Full Disclosure: When I was growing up, the room of my floor was covered, about a foot deep, with layers of my belongings. The crust consisted of clean clothes that never seemed to make it to the closet and pages that I’d torn out of the latest issues of the many, many magazines to which I subscribed. Underneath, the mantle was predominately paper: magazines, notes passed in class, old homework, permission slips…you get the picture. The outer core, the most substantial layer, was a packed mass of dirty clothes, paperback books, and old stuffed animals, which led to the inner core of single shoes and earrings, the detritus of crushes past, and mementos of friendships that never really were. Every square inch of my floor was covered, and every day I walked on all of it.
Even as a kid, though, I loved the idea of being organized. I read articles about how to organize your locker and make it look cool. I tried organizing my books alphabetically, by color, by genre, by how many times I’d read them. I bought caboodles.
In the end, my mom mostly gave up, saying only, “You’ll take care of your stuff when you’re the one paying for it.” She was mostly wrong. I suffer from many of the same problems, and hopes for fixing them, that I did when I was 14. As a result, of course, I love New Year’s. I love the resolutions and the lists and the strategies. I love browsing the Container Store catalog and combing through thousands of pins. I love talking about my plans with my partner. I love the hope. So, naturally, I jumped at the chance to be part of this blog.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. But, here’s the bottom line: There isn’t a single thing that I can think of that I feel I couldn’t be doing better.
And I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a perfectionist, so please refrain pointing out how awesome my kids are and how great my life seems. Both of those things are true. It’s also true that I have a partner who works nights, three kids at home (all aged five and under), chickens and cats (because three kids isn’t enough, I guess), and the never-ending demands of being an adult like paying bills and seeing the doctor and signing those permission slips that still seem to get lost in layers of paperwork. To top it all off, I’m trying to get tenure.
So, yes, I resolve to be more organized. Yes, I resolve to save some money. Yes, I resolve to improve my relationships. Yes, I resolve to be healthier. Yes, I resolve to be more effective at work. Yes, I resolve to just generally be more awesome. And, yes, I do have more specific goals and tools that will help me reach them. That is, after all, the whole point of this blogging endeavor.
Recognizing that I do tend to make a lot of big changes at once and then forget about them, I thought I’d change things up for once and start small and easy. In other word, my house and finances and health will be a mess for a while longer. But, as a family, we’re in the middle of a big change and having some kind of “emergency” fund is going to be even more important than it already is. So.
Goal: Save $3000
Tool #1: 52 Week Money Challenge
Most of you have probably already heard of this. Apparently, I’m a year late in terms of trends. So it goes in Central Vermont. The concept, though, is simple. During the first week of the year, put one dollar in a jar. During the second, week, put two dollars in the jar. Keep it up through the entire year and you end up with a jar of $1378. So, yesterday I put a dollar in one of our piggy banks.
Since then, though, I continued to read about the challenge and plenty of people have hacked it in interesting way. Some people do it backwards so that you aren’t saving the most substantial amount of money during the holidays at the end of the year. Some people randomize their contributions to their savings, paying what they can week to week but making sure they still hit the overall amount. Basically, there are many variations and now I’m not sure that the traditional way is the best way for me. I’m going to stick with it, but completing it still only gets me halfway to my goal. So, I’m wondering if I should just double my contributions or do two different versions or try something else in addition to the 52 Week Money Challenge.
In the meantime, I’ve saved a dollar. And I’m taking suggestions.