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Onward to 2013!

Happy New Year! I’m ready! Are you? Do I seem excited? Cuz I’m a little excited. Fresh start. Fresh goals. Big changes ahead. The time has come to prepare. Not that I haven’t been preparing, but now we are talking Prepare. Capitol P. Asses in gear. Making things happen. T-Rex style.

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Without the debilitating stubby arms. To the best of my somewhat lessened ability. Not stubby arm lessened, but a lower gear all the same.

These are going to be focused on first half of 2013. Why? Because the big, huge, monstrous over-arching goal of 2013: Have a happy, healthy baby.

I could stop right there. Maybe I should. That seems like more than enough. But, happy, healthy babies need things. Not just material things, intangible things. A stable life. Parent(s) who can stay home to take care of said baby. Health insurance sure would be swell too. Those types of things require prior proper planning. And some little goals. Little goals to feed the big goal…and the baby.

Savings Goals.

Add 5k to long term savings. This isn’t about the baby so much as it is growing our over all security. This type of savings will take a backseat in the 2nd part of the year. I’d like to give it a respectable bump before everything goes to hell (in the most positive meaning of the phrase).

Add 5k to Vet Savings. Part of my plan to not marginalize my dogs, despite big changes, I do have some logic here. The grand total will be $1,000 per dog, which is one medium emergency or a couple bigger emergencies. This is all about hedging my bets, and its still going to be cheaper than paying monthly for Pet Insurance, then hoping for reimbursement.

Add $2200 to Car Savings. If all goes well this will be money to use ‘someday’. In the mean time, it will cover our asses should anything go horribly wrong with The Husband’s vehicle.

Up 401k contribution. Since I’m planning to be unemployed for an undetermined chunk of 2013, I won’t have a full year to make 401k contributions. I came pretty close to maxing it out this year. I’d like to put a sizable dent in it before my departure. I’ve set my contributions to increase by 2% as of January 1. I’ll do that again, at least once.

A note on these goals: They are aggressive. I’m basically trying to save for a whole year in 6 months. It’s a daunting task and is going to require some single minded focus-y focus. All the automated deductions for savings is going to take a sizable chunk out of my paycheck. My response? Good. I want our income to feel smaller, a lot smaller, now while the flexibility is there to make adjustments. This is our prolonged fire drill while the fire is still smoldering.

Make Roth IRA contributions. Hey, look! A second half of the year goal! Life will go on after the ‘blessed event’. While my employer won’t be making 401k contributions, that doesn’t prevent me from throwing meager amount of money at retirement on my own. I’ve opened the Roth in preparation for this. Once the baby is here I’ll switch gears and redirect a little money that way.

Targeted Spending. In addition to all this saving, we need to procure a few big ticket items and projects. Projects and items which are going to require an outlay of cash, once again, before this kid shows up. We aren’t just talking nursery either. For some reason the nursery doesn’t concern me all that much. (I don’t imagine the baby actually caring). No its, vacuum cleaners, and tub refinishing. Putting in a little carpet (for dogs and baby really), and replacing couches. These are the things I want to get knocked out to make everyone’s life a little more comfortable. Fake budget in effect. I think that combined with a schedule for these purchases is going to make all things (or most) possible.

Fitness goals. Many moms may find this hilarious, but I’m putting it out there all the same. It’s not very specific at the moment, more along the lines of ‘Don’t neglect yourself’. Now or later. My exercise schedule has suffered with this pregnancy. From a complete lack of energy, and from not knowing where my new (much lower) limits are. Still, I am working to maintain 3 workouts a week. I’d like to continue that after the baby, increasing it (once I get the all clear,) back to 4 or 5. This is going to require commitment and some negotiations with The Husband for time. Maybe its overly ambitious, but even if I’m not showering, I’d like to be running. I’d like to be lifting weights. It keeps me sane and life in perspective. I’ll take that over being smelly.

There she is. My 2013. Save. Spend. Run. And have a baby. Super simple, right?

What about you? What’s in the works for 2013?

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Comments

Anisa/The Lazy Homesteader
Reply

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve been sort of a lurker on your blog for a while, but I had to say it! Yay for you! Because of the off and on lurking, I missed your original announcement(s). :) November and December was a blur for me. ;)
I am going to follow your example on saving up for vet bills. This year, we are not having a baby, but we did just send a breeder a deposit for a puppy! We won’t get him/her until May or June, but I am so excited to have a dog back on our homestead.
Congrats again!

dogsordollars
Reply

Anisa – You can’t be a lurker on MY blog because I’m a lurker on YOUR blog. :D And November and December were a similar blur, but thank you for the congrats all the same. And right back atcha on the dog front. I can’t imagine being dogless!

Jenny
Reply

I think your goals are very good, and for the most part realistic. I feel like if you’re able to maintain a 3 day/week workout routine through your pregnancy, you should be able to go right back to it. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a couple weeks to get back into working out, though. Having been through this rodeo once, there are things post pregnancy that no amount of reading or discussion can fully prepare a girl for, and you might need some time to get acclimated. But that is definitely one of my goals post baby #2 – start working to shed the baby weight. Major (good) diet changes after the first kid helped me lose all the baby weight in two years without any true exercise, but I think I’m going to have to up the ante this time if I can. Two years is a long time to wait to feel comfortable in one’s skin again.

I have some serious debt payoff and savings goals for the year, plus we also have a few big ticket items/projects that need to be addressed. Mostly in the category of large appliances. I’m going to have to sit down with the hubby soon and hammer out how we want to go about tackling some of this stuff. I am DYING for a new dryer and I think that demand will only go up once baby #2 gets here.

dogsordollars
Reply

Hey Jenny – That’s what I’m hoping too. That 3Xweek now will keep me in enough of a habit to get back to it once our kid is here. And yeah, I hear you on the not fully prepared… even if I can’t be fully prepared. ;)

I can’t say enough about the value of a good sit down to actually go over those goals with partners and husbands. Saying them aloud, putting them in writing, its helped us tremendously.

And Congrats on kid #2. At this point, I can totally not imagine doing this again. So kudos. :)

Jenny
Reply

Haha, it took me a while to come around to the second one – Kid number 1 will be almost 4 when #2 comes. My husband and I agreed that we wanted our child to have (at least) one sibling, so we figured we better stop waiting or the age gap will be so big it won’t matter. Now we’re looking at boy #2, haha. For the record, I really don’t like being pregnant, and this time around I’m an even worse patient, so I know how it feels to be where you are. Right after #1 was born, I had a lot of friends that were already talking #2, and I was like, you people are nuts!

prapc
Reply

I LOVE your firedrill approach. That is freaking awesome, and I’m totally stealing it in all its extremism. Fantastic!

Here’s a couple things that you might have thought of already, or not, so I’m writing them here :o)

HSA Account: If you have a high deductible health insurance plan, you must, must have an HSA to make it worth it to your related increased cash flow and finances. This is pre-tax income that goes into a savings account.

HSA’s are not “use it or lose it” accounts, and though there is a cap on annual contributions, that amount rolls over into the next plan year assuming you don’t spend it.

The whole idea is so that there is no himming and hawing about medical receipts that don’t add up to the at the end of the year, and your insurance premiums are considerably lower than typical family deductible plans.

Or, if you don’t use it, you can think of it as a 401(k) for the medical expenses you will surely incur when you are old and gray… or when your kids flies head first into a door jam, or breaks out in hives leading to several ER visits followed by allergy testing and chest Xrays at Children’s Hospital. ;o)

Most people, even if they have 10 kids, don’t meet the maximum deductions necessary to deduct medical expenses in the first place (IMO ridiculous).

See ridiculous IRS explanation: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Medical-and-Dental-Expenses

This is where you can hedge. You can choose a high deductible plan, drastically decreasing your monthly health insurance premiums, and increasing your tax-free funds that are available to you to spend on medical expenses, including virtually everything covered by insurance, such as co-pays and some that aren’t, such as bandaids, cold medicine and contact solution.

You get a debit card that you can use for most direct-to-provider payments, or, you can submit claims paid out of pocket e.g. if your chiro or acupuncturist doesn’t take cards, you can submit the expense for reimbursement at any time during the plan year.

For instance, I just got a 3k check from last year for expenses I didn’t pay directly from my card (i.e. my acupuncturist doesn’t take cards).

Meanwhile, in 2012, that 3k generated interest. Meager, however it was interest AND the entire $6250 that I socked in there (and SPENT) was sheltered from the .32 tax bracket that additional income would have forced me into.

Read: .32 tax bracket *because my medical expenses wouldn’t have been deductable* – that’s $6250 that would have cost me an additional $2000. $8250 because I have two kids and a chronic illness. Nice, right?

The downside is that, like a 401(k) and other employer based withholdings, you have to have the money set aside in the first place.

Next time your (or your husband’s) employer sends you out your healthcare options, weigh them out.

ALSO

Are you taking ALL of your home improvement deductions? I’m sure you use some type of accounting software – sometimes they guidelines aren’t clear, or you can feel criminal taking them.

Don’t. Save every receipt from your seeds to your rooster (even Goodwill) If some rich guy can deduct his horse, you need to be deducting all of your home improvements including your gardening and landscaping.

Between your arguable Ugly Garden (I think it’s amazing), new carpet, tub refinishing and the **biggest tax-break yet** (i.e. Mr. or Ms. Bean Bean) you will be set for 2013, I assure you.

Worse comes to worse, front your LLC set up, take your office deduction postpartum and “freelance” or whatever you might otherwise do with your business.

Worse comes to “you hate staying at home” (TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE – most of us oscillate this feeling several times throughout the day ;o) ) you can take yet another loss at year end ;o)

Note: deductions only help if you were going to spend the money anyway, however they can help you increase your cash flow AND decrease your tax liabilities if you are going to spend the money anyway and adjust your federal income withholdings accordingly.

I wish I had words of encouragement regarding fitness and time management! The only advice I have is to choose a gym with childcare AND a shower. Sometimes I use my gym for just the shower part, but as most moms will concur, a childless shower is like liquid gold ;o)

xo

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