July in Review

just realized I didn’t do a review of my goals/progress for last month. It was a crazy month, but still, this makes me feel pretty scatterbrained.


{INPIRATION: momentarily tapped out}

Anyway. We didn’t get the house. The appraisal came in waaay under the agreed-upon price. There was no way we were going to make up that big of a difference with cash at closing, and the crazy seller wouldn’t budge. Good luck to him with that, btw. Now we are starting all over again, with the super fun difference that we’re moving in a week and a half. To a hotel. I love me some hotel stays, don’t get me wrong. I loooove hotels. But living in one, for at least a month, with three dogs and two people who mostly work from home (work from hotel?) — that is no luxury. It’s also a giant waste of money, as was the cost of the home inspection and appraisal we just paid for on the house we didn’t get. Good times!

I’m also pretty much failing on the lose ten pounds goal. I’m up, I’m down. I have a few really good days and then blow it all when my boss takes us out or I spend the weekend in Louisville. I’m struggling with balancing my eating while working from home. I mean, I’m literally five feet from my fridge. I need to be better about going into the office (or at least not working in my kitchen).

At least my running is going pretty well. I ran four days in a row last week, which I never do, and the second two were better than the first two. I have to say though: this summer is a bitch down here in Atlanta. The temperature got into the 90s in May and hasn’t gotten out. It’s suffocating. It’s sticky. It’s NOT FUN. It’s not even pleasurable to be at the pool because it’s pretty much been like bath water since early June.

We also had a reasonably frugal month. We’ve been really good about not going out and not buying lunch. We didn’t buy any clothes. We had our wine at home. We ate through most of what we had in the pantry and freezer and really limited our grocery budget. Good thing we did that, since this move is going to be much more expensive than we had planned. (Did I mention we have to live in a hotel for a month???)

This is much less formal review of my 2015 goals because I am not feeling very formal right now. I am feeling a little beat down instead. Remind me never to change jobs, go on a diet, and buy a new house at the same time again, ‘kay?


Lose 10 by Summer’s End

As usual, my weight is creeping up this summer. I’m not sure why I’m different from most people – I lose weight in the winter and gain it in the summer. Great timing! Thanks, body 😦 It’s something to do with brown fat vs white fat or some other science-y thing like that.

My weight has always fluctuated, both seasonally and because of my (lack of) motivation. With about two months left until the official start of fall, I’m setting a goal of losing ten pounds by then. I do feel like I’m a little ahead of the game; generally it’s October before I realize I’ve put on some weight and start trying to lose it. I also don’t usually set a specific goal; I’m more like, well, I guess I should be on a diet again…

I’m also quick to blame any gain on the addition of muscle rather than me just adding some chunk. I know I overestimate the amount of muscle I put on. I’ve never done any strict, long-term lifting, but when I do get on a schedule, my body is pretty good about adding muscle quickly. But I’m pretty sure it’s more like a pound, not the three or four I tend to attribute to the lifting.

So, what’s different this time?

  • I’ve “made it real” by publishing it here.
  • I’ve set a tougher and more specific goal for myself.
  • I’ve got a firm deadline.
  • I’m going to try a new method of eating: caloric density.

I officially started yesterday at a weight of 129.8. Let’s just call that 130. Which, on my frame, is a lot. I start getting uncomfortable above 125. I’m pretty happy at 120. The first official day of fall is September 23, so I’ve got a little over two months. About a pound a week. That might not seem so bad, but I am horrible at staying on a diet. I know that holding myself accountable here each week is going to make a big difference. I’ll weigh-in each Monday and will be telling you about the new wardrobe I need to buy for fall since I’ll be so skinny 😉

Please share any diet motivation tips & tricks!

Getting Into the Details: Resolution #2

2. Pay off debt.

I don’t intend this to be a blog about frugality or being debt-free. Don’t get me wrong, this topic is something I could spend forever on, but it’s really not what I want to focus on. That being said, it is January, and one of my resolutions is to pay off our credit cards ($11k at 0%) and our personal loans (about $6k at 11%). Bonus points for paying off my car ($4500 at 4%). We’re lucky that we are finally making good money, so in theory, paying off $22k in a year should really be no big deal.

Our problem is that we have participated in lifestyle creep. With every raise/promotion/new job, we’ve increased our expenses. We used to rent a 900sf apartment for a mere $750/month. We now “own” a 2400sf townhouse, for which we pay about $1600 a month including HOA fees. We have an entire floor that we don’t even use! We have purchased furniture to fill up each room, and our once-empty closets (there are 10 in this house, plus an attic and a pantry!) are beginning to fill up as well. We’ve always considered our style to be minimalist, but all this unfocused (and uncontrolled) spending coupled with a house that’s way too big for us means we are anything but minimalists. Modern furniture does not a minimalist make.

We really went big in 2014. We took a ton of vacations, bought a (cheap) car for one stepdaughter and paid for half of the wedding of the other, took our families to the beach for a week over the holidays. We had emergency vet bills, a car accident, unexpected medical expenses. We bought nice watches and expensive coats and I don’t know how many pairs of new shoes. We even got a dog walker, who we also paid to dog sit during all those vacations. And we’d usually use the night the dog walker came for a date night, spending even more $$$!

So, yeah, it’s time to rein things in. Luckily, my husband came to this same conclusion on his own, which is great since we generally aren’t on the same page about things. We both started to feel guilty about the excess spending, especially when we weren’t really putting anything into savings at all (excluding 401k’s). We also started to feel like we had too much space, and too much stuff to fill the space, and just too much stuff period. And finally, I think we fulfilled whatever deep-seated psychological need/issue we each had (since money had been tight for most of our lives) to actually afford nice clothes and great trips.

I think I’ve mentioned that neither of us do well with extreme restrictions, and like diet and exercise, we’ve had a lot of practice making rules for ourselves, only to fail within a few weeks. Last year, we were intense budgeters for January and February, but that ended up just making us crazier the rest of the year.

What I’ll be doing differently this time:

Be mindful about my spending. Know that buying a new shirt isn’t going to make me happy. Know that going to a new (or old, for that matter) restaurant isn’t going to make me happy. Realize that I already have more than what I need.

Avoid spending triggers. Stop checking all the lifestyle blogs and read simplicity-focused blogs instead. Stay off Pinterest. Immediately throw away the Gap coupon and the Athleta catalog.

Understand that not spending extra money is better for my health. Not eating out = healthier food we make at home. Not going to lunch = time to go to the gym. Not going to bars or buying a nice bottle of wine = sticking to my sober January plan.

Continue to have open and honest (aka tough) conversations with my husband about money. For now, we both want the same thing. We want to be rid of our consumer debt and we want to downsize. But. We both waffle a lot on our decisions, and tend to change our minds often (hello, ADD!). We’re also both very impulsive. Like every other change we’ve made for the better in our time together, this is a process and a journey, but we’re committed to improvement.

Try a spending diet. But don’t beat myself up if I make a mistake. And certainly don’t say to hell with all of it if I make a mistake!