Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simplifying Yard Work




These days, I am ever so busy between work, home and family, but I am happy. Little by little progress is being made in our finances, home, and yard.

We spent Sunday working in the yard. Bushes that wrapped around our home were pulled up, holes were filled in, and then we cleaned the house exterior with bleach and the pressure washer. 

Before


 After



After

I am simplifying the yard as well! We are going to let the bare spots fill in with grass and call it good.  

With both of us working full time we don't want to spend our weekends doing tons of yard work, so the simpler the better! Besides bushes are hiding spots for mosquitoes and wasp nests and I can do without those, thank you very much.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Projects






Sunday was a very productive day at home. Alfred and I finally got around to decluttering the dumping ground carport and two outside storage rooms. We got rid of a ton of stuff and organized what was left. All of this was accomplished in approximately three hours.

Afterwards I made us lunch then we got showers and took a glorious nap. I also got all the laundry done and dinner was barbecue chicken cooked in the crock pot with macaroni salad as a side dish.

Next weekend, we're working on the backyard. Lots to be done there! There are always more projects than I have time for, but it is so satisfying to get these things done and watch the transformation unfold.

Today, I'll be working inside cleaning and seeing what else I can declutter. Though I have gotten rid of so much already, there are still areas that need going through. In time, all will be done. I just do what I can as I can get to it. 

Are you working on any projects? Please share. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frugal Doings






Added $7.86 to the change jar.

Saved 20% of my check or $77.39.

Sent $250 extra on top of the minimum payment to cc#1. Balance is now $1,126.51.

Created a menu and a list before shopping.

Ate all meals at home.

Was able to open the windows while I was off this past weekend and turn the AC off during the day.

Read frugal blogs for inspiration. Frugal Queen is my go to for a swift kick in the pants!

Things I need to do or improve:

Making Alfred's lunch for work. 

Have a family meeting. We've added two people to the household and my utility bill has jumped $100 in one month! Big no-no....


What frugal things have you done this week? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Two Goals





I have two financial goals I want to reach my the end of the year. They are kinda big goals, but I think I can accomplish them well before then.

~ I want to have $500 in savings minimum.

~ I want to pay off CC#1 which has a balance of $1,364.08.

I will now put 20% of my paycheck into savings each week and use my paychecks strictly towards debt repayment while we live off Alfred's income.

I am focused and determined to become debt-free as fast as possible.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Normal? No Thanks!



"Normal" is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, the car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it," ~Ellen Goodman


As I strive to simplify and minimize my life, I can't help but wonder why we tend to blindly follow the herd to keep up appearances of being more than we are. 

Why do we feel the need to impress others with what we own, where we live, or what we drive? If that's "normal", then I don't want it!



What's better than normal? Freedom and creating the life you want. Being unafraid of the future because you can handle an emergency. You can pay your monthly obligations with ease. You have time to enjoy life rather than keeping up with the Joneses. 

It is time to get real and get focused. Figure out what makes you happiest and get busy making it a reality. 

You don't have to explain anything to anyone. Frankly, it's no one's business. You are free to do what you want with your life, as long as you are not breaking the law.

Others may see you as eccentric, but you will be the last one laughing. Soon, they will be coming to you for advice.

Be happy. Be free. Be whatever you want, but don't be normal.


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Working Towards Freedom






Most of us work to create a life for ourselves and our families. Trouble comes when we feel we have to keep up with our friends and neighbors. Then we are working to survive....to meet the minimum payments and feeling like we'll never get pay anything off. 

I know, because I've been there. Though not debt free yet, I have a plan to get us there. 

I am working towards freedom.

Freedom from debt. Freedom from excess. Freedom from stress. Freedom from working outside my home.



I just want to encourage those who are struggling -- don't give up! It's not going to be easy. Chances are it will be harder at first, but then a miracle happens. You may have a better job opportunity or maybe you'll get a raise or a bonus. Perhaps you'll get an unexpected check in the mail?

Save something out of every paycheck -- even if it's only a dollar. When you can increase it, do so. Small amounts add up over time!

Go over your expenses and see what you can eliminate and/or reduce. Reduce your electricity and water usage. 

Eat simple foods. Reduce your meat portions and/or eat more meatless meals. Make liberal use of beans, rice, eggs and veggies. Make use of leftovers.

Look for free entertainment via community events, parks, lakes/rivers/beaches, nature/hiking trails, free museum days, etc.

Limit driving to save on fuel costs. 

When needs arise see if you can find the item secondhand first.

Focus on providing necessities -- shelter, food, clothing, medical

The point is, be proactive. Be creative. Be thankful for what you have. Don't worry about what others have/do/think. Pray and pay your way out of bondage.

Commit to a life of freedom.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Obsessed with Simplicity




My mind is constantly thinking about ways I can further simplify my life. It has become an obsession.

I have never been a high maintenance girl and now I'm becoming less so.  I decided to stop painting my toes. I now buff my nails instead. I am not planning to color my hair, despite the silver that is showing up all over my head!

I plan to use up all my makeup, lotions, etc before buying more. I really don't wear much anyway and when I am not at work I generally go au naturel to allow my skin time to breathe.

~
I am slowly buying clothes - one piece at a time - and getting rid of what doesn't look good on me. I intend to have a small wardrobe in colors that are within my soft summer palette and look good on me and the body I have now.

I have decided on one purse to keep that looks very similar to this:


~
I decided to dispose of things in my life that I imagined I may use and focus on the life I live. We prefer a casual, yet clean and tidy home. Comfort is very important to us.

I got rid of my fancy tea cups, chintz plates, and dessert cups. We never used them anyway. I have gotten rid of most of my seasonal decor. I want to keep things simple and enjoy the seasons/holidays.

Soon I'll be purchasing new towels and wash cloths, preferably in white so they can be bleached.
~
I have donated lots of plates, coffee cups, and glassware. It's not often that we entertain, so it doesn't make sense to hang on to all that kitchenware. I kept the basics as far as pots and skillets. I do not cook gourmet meals!

We are eating less fast food and cooking more at home. Dining out should be special and better quality than what is served at the golden arches.

~
I throw junk mail away as soon as it comes in, plus all the envelopes our bills come in since I pay nearly everything online.

I toss out magazines and catalogs as soon as we are done looking at them. Sometimes, even before we've read them if they have sat too long.

The above are some of the changes I have made. There are more changes in the works, but it is a start. I am ever working towards progress rather than perfection.

Have you made any changes to simplify your life? Please share in the comments.