the new year

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As far as new years resolutions go, we did really well accomplishing our 2011 goals, and have a good start on our 2012 resolutions. At the start of last year, Ben and I both wanted to lose some weight, eat healthier and get outside more. We’re right on track for weight loss and eating healthier. We far surpassed our rather modest goals, actually. For outside time, I added a recurring calendar appointment for “Outside family time” on Saturday mornings. We didn’t adhere to it as well during the cooler winter months, but managed to get outside and find something fun to do together most weekends during the year.

Did you know there are $41 billion of gift cards outstanding that have been accumulating since 2005? That’s crazy! We’ve contributed to the balance by hanging on to our cards far longer than needed. A few years ago, I organized all of our cards on to a little plastic folder with tabs. It’s easier to have them all in one place. We know what we have with a quick look and don’t spend time searching out specific cards in various locations (although it ends up being incredibly frustrating when the folder is misplaced).

More often than not, we have good intentions and just forget to use our gift cards. It’s so easy to swipe a credit card to pay, it’s just second nature, and so even when we’re well intentioned, gift cards go unused. Sometimes the card file is left in the car or at home. We realize too late that we could have paid for our purchase with a gift card, and so it sits. The fact that California has laws protecting the balance on gift cards, and not allowing vendors to deplete the balance after a stated amount of time makes it easy to be lazy. There’s no push to spend the money immediately, so we hang on to these prepaid assets tightly, waiting for that perfect opportunity to use them.

What I’m getting at, is we’re resolving to use up those gift cards this year. No more forgetting cards at home or not pulling them out to use them at the register. This will, most likely, require some planned shopping trips and dinners for us. We’re not big shoppers, so waiting for that happen chance moment to use them probably isn’t the best approach. Looking at the past, it hasn’t worked thus far, so it’s unlikely that will magically change due just to sheer determination.

It’s not a lofty resolution by any means, but I’d rather have a realistic and achievable resolution than one that will quickly fall to the wayside. Plus it’s a fun one, too.

A sidenote – I noticed in this post how much I use commas. I went through this post and removed as many as I could, but I still think I’m overusing them. Oh well. Here are a few more, just, for, good, measure. :)

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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