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Relish in the little things.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

And....we're back...

Hey everyone,

I can't even believe that it's been since September but, well. I have no excuse except for the 100 excuses I tried to think of but none of them seemed good enough. We have done more home renos, including the guest bath leading up to Christmas so my mom and her friend Dennis would have somewhere to shower, peacefully. It turned out marvelous if I do say so myself. I'll post some pics when I get around to it.

So on to more visionary, purposeful things. Oh 2012, how quickly you rush in and knock me over the head leaving me feeling already behind in my task/chore/to-do lists. Sheesh it's already half-way through February and I can already hear Spring beckoning to come for a visit.

I don't recall making many New Year's resolutions but I was asked, several times, if I had a word for the year. I guess that's the "thing" now? All I could think of was adventure or exploration. Sounds pretty good. After that, turning over new leaves occured to me in the form of weight loss, waking up earlier in the morning and trying to avoid french fries. I haven't done all that well in most of those areas. 'Cept I did manage to crawl out of my cozy warm bed around 8 am this morning. A true miracle for a Sunday. So what's my point...I'm getting there.

I've thought about money for most of my adult life. How to spend it, how to make more, how to give more. It's been a rather tumuluous journey for me. Credit card debt, tax errors resulting in large amounts owed to the IRS, should I go on? I have been budget impaired and uninspired by frugality and simplicity for most of my 34 years. Until now. I am finally seeing the light. Here's how and why.

Many years ago, a young blonde girl ventured to Atlanta, hoping for the success and experiences that any college grad does. Living in an overpriced apartment with two of my close friends, I tried to mingle in a world where I did not belong. People had money here, and I mean serious money. They weren't old either. Guys drove BMWs and Mercedes in their early 20's and I had just upgraded to my little green Jetta. Women wore Bebe and BCBG and so did their teenage daughters. I had been transplated to the land of excess. Buckhead. For the next 4 years I dabbled in what some would call a spending frenzy. Ya see, I had obtained these shiny plastic cards that guaranteed me satisfaction through spending. Enter the credit card. Ah yes, something I had been forbidden to have in college was now mine. All mine. So why settle for one when you can have two or three? Debt started to amass and I didn't blink at a $700 spree through the lovely marble floors of Lenox Square. Phipps Plaza was still too sheeshee for me so I could always window shop. Was I happy? Yes? Was I a bit delusional about this happiness? Yes.

So as I breezed through this mess of debt, I never stopped spending. I even got my chance...a way to pay off my debt using my grandmother's inheritance and it still kept going. I took a brief sebatacle after I was debt free because the g. Yet in true addict style, I just kept going. Then came the guilt of having to spend my grandmother's money on debt when my brother was putting a down payment on a home. I felt icky. Eventually though, I was right back where I'd started. The amount of stuff I had was scary. I was able to eventually move to Florida and outfit an entire condo with stuff. And I mean stuff. I hadn't invested in some great pieces of furniture. No. It was more like all the stuff that you bring into your home because it was buy one get one 50% off at Target. Or from a coupon I got from Pottery Barn for 10% off bedding that was $150- that's not a great deal. However I was a sucker for a sale, discount or BOGO. I get that from my mom.

Ok so back to debt and stuff. Eventually after moving around every year for nearly 10 years, I had enough for a family of 4. But it was still just me. When people helped me move it was inevitable that they would comment, "Wow. You have a lot of stuff!" Yes, yes I do. I was proud of it. In July of 2008 I met Larry and we moved in together in early 2009. It occured to me that I was trying to fit my entire condo into his house. The watermelon and the cantelope analogy comes to mind. It was scary.

Needless to say, it's taken a complete change in spending and stashing behavior to reform me. The economy tanked and so did my credit card use. I refused to put another grocery run or shopping trip on that blasted Visa. I started to clear out massive amounts of stuff from our garage. Donations to the Humane Society gave me a high feeling because I knew that someone was gonna love that ultrasuede couch from World Market for a song. I wasn't even bothered that I wouldn't make a penny out of the deal. Purge. Purge. Purge. It felt wonderful. Still does.

So my goal is to spend less this year. Only spend when necessary and when I want to indulge.....I...have....to............wait. Let those items sit in the online cart for a few days. Let the sale come and go. If it's still vital, then go back. Most times, I can't even recall what was so important.

Above: inspiration for what I'd love my closet to look like. Some day.

Hopefully you're doing something good for your sanity too.


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