Happy 2012! Josh and I have made some resolutions that I felt like mentioning, which also happen to be the same resolutions we've had a few times. It might sound cliche, but this time we stinkin' mean it. It even feels different. We feel like real grown-ups making life changes instead of kids raising babies, trying to be responsible while still wanting to have fun. We're grown now.
#1 - Quit smoking once and for all. Never ever again. EVER! We've quit and started back up enough times to know that it is impossible for us to have "just one" cigarette and have that be it. Impossible. We had started back up when Josh's brother was in the hospital and swore we would quit when we got back home. That was over 2 years ago. Most people don't know I smoke because it's embarrassing for me, especially being a mother. People assume awful things that are not true like I smoke in the house or car with my kids around ::eyeroll:: Do I look or act like a moron? Anyway... now I can admit it because I'm not a smoker anymore hahaha. I'm happy to say we're already on day 6 without a cigarette so I'm checking this one off as done.
#2 - Stop using credit cards. We had all of our debts paid off for a few years and hadn't touched our
little plastic hole-diggers of indentured servitude to multi-billion dollar corporations that suck the life out of you like blood-thirsty vampires credit cards. Then we sold our house, Josh came home, I no longer had a job, and we moved. Our pay was drastically different and we were excitedly spending the gains from our home sale on goodies for our brand new house. We never looked at the finances. Suddenly our extra money was all gone and we were still spending like we had plenty to spare. Then we thought "sure why not" on a few big purchases with the credit cards. Then they were nearly maxed out. Our buffer was gone and the reality of our finances hit us hard with a few months of major struggling. We made a budget, stuck to it, slowly started chipping away at the debt. Then we moved internationally and maxed it all back out because we HAD TO to survive. This brings us to now.
#3 - Pay off all our debt. We've formulated a plan for this and should have it all gone in one year (including one car completely paid off) without sacrificing anything. After that all the extra $$ can go into savings. SAVINGS?! We haven't had any savings since 2006. Sigh. Such a bad thing when you have kids.
#4 - Stick to a budget. Both of us are committed to it. We both came up with the budget so we're well-informed and dedicated. This month we've stuck to it and it's been easy enough to do. We've lived on a budget before so we're not strangers to it by any means. In fact I think we've always lived on somewhat of a budget, but it's been a while since we set actual amounts to stick to for food, fuel and incidentals.
#5 - Start saving. This is something else we've really planned well. Most of our tax return is going straight into savings. Anything extra we don't spend from the budget goes into savings. We need to have enough saved up for our big move and for Josh getting out in 2013.
#6 - Be ready. We have a lot of individual goals to accomplish before Josh gets out. We don't want to be flapping aimlessly in the wind. We've already researched jobs (for both of us) and updated our resumes. Our degree programs are all planned out and we're working out the scheduling for classes and whatnot. I think I am going to have the worst time with this. I love motivating him, but I get so nervous about this kind of stuff. I can't settle on anything. I always procrastinate until it's too late. I just need to finish my degree in Spanish first and then I can quibble about what I really want to do with my life later. Hopefully we can motivate each other (like we usually do). That's a huge part of what marriage is about for us, being a unified team to make a brighter future for us and our kids. We encourage and enable each other to reach our goals.
We are realistic in our expectations. We know we're moving in 6 months, which is expensive. We have no idea where we'll end up, but we know we're probably going to be living in base housing. This means no extra $ for rent and bills, but no rent and utilities to pay anyway. This means we need to get our debt down ASAP so that our debt/income ratio is manageable with base pay alone. Easy enough to do. We don't know if Josh will have to go on deployment again before his time is up. Soon enough we'll at least know where we're supposed to be going next. We only have 6 months left so they had better get on the ball. There's a lot we have to do before then, and most of it needs to be done months in advance.
SOOOOOOOOOooooooo... that's what we're working on :) Pretty huge, huh.