Monday, December 30, 2013

The Long List of Goals...

This past year there was tons of ups and downs and unexpected events. But with that, there were a lot of great moments and memories made. There were quite a few things that I had expected to have been done by the end of this year, and yet the world hasn't fallen apart. That means there might still be some time!

My previous goal of making a new dish every week didn't last too long with working 6 days a week eventually. However, we did focus on trying new foods and sometimes adding a bit of panash to the usual whatever it was we were making that night. So we will call that a half win.

As for the job search, even though I did not find a job within my field, I did find a job. Which makes me feel super lucky everyday (well, somewhat). Not only did I meet great people there, but the skills I've learned I can use for the rest of my life! As an extra plus, my boss has asked me to take on a trainer role, which really surprised me because there are lots of people who have been there much much longer.

Now, that I've kind of checked off my goals from last year, I can set some more goals that will be half done come next December!

My FEW (aka quite a few) goals for the next year:

  • Find a job in my field or at least a career mobile position. This is almost a definite must due to the fact that my skills are growing weaker by the day now. I've opened myself up a lot and I'm hoping that within the next couple months something does come through!

  • Get driver's license. Enough said. Must be done!

  • Continue experimenting with cooking! The past few months we've stuck to a list of the usual, so we will try some new spices and some new dishes that are easy enough to be made under 30 minutes. And maybe a culinary masterpiece or two. 

  • Bring student loans under 20k. This is a goal that can easily be done if I continue on my double payments throughout the next year. I'd rather set it a bit higher just in case, and be super happy once I pass it. 

  • Read 100 books this year. It does seem like a lot, but reading is actual one of my favorite frugal activities to get lost in (besides dollar store puzzle books). But I also want to explore other genres I have left behind such as biographies, science fiction and personal development. I hope to read a minimum of 5 from each of these three categories to broaden my horizon and make me feel more learned (or something like that). 

  • Blog at least 3 times a week. This goal is not only about consistency and keeping up with the blog but finding new ways to expand it. It's been fun writing and sharing my experiences while hearing about those of others. 

  • Run/work out 4 times a week. Even though my job gives me a workout already, it would be even better to take classes that would work out my upper body and give me a bit more definition. Just because I'm running around constantly doesn't mean I'm super healthy. 

  • Run a 5k and a 10k. Since I started getting into running, I want to see how far I can go. I'm not a natural born runner, and probably won't win anything or get a great time, but it'd be great to try and do something I never thought possible. 

  • Knit/crochet two blankets. I've already started one, but the other one I'm planning on giving away as a gift. These are super major projects that will require me to pace myself and make me focus on the task at hand. Along with these two, there are a few smaller craft projects that I have in mind to do. 

  • Work on doing things in the moment. I have found this past year that I'll be given a task and I'll set it aside, never to be done or taken care of til way too late. It must be the lack of consistency and deadlines that college always provided me. But I'm hoping to get back to my structured self with a few more lists and reminders! 

  • Play board games with the bf at least twice a week. We enjoy playing Scrabble and sometimes we find we come home from work and turn on the TV and get lost in it's mesmerizing glare because it's just that much easier. We are looking to purchase a few more cheap games and hopefully that will give us more options than the two we have and will look forward to it more. 

  • Have one relaxing day a week. This past holiday season taught me that when you work hard, you have to allow your body to rest and recuperate. In college, I was always go, go, go and thought that I could always live my life that way. But then, having a day that I did absolutely nothing but read and drink tea made me realize that having one day like that is absolutely amazing. So, here's to making sure that one day out of the week for the next 52 weeks is spent on enjoying life and not working my butt off. 

How about you? What are your goals for 2014 that you will set to not fail at?!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Hoping that all of you are having a wonderful day and night with your loved ones and enjoying some down time. Remember that this is the time of the year for family and friends, so let go of the computer. It'll be good for you!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh The Differences...

There are days where everything is perfect, rainbows and butterflies all over the place. Like this:

And then there are days where the rains just keep pouring down. Like so:

Many of us are lucky to say we have found someone that cheers us up and makes our days full of sunshine and happiness. But what happens when that other is not as financially savvy as the other. Well, there might be a lot of rainy days in the future!

It's something that I've only now come to fully understand, and realize what a life long adventure this will be. Being able to understand how and why your partner spends money is so important, not only for monthly expenses, but for far off goals. I definitely fell in love for the bf for who he was, and once we moved in together, we realized that our spending patterns were radically different. It was my mission to turn him into the super saver that was buried within that consumerist person.

To start off, my childhood was full of frugality including lots of meals at home, clothes drying on the line, and clipping coupons to save on groceries. It was definitely the life of saving every penny there was to be saved. But being able to look at it from a grown perspective, it makes me appreciative of the sacrifices my mom made but also, how she taught me so many valuable skills.

On the other hand, the bf was raised in a decent home and with respectable parents, and even though they pinched pennies, they were not taught these lessons. Fast forward to day, and you'll find that he isn't the best with money. Not that he lives a lavish lifestyle, but he doesn't have anything saved.

So here is where we start, and we have both learned from each other's habits and lifestyle.

He has learned from your financially savvy blogger that saving money is super duper uber important. He now has his savings automatically taken out from his account and set away, and same for his retirement accounts. Along with that, that savings are everywhere. He definitely was one to just pick up the first thing he saw, out of convinience, and not think about the price and where to find it cheaper. Now, he does his research, compares and will even discuss with me the options that are at hand. And can we say we might have found a Coupon King (or prince, he's still working on it!).

As for me, he has definitely taught me to stop living for tomorrow. We are definitely in a great place and we have little to worry about. There are times where I will actively deny myself something because I feel it will wreck my budget, and he'll come to the rescue and say $5 isn't a budget wrecker on a bad day. That it's okay to buy something really cool every now and then and of course, within limits. That self-deprivation most of your life is not the way to live, and life is meant to be experienced. Because of this, we've definitely gone to more restaurants (something that was always a no-no for my mom) and have tried some amazing new food.

Life is definitely a journey, and being able to have a partner who is willing to learn with you is probably one of the most wonderful things.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Show Me the Money!!!

That's what I usually say to my stressed out self at the end of the month. It's not that I don't try and budget myself, it's the life that gets in between the budgeting! The best way for us to deal with the unexpected is to cut the costs of the necessities as much as possible. And how is that done? Well, with a few tips and tricks!

Coupons! They are truly the best! And now you don't even need to buy the newspaper to get them on a weekly basis. There are many sites out there devoted towards collecting them all in one spot and you can print them in the convience of your own home. Best of all is when you use websites like Krazy Koupon Lady to compare prices and coupon match for the lowest possible price on tons of everyday objects.

Deals: Retail Me Not, Ibotta, Cartwheel, these are all great apps that can be installed into your phone and help you save on the go! If you unexpectedly find yourself needing something in a store you didn't expect to be at (but how could this ever happen?) Retail Me Not will search for coupons for that store. How useful is that?!

Meal planning: It doesn't have to be as extreme as spending a whole day to cook a month's worth of meals. It can just be making a list for your next trip to the grocery store, sticking to it and making predetermined meals for the week. Some people are really into freezing meals if they lead a busy life, but setting aside a bagged lunch the night before can really save a considerable as those days turn into years.

Surveys: There are a few websites out there, such as Valued Opinions, that allow you to do surveys where they pay you in gift cards after reaching a certain amount of earned money or credit. This is probably one of the most enjoyable things I've tried to date. There are times I'll be able to get a few done while sitting down for a cup of tea. I've been able to gift cards for both Amazon and iTunes, which make for really nice gifts or to put towards needed items!

Happy Hour! Due to the fact that me and my friends are working retail or food service at this point in our lives, we usually work the hours that most people consider time for fun. This leaves us lots of free time in the morning, which really isn't the most appropriate drinking time. Yet, if we are looking to go out, we'll scout out happy hour and find ourselves entertained with cheap drinks and food. Be sure to check your favorite bar if you are looking to go out what they do offer during happy hour.

Coupon books: These books are usually released on a yearly basis and have coupons for nearby businesses of all sorts. They vary in price between 20 to 30 dollars, but man are they well worth it. In our household, we barely have gotten through half of the book, but we estimate we have saved over $100 on things we normally would have had to spend money on.

Tracking your Spending: Last but not least, the best way to know what's going out is to know exactly where all the money is going. I've made it a habit to record all my income and expenses so I have a really good picture of how the month is going and see how it might turn out. I try to align the dates in my notebook so as to make sure on a daily basis I'm not spending more than I earn, but also, on a monthly basis, checking to make sure recurring bills are in line.

Any more tips to add?! Also, all apps and websites are ones I have found useful these past couple months. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What is it that you REALLY want?

The Christmas season is fun and all, but then you find you have to give a gift to THAT person. Whomever that person is for you, they are the ones that make gift giving hard. It might not be their fault at all, but they are impossible to shop for, wherever you go.

Said person for me is the bf. Luckily, I picked up something that he nonchalantly stated he really, really liked, but it really wasn't necessary so he didn't buy it. It worked out this year, but what about next year?

He's definitely a minimalist at heart, and he is content with even the smallest of things, which makes him so wonderful. But when it comes to giving him something, I've realized, you wonder for a second whether he will actually use it or not.

The same goes for me too, which is why we work so well together! And when I was tasked with making a Christmas list so that others in his family could get me things, it made me wonder, what is it that I really want this Christmas?

It was actually one of the hardest things I've done this year. It's interesting to come to the point where you realize that there are few things in life that will increase your level of happiness. When you have found contentment. It also made me sad to think about those who have the need to reaffirmed by things. Is that what you really want, or is it that you really want a new job because the one you have is crappy and makes you buy stuff to make you seem happier at the end of the day? Or perhaps you buy all those wonderful books to surround yourself with lively characters because you want to socialize and hang out with people who share your same interests and views.

It's not hard to define your needs, but it definitely takes a bit of time to discern your wants that are not just worldly goods. Perhaps we just all need to take some time out of our day and figure out what are those wants that money can't buy this holiday season and put them under the fitness goal for the new year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm Supposed To Be SAVING???!!!


Yes, that's how the holidays feel for me. The official list for those to whom we are giving gifts this year keeps on getting longer and longer. It seems every day there is someone else we completely forgot about. Thank goodness I'm working all these extra hours or I wouldn't be able to afford all these small trinkets!

The bf and I are trying to act as a unit, however, with opposite schedules, it's coming out to be one person does the shopping for a few people and then we regroup at night and decide on the next batch for the next day. We are definitely trying to come up with practical gifts that everyone will use and not just throw away two days later.

So, with all that in mind, how is anyone supposed to save and while shopping for those they love (or kind of like) these next few weeks? We've been trying to keep to a few simple rules which include:

1. Finding all the coupons!!! We are literally combing over all the newspapers and spend nights on the internet for any coupon or deal that will fit

2. Sticking to a budget for each person. We kind of know what each person is getting and what that should amount to. If we go over by a small amount, that's fine, but too much means we will likely have to rethink their gift.

3. Practicality. As stated above, we don't want to hear that the gifts ended up in the trash two days later. So we are trying to find brands that are well-known and reliable, which usually stores post good deals on.

4. Waiting. As Christmas gets closer, the deals will be even better, so that does mean leaving some of the bigger items til the last minute. This can either go really well or really poorly. Let's hope for the former!

5. Splitting gift costs with someone else. Because we are a couple it is more appropriate, but you can always do this with a relative or friend and pooling your money together can help get the person the gift they would really enjoy!

It's definitely a tough battle, but I know that we will pull through, as always. And even though the savings rate for this month might drop a bit, it won't be from lack of trying!

What are some of your strategies for trying to cut down on holiday gift giving expenses and keep your savings rate as normal?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The First Sunday of Advent

It was a wonderful Sunday with me and the bf and I was allowed the luxury to take a midday nap and watch a few too many Christmas movies. These won't be happening too often for the next few weeks, so we will appreciate them as they come.

As the title states, the first Sunday of Advent is upon us and with the air turning chillier and snow becoming a more frequent guest, it definitely feels like the holiday season. It's a great time for everyone not only because of the food and gifts, but being able to share time with family we might not get to see too often. Everywhere you go there is something magical in the air! 

So enjoy this first week of Advent and please remember the importance of the holidays! I've encountered way too many frustrated people these past few days at work. The gifts and things aren't all that important to get angry with the person behind the register or your server. They are people too and are probably required to work all these hours for your convenience. 

The best thing is I get to do all my holiday shopping during off hours this season! Yay for no lines! My hope is with all these hours I'm working, an extra payment or two on my student loans can be made. Talk about the perks of early mornings and late nights!!!

Another thing about the first week of Advent is thinking about the new year and what is to come. Mainly, thinking about new goals I hope to accomplish. It's almost like giving myself a head start. Not only do I want to keep up my goal on trying new recipes, but also my want to improve on my foreign languages. One of my goals was to learn seven languages by the time I'm old (like 70 or 80 old). With only 3/7 accomplished, I better get some work in! 

So here's to a wonderful ending and new beginning! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time to Be Thankful

Evening Folks!

Hopefully by now you are all stuffed with great food and are relaxing and digesting! Perhaps you are watching football or just sharing memories with your loved ones.

As for me, I'm listening to a football game (no, I'm not a sports fanatic) and trying to prepare for tomorrow, aka Black Friday. It's going to be a long couple of days with the kickoff (see used a football reference there!) of consumer season, but with a very supportive work-place, it'll go super well.

But I just wanted to make a small list of things I'm thankful of today. Not only my family and friends, but also all the opportunities that I've been given in life. As much as I may complain that my job search isn't going well, it could be going much worse. Luckily, I have two degrees and have a lot of hands on experience that put me far ahead of most candidates. And I also have a job that covers my overhead expenses and allows me to save tons of money each month.

Also, my super supportive bf. We are super close and are able to overcome any challenge that is presented to us. It's great knowing that when I get home, whether it be super early or late, he's willing to make me dinner and rub my feet. Honestly, I can't ask for more.

Being able to remember each and everyday to be thankful for something, even if it's the littlest thing, is something I need to work on. Making a Thanksgiving everyday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Student Loan Story

Ah, student loans. I came out with the full amount a couple weeks ago. If you didn't see it, here it is again: 27k. Well, it's an approximate amount, but it's everything I owe at this current point. But where did it come from???

It was in high school that I decided to go into a field I loved, but luckily (well hopefully) was also practical. I applied to a few schools and got into all of them. Luck was even on my side in that my top pick gave me the most financial aid in terms of scholarships, not just loans. Yay for hard work!!!

While in college, my schoolwork took a lot of time. And with all the extra curricular activities, there was little time to work. And yet, I found time. On weekends I worked an amazing work study that gave me lots of time to study and do something I enjoyed with great pay. The months I lived on campus, it was essentially play money, because all my expenses were paid. Once I moved off campus, my mom matched every dollar I earned (usually about $400) and put it in the bank account. With rent for my room being $400, and not everything included, I learned to live a very indulgent lifestyle on what I made. Being able to pull together all of our resources, including time and money, helped my roommates and I living together on a tight budget make the best of what we had.

All of my student loan money went directly to the school. Most people don't realize that I never saw a penny of the money. It wasn't spent on clothes or dinners, but tuition. The semesters where there was an amount the loans didn't cover, usually 1k or 2k, my mom would give me the money. She saw this as an investment in my future. The small amount I earned using work study would have paid off this amount, but my mom didn't want me to feel responsible in paying it back. She knew these were a few less loans I would have to take out.

After graduation, I had a large amount of money saved up and made a huge payment to get rid of my largest and highest interest loan right off the bat. This lowered the interest rate and my monthly payments significantly.

Honestly, I felt I did the best I could, with what I had. No one is perfect, and while you are in college, you are usually making a lot of decisions for the first time on your own. But it's also great knowing that the sound decisions I made early on have led me to a more secure path. So yes, my student loan story is boring, but I know it's better this way.

What did you do with your student loan money? Did you use it on the practical or was it misspent on all the greatest things college students find!?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Link Love!!!

There is so much on the internet that intrigues me! Some of these are on the older side, but they are great if you didn't get a chance to read them the first time around!

Leo talks about selfless compassion and how we as mere humans can develop this trait. It's hard to be kind to everyone we meet, and imagine everything through their eyes, but we can always give it a shot!

Kirstin Wong talks about lifestyle inflation and if there is a reasonable way to do it. She also discusses job loss and how to deal with this tough subject.

Linda writes about how money and happiness correlate and how often a large amount of money really doesn't mean anything at the end of the day.

What do you do when you are in debt? Well, if you are a good PFer, you'll try and pay it off as quick as possible. Frugal Rules has a great article on how to get your butt moving in the right direction!

One of my favorite articles in a few weeks was by Bridget and increasing net worth by 25k a year. On a 50k salary. Yes, she went there. It's awesome and even if you don't think you can, you probably can learn something to help you become even savvier with your money.

If we want to start saving some money, perhaps the best thing we can do is cut out the things we don't need. Over at Just A Little Less, being able to cut out spending by shopping less is a great way to start!

Reading! One of my favorite things! Leo has a few recommendations, but it's what he says about reading that is worth heading over there.

Glorifying Debt! Sounds interesting right? Over at Dear Debt, she talks about whether going to school and accumulating so much in student loans was really worth it. In my opinion, it really depends on the individual and the situation.

At Dear Debt, she talks about her ex-lover, savings. It's a great post about how savings are a wonderful thing, but how they need to take a backseat at times when debt is in the picture (talk about a third wheel!).

At Mo' Money Mo' Houses, she's got some special news to share!!!

As all of you know, I've been considering purchasing a car for the longest, and at Journey to Saving, they are contemplating the same thing! However, they are a bit on opposite sides, due to his car not being completely on it's last leg.

At Budgets are Sexy, J. Money tries to help someone who feels they never have enough money and want to stretch it as far as possible.

At Thirty Six Months, the situation described, of helping others, and can you afford that, sort of reminds me of me! Do you know anyone else like that? Anyway, a great article on what to do to know where your money goes!

Being able to Create Space is sometimes difficult for us at one point or another. But this article should help with even carving out ten to fifteen more minutes in your day!

Whew...Well that was a list! Get some coffee (or tea) and get started!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Appreciating Time Off

Finally, a day off! A first in quite a bit! Even though I only work part time, with my long commute, it feels more like a full time job at the end of the day. So the day or days off I get during the week are used to not only catch up on housework, but also to work on those small projects or make a really delicious meal (or three). 

It's really interesting that when we really have no work to do, we get a bit anxious, and then we start looking around for a new project to start or a new skill to learn. We can almost say that we get a bit bored. As humans, we really do want to contribute and feel we are doing something with purpose. 

But when we work too much, we miss the time to do whatever it is we want. To explore, to let our creativity run and find it's own outlet. We also need time to rest and relax, to make sure we do not burnout our mind or body.

So, it's a bit of appreciation for the work life balance that we all try to master. Work is great to give us meaning to our lives, but life is also a great thing to enjoy. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Paying Off My Student Loans and Getting There Faster

Another blogger on the interwebs wrote a very interesting article about increasing your net worth by a huge amount every year. And one of her points was earning over 50k a year. It got me thinking how being able to earn more money opens many more doors. But where some people can tap into a side income or work a few over time hours at their main job, that's a bit more difficult for me.

I've thought really hard about working a second job, which would be easy to find during this holiday season. It would definitely increase my meager salary, however, when you take the bus everywhere, and you live in the middle of nowhere, it becomes almost impossible.

So, for the sake of being able to do something productive, and change my situation, I'll be looking into purchasing a car!

But wait, how does this relate to paying off debt if you are going into more debt? Yes, it sounds counter intuitive, but it actually isn't. Instead of a 1.5 hour commute each way, it would be about 20 minutes (yes, the bus route is that roundabout). Then a second job at night (probably one where the restaurant has a bar and thus closes later) would only take me a max of 30 minutes to get to. Yes, it would mean having to pay for a car and all the associated costs, but it does open up a lot of opportunities. It's not just free time to veg out, but free time to actually do productive things and spend time with the bf.

As for my school loans, it's finally time to come out with the whole amount:


I've been paying it off for a couple months now, and luckily, it's a small amount. But it's still debt and it's money I would love to use for something else. For the past couple months, I've been trying to pay double the minimum payment, and luckily, it's not that bad of a strain.

If having a car would mean the possibility of a second job, that would DOUBLE my salary, I could definitely contribute more on a monthly basis to my student loans! It would almost seem like a win-win!

It would be great to hear how others deal with a long commute or if they ever regret getting a car after taking public transportation for a long time. Please tell me I'm not making a mistake!!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: The Definig Decade by Meg Jay, PhD


So, if you guys can remember, way back when I said that I'd be reading ten books for October, it looks like I'll be a few shy of meeting my goal. One thing I tend to do is read a few books all at the same time and choose long, complicated story lines. For some, it may seem impossible, trying to keep all the plots straight, but it works for me!

I picked up this book because a few people close to me had a variety of responses to just the title, not even thinking about delving into the actual content to wait for judgement.

The title of the book says it all, the author really believes that your 20's are super important in shaping who you are as a person going forward. She uses research and studies to supplement her point, but also stories of actual people she has helped in her practice.

She divides the book into three important parts of life: Work, Life and Health. She then divides these sections even farther, and concentrates on issues that may seem nominal at the moment, but make a difference ten and twenty years down the road. For work, she talks about how 'weak ties' can actually land you the perfect job. In the life section, she discusses the importance of making sure you choose not only a great spouse, but also a great step family. And last but not least, in the health section, it's not only about keeping yourself healthy and developing those healthy habits early, but what happens when you leave having children til it's too late.

My favorite portion was when she talks about a girl who constantly feels stressed about work, and uses her family and friends almost as a crutch to get through her day. She is told to let go of that crutch and focus on learning to deal with these issues and feelings on her own. Now, she is able to create her own coping mechanisms, making her even more prepared for the outside world.

It was a quick read for me, and I would recommend it to anyone in their 20's who feels really lost. It was hard for me to relate to a lot of the examples because I have such hard and fast goals. She really focuses on those people who feel working at a coffee shop for the rest of their lives seems like an okay thing to do. She does a great job of giving names and definitions to some of those feelings we have and others tell us about, but seem so abstract.

Have any of you out there read this book and if you did, what did you think? Or what are your opinions if you have only heard of it?

I picked this book up of my own free will and these opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Unstable Environment...

These past few days have been a bit crazy, and the title alludes to it all...

The Unstable Environment!

One of my fellow co-workers had to up and leave completely due to various reasons. It was a tough decision on her part, and she is dearly missed, but she did the best she could with the circumstances presented.

However, that means that we all had to take over the many shifts that she used to work. And she used to work quite a bit to support her children. A lot of the shifts ended up being transferred to me, which has been difficult because some days I literally feel the stress in all my joints. But remembering that it's temporary makes it that much easier!

It got me thinking what happens when you find yourself in a tough spot? When everything seems to be going wrong and you need to take drastic action right then and there?

One thing I know will help me is my constant belief in paying myself first. For the most part, I try and save about half of my money on a monthly basis, which is extreme, but it really makes me focus on what is a need and what is a want. My values aren't objects, but the small things that can cheer me up any day.

For my retirement account, they are maxed out every year by weekly direct deposits. Once a month (which I'm considering switching to bi-weekly, so I make sure to never over-draft) a direct deposit is made into a savings account (which is also utilized as an emergency fund). So, monetarily I'm prepared for almost any unexpected situation that might just pop up (aka the stove!!!).

The bf and I have also talked about what would happen if something ever happened to one of us. We have lists of numbers of relatives and close by friends on the fridge that we know would be there for us in a pinch. We try and not be big planners for every minuscule detail, but we have general ideas for how an emergency situation would be handled.

Even though small or big life events can happen to us at any moment, the best thing we can do is to prepare for it all. Having a good sized emergency fund or even having a plan of what to do or who to call when things go wrong can really help when you are in the heat of the moment.

Do you guys have ways to cope with the unexpected in life. be it financial or just life?

Friday, October 11, 2013

September Expenses...

So, September was a bad month, a really bad month...

Please, see the red and then look away. It was hard, even for me!

Sorry that it might be a bit (or really) blurry, but it's the best I could do for some reason! 

My income wasn't the best, but the worst part was that I did not control my spending with that. As you can see, where I really killed it (in a bad way) was in the groceries, food and snacks area. It's a really big weakness of mine that I'm trying to curb... Along with that, my medical expenses were higher than normal because of a few more visits to the doctor. It was a condition that needed immediate treatment, and I'm happy that it was treatable with just a cheap prescription. 

For hair, I bought a really great hair gel with a 50% off coupon! Win! 

Did not do well with giving September either, and am hoping that finding an organization that I can give to will help with this. 

Even though student loans is red, I actually overpaid by twelve dollars! Making some progress! 

If you count it all out, you can see that I actually 'spent' more money than I made. My checking account is severely lacking. My favorite part about tracking my expenses is that I know where everything went. So, October is better in that I'm actively checking on a weekly basis how much money I have left for the month!

Comments? Questions? Am I really doing that poorly...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh The Ways You Can Save!

People are always surprised that there are tons of small and simple ways to save. And the best part is that there are a bunch of them on the interwebs. Here's just a few that the bf and I utilize on a daily basis.

 Credit: Yes, Monty Python slippers...didn't realize they made these...

Instead of wearing socks around the house, find a pair of slippers you love. It's not that socks are bad, but they really don't last when you wear them day in and day out. Slippers tend to have a sole that will last longer and if you buy an excellent pair, can keep your feet healthy and happy. And if you live in a region that has moderate temperature, try walking barefoot! It's super good for you.

Buy toilet paper rolls that actually last! Most people tend to but those cheap one ply that makes you think they'll last forever, but actually require you to use more. Target usually has great deals for Charmin that give you a gift card if you buy two or more, and combine it will coupons, and you'll actually coming out ahead!

Don't use all the meat! Some people enjoy combining their meat with tofu, but that's something  I could never do to my bf. But one trick that works well, is adding rice to whatever meal we are using. So for example, tacos, half of the taco will be filled with rice, and then with a bit of meat. I've never heard my bf complain about it, and it's really helped on our meat consumption. For pasta, we tend to make a pasta sauce with lots of chunky veggies so it actually looks a lot more appetizing.

So, do you guys have any more interesting ways to save?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October Goals and Some Link Love...


Is 2013 going by too quickly or is it just going by too quickly? Lots of things to get done and so little time...

Anyway, our stove-top broke today, which means quite a few things. Not only do we have to get a repairman to take a look at it and hopefully get it back in working order, but we can no longer cook our daily meals. We will probably be eating out tonight and possibly tomorrow night also, but maybe we can make some plans to use a friend's kitchen to make a few meals and lunches to tide us over. As you may remember (or not, it's alright, still love you) I have a bit of a restrictive diet that makes it much harder to eat healthy outside the home.

Just thinking about how much this will derail our budget is killing me! At least that's why there is an emergency fund!

And with another month comes a few goals!

The Scary Goal List:

1. Read 10 books: Yes, that's a lot, and I will do it.

2. Run twice a week: It's better to start low and work my way up. Now that I've almost been given the free and clear from the doctor, I can get back into full time running. My goal is to also join a gym that has an affiliation with my workplace and get the special 2 year offer. It's safe to say that I've been using a gym for the past 3 years, it's become a good staple and will be during the coming winter.

3. Keep on Cooking!: Even with the setback of the broken stove, cooking is so important in the budget we keep for our household. And it's something that brings both of us together as a couple, so making sure we cook something at least five out of seven nights is super important. (Side note: Hopefully by the end of tomorrow I can have some numbers up for September, talking about budgets and such...).

And, some posts that caught my eye last week!

At Mo' Money Mo' Houses, the Quarter Life Crisis was talked about. Most people don't realize this but, it's an actual thing! Us mid 20 year olds aren't just suffering from narcissism and dealing with reality, just honest confusion as to where and what in our lives.

And at Budgets Are Sexy, our favorite J. Money does a great job of summarizing Ashton Kutcher's speech. Quite of a few of these ideas that I take to heart, and bring to work with everyday. It makes it super hard when you work with those that feel life is something that happens to them.

Wine!!! What would I do without it, what I could do without it (at times). J.D. Roth wrote a wonderful article on enjoying this simple pleasure on the cheap.

Are you more of the person that enjoys going out or staying in? Live Simply Live Well wrote a great article on their introverted nature. Finding the things that make you happy and investing money in them will bring more happiness than you can ever imagine. Knowing whether you are an introvert or extrovert as an individual and as a couple can make a world of difference.

Have a great rest of the weekend! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Clothes Bin

Ah, fall and the changing of seasons. Up North and in other parts of the country, the shift in temperature can be pretty dramatic, meaning that clothes have to be reconsidered. Sometimes the things that we enjoyed the past few months really aren't that appropriate going forward.

A couple months ago I donated quite a few bags of clothes to Goodwill, because I realized there were not only too many, but most of them were too young and not really me. So with that, I ended up having a bin system, which I'm still working on. My goal is to get down to one bin where two seasons (either Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer) clothes are stored in there while the other hangs in the closet. For me, it's really great because it limits my intake of clothing and makes me consider what I really need.

Right now, I currently have two bins, with one of them containing special occasion dresses and winter outerwear that partly fills it up. The last few things to be donated will probably be the hardest, since I've had them forever, look great on me, but have rarely, if ever, been worn.

Other places there are tips including to turn your hangers around and then at the end of the season donate those. Or even Project 333, which makes you really consider what are the important staples.

And even though I do work in an area with tons of retail stores, it doesn't (well not often) make me want to shop. I actually try and avoid retail which is quite surprising. Perhaps, the shopping bug will catch me one day!

What is your method in trying to limit the number of clothes you have or storing them for the off season? Or let me know if you have a sprawling closet fit for a queen (or king)! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

There's Today and There's Tomorrow...

Sometimes we make these long to do lists that never seem to be completed before we head off to bed. However, we find ourselves wishing we had more time in our day. What is it that we didn't get to do today? Was it really that pressing?

Did we also forget that there are seven days in a week? There is almost always a tomorrow, and if you are not one to procrastinate, not everything has to be finished today. Take some time and enjoy the day and what it brings. Perhaps it means watching the sunrise with a cup of tea in your hand, or taking some time to play with the kids or catch up with a good friend.

Just a friendly reminder! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Mornings...

Photo Credit: Melissa Dunlap from 

Ah, my favorite time. Usually, if I'm not working, you'll find me having brunch with a friend and then heading out to the farmer's market. These early hours are a great time to just relax with a great cup of tea or coffee!

  • Fall is a great time to declutter your home and make it a warm and inviting space not only for the holidays but also the cold weather that will keep you indoors. On Becoming Minimalist, Vincent writes a great post on why people tend to delay this process. 

  • Budgets are Sexy writes about the kitten they found! The bf and I love our pets, but they sure eat up our monthly budget! Giving a home to a stray is wonderful and hopefully he is taken in soon!

  • Mo' Money did a really great article on the Gen Y article that's been going around. If you haven't read it, you really should considering that everyone is affected by the Gen Y's issues. I could probably (and maybe will) write a whole article on how I feel about expectations and realities. 

And a great thanks to 1500 days for the mention!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Understanding Yourself...

Yesterday, my bf and I had a very interesting discussion in the car. We are both introverts, and readily admit it, and have been discussing ways we can become more extroverted. But the issue we found, is with whome do we wish to spend our time with? We recently joined a club that makes us feel super welcome and is helping to develop both of our speaking and leadership skills.

We had just gone out out to a dinner with various friends and coworkers, and found ourselves chit-chatting about various things in life that had come up. Or, we can say that other couples started sharing stories about their kids...

It's not that we don't fit in, they are his co-workers, so they share a work environment and skills. However, we don't have kids, which means we are out of that loop. One couple had just bought a timeshare for the whole family, which is something we would never do. Another lady enjoyed being decked out in designer duds and driving the latest 4-wheel that can fit everyone including the family dog. They really enjoyed discussing their latest purchases or their future vacations.

The issue is, that's not us. And we discussed deeply the values that we both have and wish to bring and continue in the household. Being that we are minimalists (not extreme) by nature, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, stuff really isn't a big part of it. Even though we could probably afford some of the things they define as needs, they just aren't anywhere on our radar. By a long shot. It's not that we wouldn't enjoy going out to a monthly dinner with them, it's just that we know the more time we spend with them, the more we might drift into their way of living.

It was definitely an important topic that brought us closer together and gave us a better understanding of ourselves as units and as a couple.We ended up deciding to continue developing the friendships within this club of ours along with finding a club that we have a specific interest in and bringing home that new experience.

Interesting enough, when it came time to pay, we were the only ones with cash. As I had stated previously, I use the envelope system because it works super well with the way I'm paid in my current job, by tips. Everyone else was rifling through their arsenal of credit cards, which made me wonder if they really could afford everything or were they relying on all this stuff to define who they were.

How important is it that you hang around people who are just as thrifty as you are? Do you think people hide behind their stuff more often than not? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

End of the Year Goals...

As the fall starts to roll in and the last quarter of the year begins to unfurl, I wonder what goals are important to keep in mind these next few months. Especially during the holiday season, it's so important to maintain focus, when the world around us could be falling apart due to all of the "necessary" obligations. Remember, it's not all necessary!

So, I sat down and thought about a few things that I want accomplish these next few months:

BUYING A CAR! So, this is something I've really considered. With this winter predicted to be the worst in years and my lack of ability to generate any body heat, it's almost imperative that I buy a car to get me to and from work on the worst of days. It's a move I'm making after lots of thinking about the positives and negatives (mainly the money drain it will be) but will be beneficial towards keeping me safe and providing me more time to focus on other things in my life. If you remember, my bus trip is about 1 to 1.5 hours on a normal day when by car I could be there in 20 to 30 minutes. It'll cut into some of my reading time, but hopefully it'll open up time for side hustles and sanity.

Continue making extra payments: I've been focusing on making an extra $200 payment each month to help speed up my student loan debt payoff. However, after the back to school blitz, the restaurant is back into dead zone mode. That means I'll definitely have to make sure I'm paying all my important bills first and really setting aside this extra payment. Maybe even scrounging around for loose coins...

Not feel so guilty about everything: It's been a habit of mine to feel guilty about purchasing anything now in days. Take for example before or after work, I'd usually get a snack at the restaurant I work, which after discount, would be under $3. I'd be thinking the whole time, these 3 whole dollars could be going towards my student loans or be a billion dollars after 40 years in a high interest account (not really... but you get the idea) instead of actually enjoying the food. My bf finally forced me to think about how what I was doing to myself wasn't healthy at all and that it's best if I think of it as an investment in my day. After a long shift and at least an hour commute ahead of me, the least I can do is make sure I don't pass out on the bus ride home and have my money stolen. He was right, and even though I have tried packing snacks in my bag, it doesn't do the trick like an actual meal. And that's okay, sometimes your body is worth that small amount. And that's why I have a large snack budget, for these extra snacks that I know I need to have.

What are some of your goals you have for the end of 2013 besides keeping your sanity through the holiday season?

P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts for awhile. I had been working quite a few days in a row, and had been feeling under the weather, but like always, pushed myself to keep going. Found out I had an infection and took some time away to get better! Now that I'm all better, I can focus on the things I enjoy doing! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Thoughts and Reminisces

So, when we first started our garden, we had big plans, something along the lines as the picture posted above. Thanks to for the pic.

Well, let's just say that it looks nothing like the above. Nothing at all. We have actually gotten quite a few things these past few weeks, including lettuce and cucumbers, but that seems to be about it for the time being. Ended up taking a few hours to not only weed, but taking out plants that were not producing anything, and looked halfway dead. At this point, we might get a few more things, but next year we will have to plan it out much better.

What's the one thing in your budget that's truly a splurge and you shouldn't do as much and yet you do it anyway? For me, it's definitely going out with friends. We usually make sure to spend under $20, and even will skip drinks and stick to water or coffee so as to savor the food we order. It's a bad habit, but one that I want to continue. Ended up having a great brunch on Saturday at a lovely little cafe that I would never have found if it weren't for my friend who lived around the corner. We were surrounded by brick walls being covered by ivy and flower beds at each and every corner.

One other thing is that with the time that I have thought about is how 'bored' I sometimes feel. It's not really boredom, but just not knowing what to do with all this free time. It's definitely a love-hate relationship. I finally have time to read, crochet, knit, do puzzles, catch up on some tv, and so many more things. It's something that must be battled on a daily basis. That it's okay to not be doing something every single second of the day.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun or something that was much needed?

Monday, August 12, 2013

July Expenses and...

Hey you guys! I know this is a bit late, but hey, better late than never, right? 

So here it is! The spreadsheet of death! Or better known as the monthly expenses...

Because this is my first one, and will set a precedent (well hopefully) for the following months, I want to make sure to go line by line. 

Rent: The house we live in is paid for and so, the only thing we pay on a yearly basis is taxes. The reason I call this rent is that I give my bf $100 a month to cover some of the living expenses that are under his name (water, electricity, etc.)

Phone: The cellphone bill. This is actually for both my mom and I, where I pay every month, and every couple of months, my mom writes a check out for her portion. Usually it's much lower than this, but last month my phone was stolen (sad, sad day...) so I had to pay an activation fee. 

Supplies: This category can vary from month to month, but it's usually steady. This month unfortunately, we had a ton of things to get. This included going to BJ's and getting large amounts of pet food. 

Groceries: My bf and I split the grocery bill in half. He is a big meat eater, while I have a special diet that requires me to not only make a lot of meals of home, but by food that is usually a bit more expensive. It's something I've come to terms with both emotionally and financially.

Dining Out: This expense is mainly when I'm going out with friends. When my bf and I go out together, he pays for it because his income is substantially higher than mine. Because my friends are in the same boat as I, we usually are able to come up with something meaningful on the cheap. 

Snacks: Because I work in the mall, and along with that have a really long commute, I tend to snack while waiting for the bus or a ride home. It can get really bad at times, especially if the day has been long or had to deal with a lot of tough customers. A tea here or a latte there, it really does add up, as you can see!

Medical: Forgot that this co-pay was due...

Hair/nails: For some reason I always put nails, but I've never done anything to them, except paint them myself. But I do get my hair done, due to it being of an unruly nature on an everyday basis. Unfortunately, it costs me a bit of money, but it's not something that gets done that often.

Clothing: Whatever suits my fancy! So, not really, but if there is something on sale and it catches my eye, you know I'm going to buy it! This time it was some shorts and shirts for lounging around. 

Side: So, I have a side hustle that I was really into a few months back, but kind of fell away from. So I'm going to start it over again. This amount is to start myself over again!

Student: My student loans! My favorite thing to pay back! Because it happened to be in the middle of the consolidation, I wasn't able to pay anything because I totally forgot to take care of it earlier in the month...Oh well, I'll make sure to be intense these next few months! 

IRA: Because I'm worried about retirement and my employer does not have a 401k, well, a Roth IRA is better than nothing! The reason why I do contribute so much is that I hope that feeling the squeeze right now will make it easier later on in life to contribute even more. 

Church: That did not go as well as I had planned. Hopefully August is better...However, we did end up donating quite a few things to the food pantry and school supplies. 

Gifts: Had two unexpected events that I was invited to last minute. Usually I am able to plan for these, but I was able to come up with something thoughtful both times.

Vitamins: As a waitress, I usually don't get breaks and tend to skip meals. So, not only do I buy multivitamins, but protein shakes to make sure that I am getting the proper nutrients. 

Disclaimer 1: There is no transportation costs due to the fact I do not really pay for it. I take the bus everywhere, and the bus is free for me, and along with that the bf drives me wherever if necessary, but we do most things together anyway. 

Disclaimer 2: We don't pay for cable/television/home phone because of bf's job. It covers all those expenses as long as he works there, so it's something we don't have to worry about for now or the near future.

Something I have been considering is the purchase of a vehicle to get me to and from work. At this current moment, my bus ride is pretty long, between one and two hours, which would normally take 25 minutes by car. With that, the winters in the area can be, and are pretty intense. The reason I've held back is the extra money has been going towards savings/IRA/student loans. But it is a possibility so stay tuned!!!

Please don't be shy (I know some of you aren't) but what are your opinions? It would be awesome to hear what you think after seeing a breakdown of my monthly expenses and your ideas on the areas that can be fixed!

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Little Update...

Just wanted to write a few things to let you guys know I'm still here. Remember how I said I didn't know if I was going to be able to make enough for the month of July? Well, this girl worked her but off for five days straight (last week) and same for this week also, by picking up extra shifts and proving herself to be a great employee. With that, I really have to say it all worked out, but there were definitely a few surprise expenses that derailed me. It really pays off to be hard worker and showing it off as best you can to save your financial butt!

With that, this weekend I'll be posting a recap of July financials and be posting some numbers for all to see! Trying to decide how I want to set it all up, because I know this will be the benchmark for all the other updates. Definitely a bit nervous because I'm opening myself up to criticism, but looking forward to all the positive comments that people have to give.

Along with that, I've declared August to be a no-spend month. There are a few birthdays that I've already taken into consideration, along with one dinners out, but I really want to get my finances back on track! What's the point of working extra shifts to have the money disappear into thin air.

Hope you all enjoy the weekend and have some frugal fun!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Thrifty and Saavy Twenty Something

When you think about the following words, what type of person comes to mind: thrifty, frugal, spendthrift and economical? Most people think of a woman in her 30's or 40's with a kid or two, trying to squeeze every penny out of the family's paycheck. Or at least that's the gist I got when asking my friends.

There is definitely a certain type of person or people that come to mind that would embody frugality more than others. And it's easy to say that we judge others based not only on their outward appearance, but their age and the setting we find them in. It's easy to think that person buying 12 buy one get two free t-shirts is a savvy shopper, but in reality, they could be great at 'spaving' and be up to their eyeballs in credit card debt.

There are tons of people out there who believe in the generalizations that have been fed to them about the different generations. When you deviate from those ideas, they look at you pretty funny and start to wonder what you are up to. It definitely takes a lot of courage to break away from the ideas of the mainstream and start down a different road. There are times when I find it difficult to say no to a dinner or a certain outing because I don't constantly want to be viewed as the homebody who doesn't want to go out.

And let's not even start with the grocery store or my favorite place, Target! Do people look at you odd when you hand the cashier over a stack of coupons, half printed from the web and the other half clipped, and then stating that you saved over $40 on your shopping trip today? They usually do for me, because no one is expecting a 20-something to be willing to put that much effort into anything, especially to save money. They see us as the lazy and entitled generation, not the clipping coupon and stooping to pick a penny class.

I've come to accept what people will think about me, and what sometimes my friends think about me. Those who have stuck around, even when I suggest a walk in the park followed by ice cream instead of dinner and drinks are those who are meant to be there. Logging onto Facebook and seeing those that have purchased their brand new car or a 5 week vacation to 8 points in Europe, reminds me that we grew apart for a certain reason. Not because they are not nice people, but our priorities in life at this given point are different.

Have you ever met someone who didn't fit your 'frugal' or 'thrifty' image? Have you ever seen someone save a whole bunch with coupons and give them a mental high-five (I have!)?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Where am I Supposed to Be???

Today was one of those days where nature was really calling my name. Even though the clouds were rolling in for the rain that's expected later today, an hour long walk gave me some time to clear my head along with some fresh air. It also gave me some thoughts as to my

As you guys found out in the last post, I'm pretty much underemployed. And by that, I work in the restaurant sector. It's definitely a salary that covers the basics along with leaving me enough to make progress on my loans and not be eating soup or mashed potatoes for every meal. Anyway, it's not that fun, nor is it that mentally stimulating, and most of the time, aka all the time, leaves me physically exhausted at the end of the night. 

So, it must have been picking the wrong major right? Actually, no. I have two degrees in the hard sciences, which means that jobs should have been mine for the picking. Except not. I didn't want my mother to support me at any point of my life, so I went ahead and got a part-time employment that gave me something not only to do, but also as a way to meet people and not be a complete introvert. Yet, it left me, and still leaves me at times, feeling somewhat resentful of the cards life has dealt me. 

There are days I wonder if years later, I will look at all this free time as squandered because my appreciation was so lackluster. Because the other people around me were able to move onto the next step at a quicker rate than I was. That they were able to obtain employment right out of college, or able to get a car so they no longer relied on public transportation. Some days, I easily forget that the purpose of life is to enjoy the journey and not rush through each checkpoint. 

There are tons of opportunities in our daily lives that we do what others expect us to do, and it comes out with positive results. But what about those times when you just have this nagging feeling that all is not quite right in your world. That what you are doing is so you can hold your ground among the group. But that might not be your group, you might not be even on the right land per se. 

Not all achievements are made to be placed on the wall or displayed outwardly with a pretentious smile. That day you made the perfect apple pie or finished reading the novel before the renewal date, those are also accomplishments that leave an inward feeling of satisfaction. 

So to all those who feel they need to keep on rushing to finish this stage, collect the reward and move onto the next major hurdle, slow down. That slice of apple pie is meant to be savored, not gulped down.

As for me, it definitely is a day to day journey. I have to learn to appreciate where I am right now, and what I have to give to the world. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

It always seems...

that the minute you go and start to do something, the most necessary thing you need has disappeared from right under you. Yup, you guessed correctly, the laptop was it. Luckily, against my ex-bf's thoughts, I had purchased the extended warranty and the issues should be covered. However, the week to two that it will take seems to be dragging right along and when you are sharing a laptop, it becomes a bit more of a tug of war than ever before...

Apart from enjoying the holiday somewhat laptop free, I ended up finishing a few books that I had started reading quite awhile back (including a PF book which I'll review) and doing a much needed thorough cleaning of the living spaces. Yay for clean and clutter free! While cleaning though, I was thinking of a few goals for July and here's what popped into my brain:

To start off for July, I definitely, and I really mean it, need to focus on not spending anymore money on clothes. Between finding a discount store, buying a vintage purse and taking advantage of a few sales around the mall to update my 8+ year old summer wardrobe (and yes, there are probably clothes that I have worn since middle school in the mix, a bit scary to think about it) my clothes budget is a bit overextended at this moment. It's not that clothes are bad, no they are truly wonderful inventions, but they can definitely destroy a girl's budget if you aren't careful.

Second, focusing on the vegetable patch. It's been pretty rainy these days, and it always seems to rain when I'm not at work and do have the time to weed and spread a bit more compost. Within the next few weeks (we started much later than we had planned, but so is life) there should be a few things ready for the picking,

And third, continue networking to find a mentally fulfilling job. It's something I'll definitely blog about later, but I am definitely NOT, in the field in which I studied for 4+ years. It's been extremely difficult these past few months getting interviews along with any type of job offer. The current job I'm in is actually a really great side gig and something I will continue once a FT job is secured. Let's hope that this is my month!

For those of you who made this a long weekend (lucky!) continue enjoying your holidays and hope your July 4th was great!

What are your goals for this month, including fun stuff (which I never do, jk)? Also, have you ever been in a position of being underemployed for an extended period of time? How did you handle it? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It seems...

It seems that I've neglected something that I thought would hold me accountable to some extent, or at the very least remind me of why I thought a blog was so cool.

One of the reasons why I wished to start a blog was to share portions of my life, including how I spend my hard earned money and how I reduce the amount of debt that I have. But also, not to make solely a financial blog, but also to share some of the opinions and thoughts that pass through my mind through everyday life. I've always been one that holds back a lot of wishes to be said, and at times even needs to be said, to the detriment of those surrounding me. Perhaps, but we never know!

So, it will be one part finance, one part part thoughts and feelings and another part whatever comes to mind at the time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

First and foremost...

The first few posts will be the hardest considering that in reality there is no set theme or direction. The best thing to do I guess, is to write a little about me and where I'm starting from.

As many others will be doing this year, I just completed my college education, and have found myself the holder of not one, but two, degrees that might or not be useful in my future endeavors. It would be easy to tell others that I'm a realist, one of those who looks at life through which the lenses are clear and focused. But truthfully, I'm usually a pessimist who sprinkles optimism on others when the sun is out and tries to confuse them into thinking that's who I am too.

Apart from that, my interests are far and wide and ever changing. Currently they are finding a job, perhaps in my field of study (chemistry) but will not be completely disappointed if that does not happen. What would make my day is coming across and getting into a job involved in finance. Kind of out there, and probably  going to be harder to achieve with the conditions of most banks at this time, but let's sprinkle that optimism. 

Along with that, I enjoy dancing, especially ballet, reading, and puzzle books. I'm also trying out a few new things, and we where we will go with them the following months. First in line is this simplicity/minimalism thing that's been kicking around for some time. It's not the idea of removing all the material aspects of your life, saying bon voyage, and living on a remote island in the middle of nowhere. The ideas that surround it are supposed to nurture happier and healthier human beings that are conscious of what's going on around them. 

And with the coming of age that means responsibility. They seem tied together forevermore. But that's fine, because it's a challenge that I've decided to meet head-on, well kind of. I'm currently unemployed, but hopefully that won't be for long. But it does mean that my expenses are definitely are outweighing what I'm bringing in. And with my student loans on the table, a long distance relationship that is trying to be worked out as we speak, budgeting is going to be in the works. Mine is of course rudimentary, but hopefully it will develop with me. 

But what is this about the finding of passion? Well, I guess it's me finally realizing some of the things I had passion for no longer exist, but that they were never filled with something else. Kind of sad huh? But it won't be finding passion today or tomorrow or at some date 2.35 years in the future. It's about finding it in small things everyday. It may take time and definitely a lot of contentment, but to be able to branch out and experiment and try new things that truly make me feel passionate about life must come around one day.