26 July 2009

holy smokes!

Just to show how powerful automatic savings plans are, I just checked the balance of my retirement account yesterday after avoiding it since the stock market tanked. It's three times as big! I did a quadruple take! Who knew?! :)

This reminded me that it's almost time to set up my automatic Christmas savings account. If you didn't read this blog last year, in August I set up an automatic savings withdrawl from my regular checking to my ING savings account. Every payday. money would be automatically transferred. This worked well because a) it was automatic, b) it coincided with my annual raise so I didn't notice the difference and c) at Christmas time I had cash to spend, rather than charge anything.

25 July 2009

good news all around

I'm a year older, and a year wiser! I had a birthday, and that was awesome. I took this whole week of from work and we've been daytripping it all over the state of CT.

My ex has been giving me money each week (almost) and that is more than I was getting from his parents when he was gone, so I'm in better shape. I decided to take the extra money I have from him this month and refund my emergency savings account, which I had to use when he took off. So it will be a relief when that is back in place.

After that happens, I'm back to paying things off. I think I am getting my yearly raise in 3 weeks, so I'll have a little extra coming in to offset expenses.

And even though my tomatoes look terrible, I have a couple of peppers on their way!

21 July 2009

5 hours.

That's how long the tv stayed off.

That night was a breeze- I actually loved it. Next morning, I woke up, realized I needed to take a shower, and on it went. The No Impact Man has one kid and two parents- I'm outnumbered here. I need something to subdue my children so I can shower/go to the bathroom/clean. It's unfortunate, but true.

Things are good, though! We went to Boston, which was awesome. Stayed with a friend, used our museum pass to get into the Children's Museum, picnicked in the park and took the T. Lots of fun, and only cost gas money, $5 for the T, and some food.

Yesterday we went to another children's museum (pass again!) and swimming at a lake. Again, just gas money and $5 to park at the lifeguard-staffed swimming area. Good times!

And finally, in my most frugal achievement yet, my 3 year old appears to have finally conquered the potty. We're diaper free, for the first time since November 2004! I'm happy, but also sad. No more baby stuff... I guess it's good but I certainly wasn't one of those people who said "I am SO DONE having kids!" I always wanted one more. I guess time will tell!

Oh, and one more thing- look what I grew!!

17 July 2009

the no impact man and the tv

I am fortunate enough to write book reviews, and I was even more fortunate this month to review the book written by Colin Beavan, the guy who writes the blog No Impact Man (it's on my blogroll).

I won't get into the review, because it's not going to be published for another 6 weeks, but I will say that at one point, they give away their tv.

What happens is two things- all of a sudden, they have lots more free time. Time to read, time to play with their daughter uninterrupted, time to have some (ahem) marital relations. (Not that I hope or plan to do that again- like, ever- but you may want to. Someone's got to, I guess.)

In addition, they stop wanting to buy so many things, because they aren't watching commercials.

Today was my last day of work before a week's vacation, which means I will be home with the kids for the next 9 days. It occurred to me that this might be a fun time to try out this whole "no-tv" thing. So when we got home tonight, I just didn't turn it on. I suggested they play on our screened in porch, or their rooms, and they chose and ran off. Then after dinner they chose to play a computer game (does that count as tv?) and never once seemed to notice that the tv was off the whole time.

On a totally unrelated note, my cat Piper brought us her first dead mouse tonight. We all sort of stared at it for 5 minutes, and then I dustpanned it into a plastic bag and we threw it in the garbage can outside. Yes, all three of us. It was quite the family bonding moment. The kids hugged Piper when we came in and congratulated her on her hard work. I secretly skeeved.

Sooooo.... we'll see how the morning goes. That's really our big "tv" time anyway. But I have a hot date with a book and a bowl of ice cream tonight instead.

16 July 2009

As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting. I can't really speak to why, other than to give a laundry list of excuses- lack of motivation on paying things off once my ex stopped paying me child support, being really busy, going on a business trip, a general failure of my garden (due to terrible weather and being really busy)... you get the picture. But then someone posted that they missed reading my posts, and it reminded me of how much this blog really means to me. So here I am.

Like I said, nothing has been paid down. In fact, I have accrued some new debt, mainly because of the child support issue. I've been paying my bills, but sort of blindly, which is never a good idea. So perhaps posting tonight will help fix that. I need it fixed, and now that he's back, maybe things will get back to "normal." (Whatever that means!)

I tried dating someone, and that didn't work out. Which sucks, because all I learned from it is that I have become incredibly clearheaded about who I am and what I want in my life, and has also reaffirmed that it's difficult at 30 to find someone who is equally as clearheaded and isn't already married, engaged, or seriously dating someone. And while that sucks, I guess it's not a terrible thing. I'm lucky to have a wonderful family, fantastic friends, and a career I love and feel passionately about. Right now, I think that's enough. I feel open to meeting a good person who can support me for who I am, I just don't know if that person will come along anytime soon. Maybe this blog will become the Year of Frugal Dating.

So, here I am. I'm sorry for leaving you. I hope to keep coming back, and any positive encouragement is appreciated. :)