The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-12-30

Friday, January 4, 2013

Filofaxes, pens, and a greyhound in trilogy

I did a Filofax Video in parts and couldn't edit it together.  Why is editing and uploading so hard?

In the end it's a trilogy  that would have been better as one; much like The Matrix.



Link for part 2 and  part 3.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Attagirl!

I'm trying to do better financially in 2013 then I did in 2012.   Over the last week I've looked for places I could improve. The worst categories, the places I used the least restraint were groceries, office supplies, and beauty products (especially nail polish).   

Not that I was great in other areas but these were the areas I had the most impulse purchases.  I set up a cash section in my Filofax to keep me honest. 

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 I pay myself first this way and plan ahead.

But yesterday when I brought home a freecycled coffee table, I realized I handled one area very frugally; furniture and decorating.  Looking around my house I've gotten a lot of things for almost nothing... Or totally nothing. 

eames era surfboard coffee table

This is a 50's or 60's surf board coffee table and it's amazing (now that the dirt is off).  I have the matching side table but it's missing the glass so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

Another great find was my kitchen table and chairs, acquired separately through freecycle.

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The candle holders are reproduction that I paid a few dollars for.  They went with the theme I had going but didn't have a plan for them right away.  Ultimately I put them on my table with resin copper-fleck candles (a gift) and I love the look.  

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My corner table has also evolved nicely.  It has items from lots of frugal resources. 

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Table-scaping isn't something I rock at but I think it looks pretty good.

The thing with decorating like this is it requires patience (there might be six months between finding the table and the chairs), the willingness to make mistakes (some things really are trash), and a little vision; there are things that look like garbage but with very little work or some cleaning they can be amazing!

I didn't realize how many things I'd gotten in the last two years for next to nothing until I started looking at things I could do better.  Reevaluating finances is a good thing; you can't know what direction to go until you look at where you've been.

And and it never hurts to acknowledge what you're  doing right.  Your self-esteem will thank you for the "Attagirl!"


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Monday, December 31, 2012

Marching forward with progress, one Filofax at a time

I don't mind the dings and scuffs that come over time on a well-loved Filofax but stains are another matter, especially large stains that come in multiples.  

About six months ago I got a few Filofaxes on clearance but only kept two; the pink pocket Rio and the  mini Piazza.    I use the Rio a lot but never set up the Piazza which is why it was really disappointing to find the back of it all stained.  

I found it like that a few months ago and being a big mess, selling it was out.  So I put it away until this morning and realized -- as I sat  watching the show Hoarding and doing my 2013 Clutter Resolutions -- I had to do something with it even if all I did was toss it.

I tried to save it with dollar store rub on transfers.

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I didn't take before pictures but you can see a few marks on the back of the the strap.  

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I covered all the rest of the stains.

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And the back is looking... Adorable, actually.

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So I kept going and did the front too...

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I like the results a lot, probably more then I liked it when it was perfect and unstained.  The transfers add something special.  Unique.  Fun!  

midori with rub on transfer

I've used transfers on Midori Traveler's Notebooks successfully but the leather isn't the same.  The Filofax leather is much more processed and has a less toothy surface.  So will it work long-term?

I don't know.  But I managed to alter it in a way that at least gives me a good reason to keep it and see...    I've heard clutter described as ' decisions delayed' and working on clutter issues gives you a firm push towards decision making. 

  Decluttering is a process but I'm doing my best to live within the boundaries of use it or lose it.  At the moment my Piazza isn't clutter but if the transfers don't stay on.... Well, I'll need to revisit the definition of clutter again ruthlessly.  If something meant to organize me becomes part of the problem that's not progress.



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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Filofax and budgeting: Changing money from concept to concrete

 I'm pretty disorganized with budgeting and expenses.  I get paid monthly and it has to last until my next check (preferably, with a little left) but over and over I'm really hurting before the next check comes.   October was a TOTAL mess; I overdrew the account  two days before the next check.  And since I didn't shop early for Christmas and was planning on using my November check for gifts, it was especially painful.  

I had to find a solution... and fast.   I gave a lot of thought to what works  money-wise (very little) and what doesn't (almost everything) and came up with several places to begin.  Leaving everything in my checking account and using my debit card exclusively is a #fail because  I can't visualize individual expenses, all I see is my total balance. 

Usually by the beginning of the third week  I realize things aren't going well (yet again) and panic.  My lack of financial planning is constantly stressful, especially when less frequent  or unplanned expenses come due (Amazon Prime, my post office box, doctor visits, prescriptions, Christmas, Birthdays, etc...)

Sorting it all out was depressing and I had to face it,  I'm not good with money, period.  The one bright spot, the one thing I was doing right was getting a months worth of  grocery money in cash every time I got paid.   

I've been doing that about six months and groceries aren't stressful anymore.  I know what I have and it keeps my spending honest.  If I can't find something on sale, I don't buy it unless it's absolutely necessary.   I try to be really careful so I can stock up on especially good sales.  It's much better to buy things I always need at the best price.

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Since paying  cash for groceries is the only thing I got going right, I decided to expand the idea.  First, I made a special envelope for the monthly food allowance, totally separating it from random wallet cash.  

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Then I made a Christmas envelope. I may expand it to birthday money too but I'm trying not to over plan right out of the gate.  That never works for me.

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The next one is for medical expenses. 

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And the last one  is for my post office box but I might expand this to include Amazon Prime.

I figured out when things come due, divided by 12 months and came up with how much I need to add monthly to cover the expense.  

Writing things in my Filofax works because it makes ideas/thoughts concrete and paying with cash versus credit cards is similar.  Sliding plastic through a card reader somehow  keeps spending more concept  then reality.  Shopping with cash is very, very real and somehow  painful.  

 My plan is to add other categories, things like wardrobe, personal items (specifically nail polish, I have a huge problem resisting nail polish), office/planner supplies,  and pet care but it's best for me to change slowly and organically.   

I think this will work well for me but I'll report back in a few months.  

Does anyone else use an envelope system to budget?  I'd love to know what works for you!


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