Category Archives: Saving

Working On Money (or A Prosperous Heart Update)

I wrote before about how the podcast I work for was going to do the 12 week journey in “The Prosperous Heart”. We just got to the end of the 12 weeks and I figured it was time to do an update.

I’ll admit that I did not follow the 12 weeks as strictly as I did with “The Artist’s Way”. The main thing I did do was the morning pages. I struggled with the morning pages when I did “The Artist’s Way” and I really didn’t enjoy them. They became something that annoyed me at the end of that journey and I really was not enjoying having my mornings start off on such a negative note. So I decided that for me, doing the morning pages wasn’t going to benefit me the way that it should so I didn’t do them.

I know that some people will argue that I didn’t really do the 12 week journey this time if I left out doing the morning pages, but that’s ok with me. I have to do what is right for me and I would rather try to do the journey the best that I can instead of not doing it at all. I did do the weekly reading and the questions at the end of the chapters, so I feel like I did a majority of the journey.

The biggest thing about this 12 week journey is to track every single penny that you spend. Since I already do that with YNAB, I figured it would be pretty easy for me to keep doing it. And fortunately it was pretty easy for me. The only annoying this was with credit card spending. I track it in YNAB and it was a bit weird to have to track it in a second location as well (for “The Prosperous Heart”, I tracked everything in a little notebook). I didn’t like having to do everything twice, but it was a minor issue.

But while I track all my credit card spending, tracking cash was a new thing for me. I was looking forward to seeing how being extra aware of my cash spending would help me out. And for the most part, I got much better about being more cautious on what I was buying. There were a few times I forgot to track my cash spending (mainly laundry money or parking meters), but I would say I tracked all but maybe 10 times I used cash. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with being close to perfect.

I think that many people in our group weren’t as into this 12 week journey as they were with the other one. Some of us felt like the book didn’t speak to us the same way. Some people felt that the chapters were repetitive and a bit disconnected. It was not easy for us to admit that we didn’t enjoy this journey as much as the other one since we all felt so great after finishing “The Artist’s Way”. But it’s important to admit to yourself when you don’t feel like you are getting what you want out of a book/class/lecture.

We tried to encourage each other to stay on top of the weekly chapters and the lessons, but this time the group online wasn’t as active and sometimes it felt like we were each on our own journeys instead of doing it as a group. It’s not bad to do it alone, but it was different. And I don’t know if I preferred the group version or being a bit more on my own. Each journey was so different because of what was in it, so it’s not easy to compare them to each other.

Now that this is done, I’m going to keep some of the lessons and challenges going but I’m not going to keep all of them. I might continue to track cash spending, but I think just having the extra awareness I have now will be helping me so much. And for credit card spending, I already track that and I have noticed that I haven’t been charging as much stuff as I did before. So it’s nice to know that I did learn something and that I’m not spending as much as I did before. I’m not saving as much as I’d like, but it’s baby steps toward that.

Overall, I’m glad that I took this journey. Even if I didn’t do everything that was supposed to be done, I feel like I have made a change and I’ve learned new things about myself. I’m hoping that I can continue to spend less and focus less on things that cost money and look for things that are free that I like to do. I know that I need to get my credit card debt paid off and I really want to get it done soon. I just need to buckle down and work harder toward that. And hopefully the lessons I learned from “The Prosperous Heart” will help me over the next weeks and months to accomplish that.

Work Begets Work (Old Bosses Possible New Jobs)

Work has been pretty busy for me lately. Busy can be good sometimes though. For my research job, I just finished working on the big database update we do each year and doing that job means I get to make more money (it’s on a different contract than my main job). And extra money does always help out with things. My main box office job is the same as always, although we are getting back into the busy season again so things have been a bit crazier. And I’m still doing my occasional in person box office job and might be working a few shifts this fall.

I’m in a pretty stable place with my day jobs right now and that’s something that has been hard to get to. But of course, nothing ever stays stable with work but this time it seems like the change might be all positive.

With my research position, there is a chance there will be a job opening that I would be right for. It would be a full-time position so I’m assuming I’d be making more money. It would still be a remote position so I could work from home. And depending on what the pay would be like, there is the potential that it could be the only main day job I would need. I don’t plan on quitting my main box office job any time soon (I wouldn’t do that until I have paid my credit card off completely), but it would be nice to have the potential to only have one main day job.

I don’t know when this job would become available or if I would get it. But it is nice to know that my boss knows that I am always looking for better opportunities for myself and thought of me. But even if I don’t get that new position, I’m very happy in the job I have now and the flexibility I have with it. It’s a luxury that I appreciate so much.

And there are more potential changes with other work. My occasional box office job is a job I got through my old boss at my telesales job (that’s the job I was working when I started this blog). I rarely see him since I work the job when he can’t be at the venue for the shows, but we still stay in touch pretty often. And he let me know about a job possibility that is actually at the old company I used to work for.

This job would be a temporary telesales position for the next month or so. I would be able to work from home and it would pay only commission (no hourly pay). But the commission would be much higher than any job I’ve had and the potential is there to make a pretty decent amount of money in a short period of time. I do miss commission jobs a bit since it was always nice to have a paycheck that was double or triple what I had the paycheck before. It always felt like a nice present!

My old/current boss is passing my information on to the people who are running this telesales campaign and they are supposed to get in touch with me soon. But from what I understand, it’s looking very likely that they will hire me to work this gig because they remember how much I was able to raise when I worked the old telesales job.

It’s good that this job would be temporary because if I do it I’ll be getting close to working 80 hours a week. That’s a lot, but since most of my jobs can overlap it’s not really 80 hours a week. But I don’t think I could maintain that sort of schedule, pace, or balance for more than a month or two. So hopefully I can make a lot of sales in that job and then when it’s done I’ll be able to relax and know that I made a nice amount of money.

If I do get that telesales job, I would love to put all the money I make from it toward my credit card. If I could cut my credit card debt in half, that would be incredible and I would be so happy! And there is a chance that this job would actually allow me to do that! I know that I’m not just working as hard as I do right now to pay off debt, but to have that weight off my shoulders would be so nice and is a goal that I’ve been working toward for a very long time.

As of right now, both of these new work possibilities are only maybes. Hopefully in the next week or month I’ll have a better idea of what might be coming up. But I have to say that I’m feeling really optimistic about work stuff right now and it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way. It’s nice and I’m really feeling like things are turning around for me in this aspect of my life. It gives me hope that more things will change for the better for me soon.

Another Monthly Challenge Down (or The Prosperous Heart)

A new month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the start to a new one! I’ll admit that last month’s challenge was much more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m glad that I got through it.

I originally wanted to do the plank challenge to help connect myself to my body again. It’s been weird feeling so disconnected and I had high hopes that this would help bring things back to normal. And this challenge didn’t do that at all. Sometimes, it almost made things worse because I was comparing myself to how I could do planks 10 years ago and the lack of core strength that I have now.

But even with this challenge not doing that, I finally do feel more connected to my body again. It had nothing to do with the challenge, but through just getting back to life I feel more like me again. I think I needed this challenge to force me to work on connecting with my body again, it just wasn’t the thing that did it. But having something push me to work on it was good. I might try another one of the fitness challenges in the app, but I’m not as concerned about doing them as I was before. But I’m glad that I tried and that I made it through.

And for this month’s challenge, I’m actually going to do something that I started earlier this week. The membership of the Inside Acting Podcast has done some fun book club type things this year. At the beginning of the year we did the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’m glad that I did it with the support of the membership because I’ve never been able to complete the entire 12 week journey before on my own. I didn’t love the entire process, but I learned a lot and I’m seeing changes in my life because of it.

And this past Sunday, we started our next book within the podcast membership. This time, we are doing another book by Julia Cameron, “The Prosperous Heart”.

There are a lot of the same concepts in both books, including the Morning Pages. I didn’t enjoy the Morning Pages before and I’m not going to stress myself out doing them this time. But this book is much more focused on money and financial things.

I’ve been tracking my budget for a while now using YNAB. Using a budgeting app has been really great for me. Even though I’m still struggling a bit financially, I feel much more in control of things and understand how to pay down my credit card debt now without feeling overwhelmed.

Part of this book is to track every single expense you have. This will be pretty simple for me since I’m already doing it, but I’m going more detailed now and that’s what my monthly challenge will be. I’m not only going to track what I do bank transfers for or when I use my credit card. I’m going to track every single penny that is spent.

A lot of times, I’ll get cash at the beginning of the week and plan on using that for random things. But before I know it the cash is gone and I don’t know where I spent it. Or I don’t know where all the quarters I got for laundry went when it seems like I just went to the bank to get a roll. Some people don’t spend as much when they use cash, but for me using cash has become mindless since I don’t track it in YNAB. I need to stop this because I want to track my money better. And using this as my monthly challenge is a great way for me to get into this habit.

More often than not, my monthly challenges become something I do all the time. So if I take this month to work on tracking my money better, I have a feeling that I will be able to continue to do this and hopefully it will only help me in my money management skills. I know that I’ve been doing a lot of great work with money, especially in the past year or so, but I need to do more and this might be the perfect thing for me to do.

It’s Taxes Time (or Seeing My Hard Work Pay Off)

I don’t think that anyone is excited to do their taxes and owe money. Because of my jobs, I know I will owe money each year. None of my jobs take my taxes out for me, and even though I do my estimated payments like I need to they are usually not enough to cover what I owe. I know this is the situation I’m in so I am as prepared as possible for tax time. I save all my work related receipts (and there are a ton of them) and I save money out of every paycheck to use at tax time. But even with that, I’m always nervous that the news is going to be bad when I get my taxes done.

I went to Daphne at Chuck Sloan and Associates again and I’m so glad I did! First of all, everyone at Chuck Sloan understands actor and creative type taxes and the unique situations we are all in. They aren’t scared by dozens of jobs and the forms and all the weird deductions we need to do. And they understand how stressful tax time can be for us all. But I’m so happy that I have Daphne doing my taxes because she’s extra awesome! We bonded the last time she did my taxes over Disneyland and since I was going to Disneyland after doing my taxes with her I knew we’d talk about that.

Last year, Daphne showed me the worst case scenario with my taxes before she put in all my deductions so that I would feel better about how much I had saved up. I had asked her to do that for me again and once again it was less than what I had saved for my taxes. That’s always a huge relief because I know that no matter what I will have enough money to pay what I owe. But since now I’m feeling more comfortable with that, it was all about how well I tracked my work spending and tracked my deductions.

I like to think that I’m a pretty organized person and that I did a good job tracking expenses in 2016. Since I had my taxes done by Daphne once already, I knew what I should be aware of and what can be deducted. There are so many accountants that let you deduct things that aren’t totally on the up and up, so I’m glad Daphne is very careful in her work and tells me when things look weird (like how I accidentally tracked buying my new computer twice). I’m sure that there is more that I can deduct, but I’m still learning how to do the best that I can.

And even though I thought I had done all my tracking without missing things, there were a few things that I totally forgot about and I’m so glad we went over any other expenses I might have had in the year. I forgot that I got a new phone (which I do have to use for acting and my research job) and for some reason I never tracked the money that I spent to produce “Single Parent Date Night”. This is another reason I love having Daphne do my taxes. She knew to ask about these sort of things just in case I didn’t remember to track them on my paperwork (I’m sure anyone at Chuck Sloan would do the same since they know to look for these things).

In the end, I owed less than half of what I had saved for my taxes. This is so much better than I ever could have imagined! The money left over is going to be saved for another trip to New York that my sister-in-law and I are hoping to take next year. I still have more time to save more money, but I think what I have left over from my taxes savings should be able to cover pretty much the entire trip! I was only hoping that I would have about half of what I needed for that trip leftover so having this much is a big surprise to me and it making me relax a bit about how I will be able to afford that trip.

I’ve already written my checks to the IRS and sent them off so I’m now totally done with doing my 2016 taxes. It’s nice to get them done early enough so there isn’t a huge rush to do them at the last minute. And I’ve already started planning on what I can do this year to make the taxes easier next year. I will be paying more in estimated taxes, so that will help how much I owe. But I also now will be tracking my expenses even better because I learned where I was slacking last year that caused me to miss out on some potential deductions.

While it was nice in the past to be very uninvolved in my taxes, that’s not a luxury I can afford anymore. I know that with my current jobs that I will always owe money at the end of the year and I like being able to sit down with Daphne and go over everything so I understand why I owe what I do. I can see what deductions took off what and where I could have done better. I guess being more involved with all of this is just something that is required when you want to be more responsible and acting more like an adult.

My 2017 Goals (or I Know This Year Will Be Amazing!)

It’s the beginning of 2017 and I’m ready to make this year so amazing! I have a lot of things happening this year and while they are not all great things I know that I can do incredible things even with the struggles I know the year will bring. As always, I don’t set resolutions because I don’t feel like those have a long-term feeling. I like to set goals for what I can get done in the year and I’m ready to share my 2017 goals with you all.

My first goal is a fitness related one. I didn’t quite make my fitness goal for 2016, but I’m still trying to do better than that goal. This year, I want to do 181 workouts at Orangetheory. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. First, I only did 177 workouts last year so this is 4 more than what I did before. But also, with my liver surgery, I may need to take several weeks off of working out. Because of that, I will have to do more 4 workout weeks before surgery and after I recover. But I’d love to make 4 workout weeks more of the norm so setting a goal of 181 workouts is a great way to push myself to do that.

My next goal is to get through my liver surgery as easily as possible. I know that this will be hard to do since I have no clue how my body will react to surgery and recovery. But I am a big believer in the power of positive thought and that’s what I’ll be doing. When I had my hip surgery, I was in the gym the next day on the recumbent bike working out because I was told that moving would be good for me. So my plan is to think that I will be able to get through surgery with few problems. I will have to spend some time at the hospital after surgery, but with positive thinking I’m hoping the time will be as limited as it can be. I know this will be a painful process, but I still want to focus on the positives and hoping that the pain will be manageable and that I will have a fast recovery.

The next goal is to continue on my journey through recovery and to reduce my binge episodes even more. I know that setting a goal to eliminate binges is setting myself up for failure, but to even reduce the average to be one fewer a week would be awesome! I want to continue to reading my recovery books to be inspired and get my brain in a place where recovery is possible. This isn’t an easy goal, but I’m excited to see what progress I can make this year.

Next are money related goals. I have a number that I want to get my debt below this year. I’m not sharing that publicly because that won’t mean much to everyone else, but it will be a reduction of about 25% of the debt I currently have. I would love it to be lower, but because I am not making a ton of money right now I know that I must have slightly realistic goals. And along with that, I would not only like to pay down my debt but I would also like to have some savings as well. I don’t want to have to use my credit card for unexpected expenses like car problems or wanting to buy things like my Disneyland pass. If I had savings, I could use that for those expenses while still being able to pay down debt.

I also have a goal of hopefully setting a PR again in my 5K race time. I have 2 races planned for this year so hopefully I can PR at one or both of them! I plan on increasing how long my running intervals are so that should hopefully help to make getting a PR easier for me. I’m not as focused on increasing my speed right now, but maybe that will be something I work on toward the end of the year for future PRs.

And my last goal (which I seem to set each year) is to have more fun. I’m even trying to make my liver surgery fun by telling my friends that they will have to come and visit me in the hospital so I can have a good time there. I plan on continuing my adventures to Disneyland and Universal Studios and hopefully having more fun random outings. There is so much stuff in LA that I haven’t done yet even though I’ve lived here for almost 16 years and I want to have more fun in the city I call home.

So that’s it for my goals for 2017. I think I’ve set some really good ones and I’m excited to do my best to accomplish them all! And I hope that at the end of December, I look back at this post and am proud of what I got done. But for now, I’m just happy to start working on all of these and checking things off throughout the year!

Recapping My 2016 (or Almost Doing All That I Wanted To)

I can’t believe that it’s the end of the year! It’s so true that the year flies by and that it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was writing what my goals were going to be for 2016. My year didn’t totally go the way I expected (both in good and bad ways), but I’m happy to say that I almost got all the goals I set for the year accomplished.

My first goal for 2016 was to do 180 workouts at Orangetheory. Sadly, this one wasn’t a goal that I accomplished. I will have one more workout for the year tomorrow, and that will bring my total for the year to 177 workouts. I know that 177 workouts for the year is still impressive and better than I did last year, but I really wanted to reach my goal. I had some setbacks that I wasn’t expecting, so that contributed to missing some of the workouts that I thoughts I’d be able to do. It’s not the end of the world that I didn’t hit this goal, and I’m trying to remember that the quality of the workouts that I did this year were so much better than last year.

I was lifting heavier weights than I ever have before. My form on the bodyweight exercises is significantly better. And most importantly I started to run this year! I never thought that was going to happen for me this year and I’m so happy that my coaches pushed me to do it. I still have so much progress to do on my running, but the amount of progress that I’ve had this year already has been incredible!

And that leads me to my next goal I had for 2016 which was to have a PR on my 5K. And because of my running, my most recent 5K was an amazing PR for me! Even with all the running training I had been doing, I had no clue that I could do that fast of a race! I accomplished so many goals I had for my 5K timing with that one race and now I have to figure out what new goals I have for 2017 for my races. My next race should be before my liver surgery and the second one will be after. And I have no clue how the surgery will affect my training so I need to be cautious with the goals I set.

The next goal I set for 2016 was regarding money. I wanted to budget better, reduce my debt, and possibly start saving money. While things haven’t been as great as they could have been with money, I think I’ve been doing a lot better than I have before. My budgeting is going better and part of that budgeting is budgeting money each month to go into saving money for big things like when I have to do car repairs or my new computer. I’ve also brought my debt down this year. And even though it isn’t as low as I hoped it would be, getting it down is tough so any reduction is an accomplishment.

I also set a goal to travel more and go on more adventures with my friends. I really didn’t do a ton of traveling this year, but the trips I did take were really fun. I didn’t get to do the trip with my sister-in-law like we had planned, but we are working on a trip idea for 2017 so at least trip planning happened this year. But I totally did do more adventures this year with my friends. I’ve been going to shows quite a bit and those still make me so happy. I got to go back to Magic Castle and had so much fun with my friends being silly there. And of course I had a ton of outings to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

The one goal that I didn’t really even get close to doing is being in another acting class this year. I debated doing the next level of improv at UCB, but I decided against it for a couple of reasons. I looked into a few other acting classes and I’ve found a couple that do interest me, but there was an issue with scheduling. And with knowing that I have surgery coming up in the spring, I’m very hesitant to try to get a class planned for the new year. I know I need to get back into a class, and I’m a bit upset with myself that I didn’t do any action with this during 2016. But I’m ok with not doing it because I didn’t want to waste money on a class I didn’t really care to do.

And my final goal for 2016 was to be in recovery or on my way into recovery from my eating disorder. I’m not in recovery at all, but I’m working toward it and the steps I’ve made this year have been significant. I think I’ve made more progress this year than I have in the past few years combined. I’m working on recovery every day which is something that I haven’t done before. I’ve had fewer binge episodes a week than before and the binges I have had were not as severe as they were in the past. I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s getting there.

Considering all the craziness of my life this past year, I’m pretty happy with how my goals went for the year. I know that things could have been better, but they also could have been so much worse. And I know that 2017 is just going to be even better!

My goals post for 2017 will be next week (along with the post with my word for 2017). I hope you all have an amazing New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! Please be responsible and call for a cab/Uber/Lyft if you are out drinking so you get home safely. And here’s to all of us having an incredible start to 2017!

Adventures In Banking (or More Customer Service Stories)

Since I work in customer service, I know that sometimes someone is having a good day and sometimes someone is having a bad day. As a customer service rep,  I can’t make every customer happy (I just got in trouble yesterday by a customer who called me rude to the owner of the company I work for because I refused to do things that I either have no authority or legal right to do). I’m aware that because of my job in customer service, I can be a tough customer from time to time. I do expect a lot out of customer service reps since that’s the standard that I have for myself, and I really hate when I have a bad experience.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of customer service people from banks lately. After setting up my DBA for work, I’ve had to do a couple of things and one of those things was getting a business bank account set up. My first stop was my current bank since it would be easiest to have everything in one place. Unfortunately, I would have to pay $15 a month to have a business bank account until I had a minimum balance in the account which was higher than I’m comfortable with.

Even though I couldn’t do the account at my bank, they were so nice to me there. They looked into some possible loopholes that might be able to get the fee waived for me, they tried to find other options, and they really did everything they could to try to find a solution that would make me happy. I’m sure that they also want to keep my business, but any bank should want my business whether or not I’m already a customer.

I ended up doing some searching online for business bank accounts with no monthly fee and found a bank that happens to be one block away from my current bank. My first attempt to go there to talk to someone was not a success because I forgot it was Columbus Day and the bank was closed (totally my fault for not looking into bank holidays). But I was able to go back the next day and that’s exactly what I did.

When I arrived nobody greeted me or asked me what I was at the bank to do (they do that at my current bank), so I waited in line to talk to a teller to find out what to do. They directed me over to some chairs and said there was one person ahead of me needing to discuss business accounts. I took a seat and got my book out to read.

The person ahead of me went back and before they did, a bank employee came to look to see if I had the paperwork I needed to open a business account. They quickly glanced at everything, said it was fine, and said they’d be back soon to help me. I ended up waiting almost 2 hours to be helped. By the time they got to me, the bank was closed. But since I had been waiting since before they closed, they weren’t going to send me away.

They started to look at my paperwork and process things and then told me that I needed $100 to open an account. I’m aware that this is my fault, but nobody told me how much I needed to open an account and I didn’t have $100 in cash (or a blank check) with me. I asked if there was any way I could run over to my bank and get cash from the ATM, but they said that since they were already closed that if I left to get money they couldn’t let me back in.

I left that bank feeling pretty annoyed. In the 2 hours I was sitting and waiting, I easily could have gone to my bank and had the cash that I needed. When they came to check my paperwork to see if I had what I needed, they could have told me that I needed $100 or they couldn’t open the account. But instead I wasted 2 hours sitting on my butt in a bank with nothing accomplished.

I put a bit of a rant up on Facebook that evening because I decided that even though they seemed to be the best option for a free business account, I didn’t want to give them my business. I deserved to be treated better than how they treated me. I never should have waited as long as I did because my time is valuable. And I wasn’t going to be devalued again.

A few of my friends recommended a credit union that they believed had free business accounts. So yesterday, I headed over to the credit union to talk to them. First, I have to say that doing business in a credit union that is housed in a building owned by a major studio is pretty fun. In the entryway there were a bunch of props and other things from movies the studio has done before. And in the credit union, they’ve got a lot of movie themed stuff (sorry that I didn’t get any pictures of it!).

I wasn’t able to get my account set up while I was there because I actually need some more paperwork that I will be getting from the LA County courts in the next few weeks. But once I can do that, I can set up the account (and while it’s not always free, there’s a low enough balance requirement that I can handle it).

Even though I couldn’t do the bank account at the moment and that was discovered within minutes of sitting down, I couldn’t have asked for a better customer service experience. The woman helping me was more than willing to answer all my questions that I’ve been coming up with. I’ve never opened a business bank account so this is all new and sometimes overwhelming to me. But she was patient and took her time making sure that when I left there that I had all the answers I needed and that I knew exactly what I needed to bring with me the next time I come in.

Hopefully my paperwork from the court will come soon so I can set everything up, but there is no question that I am going to go with the credit union (as long as everything works out for me) instead of the bank. I want my money to be a place where I feel comfortable going in to talk to a banker or where I know that they won’t waste my time. It’s important to feel good about where you are giving your business, and clearly the customer service experiences that I had influenced me.

Splurging On Technology (or I Guess I Had To Get A New Phone)

I’ve written recently about how my phone had been dying. When I wrote that post, my phone was lasting between 3-6 hours in a charge and I was finding tricks to make that ok with me. I had no plans on getting a new phone, mainly because I hate the new giant phones and I didn’t want something that wouldn’t be easy for me to use.

When I went to Tahoe, my phone got even worse. The battery was lasting maybe an hour if I was lucky. I was carrying 2 external batteries with me and I was charging my phone every chance I had (thankfully my mom has a charger in her car). Again, I was really not wanting to get a new phone, but I was starting to realize that I probably had to take some of my savings to invest in a new one.

I started to do some research on iPhones and discovered that there was a lower version of them called the SE. Basically, it is the same technical stuff as the 6S, but it is the small size like my 5S. It’s not the latest and greatest phone, but that was ok with me. Usually I only want to get the newest stuff since technology becomes outdated quickly, but I was willing to change it up for the phone. Plus, the lower version phone was half the cost of the new ones and that was worth it to me.

When I got home from Tahoe, I had a few more days before I had a free afternoon to get a new phone. My phone was getting worse and worse and by the time I was off to get my new phone, my old one could almost not hold a charge unless it was plugged in.

Getting the new phone was a bit of a bigger ordeal than I thought it would be. I really thought I would go to the Verizon store, get my phone, pay, and be done with it. But there were issues with my account that had to be figured out first. Then there was a lot of confusion about what I was paying for (they kept telling me the accessory bundle was included with my new phone, but to them included meant I pay for it with the phone). And after a few hours at the store, they finally said they didn’t have the phone I wanted there and sent me to another store to buy it (not sure why they didn’t do that sooner).

I drove over to the other store in rush hour traffic, but fortunately the other store had my new phone waiting for me. I stayed in the new store to make sure my backup from my old phone made it to my new phone and after several hours, I was finally on my way back home to play with my new phone.

Even though this was an expense I wasn’t really ready for, it ended up being worth it. I do a lot of day job work on my phone, so I need to have a working phone. And having a new phone is pretty nice. Things are working better and faster. And this new phone has significantly more storage on it so I’m not always deleting stuff to find room on my phone for what I need.

I’m still going to be waiting for the new MacBook Pro to be released before I make that splurge. My computer isn’t dying like how my phone was. If I had to make it another 6 months with my computer, I think it would be tough but doable. But at least now I know when I get the new computer that I have a phone that will be able to work very nicely with it.

Looking Forward To Some Big Spending (or Needing New Technology)

I’ve written before about how I really need a new computer soon. This realization hit me hard when the new iPhone came out. I discovered that the new iPhone (at least the most expensive one) has more storage on it than I do on my computer. The fact that a phone could have more room on in than my computer is sad and a sign that I’m getting desperate.

I’m still waiting on the announcement of the new MacBook Pro. I’m not going to buy an old computer which is my only option now. So I have to wait until whenever Apple decides to release a new one and I’m sure that there will be an insanely high demand for it so I will possibly have to wait before I can get my hands on one. I’m still hoping that a new computer will be released in the next few months because there are more and more projects I want to work on that will require a better and faster computer that has more storage than what I have now.

When the new iPhone came out, I thought that maybe I’d look into it since my phone has been acting a bit off lately. Nothing was too bad but I’ve had this phone for 3 years (sadly, that’s pretty long in iPhone life) and it was something I was thinking about. I was hoping the new iPhone would be a smaller size (like my 5s), but the new ones are still pretty big and I don’t really love them. Plus, since next year will be the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, everyone is saying that one will be a huge overhaul compared to what we have now.

A few days after the new phone was released, my phone started acting up more. Now, I have an average battery life of 3-6 hours (that’s with only using it for maybe 1 hour total). The standby time on my phone should be much longer than that and it’s pretty bad. My phone battery will show that it is at 70% and a second later it goes down to 1% and shuts down. This isn’t the end of the world, but it is an inconvenience. I have one external battery that gets me a full charge on my phone, but I just bought another external battery that should get me 2 full charges. I’m also looking into battery replacement as a possible fix.

I also have an older iPad that has not been able to upgraded to a new operating system in a while (I think I’m using an iOS that is 2 or 3 versions ago). But I’m totally fine with my iPad for what I use it for right now so I’m not too worried about it.

I’m aware that I probably sound really spoiled and should be happy with the technology I have now since it is more than what many people have. And I am so grateful for everything I have and in no way am upset that I don’t have the latest and greatest. I don’t care for the best, I just want stuff that works.

If my phone was able to hold a charge for more than 6 hours on standby, I’d have no concerns and would probably keep the phone for another year or more. If my computer wasn’t flipping out on me on an almost daily basis, I would keep it because I love my computer. It’s just that technology doesn’t last forever and it seems like all of my stuff has decided to reach the end of its life at the same time. I’ve got the money saved up for a new computer and I’m ready to spend it the second I can on the new one when it is released.

I’m not sure I’m totally ready to spend money on a new phone (nor do I have that money really available to me right now), but I’m realizing that it is time to start saving for that and for possibly a new iPad. I don’t love the idea that I’ll potentially be spending a ton of money on new things when I know that any money I save for them should really be going toward paying down my debt. But I guess this is what I get for working from my phone and computer and needing everything to work in order to be paid.

Budgeting and Spending (or Sharing YNAB With A Cashier)

This week I did a bit of shopping to prepare for my trip next week. I got a couple of things I needed (travel toiletries) and a couple of things I wanted (a new purse and hat). While I did need some of the things I got, I still was very careful with what I was spending. I’m trying to do much better with my budgeting plan and starting over in YNAB so I could start fresh with a better budget idea has really helped me. I’m much more on top of my expenses and income and I’ve been able to make larger payments toward my credit card debt than I have in the past (although I’ve had a small setback in that because I had to put almost $1000 into fixing my car last month).

The current version of YNAB is a very different set-up than what I signed up with. I haven’t wanted to make the change yet (it costs more with the new version and I’m happy with what I have), but I’m still trying to be a very involved user and whenever possible I add my spending in the app as it happens. It’s pretty convenient to have the app on my phone and entering my expenses or income takes so little time. Compared to other budgeting apps I’ve tried to use, this one seems to make the most sense to me and doesn’t intimidate me especially with having income that can vary a lot.

One of my shopping trips to prepare for my trip was to Nordstrom Rack (they’ve always got some amazing things there!) and when it was my turn to pay I handed over my credit card and then asked again what the total was. The cashier told me and I immediately got out my phone to enter what I spent (it was within my budget so it’s all good).

The cashier asked me what I was doing and I mentioned that I was entering my purchase into YNAB so I could make sure I don’t overspend what I’ve budgeted for this month. She mentioned how smart that was and how she should do the same thing. I have a feeling that she probably downloaded the app that night because she seemed really excited about it.

Budgeting may never come easily to me (unless I have an unlimited amount of money and don’t actually have to budget), but I’m working on it. Being open about budgeting has helped because it takes away the shame I’ve felt in the past about the money issues I have. I’ve been told that I’m very irresponsible for having a credit card balance that isn’t paid off in full each month. I felt awful about that and didn’t want to tell anyone else about it. But when I opened up about it, I realized that a lot of people I know have debt of some sort and there’s nothing wrong with it. And a lot of those friends have been using various budgeting apps to help bring down their debt so I want to follow their example.

It actually felt really great for those brief moments I was talking with the Nordstrom Rack cashier about YNAB. I had no feelings of shame sharing that I needed help to track my money and to make sure I’m being responsible. I felt like even if I am not in a perfect financial set-up right now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have advice I can share with others and hopefully help them get into the best financial shape possible. You don’t have to have everything figured out and settled to be able to share with others what may be able to help them.

I know that I’ve got a long way to go with my budgeting and debt payoff, but it’s the small steps that will add up and make a big difference in the end. And hopefully in the not so distant future I will know that my credit card debt will be paid off and then the budgeting will shift from debt payments to savings and I can hopefully do more fun things more often.