Archive | September, 2011

Operation October & A Free Nail Party!

28 Sep

I’m getting really excited about succeeding with money. I am not forcing myself to do anything yet…except forcing myself to do nothing. I need to start simple. Baby step myself into making it a full month with spending so little money on myself, on fun stuff, on anything but bills really, that by the end of the month, everyone of those blood sucking, loan organization, credit card mumbo jumbo jerk faces that I owe money to will be paid and paid on time and maybe, just maybe, I will have money left over. A couple $10 or so, but hey, that’s something!

I don’t want to ask my mom to help me at all for the month of October. I know that sounds pathetic, but hey, it is what it is and she has helped me for as long as I can remember. It’s time I pony up and sit at home most nights, rein in spending at the grocery store, indulge in free activities, etc., etc., so that I can feel completely and totally self-sufficient. I have no idea what it will be like, but like I said, I’m excited for the challenge. And also, genuinely curious to see where my money goes.

To hold myself accountable – monthly budget goes here. Let’s see where exactly my money goes. Maybe I will even make a pie chart. Color-coded. Just so we can see how dire the student loan payback situation is these days. And because it sounds kinda fun. I know some people have it worse than me. I also know some people have it the same but manage it better. And some people are just loaded and don’t have these problems at all – those bastards. But I’m sure they don’t have as much fun as I do….

For example! Look at this badass free activity. Well, I did buy a bottle of wine for $6, but that also bought a hell of a lot of fun. Nail Party with the girls!

 

 

….Anyway! Check in for Operation October! Coming at you live this weekend. Budget showdown begins.

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Better Late Than Never?

21 Sep

So I’ve been doing really, really well at not spending money the last week and a half or so. Which is all I ever needed to learn how to do, and I won’t blame it on dudes, but really, a string of breakups left me wanting to go out every night and drown my sorrows. I was being impulsive, admittedly. But now I am feeling very content and back on my game so staying in and saying no is much easier.

At first I thought I was really depressed about it all because I have been easily slipping into 15 hour slumbers, no joke, but then I realized one day talking to my brother that no, what it actually is is that because I have no money, I keep retreating to my teeny tiny studio where the only place to hang out is my bed…therefore…shutting my eyes for 5 minutes turns into 15 hours and clearly, so clearly, my body and mind have been exhausted by this year and so of course they’re loving this break that stems from me being broke.

You know what else loves the break? My creativity. National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching and I am handily preparing my brother and sister for the onslaught that is writing every day for 30 days until you reach 50,000 words. I’m in the process of starting a book club. I’m blogging. I started a tumblr just for fun. I made a photo collage last night. I read books in the park, soaking up the last rays of summer. I have to admit…life on a budget, now that I am calm and happy, it’s not so bad.

And yet, this is just the first step. I still need to stop ignoring my money. I still need to not cringe when the word budget even enters my thoughts. I need to stop avoiding the unavoidable and face my debt and then hopefully, learn ways to get it under control. Is this even possible? I don’t know. Because it feels so complicated and heavy and overwhelming that I’ve never taken the time to actually DO anything about it.

But…baby steps. October is right around the corner. Iwill get a paycheck and I will succeed at paying my bills and remaining holed up inside saying no to bars and yes to potlucks and movies on the computer and the like. Luckily since it’s about to start raining every day, this should only get easier. I have birthday’s this month – both mine and those of two of my nearest and dearest – so also time to continue with creativity and make them amazing gifts that mean more than anything I could ever purchase them. Etc, etc.

Small successes. That’s where it’s at right now. If I can keep up with this new lifestyle, I should be able to make some real changes. And it only took me 1.5 years of being out of school to face these facts. Wow. Winner. Better late than never?

Just Say No

13 Sep

August 30, 2011 – I get paid tomorrow. And I really, really, really want to keep my head above water this month. Which means one thing, I am going to have to say no, a lot. No to friends wanting to go out. No to my cravings for Subway lunches. No to bottles of wine! Wine? No! Ok, so some wine, but only from Plaid Pantry and nothing over $5.

I am hoping this is the last really, insanely tight money month because two great things happened. I got a second part-time job as a Experience Coordinator for LivingSocial Adventures, which essentially means I get to help coordinate rad excursions around Portland for anyone lucky enough to have spare cash to purchase said excursions. Sails and Ales? Ropes course and zip-line? I mean, it sounds fun, right? (Thank you Izzy for hooking me up with the opportunity! All about networking people…).

And then at my regular job, I should be getting a small raise. An extra $100 a month or so. Nothing to make a real dent, but hey, anything helps at this point – I mean it – anything. So with the extra income, that should loosen the belt a little. But until then, I really want to do some good for my bank account. I think this means I need to think of fun free things to do! Or at least fun, really cheap things.

It’s summer – so the park is always free.  Cheap booze required.

They also show free movies in the parks!

It’s 2 been weeks since I wrote the above…I somehow got distracted. Instead of revisiting…how about you give me some ideas of cheap, fun things to do that will get me out of the house and keep me out of the bar.

ALSO! Portlanders – since keeping me out of the beers entirely isn’t realistic – I really love $1 beer bars. Can you give me a list? Where and When? Hungry Tiger II on Wednesday…the Standard on…some other day….share your wisdom so I can maximize fun on a minimal budget.

Thanks! xoxo Lou

……

So…let’s see, it’s now September 13 and the first time I thought about money was two days ago, Sunday September 11th. That is terrible. Because I also wasn’t saying no to things, admittedly. When you get paid, of course you want to reward yourself and go out with friends because for the two weeks prior you’ve been scrounging for change to buy a $2 piece of pizza and staying home every night wishing you had some red wine to go with your plain noodles. It’s a vicious cycle and I know…I fail. Because my approach is to not think about it. Oh, bills, I will get to that Sunday. And from Monday to Saturday I think I can buy drinks when really I can’t.

It is seriously time to get back on that budget, especially with these new tiny sources of income coming in. And it is also time to keep writing this blog to hold me accountable because I think I am worse than most people in that I simply don’t confront what it is I am dealing with and that really hurts me in the end.

So game plan – spend today getting up to date on this (dumb) budget – says the reluctant child in me. And plan a debt meeting with my debt team. Write a blog post about both and ultimately – get back on track. In general. Stupid money. Stupid debt. Really getting in the way of my ability to have fun. At the end of the day, I don’t spend THAT much money, and all I want is to be able to spend that limited amount without having to think about every penny and tailspin into worry, averting a crash only by pushing it to the back of my mind. Bad, bad, terrible money patterns people.

Le Sigh.