Thursday, October 1, 2015

September goals recap - how did I do?

Oh, September. You were quite a challenge. :-) We fired our nanny, scrambled to find another one, M was in Dubai for 9 days, I was in London for a week. . . it wasn't exactly a banner month for "getting things done". That said, I made the decision to embark on my "40 week project" (aka, quit my job at the end of the school year), which is easily the biggest decision I've made, career-wise. . . ever!

Here's how I did (or, rather, didn't, in some cases :-)) do on my goals!

    1. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio - oh my, oh my. I almost ended the month in the 300s. This was a VERY difficult month for me to get in workouts, as I was leaving early quite a bit to cover for our lack of nanny, then leaving early to train up a new nanny, then traveling. But, I pulled it together & ended the month with 525 minutes. Not great, but a huge improvement over where I thought I might be. 
    2. Complete 10 strength workouts - yes, managed to get in 11 workouts! I find that keeping my hand weights out & visible makes all of the difference. I need to start adding in some squats as well. Making it part of my daily routine is the secret.
    3. Complete 4 stretching workouts - Nope. One stretching workout.
    4. Lose 3 pound - I wish. I gained two pounds, so that's 5 pounds from where I wanted to be! :-( 
    1. Stick to our budget -not quite. We actually did pretty well on most categories, but a few things put a wrench in our plans. 1) I paid our old nanny a full week's worth to go away & never come back, as I didn't give her notice. 2) We had a day without school & I paid the new nanny to stay with the kids. 3) Our new nanny charges $2 more/hour, which adds up. All told, we were over by $275. We did great on all categories outside of childcare, including groceries!!! :-) Huge win there.
    2. Finish our 2016 budget planning - Still working on this, especially with my new "40 week" project. 
    3. Determine what to do with stock vest money - I have this answered! Save for when I leave my job. 
  1. Book all activities for Hawaii - Done!!!! 
  2. Continue thinking of mid/long term plans for Seattle house & our location - we'll continue this conversation, but focused right now on the end of the summer timing with my job.
  3. Build several options for me to consider taking time off/going part time - Yes! We're actively exploring this. 
  4. Work on 2016 family calendar & vacations - I have a calendar started, but I'm a long way away from a full picture of 2016.

  1. Take a work life balance class (funded through my employer) - done! And, signed up for a deeper version of this class in January.
  2. Continue to accept no more than one late night's worth of meetings/week - Yes :-) 
  3. Shorten all planned work travel - Yes, was able to shorten my London trip
  4. Find creative options to have my more senior staff cover additional travel - eh. I managed to have someone else cover India, Taipei & Tokyo/Seoul. I'm still on the hook for 1-2 trips to China + Brazil. 
  5. Eat lunch away from my desk 3x/week or more - I don't think I've been perfect at this, but *much* better. Probably a 75% success rate.
  6. Book my workouts on my calendar, & *stick with them*!! - Not for the first three weeks, but I managed three workouts this week so far!
  1. Get together for a minimum of one social event with a friend - Yes! I went to a hike/brunch & had a great time.
  2. Sign up to volunteer at the boys school. - Yes!

So, a bunch of mid-progress items, a few wins, and a few losses. Not too bad, considering the month I've had. I'll take it!  How about you? How have you done with your goals over the last month? And, happy October! Go set yourself some new, fantastic goals!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Goals for October

I can't believe we're here already! I need to recap my September goals, but here's what I want to accomplish in October:

  1. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio
  2. Complete 10 strength workouts
  3. Complete 4 stretching workouts
  4. Lose 3 pounds - will be challenging with my vacation, but we will do it!
  1. Stick to our October budget
  2. Finish our 2016 budget planning
  3. Stick to our vacation budget while in Hawaii!
  4. Continue working on my "40 week project!"
  1. Work on 2016 family calendar & vacations
  1. Continue to accept no more than one late night's worth of meetings/week
  2. Eat lunch away from my desk 3x/week or more
  3. Book my workouts on my calendar, & *stick with them*!!
  1. Get together for a minimum of one social event with a friend
  2. Sign up to volunteer at the boys school.

If this looks a lot like September, that's because it is very similar. ;-) If I can get in a consistent rhythm of doing this each month, I'll be thrilled!

What about you? What's on your list of goals for October?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Forty week project - week three

First up, I'm back from London. It was a very good trip. Travel wasn't as painful as a trip to Tokyo,  and the jet lag isn't as bad coming from Europe.

I headed from the airport straight to a soccer tournament. :-) Life as a mom! There was lots of soccer this weekend, & both boys had great games.

I'm now knee deep in work again, trying to get ready for my vacation, starting on Friday!!

As a gift to myself, I took Friday off. I'll be taking the boys to school, working out, getting my hair cut, getting a pedicure, & then heading to parent teacher conferences with the kiddos & finally picking my parents up at the airport. And then. . .  it's Hawaii time! I can't tell you how excited I am to have an entire week with M. It's been a wild month (two international trips - him to Dubai, me to London), plus the regular back to school times, firing our nanny, hiring a new one, & we just haven't had any time alone together. Cannot wait!!

Okay, so for my updates on my "40 week project".

  • I had some stocks vest on Friday, but I can't see them in my brokerage account yet, so I've estimated the value. I'll sell when our trading window reopens.
  • I made $47.20 on an eBay sale
  • I saved $2200 from my paycheck to cover Hawaii. I believe we've already paid for the hotel (car is included), so this will be for activities, food, & hotel tax.
  •  I have just over $90K saved, which is 60% of the way to goal. 
  • I increased my withholding earlier in the year (both federal & state) & bumped up M's withholding as well a few weeks ago. I'm hoping that we will owe less than $25K this year, which will free up more money for my "40 week savings". 

Goals for this week & next:
  1. Stay on track with the budget, particularly in Hawaii
  2. Figure out our summer travel schedule, so I can add that to my 40 week savings plan.
  3. Plan the remaining vacation until next summer, so I can a) budget for it and b) understand my vacation days. I'll likely need to cover some time off with vacation days, so I can keep my last stock vest.
More soon, but happy to be home!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Forty week project - week two

I'm two weeks into my 40 week project, and here's where things stand.

1) Investigate Health Insurance:
Done! It will cost $155/month to add everyone to M's healthcare plan.

2) Build a "40 week fund" & plan:
Well, I've set my sights on building a fund of $100,000 before I leave, as well as being able to fund any 2015 federal or state taxes that we may owe, and our summer plans. I'm hoping that we will owe less than in 2014, as I increased my IRS withholdings & state withholdings. But, I'm going to assume (worst case), we'll need about $45,000 for the IRS. I'm also budgeting $5,000 for the summer, although think it will be less. I want a lot of "slush" in my slush fund. :-)

So, net/net, I'd optimistically like to have $150,000 in 38 weeks. Where are we at right now? I'm currently at $82K, so around 54% of my goal. We have Hawaii rapidly approaching, which I need a plan for, so we don't dip into our savings.

Determine our "post 40 week" budget:
I'm by no means done, but I've come up with the following category groupings:

3) Categories that will decrease:

  • Taxes! This should be pretty significant for us, given our current tax liability. But, I'm not planning to adjust anything until the end of 2016, if at all possible, to ensure we don't end up owing after the fact.
  • Childcare. Huge decrease, both during the school year & with summer camps. I will budget some for date nights, and for a few summer camps that the boys enjoy. - Savings of $1200/month.
  • Cleaning. I'll pick up the cleaning, but may retain a once/month service. - Savings of $270/month.
  • Groceries. I'd like to reduce this to $550/month, but I'll be home more & I currently get free breakfast & lunch 5 days/week. So, don't know if that will net out at the same or not. - Savings of $50/month

Categories that will increase:

  • Utilities? I'll be home more. Assume this will be very moderate, but bump up by $25.
  • Health insurance. As noted above, $155/month increase.
  • General health category, as I'd like to join a gym. Increase of $30/month. 

Categories that I'd like to/need to reduce to afford our new lifestyle:

  • Travel. I still want to have some flex here, so we can visit family & enjoy our vacation house more. But, need to cut this back by $4,000
  • Boys activities. They play soccer, which is super expensive, but are also doing some after school activities & I may need to cut back on the non-soccer activities. No plans to cut back on soccer right now. They both LOVE it. Reduction - $700
  • House. Keep spending on all house related stuff to $1,500. Reduction - $500. This includes all three houses, so not sure if this is reasonable.
  • Taxes. Plan to keep our current budget (which is $5K, ha ha, as we paid drastically more than that last year) at $5,000. No change.
  • Personal. Drop by $200. 
  • Auto. Drop to $1,500. We may also consider selling our third vehicle. We use it very infrequently. Savings of $500.
  • Boys college. Remains the same.
  • Charity. Remains the same.
  • Clothing (entire family). Cut back by $500.
  • Christmas. Cut by $500. 
  • Boys all. Bucket category for field trips, lunch money, etc. Remains the same.
  • Gifts. Cut back by $500.
  • Summer camps. Cut from $2500 to $1500. Savings of $1,000.

With all of the changes above, we're still short $3,300/month from M's salary, given our current expenses. We'll be doing a few things to offset this. 1) that's what my "40 week slush fund" is for - to offset the gap & allow me to take time off. 2) I do plan to work again, but want to find something much more flexible and part time. Once we have an assessment of the tax impact, that will also help us understand what the true gap is going to be.

Any recommendations on how we can get a better understanding of our revised tax impact, after the changes? Our income will go down by ~50%. Suppose I should just bite the bullet & set up time with our accountant. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What did we spend this week (9/8-914/15)

Here's how we did with our weekly spending! I was on my own with the kiddos, so we ate out more than usual.

9/8 - No spend day!

9/9 - $2.59- milk

9/10 - $33.11 - Chick-Fil-A. Dinner out after a super late practice.


  • $15 - "fun" money I send my Aunt every month. (She is disabled, my parents help take care of her)
  • $13.33 - produce stand. Kale, cucumbers, radishes, bananas.
  • $72 - utilities at our vacation house
  • $36.41 - pizza, after another super late practice. 

9/12 - $152.12 - Costco, groceries


  • $75 - access to the nanny service to find another nanny
  • $42.33 - gas
  • $10 - parking at the airport, when we picked up M

9/14 - no spend day!

All in all, a much cheaper week than last week. ;-) We spend a total of $451.89. Not too shabby.

How about you? How much did you spend? Do you track your weekly spending?

Happy Saturday!

We have three soccer games today. Sam is substituting for the team one level up (he's thrilled ;-)), so we have soccer from 9:45-5:30 (breaks in between). I also need to get in a workout - yoga, & maybe 30 Day Shred? I'd love to go for a walk while the boys are warming up for soccer, but the game is not in an area that's pleasant to walk around, so we'll see.

Here are a few things that happened this week:

  1. It was a bit of a scramble, but I meal planned all week.
  2. I made $47.20 (after postage, but not eBay fees, yet) on a gift that M got me for my birthday but didn't fit (sunglasses. They rubbed against my cheeks. I have a very round face ;-))
  3. I worked out yesterday! It's been a rough week with my childcare situation, but I managed to make a workout happen.
  4. We have a new nanny! We're still trialing her out. I'm paranoid at this point, after our last nanny. But, things seem to be going very well.
  5. I leave for London on Monday, & haven't even started thinking about packing. I need to get sorted out.
That's about it. It's going to be blazing hot for soccer today. Hope you are all getting ready for a great weekend!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Forty week project - week one

For the first week of my "project", I'm going to start building a list of all of the things I need to do/investigate as we get closer to the end goal. So, here's what I've come up with!

  1. Build a "new life" budget. Figure out exactly what we need to make, which areas we can cut, etc. There are some obvious changes (taxes will decrease, childcare will go down, I will get rid of the cleaning lady, etc) to take into account.
  2. Figure out how much it will cost to enroll me, plus the kids on M's insurance plan. I should be able to figure this out quickly, as we work for the same company.
  3. Figure out an exit date that allows me to capture a final quarterly stock vest (6/25). Maybe a combination of vacation days & working an extra week after the boys are done with school.
  4. Build a summer budget & plans to ensure we have enough "flex". 
  5. Live off of our "new life" budget as much as possible, as early as possible. Obviously, we won't be able to cut down childcare until I stop working, but we may switch to a bimonthly cleaning, etc, to try & save more & prepare ourselves.
  6. Get a grasp on how much we will owe in taxes in 2015, as taxes due will make a major dent in my current savings.
  7. Determine how much "flex" money I need in our savings in order for the "40 week project" to be a go. Actively track over the next 10 months.
  8. Evaluate whether I can max out my 401K in 2016 with my bonus before I quit. . . this one will be totally dependent upon the new budget numbers. 
  9. Look for areas of our existing budget to cut back asap, so we can start building up a nice cushion.
I think that will be enough. ;-) I'm super, super excited. Any other tips to share? :-)