Weighing In On The Scale

After Ma broke her hip, I needed to make the main bathroom easier for her to get around in so she wouldn’t break anything else. I took my scale off the floor to make room for the commode. There was no other place for the scale so I tucked it in on a closet shelf, telling myself that the experts recommend we not weigh ourselves daily anyway.
I had been weighing myself daily and tweaking my LCHF diet and my exercise to see that scale go down, down, down.
Thinking about what I want/need to take with me on the upcoming move and wanting to downsize to pretty much the essentials, I thought about the scale. Should I take it with me? I haven’t been weighing myself daily as I used to and I notice the effect. I do believe I have gained some weight.
Oh, hell, I KNOW I gained weight. How much? I don’t know. The scale is in the closet.
Why do the so-called experts say we shouldn’t weigh ourselves daily?
I think it has something to do with being disappointed if we don’t see a daily drop in our weight and this may cause us to give up on our diet or become obsessed with our weight. Apparently, I could become so focused on seeing that scale go down daily that I become bulimic or anorexic. Fat chance of that! I hate to vomit and I love to eat.
So, essentially, the experts think weighing myself daily will lead to a mental health issue.
Well, my brain is definitely a strong and powerful thing. I can pretty much convince myself of anything I want to.

I can convince myself that I am not putting on weight, despite a nightly date with Ben and Jerry and then be totally flabbergasted when my jeans don’t fit.
I must be convincing myself that I don’t weigh as much as I do because I always get shocked when I see myself in a full-length mirror. Who in the hell is that fat chick?
My favorite sister-in-law weighed close to 300 pounds and every time we went out to eat, she would complain that the restaurants were making the booths smaller. And she actually believed that.
In the case of weighing myself daily, I can allow myself to be disappointed and chuck it all, give up on my diet because the scale is telling me I suck at it. And I have done this many times over the many years.
OR- I can use it as a tool in seeing how well my diet is going. It really is a more accurate and faster tool than suddenly discovering my diet is not going well when my pants don’t fit.
When the scale goes up, I ask myself, why? Too much food? Not enough exercise?
If the scale stays the same, I tweak things a bit. If the scale goes down, I know I am on the right track.
Weighing myself daily is not unhealthy. To me, the scale is a tool. No different that checking my blood pressure or my blood sugar.
And one more thought, Dr. Psychologist Expert, if weighing myself daily isn’t healthy, then it can’t be healthy to track every morsel of food with My Fitness Pal or every calorie burned with the Fitbit.
Conclusion, I am gonna pack the scale and take it with me.

More Optimistic About the Move

Things are looking a bit better in the future housing issue. There is a house that meets a lot of our criteria and the only thing that needs to be in place is a high speed internet that provides the speed and bandwidth I need for my job. The ISP is going to do a site survey of the house early next week so I will soon find out. I did talk to a co-worker who had speed and bandwidth issues. She still has them, unfortunately.

The company we work for requires 10 mbps for downloads and 1 for uploads. Dee could barely get 3 for the downloads. The potential ISP I am working with on this move could get me 6. If I get a business line, that may be enough. I have a business line now and like the reliability of it. It doesn’t cost me any more considering I tap into it wirelessly for 2 PCs, 1 laptop, 1 Kindle, 1 Ipad, one Amazon Firestick and 3 smart phones.

The rental house we are looking at is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath one-level home on on acre of lawn. The one-level home will be great for my mom. Three bedrooms and two baths will provide plenty of space.

I am not too keen on the one acre lawn for a couple of reasons. First, we have to take care of it, which means, I will need to purchase a lawn mower and a trimmer. Second, I think having one acre that is just lawn is a sinful waste of space. What is the point?

I would much rather prefer that the lawn be just enough to avoid parking or stepping off the porch into the weeds. The rest of the acreage should be trees, native growth, maybe a garden, perhaps an area for a chicken coop- anything to provide birds, bugs and critters with shelter.

The home is a bit too remote to do without a car, unfortunately. However, cats are allowed. And, at $900 a month split between the four of us, the rental fits my budget,

So, yes, things are looking better for the upcoming move.

That Fresh Start is Not So Easy

Traveled to the state of my fresh start and I am finding that fresh start to be not so easy. I envisioned moving with no restrictions but soon found out that the reality is, I do have restrictions.

The major issue is trying to find a long-term rental that is in the area of 10/1 high-speed broadband Internet. This is a work requirement and non-negotiable. Plus, I am restricted from using satellite. Trying to find this in my preferred new locale proved impossible so now I have shifted a bit eastward. I have two calls out on potential rentals and am waiting for responses.

Hopefully, if either of these pan out, I hope my second restriction- that of having a cat- does not pose a problem. In my search for housing, I am amazed to find that many rentals do not allow either any pets, or, even more specifically, a cat. I do love the cat that my lovely daughter gifted me with (without my permission, may I add?) however, kittie is posing to be quite the restriction for my choice of rentals.

In my daughter’s defense, knowing that I was planning on moving, my daughter did say that, if I couldn’t find a place that allows pets, she would be happy to take the cat. However, said daughter is very busy going to vet school and working. She is really home only to eat and sleep.

The final restriction is needing a rental that is big enough to accommodate what has now ended up to be four adults. In addition to myself and my elderly mother, my sister and my disabled brother will be living with us. My sister and I will be the caretakers of Mom and bro, sharing responsibilities and providing each other respite when needed. So, while it does pose some challenges, the arrangement will be a good one.

Finally, and perhaps the most restrictive, is having to limit my search to rentals only because I have no money to purchase any properties that would meet my needs. While my intention is to live in a rental for the first year or two to get to know the area, I am finding that rentals are very, very scarce. Rentals that meet my needs are near-non-existent!

This is definitely proving to be a difficult start to my ‘new life’.

A Fresh Start in a New State

It’s official. My youngest graduated and is heading off to college in August. I am now free to move. Well, sort of. I am going to move to the state of the college she is attending to establish residency so I can perhaps get her in-state tuition in a year or so.

I am thankful I have a work-at-home position that affords me the opportunity to live anywhere I can get a decent broadband internet connection. I went this past week to scout out locations. I haven’t found a house/apartment to rent, yet, but I am looking online, checking out the local realtors’ websites and the classifieds in the e-edition in the local newspaper.

I plan on working hard to reduce my spending/cost of living to just one bi-weekly paycheck each month so I can use the other to pay down the consumer debt as quickly as I can. The age of early retirement is looming and, while I may not be able to retire by then, I really want to be free of debt.

I am going to use this opportunity to find a rental that is at least $300 cheaper than my current rent of $910 and has room for a garden, even if that is a container garden. I would also like to use my car as little as possible so being near a grocery store/fresh market/farmer’s market is important.

I am so looking forward to this fresh start!

A Six Hour Work Day

The New York Times published an article by Liz Alderman on how Sweden’s experiment with a six-hour workday showed benefits for both the employee and the employer.

Here is the link to that article,  In Sweden, an Experiment Turns Shorter Workdays Into Bigger Gains.

I think the six hour work day is a capital idea for a number of reasons, some of which are cited in the article.

I work an 8 hour plus day. I have noticed that I am expended emotionally and intellectually after six hours. I can do my job, which requires an uninterrupted and rapid pace, as expected, very well in 6 hours. The time beyond that is exhausting and draining. I agree that a six hour work day would definitely improve my well-being.

A six hour work day could reduce unemployment because, instead of three eight-hour shifts for jobs requiring 24 hour operation, there would be four six-hour shifts. This is proving to be successful at the hospital noted in the article.

Perhaps a six hour work day would encourage less people to opt for early retirement. That might stoke the Social Security coffers. I know it would make it much easier for me to consider working to age 70 if my work week consisted of 5 six hour days.

It certainly could improve the mental and physical health of the country. Employees would have more time to spend with their families, to volunteer, to exercise/be active, and to make and enjoy home-cooked meals.

We could also see an increase in the interaction between neighbors and an increase in participation in community events which could result in an increased sense of belonging.

Currently, companies and corporations in the US are demanding more hours and more productivity in those hours and we, as employees, are exhausted.

I think the six-hour work day, a 30 hour work week, is a great idea.

What say you?

Lowering My Taxable Income

I am definitely naive (read: stupid) financially. I never realized that I could do anything to adjust my taxable income beyond completing a W-4 Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. In researching ways to lower my taxable income and avoid paying additional tax for the 2016, I am learning a lot.

When I complete the W-4, I know that the more exemptions I claim, the bigger my take-home check is. And I cross my fingers hoping that I don’t have to pay more income tax at the end of the year. Oops, that sure didn’t work this year!

On the other hand, the fewer exemptions I claim, my take-home pay is less but my tax refund could be more. But, as we have been warned, it is best NOT to use the federal government as a savings account for your hard-earned money. The IRS pays no interest on your money.

So, Goldilocks, how do we figure out what is ‘just right’?

I am going to start with tweaking the W-4. Currently, I have a total of 7 ‘allowances’. I failed to update this apparently because my allowances actually work out to 5. Costly mistake!

W4 allowances

According to taxact.com, ‘the size of a withholding allowance is based on the annual value of a dependency exemption. For 2016, that amount is $4,050’.

I used the  IRS withholding calculator app at to calculate my anticipated income tax for 2016 . With my daughter heading off to college, I should be able to use the American Opportunity Tax Credit of $2500.

Here are the results of using the IRS app for calculating the exemptions I should claim this year:

2016 anticipated income tax

According to this, if I clam the American Opportunity Tax Credit of $2500, I can actually increase my allowances to 11 and have a refund of $150.

Hmm, now isn’t that interesting?

Off to plan my next step.

I Need to Figure Out How to Pay Less in Taxes

Obviously, by the debt load I carry, I am definitely not a financial wizard. And this year (and I am sure as a result of dumb decisions in the past) I made some stupid mistakes that resulted in my having to pay over a $1,000 to Uncle Sam on April 16th. That money would have come in handy for reducing my debt.

Arrghhh! Enough of this! Something needs to change.

I am taking time to examine my past mistakes with the goal of learning not to repeat them. Repeat after me- do not repeat them. And I am researching how to not only pay down my debt but also ways to lower my taxable income.

My annual gross pay is $66200. I will file as head of household in 2016 because I am not married, I will have paid more than half the cost of keeping up my home for the year and both my daughter and my mother can be a ‘qualifying person’. Only need one, though.

According to this table from taxfoundation.org , the estimate income tax brackets and rates for 2016 are:

2016 TAX BRACKETS
In 2015 I did not have enough deductions and credits to lower my taxable income to the 15% bracket. Over $8266 fell into the 25% tax bracket. I thought I had plenty of medical deductions but I did not have enough to exceed 10% of my adjusted gross income. Dang it. Thanks, Obamacare!

So, the goal is to work to bring my adjusted gross income down for 2016. How can I do that?

Off to research!

P.S. I realize I am divulging some pretty private info but, if it helps others learn and avoid making the same mistakes, it is all worth it.