A Snail, I never knew.

When I was younger, I would spend time with my grandparents. They pasted away within 20 hours of each other.  Cleaning out there house taught me a few lessons, I admit, it took me a while to actually learn them.

One of them was the story a beautiful snail. It was silver. We weren’t allowed to play with, we weren’t allowed to play with any of the table decorations. Of course, I picked it up. I remember it was heavy in comparison to it size. Strangely, what I never discovered, the snail shell came off.

What no one knew, including my parents, within this snail shell, there was $500 hidden – five hundred dollar bills.  After their death we found it, and other money hidden around the house.  This idea of hiding money around the house really struck a cord with me.  Granted, they had plenty of money.  But it was as if they in case of a pinch that never came.

I wish that I was allowed to have that snail.  Just to hide money in it. I don’t know where it ended up.

While, I failed horribly (that is an understatement) at keep track of cash payments and/or just using cash to control my spending. I have continued to pay my electric in cash. I did learn, that is not the option for me. It simply doesn’t work for my lifestyle. It is possible that I didn’t try hard enough, or I wasn’t cognizant enough of the concepts. Either way, I know that cash and keeping track of cash is one of my weakest areas.

So I’m not doing it. I haven’t given up per se, but it just doesn’t matter to me.  Instead, I’m going back to that snail.  I’m taking a portion of the cash, or cash I have on hand every day, and hiding it.  No, I am not keeping track of where I put it, or even where I am putting it.  Here is the kicker, I forget.  The best part. I’m saving money.  That’s the key. It’s money that I am not spending on crap, candy and coffee.

Granted, this isn’t going to work for everyone. Roommates could run across the cash and take it.  You could run across is and go “score, I found $3.” But that’s life.

I’m trying to hide at least a $1 a day.  Some days more, some days less, I really don’t like these days. It depends on what I have in my wallet.

In case you’re wondering. I have my own version of the silver snail.  I have a blue Tardis. I got it as a Christmas present. It is awesome. I love it. It currently has a $20 bill in it.  You wouldn’t know that it contains money from the way it is constructed.

At minimum, I know where to find a $20 when I need to. At max, I forget where I have stashed the other cash.  Since I tend to not through anything out without examining it, I know I won’t be throwing money away.

So go find your own snail shell.

I paid off my visa credit card yesterday.(YEAH!)  I made a mistake. (NO!) I even checked or thought that I had checked, but I overpaid my Visa off by 39.85.  So, now I have a credit, on my credit card.  I did spend 20 this morning, so the credit isn’t as substantial as it could be.  It still annoys me. They won’t transfer the balance back to my checking account. I just got to live with it and spend it.  I need to get groceries, so…
I also today made a big decision and canceled my Loot Crate subscription. Sad day, I guess. This was a hard decision for me. I like (strike that) love Firefly. But half the time I’m not in love with the items in the box that I get from Loot Crate. And I hate that they charge you on day one, but don’t send you the items until day 60+. You never get any notice or time schedule for it when things happen.  That’s the other part that drives me crazy.
While my Loot Crate has already billed for June, I won’t have to pay for it again. Instead, I think that I will just keep an eye out for for the items, and purchase the items on eBay if I truly want them. I most likely will let them fade into the sunset.  Do I need the stickers, the books, the pins? not really. There have only been 1-2 things that I have been crazy about, everything else has been, eh.  This will save me 20$ a month in theory.
While I canceled my Loot Crate subscription, I picked up a different subscription. In this case, it was bread. I love this German gluten-free bread. It’s expensive. think $6 for a loaf that is 6″ long, and each slice is only 3×3 inches. On the other side, it tastes amazing. It is filling. More than anything it is gluten free. Gluten, I have learned flares my eczema.   And last night I learned how big 1 oz of dough at my favorite pizza place is. It’s the size of my palm. I generally eat 3-4 servings at a time. NOT GOOD. And I love bagels, and toast. So this is a good compromise. The price isn’t the best, but it is what it is. I actually really liked this bread.
I only worked 70 minutes last night. So for the next 2 weeks, I have to figure out how to make 19 hours.  I am going to use the bullet general idea and make a graph to keep track.  At least it will give me a good idea of where I stand.   Usually, I don’t sweat it in the first paycheck, and then realize I need to work a bunch in the second paycheck to cover bills. So I am trying to economize, and spread it out.   I do know that I can work a bunch of hours the second weekend of the month without any issue. (Thanks to knowing GI Joe has drill those weekends.)
I did sign up for 3 shifts over the next month and a half.  This equates to about 4-5 hours a shift. Or more, one is 8 hours. But I will make due.  I just got the statement for my laptop.  I am so excited, as I know that I will be paying it off in 9 days.

Side job spending

Today I got paid by my side job.  267.  Not bad for 20 hours total.   I think that this is the perfect paycheck in terms of knowing what I need to work in a 2 week period.  I just need to work on average 10 hours a week.  Not too impossible, it’s busy.  (Hint: I left voluntarily tonight because I couldn’t stand the slow pace and standing around.  I still made 15 after taxes though. So not horrible.)

But back to the paycheck. I paid the rest of my Discover bill off.  It was 150.  I was worried that I wouldn’t cover this bill. I don’t know why.  I then put 15 towards my apple computer and 50 towards my AA card.

Earlier this month I did a balance transfer to move the AA balance to a zero percent with a 3% fee.  Even with the fee, I will still come out ahead.  The problem with this card is that I have revolving bills going into it.  I need to think about the bills that I have recurring to it, but that’s another post.

Next month, I will pay off my AA and my Apple computer. FYI, I still am way excited, and love my Apple computer. I don’t even know how to use it to it’s fullest capacity.  I need to see if the local Apple store is having any classes this weekend.   While I won’t pay off the transfer, (that’s kind of the point) I am excited to be done with the Apple and the AA debt.

The other thing that I did today was use my savings to pay off my Visa debt.  Next month, I will also try and get my EF back up to over 500.  While, I realize that this isn’t the point of the EF, I feel really good about paying off the Visa.   I have a plan, it includes snowballing my small debt, and then avalanching the large debt.  I feel dumb making the small payments on the debt under 200 when I can just be rid of it in one month as opposed to making minimum payments for 4-5.  This will free up approximately 150+ every month between the three cards.  My guess it will be more around 250-300.

This is leaving me 75 dollars until pay day 10 days away.  I will then get paid again 3 days later with the side hustle job.  One of the big things that I have come to the realization to is that I don’t want to do my yearly volunteer with the small business I do.  The reason being – money.  Yes, I can make 300 in one weekend. But when I do the math, the time involved, it works out to about 8.50 an hour.  Call me whatever you’d like. I can make that same money in less hours working the side hustle. Approximately 11 hours less. And that job would be on top of my normal side hustle.  Plus I wouldn’t be able to see GI Joe.

My priorities are changing, and they don’t include that yearly volunteer gig.  While I am sad not to do it, they haven’t even contacted me to see if I am going to do it.  So not feeling loved, or appreciated doesn’t help either.

 

Adulting stinks

I woke up for the first time in a very long time because of financial stress. I woke up at 4:19. I could not go back to sleep even though I use the mechanism that puts me to sleep quickly.

I made a very hard decision this morning. It makes financial sense. Instead of taking 6 credits, I will only take 3.  One class.  It’s book is 160 because I need an online code. It’s a personal finance class. I really want to take it.  I have wanted to take it for a long time.  Overall, the cost of this one class will be approximately what my reimbursement from this spring will be.  It would be stupid to take additional classes that I can’t afford.

I came to terms with the idea that I would only take 1 class a semester. It would mean long term, that instead of graduating with honors next May, I would graduate with honors the following December.  I am incredibly type A,  I don’t like to wait. But I understand the costs involved.

I came home from lunch and found out that I received a 125$ grant if I take 6 credits. This is the same deal that I had last semester.  Great.  That’s all I can say. I have a lot to think about.  125 is about 3/4 a credit.

The other thing. I have to work more at the side job. While, I have enjoyed not working. It is taking a toll on my mental state, in addition to my bank account. GI Joe is going to have to understand. If anything, I will tell him I have tuition and school books to pay for.  The ~300 that I have been making has been sweet, but it doesn’t last, and it is hard for me to increase my savings account, go to concerts, fights, and just relax. I’m completely freaking out about the fact that I can’t meet my goals unless I work more.

So I am working more. Peeps will have to deal. (AKA GI Joe.)

 

Oh MY!

I spent 140 dollars in less than an hour.   That’s crazy. On the plus side, I will be saving money in the long run.  Lets break it down..

20 in gas. Okay, I won’t be saving money on this in the long run, but it’s the cost of doing business.  But I love my gas mileage in my Corolla.

39.95 at the pharmacy.  The good part is that I will be reimbursing myself via my FSA.  This is for 2 prescriptions.  Enough said, but hopefully, my eczema calms the hell down.  One day, I might be able be able to spell eczema without spellcheck.

4 for dinner at Starbucks. Okay, again, not a long run money saver. But I <3 my caffeine.

70 at Sams! This is where I will be saving money.  Okay, so the moisturizing cream at 11$ a container, not cool, but I was told to try it. It was cheapest at Sam’s. I then got Milky Ways candy bars for $22, this will actually save me money in the long run.  Considering that I purchase this at the store on a daily basis, it would be at least 36-50 at the store. See, I saved money in the long run.

I then got some boneless chicken bbq wings for 12.  This will be used for meals. 3 pieces equal 190 calories. (I’m not sure why I wrote that) On the plus side, for the 12, I could have had dinner at BWW. Instead, I will have dinner at least 5-10.  Score.

The other part that I bought was salmon for 20.  There are 7 packages. I want variety, and this is way cheaper than going to a restaurant.  And besides, I can cook salmon and bake it. The only part that I don’t like is that it is skinless. But hey, I’m not being choosy.  It is already supposedly sustainably wild alaskan caught.

So like I said, I spent a lot of money in an hour, but I will save a lot of money in the long run. I’m just thinking about the lunches that I will be having – Yum, bbq boneless wings.

Win is a win, no matter how small

Okay.
I have a problem eating out. To be honest, I don’t think that the problem is eating out. I think that the real problem is lack of planning and one of the symptoms is eating out.  Yesterday I stopped and got breakfast and coffee on the way from GI Joes, that included coffee, but I was still sluggish, so I went to Starbucks and got more coffee.  I then went and got a “lupper” Lunch/supper at Chic Filet A. Today, I was about to go get Chic Filet A again.
I was rationalizing. I didn’t have anything in the fridge, and I only get an hour for lunch. I was in the right lane when I realized, I didn’t need to go to Chic Filet A.  I could figure something out at home. I mean. I had a Totino’s pizza in the freezer, I had raman noodles in the pantry, right next the tuna cans and a packet of crackers.
I consciously made the decision to get into the left lane. To go to home. To not pass go, do not collect 100 dollars. But in this case, I did pass go. I did collect 100 dollars.  Because, not only did I want Chic Filet A.  I also wanted a Milky Way bar, which I could get across the street at the dollar store. (6 fun sized one – for a dollar!)
So I went home.
I popped my pizza in the oven.  I took out the lemonade that was left over from the day before. (Pro tip: With the lemonade, don’t get ice, it will water it down. Add some ice and water to thin it out, still good as it was originally, or just add ice.) I enjoyed my lunch of pizza while watching YouTube and working on a puzzle. So the calorie count may be the same between the pizza and the 8 count nuggets and fries, my wallet is happier, I saved 7 dollars.
I am a work in process. I ended up getting that Milky Way at a more expensive price.   I will try and remember the idea of perseverance.  I will try and remember that I am 60K in debt (various kinds). I will try and remind my self that I have a 1000 dollar tuition payment due next month, of which I only get reimbursed 60%. I will try and remember, I need to win the short game in addition to the long game. I will try and remember, even though I have a boyfriend that daily tells me I am beautiful, I don’t need empty calories. I will try and remember, I need to save money for the epic trip at the end of the year to destination unknown. I will try.

Today.

You ever have those brain farts in which you wonder “why didn’t I do this before?”   This was me today.  Maybe I didn’t do it because I was scared, maybe ignorant.  Most likely lazy. While I am not saying that this is a bad thing, sometimes everything happens for a reason. You can’t make a change unless you really want to. You need to have the drive to make a change.
When I first started on the process to become debt free, I was overwhelmed. I was getting nowhere, and fast!  I started simple. I started to read. That’s all that I did. I started to read books, I got overwhelmed, so I started to read blogs. I devoured them. I still to this day love them. In fact, I started my own to get my thoughts on the paper.  It helps me to be responsible for my actions, because I know I will eventually talk about it at some point.
Somewhere along the way, I started tracking my expenses, started planning, figuring out why things are important, and why they are important to me.  All really important steps in the process.  At times I stalled, at other times I flew, but it has all been a journey.
A few months ago I downloaded a debt reduction/payoff chart that I got from somewhere. I’m horrible at this. I would give credit if I could remember where I got it from. BUT it’s is amazing!!!!  I put in my information, it was nerve-wracking to see that I would be debt free by the time I was 40 if I continued on the path that I was on. Not cool my friend, not cool.
Today, I was looking through one of my credit cards and saw an offer for a balance transfer. 0% balance transfer to be exact.  Well, I have a card with a balance (a paltry 600 balance) but at 24% from February. Granted, I have paid this down. So I did a balance transfer and changed the information in my debt reduction chart, it changed the time when I will be debt free. I realized, that I still can make the payments that I was, but by keeping the transition of transferring a high-interest balance (even student loans to a 0% credit card, will mean that I can be debt free even sooner, my goal.)
The only thing that I would be changing is the interest rate. Not the amount that I would put towards my debt each month, not when I pay it, not lowering the amount that I put toward savings or retirement. Just changing the interest rate.  Sometimes we have those moments in our lives that open our eyes, some moments that reignite the fire in our hearts. And I had one. I am so excited for this, I cannot wait for July, to have 3 credit cards paid off (4 technically) and initiate another balance transfer for another stack of money. Only this time, it will be a 4 digit transfer.
Though I am not gonna lie, the payments that I will be making in July to one bill will be staggering. Yet, the overall amount won’t change. That in and of itself is a little crazy.
The other cool thing that I get to do this summer, and I am excited because I want to do it, not because I have to – take a personal finance class at a community college.  I can’t wait to talk about it.

Hard month ahead

So one of my goals for the month was to be more cognizant of my cash.  It is going to be hard. Really hard.  It is not one of my strengths.   On the flip side, one of the minor goals is to pay my electric bill in cash.  While I think that I can make the electric payment in cash every month, I mean it is only once a month. I’ve def had harder goals.

The only thing that I can think of to make my cash handling more recordable is to literally not spend cash. To just throw it in a jar, and not spend it.  But the other parts of me want to try a cash diet. I mean, how many bloggers brag about using a cash diet and how the cash diet changed their life.  Could it be me? Could a cash diet change my life? I dunno.

A lot of the time, I have used cash as a throw away. I never tracked the way I spent it. Generally it was on food or laundry. Realistically that is the one thing that I only ever spent cash on.  I shop mostly at Target and use their card, it saves me 5% and I wouldn’t get that with a cash diet.

While I have cash in my wallet, I don’t know if I want to spend it.  I think that I might throw it a jar. I guess I should have thought about it before the month started. But c’est la vie. There are so many things that I didn’t think of.   (Like when I order Panera using their app, so I don’t have to wait in line. Not applicable to a cash diet.)

 

Overwhelmed – Not so Much.

Today I was looking at my checking account.  Reconciling everything that has posted. I have 160 in my checking account. I feel good, I feel really good. I have 655 in my savings and 101 in my FOF fund.  I feel great.

Then it dawns on me, where is my discover bill entry? The entry for $300? I won’t get a notification for another week, but where? Oh crap, it’s not there. I double check, nope, not there. I have paid 80% of my savings goals, but I managed to forget the Discover. Dang.

Overwhelmed, a little. Not really.

I have 160 (minus the 10 for lunch).  I have a paycheck being written today for 185.  I will get paid again from the side hustle before the bill is due. Like I say, not really overwhelmed. I don’t even sweat it. I’ll break down the bill in 2 segments, I’ll pay the first one  at 175; and the second one at 125. No big deal. NO BIG DEAL?  I’m not even sweating it.  I got this.

It’s crazy. I have a handle on my finances (at least for the moment.)  Okay, so I still need the side hustle, kind of. Only because I want to have a savings and get ahead. To think, I could cancel my additional retirement contributions, my investments, and savings, and I could live without the second paycheck.  But I don’t want that life.

Instead, I am going to take a step back from the side job this summer. I will be good with 15 hours every two weeks.  That equates to about 188 a paycheck every two weeks. Money to live and enjoy life.   The ability to enjoy GI Joe. Fun in the Sun.  But for now, I will continue to work.

Happy April

Happy April.

I can’t believe how March has changed. I got a few things accomplished that I am proud of. I managed to get YNAB on my laptop. This means that I can do my budgeting and recording of expenses at home. For me this is a win. It is a large sigh of relief, I am not dependent on keeping receipts, entering them in Monday morning. I can do it when I want. I am less likely to lose receipts.

I also figured out how to account for my cash, I think. I will just round up/down.  The change goes into my jar, so it won’t be spent on anything. I’m not really worried about the random change that won’t be accounted for.  While a technical bookkeeper would be anal retentive down to the last cent, I don’t care enough, and am not a technical book keeper.  I am not even a bookkeeper.

I also spent more money than I knew.  While this is a fail. I have realized that I made a mistake. I can grow from this. I will grow from this.  One of the ways that I failed, I spent 425 on Food.   Granted, this was on eating out, groceries and coffee, it’s still a huge amount.  My guess it is actually more like 500. (Lets say it together – OUCH!)  From this I realized that I waste a lot of food. More than I realized. Today, I would normally go grocery shopping.  Instead, I am staying home. I will eat the left overs in my fridge, and figure out what to do. I watch enough food shows.

Other notable items from the month of March – Taxes, they cost me 100 dollars to file because of the online investment account I have.  While I used my federal refund to pay it, I need to prepare and use cash.  I’m not comfortable using my credit card to pay for everything anymore with the idea that I’ll pay it back later.

I also overspent on clothing by $105.  I go over on clothing most months.  In this case, I bought clothing (shirts) for work -school logo items, a button down, some new underwear (on sale to make up for stained ones I threw away) and new sunglasses. I feel like I purchase ones every 6 months, as they break. I also bought another pair of jeans. Now I have 2 pairs without holes. For me this is the perfect amount jeans (in addition to my holey pair)

The other thing is that I hit my targets for my debt repayment. While I had to re calculate them because of my spending, I am on target to still be debt free.