We may not be traveling much yet but we will be soon! Normalcy is coming, hopefully sooner rather than later, and being prepared by adding these fun and/or necessary trips into the budget sooner rather than later can make all the difference in having a lovely trip when the time comes or feeling stressed about the finances of said trip.
The first step in planning a trip is deciding the budget and location for your trip. Today's video and download will help you with the former.
Once you've decided on your location its time to start looking at places you want to see and activities you want to do while you are there. Write down a basic itinerary and how much each activity would cost then start entering it into the budget calculator. After you have your activities, transportation and food settled in the budget its time to start looking at how your vacation costs can fit into the budget. Chose the timeframe and divide the total budget by that time frame to get your per month/week/paycheck/etc. savings needs. The calculator has it set as months but you can easily adjust this to your own needs. This amount will give you a place to start as you adjust your plans and anticipated costs to fit an amount that you can afford to put towards the trip. Sometimes you may have to cut something or lengthen a savings timeline to make your dream a reality but other times you may decide that the trip is worth more than you and you want to put more money into making it a showstopper. Having a plan allows you to do that, guilt and stress free, so your travel is a more relaxing experience from start to finish.
Where are you planning on going after life gets back to normal?
Until next time!
Photo via Pexel
As your family grows and you enter your retirement years, you may find yourself desiring a larger abode to accommodate everyone — children, grandchildren, and pets alike. Have you ever thought about creating a homesteading paradise so you can provide room, food, and enrichment to your loved ones? If so, there are several important things to take into account when looking for a new home that will fit these needs.
First: What are your dreams?
Listing out the characteristics of your future home that you would like to prioritize would be helpful as a first step, especially as a future homesteader. Choosing a property should make you think about location, square footage, or whether you want several acres of land or a simple plot. Several things you should think about are the property’s distance from the nearest hospital, where your neighbors are, and how the roads are maintained (depending on how far out you are in the country).
Second: Make a list of homesteading projects to undertake
Other must-haves on your list could potentially include a playroom or workshop. After all, if you want to have your grandchildren over, they will need a space to stretch their creative muscles. The benefits of playrooms range widely, from teaching children to share to cordoning off part of the house
Another big part of homesteading is providing yourself and your family with food. You want to make sure the home you buy has either the makings of a garden or the space to create one. A huge aspect of home gardening is paying attention to the soil quality and, if necessary, enrich it by adding compost or fertilizer. This will provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow and flourish. You should also consider the space you may need for a chicken coop or goat enclosure.
One thing to remember — get rid of your debt
If your dream is to one day own a larger home so you can invite your children and their brood to come stay and play, you first need to figure out what you can afford. The next thing you should make sure of is to quickly get rid of any errant debt you may have incurred up until this point in your life. The freedom of the wilderness awaits you, and you don’t want to be shackled by past debts in your journey for retirement bliss.
You found your dream house... Now what?
Searching for your new retirement home will take into account the amount of land you want, how big a house, and how much room you really need to fulfill your dreams. These searches may take time, but you could stumble on a true gem early in your quest. If this happens, you may need to act quickly — which could mean buying a new home before selling the old one.
Real estate advisors and home sellers will work with you to help you get into that home of your dreams. For instance, you can take out a loan against your 401(k) or use a sale-leaseback contingency to protect your interests. You may also request an extended closing process if you think you are close to selling your old home. That will give you extra time to get the papers signed on your previous residence.
Next step: Plan for Your New Life
Moving to a homestead in retirement is no small undertaking, but with all of your planning and preparation, you’ll be able to settle in no time. To make your move easier, go through everything you have to determine what you need or don’t need, and what will fit in your new home and your new life. You’ll also want to figure out which tools and equipment you’ll need to invest in.
Next, extrapolate on what life will be like. For example, will you need to switch to satellite service and a landline or will your homestead outside Dallas have access to a powerful enough network that you don’t need a satellite? What about your transportation? If you’ve been driving a sedan, will a truck be a more ideal vehicle? There’s also planning ahead for grocery shopping and medical appointments if you’ll be living farther out from the city. These little things can fall off the radar when you’re preparing for such a big life change, but keeping them top of mind can make it easier to adjust to your new surroundings.
Welcome to your new homestead
After all the lists are made, the houses are sold and bought, the boxes are moved -- only one thing remains. Invite your children, grandchildren, and fluffy grandkids over for a visit and christen your new space with the sounds and activities of your loved ones. Welcome home!
For more insight into health, saving money, wellness, recipes and more, bookmark Real Life with Heather.
December is over and 2020 has seen its last day. It was definitely a rollercoaster of a year but I finished out December fairly well I think. I'm down to a little over $5000 in credit card debt with a plan to have it taken care of in the next 4 months and my credit score is on the upswing as well. I'm fairly pleased with this month's progress.
Until next time!
I mentioned recently that I would be needing to re-evaluate the amount I have listed as my emergency fund goal due to life changes and debt payoff (yay)... today is the day that I do that with you all. :) I utilized the template I created as part of my One Year Forecast (https://youtu.be/oy7RMz0doWE) and had my number calculated in less than 15 minutes with zero questions. Another thing that I love about having a forecast and a template. Feel free to pop over to the blog post and grab a free download of the template I use to create my One Year Forecast.
Until next time!
YNAB has a few challenges and bootcamps happening at the first of the year (yay!). I decided to join the 34-Day Reset Challenge as a way to speedrun a bit of extra towards paying off my credit cards. It isn't a sustainable budget for the long haul but I think it will help me to buckle down a bit more than usual and may even allow me to re-evaluate categories and amounts I have thought of as already stripped down when this is over. Head over to YNAB and join the challange today at https://www.youneedabudget.com/34dayreset/ and join YNAB for free with my code at http://bit.ly/YNABHeather. Let me know if you join the challenge and what categories you are slashing in the comments below. :)
Until next time!
Welcome to month 5 of working in this workbook at the end of each month. :) I'm excited to see that I ended up spending less in quite a few categories this month than last month, even though there were a few blaring red categories as well. My sinking funds are slowly growing and I'm on track for all of my annual bills as well as my short term savings goals (like a grill, safe, and etc). Next month I'm hoping for a few more gains than this month. Fingers crossed! What kind of budget review and comparative items would you like to see on the Budget Reviews in the future? Do you like this format?
Until next time!
Photo Credit: Pixabay
As a parent, it’s easy to decide to save for your child’s future. However, deciding the best way to save is a bit harder. It really depends on your purpose for saving. Therefore, before you choose how to save, determine what your ultimate goal is.
Life Experiences and Beyond
If you want your child to have enriching experiences throughout her childhood or during college, consider opening a custodial brokerage account in your child's name. This money could be used for summer camp, music lessons, a study abroad trip, or a nest egg. Commonly reserved for long-term objectives, parents usually use a nest egg for their child’s future education costs, home purchase, or retirement plan.
With a custodial account, each child can receive up to $14,000 a year from each parent without being subject to a gift tax. However, the account is still taxable under the so-called “kiddie tax” rules, which state the first $1,050 will be tax-free. Then the second $1,050 is taxed at her rate, which is usually lower than your rate. Any amount after that is taxed at your rate.
Until your child reaches a certain age, generally between 18 and 25 (depending on your state), you manage the account. Once your child is of age, she gains control of the account and can use the money however she wants. If you wish to remain in control of the savings account for a longer period of time, a trust account may be a better option.
Custodial accounts have quite an impact on financial aid, according to the Balance. Assets in a custodial account belong to your child and count more heavily. When determining aid eligibility, 20 percent of a child's assets are assumed available for college, while only 5.64 percent of a parent's assets are considered available.
While thinking about the future, you may also wish to consider whether life insurance is a viable option. Not only will a life insurance policy provide your beneficiaries with income-tax-free money, but the value also grows over time. Of course, you will likely have to pay a monthly premium for the policy, so learn the pros and cons of life insurance.
Building a Career in Business
An essential tool that has become more synonymous with high-level business jobs recently is the MBA. Obtaining this next level of education can provide you with greater career choices and increased earning potential. These changes will have a direct impact on your ability to plan for your family’s future and financial stability. Other added benefits of an MBA are expanded leadership skills, growing job prospects, and the ability to impact your family's success in other ways (inspiring and leading by example).
If you wish to save for college, a 529 plan offers two enticing benefits. First, the money grows tax-deferred, and any withdrawals are tax-free, as long as they’re used for qualifying expenses for college, such as tuition, room and board, books, and computers. Second, a 529 plan is considered a parent's asset, so unlike a custodial account, there's less impact on financial aid.
The lifetime contribution limits for a 529 are high at about $200,000. Family members and friends can contribute, and some states offer additional tax incentives. So, if you have family and friends in other states, consider shopping around to find the best 529 plan to fit your needs. The friend or family member can open one, and you can contribute.
The only way to save for retirement through an IRA is with earned income from the account holder. Once your child becomes old enough to work, she can invest her money into an IRA, and Schwab recommends using a Roth IRA account.
While your child is still a minor, you can help her get a head start on retirement savings by opening a custodial Roth IRA on her behalf. Although smaller brokerage or mutual fund companies may not offer these accounts, many of the larger ones – Vanguard, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade – will do so.
Although you can teach your child to save using a piggy bank, consider helping her save through investing. The best route of investment depends on what your main goal is for saving. No matter which option you choose, you're thinking ahead and planning for your child’s financial future, so that is a parenting win.
This year my goals were a little more difficult to pick than normal. I had trouble pin-pointing my One Word challenge word even, which is usually the easiest and most fun for me. Its been a bit of a crazy year and so that's likely one of the main reasons that trying to figure out what's next was so hard. After weeks of back and forth I ended up with the following:
Health & Wellness:
Social & Recreational:
Relationship & Romance:
Career & Business:
Education & Personal Development:
Household & Home Life:
Until next time,
Last year I experimented with a number of different types of Happy Planners: vertical, color block, budget, mini fitness and even some DIY pages. I planned work tasks, chores, events, vacations, cancelled plans... lots of cancelled plans, and my budget & finances. So many different planners. And I loved them all in turn.
This year I really wanted to streamline so that I could carry a single planner around with me since I am a little more spread out between offices at the moment so multiple planners would be more difficult to manage. I spent about a month looking at different layouts and special versions of planners to decide which one I wanted, which would work best. I knew that I still wanted a Happy Planner as I like the ring bound design and the accessories but I decided that a dashboard layout was my best bet, something completely new for me. I also decided that I would need a little bit extra to make it fit my ideal planner, the productivity extension pack. I may end up adding an additional extension pack later in the year but for now I'm happy with my choice. Click the video below to see the planner that I chose: Detailed Florals.
And the Productivity Extension Pack...
I look forward to planning with you all in 2021!
Until next time,
November has finished and we're in a mad dash towards the end of the year at this point. I'm happy with the direction my finances have gone this month- almost $40k increase in my net worth year to date! What!?! I'm super excited about that obviously but not as excited as I am about being ready to pay off a credit card in December and being a third of the way towards another as well after my savings for this month were taken into account. One step at a time, even if they feel like wobbly toddler steps sometimes. :) What accomplishments did you have this month?
Until next time,