Thursday, September 29, 2016

Budget With Training Wheels

We are almost through the first pay period on our new budget and it's been a learning experience. First, I noticed that as the start of the budget approached I started buying things like I was about to lose everything to bankruptcy.  The upside is I really did need face lotion and toilet paper.  I feel like it has been a success even though we ran out of money before the next payday.  We definitely thought more about everything we did and made some great and some not so great choices.

Here is what I learned about us, we like to go out at least once a week and it has to be on the weekend.  If we go out on a weeknight, we will still want to go out when Friday rolls around.  Not going out on the weekend feels like a punishment, and the fun we had earlier in the week is long forgotten.

Sometimes you need things that aren't food and household necessities.  Last week my hairdryer blew up and I had to go get a new one.  I was really frustrated that it happened right when I was feeling sensitive about money, but I realized that's how life goes and just went and bought a new one because I needed it.

Forgetting to use a coupon when you're feeling the pinch of a restrictive new budget is very upsetting!  I was in such a state about my dryer breaking that when I rushed over to the store to buy a new one before work I forgot to use a $10 coupon and I almost cried.  That's when I realized I need to settle down and not freak out.  This is a new lifestyle for the foreseeable future so I have plenty of time to practice.  I can't wait to start the next pay period, I know I can put what I learned so far to good use.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Financial Identity Crisis

This has been an expensive year to say the least.  We were recently lucky enough to go on a three week vacation to Southern California.  I had a wonderful time and even had my best ever visit to Disneyland.   Buying a house that hasn't been updated since 1986 has been an education in all the little things that can eventually give out in a home.  Add to that the fact that our couch was too broken to move again and things start to add up.  

It's not like we have ever been frugal.  Last year we went to Hawaii and Disneyland and, as my weight shows, we love to go out to eat and drink.  We have been having fun on credit for far too long and I'm afraid the jig is up.  Suzi Orman taught me you have to live in your financial truth, and we have been living a lie.  

As I sit here today I am in over $30,000 debt, and I just bounced a check.  I'm in my 40's now and there is no excuse for this.  We make plenty of money annually to live a perfectly great life, but we have been living beyond our means for so long that now we have a situation.  Thankfully nothing bad has happened, yet.  The fear is always that a job loss could put us out on the street or something catastrophic because we have less than zero.  This was a very stressful realization, but I'm very glad that my husband was willing to bring it up and not let us ignore it any longer.

September 15th will be the beginning our financial New Year.  I keep hearing people refer to September as the other fresh start so why not a financial overhaul.  We have agreed on a set amount of spending money from each paycheck that will be deposited into the new account we opened.  All of our spending that is not for household bills such as mortgage and utilities must come out of that account.  I'm currently lobbying for hair cuts to come out of bills because it's not like I really have a choice, and I already only go 3 times per year if that.  

On vacation I lost my Chanel sunglasses that I had had for almost 10 years.  I admit I cried more than is reasonable for a pair of glasses, but I think I knew then that I would not be getting new ones for a long time.  I had wanted them since I was a teen and finally got them in my 30's.  I used to enjoy putting them on and, no matter what I was wearing, I always felt put together.  I went to the boardwalk fun center and bought 2 pairs for $14 because that's what I can afford.  Perhaps I'll call them my financial truth glasses.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Struggle

It's a constant struggle not to put back on all the weight I lost last year.  I would like to be making progress, but I find myself spending my energy just trying to maintain.  In the last few months I have been using the house buying as an excuse to eat whatever I want.  I don't know if I thought I was going to get away with it or what, but the scale clearly says I have gained.  It's not a huge amount, but it's summer and not at all what I want or need.

What to do?  There really is only one option, and that's to start putting all my food in My Fitness Pal app, hit that 10,000 step goal most days and add the weights back at least twice a week.  It's boring, but it's realistic.

I really love eating on my new patio, but sometimes I still just want to get out and see people and not cook or cleanup.  The nice thing is I'm cooking at home more, and the best part is I'm enjoying it more.

Two Weeks later...

I just couldn't gather any enthusiasm last time I was trying to write.  This week I finally got a chance to pause and get my life together.  I had several days all to myself to unpack and organize and actually think about the house and some upcoming social functions.  I even got my hair done and did my nails.  I am feeling so much better!

The only thing that isn't clicking along as well as I'd like is losing the couple pounds I put on during the move.  I have gotten so many steps this week, but I was also hungry.  Ugh!!  Sometimes I just don't know what to do.  I did turn down an invitation to happy hour this week.  I felt guilty about saying no to my friend, but I really wanted to keep working on the projects I was doing and have time to myself.  I also did not want to drink, I felt like it would disrupt my whole vibe that I had going and I was really enjoying myself.  In the end I feel like it was the right decision for me.  I am really starting to settle in and I love it here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

House Hunting In Portland: The Final Countdown

It looks like after 4 and a half months of waiting we may actually be a week away from getting the keys to our new condo.  We first saw it Thanksgiving weekend and have had our fingers crossed ever since.  I have to admit that in the last month or so the waiting has become challenging.  We both seem to be feeling very restless which has not translated into saving money or losing weight.

I know this is the same problem I always seem to have, but now it' supposed to be temporary.  After we move we keep talking about how we'll cook at home and hang out on the deck etc.  What it we're just as restless as always?  What if we get bored cooking in and hanging out right away?  I admit I'm starting to feel nervous.  This is a big life change so I guess it's actually normal to be having all kinds of feelings and emotions.  Frankly I'm tired of it and also just plain tired.  I can't wait to stop thinking about everything and start doing things!

On HGTV people always say cliche things about buying a home like "start living our lives" or "put down roots" I always roll my eyes, but the fact is living in limbo is annoying.  This whole year has been about getting a place and we are so close.  This will all be so worth it if I can just make it to the finish line.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stress Eating Stresses Me Out

Basically I have tried everything to save money and lose weight the last two months, except diet and exercise and staying in.  I can't roll my eyes enough at myself!  I have a list of reasons that are really just excuses for why I "should" treat myself.  Bottom line is I have put on two pounds.

Most people are probably thinking that isn't much, and in the grand scheme it isn't.  However, my goal was to lose two pounds on the way to my larger goal of losing 7+ pounds.  Plus my face is all broken out and I feel crappy.  Now to add to the whole mess I have stress at work.  Ugh!

I can't quite figure out why this house buying thing is so stressful.  Yes there is a lot of money involved, but we signed on for that in the beginning.  If I had to name one thing it would have to be the uncertainty of whether or not it will happen at all or get called off completely. At some point we had to go all in and give notice at our apartment all without any guarantee that we will have somewhere to live after all of this.  When you rent an apartment they are able to tell you exactly when you will move in a month ahead of time and you're able to plan accordingly.  This is not like that at all, and it makes me question everything I do.

I feel restless and anxious and all I want to do is either move into my new place or run away. Everything and everyone is on my nerves and I would just like to have some quiet time.  Not going to happen, so instead I'm going to pull myself together and carry on.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Turn Around

Friday is usually my favorite day of the week, but today I'm just not feeling it.  We're supposed to be saving money, but we've already been out twice this week.  Now it's the weekend and it's sunny but we really shouldn't go out.  Also, things just aren't going as well as I'd hoped for my four days off. We're both stressed out about this house stuff and this apartment is really starting to get on my nerves.  I know this is just a bunch of complaining, but I was hoping I would feel better if I got it all out and got some perspective.

I really need to remember that this is not the last Friday that will be sunny.  I have had plenty of fun already this week and there is no reason I can't enjoy a little down time.  I would like to save money and lose some weight and going out will not help me accomplish either of those things.  It's not even that warm out and it's supposed to be windy.  We had a little tiff this morning and I think that's probably what's really bothering me.  We made up, but it's just not the same for a while after a disagreement.  Now it's the weekend that I was looking forward to and I don't seem to be enjoying myself which makes me feel sad and guilty and then it's just a big circle of crap.

So, what to do now?  Be excited for what's coming next in life.  I can think of it that way or pout about it.  The grown up thing to do is accept that you have to make some sacrifices to get what you want.  Also, it's time to let things go and move on.  Not everyone holds a grudge and I bet they have less wrinkles and sleep better at night.  I am going to give that a try and I bet you this weekend turns around in a hurry.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March On

Things are still going pretty well with Miserly March.  I haven't kept up with tracking my spending, but I know I'm spending less.  My diet, however, is on life support.  My husband has been sick for almost two weeks and he cheers himself up with pizza.  This has put us back to our old habits and the future is clear, if we don't stop it right now we will gain all the weight back.  Another perfect excuse to go out and be bad is moving.  We just found out after three and a half months of waiting that we will be moving in 35 days.

One problem we've had this year is that our apartment is less inviting than almost any other place we've lived.  I know we've had places we liked less, but this apartment is tiny and faces a wall.  I find myself using that as an excuse to go out to dinner.  We keep telling ourselves that our new place will be so great that we'll want to spend more time at home cooking and hanging out.  I'm worried that we'll still want to go out, but we won't be able to.  When we talked about budget last night I felt a little concerned that we're headed for a lifestyle change.  I just have to keep focusing on what I'm getting, not what I'm giving up.

I haven't been having trouble not buying other things, it's just going out that's a problem.  This is the same issue I've had for years, and things will have to change.  We are going to need to be on a very strict budget for at least the next six months.  This is the cost of buying a house that's perfect for the foreseeable future instead of one that we know we'll only like for a couple years. While it's a smart move for the future it's going to be a tough adjustment for the present.  I really do think it's going to be worth it.