Tagged: Necessities

A lump sum – 14% worth

In Norway, as with a lot of countries, the interest rates are down. Now this is great news for mortgages (my mortgage interest rate is at an all time low), but is sucks for any money you might possible have in your bank accounts.

I’ve been mulling this over and I have made a decision to pay a lump sum on my mortgage rather than keep that money in the bank.

Now, I have to explain my mortgage conditions to you, so that you see that how this makes sense.

I have a very flexible type of mortgage that you can get if you stay within 70% of the value of your property.

The flexibility is as follows;

  • you decide yourself when, and if, you want to pay on the principal. You can pay nothing one month, and a bunch next month, you can pay monthly, quarterly, every second month, once a year.. whatever floats you boat
  • you do however pay interest monthly, on your outstanding balance
  • you can treat it almost like any other “bank account”, if you need some extra money for a project, you can withdraw funds from your mortgage account, without reapplying and without additional fees, as long as you are staying within your approved credit limit

Now there is one thing abut having this type of loan, one has to be pretty disciplined about it. It is such an easy thing to “use” from the approved credit line, that you need to have your finances under reasonable control, or you can suddenly find yourself “using” more than you planned! And you do have to pay down that mortgage at some time!

Now, me, I’m probably way more disciplined than my bank wishes me to be 😉 as I work really hard on paying down my mortgage much faster than I really need to.

And I just made another dent in it! As my savings don’t generate much interest, sitting in the bank, I just took a bit of a portion of them, and paid a lump sum into my mortgage account. It brings my mortgage down another 14% out of my original loaned amount.

Now I might feel a little more “broke” (well,no, not really, as I still have my emergency fund firmly intact), but it’s the right thing to do. I “lose” money (if you factor in inflation) keeping them in the bank. Putting them into the mortgage instead, saves me one hundred dollars in interest a month, and I’ll take that 😉

So here I am, down to one third of my original mortgage… and it’s only been 8 years. Not too bad if you ask me 😉

January in a nutshell!

Ha, bet you thought I had fallen of the face of the earth now, didn’t you?

Well that’s OK, you are forgiven for thinking so 😉  I am after all the the one who has been a bit on the quiet side!

I’m not sure why, but it’s been a slow start this year with the things I have on my agenda, which is why you haven’t heard much from me lately! Thankfully it seems like I’m finally getting my butt back into gear, and I’m sure I’ll pick up speed going forward…

So what have I been up to in January?

The most important thing is that I’m back at work, ever so slowly, half a day a week – yeah I know, stupid really, all I get done in those few hours is pretty much show up for lunch, have a meeting, chat with people and then I go home 😉 Hopefully I get more done when I start up with two half days a week, mid February. And I’m hoping I’ll step up more, after I see my neurologist in March, but we’ll just have to wait and see what she says first.

I gave you a list of goals a couple of weeks back? This year around, I think I’ll give you guys a monthly sum-up, of how I’m doing with those goals, and not just a tally of my decluttering, like I did last year.

So here it is – my January in a nutshell!

Declutter
Have I decluttered anything in January? Well, yes I’ve been working away at it the last couple of days (finally got my act together) and a post is on its way 😉 It will have to count as a February shed though!

Activity and exercise
I have a plan to be more active this year, and so far this month I have been out on an average 2,5 times a week… Not a lot I know, but the weather have been really shitty, and I took a spill on the ice a few weeks back, which kept me out of the walking loop for a few days 😦

Only buying necessities
I’m on schedule, so far so good. But what about my allowances?

  • Books – bought 5 dollars worth of e-books (3 I think it was)
  • Eating out – we’ve done pretty shitty in January, as we have eaten out 10 times. There have been a few reasons for why. Like, we have been working at someone’s house and I just needed food “now”, and a few times we have been meeting people helping them look at stuff and ending up eating in the process. And one of the days I was hanging out with someone at the hospital all day, and just needed a quick bite…  So it racks up! Regardless, we will have to do better in February.
  • Flowers and plants – no purchases, quite the opposite, I gave away a couple of my plants to the neighbour instead 🙂
  • Buying a non essentials – yes, one purchase, but it was really a replacement purchase of sorts.. I’ll tell you about it later!

Other financial goals
Mortgage: I paid my yearly down payment, 10 days ago, and I’m now finally under half left of my original mortgage, phew 🙂

Other activities/projects this year
We finally got the job done at my sisters place, installing the heaviest ceiling lamp on earth, over her dining table (it’s still hanging.. I think…), installed a ceiling lamp in her hallway, and we got her very long TV network cable hidden away (she has the TV at the opposite side of the room from where the plug is), I have to say..  her place is coming along really nice and she seems happy with the job we did…

Other stuff? Well, there are still a few things on the agenda at my step mums new place, but that is going to have to be a February thing!

That’s it for now.. see you in February 😉

Plans for 2015?

We are halfway into January, and you’re wondering, do I have any plans for 2015?

Yes, off course 🙂

I have plans within the areas of decluttering, finance, exercise and life in general! Why don’t you let me tell you all about it 😉

Declutter
In 2014, the focus was mostly on decluttering, and I’m afraid I still have ways to go 😦 Seems like decluttering and getting less stuff, inspires me to want less and less. So I will continue this in 2015. Last years goal was to declutter one item a day (365 items) and I far succeeded that, so I thought maybe I should try that one, one more time.. I think it will be harder this year to find the 365 items, but I’m sure gonna try 😉

I don’t know if you remember! Just like I’m reading myself out of my bookshelf, I’ve decided to watch myself out of my movie collection, and I also have this big, actually huge, photo project which I mentioned for you guys in November, that I will be spending time on this year.

My declutter goals for 2015;

  • 365 items
  • 100 Movies – that’s half of my collection
  • Cut my physical DVD series collection by 30% (yeah, that’s a lot, I have a lot, a lot of series)
  • 34 books –  I did 82 or something like that, out-the-door last year, but now I’m getting into more of the books I love…
  • Photo collection – oh lord…  I can’t even tell you what my goal is for this year! Half maybe?
    My overall goal is to keep key photos as physical photos, scan the other ones I’d like to have access to, and get rid of the rest. Now having several thousand photos, this is a task that will take time, and most likely spill over into 2016…

Only buying necessities
My focus last year on only buying necessities ( I want, I want – I want it now!!!) served me very well, as I had to spend quite a bit on medical treatments instead. It served me so well, I think I’d like to continue the focus this year. But with a small change compared to last years – I will add an allowance;

  • Books – I can still buy up to 10 books/magazines – preferable as e-books
  • Eating out – We did pretty good last year – we will try to squeeze even more this year, by reducing another 25% on last years results.
  • Flowers and plants – stay at the same level of last years result
  • New allowance: I can buy up to 10 non essentials throughout the year 🙂

Other financial goals
Last year I managed to pay off my car (a few months early) and I’m pretty happy with that 🙂 My ultimate goal on the other hand, is to have my house mortgage paid off, in 16 years or less, compared to the 25 it was originally. I’m 7 years in and have almost halved the mortgage so far, which is phenomenal! But it’s getting harder now that I’m on a severely reduced pay due to not working so much. Every January I pay a lump sum towards the mortgage, so my goal for 2015 is to save up 60 000 NOK for my lump sum in January 2016. If I manage that on my reduced pay, I’m doing very well.

Activity and exercise
Due to illness I have not been the most active person the last few years, every time I think I’m ready to start exercising, I’ve managed to screw that up somehow, and I’ve gotten worse again. Now on the other hand, I’m feeling better than ever and I think it’s time to give it another shot. But this time around I’m going to be careful about it and take my time!!!

The goal for this year is to build up to, by the end of the year: 7 days of activity a week, with 3 of these as real workouts.

  • By activity I mean something that gets me up and going and preferable out of the house, like a walk in the neighbour hood, work in the yard, run around playing with kids… just about anything that gets me out of that couch, gives me some fresh air, and brings me into a moving state 😉
  • With real workout I mean an activity like for example going to the gym, yoga, biking, running, Rollerblade … you get the drift.

Other activities/projects this year
I have a few other things on my agenda 🙂 Like; travel, projects in my yard, other projects, throw a garden party, ++
But these, I think I’ll tell you more about, as we move into the year 😉

So that’s it for my 2015 goals… enough don’t you think?

 

Thriftiness getting in the way of decluttering?

I’m having a hard time…

Being that I have decided to only buy necessities this year, I’m trying to use up stuff I already have in my house.

As an example, let talk about… say…. toiletries!

I have all sorts of creams, hair products, facial stuff, make-up and so on. And it makes perfect sense to use up the items I have before I buy new!

Now, anybody that knows me, knows that, I have the shortest hair ever (by choice). I’d be hard pressed to use up one bottle of shampoo a year. I don’t really use hair products much. And I think I have a bottle of hairspray I’d be lucky to use up within the next 10 years.

If I manage to slap on some moisturiser in the morning, I’ve been good. Never mind facial cleanser, night cream, eye cream and other stuff.

I never really use make-up. If you see me dolled up in make-up even once a year, that’s a stretch 😉

But, and that’s the kicker, being a girl and all 😉 I do like pretty make-up and cool bottles of creams that smell nice, and my hairdresser always manage to convince me I need some products 😉

I have gotten really good the last couple years, only buying the creams/shampoo I actually use. BUT I still have cabinets full of things given to me, and items bought and not used up (or ever used). I’m not kidding you, when I tell you, that I use so little of everything, that it’s going to take years to use it all up.

So what’s the problem you might ask!

Well the challenge is that, while it makes perfect sense to use up the stuff, I really, and I mean really want to declutter my place, I just want the “crap” out of here!

In a way I’m letting my “thriftiness” get in the way of my decluttering . There are times I just want to let a “tornado” (yes, that would be me) loose and get the stuff out of my house.

But then my sensible (or we could argue, not so sensible) mind takes over.
“I should use this up, it makes perfect sense, since I’m not really buying much this year”
“I should give this away or sell this stuff, rather than recycle/toss is”
“I need to put it away, so that my sister, mother, friend, neighbour…(please feel free to add any others..)  gets a look at it, before I give to charity/recycle/toss”

All these arguments makes perfect sense – but they are getting in my way of getting the stuff out of here, and achieving the uncluttered space I’m working hard to get to. And it’s starting to frustrate the heck out of me.

Well, why don’t you just “toss” it all?

I don’t know, it’s what I want to do, but is feels sacrilegious to just “toss” things that are worth something to other people, and that might even generate some money for me. But right now holding on to stuff, just so that I can give it away, to family or friends, or make half a dollar on it, are starting to become a hassle, that just seem to stop me cold in my progress.

So what is a girl to do?

When I sat down to write today, I wasn’t really planing on writing this. I suppose this post took a turn of its own;-) It seems my frustration is bigger that I realised.  But, while writing this, I’ve come to realise what I need to do, to get a little closer, to achieving my goal of a somewhat more decluttered space.

I will keep stuff that I know I will manage to use up within a year.
Just take the toiletries mentioned above, I will keep hair products that I actually will use, but that darn hairspray is going. I’ll keep items I use, but (even if its a gift) I will get rid of things that I don’t see I will ever really get around to using or even start using within a year.

I will, when I declutter, ask friends and family if they want it (when it makes sense to ask) but, I won’t hold on to it longer than a few days, before they go out-the-door.

I will try to sell stuff that has enough value to make sense to sell (furniture or expensive items), everything else I won’t stress with. I understand that I might be able to make a buck or two, and total by the time this is all said and done I might have lost out on a 100-200 dollars or so, but that’s OK! I’d rather not having all the frustration and stress. And I think my bank account will survive 😉

But I will no longer, let the “rules” above get in my way. I’d rather just; not ask, not sell, not give away, if that makes my declutter process less frustrating and easier.

There is such a thing as, peace of mind, and right now, I think a decluttered space takes precedence over trying to be so darn “sensible”!

What about you?
How do you handle the balance between being sensible and “thrifty” and the need for a less cluttered space?  I would love any advice you might have, on finding a good balance.

A screw loose?

My gosh! I have so many tools, way to many tools. I swear I could probably keep the whole neighbourhood with tools 😉

Yepp, I’m not your typical girl when it comes to tools. I love walking around in hardware stores. and I’ve been known to have people come rushing over to me, when I walk in. Just because they think it’s so much fun talking to a girl who has some new project up her sleeve, and actually know what she wants and need 🙂

It’s hard for me to part with tools, but I came across this screwdriver set today, that I believe I have used only once or twice. I have another one I much prefer, and that set I even have two off 😉

Today this unloved screwdriver set was given to a friend of mine, who surely can get more use of it than me.

2014-04-01 19.24.20

Spring cleaning

We have had a couple of really nice days, and it feels like spring 🙂 It’s still cold outside, but the crocus are out, and it’s time to start the garden spring cleaning.

I have some raised flower beds, and the edges are painted white. Well actually, after the winter they are no longer quite as white, they are kinda green 😉

So out came the pressure washer, and now it looks much, much better! If the weather warms up a little, I might even be able to freshen the edge up with a lick of paint.

Looks better, wouldn’t you say?

2014-03-27 17.20.19

Out with the old – in with the new!

Ice cream with silver specks? Nope, no more, absolutely not!! I’m done, my dear old ice cream scoop, I’m done picking silver paint out of my ice cream.

You have worked really hard over the years, spooned tons of ice cream, to me and my friends, and I really appreciate it, but it’s time to let you go.

I’m sure you don’t mind, me swapping your worn body out, for a new green shiny ice cream scooper thingy 😉

2014-03-14 20.13.11

Cheating….

SPRING is here!!!

Well, no actually not! Here in Norway it’s still cold, wet and spring..? Well.. not so much!

So today I decided to cheat 🙂

I need a little spring in my front yard. It’s much more fun coming home, after work, when there is some bright plants welcoming you.

What you think? Much more cheerful, wouldn’t you say 🙂

20140308-164411.jpg  20140308-164434.jpg

The wallet maker.

My every day wallet is dying. It’s a tiny, credit card only, pink leather “wallet”. That holds about 6-8 credit cards and a folded money bill or two. I don’t think I have ever had a big fat wallet, I just can’t stand having to carry a purse just to hold my wallet. I’m a wallet in my back pocket, kind a girl 😉

Sadly the pink one is getting worn out, and yesterday I decided to hunt for a new one. I remember having read something about some really thin, strong wallets made out of Tyvek on Kickstarter, so I decided to see if I could find them again. And I did 😉 My favourites are the the Card Holder at Paperwallet , the Micro Slimfold wallet, from Slimfold and the Mini Mighty Wallet from Dynomighty.

While surfing the net looking for these, I came across a website called Instructables , where I found a whole lot off instructions, on how to make wallets, and among them some cool, duct tape wallets, origami wallets out of paper or Tyvek, the original Tyvek wallet and more.

So I decided to give it a try. Since I don’t have any Tyvek envelopes in the house, I grabbed a mail pouch that I had laying around, and I decided to make a origami wallet out of it, since it don’t need anything other than a piece of paper to make it.

It actually didn’t turn out to bad, and I’ll be taking it for a test run over the next few days, just for fun 🙂 You can see it below. If it works out, I can let my old wallet go…

After I did that one, I came across a link on how to make the original Tyvek wallet, and I’ll be giving that a try next. I just need to get my hands on some Tyvek made envelopes first 😉

This was fun – definitely not the last wallet I make – might be the last wallet I buy though 😉 I’ll let you know how it goes when I get my hands on some material to use, there are several different ones I would love to try, within duck tape, Tyvek, and plastic.

2014-02-22 10.46.14

Buying necessities – how am I doing?

Earlier this year I wrote this post “I want, I want – I want it now” about moving away from consumerism. In it I told you that this year I would make an effort at only buying necessities. We are now half way into February, and I thought it only fair to let you know how I’m doing 😉

I have done all right, so far. I’ve been decent at using stuff I already have in the house. Better to use up, before buying.

So, what have I spent my money on:
General items – only food and medicines.
Replacement items – one so far, ref. my post One in – two out – and a happier patio
Flowers and plants – a couple cheap orchids, only 8,5 dollars for the two – remember this is part of my allowance 😉
Books – none, absolutely none, then again the year is still young!
Eating out – remember I told you the goal was to cut it down to at least half? Well I’m proud to say that I’m still on track.

A note on the eating out topic. I have a friend that I normally go out and eat Saturday and Sunday dinners with, every weekend. We have changed this up a little, and we now make at least one of the weekend dinner, in house. We switch up who makes what, and so far we are definitely saving a bit of money on this.

We are also using this as an opportunity to empty our freezers, of all sorts of stuff that have been hanging around in it 😉 We are all guilty of putting food into the freezer and forgetting about it, until it’s to old to use any more, and then we have to throw it away. That is such a waste of resources and money. Throwing a little “pot-luck” dinner now and then, to empty the freezer before food gets to old, is a great thing. Why not throw one, were you gather friends and everyone bring a little something to the table, wouldn’t that be fun?

With the exception of a pretty hefty unexpected medical bill in January (that blew my budget out the window). Being aware and in a state of only buying necessities, I have definitely used less money, on stuff, than I normally would have by now.

I’ve even noticed I have spent less money in the grocery store. I haven’t bought more than I absolutely have had to, with a few exception. There have been some items, like toilet paper, certain foods (dry good or freeze stuff), detergent etc, that have been on sales, up to 40%, and these I have bought extras off. These are items I use all the time, and stocking up a little, will save me some money down the line. As long as I have the space, and I don’t go overboard and buy more than I can use within a few months, I think this is a thrifty thing to do.

As I move along this path, I’m writing down everything I spend, in a little notebook. It’s going to be interesting to keep track of what I actually spend my money on. And what I end up with, having spent, at the end of the year.