Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Disposable Razor Sharpening

One of my favorite tricks lately, as explained by an accented dude on YouTube...


Keep it in mind.  I've been doing this for a while, but not stroking the razor on the denim enough times.  Ten or twenty times works!  I'm in love. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How I Use My Google Calendar For Financial Reminders

1.  Track automatic payments
I track everything financial in my Google Calendar in the color green, as you can see below:

With this, I ALWAYS know when it is coming out of my account.  Honestly, I usually subtract it all from my checkbook at the beginning of the month, but it never hurts to have an extra reminder.

2.  Track When to Apply for a Credit Line Increase
A wise man once told me to have the biggest credit line that I could and not use it.  That way, your credit to debt ratio is always real small (as long as you have self control and don't charge it up.  I don't.  Ever.)  So, I make sure that every six months I apply for a credit line increase on every card that I have.  This ensures that I have the maximum amount of credit available to me. 

3.  Track Additional Income
After each babysitting job I work, I track what I have made.  This way I know approximately what extra income I am bringing in. 

4.  Track When to Expect Bills
I put notes to myself like "Expect New Light Bill Soon" or "Car Tabs will be Due This Month" or "Moped Tabs Due This Month" for expenses that I can't yet automate. 

5.  Track Savings Goals
Google Calendar has a to do list on the side.  On this part I put what my current savings goal is (Right now it's a $2500 Emergency Fund) and how close I am. 

6.  Track Groupons And Deals
I also have on my To-Do List different coupons I have purchased and their expirations dates:


These systems definitely help keep me organized and on track.  There are so many features to be used on Google Calendar, it's my #1 go-to tool each day.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Updates

Nothing too new.  Just wanted to update so I don't look like I'm dead. 

The car is now paid off! 

I am going on a trip this summer.  Or maybe more than one.  The plan is Reno (possibly), Chicago, Portland, and then Austin in October.  These tickets are not cheap.  But I have to have fun sometimes, you know? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Phone

While on vacation, I spilled moped oil all over my phone.  Lame.  Not fun.  I needed a new phone, and immediately. 

My phone plan is a family plan.  I send my Dad and Step Mom $63 a month for 1000 minutes and a data plan.  (Not bad at all!) 

One thing I feel good about is being able to buy the phone that I want when it's needed.  No, I didn't buy the cheap option.  I didn't get any deals.  I bought what I wanted when I needed it.  What helped this?

1.  An emergency fund.  Enough said. 

2.  I am not a mindless upgrader.  I will normally run my phone until the death.  Granted, my old phone still worked, but only on speaker.  While that wasn't death, I do have some standards.  Otherwise, I would've kept with my original phone for a while, even though it was having some other problems. 

3.  Thought.  I have been contemplating the new phone purchase for months, so when it was time, I knew what I wanted and how much I was willing to pay. 

Though it was an expensive venture, I'm happy with the new phone and how it went down.  What can sometimes be a crisis for another person went off swimmingly for me. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Score of the Day

I have the HARDEST time finding cotton tights for grown-ups.  There are plenty of little girl cotton tights, but in adult sizes they are rare.  I have extremely sensitive skin on my feet due to eczema, so nylon irritates the hell out of me. 

A few weeks ago I paid $10 for a pair of cotton ones.  I've paid $22 before.  $18.  It's all over the board.  I'm embarassed to admit it, honestly.  But today, oh yes, today, I found a bargain!


Yep, $4.99 at Value Village for a pair of Kate Spade mostly cotton tights.  My feet can be peaceful until they wear out. 

Regular price?


$38.00.  Yeah.  Eat it.  $76 worth of tights for ten.  Love it. 

Going to Nashville this week.  SO EXCITED.  The relaxation of vacation brings this calm over me that can't even really be describe.  Plus friends, mopeds, dudes, beer...ahhh.  Can't wait! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Suze! Suze! Suze!

I had the pleasure of attending one of Suze Orman's appearances for her new book "The Money Class." 

So much information!  I haven't finished the book yet, but I can tell it's a good one.  Really though, in my life right now I am going to focus on one goal:  my eight month emergency fund.  After that I will continue with more financially fit steps.


Really, though, there is so much to it.  I like Suze.  She says "Live your truth."  Money is a part of all of us.  As much as we wish we didn't have to deal with it some times, we do.  (Well, unless you've found a way around it.  For me I wouldn't want to--I enjoy the whole ordeal too much!)  It affects peoples lives--their health, their stress level, the way they live, choose to live, want to live, no matter how big or how small.  It can help with happiness, security, stress, desparity--however it manifests in your truth.

Suze is an inspiration to me because she gets to the heart of the matter.  Though she may not have all the same views as me, she still wows me in her attitude, her words, her connection with people and feelings and the holistic approach to finances.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Farm Box

One of my favorite songs as a child went a little like this:

Old MacDonald had a farm
Ei-ei-o.
And on that farm he had a bougie box full of organic goods that he sent to some lazy ass city folks,
Ei-ei-o.  


Anyway.  A friend send me a discount code a couple of weeks ago to sign up to get my own box of organic goods delivered to my doorstep once a week.  After much resistance for years, I decided to try it. 

Why the resistance?  It just doesn't seem cost effective to me.  Approximately $35 for a box of produce that I don't know if I'll eat?  I can just go to the store and buy some produce for less.  I can pick what I want.  SAFEWAY HAS WHAT I NEED!

But, of course, these boxes are organic.  Have local things in them.  And we know organic and local things taste pretty damn good.  There are some other discoveries I made along my way...

(The box.  My foot.)  

I ordered the box from Full Circle Farm (http://www.fullcirclefarm.com) located in Snoqualimie Valley, approximately thirty miles from my home.  Local.  Good!  I am supporting local businesses and eating local foods.  I am officially a good person!  Woot!  Woot!  A regular sized box usually runs around $37 per delivery.  This one was about $22 because of my discount. 

The box arrived by 6am this morning.  It was kind of like Christmas morning.  I couldn't sleep thinking about my box arriving.  I crept downstairs right at 6am and brought my box up to break into.  It included the following things:

Roma Tomatoes, Organic - 1 pound
Bunched Orange Carrots, Organic - 1 bunch
Broccolette, Organic - 1 bunch
Shallots, Organic - 0.5 pound
Baby Spinach, Organic - 0.33 pound
Cremini Mushrooms, Organic - 0.4 pound
Green Leaf Lettuce, Organic - 1 bunch
Green Kale, Organic - 1 bunch
Navel Oranges, Organic - 4 each
Mangos, Organic - 1 each
D'anjou Pears, Organic - 3 each
Braeburn Apples, Organic - 3 each


I ate one of the apples for breakfast.  Good.  Fresh.  Solid. I brought an orange to work for lunch at work.  I actually don't like oranges (the sensory experience is way too much for me..sticky hands, juice everywhere, the work of peeling it...) but this one was good and I had wet wipes with me to clean up my hands afterwards. 

I was a little irked that it wasn't all local, but I guess I didn't read the fine print.  You can chose to have things exempted (I requested no more oranges!) but you can't request to had things added that I know of (which sucks cause I REALLY wanted beets!)  But, it makes me feel a little bit better that some people do have to get some mangoes from Peru and they're not hating life over it and feel confident enough in them to deliver them to us, the loyal consumers. 

Really though, this is an experiment.  The price is one thing.  But how do the other things stack up?

Convenience gets an A Plus Fuck Yeah.  It's like a Christmas present to wake up to.  Got me out of bed.  LOVE IT.  I don't have to go to the grocery store for these items.  I just wake up, put on a muu-muu and step out on the porch. 

Another helpful thing is that it's high quality and I want to eat it.  I also want to eat it because I spent a ton of money on it, so I feel obligated not to waste my money.  BAM, instant access to health food that I will feel guilty NOT eating.  Win win. 

Because it's mostly locally grown, I have a feeling it will keep longer in the fridge.  But I guess we'll see.  

It's definitely a luxury.  I don't know if I'll keep on it forever, but the plan now is once a month at the beginning of the month to see how it goes.  I have a feeling it will make my diet healthier in general. 

For example, my stupid farm box was all I thought about all day at work.  So when I came home, I threw a bunch of it in a pan and steamed it with oil and broth. 


Then I decided to pack it for lunch tomorrow so I'll feel fuller during the day and not eat bagels and cream cheese at every possible interval.  


Brocollini, tomatoes, mushrooms, with nutritional yeast on top.  Plus my finger pointing to it, for fun.  

Anyway, I'll let you know how this experiment goes.  So far I'm stoked.  We'll see if it lasts. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I wrote a real negative entry earlier.  I don't think it posted.  Which is good, because I feel better now.

I am going to make tomorrow better than today.  And yesterday.  I will focus on things that I CAN control, not things that I cannot. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is Life.




I want to make a change, but I'm not sure what.

I want to be happier during the day to day, but I'm not sure how.

I feel good today, I want this to be typical.

I'm not that sad, but I'm not that stoked.

There are too many stressors in life. Not big ones, just little ones. I want to change my state of mind.

Things are too busy.

Some days I hate my job, and some days I love it.

Some day (sooner rather than later!) I want to do my own thing. Live my own life. Work for myself. Get my expenses down so that I can work for myself, and not for everyone else.

I need a plan. I have a plan, actually. It's direct in some ways and vague in the other. I need to work toward what will benefit me and not worry about the rest.

I do not believe that our culture sets us up to be healthy, rested individuals. I want to be a happy, healthy, rested individual.
 
**Photo of my favorite park as a teenager.  From City of Bellingham's Website, http://www.cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/boulevard-park.aspx**

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ke$ha: Personal Finance Guru?




Following Trent’s from The Simple Dollar’s lead (http://www.thesimpledollar.com/) I have been putting some serious thoughts into inspiration lately.  Who inspires me?  What inspires me?  There are many things.  Most of these things are dull.  Ke$ha is pretty high up there on the inspiration list, financial and other wise. 
I’m not going to spend this post calculating the pennies per use for toothpaste vs. a bottle of Jack Daniels, but I will bring you the solid lyrical evidence of why Ke$ha can set an example for us twenty-somethings trying to party and live well.  

First of all, the name:  Ke$ha.  K-E-Dollar $ign-H-A.  I don’t know if it gets any better.  I know it’s been a sign of controversy, but from a personal finance perspective, she really does represent for the symbol of currency.  

Starting with her first hit, “Tik Tok”, Ke$ha states:  

“Drop top and playing my favorite cds, rolling up to the parties, trying to get a little bit tip-ssssyyyy.” 
How can Ke$ha afford to get tipsy?  Because she listens to CDs.  (I mean, in all honesty, she probably does get her drinks for free, but that’s not the point in this example.)  Many of us think of CDs as ancient, a lost form of musical representation.  The eight-track of the 90’s, but not nearly as cool.  Ke$ha name drops CDs with no shame.  Ke$ha doesn’t NEED a goddamned I-Pod, folks.  She doesn’t need to tell the world she’s better than everyone else because she has a little pod full of shit she purchased off of I-Tunes.  Hell, Ke$ha has FAVORITE CDs.  She may not even have an I-Pod hook up in her car, which probably means she drives an older model, which is probably paid off.  



Later, in Tik Tok, she states “Don’t got a care in the world but got plenty of beer.  Ain’t got no money in my pocket but I’m already here.”  

Ke$ha shows in this statement what she really values:  beer.  This proves a couple of things.  The first is that Ke$ha is not against drinking beer.  She doesn’t need any damn Cristal or Grey Goose.  Give her a 6 pack (or more) and she’ll be just fine.  This statement also alludes that she values fun, and supposedly, friends.  Even when she doesn’t have money in her pocket, she can value the experience for what it is.  She’s not going to sit in the corner complaining that she has no money.  She’s going to party, be carefree, and probably dance.  



“You build me up, you break me down, my heart it pounds, yeah you got me…”


You’ve got me, Ke$ha.  



**MORE FINANCIAL TIPS FROM KE$HA TO COME…STAY TUNED!**

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hobbies R Kewl

I have been sucked into the realm of mopeds by my dear friend Bunny.  I held off on getting one until I could find a good deal/was in the right mental state.  After two rallies the itch just wouldn't go away.  I had to be part of this fucking club, even if I am entering at 10 mph. 

This is my 1979 Puch Maxi, Goldie.  I really know very little about her just yet.  She is slow as SHIT and needs a lot of work.  In general, though, she is quite stylin and will serve me well.  I will get more pictures soon.  She basically has rocket blasters on the back (not pictured).  She runs (YAY!) but will still need a lot of TLC.  I am going to learn to do some maintenance, with the help of a friend, since I am a social learner. 

And if Goldie weren't enough, there's also SYLVIA! 

Sylvia is a 1977 Columbia Commuter.  She works really well, actually.  There are a couple of things I want to do to her, but I want to keep her "stock" and not make her too damn fancy.  I love her the way she is, for the most part.  This way, when Goldie is being a pain in the butt I can ride her. 

After meeting people at rallies I am finally meeting  some moped people in the Seattle area, which is great.  Also, my dear Bunny is moving here, so I'll have even more moped friends in close proximity.  Having a new way to spend my time with fun people is really all I need in life.  There's something about bonding and socializing with a community that helps with my level of value and happiness. 

Financially speaking, the mopeds were only $700!  $700 for two running mopeds, even if one runs kind of bad is great in my opinion.  There will be extra costs with fix up, but generally speaking they're not going to run me bankrupt. 

This is one big financial thing I've been wanting to do for a bit.  Next:  paying off the car.  By May!  Let's go!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tax Return

This year it will be around $1700, ALL of it going to pay off the car. 

I am depositing it directly into my debtor's bank account to save some steps. 

That will leave around $2000 left to pay on the car.  Think I can do it by May 25th?  That will mean I paid off my car in exactly one year.  I hope I can do it!