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Posts tagged ‘money’

The Enchanted Garden and Other News

Is it December already?

It seems as if this year has been going so fast.  Now we’re at the end of it.  2013 is quickly approaching, so we will see what comes next.

I didn’t finish my book for NaNoWriMo.  I was doing well, but a few things came up and time just got away from me.  Mostly, it was class.  Grad school requires so much reading.  Every other week, we were discussing a new book.  I had my presentation on Kate Vaiden on Dec. 6, so I decided that was the most important priority.  I wanted to really read and study the book, not just rush through it.  I am sorry I didn’t finish (my novel), but I think I will have some time this month.

I also made a big decision last month to move.  I found a beautiful apartment building and tried in vain for two weeks to get in to see a unit.  Wouldn’t you know, the leasing office called in early November.  So between reading, work, and writing the book, I had to carve out time to see apartments (They had more than one unit available.) and fill out all the paperwork that comes with it.  It has been a while since I rented an apartment, apparently now they want everything but a blood sample.

I know I said earlier that I wasn’t ready to move.  Money has been a big concern for me this year, and I thought I would be staying at my parent’s place longer.  For the past four years I have been living at my parent’s house because my mom got a contract job out of the area.  With 2008 home prices like they were, she didn’t want to sell.  I offered to stay, take care of the place, and pay her.  It worked out well.  But now they are back… and this house is suddenly very small.

Truthfully, I miss my privacy.  I love my parents, but I miss having my own space.  I thought I could suck it up for a year and then start looking, but I only made it six months. (LOL)  I decided that even though my salary is lower, I should still look for a place.  Better if I find a place now that I can afford.  I found a great place in Silver Spring, MD called National Park Seminary (Henceforth to be known as the Enchanted Garden, because it is so pretty!).  It used to be a women’s seminary, but was renovated a few years ago to a mix of townhouses, condos, and apartments.  It’s a historical landmark, in a quiet area, and so friggin’ unique, I can’t wait to move in.  It is not in the most trendy of areas like Bethesda, Dupont Circle, or Capitol Hill.  I don’t need a neighborhood like that.  I need space to write.

And a place to hold my books.  I got lots of those…

So if you want to see a picture, here is the nonprofit organization that takes care of care of the historical aspects of the grounds.  If you live in the DC area, you should come on the tour.  I’ve taken it and it is really cool.

I’m about to take a massive break from work.  Between the 13th of December and 2nd of January, I will be off from work.  So once I move in, and get settled, I’m going to have plenty of space and quiet to work.  Hopefully I will get farther along in my novel.

Also, I want to spruce up the blog a bit too.  There will be some new stuff coming soon.  Gradually over the month, I would like to add more, like a better bio and some of my fiction (and pictures!).  So much to do!

Hope everyone enjoys the coming weeks!

Update!

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written.  I have neglected my blogging duties.  Not that many have noticed.  I am keenly aware that my traffic is a virtual zero.  Really, I’ve just been writing this for myself.  Originally, I was keeping this as a place to display my writing.  My family and friends were always asking to read some of my fiction, so I created this place to display it.

But I still haven’t put anything up.  I am a perfectionist, but I also think that I have been afraid.  Afraid to put myself out here.  My fiction is very much a part of myself and I haven’t had to will to share.

But since the last time I wrote, a few things have changed…

First, I mentioned last year that I wanted to go to graduate school.  Well lo and behold, I actually was admitted as a provisional student into the Master’s degree program at John’s Hopkins University.  I hadn’t been in a classroom in 12 years (I got my BA in 1999!).  It was fun and I loved every minute of it.  I hope to continue my studies (provisional means I need to be formally admitted before I can take anymore classes).  But school does keep you busy.  I had to get used to doing homework again! LOL!

It was also a change to have complete strangers read my fiction.  I was intimidated by some of my classmates.  Some had been published and seemed more accomplished than me.  But by the end of the semester, I had gotten over most of this fear.  Somewhere in the last few years, I forgot how much I loved the creation of a new story.  I forgot what it felt like to finish a new story.  In short, I think I managed to grab a hold of some of my old ambition again.

Second, I took up a new hobby/business venture.  Sometime in June, I had a serious anxiety attack.  It was brought on by my worries of money.  It just seemed like there was never enough.  I tend to read a few personal finance blogs and I realized that no matter where I cut, there came a point were I needed to earn more money.  So I decided to resell books on Amazon.  So far I have barely made anything, but it let me focus my energies away from my tiny bank account.  And my personal library is significantly diminished.  It felt good to get rid of the clutter.  I loved some of those books, but I was holding on to them for the wrong reasons.  I was never going to read them again, so why not pass them on to others to read and love?

This little venture also stirred me to become a serious collector.  I was in my local Friends of the Library store when I came across a copy of Margaret Atwood’s Alias GraceSigned.  It was priced at six dollars!  I snatched it up and never looked back. (FYI, Margaret Atwood is my favorite author.)  I got the collecting bug, and I think it is a permanent condition.  For now I will only prowl thrift store and used book stores.  High end bookstores are not in the budget yet.

And finally, just a month ago my company experienced layoffs.  We are a small publishing company, so anyone leaving is noticeable.  For now, my job is safe…but I had to take a pay cut. It is not permanent (the pay cut), but no one can say when things will go back to normal.  I am, obviously, worried.  Hearing the company is in trouble is never fun to experience.  I am so glad I saved last year. I have a solid emergency fund, started my retirement savings, and have a good amount for grad school (so no loans).  Getting by on less is something I am used to, so I just reworked my budget for this year.

So that is all the latest news.  Cross fingers for 2012.  I think it is going to be an adventurous year.  And my birthday is on Thursday!  So wish me a happy B-Day!

End of Month #2

Money hunt resulted in a whole $4.oo.  With that stack of cash, I bought oatmeal and bananas.  I know, I know.  It was a huge bounty!  Fancy grocery store (http://www.marvelousmarket.com/) supplied me with bread and plenty of snacks to take to work.  So February comes to a close and I just barely make my budget.  Tried not to get too depressed as I filled my tank. But it has to be done, otherwise I can’t get to work.

Big thanks to my cousin for driving me to the store (It was an adventure!) and then treating me to a couple of jamacian patties!  She has been very supportive of my budgeting, but she did ask me a question that has been on my mind ever since.  She asked me, “When would you be done?”

I had to think about that question.  I told her that it would be at least to the middle of the year, but more likely to the end of the year. Yes it was a resolution for 2011, but I think that this maybe a habit that I need to incorporate for the rest my life in some form.  I think that want to teach myself to live on much less. It does suck to run out of money at the end of the month and get the spare change, but I am learning.  As I look back, there were a few places earlier in the month that I could have trimmed and then I would’ve been okay.  So I will just take what I know and apply it to March.

I’m not doing this just to get a car.  I’m not in credit card debt, student loan debt, or upside down in a house.  I really feel like I need to be smarter with my money.  I’m going to be 34 this year and although, I didn’t have much debt, I didn’t have much saved either. But now that these other expenses are creeping up, and the economy is not on its feet completely, I just feel that I need to be a lot more restrictive.

One thing that I am sacrificing now is saving for a house. I do want my own place one day, but that will have to go on the back burner for the future.  I have been fortunate to have rented some nice places (Except for my first apartment which will have to be another post, because there was soooo much wrong with it!).  So I will keep on renting.

On happy news, I am sure that I have lost weight.  My jeans are fitting better, so with crossed fingers, I will weigh myself on Tuesday morning.  I set a pretty aggressive goal to loose weight  this year too (50lbs).  So, I am on my way.

Money Hunt! Money Hunt!

So we are coming up on the end of the month.  A few weeks ago, I felt pretty confident that I would be on budget… BUT that was before gas prices start to creep up.  Now it is the last weekend of the month and I have a tough decision to make.  Gas, or food???

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starving.  I have stuff in my pantry.  But those weekly things like milk and bread are nice to have around.  So with the last $15 in my budget, I will be getting gas.  This sucks.  This really sucks.

So how am I going to get the food?  Answer: Money hunt!  I have a box containing all the small change I’ve collected over the year and it is coming with me to coinstar tomorrow.  Also, I still have a gift certificate to a fancy grocery store leftover from Christmas that I can use.  Soooo, I’m going to be very creative this weekend.

But this situation worries me.  How am I supposed to have a solid budget if it is constantly changing?  My lifestyle fast is aggressive (by choice), and doesn’t forgive easily.  If I start spending more for gas, I either save less for a car, or eat less food.  Save less for the car seems like the natural answer, but when your car is constantly in the shop,  a new one suddenly gets pushed to the forefront.

Well, I do want to lose weight….

I’m thinking there must be other costs I can lower.  Either way, March is going to be interesting.  No gift certificates.  No money box.  I will just be me and the budget (dum, dum, dum!)  I’m going to have to be a Nazi about it.  But in a way this is good.  This month I put money away for the car, emergency fund, school, and started a Roth IRA.  I also believe I lost weight by sticking to my workouts, but my weigh-in day is the first of the month, so Tuesday will be the day of truth.  All in all, except for the spike in gas, I did very well.  We’ll find out on Tuesday, just how well.  So the fast is (somewhat) workable, I just need to be more vigilent.

Wish me luck!