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Archive for September, 2010

End of September-- with great news :)

September 30th, 2010 at 02:17 pm

Well, it is in fact the last day of september. I can't believe that the time has flown by so quickly!! It was a rather exciting month for me because... it's the highest total for freelancing income I've hit yet! Nothing *terribly* groundbreaking, but I made a total of $542.51 this month freelancing alone. With drill pay and babysitting income it pulled my total income for the month to $870.82!

While this doesn't seem like much (and it's not), I didn't have my GI bill payment. So starting in October, that income will be raised by $533, and I'll be doing well (at least well enough). I'm also hoping that the freelancing income will improve. I picked up 2 new clients in the last week, and I also have to big articles that I'll be publishing this month ($100 each woo!). So I know this coming month will be a good one.

It's exciting to think about. If I can build my career up even more, I'll be in a really good place.

I haven't really made any business-related expenditures yet, but I think a big one is coming up... I really want to buy a good camera. A digital SLR, and very possibly a Canon Rebel. I'm really looking to spend under $600, and I know I just paid my CC off, but I'm definitely willing to charge it-- because I really want it before vacation. My trip to Micronesia in December will be so much better if I have it... I really want some stellar photos, and I can certainly use the camera for my writing and blogging.

I dont really make too many big technological purchases. I spent a whopping $300 on my laptop. I had the same phone I got free with my contract until the contracted ended and I got another free one. I'm really not into frivolous purchases, but I really want to learn more about photography, and have the proper equipment to do it well.

I'm not really trying to self-justify here. I'm getting one, no matter! lol. It's just really important to me (I guess important enough to bore you with it).

What I'm curious about is if I can list it as a business expense when tax time comes around... hmm. If so, that would be pretty stellar. I'm rather excited for tax season. lol. I'm expecting a rather large(r) return this year... and it wont all go to my CC Smile

So. Other than that, there's not much to say. My goals this month were:

[ ]Stay under budget
[x]Donít spend any money on clothes
[x]Donít use CC at all
[x]Generate $400 in Freelancing Income
[x]Keep track of finances all month
[x]Put $200 in savings

The only one I did not accomplish was staying under budget. BUT, I was only $20.65 over-- and I had the unexpected expense of paying for my GRE registration ($160). So really, I count it a total win. Of course, I did not get all the car repairs I had planned on getting done... so that means a bigger budget for next month. Thank goodness I'll have so much extra income!

Alright, I'm done for now. Cheers, everyone!

My what a week... and yet another to come.

September 26th, 2010 at 07:49 pm

I feel like every time I write a post here it's discussing the crazy business that I experience... this time is no different. It really is the story of my life.

However, I'm one of those people that really enjoys being busy (and by that I mean goes crazy if I'm not). Thus, it is a blessing. It also means that I'm making money.

Between homework, several clients, one that I picked up again (and very happy about), studying for the GRE, trying to figure out what grad schools I'm going to apply to, cooking, writing this new food blog I've got going on, trying to kickstart a new business, lose about 5 more pounds, and spend some quality time with the BF... I'm pretty booked. lol.

The good news is, though, that I'm juggling all this relatively well. I do have a couple tests this thursday I probably should start studying for. And a couple big ticket articles I haven't really started on that are due on the 6th... but I haven't gotten my questionnaires back yet for those...

Regardless, things are good.

It wasn't a super spendy week. That's the glory of being so busy. I did go out both friday and saturday night. It's been a while, so I certainly deserved it! Friday I went with a friend to dinner... mostly to catch up. I only spent $15 with tip. Later hit the bar to do some dancing. Only had one drink, and my friend paid for it Smile So good stuff there. I got the plates for my car on friday as well. That was about $45.

Last night was date night with BF

Busy Week Ahead

September 19th, 2010 at 08:28 pm

So today was grocery shopping day. BF and I hit the store, and came out with relatively low spending-- but mostly because I already dropped $50 at the Asian grocery store this week. Also had to stop at Borders to grab a GRE study book. Ran me $30, and of course I couldn't get out of Borders with only that Wink Bargain books will be the death of me... lol. I picked up a copy of Stephen Colbert's book (steal my heart), and a copy of one of Suze Orman's books to give to my mom. I felt she could use a little uplifting reading.

This week shouldn't be so bad on spending. Tomorrow I'll be neck-deep in homework, and BF and I are hitting the rec in the afternoon. Then class. The rest of the week I dont really have anything planned. Except the weekend-- date night! However, I bought a coupon on Groupon for the restaurant we're going to, so that should cover the majority of our dinner date.

Other than that, not a whole lot is going on. Just trying to keep the spending low. I upgraded my phone today, so that should be coming in the mail soon. I always get the free phone. I was surprised looking through those available-- I could have gotten all sorts of Blackberry's or Palm crazy phones for free, but they all require the outrageous data plans... no thank you. I dont want anything with a keyboard, touch screen, or internet. I want a phone. I want to make calls and send texts. That's it. I've had the same one for the last 2 years, and I'm only upgrading because it's not holding a charge as well as it used to Frown But hopefully my new Samsung will be as wonderful to me as my current one.

I have my drill pay hitting this wednesday, and have to get plates for my car before thursday, so there will be a bit of spending, but some income as well!

Overall, the week is going to be incredibly busy. It seems there is never enough time in the day... Ah well, hope everyone has a good one!

Credit Score

September 18th, 2010 at 06:33 am

So on my list of goals for 2010 was improving my credit score. Up until today I hadn't looked at it, but upon paying off my CC I was hoping it would have improved. As a matter of fact, it did!

I took a look at my score last year about the time I was trying to buy a car, so November. Then it was 710, which certainly isn't terrible.

Today, however, when I looked at it I found a big gaping 819 Smile I improved it by over 100 points. This is incredibly exciting for me, and I am definitely proud of myself. I feel so in control of my financial well-being. It's incredibly uplifting!

So that's the big excitement for this weekend.

I've started thinking about my goals for next year. I think it's going to be a different kind of year, though some goals will be similar. Obviously, I'll want to whittle down even more of my debt... but now it'll only be student loans! I plan on taking a vacation to Europe next year, so there will be saving for that. But I also have grad school to look at, as well as my new goal: trying to publish a book.

Publishing a book is something that's been on my life's goal list for a long time. I figure, why wait?

But anyhoo... 2011 is still a few months off, and I have other goals to work on in the mean time.

As for the remainder of the weekend, it should be relatively low-cost. I bought the bulb for my headlight yesterday, and I also went to the Asian grocery store... needless to say, we'll be eating a lot of Japanese food this week. Still have to go to the American grocery store, because I need to get stocked up on veggies!

Healthy eating is coming along well still. Slipped up a bit yesterday at breakfast. BF and I usually go out for breakfast on fridays, and I gorge myself on biscuits and gravy. Thinking I would save the calories, we went to Panera and I got an egg soufle. 540 calories! I'm glad I decided on tea instead of coffee... certainly didn't need that creamer!

Other than that, I made a Thai Massaman Curried Sweet Potato Soup last night for dinner. Whereas it may not be the healthiest thing in the world, it's not *too* bad. The only ingredients:

*Massaman Curry Paste
*The tiniest bit of olive oil
*A can of coconut milk (this is where all the fat is)
*A can of low-fat chicken broth
*Fresh Ginger
*A bag of sweet potatoes, with skins

So like I said, the coconut milk is where all the fat is in the soup, but that's pretty much it. Certainly not a balanced meal, as there is no real protein source-- but my goodness is it delicious! For anyone that likes Thai curry, it's definitely a winner.

Tonight I have 2 parties to go to. One for my mom's BF, and the other for my best friend from high school. Wont be bringing anything, except maybe a six-pack, which we already have.

So that's it! Now I just have to get some work done...

Quite a week!

September 17th, 2010 at 05:15 am

Well, it was incredibly long, but incredibly productive week... and it's not even over yet! lol. It was the first week of my revamped diet, and exercise plan. I'm really trying to lose 8 pounds or so. I'm not really overweight necessarily, but I'm too heavy compared to where I'm used to being. I think eating healthier is just a good idea in general, anyway.

So monday was salsa class. BF and I both went, and it was a really good time, and free! The only issue is that when we do too much spinning I tend to get nauseous. Nonetheless, I think we'll be back again next week. It's free the first 3 times, and then only $20 for the year. Yay for being a college student.

The rest of the week nothing particularly exciting went on. Worked a lot. Been busy writing, especially with this new client. I'm making about $25/day with her alone, just for a few articles. A few of them have been really obscure topics, though...

We had friends over wednesday night for dinner. I babysit their kids wednesday evenings now, so we figured we'd entertain this week. I made chicken parmesan-- for the first time-- and it turned out fantastic. Tuesday night I cooked enchiladas for the first time and they were absolutely delicious. Probably not the healthiest option, but so good, and packed with black beans and spinach, so at least it has a little bit of nutritional value.

Lunches were all packed. I still have yet to spend one cent on food on campus. Very exciting Smile I eat healthier, and cant afford to pay $5-10/day for lunch.

I'm having these crazy pains right under my left rib cage a lot recently, and it's starting to worry me. I've always had them, but usually I only get them every few months or so, and never for more than a minute or so. My mom has gallbladder issues and gets them, too. She told me to take tums, and it works. But I'm not sure if it's gallbladder problems. Everything I looked at online points to my symptoms-- the back pain, the nausea, but those sharp pains are always said to be on the right side with gallbladder problems...

I did a bit more research and thought maybe it could be kidney issues. I guess there's some crazy freak thing that happens with nerves that could cause it, too, but if that was the case the tums wouldn't help it.

I guess I just need to see a doctor. Like I said, I've had them for a long time, even since high school-- but they usually come and go quickly. They kept up for over a half hour a couple weeks ago, and only when I took a tums. I dont see how my diet would contribute to it, as I haven't really eaten anything greasy lately, but who knows... maybe it's all the cheese! lol.

At any rate, it's going to be a busy weekend. Much work, and much homework to do! Today BF and I are supposed to hit the rec, do some swimming. Should be fun. He's heading back home tonight, and I'll probably stay at home and relax. I need it!

Passed my PT test! Woo!

September 13th, 2010 at 05:45 am

Well, I had drill this past weekend, and it was certainly a long one. Muta 5, which means we go friday night, saturday, and sunday... It was particularly long because saturday I had to go make up my weapon qualification, which meant a long day on the range. I did, however, qualify at 35/40 targets hit-- one away from being deemed an "expert" marksman, err markswoman Wink

My PT test, then, was yesterday morning. I didn't go above and beyond for the pushups and situps, as I wanted to save my energy for the run. I had no idea how I was going to do. my pass rate would have been to do the 2 miles in 19:30. I ended up finishing at 16:06. Not bad! Certainly much better than I thought I would do... I'm glad I started running at the Rec when the semester started.

I dont have to take another test til next year, but I'm going to focus on continuing this physical exercise, and eating healthy. I weighed myself yesterday-- 147 lbs. Better than the 152 last time, but still... I'm not comfortable at this weight, though I would by no means call myself fat.

So I'm going to start working on losing 8 pounds to begin with. I want to be under 140. So healthier eating, here I come! And more physical activity!

As for spending over the weekend...

My flatiron decided to short out on me in the middle of straightening my hair... lol. It's pretty necessary that I replace it. It was also like 3-4 years old... so I'm not surprised. That was, however, a $35 replacement. On top of that, I needed to do some grocery shopping for the week. We planned our meals, and the total came up to about $36/person (BF and I split groceries in half every week). Not bad, but not great-- however, we're trying to eat healthier and we're also having friends of ours over for dinner wednesday night.

Also put gas in my car. It turns out that $20 lasts me about 2 weeks. Very nice.

HOWEVER, my check-engine light is on, I need to replace a headlight bulb, and the windshield (as it has a rock chip, and I dont want it to continue spiderwebbing when it gets cold). I also need to get plates by the end of the month... Oh, the joys of owning a car... I did not miss them all those years.

So to wrap this up, money will likely be tight the rest of the month, but that's okay. At least my CC is paid off!!! Every time I look at my online banking it makes me smile Smile

Hope everyone has a great monday!

Unexpected expenses and income.

September 10th, 2010 at 08:10 pm

This morning I decided to [finally] schedule my GRE test, seeing as how my applications to graduate school will need to be done before vacation and I leave December 15. Therefore, my test is set for October 29-- which will hopefully give me enough time to get the results back and send those applications in on time!

The registration, however, was an unexpected $160... a bit hefty, but a necessary evil. Thankfully, when I went to look at my bank account this morning there was $140 magically sitting there from the US Dept of Treasury. What for, I have no idea. I'm sure some sort of adjustment on taxes or who knows what. Regardless, it was certainly a help!

The hunt for a good grad program I think has come to a halt. I think I've found what I want to do, and I'm fairly excited about it. Sort of a mixture between what I do now with my writing and the world of academia: a masters in communications. I think it'll be great, and I have 3 schools I'm considering right now. Application time!

Alright, time to get to bed. Playing army this weekend, and it's a full schedule. Night everyone!

Vacation Official: Plane Ticket Purchased :)

September 8th, 2010 at 08:24 pm

So BF and I purchased our plane tickets to Micronesia for December. Though my bank account is now $1858 lighter, I feel so great about it. I've been trying to leave the country to see new places since high school. It only took 6 years... So exciting!

The better news is that I'm not completely broke, even after making such a large purchase. I'm certainly not rolling in the dough, but things are good. Really good.

I picked up an assignment for a website I wrote for previously, and they want me to cover a couple articles for them-- at $100/pop. Woo! Guess I don't feel too silly for giving them the last one for free. That'll be a nice push in the income for October, and they have a couple more coming up in November and December that they'll throw at me. Yay Smile

The writing has been fabulous this week, and I'm feeling rather productive. Not really spending a whole lot. Did have to take Baby to get his shots at the vet this morning. That ran $32. I bought another Groupon... these things are pretty sweet. Restaurants and bars I would go to anyway, and it'll cut the cost down in half.

I've got drill this weekend, so the spending should be way down. Still haven't spent a red cent on campus for meals. Yay for being a packer Smile

Alright, it's really time for me to get to sleep now. I think I'm getting delirious. lol. Just wanted to share in my celebration (there have been so many of them as of late)!

Night everyone!

Back to business!

September 7th, 2010 at 04:48 am

It was a rather low-key weekend, with minimal spending. Good stuff. Now it's back to class for me, and back to work. I picked up another writing gig through oDesk.com, so I'll be doing some writing on a wedding blog. Different for me, but pretty exciting!

Business is going really well, actually (outside of one client who doesn't seem to ever want to pay me/respond to my emails). It's nice to see that things didn't completely drop out over the summer and I can still make a bit of money doing this. Even better? I've gotten to the point where I can be fairly picky about what I write, which is really nice.

Today I'll be on campus all day, so I'll be packing a lunch. I have yet to spend any money for food on campus. Woo! Granted, it is only the 3rd week... ah well. Come to think of it, I cant believe it's already week 3! Time flies these days...

I'm going to try and make this a low-spend week. I've got drill this weekend, so it wont be too bad. No plans for the weeknights yet, so we'll see, I guess. Still have plenty of gas in my car and went grocery shopping yesterday. Probably spent a bit too much, but I cant beat myself up for that. I'm trying to eat healthier. At least I'm not off spending my money on stupid stuff, and wont be eating out at restaurants all week.

Come to think of it, I'm going to try and keep unnecessary spending down altogether. Last month was Art in the Square, so I spent a bit of money on jewelry/hand crafted soap/produce, etc. This month I dont have a whole lot coming up. Just date night and perhaps a Crew Game. Or possibly a trip to Pittsburgh. We'll see.

I really need to get saving for this trip in December! It's not too far off... so exciting! Oh, and we have to buy our plane tickets this week. It'll be pretty official, then. Good stuff Smile

Alright, off to the grind. Everyone have a great day!

Labor Day Weekend

September 3rd, 2010 at 03:21 pm

Well, I feel pretty awful today. My allergies went into hyperdrive, and with no meds that seem to do a thing, I'm pretty miserable. Along with that once a month ordeal us girls deal with, it's been quite a day. I'm pretty tired as well.

As it were, BF and I were supposed to go camping this weekend with friends of his. He left a few hours ago, and I decided to stay home. I was sad to not go, but if I'm going to be miserable the whole time, and out in the woods with more plants (read: ragweed), then it doesn't seem to me a good idea. Besides, we were going to take Charlie (the new kitten), which would have been fine, but it's a 2 hour car ride. I figured I'd spare him.

I've been having a rough night's sleep all week because Charlie gets bored and decides he wants to claw at/bite my feet while I sleep. It may seem like a fun game to him, but it's been doing a number on my energy levels.

So this weekend will be spent in a productive manner. I have a ton of writing I can get done, of course, and homework as well. I think tonight I'm going to write a couple articles, then relax a bit. I made dinner already-- a crazy concoction using butternut squash, pineapple, and rice-- with indian spices. Pretty good for something I randomly threw together using what I had at home.

I'm trying to make this a low-spend weekend. Potentially, I could get away with just hiding out in the apartment. I think I may get up and go to yoga in the morning because I missed it on wednesday. I'm sure I can use it, but we'll see how I feel in the morning. I may just do it at home.

My financial situation is alright for the time being, but it seems I have more expenses piling up left and right. I forgot Christmas is coming up... and I'm going to have to replace the windshield on my car probably next month. There's a spot where it looked like a rock hit it, and I dont want it to get really bad when the weather gets cold.

I'm also going to need to buy plates, and tell our landlord we got a cat, so there will be a deposit for that as well. And we have to take the baby to the vet and start vaccines.

So yes, my CC is paid off, but I'm more or less broke again. lol. At least I'll be able to buy that plane ticket next week. But otherwise pretty broke.

So what does that mean?? More writing. I'm starting to babysit once a week, for friends of BF. That'll be $25 extra income per week. But until the 31st, I have no GI. Once I do, things will be a bit easier.

Well, I guess I should stop procrastinating and start writing. This money's not gonna make itself!

It's a day.

September 1st, 2010 at 03:43 pm

Well, I have nothing terribly exciting to report today. No class, and I spent the majority of the day NOT working... bah.

As for spending:

Put about $20 in my tank, which put me at about 3/4 full. Not bad. I'm hoping this will last me all week, and part of next week. Trying to keep my gas under $80 for the month.

Went to the animal clinic not far away to pick up some flea meds for the baby. Got Revolution, and applied it. I'm sure that will help the problem, and avoid some future problems when I take him camping this weekend. Also stopped at Petsmart. I needed to get him a harness. Person at the animal clinic says she walks her cat and the collar does no good. I suspected as much, but my silly boyfriend doth protest everything. I also picked up a different brand of treats. He wont touch the ones we got him, but these seemed to go over really well. Apparently the kid likes fish flavor and not chicken. Also picked up a couple cans of Fancy Feast. It's more or less Charlie crack.

After baby was taken care of, I ran to Staples-- had to get a notebook for my chem class and some post-its.

I was going to go to Yoga tonight, but decided to stay home and get some work done, then hang out with the boy instead. Haven't gotten so much done, per se, but at least I saved $5, right? lol.

I did get some things done today. Not a total waste. Just not as productive as I generally like to be. Too much messing around and not a whole lot of actually working. And yet here I am procrastinating more Smile

Alright. Time to go and get to work!