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Archive for September, 2009

Simple Pleasures....

September 30th, 2009 at 08:52 am

So, I have found a new store that I am hoping will help me with my food budget. I went into it yesterday and wanted to buy sooo many things, as it is one of those big box stores, that is a bit better than your average big box store. I can't wait to go back and shop there when I get paid. It even seems like it's meat selection and veggie selection is nice and clean and plentiful. Smile

I also found out that I can take 3 simple ingredients, add a bit of toasting to it, and I have a meal that has this french feel to it (think croque monsieur), and tastes so much better than having the item cold. It really does feel like a treat.

I am looking forward to payday so that I have cash (yay!), but also worried about how I am going to meet my budget this month. I very rarely try to depend on others, but seeing as how my bf owes me a bit, I am really hoping that he will come through and help me, at least for a couple of months until I pay off a couple of bills and have more cash available to me.

I am worried about my diet a bit. These past few days I have been watching my funds, and eating what was cheap and filling, but not necessarily healthy. Sometimes, when I see these ridiculously overpaid people on tv, I wish I had the type of budget where I could go and buy yummy, healthy salads and raw food meals and energy smoothies and skin creams and vitamins. I feel like I would be able to be so much healthier.

I know that I don't need to be rich to make myself salads and smoothies---but, to be honest, protein powder isn't the cheapest, and the average can of protein powder can take up 10% of my monthly food budget!! And that is one of the cheaper brands!!

So, for now I am going to try and use up my previously bought make-up and skin care samples, take tons of baths, borrow books from the library, get cheap things off of ebay, and just try and pamper myself in ways that are cheap. I do know that I don't necessarily need pampering as things aren't hard for me and other people have it far worse. I just use the pampering to help reduce my stress levels.

I also think the stress is messing with my weight. I went through something like this before, years ago, and though I was dieting hard, the weight wasn't coming off. I think I had so much stress at the time (a loved one was very ill), that my body was just going into this weird mode, so while I wasn't gaining, I wasn't losing either.

I am seriously trying to avoid the coffee container I want. My goodness, it seems like it is calling out to me..."Buy me. Buy me. I look so nice. Buuuuuuuuy meeeeee." Seriously. I looked online for it, and people are charging 2 and 3x what it is worth in the stores. Sigh. So, if I buy it, I will have to buy it with cash or credit. But it would be about 15% of my food budget, if I were to buy it. I keep telling myself that after a few weeks, it would just become more junk. Sigh.

I am also thinking that when I feel like this, it is best to not be around super expensive shopping areas, etc. It just doesn't help me mentally, I think. I feel like my city is changing and becoming more high income, so when I come across people who aren't native to my city, and they start raving about some new store or lounge, well, I just have to tune out. It especially irks me when they call neighborhoods by these new trendy names that no native would ever use. Sigh. I feel like my city is so much more than how it is changing. It has this life to it that is not being represented by the increase in trendy cafes that charge waaaaay too much money for SMALL cups of coffee----$3!! and you MAY get a 12 oz cup. Ridiculous. I am glad that I am taking time for myself and taking pics of the parts of my city that I love.

Kind Gestures

September 29th, 2009 at 09:04 am

I have a relative whom I have not had much of a positive history with. There has been a lot of family drama, and basically, huge abandonement issues. I decided to work on these issues starting last year, and this year we made a lot of progress in dealing with all of the emotional walls.

She really touched my heart today, because she has offered to help my bf. That is a big thing for me. My relationship with my relative is kind of new, and not familiar, and I admit that even though I am hurting for money at times, I have a hard time accepting anything from her.....it has to do with stuff from the past and I don't want to be seen as the forgotten family member who is now also a leech. But I digress as I know those are just my own issues and interpretation.

Anyway, she really reached out to help my bf, and I appreciate that. It is easier for me to accept the help for him, than it would be to accept the help for myself.....also, it is an severe issue he is facing, rather than someone who is just short a bit for bill money.

I think my bf is happy about it. It was too early in the morning when I told him, so I am not sure if he was completely awake. I will talk to him about it today.

Other than that, I have been watching my money (funny how the budget thing seems so stressful, even though I get paid soon! I am still counting out every purchase, etc.) and just trying to relax and stay level headed.

Calgon Part 2

September 28th, 2009 at 08:22 pm

A nice bubble bath is eagerly calling me. I had a wardrobe malfunction recently, and it really got me to thinking about my appearance and wardrobe. I need to start hand washing my blouses, and investing in getting those that need to be pressed, taken in to the dry cleaners. I realize that when I feel like my clothes are "poor", then I feel "poor", and well, that leads to all of those "poor girl" thoughts.

In reality, I am far from "poor". I may be somewhat broke, or without excess funds for entertainment and clothes and whatnot, but in actuality, I am a very blessed person. I just need to take a lot better care of my clothes. Smile

I think that taking a bit more time away from my computer to take sudsy bubble baths, do my nails, and read my pile of books will probably be good for me. I enjoy reading, and I enjoy being online (I wonder which site I am at the most... Wink ). And I need to increase my reading because I find that while I enjoy surfing the net, it isn't as relaxing and reading a good book in bed.

I cannot explain how good I felt on Saturday. I really think that getting up early, doing what I wanted to do, versus running an errand or doing a chore, helped me to relax and feel a bit more calm.

I am also going to scout out if I can find some lower cost acupuncture places, as my health insurance doesn't usually cover acupuncture. I am also going to research the vitamins and minerals I need, and then try and find them cheaper, so that way, I can still make progress towards being healthy, even though I may not have the cash to do things for my health in a way that I would prefer.

Now as for that cute coffee container that I want to buy....I am trying to ignore that little "buy me", "buy me" voice. I have a feeling that if I bought it, I would grow tired of it after a few weeks, and it would go into the pile of no longer used bpa laden water bottles in my kitchen. Frown

Calgon time.....

September 28th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

So it is one of those days when I am feeling....tired at the start of my day and unable to focus.

My money situation should be okay until I get paid--not taking into account the $150 or so I am already short. I still have to be careful, as I only have about $15 of wiggle room in my budget for food stuffs...which is hard, because it is one of those days where I feel like I am in pig out mode. It is a combination of 1) hormones and 2) stress, and voila! I am craving the dollar menu at my local fast food place. I am upset about these cravings as I told myself I would avoid eating there and certain types of food, but, I dunno....the craving got strong last week, and I ended up eating fast food while driving home.

I can't wait to get home and just chill out---I made dinner last night that should last a good two days of meals, if my bf comes over. I washed most of my dishes, so I don't have to worry about having to do that. I think I will just focus on relaxing, journaling, and doing some pampering things like a nice hot bubble bath, home facial, and that type of thing. I may even paint my toenails! Smile

I realize that my appearance has gone downhill quite a bit....it is one of those things where I have good intentions, and then voila! I notice a hole in my clothes that I didn't see while getting dressed, and it ends up making me feel like a complete shlump.

My friend is having another baby and I am very happy for her. It does sometimes make me wonder when I will get my act together so that I can have my own kids.

My bf and I are having some difficulties, but I am acknowleging that much of it may just be due to the situation, and that he is under a lot of stress. So, he sometimes seems very short or irritated by me. Sigh.

I do sometimes feel sad when I see people on the street who seem...well, so happy. I feel like I need to get back that part of me. I know I have so many opportunities that other people haven't had, and yet sometimes, silly as it may be, I sometimes wish I could do things all over again and make better choices. I wish I could have worked harder in school. I wish I could have gotten my weight problems under control years ago. I wish I could have saved more money when I was working the extra job. I know it doesn't help me to feel that way, I am just expressing how I have been feeling lately.

Today I plan on just going home and chilling out. I think I will even make myself do some much needed reading....why do I avoid it when it always brings me such joy?

Discussing money, and eager to shop...

September 27th, 2009 at 06:38 pm

So, last night me and my bf discussed the topic of money. I have learned that with him, I have to chill out a bit, and realize that while I have a general idea of my budgets weeks in advance (I actually write out my budget months at a time---sticking to it is the only problem!), he may not.

So, I was counting out my money and figuring out how I am going to pay a bill that is due, plus pay for the usual stuff like gas, food, etc.

I decided to talk to him about the help I will need, but I realized that with him, I can't get all into the specifics of the dollar amount, because if he doesn't actually have the money at the time, it stresses him out. I did let him know I am short, that I had to borrow from savings, etc., and he agreed to help me. I know I will have to wait until he pays off the bill with his family, but I am hoping he can come through for me. Otherwise, I will have to borrow from savings, and that just sucks. And, yeah, I have been looking for part-time work, and it is hard to find (due to my hours of availability) in my area---also, there are a lot of part-time jobs out there, that are really full-time jobs that have been cut a small amount so they are now considered part-time and without any benefits. They asked for really difficult hours---like 6 hours in the middle of the day, that makes it difficult for a person to get another full-time or part-time job. I am seeing that a lot on the online job offerings, and it is really saddening.

Been having the grrrrrrssss lately. I am trying to get my doctor to help me with it, but they seem reluctant, and what I want to do to help me, includes vitamins and whatnot, and that costs money. Grrrr.

The being slightly broke thing is a bit irritating. I realize that it can cause friction with a friend of mine, and I wish I knew how to be a better person.

My friend is very nice and kind, and a very good person. We have very different definitions of what being poor means, however, and I am a bit saddened that I don't have things in common with him that I used to. He has not been as poor as I was, and he is living the life of an average, upper income 30-something. He may not consider himself upper income, but in my city, there are so many people starting out at such a high figure, that I think their idea of being poor gets really skewed. Sometimes I just feel like he doesn't understand me, and I can't always understand when he rolls his eyes and talks about being poor, but, is always at a boutique or trendy restaurant. I have learned to be quiet about it though and just keep my thoughts to myself.

I am going to start pampering myself more. I really feel like I haven't been looking so great lately, so I am going to focus more on taking nice soapy hot baths, wearing make up more often, and trying to keep up with my mani and pedis, even if I can only afford to do them at home.

My budget is short for next month, and there are things in my budget that I have to buy almost each month, and I am really looking forward to buying them---who would have thought that a person would get excited about being able to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies? Little touches like a lavender smelling cleaning product on scented air freshener really help to mellow me out.

Being able to tell you all these things really helps me more than I think I can say. It often happens that I am not able to have a deep conversation with a person for a day or more, and sometimes, well, you just need to express yourself, ya know? I am hoping that this form of expression helps to reduce my overall stress levels.

I hope you all are having a good weekend. Hugs.

Escapism

September 26th, 2009 at 10:58 am

Escapism is a common thing that I think many of us do. What each person considers a form of escapism, is subjective, and unique.

For me, I started my foray into escapism as a teen. I had a loved one whom was dying, and there was very little medical help that could be done. So, all we could do, to be blunt, was try to go through the motions as my loved one got sicker and sicker.

This made me not want to be home, since our place was so small that if I were studying or doing homework, I would be face to face with my loved one. Not a bad thing, but when a person is sick and you want time to yourself to choke back a tear or something, there simply wasn't any room for that. So, I often escaped to different parts of my city----I would scrounge local used book stores and splurge on cheap lunch plates. It was all I could do I felt, at that time, to try to relieve stress.

Before my loved one's illness, I was able to escape into my school work and excel. But his illness was a bit too much for me to deal with and be able to think clearly in school.

I have found that as I get older, I have escaped into different things...sometimes it would be getting a new hobby, or going on vacation.

Since my money is tight, I am escaping into visiting parts of my city that I used to frequent when I was younger. My city is a good city, I just hate that it is slowly losing what made it so wonderful in the first place.

I walked around this morning and it was nice and relaxing. It wasn't super cheap, as I didn't follow my budget and bought some pastries that were not on my "to buy" list. But it was nice, and only like an hour.

On a different tangent, how does one not appear broke in a large group? I recently had a situation where everyone else in the group ordered a meal, and I ordered one of the cheapest things on the menu, and it sort of looked awkward, but I don't think anyone cared. I do remember feeling really......upset. I felt embarrassed, and angry at myself because I am responsible for my budget problems.

I have been thinking about my boyfriend lately. We haven't seen much of each other lately because of his family situation. He is really going through a lot.

I wonder if we can get back to normal? I really do think that I have been trying to be helpful and supportive for a majority of our relationship. I do admit that I have not asked my bf for as much help as I should have, and I think that, at times, has made him feel bad. It was not my intention to do so, I just felt he wasn't in a position to help. I think our power dynamics and roles got really screwed up (yeah, I know, I am very pro-woman, and I am also very pro stay at home mom, as well).

I really hope that we can get back on track as well and that our relationship will be able to get better. I sort of feel like our relationship shifted too much, which may have been appropriate given the circumstances, to just a lot of help and assistance, and very little dating or couple time.

I am really hoping that my budget will be better next month. I am anxiously awaiting the 1st, and I hope that thing will be okay.

Recession time rants...please take them in jest

September 24th, 2009 at 10:14 am

So, they say venting is good for the soul, so here are some of my recession-era rants.....they are to be taken in jest and in a comical nature.

1. Newspapers that continue to write reviews of expensive restaurants. Why? Why not focus on the fact that more Americans are cutting down on eating out, and when they do choose to eat out, they are eating at fast food chains? It seems a bit superficial and out of touch with reality for a majority of people.

2. Getting less for more. Look, I understand that everyone is cutting back. I DO NOT understand how suddenly a 6 oz piece of meat looks eerily like it is 4 oz, and yet 3 dollars more expensive. Something is off with that math.

3. Nickel and diming----I find it very tacky when restaurants implement an extra charge for sauce---really? How many people are actually hoarding the dipping sauces in order to create an elaborate meal later? Very few. Very few. Stop nickel and diming us by charging for even 1 extra sauce packet (I understand not giving someone 10 sauce packets for a 5 piece nugget meal, but charging for just 1 extra? Ridiculous.).

4. Some who are out of touch with reality---Everyone is being hit hard in these times, and I understand that. Complaining about having to do without items that most people couldn't afford even before the recession seems a bit....odd. Complaining about having to reduce (not eliminate) fine dining, or the weekly spa trips somehow doesn't make me feel as sympathetic as I probably should.

5. People who say they would NEVER do something that pertains to budgeting, i.e., I would "never" not eat organic, or I would "never" buy a store brand, etc. Times are hard, and it may help for people to think about the audience when they say that...it can be very offputting when someone says they would never eat this or that when the person they are speaking to is subsisting on that item.

6. Water cooler discussions about spending! This is a tricky subject---everyone is discussing how they are changing their spending habits as a reaction to the economy and yet, how much info is too much? I find that this is the hardest vent to discuss and all aspects of this pet peeve really does probably depend on the time of day the comment is made, who is making it, how the listener is feeling, etc. If a person is complaining about not having money, and yet, every day they discuss something luxurious that they bought, etc., it alters their believeability.

Thank you for my little rant. Smile I hope you all take it in jest.

More money, more problems

September 24th, 2009 at 08:49 am

No, I won't harken back to the Biggie and 2pac beef, but I will say that money has its own reality and law of physics....why, if I am making more money now, than 3 years ago, am I in worse off shape?

Sigh. Frown

So, my bf came over today and ya know what? There isn't any food to eat. He seemed a bit disappointed, but I hope he can see that voila! food costs money, and I am really considering eating beans for the next week until I get paid. Maybe him seeing that things are pretty scarce will make him realize that I it is difficult for me to help as much as I have been helping.

I also got a bill that was due 2 days ago, that is related to my helping his family, and I have now got to figure out how I am going to pay that, since he is supposed to have given me money to pay that bills a while ago.

I really hopes that when he is able to pay off this financial responsibility for his family that he has (which should be paid next week), that he can seriously invest in helping me out. I know I am sounding selfish right now, and I should be thinking of the reality of what the status is with his family being able to pay the bill that is due next week, but, well, I am a bit stressed out about all of it. I want to be supportive, and I have been supportive, but I will be honest, once his family and he is able to pay the bill, then he will need to start helping me with the help that he said he would. I am not going to agree with him if he says he now needs money for moving expenses, or wants to buy something I consider frivalous, etc. I feel that I have done a lot, and now, with a savings of less than $500 bucks (once I try and borrow from it today), I really need my bf to step up to help me. He owes me quite a lot, and I really hope that he keeps his promise of paying me back.

His friend told me that I have really helped him and that she is very happy that we are together. And part of me feels like maybe I was supposed to be in his life at this time to help him through the difficulties he has faced. I feel like that is a possibility, but I don't like thinking that at times, because it makes me come across as somehow being egotistical....I feel my bf has helped me tremendously as well...it is just the financial part that is the most difficult.

All in all, I am feeling somewhat better. Just trying to not let the stress level get too high. I still need to nix my caffeine habit---it is hard to do when I feel like I need super strong coffee just to keep me from falling asleep.

Thank you to everyone who listens to me vent---I know I sometimes sound like I am on a ledge, but, it just helps me to get my thoughts out and express them, and then usually I feel better and I back away from the ledge.

How my money is doing....

September 23rd, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Yes, I put money into a verb (or would that be adverb?), as a way to espress how I view things.

I do think that for me, my emotions are strongly tied to how my finances are. If my finances are in a tizzy, then my emotions usually are. If my finances are good (meaning I have a decent emergency savings, and can pay my bills each month), then I tend to be a much calmer person.

I think that what is going on right now is trying to just deal with this level of unease and uncomfortableness. I realize that I am sounding a bit like a spoiled brat when I say I am "uncomfortable", when in our country, and our world, people don't have enough food to eat or clothes to wear, so I realize I am being a bit arrogant when I am upset that I may have to eat beans a few times a week, or wear older clothes. Sigh, I think being a city girl has spoiled me a bit.

I realize that I am relatively pretty, all things considered. I also realize that I am just having an exercise rut at the moment, and I know for me, the first step in feeling better is altering my diet. Once I master my diet, so to speak, then my exercise gets in line. I am a bit bummed because it has been hard to eat the way I want to, and still stay within my budget.

I know that with everything that is going on, if I am not working a 2nd job, then really, I should be using my time taking a walk, getting rid of clutter, and exercising. I also know that when I get home, I feel so tense that my back often hurts and all I want to do is lay down...which probably isn't a good thing.

I joked with a friend, and we both agreed that the way our heads work, in terms of how we were raised to....relate to money, that when our money is funny, we are not the most cheerful people. I know I would be sooooo much happier if I had a bigger emergency savings, even if it meant still having the same amount of debt. It has something to do with my feelings of security and safety and being able to take care of myself. And yeah, I think I got into a pattern of buying things to cheer me up....so take away some usually comforting items, and I have got the grrrrsss....You add to these fillings the issues with my bf, the issues with having a reduced paycheck, and just overall stress, and I may be moaning and whining a bit more than is necessary.

In reality, being poorer may help me to eat better. Since I cannot shop or go to movies or things that involve buying stuff, then I should use that time to take walks for free, and to clean my apartment.

I Just want to be pretty

September 23rd, 2009 at 09:47 am

This thought popped into my head, and I thought I would roll with it...

I know pretty people have problems, too. And yet, as probably incorrect as it seems, I really feel like if my appearance was more of how I looked about 5 years ago, I think I would feel a bit stronger about the whole situation. I would be able to wear my cute skirts and funky (meaning hip!) shoes, have an iced coffee, and not trip about being on a tight budget.

I think the appearance issue is just another added stressor---not to mention that your appearance does impact your hiring ability (for the part-time jobs I am looking into). And my appearance or health makes certain jobs (one where I am on my feet constantly), a bit more tiring than for an average and normal person.

Yeah, there is this little naive and dreamer part of me that really feels like if I were able to wear the clothes I want (not expensive ones, just ones in my style preference), and be able to take the casual kind of strolls I like, then I would be able to be a bit less stressed about the whole situation. Right now, I am in clothes I don't really like cause they make me look kind of crappy, and then that in turn affects how people view me, and I am feeling uncomfortable often when I try to go for the little strolls.

Right now I would love to be able to wear a pretty dress, sit in a cafe, and be able to just relax and write out my cares and thoughts......