Things are just easier now.

Having been sick since April 13th, I haven’t done much/any housekeeping.  Sure the dishes were put in the dishwasher; laundry was done when we ran out of undies; and the sheets were washed multiple times because when you have a fever, you sweat like crazy.

Know what else??  The house is still tidy!  Sure, the carpet needs vacuuming and furniture could use dusting.  BUT the house generally looks fine.  The “old” house would have had stuff piling up everywhere.  This is the first time I’ve been sick since we removed 14,680 items from the house (since we began counting).  With less clutter, even being out of commission for 4 weeks, everything looks fine.

Other household chores like going through the mail is easier.  We have gone electronic for most things.  We now get very little physical mail and it is very easy to go through standing at the recycle box.  We also stopped all magazine subscriptions and newspaper delivery.  Today the only mail was a Mother’s Day card from kiddo #1.

Paying bills has been simplified – I have a list in the bill/paper box so I know what needs to be paid and the due dates.  I’m still hesitant to do automatic payment.  We have streamlined so much of this that it takes about an hour to get everything done.  It used to take all day – literally – to get every check written, address envelopes, put all the info into the budget book.  The other thing that weirdly helps is getting paid just once a month.  I get paid the last work day of the month, John gets paid the first work day of the month.  Bills get paid and we know exactly how much we have left for the month.

I’m so thankful we started thinking about simplifying our lives a few years ago and that decluttering and minimalism are aspects that are working for us.

 

The Coffee Maker got a Spanking!

Our beloved coffee maker, who lives full time with us and travels with us in the motorhome, decided this morning to stop spitting out water.  We tried running it with vinegar thinking maybe the hard water had clogged up the lines.

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While researching online how to deal with this brand of coffee maker when it decides to stop spitting out hot water, there were numerous posts suggesting a spanking.  Since it wasn’t working, what did we have to lose?

Now this bad, bad coffee maker needed a spanking – literally.  If you’ve ever tried to spank a metal object on its bottom, it can be quite painful to the spanker.  John brought in his mallet and gave it about a dozen good hits.

After a couple of tries, coffee maker decided the pain wasn’t worth it and delivered hot water the way it was supposed to!

Gotta love when brawn wins the fight against technology!

 

April Update – April was tough!!

April was a rough month in our house this year.

We decluttered 5 items – I think this is the least amount ever!  Grand total this year is 657.  We have a ways to go to reach our 2017 goal of 2017.  We are enjoying the “freedom” of less in the house!

So here’s our month:
Barb had a stomach bug and missed 2 days of work (Thursday and Friday 4/13 and 4/14).

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Anyone who is a teacher knows that missing work unexpectedly is horrible.  The first day she text a coworker and she handled the sub plans.  Thank you Stefny!!

We got onto a plane Saturday to enjoy the holiday weekend with kiddo #1 in San Francisco area to fly home Sunday night with kiddo #2 in tow.  Kiddo #2 flew in on Friday – it was the first Easter with both kiddos in 5 years!  Such a blessing!

Monday night kiddo #1 called – mommy made her sick.

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Thursday Barb developed a cough and low grade fever.

We then went apartment hunting on Saturday for Kiddo #2 since she will be living about an hour away – horray!!

By Sunday it was a high fever and nasty cough.  Our Doctor-to-be (in 2 weeks!!) insisted she go to the doctor on Monday.  She even escorted Barb since she was so miserable.  Antibiotics and cough medicine prescribed.  Barb missed work again on Monday and Tuesday (4/24 and 4/25).   As of today, tiredness and coughing still happening.  Will this ever end?  This comic represents life when the cough medicine wears off about 3 am.

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Because Barb is on the district science committee, she misses a lot of school for meetings.  At least those are known in advance and you can plan ahead.  Illness is horrible for planning.  Teachers rarely take sick days because of true illness!

John and kiddo #2 picked up the slack for the 2 + weeks Barb was under the weather.  THANK YOU!!

So as you can see, decluttering was nearly nonexistent during April.  We did eliminate an old, ugly, holey t-shirt John insisted on still wearing.  Some things are such accomplishments they have to be mentioned!!

 

 

 

 

March Update

March saw us very busy on the weekends – so much so that we only decluttered 16 items this month.

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Long weekend #1
On a positive – we took a 4 day trip to the opposite coast to visit our kiddo.  One thing we realized is that we are getting too old to take the red-eye flights!  Work all day, drive to the airport, fly across the country to have breakfast with the kiddo wore us down!  Thursday was a great day though.  We visited Arlington National Cemetery – I know, of all the things to do in DC, we visit the cemetery.  It is one of our favorite things!  The Cherry Blossom Festival was non-existent due to the weather destroying the blossoms.

Friday we attended our daughter’s medical school “Match Day” ceremony.  She will be coming back to California for residency!!!  You can imagine how excited we are – she “left” us in 2007 to go to college on the east coast and basically hasn’t been back to live.  We are so proud of her!

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Her Shirt!!

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating!!  We flew home Sunday to go to work Monday morning.

Long Weekend #2
Our second “excursion” this month was the the National Science Teacher Association conference in Los Angeles.  This was a Thursday through Sunday event as well.  2 long weekends away from home in one month.  We both got a few great ideas we can implement in our classrooms.  Always worth it!  We are both so tired and ready for a weekend at home, maybe decluttering the garage!

 

 

Annual Financial Update, April 2017

From our original financial simplification post:

Of course, there are certain “purchases” we strongly feel were necessary and must pay for:  home/mortgage ($128,152.60), cars and RV ($16,653.62), college education for our children ($93,628.93).

Grand total: $238,435.15 as of April 1, 2015.  Our goal is to be debt free in 5 years.  Each of these 3 categories were “necessary” in our mind to give our children a stable environment and educational/professional opportunities.  We wouldn’t do anything different in these areas.


Another year has passed since we started this blog and we have some financial updates!  Barb didn’t work overtime during this time period so our income dropped about $9,000.  We didn’t have to dip into savings for anything major this year but we also didn’t save anything.  We did take a seven week vacation last summer, a week-long trip to Hawaii, and 2 trips to visit the kiddo on the opposite coast via plane.  We made a concerted effort to avoid using any credit cards this last year for any reason.  We were hoping for $50,000 debt reduction but didn’t quite make it.

We are pretty sure we can pay off the cars, 2 student loans, and the furnace/AC system during the next year.  Next year debt reduction goal is $50,000 and have our savings account at $20,000.  Guess we will need a few more lean spending months!!

  • Cars and RV $3419.36 (decreased balance by $6152.53)
  • Mortgage $106252.74 (decreased balance by $10,193.11)
  • Student loans $44692.39 (decreased balance by $25.582.75)
  • Savings $15,553.95 (not as much as we would like but better than 2 years ago!)

    Total Debt Reduction in the last year = $41,928.39

    Total Debt Reduction in the last 2 years = $84,070.66

End of the Super Lean Spending Month

We survived our (sort of) Super Lean Spending Month!

We had 8 “No Spending” days.  This was not in our goal for the month, but it was nice to see we didn’t spend anything on 8 days.

We had a net savings of $336.98!

We spent less than our monthly average (for the last year) in our Food, Food Out, and Entertainment categories.  We spent more in the Household Goods category BUT we did purchase something we really wanted with Christmas money (that as of today hasn’t been removed from the savings account!)  If we remove this purchase, our savings would be $606.98 and the Household Goods category comes in well below average.

What did we learn???  That we really like going out.  It was very difficult to stay home for meals the first 2 weeks.  We didn’t spend any money on alcohol out.  We ended up keeping our social obligations with others finding it humorous that we ordered water to drink in a bar.  (We still left a tip!)

Could we cut our food budget??  Yep.  The question/discussion we had on Sunday revolved around how we scrimped for so many years, do we really want to go back to eating the “cheapest” things just because they are cheap??  We both agree that we do not want to do that BUT agree we could cut other stuff from the food budget.  We did purchase ice cream last night that earlier in the month we said no to.  Maybe moderation in the extras are what we need to do.  It was really nice having steak at home this month (instead of eating it out).  We did spend less than average, so we obvious cut out something!!

Here is our spending weekly recap and our daily expenditures.