Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What not to do to save money

I can officially add home haircuts to the list of things that I should never do to save money.  I already knew I was not great at men's cuts after an attempt about a year ago to give S a trim.  He didn't flat out say that it was the worst haircut of his life because he loves me too much but OMG it was terrible!  Think Little Rascals Alfalfa in the back, lopsided chunky cuts on the side with some scissor lines that look vaguely reminiscent of Vanilla Ice, and a little too long and shaggy in the front.... I got a good number of chuckles out of that haircut while he waited for it to grow out enough to go to the barber.

So S won't let me touch his hair again but I figured I could at least handle a little trim to my bangs between real haircuts.  I wear my bangs longish with the ends coming right to my eyebrows and since they grow fast I was constantly needing to have them trimmed or I would wear them pinned back once they got too long.  A couple weeks ago I decided to trim them up myself before my parents came in town for a visit.  I had all the right tools and felt like I did exactly what the stylist does when she cuts my hair.  In the mirror they looked pretty good, not pro but definitely not bad.  

And then my parents arrived and out came the camera to document all the fun we were having.  Lots of pictures were taken the weekend they were here and today I downloaded those pictures from my camera.  And in every single picture of me my bangs look terrible!  Completely  lopsided and whispy for one half and blunt cut for the other.  I am mortified that I have been leaving the house everyday thinking that my home haircut looked pretty good.  Why does the mirror tell me one thing while the camera is singing a whole different story?  I will be going to the salon ASAP to fix this mess, perhaps today on my lunch break, and I will forever be removing haircutting from the list of things I can do to save money.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oral surgery on the horizon

It looks like my newly stockpiled emergency fund is going to see it's first real hit... a trip to the oral surgeon.  bleh.

When I was a teenager and all of my friends were having their wisdom teeth out, I considered myself pretty darn lucky that A) I only had one wisdom tooth and B) that one little wisdom tooth was not moving.  Over time both of my little sisters had their wisdom teeth removed and still my lone tooth refused to budge, although it was sitting just below the gum surface and facing sideways so it would be a problem if it did decide to move. And I was fine with that, let it stay there and let me not have to experience the pain and swelling that everyone else was going through!

When I moved to Tampa back in 2006 my new dentist sent me to an oral surgeon to see if I should go ahead and get the tooth removed.  That surgeon said the risks (potential nerve damage) and cost (no insurance) of the surgery outweighed any benefit since the tooth wasn't moving and therefore wasn't doing any harm.  Plus the procedure itself would include breaking part of my jaw bone since the bone was no longer the pliable bone of a teenager and the tooth was still embedded!  So I gladly declined the surgery!

But early last week I started feeling some pain and tenderness back there and by last Friday I was in enough pain that I decided it was time to head to the dentist to see what the problem was.  Turns out that my wisdom tooth has finally decided to emerge at the age of 31!  The dentist took one look at the new x-ray and said "it's about time!".  And out the door I went with a referral to another oral surgeon.  

Part of me is glad that I have great dental insurance so I'm pretty sure the surgery won't cost me too much (although I haven't actually checked into the plan costs yet) but the other part of me, the part not thinking about money, is terrified of having surgery!  When I meet with the surgeon in a few weeks I'm hoping they'll be able to calm my fears because right now I'm remembering all of the horrible reasons I didn't go through with the surgery back then... until then I'll just keep putting money aside to cover the surgery...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

10k and counting

Even though I just updated my numbers at the end of June (I update at the end of every quarter because I don’t have the time or patience to update every time I make a payment and because I really just despise looking at my big fat debt balance), I really wanted to update them again today because I am officially over the 10k paid off mark!  So without further ado…

Here’s where I’m at today:
Student Loan: $37,024
Car Loan: $9,720
Credit Card 1: $2,408
Credit Card 2: $4,693
Credit Card 3: $423
Parents: $0
Total: $54,268

Here’s where I started in October 2011:
Student Loan: $38,339

Car Loan: $11,684
Credit Card 1: $10,577
Credit Card 2: $3,635
Credit Card 3: $0
Parents: $600

Total: $64,835

As of today I’ve paid off a total of $10,567 in the past 10 months plus I’ve got 652 smackaroos in my savings account!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hitting the $10,000 mark

I'm so excited!  In only a few days I'll be getting paid which means I get to make a debt payment!  And not just any debt payment, it's the payment that will push me over the $10k paid off mark!  It's unreal that I am hitting such a big mile marker having only been at this for 10 months and it's even more unreal that I'm actually excited for my pay day to get here just so I can pay off debt.

When I started this journey to tackle my debt I dove right in but, I'll be honest, there was this little voice in the back of my head that told me that I would give up when it got tough and that getting out of debt was impossible so why try.  It's the same little voice I have to battle every time I confront a "want", the little voice always has about a hundred rationalizations for turning "wants" into "needs".  After the last ten months, I can gladly say that even though I don't win every battle with that little voice, I am proudly winning the war!  Looking forward to the next 10 months and 10k paid off!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Food prep day

This past Sunday unexpectedly turned into a giant food prep day which at the time was kind of a drag since I had a bazillion other things I needed to do but now I am realizing how awesome it was.  As per my usual Sunday morning routine, I woke up way to early (I’ve lost the ability to sleep in on the weekends) and figured I’d go ahead and make the grocery list.  My process involves rummaging through the fridge and cabinets to see what we have/ don’t have/ running low on/ or about to spoil.  Then I make two lists, one is the meal plan which I prioritize using stuff we already have and then figuring out what ingredients we need to buy to make the meals complete which goes on the second list.  

This Sunday when I went through the fridge, there were a bunch of items in our fridge that were on the verge: wilting veggies, super soft fruit, and chick peas and black beans that needed to get made into something before they went bad.  There were also some things that had gone over the edge and had to get pitched which really irks me, it is such as waste of money and I know that the reason for it is because we chose to eat out instead of at home which is another big slap on the hand but that’s another issue altogether… Back to the point, once I had gone through the fridge I realized I was going to need to do some cooking that day to turn all of the on the edge foods into something that could be frozen or eaten that day. 

Then at the grocery I realized we had timed our trip perfectly since they had just rolled out the “seconds” cart for the day.  I don’t know if every grocery store does this and I’ve just never cared to look for a bargain or if it’s just this particular grocery store I usually go to but the “seconds” cart is amazing!  Everything on the cart is at its ripest so it needs to be used right away but the prices are unbelievable.  Since I already knew I would be doing a lot of cooking when I got home, we decided to take advantage of the cart.  We got 2 eggplants, mushrooms, grapes, avocados, and some peppers and I think the total was less than $10. 

I spent a few hours cooking when I got home and made the following items:
  • Roasted eggplant, which I peeled, chopped and put in the freezer so we can use it later for this spicy Asian eggplant dish we eat regularly
  • Roasted red peppers and sautéed mushrooms which I marinated in balsamic vinegar then made sandwich wraps using tortilla, goat cheese, and lettuce
  • Falafel and tzatziki to use up the chick peas, cucumber, and onions that were looking sad
  • Black bean burgers which I froze for easy to grab lunches
  • I froze the fruit to be used later in yogurt or baking
  • The avocado has made a delicious spread on toast for breakfast
  • And the rest of the veggies got made into a stir-fry
Besides feeling good about not letting a bunch of food go to waste and saving a ton of money on fruits and veggies, I also enjoyed all that prepping and have really enjoyed eating my last three days’ worth of meals!  Our usual meals are boring and prepared as quickly as possible around our work schedules which adds to the temptation to just eat out instead (something we both give in to way too often).  I’m going to start setting some time aside each weekend for meal prep which will help me stay on track with not eating out and hopefully reduce some of the food waste we have in our house.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

all good things must end

I guess I was feeling a little too cocky for all the luck I've had in the money department over the last couple weeks because karma finally came along and balanced me right back out the other day.  Or at least that's what I'm blaming for the fact that I got pulled over and ticketed for turning right on a red!  It's only a $60 ticket so I should be thankful that I have pulled in extra money lately to cover it but instead I'm just frustrated with myself for not paying enough attention to the signage.

It was right after work and I was trying to get to the store to run a quick errand before I had to be at the commuter rail station to pick up S.  Since I didn't have a list written out I was concentrating way to hard on trying to remember everything I needed to pick up and not hard enough on actually driving to the store.  I know it's a stupid mistake that I'm sure many people have made but the cop who pulled me over acted like I had just committed a capital offense.  Plus it turns out that my car registration is incorrect... it says my car is white when in fact it is gray.  The cop kept repeating that over and over like I was too slow to understand what she was saying or perhaps she thought I was blind to the color of my car since I was obviously blind to all of the "no turn on red" signs.

All in all it was a frustrating moment and marks the end of my lucky streak, which is too bad since I hadn't yet made it to the store to buy the winning lotto ticket.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Good luck continues

Just a short update today: my money luck continues... there was a modest mid-year bonus at work!  Not only does it help me cover some car maintenance expenses coming up without having to dip into my emergency fund it also helps calm my fears about how my bosses view my work.  I'm feeling a little foolish now for all the worrying I've done over the past month about whether my boss is trying to push me out the door.  I'm hoping I can take this as a good lesson to chill out and stop with the constant analyzing of every little thing that happens at work!

With all this good money luck coming in maybe I should go buy a lotto ticket... it sure would help to pay off my debts if I won the powerball 60 million bucks!