July Closure, August Goals

Miniature Roses in a Shot Glass

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.

Financial

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.

Books I'll Be Reading- Most of Them

Personal

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?

36 thoughts on “July Closure, August Goals

  1. Wow you really got everythingn under control. I am really glad you are keeping on top of the child support, just keep at it and hopefully you will get it in his next check. Now do they send it to you monthly or as he is paid? I know in PA they used to send it once a month.

    Good Luck with the meeting. Just stand firm. Its the first meeting so it might be bumpy but just remember you have to start somewhere…..oh and your compiments are making me blush. LOL

    I don’t have any ads on my blog either. Basically becasuse I see it as me just talking to others and getting good ideas from them to.

    Judy

    • I am doing my best to gain and keep control of some sort and to some extent. Because of course, not everything is controllable. My understanding is FL pays out as received, not monthly.

      I think the kids will likely just be confused and bored LOL You deserve the praise. You’re doing a great job and a real service putting out your information.

  2. Hey there :) Just wanted to say that since I’ve been doing the whole bills from one account and spending money from another, life is running much smoother. Its definitely worth a shot to see if it works for you!

    p.s. I think you do a great job with your writing….keep up the good work :)

    • Really? Ok that makes me excited then because I’ve been so torn on how to do it but I keep screwing things up the other way. I think I’ll function better this way and have a more efficient processing method. The acct I’m going to be using for spending is also the local acct so it allows me to deposit checks and cash directly. ING will be the bills one and will take most of the money from my paycheck. I hope it works!

      And thank you :)

  3. I grew up with family meetings and one of our most cherished family possessions is the notebook of the minutes of each of those meetings. We would elect a secretary and they would write down what was discussed, what the votes were, and the decisions made. Now 20 years later as adults my brother and I love that little notebook. It details the ups and downs of our little immigrant family, the changes as we grew up, and the plans for our futures. For example, one early entry is about how many times a week each of us has to shower and how it is not appropriate to go into someone’s room fart and then leave. Later entries are about how we are going to pay for college and then weddings. So if you are just starting the tradition, I highly recommend keeping a record of the meetings for your children.

    • That is such a great story and suggestion! I’m almost positive I’ve got a small composition book lying around and if not, it’s on the list anyways for school supplies. I love it, thank you for sharing!

  4. Good luck with all of this. It’s truly impressive, and I know how hard it is to stay on top of it – and how much depends upon our doing so. At times, it’s out of our control; all the more reason to manage meticulously when it’s within our power to do so.

    • Thanks for the luck, I’ll need it. Yeah I think mental peace can only come with realizing what you can and can’t control, working like hell at what you can and letting go of what you can’t.

  5. It’s your blog, so you can do what you want with it! I’ve been writing a blog for years and it’s always been about what I want to write. (And *when* I want to write, too, so that makes it difficult to get a following other than my close friends.)

    I enjoy your writing much more than that of some other blogs, too. The more you write, the more you fill find your own voice and rhythm. Keep it up!

    • You know what’s funny? I’d say about 99.9% of my close friends and family don’t read my blog. Probably because I’m very honest here and they feel uncomfortable? I don’t know. It’s weird. I’ve been blogging in one way or another for many years too. I think I’m ready to make it more serious, focused, and targeted.

  6. Your content is very good and REAL, and I know what you are going through because I’m about 10 years ahead of you. I remarried about 16 years ago, but I didn’t stop having issues with the ex until my daughters were in college. I feel FREE.

    I’m looking forward to your future posts, and I’m glad you are feeling empowered to do more! Good for you!!!

    Sharon

  7. Wow. You seem so totally together! I love how you put your goals in writing — personal, financial, etc., And good luck on the no spend days! Its a lot harder sometimes than we realize because even that .65 in the coke machine at work counts. sigh.

    • LOL at least I seem together in my writing. I always see others who post their goals and it makes it easier to go back and review. I’ve done it a couple of times and yeah, it makes you more accountable! Also helps you remember what you’re aiming for.

      • The trick is to go back and review… I was looking over my old posts for the 7 links project, and realized there were all these posts where I set goals and prioritized e-fund, retirement, paying off student loan, which I had completely forgotten about!

  8. I’m hooked. I love your fluid writing and genuine content. It’s tough for me to get behind those bloggers who are after the fame & money.

    Carry on! : )

  9. Your blog is great. And the doing things the night before is one of those small things that changes a lot. I used to skip breakfast and then buy something at the school, because I didn’t feel like preparing the coffee first thing in the morning. Same with lunch. Now, it probably takes me 10 minutes the night before, but I’m saving a lot of money. Keep it up!

  10. I love this: “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.”

    It’s so important to love what you write so that it doesn’t become a chore, and I think the single mom blog world needs more authentic, well-rounded voices like yours.

    Also, your discussion of finances was really inspiring. It’s time for me to get back on the horse with an active savings strategy. Thanks for the nudge.

  11. I’m not a mom, but I still like reading your posts about your kids, so you must be doing something right? I think you’re a great writer.

    • Thank you Kellen! Happy to know the non-moms aren’t turned off by the kids’ stuff! I think everyone has something to contribute to every situation so it’s good to have a diverse group!

  12. Pingback: Staying on top of August « MutantSupermodel

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  15. Retired now. Only thing I plan for August is to survive the
    aug and sept heat here in Miami. Making lists and plans have all evaporated now. Real freedom. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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