My daily life tends to be chaotic. I started this blog hoping to focus more on the little things I can change instead of constantly being overwhelmed by the big picture. Big picture is I want to be debt free, rich, skinny, great wife, great mom, great entrepreneur, world traveler and only have to work three days a week. Nothing major, right?? 🙂 With all those lofty goals going through my mind, it’s hard to focus on baby steps or pick just one major thing to work towards. It’s even harder not trying to work on all those goals at once, I see good ideas for each of my goals every day! So where the heck do I start??
What is one thing you have to deal with everyday- whether you have it or not? It’s something that you could try to live without but you really can’t. Depending on how you use it, you can be miserable or jubilant for a long time because of it. What’s this all powerful force? Money. Finances. Everyday you make decisions about how you spend your money or how you manage your finances. Those decisions, even if they seem small can have a lasting impact on your life. So this is why my first few posts have all been focusing on finances. One thing I have to deal with good or bad everyday is money and it’s not something I can avoid or put off.
Three things that me and hubs have been working on is 1. saving money, 2. increasing income and 3. being aware of our finances. We’ve been making small improvements in all three of those areas and we are finally starting to see some real results! I will be doing a post on each of those three areas over the next month. In this post I want to show you some examples of numbers that have been making me very happy lately!
First up- our electric bill. Compared to other households in our area, our electric bill isn’t normally that bad. In April, our tub faucet started leaking. I didn’t think it was a big deal because hey! water is fairly cheap. What I didn’t realize was that it was hot water that was leaking. That steady stream of water caused our hot water heater to work on overdrive for a month! When I got the $500!! utility bill I was so upset and felt so dumb for not being quicker with getting the leak fixed. Our highest bill to that point had been $300 and that was in the middle of winter. So hubs fixed the leak and was proactive and changed all the washers on the tub. We also set the air conditioning temp higher so we used less electricity. I was so excited when I got the July bill!! I was even happier in August when I saw that we got the bill down even further. This picture is celebrating our comeback from stupidity. (haha)
I check my credit scores on credit.com, creditkarma.com and creditsesame.com once a month to monitor how the changes we are making in our everyday finances are affecting the credit scores. Since April when I started doing this and really paying attention to the credit reports, my score has gone up 47 points! I still have a lot of work to do but I’m happy with that little bit of progress.
Last picture is a big improvement that has really helped motivate me to get serious about our finances. Neither me or my husband have been serious about saving for retirement. We always set up the accounts, but especially with the hubs it doesn’t seem like they build up to anything significant before switching jobs. I had two 403(b) accounts from a job years ago that just sat stagnant since the recession in 2009. Last year I finally took a look at them, did a little research and adjusted my investments to something a little more risky. I figure I have at least 30 years before I need retirement income and I need to get as high a return as possible since I’m starting kindof late. I also have a retirement account with my current job that gets around $300 a month deposited into it. Since changing my allocations, my investments have doubled! I log into the account at least once a week to make sure all three accounts are still trending up. One of the accounts I have is with TIAA-CREF and they have a tool called TIAA 360 that lets me link all my investment accounts with other banks and even my normal bank accounts. I can log into one place and see how all the accounts are doing. I LOVE THAT!! This picture shows how my accounts have grown over the past 18 months. I started in March 2016 at $14k and as of today I’m at $24k. My goal is to hit $25,000 by the end of September!
One of the biggest changes you can make with your finances is to just be aware of where you stand and the choices you are making. I didn’t really make any big changes or decisions with our electric bill, credit report or even my retirement. I just made a point to really look at where I was and corrected a few small things to get going in the right direction. Now I just monitor things every week or two to make sure there are no back slides and to keep motivated!
What’s a small victory you had this week towards one of your goals? Did you make some extra money? Lose a pound? Worked out for longer than normal? It’s those small things we have to celebrate!! Comment below or share on Instagram and tag me #mylifeof3 <3