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.
Viewing the 'Life' Category
I'm relieved to say that last week's car issue was just an emissions problem and only cost $100!
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,
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.
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.
I've still been reading the blogs, just not posting!
Since the last update in 2011:
- I gave the photography business a go, but realized over the last year that portraiture is not my thing, so I'm closing my LLC and re-evaluating.
- I started a new part-time job, with the hope that it would go full-time. A year later, I'm still hoping. I'm applying to lots of full-time jobs.
- My SO was laid off from the job he loved last month. I'm shocked by how unstable his career has been since 2009. He has a great, in-demand skill set, but employers are offloading again right now, it seems. Unfortunately that was the source of 90% of our income and our health insurance. Thankfully they gave him a short severance, he can apply for unemployment, and we have some savings to fall back on...but he really can't be out of work for too many months. My salary will not cover the mortgage. And now we need health insurance. Time to look more closely at ACA.
- I fully took over all of our finances in early 2012. Up until that point, I kept things separate, and had just a vague idea of how much credit card debt SO had. He wasn't exactly honest about it, which led to some tough conversations. Thankfully we have paid off over half of it now and should be rid of it soon, assuming things turn out on the job front.
- I'm exploring new career ideas, again, always. I'm still not one of those people who knows what they want to be when they grow up. Will that ever happen?
It's good to page through the blogs and the forums here. It centers me and reminds me that keeping a handle on the finances and increasing our savings can make for a more secure landing when life inevitably throws a curve ball.
Things I need to do:
- Look into the Affordable Care Act
- Plan meals every week and use up what we have
- Look into selling photography gear
- Reduce my car insurance premium
- Get SO's retirement funds consolidated
- Bulk up our savings
- Create a long-term financial plan for SO's increasing medical expenses
- Max out our Roth IRAs
- Create a savings fund for my parents
Good news - SO found a job. In fact, he found one so quickly that he ended his last job on a Friday and started the new one on a Monday! Not only that, but the new job pays over twice what the old job paid - a very, very good thing, considering I cannot find a job in my field to save my life.
I had a couple of interviews at one place, but they didn't call me back for a third. I asked for feedback from the interviewer (because frankly, I could have done that job in my sleep, not that I said that!), but she never responded. At least I am able to collect unemployment - that will help pay the bills until August, anyway. The bills are piling up, too. I just got one for a medical appointment I had in March 2008!
I thought staying at home all day would be fun, and that I'd accomplish so much, but I never factored in the inevitable depression. I should be happy as a clam, but the combination of being laid off so soon from a job that I thought was perfect for me and being unable to find anything remotely applicable is taking its toll. Combined with freezing temperatures, ice, snow, sleet, and no sunshine....I'm trying to be positive, but it's hard.
I wish spring would come! That would help!
I'm not sure if others have this experience, but I love when people dig posts out from my blog archives and comment on them. Perhaps they run across them on Google and feel compelled to post a comment. Usually they are really supportive and make my day. I have read so many posts from people who are feeling the same way I am (or was back when I posted) and just want to share their feelings. That's one of the reasons I love this community.
I've rarely run across jerks (and maybe that's because I stopped posting frequently) but I just received the loveliest reply to a post I made years ago. The poster called me lazy, told me I wanted everything handed to me on a silver platter, and told me to get off my a$$ and get a better job. I find that amusing, considering I have started two new jobs since then and started my own photography business. What I find most amusing is that this person told me to stop complaining. I'm sorry - correct me if I'm wrong - isn't this my blog?
Anyway - snarky people aside - I'm having a great December. I've had a family portrait session scheduled every weekend and have another one coming up next week. The most recent was a maternity session, and it was so much fun! The anticipation of a new baby is so exciting.
My website is very close to being finished, and I've already passed out a big stack of business cards. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.
Happy holidays, everyone!!
Good grief, I've been away for a while. I guess I haven't felt particularly inspired to post because I felt like I was repeating myself. People continually comment on a couple of posts I wrote over two years ago, which is really fun and interesting, so I thought I'd stop by and say hi!
It was three months ago already, but it was awesome to get to meet baselle. She and her DH were really fun to hang out with, and gave us some great pointers about moving out there (namely, visit in the winter!). Hopefully we'll get a chance to do that soon.
I've got a new editorial job, one that I took a pay cut for, but it's much more creative than what I was doing. The only catch? The person who was supposed to be my boss quit right after I started. I am now stuck with someone else as a boss, and we don't jive. I'm pretty sure I know the difference between first, second, and third person, thankyouverymuch, even if I didn't go to journalism school. Anyway. If I can stick it out for a year, maybe I will get enough experience to move on to something with higher pay.
My photography has really improved! I was just looking at some shots from last year and am pretty happy with how far I've come...though I have a long way to go! After my Project 365 ended in April, I took a part-time job at a portrait studio. I have been photographing friends and family on my own, and building up a portfolio. SO is creating a photography business website for me, and I just got some business cards. I am really excited about the prospect of all of this! Times are tough, yes, and people aren't spending as much, but there are still moments you want captured by a professional photographer. I can't compete with the prices at Target or Walmart (nor do I want to), but I think coming to someone's home and spending an hour or two with them warrants spending a few extra dollars. We'll see.
I'm slowly chipping away at the student loans...still have a long way to go, but that's ok for now. SO and I were contemplating buying a house, but now that it seems we'd need to have at least 20% down...ouch. I'm sure I don't have to say this to the SA crowd, but check your credit reports, people. A close relative of SO went off the deep end, stole all of their identities, and wracked up big credit bills in their names. Luckily we caught it early, so SO's credit isn't completely trashed, but dang...you just never know.
So, anyway...hi! and please know that even if I don't post regularly here, I do check your blogs for updates. Save on!
I'm back from our road trip. Texas was HOT and humid (surprise, surprise) but spending time with my aunts was wonderful.
My car? It's amazing. I love it. It's perfect. I really could not be happier with it.
The road trip itself was relatively painless. It gave SO and I plenty of time to discuss the future. He wants kids, I don't. Needless to say, I've had a lot on my mind lately.
Last weekend I went to a state park in Wisconsin and snapped some photos:
I'm spending most of my free time soaking up everything I can about photography. I looked into selling at arts and crafts sales, and then realized I'd need a tax ID number. Yowza. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that step yet.
Coming up with a name for my website/photography studio is harder than I thought! Most people use their First Name Last Name Photography, or something similar, but I've never really cared for my name. A coworker suggested something elegant, or something related to photography, but I'm stumped!
I ran across this
Fall weather means more baking in my kitchen...here are some banana oat bundles from Vive le Vegan by Dreena Burton.
September brought exciting news! My aunt is giving me a car! It's a 2000 Subaru Forester, and though it has a fair amount of miles, it has all wheel drive, airbags, lots of space, and no rust! Oh - and it's free! (other than paying MN taxes, registration, etc.) I am super excited. SO and I are flying to Texas this weekend and driving the Subaru back. We were planning to take a romantic, four-day trip to Door County, Wisconsin, but now we're driving across the country. I'm looking forward to it anyway.
Last month I visited a retinal specialist to find out about the spot in the back of my eye. After a battery of extremely unpleasant tests (ever had the back of your eye photographed? they pump dye into your arm), it turns out that it's just excess tissue. Perhaps it's been there since birth, perhaps it just developed over time. In any case, it's not a hole, so that's good news.
I also went to a neurologist for the first time to discuss my headaches. The visit was less than thrilling. She poked and prodded me, gave me a prescription for Neurontin (another seizure med), told me to find one thing about my job that I like, and start exercising vigorously every day. Ugh. I go back later this month.
I had a job interview that didn't pan out, only because I can't get comfortable with the idea of not having steady income. (The interview was with a outsourcing firm.) Since SO is a contract worker, I'm our health insurance provider. Plus, what can I say, I like having a set amount of money coming in each month!
My boss took a look at my
I'll leave you with a recipe for the best brownies I've had in a long time, maybe ever.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 inch square GLASS pan. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, soy milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula. Don't overmix! Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes. Don't overbake! Cool before cutting.
Last weekend I made some delicious double chocolate almond cookies (vegan, of course). They were gone in a matter of days. I think my father-in-law ate half the batch!
This is my second photo to make it into flickr's Explore feature, which is pretty cool. My next goal is to make it into the top 100 Explore photos of the day.
This month I'm trying to concentrate on building up my emergency fund. It's only got a $100 in it, and guess whose car is making a horrendous rattling noise again? I've already botched that by ordering UV filters (and a circular polarizer) for my camera. The UV filters are basically a necessity, because I've been super worried about scratching the surface of my lenses (big $$ to replace them). The circular polarizer? Not so much.
The problem is that I keep thinking of things I want. Magnets! and a haircut! and shoes! and take-out! and and and...I really need to just stop thinking.
My net worth is up to $1,127! Whoo hoo!