Too Thrifty Chicks

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Snowballing Debt: A Free Tool

It has been a long time since we talked about debt reduction here. Truthfully, part of the reason is because debt reduction took a hard nose dive in 2014 (perhaps more on that in other posts). Now that I’m settled in Memphis, I’m ready to hop in the saddle again. I have had this plan to be completely debt free for a while–2013 produced great strides toward that goal–but I still didn’t have a clear vision. Today I sat down with pen and paper, wrote out all my debts, interest rates, expenses, and planned adventures. 

Seeing all those numbers didn’t mean a thing to me with little idea of how to go about paying debt. I knew I wanted to attack credit card debt first, but after that… ::blank stare::

I thought about trying Dave Ramsey’s snowball tool for a 7 day trial period, but a friend encouraged me to look online for a free one….and I found one! Vertex42 offers many different tools to help people manage their finances and time.  

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For the last two hours I have input my information, played around with numbers, and come up with a plan: I will be completely debt free in three years! The tool is easy to use (formulas for each cell are already formulated) and has instructions and a video if you need additional help. If you have more than 10 creditors, there is an extended version that costs $9.95 that allows you to input up to 40. Besides the ease and cost, another reason I like Vertex42’s calculator is it works with OpenOffice and Google Sheets. No Excel? No problem. 

If you’re like me and need to visualize your plan, this tool might help. Let me know if you use it and how it works for you!

-Reese


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First Day of School!

Ok, not really. More like new faculty orientation. But I was excited. I woke up, went for a nice run, leisurely got dressed, and then went to meet about twenty other new faculty members, which was pretty awesome. Before I left, Ricks insisted on taking “first day of school” pictures, so here they are!

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This is my “I’m so excited” look. lol

My top and skirt were thrifted and the shoes were 50% off at Old Navy (had to have a pop of bright color). Not too formal, not too casual.

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Y’all know I’m still getting settled in….excuse the stuff.

 

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One more picture on the way out the door….ok Ricks, that’s enough now.

How do you like to present yourself on your first day at somewhere new?


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It’s A Dog’s Life: The Story of 1 Dog and 3 Humans

Just before the weather got too hot for, well, anything, we took a day trip to Shenandoah  with our good friend Keila and her dog, Nena. We all looked forward to the trip for different reasons: good weather, time to reflect, opportunity to get away from the city. We had a great time hiking (just a little…we were so tired), talking, and eating BBQ on the grass. But what captured our attention most was Nena. IMG_6644

Nena was THE happiest of us all. You don’t know the good life until you’ve seen a dog smile.

Between hanging her head out the car window and wandering off on her own to explore different things, she was so into her surroundings. So present. At first Keila kept her on a short leash (presumably to see how she would act on the trail), but the further we went, the more freedom she was given to roam.  And when she was tired or felt like she needed a nap, she took her rest.

Humans, with all our thoughts about, well, EVERY THING, can learn a lot from dogs.

Here’s are a few things we learned from Nena:

  • Be curious. Nena, let her senses lead her. Whatever she was smelling, seeing and hearing, she wanted to know what it was. She sought it out with boundless curiosity instead of cautious suspicion. Could she have gotten hurt? Possibly, but what’s life without a little risk? Examine the world before you with openness and curiosity.  Investigate whatever it is you’re interested in with the possibility that you will be pleasantly surprised. Do it now, whether you’re on a trail in the forest, or sitting in your living room.IMG_6628
  • Express your pleasure. If something pleases you, smile. Nena, sure did. She reminded us that it’s OK to be happy in the present moment and to feel a sense of well-being from even the simplest pleasures.
  • Show love and affection for your humans. Once Keila started letting Nena wander a little on her own, Nena always came back to show us some love, especially Keila. It reminded us that any time is a good time to show some love for the humans in your life, even when they don’t expect it.
  • Be present. When we stopped for an extended period of time Nena settled in for a little R & R — rest and relaxation that is. Even when she dozed off a little she was still aware of her surroundings. If she heard a new noise or felt a change in the atmosphere, her attention was immediate. Nena was completely present. She wasn’t worried about anything that wasn’t happening in the space that she was in.

Thanks Nena for your infinite wisdom.

– R&R

 


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On the Bookshelf: Tuesdays with Morrie

“Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” -Tuesdays with Morrie

I recently read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (if you’re interested in a summary of the book, you can check out the description on Goodreads or Amazon). With all that is going on in the world–the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia beefing up military exercises near the Ukrainian border, and the US deporting children; and all that’s happening in my small part of the world–feeling excited about a new place but also like a fish out of water in some way, entering my first semester as an instructor at a new school, trying to get over my sadness that there’s no Trader Joe’s here–Morrie’s simple words felt like the antidote to everything. We know all of this, don’t we? We know that it’s important to invest in humanity. We know that community–real community–takes work and requires you to be pre sent and sometimes compromising. And we know that loving and being loved are more important than anything else, because everything else can fall under those categories. But sometimes we need reminders–maybe even life lines–to snap us back into the reality that we are breathing, thinking, acting human beings. If there is to be any positive change, if there has ever been positive change, I think it is because of what is summed up in those three sentences: invest. human. family. community. love. The book explores many topics, some of them touching, but this is what stood out to me the most.

Do I recommend the book? Eh. Maybe. Depends on what you’re looking for. I enjoy Mitch Albom’s writing style. I also really love the idea that something about him makes people comfortable enough to share really difficult things with him, which he turns into some beautiful writing. However, the book is about death. It’s sad sometimes. It’s philosophical. It doesn’t have much rising or falling action.  The book is about Morrie, but the experience of reading it is about you. The power of the story, rests almost solely on the reader’s willingness to be vulnerable with the topics covered. I don’t know if the book or the sentences quoted above would have had as much meaning to me if I had read it some other time. Maybe? Maybe something else would have stood out. I’m not sure. What I do know is that the simplicity gave me a little hope in a time when everything seems more complicated than it needs to be.

-Reese


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1500+ miles, unpacking, and grocery shopping (or, my first week in Memphis)

So….I left D.C. just over a week ago. since then, I’ve unpacked about 20 boxes, assembled bookshelves, shopped at three grocery stores (only one of which I like), made far too many trips to Target, and took a weekend trip to St. Louis to participate in my friend’s beautiful wedding. And somewhere in there, I had time to breathe and realize I might like this city.

Let me be real: I had no expectations. None. Not good. Not bad. Just neutral. I was excited about the job opportunity but since I had only visited Memphis once (and that was for the job interview), I had no idea if I would like the city….and coming from the D.C. area (which I love), I was a little nervous.

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I live in a part of town called Midtown that is going through a lot of changes. I bet once I read up on the city and it’s history, I may find that it is undergoing gentrification like many neighborhoods I’m familiar with in D.C. But from what I know so far, I love it. Bike lanes, good restaurants, Overton Park, and cool little shops like the Square Olive, a store that sells amazing variations of olive oil. It’s also close to a couple yoga and pilates studios that I plan to try.

I am pleasantly surprised with how at home I feel. My godparents stopped by for a visit yesterday on their way back to Texas, and I was so happy to show them my place (which I am happy to show you more of soon) and try a neighborhood restaurant. Maybe more than any other place I’ve lived, I feel like I am more likely to become part of the neighborhood…..which, as someone who does neighborhood research for a living, is an interesting process.

Memphis isn’t a pretty city and who knows if I will love it or hate it long term?  I’m not concerned about that, though. The city has some nice quirks that I am interested in exploring…and I plan to enjoy the process. So, for now, I’m super duper excited about my storage bed being delivered tomorrow and my sofa being delivered on Friday! So far, three DIY projects are pending. I bet you’re ready to see them….I hope so. I’m ready to play in paint! ;-) For now, here are a few snapshots of my apartment as a nearly blank canvas.

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Before I go, big shout out to Ricks, my person-in-crime. She’s here with me helping me get settled and explore the city. I know this process would have been much different without her.

Until next time,

-Reesey


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Forward, Not Forgotten

I took down the photo of me and my big sister who I consider a role model. The picture of my mom wearing a sombrero on her birthday a couple years back. The picture of me pretending to play drums with my mouth wide open because I’m laughing so hard. The black and white picture of me looking dwarfed next to the word “BELIEVE” painted on a wall, and the photo of Ricks and me displaying satisfied, mimosa-induced smiles after her birthday brunch last year. Then finally, the photos of friends-turned-family tacked to a tiny board behind my desk. It is my last day of work, and it is official. I am moving to Memphis for a new job.I am SO glad I don’t share an office or work in a cubicle, because I had a good ol’ cry session this morning.

 

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I have to admit. This is hard. D.C. is the first home that has felt like home; a place where I feel like I could live permanently. And even as I type that, I remember the essence of a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou where she says she doesn’t believe that one can never go home again, because you always carry home with you.

Well, since I can’t carry ALL of the D.C. with me, I’ll carry a few things: memories of late night/early morning conversations, new friends that feel like soul mates, wine-filled nights, tattoos, and bonding. I’ll carry the person I am into a new adventure that will continue to shape the person I’m becoming.

And I’ll remember today when I said to a group of my friends, “I am having a hard day,” and they all responded with loving reassurance (and feigned jealousy of my yet-to-be new friends)…actually, it might not be feigned. I have a whole list of “dos” and “donts” for my new friends…lol….and Keila, who is not a fan of Memphis (and that’s putting it mildly), finally said she will come visit me after months of saying she wouldn’t. Yes, Keila…I have it in writing and now EVERYONE knows you’re coming to Memphis.  Today, I am a little melancholy as I wrap up my time here, but I am happy and at peace with knowing that I live by the words  I surrounded myself with in my office, including these from The Angry Therapist:

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Memphis….another adventure. Join me, yes?

-A.Reese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Farewell 5509

Today Team Too Thrifty handed over the keys to the place that has been our home, 5509 Holmes Run Parkway, to our property manager.

How bittersweet a moment it was.

The relinquishing of those keys marks the official start of our new journeys — Reese to Memphis and me, to parts yet unknown — and an ending of sorts to the journey we’ve been on over the last year and a half together.

But it seemed only right to pause and reflect on what 5509 means to us because it wasn’t just a house to us.  It was so much more.

5509 was the place where we slept most nights, often on our sectional couch after too much wine, so much laughter and not a few tears.20140630-184750-67670289.jpg

5509 was the place where we discovered our love for cooking and did our best James Brown impressions across the kitchen floor. It was the place where we often gathered our friends, but also examined the contents of our hearts. It’s the place where we created this blog, dreamed our biggest dreams so far, and created so many shared memories.

It was our home in every since of the word. But it is our physical home no more.

Today the lights are out at 5509, our beloved sectional has a new home and we are no longer the resident inhabitants of what we used to call home. We are in a grateful place of transition.

As we drove away, we gave thanks for the loving sadness that stains our hearts because we know that it comes from a place of knowing what it is like to have a physical home and to carry the memory of it — the peace of it — in our hearts.

We are forever grateful.

- R&R

 

 

 

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