I was thinking today, I really hope I have some good notes in my journal about the progress I’ve been making in the last year to sort of reinvent myself. I’m not sure that’s the most accurate word to describe this process, but it certainly is a reformation of my current lifestyle and goals.

I am still working on decluttering, piece by piece. Marie Kondo advises against the “little every day” method, but I don’t have a weekend free to hit the whole house right now.  It has been helping to clear up some space in some parts of the house and to make a little extra money, and also to help clear my head. It feels good to look at a shelf and see only the things I actually use. Those things shine now. They are front and center, actualizing their potential, rather than loafing amongst the ignored and disused. This is more space to walk. Things are easier to find. It feels good.

As the decluttering process continues, the rebudgeting process is getting underway. I read baby step #2 in The Total Money Makeover last night, and it’s a little terrifying. So far it seems like we are supposed to throw everything we have at paying down a big chunk of debt while relying on only $1,000 in savings. That just won’t work. With only one car, an aging pet, and Laura’s upcoming surgery, we won’t have the money to pay for any of that without putting it onto a credit card or taking out a loan. I want to follow the plan exactly as Dave commands, but it seems so incredibly risky.

Last night I began refactoring the budget to actually set up a budget. Since the credit card bill got high enough that we couldn’t pay it off every month, I gave up creating a budget thinking that our “budget” was “spend as little money as possible.” It may sound good in theory, but absolutely does not work in practice. You need hard numbers to guide your spending habits. It was far too easy to justify a second beer at dinner when we should have been eating at home.

Tonight I should finish reconfiguring the budget so we have those hard numbers. I’m also thinking up new ways to cut costs and bring in little bits of extra income on the side to help us get the debt payed off and to build up that emergency buffer.