Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January is a good month to . . .


Save gas and stay home, for a change. All of the activities and shopping surrounding the holidays meant I went through more gas than usual in December.

Get back to a fitness routine. All of that activity and shopping meant that I had little time to workout. I started back up with indoor jogging last week, just 15 minutes worth, 3 days a week. that doesn't sound like it could benefit me very much, but it's a start, and is getting me back into the "habit" of fitness.

Take stock of my grocery inventory, use what I have, and buy less food for the month. I now have loads of baking and cooking goodies in my pantry, fridge and freezer. This is a good month to begin using some of it up.

Put on a sweater or long undie bottoms, or start up some housework that really gets me moving (with good music to add fuel to my fire), when I feel chilled in the house. Saving on the heat bill, now, will give me some fun money, later.

Make candied orange peels. January and February are the months that I buy the most fresh oranges. Making candied orange peel, for baking with in chopped form, or dipping in chocolate for candy, uses all of the orange (or almost all). And I do love free candy! Candied orange peel freezes well. So along about Mother's Day, I can add some to a batch of scratch scones to have with brunch.

Find those projects that I bought the supplies to, eons ago. I have fabric for making chair and sofa cushions, that I bought in 2013, if you can believe that! I'm now getting around to making a cushion or two for the family room.

Hole up with a good book, or an entire season of a favorite television series on dvd -- both from the library of course. I'm reading An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. I read Amazon's sneak peak, online and was intrigued, so I put it on hold at our library. I also completely missed Downton Abbey season 4. I checked out that dvd from the library, as well. Working my way through the episodes. And contrary to what I feared, seeing this season out of sequence hasn't spoiled the watching at all. Still just as fascinated, as I wonder why on Earth does someone need a lady's maid, to hand her some gloves and earrings? I understand how nice it would be to have someone do my washing and ironing, but aside from buttons or zippers down the back of a dress, I think I could get myself dressed and undressed without the extravagance of a maid. But I love the storylines, despite the extravagance.

Make vacation plans for later this year. At least half of the fun is in the planning, so I plan to plan as much as I can! And if I put on my sweater, often enough, instead of cranking up the heat, maybe I will have saved some extra cash to go towards a fun vacation.

Make those appointments that should have been made a couple of months ago. Those items now glare back at me from my to-do list, as I try to ignore their need. But I will make myself call for my appointments.

Get organized for tax time. Ugh! Another item from my to-do list which I am having a hard time, to-doing. One step at a time. I have a little list of items, to get me organized with taxes, on my computer notepad. Today, I set out a box, for paperwork as it comes in, and memos to myself to remember certain items which never have a paper attached to them.

Make a spending, saving and giving plan for the year. If I plan it, it will happen practically effortlessly. With charitable giving this year, we plan on setting up a direct transfer of stock, to donate mutual funds shares to our church for our tithing. This mutual fund has appreciated since purchase. If we sold the mutual fund shares to give cash, we would have the tax burden of capital gains on our investment. By donating the mutual find shares directly, we avoid capital gains on any of the profits. Making our gift this way will allow us to be more generous, in the end.

Sit down with a cup of blueberry tea with honey, and savor the quiet that follows the excitement of the holidays. Today, there is time for a quiet moment. I'll savor it before the madness of spring gardening begins. I think I'll use one of the good cups.

23 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely beginning for a new year! I, too, love the planning aspect that comes with the new year. Sometimes the execution doesn't go quite as planned, but the planning is so much fun. Also needing to get my garden planning going and some items started that need to go out in February/March.

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    1. Hi Cat,
      The wonderful aspect of planning is that planning is always perfect, in my mind. I tend to forget all the ways things can go off-plan!
      Oh yeah, getting seeds started for late winter -- you have to/are able to get plants into the garden a bit sooner than I can, but it does need starting sooner than I ever think. I does make a difference for us, here, to start even lettuce, indoors. Last year, I just planted seeds directly into the ground, and lettuce was about a month later than when I begin them indoors.

      Good luck with your planning!

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  2. Whew, that's enough to keep us all busy for the winter! Lol! I'm still exhausted from the holidays. I can't seem to get focused. I have been doing a pantry clean out, just to build my funds back up from Christmas. February should be better. I have been trying to live off of the last months pay, not much was left after Christmas. :) February, I will live on January's pay, I will have more wiggle room then. I am trying to break buying so much "junk" foods. Christmas brought in a heap of candy/desserts, I want to reclaim that space in my pantry with more nutrition. Thank you for all of the great project ideas!

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    1. Good morning, Lona!
      It sounds like you have a sensible plan for your pantry and grocery shopping, with using up what's in your pantry, and planning to restock with healthy foods. We had a lot of sweets in our house over the holidays, too. Now it's time to get back to healthier eating and cooking. But it does feel good to eat healthier, after a period of feasting. Good luck to you in this!

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  3. Your tea looks good! I think I'll make myself a cup.

    Any exercise you get is good for you. I think the biggest hurdle is getting beyond the inertia to do it in the first place!

    I have projects that I bought supplies for years ago, so no, I don't find it shocking that you haven't made cushions! It seems like other urgent things take over my planned activities ... dealing with fleas on the cat, for instance, took precedence over a lot of other things last week. The good thing was, we had to do intense vacuuming and laundry which was time consuming ... but ... I knew I needed to deep-clean with the vacuum and while I wouldn't have chosen to do it in one day, at least now it's done (and I had more help that I otherwise would have had!).

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    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh, good work!! But your cat will be much more comfortable. And the bonus was that you got some deep cleaning in that might have been put off. When we have company and I really clean up the house before, I always think about how wonderful to have something push me to get the house looking nice. Enjoy the super clean home.

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    2. It ended up being an unexpected expense--not only for treating the cat and the house, but I burned out the motor on the vacuum doing the heavy cleaning, so we have to buy a new one. I think the vacuum may have been on its way out and I just moved the process along sooner. That's why we financially plan for the unexpected, right?

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    3. Ooops! Is it totally fried? Or can you squeak a bit of work out of it still? Even though we plan for unexpected expenses, it's still hard to part with the money to cover the non-fun stuff. You have my sympathies!

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    4. Fried--yup, that's the word. When you turn it on, the motor hums and the overhead lights dim. I've been nursing it along for a couple of years and I think the heavy-duty nature of our cleaning took its toll. I'm kinda excited about a new vacuum--just not the expense.

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  4. Great post today Lili! thanks for the reminders about January and that we can make it a truly wonderful month.
    Jayne

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    1. Hi Jayne,
      Thank you! I hope your January is a lovely one, too!

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  5. Some good "no spending" activities there!! I'm all for trading "spending" with "no spending", doing it consciously too...and this year in particular I will pay particular attention to all the ways spending can be cut down to near zero. This means being more aware of how we live and what resources are required to maintain our (already meager) lifestyle (and make modifications in our lifestyle to further reduce costs in the future). That means questioning everything we eat or do. I know it sounds austere, but for the next nine months I am allowing ourselves to live pretty darn near homeless poverty. Of course, when the grandkids are over we'll step out of this austerity as a break.

    For starters, there are lots of "things to do" around the house that doesn't require buying. I actually love the challenge to use what we already have.

    YHF

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    1. Hi YHF,
      There really is so much to occupy our time, right under our own roofs, and not all of it is work! I think you'll find your new lifestyle not so bad, and kind of fun, too!

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  6. Staying home more and using less gas. Does that mean that your daughters don't have as many late night school things you have to drive for?

    I still haven't had time to think through what needs to done in the new year, but I'm getting there. Maybe I'll just start with your list. :)

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      So far, not so many late drives this quarter. We'll see how it all flushes out. But also, the weekend activities are covered, for this month at least, as the two of them are using the bus more, for trips I might have driven them previously.

      Ha ha! My list might not be a one-size-fits-all! But definitely, the good books, dvd's, sewing or craft projects, cooking from supplies at home, and taking time to relax a bit could fit many folks, here.

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  7. We did not indulge so much during the Christmas season and I only baked a few things for church and very little for my family. We had only moderate meals--just enough to fill us up with only a few leftovers for lunch the next day. No sweets except for what the kids were given but I gave those all away. I want a no spend month but there are a few things that need replacing. I got anew skillet for my birthday today but it came at a cost of $29 and I hope it will be worth it. I'm sick of sticking in my skillet. I need socks but I think I'll put that off for a while and mend or use what's there. It's small things that are being replaced so we'll be OK and call it a low-spend month. My freezer has been a blessing and hubby found chicken at reduced prices yesterday so there we go again and BOUGHT more stuff for the freezer. We are enjoying cooking a variety of meals from the freezer!

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      best of wishes in your low-spend month! And I hope that new skillet works well for you.

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  8. Enjoyed your post, Lili. I like the fresh start of a new year, the quieter season, and the planning of the year to come.
    Mary











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    1. Hi Mary,
      I like the fresh chance the new year gives us, too!
      Have a great day!

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  9. Hi Lili,
    This was a great post! I have so many things to do, I can tend to be unorganized at times though. I love to read & plan on making more time for that soon as I have many books received as gifts & that were picked up at the Dollar Tree that I'd really enjoy. Also may refer back to this post when I'm needing to get myself organized.
    Rhonda

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  10. Couldn't agree with this more, January is just as much a time for reflection as action!

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    1. Hi Somerset Wedding Gal,
      Said in such a lovely way, a time of reflection, indeed.

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.