Monday, January 28, 2008

Requesting prayers for a friend

A friend of mine is less than 36 hours from having an egg retrieval done, as part of her IVF treatments.

I wish to ask for prayers for guidance of the doctor's hands, and also calm and strength for my friend and her husband, these last few days have been very very hectic for them.

Update 2/3/08 - they're headed to Charlotte to do their transfer! Good luck you two, and grow "yoyo's" grow!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

February Menu time!

2/1- Enchiladas
2/2 - Subway
2/3 - Creamy Chicken and noodles
2/4- Beef Stroganoff
2/5- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
*2/6 – Ash Wednesday, Lent begins – Grilled cheese and soup
2/7 – Chicken with cream of mushroom soup and rice
*2/8 – Spinach and Cheese Calzones
2/9 – Black Bean Burritos
2/10 – Shelby layer dip
2/11 – Chicken and Broccoli skillet
2/12– Family Style French Toast Bake
2/13 – Tater Tot casserole
2/14 – Steak, Baked potatoes, Homemade bread, brownies, wine
*2/15 – Broccoli and Pasta Bianco
2/16 – Taco Bell
2/17 – Biscuits and Gravy
2/18 – Beef Stew
2/19 – Homemade mac and cheese
2/20 - Asian Chicken
2/21 – Fend for yourself
*2/22 - Hashbrown soup
2/23 – Black Bean Burritos
2/24 - Subway
2/25 - Chicken and Dumplings
2/26 – Crockpot BBQ Pork Ribs
2/27 – Chicken stir fry
2/28 – Omelettes
*2/29 – Stuffed seashells with garlic alfredo

What's up with the *, you ask? Well, as I mentioned in my last post, Lent starts on 2/6. Fridays during Lent, and Lenten holy days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) are meatless days for Catholics.

Off to make my grocery list... and debate if I want to make a king cake for Mardi Gras.

Friday, January 25, 2008

February budget completed, and Lent

Only one minor change in the budget, our rent went up by $15.oo, so therefore our income increased by $5.00, due to roomie's rent increasing ($15.00 divided by 3 people is $5.00 each).

Income: $1330.00

Rent: $565.00
Bresnan (Cable, internet, and phone bundle) $120.00
Groceries: $200.00
Gas: $50.00
Hobbies: $60.00 (split between 2 people)
Pets $10.00
Dinners out: $50.00
Savings: $275.00

Total outgoing: $1330.00

Since people have asked, I'm going to explain the budget categories:

Rent: Our apartment complex covers the utilities

Bresnan: We have a package through our internet provider to receive cable internet, phone, and cable TV at a set price ($120.00)

Groceries: I feed 2 people on this per month. We shop once a month, and roomie reimburses us his 1/3 of the total cost, so while we'll actually spend say, 210 at the store, roomie pays us back 70.

Gas: we don't drive much. I drive to a park and ride lot a couple of miles away to ride the shuttle bus to and from campus. Saves me money in the fact that I don't have to pay for a parking permit or pay to park each day on campus, and I'm not driving as far. I put MAYBE 30 miles a week on my car. Fiance drives to and from school, and maybe puts 30 miles a week on his car.

Hobbies: Fiance plays World of Warcraft, and has two accounts ($30.00). I flip flop back and forth between Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft, and knitting. Depending on what I want to do for the month determines what I do with my $30.00.

Pets: We use this category to buy fish supplies, or kitty litter, or food. This amount is low because fish don't eat much, and we buy the big bags of kitty food and litter, which lasts a while.

Dinners out: pretty self explanatory.

Savings: we have a 2000 mile move to save up for.

Budget categories that have changed in the past year: Ciggies and Visa have been eliminated. With January's budget, Visa was paid off, and I quit smoking in January. Changed the budget by $150.00. Also, our rent went up by $15.00.

Why isn't there blow money? Because both fiance and I "work", and money we earn is our blow money. I clean a house once a week, and fiance is a teachers assistant on campus for a couple of his instructors. Any money we make becomes our blow money. For the last couple of months, I've been using my blow money to both save for an iPod (which I bought last week), and paying off Redline Recovery. Since those are both taken care of, my blow money has more wiggle room.

On another tangent, Lent is coming up. Yes, I'm Catholic. I've been thinking recently about what I want to give up for Lent, and it's come down to Mochas (did this last year), and red meat (also did this last year). Me giving up red meat last year really hampered our grocery budget, and sucked for meal planning, as fiance and roomie still wanted to eat red meat. I think it's going to be Mochas again this year. Considering I drink at least one per day, that could get interesting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shelby and school, and another debt gone!

See ya later, Redline Recovery! Just had them pull the last payment I owed for my settlement agreement. Hooray! Another one bites the dust!

Got a nice comment on my last post, asking about how I manage to do the school thing, and my reply comment turned into something post worthy, so I figured I'd just post about it, haha.

Yes, unfortunately, I do have student loans (and maximum grants). With us moving to Houston, they'll be paid off hopefully within 6 months of graduation, due to a HUGE increase in income. Unfortunately, college tuition here is not cash-flow-able unless you have a good income. Cost of attendance for my college for a year at the in-state rate is just shy of 16k per year. Having student loans right now is just one of those things we have to deal with, knowing what we'll be able to do financially by having the degrees that go along with them.

Working while going to school? For me it's a huge drain. I worked for a grocery store that started me at 18 hours a week, which was do-able. (un)Fortunately, I'm one of those with a strong work ethic, and when people would call in sick, I'd go cover their shifts. 18 hours turned into 25 per week, then turned into 36 per week. Finally finals week of Spring semester 2006, I worked 74 hours in addition to taking my finals (I was carrying 17 credit hours that semester). I flunked out. I was placed on academic suspension (got kicked out of school), and I had to appeal to be allowed back in. One of the contingencies of my appeal being accepted was that I would either go back down to 15 hours per week, or quit my job.

I chose to quit. Not to mention that rarely did I have time to spend with family or friends, or with my fiance, or even just have time to sleep in. I can't even try to count how many times I would have a weekend day off, just to get called into work. At one point, I worked 17 days straight with no day off, but then I'd get yelled at for requesting time off for a trip, nearly 6 months in advance.

The money was nice, yes, but the toll on my schooling, my emotions, my family life, etc. just wasn't worth it. Plus not to mention, it essentially put me a semester behind, and I'm having to scramble now to get caught up. Your senior year, so I've heard, is supposed to be a coast year. YEAH RIGHT! I carried 19 credits last semester, and 18 this semester. And my friends wonder why all I want to do on the weekend is sleep.

What we live on is my fiance's Montgomery GI Bill. Due to his veteran status, and because he paid into the program (I think it was $2400.00 paid in), he gets a check for $1100.00 per month, for 36 months, which is a pretty decent return on his money, we think. We're only in school for 9 months of the year, and 9x4 is 36. Also, DF's brother lives with us, so we budget based on a total of $1330.00 total income per month. Here's an example budget for us for a month:

Income: $1335.00

Rent: $565.00
Bresnan (Cable, internet, phone bundle) $120.00
Groceries: $200.00
Hobbies: $60.00 (split between the 2 of us. He plays online games, and I play online games and knit)
Gas: $50.00 (we don't drive much!)
Eating out: $50.00
Savings: $285.00 (bulking up the savings for our move to Houston)

Total outgoing: $1335.00

I bring in my spending money for the month by cleaning my best friend's parents' house once a week. I get paid well, sometimes they feed me, and they let me do laundry. Fiance is a teacher's assistant on campus for a couple of his instructors, and is paid for it. It works for us!

We both attend college full time, and don't work other than what I outlined in the paragraph above.

I *may* choose to go on to grad school at some point, but right now I just want to get out of school and get out in the "real world". I've been doing the college thing off and on since 2002, I'm ready to be done. Stick a fork in me! If I choose to do grad school, it'll be cash flowed.

Hope that everyone has a fantastic week!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ba da bump bump bump... another one bites the dust!


Oh, and lookie! The piggie on my ticker moved up by 500 bucks!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Semester... it's almost over.

So, tomorrow is the last day of my Wintersession class... and I can't say that I'm sad to see it go. 14 weeks of classes smashed into 14 days means little to no sleep for yours truly, and the constant feeling of my head being full. Go figure, right?

So, classes start up on Tuesday (Monday being a holiday).

Here's my class schedule:

9-10: Human Evolution (requirement for my Anthropology major as upper division theory)
12-1: Social Research Methods
1-2: Pre-disposition report writing (Upper-division writing course)

11-12:30: Social Stratification
2-3:30: Computer Ethics (Ethics requirement and lower-division writing course)

So, on MWF, I'm going to have a 2 hour break between classes. Debating whether or not I should come home during that break, or just stay on campus.

My friend Jen sent me this Bento Box. It is the cuteness. The sauce bottles are even cuter. Figuring out foods I can stuff into it.

My friend Kelley said I need to quit tweaking my school refund money budget. The pennies are squealing and begging for mercy.

New ticker added to the top of the blog, showing where we are in our moving fund. It's moving along just fine!

That's it for now... must decide what to do with that two hours on campus on MWF.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Couple of updates and a rant...

Got an email back from Harris County. I am required to take my typing test there. Phooey.

I will most likely have a part time job upon arriving in Houston. Go me.

My Grandpa passed away last Friday, and the services were today. No, I didn't go, grandparents are in Arizona, I'm in Montana.

And for the rant...

Why is it that people have become so flippin complacent and short sighted in their lives?

Case in point, and the reason I'm writing this:

Last night, I was sitting at my computer, working on homework. Get a message from a "friend". Let me note here that said "friend" has a thing for me, and is married. He thinks that because he chooses not to be monogamous, that I shouldn't be monogamous either.

Friend asks what I'm doing. I reply "Homework". I'm in the middle of a Wintersession class right now. 15 weeks of classes smooshed into 14 DAYS. Little hectic, to say the least.

He asks "Shouldn't you be in bed getting your beauty sleep?" I reply: "I'm working on homework, have to graduate so I can get out of here." He asks me "Why not just stay here and collect unemployment until you find something you want?"

That's what started it.

I told him essentially that the reasons we're moving to Houston is to be able to set up our financial future, and that we can do so by being disciplined. I pointed out that I want to be able to put my kids through college if they want to go, etc. He harped on me for "adding to the already over-populated planet" and that I'll never be able to afford cash for a house while also raising 2 kids.

Side note here, this is not the first time that we've had a dispute over financial matters. A few months ago, he lit into me, and said that my goals were unrealistic and stupid. I basically told him to drink drain cleaner.

I told him that I was tired of him spouting his rhetoric at me, and this was what I got in return:

"oh, spouting my rhetoric?? you're awful damn mouthy yourself for someone who's never spent considerable time in other parts of the country, let alone the world, and doesn't realize that outside your little dream bubble, the world isn't as shiny and sparkly as you'd like to think! hopefully one day you'll wake up and say "damn, maybe that guy had a point and he actually had an idea about what he was saying"."

Know what? My bubble is reality. People all over this country are busting butt and killing debt. Look at all the personal finance blogs out there. Look at all the people that listen to Dave Ramsey. It can and will be done.

Mind you, this rhetoric is coming from someone who:

"when i spent 16 months deployed for OIF, I made between 50-60 grand, tax free and I STILL had to take out a loan for 10k for a damn honeymoon--five years too late. and of that 50k+ that i made, I got myself out of debt, except for student loans and the loan for the trip and I've got about 3k left of it. the rest of that money went to paying montly bills, not getting out of debt, just bills"

INTERJECTION: He had 50-60k in cash, and still took out a loan for a honeymoon? Hello screwed up priorities, imo.

No offense intended to any veteran that reads this blog, but just because you've been overseas does NOT give you the right to treat anybody like dog feces.

I mentioned that I'm looking forward to being able to enjoy the arts and such in Houston. Houston is listed 2nd in the country for amount of theater seats per square mile... 1st place is New York City.

He claims that because I'll be in the thick of it, trips to the theater will become trivial. I fail to see how. It's not like theater companies put on the same, say, 6 shows EVERY FRIGGIN YEAR. I'm going to be there for at least 2 years, if not 6 years. That's a lot of theater to go see, and I doubt I'll see the same show twice in that time.

I want to be able to go see operas, and musicals, and plays again. I want to get caught up in the emotion that is evoked when enjoying the arts. I want to be able to walk through a museum and enjoy it. I want to be able to go to the Zoo whenever I want, or an aquarium, or heck, there's stuff OUTSIDE of Houston I want to see. The Alamo is a perfect example. There's some things in life that Missoula is truly lacking, and I'll be able to enjoy those things in Houston. I personally don't see a damn thing wrong with it.

I'm thinking at this point my best bet is to cease and desist any and all contact with him. With "friends" like him, I don't need any enemies.

Sorry for the rant, but I would end up continuing to fume if I didn't get it written down somewhere.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Houston, we have a problem!

LOL! Just joking!

Actually, the Houston front is looking absolutely fanTASTIC! If all works out, I may have found us an apartment! Granted yes, we're not moving until one of us has a job, but it doesn't hurt to start preparing. Thanks to some friends who have checked out the apartment complex for us, we're going to be in a pretty nice area, and the apartment itself is sah-wheet! A little over 1300 sqfootage, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, loft style, in a complex that has a fitness center and (get this) TWO pools. The price isn't bad either.

Also, I'm in the process of being in contact with Harris County, Texas, about their job situation down there. There's one job on their job board I would LOVE to have right now, and I'm waiting to hear back from them as to what I should do in order to get my name under their noses. The job requires a typing test, which is administered there. Kinda difficult for me to take a typing test in Houston, dontcha think? Yeah, I thought so too, so I fired off an email. We'll see what they say.

So, that's the latest on the Houston aspect of things. We'll see what happens, and I'll update when I get an email back from Harris County.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Grocery savings!

Just got back from the grocery stores, and while I didn't do as well as I have in the past (some of the sales weren't all that good), I think I did alright.

All we have to buy this month will be more drinks, milk, bread, and some deli Roast Beef (for the French Dips later this month).

So, the receipts please!

Safeway: Spent $82.53, saved $41.09, plus I get 10 cents off each gallon of gas I buy.
Albertsons: Spent $184.33, saved $58.15.

It was roomie's turn to pick up certain household items that we all use (TP, drinks, and milk), so his reimbursement to us will be $110.00, so we're still right around $50.00 under budget.

Hmmm, guess I did do pretty close to as well as I have in the past. COOL!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

3 weeks

3 weeks ago today I started taking Chantix.

I haven't had a cigarette since.

I am proud of me. That is all.

Oh, wait, no it isn't! I went to a local yarn store today (Knit Wit & Stitchery), the ladies working there were very nice and understanding that I'm a knitting newbie, I start a class on Saturday the 19th or thereabouts (Knitting felted clogs! Will help me learn short rows and increases, two things I need to learn in order to knit socks), and I was able to grope yarn. I like bamboo yarn. It is pretty, has a sheen to it, and is soft.

I also started my Winter-session class today. 3 hours is a very long time to sit in one class.

Oh, duh, edit!

R talked to his buddy that lives in Houston, that has the same certifications that R will have upon graduation. At this point in time, it looks like it is 99.999999999999998% certain that we WILL be moving to Houston, probably sometime in June. The money is just too nice to pass up, honestly. If I've crunched the numbers correctly, we will be out of debt within 8 months of moving there. Exciting exciting stuffs!

I'm scared to move, but I think that's part of the whole thing. R has promised me that we can set up a savings account specifically for me to come back to Montana WHENEVER I feel the need to, outside of planned "hey, we're going to your mom's for Christmas, right?" I think that will help. I'm fortunately lucky enough that I can say that my mom is my best friend. Not many 25 year olds can say that.

Also, it is quite possible that we will be buying a house in Houston, after we're there for a while. Since we're going to be there for at least 5 years, why not, right? We'll keep it within the "Dave Ramsey Rules" of 20% down payment, 15 year fixed rate loan, and no more than 25% of our monthly take home (which right now looks like it'll be over 10 times what we're making yearly now).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year, everybody! This post is going to cover a lot of stuff, so put on your seatbelt, we're off for a ride!

January 2008 Budget!

Income - $1325.00

Rent - $550.00
Savings - $225.00
Bresnan - $120
Gas - $50.00
Groceries - $200
Gaming - $60.00
Pets - $10.00
Dinners out - $50.00
Visa - $60.00

Total out - $1325.00


January meal plan!

1/1 - Hoppin' John and cornbread
1/2 - Steak, mashed potatoes, etc
1/3 - Black bean burritos
1/4 - Soup and sandwiches
1/5 - Subway
1/6- Chicken with cream of Mushroom soup and rice
1/7- Tortellini Alfredo
1/8- Pork Chops and Macaroni and Cheese
1/9-Beef Stroganoff
1/10- Omlettes
1/11- Broccoli and Pasta Bianco
1/12- Beef Stew
1/13- KFC/A&W
1/15-Pot Roast
1/16-Black Bean Burritos
1/17-Biscuits and Gravy
1/18- Chicken and Broccoli skillet
1/19- Anniversary dinner of Steak, Smashed potatoes, Pie
1/20-Chicken Stir fry
1/21- Stuffed Spinach Seashells
1/22- Hashbrown soup
1/23- Fend for yourself
1/24- Asian Chicken
1/27-French Dip Sandwiches
1/28-Black Bean burritos
1/29- Fend for yourself
1/30-Taco Pizza
1/31- Chicken & Dumplings

2/1- Enchiladas
2/2- Taco Bell
2/3- Creamy Chicken and noodles