Tag Archives: life

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!



$pending habits and trying to breakkk them -___-

Sometimes I think I have it really easy. I don’t pay rent (at least not consistently), I have a good paying job (55k salary hey) and no real bad “debt”, because student loans are considered good debt… yet, I find myself having to explain to others, mainly family, why and how it’s possible that I do not have enough cash to pay for this, or that. OR why I do not want to go to Vegas IF I make money and can technically afford it.

I truly have no idea where my money goes, I don’t eat out every night, I don’t get mani/pedis every week…. so wtf right? Well, over the last couple of months I’ve thrown myself into personal finance really just trying to find ways to pay off my 24k in student loans ASAP, as quickly as 2018. BUT, after reading more and more PF books I discovered other areas I should be funding, like my 401k at work, Roth IRA, or my emergency fund SOooo my focus has shifted a bit.

I started saving $200 per paycheck for my emergency fund, and paying $300 (only $25 more of my minimum) towards my student loans. While, I now have ~3k in savings, I still haven’t contributed to my 401k, or a Roth and my student loan debt is still high as F. & that’s how I find myself thinking, “I SHOULD really be saving more”… and I hate feeling like I should be doing stuff, but because I want to become financially independent and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. I needed a reality check.

Since this reality check, I have:

1) left my unlimited data phone plan, where I paid $100 a month, to a prepaid phone with NO data… yikes! except that my payment is only $26 and change per month. A 75% decrease… I’d call that a score and smart money move- since I’m either always at work, home, or someone’s house where I get wifi and I barely drive – data isn’t my priority.

2) started entering every single expense and created a cool little pie graph; see below

My Expenses Chart

2a) as you can see my biggest expense is “Misc.” LOL … AKA who knows. This month, that miscellaneous chunk comes from my beautiful but pricey Maid of Honor dress I wore for my sister’s wedding… you can say I have my priorities straight, right??? I justified this expense as YOLO, or SOGMO (sister only gets married once) and have posted it on Craiglist, so hopefully someone thinks it gorgeous too and buys it!

2b) Char is my second highest expense. What is char? Well world, Char stands for Charlotte, my 1 year old German Shepherd (see child below), who was EXTRA costly this month because SOGMO… We needed to find a nice boarding home to send her while the entire familia from FL, ChiTown and etc. joined us for SOGMO celebrations. Sadly this was necessary because Char’s first 6 months in life were spent mostly alone>> which lead to her lack social skills>> which transfers to unpredictable aggression. Of course, before boarding little Charbooger needed to renew her shots. Hi Vet expenses -__-


2c) Beauty, my third highest….. one word. SOGMO. the end.

3) Although, it hasn’t happened yet AND I do see myself cheating on my next paycheck. I added my savings account into my direct deposit at work and asked that $1,000 out of each paycheck be sent there. Sounds drastic right? Yeah it kinda is… except I think I WILL be able to handle this. LIKE I said, I don’t pay rent… since I live in Casa de Mis Padres and don’t have major credit card debt, or expenses.

Right now my first goal is to fund my emergency saving account with six months of living expenses… BEFORE, I do this, I need to figure out what my living expenses are. I will post about that next time… when I figure out what this number is :O … l o l


stay $avvy

Songs I can’t get enough of #2: “England” – The National

This is by far my favorite review The National’s song “England”, beautifully explained. I am inspired to do a “Songs I can’t get enough of” series. 


So I’m feeling a bit down tonight…I have no idea why…I guess it’s just the mood I’m in. Quiet. Overwhelmed. Jumbled. Contemplating the many things in my mind. So on that uplifting note, I think it’s a good time to review a darker piece of music. There’s nothing wrong with dark music, some of it is quite stunning. Lonely. Honest.  Matt Berninger’s baritone voice dispenses moonlight on a dark night. Solitary, soft, and yet strong and piercing.  High Violet is The National’s third masterpiece, in my opinion, and cements The National as one of my favorite bands of all time.  Tonight, we’ll talk about one of my favorite songs off of High Violet, “England”

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Things will come together.

There is some sort of irony in wanting to write this post about honesty with oneself, leaving behind the judgmental reactions of others and simply not giving a fuck that occurs when you dump a more raw post into the draft folder due to fear. Whether the post was too personal, too emotional, too creepy, too depressive to share, holding back is the worst thing I could do for myself.
Lake Michigan Wannabe DiverHow many times have I lied to myself, my family, my friends about how I felt because I was too nervous to admit what I really wanted. Plenty.

It is a hard process learning how to embrace your feelings and decisions, especially since most of the time they will be frowned upon or rejected. I’ve taken to writing my deepest most secretest thoughts in my journal, not realizing that I might be repressing their development, their beauty.

One of these things are my longing for a meaningful relationship. Wanting a partner in crime is particularly hard to admit since learned to appreciate my single girl status. In fact, I take so much pride in being able to do things on my own that I have fooled myself into thinking I would never want anyone serious in my life. I have played the “I love being single” card when I did not mean it, I have embellished the nights I was the ultimate player (aka the nights I brought boys over only to kick them out as soon as I was not in the mood). Though some of my friends could see right through my own bullshit I was blinded by the reality that I indeed want someone that I could share my amateur poems, deep thoughts, and happy moments with… It gets lonely sometimes. AND there is nothing wrong with admitting that. There is nothing wrong with knowing that you are ready to find someone that can replace all the sleazy boys at college parties. Accepting this has helped me eliminate the individuals that I know will never provide this and that is a damn good step.

Another fear I had was dropping the idea that I was going to law school after graduation… JEEZ did I not want to go to law school! It was one of those careers I decided on when I was 12 and promised my parents I would pursue. It was only this year that I finally bursted my mother’s bubble when I told her I was not taking my LSATs or applying to law schools. I had fooled myself so much, that I believed it was all my idea. Of course, now that I have decided not to attend law school I find that I am completely confused about my future. A good confused though and that’s the liberating part. I am so free to decide where to take my life, what to study in grad school, that’s if I want to go to grad school… The point is I am so happy to answer all the questions about what my plans are after college with an I HONESTLY HAVE NO IDEA, I’M JUST GOING TO TAKE MY LIFE AS IT COMES. It just feels so good to have options. To be so young and fearless that going for my Masters in London actually seems like a possibility or that I could just follow in Peyton Sawyer’s steps and open my own record label… OH the place you could really go, who knew. I am more excited about all the opportunities I have to actually do something that makes ME happy and no one else should be a priority in that decision.

I also recently accepted that it is okay to be sad, that it is okay to need to disconnect from people, including those that I feel I’m drifting from. I have deprived my dark thoughts for a really long time, but only a few months ago did I find the strength to say that I get so unhappy at times that I have no desire to do anything else. Admitting this felt like a weight was lifted. It is too draining to be happy all the time. And I decided that I prefer to live a life where I am allowed to be angry, emotional, overwhelmed. If I didn’t have the downs, then I would not realize how amazing the people around me are and just how lucky am I to be alive.

In short, I found that letting go of all the negative connotations attached to certain behaviors or lifestyles has provided me with a very honest and enriching life. I always knew that I need to do what makes me the happiest, but it is truly hard to follow through with when you surrender to social normatives.

No one person is whole, no one person has all the answers to life, no one person can say they haven’t based a decision on others and that is okay. We are on a mission to flourish at our own pace. Somewhere in-between the bad and good choices we have made, we will find that life has paved the perfect path for us. A unique road that makes us smile and understand why those unhappy moments needed to be.

Eventually, we will be okay with allowing the world to see our beauty, one with flaws and imperfections because only can we live freely.