Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday Review 2...A Day Late

You know what's even worse than knowing your getting sick...being sick over the weekend, knowing that a long week is ahead of you...

Oh well, so is life, but at least I can take this Sunday to relax like I've needed to and catch up on a few projects around the house. I'm one of those type of people that NEEDS to be up and around even if they have a fever and are using a box of tissues every other hour.

So onto everyone's favorite part!

This past week in expenses

Wine: $15 Pretty good for two bottles for the week. I'm happy with this
Food Out: $50 Hmm, Thursday was a big non cook day as you can see...
Snacks: $15 Pretty good as well considering they closed down my favorite spot to get an after work drink... Perhaps this will help cut down this expense!
Meds: $10 To help along the healing process! They definitely helped me get through work Saturday morning!

Total: $90 Not too bad extraneous spending! Definitely better than last week!

This week I also got my car refinanced, which turned out to be a longer than expected process, but will end up saving me about $40 a month! Woohoo! More money for student loans! 


One thing I really need to get doing is instead of tracking what I bought is focus on making sure I stick to my budget. I'm usually under most categories but there are times I could honestly do better. Perhaps I need to go back to using cash only for the rest of the year...

Around the web:

Living On a Bus? Could you imagine that? Even begin to? It's something that I have always thought of and probably would like to do after having kids and entering retirement age. Just travel wherever and whenever. But this place is definitely not your bus from school days.  It makes my toes tingle and my imagination run wild.

Over at Rockstar Finance Mr.1500 talks about his 1M and how he go there. This is inspiring (at least for me who is still working on that route) about how hard work, being frugal and determination can bring whatever it is you want and right to your doorstep.

As for this coming week, it will be busy at work and that means a lot less energy, but hopefully a lot more money!!! I also got a few books from the library and will try to stick to reading on a set schedule instead of binging right before they are due.

What are you looking forward to this coming week? Any new things you want to try out before the end of summer?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Review 1

There is this feeling that Saturday morning is such a sacred time that I love looking at the week in review and seeing how everything has fallen into place.

Recap of the week: Unfortunately, this is the first blog post of the week, but there were a few more in the making that just never got finished. They will definitely get some fine tuning and make their debut next week though so stay tuned!

Things that got finished around the house include lots of cleaning and overall tidying. Things were thrown into the trash, donated or put into proper places. The house looks a lot more livable now. We are even discussing the possibilities of the big monstrosity in the family room. Woohoo for a non-smelly and walkable home!

With a lot less work this week, I've focused on slowing down and appreciating the summer for the beautiful but fleeting time it is up here in the Northeast part of the country. Which includes lots of walks and time outdoors despite the showers. What's a little rain but frizzy hair?

Weekly Spending:

Groceries: $55 Awesome! Even got some meat to stock up our fridge that had manager's discount coupons!
Outside Drinks: $16 Boo but not really...
Outside Food: $35 Most of it was having lunch with the Bf during a lunch break...so not too bad
Car: $72 Oh the money pit...
Makeup: $50 Replacing used up items that I've been really putting off for too long now.
Unexpected: Spent $40 on repairing the Bf's watch. But he really appreciated so I'm pretty happy with it.

Total: $268 of kind of random stuff. Let's be better next week.


Inspirations of the Week: Lots of awesome articles this week that needed to be shared!

At Minimal Millennial, offloading jewelry even with sentimental value is really sometimes the hardest thing to do. And what about all those one event pieces? Oh yeah, they are all there taking up space.

The 100 Dreams List over at Modern Mrs. Darcy REALLY inspired me this past week and something I will be giving lots of thought to as the weeks turn into fall and perhaps making my own.

Living Off Peak Hours over at ThinkSaveRetire is all the way up my alley. Having one day off during the week allows me to get all my shopping and necessities done without the hassle of dealing with the crowds. I honestly would love to work for companies in my future that allows flexible schedules where I can take advantage of those unused weekdays.

Alrighty, that wraps it up for this Saturday! Hope you guys have an awesome weekend and don't get too caught up in the crowds!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Hardest Part...

The past few times I think about writing anything for the blog, I get so lost. So confused and frustrated. It seems that my time writing brings nothing to fruition. Well not nothing, just a lot of unfinished blog posts...

My usual roundabout way ends up being I wake up early to try and get some writing in and be distracted a little bit by outside forces. But I then look at my feed, see what new articles are up, get some ideas, then move onto Facebook and next Tumblr...

What is it that makes writing so hard? I'm not at the point of running out of topics, I'm only just beginning. The best part being that personal finance is so personal, I can always find something in my everyday life to talk about and hopefully inspire someone in the end. That there are a myriad of posts that I can write in my whole lifetime.

It's all about putting all those thoughts and ideas into words. Letting them flow from the depths of my brain onto the tips of my fingers. Make all those random words legitimate sentences that follow English grammar and are usually void of spelling eras.

It seems that on a daily basis, instead of spending a lot of time reading other blogs for various ideas and writing styles, my focus should be on actually typing away at my keys. It's easy to get sucked into a passive way to fix your shortcomings, but until it is really put into use, only then will everything start getting honed.

And perhaps, maybe even, I'm scared of failure. Of seeing myself never really make it as a blogger. Not that I have huge dreams of success, but I do have some goals I would like to see myself achieve with this small blog of mine. Perhaps getting a few gigs on the side or having others who will follow me with adamant support and fervor. Those who are willing to back me up and tell me when I'm crazy when needed.

So with all that said, here's to working just a tad bit harder at this writing thing. Being a bit more forgiving with it all and sometimes hitting publish even if it is not perfect.

What's the hardest part for you? 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Budget That Isn't Working...

As I sat down to make a new budget, I had my old budget in hand and considered it 80% there. No one is perfect, but it's not like I forgot to add in a new designer bag anywhere in there...

But then lots of questions and concerns started coming into play. I tend to be a frugal and conscious person. However, I love buying those small things that make life worth living, like flowers, and teas and cute pink things (no judging!!!).

And where did I have to start, with my debt. Being able to fully admit where I am and where I started is a great thing. It shows me how far I've come these past two years.

Total Debt: $29,670.44

This includes my student loans and my car loan.Yikes, that's quite a bit, but quite a bit of progress from 36k in student loans and 10k on the car.  With my car being half paid off and that key chain still on there, along with extra payments, we are making progress every day!


Each month there are a few priorities I want to take into account.

1. Paying off my debt sooner rather than later.
2. Enjoying life, including family and friends.
3. Being prepared!

Being able to take these things into consideration, categories start falling into place.

Based on 2200 an average take home pay...

Rent: 264 + 125 (part of home repairs that are underway)
Car Loan: 320 (extra 100 each month)
Student Loans: 500 (extra 311 and change each month)
Roth:360

Remaining: Not a lot...

Ballet: 100
Hair and Nails: 40
Taxes: 200

Remaining: Even less...

Hmm, and that got me thinking. There's a few categories that are missing here. Like savings and tithe and FOOD...

Church: 50
Savings:?
Groceries: maybe 100?
Gas: 100
Household:100
Everything else:100

There is something that needs to be done. These past few days have been good to me, but that is the present and does not speak of the future. What happens when your budget does not balance? Do you start cutting your debt repayment to fit in food? Or perhaps putting the needs first, debt repayment second and then everything else third? Do you stop planning for those 'important to you' things? Take out the spontaneity from life? What is it that must be done to balance the budget?

That is the question that I'm still working on and will be for the next few months...


What do you think I should do? Do you think I should stop contributing to my Roth or perhaps lower my student loan payment? There's no wine budget...I NEED MY WINE...

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Expenses and the Start of a June Budget



And here are the final numbers. These past few months has seen me slacking in the tracking every expense category. So, I've looked back as best I could, but without a doubt there are a few lines with random purchases that cannot be remembered for the life of me.

Expenses:

Taxes: $125
Ballet: $120
Hair: $50    
Rent: $370
Phone:$168

Snacks: $83.61
Groceries: $100
Eating Out: $100
Household Stuff: $100

Gas:$50
Car: $15
Gifts: $17.12
Makeup: $126
Wine: $25

Car: $320
Student Loans: $200.00

Roth: $360


Income: $2200

Total Expenses: $2329.73 (Give or take that groceries budget...)

Got a new cover for my license plate! It's always been a hope of mine to have one with my alma mater's name on it, and I finally took the plunge! Lucky for me it was 75% off and figured it was the perfect time. Only three years later...

I made an effort and finally went around and got a new phone plan for my mom and I! So starting next month this should be a slightly lower figure!

That grocery budget, there must be something missing there...that's really way too low... Lots of gift cards from previous months were found to purchase wine, so this figure is also not that accurate. It's kind of sad to see that I spent more on makeup and dining out, but can say that's what happens when the budget really isn't in play.

What is frustrating me at this point is that I'm not assigning a job to every dollar and there were times where I could have really cut back or held out on going out just to have been a bit more in line with my income. I'm lucky that my bf pays for many of our outings and whims, but I still need to get a bit more on track. Instead of going out I'm going to try and convince friends to host small dine in dinner parties. And on days I feel bored, breaking out a book or two from the library down the street to cure it.

These next couple months are going to be tough. They are the months that I earn the least. But the best part is that if a new budget can work this month and next, it will work for basically all the others! Stay tuned!

How did May treat you in terms of life and finance? What are you looking forward to in June?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Family, Travel and Money

One thing I've started to appreciate is the ability to visit family and not just spend time but to really enjoy life with them. To share memories, to enjoy the minutes as they pass by. There might even be moments of complete silence, and yet it feels filled with meaning and understanding. Those are the moments that are worth the drive, those small hassels and that inconsiderate (only one right?) driver.

There are a lot of other 'things' in our lives that take priority. For me, work comes first, but what really is the real reason behind working constantly? It's the ability to earn enough money to pay down my debts. To finally have my student loans paid off, to ride around in MY car each and every day.

What made me stop and think about all of this was taking a spur of the moment trip down to see my family. Just one day. And seeing how much fuller life is with my family and friends. That there is so much to do, but is clouded behind debt repayment. Yes, paying off that mountain is important, and even that one extra shift can mean a whole extra payment. But there will always be (for the near future at least) that next payment. And after that, the next savings goal.

But even spending a few hours with family I hadn't seen in years was so rewarding and eye opening, I can't describe it only a few words. There might not be even words. It made me realize how quickly time is passing before my eyes, and that all the money I work for doesn't make up for the quiet moments that passed between us.

So, my hope is that my focus can shift from where I want my life to be in a few years, to enjoying life as it is now. Even if that means my debt repayment plans go by the wayside. Not totally, but just a little bit. Just enough to have a quick lunch with a good friend.

*Time to change that budget again...*

Have you ever rearranged your budget or renovated your goals to fit in sudden inspirations?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why I'm Maxing Out My Roth IRA Every Month




As many of you savvy people out there know, saving for retirement is up there on the to do list, but not really a priority on an everyday to do list. We either have it automatically set up or have no clue what's really going on. Which for 20 - something's is a likely possibility. Who really wants to put money away for a future self you don't know at all?


Even with about 28k of debt (20k of student loans and about 8k left on the car loan), most people would think I would use the $5500 towards either one of my debts and get them wiped out quicker. That does sound financially sound and a great way to use my hard earned money in the short term. But after a lot of thought, I realized there were quite a few positives towards putting that big sum into an IRA each and every year.

It's not something I advocate for everyone, not only because everyone's situation is different but because everyone has different goals that they are trying to achieve. There are many people out there who would find being free from debt would allow them to lead better lives not only now, but in the future. Or some would rather have peace of mind of not being shackled to a creditor sooner rather than later.


Here are my main reasons why devoting that chunk of money a year makes sense to me:

#1: My job does not have a 401k. Yes, it kind of sucks, but a few months after starting my first real world job, I realized I needed to start saving. At the age of 23, I went to my local bank and had them withdraw a certain amount every week. It got me into the habit of not spending those $100 because they would never be seen. One day when I do have a job with a 401k, the extra amount taken out of my paycheck will be nothing to worry about because I've already become accustomed to living with less.

#2: Now is the time for saving and compound interest. THESE ARE THE YEARS! Not just for fun and having the time of our life, but for compound interest to take into effect. During these early years, those small pennies those first few dollars earn can turn into hundreds decades later. And not to sound greedy, but lots of money later on sounds pretty nice to me.

#3: It probably would have been going to things other than debt... Like dinners out, or fancy face creams that make my skin look like I never ever worry about anything... An extra $400 a month seems like a lot, but when its in your hands, it looks like the best night out since graduation.


I'm lucky to be able to allocate such a large amount of my income every month towards my goals and paying off my debt. But forcing myself at this moment to slowly but surely pay off my debt while funding my IRA is reinforcing my patience towards financial freedom. My small salary today will not wipe away all my debts, but in the long haul, it will make a considerable dent in the mountain. But along with that, each dollar saved right now, will be quite a few more later on.

What are your thoughts?