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New job, school and apartment... FML

August 26th, 2011 at 06:39 pm

Itís been a while since Iíve been here and thatís because I havenít been doing well with my finances. It was easier to ignore it. I need to be honest; sometimes itís just nice to buy whatever you want whenever you want.

So itís been two weeks since Iíve started my new job and thereís a tough learning curve. I donít even have words at the moment to talk about the environment.

My living situation is also a mess. So my roommate and I learned that our landlord had to de-lead our apartment earlier in the summer. The house was built a long time ago and he never completed all the state regulated tasks prior to renting it, which included getting all the lead pain out of the house. Now that heís thinking of selling the place, heís playing catch up. Therein lies the other issues, Iím dealing with, i.e. I had to find a place to live prior to the whole de-leading fiasco. And since my life just has a way of taking the worst possible scenario, I ended up signing the lease for a place that I have to wait until mid-September to move into. The reason being that my new landlord wanted to rewire the entire apartment after the current tenant vacates. So where am I living you ask? Well in the basement of my old apartment until the de-leading is completed (it takes 2 weeks). Then I move back into my old apartment for a week, then I move to my new apartment. The only positive aspect is that I donít have to pay either landlord for the time Iím in the basement.

Iím also starting classes next week, while Iím in the basement so that will be interesting.

AhhhÖ new job, new apartment, new classesÖ I have no idea why I put myself in these situations that are so stressful. Iím also going to list my budget below and hide in a corner while you guys critique the hell out of it.

Yes I know Iím paying too much for the gymÖ yes Iím paying too much rent (actually in the state that I live, that cheap for a 1 bedroom) and my gas is going to be way more expensive than that.

Also I currently have nothing in retirement savings, I plan on getting rid of the music portion, I donít know what cable or electric bills will be in my place. Iím charging as much as I can on my CC because I have a cash rewards program.

Here is my monthly budget:

Total: $2737
Ideal Percentage/Ideal Amount/Actual Amount

1 Rent-Housing 30% $821 $1250
2 Transportation 15% $410 $30
3 Credit Card1 5% $137 $337
4 Student Loans 10% $274 $274
5 Savings 10% $137 $260
6 Retirement 10% $274 $417
7 Gas bill 8% $219 $169

1Following will be charged on CC: gym ($84), music ($15) will change to $0, cable ($ ), cell phone ($52), electric ($ ), food ($100)

Action Plan (in the making) and Wuthering Heights

August 12th, 2009 at 08:43 pm

I have taken a look at my credit card and its $3800.00. My goal is to get it back to $0 by the end of the year. So I will have to put $1000.00 towards it. Then I will tack my student loan which is currently $8400.00. I want to pay that off by May 2010. I will pay the minimum until December after which I will pay $1000.00 per month. Then I will take some of my savings to pay the remaining balance.

Today I paid the electrical bill: $63.94. I am trying to keep the bill around $60.00 or lower but my roommates seem to not care about saving electricity. Frown

Also in my last post I mentioned that I was making a reading list. It is suppose to help me learn to commit to task but it is also helping to enjoy one of my favorite free activities. I use to be passionate about reading and for a few years now I havent been into it. I want to get back into it because it will give me something to do that doesnt involve spending money since I am trying to save and pay my biggest bills.

*****************************************
Well I finished my first book Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte! If you dont know or dont remember the story and youre interested, here is a link to a synopsis: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/summary.html



Thoughts on the book:

Catherine Earnshaw knowingly set aside her feelings for someone she loved to pursue a more profitable (both in reputation and finances) future. Given that I did not grow up with money at my disposal I can understand why Catherine can make the decision to be with someone who isnt her true love.

Catherine Linton and Ellen Dean (nursemaid/housekeeper) angered me because they seemed so weak and foolish at times. I wished they acted with as much anger as I felt while reading the book. I really get into a good book ...I was yelling at the book when my roomate just shook her head and laughed at me. (haha)

I felt sorry for Hareton Earnshaw because he was a young Healthcliff in the sense that he began life at a disadvantage.

And now the best for last...Healthcliff, the villain; I felt the expected rollercoaster of emotions for this character. I was sorry for young Healthcliff because of his mistreatment as an adopted child. I hated the adult Healthcliff because he sought revenge for all who wronged him and hurt many people in the process but finally I was curious. I wish Emily Bronte wrote an entire novel about Healthcliff. I am intrigued by history of characters like Healthcliff because I dont believe that people do psychotic things just because. There's always some reason and usually it’s because of an event in their lives. I still have so many questions like where was he born and where did he come from? This information seems more pertinent at the end of his life when Ellen Dean describes his erratic behavior and facial contortions as that of a demon or imp. I will always wonder who is his family and what happened to him to make him react towards people in such harsh and cruel ways. Also how can someone so hateful love a woman with so much passion and devotion?

I really enjoyed the book and can see why it is a classic. Smile

I'm not even gonna make an excuse this time...

August 4th, 2009 at 03:46 pm

To state the obvious it's been a while.

I think I have a problem with committing to something and finishing it; perfect example...this blog. At first I started and it was fine...then I neglected it. *SIGH*

Well I used my Capital One credit card to go on TWO...yes TWO vacations. I haven't looked at the balance yet because I'm scared. Maybe it's $5000.00...I donno. *SIGH*

The upside is that it's the only large balance on a credit card. I have less than $50.00 I owe on my Macy's card and then my school loans.

I'm gonna work on my problem of long term commitment phobia by challenging myself to read lots and lots of classic books.
It will probably take years but that's the point. I want to take a large goal and break it up into small doable goals then move on. I will post the list as soon as I can and if there are any suggestions, it will be appreciated.

If I can do this I can apply the same principle to my money matters...large goal broken into small goals.

First goal bring my $9000.00 school loan to under $7000.00 and to bring Capital One to under $200.00.

Lots of Big Expenses

February 24th, 2009 at 05:50 am

Well it first started with an email informing me that the cable company was raising their rates by $5.00. I was annoyed because I kid you not, if there is a windy day outside, the satellite signal gets disrupted. We loose service if it snows too much or rains too much. What am I paying for if the service isn't up to par. Oh well, I love HGTV and the Food Network too much to discontinue my service.

I also have three appointments coming up in the next two weeks. I only expect a $20.00 copay to have my yearly eye exam and pick up a new box of contacts. My dentist shouldn't be more than $25.00 and I don't know how much the copay or my doc is. My biggest concern at this point is that my dentist will tell me, I need to fill some cavities or need a crown (I've been have some toothaches lately).

I did finish the application to get a reimbursement from my insurance company for $150.00. Hopefully it will clear and I can put that towards some credit card payments.

I also started classes today and I had to pay $1800 out of pocket. I charged it to my discover card and will put the next couple months pay checks towards paying it off. There was also an additional $300 fees associated with the class. The cost of education is disturbing at times.

Living through other Bloggers :)

February 22nd, 2009 at 01:59 am

So in order to curb my spending habits I've started living vicariously through other blogs not associated with the SA crew. Smile These beauty and style blogs help me stay abreast with all the fashion happenings, so I don't have an excuse to go to the stores and spend money. I've also learned a few things that have helped me be frugal. For example I traded in my $65.00 body scrub for a much cheaper organic home made version. Yes people in my foolish and naive days I did spend $65 on a body scrub!

On to money matters.... I paid some bills over the weekend and did my taxes online. I put $500.00 towards my Capital One and hopefully I will put my tax return money towards paying off that card. I want to get someone else (a pro) to take another look at my taxes. I'm not getting back much Frown. Maybe I can look at my credit card purchases over the year to determine what was purchased because of work.

Service Areas I can Cut Back

February 11th, 2009 at 05:51 pm

I've been thinking of services I pay for that I could do on my own and save some money.

I've already stopped getting manicures on a regular basis and I do them on my own at home. I've actually learned alot just be reading other blogs and websites. I can now do a full manicure that looks great! I just have to conquer the french manicure next. Smile

I'll try to wax my own eybrows soon. I only have to maintain the shape, so that will be easy.

I'm also want to learn how to hem a pants properly. I've done a few sewing jobs on my clothing here and there but nothing major. I want to learn how to do a simple hem so I can save a some money. I'll still go to the tailor but for more complicated alterations.

I'll read some other blogs for ideas.

Keeping a close eye on those store cards

February 11th, 2009 at 05:37 pm

So I recently got two store cards becuase I frequently shopped at these stores. Some friends told me it was a bad idea, but I disagree. If I'm going to get a 20% discount why not? I always pay my cards on time and check my online account frequently.

So for one particular store, there was a promotion with activating the new card. If you used this particular card at non-affiliated store (it could be a grocery store, gas station etc ) you would get a $10 certificate to use at the store. You had to use the card within 30 days of activation and there was no minimum purchase.

So I activated the card and purchased a few staples that I needed at my local grocery store that totaled to $7.00! When I checked my account online there was no credit. So I called customer service and spoke to this woman for 20 minutes explaing the promotion. I was so exasperated that I finally blurted out if you want me to fax the insert explaining the promotion from your company I will!

She said no and instead of sending me a $10 certificate to use in the store she credited my account with $10.00! I was actually happier about that outcome because I basically got my groceries for free and I have a $3.00 credit remaing on the card.

Had I not taken the time to check my account online. I would have been suckered into using my card unwittingly. I shake my fists to the store card companies. I still want the card because I always find well made work pants that fit perfectly there. I never take pants to the tailor when I purchase them from this store.

On another note I paid a few bills today:

Credit Card 1: $113.90 (the finance charges have kicked in so as soon as I get my refung I'll pay it in full)

TV: $60.97

Electric: $62.20

Gas: $170.78 (total before payment: $870.78)

I applied for two store cards....

January 30th, 2009 at 09:36 pm

So I've been putting long hours at work...I've definately done more than my 40 hours a week but I'm not getting paid any more because I'm on salary. Frown Seeing how the economy is failing I do not expect any monetary rewards from my managers even through they know how hard I've been working.

So what do I do? I go shopping! I haven't been shopping in the past 4 months and that's hard for a shopping aficionado like me. I want to reward myself of course, I mean if no one else is going to do it then I might as well. So I'm in one of my favorite stores and I purchase $151.00 worth of items. The saleslady was kind enough to point out that I almost always shop here and I always pay in cash. Why don't I get a store card and pay it off with cash? Well that's a great idea, I thought at the time. I get reward points, coupons and discounts...so I take the plunge. I then realize that I intended to use my debit card that day because I do not carry $150 around when I didn't expect to be shopping.

Then I go to another store and after picking up much needed items for work...I mean I might as well be walking around in rags. I had about $200 worth of items (which were all on sale and were 4 outfits that worked well with other items in my closet). A nice clerk told me I could open a store card and save 20%. So I did and it was about $160.00 after.

After reflecting upon my purchases I know I tried to justify shopping to make myself feel better about being overworked and underpaid. I really wanted someone to show appreciation for all I did and still do at work, so I did it. Well, I love all the items I bought and I plan to pay the balance on the cards today.

I also got myself a manicure that day and it was totally worth it. I was doing my nails at home for the past three months to save a little extra but I need a pro every once in a while. Smile

Paid Some Bills Today

January 13th, 2009 at 05:39 pm

Total in Bank Account: $1898.91

Bills Paid Today:
cell: $69.81
tv: $67.50
electric: $67.50
credit card: $1003.42 (balance was 3003.42)
small loan: $50.00 (automatic payment)
large loan: $111.00

total spent: $1363.20
remaining in bank account $535.71

I want to add $1988.87 to savings so I'll waiting until I get my next pay check and see how much I can add.

Things are getting harder and I'm just trying to stay above water right now. I think I need to look for another job but who's hiring? I want to get a better salary or a second job. I'll see if I can do either anytime soon.

It's Been a While

December 15th, 2008 at 06:18 pm

A lot has been taking place in my personal life, so I took a long break from the blog. Actually I completely neglected it...and yes I neglected my fiances. But considering what I was and still am going through, It's not so bad.

I was musing today on how to reduce my monthly bills and I think I have a plan. I got the internet on my phone to check my work email but It's not woth it. It was an additional $20.00! Well I shouldn't be so available...the people I work with tend to take advantage of people like me.
I also got a credit watchdog service at $5.99 a month but I don't need it. I'm really good with looking at my statements and they don't update my info as regularly as I would like anyway.

I think I'll look for more focus group. I've already made $75.00 this month from a focus group. Yay!

I love extra cash!

September 17th, 2008 at 09:33 pm

So I deposited $200.00 in my checkings today, which feels good since I just paid most of my bills for the month.

I also got $50.00 from the research study I did last month. YAY! I'll deposit that tomorrow. I had a phone interview with another recruiter for a study that could possibly pay $350. I really want to do it because that would be a much needed loan payment.

It's finacially scary right now for alot of people. I'm making an extra effort to put all my extra cash towards paying off my loans and increasing my savings.

She's actually paying me back!

September 16th, 2008 at 08:52 pm

So yesterday I was so sure that my friend would not pay me back for charging some items for her wedding on my credit card. Now I have to take that back. My mouth dropped as she handed me $186.00! I know it's not alot considering how much she owes me but if you knew her, you would have fainted. lol.

She said that she doesn't want me to feel like I'm being used and that she feels bad even asking her friends to pay for any part of her wedding. As soon as she gets more cash she will give me all that is owed to me. Smile It's not even about getting the money back it's more about seeing her finally acting like a responsible adult.

Yesterday I completed all my financial goals (i.e. paying most of my bills for the month), so I'm just going to wait until all the checks clear.

I signed up for a finacial conference geared towards all women. I was suprised to see the ad as I walked to work, so I went to their website. They have speakers and workshops that address all types of women and all financial situations. This is great, I plan to attend the retirement planning workshop and the homebuying workshop. I'm so excited about it, they have workshops for married women, single women, women in relationships... best part is that it's free! Smile

Hectic Past few weeks...

September 15th, 2008 at 05:13 pm

So I've been bogged down with exams so I haven't been paying attention to my finances but I kept all my recipts. I know I'm way off my food budget and my bills are due really soon.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep going and I am going to try to keep track of all my money. Right now I'm paying some bills and it seems like I'm going to have little wiggle room by the end of this month.

So for the past few weeks apart from studing for exams I helped one of my friends with her wedding. The bad part of having friends getting married is that I had to charge some things on my credit card because she and he fiance maxed out their cards. So now my balance is $1889.52. She has agreed to pay me everything I charged and the finance fees becuase I won't be able to pay off my full balance. Honestly, I don't know when and if she will pay me back. She is a sweet person she just has ideas of grandeur that her wallet cannot keep up with.

I'll just assume the worst (she will not pay me back) and pay off the balance. I'll consider it a really expensive wedding gift.

Today's goals:
I have to order my medication ($50.00)
Pay Macy's (in full:$572.28)
Pay Cell ($49.35)
Pay large school bill($220)
Pay small school bill ($50.00)
Pay credit card ($100.82)

Total: $1042.45

Can't stick to it...

September 5th, 2008 at 03:43 pm

So I took Fern's advice and talked to BF. He knows his working habits are ridiculous but he is trying to build his career. He feels like it will not always be like this but I disagree. Moving up the corporate ladder demands more time at work. But we'll see...

Went out and spent money like no tomorrow. Bought drinks for friends and went to dinner for her birthday.

breakfast at work 3.75
dinner 31.25
drinks 20.00
cab 20.00

Food $62.34/60.00 (and it's only 5 days into september!)

Contact solution $3.66/$10

miscellaneous $20/$100

Looking back at August & Fighting with BF

September 2nd, 2008 at 03:11 pm

Later on today I'm going to tally all my spending and post the August spending report and do a fresh one for September. I just checked my accounts and here goes:

Cap 1: $1621.95 due (9/25/08)
Macy's: $572.28 due (9/18/08)
Big School Loan: $9032.79 due(1/19/2009)
Small School Loan: $3850 due (9/18/08)

Orange Savings: $2002.92

Amx and Discover are still at $0! YAY!

Goals for September:
1. Get Orange Savings to $3000.00
2. Try to pay off Macy's.
3. Double my payment to the Big School Loan ($220).

I expect an extra $50.00 of extra income from research studies this month, so that will be added to paying off Cap 1.
I really want to see my Big School Loan go under $9000 but the daily interest rates suck.

I also expect an $800.00 expense this month.Frown

On a non financial note, my BF and I are fighting. I'm studying for an exam and he works two jobs, so it's hard to see each other. When I make an effort, something always comes up with him. He is a workaholic and if he thinks that I'm going to stand for it, he's wrong. He wants to get married but I can't be with someone who works like he does. I kid you not, I can see myself having dinner alone for 4 of 7 nights in a week if we get married.

I don't think I'll see him in the next two weeks, and I haven't seen him in a week, grand total 3 wks! Why do I even have a BF!? He wants to spend time with me and so he claims he'll come to work and have lunch with me. I won't hold my breath.
He is a hard worker but he can get so consumed he sacrifices his loved ones. How can I make a life with someone like that? Will he be the type of father that never shows up to his childrens' events? Ugh, he frustrates me sometimes but I love him.

Research is paying off!

August 26th, 2008 at 02:51 pm

Tracking my money has opened my eyes. So far the bulk of my income goes towards clothes and food. Now that I know I can make changes accordingly.

I got my check from my research study, $205.30 into my extra income earned for the month! Yay, that will help with the areas I went over. I'm going to deposit it into my bank account today.

I also completed one more research study yesterday and I will be getting $50.00 in the mail. I looked up a few more last night, I'll send out emails today and see if they're still recruiting. Hopefully I can make some extra income for next month.

I also found $1 in the parking lot this morning!

Do I have Chase written on my forehead?

August 25th, 2008 at 03:20 pm

So this week has been hectic. I'm over my food budget and clothing budget.

I've been covering and doing two jobs since my coworker left. They just got someone new to cover so hopefully they don't need me to do a ton of training.

I also has a longtime friend ask me to co-sign a loan for him. I don't know if anyone has been in this position before, but it's a bit unnerving. I want to help my friend but I have to take a step back and wonder, why is he in the position?

Here's a little background: I've known him since high school and he's had a crush on me since then. We became friends in high school and even though we went to different colleges, we've always kept in touch. We never dated because I've always considered him a friend and was never attracted to him.
So when he asked for me to cosign, I thought about all his bad spending habits. He loves shoes and buys expensive sneakers and italian leather shoes. He also love brand name clothing and would never leave his home in anything less. I mean he's always dressed very well, but he can't afford it on his income.

Now he says he needs money for grad school and to buy a new car. Why didn't he think about that before you spent $400 to $600 on shoes!? I have a shopping addiction but I always had enough money to at least make the minimum payments on my credit cards. I never missed a payment becuase I knew that I wanted a home later in life and I needed good credit to get loans for grad school. My friends knew this, so they all know I have good credit. I guess that made me the Loan Center of the group(yeah right!).

This is the 7th person in the last year whose asked me to cosign a loan! I told him no as nicely as I could. I just have to wonder if I have Chase written across my face. They all seem to want to use my good credit. Furthermore why would a friend put another in a position like that? If I was in the same position, I would be embarassed to let my friends know that I was so irresponsible, I can't get a loan on my own.

Not sticking to the Budget

August 19th, 2008 at 06:35 pm

Yesterday, I was so busy that I wasn't able to pack lunch or plan to pack for this week. Now I'm spending like crazy on food.

08.18.08
Breakfast coffee: $2.50
Muffin: $1.63

Lunch: $5.00

Today, I had breakfast at home but still went out to lunch with co-workers.
Lunch: $7.00
Then I bought snacks: $3.00

There goes the food budget.

I also went shopping:
I needed new sheets because I believe in changing your sheets frequently. However all the washing is wearing the fabric.

I spent $79.24 on 2 sheet sets and an extra pillowcase set.

I also bought a pair of jeans and a shirt :$64.80, a pair of cute flats: $34.99, and a cute French Connection top: $59.00.

Well there goes the clothing budget.

Research Studies-an untapped source for extra money

August 18th, 2008 at 04:20 pm

I work in a major city near many hospitals, so I am exposed to numerous research studies. I've signed up for quite a few and they have always been a steady source of extra income. I not only like the idea of making some extra funds, I love knowing I have a small part in finding a cure or treatment for some disease.

Before I talk about where you can find research studies, I want everyone to be aware of what they entail (based on my experiences).

Sleep studies pay the most, but they are also the most demanding. Some are 1 week long others are 30 days long. You can get paid from $200 to $6000. You spend the entire time in the sleep facilities of the hospital and there are usually no windows, no cell phones, and no watches. You are not allowed to know the time. Some studies require you to be awake for 72 hours (at different times) while you lay in bed. There will be someone to entertain you so that you can stay awake during this time. You are allowed to read, play board games and maybe watch DVDs (no TV) in between testing. I've done a few and they are stressful.

Nutrition studies are fun because they provide you with meals. They usually require that you keep a food diary. They do not pay as much as the sleep studies but they are not as stressful.

There are sensory studies, they stimulate a sense (visual or auditory) and gauge your response. This might entail getting and MRI, while they play a certain type of music or after you watch a particular DVD. You may also do computer task to test your memory. These studies usually collect info that may help stroke victims who lose some sensory abilities.

All human studies (Clinical Trials) are approved by a certified board (IRB). You get a copy of the study protocol and numbers that you can call to verify that they are approved. This board makes sure that although some subjects may feel discomfort, no harm will come to the subjects because of this study.

If anything were to happen, the hospital will absorb all the health costs. If you have health insurance, they may work with them to cover the remaining costs. I have never had any issues where I needed further medical attention due to participating in a study. This is caution is geared toward people who have a preexisting condition and need more attention after the study.

These are just a few of many different types of studies that are out there. Here are a few more things you should know:

1. REIMBURSEMENT:
Many studies offer parking reimbursement if you drive in.
If you purchase any items because of the study, save your receipt, you will be reimbursed (You should ask the study coordinator at the screening visit about their reimbursement policy). For example: you are on a low carbohydrate diet study and buy Crystal Lite to drink with the prepackaged lunch your study provided.

2. THERE WILL BE BLOOD:
If you are afraid of blood draws or IV's then most (NOT ALL) research studies are not for you. They usually require blood and urine samples. The blood they take is less than what you would donate.

3. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO:
The study coordinator should go over the entire study (the risks and benefits) before you sign or commit to the study. They should also know your medical history and they do this by asking you a series of questions.
Before any blood draw the nurses/research coordinator should take your blood pressure and temperature.

4. SCREENING PROCESS:
You must qualify for the study and they determine your qualification via a telephone interview or a screening visit (sometimes you are paid for the visit).

5. KIDS CAN PARTICIPATE:
Parents can sign their kids up for studies. These are less invasive studies and require the parent be present for all study visits.

6. YOU CAN FIND A STUDY:
Some studies are very particular; they only want men, or only postmenopausal women, or premenopausal women, or women who are not on birth control etc. Just read the eligibility requirements before you call or email the recruiter.
If you are not healthy and have a preexisting condition, you can find a research study.

7. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF:
You should participate in a study that suits you. If you have a hard time staying on a diet, do not sign up for a calorie restricting nutrition study.

8. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU DO IT:
Most importantly, you are a VOLUNTEER! Even if you are getting paid, you can withdraw at any time. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, do not hesitate to withdraw. If you do not like the nurse, request another or withdraw if the entire study team makes you uncomfortable.

Here are a few resources to find research studies in you area:

Craigslist: They are usually listed under et cetra jobs, volunteer section, or healthcare section. You can go to GOOGLE type: your city craigslist research.
Example: Boston craigslist research study

Clinicaltrials.gov: You can type in your city AND healthy.
Example: Boston AND Healthy


Browse your closest hospital's website. They most likely have a research study.

Universities, Medical, Psychological, Dental schools in you area are also conducting research studies. Go to their websites or type in the name of the school and "research studies."

Good luck if you look into studies and let me know if you have any questions. I'll try my best to answer them.

I'm Calm Now

August 15th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Ok, so I feel better now because of the advice and encouragement to keep up with the budget from fellow bloggers.

One of my co-workers, who was hardworking and really good at her job, is leaving. That means, I have to pick up her slack because her replacement is inept. At least she's not moving too far away. Silver lining: I got free lunch because we went out to thank her for all the work that she's done and the department head paid. I'll miss herFrown

I paid the electric and cable bills today. The cable was fine but the electric was $20 dollars over budget. I think it's because my mom now refuses to turn off the hallway lights when we go to bed. She really thinks that we will not find our way to the bathroom (of course that's completely unreasonable because we've lived here for 10 year). Then there's the issue of not turning off the TV when leaving the room. I can't stand that, it's a waste of energy. W should all make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

I also sent the minimum payment for my small school loan today. The company in charge of my loan has really lax communication skills. They do not send the statements in time; so as paranoid as I am, I check every two weeks to make sure it's not due and I'll be charged a late fee.

I also signed up for two research studies. They are both long term. One pays $5000 if I qualify! I hope I can do it. The only downside is I get paid when I complete the study, which is 2 years long. The other study is also 2 years long but I get paid each visit ($50 visit 1 then $25/visit).

I'm really trying to get some extra income because I'm so over budget this month.

Over Budget and Frustrated

August 15th, 2008 at 02:34 pm

Ok so I knew that this was an experimental budget. I never had one before and I wanted to set limits and make adjustments for the budget for next month. It's just frustrating to see how much money I just spent!

I bought books at B&N that I could not find at amazon.com, overstock.com or half.com--grand total $65.01 for 2 books! What a rip off! At least there was no shipping fee.

Then I registered to take a grad school exam next month--$210! Oh yeah and if I cancel, I only get $105 back! If I reschedule the date, I pay an additional fee.

No wonder many students do not want to continue their education, they can't afford it! So today's spending comes to $275.01 from the miscellaneous portion of my budget(which was $100). It gets better, I have to drive for 1.5 hours to get to the testing site. So the cost of driving adds to the equation.

I'm just gonna suck it up, I mean it's an investment in my future. Hopefully I can continue my education and make way more money than I am now with my new degree.

At least it's FRIDAY!Smile

Time for a change

August 13th, 2008 at 03:42 pm

Yesterday was a NO SPEND DAY, yay!

I also decided to start going to the gym on a regular basis since I was already paying membership fees. I want to lose a few pounds. In addition to going to the gym, I will watch what I eat. I'm not going to deny myself my favorite foods. I will instead portion them better and try to eat more healthy meals. (More fruits and veggies)

I want to go back to school. I do not have my dream job and the possibility of promotions are slim. So I'll look into different grad schools and the programs out there over the next few weeks.

Interesting week

August 11th, 2008 at 02:58 pm

So work has been a blur of project after project. My list is still long and I have one big one I'm still working on but I need to call some consult some specialists before I can continue.

The weekend went well, although there were scattered thunderstorms. I hadn't seen my BF for a while because he was travelling on business, but we got to spend the weekend togeter. Smile I'm helping him look for a condo to buy and it's time consuming because he's so picky. I'm happy for him though, he's finally going to move out of the house he rents with 4 other guys (can you say party house) and he'll have nice place to live.

He asked me to move in with him when he gets the new place. Can I confess that I was petrified! I'm afraid of commitment and he knows this. I've had a bad relationship in the past that made me shrink away from investing my heart so fully into someone else. I think that there should always be a piece of you that belongs to you. After you've given to your partner, your family, even your kids...there should always be a piece of you that you keep for yourself. In nurturing that piece, you won't feel unappreciated or run down. I mean no one can take of yourself like you can.

I say all of this to justify why I told him no. I'm not ready to leave my mom until I feel like she can fully function on her own. I could still pay for all her bills if I live with him, but then I would not have all the great times I'm having with her now. I also know that I would go back to my old ways if I lived with him. He makes waaayyyy more money than I do and he wants to pay for everything. So I'll eventually think it's okay to go shopping and I'll get into old habits. Plus I want to be on my own for a while. I don't want to have to depend on someone. I love him but I want to wait until I'm ready.
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So as I was reading some of your blogs, I noticed people were doing online surveys for extra cash. I 've decided to be part of an ON CALL list to make extra cash. I get paid $2/hr when I am not at work (including weekends) to be avaialbe in case there is an emergency and I have to come in. So I'm getting paid even when I'm not at work! I also finished up a research study. It was about 2 weeks long and I'm expecting $200 for participation. I think I'll save half and put the other half towards bills. I'll look into survey sites and more short term research studies for extra income.

Lower Interest Rates and My Shopping Habits

August 6th, 2008 at 05:24 pm

So yesterday I called my credit card companies and tried to lower my intetest rates.

Good news first:
Cap1 was lowered to 7.9%! YAY!
Disc will remain at 0% until Sept 19th. Then it goes to 15.99% Frown

Not so good news:
Amx will remain at 15.99%.

My plan of action is to not carry a balance on the cards that are paid off (Amx and Disc). If I pay my entire bill, I can avoid fiance charges.
I will try my best to pay off Cap1 as soon as possible.

Then I will call back at the start of October and ask for a lower rate.

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So as I have revealed, I am a recovering shopaholic. I've also read some interesting blogs which helped me realize that I'm not alone. The difference is that the people I've read about have a stronger willpower than I do.

I will shop on impulse and it doesn't even matter which store! I could be in Barney's New York or Forever21 or the supermarket...I always end up getting way more than I plan to. At first I feel elated and excited about my new outfit or the ingredients for the 14 new recipies I HAVE to try, then guilty I just spent the money that could have gone into my savings. (PS I've stopped kidding myself about the 14 recipies)

So I've avoided large shopping areas and I always take along a frugal friend (They are on the brink of extinction in these parts)when I go shopping.

Biggest hurdle: FRIENDS!
They are a bad influence on my finances.

The Beginning...

August 4th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Here I am evaluating what got me to this point and slowly I am coming to terms with it.

I worked hard in college and paid my way through school. I never spent more than I had, so I left school with only $14,000.00 of school loans. That was the good ole frugal days.

When I started to work I had more money than I was use to coming in and so after all my bills were paid (thank God i had enough sense to pay the bills first!), I spent all my money on material things. I got a car(which I didn't need), more clothes than I knew what to do with, shoes, bags, and the list goes on.

Then my mom got sick. I moved back home, sold my car and started to pay for everything in the house. In the midst of this I realized that throughout my life I had been in a yoyo relationship with money. I either saved like a miser or spent money like I was worth millions! I never just spent in moderation for my needs. I associated looking good with being successful, but had no savings account to show for it!

I think realizing that I could lose my mom and there would be no one but me to save myself got me thinking. How dare I expect my mom to save me from my self-inflicted financial demise!?

So I am taking responsibility for myself.
I am proving to the people around me that although young people may not always make the right decisions, they can learn from mistakes. I have learned from mine and I hope this blog helps me chronicle my journey to a healthy relationship with money.

Monthly Spending Plan-August 2008

Food
Groceries/Meals $110.93/$40

Household Bills
TV $55.98/$136
Electric $90.03/$136
Laundry Supplies $0/$136

Self Care
Clothing/Shoes $478.47/$140
Hair $0/$140
Gym $82/$140
Beauty $4.95/$140

Entertainment
Movies/Club $19.45/$20

Repayments
Credit Monitoring $5.99/$529.99
Phone $49.35/$529.99
Macys $52.17/$529.99
Amx $0/$529.99
Capital One $72.17/$529.99
Discover $0/$529.99
Medication $0/$536.99
Small School Loan $50/$529.99
Big School Loan $220/$529.99

Miscellaneous $337.79/$100

Total Expenses $1895.14

Savings Plan
ING Direct $1075/$2000
BofA $800

Total Income $$2331.00