Goodbye and Hello

Okay this post has been a really long time coming. 

We officially put our house on the market last Tuesday. It's kinda been slow going but it's expected to pick up this week. We'll see.

Who knew keeping your house spotless whilst being a faux single mother was so exhausting? It really does sound like it would be and it is. I am learning this.

But on to Debt Free by Thirty bloggy business.

As I already wrote, this has been a long time coming and I kept putting it off hoping that personal finance inspiration would hit me. It hasn't.

I started this blog for what seems like forever ago, to get ourselves out of some serious debt. I did that. My love for this blog is not really with the personal finance stuff, but with the people I have "met" and the sharing of our lives. I read other personal finance blogs, or blogs in general,  not for the advice so much anymore but because I feel like I am checking in on an old, new or familiar friend. People I admire and have inspired me.

Our finances our under control. But for a long time I felt like I was obsessed with personal finance, debt, saving, IRAs, 529s, ING, 401Ks, TSPs, compound interest, coupons, spending, budgets, retirement... you get the picture. But there's more to life than planning where to put our money next and I had lost sight of that for a bit. I have a tendency to become a little obsessed.

My forte isn't finance, but I don't want to stop blogging.

So as weird as this may sound, I am saying goodbye to Debt Free by Thirty. I will always hold this blog close to my heart. It really saved us from future financial ruin. I am planning on keeping it up for now. I'll see where that takes us. But I feel with this blog there is an expectation (albeit a low one and probably only from myself) to be finance related.

So the good news is I am not quitting blogging all together. I have a new pet project that shows off the things I like to do most, which is crafting and cooking. I suppose I will still be in the saving money game since I love an inexpensive craft and dinner idea. I intend on building a blog that complements my creativity.

In comes Hello Paper Moon

I have already posted a few things over there. So if you are interested in following me over to non-personal finance, yet personal blog go ahead and check it out.

Also, if you are interested find me on Pinterest and Instagram (nikilevai) since they are now my addictions. Thanks Mutant for turning me back on to Instagram.


2012 Goals Update: It's been a while edition


1. Increase emergency fund to $13,000
We are sitting pretty at  about $11,400. We  should be receiving a reimbursement soon on expenses the Sailor incurred while at school which will bring us really close to our goal for the year.  YAY! So I predict we will knock this goal out of the water by year's end.

2. Save $3,000 for geek-tastic vacation

3. Complete Q and A a day project
This one is becoming a fail, I went a whole month not answering questions but I am back on track now and have answered my missed questions as well as I possibly could. 

4. Save $4,000 in Roth IRA
We are at over $1700 contributed, so we are a bit behind to reach our goal for the year, but I have confidence that we will get this on track. 

5. Run 5 miles a week
Okay, so this is probably not going to work out for me considering I have given myself a stress fracture and am currently limping around in a walking boot! I should be fine soon, but I am definitely off track with my running schedule, but I plan to run again once it is all healed.

6. Watch ten classic films
I still only have watched 2 classic films this year. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and One Flew Ovr the Cuckoo's Nest. 

7. Read 30 books
Ha! I haven't had time to read. Only at four for the year. Ack! I need to get on this.

8. Make 24 hand written letters to friends and family
This one is still going strong. I have written 12 letters this year to friends and family. 

9. Research and save for an awesome camera
Completed this in January

10. Make one thousand origami cranes
I am behind schedule but I have made close to 500 cranes.

11. Go to a concert
I have been looking around. No action yet in this one.

12. Start a treat yo self fund
I have socked away a whopping $50 for this. I know it's not much but I have to start somewhere.

My goals have taken a hit with life stuff getting in the way. When the Sailor was home, I kind of forgot about most of the goals and with our impending move coming I am a little worried about completing them but I am going to give it my best shot.

Here I Go Again


Things are moving along somewhat smoothly here at our house. But I am expecting some turbulence up ahead, so I am buckling in now.

This week we said goodbye to Sailor as he boarded his plane to Guam. It is likely we won't see him again until next March, but I can't really dwell on that now because we are moving to Hawaii! So many other things to worry about.

Operation "Bumpy Road to Paradise" is about to go into full effect.

Our house goes on the market next week. Here's hoping for a quick sale. The market here has actually been doing fantastically, but I don't want to get my hopes up. Although, I am confident in our house's selling potential because quite frankly our house kicks all other house's asses at the moment. I am being completely objective when I say that too, I swear. 

We are leaving towards the end of July, whether the house is sold or not. Of course I would love not to make mortgage payments, but if we have to it can be done.

This month we are getting our medical screenings taken care of. This would be really easy if we were on a military base but since we are going to civilian doctors I am concerned about the ease of getting the military paperwork filled out. It's muy confusing. I know it will get worked out in the end, but I a neurotic and worry about things like this. :)

I also have to set up our move. I think this is just a phone call, but once again, my neuroses is showing, as I am worried that this might be harder than imagined. This will also entail shipping our car from the states to Hawaii. 

That there is the list that has to be taken care of. Written out it doesn't seem like a lot. Okay, I concede, it isn't a lot at all. But going through this without The Sailor had me a tiny bit panicked. But I am a strong, intelligent and independent woman. (I will have to repeat this a few times a day, my new mantra)

There are so many things I should be thankful for that I don't have to take care of. 

We don't physically move anything ourselves. The movers come in pack everything up and take it all away. Even when we get to Hawaii they unpack everything for us too. This is a truly wonderful way to move. Highly recommended.

We don't have to pay for our move at all. The movers and traveling expenses are paid for. This definitely deserves to be in the "Yippee" column.

So for a little while life should return back to a bit of normalcy before it gets all loco up in here again. Until the craziness hits the fan I am going to try my hardest to get back into the PF blogging world. Wish me luck.

Just Checkin' In

Just thought I would update any interested parties on what is happening at our casa. The month of May so far has been quite the whirlwind adventure for us here. There have been some minor changes to our original plans but nothing we can't handle.

As soon as the Sailor came home we were up and at 'em with some minor repairs to our home. We aren't doing anything too extreme or expensive, we're just trying to give people every reason to buy our home when the time comes. We have completely gotten rid of junk and organized both the attic of our house and the one above our garage. Cleaned out our basement and gone through all the nooks and crannies of our home like the closets and drawers.

We had a yard sale today and will continue it tomorrow. Whatever doesn't sell will not even come back into the house. We will take it immediately to Goodwill and say good riddance. Today's profits were quite spectacular as we made over $400 and I really hope to bring in another $100 tomorrow.  Yard sales are awesome and when I get a chance I'll share some of my tried and true advice.

It hasn't been all work and no play here though. Everyone needs a break sometime...

A couple weeks ago we left to go to Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure where the amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter resides. We had a fantastic time in Orlando and at the theme park. There was not a ton of people and the roller coaster lines were super short. Which was fantastic since my daughters are now roller coaster junkies. They must get that from me. The Hulk is all of our favorite roller coaster.

And by the way Butterbeer is heavenly. It is definitely a must if you are in the park. Actually the whole Harry Potter/Hogwarts area is majestic. So much detail and whimsy. It was breathtaking.

I may have to try to make some Butterbeer at home, it's that good. We do have some birthdays coming up...

Since this is a personal finance blog, I will share with you that we did not go over budget for our vacation. We were a few hundred dollars shy of the max (of $3000). Realistically I could have made this trip much more economical, but I wanted to have a bit of a care free vacation. So yes we stayed in a townhouse type hotel with a full kitchen, but the only meals we ate there was breakfast and a few lunches. But not having to do dishes or cook was part of a fun vacation for me too.  :) It's exactly why we saved up and why we didn't worry one iota about how expensive dining out was.

After our vacation was over we had to get back into reality, which for us is our impending move to Guam/Hawaii. The Sailor is leaving at the beginning of June to head out to Guam for nine months. The rest of us are moving to Hawaii. Originally we weren't going to be leaving/moving until closer to the end of the year or possibly even the beginning of next year. This is where the changes to our plans come in. They involve speeding things up a bit.

Some new information has come to light and it looks like we will be heading out as soon as we possibly can. Which means we are putting our house up for sale within the next week or so. It seems that there are a lot of buyers looking around right now and it is ideally the best time to show our house too. This changes my first thought of DIY home selling. If we had nine months to spare I would have delved into selling the home myself, but since we are wanting to get out of here ASAP, a Realtor is probably the best way to go.

I was a little apprehensive about rushing into this move, but it does make a lot of sense. Summer is the best time for the kids, since they won't be missing any school. We won't have to worry about moving in three feet of snow come the Pennsylvania winter and it puts us on the list for base housing sooner rather than later. Which is always ideal.

In short, life is crazy at the moment, but I am looking forward to this whole adventure.

This is where I tell you guys that I am still not 100% sure when I will be able to come back to blogging full time, but I definitely have lots of things I want to share and when there is some semblance of normalcy around here I will. And while I don't feel particularly prepared for the enormous life changer that is ahead of us, I know that I would be completely frazzled and panicked if we were still in debt. It's nice to know I have that on my side going into this.

Hoping to give more updates soon and hope everyone is doing well. I do miss all my blog friends! I will be catching up soon!

And the award for worst blogger ever goes to...

Yours truly.

I know I kind of dropped off the face of the internet. I don't have any other excuse except for the craziness that has become my everyday life lately.

We are, which actually means me at the moment, trying to get ready for our impending move (TO HAWAII!!) even if it is a ways off. There are so many things to do. We have to get rid of a bunch of our household items since they are pretty strict about the weight limits for the move across the country and half an ocean. Considering the amount of large furniture we have I have to say I am worried about going over the limit. Decluttering and yard sale time!
I still almost can't believe we are moving here!
We also have to put our house on the market. I think... There is a chance that we may not have to go through the rigmarole as our neighbors are interested in purchasing our house. Which would be fantastic for us, since they would very accommodating and buy the house when it is convenient for us. They are in no hurry to move. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this to happen, but I am working on a contingency plan if it all falls through. It wouldn't be like me not to have a back up plan. :)

The Sailor is coming home soon. Next Friday to be exact! It has been four months since I have seen him, so to say I am excited is not really enough. Ecstatic wrapped in elated and dipped in enthusiastic! Not only is he coming home but he will be off for a whole month. During this time we are going on our fully funded geek-tastic vacation to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Legoland! We are going for the geekiness hat trick and having dinner at Medieval Times too. I can not wait!

Oh and if all goes as planned we may get to cross off something on our life list which would be to ride in a hot air balloon.

All right is that just too much good news for one post?

Well, I do have some bad news. I suppose it isn't bad per se, but I probably won't be blogging much this upcoming month either. I know, I know. I have already been such a bad blogger. But we are going to be pretty busy and I really just want to enjoy time with my family. The Sailor will be leaving in June to move to Guam and it's very probable that we won't see him again until our move to Hawaii.

I do believe I will be back in full capacity come June. Besides I think it will be fun to chronicle our preparation to move "overseas" without spending too much money! Maybe I can make money by downsizing so much. We'll see!

Playing What Ifs and Getting Some News

I have been working on getting our house ready to sell. Mostly just organizing and a few touch ups here and there. But every once in a while I find myself looking at houses for sale. It's fun to look for our future home. Even if it is an exercise in futility. I only say that because we have no idea where we are moving yet and us purchasing a new home is contingent on where we will be stationed. Yeah, looking at houses is fantastic and all but knowing the location is just a little bit of a necessity. Oh well, details.

I was even playing with the numbers kind of like emortgagecalculator’s mortgage calculator to estimate what kind of payment we would be dealing with in a new home. It really is a good time to buy a home with mortgage rates so low. It's just that we would also be selling a home and it's just not the best time to be doing that side of the transaction. Especially if we have only been in our home a little over three years. 

It's still fun to dream of buying a new home. Especially since I love the transformation part of getting into a new place. Making it ours. This is what we did with our current home. Practically every room in this house has had some sort of adjustment made to it. Most the time it was DIY, which is exciting to me. I just love doing it myself.

I just wish we had news of our next location. It would be such a relief to finally be able to move forward with our plans. Whichever plans that may be.

Alriighty then. This would be an adjustment to this previously scheduled post. We finally have confirmation of our new location...

The Sailor will be moving to Guam without us, his family, in June. The only reason we won't be leaving to go with him is because his ship is transferring to Hawaii in about a year. And at that time we will be moving with him to Hawaii.

I am moving to Hawaii y'all. 

Oh my goodness, I am beyond excited. Oh so many things to figure out.

2012 Goals: So Far So Good


1. Increase emergency fund to $13,000
If February was the least amount that we put in the emergency fund March was a really great month to come after it since we increased it by over $3000. Right now it is sittin' pretty at over $10,000. Yay! 

2. Save $3,000 for geek-tastic vacation
The vacation fund is almost fully funded at $2600. I am hoping to finish it off this month. We'll see if that works out. It looks like we should get to go on vacation in May! Yipee!

3. Complete Q and A a day project
This is going really well. I am loving this book

4. Save $4,000 in Roth IRA
Another so far so good with a balance over $1,000. 

5. Run 5 miles a week
I need to get back on this. I didn't run at all last week and I really have no one to blame but myself. As soon as I am done with this post I am going running. I swear!

6. Watch ten classic films
I just watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and am planning on watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest tonight. That will make 2 for the year. 

7. Read 30 books
I read two books this month. Wicked and Cat's Cradle. Cat's Cradle is a reread but it is one of my favorites. That only makes 4 for the year, I need to get in gear on this. 

8. Make 24 hand written letters to friends and family
I only wrote one letter this month, but my total for the year is 6. So that means I am still on track.

9. Research and save for an awesome camera
Completed this in January

10. Make one thousand origami cranes
I am doing pretty good on this one. I am nearing 350 cranes at the moment.

11. Go to a concert
I have been looking around. No action yet in this one.

12. Start a treat yo self fund
I have socked away a whopping $50 for this. I know it's not much but I have to start somewhere.

As you can see all the financial stuff is going really well. I do need to get my butt in gear with the physical (running) and the reading. Of course I am happy with the progress overall. 

Financial Lessons From Game of Thrones






Yay! Game of Thrones comes back to HBO April 1st. And I couldn't be more excited. Game of Thrones is quite possibly the best series on television right now. Everything about this show is intriguing and intelligent and awesome. I have never read the books, and I may, but as of now I don't want to know what happens next in the series. I am having too much fun watching the show at the moment.

*Spoiler Alert*
If you plan on watching or reading this series and don't want to know what happens, then I would stop reading now because there are all kinds of spoilers up in here.




Just because you pay your debts doesn't mean you're a good person
The unofficial motto of the Lannister family is "A Lannister always pays his debts". Well, they may have the most gold in all the land, but they are not the nicest group you'll ever meet. In fact, I would not want to meet any of the Lannisters, with the exception of Tyrion. Any quality that you despise in a person, the Lannisters have it and more. Their family is riddled with incest, treachery, and greed. Not only are the adults unbearable, they are passing down their sleaziness to their children. Any time Joffrey, the son of twins, Jaime and Cersei Lannister, (Yeah, I wrote that right, twin siblings having a child) opens his mouth I feel the need to ring his pompous little neck. The whole bunch just all around skeeve me out.

Which brings me to my point, The Lannisters may be absurdly rich but it doesn't make them good people

Realistically, it's probably what makes them so miserable in the first place. They have always been able to buy their way out of situations, rather then face any consequences for their actions. They believe they are above the law and/or morality. While it may be true at the moment, you can only piss so many people off before they stop caring about how much money you have.

If I am certain of anything on this show, it's that the Lannister's time is gonna come. Well, I desperately hope I am certain.
Tyrion, Congrats on being the only sane Lannister. Jaime, Seriously, quit looking Cersei that way. She's your sister for frak's sake.
  
You get what you pay for
What can you really expect when you sell your sister to a barbaric leader for the hope of using his armies to win back "your" crown. I'll tell you what you should expect, a warrior brother-in-law that won't put up with your incessant whining and disrespect.

In one of the more gruesome scenes, Viserys truly earns his gold crown when Drogo, his brother-in-law, finally has had it with with the self-entitled and self-proclaimed heir to the throne. Drogo pours molten gold over the top of Viserys's head and he finally gets what he has whined for all along.

This could be a twofer lesson in that you should be careful what you wish for, especially if you are a character in a book, because it will most likely literally happen.
Really Viserys? You thought making this guy mad was good idea? Really? 

Quality health care is important
In one of the more infuriating moments of Game of Thrones, the intimidating giant, Khal Drogo is done in by a mere flesh wound. This leader has basically never lost a battle and he's been fighting his whole entire life; a scratch is not supposed to be the undoing of this guy.

Of course, this could have been avoided if Daenerys, his wife, had sought proper medical treatment instead of relying on some medicine woman whose village they had just pilfered and destroyed. In a strange turn of events, Daenerys loses her unborn child and her husband because of her naivety.
Poor, naive Khaleesi. If you had taken Khal Drogo to a real doctor, you wouldn't have lost him and your unborn son to a vengeful witch
Obviously I might be a little more than intrigued by this show, but it is only because it is so good. I mean, it has dragons people!