2013 was an interesting year. Our goal was to save money for a down payment, but it was difficult for us to stay gazelle, especially when we had put off so much during BS2. So, at the end of 2013, our BS3b fund is just $7500. We had some insanely large expenses (and very few of them were needs) this year including:
•$2658 Car repairs/maintenance. Included brakes and tires on both cars, and a timing belt.
•$1250 motorcycle - a bs2 promise to DH, that(thankfully) is not up and running yet.
•$6,000 on gas! This is just absurd. We live in NY so our gas is super expensive – only CT and HI pay more than we do, but the fact that DH is driving a truck to work is just insane. We really need to buy a more efficient beater for him.
•We moved to a slightly larger cottage (2 bedrooms, w/d, woodstove, and room for a baby)
•$6500 – 10 days in Rome for our anniversary. This # includes everything including rushed name change on passport, boarding for the cats, and gifts for our family. Insane, but worth every penny.
•$1000 – trip to NYC for the weekend w/ MIL. (a long overdue promise) that involved a Broadway show, dinner, and hotel rooms.
•$1287- pet expenses that included a “free” CL kitty. The purpose of the cat was to provide a playmate for our overly needy and energetic 6 year old cat in an effort to calm him down before a baby , and at least that seems to be working! But, we spent $278 on our cat in 2012, so that is quite an increase. But, at least most of the $1287 was the initial vet visits, spaying, and other one-time costs. I am however, never getting a dog. 2 cats are MORE than enough!
•10,000 - DH started a dream job this year – he is the culinary director at a farm, and although his pay is 10k less than his previous salary, he has excellent benefits and hours, and is working for a reputable organization with a exec director who appreciates the work he does and wants him to have a life.
•$3471 - food - we did an exercise program (P90x) early in the year and changed our diets (high protein), which gives us an average of $289/ mo, up from $150/ mo in 2012. (Although DH now being home for dinner every night increased our spending as well.
•In Jan 2013, I left my part-time job to focus on my job at the cpa firm, but sadly things went downhill there shortly after. My hours were cut last summer, so I added another part time job (managing an ebay business for a company I had worked for a few years ago). By October, I had enough of the BS, and left the CPA firm. My ebay job quickly grew, and I signed up for their (excellent) insurance, and changed my pay structure to salary + commission and am still able to work from home. The best part is that I no longer have to track or submit my hours!
•My other goal was to find a seasonal tax/accounting position, and I am very excited to start my new job on 1/8/14!. The office is 6 minutes from DH’s work so I am hoping we can carpool to save gas and put off the need for another car. Now that I am working from home, he takes my car to work most days. Normally, this would save us money, but it hasn’t due to the holiday’s and all the travel to see family.
•And, now, for the best part of 2013? I’M PREGNANT!! I’m 8 weeks, due in August!!
Our specific 2014 financial goals will be determined in the next few days. I already have my full deductible in my HSA, and the benefit period just renewed in Nov, so it is good timing there. I may add another 1k to increase it to the out of pocket max just to be safe (which really only applies to prescriptions). I plan to take a 2 week vacation in August, and then start working from home again (again, it's nice that I don't have to track my hours and can just do the bare minimum when I have time to log in). Our lease is up in Feb, and the owners (who moved back from HI, and having been invading our space since) have hinted that they may want their house back this summer. We plan to approach them in the next few days and ask them to sign a one year lease in Feb. This will give us time to continue to save, have the baby, and lower financial stress, and buy a house next year. However, if they refuse to sign the lease (which is a likely scenario), we plan to tell them that I’m pregnant and that we are looking for a house, and we will go month to month until we find a place, and we will need until at least the Spring/summer so hopefully the timing will work for them. The LAST thing I want is another rental, especially with a baby in August. I’ve really had enough of the uncertainty and BS that comes with renting, and I’m tempted to buy a house this spring, even if it’s less than 20%, (or even if it’s 5%). We are pre-approved at our credit union with our new salaries, so we are ok there. We have been looking and there are a few houses in our price range - but the challenge is to find one that is not a foreclosure and is in (at least somewhat) move in condition. Buying is fixer upper would definitely not work this year! We also recently joined a new church and are amazed at how welcome we feel there. It such a different experience from the other churches we have attended. So, we really would like to stay in this town. We also just got chickens, so I’m guessing that would make it difficult to find a rental! 2 cats, 30 hens and a baby on the way! (Although that number will go down once we figure out who is no longer laying eggs - the chickens were free from a family who wanted to give them to the farm but there was no space. DH agreed to take them on so we are working on an agreement to sell the eggs at the farm which will hopefully cover the costs.
The good news is that with the tax job, we can save a substantial amount of money between now and April, so if we can stay gazelle, it just may all work out perfectly! After all, my goal was to be pregnant by 35 and I am due one week before my birthday! Despite all of our crazy changes and spending, overall things are working out well for us, and I'm always amazed when things seem to line up perfectly and happen at just the right moment!