December Recap & January Goals

December this year was a fantastic way to close out 2014 for me. Despite having dental and health issues that hit my emergency fund a bit hard, I was still able to keep maintain my apartment savings which really leaves me feeling relieved. Moving on out on my own is such a nerve wracking thing to me for some reason so I want as much money in the bank as possible. This is hard when I’m pressed for time between a full-time job and a full-time class load and numerous things come up frequently but all I can do is keep on keeping on, right?

Some of my highlights this month were:

  • Passing all of my classes at ASU, three A’s a and a B baby!
  • Having my annual girls trip with my best friend to Grinchmas.
  • Exchanging gifts with my oldest friend for Christmas via sweet care packages for Christmas.
  • Spending two weeks with H and celebrating our first Christmas together. I was extremely spoiled for Christmas but the highlight was seeing Michael C. Hall on Broadway as Hedwig in “Hedwig & The Angry Inch.” I was even able to snag some up close photos and an autograph!
  • Two week break off from work AND school! #teacherlife

Although I’m still in New Jersey for another week or so, I will be hitting the ground running like I usually do after a break from reality. January will be a busy month for me. Not only do I hope to plan writing here more now that I have a vision for this site and some more free time from prior commitments, I will be starting school again. If I thought last semester was rough, this semester I’ll be taking an additional class to graduate a semester sooner and saving myself $6,000. I’ll also be moving out next month so I need to finish decluttering, organizing and pack. I was able to get rid of three boxes of personal items but I still haven’t gone through my closet shelves or my boxes in the garage.

My goals this month are:

  • Make $500 in side income. ( continue with part-time job hustle and work harder for social media client.)
  • Turn in all work reimbursements.
  • Be caught up in all data for my day job.
  • Save $300 in my e-fund. ( H will be here starting in February for a month so I think I am okay not saving in my travel fund this month)
  • Read 5 books.
  • Stay organized and make a calendar for all of my assignments this semester.
  • Continue to declutter and pack if possible. ( Top of closet, dresser and boxes in garage!)
  • Lose 6 lbs ( walk 30 minutes everyday and eat lo-carb no sugar like I am suppose to according to my doctor.)
  • Post here at MSL eight times. Anything you’d like to especially see?

That is more than enough to keep me busy for the entire month. What do you have planned for yours?

2015 Books- A Year In Review

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This year, I was able to accomplish reading 64 books and we are only in mid-December so I might finish more. I have a five hour plane ride in my near future this Friday as well as two weeks off from teaching and ASU. While I’ll be visiting my boyfriend and partaking in holiday fun, I still plan on reading when I can so I might knock out three more books by month’s end.

I saw Leslie and Briana do a book’s recap and while it has nothing to do with finance, I wanted to do one here. Okay, scratch that. Reading has a lot to do with finance. The more educated you are, the better life decisions you are able to make. Better life decisions you make, the more money you can possibly bring in as well as save. And we all want to save, right? Right!

I went ahead and divided my books by fiction and non-fiction. The ones in bold are my favorites and ones I would recommend to anyone. Thursday, I’ll be sharing tips to getting your reading on and how to make time, so be sure to check back soon!

Fiction

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #1) by Jenny Han*
Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Palo Alto by James Franco
The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer
American Woman by Robert Pobi
Among the Impostors (Shadow Children, #2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Psychos: A White Girl Problems Book by Babe Walker
The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
Among the Betrayed (Shadow Children, #3) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Among the Barons (Shadow Children, #4) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) by Gayle Forman
Among the Brave (Shadow Children, #5) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1) by Stephen King
Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Among the Enemy (Shadow Children, #6) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Revival by Stephen King
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Non-Fiction

Love Him Or Leave Him, But Don’t Get Stuck With The Check by Loni Love
Spelling It Like It Is by Tori Spelling
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
White Whine: A Study of First-World Problems by Streeter Seidell
Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
The Love Playbook: Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness by La La Anthony
The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life by Maria Menounos
Make Every Man Want You by Marie Forleo
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney
Our Purpose: The Nobel Peace Prize Lecture 2007 by Al Gore
Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt
A Freewheelin’ Time: Greenwich Village in the Sixties, Bob Dylan and Me by Suze Rotolo
Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen
Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
False Conviction: Innocence, Guilt & Science by Jim Dwyer
Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong by Zac Bissonnette
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts
The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us by Martha Stout
7 Skills To Make Mill$ by Brooks Harper
The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home by Sheri Booker
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community by Mary Pipher
Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion by Izabella St. James
North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Confessions of a Professional Blogger: How I Make Money as an Online Writer by Miranda Marquit
Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudder
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle Fishel
Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker
Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas Within Your Organization by Kevin C. Desouza
The Effective Public Manager: Achieving Success in a Changing Government by Steven Cohen

Although my to-read list has over 700 books on it, I love recommendations if you have one! What was your favorite book this year?

Athena

2015 Goals!

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Yes, I am fully aware that we are still in 2014. We have 3 1/2 weeks left actually. But, this year I didn’t make any goals because I had a power word “mindfulness” and although it served me well, I missed making goals and tracking my progress. I didn’t make any goals because I was in such a state of awkwardness that it felt really hard on me to decide which way to go in my life. I had just ended a relationship and moved for my fourth time in less than two years.

However, I think 2014 turned out way better than I had anticipated. I started school again after I was finally considered a resident and recently completed my first semester at ASU full time in addition to working 40+ hours a week. I have spent the past year living with a roommate on my own and I am currently in the stages of moving to my very first apartment all by myself. I started therapy regularly and have been working through my anxiety and depression more than ever before. And I have a new guy who is just adorable.

After so much change in 2014, I want to say I’m hoping for a quiet year to kick butt on my goals. If I have proven anything to myself, it’s that I can live on my own and not die. I can go to school and work and still kick butt. It’s okay to admit I don’t have all the answers and it’s okay to say I need help sometimes and cry. So, with that in mind, I am going to make some strong goals for 2015 because I am a strong woman. I am gonna be reaching for the stars so I can at least land on the moon. You feel me?

1. Regularly make $1,000 in side income. I currently average $4-500 a month in side income through a few streams but I have been wanted to hit $1,000 for ions. I know $4-500 isn’t anything to sneeze at but in order to make my goals realities and still continue to do fun things like travel, I need to make more money.

2. Save a $3,000 emergency fund. My emergency fund consistently overs around $500-$1,000 depending on emergencies that happen through out the year, usually dental work and car repairs. I am hoping that I can get it to $3,000 this year to make some progress on my goal of having $10,000 in an e-fund ( see my five year plan here.) I have a plan to be done saving this amount by October through automatic withdraws from my checking but I plan on throwing some extra money at it as I can. This is my number one priority this year!

3. Save + spend $2,000 in dental work. My braces are coming off soon and I know already off the top of my head I am going to need four crowns so I would like to get this done once my orthodontist gives me the go ahead. I’m already looking at needing some dental work this month in December but I’m not putting that towards this goal.

4. Visit H four times. It’s expensive being in a long distance relationship, especially when your honey lives all the way across the country. We are actually pretty fortunate with how often we get to see each other and H is actually going to come for longer stays once I have my own apartment. He still has some prior commitments keeping him on the east coast for awhile and I plan to visit him when I can since I teach and I’m in school myself.

5. Lose 30lbs. I lost 20 lbs back in 2012 and have wanted to lose 30 more since. I have a really good four months of non-stop fitness and lost 5-10lbs of it but then gain it back. >_< I want to lose 30 in honor of my 30th birthday coming up this year so I am going to work really hard on this. I technically have eight months to lose the weight so that’s a little under 4lbs a month. I know I can definitely do that if I eat healthy and exercise longer than four months.

6. Pass all classes at ASU. I have exactly three more semesters at ASU if I play my cards right and then I will have my bachelors in criminology. It’s extremely hard going to school full-time and working full-time but that’s the cards I was dealt and therefore, I need to rock it. It’s hard to stay on top of extra income because studying comes before anything else but I need to pass all of my classes.

7. Read 52 books. This year I read 63 books bypassing my original goal of 52. I was really worried when school started because I feared I wouldn’t be able to read as much and I’m technically not during the semester since I need to read so much for my classes. However, I gave up cable last summer and besides stealing H’s Comcast account for a show here and there, I don’t miss it at all. Instead of mindless TV watching after class, I read my library books. I hope to read 52 more books this year even though my Goodreads list grows at an alarming rate.

8. Move into my new apartment! I should be moving into my apartment in February and I am so excited! The apartment I put a deposit on is in the Melrose district in Phoenix and it’s super cute. It will be the first time I am living alone (EVER) so I am excited and a bit nervous. I know I will do just fine but it’s still scary to me. I have been saving all of my pennies that were possible and I’m ready to decorate to my hearts content. I’ve been trying to get rid as much as I can before the move so I can have a fresh new start!

So there you have it. All of my goals for the new year! I am excited to track my progress because it can only go up from here!

What do you have on your goals list?

 

NoSpendVer Update #2

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Hello MSL readers! Another month is in the books and we only have one left for 2014, can anyone else agree with me that this year has gone by way too fast?

Even though I am currently on a no spend challenge, I was still able to enjoy myself and try new things. I took a self-defense class with a local SWAT captain for one of my classes and really enjoyed myself. I felt so empowered afterwards and recommend it to anyone, especially young women.

I also got to partake in a dinner cruise around the San Diego Harbor w/ my boyfriend and his family during Thanksgiving break. I had never been on a dinner cruise and it was beautiful! We enjoyed a full three course meal, drinks & salsa dancing. The lights of the city were the perfect backdrop and although it was chilly, it was beautiful and fun.

Time for the updates! Last time I updated you, I had almost $700 towards my goal saved. Now, I have added an additional $500 so I have officially hit my apartment goal! However, that $400 I was going to save towards my retainer? Let’s just say I’ll be throwing it towards another dental emergency. Sigh. I am so upset and so mad that I have put so much money into my teeth and I feel like I’m not getting anywhere sometimes. I know it’s great that I have the money so I can take care of myself but seriously. It sucks.

I’ll be continuing on with NoSpendVer despite a few expenses coming up. My friend is getting married so I’ll be putting some money aside for her in a card, which I need to buy. I’ll also be taking my yearly girls trip to LA for Grinchmas & going to NJ for my Christmas break to spend the holidays with my boyfriend. I shouldn’t be spending too much on these trips as my flights and admission have been taken care of. I’m staying with my friends and boyfriend while away so no accommodations for me!

Along with trying to hustle money along for my root canal,my goals are to spend some of my free time on break from school working out and organizing. I’ll be organizing pretty much all of my life in preparation for the new year. In February I’m moving and I don’t want to move any clutter if I can absolutely help it. I wanted to organize 20 minutes a day but I won’t be home for about 17 days of the month so that might be pointless. I guess I could double up and do a marathon session or two but we’ll see.

How’s your budget going?