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Archive for December 2014

2015 Goals

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I'm not really a fan of New Year's Resolutions because it seems that most resolutions are vague and never get accomplished. I like to come up with quantifiable goals instead because I'm more likely to achieve them. Here are my goals for the coming year:

  1. January: Finalize summer vacation plans. We're currently considering a road trip to California.
  2. Go on a spending diet from January-March. We did this in 2014 year and it consisted of no clothes, books, home items, or shopping at Target. We haven't decided on the terms yet, but I also think we should cut back on eating out.
  3. Increase 401k in February to 15% (it's currently at 11%)
  4. Increase Roth IRA an additional $50
  5. June: house savings should be at goal amount
  6. Buy a house
  7. July: increase new car savings amount
  8. October or earlier: student loans paid off
  9. Emergency fund should be half way to goal amount by December 2015
What are your goals for 2015?

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2014 Financial Year in Review

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 started off pretty great! In 2013 I paid off my $10,000 credit card debt. My big financial goal for 2014 was to not go into debt for our wedding and honeymoon, and we succeeded! When I reviewed all the spending from the wedding, I was pretty shocked that we didn't go into debt. The originally wedding budget was $13,000, but we ending up spending about double that amount. I'm not really sure how we were able to pay for such an expensive wedding, but it worked out. 
Mooresville Alabama vintage wedding

Sam was in charge of paying for the honeymoon, and he was on track to have enough saved until he had a MAJOR car expense in February. Some very expensive computer part ($2200!!!) went out in his car and that set him back with the honeymoon savings. We did end up putting some of the honeymoon expenses on our credit card while on the honeymoon but we paid it off as soon as the bill was due. We had some very generous wedding gifts that made up the difference. Just like the wedding, we went over budget on the honeymoon, but every dollar was worth it! It was a really amazing honeymoon!
Mykonos Greece honeymoon

 At the end of 2013 I wrote down my goals/resolutions for 2014. Some of the goals were financial and some weren't (ie: first item listed). Other than not going into debt for the wedding or honeymoon, my other financial goals were to increase my student loan payments and start saving for a house. We accomplished both those goals!

I increased my student loan payments a couple times in 2014. The first increase was an additional $100, then six months later I increased another $50. I'm currently on track to have my student loans paid off in October 2015, which will be 4 years early.

We started saving for a house in July or August; I can't remember which month. We're still going strong with our house savings and will reach our goal amount by June 2015. We plan to start talking to a realtor in February to help us decide if we want to build a new house or buy a house already built.

Other financial plans we implemented this year:
  • saving everything I make and living off of Sam's salary
  • a dedicated savings account for Christmas gifts
  • started saving for a new (to me) car. We hope to purchase a new car in 2016.
  • greatly increased our 401k and Roth IRA savings
I just want to expound on that last bullet. After we got married, Sam used the IRS calculator to see how much taxes we would owe. We're one of those lucky couples who gets the "marriage penalty" tax, meaning that we owe much more in taxes as a married couple than we did as single people. Sam said we would owe an additional $6,000-$10,000. I have no desire to give that much (more) money to the government, so we tried our best to decrease our taxable income. We're both withholding more money for taxes, and we also increased our 401k's. Sam doubled his 401k savings and opened a Roth! I'm so proud of him! We'll see how this pans out when we do our taxes...
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2014 Year in Review

Monday, December 29, 2014

January - April: I spent the first half of the year planning our wedding and working on DIY projects. See posts about the invitations, paper flowers, DIY veil, and wedding wreath.

February: I took a local photography class. My goal was to be able to shoot 100% in manual for our honeymoon and I did it!

I did two bridal portrait shoots to practice my photography. One with a co-worker and one with my sister

On May 17th we got married! Go here to see all the wedding posts (I still have more posts left!)

After our wedding, we honeymooned in Venice, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Olympia. Go here for links to all the honeymoon posts.

In June I turned 27 and we went on a hot air balloon ride to celebrate.

In July we bought a bar cabinet from Crate and Barrel with wedding gift cards.

In August we reupholstered some beige Target benches.

 In September we went to Charleston and the Isle of Palms to visit my sister Stephanie. Finn LOVED the beach!

In October, we went the 150th Battle of Pilot Knob Civil War Reenactment and went camping in Kentucky with friends. Also in October, my sister Stephanie moved in with us and we all went to Mentone, AL/DeSoto State Park, which I haven't blogged about yet.

In November, Sam and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary by going to Atlanta. We hosted Thanksgiving at our apartment. We finally finished upholstering the cane back chairs. It only took me 2 years to finish these chairs!

We did tons of Christmas activities in December and my sister and I went to Final Cut (Anthro clearance center - full post coming soon!).

I can't wait to see what happens in 2015!
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Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from Sam, Rebecca, and Finn!
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Christmas Decorations

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

apartment Christmas decorations

apartment Christmas decorations
I added Christmas pillows to the sofa and a few other holiday touches.

apartment Christmas decorations with dog
Finn approves of the decorations! I have him trained now to pose for photos. Every time I pull out my camera, he's ready! It's so cute!

apartment Christmas decorations Pottery Barn stockings
Our stockings are hung on the TV stand

Peaking behind the tree you can see our nativity. It's Sam's childhood nativity set that his parents gave us.

apartment Christmas decorations nativity set

apartment Christmas decorations record player
I LOVE Christmas records! I think my favorite is Bing Crosby.

When I met Sam this was the only Christmas ornament he owned

apartment Christmas decorations china cabinet
Our dining room and mini nativity that I got at The Biltmore

 Our bedroom gets minimal decorating.

This is my Christmas card hanger in the computer nook

Now for the tree!! My favorite part!
apartment Christmas decorations tree
My tree is green and gold

New ornaments for this year. Sam's parents gave us the Hallmark photo ornament.

Two Finn ornaments. It's hard to see but the right photos has a cutout of an irish terrier.

We got these two ornaments on our honeymoon. The one on the left is from Mykonos, Greece, and the right ornament is from Burano, Italy.

Merry Christmas!

My apartment decorated for Fall
My apartment as it normally looks

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Currently Vol 8

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's been a month since I blogged! In November I got sick and didn't feel like doing anything except watch TV. Then in December we got busy with Christmas activities. So here's what I've been up to in the last month:

In November, Sam and I went to Atlanta for our 6 month anniversary. We finished up the Gone With the Wind trail by visiting the Margaret Mitchell house (I've already done everything else on the GWTW trail).

We hosted Thanksgiving at our apartment. We moved the table into the living room so we could fit everyone.

The first weekend of December, my sister and I went to the Final Cut (Anthro clearance center) in Augusta, GA and then Ikea in Atlanta. I bought a $50 sofa. Stephanie bought 2 rugs and chair. Somehow we fit everything in the car. I'm going to do a whole post about this trip because it was awesome!

Finn was featured in Southern Weddings magazine! He loves admiring his photo ;)
There he is! Top left photo.

We got this ornament from Sam's parents. It's my favorite ornament on our tree!

Stephanie, Finn, and I dressed in festive HolidayWear.

Isn't he handsome!

We've also done Christmas activities galore!
 Living nativity at a church downtown

 Christmas Card Lane (lifesize Christmas cards) in downtown Madison, AL

 Tinsel Trail: 200 decorated Christmas trees in downtown Huntsville

The Irish Nutcracker, which Abigail (my junior bridesmaid) was in.

Anticipating: our trip to Rochester, NY. We leave the day after Christmas
Dreading: Being away from my Finn dog for a whole week while we're in Rochester
Loving: Our Christmas decorations, especially the tree
Tomorrow I'm going to post my Christmas decorations. Better late than never!

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