Friday, January 16, 2009

Random Thought of The Day

I formally renounce my idea that being bullied back in middle school was a bad thing.

I was part of the cool girl clique for the first month or so when I was in 6th grade. Then I made the mistake of buying something similar to the queen bee of the clique. Next thing you know I am accused of copying her. I am then threatened by her and her worker bees that they are going to "kick my ass". I am subsequently banished and left to eat lunch in the library or with my homeroom teacher. It really sucked. 

My mother and I decided it would be best for me to transfer schools since it was causing me so much stress and was a huge distraction. I had been in a gifted & talented program and was attempting honors at that point but was failing. I hated those girls and I hated that I had to transfer. It wasn't an easy walk in the park at the new school either at first but eventually I found a niche. 

Fast forward to the point of the story: I am going out to dinner with a friend that I met at the new school I transferred to. We had been out of contact since we graduated from middle school (we went to different high schools) and I moved to another state towards the end of high school. I found her again on MySpace and was absolutely shocked to find out she was living in the same area that I am in now! Now I have someone nearby who was an old buddy of mine! If I had not been bullied and had to transfer, I would have never of met my friend. Funny how I could easily have remembered only the negative things about being bullied but I appreciate what I went through tonight since it made me who I am and gave me the friends that it did. 

So here is to you Miss Former Queen Bee K.T.: Thank you for being so awful to me because it brought around many great friendships that I still have! Oh and just try to say you would kick my ass now, I took martial arts as an adult! ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Closer to Freedom From Debt

This last Friday was payday for me. I paid off the last $580 on my credit card. No more credit card debt! I have put my credit cards away and now only carry my bank card in my wallet. I also readjusted my automatic savings plan to put that usual monthly amount of money that I was paying towards credit card debt to now go to my online savings account. It feels amazingly wonderful! I paid off my car towards the beginning of last year as well. The giant beasts that I have to tackle now are saving as much as possible and paying down my student loans

Last year was FULL of unexpected expenses. I was free of credit card debt for a short time before several emergencies came up. I traveled out of state on three different occasions due to a family member's terminal illness. When it comes to something like that, frugality mostly goes out the window. I also had to have a root canal and crown done. Not exactly something you skimp on. 

I am now saving roughly one third of my monthly income to a high yield savings account and my Roth. I haven't really thought about what my savings goals are other than replenishing the nest egg and retirement. 

I cannot believe how much my attitudes have changed about finances in the past few years. When I had a retail job at a clothing store, I would blow almost all my paycheck on the "great deals" that I got with my employee discount on the clearance stuff. I have nothing to show for it either because all the clothes are gone. I grew out of that style and went for a look that was more mature. 

There will probably be some people that won't like me for saying this: this economic downturn has taught me so much that I think it has been beneficial. I am really getting reinforcement that it isn't money or possessions that bring my happiness but it is the relationships with people and gaining inner wisdom that feeds my soul. I have weathered so much and become a stronger person now. It is merely the beginning. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Purge Time, Part 2

I have an entire room that for the time being is entirely devoted to storing the stuff that I am trying to get rid of. I am excited about the prospect of clearing it out and using it as a home office, studio and guest bedroom! Often purging items is the most difficult task at hand if one doesn't decide to just donate everything in one fell swoop to a local charity. I have been trying to make a little cash from my de-cluttering so Craigslist has been very handy. Here is a list of things to go, why and where they are going:

  • Juicer - I have had this juicer for at least 5 years and only used it a handful of times. The first time I juiced carrots, the juice sent me into a moderate asthma attack. Should of paid attention to that omen! Getting fresh juice at Whole Foods is more convenient (although more expensive) since I don't drink juices all that often. (Craigslist)
  • High School Graduation Cap & Gown - I hate storing clothing items! These have been sitting around in a box for years and what in the world am I going to do with them? It isn't like you wear them again for reunions! I called my alma mater and asked if they keep some on hand for kids with financial hardship and indeed they do! Perfect. (Donating)
  • Prom Dress - Once again, where am I going to wear this? I'm pretty confident it would still fit but I have not been to one special occasion since prom! Fortunately it is a pretty classic and simple dress so I can resell it. If there are no takers, there are some charities that helps girls if they cannot afford a dress that I will donate it to. (Craigslist or donation)
  • Original Nintendo - I got my Nintendo and my sister's old Sega Genesis about 5 years ago. It was fun to revisit the games I loved as a kid. But times have changed and I have J-O-B along with many other goals that don't include wasting valuable time in front of the television. I hear that the classic games are available for the Wii if I ever decide that I must conquer Zelda again. I can live with that. Best of all, there would be no pink screen of doom! I am going to watch the going prices on eBay to see if it is worth listing and get a quote from Gazelle.(eBay or Gazelle)
  • CD Player Alarm Clock - I love this alarm clock! It has some really awesome features such as dual alarms, weekend sleeper, adjustable display brightness and gradual alarm that progressively gets louder. Two problems though: it takes up a lot of nightstand real estate and I have no CDs so it seems weird having that kind of alarm clock. I looked extensively for a smaller replacement with all the same features but I had no luck. I realized that it would be much more simple to use the alarm clock feature on my cell phone. Done. I just have to make sure to not give my number to people who 'drunk dial' in the middle of the night! =) I will try it first on Craigslist and if it doesn't sell, eBay. (Craigslist or eBay)
What would you do with these items? I know I am trying to get rid of a few items that some would find too sentimental to part with. Some of my family still holds on to those gowns and prom dresses. I am not going to inform them of my decisions because then they will try and rescue the items to save at their house. Yes, I come from a long line of clutter bugs! 

I can't wait to reclaim the space!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Purge Time

Today at work, my mind kept drifting to something I knew I needed to do: purge my closet of unused things. When I say that I love doing that, I mean it! There is something magical to me about clearing up more space so that the arrangement is more visually appealing. I get a high off from the sense that I can let go of "old" in order to let "new" in. The problem lies within the reasoning that occurs after a purge. It is time to shift the focus.

Fighting the Urge to Bargain Shop
I am finding that many of my items that I am purging were the result of shopping at a department store clearance center. It is practically irresistible to get 75% of the suggested retail price and often more during special events. The problem is that I find stuff that I rarely need. So I wear the items once or twice and figure out what a poor decision I made because for 75% off, I could find a way to make it work! Even worse is the fact that all items are non-returnable. Mental note to self, my clothes shopping needs to be more like food shopping (sticking to a list of well thought out essentials)!

Fighting the Urge to Hold On
I have been hiding this little messenger bag that I bought almost 10 years ago at the bottom of a drawer so it would stay out of my sight! I purchased it in Germany while on a graduation trip. In all these years, I have probably used it once! I tell myself that I bought it while in Germany so it is like a souvenir. It is a pretty impractical one though. It is too small to carry my laptop yet not cute enough to carry as a purse. It has no purpose for me. I don't consider myself very sentimental (I get rid of stuff from old boyfriends and recycle greeting cards) but this one item has been held on to for so long. It is time for it to go finally. I don't know why this time is right but it just is. I have fond memories of Europe in the form of pictures and that is enough for me.

A List of What Had to Go:
  • 3 pairs of high heels (two pairs very worn, one pair nearly new condition)
  • 1 pair of boots (worn once, they were a gift)
  • 2 pairs of running shoes (one pair out of miles, one pair like new but don't fit well and never got returned)
  • 1 business casual blazer (new with tags... and I hope that is the only NWT item that was in my closet)
  • 3 bags
  • 3 workout shirts (nearly 100% polyester and I absolutely hated them for that)
  • 3 pairs of pajama type bottoms
  • 2 t-shirts
More to come later...

Getting Started

It is five days into 2009 and I am finally ready to commit to my goal of blogging! 

What will this blog be about?
My blog is going to give you a peek inside my brain as I deliver commentary on the issues that are important to me in my journey of figuring out what my impact (or lack of impact) will be in life. Topics I will write about will be the things I am interested in:
  • organizing
  • consumerism
  • recycling
  • traveling
  • living simple
  • frugality
  • outdoors
  • local life in Dallas/Fort Worth
  • living and thinking "outside the box"
This is probably a short list of things to come. Come back often!