Today is payday and so ends my fiscal month of July. I’m honestly very relieved. My income hasn’t been this low since November 2010 and even then I managed to pull in a couple hundred bucks more than this month. But I survived and didn’t borrow a dime to do it so that’s a win in my life.
As August comes around the corner, here are the things I’m looking at.
Eldest’s party is coming together with a pretty large group (15 – 20 kids alone) which isn’t surprising. I am aiming to keep the cost of the party and the gifts under $400, if not $350. This is going to include a reptile show I was able to find for $250. I have a lot of ideas for gifts so I need to narrow them down and start hunting. Or crocheting. Or both.
This month marks my one year anniversary at work. I am officially part of the Retirement Savings Plan where my employer makes a contribution equivalent to 5% of my pay to my403-b. My employer will also match me up to another 5%. So contributions equal to 15% of my pay for only a personal 5% contribution is a no-brainer. I signed up for a 5% personal contribution which went into effect this month.
I only had 4 no-spend days in the month of July. As much as I want to join Sharon and Carla for the seven straight days of fiscal fasting, it’s just not a good time for us to do that. Instead, I’ll be going on my own fiscal challenge and am aiming to double the number of no-spend days from July. So, 8 No Spend Days in August (technically starts today) for the Mutant.
I’m experimenting with a new system where my bills are paid from one account and my spending is done from another.
I am staying on top of the Income Deduction Order. Ex’s next pay periods are August 12 and August 26. I am pushing for the 12th because the company originally received it May 27 and are past the deadline to be in compliance. I’ve been working with Ex’s employer’s garnishment company directly although Ex doesn’t know. He’s continued to be vague about the process on his end saying he had to send it to another city and that he already did but he doesn’t have any contact up there to confirm they actually have it blah, blah, blah. Me: Smile and nod.
If the garnishment goes into effect or Ex pays as he’s supposed to, the priorities with the money will be 1) padding my super slim budget for back to school (currently it’s at $50 for three kids and no lists have been sent) and 2) rebuilding the savings accounts I had to drain to compensate for the evaporation of 2/3 of child support this past month. Specifically I’m looking to put $1,000 into the starter emergency fund, $450 into the education fund, and $300 into the Christmas account. They’re listed in order of priority.
Of course, money isn’t everything (seriously?) and so I’ve come up with a few personal goals this month as well.
I’m committing to working out for at least 30 minutes every day the kids are with their father. The excuses are over. After all, maybe one of the reasons I’m tired all of the time is that I’m not working out!
I’m going to make a concerted effort at getting as much stuff ready the night before instead of putting it off until the morning mad rush. I’ve done it in the past and it’s been a huge help. After all, it’s not fair I’m the Nightmare Mommy first thing in the morning because of my lack of organization. So, clothes and lunches and bags ready the night before and I’ll likely be enlisting the kids’ help.
After being constantly inspired by Judy, I’ve decided to have a family meeting on Monday, August 1st. We’ll talk about things happening this month and we’ll go over budgetary issues as far as things relating to them– specifically back to school items and allowances. This is where I’ll also explain the concept of getting ready the night before and what is expected from each of us to that end.
I’d like one outing with a girlfriend this month for some lunch and chit-chat. I need woman to woman time but often can’t swing it thanks to time and money restrictions. It’s a priority. It’s budgeted for. I’m doing it.
I’m going to keep smashing away at the book tower in my house. I got totally slowed down by Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day. It’s lovely to read but it’s slow and taking me forever. It’s just not a page-turner. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, the writing’s inspiringly lovely. But, yeah it’s slowing me down. So I’ve actually started another book that Jacq recommended to me a while back called Loving What Is which is so insightful and helpful so far, that it will likely be featured here in its very own post.
Finally, I’m going to dedicate some serious mental and mind power to this blog. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and I have a clearer idea of what I want for and from this blog. I want my blog to remain authentic. I don’t want to feel forced to write particular content to drive a particular viewership. However, this doesn’t mean the content I am writing isn’t suitable for a wider audience than I have now.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, because I run the risk of sounding cocky, but I’ve seen so many blogs for so long now, I finally believe that my writing is better than a lot of what’s “popular” and that there is an audience out there who wants my kind of content. No, I’m not a personal finance blogger and I don’t want to be a personal finance blogger. But, I am a single mom blogger, I want to be a single mom blogger and I want to be a well-rounded single mom blogger which understands personal finance is part of the picture, but only part.
I’ve taken a very laid back and natural approach with this blog, if you build it they will come style, but I’m changing that and making a larger effort to get my content out there. However, I’ll be doing it on my terms and avoiding the things other blogs resort to in attempts to drive traffic that I don’t really appreciate as a reader—namely asking for votes, purposely participating in flame wars, posting sponsored product reviews, or hosting sponsored giveaways. I’m going to rely on my content, technique, and style but do a better job of putting myself out there. I’m aware I’ve probably shied away from going for gold because of a fear of exposing myself to the big, bad, and nasties of the world. Well, I’m over it, and it’s thanks to you.
I want you, my tiny and amazing group of readers, to know that I do very much listen to you. I hear your words of support, encouragement, and kins(wo)manship. I pay attention when you express gratitude and appreciation for particular content. And you bet I note when you all go mute on other content. I want to continue helping, supporting, encouraging, and inspiring you because you help, support, encourage, and inspire me.
So, here’s to August! It promises to be a busy month, but I’m ready for it.
What about you? Is August a big month for you or are you going to take the mellow approach to the last full month of summer? What are your top priorities coming up?