Tag Archives: budget

May I Have Your Attention…

Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!

Still kicking…

I survived the move. More or less. I’m staying with friends for a bit while I find something I can live with for a long time to come. It works. I still haven’t stopped sneezing. Decided to go for full-blown bronchitis. But I’m heavily medicated so we should be right as rain soon. Now that the move is over (for now), I’m trying to get back into my writing. I made sure not to pack all mytough writing gear into the storage unit. I have been making notes on a new alien story. I don’t usually write aliens but I can’t get this idea out of my head. I’ve let it stew long enough that it’s about ready for a full outline and some serious writing. It’s funny and has a point and I am liking this idea a lot. Now I just need to stop coughing…

Spring Cleaning

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. Isn’t it a little early for that? To give you a quick answer, No! I’ve decided not to buy the little house I’ve been staying in. It’s not so little and a bitch to keep warm and tons of stuff need fixed or freshened up. I’m just not that in love with the house.

That means I’m packing again. But it’s not just packing up all the stuff I have. I’m cleaning out, too. I’m asking myself if I really need all those empty binders and notebooks. Do I really need to keep the two dozen magazines I’ve not looked at in over a year? Do I need two dozen pairs of shoes when I only have about four pairs I wear regularly? How much stuff am I holding on to simply because I remember growing up without a lot of stuff? Cleaning-a-Window

Don’t get me wrong. My brother and I had everything we truly needed as kids. But we didn’t get a lot of the stuff we wanted because it wasn’t possible. So I’m cleaning out boxes and drawers and notebooks. I’m packing up the stuff I will use and need. I am not packing the other stuff. The fluff and detritus of 43 years. I’m trimming the fat, so to speak. And once I stop sneezing from all the dust, it’s going to feel really good.

What I Want

moneytreeA money tree would be nice, right? Recent events have reinforced me opinions on financial independence. Not financial security, I’ll get to that in a minute. Financial independence is not something I was taught. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. It goes hand-in-hand with work ethic and job stability and budgeting. All of these things work together, if you do it right.

This is how it should work. You grow up seeing your parents work hard and take care of all their responsibilities and live productive happy lives. You get an education and find employment doing something you enjoy and make enough coin to take care of all of your responsibilities and live a productive and happy life. Your children grow up watching you and learning the same lessons you did. But it doesn’t always happen that way.

In case you haven’t been playing along, I grew up watching my parents constantly argue over money. There was never enough. It never got spent in the right way. We didn’t know when more was coming. These are the lessons you don’t want to learn. It wasn’t until I was grown, married and divorced that I learned how to live on a budget.

Budgets are easy concepts, really. Total all of your necessary expenses. Subtract that from your net income. The difference is hopefully a positive number and it’s what you get to play with. If it’s negative, then you need to reevaluate your expenses and your source of income. We waste tons of money on fast food and stuff we don’t need. Eliminate that stuff and then see what’s left. If you’re still in the red, you may need to find a better paying job or a second job. Not an easy thing in today’s job market.

Now here is the tricky part. You need to be able to do this without relying on your parents, grandparents, third cousin twice removed or whomever to bail you out when you get overdrawn yet again. Don’t let the bail-out become a habit. Each of us needs to be able to stand on our own and manage our own money independently without needing a knight in shining armor with deep pockets. It doesn’t matter what gender, race, sports team, hair color or anything else you are, learn how to manage money and live on your own. That’s financial independence.

Knowing that you have financial independence is how you build financial security. That feeling of knowing how much you have in savings, that you could survive for at least 6 months if you lost your job, that you’ll have money to live on when you retire to that beach house, that feeling comes from knowing that you have the ability to make money and keep money.

Oh, and check your credit report regularly. Especially if you’ve been in a relationship where money was shared. Those recent events I mentioned? Yeah, my ex-husband never learned those lessons any better than I did. The difference is that he still hasn’t learned them. I had yet another call this week from someone looking to serve papers on him. I may go ahead and change back to my maiden name after all.

Just looking

A few of you who know me personally already know this, but for the rest of you…I’m job hunting. I’ve worked in health care for the last few years. There were four years with the same company in food service before that. Staying in one place is not a problem. I’m still editing for Voluted Tales. That won’t change – Mark is stuck with me now. But I’m looking for a new day job.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Almost had an anxiety attack trying to update my resume. I have said resume listed with Indeed, Monster and Careerbuilder as well as a few others. I’ve had to start checking my email a couple of times a day because of all the messages these sites generate. And the actual searching is exhausting. This hasn’t gotten any easier as I’ve gotten older.

No matter what age you are, if you think you’re ready for a change, make sure you don’t run off half-cocked. Have a budget and know how far you can survive without steady income. You need to be covered in case you have any down time between jobs. Going back to school is always an option but you still need to keep the bills paid. Know what your income requirements are before you start looking. If you know you want to buy a house, you need to have enough income to cover payments, insurance, utilities, homeowner’s fees, and maintenance. It’s more expensive than you think it is. Plus, you have groceries, gas and other car expenses, internet, cable, and don’t forget your cell phone.

I keep seeing that commercial talking about how far your money will last you once you retire. I’m trying to figure out how far it will go past the end of the month. If you’re looking too, happy hunting!

Speak softly…

For a really long time, I was a wallflower.  I was not shown the possibilities of trying new things.  The little bit of encouragement I got was usually accompanied by negative reinforcement.  I was taught self-doubt and fear of failure.

The attack I blogged about last time was not the only one, but it was the most traumatic.  Those events helped knock down my self-confidence further.  Well, the part my mother hadn’t already tried to kill off.  Yep, I was a total wallflower.

I had no idea how to stand up for myself, how to express myself, how to figure out who I was.  In trying to deal with …everything… I developed some really bad habits.  The one that bugs me most is not finishing things.  Part of that, I think, is because I feel like I am unfinished.

It’s taken me 40 years to find my backbone.  Now the problem is that I’ve over-corrected.  Maybe that’s part of why I come across as aggressive.

I want to do all the things I never got to try, experience new things, see new places.  Some days I feel like a teenager again.  I have OCD and a bit of ADD which doesn’t help.  On days I wake up hyper, I can literally bounce off the walls.

I was hyper this morning before my cup of coffee.  I get impatient, too, because I’m ready to try stuff and do things and go places.  Maybe my impatience adds to the aggression as well.

You know how someone is when they first realize they’ve fallen in love?  How annoying they can be because they want everyone around them to be in love, too?  Sometimes that’s how I feel when I’ve had a breakthrough moment.  I want everyone to be as open and light and free as I feel.

The last blog was very cathartic.  It helped me knock over a few more bricks and let go of some baggage.  I’m learning, albeit slowly, to try to temper my excitement.  I try not to rush headlong into stuff.  I plan, I budget, I put ideas in the back of my head and let them stew.  Apparently I still come on too strong, but I’m trying to learn to speak softly.

Dollars to Doughnuts

Something interesting happened to me this weekend.  I was shopping for jeans.  Not a big deal, I just didn’t want to pay half a paycheck for a pair.  Found what I was looking for at a ladies plus size store.  I’ve told ya before, I’m no Barbie.  Lots of curves here.

The strange thing happened at checkout.  I’ve shopped at this store before and hit the sales where you get a discount if you apply for a store credit card.  For reasons I’ll get to in a minute, I’ve been turned down.  This was one of those sale weekends so I figured, What the hell, it’s been long enough since the last time.  So the clerk ran my information through the computer.  Holy Schiznit!  I got approved!

Let me say now that I have never had an actual credit card.  Strange, you say?….. Consider this:  I was never taught a work ethic except for doing my homework as soon as I got home from school.  Mom worked sporadically until she got too sick.  Dad changed jobs a lot, always trying to find a way to make his love of radio profitable but to no avail.  So I didn’t have a lot of good examples.

I have had several jobs in my 40 years.  The coolest is probably working as an educator at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Aggravating at times, but I got to pet stingrays and sharks on a daily basis.  I was in heaven.

I have to say that I see younger friends, sometimes children of my own high school pals, forging out into the world without a stinking clue how to sustain themselves without help.  Goddess knows I didn’t know how before I got married.  My ex didn’t know any better than I did.  When the marriage ended and I moved in with my aunt, she made sure to fill in the gaps in my education.

Let me give you some guidelines to lead you to financial stability at any age.  Feel free to pass these on to anyone who needs to know.   Yeah, that’s pretty much everyone on the planet.

Rule #1:  Find something that you love to do, can do everyday without burning out too fast, and find a way to make money at it.  You have to have income first of all.

Rule #2:  Learn to live on a budget.  This means you keep a list of all your bills that have to be paid and how much and when they’re due each month.  If you don’t know how much your power bill is you probably shouldn’t buy concert tickets.

Rule #3:  ALWAYS pay your bills first.  Plan for them.  If your phone is due on the 9th and you don’t get paid until the 10th, then you better have money from the paycheck before the 9th to cover it.  It’s paramount to maintaining good credit to get your bills paid on time.  If you can pay something ahead that’s even better.

Rule #4:  Save your money.  Not just for a rainy day, either.  If you are the only source of income for your house, how will your bills be paid if you’re out of work for whatever reason for a month?  Or two months?  You need to build up enough savings to cover at least 6 months worth of bills, not extra stuff, just bills.  I actually saw a bank ad that suggested taking 10% of your disposable income, that’s after you pay all your bills, and put that into savings.  It may seem like a huge amount if you don’t make a lot, or it could seem like it’s not much.  Either way you need to save that money.

Rule #5:  Schiznit happens!  This is that rainy day.  A chipped windshield may cost $200 bucks to replace.  If your deductible is set at $500 that means you have to pay for a new windshield out of pocket.  Them’s the breaks, Chickadee.  Stuff happens and we have to keep moving.  Lying down and waiting for someone to come along and fix it for us is not how the world works.

Granted, I’m no financial adviser.  I’m just a round white woman who got tired of being broke.  I’m rebuilding my credit slowly but surely.  I’m still tickled pink to get that department store charge card.  You gotta start somewhere.  If you don’t know where to start you won’t get where you want to be.