Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Real Post From Me!

What's up, y'all?

I'm thisclose to being done with all the moving related things that need to happen so I can get back to blogging. I'm looking forward to it! Here's my checklist of things still to do:

- Finish packing the apartment (truly, it's more than 90% done)
- Return cable modem
- Change address everywhere

Since I've been scatterbrained as of late with everything that's going on, I want to do a little crowd-sourcing. To make sure I don't miss anything, would you leave a comment reminding me of all the places I should think of to change my address? I've given my new address to my landlord (for return of security deposit) and work (for sending COBRA documents), and I've done it with the post office and the two magazine subscriptions I have. Bank accounts, etc. will happen this week. Where else might I forget to change my address?

How have YOU been?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Drive By Update

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Thanks for putting up with a few weeks of guest posts and silence while we get our lives together. Although I haven't been blogging about money, I've certainly been thinking about it. Here are a few of the financial things we've been dealing with:

- Movers have been booked and the deposit paid. The total cost (packing, shipping, delivery, insurance, etc) is around $4,000 right now. After looking more closely at the new apartment, I'm going to see if I can shave off a few unnecessary pieces of furniture (or pieces that can be replaced with used items for cheaper than it costs to move them). Despite the size of our library, most of what we're leaving behind are bookshelves - we found them all for free or cheap and none of them are absolutely fabulous. I'm still really relieved that we're hiring movers instead of driving ourselves in a Uhaul.

- Public transportation vs. a car. While getting around in Minneapolis is certainly possible via public transportation, I think we will probably end up getting a car. Peanut's been managing just fine getting to work, but the jobs I'm looking at are unfortunately not located right downtown, and I'm not sure I can face a 15-minute walk in sub-zero temperatures when winter hits. If/when we do get a car, it will be used, between $6,000-8,000 and paid for in cash.

- Cost of living. Peanut's salary dropped by about 20% (compared to the salaried position he had last year), mine might drop by as much as 40%. Our cost of living will drop by at least that much, and our standard of living will vastly improve, so it seems to work out. Still, it's kind of heartwrenching to think of the difference in my paychecks. I'm even more thankful now that we took one of the cheapest apartments we saw.

We're in the last long haul of our long distance relationship. The next time we see each other will be when I leave New York, suitcase in hand, on a one-way ticket. The next few weeks will be the most difficult, because I am so ready for this period of transition to be over.


What are you up to?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Packing Thoughts

Nothing makes you want to become a minimalist like moving.

My dream is that the next time we move (1-2 years, into our own house) we have LESS stuff than we have right now. And that we don't move from that place EVER.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Moving Update and a Checklist

Moving Update

We have an apartment in our new city, and Peanut is living there with a borrowed mattress and dishes from his parents. It's a big apartment, and about half what we're paying in New York - and it's within walking distance to his office, so he doesn't have to drive his dad's gas-guzzler.

Things here are about half packed - a little more than half, maybe. I'm running out of things to pack that I won't need between now and the move date, so that's good. I'm going slowly to have time to declutter and clean along the way.

We have one piece of furniture to sell and two to give away, but otherwise we're taking everything with us. We shouldn't need to purchase much when we get there, other than a rug for the dining area to protect the carpet. And maybe a vacuum, since there's carpet.

Here's the moving checklist I'm working off of:
  1. Book movers and buy one-way plane ticket. Find somewhere to stay for one night.
  2. File change of address with post office. (Magazine subs have already been updated with the publisher.)
  3. Pack everything we own. 
  4. Cancel Internet, return cable modem, get refund. 
  5. Cancel electric/gas. 
  6. Complete NYC Bucket List. 
  7. Clean after movers leave with everything we own. Putty nail holes in walls.
  8. Schedule walk-through with current landlord. 
  9. Get security deposit back.
  10. Bid farewell to the Big Apple.
 Here are some odd specifics that have come up:
  1. Clean kitchen fan before even considering packing it. Ew.
  2. Remember to pack a week's worth of necessities in carry-on suitcase. Belongings won't arrive for 14 days. Will need more than two pair underwear, especially if I think I might get a job interview during that time. 
  3. Of course, NOW everyone wants to come visit for the last time. After I've packed the blankets and stuff. 
  4. What recipes will enable me to eat an entire bottle of ketchup in a month?
  5. It irritated me a lot that Peanut wanted to save every package that every computer part ever came in - it's not like we have a ton of storage space here. I am SO GRATEFUL that I gave in. It'll be a snap to move three flat-screen monitors in their original boxes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April Spending Report

Alcohol $34.15
Business expenses $3.89
Clothing $41.90
Dance expense $54
Entertainment $30
Food—dining out $55.329
Food—groceries $152.43
Household $2
Gifts $54.98
Hygiene/Medical $40.23
Laundry $8
Moving $520
Rent $2699.69
Student loans $453.83
Taxes $277
Transportation $253.85
Travel $877.80
Utilities $260.57
Yoga $15
Total spending: $6,311.05

Notes
Clothing - I'm a little irritated by this. I just bought jeans in January, and they were a great deal, except they were AWFUL and got so stretched out after one wearing I could have used them for maternity jeans - at nine months along. I dealt with it for three months by rolling the waistband down so they'd stay up and then I broke down and went to Old Navy and got two pair that actually fit.


Dance Expense - I went to three classes last month and now that I'm paying per class instead of buying 10-class cards, it seems pricier!


Food spending in general was high but we're working on that to bring it down.


Moving - that's half our security deposit and credit check fee.


Rent - we are now paying dual rent. More on that in a future post, but at least it's only for May and June.


Transportation - ouch! That's what driving will do - gas prices hurt! I'm wondering if we can get around owning a car after all. Moneyapolis does it, and while I'm not sure I'm going to be a fan of biking, I'm going to give it a shot.


Travel - that's pretty much the last of the plane tickets for this long-distance period. I have one more to buy - a one-way ticket out of New York after the movers are booked. Goodbye to bleeding money!

April Recap/May Goals

April Goals
1. Spend less eating out. Well, that was a hilarious joke that's been. We are at a seven month high for eating out, in part because of Peanut's lunches out but also because of all the good-bye meals we've been having. It's insane.
2. Deal with Evil Internet Company. I did not do this - I took another look and realized I could deal with it in May instead, so I put it off. :p
3. Serious hardcore decluttering and cleaning. Success! I've gotten rid of a TON of clothes and a lot of houseware items as well. Nothing helps declutter like the threat of moving. Peanut and I also moved the living room furniture and swept behind and underneath everything so I won't be embarrased when the movers come.
4. Three yoga classes. I made it to two. Which is two more than I made it to the month before, so I give myself a B on this.
5. Use stuff up. So-so - I'm throwing out a lot of stuff that I don't love or don't think I'll get around to, and making an inventory so I won't accidentally buy more moisturizer before I use up everything I have. It occurs to me that this must be a problem extreme couponers face!

May Goals
1. Continue decluttering while packing. My goal is to take a cart full of donations to Goodwill every weekend. I've done this twice so far!
2. Start deep cleaning. After the movers leave I will have a day or so to clean the apartment but I want to start doing some cleaning now. This is stuff like cleaning out the refrigerator, bleaching the shower knobs and caulk, patching nail holes, sweeping underneath/behind furniture, magic-erasering marks from lightswitch plates and cupboards, wiping down vertical blinds, and all the other misc bits and pieces that take much longer than you expect. I'm watching marathons of Doctor Who and Castle, and it's the perfect activity to go along with it.
3. Yoga classes when possible. I was amazed at the difference I felt after class last month, even when I felt like I was too tired or sore to go. My evenings are filling up but I'm going to do what I can here.
4. Book movers. I've had one company come out to do an estimate, one company provide an estimate based on an inventory, and another one scheduled for this weekend. We're looking at an outlay of around $4,000 for full-service moving, which is astounding. We could move ourselves for about half that, but the idea of finding friends to come help us pack up a truck, driving the rental truck on the interstate for several days, and finding friends to unload was keeping me up at night. Plus Peanut would have to take several days off work. It may not be the most frugal move ever, but it's given me a lot more peace of mind.

6. Spend less overall. Our spending has really been out of control lately and I want to rein it in. Especially on the eating out front!

Resolutions Update
1. Single-task. Not doing so great with this, although since I'm spending so much time offline, I'm not guilty of watching Twitter and a TV show and writing emails all at the same time.
2. Participate in The Happiness Project. Going pretty well, although I'm not actively doing the weekly projects.
3. Be able to do headstand in yoga. Haven't even thought about it.
4. Save enough to hurt a little. Despite the outflow of cash we're distributing, we are growing our savings.
5. Change our net worth by the value of our student loans. I'm no longer sure what this is going to look like with the move and all.
6. Prepare to leave my job. Going well. I've started handing over a lot of responsibility and making lists of priorities for my replacement.
7. Declutter -- ideally, reduce our possessions by about 1/3. Two trips to Goodwill in April, and another load already started, plus a bunch of things sent to recycling.
8. Organize digital photos and finish physical scrapbooks. A little progress made here!
9. Take up a crafty hobby. On hold since all my non-essentials are basically packed.
10. Create a bucket-list of New York adventures and start checking them off.  I'm focusing on people right now, but I hope to check some things off this weekend.
11. Read through my library. Going okay, actually - I identified a couple books I am not going to take with me, so if I want to read them I have to do it now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Linkfest

A Practical Wedding had a fabulous post: claiming my 30s. I didn't mention it here, but I turned 30 in the past few weeks, right in the middle of all this upheaval. I am delighted to report that I am calmer and saner in my 30s than I ever was in my 20s, and so far, being 30 has a lovely cache.

Cate on why having a beautiful home is important to her. As a homebody myself, I say WORD to that!

I love the idea of a worry swap! I think I'm totally trying this with my sister next week.

Squawkfox on what's worth it from Costco. A case of someone writing my post before I got around to it. And with photos!

Simple things you can do to make your life better. I like the 30-day list, understand your big why, and employ the clean slate approach options - they definitely make my life better.

I always thought business cards were kind of lame, but I totally use them all the time now. Maybe I'll get some blank business cards  now that I'm about to be unemployed. My current cards have QR codes on the back that I can update to keep them fresh, but how much cooler to personalize a card to someone on the spot?

Trent asks, Are you willing to share your full financial picture?  My answer is definitely no. I'm not comfortable telling a lot of people how much we earn (earned). Our families know that we are committed to living off of one income while bringing in two, but I don't discuss numbers with my parents. We're a little more open with Peanut's, because his mom will eventually be our real estate agent, so it doesn't make sense to hide it from her now. I'm fine telling people how much we spend on anything and everything, and even how much we save.

I love Smart, Pretty and Awkward so much - I end up favoriting almost every post to re-read. This one in particular spoke to me this week, because of this line: There will never be a convenient time to make a change; but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to make a change.
I loved Cordelia's 29 Nevers and 29 Alwayses - I never made a list like that myself, but maybe I should!

The Frugal Girl addresses the "My homemade food must be fat free, sugar free, salt free and 100% whole grain!" mentality. Guilty of that! I love her rebuttal!