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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Miserly March

It's time to buckle down.  We heard back from the bank and it's going to require quite a bit more cash at closing than we were expecting, so we really have no choice.  I was online looking for pictures to post around the house to inspire me to save money and I found several references to 30 day No Spending challenges.

Everyone knows there's nothing I love more than a gimmicky challenge with rules and rewards.  Add to that it's the beginning of the month, which is a siren song to me for starting something new,  and we have a full blown game on.  I have posted No Spending pictures around the house with one of the vacation we have planned for this summer and the sofa we need for additional motivation.  I read one post where they tracked what they spent on what and where each day so I posted a calendar on the front door.

I found several additional philosophies associated with the no spend concept.  Some people feel that you not only stop bringing things into the house, but take the time to purge things you don't need as well so that at the end of the month you have spent less and have less stuff as well.  Another comment that I loved was the idea that you use up all your pantry reserves even if that means eating the multiple cans of beans you got on sale.  The idea being that you use what you have and get an opportunity to think about maybe not gathering up 20 cans of beans in the future.

Everything seems to point to one common theme and that is mindful consumption.  One blogger even tracked what she wanted to spend money on but didn't.  I found it very interesting because it was the same kind of stuff I would like to buy.  She also kept it realistic by including a dinner out once per week in her allowed spending, it's supposed to be sustainable for a month after all.

The Rules For My No Spend March

  1. Groceries and Pharmacy are allowed but not additional buying and use pantry
  2. One dinner and one lunch out per week 
  3. No spending on stuff or entertainment
  4. Track spending
It took me a few days to finish this post, so in the mean time I have been putting all the no spending challenge tips to use.  I have already noticed that I shave a few dollars off of every outing because I'm conscious of my goals.  The other thing that sticks out immediately is that we both spend money on lunch at work.  To be realistic we both agreed to try to spend less rather than stop having lunch out on work days.  It makes the day nicer, and we aren't here to torture ourselves.  I'm encouraged to keep going.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Party Train Stops Here

Waiting for this short sale to come through combined with late February sunshine has made me act like I'm on vacation all week.  I went out Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and I already have plans to go out Saturday plus my in laws want to BBQ on Sunday.  I have to get off the party train!!!
Not only am I sabotaging my diet just when I should be working extra hard, but same goes for spending money when I should be pinching every penny! I am so frustrated with myself and yet I'm really happy and having fun.  It's a slippery slope when you want to have a life and spend time with friends, but your specific goals are to lose weight and save money.  That practically screams stay home and isolate, but that's not very realistic.  I also currently live in a tiny apartment that looks out onto a wall so it's not very inviting for spending time and talking.  I may have to skip the last minute BBQ and then buckle down next week and focus.  We'll see, either way I'm going to make the best of it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

February Blahs

I just realized it's been a while since I checked in.  Mostly I think that's because I have been completely stagnating and have nothing to report.  I haven't gained any weight, which is the most amazing thing ever, but I also haven't made any progress.  I continue to be at a weight I don't totally hate, but that is still some hard work away from my goal weight.  I'm in that limbo time of year where summer cloths and vacations still feel far away.  Unfortunately this is exactly when I should be powering ahead to reach my goals before it's too late.
I need to find a way to help me focus even though I'm all bundled up in my winter cloths.  Some of the things that have worked in the past are; hanging pictures of the place I was going, using a chart system to earn cash for a specific goal and posting my goal weight on the wall.  In fact, I believe it was a combination of all three that helped me along when I went to Hawaii last year.  Maybe I'll give it a try, it can't possible hurt.
Last week I heard something about it being the day of the year that most people throw in the towel on their New Years resolutions and gyms everywhere become noticeably less crowded.  This is also the time of year that my mother in law insists on going somewhere sunny.  It's nice to know I'm not alone in my lethargy, but it's time to snap out of it.  Good bye February it's almost time to March ahead.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Company You Keep

A friend at work that I see on a semi regular basis noticed that I'd lost some weight and asked how I'd done it.  It took me a few moments to answer.  I realized that one of the biggest factors in my current weight loss is who I have been spending my time with.  I still go out to lunch and have wine on a regular basis and go to happy hour, but not 3+ times per week like I used to.
Last year I was working with a friend that had almost as much free time and spending money as me and it was so fun and easy to just skip out in the afternoon and have long wonderful lunch/happy hours.  She no longer works close by and has taken a drastic pay cut in order to improve her life overall.  That's one partner in crime that's gone from going out a few times a week to about once a month.  We're both saving money and it's a real treat when we do get together.
My husband has stopped bringing home snacks and cooking multiple dinners per night so my temptations have been greatly reduced at home.  That is such a relief!  I used to feel so pissed off when he would have dinner then make several other things.  Not only did I wonder why I bothered cooking, but also I like to eat anything I want whenever I want too and it doesn't help when other people are doing just that in front of you.
My priorities have recently changed as well as my weight.  Deciding to buy a house quickly to take advantage of the lower interest rates and get out of the ridiculous rental market has put a focus on not spending extra money when possible.  Going out to fancy dinners has been reduced significantly which is ok because we went everywhere over the holidays.
As a result of all of these changes around me I have lost some weight.   It's amazing how losing some weight makes you feel better so you try to make better choices and work out more.  It's just goes to show what a little positive reinforcement can do for your waist line and your bottom line.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

House Hunting In Portland: Nothing Short About A Short Sale

I know, it's a total cliche to enter into a short sale and then lament on how long it takes, but sheesh. It's not the normal short sale part, it's the random stuff that pops up.  In our case there is a second lien on the property that the estate has to settle before the bank can approve our offer.  If we get to purchase this place at all it may not be until April or May.  We need to save money so the longer it takes the better it is for us financially.
In the mean time I plan to keep looking at places as they come on the market.  On the one hand I feel great that we chose the place we did because I haven't seen anything that even comes close.  On the other hand, if we don't get this place I will be so devastated!!!!  To wait all that time and grow attached while making plans will be a really hard pill to swallow.
I have been shocked at the lack of properties in my price range that I'm interested in.  None of the buildings I've looked at in the past have had a single unit come up since I started looking in ernest. That has been a real eye opener, and it's not helping me feel relaxed about the waiting process.  If I wasn't sure this was the place I wanted before, now I'm committed and the lack of control is so annoying!  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Battle Of The Weight Loss Shows

When The Biggest Loser first came out I thought it was terrible, then I started struggling with my weight.  I decided that maybe they had some advice for me and that while riding my stationary bike would be the perfect time for me to find out.  I found that the advice was solid and the repetition was helpful.  Each contestant has a different story, and while they may be heavier than I am, we are all struggling with something that has gotten us to where we are now.
The premise of the show is people are divided into teams with a trainer, they all live onsite and the environment is very controlled like a retreat.  They work out together and prepare meals together and at the end of each week they have a weigh in and the person with the lowest weight loss percentage goes home.  It's impossible not to put in my 30 minutes on the bike while I'm watching people try so hard.  Along the way you also learn things like which mall foods are the best and the worst and other helpful tips.  I find myself cheering for everyone and am almost always sad to see someone sent home.  
Now we have My Diet Is Better Than Yours  and I couldn't resist trying it out.  I was very skeptical when I started it, but I had bike riding to do so I just went for it.  The idea behind this show is each contestant picks a diet approach that comes with the creator of that method as their coach.  For example, there's the trainer who wrote a book around the Paleo style approach, and another that has a book specializing in busy families.  Then at the end of each week they have a weigh in and if you don't like the results you're getting with the trainer you chose you get one chance to switch to a new plan.  I really enjoyed learning about all the different philosophies.  I really love that the contestants do not get sent home.  The only people that can be voted out are the trainers and in that case you get to see another weight loss philosophy.  It turned out to be a really interesting show and I am definitely going to watch it again.  I also thought that the low carb Paleo approach that one of the trainers has would really be of interest to my husband so I have requested his book from the library. He said he would read it so I'll give you an update on that in the future.  
The only things I would say My Diet Is Better Than Yours has going for it over The Biggest Loser is the variety of diet approaches you get to sample at once and that all the contestants get to stay for the entire contest.  The bottom line is both of these shows can be motivating if you want to be motivated. I don't think I would enjoy watching them while just sitting on the couch because that would feel depressing, but as long as there is exercise to be done then I will keep watching both these shows while I do it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Ok, this is harder than I thought it was going to be.  I was doing so well and I really thought that the excitement of the new year was going to kick things into overdrive.  So far all I've managed to do is not gain a bunch of weight, don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for that.  In the past this would have been good enough, however, now I really want to achieve my goals.
I can actually envision myself living my ideal life if I just put in the effort.  I can picture me comfortable in my body, buying cloths that I love to put in the new closet of the condo I am really hoping we get.  The only thing standing in my way is me.  I think I got a little over confident with my food intake.  I feel like suddenly I'm having a snack or two and not really counting it.  Exercise is going pretty well, and I would like to add weights in this week.   There's no doubt that this time of year is tough because all anyone wants to do is stay inside and eat, but I guess that's why we get New Year's resolutions.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

False Start

I swear I should be able to predict some things by now.  For example, I will usually go bonkers right after posting my new years resolutions.  Everything started off right on track, I came home from work Friday night and we hung out and ate at home.  Saturday started off with brunch (with a coupon) then the remodeling show (coupon) followed by happy hour (reward credits and a gift card) then things got out of hand.  We ended up on the roof deck of a hotel with a bunch of people and not a coupon in the mix!  So basically I can't spend any money or calories for the next month.  Luckily I had a great time!
Now it's time to get serious.  I have been riding my bike which has been a pleasant experience, I would like to get back to 8 miles in 30 minutes then we can change it up.  It's time to mix in some weights, but I kind of dread it.  It's hard to commit to weights some times because at the moment I feel totally bloated and I just want to do some cardio and sweat it out.  Also, I think it helps me with my attitude which is another goal.  However, the science is irrefutable and I have to make it work.
I'm almost excited to start cooking.  I have a tendency to get excited about starting things, but the follow through is another story.  I have two recipes in mind that I'd like to try so maybe I'll grab some pictures and let you know how it goes.  Here's to the first fresh start of 2016!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016: So Many Possibilities

I am so excited for this year!!!  For starters I have finally made progress in my on going weight loss battle which gives me so much hope and momentum going into this year.  I found my resolution plan from 2014 and I was desperate to get to 139 pounds.  It wasn't until February 2015 that I achieved that goal after a massive toothache and a trip to Hawaii on the horizon.  Since then my husband has joined me in the fight and things have really taken off.  Of course, just like everyone else, the holidays have gotten me off the straight and narrow.
That's what's so amazing about the tradition of the New Years Resolution, you know I love a fresh start. This year I have a vision of a healthier me both inside and out.  I'm usually so focused on my weight loss goals that I don't have room for anything else, but this year I feel ready.  I expect to fail sometimes and to have to use various Mondays and holidays to reboot, but I will not give up.

My 2016 New Years Resolutions

Me as a person 

  1. Attitude - I am going to make a concerted effort to watch my attitude.  I do not want a snippy response to become my norm. 


  1. My goal weight is currently 130 and I am at 137
  2. Diet - log all meals even when I go over calories
  3. Exercise - use bike and add weights twice per week
  4. General - floss, take vitamins
  1. Save money - make a budget, eat out less
  2. Cook more - try one new recipe per week 
  3. Pursue hobbies & interests - knitting, learn Spanish
  4. Pursue voice work - there is no harm in trying to do voice work

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 In the Rearview Mirror

This has been an interesting year, one that I am happy to be done with.  A lot of great things like trips to Hawaii and Disneyland and weight loss for the whole family were the highlights of an otherwise difficult year.
Weight loss is the real story of 2015.  Losing weight feels amazing, the process to get there is so much less amazing.   No one really talks about the emotional journey that accompanies the end result of losing weight.  Most likely the overeating you did to put on the weight is linked to an emotional component.  When you take the comfort of the food away you're left standing there alone and exposed.  Depending on how long you've been hiding behind food this can be a very long and painful process for you and everyone around you.  You almost have to reinvent your old relationships, which can lead to several bumpy transitions.  Change is hard!! I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
However, with change comes opportunity.  I used to really like that we only really ever had about one fight a year as a couple.  This was not a year with only one fight.  Everything was a fucking battle! Moving to a tiny weird apartment did not help, but it was definitely getting used to not using food as a cure all that left us feeling as though we had no coping mechanisms.  Some really cool things that we have added to our lives to compensate for the hole food has left keep us out of the house.  We walked everywhere this year which used to be something we fought about, but now we both want to walk around downtown.  We go out and do a lot more now just to keep from sitting on the couch and eating.  We never get food delivered anymore which used to cost a fortune and fill me with regret.  It's so much more fun to buy cloths now and we are both trying new styles which makes going out a lot more fun.
I read my posts from this time last year and I feel pretty good about things.  What I feel best about is leaving 2015 in the dust and taking my thiner body into the new year.  I want more weight loss and less fighting for 2016.