Friday, February 5, 2010

New year outlook, one month in...

My brain seems to be on overdrive lately, but in a good way. I just wish the bleak, dreary days of winter wouldn't be so, well, bleak and dreary, making my S.A.D. seem not so, well, SAD. But I still have a positive outlook and waiting and watching for the first signs of spring that will happen in just a couple short months. To bide my time, I have many things I am working on to get more organized and feel like I have a handle on a few things.

Over the last couple of days, I've been working on my kids' homeschool lesson plans for the next nine months, and I'm about halfway's at times stressful, but I am liking the feeling of having it all organized and done so I won't have to do it again until the fall. I'll work on the other half next week.

To help me from going stir crazy and fight off cabin fever, I've been snuggling up in blankets and doing a lot of reading over the last month, and just finished Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. Before that I read Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Both outstanding books, and both very convicting. My heart and soul are thirsting for more God-glorifying books like these, ones that grow me and encourage me to be more like Him every day. Mr. Keller has opened my eyes to just what I value, and it wasn't what I thought it was. The Lord opened my eyes to see that there are many distractions in my day that keep me from Him, and I have been working to change that in my life so that I can be spending more time with God throughout my day...not because I am 'supposed' to, but because I want to.

I did also read another book during the last month that was a good read; Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck. I got it for a Christmas gift and it was quite thought provoking.

In my attempt to be reading a lot of books about getting out of debt, I just recently borrowed from our church library Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University CD's to listen to. I haven't started listening yet, but I hope to fit it in somewhere in my already busy days. There are 13 lessons, each about an hour long. That's a LOT of listening!

On the positive side, our debt picture is stabilizing, and we're starting to work our way from negative to positive. I have a spending plan in place and I am keeping track of every single penny that leaves (or comes into) our bank accounts. I am also preparing to sell a lot of homeschool books and other items on ebay within the next week or two. It will be nice to have that extra cash to put toward our everyday expenses so that we can focus on getting rid of debt. In a few months we will have a loan paid off that will help our debt reduction immensely and hoping to be completely debt free (barring no complications), including mortgage, by June 2015, Lord willing.
In the meantime I've really tried to put a limit on our spending. We're eating from the pantry as much as possible this month since I have a nice amount sitting on the shelves and in the freezer, and hoping to eat out very minimally if at all. We did eat out the first of February, but we paid less than $1.50 for a meal for all four of us at Burger King with free kids meal coupons. The young man who waited on us was nice enough to let us adults have free kids meals, too! We splurged and I got an apple pie since I don't eat the fries and shared them with Jeff and the kids.

The only setbacks we've had so far this year is our dog Asia (standard poodle) had her ears act up again and had a yeast infection in one of them, and some appliances. Four of our appliances are acting up, but we're going to try to get the parts ourselves and see if we can fix them. It should save us about $150-200 to do it ourselves, and according to my brother, all of the problems are easily fixed...just need the parts. The vet visits and meds have been pretty spendy, so that has taken a nice chunk of change.

I am also still freelance writing to try to bring extra income in. Hopefully I can set a day aside next week to write several debt-related articles for so all I have to do before I post them is one last edit. That would help out a lot so that I can feel less time crunches to get articles in.

Overall January hasn't been too bad. We did spend a little more in some areas than we wanted to, but we're working on doing better this month. I got a lot of reading in and it is helping prioritize things better, and I am starting to feel that February should be an okay month, and time to start planning for more spring and summer things like gardening and camping...ooooooh.........camping...... :-)

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