Sunday, October 12, 2008

Working less is more.

It's been a while, mostly because I have been working too much. I have one full time job where I often work overtime. In addition to this, I work as an independent childcare provider (aka babysitter) in my "spare time".

This, of course, has its good points and bad points. Given that my regular job pays me under what I think I should be getting (but, I guess we all probably think that about our jobs, huh?) I feel the need to work extra child care jobs to make extra and easy money. And it is easy money. Enjoyable, too. It is nice to be able to help a family by providing quality childcare for them. It is also nice to spend an evening with kids and then watching tv or reading after they go to bed. It is nice to connect with people that I have known a long time. Some of these families I have been in contact with for several years.

But, there's also the bad. For example, a couple of weeks ago I had a babysitting job on a Thursday evening. I got off of work at 3:30pm (I worked eight hours without a break.) Then I had dinner out with a friend. It was nice, of course, but let me tell you, for saving money and ruling at life, eating dinner out is not ideal in this situation. We were rushed because I had to get to my job by 5:30. The restaurant was chosen hastily. I was hungry and exhausted for work, so I probably ate much more than I needed to.

After dinner I went to my babysitting job and it was wonderful. But guess what? It threw me off for the next day, as well. Because I baby-sat until 8:30, when I got home I was too tired to make lunch for the next day. Meaning that I had to spend money at the grocery store buying a prepared frozen dinner that I wouldn't normally buy.

While it might not be the smartest thing to babysit, as it throws me off, I really do enjoy it. In the end, I definitely am able to save more money than I spend. But I try to be aware that even though I am working extra and making money, it is generally not as good of a deal as it may seem to be. Though I get money and enjoyment out of it, sometimes I just need to CHILL. I need to sit at home with my cat and just MAKE DINNER.

Luckily, on this Sunday, I have the best of both worlds. I am babysitting in my home for a wonderful toddler, who will probably nap for part of the time. We will get to read books, go for a walk in my neighborhood, and just chill at my home. This is definitely nice. The extra money, of course, will be nice too, because sometimes you just need it. This month's extra expenses have thrown me for a loop. But, my friends, that is quite another entry...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Coffee is frivolous. So what?

The first entry in my debit card register on Wednesday, October 1st is an ATM Withdrawl. This makes sense. I am allowed one coffee drink on Wednesdays from the Sureshot Cafe. "But!" you might say "Getting coffee is expensive and wasteful and DEFINITELY not a way to rule at life by saving money! What are you thinking, getting coffee once a week?"

I am thinking that I like getting coffee. Well, not coffee, exactly. I purchase what is called White Coffee, a different kind of coffee drink. I usually get it with soy milk and some sort of flavoring. It runs around $4 after I tip my attractive barista.

Yes, I could make my own white coffee at home. I could brew it up, add my own syrup and make it cheaply. But I do not. Why not? Because mostly I go get coffee for the experience. It is worth the $4 per week, $16 per month, and $192 per year for me to get away from work, buy some caffeinated goodness, attempt to flirt with the attractive barista, and drink a comforting drink. It just is. It is not cheap, but it is worth it.

Luckily, I get the most out of my visit to Sureshot by trying to only go on Wednesdays. Why Wednesdays? Because on Wednesdays they stamp my little card TWICE. That's right, it is double stamp day. Doing it this way helps me to get my free white coffee TWICE as fast. This is a smart move toward a weekly purchase that may be considered not so smart.

(I found th picture on Google Image Search. It is from someone's Flickr.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Phone-y is the new communication.

I broke my phone last night.

Well, I didn't break it. It died. Death, oh death of a phone. It's not pretty.

Let's start at the beginning. Around two and a half years ago, I was rocking a Nokia 3390 with a red cover. It was pretty sweet, except for the fact that people kept teasing me about how "ghetto" it was. And, it was getting old. I started craving a new phone. One with pictures! Sound recording! Sweet ringtones! One where a picture of a person would come up every time they called! And if someone I didn't like called, I could set it to a picture of something ugly! YES!

So I traded in that little Nokia 3390 for a Motorola Razr. Oh, how trendy I was. Then everyone started getting Razrs. They were all the rage.

But, as time went on, the fancy-schmancy internet phones started to make it big. And here I was, little old me, with my old Motorola Razr. "It's about time to renew," I thought. "I should get a fancy internet phone. Even if I don't use the internet, it could have a calendar on it. I need a calendar! After all, my PDA just broke! Yes! A phone with a calendar and and Mp3 player." This is what I wanted.

My PDA broke a couple of months ago. It was nice to have, a nice gift from a family that I used to nanny for. As nice as it was and as disappointed as I was when it broke, it's been pretty refreshing switching back to a paper calendar. To not bury my nose inside something electronic at every spare moment.

I don't need to be cool phone-wise, anymore. I mean, really. First I'd get a Blackerry. Then I'd get the internet for it. Then I'd start ignoring my friends in real life. Then I wouldn't be able to stop. Blackberries. I-pods. I-phones. Then I'd get a computerized car. Work from home. Not ever talk to people. Ever! No. I do not want that.

So I went into the T-Mobile store today. I went up to the salesperson and told him that I needed a new phone. He asked me what the most important feature was. I told him that the most important feature was that it was a free phone. The next most important feature would be that it can call people. Then a camera. It would also be excellent if it was a purple phone.

He hooked me up. He did well. All it cost me was dedicating another 2 years of my life to Tmobile (formerly known as Voicestream) and $19.26. Not bad. I have been with Tmobile for 8+ years now, and still only pay around $25 per month on a family plan. You really can't beat that.

As nice as it'd be to have a fancy-ass Blackberry and start ignoring people, I am learning to be happy with what I have. Not just accept it, but embrace it. Just look at my collection: My Walkman and Discman, which both play music for me when I need them to. (Don't worry, I have rechargeable batteries for them.) My paper calendar, full of its beautiful chaos. My simple new and almost-free phone. But best of all...well, best of all, I don't know. That's a whole lot of stuff to be carrying around in my purse. But I am ruling at life, so I don't mind.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh, dental.

One thing that you should know about me is that I am uninsured. I don't really want to be uninsured, but it is just how things have worked out up until this point. Generally though, if you're healthy and don't have any severe accidents, being uninsured is cheaper. So that's good. But, it is risky.

Anyway, my teeth hurt. I went to the dentist in July, after not having gone for a while. He told me that I have several cavities that need to be fixed. All in all, it will be around $2400 worth of work. I wasn't happy. I actually cried, in front of them, which is always lovely. That dentist is actually pretty condescending and seems shady anyway.

After trying to get into a low income dental clinic (which didn't work, because I am not low-income enough) I decided to get a second opinion elsewhere. Hopefully the second opinion will tell me if shady-condescending man was quoting me for things that I didn't really need done.
I don't want to spend $2400 on my teeth. I don't even HAVE $2400 to spend on anything right now. But, if I can find someone who will work on me, be considerate and kind AND be flexible payment wise, I will be good.

It will be nice if I can get a cheaper quote. But, if not, I would much rather spend my two-plus-grand at a place with caring staff. And, if they work out, they will be getting another two grand from me in the near future. You see, I think my wisdom teeth are coming in....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Curb is a Goldmine!

Over the past couple of days, I have found some lovely things on the curb. Come to think of it, over the past couple of MONTHS I have found some lovely things on the curb.

On Monday night my friend Chad and I were walking down John Street on Capitol Hill in Seattle when we came across a box. Oh, and boxes mean good things. This one was mostly full of foam packing peanuts, but it also contained some magazines and a pair of almost new red flats. Now, I know what you're thinking--FOOT FUNGUS! Oh, probably. But you know what I have to say about that? Bring it on. BRING IT ON!

(Actually, I am already having a lot of problems with my foot related to severe eczema. While I am definitely going to wipe these shoes out with Lysol or something, I think it is damn near impossible for the condition of the skin on my foot to get any worse. So whatevs.)

Anyway, it looks like these flats have been worn maybe once. I really should get a picture up in here, but I'm not quite to that stage yet in my blogging. Anyway, they are cute. And guess what else? I actually really needed a new pair of red shoes. During my younger years I wore all heels. They started to give me bunions, so I have slowly been replacing all of my shoes with flats of a different color. And I hadn't replaced my red ones yet. So score.

Then, yesterday, I came across a patch of grass on the curb three blocks away from my house. This patch of grass contained many items, the most notable being a collection of THREE hair dryers. Three!

I am actually pretty opposed to hair dryers, as I think drying your hair is a waste of time and bad for your hair, but still, it can't hurt to have one just in case, especially with winter coming up. It is also good for when you have guests over--I felt bad when my lovely friend visited from California and I had to break to her that I didn't own a hair dryer.

Out of the three, I chose a purple one, because purple is my favorite color. I plugged it in today and it didn't electrocute me or kill me (yet). I take this as a good sign, and also maybe a gift from God.

The other thing I found was a little sampler kit of Burt's Bees products. Yes, those expensive-ass, yummy smelling, slightly yuppie creams and soaps and lotions and whatnot. (I'm also sure they are organic. Whoop-de-do.)

I know what you may be thinking: Gross! But guess what? This little bag of products was all unused! Sealed and everything. So I took the little kit home and used it. It included a bar of "shampoo soap", shower soap, toner, face wash, foot cream, body lotion and cuticle cream. I used almost all of them, except for the cuticle cream, because I already have some of that (I get it for Christmas most years.)

And let me tell you, I like the stuff. The shampoo soap bar made my hair a bit greasy, but still good. The cuticle cream (when I do get around to using it) is a great way to kill time when you're in class or whatever. It really is a treat to find unused Burt's Bee's products on the side of the road.

Then, finally, I found a cute patterned Old Navy tank top on Broadway by a dumpster today. (Again, I know what you may be thinking. And again, BRING ON THE SCABIES. I mean, not really. But of course I will wash it before I wear it.) This tank top will most likely be a great addition to my wardrobe. And, if it isn't, I got it for free, so I didn't waste any money on it.

Basically, don't hesitate to do some of your shopping freely from the curbside. You may be surprised at what you find. You also may get scabies, but whatever. You could also get scabies at Nordstrom from trying on clothes after someone else has. (It is important to note that scabies can happen to anyone. It is highly contagious and affects everyone, regardless of age and income level.)

Welcome to Ruling at Life!

Hello. Stacy here. I am starting a blog to share my ideas about how to rule at life.

My version of ruling at life has several aspects and may be completely different from yours. Mostly, I am here to share my ideas on how to live cheaply, efficiently and happily.

I mean, I don't save THAT much money, but I am working on it. My goal is to have a down payment for a condo within the next five years. I work in Early Childhood Education, which is traditionally a VERY low paying field, so it is proving to be a challenge.

But, everyone has to have goals, right? My goal is to share my insight on how to do things somewhat inexpensively in a creative manner while still recognizing what is important.

I am by no means a frugal expert or anything like that. Mostly, I just have fun talking about personal finance, lecturing my friends and bragging about good deals. Plus, I recently saw a tarot card reader who told me that I could make some money writing and that I should start a blog.

So here goes.