Learning to Budget

For some reason I’ve been able to escape creating a concrete budget for quite a while. I set guidelines and head out into the world and it all works out. I know the constants:

  • Tithing/Charity
  • Savings
  • Rent
  • Utilities

…but then everything else is “don’t spend more than you have” (which is an excellent financial mantra).

I’m finding (as of late) that operating that way as a husband is a bit of a blind walk in the woods – things come up (travel wishes, health care, entertainment, etc) that are remarkably easy to say ‘yes’ to when you just put them on the card. The challenge is the following month when those items/activities show up and ask to be paid. Fortunately, I’ve always had a surplus of cash and have always paid credit cards in full each month, so it’s never much of a big deal, but it does increase my stress, which is where I realized I needed to make some changes.

totalmoneymakeoverSo, I’ve been staring at charts of our finances… Reading resources (like The Total Money Makeover). Reviewing our spending habits. Cross-referencing suggested budget breakdowns. Considering possible boundaries. You get the idea. The long and short of it is that I’d like to iron out these things now so that I can be a better (aka: more stress free) husband.

I’m getting close to a landing point, which I guess in a way is just the beginning of lifelong finance management. I’m super excited to be living my life with my financial picture even if we don’t have some of the externally lauded trappings like fancy cars or ‘owning’ a house (I use quotations because most houses are owned by the bank).

 

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Strengths

Lately, I’ve been leaning towards some significant personal changes. Things are doing good at the homefront, but I want to lean forward and do something that scares me a bit and helps me to focus my energy in an area that gives and gets the most value. In conjunction with that, I have been spending time trying to reflect & study on my strengths.

nowdiscoverstrengthsFor those of you who aren’t in the know, the summarized version of the strengths paradigm: Strengths are Awesome: Work & Focus There (and Manage Your Weaknesses). Click on Now Discover Your Strengths and order up a copy – there’s even a convenient survey built to help bring your strengths to light.

Simple enough, but slightly unintuitive considering much of our upbringing (for example, think of whether you got more attention about an D or about the A when you brought your report card home).

goputstrengthstoworkSo, how do I take those strengths and lace them into my life to get the most out of my effort? I’ve been pondering this (and may go on pondering forever), and look forward to getting to know myself in such a refined way that I can intentionally guide myself towards my strengths when I’m at work in both my personal & professional life. To support this, I’ve been diving into Go Put Your Strengths To Work. The survey from this one showed that I have a lot of room for improvement for how my unique talents are being utilized at work.

It’s an ongoing process, but I’m excited to be reengaged in learning and reflecting and growing, even if I do wake up at 4am to do it. 😉

Till next time,
-cb

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Ski Bum?

Last April, I took the plunge and bought a set of skis & boots from someone on craigslist with the thought that I would rekindle my skiing so that in time I would be able to spend time collecting some epic images. Consider it a photography investment of sorts. Add to that a bit of frustration with the Ultimate Frisbee happenings (or lack there of), and I figured it would be a good way to remain active while the weather is cold.

It’s worked pretty well so far. I’ve been up 20 times with a couple extras where I hiked up after hours. I’m not sure that it’s a very economic form of exercise, but it’s been a good experience in stretching myself to try new things. Below is a shot from my first day hiking beyond the chair. An amazing bluebird day with amazingly light and fluffy snow.

ski

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that being slightly on the edge of my comfort level has helped me to enjoy life more. And, perhaps to some extent, has led me to focus more at work and in my other pursuits. I still am miles from perfection, but it’s been a neat correlation to notice.

The season is starting to wane, and the snow is being a little less awesome, but perhaps over the spring I’ll be able to do some slackcountry (terrain accessible via the chairlift at a ski area) skiing. In time, I have plans to learn more about avalanche safety and backcountry navigation in time be able to travel anywhere in the region to enjoy the wilderness & snow.

If I get a wild hair, some time I’ll post a few more winter-time photos since I’ve been so far out of touch.

Till next time,
-cb

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Birthday Trip

I’m not sure that I can go back to catch up over the past two years, but I can try to be a bit better about posting info on recent happenings.

Earlier this month, we took a trip, and like many of our travel arrangements, it was more of a whirlwind adventure than a vacation. We were gone for (I think) 10 days, and in that time we Lodged in the following locations:

  • Port Townsend, WA (a visit to Eli & Ariel)
  • Seattle, WA (a visit with Sierra, plus a regional business function. The dive lodging was, er, interesting.)
  • Carson City, NV (3 nights with family & mini-visits to South Tahoe and Reno.)
  • San Diego, CA (meet up with the McGoey’s and a night on the beach)
  • Anaheim/Fullerton, CA (a day at California Adventure Park)
  • Laguna Hills, CA (after a day at Disneyland)
  • San Diego, CA (2 nights! A visit with Zori, beach time, great food, more business functions, shopping & more)

So, yeah, lots of places, short visits, tons of fun. After all, on the Saturday of the trip, it was Heather’s birthday! We found a pretty amazing vegetarian spot somewhere in San Diego, and it was so good we’re planning a return trip sometime for more fake duck. Ha!

I love that kind of travel, though if I had my druthers, I’d make the return ticket open ended so we could travel until we were tired of travelling. With such a varied schedule, it felt a bit like coming home was just the next stop in the jumps around the west coast. I’m glad to be back home in my own bed with our (as of late) beautiful & brisk weather.

Heather & I on the ferry from Kingston, pulling into Edmonds. Photo op!

Heather & I on the ferry from Kingston, pulling into Edmonds. Photo op!

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Quick Catch Up

Wow, it’s coming up on two years since I’ve posted to this site… Time flies.

I initially rolled it out because I had a wedding site rolling along nicely, but then the wedding was over and a “wedding” site didn’t quite fit. There’s no reason to have another wedding since I already had such an awesome one… After some pondering, I decided it would became the Adventures of Cody & Heather – a simple blog to chronicle our experiences in the adventure of life.

I had been using it as a place to jot my notes when we (ahem, I) considered heading towards Hallmark School of Photography, it became my sounding board to help me flesh out my thoughts. Since then I’ve had a couple other posts here and there, but mostly I fell off the bandwagon of regular writing.

It’s my goal to remedy that and get back into the habit of writing.

Stay tuned for future writings!
-cb

 

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