Monday, November 23, 2009

Curb shopping!!!

Hi friends!

Tonight was a glorious night. Why? Curb shopping!

My new condo boasts pristine white carpets. Or boasted them, rather. It now boasts dirty white carpets. (Is that the right use of boast? Probably.) Anyway, that's annoying. The dirtiness of my carpets.

Earlier in the summer I was convinced that I needed an entryway rug. I ordered one online. When it came in the mail, I discovered that it was all wrong and sent it back. I made do with a shitty bath mat for a bit.

Then, about a month ago I found a nice enough hall runner in the dumpster outside of my house. Here's a picture of it:



Pretty fugly, right? But at least it protected the carpet. So I was down.

But then came tonight. Oh, glorious tonight. Right before the rain started I was walking to my friend Stefanie's house and came upon a pile of stuff. I was intrigued by the automatic timer that I had found. Then I noticed a nice carpet. It was a hall-runner. It covered more ground than my current hall-runner. It matched my curtains. It had black accents, like I like. Sure it was slightly dirty, but who cares?

Here is the new hall runner:



Beautiful, isn't it? I am in love. Perfect length. Perfect colors. Perfect price. Once it is vacuumed and clean Darby will stop looking at it funny and all will be well.

Also scored tonight: vintage white mixing bowl. My kitchen will thank me later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not Spending Money: Update



I have done very well in the "not spending money" department since I heard about losing my job.

What have I spent, so far? $121.75. In one week. It may look like a lot, but let's break it down. You can help decide if these things are necessary or not.

Wednesday, 11/11/09
$4.00 Coffee Drink from Sureshot
$23.00 Vacuum Part off of Ebay
$29.00 Gas

Friday, 11/13/09
$0.75, Can of Coca Cola from vending machine

Saturday, 11/14/09
$35.00 Acupuncture
$30.00 Medical Bill

And that's all!

Pretty good, huh? I could have probably gone without the coffee drink or the Coke. But treats, people. I need treats sometimes. I limit these treats to once a week.

Here are the things I could have spent money on but didn't:
Vodka Sodas
Restaurant Food
American Apparel
New shoes
A lot of bougie food
Other junk I don't need

So, I think I did well. I will keep it up until I have a new job lined up. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Things I am Doing to Prepare for Being Laid Off


Hi friends!

Oh, friends. Friends friends friends. Guess what? They have decided to discontinue the wonderful program at work that I am a part of. My job will end sometime between now and June 15th. Though it is uncertain when exactly, my best guess is between February and June.

I have been expecting this for a while, but now that it is official, I am doing some extra things to prepare in addition to my normal money saving routine. Keep reading to find out what!

POSITIVITY. Po-si-ti-vi-ty. Nothing will be helped by being pissed off. Nothing will be helped by being sad (although sad is the hardest emotion to get rid of in this situation, mostly because I adore my job.) Nothing will be helped by complaining about the economy, or comparing myself to others, or complaining in general.

So, what then?

I have a lot of experience in my field. I have a lot of knowledge about my field. I interview pretty well. I have a fairly specialized degree. I have diverse experience in the field. I work for a great agency who will consider me an internal employee for the next eighteen months, so I will have more of an opportunity to continue with them. There are already two excellent job opportunities that I will be applying for. One of them even pays more per year! We'll see what happens, but my guess is that I will be switching jobs before they even need to lay me off.

Plus, there's always unemployment. I think that would be a fun challenge to live on less. Don't you?

Save. Save save save save save save save. As in do not spend. And then save it. I decided the day that we got the news that I just wouldn't do any unnecessary spending. It's amazing how often I (and other people) handle their emotions by buying things. In fact, my first reaction to the news was to go buy a coffee drink from Starbucks or something to make myself feel better. But I didn't. (I did get a Coke Zero from the trunk of my car, though.)

Of course, I will get small treats every so often. A white coffee from Sureshot counts as a small treat (as long as it's only once a week.) A Coca-Cola from the machine at work counts as a small treat (as long as it's only once a week or less.) These are things I do anyway, I just have to be even more careful.

In contrast, three vodka sodas from a bar are not a small treat. Even one is not. I've decided to quit drinking (or quit spending money on drinking at least--if an attractive man wants to buy me one that's quite all right) until I've secured a new job. I even practiced this act of willpower last night when out with friends. My friend asked the bartender for a cup of hot water for me so that I could make some tea, but he said no. Oh well.

Work extra.
Or, as I sometimes say "I am going to baby-sit the shit out of this weekend." (Or week, or month, etc.) Actually, I don't say that, but I definitely think it. I am lucky enough to have several local families who call me to babysit quite often and pay me generously. Normally this is my "fun money", but now it will be my savings for a mortgage payment in case I need it when I lose the jobby job.

An added bonus? If I save a lot of this money and then get another job, I can apply it all toward the debt that I owe to a family member. I am now slowly paying off, but it'd be nice to get it all over with. Sweet. They should have given us this news at work a long time ago.

And quickly, some other things I am doing: Cooking at home all the time, not buying stuff from American Apparel, letting my cat hunger strike when he doesn't like the food that I bought him, being even more careful about turning the lights off and keeping the heat down, taking care of my health and not skimping on acupuncture too much because it is an investment, and trying to appreciate all the shit I already have so that I don't have to buy any more for a long, long time.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Five Ways I Saved Dollarz on Vacation



The above is a picture of me spending dollars on vacation.

I just got back from another San Francisco trip. Bet you didn't know I was going, did you? Yes, I just went in August, but I went again last Thursday for a short trip.

Why?

When I graduated from college, I was dead set on moving to San Francisco. Fortunately and unfortunately my job connections and housing options here in Seattle were much more financially practical, so I stayed up here. At this point I promised myself that if I lived in Seattle, I had to make an effort to visit San Francisco as often as possible. I was shooting for twice a year, and have met that goal now for this year!

Another reason I went was that tickets were super cheap. After taxes and everything, I paid just $99 to fly on Virgin Air. This was ROUND TRIP. Sweet.

Since I had not started a "wine bottle savings account" for this trip, I started a small cash stash in a jar that I wouldn't have to break, since I didn't want to have to break a WBSA after just a month and a half. I put as much babysitting money as I could spare in a little jar. By the time it was time to leave, this jar had about $300. I spent just $180 on vacation. Yeah, that's a lot for three days I realize, but hey, I could easily spend that at home in three days as well. Besides...it could have been more!

Here are some things that I did that kept it from being more.

1. Snacks. I brought my own snacks. The night before I left I went to the natural foods section at Fred Meyer and bought some granola flakes, potato chips, pistachios, and allergen-free sugar cookies. Though these are not the healthiest things, they were the best things I could find that I wasn't allergic to that would travel well. I snacked on these things as much as I could throughout the trip so that I wouldn't have to buy snacks so often.

2. Public transportation. Except for two cab rides split three ways, I took it everywhere, including to and from SeaTac airport for the first time ever! The only reason we took a cab is because we saw some cops raiding a donut shop right by us and wanted to get out of the bad-seeming neighborhood ASAP.

3. Staying with friends. I am lucky enough to have extremely generous friends who will host me in SF. I hope they know how much I appreciate them, and I also hope they know that they are required to stay with me each and every time they visit Seattle.

4. Drinking less. I tried to limit my alcohol intake as much as possible. Everyone knows I love my drinky-drinks, but I didn't want to spend all my cash OR be too hungover to enjoy San Fran.

5. Eating good meals. Because on vacation I eat out a lot, I made sure to eat healthy, filling meals (that were allergen free, of course.) This helped so that I didn't want to snack as much in-between. I was also good at not splurging too much on coffee-like drinks or sodas in between meals.

Next step in achieving good San Francisco-related savings habits? I'm starting an ING Savings Account called "San Francisco". This will help to spread the cost of a plane ticket and expenses over several months through an automatic savings plan.

This way I can go back soon and pick up my heart that I left there. <3 <3