Monday, December 22, 2008

I Need a Constant Reminder

Whenever I want to spend money, which is pretty often, I get this weird feeling--I get excited, soon followed by guilt over spending (especially now, with our budget stretched to the breaking point), then I have an internal argument over whether to actually do it or not. I usually have about a 50/50 chance of spending or not.

But I read this today: "You don't cut out things that you value," Rob said. "The most important thing (about spending money) is can you remember it? I vividly remember those trips years later." (from an interesting article on MSN Money). And it stuck...I am going to add this to my repertoire of things to say to myself when I think I want something. Because usually, purchases aren't memorable. Yay another step to Financial Independence!! Or something. We still have an astronomically long way to go, but I'm chugging along.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Awkward Question

A detective from the Police Department called me today, to ask if I could think of any reasons why I'd been burglarized twice in as many months...I said no.....

Because, how do I say, well, it's probably because I'm white (living in a very much non-white neighborhood) and because my house is the only rehabbed one on my block...?

And I don't have anyone home all day like most of my neighbors (they are either retired or have parents living with them or something)...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Live in the Ghetto

Got broken into. Again.

Creep factor: I only just OPENED the donated laptop on Thursday night for about ten minutes, and then stowed it away again (NOT in front of any windows).

Creep factor #2: It's possible they knew 1) there was only a glass break sensor on the master bedroom window, no contact sensor and 2) we didn't have the motion sensors on because we don't know if the cats will set it off--because the window was carefully (and quietly, I assume) pried open, and they left using the same window rather than walking out a door.

(Of course, it is possible that all those things are pure coincidence and I'm not really being spied on, but geez).

I am so angry. I feel violated. All my shit was rifled through. Again, the laptop was the only thing taken. But ugh. They were much more thorough this time--drawers opened and rifled through, mattress moved, stuff in the closet thrown around...however, they didn't really make that much of a mess though because my house is SO messy right now. Which is both sad and funny.

Anyway. Back to work.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Saving Tips from the 30-Day Challenge

Tip #25: Earn more money using your God-given skills.

Basically, use the skills you have either freelancing, being a tutor, babysitting, whatever. Just DO it instead of thinking that you can't. I will try to tutor...I'm great at math and good with kids, and I like the "aha!" moments...Ramit suggests looking on Craigslist for tutors needed. I'll do that in a minute while still on lunch break!

Tip #26: Gardener? Cleaning lady? DIY instead.

We don't have any of these services...I guess the closest thing that might apply is that I sometimes get my car washed and vacuumed at one of the cheap $20 places. But that's because a) I have very little time and I'm so anal it takes me about six hours to get my car the way I want it and b) I live in Atlanta and WE CAN'T USE WATER RIGHT NOW. I may sneak and do it anyway.
OOH! I know what applies! Shaving my cat! I use a groomer! I think I might get husband to help me with that this weekend. She needs it and it's $45 bucks and I think we might be able to do it ourselves....

Tip #27: Use barriers to prevent yourself from spending money.

(i.e., remove yourself from shopping related email lists, force yourself to eat the food in the fridge before it goes bad, etc.)

I get e-mails from Overstock, Target, Banana Republic, Gap, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel...those are just the ones I can think of offhand. I don't even usually look at them, so why not just unsubscribe, period? That's a GREAT idea. Off to check my e-mail and start unsubscribing!

Safe to Dream

I think, now that the light at the end of the school tunnel is finally visible, my "dreaming" mode has kicked into gear.

I want to learn calligraphy and drawing. If there are no summer classes offered, I will take a calligraphy class, and maybe a drawing class too.

I want to clean and decorate my house. This will be a continual balancing act between not spending much money, but making my space the way I want it.

I want to cook something most days. I have TONS of recipes waiting that I want to try. (Pioneer Woman's recipes so far have all been foolproof and DELICIOUS).

I want to walk for exercise most days, and have time to hang out in the village that I moved to be near and love so much but don't get to see much of lately.

I think I have to limit myself to just a few at a time though. But I absolutely cannot wait until my life is my own again. The feeling is delicious even now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life, Oh Life

I am almost done with this semester! Yay! Then only TWO MORE TO GO!

And I get profit share on Friday, which will go toward tuition and car insurance. (Won't cover all of them, but is a nice reprieve from paying for them lol). Sure beats having to use savings!

I cannot WAIT for school to be done this semester. It's so nice to be able to do whatever I want in the makes me feel like cooking and cleaning and reading and stuff, unlike when I'm in school and I just come home and do homework and crash.

I also did a focus group for Focus Pointe Global (They pay for you to talk about your opinion! How perfect is that for me??) a couple weeks ago and got $100 for a 1.5 hour discussion. I have another one on Thursday that is going to net $75 for another 1.5 hour session. This freaking rocks. I've registered with a couple other focus group sites too, but so far haven't gotten to participate in anything yet.

I'm trying to think of ways to boost my income (other than asking for a raise...can't do that till April when the formal annual salary review happens) far all I've thought of is babysitting, dog walking, and making freezable meals for busy people to eat during the week. Haven't actually DONE anything about any of them though, because I feel so strapped for time right now. And most people want babysitters on weekends, which is the only time I have to spend with hubby (Seriously. THE ONLY TIME. I don't see him at all during the week, because he's in another town). If I did the meals thing, I'd have no idea how much to charge and what to put on the "menu". Just mulling stuff over right now.

Also, hubby and I discussed the future, and it has me all excited. (We both agree that after we've lived in the city for some years, we will move somewhere a bit more in the mountains somewhere). So I started daydreaming about the big (but not extravagantly so) mountain house we'll have, where our families will all (maybe?) come stay for thanksgiving or Christmas, and I'll drink coffee on the porch every morning and admire the scenery, and we'll hike and the blue ridge parkway will be RIGHT THERE for me to go drive on whenever I want, and we'll have a family centric life and I'll cook a lot and basically, it will rock. We will also have friends come visit for getaway weekends a few times a year--well, ok, I will....hubby may want to run screaming when he reads that sentence, but if he does he can go camp with the guys that weekend. And we'll have a garden and a fainting goat. Well, the fainting goat is a maybe, but we both think that'd be a great way to a) have goat cheese, b) not have to cut grass, and c) be entertained whenever the goat faints.

Um, also, I might want to teach high school math at whatever time we decided to move to the boonies. Amen.

More Tips

Tip #23: Go Cash-Only for 15 to 30 days.

I've been meaning to do this and haven't yet. (Because my paycheck is direct deposit and getting to the bank is kind of a pain in the ass for me, and I use a debit card for everything and track it anyway)...BUT. I need to do this. I want to do this. I know it will help me THINK even more about every penny I spend. I think I'm afraid I'll run out of money halfway through. But I get paid on Friday. I will take out enough to pay everything for an entire month (except bills I pay online already) and DO IT. Stay tuned!

Tip #24: Save 40% on your commute.

We are supposed to carpool or work from home to attain this one. I know of only one person in the office who lives anywhere close to me...I will email and see if they are interested in carpooling. No one here works from home, really, so I don't feel comfortable asking about that. (Plus, I'd need a company laptop because of the software required, and I don't have one of those).