Tag Archives: family

Hiding from the B-word

Part of getting my financial act together requires creating a budget…. beyond the daily expense spreadsheet I showed you in my last post. That includes figuring out your fixed monthly expenses-items that don’t change from month to month- and your varied monthly expenses.

My total monthly income is $3,439.14*

*sounds like a lot of money, right??? It is. For someone who was making minimum wage while interning for a nonprofit for eight months post college graduation, a fair and consistent paycheck is something I do not take for granted. It’s hard out there for a liberal arts grad.


See the pretty graphic below for what these fixed expenses are…. GAH $$$

my fixed monthly expenses (3)

If you haven’t heard of the phrase “PAY YOURSELF FIRST (PYF),” that’s what my $2,000 in savings per month is. To PYF means allocating money into emergency savings, retirement accounts, or for any money goal BEFORE you spend on anything else. Why is it important to PYF? Because if you don’t take this money out before spending it elsewhere you will make excuses for why you can’t save this month, that month, or EVER.

pay yourself first

photo cred: here

How do I pay myself first? Last month I added my online savings account to my direct deposit at work, so now $1,000 of every paycheck goes into this account, and the remainder ($719.57) enters my checkings.

I live in my parents’ home, so why am I paying rent? I pay rent because I like contributing to my household and helping mis padres out while they help me by saving me hundreds in “real” rent money.

My commute is non-negotiable, how else will I get to and from work? Fingers crossed they don’t jack up these already high prices -__-

Although my minimum student loan payment is $266.93, I pay $300 to help expedite loan repayment.

Charlotte, my little GSD, needs health insurance ($75.49) and food ($36).

I don’t really see how much more I can lower my phone bill. I’m on an unlimited text and talk prepaid plan, with no data. This costs me $30, but since I enrolled in automatic payment, a nice $5 discount was added. So I’m really paying $25 plus tax=$26.72.

Netflix and Spotify make up my entertainment charges. Without data on my phone, being able to download music to listen on my commute is essential.

These expenses are not changing on a monthly basis so I can bet I will need to spend AT LEAST $3,199.62/ month.



Things get a little tricky with my varied expenses. Each month I only have $239.52 to spend on workweek meals, eating out, movie nights, and networking events.

Workweek food is easy. I have breakfast a work, some cereal, or oatmeal with dried fruits. For lunch I usually pack some quinoa, black beans and tofu. I don’t complicate myself with this because I’d rather splurge on food when I’m eating out with family and friends then on my workweek lunches. Luckily, I get free lunch at work on Wednesdays, so I try to order something that will be enough for two lunches; eating for free on Wednesday and Thursday. I would put my workweek lunches at no more than $70/month. Homework: I need to examine this a bit further for an accurate amount. 

Eating out is a tough one. It’s really hard to say no to take-out, or dining in when you have a boyfriend who never makes his own food. I have gotten better at saying no when he asks if we’re eating together, but I do want to budget at least one dinner out per week. Usually I spend around $30 per meal, so I’m going say $120/month is a good limit?

That leaves me with about $47 bucks to spend on going out/ networking events. What does help is the fact that I’ve stopped drinking so much, so spending $10-15 dollars per drink isn’t an issue for me. Though, not going to lie, not drinking at social events has not been an easy task. There is definitely major peer-pressure to drink in order to fit in, or to simply feel comfortable in certain situations. BUT I am moving away from needing a drink to socialize.

Although it is clear where my fixed expenses are going, there’s a gray area about where my varied expenses go, maybe this is because it really depends on the month, but this is something I want to get a closer look at.

Anyway, so far this budget has been keeping me from spending in unnecessary places, so I know a budget could help anyone achieve their goals!



This is home?

I recently watched Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. It really resonates with my current situation, that of a girl who returns home from school to find it difficult to conform to the realities of living at home. Or at least that is the aspect of the film that caught my attention.

I haven’t officially moved back home, I’m only here for winter break, but I will be moving permanently in May. After graduation. And it’s just such a daunting thought. How things are now at home, it seems almost impossible (I really trying not to use this word in 2015, because why invite negative language into my life? But here, it’ll be used as emphasis) to live here permanently. Unlike my family likes to believe, this isn’t because I hate my family, it’s simply because when I come back I feel almost uninvited, as if my presence is ignored and unappreciated (realllllllly not trying to play the victim card here).

When people go home for break, they return to their childhood bedrooms, which are filled with memories, regardless of whether they are good or bad. But with my grandmother moving in with us, my bedroom is now hers. Noticing my clothing overflowing from my bags on the hallway, she explained that the room was still mine and I could place all my belonging there. This helped a lot. But the bed is still hers to use, and I’ve been spending the nights sleeping with my sisters. I like sleeping with Gisselle… A lot. Except I can’t help but feel like every little thing I do is an annoyance to her. Like my uncontrollable allergies that create for unwanted mucus-filled-tissues to appear everywhere. Or how I left HER sweater on the floor, meanwhile there are multiple stacks of her clothes flooding her bedroom (when I said this to her, she noted that it’s okay for her to do it because it’s her clothes and her room). Or when I burned her candles for too long, leaving very little wax left to burn. Yes, this would very much frustrate me if the roles were reversed. But I guess I expect Gisselle to be happy enough to have me over to not rub my mistakes and faults all over my face, or all over the house.

When I sleep with my little sisters it’s nice, they don’t seem to bothered by my presence unless I forget to make the bed. BUT like why am I sleeping with eight and nine year olds, ya feel me? Same goes with sleeping with Mami and Pa.

It isn’t so much that I don’t understand why Gisselle becomes upset when I failed to pick up every last tissue, or that I don’t enjoy sleeping with my younger sisters. The point is that I find myself in these situations, in my OWN house. The fact that there is no place to call my own, no place in which to hide out, or escape to with my thoughts is just inhumane. Doesn’t every living thing need this space? Or am I being melodramatic? Well, whatever, I don’t think so. There isn’t anyone to blame about this situation either, I’m not trying to point fingers.

My own room isn’t the only thing I feel inconveniences my family, but its my lifestyle, specifically my pescatarianism. My entire family eats meat and loves it. I can’t eat meat. This alone ostracizes me. No one is telling me to eat meat, and I wouldn’t eat meat. But the comments that are made by my family (I ignore the ones my little sisters make because they don’t mean to offend me) has a hint of resentment. Why must Gisselle eat fish meals two days in a row? Why am I complicating my mom and grandma’s cooking recipes? Why can’t I simply eat was is made? Solution? This certainly has one, which is cooking my own meals. I brought my chickenless chicken cutlets and nuggets yesterday, so I guess I should see improvement…? Maybe am I just feeling entitled to having a home cooked meal from my mom that doesn’t cause such an ordeal. Entitlement is not logical. I shouldn’t feel entitled to a personalized meal everyday, yet I do.

Winter break has made me think about five months from now. As I sit in my living room couch writing this, I can’t but feel nervous and scared about what will happen when I am living here for good again. Will it feel like I’m living out of a suitcase, being invited (but feeling uninvited) to sleep with my sisters, being shuffled around like an outgrown teddy bear? (did I really just compare myself to a teddy bear?) Will I still hear my dad making comments that hold a tint of grudge towards my decision to leave home four years ago? How many times will I continue to hear “Well you don’t live here so why do you care?”?

They say home is where the heart is, and yes it is. I feel unconditionally love here, without a doubt. I just wished that the small little grunts and complains that are expressed when I am simply “doing me” would disappear. Still, I find that maybe these are characteristics of what makes my home what it is. Because at the end of the day, after the hostility of an argument has faded, there is love. Love that does not need to be proven with a brand new bedroom set or finished basement (which would be nice), but is confirmed when seven/eight (including Abuelita) completely distinctive personalities come together and accept each others’ flaws, value, and exceptional traits.

Although I might find myself sitting in the dinning room table reading Gone Girl, while my dad and sisters play Monopoly across the table. There is no better feeling than that. I am not an inconvenience to my family, I am not a pest in their eyes. Our interests and passions might clash but that doesn’t have to led to a collapse. Hey, today I even started out write this post with Kat (my rebellious 12 year-old sister who never lets go of her iPad and whose social media appearance is everything) sitting by my side writing in her journal (after I convinced her that writing your feelings is essential in life) listening to The Shin’s Wincing the Night Away album (AKA AN UNHEARD OF OCCURRENCE IN THIS HOUSEHOLD)…. Which just further proves my point.