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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just give it away.



One of my goals for 2012 is to save $1,000 to donate to a charity. At  first I thought I might save it up over time and donate it all at once, that didn't work out so well though, because I kept fiding myself dipping in there for what I called "emergencies" but were really just me wanting something I didn't really need. So I have decided to change the plan.

I plan to save a good chunk of money each month (This month it will be $80.00) and each month, I will find a deserving local organization to give it to. By the end of the year we will have given away $1,000. I think everyone should attempt to do this, or something similar, even if its just $10.00 a month - thats $120.00 a year, and that really is a lot when you think about it. The feeling you get from giving, and the amount of joy you bring by suprising someone with a gift is unbelievable. Think about that pat on your back you give yourself everytime you throw a dollar into the salvation bucket each time you pass. Now picture yourself dropping $60.00 in that bucket. Awesome, right? All of a sudden your Merry Christmas turns into a big hug and maybe a few tears from a stranger.

I like to give to smaller organizations for a couple of reasons. The most obvious being, they need the money more. The Red Cross, and Breast Cancer Research are constantly getting donations. They really have a steady flow of cash when you think about it, but the soup kitchen down the street may could take that $80.00 and feed 100 more people right in your own community. (Not that I'm saying the Red Cross and Breast Cancer don't deserve it, I support both causes.) Also, I can see the immidiate impact for them. I ike to get to know a group before I give them my money, I want to know that I can trust the people in charge to do whats best with it.

If you have never done something like this before give it a try. I chose to donate $80 because it comes to $20 a week. $20 that I would otherwise probably end up spending one something foolish. You can choose however much you want. be it $25 or $100. You could even get a jar and just throw all your loose pennies into it, and at the end of the year give the jar away. Every little bit helps out.

This month we will be helping to support The Old Dog House.
Its an organization in my hometown that really tugs on my heart strings. Auston and I volunteered there this month, and I promise you will will be going back a few more times before the big move.
Here is a description from their website :

"The Old Dog House is a nonprofit, charitable organization located in Jacksonville, Florida, dedicated to giving older and senior dogs a second, sometimes third, chance at a new life. At so many shelters, the age of a dog determines its chances of reaching the adoption floor to find a new forever home. As a result, many wonderful dogs are denied the ability to live out their lives in dignity, surrounded by love. The Old Dog House aims to enlighten the public to the joys of owning an older or senior dog through educational programs and to place rescued dogs into true forever homes through adoption programs. The dogs that come into the care of The Old Dog House will remain in our care until adopted."

Check out their website for more information.

If the joy of giving isn't a good enough reason, think about the tax deductions later in the year. I'm always bad about keeping track, but if you hold onto your reciept your act will also benefit you come tax-time.

Have you ever donated a large amount of money?
Who was it to?

Did you regret it afterwards?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Money Check Up (MPP)

Courtesy Of My Pretty Pennies!

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Groceries. No fun, I know. But a girls gotta eat!

2. Today I am thankful that we are finally all moved out of our apartment, and settled into our temporary home. Also that we have people who are able to care for our animals while we cant.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was going out with the family on Saturday night. I had a blast!!

4. I will consider this week a success if I am able to work 3 shifts, and save $20 of the $80 I have allotted to go towards a charity in February.

5. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher, I actually wanted to be a teacher all the way up to senior year in high school. All of a sudden though, the dream faded. I think it has something to do with the waking up early everyday.






Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yes - I really am still fun.

Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time talking about money, and bills and all of this grown up stuff that people might forget that I am still just a young woman.
Last night we went out to see some family, and drop my dog off with the people who are watching him for the month and we had a blast! I might of had one to many beers, but I wasn't driving, and I knew I was with family, and people who would look out for me. It was just what we needed after a week of stressful moving.

Here is a montage of our evening:


So Yes - I am still fun.
My life is not just about saving, and working.

Just incase you forgot.
(Because Honestly, I was starting to forget)

Weekly Spending Update


Once again I had 4 NO SPEND DAYS!
I am proud!
The rest of the month will be spend free since I'm broke now, and don't get paid until next week!

So here we go, Last weeks spending.

ANIMALS

2012-01-27:  Cat Litter - $3.28
2012-01-27 : Dog - $34.25
TOTAL FOR ANIMALS $37.53

EATING OUT
2012-01-25:  Dunkin Donuts - $4.30
TOTAL FOR EATING OUT $4.30

FIXED BILL
2012-01-25: laundry - $12.00
TOTAL FOR FIXED BILL $12.00

GROCERIES
2012-01-23: Grocery Trip - $49.95
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES $49.95

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
2012-01-27: Trash Bags - $1.00
TOTAL FOR HOUSEHOLD ITEMS $1.00

TOTAL $104.78

Animals - I had to buy dog&Cat food this week! I also had to buy their vitamins (Yes, my animals do get vitamins). I decided to go with the monster sized cat food bag this month (because Austons mom is watching them for us and we dont want her to run out!) so the bill was a little higher than usual, but in the end it will pay off.

Eating Out - Auston and I grabbed bagles before volunteering this week. We weren't going to, but we were late and needed our fuel. We did however save a little money by bringing drinks from the house. That way we wouldn't be tempted to buy coffee or Orange juice.

Fixed Bills - We have to go to the laundry mat to do our clothes. Its awful, and boring, and I really wish that place would get wi-fi.

Groceries - We did our second big trip of the month. And I am really pleased with the outcome.


This brings my monthly Spending total to : $839.48
Not bad?!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Call me cheap if you want.



So heres what happened -

We are at the tail end of moving out of our apartment. Most of our things went into trashbags, because boxes can be difficult to come by.

Trash bags are not the sturdiest thing. Today I found that some of them were holey. Now, most of you would grab a new trash bag at that point. But no, not me. Instead I grabbed the tape, and fixed those suckers.
My logic - Why on earth would I throw away an otherwise perfectly useful bag? Trashbags are expensive these days!

So, if you must, go ahead and call me cheap. I think I'm just being econamically savvy.

So the next time you are going to throw something out because of a minor flaw, stop and think. Do you really have to?  Or can it be fixed rather easily?

On a brighter note, tonight will be our last night in our apartment. That means our move is only 39 days away!
I am so excited.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How I plan to make more in 2012 ...

This year I made 14,722 dollars.
(problably really around $15,00 when you factor in unclaimed tips)

Not bad for a 19 year old, right?
that means I am in the top 12.4% richest people in the WORLD - Check out your number.

Next year I hope to bump this number up to $20,000. Yes, I know this is still considered lower class. But a $5,000 increase isn't to shabby in my mind. Plus Auston will be working part-time by then, which will bring in another big chunk.
     I plan to do this a couple of ways.First off by having a a stable job. Once I move next month serving will not be my primary job any more. Even though its fun, its just not practical as far as steady income goes. Some weeks I make $400 and other I make $95 -That is just not cool. Hopefully I will be working for Easter Seals full time by the time 2013 rolls around. Thats my main goal. Its a great company, my mom also works for them and she loves it. I Still plan on serving on the side though, probably 2 or 3 days a week. This will supplement my income in the begining, until I gain full time at Easter Seals. I may not give it up even after getting full time, because the truth is I love serving. I know thats strange, but its true. I love the rush, and the atmosphere, and meeting new people. Call me crazy if you want.
     I also hope to generate atleast $3,000 with my blog this year. I know its a long shot and I will probably make much less, but a girl can dream right? I am making a small profit with adsense so far, and my pagewiews have increased from an average of 20-30 a day to 50-60 a day. I know thats still small fry, but an increase is an increase.

     What do you think?

Good Morning!

Today I am Guest Posting over at Making Sense of Cents.

Check it out :]

She is awesome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our Adoption Dream.



Lets get serious for a moment.
Auston and I are planning on getting married in September. It is going to be a small intimate back yard affair, surrounded by our closets friends and family. I am so excited.
But that is is not what today's post is about. Being that we are getting married we have started talking about the more important things in life. Like children.

Now this year I have been having some health problems with my lady parts. I don't really want to get into the nitty gritty with you all, but it has caused me to re-evaluate whether to have my own or not. In the past six months we have sat down and really talked about adoption. There are a lot of children in this world who need a home. We have decided we want to adopt. 1.) because I realy don't believe my body can have children. 2.) It is a wonderful thing to help a child in need. 3.) Even if I could have children, I don't see a point, because there are already so many out there.

Now came the important questions, Who to adopt? Do we stay in our own ethnicity? Our own country? How old do we want them to be, open or close? Special need, or not? Do we want to go through an agency or through a foster program? So many Questions!
They are important questions though.

Here is what we have decided thus far -
We want to adopt within the US, there are plenty of children right here in our own country looking for a loving home. Ethnicity was a tricky one, I think we'll let the fates decide. If we love them, we love them, and thats all there is to it.

I want a child preferably under 2, but 3 is the oldest. I want to raise them as our own. Also, we are young ourselves, I don't want a 10 year old when I am old 22.

Closed adoption is mandatory. My Aunt was the first open adoption in the country. Mom say that this has really helped them in understanding why they were given up, and who they come from. From that stand point I could understand why a person would choose an open adoption, but I really don't feel it is for us. Honestly, I'm just not good at sharing. I'm the momma, and thats that.

Now came the daunting question over whether or not to adopt special needs. We talked, and talked, and talked about this. We came to a decision. Yes. But with restrictions. I want to adopt either blind, or deaf. Thats it. Those children need a home just as badly as every other child. There were several reasons behind us choosing to not adopt other needs such as Autistic or Down Syndrom children. I will go into that in a later post.

And lastly did we want an agency or a foster program? This one is still a little back and fourth with us, but I do believe we are going to go through a foster program. This means the costs of adopting will be significantly lower, and we can see if the child is a right fit for our home. When children are in foster care they don't expect to be adopted, they hope for it, but they know that it could very easily just be a temporary home. So when you do decide they are right for you, and you want to keep them its just a bonus.

We are going to start the process next year, when I turn 21. Hopefully by the time I hit 22 we will have our own little addition. I AM SO EXCITED.
Seriously, this is all I think about day and night any more.

We are setting up a fund, completely seperate from all of our money to help finance the process. As well as help us pay to take sign language courses. Which is abviously going to be mandatory to adopt a deaf child. And I have decided that every penny I make off of this blog will go towards that fund. As well as any money I make selling crafts this year. I have set up a page on Discovering adulthood where you can find out about ways to help support us. Shortly, once we are settled in NH I will begin the process of crafting, and if you find anything you like feel free to purchase it, knowing you are helping give a child in need a home!

If you could share that page with as many people as possible I couldn't begin to tell you how much we would apppreciate it. Adoption is an extreamly expensive process and I would hate to have a lack of funds hinder our decision.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lets dream for a minute...


Lets live on cloud nine for a minute.

Not my dream bathroom ^^ but I love the mirror. And the chandelier!

Auston thinks I'm a freak sometimes, because I talk about my dream bathroom so much. Basically every time we are both crammed into my way two small, way to blah bathroom I tell him about it.
So I thought I'd let you in on the dream too...

First off my bathroom has to be BIG! I'm talking huge. I think I could have fit a bed into my aunts bathroom at her old house. That was part of my inspiration. I don't want to feel cramped when I go in there. I want it to be so large, I could have a party in there! Okay, I think you get the picture.

I want to have a nice spacious stand up shower, one that can easily fit 4 people, don't ask. I just have a thing for big showers. It will have one of those awesome built in seats. So I can sit and be lazy in my shower. Just in case I ever break my hip. I had one of these at my old house, the shower was all tile and the seat was convienent for holding things. Like my Bum! Sorry, couln't resist.
Also – and don't you go judging me – I want two shower heads in my shower. That way I don't have to share the water when- well. Lets just stop that sentence where it is. It would just be much more convienent to have two! I am a huge fan of tile showers also. So tile, is a priority in my dream shower.

There will be a jacuzzi in my bathroom. That is slightly elevated from the rest of the bathroom. I want a TV built into the wall next to it!. (I saw this at a house we viewed in St. Augustine) With some awesome speakers, so I can rock out whenever I am in there getting ready!

We will have to have two sinks. Loveyy is terrible about cleaning out his sink, so I don't want to have to look at it any longer than absolutely needed.

Cabinets! Lots and lots of space to store the hundreds of towels I will procure! Because seriously, how many times have you gone to get in the bath to find out you are out of clean towels? Happens to me all the time. These will preferably be built into the wall, so they aren't sticking out off the wall like in the kitchen.

Now the toilet – This is probably more Auston's thing than mine. I'm not really into toilets all that much. Who is? But then again I am not a man who sits on the toilet for 30 minutes reading a book while pretending to use the restroom. Yes- he really does that. I want a cushy potty! Thats about the only requirement. I want it to be comfy to sit on. What else does one need with a potty?

To finish off my bathroom, it will be decked out in turqoius and white. I love that color pattern, I think it looks clean and fashionable. It will have big mirrors, and open windows (with shears of course).

What do you think?
Am I the only one who dreams this elaborately?

Weekly Money Check-up

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Household Items (cleaning supplies and paint supplies)
2. Today I am thankful for the friends and family who are helping us with our move. We couldn't do it without them.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was Family dinner.
We watched the Patriots win!! And ate some great food!
4. I will consider this week a success if I Get everything moved out of our apartment by friday!
5. The craft I am currently interested in right now.. There is no time for crafty in my immediate future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

$3,000 blogging challenge.

Today we enjoyed a lazy day at home.
We went out later at night for a grocery trip we spent $49.95, which is about what I had planned.
At the end of the week we will be moving out of our apartment and in with family for the month of February. I can not believe our move is so close.

Today I decided to join in the $3,000 challenge.
For me this will be a huge challenge. But it will be worth it if I succeed. I think I would be over the moon if I made $1,000.

Anyone have any advice on how I should go about doing this?
I don't want to spam up my blog with advertising, maybe one or two relavent adds, on top of my adsense but other that that I want my blog to stay true to its origins.


______________________


Ellie wants to make sure we don't forget her when we move :)

My 25 Before 25 list...

This is the second of a Two Part Series..

Next month I will be turning 20. I don't know why this number is so daunting to me, but it is. I feel like it officially makes me an adult. Even though I have been living as one for the better part of the last two years.
Because of my excitement to turn twenty I have been doing a lot of thinking, and planning.
I have come up with a list of things I want to accomplish in the next five years!
In a little bit I will add this list to the top of my page, so you can keep an eye on my progress.

Here is my list, and a brief description on why I have listed each of these thing:

 25 before I am 25 :

  1. Master another language - Auston and I want to adopt, either a blind or deaf child, and because of this we want to master sign language.
  2. Buy a house - Who doesn't want to own their own home?
  3. Visit Italy - I come from an Italian family, I also have relatives who live in Italy still so I would love to go over there and meet my family, and see where we come from.
  4. Start a small business selling crafts - I just think this would be fun!
  5. Have a Sangria Party :] - Well, I tried sangria for the first time a couple of months ago. I am not a big wine drinker, but I loved it. And I just think it would be a blast to do this with friends (once we all hit 21)
  6. See a Broadway Show - Auston and I met in drama class, and I grew up on stage. I miss it so much sometimes, and I have never seen a big professional production like this.
  7. Go to Las Vegas - Come on guys, this one should explain itself. 
  8. Learn to drive a Stick - I just think its important to know how to do. What if an emergency happened and that was the only car available? I'll be damned if I'm stuck.
  9. Buy a new car - Preferrably an eco friendly one. I REALLY want this one, but that may not happen.
  10. Read the Bible, cover to cover. - I grew up in church, I know a lot of the stories, but I have never actually taken the time to read the bible all the way through.
  11. Go to see a Patriots Game - <3 Love them.
  12. Go to a Red Sox Vs Yankee's game - Huge Red Sox fan, and I think just seeing them would be awesome, but seeing them against the Yankees would be a dream come true.
  13. Get three New Tattoos That mean something Special - I must admit, I'm addicted. But they all mean something to me.
  14. Visit Canada - Can you believe, I grew up right outside, and still, I have never been?
  15. Start a Career in Finance - Even if its just something small on the side.
  16. Spend New Years Eve in NYC - I have wanted to do this ever since I was a little girl. I think its magical.
  17. Visit 15 Museums - Auston and I both love museums. But we have a habit of going to see the same ones over and over again.
  18. Participate in a charity Walk - I'm always down for a good cause.
  19. Go Rock Climbing - This is on my bucket list, and I want to do it before I get to old.
  20. Visit 3 amusement parks - WOO roller coasters!
  21. Spend a weekend in Amish Country - I wanted to do that this year, but things happen, and they got in the way.
  22. Start and maintain a vegitable garden - I have been talking about this forever! It would save me money, and I would know there were no pesticides.
  23. Watch 100 classic Movies I have never seen before - I'm a chicken when it comes to classics. I always think they're going to be lame.
  24. Find and buy a perfect black cocktail dress. - Every girl needs one, and I would totally spend a small fourtune, if I found the perfect - Could wear for years to anything - one.
  25. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans - I am so excited to do this!!


There you have it - 25 things I will accomplish before I hit the age of 25.

What do you think?





Sunday, January 22, 2012

Apparently attempting to go to bed at 6:30 is a bad Idea...

So here I am at 11:30 wide awake.

I figured I would give you an update on my monthly goals while I'm up.

Here they go :

-No Spend Month. Outside our fixed bills and a few other things listed here, we will not be spending any extra cash.
This has been going great! I have slipped up a few times, but not nearly as many  as I had anticipated.
Overall I am proud. Only a little over a week left!

-Read atleast one book
One of my goals for 2012 is to read one book a month, here's to hoping I get off on the right foot.
Finished my book in one night!
So Proud.


-Set aside $400.00 for our move
This is a big amount, but I we only have two more months and so I really NEED to set atleast
$400 aside.
1-08-12 : $20.00
1-12-12:  $65.00
1-13-12:  $80.00
1-14-12:  $75.00
1-21-12: $131.00
1-22-12: $60.00
Total: $431.00
Crossed this one off early! And we are still adding to it.


-Contribute daily to our sealed pot
We started this in December, and my Pot is already getting heavy! So far so good, I hope we can keep it up!
Piece of cake. I love throwing money into my pot!


-Start maintenence on Austons car
Auston's car is going to need a few things done before it will be able to make the 1,500 mile drive up to NH.
Change of plans.
Austons car is staying here until July, it broke :( and repairs are to much.
- Drink 64 ounces - roughly 6 glasses - of water a day.
I don't drink enough water. My day is full of milk, and tea, and soda. The thing is - I LOVE WATER. I just don't drink enough of it.
Well now!
Apparently I don't drink 6 glasses of anything daily. Although, I have increased my water intake by atleast double what it was before hand.
Actually - I think I'll go get a glass right now.

And there you have it folks. My Monthly goals update.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekly Spending Breakdown.


What a week!
I only had 2 No-Spend days, which isn't cool!
Here's how our spending went:

CAR SAVINGS
2012-01-20Car Fund$5.00
TOTAL FOR CAR SAVINGS$5.00
CLOTHING
2012-01-21Socks$1.07
TOTAL FOR CLOTHING$1.07
EATING OUT
2012-01-19Breakfast$3.21
2012-01-21Burger King$10.67
TOTAL FOR EATING OUT$13.88
GAS
2012-01-17Gas$7.00
2012-01-20Gas$27.84
TOTAL FOR GAS$34.84
GIFT
2012-01-17Valentines day Cards$2.50
TOTAL FOR GIFT$2.50
GROCERIES
2012-01-16Grocery Trip$15.00
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES$15.00
HEALTH
2012-01-21Austons Meds$7.84
TOTAL FOR HEALTH$7.84
HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
2012-01-16Cleaning products$25.00
2012-01-17Paint Supplies$17.50
TOTAL FOR HOUSEHOLD ITEMS$42.50
TOTAL$122.63


Car Savings : Right on track, hopefully after the move we can put more towards this each week.

Clothing : Its not exactly clothing, its a band I have to wear to cover my tattoo's at work (I make mine out of socks) I lost my last one, so I had to buy new socks to make a new one!

Eating out : Ouch, one morning I woke up to late to eat at home, so I ran through a local place for something quick before work. Then today Auston and I were running around doing errands, and decided we were starving, and our savings are right on track, so we splurged a little.

Gas : Can you believe it, I filled my tank! If you haven't noticed before, I usually only put $10.00 in at a time. Its hard when you live on tips, you don't know how much you are going to make the next day, so you don't want to waste it all in your gas tank. And yes - $27.00 does fill my 9 gallon tank.

Gift: I had Little M with me this week when we were shopping for cleaning supplies, and she wanted to get M and my stepmom Valentines day cards. So I let her choose from the $1.00 section.

Groceries : Well, a girls gotta eat! This was just a small trip though.

Health : Auston is on a lot of meds for his migranes, and today one of his prescriptions needed to be picked up.

Household Items : UGH, I didn't realize there was an inspection coming, so we spent a lot of money to make surewe could clean this place from top to bottom, and we needed some paint because the dog has scratched up a few doors. Lovely.

Overall: My spending was higher than I would have liked. But most of it was on items that couldn't wait. So I must be content with where we are.

How did your spending go this week?

6 weeks and counting..

In six weeks we will be loading up our 16" budget truck with all of our worldly possessions.
In Six weeks my dad will be flying down from California to help us drive the big truck. (I'm a chicken)
In six weeks we will be saying goodbye to all of our friends and family down here, and hello to my mom and brothers up there.
In six weeks I will be crying uncontrollably and everyone will finally realize just how scared I really am to make such a drastic change. Though it really is for the better.

IN JUST 6 WEEKS!

I havn't made a move like this in 5 years.

I have it down to a science though, I need 102.33 a week for the next 6 weeks to be able to afford my move.

That is a piece of cake, especially once you factor in my tax return an birthday money.
Plus, of course, when I can I add much more that that.
Just yesterday we were at $106.oo/week

After work tonight hopefully the number will slip to less that $100 a week.

I'll be back later with my weekly spending update.

Enjoy your Saturday :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

If its not one thing its the next!

Auston's car was acting wierd the other day.
Turns out the most likely scenerio is the censors in his car. On top of already having to buy 4 new tires and a couple of other minor things, its not looking like his car is going to be fit for driving 1,500 miles next month. We just don't have that kind of money.
The new plan of action is to leave it down here until July, when Auston and I planned on coming back for a visit anyways. Then in July, once it has been fixed up and all shiny new, we will make the drive.
For now its must stay put.

My poor baby.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Plan for the Next Five Years ...

In about a month I will be turning 20!
The big Two-Oh. right?

This is Part one Of a Two Part Series. (the next will discuss 25 things I want to do before I am 25)

To me it's a big deal, I have been playing grown up for quite some time now, paying my own bills, managing my money. But it has all been in a day by day basis, with no real plan for the future.
Its always in the back of my mind. I know I SHOULD be saving, I SHOULD have some kind of a plan, but when you're 19 its okay to make mistakes. I am, however, done with living like that. I am the kind of person who needs to know where I am going.
Auston and I have sat down and we have figured out where we want to be in five years.
I have written it down and now I will share it with all of you.
Now of course, five years is a while down the road, and plans may change. But this is a rough idea of the things we hope to accomplish.

My Five Year Plan

20
  • Fund my $2,000 emergency fund - A large feat, considering it currently sits at $0.
  • Sign up for a Sign Language course
  • Start saving for adoption – Start sewing&selling to raise money
  • Start a Retirement Plan
  • Get married – Small, intimate wedding, filled only with people we truly care about.
  • Plan a weekend away for Auston and I (sealed pot money)


21
  • Increase Emergency Fund to $4,000
  • Continue with learning sign language
  • Save $1,000 to Spend New Years Eve in Times square (12/31/13).
  • Start adoption process
  • Start saving for a down payment on a house. (atleast 3,000)

22
  • Increase Emergency Fund to $6,000
  • If I wasn't successful in the previous year, continue adoption process.
  • Take a vacation out of the country
  • Make $40,000/year
  • Be consider “proficient” in Sign Language
  • Continue saving for a house down payment.(atleast 6,000)
23
  • Increase Emergency Fund to $8,000
  • Start looking for a house to buy.
  • Get something – Anything – published.
24
  • Increase Emergency Fund to $10,000
  • Start creating my dream bathroom, in whichever house we chose to buy. : )
  • Make atleast 3 extra Mortgage payments.

Now, you may notice that I only plan on saving roughly $2,000/year. This is for a couple of reasons 1) so we will have money to do other things with, such as vacations and toys. and 2) so that we can put a good amount towards a downpayment on a house. 3) this doesn't include our retirement plan (as I have yet to decide on one).
I believe saving is extreamly important, but I also think it is important to live, and to have fun with the money you earn. After all, we have no guarentee of tomorrow, what if I were to save and save and save, in hopes of one day living a dream life full of money and things - just to never make it there. I want to live responsibly, but I also want to live in the now. Not in the tomorrow.

How about you, do you have a plan?
Do you think I am saving to little, or just enough?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Rant About how Exciting it is to Move...

Today we had a Fabulous, Lazy day at home.
It was also a No-Spend Day. :]


A little piece of home <3

As our move gets closer I find myself excited, and impatient. I am so delighted by the changes that are coming our way. Both Financially and in our everyday living.
I will have a stable job, and the air we breath everyday will be fresher.
I will be closer to my mom and brothers and my cost of living will be going down.
I will be able to see the stars at night, and I will be able to swim in the lakes that I grew up in.
I can share with my love the joy of living simply in an area where the nearest large city is still only 109,565 people. Out side our front door currently is a population of just under 10,000 , not to mention the nearest city (which is only a 10 minute drive) that has a population of 821,784.
He can learn the upside to silence, to not having light polutions, to being able to stand out your front door and not see a 6 lane road.
Everywhere I turn I am seeing endless possibilities for happeness, and stability in our lives.

I know, I'm ranting now.
Auston and I just have some amazing plans and I can't wait to see them lived out.
Some time in the next few posts I will let you in on all of the things I hope to accomplish by the time I am 25. I must admit, its an awesome list.


How about you, do you love where you live, Or do you wish you could leave? What is holding you back?


Weekly Money Check-Up

Courtesy Of My Pretty Pennies
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on rent.

2. Today I am thankful for my day off! This past week has been so incredibly exhausting.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy Cuddled up and watched a movie with my loveyy. 
 4. I will consider this week a success if I pack and move 80% of the house.

5. My purse contains... Purse? What purse? My back pocket contains my Debit Card, My ID, and some cash.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where will you be 5 years from now?



Next month I will be 20!

I can hardly believe it! Life has been flying ever since graduation, almost two years ago.

Along with everyones 2012 goals, and monthly goals, or weekly goals, and plans to pay off thier debt and homes, I have also seen a couple of other bloggers post a 5 year plan.
Niki Talks about hers here
And Michelle also has hers posted
I haven't made a list like theirs yet, though I really do think I am going to shortly.

Five years from now I will be turning 25! That seems so impossibly far away. Its not though, and I know those years are going to go much faster than I think.
I also know, that I have big dreams, and hopes for the future and if they are not planned out properly, they probably won't happen.

What kind of dreams you might ask?

Well for one, I know I want to get married. Auston and I have been talking about it forever, we can juust never fit it into our budget. How unromantic.
We want to adopt, special needs (blind or deaf probably) preferably. This will take a lot of planning, and reasearch and saving.  (More on this subject matter to come in a future post)
I want to take classes, on something, and maybe go to college. That has never been high on my to-do list, but lately I have been finding things I might like to go for. Finance being one of them.

As you can see, I have a couple of rather large ambitions. I have more to add, but I don't want to ruin my post by giving it away to early...

I know this post is kind of choppy and pieced together, I can't seem to focus tonight.

What do you think? Do you find it helpful to have a long-term plan?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Catching up- Last weeks spending&saving

I have been such an awful blogger these past few days.
The truth is simple, I have been exhausted. Between work, and packing, and Austons brother being in town, and Auston's car breaking down.
Really, I'm still feeling less than enthusiastic, but I figured I'd get on here and show you how well my No-Spending went last week.
I am proud to say that I did even better than I had expected. I was aiming for 4 no-spend days and I wound up with 5! I can't remember the last time that happened.
I also added $220 towards my move in March!
I was stoked by how much I was able to put away this weekend.

On the downside...
Last night, on our way to family dinner we noticed Loveyys car was acting up, it wasn't shifting right. So we turned around. Today they took it up to AutoZone, and they told us it had to do with the internal censors.
NOW, all this car talk is greek to me, but it is going to cost around $200 to fix it. OhMyLord. Thankfully, Auston's mom said she would get it fixed for us. I don't know what I would do if we had to pay for that too. I might just break down and cry from all this stress and lack of sleep tonight.
That sound nice.


So here it is, last weeks spending:


BANK FEE
2012-01-10Cashier's Check Fee$2.00
TOTAL FOR BANK FEE$2.00
CAR SAVINGS
2012-01-12Car Savings$5.00
TOTAL FOR CAR SAVINGS$5.00
EATING OUT
2012-01-10Steak N Shake$15.28
TOTAL FOR EATING OUT$15.28
FIXED BILL
2012-01-10Car insurance renewal$110.00
2012-01-10Partial Rent Payment$300.00
2012-01-12Electric Bill$70.00
TOTAL FOR FIXED BILL$480.00
GROCERIES
2012-01-12Small Grocery Trip$8.77
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES$8.77
TOTAL$511.05


I hate bank fees! I was charged because my cashiers check was under $500.00 - crap on them! I haev never paid anything at my bank before, because all of my checks are ususally much higher than $500, this was an unpleasant suprise to say the least.

Eating out - I know I wasn't supposed to. Honestly though, I'm not upset. I still managed to put away a good chunk of money and Loveyy and I really had a nice time.

Fixed bills hit me hard this week, but they have to be paid. On the bright side, I have no more bills for the rest of the month! : )

I already explained my grocery trip here. It was just a couple of odds and ends, at a really great price!

All in all, I am really proud of our spending this week.

Also, I am trying to put together a craft swap. I think it would be so much fun!
Go here for details
As of now no one has responded. : [

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And now I shall leave you with this -

 Ellie loves the box!
Annie- Not so much. : )

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paying it Forward - Craft Edition.



I saw something similar to this Idea on Facebook, and I thought it would be perfect for my bloggy community.
On facebook the status said the first five people to comment on the status would get a homeade gift by the end of 2012. Sounds simple enough, you would in theory have almost a whole year to put something together.

So here is how I'm doing it:

I propose we do a swap, that way everyone can participate, and it won't just be me (attempting) to make something awesome for everyone.

  • Everyone who follows my blog, and then comments below that they are interested in participating will get two people who they are to craft something special for in 2012. Feel free to sneak around their blogs a bit to find more about them and things they may like.
  • The deadline for entering will be January 31. I will be mailing you the person you are gifting for by the end of the 1st week in February.
  • Gifts are to be shipped sometime during 2012, hopefully we dont wait ALL THE WAY till December, but hey, if you must you must. Crafting takes time.
I know that not everyone lives in the USA, like I do, and I understand that not everyone wants to pay to ship overseas so Either below, or in a private e-mail, let me know where you are from and where you are willing to ship too.
Once you have decided to join, email me at Ar.Antonis@yahoo.com with your mailing address. (only the person who is crafting for you will know this.)

Feel free to share this on your page, just link back to me, so we can have as much paritcipation as possible.
The more The Merrier :]

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January goal update & some no-spend news.

Yesterday we had a lovely No-Spend day! :)
 Today we did not.

We didn't do much yesterday, other than laze about before I had to go to work.
Today we did basically the same thing -except we threw in a small grocery trip, and paid most of the electric bill ( Luckily we can do both of these things at the same location!)

Today's Spending :
$8.77 on a small grocery trip - we needed to pick up bread, steak, sausage, and worsteshire sauce.
I am so pleased with the amount of food we have in our fridge and cabinets, honestly I don't forsee another large shopping trip this month.
$70.00 on the Electric bill - THIS MADE ME CRAZY!!!! Living on a servers salary, life is paycheck to paycheck. My electric bill was like $79 and some odd cents, but I only had enough to pay $70! Leaving me with a silly balace of $9.00 and some odd cents. Poop. Tomorrow, or sometime this week I will pay the rest.

So I noticed I haven't made an update on my monthly goals yet. So, here they are.

January 2012!-No Spend Month.
Outside our fixed bills and a few other things listed here, we will not be spending any extra cash.
So far so good, other than our one slip up this week, which I already explained in yesterday's post, we have not spent ANYTHING, outside our fixed bills, and a few other allotted for things.


-Read atleast one book
One of my goals for 2012 is to read one book a month, here's to hoping I get off on the right foot.
Finished my book in one night!
So Proud.


-Set aside $400.00 for our move
This is a big amount, but I we only have two more months and so I really NEED to set atleast
$400 aside.
1-08-12 : $20.00
I know, a dismal amount. But this week I should be adding quite a hefty sum.-Contribute daily to our sealed pot
We started this in December, and my Pot is already getting heavy! So far so good, I hope we can keep it up!
We have been right on track with this, our pot is so heavyy!! I can not wait till December to open up our mystery fourtune!! -Start maintenence on Austons car
Auston's car is going to need a few things done before it will be able to make the 1,500 mile drive up to NH.
We have not started this!
I should sit down here in a day or so and make a list of what needs to be done.- Drink 64 ounces - roughly 6 glasses - of water a day.
I don't drink enough water. My day is full of milk, and tea, and soda. The thing is - I LOVE WATER. I just don't drink enough of it.
This goal is a lot harder than I thought it would be!!
I drink more water than before, that is true without a doubt.
I do not always make it to 6 glasses. : (
Shame on me.

How are your goals going? Whether they be monthly, weekly, or yearly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not exactly a No-Spend day...

Okay, okay don't kill me!
Today we spent a total of 425.00.

$300 - Partial rent payment
$110.00 - Car insurance renewal
$15.00 - Eating out. - Ouch, but hold on! Let me explain!

When we woke up today our water was shut off. A pipe had busted somewhere in our apartment complex. What an awful start to our morning. Our dishes were a mess, and we couldn't cook. We decided to move some boxes we had packed on previous days over to Austons moms house instead. We stopped by the bank, paid the rent, and decided we were starving!
Now we had 2 choices - Go to a fast food place, where we would have spent about $15.00 anyways, and we would have wound up completely unsatisfied, and feeling like crap. OR we could go to our local Steak N Shake, pay about $15.00 for a  sit down meal and be completely satisfied, AND get half priced milkshakes.

I didn't really like either option.

But, I decided that Auston has been really great about our whole No-Spend month, and we did need to eat, so we went to Steak N Shake. I made Auston promise that this was going to be our one splurge of the month though, after this we really have no room for error. So we went, we ate, and including the Tip, we only spent $15.00 , Not Bad. I hardly feel guilty.

I got my electric bill today - $40.91 - Seriously?! In the middle of winter? I am so thrilled by the weather. I still owe my company $38.95 from earlier this year, I have been slowly paying off the whopper that was my suprise $204.00 bill from this summer. So in total I owe $79.86 - That should be paid off by the end of the month!

Our water was turned back on in the evening, just in time for me to make dinner. We had Loaded Chicken Quesedillas! They were sooo gooood! I love cooking, and I love having a man who cleans up after I cook!

In a little bit I might even make us some Chocolate Moose. You can find the recipe here. It is so amazing, and so easy, ANYONE can make it in minutes. I will be posting what I did for our quesadilla's there shortly also.

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Photo 365













Our dinner! Yes, I did take the one that was a little blackened. I'm just sweet that way : )

Weekly Money Check-up!

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.





1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries! Not such an awful thing to spend money on!

2. Today I am thankful for a relaxing weekend. Honestly, last week was pretty crummy, so a low-key weekend was just what I needed.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was absolutely nothing on Saturday. And by nothing, I mean I woke up late, had two cups of coffee, went for a long bike ride, organized the house, and crocheted while watching a movie with J. It was perfect.
4. I will consider this week a success if I get ready for some friends in town this weekend! I love having visitors. :)
5. If I could change one thing about my home I’d add a fireplace. All I want to do on chilly nights is make a cozy fire, snuggle on the couch and listen to it crackle while reading a good book. So, dear friends, if you have this luxury, please use your fireplace for me this week!


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Photo 365.


This is one of my best friends and I when we were little girls! I'm the one in the awful flower shirt. When we went to school, people used to get us mixed up because we looked so much alike!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today was a successful No-Spend day! :]
I put $20 in savings towards my trip, which is depressingly small, but next week I should be adding a ton more! This week there would have been more if I hadn't taken the weekend off to spend with my father && if I hadn't done so much grocery shopping. Also, just to be cautious, I'm leaving a big chunk out of savings to renew my insurance with. I'm not sure exactly how much this is going to cost, and I would rather have to much money than to little.

That's about it on the financial front.

_____________________

It was also my nephews 2nd birthday! So here's my 365 photo:


A montage of photo's from today's party!! I love this little man <3

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rounding out week one.

So week one of my No Spend month is over!! Today we finished strong-ish, only spending 18.44 on dog food. here's my spending for the week!


ANIMALS  
2012-01-07Compare supermarket prices Dog/ Cat food$18.44
TOTAL FOR ANIMALS $18.44
CAR SAVINGS  
2012-01-05Car Savings$5.00
TOTAL FOR CAR SAVINGS $5.00
GROCERIES  
2012-01-03Grocery Trip$50.67
2012-01-05Local Grocery Store$20.91
2012-01-06Local Grocery Store$6.00
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES $77.58
TOTAL $101.02


Not bad, right? The majority of it was on groceries, and NONE of it was spent unnecessarily! I am really proud of our start. What a way to start 2012!

We should have enough groceries now to last us through most of next week. With the exception of the sausage I still need to pick up.

The gas dad bought us has really helped too, He put in three times the amount I usually do! My little car is so happy to be full of gas.

I shouldn't have needed animal food! But alas, somehow they managed to get into the closet and finished off what food they had left! OH ANIMALS, I still love you.

How did your week of no spending go?

____________________

And for today's picture!! I will show you a mini-collage of some of the beautiful cakes my grandmother has made! She is making a blues clues one for my nephew tomorrow! I will post it the next time I blog... Here we go!


M's birthday cake! Complete with Barbie.


Little M's Cake!! I didn't get a chance to eat this one, but I'm sure it was as good as it looks!



This is the most recent! My Aunts wedding cake!


I wish I had a pictures of my cake from last year, that one was awesome :)