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My First Art Show

September 30th, 2013 at 12:37 am

I'm finally going to enter my first art show in two weeks with the hopes of winning first prize, which is $1,000 or $500. I can't remember and I don't have the entry form in front of me.



Sadly, one of the reasons I'm entering the show is because it's free. Am I that cheap that I have never entered a show because of an entry fee? That's kind of sad.

Anyhoo, in addition to entering the show, artists can also sell their prints. I have my square card reader ready to take accept credit card payment.

Tomorrow I'll go to Jerry's Art and buy some frames, a few mats and plastic archival sleeves.

This expense wasn't in the budget, so I'm not saving too much with this paycheck. Hopefully I will win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place and sell a few prints.

Should be interesting and fun!

photo credit: iamarunner

4 Days of No Spending

September 19th, 2013 at 10:21 pm



I decided to give the "no spending money" idea a try and guess what, I'm lovin' it!

I purposely left my cash and debit card at home so I wouldn't be tempted to spend. Fortunately I work 15 minutes away from home.

What were the benefits for me?

1. It has taken away the desire to unnecessarily spend money.

2. I'm forced to eat breakfast at home and bring my lunch to work.

3. I'm saving money.

4. Relieves peer pressure from coworkers to go out for drinks or lunch. They know I'm not spending money.

I don't normally spend a lot of money during the week, but $2.00 for breakfast, snacks from the vending machine and 2-3 dollars a day for lunch adds up.

Sometimes knowing I have money burns a hole in my pocket. I now feel like I can carry it and not give in to wanting something just because I have the money to pay for it. Do I really need it. With a little planning, the chances are no.

I need to spend money tomorrow and Saturday, but come Sunday I'm going to start up again and see how long I can go before I need to spend money.

photo credit: iamarunner

Shiny Things

September 5th, 2013 at 11:26 am



Good question. Why are we buying things we can't afford in search of happiness we can't buy?

Yesterday I had an itchy finger to buy camera equipment that I really don't need, but wanted because the features are better than my current cameras.

I have three cameras (just sold two) I rotate based on what I'm photographing, so I can get by even if neither of them have the two features on one camera that I want and will need.

Eventually I talked myself out of it saying what I have is good enough.

I'm not sure if I'm trying to buy happiness this time, I would pay cash for it, but I don't need it.

I do have a weakness for camera gear, it's called GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), and this is an area I must learn to control better. With everything else, I can be really cheap, but not when it comes to my equipment.

I no longer do weddings or portraits, but I was thinking about getting back into the portrait work to earn extra money on the side.

I suppose when that gets off the ground, then I will update my equipment. Until then I will have to sit on my hands, use what I have and stop looking at temptation.

I plan to read the above book while I'm on vacation next month. Maybe it will help calm me down a bit and stay focused.

What I have is good enough for now. Repeat.

photo credit: iamarunner

Update

August 31st, 2013 at 10:14 pm

I finally got around to figuring out where my money will be disbursed.

I gave several thousand dollars away to family and friends in need, it felt good to do this and they are always there for me.

My mom had a $2,000 plumbing problem in her home and she put it on a credit card, so I wanted to help her. I think the last job should fix it for good.

I still have a few monetary gifts to give, but I'll wait for the smoke to blow over.

I banked my last paycheck with my new bank, I won't need to touch any of that money until next month.

I deposited money into a low interest savings account which will become my emergency fund.

Although I could have, I did not fully fund my emergency fund because I will use one of my paychecks each month to save for it.

I set a goal to deposit $1,385 each month into my EF and live off the remainder of my check.

I deposited the bulk of my money into a Barclays account at a decent interest rate and will let it sit there for a while. TBD.

I also opened a Roth IRA with Vanguard with a minimum of $3,000.

I plan to make the maximum contribution of $5,500 (or $2,500) to my Roth IRA by the end of 2013. I have to deposit at least $800 from Oct - December. This should be interesting.

I may or may not add something for September. Being it is August 31st, I feel like the initial deposit is my September contribution.

I also set an automatic transfer for one of my savings account with Capital One and need to set two more automatic transfer.

Tomorrow I have to rework my budget and make sure my dollars have a name. I feel a bit of momentum to start things off on the right foot this time.

I'm Debt Free!

August 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am

I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was check my balances for the two credit cards I have and they both read $0. I couldn't believe it. I even tried to make a payment on both just to check.

I know I didn't scrimp and save to pay my remaining debt, but my settlement money helped me in a big way. If not for it, I would still be in debt until next year. However, I'm proud and grateful because I was working, and had a plan, to pay them off.

Now I have to play catch up and be about saving and respecting my money.

Oh I changed the name of my blog to reflect my new goals and as a reminder of the life I want to live, a debt free life.

Let My Will Be Done

August 26th, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I finally got around to calling an attorney I used to work with and asked him if he would prepare a will, a living will and a trust for me. The trust will be inside the will and not a separate document.

He was a little confused about why I asked him to do it because I work at a law firm and if my current employer offers an employee discount.

I told him I did not want to be a client of the firm. Not that there's anything wrong with the firm, we're one of the top law firms in the state, but I don't want everyone knowing my business.

That is, I know the attorney and the secretary who would prepare it and while he might not say anything, nothing prevents his secretary from talking. Everyone at the firm also gets a list of new clients and I don't want to be on it and have people asking me questions and then telling me I don't have any money so why do I need a will.

Everyone can benefit from a will and living will, especially if one has children. It's the responsible thing to do and I'm sorry it's taken this long, but my will shall be done.

Debt Free by Next Week

August 24th, 2013 at 05:22 pm

Last week I paid off one of three of my credit cards and hope to pay off the other two by Tuesday or Wednesday. So far it feels great, but at the same time I feel like I'm tiptoeing around death. I guess the feeling of becoming debt free again is surreal and I can't believe it.

I also opened up several accounts to transfer money in to. A teen checking and savings account for my daughter at Capital One 360. She will learn to manage her own money and be responsible for saving. She's no stranger to finance because I've always spoken to her about money or taught her what NOT to do and why.

I will keep an emergency savings account with my local bank (where my checking account is also parked) and the rest of the money will be transferred to an online savings account at a decent interest rate until I decide what I want to do.

I also set up a "mad money" savings account for myself with Capital One 360. I know me and rather have a small account for impulse purchases. I do get urges every now and then, but I want to save for them now instead of just buying it.

The good thing about Capital One 360 is I can have multiple accounts. My daughter needs braces, I want to put aside money for car repairs (not that I would need it now, my car is only 2 years old) for new tires or unexpected repairs.

My paycheck can cover all of my expenses for the month, so I can save one entire paycheck a month which is a blessing.

I also want to give money as a gift to friends and family who have helped us during some rough times. The saying is true: there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.

Good News and Bad News

August 1st, 2013 at 08:50 pm

I suppose I'll start with the bad news. I haven't been as active here or as diligent with sticking to my budget as I intended.

Last month was a horrible month for eating out, I try to limit eating out (for me and my kid) to $20 or $30 bucks a month.

I have not looked at the figures yet, I will tonight, but I am sure I spent twice as much.

$60 bucks might not be much to some and I'm not even sure money is the real problem, but it is my behavior I need to get under control.

I need a better shopping list so that I'll have the ingredients I need to prepare meals. I also admit I've been on the lazy side, but I'm feeling better most days, so this should change.

Other bad news: I got an email today from Impulsesave that they will no longer be doing business with Lender Bank and will be closing my account with them.

I can, however, open up an account with either CapitalOne or Bank of America and then link that account to my Impulsesave account.

I like the thought behind Impulsesave and being able to "spend" and save money with the phone app.

Granted I could transfer money into a savings account any time I want, but my Impulsesave account was for short term goals.

I'm not sure I want to open another account at a different bank just to use Impulsesave.

If you don't know what Impulsesave.com is, check it out, it's fun. I used it to fund my vacation to the Outerbanks in October.)

The good news is that I will be debt free by the end of August with change to spare.

I settled with the insurance company and though it's not enough for what may be a permanent injury and years of pain management, it is enough to pay my current bills leaving me with money to save and invest. And yes I plan to spend a little blow money as well.

I should also be able to save over 50% of my paycheck and start building again.

Things are looking better and I promise not to blow it again.

We are off to the Dominican Republic this Sunday for six days. It will be nice to enjoy a vacation with less stress on my mind.

Budget is done!

June 10th, 2013 at 12:31 am

I finally got around to making a budget for myself. I started it at the end of May but my energy level was below E and I couldn't give it or anything the attention it needed. The culprit was either my new medicine or I simply wasn't eating enough food.

My expenses for the month of June are $2800 which leaves me with a little more than $400 left in the month. I will most likely use the "extra money" to pay more on my debt.

I don't want to make it too tight in the beginning, but as the year progresses, I should have a better handle on where and how much of my money needs to go where.

My Story

May 29th, 2013 at 04:57 pm

My story. Back in 2009, I finally got myself out of debt and stayed that way for about 2 years, life was good.

Fast forward to 2013 and I have more debt now than I ever had in my life. What happened? Life happened and I wasn't prepared.

I had some must needed medical work that had to be done, twice, and didn't have the cash to pay for it.

Then in May of 2011, I was hit - nearly head-on - in an auto accident. Even though the woman who hit me took off the front end of my car as well as the passenger side, I was hit at an angle.

I'm thankful she swerved but had she hit me on the driver's side, I'm positive I would either not be here today, I would not be walking or in a coma.

The accident knocked me around a bit. The air bag burned my face, my right arm was bruised and damaged (I drove a stick shift) and I had multiple discs in my spine pushed around. This caused a lot of pain throughout my entire body. Everyday I wake up to the unknown and unsure what part of me will hurt.

The only constant pain I have is in my right arm, hands and feet. Nerve damage.

I opted for surgery to repair the discs pressing on the nerves. After two weeks, yeah two weeks, I returned to work and I was "okay" for a few days, but the pain continued with a vengeance, even with medication.

I took a few more days off to rest and returned to work again. I was able to work a day and a half before I couldn't take the pain anymore. I told my employer I couldn't do this anymore and went out on disability for 3 months.

I had help, but with little money I did have and was receiving, it wasn't enough to sustain me past three months. I could have stayed where I was living, but I didn't want to struggle more especially with not knowing if my health was going to hold up so I moved.

Fast forward in between all of this and I am not the same person I used to be: no more races for me, can't exercise like I used to (and I loved working out) I'm always in pain, I can't do the things I used to do, a broken relationship, depression, weight gain, daily medication to half function, misuse of money, debt and just not caring anymore.

I suppose I've sat in the pity corner long enough and it's time for me to at least clean up my finances.

I also have a very expensive hobby I don't plan to give up as it also generates money on occasion. I do plan to sell some of my gear and stay off message boards and websites that tempt me to buy. I do have everything I need to continue in my hobby and in the future, when I can take a pay cut, I hope to engage in my hobby, as a profession, full-time.

I have a decent paying job, it's close to home and I have a lot of flexibility. I work for great people who are very understanding when I have to be out, go home or need to be late or leave early for a doctor's appointment.

I'm here (at SavingAdvice) because I need to be here and around people of like-mind.

It's quite possible my debt could be wiped out with my settlement money in a few weeks to a few months. I also don't want to be stupid when that windfall happens either. I want to be smart with my money again.

I know finances, at times, can be a reflection of what's going on in one's life and while I feel I should be in the gutter, I know I can do better.

I have help and a great family so it's not like I'm going at it alone. I will go back to keeping my mind "gazelle intensity" focused regarding my debt, reading financial websites, (I still watch Suze Orman and listen to Dave Ramsey), or books, stop looking at stuff I think will make me happy, deal with my emotions or at least talk about them so I don't engage in irresponsible behavior.

I hope to blog often.