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Stainless Steel Salvation

May 3rd, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Wow what a great choice it was going with stainless steel cookware! I am so in love with it I could quit my job and just cook all day long =) I have not used every single pot or pan yet, but that will come in time. The slow cooker is probably my current favorite since I tend to throw everything in before I go to bed and the food is done by morning. I know I can have it cook while I am at work, but somehow it freaks me out to not be here just in case. I also have not used any oil while cooking and nothing sticks!

I actually thought I ruined the rice cooker because after using it, I washed it and then noticed a strange rainbow colored stain all over the inside. Apparently this is common with stainless steel and more likely to happen when cooking starches. Harmless, but still annoying. A little web searching indicates I can clean it with vinegar or Barkeeper’s Friend.

As I continue to shift from constant dining out to meal planning and cooking at home I expect my food budget to shrink. So far the savings are minimal, but I am inspired to keep at it =)

Random Ramblings

March 14th, 2015 at 09:52 am

Ok so maybe my progress train has derailed a bit or maybe I am over thinking it. Here is the rundown of what has been going on.

1) Day job... It is terrible. The work itself is boring, not challenging, and despite what I was told in the interview process I am not actually using any of the skills I developed in my graduate program although they are paying me for those skills. My boss hates me and has made it clear she is not impressed with me or my work. I am doing exactly what my colleagues are doing and yet they get raves from her. There just do not seem to be any great options to try to make the situation better without winding up in a her versus me situation and her longevity winning. I am still in my probationary period and cannot afford to just walk away so I am trying to tough it out, but am also keeping my eyes peeled for other options just in case.

2) 2nd job... In February there were more hours available and we lost some team members so I expanded my schedule a bit. The extra money is good, but this on top of my day job and everything else is just tiring and made me realize that I do not want to work like this until I retire. I think for the longest time I just assumed I would have no choice but to work like this, but with my career change it will not be necessary since my earning potential has increased. March has slowed down which is nicer.

3) Spending... I have not gotten out of control here likely because I have been working so much. I am still eating out more than I would like due to the long hours, but my new cookware has arrived so hopefully I can change things soon. I have also treated myself to tickets to a few upcoming performances and arts related events, but had no problem saying no to shows that I thought were just way too expensive.

4) Expense Tracking... This I have totally slacked on. I have pretty much all of February’s receipts to enter and those from the beginning of this month. I know I did not go over budget because there is still plenty of money in my checking account, but I miss the organization of seeing everything on the spreadsheet. LOL! There is something I never thought I would say.

5) Debt Repayment... Ummm I have not done anything here since paying off that payday loan. I did call to take care of the second one, but their system was down so they could not process it. Then I just got too busy to call back during their business hours. I just feel kind of directionless in this area, but maybe I am just tired. I keep having the strangest thoughts..... What will I do when all the debts are paid? Of course I could use that money for other things. But what other things? What if I run out of other things? Maybe that sounds stupid.

6) Savings... I have slacked off on the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge and adding to my EF. There are plenty of funds sitting in my checking account, but I have to move them and I just do not feel like it or that could be me being tired again. Sometimes I feel as if I cannot remember why I wanted to save in the first place. This could be because I did not outline a purpose for the 52 Week money and because the things that would normally be emergencies that would create debt I am now able to comfortably afford.

7) Surprise!... A minor legal matter has popped up and no it is not debt related. It is something I expected to have to deal with at some point and apparently that time has come now. Thankfully I can handle the matter myself and will not need to hire an attorney. It will just be a pain to have to go down to the courthouse to get everything squared away. The fees are a bit more than I expected so I am considering pausing my debt repayment to take care of this. Or maybe I should pause my saving? I do not know.

Something Suspicious

January 31st, 2015 at 08:55 pm

Given how wonky my spending was this month I figured I would wait until the end of the month to add funds to my EF. So I go to log in to Barclays and get an error saying my account is blocked or not recognized. Odd. I know I am using the correct user name and password and I received no contact from them indicating a problem. Well apparently there is no way to request a password reset online (and that may not even be the problem) so I actually have to call them to get to the bottom of it. I am already very skeptical of online accounts and this is not making me feel any better about it. Hopefully this is some weird computer glitch that can be quickly remedied otherwise I will happily close my account and forgo a good interest rate at a brick and mortar institution.

So I called Barclays this morning (now Feb 1st) to find out what was wrong with my account. The rep couldn't find a single thing wrong with my account or my log in information. He said the only thing that was strange was that I was logging in via their main site, which I should be able to do, but it wasn't letting me for some reason. He gave me the direct link for their banking site and logging in there worked fine. My money is where it should be and my information is safe, but that was still really weird.

Initial Installment

December 31st, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Well as I suspected I did not make my goal of putting 1k in my EF this month. The debt repayment and past due household bills really did me in. Plus I underestimated how much taxes would be taken from my paychecks. My income has more than doubled which is good, but the added taxes are a challenging adjustment. Regardless, I did not want to ring in the New Year with nothing in my EF so I transferred $25. It is not a lot, but at the same time it feels great knowing I started. It may sound silly, but to me it seems like a way to set my intentions for the coming year as if I were saying to the universe..... Yes I am serious about saving money!

Predicaments and Precautions

December 23rd, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Originally I had hoped to create a 1k EF this month, but I likely will not make that. Some of my household bills were higher than I thought and there were fewer hours at my second job than expected. Considering everything else I have accomplished before the end of 2014 I am ok with this. Hopefully I will be able to put something in my EF to at least get it started, but I am not sure how much I can contribute yet since I still have one more paycheck on the way and I am hoping to knock out that title loan. Regardless having the idea of a 1k EF floating in my mind solidified an EF as something important that I have no choice but to create.

After pondering my own expenses and reading On My Own Two Feet 2nd Edition by Kedar and Thakor I have decided that my EF needs to be a minimum of 2k, so that will be my starting point for 2015. When I think back to the financial emergencies I have had over the last 10 years most of them were under 2k so having that amount on hand would be great. I also realized that I can raise my insurance deductibles, therefore saving on the premium, and put more money toward debt repayment. No longer am I the gal that can barely scrounge up $500, because I am becoming the gal who planned ahead and had her deductibles waiting in the wings. Of course I realize emergencies are not just insurance deductibles so my long term goal in 2015 will be to get 5k in my EF.

I am going to try to keep it simple and just pick an amount each pay day to transfer into it after I have covered bills and debt repayments. Since I am avalanching my debts the amount I contribute to my EF will likely go up later in 2015 and I want to add part of my tax returns as well. For now I am going to put my EF in my general savings account, but at a later time I might be able to move it to a money market account and get a better interest rate.