(pssst... hi! I know it's April 1st, but this is not an April Fools Day joke...just wanted to get that out of the way. Also, hello & welcome to my new followers from the Coach bag giveaway! I hope you enjoy things here, and stick around. Please say hi in the comments section so I can get to know you, too!)
I'm taking April off.
Not from work. Not from commitments.
But from too much.
Sticking with a budget, a schedule, and listing all the things that I'm holding back that have been holding me back:
- TV/Netflix/Hulu. Great for background noise, but also great for making small tasks take much longer because of the distraction. Mailing out etsy orders? Eating dinner? These do not take 30-60 minutes.
- Eating on the couch. This leads to/stems from the above. And also makes the dogs super jealous of what's on my plate. How about that dining room table, yeah?
- Going out for meals. Yep. Unless there's a groupon, dining card, gift card or similar involved, it's not happening in April.
- Staying up too late to finish things. Face it, I'm never going to finish everything I *could* do. Might as well get myself in bed and give tomorrow a fighting chance. In deadline situations, I'll give myself one late night per week.
- Falling asleep on the couch. Direct result of a few of the above—*watching* something while I'm getting tired (staying up too late?!) and then falling asleep on the couch, waking up at 4AM and then going to bed for another hour or two... yeah let's not do that.
- Shopping. Not sure I need to even explain this one but shopping costs money and takes time, and gives me more things. I could use more money and time, and less things. Groceries & household supplies will be on a *list only* basis, as well as dog food/treats/etc.
- Work distractions. Because when I let myself get distracted at work, I guilt myself in to staying later to *make up* for my distracted time. I'd rather just get my work done and go get distracted at home or at least out in the sunshine.
- Cara Box. Yes these are fun, but I end up stressing about them at the last minute, and this falls under acquiring more things and having less money. So I'll be sitting out this month for the Cara Box exchange, no matter how amazing the theme idea is.
- Being Overwhelmed. So this is more of the goal rather than a specific action item, but I'd like to be less overwhelmed.
- Being Social. Sorry, I'm not sorry. I love you all and everything but this is one thing that's going to have to take a back seat this month. Unless, of course, you want to join in on any of the MORE list items below (cooking, dog walking).
- Keeping chocolate/candy in reach at my desk. Unnecessary, but so good. So, that can hide across the room or in a cabinet or nowhere. Don't need it.
Those things are getting cut out or cut back.
And here's the things I will be doing more of in April.
- Dog Time. More walks, more training & practice, more fun. Guilty of expecting that the puppy will just want to snuggle up on the couch with me when I'm tired even though she's had quiet time the entire time I've been at work. And the more practice/training I do with the foster, the more adoptable he is! (not that he isn't already super-adoptable, but better manners and more training are only going to make him even more irresistable.)
- Cooking/Meal Prep/Planning. I'm hit or miss on this sometimes, and if I miss the planning/shopping over the weekend, the whole week ends up a big mess of last minute solutions. I did some good pre-planning this week and I've been eating healthier & cheaper for the most part because of it.
- In bed by 11, up and out of bed by 6. Because the sun is getting up earlier, and so should I. 7 hours is plenty of sleep.
- Cooking from the cabinets. I could probably live a month off the stuff in my cabinets. So maybe I will. Aiming to empty out much of these, enough so that I don't have any straggler items that live permanently on the countertop.
- Read books. I don't even know how many books I own that I have yet to read. I was aiming for at least one book per month, which I've hit in January, but not since then this year. Maybe I can read two in April.
- Getting rid of stuff. I have a lot of stuff. I'd rather have a lot of space, but when the space is taken up by the stuff, both are useless. The plan is to go through boxes, totes, random piles and fill my garbage container that goes to the curb every week. Also a box for selling, and donating items.
- Baking. Muffins, bread, whatever. I have a lot of the ingredients on hand, and me making my own is pretty cost-efficient.
- Setting aside specific time for specific things AND downtime. Like working on etsy orders. Or grocery shopping. Or meal prep. My google calendar is going to be crazy this month. I've already added Office Hours to my calendar bi-weekly to take care of bills, paperwork, emails, whatever.
- Make bigger payments on things. I like to keep a cushion in my checking account just *in case* but I don't really need it there, especially when I have savings for *in case*, so taking that cushion lower and making bigger payments on things. Would LOVE to get my car paid off sooner.
- Keeping flat surfaces clear. Counters, tables, dresses. Clearing these off and not just putting something down because I can. I don't need my life to be a game of Jenga.
- Pomodoro Method. Using My Tomatoes to work in 25 minute intervals. I've tried it a little and excited to utilize this method going forward.
As March progressed, I realized I didn't go nearly as cold-turkey on my #nospend as much as I probably should have and wanted to.
On the other side of things, I've also realized that there were lots of likeminded thinkers on board with this idea, I came across Betsy's post Spend Less for March.
and leading me to... The Spending Fast. Or, The Spending Diet. Both from Anna at And then We Saved, who paid off ~$24,000 in FIFTEEN MONTHS. Holy Cow.
I don't have $24k to pay off (well, not including a mortgage but that's a different story) but could certainly use to catch up on payments, bills, savings, whatever.
I'll go with the spending diet, and giving myself $200 cash for the month for incidentals and *wants*. Credit/debit cards are for needs—gas, groceries, pet supplies, household goods. I know I've already got a few things on the calendar that will be demanding my time, talent, and treasure so it'll be best to work with that budget.
So here goes...