Monthly Archives: April 2014

28 Great Things About Getting Older

I have a confession to make.  I don’t like birthdays.  I’ve never liked them.  My mom says I cried when I turned 10 because I was going to be “double digits.”  I was a bizarre– yet super fun– child.

Well, I turned 28 this week.  Since, having a birthday is waaayyyy better than the opposite (ahem dying), I’m officially turning off my birthday hatred.  This week, I’m one year older.  So, here’s my list of great things about getting older.

1.  You get more candles on your birthday cake.  Who doesn’t like more fire?!

2.  You still have a few years before you’re considered an “adult.”  “Adult” is a moving target.  I used to think people who were 18 were ancient.  Now, I don’t think I have to be an “adult” until I’m 30.  However, when I turn 30, I’m planning on saying I’m not an “adult” until I’m 40.  I plan to repeat this process until I’m 90.  When I’m 100 I will officially HAVE to consider myself and adult.

3.  You have so much to look forward to!  And, so many embarrassing memories to forget.

4.  For four months I’m older than my husband, so I get to say things like, “you’ll understand when you’re older.”

5.  I have conquered 27, also know as your “Rockstar Year.”  Also known as the year many rock and rollers die suddenly.  Whew, I’m glad that’s over.

6.  You are no longer the person at work who “just graduated college.”  Now you’re a full fleged employee.  Feel free to spew great, innovative ideas everywhere!

7.  You’re finally figuring out how *not* to overdraft your bank account.  Full disclosure, my husband and I took “overdraft protection” off our checking account.  Now we just get denied if we run out of money.  Take that crazy fees!

8.  You’re figuring out what you want to do with your life, but you’re not quite there yet.  Maybe next year?

9.  You’ve figured out what you want in a partner– even if you haven’t found it yet.

10.  You run into college students, and you say, “they look like babies, little drunken babies!”

11.   You have a after work routine– and you like it.  Netflix night, anyone?

12.  You’ve stopped shopping at Forever 21 (is that just me?).

13.  You’re only watching stuff on MTV that you know from high school.  Real World is okay.  Everything else, you think, “what is this?”  Except for Teen Mom, which trumps all.

14.  Coffee isn’t just a delicious drink.  It is a necessity.  Like water.  Except better.

15.  You used to have a million friends, but by now you’ve started weeding out the weaklings.  It’s like The Hunger Games– but for friends– may the odds be ever in your favor.

16.  Your surrounded by babies.  “Making it rain,” has nothing to do with throwing money around in a club.  It’s about baby showers.  They’re everywhere, and they’re the best reunions ever.

17.  You realize making a list of 28 things great things about getting older is taking a while… a long while.

18.  You get to try out a bunch of new hobbies, because the ones you were interested in during your early 20s make you want to vomit.  No, I don’t want to “go out” tonight.  Yes, I do want to make crafts and have a glass of wine!

19.  Your parents become cool!  It’s like they’re your older, fun friends.  (you’re welcome mom!)

20.  Your family has completely transformed.  Who are all these new in-law people?  Let’s party!  Wait, didn’t you read #18?  Let’s just make crafts together!

21.  You depend on your high school/college family members to learn about new social media apps.  Luckily, you’re not too old to jump on!  Anyone want to Snap Chat?!

22.  You’ve probably gone through something hard by now.  Death of a close family member?  Failure at work?  Lost love?  Complete breakdown?  Now you know you can handle anything!  Bring it on.

23.  You actually have money to take vacations!  You don’t even have to share a hotel room with 100 other people!

24.  You realize dogs get better with age.  Way better!

25.  You’re friends start getting new jobs and spread out across the country, so you have tons of excuses to go visit them.  You’re just being a good friend, right?!

26.  You finally have a little control over your hair.  Not every day, but some days.

27.  You might not know what your “dream job” is yet, but you know what your “dream job” isn’t.

28.  You’re finally embracing your birthday.  Now you can make really cool lists about how great it is!

Do you agree with any of these?  Did I leave anything out?

Our Mortgage Pay Off Date Is…

What separates a dream from reality?  A date.  We’ve been working on our mortgage pay-off dream for about two years (here, here, here, and here), and we finally have a finish-ish date.  Exciting stuff!  It’s like our dream is being born.  It is a living, breathing being.  The only problem?  We’ve still got a while, so it’s tiny.  Like Pink when he was a puppy.

baby pink

Even though it’s small, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for our mortgage pay-off adventure.  About a month ago, I totally geeked out.  I made a spreadsheet.  I included every paycheck we were *hopefully* getting in the next year, and I how much we were *hopefully* going to put towards our mortgage.  Then, poof!  In seconds I found out what day we would *hopefully* be done paying off our mortgage.  Drumroll, please!  If we’re reallllllllly good, it looks like our mortgage debt free date will be July 22.  If we’re not so good, it will be August 5.

Crazy, huh?!?!  It’s so exciting to have an actual date.  It’s about five months behind where we planned, but we’re still really happy with it.  We originally thought we would be done paying off our mortgage in March 2014.  Yeah, that was a little ambitious/insane.  Unfortunately, this isn’t our completely debt free date, because we still have a few minor things to take care of after the house.  Wah Wah.  So *hopefully* we will be completely debt free by the end of the year.  We’re focusing on our mortgage right now, because we’re tired of it.  This tired.

rick sleeping

Even though we’re exhausted, we’ve had an amazing past 5 months on our journey.  Currently, we have $9,000 left on our mortgage.  Mostly because my husband has been killing it at work.  I’ve been killing it …at spreadsheets and taxes.  Here’s a blank copy of the spreadsheet I created if you’re interested.

Debt Free Tracker

Even thought my spreadsheet is pretty intense, it’s incredible to see that after 2 years of work we’re so close to our goal!  I can’t believe that pretty soon-ish I’ll be able to write about the first rental house we’re buying.  I only wish I would have made this spreadsheet earlier, because it’s so motivating. IF you’re working towards a goal calculating your finish date is exteremely rewarding!  It will turn your dream into a reality.  So, do it!

Do you have a date for your big goal?

7 Year Run: How to Motivate Others

Happy FRIIIIIIDAY!

Last year, as a part of my bucket list, I trained for and ran a 10k.  This year, as part of my husband’s bucket list he wrote down to “run a 5k.  “WhaaaaaAAAAt?!”  I asked.  I was shocked.  Like mouth on the floor shocked.  Why?  He doesn’t like running.  He doesn’t even like talking about running.  When we first started dating, he didn’t even understand running. Here was our typical conversation:

Me: “I’m going running.”

Him: “Why?  Is someone chasing you?”

Fast-forward 7 years when he says, “I’m going to run a 5k,” I pretty much peed my pants.  In a good way.  If there is a good way to pee your pants.  I’m just going to leave that alone.

After (sorta) training, we ran our first 5k together!  It was amazing.

5k race

Recently, someone asked me, “how do you get your husband to do ____?”  That made me think about how we motivating others: husbands, friends, family, or coworkers.  How to you motivate someone to do something you want?  I have a great husband and he cares about my interests, but he does what he wants– so does everyone else.  However, we work/live/exist in a society that relies on people relying on each other, so it seems crucial to know how to motivate other people.  Here are some ideas that I came up with.

4 ways to motivate others.

1.  You can’t make anyone do anything.  You just can’t.  So, give up on trying to trick people, instead focus on ways to help others.

2.  Set an example.  This one is HUGE!  I gave up on running the first year we were married.  In the past couple years, I got back into it.  I realized the more I went the more my husband would go along.  Same for at work, the more I’m excited about helping other people with their projects, the more they are available to help me.

3.  Give it time.  My husband and I have been dating/married for 7 years.  So this 7 year 5k might be the longest race in the history of the world.  Just realize that sometimes things take time– especially the good stuff.  .

4.  Pay it forward.  Good news: we ran a 5k together.  Bad news: he says I have to do something he likes to do.  My choices? Golfing or hunting.  Bleh.  But, I guess I’ll be a good sport…maybe!

I’m sure you’re wondering if we took Pink and Rick with us during the race.  Not a chance.  They can’t really figure out how to stop dragging us or, after the get tired, having us drag them.  They weren’t too upset, though  They were busy doing their favorite activity.  Sleeping.

Do you think motivating other people is important?  Do you have any tips?

p.s. I have pretty exciting information about our mortgage pay-off on Tuesday.  Come back and get the scoop!

 

 

 

March Bucket List Update

Can you believe it’s April.  It’s time for showers (no flowers).  It’s time for my birthday (in a few weeks).  And, it’s time for the March Bucket List Update (right now)!

1.  Organize one room in my house every month (Reoccurring and taking the place of a January Challenge).

Success!

So far I’ve done my bathrooms, laundry room, and now bedroom.  Our bedroom was the worst one yet.  My closet was stuffed full of… stuff.  The good news is, I found two bags of clothes to give away.  The bad news is, there’s only so much I can do with my tiny closet.

collage

Also, I had to tame an unwieldy sock monster.  What’s a sock monster?  I think this will explain it all.  Does anyone else have this problem?

sock  monster

2. Lose 10 pounds through the Paleo Diet or South Beach Diet (February) (March).

I moved this one to from February to March, and I did pretty well until we went to Vegas.  Then, I crashed and burned.  Overall, I’ve lost about 3 pounds.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do now.  I could get back on the diet train, but it’s so much easier to eat ice cream in my yoga pants.  I’ll make a decision by next month.  There’s nothing like diet procrastination.

3.  Go on a Vegas Vacation (March).

We had the best time!  Check it out.

4.  Run 365 miles (reoccurring and taking the place of an April challenge).

January: 12.75

February: 19

March: 31

My monthly goal is to run/walk as many miles as days are in the month.  And, I finally made this goal this month! It was pretty ugly, because I didn’t keep up at the beginning of the month, so last week involved me doing five miles a day for three days.  But, I made my goal, and that’s all that counts!

Also, I got a new app that keeps track of my runs, it’s called RunKeeper.

5.  Go one month without artificial sugar (May)  (February)

This is still going amazingly.  I think I’ve only a couple Diet Cokes all year.  Which is miraculous because I used to drink a vat of the syrupy stuff every day.  I still crave it, but not as much as I used to.

6.  Learn to hula-hoop or whistle (June).

I’m thinking about changing this one to juggling.

7.  Go skydiving (July).

8.  Write 2 blog posts every week (Reoccurring).

Last month, I said I was going to try and start this in April.  Here I am!  Posting my heart out.  I’m going to post again on Friday, so come back, please!  I’ll start begging.  I’m not above that.

9.  Become debt free– including paying off our house (September).

We’re still on track for this.  Here’s an update from a while ago.  Since I’m going to be writing more posts, I’ll do another update soon.

10.  Write a fiction book and sell it on Amazon (October).

I’ve started this.  I’m having a hard time being consistent about writing.  I’ll write for a couple days, then I’ll skip a week.  Then I’ll write for a couple more days and skip two weeks.  I hope to have a very rough draft done by May, because I think I will have to rewrite the majority of it– at least five times.

11.  Do something spontaneous (November).

12.  Make $1,000 of side income a month, by freelance writing/blogging/video projects (December).

I made some TINY progress on this.  I wrote an article for another blog, and I’m getting paid me $15.  Only $985 to go.  I honestly have no idea how I’m going to get to $1,000.

How are you 2014 goals going?  If they aren’t going well, don’t worry.  My first two bucket list updates were terrible this year.  If you want to still see some progress, just recommit yourself.  It’s easy, just say, “I’m going to restart on ‘x goal’ on ‘x date’.”  You can do it.  I believe in you.

How I Dominated Our Taxes

Last year tax time was brutal for us.  We had to pay in $1,000 in Federal and State Taxes.  It hurt like a dirty Rick in your truck…

rick in truck

Still not sure how this happened.

 

Our tax blunder was my fault because I put 2 deductions on my w-2.  Essentially this was like telling the government that we have 2 kids.  I’m not sure why I did this.  Maybe I was thinking Pink and Rick counted as children?  Who knows…I probably was just putting numbers down in the squares.

I was too lazy to go back to HR and change my deductions, and I really didn’t want my paycheck to get any smaller, so I left my w-2 the same for this year.  We braced ourselves, hard.

Because I knew we were about to get KILLED.  I decided to do our taxes at myself.  Our state sends out a booklet with all the necessary forms in it, so I decided to use it to do our state taxes for free– by hand.  It’s the caveman’s approach to state taxes.  Then, my plan was to use one of the free federal forms online.

Round 1: State Taxes (-450… plus more Federal)

I started our state taxes, and my calculations said we had pay in $450.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t gotten to federal yet.  This was about to be ugly.

Round 2: State Taxes (-157… plus more Federal)

We’ve never paid enough in mortgage interest to be able to deduct it on our taxes, but we started tithing last year.  So, I did our state taxes again and put in out house interest and tithing.  This ended up being a great move, because then our bill was brought down to $157.   I wrote the check (while still cursing the government–even though my bill dropped in half) and put it in an envelope and got ready to send it in.

Round 3: Federal Taxes (State: -157, Federal: -550) 

I searched online for a free federal tax form, and I found TaxAct.com- which said you could fill out a federal form for free.  I filled it out, and it was as bad as I thought.  We had to pay in $550 in Federal Taxes.

Round 4: Federal and State Taxes (State: +700, Federal -280)

Because tithing and mortgage interest helped in our state tax battle, I decided it was worth a shot on trying to itemize our federal taxes too.  Something amazing happened.  I’m calling it tax magic.  It brought down our Federal tax bill to $280.  Since, I was clearly on a roll, I decided to double check my state tax work.  I’m SO GLAD I did, because I must have done something horribly wrong in my initial calculations.  After I entered in the state information from our W-2’s we’re getting a REFUND from the state for $700.

Moral of the story: don’t let me do your taxes…by hand like a caveman.

Better moral of the story: take that tax man.  You have to pay us this year.  I call that complete DOMINATION.  Oh, and just so you know it only cost me $5 to print out my state tax form, and it cost me $12.00 to upgrade to the “Delux Version” of the federal taxes on TaxAct.com.  It was totally worth it to save around $1,000 in taxes (p.s. I don’t get any money from them, I just thought  you’d want to know how much they charge).

Anyway, here’s to hoping Pink and Rick will actually count as tax deductions next year.  They sure eat enough.

How did your taxes go?!