work, budget, relationship, school, therapy, health and everything else that goes along with being a grown-up

Friday, July 16, 2010

More on budgeting...

I hate when it's payday Friday and after I work out my budget plan there is very little money left. However, it looks like this time I will have a little bit of "fun money" and that rules.
Here's what happened:

before paycheck: $51.48
after paycheck: $671.43
after saving: $378.15

Here are the bills that I need to pay with that $378.15:

Groceries: $100.00
Gas for car: $50.00
MLGW (utilities): $68.00

Bill that I will postpone until next paycheck:

Lawyer fee: $100.00

Thing that I really really want/almost need:

Haircut/style + tip: $50.00

Here's what's left: $110.15

I will try my very best to make sure that the majority of that $110.15 stays put until my next paycheck, two weeks away.

But things do come up. Possibilites include:

Stacey's birthday present: $20-$50
Dinner and a movie date: $50-$60
fast food lunch breaks: $10-$15
video renting: $5-$7

Plus, my next paycheck is going to be gone before I even blink (rent due the next day), so I really will need to carry over as much of the $110.15 as possible. I will have to prioritize the little "fun things" that I want to do this week.

Wow, I'm growing up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Accomplishments...

I had another appointment with Bob yesterday.

He seems very pleased with my progress. So much so that at one point he suggested that we switch from every other week to having a monthly "check-in". I flipped out. Here is a tidbit of our conversation:

"But I'm still depressed!"
"Tell me what you mean by that."
"I still don't like myself or my life, and I'm not happy about things that would make a 'normal' person happy."
"Interesting. What don't you like about yourself?"
"I'm lazy, I procrastinate EVERYTHING, and I am incapable of finishing ANYTHING."

Bob asked me why I was like that. I said that I don't know why. He says that those are all definately symptoms of depression, and that at some point in the future we may discuss antidepressants, but for now we will continue sessions every other week.

He gave me some more advice about how to stay focused at work, including to always start with the boring stuff. Then reward myself for completing the dull tasks with completing the tasks that I somewhat enjoy. Also, work on limiting my internet time by using it as a reward system for completing certain amounts of work.

Now for the real reason of this post. Bob gave me an assignment. He said that since I said that I am incapable of finishing anything, I needed to be proven wrong. He wants me to make a list of all the things that I've accomplished in the last year. So, here goes:

1) I quit smoking, and stayed quit for an entire year.
2) I lost 40 pounds in a healthy way.
3) I realized that I could no longer deny my depression, and started seeing Bob.
4) I started, and have kept to, a budget.
5) I have saved over $2000 towards my future move to NYC.
6) I have resolved my relationship issues with Stacey, and we are officially a happy couple again!
7) I started seeing my Goddaughter on a regular basis, and am developing a close relationship with her.
8) ...?

Man, I was really hoping to find 10, but 7 will do for now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marriage and babies - It's not for everyone!

If I'm being honest with myself (and with any potential readers) I have to admit that I do want to get married some day. Also, probably have a baby or two, or adopt a child or two, or both. Marriage and children are in my future, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

...but when? I'm 25 years old now. I don't want to get married until I make a decent living and/or live in my dream city. I don't want to have children until after I've been married for a couple of years, and definately not until I've been at a career for a few years, too.

So...? Will these things happen for me? Do I need them to? Will I end up going out of order a bit? Maybe get married before I finish college, and have children before I start a career? Or finish college, start my career, and never get married or have children? Or have children first, before anything, because of an unplanned pregnancy?

A lot of questions.

Here's where I'm at now: I live with my boyfriend. We are in love, and have been a couple of about 2 and a half years. We have had a couple of conversations about marriage and babies and the future, and here is where we are collectively at: We are happy with where we are now. We plan to get married in the future, but in the DISTANT future. Children aren't necessary for either of us, but we will plan for them later, also in the DISTANT future.

Also, I have a couple of other views about marriage. One, I will not get legally married until everyone can, meaning gay couples. Two, I have been engaged in the past, and have not been married, which kind of makes me skeptical about the whole thing.

Okay, that is over and done with.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Old Vices...

Well, everyone, I have to admit a couple of things to you.

1) I used to have eating disorders. (I had a couple of different ones. Most recently it was binge-eating.)
2) I used to be a smoker. (tobacco cigarettes only, people!)

I used food and cigarettes to hide my feelings from myself. And now those feelings have been up in front of me for almost a year.

And sometimes, it hurts.

Thank God for my family, my boyfriend, and my therapist. They have all really helped me with my struggle for sanity and my constant struggle with my past addictions.

Lately I've been craving excessive amounts of junk food and cigarettes. I need to ask myself why...? Because I haven't had either of my old vices in a long time, and now isn't the time to give into destructive temptations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meet Bob.

Bob is my therapist. I see him every other Monday right after work.

Last night we talked about my relationship with Stacey and how I'm doing at my job.

I told him that Stacey and I have never been better, and that is true. We had a rough patch a couple of weeks ago (long story short: I broke up with him, then went back when I realized how much I really DO love him and how badly I didn't want to be without him, and after a loooooooong talk about why we drifted apart and the changes that could be made to get us back on track... trust me, that really is the short version!).

Relationships are hard. They take work. Even good relationships take work, because it's always going to be easier to be alone than live WITH someone else, no matter how much you love him/her. Compromise is something that I have to do a LOT. I won't always get my way (neither will he!), but will always find a way to be happy with a compromise. And sometimes there isn't a compromise that works for both of us, and that's when arguments happen. I think the key to a successful live-in relationship is to always try to see the other person's point of view. Also, "never go to bed angry" is a great rule.

Work? I told Bob about my problem with staying focused and on task. I told him that I'm worried that I am either more depressed an anxious than I thought I was, or that maybe I have undiagnosed ADD.

He gave me some great advice! Told me to find ways to make my job more challenging for me, because he says that it sounds like I am bored. I'm filled with anxiety about being behind, but I'm behind at work because I'm bored with the work itself. Which makes sense. Certainly makes me feel a bit better. "Not being challenged enough" sounds better than "too lazy to care".

So I'm working on it. One hour at a time. Every hour of good solid paperwork filing I will reward myself with either a break (hello blogs!) or a challenging computer task that I actually somewhat enjoy, like updating spreadsheets.

I love my therapist! Thanks, Bob.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Project One, Day One

So far so good.

At work I have taken a half hour internet break instead of 15, but (assuming I get right back to work after this post) that is still a huge improvement! I've already gotten about half of my paper filing done, and that was just filing for 2 straight hours. At that rate I could be caught up on most of the filing by the end of the day.

At home? I did buy a vaccuum and a swiffer wet jet this weekend. (split the cost with Stacey, actually). I love them! My vaccuum cleaner is pink. It's the cutest thing ever! Also, it works. I'll see if I can find a picture of it... Found one! Isn't it adorable?! And yes, I did use both the vaccuum and the wet-jet this weekend, and am happy to say that the kitchen floor is no longer sticky and the carpet throughout the house looks like new.
I did some laundry yesterday, and that is the only sign of "the old me" in the living room. A stack of folded laundry is still sitting on the coffee table, waiting to be put away. Baby steps?
The real test will be the kitchen. If I can keep the kitchen clean for a week, I will know that I've changed. Here's hoping!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Project for self-improvement #1: Organization

There are several things that I need to work on. My biggest one? Organization. At work and at home, I am extremely disorganized. I am in charge of filing at work. Both paper and electronic files.

I am a month behind in my paper filing. Electronic filing is up to date, but the paper files is where others look for things in my absence. So I fear calling in sick, because if someone were to need something they probably wouldn't be able to find it without me. Some day, I will get sick. It's just not possible that I will be healthy forever. Therefore, I need to get caught up on my paper filing to serve the office better.

At home, it's not just organization, but general cleanliness that I need to work on. By the way, I live with my boyfriend, who I will be recruiting to help with all of the following problems:
1) Laundry piles up until we are out of clothes. There is no official laundry day.
2) Dishes will pile up in the sink, and we have a dishwasher. That is insanity. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full, run it. If it is full of clean dishes, take two minutes to unload. There should never be dishes in the sink.
3) Bathroom counter is covered with all my toiletries. They need to be put under the sink, in the drawer, or in the medicine cabinet. At the very least, lined up neatly against the mirror.
4) We don't have a vaccuum cleaner or a mop. Gross, but true. I've been borrowing my mom's vaccuum every couple of weeks. We did have a mop, but it broke. Our kitchen floor is sticky and the carpet looks nasty. We need to budget for a vaccuum and a mop.
5) Tables are always cluttered. This includes the dining room table and all coffee and end tables. Most of it is junk mail and uncategorized crap, like my ipod nano and Stacey's paycheck stubs. Time to organize the clutter.

I have a plan. Or rather, an experiement. For all of next week, I will FORCE myself to stick to this. I will use this weekend to prepare.

My work plan:
1) Give myself two 15-minute breaks, just like any other job I've had. Two hours into my day and two hours after lunch (around 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) I will take 15 minutes to surf the net and to update my blogs. Other than that, if I'm online it's work-related.
2) Give myself a schedule every day, and put reminders on Outlook that will pop up to tell me what I should be doing right then.
3) Write down a task list at the beginning of the day, and check off items as they are completed. Add to the list as needed.

My home plan:
1) Clean the house from top to bottom this weekend in preperation for keeping it that way.
2) Buy a vaccuum cleaner and a mop. Use weekly.
3) Do laundry every Friday.
4) Any time I prepare food, immediately clean up after the meal. No excuses on this one.
5) Let Stacey know the new rules and get him on board.

This should be a learning experience. It's beyond time to start improving myself. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life on a budget...

Budgeting rules. I just wish that I had figured out how to budget when I was 18 or so. Nope, took me filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy to get my financial act together. But at least I did finally figure it out.

Budgeting is actually pretty simple. Don't spend more money than you have. Here is my budget:
$1300 - Monthly Income (approximate)
$300.00 - savings
$300.00 - rent
$100.00 - gas
$100.00 -utilities
$200.00 - groceries
$100.00 - attorney payment
$35.00 - Curves membership
$17.00 - Weight Watchers online
$50.00 - unforeseen small emergency (or a haircut)

... which leaves about $98 every month for additional fun. Plus in reality, utilities hardly ever cost me $100, since I split them with my live-in boyfriend, and unforeseen small emergencies happen about as often as haircuts.

Notice the first thing on my list of bills? Savings. That's right, I am currently saving $300 every month for my future. I think that everyone should pay themselves first. Paying myself has helped me to save $1750.00 in a little over five months. I have NEVER in my life had that much money to my name.

In less than a year, the attorney payment will go away. Right now I'm still making payments for the bankruptcy. Crazy to spend almost $2000 to tell the court that I had no money. Thank goodness for the payment plan. After that, I will start saving $400 every month. Hurray for good planning!

I hate that I was stupid with money for years. I hate that I got up to my chin in credit card debt. I hate that I saw no way to pay my creditors back. And I hate that I filed bankruptcy.

But I'm done beating myself up over it. It was a great decision for me and for my future. Now I can save money and get the eff out of Memphis.