Monday, January 30, 2012

Financial downsizing.

This week I am working on downsizing financially. That means to cut spending and cost (for me). The big project is to re-finance the house. The intrest rate on the our house is about 3% higher than the present rates. That means we'll save about $50,000 or more by re-financing. I struggled with keeping the term the same and lowering the monthly payments or shorting the term of the loan and  keeping the payments the same. I went for shorting the life of the loan. Our payments may drop a few dollars, but more importantly we will cut ten years off of our morgage. Plus the PMI points will drop off 5 years sooner. By the PMI points dropping off our payments will be lower in three years instead of eight.

Next, I have bought a used vehicle that is in great condition. I am hoping to keep this for many years to come. Our present vehicle has about a year left on the lease. I didn't really want two vehicles, but the deal on the second vehicle was just to good to pass up. Plus, it is a small truck and I can use it to get firewood.

I am hoping that we can plant a bigger garden and spend less money at the grocery store this Summer. That's right, I am thinking gardening already. I will be planting lettuce, spinach and broccoli in a month or so. I know it may seem like Summer is so far away, but it will be time to plant your cold hardy plants in no time. Tomatoes, corn and greenbeans are little farther out, but it's almost time to start some seeds for other stuff.

I hope to spend more time with friends in the back yard or on the porch this summer and less time at the bars and resturants. I am hoping to get a group together to do (at least) a monthly dinner. Everyone can bring a covered dish for all to share. That way we all get to visit and try new things without having to cook (and clean) an entire meal. Plus, we can enjoy each others company without the cost of the resturant or bar. I know I have one friend who is wanting to do this with a vegitarian group, which is awesome since I am a vegetarian and always looking for new food ideas. This also will give my wife (who is green food challenged) a chance to try new things with out us having to make stuff and then I have to eat the left overs for 4 days. Plus, he is wanting everyone to bring a 6 pack of one of their favorite beers each time. Then we can all sample different beers. This will also be great. That way I don't have to buy a whole 6 pack to find out I am not a fan of a beer. I said we could do a wine month also. This could be made more fun if some months had themes. The sky is the limit if you are wondering what I mean. It could be as simple as a one dish meal, appetizers, Southern food or even a European night. The list goes on and on. I am guessing you could even dress up for the October get together.

I am also hoping to do some bike camping this summer and spend time with friends doing that. It can be an less expensive way to do a vacation. It is better than a "staycation", but not as expensive as a vacation. This is not for all people. If you don't like to bike or don't care to camp then it's probably not for you. We like to do both, so it's right up our alley. It makes both things better when you put them together. Then getting to and from the campsite can be as much fun as camping.

As you can see I am cutting back on out going money, I am a vegetarian, I ride my bike and I am trying to figure out new ways to eat healthier. Hopefully all of this will simpliy the good life financially as well as help me to extend the good life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wishing my life were simple!

It's crazy. A rat race. I am trying to simplify and I seem to get busier! Some days I wonder if it's all worth it. I have so many things going on and they all seem important. I guess I really need to do a personal inventory and decide what is important (as far as activities in my life).

Sunday was spent with wife. Yesterday was a day spent with friends. I had a few things, but they were nicely spaced. I made for a nice end to the weekend.

Today on the other hand. I can't do it all. I am struggling with what to cut out as I am typing this. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day. That is why I laugh when people in this town say, "There is nothing to do." It kills me. They just aren't looking.
If you are looking for something to do. Volunteer at the Community Theater or the Children's Museum. Perhaps help archive some documents at the library. Maybe help remove some invasive species at your local park. Walk a dog at the humane shelter. I could go on and on....

Well, I hope to have more next week. Sorry for a boring post.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I have been struggling with what to do next. I don't know that it is a real attachment to stuff or just a lack of motivation on my part. I also tend to say "What if?" a lot. I have been talking to my wife and she has got on the band wagon. She has added a pile of clothes to the couch. We have also added a few books.

Saturday morning my wife decided to try to motivate me. She worked on the kitchen cabinet a little. I think our son took most of the extra cookware off to college with him. Which turned out to be a good thing since he has no roommates at the present moment.

I have thought about simplify and realized that we have also been simplifying our life by "downsizing" our activities. We try not to say we will be at three or four things all in the same day. Then you feel rushed all day long and don't enjoy any of the things you do. We try to really enjoy the people in our lives more than just the events also. I don't know if that makes since to some of you. We tend to go to a lot of stuff around town. We are big supporters of BUY LOCAL. In fact, I have a blog for that as well.

I hope to get some soil and start setting up to start seeds for my garden soon. I also hope to enjoy my garden more this year. I want my garden to help simplify my life, not add stress to it.
Most of my backyard garden.
My wife may kill me for this...

I am hoping to get a few friends together (a few times) this Summer and have dinners with nothing but things from our gardens (and maybe some local wine). Sorry, my grapes are still to young to produce enough for wine.

Every grape that grew this Summer is in this picture... 

We did a community garden plot last year. We didn't spend the kind of time there I had hoped. (I knew we wouldn't so we only planted corn). The few times we made it and got to visit with others, I really enjoyed it. I am hoping we do it again this year and get to enjoy it even more.
Starting our plot at the ISU Community Garden.

Our corn got taller than any other corn at the garden. To bad it didn't out produce the other corn.

The weeds did well in the hot, dry Summer.

Also, I am hoping to get some people interested in bike camping. We did it a few times last year. It is so much fun. Of course you have to like riding and camping. And it's a bonus for me because it allows for a good excuse to do a digital sabatical. Also, I can usually get some good pictures. Yes, I have a lot of hobbies.
Our camp site for the weekend, minus our tent.
 (it's off to the right of this picture)