Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stuff In, Stuff Out

So, I've been needing to find some long-sleeved dresses for Older Daughter for the fall. Buying new would be nice, but I just can't bring myself to spend $20 or $30 for a dress that'll be stained within an hour of its first wearing. So used is the way to go.

Problem: I have a hard time going into a thrift store and coming out empty handed. Even if nothing meets my needs, something usually finds its way into my basket. That's why I really tried going cold turkey on them. It's not a bargain if I buy things other than what's on my list, and add to my house's clutter.

Here's what I bought: Four dresses for Older Daughter, two long-sleeved, two short (but so darned cute). She likes them all, and can wear one of the short-sleeved ones now as it's still quite warm. The other short-sleeved it a bit big; it'll be saved for next spring. One game, a pirate game by the excellent German game company Ravensburger. All the pieces are there, as well as the rules. It looks like fun. Another game will go out the door in exchange for it. Six books for Older Daughter. She loves to read, and getting books for .69 or .99 sure beats new. One book for me. One pair of cold weather short boots for Older Daughter. She's grown out of her shoes recently and needed one more pair. A like new pair of Keen shoes that I'll sell. A bible with fancy tabs for my mom, who's been wanting one like that.

I had an essay in the works on the subject of bargains. Some people can bargain hunt and come out ahead. I suspect, however, that most people end up spending as much or more than they would have had they just bought the one item they needed new and otherwise stayed away from the thrift stores, the garage sales, the clearance racks. Would I have come out ahead? I spent about $40 on everything listed above. What there did I actually NEED? The two long-sleeved dresses and the boots. Retail price for the equivilent quality? About $55. So, did I come out ahead? Perhaps. You tell me which was the better deal!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Donations Out the Door

I took a small truck load of donations to the thrift store today. About ten large bags of items--clothes, toys, books, etc. There's still more to go, but I had to take a break. Too much emotion going into it all.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Petite Progress

Today, I did some thinking, and I helped Clutter Buddy with some moving preparation. I have some ideas for an essay I want to write. Need to actually sit down and do the writing.

Thanks to My Money Blog, I have $105.00 more than I did two weeks ago. Check out the link in the Financial Section.

Friday, September 15, 2006

One of Those Days

Today feels like one of those days where, at the end, I feel like I've done nothing. So, here's a list, mostly for myself, so I don't feel empty at bedtime.
Today I:

  • Unloaded, reloaded and ran the dishwasher

  • Folded two loads of laundry

  • Swept the master bedroom and the dining room

  • Watered the cats

  • Took out recycling and compost

  • Emptied the kitchen garbage

  • Worked on the website I maintain

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Fun Site

OK, so I love my coffee. And when I say "coffee" I don't mean a latte or a mocha or anything like that (although I have been known to drink those too). Coffee=coffee, black, hot, very strong. I like Starbucks. It's hot, strong, and dependable. And don't try to tell me any stories about how it's 'corporate' or 'burnt'. Not true.

Today, I found a delightful site that I would have loved back in my barista days. See the latest addition to the Sites I Follow sidebar to have a look for yourself.

And on the Financial Fitness topic (and clutter reduction as well), this tip from a blog I recently found called Get Rich Slowly


Please send me some get fully better very soon vibes. I have a wretched sinus infection, and it's awful and icky. Better than Sunday, when I first got sick, but I don't want to be sick forever (which is how I feel right now).

There are miscellaneous piles of stuff building up around the house. I cleaned out my purse yesterday, and that pile is still sitting where I left it. If feels...stale.

My Uncle and the dear Husband have gone South to visit my mom, Uncle's big sister, and for Husband to visit his dad. The kids and I will either a) hang out and watch movies and try to get better or b) clean the house

Which do you vote for???

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Busy Busy

I've been busy with family recently. My visiting Uncle, Older Daughter starting school, Younger starting her new year of preschool...lots going on.

Here's the good: I haven't added anything to the house. Well, I did buy one Battlestar Galactica magazine, but I'll send that on to a friend once I'm done reading it. It's one of my vices, I can't help it. Gotta love Edward James Olmos--what an amazing actor!

But back to topic here. I read most of a book on finance yesterday called All Your Worth, by Elizabeth Warren and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi. It's a back-to-basics, but look at the big picture finance book. Worth a look (ha ha) if you feel overwhelmed by the advice in most finance books. These authors also wrote a book called The Two Income Trap, which is on my to-be-read pile, courtesy of the library.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Guest Room has a Guest!

My Uncle G (my mom's younger brother) is visiting here from Ohio. Thank goodness I have a guest room! He's got his own space, a comfy bed (well, comfier than a couch), and his own bathroom. It's great!

I haven't done much lately, but I've been working on keeping up-to-date with finances, and focusing on not bringing new things into the house. The world is a sea of temptation. Must not let it fog my purpose.

Older daughter is loving school, and younger is chafing at the bit to go too. Her preschool starts next week.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back to School

Today, Older Daughter started back up at school. She's in first grade now. She wanted me to stay all day (!) and Younger Daughter wanted to stay also, so we ended up staying almost all day. I am exhausted. The children are running around like maniacs.

Eliminated some clutter today as I took three bags of office supplies to the school. Might have more too.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Very Best Money Saving Tip

I consider taking care of, and being aware of, finances part of my decluttering journey. It's about avoiding perfectionism (i.e. letting $ sit in my Roth IRA because I can't take the HUGE amount of time needed to choose which investment to, just get a friggin' S&P 500 fund if you can't decide!), and being aware.

So, here goes.

Stay out of the stores. Be Aware. That's it. If I don't go to stores, I don't spend money. These past few weeks, while I've been actively decluttering every day, I have been so busy I couldn't shop for more than a few groceries. In the process of decluttering and realizing some of my personal issues (i.e. 'do I deserve anything nice?' etc), I've decided to go cold turkey on thrift store shopping. Sure, there are bargains. But if you're a hoarder who thinks it's neat to be the archivist for the world, you're sunk. You'll be knees-deep in old Clue games, mysterious magazines, vintage clothing that fits no-one in your household. You get the picture.

For those non-hoarders, well, just staying out of stores will save you money. Plan your trips, bunch your errands. Shop at only one grocery store, go to the same gas station, buy your clothing at one or maybe two stores. Avoid the variety, because while it sure is the spice of life, it's also eternal temptation. Did you know that if you are offered a variety of foods, you'll eat more? Same with spending your money.

More on Finances

A money blog I've newly discovered, No Credit Needed, is running a contest. Check it out and maybe you'll win!

One of Those Days When You Think You Didn't Do Anything

So, yesterday was one of those days where you come to the end of it and feel like nothing was accomplished. I need an inventory.
Yesterday, I:

  • cleaned off my computer desk

  • ran three loads of laundry

  • folded said laundry and put some of it away

  • dusted and damp mopped the bedroom floor

  • picked up miscellaneous items from the living room floor

  • swapped out living room rugs

  • did some pruning of an overgrown quince

  • much much more!

Today, I'm taking the little children to IKEA. They've promised to play in the Kid's Club area while I do some shopping. Fingers crossed for that, OK?
Here's a picture of the now-tidy computer desk. Cat is cropped for anonymity.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Floor Clutter

Today, I have a goal of removing all the things from the floors that don't belong. Toys, boxes, brooms, misc. STUFF that ends up on the floor. It's tedious and frustrating, because the Small Children tend to undo one's work almost immediately. But it has to happen, don't you agree?

A Huge Shout Out to my Clutter Buddy! Yesterday, she caulked my entire downstairs stall shower in preparation for it to be actually usable for my Uncle who is coming to visit...on...Thursday! Huge kudos, hugs, cheers to CB!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

One More Thing

I did write to my cousin. I didn't make the card. It went out in yesterday's mail. Whew!

Totally and Completely Off Topic

But here it is.

I'm shopping for a car. I'm trying to break this nasty habit I have of waiting until my current car is dead in the driveway before I look for a replacement. I've driven my current car for 9 years. It was six or seven years old when I bought it. The major repairs are kicking in--I had to do the clutch a while ago, the brakes recently, part of the exhaust system. You get the picture.
I know what I want.
It's rare.
This is a problem.

So, I'm throwing this out to the Universe. Universe, please send me...
An Acura Integra GS-R 4 Door Sedan
1998-2001 model years
Less than 80,000 miles on original engine
White, Silver or Black
Leather Seats (or not, can't be too picky, right?)
From the Western United States
One owner
All stock OR any mods done by a skilled mechanic

Friday, September 01, 2006

The (Almost) Finished Room

I'm still going to move those bins into the closet for when our guest actually arrives, but here's the mostly finished set-up: