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!