<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
You are viewing: Main Page


January 31st, 2018 at 07:10 am

I brought my cat in for a CT scan. The home vet was convinced that my cat had a tumor and that the stress of bringing her in to the other vet for a dental and putting her under anesthesia made the tumor grow super fast. Naturally, feeling like I exacerbated it, I didn't want to bring her in to yet another vet for even more anesthesia, but I wanted concrete answers. The story just didn't make sense to me. I'm glad I spent the money, because she doesn't have a tumor or cancer. She has a bad infection in her lower jaw that was presumably caused by the vet who did the dental. I'm upset with myself for trusting them; they messed up both sides of my poor cat's mouth. We have started a different antibiotic and hopefully this treatment will clear the infection and reduce the pressure in her eyes. I'm so, so relieved that it's not a tumor and she made it through anesthesia again. Her heart rate tends to dip low every time she goes under.

I talked with my boss about the new job, and she said she doesn't feel I'll be ready for it for two years (presumably because by then I'll have a master's degree). She said I could apply but my application may not make it past HR. Clearly she has someone else in mind for this job. I'm disappointed; it felt like a light at the end of the tunnel.

School is still overwhelming but I'm trying to convince myself that this is doable for 18 months and then it will be over.

I feel so far behind. My friends are directors making 1.5 to 2 times my income, homeowners, driving decent cars, and have ample retirement funds. One friend can even retire early. I'm most terrified about not having enough in retirement to support myself. I wish I had spent less time caring about men and thinking I'd have a partner through life and focused solely on bolstering my career and retirement funds. Water under the bridge now, I suppose, but I can't seem to get traction on getting out of this low level job hole I've dug.


January 22nd, 2018 at 01:38 pm

Cat update:
My home vet planned to repair my cat's botched dental work last week (which had originally been done by a different vet). They had my cat sedated and then realized that they couldn't open her jaw more than an inch in the front. They also thought that her left eye was red not from infection but sudden glaucoma (??), and she also had an ear infection on the same side. The vet (grasping at straws again) said, either she has a rare abscess that I've never seen in 26 years as a vet, or she has a tumor. Clearly she believed it was an inoperable tumor pressing on her mouth and eye. I held it together until a coworker hugged me - cue soggy face mess as I ran to my car.

However, it makes little sense to me that a tumor in her head would grow so fast that in the span of a week she'd be unable to open her mouth. Ever since the dental, she hasn't been able to fully yawn. She has no other tumor-like or cancer-like symptoms. This cat is only 8 years old. I've had her on antibiotics for the past week which seems to be helping somewhat but she still can't fully yawn. I'm so frustrated by vets guessing. I've already spent $2500. I compiled a timeline with symptoms and sent it to the home vet today asking for a referral. I also called the U of MN vet center but the hold time was too long.

Car update:
Currently pretending the check engine light is not on. So far so good.

Work update:
A rare new position is opening up at work that is higher than mine. I love my boss and department and would like to stay after I have my master's degree, but not in this lower-level job. I expressed interest in the new job but I'm not sure my boss has me in mind for it (or perhaps she'd like me to stay put). I'm not getting an obvious green light from her but a couple of my coworkers are encouraging me to apply. I'll have to address this with my boss soon.

School update:
OMG so overwhelmed. The homework is absolutely ridiculous. I really hope every class is not like this. I did homework for over 8 hours yesterday, plus a couple of hours on Friday and Saturday. My anxiety was through the roof because of it and I hardly slept on Saturday night. I'm feeling better today.

Financial update:
I did the calculations, and while saving 50% isn't feasible, I'm planning to save 30% of my income. That's an extra $500 per month to my savings account. It would be incredibly helpful if I could land a higher position now so I could save more, replace my 18 year old car, and buy a house. I ran the numbers in the T Rowe Future Path calculator (thanks Patient Saver), and with my current salary and savings rate, I can retire at 68. That's assuming I'd increase my rate 3% per year, which is higher than my annual raise.

I love listening to the Afford Anything podcast. Yesterday while walking on the treadmill I listened to a recent episode about a couple who just retired at ages 38 and 41. I kept thinking, it would make so much more sense to retire now so I could spend time with my parents and my cats before they are gone, and work later when I am alone! Definitely envious.

saving 50%

January 9th, 2018 at 08:17 am

Lately I've been reading and hearing a lot about saving 50% of your income. I decided to calculate if doing so was feasible with my current income and basic expenses.

Current retirement savings rates:
- 6% of gross to 401k
- 4% of gross to HSA (counts as saving assuming I don't need any of this for medical expenses)
- 2% of net to Roth IRA

Saving 50%, after rent, cell phone, home internet, average electric bill, car insurance, car tabs, and renter's insurance, I'd have:

$455 per month left for everything else.

I need to think more about this.

2017 goals recap

January 8th, 2018 at 08:57 am

Here's a quick recap of my 2017 goals:

Financial Goals:
- Continue to send 6% to retirement plan - Temporarily lowered to the matching 4% part-way through the year to save more money for a down payment. I increased it back to 6% recently.
- Continue to send $25 a month to Roth - DONE
- Save $2000 in emergency fund (and don't touch it unless it's an actual emergency) - DONE, actual emergency came up in December
- Save $200 a month for eventual car payment - No. I threw more money at my emergency fund instead.
- Get my age of money to 30 days in YNAB - DONE, although I've since realized it's a worthless measurement.

Other Goals:
- Reduce grocery bill - DONE - reduced by $50 a month
- Get out more (meet some new people via meetup.com or elsewhere) - I went to a few meetups early in the year but lost steam halfway through the year.
- Read 15 books - DONE, I read 21 books
- Lose weight/more yoga/climbing gym - I lost nearly 10 lbs, went to more yoga classes, and walked a lot more. I didn't make it to the climbing gym much, but I now have a punch card that never expires.

I'm surprised by how well these goals turned out! I don't have much planned for 2018 other than surviving graduate school and trying to save as much money as possible.

Cat update - as of yesterday she is doing much better, apart from a new eye infection and the realization that the vet pulled one of her dental sutures too tight. She will have to have corrective surgery because she's still in some pain and having trouble eating on that side of her mouth. I'm waiting to hear back from my home vet, but I'm guessing it will be another $1000. It is such a relief to see my cat slowly starting to act like her sweet self again; the last few weeks have been agony. I finally slept through the night without checking on her.

Car update - the check engine light came back on last week with the same evap code that the December repair supposedly fixed. I have lost faith in this garage and will find another one, ideally after the cat crisis is over.

expensive end to the year

December 28th, 2017 at 12:09 pm

The last two weeks turned out far differently than I had planned! I was looking forward to spending Christmas with my family, but my younger cat started behaving oddly on 12/15. She stopped eating on 12/17, and after five vet visits, four extracted teeth, and two rounds of antibiotics, she's finally starting to come back to me. Her abject terror when presented with food means I have been syringe-feeding her 2-3 times a day just to keep her going. Thankfully she will now eat if I lock her in a room with me and coax her. I feel terrible; in addition to several painful teeth, she also had a UTI. Cats are incredibly good at hiding their pain. So, our family gathering has been rescheduled, but if my cat still isn't doing well by then, it may have to be pushed out even further. We'll see.

My other cat has been switched to a different brand of food that is good for bladder stones and allergies, and he loves it. I do not love the price, but if it keeps us out of the vet clinic and him from chewing off his skin, so be it.

Total cat-related financial damage this month: $2,120

My car's check engine light came on and needed repair - total financial damage (after coupons): $433

I've been dealing an annoying/scary health issue that required four doctor's visits in the last few months, but it finally seems to be over. Total financial damage: unsure, but likely less than $250 total, thanks to decent health insurance.

I finished my Christmas shopping early this year (of course), and my car insurance was due, so it was already a pricey month. I'm glad I have an emergency fund but it is sad to see it depleted.

My new neighbors are relatively quiet and nice but smoke a lot of pot. I know this because our basements must be connected and are not air-tight. The smell is not coming into my main living unit, so rather than fighting a losing battle with them or my apathetic landlord, I bought an air purifier for the basement. (I recently received a water shut-off notice after my landlord neglected to pay the water bill for months, so I have zero faith in him.) Yes, I could ask them to stop smoking, but I don't think they will quit or move it outside given that it's below zero. If it was coming in my main living space, it would be a different story.

Last month I purchased a decent treadmill on sale. When all of these emergency expenses hit, I initially felt guilty about the treadmill, but I bought it as an investment in my health. I'm using it several times a week, and with this weather, no way will I do my daily walk outside. I saved $150 by putting it together by myself...it took two days and a lot of swearing, but it hasn't fallen apart yet! I love it and I'm glad I have it.

My grad school orientation is tonight - that came up fast! School starts in two weeks!


October 27th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Hi all!

I'm still renting. My realtor continues to send me properties, but at this point, I wouldn't want to move until the spring. However, I will be getting new neighbors very soon (and we share several walls with little sound insulation). I'm hoping for quiet people, especially because I have a very anxious, noise-sensitive cat.

I've got another venture in the works - I'm going to grad school! I enrolled in a MA in leadership program that I think will work well in my current department and potentially anywhere else I choose to go. I'm a bit nervous! I think it's the right choice given my rather random work history and unrelated bachelor's degrees, but I wish I felt 100% sure it's the perfect choice for my future. I'm not thrilled about taking out student loans (since I am completely debt free and have been for a long time), but I'm planning to cap them around $10K total and pay the rest myself. My employer offers $2000 in tuition reimbursement per year, which will help. The program will only take 18 months, so I'll finish a few months after I turn 40!

I plan to continue to receive home listings with the hope that prices will come down a bit and maybe something perfect will pop up next year.

I'm still struggling with forcing myself to have an active social life. I deleted all of my dating apps months ago and haven't attended any meetups either. I guess I've fallen into the work-home routine and haven't felt like putting in the effort to meet new people. I'm a homebody at heart.

Speaking of home, I made spaghetti squash with spicy peanut sauce, stir fry veggies, and baked tofu. It was so amazing that I bought another spaghetti squash just to have it again!

not much luck on the homebuying front

August 1st, 2017 at 02:06 pm

Well, I've looked at 27 houses and haven't had much luck. Prices keep going up up up, and these houses don't merit their listing prices, in my opinion. I considered making an offer on a couple of them, but they didn't quite feel right, so I didn't. I'd have to give my landlord 2 months' notice, so I'm running out of time to avoid moving in the winter! There's no rush for me to buy, and I knew going in that it might not happen this year. I just hope my car outlasts the market so I don't have to ruin my home ownership goal by financing a car. (I know, pay cash, don't finance, but that's not a realistic option.)

This summer has been full of fun classes and socializing and too much spending! I had to take a last minute trip across the country to visit an ill relative, but my mom went as well, which turned it into a relatively pleasant trip.

Thanks to whomever posted about the Frugalwoods blog! I've found it inspirational and am planning to have a frugal August.

I've lost 5 pounds just by cutting back slightly on my calories and walking more. I bought a new FitBit a couple of months ago and it has definitely helped motivate me to get up my from my desk more often!


May 12th, 2017 at 08:32 am

I'm still plugging away at my home ownership goal. I've been pre-approved by two lenders, so if I find something, I can compare their offers. The available first-time homebuyer program providing downpayment assistance (which I mentioned in my last post) doesn't seem like a great deal, all things considered. I'd rather pull the same amount of money from my Roth IRA penalty-free than have a permanently higher interest rate with little opportunity to refinance.

I'll be meeting a realtor this weekend to look at homes. I went to a few open houses last weekend. Two of them already had multiple offers and they were requesting all offers be in by that afternoon. Things are just flying off the market! I don't have to move, so I refuse to be pressured into anything.

I've planted a garden in pots for the last two years, but this year I may not plant anything but basil. Last year the squirrels decimated my tomatoes, peppers, shallots, flowers, nearly everything. It hardly seems worth it. My coworker and I are splitting a CSA share this summer, so hopefully I'll get enough produce that way. I really, really, really miss having a real garden.

I received email notification about a spam comment on one of my old posts from 2006! I read through the post. Funny how things were so different and yet so similar.

Happy Friday, everyone!

loan officers

April 15th, 2017 at 03:59 pm

I've decided that I need to accomplish something this year - buying a house, buying a car, going back to school for a Master's degree, or some combination of the three. Since I have no debt and any new debt would ding my credit score, I'm researching the house option first.

I talked with a loan officer yesterday and learned that my credit score is fantastic (yay!) and I could be approved for way more than I'd want. Unfortunately, since I don't have a 20% down payment (and when would I ever??), with the loan option he presented, keeping a monthly loan payment at or near my current rent payment would be difficult. There are houses in my price range...just not at all where I'd feel safe living, or they would require a LOT of work (read: money). I don't mind work but I don't want to rebuild walls or gut moldy bathrooms. Also, with that loan, I'd have to stay in the house for 9 years with a low household income or pay back a 6.25% recapture tax based on the original mortgage. If my household income increased (say, I got married within those 9 years), and I needed to sell the house, I'd have to pay the recapture tax plus $8000 in down payment assistance. Ouch.

I reached out to three more mortgage loan providers today for prequalifications. Hopefully they can come up with better options.

If not, I'll try to shelve the idea and move on. That's really hard to think about. I'm pining for a house with a garden and no shared walls. Reliable at-home cell phone service and closer access to single-people activities would be nice, too.

In other news, I'm 90% sure my closest friend is going to pack up her family and move across the country. Once she gets an idea in her head, it's game on. I'm devastated but trying to accept it. I briefly considered moving as well (in the opposite direction, to the west coast, where I've always wanted to be), but I feel I need to stay within reasonable driving distance of my parents. Maybe someday.

verizon etc

April 4th, 2017 at 01:13 pm

I'm trying to switch from Verizon postpaid to prepaid service. I was on the phone with them for an hour. They transferred me to five different people, hung up on me once, charged my credit card, and now my phone doesn't work. I'm waiting for a call back (to a landline) that may or may not occur within the next 90 minutes. Not cool. If they can actually accomplish this, I should save $17 a month. UPDATE: They never called me. I called back and finally connected to a human only through blind luck. I'll now have to fight the first credit card charge because they "lost" it, but it was that or be without a phone for 10 days. Zero apologies from them. I'll save $204 a year but my hair is exponentially grayer.

I finished my third antibiotic last weekend but I'm still sick. I'm not sure if this is the same infection or if I've caught something else. I really don't want to take another round of antibiotics.

I took a free online home buying class today and - wow. I'm saving as much as I can right now but even that doesn't seem like enough, even if I did it consistently for the next 10 years. A friend recommended I talk to a loan officer; I might do that anyway.

Last weekend I spent some time making pros and cons lists for several different aspects of my life - moving, job, higher education. Getting a car loan or a student loan at this point would greatly reduce my home loan possibilities. An advanced degree would probably help me eventually obtain a higher salary, if only I could decide what I want to do.

I watched a Ted Talk on "multipotentialites" - people with lots of different interests and career possibilities who end up job hopping instead of picking "one true calling". It made me feel a little better about my scattered resume. I still wish I could find a calling, though...

more medication

March 27th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

I woke up with full-body hives last Friday thanks to my second round of antibiotics. After talking with the nurse, calling in sick, and slapping some makeup on my face, I went to the store with my jacket zipped to my chin and picked up the requisite Zyrtec and Benadryl. I spent all weekend sleeping and drinking ridiculous amounts of water. I still have a rash...and a sinus infection. SO over it. I keep thinking that I need to find a work from home job. I've been sick for three months already this season and this round shows no signs of abating.

A friend told me about making phone calls over wifi without Facetime. I looked into it and it's possible with a newer phone. I just need to suck it up and buy one!

chai tea

March 23rd, 2017 at 07:18 am

I broke my eating out spending fast! I stopped at a grocery store with a coffee shop after a particularly odd work meeting and decided to pick up a coffee for my officemate to perk up his day. I got an almond milk chai tea to perk up mine as well. Wink

I'm taking a different antibiotic to treat my sinus infection now since the first one was ineffective. I'm so glad I have health insurance, as these prescriptions are only $8, and I have an FSA. I hate taking antibiotics, but today is day 17 of this nonsense and it needs to end.

My coworker told me how sick she was on Monday and has been out of the office ever since. She has influenza. The friend I saw last weekend came down with the stomach flu yesterday. I don't really want to leave my house these days!

I've missed talking with my parents on the phone and it's because my (old) cell phone has basically no reception in my apartment. We were able to Facetime, but now that doesn't seem to be working on their end. If I want to make a phone call on the network, I have to walk out into the middle of the street. I'm debating getting a network booster, or a cheap home phone, or a new cell phone since mine is doing strange things with the battery lately anyway. Or...maybe I should just move! Ha! (Edited to add - I have checked with my cell phone provider multiple times and they can't seem to help.)

27 days

March 20th, 2017 at 01:57 pm

First - thank you for all of the supportive comments on my last post. You are right, of course. I just need to convince my subconscious. Last night I actually dreamt about comparing my life to that of an acquaintance who lives an extravagant traveling lifestyle.

I'm still going strong on not spending on eating out. I planned to buy dinner out last weekend, but my friend grabbed the bill and refused to let me pay! So it has been 27 days without buying any food/drinks other than groceries. I really wanted to order Thai food last night but resisted.

That cold that I was so excited about improving quickly morphed into a sinus infection. I'm taking antibiotics now but I'm still pretty miserable today. I feel like I could sleep for a week.

I did some savings calculations today. Once my raise kicks in, I should be able to throw $500 a month into my emergency fund. That should bring me to my $5000 goal by August. If I continue to save $500 a month, I should have a $5000 car downpayment by next June. This assumes I can continue my current level of frugality and there are no financial crises between now and then.

I may still take the homeownership class in April - we'll see.

17 days

March 10th, 2017 at 01:26 pm

I haven't purchased any food or drink anywhere other than at the grocery store in the last 17 days! No restaurants, no coffee shops, no convenience stores. It was only half intentional but once I realized it had been two weeks, I was pretty pumped! I'm also on day 5 of no spending.

I finally succumbed to the cold virus going around the office, but I'm getting over it faster than any other cold in my life. I'm not sure why; perhaps my supplement regime is helping.

I've been floating in and out of feeling really frustrated by the cost of cars and homes and where my life is now vs where I think it should be. I looked into cheaper sedans instead of small SUVs, but a 5-inch road clearance in the winter seems personally unsafe. These city roads don't get plowed well, and visiting my parents involves driving 500 miles into desolate country. I toyed with the idea of attending a $40 homebuying class this weekend, but you have to buy a home within a year of attending to qualify for downpayment assistance programs. I don't see that realistically happening, as much as I desperately want it to.

I realize I shouldn't compare my life to other people my age - but it's so hard not to when FB friends I graduated from college with are company vice presidents living in mansions with huge pools and driving luxury vehicles. I wish someone had shook me 20 years ago and said, "Do not major in frivolous things, you need an actual PLAN!"

The problem then, as it is now, is that the things I actually enjoy doing do not pay life-sustaining salaries. That was marginally ok when I had a partner - not so much anymore.

It's March. I'm always melancholy in March! Is it spring yet?

budget categories?

February 28th, 2017 at 07:19 am

How do you categorize vitamins and powdered supplements? Personal care, groceries, its own category, or something else?

I make a smoothie nearly every morning with several powdered supplements (including protein powder and mushroom powder) and frozen fruit. I count the fruit under groceries but I've been counting the supplements under personal care. I also take a multivitamin, vitamin D, and vitamin B, and I count those under personal care too. Needless to say my personal care budget category is really high, but I'm not spending all of that on shampoo or toothpaste.

Let's not even talk about how much I spent on groceries this month! I had such a frugal January. On the plus side - my favorite protein powder is on sale at Costco, so I bought the max and will give half to my mother (she loves it too). It's good until 2019, and like I said, I use it almost every morning!

I bottled my latest batch of kombucha, and this time I added turmeric and sliced fresh ginger. I read that that may help increase carbonation. I'm excited to try it in a few days!

This week's lunch soup is a delicious three bean and vegetable chili from the New Fast Food cookbook, made in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. It has become my new favorite! Beans cooked from dried, onions, garlic, zucchini, fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, and kale. Very summery. I like to think that it's helping me fight off all of the viruses floating around the office!

Tuesday thoughts

February 21st, 2017 at 01:30 pm

A friend convinced me to start running with her again. She's training for a 10K at the end of May, which I might sign up for too. I haven't run consistently since my first (and last) half marathon over three years ago. The weather has been so gorgeous lately that we did a couple of runs outside last weekend! I picked up a few new running/yoga shirts during the President's Day sales. More than anything, I need my work pants to fit well again.

I'm struggling with my financial goals feeling so out of reach. I should have started saving for a house the moment I started working (although, I guess I was paying off student loans at that point). My rent is doable but high. As much as I'd love to move to the west coast, I don't foresee that happening while my parents are still living, or without a viable career path. Even a 10% downpayment is SO much money, though! I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately I will need a new car before a house. I'm doing what I can to keep this one going but it's not worth properly fixing at this point. Truth - I've never had a car payment thanks to generous gifts from my family, including this car 12 years ago. I've been looking at used vehicles for at least a year but wow - high miles and high payments seem to be the norm!

I also need to bulk up my emergency fund - that's priority one!

pottery, taxes, etc

February 15th, 2017 at 08:47 am

I'm taking a wheel-thrown pottery class with my sister. I took two rounds of this class ages ago (like 12 years ago), and for some reason I had convinced myself that I might be better at it now. Ha. I'm only halfway through the course and I can't wait for it to be over. In 10 years when I think I might like to try this again, someone please remind me that I hate pottery and am terrible at it, would you?

So far this week:
$10 - Extra bag of clay to share (I paid my sister's half)
$12 - Allergy meds
$12 - State taxes

I had my job review; all went well, but I need to step up my goal-setting if I'm going to move forward. It's great having such a supportive supervisor.

I finished my taxes yesterday. $12 paid to state, $127 back from federal, but the amazing piece - $648 back for my state rental refund! I was not expecting that. My rent is so high, it's a nice bonus.

nearly a no spend week

February 13th, 2017 at 09:08 am

I'm pretty pleased with the last week, spending-wise! I only bought one song on iTunes; all other spending was on pre-scheduled bills. It's not particularly fun to restrict spending and restrict food intake at the same time, but I'm doing ok. Last weekend wasn't great eating-wise, but I threw out the rest of the birthday cake yesterday and had a salad for dinner!

Yesterday's batch cooking included baked tofu, an enchilada casserole, and Thai cauliflower chickpea soup. I have a lot of salad greens to eat too.

Since I was feeling a little miserable last weekend about my self-imposed double restriction, I refocused my savings goal to save a total of $5000 this year. A solid goal may help me stay focused, rather than the ubiquitous bigger emergency fund, buying a car (someday soon), buying a house (preferably before I'm 50). My first benchmark for this year is $4000 in my emergency fund. Should be there by the end of July if all goes as planned.

Happy Monday!

high spend weekend

February 7th, 2017 at 02:27 pm

I spent a bit more than anticipated over the weekend.

- I found out that my favorite music artist will be here soon, so I splurged and bought a ticket.

- Dinner and drinks with friends

- Chipotle lunch

- Costco grocery shopping - $65 this time! - and gasoline

- Target (the land of magical disappearing money - wasn't too bad this time though)

- Trader Joe's - I bought a case of unsweetened soy milk for my weekly soy yogurt, so I won't need to go back for a while.

- Birthday massage

- Carrying bag for the awesome yoga mat that my coworker gave me for my birthday

I did get a gift from my parents and a rebate from 1-800 contacts, and most of that spending was planned. I should be good to go on groceries for most of the month, and nothing else exciting is planned for now!

I spent some time writing out my goals/affirmations for the next year. Focusing on what I want for the future will drive my choices.

I didn't watch one minute of the Superbowl! Wink

Feb 3

February 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 am

{deleted the work situation}

In actual financial news, I spent a record low of $238 on groceries in January. Coupled with $62 cash in restaurant eating, I spent $300 on food. I'm still busy eating down my pantry and freezer.

Another record low? $48 in gasoline. February may be slightly higher, since I'm taking a community ed class. All in all, I feel good about January, and aspire to make February even more frugal.

last day of January

January 31st, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It's somehow the last day of January already! Wow.

I've been lying low - lots of viruses are flying around the office and I'm doing my best to fend them all off. I've already been sick with month-long colds twice this season and I think that's enough.

The home vet came by last week and it turned out to be much cheaper than expected! Since it was less expensive, I splurged on a 5-week Slim Team challenge through the vegan recipe service I subscribe to. So far so good. I've counted my calories every day for years anyway, but this is motivating me to actually stay within a set amount.

Last weekend I made soy yogurt, 16 bean soup (in the instant pot), vegan lasagna, red lentil dahl (in the instant pot), and wheat roti. I love my instant pot, and my stand-up freezer!

My newest culinary adventure? Making kombucha. I love it, but it's $3-$4 a bottle in the stores, and really not that hard to make. I started my third batch on Saturday. It's a lot like maintaining a sourdough culture. Now I have delicious probiotic drinks filling up my fridge!

Jan 25

January 25th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Last night I stopped by Costco to fill up my gas tank ($22) and decided to go inside for a few staple groceries too ($16) - cauliflower to make aloo gobi, kale salad, bagels, and bananas. I resisted the delicious snack aisle and stuck to basics.

The rest of the month should stay on budget. I've only eaten out twice this month and don't expect to again, unless my coworker really does want to go out for lunch on Friday (we'll see). If so, I've already got cash for just such an occasion.

I've had this blog for so long that I know there are people in my real life (read: my ex) who know of its existence. How do you handle that? I find that I don't want to say much on the off-chance that someone IRL (not from this site) might be reading.

Jan 23

January 23rd, 2017 at 12:28 pm

I've successfully avoided shopping for over a week! I attended the local women's march on Saturday and went home afterwards rather than to Costco or Target. It was actually decent weather for January, but still chilly enough to make me want to go straight home and warm up! The march itself was really fun.

I'm trying to eat down my overstuffed pantry and freezer, so yesterday I made my weekly supply of soy yogurt, a lemon blueberry cake loaf, and a peanut sauce stir fry with mock duck. I need to get better at batch cooking for the week, but I've found I'm much less motivated to cook for one. Today's lunch was soup from my freezer, which I love having on hand. I'll need to make another batch of soup next weekend.

I'm waiting on a refund from The Limited of about $20. They recently filed for bankruptcy so I really hope I get my money back. I'm also waiting on a $60 rebate check from 1-800 Contacts.

I started my taxes and it looks like I'll get about $100 back...if I submit them manually. The online tax services are so expensive. I haven't filled out a paper tax return in years, so I'll have to stop by the library!

I watched Stuffocation on Netflix and now I'm about halfway through the book. My long-term goal is to buy a house, and I think changing my mindset about "stuff" will help me get there!

hi all!

January 18th, 2017 at 01:55 pm

I've been terrible about blogging but I promise I'm still lurking (as several of you know).

SO! 2017.

The two cats and I are living in the duplex I mentioned in my last post. After a few necessary changes done by my landlord (new carpeting, new dishwasher, etc) it's a pretty decent place. My eventual goal is to have a house of my own, but before that, I'll have to replace my 16-year-old car.

My job is great! I have a fantastic boss and coworkers, and I've learned so much. I received a promotion late last year (just a salary boost and recognition for all the work I had already been doing), which was so appreciated. I'm still not as challenged as I'd like to be, but I'm happy to be well employed.

One of my older single lady role model friends emphasized my need to ensure that I'm protecting myself financially from here on out, because all I've got is me. Admittedly, I haven't been great at that since I started on this new journey, but saving as much is possible is my main goal for 2017. The somewhat terrifying political climate we're about to enter into solidified that for me.

2017 Financial Goals:
- Continue to send 6% to retirement plan
- Continue to send $25 a month to Roth
- Save $2000 in emergency fund (and don't touch it unless it's an actual emergency)
- Save $200 a month for eventual car payment
- Get my age of money to 30 days in YNAB

Other Goals:
- Reduce grocery bill
- Get out more (meet some new people via meetup.com or elsewhere)
- Read 15 books
- Lose weight/more yoga/climbing gym

good news (finally!)

April 21st, 2015 at 07:48 am


Yes, that deserves all caps and three exclamation points. Not only did I just accept a position at a great place, my salary is right where I wanted it (read: much higher than I've made at former jobs), and it really seems to be a great fit. The people were genuinely nice, it ties into one of my college majors a bit, and I think I'll get to use most of my skills. Plus it's a brand new position, so I'll be building it from the ground up. I start in a couple of weeks.

I'm seriously thrilled. I can't wait! It doesn't seem real!

Tonight I'm looking at a duplex that's available May 1. It seems pretty perfect. There is a lot of interest in it, so we'll see... but if I want it and get it, I'll be moving ASAP. The actual act of moving is not something I look forward to, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Things finally feel like they are moving forward!

Now I need to buy a few key work clothing pieces and to lose these 10 pounds of stress weight I've gained in the last six months. All in due time. I think I'll have the opportunity to walk a lot more at my new job, and they have an in-house gym!

splitting the finances

March 26th, 2015 at 11:17 am

I'm relieved to say that last week's car issue was just an emissions problem and only cost $100!

I caved yesterday and got my own Costco card (we had one, but I let the membership lapse). Gasoline and organic food are both cheaper - worth it.

The household finances have been fully in my care for the last 4 years. He wants to take them over now. Late fees, missed payments, and extra charges are no longer my problem, right? I started a new YNAB budget for myself and it felt good.

I'm feeling much more optimistic this week despite multiple job rejections. I feel like things are going to turn around soon. (Please, universe?)

Several days alone next week means I'll be seriously reevaluating all of my belongings. I've got so much stuff that I don't use every day but I don't want to get rid of, like camping gear, my bike, speakers, etc. Hopefully my next place will have a storage locker. I REALLY wish I could buy a house. It's incredibly difficult to part with things when I know I'll want them again after this transient phase is over.

For the last six months (except December), I've kept the grocery budget under $300. That is some kind of record for me! It's good to know I'll be able to spend even less than that when I'm on my own.


March 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

Checking in, even though I haven't got much news to report!

I've still not found a job, but I have a ton of applications out. I'm applying to jobs that will get me close to being able to afford a decent place in a decent neighborhood. I'm so grateful for online crime maps, especially for the parts of the city that I don't know well, even after 14 years of living here. I've lived in four different suburbs and have friends all over, so I have a pretty good sense of most of it, but not all.

Packing takes roughly 879 times longer than I expect it to. I brought 10 bags of books to Half Price Books, and they didn't pay well at all, but whatever. I sold one book on Amazon. Several things are up on craigslist, and I've received numerous bizarre messages and one no-show. I suspect that is the norm for craigslist.

Several people I follow on Instagram are currently obsessed with Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of D.... After seeing their results, I want to read it. I still have 10 boxes of books, 10+ boxes of kitchen stuff, and let's not even talk about the boxes dedicated to my hobbies. I realized I have at least 13 hobbies, which explains why I have So Much Stuff. Downsizing is hard.

My former employer hasn't sold their building yet, and it's still partially furnished. They are giving me a loveseat, a recliner, a folding screen, and a small bookshelf for my new place. I am so, so grateful. I just need to move before they sell the building, or I'll need to get a storage unit.

My check engine light came on over the weekend. I had a minor emotional breakdown once I made it home because it's one more stressor that I just don't need right now. I'm bringing the car into the shop tomorrow.

I find myself vacillating between confident hope for the future and utter despair, and not a lot in between. I can't wait for this period of my life to be over, to be perfectly honest. I'm ready to move on to greener pastures.


February 11th, 2015 at 01:00 pm

Last year I set some pretty serious goals for my 35th year. Now I'm 36 and, well, things are certainly changing.

I ended my relationship with SO last month. We've been through a lot together in the last 12 years, but my patience for change that will never come is gone. Something Baselle said a couple of years ago here on her blog stuck with me ever since - she said she looked around and couldn't imagine continuing life with her partner for another 30 years. Neither can I. I refuse to sacrifice my happiness any longer.

Unfortunately, I haven't found work (and neither has he), so I'm still living in his house. I've been sorting and tossing and donating and packing all of my things for weeks - so on one hand, it's nice to have the time and space to do that. Most rental properties here require you to sign a no-move-out clause during the winter months anyway, so there's not a lot on the market right now. It's not a big deal (just very awkward still living together), but I look forward to my own space.

As a friend said, I'm ripping off the old and starting an entirely new page - new job, new apartment, new life on my own (with my cats). No stress here.

I have a number of successful, happy older women in my life who live alone, so I know it can be done. I'll have to make a greater effort to get out and see people - the introvert in me likes to stay home most of the time, but I've got to get out there and have a life! Unfortunately this split means that I am losing the vast majority of my contacts here - his family. I've been debating moving out of state, but that might be a bit too much at once right now.

Anyway - financial things - the whole purpose of this blog:

- I have inheritance money set aside that I can use to move. Thankfully my parents are more than willing to help too, but I'd rather not ask them for anything.

- I've got a stack of books to get rid of. I've got a stack of photography stuff to get rid of. I hate selling things online, but I need money.

- I've got a list of things I'll need to buy for a new apartment.

- Rent prices (at least what's available now) are INSANE. I had no idea. They have skyrocketed since my last apartment, so I'll likely need to make at least $22 an hour to afford one - more than I've made to date. I also need a place that is relatively quiet and takes cats. I have one very anxious cat who is very sensitive to noise. She'll adjust - she has to - but neither of us would be happy in a big apartment complex. Fingers crossed.

- I still need a career. One that actually pays actual money so I can support myself for the rest of my life. I love non-profits, but damn, they don't pay well and their long-term viability is always an issue.

I should close this by saying - I'm happy. I'm terrified and anxious and the future is a completely mucky unclear mess, but a weight lifted when I finally made the decision. Now I just have to hope for the best.

one day at a time

June 12th, 2014 at 10:27 am

I did not get the job I interviewed for, so I asked for feedback. They told me that my supervisor said that not only does she think I am overqualified for their job, she thinks I am overqualified for my current job, and implied that I am bored. I have always been insanely busy, so much so that my supervisor increased my hours. And I have LOVED my job. I let the interviewers know that her opinion does not reflect my reality, but I don't expect to hear from them again. I can't believe she ruined that for me, but she has systematically ruined everything she has touched since she started, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I find myself struggling to job hunt lately. The daily clenched-stomach feeling of working with two people who hate each other, coupled with the heartbreak of the organization I love closing, AND the stress of not knowing how my partner and I will finance the future is weighing heavily on me.

In light of that, I took a day off and buzzed out of town to see my parents last week. Apart from my Dad telling me that he's certain he's going to die within the next six years(!), it was enjoyable. Truly. It was lovely to get out of town and spend some time with them. Driving there by myself was also good reflection time.

A program presenter just stopped in my office and gratefully told me I am like the Holy Spirit, the invisible one who just makes things happen. (I set up everything for her program today while my coworkers stayed shored up in their closed offices.) I will miss my interactions with these quirky people.

I think I need more time to decompress.

and then...

May 27th, 2014 at 11:08 am

Life has been a whirlwind since my last post.

- SO had eye surgery and his vision thankfully improved in that eye. The other eye became substantially worse in the meantime, so he is on the same path to surgery with that one. We'll find out more in August.

- We both found health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. It made more sense to do that than to take my job's insurance, because I'd rather not change ALL of my doctors, and it wasn't much cheaper. It turns out ACA insurance was a better choice anyway because...

- A dramatic few weeks at work resulted in the "owners" of the organization I work for deciding to close it at the end of June. I'm getting laid off...AGAIN. I will get a small severance, but no unemployment. In the meantime, I am the go-between for my coworkers who abhor each other.

- My car's muffler pipe broke off earlier this month and needed to be repaired immediately. $300

- Our cat started acting strangely last week so I brought him in to the emergency vet. Bladder stones. One day at the emergency vet, surgery at a regular vet, and three days there = $3300. Now, we have savings, and I have no qualms whatsoever on spending that on him - he's my big, sweet baby. But damn, that's a lot of money. Especially because...

- SO is still unemployed. Still. Unemployed.

- I had an interview two weeks ago that went smashingly and was one of three called back for a second interview. That went really well too - so well, in fact, that they were calling my references as I was leaving the building. They said I'd hear back from them the following afternoon. That was last week and I've not heard one word. I am incredibly disappointed.

On the plus side, I have a ton of people praying for me. I'm not a religious person, but I will take any and all good thoughts. I got 2 of my vegetable gardens planted. We're going camping next month. I'm very under budget on May groceries.

I just have to keep breathing.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>