Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Out of commission

Public Service Announcement - it's a bad idea to ignore symptoms because you're annoyed at medical professionals.  I apparently did too much of that.  I'm off to the hospital for a while, so updates will be on hold for a bit.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Off track

I really got off track in June.  I've justified it to myself in a lot of different ways, and in truth, most of my spending hasn't been frivolous.  There has just been a lot of it all at once.  I think the biggest reason is that I've been fairly focused on getting set up in my new place and getting back to some semblance of normalcy that I stopped focusing on the financial picture.  It hasn't hurt me too much, though I did spend more than I earned in June (more on that later), but if I don't get back on track, I think it will.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Completely unfrugal

Is unfrugal a word?  Non-frugal?

Anyway, I picked a stupidly expensive habit.  I've decided to take up horseback riding.  Preferably, eventually, competitive horseback riding.  It's hard to imagine a more expensive sport.  Financially, I can afford to do this, although it's going to mean sacrifices in other areas.  But after taking two lessons today, I think it's worth it.

One, and maybe most importantly, it makes me happy.  I love being on a horse.  I love animals, and horses give pretty powerful feedback about the bond you establish with them.  I love training animals, working with them, learning how to better communicate with them.  Owning a dog isn't feasible at the moment, but horseback riding gives me that pleasure without the ownership requirements.

Two, it gets me out of the house.  I'm somewhat naturally awkward in social settings that are unfamiliar, so I don't tend to make friends easily.  Outside of work, I don't do much, and this is a good way to prompt me to get out and be around people.  That's important for my mental status, so I don't feel isolated and sink into a cycle of depression.  It's sometimes hard to get the willpower going to actually make the effort to get up and out, but once I do, I usually feel a lot better.

Three, and maybe this is the most important one, it's good exercise for me.  I have a serious problem with exercise - it hurts and I can pretty seriously injure myself with a single wrong step.  Many typical exercises I can't do, and even walking is seriously problematic due to my joints.  With riding, I have basically the same injury risks as anyone else - stepped on, kicked, or bitten by the horse, thrown or falling off the horse - but it's a form of exercise that I can do without feeling like I'm killing myself.  I don't feel like I medically have a need to lose weight, no doctor has ever mentioned it to me, and I don't have any weight related issues.  However, I do have excess pounds on me, both from the pregnancy and from taking medications that caused me to gain weight.  So I'm about 30 lbs heavier than I was in high school, and I want that off.  I've been tracking what I eat, and staying right around 1,200 calories, so food isn't the problem (although I've probably destroyed my metabolism from the days that I don't eat due to pain.)  Any exercise that will help me both burn calories and get into better shape will make me feel better about myself and maybe even help my other medical issues. 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eliminating debts, slowly but surely

I'm down to just under $11,000 in consumer debt now. This debt free thing may come sooner than I expect!

One thing I'm very, very determined to stick with is that I will not incur any new unsecured debt. If I end up getting credit cards at some point in the future, I will pay off the bill every month, without fail.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My spending spree, and why

I've been on the move pretty much constantly for the past 3 years. I've had to deal with leaving my apartment, being in and out of the hospital, then temporary living arrangements for a while. Additionally, I haven't bought new clothes in about 7 years, resulting in 99% of my wardrobe being too small, too large, or worn out. This doesn't come close to conveying the impression I would like to and need to convey at work.

So I made up my mind that my new place represents a fresh start and I'm going to make the most of it. I'm going to stop living out of boxes and actually unpack and organize my stuff. I don't really have a ton of things I need to get rid of, since the majority of my "stuff" disappeared when I went into the hospital (I mean that literally, I have no idea what happened to it,) but I am looking to actively make a home for myself. I'm also replacing my wardrobe a few pieces at a time. I did some research into what is actually needed for a nice, professional wardrobe, and I'm concentrating on buying pieces that fit well, are high quality, and provide me with several different outfits. This is going to be a slow, expensive process, since I have to replace an entire wardrobe, but I think it will make quite a bit of difference in how I'm perceived professionally and personally. Ultimately, I think it's an investment for my future.

In both of these tasks, I'm spending money that isn't exactly necessary, but I think it's valuable. I'm following my basic principles about spending, I'm not buying impulsively, I'm doing my research, and I'm buying quality items at a good value and intending to get several years worth of use from my purchases.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Settling in to the new place

I finally finished moving in this weekend. I'm not yet sleeping very well, due to the new noises in the place, but it's the first time in years I've been sleeping on a real bed, so that's nice. My spending will definitely be drastically up this month, I'll probably have spent between $1200-$1500 to get all the household things I need. But for that, I've gotten a mattress, sheets, comforter, pillows, a desk, monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse, chair, a dock for my laptop, and several shelving items. Given that I work from home quite often, having a workstation set up was necessary, and it's a little hard to get by without bedding. I feel pretty good about the way things are coming together.

Friday, June 13, 2008

An icon falls

I was shocked to hear of Tim Russert's death today. He's been a fixture of Sunday mornings for nearly my entire life. It was heartbreaking to watch the MSNBC news anchors unable to get through their comments without visibly breaking down, some in tears.

No one can replace him. As we move forth in what I truly believe is the most pivotal election in decades, it will be without one of the most iconic figures. I'm saddened to know that he won't witness the outcome of an election he was so excited about.

I'm also truly hoping I won't be saying the same thing about Teddy Kennedy.

I have a lot of posts coming over the next week or so, I've simply been so unsettled with packing and getting ready to move tomorrow that other things have slid by the wayside.