T-minus 11 days until Christmas!
Oh, wait, you mean I haven’t written in a month and a half. 😦 Sorry! I’m going to try to write every day between now and the New Year!
Things have been absolutely crazy and have changed quite a bit in the last few weeks. School has been chaotic for both Jason and I. I don’t think either one of us anticipated just how little you get done with a newborn, and how his sleeping schedule almost never corresponds with when you need to get things done. Teaching has been rough, too, as I have really made a commitment to adding as much whole-language as possible into my classroom, and coming up with activities to incorporate this at four levels has been exhausting! I often long for a forty hour a week job that I could leave there when I go home, but it’s worth it. But there is only this week left in both secondary, post-secondary, and graduate work, and then it’s two weeks to catch up (but do we ever really?).
One of the very major changes we’ve made is a change in our living situation. We were renting a house, but we weren’t saving a dime. With currently being on one income due to school, this was getting to be a major burden, so we did something to change our situation – we moved in with my parents. It’s not the ideal situation, but it definitely isn’t bad at all, and it’s really helping us to save money. By the time Jason graduates, we’ll have around $20k in the savings for a down payment on a house. If we decided to wait an additional year after we move from here and rent while Jason works that first year, we’ll also be able to put a $30k dent in our student loans. Needless to say, we aren’t ashamed in the slightest because unlike the millions of Americans still driving themselves deeper into debt and praying for a miracle, we’re trying to make it so that one day (and hopefully soon), we will have zero debt. Our goal is to pay off both our student loans and our house early so that we will be able to contribute to our child’s (children’s) education and retire very comfortably. After only two years of working, I’ve already got around $8k in my retirement, and I still have 25 years left to add to it, plus Jason’s retirement.
Let me be frank, though – things aren’t perfect. We do have some debt to pay off, including the hospital bills from Clark’s birth, but they will be completely taken care of by the time we get our tax return. We also will have enough to pay most or all of my car completely off, eliminating that monthly requirement. Then, even though we’ll want to spend, we’ll have to buckle down and save like crazy. We’ll have about $1300 net after bills (including paying my parents some money – we’re not freeloaders by any means!), and we’re hoping to save around $1000 a month. Also, after I finish my master’s degree this summer, my pay will increase by about $200 a month, and we’ll be able to save that additional money.
So why am I telling a bunch of random internet readers about our personal finances? I’m hoping my regular readers, friends, and family will help keep us accountable. I can’t wait to announce when we’re (non-student loan) debt free, when my car is paid off, when we hit $1k, $5k, $10k, and $20k in savings. I want you all to be my cheerleaders and, heaven forbid, my executioners.
So, let’s move on to other updates.
Clark is getting so ridiculously big! He will be 16 weeks old on Thursday, and four months old the day after Christmas! Holy crap! He hasn’t had a doctor’s appointment in about 6 weeks, but I’d guess that he’s between 15 and 17 pounds now. He goes back to the doctor for his four month appointment on the 30th, so I’ll be anxious to see how big he is then! I need to be better about taking pictures of him, but here’s a cute one playing with his favorite toy, a neon lion that my mom paid, wait for it, $1 for on clearance. He loves it more than anything else!
We were lucky to see HP7.1 the weekend after it opened with my parents, and OHMIGOSH! I cannot WAIT for 7.2! How are they going to end it? Will they show the epilogue that occurs in the book of 10 years later??? I sure hope so.
Finally, we are preparing for Christmas (Clark’s first one!) around the house. In our family, it’s a tradition to find a stocking stuffer for everyone as well as a gift, so I’ve been trying to find something meaningful or funny for each person. It’s actually quite hard when you have a $10 limit! I’ve also been making yummy treats for my coworkers, and my dad has made 50 dozen cookies (I’m not kidding – – no, seriously, I’m not!). It’s a little hard to think that Oma won’t be here with us this Christmas, but I’m trying to focus on Clark to help deal with everything. I just keep remembering that Oma would’ve spoiled the crap out of this kid and done anything to make his Christmas wonderful, just like she always did for us. Love you, Oma.
So, help me get back on track – what do you want to hear about? I’ll have plenty of time to catch up over the next few weeks!