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hi there!

April 2nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Hi!

Yes, it's been a couple of years since I last checked in. Sorry about that. I've still been reading your blogs and commenting when I can.

Since my last post, I haven't worked full-time. I've been looking, applying and occasionally interviewing, but nothing has come through. I am very lucky to have SO, because he has pulled us through. Unfortunately he was laid off again a week ago, and is scrambling to try to find something new. Fortunately he has marketable skills!

We bought a house over a year ago and adopted another cat. Living in our own home (with a garden!!) is so fantastic. I can't wait for spring so I can plant again.

An elderly family member passed away and left me a bit of money, which I've used to pay off my student loans (wheeeeee!!!) and invested in my photography business. I am officially up and running now, all the legal business hoopla done, and trying to launch this thing. I am slightly dreading doing my taxes next year because of it, but I have to hope that it will all pay off in the long run. I won't get studio space until I have consistent paying clientele, so at the moment I drag all my equipment around, but that's ok. I love being a photographer.

I need some sort of small business financial software. Any suggestions?

howdy!

June 5th, 2007 at 08:26 am

Yikes! I've been away for a couple of weeks. I visited my parents for the long Memorial Day weekend (and my dad's birthday) and have been pretty busy lately.

Since I haven't posted two weeks' worth of Project 365 photos here, I'll spare you the endless array, and just direct you to

Text is my Project 365 site on flickr and Link is http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeenes/sets/72157600108283009/
my Project 365 site on flickr. Click on a photo's thumbnail to see it bigger. Please feel free to comment! My favorites include the little green worm that attached himself to SO's shirt, my dad's old GMC truck, and my mother's sweet 29-year-old horse.

My sister moved into her apartment last weekend, so I hosted her and my mom again. I spent waaaaay too much money as well. June is shaping up to be an expensive month already.

I purchased some of the upcoming baby shower food items at Sam's Club but I've still got more to get, including decorations. The party isn't until the 16th, but I feel like I've got a lot to do...including baking four dozen cupcakes.

Still losing about a pound a week! Big Grin I received the completed payment notice regarding my student loan, too, so I'm free and clear on that one. I also dropped down my car insurance levels and removed collision entirely, so that will help immensely. The yearly premium plus deductible was more than my car is worth, and I don't even drive it that often. I kept comprehensive, since I live in the city. I'll be saving $250 a year - not bad!

One of my coworkers is quitting, and I'm pretty envious. I've been looking for something new, but nothing clicks. Same refrain - six years after college, still don't know what to do with my life. All I know is that it's not this. It would be nice to be happy in a job, and feel like it was a career. Am I dreaming? How many people actually obtain that?

good news!

May 21st, 2007 at 09:15 am


Text is photo credit and Link is http://www.wrotniak.net/gallery/fireworks-05/index.html
photo credit


I paid off my smaller college loan! *happy dance*

My remaining college loan is finally under $11,000! I like that the figure starts with a 10 now. Wink

To date, I've paid off $12,217 in student loans, not counting interest!

And, this isn't financially-related, but I can fit into my favorite jeans again! I've lost 11 pounds, and am consistently losing about a pound a week. It's a nice little side perk of my vegan diet. Oh cute jeans, how I've missed thee...


lattice, P365, Day 28: 5/17/07



concentration, P365, Day 29: 5/18/07



puff, P365, Day 30: 5/19/07

catch up

April 6th, 2007 at 07:57 am

I'm leaving for Florida this weekend. Somewhere along the way this week, I managed to catch a cold. I've been trying to fight it with all sorts of stuff. I really don't want to bring it to my great-aunt.

My employer's IT department was a bit freaked out over a recent internet virus scare, so we had no internet for two days. Let me tell ya, two days without internet at my job is pretty rough. I'm not sure what people did during work lulls before the internet...created giant rubberband balls? Chatted endlessly around the water cooler? I made up an Excel spreadsheet outlining exactly when I would pay off my big student loan based on different monthly payments and the interest rate - yeah, I was that bored. I'll share it with you, though, because you're really the only people who might possibly be interested.



$135 is the minimum payment. I'm going to shoot for $300/mo payments in 2008 - it might be a bit of a stretch, but that might be good for me. I can't believe it's still going to take me so long to pay it off. I just want to be rid of it already.

Good news, though - my smaller loan will be paid off in May! Big Grin

I also figured out my net worth for March - I'm up to ($1,113). Perhaps that will be a positive figure by August.

On a related note - I'm thinking about going back to school. What's it this time, kashi? Law. I wouldn't want to be courtroom, criminal lawyer - I'd rather do something more like public interest law, environmental law, or international law. Something that felt like I was making a difference. I love research, writing and editing, thought-provoking materials... So I've been mulling it over. Law has always been in my personal top-ten careers list, and my aunt reeeaallly thinks I'd make a good lawyer. We'll see. It definitely would not help me reduce the student loans, though...

I'm going to start adding a photo a day, as

Text is Fern and Link is http://wildblueyonder.savingadvice.com/
Fern suggested, but that may not happen until after I get back from Florida. Internet access will be hard to come by.

Sweet 80-degree weather, here I come! What a shock it will be, considering it's been snowing here, and 16 degrees this morning!

triggers

March 16th, 2007 at 10:10 am

Last night's

Text is play performance and Link is http://www.guthrietheater.org/PLAYSTICKETS/20062007Season/TheMerchantofVenice/tabid/140/Default.aspx
play performance was amazing. I had never seen it before, and we hadn't been to the new theater yet. It was very sleek and contemporary, with amazing views of the city from the rooftop terrace. While we waited in the lobby, it started to snow over the Mississippi River. I've never seen anything like it - it came down with such force that we could not see neon signs across the river. Thankfully, it quit as abruptly as it began and the drive home was uneventful.

The woman next to me in the theater and her daughter put on some hand cream at the beginning of the performance. At first, it didn't affect me...but then I started sneezing, my sinuses filled up, and the headache started. I've rarely had such a powerful reaction to scent like that. Plus they were going on and on to each other about its subtle, refreshing scent. Just goes to show you how differing opinions can be, and why scented stuff should be applied at home. Not sure what one can do in a situation like that..."Hey lady, could you go wash your hands?" may not go over so well.
Stick Out Tongue Luckily, I had plenty of Excedrin and tissues, and the experience was still fabulous.

I know a couple getting married this fall, one-half of which just graduated from college. They both just bought brand-spanking new vehicles, and not cheap ones, either. I just don't know how people do it. Yesterday I made a chart - at best, with my current salary, I will have my college loans paid off in late 2011. I could not throw a car payment and increased insurance costs on top of that without eliminating my monthly savings. Another friend of mine is having a baby this year and just paid off her 2005 car. I'm just so envious. It's hard not get down on myself when I hear this stuff. I can't help but wonder what I am doing so wrong! I can't imagine feeling secure enough to go out and buy a brand new car (or a house, or anything for that matter)...but maybe that's my problem. Maybe none of these people do either, but they do it anyway.

busy

March 13th, 2007 at 09:43 am

Well, we dug out, and guess what? Almost all the snow has melted already. It's nearly 50 degrees today! The mountains of snow are gone, replaced by gobs of mud and enormous puddles of water. Spring? Is that you?

I've been a bit MIA lately because I haven't been concentrating much on finances, and since this is supposed to be a financial blog, well... However, I have a plan to have $1000 in savings by the end of April, and pay off my smaller college loan in June. My investments haven't tanked too badly lately, thankfully. I am glad I have lots of time to let things percolate before retirement.

I've been on Topamax for about three weeks. It's been working fairly well for my headaches. Yesterday my hands, fingers, and forearms starting tingling and felt somewhat numb, like I had held them above my head for far too long and all the blood had rushed out of them. Shake, shake, shake - nothing. The feeling persisted all day, and my toes starting tingling, too. I went to the doctor, and he suggested more potassium. I'm going to maintain this dosage and see what happens. If this tingling thing doesn't go away, I'll lower the dosage, and perhaps eliminate it completely. It's a shame that side effects have to pop up...my daily headaches are finally starting to subside, after five years of putting up with them.

One day, I tried one Zomig to treat a migraine and was stoned for five hours straight. The doctor suggested I try Maxalt instead, so that's what I've got now. I guess trial and error is the only way to go!

And, my latest obsession, food. Vegan food, to be exact. I cashed in some American Express points and bought

Text is Becoming Vegan and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Complete-Adopting-Plant-Based/dp/1570671036/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-1874377-8672954?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173803523&sr=8-1
Becoming Vegan. It's chock-full of great advice about nutrition and how to become vegan the right way. I have been moving away from dairy and eggs and feeling better overall. Whether or not I ever become fully vegan, I think eating less animal products and more fresh, whole foods is a good thing. My in-laws bought us a juicer for our birthdays, too, which is a great addition to our kitchen! I'd post photos of the great food we've been making, but again - this is a financial blog! I may have to create a food blog...

Mom is still in Florida - yeah, I'm not even kidding. They are having so much trouble getting help from anyone. Hopefully she will be able to come home next week.

SO and I are going on a date later this week to a play and dinner - the play tickets were half price, thanks to a discount through my employer, and the dinner will be paid for by a gift certificate, thanks to my former employer! Cheap date! My favorite.

Oh, and by the way - I'm going to The Police! Smile

motivation

October 18th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

There's a media sale today at work, so I picked up a couple of books for $1.75. One is on how to start writing fiction. It's pretty good so far, and I need the motivation! Every time I think about what I want to do with my life, I come back to writing. I have this vision of me living on the Oregon coast, writing away, enjoying the ocean, my cats, my sweetheart, and a peaceful existence.

Another piece of motivation - today two members of my team got special awards for exceptional work. One definitely deserved it for all the hard work she does. The other has been here for just four months. My boss nominated both of them. Every member of our team has now received this award, but me. I'm feeling rather dejected and unappreciated. I feel like I've done just as much work as the new person. I'm not sure how to make these people happy.

Thanks for the tip on dark chocolate! What a great idea! I've personally never been a big fan, but a small bit of dark chocolate is worlds better than no chocolate whatsoever. Wink SO and I stopped by Whole Foods last night and picked up brown rice pasta. It was surprisingly delicious and hit the spot.

Pottery class tonight! I'll have to buy another $10 bag of clay since I used up so much of it. Just have to remember not to use so much water, and make sure the wheel is spinning in the right direction. Stick Out Tongue

Current total student loan balance: $12,420. I'd love to get that under $12,000 by the end of the year, but we'll see!

Amy's Kitchen & coupon train!

July 18th, 2006 at 07:22 am

I wrote an email to Amy's Kitchen, praising them for their wonderful food, and asking about new vegan options. They sent me a packet outlining all of their food items and enclosed were several awesome coupons, including one free product coupon! How exciting!

Yesterday's mail also brought my coupon train welcome packet! So many wonderful coupons, and a fat stack of them, too. Thanks so much, flash. I'm excited to jump on the train, and hoping I do it right!

Drove in to work this morning, the first time this month. I brought my gym shoes and plan to stay and work out tonight. My car is now down to two doors that will lock and unlock with the automatic locks, the A/C dripped all over SO's foot the other day, and a funny sweet smell flows into the car after the A/C has been running for a while. Mom told me I need a new car...yeah, I know.

I'm planning to visit the folks back home for a week in August. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out...if I'll take the train or if SO will drive with me...but I'm looking forward to it. I miss having summers off.

Every morning is still a struggle to get out of bed and go to work. My groggy mind thinks of all the possible ways to get out of going in, but I eventually lug myself out of bed and into the shower. It's tough, working just to pay the bills and have health insurance. I haven't seen any job opportunities I'd want to apply for lately. The grad school in Milwaukee would set me back $33,000, and that's with Minnesota reciprocity. Tack that on to the $13,000 in school loans I've already got, and it doesn't seem worth it at all. Who knows if I would get a job in the field I wanted after all that. There are plenty of people with Masters degrees flipping burgers.

I envy the people who know what they want to do with their lives, and do it!

student loans

July 3rd, 2006 at 07:24 am

I started out my post-college life with $23,170 in loans to pay off. The total now stands at $12,940. That means I've paid off $10,230, or $2,046 per year. Not bad.

I used the

Text is credit card calculator and Link is http://www.bankrate.com/brm/calc/creditcardpay.asp
credit card calculator at Bankrate.com to calculate how much longer it will take me to pay off my loans. If I keep paying the minimum on my highest loan, it will take me 109 months, or 9 more years. Yikes! If I pay the minimum on my smaller loan, it will take me 20 months! I'm definitely going to be rid of the smaller one in 2007 - it's just under $1000 now. My original goal was to be rid of it by next month, but that's not going to happen. I feel it's more important to get my emergency fund back up to $1000 and fund my 2006 Roth IRA as much as I can. The loan will wait.

I showed SO just how much we spent on groceries and household products in the last six months...he was shocked. You really don't believe how much you've spent until you see the numbers. We're definitely going to try to do better.

Last night we went for an hour-long walk around the neighborhood. Retire@50 has inspired me! I'm hoping we can keep up with the nightly walking. We both need to get in better shape!

3% isn't bad, I guess

May 22nd, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Apparently my employer does not offer percentage raises, but dollar amounts. I got a $1000 raise, which essentially amounts to 3%. I'm not complaining; just slightly disappointed. It makes me miss the yearly 6% increases I received at my last job (except for that year when no one got a raise).

I'm still making a full $2000+ less than I would be had I stayed at my previous job. I don't miss it at all, but I am still envious of my friends of equal standing who are making waaaay more money than me.

At this rate, it's going to take forever to pay off my student loans. The current total stands at $13,054. *sigh*

I revamped my budget a bit, and I'll have $1000 back in my emergency fund in September, and pay off my smaller college loan in October. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong between now and then!

Potential Upcoming June Expenditures:
- CT Scan/doctors appts/chiropractor
- Cats need to see the vet & get microchipped
- Donation to friend's double marathon event
- Anniversary gift for SO
- Landlords are getting married (gift)
- Father's Day gift
- My favorite aunt's partner is retiring (wish I had enough $$ to make the trip!)
- Parents might visit
- Sister will most likely visit

potential

March 6th, 2006 at 12:57 pm

I have a potential opportunity coming up. I'll post more when I know more.

What a relaxing weekend. Dinner with the in-laws was wonderful - they opened up more than usual. I should have stayed out of the stores yesterday, though. I bought a magazine, a book, and a cookbook - tsk tsk! Also picked up the dreaded Girl Scout cookies and some crafting things. I'm way overbudget, as always. I rarely plan for these "others" like books and beads and cookies. They just happen, and then I scramble to cover the deficit. It's a recurring theme.

I was thinking about using my tax refund for my college loans, but you know what? I'd much rather go on vacation. I found a beautiful, secluded beach resort in Mexico that is just what the doctor ordered. We'll see.

I was going to attempt to live without Excedrin for one week...and failed miserably on the second day. My head was just killing me yesterday. I haven't touched the bottle today, though, so here's me, trying again. I want to make sure they aren't just rebound headaches.

ahh March

March 1st, 2006 at 09:33 am

Thanks for the support! I guess I did do pretty well with my goals for February. Hopefully March will be better.

I think you're right, baselle, taking the bus will be a lot easier once it is lighter and warmer. I was horrible about taking the bus in January because of the weather. March is a notoriously bad weather month in MN, too...hopefully this year will be different! We always get at least one huge snowstorm in March.

My smaller college loan is going to take a little more to pay off than I thought. Somehow I had calculated the outstanding bill to be about $400 less than it is. I still think I can pay it off by August, if I am diligent.

I'm going to a movie tonight with a friend at a cheap theater and hoping dinner won't be too expensive. I'm trying to watch my diet a bit better, too, so I'll be avoiding the theater candy (and that extra cost).

I chose a restaurant and printed my $25 Entertainment Book dinner gift certificate because SO and I are planning a date night for later this month! Yippee! The old

Text is Guthrie Theater and Link is http://http://www.guthrietheater.org/
Guthrie Theater is closing after 43 years and reopening at a new location, so we'd like to take in Hamlet before the old theater is closed.

One of my infamous spending cycles is threatening to ruin my March goals. I can think of all kinds of crap that I want to buy, and the urge to buy it all is SO ridiculous. Resist! Resist! I'm really good at justifying it, too - like yesterday, when Almay wrote back to me and said that yes, they have discontinued my favorite moisturizer. I promptely went to eBay and purchased a few bottles of it. Granted, they were $5 cheaper than in stores, and I'm going to have a heck of a time finding it now that it's not being made, but.... *sigh*

hatchet in head

February 27th, 2006 at 07:34 am

Had to take a prescription painkiller to make it in to work today. Ugh. I hate these headaches. All I have to do is think about Paula Kamen's

Text is All In My Head and Link is http://www.paulakamen.com
All In My Head, though, and I am thankful that my headaches are not nearly that bad.

I went out to eat and back to the grocery store this weekend, so I am over on my challenge. I also forgot that I was tracking cash food purchases, too, so I am significantly over on my challenge. I have done better than last month, though, so that's a good thing. It helps that it's a short month.

Did my taxes this weekend and I'll be getting a nice chunk back. Now I just have to mail the forms in and wait for my payment. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, though....pay off my smaller college loan sooner? Fix my car? Put it all in savings? I suppose that will depend on how much the car fix costs.

I helped a very pregnant friend clean up her house this weekend. I did a good deed but it took up half of my weekend, and this headache took up the other half. I could use another one!