Archive for February, 2009

Resolution progress

Monday, February 16th, 2009

As is fairly standard, week 6 of the New Year is either the death of most New Year resolutions. Well, that or a major slowdown. I had a bit of a slowdown, but I'm acknowledging it and getting back in control.

Mostly what has slowed down is the house cleaning. I've been slipping out of my good routines. I don't have very many, but the few I was doing consistently kept the house up pretty well. These included:

  • Making the bed in the morning
  • Filing/shredding mail same day
  • Emptying and filling the dishwasher at least once a day (usually while waiting for something to cook in the kitchen)
  • Putting things away when travelling from room to room
  • Putting toiletries away in the bathroom instead of cluttering up the sink
  • Picking up clothes at the end of the day

Tonight, I'm getting the house under control tonight and then I can focus!

My decluttering has slowed down as well. Luckily most of the big problems areas have been decluttered and I need to refocus on the small collections of stuff I have. I need to start working again on the following:

Writable VHS tapes
Over the years, I've taped a variety of things. Much of which was never watched. Its actually fun to go back and watch some of these tapes, or just fast forward through. I hear FreeGeek recycles tapes, so I hope to drop off whatever tapes I don't want at the end of this.

Burned DVDs and CDs
Compile and put in one binder. I have these all over the place and in a number of binders, cases, etc.

Frames
I have a bazillion empty frames at the moment. I need to select photos or art for each. This usually requires compiling them on the computer and getting them printed. Then matte, mount and hang. Frames that don't match our decor should be donated or sold on Craigslist.

Generic Art
This relates to above. I would rather feature custom art or photographs on our walls vs. the mass-produced Target-esque art I have a lot of now.

Craigslist
I still have a good number of salable items. I've donated lots of things that just weren't worth the time to manage on Craiglist, but some of the bigger ticket items have been selling off at a decent rate. I sold $185 worth of stuff last month. This month $35 so far, but have about another $100 pending e-mail replies today.

On a positive note, for the past few weeks my fitness routine has been good especially going well. I’ve been working out 5-6 times a week for at least 45 minutes. This is big. I'm starting to feel weird again when I skip a day. I want to save up to buy P90X which looks fun. I accidentally saw the infomercial for it. It looks good for someone already in OK shape but wants a little more challenge. Maybe Jeremy would do it with me as well. I'd have to buy a pull-up bar thingy, though. I don't think I've been able to do one pull-up ever in my life. So we'll see!

Our budget is going well too. We have 3 months of emergency funds now saved up! I would normally pay my car off first, but in this economy, I wanted a security blanket first. We can start accelerating the car payments next month. Yay!

January budget wrap-up

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Month one of budgeting is complete using Dave Ramsey's budget method where we spent all our anticipated income on paper before the month began. We were actually pretty close our first month out and had a $97 surplus, not including the $3K we socked away into our emergency fund. We also paid off all our credit cards from Christmas purchases and took them out of our wallet. We are debit/cash only and loving it! Watch the documentary "Maxed Out" and you won't want to support creditors any more. We didn't estimate correctly in our food categories. We needed to flip flop the categories as we spent more in groceries than I initally budgeted. However, we equally spent less in eating out. This is a good thing overall as the main food cost was within limits. I think we can refine this further if I can use all our groceries before things go bad. Meal planning and preparation will be a work in progress. We also sold a number of items on Craigslist, returned unused items to stores, cashed in rebates, and received a large weatherization incentive from the Energy Trust of Oregon related to insulating our home during phase I of our remodel. We made an extra $1600 in unanticipated income in January after all is said and done. If we are on track, even without selling anymore stuff, we will be able to save at least twice as much next month thanks to no credit card bills. I'm happy to be able to tell our money how to work for us now! If we continue to sell junk (I haven't sold anything I really cared to keep yet) and get some more freelance work, we will be able to pay my car off soon and have a sizable emergency fund to cover at least 6 months of expenses. I will likely sell my Mazda 5 after we pay off the note, but I'm thinking of keeping it while we are still remodeling because it is large enough for hauling drywall, etc. It was purchased new so we already have to absorb most of that original depreciation (hello stupid tax DOH us!), so keeping it for a few extra months won't see much as far as dropping in value. Once remodeling phase II is done (hopefully by the fall), I should be able to sell it and maybe buy a used small hybrid of some sort with cash! Yay!