I would like to set an intention of blogging in the new year with a three times weekly schedule. My plan is on Tuesdays and Fridays to bring you regular content along the lines of “whatever topic I feel like writing about in connection with the mission of this blog,” and then a more personal focus snapshot of our week on Sundays. My goal is to increase personal accountability and storytelling (my primary reasons for blogging). Also, I’ve been admiring Angela’s Friday’s Frugal Five on her blog, Tread Lightly, Retire Early and wanted to try for something that would help me create a structure here while focusing on Debt Repayment.
The “free” will review a money/frugality win, “fun” will review something enjoyable I did/accomplished, and “family” will report on family doings.
This week, I made the final payment on a $9,000 home improvement loan we took out in August 2017 when we had to replace the HVAC unit in our home. We took advantage of a 18-month 0% interest loan if paid in full; the end of the term was January 2019–so we made it! No interest paid on that baby! I am so grateful that we’ve spent this year focusing on improving our financial picture. Having to take this loan was a big part of me starting to feel really out of control about our finances, leading to more slip ups and problems. Conquering it as originally outlined makes me feel powerful and like we can take on any (financial) challenge that might come our way.
Also, my sister gave me my annual haircut as a Christmas present–awesome frugal win to have a hairdresser in your immediate family. Finally, I picked up a bunch of extra hours at the hotline while my regular job is out on holiday break. I miss having downtime, but it’s helping us make major progress on the financial goals.
Besides a small family Christmas, which J declared “the best EVER,” we hosted one of his school friends for a playdate this week. This family has two boys close in age and recently adopted twin two-year-olds, so they’ve had a quite busy holiday season! The mom brought both older boys, and while our three kids frolicked about the house playing board games and with toys, we moms chatted. It was so nice to have this adult time and catch up with a friend. (Note: Min had a dad friend over to watch soccer while his kids played with our kids another day–so we try to do this sort of thing now that the kids are old enough not to need constant adult intervention while playing. I recommend it highly.)
We’ve all been struggling with colds and other kinds of illness, so it’s been a restful week around our house. It’s been sad that we couldn’t take advantage of the beautiful weather to do something outdoors this week, but it has helped with focusing on the December Declutter. I checked out Joshua Becker’s newest book The Minimalist Home from the library before break; it’s been very inspiring for me in this project. I finally got rid of socks that haven’t had a match in years (this was very hard for me!) and accessories I never use or wear. My kids were curious about my efforts and when I told them about it, they wanted to try. So, I worked with each kid to go through their clothing and choose what they still love and wear, what is too small and needs to be donated, and then replacing the more streamlined wardrobes in accessible storage spaces (the closet, an underbed dresser, and a bin). It feels very calming to know everything we want to use is accessible, not buried under lots of stuff we don’t need.
I’m missing exercise and nature, but making progress on getting back to eating healthfully. I’ve made my plan, goals, and set a focus for 2019 (I do this rather than setting strict resolutions). Here is my focus:
Develop healthy daily/weekly rituals centered around the home (family, food, cleaning, organizing), faith (meditation, mindfulness, giving, ethical practice), nature (hiking, gardening, noticing), and community (friends, work, groups).
I am excited about these things, but still don’t have my full energy because my health is recovering. I’ll include notes about them in this weekly feature.