Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes . . .

Been kinda quiet here on my blog for a bit.  Simply, it's taken me a really long time to move out of the craziness of construction.  Just this Monday the very last thing was completed.  Unfortunately the new counter cracked back in May.  I mean, really???  Granite cracks after two months???? Granite cracks at all???  It took two months to get the granite guy to come back out and seal the crack.  He's an asshat.  He jammed up constructions on every phase he was involved with.  Every single time he said he would be there, he cancelled and jammed up the schedule - but it's finally done and I never have to deal with him again and my contractor is never going to use him again.

Let me preface the following by saying upfront that I love everything I had done in the house and I am enjoying everything about it - particularly in the basement, which has stayed bone dry throughout the ridiculous amount of rain we've had here in the Midwest this spring and summer while the rest of the country is burning up.

However - the construction completely and utterly undid me.  I don't know why I didn't handle it better than I did.  Maybe I was still in recovery mode after the car accident I was involved in back in November.  I don't know.  It doesn't help that I'm still finding dust everywhere even though the house has been cleaned thoroughly multiple times.  There is still stuff sitting around in the living room that I haven't quite gotten through, and the basement still needs another clean up - there is definitely still dust down there.  I turned to old coping skills that I thought were long behind me and it's not pretty.

I gained far too much weight, and now my menopausal body has a completely different shape than I've ever had in my entire life.  Again, it's not pretty.  I am uncomfortable and I look awful.  It is what it is - a point in time, and I'm doing the best I can to move forward.  Counting WW points - I'm not ready to attend a meeting yet, but I still pay for my monthly pass so I would imagine that will be on my list in the coming months, particularly since I don't want to waste the $40+ bucks a month that it costs me to have a monthly pass.

Turn and face the strange . . .

The construction also did some damage to my savings.  So, I'm about to embark on a major financial change: living on a budget.  A serious budget.  A strict budget that will help me achieve my own personal goals.  I am very lucky and it's been many years since I have had to live within very specific financial numbers.

The construction ran quite a bit over budget (something about champagne taste . . .).  And now, for a variety of reasons - one of which is that I would eventually like to retire - I am embarking on a budget on August 1st.  I'll go to the end of the year, tweaking and shifting and returning to my old model of cash and carry.  I imagine I will continue in the years to come.  I also imagine it's going to be a bit squeaky for awhile.  I've spent the past couple of days working on gathering expenses and looking at how much I spend on things.  Unfortunately, it's clear that more goes out than comes in.  That cannot continue, and since I've been advised not to touch any more of my savings if I want to retire and not run out of money, I must actually live on my paycheck.

I realize that most everyone does this - and I did it for a very long time, but, like I already said, I have been and continue to be lucky.  I have not had to do anything like this for decades.  But I'm doing it now.  Thankfully, I used to be a master at it.  I'm trusting that those skills will brush back up and drop right into place. It's all good in theory - in practice, it means that I will be keeping track.  Of everything.  I won't be using my credit cards. I will be cooking more.  I won't be eating out at lunch (that's $50-$65 a WEEK right there for lunches in the city.  Yes, it costs that much.  It's spendy to eat lunch in the city.).

I've already taken some painless cost cutting steps - changed from the sleep dentist in Oakbrook to the one in the city office - less car time, no city parking charges (it's $20-$25 a day when you park in the city).  I cut my sessions with my trainer from twice to once a week (that means that it's on me to get the other workout in on my own). On the docket for this weekend:  a trip to the library to renew my library card, and what might be a painful step for me:  my last "cut and color" for quite some time . . . I'm not sure how well that's going to go, but certainly an "every 5 weeks" visit to the salon is not in my future for awhile until I see how everything shakes out and how well I adjust to this new financial focus.

However it goes, it's going to be an adventure, that's for sure.  And truth be told, I'm kinda excited about it!

So I turned myself to face me . . .

The first major question facing me:  Is $200 bucks a month for food reasonable for one human?

Stay tuned, we're about to find out . . .




4 comments:

Michelle said...

Have started a response to your email, but a quick answer: Yes, $200/mo. is VERY doable for an individual. You are a master at getting back on track; kudos!!!

A :-) said...

So glad to hear you say that, Michelle - I will be happy to hear any tips you have :-)

Linda M said...

Hi Annie,
Yes, $200 is very reasonable and doable for food for a month if you plan ahead for lunches and cook multiple portions for dinners. Before completely giving up the cut and color: is there an Aveda school anyplace near you? or maybe a Paul Mitchell school? you can have the students do the color for not much money and sometimes the instructors will do the cut for you as a teaching moment at the school price. YOur house came out beautifully so it is worth making some sacrifices now to get the funds back into balance. Good luck with the project and please keep sharing.

A :-) said...

Linda! Thanks so much for your encouragement!! I think there definitely is a beauty school somewhere near me. I will check into it. Great idea!! And yes, I love everything I did in the house. I really do - and, if nothing else, this will be a great exercise in getting ready to live on a fixed budget when the time comes :-)