24 October 2010

how much is enough?

I listened to this very interesting story on NPR today about the proposed tax increase for those who make over 250,000/year (that I would link to if I could find the link). The story was about what it actually means to be a person making $250,000 a year, and how much is "enough" in terms of wealth. This was interesting to me because I've been thinking about this a lot lately- what do I actually need to make in order to be "happy" or "comfortable" or to have enough.

Well, I don't know. As they pointed out in the story, as your income rises, so do your expectations for the things you should have. So while you might get by on a $60,000 salary, if you were to get a giant raise, you might upgrade your car, send your child to a private school, or move to a bigger house, therefore keeping your level of spending/saving money about the same. That explains why no matter how much you make, you never seem to have enough.

So how much IS enough? I don't know. I know I would consider sending my children to private school if money weren't a factor. I know I'd like a newer house that would have a better layout and newer appliances that don't break, or at least the extra money to get them fixed (and maybe I'd like a pool, truth be told... ;). I know I'd like to travel more than I do. I know I'd like to afford haircuts more than yearly. So... yeah. Clearly I have more than enough- things to spend $250,000 a year on. Sigh.

21 October 2010


I made lunch every day this week, avoided buying coffee in the afternoons, and choose healthy options (or very small unhealthy) whenever I had a meeting with free food. The result?

I stayed within my budget and lost 3 lbs.

Really?! It was that easy? I'd be willing to bet its not. I think the hard part is sticking with it.

18 October 2010

Okay, so how do I do that?

The poll has ended and it looks like the slight majority wants me to bring back the YOFL, while the slight minority thinks I should keep things here. I'm inclined to merge the two, keeping the funkier look and subject matter of BV with the url of YOFL.

So, I need to figure out how to do that. Stay tuned.

In other, brown bag news, I'm STARVING.

17 October 2010


So, I kind of blew it. I was primed to make a big credit card payment and I put it off a little too long, and ended up spending some of it on other stuff (mostly going out to eat and doing other stuff). I'm pretty disappointed! So I'm putting myself on a spendcation for the next few weeks. I have some cash from my tag sale and I'm planning on only using that for spending money, and I am going to make my lunch every day that I can this week so I don't spend any money on eating out.

Since I took on the second job, I've been lax about making my own lunch because a) I'm tired and b) I don't have time to go grocery shopping more than once a week so I've been running out of fresh food before the end of the week if I make lunch for anyone but the kids. I'm going to buy some food like tuna that won't go bad so that I can make it last all week.

Eating lunch out, Dunkin Donuts and extras here and there make up the bulk of my money "wasted." Where do you blow the money you'd otherwise save or put towards debt?

11 October 2010


Until I master the art of the redirect, head on over to www.buildingvillages.blogspot.com

Wouldn't it be great if I could merge them? I know, right! Too bad I have no clue how to do that. Le sigh.

Going out or staying home

The more I go out, the more money I spend. I've always been an emotional shopper and there's clearly something inside me that equates having "something nice" with making myself feel better. Since I began this quest, I've definitely tried not to continue this by not going to places like Target when I'm sad.

Sounds like a solution, right? Well, kind of. When I stay home, then I'm home- in my messy, toy-filled, 1950's throwback of a rental that I can't renovate (despite the money, it's not even my house). And while I'm not out shopping, I have the IKEA catalog, the Real Simple magazines, the Land of Nod catalog, HGTV, the internet... and there it is again- the desire to shop. And I don't know about you, but when I try to buy "storage solutions" like I see in magazines, they end up being just another THING in my house that doesn't quite work and I kind of hate and wish I didn't spend my money on. Storage cabinet from IKEA? Great idea! Except now it's crammed with crappy toys I hate and the kids never play with until I try to get rid of them. You get the idea.

So, should I stay or should I go? I wish I could just live in a teepee with a light and some books. Seriously. Except you know it'd be a matter of time before I just wished I had a nice IKEA bookcase to keep them in...

10 October 2010

Beautiful things

Dear Friends,

It's been a while! Things have been insane with a capital-oh-my-god-how-can-I-possibly-keep-this-up. I'm working two jobs now- my regular librarian gig plus I'm teaching a First Year Experience class two nights a week. It's for new freshmen and students returning to school after a long hiatus. I love it. I love having students I know, that I can help and encourage and teach. But I am exhausted, as I'm teaching the two nights I previously had child-free, that I used to catch up and relax and do things. I wouldn't give it up for the world, but I've been laying on the floor staring off into space at the end of each day.

I've been thinking about this blog and the Year of Frugal Living a lot lately, mainly because my debt payoff has really kicked into high gear (thanks to the extra job income and the fact that my ex is paying his support on time, in full every week these days). I'm 41% there and I'm primed to make it to 50% before the year ends. It's like I can finally see the finish line- it's far out there, I can barely make it out, but there it is. After 3 years, there it is. I am so excited.

I've also been thinking a lot about where I go from here. When it ends, when I'm finally recovered from all that has happened, where do I want to be? I just don't know. I know I want to make a difference. I know I want to travel and be happy and be surrounded by beautiful things and wonderful people. But that's about all I know! It's going to be an interesting year. I feel like 2011 has a lot of great stuff in store for us.

So I'm trying to decide (see the poll above)- do I keep posting here? Do I go back to the Year of Frugal Living? I'm still getting tons of visits, despite not posting for months at a time. I'd like to know what you think.

So there we are. Fall, while sad in it's farewell to summer, brings the excitement of new school years and new years to follow. That finish line, despite its distance, is there. And then what?