Saturday, January 03, 2009

Christmas Trip to Tipton, Iowa

This Christmas I drove to Tipton, Iowa to pick up my oldest son and bring him back to Kansas for the Christmas holidays. As far as the budget, the costs involved pretty much sank it. After renting a car to go up and back twice, food, gas etc--it was pretty much a budget buster. However, I did get to go outside my comfort zone and got to see some pretty scenery. The town my son lives in is a small town with a lot of wonderful Victorian houses, which I will post pictures of later, and a wonderful downtown full of architectural charm. A lot of the stores are vacant, but the town is still charming, with very friendly residents. The building above was the City Hall at one time--I'm not sure of what it's original function was, but can't you just see a shop on the bottom level and lofts on the top floors? I did get to try the doughnuts at the Tipton Bakery and have to say, they beat the pants off Krispy Kreme in both taste and friendliness.

The building in the above picture is being renovated for a gallery and gelato cafe. I'm looking forward to visiting and seeing how it evolves. I love seeing new businesses start and hopefully more will follow. This town is so cute--I can just envision boutique style shops and galleries here. In combination with the awesome Victorian

Of course, one son had to pop his head in the picture about the time I snapped the shot. Say hi to Mark. Did I mention that it was 13 degrees outside? That's the reason for Mark's red face and frozen pose... Typical teenager, the lips kept moving...

Detailing on the old city hall building. Beautiful. Oh how I wish I had the money to invest in buying and restoring a couple of these buildings for business and residential purposes. They are so beautiful and have so much potential!!!

The view down the street. This is just one side. This town is so cute, I can see why my son loves it here. He is about 30 minutes from Iowa City, which contains a really good University, so we are hoping he decides to finish up college there.
As I said, the cost of going back and forth to Tipton sidelined our financial goals, but I do plan to pick it back up and renew my goals of being frugal and thrifty in 2009 in order to get us ahead and in line with my financial goals. Part of the plan involves reading the books by Dave Ramsey. I ordered "Total Money Makeover" and "Financial Peace" from Dave's website right before Christmas (he had them available for $10 each as opposed to $25 normal retail for each book). I also picked up the "Financial Peace Workbook" for the same price. I am going to read through Total Money Makeover first--that seems to be the one everyone swears by, then I will start implementing the program. I'll report on how well I do and whether this works for me. Believe me, if it works for me, it'll work for anyone!
Since it is January 3rd, I probably should post my goals for 2009:
1. Get $1,000 in the savings for an emergency buffer (this is as per Dave Ramsey). Preferably more, but I'll feel great at the first benchmark of $1,000.
2. Cut the grocery bill down. We spend an awful lot on food and dining out. Less than in the past, but it can still come down more.
3. Buy that freezer. I'm going to be on target for that by February. Throughout January I will be trying recipes from my freezer cooking guides and letting everyone decide which ones are keepers.
4. Use up the fabric and yarn stash in my closets. Seriously, I have enough fabric for SEVERAL quilts and lots of handknitted stuff. I need to slow down on buying more until I deplete a large portion of what I already have. I have a full sized quilt top partially assembled for the bed in the guest bedroom, it's time to get it assembled so I can get it machine quilted. I want top learn how to handquilt the smaller ones, or even machine quilt them myself--but anything bigger than a full size will have to be sent out to a person that has a long arm machine.
5. Figure out what creative endeavor I want to do to bring extra $ into our budget and get the proper training to get my own Etsy business up and running. I have a couple leads from things I'm interested in and have talents for, I just haven't done a business plan and examined all the things involved. The business plan will be forthcoming in February.

6. Go to the Iowa Writers Festival in Iowa City. This has been something I've wanted to do for quite a few years, but finances and travel kept me from it. Now that I have actually driven the route (my son live 30 minutes North of Iowa City), I know I can do it easily in the summer. I've already seen it in the winter when it is icing and the roads are bad. Been there, done that. No big deal. I just have to save $ to actually get there and the registration/class fees.

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