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day three: in which i drink raspberry tea.

September 15, 2011

Yesterday was a GREAT day, spending-wise. Clocked in at a mere $1.25.. and that was only because I was parched in my four-hour lecture yesterday, and bought a Raspberry Tea from the vending machine. Other than that, I managed not to spend any money at all! Need more days like this.

So cool.. and refreshing. (Photo Credit: Wegman’s)

life list (save-up-for list).

September 14, 2011

so this isn’t strictly finance-related, but i wouldn’t be so concerned about paying off my cards if i didn’t have big, grand plans for my life. “having piles of credit card debt” is not included in these big grand life plans of mine … here’s some of what is.

  1. pay off my credit cards. my life will be so much less stressful, more free and spontaneous once i accomplish this goal. true, it’s very short term, but i’m actually grateful to be dealing with this now … i know i am learning important life lessons/money lessons/lessons i would rather learn when i’m 21 than when i’m 31, or 41, and have kids and even more important real-life responsibilities than i do now.
  2. go back to barcelona. i spent three lovely months in barcelona, spain, last spring studying abroad, and i would love love love to go back. but this time, take my nearest and dearest with me and show them up close and personally all of my favorite spots.

    i lived two blocks from this beautiful, work-in-progress, inspirational cathedral... i must go back and see it when it's complete.

  3. graduate college. this goal is a work-in-progress. i’m scheduled to graduate in december 2012, and hopefully by the time i get that degree in my hands i will have some clearer focus of what I want to do with my life (fingers crossed!).
  4. get married &¬†have a family. while this goal is still several years off, it’s always been one of my biggest dreams to have a family and work to achieve the whole work-life balance i hear so much about.
  5. go on a road trip. not just a road trip in and around Flyover Country, which I have done many times, and while I love the wide open expanses of my home state, I know there’s soo much more to see in the USA. The Grand Canyon! Redwood trees! Lighthouses! Old Faithful! Southern plantations! I want to see it all.
  6. go to australia (many of my goals involve travel). when i was younger my family hosted an exchange student from australia, and i loved her, her accent, and her stories of Perth, where she lived. Visiting Perth and Sydney (yes, I am aware they are on complete opposite sides of the continent) has always been a goal of mine!
  7. start practicing yoga. i played softball for twelve years, and while it was great for my upper arm strength and hand-eye coordination, it did absolutely nothing for my flexibility. the fact i can barely touch my toes is just depressing. combine that with all of the benefits of yoga (namely, the ability to focus), i would loooove to start at the very beginning and figure out what the whole deal is about, and hopefully along the way i will improve enough to be able to touch my toes. ūüôā

this is a short excerpt of all the things i want to accomplish in life. why do i post this now? because one of my most very favorite personal finance¬†blogs, Budgets are Sexy, is having a $500 giveaway sponsored by Life Insurance Finder. to a college student, the thought of winning $500 is comparable to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. so this is my shot in the dark. ūüôā

day two of the penny project: in which chipotle gets the best of me.

September 14, 2011

I feel like I spent a lot of money yesterday, but to be fair, medicine is a monthly cost that I had already budgeted for. So maybe it’s not so bad. Again, bought a Diet Coke (natch) at work, and convinced myself that because turkey burgers were on the menu tonight at the house and one of the other sororities on campus was having a philanthropy at Chipotle, I could justifiably eat Chipotle. Another one of my convincifications (oooh portmantreau..) was that I would bring the rest of the salad to work for lunch today.

Of course, I woke up at 6:22am this morning, eight minutes before I had to leave for work, leaving me barely enough time to brush my teeth, to say anything of remembering to grab my salad. Stupid alarm clock!

Looking on the bright side, today promises to be a busy day full of work, class and meetings, so I don’t think I’ll even have time to spend any money, not that I have any money to spend.

the penny project.

September 13, 2011

This little guy is going to help me pay off my debt.

In light of the fact I am terrible at budgeting, and even worse at keeping track of where my money flies off to, I’m going to try something:

I’m going to keep track of every single penny I spend for the next month. Starting yesterday (September 12) until a month from now (October 13), I’m going to save all my receipts and write down all my purchases both large and small. I even created an Excel spreadsheet to help me keep track of everything! (Side note, I used to be flat-out terrified of Excel but I am proud to say I think I’ve mastered the “Sum” formula in the last few days…)

$0.25 purchase from the vending machine at work? Goes into my spreadsheet. $25 purchase from Walgreens? Spreadsheeting¬†it. $500 rent payment?… I think you know where I’m going with this. I figure this will be¬†a good way to figure out where I can cut expenses while at the same time know how much money I will need for miscellaneous¬†expenses in the coming months (other than just guesstimating “Oh, I think I’ll spend $55 on eating out this month… That approach has never worked for me because I couldn’t even take myself seriously.)

DAY ONE: SEPTEMBER 12, 2011

This is already¬†helping me! When I was making this I almost completely forgot that I had bought a Diet Coke at work. Not much moolah, but¬†a quarter is a quarter!¬†I also caved and got Jimmy John’s , a#5 Unwich for those of you who care (HINT: GET DIJON ON IT. OMG IT¬†IS HEAVENLY). Also, Zesto’s is a fantabulous ice cream shop here in Flyover Country and my boyfriend and I went there to celebrate eight whole months of dating! Nothing says “Thanks for putting up with me for 240 days” like a vanilla ice cream cone with Krunch topping.

Anyway, there’s that. $11.99 on my first day of The Penny Project.

a heap of trouble, and how i got myself in it.

September 13, 2011

i’ve heard all my life that credit cards are bad.

on par with crossing the street without looking both ways and not finishing your vegetables because there are hungry children in africa. so what do i do? go run up a credit card debt.

It’s been an up and down battle with this card for the better part of two years. which maybe should have told you that I shouldn’t have gotten it in the first place.. I figured I could handle it, because I was a sophomore in college.. and¬†I was… wise and worldly?¬†HAH. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Additionally, I worked retail for 4+ years, and one day last year I finally caved to my manager asking begging me to sign up for a store card. The balance on that card is down to almost nothing, so hopefully with my upcoming paycheck I can pay that off!

Things really got out of control during my study abroad semester last spring which, while it was an incredible experience, created a complete and total mind%$#! money-wise for me all semester. Between converting euros to dollars and back again, and the conversion rate bouncing all over the place, and mysterious international fees that I was never quite able to figure out … Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have put my ‚ā¨150 canyoning adventure on my credit card, but I operated with the whole “You’re only in Europe once” mentality. Great for my perspective, but a death toll for my credit card.¬†

Now that I am back (have been for four months) and will have my feet firmly planted on American soil for the forseeable future (thank GOODNESS!), and after my summer of¬†saying¬†I was going to pay it off while¬†voraciously reading every personal finance blog I could get my hands mouse on, I’m finally ready to hardcore¬†tackle my credit card¬†once and for all.¬†YAY! And keeping track of everything on D&DC will help me accomplish my goals! DOUBLE YAY!

A BUDGET THAT WORKS!

September 12, 2011

You guys, I hate budgets. With a fiery burning passion. I have made countless budgets on pieces of paper (usually during some lecture when I should be paying attention… whoops), but have never actually followed through. Good intentions, terrible execution.

But I found one that works!!! I adapted Jenny Blake’s Four-Step Budget¬†from her Life After College blog. Her website is AWESOME and I give it five stars for anyone who is in college or recently graduated. Tons of great money, career, life tips in general for 20-somethings. I modified her budget template a little bit (for instance, I want to track both how much money I project I’ll make a month and how much I actually make — with my UWJ varying in the amount of hours I work each week the numbers tend to fluctuate — so I added in an “actual” and “projected” column to my income and expenses).

I plan to closely track how much I am actually making and spending in the “actual” column — especially in the first few months as I work on reining in my spending on stupid stuff that I don’t actually need, while at the same time calculating¬†more precisely what my expenses are¬†… right now¬†it’s just a guesstimate. But I’m thrilled that this budget turned out so nicely and can’t wait to start tracking everything closer!!¬†¬†

Here is what my budget looks like so far ... again, huge shout-out to Jenny Blake for the template!

 

what pays the bills (most of the time).

September 12, 2011

So. I’m currently working two jobs.

  1. Non-descript Office Job (NOJ): I’ve been working at an office since April, mainly as a Receptionist. While it can be tedious at times, it is nice because it affords me lots of time to work on homework, and I also have had the opportunity to get my 401(k) off the ground! True, there is only about $63 in it right now, but that’s a good start!
    I work 25.08 hours a week here, which is a prettyyyy steaaady income.. For a college student anyway!
  2. Unfortunate Waitressing Job (UWJ): I picked up this second job in June, when I realized if I didn’t, I would be paying off my credit cards until kingdom come. I currently only work weekends because my class schedule is so hectic. The hours are long but I have gained a new appreciation for what it takes to be a server … Seriously. At some point in everyone’s life, they should be a server or bartender, just so they can experience for themselves how frustrating it is when you are tipped $5 on a $80 bill (that’s 6.25%) when you worked yourself to the bone for that table… Okay, done ranting.
    I don’t work every weekend night here (I try to, but sometimes have scheduling conflicts), so I work anywhere from 10-15 hours a week.

Together I’m projecting that these two jobs will bring in about $1500 a month, give or take (hopefully give…)