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Archive for November, 2009

Feelings

November 30th, 2009 at 09:24 pm

This weekend has been a slightly odd one.

I got to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends and I generally had a good time. Part of my family has a bit of opulence, and, it brought back some memories of when I was a kid and my family was poor and we needed help. I feel a bit odd because my family really could have used some help, but the side that is more oppulent chose not to. No one ever has to help, but I feel bad when I think of certain experiences and things endured, that could have been better with their help.

My bf is also having more money problems with his family, so, our vacation is going to be very, very short. I still have no idea of where we are going to go, or what we are going to do, or how we are going to pay for it. And my bday is coming up as well, and the idea of what I want to do for my bday is less than $40 bucks total, but I am not even sure how if I will be able to do that. My relative may give me money for my bday, but I am thinking that I want to use that for something I need, rather than something I want. Sigh.

I also want to set aside money for the New Year. I don't want to be broke (like I am today---so broke I chose to buy food over buying gas) during the New Year, and I want to at least have a little bit of money to buy something nice to eat.

So, as I am going over my budget, I realize that while I thought this month was going to be a bit better, I will need to be even more strict about my budget and I may not be able to do the food options I had first thought of. Or maybe, I can be even more inventive with my cooking, and stick to even more beans?

The Big Picture

November 27th, 2009 at 03:27 pm

So, Thanksgiving was a really good day. I had good food, and spent time with my family and loved ones. And yet, though I should be happy, I found myself slightly upset and losing sight of the big picture.

I felt weird because I was hoping that my relatives would send me home with some leftovers, but, no one went home with any. I was thinking of the food I had made at home, and how much food would last me and my bf until payday. There was also the usual family stuff, so that is probably why I am irritable.

I was able to get food from a friend, and I am happy about that. Today, was really hard, though. People were rushing to and fro for big screen tvs and sales and whatnot. I chose not to participate in it. It made me a bit anti-consumerism. In reality, if I had money, I might be doing the same thing they are.....because I am broke at the moment, it just sort of irritated me. I really can't be upset at anyone but myself for being broke. There isn't anything I really should be buying in a store, except for necessities and food and things.

Today I find myself just irritated and thinking of how I am changing my spending habits. I think back at all the silly stuff I bought years and years ago....magazines, expensive lattes and frappuccinos, clothes, etc. I never bought big ticket items, just small stuff that wasn't really worth much, just wasting money. Did I really need to buy magazines?

This experience of being broke is very uncomfortable, but ultimately helpful in many ways. Though I am irritated, I know that so many other people have it much worse than I do. I am blessed to have food and a roof over my head and clothes on my back. I have it pretty good, I just have to get over being angry at myself because being broke sort of sucks, but, I am doing ok.



Awkward

November 24th, 2009 at 09:20 pm

Today I felt really awkward. I went with a friend grocery shopping, and as she said how much she had to spend, I just felt so upset at myself. Her budget for Thanksgiving was ALOT---almost my entire monthly food budget. I asked for help with buying a few food items---less than $10---I wasn't sure if she would say yes or no, but I figured I would ask. She explained how she had more items to buy, and couldn't help me out but would help me out next month. I appreciated her help, and I felt weird because I don't think she knows how I am counting out money for even the most basic necessities. I felt like crying----I am upset at myself for letting myself get in this situation. Thankfully, in less than 3 years I should have my debt paid off and will be much more budget minded.

I wanted so man things in the store---even just the simplest of food items. It was weird realizing that I can't get myself even a healthy treat because of bad spending habits. I am not very happy with myself right now.

Looking back to the here and now

November 23rd, 2009 at 12:44 pm

So, things have been odd lately. I have been doing a lot of introspection and contemplation.

Things have been difficult this month, and my friends and family have been helping me out and I really appreciate it. I really dislike having to ask for help, and I dislike even more that I have not stuck to my own rules about budgeting and buying enough food at the beginning of the month. I find myself now trying to figure out how much I have to put towards a thanksgiving dinner, and what food to buy for the days in between thanksgiving and when I get paid again. Sigh.

I have had some discussions with my boyfriend, and I realize that I just have to remain firm about what I need and when. He has been helping me out, but because of budgeting issues, he gives me money later in the month, or he is giving me money in the beginning of the month, not realizing that it is really for something that didn't get paid in the previous month. Sigh. So, we are having to work on that. I do realize that if it weren't for him helping me, I would not have food money.

It is hard looking at where I was financially not too long ago, and where I am now. On one front, my bills are going down and a major bill will be paid off this year. woo hoo! On the other front, money is super tight, I worry alot about what to buy to feed me and my bf, and I am behind on doing some routine maintenance stuff (for both myself and in general). It is also hard at times hearing people talk about the things they are going to buy during the holiday shopping season. I am going to just stay home on that day. It is also hard hearing from friends them say one thing about finances, but living a different lifestyle. I helped a friend out and I thought they were having more financial problems, but it turns out they weren't, as they were discussing their discretionary spending and what they want to buy.

I think, that since bf gets paid soon, I will let him know that I need help and for him to bring food for us until payday. I feel like I am just getting really stressed about it.

I am just going to focus on trying to do things to make myself happy, such as relaxing, redecorating, hobbies, etc. And I am going to focus on sticking to my budget more strictly.

Simple Pleasures Part II

November 18th, 2009 at 09:00 am

So, after yesterday's little mini crisis, I was able to talk to my family and friends and borrow the money.

I know $26 bucks isn't a lot, but when I am maxed out on cards and refuse to use the ones that will jump my interest rate to nearly 30%, and have a small savings I have a fear of using, then, well, it just seemed like a bit too much. This is taking into account that I had stupidly forgotten to check my checking account and kept going on the wrong balance info. Sigh. Then, when my bf said he couldn't help, that upped my heart rate a bit. We were able to have a good talk, and some anxiety I had had about our vacation dissipated. It will be put on hold for now. I am disappointed, but things are too hard right now, ya know?

I also have a problem with asking for help. I know that sounds silly, but I do. I don't like asking for help because I fear that people will let me down, and it will cause a rift between us, so I try not to ask whenever possible.

Things seem better today and with my family's help I will be able to buy food for Thanksgiving. A modest dinner, but one full of love, and I think that is all that matters, ya know?



Almost left in tears

November 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

So, I goofed on my budget, and when I had paid for something with my atm for a friend, and they paid me in cash, I didn't accurately estimate how much I had remaining in my checking account. So now,
on a tight budget, including money for gas and food, I am short $26 bucks. And I am left almost in tears. I am maxed out on my cc, and I have $26 in my savings, but I fear dropping below $300 in savings. Sigh. I feel like crying, and I just don't know what to do. I could not pay a bill, or pay it partially, but I don't know if they would negatively ding my credit for that, so I want to save that only as a last resort.

I have asked friends for help, but haven't yet received a response. I don't want to ask my family cause they have already helped me out and I would feel funny asking them.

The way things are with my budget, I don't see a trip really being all that possible. Frown

Enthusiasm and encouragement

November 17th, 2009 at 10:02 am

So, last night I felt like I had this wave of encouragement and enthusiasm wash over me. I was still feeling pretty upset about my recent photos---I look so unhealthy that if I could, I would just jet away to a far off land, drink tons of cucumber water, do the sauna, take long walks, and just get some much needed R&R while avoiding all matter of processed foods.

But, since that doesn't appear likely, I will have to just try and do the same thing on a much smaller scale.

I don't have much money left over for food, but I feel that with what I have in the freezer and pantry, and the food my boyfriend has been bringing home, things will be ok.

I worry alot about my bf and me. I feel torn a lot because I know he is going through so much and needs a lot of support, and I should be patient. On the other hand, I feel that we are becomming more distant and more like friends as time goes on. He says things that makes me think he wants to be with me for the long haul, but I am not sure. Maybe a vacation will be good for the both of us? It is so hard to explain when such a large chunk of a relationship has been dealing with just the normal hardships of life. I feel bad because my feelings are up and down, and his may stay consistent, and, well, I just need some us time, ya know? I worry that our relationship is built around our need for one another? But is that always a bad thing? My friends feel like I have helped him through a really rough patch, and that he probably appreciates it, and I feel like he has been the most supportive and accepting man I have ever been with. I just worry that we may not be the best husband and wife material. But I don't feel that now is the right time to make any huge decisions, ya know?

I am not sure about the vacation plans, and feel a little bad about that, as I miss the lure of traipsing over the globe. Just a few years ago I was seeing the shores of different continents, and now I am pinching every penny and have made beans a regular staple of my diet. This isn't a bad thing as I am lucky to even have beens in the first place---just makes you see where you have been, where you are, and where you want to be.

On a side note, I have hit the 100 entries mark!

Thanksgiving, budgets, and cents

November 16th, 2009 at 09:28 am

So, things have been sort of odd but ok lately. I have been really watching my budget---every day going over again and again how much I have for food, and how much I have set aside for food for Thanksgiving. I am going to try and make a meal for me and by, plus food for family, for under $30 bucks total. I think I will be able to do it as I have the menu items in mind, and I won't be doing the traditional turkey meal.

Overall, I think my budget is going ok this month, I don't feel so stressed out about it, and I feel like I have enough food to last us through the rest of the month.

My bf wants us to do the trip, but I am not sure about it. He had a bill to take care of that put his payment schedule for our expenses back a bit, so the check that should have been used for more the trip, is really going to be used for the basics for this month and maybe next month. No matter how many ways I look at it, I don't think it will be possible to go where I want to go, for less than $300. And I am not even sure if he has that amount, ya know? I also feel like telling him to just forget it, and use the money to put towards things like a new oil change, stuff for the house, etc. But both he and I could really use a vacation and a change of scenery for a few days. Sigh. Not sure what to do.

I saw a picture of myself recently and got a bit depressed. I just don't look as healthy as I used to, and I really dislike that. My bf thinks it is in my head, but I know how I looked before, and what I look like now, and I prefer how I looked previously. I really want to work on getting back that healthy glow I used to have.

I hope everyone is doing well this holiday season.

In Pursuit of My Life

November 8th, 2009 at 06:28 pm

With everything that has been going on, and the topic I blogged about most recently, I have been thinking a lot about my life and the things I want to do, the person I want to be, the life I want to have.

I feel a bit like I am in a stuck mode right now. I know that my health is probably a large aspect of that stuck feeling. I am working very hard (though I have worked harder when I worked more than 1 job at one time), and often I find myself spent at the end of the day. I usually feel so spent that I don't want to do fun things after work, and I don't have the energy to do the things I need to do in my home. I think that I need to work on the health aspect so I can feel better and have the energy to do the things I need to do.

I have been making time to do a bit more of my hobbies, and that is going surprisingly well, and it makes me realize that more of my life can be that way if I really get my energy in the right direction.

My bf made some comments lately about our future. It was odd in a lot of ways because I thought he wasn't into that kind of thing, but he made a comment and it again, suggested a long term relationship. The whole situation has me feeling a bit odd because it has been hard for us lately and really hard with his family, so part of our time together has been through difficulties. I am not sure how things will be when things are better for him and his family and us. I do think that our recent discussion about money upset him, but he did give me the money we discussed, and part of me thinks that when he calms down, he understands what I am saying and feeling. I think that part of it is that our relationship may be a lot better without all of the added stressors that have been going on.

I have been focusing more on me and putting more effort into some physical aspects, and I think it is coming along well. Much better than before.

Giving you all a big hello and hope that your weekend is going well.

Weary Part II

November 6th, 2009 at 08:17 pm

Today I feel sapped of my energy. I just feel like all I can do is shrug my shoulders and have them become rounded. I was critiqued about something that only hours previously had made me feel so happy and accomplished. This person's words made me feel like no matter the qualities I offer and my skills, there is something within them that makes them not be able to see what I offer, or see me as someone who cannot improve or achieve higher. This has left me feeling a bit blue to say the least.

It is easy for me to take how I am feeling and divert from my budget. But I know I do not have that type of wriggle room.

My appetite has gone down a bit, so I am happy for that.

I am going to work on what I can improve, and hopefully I can improve the areas enough so that this person will not have the same wrong inner judgments of me. It does make me worry a lot more as I thought I was doing well. I feel like my only option is to improve as much as I can, even though it make me weary. At times like this, I feel like I don't have a whole lot of strength and energy.

Random Musings

November 5th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

So, I am working on making more time for myself---time to do things that make me happy, time to relax, that kind of thing.

I have been watching every cent, I tell ya, every cent! I still have the urge to buy that coffee container (who knew such an object could haunt a person?!?!), and I have to kick my coffee addiction soon, cause it is costly. Frown

BF is having a hard time with his family. It is hard to see him go through that, because, really, there is only so much one person can do, and I worry that he is being asked to do more than is appropriate. It also feels like the minute he accomplishes something, yet another thing needs to be done. I cannot fathom the amount of stress he is under.

I am very happy that he has been helping me with cooking and wants to spend more quality time with me.

I want to set aside at least $20 bucks so I can make a nice Thanksgiving meal.

Wants and Needs

November 3rd, 2009 at 08:02 pm

I often have this funny discussion with a friend about wants versus needs . She may say she needs a new something or another, and I often reply that she doesn't absolutely need it, but wants it.

So, as I cook a very budget conscious meal, and contemplate what I will cook for the next meal, I find myself struggling with the wants versus the needs.

Today I was running late, and didn't pack my own lunch or breakfast. I ended up having a not so healthy lunch and break fast that only cost me $2 total. I was very happy about the $2 aspect, though I felt as if I didn't really want to eat what I did. Normally, this food item would be a splurge/treat when I am not thinking about my diet. But, today is was more of an issue of what I could buy for the least amount of money that wasn't totally full of carbs. So, I had some junk food for breakfast and lunch. I needed a cheap and cost effective breakfast and lunch, but I wanted something that was both warm and filling and healthy. An apple would have been good, but let's be real---two apples for breakfast and lunch may not really help me with my protein wants.

I am also struggling with the wants in regards to that yummy coffee container. I feel myself being a bit desiring of stress relief and feeling like I will just throw my hands up in the air and buy it, and then I think of "Do I really have that much in the budget for it? Do I want to be broke again at the end of the month? Will I want to have to carry it around every where with me, even when shopping?".

I find myself constantly going over my budget again and again in my head. Every purchase I make, I wonder about how it will impact my budget. I wonder, do other people think this much about their money? I look at my groceries, and often will put things back if I don't find them necessary, or if I worry that it may not be totally wanted or eaten in a specific time frame. I haven't been able to get a good deal on meat lately, so my freezer isn't as full as I would like it to be. My bf has been helping with bringing home staples like beans and rice.

Sending you all my thoughts and plenty of thanks for your advice and comments and for reading my ramblings.

My bf wants me to think of things to do for my bday. I feel like such a killjoy at times because he wants us to do something together, but I just don't see where we have room for it in our budget. He is going through a lot right now, and we are working on trying to spend quality time together. I am trying to think of places we can go that are very cheap and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

We went to a local home improvement store, and my bf didn't understand why I wanted to wander the aisles....I told him that it gives me hope and ideas about the future....about the house I want to have one day, the bathroom and kitchen of my dreams. That kind of thing. I am not sure guys get how women think about things like that.

Keeping One's Perspective

November 2nd, 2009 at 09:03 am

During these times it can be so easy to lose your perspective on things. Cutting out something like your morning coffee can seem like a deprivation, when for many people, any type of food or drink is a welcome event.

I have found that I have to work very hard on keeping my perspective on things. It is very easy for me to get sidetracked by things someone said or did that upset me, or wether or not people are judging me by my clothes, or by a comment that someone made in passing that they don't understand is very hurtful or makes me feel low. I have to work hard at not getting pulled into that sort of maelstrom. I think that focusing on things like my health, clutter, etc., helps to take my mind off of those energy sapping topics and focus it on something more important and more productive.

I have been thinking a lot about my bf and my perspective on everything he has been going through. I cannot go into a lot of detail, but from our conversations I can see that he is having a really hard time with things. I do wish at times that his family wouldn't put so much pressure on him. But, I am not in a position to say anything, and when I have said things, it made my bf upset. I think it is one of those things where you just have to help your family, and that is your obligation, and you may not want to hear advice from people who have been in the same situation. I went through something similar with my family, and I had to change my patterns with them on my own. No one (at the time of the issues) could dissuade me. I eventually just reached a point where I realized that I could do all I could do, and my family would have to understand that. Of course, the situation w/ my bf is very different, and I have got to keep reminding myself of the shear emotional aspect of it all. He is going through some very rough times, plus he is working hard at his job (he doesn't just stay at home all day), and I think he is tired alot of the time. I also have to step back and think that as much as I get frustrated by the things his family requests, he is probably moreso frustrated as he hears it directly from them on a consistent basis.

I am going to try to relax this month, and rather than jump to conclusions, I will just wait. I feel partly bad asking for things when I know all of the things that have been coming up (and they are real necessities---I feel bad that just when it seems like my bf may have some money or time for himself, up comes something else that needs to get done or paid for). I also realize that what I am asking for is not a lot, and really just helps both him and me out.

I am also going to change up my cooking a bit, and really focus on getting foods that are best for my diet. I have gained some weight in the past couple of months, and I am really upset about that (I have 2 new pairs of pants that I cannot wear!!!). So, I will need to find a way to have meals that do address my dietary needs, and also provide nourishment for my bf. I may opt to cook less during the week. I am going to work on that part.

Thank you everybody for your continued support. I feel like I am a geyser of emotions at times, and it is hard to kind of empty all of this out to friends, cause they are probably stressed as well.

Frugality and the "Free" monster

November 1st, 2009 at 06:47 pm

I was wondering how many of us who are on a budget, sometimes find our willpower waning when we are faced with the four-letter word ....free.

For me, I have to admit, that as a person who often eats the same thing for multiple days, the prospect of a free meal, heck, even free coffee, can titillate the senses a bit too much. In these circumstances, I often find myself perhaps overindulging, or doing a doggie bag, even when doggie bags may not be the norm for the event. Thankfully, my friends are ok with this and they usually know my situation and know how everyone could use a free meal or a break from cooking, and they tend to provide extra Tupperware at events where there is a lot of food.

But, in some cases, partaking in free food may be frowned upon. In some areas, it may be seen as gluttony. So how does one deal with partaking in food and drink that may be completely outside of their budget, without being perceived as such? If red meat isn't in your budget, and you are offered steak, do you ever find it hard to politely resist?

I splurged this weekend and ordered take out for me and my bf. It was a nice treat, but the portion sizes were so small I almost cried when I got the to-go containers. They were full priced, but almost exactly half of what a regular to-go portion would be. The food was good, and I had to try and refrain myself from complaining about the size until the meal had been enjoyed.

I sometimes find that being frugal can have its drawbacks at times. Sometimes, rather than just enjoy something, I find myself calculating how much it is worth, and if I am overspending, rather than just living in the moment. I also find myself not asking my bf to buy things, because I worry that he may be charged too much for it. I need to not think about that aspect, and if I need something, to just politely ask. If he cannot afford it, he will just let me know.

I have started my own spreadsheet of my spending. I even color code what category the purchases were in, and how much I have left in that budget.

My bf will be helping me this month. I just feel anxious at times because he has a large bill to pay this month (totally verified), and so, now there is a bit of an issue. I have said it very plainly to him how much I need, and on what specific dates, so that there can be no confusion. It may sound cold, but the reality is that I have often given in on previous requests, and kept putting off asking for things for months. Now, my budget is tighter and I just do not have that luxury as before. So, in order to prevent misunderstandings, I let him know what is needed, and by what date it is needed. The help that I ask for really just pertains to us and our needs, such as food, toiletries, etc. Nothing fancy. No flatscreen tvs here. Ha! By the time I get a flat screen, there will probably be something new on the market and it will seem like a relic.

I will have to forego my explorations in cooking this month. I just don't have money in my budget to experiment with this or that. My bf has told me he is ok with eating a lot of beans and rice as I told him that may be a big staple in our diets. I am also going to explore the world of lentils, and see how that goes.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween. Smile