It's hot.

When Huge Expenses Arrive

Okay….so as I mentioned in my last weekly update….my HVAC system took a huge poop last week. So. I have a Big Hairy Expense Goal coming up. I BHEG if you will instead of a BHAG for those familiar with business planning.

Estimated Cost: Between $6,000 – $10,000

Here is what I’m doing to make this as easy as possible:

SHOPPING AROUND
My boyfriend freelances and has been available this week to have 4 different companies come to look at our system and quote replacing the gas furnace and A/C. He was also kind enough to do a BUNCH of research to help me understand what these dudes are talking about and what I’ll be paying for.

LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES
We’ve been taking two box fans back and forth between the living room and bedroom. Unfortunately, there’s also construction on our block so we can’t keep the front windows open. A friend is kindly lending us a window unit so we can wait out the 2+ weeks we may be waiting for installation. This will keep us comfortable at home and less likely to seek out other places that will make us spend money!

CUTTING OTHER EXPENSES
So far I’ve cancelled my Bennett compost service, Spotify, and Amazon Prime. My cell phone will be paid off in my next bill so that should go down. We aren’t running a 25 year old inefficient air conditioning unit so that is saving expenses….though I’m not sure that’s saving when we’re running box fans 24/7.

One expense I’m not cutting? The $15/month gym membership. I’ve been going more and showering there to conserve at the house and make it less hot.

MAKING SOME EXTRA MONEY
I am paying $10 for a 10×10 space at the DiSilvestro Craft & Flea Market on Saturday from 11am through 4pm. I’ve got lots of sewing, quilting, and scrapbooking supplies that I’ve been carting around for way too long. Every night this week I’ve gone home and worked on pricing, staging options, and condensing for ease of travel. My only issue right now is when I signed up for this thing the weather was supposed to be sunny in the 80s and now they’re calling for rain. Anyone have a pop up tent I could borrow?

While pricing and organizing, I’ve been running Swagbucks and InboxDollars

That’s what I’m doing leading up to making a decision and saying goodbye to all of my money for a few months. What do you do when you’re suddenly strapped for cash?

 

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WEEK 20!

Anyone else trying REALLY hard not to turn on the A/C? We had to cave this week.

General Health

Down 1.8 this week! WHAAAT? WW is WORKING!

I’m really pumped at how well Weight Watchers is working again. I found a really good group and we’re getting into the summer where fruits and veggies are everywhere!

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 86(as of 5/15) /120 

Be Creative
You may have noticed my cover picture today….I was gifted all of these knitting needles and some stash yarn from a friend who got them from a friend. I LOVE ACCEPTING OTHER PEOPLE’S CRAFT STUFF! I have a pretty good stash started and I haven’t spent any money on it! I finished the scarf and am excited!! After a few attempts at trying to start a hat and the legwarmers….I think I need more help!

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
I threw $50 on that bitch this week.

Frugal AF
I biked to and from work most days last week thus saving myself $14.40 in SEPTA bus fares.

Mortgage: $778.65/$1,000

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
I breezed through some chapters at work this week but still have a ways to go.

Learning About Annuities
We did another training on Friday!  Woo!

Blog Goals

A new perspective on bloggery
I read an interesting thread on Reddit this week asking how much time people devote to side-hustles. A lot of people said “Zero” and spend the time one would use on side hustles to enrich their full-time careers instead. I think there’s something to be said about that.

Weekly Updates
20 down and I kind of can’t believe it! 32 weeks to go. 1 more week until VACATION.

WEEK 15 – HAPPY SPRING,YA’LL

6am. Monday morning. Trying desperately to get back on the gym game.

General Health

I was only down .2 this week but that’s still better than a gain and probably most certainly has nothing to do with the amount of pizza I ate. I’m not excited about weigh-in tonight because I was not good…including one day that I ate 100 points! Yikes!

I’m not gonna lie – I’m having a REALLY hard time getting back into the groove of my 6am workouts and normal life.

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 78(as of 4/11) /120 

Be Creative
I did a lot of knitting when I went to my dad’s in Delaware this weekend.

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
I did not work toward this goal this week. I’ve been doing well but this week was a rough one financially so that didn’t happen and here’s why:

Frugal Fail of the Week
I went for my allergy shot on Wednesday and tried to stop by a new local coffee shop to try them on the way…..they were cash only. I don’t carry cash. So I figure I’ll just go to Starbucks instead along the way. I’m out of money on the app so I have to reload….and the reload minimum is $25. I go stand in the first Starbucks and a barista looks in the eye but does not acknowledge me and keeps holding a conversation with another barista. I count to 30 and walk out because I HATE THAT SHIT. I try to go to the other Starbucks closer to my doctor and they are closed because they can’t make coffee.

I get to work and sitting on my desk is a coupon for free coffee and pastry from Au Bon Pain. What a freaking waste of $25. SHAME.

Mortgage: $638.60/$1,000

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
This thing called “tax season” should finally be behind me for the year and I can get a little breathing room to do this.

Learning About Annuities
Still waiting for that next session to come around

Blog Goals

A Comment! 
Shout out to David Carlson from Young Adult Money for taking the time to read last week’s post and comment! I read a lot of YAM and his comment reminded me that I need to be better about commenting [thoughtfully] on the blogs that I read more often.

Weekly Updates
I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting bad again about actually updating each section of this update. Stop it, me! You’re better than that!

And with this I pose a random question to you:
Have you ever had someone help you with your cover letter, resume, or job hunt? Was it free help or paid? Tell me about it please!

WEEK 11 RECAP – I Did Nothing for St. Patty’s Day. Holllaaaa

General Health

Here’s how I’m doing with March FitCamp!  :

  1. Respect nutrition – I’ve been eating a lot of oatmeal and trying to stay right buuuuut there were lots of pizza slices and cookies this week
  2. Do one legitimate straight-leg pushup – I’ve been able to up my hand weights from 5lb to 8lb and can now do about 3 knee push ups.  PROGRESS!  I FEEL IT!
  3. Beat last month’s 13 days at the gym – I’m at 10 as of Friday!  I’m going to try to break this record this very week!

It was really difficult to stay on track for the StepBet this week with all that snow!  It makes me so lethargic.  On Tuesday I ended up working from home and spent the last hour of my day jogging in place and walking around the block to knock out the last 4,000 steps before bed.  Rest day can’t be Tuesday!

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 61(as of 3/19) /120 HALFWAY MARK! WOOO!!  Think I can do 59 more by the end of June?  

Be Creative
I messed up in my scarf this week and was unable to make knitting circle….so that is on hold until I can get help to “frog” a few lines and get in.  I know where I messed up and tried to just keep knitting….but it’s an eyesore now and I feel like I won’t be happy with the finished product unless I take the time to fix it.  Sooooo I’m going to fix it!

I picked up Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide To Thriving In The Age of Accelerations at the library and I think it will come in handy for blogging!

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
Another $100 went into Principal!  I’m not fucking around.

Frugal as Fuck
I loaded up one of my desk drawers with oatmeal and oatmeal essentials so I always have a post-gym breakfast.  Or an emergency lunch. And a backup bag of coffee.  

As you can see, I also use painter’s tape and a sharpie to label things – I do this in the kitchen too.  It’s a cheap labeling system that doesn’t leave sticker residue on anything.

The boyfriend and I had a pleasantly cheap weekend – we walked to the grocery store Saturday to get a week’s worth of groceries and Philly AIDS Thrift on Sunday and bought nothing.  We stayed mostly indoors doing home shit and sleeping.

Mortgage: $531.50/$1,000

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
Not much CE work was done this week.  I should really get back on that before I lose momentum!

The DI seminar was cancelled due to weather.  Fuck you, weather!  I wanted to get my free learn on!

Learning About Annuities
This got pushed to the end of the month.  Boo.

Blog Goals

Why The Fuck Are You Reading This?
Still not focusing much on this AND I believe I have killed the weekly #TealTuesday posts….I will continue to post #TealTuesday stuff on my Instagram and Tumblr.

A friend once gave me the advice that i should focus on doing things rather than posting about them.  I like that so I’m going to keep on that.

Weekly Updates
I need to get better about proofreading these on Monday morning on the way to the gym before they post – sometimes when I copy/paste I miss things that make the weekly updates make less sense.  So I’m going to work on that more.

#TealTuesday – Keepin’ Organized

I’m a little old school in the sense that I still carry around a day planner and an event isn’t official until it’s in BOTH my Google Calendar and planner.

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This year I went with the InnerGuide 2017 Goal & Success Planner – Increase Motivation, Productivity & Happiness. Weekly & Monthly Organizer, Appointment Book & Journal (Jan – Dec) Hard Cover  Yes, the title is rather long and that’s justifiable since this planner has a LOT going on.

I find it to be the perfect planner/journal for people that like bullet journals but find the thought of creating one anxiety-inducing.

I don’t use every single aspect of this thing because I find it to be too much.  I didn’t want to go through a spiritual journey before I started putting dates in it and I’m really not good at setting intentions and as you can see – sometimes I phone them in just to not have it be empty:

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I love that this journal/planner hybrid as it has a LOT of space to think – there are several note sections and “Reflections & Ideas” boxes that I will often write in just to get something out of my head.

This thing goes with me everywhere and is also a ghetto folder/wallet – I have my library card taped in the back since I lost the original and I’ve been keeping my Girl Meets Fitness workouts in the back so I don’t forget them at the gym.

How do you stay organized?  What planner/planning method do you use?

Greatness Takes Time: My 2 Year Work Anniversary

Here are some reflections that I drafted up while sitting in the waiting room for my allergy shot this morning…enjoy this bonus post!jamieWow – this was taken in 2015 in the first few months of this job.  My hair is much longer and that outfit *barely* fits now.  If you had told me around the time this was taken that I would still be here 2 years later I would laugh…

…because I didn’t think I was cut out for this field and that I was going to be fired.

It was a series of factors – mostly the timing of growth in the office at a time that I was still learning how to use a very complex set of systems, be a legitimate assistant for the first time, and learning all of the different products and services this firm offers.  I was also dealing with a toxic home environment that did not help AT ALL.  My fear of being fired became so severe that it is now just a running joke…but at the time I was concerned that my mistakes would cost us clients and that constant battle to my self esteem was dark.

But I am still here.  I now [mostly] know what I’m doing.  AND I’m happy!

I get really sad when I see people jumping from job to job because they aren’t happy immediately.  How do you know that if you aren’t even giving yourself time to get in the groove?  We’re not super geniuses that pick up a new company’s procedures and cultures overnight.

How to Survive the First 6 Months at Any Job

1. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED IMMEDIATELY
I know this is difficult.  I know you’re new and things are new and different and you would rather go play in traffic than fuck up and have to be told that you fucked up.  It’s OK.  Instead of getting anxious and upset you should own up and try not to make that mistake again.

2. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
It’s a hell of a lot easier to keep your shit together when you have notes.  Take the time you need to write clear notes that you can reference when you’re confused about something.  A good employer will not be annoyed by the time it takes you to write things down for later.

3. ASK EVERY QUESTION YOU HAVE AND ASSUME NOTHING
Even if you’re WRITING EVERYTHING DOWN you may still be confused and that’s totally okay.  Whenever I get an intern, the first thing I tell them is to never hesitate to ask a questions because a good employer would rather you ask a question 3 times and do something right rather than make an educated guess and fuck things up.  Hell, I still take applications to my supervisor to review before I submit if I’m in anyway concerned.

4. PUT YOUR FUCKING CELL PHONE AWAY
You don’t need the distraction.  You don’t need to ever be caught scrolling on Facebook.  You’re not yet acclimated enough to be able to juggle social and work life at the same time.  AND you don’t want to look bored or like you don’t have enough work to do.

5. UNDERSTAND THAT TRUE GROOVE TAKES T-I-M-E
I have just recently (I’d say since about November 2016) gotten into my work groove.  I found my sweet spot for organization and task tracking.  This groove consists of a written daily  to-do list, Outlook Tasks, tasks in our Client Relationship Management system, and a spiralbound notebook that I write everything in when I’m on the phone or have an adviser in front of me explaining a bigger task.  It may seem like a lot when typed out but this is how I’ve been able to effectively track and manage my tasks.

I wish I had followed this advice when I started but am also thankful that I have an awesome employer and we’ve managed to work it all out.

SSA.gov – See Where You’ve Been & Where You’re Going!

Hey!  It’s about that time….your W-2’s are rolling in, other pieces of important paper are making their way to your home, and you’re either terrified of writing a check to Uncle Sam or excited to get a lil’ somethin’ somethin’…..

Tax season.

It’s kind of neat to check out your w-2 and see just what your time was worth in 2016.

It’s even cooler to see what your time was worth (“on the books”) for your entire working life.  You can sign up for My Social Security  and see your history of earnings and what your estimated monthly social security benefit would be once you meet the benefit requirements.

To qualify for social security, you have to technically work and pay into social security for 40 quarters – 10 years.  I’ve qualified for social security for quite sometime now and you probably have too if you’re reading this of all blogs.

Your estimates are based on the assumption that you will earn the same salary every year from now until retirement.  I check it at least annually since my salary has gone up a little bit.  Here’s mine so far:

At full retirement age (67): $1,666 a month

At age 70: $2,066 a month

At early retirement age (62): $1,166 a month

Makes you think about that sweet tax break for contributing to personal retirement plans, huh?

The Importance of Saving for Retirement

I like to think by age 67 I will have my mortgage paid off so I won’t have to put $1,000 a month towards that….but even so, what the fuck does one do with a measly $1,666 a month?  Can you live off of that and handle an emergency?

All I’m saying is that people don’t enjoy retirement as much when they are living off of just their social security….because it is NOT ENOUGH.

Boost that 401k!  Open a Roth IRA and start contributing – up to $5,000 annually (and until April 15 of the following year)!  Or at least STOP MAKING MORE DEBT FOR YOURSELF.

One Week Down. Fifty One to Go.

How did the first week of my goals go?  Well…let’s see:

Personal Goals

General Health
I went to the gym twice last week which is better than many other weeks.  I forgot to mention in my initial post that my gym will reimburse my gym memberships if I go to the gym 120 times in a calendar year.  120 equals going up to three times most weeks so it’s a bit tough and I have a few months where I was off the bandwagon.  So far I’ve been 32 times since July 5th…in theory, if I go 3 times a week from now to the end of june I can hit that reimbursement!

As you read this, I’m finishing up at the gym right now!  I’ll be down for the count Thursday and Friday so I’m making an effort to get it in early this week.

GYM July 2016 – June 2017: 33/120

Sub-Goal: Donate Blood – February 20th!

create! Create!! CREATE!!!
I STARTED A PAINTING!  I got my paints all set up in my Craft Cave and have put two layers down so far.  It feels good but I think I need to get a second one going too because I forgot how much I hate lag time when waiting for paint to dry.

Curious of what Wally was helping me with last week?  I WORKED ON A LATCH HOOK PROJECT!  I pulled a latch-hook rug project out that I started a year ago and finished the block but now need to go back and fix it up.  I don’t want to reveal what it is yet….so here’s another picture of Wally helping me with it:wp-1483926358383.jpg

I picked up Amy Poehler’s Yes Please at the library and finished the book last night.  I’m convinced that Amy Poehler and I are *almost* the same person and feel freshly renewed.  The book set a good tone for my year and was full of awesome quotes to hold close.  I joined a Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 6 books this year – a bit less than the 30+ most of my friends on there have pledged….but I’m realistic and know myself.  I do have a few books waiting to come in at the library and I anticipate finishing this book pretty darn fast.

 

Financial Goals

Pay Down Some Mortgage
I saved $8 this week using Qapital

Save Like a Motherfucker
This week was a bit of a wash as I did go out twice BUT I also got a free catered lunch at work that fed staff for 2 days of lunch, the man and I for dinner, dinner with friends on Saturday…and I’m eating the rest of it for lunch at work today.  I did not actually save yet soooo…

Mortgage: $8/$1,000
Savings: $0/$1,000
So $2,000 towards each of these goals by June? It’s still reasonable.

Professional Goals

Continuing Education Credits for Health License
I e-mailed someone at work that does webinars and teaches people the products we sell so he’s going to call me this week to set up some webinars.

Learning About Annuities
I e-mailed someone different at work and they are on vacation so I hope to hear back sometime next week.

Blog Goals

Why The Fuck Are You Reading This?
Thank you to the people that have read for the last week!  I look forward to interacting in the future and hearing what people have to say.

Weekly Updates
Well….one down.

How did the first week of 2017 go for you?

#wallydog

#WallyDog is helping!

#wallydog
#wallydog

Someone is helping me with my creativity goal!

So far in this new year I have visited one friend and taking this guy for a nice long nature walk, dropped my car at a dealership for a free recall repair, and I have spent $35 at Aldi to last us the week.

What are you doing on this glorious Monday?