Archive | September, 2015

On wellness

30 Sep
Image from nwacc.edu.

Image from nwacc.edu.

So apparently this is a season of trying to make positive changes for me. I’ve written about some financial stuff, but I’m also trying to make some improvements in the health and wellness arena.

I’ve always been overweight, and I don’t really care so much about fitting into a mold of BMI and pants-size. But I do care about feeling well and avoiding specific health problems that run in my family and that tend to become more of a problem when you are a) gaining weight and b) getting into your mid-30s. I also care about actually eating healthy foods that will fuel my body rather than weigh it down, and I care about becoming more active.

All that sounds good, but it’s been a struggle for me my entire adult life. I’m going to start posting a “Wellness Wednesday” post each week to keep myself accountable for how I’m doing and to celebrate when things are going well. I’m keeping it simple by using the five-question format below, so hopefully it’s something I’ll stick with — and hopefully it’s something that will help keep me on track.

I’m hoping to move beyond past failures and find something that will really work with my life NOW.

1. What am I proud of this week?

I’m proud that I went to the gym multiple times, especially over the weekend while Bobby was out of town and I had the boys by myself. In the past week, I’ve completed four 30-minute workouts, which is four more than I had completed in MONTHS.

2. What can I do better next week?

I’ve been tracking my calories in MyFitnessPal, and I decided that Sunday would be a cheat day. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I had a really hard time getting back on track. This week, I’m going to skip the cheat day and incorporate a treat or two into my regular daily calories if I feel like I need it.

3. How did I engage in spiritual/emotional self-care this week?

I have been reading a lot! I finished The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and it really spoke to me as far as not feeling guilty about taking care of myself. Many times I feel bad for going and working out or getting out of the house for me time when I could be home cleaning or spending time with the fam. But it’s all about balance. Next up on my reading list is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown; I actually started it on Monday.

4. How did I do on my goals for last week?

I didn’t write down any goals for last week since I just started this whole adventure, but I’d say the goals I had in mind were to get to the gym and to eat a little healthier, and I did OK on those.

5. What are three goals for the coming week? 

Track my calories honestly every day
Work out at least three times for 30 minutes each day
Finish Daring Greatly

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On finances

27 Sep
Image from selecthomeswichita.com

Image from selecthomeswichita.com

I’ll just start this off with the big one: I have about $43,000 in student loan debt.

Ouch.

It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to moan and groan now about how I wish I hadn’t taken out student loans. They were necessary for my undergraduate degree. Unfortunately, I think about half of that total was for a graduate degree I never finished. #stupidtax

Even so, if that was all we owed, I wouldn’t feel too bad. But we have an additional amount of credit card debt (I’m embarrassed to say the amount, but I will just say it’s significantly less than the student loan debt), plus a car loan and some other random debt.

Much of our debt was a combination of bad decisions, bad habits and bad luck. When we first got married, the economy wasn’t doing so hot, which meant Bobby had a tough time finding full-time employment in a new town. We opted to push forward with buying a house, thinking he would surely find something soon, but it took longer than we thought, and Murphy’s Law was in full force.

I can’t blame it all on Murphy, though, because we have made our share of poor decisions in the past six-and-a-half years since we got married.

Our finances have been an ongoing struggle, but we both recently accepted new jobs (I posted about mine, and he has since been offered and accepted a telecommute position with a company out of Denver). For the first time, we are in a position where we can actually make an impact on our debt rather than just plodding along with minimum payments.

We’ve also set a big financial goal: Save up a 20% down payment for a new house (in the town where my new job is) in the next three years.

I’m the budget nerd in our family, and I’ve given a lot of thought to how we proceed. I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast on my commute to work, and I really think his debt snowball method works. I also read a Forbes article (I think it was Forbes…) recently about the fact that the psychology behind it is solid.

On the other hand, in order to meet our house goal, we will have to be saving (which Dave says to put off until all debt is paid and a 3- to 6-month emergency fund is saved), and we really need to pay off credit card debt in order to help our credit scores and get a good interest rate. This also ensures we are paying off high-interest debt first, meaning we will pay less in the long run if we stick to it.

In the midst of this, we will also be moving into a rental and (hopefully) selling our current home.

There are a lot of moving parts, but I think the biggest thing for us will be having a plan that we can both live with and stick to. I’m planning to keep a running tally of what we’ve paid off and will likely share it here monthly. I may also start doing a weekly finances post. I don’t know, I guess it will just depend what I feel like doing, but I think even that amount of accountability to myself would be helpful.