Knowing vs. Worrying

 

There are many changes happening around here.  Change can be challenging when you are the type of person who likes to believe that you have it all under control.  Change can mean admitting that everyone is not okay and that there might be a better way to do things.

Change can mean that “growth” is taking place and changes are in order to accommodate that growth.

It would appear that the current art project is a reflection of that.  The glass jar is now obscured, although we all know that it’s there…buried under several layers now.  The house has evolved and will continue to do so, I expect.  The roots appear inadequate now as a foundation for the house.  They worked for the jar, but need to grow to support the new structure.  What’s it all mean?  Good question.  I’ll leave that up to you.

The biggest change around here has been our new attitude towards money – specifically the purchase of the new window unit.  We all agreed that change needed to happen.  We would be most uncomfortable living in a home without air-conditioning when the temperature is 95 degrees and it’s June.  It’s only going to get hotter.  We briefly considered attempting to get a loan of some type to solve our problem.  That would be solving one problem and adding to another one.

We are committed to getting out of debt.  We managed to not add to our debt and purchase the air-conditioning we needed.  Less than a year ago, we would not have had the information we needed to work through this issue in a responsible manner.

Because we started a budget (You Need a Budget) and started using Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Debt Reduction Plan, we are better equipped to make responsible decisions.  I recently found another tool, UndebtIt.com, that is also helping.  This site calculates our debt accounts, payment amounts and projected payoff date.  I love having programs that do the math for me.  I do not have a head for numbers.

I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed the brutal process of getting our finances in order.  It was hard to face the amount of debt we had versus the income we have.  It was a shock to see how long it will take to pay off everything.

But now we know.  We know how much money we really have and it’s not the amount on the paycheck.  Now, when I am shopping, it’s easier to make the distinction between want and need.  There is a goal in place to work towards.  Knowing, even when I don’t like the information I have, is better than not knowing and doing nothing to improve the situation.

We have the beginnings of a savings account to handle true emergencies.  I know how much we need to pay on each debt monthly to reach our goal.  Unexpected things can still happen and throw a metaphorical wrench in our plan, but I’ll be on top of the situation and have a better idea of how to deal with it.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about debt.  I’ve read the advice of experts and personal blogs discussing specific stories and solutions.  I don’t normally give advice here – if someone finds something of use or inspiration here that’s great – but I don’t have any great insights or answers (just my stories).

In this case, I’m going to make an exception.  If you are struggling financially, in debt, and spending way too much time worrying about money, it’s better to know the facts.  It’s better to have a budget and a plan.  It’s better to face the facts right now and start the process of fixing the problem.  Denial doesn’t help.  I have shed many a tear over our finances.  I have blamed myself and everyone around me for our problems.  I have ignored the situation and pretended that everything was okay.  We have paid out money in bank charges and late charges and interest.

Not any more.  Now, I know where we stand.  There is a goal, a light at the end of the tunnel and hope.  It’s easier to make financial decisions when I understand the consequences. We no longer are living a life where it seems like the current situation will never end.  Things are going to get better.

Knowing that simple fact makes everything easier to deal with.

Decluttered the last few days:

  1. a ball cap
  2. a small shelf
  3. some old records
  4. a bank for spare change
  5. a cookbook
  6. another ball cap
  7. some more socks with no mates
  8. some textbooks
  9. curtains
  10. expired medication

 

Hello Strangers

I’ve been away for a bit…a combination of struggles, achievements, good news, life decisions, family, and projects has been keeping me busy.  In other words – life.

Most of it’s not particularly interesting.  Some of it is possible opportunities that would require serious adjustments in our life and are still in the thinking stages.  My head is just full of “thinking” and I’m having trouble sifting through and putting much into words to share.

But, I’m still here and chugging along.  All my kiddos are at home right now which is fun (and busy).  I’ve been whittling down my “to do” project list.  This cabinet has been in my dining room unpainted for several years.

IMAG0930Ugly, I know.  I guess I just got used to it or kept seeing the potential instead of the reality.  It didn’t take all that long.  Don’t know why I waited, ’cause now it looks like this…

IMAG0938

What a big improvement!

Our family has also started working through the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover.  We’ve had a “sorta” budget for a while.  We mainly just tried to track our spending and keep our heads above water, but now we’re actually budgeting.  Baby steps!  I’m using YNAB (You Need A Budget).  I’m finding it to be very user friendly and accommodating for an inept numbers person like myself.

Then, this last week I’ve made a menu plan that we shopped for and are following.  I seriously cut the amount of money that we were spending on groceries in our new budget.  I chose meals that used a lot of what we already have on hand in the freezer and pantry so a lot of the “shopping” was done here at home.  I spent very little at the grocery store.  Hopefully, this we make meal time less stressful and healthier.  I try to cook at home and eliminate the convenience food and eating out, but we are balancing a lot of different schedules.  When I’ve done menu planning in the past, its been great.

Like I said, most of what’s going on around here is pretty boring.  I’m just trying to focus on becoming more organized and making life simpler in the process.

A lot of areas in my life seem out of control and that’s an unpleasant feeling.  I tend to be a perfectionist so I tend to avoid doing some things.  You know, waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect supplies, or knowing that the outcome will be as good as I’ve hoped.

Painting done imperfectly is better than an unfinished cabinet.  A “close enough” color, a few drips, and recycled knobs look pretty great.

Budgeting done imperfectly is better than uncontrolled spending.  Paying something to everyone is better than not making payments of any kind.  Progress may seem slow, but eventually we’ll get out of debt.

A meal plan (even if it isn’t followed exactly) is better than last minute junk food meals or take-out.

Things done imperfectly still are a blessing to my family.  It’s just hard to take baby steps when I want to fly.