Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bring on the Greens!

I had to go to Costco today to get a new membership card. It's a bit of a pain to find parking at the shopping center where my Costco is located, so I figured I'd browse for a bit before heading out. And I'm glad I did. There was a deal on VitaMix blenders this weekend. I've wanted one for a long, long time. I've stalked them online for years. A year ago, I would've been forced to forgo the opportunity -- after all, even on sale, these blenders are still quite pricey. But this is one of those times that all those years of hard work were worth it.

So I splurged. I'm debating on whether I'll still take the overnight trip to Richmond in April or scale it back to just a day trip. While I can afford to do both, I'm also seeking balance. So we'll see.

The great thing about the blender is that I'll be able to make more smoothies, and in greater quantities. I have an immersion blender, but after nine years of regular use -- it's not unusual for me to use it five out of seven days -- it's showing its age. Also, I've wanted to start doing green smoothies, and my current cheap-o blender just doesn't cut it (pardon the pun). I am glad to be able to get out of my smoothie rut of mixed berries, OJ, AJ, and honey. The VitaMix will replace both appliances. Bring on the greens!

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 2011 Update

Happy February! I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2011 so far and making progress on paying off debt. And if not? Well ... there's always tomorrow to get back on track.

Things with me are going fairly well. I met with my financial planner a few weeks ago and opened a Roth IRA to supplement my 401(k). I had to make a deposit to open the account (of course), and will start the monthly contributions in mid-March.

Not counting the retirement funds, though, I have about $5,000. While it's not too shabby, it could be -- and should be -- higher. I've been dipping into my checking account cushion more than I'd like. This makes me nervous; I'm afraid of lapsing into old habits. For example, I'd been using a credit card (responsibly) to take advantage of an offer for extra rewards points. I paid the full balance at the end of the month, like I was supposed to, but the whole time I had a balance, I felt ill at ease. I've got to get over that. I've got to heal my relationship with money. Right now it has way too much power. I think about it constantly. For a long time I allowed the debt to control my life, influence my well-being. I equated my self-worth to my net worth. Now I'm doing the same thing with my savings.

I recently completed my federal and state tax returns and will mail them later this month. It was my first time itemizing. I'd obsessed about that for months, but it wasn't as bad as I'd made it out in my head. Thankfully, everything was straightforward. Anyway, I'm due a decent refund, so I'll have that to look forward to in a month or two. (Apparently it takes longer to process returns for those who claim the first-time home buyer credit.) I still need new mattresses, and there are a few other things I'd like to purchase. Also, there are a few trips in my future: a friend's wedding in Massachusetts this September, and a vacation for me in May 2012 (details to be announced later). And I'm thinking about a quick overnight trip to Richmond in April. I want to hit the museum and do a little window-shopping in Carytown. It's time I start doing some fun things.

So that's where we are this month.