Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two Birds, One Stone

I have been struggling since my pregnancy with Nick with some weight gain, or I guess the more appropriate phrase would be struggling with weight loss since I have no problem gaining. I was finally starting to feel human again and then BAM, pregnant again! Lauren's 3yrs old now and it's a bit hard to consider my excess weight to be "baby weight" when I am shopping for her in the girls section and not the baby section any longer!

One of the items on my bucket list is (and has been) to run a 5K. I don't really care for running all that much and I have never gotten that "zen" like feeling that people talk about, but it's something I would like to accomplish. I started the Couch to 5K running plan this past fall and made it over half way through the program and then got side tracked by some medical stuff and weather.

Now that I have declared my bucket list as public knowledge, I am more motivated to get some things crossed off. Is there anything worse than a to-do list that has NOTHING crossed off? I think not! It's officially time to DO WORK SON!

Tonight when Matt woke up I put on ye old running shoes, grabbed my charged up iPod and hit the road. I am starting over at week 1 and I am hoping to finish the program by running in the 5th 3rd Riverbank Run on May 14. This puts a tight timeline, so I am going to have to really stick to it to make it happen. I sent a message to the person at work who is organizing our team to see if I can still get in as part of that, otherwise I'll just register on my own and meet up with the people from work when I get there.

So how is this a dual purpose bucket list item? Well I was thrilled to look at the list of charity partners affiliated with the race and find some of my most favorite charities are benefiting from the money race by the race!

Charity Partners

My very open ended bucket list item is to "feed the hungry" and I hope that I never ever cross that off. We support a local food pantry with money and donations as much as we possibly can. By using coupons and shopping sales, I can sometimes come across things that I know my family won't eat, but I can still pick up for pennies and donate to the pantry. Just because we won't eat it doesn't mean that someone else doesn't like it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bucket List

I try and keep the focus of this blog on financial goals and activities, but all considering, this very much ties together a lot of financial and personal goals. I have been thinking about putting this "Bucket List" down for quite some time and finally got my thoughts organized enough to begin it.

A lot of the reason why Matt and I have been so eager to be debt free is because we want to be able to use our finances to glorify God. What better way to be the hands and feet of Jesus than to be able to freely give to those in need when we are blessed with so much? Of course there are always way to do kingdom work without money, and we actively work towards that, but not having the stress of debt and the obligations tied to us will certainly open up doors for ministry that we might not otherwise be able to perform.

This is my first draft of my personal bucket list. Matt doesn't have one that I am aware of, but he is very much a part of many of these. Some are personal, some are family, but they are all things that I very much look forward to crossing off.

  • Run a 5K

  • Sing in a choir

  • Read the entire Bible

  • Go on a missions trip

  • Open a B&B

  • Visit Ireland

  • Go on a cruise

  • Give my Christian testimony

  • Finish a master's degree

  • Go in a hot air balloon

  • Take my kids to Disney

  • Be completely debt free

  • Learn to ski

  • Be in a movie

  • Be a mentor

  • Visit South America

  • Visit Europe

  • Visit Asia

  • Visit Australia

  • Visit Africa

  • Visit a National Park

  • See Mt. Rushmore

  • Go to Vegas

  • Blog my life story for my kids

  • Feed the hungry

  • Go to an NFL football game

  • Stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

  • Visit Niagra Falls

  • Attend service at Saddleback Church

  • Meet my dad

Anyone else brave enough to blog what their bucket list is? Will you share?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Exciting Purchase!

I've been holding out for some time now on replacing my digital camera. I've had mine about 6 years or so, and it wasn't doing so well anymore. It's gone through a lot and has served us well and I will forever be impressed with Canon products after this. We spent some time researching digital cameras and decided on what we wanted:

1. Digital SLR
2. Canon
3. XSi, T1i, or a T2i

While we preferred to have a camera that took video clips, it was not on the "absolutes" list, so it did open up our options a bit. We've been scouting out the Canon website for refurbished models since they have an excellent reputation, and missed a great deal a few weeks ago. We've also been scouting out our favorite deal websites for any odd coupons or such out there with not much action. Target clearanced out a bunch of floor models on Monday and I missed them.

Well today I did my usual and found through a deal alert that Meijer of all places had the Canon T1i for 30% off on clearance! It was my lunch hour so I hit the road and went to the usual Meijer I shop at and they had the card on display, but the actual camera was gone. I was so bummed! The associate was incredibly helpful though and looked up to see what stores in the area had the camera and the one right down the road 15 minutes away had it, in fact they had 2! I hopped in my car and got there and my camera is MINE!

Another pretty major purchase that we've wanted to make and we've (well I've been patient, Matt not so much!) been patiently waiting for the right time to jump. Our patience saved us well over $200. I have no regrets about the purchase because I've had plenty of time to research and understand what I was getting. I knew my price point and I stuck to it. That $200 that we saved will surely be put to good use!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New (To Me) Wheels!

Matt and I have been planning on getting rid of our Pontiac Aztek for quite some time because having 2 large vehicles for our family just seemed so silly. Whenever we all go out as a family, we go in our minivan, so we really didn't need another large vehicle. I was driving the minivan to work every day and that also seemed pretty wasteful.

I was pretty specific in what I was looking for: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, or a Toyota Corolla, 4 doors, under 150,000 miles and an automatic. I also had a magic number that I absolutely wouldn't pay more than because we were paying cash for the car. Tax return time was our plan and it all just fell nicely into place. My brother wanted to buy the Aztek, and was able to sell his car pretty quickly. I test drove a few small cars, but nothing really jumped out as "the car".

As I was getting down to the wire, as in the day I was handing the keys to the Aztek to my brother, I happened to talk with my sister Jamie on Facebook and suddenly remembered that my brother Scott used to manage a used car lot! I don't know why I hadn't thought of him before! Turns out he happened to have a Honda Accord that he was selling and it was exactly what I was looking for!

It has certainly been an interesting few weeks, but our patience and determination paid off! We have the car we wanted, we paid less than we had budgeted, and we did not take on a penny of debt to do it!