Reading... A lost art form?

on Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Originally uploaded by Lochaven

Every time we visit the library it is busy. Which brings to to the question, is reading a lost art or is it just as alive as in previous generations? With the amount of technology available do people read real books any more? Apparently so, according to our local library's website they serve over 1,000 people a day.

My daughter (14 months) loves books. She will sit in her recliner for minutes at a time and look at books. Which to any parent of a one year old knows keeping them still for any amount of time is a miracle. I am an avid reader but S is not. How do you prove to a 14 month old that reading real books made of paper is important when one parent does not read books? In fact, he hardly reads magazines, blogs or newspapers either. We both agree that reading is important and want her to read as much as I do. We continue to read to her everyday and provide books. We will continue to make visits to the library. We will continue to do all that we can to foster a love of books and pray that it happens in her.


Obesity and Child Abuse

on Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obesity and Child Abuse seems to be the new it thing. Is it or isn't it child abuse is the question? I have to say I can see both sides. I can understand state officials saying if your child is significantly overweight or obese then the parents are not correctly providing for their child's needs. No one gets that overweight without having the ability to access excess food. However, I can also understand that some areas are lacking a proper nutritional education. I was in shock when I ready the article though. The article points to a case I feel is child abuse; but, taking the child away from the parent and jailing the parent is not the outcome I'd like to see in a situation such as this. I think that both the parent/s and child should be required to take mandatory nutrition classes. One might ask how will they pay for such a thing? I would suggest their county health department probably offers informational nights or could point them in the correct direction. I would also like the child to be seen by a nutritionist to create a nutrition plan that the court orders the child follow and to report for weigh-ins often. The parent and child would have to participate in this program for a stated amount of time and if significant changes are not made then more severe consequences should be explored. This would be an expensive solution for the county they live in but would save many dollars in health care later on, which in my opinion makes it worth it.


(Link to original article is in the title)


on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Once again we are not sticking to our budget. We are over in many categories and not because of unexpected events. I think that it isn't for lack of trying. I honestly think our budget does not work and our spending limits are not reasonable. With this realization we have come to the conclusion that we need to do some serious reworking to our budget. Keep your eyes out for a new budget coming next week!

As with most money management issues, budgeting is a live and learn experience. We are working to create a real working budget but it is going to take months to get things just right and even then it will not work 100% of the time.


In Light of the Last Post

on Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Having reviewed our goals that we set in January and realizing that we're not going to reach many of them we have decided to change a few of them. Check out the side bar for the new updates!


Yearly Goals

Yearly Goals Mid Year Check-in

Now that 2009 is half way over, I'd like to reexamine our goals we set out to accomplish. I wanted to get this done earlier in the month but things came up as they tend to do with my blog writings. Let's start with savings.

Emergency Fund: I'd like to say that we're going to accomplish this goal the end of August like we set out but we're not going to be able to. I am going to be emptying this account out in a few weeks to pay some bills. We have semiannual bills that need to be paid this month. Unfortunately, we did not anticipate S to be out of work for so long and the money needs to come from some where. This is what emergency funds are for anyway. Ho Hum! We will need to start rebuilding this next month but not at the rate we were before. -FAIL

Travel Fund: Again due to S being out of work, saving for this goal is on a hiatus. -FAIL

M's Retirement: This is the only goal that is on target. We will be increasing the contributions by 1% in October. - On track

S's Retirement: He is currently not working and does not have an account right now. Only time will tell with this goal. - ???

O's College Savings: We are on track with this goal but are going to lower our transfer amount for the next couple of months to rebuild the emergency fund. - On track

S & M Net Worth: We are not getting any where close to our goal here, we are about $10,000 short. I am only hoping we make it back to where we were in January at this point. We may be able to get back on track and accomplish some of our longer term goals but our goal for this year is a big fat FAIL

Now on to debt.
S's Credit Card: We are on track with this and should be able to have it paid off by the end of October. - On track

M's Student Loans: We are currently on track with this goal as well. We made a decision a few months back to send slightly more than the minimum payment so it is helping us to reach this goal. - On track

S's Student Loans: Nothing to report - In Deferment

Medical Bills - PAID IN FULL

Overall, we are not going to make very many of our savings goals but are going to hit all of our debt goals. While it is a bit upsetting that we are so far from our savings goals knowing we will hit and rid ourselves of credit card debt makes the savings goals not feel as far away.


Money and Marriage

on Tuesday, July 7, 2009

As we all know, S and I were married this past March. As newlyweds, we have come to realize we have a lot of issues that we did not talk through before we got married, which is a whole different post for a whole different day. This has caused us to reexamine how we deal with money and also how we discuss financial matters. We have similar spending styles but that's about where the similarities end regarding financial matters.

Before we were married, neither of us spend more than we can afford but we did this differently. I had a reoccurring bills account which I put a set amount into each month for bills that happen irregularly. I also tracked every purchase I made in budgeting software and balanced all of my accounts each month, not only the checkbook. S didn't do any this. He would spent as he saw fit and then use a whole paycheck to pay the car insurance when it came due or for Christmas presents. He never checked his statements against his checkbook registry because he never had a checkbook registry. He never missed a payment or a holiday so this must have worked for him for for me it would have been disastrous.

Now, that we're married we've both had to make changes in this area. To make things work as smoothly as possible, we each have maintained our own accounts. I use my checking account to pay the bills because I can't handle yet another account on top of our numerous savings accounts. I use mostly cash for my fun money as it keeps my spending in check and does not allow for me to accidentally use money set aside for bills. He uses his checking account for all of his purchases other than bills such as gas and fun money. I handle paying all of the bills but he is clued in on what is due when and knows how to use my budgeting software if necessary. This is an area where he doesn't mind giving up control and I thank him for this. I'm a bit of a control freak and if I didn't physically pay the bills I'd worry constantly that they were not getting paid.

As we become more accustom to marriage and settled into our own apartment this may change. We have some pretty extensive financial goals we would like to accomplish in a short period of time and once we do this our money management system may change. For now, this system is working for us and we are comfortable with it.


Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

on Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm a day late as usual but wanted to say Happy 4th Weekend!

Yesterday, all three of us went to the park. I was stung by a bee and my foot is a nice shade of purple. O on the other hand love the park and had a great time! We had a cookout with my parents-in-law. We made a Key Lime Pie as well. Yummy!

Today, O and I made pancakes while S took a nap. Now, O is napping. When O wakes up we're going to go to a different park. Hopefully, it will have fewer bees, my feet will be thankful.



on Thursday, July 2, 2009

We are renovating so if things look screwy please come back soon and they will be back to normal.


Updated - 7/3
The changes are complete. They are not only to the layout of the site but also to the content. I'm going to focus the content on a more personal/family level. I'll still include our monthly financial report as well as a budgeting check-in mid-month but I want to include stories from our life.

State of the Finances

As we all know it is the second of the month and so it is time for an update!

All in all, June was a decent month. We had a few major expenses such as car insurance but were able to split the payment in two so we need to make a payment on that this month as well.

Savings: We were able to make some contributions to these accounts. I would like to have seen a bigger improvement here but with our budgeting skills lacking we spent money we shouldn't have. Onward and upward from here.

Emergency Fund: An increase of 39.24 - we added $38 to make it a cool $1000 and then added a little in interest

Travel Fund: An increase of .25 - not somewhere to put money when we have bigger bills to take care of

Retirement: I'm not going to track these accounts very closely as I'd rather not keep too close of an eye on them since they are long term investments. I'll just say that I opened the account but this first automatic payment did not come out yet so the balance is still $0.

O's Savings: In June she celebrated her first birthday! She was given some monetary gifts which were added to her savings account which brings the total up by $90 or almost doubling her account in one month. She will not be seeing such an increase in savings for a while.

Our Net Worth: While it is not back to where it was in January and we are probably not going to make our short term goal we are making some progress. Right now, my hopes are to have the net worth back to where it was in January by the end of the year. As of the end of June it stands at -$25,299.25 or an increase of almost $300. July will be better than this. I expected our net worth to go down with the major bills paid in June so I'm pleasantly surprise.

Debt: We did not do so well in this category in June. We had a slight increase in credit card debt. We should have a bit of extra money this month which will be thrown at the credit card. I want it gone as soon as possible.

S's Credit Card: The total for this is $1640 or an increase of $90. I can't account for this but it won't happen again.

M's Student Loan: This total for this is $15,325. This is a decrease of $123. I am paying a bit more than the minimum payment to make it a nice round number. I don't expect this bill to be paid off any time soon so each month we just keep chipping away at it.

As the previous months, S's Student Loans are still in deferment as he's still in school. The first payment will be due in December.

Here's to the hopes I have better things to report come August!