Saturday, October 22, 2011

Minimizing and budgeting

This week, I said goodbye to my older desk, all my DVD's and books, and some more clothes and shoes I never wear. I replaced some of the paper books with a few free e-books. I haven't had any serious bites on the stuff I listed on craigslist, just some nibbles.

I'm happy to report that I have not used my credit card for over a month now. My only unexpected expense was a vet visit for Tara to determine the nature of a lump I found on her chest. It turned out to be a lipoma, no big deal, and the bill was easily covered since I've been putting money in a separate account for the dogs for quite some time.

I also spent several hours this week putting together a realistic budget, and looking for more ways to save rather than spend. I think this budget is the first one I've ever put together that accounts for everything, and doesn't conveniently ignore things I'd rather not think about. Let's see if I can stick to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I hit the back bedroom with a vengeance, and managed to fill up my trash bin with all kinds of "stuff" - shoes, clothes, hangers, a pillow, old computer cables and CD's, baskets, office supplies, old receipts and bills, etc. The only thing left in that room is a small table I need to sell; there's one more box in the closet in there that I need to go through, and that will be it for that part of my house. I threw out one box that has moved everywhere with me for 20 years!

I'm now considering selling my TV and DVD player. I barely use them any more, since I cancelled Netflix and I don't have cable. I can use the TV to watch Amazon Instant shows, but I almost always watch those on the chromebook so I can move from room to room. I've never needed a big screen or fancy sound system.

It really feels great to have so much less junk in my life. I'm looking forward to the next round of purging :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Purging and Saving

I've been doing pretty well at throwing something away every week, and now I've gotten busy getting my unused computers ready to sell, to be followed by some unused furniture. It feels good to be making progress in the purge.

Back in August, I got notification that Wells Fargo would start charging me $3 a month to use my debit card. I'm not terribly fond of Wells Fargo as it is, and I'm a heavy debit card user, so I did some research and decided to get a Mango debit card. If you sign up for direct deposit, you get $20 added to your account after the 2nd deposit is made, and with direct deposit you can get a Savings account that's currently paying 6% APY.  That's not a typo - 6%! I'm a lousy saver, but this interest rate has given me tremendous incentive to work on my savings.

I'm also trying really, really, hard to avoid using my credit card. I'm not a devout follower of Dave Ramsey, but his advice is sound, and I very much want to have that savings/safety net. My only debt is my mortgage, so I've got that part down... though I'd rather not have one at all.  Not using the credit card means thinking carefully about what I can pay for right now, not next month. And I'm also trying to take into consideration that any money I spend that I don't have to isn't going into the savings account.

Thankfully, I do have a good job and benefits, unlike most of these people. Reading their stories should give anyone incentive to get and stay out of debt and to save money!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick update

Since my last post, I've been doing a lot of web surfing, spending time with the foster greyhound, nursing a badly bruised shin, and getting rid of more "stuff." I've been looking at a lot of tiny houses online, looking for ideas for layouts and options. This is a good video:

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Dee Williams' tiny house doesn't have any plumbing at all. So... no water pump (and no water pump energy requirements), no drains, no potential leaks. Her house has far, far, too many windows for my tastes; views and natural light are great, but all those windows also represent a lot of heat loss in winter, and gain in summer. It is a very nicely done tiny house, though, and plenty roomy for her and the dog.

I also want to share this link with you; it's something everyone should read. Katrina Lessons

Til next time....