Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm inspired!

I've really been into the organizing blogs lately!  I found some great ones that I will share in the future, but today this inspired me:

I found it on this blog: Delightful Order 

She found those baskets at a Dollar Tree, and wouldn't you know we had one open just down the road from work.  I think a trip during lunch will allow me to scour their baskets & see if I can find something similar.

Since we are moving this year, the better our cabinets look, the better chance we have of selling our place!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ten dollars a week for cereal? Really?

I have a problem.  It's actually not a problem but a way of life for me, unfortunately.  I have to eat Gluten-free.  I don't have celiac disease, thank God, but I definitely have developed an intolerance over the years.  I was never formally diagnosed, and I don't think the doctors in my town even have a way of figuring it out.  But through trial and error, I've eliminated gluten from my diet and my troubles were gone.  I'll have some future posts about my journey - that's another story for another time.

I've been thinking alot about retirement lately.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm turning 40 in 2 months or just a sense of reality, but it seems to dominate my thoughts.  And while I've never sat down and did the exact calculation, I'm guessing about $3 million is needed in my retirement account by the time I hit 70.  I am also assuming that I will live close to 100 - my family gene pool is telling me so - along with the life line on my right hand!

I feel I have some adequate savings - not alot by any stretch of the imagination - but it's a start.  I was fortunate to have some decent positions in my career that allowed me to start retirement accounts.  Now that they are all rolled into one, I definitely need more.  And, I work for someone who doesn't offer an account - frankly because she doesn't really believe in them.  Her retirement income will come from selling her business.

So where does the $10 per week for cereal come in?  It's a two-fold answer.  One is I need more fiber in my diet - enough said there.  The second is my food budget.  I allow $200 per week for DH and I to eat on (along with our 2 kitties).  I looked at how I was spending that allotment and realized the 2 cereals I mix together cost $10. Granted that's 5% of my budget, but it just seems ridiculous to me.  One cereal is $4.50 per bag and the other is $5.68, and that is Wal-Mart prices.  I can't find them any cheaper than that!  On the contrary, I can spend about $3 for a 42 ounce (2lb. 10 oz) container of Quaker Oats and it'll last me longer than a week and I get more fiber. Plus, I can shave a little off of our food budget and allot it over to the retirement budget.

I know it seems like such a tiny step, but it's all those tiny steps that will add up to retirement dollars later in life.  I think it's when you start looking at all those little things in life that you start to realize where your money is going.  Being gluten-free isn't easy and it certainly isn't cheap!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Facebook is a waste of time

I have a FB account - who doesn't?  At first, it was really cool.  I connected with people whom I grew up with.  For the record, I grew up in CT and moved to FL when I was 12.  It was neat to see my old childhood friends as adults - Moms and Dads, their kids, etc.  I kept in touch with my BFF and can see pictures of her daughter, and I can see what my sisters are up to also.

But somewhere along the way, it became this big marketing ploy.  First there were job leads on the sidebar and now it is full of ads.  Selling, marketing, selling, marketing.  Somehow I'm 'friends' with companies that I've never even 'liked' before?!  How does that happen?

I've read many posts where people are going cold turkey from FB.  I'm not totally one of them - I'd still like to communicate with some of my family from out of state, but I have definitely cut back.  I don't post any of my pictures anymore (my DH still does - especially when we catch a big fish!), and I hardly ever post anything, except to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Valentine's Day.  My time is worth more than sitting on a social network, reading about someone else making brownies or cupcakes.  If I'm going to spend my precious time on the computer, it's reading something that will make an impact on my life.  Like I said, I haven't gone cold turkey, but this morning, I reduced the number of 'friends' I have.  My true friends are close to my heart.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stuff - the clothes closet edition

Getting rid of 'stuff' is a liberating feeling.  I recently went through my closet and re-organized it.  I had it separated into 2 areas:  work clothes and play clothes.  That system used to work for me when I worked for a larger, local corporation; however, since working for a smaller company (just shy of 60 people), the atmosphere is more laid back and I don't have to dress so 'corporate-like' anymore.

I decided to use the method that I see in my favorite consignment store - by color!  I took all of my tops and organized them from white to black.  Wow - I discovered I have 10 black tops!  10.  And I'm not even a big fan of black as a color I wear.  Do I really wear all these?  I then organized all of my bottoms from color as well - pants, jeans, skirts and capri pants.  Then I put all my jackets and dresses into the same scheme.  At the back of the closet are a few items that I need to donate.  I want to make sure they look a bit more tidy than they do right now before dropping them off to my local thrift store.

At the same time, I decided to experiment and see what clothes I am truly wearing. I've read where we only wear about 20% of the same things so I decided to see if that was true or not.  I turned all my hangers in one direction, and when I put things back, I turn the hanger the other way.  I'm trying to force myself to look at other tops & see if they go with what I am wearing and whether I really love it or not.  I have found that I have worn all my tan and black pants to work within the first 6 days.  So they are all keepers, for sure.  I have also worn all my jeans since we have casual Fridays at work and I tend to gravitate toward my jeans when going out at night.  Granted, I don't have many jeans - just 4 pairs plus one pair of denim capris.

This has been a great experiment so far, and when the light is right, I will post pictures of how my side of the closet is organized.  DH on the other hand........not so much.

How have you organized your closet?  How have you found ways to purge your clothing?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dream a little dream.....

DH and I have a dream.  One day we would like to build our own house.  On 5 acres.  Away from the noise and disharmony of where we live now.  Peace.  Serenity.

We've talked about this for awhile.  Maybe even years.  We never allowed ourselves to do more than that - just dream it and bring it up in conversation now and again.  Fast-forward to now.  We haven't lived out our dream, but we are several steps closer.  Let me explain.

DEBT.  It will hold you back, tear you down, keep you in slavery and control and dictate your life until you get a hold of it, kick its scrawny butt and send it away.  FOREVER.  Our journey is a long one, and through my posts, I will share the trials and tribulations of us getting out of debt.  It's a hard, long road and one that isn't appropriate for this post.  So let's just fast-forward to now.

Other than about $3000 left on DH's truck, we have no debt - no mortgage, no student loans, no credit cards, no other car loans.  Zip, zero, zilch.  It's a very freeing feeling to now we just have to pay off that truck and it will only be a few months - like three.  We set a goal to have everything paid off by the end of 2011, and other than the truck - we made it happen!  Once we paid off the mortgage, the dream surfaced again and plans were formulated.

We spent New Years Day driving around the area where we felt we could find 5 acres.  We called on some properties, actually had a realtor educate us on some aspects of the land available via phone, and made a list of potential properties.  We came home and researched these properties on the tax appraiser's map to learn about the topography of the land, and now we are at the point where we have selected a piece of property to make a bid on.

In the meantime, in the 3 months that we have had no debt, we have managed to save over $12,000!  Add that to our existing balance, and we have a down payment ready to go, and we still have money for our emergency fund.

There are many more steps for me to share, and I will explain how we foresee our journey taking place as we transition from a townhouse to 5 acres.  In the meantime, dream a little dream.  Write it down, make it happen, and be happy!  Believe me, if I can do this, so can you!

What's your dream?  What's holding you back from its reality?

Monday, February 13, 2012

One a day purge

After reading this post, one-a-day-keeps-the-clutter-away, I've re-committed myself to decluttering our house.  If we are going to move in the next 12 months, there is definitely a lot of 'stuff' that's built up again. I've already decluttered once, and I disposed of alot of items.  Most things went to the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast's Thrift Store, but I have slacked off.

I looked at the pantry today, and I found 3 boxes of bread mix that my in-laws sent us.  We never made them, and when I turned the boxes over to find the expiration date, I was shocked to see April, 2011.  If these 3 boxes have been sitting in our pantry for a couple of years and we never made the bread, then I think it's time to go.  Plus they are almost a year out of expiration, and I bet the yeast is no good.  Wow - that just freed up almost an entire shelf!  Oh, and let me explain my pantry - my DH built a shelving unit on the back of closet door downstairs.  We were trying to add some space to our small townhouse & it works wonderfully.

What are you going to declutter today?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"It's like your the dentist & I'm the assistant"

One of our goals this year is to buy land to build a dream house.  In order to do that, we need to finish a few projects in our townhouse.  In August of 2008, my DH purchased beautiful tile for our kitchen.  We didn't like the wood laminate flooring, so we pulled it up and the ugly white tiles were still underneath.  Today, almost 4 years later, the ugly white tile floor is going bye-bye.

We started our project by removing the tiles with some cool tool that we borrowed from DH's best friend.  Notice we didn't go out and buy a new, shiny tool - we borrowed!  Anyways, the tool had an attachment on it that was like a flat paddle, and I was next to DH, holding the wand of the shop vac, which allowed bits and pieces of tile and the powder to go right into the vacuum.  It reminded me of the dentist - you know, when you are getting your mouth worked on and the dentist has his drill and the assistant has that wand shoved in your mouth, sucking all the saliva out!

After a few hours, we got 80% of the tile removed & the floor looked like this:

Now it's time to get the thin set up.  This proved a bit more time consuming but the process was the same.  All we have left is to move the fridge, dishwasher and our counter/cabinet in the corner and we will be done with Phase One.  Hopefully, Phase Two - the laying of the tile - won't take another 4 years!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finding Myself....

Have you ever said to yourself, "I must have ADD!  I can't focus on any one thing for any period of time.  I'm bored easily and I have all these great ideas and I don't implement any of them."  I say this to myself alot.  ALOT.  Let's be realistic:  I don't have ADD.  I'm not disorganized, I'm not reckless, I don't have marital problems, my listen skills are great, I'm not extremely distracted, I can start tasks, I definitely know how to relax, I'm punctual, not angry and I can prioritize.

I feel my problem (after laying on the couch and psychoanalyzing myself) is I don't know what I want out of life & who I am.  My career is an HR Manager.  I didn't chose this profession, it chose me.  I fell into it when I was 20 & pursued it with zest & vigor.  Now, 20 years later, I don't like it so much.  It's not for me. There are bits & pieces of it that I like, but not enough to say, "this is what I want to do until I retire."

I've decided that in my 40th year, (which begins on 4/18/12 and will go through 4/17/13) I have to find me and my next profession.  I'm sure my DH would still like me to have a 'corporate' job, where I receive great benefits!  But I'm not sure that is for me in the long haul.  Let's face it - there isn't any corporate loyalty to the workers, so why should I be loyal to a corporation?  I think of them as stepping stones in my journey of life.

This blog is going to reflect my thoughts & progress my journey as I venture to find myself and my next career for the next part of my life.  Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

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