A noble quest ..

With big projects looming (each of which carrying increasingly bigger price tags), I found this article inspiring:


I decided to read the couple's blog for some inspiration. It wasn't the only money-related thought I'd had today. This morning, a friend posted a blog link, the idea was that money should be viewed as it is: A tool. Money is a tool. And I mean that in the pejorative.

Budgeting hasn't always been my strongest asset. In fact, I'll come right out and say it: Financially, I blow it. A lot. Since we started our membership at the gym, meals on those nights are NEVER home made anymore ($$$), and winter almost always means a stop for a coffee before work.

"But I deserve it. I got OUT of bed today" - me, to myself.

Justifying "just" $2-ish for an americano .. every day. ($2 x 5 days a week) x 52 weeks a year = $520 a year on COFFEE. I further justify this by saying it's my ONE luxury .. this is also probably a lie. I definitely have a tendency to pay myself first after payday (I only get one a month). This leaves the rest of the month quite lean. Not that I'm making all that much to begin with .. I'm a teacher at a private school. Educators aren't exactly flocking to the industry for the high paycheck.

As far as entertainment goes, we canceled our comcast account two years ago, saving us well over $2500. We only really go to the second-run theater near our house ($3.50 each) and rent other movies from Hastings ($0.99 a day) and stream hulu (FREE!) on the computer when we're able to get online. Sometimes our queue is overwhelmingly full. This decision wasn't a frugality measure, it was a renovation assistant - if we weren't wasting time watching HGTV all night *wishing*our house was finished, it might actually *gasp* get finished.

I discovered that our food budget is pretty generous for two after I did a little digging on where to trim and how to make our money last in the kitchen. We spend about $200 a month. That's it. $200 .. for groceries anyway. We've been known to splurge on a $5 hot-n-ready from Little Caesers after a long workout .. essentially undoing all the work we'd just put into our bodies, I suppose. Also, there's the "we never go out .. lets just treat ourselves. We've been good lately" ... this essentially acts as a catalyst for complete undoing of our financial progress. We treat ourselves a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I have friends who have food budgets in the $70-200 range, and that's it. We're talking "eating down the cupboards" budget. I complain about having "nothing to eat", when I really mean: nothing I want  to eat. (note to self: stop salivating over reading food blogs with pricey ingredients.) This usually consists of expensive things like soft cheese, fancy breads, and anything with an avocado. I am a great cook. I plan meals, but I'm no Frugal Gourmet - This is the extent of my food recycling:
  • Roast chicken
  • Chicken salad (or whatever)
  • Chicken soup
  • Pizza...
See? I'm not good at stretching, and honestly, I can't remember the last time I bought a roasting chicken.

I'm aware that this isn't DIRECTLY related to the house, but I'm taking a page from the couple in the blog and making it as public as possible to increase accountability so we can get to the (literal) end of our projects and still have a (figurative) roof over our heads.

In addition to the always-looming project agenda, we've gone and added a wedding to the mix. We're not big on the traditional (obviously), so the $40,000 wedding wasn't even in contention. (not that we could've afforded one) We both feel strongly that a wedding is fun. It's just a party. Marriage is sacred, the wedding isn't. We don't want it to be about 300 guests and this hip caterer or those kitschy details that cost a fortune. It's all about the both of us getting married and basking in the company of only our (truly) nearest and dearest. Bottom line: It's a party. A party at which we'll be married, but a party nonetheless.

I'm off track .. Here's the project we've been unwrapping this week (when we weren't sick in bed with fevers and the shakes [me], at work [both, but mostly D] or at the gym [both]):

BEHOLD! Our wee stairs! The weeest staircase there ever was! I know it's probably hard to figure out what's going on here .. That's D. sanding the stairs with 40 grit sandpaper. It looks amazing.

As you can see, it's close quarters. I was tasked with sanding between the balusters and the rounded edges of the stair tread - WITH AN ACTUAL SANDER! Granted, it was just this little guy...

...so I'm not sure I should be too confident yet.

Anyway, thanks for bearing with us! We have so much to do, and it's incredibly helpful to have an outlet to catalog all of this in! Even if we're just sending it out into the ether, it's nice to have this blog some days.