Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

Gail's Newest Book! 

You know, I have been really kind of silly these past few weeks. Instead of writing my blog on a Sunday, I use my Monday nights to write my blog instead of tuning in a watching my idol, Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s show Til Debt Do Us Part. She now apparently has 4 different shows, one for homes, one for babies, one for “Princesses” and the last is the original. Let me tell you, girlfriend has been busy! It just goes to show, that when you work hard at something, you can achieve a lot and Gail seems to be the shining example of that. Not only is she shooting all these different shows, she also manages her own blog and gives her own musings on a variety of financial subjects and she does so more than once a week. Add in all the books she's written and this woman is out of control! That being said, I am seriously going to start committing to writing my blog on the weekend so that I can start tuning in to Gail on Monday nights!

I like to believe that my blog is a bit more on the ‘real’ side than hers since I am the one who is actually still paying off their debt, whereas Gail is really getting far ahead and doesn’t really have anything new to say that I haven’t heard her say on her shows, but maybe that’s because I can’t go more than a couple of days without talking about her. Who knows, maybe one day Gail and I will be partners in crime, helping people everywhere pay off their debt – and there seems to be more and more of these people everyday. Can you imagine having your debt get so out of control that you need to take another mortgage on your home, or having to sell your home just to stay afloat, or even worse - move back in with your parents? None of those options sound like something that I want to have happen in my life! These sorts of thoughts help keep me in check and on track to paying off my debt, for sure (more so the idea of getting to work with Gail).

It was definitely the worst of times. 
It’s hard to say lately, but although I have been able to maintain my goal of having 33% of my debt paid off within a year, I am letting a number of other things slip between the cracks. For example, I am in a book club and I have had more that 6 weeks to read one simple book, A Tale of Two Cities. Sure it’s a classic and it’s a bit heavy, but really, there is no excuse for me to be on page 20 out of 386 pages and the book club meets in 2 days! Maybe it’s because it got rotten plums all over it, or perhaps the fact that I put some of my commitments to the wayside in order for me to just spend money and ignore commitments. Sure, this isn’t the end of the world, but the reality is, that I feel like I am letting myself fall short on things that I actually get quite a bit of enjoyment from. If I would have just allowed myself 30 minutes a day from the moment that I bought this book up until now, I would not be in this situation.

You know when you live paycheck to paycheck and by the time you get to the day before your next check you don’t even have enough money leftover to make a withdrawal from your account? Well, that’s been me for the past two paychecks. Mind you, I have been dumping a lot of money into my savings account and I have been keeping all my bills paid, but I think that I am putting myself into this situation simply because I am getting way to lax on my planning. Truth be told, I am very happy that I have not yet had to resort to using my credit card or transferring any of my money out of my savings account, but it’s a hard pill to swallow when I look into my checking account and only see $22.02! However, I do know that that’s how much money I have in my account without even having to look it up, so at least I am somewhat responsible, right?

Yes, even KFC's picture of it looks gross. 
With the risk of writing another blog with no point looming, I’ve decided to take on a challenge, and no, I’m not talking about KFC’s Double-down; I’m talking about a financial challenge. I start my weekly budget on Wednesdays (because that’s the day I get paid) so I want to make sure that I have a solid plan to make my weekly budget of $140 actually last until the next Wednesday. I figure that the best way to do this is to use resources that I already have, as well as throwing in a little bit of something different to spice things up a bit. I recently discovered a website called and let me tell you, I am in love with it so much, that if I spend any more time with it, it could get pregnant. The concept is really simple, you login, tell the website what you are craving, and it gives you a cornucopia of recipes for your perusing pleasure. What is even better, you can tell the website what ingredients you have, and it will find you all sorts of recipes that use ingredients you currently have. Even better, if you have allergies or hate certain types of food (i.e. ketchup or raw apples – disgusting) you can tell Gojee and they’ll leave those ingredients out! Yes Caitlin, there are other websites that do this, but this one is effing sweetest, so in yo’ face! My hope is that this website will really give me a leg up when it comes to planning my grocery list and I can buy items that complement the items I already have and let me shop for things with common ingredients in order to save a fortune!
Even their new logo is awesome!

Another way that I am going to get more organized is to actually start using my agenda in my phone. I have so many different events and things that to do (I know, I know, shut up Mr. Popular) but sometimes I find myself wearing thin both mentally and financially. This way, I am going to check my agenda every week and see what I have committed myself to and how much money I plan on spending there. For example, if I am going to be going to book club, I will probably need to buy some kind of barbecuable (I know that’s not a word) item which I will need to budget for, so let’s say $7.50. Now I know how much more money have left to spend for the rest of the week and that will cover me off for that day. I think what is most important is that I figure out a way to average the same kinds of costs each day and not go overboard when I don’t have to. Now that I think about it, it might be even smarter if I were to look at the month ahead to figure out where I will be spending extra in order to really plan ahead and save up the money for those special events. I have a cooking class coming up on the 21st with my aunt which will be lots of fun, but it will cost me $60 (I think) so it would be in my best interest to take $20 from the next three weeks and put that aside in order to keep my budget in line.

Oh boy, budgeting can be both so challenging and both so boring at the same time! I don’t know how you guys can continue to read all the stuff that I ramble about sometimes. Alright, I am going to take a page out from the book of one of my subscribers. Starting on Wednesday, for each day that I do well and stay on budget, I am going to give myself a gold star, or better yet, a golden Gail face, and put it into a chart at the end of the week. If I do well, I should see nothing but shining happy Gail faces across the board! Wish me lots of luck, because I think I really will need it to re-break my bad habits and get back on my budget track!

p.s. This post is specially dedicated to my blogging friend Caitlin who is going to be “jumping the pond” for a year to study in the UK. All the best Caitlin!

If you are looking for delicious recipes, be sure to check out her blog (with a banner designed by yours truly)!


  1. OMG that was almost a Gail put-down, but then you came back from the edge of blaspheming. Good.

    I like your challenges, let me know how it works out. I think the scheduling WITH monetary value is a good idea. Also, do you do consulting work?

    Also, Caitlin gets not one, not two, but THREE shout-outs?

    No mention of how your friend Andy saved a ton of money on John's birthday gifts by purchasing a 50 cent bumper sticker with his name on it and travelling the world with said bumper sticker in his pocket and taking photos for 6 months?? lol. Oh well. I'll get it in there next time.

    Oh, and I go for my interview on Thursday! Woohoo!

  2. lol, the confirmation word to post the previous comment was 'metasted'... fun... not.