Veggie Garden – Lots of baby tomatoes are appearing on my plants. The peppers and eggplants are slower to mature, but one, the Fairy Tale hybrid, is loaded with cute purple flowers. Radishes, mesclun salad mix, pak choi, and beans are all taking off. Mostly I am just watering every 2-3 days now that the heavy work is completed and wait for stuff to be ready to pick. I do have some baby transplants I started from seed on February 28 that need to be repotted or moved to the main garden soon, though. The transplanted Vardaman sweet potato vines have all survived their move and are thriving. All four of my fig trees have started to leaf out again, the baby pineapple is slowly gaining size, and my daylilies have come back to life.
I’m trying not to succumb to green thumb envy since one of the producers in my company with whom I talk about dirt and tomatoes just brought in a huge, beautiful head of broccoli from his own garden today to show off.
On the bright side, my garden is no longer the rattiest in our cluster.
Total Money Makeover/Debt Snowball – Only $6500 left on DH’s student loan (down from a start of over $12k) and $558 left on my car.
I went to the credit union during lunch today and plunked down $2000 toward the principal on my car loan and felt SO much lighter afterwards. One more month and the Camry will be mine free and clear, and I will free up another $354/mo for the debt snowball. DH’s student loan should be paid off in June or July, too, and then we can start padding the emergency fund (need $9000 more) and Roth IRAs (need $9666 more) for 2008 before tackling the second mortgage (~$25k) in 2009.
I found it interesting that dropping $2000 in one go to pay down my car loan left me feeling jubilant and not at all sick, while plunking down $750 for wedding flowers last year made me want to vomit–immediately and for several days afterwards. THAT is how you can tell if you’ve made a good financial decision, folks–the internal Vomit-Meter.
For those of you interested in seeing how Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step #2, the Debt Snowball, can knock out your existing debts in much less time than you think, try out this spiffy Excel debt snowball calculator spreadsheet I ran across this week.
Projected debt-free (except for the primary mortgage) date: February 1, 2010.
Home Office Organization – Er. Yes. Must finish this.
There is a 9″ stack of papers that needs to be shredded, and my craft/sewing/drawing station is still untidy. Also, after some thought, we have decided to move the household finance stuff out of the home office and into the gap between the kitchen and the dining room. On the way home tonight, I’m picking up the final missing component for the IKEA Ivar desk/bill/menu-planning station we are putting together for it. I wind up doing the bills in the living room or dining room table most of the the time anyway since the shredder and mail pile are both on the kitchen counter nearby, and I find it hard to concentrate on math and money counting when Chris is on the other side of the room playing Warcrack and chattering away on Teamspeak with the lights off.
This new workstation will have room for the bill-paying computer, finance-related files and storage, a shelf for my cookbooks, and a tidy set of paper trays. I realize that it would be tidier to keep it all in the home office, but one of the tenets of the organization audio books I listened to was that working with the actual patterns and habits you’ve already established instead of forcing yourself to modify ingrained behaviors would be a lot more successful in the long run.
Moving the office shredder to the kitchen where the junk mail always lands first has already cut down on our old piles of unwanted credit card solicitations and unneeded statements and bills. Moving the actual filing system for the papers we DO want to keep to the same area should take care of the rest of the piles which mostly consist of “stuff to be filed”.
And I’ll be able to watch CSI and DWTS while I fiddle with Microsoft Money. What joy!