The “A” word

Wowza! September has flown by. I cannot believe we have been in our house for a whole month already! Moments ago I set up our online account for recurring monthly mortgage payments…eeek! I told Brent that I think every time we make a payment I should go to the grocery store and buy an affordable ($10 or less) arrangement of flowers. lol. He looked at me sideways and while I love this idea the truth is I won’t. I hate spending money on- anything. Case and point, tonight I ran to goodwill and spent 28$ on a combination of used clothes and house stuff, and I could not have felt more guilty. I think I may have a problem. Perhaps my frugal mind has gotten slightly out of control when I feel bad about buying used clothes for me and the kiddos. I have mentioned in earlier posts that spending guilt is a problem. You should never feel bad about making a purchase when it betters yourself or your family. I mean seriously, sometimes a cup of coffee IS sanity and other times a new pair of slacks or shoes IS required for work. It’s a gift to be able to afford it and we work hard…we should enjoy it! Ugh, I’ll simmer the internal debate for now and move on…

Now that the first month is behind us it is time to get back to basics, budget Analysis. All moving costs are paid and set up fees taken care of, as the bills come in we are able to see what our new budget is going to look like.Truth be told this is terrifying. Of course we have an idea, we crunch numbers pretty regularly and I over-analyze everything; but what’s scary is the idea of the unexpected. Now we have a washer and dryer, what will that do to our electric? We are in a completely different property what are heating and cooling costs going to amount to? And in NC you pay for water, this is something we have never done and in the apartment it was included…scary, scary, scary. Every time the girls run to get the mail I get mixed emotions. I get excited because (like a child) we have mail in our new home, but then instantly I worry about what’s inside the little white business envelope. It’s a funny thought isn’t it? When we are young we are scared of anything big and oversized, even if it’s hollow and stuffed, but as we get older the smallest of seemingly nothing can interrupt the joy of a day to day life. It really doesn’t take much to ruin our day, why is that? And bills, money, finances are the heart of taking the best morning and turning it into one really shitty day with little chance at redemption. Perhaps what I need is more reflection and less analysis, but analysis is what I’m good it. I can analyze anything I should’ve been a lawyer really, but what I need to do is further develop my skill set so maybe yoga could help? 

Food for thought…

ox

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Vintage Lampshade DIY (no cost!)

I love DIY projects, it’s a great use of time, resources and if planned correctly, budget; but let’s be real they aren’t always successful. There are many times when my love for pinterest and my overachieving self do not find harmony. And there is comfort in numbers because I know, I am not the only one. There are pins all over the place about pinterest projects gone wrong, which makes it even better when it goes really, really right.

Introducing my boring-to-chic lampshade upgrade. We have a boring stand up lamp in black with a white shade, very plain.

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I’d often look at it and think of how bright white the shade was and it just needed to be toned down a bit. The lamp itself I love though. The shelves are  perfect and it works well with our furniture. I’ve seen beautiful vintage lamps but they are $$$$ so what’d I do? I took to pinterest and the world-wide-web and of course I found the how-to DIY version. I was skeptical and hesitant. Is it that simple? And  if so whhhyyy do “they” charge so damn much?? Here’s what we did.

Project Prep:
You could really do any type of stencil design you’d like. For the “paris-chic” shade, I went online and typed “paris script” into google. Then looked at the images. I also looked up “vintage postage stamps” and “french text.” To personalize it I took the lyrics to the song Brent and I danced to at our wedding and translated them from english to french and then copy and pasted them into word and change the text to a preferred script. Print out your selections, grab a sharpie and you are ready to go!

Here’s what you need:

  • Plain Lamp Shade
  • Sharpie (I used a fine tip and a regular but either will do)
  • Tape
  • Internet, Printer & Paper
  • Tea Bags & Water (optional)

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(Optional) Step 1: As I said above this shade was bright white so I wanted to tone it down. Step 1 for us was boiling 6 chamomile tea bags (it was all I had-any tea will work). Then “painting” the shade with the tea to stain it in the famous antique mode we all learned in third grade.

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Step 2:  Take your printouts and tape them inside your lamp shade. Turn them at an angle, straight on, however you would like to see it. Maybe move them around a bit. Then reattach your lampshade to the stand, with a bulb. Turn it on to get an idea of how the design could look (sorry no pic but you get the jist.)

Step 3: Get comfy, grab some wine and begin tracing. As I started this I was a little overwhelmed. There was a lot of text to trace and I realized it could take me a while, but it really didn’t. The fine text was the easiest to do and came out the most beautiful.

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Overall this project only took about two hours but I broke it up into a day and a night project. The girls helped me with the staining and then I did the stencil in the evening when I needed some art and wine therapy. I’m so pleased with how it came out and cannot believe how easy it was to do and it didn’t cost me anything. I often say that time is money but this was a great use of my time and around the house resources.

Needless to say pinterest projects don’t always turnout but I have found they are always worth trying.

ox

Moving & Saving

Why does moving make a person feel like a human ATM? It.drives.me.crazy. Admittedly its probably more of a control thing than anything else, but I feel like all we have done in the past two weeks is spit out money. I don’t think that this is necessarily because we are homeowners now, we have moved enough times between rental properties to know this feeling well. It’s the cost of transition, literally. The extra gas, the random food stops, the “this is really old let’s just replace it,” and for me I tend to be willing to sell just about anything to not bring it with us-so of course if it’s a necessity I’ll replace it. Counterintuitive? Possibly; but even for the month of September when we did not have a rent or mortgage payment. I knew we had the money to spend but my logic is don’t spend it. Of course we were going to spend some of it. We knew that; but I hate that we did. Are we still within what would be our normal months expenditures, yes-but I’m still a nutcase. To learn from this experience I have made some notes to share. Here’s what I have learned about moving, what we did and could’ve done better, that can help the transition be cost effective.

Don’t buy boxes-there are plenty of stores and restaurants willing to share. Ask around.

Purge what you can- this means that you will have less to move but be sure to think this through, thoroughly. It makes no sense to sell a perfectly good toaster and then have to replace it…(sore subject for our family…well, me #lessonlearned)

Don’t buy bubble wrap-I used the hundreds of plastic shopping bags that I never throw away to wrap just about everything that needed it. 

Plan ahead and prep- Moving absolutely stinks but we started packing weeks in advance and it made the process of packing/cleaning/moving a million times easier. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to do so but when you can try to plan in advance. Whether it’s the actual prep of moving, or setting up the utilities transfer, try to avoid doing any of it last minute if you can. You don’t want to pay any additional fees or for subsequent service. Remember time is money and if you plan it right many times you can get refunds for having service cancelled prior to the monthly renewal.

DIY- Yes, there is a huge convenience in paying someone else to move your things for you. I kept thinking “I wish we could go away for a weekend and come back and it be done” but the truth is we have 4 people in our family (albeit Charli wasn’t much help lol) but we also have wonderful friends. Some would argue the next point but I have no qualms asking our close friends to help if they can. The only flip to this is to be ready and willing (honestly, ready and willing) to return the favor. Tit for tat and come on, that’s what friends do.

Buy groceries for the month but split the location- This was probably our biggest mistake this year. I kept avoiding buying groceries because I didn’t want to transport the cold food from one place to the other. What I should’ve done was made a grocery list that was planned out, per usual and bought enough food to keep us until moving day that included grab and go snacks, quick lunches, and microwave food for the apt and the rest (regularly purchased items) could’ve gone straight to the new house. Then I wouldn’t have had to go grocery shopping in the middle of the move AND we wouldn’t of spent so much damn money on wretched fast food. grrr. Planning is cost effective and I dropped the ball on this one.

Take control– Moving is a bear and there are so many moving parts, no pun intended. From utility contacts, to leasing offices, new banks and doctors, RX transfers, childcare options, the list goes on. It is utmost important to sit down ahead of time and make a plan. Take full control of knowing every contact new and old and what must be done accordingly. Remember you are the consumer, they all work for you, and it is your money, know where it’s going and advocate for it. 

Happy Moving & Saving ox