June 2017 Update (and a new car)

We removed 51 items from the house.  738 less items this year to bother us!!

Here are a couple of pics!  We both cleaned off our desks but didn’t take pics of the resulting pile of paper.  The binders had old transparencies – does anyone still use an overhead machine??  She counted each binder as 3 since she separated the transparency and paper insert from each other – transparency into the recycle bin and paper inserts used for scratch printer paper (you know, the things you want to print out but don’t want to waste “good” paper for).  An old VHS tape we felt we could depart with and a set of sheets.  Extra dishes and wireless headphones from the motorhome – we couldn’t remember the last time we used these.

 


So much for our financial simplification though.  We decided to get a new car!  Brand new Prius V five – our first car with all the bells and whistles!  We gave the dealer a very specific color and model.  He found it about 2 days later.  Now to get those windows tinted!

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Our old 2010 Prius base model, which we’ve had for 7.5 years, is going to kiddo #2 for the bargain price of $5000 – we are still discussing her payment plan hahaha  Maybe a nice cruise or something when she begins making more money!!

John finally gets his 2003 Xterra back – it has been in the “possession” of a kiddo since 2005 when gas prices hit $2.50 a gallon.  He drove it until that magic value was hit and then traded with the kids.  Kiddo #1 was driving our tow vehicle (1992 Honda Civic, which was John’s parent’s tow vehicle until they got something a little bigger to tow).  Our Honda tow vehicle was replaced with a 2008 Nissan Sentra in 2008 and John still drives it every day – I can’t believe it’s been 9 years we’ve had this car!

The Xterra averages about 16 mpg, while the Civic and its replacement Sentra got significantly better and he is the commuter (about 12 miles each way).    Our gas prices here haven’t been that low since, so there was no “rush” to trade cars again with them.

Xterra possession:
2004-2005 John bought it a year old.
2005-2005 kiddo #1 – finish high school
2005-2007 kiddo #2 – finish high school
2007-2009 kiddo #1 – finish college
2009-2011 kiddo #2 – finish college
2011-2012 Barb – kiddo #2 was home and driving farther for her volunteer work and classes.
2012-2013 no one regularly drove it – and gas prices sucked, usually about $4 per gallon.
2013-2017 kiddo #2 – med school
2017-???    no one will regularly drive it but John is looking forward to having it back – 12 years later!!

 

May 2017 Update

Can you believe May 2017 is over???  This month flew by!  We have some great memories of this month!  We also spent more than anticipated celebrating!!  That’s ok – it was money well spent!

Kiddo #2 graduated from Medical School!!  We are so proud of her accomplishment!   She and Barb drove across the country to move her new apartment (and official first full-time job) in sunny southern California!  They drove 3 days covering 2700 miles towing a 5×8 uhaul trailer with all her belongings.  Guess that would qualify as minimalist living – she will have more space in an one bedroom place now.  She felt having a “real” job means she doesn’t need to live in a studio any longer.  Look – they even gave her a “physician” parking permit!  How exciting!!

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Both kiddos are in the same time zone as us!!  We are so excited!!

During May we decluttered 30 items – not much but Barb was still recovering from her illnesses and we celebrated a graduation on the other side of the country.  Total so far this year – 687 items removed from our home!!  Now we are “cheating” a little on these numbers this month – kiddo #2 did take with her 8 items: 3 blankets, 1 “big-ass draft” beer stein from the local bar in her college town, 2 reusable water bottles, 1 dresser (so sad to see it leave, it was in the nursery before we even brought kiddo #1 home), and 1 end table.

Some other stuff to leave this month:

 

It’s beginning to feel like we are really getting close to finished.  It’s weird to look at the house and not see all that needs to leave.  We are feeling so relaxed in our house!  There are still “tons” of pictures in boxes in the closet.  Guess I know what I’m doing (maybe) when we return from vacation!

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!

 

 

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.

 

February Super Lean Month and Decluttering Update

February is our SUPER LEAN SPENDING MONTH.  We are changing the name from the more common Spend Nothing Month.  We know we will spend money on something!

So today is our first day since Barb got paid (on the last work day of the month) and John gets his check tomorrow (the first work day of the month).   We both get paid once a month.  It is actually easier once you get used to it – it could also be that we’ve been once a month for about 25 years.  You pay all the bills up front – no saving a certain amount for the mortgage, etc.  Then you know exactly how much you have to spend for the next 30ish days.  We are doing this for February since it only has 28 days this year – yes, we like to play mind games with ourselves!

Today (Jan 31, 2017) we spent $70.53  I know it doesn’t look like we are off to a great start in minimal spending.  This purchase included dryer sheets, dishwasher detergent, and ziploc bags for the freezer.  I know, plastic bags are bad.  We just find it so much easier to divide the stuff we need to freeze into the bags for later use.  We also purchased eggs, applesause (I make our own during time off, while we are working it gets bought!), yogurt, almond milk, beets, and a pork loin.  This should cover at least 2 dinners and several breakfasts.  We’ll see!  We are also planning to use up as much as possible from the pantry and freezer.  Food will still need to be purchased – we don’t have much extra stored anymore.

Decluttering update:  625 items left our house and garage in January!!  We have over 1/4 of our 2017 gone already!   It’s hard to not be excited!  Kiddo #2 removed 71 stuffed animals and the rest was from our disaster in the garage.  Hard to believe we have so many items that can still leave the house.

Let us know if you decide to try a Super Lean Month as well!  We know Life As I Interpret It will be joining us.  She also did a “sample” month for January.

 

December 2016 Update

We woke this morning needing to remove 39 items from our home to reach our goal of 2016 items gone in 2016.  So what did we do??  We decided to go through the magazine holders that have been stacked in the kitchen and removed 37 magazines, 1 magazine holder, and 1 pair of thermal undies – I know the undies seem odd in the dead of winter.  They have been in the drawer for years and not worn.

Can you tell we subscribed to this magazine for years?  Some were from 2007!   John and kiddo #2 have Celiac Disease, diagnosis was in 2003.  It was a challenge at the beginning with limited resources available so we subscribed to many magazines over the years.  We went through these looking for any special recipes that we just had to keep.  15 recipes made the cut.  Most can probably be found online now.  The amount of information on the web is mind-boggling!

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With the removal of these magazines, WE REACHED OUR GOAL OF 2016 IN 2016!!

Here is a breakdown of the numbers for the year:

  • January = 603 items
  • February = 121 items
  • March = 100 items
  • April = 172 items
  • May = 103 items
  • June and July = 39 items
  • August = 19 items
  • September = 147 items
  • October = 30 items
  • November = 424 items
  • December 258 items

Our beautiful chart!

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