Monday, January 3, 2011

A leaner, greener 2011

I have a renewed energy going into 2011. Since 2010 ended with such a pffft, I had no choice but to look ahead with a positive attitude.

To start off, on November 1st, my wonderful husband was outsourced from his job. It was an unbelievable blow to our family, since we had planned to retire from the company with a very well-padded rrsp and loads of stocks to pass on to our sons. In one afternoon, that little dreamy bubble was burst. To his credit, my husband immediately started working the phones to find new employment. After almost 2 months, he found something, but it is far from his dream job. The work will not be challenging to him and the compensation is well below what we have become accustomed to.

Leave it to a 6-year-old to find the wisdom to assess the situation: "Well, if this new job means less toys and more daddy, then I think that's a good thing." BAWL.... Of course, our 5-year-old was more practical: "I want more daddy and more toys!" Bless them.

So we have had some adjusting to do. We have been looking long and hard at our finances, which have always been somewhat of a mess. We met with our bank and re-negotiated our mortgage. Huge savings there. We are cancelling all the frivolities in our life - and the cable is the first to go. We hardly ever watch TV. Our lives and schedules just don't mix with TV listings, so we always stream the shows we like to watch over the internet. That will save us $780 per year.

When I actually sat down to make my case with my husband, I had all my numbers ready.
  • If we had to rent every episode of the top 3 shows we like, the average cost per season would be $20.00 per show, or $60 per year. I told him if we rented every episode of every Star Trek franchise (of which there were 5) it would still cost less than $700. SOLD
  • We hardly every watch TV through the week. On the weekends, we might watch for 5 hours over the course of Saturday and Sunday. If I had to estimate, I would say we watch 10 hours of TV per week. With cable, we are paying almost $20 per week (or $2 per hour) to surf channels. Our internet surfing is costing us about $12 per week (or $0.34 per hour). SOLD
In December, I started going back to the gym. After two visits, I tore the ligaments in my left knee and I was really suffering a lot of pain. The doctor told me I had to switch to non-impact exercise like an exercise bike or aquafit. GAAAAA. I have never loved aquafit, and the class times at the Y don't work for me anyways. We have a bike in the basement that is just sitting there waiting for some love. And the Y increased their monthly rates this year, so it just seems appropriate that I cancel.

Truth be told, I did not really need an excuse to cancel the Y membership. While I feel crappy about not going to the gym, I feel great about the money we will be saving.

And then I started having chest pains. The cardiologist says there is nothing wrong with my heart and I most likely experienced either a) anxiety (ya think?) or b) severe reflux from not eating properly (as in yes, I skipped breakfast again). Still, the non-heart attack was scary as hell and really made me realize I am not ready to die. I have to see my kids grow up and I have to get some life insurance.

So now January is here. We made no resolutions this year, but we are trying to trim our budget, our bodies and our carbon footprint.

We are down to one car and we are going to see how sustainable that is for our family. Digital Shoebox contracts and invoices are now completely paperless. We have tossed the junk food from the pantry. If hubby can work mostly from home, we can both walk the kids to school and plan physical activity we can do together (get your mind out of the gutter...but that would be fun too!).

2011 is going to be a lot of fun for us. I love knowing that we will be bonding more as a family. I am also getting back into my writing and getting my house in order. The boys now have their own space in the basement and I have my main floor back. I am completely stepping out of my comfort zone and trying to go without some luxuries. Vacations will be put on the back burner as will our plans to buy a vacation property. I am okay with all of it. This family has never been without the things we need and we can certainly live without some of the things we want.

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