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March Update

31 Mar

I feel like the only posts I’m adding these days are about my credit cards, sheesh. But I’m over the halfway mark and still going strong. I was hoping to have these paid off by summer, so I think I’m on track if I can just keep making crazy payments the next few months, even if it kills me! The only thing that stinks is I’m getting ready to book a few trips on AirBnB, so I know that will add another little chunk back onto my total. Sad!

Life lately has been pretty hectic. I’m babysitting more than ever now that the sun is starting to shine on weekends. I finally finished redecorating and organizing my bathroom, which is a project I started in December. My sister also took the last of her furniture out of the spare room, where we’ve been storing it over a year now! Next step is to keep purging  the junk stored in there and set up a game room/office, which is where most of my tax return will be going. I’m excited about that, though I know it’s going to be a pain once it gets started. We’ve also been keeping up with our weekly meal planning, which is helping me stay close to my grocery budget. For the past 2 weeks, we’ve been eating vegetarian and trying to limit the dairy we consume. It would be nice to go vegan for another month, but it’s hard to plan that much for the two of us right now. We’re already feeling better with the types of food we’ve cut out. Our only weakness is Ben & Jerry’s!

I would say so far I’m doing pretty well on 2 of my 4 resolutions! I’m still working on staying positive, which is admittedly getting harder and harder with these LONG weeks. I’m not getting enough R&R which is making me kind of cranky. I’m definitely looking forward to having next Sunday off so we can sleep in and make waffles.

February Update

6 Mar

Another month and another progress update! I wasn’t able to make as large of a dent this time around, but next month I’ll have my taxes and a chunk of un-cashed babysitting checks. Whoowhoo! I’m a hair away from having all my balance on one remaining card and it feels great! We’ve been doing meal planning every week and eating out less, so I’m pretty proud of our spending cuts.

January Victories!

5 Feb

One month into 2014 and I’m so proud of myself! I’m trying to follow through on these resolutions and I’m doing better than I had hoped! I’ve paid off an entire 26% of my total credit card debt since the beginning of the year. WHAAAT?! It was so hard to part with that much money, but I had a couple months worth of babysitting and cleaning checks that I hadn’t cashed, so I put the lot towards my cards. If only I had that much spare money every month, I would blow through these cards in NO time! In an effort to prevent myself from losing steam, I made a chart to track my payments. I’m tracking my progress in blue, so when it’s all paid off the number wills be filled in (in the vein of these things.)

I’ve also been reaching out to the friends I’ve lost touch with the last couple years. With one of these friends, I ended up writing her a message and telling her how I felt we were growing apart and told her about some things that had bothered me. It was so hard to write that message and I almost didn’t hit send; I made sure to keep everything simple and emotionally-neutral (is that a thing?) so it didn’t come across critical. It’s such a scary thing to be honest and feel so vulnerable, but things worked out so well. She apologized and I apologized and there are no elephants in the room. I feel like there’s such a weight off my chest and look forward to reconnecting with her.

Oh yeah, I’m also keeping the house clean and have been going on evening walks with Jericho. 4 out of 4 resolutions going strong, bam! Feeling good. 🙂

2014: Refocusing My Energy

2 Jan

2013 – What to say; what to say? I started off this blog to keep myself to some personal goals from last year’s resolutions. I think I started off strong but let myself get into a bit of a rut. Now it’s 2014 and I’m looking forward to a fresh start, though I know the biggest part of that will be changing my attitude and perspective. My new goals for this year:

My job is high stress and tends to make me dislike people in general because I deal with a LOT of needy folks that occupy my time with issues that are actually small and stupid. (Sound bitter much?  Yikes.) When I come home I can’t shake it and I end up taking out my frustrations on the people I love. Not cool.

I get off work, I go home, I stay inside and watch TV and go to sleep. I live in a tiny bubble. This year, I need to make an effort to get out and socialize more and re-kindle some friendships I’ve neglected recently. In addition, I need to actually get OUTSIDE. Get some fresh air. Stretch my muscles and get a good walk or run in. Pump some endorphins into my system to help regulate my moods.

It’s hard to come home from work and be positive if the house is a sty. I can tell it really affects my mood. Bottom line is I have too much stuff and too little storage. I need to purge the things that I don’t actually need and find homes for everything else. My bedroom and the kitchen are usually the 2 worst rooms in the house. My room because I get lazy and let clothes pile up on the desk instead of putting them away and the kitchen because dishes pile up SO fast when you cook. I’ve got to start hanging up all my junk at the end of the day and making sure we keep motivated on dishes by taking them in turns and doing at least one load a day.

I’m still working on my credit cards. I began 2013 with $5532.65 in cards and ended wtih $4063.35. It’s not as much as I would have liked to have paid off at $1469.30, but if you think about it that’s still 27%, which seems like more of an accomplishment. I know over the summer and again at the holidays, I lost focus on my budget/payments and that slacking is what kept me from doing more. This year I’ve got to live with more simplicity in mind. I think my number one money trap is eating out too much, so I need to keep focused on buying groceries wisely so there is always something home I can whip up pretty easily.

Here goes!

First Card Down, Three to Go!

18 Mar

This weekend I paid off my first credit card! I haven’t had a card with a $0 balance since I started collecting my debt about 6 years ago. It feels great! I’ve still got a long way to go with 3 more cards with balances, but it feels good to see that I’m finally making progress on this. I took a little more time on Saturday to compare the current balances on my cards to what I started with in January. I also shifted some money around and signed up for a Slate card through Chase. They offer 0% APR for 16-months and $0 fee for balance transfers made in the first 60-days. I shifted the larger balance off my Bank of America card so I can save a little money in interest for a year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a high enough card limit to switch ALL my cards over to Slate.

Next card I’m paying off is my AMEX! I’m aiming to get that one paid off within 2-3 months.

March Goals

7 Mar

This month has been off to a rough start! We took a quick vacation from Friday-Tuesday, so I’ve been so thrown off and haven’t started on 3 of these goals.

As of today, I will kick myself back in gear. I’m starting in on this cleaning routine that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I had tried it last year but only lasted about a week. Also, I’m dedicating a portion of my weekend to keeping up on laundry. Right now, when I finally get around to doing laundry, I leave it in the dryer so I don’t have to fold it or dump the pile in a dresser drawer or empty chair and use it up until I have to wash everything again. Gotta change that!

I’m also eating almost vegan  this month (my one exception being honey); I watched Forks Over Knives and it really hit home. I’m seeing a lot of health problems come up in my family. I’ve cut out meat and dairy, the latter being a HUGE deal for me. I also want to do yoga 1-2 times a week, but I have to order that darned Roku so I can stream the workout video on Netflix.

Treating myself to a nice french press at the end of the month if I make any progress! These are some tough ones for me.

February Goals – Recap

28 Feb

This has been a crazy month! Work has been extremely stressful; I have been doing less baking and blogging because at the end of most days all I want to do is crawl into PJ’s, grab a glass of wine, and knit with Girls or Adventure Time playing. Also, my goals for this month didn’t exactly lend themselves to photo ops. Nobody wants to see 28 pictures of me flossing! Here’s my recap of February. I’m pretty excited for some things coming up in March, including a quick road trip to LA and a fresh set of goals.

1) Drink at least 2-pints of water daily
Before this month, I hated drinking water. It was a chore. I filled my days with coffee, more coffee, wine, and milk (not particularly in that order). I was lucky if I drank 32 oz of water in a week. I’m doing much better now! I’ve got a mason jar on my work desk that’s 1.25 liters and I can easily go through 2-3 of those without having to run to the bathroom 500 times anymore. Thanks body!

2) Floss before bed every night
I’ve done this every night! At first, I was having a hard time with it. I would wait until right before crawling into bed, hobble into the bathroom, and floss miserably while my gums bled from floss-inexperience. Now I’ve got a routine going and make sure to get in the  bathroom after I eat but before I’m dead tired. Plus my gums aren’t bleeding anymore, bonus!

3) Make my bed every morning
Seeing my list of goals from last month makes me sound like a small, untrained child. These are things I really should have mastered years ago! Adulthood has made me lazy. Now I’m back in the good habit of making the bed in the morning. It’s so much nicer to come home after work and see my room NOT look sloppy.

4) Clean & organize my hall closet
I have lived at my home for almost 4 years now and this hall closet has been accumulating loose junk ever since. Anytime I come across a piece of paper that looks important, it gets shoved into a stack on the top shelf. Anytime there’s something weird that doesn’t fit in my room, it gets shoved in one of the drawers. That closet was a nightmare! After one night and a vengeance,  I am happy to say that I got a handle on this. It’s still far from perfect, but it’s a start. I purged like crazy and got rid of boxes of old (crappy) CD’s from high school and boxes of packing lists from my old eBay store. It’s so nice to know that I can open the closet and find what I’m looking for now! “Before” photos on the left, “After” photos on the right.

Before After

Goodie Bag + February Goals

4 Feb

I really enjoyed doing the 4-Goals challenge last month, so I decided this is something I want to continue throughout the year. However, I also want to up the stakes a little and reward myself if I can accomplish those goals. I remembered something my mom used to do for my sister and I called the Goodie Bag. She had a gift bag that she filled with Claire’s necklace sets, treats, or cards with an activity on them (i.e. “Girls’ Night!–Stay up late with mom playing CandyLand with a cup of tea”). Anytime we did something good or completed a project she requested, we would get to reach into the Goodie Bag and draw something out. Bribery works wonders.

So here is my new & improved Goodie Bag. I’m using note cards taped shut and writing down a bunch of random items that I really want, but can’t justify the $30-60 splurge on them. I jotted down my 4-goals for February and then drew a card from the bag. This month, I’ll buy a Roku adapter if I can complete my goals. (!!!!!!!)

4 Goals for February

  • Drink at least 2-pints of water daily
  • Floss before bed every night
  • Make my bed every morning
  • Clean & organize my hall closet (eeekk)

I guess none of those things sound that hard, but I am one lazy gal and those are a bunch of good habits I ditched LONG ago. Wish me luck!

January Goals – Recap

2 Feb

January just flew by! In my first post, I picked out 4 short-term goals to work on for this month, and now that it’s over I want to post my progress.

1) Craft/Bake/Cook 4 things from Pinterest

Woohoo! I found a few new favorite recipes and discovered a love of fabric paint.

2) Organize & redecorate my bedroom
I give myself partial credit on this one. I drastically underestimated the amount of time it takes to re-orangize all the knick knacks displaced by moving around furniture. If I had started this project January 1, I might have had more luck. As of now, I’m a couple weeks in and I still have milk crates filled with clothes and binders tucked away in corners of every room. Here’s a photo of the progress, I’ll write a full before/after post once I have the room 100% set up. This is now my favorite place in the house! Not bad since it started off looking like a bad dorm room. Before photo is here.

3) Go on 4 runs
I actually went on 5 runs, but I didn’t get a photo from the first week. It’s good to be back in a routine and I’m lucky to have a few running buddies that keep me from wimping out on dark, cold winter days. I couldn’t do it without such a good support system!

4) Revamp my budget and decide on credit card payment plan
I’ve got a plan of attack on those credit cards and am looking forward to paying off my first of four cards in March.

I’ve already got my February goals scratched down on a piece of paper, which I’ll try to post tomorrow. Having things like this to work towards is keeping me productive and I like it! 🙂

2013: New Year, New Blog.

4 Jan

What better way to stick to my New Years resolutions than to create a blog to track what I’m working on? Besides, I have been looking for an excuse to start up a new site that’s less specific to any one craft than my previous ones.

I’m excited about the coming year! 2012 was pretty good overall, which leads me to think that 2013 will be darn fabulous. I have been following a lot of other bloggers lately, though, and realizing that the only way I’ll be able to make myself truly productive is by setting both long and short goals. Without further ado, I give you:

2013 Resolutions

  • Pay off 2 credit cards
  • Keep my house tidy
  • Feng shui it up
  • Get fit, stick to running even in the cold weather
  • Craft more, bake more, photograph more, do more of anything creative that makes me happier and more positive!

4 January Short-Term Goals

  • Craft/Bake/Cook 4 things from Pinterest
  • Organize & redecorate my bedroom
  • Go on 4 runs
  • Revamp my budget and decide on credit card payment plan

Thanks to ABM for the 4-goals idea! Pretty excited to start this out!