What a year…2016. I thought it was going to be defined by loss and grief but it ended with a bang! And that got me pregnant. 😉
Overall, it was a year of 150+ hospital and nursing home visits and three funerals from January through September. Goodbye to my Grandma and my Grandpa as well as my aunt, Irama. Hope you three got my messages about the babies – the two my cousins successfully pushed out and the one in my oven. Our family must really believe in that circle of life thing…
Yet that sadness was balanced by growing closer to a few of my family, re-opening those doors to support, and spending more quality time at home and on vacations with friends.
Our online business stayed about the same while our pet sitting business grew. We also finally wrapped up the 2013 tax battle with the IRS – we indeed didn’t owe them $67,000…we owed them less than $100 and spent $6000 proving it. Ugh.
We had accepted that we may not be able to get pregnant quite as easily as we hoped since we had been trying for more than a year, but one ovulation test kit later, and now I’m 6 weeks prego.
Let’s see how my New Year’s resolutions wrapped up for 2016 and what I’d like to tackle for 2017.
Year in Summary for 2016
1. See my parents and my grandparents at least once a month.
That may have sounded like a weird resolution, but I get so overwhelmed with pet sitting, my online world, and my friends (who all live within 45 minutes), that I forget to connect with my family. My parents live 75+ minutes south and my grandparents lived 75+ minutes north. I made seeing them a resolution so I wouldn’t slip. Good timing…
I OWNED this resolution. My grandparents and I truly connected before they passed away. Mostly in the months before their minds started suffering the most. But they knew I loved them and that is what matters. Aunt Irama knew too and seemed to appreciate my smart ass attitude right up to the end.
On hubby’s side, there were severe scares like his great uncle’s brain aneurysm and his grandfather’s knee replacement surgery. Thankfully, everyone on his side was able to recover with minimal complications. Though his paternal grandma seems to be falling often now to go along with her major migraines. It’s been chronic for years but is taking a bad turn over the last few months.
All of these medical emergencies has brought us closer to both sets of parents. It has been amazing to get to know my parents and in-laws even better.
2. Regular friend time.
I never want to lose regular time with friends. I truly believe the people and relationships in my life are the actual point. Money, work, hobbies and the rest fill in the blanks. Super important but basically useless if I don’t have family or friends.
The family crises meant I leant on my friends more than ever. Dee and William and Mandy were my rocks. Our entire friend group went out of their way to be there for us. We took a cruise with Hillary that was awesome (and our house wasn’t soaked with all the flooding while we were away), I went tubing with Dee, and William and I hung out with bats in San Antonio.
I attended four conventions/conferences – Pet Sittingology 2016, #Fincon16, BGG 2016, and Lonestar Game Fest 2016. That led to me connecting with awesome people like Sarah at Best at Home Pet Sitting, Michael from Paternal Pet Care (and dozens of other kind, caring people), Valerie Rind, Revanche from A Gai Shan Life, and Maria from The Money Principle. My ongoing friends at all of those conference know that I appreciate them dearly too!
Our friends are our family. And I am grumpy around them a lot. I hope they know I love them.
3. Max out both Roth IRA’s for 2016. That’s $11,000 overall.
I still want to keep maxing out our Roth IRA’s since that’s our main retirement savings vehicle right now.
4. Maintain our $15,000 emergency fund.
We were planning on baby-making. I wanted to keep the emergency fund at $15,000.
We raised this goal to $20,000 mid-year thanks to hubby, and hit it!
5. Maintain our $20,000 self-employment fund.
Yep, we also have a $20,000+ account that we use to pay ourselves each month for our online business. It fluctuates as we bring in more or less. But overall, I like to keep it at $20,000 or more because I am scared shitless of having no backup if our business ever crashes. I’m that worrier person you all know…
6. HEALTH. I will weigh 150 pounds or less by July 2016 AND won’t go over 150 again in 2016. PERIOD. I am between 160-165 now.
I don’t want to keep falling apart. My back will obviously feel at least a little better without the extra weight. My joints don’t hurt yet and I want to make sure my weight doesn’t make them start.
Well, my weight went the way of my emotions…up, down, and around. I’ve ended up at least 20 pounds overweight again, yet with the pregnancy, I won’t be making weight goals again for a while. Just exercise ones.
2017 New Year’s Resolutions
1. Be a Healthy Baby Incubator.
- I’ve cut all alcohol.
- I’ve cut nearly all caffeine (have an occasional regular iced tea or soda, but less than 5 in the last month).
- I am taking the bare minimum medications except for my prenatal vitamins (took some Tylenol for a migraine a couple of days ago and a Zyrtec a few weeks ago when I was just becoming an allergic, soppy mess).
- I avoid high fructose corn syrup actively now.
- I am walking daily.
- I am just now attempting to cut back on my daily intake of basic sugar and empty carbs.
With a bit of luck, Peanut will be in our arms later this year! I’m due sometime between mid-August and mid-September.
2. Visit with My Parents and My In-Laws at Least Once a Month.
Again, we are already doing this but I don’t want to let it slide. Plus, a side benefit of being pregnant is that they will most likely come to me as the bump grows! 😉
3. Regular Friend Time!
I need to continue connecting with our friends weekly. That means more Girls’ Nights, more in-home movie nights, and more potlucks! It should be super helpful that Dee is pregnant too so we can whine together. I’m hoping to fit in some vacations with them too, but I know Peanut will have more control over that than I do as the year progresses.
4. Max Out Our Roth IRA’s
Here’s to contributing another $11,000 this year!
5. Max Out Our 2016 SEP IRA and Plan for 2017
Since SEP IRA contributions are based on the year’s earnings, we don’t know the max to contribute until we file our previous year’s taxes. Hence aiming to max it out for 2016 and then we’ll put aside a guesstimate for 2017.
6. Maintain our $20,000 Emergency Fund
7. Maintain our $20,000 Self-Employment Padding
Again, pretty straight-forward…
8. Hire Two New Pet Sitters
We are now an official entity, and I want to expand Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting. I’m aiming to hire at least two amazing pet sitters this year. Hopefully at least four.
9. DON’T GO CRAZY ON THE BABY STUFF
I already feel a slight tug towards everything baby. I WILL NOT SUCCUMB. I plan on buying used whenever it’s safe and possible. I don’t plan on getting a ton of stuff just because it’s cute. I’m making lists based on dozens of other people’s lists about what we really need and then the wants that will make life easier.
I will be publishing our baby expenses here!
In the past 4 weeks, I’ve received several free baby books, bought two new, comfortable bras for $15 thanks to a sale at Target, and bought a $7.50 pair of maternity jeans from Goodwill. Oh, and the new baby banner for BFS isn’t permanent, I’ll just use it for big announcement times. It cost $5 thanks to Nisha on Fiverr.
10. Consciously Be More Positive
This year was not my best personality-wise. I was bitter, depressed, then caustic, then just sarcastic. All topped with more cynicism than normal. 2017 will be about staying positive. Even when you get kicked in the girly bits, there is a joke to be made. I’m targeting optimism!
Life happened. In full.
My main lesson of 2016 – you have to celebrate the wins as hard as you feel the losses. Allow yourself both extremes or the negative will eat you alive.
Oh, and stay off of every negative thread you can in Facebook or your brain and soul will rot. There, two lessons.
How did you do in 2016 and what are your goals for 2017?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!