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Archive for April, 2014

Social Dieting

April 29th, 2014 at 11:07 am

Let me start with saying, I don't look overweight, but my BMI was a little high, and I'd gained some 20 lbs. since college. These past couple of years got really bad as I experienced the dreaded relationship gut. After we broke up, I wanted to lose the weight, but couldn't seem to find the motivation.

Enter DietBet.

It's a website where people host games which involve people losing 4% of their body weight over a month or 10% over 6 months. At the end of the game, everyone who has met their weight loss goal splits the money in the pot (minus what DietBet takes to keep running). I just successfully weighed out of my first game, but with mixed feelings.

My favorite part was the motivation. Suddenly having money on the line made me want to move and make better food choices. I haven't touched fast food in about a month, and I don't even really miss it. Being able to join multiple games at once was even more motivating because I just had to lose the weight once and then I'd potentially get paid multiple times Smile

My biggest detractor happened in the last few days. Those who had slacked off or weren't making steady progress suddenly felt the pressure, and some went to (what I believe are) extreme measures. To me, this was about steady, measured progress and changing my attitudes towards food and exercise. I think juicing or fasting for a week before to get rid of 5 lbs. to make weight is cheating yourself (and me and others who lost it in a more healthy way). To me, there's little point in working so hard all month to regain it right after weigh-in and then have to join another dietbet...unless that's just some people's plan to continually 'win'.

Regardless, DietBet helped me successfully take off 7 lbs. (10 total from my heaviest weight), so I can't be that mad at it...

Lots going on

April 28th, 2014 at 10:04 am

I went from nothing happening to lots happening. What's that saying about 'when it rains, it pours'...

Made some major decluttering progress. Spent yesterday switching out clothes. Ended up with a bag that I donated to Goodwill containing the clothes and some of the items I couldn't freecycle. I also set up the Pet and Car Accounts in Capital One 360. I'm not putting a whole lot to either for now, so it will be awhile until they're useful, but they're there and the payments (however small) are automated. The list stands at:

Switch out winter shoes (Done)
Switch out winter clothes (Done)
Donate unused clothing to trim down clothing collection (Done)
Break budget down further/set up maintenance accounts (Done)
Clean up work emails (Done)
Clean up/organize work computer documents (In progress - this will not be done in April, but I was able to do quite a bit this month)
Clean car (Done and it's shockingly still clean!!)
Cash out change bank (I counted this and it's less than 10 bucks, so I've decided to let it build)
Organize makeup and throw out old makeup
Read all fashion magazines or get rid of them (50% Done - every time I seem to make progress, I find another stack)
Freecycle things I haven't touched in months (Done)
Identify 3 items to list on Ebay (66% Done - found two and listing them on Craigslist instead as their small)
Organize cheer goodies box (Done)

Later this week, I'll share some of the unexpected upfront expenses from my new jobs, the results of my foray into social dieting, and an extremely impulsive purchase that I don't really regret at all. Told you it's pouring...

Dance dance

April 26th, 2014 at 02:28 am

I got my first call for the Polynesian dance job. It's a training show a couple of hours away. 50 bucks and I can carpool so little to no gas. Considering I thought it was 10 an hour and shows last less than 2, I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm a little nervous since I only know one dance and my technique is not at all refined, but I'm guessing the untrained eye really only cares that your hips are moving and doesn't really notice whether it's the exact shape Smile

I've been trying to decide whether to snowball the money from this job or use it to start building a slush fund. I have a linked savings account that I put 25 a month into, and I could use that as the slush fund and (since I've stopped touching it) put the job money into debt repayment. Any thoughts?

Quick Update

April 25th, 2014 at 06:54 am

Got my adjusted phone bill from when I switched phone plans. Apparently the combination is even cheaper than the second plan (135/month) because the bill for the month where I was partially in my first plan and partially in the new one came to 119. I'm one very happy girl Smile

I know I promised an actual numbers update Tuesday, but when I started the draft, I realized it would be more prudent to wait until May so the numbers would reflect all of April.

Lots of Numbers

April 22nd, 2014 at 09:48 am

Below is the updated numbers for what I owe at the end of April:

Car: 7876.26
Sallie Mae 1-6: 20786.57
Dept of Ed 1/3: 8220.55
ACS: 10439.37
Wells Fargo: 2480.56
Personal Loan: 3278.15

Slowly but surely making progress. However, I am noticing that I'm spending much more than budgeted in categories outside of debt so here's my planned April spending versus the actual for everything not accounted for above:

Item

Planned
Actual

External Savings
$30
$30

Netflix
$9
$8

Insurance
$85
$85

Credit Card
$110
$330

Gym
$30
$29

Linked Savings
$25
$25

Phone
$205
$205

Kohls CC
$60
$59


Obviously, my problem is the credit card. In order to continue to show utilization, I am trying to only charge my 110 food/gas/catch all budget and pay it in full each month.

I've started analyzing my credit card purchases to figure out where I'm going wrong, so more on that as I pinpoint my problem areas.

Not much going on

April 18th, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Haven't made too much additional de-cluttering progress. I did find two more batches of magazines cleaning up last weekend, so I'm bringing those home for my upcoming 3 day weekend. De-cluttering and organizing stands at:

Switch out winter shoes (Done)
Switch out winter clothes
Donate unused clothing to trim down clothing collection
Break budget down further/set up maintenance accounts (90% Done - just have to actually set up the accounts)
Clean up work emails (Done and inbox is still on 1 pg)
Clean up/organize work computer documents (In progress)
Clean car (Done)
Cash out change bank (Hellooo snowflake!)
Organize makeup and throw out old makeup
Read all fashion magazines or get rid of them (50% Done)
Freecycle things I haven't touched in months (Done)
Identify 3 items to list on Ebay (Still searching...)
Organize cheer goodies box (Done)

I haven't done an actual financial update in a bit, and payday is next Tuesday, so I'll update my totals after that.

Happy Friday!!

Update on the part-time gigs

April 16th, 2014 at 08:01 am

So a little bit ago, I wrote about my two potential part-time jobs. I must be crazy...or really bored...because I've decided to take both of them. Tonight is try-outs, and I will be helping select next year's team. Rehearsals for the polynesian dance job are every Sunday evening. It's a lot of fun, and I'm not nearly as terrible as I thought I would be. Shows are flexible, but I was told they're pretty much every weekend during the summer. I get to choose which ones I can/want to do, so I can make as little or as much as I want with it.

I honestly think it will probably break even when you consider the gas I use to drive to rehearsals every week, but it's a lot of fun, great exercise, and keeps me busy, so I'm less likely to go out shopping.

I think I will make some money from the cheerleading job, but the stipends don't get paid until the end of the season. I've already thought through some potential options for cutting gas costs since I will be driving a lot more than I currently do.

Some major organizing / decluttering progress!

April 12th, 2014 at 06:15 pm

Does organizing pounds count too? Today, I shed some extra and put some where they need to be by running/walking 4 miles to the gym, doing an hour-long zumba class and walking back home.

After resting for a bit, I had an incredible amount of energy, so I organized my box of treats that I use to fill my cheerleaders' goody bags. They're now all neatly organized in little containers. I also went through a box of crafts I'd gotten from Freecycle, picked what I wanted for the cheer box, tossed the unusable stuff, and put the rest back to freecyle again. I also found an old Polaroid camera, some kids hangers, and a cookbook to freecycle.

I found another pile of magazines under my bed, so I'm spending my relaxing Saturday night flipping through those and then I'll try to freecycle the pile before recycling them.

All that plus laundry. Boomskis!!

Finally some physical decluttering progess!

April 11th, 2014 at 06:43 am

Yesterday, I had a flat tire. Since they do a complimentary car wash, I decided the afternoon would be a good time to tackle cleaning. I forgot to take pictures (and even if I had, I'm still not completely sure how to even upload pictures...), but it's so nice and pretty now! It took awhile as the dog hair gets stuck in the seats, but I finally got it to a presentable condition. This weekend, I hope to tackle the cheer goodies/freecycle/eBay tasks. Happy Friday!

Switch out winter shoes (Done)
Switch out winter clothes
Donate unused clothing to trim down clothing collection
Break budget down further/set up maintenance accounts (Done)
Clean up work emails (Done)
Clean up/organize work computer documents (In progress...)
Clean car (DONE!)
Cash out change bank (Hellooo snowflake!)
Organize makeup and throw out old makeup
Read all fashion magazines or get rid of them (90% Done)
Freecycle things I haven't touched in months
Identify 3 items to list on Ebay
Organize cheer goodies box

And...life just happened

April 10th, 2014 at 08:06 am

So, I drove to work today like any other day. Except that today my tire pressure light came on. My car's been running a little louder than normal, but I figured it was struggling to get out of the winter blues and just need an oil change. When the light came on, I thought 'Oh, that's why it's been running weird. I get to work, and drumroll please...

My tire's flat...not just flat, but flaaaaatt.

Now, I get to take it in this afternoon. The oil change had been budgeted out of the extra money I throw at my debts, but now I'm faced with a decision, tap the EF or take more from the debt repayment fund. I budgeted 470 for my next paycheck to go to my car. 300 will bring it to 7 grand and (lots of) change.

Should I put that 170 to any additional car costs or tap the emergency fund? I don't feel like this is a true emergency, but I also don't want to derail my debt repayment too much...thoughts? Advice? General musings?

Well that was eye opening...

April 9th, 2014 at 08:30 pm

I didn't particularly feel like physically decluttering, so today I decided to see where I could break my budget down a little further. I broke my food/gas budget out into Entertainment, Gas, Groceries, and Other. Turns out I'm going way over the 220 I allot for the month. Since I put it on my credit card, I guess I didn't realize it was over so badly. I mean...I sort of knew since I'm now paying in full each month and it was always over 220, but I was kind of operating on a head-in-the-sand mentality. So now that I know where the money's going, I'm going to set new budget numbers, put the credit card away, and try the envelope system to see if that helps me stay more on track.

EF Replenishment!

April 8th, 2014 at 10:22 am

So a few months back, before I started this blog, my EF was right at the 1000 that Dave Ramsey prescribed...and then my ex happened. It's a whole big story, but the short version is that even though we're broken up, I lent him money (about 450) because he's going through a rough time. Like I usually do when I willingly give away money (which really only happens with very close friends/family), I counted the money gone. Thus, my EF is about 550. Lo and behold, the ex called today with 300 to give me. Color me surprised! I'm going to put 200 back to the EF and keep the other 100 for the circus on Friday (not that I'm going to spend 100 of course!).

Side note...has anyone seen the new $100 bills? They look so cartoonish.

Decluttering Update

April 7th, 2014 at 07:44 am

Only made some minor progress this weekend. Set up two additional savings account for specific expenses: pet fund and car expenses. There will only be a very minimal amount going into these accounts, so they'll take some time to build up, but it's a start.

Also, got rid of the fashion magazines, minus two. So the list stands at:

Switch out winter shoes (Done)
Switch out winter clothes
Donate unused clothing to trim down clothing collection
Break budget down further/set up maintenance accounts (50% Done)
Clean up work emails (Done)
Clean up/organize work computer documents
Clean car
Cash out change bank (Hellooo snowflake!)
Organize makeup and throw out old makeup
Read all fashion magazines or get rid of them (90% Done)
Freecycle things I haven't touched in months
Identify 3 items to list on Ebay
Organize cheer goodies box

Are part-time jobs worth it?

April 4th, 2014 at 10:19 am

I've been looking for additional ways to make some money/fill my time. A couple of the things I've looked into are polynesian dance and coaching cheer. Both of these are ads I found on Craigslist. My first polynesian dance rehearsal is Sunday, and that really only pays 10/hr for actual gigs, so I have to decide whether it's worth the drive for rehearsals/gigs. It does sound like a lot of fun and not too commitment heavy, so I may give it a shot for a bit and see how I like it.

The cheerleading position is a bit tougher choice. I currently coach for the local youth cheerleading team in the fall and winter in a strictly volunteer capacity. While it is still not certain, I received a tentative offer to assistant coach the varsity squad of a local high school. Given my full-time job and living arrangement, I don't have a substantial amount of free time. However, it seems like practices will somewhat fit in with my schedule and both my job and babysitting family are flexible and willing to work with me. Here's where I stand:

The Pros: It's paid. It's coaching at a higher skill level than recreational which would be more challenging and fun for me. I'd get to choreograph on a more competitive level.

The Cons: The pay is paltry, especially considering that I'd be adding a 25 minute commute twice/day 2-3 times/week. I'd be leaving my current girls, some of whom have been with me from the beginning. I'd be losing the friends I've built in the other adult coaches. The older girls in my current organization may find themselves without a coach as I'm usually the only one willing to coach the older girls.

Any thoughts/advice? How did you decide whether or not a part-time job was worth the effort?

Decluttering Challenge Update and Weekend Plans

April 4th, 2014 at 10:13 am

I haven't made as much of a dent as I'd like in my challenge, but I did manage to clean out my work emails. From 152 down to 43. I'm one of those who likes to keep my inbox sparse, so once it goes over to the next page, it starts to bug me...Tonight, I have lots of laundry that's been waiting patiently to be put away. And my weekend goal will be the magazines since I'll be at my mom's.

In other news...My dog's fifth birthday was yesterday! Since he lives with my mom, I'm going to go home tonight and spend the weekend with him. This usually involves a gas fill-up and a trip to PetSmart for either his food or some special treats. We also spend a fair amount of time at the dog park, but that costs me nothing Smile I was debating buying him some brand new toy, but the reality is that he has his favorites and loves playing at the dog park/being outside more than some new toy. So I plan to bring a book, maybe pack a light lunch, and just let him enjoy being outside all day long.

April Decluttering/Organizing Goals

April 2nd, 2014 at 01:47 pm

Since I'm more likely to accomplish it if I have a list, here's the things I'd like to do:

Switch out winter shoes (Done!)
Switch out winter clothes
Donate unused clothing to trim down clothing collection
Break budget down further/set up maintenance accounts
Clean up work emails
Clean up/organize work computer documents
Clean car
Cash out change bank (Hellooo snowflake!)
Organize makeup and throw out old makeup
Read all fashion magazines or get rid of them
Freecycle things I haven't touched in months
Identify 3 items to list on Ebay
Organize cheer goodies box

I'll try and revisit this weekly.