A, adulting, goals

Best Laid Plans

Remember how we were planning to do ‘No Spend April?’ That was a great idea. Remember how we bought a house? Funny story: when you have a house you’re also responsible for the property.  

We don’t have a lawnmower. 

Oops. 
Now we are debating gas v. electric and determining what needs to be done outside while it’s nice enough to be out. 

While our plans for April have changed, we are still looking forward to the new season.We have some projects that will be hopefully taking place soon (next month– I’m still going to ATTEMPT to keep myself under control during April), and I’ll be finally planting a garden this year! Keep an eye out for updates. 

Happy Tuesday!

A, adulting

DIVIDE (and conquer) 

I’m not sure how you spent your last week, but most of mine was spent with this guy: 

thank @teddysphotos for the ink envy

Ed Sheeran‘s newest- ‘Divide’- came out last Friday. I’m not too proud to tell you it’s been on repeat since. 

Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Or 83. And get ready to cry and call your mom after ‘Supermarket Flowers.’ 

The other thing I’ve been focused on this week is the budget. 

I’m not having nearly as much fun as this guy

Last year, I managed to pay off around $8000 of debt (in full).This year I want to up that to an even $10k. There are several ways I’m planning on making that goal a reality. 

  • The Snowball is growing. If you’ve ever even heard of Dave Ramsey, then you’ve probably heard of the debt snowball. My snowball is finally getting to a point that it’s making more of an impact. This is great news for driving down those outstanding balances. 
  • No Spend April. No Spend 2016 was a huge success, and I’m repeating it in 2017. I’ll explain more on how I structure my budget and my month for a month with no spending in a future post. 
  • Utilizing our credit card rewards. This may seem counterproductive– use a credit card to reduce debt? But with my Discover card, I get 5% cash back on items we use anyway. Q1 we are getting that 5% on gas. Instead of using our debit cards, we use the Discover and use the cash from the back end for other essential purchases. It’s a great system, if you can get it to work for you. 
  • DImYself. I’m doing my best to do more and more things in house. Up on the docket for this year: home improvements and repairs, homemade cleaning supplies and finally learning how to do my own manicure (something I cut from the budget a few years ago, and have been systematically ignoring that mess ever since – NO more). This will build on other things that I’ve already worked on — mainly brown bagging my lunches and bringing coffee from home. That brings me to the last item:
  • Continuing good habits. We have a pretty strict grocery budget, so we’re sticking to Aldi, and we try to limit our dining out to once a month. I’ve become good friends with Groupon, and gotten well acquainted with our library. We’ve become fans of dinners in with friends, and look forward to continuing that trend this summer. We will be making some investments in our home, but as our budget is a top priority, we will be choosing our projects wisely. Plus, we are still saving religiously for future planned (and unforeseen!) changes. 

Sure,  this isn’t perfect, but all these are steps to being debt free, which is the ultimate goal. 

Until we’re there I’ll just keep recalculating with the help of Ed. Apparently he’s good at math– +, x, divide? That man is on a mission to educate!

Happy budgeting! 

adulting, Things I Probably Enjoy Entirely Too Much, V

Things I Probably Enjoy Entirely Too Much (part two of many)

Piggybacking on A’s post…

MY NEW HUMIDIFIER.

I was suffering through a terrible sinus infection on Wednesday, and was prescribed an antibiotic and a humidifier in our bedroom overnight.

Thursday morning, I woke up and did not feel like a large vehicle ran me over – for the first time in WEEKS.

My husband’s calling it the best $40 we’ve ever spent.

We’re officially old and lame – this week, we got excited about a food scale and a humidifier.

-v

 

30x30, adulting, goals, Uncategorized, V

30 x 30 (31 months)

Thirty.

Ugh.

A few years ago, at a party, an acquaintance talked to my husband about her experience turning 30 (he was about 6 months away from his 30th birthday).  “It was the worst day of my life.”  That’s all she could say (she had emptied 3 bottles of wine at this point) – so she said it over and over.

He turned 30, and it wasn’t the worst day of his life.

But aging is different for me.  As a dancer, my body is my instrument and my voice.  I know that after 30, my metabolism will take a hit and I’ll start to have the feelings of being too old to dance full-out with my advanced students.  I’ll need to just describe the turning leap landing on the floor instead of showing it.  I’ll have to think about putting away the pointe shoes for good.

Anyway, since 30 is a big deal and can seem overwhelming or depressing, I have my own 30×30 list of things I hope to accomplish by the time I reach that birthday.  Then, instead of focusing on the cons of growing older, I’ll have a new list of goals (40×40?) to tackle.

A and I have a few in common, but I have no desire to go a whole month without buying anything or to play Risk enough times to beat my husband.

  1. Find some system to keep track of important dates for family and friends (anniversaries, birthdays), and consistently mail the cards and gifts so they arrive before that date.
  2. Become a member in a service-oriented group, and volunteer for something I care about regularly.
  3. Buy a respectable, nice car that I can keep for a long time and be proud of.
  4. Visit NYC – maybe for a conference, or just to see shows/take classes/etc – but get to the city for at least one week.
  5. Write regularly (this blog should help!)
  6. Watch and cheer on our favorite college football team in a major bowl game.
  7. Take a two-week vacation to Europe.  No working of any kind while away.
  8. Establish a morning routine.
  9. Start seriously saving for retirement – and set some goals for that retirement with my husband.
  10. Update my wardrobe with quality pieces… and update how I shop – instead of buying whatever I like on clearance at Target, decide what I need, and shop around (at stores other than Target) until I find exactly what I want.
  11. Purchase a real, matching bedroom set.
  12. Grow my own vegetable garden and use what it grows.
  13. Learn how to play Poker.
  14. Do something major for both my in-laws and my parents.  Maybe cover a vacation all together, cover lawn care/snow removal for a year, something big for their house… but something big as a thank-you.
  15. Have regular get-togethers with friends.  I have a few really good friends that work schedules prevent me from seeing regularly.  Fix the work situation and make some regular time with those friends!
  16. Complete the books-I-should-have-read list. (will come later – probably with A’s help)
  17. Same as ^ with movies.
  18. Stop buying clothes from the girl’s section.  In fact, stop even looking for clothes for myself in the girl’s section.
  19. Learn/re-learn to sew enough to repair clothes or make curtains/tablecloths/etc.
  20. Create a system to handle all of the paper that we have to deal with (business and at home) – and the habit of sticking to it.
  21. Revisit the resort we stayed in for our honeymoon.  Stay there for a week-ish, no phones.
  22. Contribute an article or column to a trade magazine/journal/etc in my field.
  23. Develop a kick-ass cocktail that is unique and always have the ingredients on hand to make for guests.
  24. Host an awesome dinner party – complete with decor, 3-5 course meal, and #23’s cocktail.
  25. Systemize my business.  Take the time to write training manuals, detailed curriculum notes, policies, etc.
  26. Develop a scholarship program for a few talented and hard-working kids who need some help to afford dance classes.
  27. Learn how to drive a boat. (I know it isn’t hard, but my family does lake vacations in the summer and I want to feel like a capable driver when we need someone who can pull a skier!)
  28. Have one day off every other week – truly take it OFF.  No email, no planning, nothing.
  29. Learn more about wine (not that I need to get snobby) and collect the appropriate shaped glasses for kinds we have regularly.
  30. Accept that growing older and aging is not a bad thing – and do something unique to celebrate the big 3-0.

 

-v

adulting

a devious scheme to take over the world

The idea for starting a blog came one day before my wedding when I was complaining to V about the serious lack of etiquette some people displayed in the days leading up to the event. We started texting talking about how people have lost the art of a good thank you note. Which led to complaining a discussion  about the utter lack of manners on the internet and in public spaces. Which led to ranting a conversation about political advertisements, the fact no one reads or researches before they speak, and kids these days. Ultimately, this brought us here. To a devious plan to someday take over the world with our wit and charm and this blog. Obviously.

Look, we’re not trying to say we have all the answers. Clearly, we’re just as lost as the next person. We’re twenty-something white girls from the Midwest. We don’t claim to have knowledge of the deepest secrets of the universe. But as we’re figuring stuff out, we like to talk about it. And since we live in the internet age, we’d like to also share it with you. Along with that, we’re hoping you’re willing to share with us. We can’t hope to ever grow and learn if someone doesn’t correct us when we’re wrong.

So what can you expect from us? Well, hopefully, lots of things. We have definite opinions that we’re going to share. We both like to cook, so as we make our favorite meals or try new things, we’ll be posting those recipes. One of us runs their own business, and may be willing to share her secrets for financial and organizational success. One of us works part time in the service sector to pay off debt, and is most likely willing to share her financial planning techniques and horror stories from the front lines. We’ll definitely be sharing anecdotes about our friendship and our respective relationships. We’re hoping that we’ll be doing a book club of sorts. We’re trying to write down goals and keep ourselves honest on how we’re accomplishing them. Perhaps most importantly, we’re hoping to get together at least once a month to visit, get a little tipsy, and try a Pinterest project. Because reasons.

Obviously, this is incredibly ambitious and our schedules are a little hectic, so we don’t know how successful. Maybe we post a lot… Maybe this is the only thing you’ll ever see from us. Ultimately, we’re really hoping this is a fun thing for us to do together, and that it’s a fun thing for you as well. And if we happen to take over the world in the process, so be it.

– A