Monday, December 7, 2015

My Christmas List...

Will be pretty short this year. And that's not unfortunately. For many years, I've always wanted a laundry list of things, not wants, but needs. I'd save myself up for them and then let it all out come November. New pjs, replace the makeup that ran out months ago, you get the idea.

However, this year has been different. Well, not really but still radical. All my desires lately have been squashed. No reason at all, just that there really isn't anything that catches me like it used to. And those needs? Well, they are met for the most part. Being able to pay for not only my wants and needs along with a hefty savings rate has finally made my heart fill with joy. It's no longer a balancing act. It's no longer a hassle to figure out what needs to be paid first.

So, this year my list is short because I don't have really anything to ask for. Perhaps a few candles would be nice. Maybe a gift card for a craft store. Perhaps a book store also?

Is this my move away from wanting? Is this the freeing sense of not desiring anything more? It actually feels kind of nice. To be able to go into a store, look at things, put them down, state how nice they are and walk away.

What I really desire can't really be bought at a store. A few more hours with the ones I love. Seeing them more often over a wonderful home cooked meal or having more time for board games. Those are the things that make me truly happy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Clean Does It Need to Be...

This past weekend my mom stopped in for a quick visit which was really quite wonderful. But in a way very nerve wracking. Now having to be an adult and call myself one means that I have to make sure she doesn't see me and the house we live in as an expansive teenage room.

With that I dug in a bit deeper as to what was causing so much anxiety.

1. I've been working non-stop lately along with another outside responsibility that was taking up hours of my day. All the hours of all the days. It almost feels like I come home to fall asleep and that's about it.

2. We do not communicate as to what has been done as much as we should. Sometimes we will even expect the other person to get a hint and help out or compliment on a job well done. Sometimes I'll notice it weeks later and wonder about how it got done and whether any little elves were involved.

3. Three pets does not lend to a clean house. End of story.

So my question was how clean does the house need to be before your family comes over? My mom stated that everything looked pleasant. Highly doubt she was lying, and I know the candle right when you walked in the door cleverly hid some of the pet smells.

Perhaps living in the house and knowing each and every nook and cranny that hasn't been cleaned leads me to have vivid nightmares of all the dust bunnies that share our abode. Yet, they don't seem that troublesome at all yet.

Cleaning worries to get off your chest? I've finally finished my outside commitment which has allowed me to gain a better balance in my life. There was a cleaning fest one morning and all fears were calmed. 

Monday, November 2, 2015


Getting something out has been tough the past week. There are countless drafts, a few revisions here and there and it feels as though nothing is still coming together.

Why is that?

I'm not searching for perfection but nothing that I write or tinker with really projects what I've been thinking or doing lately. And it's nothing that exciting at all.

A lot of it has been packing my lunches on a day to day basis. Making sure that the laundry is done and dishes are clean or put away. There are some basic chores that fall to the wayside every now and then, but nothing that a good moping every now and then cannot remedy.

And for some reason those are the most important moments of simple living. Getting the small stuff that many disregard. Those small actions day after day are the ones that save the most. Wearing slippers and turning the thermostat down during the winter months. Cutting out the coupons for household items that are needed despite trying to go without them. It can seem tedious at some points, but in reality it isn't. Being able to find joy in them has made me appear complacent from the outside, but inside a lot more satisfied with the ebbs and flows.

As to money matters, I'm hoping with steady paychecks for the foreseeable future, I'll be able to make getting out of debt a priority and not just an afterthought. It seems that budgeting after the money is gone is what has been happening lately, which is a habit that needs to end here and now. Making a small hole for car repairs and savings will really save me in the long run.

As for the simplicity route, a lot of activities have been building up, which might be good, but can also lead to too booked of a schedule. My mornings have been filled with errands that can be done quickly and efficiently due to the lack of crowds. Grocery shopping is no longer on my most hated list. One thing I would like to transition to is enjoying the quiet aspects of a winter morning, cup of coffee in hand and pen in the other. Whether it be journaling or studying, less movement would probably be best for the season.

And of course the holidays! Perhaps a few more decorations this year will liven up the atmosphere? But more to put up means more to take down. We will see about that...

With the fall winding down and winter approaching, what is it that is still on your to do list for the year? 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spending Week? Let's Just Start Again...

What is the biggest disruption of a planned spending budget? The unplanned changes that go on in life. Last week was full of those, from starting a new job, to having to pay for parking, to being only a one car household for a few days. Yeah, it was crazy for both of us. But for me, there were quite a few changes that kept on poking me in the side.

Parking: Never realized how much parking fees could add up on a day to day basis. It never seemed to be a lot that day, but by the end of the week, my credit card didn't think it that fun at all...

Food: ??? A lot of little snacks were bought this week, stemming from poor planning, to just realizing that all the food that was brought for lunch didnt' last until 1pm, it was just a bit of a hunger fest. So, snacks galore! 

Other: Car deductible. OH life! You keep on making me spend money on things I don't want to...

So, here's to the start of a new week and to positive energy! 

My plans for this week are three no spend days and the word for the next couple months is contentment. Why do I need that word in my life right now? It's because lately, almost everything seems too little, not enough, still lacking. Nothing is getting done or accomplished and the checklist is still growing. Making a list of my wants and needs, but mainly my needs will remind me that in life, I really do have everything. There's nothing more that going to a store or ordering online can provide me. 

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 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)

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
Groceries: maybe 100?
Gas: 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.


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

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

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?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Next Quarter..

This past week has been very thought provoking for me. In a few weeks, I'll be turning 25, and that has startled me more than ever before. What I have done in my first 25 years on this Earth has been mainly milestones set by humans, but not a lot of it has been what I've been actively pursuing.

Now that I am conscious and aware of what type of person I am and what is out there, I can use that to my advantage and start partaking in activities that pique my interest and not merely arouse a satisfied groan for a job well done.

There are many aspects of my life that I have been neglecting, hoping that tomorrow will be the day to start, but in reality, today is too. Such as my health. I need to take care better of my body but also my mental health. Many of the reasons my body starts breaking down is because of my unhealthy eating habits due to higher than normal stress and less time to prepare meals in the morning because of how exhausted I was the night before. It's a never-ending cycle that can be broken with the right measures. All the equipment is at my disposal, yet I don't have the desire of the needed discipline to do it every night. Well, that is going to change!

Mentally, I need to get out of this rut of this is all that's out there for me. Yes, I waitress but that's not the end all be all. There are so many other careers out there that can provide me with the mental stimulation that I seek. But I'll never know if that apply button is never touched, not even once. So, taking time to really look at job postings not only in this area, but those around (and this is where the car comes in handy!) but physically taking the time to apply to them instead of keeping them open and considering all the reasons they would night hire me. Even if it means taking risks with other jobs that are far out there and pay a little less, maybe that's what is needed right now to get me back on track.

Financially, I need to hold myself much more accountable of my money on a daily basis. My debts have been going down at a reasonable rate, but I've been too willy - nilly these past four months with the small things. A drink out here and there has really started to add up four months into the year. My hope is to get January to April expenses all sorted out, take a really deep look into them and create a new budget to be tested May and June and the final version all set for July. This will give me the second half of the year to really make my money work for me.

The things I'm starting to appreciate are the home that the boyfriend and I are slowly creating. We are adding our personality here and there with small details that at times only we can understand why they fit. It's wonderful being able to look into our closet and see that we still have half of closet full of room. Our clothes have room to breath. We don't spend a lot of time or money on our appearance, but we appreciate other things that bring us together than divide us in separate directions. And I'd rather buy a couple ounces of tea over a sweater any day.

Everyday is teaching me what it is to be an adult in this world, but also a person, and a human. No one is perfect and failure needs to be a learning lesson. So hopefully I can take the failures and successes that are coming soon enough to heart.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meaningful Spending

The past couple of months there has been a wonderful, new change in my schedule. After work a few days a week, I'll change into my gear and head over to dance class. Most of the girls are about half my age, but I don't let that perturb me in any way.

At first, I tried it out, paying for classes with a drop in rate. Then I bought a few classes at a time. Afterwards, I went all in. Slowly, new clothes were bought along with some new shoes and the transformation was only starting.

Yes, that money could be used towards paying off my student loans a bit faster. But in all honesty seeing that balance go down a little bit more wouldn't make me that much happier.

Life is about living, and not just for tomorrow but today. Being able to dance provides me with a joy that roots itself in my soul. I feel myself awaken in a way that daily routines don't allow.

There is no guarantee that in a few years that my body will still be able to perform the same moves, or be as graceful as I am today. Perhaps I won't have the time to dedicate once kids come into the mix. Now is the moment and today is the day, I'm not going to procrastinate on this one.

What things in your life are you not willing to give up even if it meant getting out of debt faster? And it can't be something small! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Life Update...

What has grabbed hold of me lately you ask? If you wish to know, mainly it's been work (of course) but also getting myself in order. These past few weeks I've made a real commitment to myself of getting stuff done, and honestly, it's been a 180 degree change. Most days now are stress-free due to the fact most of the hard tasks are done before 10am or right after getting off of work. There are no dishes in the sink waiting for me and the pile up of house chores has almost disappeared. Some days, I feel like a new me...

Along with that, I've been working on picking up all the extra shifts possible without running myself into the ground. My goals for the extra money are to fully fund my Roth IRA but also to help pay for an upcoming vacation ( or 2). Looking at my planner (because this spreadsheet thing might be non-existent for a bit longer) it looks like things either will work out well (aka I'll saved for both of them) or not...

The Bf and I are also working on our home a bit more and finally got ourselves a TV stand. All the rooms are starting to look a bit more complete and less At-least-there's-furniture feeling.

I've also been focusing on drinking more water throughout the day and lo and behold my complexion has taken a turn for the better. Not only do I look more radiant and refreshed but I also have less acne. Hopefully soon I'll start feeling it on the inside as well!

Besides that, hopefully there will be a few more posts coming up during the month, along with my spending for January and February.

Any good things happening your way lately? Looking forward to the semi - Spring weather? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

That Time I Got Tricked...

Last week was a long and tedious week at work, which caused many tempers to flair. But what really set it off right was the oil change.

Yes, the car was due for an oil change and being the frugal one had a coupon and went to the location (which shall remain unnamed) early in the morning. My goal was to be able to get out in under an hour and give myself enough time for a bigger breakfast and some tidying up before heading off to a long day of work.

At first everything seemed to be going okay, they accepted the coupon and told me it would be only a small while. I sat down with my book, across from an older couple and then the wait began...

After an hour I went up to them and asked, how much longer and they said shortly, of course, everything will be finished...

And then it became an hour and a half...

And as we approached two hours my patience was for the most part worn thin.

After multiple times of pestering that I had to get going only then did they tell me they were done and the total.


Yes, I told them that this was too much and I had asked for a conventional oil change. Was I upset yes, but after two hours and only enough time to get to work without a minute to spare, there was nothing I could do but pay and leave fuming.

It makes me upset that my budgeted amount was totally ruined and they clearly took advantage of me and a new car. Honestly, it's a lesson learned which means from now on, the boyfriend will be coming with me to all future car appointments.

Have you ever had a frustrating experience that you write off as a lesson learned? 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Days off and Frugal Ways...

While working during the week, do you ever daydream what it would be like to explore your hometown or a neighboring city without the flock of annoying tourists? Or just even take a day off for the fun of it?

All that artwork and so little time...

Besides spending the whole day at the spa (because wouldn't that be awesome) there are so many exciting and frugal things to do that can occupy your whole day.

Exploring the local library and possibly checking out books: Maybe you'll peruse the new books section and make your way over to the magazines for awhile. You never know what you'll find there and what you will end up checking out!

Really study the artwork at your local museum: Many museums give discounts during specific days which makes it an even better deal! Spend time really looking into the depths of a portrait or analyzing every angle of a sculpture.

Taking a long nature walk: Perhaps discovering a new park has been on your to do list for awhile. Or your usual walk has been interrupted by a few inches (or feet) of snow. Take a peek at what is open and meander around for a bit. At least it will give you some fresh air and some much needed Vitamin D!

Trying out a recipe that requires that extra effort: Whatever it might be, you know it's the recipe you love making, but on almost any other day, it would be midnight before you sat down to eat. Take the time to make it extra special either for your or your loved ones.

Work on a project that has been left by the wayside: You know which one I'm talking about. That one exactly. The one that has been left on the side table in the spare bedroom that has not seen the light of day in over a year. Go ahead, just finish it off to check it off your checklist. The last 5% is the hardest but won't you feel a bit better?

Appreciate the time off: There are many people in the world who only dream of having a day off but have to work consistently to provide a home for their loved ones. Taking a few minutes out of the day to take a deep breath and find contentment is important.

Having a day or even a few days of relaxation doesn't have to be expensive. They can be even better if done during the week because you miss out on all the crowds.

What's your favorite frugal activity to do on your day off?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back from Vacation...

Ahh, a small respite from the ever demanding world is what the bf and I took and how needed it was. Luckily I had set aside some money for just this months ago and the room expense wasn't something that needed to go on the credit card (well it did, but then paid off!).

What was really important about this vacation was not only that it was paid for from a specified savings account, but that it was all about resting and recharging. Appreciating the down time and one another. We had been busy working five and six day weeks, eating whatever was available and probably not the healthiest. 

Yes, at one point I thought about it, and really questioned about using the saved up money towards a vacation instead of an extra payment towards student loans. And then those thoughts made me realize that life isn't just about paying off debt and working towards the next goal, it is about enjoying it. That is why 'extra' money was found for dance classes. These are the small wonderful things that make life worth living. 

It also made me realize the difference between cheap and frugal. There are days where we are actively working towards our goals by not buying lunch out and skipping on things we may not need. However, the pursuit of being cheap consequently makes you a miser along the way. Everything is an expense that can be sacrificed. Nothing is really that important, health and happiness are sacrificed. A balance has to be found in how far anyone should go for a healthy bank account. 

In the end it was all worth it. We were able to experience a wonderful quaint town, consume some of the best food, and not worry about a single thing, except when our next nap would be.

Have you ever thought about using a goal - specific account for extra payments towards your debt? Did you do it or did you go through with the intended goal? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

An Un-Resolution Type of Year...

Last year, I was so interested in having goals written down and posted everywhere so wherever my mind or body wandered to, they would consistently reappear. It became almost an obsession that got me somewhat farther in some goals and pretty much nowhere in others.

And this year, my friend wrote me a letter asking what mine would be this year. And she followed with, why not just skip them altogether?

I really stopped and thought about it. Why make resolutions that you will only look at months later and go, well that's too hard or I needed to have started earlier. Why give yourself such pressure early on?

With that in mind, I jotted down what would have been my resolutions for 2015 and instead made them into daily goals or habits that would slowly but surely change the outcome of my year.

A few of them include drinking more water, practicing a skill everyday, reading for a few minutes (either morning or night). They might not seem major, but they do add up to about an hour everyday. And perhaps they still are in some way resolutions, but there is no outside pressure to go above and beyond each day to achieve some high and mighty end goal, that if not checked off, leaves me with the feeling of guilt and regret on the last day of the year.

These types of daily goals are allowing me to focus on each day and on what is in front of me and not always what's ahead of me. The end goal is easy to come up with, read 100 books in the year, but the breakdown has stopped me from procrastinating.

And in all honesty, I feel a lot happier. There is no big wall or obstacles that need to be accomplished at the end of the year. The focus on the here and now is making me stop and enjoy each and every small task. And if I fail, it's okay, the world will still be there tomorrow.

Any resolutions that you are working on, picking up or thinking about finally laying them all to rest?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Slowing Down By Being Sick...

It's that wonderful time of the year again, no not some new resolutions, but the season of the cold and flu. You know it's coming because your body is telling you there is something slightly off. You deny it, or you start chugging OJ, but it's too late. The next day, you wake up not knowing whether you brushed your teeth and fed the dog. It takes all your energy to fall out of bed. This isn't your finest moment,  but it's the best time to slow down and take in the moment.

1. Take time to take care of yourself. The reason you probably got sick (because you know it's true) is that you have been working too much and trying to do everything at once. Take a day or two (or maybe three) to take a bath instead of a quick shower. To have a salad before your main course. To really let the stew simmer.

2. Catch up on the small things you have always meant to do. Maybe you have three episodes of that tv series left. Or 50 pages in that book by your bedside. Days like this make me feel lazy and like nothing was accomplished, so even getting something small like done makes me feel that much better.

3. Have a little treat. A bowl of ice cream.  A few pieces of candy. Your body does deserve it.

What's your favorite tip for your sick day? ( I will taking all into consideration these next few days...).