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Archive for April, 2013

Minimalism

April 29th, 2013 at 03:56 pm

For the past few months, my wife - somewhat reluctantly - and I have been purging a lot of our belongings. I have found that we, people, hang on to the most worthless junk. Now, we never really had a lot of things to begin with, but definitely more than necessary.

So I adopted a new-to-me way of thinking and feeling: If I don't love something, it's history. I don't need it. I don't want it.

We have not owned a television since we sold ours back in 2011. But other things - nick nacks, sentimentald, clothing, etc. - we had. So, recently, we have purged almost the entirety of our wardrobes, and replaced them with more neutral items. I now wear my entire wardrobe in a month (pretty good considering they're only worn on weekends). I have reduced to three t-shirts, two button-ups, two pants, two pairs of shoes, two outer layers. This is great, too, because after having lost 37 pounds in the last year, it is nice to have clothing that fits.

We have gone through the kitchen and our daughter's things, and have gotten rid of quite a bit, and with no remorse. We still have a few things to dump... Such as our printer. It is bulky and takes up valuable space in the closet when not in use. There is a print:copy/scan machine at work that I have access to 24/7. However, it does not print in high enough quality for, say, business cards or photo paper. So we would still need a high quality printer. I think stand-alone photo printers can be had for about $50 brand new, however.

When I describe this to people, they ask: So, you don have any decorations or anything? Wrong. But I do all of the decorations we do have.

We also got rid of our king size bed. We still have the mattress, as we haven't found a buyer for it yet. So the mattress sits directly on the floor. Best night of sleep I have had in about a month (my sleep quality app confirms this).

In the way of small kitchen appliances, we have a KitchenAid blender and a KitchenAid stand mixer. The blender was found at wok an repaired with an $8 part. The mixer was given to us used. That is all for appliances. We don't need anything else. We do, however, have three different coffee makers. All manual. An AeroPress, a Chemex, and a French Press. Each one makes a different type of coffee. And, being coffee geeks, we truly enjoy and love them on a daily basis. Plus, neither cost over $40, and we got them within at least six months of each other.

Those are but a few examples. Basically, we keep nothing that we don't use regularly, and don't love. It helps to keep free of distractions, and keeps upkeep to a minimum.

Edit: Here are a couple of resources by a man who has served as great inspiration for this:
https://zenhabits.net
https://mnmlist.com

Little Updates

April 24th, 2013 at 08:58 am

Our car insurance is going up by $20/mo in June, due to a speeding ticket I received. I contested it so that it, and won, but somehow it is still on my record. No idea.

Anyways, we decided to drop Collision coverage, as our deductible was 1/5 of what we paid for the car. We also opted to lower our Comprehensive deductible from $500 to $250 for only $12 more per 6 months. And considering that we have had a couple break-ins on cars at the property this year, this is a good idea.


In less than two weeks, my wife and I are ditching our kiddo with her parents (driving in from out-of-state) for some much-needed us time! Heading down to Portland to enjoy some fine coffee, beautiful scenery, and some vegan/vegetarian cuisine!

Rent On the Rise - Where to Trim the Fat?

April 9th, 2013 at 09:48 am

Our rent is due to go up by $20 in June. I received a $.36 raise this year ($57/mo) and as a result, our food assistance dropped by $50/mo. Makes sense. But now rent is on the rise as well. The $20 won't break us, as I will still come out $80/mo ahead (before including ~$80/mo commission), but it is still a set-back.

Our expenses are almost as bare-minimum as it gets. Prepaid phones (actually, my phone is on a family plan with my parents, but only costs $2/mo more than prepaid), slowest Internet, no cable, only $40/mo in fuel (no commuting), etc. We even slashed our electric bill by about $15/mo by line-drying our clothes inside rather than using the dryer. We only contribute $80/mo of our own cash to groceries ($230/mo for two adults and one child after assistance).

The only unnecessary expense is $30/mo in coffee.

Water/Sewer/Garbage is through the roof at $80-110/mo. No idea how to avoid that, being on a rented boiler system, an having to pay for other residents leaving crap everywhere.

So, that brings me to car insurance. We recently paid off our car, and still carry full coverage at $140/mo. This is the cheapest. We have looked around. If we drop all but the necessary coverages, it goes down to about $65/mo. Our car cost $5,500 at the time. In order for a downgrade to pay for itself to fund another vehicle, it would take six years to save $5,500.

What to do...

Fell off the wagon.

April 7th, 2013 at 10:47 am

March, and so far April as well, we have not done very well in the way of finances. Mind you, we have no troubles paying bills and all, but I have not been mindful about setting anything aside.
I am still paying bills on set days of the month, and have a month's worth of expenses in checking, but we have dipped below that a bit, and haven't made any deposits in savings.
Since March 1st, we have spent $304 in unbudgeted purchases.
$45 of that was for my wife's blog (which has the potential to have an income in the future).
$85 to dining out (no excuse).
$122 was for outdoor adventuring gear (all on clearance - $272 worth).
$26 was for coffee gear ($72 worth - $46 came from credit card rewards).
$22 for photography gear (potential to make money in future).
$4 for audio equipment (trying to fix record player).
Not sure how we got so off-target. The outdoor gear was foresee, but I did not set a savings goal for it when I foresaw the expense last year.
It has to stop. Almost two months of bad financial behaviour. Well, no more! Back on the right path!