<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Personal
 

Viewing the 'Personal' Category

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!

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!

Dreams, goals and motivation

August 17th, 2008 at 08:23 am

I've really been into the Olympics this year. Even without the champion that is Michael Phelps, the athleticism and dedication displayed is just amazing. Many of the athletes competing have literally sacrificed everything just for a chance at the gold.

It makes me think about my own life, and what direction I want to take. Some days, I feel quite confident. Others, it's like I'm floundering in the middle of the ocean during a hurricane. And there are still those days when I all I want to do is go home, curl up on the couch and watch reruns of 'Bewitched' episodes on TV Land.

There are so many things I want to do.

I want to publish my novel.
I want to become a respected freelance writer. (Enough so that I never have to work FT again!)
I want to race in two 10Ks next year.
I want to become a professional cheerleader.
I want to go skydiving.
I want to open my own bakery.
I want to write a screenplay (that actually becomes a relatively well-received movie.)

It's like I have all these things I want to do, but no clear way of getting there.

So last night, while writing in my private journal, it hit me. I write out my dreams, and turn them into goals by coming up with a clear plan. Then I ignore the plan. And it's not because I don't want something badly enough.

It's because I'm so afraid of failing that I'd rather not even try unless I know I'm going to succeed.

As dumb and hokey as that sounds, it's the truth. I stared at the television screen as I watched Michael Phelps make history last night, thinking to myself that I may never see this again in my lifetime, and wondering how I can transform myself to begin living the life I want to live rather than floating here and there.

I realize a lot of it has to do with my age, and a lot of it has to do with my depression over the past year. But I also realize that while motivation comes easy to some people, I'm going to have to make a conscious decision every single day to live out my dreams and to not become complacent. To not be so afraid of failure that when I'm on my deathbed, I look back with regret.

I once read a quote that goes something like this (and I'm paraphrasing): Every time you go visit a graveyard, you're visiting those unlived dreams. Those great American novels that were never written. Those musical compositions that were never heard. Those world records that were never officially broken. That cure for cancer that was never discovered.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I don't want that to happen to me. I don't think I'm being idealistic or reaching for the stars ... I just want to be happy and content with myself. And as long as I keep not trying to attain my dreams, I'll never be truly content.

My question(s) for you ... what are your dreams and goals? Have you given up on anything? What has stopped you from going after what you want in the past? How do you keep motivated to attain your goals in the future? And do you have any inspiring quotes/stories to share?

Wipeout

August 14th, 2008 at 04:46 pm

Just FYI before I delve into this whole story ... I'm no longer not eating meat. I gave that up a few days ago when asked if I wanted grilled chicken on my salad. I'm still aiming to cut DOWN on meat ... but for right now, I don't think I can cut it completely OUT.

That being said ...

So, last night, I began to feel a little lightheaded. No biggie. Drink some water, eat a little something. Next thing I know ...

BAM!

I hit the floor. Totally blacked out for a few seconds. I sat there, stunned, seeing little birdies flying around my head.

A wave of nausea swept over me suddenly ... then heartburn. BAD heartburn. Painful heartburn. I began coughing, gripping onto the floor trying to make the room stop spinning.

After a couple of minutes, everything subsided, just a little bit of lightheadedness. I drove (bad idea #1) to the nearest emergency clinic.

"Anything like this, we send straight to the emergency room," I was told. I began to panic. I hate emergency rooms. Plus, I've had these types of "episodes" before. My blood pressure and pulse checked out fine, so I knew I should be OK. Instead, I drove back to my apartment and called my mother.

"See how you feel, if you get worse again go to the E.R., if you feel OK, go to bed, and if you still feel the same in the morning, call the doctor."

"Can I come home?" I said, pleadingly.

"Of course!"

So I threw the schnauzer in the car and drove 1.5 hours home. (Bad idea, again.) Luckily, I got home just fine, still lightheaded. It got worse once I went to bed, but I managed to fall asleep around midnight.

Long story short, I ended up going to the doctor this morning. They jabbed me with needles, listened to my heart. See, I had something very similar happen in March, and they did an EKG and ECG back then, so they pretty much knew my heart is OK. "Maybe your thyroid, maybe hypoglycemia," I was told today.

I have an appointment first thing next Friday for a two-hour blood test for hypoglycemia. "If this doesn't show anything, we'll make you wear a heart monitor," the nurse practitioner said.

I'm back at my apartment, feeling better but still a bit shaky.

Thank goodness for health insurance, huh?

Budget?

August 13th, 2008 at 01:28 pm

A couple of you have mentioned my seeming lack of a 'budget' on some of my previous posts, most notably the ones where I'm feeling a bit down and 'hopeless' about my debt. "If you have a budget, those feelings of hopelessness would go away," they suggest.

Let me make it clear ... of course I have a budget. Just because I don't post every little detail of my personal financial life on an open blog (which, if you do, is perfectly fine - it's just not for me), that doesn't mean I'm just running around blind. I know what comes in, I know what goes out, and I have it down in writing.

Suggesting that a budget should completely take care of any anxiety is a bit extreme. Sorry, but while that may work for some of you, it's not the only factor for me. I still get very depressed over my amount of debt. Not all the time. But yes, some days I do. There's no magical cure for this, methinks. It's a battle, just like weight loss is a battle. Some days will be better than others. As I immerse myself into this new lifestyle, I know it will get easier and easier. But here, at the beginning of this journey, it's still not easy.

If this seems curt or rude, I'm sorry. I don't mean it to be so. I appreciate ALL comments. But I wanted to address that particular suggestion of 'getting a budget.' Right now, it's just not that simple for me.

Just FYI - I don't post my budget because there are a few, um, "frenemies" out there of mine who, by now, probably have some notice of this blog of mine. It's bad enough they know of my debt ... they don't need to know how much I make. Not their business. So it's not a slight to anyone here, or to suggest that anyone here is less than supportive. It's just me being careful, maybe a little paranoid, but probably with good reason.

OK. Again, I hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm not trying to be curt or rude ... I'm just trying to explain. So ... let me have it!

It can be overwhelming

August 12th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

Some days when I don't have an extra dollar (or one hundred dollars), and there's really no news to report, I sometimes look over at my debt and feel really overwhelmed.

Will it ever be gone? Of course, the answer is a resounding 'YES.' But it's easier to say that when it's going down than when it remains stagnant, like it's been for the past couple of days.

Oh, well. I guess it's best to just keep on keepin' on, huh?

Other than that, I'm doing pretty well! It's a rainy night here in GA, so I'm just staying in and watching the Olympics.

(Oh, and thanks to everyone who responded yesterday! Some great ideas there, so thanks!)

Any suggestions?

August 11th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

I'm currently reading "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach. It's actually fairly decent ... I like it a lot (again, so far!)

I like Suze Orman's show, but I can't stand her books ... she comes across as incredibly condescending.

Of course I know of Dave Ramsey ...

Do any of you know of books/reading materials you would recommend to an entry-level money guru?

Not feeling well ...

August 10th, 2008 at 10:05 am

I don't feel so hot today ... just really tired. My right hand feels all numb and tingly and weird. I think I slept on it funny. And I think I feel poorly because I made coffee this morning (I hardly ever drink the stuff.) Dang coffee.

Anywho, I went grocery shopping this morning. $26 for a week's worth of food ... not too shabby! I even spent some at Whole Foods. (Authentic hummus and homemade pasta, yum!) Kroger also had my dog's fave treats on sale, and I had a $1 off coupon from this morning's paper, so I got a BIG bag of treats for him for $1.50. Niiiice.

Other than that ... just trying to relax and gear up for the week. I have this Friday off and a happy hour scheduled for Thursday, so I'm really ready for the early weekend already! LOL! And I should probably clean ... I'm feeling so lazy today, though. I haven't even gone out for my run yet. L-A-Z-Y!

Oh no! My shuuuuuuuuues!

August 9th, 2008 at 09:15 am

I went to Target this morning to pick up a few things:
- a multivitamin (actually, a bottle of 100)
- hair color (I'm 22 and already am covering up gray ... no kidding)
- a screwdriver (99 cents! I thought it would be a couple of dollars at least)
- a sports bra (2 for $8)

On my way to the cash register, I decided to stop by the shoe section to drool over the much mentioned red pair of shoes that I am desperately needing to go on sale at some point in the not too distant future.

... the shoes? They were GONE.

I quite literally said out loud, "OH NO! My shuuuuuuuuuuues!" as I stared forlornly at the black ruffle boots that had taken the place of those beautiful Isaac Mizrahi red high heels.

I wandered aimlessly down the aisle, trying to ignore the strange looks other customers were throwing my way after my admittedly weird outburst, and - sigh of relief - saw my shoes. Same price, just in a different location. Moved for the sake of fall fashion. *sigh*

This sounds stupid, but those shoes are a symbol to me. A symbol that I don't need instant gratification. I can save my money. I can wait for the sale that I'm just positive is coming up at some point. I don't NEED those shoes. I definitely WANT them ... but those high heels are my proof that my wants are different from my needs, and that if I want to give into my, um, wants, then I need to make sure that I've taken care of my needs FIRST.

Anywho, I almost very nearly snatched those shoes and bought them. But I didn't. I did a weird half-run/half-skip through the handbag department (another bad idea), and straight to the check-out lanes.

On my way home, I stopped at Moe's for lunch. $4.97 (For anyone who loves Moe's as I desperately do, get the Moo Moo Mr. Cow kids meal ... a slightly smaller burrito, chips, drink AND a cookie for way cheaper than the same meal for an adult.)

And, in keeping with my new vegetarian ways, I had it sans meat, cheese and sour cream. :-)

Now I'm home for the day, watching the Olympics and trying to discipline myself to get some writing done.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

TGIF!

August 8th, 2008 at 05:23 pm

Haha, that pretty much sums it up.

The weather is cooling off ... we've probably not seen the last of the heat down here in the south, but today was GORGEOUS, and this weekend is supposed to be amazing. Good running weather! :-)

Happy Friday!

Permission to spend ... granted?

August 6th, 2008 at 04:36 pm

One of the realizations that I've been struggling with lately is that I love to shop. I'm a spender, not a saver. I love clothes. I love shoes. I love books. I love eating out. I love going to concerts. I just love using my money to get me things that I want.

I'm at that point when I'm realizing that enjoying my money doesn't mean that I can't save, and it should never mean that I go into debt. If I were responsible with my money to begin with, I'd probably be able to feel a lot more relaxed NOW. I would have a comfortable amount in savings. I wouldn't be in debt. I would get rid of any guilt I feel when spending money now, even if it's for a true necessity like toilet paper. I might even feel comfortable enough to spring for that red pair of shoes I talked about so long ago. (I really, really want them!)

And even though I am in debt, I don't think I should feel guilty for spending money. Now, if I were going on wild, crazy shopping sprees and continuing to use my credit cards, THEN I think I should be feeling guilty. But if I have an extra $5 ... it could go to pay off the debt faster. And usually, now, it does. But it could also go to a cheap bottle of wine ($2.99, Trader Joes!) and a DVD rental. It could go to buy fresh mozzarella. Some new eyeshadow.

My point is that I'm feeling incredibly guilty with every dollar I spend ... even if the money is going to debt payment! I want to hoard, hoard, hoard ... dollars. Every penny out is becoming an endless source of guilt ... whether it's a $5 lunch out with my co-workers or $65 for an electric bill.

But, even with my excessive debt, that doesn't make me a bad person. And that doesn't mean I should feel guilty that not absolutely every single penny is either going to credit cards or savings. I mean, come on. I have rent to make. I have to eat. On a more superficial note, I have to look somewhat professional in my career.

So ... my latest struggle is learning to not only accept but embrace the fact that yes, I do like to shop and that I am going to spend money in the future ... but I have to do it while managing my budget and savings at the same time. I cannot allow myself to get into credit card debt again. But I can allow myself to allow my money to let me do things I enjoy.

So what about you? Spender or saver? A bit of both?

Pay raise!

August 5th, 2008 at 04:48 pm

I've been at my current place of employment for approximately three months now, and was informed that I am receiving a pay raise today. It's not significant, but is a little something extra every month that will be able to go to savings or debt payback.

Other than that ... I'm really tired this week. Like, overly tired. I'm not sure why ... nothing in my usual pattern of sleep, work, hang out, sleep has changed. I guess I could just really use some extra ZZZs!

Too many books!

August 2nd, 2008 at 01:54 pm

I moved to my apartment a little over two months ago, and I still had not set up my sunroom ... until this morning, that is. I have a beautiful white wicker settee set up on one side with tons of pillows piled on top to make it comfy.

On the other side of the room, I have my bookcase, and as I lovingly unpacked my books, I realized - I have a LOT of them! As I identify myself as a writer, it probably does make sense that I would read a lot, but I still couldn't help but feel a tad bit guilty that I can find money to feed my book fetish but not my savings account.

At any rate, my sunroom is all cleaned up now and looks truly beautiful! It looks like it could be found in a beach house instead of a downtown Atlanta apartment. And, as much as it hurt, I did pick out a few books to put up for sale on Amazon.

Have a good Saturday, everyone!

When I'm out of debt ...

July 31st, 2008 at 04:23 pm

When I'm out of debt ...
When I have a substantial savings account ...
...when I lose 10 pounds (ha!) ...

... I'm treating myself to a one-week vacation in Miami (Key Biscayne?).

I love Miami. I've been twice ... once in high school and once in college. Sometimes I think that's my SOUL city ... the place I was meant to live in. My dream job would be to work at the Miami Herald. Take a boat to work in the morning, do research using the WiFi at some beach-side restaurant in the afternoon and dance all night.

I would love to travel more, and being out of debt would be able to allow me to do just that. So every dollar paid is just a little sweeter than the one before ... one dollar closer to taking control back over my life.

If you're in debt, what's the one thing you can't wait to do? And it has to be FUN ... no putting money in a retirement account. We're ALL doing that ... but even the most frugal of us has at least ONE frivolous thing we want to try. So what is it? Travel? Try a new fancy restaurant? Redo the bathroom? I know some of you are saving for a wedding or to get a pet.

So what is it??? :-)

Depressed today.

July 29th, 2008 at 03:25 pm

Not a good day for me ... I kept focusing on my mom, for some reason. I was fine this morning, but felt myself grow sadder all afternoon. It's strange how these things just creep up on you ... you think you're fine and getting over things, and then *BAM* ... it hits you all over again.

And then I get home (in a really bad thunderstorm) and receive a message from my landlords saying how there have been two break-ins in my apartment complex lately. Great, another thing to worry about.

Bad day.

Long day.

July 22nd, 2008 at 04:25 pm

Not much of an entry for you guys ... I'm exhausted. After spending the entire day being snowed under at work, I attempted to come home (a five min. drive), which took 45 minutes because the president's in town and he was going the exact same way I was.

Now I'm home, and it's storming really badly. :-/

I don't have much to report just yet, though. Sorry! There will be more to come this week, I promise.

Cutting back the food budget

July 20th, 2008 at 10:49 am

First of all, thanks for all of the 'welcome' responses that I received yesterday. It feels good to know that I'm not alone in this journey, and to also know that I'll be getting some good advice and encouragement!

Someone asked a question about my career, and why I have 'writer' listed on the left-hand side of the blog but explained that my FT job is in public relations. Well, PR companies need writers, too! I write press releases, magazine articles, scripts for TV commercials, etcetera. Again, that's my job that pays the bills. On the side I'm striking up a freelance writing career and am working on a novel. Is everyone clear now?

I also wanted to comment on people suggesting that overspending can be linked to an emotional problem. I completely agree, but I also want to own up to MY mistakes ... some of it was emotional, no doubt. Some of it was poor planning and not having a clear understanding of keeping a budget. And some of it was just stupid irresponsibility and frivolous spending.

Moving on to today ... it's been quiet. I did laundry this morning and cleaned. And prepared my meals for the week.

I love to eat out. I also love to cook. But there was a time when I ate out a lot more than I stayed in. It is tough to shop and cook for one without having food spoil on you, but it *is* possible ... I admittedly chose to go out.

But I seriously am really good at setting up meal plans (at least ones that work for me), coming up with a shopping list and, most importantly, sticking to it. And now that I'm taking the first steps in turning my debt into savings, I realize that cutting back on my food budget will be important ... and eating in is the first step of that.

This is how I do it: I plan lunches and dinners six to seven days in advance. Typically lunch stays the same. This week I have three days of tuna fish sandwiches and an apple, and three days of salad and a peach planned.

My dinners this week consist of vegetarian "Sloppy Joes," homemade pizza, and chicken "fried" rice.

My advice to someone trying to come up with a meal plan and grocery list is to work a week in advance, keep most of the meals something simple that you already know how to make, and throw in a new recipe to try out every so often. Once you have your grocery list, note what you already have in the pantry or fridge to use up. If you either have an item or have something that could substitute, cross the item off the list. Then check the grocery store circulars. I'm lucky to have a Publix and Kroger within five minutes from me, so I can get the best deals from both. Make a note on your list where to go for each item. Then go through your coupons and pick out what you need. Also, go online and see if you can find any that you can print out.

And, finally, you're ready to shop! I like to go first thing Saturday morning.

(Let me just mention breakfast ... my breakfast is always the same. Cereal, 1-2 scrambled eggs, and 1 slice of turkey bacon. No planning there!)

So, that's how I do it. I pay approximately $30 a week for six days worth of meals. Sometimes it's more or less depending on whether I need paper or cleaning products, or the dog needs kibble. But I eat pretty well considering my meals average out to be $5 a day, $1.67 per meal.

I'm still learning how to be one of those people who only pays a few pennies for hundreds of dollars worth of food! Who here has advice for me on what I can do additionally, or what I can change?

Why am I here?

July 19th, 2008 at 02:51 pm

I suppose I should use my first blog post as an introduction.

Let's just get the basics out of the way. I'm 22 years old, I live in Atlanta and I'm a writer. My FT job that pays the bills is in public relations, and on the side I'm working on a novel and beginning a freelance career.

My salary is quite comfortable for a single girl living on her own (well, on her own plus a schnauzer), and I pay all of my bills on time. So why am I here? Well, I graduated college with zero debt ... and in one year accumulated $9,044.07 in credit card debt with nothing in savings.

Shouldn't it be the other way around? I'm so ashamed. And what's even more embarrassing is that I can't even really tell you what I was wasting plastic on. I pay all of my bills on time out of my checking account. And I look around at my life and think "Hey, I've got it pretty good" ... but really, no I don't. As long as I have credit card debt, I'm only fooling myself. And I'm sick of allowing poor choices dictate my life. I'm ready to take control.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've been mildly depressed for the past year. My mom has been very, very ill. In the interest of her privacy, I don't wish to disclose her illness, other than to say that she's doing much better now but probably will never fully recover. Life will always be a struggle. I'm really not mentioning this for compassion or even understanding, but rather just to let any readers know where I'm coming from in life. When my mom got sick, I became really ... terribly sad. My friends, one by one, became fed up with me, and eventually stopped coming 'round. I don't blame them - I really was a mess at the time. But that even made me more depressed. With help from the few people that stuck around and some medical professionals, a year later I'm finally stepping out of the cloud. It's a slow process, but I'm here. And I think conquering this debt will truly help me get even further along ... not just financially but personally. Emotionally.

So ... this led me here! I'm utilizing this blog to chronicle my journey. If anyone offers advice or if I make any friends ... or if I'm even able to help anyone by sharing my stories ... then this will be worth it. Thanks for having me!