Friday, July 29, 2011

A Challenge within a Challenge

When I left off in my last blog, I mentioned that I was going to do a little challenge for myself, not to spend any money for a week. Well I'm very proud to say that I almost did it. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I effed it up. There was nothing I wanted more than to write you another success story about how I had achieved greatness and like every god awful family movie, have yet another happy ending to share with you. But life isn't some sappy movie where everything just goes smoothly. If you want a movie to be great, you need some failure, some passion, and for fox snakes, some drama! So here I am again, sitting in the airport waiting for my flight which is now 2 hours and 45 minutes delayed (3 hours is their golden number for free $hit) writing you my blog entry on what worked in my anti-spending spree and what completely effed me over. 

The week started off just like any other. I woke up on Monday morning, bright and early and hit the snooze button on my iPhone 2 times (seriously, even my alarm clock has been rendered obsolete thanks to iPhone). I got myself all showered up and ready to start my week, but I did two fundamentally different things on this particular morning. The first thing was to pack a big tupperware full of carrots and celery sticks. It took me all of 5 minutes to peel and cut up all those yummy veggies and I was out the door. But wait, what about the second ever-so-important thing did you do John? I think it's the smartest thing I did all week; I left my wallet at home! I'm talking debit, credit, and even ID. You would be surprised how easy it is to still get money without your debit and credit cards. As long you have ID, that money is still readily accessible which is why I couldn't risk it. I saw someone pull this trick on Gail's show and letmetellya, Gail was NOT impressed. 

Out in the real world, it was a lot easier to avoid spending when I literally had nothing to spend. Of course I would have been able to simply go home and grab my wallet at anytime, but I didn't because I'm pretty bad-a$$. I showed more restraint than a comedian at a Star Wars convention. My Monday seemed to be rather effortless. I went home for lunch and ate some leftovers, certainly a success and since I had brought snacks and coffee is free at my office, I was able to keep myself happy and not hungry. 

Tuesday was a whole mess of the same old crap, with the exception that I wasn't able to go home for lunch. Leftovers can look good and smell good, but many times they end up tasting like some half too hot, half too cold pile of horse feces. This was the case for my first attempt in a long time to bring a lunch to work. I did the reheated pasta thing which can work pretty well but today, not so much. You know when the pasta gets all rubbery and dried out? Yeah. Anyway, I still ate that garbage and went to my lunchtime class de français. Il c'était bien. 

Then there was Wednesday. Again, I brought a lunch and met up with my friend Derek for a little gossip/bit€h session. Again with the pasta, but this time I jazzed it up with some zucchini which adds some moisture and made it not taste like a$$. I left the wallet at home again and had some more veggies to snack on, but when I hit hour 11 of my work/after work French class day, I knew that the following couple of days were going to suck the big one. I was freaking tired and hungry. Normally I would have left at the break to grab a coffee and a chocolate pecan square (it's like flavors are having sex in my mouth), but since I didn't have any money, I was rendered powerless. This just goes to show that I know myself too well and that I did the right thing by leaving the money at home. 

Wednesday, oh Wednesday. This day, I kind of effed up, but I'll let you be the judge. So far the people I talked to about this day have all agreed that I didn't screw up, but boy let me tell you, I was positive this would have been my downfall. After my 11 hour day, I got home and made 3 dishes, my supper, my lunch for the next day, and my snacks (leftovers, pasta, and hard boiled eggs respectively). I was feeling good about myself and how well I had done with the challenge thus far, but then I remembered that I still needed to pick up my book club book for my flight home. I had gotten $50 worth of gift cards for Chapters (the Wal-Mart of book stores) so I figured it's not spending money since I'm using a gift to pay for it. Now, you know you're doing good at avoiding spending when you walk into a store and it's completely different from the last time you've been in it. That was a moment where I just got a stupid grin on my face because I really did feel good about not going shopping for so long. But at the same time, I had lots of money in gift cards with me (you should note I also had another $25 I found that I had kept for years with me as well) so I was really tempted to buy much more than what I came into the store to buy. I picked up all sorts of things and managed to say no to them all, including a brand new Settlers of Catan game and even another book by Gail!! I don't know what Gail would say about that one... At the end of the ordeal with the store, I managed to get the book I came in for, A Tale of Two Cities AND I got it for only $5.50! Stupid Oprah's book club version was $25!! It's the same freaking book! Even though I did spend $5.50 I still feel like I did a tremendous job by not buying. 

When I got to Thursday, I was a total spoiled brat. My partner cheated for me (not on me) by making me a meal fit for a king. There was shrimp curry and red AND white wine, and chocolate for dessert. That was such an awesome treat and I certainly felt good to be spoiled. I guess it goes to show that good things will come to you when you do good things for yourself. I really am a lucky duck. 

Which now takes me to today/Friday. The day where I spent. There is only one way to explain why I effed up today - poor planning. Truth be told, I knew this was coming on Monday when I was thinking about my flight. I forgot to factor in that I needed to get to the airport! The one expense that I never budget for decided to show up and $hit on my parade (it's the saying you love, but made new for 2011). That's right ladies and gentlemen, I spent $5.20 on bus tickets and I have lost my challenge. The funny part, I probably could have just got a ride to the airport because my flight is so delayed and wouldn't have spent a thing. 

Now I face my extra challenge for the week, sitting in an airport for 4 hours without anything to eat but a roll of Mentos (I suck on them on the plane to release the pressure on my ears). I am so hungry and ready to hit up the Tim Horton's (I know, I'm THAT hungry) and getting an ice Capp and some kind of sandwich. I guess technically I would have been on the flight anyway with food in my belly, and I do have a couple of plums to eat, but I don't think it's wise to go another 6 hours without food. So, it looks like I'm going to go all out and get me a beer, start my book, eat some rapingly high priced airport food, and let my challenge have its way with me. 

This challenge had certainly been worth every moment though. I needed to remind myself that I am capable of living on less and I lived for 5 days on spending $40 total, and that's pretty spectacular. I learned that you can always rely on loved ones to encourage and support you. Wish me luck in Saskatoon. I spend like a mofo when I'm on vacay so I hope come back with more wonderful budgeting tales of yore to share. 

Love always, 


P.S. I also bought two 5-cent candies when I got my bus tickets. I'm such a liar!! 

P.P.S. they just announced yet another delay so I got a meal voucher worth $10! Things are looking up! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Excessive vs. Restrained

The classic "Moon Landing" on Modern Family

Without question, yoga has become a staple in my life. I have now been practicing yoga for two years and the results have been wonderful – just check out my butt next time I pass you on the street! It’s a great way for me to just relax, let go of my day and all my stressors and focus on me me ME. Anyone who has really been bitten by the yoga bug knows that classes are ended in a pose called shavasana (which translates to corpse pose). The pose is seemingly easy, all you do is lie on your back as if you were dead, but it’s actually the most mentally challenging of all the poses. You need to clear your mind and focus on all the work that your body does for you and experience a moment of calm, not only for your body, but for your mind. Now, when I first started yoga, I never liked to stay after class and lie around, mainly because the place that I practiced yoga had the tiniest freaking change room ever, and you were very likely to experience a “moon landing” with one of the fellow yogis.

Shavasana is so easy, even cats can do it!
Lately, I discovered the immense benefits of staying in class at the end and really experiencing shavasana. I will stay there for at least 5 minutes and really focus on eliminating the things in my mind that stress me out. This has been instrumental in keeping me focused on my goal of eliminating my debt. Now, working at a yoga studio, I know that to properly clean a yoga mat, you only need about 3 sprays of mat cleaner to properly clean your mat. As I’m lying there in shavasana, trying to relax and clear my mind, I hear the yogini next to me spraying her mat down (which is really poor etiquette btw – take it outside). You think she’s done, but oh no, she just keeps going and going and shpfft shpfft shpfft, the sprays keep going and going, I mean really, how badly do you stink that you need to spray your mat this much? After spray number 10, I started to count how many sprays she used on her mat; the grand total: NINETY FIVE! Needless to say, I was not impressed and it got me thinking about my next topic for my blog: Excessiveness.

This is a subject that I have touched on before, but I feel like sometimes we need to be reminded of how much money we can save by making conscious decisions to use less in our lives. I was watching an episode of “Til Debt Do Us Part” starring my idol, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, and in this particular episode there was a newly immigrated husband who was completely caught up in this idea that he needed to have everything and that the more stuff he had the better his life would be – to the tune of $68,000 worth of debt. It was depressing to see someone move here and get so caught up in the idea that we all need to have a giant house or expensive car, marble everywhere and hardwood everything to show that we are doing well. Why does all this $hit matter? I pay $550 to live in a palace of an apartment and I feel like a spoiled bit¢h! So I’ve taken a look at what I have been doing to live within my needs and I want to pass some pearls of wisdom on you all.

The first thing I was able to cut out of my life was transportation costs. Not many people know that I used to own a pretty sexy k-car. It was so great for getting around and I got totally caught up in driving around and listening to music. I wanted any excuse I could think of to go out and drive so that I could blast my tunes on my awful Wal-Mart speakers and get out and about. When I moved away from home, I got rid of the car and was able to use my Uncle’s equally $hitty car. The gas bill was a ridonkulous! I was spending $10 everyday on gas, and that’s before it went over $1.00 per litre. This left me flabbergasted. How was I supposed to get ahead when I was wasting all this money on driving? It was clear to me that I would need to move somewhere closer to where I worked so that I could save on fuel costs. I wasn’t even spending money on insurance and car maintenance and I could see what a pain in the a$$ it was to have to rely on a car. Now, I might spend $10 a month on getting around – really, how amazing is that? Not only has this had an immense effect on my pocketbook, it’s had an incredible impact on my health. So my message to you is simple, look for a way to cut back on your transportation costs.

I realize that I am in an unusual situation to live so close to everything I need, but the point is that you can make a conscious decision to cut back on getting around. In the summer, try taking a bike or walking to work; if you’re trying to lose weight or get in better shape, I assure you that this will give you results – again, I’m talking sexy butt. If you can take public transit, do it. Challenge yourself to go one month to use you car as little as possible and watch how much money you will save.

It's funny because it's true.
Now speaking of challenges, I was reading a blog by one of my commenters (Lifeisfullofsunnydays) and they were doing an exercise where they tried to see if they can go a whole week without spending any money, so I am going to do just that. I just got back from the grocery store where I spent $35 dollars on groceries so I’ll see how far I make it. I have to pay rent this week, so that’s not going to count, but I think that this will be an awesome challenge to prepare me for my trip to Saskatchewan which is happening this upcoming weekend! I am so excited to be on vacation and I am really stoked to be still receiving a paycheck while doing it! So, here’s how this no spending thing is going to go down, I am not going to buy anything until the weekend. No cup of coffee, no snacks, not even more groceries. I really think that I can do this, but I really hope that people will understand when I join them for coffee and don’t buy anything. This week will be the opposite of excessive which is what exactly – restrained, frugal? So if you see me out and about feel free to buy me a coffee, or dinner, or even better, a beer. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Surviving the Summer!

DFA made all my dreams come true
This entry is going to be a bit all over the place, and I apologize in advance if you lose track of what’s going on, but I just have so much to update you on! The first thing worth mentioning is that I survived Bluesfest. No, not because the main stage collapsed and nearly killed some people, but because I made it through financially! Normally, I easily spend about $500 on this summer music festival and this year I spent well under $100 total. The festival is a 2 week affair and I managed to only go on two days (the best 2 of course) and only buy 2 beers and one bag of the best freaking popcorn EVER.  The tickets are normally $40 each if you don’t buy them in advance, but I was so lucky to have some friends who kept their ears open for me and I got each ticket for $20 and $25 dollars respectively! It was practically two for the price of one! The beers on the other hand, well they were a bit pricey at $6.50 each (I think, I honestly don’t really remember since I was drinking before the show too) and the popcorn was a steal of a deal at $5 for a bag (I’m telling you, this popcorn is un-freaking-believable) – total comparable savings (this year to last year): $437 – WOW! I realize that I did pretty darn well in saving this money, but I think that it’s safe to say that the one thing I miss most from my past spending habits is the amount of concerts I used to go to. I really love music and I especially like to support independent artists so I really try to stay out of the loop when bands come into town. The major aspect I miss about not going to shows is that now I see some of my friends a little less as a result, but they understand and now that I have proven myself with my frugality, they seem to get it. I did get to see the Black Keys, DFA 1979, and Mother Mother with my friends, so I think I got a heck of a deal for what I ended up paying overall!

Apparently this is what a cakewalk is...
In other exciting news, I just got back from my first day at my new job and let me tell you – I think I’m going to do really well! I’m definitely feeling optimistic about how this new job is going to work out for me. I’m extra excited to see what my new paycheck is going to look like, i.e. how much faster can I get this debt paid off! There are always so many deductions and now I’ll be in a new income tax bracket, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens I guess. Truth be told, the money is nice, but I will miss my old job; the team that I worked with really got my sarcastic sense of humour and they were just all around smart, friendly, and attractive group of people. It’s tough when you find a job you love but you plateau because there are no other opportunities available in your office; but I definitely feel lucky to have opportunities present themselves to me instead of having to go out and look for a job like so many others in this $hitty economy. Although, right now is just the honeymoon phase of my new job, so I am still a bit apprehensive about getting into the mindset that it will be a cakewalk. If it doesn’t go well, you know you will hear me bit¢h about it on this blog!

In case you have been wondering what has been happening with my whole lost/stolen wallet fiasco, I am happy to report that I finally have all my cards back. The police called me last week to tell me that since the amount of money that was actually stolen from my wallet and the actual cost of the contents of my wallet was so insignificant that they were closing my case – which I totally agree with. There really was no reason to keep the case going and waste police resources, but I’m still glad I filed a report in the event that someone did eventually get caught with my precious deer wallet and $2 bill! I learned a couple more interesting things about the loss of my credit card though. The first was that it takes forever for them to send a replacement card. I got my credit card weeks later than my health card and drivers license. The second thing I learned was that you can still make payments to your MasterCard using the number of the old account; they just keep a linkage to all of your past numbers and the payments go through like magic. However, there is no way to purchase anything with your credit card until you receive a physical copy in the mail. This is obviously a smart idea otherwise some jacka$$ could call in and jot down your number and start spending away all willy nilly. Oh, and remember that special ‘limited time offer’ that they gave me to increase my credit limit? Well they made the same offer again. It was really annoying! I can’t wait for when I get to call them back and have the amount lowered to $5,000!

My debt doesn't wear pants.
Now there’s a bit of crappy news. My savings account has been decimated! Since I was unable to access my credit and it took forever for my boss to approve my vacation, I had to spend over $700 on a return flight for my brother’s wedding. Let’s just say the service better be excellent and freaking sexy. My savings has plummeted down to a pathetic $400, but my new action plan to boost it back up seems to be right on track. Instead of the measly 10% I contributed before, I now have 15% to play around with, and it certainly makes a difference. I also forgot to mention that I still haven’t even filed for my medical costs and I have three paychecks coming in August! That could really be a kick in the pants for both my savings and my debt repayment. Alright, I am now sitting at 26.83% of my debt paid off and I only have 6.17% to go before I have 33% paid off! My goal was to be at that percentage by the end of October, but I think I am about ready to blow that figure out of the water! Wish me luck! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

$10,000 Paid off in Less than 10 Months!!

$10,000 used to be a big deal!

Can you believe it?! It’s not even been 10 months and I already have paid off more than $10,000 of my debt! What a great feeling to know that I am doing this process right. I just imagine all the wonderful things that I could do with $10,000 and I want to kick myself for not doing something about all my debt sooner! $10,000 would put me so much closer to having a nice down payment on a condo, I would have a new computer, and I could take a trip to just about anywhere in the world for $10,000. Imagine how I’ll be feeling when I have $37,810.51 (I have this number memorized) paid off! Just imagine what I could do with that kind of money. That dream is closer and closer to coming true and does it ever keep me inspired to push on with this process, only $27,694.78 to go!

I’m also happy to report that I have been staying on track with my New Year’s resolution to write a blog entry each week and the response has been overwhelming! I now have over 5000 hits on my little blog and from what I’ve heard this is a pretty big deal for someone who doesn’t advertise anywhere. Soon enough Gail will admit that she’s an avid reader and we will finally get a chance to meet and she’ll bring me along on all 3 of her shows as her sassy sidekick! Oh I can dream…

Now, sometimes I get some stupid and some smart comments, on my blog and I never realize it until many weeks later. The latter is the case of a comment from my friend Andy who is currently travelling the world like a madman and still having time to write about it! He writes: “Hey John! I love that you're only spending 1% of your income on transportation. If only we could convince the rest of the world! I'm confused about your new spending breakdown and how it affects your every day spending. You say you went from 19% to 21.5% for 'life', but from 20% to 18% for rent. This tells me that you already factored in the raise. Can you put the breakdown in dollars again? If only just the every day stuff? Like, what is the breakdown for food and clothes and entertainment. That was my biggest interest before (mostly because I thought it wasn't sustainable, and when you did it, I was inspired!) How much are you cheating by adding money to 'life'? :P xoxo Andy”

Now let’s keep in mind that Andy is travelling the world and has been able to budget to spend $1 a day to stay in a beach resort so we’re kind of in different budgeting situations, so the fact that he still reads my blog at all is a feat in itself, but nevertheless, what a marvelous comment Mr. Andy. His comment gave me an idea about what to write this blog post on, and believe me, some days I am stretching for ideas as I am sure you can tell from some of my past more questionable entries.  

First of all, I haven’t readjusted my budget to reflect my future income, I’ve simply reworked it because I noticed that my average income has become stable now that I am a permanent employee and I’m not doing contract work anymore. For instance, before I was averaging about $150 less per check than I am currently bringing in. Yes that’s right, I’m bringing home more bacon, or tofu bacon for you veggies out there. In a week from now, I’ll be bringing home even more moolah! Talk about sweet! The only downside is that I’ll need to rework the budget again. So there’s that Andy, it’s not a projected budget, it’s just a reworking of what I am currently bringing in and spending.

Gail would be putting on the celebratory tiara!
Now the second thing that’s changed is how much my rent is. There was a month when I started doing my new budget that I was paying an inflated rent of $825 instead of my usual $556 which skewed the average amount I was paying for rent rather considerably. I was short a roommate that month so instead of splitting the money 3 ways, I was splitting it 2 ways. Therefore my percentage of my income going to rent was much higher and I was uncertain how much my rent would work out to be so I kept it budgeted rather high. But now, in comparison with the money I am bringing in, I found that my rent only works out to 18.5% of my budget since these days I bring in about $3,000 a month ($4,500 on the triple check months like the one coming up in August – whoo!). This figure is well below Gail’s recommended spending on housing so I’m pretty happy about that!

Now to be fair, I should be factoring my hydro bill into my rent, but I don’t. Hydro is really cheap here since we’re all pretty good about not leaving lights on or running a lot of electricity on the non-peak time so each of us only pays about $10 per month each for hydro. I could also add in another $21.75 a month for my internet bill (yes that’s for each of us, we use a lot of internet) and then there’s my phone bill from Rogers who likes to bend me over and have it’s way with me for $90 each month – really Rogers, how do you sleep at night? Anyway, enough talking about all the figures, why don’t I just break it down for you here:

Income: $3,000

Savings: 15% = $450
Debt: 45% = $1,350
Transportation: 1% = $30
Life: 20.5% = $615
Housing: 18.5% = $555

I always squish my Transportation and Life costs together because it just makes more sense to me. So my life expenses now become $645 or about $21 per day for life. Now, that doesn’t mean that I am out spending that money on eating out at restaurants or betting on the strippers, but I could if I wanted to budget for it. Now taking that $645 that I have each month to live on, I take out my regular expenses ($21.75 for internet, $90 for phone, $10 for hydro) and I am left with $523.25. Now, I take that and divide it by the weeks in the month and I am left with about $130 for the rest of my life. That’s broken down like this:

Life: $130.00

Life Weekly Breakdown:
Groceries and Personal Care: $70
Clothing and Gifts: $10 (almost never use this)
Transportation: $10 (almost never use this)
Entertainment: $40

Want to save money on transpo?
Get a bike like Jake here, AND stay in shape!
Now, I bring in a little more than $3,000 per month and so everything just seems to balance out. I found that because I was working out more that I needed to eat more food since I was burning off so much energy, so it only made sense to me that I spend more money there. If I end up with leftover money, I spend it on the things I want to spend it on or simply just move the money to my debt or to my savings account. It always seems to work out just fine every month and it’s clearly better than the clusterfudge that my spending was when I started this process. Keep in mind that I was spending about $100 a week before on life so having $130 is making a world of difference. Nowadays I really want to just get this debt destroyed so that I can start spending my money on the things I want again. I can’t wait for that day! Good luck to you all on the debt destruction journeys you are all on! Imagine, if you only have $10,000 of debt, you could get rid of it all in less than a year! How cool is that?!?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

Mittens pees in everything

You know when you get in one of those $hitty moods where the people around you start thinking that you woke up to someone peeing in your corn flakes? Well that’s sort of the way that I am feeling today. I know, I know, how does Mr. Smileypants get into a funk on a perfect sunny long weekend with no clouds in site? Honestly, I think it might be due to the fun overload I have had over the past couple days! It was Canada Day on Friday and there is no other day that is more fun than this day here in the nation’s capital. I got to sleep in, wake up late, and get out and enjoy all the festivities with my friends while keeping my budget in check! I can’t believe I only spent $40 on Canada Day, especially when the drinks were $6.50 for crappy domestic beer! I guess it helps that I was working the merch table for my friends’ band for the day so it kept me away from other more pricey items! The next day I got to spend an amazing day with my friend’s family at their pool, playing ping pong and croquet, eating delicious food and feeling incredibly spoiled by some of the kindest people I know. I think that’s what my little funk is about, it made me miss my family and all the wonderful times I have with them; that and maybe the sunburn that I got from 6 hours in the sun despite the SPF 45! I’m telling you, I went from snow white to lobster red! All my freckles (or melanoma) are out in full force now!

Open wide indeed!
Those of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed that I really try to stay focused on my goals and don’t really spend much time complaining about the things that I have the power to fix. Lately I am finding that I am just complaining for the sake of complaining about the most insignificant things like a lousy coworker or general frustrations, but what is that helping other than spreading my negativity and wearing my friends out with incessant whining? Just going back and reading my first paragraph, I can’t help but notice that I really don’t have any reason to be upset about anything, but yet here I am in a stupid mood wasting time feeling like an a$$hole and for what? This blog entry was going to be about how I was managing my money after having to pay over $500 at the dentist this week after a surprise triple filling (which was supposed to be one filling and $170) but I think that blog entry would be kind of a cop out. Most of you know that I would resort to my savings account to help cover the shortfall then reevaluate my budget to get myself back on track. So, instead of weighing you down with a Complainy Complainerpants blog, I really feel that it’s important to highlight how the right attitude can really make or break you when working toward a goal.

Obtaining success with any major goal, i.e. saving up for your wedding, taking better care of your health, or paying off debt, you need to give yourself a little pat on the back for your hard work and remember that not everyone is going to constantly praise you for everything little thing you do. They might not even notice that you’re even doing it (and that’s okay). It’s imperative that you remember to thank yourself for all the hard work that you put in and not beat yourself up for the times when you feel like you have let yourself down. For example, in my goal to pay off debt, it took a lot of mental preparation and a ton of will power to keep me from spending my money on things that I didn’t need, but really wanted. I remember one day when I went shopping with one of my friends and there were all these great clothes that fit me so well on sale. After trying on a stack of clothes, I set them down on at that cash register and said I didn’t want any of them (because I knew I couldn’t afford them). My friend was really impressed with my transformation, and so was I, so I gave myself a little mental affirmation that I had done something positive toward achieving my goal. My ability to say no had left me with $200 more toward my debt repayment, so I took that money and put it all on my credit card. It felt amazing; kind of like a big F.U. to MasterCard. It feels good to be able to celebrate small victories so make sure that you do!

Now there will come a time when you will screw up and you’re going to want to kick yourself and get upset about losing focus on your goal; you’ve been on track for weeks and all of a sudden you muck up. I have done this on more than one occasion since I started the debt repayment process. At first I feel bad about spending money where I shouldn’t have but the important part is what I do next. I get in a mode where my brain punishes me for a small mistake, but this is where I focus on changing the way I think. It is entirely possible to do. When you make a mistake, start off by recognizing the error and then identify the reasons that you steered off course. For me, it’s usually because I was drunk, or brought too much money with me so I end up spending more than I wanted. Other times it’s simply because I entered a situation where I know that I am weak when it comes to spending like my favorite store, the pizza parlor, a prophylactics sale, you know, the usual stuff people are tempted by. Once I have identified what triggered my counteractive behaviour, I make a promise to myself that next time, I’ll put down the whatchamawhozit, and back my sweet a$$ out of there! When I actually do this, I feel really good about myself and give myself a reward of more me time, or a special treat at the grocery store.

Change your attitude, change your life
Getting to the point where you achieve your goals really does take a positive outlook. I’ve worked really hard to get to the point in my life where things are looking up, and my positive attitude has been instrumental in getting there. Teach yourself to find the positive things in your life. For example, I acknowledge that  my negative mood is just that – mine, and no one else’s. So I look ahead at the positive things that will keep me going forward.  I’m now only 2 weeks away from starting my new job, and another 4 weeks away from my vacation and seeing my family! And let’s not forget that I will be receiving 3 paychecks in August and more of my friends will be moving back here again, so things are looking on the up and up! Do you see how easy that is? If you can’t find anything positive, then make an active decision to do something about it. There’s one piece of advice that my friend told me years ago that I have never forgot and have kept with me ever since. If you don’t like something in your life, CHANGE IT. You hate your city? Move. You don’t like your school? Find another one. You can’t stand your job? Get a new one. YOU are the only one who can decide what is best for you.