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Archive for September, 2008

I spoke too soon

September 30th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

Friday night ended up being NOT boring.

So, 10:30, just sitting there ... all of a sudden, I can't breathe. Things are going black. I drag myself to the couch where I have a blood pressure cuff ... 160/80. Pulse is 120. I take it again. 120/30 (THIRTY!) ... pulse still over 100.

I dragged myself next door and my neighbor drove me to the ER, where I stayed until 3:30 in the morning. They couldn't find anything wrong. Gave me some downers, my parents came and drove me home.

I'm still lightheaded as hell. Last night my pulse started going back up again, so I took one of the downer pills they prescribed and it made me feel real good.

I think it may be an arrythmia(sp?), but all of my tests (EKG, CT, chest xray, blood, etc.) have come back totally normal. The only thing was my potassium was a little low. (3.3 ... normal is 3.5, I think.) The ER doc says it was probably anxiety, but that bottom number of my BP dropping to 30 really freaked me out. So I don't know.

I'm tired of feeling this way. I just want to feel better.

That's why I haven't been posting. Hopefully I'm back now.

What a boring Friday night

September 26th, 2008 at 06:37 pm

So, the 'procedure' wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. They also said it wasn't causing me any of the health issues I've been experiencing, but they would remove the cyst "just in case it might grow larger in the future."

I spent last night at my mom's house, came back to my apartment this morning and cashed a $50 check from my grandmother. Did I put it in savings? Make a credit card payment? Heck no ... I have a refrigerator and pantry stocked with whole grain pita bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, hummus, red bell pepper, bibb lettuce, olive oil ... basically, all of my favorite things. Do I regret it? Maybe just a tad. $50 is $50. But I also can say that I'm totally OK with my little grocery splurge today.

Atlanta has been having beautiful weather, but the gas shortage is making everyone cranky. I ran to Target earlier today and a couple of cars were on the side of the road. Out of gas. When a station does get a delivery, people are lined up for miles. It's absolutely insane. I am so thankful my car has good gas mileage, and I live close to work.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing this weekend. Oh, and I need to find a formal dress for a gala coming up in October. I'm looking at some Web sites right now. Anyone have a recommendation on a Web site or brick and mortar store to check out? (Please don't say eBay. I hate eBay.)

The 'boring Friday night' is referring to the debate. I'm an Obama supporter and a news junkie, but I'm so tired of the finger pointing and the blame game. Can we just vote now and get this over with?

Oh, and just one last piece of news ... I was accepted to the credit union that I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm excited! I truly believe that this move will pretty much force me to be 100% responsible with my money, and also help me save more.

I'm off to browse the money forums and check up on some of my friends. Have a great weekend everyone!

Goals to hit by end of the year

September 25th, 2008 at 05:39 am

I'm going to the ENT today (Ears, Nose and Throat specialist) for the cyst in my sinuses (is that the correct plural of sinus?). It should be a simple procedure to remove, so hopefully everything goes smoothly and I can start feeling ... well, better.

Goal milestones to reach by Dec. 31, 2008:

1) Bring total debt payment down to $8,000
2) Have $500 in savings (for an emergency fund)

I'm restructuring my budget and rethinking some spending habits in order to reach and maybe even surpass those goals, but there they are.

Have a wonderful rest of the week ... I'll probably be back to post on Saturday.

Switching to a credit union

September 22nd, 2008 at 05:13 pm

After some research and thought, I've decided to move my banking from a bank (Bank of America) to a credit union.

For my needs, I think this will serve me much better. For example, many banks offer savings account for a very minimum opening payment, but then you're susceptible to pay a fee if you don't maintain some sort of minimum, anywhere from $300 to $5,000. With this CU, I can slowly build up my savings.

And while I've had an OK experience with Bank of America so far(I've been banking with them since May), I've heard horror stories ... a LOT of horror stories. I just want to avoid the drama, if I can.

I feel good about this decision, and I'm excited because I think I may finally begin to see my money going to work for me.

Any advice?

Downgrade to upgrade

September 21st, 2008 at 10:08 am

I have yet to be able to bring myself to entirely cancel my cable subscription, but I did just downgrade to the most basic of plans.

This month has been a hard month when it came to saving some cash and paying back debt, but for some reason I feel like I'm finally beginning to be in control of my financial life.

Well, with all that out of the way, it's a fairly quiet day. It took me some time to find a station with gas, but I finally did and managed to fill up.

I'm off for a lovely Sunday afternoon nap.

Shopping without money ...

September 20th, 2008 at 01:26 pm

... in a word, stinks.

As the weather turns cooler, I've come to realize that I really, really need to amp up my wardrobe, particularly in items that are appropriate for work. So this morning, I began the painful process.

Why is it painful? Well, first of all, I love shopping but hate trying on clothes. Hate it.

And, as the blog title explains, when you have no money, it does dampen the fun behind any shopping spree.

Of course, I could just run my credit cards up to the hilt, which would've been my answer last year. This year, though, I have this guilty little conscience, and it's ticking me off, to be quite frank.

But, you know. Whatever. I was going to drive to a thrift store, but it's a bit out of the way, and for whatever reason Atlanta is still out of gas.

I did get a really nice shirt from one of Target's "designer" lines, so y'know ... not a total waste of a day.

And the other positive note ... it made me begin to think about how it's the little things that matter ... it's my favorite time of year. Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It was cool, crisp morning. I used a Starbucks gift card from my grandma to get my fave drink, pumpkin spice latte. I came home and one of my fave movies, Apollo 13, was on TV. Things are good.

So what are the little things that can make or break YOUR day? And what are your favorite things about fall???

What a week!

September 19th, 2008 at 03:16 pm

Sorry for the lack of posting. As mentioned earlier, this week was absolutely h-e-double hockey sticks at work. But the good news is that it's over! Plus, I don't have too much to say when it comes to my finances.

I'll be back tomorrow with a more thoughtful post, but for right now this is just me checking in! Everyone have a great Friday!

I'm your cyster

September 15th, 2008 at 05:22 pm

So, apparently I have a cyst in my sinuses, which has been causing me much of my medical woes the past couple of weeks ... I need to schedule surgery with an ENT. Apparently it's out-patient surgery and is minimally invasive? Anyone have any input/advice?

Seriously, people need to chill

September 14th, 2008 at 02:56 pm

So, y'all know I typically stock up for the week ahead on Sunday mornings ... and even though my gas tank is 3/4 full, I wanted to top it off as so many people were going crazy yesterday.

Yeah, every gas station in a 10 mile radius was out of gas ... I called some of my friends who live on the opposite side of Atlanta, and they reported the same thing. Thank goodness I did fill up yesterday, but c'mon ... this is ridiculous! I highly doubt there's a REAL shortage ... at least, not yet. This is only because people were freaking out.

THIS is why we need to amp up our efforts in finding alternative fuel sources!

Other than that, I did "fall cleaning" today ... I'm a neat and clean freak, but it's really surprising some of the stuff you find when you put some elbow grease into certain areas ... I got a good workout of the deal, though, and my apartment is squeaky clean! I'm very pleased.

I'm also slightly worried, because (sorry if this is TMI) my right armpit is swollen and hurts something awful. Considering my 'episodes' (for lack of a better term) over the past month or so, it is just a little worrying. I took some ibuprofen and put some ice on it (awkward), and while it's still swollen, it doesn't hurt as badly. So I guess we'll see ... I really, really, really don't want to go back to the doctor's this week.

Speaking of the upcoming week, work is probably going to be hell on earth! I have two big presentations, as well as some projects that aren't major, but absolutely have to get done. I actually really miss being in the news industry. I mean, I like my job and my co-workers, but I guess ... I guess I just feel a little out of place. Well, it's not like I have to work here for the next 40-50 years! If it's still not working out for me in a few years time, I'll just see what other opportunities come up! (Or if I don't marry Prince Harry in the meantime ... hmmm.)

Now, all I'm doing is enjoying my clean apartment and getting ready to give myself a pedicure.

Everyone have a good evening!

Little blessings

September 13th, 2008 at 10:43 am

So, as some of you know, my wonderful dog visited the groomer yesterday. While I was in the area, I suddenly remembered I needed to stop by and pick up his heart worm prevention medicine, as we ran out. I was driving my mom around for her grocery shopping, and we stopped by the vet's office.

Now, I thought the little guy was due for his yearly in October. I literally would've sworn on my grave. But when I asked, they insisted they don't "give out" heart worm medication without a prescription ... and my dog was due for his yearly in JULY.

I'm already a little annoyed, because I am now wondering why I didn't just look at the dog's rabies tag, and also wondering why I didn't get a reminder notice in the mail. "Well, can you fit him in today?"

"Sure, no problem!" And we made the appointment for 4:30.

Fine. Whatever. I'm actually glad it worked out this way because hey, now I don't have to worry about him for another year! So I run to the groomer's, and he was thankfully finished. (And looking mighty spiffy!) After pining away for the new precious little puppy the owner had just got the day before (SOOOOO CUTE!!!), we then rushed to the vet's office to make it in time for our appointment.

So we sat. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Next thing I know, it's 5:30 ... and the vet he was scheduled to see walks right out the door and to his car to leave. Considering how hectic it was (it was REALLY busy), I went up to the receptionist, explained what had just happened, and asked if there was any way I could just get the darn heart worm stuff and reschedule.

Well, she was mortified, and we were immediately ushered in to see another vet. They called the vet we were supposed to see, and HE was mortified ... and told them to give us the exam for FREE.

Even though I was doing a jig inside, of course I offered to pay. I mean, we've been going to this office since I was three. They're good friends of the family. And we always get good care ... plus, it's a service, and even though we were kept waiting a long time, I still believe that we should all pay for what we get. But no, they wouldn't hear of it. Soooo ... we got a free exam out of the deal! I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty sweet (especially since gas prices have gone crazy once again ... thanks Ike!)

And this afternoon I'm allowing myself a LITTLE fun (just a little!) I wear a light brushing of foundation pretty much every day and have run out, so I'm going to go to Ulta (I also need razors), and I'm running to Bath & Body Works to pick up a $6 Wallflower for the season. Then it's off to get a few groceries. Me and a couple of my friends are having a big girls' night in for the Coco Chanel movie on Lifetime tonight, so I'm getting a frozen pizza for dinner. I also went to a nearby farm this morning and bought red peppers (3 for $2!), so I'm getting some hummus to enjoy with those!

All in all, a pretty good weekend. So far.

Plungers are expensive, and other random thoughts

September 10th, 2008 at 05:13 pm

So, erm, I realized a little too late this evening that I have no idea where my plunger went to when I moved this past May. I had just stepped out of the shower, too. On went the clothes and off I merrily went to Target to get a plunger (not-so-merrily, actually.)

I probably way overpaid, but the only option they had was $5.64. $5.64!!! I'm sure I way overpaid. But whatever. Again, I had just stepped out of the shower so my hair was soaking wet, my clothes were all askew, and dude, I just wanted a nice quiet evening without having to go out. Fat chance.

The good news is my toilet isn't overflowing. :-)

***

On a related note, I learned that most single men shop at Target in the early evening hours. Good to know.

***

Apparently, lesbian couples also shop at Target in the early evening hours. Another useful fact, I'm sure.

***

I'm going to transfer my highest card balance to a card with 0% on balance transfers. My min. payments have gone up (the year is up, sadly), and even though I can still afford them, it freaked me out just enough.

***

$36.54 for Frontline for the dog. Flea and tick season are almost over, but I don't like taking chances as we live in an apartment setting. That's with a 15% discount at www.PetCareRX.com (and nearly $20 less than at the vet's office.) So I'm fairly happy.

***

I'm also considering getting a weekend job, which I really don't want to do as I already work 10-12 hour days as it is. BUT the freelance writing thing isn't taking off as I thought it would. And again, while I can still technically manage my debt and expenditures, I'm really tired of feeling like I have no safety cushion. (And I feel this way because I don't, obviously.)

***

Starbucks is selling pumpkin spice lattes! Guess where I'll be Saturday? (No worries, I have a gift card.)

***

Geez, it's only 8:12 and I'm ready for bed. How lame am I???

I hope y'all are doing well!

Work it

September 9th, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Along with one of my coworkers, I've decided to not let the office gym go to waste ... so now we work out after work. Apparently not many people take advantage of the gym (which is, admittedly, lackluster), but we're having fun.

Other than that, it's been pretty much a no-spend week. It will continue to be so until Friday, when the dog goes to the groomer.

Being frugal is actually starting to become a little fun. Something I never thought I'd say and truly mean ...

Oh well, I'm off to get some stuff done before an early bedtime!

Sunday, Lazy Sunday

September 7th, 2008 at 01:29 pm

Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post! Definite food for thought. I'll visit the topic again in the future, as it's one that I still struggle with from time to time.

Today was one of those wonderfully lazy Sundays in early fall ... the Georgia sun is beating furiously down on us all, but I still detect a hint of crispness in the air! And right now I'm watching Randy Pausch's 'Last Lecture' on GPB. He was a really inspiring man.

Did some grocery shopping this morning, and my total was $25.82. Meals this week include turkey sausage and hot tots, veggie pizza, veggie sloppy joes and mushroom soup.

I can't believe the first week of September is over! This year has gone by way too fast. I'm hoping the rest of this year and 2009 will slow down some. :-/

Others before self, or vice versa?

September 6th, 2008 at 05:08 pm

By now, even if you didn't watch, most of you are aware of some of the comments made at the Republican National Convention regarding, ahem, "community organizers."

The comments and laughter that accompanied them made me bristle. Despite still being young and having little experience, I feel as if I've been in the journalism field long enough to believe for myself that a politician is a politician, no matter what party s/he is affiliated with. In my mind, America has been built on the backs of those "community organizers," and we should all be thanking our lucky stars there are selfless people in our world.

But the more I poke around on financial boards, the more alarmed I become. While the boards here are mild by comparison, I've seen quite a few with, erm, vicious commentators. A baby no longer is a source of joy and happiness but a financial burden and albatross. The homeless people that line our streets aren't people to be pitied but to be looked down upon. People (people like me, apparently) who find themselves in debt because of wasteful spending are dumb and stupid, and don't deserve any sort of sympathy. And on ... and on.

What happened to others before self?

One of my personal heroes is S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A. I feel a personal connection with Truett. He spoke at my graduation from a two-year college. I then transferred to a school where he has a leadership academy firmly in place. (There were tons of opportunities for free Chick-Fil-A!) And, as a reporter, I wrote about Truett once ... to thank me, he graciously sent a copy of his book, "How Did You Do It, Truett?" with a kind inscription.

The day he spoke at my graduation, he handed each of us graduated one of those shoe-shine brushes. This isn't an exact quote, but here is what he said to us: "Always remember, no matter what becomes of you or how successful you are, to take the time and shine someone's shoes." It serves as a reminder that no matter how high or low a person gets, we're never too good or too poor enough to not help someone out. I keep it here on my desk, next to my computer, and I'm looking at it as I type this.

To wind this up, I suppose I'm just looking for some opinions on this topic. As we're all saving, and the motto with each of our paychecks is "Pay yourself first!," do you sometimes wonder what happened to putting others first? Do you believe in putting others before self, or in taking care of your own needs first? Do you have to look at everything from a financial perspective? Does money really make the world go 'round?

No wrong answers, and I look forward to reading the opinions! :-)

(Oh, one more thing ... I know I started this by mentioning the RNC, but I'd really like to keep political debates out of this blog, at least for now!)

TGI(almost)F

September 4th, 2008 at 07:07 pm

All I can say about my last post is 'thank goodness' I'm not the only one who feels that way about last minute invites to certain events!

To clear the air somewhat, I know two of the three people planning the event and ... well, let's just say the three day notice comes as no surprise. It doesn't reek of desperation to me ... just poor planning and irresponsibility. I got the invite by E-mail.

So the ending goes like this: I politely declined.

Thanks for all of the advice! I really appreciated it. :-)

Other than that, not much else to report. I'm looking for ways to become more involved in my community through volunteering, and I hope to be able to tell you guys about some of my projects in upcoming blog posts!

Thanks everyone! I'll see y'all tomorrow. I'm off to watch McCain's acceptance speech.

This is irritating

September 3rd, 2008 at 06:16 pm

First of all, the responses to my earlier post cracked me up! You guys are hilarious!

But now I'm slightly upset. Please tell me if I'm over reacting.

I was invited to a wedding of two people I really don't know very well, but we have a lot of mutual friends, have hung out, etc. I've already spent $40 on a wedding gift (a set of glasses they asked for on their registry), and while I will most likely not be able to attend the wedding, I've sent my best wishes.

Again, let me reiterate I don't really know these people very well.

I was just invited to the wedding shower ... that is THIS SUNDAY ... and asked to spend money on gift cards to either a spa or clothing store or something for the bride.

Which would be fine, because I realize that's what a bridal shower is, and I would usually be more than happy to be a part of it, BUT:

1) This gives me, um, three days to get this done? Let me be selfish here for a second and say ... look, I work ten hour days. Not that I'm pissed there's a bridal shower, but could we have more than three days to get this done? To not only find the time to get something, but to also BUDGET for it???

2) I'm having some DRAMA with one of the bridesmaids. I'm not a fan of DRAMA, but it's going on, and I really think it would be unfair to the BRIDE to possibly force any unwanted tension on her. (No tension from me ... I think we all know some people love drama and just need it around, though ...)

3)Um, again, I don't really know these people??? I don't understand??? I was on the special invite list and everything. I know two of the people well, I kind of sorta not really know the bride, and that's it.

I'm thinking of politely declining and sending a gift certificate. But am I being petty? Do I have a point or am I just irritated for nothing?

NM

September 3rd, 2008 at 04:43 pm

Not much to report. I still feel horrible. Haven't heard back on the CT scan. Still in debt. Word.

Hasta luego, Carrie

September 2nd, 2008 at 04:55 pm

I sold seasons 1-5 of Sex & the City on Amazon for a total of $61.20. I forgot to post season 6, so I'll be doing that tonight. I'll also be watching the RNC and basically chilling out.

Before I forget, do any of you know of a good Web site for crochet/knitting? I used to be able to crochet a long time ago, but my skills are rusty now. But I like it. It helps me relax.

I guess that's about it? Sorry it's not more exciting today. I'll see about shaking things up some.

(At least it's a short work week, huh?)

$111 to CC payments

September 1st, 2008 at 08:54 am

$59 to my WaMu card, $52 to my Chase card. The WaMu was the minimum payment ... the Chase was $10 over.

I checked my credit score on Quizzle.com (neat Web site, BTW). It's 695. Not too shabby. I reckon as I keep paying down the credit cards it will go up. I'd love to get it close to 800 by this time next year.

Despite the overcast skies (thanks, Gustav!), the outlook today is a bit brighter in my opinion. I'm doing what I have to in order to get the bills paid. I'm learning to be content with what I have instead of constantly needing more. And as for my credit card debt and now medical debt ... well, it will get paid off. Not tomorrow, but eventually. All I can do is what I can do, right?

It's a quiet day. I'm trying to gather up the motivation and energy to do some cleaning. I also need to get some work done for, well, work ... it's even more difficult trying to gear up for that.

Seriously, check out Quizzle.com. Cool Web site! I love their budget feature.