New Year, New Goals

Saltstraumen - Nordland - NorwayNow that we’re already more than one week into the New Year, I wanted to take some time (after a very long absence!) to reflect on this past year. A year that was good and bad, easy at times and hard at others, sweet, frustrating and full (as I hope your 2014 was too).

I started the year without a job in sight as my freelance gig ended exactly on New Year’s Eve and, almost exactly one year later, find myself six months into loving my new job within healthcare. And it’s been so good. For the first time since we got married, we have stability and the goals we’ve had for ages (buying our first home, getting Audrey a baby brother, saving for Europe) feel much closer.

In numerous ways, 2014 has been the year I’ve felt most like an adult—a feeling both unsettling and satisfying. There’s so much I miss about being a student and freelancer, like the variety, flexibility and general sense of possibility for all that lies ahead. While I still believe in possibility, so much of my life now feels regimented. I’ve already hit some early milestones—graduating college, earning my masters, getting married—and sometimes question if a new adventure will ever strike. With that said, I’ve began 2015 in a bit of a funk.

Although we’ve started the home-buying process, I wonder if it’s truly the right time or, more honestly, whether I event want to own. Yet, I’m trying to be wise financially and isn’t investing in a home a wise thing to do? So! In an effort to alleviate the anxiety I’ve felt so much this week, here’s a few resolutions I hope will brighten these fresh new days of 2015.

1. Stay present. Why is remaining in the moment such a challenge for me. Is it for you? I have no trouble pointing the finger at my Smartphone or this rush-paced world, but I can choose to slow down. At home, I’m rarely online; but at work, in moments of downtown, turning to my phone has become automatic. How else can I fill this time? I’m still sorting out how to filll these spare moments (maybe it’s okay to leave them empty?), but a few ideas include making a cup of tea, writing a poem, taking deep breaths and jotting down a list of things I’m thankful for.

2. Save money. I spent far too much in 2014 on things I didn’t need—books I could’ve borrowed from the library, eating out when we could’ve just made spaghetti. Saving is freedom and in 2015 I want to make a conscious effort to dramatically curb my spending. In fact, I’m very tempted to avoid shopping for an entire year. B doesn’t think I can do it, which makes me even more tempted to try. I’d make exceptions for socks and underwear and other essentials, but I really don’t need to shop and I don’t often wear half of what’s in my closest. Anyone want to join me?

3. Move more. Confession: I hate being confined to desk for 40+ hours a week and it’s such a frustrating oxymoron that sitting all day makes me too tired to hit the gym! I’ve been sneaking in a few barre classes here and there and always feel better for it. So my third goal this year is to get to the gym a minimum of 3/times a week and aim to squeeze in more movement everyday.

4. Be patient. The last couple of years have tested my patience in myriad ways. So many of my wants and what feels like needs to me have been perpetually deferred, which leaves me feeling restless and ungrateful for all that I do have. So this year I’m going to try and embrace the waiting and trust in God’s timing even when I don’t feel like it.

Four goals. I think I can stick to that. Sorry if this got a bit rambly, but it feels so therapeutic to write! I’d love to hear your goals for the New Year.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Em
Photo courtesy of Earthy Allurement

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Why Yes, I am Dependent

Last night over dinner with our friends Ben and Maddy, Brady expressed his zeal over the fact that he can claim me as a dependent this year on his tax return.  For a minute, I felt a bit better about myself knowing I could be at least some financial help to my husband, and the next it hit me just how utterly dependent I am on him.  Case in point: the job search is not going so well for me.  Things could be worse, of course, and I really can’t complain about spending my days in a sunny one bedroom apartment with the love of my life (Audrey), but it is easy to feel a little pointless. Thus, to make myself feel slightly better, I’ve made a drastic life decision: I will become the Coupon Queen. Though I might not be making an income, I can at least be saving money. After all, tomorrow is double coupon day at Rainbow!  To become the Coupon Queen I must become both savvy, organized, and likely crazy, but the money saved will be worth it!

After doing a bit of browsing on the web, three overarching tips surfaced:

1) Some of the best coupons are found in the Sunday paper, and as many grocery stores place no limit on coupons, it’s worth it to buy a few extra copies.

2) Shop various grocery stores on days when they double coupons.

3) Print coupons from manufactures’ websites,  and various coupon sites, such as The Coupon Clippers. The only tricky thing about this is that a printer is necessary. As Coupons generally can’t be downloaded and printed later, I think it’s worth the investment to buy a printer….thus, I will be doing my best to persuade Brady to let me have a printer when he comes home from work.

All for now! If you have any coupon-savvy tips, do send them my way!

E.