Covering old news with much more detail.

Okay, so Amy said she was actually interested in hearing more about the stuff I was touching on briefly in the post I put up the other day (Too much to sort through!).  So I thought I’d go back and address some of those things.

…I could talk about work and how we’re going to attempt an “affinity diagram” tomorrow and I have never done it before and I really hope it works out well.

Well, the affinity diagram didn’t go so well.  It was part of my first meeting for the Lean Project I’m heading up in order to get my Lean Specialist certification.  As far as first meetings go, it was apparently pretty good.  As well as projects go, it needs a lot of work.  The activities that we worked through managed to show just how enormous the scope of the project was, as it stood at that time.  So we had a meeting with me, my Champion, and the Lean guy for our area, and we’re going to look into scaling it down a little into something actually manageable in 4 months.  And for a first-time Specialist in-training.  We have a lot of work to do.  My next meeting is this afternoon and hopefully we’ll actually start to get somewhere.

I could talk about how we’re flying to Burlington, Vermont,
again because we’re going for a wedding.  And I keep freaking out because Justin’s jacket is wrinkled and we haven’t gotten it dry cleaned yet.  And we don’t have a rental car yet, and since we’re staying at Justin’s folks’ place, we need a car to get from there to the wedding and all that.  And all these things about weddings keep stressing me the heck out so much that I haven’t even started thinking about freaking out about the traveling part of the whole deal.

I already covered the trip to Vermont, but I did manage to keep the freakage down to a minimal level.  We got Justin’s jacket cleaned in Burlington.  We picked it up the morning of the wedding and that was freaking me out a little.  But we got it on time and it looked really beautiful.  And the rental car worked out great and ended up being less expensive than I feared.

I could talk about these books I’m reading about managing money and not undervaluing your worth and taking control of your finances and all the fun and exciting things I’m learning . . . that no one else thinks are fun and exciting at all.  And I’m reading books about marketing and writing business plans and don’t those sound fascinating, too?  No?  They do to me!

Books I’m reading.  Oh, gosh.  I have Family CFO which is talking about taking family finances and running it like a business.  It’s interesting and they have some interesting points, but I’m not buying in to the whole thing.  I’ll probably end up taking a couple of their recommendations, but ignoring the rest.

I still have The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke.  I asked Justin to read the section about buying a car because I thought it had some really good information.  He did and he agreed that it was a good read.  He’s going to read the rest of the book before we take it back.  Or, since we’re on the final renewal for that book, I might finally drag him to the library and get him his own card so he can check it out again under his own name.

I have the Complete Book of Business Plans.  It’s not terribly fascinating to read, but it’s a good resource because I’m trying to write up my business plan.  It’s a complicated pain in the butt and having something to look at for inspiration has been helpful.

The Everything Home-Based Business Book falls into that same category.  It’s not a terribly interesting read, but it’s awfully helpful as I’m trying to write up my business plan and figure out different aspects of working up my business.  I haven’t had time to dig into this one much, but I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in there.

I have the Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide, another great resource that’s basically a brainstorm caught on paper.  It’s idea after idea that could be used to drum up business.  Some of it doesn’t work for my situation, but some of it is really fun and could be very helpful.  I’m reading this one with sticky notes so I can jot things down for reference later.  Like in my business plan, since apparently there’s a Marketing Strategy section of that beast and I’ll have to put something down there.  So, keen!  I have something to put in there.

I have the Ultimate Small Business Advisor, which I haven’t read at all yet, so I haven’t got a clue about it.  But it looked interesting, looked like it might be another good resource, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

And I have Home Staging because I think having that as an option along with helping people pack up their stuff could be a really great service to offer.  I don’t quite have the eye for it, but I know I could learn how to do it.  I haven’t read this one yet, either, but I’ll get there before I have to take the book back, I’m sure.

For leisure I just finished reading Summer Knight of the Dresdon Files series by Jim Butcher.  I’ve got the next one, Blood Rites, tucked into my purse.  They’re fun, easy fantasy books, slightly on the noir side.  Justin and I are devouring those books as fast as we can afford to buy them.

And I have a PDF copy of Suze Orman’s Women & Money.  I’m about halfway into this one.  It’s talking about how women see money and themselves and how sometimes those don’t end up being a harmonious match.  We don’t value ourselves and the money we bring in, we don’t take the time to consider the whole of finance and how it affects us, stuff like that.  It’s interesting.

I could write about how well we ended up with our finances last month–with Justin making more money than expected and us handling budgeting and saving really well and ending up so far into the black that it’s astonishing how much we could potentially put away if we spent every month not going out to dinner or spending money on fun things and sitting at home sitting on our thumbs.  Which we’re not going to do but we might spend more time looking at the possibilities there.

Finances.  I was really concerned when I found out that I would be furloughed and getting unemployment for four weeks in July.  We’d have to survive on Justin’s paycheck and the small amount I’d get from the government.  That put us at a lower total income than I was comfortable considering and it made me freak out a little bit.  I mean, the unemployment checks were about half what I was making normally.  Could we survive on half my income plus Justin’s income?  Answer?  Yes, we can.  Especially if he has a really busy month and manages to bring in a steady amount for the whole time.  And if we cut down on expenses and spend carefully and really hunker down and take things easy.  We even picked up something that we normally wouldn’t have bought but had the opportunity to get on a considerable discount.  The airplane tickets and car rental went onto the credit card.  But we didn’t have to touch the savings account at all.  And I’m pretty sure that I can go in and pay off the plane tickets just from the checking account, leaving all of savings alone.  Which means that we can take that money and use it as a down on a used car for Justin.

Which would bring me into talking about our current situation with Justin’s car.

A friend of mine called me on Thursday and said that her husband knows a good Christian man who owns a car dealership not far from here.  We’re going to get his information and go talk with him about what we can do.  We were hoping to take advantage of the clunker bill, but with the money flowing out of that thing so quickly and our unlikely chance of getting a good loan from the bank right now, we’re looking into cheap, used options.  I’m not really sure what the plan is for Justin’s old car, whether we’re going to try to trade it in or just take it to a place like we took my Buick—a place that takes dead cars for parts and pays for that.  I’m really not sure.

But we’re going to run the numbers this week, check how much of a hit we took with our trip up north, and look at what sort of payments we could really afford.  We can’t buy a car outright right now—our savings aren’t that lush.  But with the down that we can pull from there, we should be able to manage a pretty good deal.  I hope.  We’ll find out soon enough.

And dang it!  I haven’t bought gifts for Erica or Dad, who both have birthdays in the next 10 days, or for the bride and groom on Saturday.

We did pick up a gift for the bride and groom, although what we really did was look at their registry and then go buy them something similar through Pampered Chef.  They’ll get it in a few days.  Last night, I went onto Amazon and hunted around until I found something that seemed like a good gift for Erica and Dad.  The order went in last night; they should ship out in a couple days.  They’re being shipped directly to their new owners, so they won’t be wrapped, but you should get your gifts in a couple of days.

So there you go!  Any questions?