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Archive for November, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend

November 30th, 2015 at 06:06 am

I spent 12 hours on Wednesday editing photos... so I was able to take a bit of time off around the holiday. And it felt pretty fantastic. Not only that, but my client was SO excited about her photos. Surprisingly, I don't always get a reaction (I deliver files electronically), and it's such a treat when I do.

The holiday itself was pretty good. We do a lot of running around, and while it's nice to see everyone, it's exhausting at the same time. Black Friday we stayed in and put up our tree. I don't bother with shopping. Though we did watch some videos online of stores opening up on Black Friday - honestly, it was probably one of the more depressing things I've seen (which is saying something given the news recently). People trampling each other and fighting over boxes. It's like we've abandoned the concept of decency in favor of stuff. Granted, I know it's not like that everywhere, but still...

I did do a bit of online shopping yesterday - Amazon had the Echo listed for $150 instead of $180, so that was a great deal. The $10 gift card I had essentially took care of the taxes, and it ships free. So DH's big gift is done. Picked up a book for my sister as well.

I also hopped on Bath & Body Work's site to see if they had any deals on Wallflowers - that's what I get for my MIL every year, and sure enough they were marked down to $3.50 from the usual $6 each. I got 3 of those and some random lotions, etc. They were having a buy 2 get one free deal, and I'll be giving away two of them as gifts.

Still waiting to hear what mom wants - she pulled this weird, "Don't worry about me..." thing after she asked at length what we would like. Like we're not going to get her a gift. Sigh. I'm just hoping she lets me know soon. I'd rather not do the last minute thing, and it seems silly to buy her random stuff if there's something she's planning to purchase anyway.

I do have some designing and putting together of presents as well. I don't do a whole lot of hand-made, but definitely a good bit of custom-made. It's where my skillset becomes really helpful! I'd rather do something special than generic most of the time.

DH asked what I wanted last night - and I'm still not 100% sure. Originally I threw out the idea of a Roomba. We have 2 cats and I constantly battle with pet hair. But then I realized that I was asking for a $300 vacuum cleaner and I just felt silly. haha. Our vacuum works great, and it's not that much work. I've been thinking of getting a Fitbit for a while now, so I suggested that. And maybe one of those fancy camera harnesses. I'll need to do some research on that, though. I'm trying to reduce the amount of stuff we have, so that makes it a bit difficult. And equipment for work is a bit too expensive to ask for xmas. That's better for tax write-offs.

At any rate, time to get to work. I've got a lot to get done this week! Hope you all had a lovely holiday!

Nearing the End of the Month

November 24th, 2015 at 09:10 am

So November has almost come to an end. It's hard to believe. I know they say that time goes faster the older you get, but holy cow...

Yesterday went to Aldi and spent about $53. That put me over my grocery budget for the month, so that was a bit of a downer. I also went over my shopping/misc budget as well, as I purchased a sweater for our xmas card photo. Only $16, but that was enough. I only spent $13/$200 of my restaurant budget, so I've got wiggle room. Which is good, because I'll be heading out to grab the last of the xmas decorations I'd like today. I was going to wait another week so we could just attribute it to the December budget, but I'd like to get the tree up on Friday when DH and I will both be home and not out Black Friday shopping.

So that's that! The rest of the week will pretty much be a no-spend after that! Looking forward to time with family and friends. I think it's going to be a lovely holiday.

Hope you all have a good one!

Holidaze

November 23rd, 2015 at 06:17 am

It's the time of year where things are starting to slow down for me - in terms of shoots, anyway. And the weather is getting colder. We had our first tiny blanket of snow. And the holidays are quickly approaching.

That means my brain starts shutting down, and it just cant.

For no other reason than I have clients who are expecting their photos, and more often than not would like them prior to Christmas, so they can use them in gifts.

So even though it's a holiday week and a bit shorter, I need to stay focused. And not get distracted - both in terms of my work and my spending Smile

***

Over the weekend I did spend a bit at Target and Marshall's. Mostly on groceries and personal care products. We had some people over to watch the Ohio State game, so I grabbed some snacks. I also needed to get conditioner and moisturizer. While at Marshall's I saw little sweaters for pets, and snagged one - we now have 2/4 of the sweaters we need for our Christmas card photos. Mine and DH are the only ones left. Though I realize we need to get those soon and get that photo done to send them out.

The only other money I spent over the weekend was for a movie ticket - $6.75 yesterday, to see the new Hunger Games. It was good, and nice to go with friends. It was also a matinee on a Sunday, so not too expensive. I opted out of any popcorn or drinks.

***

It's time, too, to start thinking about the holidays. I'm not a Black Friday shopper. I loathe crowds and prefer a more relaxing shopping experience. So I will not be venturing out. We have pretty much everything we need in terms of decorations. I *might* grab some different tree ornaments, as ours don't really match (one another or the living room). I saw a pack at Target, plastic ones that come in a pack for like $15. We also don't have a tree skirt. Though I might just use some burlap and call it a day. I have some on hand, and all of the tree skirts I've seen in the stores are like $30-40! I may run to Pat Catan's and get some cheap fake greenery and some little odds and ends as well.

Mom asked what we wanted, and I think I'm just going to have her buy us Christmas stockings. We don't own any, and I have some in mind. But they're $13 each, so I figure that's a good gift. We'll ask for 5 - two for me and DH, one each for the kitties, and an extra for any additional family members that might creep up in the next few years. I mean, I want the baby's to match when the time comes... Also, my MIL bought us christmas stocking hangers that go on the mantle and spell out our last name, which conveniently has 5 letters.

As for gifts, DH wants an Amazon Echo. I've got a few Amazon gift cards I'll use toward that purchase, but that will be his one big gift and I'll just get him a few other things to open that are smaller. I'll be asking family members what they want at Thanksgiving, but we don't have too many people to buy for, thankfully. In our friends group I think we may be doing a secret santa gift exchange - two of the couples we're close with are having babies in the spring, so they're trying to reduce spending. That's fine by me, of course. I'm putting together a personalized project for everyone, so I should for the most part be covered anyway.

So that's that. Back to work! Hope you all have a lovely week

Errands and our New Chair!!

November 20th, 2015 at 06:15 am

It's not generally like me to be this excited about a piece of furniture, but our chair arrived yesterday and I just LOVE it. Not an expensive one, mind you - $200 recliner on Overstock. But it actually matches our living room and by golly, our house is starting to look like it was purposefully put together and not some college bachelor pad. I've been spending more time in that room, too - reading and generally enjoying the progress we're making.

Sometimes it's the little victories.

***

Today I'll be doing a bit of running around. I called our internet company yesterday AGAIN. I called last week to get my last name changed on the account. They said they were going to email me a form. It never appeared in my inbox. Called yesterday, and the rep said that I had to go to a Cox store to get it changed. Sigh. I loathe dealing with cable companies, and this is why.

So today I'm heading there to get it all taken care of, and going to Verizon to do the same. I was on their website yesterday, too, and it looks like they do military/veterans discounts! So I'll be discussing that as well. I could use a break on my cell bill.

***

I have to stop and get gas - but it's so inexpensive right now, I'm almost excited for it. haha. Yesterday I saw signs for under $2. Hopefully it's remained through today.

I also need to head to the post office and ship off one of my lenses AGAIN. When I got it back, they had solved one, but another developed. Thankfully it's under warranty still and they sent me a prepaid shipping label. So it wont cost me anything to get it back to them. Let's hope the issue is resolved. That lens is kind of my workhorse come wedding season.

***

This weekend is going to be a fun one. Dinner at a friend's tonight. Friendsgiving tomorrow. And we still have 3 meals from our list that we didn't get around to cooking this week, so groceries will be light next week for sure.

Hope you all enjoy yourselves!!

Groceries and Sweet Potato Recipe Link

November 17th, 2015 at 05:43 am

Went to Aldi and Target yesterday to finish up my grocery shopping for the week. My grand total was $65.60 - and included a $10 sweater for one of the cats. We're going to be doing a very silly Christmas card this year, given it'll be our first year we send them out. We still have to send out thank you cards from the wedding... is it rude to just stuff the both of them together? lol. Also, is it rude to wait 3 months to send them? haha. Tomorrow will be our 2-month anniversary, so we need to get those out soon for sure. Also, plan our honeymoon, which is supposed to be next month.

We LOVE traveling, and I'm really excited to go to South America, but for whatever reason neither of us has been motivated to actually do the planning or booking. I think we're just worn out on planning in general. I honestly wish we could just wait until February, but DH doesn't want to use up all of his PTO days for 2016 with the move coming up in April.

***

Some of you asked for the sweet potato casserole recipe I'm using for our Friendsgiving Celebrations. I've used this one in the past and it's delicious:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sweet-potato-praline-swirl

This is the one my mother loves and I'll be bringing it to her house, but it's a bit on the sweet side for me. So I'm going to try this one for this weekend:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/praline-sweet-potato-bake

It's got a crunchier top. We'll see which one turns out best!

***

Should be a no-spend over here. Have a shoot this afternoon at a law firm - headshots for the whole office, so that should be fun. I'll be eating leftovers for lunch and we're making perogies (frozen, from the last time I made them) and roasting carrots from the garden.

I transferred money from my business account, so I'll be moving some of that around. I'll transfer $500 to our joint account (I had to deposit one of our wedding checks to my personal account for name reasons), and I'll be transferring $1,500 to my savings account to add to my tax savings.

Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!!


Goodbye, Plants!

November 16th, 2015 at 05:26 am

Well, not much has changed since yesterday, and it was a no-spend for me. I was going to head to Aldi and Target, but the weather was unseasonably nice for November, so I figured it was a good day to get all of my container plants put away for the winter. Ran my last little "harvest," and have a handful of tiny peppers, a whole bunch of small carrots, and a few smaller onions. I was able to salvage one tiny strawberry (I need to be better about actually picking and eating our strawberries next year!). I cut back my lavender plant and stuck the branches in a bottle of gin - I've been wanting to try infusing it for a while. Hopefully it'll be good!

The strawberry plant went in the garage for the winter, and my heartier herbs came inside (I have a container with lavender, thyme, and sage together). The rest of my plants are annuals, and my tomato plant got some kind of illness, so I was going to chuck that one anyway (somehow it still produced a ton of tomatoes though). The pepper plants were harvested and chucked. My basil was looking reeeeeally rough without constant watering here at the end of the season. So it too was chucked. And they grow so easily that replanting next year wont be a big deal.

Also, with moving in April I didn't want to transport too many plants. I'll bring my empty pots and plant things after we move, when we know what our yard situation looks like. It'll be exciting to see how things grow differently that much further south. I'm hoping, though, that I wont be too late in the game given that I'm sure it gets warmer there more quickly than it does here. Up here in the Great Lakes it's sometimes still snowing here and there in April, after all!

Nonetheless, the task is done and I got to spend some time outside yesterday, which was really nice.

Made beef and broccoli in the crock pot - and it was fantastic. I didn't follow the recipe exactly (I don't keep oyster or fish sauce in my house because I don't end up using it). Nonetheless, I'd recommend it:

http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/31/slow-cooker-beef-broccoli/

If you can't tell, I really love Chinese food - made in the crock pot at home is even better. I love saving money and calories! Though we put ramen in ours instead of serving it with rice, so maybe there weren't *too* many calories saved.

Going to the grocery store today. This week's menu:

- Leftover Beef + Broccoli
- Perogies (frozen from last time) with Roasted Carrots (Garden)
- Chili
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Chicken with Risotto

Saturday we're attending one of two "Friendsgiving" celebrations we're taking part in this year. We'll be bringing Sweet Potato Casserole. Friday we'll be having dinner at another friend's. So it should, theoretically, be a relatively inexpensive grocery week.

We shall see!

Hope you all have a lovely Monday!

Mid-Month Checkup

November 15th, 2015 at 09:16 am

What a weekend! A bit spendy - but so much fun. Yesterday I had a Girl's Day with my sister in law. We got lunch at a cute little cafe in the area, then got tattoos together Smile It was her first, and a really exciting milestone for her. She went with a word that symbolized an overseas living experience as well as her new, post-divorce take on life. I went with something small that could easily be covered up, but it says, "Yes, I do." During my marriage vows I was so excited and full of conviction that I messed up and said yes, then corrected myself. I think that's a great moment to remind myself of. Being so happy that I forget the formality and just say "yes!"

So our girls day consisted of lunch, tattoos, then beer and pizza, finished off with karaoke (which was a blast). Not the girliest of girls days, but I kind of like that Smile

All in all, I spent: $11 at lunch, $70 on my tattoo (including tip), then $20 in beer. All of which was accounted for in my budget. That being said... here's my mid-month checkup:

***

We are half-way through November, and I am not in the red for any category!!

Left in the budget:

- $38 Shopping
- $150 Groceries
- $189 Restaurant
- $40 Fuel
- $30 Business Expenses

My shopping budget is the tightest at the moment, but there really are no items that are urgent. I decided to not buy an additional pair of glasses or contacts this month. Those can wait. Same with any clothing purchases or home goods. I think we'll be good on that front until we move, now that our new chair will be delivered Thursday!!

Not to mention, I should probably roll that over to next month anyway, with Christmas coming up.

I'll be heading to the grocery store either today or tomorrow. We've been doing really well with eating at home, most days. We falter a little on the weekends, but overall it's been a good month for food. We will be attending 2 Friendsgiving celebrations, and bringing a side dish, so that'll add a bit. But I still think we can remain within our budget for sure.

At any rate, time to put some beef and broccoli in the crock pot and get some tasks done around the house. Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

TGIF!!

November 13th, 2015 at 05:18 am

This week really flew by - and I didn't even have any shoots. Going into the weekend, I *still* don't have any shoots, and it feels good. I know it's better to be busy and making money, but after busy season it feels nice to have a few weekends back.

Last night we were supposed to go to a social function for my BNI group, but honestly I'm a little burnt out on the time commitment that has entailed, and we saved at least a good $40 - between parking, games, drinks, and the food we would have likely gotten, it would have easily added up.

Instead, we had dinner at a friend's, which was really nice (and free!). He also gave us the lovely wedding gift he was waiting on (a custom handpainted sign with our last name and the coordinates of our current home). He also took our ugly green recliner, so it is finally out of our apartment!!! Wooooo!!!

We ordered the replacement chair last night, and it should be arriving next Thursday. I'm incredibly excited. Our living room is going to actually look like it was purposefully decorated Smile Also, the replacement recliner was only $200 on Overstock. So not breaking the bank, either. That came out of our joint account, so it doesn't eat into my personal shopping budget.

***

I did talk to my financial planner friend yesterday, and she'll be emailing me to set up an appointment. I think it'll be good to go over what we've got going on budget and goal setting wise, also I think DH needs a little direction in terms of his investments (a little ad hoc at the moment) and we're going to open a Roth IRA for me, so I'm looking forward to some product recommendations. It's nice having someone I know I can trust. And I think if nothing else it'll give us a little push to get things organized. They say money is the #1 reason for divorce. I'd rather be proactive!

***

I have some really fun plans this weekend. Today I'll be making dinner in the crock pot, doing some work, and running some errands. I think I might just load up another carful to run to Goodwill.

Tonight we're going with a handful of friends to a local bar to see a band we really like play. Tomorrow I have a whole day planned with my sister in law. I haven't seen her in a few weeks, so I'm excited to have a girl's day. We'll be bouncing around quite a bit, and we'll end the night at karaoke, which will be a blast. I will probably cook tomorrow as well. Sunday we have no plans, but it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day, so I think I might try to convince DH to go on a long hike. Goodness knows we can use the exercise Smile

So that's it - I hope you all enjoy your Friday, and have a great weekend!!!

Making Room for Things I Love

November 11th, 2015 at 05:51 am

So anyone that's been reading along (though I certainly don't assume any of you hang on my every word. haha) knows that I'm in the midst of a purging. We donated about 10 boxes of books on Monday, I've been rounding up clothes and house items for sale and donation, and in some cases it's just to downsize. In others, it's to make room for things that I truly love.

I'm a pretty firm believer in the methods of Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is her book). Her basic premise is that you should only surround yourself with objects that "spark joy." That's really her only criteria. haha. And while it sounds cheesy, it has been enormously helpful in my efforts - and effective!

Or example, we were only left with the books we really enjoy. When I look over my bookcase, I feel less overwhelmed and am so excited to read some of the books sitting there, or reread others. Granted, many are DH's and I will never read them. haha. But it feels so much calmer nonetheless.

I've been slowly paring down the things that I don't really enjoy in our home. Our bedding was more of a necessity (our comforter was ruined). But since buying new bedding that I love (inexpensively, at IKEA) I make our bed every day and absolutely LOVE being in our bedroom.

Even when it just comes to paring down and not necessarily replacing, I find that clearing out the noise of the things that don't make me happy allows me to better appreciate what does. Clothes are where this makes the biggest impact for me. I would keep some "just in case" I lost that weight, or pairs of pants that I could barely squeeze into that made me feel uncomfortable and insecure when I wore them. Once I finally let go, I had one pair of blue jeans, a pair of black jeans, and a pair of black dress pants. They all fit well, and I didn't have to go through the stress of rifling through and being reminded that these other pieces no longer fit.

So call it minimalism, or KonMarie, or trying to adapt the Feng Shui of a room, whatever. Less stuff in general and more stuff you love is a great practice, I've found. And things I love aren't necessarily more expensive. They're just more joy-sparking Smile

***

So along those lines, I did another purge of clothes - and went off to sell them yesterday. I made $145 total. I still have some left that I may try to sell online, so hopefully that figure will improve. But the money I made yesterday was used to buy a new coat (one that fits me correctly!). I found one I absolutely love - and got the coat, then a matching scarf, hat, and set of gloves all for $170. The remaining $30 came out of my shopping budget. Then I went to Target and found a lamp I loved for $15 - to replace the wonky one in our living room, and then a throw pillow that was on sale for $20 that I've been eyeing for a couple of weeks now. The living room is slowly coming together now Smile

We still could really stand to replace:

- Recliner (this has been a planned purchase for months)
- End Table
- Floor Lamp
- Area Rug (wont purchase until after the move)
- Coffee Table

These aren't needs, so I'm not in any particular hurry - except for the recliner. haha. It is this hideous green fabric, and doesn't match the rest of the room in the slightest. It was a hand me down, and we've already found a $200 chair to replace it. We just have to get the thing out and order the new one. Part of me wants to wait until we move so we don't have to move another one down south. But I'm not sure I can have that chair in my life for another 5 months. haha. The rest is harmonious enough with the room to not warrant any particular hurry Smile

The nice thing, too, about only landing on the items I truly love is that I'm a bit pickier about what I do buy - and I'm happy to wait until I've found "it." Why spend money on something and let it take up room in your life if you aren't going to be super excited upon seeing it every day?

***

In other simplification news, I disabled the mail notifications on my computer. Even less distraction from my tasks!

Hope you are all having a lovely day!

Budget Checkup

November 10th, 2015 at 05:14 am

Alrighty. We're a third of the way through the month, and upon checking on my budget, I'm pretty much right on schedule. I'm at 1/3 of my shopping budget and haven't touched my restaurant budget (woo!). I am almost halfway through my grocery budget, though, so I'll need to tone things down a bit. Thankfully, the groceries I bought the other day should last us through at least a week and a half.

Tonight will be leftovers - we have a ton right now. Always nice to not have to cook!

We do have a date night planned tomorrow (the first since our wedding), which I'm really looking forward to. But we're actually using a local restaurant gift card that a friend got us for the wedding. So dinner will be covered. We will be paying to go see the new Bond film, though. Very much excited Smile

***

I mailed back the Warby Parker try on at home glasses yesterday, and I'm deciding against buying a pair. At least for now. They were cute, but none of them were just *amazing,* and I can still wear the ones I have now. They were most certainly a want and not a need, and if I'm going to make a purchase I want it to be something that I truly love. They try on at home was free anyway, so no harm no foul.

***

Today I believe I'm going to swing by a few consignment shops and attempt to sell some of my clothes. I was going to attempt the online route, and still may for a few pieces, but for the rest I think it might make sense to let go of them all in one go. I'm hoping to make a little money, so I can use the cash toward the purchase of a new coat.


Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic day. Happy saving!!

Banking and More Banking

November 9th, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Well, we attempted to open a joint account today - but unfortunately my ID is only a week old and I haven't changed my name elsewhere, so I don't have any bills or such with my address on it. So they weren't able to add me. Despite having pretty much every other piece of paper documenting my existence ever. haha.

Nonetheless, DH opened the account, and I'll be added on as soon as I have proof of address. The important thing is that we got those checks deposited - I hate waiting too long, as I'm sure our wedding guests have been wondering when the money would be pulled from their accounts.

I did, however, get my name changed on my personal account. So there's that. Now I just have to change it in a million other places. Including my business banking. And with my business in general. I don't even know where to start there.

We also finished up sorting through our books and everything in our spare bedroom to see if there's anything we can purge. We loaded up an entire carful (and I drive a Fit, so that's a rather large carful). Also brought a bunch of DVDs to the Exchange, and made $30 - which went to pay for our lunches, and then some. Lastly, we made a stop at Goodwill. While we still have quite a ways to go, our apartment feels so much lighter already! I'm really looking forward to even more.

I think tomorrow I'll run some other errands - including trips to a couple consignment shops to attempt to sell a few things. I have a decent collection of clothes I need to offload still. I also may try to list some of the photography equipment I've been meaning to sell. That to-do list just never ends. haha.

I'm just thankful we have a big move coming up to motivate us. It'll do well for us to downsize!

At any rate, hope you all have a lovely evening!

Results of my Social Media Detox

November 8th, 2015 at 02:11 pm

I think I made it sound more dramatic than it really was - haha. I really just didn't use social media for a week, and honestly, it was fantastic. Hardly missed it, only was tempted a couple of times, and not only did I have a much more productive week, but I felt much more relaxed. Which was good - because otherwise it was a rather stressful go of things.

I think I'm going to start limiting my social media usage to just Sundays, with the exception of posting for my business. Honestly, I wish I had the money to pay someone to do social media for my business so I didn't have to worry about it. Ironic because I used to do precisely that. But I don't have time to keep up with it enough for it to be terribly useful. I need to come up with a system to improve that.

***

So thankful that the week is over - I worked a wedding yesterday, which is a LONG day. People think being a wedding photographer is a glamorous business. haha. In reality, it's tiring and full of pressure. Certainly high-energy and fun (with the right group), but nonetheless it leaves me spent for a few days.

Today I was happy to have the opportunity to relax a bit. Drank my morning coffee in the quiet and then we did brunch with friends, which was a lovely time. The weather has just been gorgeous for our part of the country. And fall is my favorite

Speculative Future Planning

November 6th, 2015 at 05:42 am

So DH and I had a nice chat last night about our tentative 5-year plan. He's been working for the same employer for about 4 years now and isn't really interested in staying in the industry. He decided back in the spring to take a new job within the bank for the next 2 years - because they're going to allow him to work remotely from Nashville once we move and because he didn't really know what he wanted to do otherwise.

In the end, it didn't make sense to give up a rather sizable income with nothing on the horizon.

At that point, we talked about him going back to school and getting his PhD. We revisited that possibility last night, but now that we've got kids in the plan in 2-3 years, figuring out the timing makes it a little tricky. I definitely don't want him to be wholeheartedly distracted by an intense program in the first couple of years of our baby's life. And raising a kid on just my income is not plausible (at least with my business).

In the end, I told him I supported him returning to school, and we'd make it work no matter what - but in the mean time we should probably be saving as much as we can so that when we move to a greatly diminished income that we can get by. He's not the reckless type, and he mentioned feeling selfish for even wanting to go through with more school. Which is silly. Our family may face a rough patch in the beginning, but in the long term I'd like my kids to grow up with a father who is happy and passionate about what he does.

That being said, our tentative future plan of coming back here and buying a house after a year or two is probably going to face a bit of uncertainty and change. Which is difficult for me to sit with (I'm a control freak who likes her plans), but something I'm willing to work through.

All in all, though, it's really exciting and comforting to be talking with him about what's best for "our family" in such real ways. That's a newer concept for us, having just gotten married. It's definitely weird and a bit scary, but also something that brings so much joy and warmth to my heart. I could get used to it Wink

BNI Presentation

November 5th, 2015 at 07:28 am

Last night I stayed up getting prepared for my 10-minute BNI presentation, which was this morning. I talked about my business and brought in a bunch of samples. I had really hoped to have new samples printed by it, but I used my Canon home printer to at least get some more recent shots included. I'll replace them with quality printed shots soon - as well as the new photo books.

Always something else to do! Thankfully, I noticed that the site I generally use to print books has this incredible deal on samples. So that should save me some money in the long run.

But the presentation went really well. Everyone in my group responded well to it, and one member handed me a referral right then and there to have his family photos taken Smile Definitely a good sign.

I started chatting with another member right after the meeting, who complimented my work and talked about the photographer he's used in the past. He said her prices were double mine, and my work was just as good as hers. Comments like that are always so discouraging and encouraging at the same time. haha. I do plan on revamping my pricing and process come this winter, when I have time to really sort through it logically. It's just terrifying at the same time. You always fear people wont be willing to pay your prices. In the end, though, they have Smile

***

Went to Target yesterday. Had to pick up some items I can't get at Aldi - bathroom cleaner, cat litter and litter deodorizer. Grabbed some other grocery items while I was at it. Including my favorite hot chocolate

It's been a week...

November 4th, 2015 at 05:40 am

So I finally got that sign made for my clients at the library yesterday - after heading back to the lumber place to get the pieces cut again (they were too big for the machine) and heading downtown. Unfortunately, I managed to get a parking ticket - without any good reason. I put 2 hours worth of change into the meter, set a timer on my phone to go off in 1.75 hours, and still had 25 minutes left on my timer when I came out. The meter showed it had expired, but there is no possible way.

ugh.

So I'm not sure if I should just pay the $25 fee or try and fight it. I feel like the time I would spend getting out of it wouldn't be worth the money. It's just the principle of the thing.

***

In good news, I voted yesterday - though I feel like I was going against the grain in most cases and nothing I voted for seemed to pass. haha. Still did my civic duty.

After voting, I replaced my drivers license so my new name is on it. Exciting stuff Smile Monday, DH and I are headed to the bank to open our joint account. Then the fun begins! It'll be interesting to sit down and create a budget with him. I'm hoping the process is painless. Hoping.

Today is yet another busy day - and it started at 6am. I have a deadline I'm trying to meet. A client text messaged me at 6:20am asking about their photos, which was enough to set me off and get the day started in a bad mood. Not only are their photos not due until next week, but who sends texts that early? And why wouldn't she have sent me an email? I hate to complain about clients, but there have to be some boundaries. I wouldn't text my best friend at 6am.

But I will get through the day alive, I know it. Just can't wait for the craziness of the season to die down. Sigh.

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

A bit of Progress

November 3rd, 2015 at 05:13 am

Yesterday was a productive day - with some annoying setbacks. I finally made it down to the library to use the laser engraving machine. Turns out that they no longer (as of 2 weeks ago) carry the plywood that I generally use. So I wasted a trip down there, had to go purchase it elsewhere (more expensively) and now have to return today to finish that up. I think I'm going to remove that service from what I offer. In the end, I'll be taking 2 trips downtown and I spent $15 total on materials (though I have more than enough for one sign). It's not worth the $30 minus sales tax I will make on it. Particularly when I paid $5 for a train pass to go downtown.

Thankfully I was able to knock a couple of other tasks off my list while I was down there - namely, going to the probate court to pick up certified copies of my marriage license ($4) and change my name at the social security administration. After voting today I'm planning to head to the DMV and get my driver's license taken care of. Then we'll (finally) be able to set up that joint bank account.

So progress is being made.

Also paid my bills yesterday and dropped off my car payment. Had dinner at our friend's last night. Tonight, I'll be throwing a ham in the crock pot. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without my slow cooker. It keeps me sane Smile

Everyone have an awesome day!! Happy saving!!!

Simplifying

November 2nd, 2015 at 08:52 am

It's bill pay day! Realized that I had budgeted $30 more than what I actually spent on my phone bill. Last month I had some extra charges from my trip to Canada, and now it's back to normal. Hurrah!

Also moved some money around and deposited some checks. Things are not much different than yesterday. ha.

***

Last night DH and I went through all of our books - we have a LOT. As it was, we filled up 5 book shelves. I'm happy to report that we've gotten our collection to a little over 1 shelf. We're both avid readers, and have amassed many through book sales at the library, and tons just over the years. While we love having them, most are volumes we'll never read (or read again), they take up so much room, and will be such a pain to move when we relocate.

Looking at the shelf, too, it's all books that we *actually* plan on reading, or really love. DH also suggested we work by the rule that if we buy another book we need to get rid of one in our possession, which I think is a fabulous idea.

I'd like to go through and sell some of them, but I'm afraid that the majority will go for peanuts. I've worked through most of our old textbooks to see if we could get any money out of them already. I wish there was a place to sell them by the pound. haha. I feel like we'd make a mint...

In other simplification news, I've decided to go on a Social Media cleanse for the next week. Partially because I have a lot to do and need to get rid of the distraction, and partially because I feel like I just need a break from it. I live on Facebook and Pinterest - and while I find that Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the inspiration. If I'm going to take a break, I'd rather it be mindful and something I enjoy a bit more. Like reading.

Should be a no-spend. Heading to the library to use their laser engraver to make a sign for clients, and stopping by the probate court to try and snag a copy of our marriage license so I can finally get the whole name change process underway. All this administrative stuff is a pain. But once it's done I'll be much happier for it Smile

So that's that. Back to work now - hope you all have a great day! Happy saving!!

October Recap + November Budget

November 1st, 2015 at 05:00 pm

Looking over October, I feel that I did really well. I went over budget in the categories that I generally do: groceries, restaurants, and shopping (which is anything not included in my usual expenses). Honestly, looking at them, though, I tend to aim really low. So I'll be readjusting this month to be a bit more realistic.

That being said, I hope I spend far less than those targets I set this month. We shall see.

Here is the basic breakdown:

[img]13634[/imgLooking over October, I feel that I did really well. I went over budget in the categories that I generally do: groceries, restaurants, and shopping (which is anything not included in my usual expenses). Honestly, looking at them, though, I tend to aim really low. So I'll be readjusting this month to be a bit more realistic.

That being said, I hope I spend far less than those targets I set this month. We shall see.

Here is the basic breakdown:

Tax Savings: $2,000
Rent: $350
Groceries: $300
Shopping: $300
Student Loans: $260
Restaurants: $200
Credit Card: $200
Car Payment: $182
Cell Phone: $87
Fuel: $80
Car Insurance: $69
Internet: $67
Business Expenses (misc.): $500
Renters Insurance: $11

Things will change this month, too, because I'll be getting my name changed and then opening up our joint account. So this budget is kind of a stop-gap as well until DH and my finances are combined. But that's still essentially what I'm hoping for as a max. So that's that.

***

As for this weekend's update, I ended up out all day yesterday. Went straight from my shoot in the morning to the area where my shoot was in the evening. Didn't want to be in the car an extra hour. So I stopped for lunch and then hit a little antique store, where I found an end table! I've been on the hunt - this one was a cute mid-century modern, exactly what I wanted, and was only $45. So that was my planned purchase for this week, perfect after hitting my workout goal for the week Smile

I did stop and grab some beer yesterday as well, on our way to a couple of parties for Halloween.

Also, ordered 5 pairs of glasses from Warby Parker to try on at home. It's free to try them on, so I figured I would give it a go. I haven't gotten new glasses in a couple of years, and I think a new pair will keep me from wanting to wear my contacts all the time. So essentially, it will save me money in the end. Though I need to get more contacts as well. Hoping I can stretch my 12 week supply to over double that, only wearing them for work (which is slow in the winter) and special events. Given that order is about $80, I feel like it'll be worth it. And then I can wear those glasses for 2-3 years. I'm so thankful my vision stopped getting worse. At least it's predictable now!

Alright - that's enough for now. Hope you all had a lovely weekend! ]

Things will change this month, too, because I'll be getting my name changed and then opening up our joint account. So this budget is kind of a stop-gap as well until DH and my finances are combined. But that's still essentially what I'm hoping for as a max. So that's that.

***

As for this weekend's update, I ended up out all day yesterday. Went straight from my shoot in the morning to the area where my shoot was in the evening. Didn't want to be in the car an extra hour. So I stopped for lunch and then hit a little antique store, where I found an end table! I've been on the hunt - this one was a cute mid-century modern, exactly what I wanted, and was only $45. So that was my planned purchase for this week, perfect after hitting my workout goal for the week Smile

I did stop and grab some beer yesterday as well, on our way to a couple of parties for Halloween.

Also, ordered 5 pairs of glasses from Warby Parker to try on at home. It's free to try them on, so I figured I would give it a go. I haven't gotten new glasses in a couple of years, and I think a new pair will keep me from wanting to wear my contacts all the time. So essentially, it will save me money in the end. Though I need to get more contacts as well. Hoping I can stretch my 12 week supply to over double that, only wearing them for work (which is slow in the winter) and special events. Given that order is about $80, I feel like it'll be worth it. And then I can wear those glasses for 2-3 years. I'm so thankful my vision stopped getting worse. At least it's predictable now!

Alright - that's enough for now. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!