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Happiness Project: February Topic! Finances

Welcome to February, friends!

I’d been mulling over what my “Happiness Project” topic would be for February. I’m going to admit, I was completely set on “Body” until about two days ago. With taxes coming due, and with the constant money discussions at our house, I changed my mind. Finances are top of mind for me (“top of mind,” is that an ad agency term? Does anyone use that phrase in real life?).

I’m going to admit up front that my finance situation would probably be considered pretty good. I have no debt, other than the car I bought two years ago. A friend of mine has a few more from SoFi, but they keep on top of it and are happy with their financial situation. I made the decision to take on a loan at that time because 1) the rates were so low that it made sense (we locked in at .5%) and 2) we had a baby on the way and I had a hunch that we’d want to keep some of our money available for unexpected costs. It was the right decision, for sure, as that year alone we paid (are you sitting down?!?) $14,000 in health-related expenses AND we had decent health insurance. Looking into loans and the possibility of mortgages was something we did regularly, for example looking at a detailed mortgage loan list to understand fully what we would be able to get. This was especially important after those health care bills.

For the month, I have a few upfront goals:
– move my multiple 401(k) rollovers to a single location. finally.
– check out the investment options and look for the best shares to buy now.
– look at our spending and try to identify if we can save in a couple of key areas. Right now I know our water bill and electric bill seem really high. So maybe it would be worthwhile changing energy providers to someone like Pennywise Power, or maybe I should just get better at turning the lights off.
– assess the feasibility of …. buying a house this year. whoa. (Um, and how uncanny is it that a friend sent me a recommendation for a good realtor AS I am writing this post? synchronicity, people!)
– do more research on coupons. Is there a way to make couponing work without having to buy a ton of stuff or buy stuff I don’t usually use?

I’m also really hoping to learn more, share more, and get a better sense of how I spend and why I spend.

Will you come along for the ride? What tasks are you going to tackle this month to help straighten out your finances? Big virtual high fives for turning your attention to a few financial issues with me!
Paula