Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Living (on less)

Funny, how somethings never really change I guess. In July I posted about recommitting to living intentionally and frugally again after dealing with a broken car and maxed out credit card.

Following the holiday season, the same has hit us again. Another car repair (gotta love used cars. Ok, actually I do love used cars, just not the inevitable repairs) and that freaking credit card again. It sounds stupid, but I really don't know how that happens! I rarely use it, and thought that I tracked The Husbands charges well enough. I hate credit cards so, so much. I really do. They are a necessary evil though, huh? Did you know no credit is often worse than bad credit? It's so stupid. Anyway, we only have one credit card (because I hate them so) and so our debt is never unmanageable. Just annoying. And in my way.

We have plans to sit down tonight and get started on a new budget. It has been probably 3 or 4 years since we've gone over it together. I don't even really have a budget right now. I mean, I know what my bills are. I know what I make. But I don't have it all worked out to see at a glance. And I should. Otherwise money has a way of just sort of disappearing. I mean, I have a freaking accounting degree. You would think I would be on top of the household budget, right? Nope. So, time to look at that again.

It's probably a good time to re-evaluate where we are anyway. Pay off anything outstanding we can and really be aggressive on savings, since The Husband will be finishing school soon. I'd like to be completely ready to shift into those new roles and his paycheck when it happens.

I'd also like to make a household book. We can include our budget and bills in there. Household maintenance schedules. Maybe a chore list. Meal planning (I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't gotten full swing back into that yet) Pantry and freezer inventory. That sort of thing.

Because, it dawned on me recently that I take care of a lot around the house. Which is fine, really. And The Husband is not a stupid or incompetent man. But . . . what if? What if I was in a car accident today on the way home? Would he know where to pick up? Where to find the bills, who to pay them to? There should be a system, that if something were to happen to either or both of us, our household could continue running as smoothly as possible.

I haven't completely formed it all out yet, and it's something new I've been thinking of, but it makes sense.

So, in addition to all the other goals I've given myself (heh) I'd like to create a household system/plan. Um. Not sure what to call it yet. Something clever. I don't know.

Anyway, I'm thinking the book, probably a binder should include:

Household budget
Bill schedule and folder for bills
Bank information (maybe??)
Basic Information on insurance policies and retirement funds
Contact List - Kids school, doctors, work, our parents etc . . .

Maintenance and (um?) household continuing to run smoothly stuff (?!)
Basic pantry list
Basic freezer list 
Maintenance things like when wood gets delivered, when to add softener, when to use dehumidifier etc . . .
Names and contact information of wood and fuel supplier
How to run the washer and dryer and dishwasher? (is that too much?)
Basic chore list (who does what and when?)

Can you think of anything else that should be added? Should it be two books? A family household book and an emergency plan/info book?

Does anyone else have anything like this or am I becoming a complete control freak?! :)

Aside from all that, it reminds me (yet again) to continue on the path of simple (and frugal) living. I don't want to live in debt. I don't want bigger, better, more. The more one is a constant battle for me!

So, my household goals (I've set a lot this year. Luckily most are easily attainable with a little bit of effort!!) are:

Create binders

Organize and stock pantry and freezer, not only for busy nights and money saving - but for easily available food and meals if emergencies arise. More homemade convenience mixes. More ready made meals in the freezer. INVENTORY!


Create an better organizational system, so that it's easy to find things in our home if I can't be there.

**Apparently they make these household organizers! Who knew??!

And also, there are (again, who knew!?) lots of people with the same (brilliant, ha!) idea. So now I can just borrow and utilize their ideas for organizing a household book. yay!

Like I said, I've set a whole lot of goals for this year. I'm not usually a written goal person, or much of a goal person at all. But these are all (or almost all) really easily attainable with minimal effort. I don't know what it is. If it's the almost being 30, the house, the end in sight for The Husbands school. But I finally feel like I'm ready to just stop shuffling along and be IN my life. Does that make sense?

Whew. That's a couple of really wordy posts in the last couple of days. Maybe it's the new year, but I've been doing a lot of thinking, wondering, planning lately.

How about a totally off topic and really old picture of Colin to close out the post, just cause it always makes me smile?


Sara said...

Gah! Crystal, you are motivating me. I need a kick in the butt. I use to do all that, but haven't since the kids. Good call. Gonna take a look at it and see what I come up with. Maybe we can compare notes.

You go, girl!

Sara said...

the pic isn't showing for me. :(

gardenofsimple said...

I tried linking the pic instead of uploading it, so it showed for me? :/ I changed it, maybe it works now

Valkyrie said...

All lofty goals. And yes, you are being a control freak. :-)

Nothing is going to happen to you, but if it did (God forbid), your husband would get by fine even if he doesn't use fabric softener. ;-)

I really want to do a budget to--I mean really commit to one. But we have power struggles over money here so we hardly ever talk about it--at least not together. Which is totally unhealthy. It's good you and your husband are on the same page.

Happy New Year!

gardenofsimple said...

haha, I know it seems totally control freakish, but we've been having some, um, issues seeing eye to eye on money and spending right now so I think that maybe getting it all down will get us both on the same page, cause right now we aren't, really. I mean, in thought we are but not in action.

Sara said...

cute picture!!! love the speghetti face!