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Asking for help is sometimes hard

September 23rd, 2010 at 04:49 am

So, I had a situation recently where I had a bit of a little break down emotionally. I suddenly had a huge bill that I needed to pay (completely unexpected), and I had no way to pay it---my credit limits on my credit cards had been reduced, no emergency savings, and only my 401k as a possible last resort. I felt so angry at myself for being in this position. Thankfully, someone very close to me helped me more than I could ever imagine, and lent me the money to pay the bill. I cried a bit because I just hated having to ask people for help. The past few months have been very hard, I must admit, and I have asked friends for help more this year than probably in the entire time that I have known them combined. Of course, I have always tried my best to be there for them when they needed help, but, it is weird being in the other position and needing help.

Because of the love and support of the person who is dear to me, I was able to go from crying at one part of the day to smiling from ear to ear and sipping on a pick-me-up coffee drink. Yes, I do comfort myself with coffee, and I realize that is probably not such a good thing.

I am mad at myself for being in this position, and all I can feel like I can do is just to keep on heading forward and just hope and pray that things work out and that I eventually get back to the way I was before, where I led more by example financially-wise. My friends come to me for help a lot when it comes to finances, but I feel like I have a hard time sticking to my budget. I also have to deal with the reality that my budget may not be the most realistic, that I do buy little things when I am sad or depressed (and even though they are cheap items, they still can add up---100 items from the dollar store still equal $100, plus tax), and that I often put my needs behind the needs of others, and that is not good.

I am starting to worry that not only are my health issues and lack of romantic love a possible barrier in having a child, but, financially, I cannot afford to pay for the medical things that people do if they decide to have a child on their own. I know I should just take each day at a time and realize that we are all going through difficult times. I have plenty of healthy food to eat, a good job, a roof over my head, and most importantly, the love and support of family and friends. In that regard, I am so very, very, blessed, and I just need to realize that I just have to keep on trucking. It doesn't seem like it now, but, in reality, I have been through things more emotionally difficult than right now, so, I just need to relax a bit and not get so frantic about it. I just feel vulnerable and yeah, weak, when I have to ask my friends or family for help. I do realize, however, that maybe my asking them for help does strengthen our bond as usually I was the person who always tried to help them more.

The ex and the new beau are odd situations, for sure. The ex is still the ex, but at least our text messages don't seem so angry. He even paid part of a bill this month, and made a sincere comment about paying more next month. That made me feel good. I don't know if we will ever be friends like we once were, but I think the anger factor has relaxed a bit, and I am happy about that. I don't think he is a bad person, just that we aren't the best for each other in a romantic sense.

My new love interest is very nice---I already can see that we get along and understand each other a lot better than me and my ex did. Our chemistry is ama-zing! And yet, I don't know if we are headed towards wedded bliss. And I really do like that we can talk so openly about what we are looking for and how we view getting to know each other, etc. He treats me really very nice, and he did help me to see that at times, I do say things or come across like I don't think I am worthy of being treated very nicely. Yeah, I know I need to work on that for sure! We do have different spending styles, and I realize that any potential couple needs to be in somewhat agreement on that issue. He was upset at me at one point because I was curious about the price of our food dates. I let him know that the type of person I am would not go to excess----like, I wouldn't order lobster if I know he is trying to save money, on a budget, etc. I also know that I have to let him be able to speak up if something is more than he can afford, etc.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching and there are so many facets of myself that I really need to work on. I think that my pride and my self-esteem and my sense of self-worth really got hit hard last month because I feel like I do a lot, and can achieve a lot, but I just kept getting treated like I couldn't get over that glass ceiling, ya know? But, all I can do is just keep on trying my best. My debt is slowly coming down, and I am not too old to have kids just yet, and you are never too old to change and keep improving who you are as a person, so, that is what I am just going to believe and do.

Thank you everyone for being so kind to me----being able to blog about a topic so touchy for a lot of people, really helps me more than I can express.

My Spending Goal for August

July 18th, 2010 at 09:08 pm

So, my goal for August is to not spend so much. I realize that buying something every day, even something as small as bottled water ($1) can really add up. I also realize that I do have a lot of stuff, and that shopping, for me, is a form of stress relief and also impacts my self-esteem. When I cannot buy something, I feel very financially unstable---even though I know I may not be able to buy something because of a future goal.

I realize that my debt has gone down a lot, and that if I keep making the payments that I need to make, my goal of being almost debt free in less than 3 years can happen. I just need to be able to focus on that goal, despite being distracted by emotions, etc. I want to see how long I can go without buying something, and to consolidate my shopping trips so i am not buying necessary items, but every day.

So, in August, I want to really test myself to see how I feel not buying things, and maybe only buying something once a week, or so. I have to cut out nice coffee from my budget, so, I will treat myself to a nice latte only once per week. It may make it more special that way. It may sound silly, but I would like to be a financial situation where I have a larger food budget that I am comfortable with, and that allows me to buy as much coffee as I want. I guess I am kicking myself because when I was younger I was able to do that easily. So, I just feel like I have to get back into the mode of spending below what I earn. Easier said than done, as I probably need help also with adjusting my food budget.

On the boyfriend front, a relative recently said that she was happy that I did not marry my ex, namely because we were very different, and when it does come to finances, both people need to be able to talk about it and work it out. I got upset this week because my ex said that he wanted to help me when I needed it, as I have helped him. But, due to the economy he isn't earning what he used to, and has to help his family more, so he isn't able to help me. I know I shouldn't be upset, and I know that he may have less earning potential than I do because of his lack of education and his interests, but, I got a bit resentful because I was working 2 jobs to support the both of us. I wish he would have told me something like he can't help much, but he can offer a certain amount, even if it was below what I was asking for. My relative says that he does mean well, but just isn't able to help, and isn't yet in a place where he wants to go over budgets and figure out bills in advance like I do. I can't tell you how many times I memorize in my head what I need for the month to live off of. The creating the budget isn't hard, but the sticking to it, especially when I have a craving for a particular food or item I feel I need for my home is what is difficult.

I am going to keep focusing on trying to achieve the most that I can. I realize that I just have to keep at it, and things will eventually work out. Already, my debt is going down. Now, I just need to reduce my spending habits.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch...

May 24th, 2010 at 03:32 pm

So, lately I have been feeling like Mr. Grinch, upset at everyone in whoville who may be too slow, or too fast, too cheerful, or too morose. Sigh.

This month has been a hard one budget wise. I am so thankful for the part-time job, as it has been helping me buy more food and pay for extra things like household stuff and necessary repairs, etc.

However, I still didn't budget right, and ended up borrowing money from a few people. Yes, a few. sigh. I will be better off next month, but the way the part-time job pays, the pay day is like 2 weeks after the pay period, etc., so, when I am not watching my budget, it is easy to overspend.

My emotions have been up and down, and more down than up. The ex thing is the ex thing, and that has its own set of feelings, though now I am feeling better about it. A week ago I was balling my eyes out. Sigh. My friends were supportive, and they did mention the whole budget aspect of the relationship and that both people need to be able to work together. It really did make me realize that until both of us change, we really aren't the best for each other.

I have been trying to do things that make me happy and ease the stress levels. I am trying to break through those invisible glass ceilings, and that takes a lot of work, a lot of introspection and self-improvement, and a lot of well, extra work. It also at times seems daunting because I have to focus on the improvement part, and not focus on when some people are making more money for less hours, or abusing the system, or just seem to be getting more positive reinforcement even though they may act kind of shady. Frown I have to try and ignore that and just focus on things that will help me to improve and get ahead. Sigh. It is hard because some people are, in a way, getting overtime, when the rest of us are not able to do so. it makes it worse because they talk a lot about money, and how they spend it, and when some of us are just trying to feed ourselves, it is hard to have sympathy for a person who is being paid more, for inferior work, and who openly spends it on, well, useless items. Or, when some workers are excused from having to do certain things or not held to the same standards, but others of us are kind of lauded if we don't do the same things.

The weight thing is going ok. No weight gain and I am happy about that, but not much loss this past month either. Kind of just staying the same. So, I am going to work on that more and start doing more exercising. I am even going to set aside a part of my budget next month for some fun exercise classes.

I have been writing down the things I want in my life, and trying to use online resources to help me envision what I would like to be and to have in my life....how I want to live. I think that it is helping me to stay focused on it, and it helps to give a mental break from stress, etc.

Next month I will definitely stick better to my budget. I need to save the money I make this month and next month, as much as possible. I also need to get refocused on eating healthier and staying within my alloted food budget. Smile

The Life that I want to live

April 28th, 2010 at 04:43 am

I have been feeling a bit blue lately---been thinking a lot about my life, how I am feeling, what I want, the person that I want to be, etc. I am feeling like I so wish I could press rewind and do sooo many things differently, but I know that isn't possible. I often find myself thinking or rather dreaming of when I will be able to really live like as I would like to and be the kind of person I really want to be.

The food is an issue....I wish I could afford to go into the nice stores and buy the super healthy food all of the time. I don't think I would be wild and pay $5 for a head of lettuce, but I do wish at times I could buy more organic food and have a refrigerator and pantry full of healthy food options. I know that I can feed myself, healthy, for only a couple hundred bucks, so I am going to focus on sticking to that amount for next month, rather than continuously trying to stay within my budget of $100. With the 2nd job, I can be able to afford the increase in the food expenses.

I wish i could be more carefree on the weekends...strolling to healthy exercise classes, etc. The kind of person I want to be is very healthy and fit and most of all, happy. I do realize that being worried about my finances, working a lot, not always feeling understood or accepted, does stress me out a bit and make me not the most cheerful person. I wish I were a bit more bubbly in a lot of regards.

I am taking the steps now to live the life that I really want. Perhaps when I am in a better space health and finance wise, I will be more content and thus, be more open to meeting another person. I feel like I just have to keep going, and be patient, and being patient is a bit hard for me (probably why I am in this situation, no?).

I sometimes get mad at myself and others because of 1) bad financial decisions I have made, 2) working very hard, but seeing others have things much easier for far less work, and 3) honestly, having a lot of heavy responsibility when I was young that I do not regret, but sort of impacted some of my dreams. I feel a bit like I have always had to be a bit more responsible, and for a good while, I was so much better with saving money. I just feel like all of the stress comes out in my body and my level of happiness.

I realize that I am just ranting a bit right now, and that I should be soooo thankful for being able to work, and even more that I am blessed to be able to work part time as well. I think the part-time thing is also a good opportunity for me to not be alone, sad, in my apartment. I also realize that the more I improve my abode and myself, the more I won't feel so "alone", in as much as I will feel like I am in my own little private relaxation oasis of sorts.

I am going to take the advice regarding the yoga. I do feel like I am a bit disconnected from my body, and that I am operating more from my neck up and not connecting with getting back in tune with good movement and flexibility and breathing exercises and all of that.

I am going to go to the grocery store at the beginning of next month, and I will shop like I am shopping for more than 1 week at a time. I still need to work on making my actual meal chart for the week so I have clearer ideas of what to cook.

I am continuing to work on improving myself and making time for myself and doing things that nourish my soul and my body and my mind and my home. I thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings.

End of the month blahs....

April 27th, 2010 at 04:39 pm

So, here it is, the last stretch before the end of the month. My frozen food is coming into play for my week's meals, and I am wondering where all the money went! Smile

I am just feeling kind of low-energy today. I feel like just going home and getting in my bed and staying in it until I go to sleep. That very rarely happens, as I am usually half-watching tv, half-doing chores, etc. Maybe today I should just cook dinner, check my email, and be in bed by 8pm? Wouldn't that be amazing in some ways?

It is hard for me to feel ok to relax, even though every day I feel like I just can't get untense enough. I always feel like it is a struggle to try and really relax in my shoulders, back, etc. I have so much that needs to be done on my home improvement project, that everywhere I look I see something that has to be fixed, and should have been fixed weeks, if not months ago. Sigh.

I am upset at myself for not really watching my spending at all this month, and having to rely on my credit cards. That is not good as I did get my tax refund, but most of it was already earmarked for bills, and loans and home improvement items that needed to be bought (like cleaning supplies, etc.). I feel that I should have watched my money more closely and really planned out my budget. Instead, I bought whatever food I wanted, all the coffee drinks in the world it seems, and while I still didn't go crazy in what I bought, the little lower priced items do add up.

I am going to focus more on working and my home improvement goals this weekend. I am really eager to have time to be able to put some junk that I still want into storage (I know, its an oxymoron). At some point, I will be able to really decide what I can sell or give away. Right now, my stuff isn't worth a whole lot, so I am not sure who would really buy it.

On a positive note, I checked my retirement account recently, and woo hoo! I regained almost all of the money that I had lost when the market went a little baty. yay!! I know I should not think of my retirement as an emergency savings, but considering I don't have much of one right now, any little bit helps. I am hoping that my part-time job will help me to start putting more money away.

The ex stuff is hard. I also have a lot of his stuff still, and we haven't discussed when he will come and get it, or if he needs to keep it at my place for a while, etc. We haven't even had a really good, face to face, conversation since we decided to just be friends. That part is hard at times. He is still having money problems, so I feel that that difficult part of our relationship would have still continued in some ways, though, my part-time job really does help tremendously.

Not watching my budget and buying all of my groceries in large shopping trips now has me feeling hungry a lot and tempted to eat unhealthy foods---all because of lack of preparation. Frown I am trying to not give into the quick and easy lure of fast food. I think I am just stressed a bit, so a huge burrito sounds like good comfort at times. I am trying to ignore its siren call. Smile

I am also trying to avoid getting into a mental funk. There is a situation where I am really working very hard and trying to bite my tongue whenever possible, yet a person over me is soooo unbelieveably clueless about how much their favoritism of particular co-workers shows. This person really lights up whenever they are discussing the co-workers. What is hurtful about this is that 1) the co-workers are not committed to the job AT all, and 2) one of the co-workers gives me really bad vibes, and is not a very trustworthy person. Because of some issues that I think really are sexist, he can say the most off the wall and inappropriate things, and the person over me thinks it is hilarious. If another one of my co-workers said those things, the person over me would think that they were being inappropriate. It is just hard when you are trying so hard, and a person, because of their own issues and biases, fails to really see you as a person. Frown

I am working on just trying to be the best me I can be and really improve a lot of areas of my life. My finances definitely need a lot of improvement. I am happy, however, that the balances on my larger bills are slowly going down. On others, I need to work harder on them.

Thank you to everyone that listens to my ramblings. It does help a lot to be able to express this kind of stuff, especially since friends and family are not always available.

Understanding....a better explanation

March 14th, 2010 at 11:47 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.

Borrow vs Have?

January 22nd, 2010 at 07:50 pm

So, somehow, after the big argument with my bf last month, I made a statement that I had enough money to pay for bills for the house for the first half of the month, and that my bf could wait until the latter half of the month to pay for his portion of rent and utilities and food. Also, there is a routine bill that he pays that is not included in this amount. Most of the time he cannot pay this bill on time because of his limited income and when he gets paid.

So, I was not clear about the exact amount of money I needed from him. And, because it is like pulling teeth to get him to sit down (we have never sat down and physically wrote out our expenses and income--I write out the house expenses and my income and his expected portion) I am now in a situation that makes me want to cry because really, I am short around $20-$30, which means I have to borrow money from friends and/or family until I get paid.

I am so upset because he doesn't budget, he doesn't make enough to be as non-budgeted as he is. I know he is supposed to pay some large bill he has and I would expect or hope that he would have saved money from his last check to do that. I am not sure that is the case as he doesn't like to talk about money or budgeting, and when I ask him things, he acts as if I am stressing him out or not being clear about what I need.

So, I told him the minimum of what I needed with a $20 range. He can only give on the low end. I also forgot about the bill he is supposed to pay each month, and if he will give me money for that. So, if I take into account what he bought this month, and what he is giving me, then he is $105 dollars short.

The problem is that because he didn't give me enough so far this month, then I am asking to "borrow" money. This is really crappy because why do I have to say borrow. Should I really just start saying "have"? Meanwhile, there are times when he has more money in his pocket than I do, for misc stuff like eating out, etc.

He has also been home a lot less, so I wonder if he pays less because of this. I am frustrated and I want to cry and I feel like everytime I try to talk about money with him, it is an argument because he says that I am saying it in the wrong way, etc.

I am frustrated because I was so happy about getting money today (my gas tank is on E, seriously), and also paying back my relative for a nice gesture she made towards me, and now I don't have enough for that. I have enough to repay another friend, buy gas, and maybe enough food for the next 9 days. Again, I am having to be in the mode of being anxious for the 1st, and I hate that, because it feels like being on welfare all over again. Frown

Food in the fridge

January 21st, 2010 at 05:13 pm

When there is plenty of food in the fridge, then I find myself to be a very happy camper.

I have cleaned out most of the fridge, and while it looks a bit sparse, it also looks much brighter (more avail space to reflect light?), and well, less cluttered and I have an idea of all the things available to eat.

Overall, this month has been a lot less stressful moneywise. It could be because on certain months I am supposed to save money for a bill that is bi-monthly, so in essence, I have a little bit of a buffer for when I overspend. Though, of course, I need to recoup that money the following month.

My bf has been spending less time with me, and I miss his company. I do think it is important for him to have the space that he needs. Since I am feeding just myself, and tend to eat just about anything for any meals, the food budget has gone down a bit as well. My bf will be giving me money this week for his portion of the rent, and I am just hoping that things go smoothly. I say this because it seems like we often have communication problems and we end up arguing. It is very stressful. I am also in a situation where I like to schedule and plan out my budget, and my bf doesn't like to discuss it until the day of or after he receives his paycheck. Personally, I would be calculating my hours and how much I plan to receive even before I get my check, but he waits until he receives it to form his budget. Sigh. And I feel like it stresses him out because it is pretty much spent before he even gets it, or his plans for it (something as simple as buying needed shoes) are changed at the last minute because his family needs help or some bill comes up. It is a difficult situation for him and I feel bad that he has to go through that. Especially since he works so hard and doesn't earn very much.

I have been doing odd jobs on the side, so I am really happy about the extra money it will bring in. Any little bit really helps. Smile

Things have been stressful in other areas. At times certain people who have issues with image and wealth have tried to be downputting to me. (yeah, I think I just made that word up) Their tone is constantly as if they have a superiority complex and it is frustrating. It makes me feel that whenver I see them, I need to have a specific outfit on, etc., and not display any semblance of being on a budget, etc. I don't think it is right that I should have to feel that way, but i guess that is how things are right now. It doesn't help that another person above me doesn't seem to appreciate my frugalness and makes little comments about it that seem more like mocking than accepting. Sigh. Frown

Next month my bf and I are going to do the shopping together. Both so he can see how much things really cost, but also so that I can buy enough food at one time and not have to make multiple trips to the grocery store. My goal is to buy enough food for 2 weeks or so at a time.

I am also working on making more time for me and doing the things that make me happy.

Being Broke and Trying to take it easy

January 14th, 2010 at 05:24 pm

Has anyone else ever experienced this phenomena---you have x amount of days until you get paid, and you are literally counting each day as they pass? I find myself doing that alot and really, I don't think it is a good thing for me. I get worried about if I need to buy something, or waiting as long as possible before buying something in a hope to not have to buy it until after I get paid. I end up counting out food and meals per each day and some of my more recreational activities like going to a cafe, etc., are put off until I am better off financially.

I have noticed that it seems like time seems to fly by when you think this way. Or is this more related to just working full time and the aging process? (Remember when you were younger and the days seemed to take forever! Now, a weekend races by and you are left a little downtrodden on Sunday evening wondering where time went.

I have better goals in plan for next month. Namely, I am going to try and buy as much food and necessities as will fit in my apartment so that I have enough for the entire month and am not scrambling to pay for basics like paper towels.

I am not feeling as stressed as I was last month, and that is good. I still need a lot of fine tuning on my budgeting skills, however, and I want to improve that for next month.

Money and my perspectives

January 11th, 2010 at 05:04 am

So, I have been feeling a lot better about money in the new year. I told myself that I did not want to go thru that level of stress and worry about money that I did last year. And, what I did differently this year, was that I bought a good amount of food at the beginning of the month so that even if I was broke, I would not be without food, nor having to eat super unhealthy things. I am also doing better at eating what I have at home, and trying to avoid my cravings to buy food and drink outside.

I paid off a large bill last year, and this year I will have another large bill paid off, which will let me have more disposalbe cash--or really, cash i can put towards improving my diet and to put towards my savings. I have been working really hard at a very good job, and yet, because of bad money management, I am not fully able to enjoy the fruit of my labors because so much of my income goes to paying off debt.

I am dealing with where I am in my life right now, and where I want to be. I am also meeting more people from long ago who make me feel a bit more behind than i really am---they seem super professional and successful and they are starting families and all of that. And, well, as for me, I am feeling a bit stuck. I am worried about getting married, getting the home that I want, having kids, being a happy mom making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc. I know that if I look at where I have come from, most people from my background would have had multiple kids by now, very little education, etc. I am blessed to have had the opportunities that I have and the experiences that I have had. But when I see other people like me who went on a different path, and yet still are happy and raising kids, etc., it makes me wonder a lot. Did I work too much? Did I not focus on myself--on being the person I need to be, while focusing on making money (that was useful, but eventually spent).

I have been feeling a bit conflicted about this and just trying to sort everything out. I had an experience this weekend where I got to see something like a dream home. I didn't know who the owners were, but I imagined them to be rich. The place was so relaxing and inviting, though a bit sparse. It made me have something to look forward to in my life. I worry about being able to make that dream come true, ya know?

House, kids, dog, and white picket fence

December 21st, 2009 at 07:25 pm

I have been feeling kind of odd lately. Hard to explain. I recently saw a friend I had from grade school, and they seem to be doing great! They have a nice house, a married with kids, etc., and generally look very happy. And this made me feel kind of odd and sad. I am not sad because they are happy, I am sad because I always thought that they were kind of perfect (of course, no one is perfect), or appeared to have this ideal life. And now, decades later, I see that they do appear to be having the life I imagined they would.

And, when I compare my life with theirs, I realize that I have accomplished some good things in my life, and that, considering where I come from, I didn't turn out too bad, ya know? I think my parents would be proud of me. I think. But, as far as how I feel about myself inside, I am upset that I have debt and that is somewhat impeding the ability to start a family or buy a home for my future family, and I am upset that my budget isn't so great, and I am upset that my weight has just skyrocketed and gotten totally out of control. Sigh.

I also feel a bit odd because I love my bf, and I think he loves me, too. I am not sure if he really wants to marry me, though, ya know? Partly, I feel like we love each other, but I am not sure if marriage is right for us. The budget issue is one problem in our relationship, and I would like things to be different before I consider getting married. I would like us to be able to be really good about managing our budgets and being able to talk about it, without it always being stressful. We are getting better at it, though.

I think my bf would be a good dad, when he decides that he wants to be one. I think he would like to be one, but he might want to see the world a bit more before settling down, ya know? I also worry about how we would be able to merge our budgeting issues and focus on bills better, etc. We have a lot of work to do in that regard as right now, I feel like his focus is to pay his family's bills, which is understandable, but, in the same regard, I want to be able to feel like my needs matter as well. He does help me, there are just times when I feel like I am not one of his priorities, ya know? Whereas I do feel that taking care of the home and providing food is a priority for me.

So, I know I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else. I think that I am just a bit blue because I am afraid of being a lonely old miser. I know, I know, I still have time, it is just that as I am meeting more and more people who already have kid(s) and are having their 2nd and 3rd child, it makes me worried. Then, add to the fact that sometimes my bf makes jokes that he doesn't want any, well, it only heightens my anxiety and sadness.

I am going to take the holidays to work on myself a bit. I think I will be a better mom if I take care of myself the way I should.

Christmas Cheer

December 15th, 2009 at 07:15 pm

So, I can say happily that this month has NOT been as stressful as previous months. Primarily because a relative helped me out with some much needed cash for some things I really needed, AND, the Big Guy was watching over me and I was able to buy some needed things much cheaper than previously planned.

My goal for this month is to have money in my checking and saving account when the New Year commences. Sounds weird, but, lately, I have been having less than a few dollars at the end of every month before my new paycheck comes. So, for me, it will be something special to have money I am not going to touch, until the new year.

Some friends did let me down a bit when it comes to a special event I had planned (most did not attend), and there was another event that involved food and money, and I felt really weird because I could only order the cheapest items on the menu, and my friends feasted on food that is very upscale and I really didn't understand why (the event wasn't in their honor). This made it more upsetting when they were not supportive of my event. But, the reality is that I cannot be upset at them, only upset at myself for not being better with my budget when I was more flush with cash.

There are still 2 weeks before the New Year, but I think I have enough food to last until then. My body has been very angry at me for eating foods that are cheap, but not what it really wants or needs. So, I will make it my new perogative to give my body the foods it really wants and that makes it the happiest, from a healthwise perspective.

I feel odd at times asking my family for help, and I talked to my relative about it. It really all comes from a place of feeling as if my family did not accept me, and to ask for help would be to reinforce whatever negative images they had of me. Of course, this is all just things I thought of, and not necessarily what my family felt AT all. In fact, my family said that at times they felt that they didn't have the right to be called my family. What a trip!?!? I do feel like there are some really big issues that we have to work on from the past, but I am feeling pretty good about it overall.

Enthusiasm and encouragement

November 17th, 2009 at 06:02 pm

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 05:28 pm

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.

Random Musings

November 5th, 2009 at 08:30 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 4th, 2009 at 04:02 am

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 05:03 pm

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 2nd, 2009 at 02:47 am

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

Soap and Sponges and Food...Oh My!

October 29th, 2009 at 05:22 pm

So while the title is a bit unique, I couldn't find any correlation with my blog and the standard lions and tigers and bears! oh my! line. So, this sounded a bit funnier and more on point.

I asked my bf for more money and he helped me out. The extra gas expense wasn't planned, and it was frustrating trying figure out how much I have to spend on gas, on food, etc. Tomorrow is pay day for him, so it is a good day for me as well...it means he can buy some food and I can relax about the whole having enough issue. Mind you, we aren't starving. It is more along the lines of having rice and veggies and nothing to go with it. Which, in a lot of countries, including our own, is still a luxury, and I have been thinking more and more about how blessed I am.

I have also been getting more and more anxious about the homeless issue as I have been through it before, I don't have much savings except for my 401k, and well, my anxiety sometimes tries to creep up at times. Sigh. I have been finding myself a bit closer to crying than usual, and I have just chalked it up to hormonal fluctuations.

I have been wanting to do more Halloween activities, but with my budget, no can do on the costume or fun treats.

I am so looking foward to buying cleaning stuff and staples for the pantry this weekend. That and cleaning and maybe catching a movie on tv is what I am looking forward to.

I have been taking the comments and advice you all have given me to heart. With my bf, I can honestly say that he has done so much more for me than other men I dated who may have made 4x what he did. A lot of the guys I dated before judged me for being on a budget, or disregarded how much less I make, and how the $20 spent here and there is a much bigger deal for me than it is for them. I do, at times, find myself sad about past boyfriends and their judgements. It is irritating in some ways because a few of them were very well off, but had no real concept of working hard, and I think they saw me as being less of a person because my family was homeless and because I came from poverty, among other things.

Instead of being too eager to take care of others, I am realizing that at times, I may need help. I feel like now is a time in my life where I need my friends and this is very different from maybe a span of over 10 years where I was always trying to help everyone else.

Asking for Help

October 29th, 2009 at 04:56 am

So, I had some unexpected expenses this week---I needed extra gas and that messed up my plans for my budget until pay day. It sort of sucks because I hate feeling like I am scrambling for money.

I also feel bad because I like to keep food in my refrigerator for snacking or just regular meals and for today there is just enough left overs for dinner for my bf, but nothing to take for lunch the next day, and no time to defrost the meat I have in the freezer, as I thought the food would last a bit longer.

I will cook again tomorrow, and that should last a couple of days at least. I am, as usual, kicking myself for not planning the month out better. I should have set aside more money for general necessities so that while I wouldn't have money for excess things, I wouldn't be going through this whole weird breakfast and lunch combinations that are not the healthiest for me.

I am almost filled with glee when I think about shopping for things like toilet paper and paper towels and deodorant. Joy!! I am also seriously going to buy a lot of pantry staples so that even when money is short, I will always have a good food option available. AND, I am going to set a bit of my food money aside to keep for Thanksgiving! Smile

My bf has been helping me more, and I really appreciate that. It has been hard for me to ask for help at times, because I worry about how it may be affecting him. I need to stop doing that, and just allow him to help me when he offers.

I spoke with the customer service rep for the account that is automatically debited per month. They seem a lot more helpful with trying to correct the issue than the customer service reps that do the automatic calling. I owe them less than $20, and they have been calling me day and night! Now don't get me wrong, $20 is a good amount and it is the principal of the matter, I understand, but why call me at 8am on the weekend? Why call me just a few minutes before 9pm at night? Sigh. My friends say I should just pay the balance (the correct balance, of course), and just be done with them. I am seriously leaning towards that.

I need to take better care of myself. I see how people age when they are stressed or work too hard and don't eat the best foods, and I worry about that for myself. I did that whole Real Age thing, and well, it put me at least 10 years older than my chronological age. Not good. Frown

I hope that everyone is doing good and I thank you and appreciate all of the advice you all have given me. Smile

2nd Half of the Month

October 20th, 2009 at 03:55 pm

Well, one thing that I have learned recently, that I am going to hold myself to next month, is making sure that when I get paid, I buy EVERYTHING I will need for that month in advance! I cannot express how frustrating it is when I am doing the budget calculations again and again on my tiny little calculator, and realizing that I have to budget for a basic toiletry, and how that negatively affects my budget. Frown

So, next month, I want to do something different, and stock up on certain food items....I want to stock up on multiple cans of beans and bags of rice. Right now, I usually buy only 2 or 3 cans of beans at the same time, and only 1 bag of rice at a time. Next month I want to double that. Just so that when the cupboard is a bit bare (a little bit like now), I will know that I always have enough food to last the remaining week or two.

I will also go back to my previous patterns, and buy all the toiletries I will need for the entire month, at the beginning of the month (I go through at least 1 bottle of hair stuff per month). I am also going to see about putting my money for washing clothes into a separate envelope so that I am never in the situation (as I am in now), where I have to weigh washing clothes, over buying food. While it is in no means a sob story, it is a bit embarassing.

My bf has been more helpful to me lately. He really changed his tune of each of us buying our own food, to offering to buy me food stuff that I need. I am going to start saying yes more. We talked yesterday, and the stuff with his family is really hard and stressing him out. I really feel for him because some of the stress his family puts on him isn't always appropriate, ya know? All I can do is just offer support and maybe different ways of interacting with the family for more positive results.

Things are ok, I am just a bit bummed about my coffee budget (see......shows how spoiled I am!) and how there really isn't room in my budget to be buying coffee made from a cafe (or even McDonald's---don't laugh, it really isn't all that bad). I hope to work on my coffee skills this week.

I will admit that I notice that the way I am acting now with my money, is very similar to how I was raised. We did the same thing of being over excited when first getting money at the beginning of the month and eating nicer food, to eating the left over animal parts (it sounds gross, but hey, it is true---those parts of the animal were cheaper because people don't like to use them....and why do we eat ox tails, but not any other part of the ox??) at the end of the month and having the cupboards be bare. I really don't like that I am repeating that, so I want to work on that. I also want to state that while I have cabinet space, I don't have much, it is cluttered, and there is no semblance of a true pantry to store food like when I was a kid. The cabinets are directly over the stove, so I worry about putting cans there that may get too hot from all of the cooking. Suggestions are welcomed. Smile

Hope everyone is doing well. Smile Thank you for taking the time to read my little musings.

$22 bucks for food for the rest of the month....

October 15th, 2009 at 04:00 pm

So, every day I have been crunching the numbers (it appears I should have been doing this more often!), and it seems that I will have $22 remaining for food for the rest of the month for 2 people. Hmm.

Now, I have rice, veggies, and some protein. The protein I have I think, could last a week, in terms of dinners.

The rice, I think, total, could last the remaining two weeks.

I know that only in America could I say this, but I think my budget is making me fat. Needless to say that my focusing on price and fullness factor per serving, versus nutritional benefits, has left me a bit larger than previously. I was shocked to learn that I somehow gained 7 lbs in 1 month! Yikes! Now because of the doctor stuff, it could be retaining water, etc. Sigh. I am not a happy camper about that.

My bf made a good dinner last night and I really appreciate it. It was enough for dinner, without any left overs, so I ended up buying my breakfast and lunch today. I hate spending money because of poor planning (in this case i was too tired to cook anything and wanted to leave enough food so that my bf could have something to eat for breakfast). So, I scoured the aisles of a local mini-mart (no supermarkets are open near my job in the a.m) and ended up finding something that will keep me somewhat full for two meals, with a total cost of $4.30 cents. Now, is it the healthiest option? Yes, and no. There are a lot of carbs, but also a good amount of protein....it is just missing some veggies, and is probably sky high in preservaties, sodium, and fat. Sigh.

I was shopping the other day, and I really just wanted to buy stuff for a salad---lettuce, chicken, maybe a little cheese. Not much. But even with the price tag for those items, I was thinking more about how much meat I could buy that could be used for a meal that has at least 4 servings.....I try to cook food that can last at least 2 days, with 4 servings. My bf and I are very hearty eaters, so having 1 hot pocket for lunch just isn't going to do it.

On another note, my shoes have been...well....apalling lately. I have a pair of shoes that go well with my dressier clothes, but they are so worn out that I have to make sure not to let people see the bottoms of them. My bf wants to get me shoes, regardless of the cost. It is hard for me to just automatically say yes, cause I know how hard it is for him to manage his budget. But, I agreed to get the shoes, provided that all of the other bills are paid.

This budget thing and eating what I am eating is making me a bit irritable, but, all I can do is just try to stay on track as best as possible, and avoid, at any cost, going into my savings.

On a positive note, my 401k is rebounding and climbing higher and higher to being the amount it was before the recession. Woo hoo!!

The Cheapies....

October 8th, 2009 at 03:59 pm

So, we all know that most people are cutting corners, budget wise, and watching every cent.

I have been watching everything that I spend, counting out how much I will need even for basic toiletries (hey, 1 ply is just as good as 2 ply, and A LOT cheaper, and lasts A LOT longer).

I have been good for the most part (with the exception being my coffee--and no, I don't buy lattes---though they do call out to me from time to time---buuuuuuy me! buuuuuuuy me! I am sooooo creeeeeaaaammmmmyyyyyy!) and been writing down whatever I buy, and taking an honest assessment of what I am going to buy is really necessary.

This often occurs when I have been tired the night before and not made my lunch, or haven't made enough food to take for lunch or breakfast, so I find the cheapest items possible and make the food stretch.

So, why, when I am buying food, do store owners want to give you "that look" when you point out an issue with the price? I recently bought something and the menu said a certain price. The guy (who has a bit of vanity going on, but I digress) didn't bat an eye when I said that he overcharged me. He said the price changed. I said that the menu says this price and that I have bought it at that price recently. He seriously wasn't going to budge, and wasn't going to accept that if you post a price (that can be altered on the menu---it is the type that doesn't involve re-ordering copies, etc.) that you need to honor that price. I really think he was seriously going to just have the stance of "Hey, we changed our prices, didn't tell the customer, you already ordered the food, now pay up". He went and talked to a senior person and honored the original price, but he never made any mention of what happened, just gave me the change I was supposed to have. wth?

So, I have been considerate lately with my friends....when eating at their place, I tend to either refrain from eating altogether (if I didn't chip in money wise), or not eating too much. When we go out, I abstain from buying expensive drinks, and try and order the cheapest thing on the menu. All of us are having money issues, and they understand that I cannot buy alcoholic drinks, or even drinks that do not include the free water.

I had a medical expense that is not much at all, but does impact my budget. I go from periods of feeling ok and happy and calm, to freaking out and being anxious about my money situation. Sigh. I have been like a broken record with my bf, telling him exactly how much money I need, and by which date. I hate being like a broken record, and I know he says I need to just accept that he is going to help me, but I just have a hard time waiting on people. I really don't like asking for help, and I don't like having to depend on others. I am so grateful when they help me, and I thank them tremendously as it does warm my heart. The waiting and being somewhat powerless over the situation is what upsets me. My bf is going through some things, and I feel bad bringing up what I need, but I feel like I really do need help, and for the majority of our relationship, I have been helping him. I don't want to add stress to him, and he has said for me to not worry about adding more stress to him, so I am going to take his word on that, even though sometimes he gets in a funk and doesn't want to talk about things and well, as you all can tell, I am a chatty cathy and talking is my thing. Smile

Writing this out on here really helps me to mellow out a bit and get things out, ya know? I find that often I really cannot talk about these kinds of things with my friends because they are hard to get a hold of, or are going through their own things, and my bf doesn't like talking about money or budgets, AND when he gets home, lately, he just wants to chill out and not talk much. So, at times, my desire to talk and conversate is high.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings. Smile

Money and Relationships

October 5th, 2009 at 03:54 pm

I have found that if I were to examine my past relationships, I feel like I always spent more money on my partner, than my partner spent on me.

I don't know how to explain this, without the potential for coming across as petty. By no means am I trying to be petty, just being honest about patterns I have noticed.

With past boyfriends, they may have made more money than I did, but I always feel like what I gave or spent, was a bigger part of my budget, then in their situation.

With my current bf, he has been kinder and nicer and has spent more on me to help me out than any other boyfriend....even boyfriends that made 3 and 4x what he makes. I find that I have spent more during our relationship, but primarily due to the expenses of extra food.

Now that my savings is super low, I find myself really, really anxious and worried. I helped my bf through a very difficult time, and I think it was appropriate for me to do so. His family was able to get through something that is, I feel, a super difficult thing to have experience. And, I am hoping that he can see that now I am the one that needs help.

I really feel like my bf doesn't understand how much food costs. I feel that I am going to really work on letting him know when I need something, rather than just trying to do everything myself. I also feel that since I have really cleaned out my fridge, he can better be able to tell that things are tough, when he sees how bare it is. I have done my budget, and if my bf pays the two bills that need to be paid, then I will still have some money left over for food. However, the food will be very tame and mild this month, as I told him I only have $100 in the budget for food, and I don't think he gets that $100 is barely enough for 2 people. I am going to try and make it work though, and it will involve a lot more cooking.

I am very anxious because I have a very hard time depending on people. Really hard. Primarily because (and I know this sounds bad), but when I was younger, there was this pattern of not being able to depend on things, so I sort of have this thing where I try to handle it all myself because I trust myself on how to do things, more than I, at times, trust others.

Yeah, I do realize that is probably something I should really evaluate.

On a positive note, I will be done paying a bill at the end of this year (woo hoo!). I also hope to be done paying my friend back money back. That will help to make my budget not short, as it is currently.

Fears

October 4th, 2009 at 07:20 pm

This weekend I was driving, and stopped at a local store, and I saw a homeless person sleeping in a doorway, trying to pull up the covers to keep himself warm. It was so sad to see, also the doorway was super brightly lit, and I just felt so sorry for them. I couldn't even imagine how cold they were, or trying to sleep under such a bright light.

Today, I was by the local bus station and it was so sad. Why are bus stations always so......dirty? It was so dirty, and I felt so bad for the people who were using the benches to sleep on.

These times, (although I have been fearful of this even before the recession), have made my fears a bit more intense. I think it is only because I have been through it before, so for me, I think I see it as a reality for any person, more than the average person who may not have experienced what it is like to eat at a soup kitchen, or make your bed on the top of a coffee table.

I know that being fearful isn't good for the soul, and rather than waste energy worrying about things that may not happen, all I can do is do whatever possible to prevent such a situation and have faith that I will be ok.

I still find myself beating myself up for some foolish spending decisions made in the past. So, I tell myself that when I have paid off more debt, and am able to, I want to save money every month, so that when I go into the next month, I am going in with money, and not in the red from the previous month.

My bf and I talked, and he is going to help me with my bills for this month. I told him the exact amount that I needed, and we made an agreement. He let me know when he gets paid, and the exact amount he can give me per paycheck. That helped to relax me quite a bit.

I have been writing down my purchases so I can keep track of my budget. I am also trying to stick to buying things that I only need (with the exception being my weakness for tea and whatnot).

I realize that I was looking a bit disheveled before my budget problems, and I don't have to let my budget affect my appearance. So, I will be making more time for the self-indulgent things that make a girl feel pretty. Smile

Nickeled and Dime....What is a customer to do?

October 2nd, 2009 at 05:14 pm

First off, let me preface this entry by saying that I do admit that I am cheap. Though, I prefer to say another adjective, but I think you get the point.

Just yesterday, I was in a restaurant, and boyfriend was picking up the tab. Because he is on a budget, I try to order the cheapest thing possible. Well, they were out of that, so I went with the next cheapest item. For what it was, it was overpriced, and I asked for an extra condiment. I asked if there would be a charge. The guy said no charge. Well, when he is adding up our food, low and behold, he put in extra for the condiment. I asked him about it, and he stated that he is only charging me half of what he normally charges for the condiment....which was still ridiculuously overpriced. My bf got upset. Sigh. The food was good, but I probably would not buy that item again because of the price.

I have a similar issue with a place that I frequent often. I buy their product with the understanding that I can use a condiment (i.e., jelly, etc.). One of the cashiers has made comments about my usage of jelly and how he will charge me extra if I use more. He said this out loud in the crowded restaurant, and it was very embarassing. I stopped going there for a while because of his comments.

Due to not scheduling things right, I find myself there again, and hungry, and trying to get the cheapest thing on the menu. I bought an item today with the understanding that I would be using jelly. Again, he made a comment about he will charge me extra if I use too much jelly. I said ok.

It was a weird situation and it made me feel very ashamed, I must admit. I think I will stop going there, because I don't like feeling like a leech or a cheapskate because I want to use a condiment that is free for customers. It also feels weird because I can feel the cashier watching me as I am getting the condiments and napkins that everyone uses.

So, I have done my budget and voila....I will be $300 short this month. Frown I am trying to not stress about it, though.

My boyfriend and his family were able to pay their bills, and they had a little bit left over. I did not make any comment about the amount left over. I did not mention anything about the money my relative gave my bf towards the bill. I am not sure when I should say something about how much I am short. I think I will wait until next week. It is sooo difficult talking with him about money. Ugh!! I do think he is in a better mood now, than previously, and I am hoping that we can really work on how we feel about each other this month. It may sound weird, but the idea of marriage has crept up into my head. I know, weird, huh?

I also realize that my being broke and not giving as much attention to my appearance is negatively affecting me.

I don't have money to buy new shoes, and so I wore some shoes with holes in the bottom that I cover with a type of paper. They look ok, but just don't look at the bottom. I realize that is really not good and I shouldn't be doing that.

I have a few main stays in my wardrobe, but they are getting worn out, and my handwashing skills aren't great. So, all in all, I am finding that I think that I am allowing my budget to make me look slovenly. I am going to dedicate $20 this month to take my dry clean shirts to the cleaners (the kind that need to be ironed---I don't have an iron), so that I always have a presentable outfit ready if needed. My bf made a comment yesterday, and it really made me wonder if he is, at times, embarassed by me because I don't pay a lot of attention to my dress attire. I want him to be proud of me. It was hard to tell if he is sometimes embarassed by me.

I am having a slight pain, and it is bugging me because I know what needs to be done, but there is the money aspect for the co-pay, and making time to get to the doc. Sigh.


Escapism

September 26th, 2009 at 05:58 pm

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.

Paying with cash....

September 5th, 2009 at 07:05 pm

I went from one point in my life of having to pay for things with pennies (I kidd you not), to paying for most things with my atm and credit card.

As I now need to get a new card, and don't want to use credit, I have discovered very quickly how much using cash versus atm really impacts my spending.

I took 40 bucks out with me this morning in order buy some groceries. I thought it was MORE than plenty----but, after stopping at the health food store, and then trader joe's (where I put back a couple of not totally necessary right now foodstuffs), I was really low on funds and counting out change for my iced coffee treat.

I wonder if I should stick with using cash or stick with my atm? I don't like using cash cause I seem to spend it more freely when it is in my pocket.

But when using my atm, I can easily spend more than i anticipated, because I know I have enough in my account to cover my purchase.

What do you think?

Tightening the purse strings

September 2nd, 2009 at 06:06 pm

So payday came, and I tried my best not to go completely crazy.

While I did buy some heavenly chicken katsu for dinner, and a quick pasta mix for my bf, I didn't go far past that. AND, I have been writing down everything I buy, where I buy it from, the category it goes into (food, household items, pets), and how much.

My goal is to keep track of everything I am buying every single day, even if it is just a .50 cent can of soda.

I am going to buy some more household items today, but am writing out my list of what I MUST buy, so I don't buy something frivalous.

I am also going food shopping today, and my goal is to buy only enough food to last through the holiday weekend. That way, I won't have to do numerous trips and whatnot.

I have some decorating plans for the weekend, and they are free (except for the gas used to take stuff to storage, and the garbage bags well for....garbage.

I am also being more scrutinizing of things I buy for my bf. I know that I tend to get spend happy for food in the beginning of the month, and then am short at the end. So I figure that I will start now with what I buy, and just eat frugally the entire month. I really, really, REALLY, want to avoid using my credit cards this month or going into my savigs.

Money Issues.....

August 28th, 2009 at 01:33 am

I realize that I guess I have money issues.
When I am stressed or happy, I am not so cautious of my spending---now mind you, not being cautious in my world means getting a cup of coffee or buying some needed food that tastes good. It doesn't mean buying a book or buying clothes or dvds for fun.

I started to think about how much I went into my savings this month, and I almost started crying. I added how much I spent on food---shopping at really cheap stores, no whole paycheck for me. And I spent about $300 more on food than I should have...i checked and I spent about $200 on food in the first 2 weeks.

I just don't know what to do....I really don't. I am eating leftovers for lunch, avoiding eating out whenever possible, buying bulk rolls of 24 ct. for $1.50 and having 5 rolls for breakfast (not good for my diet, of course), and just so mad at myself for all of it.

I will also have to speak with my bf. He knows I am having money problems, but so is he, and he isn't good at budgeting (neither am I, it appears, but I do put up a good attempt, I think---at least I write things out--doesn't that count?), and so, the past 2 months he hasn't been contributing what we agreed upon...and it is mainly because he has had family stuff come up. I don't want to stress him out, but I will have to let him know that we are going to have to stick with our agreement if he stays with me...which, due to a crowded situation at his family's house, he may be staying with me. I am okay with that, but I realize that even a couple of trips per week to the cheapo market is still maybe $50 bucks, and that adds up quickly. Sigh.

I feel very sad right now. I am going to look for a part-time job and next month, I am going to fully commit myself to writing down every single thing I buy. And, i am going to use my debit card more---I find that the loose cash is easier for me to change and I forget what I spent it on when I am not writing things down.

I really just feel like crying. And the honest truth is that if I had 3-6 months of cash savings, i wouldn't be worrying about the debt i would have. I would pay it off of course, but not having the savings and not being able to get more credit is really stressing me out.

thank you all for letting me vent. I am not sure I can talk to many people about how i feel. I feel like you all understand some of where I am coming from, and i really appreciate all of your comments (sorry, i can't change the white background without then changing my blog page...and I am not sure if I want to use blue color or yellow color on a black background...I think it may be more difficult to see).

Love you all. Smile


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