Tag Archives: Finance

2015: My Year In Review

Hello all!

Hope everyone had a happy and healthy 2015!

2015 was the year I really let this blog (and my writing) take the backseat.  Which may be the reason I have been such a grump for most of 2015.  When you stop pursuing your dreams, you start settling for a mundane reality and that’s just not going to be a life I want to live.

So with me being MIA for most of 2015, I want to update my readers (if I have any left) on what the year held in store for P and I.

In February we went to Hawaii which was one of the best decisions we could have made.  We actually got into more credit card debt BUT it was an opportunity that I’m so glad we took when we had it.  It gave me great inspiration for a novel that I hope to write one day and we definitely won’t be able to go to Hawaii again for a looooong time (and you will know why if you keep reading).

Even though we got into a little debt in Hawaii (*cough* a couple thousand *cough*), we made great progress in March when I PAID OFF my student loan!!!!!  Talk about the Best.  Feeling.  Ever.  We still have P’s student loan but it is so nice having that extra $160.00 a month to put toward other debt now.

April was a great month!  My brother and sister-in-law welcomed a son who is the cutest baby ever!  I’m biased, but he really is adorable! We took a trip to their home near Seattle to meet this prince of a nephew and he is absolute perfection.  They are fantastic parents and he is growing like a weed every time I get the privilege to see him.

I also have really missed being onstage and acting in community theater.  I ended up taking the plunge and auditioning for the local semi-professional theater.  I was on cloud nine after the audition.  There is just something about taking risks while pursuing one of your favorite things that is just magical.

The magic just kept on coming in May!  I found out I got a part in one of the plays for the theater I had auditioned for in April!  I was going to finally be returning to the stage after 3 years!!!  As if that news wasn’t great enough, the following week P and I had found out we were pregnant!!!  We had been trying for 8 months since our last pregnancy ended in miscarriage.  Shocked and excited we had a feeling that this was going to be our year.

The summer was a whirlwind, we shared the pregnancy news with some close family and friends before our first appointment July 1.  That is when we got some sad news.  The baby ( I know some people don’t consider it a “baby” until it’s born, but when you are the mom and you take that positive pregnancy test after taking so many negative ones, it instantly becomes your baby) was measuring 3 weeks smaller than it should and there was no heartbeat.  Our hearts just sank.  How could we be having another miscarriage?  The doctor told us to come back in a week to see if the baby has grown or if in fact we had experienced another failed pregnancy.  The wait was awful, but luckily we had great friends who invited us out on their boat on the Fourth to watch fireworks and spend a day on the lake.  There is just something about being on the lake and having the wind whip through your hair that is the best therapy and distraction P and I could have asked for.  At sunset, we watched the fireworks off the lake, P had me in his arms and I just kept thinking that no matter what news we get I have the perfect partner to get me through the ups and downs of this life!

The following Wednesday we went to see our doctor and our worst fears were confirmed.  The baby had not grown and still no heartbeat.  We were gutted but at least we now knew with a 100 percent certainty and could grieve and move on.  And so we did…

The rest of the summer brought lots of laughs and tears and P and I finally made a decision to expand our family.  We decided since the play I was cast in would end its run by March 2016, we would start the foster-to-adopt process to expand our family in April!  Nervous and excited we had a game plan and we could finally relax!!!  We were so focused for so long on getting pregnant that we just needed to refocus on what our actual goal was:  Being loving parents one day and raising some incredible kids.

Over Labor Day weekend we traveled with some friends to Seattle to go to Bumbershoot (a music festival).  It was very “frugoal” as we split the costs of gas and a hotel room.  Such a great weekend filled with some fab music, lots of beer, and many memories!

As summer turned to fall (my fave season) the energy in me seemed to shift.  I felt lighter and was enjoying life for the first time in months!  We celebrated Oktoberfest and squeezed in one last camping trip of the year.  The day after we got back from the camping trip I noticed my monthly visitor wasn’t RSVPing for her normal week she stays with me.  I felt great on the days I normally should have been PMSing…hmmm.  I picked up a pregnancy test on the way home from work and saw a very faint line to indicate a positive.  My reaction and P’s reaction was…mixed.  It wasn’t until I took a digital test the next day that glaringly stated “Positive” where P and I were like “are we really ready to go through this again”.  We set up a doctor’s appointment in mid-November to determine if this baby was a stage 5 clinger.

The next several weeks went by surprisingly fast.  It could have been because I was just dreading the appointment.  Our experiences had always been nothing but massive disappointments but I was trying not to let our past miscarriages dictate what this experience “could” be.

November 11 happened.  The day of our appointment.  I was a nervous wreck all day, but was suddenly calm as I was driving into the parking lot.  P was coming from work and met me there.  Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long and was rushed into an ultrasound room right away (my doctor wanted to get right down to business).  In a matter of seconds, he performed the ultrasound and for the first time in our three pregnancies we heard the HEARTBEAT!!!!  Best sound ever!  It looks like third time is truly the charm for us! Hell, P and I were engaged three times before we finally walked down the aisle and now it looks like third pregnancy we will finally have our healthy baby (fingers and toes crossed).

Looking like this pregnancy is going to stick, we decided to buy me a newer and safer car…a Jeep.  I know, I know, I’m going to the dark side.  I have bitched countless times on this blog about what a money pit P’s jeep is, but this one gets better gas mileage and is great in the snow (and we have gotten SNOW this winter).  So now we have two car payments vs. one but P is driving the Jetta as his daily commuter car now (which gets great gas mileage) so we are saving some money on gas.

The holidays were fast and furious!!!  They were lovely and P took full advantage of me being the DD (which he should since he always had to drive my drunk ass home).

2016 looks to be a promising year.  I’m going to strive to write more and support and patronize the local theaters since I will be taking a break from the stage (I had to drop out of the play that I was cast in due to the fact that I would be portraying a woman who couldn’t get pregnant and would obviously be sporting a baby bump…now isn’t that ironic?).  I also have to start getting ready for this baby.  I’m 19 weeks today and we get to see our baby again on Wednesday!  There are still days I feel a sharp pain or dull cramps and I get worried, but just have to have faith that we will get the honor to meet our healthy baby in June.

For anyone that is curious, the fur babies are great.  Juju had a mass that he had surgery for (which turned out to be cancer) but the vet said they caught it in time and it only has a 9% chance of returning.  Scully is our four legged toddler who wants lots of snuggles one minute and then is out to destroy everything in the house the next.  Orville is still…an asshole, but he is our asshole and he’s a cat.  He can do what he wants.

We already have at least three weddings to attend for friends and family in 2016, my cousin Megan is expecting a baby in March, and we expect that there will be a few engagements in the family too (*cough* Mike *cough*Tim*cough)!

2016 will be a lot of transition and any vacationing is going to be minimal (which is why I’m so happy we jumped at the opportunity to go to Hawaii).

Wishing everyone a year of love, laughter, and committing to something you are passionate about!  Thanks for reading my year in review!

Ang

 

 

 

 

Hello Old Friend

This morning was simple.  I hit the gym, grocery shopped for the week, visited my parents, caught up on laundry and bad TV, then paid most of my bills for the upcoming month.  I was rocking this Sunday like a champ.  Then it occurred to me that I have a blog that people actually do read (a truly beautiful thing) which I have been neglecting.

Bad Ang!

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My pride of my accomplishments for the day were suddenly replaced by guilt.  So now I am drinking wine, since alcohol postpones guilt until at least the morning.

So why have I been so absent?

The answer is simple:  laziness, excuses and anxiety over anything related with money and since the primary focus of this blog is chronicling my struggle with getting out of debt, I was avoiding this blog like the plague.  my-reaction-when-I-get-into-an-argument-with-women-homer-simpson-hide-in-bush-disappears

But I am back.

This year has already presented itself with triumphs and challenges when it comes to my finances.

The triumphs have been eating at home more, getting healthier, and I am FINALLY out of student loan debt!

The challenges are having any semblance of a social life, my husband, and a little bit of keeping up with the Joneses.  Oh, and we went to Maui in February, which we are still paying for (but boy was it fun).

I wish there was a day that goes by where I didn’t have my mind on my money and my money on mind (that is actually pretty catchy, I should write a rap song that incorporates that…).  But since the entry fee for entering the magical land of “ADULTHOOD” is a steep one, I can’t imagine that happening until dementia kicks in.

I just want to say thank you to all of you who read my blog on a regular basis.  I appreciate you and I am back!  I promise!

Ang

5 Simple Ways To Start Getting Out Of Debt Now

After years of drowning in credit card debt and student loan debt, this gal started a blog 2 years ago in the hopes of chronically her journey to becoming debt free.

2 years later…

Well, shit!!!   I am still in debt but at least my head is finally above water enough to breathe again.  Ahhhhh.

Even though there is still a loooooong way to go for me to becoming debt free, my debt is dwindling little by little each month.  If you can relate to being in debt (which according to an article published by nerdwallet.com most of you can) I would like to share some simple things that YOU can do NOW (God, don’t you just love the power of capping specific words) in order to get out of debt sooner rather than later.

1.  Get Honest.

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Though I am sure there is a more eloquent way of expressing this step, to put it simply this step sucks donkey balls.

Get honest with yourself.  Get honest with your partner if you share (or are planning to share) finances.  Find out how much you owe, to whom you owe it, and how much interest you are getting slapped with each month.

Yes, this means opening up that stack of mail you have been avoiding.

Yes, this means getting on the phone and trying to lower your interest rates.

Yes, this means being proactive about your money…or lack thereof.

2.  Put Those Credit Cards On Ice.

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Saw this trick in one of my fave guilty pleasure movies Confessions of a Shopaholic.  Any credit card you have in the house, freeze it.

Now.

If by chance you don’t heed my advice, think of it like this:  Credit cards are like the Kardashians.   Evil, vile things made of plastic that do more harm than good for the American public.

3.  Cut Off Your Cable.

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This step sucks too, but only initially.

Do I miss my DVR?  On Demand?  Bravo?  Yes, yes, and sweet Jesus, YES!

By shutting off the cable, am I saving money?  Am I still breathing?  Did life continue to go on?  Yes, yes, and YES!

My husband and I shut off our cable last spring and we ended up saving an additional $70.00 a month.  That is an additional $840 a year we can put towards our debt.

With options like Netflix, hulu and youtube do any of us really need cable?

4.  Staying In To Eat.

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It is amazing to me how much it costs to go out to eat.  I didn’t realize it was an issue for our household until my husband and I had an epiphany a few summers ago.  We could not figure out where our money was going each month.  When I went back a few months to review our bank records (step 1, getting honest) I was shocked to learn that we had been spending an average of $1,000 a month on eating at restaurants and going to bars with friends!  Shocking and also embarrassing.  Now we try to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner ourselves 85% of the time.  That extra money we save goes to extra payments on our debt.  You live and you learn.

5.  Start Now.

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When it comes to getting out of debt, it is a marathon, not a sprint.  Unless of course you win the lottery, then getting debt free is a sprint.  A beautiful sprint that ends up with beachfront property in Maui, and with a pool that comes with a pool boy named Fernando with washboard abs and an ass you can bounce a quarter off of…errr…sorry, got off topic.

Where were we?  Oh yes, start getting debt free by making small changes in your everyday life.

If you go to Starbucks twice a week, change it to once a week.  Then cut it down to just a monthly visit.

If you make it a habit to routinely go out to dinner with friends/family and order an appetizer, an entree and a couple of cocktails, cut it down.  Opt for just an appetizer or entree and a water (alcohol is waaaaay more expensive at bars/restaurants, and people won’t judge you as much when you down a few drinks in the privacy of your own home).  Not only are you cutting down on the price BUT you are cutting down on calories too.  Win-win.

Instead of going to an expensive salon, try out a beauty school instead.  This past fall, I got a great haircut for $10!

Prioritize what your “wants” are vs. your “needs”.

You will be feeling like a baller as your debt gets smaller.

Thanks for reading!  Now go get honest with your bad self!

Ang

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