Twelve months of experiments: January 2018

When last I wrote, dear readers, I’d cliffhangered you at the end of the first of what’s likely to be an exhaustive series on how my first-ever request for a raise goes. I regret to inform you that today’s post is not a continuation of that series, which is something you’d probably surmised from the title.

Instead, since it’s a new month (also my birthday month! I suppose turning 26 means my quarter-life crisis will be over, right?), here’s an end of month update on the challenges I took on in January. I was decluttering, doing a no-spend/uber frugal month challenge, a barre challenge, and still trying to meditate every day.

In case that sounds like an overwhelming number of things to do all at once, may I remind you how the last bit of my first post of 2018, which laid out the four challenges I was doing, ended?

Ridiculously overly ambitious? We shall see!

In a surprise to absolutely no one, turned out it was ridiculously overly ambitious! Continue reading “Twelve months of experiments: January 2018”

The day I broke my frugal month challenge

Today. That would be today, y’all. Well, yesterday by the time you read this, but the fact remains that we’re only halfway through January and I just absolutely annihilated all of the savings from the spending I previously hadn’t been doing this month.

I have to laugh at both myself and the universe here. Wasn’t I just saying that because of my uber frugal month challenge and my double side hustle income that January’s spending report might possibly rival December’s success? Or that the frugal month challenge was going strong? That was literally two days ago. Clearly the universe heard that and decided to throw me for a loop.

I’ve had an expensive day. The numbers aren’t finalized, but I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 today. Considering that was the sum total of my expenses last month excluding rent, I have well and truly broken the uber frugal month challenge. Continue reading “The day I broke my frugal month challenge”

Five things I don’t regret spending money on

Hey, everyone. This post is currently competing in the second round of the Rockstar Rumble. If you could head over here and vote (I’m “Regret” in Game 32), I’d be grateful!

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about ways I’m saving money or things I’m no longer spending money on. It’s a function both of being on the FIRE path and also just a fact of life for someone on a non-profit salary. There’s lots of talk in the personal finance community of how to save money, ranging from small things like lattes to the big things like houses and cars.

But saving money isn’t the whole story—sometimes there are times when it makes more sense to spend money than not to spend it.  I’m a broken record when it comes to talking about why I spend so much money each month on my barre membership. But here are five not-so-obvious larger-ticket items I’m glad I’ve spent money on. Continue reading “Five things I don’t regret spending money on”

Holiday traditions, old and new

So writing wasn’t happening Monday night (let’s be honest, it wasn’t really happening last night either. Apologies for the resulting incoherence), so it’s a Wednesday/Friday post week because it’s my blog and I can make the rules! Also that works out just fine because I’m going to be at a holiday party for my side gig tonight so no writing’s happening. ANYWAY.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music since the properly-appointed time of after Thanksgiving and got into the decorating groove last weekend. This got me thinking about holiday traditions, and what’s new this year now that I’m on the FI path. Continue reading “Holiday traditions, old and new”

What are your trade-offs?

Essentially all of life is a trade-off: when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else. We trade our time and energy 40 hours a week at our jobs in exchange for a paycheck, which means saying no to the myriad of other things we could or would rather be doing during that time.

When we say yes to an evening in reading a book or watching tv, we say no to an evening out somewhere or spending time with friends. And vice versa.

When we stay up late writing blog posts, we say no to getting more sleep. Ahem, I digress. Continue reading “What are your trade-offs?”

Of lemons and rice: a price comparison of pantry staples

Ah, Trader Joe’s. The bargain store spoken of in hushed tones of reverence usually reserved for sacred spaces and museum exhibitions of old masters (or no, is that just me speaking as an history nerd?).

Despite the many glowing reviews, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve shopped at TJ. The closest one to me was either in Virginia or a drive halfway across the city. I’m a fundamentally lazy person at heart but paradoxically living here has made me quite the city slicker: walking a mile or two is way less work in my opinion than having to get in the car to drive somewhere (and losing the prime parking spot I usually snag on my block). Plus I generally refuse to drive across this city on principle. Continue reading “Of lemons and rice: a price comparison of pantry staples”

Some of the things I’ve bought over the years

(aka Amazon is sometimes a dangerous game)

I’ve talked before about how I’m a natural spender. I’ve been noticing a tendency lately to want to buy things—and I succumbed and bought two prints the other day. At some point I’m going to run out of wall space for those, but I suspect it’ll be that event that makes me finally stop, not some act of self control on my part.

I had a tab open earlier today for a pine-scented candle. It took me a few minutes to blink, take a second look at that tab, and close it out. I’ve got a bunch of candles. Hell, I have the supplies to make my own. I don’t need an expensive holiday-scented candle, as fantastic as that would smell. I’ve got better things to do with my money. But I still had that tab open. Continue reading “Some of the things I’ve bought over the years”

How the hell do I get started?

As much as I talk a big talk about money and pretend I’ve got it all figured out (and if I could just get a damn 50% raise already I’d be good to go!), that’s not actually the case. Some days I’m internally screaming because while I’ve maybe started figuring out my shit, I feel like I’m sitting at the bottom of Mount Everest and financial independence is aaaallllllllll the way at the top. Y’all, I haven’t even done the math on how long it’s actually going to take to reach FI/climb the damn mountain because I’m afraid to. Continue reading “How the hell do I get started?”