Back at the beginning of the year I set some goals for myself. If you want to read that post, you can click here, but in a nutshell they were: improve my health, improve my finances, and work on my personal relationships. I've been working at all three this year, and things really turned around for me this quarter.
In a post I wrote back in August, I detailed the issues I was having with my budget: I had big medical bills to pay, so I was working too many hours at two jobs, putting most everything else on hold. That just was not working. So I made the somewhat scary decision to cash out a big chunk of my emergency fund and finally paid off those bills. I am so, so glad I did.
I still have my part time, work from home job. I have cut way back on my hours, though, and I made a promise to Walker that I would take off at least one full day, every week, from both jobs. Since we no longer "need" the extra money for bills, it's being saved toward special things, like our upcoming trip to the Mall of America. I also started a new budget envelope labeled "date night", specifically for Walker and me to use when we go out. Unfortunately, Walker is on his winter hours at work and we have not had a night off together in weeks. We've been getting creative: one morning he set his alarm for 3am and watched a movie with me when I got home from work. A couple days later, I stayed up past my bedtime so we could have breakfast together before he headed out. It isn't ideal but it will do.
I was hoping to report that I am now consumer debt free, but then I bought a new (used) car. I was also hoping to post that I had refinanced my mortgage, losing two full interest points, but that is still a work in progress. Refinancing has been very popular around here, and the lenders' schedules are backed up. I've fulfilled all the requirements and now am just waiting for the results of the appraisal before I can close. The refi will lower my mortgage payment by $250 but I'm going to continue to pay the higher payment, so I can get the house paid off faster. The sooner we lose the mortgage, the sooner we retire. With that in mind, I have increased my 401k withholding at the office, I started payroll deductions into my Roth IRA, and, while I was at it, I started a Sharebuilder account for Diva. Sharebuilder gave us a $50 bonus for the new account so it was a great time to sign up.
I still have to prepare my vital documents using my Suze Orman document kit, but I'm confident I can get that done yet this year. When I finish those, I think I'll be able to call my financial goal complete. The relationships goal is, and always will be, a work in progress. I think any relationship worth having takes some level of continuing effort. You're never really "done". But I will say that I feel like I've been successful there, too. Walker and I make a point of spending time together, just the two of us. I make sure to spend time with Diva every week, too. I've reconnected with some old friends that I'd lost touch with. I get to have quality time with Cubby and Squeak, too.
Which brings me to the "health" goal. All I can say there is, I will never stop trying to improve my health, to lose the extra weight, to increase my exercise. I've made improvements, but I have a long way to go, yet, too. With the other two goals right on track I am free to focus on myself for a while, and that's exactly what I intend to do. Hopefully, by the time I post the next quarterly check-in, I'll have some great results to report.