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Archive for March, 2010

Money and Focus

March 21st, 2010 at 08:04 pm

So, this past month I admittedly haven't been focusing on my budget. With the relationship thing and my new forays into being healthier, I have given myself permission to use my part-time earnings towards better food and things that give me a bit more emotional comfort. I do realize that I can't necessarily do this every month, but for right now, I figured that I wanted to focus on nurturing my heart and my body and my soul. I do think my soul and heart needs more nurturing, but I decided to take it easy this first month.

I haven't been going wild and buying purses or anything like that. But I did buy my first real organic food! And it wasn't expensive, either (although I stuck to produce, so organic meat would be a tough thing for me to be able to afford)! When I had a craving for something healthy, or a friend asked me to a nice place to eat, I went. I spent less than $20 on my meal, and just enjoyed their company. I still kept to my frugal ways and didn't get tempted to buy things at the full price (I only bought during a sale or if the item was used, etc.).

I am making good progress on my health issues. I do need to write out my new food items so I can get a better idea of how much my food budget may change in comparison to when I was buying food solely on its stretchability.

The relationship issue is the same and I am dealing with that. I find that focusing on other things is helping me a bit. I have also been trying to do better in other areas of my life. It feels like a struggle at times because of some of the issues that others have in how they view things and what type of things they focus on, but i am just going to keep doing the best that i can and with other improvements in my life, hopefully they will focus less on the outside and more on the things that are important.

Next month I will get back to writing down my purchases and sticking more to my budget.

Reinvention

March 15th, 2010 at 02:51 pm

So, I have been focusing on my health and other facets of my life as a way of just trying to maintain a level of...okay-ness.

I am really inspired about my goals, and my health goal has been going pretty well and I am very happy about that. I have been spending a lot more on food, so I need to definitely watch my food spending better next month, but, I feel like the most important thing is to get my healthier eating more of a lifestyle, and then I can be more strict about the expenses. Right now, I am just focusing on eating a certain way and having the type of food that is best for me available so I don't head towards the latest drive-thru.

I am also working on other facets of my life that I have neglected for years, and that really need some attention. I looked at some basic items that I will need to buy, and I think I can get a lot of what I need for less than $40! Which isn't a lot to pay when considering how much it will help with my goals. I find it really inspiring to me to know that some of the improvement items aren't outside of my budget. It helps make my goal seem more achieveable.

Still working on balancing the issue of the ex and how he wants to help me financially because of how I helped him. It is true that he is not able at this time to just pay me back all of the money I lent him, so, since he has already given me money last month, I feel like I am not really concerned with that loan. I do have a hard time with asking him for things---which was probably a major reason why we are no longer together. Frown So, he wants me to ask him for help when I need it. It is so weird because when I am struggling or maybe overspent on food, I feel bad asking him for things because I know he is still trying to support his family and I just don't want to be a burden on him. However, when we talk, he says he wants to help me, and he expressed some doubt that I would ask him for help when I needed it. Ah, love is confusing, isn't it? I have never really had any kind of financial help from any person I dated, and so, I have always been very independent. Some friends say that I am more of a care taker and at times too motherly and that it helps if I focus some of that energy into caring for myself a bit more. So, that is my goal.

I think I am going to take a while and work on the areas of my life that I have neglected and seem a bit out of control. It will require a lot of elbow grease and avoiding things that may not be the healthiest for me, but I think it will be the best thing for me to do for myself. Who knows? If I give myself more attention and more attention to certain facets of my life, it may cause others to be more attracted to me?

Understanding....a better explanation

March 14th, 2010 at 04:47 pm

So, this is my third attempt at this entry. Sigh. For some reason, it isn't posting. Frown

I did some soul searching on Friday, and I have to acknowledge that the issues I have with friends and how they relate to money isn't their issue, but really, mine. There is nothing necessarily wrong with how they act or their preferences. The issue is more with how I react to it or how I feel about it. It is not that they don't want to discuss their budget, it is just that they may complain about not being able to buy organic, while I am dealing with just being able to buy regular food. So, it is just something I cannot sympathize with. I do realize that as a friend I should be more sympathetic, and that is what I am working on within myself.

Deep down my friends are good people. It is just that we are very different. At times, when my friends act as if going to a certain store or place is "beneath" them, then that bothers me. It makes me feel that they are being superficial. I realize that is just because I have been around people who mimicked that same type of behavior and I found that they looked down on me because I am not from a rich or even middle class family.

Sometimes, my friend will talk a lot about how much he works. Yes, he is hard worker and I give him credit for that. I just cannot relate at times because I have many friends, and myself included, who have worked just as hard if not harder, for many years of our lives, earning much less than he makes. So, when he makes it a point to even tell strangers how hard he works, it kind of bothers me a bit. He also makes a point to say that he just doesn't have fun---but every time I talk to him he is going to multiple social and non-work related events per week. For me, when I worked the same amount of hours, I literally worked, slept, and ate, and did it all over again for days on end. So, that is why it is hard for me to relate.

Friends with money

March 12th, 2010 at 01:23 pm

If you haven't seen the movie with the same title as my entry, then I whole heartedly suggest seeing it. I loved it! Love, love, loved it! Smile

I had a situation with a friend lately who makes a good living, but rarely will admit it. My friends and I all all think that he has to make more than we do, simply because of our profession. He is a very good person, it is just that our lives and issues and experiences with money are very different. At times, I have a hard time relating to him when he talks about budgeting. But, it may be that I just don't understand him on various levels because our lives are so different.

In any case, my friend made a comment about going to an expensive event. When he makes comments about going to those types of events or buying certain high priced items, it makes me not able to relate to him when he talks about his budget and money and all of that. I think I am not able to relate because most of my friends have worked as hard as he has, if not harder, and with all of that work, are still earning less than he is. So, I think there is just a lack of understanding about those kinds of things when he complains. Also, my friend, like another friend, says things about lacking money, but is still really into going to very current places that may not be cheap or less expensive. So, I think the event was just a reminder of our differences in some ways.

There is also the issue that both friends have a habit of receiving gifts from people, or having people spend a lot of money on them, and with my male friend, he isn't as open in that way towards his friends (or at least with me, even though I have been very open with him in that regards).

I have another friend who focuses on the price of things and feels that they deserve only the best food, etc. I understand why they feel as they do, but sometimes it is hard when you are trying to do something together, and they refuse to acknowlege your budget and would rather exclude you from a more expensive event, than take into consideration doing something that is more on your financial level.

This may just be a mini-rant because the event and the price tag just irked me a bit. My friend likes very current and popular things, and at times that goes against my feelings of being an individual and following your own music, etc.

How do you deal with friends of varying economic levels? Have you ever had similar differences?

trying to stay focused

March 10th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

So, something happened and my previous entry, well, didn't get entered. So, to make it a bit more summed up because my tears are dried up a bit, I pretty much have been using my excess money to put towards things I need (like toothbrush, carpet powder) and things I like (aromatherapy for my home, coffee, healthy food). I haven't been going hog wild or anything, but it does feel good to buy what I want and need and not have to be stressed about it. I realize I am so very, very fortunate.

I have been just trying my hardest in certain areas of my life---smiling even when I am frustrated. I really feel like I just have to do the best that I can, in conjunction with getting healthier, before people will acknowledge that I have good skills and talents.

The relationship front has been more difficult. Ended up crying with the ex today and I feel bad about that. He has been stressed about stuff and I didn't meat to stress him any more. I was trying to explain to him that I am crying because things take time, ya know? He didn't hurt my feelings, it is just the being apart that hurts. I know that we are probably better if we continue to care and be there for each other, but not be focused on being marriage material or gf/bf for each other.

He wants me to be happy and get control over some areas in my life I need help with. I know he is saying this in a supportive way as he has always been supportive of me, it just makes me feel like a failure. It seems so overwhelming at times. But, I know I can do it if I just concentrate on it. But first, I want to focus on my health. I think other things will improve if I can get the health thing under control first. I also feel sad because he wants to help me so much and he cares for me so much and I worry if anyone else will care for me like he does. I feel bad that maybe I should have been more accepting. Sigh.

On a positive note, the extra dough has been helping me to shop the perimeter of the store in a great and fabulous super market and it is helping me to buy the foodstuffs that are what I need and what will help me to accomplish the health goals that I have.

I think it is probably late and the emotions are stronger. I will go tomorrow and focus on sticking with my health desires, and also starting on the other areas of my life that I need help with. I think if I work on both issues, it will be a helpful distraction.

Healthy Distractions

March 7th, 2010 at 09:10 pm

So, this past week has been an interesting one. Nothing really unique, but, interesting nonetheless.

The part-time job is helping so much. It feels so good knowing I can go and buy the groceries that I want to buy (within reason). I also find that there are certain buying habits I want to adopt (like not buying fish that is not produced in a sustainable manner), but that my budget made it difficult to give in to those ideas at times. Now, I have a little more discretion, and that is helping me so much. Also, the increase in my budget is really helping me to stick to my health goals, and I am down some pounds and soooo unbelievably happy about that.

The relationship situation is interesting as well. He still wants to help me, and I find that comforting, though confusing. Who knows, maybe it is just me who is making it confusing rather than just accepting his help.

I have found times that I have felt bad when coming home to the emptiness. I still have a lot of things I need to work on, and my plan is to work on those things when I come home, so I don't feel so, well, alone.

I have read articles about how your appearance can affect your success and how others view your abilities. I have had that happen to me before in another setting, and in that setting, I did notice that when I changed the outside, I got so much more respect, and less micromanaging. I feel that in my current situation I am going to have to do the same thing. I have been really pushing myself, and at times, it feels to no avail. It is so discouraging when you can't even have a decent conversation or friendly exchange, because the person who should be aware of all that you can do, still sees you through this incorrect lens. That situation and my relationship situation has been really affecting me and making me blue.

Focusing on my health is what is keeping me thinking positively. I also feel like my added money for food is helping me to keep with my health goals---having the right kinds of foods for me (that also tastes good) is helping me soooo much. Today I did so well and ate really healthy, and wow, I am just feeling really happy about that (and also a bit surprised that I am not hungry as I type this).

I had a situation this weekend where I went out with a friend who has more disposable income than I do. We have pretty much always had this sort of difference where I was more of a no frills kind of gal, and my friend is super duper frills. Well, I was somewhat hurt because I suggested a place that I love, and that is affordable, and my friend totally turned the option down. They tend to do this a. lot. Sigh. Very often. So, while there are some lower priced items on the menu, I found it somewhat upsetting that they wouldn't budge on my suggestion. Their response wasn't like "I don't like that kind of food", but their expression was more like it is beneath them. I also find that they may focus on more expensive things because of how it makes them feel to request the finer things in life, as they like to say. I don't always understand that way of thinking. Also, at times, they get so focused on those types of things, that they become oblivious to what others are experiencing or feeling.

I did some shopping this weekend, but really watched my spending, and it felt so good only buying something that I needed. It felt good shopping at night at the grocery store and having just a few items---all of which were pretty darn healthy (and they looked so good and vibrant!). I also did good in that I did the relaxing activity of shopping, but bought very, very little (in one instance, I shopped for maybe an hour, and my purchases were less than $5 bucks!).

I will have another bill paid off (a personal loan), and I am really happy about that. Then, towards the latter part of the year I will have another major bill paid off. I am sooo happy about that.

Thank you everybody for reading my thoughts. Your encouragement helps me so much. I do find that I am very open in what I say (even though I really do censor it a lot, in my opinion), but that people tend to like my openness. I think that is how I have always expressed myself---from my heart. Smile

Getting into better habits

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I have been working on forming better habits. There have been times when it has been easier than others, but I am still trying. Smile

I often feel like I just need to relax and take it easy. I am also finding that because of the part-time job, and the freedom of having a bit more cash and not have to count out every penny, that it is easy for me to overspend. So, I am still trying to focus on my budget and when i spend, realize how that impacts my overall cash availability for that month. I am not going crazy and buying big screen TVs, but rather focusing on buying vitamins and special dietary foods that I like.

Things with my relationship are the same. Still a bit confusing. The ex contacts me routinely to see how I am doing, and I do the same. I think there is a huge amount of care between us, on a very basic and human level--we love each other because we are loving people and we are there for each other. Sigh, if only love and marriage could be built on that. Can it? I find myself ok some days with it, and then tonight, when I was opening a household package that he had brought upstairs for me a long while ago, I got a bit weepy. He is a very good person and I am sad that we just couldn't get it together, ya know? It is weird because he will do these things that makes me feel like he wants to talk, but when I ask him if he does, or try to, then he ends the conversation. Sigh.

As for dating, the idea is not something I am looking forward to--I think I would just focus on how the guys are weird and nothing like my relationship. Maybe, later on, I will feel differently, but right now, while I want to be in love, I am afraid to try and meet anyone. I feel like I have to improve myself a lot more before I put myself back on the market.

I have been focusing a lot of my energy on self-improvement. I realize that even though I am really looking so much better, very few people (my friends mainly), recognize it. I think that other outside issues will have to improve before people start noticing. It is frustrating at times when you know what you can do, and want to do, but people look at you as if you shouldn't even think of trying to accomplish it. I have seen this same group of people do that to other people, and it makes me sad and worried. I don't want to be looked at in that way. So, all I can do is try and be the best, at well, almost every aspect of my looks and my skills. It should be mainly skills, but, eh....

A friend didn't invite me to an event because they thought I may be broke and not have a good time. I found that kind of hurtful. True, I have been broke a lot lately, but not recently, and even if eating out wasn't in my budget, it makes me feel weird to feel that I wasn't asked because of perceptions about my budget. It just made me feel a bit like the poor girl. Sigh. A friend asked me why am I broke when I make a good living. I was honest about my expenses and my bills. I am hopeful that in the next couple of years, I will have paid down a majority of my debt. Smile Yippee!

I am focusing more on a bit of pampering of myself. I think that is a sign of just being stressed and trying to have some form of escapism and bringing joy to my days. I am watching the pampering, as too many perfumed lotions can affect a gal's budget! Smile

The Luxury of food

March 1st, 2010 at 07:37 pm

With the part-time job, and help from my ex, and being solo, and cutting out many types of more expensive food, I find myself having the luxury of buying food that is so much healthier!

I found myself strolling down the supermarket aisles yesterday in a euphoric fog. I wasn't able to go crazy and buy all organic, but I was able to buy food in varieties I just can't find at my neighborhood stores.

Part of me gets upset that when I go to the budget supermarket (where I was thisclose to buying their meat because it was cheap--even though everyone warned me not to) and there are so many people and families (lots of families---more families, I feel, than what I saw at the nicer store)who have to shop there, they don't have the selection of healthy foods. Rather, they have rotting produce and at times its price isn't cheaper than other places.

I realize that yes, healthy, diet-specific food is a luxury for me now. I also feel like people should have access to these wonderful foods that come from the earth rather than having to spend their dollars on a higher caloric, but unhealthier, food option. We really need to change the food availability in our country and around the world. Yes, I am one of those people who is disappointed when they travel somewhere, and see the usual fast-food logo beckoning new consumers. Sigh.

I also find that I have been putting more effort into me. That means my clothes, my hair, etc. It is a good feeling.

Not sure about my relationship. He is still very kind to me, but we haven't talked much or spent much time together. Sometimes I get sadder in the evening, or when driving, but I try to just not think about it, or cry it out and focus on other stuff.

I have been trying to just smile and keep my head up in other areas. It is frustrating because I worked so hard at being friendly and nice, and I still see others getting preferential treatment. It is hard because I know that so much of it really isn't about ability, but more about friendship and relationships and things that should not be a factor, but are. Sigh.

My goal for this month is to NOT use my credit cards like I have been doing. I want to start rebuilding up my available credit on one of my cards so that if I ever did really need to use it, I would have that available credit, well, available. I do not like that I have had to use it for basics like food and gas. Not cool.

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts. Now, because I am solo, and how things are in other areas that I am, I often don't really have many people to talk to. I feel like I can express my thoughts on here, and I get so much good advice and understanding, and I really appreciate that. Smile