Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dogs and Dollars

Good news! I finally reached my first weight loss goal: 10% of starting body weight. I've still got a long way to go, and I don't really look a whole lot thinner yet, but it was a big accomplishment. The dog was proud of me, anyway, as you can see.

Finn is an odd little dog. I'm not just talking about the fact that he likes sitting on my shoulders.

We think he's part Italian greyhound, in part because he looks exactly like Bart's dog Santa's Little Helper, in part because his body has that "I'd-rather-be-running" look, and in part because he has a lot of typical traits that go along with them. He loves blankets, he's social (I was amazed how gentle he was with the kids during our Kansas trip, especially given how rough he'll play with me), he wants to sprint for about ten minutes a couple of times a week, etc.

We've talked about getting one of these Doggie DNA tests, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. I'm sure I've got better things to spend $100-200, even though it would be nice to know.

Speaking of money, we are preparing to enter a fallow period. Not because we have to really--my raise will kick in I think with my September paycheck, and though we have this laptop and the fridge to pay off, they're both at 0% interest and we should be able to get it done in time. No, we're thinking about cutting back a lot of our unneccessary expenses and saving for a trip to Japan in March. One of Amelia's mission companions is moving there for a few months, and since it would be a free place to stay we'd just have to get there and have some money to spend.

Of course, living on the East coast as we are right now, that's easier said than done. Tickets from Jacksonville seem to average around $1500 each, so we're guessing the whole trip would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000. (By the way, if you have any insight into getting to Asia cheap, let us know!) To make that happen and not go into credit card debt or blow our current savings, we're going to try and save as much of it as we can over the next few months. That means cutting things like cable tv (gasp!), spending less money on ourselves, cutting our food, entertainment, and dining out budgets, and hope hope hoping nothing else breaks. (Don't worry, we'll keep the Internet. It's essential for the plan actually working.)

So, budget-conscious readers, if you have any recommendations--good ways to save lots of money fast--feel free to post them below. And if you're in the same boat and are trying to increase savings, check out Get Rich Slowly. I was just turned on to this site recently, but whether you're interested in investment suggestions, do-it-yourself projects (I wish I knew how to do DIY better; that's one way to save a lot!), or just cutting cost tips, GRS covers everything. It's worth a look!

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