So, there’s financial health. I mentioned before that I was signing up for SmartyPig, and I have since registered, opened an account, and set up my first savings goal. I decided to save for a down payment on a new car – it’s getting to be time to replace the ol’ Spectra. She’s been a good car for a cheap, Korean piece o’ crap, but I’d like something a little nicer.
I have also finally, finally linked all my accounts to Mint, which is this nifty online financial management thing. You can set a budget, it sends you alerts, and it downloads all your account information so it’s visible in one place. There are some drawbacks to using it rather than, say, MS Money… you can’t enter transactions you’ve made and scheduled transactions don’t show up – it’s more of an “actual” than a “forecast”. I don’t like keeping all of this information in more than one place, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they upgrade the tool and charge a fee for that kind of functionality. Oh, did I mention it’s free?
I’ve also increased my automatic savings plan at ING Direct to help bulk up my emergency fund. I haven’t had ANY emergency fund until this month, but I had my tax refund direct deposited there, and it gave me a bit of a boost. Now I just have to keep my hands off of it. I’m terrible about leaving money alone…
… and here’s an example. I paid off a high-interest credit card with part of my annual bonus. I’m not going to close it, because that can actually hurt your credit rating by lowering your overall available credit. Anyway, wouldn’t you know that card is just burning a hole in the desk drawer where I stashed it? I mean, there’s tons of things I could buy… I need (want) new shoes, I need (want) a new purse/bag, I need (want) some new clothes. But this is the year I become more financially responsible, right?
And then there’s physical health. You know, the Feather family is just not having a great year, so far. Mom has been diagnosed with uterine cancer – her appointment with the oncologist is this Thursday, so we’ll find out more about what type of cancer it is and where we go from here, but it’s kind of rough. She is, after all, over 800 miles away from me and RC, so it’s just her and Dad down there, goin’ it alone. As for me, I’ve been battling this ridiculous stye now for the past week, and it just doesn’t want to go away. I hate styes. There’s no reason for them, no reason at all. And there’s no cure for them… just put a hot compress on it, they say. BAH!!
On the physical fitness front, though, I’ve been going to the gym regularly since they opened in February – at least three times a week for cardio work. I am SO out of shape… I made the mistake of glancing at the treadmill next to me the other day to see what the little chippy was doing, and she was walking at a brisk 4.0 miles an hour. Hmm. I’m really hoofing it at 2.8 miles an hour, on an incline, even, to get my heart rate up. But it’s more active than I’ve been in a long time and it feels fantastic. I actually *like* going to the gym. And as soon as I hit 3.0 miles an hour, I’m going to start adding some weight-training into my routine.
Now if I can just keep my mental health on an even keel… I think I’ll be alright.
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I was absolutely not kidding when I said Facebook would be my new timesuck. It’s soooo easy to just play around and totally forget that hey! I haven’t posted here in like 2 weeks!
I guess I don’t have enough going on right now to provide much blog fodder. Between playing with Facebook, sleeping over with the girls, and cleaning up after the animals, I’ve barely had time over the last week to catch up on TV (except for Battlestar Galactica… only 3 episodes left!), let alone write in this space. The only really new thing – and it’s not really new – is that I’ve put myself on an austerity program. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to spend unnecessary money for most of January and all of February… and I’ve kind of extended it into March. Just like the company I work for, no new spending in Q1! I guess you could argue that the nearly 10 lbs. of gummy bears purchased over the last 2 months aren’t really necessary… but my tummy would argue right back.
Anyway, I figure if the likes of these bloggers can do it, so can I. I found out yesterday what my raise will be this year, and what I’m getting for a bonus… it’s generous, given the state of the economy these days. And I’m not going to waste it… I’m going to save it. I have all of these things to save for – home improvement projects, upgraded technology, wardrobe enhancements – and now is the time to do it. Oh, don’t worry. I’ll spend some of it and do my part to boost the economy, but I’m going to try really, really hard to limit frivolous spending.
To help me with my savings goals, I think I’m going to try out SmartyPig. It doesn’t cost anything to set up an account, and right now it has a better rate than my ING Direct savings account. You get incentives if you cash in your savings with one of their preferred merchants… say you’re saving for a TV, for example, and you’ve reached your savings goal. Rather than withdraw the money the old-fashioned way, you turn it into a Best Buy giftcard, and you get up to a 6% boost to your savings. Friends can also “donate” to your savings goal, which is kind of different.
Now I just need to figure out what to save for first.
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So, hi… hey, this NaBloPoMo thing is working out really well for me, eh? All this blogging… wait, what blogging? Oh, RIGHT. I haven’t written anything in about a week.
In other total failure news, I spent about $100 since Friday that I did not need to spend. It all started Friday at lunchtime – I decided to go out to eat, but I can’t just eat by myself. I have to have something to read while I eat. Since I had forgotten to carry a book with me all week, I figured I’d stop by Barnes & Noble and pick up a magazine… just something quick. I ended up with two books and two magazines. What is wrong with me, that I can’t walk into a store, buy one teeny magazine, and walk back out?
This morning as I got dressed, I realized the pair of pants I was planning to wear just felt… a little tight. So I figured I should replace them, right? The replacement pair at Old Navy were on sale for $19.50, so that’s not so bad. But then I added a 3/4-sleeve cardigan… still not terribly pricey, but I didn’t really need it.
I’m going to extend my spending hiatus to try and make it up… I’m going to go for the end of February and see how things go. Somewhere in there I have a wedding to go to, so I need to get shoes and some undergarments (at least I already have a suitable dress!), but other than that I think I can do it.
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