Saturday, February 3, 2018

Contentment - Inventory, Decluttering & Goals

Since moving I have found myself feeling discontent.  The house is quite a bit larger than our farm house and our possessions, which looked good in our shabby little farmhouse, looked just that here in our new home - shabby. Within weeks of moving I had pinned rugs, furniture, decor, and more on my Pinterest account.

We also have so many projects we want to do to the house.  New tile in the bathrooms, floors in the family room, new counters in the kitchen, paint, and yard landscaping to name a few.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.  What were we thinking??

In the midst of all this I was feeling anxious. We had just bought a home, our savings had dwindled down to a scary sum and here I had a list of things that were $20,000 to $30,000!

I knew the first thing we needed to do is to get our savings built up before we spent any more money on the house.  But, of course, that isn't fun.  Who wants to put themselves on a strict budget when they just moved into a bigger home that need updating?

Since we began our journey many years ago with paying off debts and saving for what we want, there is one thing I have learned: I enjoy something far more when I budget and save for it rather than buying things willy-nilly to fill a void or because I'm bored.

So I have been working on being content with what I have. Moving was a good time to go through all of my belongings and to see what I use and love and those things I had simply carted from home to home the last 16 years. I have been working on making lists of boxes I want to go through and things I want to get rid of.  Many things are family heirlooms, so they cannot simply be shipped off to Goodwill. I need to contact other family members to see if anyone wants them before I get rid of them for good.  Some things my children may want as they get older and established in their own homes. However, some can be repurposed and I can enjoy them in a new way. Taking inventory is a good way to show me what I own and to help me be content with what I have.

In the midst of my inventory on our possessions, Chad and I also took inventory of our bills and spending habits. Although we have been good about avoiding debt for the last 7 years, we haven't been the greatest at saving since Chad began working full-time again a few years ago.  We've maxed out his 401K, but actual savings in a savings account was basically non-existent. While that may have not been a huge deal while we were renting and our bills were pretty much fixed, as home owners again we really needed to have a nice cushion for emergencies. So a couple weeks ago we sat down and mapped out our new budget. We continued to be generous in our date and fun money, as well as budgeting for house projects, and we budgeted for emergency savings as well. It was a good budget......BUT it still didn't really get our emergency savings up very fast to where we feel comfortable now owning a home. With this budget it would have taken a couple years to have a saving where we were both comfortable .

Shortly after, I read Cait Flanders's book, The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. The book covers Cait's decluttering and year-long shopping ban she began in 2014.

The book was inspiring to me to only spend money on essentials so we can build up our savings account, by implementing a shopping ban of our own. In the book she talks about stretch goals.  A goal that stretches you to do something that will be difficult, but not impossible.

Chad and I talked again and decided to redo our budget and set a stretch goal for ourselves - A fully funded emergency fund by July 2018.  Basically, 6 months away. We also talked about our own shopping ban and what it would look like for us. What would we include and what would we go without for 6 months?

Next post I will cover what exactly we are going without or what we have decreased to make our stretch goal.

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