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Archive for May, 2009

Food, Food, and more Food

May 12th, 2009 at 08:57 am

So, today I looked at my checking account and was running the figures in my head and whatnot and I am feeling ok. Yes, my food budget is depleted for the month---but I have a lot of protein and rice and I need to only buy maybe $20 bucks worth of food at the most, so I am not feeling too bad. I could borrow that amount from my money for next month's bill.

My bf gets paid on Friday, and he will give me some money relating to tolls and gas and whatnot. I know I have to pay some money for extra tolls, and I am thinking it will hopefully be no more than an extra $25 bucks.

I will be getting more money than usual next month, so I am going to save the majority of it, and take some of it to get my car fixed...time for a tune-up. I really wish I knew how to do that stuff myself...or rather, I wish my mechanic wasn't so freakin expensive! They do good work...but they are pricey!

Sorry about the comments issues----I would have to change the text and background color in order to change the text color on my comments section. Not sure which color to choose at this time. In the meantime, you can "highlight" the comment boxes (aka select as well), and that will let you be able to view the comments.

Babies Fever aka The Musings of being in my 30s

May 11th, 2009 at 08:07 pm

So, here I am...still in my early 30s, and contemplating my baby making factory abilities. I worry...When will I have kids? When will I be able to have kids? When will I be financially stable enough to have kids? What if I am not able to?

Part of me is kicking myself in the rear...why didn't I think ahead? Why didn't I start saving for being a mom years and year and years ago?!?! What about health and all of that?

I am working on my health so I can have children. I acknowledge that I have been saying that for a while...and at my age I have to do it rather than just say it again and again. My primary goal is to be a healthy mom so my future kids can have me around for a long time.

Yes, I want plural. I want 3 or more. Yes, I know they are expensive. But if I can manage the shelter, improve my cooking of healthy foods, and health insurance, I can make everything else work. Smile I grew up poor....and some of the best times in my life were just regular sit down dinners at home...this was of course before things got hectic...but that is another story for another time.

I worry about the money aspect of having children. For some reason today, I got filled with a bit of fear...how much is insurance for a kid? Will I have enough for braces (yeah, I had bad teeth as a youth---they are much better now!), omg! I know that rationally if I just keep truckin along, my debt will be paid by the time I plan on starting a family. I still get scared though, to be honest. I don't want to not have children. I know that my self-worth isn't dependent upon being married or having kids, but for me, in how I view myself, I really, really, really want to be a mom. I want to be a healthy mom (making ants on a log for my kids---with all natural peanut butter of course, none of that sugar added stuff!), a mom with a lot of energy, a mom who is able to play an active and happy role in the lives of her children.

I live in an expensive city and so, owning a home seems still like a faraway dream. But, my goal is to have a home by the time I am 40.

My bf. He is a good man, and we have discussed children, and have agreed that now is not the right time. I wouldn't want to have a child at this time in my life...I want to have more flexibility and surplus spending money in my budget---diapers cost money...cute little stuff monkeys with hats and jackets cost money, you get the drift. He also has his own responsibilities, and I think we would have to discuss things more and work on a budget or spending plan so that there isn't much friction regarding finances---I am more strict, he is more relaxed, and as such, we usually cause each other a bit of stress when discussing money.

I did good today---no stopping at a store or drive thru for anything. I came straight home and had a yummy dinner of cereal and it was pretty good. I am taking vitamins that my doctor suggested, and just focusing on losing more weight. Right now I am about 16-17lbs away from my 2nd weightloss goal. I am very excited about that as I haven't weighed that much in over 2 years. Smile

I know that people say there isn't any good time to have a baby...and I wonder...for those with debt, or not much surplus cash---how did you do it?




Chicken, Chicken, and More Chicken...and maybe Chicken

May 11th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Well, dinner went well last night. I cooked up quite a few pounds of chicken. I ended up giving most of it to my bf to take home.

This budget thing is a bit complex....I did overspend on food, but feel okay about it because I got some good deals and the food will likely last me into next month. It is a bit more complicated in that my bf is going thru some difficulties, my budget is tight, his budget is tighter, and so at times I am trying to stretch the food out. I know it bugs him a bit, but I want to make sure that he has food. I do know when to not over-do it. Last night, it was appropriate to give him most of the dinner and some odds and ends from my refrigerator. I have enough food to last me through the rest of the month, with only needing to buy some sauce and eggs and whatnot. And when he gets paid, he will most likely give me some money for food or gas or things like that.

On a better note, I have lost some weight. Yay!

I am feeling ok food wise...just having weird cravings for yummy buttery pastries, but will stick to the food I brought from home. Smile

Food Sales and Diet Issues

May 10th, 2009 at 03:53 pm

Well, I am really lucky in that in my budget, I have to set aside a certain amount for my car insurance that I pay bi-monthly. This means that I have over $100 I need to reserve for the next month.

This helps me a lot in that when I am in need of funds, I can borrow from this reserve, and then pay myself back the following month. Not the best strategy in terms of sticking with a budget, but it does come in handy.

I will have almost $200 extra per month once I finish paying off a bill. I will save part of this and put the rest towards paying off the rest of my bills. Next year, I will be through with paying off an additional bill and so, I will use most towards paying down debt and increasing savings.

So, when I saw a sale on my favorite type of chicken, I snatched up 3 packs. Woo hoo! Way more than enough for the rest of the month. So, in addition to the beans and rice and eggs and dairy I have, I will not need food for the rest of the month.

I am watching what I buy and do admit that this was a bad week in terms of eating when stressed and out of convenience. I ate some fast food this week, plus a breakfast. So I need to chill with that for a while as it isn't healthy and 3 bucks here and there could end up enough money for a healthier meal.

I have lost some weight, and want to continue losing weight, so I am also looking forward to my food for the month....it is a bit harder to eat healthy on a budget, but with a little practice, it can be done. Smile

Hope you all are having a good mother's day. Smile

Who Would Have Thought It...

May 8th, 2009 at 08:32 am

Aside from some possible grammar issues with my spelling, I am overwhelmed by the amount of visits my blog is getting.

I have other blogs that I haven't frequented in a while, and when I found this site and the ability to really, well, vent and be open about my finances (as for me, it is sometimes hard to do with family and friends as I don't want to be the kind of person always whining about money), I didn't think many people would read it. I thought it would be more of a cathartic tool for me to use and to help keep me focused on my financial goals. Instead, I got both the cathartic effect, and also more support than I imagined. Smile

Many thanks to those of you who take the time to read the ramblings and thoughts that flow through my head on a daily basis.

I read many of your comments regarding the "Love and Money" entry, and it is hard to explain the desire I have to be a stay at home mom. I really, really, really don't like the idea of letting a stranger raise my children. I also do not have much family support, so it isn't like I have a relative who could watch my child. And yeah, I am as feminist as they come, but ya know what? I still love the idea of love, I love the idea of a traditional family (primarily because I didn't really have it as a kid), and yeah, I do feel that a man (or a woman), should be able to provide for their family. As a strong woman I want to be able to support my family if push comes to shove, and I also want my hubby to be able to support the family as well.

I also have to add that as a child there was a lot of food insecurity as well as money insecurity, and I don't want that for my child. I went through being homeless and it still really messes with my thought patterns to this day.

What I think that would mean is that if I get married and if my hubby makes less than I do, we will just have to work on the savings, and par down expeses, so that we can afford for me to stay home. I am good at cooking cheap food and finding super duper bargains, so, yeah, I do agree that if two people are committed to the same goal, then they can make it happen.

As I mentioned in another entry, there is the issue of complexes. I did grow up seeing the stereotype of the hard working woman with the boyfriend or hubby who didn't work. I remember seeing how beat down the woman looked (emotionally) and I don't want that for myself.

Now, me and my bf are going to have to work through our money issues. I realize I have to back off a bit and let him deal with his stuff on his own. He knows how uptight I am about money, and I have to accept that he does things at his own pace. He isn't some guy that buys too much stuff or calls in sick all the time. So, I need to chill a bit.

I have $17 bucks in my pocket and am not feeling weird about my food budget, thought technically, I only have $25 bucks or so for food for the rest of the month after buying some needed vitamins. I am oddly not stressing about the food as I have some frozen meat and I haven't been eating as much lately either. So, I am feeling okay about it. Smile

Love and Money....Money and Love....

May 7th, 2009 at 02:13 pm

Well, in our society, it is often that many of us confuse our self worth with money, our self worth with love, and love, well, with money.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea...let me explain.

If I love someone and care for them, I have no problem lending them money or buying them things. I worked hard for my money, and the act of lending or spending it on a person means usually that I care for them deeply.

In the dating game, I have dated men with money, and men with not so much money. I can honestly say that in relationships where the man made more money than I did, I was still the one who put more emotional and econimical effort into the relationship. And I can honestly say that I have received more emotional and caring and economical support from someone who may not make so much money.

In our society (or at least when I was growing up), there is this stigma about the man supporting the woman. I have often felt I didn't give in to that kind of thing, but well...now I am not so sure. If I become a mom, I want to be able to stay home and take care of my child(ren) for at least the first 6 months of their lives. That is a very expensive thing to do!

I don't want to argue with friends or family or loved ones about money, as well, money is very fickle.

Love is more important than money, and there is also the saying that love can't feed a hungry stomach.

How does one have a healthy relationship with money, in its relation to love and family?

Worries and Overconsumption

May 7th, 2009 at 09:02 am

Yesterday was a not so good day. It started out great, and then I ended up being in a funk and stressed out about stuff said at work and then my boyfriend and I were talking and he was having some problems with his bank. I got really frustrated because he sometimes has an attitude towards business things that I don't agree with. I am a bit more uptight about things, and if I were having the problems he listed, I would be on the phone to customer service in a second! He, on the other hand, deals with it more slowly.

I worry about this because 1) I am not in the best financial shape, but I know what I did to get myself in this position, and 2) I worry that my bf will continue to be this way about money. My friends tend to trust me with their money and money related issues, as I guess they figure that I know the right thing to do, even though I don't always do it, but my boyfriend wants to do things his way and I don't think he listens to me in that regard.

We did have a discussion about marriage and money and whatnot, and he said he would be okay with my managing the money. Whew! You can't understand how much that relaxed me---I know I would feel better knowing that I had paid all of our bills online and that we had a certain amount of money for xyz, etc.

I also know that realistically it isn't any of my business how he deals with his finances. I just have a hard time keeping quiet because on one hand I know he is having difficulty and is stretched very thin financially, and on the other hand I think that if he got a bit uptight about money like me, he would still be stressed about money, but he would know how much he has at all times, avoid bank issues, etc.

Kind of stressed this morning and though it isn't in the budget, I bought myself breakfast---namely because it is more filling than my usual breakfast, and because well, I just felt like having a Sunday type breakfast on a Thursday. Smile

Dinner went well yesterday and I have enough leftovers for lunch at work. I am thinking of the chicken in my freezer and planning out the meals for next week.

I did good at the store yesterday and spent less than $3! Woo hoo! I focused on buying the bare minimum of what was needed for dinner, namely veggies and water.

I am going to buy vitamins tonight and hope that my coupon helps significantly. Smile

Complexes and Whatnot....

May 6th, 2009 at 08:45 am

So, I have been keeping a guarded eye on my funds and doing the math thing every day. I also am trying to avoid going to the grocery store whenever possible, and when I do, just getting what is most necessary at that time.

It is hard to do at times because I have a boyfriend, and when he visits I want to make sure that he has a good meal and eats well. He is a bachelor and eats bachelor type food, and he is also on a super tight budget (he makes less than half of what I do), so at times I think he doesn't have enough food for the type of work he does (very physical labor), or not the healthiest food (ie...super sugary cereal and very little veggies).

I know that I have to be careful in this area because 1) I have a complex about the whole woman supporting the man thing, and 2) it costs money to feed an extra person. I feel at odds at times because I want to make sure he has food to eat, and I also have to really watch my budget. It is fair to note that when he does have money, he is always offering to help me with food or gas. He may not buy me roses, but he does care about the things I need and I really appreciate that tremendously. Smile

So, tonight I will be in search of some fresh asparagus that is supposedly 99 cents a pound! Which is a good deal for asparagus in my area.

I am doing the math, and have about $51 bucks remaining for food for the month. I am going to fry some chicken on the weekend and maybe eat beans for the upcoming week. I am trying to hold out on buying food unless I am out of it...like, buying my yogurt only when I have one remaining yogurt kind of thing.

I am feeling optimistic about my goals and just trying to stay focused. Smile

About the International thing.....

May 5th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

After my relative passed away some years ago....I felt both alone, and I felt this urgency to live my life to the fullest. The reality that I could pass away alone in my apartment sort of freaking me out, and the fact that I felt the last person who really truly loved me as family had died, left me sort of adrift in some ways.

So, I didn't think wisely, and I refinanced my car to pay for my trip. Yeah, this was VERY silly. The job I had at the time had me on a semi-tight budget, and it would have taken me more than a couple of years to save for any sort of international travel. At that time my debt was less, my savings was higher, and I was on a tight budget.

Do I regret refinancing my car? In some ways yes, I do, as I am still paying on a car that is almost 10 years old (I bought it used). On the other hand, the thing that makes me the happiest, and brings joy to me when I think about it, is when I traveled. I went to a few European countries and man, I smile when I think of the places I visited.

Now, for some people, traveling is no big deal. International travel is normal for them. But for me, I came from a family and a childhood where I would count out pennies in order to get up money for the local budget matinee and some super cheap dollar menu type fast food. That was a splurge when I was a kid. So, to see places that my parents never got to visit, AND, to visit them on my own, as a solo woman traveler, means a heckuva lot to me. I always smile when I think of the different transit systems, reading signs and directions in a different language, the unique types of food, etc. I feel more vibrant when I am traveling.

It may not have been the best decision, but I traveled on a budget, I stayed at the cheapest (but cleanest), hotels I could find, and I felt this super duper energy that I don't always feel now. I am working on regaining that energy and joie de vivre as I have been lacking in it lately.

Keeping track of my spending

May 5th, 2009 at 09:46 am

So, in the past few days I have written and re-written and continuously calculate my budget for May.

I have paid most of my bills and so right now I am working with about $74 the represents my food money for the rest of the month. Needless to say, I somehow overspent, and don't have tons and tons of food to show for it. I spent about $55+ bucks on food so far, and $9 or so was for take out. So, I would like to spend maybe $40 more bucks and focus on protein and yogurt.

I lost some weight and am really happy about that.

I made some black beans and rice on Sunday, and put the beans in the freezer---which freaks out my bf---but I explained that I want to slow down the aging of the beans as I won't eat any today and I am trying to make them last longer. Yeah, he thinks I am a bit loopy when it comes to my freezing food items. He doesn't come from a family that freezes a lot of their food, and I come from a family where I learned to freeze loaves of bread and gallons of milk.

I have 2 packs of chicken in the freezer, plus the beans, plus eggs and fruit and yogurt, so I am not hurting for food at all this week.

I need to buy a water bottle and vitamins tomorrow, so I am hoping that my 20% off coupon helps me a lot.

A lil bit more.....

May 4th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

So, I have come to think of money as something that happens in cycles...there have been cycles in my life where I saved my dinner money (where I lived for a while as a pre-teen, didn't have a kitchen or bathroom) in order to "splurge" on the weekend on used books, a comic book or two, and maybe a lunch out (super cheap, of course).

I started working in high school and that helped me with spending money and being able to buy basic personal toiletries and whatnot (very important to a teen, I tell ya!). I ended up working my way through college and making close to $30,000 before I got my degree.

I then got a decent job, and a part-time job in addition, and had the luxury of having a full pay check every week. I did good and managed to save about $12,000.

Then, a close relative got sick, my job couldn't always do a cost of living increase and the 2nd job wasn't available, the bills relating to their care and my bills ended up being more than my earnings, and I ended up being in the red each month, which led to more cc debt and whatnot.

My relative passed away and I had a hard time dealing with it. I didn't have any other close family that I could depend on, and well, I just went into an emotional funk, if you will. This emotional funk caused me to not be so focused on watching my budget and my savings dwindled to a small amount.

I have been working more on my budget and writing down every single thing that I buy. I know that if I had more savings I would feel less stressed, but, until I pay off my debt, I don't have much to put towards savings in the first place. Frown

I realize that for me, buying things was a sort of temporary fix for my blahs. I also realized that I wasted money on crappola.....coffee drinks, eating out (even if it is fast food, it is still too much dough), clothes. Of course I am totally kicking myself right now, but what can you do? All I can do now is focus on getting rid of my debt, and trying to be as frugal as possible.

I worked a 2nd job for a while, but the extra 24 hours a week was hard on my body as I am currently working on trying to be healthier.

Now I find myself kind of in an semi-awkward feeling...in reality I am doing ok. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food to eat. I shouldn't be so worried. The emotional aspect is the part of me that wants to travel, feels stifled when I am calculating the affordability of buying a coffee drink or a bag of chips, and the comments that irk me by friends who I don't think really understand poverty.

I have friends that make comments that I can't relate to.....they say they are broke, yet spend 3x the amount I do on food, or are always out enjoying some lounge or club.

With poverty there comes a lot of judgements...and from time to time, I still feel like the little girl in grade school who was so poor that I had to keep re-sewing the hole in the same pair of cotten stretch pants. Imagine sewing a hole made from overwear and tear, in an item that doesn't have any seams!

One thing about my attempts at frugality is that I think there is a really fine line in judgements about money, and most of us have a problem with that line...

For me, it is a struggle to not let my finances affect my mood. When I have money, I am happy and want to go walking and simply window shopping (I don't need to buy anything). When my money is somewhat limited, then I have a hard time relating to friends who want to go to lounges and have cocktails (mentally, I tabulate the $8 cocktail, plus tip, and try to determine if there is room for that in my food budget). I sometimes just can't relate to it.....my friends eat organic meat now, while I am scouring the ads for cheap chicken.

I know the best way is to just hunker down and get through these times. I also have to let go of disappointment in myself for overspending, and also have faith that I have been through much worse as a young person, and I cannot let my fears cloud my mentality.

My neighborhood has changed quite a bit, and it is hard relating to some of the changes. There are more expensive stores and people with much higher incomes moving into my area. People pay ridiculous amounts of money from the local boutiques, and it just kind of irks me.

I do accept that if it weren't for the debt (that I fully take responsibility for), then I would have a lot of disposable income to put towards savings and towards more trips.




Starting Out on Being Open

May 4th, 2009 at 10:36 am

Money is something that I love to talk about. Money is also something that I feel consumes a large part of my personality. I have friends that I can discuss money issues with, and friends for whom the topic is a bit touchy and I don't feel comfy having those types of conversations with.

I grew up very poor---eating in soup kitchens, government cheese, finding that a mouse had bitten its way into my desired jar of peanut butter, and loving the $3.50 rice plates. Yes, beef and broccoli was usually my favorite pick.

Now I make a middle class income, and live in an expensive city where some people don't think my income is so middle class. Frown

I grew up not having much and being constantly ridiculed for it. This led me to become very anti-label and anti-pricey items. I would prefer to spend money on a plane ticket than a designer bag. I wear my jeans until there are holes in them, and while I love technology, I am still using a cell phone that is 2 years old.

Money shapes how I am feeling---when I have a lot of savings, I am very happy and content, even if I have debt. When I don't have a lot of savings, I am more worried and anxious. I am working on overcoming how my money situation affects me as I know it isn't the best.

Right now I am working on paying off my debt....I anticipate having all of my debt paid off in under 3 years.

I totally heart traveling, and without adequate savings, I just can't justify going on any trips at this time. So, my urge to see the world is stifled a bit.

I really appreciate this type of blog because I think that money is one of those things that people cannot always talk openly about. On here, I can gripe and smile and be open about how I am feeling and hopeful that people may have simimar concerns or understandings.