Wednesday, May 26, 2010

10 Things I Love

My co-worker and fellow blogger Chubby Chick (she's not chubby!) tagged me in her blog post about 10 things she loves. Now it's my turn to pass it on. Here's the low down:

1. MG-more and more every day

2. My family- I love laughing 'til I cry with them and I'm glad my sister and I are getting closer, I wish she lived closer though!

3. My BFF and all my close friends- they're not easy to find but thank goodness for them! Thank you for putting up with me!

4. MG's family-they're becoming more like my own and they're an excellent role model for anyone.

5. Pizza-the most comforting food I've ever known. I can and will eat it for days on end and be quite content.

6. Traveling-ideally with one other person but I can venture on my own when need be.

7. Reading-so glad I have more time for it now that I've graduated. I'm always up for suggestions!

8. Working- I love to contribute to society, especially when it's something I'm passionate about. I can't say I'm ultra passionate about accounting or retail but I do get joy out of working hard and being able to provide for myself. When it comes to journalism though, that's the work I love most. I've never been paid for that work, at least not yet, but it's when I'm at my best.

9. Pictures-Scrapbooks, picture frames, you name it. I love to look back on old memories and wish I were a better photographer.

10. Music-I find such comfort in lyrics and rhythm, especially when I find some that fit exactly how I feel. When I find that perfect song, I will listen to it on repeat for hours.

I'm supposed to forward this to 10 people but this will do for now:

Even if I didn't tag you, it's a great activity to do. It definitely has calmed a not so excellent day and made me appreciate a few more things so give it a try :)

Dude, I'm getting a mac

Well, at least I really want a mac. A few posts back I mentioned that my computer couldn't recognize the battery and wouldn't charge. After some research, it turns out it's not worth all the time and repairs for a four year old computer and I have to buy a new one...of course. It's probably a good thing considering the virus was never fully removed from my computer, that or I didn't install Windows 7 correctly so it has the fantastic tendency to instantly shut off whenever it feels like it, despite anything you may have been working on.

I don't exactly have a couple hundred dollars just laying around to drop on a new computer (darn emergency fund has been mostly used or saved for my move down south). After looking into a few options, it turns out I will be financing my purchase. I know Dave Ramsey would be shaking his head at me and I'm not thrilled to be in this position but I can't move across the country all by myself and not have a computer. My nanny friend (I really need a nickname for her!) financed her lap top through best buy and it helped her a ton. There's no interest for 18 months so I'll easily have it paid off by then.

Now it's just a matter of what do I get?

I would really love a Mac. In addition to being a better quality computer, Macs have software that is really great for journalism. It would be great to have access to that software so I could teach myself more about it and maybe even apply those skills to my new job. I really want to make sure this company does well, at least to the extent of my control, so I'm motivated to get the mac. The only negative side is the price. Since Macs last longer (10 years compared to 4-6 on a PC) and the battery lasts longer and there's all that extra software built in, the one I'm looking at is $1200. Bummer.

When it comes to PC's though, the one I'm looking at getting is still $800 something (it's an i5 Samsung). There's more chance of a virus (plus extra costs for virus protection), and after just experiencing all the virus problems on my current computer, that's a huge turn off.

I'm taking the week to weigh my options and I will make a purchase next week before I leave. If you have any advice or input, let me know before then!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A great start to the week

It was sad to leave Wisconsin yesterday and it's definitely strange getting back into the swing of things since I had been gone for two weeks but this week has definitely started on a good note. I was able to attend a good friend's graduation party yesterday evening and then went to dinner with my old roommate last night. We had some delicious Thai food from True Thai and even though I argued with her, she treated. It was so nice to catch up with her since she's off to Chicago and I'm off to North Carolina soon. And now I have left overs for today's lunch :)

When I came back last night I finally started working on my room that needs to be cleaned and packed up. I found a voucher for free Starbucks from a LONG time ago when they had been slow on giving me my drink (I didn't even think it was poor service but they offered me the voucher anyways so you know I didn't complain). I thought I had lost it so you can imagine how excited I was to see it again. Since I'm working both jobs today and haven't worked in two weeks, I figured I'd start my day off with some free delicious iced coffee :) I asked for a grande but since it's free they gave me a venti anyways. How nice.

I don't even mind being back at work. There's so much to do that I'll easily fill all 40 hours both this week and next. I'll be busy but this week has a lot of great things in store :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Across the boarder

Who knew that living five minutes over a boarder could be such an expense saver. My new job is VERY close to the boarder of South Carolina and I've heard a few people mention how much cheaper the cost of living is in the southern state. I decided to look into it and MAN! That really is a lot cheaper!

My Nana lived in Fort Mill, SC for the last leg of her life. If you would have known her you would know she wouldn't live in a sketchy part of town. I found a place with great reviews (all 36 of them!) and really nice pictures. The best part is, for the same amenities (even more actually-including car-care and clothes-care centers) and amount of space, it's WAY cheaper! This place I found is only $655 even for a 3 month lease (even cheaper if the lease is longer) and it's 1 bedroom, not just a studio.

I'm not making any commitments until I get down there of course but it looks like I just might be an South Carolina resident after all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Where to start?

Well these last few days have been rather hectic with the wake, funeral and burial all on separate days. It's been nice to have so many people around and the Willems family will get through this well.

It's been a week of no expenses which definitely helps since I have no income from the past two weeks (besides that 2.5 hours I put in last week!). I started looking into plans to move to NC and there are some expenses that will put quite the dent in my account. I am coming back for CUSA-I couldn't be happier since it would be nice to spend more time with the Willems family after all they've been through. My parents are splitting the ticket with me for my birthday, which is really nice of them! That leaves me with a $191 ticket. Then MG and I are road tripping down to NC to drop off my car and get me settled and then he's flying back. I bought his ticket last night so there's another $205. We'll also need a hotel for the trip. He's offering to pay for gas on the way down I guess since I'm buying his flight back (I couldn't drive down there without his help so of course I'd buy it).

We also haven't found a subleaser for this room! I just paid June rent on it and luckily/thankfully, my parents are still giving the $200/month to help cover it. But that's still another $160 plus utilities. I've had quite a few people express interest but no one sets up a time to come see it. BUMMER! I've even offered to negotiate a price with people and still nothing. I really hope we find someone soon because that is one cost I really don't need right now. If you know of anyone looking for a really inexpensive room in Minneapolis this summer, please let me know! Otherwise please cross your fingers for me!

I also have to pay off my Express card of roommates now have me on video tape swearing that I won't spend any more money at the MOA Express so I suppose I have to stick to that-I don't have much of a choice.

So after all those expenses, I'm left with $937.46. I will be putting in almost 40 hours for the next two weeks at my school job so there's another $720 that will eventually help. I'm just doing my best to save all of this money until I find a place to live in NC. There will be apartment fees and deposits plus who knows how much rent will be. Yikes. I don't think I'll be moving much down there until I know how secure the job is so until then I will buy myself a futon and get by with what I can.

When I strike it rich one day, it turns out I need a new computer too since the battery cord got tripped over and ripped out and doesn't like to charge my computer very well anymore. When the battery doesn't register, my computer likes to randomly shut down at any given moment-not exactly ideal. In order to get the battery to register, the cord has to be in just the right position (usually draped over the screen!) I want to buy a mac since they have a lot of great software for graphic design and journalism use but those are much more expensive. In the mean time I can dream.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rest In Peace Brandon Willems

I decided not to work Thursday since my foot was still swollen and it needed to be more healed by my dr. apt. on Friday. I was able to finish my papers (probably not my best work but I tried) and MG took his third actuary exam.

Friday I woke up to a call saying I did officially get the job in Charlotte and I was so thankful for this news! With so much stress lately, it was nice to get some positive news. The doctor's apt. was also good news, since I'm now in a boot! It's not too stylish but my mobility is fantastic and will be much easier for the next month! Great timing too since right after a long lunch with my mom, we headed to WI again for another emergency surgery for MG's brother. Surgery did not go so well this time and we broke a few speeding laws to make it there in time to say our good byes. He held on for us to arrive and even his grandparents to arrive from Michigan four hours later. There was so much love and over 100 family and friends came. They were overflowing into the hall, the waiting room was packed and even unused rooms had visitors. It was heartbreaking but so peaceful and couldn't have been a nicer, more loving way to go.

I will be taking another week off work to be here in WI with the family. The visitation is Tuesday and funeral is Wednesday and I'm so glad to be here to help in any way I can.

I know this will be a big financial loss for me but frankly, oh well. I usually get pretty stressed about loss of income and not making ends meet but there are just more important things and eventually I'll get back on track and figure out how to get by somehow.

Please send all your prayers, wishes, love and help to the Willems family. They have had an overwhelming amount of support from family, friends and even strangers but you can never have too much. The bond and strength this family has continually amazes me and I'm so glad I can be part of it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Signs that you're a work-aholic

Apparently I can't stand having a day off. I felt bad not working (even though I'm plenty busy writing my final papers so I'm not even fully relaxing) so I asked if there were any projects I could do on the computer without having to crutch around the office organizing files. I guess they had a lot I could work on so I went in for 2.5 hours this afternoon. I'm also going in tomorrow morning while MG takes his actuary test. What is wrong with me? I guess the panic set in that I'm not making any money just sitting around. Since I don't know if I'll need to be saving my money for a place to live in NC or if I need to pay rent in a few days here or if I am allowed to make a loan payment, I need to be prepared either way. I've had two others interested in renting out this room for the summer but no one has committed to renting it.

I'm also not getting scheduled at Express for another weekend because of my foot so there's another income that I'm lacking. Frustrating. I'm going to have to be even more stringy with my money until I start figuring out what income I will have this summer and what my expenses will be. If you have any tips, please pass them on to me!

On a brighter note, here's a shout out to one of my great nanny friends-HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope you have a fabulous day!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We are back from WI once again and all seems to be alright on the home front. Not that we don't like to see MG's family but we're hoping we can stay in Minneapolis for a little while with no more surprises!

I finished one of three final papers yesterday and man it felt good. I can't say it's the best quality but with a broken foot and the distracting circumstances, I did my best. I've started the second paper today and since I can't work, I'll do most of it tomorrow.

I also received some GREAT news today! When I studied abroad last summer, it was supposed to replace a journalism requirement from the U. I was recently notified that this class has not yet transferred to my major requirements and that I wasn't set to graduate. WHAT!? Graduation is in a week! So I sent in all my paper work and prayed that their review of the course would be a positive one and I could be all set to graduate! All weekend I was on pins and needles worried that they wouldn't approve this class and I'd be one class short of getting my diploma. Since clearly I'm broke, I couldn't afford any more tuition at the U and registration for summer and fall classes had already filled up so I really started to panic. LUCKILY I got an e-mail today saying it was approved so I have all the credits I need. Let's just hope I finish strong with these finals and pass all my classes!

I got another message that someone is interested in this room for the summer. I'm really crossing my fingers that someone will for sure want it soon and I can take that off my hands! One thing at a time.

Lastly, my parents have been trying to find an insurance plan for me since mine is finished on May 16th. They found one from eHealth Insurance for roughly $218 a month with a $1000 deductible. Oofta. My graduation present from them is that they will pay for my insurance this summer. I do appreciate this but how boring is life when that's a great present? The only thing is, we can't sign up for a plan until I know where I'm living this summer. I should know by the end of the week according to this company so please cross your fingers for some definite news.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What a weekend

Man oh man-the past 48 hours have been slightly ridiculous and quite eventful. The weekend was going along just fine when I decided to miss a step while walking down the stair in my house and fell foot first on the landing. I ended up with a broken bone in my foot and a sprained ankle. OW! It's wrapped up, iced and elevated and I am quite sore from these crutches! I'm going to the orthopedist when the swelling goes down and at that time I will likely have a walking boot for a while. Great way to walk at graduation next week huh? LUCKILY my dad had JUST changed my insurance to cover me until my actual graduation date of May 16th! THANK GOD!!

Anyways, when I got home from urgent care yesterday morning, I thought "wow, a full week of just laying around since I can't work." It was such a strange feeling since I always have a full plate. I was about to take a little nap when MG came to my room saying we had to go to WI right away since his brother was being rushed into emergency surgery. Apparently bacteria was rotting away his intestin so a big portion of that had to be removed. If they would have waited any longer to do the surgery he wouldn't have made it. SCARY! LUCKILY he made it through just fine although quite drowsy and in pain. We will probably be here until tomorrow morning unless MG can push a final exam to Thursday. I have 3 papers due this week so I'll be occupied in the hospital's waiting room writing those.

This also means a week of no pay. BUMMER! That will be a really tight squeeze since I really do need the money. I have no word from this NC job if I have it yet or not since we're waiting on investors but if I don't find out soon, I'll have to pass since I can't just up and move across the country without giving my employers 2 weeks notice and making sure i have a subleaser for my room. It's rather frustrating being in limbo.

Until then, I'm just saving my money until I know what to do with it but I know two paychecks from now I'll be hurtin big time since I planned to work 30 hours this week at just my school job alone. UGH!

Please keep Brandon and his family in your prayers! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 7, 2010

so much potential!

Well since I stayed up until at least 2am the night before finishing these papers so the celebration last night was very minor. Instead of half-off appetizers at Applebees, KJ made a delicious dinner of chicken and pasta and then I couldn't stop yawning. If I would have gone to the bars I would have fallen asleep so we relaxed a little until she met up with friends and I went to bed..WOO! Oh well, I saved some money and got a great night sleep! I even slept until almost noon!

And I woke up to some great news! I had two messages from people interested in renting out my room for this summer and one is coming this Saturday to check it out! As I was reading these messages, MG got a phone call from a potential employer in Madison! It would be a three-month position with potential to be hired permanently and man, the pay is GREAT!! $52,000 a year! YES! It was a screening call so we're hoping he gets called back with an interview soon! Wish him luck!

Now I have the afternoon to work on a final paper and hopefully sell some clothes to Plato's closet. I haven't had great luck with them in the past but it's worth a shot since I could use some extra cash. I have a lot of brand name, fairly recent clothes that I just don't wear enough (I know, my shopping habit is terrible!) so I'm hoping they take a few things at least.

Then I'm off to a full night and weekend of work at Express. YES!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reason to celebrate!!

I just finished my LAST college class! What a fantastic feeling! I spent the afternoon at the mall with my roommates relaxing a little and I tried to be so good. I was tempted to buy a lot but I refrained to one pair of heels.
I'm also going out tonight to celebrate with some girlfriends. Graduating in three years while holding two jobs at a time and two internships and a boyfriend is a LOT of hard work! I have three papers to complete next week for my finals but for now, I'm allowed to relax! I have $60 of allowance left and I think that I deserve to buy myself a drink!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Wednesday and also Happy Birthday to my favorite Uncle :) Life has been slightly busy these past couple days. Another Thursday with 2 papers (that I need a B to graduate!) and 2 presentations due. UGH! But today is payday so that's always a plus. It's strange because I normally have every dime of my paychecks allocated for something. This time, nope. There's lots of extra money just sitting waiting to find out how it will be used. If I move to NC with this job, obviously rent and moving expenses for the new place. If I don't, I only need to pay $80 for rent so I can for sure make a big loan payment. I just wish my life wasn't in limbo!

It's also been crazy trying to find a place to live down there. I found the place of my dreams with great/safe reviews so of course it's more expensive. It's also more expensive if I want a 3 or 6 month lease, which I will need just incase the website launch doesn't go well. I did get transferred for sure to the Express down in Charlotte so that will obviously help with the income.

AND my health insurance dropped me early. UGH! They knew I graduate in May so they dropped me May 1st. Really insurance? No college student graduates May 1st or earlier. Thanks a lot. Anyways, now I'm looking into new plans of course and yikes. It's a whole new world of drama and decisions and I swear, it's just too much to take in. I would just like it to be a month from now where all decisions have been made and I'm starting to get settled into the life that I will have for the summer. I hate all of these variables that if one changes, it throws off every other variable.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A few more things from the weekend

MG had to go to work even earlier this morning, which means so do I. I'm thankful for the extra hours and surprisingly I woke up 10 min. before the alarm and was too awake to go back to sleep (SO unlike me!). That must be a sign of a good day ahead!

Anyways, after Express yesterday I stopped by the folks house to visit my mom and pick up some storage bins for my room project. She even took me to the grocery store to get some dinner since MG and I were both swamped with getting back in the swing of things and didn't have time to think about planning a meal. We had a delicious rotisserie chicken with baguette (only $.99! Who knew!) and I have left overs to go into a salad for lunch! THANKS MOM! She also gave us $20 for spending money this week since our gas money was gone. THANKS AGAIN!

I've been thinking about my budget now that things are in limbo. I'll have $100 for allowance, money for utilities and groceries and the rest is going to be saved for my new rent and moving expenses. If this job happens to fall through, it can't hurt to have some money saved up. That means this loan is on hold until I know my situation and can comfortably give that money up for good. If it turns out I have more than expected, wonderful, I'll make a payment but until then better safe than sorry.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What a weekend

Wow, finally home after such an unexpected trip. The gas gift cards have all been cashed and it's so nice to not have take-out for dinner tonight! Brandon is out of the ICU much earlier than expected and his infection should be cleared up soon so he can stay on his chemo schedule. His sister successfully made it to prom and both parents were able to get out of the hospital and go to the pictures.

On the way home I had to swing by Express to get some work clothes since today is the 45% off day. I got 3 pants, a skirt, pair of dress shorts and two tops for $180. Not bad considering. Once I knew I had to get some work clothes I looked online and actually expected to spend $180 so that's good. They also are speaking with the Charlotte location so I can transfer down there. If they have room for me, I can get the apartment I'm looking at. There were some I could afford without the extra income but the reviews were SHOCKING! One said, "It reminds me of Tijuana" and another said I run the risk of getting shot or my car broken into and they have a gang problem! YIKES! I don't know about you but I don't know gang symbols nor do I want to learn. So once I looked into some places that were a little more expensive the reviews drastically changed to much more positive comments. I should hear back from them on availability tomorrow. Regardless, the extra income would be great for savings and loans, especially if we can't find a renter my room this summer and MG still can't find a job.

In the mean time, I am focusing on getting some homework done (graduation depends on it of course!) and starting to box up stuff to take to: Plato's closet, Half-Price-Books or Good Will. I definitely have plenty I can get rid of and now is the perfect time. These next few weeks are going to be probably the busiest I've ever had, but there will be lots of fun since I have to plan outings with friends before I leave of course! Wish me luck!!