First of all, Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law with three boys of her own! She is a great mom and I am blessed to have three wonderful nephews!
Today was an oddly productive day. Neither Henry nor I really made a plan for the day but we knocked some good things off our to-do lists. The first order of business was to get my health coaching completed through work. Not too painful. My goals for the year are to sleep more, start working out more consistently, and eat healthier. Henry decided today was trim day for the bathroom and he put up all the trim around the door so we can start of putting up the tile border next. It looks really nice and it makes it feel a little more done too. Almost like our bathroom isn’t really under construction but that we’re reaching the end.
Then I decided that today was finally the day we needed to open up some college savings accounts. We have put money into savings for our kids since they were born (not much, mind you with all this debt pay off) and most of the cash gifts they were given for birthdays and Christmases have all gone into those accounts as well. But today we opened ESAs for them! We’re so grown up! And we’re excited that we’re actually being intentional with their futures.
If you don’t know what ESAs are (education savings accounts) and you have kids with a hope for college in their future, look into these accounts. They are different than the 529 plans (which are mostly run by state governments) and have some great benefits. They are capped in how much you can put into them each year ($2000) but if you put aside $2000 each year into any savings account from birth to 18 you will have $36,000 and that would at least cover most tuitions at an in-state school for 4 years. With and ESA you get to choose what kinds of funds your money goes into and then they are free to grow tax-free and to be used for educational expenses. We were also some of the first clients to open these ESAs at the local credit union which just opened a branch right up the street so they practiced opening all these accounts for our three boys today.
Honestly, I’m just really thankful to be intentionally putting money away for our kids’ college. And $2000 per year doesn’t feel like an unachievable goal for us. Actually, for all three of our boys it will cost us $500 per month which is $250 less than our current student loan payment. Is that not inspiration to start saving for college now? We hope that we can guide them a little better down the path of choosing good degrees the first time around instead of having to do a second bachelor’s and a master’s before realizing how much (and how long) these degrees were going to cost us. I really have enjoyed listening to Dave Ramsey explain that sometimes further education is a luxury instead of a need and we all need to realize that sometimes we have to say ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ to something we really want.
After we plopped the very tired children in bed for nap-time Henry headed off to our tax guy (which if anyone in the Belmont/Charlotte/Gastonia area need a fantastic tax place, definitely check out FLong Tax Service) and we are getting a much larger tax refund than we thought! That moves the needle on our student loan debt pay-off from the end of March to mid-March! As an additional note, we used Turbo Tax for years and we are so thankful to have an actual person do our taxes now. His fees have always been less than Turbo Tax and our refunds have always been more. Look into having a professional do your taxes because that happened to me in college too. My dad’s tax guy asked if he could look through my stuff and I said sure. I sent him the stuff and forgot about it and a month later he sent me paperwork to sign and I got an additional $100 back which for a broke college student was amazing.
Lastly, (to be true to my health coaching call coach) I did an online workout from Les Mills on Demand. Man, am I going to be sore tomorrow! And I’m frustrated that I signed up for this free trial through T-Mobile Tuesdays (if you have T-Mobile and don’t know about the free give-a-ways you need to contact me or ask someone who knows) on January 9th, then promptly forgot about it and it’s going to expire in like 3 days. They are good work-outs! And there’s yoga and I could have seriously been getting fit like crazy right here in my living room. Bad form.
Tomorrow is a very busy day with both of us working and about a million things to do. Good night!