Routine

Over the last couple of months I have fallen out of my simple, yet effective, routine. It most definitely started happening when I started my new job and I had to get used to a lot of new things. First, I had to get used to my new job. I was tired at the end of the day and couldn’t find the energy to do anything. Not only that, but I had to get used to taking the train to work, which essentially meant that errand running during lunch was out. I had to leave a little earlier for work and now don’t get home until a little later than I used to. 

Plus, I just liked going out with my friends more than doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, anything that an adult should normally do. 

That being said, I’m tired. I’m tired of not having a routine that I can fall back on. I liked my old routine because I was so on top of things that if I missed a day because I went out or just didn’t want to do it that it wasn’t the end of the world. I just picked up the next day. I’ve been at my new job for 2 months now, so it’s high time I get into another routine. 

I want to focus on getting my apartment back in shape, laundry completely done (seriously can’t even remember the last time it was all done… oh the shame), meal planning, my Etsy shop, and getting plenty of sleep. 

So, tonight? I’m doing my laundry. ALL OF IT!

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Little lessons

{photo via}

This weekend flew by! I was so, so sick (sinus infection) all of last week that I didn’t get anything done in advance for the wedding weekend. So, my whole “prepare” item on my 30 before 30 list… fail. 

Oh well. Being sick happens. Anyway! This weekend I learned a few things that I feel like will help me on this crazy getting out of debt thing:

  • Call to see if there is a better rate when staying at a hotel for a wedding. As soon as I got the invitation in the mail a couple months ago I immediately called and booked a room at the hotel. Turns out my friends called and booked a room at the same hotel for $20 cheaper by not booking in the block of rooms. 
  • On the same subject, share a hotel room if you can. I went to the wedding with 3 friends and we got 2 rooms. We most definitely didn’t need 2 rooms. Had we all 4 split, our costs would have gone way down.
  • Always sort out who will pay for what… in advance. If at all possible, have everything paid for in advance, or everyone pay the other person in advance. Example, if one person puts the hotel on their card, have everyone pay their share before the trip. It makes it easier to know how much can actually be spent on the trip.
  • Anticipate needing to eat out more than expected. Bring snacks, water, sandwiches, etc. We ended up getting Chipotle between the ceremony and the reception – unnecessarily costing me almost $10. (Granted they were 10 delicious dollars of tacos and guac…)
  • Do your nails at home. Sure, it’s tons of fun to go get a mani/pedi… the massage, warm/bubbly water, zillions of amazing colors to pick from, but the thing is, it’s not hard to do it at home. If you do your nails at home enough you can get really good at it. Even though your colors probably seem old to you, they aren’t to other people. Enjoy a spa night at home the night or two before the even/you leave. (My trick is to use 2 thin coats of Gelous Nail Gel, two thin coats of your color, one coat of quick dry top coat. Apply a thin coat of top coat each day to extend the paint)

I’m sure most of you already know these things, but I tell ya, I wish I had thought of them Friday instead of Sunday. I’m all for a stop to Dunkin on the weekends, but I was shocked at how much I spend on eating out. I have another wedding that I’m going to in 3 weeks (or 19 days, as the bride excitedly texted this morning! “Teeeeens!!!!”), and I can tell you I will do a much better job preparing. 

Getting down to business

I have been thinking obsessively about ways that I can pay off my debts faster. Seriously, all the time. (Thanks for listening to my random mid-day ideas, seeester!)

I’ve had this debate going in my head about whether or not I could go a month with only spending on necessities (rent, bills, food). Turns out, I think I can. Also turned out that June would have been the worst month to start with all of the events I have going on. So, I’m going to shoot for July. I know I have one weekend where I’ll be going back home, but I can work with that. 

Another good part about not starting until July is that I have the opportunity to really think about where my money will need to go. I am bound and determined to not go out to lunch (which is so difficult when I work right where there are a million amazing places to go), and not to spend money on anything I don’t need to.

So, what does that mean? 

It means that I will first take inventory. Do I have enough contact solution? Food? Shampoo? TP? You know, the basics. I figure that by setting myself up with what I will need it will drastically reduce my spending. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to go out and overspend before the month starts (because wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of not spending any money?). I just want to make sure I set myself up in the right way.

Ya know?

 

Back to the basics

As I mentioned in my last post, I started this blog as a way for me to document my spending/saving/debt repayment and it quickly strayed from that. I do want to get back to that a little bit more though.

About 2 months ago I started a job that came with a fairly significant salary increase(!), which has helped me be able to budget and figure out my finances in a real way.  When there is hardly enough money in the bank to pay for bills/rent/necessities it’s not fun to budget, it all looks so sad. So about a month ago I set up a budget. I real, true budget. It felt so good! I was finally making enough money to be able to put money into savings, put extra towards my debts, and generally feel much better about where I’m heading.

Even as early as a couple of months ago I was really nervous about June because I have some pretty big things coming up: 2 out of town weddings and a graduation. These were three things I wouldn’t have been able to afford before and I wanted to be sure I was smart about where my money went in the months leading up to June so I wouldn’t be blindsided and not have enough and have to use a credit card. (Just say no to credit!)

I have absolutely made some mistakes since starting this whole thing, but I can tell you that I feel much more in control of my life, and that makes me much happier. I’m able to say no to some things because I’ve already planned out some really fun things. Also, when something fun randomly pops up, I’m able to know whether I can truly afford it … and if it looks tight I’m able to look and see if I can take it from another area (such as fuel).

So! Here we go. I’m back on track and getting back to the basics of what this blog was meant to be. I have some pretty epic wanderlust, so I want this debt gone ASAP! Ireland… Florida… Italy… the world awaits!

30 before 30

This is a list I have been so excited to make and for some reason thought 26 was too early and 28 too late… so 27 it is! Below is my official 30 before 30 list that I’ve given some thought to, but also won’t worry if later I think of something that “should” have gone on here.

I started this blog as a way to track my spending and my debt repayment (which is the ultimate goal), but I thought it would be fun to track a little more of my life than I currently do; read: instagramming a photo once a week. (Also, see #20 below) I fully intend to write more about what I’m doing to pay off my debt so I can travel more (second ultimate goal), but for now this is just a fun little thing I’ve always wanted to do.

Without further adieu, my 30 before 30 list!:

  1. Travel to 2 new places each year
  2. Take a self-defense class
  3. Make my apartment feel like a cozy grown up home
  4. Go vegetarian for one month
  5. Read 52/52
  6. Pay off credit cards
  7. Have a successful Etsy shop
  8. Train for and run a ½ marathon
  9. Take a solo trip
  10. Prepare
  11. Take care of myself
  12. Volunteer
  13. Go to each of the Chicago sports teams games
  14. Write letters, really interact with loved ones
  15. Celebrate my golden birthday- 29!
  16. Travel to 5 new countries
  17. Really take advantage of the city I live in
  18. Get a tattoo
  19. Not care about what people think about me
  20. Journal – keep track of what’s going on in my life
  21. Learn to cook
  22. Play hooky and do something fun without feeling guilty
  23. Backpack somewhere
  24. Go one week without any social media at all
  25. Watch more movies
  26. Stick to a budget
  27. Show up
  28. Don’t be afraid to say no
  29. Spend a day at a spa
  30. Find true love

 

Today I am 26

Today I am 26. Tomorrow I will be 27, but today… right now… I am 26.

I don’t quite know why, but this feels like a big jump for me. This past year has been one of the hardest yet one of the best. I have learned, grown, fallen, and laughed my way through it.

I can feel myself becoming the person I am. Or rather, accepting the person that I am and that feels so damn good.

Twenty-six

I’m in my last few weeks of being 26. That feels weird. I feel weirdly old, yet still so young. Is that how most people feel? My friend sent me this article yesterday, which rings so true.

If you had asked me a year ago what my life would look like now, I can with 100% certainty tell you it wouldn’t have looked like this.

While I never would have guessed that my life would be what it is today I can say with complete honesty that I am so very happy. I am thankful for all of the amazing experiences I have had and for the love that I feel in my life. I’ve learned so much in the past year that I can hardly even say I’m the same person. Three days before my 26th birthday I broke up with someone I had dated for 18 months. I am basically a serial monogamist and didn’t quite know what to do with myself for a couple of months. Then I decided it was time to strengthen my friendships and relationships. What a whirlwind it has been with that! I have met some of the most incredible people. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to be surrounded by people that love you and appreciate you for who you are.

Now that I’m nearing 27 I am starting to think about those 30 before 30 lists that are everywhere. I’m pretty sure it’s time that I write my own. I have so many things I want to do and maybe it will help keep me on track. I am actually getting excited about entering my late 20s. (27 is late twenties, right?)

Holy cow. If 27 is late twenties, that’s crazy. When did this happen?? Writing that out makes it feel so much bigger. Like, a bigger responsibility, yet also more room for big experiences!

Here’s to making the most of 26 for the next 3 weeks!