Well, it’s officially 2019.
Wherein I nearly spend a fortune
My friends and I planned to blow it out on New Year’s Eve. I wanted something to properly bid adieu to 2018 and all of its drama (my divorce being the main part). So we decided to go to a block party downtown. Well, eventually we decided to go to the block party.
First we spent the better part of the month trying to get one of my friends to weigh in on which of the options looked good to her. Eventually it became obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to pin her down, so I made the executive decision that we were going to the block party.
By this point the tickets had gone up from $15 each to $25 each (plus a $6 fee). Add to that an Uber getting to and from downtown during surge pricing — plus drinks once we were there — and I braced myself for a $100ish bill. But I wanted to see off 2018 in style, so I decided it would be a one-time splurge.
And then I didn’t
On New Year’s Eve day, the difficult-to-pin-down friend admitted that she was just going to stay home with her boyfriend and his kids. She said she didn’t really relish the thought of being packed in like sardines and waiting in long lines — not to mention paying for the privilege.
What she said got me thinking: Did I really want that experience, let alone to pay for it?
I quickly decided that I didn’t, and luckily no one had gotten their tickets yet. So we abandoned the block party plan, opting instead to go to a house party that was being thrown by one of the Meetup groups I belong to. It was the house full of toys like an air hockey table, a pool table, projection screens to play video games on, etc.
It turned out to be a lot of fun, and my friend who was going to stay home actually came out with us. We played pool and air hockey and, of course, drank.
I ended up getting home at almost 3 a.m., sick with exhaustion — I had been out since 8 p.m. — but ultimately happy about the sendoff I gave 2018. (Especially because I got cotton candy. Cotton candy while drunk is a terrific way to welcome the new year!)
I did bring liquor and some mixers to the house party. But the liquor was stuff a friend brought over for my birthday, and the juice was a whopping $1.99. Add in an Uber one way — one of my friends drove me home — and the whole night was $11.98.
The only downside to the event was that I had to get up at 6:45 Tuesday morning for work. Luckily, I was able to get a nap in later in the day. And after going to bed early Tuesday night, I woke up on Wednesday feeling practically human.
Concentrating on saved savings
Speaking of the new year, one of my goals for 2019 (I don’t do resolutions) is to try to get serious about saved savings. When we were spending so much, it simply wasn’t possible to put the money aside, but now that I’m single, there’s plenty of room to breathe (financial and otherwise).
So now I’m going to tuck away money saved with coupons, sales, gift cards and store rewards, plus any cash back from Mr. Rebates. I won’t count anything that I would only buy if it’s on sale. I figure that it has to be something that I’d pay retail for or it’s not really savings.
All of the funds saved from those efforts will be added to the mortgage payment each month. Even an extra $25 a month would shave almost seven years off my mortgage, so this new initiative should have a big impact!
In other news
I got a bonus again this year. It’s not as huge as years past, but it’s still definitely a respectable amount.
I decided to split it between the mortgage and retirement. I know the whole thing probably should have gone in there, but I’m antsy about paying off the house almost as much as I’m antsy about the late start I’m getting on serious retirement savings. So I decided to do half and half.
The great thing about having a small mortgage is that even just putting in half of my bonus shaved five months off my payoff time. It also brought my mortgage down under $65,000 which is pretty darn cool too.
How did your New Year’s Eve go? Do you have any new financial goals for the new year?