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Okay, I've put it off long enough!

January 24th, 2006 at 01:43 pm

It's been forever since I last posted something -- and it's time for me to get back into the swing of things.

A brief recap: I didn't fully recover from being ill until the last week of November. It was as if I kept catching something, almost recovering, then catching something else. It was so frustrating! I missed about 4 days of work - which I hate to do. Luckily I have lots and lots of sick time that will cover all of that and plenty more, but I don't like being sick and having to use sick days.

Christmas was great! We had such a wonderful family time. It was fairly quiet, but very enjoyable. I would, however, like to talk my family into cutting back a bit next year. As much as I love Christmas, I do feel that our family goes way overboard in terms of gifts. I've talked to my parents about it, and I THINK they agreed, and we will all cut back a bit next year. I'd like to do something like: one big gift, one homemade gift, and one 'nothing new' gift (from a garage sale or thrift store - something like that). That may sound like a lot to some, but believe me, that would be quite a cutback for my family. Don't get me wrong - I love receiving gifts as much as the next person, but when we all have to wrack our brains trying to come up with a list of somethings we need/want, then we are going just too far off the deep end in buying gifts! I love giving gifts, too, but again, there's a limit.

It was so wonderful having 2 weeks off for the holidays! That is one of the best benefits of working at a school!! Our calendar worked out this year so that we didn't get off work until 12/23 - but then we didn't have to go back until January 9th! I love having all of the time off AFTER Christmas as opposed to before Christmas. I usually am organized enough that I have everything done before Christmas, so it's more beneficial for me to have the time off after Christmas so that I can really enjoy it =) I got a great deal accomplished during that time - lots of cleaning and decluttering around the house. That is such a wonderful feeling!

We also did a recap of our overall finances. DH and I sat down and went over our budget, right down to the last detail. We determined that we're actually doing really well! We have much more money put away than we even thought we did - which is always a good thing! The only debt we currently have is a small amount on each of our Visa cards, and what we owe on our two cars. The CC debt will be taken care of by the end of February (more on that below). And, though I'd rather not have the two car loans, we did get really great deals on both cars, as well as really great interest rates on both. We've determined that we paid for 2 cars what many people pay for just one, so we really aren't too worried about owing on the two cars. All told we owe about $20,000.00 for the two -- DH has a PT Cruiser and I have a 4Runner. Both were 2 years old when we bought them, but both looked brand new. We'll have them for a while, as we're not the type to buy a new car the minute the old one is paid off, so that's another bonus. Additionally, we've decided that we will throw extra money at both car payments so they are paid off sooner.

More good news: WE GOT RAISES!! We found out the second week of December that we are receiving 4.0% raises! Even better, the raise is retro back to July, so in addition to getting the raise - which will probably be reflected on our February paychecks, we will receive a retro check for the additional amount for all of those months. Wahoooo! We are supposed to receive the retro check in February, so DH and I will use that money to pay the balance on our two Visa cards. We really don't owe all that much on either one, but I absolutely hate having a balance on them at all. We really don't use them all that often, but right at Christmas time we had a few things that came up for which we used our cards. That's okay - they were convenient, which is why we have them in the first place. I just dont' want those balances sitting on there any longer than they have to! We do have a good interest rate on both cards since DH is a BofA employee, but still - I hate debt!

Even more good news! DH found out yesterday that BofA met the profit goal they'd set for themselves for the year. That's GREAT news for us, because the deal was that, if they met the goal, employees would share in the success and receive a higher than normal quarterly bonus! Each quarter DH receives a bonus - which is great in and of itself! - however, for the final quarter, the bonus is much higher than normal. Score! In addition, employees have the option of having all or part of the amount put into their 401(k) plans - which is eligible for a company match! Guess what we decided to do?? ;-) Hey, free money is free money!

Well, this is a start. Hopefully, I'll be better about posting, and get back into the routine. Though I haven't been posting, I have been reading others' posts, so that's, as they say, better than nothing!

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