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Archive for July, 2008

Re-thinking what's important.

July 30th, 2008 at 07:03 pm

Wow. There are so many numbers I have to work with right now. It's rather overwhelming. I'm trying to figure my living expenses per month, with a rough estimate of income monthly, then determine how much I have to spend a month on tuition, how much I should ideally pay on my CC, how much I should be putting into an EF, and how much I should be saving per month to fund a trip to Kenya in May (as well as a plane ticket to see BF in Oaklahoma in March before he ships off to the sandy cities).

Phew.

I need to cut costs where I can. Here is my August challenge: No fast food. No buying food at work. No buying clothes, CD's, movies, or books for pleasure. No spending more than $20 for the entire month on eating at restaurants (which means one or two outings depending on the restaurant).

I've decided to go without, at least for August, internet service at the new apartment. I get internet at the library, at work, at my mom's, etc. BF has a wireless card on his work laptop, so whenever he is home, we have internet. Anywhere. So it seems kind of pointless to spend the money to get it just for convenience's sake. This is a big step for me. haha.

BF and I are going to sit down and decide how we want to handle our joint expenses. This will determine too what my monthly expenses will be.

I've set my trip to Kenya date to May of 2009. This gives me 8 months or so to save up money for the trip. I'm budgeting about $1600. Most of it will be for the plane ticket. I have an organization to stay with (for essentially free) once I get there. I think setting the date and coming up with a dollar amount to save every month will keep me focused. Besides, "Saving for my Kenya trip" sounds much more glamorous when deciding on a reason to not spend money on something else rather than "paying down my CC debt."

I'm trying to decide what I really want to do with my time and money and not get stuck in the "deprivation mode" that most financial fasts bring on. What is important to me? Spending time with my loved ones, my friends, my family, learning, going to school, travelling, and many other things. I'm trying to embrace my passions a little more rather than just getting bogged down with making money.

For instance, I'm trying to embrace my job a little more. Really do the best I can. That means helping with promotion and marketing for my restaurant, doing the best job I can while I'm there, really interacting with the customers and giving them the best experience they could have to make them come back. I want more responsibility so I can take pride in the things I do, rather than just being there to make money (though that obviously helps). Eventually, I hope the time and effort I put into helping the restaurant will lead me to have more business, then ultimately more money (and job satisfaction).

I'm embracing my love for cooking and entertaining to save money. Moving into the new place has really opened up options as far as entertainment and spending time with friends. I love to cook, and I love to cook for others. Even if I end up spending a little more on groceries, it will far outsmart the grotesque amounts of money I would ultimately end up spending at restaurants and bars. For instance, tomorrow night friends are coming over to eat, drink, and likely play board games. Everyone is bringing something (food or drinkstuffs). I have everything I need at home for my pleasant evening. No dollars will be moving out of this wallet, oh no!

As far as other entertainment goes, the library has been a godsent for me this past week. I've been doing so much financial reading and enjoying my season 3 disc 2 of Scrubs (that I need to finish watching because I need to return it tomorrow). Not to mention, all this life planning has been burning some serious hours.

I have, however, been enjoying the freed up time I've had due to not having internet at home Smile I realize that I have so many things around me I could do... play guitar, learn a foreign language, start exercising again... so many things that I could do for essentially free. Right now I'm doing laundry at mom's and working numbers instead of accepting the invite to go to the movies and see the new Batman. I have to say that I did want to see that movie, but the $8 is much better kept in my wallet.

One other thing, I've been trying to re-think the time I spend with my friends. Sure, going to the bar is a good time. But really, some of my best times were spent camping, or playing board games. We may have simultaneously been consuming beverages of the alcoholic persuasion, but they weren't upcharged 300%. And we could hear the conversation Smile

Well, that's enough rambling for one night. I'm gonna go watch some scrubs! Everyone have a great night.

Working on being a grown-up.

July 29th, 2008 at 07:24 am

Well, we're getting moved into the apartment just fine. I'm loving the extra space and all the natural light. I never noticed just how dungeon-like the old place was until I had windows in every room!

I've resolved to not move again for at least another 2 years. This whole moving every year thing has gotten quite old...

There is no internet in the new place yet, so I've been doing a lot more reading at home. It's probably a blessing in disguise, considering the hours I waste away on the computer usually. I finished Suze Orman's YF&B, and it has definitely given me some things to think about. I'm going to start really planning out for my financial goals. Not just the small, short-term things, but also the longer-term things, such as retirement, buying a house, eventually owning my own business, etc.

I'm going to talk to my mom (my insurance agent) about different options on my life insurance policy. It's a variable policy, which means it does have an investment element to it, but I realize it's probably too expensive. All of the mail I recieve about the financial advisors and such makes me think I'm probably paying too much. So I'll get quotes on term life, and I'm going to look into opening a Roth IRA sometime in the next year or so. I'm going to do some shopping around for a while first. I'm assuming that a term life plan for someone as young as me isn't going to be very pricey, and I can put the difference into a Roth and probably fare better.

I'm also going to sit down and go over joint financial hooplah with BF. I like Suze's idea of having a joint bank account for living expenses. I think it'll be good for sorting through things together. Besides, I want to get out of that "his money, her money" mindset. We go out and I "let him pay" quite a bit, knowing full-well that his and my money will one day be the same, and he shouldn't be "paying for me," he should be sticking that money to something a little more useful (and we should just not go out to eat at all out of convenience).

Started my new shift at work yesterday, and I think it's going to be very successful. I'm pretty excited. I'm definitely ready to start making the big bucks.

I'm trying to get things in order for school this week. I have to call my university in PA and have them mail this university my transcript. I'm going to do the part-time thing in the fall, try and pay down my CC (that will be racked up to pay off these summer classes), and make up for it next summer by taking a few classes (that I will save up the money to pay for so I dont get stuck like I did this year).

It's almost time to do my July totals and budget for August! I cant believe how fast this summer is going by! Less than a month before school starts again... jeez. I'm looking forward to it, though I'm not going to get all hyped for fall until these summer classes are paid for. With my luck things will go awry and I'll have to put it all off. I'm hoping this is not the case, but in the event that it is, I dont want to let myself down.

Other than that, I dont think I have any real news. I'm just trying to get my mind-set in order to make the most money and get the most out of my job I can, while at the same time get my life in order and come up with a plan. It's strange to me trying to be a grown-up now. I'm trying to balance the things I love with paying off my debt, and planning for the future. It's a lot of work and most certainly a huge thing to tackle. But I'm enjoying tackling it, which is the nice part. I feel so much more responsible.

Either way, I should get going. I have more fun to have at the library before walking over to work.

Everyone have a wonderful day!

Suze Orman, and some thoughts on her book.

July 25th, 2008 at 06:11 am

I do so love the library... yesterday I picked up 2 movies and a CD I had on hold, then I went and looked through the rather extensive personal finance section Smile

I always feel like such a nerd doing so much financial reading, but the books I picked up this time seem to be really good. I've never read any of Suze Orman's stuff, though it's talked about on SA rather religiously. I got her Financial Guidebook, and "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke." I also picked up a copy of "Conscious Spending for Couples," by Deborah Knuckey.

I started doing the guidebook yesterday, and I've gotten pretty far. By far, I mean to part 5. I've found in many of the Personal Finance books I've read that I feel that some of it doesn't apply to me. Especially in the case of wills, living trusts, things of that nature. Why draw up pricey documents when you really dont have anything?

I have no estate, no real property worth more than a few thousand, so I dont see the point. I do have a life insurance policy, which is a variable policy (kind of like a mutual fund). I dont know too much about it, except that if I let it sit for a long time, it has a pretty sizeable cash value, and I get stuff in the mail about it all the time that I dont really understand. lol. I pay my premiums 4 times a year, and that's that.

So I skipped the will/living trust/power of attorney for health insurance and all that. I know, I know. I could die at any time, but at this point, if I die, my mom can take care of things how she sees fit Smile and she can keep my clothes (you're welcome).

However, I did like the point in the book where it talks about earliest money memories, and fears, and all that. It's interesting to look at things from a psychological point of view. I definitely saw connections between some of my memories and my fears. And I came up with my "new truth." I even repeated it several times today, as the book told me to do.

The other thing that this book made me realize is that I kind of push off some of the things that are really important to me, like travelling. I've been wanting to get out of this country and see something more since I was 17, and have never had the money. So I'm making it a point to take a trip to Kenya in the next year. Come hell or high water. I'll save up the money, and take that trip. I'll do it when BF is away in the sandy cities. It'll give me something to look forward to. A trip like that is very important to me, just as important as paying off my CC. So whereas I wont charge the trip to my card, I will be saving an additional amount of money each month to go toward this trip. Perhaps I'll start using my extra income each month. That'll give me more incentive to make it Smile

In other financial news, I sold a book on amazon, which I plan on shipping here in about an hour. I need to stop at the bank on the way to work to make a deposit, as today we sign the lease, and I need that money in my account to give the woman the check for first months' rent/security deposit.

It's going to be a very busy day, as I work both the restuarant and the bar. So it'll be a late night as well. I need to get a move on, then. So much to do!

Everyone have a wonderful day!

Thursday check-in.

July 24th, 2008 at 05:48 am

Well, we sign the lease tomorrow. Then we start moving into our new apartment. Very exciting Smile

It's amazing to me just how busy I am this week. I've definitely been feeling it... I told the couple I work for yesterday that I was leaving them to work a better shift at my restaurant. They were very understanding, which made me feel much better about the decision. They did seem quite disappointed, however. They said that I'm a hard worker and do such a good job, and make excellent food Smile I told them to keep my number on hand in case they needed extra help, their new person needs to take a week off, etc.

So today is my last day with them. I'm going to miss it. It's only been a week, and I've never much cared for cleaning, but they are very nice people, and they were incredibly nice to work for. I start my new schedule at work next week. So let's hope I make the big bucks.

Went to mom's and did laundry last night. That saved me about $5.

I sold a book on amazon last night, so that'll be somewhere around $22 after shipping costs. I need to take that to the post office. I also need to go to the library, as I have a couple movies and a CD waiting for me there.

I'll be packing my lunch again today. If I keep it up through tomorrow, that would be 2 whole weeks that I've gone without spending money at work. Which means I've saved about $22.50. I want to keep it up through the rest of the month.

I cant believe how fast July has gone by. I need to apply to the university by August 1, so I need to get on that. I also need to pay my tuition ASAP. I cant register for classes in the fall til I pay the balance off. That could be problematic in that I have to pay this safety deposit and first months' rent... but we'll see. It'll be tough, but I want to go back to school in the fall, even if it's just part time.

I looked back at some of my entries in April and found the challenge I forgot about... I said I didn't want to buy any books for pleasure, movies, or CD's for 3 months. If I get through July, I'll reach this goal. Exciting Smile Thank you public library! haha.

I should probably get this day rolling. My slump passed once I got to work, I've just been really tired. It will likely continue through today as I got to bed late (up doing laundry til 12:30). I'm going to have to get used to these longer hours. Next week will be a little less stressful, however. I dont have to leave one job to go to the next. That kind of messes things up a bit. I always feel rushed.

Either way, everyone have a great day!

Midweek Slump?

July 23rd, 2008 at 05:39 am

It's only wednesday and I'm getting tired already... this busy schedule is something I'm going to need to get used to.

I've thought the whole job situation through some more, and come to the decision that I will take the job my boss offered me. It would pay more overall and cut out travel time during the day. I will be finishing the week out, however.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I brought my lunch to work, and was gone all day, so there's no way I could have bought anything. I did, however, make a total of $76 yesterday between both jobs. That's about half of what I've been making in a total week lately... Not bad. Hopefully it'll be the same today. I'm definitely taking my lunch with me, dont have any plans for tonight. I'll probably just relax. I'm going to need to. BF and I have both been pretty exhausted this week overall.

Went to BF's nephew's birthday cookout after work. BF came home early and didn't tell me. It was a nice surpise Smile BF's sister also sent us home with the rest of the fruit salad, half a watermelon, and 7 or so cans of diet mt. dew. That was pretty sweet. I love fruit Smile

We're signing the lease on friday. I need to have about $1150 in my account by then so we can write a check. I'm working on that now. I'm transferring all the money in my savings except $50 to my checking account. That'll be the start of my emergency fund. BF needs to get me some cash. But he may just end up paying me back his part of it. I need to go to the bank today and make a deposit.

We get the keys then on friday. We're going to start moving then, though I wont be doing any moving until saturday, as I work all day friday. We'll continue moving on sunday. So I anticipate it being a rather inexpensive weekend, save maybe gas.

Well, I need to get this day started. I hope everyone has a good one!

Now what?! Rough decision, could use some advice.

July 22nd, 2008 at 05:53 am

I got a call from the bank yesterday. It seems they decided to hire the position internally, and there are no other slots in my area, so I'm out of luck. That kind of stinks.

On my first day of my new job (job #3), my boss at the restaurant (job #1) gives me an offer. My coworker quit for much the same reason I was looking for a new job. He was our day bartender, and was used to managing restaurants, not working for someone else, and thus wasn't making much money. My boss, now, wants to hire me as the daytame bartender (as we are training new day servers). He offered me $240/week + tips. I would end up working about 35 hours, which totals up to $6ish/hr. This sounds bad, but that's pretty darn good for a service position. I know for a fact that my coworker could come home with as much as $80ish in a shift in tips. When I averaged it at $45/day in tips, I would make roughly $400/week. Some weeks I could make more. That's pret-ty good.

The problem is, I would more or less have to leave job #3. They dont want me cleaning at the crack of dawn, and my boss really needs me on that schedule. I was trying to figure out a way to work it that everybody wins, but it's not looking like that's going to happen. This new job is really nice. Yesterday I cleaned for a few hours, then made dinner for the 3 of us. Aside from my back hurting from bending over so much, it went really well.

I dont want to bail out on these people my first week. It feels really unprofessional to me, even despite the fact that she keeps asking me if it's too much, and if I'm sure I still want to do the job. It's not too difficult, and I enjoy it. At the same time, however, my boss is pretty desperate for a day bartender. All the night people want to stay on nights. And my boss would be doing me a pretty big favor giving me the position. He really didn't want me to leave to begin with, and neither did I. I just wasn't making enough money. This way I would, and I'd get to stay.

I thought about what would happen when school starts. Because the cleaning job is much more flexible. But I've also been considering taking a semester off to save up some money, or just go part-time and pay off some of my debt, save up for my next full-time semester.

When I talked to the woman I clean for, we discussed options for my schedule, but nothing seemed to work out. She did say to me that from a totally non-selfish standpoint that I should pick whatever would make me more money. I'm just not sure. The way my schedule works out this week, I'm working the same number of hours between the 2 jobs (about 35, but this doesn't include my weekend job, which puts me at about 45 for the week).

I'll make about $350 this week between the 2 jobs. That's if I clean/cook about 4.5 hours mon-thurs. I dont know how many hours it's going to be once I get past the big initial cleaning, though. It could only be 2 hours or so every day after that.

Bah. I'm thinking too much (if there is such a thing). I think it would be nice to jump back down to only 2 jobs. 3 just feels a little overwhelming. But I dont know... I do know that if I do end up taking this job and dropping the cleaning gig that the woman does have other responses, so she wouldn't be totally stranded. Besides, I'd still work through the rest of the week, so she'd still have a much cleaner house! At least for now Smile haha.

I'm going to try and decide by the end of the day... Wish me luck!

The Third Job... It's going to be a busy week...

July 21st, 2008 at 06:04 am

Well, it's going to be a VERY busy week. I responded to a craigslist ad on friday for an "Alice" position. Alice as in the woman who took care of the Brady Family. As it seems, this couple needs someone to clean for them and make them dinner (almost) every night. They have no kids, only 2 dogs. I met with them on saturday morning, and I am absolutely excited about this job. It's going to be hard work. They have a fairly large house. But I really like these people, and I'm incredibly excited to get paid for cooking.

I start today after my shift at the restaurant. They're paying me $10/hr to start with, until we see how the hours work out. They'll probably bump me up if I end up working less than 20 hours/week. I'm just trying to be affordable. They both have good jobs, but they are certainly not rich.

So, that being said, I now have 3 jobs. 3 JOBS! wow... This may be my last week at the restaurant, I'm not sure. I'm still waiting to hear back from the bank. If I get the teller position, I'll be leaving the restaurant for sure. I'm going to give the HR woman a call this afternoon if I dont hear back. I really hope I get this job.

So here's what my schedule looks like: Restaurant Monday-friday from 10:30-2:00ish, then Mon-Thurs I do my "Alice" job from 3:00-whenever (we're playing it by ear this week), and then I work at the bar Friday and saturday at 5:30-whenever.

Saturday we start moving.

By sunday night I think I'm going to just collapse and never wake up. lol. It's a lot. I know it's a lot. But the more I work, the more money I make, and the better chances I can get these summer classes paid off and I can register and take classes in the fall.

I'm trying to take a can-do attitude. BF works 15, 16 hour days sometimes and he manages it. I can do this. it's really not all that bad. Work hard, and pay off the classes, the debt.

So it's monday of this hellish week, and my attitude is going to remain positive.

I did 2 surveys this morning, a pinecone survey and a lightspeed panel survey. So I should have a check coming soon. woo!

Well guys, wish me luck! I need to get this week started!

I feel like we're finally working as a team.

July 17th, 2008 at 06:26 am

BF and I had quite a breakthrough yesterday. We're trying to get everything set to start moving next weekend (seems so close!), so we have to get all the paperwork sent in, etc. We were filling out the rental application yesterday, and there was a section where you fill in your liabilities, and how much you pay on them every month.

Up to this point, BF wouldn't tell me how much debt he had. It really bothered me, as we may potentially be getting married in the next year, and working together on money-related issues is a big deal when your married (if you're going to have a successful marriage, anyway). I want to start working together *before* we get married, so that when we eventually are, it wont be some huge change.

That being said, I got to see. I even offered to not look at it if he was uncomfortable with it, but he said it was okay. He's really embarrased about his debt, so it's not something he ever shares. With anyone. But he shared it with me, and even acknowledged that he needs a little help dealing with it. He doesn't have as much debt as I do when you talk straight numbers, but most of his is CC debt, and he has to pay the car off still.

He's convinced that once he get's back from Iraq that it wont be a problem anymore, because he'll get a check enough to pay off all his debt and then some leftover. I stressed the importance of paying them off as soon as possible, however, so he doesn't end up losing a bunch in interest in the mean time. He's trying really hard. He never uses his CC anymore, and we've been working together to save on the little things.

I feel like we're really working as a team now. It's fantastic. I think a lot of it has to do with moving-- into "our" place. In BF's eyes, I've been more or less "squatting" at his place. But he told me yesterday that he was looking forward to moving into "our" place. I can say the same, and it made me so happy to hear it from him Big Grin We'll be splitting bills and really mingling finances now. haha.

It's a big step to move in with someone, I think. I've done it in the past, and it's tricky. I think it's really the closest thing to being married without actually being married. Technically BF and I have been "living together" for 3 months now, but this will be different. It's a little peice of home we're building together. I love it! But I also acknowledge that it's going to take a little bit of work and organization to get us on the same page.

I've been reading those personal finance books, and it got me thinking about financial goals. I have the basic ones: pay off debt, eventually buy a house, travel the world, retire by 60ish, have enough money to really raise a kid, put him/her through college (or at least help). I asked BF about his, and really the answers were similar. He wants to retire young (50-55), he wants to travel, he wants to have kids.

We want to raise our children in a foreign country, at least through thier teens. We definitely want to live in a foreign country. That's a huge step, and one we're going to have to think through very carefully (for obvious reasons). I want my kids to be bilingual and go to a school better than the ones you find in my area. haha. I want them to have cultural exposure, as so little people, even adults, do in the US. We've talked about how many kids we would eventually want, but he caught me off guard yesterday when he told me he wants to have as many as we can afford and raise well. He thinks we would both make great parents Smile I hope he's right. I guess we both come from relatively big families, but I dont know about popping out more than 3! If we could split the labor maybe it would be different, but unfortunately, he doesn't have the equipment Wink But of course, this is all a really long way off.

I just feel really good about things. School will hopefully work out. I'm putting all my savings on my CC so I can lower my interest payment on the 2nd of the month. Then I'll put basically all my tuition payment on my CC. Then we're back to square 1. I'll spend the rest of the summer trying to pay it off. Sigh. I have to admit I'm a little worried that I'm not going to be able to pay the difference. I had my can-do attitude the last time, and it got me really far (about $1500 far), but not far enough.

Falling short never feels good, so perhaps that's affecting my attitude. But this time I dont want to be caught by suprise. If I cant pay it, I'm going to take the semester off. I really dont want to do that, because I want to get this degree asap. But on the positive side, that will give me some time to get my finances in order, perhaps pay off my CC.

On another positive note, Associated Content Published 2 of my articles:

The Best Sushi in Akron, Ohio

Friends with Benefits: A Healthy Alternative

The first is a review of Sushi places in my area, the second is an unorthodox relationship piece. Total of $7.55 for both. Half of it is already in my paypal account.

In other little tidbits, I've successfully taken leftovers and not ordered food from work all week. That is to be continued today and tomorrow, saving me approx. $10 for the week. And I've been eating much healthier!

A little team victory last night: Went to mom's to cook dinner and do laundry. Mom and sis were heading to the drive-in, and we were invited to go at a really good price ($10 for both of us). However, we opted to watch movies we got from the library at home instead. Also, on the way home from mom's, we passed Taco Bell, and even at the mention of possibly getting something by BF, we opted to just go home and eat some homemade hummus and smoke the hookah Smile

BF's foot is doing a little better, but he's still off work til tomorrow. I'm enjoying having him home! Smile

Alright, enough rambling. I'm sorry if you read all the way through it. Must have been painful Big Grin

Interview #2, the good week continues...

July 15th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Well, the week continues being good. Things seem to be turning around a bit for me Smile

I woke up and saw that I sold yet another book. So I packaged it up and stopped at the post office. Between the 2 books, after shipping, I made $20.38. After going to the post office, I stopped at the library to pick up some stuff I had on hold. I got a CD, and 2 movies (well, one was Scrubs season 3 disc 1), and picked up 3 financial books: The Everything Personal Finance in your 20's and 30's Book, 50 Simple things you can do to improve your personal finances, and The complete personal finance handbook. We'll see how they are.

Work was okay. I didn't make fabulous money, but I didn't make bad money either. I brought my leftovers again. That's about $4 so far saved this week!!

After work I walked home and stopped to get coals for the hookah.

BF went to the hospital today because he fractured his foot somehow and it's been bothering him really bad for a couple days now. Lucky for us, he has pretty good insurance. Looks like he's probably going to be home for the rest of the week. Poor guy.

I had my second job interview today. Well, it was a phone interview with the bank. They're setting me up with a face-to-face interview. It's been quite the process. haha. I had to take an online questionarre, a math test, and do a phone interview before I get to see anyone. I feel like Indiana Jones. haha.

I'm pretty excited about this position if I get it. It's $9.75/hr, which is more than the record company would pay me. At the same time, I would be limited to $20 hrs/week, but if I can schedule them for 3 days rather than 4 hrs/day, I can still work a couple days a week at the restaurant. The branch I'd be working at will also be about 2 minutes from the apartment we're likely moving into as well. haha. When I asked her I found it so funny. Also, I'd get some benefits. They'd start me with a 401k and I'd get some vacation time. I'd have health insurance, though the woman said it would obviously be more expensive than if I was working full time. But also, there would be room to move up, and it is more directly related to accounting than office work is.

Tonight I guess BF and I are going to his brother's house for dinner. He's making lasagne. He needs to call his brother and ask if he wants us to bring anything. Regardless, it'll be nice to spend some time with them. I also have all those movies that we could bring over and watch with them.

I still need to head over to the university and sell my books back, but they aren't going anywhere. I feel pretty productive today regardless Smile

Well, I need to get going. Need to do the dishes and start reading all these books! I feel like a nerd getting so excited about personal finance books. lol.

A wonderful start to my week.

July 14th, 2008 at 05:30 pm

So this has been the best day I've had in a while. It was a great start to what will hopefully be a great week.

BF and I went and looked at an apartment today that is perfect. It's much bigger than we thought it would be, less than $500 a month, has 2 big closets, plenty of counter space, a little storage closet that would be great for BF's gas-soaked work clothes, on site laundry services, a little yard. It's a 2nd floor apartment, so I wouldn't have to worry about leaving my windows open at night, it feels really secure.

It's also within walking distance of a bar we frequent, the restaurant where BF's family goes all the time, the grocery store, and closer to my mom, BF's family, and good friends of ours. It's $20 extra per month for pets, but that puts it at still cheaper than any of the other apartments we were considering. So when I finally get my puppy, we'll be set.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about it. I was really not all that thrilled to be moving again, until I saw this apartment, and now I'm totally stoked. We were going to look at a few more places, and we still may, but I'm pretty sure my heart is set on this one. It's the best price we've found yet, and in the perfect location.

Adding to all that, when we got home from looking at the apartment, I got a call from a woman about my application at the bank. I have a phone interview tomorrow at 3pm. That's 2 job interviews this week Smile

I made decent money at work today-- about $45. Much better than any day last week. Told my boss today that I was looking around for another job. He understood. No one at the restaurant is making any money, which is quite the bummer. It's a really fun place to work, and the food is really quality. It's just a really bad location, especially in the summer months when there aren't as many people downtown.

I had my first job interview of the week this afternoon, and it went well. After talking to the owner of the record company for a while, he gave me an application so they could do the background check and all that fun stuff. It seems like it would be a fun place to work, but there would be some running around to do. I think working for a bank may be a little nicer. It's more stationary (for days that BF has to drop me off, etc). But it's really going to depend on what branch I would be working at, what hours I would be working, how much I would be paid, etc. Those are the kinds of questions I'll be asking tomorrow, of course. BF's sister used to be a bank teller, and she said she made around $9/hr. Which is about the same as what I would make as an office assistant for the record company.

So we'll see... Regardless, it seems like August is going to be an exciting month, between a new apartment and a new job.

Last night I picked BF up from his unit and made dinner. The greek salad turned out amazing. Tonight after my interview I picked BF up from his grandma's. He was cutting her grass. We stopped at Dairy Queen and picked up a couple blizzards. Definitely an uneccesary expense, but it was such a nice warm day and it had been way too long since I had icecream.

I didn't buy any food at work. I packed my sandwich, and some leftovers. That $2 I saved was spent on icecream. lol.

I made dinner again tonight. I made a lemon-dill chicken salad, which turned out really good. We ate it with the leftover salad. In addition, we have enough for at least 2 or 3 more sandwiches. I'm out of chicken now, so I'll have to figure something out for the rest of the week :/ maybe we'll go all-vegetarian for the rest of the week. We have stuff for salads, so we should be fine. I've been quite the chef lately. I'm looking forward to moving into a bigger place. I miss inviting people over. I want to have people over for dinner more often Smile

BF and I seem to be getting on the same page with not spending money. I like that a lot. For instance, he was talking about a bedroom set he wants to get for the new apartment. He said it's "only" $700-some dollars, and it's really nice. But I explained that I think it's uneccesary to get anything like that. We have everything we need, and the closets in the new place are huge, so we dont really need another dresser. I told him I'd prefer it if he put the $700 on his CC. He agreed Smile Sometimes you just have to talk some sense into these boys! haha.

He went off to work, and I made him a sandwich to take with him while he was packing. He also took a few cans of the diet mountain dew we bought on sale in cases, rather than blowing way too much money on it at gas stations.

This week shouldn't be terribly pricey, until sunday. It's BF's sister and nephew's b-day, so we're going to a water park. I think they sell discounted tickets at the grocery store, but I'm not sure how much it's going to cost, or if you are allowed to bring food into the park, etc. Guess we'll see. I work friday and saturday nights. Hopefully this week I wont get sent home early both nights, and I'll actually make some money. That would be nice :P

I have a couple more things to list on craigslist/amazon. I'm going to make a couple more peices of jewelry, too. I need to work on generating that extra income. Last month I did pretty good.

A couple little victories I noticed today:
*I haven't bought a book for non-school reasons since April.
*I haven't spent any money on clothes since may, and the month's total then was $3.40

Trying to keep up the good work in July Smile

Hope everyone has a great night!

Book sold, and this week's meals.

July 13th, 2008 at 02:05 pm

Well, it's been a fairly productive day. I washed my dishes, straightened up the apartment, and put my laundry away. Then I listed 7 books on amazon. Eventually I met my coworker out at this place for a drink and an appetizer. He insisted to pay the bill, which was nice. I paid the tip. So $7 out of pocket (much better than $18).

Just got home not too long ago, checked my email to find that one of my books sold for $17 Smile Let's hope I have just as much luck with the other 6. Some of them were really pricey, mostly textbooks. 2 were around $30 and one was $75, so we'll hope!

I'm pretty excited for my interview tomorrow. I have to admit, I love job interviews. As narcassistic as it sounds, I love spending an hour talking about myself. Something aobut the idea of selling myself is really fun. I've also never went on a job interview and not gotten hired. Let's hope I dont break my stride. I decided what to wear today, and I think I'm ready. Wish me luck!

It's going to be a busy week. I work mon-fri lunches, friday and saturday night at the bar. I'm going to look at an apartment in the morning, and have my interview after my work shift. I need to get some stuff taken care of for school this week. I have some phone calls to make, applications to put in, etc. I think I'm going to go for the BA in accounting. It seems the most logical thing to do. I may eventually get a master's degree, but for now I need to focus on getting a job and paying down all of this debt.

Last night I got sent home again at the bar. We were supposed to have a big party of 100 people (the reason I was scheduled to come in), and they never showed up. I sat around for 3 hours doing nothing. I have to admit, it was quite the bummer. I'm really trying to make some money, and it seems like it doesn't matter what I do sometimes, I just have terrible luck. Mom and her BF took me to dinner, though, which was very nice. I ate my leftovers for breakfast Smile

I have some really good meals planned for this week. I'm going to be bringing my leftovers to work for lunches, so I needed some real motivation. haha. Here are the tentative meals:

*Tofu Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing
*Greek Chicken Salad (though I may make it with tofu)
*Chicken Salad Sandwiches (or on top of greens)
*Grilled Chicken (or tofu) and mashed sweet potatoes
*Salad with cottage cheese, pineapple chunks, and poppyseed dressing.

I figure at least 2 of the nights will be throw-together nights, but regardless it's going to be a real salad week. I'm trying to get my eating habits back in order. I'm going to make some hummus here soon. Actually, I may make some before BF gets home in a couple hours. Suprise him Smile

I also came across a recipe for home made energy bars. It may have been in the SA forums. I dont remember, but I might try them this week. They would be good to take to work on nights.

Because I dont have evening classes anymore, I'm also going to be going to the gym at least mon-thurs. I was doing really good when BF was gone, but for some reason dropped the ball. Really busy, I guess.

Groceries, job interview, and rambling :)

July 12th, 2008 at 01:40 pm

Well, this weekend has been pretty fun thus far. Last night I went to work, but it was so slow that I sat for an hour with nothing to do, and they sent me home. I work again tonight, hopefully with much better luck.

This morning I sent another resume out for an executive/office assistant position. It's 30 hours/week and it only pays $8.50/hr, but it's still far better than what I'm making currently.

I went grocery shopping with a friend of mine. I introduced her to the glory of ALDI. Then we stopped at Giant Eagle because there were a few things that I needed that ALDI didn't have.

The damage:
ALDI
12 pack of Toilet Paper $5.29
1 Grapefruit $0.59
3-pack cucumber $1.19
1 Red onion $0.49
1 Bag of spring mix salad $1.99
1 quart soymilk $1.39
5 tomatoes $3.95
1 bag radishes $0.89
1 can chunk pineapple $0.89
1 box granola cereal $1.59
1 tub yogurt $1.59
1 tub cottage cheese $2.29
1 thing peanutbutter $1.39
1 can black olives $0.99
1 bag baby carrots $1.19
Total with tax: $26.05

Giant Eagle:
Feta Cheese $2.00
Soy Sauce $3.09
Can Chickpeas $0.60
Sesame oil $2.99
Firm tofu $2.99
Green onion $0.79
Total: $12.46

Complete total: $38.51

It seems really high, but BF will be reimbursing me part of it. Also, shopping today convinced me to cook lunch with my friend as opposed to going out to chipotle where we each would have spent $10. He bought the avocados, I bought the tomatoes we needed to make our shish kabobs and our tomato-avocado salad.

Also, I have to confess... I've been cheating a little. I bring my sandwich to work every day, but that's never enough food for me. And I know this, of course. So every day I've been splitting a meal with my coworker. I only usually spend a max of $2.25 every day, but if you take an average of $2x5 days of work, that's $10/week. $40/month. I bought extra groceries so I cook more, and I'll be taking my leftovers to work.

Speaking of work, as I was getting back from grocery shopping, I got a call from the place I sent my resume to this morning. We talked a bit, and set up an interview date-- monday at 3pm. Yippee! I need to figure out what I'm going to wear now...

Monday morning BF and I are looking at an apartment. We really need to figure out where it is we're moving to. The lease is up the first week in august.

So my friend and I went to my mom's and we cooked lunch. It was nothing short of amazing, and we both had leftovers to take home. And mom got a nice meal for free. All she had to do was the dishes Smile It was a really nice time.

Tonight I have work, tomorrow I have some cleaning to do around this apartment, and I'm getting together for lunch with my coworker. Then it's off to the drive in to see Wall*e again after BF gets home.

Got a pinecone check in the mail today Smile

This coming week is going to be a very busy one. Still chugging away at that to-do list, it's been a slow process, but I see things looking up. Anyhoo, time to finish getting ready for work!

Everyone have a nice evening Smile

Updates.

July 10th, 2008 at 02:38 pm

Well, still didn't make that great money today. Boo. I'm really glad for this second job thing. Also, I got a call today from the woman who had me babysit her 2 girls a couple weeks ago. As it turns out, her and her husband have season tickets to the football team out here, and they need a sitter for quite a few of the games. They're going to pay me $60 every time, so that's pretty exciting. She emailed me the dates, and it seems like it wont be a problem for any except a couple (work would interfere and all that). But we'll see. I'm not sure what my schedule is going to be like at the new place.

Other than that, I dont have much financial news. I've been thinking more about my school situation. It occured to me last night that it was ridiculous to finish my degree in sociology and then get a master's in accounting. I could finish my BA in accounting in 2 years, and it would take me a year to finish up my BA in sociology + 2-3 years for a master's program. So I may just go into the business college, finish up my BA in accounting, then take the CPA exam. I may eventually get an MA, but I really want to get a decent job sometime in the next few years. I really need to start paying down this debt.

BF will get home tonight about the time I get out of my exam. Not sure what we're doing tonight. I know he has some paperwork to do still, so it's looking like it will probably be a night in. I guess that's fine with me, I got 3 movies from the library today: Cinderella Man (a good one I haven't seen in a while), Casino Royale (a favorite of mine), and Ratatouille (which I have not seen, but am totally stoked to watch). So I suppose I have things to keep me busy, and I'm sure BF is going to want to relax a little. He's had a looooong week.

I've got saturday during the day to do whatever. That'll be nice. I still have a hideous to-do list. Sunday I have plans with friends and my co-worker to go out to lunch and have a couple drinks. My only entertainment money spent this week. Sunday night mom suggested going to the drive-in to see Wall*e. BF and I have already seen it, but loved it so much we'd be willing to pay the $2 each to see it again. So we'll see.

Well, have to get to my exam. It's the final, so after today I'm done til fall. I'm pretty relieved. I didn't really care for this class, afterall. And I get to sell the books back Smile

Have a good night, everyone!

Babysteps.

July 9th, 2008 at 08:54 pm

Well, today was a NSD. I ate leftovers for breakfast, packed my sandwich for work. I made okay money today, but not really all that great. I'm definitely going to need that extra money from job #2 this week. Did the dishes and all that. Went to class. Tomorrow is my final, and then classes are done til fall.

At mom's now helping her put together a budget. We've made some progress. Still a little more to put together, however.

I've got some movies and CDs on hold at the library now. Hopefully my movie will arrive at the branch here tomorrow. It would be nice to have something to watch with BF sometime this weekend. As it is, we wont have a whole lot of time to spend together, but I will see him tomorrow night and sunday night. He has drill saturday and sunday, and I work friday night. I am looking forward to seeing him. I haven't all week, so it'll be nice. And I'll be done with my class, which I'm also excited about.

Not much other news. I have a lot to do, and I'm dragging my feet, which I shouldn't. It's just that between school, finding a new apartment, and job hunting, I've got a lot on my plate and it's awfully overwhelming. The massive hunk of debt I'm trying to pay off, along with tuition, doesn't really help much either. One thing at a time, I guess.

There are some things I need to get selling. My textbooks, my various other books, that willow tree thing mom gave me to sell, more jewelry, etc. Still waiting on those articles on Associated Content. Another pinecone survey wouldn't hurt either. haha. I have a loooong to-do list, just not enough time to do. haha.

But at least my dishes are washed.

Babysteps... hehe. Everyone have a great night!

Found my second job!

July 8th, 2008 at 01:28 pm

Well, I made better money at work today than yesterday, thankfully. It still seems to be not nearly enough. I sent a couple resumes out yesterday for receptionist positions. We'll see if anyone bites. I did find my second job, working at a bar a few nights a week. I start friday evenint, which I'm very excited about. I was hoping I would be able to start this weekend. I definitely need the money. Besides, BF is out of town this weekend anyway, so I'll need something to do (my friends are obviously not part of the equation. haha).

Did my laundry at mom's last night. Still waiting to see if my articles get published. Trying to keep busy and make some money. Today is my last week of class til the fall. Final is on thursday. I'm not really looking forward to that. It's been a rather lazy day. I haven't really wanted to do anything. I'm trying to motivate myself to go to the gym, as I really should. I'm paying all this tuition for essentially 2 classes, so I may as well take advantage of the perks.

I have an endless to-do list, and it's so overwhelming. I wish I could snap my fingers and all that debt would erase itself... ugh. At any rate, better get on those billion things I have to do.

Hope everyone has a great night!

Weekend fun and random hooplah.

July 7th, 2008 at 01:48 pm

Well, the weekend was exciting. Quite busy. Spent some time with friends, family. Didn't drink too much, probably ate too much though. haha. We saw the fireworks twice, both times were pretty good. The first ones we saw we were so close we were being showered with ashes-- some of which got into my eye, and that wasn't quite pleasant. But otherwise, it was a great weekend. Got to see Wall-E and Hancock. Both were good, though I would reccomend Wall-E more. It was nothing short of amazing.

Think I found my second job. Need to go in tomorrow to find out what my schedule is going to be, and when they want me to start. The manager wasn't in today. I wrote another article today, so I'm waiting for that one and the last to be approved. I published another poem on associated content:

Persephone

I put on my sidebar a list of the articles and poems I've published if anyone wants to check them out. I like to think my poetry is pretty good, so if you're into that kind of thing, definitely check it out!

Still apartment hunting. I called a few places on saturday. I'm starting to get some calls back about them, so I'll be looking at there here within the next week. Unfortunately, BF is out of town most of the week for work, and then has drill this weekend. It feels like he's always gone! Likely because he is... haha. I guess it's something I'm going to have to get used to. Good practice for him going to Iraq.

Didn't make good money today. The restaurant was dead. Makes me want to get a job with more hours. I feel bad deserting my restaurant, though. I'll think over it some more. I've been scouring craigslist every morning, looking for a better paying job. but once school starts up again in the fall, I'm going to need a flexible job, so I'm trying to steer clear of anything too serious. I'll only be able to work a couple more months, afterall.

I need to go to the university and get a bunch of stuff in order. Paperwork jungle all over again... I'm not really looking forward to it. I'm just trying to stay optimistic and be excited about it all. I do love change, after all.

Either way, I should get going. I have some homework to do before class. Only a week left, and no more til fall. Yay!

Hope everyone has a great night!

Lots of news... bad and good.

July 3rd, 2008 at 06:15 am

The last couple days have been absolutely horrendous. It seems that even though lending club approved me for funding a week ago, that the same credit information wasn't good enough a week later. I lost my $1000.

That being said, things have to change. First of all, I had to drop a couple of my classes. Had I not they would have dropped them anyway, and I would have paid full price. As it stands, they're only reimbursing me for 30% of the one because it had already started. Total BS. I have to talk to someone higher up. But that's neither here nor there at this point.

I have to transfer schools again to avoid moving back to Pittsburgh, where I would face tuition that is way too much. I'm starting to kick myself in the butt for ever having moved there and enrolling in a private university... but it was my decision, and I have no one else to blame.

I'm switching majors, as the psych program at this university is drastically different from the one in PA. I'm going sociology, it'll be much less painful than going through a cognitive-behavioral psych program, and I can specialize in social psycology. I'm actually a little excited about the program itself.

I talked to a transfer counselor, and I would only have to take 1 or 2 gen ed courses, so the bulk of what I would have to take would be major courses. It would potentially only put me back a semester. It'll be a little more money, obviously, but not much considering the price difference between the universities. My tuition in PA is $20k a year, here, it's $10k. So an extra semester will be about the same, if not less.

So it's bad news, but I'm trying to make the best of it and remain optimistic. I always knew there was a chance that I wouldn't be able to pull the money together, and I did my best, but no cookie.

Class ends next week, and then I [hopefully] start my second job. I'm pretty sure I'll be hired. I met with the manager the other day. I'll be bartending, hopefully 3 nights a week. So let's hope I make some cash! I made a nice amount at work yesterday. I'm hoping the trend continues.

BF is back to work and stressed again. It really sucks sometimes, because I feel awful. He works terribly long days quite often, and in times when I really need him (like over the last couple days), he's been unable to really be there for me. But I understand. I think it's great that I'm mature enough to realize that I have to deal with things on my own, that everyone has thier own problems and not everyone is able to support another when they're dealing with themselves. We got into a bit of a spat yesterday, but we're okay again. We're both stressed, but lucky that we are both willing to work things out and be understanding.

My last article I submitted, Eating Healthy on a Budget, didn't make the grade for an upfront payment. I guess they have too many articles like it. But they did publish it, and I'm still getting pay per clicks. So give it a read if you could please Smile haha. I wrote another this morning, so we'll see how that goes.

I like writing articles. BF made a comment last night when I asked him to throw out a topic idea, "You trying to make your next $3?" haha. I can proudly say that $3 is worth quite a bit to me. Because it all adds up Smile I've gotta get this boy on track! haha.

I'm supposed to get together with a woman next week to go over the children's book she's writing. She saw my ad on craigslist for editing/proofreading and sent me an email. So I have an editing job! I've never edited a children's book before, but I'm pretty excited. I guess the illustrator is doing his job now, and we're going to sit down and go over the text with the illustrations, and I'll be checking the text as well. I'm afraid I'm probably not charging her enough, but I want to be reasonable (I am a bit inexperienced afterall, and a children's book is minimal page count). But still, I find it rather exciting, and it could open up opportunities in the future.

I think that's really all the news I have now. I'm supposed to go see mom soon and help her get her finances in order. I sent her the link to SA, and I think she might join Smile haha. Guess I should stop talking about her all the time now. haha.

I hope everyone has a great day!