Damned if I do, damned if I don’t

I just tapped on clearing resentment.

These past few days I’ve been struggling with what to do about finances and my parents. Two separate issues. The good thing is that according to my mom, my dad might be going back to living overseas. I know this sounds bad for me to be happy about. But try driving someone somewhere in a panicked state. Driving is serious. Accidents can happen! If I didn’t have to take him anywhere, his presence wouldn’t be so bad. But him living with my mom forever does scare me.

There is something scary about FOREVER. According to what my mom thought, my dad was going to live with her forever. That’s scary shit. I don’t like forevers. It seems so final. Anyway, now I can breathe (a little). Because I think he is going back. He probably just came back to America to get some of his stuff together. He usually comes back once a year, so maybe this is what he is doing now.

I guess I resent my mom because she knows I have a hard time driving him around. Why does she make a joke out of it? Yes, I could be 100% honest and say: I’m close to having panic attacks while I’m driving him around so I would rather not do it. That is honest, but I’m not doing it. I rarely talk to my dad. The last thing I’m going to do is NOT take him to the store. I feel like that’s the least I can do. But my mom doesn’t have to make light of it. It’s not funny.

Sigh. So that is why my parents are currently getting on my nerves.

And financial stuff. Ack! I thought I was okay. My rent is still too high, so I’m not saving much money. But I thought I had debt under control. Um, nope. One of my credits cards is out of control. I just got the bill over the weekend, and I freaked out. It was over $100 for the minimum payment! This is a new thing. I’ve NEVER had a minimum payment that high.

Today I paid double the minimum payment  (yes, over $200) and I’m paying more in mid-April. But this isn’t going to get better unless I start working at my part-time job. I might have to consolidate. That may be the only answer for this card. But I want to lower it on my own before I even consider consolidating. That probably doesn’t make financial sense. But whatever.

I’m willing to work 2 jobs. I’m just waiting for the PT job to start back up. It’s seasonal work.  I can’t afford to wait forever. I’ve been waiting since December. I’ve enjoyed the time off. Trust me. I don’t LOVE working 24/7. That is what I was doing October through December. I had no free time. I could not read books. I wasn’t enjoying life much. But I need the money. I’m willing to do it differently this time. I will still nap for an hour a day and then work all afternoon. However, I will take time for myself on the weekends. I need a couple of hours a day on Saturday and Sunday.

I should be thankful I’m not working now. How could I study for the certification exam if I was working all the time? I have no idea. How could I read all these spiritual books if I was working so much? Uh, but I need the money. I can work it out somehow.

Speaking of my certification exam, I made an 82 on my practice exam!!!  🙂 That is the highest score I’ve ever gotten. I only have one more practice exam left. I made a 72 on the first two exams I took. They said you shouldn’t take the real exam if you can’t make an 80 or above on a practice exam. I finally did it! Woohoo! I was shocked. I don’t feel good about the amount of guessing I did, but I’m going to guess on the real exam too. lol. This stuff is hard.

Gotta go.

I’m eating ramen noodles

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dinner for the next week

My mom and I go grocery shopping together once a month. Like I said in my last entry, I have to reduce my grocery bill. I’ve decided I have to eat ramen noodles to lower my food bill. This is especially bad because I’m prehypertensive. Ramen noodles are bad for everyone, but they are cheap. So I bought five packs of Ramen noodles today. (and more may be coming).  My mom is concerned. ROFL. At least, someone cares! haha. She knows I’m struggling to pay my bills.

Anyhow, if things go right financially for her, she has offered to help me with my grocery bill. How nice! She will know within a week or two whether she can afford it. She offered because she doesn’t want me to eat Ramen noodles. I would never ask for it. Remember I ‘m miss independent.

I think my mom feels guilty because we used to eat Ramen noodles ALL THE TIME when we were growing up. That’s all we could afford.

The plan is to eat the Ramen noodles alone for dinner. I should probably add veggies like I always do with dinner, but that would defeat the purpose and add more to my grocery bill. Vegetables aren’t cheap. Well, cabbage kind of is, but I’m sick of eating that every single damn day. I’m taking a few days off from cabbage. Then I’ll go back because cabbage is cheaper than frozen broccoli. I LOVE broccoli. I bought one bag of it today even though I probably shouldn’t have. $$$

Eating Ramen noodles is only temporary. Eating Ramen noodles is only temporary.Eating Ramen noodles is only temporary.Eating Ramen noodles is only temporary. Well, I hope so. That’s the plan.

It is expensive to eat somewhat healthy. Junk is cheaper. The end.

I struggle to fly now

I got my stuff from GroopDealz! Good quality and great prices. The maxi skirts fit beautifully. I had to measure myself to get the right size, so I was worried. I already have a date for my blue maxi skirt. I’m wearing it this Saturday.  No more clothes. No more stuff. I’m on a no spend (except food) because I have to be. I don’t have anything in savings. I’m living paycheck to paycheck, and I’m paying off debt. 😦  I’m ashamed to admit that I thought I had money when I ordered the clothes last week. I mean, I knew I was near broke, but I didn’t know I was THAT broke.

Will I cancel my Stitch Fix for April? Not yet. I may get my tax refund by then, and I get to choose how much I will or won’t spend.

It looks like Sanders and Clinton are going all the way. It just won’t end. Congrats to Bernie for having a great campaign.

I’ve been looking into a healing trauma center in Tennesse. It costs $4800 for a week!! And insurance won’t pay a dime. It lasts a week. I don’t care for some of their rules, and everyone has a roommate. Plus, there is no guarantee it will work. Obvs. I dunno. They might say my trauma isn’t “real” trauma. But I bet they are willing to take my money by putting me in another program.

Today, we know that trauma is a much broader phenomenon than was once imagined. It is defined as any experience that creates feelings of overwhelming-ness and/or an event that is perceived as life threatening. We also know that no two people have the same reaction to traumatic experiences. Yet, a hallmark of trauma is a sense of loss of connection to ourselves, our bodies, our families, others, and even to the world around us. It’s as if, in trauma, we inhale a strong sense of loss and personal defectiveness with no direction as to how to exhale.

-from the website

Sigh. I could definitely use something. However, there is no way I have that kind of money now. I wouldn’t mind spending a week in Tennesse, but I want life changing results. It’s just something I’m thinking about. I’m glad Jewel recommended it in her book. I’ve read a little about other centers, but this sounds the best.

This week I…

Music of the week: Jewel, Fifth Harmony, Andra Day, Toby Lightman, Ray LaMontagne, Lissie, The 1975, Tori Kelly

When people ask me who is my favorite musician, I scoff. Who can choose a favorite? After finishing Jewel’s book and relistening to her catalog of music…I’ve been a fan since 1995. It was before she sold a thousand albums. She wasn’t famous at all. I went to Target Records (lol), and they had her album for $18. That was and still is a lot of money for a CD. But there was only one copy. It had just come out, and I bought it anyway. I’m going off on a tangent.

Jewel changed my life in the 90s. I picked up my first guitar because of her. She made me feel not alone for being sensitive. I love her so much. I love what she stands for. Jewel is my favorite musician* because her music is pure and just as good in the 90s as it is now. I grew up with her.

*Of course, I have to have an asterisk. I also grew up with Mary J. Blige, John Mayer, Mariah Carey, etc. I love their music too, but Jewel is my fave.

TV of the week:  Mad Men, basketball, political stuff

Movie of the week: none. I probably won’t watch a movie until the college basketball season ends in April.

Books of the week: More Jewel talk! #SorryNotSorry I finished Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half of the Story by Jewel. This is the best book I’ve read so far in 2016. It is part autobiographical and part self-help. My kind of book. I wish I owned this book. I will probably buy a paperback version when it is available.

Now reading:

Planner update: I’m no longer decorating, but I’m still planning.

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plans of the week

This weekend is grocery weekend. I need to find a way to lower my bill. Since I started eating somewhat healthy, my bill has almost tripled! What do I do? Go back to eating junk? I have to do something. I can no longer afford to continue this way.

I don’t give myself often

Countdown:

100 days until the Tori Kelly concert

124 days until my Asheville vacation

148 days until the Ellie Goulding concert

I’m going to be transparent here. I always try to be. I feel like I’m lying if I leave something major out. So I will say this: I’m struggling with debt/finances. That is not something new. Anyone that reads my blog knows that. But it is an ongoing struggle.

I only make about $33,000 a year (with overtime). There it is. I am very thankful for every dollar I make. I say “only” because that is less than what most  people on the internet seem to make.  I mean the people posting the perfect pictures on Instagram and most of the people who blog.

UPDATE: I made $35,000 in 2015. I just got  my W-2 form.

My point is that YES I have made horrible financial decisions recently. Horrible. I know I shouldn’t see Ellie Goulding and Tori Kelly in concert. I justified it because those are the only two people I said I wanted to see in 2014. And here they are! I said if I ever got the opportunity…

And the treadmill. I’m glad I have it. I use it daily. Well, I did skip one day when I walked around Walmart for more than 1 hour. That was enough exercise that day.  (I leave my cart in a secluded aisle and walk to get stuff to get more exercise). I feel like the treadmill will be a good thing for me. I will say more about it below (in the treadmill update section).

The Asheville vacation is just silly. SILLY. I can’t justify it. I’ve been eyeing that cabin since 2013. I just wanted to go. It was dumb to keep looking at pictures of it.

I have already beat myself up. I have to stop that now and move forward. I was going to consider financial counseling, but I know what I need to do. I’m not making enough money. I spent too much. etc. I do have access to one free 30-minute financial counseling session. I might use that. I don’t think only 30 minutes will help much, though.

I have my Michael Kors bag up for sale. I hope it sells. Someone will buy the bag. I will use that money to pay for some of the Asheville trip.

This is not the end of this topic. I just had to get what I was thinking/feeling out there.

This week I…

Music of the week:  Demi Lovato, David Bowie, Little Mix, Ellie Goulding, Maria Mena, Tori Kelly, Adele, Ed Sheeran

Song of the week: my favorite David Bowie song –

TV of the week: Nurse Jackie, Mozart in the Jungle

Movie of the week:  none

Books of the week:

Treadmill update: My body is over doing only a mile a day. However, it takes about 10 minutes for me to get the treadmill down and put it back up. I exercise during lunch. I eat and take my dog out the first 30 minutes, and then I get on the treadmill for a mile (15 mins). I will do a review of this treadmill on this blog. One con is how long it takes to get it down and put it back up. If I didn’t have a dog, I probably would leave it down all the time. That would be so much easier.

I do feel a little better when I exercise. I don’t feel as sluggish at 2 PM, but I need to increase my time on the treadmill. I just don’t know how during my lunch break.

This weekend I would like to try doing two miles each day (and Monday since I have that day off).

Planner update: 

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not much decorating this week

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I’m going to curl up in bed and get ready for the Republican debate. I wish they only had 6 candidates on the stage instead of 8. The Democrats debate on Sunday. Fun times. I’m going to meditate first. I have more time now. I might as well fill it with doing stuff like meditation. 🙂

I can walk alone

These credit card companies are getting on my nerves. I paid off Discover, but they still charged me 3.99 for a wallet protection fee. I guess I have to make a phone call and maybe close the account. Yeah, I have too many accounts. If I close any, it will be Discover. The plan was to use my Amazon rewards card and pay it off every month so I could still get the rewards. Not going to work. They hit me with a $6.00 finance charge even though it hasn’t been a month. What’s going on? I used to do this all the time. So no more credit cards. Cash only. Screw the “rewards”.

I’m going back to writing down every dollar I spend. (I also use Mint.com via the app). Reality is going to suck, but I’ll get used to it. As long as I have enough money, I’ll be happy. My electric bill can be $250 in the winter so that concerns me. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were $250 and warm but it is still freezing and I often don’t have water. ugh. I’m paying almost $900 in rent for this? Yes. If it weren’t for privacy concerns, I wouldn’t still be living here. I love it because it is isolated. In case anyone is wondering, NO I don’t make enough to pay that much in rent.

I re-started writing my novel. Not happening. It is more of an essay which is so not what I want. I will finish the essay/short story, but I am bummed that I can’t seem to write fiction. I’m not going to force myself to write a novel. What’s the point of that? However, I am going to write the longest short story I can through November. As of right now I’m still going to participate in NaNoWriMo during November somehow but writing 50,000 words? Nah.

I’ve been working late almost every night this week which means I haven’t been working on my practicum. I keep thinking I can get caught up….ugh, it rarely happens.

This week I…

Music of the week: Carrie Underwood, Demi Lovato, Jewel, Janet Jackson, Borns, Stacy Barthe, James Bay, Matt Nathanson

Adele just pissed everyone off by releasing a  surprise single and an album this year. (Album out November 20). Now they won’t win Grammys or top the charts. Nice surprise for the fans, though.  So much new music is coming out! This year started out slow. I can’t wait to do my top albums of the year list. I think I’m doing top 15 this year, but it depends on how many albums I like. I’m pretty sure I already know what my #1 album will be. But Ellie Goulding, Adele or someone else may surprise me.

song of the week: Stacy Barthe – Extraordinary Love

TV of the week:  Lost (season 3), basketball, Republican debate

The debate was far from boring, but I found myself zoning out. I think I’ve heard enough from the Republicans. Maybe if they cut down the field, it would interest me more. The next Democrat debate is November 19. Looking forward. Please ask Bernie more about guns. That really annoys him. lol. Ew, I just found out Hillary is for the death penalty. How did I not know that? I shouldn’t be shocked.

Movie of the week:  none. Spotlight (opening November 6) sounds terrific. It is about how the Boston Globe uncovered child molestation within the Catholic Archdiocese.

Books of the week:  Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (on page 152) and Manifest Your Destiny: The Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want by Wayne W. Dyer (page 73)

Planner update:  

plans of the week

plans of the week

My next entry may be a review/initial thoughts on a clothing service called Le Tote. I just got my clothes today.

shake me from stuff hallucinations

I get a few days off and I become a posting machine. I can’t remember the last time I’ve done this many entries back to back. Anyway, here is a newsflash: I AM NOT A MINIMALIST. Sigh.  I’m just trying to get back to where I was 5 years ago. I didn’t buy stuff just to buy stuff. I put my money in savings. Now I really, really, really need to put money in savings and I’m still spending too much.

Bleh. Perhaps looking at my dream house will help? Maybe I need to look at a pic of it every day. My dream house isn’t extravagant. It is attainable. I have good credit.  I just have to save for a downpayment of $25,000 or less. The house I was just looking at is on 6 acres (privacy!) and I would “only” need to put $18,000 down. 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. 1,040 sqft. Yeah, it is a little big for me, but I care more about the acres than the number of bedrooms. That should be motivation enough. Maybe it is??? I need to think about this house or any house every single day.

Like I previously posted, I bought a new purse and clothes from Forever 21. That isn’t all. My dry cleaning was $60. I had no idea it would be that high. Those were my designer clothes I was dry cleaning just in case. WTF? That isn’t all. I bought a new planner:

my new planner

my new planner

Before you judge, I’ve been using my Plum Paper Planner for 8 whole months. lol. That is a long time in planner world. This one cost me $14 at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. So not too bad. But did I need it? NO. It is a planner from Me And My Big Ideas: The Happy Planner. I decided to buy it because I was kind of getting tired of using the PPP. It is an 18-month planner. If I like it, I plan to use it until at least June 2016.

I’m a Filofax/Kikki.K girl so this will take some getting used to. I swore off coiled or disc bound planners. There aren’t any folders in the planner. Where do I put my stuff? haha. (I know some can be purchased…). I did purchase extra note pages because a planner ain’t a planner without note pages. It will take a while to see if I like it.

Here is a walk through of the planner. I also have some of the accessories she has (the extra covers, note pages and stickers).

This is my confession. I suck at money. This is sort of a new struggle for me. I did put some money in savings but geez. I have to see that buying stuff is useless and won’t get me near my goals of travel and a house in the middle of nowhere. I know becoming a minimalist takes time for most people. I did declutter (not completely yet). I will give myself some credit. I don’t have a huge problem throwing stuff away and donating stuff.

New Rules

  • No more clothes/purses/shoes through May 2016.
  • No more planner related items through January 2016 (so, so, so hard).
  • Keep grocery bill under $115 every 3 weeks.
  • No credit card use.
  • Declutter until I’m done weekly. Fill donation bags and trash can every week.

I should probably add stop watching non-minimalists on YouTube. But I’m thinking I can watch YouTubers I’m subscribed to and not get caught up. I feel like I should be able to. And no, YouTubers aren’t to blame. Our society encourages people to buy. Being a minimalist is against everything we are taught in the Western world. MORE MORE MORE. You don’t want MORE? What is wrong with you? Are you settling? Uh, no. I just don’t desire the same things as everyone else. #DifferentDefintionsOfLiving

Besides most of  the people on YouTube make twice what I make or the younger ones have well-off parents.  They can afford to spend what they spend. I’m not in their boat.

———-

I now weigh 123! I stopped Nutrisystem, have cheat days and I lose weight. Interesting. My next cheat days are going to be the two days of Thanksgiving. I have never sat for a Thanksgiving dinner. Ever. Thank Buddha. But sometimes my mom will cook and I take the food home. So I’m going all out for those two days. Cake, pizza, cornish hen, stuffing, bread etc. That’s the plan. TWO cheat days next month. YAY. 🙂 But until then I will be on my 1,200 – 1,500 calorie “diet”.

When I went to my health screening, the nurse told me if I lose any more weight, I will be underweight. I’m not concerned about that. I was chronically underweight 5-6 years ago. I don’t think that will happen again. I’m otherwise healthy. However, I wish my blood pressure were lower. It isn’t too high, but I could see it going there. She saw how nervous I was and thought it might be due to that. But nah, my BP has been that way for about 6 months.

Won’t put the blame on you, but I won’t change for you

I did it! I did two things. Good news first? Or are both of these things good news? I have no idea. Well, one thing is definitely good.

I PASSED MY CERTIFICATION TEST

Yes. On the first try. I passed with an 86. That was one weird experience. I was more nervous for this than I was for the board exam. And I was at home in front of my computer for this one. I thought I had failed. I was about to give up 20 questions in and just start choosing random answers because I thought there was no hope. I only had 5 minutes left after I finished and that was because I was rushing through the last 25 questions. Everyone else said that they finished with lots of time to spare so I was freaking out. Whew! I’m so glad that is over.

If I can pass and I’m not directly working in the field, I feel that everyone else should be fine. Don’t worry. You can do it. My tip: Don’t overanalyze. I overanalyze everything.

The second thing. Um, well I took out a big loan at a good rate to pay off ALL my credit cards. Of course, I have to get approved. I’m pre-approved, but I’m worried they won’t like my bank account balance (see update at end of entry). That is the only thing bugging me. The possible good news is that I will be free of credit cards. TOTALLY FREE! However, I still have to pay the loan company for five years so I won’t be debt free or anything. But at least I can finally get rid of the credit cards.

…And I will be on my path to being completely debt free in 5 years (that will include my car too – I think I’m done with that in 2 years).

I hope this isn’t some huge mistake. The company has an A+ rating with the BBB so I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about being able to pay the company back. I don’t know what will be going on in 3 weeks, much less 3 years. I can’t worry about that. I know. I know.

I also must not make frivolous purchases. I used to be so good at this. I was extremely frugal about 4 years ago. Now I have to get back to that. I’m going to buy a tiny house (less than 200 square feet), place it in the middle of nowhere and get rid of all my possessions. Okay, maybe not. The tiny house thing may happen if I can find one with a dishwasher. I live without a dishwasher now *gasp!* so I know one isn’t necessary but if I’m going to BUY something it better be able to handle a dishwasher…even if I have to go out and buy and install it myself.

Most tiny houses don’t seem to have room for a dishwasher. That concerns me. Another thing that concerns me about a tiny house is that I love animals. In theory, I would have about 50 animals but realistically I don’t want to take care of a bunch of pets. So I’ll just consider my dog. He is wherever I am and I live in a small-medium sized house (800 square feet). Sometimes he gets on my nerves being around me 24/7. HOW MUCH WORSE WOULD THAT BE LIVING IN A TINY HOUSE? I would want to scream…and I probably would scream. I need my alone time. lol.

How did I get from debt consolidation to living in a tiny house? I have no idea. This is my brain. I’m still researching the tiny house idea. I like it, but the lack of appliances is an issue. This is one reason I want to take a road trip across the country. How can I know where I want to live if I haven’t been everywhere? I’ve also thought about retiring in another country (probably a country in South America) but that is another entry.

As I type this out I’m thinking the tiny house idea won’t work for me. I need a place to dance and do yoga. That won’t work (especially the yoga) in a tiny house.

Food talk: OMG. Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are so good!! I have fallen in love with them. They are only 150 calories. Swoon. And I’m not even an ice cream person. Yummy. 🙂 I feel like I’m being naughty when I eat it.

People who have cheat days once a week (or more?), must work out a lot. I could never do that.  It would just derail everything and I would gain weight.  After next week, I’m going to do cheat days every 45 days instead of once a month. The only reason why I really want to do a cheat day next week is because 1.) I’m off from work 2.) I’m going to the gym and 3.) I have a $5 off coupon for the restaurant that I have to use or lose it. The last one is the most important reason.

EDITED TO ADD: I got approved for the loan!!!!!!1!!!!!!!! woohoo! That was quick. I still don’t know whether this was the right move. That out of the way means I will hopefully be debt free in 5 years, but I still need more income. I have things to sell and I’ll be doing that this and next week but what happens after that?

Lots of caps and bold in this entry and I’m out.