Happy New Year! Have a safe New Year's Eve. Wishing you all the best for 2017.
We are staying home tonight. It is raining, cold and icy. We have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge and plenty of food, plus we have some interesting stuff to watch on TV later on so ..... for the first time in a long while, we are staying home. Getting older!! LOL
All of our kids are elsewhere this weekend. We spent time together over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays but, this year, we didn't plan a big get together (which usually occurs at a restaurant). It really is time for us to assess our spending and to stick to our final plan of watching where every cent goes ~ if certain expenditures do not really add value to our lives then those expenses really need to be nixed once and for all.
What are our goals for 2017?
1. The spouse's retirement. 2016 was supposed to have been the year that the spouse pulled the plug on full time employment. He has a high stress government job that he was really hoping to leave behind but certain events came into play and retirement has to be delayed into 2017. This will, however, be the year that he leaves his job for good.
2. Mortgage balance below $50,000. The mortgage balance is currently under $57,000, which is a drop from the high of $92,000 in 2013. We should've done better at paying this balance down but we have had kids in college the entire time, although 2017 represents the final year of college. 3 of our 4 kids have college degrees, the final kid will graduate in less than a year. All of them have the ability and capacity to be high earners should they choose to work hard, stay on the rails and be smart.
3. Travel. Two, maybe three, vacations are in the planning stages to visit places we've always wanted to see while we are still young and healthy enough to do so. (AirBnB, self catering, staying with friends/family) We are planning a trip to the mountains in (perhaps) search of our final home in retirement. We are planning a trip to New York. There might be a trip to a foreign land. I'm afraid that if we don't do these things now, we never will.
4. RV Living. Investigate further the plan to sell the house and buy an RV. This plan remains open ended as certain events have occurred that may make this a non feasible plan. Stay tuned.
5. Lose weight. A necessity for health, wellness and budget.
6. Eating. Control grocery/restaurant spending to a specific budget for 3 people. (Under $7500 for 2017) We consistently spend around $13,000 each year on food but a large chunk of that involves restaurants when we pick up the tab for everyone. We usually pick up the tab when the event concerns our family members but we need to move away from expensive restaurant celebrations and practice economy instead now. We will use the 'We are retired and living on a fixed income' excuse readily from this point onward.
7. Home upgrades. Install a gas burning fireplace insert in our main family room and improve our house's energy efficiency in time for next winter. This will also involve a new window installation and the rehanging and weather stripping of our heavy front doors, which have fallen out of alignment. It has been very cold this year and we need to further upgrade our heating system.
8. Debt. Bring all credit card debt to zero within the next 6 months. We don't have much debt but college expenses have eaten into our coffers and debt is the result. Thank goodness we are now out of this stage of our lives. We have given our kids the tools to make good with their lives. Whether or not they choose to do so is now entirely up to them. The decisions they make are out of our hands.
9. PEACE. Find peace and final closure with my decision to go Zero Contact with my immediate UK family. Ten years ago, in May 2007, my father ruined an entire vacation here in the US because he didn't like the way he was treated by US Customs officials when he arrived stateside. I eventually threw him out of my house after 2 weeks of putting up with his abuse. My mother was collateral damage as she had to leave with him. It was 4 years before any of us spoke to each other again ~ I was the one to extend the olive branch. Almost 10 years on from the 2007 fiasco, the exact same scenario played out again recently, this time at my parents' house in the UK. I was the one who walked out after a week of putting up with my father's belittling, racist, bitter, misogynistic behavior. Realize, finally, that our relationship will NEVER be good, it will NEVER be normal and it can NEVER be based on respect because I lost respect for the man when I was about 8 years old. It is so hard to finally face the facts that were there all along because always we hope that things can change and be good. I have lived my whole life with a lot of guilt, shame, second guessing and emotional damage as a result of childhood abuse. Continuing the 'work in progress' that is my emotional state into 2017.
Peace on earth.