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Archive for August, 2013

Goals, Big Ticket Items, and TGIF!

August 30th, 2013 at 06:53 am

So the last couple of days have been good. I broke down my budget and what I'll be making through December, and came up with a few goals.

September 15: Pay off CC (8/28: $1,563.88)

September 15: Have $1,000 in EF (8/28: $252.56)

By End of year: Get SM4 Loan down to $6,000 (8/28: $12,729.32)

Really, the big goal is to get my highest interest rate loan down to $6,000- cutting it in half, essentially. It's definitely going to be a challenge to do so, particularly with interest. But I think if I can really keep my eye on the prize that I can do so by the end of the year.

The other two goals will be met as soon as I get my paycheck. I get paid once a month, so I'll get those out of the way first thing. It'll be good to pay off the CC (again) and have a little money in my savings account.

There are a few big ticket items I have coming up in the next few months as well, and hopefully they'll come in under budget:

Car Repairs - $500 (I'm really hoping this is less)
Plane ticket to Seattle - $500
Spending money in Seattle - $200
Spending money in Europe - $1,000
Christmas Presents - $200

BF said he would buy me a plane ticket to Europe for my graduation gift, but we wont be able to take the trip until after the election, so we're planning to go around the holidays. One of my best friends moved to Seattle a couple of months ago, and I'm going with another friend to visit him in November. We'll be staying with him, so it shouldn't be a costly trip overall.

What I didn't include in here is medical expenses. I reeeeeally need to go to the doctor, but haven't gotten around to navigating my insurance yet (I'm on military insurance, and we can only see certain doctors, etc). I should probably factor in at least a few hundred for that-- as I'm likely going to need some testing done at the dermatologist.

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Now. The last couple of days have been good. I walked to the store and picked up some groceries (finally). Yesterday I didn't buy coffee or lunch. I packed and brought it to work. BF bought dinner. I did, however, purchase two beers at an event that we went to in the evening. And they ended up being far more costly than I had anticipated. Sigh. Ah well. $14 with tip gone, but I suppose it could have been much worse.

Today I'm working from home- so I'll be eating all of my meals here. I'm going to mail my rent check in today, and hopefully not spend on anything else. No plans for tonight yet, but I'm thinking it will be low-key. I really need to finish that editing project, and today I'll be filling out job applications along with working, so it might be a late(r) night.

I hope you all enjoy your Friday, and have a great 3-day weekend!

Car Troubles and Groceries

August 28th, 2013 at 09:04 am

So I broke my car this past weekend. Bottomed it out a bit worse than I had thought when I got out. Halfway through my ride home I heard some hideously awful sounds, and then dragging... which turned out to be my exhaust pipe, still attached at the rear.

I haven't taken it in to get looked at yet. I've been taking the train to downtown-- and thankfully BF had a 5-day pass I could use, so that was free through the beginning of the week (used it the first time last week). I'm afraid to find out how much it's going to cost. I'm not sure the extent of the damage yet, and I'm not thrilled to be putting more money into this car. I was seriously thinking of getting rid of it already. Sigh.

Beyond that, I really let things get away from me this week. I still haven't gone grocery shopping, so I've been eating out a lot. Tonight I'm going to walk to the grocery store and grab some stuff. There's really no excuse for it.

It's been a long week. It's been difficult to focus at work, and the editing job I had sought to finish on Sunday got pushed back because revamping my website and putting in that job application took much longer than expected. It also turns out that the editing job is taking much longer as well. So I'm behind on that deadline.

I really need to do something to pull myself out of this funk. I don't think it's helping that I've been eating a bunch of junk, or that my allergies are running rampant. But I need to figure something out. It's a bit rough at the moment. I need to get excited. About anything, really.

I think part of the problem is that I've let my goals get away from me. I need to figure out some way to get them front and center. What I'm doing right now isn't working.

At any rate, I hope you all have a great day!

New Week, Monday Update

August 19th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I had quite a busy weekend! Hung out with friends and got to bed relatively early Friday night. Saturday I spent doing some office clothing shopping, and found incredible success. I definitely went a little overboard, but I limited myself to only clothes I can wear to work... and found fantastic deals on new shoes-- $12 for the most expensive, and $2 for the cheapest.

I did hit the mall to round out what I needed (black flats, black dress pants), but found inexpensive items at H&M and JC Penny. I feel much more comfortable about having a "grown up" professional wardrobe now. Much less stress for me!

Saturday night my current and previous bosses had parties, so I jumped around to both, then ended the night celebrating a friend's birthday with karaoke. Yesterday, the BF and I went out to Youngstown to visit his parents- which was really nice. And hey, free dinner!

I have a really busy week, but I'm feeling pretty motivated to get everything done. Tonight I have a business meeting with a friend, and then a meeting with other friends about their engagement shoot (I'm taking their photos as an early wedding gift).

My job search is about to get pretty serious, so I'm revamping my website currently. It's a long, arduous process, but it really needs done prior to sending out applications. And I need to send my first application by next Monday. So that's my priority project for the week. I also need to edit that dissertation and get it back by Sunday. Much to do!

Brought lunch today. I'll be eating leftovers at home for dinner. Tomorrow I'm cooking in the crock pot, and I'm pretty excited about it Smile I love the way my apartment smells any time I use it.

At any rate, time to get back to work! Hope you all have a great week!

Daily Update

August 15th, 2013 at 01:21 pm

Hello again!

I haven't bought lunch or coffee at all this week, so I'm still feeling pretty proud of myself. It was our intern's last day today, so my boss took us all out. He is absolutely generous. It's really nice being in such a nice work environment.

Tonight I'll be tackling a few bills. Have a couple of bills to pay, but then I should be good for the month. Money is going to be really tight until I get my next paycheck. But then I'll have some to play with (and put toward more debt!).

In terms of other spending, I'm going to hit the grocery store for just a couple of items- and to get quarters so I can do laundry tonight. Things are getting sparse in that department.

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Speaking of which, I was getting ready this morning and having an incredibly difficult time finding anything to wear. I've worked from home and went to school really for the last 5 or so years... having a large professional wardrobe has never really been top priority, and it seems all of the dress clothes I own fall into 2 categories:

1. The piece of clothing was bought when I was pretty much in high school, which means it looks far too young or it's entirely too small.

2. I bought it a year ago when I was about 15 pounds heavier, and now it looks baggy and frumpy.

I also am in desperate need of flats... the only pair that isn't gross and falling apart is bright purple. Not the most practical.

Needless to say, my wardrobe needs a hardcore revamp. But I really need to be strategic about it. I can't go throwing around hundreds of dollars on clothes. So my other job in the next week is to address that problem and at least start building (or at least take inventory of what I've got so I can just see where I really need to fill in the blanks).

Enough about clothes. We'll see what we can do Smile

Hope you are all having a great day!

Getting Serious, and some updates

August 14th, 2013 at 11:00 am

So it seems that I can only focus on tracking one major thing in my life at a time... I did well on the working out/food diary for a couple of months, but everything else suffered. Tracking my finances is only successful a few months at a time, it also seems. I'm going to make it a goal to change this.

My last post was in December of 2012. It's now August of 2013. My, how the time flies. So first, a (very) brief update of my life up til now:

1. I graduated with my Master's! Wooo!!! It was a very stressful last few months of school, but I got through it and am very relieved that I'm no longer in school but....

2. Now I have to pay off those student loans. And my minimum payments every month come up to roughly $550. That's more than my rent.

3. I didn't end up getting sent to 6 months of training for the Army! Woooooo!!!! I will now just be doing my one weekend a month/two weeks in the summertime until my contract is up in November of next year, but...

4. I now need a full-time job. I'm working as a consultant for a communications firm full-time (and for great pay!), but only through mid-November, as my major client is a county-wide levy campaign. I'm using my network and starting to think about putting in applications now.

5. BF and I are still together and very happy Smile I stayed in my apartment, though I negotiated my landlord down $25/month. This is the longest I've lived in one place since moving out of my parents'-- 3 years in this place will be huge for me.

So! Now that the student loan payments have started, money is tighter and I'd really like to focus on kicking this debt in the butt. As always, when I'm not holding myself accountable for my spending, or tracking it, I tend to make stupid purchases-- mostly in the form of eating at restaurants constantly, walking out of Target with $100 worth of unintended purchases, and otherwise spending here and there on crap I don't need.

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm NOT going to track every penny I spend. That's my usual method, and it works great for 1, 2, 3 months, tops. I'm just going to wing it. BUT... I'm also going to give a check-in every day (or every-other). I've learned my own habits over the years enough to know that not holding myself accountable means frugal spending goes right out the window, along with healthy eating, working out, focusing on my career, and making sure to invest in my relationships. Life just gets in the way. And I'll admit, I get lazy and sometimes it's easier to just not think about it.

I still have goals. Big goals. That I plan to track. But I have to set my expectations to realistic. So here we go:

I've done a great job this week bringing my lunch and not hitting restaurants for dinner. Yesterday I hit the grocery store and bought hummus, veggies, fruit, and coffee creamer. The coffee place on the first floor of our building isn't as bad as Starbucks, but it's certainly not great, either. I can stand to save a few bucks a week.

Boss bought lunch today (and portions were big enough to take home and eat leftovers for dinner tonight).

I was contacted by an old client to do some editing work-- $200 for a dissertation. I agreed, and will use that money toward debt.

I realize that I really need to buy some new work clothes. I only have one pair of dress pants that really fit me well. I also really need some new heels. Mine are gross. I have a $120 visa gift card that I'll likely use toward that-- and I'm going to hit the consignment shop sometime this week to check that out before going to the mall.

Still need to fix the windows on my car. I'm waiting until my next paycheck comes for that, though. Same with going to the doctor.

My major goals right now are: Pay off CC (again). Build up my Emergency Fund (again). Pay off $12k loan.

I had no income for a few weeks, and didn't get paid for all of July until last week. My payment is also back-loaded, so I got paid less in July than I will for the next few months... So I went through my EF pretty quickly and ran up the CC as well.

Nonetheless, I have some rather sizable paychecks coming up- so I'm confident it will all work out okay Smile Thanks all for reading my rambling. I hope you are all doing well!