Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do I Need More Discipline or a Looser Budget?

For the last few months, I've gone over my budgets in areas like gas, groceries, and eating out/fun money. The fact that I've been absorbing other expenses into my "cushion" money hasn't helped (my CSET test and auto registration come to mind). I've also done a TON of driving to my new school/district office and back and forth from my old and new apartment. BUT, that doesn't explain all the overages.

On one hand, I think that I could be more careful in my spending, and get back down to what I've been spending in the past. I still have savings goals, and want to make sure that I don't start overspending when I don't need to.

On the other hand, I now have zero debt. ZERO. My budget can loosen up a bit, and I will still be able to max out my Roth IRA this year, as well as contribute to a 403(b), and save $550 per month. Which is great, and I'm thankful that I have found a job where I am able to do that. BUT, if I lock down and get more careful, I could add another $100-$200 per month to that number.

I think there's a reason people talk about being Gazelle-like in debt payoff. Not that I'm suddenly buying designer purses or throwing money out the window. But I think now that I've accomplished that big goal, I want to loosen the reigns a bit. Maybe when I am closer to buying a house or paying for a wedding, some of that gazelle-intensity will come back. I know I have it in me. But for now, I'm going to enjoy being debt free and slow down to a leisurely jog...more giraffe-like. Or excited puppy-like. I don't know, I don't like animals enough to know which one to compare myself to. But you get my point.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Found an Apartment!

Well, it's official: I am moving back to my home town. Yes, Freddie and I are moving to Uptown Whittier. We get the keys on Thursday. The apartment is two bedrooms (so no more printer in the living room, and we'll have his fold out couch as a guest bed). I'm excited about the size, since it was feeling REALLY crowded in our one bedroom apartment.

It also has a garage with room for one car and some storage space in the back. The other person can park their car in the driveway in front of the garage, so that means we both have a parking spot. Holla! After living here, where parking is INSANE, it will be a relief not to have to worry about that.

It is about halfway between our two works, so that's better than some of the other places we looked. We're going to be paying $170 more per month, but the other places we looked were almost that much more for a ONE bedroom, so I'm satisfied with the price.

I am sad that we will no longer have a washer and dryer in the unit, and that there's no dishwasher (again. I haven't had a dishwasher in forever). But overall I think it's a good move for us.

The worst part is that we have to pay deposit, first month's rent, and our rent for this apartment all at once. Ugh. The current landlord told me that if we're out early (we will be) and she can rent it before the month is over, that she will refund us money/prorate the month of July. So, if anyone's looking for a lovely one bedroom apartment in Long Beach, let me know.

I'll post pictures once we've actually moved, but if you're wondering what I'll be doing over the next few weeks, it will be hauling loads of boxes and bags to my new apartment, packing, trying to convince boyfriend to goodwill things, and figuring out how on EARTH we're going to get my couch out of here. (It came in over the balcony, hoisted on top of the moving truck. I don't know how this will work in reverse).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How I Saved $30 Today AKA Studying at Home

Due to the fact that I almost get laid off every year, and in fact did get laid off this year, I decided that it would be in my best interest to broaden my opportunities by getting another credential (this will be my third, in fact). I am taking the test to get a history credential on July 14th. I went for history since I've taught 6th grade history for seven years and was a US history concentration in college. And I like it.

However, sixth grade history is only a small part of the test, and college was eight years ago, so it's definitely time to study. This was confirmed when I took a practice test online, and upon seeing the first question, said, "oh shit" out loud. This morning I came up with a plan to get some studying done.

"I know! I'll go to Barnes and Noble and buy a prep book ($20, at least), then take that to Coffee Bean ($6 for coffee and pastry) and study. I should get a nice, new spiral notebook at Staples too ($3), so I can take notes and do practice tests in it."

Then I remembered that June has been a crazy expensive month and that I shouldn't be spending that kind of money. Also, the prep books got TERRIBLE reviews online, so I am better off using the state standards and my good friend Wikipedia. So, I came up with Plan B.

First, I got up, took a shower, and changed out of my pajamas. I did my hair and makeup too. This put me in the "time to do something" mode.

Why yes, I did choose black and white because it's more flattering.
Next, I dug around and found a spiral notebook with PLENTY of blank pages in it. It was in the BF's drawer, and he tore out the used pages, so I snagged that and some highlighters, a pen, pencil, and post-it notes.

Exhibit A
Then, I poured myself a diet Cherry Pepsi into a glass with ice and a straw. I also made some popcorn and put some wasabi almonds (they're like crack!) into a bowl.

Exhibit B
For ambiance, I put my flowers on the table (thanks student on last day of school!) and tuned my Pandora Station to Death Cab for Cutie for some mellow tunes.

And voila! I am now set to study for the next few hours. If I can get enough studying done and actually pass the test, that will save me the $200 it would cost to take it again. Enough procrastinating, I need to look up all the Constitutional Amendments and remind myself what the Federalist Papers were. And try to get the difference between inflation and deflation straight in my head. Etc, etc. Over and out!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I'm alive.

I officially got laid off by LAUSD.

I got a new job teaching seventh grade in West Covina.

Freddie and I are looking for new places to live, somewhere betwixt our two works.

We're also planning a road trip or some sort of vacation for the end of July.

Oh...and I paid off my student loan. So, you know, I'm debt free.

I think all of these minus the "I'm alive" statement will warrant a post of their own. And I do want to get back to blogging, if any of you are still reading. Miss you. Hugs and Kisses.