Summer Money: Letting Things Go

It’s my very last summer money goal post. While I’m thrilled—and if I’m being honest, totally shocked¯that this means that I spent an entire summer setting goals and reflecting on them, I’m also really bummed at the idea of saying goodbye to yet another summer. Before I get too focused on fall, I thought I’d share how August went.

Make money & save HIT…sort of

I still haven’t been paid for the freelance work I did in July right before HP made his debut. After I finally sent a “Did you actually get my invoice?” follow-up email, I was told that the check will be cut on September 1. I’ll believe it when my bank account sees it. Meanwhile, I have made some headway making money online, especially thanks to and all the grad classes Mr. P and I are taking.

Prepare for my leave HIT

Funny story. I spent all summer pre-baby going into work for interview after interview to find a maternity leave sub. We finally found a wonderful woman who accepted the short-term position…and then there was a huge snag processing her paperwork. As a result, my students have had half a dozen teachers to start the year and my wonderful coworkers scrambled to fill in for me the best they could. I also spent way too much time for someone who isn’t getting paid setting up my online classes and doing as much behind the scenes work as I could, but I really want the transition back to go smoothly. Thankfully, her paperwork is now processed and work email is officially off my phone.

Focus on money less HIT

There are nights when I’m still consumed with thoughts of money. Namely the fact that I won’t be earning any for the next 10 weeks. But I’m also feeling good about our baby fund and know that I certainly wouldn’t trade this time for any amount of money. While I’m still working on a metric for this, the fact that two of my favorite posts this month had nothing to do with our personal finances. In one, I introduced HP, and in the other, I took on Dave Ramsey, trolls, and muscling through self-doubt. PS – Thanks for all the nice comments. I was blown away!

Continue decluttering HIT but…

I parted with two giant bags of stuff last week, even scrambling to add a few more things before the truck came to make the pickup. But I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels here. As a result, I’d like to set a more concrete goal for next month. Not only will it hold me more accountable, but it will hopefully give me more to celebrate. And it should make for some jaw-dropping numbers. I have A  LOT of stuff. Still.

Spend more time with family and outdoors HIT/MISS

This entire month has been a nonstop queue of visitors. While I’m certainly spending time with them, I’d be lying if I said that HP wasn’t the main draw. In fact, most of the time, the only time family flags me down is to alert me to (yet another) dirty diaper. Thanks, guys, I smelled it anyway. 

I’ve also been walking 2-3 miles a day with HP, which certainly counts as spending time outdoors. What I haven’t done much of, though, is work in our garden. In fact, I’m afraid most everything is going to be left to go to seed, fruits and veggies ripening and overripening, essentially ignored but not forgotten. Before I gave birth, I had a lot of cockamamie notions. I thought giving birth was the most painful part. Then, I learned what the euphemism postpartum recovery means. (Spoiler alert: hell. It means hell.) But the silliest notion of all was that I would have intermittent hours of free time each day to work on my blog, my grad classes, the garden, and other things. Oh, how naive I was. While I really struggled with coming to terms with the fact that I am just going to have to learn to let certain things go for the time being, it’s helped a ton to frame my maternity leave as a new job: HP’s mom. As far as jobs go, I can’t think of a better one.

September Goals

  • Reply to all blog comments (so sorry and thanks for sticking with me!)
  • Declutter at least 50 items
  • Share my tracked spending (Maternity Leave Money Diaries coming soon!)
  • Make a decision about FinCon
  • Revisit the idea of mortgage prepayments

Now, I realize I just wrote about how I was learning to let things go and then wrote the longest goal list I’ve ever come up with. As a result, I’m going to go easy on myself. If some of them have to extend into October and beyond, I’m OK with that.

So Tell Me…What are you working on this fall?


  1. You had me at declutter. Things slowly trickle into the house and before you know it, it’s overflowing with junk. So need to spend a weekend putting things in piles of trash, goodwill, or ebay/craigslist.

    • I think I need to spend many, many weekends doing this. I’ve been surprisingly good with all the new things that pop up as baby gifts. Most are getting returned for merchandise credits for when he’s older. It might make me seem mean, but he actually outgrew his newborn onesies before he could wear them all!

  2. “But the silliest notion of all was that I would have intermittent hours of free time each day to work on my blog, my grad classes, the garden, and other things.”

    This was me exactly pre-maternity leave! I even had a coworker suggest I study for a certification. Ha! I felt like I was winning if I had the dishes done by the time Mr. AR came home from work…

    • That was the same quote that grabbed me! I had all sorts of cockamamie notions of productivity. Nope, keeping baby alive was usually all I could check off. That and drink coffee and put on clothes (sometimes).

      For the fall, I have to take two graduate classes and get all my ELL students set up for the school year. Financially, we keep plugging along at our goals. It’s kinda why I love December so much, because it’s the end of the year and we can check off so many goals. 🙂

    • kddomingue

      Right? Lol!

      Best advice that I was ever given about the months following childbirth (that I promptly ignored after my first was born) was this. Sleep when the baby sleeps, eat right after you feed the baby and don’t worry about the house past the barest necessities. Nobody is coming to see your house, all eyes are on the baby! Hand the baby over to your spouse once a day and take a relaxing 10 minute bath or shower. I tried to be Superwoman after my first was born. I heeded the advice I’d been given after my second child was born! Enjoy this time with your little one and recuperate!

    • That is fantastic advice from both of you!

      I just unloaded the dishwasher and threw in a load of laundry…and danced around the house with HP in a victory lap! Most productive day this week!

  3. Ooof, sorry about all the paperwork woes with your job. That’s such a headache, especially for the time that you aren’t even being paid! Gross.

    I need to be better about setting seasonal goals. I guess my current focus is to get back on the wagon with my exercise regimen. I’d also like to do more writing, as well, but it’s all about being less of a lazy blob.

  4. Good job on achieving so much! Especially with a baby!

    This fall I need to work on blogging again. I started off the year really strong, and consistently posted but fell off track in May. There’s a lot more downtime at my job now, so I’ve been starting draft posts – now to finish some of them!

  5. It seems like decluttering is a recurring theme haha!

    I hope you can stay away from the school and the e-mails for the rest of your maternity leave 🙂

    September for me: meet students, hit the gym, have fun!

  6. Karen

    You’re generous and professional concerning your leave replacement–that good karma will hopefully come
    back to you ten-fold. My only advice, not that you’re asking, is ditch the list(gasp!) sleep when the baby sleeps and keep walking as much as you can -weather permitting. 10 weeks will fly and you will be juggling more than you have ever imagined. And you will be awesome at it! Congrats on this milestone of time home with your baby. You made that work out financially for you all and that is a great gift to your little one. The first of so many.

  7. I don’t know how to describe you, Penny. At times I think you’re a pioneer woman. Then I think you’re Wonder Woman. Well, however I sort out this mental tussle, one thing’s for sure. You’re pretty awesome. Thanks for the end-of-summer roundup. And enjoy your ten weeks with HP.

  8. Congrats on the baby, finding the sub, and getting really prepared. My wife and I trying to go through this at the moment. We certainly aren’t as organized as you are. Something that might help on the monetary front. Once you are done with your graduate degrees teaching online might be a great way to make some extra money. Once you get the up front work out of the way it isn’t so bad. It just takes a little bit to get going, but I enjoy it besides my normal teaching load.

  9. September is working on skill-building and business growth. It’s off to a great start on both fronts. Lots of things in motion, but not enough reaching the ends I need just yet. I know these goals look a little more intangible than a SMART goal should, but I have to be open to opportunities without fixating on how they “should” appear.

  10. I’ve really eased off the blog over the summer- 2 posts in July and same again in August- but I’ve accepted its where I’m at and am happy to continue a similar pace into Autumn. Part of the reason is a got a new (and permanent) job, so I was prepping for that, but writing posts does keep me ‘money obsessed’ and I like taking a bit more time to just enjoy life and my friends and family’s company. So I’ll be keeping up with that in the fall.

    If you’ve not tried the Marie Kondo method, I’d definitely suggest it. Not worth buying the book, the technique is to tackle one category in one go. So choose a category, say mugs, tops or books, whatever. Get every single one out and basically challenge yourself to get rid of as much as you can. I did this with tops, and because I keep things for basically an eternity, I owned 98 tops!!! Not even including jumpers. They were in drawers and in the wardrobe, some in the ironing pile or laundry basket, so I’d never clocked that I had so many. In one day, I got rid of over 60. Challenge yourself why you want to keep things, will you read a book again or if you haven’t read it yet, are you really likely too. I found this effective, but I still feel that I’m continually trying to declutter.

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