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Archive for January, 2011

Hel-lo Taxes :)

January 31st, 2011 at 12:32 pm

So I sat down today and went through TaxACT to file the numbers. Wow. That's all I can say. In fun news:

*My gross adjusted income was $23k. Surprisingly better than usual.
*Roughly 3k of that was made freelancing- pretty good considering I didn't really get into it until April.
*My tax return is almost $3k. WHAT?!

It's a bit shocking, I must say. I mean, last year it was a bit over $1k. But wow. I checked all my numbers 300 times, included EVERYTHING. I was probably more honest than every other person in the country. lol. All of my freelancing income was reported, along with babysitting money and the crap that I bought online and didn't pay sales tax for. I mean, I made more than I did last year and got more education credit because I went both semesters, but jeez. How exciting!

Needless to say, the money will be going into savings and toward debt. I guess I've got a bit of a head start on saving for that traveling. Entirely fantastic. I can also afford to go and get myself a new pair of glasses (finally). I guess thank you, Uncle Sam, for giving me my money back- at a time I can really use it.

I guess being in a low income bracket has its perks! Yay for me Smile

In spending news, I paid the $18 to file my State taxes. Well worth it, I would say!

Is January really almost over?

January 30th, 2011 at 06:01 pm

It seems the time is flying just as quickly this year as it did the last.

That being said, January was a loooong month. Not long in terms of how it felt, but in terms of how much really went on. I wish I could say I came out of the month as good as I did going in, but it's kind of a crap time at the moment.

I started the semester, and I'm happy with how my classes are going. There's only one that is really painful-- compared to all of them last semester. I certainly count that a win. I feel challenged, and that's the way I prefer it. The book total for this semester, however, was not quite as satisfying. I had more trouble with books this time around than I ever have, and they totaled close to $400...

Things with the BF are a bit shaky at the moment. I was very close to calling it quits-- even packed up a bunch of clothes and went to mom's for a few days. Things are a bit better now, though, and I feel like we'll be able to push through. The last few days have been rough, more because I haven't felt well physically than emotionally, but I know it's all intertwined and stress is just getting to me at the moment.

Speaking of the physical, I did work out 2 times last week, and will be back on track this week (meaning 3 times) with my exercise, as well as my eating habits- which were also crap this week. Because I wasn't really at home last weekend, we had no groceries here and I spent a bit too much out at restaurants and on fast food. Not this week.

I'm really just hoping to find a bit more normalcy in my life this week. I have a lot going on academically and with work, so I think I'll be able to get back on track if I can find a way to focus. That's been difficult this week. Perhaps I need to employ a few yoga techniques, and just take a bit of time every night to chill and not worry. Perhaps read.

BF and I sat down to discuss all of the traveling we wanted to do this year. It's exciting to think about, but when I sorted out the tentative prices for everything, it was a bit disheartening. For him (with his fancy job paying over $50k) it's not so difficult to pull a few thousand dollars together, but for me it's quite. He says he'll help me out a bit, but I feel strange taking on charity, so we'll see. I know I need to start paring down the budget a little bit... and actually STICKING to the budget. There are some expenses that are pretty unavoidable right now, though. Like a new pair of glasses (very much overdue) and (finally) figuring out why it is my check engine light has been on for almost 5 months...

I'm trying not to let things get me down. I'm usually an incredibly optimistic, energetic person. This stressed, sad state is rather foreign and frustrating for me. I keep telling myself it will all work out alright, and I know that's true... I just need a vacation! lol. Given that I just returned from vacation I feel a bit silly saying that, but in my defense, that vacation was far from relaxing, or even entirely enjoyable.

In good news, however, I located and purchased a fabulous deal from LivingSocial.com for a night in a 4-star Chicago hotel. I've never been, and I'm taking a girlfriend of mine for a true girl's night on the town. It's pretty much the most exciting thing in my life right now, so I'm incredibly pumped. I'm in desperate need.

I'll stop rambling now, but I hope you are all doing well! Hope you have a great week!

New Year, New Goals

January 8th, 2011 at 09:05 am

So a couple of days ago I returned from my incredible 3-week vacation in the Pacific Islands. It was a good time-- there were certainly some rough spots, and I'm very relieved to get home, but otherwise it is a beautiful place and I would love to visit again.

While I was away, Christmas passed. Then my favorite time of the year quickly approached-- The New Year. I'm one of those people that really loves the feeling of a fresh start. Call it corny, but this makes the first of the year my favorite day. I spend hours formulating my yearly goals and coming up with strategies for obtaining those goals. This year was no exception.

I've had "themes" for many of my years passed. Last year was the "Me Year"-- mostly focused on gaining personal independence both emotionally and practically. That year was incredibly difficult but also incredibly successful. The year previous to was the year of my ex boyfriend and the craziness that surrounded his deployment and my experiences in basic training. Very happy to be past all that.

This year (again sounding quite corny) is the "Love Year." When I say love I don't mean it necessarily in a romantic way. I think of love as a very anti-fairytale like action rather than a feeling. It's about being supportive, caring, respectful, committed, and giving. Now that I've gained my independence, this year is about loving myself, my SO, my family and friends, as well as the world community around me to the best of my ability. I guess I could call it the "Giving Year," but I think love is more appropriate.

That being said, the majority of my goals are geared toward this theme. I of course have the usual weight-loss goal carried over from last year. I also want to pick up my yoga practice again and do some projects (sewing mostly). Improving my relationship with the boy is on the list, however. Spending more time with family and friends is as well, and getting more involved with volunteer work. The boy and I sat down and had a "workshop" determining what aspects of our relationship we would like to improve, as well as a way to address these problems. We don't feel our relationship is BAD, but it seems silly not to approach our recurring problems in a constructive manner. One of our goals is to commit to those solutions and actually follow through-- to reduce fighting and strengthen our bonds even more.

One of my other important goals is to simplify life. I'm a workaholic. A big one. I pack my schedule so tight that sometimes I have trouble finding time to breathe. As a result, I'm trying to slow things down a bit, so I can spend this extra time with others-- or just relaxing. This will carry over to the financial realm as well. If I can use what I have, and don't really NEED anything, I can simplify and not get more stuff. I really don't need more stuff, anyway.

My goals for 2010 were fairly successful. There were many that I did accomplish, and am quite happy with (ex. buying a car and moving into my own apartment). Some that I'm not crushed didn't happen (ex. getting a tattoo). Overall, I can't beat myself up at all. I grew and matured a lot in 2010, and I'm a MUCH healthier person (emotionally) now than I was a year ago. Much.

I'll stop rambling on now... lol.

***

Spent $10 for my Yoga class today, which is money well worth it. Usually a class for students is only $5, but I only had a 10 on me... Next week I'll bring correct change Smile They don't really have a "register," per se. Just a basket where you throw your payment.

Went grocery shopping yesterday, and spent $67 for the two of us. Not terrible, not great. Because I'm now on a diet, my grocery list is including a couple specialty food items and much more produce. We also had to grab a few things, though, that we just needed to replenish and will last us a while (ex. olive oil and garlic). Many things we bought will carry us through for a while.

This week coming up is the first week of my last semester as an undergrad. It is also the boy's first week of work at his new job. I'll be packing lunches all week long. No use in spending an arm and a leg on food at the university. It'll be a better chance of eating healthy as well. I still have a couple books to purchase, but otherwise they weren't *too* bad, depending on what you consider bad. It'll probably be about $250 when it's all said and done.

I got my check from the university from my leftover grant money, so I'll be heading to the bank Monday. Trying to keep the rest of the weekend low/no spend, but Sunday will be rough. The boy and I are doing brunch at a restaurant with friends, spending lunch with my friend (we'll probably cook though), and doing dinner at my mom's (a make-up Christmas). Busy busy!

I'll stop here. Too much to catch up on, but so much to actually do as well Smile Everyone have a great day!