Saturday, December 25, 2010

Annual Debt

I am ridiculous.  I have this pattern.  It happens every year, every December.  I go into debt. 

It's never a ton of debt.  It's just enough to stress me out a little bit, to set me back a little bit. 

This year I saved about $300 for Christmas gifts. 

I also went on a lot of dates with boys, bought a plane ticket to Denver, bought a sleeping bag and helmet to bring to Denver, new winter clothes, new winter boots, old boot repair, etc, etc.  And a lot of eating out and drinking booze at bars. 

Yeah, totally fun, but not totally awesome financially. 

So, here's the plan:  I go to Denver and enjoy myself without worrying about money.  (Within reason, of course!  I'm not going to go shopping, but I am going to comfortably eat and drink without worry.)

 I have already taken $400 from my emergency fund to cover some of the excess.  I will also be getting a reimbursement check from work, as well as rent money from my brother.  In February I have a very lucrative and fun babysitting job that will help pay off the rest if it isn't done, or help to build my emergency fund back up if needed. 

It has also been a VERY lean month babysitting (everyone is out of town) so hopefully it will pick back up next month.  A lot of people having babies and not going out, as well, so I'll be taking on a couple of new families.

I hope to make a huge improvement next year when it comes to this problem:  save more money.  I just updated my monthly savings plan to $80 a month for Christmas presents and Christmas break crazy spending.  That will help if I do go crazy, and if not, I can put it back in the emergency fund. 

I hope this works.  I hope I don't take it out before then.

This is the fun thing about finances.  I am responsible enough so when I have a little set back like this, it's not the end of the world.  I can find a creative way to remedy it.  This one is just frustrating because it's a pattern and I'm aware of it.  I should've known by now!  Let's hope this time next year will be different. 

How did you do for the holidays?  I'll let you all know when the debt is done and I'm back to regularly scheduled programming. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shared Living Spaces

One of the biggest pieces of personal finance advice is to take on a roommate. 

I've always hated that one.

I hate living with people.  I hate their dirty dishes, their attitudes, their destructive angry-veganess, their passive agression.  Hate it. 

But, I like money.  Who can blame me?  My mortgage is a bit too high.  A little supplement of that would be great. 


So, I think I found a way around that, for now.  Behold:  the brother moves in. 

This is why it's working for now: 

1.  He's my brother.  I can never actually hate him. 

2.  He doesn't mind living in my tiny sunroom. 

3.  He pays me a reasonable amount

4.  He works so often that I don't see him very much.

5.  It is my roof.  My conditions.  It is temporary, if need be. 

With this extra monthly money, I plan to do the following. 

1.  Get the emegency fund up to the amount of one month's paycheck.  Yes, I know it should be more, but I'm not there yet.  Slow and steady. 

2.  Pay off the $4600 left on the car.  I want this to happen within the next twelve months, but I think it may be sooner. 

3.  Buy a moped, for fun and getting around town. 

4.  Get the amount of two month's paycheck in the emergency fund. 

5.  Hardwood floors. 

This is my general plan of attack lately:  One month of emergency fund.  One fun thing.  Two months of emergency fund.  Another fun thing.  And so on, and so forth.  Once the car is paid off I'll have an extra $300 a month for savings/fun things.  I like that. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Child Care

It's a widely known fact in my social circle that I want kids.  I wanna get knocked up.  Two to three times. 
It's also a widely known fact in my social circle that I am crazy passionate about quality Early Childhood Education.  I work in the field. 
However, as some of you may know, quality Early Childhood Education and child care is VERY HARD TO FIND.  Often, child care centers are quite expensive (In Seattle generally $1300 and up for infant care) and low in quality.  Teachers rarely have much training or education.  The turnover rate is high.  Centers meet licensing requirements, but do not exceed them in any way. 
There is some quality child care available for low income people who can qualify for assistance through the state.  It used to be that you could get assistance if you were 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or under.  Now there are cuts being made to balance the state budget, so only families who make under 175% of the Federal Poverty Level will qualify.  That's about $2124 dollars per month for a family of two.  If you make over that, you will probably need to pay child care at the going rate (instead of the copay that they charge with state assistance that ranges from $15 to ~$300ish.)
As a single parent, I could not afford to work.  But I could not afford to stay home.  So it's likely I would have to find care for my child that was less expensive and less quality than I would like. 
As an advocate for quality early childhood education and child care in Washington State, I really would like to propose some sort of sliding scale child care system.  Honestly, on my income, I think I could pay about $800 a month.  Ideally, I would pay $500 a month for care.  Would that ever happen?  Not now. 
In order to be progressive when it comes to early care and education, we must come up with a solution for everyone.  Right now, the very low income and the very high income can afford childcare.  Those of us in-between are kind of stuck.  Well, actually, everyone is kind of stuck--quality child care centers are few and far between, and who wants to pay for low quality for their kids? 
Just some thoughts that have been running through my head lately with these intense cuts.  It will affect my line of work (non-profit childcare) very much.  It will affect the families that I work with.  It will make me cry.  If nothing else, give this some thought.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Diva Cups

I haven't bought a tampon in two and a half years. 

All thanks to the Diva Cup. 

I even had to go back in my posts to see if I had written about the Diva Cup before.  I haven't. 

It's a little messy, but it's environmentally friendly and also it's ALWAYS ON YOU!  Well, not always, but for the majority of your cycle.  When I used tampons I would always forget them and would have to run out and buy them during my lunch break or whatevs. 






Just make sure you boil it after every cycle.  I've also found soaking it in peroxide for a few hours helps bring it back to the lovely clear color. 

The livejournal community on menstrual cups is pretty damn good for info on it: 

http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/profile

And if your a huge hippie, you can add the fact that you're not supporting "the man: when buying tampons!  Woohoo!

Ruling at Life: Slice of Life. Awesome.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vacation.

My vacation was absolutely amazing.  I went to San Francisco and saw friends, went to parties, and met new people from all over the country at a moped rally. 

There came a time on Saturday when, after leaving the park, I laid in the back of the van, getting driven around town.  The person driving and the person sitting next to her were stressing, trying to find where we were going.  Trying to find parking.  Navigating. 

I just laid in the back, with some cute boys, drinking five hour energy, and feeling the most relaxed I have in my life. 

I didn't have to baby-sit at five!  I didn't have to go to work the next day!  I could have a beer, or five!  I didn't have a car to drive, or to park and pick up later.  I didn't have to navigate, cause I didn't know where we were going!  I didn't have to worry about impressing boys because they were temporary just in this city for right now, and besides, my personality sparkled anyway! 

Best, best moment ever. 

Now it's back to the drawing board here at home.  Well, not back to the drawing board.  But back to living, being responsible.  And believe me, I get off on that, too.  This weekend I got shit done.  Put $100 in the bank.  Took care of my health in the form of acupuncture and workouts.  Slept in. Bought some farmer's market produce.  Spent time with my family. 

I can't live my life like a vacation every day, but I can try. 

I haven't brought it up much, but I had a hard, hard summer. 

In late June I was diagnosed with anemia, which doesn't seem like a big deal.  But it was.  I had been wiped out for months before, and could not get through a day without a three hour nap.  In addition to this, or maybe alongside this, I was dealing with a pretty strong depression. 

Health issues and depression have been a pretty strong influence in my past.  I do not want them to be, so I have to do what I can do get around this.  I did.  I worked very hard this summer on getting the iron up, and consequently, lifting my spirits. 

Usually I have a hard time going into fall.  I'm telling this year to bring it.  Bring the rain.  I survived the summer, and I can survive the winter.  I'm excited with how things are going and have a new string of hope to live on. 

It's the big things, but it's the little things, too. 

For example:  I learned that a side braid is a great way to wear your hair when it's wet from the shower. 

I learned that beets are an amazing food, and if you get the sweeter variety, they don't turn your shit funny colors. 

I learned that I value my cat more than my car, but I still value my car a whole fucking lot, and take great joy in getting its oil changed. 

I've learned that I am appreciated by people who I have served well. 

This is my life.  It's a day to day.  It's not glamorous or exciting, and I'm not at the point where I need it to be now.  I have to take value in all the ways that I live.  I need to look at experiences and how they enrich my being.  I need to not feel guilty about sleeping in, as long as I'm not late to work. 

Thanks for listening, readers. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Packing for San Francisco Part Two: Personal Item

Geez, I never finished my second post before vacation!  Here are some things I did, though: 

I packed a goddamned bagel.  You'd think that'd be easy, but I guess it really wasn't for me the other four times I've traveled to San Francisco.  I bought a bag of them for $3, bought some cream cheese, and then put it in a little wax paper bag in my bag.  Simple!  And saved probably $4 on a bagel. 

I also brought some tea bags and my favorite brand of fake sugar (Xylosweet) and just bought some hot water from the airport.  Or, rather was gifted some hot water and a cup.  Thanks, Starbucks! 

Because of the tea, I didn't really need to buy a coffee-like beverage the whole time! 

I also brought a tupperware full of muffins that I made.  I gave one to my neighbor on the plan and the rest to one of my hosting friends in SF.  

I also brought two old magazines and read those on the flight, leaving them in the back of the seat pocket.  I hadn't read them before, so they were new to me, but worth about as much as the $4 trash magazines I would've bought anyway.  

When I was checking in, I realized that checking a bag would've cost me $30 each way.  $60 total!  Holy moses, was I glad I strategically packed. 

On the downside, I spend $6 on some cut up fruit.  STUPID!  But I was hungry, needed something quick, fresh and healthy, and so I did it.  Next time I'll buy a stupid banana. 

The rest of vacation was wonderful:  relaxation, hot hot hot moped boys, good eating and lots of Tecate.  Yum!  Kept it cheap, fun and interesting.  Love it all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Packing for San Francisco

I posted a link a little while ago about attempting to do one bag for my San Francisco trip.  Well, as hard as it seemed, I think I have done it! 



Before:  Line of clothes for every occassion. 

After:  Over-stuffed messenger bag (high quality, and only $2 at the bins!)

I did have to use some strategies: 

Pack only the clothes I needed.  Actually, shit, I didn't do this.  My vacations are based around how good I can look, so I packed some extra stuff.  Day time clothes, night time clothes, party clothes, extra socks and underwear, three cardigans, jeans, four dresses, a jean skirt, an extra shirt, tights, leggings.  Yep, it's all in there, suckas! 

The messenger bag is clothes only--extras will go into my "personal item" carry on, which will be highlighted in tomorrow's post. 

Virgin Air, the airline I am using, allows up to sixteen pounds for a carry on.  This one is only 12.  Score! 

(And, FYI, Virgin Air is sweet cause they have TV's on the back of every seat.)  

The most important thing I learned from the Wise Bread post is to put extra things INSIDE of shoes and boots.  I did this.  Gooooood idea. 

I did choose a messenger bag over a rolling carry on.  Why?  It's generally easier to maneuver in the airport and on public transportation.  And I won't look like a huge tool if I don't get to the place I'm staying before I can stash my stuff.  I also didn't HAVE a rolling carry on.  I actually did find one in the free pile by the dumpster in my building, but didn't realize until later that the handle that extends was broken off.  I put it right back in the free pile.  Almost a bummer, but I still didn't have to buy anything and I think it will all work out just fine!  (Although I suppose I'll let you know after the trip!)

Tomorrow:  The contents of my "personal item" bag. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WBSA 2010

Leaving for San Francisco a week from tomorrow, so decided to break open this year's WBSA (Wine Bottle Savings Account to see how much has accumulated for spending on my trip...

Me, combining my love of wine and money.  Except for there was no wine. 

My tools.  It actually took a lot of tries--I couldn't break it at first!  After a nice whack though, I got it. 


 Wait, no, these are my two loves:  Darby and money.  Darby swimming in money.  Me-ow.  
Anyway, this year's grand total is $280.  Less than last year, I think, but still significant and will buy me lots of meals, cocktails and bus fare in San Francisco!  

I can, of course, go above this if needed, but hopefully will not run up that credit card.  Cause really, who needs that?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sick days.

There's nothing more valuable then being able to spend a whole day sleeping off an illness. 

This is what I tried to do today.  I think it worked.  Going back to work tomorrow, hoping for the best.

I am super privileged to have so many sick days from my job!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grocery Shopping for the Single Girl

Yes, we've all read posts about how to feed your family for less. 

We've all read posts about couponing, making lists, meal planning. 

And I love all this shit, I really do, but let's get down to business. 

I am going to help you plan.  No, not meal plan.  No, not plan on making a shopping list.  Let's plan your grocery trip around the plan of the most hotties.  (I use the word hottie kind of ironically.) 

 Photo:  Me, pretending to go to the Grocery Store (I really went yesterday.) 

Step 1:  Do you know a grocery store where someone hot works?  Go there, preferably during his hours of service.  Don't talk to him, just look at him and smile and say hi.  Pretend you didn't even know that he works there.  Get a reasonable amount of groceries--only stuff you need!  Then leave!  It's also great to buy cat food so you can make conversation with a hottie about your pet if need be.  Try to leave the conversation ONLY if he's the cashier.  But, also, try not to get in his line, that's desperate.

2.  Know the types of hotties which hang out at each store.  In Seattle, I go to Safeway for the practical hotties, QFC for the practical stylish hotties, Madison Market for the elitist hotties with dreads, Whole Foods for the Livejournal hotties, Trader Joe's for the authentically hot hotties who probably make more money than the rest of the grocery store hotties, and other stores that are near the homes and businesses of other dudes I might be crushin on. 

3.  Wear sloppy clothes.  He's more likely to be working if you are. 

4.  If you know he's a vegan and you eat meat, purposely buy some lunch meat.  You will look like you're personally challenging him by this, and he might be turned on by it. 


5.  If you are shopping out of your normal neighborhood, have an excuse ready.  My favorite?  "Oh, I come to the UDistrict every Sunday to get coffee anyway.  Now how is your cat?" 

6.  Don't bring a friend. For realz.  It looks way too planned that way. 

7.  If you must write an I SAW U, keep it vague.  Very, very vague. 

8.  Don't discount the value of hot workers at the in-store Starbucks.  Trust. Me.  Also don't discount the value of writing an I SAW U for a hot worker in the in-store Starbucks.  Trust me again. 

Now, you may think that these tips don't have to do with personal finance, but they do!  First of all, taking your time to visit hotties at the grocery store adds life value to your experience.  It is multi-tasking, which saves time.  And time is money!  Happy hunting!  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recent Side of the Road Finds

Haven't shared my side of the road finds for a while.  There has been some good stuff. 

A couple of weeks ago I found a whole bunch of things, the most significant being a really nice 13x8 Pyrex casserole dish.  I've been borrowing my friend's for a long time now (thanks Chaddles!) and now can return it since I have my own. 


In that same spot, I also found some beautiful vintage-y silverware (well, not SILVER ware, but you get the point) that beats the shit out of the horrible flatware I purchased at Target a year ago that is getting grungy and falling apart.  I photographed the new ones to try to get some of the details:






The cool thing is that they're almost all different, from a variety of different sets.  I love the feel of that. 

That batch of stuff also had a matching set of four shot glasses.  Cute!


Not that I take shots all that often (hah!) but they'll be nice for new years and such.

Tonight I found the following stuff:   

The little electronic looking thing is an Mp3 player.  I don't know if it works, but it's worth a try. 

After doing all this I need to weed out some stuff that I already have--I don't want to become a hoarder!  I do pretty well, though, keeping my place neat and organized. 

It's back to school time, and of course I want to be updating more.  We'll see.  Love to all my loyal readers!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Laundry Tip for Apartment Dwellers with Shared Laundry



"Girl," you're probably asking.  "Why in god's name are you posting a picture of your pu$$y cat, a water bottle and a filthy old dress?" 

My response:  this isn't THAT epic of a tip, but still worth a mention. 


A couple of weeks ago I was at the Grocery Outlet and saw this ADORABLE bottle of laundry detergent.  My gawd it was so freaking cute.  It was Dreft, which I have to use for my sensitive skin, and it was in a little bottle that was just begging me to buy it and carry it around my apartment building to the laundry room, back and forth, showering it in kisses and such. 

The problem was, buying it was dumb, because I already HAD laundry detergent.  So I refrained and instead picked up a water bottle from the curb shop (aka the side of the road:  free). 

The cool thing about this?  It's light, it's compact, and it makes it WAY easier to get a smaller amount of detergent into the washing machine.  The washing machines in my building are energy efficient and require a lot less soap.  A bigger bottle is much messier and harder to navigate.  The little water bottle with a sport top?  PERFECT! 

Try it sometime!  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smartphones Replacing Credit Cards?

Yes, I get my news from Perez. 

The "article" decribes cell phones replacing credit cards.  Just swipe your cell phone and pay! 

Hmmmmm.  Maybe.  Maybe?  What if it had a super smart app that automatically tracked these purchases and said "pay off your balance!" frequently?  That would be cool! 

This could turn into something super helpful to aid in people being responsible with their money, or it could turn into another way to make people spend money without being aware. 

Thoughts?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Small Step #2: Slightly Reducing Car Insurance

Geico let me change my limits a little bit--I took off rental car coverage (really, if my car ever breaks down/gets crashed into, I will hop a bus to Bellingham and borrow my mom's extra car for the time it takes to fix it.)  I also changed a couple of other car insurance limits--not drastically, but a little bit.  These things resulted in a savings of $5.75 per month.  Woo. 

Photo: Me and my readily insured Malibu.  By the lovely and talented Lydia Grimes. 

Curb Shopping



Remember!!!

It is July 31st.  The last day of the month, AND a weekend day.  Double whammy for curb shopping.  I already found a totally sweet vest today and saw a bookshelf on the side of the road.  I plan on making some rounds before leaving town for the day. 

If you can, take a walk through your neighborhood and take in the junk!

**photo courtesy of http://www.cachetwrites.com/**

Small Step #1: Gas Transaction Fee



My finances are looking bleaker as time goes on.  Maybe it's just because it's summer and business is slow, maybe it's because of the new car and my expenses are going up.  It's time for me to make some conscious small steps to get back on track.  Today:  eliminating that gas transaction fee.

I buy most of my gas at AMPM (Arco) because it's cheap.  Maybe not the best gas around, but I've never had any problems with it.  The thing that gets me the most is the 45 cent transaction fee.  Since I roll with debit almost all of the time and they don't take credit, I can't get away from it.

So I am signing up for their damn card.  Arco Debit Mastercard.  Links right to your checking account.  You can buy gas and eliminate the fee.  You can also get rewards for using it, but not on gas, go figure.  I may consider using it for other debit purchases, but we'll see how well it serves me, first. 

Total Savings:  About $2.25 per month.  Ramit would kill me, but it's something, right?

Friday, July 30, 2010

10 Minute Work Break - Question of the Day

What seemingly crappy cheap food item do you absolutely love?
Here's mine - Tetley Tea British Blend.  I started drinking this in college when I was poor and couldn't afford Numi, which is the bougiest tea in the world.  I thought Numi was so yummy and nice. 

After I started to make a little more money, I started buying fancy tea only to realize that Tetley British Blend is actually where it's at.  I can usually get a box for around $2.50 at Safeway.  80 teabags for $2.50!  That's, what, three cents a tea bag?  Three cents for a morning of caffeinated joy?  Plus you can sometimes use a teabag twice...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

QuickTip of the Day

Take advantage of every advantage possible that your employer offers.  Example for me today:  Mileage.  By filling out a simple form, I will get $14.90 next month to reimburse me for mileage driven.  Sweet. 

A lot of my coworkers DON'T take the time to do their mileage.  I think of it as free money (even though it isn't!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is my generation being set up for financial failure?

Most of the time when I purchase something, I use my debit card.  I very rarely carry cash, as it's not convenient to go to the ATM or band to withdraw cash.  Do you know anyone else like this? 

When my debit card comes out, so does my "Check Card Register" courtesy of the lovely Bank of America.  When that "Check Card Register" gets full of entries, I have to go to the BOA to request a new one. 

Often, when I request a new one, the bank employees have a hard time finding one. 

Each time I pull out my debit card register, I write the amount of the purchase down and subtract it from the money in my account.  It seems simple, but most of the time when I'm doing this I feel RUSHED.  There are people behind me waiting, and I have to move along. 

Quite often, the person I am with or the person behind the counter comments.  "You balance your checkbook?  You are SO good!" 

Growing up, my mom always balanced her check book when using a form other than cash at the store.  So did everyone else I saw.  Nowadays, it's a rarity. 

There are many factors that contribute to my perceived "being set up for financial failure."  But the speed and ease of transactions is something small that I feel like really contributes.  Doing things quickly and easily can take the thought out of an action--making money and purchases seem less concrete than they are. 

Also, what about checks?  I rarely write checks anymore.  While everything is automated and it's wonderful, it still takes time and thought to write a check.  Even wish cash you have to handle it and count it out.  It's more thought provoking than sliding a card. 

And credit cards!  Think of those!  I have one, I make meaningless purchases on it.  I'm guilty.  What if credit cards came with little registers to add up the balance?  Awesome.  I'm going to borrow one of the BOA ones I got to start doing this.  Awareness of what I'm charging will hopefully help. 

So, friends, what do you think?  Do you balance your checkbook?  Use a debit card?  Cash?  Credit card?  Checks all the time?  How does it affect your spending? 

(Photo:  My debit card register.  Never mind all the money I spent at Sureshot : )

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pantry Pantry Time Time: Meal 1: Pink Vegan Rice

I am lucky to have a good job and a pantry full of fun items.  This way, when I spend all the money that the good job brings me, I can piece together fun and healthy meals with items I have on hand.  Tonight:  Pink Vegan Rice



Step #1:  Google some ingredients that you have.  I googled "beets" and "rice" since those were two items in my pantry.  I came up with the following: 

Red as a Beet Rice at Recipegoldmine.com

It sounded good, but I wanted to make it different.  I omitted the basil, since I didn't have any, used vegetable broth in case my vegan friend came over and wanted to sample it, and fried it in Soy Free Earth Balance so that it would taste more buttery.  I also added garbanzo beans, vegan parmesean cheese and nutritional yeast for extra protein and flavor. 

The results:  yum.  Cheap, free of foods that I'm allergic to, and I didn't have to buy anything extra.  Until the baby-sitting picks up again, I will often be enjoying Pantry Pantry Time Time to the fullest extent. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The $30 Party


I'm getting back on track with my money management. I'm not in debt, really, just falling a little short each month. I still, of course, want to have fun! This may involve re-evaluating my version of fun, which I think is a great exercise.

A friend is turning thirty on Saturday. Big step in life! I gathered with another friend to plan her birthday party. Because it's such a short month and I've basically spent my whole paycheck, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do it.

I decided to keep it simple. First of all, it's a short party--just three hours. It's also a surprise, so that will make it that much more exciting. Surprises can be such cheap thrills! For festivity, I picked up a fifty cen birthday banner at the Dollar Store that is shutting down by my work. I can reuse it. Decorations in general are mostly just clean up and waste anyway, but I needed a little festivity.

For food, I decided to make pizzas. I made a ton of dough last night with a jar of yeast and flour I already had. I think it has turned out well, but only tonight will tell. I'm using spaghetti sauce for the sauce, cause I have a lot of it. Hopefully no one will notice! I purchased some mozerella cheese, which I will use in moderation on the pizzas. My 30-year-old friend is also a vegetarian, which saves money on meat! I have some vegetarian meat leftover from another pizza party, and also got onions, green peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.

For a cake, I had some cake mix in my cupboard. For some reason my mom loves to buy me cake mix. I whipped up a 4 tiered cake last night. I purchased frosting, which is actually cheaper than making it, and bought sprinkles and candles. The cake is beautiful in it's ridiculousness, which I am happy about.

The birthday girl also requested hummus and carrots and broccoli, which I gathered up for about $7.

I encouraged everyone else to bring drinks, but I have a little vodka and blueberry-orange italian soda to mix up.

She THINKS we're going to have a nice quiet dinner, so how surprised will she be when she comes over and sees ten of her friends?! Very surprised, I hope.

When shopping and planning for this party, I kept the following in mind:
What is ABSOLUTELY necessary to make this fun and nourishing?
What do I ALREADY have that can be of help? I contemplated making my own hummus, but am not good enough yet and didn't have all the right ingredients.
What will make this MEMORABLE? Hopefully the crazy cake and the surprise factor will help.
Do I need to go ALL OUT? No. Sometimes simple is better.

I'll let you all know how it goes!
 
UPDATE:  It was a blast!  Everyone seemed to have fun and enjoy the food.  People also brought a lot of little appetizers and beer.  Success! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Still Alive.

I bought a new car.  I love love love it.  Need to sell the old one. 

I had to go into debt to buy the new car.  I currently owe $7500 on it.  Interest free.  I can do it, and hopefully quick! 

Otherwise life is just going.  Baby-sitting is waning at the moment, so money is not coming in as strongly as it was earlier in the year, but I'm just rolling with it and waiting for it to pick back up.  It's a little difficult, but I love a challenge.  A financial one, anyway. 

I need to concentrate my efforts in life to funnel in some happiness.  I'm taking some steps, different ones than before.  I'll keep you updated on their progress. 

One important step I've taken in the last month is buying a gym membership.  It sounds cheesy, but we all know physical activity is awesome for your levels of good brain chemicals.  Plus, doing Zumba and Hula Hooping Class and dancing around like a fool never hurt anyone. 

Any way to bring joy into my life, brain and heart is appreciated.  Working on it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dishwasher

My dishwasher broke a couple of months ago.  It is old, and would no longer start when I turned the crank.  Though it worked well when it did work, it is still old and I think the part that needs to be replaced is costly. 

I went looking for another one on Craigslist and found one that I liked for $20.  Problem?  Transportation.  And schedules.  And scheduling someone with a bigger vehicle than me to pick it up and haul it up to my condo. Then I'd have to buy food for the friend, gas for the friend, do some hauling, blah blah blah. 

On Friday afternoon I got a brilliant idea.  My neighbor was remodelling--maybe she was taking out a perfectly good dishwasher?  People seem to be into that.  I knocked on her door, but didn't get a response. 

I decided to go downstairs and ask the building's office manager if he knew of anyone else remodeling who had a dishwasher.  And someone did!  A repair man had just replaced one and was taking it to the dump at that very second.  He told me that it actually worked perfectly!  The old owners replaced it with a more efficient one. 

I'll get an efficient one someday, of course, when I have $700 to drop on one.  But for now, I'm going to roll with my free, newer-than-my-old one dishwasher that the kind repair man hauled up the stairs for me.  He sold me some parts for $16 that will help with the installation, and my step-dad will be installing it next Saturday. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Halfway there?




As you can see by my Chevy Malibu chart, I am halfway to my savings goal!  Each of those little squares that are filled in means that I have saved $100.  Because there are 40 squares filled in, it means I have saved $4000.  Yay! 

I was so excited to be halfway there.  Finally I would get my 2005 or 2006 Malibu, probably by October!  But, here's the thing.  My coworker's husband got a 2010 Malibu.  It is so nice and fancy.  It has three gloveboxes and all this cool stuff. 

I got to thinking--maybe I COULD HAVE A FANCY MALIBU TOO.  Can I be patient enough to save for a newer one?  How much will it pain me to drive my 1992 Geo Prizm for another year past my savings goal date (November of 2010, originally).  If it is this easy to asve $4000, why not go for $12,000?  Or more?

So, I have decided that I am going to save indefinitely.  I am going to save until I can't stand the sight of my Geo anymore.  I am going to save until I am content to buy a car that I will be happy driving for 10-15 years.  Or until someone rear ends my car.  Or until my car has a repair that is more than it's total value and I have to buy a new one. 

Another interesting option:  parents may give me an interest free loan if I find the Malibu of my dreams.  I'm going to try to avoid this, but if the Geo dies before I'm able to save a good amount, well, then...we'll see. 

Time for breakfast. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life goals and stuff.

I worked on some life goals this weekend.  I keep talking about goals, specific goals, but I really wanted some guidelines to drive those specific goals.  These are things I value, things I want to share with others.  I think they fit with financial responsibility pretty well.  It's all interdependent.  Blah blah blah, here's some hippie shit for you to read. 

Goals


The following are things that I will strive for in my life. One cannot exist without the others. They build upon each other to support the ultimate goal of contentment and growth.

1. Relationships. I will build relationships that enhance my life in a positive manner. I will recognize that each relationship should help me to learn something about myself and/or the world. Children will always be a part of my life, and eventually part of my immediate family, whether they enter the world through my body and genetics or someone else’s.

2. Home. My home will be a place of consistency and love. I will strive to eliminate all tension and clutter from my environment. I will work to create a harmonious place to return to at all times.

3. Health. My physical and mental health are priorities. I will at all times work to be aware of what affects them, both positively and negatively, and to remedy the items that are affecting my health negatively.

4. Time. My time will be spent doing things that I enjoy and value. Because my work consumes so much of my time, I will strive to maintain positive working relationships. I will make sure that my work is always of value to myself and others.

5. Possessions. I will work toward obtaining possessions only when they will enhance my quality of life in an authentic way. Possessions will be obtained with intentionality, thought, and patience. Possessions will be slowly added to my life to serve specific purposes.
 
PS:  Isn't that just a BEAUTIFUL picture of Darby?  I took it today while cleaning the house.  Love him. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dress

Hi. Computer is back. Entries can resume.



See this dress?  Like it?  It cost me $13 on clearance at Fred Meyer in 2007.  I waited for a long time for it to get marked down. 

Yesterday it was very very nice out.  A high of 68 degrees, which is unheard of for Seattle this time of year.  It's just enough to make you want to quit taking Celexa.  Anyway, I wore this dress with my salt water sandals.  I went shopping downtown with Stef Ann. 

SEVEN NORDSTROM WORKERS COMPLIMENTED ME ON IT.  The first one asked if it was from Nordstrom and told me that it looked like Diane von Furstenburg.  I told her it was from Fred Meyer.  She looked uncomfortable.  I liked it. 

It goes to show for the millionth time that it's really not necessary to spend a lot of money on fashion if you are creative and have good taste.  Or something like that.  I was stoked. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Updates

It's been a while. My computer is broken, and now sent off for repairs (not without a little crying at Office Max). I'm updating from work on my lunch break so I can fill you in on the past couple of months.

Most importantly, I got a new job! It's the same place of employment as the place that was going to lay me off but a slightly different position. It pays about forty-five cents per hour less, but still a more-than-livable wage for me. Yes! This has been a major stress source in my life since around Thanksgiving, so I am very thankful that it is resolved. \

Some more good news is that by the end of this month I'll be about halfway to where I want to be on my car savings. We're looking at December at the latest for the purchase. I plan to name him Gerald.

I got my wisdom teeth out and it only cost a hundred dollars. Thank you, dental insurance. I hung my bill on the wall I was so excited.

In other news, why are all my images broken?

That's all for now!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Food




Hi Loyal Ruling at Lifers!

It's been a while. Why has it been? Well, basically because I'm trying to make my life better AWAY from the internet lately. I'm pretty addicted, but it's getting much better when I focus my efforts elsewhere. This means I've been running a little bit, feng-shui-ing my home, going to the library, thinking about my new car that I will buy by my 27th birthday, and baby-sitting for wonderful families.

Anyway, I have still been trying to rule at life. You know, "living cheaply and efficiently without sucking." My realization of the past month or so: I eat in restaurants WAY TOO MUCH on the weekends.

Now, of course, I'm all for restaurants. Love them. They are great social experiences. But. Some weekends I get super into it and eat at three different restaurants. Not normally, but since I was on "winter break mode" I never really got out.

Part of it is because I'm out and about and hungry. Part of it is because I'm out with peers. Part of it is because I don't have anything quick, easy and fun in my fridge.

This weekend I decided to try and remedy this. Last night I went to Bougie World (aka Whole Foods) and got some buffalo meat for five dollars. I came home and browned it up. I put half in a tupperware for later in the week when I will make tacos. I put the other half into a huge pot of pasta, tomato sauce, spinach and onions.

I will now eat that pasta for the remainder of the weekend and maybe for lunch on Monday.

This isn't to say I won't eat out at all this weekend. I probably will. But I'm aiming for once instead of a lot of times.

I can do this because I like pasta. This particular batch includes a lean protein and some vegetables. It's whole wheat, so it's probably healthier. I ate some before acupuncture and I'll eat a little more before babysitting. Having something around makes eating out a lot less tempting. The fact that it's already in a pot in my fridge makes it fairly effortless to prepare.

That's my advice for the day. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ruling at Life Awards 2009

The following people and businesses have helped my life rule a lot this past year. (This, does not of course, include family and friends, because then it would turn into a big cheese-fest. But of course you guys know who are you.)

My Real Estate Agent
Steve Kikikis
This dude rules. He helped me buy my condo. Everyone should use him. He is cool, professional, easy going and organized.

My Acupuncture Clinic
The Pin Cushion
I love this place. They are amazing. I see either Julie or Sam almost every week and have noticed lots of improvements in my health because of my treatments.

My Doctor
Katie Hester at Country Doctor
I loooooooove my doctor. So much. She is super nice and understanding. Best ever. Highly recommended.

My Dentists
Dr. Velling Brothers
I just did the yelp link. This is where I go to the dentist. It took me a long time to find a dentist that I like, because I am picky and fussy about dentists and hate giving them my money. But both Dr. Vellings (they are brothers) are rad. Nice. And they have nitrous oxide available. Win.

Just wanted to give props to all my favs. If I'm going to spend my hard earned babysitting money, I want to give it to nice and awesome people.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!


Hi Loyal Readers!

I have been on vacation since December 23rd of 2009. That's 12 days of uninterrupted fun, slothery, frivolous spending, drinking too much, telling people off after drinking too much, and sleeping.

So, it's time to get back on track. Tomorrow I go back to work. Back to cooking my own meals instead of having restaurants cook them all for me. Back to centering and being organized and saving for that 2006 Chevrolet Malibu. Back to the work and babysitting grind.

I have been contemplating resolutions for a long time this year. I had some tentative ones, but didn't solidify them until today. I swear I'm more traditional than that, usually. I usually try not to be too formal about resolutions, or to make them very vague so that I don't fail, or whatever. I contemplated a couple this year "Get better" and "Buy a Chevy Malibu". But those are boring. So today i solidified my list, illustrated and wrote it, and hung it on the fridge. I will outline it here for you, readers.

1. Stop being a creep.
Basically, stop hitting on boys so much. Stop saying creepy things to them or sending them uncalled for emails. Stop asking dudes out in ridiculous ways. Stop internet stalking. Stop going into Trader Joe's on Sunday nights to smile at the boy I like that I emailed once and then he never wrote back. (I didn't go tonight! Success!) It's getting embarrassing and discouraging. Instead, I will find other ways to distract myself. Like NOT being a creep.

2. Explore spirituality.
I have NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS. I started by getting a book from the library called "Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life." I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I've been denying spirituality for a long time, cause I just don't really feel into it. I don't want to be obnoxiously into it, but I want to see if I can find a teeny tiny portion of it somewhere in me. If that works, I'll find another teeny tiny portion next year.

3. Go to library more often (alone).
Did this today. It was great. By library I mean downtown library, the huge one with a million books. Going there was really satisfying, plus I got to do people watching and be exposed to some great books. Plus it's free. (Except for the $10 fine I have going there. NOT FRUGAL!)

4. No computer on Mondays.
Oh wow, this is going to be INSANELY DIFFICULT. I'm totally addicted to my computer. Like totally and completely. So this is my first step. No computer on Monday, except at work, cause I have to use the computer at work. Hopefully having just one day a week off will open my mind and help me get a whole bunch of stuff done.

And, that's basically it. Of course I have other things that I want to do, but this is a good start. Most people fail at New Year's resolutions. I am hoping I can hold on, at least for a bit. Wish me luck! Happy New Year, I hope it's a good one. (Mine will be good, but I'm already sensing that it won't be as life-changing as 2011.)