Wordless Wednesday 2019 #2

Avalon Theatre in Avalon on Catalina Island in CA (April 2018)

This is the "Casino" Avalon theatre located in Avalon on Catalina Island in California. You can pay to take a tour of the theatre during the day or you can go see a movie there and view the inside for free! Justin and I took the movie route and saw Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2. It wasn't the best movie, but we enjoyed the chance to relax and unwind during our travels.

Have you ever taken an alternative approach to tourist attractions?

Wordless Wednesday 2019 #1

San Luis Obispo, California (April 2018)

My husband has officially set me up with a DROBO, a VPN, and a remote server. I think I'm in business. Now to get it all working correctly for me to access my files remotely…

Going through images from just over a year ago has been a wild adventure. I can't wait to share more!

March 2019 IWSG

February Goals
Plan and prep for April A-Z.
Write a monthly financial review post.
– Finish with the DROBO back up. (Just need to back up Egypt/Berlin images.)
And talk to Justin about how to access files from outside the home. (Hello Raspberry Pi!)
List one more item on Poshmark.

Additional Successes
• Got rid of two trash bags of junk, took 5 boxes of old toys, books, and clothes to Goodwill, recycled 4 boxes of old papers.
• Found some old postcards that had been missing for 10 years! Also found my journals from high school. Made for some fun reading. :)
• Bought the Raspberry Pi so Justin can set up a server for my image files. My ultimate goal is that I will be able to edit them from anywhere in the world. (Not having constant access is making it difficult to prepare for April A-Z.)
• Planned out Justin's and my vacation schedule for the rest of the year. Now to pick out places and see what we can afford.
• Justin got one of the lights we brought back from Egypt working!
• We also got our Christmas lights from Paris plugged in!
• I lost 5 pounds. Unintentional but welcome.

March Goals
– Plan and prep for April A-Z.
– Write a monthly financial review post.
– Maybe raspberry pi will be up and running?
– Spend more time outside as the weather gets nicer. I'll set my goal to 2 days outside?
– Get tires on truck rotated.

IWSG Question –– Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I typically write from the perspective of the hero. I really should try writing from the villain's perspective. It would be more fun. :) I guess I've just never thought of doing it before.

Your Turn

Did you have a successful February? Get a lot accomplished? I feel like I spent most of the month worried about something that I'm not sure is important, so I wasn't able to focus on other things as well as I should have. Maybe March will be better for me. And maybe it will be better for you too. <3.

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

Monthly Financial Update: February 2019

In December, when reviewing my finances for 2019, I mentioned my desire to look at them on a monthly basis in 2019. Justin and I spent a little too much in 2018 and let our finances get the best of us. Maybe by looking at our finances monthly (and let you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year. That's the goal anyway.

Here's month #2.


green - this year; yellow - last year

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Locations
1. Publix (groceries)

2. Electricity
3. Kroger (groceries)
4. Trader Vic's (restaurant)
5. Starbucks – how we avoid traffic in the morning
6. Quiktrip (gas)
7. Cell Phone
8. Kroger gas
9. Life Insurance
10. Baraonda (restaurant)

Top 10 Categories
1. Food and Dining
2. Bills and Utilities
3. Auto & Transport – parking in Atlanta, car wash, gas
4. Financial – life insurance
5. Personal care – hair
6. Shopping – clothes, home improvement
7. Fees & Charges – interest
8. Gifts & Donations – Valentine's Day gifts for kids

compared to Feb 2018

Net Income:


Credit Card Debt

Student Loan Debt

* Loan Payoff Date 11/1/22
* Emergency Funds: $10675
* Credit Scores: 731 (Justin), 796 (me)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month
1. All of the kids I babysit for got sick, so I made a little bit more money this month.
2. Changing our withholdings should reduce our monthly income. :(
3. Eating dinner every Friday with friends and watching a tv show with them. We don't have to fight traffic, we don't have to go out to eat to avoid traffic, and we get to be social.
4. We went to see a comedian in Atlanta! It was a lot of fun, but it added extra parking and dinner costs to our month. Worth it though.
5. We had to stock up on things we were running low on or that had expired like razors and Claritin. That added up fast.

What went wrong this month?
1. Went to pay income taxes and realized we owe a lot. We decided to hold off until April to submit. In the meantime, we are adjusting our withholdings.
2. We weren't able to pay as much toward credit cards as we had hoped despite reducing our spending dramatically. Guess we will try again next month.
3. I kept forgetting to purchase Starbucks gift cards from the drugstore to get 5x the points. It's a little thing, but it could make a difference in our finances another month.
4. Buying unnecessary Valentine's Day gifts. The kids were sick and I wasn't able to give them the gifts. So essentially it was a waste of money.
5. I had to make decisions about which children of the two families I work for to babysit when they were sick. This meant I made more money with one family and less with the other. Plus, I was trying to avoid getting sick myself.

What went right this month?
1. More money!
2. Returned $170 Uggs. They were cute but ultimately not what I wanted in a shoe. So the search for the perfect snow boot continues. Maybe one day I will find them. In the meantime, yay $170!
3. Only $45 spent on clothing for Justin and me! And I didn't feel like I had nothing to wear either.
4. Justin bought a "server" for me for less than $100. Initially, we were expecting to spend much more! (Computer engineer husband ftw?)
5. Even when we weren't eating dinner at home, Justin made enough leftovers for him to take for lunch during the week saving us about $10 a day that he was spending on eating out (which wasn't every day but it was often enough that this made a difference).

Financial plans/goals for next month?
1. Spend less on food? This one will be hard because I felt like we did much better this month.
2. I've been paying for a 20-year-old email address month by month this year, trying to decide whether to get rid of it. It's cheaper if I pay yearly. So I probably should either decide or go ahead and eat the yearly cost.
3. I bought the peanut butter crackers I eat occasionally for lunch in bulk, so the cost of my lunch will dramatically decrease for the next few months. (Yay Costco!)
4. No holidays or birthdays (that I'm aware of, that I need to shop for) for March, so gift purchase should decrease.
5. Stay home on weekends more. It saves money and gas.

I guess the key to conquering our financial goals is to take them one step at a time, one month at a time. I think we did much better this month than we did last month, but it's getting harder for me to think of things I need to change. I really need to sit down with our finances and analyze how much we are spending unnecessarily and where we can break up our expenses so they are spread out over the month. Maybe this will be that month.

How are you all doing? Now that we are on month two, do you have any suggestions for me? Which area of your budget has been the hardest for you to conquer and how did you do it?