Saturday, December 18, 2010

We interupt your regularly scheduled programming... bring you a cool new feature to this blog! We will continue with regular blog posts soon...I promise.

If you've been reading this blog for a little while now, you know I work for a company that launched, a website where anyone can post notes to nearly anyone, regardless of knowing their contact information. You can write public figures like celebrities, politicians etc. or you can write your professors, boss, neighbor etc. Give compliments or constructively give feedback and finally have the chance to speak your mind...because your notes are anonymous! Everything is monitored to remain civil but it's a great way to get things off your chest.

Anyway, we launched in September and there have been a lot of great changes to the site since then, based on our users feedback. One of the most interesting additions we've made relating to this blog is the RSS feed. My blog has a page on Fastnote and any notes I get will be streaming right onto this page--look over at your left side of the screen! You can see what others have to say about my blog and you can write me a note yourself.

It's different than simply commenting at the end of a specific post because these notes would generally be more directed to the blog as a whole.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and read the notes and write one today. Also be sure to check out the site, add your name and tell others what you think.

If you have any questions, comments, feedback etc. don't hesitate to contact me!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reverb Catch Up

Sorry for the delay in posts, I was gone in Atlanta this weekend...more on that in another post. Here is the past few days of the Reverb project, which I really have been enjoying. Hopefully it's refreshing for you as well.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
This answer will be short and obvious. I freakin moved across the country all by myself to a city I had never been and didn't know anyone. Everything was brand new and I made a vow to explore everything, take chances, branch out of my comfort zone and experience everything I could. Tomorrow is my six month anniversary of living down south and I'm still learning new words, trying new foods and meeting new people. I would trade this experience for anything and I just hope it doesn't have to end just yet.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
My comfort zone. It wasn't exactly by choice but moving to a foreign city will do that. I know I've talked about this a lot the past few answers but it's been kind of a big part of my life. Being single, being the new girl everywhere, no more Jack's pizza, no half-off appetizer nights with my best girlfriends and so much more. It wasn't always easy but I've learned a lot.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
I have a feeling this question is expecting an answer about being crafty or something but not for me. Surprise surprise it's about food. I made cheese manicotti last night. It's an old favorite and not too hard. It made a fabulous dinner and now I have lunches for the week to save some money. As far as materials go, it included manicotti noodles, string cheese, meat sauce with ground turkey and mozzarella cheese.

There are tons of things I would like to make and just have never cleared the time. I would like to spice up my coffee table by painting quotes, or a quote on it. I would like to make another scrap book. I would like to make another blanket. The list goes on and on. I wish I were more crafty but between justifying spending the money and finding the time, I just push it off. "One day."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Defining moment

Day 3 of Reverb says:
December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

New York in the fall is fabulous. It's not warm and there's the faintest chill, enough to finally wear my brown, healed boots. I had my baby blue Adidas duffle bag slung over one shoulder and my purse on the other as I thankfully hopped out of a taxi that had charged much more than deserved. I arrived to Megan's brownstone, grateful to see a familiar face. After hugs and dropping off my bags, we headed out to lunch down the street to some sports bar. "I just told my brother that I'm hoping she's ok with starting the afternoon off with drinks." Haha, drinks were more than ok to celebrate our reunion.

As we ordered a pitcher of beer and salads, my moment hit me. It was a sudden realization of all my life adventures so far coming together at one single moment. Here I was: still fresh off the plane from Charlotte, where I had come from Rock Hill and spent the last few months starting a southern life, sitting at a table a on sidewalk in New York City, where years earlier I had come nearly every weekend with my nanny friends when I spent a year in New Jersey, sharing drinks with my old roommate from the University of Minnesota. Woah.

I have explored new areas of the nation and I don't just mean on random road trips. I have had drivers lisences from different states and been an actual resident of small towns. I have taken the road less traveled more than once in such a short time span and I couldn't have been more proud of myself than in that moment. Some people spend their whole lives in the same town, with the same people and never branch out. I have ventured off on my own more than once, to foreign places where I didn't have a single friend. Not only have I survived, I have really lived.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb Day 2

Day 2 prompt:
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Well, tricky question. I like to think that my blog is to display my writing skills but it probably isn't. I do put effort into word selection and I try to be entertaining (even if I'm the only one that goes back to read posts, I don't want to be bored!) but mostly it's a mind dump and writing with entirely another purpose than practicing skill. I started this blog to help me reflect on my money habits and to capture my progress at getting my financial life back on track and it just so happened that writing is my best outlet. That being said, things that contribute to my "writing" are mostly money related reasons.

If I am spending more than I should, I tend to avoid writing for a while because I know it reflects poorly in my financial decisions. So my answer would have to be spending outside of my means does not help my writing, but I don't do this every day. Can I eliminate it? Maybe not entirely, but mostly. That way my writing can reflect positive steps I'm taking or how I overcome obstacles, rather than hiding from writing in shame.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10-A full month of blogging!

I've seen this Reverb 10 on a few of my favorite blogs and figured I'd try to join. I know my writing isn't as great as theirs but it's been the most significant year of my life and reflection is probably good. Well actually, I know it's good.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

Wow...2010. It took a lot of thought to find a word that truly encompasses the massive roller coaster that was 2010. With the help of a friend, the best word is probably CHALLENGING!  Let's recap and see if you agree:
  • Last semester of college with 18 credits, two jobs and an internship.  
  • Started teaching myself about money and started this blog.
  • XMG's brother's lukemia came back over spring break, while we were relaxing in South Padre, TX.
  • Swallowed my pride and prayed.
  • LOTS of trips to Wisconsin to be with XMGB and family.
  • Studying for finals and potentially not passing.
  • Job hunted in the worst economy ever.
  • Jumping through lots of hoops two weeks before graduation to get my study abroad credits counted so I could graduate.
  • XMGB got an infection. In WI every other day when we weren't taking finals. (It's a 4.5 hour drive).
  • Broke my foot and ankle the evening I finished finals and was trying to celebrate. 
  • XMGB's brother past away-by far the worst experience of my life.
  • Sat in my pajamas on college graduation day, helping write the obituary in Wisc. 
  • Two weeks later I moved to Charlotte, NC for my first job.
  • Started from scratch, not knowing a soul and created a life of my own in a place I had never been.
  • Got my very first apartment and bills all by myself.
  • Forced myself out of every comfort zone I've ever had.
  • Ended my three-year relationship with XMG.
  • Went crazy for a guy who has a very complicated life and felt a real heartbreak.
  • Discovered what it feels like to have a muffin top and stomach rolls.
  • Joined a church.  
  • Went to New York.
  • Went to New Mexico.
  • Met a lot of new people (still am).
  • Kept an open mind and made lots of friends.
  • Tried lots of new things.
  • Learned what free time feels like and tried to learn what to do with it.
  • Learned what it's like to have a credit card balance.
  • Paid my first student loan bills.
  • Visited home.
  • Maintained all of my friendships with my closest friends from back home minus one.
  • Got a different second job and tacked on babysitting
  • Still trying to figure out where to go from here as far as jobs, where I want to live and who I want to be.
And there's still a whole month left in 2010 and I know it has a lot in store already. Every month I tackled a few more challenges and so far I've survived physically, mentally and emotionally and have most of my life still in tact. Whew! But I can definitely say for sure that I'm exhausted.

My word for 2011, at least I hope, is calm. I need a little bit of time where life mellows out just a little. I need some stability, some security and some time to just relax and enjoy.

What are YOUR words?!

Apparently it's December already

Time really does fly. I'm about to celebrate my 6 month anniversary with the Carolinas-baffling! So it's been a while, and I mean a while! I've been here and there and all over so I'll do a brief summary via bullets, mixin' things up!

  • I visited KP in Cary. Fun as always. Lots of good food, lots of good talk, lots of laughs. Love her. Did alright with money until I found Old Navy. Two words: Sweater sale. Crap. 
  • Paid Chase loan bill. Never fun. No Justin Beiber look alike though at least.
  • Major headache/flu for a few days. Missed some work. My upcoming paycheck is going suck really bad. Hello ramen. 
  • HOME!! I surprised my dad and sister with the help of my mom to come home for Thanksgiving!! SO SO SO FUN! LOVED being home, spending a WHOLE day with my family laughing and eating and playing games! Loved seeing my friends and seeing my breath when I breathe and hearing all the accents. The number one thing I'm thankful for? The fact that I can return home much worse off than when I left and everyone still loves me unconditionally and I'm welcomed with open arms by everyone I love. Best feeling hands down. 
  • Budget? What budget? I didn't spend much at all while at home (thanks mom and dad!) and haven't done much spending besides bills, gas and groceries since I've been back but I haven't updated my budget in well over a week. I'm not worried but I probably should do that soon. 
  • My second student loan payment comes on Friday. Ugh, it's already getting old. I have enough money set aside for it though but I will wait a little while to pay it I think. 
  • I cooked my lunch on Sun and have done a good job eating it all week. 
  • I'm obsessed with guacamole and take every chance I get to eat mexican...heffer. 
  • ATLANTA! This super nice guy I met tailgating one weekend has offered me a FREE ticket to the Gamecocks SEC championship game in Atlanta this weekend! Road trip! I'm going with my friends from here and meeting up with him later. How nice of him is that?! I'm still shocked since I've only met him once but I know we'll have fun! We leave Fri straight from work and come back Sun!
  • I'm writing another story for The Herald for next week. It's a two parter and I'm happy to contribute more! 
  • I am also obsessed with Ray Lamontagne. Especially "Let it be me" but really, all songs are great. Also, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" is my favorite Christmas song and it's my new ring tone :)
  • I got a Blackberry again. My mom got a phone upgrade and I got her old one for free. I've re-joined the 21st century. Yay. 
That's all for now. I'm starting this Reverb 10 project. I will keep the posts separate from my going-ons but I think it will be fun and keep me writing more...which I'm sure you're just THRILLED about! Don't lie.

Happy Hanukkah and Happy December!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sit back and relax...

...this will be a long post. Grab a drink, maybe some chips and guac (my new favorite "meal") and let your mind drift into the fascinations of the last week of my life...ok maybe I exaggerated but it's been a crazy week.

Ok let's start from the beginning. One little thing I hadn't mentioned was the old "MG"-now ex but still friends, we'll now call him XMG- came to town to visit for the weekend. It was nice to see him but he will remain an ex for all who are dying to know if anything happened.

We went to the Renaisance Festival Saturday with the crew. It was a good time indeed. I even got interviewed by workers doing promotion for the festival. I was convinced it was those "let's capture dumb people saying dumb things on camera" type deals so I tried to sound smart but eventually when asked "What would you tell teenage boys sitting on the couch to get them to come out to the festival?", I said "Well I keep seeing women in corsets with their boobs up to their chins so if that doesn't do it, I don't know what will."...yup. That will come back to haunt me I'm sure. Nonetheless, I ate a delicious turkey leg, had a few good laughs and enjoyed wearing a TANK TOP IN NOVEMBER!! I got a picture text from my mom that morning that there was serious snow in Minnesota so I responded with a picture text of me in a tank top and skirt. Lovely.

XMG took me out to a very nice dinner Saturday night. Completely undeserved but it was delicious! Afterward we met up with some friends to celebrate the Gamecocks win and had a great time. Sunday I treated XMG to Dunkin Donuts and he treated to lunch while we watched the Vikings game before he left for the airport.

Since then, this week has been insane. Working both jobs and babysitting and getting assigned my first article at The Herald and yadah yada yada. By yesterday I was exhausted and my body sure let me know. I woke up with a migraine and was on the couch all day. No fun. I finally got up to babysit and I got severely spoiled. The baby went to sleep right away and she overpaid me big time! I'm babysitting again tonight and although it's a Friday, I'm happy and thankful for the money.  Afterward I'm headed to Raleigh to visit KP! Always a fun time with her so I can't wait for a little get away! There's been talk of parades and museums and boat shows and a winery so we can't go wrong.

Financially I'm staying afloat still. I got my Chase loan bill today and paid it off. I got my security deposit from my last house so it has put my loan fund well over the necessary amount for my Jan. loans. I paid off my utility bill and even had $145 left over for a credit card payment. Yay! I even have $80 from my allowance in check for this weekend and plenty of food money to get me through Wednesday. Not too shabby. It sucks to work as much as I do but the feeling of being able to pay my bills and spend it responsibly is good.

I was in a panic earlier this week because Sallie Mae sent me a cute little letter telling me there was a change to one of my student loans. The notification tried to tell me there was a repayment fee of $432. Excuse me? Why would you charge me a fee to be able to start paying you back?! Are you total morons? Not having an extra $432 lying around because all my extra money is ALREADY GOING TO SALLIE MAE, I called them to at least figure out when I needed to scrounge up this money by and just to make sure this wasn't all a big joke. Well, after a surprisingly easy and comprehensive conversation with one of their representatives, apparently it was just an error. Their "repayment fee notification" was merely a letter telling that was my original monthly payment amount but now it's not. The $337 that I had been paying is the correct payment and there are no further fees or payments required. THANK GOD! How easy was that? Too good to be true? Maybe. I'm still not convinced because they always have schemes up their sleeves to give me a heart attack but I'll try to accept that this time I actually got a break. But why would they make me panic like that? I think the stress of working three jobs is panic enough...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Between 32 and 12...

I recently read a blog post from this great new blogger I stumbled upon. She makes a comment about being as far from age 32 as she is from age 12 and since I'm coincidentally in the same boat, it was a huge smack of reality for me. Lately I have been beyond overwhelmed with the stresses of being a "grown up" and trying to have finances, among other things, all in order most of the time. I have a hard time admitting that it's ok to not have it all figured out but Stephanie's point made me realize that I've learned A LOT between now and when I was 12 and I have just as much time to experience life and learn until I even reach 32.

I know I have a lot to learn but I don't have to have it all figured out right now. Whew! I know it won't stop me from trying but it might take a little bit of the stress off for a little bit. Maybe I won't feel like a hot mess all the time anymore.

As far as an update on money, it's still there. Once again I haven't done a great job at preparing my meals/bringing my food/eating at home or even updating my budget but it is what it is after another stressful week. This weekend's plans include the Renaissance Festival among other things but I'm hoping more to observe than spend money and participate. I have to take advantage of 70 degree weather in November so it will be enjoyable regardless! I'll give a more detailed update next week but I'm too exhausted right now.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clearly I know nothing about interest

A few posts back, I was slightly dreading the interest that will show up on my credit card bill this month. I'm still new to this whole "not paying my bill in full" and I hope to not stay in this boat for long and then never return...a lot like dating...
In any event, I looked at the interest rate my credit card bill had, I looked at what my unpaid balance would be and I thought I did the math correctly so $120 would be charged to me for not paying my bill entirely. It seemed high but I figured that's how the damned companies make their money and I had come to terms with that (although part of me panicked because I quickly saw myself drowning in interest like those scary commercials). Anyway, I got my statement and I was charged $13.44 in interest. How was I so far off? I mean, I'm not complaining in the least because although I am pretty ashamed to have interest build up, I expected it to be much worse.

I just made a payment, which was double the minimum amount due so at least my credit won't be hurting. Now it's just a matter of saving money for loan payments and putting the rest towards this card. Ugh.

Luckily, I picked up a few more babysitting jobs, which never hurts. So I'll work late at the Herald Mon and Wed and babysit Tues and Thurs. Then next week I work the Herald M-W and babysit Thurs & Fri. Busy busy but it's definitely a good thing. I am excited to have that income coming and it's all stuff I enjoy doing. I have been at the Herald for over two weeks now, meaning I get my first paycheck sometime soon. That's always helpful of course so I'm squeaking by as best I long as you don't consider how pitiful my kitchen cabinets look right now...

I'm joining a book club and I have to go get the book tonight since we meet Monday. I've been meaning to go pretty much since July but I haven't dedicated enough time to get the reading done in time and/or something comes up the night of the meeting that I can't go (i.e. babysitting job). I've researched a little bit about the book and I'm looking forward to reading it and meeting new people. I'm also going to a church small group on Sunday evening so hopefully that leads to some fun opportunities.

Back to work for me! Gotta love lunch break blogging.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Day I've Been Dreading

My first Sallie Mae student loan bill has arrived. It's different than I expected because it billed me for all three loans at once. Is it possible to make payments to one specific loan if/when I have extra money? I couldn't see how that would be possible, which really sucks because one loan's interest rate is MUCH higher than the rest and I want to knock it out asap. It's also the smallest loan so it would be in coordination with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover plan. If they're treating all three loans as one, it kind of throws off my plan to work on one at a time. I guess I'll have to see how it goes until I can figure it out. In the mean time, bye bye $337 already :( Ouch. Good thing I was prepared and had some money saved up and set aside. Now it's definitely time to start saving for loan payment number two (it's not due until Jan. 3 but my income is pretty tight so the more prepared I am the better).

The worst part about the loan bill (and trust me, $337 is a pretty close second!) is that there is a picture of an "inspirational" guy posing as if he's hopeful about his future...and he looks a lot like Justin Bieber. Umm...I really don't want to look at a Justin look-a-like when I'm forking over big amounts of money. Terrible idea Sallie Mae!

I can't wait until the Chase bill arrives in a week or two from now...there better be no teenage pop-star references or I'll be peeved.

Have a great weekend y'all! GO COCKS!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Major recap

Yup, it's been over a week. Sorry. I've done this whole two-jobs thing before but for whatever reason I'm exhausted these days. I got to a point last week where I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained to the max and have spent far too much time laying around since then. It's been kind of nice letting myself do that for once and I probably would have lost my mind if I didn't. Anyway, here's a recap of my last week:

I didn't do a great job of preparing meals last week. I didn't spend outrageously but there are a few meals I could have brought instead of bought. I blame the whole exhaustion thing I just mentioned. Oh well, I've been much better this week, although I did make a Starbucks run for a VENTI this morning after working until past midnight last night and I'm at my other job already. I deserve it. Anyway, I made a delicious chicken meal the other night and I got a few good groceries to help with bringing meals, I just have to make the extra effort to bring these meals to both jobs, which isn't always easy when I'm distracted with both jobs. For example, I worked until midnight last night and I forgot my food in the fridge at the newspaper so now I couldn't bring it for lunch today. Bummer. But at least I have dinner tonight. Can you tell where my brain is at? I'm just rambling, sorry.

Anyway, Friday I went shopping with a girlfriend and man was I good. I must be in a shopping funk because I didn't find anything at any of the five stores we went to. I was trying to find an outfit for the Gamecocks game and I did find a dress at Kohls but I'll be returning it this week since I didn't even wear it. I would rather exchange it for a Gamecock's sweatshirt and/or t-shirt so that's what I plan to do after work tonight. I did go tailgate for the game but rather than find a random ticket for way too much money, I went to a bar and watched it for free with some friends. Much smarter idea. Saturday was also the night most people went out to celebrate Halloween. I did go out but after a long day of football, I didn't drink-I would have fallen asleep in an instant. So I had diet coke instead and the bartender gave me all my drinks for free :) It pays to be responsible! It probably would have been best if I stayed home to sleep since I did spend too much money on cabs and admissions but oh well, I experienced my first "line dancing club", so it was worth it.

Sunday I was lazy all day (minus some cleaning). I did order a pizza for the football game because I needed to mend a broken heart (very very long story that deserves no more time and would bore everyone to tears but it hurt), little did I know watching the football game would make it worse. The Vikings officially suck and we're on a break until further notice. But after the game I went to a friend's house for board games and passing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters-talk about fun! By the time I went to bed my heart didn't hurt anymore so that shows you how much it mattered.

Moving on, Monday I cooked myself a delicious dinner. Afterwards I tried to be lazy but for some crazy reason I was craving vegetables big time. I pulled myself up off the couch and went to the grocery store and man did I get some veggies! Everything I bought was healthy (green peppers, asparagus, apples, broccoli, wheaties, salad, ground turkey etc.) and it was only about $35. I can't always buy so many fresh foods but a friend pointed out that apples are really cheap and with peanut butter it's a really filling, healthy snack-and she's right. But I have to ease myself into all these healthy foods because man my stomach wasn't happy after a serving of broccoli. I wish my body reacted that way to junk food instead but I'm working on it. Thanks everyone who gave me advice on inexpensive healthy eating!

Yesterday was election day and after working at my full-time job, I worked past midnight at the newspaper. Oofta. I learned some cool things about politics (I really need to learn more-politics for dummies anyone?), ate some free pizza, finished my book while I waited on results and tried to do a few interviews for the winners. Great experience but man I'm tired. The sun isn't even up yet today and I've been at work for over an hour. Oh well, I'm so thankful to be working and have the opportunity to work so much.

This weekend my old roomie KP is coming to visit again. SO EXCITED! I'm even introducing her to the Gamecocks! I just got us tickets and I know it'll be a fun time. We opted for upper level seats to save money and I'm very happy about that decision. I think we're staying in Columbia that night and going out with friends after the game-hopefully it's not a very expensive weekend but I have set aside some money to prepare.

Yesterday I finally took some time to update my budget. I've never been good with Excel spreadsheets and math but after multiple entires to my budget, all the numbers added up correctly and all accounts are in good shape. I love those moments!

There are some pretty major life changes in the works lately and I can't wait to spill the beans all about 'em. Until then, happy hump day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hello 12 hour work days!

Well I started at The Herald last night and I think I'm really going to like it there. It's a good combo of secretarial stuff (I used to be a receptionist and freakishly really enjoy that kind of thing) and editing/newsy stuff so it's a good fit for me. I'll normally be working there M-W 4-7pm after getting to my full-time job at 7am to ensure I still have an 8 hour work day there. 7pm is just early enough where I can still have a whole evening to enjoy but I really do have to learn to get to bed earlier on those days since I'm getting up earlier and I have longer days. I'm excited for this opportunity and I am excited to see where I can take it. They've already asked me to stay later next Tuesday for the elections...'til midnight! Oh hey there 16 hour work day! But as long as I have plenty of coffee, I'm really looking forward to it. It's a decent paying job so I'm happy to get as many hours as I can.

I had a good weekend and didn't spend much. I even included a trip to Target for some household stuff and spent less than $10! I was highly impressed. I could be doing better about cooking my own food but I'm still struggling with the balance between being social and saving money. This weekend will be an expensive one since there's lots going on: Gamecocks game (ticket, drinks, food), Halloween celebrations and going out downtown for a friend's birthday. Oofta. I'll see how it goes but I'm expecting my allowance to be gone after that...bummer.

Good news, however. My loan account is up to $623. That's $123 going towards my second set of payments already, which aren't due until January! And I made a $300 credit card payment yesterday so I've paid well over the minimum payment. It looks like I'll have $144 added in interest though so this might be something I struggle with for a little while until I can get more income. Or should I take that $123 and put it towards my card so the interest is less? Hmm..yeah I probably should. Between The Herald and babysitting it will cover more than my monthly loan least it should. So I'll keep working at it and do the best I can.

Ok so I did the math...If I put that $123 towards my credit card, it would save me $16 in interest...that's a smart decision right? Yeah, ok, I'll do it. Because not only does it save me interest but it gets me closer to paying off the card (which is still sitting safely in it's hidden spot, far from my wallet and although I instinctively wish I could grab it, I haven't come close!). So minus interest, the bill is only going to go down-thank goodness.

One last thing I'm going to vent about and then I'm done for today: why is food that is bad for you so inexpensive? Yesterday after running to the bank I grabbed a Little Ceaser's pizza for $6. That gave me lunch and a snack before The Herald and it will feed me for the next two days as well. But it's not a well-balanced healthy meal so of course I'm packing on the pounds. Why are carbs and fat so cheap and healthier foods much more expensive and require more preparations? It's not fair to have to choose between being healthy and saving money. If I keep gaining weight I'm going to have to buy new jeans so I might as well have spent some extra money on healthier foods. It's a terrible cycle. This is not a rant about being fat or anything, seriously I swear. I need advice in this department because I can't seem to find a balance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Show me the money!

Well it turns out more money is coming my way...thank goodness! No one can ever complain about that, right? My loan fund is in good shape so far and I'm doing the best I can with my credit card bill so I'm excited to continue to add to my "savings/loans/credit payments" fund. Is it weird that I want the loan bill to come so the money isn't just sitting there mocking me? I have another month until I can make my first real payment so I guess I'll just have to wait.

I got a call yesterday from my old roommate about our security deposit...finally! Wahoo! Another $366 coming my way :)

Plus I got another babysitting gig for tonight. Short and sweet but hey, I'll take it. Lord knows I'll need the money. I'm also babysitting for the same family tomorrow night so that's also helpful. I promise I'll be social Sat & Sun.

Plus I just finished house/pet sitting for my boss so I'll be getting the check for that soon too.

Plus, my mom is reimbursing me for the flight I booked home for Christmas so that money should be on the way (straight to the credit card but it helps reduce the total...aka less interest for next month's bill!).

I start at the Herald on Monday so that will start another income for me as well.

I got an e-mail today about a babysitting job for Oct. 30th. The Sat. of Halloween. Do I want to be social and have a great time or do I want to be responsible and earn some extra money? I never like to turn down a babysitting job because I'm always afraid they'll never ask me back, but at the same time it's my first Halloween here and with all this extra work, a little fun is deserved. I'm kind of torn right now so give me your votes please!

It kind of sucks that all this extra money is going to boring things, but at the same time I'm proud that I'm being smart with it. I haven't done any crazy spending lately so this extra money is going exactly where it needs to go. One day I'll strike it rich and not worry about it but until then, I'm getting smarter.

I still haven't figured out what I'm telling my apartment complex about renewing my lease....I'm not a big fan of things being up in the air but I think I've been handling it pretty well so far...I have one more week to figure it out...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good afternoon!

Well it's been a few days and really there's not much new to report. My loan fund is slowly increasing which makes me happy :) I also got another part time job (only 8-10 hours a week but hey, it's money) at the local newspaper so I'm excited to be doing something I really enjoy. I start Monday so I'll be sure to tell you how it goes!

House sitting has been going well but I've been slacking on cooking and bringing my meals so far this week. I haven't spent too much money or anything drastic but I could be doing better. I have a little bit of time tonight so maybe I'll figure that out.

I feel like I've been pretty busy lately but I honestly don't know where all my time has gone. No complaints though, it's almost Nov! (And I laid out on the porch this past weekend...I love this southern weather!!)

Oh and I was able to get my BC for free this month (thanks Amelia!) so I took the money I would normally spend on that and paid my minimum payment on my credit card. I do plan on paying off more of the card than that but for now, it's a start to keep me out of credit trouble. Also, I was convinced I didn't pay my entire bill last month and I was dreading to see how much interest would be added to my card but it turns out I must have paid it all off since there were no interest fees in sight. Whew!

Also, I have officially cancelled my subscriptions to both Blockbuster and Netflix. A)I hardly used them anymore and B) clearly I have more important things in my life that require that money each month...duh.

I have been babysitting more lately and I'm definitely happy about that. Honestly it's not even about the money, I really enjoy hanging out and being a goon with the kids. Sadly, the family I frequently sit for cancelled a few upcoming dates so hopefully I hear from them again soon to schedule alternative times. I sure hope I didn't do anything wrong to make them not want me back :( I'm trying not to take it personally.

Anyway, I babysit again this Friday for another family so my loan fund will continue to grow bit by bit. Otherwise I have no other plans for this weekend so hopefully I can find some inexpensive things to do. Still have half of my allowance left, which is good since I'm half way through the pay period.

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A little bit stronger

Life is hard sometimes. I've been having a bit of a quarter life crisis lately and man, college doesn't prepare anyone for that. Between work, relationships (all-not just love) and money, it's hard to find an area that is going really well. I am doing my best to do whatever I can to improve these areas but sometimes some of this stuff is out of my control. Sara Evans' song "A little bit stronger" is on repeat until further notice. I know it's a love song but I think it applies to a lot of issues going on with me right now.

Anyway, it's been half a week since payday and my financial life is still going well (as well as it can). I have been eating the food I have (or enjoying other people's cooking :) ) rather than going out to eat. It's not only a healthier option but my debit card has been enjoying a break too. Both my Express card and credit card are out of my wallet for good. They're also enjoying a nice long rest.

I get $100 allowance for every payday. Sometimes that's nearly gone by the first weekend but I'm happy to report that's definitely not the case for me. I made one trip to Caribou Coffee today because if you wear pink (and duh, that's half of my closet!) you get 1/2 off any drink. Since there's conveniently a location about a mile away from where I'm house sitting, I enjoyed the GORGEOUS weather and took a nice walk for a delicious carmel cooler. YUM!

I brought a bunch of my own food to where I'm house sitting so I don't need to buy more groceries and I avoid ordering pizza etc. and so far it's worked really well. I'm off to go babysit right now and their family just booked me for a few more dates already. I'm excited to report how well it will help my loan fund.

Oh and how could I forget, GO GAMECOCKS! Big game tonight! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

French Toast and Cheeseburgers

There is a cafe down the hall at work and they just got new management and cooks. Yesterday morning as I walked to the bathroom, the most delicious smell of french toast filled the air and man it was hard to resist! Instead I went back to my desk and poured myself a bowl of off-brand fruit loops (I won't go into detail but the off-brand variety includes a dye that has some funky side effects but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to take to save money...look how hard core I am!) and poured myself a cup of free work coffee.

Later that day, I'm in my boss' office having a pretty serious discussion when the most fantastic smell of what was probably the best burger in the world came wafting through the vents. I literally burst out mid-sentence "I WANT A CHEESEBURGER!! DOES ANYONE ELSE SMELL THAT?!" All I got was weird looks since apparently I was the only one smelling it but man, I would have sold my soul to the devil for a juicy cheeseburger at that moment. But instead, I walked to the break room and heated up my third day of lasagna without a complaint....

This is probably because I justified it with the fact that I had just grocery shopped the night before and now that I have my George Foreman back, I decided to buy hamburger stuff. So when I got this great whiff, I thought about my purchase and decided I was going to make my own juicy lucy this weekend! YUM :) I'm pretty excited for dinner tonight now.

Speaking of grocery shopping...I'm doing a great job realizing the food I have and buying only what I need to make complete meals out of said food. As a result, I have plenty of meals lined up for the next week and I am still well within my limits of my grocery fund. Nice! Good thing I have plenty of time this weekend because it looks like I'll be doing lots of cooking.

Babysitting got cancelled for Saturday...bummer. However, I did get a few more jobs lined up for the up coming weeks and I'm looking forward to those. Also, it turns out I'm making nearly a week's pay for house/pet sitting this week...woah! Talk about boosting the loan fund. Within the next week, I should be darn close to the total amount I need for all of my first loan payments. Once that's settled, I can start saving for the next month. That will buy me some time until I can land a better paying gig. Good thing I have all weekend to continue my search.

Also, since I'm house sitting this weekend and will be away from my work out machines at my apartment, I decided to get a free week trial at Bally Total Fitness, which is close to my boss' house. Since I don't have plans anyway (man do I sound like a loser!), squeezing in a few good workouts sounds like a good idea. Eating inexpensively can usually mean it's unhealthy too and boy has that taken it's toll on me the last four months. I'm working on it...

Another thing I've been working on is conserving utilities. It hasn't been hard to do since I've been gone so much recently BUT it's the lowest it's ever been and I still haven't been uncomfortable. It's very comforting to know that I can easily afford my utility bills with my current's the little things.

P.S. Babysitting is actually back on for tomorrow night :) My bank account will be even more of a happy camper. I love when more of my checking account transactions are deposits than withdrawals and so far this week, that's the case :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Payday

Well it's one of my favorite days of the week when I can add money to my budget. Since I was out last week for a day visiting my sister, I was short a few hours so the paycheck is not as much as normal but clearly it still helps. It also helps that most of my funds are sitting pretty considering they got an extra boost from that extra paycheck in Sept.

After all my mandatory funds have been filled, the extra money goes into my loan fund, not credit card payments anymore (although don't worry, I still WILL pay more than the minimum each month no matter what!). My loan fund is now up to $115.82. That's enough for one full loan payment and a decent dent in another. I'm getting there!

I babysit tonight, house/pet sit for my boss for a whole week starting tomorrow and I just snagged a babysitting job for Saturday night and 100% of that money will go into my loan fund as well. I don't expect it to get up to the $506.38 I will need by my loans' due date (Dec. 3) but it will be a good start and I still have 1.5 months to get it there.

I'm still eagerly searching for more part-time work so I can guarantee I have the money I need for loan payments each month (plus a little extra for savings would be nice...). After repeated scheduling errors, I no longer work at Express. The hassle just wasn't worth such little pay and it wasn't going to work out. I plan on spending a lot of time this weekend figuring out my options and really digging into this job search. At least now I'm open for babysitting jobs on week nights and weekends-much more fun and pays much better. I just need to get more jobs lined up :)

P.S. I'm still doing well on making my own meals and packing food so I don't spend any money. Since today is payday, I'll be meal planning and grocery shopping tonight hopefully so I can keep it up! It feels good to behave financially!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Late weekend wrap-up

New Mexico was a great time with my mom and sister. My abs are still sore from laughing so hard I cried...that happened countless times so I'm sure you can imagine.  Minus two purchases, I stayed within my limit of $55. I did pay $30 to do a spontaneous Race for the Cure 5K (great cause and I've always wanted to do a 5K...although I walked a lot of it...altitude + asthma sucks for my lungs but I tried!). Anyway, I even turned down getting my nails done because of my 5K registration fee. We even went to two different malls and the only thing I bought was a birthday present for a friend. Multiple times I picked up items, walked around the store with them and then gave them up before I got to the register. I was proud of myself but really, I had no choice. All in all, my budget is still in tact.

When I got home last night, I dove right back into penny pincher mode. I've had a frozen lasagna in my freezer for weeks now so I stayed up late to cook that for my meals for the week. I thought it would work out nicely since I was staying up to watch the Vikings game anyway...what a BAD idea that was! Ask anyone that knows me, I HATE Brett Favre. Always have, always will, and yes, even when he did do well for our team last year, I still hated him! Last night's game put the nail in the coffin of me EVER liking him. Man was I livid. Anyway, So I whipped out my tupperware and have lots of lasagna. I'm even eating it right now on my lunch break. I stopped at the grocery store this morning to get some milk so I can have cereal for breakfast so I won't need to spend a dime on food this week.

My friend recently pointed out that I should check the terms on my student loans to see if they're really all over the period of 20 years. It turns out two of them are only for 15...only. But still, that's 5 years I could be putting that money towards something else (like my other loans because duh, I'm doing the snowball effect! Thanks Dave Ramsey!)

Lastly, I just got a message this morning that there might be a cheaper place for me to live when my lease is up! It would be $500 total a month, and that includes utilities!! That would save me $225 a month! Umm yes please! I've gotten really accustomed to living on my own and having my own space to do whatever I want...yes, I dance around in my underwear at 1am sometimes...but I love these girls and it would be nice to have company to come home to every day. Nothing is for sure or set in stone but definitely something to think about.

And umm...the GAMECOCKS WON!! Fantastic weekend! Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Official Student Loan Report

The time has come the walrus said... pay my student loans.

I've mentioned that the due date is coming up and the bills have arrived so here's the monthly payment break down:
Loan #1: $41.23
Loan #2: $128.14
Loan #3: $168.55
Loan #4: $168.76
Total: $506.68/month for the next 20 years............

As of tomorrow I have $36.93 set aside for loans. I know it's not a lot yet (and frustratingly low considering I could have done a lot better but the past is the past and I'm starting fresh so I am maintaining a positive attitude!) but it's almost enough for the payment of loan #1, which is a start. I'll keep this progress updated because I'm a little kid that needs a chart to track my progress for all to see for all you curious, inquiring folks. Enjoy!

It was a short break

Well after a lot of hard work, a readjusted mindset and a few strokes of luck, I'm back. I won't go into detail on where I went or why right now but I'm back and that's what matters.

New York was fantastic. Much more expensive than I planned (surprise surprise...sorry credit card...) but a great trip. It took a lot of train rides but I was able to see everyone and it felt great to be back in such familiar areas.

Since I've been back, I have spent less than $5 on anything less than gas and my cable bill. It hasn't even been difficult, I just have had to make smarter choices. When my friends are going out to dinner, I go home instead. It's worked out well because I've been so busy I haven't had much opportunity to spend money even if I wanted too.

I'm heading to New Mexico tonight to visit my sister with my mom. I have $50 to spend for the next 4 days and I will limit myself to that. When I get back Monday night, it's back to a really busy schedule and then payday is that Thursday (Monday is a holiday so payday gets bumped back). The funds for gas and groceries are still in tact and I have food at home that should last me so I should be ok.

I have two shifts at Express next week that I will finally be able to go to (no matter how hectic the week is already turning out to be), I am babysitting Wednesday night and I have just been asked to pet sit for my boss for a whole week starting mid-week next week (Goodbye social life!). Starting with my paycheck tomorrow from Express, all of this money will be saved for my first loan payments. I will have to save for that and set aside enough for at least my minimum credit card payments with all extra money that comes my way from now on.

I know I always say "slowly but surely" and give all this false hope that I'll get back on track but then I find a shinny pair of shoes and my intentions are shot to hell. But honestly, I have no choice. I'm reverting back to my college kid days where I put off an assignment (savings/loan payments etc.) until I have no choice but to work on it 'til it gets done just in time. Not a great habit but since I have no choice for the next few months, maybe that will transfer into better spending habits for me.

I can't wait to see my mom and sister again! It's been months since I've seen both. We're going to see the hot air balloon festival, travel up a mountain and see the air force base where my sister lives. Let's see how far my $50 can stretch me :) Have a great weekend everyone.

Oh...and I never finished my 10 days of blogging. Mostly because I don't have a confession to share, which is Day 10. I haven't thought of a good one that doesn't bare my entire soul to the world (which I'm not willing to do today). While I'm typing this, however, I thought of one very relevant to today and not at all soul baring. This is my confession (to the tune of Usher's ditty):
I've been flying on air planes since I was mere months old thanks to my mother's employment with Northwest. We had lots of family to visit so I quickly became accustomed to frequently flying, even though I was often air sick. One thing that distracted me during the ill feeling of taking off and landing was looking out the window and trying to predict the correct number to countdown from so when I got to zero we would either be off the ground or I would feel the bump of the wheels slam the pavement. Upon first glance I would determine how far away I thought we were and then pick a number-usually no more than 10-and I would play a game with myself to see if I could time it correctly. It's silly but I still do it today. I did it on my flights last week and I will do it again this weekend on all four flights (stupid layovers). Quirky but definitely a part of me that most people don't know.

Monday, October 4, 2010


A lot of areas of my life are completely up in the air right now with absolutely no guarantee of stability anytime soon. I won't go into a lot of detail on most of these issues and considering how stressed and truly scared I am about it all, it's probably best that I wait to blog about it until I calm down. That being said, I'm not sure when I'll be back on here. Wish me luck because I sure need it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm patting myself on the back

I was asked to go to dinner tonight with a group of girls. Since I'm always trying to make new friends and be social because I still feel like the "new girl" sometimes, normally I jump right on the fun wagon. I turned it down tonight though so I could save some money. I may meet up with them later but I'll at least eat the food I have instead of waste my money. I don't plan on being a lonely spinster all the time but I really am making this a priority.

Apparently it's October!

Where has the time gone?! I can't believe I've been on my own down here for four months now!! I feel like just yesterday I was finishing up finals with a broken foot and now I'm a koozie-usin', ya'll sayin', Duke's mayonnaise usin' southerner with an entirely different life that I never could have expected even six months ago. Wow. It shocks me nearly every day how much life has changed and I couldn't be happier.

Today will be a great day and it will continue all the way until Monday! Then I turn right around and leave Thursday for another fabulous get-away weekend! Sometimes I can't believe how much life rocks right now! Yes, money is an issue but I'm trying. I ate dinner at a friend's house last night, ate a very filling (and healthy) breakfast that I made myself and brought food for lunch and snacks. I even planned ahead and brought stuff for meals for Monday since I'm going straight from the airport to work. It takes a little extra effort but it's going to be so worth it to hold on to my money for once...or at least put my money where it belongs (savings, loans, bills etc...not fast food, bars, the mall!).

With the credit card payment I talked about yesterday, my Express card is 100% paid off (the purchase was from over a month ago I swear!) and I'll be making a payment of $323 to my credit card. Besides the recent flight purchases, I haven't put much on the card at all besides stupid tiny things like Starbucks etc. (which I have vowed to stop! Duh, didn't you read yesterday's post?) So it will be under control with some hard work. Since I have two full months to stock pile some money to prepare for these student loans, I should have my credit card paid off and some money set aside so I can stay afloat with loan payments until I can get a higher paying part-time job. I'm determined to make this work.

All morning at work I am anxiously waiting to hear the doorbell ring from the UPS man. My wonderful mom (I'm not southern enough to ever call her "mama"...or maybe she's not southern enough to ever be a "mama"...either way, she'll always be mom or ma) has boxed up and shipped me 5 boxes of my things from home! Clothes, my George Forman and skillet, boots, and more! It's going to feel like Christmas!! Couldn't be better timing either because there's a TINY chill in the air (nothing like in Minnesota but down here apparently this is what fall feels like) and I'll need some fall clothes for my trip to NY where it actually is chilly.

I'm hoping the majority of the money I spend this weekend is limited to train tickets to and from all of my destinations and buying koozies for souvenirs (how expensive can those be right?). I know a day in the city can really add up but if I do it right I can pull it off without breaking the bank (good thing street vendor hot dogs are a nice $2 meal :) How I've missed those!!)

As I'm typing this, Pandora played me a fabulous song that I'll share with ya'll to hopefully smack a smile on your face so I'm not the only happy one around here. I've always loved this song but I just love Beyonce's version. I have replayed it maybe 20 times already. Hope you're smiling now if you weren't already! If you don't like that one, try a little bit of Amos, he is the ultimate best. He instantly makes my heart happy no matter how I felt prior to listening to him. I have yet to hear a bad Amos Lee song.

It's the last two days of this 10 posts in 10 days deal so here's day nine:
2 words that describe your life right now...
1. New-I'm constantly learning about new things or new vocabulary or going places I've never been or meeting new people now that I'm down south. I think it'll be a long time until I get bored around here!
2. Fortunate- I have been given a lot of great opportunities the past four months, have fantastic people in my life and I get to travel and see a lot of the people I miss this month. I've had a lot of time for myself, to do what I want and to figure out who I am. It's not all easy, that's for sure, but I am definitely one lucky kid.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A swift kick in the butt

Remember a few posts back when I announced the launch of the website I work for? The one about anonymous notes to anyone that everyone can read? Well I started getting some feedback about my blog on the site and there's one particular note below that I want to share with everyone:

Someone is Sharing a Note to Clueless With Cash Blog from

Now the reason I post this is not for a pity party. Quite the opposite actually. It's just the kick in the ass I needed to stop dinkin' around and really start figuring things out. I know I'm clueless, why else would I have named the blog Clueless with Cash? It certainly wasn't just to be cute.

I can't do anything about the past but I can focus on where to go from here and that starts today. It just so happens that I got three paychecks in September. Since I always split my bills into two paychecks, I feel kind of like have a freebie with this one. Here's how I'm breaking it down:
All of my funds will be refilled as usual minus rent. I can always have a little extra cushion room in each of those funds but rent always stays the same and will always only require two paychecks. That extra money is going straight towards my credit card bill.

The next two weekends will be spent out of town, where my allowance will definitely be spent, so I will work hard to use what I have when I'm home. I did some smart grocery shopping last night and got more cereal for breakfasts and brought lunch and snacks for work so I won't spend a dime. I have a few meals planned out for next week too so I shouldn't need to buy anything for the next two weeks. I only have one shift at Express next week but I'll take it. I'm dropping off 3 applications for waitressing jobs tonight.

I'd love to hear any other feedback ya'll might have for me so either comment or leave me a note on!

Oh and I suppose it's day eight...three turn ons...
1. Humor and the ability to make me genuinely laugh out loud
2. Being personable and charming
3. The ability and desire to cook well

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My new home!

Well you know how I've been looking into housing options now that my lease will be up soon? Well, I've decided to the poor house! I'll be sure to have a house warming party with plenty of ramen and tap water though, don't worry! Everyone is invited!

I'm actually probably staying in my apartment for another six month lease but we might as well refer to it as the poor house because that's what it will be. I am still eagerly looking for a better paying part-time job but until then, yikes.

You might be wondering, why am I all the sudden freaking out and hauling ass to the poor house? Well, you see, I happen to have people very near and dear to my heart all over this lovely nation. This requires airfare. Fortunately (or unfortunately with my finances), I found a website that compares six different flight search engines AND sends me e-mails notifying me of cheap flights to destinations I normally go. Well yesterday was a doozy for cheap flights to all of my favorite people and I couldn't pass it up. I snagged a last-minute flight to NYC this weekend (I already had the weekend off from Express so what better thing to do with my weekend?!) where I will see 4 different groups of my people I love! Later in the day, I was also informed of really inexpensive airfare to Minneapolis! HOME!! I've been hoping to get back to that area sometime during the holidays but flights were over $500 and I can't spend a month's rent on a few days home :( So I jumped on two different opportunities to head home both for less than the price of one holiday ticket! One is for a quick  Christmas trip and the other is a surprise! I'm just going to show up when you least expect it and knock your socks off! Get ready Minnesota! I couldn't be more excited and I think it's entirely worth eating Ramen for a solid year.

That being said, I'm going to strategically plan meals for the food I have left and from today on out I'm going to really buckle down and live minimally. I won't be wasteful and I will put in extra effort to make meals that will last me a while. I will also give in to working as much as I can at Express until I find a new job. I have a meeting with the editor of the local paper next week so that might help me get some freelance opportunities. I doubt it would be a position that pays enough to cover a second job but it'd be a job I have a lot of experience with and really enjoy doing. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Also, while I was on the phone discussing flights with my mom last night, she told me she shipped me a lot of my things from home! 5 whole boxes! It's all stuff I didn't critically need right away but with fall around the corner (I's still pretty warm here!) I'll need a few warmer outfits among other things. Since I clearly won't be shopping for a very very very long time, it will feel like Christmas and I am so excited to be reunited with my stuff!

Last but not least I missed a day with that daily post deal so here's day six.
Day Six: Five people (I'm changing this to groups of people) who mean a lot to you.
1. My parents
2. Sissy
3. The BFF
4. My Musketeers!
5. My uncle

Clearly I have plenty more people that should be on this list but that's the most I could squeeze in. Don't get jealous. 

Here's day seven: four turn-offs
1. Lying
2. Guys that are too interested or too available (I know that seems weird but I don't like being smothered or feeling guilty that I clearly am not as interested) Get a life.
3. People that don't try on purpose
4. Being rude without apology

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Monday...Day Five

Good Morning! I had a very inexpensive weekend and actually got a lot of sleep. Express screwed me over on Saturday so I didn't end up working this weekend. I drove ALL THE WAY THERE (30 min drive minimum) and the new manager tries to tell me I was supposed to be there an hour earlier (umm..nope, check the schedule lady!) and that she had called and left me a voicemail saying I didn't need to come in but wondering if I could work that night instead. Well, I never got a voicemail and my phone never rang. She didn't even know my name when looking at the schedule so maybe she called the wrong person. Regardless, I wasn't going to spend 2 hours of my day driving back and forth for a 4.5 hour shift, where I'd make $28 after taxes. No thank you. It's hard enough justifying working there but when they pull things like this I just want to up and leave pronto.

I definitely have some financial stress to get off my chest though and I need your help. So when I do the math, there is no possible way for me to cover my expenses with the current jobs and the current hours I have now. Not even close. Not even if I ate Ramen for the next 6 months straight. I am on the hunt to figure out what makes the most sense. I know I'm going to quit Express because it's just too hard to justify near minimum wage and working that many hours.  It doesn't bring me even close to the monthly income I would need to cover my student loans so it's just not an option anymore. I need to be spending my time where it actually counts.

Here are my options:
1-Keep my full-time job and find a better part-time job. Bar-tending maybe, or a waitress? I've always wanted to waitress but I don't have any experience and I'd have to go to bar-tending school before I could bar-tend. Hmmm...worth looking into.
2-Turn my full-time job into a part-time job and find a different full-time job with an actual salary and benefits. I really do like where I work but sometimes it's hard to justify a full 40 hours of work in a week and an internship salary definitely won't pay all the bills. Not sure if this is even an option with the boss but worth looking into.
3-Find a much cheaper place to live so my income MIGHT be able to stretch enough to cover everything. Not sure what my options are here considering not a lot of people need roommates in January but we'll see.
4-Quit everything, pack up and head back home. The thought has crossed my mind but I really love it here and I don't want to feel like I'm giving up. I'd still need a job back home of course since these student loans wont pay for themselves but I could live in my parents basement and save a few expenses maybe.

Tonight I'll be sitting down with my updated resume, my job hunting hat, some wings and Monday Night Football and I will figure out my options. Wish me luck! Any advice or input is greatly appreciated. Or if any of you lovely readers wants to start a "Help Katie stay in the Carolinas" fund, I think it could really catch on ;)

Anyway, I took a break over the weekend from this 10 Days thing. I had plenty of time but I'm just not a big weekend blogger.
Day Five: Six things you wish you could change or you wish you’d never done.
1. I wish I could change my financial situation (obviously!) I'm working on it!
2. I wish I was a faster reader. No matter how much I read, I'm just slow because I like to really comprehend it all I guess.
3. I wish I never would have ended a few friendships in my past. 
4. I wish I would have made more friends in college-totally my fault and probably a result of transferring as a sophomore and having a boyfriend the whole time, neither of which I regret so it was my doing but I wish I would have balanced it better to have both. 
5. I wish I was more up to date with current events. I try to change this but it's hard to keep up.
6. I wish I could change my natural hair color to be the highlighted blonde I dye it. It would save me lots of money and I would never have to be brunette again. 

Don't forget, give me any advice possible on this turning point I'm facing please!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day Four

Nothing new financially. Last night was fabulous and although nothing too exciting is planned for this weekend, I'm looking forward to it. I'm happy to be working and making some money and I'm excited to watch the Gamecocks play Sat. night. I recently bought season 5 of How I Met Your Mother (during my trip to Target this week...I forgot to tell you...oops.) and I plan on going to the library tonight to get some good books to relax with :)

To continue with this 10 days are 7 things that cross my mind a lot.
1. Boys (a specific one much much more so than others but that's for me to know about and MAYBE I'll talk about it one day...MAYBE)
2. Work
3. What I'll eat today
4. All of the people and things I miss from back home
5. "I should work out today"
6. Money/my budget/how to make ends meet
7. Variations of thoughts about how much my life has changed over the summer.

Deep, I know. I'm not proud to admit that boys are number one...I feel like I'm 15 again...but it's unfortunately honest. Have a good weekend ya'll!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is it Thursday already?

Nothing new financially besides a tiny trip to Target last night for some cleaning supplies. Yes, I looked at clothes AND shoes (duh, after a bad day it's only natural) but refused to purchase any of them (kudos!) but then I came across the halloween candy and had to get some candy corn (the good bag with the pumpkins and the brown striped ones too!).

8 Things I can't live without:
1. Most people in my life
2. Pizza and Steak
3. Electronics: phone, tv, ipod, laptop, nook etc. (although breaks from all of these can be nice!)
4. Hugs
5. Diet Coke/Coffee
6. The Vikings (minus Brett Favre!)
7. Traveling
8. Work (I really do like having a job believe it or not)

I didn't think I could fit it all into a list of 8 but I cheated a little and managed :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day Two

With my paycheck from Express coming on Friday, an extra $25 from my gas gift card and $30 from babysitting last night, I just made a $169 payment to my credit card bill. Yay. Slowly but surely, right? I really am trying, no matter how difficult it is to be strict.

I also have a slight problem I've discovered. I ate dinner with the kids I babysat. When I left I went to a friend's house to watch Glee and ate a second dinner with them! Why did I shell out another $6 for a meal I didn't need? I wasn't even hungry! I need to work on that because that's money I could spend elsewhere! I still have allowance left but I have a whole week to keep it in tact and I'm assuming it won't be easy. Ugh. Too overwhelmed. I really do need to find a new second job that would help income better. Still taking suggestions!

Day Two of this blogging project: 9 Things Most People Don't Know About Me
1. I'm allergic to trees. I can't have a real christmas tree, I can't jump into a pile of leaves in the fall and I will never be a tree hugger. People tend to freak out when they hear this but really, I'm not missing out on much in life. It messes up my allergies and asthma every spring and fall but otherwise it doesn't affect me too much.

2. I have a cup of coffee every morning even though I mostly hate the taste. I refuse to give up a busy lifestyle so I make that sacrifice. And I like the idea of being a coffee drinker. Strange but true.

3. I'm a very slow reader even though I love to read. In this instance practice does not make me better. I was recently informed that I'm probably a slow reader because I'm a natural editor. Just because I'm a slow reader will never cause me to stop reading though. Now that I've graduated I read for a little bit nearly every day.

4. I don't know if I want kids. Growing up I selfishly refused the idea of ever being a mom. I came around to the idea for a bit during college and now that I'm on my own again, I am back to debating it. I love kids and I'm a great babysitter. I wish I had a lot of siblings who had lots of kids because I'd make a great aunt and godmother but I'm not sure if I'll ever be fully cut out to be a mother. Who knows how my mind will change over time but that's where I'm at for now and it always surprises people. I think I would need a much more demanding job or big life project (similar to Oprah) to keep me busy and to justify not having kids though. We'll see. Anything is possible.

5. I wish I were a runner. I love the idea of running, letting it clear my mind and being great for my body. When it comes down to it though, it bores me! Plus I am terribly out of shape have asthma, which has always been my excuse.

6. I found a church I really like. Most people don't know this because it just happened two weeks ago but people are also surprised to hear this because I spent years and years uninterested in church/religion.

7. I write better than I talk. Most people don't know this because I talk to people more than I write (although it's a tough call since I e-mail, blog, text etc. a big chunk of the time too). My thoughts flow much more fluidly with a pen or keyboard at hand. When I talk, words come out wrong, my ideas aren't conveyed accurately or concisely and I always feel like a big moron most of the time. I'm not saying I'm a great writer, I just wish I could write everything instead of talk some days.

8. I love to go new places but I'm terrible at meeting new people on my own. I'm shy. People are surprised when I make friends in my new surroundings and it usually looks like I'm very social but it takes a lot of effort for me. I like it much better when other people approach me and make it easy to instantly feel comfortable. If that's not the case, I'm usually much more content hanging out by myself.

9. I'm naturally messy. A lot of people close to me know this but definitely not a result of my blog so now it's out there for everyone to know. Growing up my room was never clean and I've never grown out of that. I've gotten a tiny bit better now that I'm not swamped with work + school but most people would still consider me a mess. However, I'm a natural cleaner when I'm stressed. I find total relaxation in cleaning so it tends to balance itself out. Tonight, I plan on doing lots of cleaning (not just tidying and putting away clothes but scrubbing counters etc. too). It's been a crappy/stressful day and I'm going to take it out on my apartment and my car.

That was actually harder to write than I thought. It's easy to spill my guts about my finances but when I think of things I don't typically reveal to people, I found myself at a loss. Now you know :) Get ready for tomorrow's eight things I can't live without!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekend Update

This post was meant to happen yesterday but time got away from me. I had an absolutely fantastic weekend and couldn't have asked for more! My bank account is also a happy camper about the weekend! Friday I snuck away with two girlfriends and had the most carefree night I might have ever had. Great food, great music, great company! I tried biscuits and gravy and I learned how to shag (it's a dance you pervs!). Besides a few groceries for dinner and drinks, I spent nothing!

Saturday was another Gamecocks game and you guessed it, we won! They will be sad next week when we lose because I won't be there :( I really do have to work this weekend and it's finally an away game. We tailgated and I met some fun new people. Besides Subway for lunch and a slice of pizza at the game, I spent nothing! The nice guy I was sitting next to let me join him for free :) I'm a lucky duck huh?

Sunday I got up and went to church (this is the first time in my life I've gone to two services in a row and didn't crack jokes in my head or laugh til I cried...yup, I have done this on a regular basis and the reason I don't go to church very apparently I'm getting something out of these services for once) and had to work all afternoon. I had a delicious dinner at a friend's house and enjoyed relaxing the rest of the night.

I babysit tonight for my favorite boys (2/3 of them at least) and my credit card bill is happy about that (so am I of course!). I've done a good job of not putting much on the card so if I can keep the payments coming and limit the spending, I'll be set.

I increased my availability at Express to include Wednesday nights because I need to cut back on being social and focus more on being financially stable. It's just so hard to justify missing out on a fun night with new friends for a whopping $28 (sometimes even less than that!). I know it all adds up  If you have any ideas of jobs that pay more that I could work evenings and weekends, please let me know. I think it's time for a change since Express isn't getting me very far.

I know this is off track from my finances but I saw this on one of the blogs I follow and I want to try it out:
Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.

Day Two: Nine things about yourself that most people don't know.

Day Three: Eight things you couldn't live without.

Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.

Day Five: Six things you wish you could change or you wish you’d never done.

Day Six: Five people who mean a lot to you.

Day Seven: Four turn offs.

Day Eight: Three turn ons.

Day Nine: Two words that describe your life right now.

Day Ten: One confession.

Here are two blogs that are also doing this challenge if you want to read what other people have to write:

Boss(es): Thank you for listening to my opinions and actually making me feel valid. I know I'm young and don't always have a ton of experience but I always feel like I can speak up with ideas and it really motivates me when these ideas are taken seriously.

Mom & Dad: Thanks for supporting me from half way across the country! I miss you both very much but I'm doing great down here and I love our phone calls and skype chats.

Jessie: Thanks for still being my friend even when you think I'm a moron. You always tell me the cold truth and I appreciate it.

DS: Stop tapping your shoes together to the WAY TOO LOUD music you have playing in our office. Even with my headphones on, it's hard to drown you out and I wish you'd stop. Thanks!

Most of the male population: Please give me a break from all your crazies. It's baffling and exhausting.

Amanda: I wish your phone worked or you used e-mail or facebook or ANY form of communication (snail mail, morse code, ANYTHING!) because I really miss my best friend and I hate that we can never figure out a good time to talk. Please get back into my life soon because I really want to be in yours!

Brett Favre: Retire (mid-season is totally fine with me), go back to Mississippi and stay there. You're not worth all the drama you put us through and the extra money we spent on you and you're really just a major disappointment.

cRf: Thanks for being my silver lining and my social life conductor! My life would be much less exciting in the South without you!

Managers at Express: I was up for a promotion at my store right before I transferred down to North Carolina. I think I've proven myself pretty well and deserve that promotion already. It would really help justify working there. Thanks.

If you count my parents as two people (which I do because they are very different!), then that's 10! A lot of thanks with a few annoyances, not bad. Get excited to learn a few new things about me tomorrow :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

A great escape!

What a week it's been! I've had a crazy babysitting adventure, finally cooked a DELICIOUS meal, our website launched late Wednesday night (YAY!!!! visit today!), last night I celebrated our website launching and between all of that my social life has been a whirlwind of believe-it-or-not stories. It's time to get out of this town and make the great escape.

Today after work I'm heading out of town with two lovely ladies and I couldn't be more excited! I'm not exactly sure where we're going, I'm just hopping in the car and going along for the ride! There was mention of steak so clearly that's all I need to know. We have a free place to stay tonight and then we'll be making an appearance at the Gamecocks game tomorrow (It would be immoral to not go...duh...I'm their good luck of the South Carolina senators told me so last night so it must be legit). Thanks to F's connections, I think we'll get away with a pretty inexpensive trip so I would be crazy to turn it down.

Speaking of crazy, here's an example of what I'm looking to get away from:
Last night I'm out at a bar, minding my own business, waiting to pay my tab ($12...not $45 this time-and it was mostly an order of my favorite mozzarella sticks...not that you're worried about it) and I get tapped on the shoulder. I turn to find this guy clad in a pink button up trying to tell me, "that's a lovely dress you're wearing!" Well sir, thanks for the attempted compliment but I'm wearing jeans and a shirt...if that's a pick up line, then I wish him all the luck in the world. That's just one of the many examples from this week alone of why a girl's weekend is the most appealing thing I can think of right about now.

Remember when I started this post and told you I made a delicious meal this week? It's true! It's chicken breasts breaded in a mixture of a packet of ranch dressing, crushed Ritz crackers and parmesan cheese and baked in the oven. I made three pieces so I've had three meals out of it and I'm so excited to have a new recipe to add to my book :) For the most part, I've done better at eating my own food this week and my budget is slowly getting to a better place.

Have a great weekend everyone! I know I sure will!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TA DA!!! has launched!!

Do ya'll remember that minor detail about how I was moving down to Charlotte for a job with a startup website? Remember how it was top secret until we launched and I couldn't tell a soul exactly what it is I would be doing half way across the country?

Well now everyone gets to know!! After some blood, sweat and tears we're PROUD to introduce to you! It's the new way to communicate in a way unlike anything else. You can write notes to anyone you want and tell them what you think. All notes are anonymous so you can share your thoughts without risking your job or relationships with others-the only catch is that notes are moderated to make sure the site remains civil.

Go check out today and start telling people what you think! Be sure to look for and add yourself so people can write to you too! You can write me a note about what you think of my blog here!

Tell everyone you know!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slowly but surely

It's that time again...payday! One day hopefully before I'm old and gray I won't be living paycheck to paycheck but until then I will be fine (for the most part). For the first time in a while I had a paycheck that included all 80 possible hours so I had plenty to cover my expenses and it's a great feeling! I even had enough to put $129 towards my credit card bill. It's shrinking slowly but surely, which is also a great feeling. I still need to get my money out of my Minnesota bank account (apparently I'm that lazy!) and I'm crossing my fingers that my security deposit from my Minnesota house will come my way before this bill is due. If all that falls into place, I won't have a bill anymore and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I could start putting money towards my student loans. I feel like it's a crazy concept at this point that I should have been saving all that money but I suppose I'll start doing that soon. I mean the due date isn't rapidly approaching or anything, right?

My utility bill was $20 less than last month. $10 of that is from the activation fee that I had to pay on the first bill but I didn't think it was possible to use my utilities less! I skimped as much as possible that first month, unplugging every electronic, keeping the AC off most of the time, and I've never been one to take really long showers (at least since I've moved here). Maybe it's from a lot of nights I've spent away from my place at friends' houses but hey, I can't complain! If I keep this up, I'll be in excellent shape as far as that category goes.

This is all probably a good thing considering last week was rough. Football season has become expensive for me. Between spending $45 at a bar for the Vikings game (I still don't know what I bought but definitely fun!) and then $40 for a Gamecocks ticket on Saturday (also totally worth it. I'm pretty sure my Minnesota touch is the reason they're 2-0 and ranked 13th in the nation...just a thought ;) ) and missing a shift at Express to go to the game...oops. They were overstaffed anyway so it worked out well for everyone except my bank account. I probably wouldn't have even made $40 for my whole shift. Sometimes it's so hard justifying working there for barely anything. Anyways, moving on. sounds really exciting lately huh? I've definitely been busy around here but this blog hardly reflects most of that since it has nothing to do with money. Let's just say the boys I babysit have proven to be better company than boys I've dated lately...and that's even after the two-year-old peed on me. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giving my blog a reason for it's title

I really am clueless when it comes to cash. Although I've been working at being smarter with money for 9 months now (wow, it really has been that long!) I feel like I have been sliding backwards lately and it's not a comforting feeling. I know what I have to do and what I should be doing but it never turns out that that's what happens. My credit card is still in my wallet and it really is evil. Today, when I get home, it's going far far away and I hope I don't see it for a long long time. My credit card bill is beyond high ($828!!) from stupid stupid purchases (mostly) and it needs to stop. Apparently I was wrong in my recent post when I said my last balance was all paid off because I still got charged $3.40 in interest. What? How? See? Clueless.

Well I'm springing into action. I've put my social life first in a lot of situations lately and that's coming to an end. I will work more and what free time I have left will be for play. Hopefully I can babysit some more too(not sure but hopefully!). I should also have a security deposit from my old college house coming my way soon, which would make a huge dent in my bill.

My allowance is down to a little over $20 for the next week. Yup, somehow I spent that much money this weekend on going out to eat. As a result, I finally grocery shopped and spent more than I budgeted for. I did stock up well though and I did cook noodles and meat sauce for my lunches at work. I have cereal and bagels for breakfast at work too. If I plan this correctly, I can do it. I have no idea what the next week has in store socially but I'm going to try to avoid going out to eat/drinks because that's the worst of my spending habits.

I'll end on a happy note :)
One perk of using my credit card is that I get reward points for each dollar I spend. I've racked up enough points to get a $25 gas gift card. Hardly worth all that spending I did to get a measly $25 but hey, it will help. That's $25 I won't need to put into my gas fund so instead I can make a credit card payment. Vicious cycle but I'll take what I can get.

Any good hiding ideas for my credit card?!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I've converted!

I've never been one to get too into college football but I can officially say I'm a South Carolina Gamecocks fan! Great weather, great game, fun people to meet, awesome stadium and fireworks celebrate each touchdown! It was definitely worth the longer work hours earlier in the week so I could make time to go! I'm definitely hoping to catch a few more games this fall!

I'm not surprised I had a great time but I am surprised I managed to spend $6 the entire evening! I bought a few drinks for the car ride down for me and F and that was it! Some guy paid for our parking, F's friend gave me a ticket and bought me a drink inside the game, and I munched on random tailgating food from different places before hand so I was set! I can't even believe I managed to get that lucky!

So my allowance is still very much in tact ($93) and I should be just fine for the next two weeks. I know I always say that and I'm always wrong but I'm making a vow to make it happen. My next credit card bill is really high (i know, i know...) and every extra dime will go to getting that paid off. I found an extra $50 in my account today so that already went to a payment. I'm determined to get this whole money thing figured out, under control and actually in decent position. I'm grocery shopping tonight so hopefully I can find some good deals and make some great meals (rhyme not intended!) so I can save money on fast food. My body would appreciate that probably more than my wallet at this point (hello elliptical this weekend!).

Have a great labor day weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When in Rome...

Do as the Gamecocks do? That's right ladies and gents, I'm becoming a Gamecocks fan for at least one night. It's the talk of the town down here in the Carolinas so I'm doing as the Carolinas do. The first game of the season is tonight and I'm pretty excited! I'm even the proud owner of a Gamecocks t-shirt (I couldn't find one that said "Go Cocks" but trust me, I looked!) after an hour of hunting at the mall. I don't have a ticket yet but supposedly they're about $30. I'm guessing I'll be spending a good chunk of my allowance for this game but I think it'll be a good time.

The rest of the weekend should be pretty low key but fun. I'm hopefully seeing my favorite almost 5-year-old on Friday for his birthday. I'm sure I'll go out with friends one or both nights and I still have Monday off (besides working at Express at night). I think I'll also dog sit for my boss too, which works out perfectly since I'll finally get the dog I've been wanting (however temporary) and I'll earn a few extra dollars. It looks like I may also be babysitting Sunday or Monday for my favorite boys so I'm excited :)

I finally got my oil changed yesterday. I had a nifty coupon for an $18.95 oil change and tire rotation, which is about half the normal price. I didn't need my tires rotated but good thing I had them include it anyway. They found a nail in my tire and were able to fix it (for another $20). Luckily for me, I'm a Discount Tires member and they will refund me for any tire issues I may have so that $20 is coming right back to me. They also mentioned some sort of axel was loose, which will ultimately ware out my tires and throw off my alignment. It would cost $150 to fix...which I don't have. I'm thinking it's better to start saving for a newer car since I'm still driving a '95. I love my car and it's reliable but it's getting pretty old and I need to prepare myself. I have a car fund already started with a whopping $40 in it! I put $20 from each paycheck into this fund, which covers stuff like oil changes etc. but also bigger things like repairs or even new car payments. When I say new car by the way, it definitely means used but new to me! Luckily a friend of mine down here sells used cars so I'm sure he could help me find something good when it gets to that point. Hopefully old Diane can hold out for a while longer because that's the last thing I need right now!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My countless attempts to save money on food

Dinner last night was FANTASTIC. The company of my great aunt and uncle is unmatched by most people and I'm so lucky to have the chance to get to know them at this stage in life. We ate at Red Rocks in Charlotte and man was it delicious! I had an outstanding meal of steak, mashed potatoes, green beens (yes, I ate them!) and onion rings-really random topping on the steak I thought but no complaints here! The meal ended with an awesome slice of red velvet cake...mmmmm! Can I tell you how excited I am for my lunch of leftovers? Man, I was sure spoiled! I'm really hoping I can see them on a more regular basis since we're so close. We plan on getting together to play tennis soon and I'm looking forward to it!

Anyway, my meals lately have either been from restaurants or left overs from those meals. A friend took me to dinner last week (he had a gift card :) ), KP and I ordered food over the weekend, and then last night's meal. I can't get that lucky all the time so I need to start meal planning a little better. We have a little cafe in our office that has a great variety of breakfast and lunch foods but that can add up quickly.

I'm always on the hunt for new recipes and meals that would be easy to take to work. Especially on the days I work both jobs, it's essential I bring my meals to save money. My goal this afternoon is to find some new, easy, inexpensive recipes to spice up my cookbook. I've also started bringing a box of cereal and milk to work for my breakfasts in the morning. It's not as great as the eggs, toast and bacon I get from Louis at the cafe but it's much cheaper. I'm almost already out of my Apple Jacks so it's time to pick a new cereal...any votes?

I'm grocery shopping tomorrow night (and FINALLY getting my oil changed!) so I'll let you know what I come up with!

PS-1 month til I see my mom and sister in Albuquerque!! Time to request off another weekend of work!

Monday, August 30, 2010

So that's what relaxing feels like?

I find it very rare when I choose doing nothing over being social, especially being the new girl in town. Well this past weekend, I did just that and it was pretty fantastic. KP came to town so it was the perfect combo of good company and laziness. Rather than going to a Knights game, we relaxed in my living room and managed to keep ourselves entertained with scratch off cards the grocery store gives away with purchases. Friday I worked a half day and we relaxed by the pool all afternoon. A few errands were run but overall, very low key day. We tried to socialize Friday night but we ended up staying at a friend's house playing card games and watching Eddie Murphy stand-up comedy.

Saturday we managed to feel exhausted so we spent the morning watching a movie/napping. We eventually ventured downtown Charlotte on a mission for the Pita Pit. There was one on campus when we were freshmen/sophomores but it closed and we were devastated. It turns out their website says there is one in both Raleigh and Charlotte so it's been our mission to go. We didn't quite make it there when I visited in Raleigh (long story but worth it) so we were determined to go to the Charlotte location. We followed my trusty GPS Jack downtown, found a fantastic parking spot but Pita Pit was nowhere to be found. Anywhere. After a call to 4-1-1, it turns out there is no such thing as a Pita Pit in Charlotte. What a let down. We settled for Qdoba, which apparently was a bad choice. We felt disgusting for a long while after-entirely Pita Pit's fault. We hit up the mall on the way home. Got my extra discount at Express and bought: two tops and a dress. I am probably returning one top and the dress because realistically, I shouldn't have spent my money. They're both really cute but I don't need either of them. Being smart financially sucks :(

Anyway, once we arrived back to my humble abode, we sat on the couch feeling like crap for a solid hour. We were supposed to go out with a group of friends but that didn't sound appealing to either of us. We opted to pull my mattress into the living room and watch movies on TV all night. We ordered Olive Garden to-go and cuddled in our PJ's all night. It was pretty fantastic. Luckily for us, some great movies were on! KP had never seen "Remember the Titans" and conveniently one good movie was on after another. The $13 I spent on dinner was a MUCH cheaper option than going out that night anyway. Apparently the group we were supposed to meet up with was out until 6am!

KP left Sunday morning and I lounged at the pool all morning/afternoon with a book and a delicious McCafe iced mocha :) (KP and I got a BOGO coupon!) I was invited to a fish fry for dinner (I love when my friends have fish fries because it's just like home to me (and I don't have to cook!)). So I did socialize finally but I have no regrets about being such a homebody this weekend. It was much needed and maybe I'll do this more often!

I kicked off my Monday with a $1 Sausage Egg McMuffin from McDonalds thanks to a coupon and I had left over Olive Garden for lunch-YUM! I'm going out to dinner with my great aunt and uncle tonight and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again! Wednesday is payday and it's coming at a perfect time! It's less than normal since I was out sick last week but it should be enough for me to make it work.

I updated my budget after this weekend and the rest of last week. I'm still staying afloat and I've managed to pay off my credit card bill in full this month. I have a tough balance for next month but my most recent payment already put a minor dent in it so hopefully I can conquer it and quit this bad cycle of mine. Unfortunately I didn't work at Express this past weekend and I have next weekend off too so that will hurt big time. I really need to start saving for these loan payments coming up so I need to get my act together asap. I know I keep saying this but I really do plan on being more strict with myself financially and finding ways to save money on necessities and cutting back on my "wants".