the ship, leave the ship whenever we were at port, and then my favorite part was dressing up each night. I loved seeing everyone in their nice evening gowns, tuxes, and suits.

I must not be very fancy because I think this was my very first dinner where people wore tuxes and evening gowns!

 

July Goals Update

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. PASS. I did well last month!
  2. Get back to my workout routine. FAIL. We did a 3.5 mile hike that was pretty tough, but that’s the only workout I’ve done in the past month.
  3. Eat out no more than 5 times. PASS. We hardly ate out this past month. The times that we did eat out, our bill was always less than $20.
  4. Create a giveaway for my 3 year blogiversary. FAIL. Haven’t really thought about this yet. I think I plan on giving out a large amount of cash. Can’t wait!
  5. Declutter my closet. FAIL. Haven’t done this yet. I do have a lot of items in bags that are ready to get rid of but they are still just sitting in my closet taking up a large amount of room.

 

 

August Goals

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. I’m keeping my goal the same as last month. August usually isn’t the best for me, so I don’t want to create an unrealistic goal. $13,000 is still great though, of course!
  2. Work out 2 times a week. I’m trying to start this slowly. Obviously working out a crazy amount doesn’t work for my because I get unmotivated pretty quickly.
  3. Walk 10 miles on a trail once a week. We are gradually trying to get to doing this multiple times a week, but there is only so much time out there for us. We would like to hike the whole Colorado trail within the next year and I want to be in better shape for that. Have any of you completed the Colorado Trail?

 

How did you do in July? What is your main goal for August?

 

P.S. The nomination form for the Plutus Awards has begun. Plutus Awards is an awards ceremony for personal finance bloggers. You can click here to vote for me in a few of the categories. Also, if you would like to vote for me for Blog Of The Year, you can fill in that option at the very end as well. Thanks so much! :)

What We’re Looking For When We Move

What We're Looking For When We MoveOkay, okay, I’ve talked about moving a lot in the past.

Last year, we were thinking about selling our current house and buying a new one in the St. Louis area again. But, then I left my day job for full-time freelancing and there were just too many things going on.

Good thing we put our home purchase on hold, because now we are thinking about leaving the St. Louis area and buying a home in a different state.

The two main states we are thinking about now are Colorado and Florida.

Yes, I know, these are two completely different states. Florida is hot and humid and doesn’t get any snow. Colorado experiences all four seasons and isn’t humid at all.

Below are some of the different things we are wanting and are thinking about when it comes to our potential move.

 

A beautiful area.

I used to really love the St. Louis area, but that was before we went to Colorado. After hiking and camping in Colorado, nothing in St. Louis is even remotely comparable.

I love how there are so many things to do in Colorado.

We can visit national parks, national forests, amazing trails, lakes, and so on. There are several outdoorsy things to do in this state and I think it would be impossible to ever feel bored if we moved to Colorado. Colorado is also closer to many other beautiful areas in the country, so it would be much easier to have beautiful outdoor vacations than where we are in Missouri right now.

What we love about Florida is the warmer weather and the beaches, of course!

We are also interested in getting a sailboat, and living in Florida would mean that we could travel the Caribbean potentially with a sailboat. That is a dream and sounds a little crazy though, and I’m not sure if that would ever realistically happen.

 

Good schools.

No, we don’t have children yet. However, we are thinking about having them in the next few years.

This means that we are looking into the school system for wherever we move. We forgot to do this when we bought our current house, mainly because we were so young when we bought and we knew we didn’t want children in the near future at that time.

The only way I really know how to check this though is with the website Great Schools. Does anyone know if this is a good way to check? Or are there better websites?

If you live in Colorado or Florida, or know of any school systems, please let me know. I’d love to hear!

 

Budget.

We will, of course, have a budget wherever we move. I’m not the type of person who could live in Los Angeles or New York City where the cost of living is extremely high.

I want a decent house that is within our budget. I’m not exactly sure what our budget will be, but somewhere between $300,000 to $400,000 I think would be good.

Also, we want a home with at least a little bit of land. At least one acre would be great. I just want a little bit a land, a pretty view, and possibly an area where I can attempt to grow a garden.

I’m not sure if all of this is possible in Colorado though. We have been looking at Realtor.com and Zillow and it seems like housing is a little bit more expensive there then it is here in St. Louis. $300,000 to $400,000 in St. Louis could buy you a 4,000 square foot brand new McMansion!

If anyone wants to help with a budget (how much is the average home in a city in both of these states?), cost of living, property and income taxes in each of these states, how is the social life like, and so on? I know this can vary greatly, but I would like to hear anyone’s input about these areas.

 

Not too, too far away.

Colorado is around 12 hours from where we live in St. Louis. That is definitely a long car drive, but it is something that we can do within one day. Also, a plane trip wouldn’t be too terribly long, so that is doable as well.

Florida would be a minimum of 12 hours from our home, and some places in Florida could even be 25 hours a way. That is definitely a long drive!

One reason why we are thinking about leaving the St. Louis area is because we don’t have much family here in St. Louis anymore. Wes’s parents and his younger siblings all just recently moved to Memphis, and my whole family lives in Chicago.

 

Would you ever move to a new area? Why do you currently live where you live?

What must a city have for you to want to move there?

 

Image: The picture above is one I took with my iPhone while we were driving when we went to Colorado in June. No editing or anything, that’s just how beautiful Colorado is!

Confession: I Let Money Control My Life

Confession: I Let Money Control My LifeI’ve talked about not letting money control your life before, and I recently came across the topic again.

The other day someone told me it’s impossible for a personal finance blogger to not worry about money. They were saying I should be telling everyone that being controlled by money is actually a good thing.

I have to disagree though.

I don’t think that in order to be in charge of your financial well-being that you have to bow down to money and let it completely control your life.

Even though I say that though, I still let money control my life a little bit.

I’m not as bad as I used to be, but I still let money control my life more than I should.

Here are some of the things I constantly think about: 

  • I worry about bad business months. Yes, I know I publish my monthly income reports and I am doing well, but as a freelancer I still have the occasional week or two almost every month where everything seems completely dead. Also, sometimes I think about how life is almost TOO good to be true, and I wonder when it will all come falling down on me. I know, I am such a Debbie Downer!
  • My emergency fund is too large. Yes, that IS possible. Our emergency fund is around a full year of expenses right now. I am weird and I just don’t feel comfortable with it being any smaller. This means that I’m not investing this money more aggressively even though I am young. I am losing out on money and I don’t know if this is something I can ever change.
  • Home repairs. I sometimes act like my home is going to collapse. I don’t know why I’m like this. We’ve never really had anything major happen with our home, but whenever the smallest thing happens, I tend to worry that it’s going to cost $10,000 to fix. In reality, there would have to be something significantly broken in order for it to cost that amount!
  • I sometimes compare myself to others. When I say “compare,” I’m talking about comparing how I am financially doing to how others are doing. I read a lot of personal finance blogs and it just seems like all of these people are professional savers, whereas I’m just nowhere near as good as they are.

 

Here are some of the things to think about if money is controlling your life.

 

Money is just money.

This is something I always have to tell myself when I start having a money control freak out. Money is JUST money, and nothing else. Money doesn’t lead to happiness. Sure, it can make life easier sometimes, but life isn’t all about it.

Life will go on and freaking out about money doesn’t change the situation you are in. You need to actively change your life.

For me, I would always calculate our budget. I’m talking like every single day. I would spend hours upon hours trying to figure out our budget, financial goals and more. And, if I wasn’t on track it would upset me.

However, living with regret and being upset doesn’t change your situation!

If you want to see change, you need to actually do something.

 

I need to stop comparing myself.

I’m not talking about comparing myself in a keeping up with the joneses way. I’m talking about comparing myself to others who may be doing better financially.

For example, I came across an article recently that stated that the average person my age should have like $200,000 saved for retirement already. I thought that amount was absolutely insane, and I felt upset that I’m not at that level. Then, I started reading the comments and others who were even younger than me were saying that $200K seemed low.

HA, who are these people?

I then all of a sudden wanted to start saving even more. Yes, I make a decent income, but all of that is before taxes (and taxes take out a significant chunk). For me to have been at the level that these people were talking about, I would have had to take some drastic measures by now.

 

Does money dominate your life? In what ways? Are you trying to change that?

 

Image via Flickr by TaxCredits.net