<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: saving
 

Viewing the 'saving' Category

2017 Outlook

December 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am

This year was a pricey one. Moving from the glorious land of low-property values to Nashville (a booming market with a constant influx of people) meant doubling our rent payments halfway through the year. Our utilities were pretty consistent with Ohio, but moving to a new city means getting out and exploring our new home... and spending a whole lot of money eating at new restaurants, visiting new bars, etc. Combined with the fact that we just weren't really watching our spending and I was unemployed for my first 3 months here (with no network to build my business on), it was a bit rough for sure.

But we're starting to right ourselves and plan for the future, now that our lives have a clear trajectory, as DH was accepted into his PhD program.

So. Many new changes on the horizon. And many big questions: When will DH officially quit his job? When will I find one? What will our expenses be like once we do move? How much money will I be making? What will our benefits look like?

The move will happen the last week in May, which really only gives us 5 months to answer those questions, plan our strategy, and execute. That's not a whole lot of time at all. I feel like the last 3 years have included big events we've had to plan for - the wedding, the move to Nashville, and now the move to Louisville. Thankfully, his program is 3 years. So we'll get two that should be "business as usual." Unless a baby sneaks its way in. But as of right now, that's not in the game plan.

All that being said, the focus right now is on saving money to account for some of those question marks. What we DO know is that we will definitely be moving when our lease is up, by the end of May. DH wont start classes in the fall, and thus he likely wont be getting a stipend until then (and we're still waiting to hear back that he's getting one for sure). We expect the stipend to be between $18-20k/year. I also know that DH doesn't want to continue on with his job past our move. So we'll be losing a big chunk of income then. All that basically means that it's imperative for me to find a full-time job as soon as possible - and we need to plan for the just-in-case it takes longer.

We do have some money saved up, but I'd rather not touch it if possible, of course. And there are some things that I think we'd like to do prior to the move - just in case it's harder to do after. Things like funding our IRAs for 2017 (if possible), making any doctor's appointments that need to be made, etc. We've talked about making one last big trip, too. But after a conversation this morning, it just seems like putting it off to the winter makes more sense. I think we're going to do a trip for xmas next year instead of trying to fit one in the middle of such a big transition. We may be taking a trip out to California for his cousin's wedding, but even that is a bit up in the air right now. We priced tickets, and it'll run us up like $1,000. They came to our wedding, but their parents paid for the tickets. It's also about a week before we move, and not great timing. We're not actually close to them, either (I met his two cousins at our wedding last year). So we're going to wait that out a bit and see what the best course of action is.

The nice thing is, once we move we'll be cutting our rent in half. We've started looking at apartments in Louisville, and it seems that we'll be able to find something great within our price range. And I think we're both ready to make some sacrifices there, given that we'll both be working out of the house. Having a lot of room was important to us here - but we both work from home.

I worked out what expected monthly expenses will be in Louisville, and it comes out to be roughly $3,500/month. If I can get a job making at least $40k/year, that should allow us to cover our expenses and put away a bit along with DH's stipend. And I'll be doing photography as a side gig, so potentially we could put away even more. But we'll see. I'm *hoping* I can find a job making at least that much. At this point there are no guarantees.

So we've got some goals in mind for 2017:

[ ] Adhere to monthly budget, continuously
[ ] File taxes by March 1
[ ] Ideally, save an additional $5,000 prior to June 1
[ ] Find an apartment in Louisville for $1,000 or under
[ ] Find a full-time job at $40k +
[ ] Take a trip for xmas (probably Thailand)
[ ] Fully fund IRAs for the year
[ ] Consolidate student loans

And some goals for January:

[ ] Uber Frugal Challenge
[ ] Change phone plan
[ ] Consolidate/put into forbearance gov't loans
[ ] Get HSA stuff figured out
[ ] Start GIS training (for resume building)
[ ] Research networking opportunities in Louisville
[ ] Start putting together planning portfolio

DH and I went through and set up our budget for January. I cancelled Hulu and we'll be doing the same for Netflix. We have Prime and HBO already, so it seems like opting out of these two for a month will be an easy way to save about $20. We're also going to shoot for eating at a restaurant only one time this month. We're going to see the symphony play on the 12th, so that'll be our fancy date night. Otherwise, we're cooking at home. Nobody is visiting this month, and we're not taking any trips - so it should be pretty simple.

I also set our grocery budget to $300. Our "grocery" budget includes toiletries, cat food, and cleaning supplies, etc. So it'll be tight for sure. We just need to get creative. My mom was the master of inexpensive meals growing up. I've learned from the best. And I love a challenge.

***

As for personal goals, they're the same as they are pretty much every year. Live healthier, embrace my passions, work on myself and my marriage. This past year I didn't do a list of resolutions and instead decided to keep track of the things that I did during the year that I particularly loved or was proud of. It's a pretty amazing list for 2016. I have a feeling it will be the same next year. Photography will take a smaller space in my life, but I see it as an opportunity to focus more on what I love about it. My acting and writing are just getting started, and I'm excited to see where they take me moving forward.

There's a lot to look forward to - and so much to do!

April 22

April 22nd, 2016 at 08:57 am

Got my invoice from the accountant - $650. That's $300 for filing our taxes, $100 for paying sales tax for my business throughout the year, and another $250 for my Quickbooks and consultations throughout the year (I met with them 3 times). All in all, I would say it was money well-spent. Not the cheapest, I'm sure - but at least it's also an expense I can write off. And I know it's getting done right.

Now that all that is done and the checks are all written, I have an accurate view of what's going on. Today I'll be going to the bank to close my personal checking account (moving the last little bit of money to our joint account). Then going to the other bank to deposit that money + some cash that I've been meaning to put in... namely, xmas $ (it's just been sitting in a drawer) and the $ I collected from friends to put towards DH's bday party, a total $423 deposit.

Also slipping the check in the mail for my accountant and making our local tax payment. We have returns coming to the tune of $609 total.

Deposited a couple of payments from clients today and moved 35% of each amount to the savings account where I hold tax payments for 2016.

***

Now that I have an accurate view of where we are at, it's time to have that conversation with DH about our goals. When we first sat down to take a look at the budget, we made some rough savings goals: vacation, kids, kids education, emergency fund, retirement, house. We even put general numbers to them, but I'd like to be a little more organized and intentional about actually doing that. I'd like to open a joint savings account so we can see the progress there rather than just having a number raising in the checking (which is how DH tends to do things, but doesn't really work for me).

Lately, money has been a rough subject to talk about, so I want to explore some different ways to approach the discussion. I've got some ideas up my sleeve, and I'm excited to give them a go.

***

Scheduled a shoot for the weekend, which was unexpected but nice. Have a couple of sessions to finish editing and wrap up. Still job hunting, and am starting to get really excited about the possibilities Smile

***

Dietbet is going well - did great with my eating yesterday, though I was way hungrier than usual. Went on a 3.5 mile run Wednesday night and that drained me. Didn't workout yesterday as a result. We were both pretty exhausted. Today will definitely be working out, and so far my eating has been great.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flax, berries, and peanut butter
Lunch: Veggie burger with leftover ratatouille, avocado
Dinner: Roasted Carrot Salad
Snacks: (none yet! that oatmeal was filling) Almonds, string cheese

No plans tonight other than working out. Think DH wants to do some Kenpo after work. We'll see after that! Tomorrow I have a double feature movie date with my SIL. We'll also be grabbing dinner while we're out, but I'm going to do my best to keep it inexpensive and healthy. No movie popcorn Frown

Sunday I've got that shoot at noon and an empty slate otherwise. Weather should be nice, so I'm hoping to get outside!

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

April 19

April 19th, 2016 at 11:55 am

Alrighty, taxes are filed and things are back to normal! Woo! We got sizeable return from state (about $700), owe about $200 to city, and will be getting a small $200 refund from the fed. All in all, a completely successful tax season! Particularly considering that I thought I was going to be $8k out of pocket... sheesh! Now I just need the invoice from my accountant to know exactly how things pan out, and I'll start to use those funds I've been saving (about $6k right now).

I think I want to pay off at least one of my CCs with the funds, the one that isn't 0% interest for the next 10 months. Then we'll save an additional $37 every month on top of that. Things are looking good! After that, only one more to pay off and I can start laser focusing on my student loans. Hooray!

So looking at my long-term goals, I no longer need to save for taxes (I'm already setting aside a percentage of income in a savings account for 2016). We have far more than $1k in the bank that we could use for an emergency, though I'd like to start talking with DH about setting specific savings goals...

And now that we have a few months' worth of financial data in our mint account, we can look more closely at what we'd like to change in terms of our spending and saving. It's a great place to be!

***

In other financial news, DH and I both signed up for Dietbets - he did 2 games, and I'm signed up for 3. So we're $150 in. I think we'll both have little problem making our goal weights, so hopefully that will yield a nice gain. And we'll both be a bit closer to where we should be on the scale! Win-win.

***

The budget right now is looking okay... We're past the halfway point in the month, and definitely coming close to maxing out most of what we've allotted. We were about $40 under on our heating bill, so we'll adjust for next month. Our discretionary spending is close to maxed, but I'm confident that we can pull through. Groceries might be problematic now that we're trying to eat healthy... but I'm going to try and be smart about it and get a little creative so I don't go over. We're doing a lot of cooking this week.

At any rate, that's where things stand now! Hope you are all having a lovely week!

Back in the swing of things

April 4th, 2016 at 02:42 pm

Alright, things are finally starting to feel normal again. We've been back from vacation for a couple of weeks, and my routine is
settling in again.

Didn't do much this past weekend. Our friends had their baby on Friday (April Fools! But really, they did. lol). Went to the hospital to see the little one, then went out and did karaoke. Saturday I spent cleaning the apartment and doing laundry, which literally took all day. Between being gone for almost 2 weeks and the slump we've been in since we've been home, there was much to be done. After all that, though, we ordered takeout and I fell asleep on the couch around 9:30. heh. Yesterday I went to a baby shower, then we kind of bummed around all evening.

DH and I sat down and looked at our spending for March, and it wasn't pretty - mostly due to spending on vacation, but also because we basically ate at restaurants for the whole time we've been back. That was a bit rough to see on the statement.

That being said, I took the time to do some meal planning and went to the grocery store today. We're covered on dinners for probably a week now. It was German week at Aldi, so I got a few extras that we can use for meals next week also. Tonight I'm trying out a new recipe for a roasted carrot salad, and I just put a loaf of bread in the oven. Also tried a recipe for compound butter - delicious fresh honey butter on that fresh baked bread is going to be heavenly. Having a couple of friends over, so I figured why not do something a bit special?

DH's birthday is on Saturday, and I already got his gifts. GRE study materials and poster prints he's been wanting for a while. We're also having a party at this entertainment complex with laser tag and a skating rink and a bunch of other stuff. A 31st Birthday celebration fit for a 12 year old! ha. Should be fun for sure. Sunday we're hanging out with his family. So the rest of this week is going to be incredibly low-key.

***

Got all of my tax information to my accountant, and got some really great news. I was expecting to have to pay around $8k, but after some rough estimates she said worst case scenario would be around $2k! I've been saving every penny I make for a few months, so it'll be nice to be able to use those funds. And I've already opened a savings account and started transferring 35% of my income since the start of 2016, so there will be no crazy stress around taxes next year, thankfully. It was INCREDIBLE news to receive. Turns out filing jointly as a married couple is going to work in our favor after all Smile

***

Had a shoot this past week that went really well, and have booked a couple more since we've been home. Which is comforting, coming out of the slow season. It'll be nice to actually be able to contribute to the family income as well. Got a client check in the mail today that I need to put into my system.

***

Need to re-evaluate my goals and get started on a path to meeting them, including updating my sidebar. Haven't done any journaling in about a month and that's a habit I want to rekindle as well. Reconnecting with my gratitude practice also. I'm slipping back into laziness, and that's when I start forgetting how much abundance I have in my life and lose track of what's important. My 2 hour stint online window shopping last night is an indication that I'm falling off the horse.

***

So that's that for now! Hope you are all having a great Monday!

Feb 5

February 5th, 2016 at 05:24 am

It's been a relatively low-spend week, though I feel like that is going to change soon :/

I'm at about $90 of my grocery budget. I'll need to reign that in, but we did a good amount of cooking this week. We did go out to dinner last night, and we'll likely eat leftovers tonight. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday party, so dinner will be taken care of, I believe (or at least some food will be there). We've got one meal left to cook. I'll probably go to the store on Sunday. Still trying to keep my grocery budget under $200.

In terms of upcoming spending...

My little elliptical machine broke Frown Had my engineer friend over the other day and we busted it open to try and fix it. It's a lost cause, unfortunately. It'll be about $80 to replace it. Which isn't terrible, all things considered (less than a gym membership for a year for sure), but it's annoying. I am, however, looking forward to having it back. My workouts have been suffering a bit.

We leave for Peru in about a month, and we're starting to look at what we will want/need to bring. I think we're both going to buy a pair of good hiking shoes. March is the tail end of rainy season there, and we're going to be doing a lot of hiking. Waterproof and sturdy is going to be key. Also, getting the hardcore mosquito repellent will be a necessity with all that Zika virus hullabaloo going on. We're not planning to get pregnant for a few years, and at this point it looks like Peru isn't seeing too much of the virus, thankfully - but my mother in law is freaking out a bit, and I'd of course rather be safe than sorry. Also might snag a lightweight hiking daypack with a waterproof cover. I'll have my camera with me, and I don't want it getting damaged. Lastly, I may pick up some odds and ends in the way of clothes. May want one more pair of good workout leggings for the trip, and maybe a lightweight long-sleeved shirt. Again, thinking of the mosquitoes. As far as "Nice" clothes go, I think I'm covered. I just want to make sure I'm comfortable and safe while we're out and about. Also, we're planning to do a lot of hiking once we move down south - so we'll get a lot of use out of anything we purchase. I may redeem some of my Swagbucks for giftcards to cover those purchases.

In savings:

Mom's birthday party is, as I mentioned, this weekend. We're going to regift a restaurant gift card we got at the wedding. We don't spend much time at Darden restaurants, but she loves Olive Garden. I'll write a nice card, and that will be that.

We don't do anything for Valentine's Day, thank goodness. Might make a nice dinner, but no gifts. No restaurants.

***

I can't believe how soon we'll be moving - and we're starting to think about how we're going to arrange all of it. We need to schedule a weekend to go down to Nashville and see apartments (and hopefully that weekend put in applications), as well as figure the logistics. DH wants to price movers, but in the end I think it's going to be MUCH cheaper if we just rent a U-HAUL and do it ourselves, probably even if we have a friend drive down with us and then fly them back... but we'll see.

Admittedly, I'm starting to get *really* antsy for moving time to be here. Makes me feel a bit guilty, because we should be focused on enjoying our time with our friends here - and we are, for sure. But I think I'm ready for a change. Big time.

I think that's it for me today! I hope you are all having a great week! Enjoy your weekend! a

Results of my Coffee Experiment

February 2nd, 2016 at 05:06 am

February already?! Sheesh...

Things are going relatively well this week - I had a shoot rescheduled from yesterday, which was perfect. Because I was going to have to miss half of my acting class that started last night, but the client was unable to do it. So I got to go to the whole thing! And it went really well Smile

Yesterday was a no spend day. I'm on day 3 of my writing challenge, and it's going fantastically.

Added my debt to my mint account this morning - so far I had only linked our joint account and set up our budgets. But now there's a bit more of an accurate assessment of things. Just need to get DH to link his CC and investment accounts so we can get a crystal clear picture. And close my PNC account.

***

I finished out the coffee I had bought from Trader Joe's, so I have an accurate understanding of the cost savings. I went through and made a little spreadsheet to make some comparisons.


So the Aldi K-cups are what we've been using since we replaced our Keurig machine. This experiment was originally intended to see if I made any cost savings by getting the reusable cup and filling it with the delicious Trader Joe's coffee that I grind in the store. So all of the cost savings comparisons are to the Aldi K-cups (in the first column). Ct for the ground coffee is based on the volume I used over the course of the experiment. Savings per year is per cup x 365 days. Per month divides that by 12. At 2 cups a day doubles those figures, and would be what we would save if DH and I both made the change.



Some observations:

- I don't save *much* by going with the Trader Joe's coffee, but it is about $0.11 a cup better, so that's something. Not bad for the coffee being much more delicious and using the reusable cup is better for the environment.
- We would save considerably more by switching to the preground Dunkin Donuts coffee (DH's fave) or Folgers (which wouldn't be my first choice, but it's good to see a comparison). Both would be purchased in larger bags online.
- I included the DD K-cups and the Keurig Brand Donut K-cups to basically see how much I'm saving by getting them at Aldi. It's amazing to see how much more expensive it is - even making the coffee at home!
- The Vue cup comparison shows how much we're saving now that we switched from the Vue machine (which was purchased for us as a gift) to the newer model that takes regular sized k-cups. That $300 we save over a year more than pays for the new machine!

So basically, I'm not saving thousands by any means, but when every little bit helps, it's interesting to see. I think I am going to buy that big bag of Dunkin coffee - because DH might actually take the effort to use it. I may also keep drinking my Ethiopian coffee as well, at least keep it around for the days I want to have something a little more special.

I'm also going to add $4.62 to my savings/snowflakes to reflect the $0.11 per cup I saved by making the switch this time Smile

Hope you guys found my nerdy exercise to be as interesting as I did! haha.

Balance Transfer Went Through!

January 23rd, 2016 at 06:05 am

I feel like such a nerd getting excited, but my balance transfer finally posted in my account, and not a day too soon (given that email yesterday about the interest rate increasing). It's so fun to see that number so low now - there's $200 left, because the new card has a lower credit limit. But the plan is to pay that off and then that card will be closed eventually. Or set in a drawer for emergencies for the time being. Either way, the thought of saving roughly $35/month (or more, with that rate increase) is really exciting. And that money will sit there until after I pay off the other CC with roughly the same amount. After I get this tax mess in order.

***

Went to dinner last night. It was really nice to spend time with my friends - it's been a while since just the three of us hung out. The restaurant, though... sheesh. New Indian place that just opened up, and maybe it's just the growing pains, but I had probably the worst service experience of my life. The food was okay. I went with the Tandoori chicken to keep it healthy - hadn't eaten any dinner at that point. Stuck with water. The total was about $15 after tip. Will not be returning there any time soon.

***

Today I need to get gas (for the first time this month!). Driving down about 45 min away with a friend for his holiday party, then we're going out. Staying at his friend's down there. Which is convenient, but I wont be sleeping in my own bed for another 4 days. Which is stressful. Nonetheless, the party should be good - we get 2 free drink tickets. Afterwards I'm only planning on having 1-2 drinks. Wont have to drive at that point, but I just haven't really been interested in drinking a lot. Don't want to add the calories or spend the money, really.

Tomorrow I guess we're going to brunch as well? I was asked last night which place I wanted to go to. This is why I like driving separate... sigh. These meals out are really adding up... I might try and convince him to forego that, particularly because I'm probably going to get lunch out at least one day next week. I'm going to stick (relatively) around my sister's campus so I don't have to do the back and forth so many times.

I think that's about it for me today. Let's hope the next few days go smoothly. Everyone have a great weekend!



Jan 7

January 7th, 2016 at 08:00 am

Alrighty. Things are going well as can be. Applied and was approved for the Chase Slate CC this morning. Hopefully the balance transfer will go through. The limit I got was lower than on my other - so I'll transfer $2k and then pay off the remaining $220 to zero out that card, then begin on the Chase Slate - which wont increase because, you know, 0% APR for 15 months! Woo!

There will be a bit of spending today. My mom gave us a really nice humidifier, and I've been meaning to get filters for it so we can start using it. This awful cold I can't seem to shake has motivated me to get it done. Spent some time researching this morning, and there don't seem to be any places nearby to pick them up, so I ordered them on Amazon - free shipping with Prime, and I used my $6.67 I've accumulated with my Amazon Points Visa and offset the cost. Three filters for $5 isn't bad! Hopefully they'll help :/ At this point, I'm calling them "essential."

And because I'm starting to track my savings and snowflakes for the year:

Switching Fit's Car Insurance - $173.58
Cancelled Click Subscription - $18.00
Cancelled ClickinMoms Subscription - $60.00
Amazon Rewards points toward humidifier filter - $6.67

Total: $258.25 for the year

Not too shabby! Once the CC balance transfer goes through, I'll calculate out the savings and add them to the list.

Tonight I'm going across town to do a (free) yoga class with my SIL. Then we're going to get a healthy dinner somewhere. Hoping to do something cheap, and very light. I had a heavy burger last night and got rather queasy. I guess all this healthy eating has been working on me!

That's about it for today. Hope you are all having a great week!

New CC?

January 3rd, 2016 at 08:46 am

So I'm in the process of restructuring our finances so that we can handle them together now that we're married. DH and I opened a joint checking account, which is what we'll use to pay for all of our expenses. I think we're both going to close our personal checking accounts and just each have a credit card to use when we want to purchase gifts, etc.

So I have a personal checking, savings, and credit card with my current bank. My savings account currently holds my tax savings - which I'm going to transfer to my business account (which is where it needs to be anyway) and then open a savings account for my business so I can keep things separate. Money from my checking account will be transferred to the joint account. And then I'll have my credit card.

It currently has a balance of about $2,200. I get charged roughly $35 in interest every month. In Mint today I saw a suggestion of getting an Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which would give me 0% APR for the first 15 months. I'm thinking I might open that card and transfer my balance, to save on that interest, and then close all of my accounts with my current bank to make a clean break. I haven't really been spending with that card (it's been near its max, and I've been trying to pay it off). At that point, I would only use the Amex for business expenses (as needed), and I would pay off my Amazon Points Visa and use that one for my personal expenses (mainly just gifts for DH and anything that might pop up as an emergency).

My current CC is my longest standing, though. I'm not sure if my credit score would suffer terribly if I were to close that account. I have another CC that I need to close (that I don't ever use and didn't even want. Long story). I know closing these things will have a negative impact, but not sure for how long. Or if it even matters - DH and I have no plans of purchasing a home anytime soon, nor any vehicles. And I'm pretty sure his credit score is stellar. Kid has almost no debt (god bless full rides to college).

So for a savings about $420 this year, it seems to make sense. Because I'm saving for my tax payments, I'm not going to have the opportunity to focus on the CC for a while (beyond making my slightly above minimum payments).

Any thoughts would be appreciated Smile Thanks, everyone!

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2016 at 09:35 am

Our NYE party was a hit - only about 10 people all together, but I still made a nice spread: hot sandwich roll, honey glazed smokies, and caprese skewers. As well as some hummus, salsa, chips, etc. DH handled the bartending for the night. We had made up homemade sour mix the day before and if how I felt yesterday was any indication of how much I enjoyed them, well...

Thankfully, we do have quite a bit of food left. A lot of lunchmeat and some ciabatta rolls, so we'll do sandwiches a couple of times this week. Tons of leftover drink fixins as well, but I think I'm going to take a break there. haha. I've been sick for the last week or so. Drinking as much as I did NYE was probably a mistake, but it's a holiday... Now I'm focused on getting better ASAP. It's starting to get rather miserable.

I don't have much to report on the financial front. Yesterday was a NSD. Today will be much of the same. I do need to go through and pay bills, but I decided that January will be a no-spend month. At least outside of the essentials. So far so good! Yesterday DH and I literally laid around all day, hungover. We watched a couple movies - Interstellar and the Lego Movie. Both were incredibly good. Then the rest of the day I finished the book I was working on, "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. Another good find. Not terribly exciting in the plot department, but a nice calming read that speaks to how peoples' attitudes change as they encounter abundance. Interesting stuff.

After finishing, I made myself some tea and started another in bed. Decided to tackle "Walden." It's one I've never read, but you hear a lot about. And I think it's perfectly tied into my theme of Making Space. I opted out of sitting on social media for hours this morning and got a good chunk of pages this morning read as well Smile

***

I sat down and thought through some of my goals for the year, and usually I write out a list of 10-20 things I want to accomplish. And usually they sit in that list all year without much accomplishment. I decided to do things differently this time around. I'm going to set basic monthly goals, but other than that I'll just stick to making good daily decisions (a la "Making Space") and record my accomplishments as I meet them. I'd rather celebrate the things I'm proud of than be perpetually reminded of the things that have no longer become priorities.

Not to say that I don't still have goals Smile It's just hard to tell at the beginning of the year if something like NaNoWriMo will still be a priority in November. Things change, and I like to stay flexible. So instead, I'll tuck things like that away in my mind, and re-evaluate when the time comes.

For January, my goals are:

- No spend month, outside of essentials (no clothes, home items, beauty products, entertainment, etc)
- Cut grocery budget to under $200
- Win Dietbets (lose 6.7 lbs by Jan 25)
- Finish 28 Days with Sue Bryce Program (I purchased this last year and never went through it)
- Go through pricing course with photog friend

As for overarching financial/budget goals with DH, I've decided to not even have that conversation. haha. We went over our basic goals when we had the original (stressful) conversation, so until we really know what this is going to look like, I'm holding off. Instead, my goals will be to get things actually set up! In January, I would like to:

- Set up Mint for Joint Account
- Switch DH's direct deposit to Joint Account
- Switch all autopay bills to Joint Account
- Figure out account structure and open/close necessary accounts (personal and business)
- Enter all of my backlogged income and expenses into Quickbooks so I have an accurate look at what I'll owe in taxes

So I will add these January Goals to my sidebar, and hopefully we'll see some progress!

Wishing you all a lovely New Year!

End of Election and November Update!

November 6th, 2013 at 11:24 am

Yesterday marked the end of the election, which is a huge sigh of relief for me. Our campaign won and the levy I was working to get passed did in fact do so- at 65% of the vote, which is pretty remarkable. Today I'm trying to catch up on some non-work related stuff (like paying bills!) and am struggling to stay awake. I haven't got much sleep in the last few days...

All that aside, I'm feeling really good. I have a trip to Seattle tomorrow with a girlfriend that I'm very excited about. Visiting one of my best friends I haven't seen in months, since he moved out there. The three of us were inseparable in grad school, and we'd looking forward to taking on the streets of that city in full force Smile

I'll be using my time in the airport to do some photo editing. I have two sets to complete in the next week. The business is going well. I had another engagement shoot last weekend, two more sessions booked, and 4 in the works. Not bad for only posting to Craigslist...

I have a job interview next week that I'm pretty excited about, so hopefully that will go over well and I'll have full time employment (wouldn't that be nice?).

November is really the month of adventure for me, though. On top of traveling to Seattle this weekend, I'm going to Frankfurt, Germany in just a couple of weeks! I found this gig through a friend for a logistics company that pays people to fly around and transport bone marrow donations to people who need it. They're covering my flights, hotels, and giving me $75/day to cover food and whatnot. I get to stay in Germany for 2 days and then head to New Jersey to drop off. It seemed too good to be true, but when my friend told me she did it without a hitch, I figured it was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up.

Consequently, I'm learning as much German as I can in the next two weeks and just reeling with excitement because I finally get to visit Europe. Adventure! I'll be doing some work while I'm traveling there as well. That's the nice thing about doing freelance work from home! I can take my work pretty much anywhere...

So while I'm a little worried about finding a full time job, I'm enjoying the flexibility of my current arrangement and am so very thankful that I'm in a financial situation that gives me that flexibility. I can honestly say this is the first time I've ever been able to say that. Saving has been pretty much nonexistent for me up to this point... and I know it is a luxury to feel comfortable in a state of uncertainty.

---

As for my financial update: I paid all my bills for November, save the one that doesn't get sent to me until later in the month. My minimum payments for my student loans are now under $400 every month, which is very exciting. It's always uplifting when you visibly see your hard work paying off. It also relieves a lot of pressure when your debt payments are less than your rent :/

I transferred $1,000 to my savings account, so I'm 1/3 of the way toward my savings goal for 2013 taxes. Woo!

I'm clearly not going to be in a position to make my goal to hit $6,000 for my focus loan account, but it could be close depending on what my work situation is next month. I've got it under $10k, which I'm incredibly happy about.

I've been pretty good about not purchasing food at restaurants. Tonight I'll be cooking dinner. The rest of the week I'll be traveling, but thankfully my two friends are just as cheap as I am- so while I'm sure we'll get dinner out one of the nights, we'll be doing some cooking at his place as well.

I have a doctor's appointment next week, and I'm not sure what I'll end up spending, but I'm budgeting at least a couple hundred dollars. We shall see how this insurance works out.

I think that's about it for now. Sorry for the novel! Hope you all are doing well!

So frustrating.

January 20th, 2010 at 08:33 am

Alright, so we're on week 2 of the new schedule, and it's already been a long week... but it's been productive. I'm really stressed out right now, not because of these time constraints, but because my classes are still not paid for.

Again the army has messed my finances up and I'm scrambling to McGuyver the situation before they drop my classes Frown

It's frustrating, because the only mistake I made in this whole situation was expecting to do their jobs properly... I know better now. I have to constantly check and re-check to make sure things are getting done. So I've been running around and making phone calls and wanting to pull my hair out. Called and wrote an email to my congressman today, and now I'm just crossing my fingers that they wont drop my classes, and give me more time to work it out.

I cant get a student loan. I applied for one just in case, and without a cosigner, I've got nothing. I guess already having over $40k deters them... and I dont have a cosigner. Not that I'm sad about not being able to incur more debt, but that's my last resort gone. If I had known any of this was going to be an issue, I would have started working on it months ago.

Sigh... I guess all I can do is my best and hope things work out. It's really frustrating. All I want is to go to school. I joined the army so I could get school paid for. Is it so much to ask to get what they promised me?

On a happy note, I've been great about not spending money on frivolous things. I haven't really gone out, and I'm being responsible. I wish that meant I had all this extra money to put towards my classes. But really it means I have extra cash to put toward car repairs... it seems the car is headed right back where it was before. All the problems are not fixed...

Just keep truckin, right? Sigh...

Best news in months :D

September 25th, 2008 at 07:17 am

So. I went and talked to financial aid this morning. I must admit I was a bit nervous, as my aid had not gone through yet. I've been on the payment plan, and I would have been quite short of the $1000 due this month...

I was waiting for paperwork to be processed. I had an audit put on my FAFSA, and it took about a month for them to sort things through. When I got an email from the gov, my expected family contribution was $20. heh. Mom getting a divorce was beneficial in more ways than one Smile

Still, my aid had not showed up. We pinpointed the problem-- a processing error having to do with being a guest student over the summer. The problem was (thankfully) resolved, and my aid was indeed pushed through.

Here's the best news: I GOT GRANTS. Yes, for the first time in my college career, I got grants. I'll get more when I'm full time next semester, but it's great to know that there is $1500 I dont have to pay back... Also, I got subsidized loans for the first time. I feel like I'm in hog heaven. When everything is said and done, between the pell grant, the subsidized stafford, and unsubsidized stafford, I'll be getting a little over $2000 in the mail. That money will be promptly put to pay off the majority of my credit card limit. A 25% interest rate will no longer be what keeps me up at night.

I couldn't be happier Smile

See, I've been thinking really seriously lately about starting to save for retirement, as well as saving for a house, a trip, and little by little, the startup costs for my first entrepeneurial endevour. Needless to say, I want to do a lot of saving. With a (relatively) high cc balance, that seemed rather far off, but I have no doubt I can pay off my cc in a couple months if I get this money. I'll trade 25% interest for 6% interest any day. My credit score is also going to likely improve dramatically. Especially considering I'm not going to have to pay these obscene fees for going over my credit limit (note, it was my interest that put me over the limit, not charging... faulty system).

I feel so secure. Up until now I've been so worried I wasn't going to be able to come up with the extra funding. I'm so used to not being able to cover my tuition with stafford loans solely. It feels great to know that I can do it. I dont have to fret. I can just go to school and feel safe that I can finish out the semester.

Yay for me!

So please, look forward to big plans and savings Smile I'll keep you all updated!

That same old song and dance...

August 20th, 2008 at 05:46 pm

Well, I'm registered for my classes. The trick now is paying for them. This is not my favorite game, let me tell you. I'm one of the lucky random students being audited for my fafsa, so it's a mess of paperwork before I can even get evaluated for my financial aid. It'll take another 5 weeks. Because of this, I have to sign up for a payment plan, which includes a $30 fee and a $500 deposit. Argh. I'd have the money if I didn't just spend it all on my summer classes...

Soooo. I have until this coming monday to come up with the money, or I'll be slapped with a $50 late fee. Then, I have until next friday to come up with the amount plus the late fee or I get my classes dropped.

Why does it always seem like I'm racing against the clock? Or the calender, as it were.

The good news is that I think I may be able to wing it by monday. Assuming that I make semi-decent money at work in the next couple days. But then again, it is nearing the end of the week, so that may not be a possibility. We have more people on staff at the end of the week, thus more people to split tables between. Let's hope there are a lot of people out there who wanna drink at my restaurant!

In a guilty fuss I'm going to admit that I *gasp!* spent money on clothes in the last week. I was at walmart and saw plain tanks for $4 each, so I bought 2 (mine are getting kind of gross because I wear them like crazy). I was also at the consignment shop picking up the last of the profit my clothes generated (a whole $9) when I spotted a pair of american eagle jeans in my size for only $14.38. I reeeeeeaally needed another pair of jeans. Mine are all full of holes, and it's getting quite ridiculous. Thus, spending the money was well worth it. There you have it. My back to school shopping. $23-ish.

It's been a stressful week, and it seems that it's not going to get any better. I've got quite a bit of pressure on me to make some money. I have tuition and books (to the tune of $200) to cover in the next week. My credit card will be maxed out, and my EF is gone. It's times like these that make me happy that I opted to do school part-time this semester. I want to get some stuff caught up and whittled down. I hope business picks up a bit.

I was hoping to go out this weekend to celebrate the new semester, or at least mourn the last weekend I'll have free. My schedule is going to be quite hectic come next week. Here's how it stands:

Monday: Work 11-6pm. School 6:40-7:55pm.
Tuesday: School 7:45-9:00am. Work 11-6pm.
Wednesday: Work 11-6pm. School 6:40-7:55pm.
Tuesday: School 7:45-9:00am. Work 11-6pm.
Friday: Work 11-6pm.
Saturday: Class 12:00-2:40pm.
Sunday: Sweet sweet relief.

Saturday class wouldn't be so bad except it's 35 minutes away, so it's more like class from 11:15-3:30pm, which pretty much kills my saturdays. Ah well. Guess it's time to put those time managment skills to work.

It's looking like I wont meet all my goals for this month afterall, but I'm hoping I will have my classes all situated before long. That's definitely top priority.

At any rate, enough rambling. I hope everyone is doing well, and good luck to the rest of you students out there. I hope we all have a great semester!

What's a girl gotta do...

June 19th, 2008 at 05:20 pm

...to get a $3000 loan?? Bah. Went to the bank after work today. Needless to say, things didn't pan out as well as I had hoped they would. I cant say I was entirely suprised. Sallie Mae wouldn't give me a $3707 student loan, why would National City give me a $3700 personal line of credit? However, we discussed my options. The only thing we came up with was a possible interest back CC. This is, of course, my last resort. I'll find out tomorrow if I was approved. Aside from that, I really have no plan. The no-credit-no-cosigner loans I found online had even worse interest rates than the CC, and I dont mind paying now. Actually, I prefer it. Until then, however, I am making/saving as much $ as possible.

I took a look at my credit report today. 9 accounts in good standing, no negatives at all. So that's not it. The bank manager said it was my income:debt ratio that's killing me. Understandable. But really, how can these people expect me to pay for my college if I dont have the time to work (due to classes). That being said, I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get another job. If not to pay for my classes by July 11, to pay off this newly acquired CC as soon as possible.

I think I'm going to try bartending. I've done a bit at the restaurant I work at currently, and I have a pseudo-in at a local place that seems pretty laid-back, but fun. I'm going there tonight with mom to put in an application (her and her BF go there all the time. Said BF golfs on thier league and such). Even working 3 nights a week or so will pull me in some much needed cash. It'll be difficult, for sure, with classes and all, but I'm a tough cookie. I'll figure it out. It'll be much easier come mid-august when classes end.

Other than that, I have little financial news. Made decent money at work. Mailed that book finally. Funds should be transferred soon, though I hardly made any money on it. I did another pinecone survey, so hopefully I'll be seeing that check at some point. I never did get the first one. Does anyone know how long it takes them to mail them generally?

Also, having issues with etsy and paypal. I want to mail my earrings, but I want to wait til the payment goes through. It's been about 5 days since the purchase, so I would imagine it should be there by now, but nothing is showing up. grr.

Alrighty. Enough rambling. Everyone have a good night!

Catching up.

June 18th, 2008 at 06:40 pm

Well, I'm trying to get caught up with things. My Sprint contract is up the 25th, so I need to get on mom's plan to be with Verizon-- aka talking free to both mom and BF. I had to give her a copy of my bill so she could take it to them and get another phone added to her account.

Also, July 11 is quickly approaching, which means I need to buckle down and figure out how I'm paying for these classes. I did a little more research online, as I know there are places out there that will give me "bad or no-credit loans." But when I looked at the interest rates on those puppies with added "loan fee," also a percentage of what you borrow, I'll end up paying a ridiculous amount.

So I went to National City's page and looked at getting a personal loan. If I get a personal line of credit, I'll still be paying 9.5%, but that's a lot lower than a CC, and even lower than the outrageous student loans I would be paying for. So I'm going to stop at the bank tomorrow and see if I can get hooked up with one. I calculated it out, and if I pay $150/month, it'll take me about 2.3 years to pay off. Of course, after my CC is paid off, all extra money would go to that loan, as I would have to pay it while still in school.

When I think about it, it's an even better idea than getting a student loan, which would just continue to accumulate interest until I graduate. I'd be much more focused on paying it back now if I had to. haha. Of course, I also have a whole heap of debt with a much worse interest rate than 9.5% now... bah. I'm just going to hope that I can pay it off the $3707 loan quick, which doesn't seem to be a problem considering I pulled together $1315 in just a few months...

Let's just hope I get approved :/

In other financial news, brought my sandwich to work yet again. Would have been a NSD, but I bought some shisha online for BF's b-day. Of course, I used the visa gift card dad got me for *my* b-day, so I cant consider it a complete spend. haha. Lucky for me, BF and I will both enjoy that shisha, so I wont feel guilty spending my own gift on his Wink

9 more days until BF comes back from training Big Grin We're going to celebrate his b-day then. We're thinking sushi and a movie, then going back to the apartment to smoke the hookah and have a couple drinks, and enjoy eachother's company after 3 weeks of being apart. Sounds like a fantastic evening to me!

Guess that's enough rambling for now. I should probably continue cleaning, or do my paper, or something Smile

Day 1 of 3-day weekend.

May 24th, 2008 at 07:58 am

So yesterday BF came home (which was awesome). We went to the grocery store and craft store, then went home. I dipped some pretzels and strawberries to bring to my friend's art show. We stopped at Panera on the way home, BF bought.

The art show was nice. Not very big, but the art was wonderful. I was really impressed. We stopped at a park on the way home to play for a bit. No cost there Smile We were going to rent a movie, but we forgot to stop and figured we had plenty we could watch. I ended up falling asleep during "Open Season" anyway. haha.

Today is the first day of my glorious 3-day weekend. I slept in a bit, then got up and did a survey on lightspeed panel. Got me 300 points. Woo! I stopped at the craft store and picked up the yarn I needed at Pat Catan's, which ended up running me less than $5, so I was pretty excited. I'm thinking I may try to finish my project today. I really wanted to start planting, but I'm beginning to think it may be an expensive endeavour. So we'll see...

If I am going to start planting, I'd have to do it today. It's pretty late in the season already. Regardless, I'd like to finish my project today. I have much more sewing of fabric and crocheting to do. BF is away running errands and such. I'm suspicious that he's also getting me a birthday present. tee hee.

At some point I want to do some laundry-- probably at mom's, though BF said he wanted to go to his twin's. That means we'll probably be having dinner over there, which is wonderful.

I guess we'll see. I'm not sure exactly what the day holds in store for me, but I do know that I feel pret-ty relaxed.

Oh, in other news, I got paid yesterday-- $170. Woo! I also made a decent amount in tips, about $53, which aint bad at all for a lunch shift.

Now I just need to take a trip to the bank so I can transfer some of that into my emigrant account. Still waiting on my stimulus payment. Where in the world is it?? $100 check for proofreading is still in the mail.

Everyone have a great day!

Looking forward to my 3-day weekend.

May 23rd, 2008 at 05:22 am

Well, BF comes home today (he was in PA all week long), which is quite exciting Big Grin

I have no class today, which is a relief. I got to sleep in all the way to 8:00! Spent about an hour and a half working on my current project. It's coming along really nicely. I'm pretty excited about it.

I got a birthday card from grandma with $20 inside Smile I'm going to use that to go to the craft store this weekend. I told BF I wanted a sewing machine for my b-day. If he doesn't get me one, I'll have mom get it. I really need one right now, and I'd rather get a gift that will "keep on giving," so to speak, than just money-- because I can use the sewing machine to make things that could potentially draw me more income.

I transferred $200 to my emigrant account, which is the account I'm using to hold my tuition savings money. So I'm up to $349.36. A long way off from $3707, but it's a start! I should be getting that $100 check in the mail here soon. The money for the book I just sold should also be transferred into my account sometime within the next week, so that'll be a little more.

I'm really looking forward to this 3-day weekend. I have a couple places to run today-- the craft store, somewhere to pick up seeds and soil, and the grocery store to pick up some stuff to bring to my friend's art show tonight. I'm going to go to aldi and see what is the best priced, but I'm thinking stuffed cherry tomatoes, or perhaps little brushetta toasts. I'm going to look through one of my cookbooks and see if I cant find anything else. I was thinking of maybe bringing dessert rather than food. I could pick up a small bag of melting chocolate and do some pretzels. Maybe a package of strawberries as well. That would go well with wine. We shall see...

Mom wants to go out dancing tonight, but that's still up in the air. I'm really trying to avoid going to the bar more than once this weekend, as funds are disasterously low. At least with the bar I usually go to no one actually shows up til almost 1am, which gives me plenty of time to have a couple beers at home before going, and I dont feel ashamed to have water the whole time I'm there. I'll be dancing Smile

So, things I want to get done this weekend:

-Go to craft store.
-Go to get soil/seeds.
-Start planting.
-Finish current project.
-Start on next project.

Seems rather managable. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Financial world turned upside-down part 2

May 21st, 2008 at 04:12 am

Well, first and foremost I want to thank everyone for the kind and encouraging words. I can definitely use any spirit anyone wants to throw at me Smile Some responses to some of the questions, though:

I did talk to the financial aid office. The problem is that my home school in PA doesn't do any type of student aid during the summers, so that's a no-go. I would take a lesser courseload this semester, but if I did I would have to move back to PA and it would end up being much more costly, because the tuition at the university I'm attending now is half the cost of my home instiution (which is a private university). Not to mention, the cost of living out there is far more expensive than here.

As far as the CC is concerned, it will absolutely be last resort. I hope to apply for a couple more loans before my July 11 deadline, but in the case that I dont get approved for these either, I want to have as much money saved up as possible. If I do get approved? I'm putting all the saved money toward my CC to pay it off, because the interest is likely higher than any loan I would be approved for.

If I couldn't get approved for a loan with my mom as a co-signer, I'm fairly certain they wouldn't approve her for a PLUS loan, so unfortunately that idea is out. Besides, my mom doesn't want another loan. She has plenty of her own! haha.

Yes, yes it is a lot of money to come up with in a short amount of time. But I cant think in "what if I dont come up with the money" terms. I need to make/get the money. Period. If I cant it means really crappy consequences. Such as moving back to PA, and possibly not being able to get the financing in the fall for the remainder of my classes, which would be catastrophic. I'm only taking one class in the fall, which means my tuition, even though it will be through my home institution, will be a fraction of what I would spend on an entire semester. I'll have stafford loans in the fall that I'll get from the government, so I should have no problem paying for it. It's this semester that is the problem. If I cant take these classes this semester, I'll have to take them in the fall, and I certainly wont be able to $10k in the fall if I cant come up with $4k this summer.

debtfreeme-- I was thinking about continuing the editing. How did you get notice? Did you advertise? Post on craigslist? Etc? Just curious.

frugaltexan--I could do a market research group, but considering my aversion to needles, plasma donating is not in the cards. lol. Even though there's a center right down the street... I'm definitely cutting back on groceries (and everything else) for the time being.

Now, that all being said...

I sold a book on amazon. Yay! I made $14.40, which will be more like $11 after shipping costs. Every little bit helps!

I also finished proofreading and editing that paper last night. 58 pages, but my $100 check will be in the mail today according to my friend, so I should be getting that fairly soon.

Yesterday was a no-spend. I'm not going to track money associated with these anymore because basically all my money is going into my savings for the time being.

I also spent some time last night in adobe photoshop and indesign coming up with an identity for this crafting/selling I want to do. I opened up an etsy shop and made a myspace page that both (I think) look pretty good. Now I just need to make some stuff and list it. I'll be stopping by mom's tonight to pick up some yarn, and possibly the sewing machine. If nothing else, some sewing supplies. I have an idea for the first peice I want to make. Time to get started on it.

If anyone wants to check the myspace page and let me know what you think of how it looks, that would be great. I designed the logo and the banner. Blood, sweat, and tears!

www.myspace.com/reducereuserestyle

Everyone have a great day!

Financial world turned upside-down.

May 20th, 2008 at 11:37 am

Well, I've had quite the stressful week. As mentioned previously, Sallie Mae would not approve me for the loan to take summer classes. Not even with mom as cosigner. So then we come to the first day of classes. The university dropped all of them. So I had to go re-enroll in all of them. Sigh.

The good news is that I'm enrolled in classes. The bad news is that I need to come up with $3707 by July 11. Some can go on the CC, but I max out with another $1000 or so. BF and mom both said they would help as much as they can. BF mentioned he had an empty CC we could put some of the balance on, but that would be a last resort measure.

I'm going to do it somehow, it's just a big bummer that I have to put more on the CC. I really wanted to pay it down, not rack more up. And I'm a little worried about the interest payments once it is up there. I'm already paying a little over $50 in interest a month as is. Seems as if I need to start fundraising asap.

If anyone has any ideas, let me know!

I'm not making nearly enough at work to put any considerable dent in it, so I really need to focus on saving as much as I can and finding more sources of income. As it is, I really dont have time to work a second job and go to school. In the fall I'll have time to get a second job, but right now there's no possible way. I'm thinking now is the time to start listing as many books as I'm willing to part with on amazon, get rid of anything in the house I dont really need that could bring me in some cash, and start crocheting/crafting up a storm and start attempting to sell things online.

I picked up some books at the library yesterday. I got a crocheting book, a candlemaking book, a beading book, and a book on making chinese knots. I wanted to get some inspiration. I have a whole huge box of yarn and such that my grandma gave me at my mom's. My mom also said that I could have my other grandma's sewing machine. So I've got some stuff to start with. I was thinking of starting an etsy shop, I'd really like to sell with a theme of recycling. I think I can make it work pretty well. I'm fairly creative. Besides, it gives me a reason to reuse some of the things people would ordinarily throw away, and get cheap supplies (thrift stores, garage sales, etc) as well as crafting supplies that may be a bit pricier.

Ideas are still in the works.

But all that being said, my financial world has more or less been turned upside-down, and the goals are a bit different now. My challenge money is really my college money at this point, my goal is a bit different, and focus is now away from paying off the CC, and now to paying my summer classes off. The good news is that the more I save the less I have to put on my CC, so I have quite the incentive.

As a start, I'm proofreading a paper of a friend of a friend that is paying me $100 to go through and correct her 55 page master's thesis. It's a start. Also, I didn't buy any food from work today. I ate my pb&j and thought, "wow, this sandwich tastes like my education. definitely a hint of western civ in here..." haha.

Every little bit helps. Wish me luck.

Busy busy busy

August 14th, 2007 at 08:22 am

Well. I put in my application last night for the my National City Visa. I obviously haven't found out what my interest rate will be, but as someone pointed out before. Why does it matter if I pay it off every month? It is a rewards card, through the points system I already have for my debit card (which I think is a pretty good one). On my debit card, I get a certain amount of points for every dollar I spend. It started out being 1 point per dollar, then went to 2, then to 4, and is back at 2 for some reason. heh. On the credit card, I get 5 per dollar spent on my credit card. I usually use the points to get various gift cards. I ended up giving one to my friend for xmas, and I've used them in the past for textbooks (gotta love B&N giftcards).

I emailed my mom today to ask her to puuuuhleeeeze give me her tax info (my parents are famous for getting extensions until october to file thier taxes... except this screws me over big time), or else last year's so I can file my FAFSA and find out how much money I'm getting in financial aid this year, so I can apply for the loan I need for school. The only thing that stinks is that I have to register for a class through another university to take it online, and I'll most likely have to pay for that out of pocket. And I dont have $758 just lying around... So I also asked mom for the textbook money she said she'd give me (woot!). It still wont cover everything, but an extra $300 or so wouldn't hurt, either.

Tonight friends of ours are coming in to visit. We're going to dinner tonight, and then doing the South Side bar crawl. We're going to this place called the Pittsburgh Steak Company. It's a little pricey, but I looked at thier menu online again to check prices, and have already decided what I'm going to order. It's $10 Smile I'll also be drinking cheap tonight. Not something I particularly prefer, but maybe that'll keep me from enjoying myself *too* much Smile

So the plan for today? Clean clean clean. The apartment isn't awful, but it could definitely use a going-over. At any rate, everyone have a good night! I'm planning to!

Back again...

August 8th, 2007 at 11:14 am

I keep finding myself taking long breaks from SA. Why? Short attention span? Too busy? Not sure, but I'm back again. hehe. Many changes have occured in the life of Tara. Well, changes in attitude and/or life plans. Class starts back up again at the end of this month, and I'm looking forward to it, the nerd that I am. It's going to be a VERY busy semester, as I decided recently that I want to graduate next summer (read that?? In a YEAR!). In order to do this, I need to:

1. Test out of a spanish class (studying as I type...).
2. Either talk my way out of 2 general sciences courses or test out of those as well (quite possible).
3. Take 21 credit hours this semester (insane, but do-able, I believe).
4. Take 18 credit hours in the spring and 12-ish in the summer, while writing my senior thesis.

...unless of course I can test out of more classes... I'm still researching that one. Now. The reason I want to graduate in June is because I'm going to be applying for the JET Program (the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program). If I'm accepted, I leave for Japan at the end of next July/beginning of next August. Let's cross our fingers.

The other thing I need to do is survive all this. haha. It's going to take some incredible time-managing and most likely a ton of redbull, but a friend of mine just did all this (minus the Japan part), and seemed to live to tell the tale. Also, the less time I'm in undergrad, the less time I have to pay for.

I plan on being in Japan for a year, perhaps two before grad school, and then I plan on applying to the University of Colorado. I'll worry about that after I graduate though Smile

BF and I are still together, graduating about the same time ideally, and he plans on applying for the program as well! So wish us both luck!

And the financial breakdown of Tara as of right now: Savings have been for the most part depleted, and I'm working on putting more back in. My vacation at the beginning of the summer ended up being pricier than expected and work has been a bit slow. Other than that, I'm doing A-okay. Just trying to keep myself from going out and spending too much (so difficult during the summer, I've noticed). Once school arrives, though, I wont have much time to go out anyhoo Smile Well, I think that's enough for one day. Glad to see everyone's doing well still! Later!

Health becoming of importance.

July 9th, 2007 at 06:37 am

So. I'm just now leaving the age everyone goes through: "I'm a teenager! I have an endless supply of energy and strength! I'm invincible!" Now a woman at the age of 21 (still a pup, but the metabolism's wearing thin.. hehe), I find myself realizing that I wont live forever. Furthermore, if I want to keep healthy, I have to do it actively.

I have a currently undiagnosed problem with my blood sugar. Thankfully not diabetic, but my blood sugar levels drop really bad if I dont eat/excercise/eat right/etc etc etc. I've literally fainted 3 times within the last year and a half or so. That was almost 4 while hiking in the mountains in Arizona during vacation.

While I was sitting at the top of the mountain with my head between my legs, I decided enough is enough. I'm going to take care of my body. My regimen started yesterday. I'm just sick of feeling weak. I'm tired of getting the shakes and being cranky all the time. I was reading up on it on the internet a little more yesterday, and it seems there are many more side effects I attributed to other causes that seem to be caused by my blood sugar. BF wondered why I get horribly irritable when I'm hungry... Smile

So here I am... balanced diet complete with my vitamins, making sure to get enough protein and fiber every day. Keeping the refined sugar to a bare minimum, eating small snacks throughout the day ("meals"), and exercising regularly. Sounds like a plan that would be good for me even despite the blood sugar problem, so this will be particularly good for me. I'm determined to keep it up. The last thing in the world I want is to become a diabetic, so work I will! Smile I'll therefore be putting in here the things I eat every day, and if a candybar sneaks in there, you guys better rail me for it! haha. jk.

As for finances today? Taking the bus downtown as BF had class at 8 am. I'll be swinging by the university to scope out isbn numbers for my textbooks. I need to make sure I have the edition numbers right. Other than that, just taking it easy and hoping to make money tonight. Everyone have a great day!

Quite a shock...

June 9th, 2007 at 09:10 am

I've been posting so frequently in the last few days! Hope you all arent getting sick of me!

So I sat down and did a breakdown of my numbers currently, something I've been meaning to do for a while. I added up all the student debt I have right now. $14,964.81. AHHHHH!!!! Looking at that number makes me queasy, especially considering that's not where it ends! I still have more schooling! My measley EF right now is at $225, which is a dangerous low. My vacation savings, after you take away the rent check I'll have to pay and expenses that will be due either while I'm away or when I get back is at $95. hahaha. I'm sure this isn't funny, but the upside is that I still think I'll be okay. I've got this next week ahead of me, and I'm more than sure I'll have the alotted $500 or so I was planning on spending for the trip.

Now, some more number crunching. My estimated income for every month is around $1390. This is assuming I average $60 every night and $20 every lunch shift. Obviously, these averages are not always on the dot. Usually, I make more than this average. I added up my expenses: rent, electric, gas, cell, perscription, transportation, internet, life insurance, and groceries. That was $617 altogether. I added an extry $83 to round it off to $700 and account for things like eating at restaurants, entertainment, and clothes.

This $700 in expenses should make up approx. 50% of what I make in a month, leaving me with an extra $700 to distribute. So why is it that I dont have $700 in my checking account at the end of every month? Well, I spend it. Erg. The goal? To live on that $700 a month. I'll dip into $50 more if necessary (our utilities aren't always on the dot either), but I think that should be more than enough.

I figure the remaining $700 can be alotted to both my EF and my debt, which though I am still in school and not REQUIRED to pay off now, scares the living something out of me, and needs to be taken care of while the interest is still piling high.

So, here are my financial goals:

1. Get my EF up to $1000 by the first of the new year. I dont think this should be difficult. Eventually I want it to reach $2100 (that's 3 months' expenses).

2. Keep track CONTINUALLY of my finances, to the penny, for the next year. I have a bad habit of trailing off every once in a while... that seems to be the periods when my spending gets a little out of hand.

3. Live on $750 a month. This of course means that my "pleasure spending" needs to be capped pretty tightly. It needs to remain in that $83 range.

4. Take all money that is not spent on my expenses (within the $750) or put into the EF and send it all to my debt.

Some shorter-term goals:

1. No eating at restaurants until I go on vacation (the 20th of this month).

2. No Starbucks for the rest of this month.

3. No buying clothes for the rest of this month.

4. Save up $500 by vacation.

January Recap

February 1st, 2007 at 06:48 am

Alright... here it is!

$ Earned at work: $1019.70 [not so great at all...]

Expenses:
Groceries: $172.79 [$100 budgeted] $72.79
Dining Out: $98.00 [$45 budgeted] $53.00
Food on Campus: $7.92 [$15 budgeted] $7.08
Clothes: $9.40 [$15 budgeted] $5.60
Entertainment: $55 [$55 budgeted] $0
Gifts: $3.00 [$10 budgeted] $7.00

So about $106.11 over budget...

On the upside...
$20 Challenge total for January: $129.57
$ paid on student loan: $175
Total No-Spend days: 10 [my goal was 7]

Considering the fact that $140 was stolen along with $150 in gift cards I was going to use to buy my books, I can honestly say I did well. I made very little money this month compared to normal, which sucks. But I was able to pay my bills AND buy the World of Warcraft expansion, so I really have no room to complain. And I can only see positively into February. Life is getting back to normal.

I got my final W-2 in the mail today, so I will be taking a trip to HR Block to get my taxes taken care of. I'm not sure what thier rates are, but I'm sure it's going to save me a lot of confusion, as well as money, in the long run.

At any rate, I'll be getting off here now. I have to get ready to go to court. Everyone wish me luck!

I'm still on a roll!

January 13th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Another no-spend day. Cha-ching! And I added $5 instead of $1 today for a few reasons...

1. BF suggested going to one of our favorite restaurants and I declined (not an easy task).
2. I had decided to make that Steak Au Poivre that I meant to make before instead.
3. After assessing the pantry, all I would have needed was butter and brandy, but I decided to make a recipe using things I already had in stock.
4. I ended up eating for free at work instead of coming home to cook for me and BF. I'll be making that teriyaki steak for dinner tomorrow on my day off Smile

I've continued using my semi-envelope system. And I've continued staying at home during the day. My grocery budget has hit the $30 mark... but I'm going to try and not buy too much for the rest of the month. And I started planning my meals for the week. I've definitely got some leftovers to get rid of over the next couple of days.

We ran out of dish liquid... I'm looking for a recipe to make my own. We only really use it for pans anyway. We put all regular dishes in the dish washer. I know you can use baking soda to clean many things, so I'll be looking into that.

Tomorrow, like I said, is my day off. I plan to lounge. Not much different than what I've been doing for the last few days Smile Which would explain why I haven't really spent any money... hehe. I might get a head start on some of my reading for class... or continue a crocheting project. Who knows. I'm definitely cooking dinner, though, that's for sure!

I'm feeling really good about cracking down on myself. I read a few articles online and decided that I dont really go to enough measures, and it's ridiculous that I'm so in debt when I make 20k a year. Granted, I do live on my own and pay bills, but seriously. How can I be almost $15k in debt already? I need to start spending less on silly stuff and pay off my loans already. The longer they sit, the more interest they'll accumulate. I dont want to be totally screwed when I start my grad work.

I'm a smart enough girl to make this work. I'm not anticipating being completely free of debt when I graduate, but I'd like to be much less in debt and save a bunch on interest Smile

Time to start REALLY acting like an adult! Later, y'all!

Challenge Total $31.71
+ no-spend bonus! $5.00
+ change from work $0.91
New Challenge Total $37.62

Emigrant, net worth, and a no-spend day

November 14th, 2006 at 11:12 am

So I had class this morning... rather I was incredibly late for class this morning. Ergh. I cant wait until next semester... but at any rate, it's a no-spend day. Yay! I've got my free easy mac in the microwave cooking for lunch. By free, I mean BF's Gram purchased a boatload at Sam's Club for us.

My Emigrant account is now all set up! Woo! I've only got $25 in there right now, but every little bit helps! My total debt is down to $8491.09, which is a step from the $8698.50 it was originally. I'm making progress! Still trying to make my groceries last until the 28th... not looking so hot, but I'm still going. All I can say is thank goodness I get free food at work. Thursday I get lunch with my friend at the cafeteria... buffet. I was thinking about sneaking in a tupperware container... hehehe. The thought of it makes me giggle. No reason to buy sweets if I can load up at the cafeteria and take them home with me. ha! I'm beating the system! Maybe snag a banana or something too... hmm. We'll see. I've seen people fill up water bottles with milk and juice, or grab and icecream cone and walk out with it. I've gotten coffee "to go" before. I pay way too much for a school cafeteria. I need to get my money's worth! Smile

So I went to the same site all the cool kids have been going to and calculated my net worth. *cry* My current net worth as of today is -$6002. I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that I'm still in school, but it'll go down even further after next semester. grr. I guess it motivates me to save more? hehe. I also dont have any vehicles or property. The only real "personal property" included was in my guitars. I'd say that's about $550 in itself. I added on an extra couple hundred for textbooks Smile I have a variable life insurance policy, which is more or less a mutual fund, but really I couldn't say how much I have on that. I just pay a bill 4 times a year. They send me stuff, but it's really hard to understand, even after an accounting course :/ Maybe I'll look for a website to go to that may have the value of it listed... hmm. There's an idea!

At any rate, work tonight. Last night wasn't too great, but I made the most- $67. I wont complain. It was slow. I'm not putting any more money into my savings until I've got my $450 for rent/elec/phone sitting in the checking account. Gotta cover all my bases! Hopefully I'll still have a little leftover to add to my newly acquired savings account... hmm.

I'm done with it!!!

November 7th, 2006 at 11:09 am

8am class, that is. I'm so looking forward to the end of the semester. Not because I dont like class, but because it frustrates me so falling asleep in every class! I feel like I'm cheating myself out of my education, and yet I just CANT keep my eyes open! So I've decided that next semester, though I wont be able to work as much as a result, that there will be NO 8am classes. It's not worth it.

I woke up late this morning. Flew out the door without drinking any coffee or eating any breakfast. I had to leave in the middle of class to buy some coffee, then come back (and I wont even get into the retarded vending machines...) My prof was incredibly understanding, he merely commented on how awful it is that students absolutely HAVE to work, and how it stinks that I work nights and come to class so early. Agreed.

Because I overslept, I was forced to purchase my breakfast on campus. Between coffee during class, a bagel and creamcheese, and a bottle of orange juice (sorely needed because I have low blood sugar), I ended up spending $5 on campus. grr. I wasn't planning on buying any food today, oh well.

Bio was the same story... fell asleep numerous times. Struggled to keep my eyes open. Thankfully, this prof is understanding as well. The poor woman. I'm incredibly fond of her, and she's always so flustered and overwhelmed. After class, we talked about internships and whatnot.

Now, on the way home I was talking to BF via cell. He mentioned that he was coming to my restaurant to eat tonight. Big bucks! It's all you can eat night, so I guess it's kind of worth it, but still, it's almost $30 per person. Made me want to go and get food (I always feel left out and want to buy food out when he does things like that, like I feel I deserve it...), but I restrained myself because I had delicious leftovers from last night's cooking... or so I thought! Turns out BF ate them... I was a little peeved. Granted, I offered the food to him last night, but since he turned them down to continue sleeping I guess I thought he wasn't going to bother. He's an anti-leftovers kinda guy. So I ended up very annoyed when I got home. He ate my couscous AND he gets delicious sushi tonight! And what did I get?? Nothing :'(

But despite all that frustration and general unhappiness, I'm not giving up on my budget morale yet. My most recent payment posted on my loan today. My principle is down to $5415.79, almost $100 less than the original, and I put another $50 payment on it today. I'll make another bank run on friday, and add some more to the savings.
So my totals for the $20 challenge:
For this month: $159 in november
Total: $369.51

I'm gonna try and make tomorrow and thursday no-spend days. Try. I do usually have lunch with my friend in the cafeteria, but perhaps I'll convince her to come up to my apartment for lunch? We'll see. As far as the grocery challenge is going, I may have to give in here soon. I never did buy my eggs, though. Those were my only allowance. I'm gonna try and hold out as long as I can though. Talk to you guys later!

Ah. Finally a good day!

November 2nd, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Alrighty. So today has been pretty sweet. Class. Then class again. I got a 98 on my last bio test, and that's awesome. I had lunch with my friend and that is always nice. I stopped at the bank and made a deposit, then stopped at the post office to mail off my abstentee ballot. Elections are only 5 days away! I hope it gets there in time... at any rate, I dropped online and made a payment of $100 towards my student loan (ya know, that one with the 14.25% interest!!) I've managed to lower my principle to $5407.23 from $5500 in the course of a couple months. This may not seem like much, but when you think about how much interest I pay in a month, it's a bit, for sure. I'm working on it. At any rate, that's $35 toward my $20 challenge. I budget $65 a month, any extra goes toward the challenge. Honestly, I could probably factor in more than that considering how much I'm saving on even more interest that I would be accruing if all that money was in the account. Now that my principle is down, my interest due will be less. Woo hoo! Yay for saving myself some money.

The other good new is that it's only the 2nd, and I have $211 in my checking even after the $100 I just paid to Sallie Mae. Woo hoo! That's not too shabby. I need to get some more $ into my savings account for next semester, but this is most definitley working out to my advantage, paying some of this loan off now.

I also got my bank statement in the mail. I've earned 11 cents in my savings account since I opened it a couple months ago. Whoopee? hehe. I guess I should get a little more in there... bump it up a bit. At any rate... I've got a couple days off work, which is nice. Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. Usually it's my day to run errands or go out to lunch or such. Not sure what BF wants to do, but I'm going to try and keep it low-budget. Perhaps make it a no-spend day? I'd really like to, it's just really hard when I hardly get out at all and my day off should be spent doing fun things! erg. Hmmm. I guess I'll have to talk it over with BF.

At any rate, I've got a fresh start with november, and it's looking up! Also, I've got those new work shoes coming in the mail this week, which is great! Very excited... hehe. Well then, I better get going. I've gotta eat some pseudo dinner before I'm off to my last class. Talk to you all later!

$20 challenge total: $245.51

Shopping has commenced...

October 20th, 2006 at 07:42 pm

So today's shopping went over well... I guess. I bought the yarn to finish the scarf for BF's Gram. That concludes her xmas present, just have to get crocheting! I also bought the yarn to make myself a scarf... though mine is going to be a bit thinner, I wont use quite as much yarn as hers cost me. I also bought the $15 build-a-bear giftcard for my little sister. So that's the 2 people I'm done with on my xmas list. Yay! One goal reached!

Picked up the sorely missed laptop. Now me and BF can both work at the same time (that'll prevent some future disagreements!). I did not find any shoes for work, unfortunately, but a fellow blogger here gave me a little advice, and I'll be looking into that matter probably next month given the unexpected purchase I made at Victoria's Secret. No, nothing fun for BF. haha. A coworker of mine told me about this bra they have... It's pretty cool, acutally. I think it's called a vertical cup something or other, but it's incredibly versatile and pretty sexy, if I do say so myself. The most money I've ever spent on an undergarmet ($48), but I'm in need of a new bra or 2, so it was money well-spent.

The only items picked up at Giant Eagle were the peppermint mocha creamer, udon, and an avocado (my little treat!). And the book I bought 40% off at Borders ended up being about the same it would be on amazon, but it goes toward my borders rewards either way. Twas quite a dent overall to my checking account, but I'll be fine for bills due at the beginning next month after earnings made this week. Not to mention, the spending was all on my debit card, which goes toward my national city points. I use the points I earn to get B&N gift cards... I can use them at my college bookstore for next semester.

That's it for news in the financial category, except the other day I put another $50 toward my loan, which puts me under my principal. That's pretty cool in my opinion. More of that is to be done... That puts my total of the $20 challenge for me at $190. Yay! Hopefully I'll have enough money left over at the end of the month to add to the cause! We'll hope, anyway. Thanks for reading, guys!


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>