Edit: I only had one no spend day.... forgot that buying lunch in the work cafe, using my badge, is still a purchase! Doh!!!
My new years cleanse is going okay. I (re)learned that I can't do smoothies for 2 meals. I need real chewable food!!!!* I usually skip breakfast, so I'm going to do one smoothie mid morning, then have lunch/snack/dinner. My workout is going well. So far they are about 20-25 minutes long. It involves a lot of tough yoga moves like planks, which is really working my upper body. I thought I was in okay shape before but I am humbled. This is going to be a good experience for me.
* I often daydream that I am one of 'those people' who can live off of delicious smoothies and eat a vegan diet, with lots of cheap ingredients like oats, beans and rice. The reality is that I need to consciously chew my food in order to feel full, and oats give me a headache and beans cause bloating and gas.
Edit: I only had one no spend day.... forgot that buying lunch in the work cafe, using my badge, is still a purchase! Doh!!!
So, 2018. Thank goodness the holidays are over. I realized that I dislike the HOLIDAY season very much. I no longer make yearly resolutions. I have decided to commit to MONTHLY resolutions/challenges.
So to kickoff the new year, I have two challenges! I mean, what else is going on in my life.
1. Health/Fitness: I am doing a cleanse. It's called the Fat Flush by Ann Louise Gittleman. It lasts two weeks, and involves some supplements to nourish the body and help it burn fat, smoothies, and cutting out grains, starchy carbs, alcohol, sugar, dairy.... all the usual problem foods, which I try to avoid anyway. She really focuses on getting the liver and gallbladder working efficiently. Goal is to lose a few pounds (5 would be great), lose the belly bloat and have more energy throughout the day.
(For exercise, I am doing "Piyo", which is a beachbody.com program. It's low impact, combo of yoga/pilates that flows from move to move.)
2. Finances: Spending Diet. Basically, not buying unnecessary items like: clothing, decorations, kitchen gadgets, make up, americanos, eating out. I am shooting for at least 15 'no spend' days. I have a food budget of $250 for January (for two people). My guy and I rarely eat out, but we like to consume some organic produce and grass-fed meat. He buys a lot of groceries himself, so if he needs anything it's no big deal. I'm having two smoothies a day with my cleanse, so I only have to worry about a snack and dinner each day. A snack is veggies dipped in nut butter or homemade lemon dill dip, or a piece of fruit. Easy peasy. My goal is to save an extra $300 by not buying stuff.
So those are the challenges for January, and I'm on day 2 and still optimistic! I'll update the blog occasionally this month.
I've been away from the blogging for many many years, although I check out the forum regularly. It was fun looking over my past entries. Maybe I'll start again soon....
I am going to Kauai in 23 days! Hawaii is my favorite place to travel. I go nearly every year. This will only be my second time on Kauai and it's been several years since I've been there. My BF and I will be staying at a renovated sugar plantation, consisting of individual cottages. I can't wait for 8 days of R&R!
Bonus: I have been eating well (low-carb, very little processed foods) and exercising, and have lost 5 lbs. in 3 weeks. My goal is to lose 2-3 more and I'll be bikini ready!
P.S. My vacation is paid for, and spending money is waiting in my ING account!
I spent $1300.00 this weekend on window treatments! Ack!
One good thing is, this was a planned purchase and I have been saving money in my ING account for Home Decor projects.
Another good thing: I used a coupon for 30% off- (everything except the curtain hardware)
I bought panels for one large window, the rods/rings, two faux-wood blinds for the bedrooms, and two throw pillows. The curtain panels were the huge expense- they were $535.00 after the discount.
The gal said that I am buying at the right time, because many of their fabric suppliers are raising their prices 6-8% in March.
I put the deposit on my new AMEX cash card so I can earn my rebate.
Whew, I feel so much better that I got this off my chest! :*)
Here is my new, improved outlook on the economy: A downturn in the economy will benefit me in the long run, so I happily accept it and am using it to my advantage.
We all know, by looking at the history of the stock market, that there are ups and downs, but over several years/decades, the returns are big. Therefore, I welcome this temporary decline to invest in stocks which are have great growth potential and getting them at a "bargain".
The decline in savings interest rates is distressing to those of us who have a lot of liquid assets; however, I'm going to keep stashing my cash into the highest rate accounts I can, because when the rates do bounce back, I will benefit right away - the money will already be there.
I'm glad that is over! Happy Friday!
I did everything right.... filed electronically, having direct deposit... it's been 11 days! What is going on? It seemed like everyone else got theirs within a week or so. It's just annoying!
Anyway, Happy Valentines day to all!
Dinner will be a steak from the freezer, steamed broccoli and baked potatoes. Dessert was GOING to be cupcakes with chocolate whipped frosting, but we are going to Hawaii in 5 weeks and trying to slim down.... I might still make them, eat a couple and take the rest to work. Flowers: instead of paying the outrageous price for roses or delivered bouquets, I looked on the web and found an arrangement I like (NO roses) and will get them from the grocery store and arrange them myself. I should be able to make a large bouquet for $15 or less.
I did my taxes yesterday. I'm getting $686 back. I e-filed using H&R. I'm putting most of this into my Home Decor fund. In addition to wanting to purchase an armoire and some window treatments for my home, I am going to help my Mom pay for laminate flooring in her condo. Her carpet is really gross (from the previous owner) and I think it would be a great investment in her place. I am also going to paint her living/dining room a pale yellow. She is really excited about this. My Mom is in her 70's, has many health problems and very limited income. I really want to make her feel comfortable and secure.
Today is my 13th anniversary at the company. I don't get anything special this year. At 10 years, I received a nice watch and my own parking space. I also get an extra week of vacation. At 15 years, I will get 2 airline tickets for anywhere in the US so I am looking forward to that!
I think I will treat myself to a big salad today!
Lil Monday Rant!
I don't consider myself to be a genius or anything, but I'm so tired of the watered down financial tips that are abundant on the internet, news, magazines, etc. these days. I suppose it could be helpful to someone who doesn't have much common sense or is seriously in debt, but not for those of us who are already pretty careful with money.
For example, I am tired of hearing about the "latte factor". I don't buy a latte everyday, so I can't give it up and save the $4.00 and invest it for 40 years to wind up with an extra $1.5 million (or whatever number they come up with). I already have a 401k, Roth IRA, six months of living expenses in a savings account,pay off my credit card monthly, funds saved up for my next car, furniture, vacation, etc etc.
Where is the advice for this type of person?
Today I learned how to make lined curtains. There were 7 ladies in the class and it took us two hours to measure and cut the drape and lining material (one at a time as there was only one cutting mat). The actual sewing was pretty quick. We were only using 1 yard of fabric so it's not something I can actually use as a curtain, but it's a good example piece. I might try to make some panels for my guest room. The class was $20. There will be another class on March 1 for making throw pillows and I might take that one too. (I paid $80 each for custom pillows a couple years ago!!! )
Wo! I can't believe they lowered their rate to 3.65.... from 4.10 !!! I'm glad that I don't have my long term savings there. I would pull all my money out but it's only $4000 so I doubt they would care.
I have decided to up my 2008 savings goal $500 to $7500 since I'm doing so good already!
I started running last July using a program called "couch to 5k". After about 10 weeks, I was able to run 30 minutes straight! (not fast but steady). I was doing one long run a week, trying to work up to an hour. I was up over 40 minutes when I got a cold in December, and just as I was getting over that, it snowed a couple times so I wasn't going running. In the Seattle area, snow turns to ice and I didn't want to risk falling. I tried running on my treadmill but it is so boring and I get tired faster.
Finally, today was the day! The snow has melted, the sun was out and it is dry. I took a break from work and got out there for a half hour. I felt great! I did have to take three one-minute walk breaks. I am going to make it a priority to keep up my running because it's good for my heart and mind!
Yesterday, I received my new AMEX Blue Cash card. Since I have no consumer debt and very disciplined in keeping a budget and paying on time, I decided to maximize my rewards! Here is a run down on this card's benefits:
Spend up to $6500 in a year, and receive:
- 1% back on grocery, drugstores and gas
- .5% on everything else
Anything over $6500:
- 5% on grocery, drug, gas
-1.5% everything else
Up until now, I have been using my Nordstrom VISA, which earns 1 point for every dollar charged, except 2 points per dollar at Nordstrom. Once you accumulate 2000 points, you receive a $20 Nordstrom GC. During the big sales you can double your points earned. This is all great, as I love Nordstrom, but guess what I realized: I hardly ever shop there, except to redeem the GC's! So I'm really only earning 1% by using this card.
I went through my 2007 credit card bills and compared my actual Nordstrom reward with what I would have received with the AMEX. It was $180 vs. $320. That is a difference of 78%!
What I love about this is that instead of working more and being taxed on the earnings, I am "earning" a credit on my credit card that is not taxed!
I also take advantage of two online reward sites: Mypoints and Mr.Rebates.
Mypoints works on a point system. You can earn anywhere from 2-10 points per dollar on purchases, or some companies give you a set amount... like 500 points on any purchase over $25. Points are available after 30 days and you can redeem them for gift cards. The gift cards have different point costs, so I go with the companies I shop at that have the best ratio of dollar value to points. They also send emails that you click on and earn 5 points just by going to the sponsor's site, so you can get rewards even if you don't shop online (although it takes much longer that way.) Generally when you order the gift card, it arrives within a week.
Mr.Rebates rewards you with cash. It's measured as a percentage... anywhere from 2-20%. It takes 90 days for the rebate to become available and you have to wait until you accumulate $25 in rebates. Once you request the check, it comes in a few days.
I am very excited to take full advantage of these programs this year, and will be keeping track of how much $$$ I will be earning.
For the last two months, I've been tracking all my expenses. I won't do it forever, but it does help me to keep my spending in check. Groceries is one category that can vary a lot. I've worked hard to plan my meals according to what is on sale and what I have on hand, and to make extra so I can bring leftovers to lunch. Now the hurdle is that I want to lose a couple pounds and the most effective plan for me is low carb. Problem: it can be pricey!!! Meat, poultry and veggies are the mainstays of the diet, which are also the most expensive. Now I will need to be even more careful with my food budget. I don't feel I should sacrifice my health to save money, so I need to find a balance between the two.
I'm so excited to start my first ever blog! I have been lurking on this site for at least a year and have received a lot of helpful advice.
My brief story: I'm 37, single but live with the boyfriend I met when I was 16. We do not have children and don't plan to. Getting married is not something I'm interested in at this time. I am the Mommy of two cats, Twiggy and Jewel. My BF is a softwear engineer, and I work in Accounts Payable at a wholesale sportswear company.
I have no debt, other than our mortgage. I learned early... right out of college, I took a sales job that was commission only and didn't earn much, and accumulated about $7000 in debt. I got a better job and worked very hard to pay it off and vowed never to be in that position again!!!
I'm looking forward to learning and sharing on this site!
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