Embracing Change.

Hello blog friends, it’s been some time. Let’s catch up.

We’re about 1 month away from our [fingers crossed] last move for a little while. I’m tired of packing up, moving, unpacking over the last few years. But there is something kind of great about moving & redesigning to fit new parameters and getting creative with what you already have. So besides the budget planning, this is where the rest of my thoughts have been lately.

A new creative space.

new office sketchI just feel like if I can create a great space that inspires, great thoughts will come and creative juices will flow.

Being on a budget, many of the details/ideas are DIY.

First: A new coat of paint on my desk and on the file cabinets to set a matching set of tones are first on the list. Right now I’ve got more of a crazy un-matching color scheme that doesn’t really work together or inspire calmness.

Second: Washi tape. Washi tape will be present in the new space. I’ve got plans to create a washi tape calendar and washi tape border details arount whatever prints/images are inspiring at the moment. That way, they’re easily switched out and leave no marks on the wall afterwards.

Third: A chalkboard for ideas.

Fourth: A string of photos, cards and mementos that speak to me hung with twine above the desk.

Fifth: Succulents/cactus plants for company.

I’ve been corralling ideas/inspiration here.

I might find room for a collage pin board in there too, and I’m so hoping that the room we use for an office has lighting like this.

We’ll work with what we have, once we get there.. but it’s fun to dream & to plan. The details in the plan are what make it special.

May you notice the special details today. Have a happy one!

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Zero.

Zero is beautiful, you guys.

Maybe not when that’s the number in your checking account, or how many calories you have left in your allowance for the day.. but when it’s the number on all of your credit cards? BEAUTIFUL.

It’s the second time I’ve paid off several credit cards. And the last.

I was so angry with myself for letting them get racked back up [not long] after they were initially paid off about 2 years ago. I had an excursion to Europe (where the exchange rates are just terrible when converting American dollars to the Euro and pounds, unfortunately) and Christmas that followed paying off those credit cards and well, one thing led to another.. and they got pretty high again.

2013 has been a year focused on aggressive financial changes and I’m happy to announce that I made my last credit card payment & all card balances are back to ZERO and that I’ve completed goal 3 of 13 in 2013 much sooner than I originally thought I would.

It’s been hard work, the past few months but it feels AWESOME to have no credit card debt.

Next challenge is socking that extra monthly cash allowance that was designated for credit cards straight into my car.

I’ve heard that money doesn’t buy happiness. But I’ve also heard recently that money buys choices.

What could you do with extra money in your pocket?

In a few months I’ll h ave no credit card payments and no car payment.

Oh, the possibilities!

happy day

Reuse, Reduce, Renew.

I’m adding lots of details to our home lately. It’s a slow process but the results are thrilling.

I’m transitioning wild, all-genre type decor details into a neutral palette made up of wood, cream & whites, dark brown, and grays in our living room. I’ve decided to add in color through accessories and to focus on a turquoise and yellow theme, where possible.

I’ve also been cleaning out drawers/closets/side tables. I’ve found some things I didn’t realize I’d stashed.

I assume I planned to do something later with these two simple, black frames that I threw in a drawer who knows how long ago. But they just now resurfaced 10 months later.

before photo frameThis was last weekend. I set this on my coffee table because I just felt like I could find a purpose for it in the near future.

I came across train and bus ticket stubs from Amsterdam, my ticket to the Louvre and Eiffel tower, a 1 pound note.. lots of little mementos from Europe that weren’t totally touristy. They were bits & pieces of our trip.

I had meant to do something with those stubs and tickets when we came home from our trip, in January of 2012. A year and a half later, I finally did.

after photo frameAfter a few coats of a turquoise blue spray paint and a few moments determining placement, my London tube map now sits in the living room as one of my more personal accessories popping with color.

Upcycling from my own home might be my new favorite thing!

WHIRLWIND.

This year I made a big plan to make a lot of changes. I made 13 goals, I seriously considered the ways I was going to implement them and I committed myself to the goal of getting out of debt. I set up a plan to do that by keeping my regular job and working my Mary Kay business. Recently I was given the opportunity to take a day job that would work around my current night job and still allow me to have weekends free. I took it. In theory this second job (in addition to the first and Mary Kay business) would allow me to catapult my get out of debt plan and allow me to get there 3 months earlier than I had planned as well as use those extra couple of months to sock extra money into savings/paying off my car early (a goal I set for the end of the year). I must be old because these 60 hour weeks are KICKING MY TAIL.

It’s been 2 weeks of straight through 10-10 and Mary Kay on Saturdays and household chores/shopping/cooking/cleaning. It’s busy. But it’s worth it because of my four cards with balances, I’ve already paid off one! The second one is a joint card between Josh & I and we’ve each been paying $100 bucks every month and converted to a cash only system for all joint spending – that will be back at zero next month.

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The third card will be paid off next week and a little more than half of the last card at the end of the month. So as my March calendar with big red X’s indicates – I’ve got another 3 weeks of straight through 10-10s and then I can take it back down a notch.

It’s exhausting. Last week, when we didn’t prep all of our meals for the week – it was stressful all week. We’re back on track this week at least with the household things and we have meals for every day this week ready in the fridge or freezer, grab and go style. It’s also exhilarating. Being debt free opens doors. That dream job, that dream house.. that vacation we never take because there’s somewhere else that money should really go…

Soon to be a thing of the past.

Do you have any debt? Do you just deal with it as a part of life and still enjoy the little things or does it hang over your head like a weight? Or am I just a little too OCD for my own good? 😛

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Looking back on January: 2013 goals recap

I posted my 13 in 2013 goals at the beginning of this month, viewable here. Now that February is knocking on our door TOMORROW (time really does fly so much faster when you get older), I figure now’s a great time to review the last month and see how much progress I’ve made so far.

Of the 13, I’ve especially focused on 4 this month more than the others:

  • Be healthier
  • Project Life
  • Become debt free
  • Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

Be healthier:

I do all of the grocery and meal planning in our house. Josh does go with me to the store (which is a lot more than most guys from what I hear from my girl friends), so we’ll give him that credit.. but when it comes down to healthier eating, it pretty much falls on me to work out the how. When I wrote my goals list I imagined being healthier to include eating healthier in an overall, balanced sort of way (not a diet way) as well as exercising. Now, baby steps usually get you there faster than trying to jump into several things all at once. So this month, we stopped drinking sodas (I did anyway) and have started drinking MUCH more water. If I have the occasional rare coke, it’s okay. The idea is to be balanced, everything in moderation. But overall-less of sodas is better. I started working fish into our meal planning. I cut back the red meat purchases we’re making and switched to ground turkey and ground chicken. We haven’t really been eating bread and I switched our tortillas out for wheat tortillas. The exercising part hasn’t really been incorporated into my routine much.  Josh has been going for runs a little more frequently and working with weights. During February, I’m going to run my first 5k (and probably want to die) and will start training against my own body weight to continue to save money for now. Once we get a little closer to financial freedom, I’ll probably go look back at joining a gym again because I love the group fitness classes. 🙂

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Project Life:

I love Project Life. It really gives you the chance to notice and appreciate all of the the little moments in your life that you normally would forget about at the end of the day. It is also getting me back into the habit of printing pictures regularly and there’s nothing better than going to pick up actual prints. Because the pocket sizes in the page protectors aren’t all standard 4×6, some of the photos are printed as wallets and then I have a few extras to hang on the fridge or on my coffee table. It’s just nice to have updated photos around the house all the time, even if they’re not all portraits.

Become debt free

I’ve spent a few extra hours this month coming up with a new budget, tightening certain areas and meticulously writing down every purchase and every cent of income as well as engaging in new opportunities for income. I have a pen and paper system that I always end up going back to, but since it’s tucked inside my planner – sometimes I forget to update it right away and certain things get foggy when I’ve misplaced a receipt. I installed a new system in our office for being organized with regards to my Mary Kay business, this blog, and our finances (in a post coming soon!) and hopefully it will be a visual reminder every time I walk into the office to write down the day’s expenses.

I also have a Mint.com account that I spent time last night updating to reflect all of my new budget rules/added categories as well as newly updated goals. I knew the first month was going to be the hardest, but I used cash all month (even for gas purchases.. I actually went into the gas station and prepaid with cash)! I’ve also trimmed all of my spending and [subsequently] developed enough of a cushion in my checking account that I can make a $290 extra credit card payment this month (which was my goal) and not stress about it! Besides that, I also set a goal to transfer $50 to savings every month. It doesn’t seem like much but I don’t ever transfer money to savings and have to improvise when things happen and involve large purchases. I made my first $50 transfer to savings this month! It’s taken a lot of self control but I’m so proud of myself for actually sticking to the system and am filled with determination to keep moving forward.


cash image Savings transfer

Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

This is the first month where I’ve really put effort into Mary Kay. I became a consultant in December of last year and was trying to get my head around everything as well as do everything for the holiday time. Now that the holidays are wrapped up, I was able to spend time training and getting organized and start booking appointments. Now that I feel comfortable with the position, I am starting to see this business truly as a business and a real way to bring in extra income. This month I made a couple hundred extra dollars but now that I’ve proven to myself I can do it, I’m ready to get creative and get going to really make a splash. Everybody’s hesitant to try something new (especially a work at home something) but I have to say that although I was hesitant and stressed about the decision, I’m starting to see it was a fantastic decision and pretty soon I’m going to be reaping serious rewards and enjoying my life more.

I have made some progress in a couple other goal areas, just not as much. I’ve been working on small projects to add some TLC to our home (in posts coming soon). I’ve also made more of an effort in myself. For a while recently I was wasting my days and doing nothing but moaning about how I was frustrated with my life. I’ve set a schedule for myself and taken on projects and goals lately. I feel like I’m working towards something and finally holding myself accountable. The other major difference is that I’ve gotten into the habit of dressing for an occasion every day (most days). Just because there isn’t a special event every day isn’t a reason not to look and feel your best because you never know what’s waiting for you that day.

In February, I hope to take the healthier living up a notch by incorporating exercise. I plan to keep on track with my debt free payment/savings plan and to get more creative with my Project Life album. My Mary Kay business is also going to change to be more dynamic and be influenced by more creativity. I am going to bring in double what I did this month.

Change is hard but the progress keeps you going. Here’s to a great February & great progress!

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