journeytominimalism

Tossing the clutter to have a more meaningful life!

Chipping away at the Clutter Monster

Wow – what a busy past couple of weeks it has been.  I feel like after this weekend, I’m finally back on track with de-cluttering my crazy world!  This weekend, I took a lot of things to Goodwill for donations.  Old dishes that have been boxed up for over a year, old purses and bags that have been stuffed in the back of the closet for way too long, and other nick knacks I haven’t looked at or used for so long that I forgot I even had them!

How many purses and backpacks could one person possibly have you ask?  Well – I stopped counting at 15…it was too depressing to keep up count.  But oh boy what a feeling of relief after I unloaded the car at the donation center!  I drove away feeling like a chunk of cement was chipped away and tossed from the massive rock of stuff that is holding me down!  What an awesome feeling!  I managed to clean out the small closet in my spare bedroom, which I use as an office, as well as clean out a good portion of another closet and the garage.  I also tossed a lot of old cosmetics that I have been hanging on to for some unknown reason.

Now, back to the debt portion of my journey.  The really cool thing is that I’m going to finish paying off that credit card next month – WOOHOO!!  That means I can concentrate efforts on getting that car payment down which is like a menacing monster following me around right now.

I took a look at the bills I have going out – utilities, mortgage, college loans, etc – stuff that is none credit card related.  It looks like once I have the credit card paid off, I will have about $400 a month extra after bills.  I think my best bet is to maybe throw a little of that into savings – I would like to continue to build up the savings in case of any emergencies that pop up.  Then, pile majority of it into the car payment.  I am going to feel things out and see how it goes, but that’s my plan for right now.

I’m glad to be back on track and feel pumped up about my adventure after unloading a lot of things today and making progress!

Maybe I will be on that boat in another year!  Who knows…  🙂

 

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Temporary Roadblock to the Journey

OK – so the plan this weekend was to go through the monthly bills and figure out how much is going out each month in order for me to better set a goal on where I need to be in my plan to conquer that debt monster.  Unfortunately, reality at work hit hard this week and ran a little over into my weekend.  The monthly bill review is delayed until I can get my head above water at work. 

I do want to thank all of my readers so far and especially my commenters – what helpful suggestions and ideas!  I hope to be back with you next weekend with a better post on my minimalism journey. 

Thanks and have a great week!

Julia

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Baby Steps & The Debt Monster

As you already know, I’m starting out my adventure towards minimalism.  This past week was pretty crazy at work, considering I had been out for a week on vacation and then found out I am needed in TX for a meeting this week.  Needless to say, the earliest I was able to concentrate on my plan to minimalism was today.

How many of you have seen the movie “What About Bob?” with Bill Murray?  Well, if you haven’t seen it – you absolutely MUST!  Bill Murray acts the part of this guy who has an extreme phobia of leaving his apartment.  He struggles everyday with trying to take another step into the world – one day he makes it outside his apartment, then another day he makes it to the pay phone outside, the bus, and finally all the way to the lake house where his therapist is vacationing.  My main takeaway from this movie is that Baby Steps are the key.  The whole time Bill is trying to do something to better his life journey, he tells himself “Baby steps, baby steps”.  Bill takes baby steps in the movie and although it takes him a long time to get to where he wants to be, he eventually gets there and it’s a success!  It takes time to make life changes and if you try and do it too fast, you will fail.  I guess you can kind of say I’ve started taking my “baby steps” towards a new life.

This weekend, I have already taken another baby step by taking several items to the pawn shop, and when they wouldn’t take what I had I went straight to Goodwill and donated.  I didn’t have very many items in this load, just some old electronics and nick-naks.  Unfortunately, most pawn shops will not take computers older than 1 year.  I have an ancient laptop and another dusty computer that I’m trying to get rid of – next weekend I will look into some computer recycling places.

After my trip to the pawn shop, Goodwill, and other errands, I came home and assessed the debt.  It actually is not as bad as one would expect.  I totaled up everything – mortgage, auto loan, college loans, and credit card bill and the grand total is $132,004.23.  Not bad for everything included – most people my age that I know have house mortgages alone totaling more than that.  Needless to say – I’m feeling pretty good about the debt I have to work on.  Thanks to my financially wise mother, I have always been very careful with credit card debt and trying to spend money wisely.  Thanks Mom for the important lessons in life!

So the next step – figure out what to pay off first.  My college loans have the lowest interest rate.  My credit card has the smallest debt and doesn’t have the best interest rate, so I think I will start with paying that off first and get that out of the way.  Then, next step will be concentrating on the auto loan.

Now – here’s where I can do 1 of 2 things.  I could sell the car.  I checked blue book and if I sold it outright (not through a dealer) I could get enough to pay it off.  Then, I could get an old beater.  While this sounds like a great idea….I think back to the VW Jetta beater I had before this newer car and I shudder at the thought of possibly getting another lemon like the VW was.  I have to have a reliable car right now due to lack of public transportation and inability to walk or bike to work.

So, my second option is keep the car for now and maybe double up on the payments when I can until I’m ready to sell it and then maybe get a little bit of money in my pocket then.  Either way – It’s key that I have reliable transportation for a little longer and I think this second option is my best bet.

The mortgage – the largest piece of my debt.  Since I purchased the house just before it went into foreclosure, I got such a great deal on it that I’m not so concerned about this piece of the debt right now.  I can turn around and sell the house and actually make some money off of it, which is a pretty rare thing these days.  Houses have been selling like wildfire in my neighborhood, so I’m confident I could sell mine and make some $$.

Right now, the plan is to pay off the credit card debt as fast as possible, get the auto loan down quickly, and then concentrate on college loans.   As to purchases – if I don’t have the cash for it in my budget, then I don’t need it.  I will hang on to my one and only credit card in case of emergency with the car or house, but will not be using it for any purchases.

I feel confident with my journey so far and very excited to see how this goes and the lessons I learn along the way.  If anyone reading this has gone through this before and has suggestions – PLEASE share! Any helpful ideas and thoughts are always welcome and greatly appreciated!

Next blog will probably be next weekend since I will be traveling this week.  That blog will update you on my progress and also I will be taking a look at my monthly expenses.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Julia

PS: Seriously – if you haven’t seen “What About Bob” – you don’t know what you are missing!  🙂  To help you out – see the movie preview in the link below.

http://youtu.be/ptmP1lziJw4

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