Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up

Hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day!

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a payment to our credit card! I'm happy to say that over the past week or so, we've sent in slightly over $2K. That should make a good dent! I plan to update my status numbers showing my progress once the new statements are sent out.

2. Today I am thankful for our freedom. Given that yesterday was Memorial Day, it really makes me appreciate our freedom and recognize how thankful I am to those who help fight to keep us free.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was laying out by our pool. The complex we live in has a pool and the weather was finally warm enough to lay out by it for a while. It's still too chilly to take a dip, but it was just nice to lay there, listen to some tunes, sip some pink lemonade and relax in the sun. Ahhhhh!

4. I will consider this week a success if I can finish the week off eating healthy. We just started Atkins, but the long holiday weekend proved challenging for me and I strayed from our healthy eating. I just gobbled up lots of sugary snacks that I didn't need. Today I'm starting fresh and I hope I can finish the week off successfully!

5. My pet peeves are lying, mean people, opinionated bigots and traffic.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My $400 Challenge

I have a confession. I splurged with some of the money we got back from our rent deposit. The hubby and I came to an agreement to send $1,100 to our credit card. We were very excited because it was going to be one heckofa big snowflake!

Well, for one reason or another, I made a bad choice and spent some of that money. Actually, a good portion of it. I blew $400. (I'll pause for people to yell at me...) Okay, I know I made a mistake and I feel HORRIBLE. My husband is upset with me and that makes it worse. If only the damn bank cleared the check and I sent the payment in as planned, I wouldn't have been so tempted! Oh well, I need to learn how to deal better with temptation.

In an effort to try to figure out how I can make things slightly better, I decided I would replenish the amount I spent. I've issued myself a $400 challenge. Come hell or high water (I'm not really even sure what that means!), I'm going to get $400 more to put towards our debt!

I'm changing, but I'm not perfect. The old me would have just chalked this up as no big deal and I would've put it behind me. Not really learning anything in the process. There is a price to pay for making poor decisions and I need to be accountable for that. So, the challenge is on!

I've started to think of some ideas as to how I'll come up with the money...
  • Sell my plasma. I've been thinking about doing this for a while but haven't really made the effort. Our local plasma donation place pays about $50 per week if you donate twice. Their hours aren't the greatest, but I think I can try to work something out.

  • Sell my excess crap. I have some old items that I've been thinking of listing for sale. I may put them up for sale in hopes to get some cash.

  • Make and sell some crafts. I'm a crafty girl and I bet I could list a few items online to help the cause.

  • Use my personal Mad Money to fund my challenge. I get $30 per week for my misc. items. (Since we don't have clothes or personal items really in our budget, I planned to use this for those items.)

Question : Did you screw up along the way? What was it? Did you hold yourself accountable in a real way or did you let yourself off the hook pretty easy?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fresh & Easy Takes Change!

Staying with the theme this week of our empty fridge and spare change, I figured I'd share with you that our local grocery store, Fresh & Easy, takes change!

See, after moving, we realized we had a good amount of spare change to do something with. Since it's almost the end of the week and time to go grocery shopping again, we decided to bring our spare change with us and use some of it.

We debated rolling it and cashing it in, but 1) we didn't have any rollers, 2) we weren't going to pay to buy some and 3) the bank was closed. Plus, I'm not a super girly-girl, but I hate how gross my fingers get afterwards.

We could have gone to a grocery store that has one of those automatic coin counter machines and dumped our bag in, but they take a percentage of your money and we didn't feel like sharing!

So, instead we went to our new favorite grocery store here in California, Fresh & Easy and thankfully, it happened to be a rather slow time. We are starting to like this store more and more! Food is really what the store is called, Fresh & Easy. The prices are pretty fair too. Not to mention I found a cheap bottle of wine that actually tasted good! It was a chardonnay from The Big Kahuna for only $1.99. Major score :)

Anyway, typically (recalling from my poor college days) it can get a little embarrassing handing the cashier a bag full of change to pay for your items, but at Fresh & Easy, you are your own cashier, so it was totally fine! I was a little nervous at first that people may get impatient with me but there was no one else in line! I pulled out our huge bag of change and started to put it in, one coin at a time. Did we have enough actual cash (bills) that we could have just paid for our items with that? Yes. Did it feel good to use up the spare change we had lying around and actually get stuff we needed? Yes! Now we have a few extra dollars in our pocket and less change weighing us down. Winning!

Question : What's your favorite thing to do with your spare change? Have you used it to pay for things before? Do you snowflake it and put it towards your debt?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Husband Picked Up A Dime!

I know it doesn't sound like much, but my husband picked up a dime! I was so proud of him when he told me. He said "I never used to do this, you know?" Oh, yes, I know!

This just reaffirms that we've come a long way from where we used to be. Between you and me, I still don't know if he would've bent down for a nickel or a penny, but that's neither here, nor there. He picked up a dime! He's changing, he's changing :)

So What If My Fridge Is Empty?

The other night a friend stopped by after work because she was going through some personal turmoil and needed someone to talk to. She came over with a bottle of wine and as she went to go put it in the fridge she was astonished that we had so little in there and actually made a couple of comments about how empty our fridge was and how my hubby and I are living a bachelor lifestyle!

First, I wanted to say, "Get the eff out of my fridge, biaaatch!" But given the turmoil she was going through, I decided I should be nice. Her comment bothered me though. I didn't feel as though I owed her an explanation, but we have a certain amount budgeted each week for food and we are staying within that budget. Why have a fridge full of food, when we end up throwing 40% of it away most of the time anyway? We are not hungry. We're not longing for more food. We are happy and living within our means.

I guess people just have a picture in their mind as to how things should be - a FULL fridge of food (for just 2 people), a NEW car, a POOL in the backyard, expensive JEWELRY, etc. Well, that picture doesn't work for me. I'm recreating what I think things should look like, for me. If people don't like it, then can kiss off. I'm not here to worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up

Here's My Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on an extra credit card payment!

2. Today I am thankful for my spouse. I truly enjoy our time together and how we are on the same page. I love our conversations and how we brainstorm together about our future and where the wind may take us in this journey.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was a nice walk at the beach. It was overcast and a bit breezy, but it was nice to get some exercise and take in the pretty ocean.

4. I will consider this week a success if I start to focus on eating healthier and getting more exercise in. The hubby and I are going to try to eat a low carb diet again. We felt really good the last time we lowered our carb intake and we lost some weight quickly. I'm hoping it will be easy for us to do this again.

5. I am currently craving sleep! I think My Pretty Pennies was thinking more along the lines of food cravings for this question, but I'm not really craving food (although the picture above does look tempting!). Right now, I could use another couple of hours of sleep!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Patience is NOT the Debt Payer's Friend!

I know that "Patience is a Virtue" and with most things in life, I am pretty patient. Well, newsflash: I'm a little impatient today! I had really hoped to make the additional $1,100 payment to our credit card before the week ended.

Unfortunately our new bank tends to hold checks a bit longer than our previous one. I still haven't been able to get a straight answer as to what the policy actually is, so instead I check our account daily to see if it's cleared and if the funds are accessible. I'm bummed today that they are not available. I know that interest in growing on my credit card balances with each passing day. I also know that in the grand scheme of things, this really isn't a big deal. It's just that we're finally making progress and I don't want to slow down and wait for our silly old check to clear!

Okay, rant over. Hope you all have a good weekend! Let's make more progress next week :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Good Day!

We received a check in the mail yesterday for $1,185! This was the remaining deposit from the previous condo we rented. We originally put down $1,375 but we knew we wouldn't be getting the whole amount back. Mentally we prepared ourselves to only get about $1K back. Happily they only took out $190 : $100 for carpet cleaning and $90 to have a cleaning person come in. I guess that wasn't too bad overall!

I checked in with the hubby to see what he'd like to do with the money and at first he said that we should deposit it and send it right into the credit cards. My heart skipped a beat! So, off we went to deposit the check. Shortly afterwards, he suggested only putting $1,100 towards the debt and keeping the $85 for misc. stuff. I thought about it briefly and agreed! We're on the right path and making progress, so holding back a little isn't the worst thing for us. As long as the majority was going to our debt, I was happy!

So with the extra $85 we plan to do the following:
  • $25 we'll put on our laundry card (otherwise laundry money comes out of our food/misc. budget and that already goes too quickly!)

  • $10 towards a car wash (we do the self car wash and it shouldn't even be this much but maybe we'll even vacuum the car too)

  • $25 extra "Mad Money" for Him this week

  • $25 extra "Mad Money" for Her this week
Last night we also sold our breadmaker! As much as I. LOVE. FRESH. HOMEMADE. BREAD., I just hadn't used it in years and couldn't picture myself using it anytime in the near future. It turns out I love fresh homemade bread that OTHER PEOPLE MAKE! Who woulda thought? So, that's another $25. I had already earmarked this to go towards a payment to the person who prepared our taxes.

So, I'm happy to say that things are working out and we had another good day. I hope we stay on this path and continue to make such great progress. Time will tell!

Lastly, at the beginning of May I did a post referencing a quote I read from The Quest to be Financially Abundant -

Ask for what you want and be open to receiving it.

I wanted to share it again because for some reason I keep thinking back to it. I know it may not mean much because many of us have been "asking for what we want" for a long time - aka more money, better jobs, additional hours, less stress, etc. I think I'm focusing more on the second half now, "be open to receiving it." The thing that has changed for me is that I'm truly open to receiving it now. I look for what I want in new and creative ways. I'm more willing to do what it takes to get to my goal and opportunities are presenting themselves now.

I'm not much for giving advice, but I guess I'm just saying "stay positive and focused and it will work out!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's So Nice When You're on the Same Page

So, ever since the hubby and I had our talk about putting the refunded tuition money into our emergency savings account, he's taken more of an interest in our finances! This has been exciting for me, since I now have someone I can share my overly detailed spreadsheets with. Yup, I'm a nerd.

To my amazement, he recently created his own debt repayment spreadsheet! Hold on... Okay, I'm back - I just fell off my chair!

It's been a glorious week or so since he really started actively participating in our finances. However, a few days ago he threw me a curveball. He suggested going a little slower than originally planned. Although my head was screaming "WHAT? SLOWER? If there was some way I could rent you out and get money faster to pay this off, I probably would!" I sat there quietly and tried to understand where this proposal was coming from.

See, for a very long time we have done pretty much what we want to with our money (hence the situation we are in). He is proposing extending our repayment plan by about 6 months so we can enjoy ourselves a little more along the way. Believe me, I get that, I really do! Recall my question about taking a vacation while in debt? He thinks that giving ourselves a little more breathing room along the way is going to make this whole process a bit easier. In my opinion, although we only have small buffers in for fun and a possible trip in the mix, it's what we need to do right now to change our overspending ways and get this monkey off our back!

Although I was loving the few days when we were in sync and totally on the same page, it appears as though he's flipped a couple of pages without me and we're trying to get back to the same one. Any suggestions?

Question : Would you recommend moving forward as planned with a 12-13 month repayment plan or take the slower approach so we can have a little more wiggle room along the way?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

$300 Extra to the Credit Card!

So, in the last week or so, we've been able to put an extra $300 towards our credit card debt! We were able to sell my old Kitchen Aid mixer for $100 on Craigslist. Although we had it listed at $125, the person who came to pick it up asked if we'd take $100. My husband and I are HORRIBLE negotiators, so we said "Sure!" I was hoping to get $120 (I put a $5 buffer in there for negotiating, but when it came down to it, I caved!)

The other $200 came from a weekend trip we took to the casino. As I shared in a recent post, this is something we do periodically for fun. We had some "free money coupons" that the casino sent us. To be safe, we only took those with us so we wouldn't be tempted to take any money from the ATM. Well, as luck would have it, we did quite well. We got up $200! I thought it was in our best interest to leave while we were still up. On the way home we deposited the cash and the very next morning, I made a payment online to our credit card. That's an easy $300 paid off! I know it won't all be this easy to pay off, so I'll enjoy the occasional times that it is :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up!

Happy Monday!

I hope that you all had a good weekend. Thanks for all the comments last week. I felt pretty good by the end of the week that we are on the right track and finally making some progress!

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our final tax payment.

2. Today I am thankful for progress! Now that we are crossing some bills off of our list, I'm really thankful for this feeling of progress. I hopeful that it'll help keep us motivated until we can cross the next item off!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was going for a 5 mile walk around the lake. Our new place isn't too far from a large lake and we were able to take a nice walk around the lake this weekend. It was peaceful and the wild flowers were lovely!

4. I will consider this week a success if I get a couple of items listed and sold online. We have a box full of items that we plan to try to sell. If I can get a couple of those items listed this week, I'll be happy.

5. My favorite magazines are Entertainment Weekly and Glamour. I don't read magazines that often, but when I do, these are the two that I tend to enjoy the most.

Have a great week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dave Ramsey Would Be Proud!

We did it! We paid off one of our credit cards! I logged into the account today and this is what our account profile looked like:

Previous Balance (04/21/11)952.04
Minimum Payment Due (05/21/11).00
Transactions Since Last Statement.00
Payments Since Last Statement952.04
Current Balance.00
Available Credit1,000.00

We can officially cross one of the credit cards off of our list. This is a great feeling! We also mailed in our final payment to the IRS today, so make that 2 bills we can cross off. Yippee :) Have a great weekend! Hopefully by Monday Blogger will be working normal again - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog Love and Secrets Shared

So I was doing my normal blog reading and read a post from Cash Only Living, in which she talks about the joy of paying bills - which we can all appreciate :o)

In her blog she references another blog called Married with Luggage. I wandered over there and found myself suddenly reading for hours. What an interesting story they have! They are traveling the world for 3 years. In one of the blogs she mentions starting over and shares some things that she's never shared on her blog before. It was so honest and real. I loved it. She explained that she got the idea from Corbett Barr on his blog.

Next I went over to check out Corbett's blog and he has this great piece called "How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass!" He's right on many levels! There is "Real Me" and there is "Business Me". You guys have been getting "Business Me". It's kind of a challenge for me because my career requires the "Business Me" to be on all day. I find it hard to let the "Real Me" come out sometimes. I decided that it's time to try!

Here are some thing about the Real Me:

- I'm an ISFJ. I'm super introverted! I'm very flexible in my thinking. I can go either way on many topics. I am turned off by super opinionated people.

- I'm a craft whore. You name it, I've probably tried it. I am creative by nature and I think I can turn each craft I try into a big moneymaker. This is how it goes down - I find myself intrigued by one craft or another, go to our local craft store, spend way too much money buying all the supplies I think I need to get started and then get bored with it and give it up. They've all ended up in this huge "Crap Closet" (as my husband lovingly refers to it as). These crafts have followed us around from move to move. I think it may be time to let it all go.

- I'm not an angry person but I find it hard to forgive certain things.

- I swear a lot! I tend to use swear words more as adjectives but not from a negative place. I just find that it makes my vocabulary a bit more colorful when I throw an f-bomb out.

- Gambling is my release and I probably spend way too much doing it than I should! Long ago my husband and I discovered our mutual love for casinos. They are fun and exciting. We tend to go there regularly to have a good time. We get free rooms and food for playing. We find that we'd rather spend our "fun money" doing that than going to the movies or an expensive dinner. Looking back at what we've spent over the last few years though, we could have probably bought a car!

- I've been married before. I married a great guy that I thought I'd be with for my whole life but along the way we grew apart and I realized that the lifestyle he wanted was not the one that I wanted. I'm a free spirit, I love to travel and try new things. He's very set in his ways and wasn't willing to change. I decided that I had to end it and move on. To this day, I carry a huge amount of guilt because of this decision. I'm lucky to say we are friends now. I shared with him that I was getting married, he has recently found someone and he is now engaged. I truly wish him the best.

- I love a good cigar.

- I'd cut off a finger if it meant I could have free massages weekly for life. There are a few things that really relax me and they are in order of awesomeness - a glass of wine, a soak in the hot tub and a kick ass massage.

- I've lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California and Nevada. California has been my favorite thus far. Although it's super expensive to live here, I tell myself it's the cost for rain/snow free days and warm nights. I enjoy being near the ocean and always need to be a short drive or walk away from it (that's why Nevada didn't work so great!). Sure, the seasons are wonderful, but I've had it with shoveling snow and shivering. I can't do it anymore! Life is too short to live somewhere that you don't love. My environment is really important to me. I need to enjoy it.

- I'm not a super physical person and it kinda freaks me out when people are with me. My family was not a bunch of huggers. I'd honestly like to be that person, I really would. It just doesn't come natural.

- Too often I take on the personality of the people around me. This can be a positive and a negative.

- I never really met my biological father. I saw him once at my Grandparent's house but that was about it. Although I have a good step-father, I always wished I could have had some type of relationship with him.

- I don't have much interest in politics. I guess I'd label myself as liberal if I had to give myself one. I think people should be free to do what they want. Life is too short to restrict people. I love gay people (my sister is) and I believe that anyone should be able to marry anyone they want. I support a woman's right to choose. Who am I to tell someone they should or shouldn't do something?

- I don't watch the news. I find it too depressing. People who know me think I'm ignorant at times but I don't care much. If it's a big enough deal I'll hear it on the radio or catch people talking about it. The news just makes me sad.

- I love being spontaneous. I used to be a planner. I used to need to have everything planned out but as I get older, I love spontenaity. I love the idea of packing a bag, getting in the car and seeing where we end up. Sure, there's still a small part of me that wants to research hotels and restaurants before we go so we don't end up somewhere crappy, but I guess that's all part of the experience. I'm learning to let go as I get older! This is a good thing.

- I look forward to retirement. No, I REALLY look forward to retirement. I have a vision of sitting on the porch on a rocker with a glass of pinot in my hand while I play a game of scrabble. To me, that would be wonderful.

- I have the hardest time saying "NO"! Ugh, this is something I want to change. I'm so worried about being polite that I don't always do what I want to do. Then later, I resent that I didn't. Same thing goes with speaking my mind. I don't do it enough and when I do, people think I must be having a bad day or pms'ing because it's so out of character for me.

- I love tattoos! I only have one but would love more. I feel as though your body is your canvas and a cool way to differentiate yourself before you go is to color it up a bit.

- I have a pretty long bucket list. I feel as though my life really started once I left my ex-husband. Before then I was too timid, too scared to take chances and try new things.

- I always wanted to work in film. I have had a passion for film as long as I can remember. I wanted to go to film school but it didn't happen. Who knows what the future holds though? That's one thing I love about my husband, he supports my desires and is flexible with our lifestyle so if I wanted to pursue this in the future, I know he'd have my back.

- I have a death mix. It's a mix of songs I'd like played at my memorial service when I die. It's a compilation of songs that have touched me along the way. I try to be pretty choosy with it since I don't want to put hundreds of songs on there. I see myself being cremated and having some pics around celebrating my life and this mix playing in the background. Some friend have told me that it's creepy but I say fuck it. I don't care. This is my life and I can design how I want to go out. Oh speaking of that, I fully support Euthanasia! I think that people should be able to check out whenever the hell they feel like it. Pull the plug, pop a pill, whatever they damn well please.

So, that's a little more about the real me. I just felt as though I should put myself out there a little more, share who I really am. I challenge you to do it too if you aren't already.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice weekend. Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on an old emergency room bill. My husband was having panic attacks last year that ended with him going to the ER a couple of times. We had one outstanding ER co-pay for $100 that I had been putting off paying. I just sent the check in so that's another bill crossed off of our list!

2. Today I am thankful for where we live. Having mild temperatures and little precipitation really makes riding my bike to work possible and more enjoyable.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was started to "make our house a home." I finally got about half our of boxes unpacked and started to hang curtains and some pictures. Things are really coming together nicely! It's starting to feel homey.

4. I will consider this week a success if I don't have to take from our remaining food money ($23) to put more money in the car for gas. Jeepers! It's so expensive out here. I originally only budgeted $50 per week for gas, but when you end up running a few errands or take an unplanned drive to the beach, that extra gas money has to come from somewhere. I may move things around next week so we officially have $10 less for food and $10 more for gas or something so we have a little buffer.

5. The summer movie I am looking forward to is The Hangover Part 2. The first one was a laugh and the previews for the second one look funny too. Not sure yet if we'll actually catch it out at the movies or if we'll wait until it's on NetFlix. The cost to go see it in the theater may be a little too steep for us right now. We'll see!

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's so close, I can taste it!

Next Friday – May 13th (oh crap, now that I wrote that I’m getting a little superstitious, but I digress…) Next Friday we will make the final payment on our taxes ($2472) and pay off one of our credit cards ($952) – I am so excited! We are finally moving in the right direction. It's such a great feeling!

As I shared before, I was slightly torn on paying the credit card with the highest interest first or this smaller one to get us going and I'm really glad I decided to pay this one. I NEED to cross something off of our list, even if it's relatively small, compared to the others. In this regard, I agree with Dave Ramsey's Snowball Theory. The interest that I will pay on the other card really isn't that much and the great feeling we'll get from knowing we're paying stuff OFF is going to be worth it!

Have a good weekend all :o)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Planning out purchases...

For the first time in a VERY LONG TIME, I'm actually waiting to purchase things. I know, it sounds revolutionary, doesn't it? I've been creating a mental list of the items I'd "like" to purchase once I have a little money.

-A new pair of black flats for work.

-Replenish my ancient makeup (I've literally worn a hole through the bottom of my 2 year old blush container)

-Buy some night cream as I'm starting to notice wrinkles on my neck :( (Although I fear, it may be too late!)

This is real progress given my previous behavior was to just go out and buy whatever item I needed. Our new budget is set up so that we each get spending money (aka "Mad Money") weekly. This week my Mad Money went to send my Mom a Mother's Day gift, so maybe next week I can get something off of my wish list. If our gift fund was built up a little bit, my Mom's gift would have come from that but we're just starting those funds now.

For anyone out there thinking they can't do it, YOU CAN! You just have to make changes. I'm actually getting excited about the changes we're going through. There are challenges that I look forward to succeeding at -
  • Can we afford groceries on what we've budgeted?
  • What fun things can we come up with to do with our limited weekly date night funds?
  • Where are we going to find more snowflakes along the way to help us move even faster?
Question : Have you gotten to the stage where you plan out your purchases now or are you still just buying things on a whim? If you are pretty diligent about planning out your purchases, when do you find yourself straying?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Tuition Refund Check Arrived!

I'm happy to say that the tuition refund check arrived in the mail! That didn't take long at all. I'm still nervous that they're going to tell us it was a mistake and we'll have to pay it back or something. Until then, it's getting deposited. (The hubby and I chatted and he is in support of us depositing the check and having a little safety net - yippee!) We've now fully funded our emergency savings account! Sweet!

I came across this quote the other day on The Quest to Be Financially Abundant and I liked it and wanted to pass it along. Her advice was to -

Ask for what you want and be open to receiving it.

I love it! I think it's great advice. I'm asking the universe for help to get out from under this debt and somehow things are falling into place. I know it's still early and there's a long road ahead of us, but there's progress and hope. Right now, that's all I can ask for :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a ticket I got a few months back. I went to court and had the payment postponed, but I finally had to pay it... $450.

2. Today I am thankful for my strong legs. They helped me bike the 3.5 miles into work this morning. We are now in our new apartment and luckily a friend gave me her bike for FREE this weekend, so I was able to ride that in today! I felt like a kid riding down the street with the wind in my hair. I think I may need to invest in a helmet though. Not sure how much that will run me but it's probably worth it. I recently learned that an old acquaintance was riding his bike down in Florida and got hit and died. It really makes you think how safety comes first.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was got to ride a bike again for the first time in manyyyy years!

4. I will consider this week a success if I get all of our boxes unpacked! Our place is very small and we have a hard enough time just maneuvering around the furniture and each other, but when you throw a few dozen boxes in there as well, it's like a bomb went off! I'm going to challenge myself to get 1 or 2 boxes unpacked nightly. My goal is to have it completely done this weekend.

5. One thing I appreciate about my mom is her thoughtfulness and her sense of humor. (I picked two!) She is always doing sweet things for family members and remembering special days, even if it's just with a small gesture. Her thoughtfulness is appreciated. I also love her sense of humor! She is quick and witty. She's given all of us her fast sense of humor and I really appreciate that.