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New Year’s Resolutions – Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017!

What are your new years resolutions? How did last year go for you? KISS and move forward!

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 (many who 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

Pretty straight-forward…

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.


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!

Lessons Learned

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 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  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, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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Week 1 - Our Epic Food Budget Challenge - Four Couples, $50 a Week, Budgets Commence!

6 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions – Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017!

  1. Crystal, don’t get wrapped up in decorating the nursery. I spent about $300 on the layette set and then read a book about how to have a baby on a budget. It pointed out that the baby doesn’t know, doesn’t care, etc. what the room looks like. I returned the items for a refund and used Carter’s blankets.

  2. Sounds like you are off to a good start. Don’t beat yourself up about your emotional swings. Try to stay positive. Being pregnant is an emotional roller coaster, not to mention after the baby is born too.

    We just adopted a retired greyhound. So far so good. Any suggestions you can give us would be appreciated. Especially on the pet sitting side. After her initial vet appointment, I would like to start daycare once a week to keep her socialized, and use the service for overnights too.

  3. Jill’s totally right – the baby doesn’t give a hoot and a half about what anything looks like. We’re starting to get around to putting up some art for JuggerBaby now that ze is observant and interested in the world around zir, but in that first year, it was all about crawling around and licking EVERY DANG THING.

    Tell me when I’m allowed to send you some baby things! I know it’s early but you know me, I plan ahead 🙂

    In this coming year, I’m finding a way to reconcile my need to be politically aware and actively work to protect our civil liberties, and the rights of women, while not getting sunk into a morass of despair at how bad it is. I think I can do this! Focus on action and not worry. Look, the response to the GOP’s plan to gut the Ethics Committee made them stop for at least a second, so our active participation can and will get things done. There’s hope yet.

  4. Wow, amazing progress on your goals and congrats on your pregnancy. And that IRS thing, I can only imagine the frustration you experienced all for less than $100. That really sucks. Cheers to 2017 and may it be a good one for you too!

  5. My goals for 2017 are to continue keeping my head above water. I changed jobs back in November and the new job is definitely more enjoyable with better pay. Now I just need to put my newly earned certificate to good use.
    No baby advice, just good wishes for a wonderful 2017 for you and your family, Crystal.

  6. First off – congrats on your pregnancy! You’ll make a great mother!

    As far as weight loss goals, I’ve stopped focusing on the number on the scale. It can be so depressing. Instead, I’m focusing on healthy habits – how many times do I work out a week. When I hit these goals, I feel better. Weight fluctuates and can cause your emotions to fluctuate with it. Obviously, with the baby coming, weight goals aren’t in the picture. But in the future, maybe focus more on other healthy habits. Rooting for you!

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