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A little human connection.

Yesterday I worked 4 hours on my day off. I went in and it was so hot and I was super annoyed with it all for many reasons I won’t start right now. I decided after I put the 4 in I was going to go to a few stores, of my choice, and not limit my time in them. This is a rare treat. Alllll the time I have a million things to do so sneaking in a 10 minutes in Target is fun but then I feel guilty. Guilty the time I spent or the money or both. Even if it’s only 30 minutes and $4. I think it’s like chronic mom guilt. I decided to go to the mall. My fiance and my son always walked behind me there in every store like they’re personally being beat by cactus. IT’S SO AWFUL. Yet, they don’t stay home. Does not make sense.

2:10 p.m. I decided to get lunch first and sit in the food court enjoying my chick-fil-a sandwich and plan out where I wanted to go.

Mid bite I was approached by a older man asking me if I had any company or was I enjoying my day by myself.  He was in his upper 70’s maybe lower 80’s, adorably dressed in a plaid polo, and khakis. You knew this was a grandfather. A few seconds into the conversation he explained his wife of 65 years died this year. He comes to the mall to escape and not stare at his four walls. He asked if I had time would I mind if he sat and talked to me just a little bit.

Not once was I creeped out, you can tell this is a genuine just oh so lonely human.

65 years.

Every day he wakes up in the home he shared, the love, the routine. How does one wake up and not get swallowed by it all? To crave a connection to a human you go to the mall just to chit chat—with anyone. I am just anyone.

I had time, I’ll make time. Everything planned didn’t matter. I don’t know maybe a higher plan was in place but here I was and I’ll do what I can to give him some company. Maybe Bill would go home a little lighter, maybe not but lord willing I had to try. I got to talking to him and he actually retired from where I work! He told me some amazing things.

This gave me perspective on a few things. Again, there is a bigger plan, I won’t forget that afternoon. I walked away grateful. Thanks Bill.

Made a budget, day one… blew the budget.

Pay day was Friday so I decided to take every cent I could possibly and throw it on debt. That meant making a budget, and to stick to it!

From June 23rd to July 7th I had $311.19 to last. (all bills paid, this was the other items that are variable by my own doing)

  • $100 groceries
  • $100 gas
  • $30 towards a school uniform fund (a few short weeks away)
  • $30 oil change
  • $30 buffer
  • $21 pets (if needed or stack in away if not needed)

 

I made it until Tuesday before spending anything. I made a list of what to get and where to go.

The first stop on the list Sam’s Club.  Budget estimate $45.00

  • garbage bags
  • coffee
  • paper towels

I walked out spending $256.00 it doesn’t matter if I used a credit or debit card, or even cash. I walked my items to my car and got in it. I had instant high/comedown/regret.

“I have a problem.”

I AM MY OWN PROBLEM.

First Problem: I spend more than I make. (If I made $2k or $100k a month— I would spend it & then some.)

Second Problem: There is no difference in Need or Want with me. I want it, so it’s a need. I rationalize everything. It’s my money. I spent that much but I won’t need these items for like so long now. I’ll do better next time. This is hard if someone helped me I’d do better. We need ribeyes and bags of avocados, NEED it.

Sitting in the car with my bulk items of excessive want I didn’t even fool myself saying “I’ll do better next time.” Because that is a lie!

I’m done lying to myself. 

I have Mint.com account (I love it!). It syncs all your bills, accounts, and etc and shows you who you are financially. I’ve avoided the app for months it seems. I worked really hard and updated every account and info. As I trudged along and my stomach sinking every account screaming “debt debt debt”….. it hit me hard, like really breath *gasp* is this who I really am moment? I hit the link that said number of transactions I’ve made 893 Transactions since January. This is every bill, every swipe, gallon of milk, gas, shopping trip. It could be amounts in dollars or hundreds…. This is the 108th day of the year that means I’ve averaged 8.3 transactions a day.  Then I cried. Then I got really sick to my stomach.  It was like being exposed for the first time. I have a problem.

It’s not only financially this is more! So. I did some soul searching, some number crunching. This has to change, this is going to change. I know my why. I have to define my how.

I’m making a plan. And I WILL stick to it.

Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 

I believe it is $16 a ticket. I bought a groupon for four people for $35. It is one of the most gorgeous places to walk around and get lost. No matter what camera you use the scene setting is glorious no matter the skill. The best part your ticketsare good for 7 days! You can visit over and over!

Summer Project List

  • Repaint Kitchen
  • Organize Kitchen cabinets
  • go threw Freezers, fridge, and shelves and itemize all food items—create menu plan from it
  • keep the garden up and make sure to utilize all items out of it
  • makeover front yard landscape with items we have and using pine needle mulch gathered from the park (basically no money spent)
  • makeover the mailbox
  • clean Eli’s room and completely go through all of Eli’s clothes and get rid of not fitting or never worn items
  • Take apart and clean oven (ughhh)
  • clean carports
  • create a gardening work bench for under $20
  • create a home binder
  • get new SS cards (ours are worn under a water accident lol)
  • get Eli his own savings account…. 11 is almost too big to keep throwing his money in a piggy bank
  • make (& trial and error–find what works for me) DIY home cleaners
  • makeover this side of the carport that is hideous and no one sees but still needs tlc grosssideyard

Lazy weekend. Still got a to-do list!

I totally did A LOT of nothing these last few days. Over the last two weeks I’ve been set on go go go mode that doing actually anything is so nice! I’ve been sticking to my low carb meal plan however the money part… not so much. I spent $17 on lunch Friday, $9 on a birthday gift for Corey’s mom, and $11 for 3 months of Spotify.  I previously cancelled it but it is something I totallllly use and have been missing. They sent me an email offering 3 months for the price of one. If in three months I don’t use it (every day I promise I do) at least 3-4 times a week I’ll cancel it again.

These past few days have included binge watching Master of None on Netflix with my cat, naps, and front porch sitting.
With that said, vacation is over, being a bum is over, and back to work tomorrow!

I did spend time working a budget and realizing  I need to convert to cash instead of a debit card. It’s hard with me to part with dollars but when I swipe my card it’s no second thought. Example: If I go into the store it a sole amount I CANNOT go over, I focus on the budget, and stay within it because there is nothing more. If I use a card with a set amount…. if I go over, it’ll be okay… I don’t watch it as closely. I’ve been re-reading my Dave Ramsey books and assigning every dollar as well. We have to expenses coming up. We’re investing in a $400 air conditioning unit probably… our house unit (depsite having it looked at) will not keep up. Our house is so hot, it’s constantly blowing, not cooling down and our electric bill is going sky high. June-August are our highest bills. If we convert 3 rooms to window units during those months and isolate the air we can keep it cooler and cheaper. We hope. Also, my dog is going to the vet tomorrow. She’s having a skin condition and it’s looking realllllly bad. I don’t yet know what it will cost. I don’t care at this point she needs help and relief.

 

 

debts

This is my current amount of debt. I’ve listed them from smallest to largest. If you follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, you pay the minimum on each and knock out the smallest to largest gaining momentum.

Not only am I an idiot and spending so much in “payments” I have to allot for my monthly expenses:

  • Home Bills $850
  • Phone $211
  • Insurance $115
  • Gas $260
  • Car Maintenance $30
  • Pets $200
  • School expenses (Eli isn’t home but not I’m setting aside money for new uniforms, shoes, supplies, and lunch money when he is home!) $180
  • Unnecessary but oh so necessary bills: Netflix, Hulu, Spotify $35
  • Groceries $600-700 including eating out.

GROSS. I am out of control to be honest. The lack of planning and being lazy reflects in that. Summer shape up is in demand. I need to get everything in order before a life event happens and puts me under. That is the absolute truth.

New Budget:

Home Bills $650
Phone $211
Insurance $115
Gas $260
Car Maintenance $30
Pets $100
School expenses (Eli isn’t home but not I’m setting aside money for new uniforms, shoes, supplies, and lunch money when he is home!) $125
Unnecessary but oh so necessary bills: Netflix, Hulu, Spotify $35
Groceries $425 (Eliminating eating out. We average this past month & half 2-4 times a week)

Goals.

  • Write it out on paper, along with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.

I am currently 191.4 lbs, and $7,500 in debt. Wow, it felt really gross, shameful, and weird to say aloud. Publicly. I’ve detailed a low carb meal plan. My house is stocked and I’m ready to go. I’ve got two walking areas in my neighborhood. I’ve downloaded couch to 5k (I like this program). I got my fitbit. I have a goal notebook. I’ve got my partner on for accountability. I have detail plans for a when, what, and where. I’ve gathered all my credit cards. I’ve put them in an envelope and asked my mom to hold on to them. I cut a few up but the big ones I haven’t yet. I have zero access from them and I deleted all of the saved cards from my phone.

  • Commit fully, in a public way.
  • Log your progress.
  • Remain publicly accountable — report on your progress each day.
  • Have support for when you falter — either in real life or online.
  • Reward every little success.
  • If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.

I feel so ready to make a change.

Sitting on the sidelines.

We just got home from vacation. We went to Myrtle Beach. Despite being a tourist trap it was BEAUTIFUL weather and not crowded (except hotel pools–but I don’t go in them anyway).

I’ve been fighting depression lately. To be honest I haven’t felt this overwhelming feeling so strong for so long. It was here, and suddenly it’s been days on days and I’m so sad and lonely in the most amazing moments of my life next to people I love the most in my life. If being depressed isn’t enough it’s stealing these moments of my life that I work so hard to be in.

During vacation I took many long walks by myself next to the sea in morning and night almost daily. My issue lie within myself. I do so much all the time and I am on the back burner of it all. This is the same story I write. And the same one I’ve written for ten years. The details change here or there may be different sometimes but the story line is the same.

After getting home from vacation I was home one day and drove to Chicago for a whole 5 hours in the city to drop my son off. He spends his summers with his dad. I usually never do anything but work as much as possible, garden some, and just sit on the couch. Watch all the netflix. Go shopping. And waste time until Eli comes back home. This summer I plan to utilize the time I am given.

Every day is a battle with myself about my self. My weight, and my debt.

Blogging is a form of documentation for me, but maybe now it can help me be more accountable for both.

Weight loss & debt…. two so very fixable problems! Lord I could sit here and pray to get rid of horrific disease but instead I lay in bed scrolling through instagram wishing I lost this weight I’ve been crying about for a decade like there is nothing I can do.

No more time should be wasted! I’m sick of being disgusted. Life is full of chances, life is full of opportunities, and there are many moments we can create! Maybe its the momentum talking… but I came home out of the fog of my own sadness for the first time in a few months. And even if it is momentarily it’s a good moment.

Weight loss & Debt loss, effective immediately.

Create a plan. Clear decisive goals. Completed with dates. Devise a short term- strategy.  Find mentors, or a community, accountability person, or any one who can support you with similar goals! Be realistic. Never give up.

 

 

 

Everything in the house Pizza night.

We don’t eat horrible, but this pizza is a dieter’s nightmare. My fiance wanted a home made pizza, but he loves meat and cheese. I love veggies, and my son just wants olives! I won’t lie it’s all pretty tasty. Something about being home made and not spending a penny (& a TON of leftovers).

pizzzzzzanight.jpg

Here is my Quick Rise Dough Recipe:

 

  • 2 1cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 cup hot water (not boiling- i microwave it)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • oil, for oiling pans
  • cornmeal, to sprinkle on pan

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour with yeast, sugar, and salt.
  2. Pour hot water and oil into flour mixture and mix well.
  3. Mix in remaining flour to make a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Form dough into a ball.
  5. On a lightly floured surface – or using the dough hook on KitchenAid mixer – knead dough for about five minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  6. Cut dough in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. To make later, refrigerate the rounds of dough at this point. Bring to room temperature before rolling or stretching.
  7. Meanwhile, lightly oil pizza pans or sheets and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
  8. Roll dough to desired thickness and transfer to pans, or place dough directly on pan and pat and stretch to desired shape and thickness.
  9. Let rise for 15 minutes, a little longer if you are making a thick crust.
  10. Add toppings.
  11. Bake in 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: If I make extra and double the recipe I freeze the dough! But lightly grease the ziplock/container before putting dough in. It last around 12 weeks and will thaw out overnight in the fridge.

Garden Season

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One of my favorite times of the year! Life’s chores are always so so soooo continuous. Didn’t I just wash clothes? They’re hungry again, but do not know what they want again?! Oh but to garden is a job that yields such glorious bounties. It can feel like a job it self. You get to see and enjoy your work. I love a ripe tomato and green pepper from the garden.

This from a south side of Chicago city gal.

That wasn’t always the case. When we first moved in together in our home now, in rural Tennessee my fiance wanted a garden. He tilled the yard, planted the plants, and asked me why I wasn’t keeping up with it. He was raised having a garden his whole childhood. I remember my mom cutting our 3ft by 3ft plot of grass out front with kitchen scissors. (Don’t ask she’s crazy.) I had no idea what to do. To be matter of fact I was perturbed and annoyed. I don’t need another chore, or a to-do item.  That year wasn’t a success. I also realized how selfish it was of me not to support an idea he wanted. I went into it head first NOT wanting to do it. Why not try?

So, next year, I tried. Not only did the seeds grow into produce for our family, the little seed grew in me. I worked in the garden and fell in love. I discovered a green thumb. And grew my desire to do better, learn more, and grow more.  I love taking photos from day one until we pull the last plant up. It helps me get through the winter.

It has become a hobby, and a passion of mine. The research of my area, my soil, what I can grow, what type would we like, goes on every year. One day I can’t wait to call myself a master gardener.

We tried growing from seeds this year. This will be our very first year doing so.

We have:

  • 15 Tomatoes – 4 Cherokee Purple, 1 Beefsteak, 2 Early Girl, 2 Sweet 100 (my favorite), 2 German Johnson, and 2 mortgage lifters.
  • 22 Peppers – 4 Banana, 4 California Wonder, 4 California Wonder, 4 Big Bertha, 2 big Chile, 2 Long Slim Red, and 2 Jalapeno.
  • 2 Zucchini, 2 Squash, and 3 Cucumber.
  • Red onions, and white onions.
  • 6 rows of Peaches and Cream Corn, and purple hull peas.

This year I’ll also focus on preserving it better. Time would get away from me I would pick it and not make something with it and end up giving a lot away. This year I’ve planned recipes. I need to get the knack of making pickles because mine have been flops!

Cheer’s to a good season!  (that’s last year’s garden)

Debt Free Journey

Before January 1st I wasn’t saving HARDLY anything in 401k, to build a home, fully saving anything towards my Son’s future, roth IRA, and the list goes on. December I made a list of WHERE I need to save for the FUTURE.

Then my Fiance and I agreed on starting an online savings account (not easily accessible and the best growing interest rate we could find) towards a home. We have a 5 year plan. Annually together we can Save $23,000 base, and anything extra throw that way. In five years we plan to have $130,000. That will allow us to build our forever home debt free.

But, I have consumer debt. I use to charge and buy stuff, and stuff, and stuff, and stuff and pay it off. That wasn’t hard or unbelievable when I wasn’t saving. Come Savings time I still had old debt and bad habits, that guess what? I can’t pay off so quickly anymore. Each charge was taking 3 times as long to pay down. Now, can I stop all the savings and knock it out? Yep. But I will not. I did this, I’ll get my way out of it. Slowly, or as quickly as possible as I CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN. I actually got it alllll down to $3000 but I car issues and distributed over 2 cars to fix. Now this will show you what I owe and where. This does not include my FIXED living expenses because they cannot be changed and are budgeted out. This is all my variables (I save roughly 15% in my 401k too). I make $50,000 average a year. I plan on being debt free by January 2018. One year from the beginning of my journey.

dumbdebt

I get paid next Friday. With that said I need gas, a tire repair, a renew on tags for a car, and groceries on $400 until Friday.

Not unreachable. Just coasting to pay day. I want to never coast but here I am. I want to build wealth :)! I’ve started to completely follow Dave Ramsey’s plan. I’m an avid listener, but not a true listener, know what I mean? Oh yeah I hear his commonsense teachings DAILY but this girl is doing it her own way. And guess what, my way isn’t working out! Hasn’t been! I get upset I am not seeing results because I’m not listening. Last paycheck I put the $1000 into an emergency savings fund. Step one-complete. Now onto Step two. List all debts and make minimum payments while knocking the smallest to biggest out (snowball effect) until debt free. GET RID OF THE CARDS AND ACQUIRE NO NEW DEBT. I cannot wait until I am out of step two.

It took a long while but my spending habits are horrible. Really just stupid. I made a budget but never stuck to it. I’ve done very well since January because it was compared to better than I was before. I still am not where I need to be.

  • Make budget, every last dollar, and stick to it.
  • Research upcoming vacation location price all activities and restaurants, and find coupons along with work out meal plan and items to bring.  Put in spread sheet.
  • Make two freezer meals per week.
  • Inventory freezers & meal plan for the next 7 days.
  • Make any products needed before buying. When buying stick to generic brands (so hard for some people in my house.)
  • DO NOT GO TO THE STORE OR NURSERIES (it’s garden season) unless dire. Avoid all money spending situations.

I’m trying to teach myself to have an emotional connection to my money and not the stuff I buy with the money. This has been the hardest. Stuff fills an emotion and I get this buzz and high from new things. But I go home and there is so much stuff and the new things become stuff too and I’m upset I have so much. It’s a vicious cycle I’m working on. May the month of May be my month!

30.

itsperfect

Next month, heck not even in 30 days I will be 30!

No big deal. Wrong! It is. I’m going through this crazy emotional roller coaster.  Crazier than normal! This time around I realize why. Not something that happens often. Generally I feel crazy go crazy, and in two weeks stuff it all down and forget about it! The over all big picture “why” came to me recently.

In this new year I vowed to turn my life around. BE. Be productive, save more, pay debt, be a better mom/fiance, and the list goes on. Bound and determined I was going to make everything better and everything and everyone would be happy. I started this blog. A new instagram. I got off my social media accounts. I was living more frugal, paying debts down, cutting coupons, seeing friends and family more. The list went on. Life is good, why am I unhappy?!!! Everything is going so good! WHY? What the hell? Every good step I personally felt two steps backwards.

My life is good.

Cleaning out a desk I found journals. They’re mine from over the years. I read the entries. I had some short term, some long term, but all from the last 10 years. And I cried this ugly cry. Here I am at 29 STILL writing lists and journals about being unhappy. Everything I want to change is about myself. I focus on every thing and every one around me and never ever everrrrr do I focus on myself.  Yeah, I know that is pretty typical of most women and moms. But it made me sad that 10 years ago my life was in the gutter low down and I was lost. (That’s another story for another day) and here I sit today turned all around and still feeling that feeling I felt then.

I’ve managed to change everything I wanted; but myself. It’s so odd but until that moment I never realized how disappointed I was and letting myself down. Here is the reason every goal I accomplish externally the person internally I’m still so sad.

I started this online blog to document. My life, my debt free journey, the road to building a home, I’ll be getting married, and so on. But never felt like I deserved it. Isn’t that odd? I feel like a fraud–I don’t deserve a good life. There are times I sit in front of my laptop and try to write random posts but stop because who am I to tell anyone anything? I can’t write about anything going good because I don’t feel “good.”

Oh, I’m not trying to write and bore anyone with woe is me. I am generally happy. And for it’s worth I’m actually REALLY proud of the things I have accomplished!

Turning 30 I promise these next ten years I will focus on myself. Take care of myself. Love myself. Make time for myself. So when I am 40 and reading back I can write what I did and not what to change!

My 30 for 30.

(things to accomplish of the first years of my 30’s!)

  1. Join a gym/make time to better your health. Allow myself the time to workout at least 4 times a day. No matter how busy life is I’m allowed to put other things on the back burner to do something for myself TIME wise that betters my health. Which in turn will help me lose 35 pounds I’ve been writing about for 10 years.
  2. Try bangs.
  3. Hike to a waterfall.
  4. Get a promotion at work.
  5. Vacation on a beach.
  6. Learn how to bake—something (I’m really awful at baking)
  7. Be able to run a mile straight, nonstop. I don’t care if it takes 45 minutes I just don’t want to have to stop!
  8. Find a way to make a girls weekend with my best friends.
  9. Renew a will and find a better insurance policy.
  10. Get a passport.
  11. Grow my garden and really utilize it and preserve it.
  12. Find my style–and remove allllllll clothing I DO NOT WEAR.
  13.  Volunteer. Do 12 good deeds.
  14. Update my wordpress weekly. Document this good life!
  15. Do everything I can to increase the amount of money going into the building a home fund! The end of year goals is $23k, try and up it by $3k!
  16. Weekly, no matter where, keep a gratitude journal/post. Always remember there is something to be grateful for!
  17. Stop Comparing yourself to others.
  18. Stop spending money on others. Stop being the one who PAYS for everything!
  19. Learn how to make coffee beverages at home besides just coffee!
  20. Create a routine to prioritize my time better.
  21. Create myself a clean and happy work place.
  22. Find a side business I enjoy.
  23. Learn to eat breakfast even if it is a smoothie.
  24. Be more present in my every day, the past is over!
  25. Budget hair and pedicures into the budget 🙂
  26. love myself.
  27. love myself.
  28. love myself.
  29. love myself.
  30.  Remember: to love myself.

What is wrong, can be fixed.

I am a mom, a fiance, a fulltime employee  (some times 64 hours+ work weeks), daughter, sister, and so much much.

I started a change in my life around 3 months ago. Not sure what needed changing but I knew I wasn’t happy.

How could someone have a good life, good family, and a good job….the elements to “being happy”—- that mind you felt like years to get to, be so dang miserable? Is it like poison this misery? I’m just forever miserable because I’ve lived through so much misery? Am I just a depressed individual? What am I doing wrong? Why do I feel like I am failing at every area of my life?!!!

You live only once, and you will die. 

That’s just the truth of the matter. The only question is when? On my 40 minute commute to work I thought about how much I overcame, and how if I were to go right now I would have told myself shut up and change what is wrong. I’m human, flawed, and most defintely not perfect. Reminiscing about things that ARE good, I found myself in a state of gratitude. 

I also made a decision. 

Grow, or die. 

I can grow every single day, or like a plant with out water or sunlight….start to go slowly. 

I’m an introvert but also very highly motivated by life. It’s completely complex! When I started this “blog” I wanted to find a connection but what I really want o use it from this moment on is documentation of my journey. 

Because,  this isn’t the end or middle but a whole new beginning.