I switched from an iPhone 4 to a Galaxy S3 at the beginning of March.
Now, for those of you who know me, pick your jaw up off the ground. I’ve had an iPhone consistently for several years, since the first month the iPhone 3GS debuted. It was actually my fourth iPhone… the 3GS shattered on a concrete floor at work, the first 4 got stolen at work, the second 4 shattered in the driveway on my way to the library, and the last 4 was… well, slowly dying. I think the problem was with the battery, because it would randomly shut off at weird times, and I would have to plug in the cord seven or eight times before it would actually start taking a charge. Smartphones have to be recharged pretty much every night, and it’s very frustrating to wake up an hour before work with a 33% charge.
The other problem was my actual service. I had been on a family plan (with the grandfathered-in unlimited data plan!), but when I moved out, that went away. There I was with a perfectly good iPhone, no credit, and no plan. So I began using my phone on a GoPhone plan. iPhones are not meant to be pre-paid phones, so it took a lot of workarounds to get things like data and MMS to work. And then I started paying out the nose for it. I would have to constantly be turning my data on and off to conserve the one-gig-a-month of data I could have (seriously, AT&T??).
When I saw that Radio Shack would buy my iPhone back from me and give me $130 in in-store credit, I was intrigued. When I saw that it would take a $100 deposit, I was momentarily set back. It was still better than the $500 deposit that AT&T wanted. But when I saw that the Galaxy S3 was only $99, which would be more than covered by the sale of the iPhone, what was my first response? Sell the iPhone while I could still keep it on for a few hours at a time!
And that’s what I did. (more…)
And by frying, I of course mean “dyeing.” And by that I mean I came very close to actually murdering my hair.
I colored my hair a few weeks before. The box told me that it was specially formulated for dark hair, and that it would lighten it while it laid on the new color. Super! I thought. My hair is naturally a very, very dark ashy brown that leans reddish in the light (weird, I know). I’ve been dying my hair in warm reds for a few years, but the color always comes out so dark or washed out due to my natural hair color.
About a year ago, a friend put highlights in my hair. Let me just tell you, they didn’t look good on me. I don’t think this was her fault or my fault or anyone’s fault… it just didn’t work. However, the bleach damaged my hair enough that, no matter what color I dye my hair, it fades out to this awful coppery brown.
TL:DR; I colored my hair a few weeks back and the color was supposed to look really great on me. Rinsed out the color, dried it… and it was the same color. The same awful coppery brown that it already was.
Fast forward to a week later. I got a bee in my bonnet while at Walmart and I thought I would go for a really intense red. The problem is, I usually prepare for a color job by washing my hair, not putting any product in it, and then waiting patiently for 24 hours. This time I threw caution to the wind and didn’t really prepare. It was my day off, so I thought I remembered not really doing much with my hair, but I forgot that there was a touch of hairspray to keep the frizzies at bay. (more…)
I’ve been stressed out lately… to the point where I may be covered in hives from all of it. It may be an allergic reaction… but that’s really besides the point.
The point is that I found my art journal yesterday, and decided to break out the paint and glue and try to relax.
I’m not claiming to be an artist by any means. In fact, I felt rather like a kindergartner swirling my brush through so many colors of paint. But for about 45 minutes, while dinner was in the oven and we were waiting on the rain… I was at peace. And in a crazy, chaotic life, that’s quite a blessing.
I’ve been pinning some inspiration on my art journal board on Pinterest. You know what they say — practice makes perfect!
Or, freaking out because my project starts at midnight tonight.
In the last week or so, I’ve downloaded countless budget and tracking apps to my phone. I’ve toyed around in Evernote, which I use for everything already. I’ve fiddled with a little notebook that I could carry around. I freaked out just a little bit, because nothing seemed like it was going to work.
So I messaged Amanda, because I remembered her having some sweet-looking graphs for a detailed monthly budget that she had going on for some time back in ’11. She recommended a site called BudgetPulse, which has been looking pretty good so far.
My requirements were pretty simple:
- Please don’t make me do math. No seriously. I’m taking Finance and Algebra this semester, which is already too much for my little artsy / language loving brain.
- Please don’t link to my bank account. It seems too easy to mess things up when the app starts thinking for itself. Plus it would be reactive budgeting rather than doing it as I go, which is something my professor warned about.
- Please don’t force me to anticipate from the very beginning where my money is going to go. This may be a personal thing, but I’m doing this project partially because I have to, but partially because I honestly do not keep up with my expenses! I’m never overdrawn, but I am sometimes broke and that’s due to poor planning. After a month or even a few weeks I’ll be able to anticipate expenses by category. Until then, slow your roll.
- Please give me a way to manage actual cash. I didn’t use cash at all before this last year, outside of maybe $10 in my pocket for lunch or a drink at work. I get tips at the job I’m at now, and that’s literally dollar bills and change in an envelope at the end of each work night.
So far, so good. I’ll follow up in a few days of tracking to let you know how this site is treating me.
Now, I have been pretty successful in planning out the categories I would “file” things under. Ideally, I wanted categories and subcategories, which I may still switch to if this site doesn’t work out for me, but in the meantime… well, you’ll see how BP.com made me work around that.
Here are my categories:
- Rent: self-explanatory. I anticipate this being pretty high the first month, since I’m moving next week and this will take into account a deposit.
- Utilities – Major: electricity, gas (the last gas bill while I’m where I am at now, none in the new apartment).
- Utilities – Minor: internet, cell phone bill
- Car – Insurance: self-explanatory.
- Car – Gas / Maintenance: this includes gas as well as oil, the wiper blades that need to be replaced, things like that
- Food – Groceries
- Food – Eating out: this will include going out to dinner as well as things like bringing home pizza or stopping for a coffee on the way to school
- Entertainment: going to the movies, monthly Netflix, music, iPhone apps, and the $5 DVD I insist on every trip out to Wally World
- Household: toilet paper and cleaning supplies to bigger things like furniture. I anticipate this being high as well, due to moving out of a room-mate situation and having to come up with anything that went to the sister in the move
- Family – PIC: he gives me his checks, and in return, I give him the money he might want for lunches at work or new jeans or a six-pack of beer. It sounds selfish, but this is the best way for him to personally manage his money. This way I don’t need to keep track of the particulars of what he spends each cent on.
- Family – Jamie: cat food, cat litter, anything else purely for her benefit
- Personal / Shopping: hairspray, a new t-shirt, a pack of pens for work
- Other: anything that’s really a once-off that doesn’t need its own category (eg; $10 towards community gift, etc)
And as far as money coming in:
- Income – Salary: my actual paycheck
- Income – PIC: his actual paycheck
- Income – Tips: my nightly tip envelope
- Income – Other: receiving a gift card, cashing in loose change, a friend paying me back, tax refund, etc
I may add / subtract / consolidate as needed, but I think this will give me a pretty solid running start. As long as I stay honest and keep on top of it, I think this project won’t be so hard after all. We shall see!
I’ve always had New Years Resolutions, and I’ve had a pretty even succeed/fail rate. For example, 2011 was “try new things.” I won’t go into details, but the last part of 2010 into 2011 held a lot of new experiences for me.
This year, I had a grand, sweeping New Years resolution: eat less, do more, and lose 60lbs.
I got started this semester at school, and my personal finance professor said something that stuck out to me: goals have to be measurable, realistic, and flexible. Maybe I haven’t lost much yet this year, and I’m not on the perfect diet yet, but I’ve made some positive changes so far this year:
- No more soda. There’s a free soda fountain at work, and lately I’ve been seriously craving root beer. Strange, I know. But I’ve been trying to mainly drink water, with those little “Mio” bottles to spice it up a little when straight water gets boring.
- Cut the junk food. I’ve been eating less of things like cookies, chips, and candy… opting for fruit, salads, and nuts when I get the munchies.
- Eat smaller portions. I don’t need to go back for seconds. I don’t need to fill my plate. I don’t need 3 slices of pizza.
- Get moving. I’ve been to the gym at least twice a week every week this month. I will purposely walk all the way down to my locker on break even when I don’t need to. I will take the stairs and walk up escalators. I will walk across the street to the store instead of hopping in my car.
So you see, I’ve already made some little changes. Lets see what I can do in February… just to turn a New Years resolution into an all year thing.
- Finish Personal Finance assignment. It’s a bunch of questions like “if you had x amount of dollars today, and earned 6% on your savings, how much money would you have in 10 years?” Simple, yet repetitive.
- Take a shower. Make the bed. Crawl in it. Sleep.
- Wake up early. Early means between 7 and 8 (I work and go to school in the evenings, cut me a break!). Do “girly things” as my PIC says (hair, makeup, clothes). Call me shallow but my complexion is not “run out the door” worthy.
- Hobble my car to Tecumseh. It’s only about 10 minutes away but my brakes are about shot. Thankfully, a woman I work with has a husband who works at a shop down there and she was able to get me a pretty good quote on what it would take to get this fixed quickly.
- Come back and do my Algebra assignment. Hopefully it’s a quickie (har har).
- Get to school early and trade out my Photoshop book for the correct edition. Silly bookstore.
- Aaaaand then my time is my own. Thank goodness!!
Today was the first day back to classes for the spring 2013 semester. The course load isn’t bad… Personal Finance, Digital Imaging, and College Algebra. The first and the third are graduation requirements, and the middle is pretty much a semester of Photoshop (sign me up!).
I’m really, really nervous about this!
When I was younger, before I started working at the age of 19, my family wasn’t really well off. If I needed things for school or wanted something, I had to go through my parents. Asking for a notebook for school wasn’t bad, but if it was something that I simply really wanted (a certain kind of clothes, for example) I had to try and justify it. “Well, it’s going to help me manage my time better,” or “I needed a pair of shoes for the summer anyway.”
Once I started working, I had my own money and not really any financial responsibility. If I wanted a book I saw at a bookstore, I could buy it without agonizing over justifications and need vs. want. If I wanted a shirt with a design that was $2 more than the plain colored one, I could pick it up. As I started getting older, financial responsibility started creeping up. I started paying rent, which at the time meant chipping in on my family’s mortgage. I had to put gas in my car (but no payments, hello Craigslist!). I had to pay my own cell phone bill. The cell phone bill for the entire family became my contribution to household bills (and in return, my parents paid my car insurance). I took a pay cut when I quit a stressful job with a supervisor’s position and stuck with my part-time second job.
Then, I moved out. Thankfully this came at a time when I was getting a better job that paid better overall then the stressful first job. Suddenly my sister and I were splitting the rent. The utilities. The Internet bill. The car insurance. The groceries. At the same time, I still had the mentality of not really considering each and every purchase. If I wanted to stop at Taco Bell after work, I did. Netflix and Hulu Plus had been coming out of my account for several years, each and every month. I keep track of my money just enough to know at all times what my balance was, and when I had to chill out and save a little (for example, the summer months when the electricity bill soared to over $300/month just to keep my metal-roof trailer home under 100 degrees).
Now, I’m moving out of the trailer with my sister and into an apartment with my PIC at the same time that this budget-tracking project begins. My head is already spinning, trying to figure in all of the radical elements in my life. My check. His check. The possibility of him taking a second job (his job has highly variable hours as he works as a stage hand). The fact that I bring home bills and change home in an envelope each night as my tips. The rent. The electric and internet bills. The fact that my car is dying a slow and agonizing death, all the while saying “I think I can!” as the brakes slowly go out.
I’m serious when I say that this may be the hardest project I ever do, but I really think that the next three months will help me develop a habit I really need for the rest of my life.
Try – P!nk
I can’t get this song out of my head these days! I almost wish the song was about overcoming obstacles in general rather than a failed relationship, but still… this song has been sticking with me like crazy.
My friend / coworker Melissa and I have been trying really hard to get to the gym every week. We get a free gym membership through work, so we figured… it’s the new year, might as well use it. We’ve gone 2-3 times a week since the first, except for the week that I was down with the flu (I’m her ride, so she couldn’t get there without me).
Some days are certainly easier than others. Some days I can get my music cranked up and I can visualize a sexier version of me in a swim suit this summer and it motivates me to press on, kick butt and take names. Today wasn’t one of those days. I didn’t get much sleep and I was in a funk. And my shins started yelling at me 15 minutes in. But I decided to switch things up some, get on different machines, and pushed through. I’m still in a bit of a funk, and my legs are sore, but I feel much more awake and rewarded. Sometimes I just have to suck it up and push through, like it or not.
Hello again! Yes, it looks like Melilyn.com might be getting some new life breathed back into it. What kind of graphic / web design major doesn’t keep up with her own website?
Please be patient with me (especially if you follow my feed in a feed reader… is there anybody out there?) while I add content and work on the design.