Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Say What?

May 8, 2009

Who just paid off her first MAJOR credit card? Oh, that would be me!

This baby was hovering around $2,000 just a year ago. WOW does that feel good.

Of course I had to have proof.
credit card

Clicking that “Statement balance” radio button felt pretty damn good!

Now onto the next one…

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Bonus!

March 13, 2009

I got a paycheck and a bonus today. I had enough to pay one credit card off completely, and still have the other half of our Vegas money left over. Of course, then I’d pretty much have no money for when we got back and need to, you know, eat.

So I bumped it down a little bit to have a buffer for when we get back. But look at how close I am to paying off the first (and the largest) of my credit cards:

debt1

I’ll have a balance of $216! BEFORE going to Vegas! Wow, does that feel good! Who knows, maybe next month I’ll be able to click that button for “Pay Current Balance.”

Except now I’m totally thinking, well, maybe I could buy a pair of awesome shoes in Vegas…

Nerves and Debt

March 12, 2009

On Tuesday I auditioned for “Noises Off” at Sunset Playhouse. I was so nervous! That is my favorite play and it has been so long since I’ve auditioned for anything. There were about 20-ish people there, but I heard that there were around 50 the night before. Wow!

I got a callback, which is an accomplishment in itself, as only about 1/3 of the people got called back. David and I both went to callbacks last night, and it was the strangest experience I’ve had at an audition.

First of all, the talent that was in one room was amazing! There’s no reason that this show won’t be awesome. I was put into a group of four to read a scene. Two women, two men. We went into the auditorium and read, and the director had us switch parts and read the piece again. I felt pretty good about my reading for Poppy, the frazzled stage manager.

We went back out to the lobby and waited. A couple people were told they could leave. This, of course, does not mean these people aren’t cast, but as actors, we never want to be the first to leave a callback audition.

I sat around for a long time, while other groups read. Finally the remaining people (still a large number) was split into two groups to read a full-cast scene. Some people in these groups would swap in and out of roles, to give readings for different characters.

There were four women leftover, not in these groups. I was one of them. The stage manager for this show walked around and let three of them go. Not me.

She’s a friend of mine, so I gave her a look like, WTF??? At this point, I feel like I’m going to pee on myself. Why am I the only one left sitting here? Is that good? Is that bad? I asked her if the director was going to walk out of the theater and see me sitting there, and say “Oh yeah… you’re still here? You can go home.” Of all the things at this audition, I did not want to be forgotten about!!!

She said she couldn’t tell me yet if I could go home or not. That she wasn’t sure. Okay…. so I sit there. One of the big groups goes in to read and the other stage manager comes out and says that I can leave.

OKAY NOW REALLY WTF.

I started laughing because I was just so confused. I talked with one of my friends, trying to figure out what this could mean. I went in to read ONCE, then waited for about an hour, then was told I was done.

I thought maybe they waited because, of course, David and I drove together, and he wasn’t done reading yet. Except he still wasn’t done reading when they told me to leave.

So NOW I get to sit awkwardly in the lobby, knowing I’m done, but unable to leave until David is done.

After a short while, the director comes out to get another group, a group of two men, and sees me sitting there, and asks, since I’m still there, if I can come in and read two random lines in the middle of these dudes’ scene. One line is a man’s line, one is a woman’s line. My job was just to stand on stage and say these lines, so these guys could get through their scene smoothly.

I know I was stuck there, and not doing anything, but part of me thinks, why would he pull me up there if I was out of consideration for any part?  The director is also an actor, and I know he probably doesn’t take any joy in causing any of us additional stress.

I didn’t read for the part I really wanted, but I also don’t have the ideal body type for that part. I would love to be Poppy, and I think I would do well and make that role funny to its fullest. But I am just SO CONFUSED! Normally I can leave an audition and say “eh, I don’t think I got it,” or “Go me! I did awesome!” But everything going on in this audition has just left me at a loss.

There’s no point in overanalyzing, of course, but I have checked my phone and e-mail so many times today. Even though we might not get an answer until Sunday.

I won’t even be heartbroken if I don’t get it. I’ll be sad for about 10 seconds, but not being in rehearsals and shows for two months opens me up to more activities, including furthering my cake decorating education!

But on the other hand… this is my favorite play! See my craziness?

And now, a random debt update. I was doing good with my credit cards, and then put Vegas tickets and dental bills on there, and it looked like I had done nothing. But then I cashed out a CD, and my “BIG” credit card (the first one I’m paying off), went down to just under $1,000! I haven’t seen it that low in a LONG LONG time.

It might go up a little bit in Vegas, but we have a big chunk of cash and we should be able to put some of that on my card when we get back to make up for any expenses. PLUS I get my bonus paid out tomorrow!

I’ve been watching my little cash flow meter, on mint.com, and that red line is the lowest I’ve seen it. I will be so ecstatic the day my net worth is in the green!!
debt

Vegas Baby!

January 5, 2009

OMG!

I haven’t written in so long!

And I don’t have time now!

But I have to share this!

We’re going to Las Vegas for David’s birthday!

I bought plane tickets yesterday!

AHHHH EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!

las-vegas

SKI

November 14, 2008

I did it! I went at lunch today and got fitted for my skis. A season long rental. I got to take the poles with me, and I can go pick up the skis next week. YAY! I will be ready for that first snow.

Paying for it hurt a little bit. $168 after tax. And now I’m committed to going, which means buying lift tickets. I know I could use that money for other things, but I wanted this so badly! I haven’t skied for the past two years, and I don’t want to let about 14 years of practice go down the tubes. I have to go about 5-7 times to make this rental worth it, but I plan to go much more than that. There’s a two-three day ski trip with some friends in January. There’s good deals on night skiing in December. After December, I have no shows for the rest of winter, so I hope to hit the slopes at least three times a month.

That $168 would have made a tiny dent in my credit card debt. Now it is going to give me several months of winter enjoyment.

Plus, if my dad wants to take me back to Colorado, I’ll be ready. 

A few years ago my family went to Copper Mountain. It was the only time I’ve skied in Colorado, and I’ve been dying to go back. Upper WI and upper MI have some good, big hills. But there is just no comparison to the real mountains. Now excuse me while I spend the remainder of my afternoon drooling over fabulous Colorado ski resorts. Sigh, why do I like rich people hobbies?

It’s Me Again

November 12, 2008

Am I too talkative lately? It’s probably because work is insane right now and I’m training on new stuff, and in my few spare moments, I just bubble over with thoughts.

Right now, it’s about how my dad is awesome.

When I had to buy a “new” car last year, he helped me out with a loan. My bank’s loan wouldn’t cover the cost of the car, and combined with my own money, I was still down about $1,000. So he covered the rest of it. I’ve been SLOWLY paying him back via “his bank” of no interest. $50 a month, which was really nice and easy for me to handle. Things were fine until my major dental bills of late. Suddenly I realized I hadn’t paid him in three months and was quite broke in all my accounts. He had talked about helping me with the bills for my root canal and crown, and so finally I confessed that I was struggling and didn’t know what to do.

He said don’t worry about the car. We “argued” about it for a few minutes, but he wasn’t having any of my protests. He told me to forget about the money I owed him and to use that to pay off my dental bills. Amazing.

Today I got an e-mail from him, asking about plans around my birthday. Nothing has really been talked about yet, and I told him so. He told me to keep my birthday afternoon open. He says that if the stock market goes up, he will have some extra money and wants to take me shopping. WHHEEEEEE!

That would be so much fun! I could really use a couple high quality pieces, like a good sweater and a great going-out shirt. And I have no work pants that fit me well right now.

And if that’s not motivation to drop another size by my birthday, then I don’t know what is. Guess who’s going to be going to the gym ever day at lunch from now on!!

Money Thoughts

October 14, 2008

I just had two little cavities filled yesterday. And I’ll have to have TWO more appointments for cavities. It was my first time getting a filling, and I’m not looking forward to having it done two more times. I’m getting so sick and tired of having my mouth messed with. I know it has to be done so it doesn’t turn into something worse, but ENOUGH already!! I’ve always had problems with my teeth. I had braces for a long time and had teeth pulled to make room for adult teeth when I was little. Now it involves wisdom teeth and cavities. Fun stuff. Expensive stuff.

David’s birthday is “coming up.” I use quotation marks because my birthday is before his! But as much fun as I like to have for my birthday, I will be happy with a nice dinner and lots of cake. HIS birthday is the big thing. It’s his golden birthday! And we want to do something cool. He’ll be 27 on March 27th. If you’re big on numbers and numerology, that’s turning 27 on 03/27/09. Neato!

So we’ve been discussing what to do. First we were considering a week in Disney World, but are thinking it’s too expensive. So now we’re thinking about a long weekend in Chicago. Rent is coming to Chicago the first weekend of April, and that is when we want to go! We’d go on a Thursday and stay until Sunday. We’d go to a couple of museums and possibly go to a taping of this radio show David loves, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

Between hotels and transport and sights and food (trying to keep it cheap but splurging on one nice meal) it could cost about $950, not including spending money. That is a lot of money. Wow. About half of what Disney could cost, sure, but it’s only for three nights!

Plus we want to do something in Milwaukee on his birthday night. We’re thinking Potawatomi Casino. We could do a reasonable dinner for just the two of us, and then meet up with a bunch of friends for some gambling fun. It would be awesome to go with more than the $50 we have brought in the past. Maybe $100 each? We also have enough time to learn how to play more than slots. I’d love to spend a long time at the gaming tables, maybe playing craps and blackjack.

I feel like I always get special stuff and good presents and that David just takes such great care of me. He deserves an awesome time like this. Like a lot of guys, he’s not big on the birthday stuff, but he is excited about this. And he should be! It’s an exciting birthday and an excuse for a birthday celebration like he has never dreamed of.

He should be getting a decent tax refund, and I am due to get a nice bonus in March (if this economy messes with that, there are not words for how pissed I will be). I have about $500 in a CD that matures in February. So none of this will really have to go on a credit card, which is nice. I just have a mental block about spending all that money in one go, especially when I know it should go towards my credit card debt.

Okay, so here are numbers… we’re optimistically guessing David’s refund to be around $1,000. My bonus should be around $1,200. So if we take his refund and my $500 CD, I could put my whole bonus as a credit card payment, and we could have a $1,500 birthday bonanza. I guess that’s not the end of the world. As long as I don’t daydream about ALL that money ($2,700[!!!!]) going towards my credit cards. But it wouldn’t anyway, because that refund is HIS refund. If he’s putting it all in for birthday fun, the least I can do is contribute the $500.

Okay, I think I just needed to type that all out. It’s still a little scary, but I think it’ll be worth it, right? It means my credit cards won’t be paid off immediately, and maybe that “dream” wedding will be pushed back (though lately, again, I’m considering the whole eloping/destination thing) but I have to find that balance between living in the moment and planning for the future. And I think we could do a lot worse than this.

Am I being stupid with my money? Feel free to tell me if you think so. It’s hard to take a step back from a personal situation like this.

Woes

October 3, 2008

I watched the VP debate with my dental bills spread out before me. I always want to help others, but in times like these, I really need to help myself. I had great respect for Joe Biden when he admitted that assistance to foreign countries could not be as great until we solved our problems at home. This is also why I really respect the Obama/Biden ticket for wanting to end the war quickly and carefully.

I also believe that I will have more money in my pocket under the Obama/Biden tax plan. Is it fair that big companies and people making over $250,000 get taxed a little bit more? No, I honestly can’t say that’s FAIR, but I’ll be perfectly honest… It’s really difficult to have sympathy for those people while I sink deeper into debt and the dream of ever owning a home slips farther away.

I don’t want their money. Rather, I want the money in my pocket that Obama is promising me. I want the regulations on Wall St and I don’t want my employer to pay taxes on my health benefits.

This is really not supposed to be about politics. It’s supposed to be about the money pit I’m in.

I am trying to think about EVERY SINGLE PENNY that I spend now. Last month was a disaster. I drove up to Eau Claire to visit my sister and we drove to the Mall of America. I gave myself about $100 to shop with. I spent $120 on myself. Not bad. Except then I also found Christmas gifts for people and spent another $60. I try not to give myself too hard of a time about that, because if it’s Christmas and if I didn’t spend it now, I’d just spend it later. Oh, and don’t forget about the $60 tank of gas I had to use.

The next weekend we went camping and had a tent disaster in which we had to BUY A NEW TENT. “Only” $30, but still. That Sunday was the Packer game that I went to. $200 for two tickets. It was a great deal, and I had to go. The value of the experience was worth much more than $200, but still… I had to empty out my accounts and David and I lived off my credit card for the next week. And again, with the tank of gas.

These are all things that I would have had money for throughout the year, but the fact that it all happened in two weeks was pretty tough. Still, I feel like I start fresh with each new paycheck, and so far I’ve done pretty well and payed off the extra stuff I put on my credit card.

I got the final crown put on my molar on Monday. So far, so good. My dentist wasn’t worried about it not “working,” and so I’m feeling pretty good about it. Until I added up all the bills. Between the root canal and the crown, the amount I’m responsible for is $760. That is a lot. I mean, A LOT A LOT A LOT. And I have dental implants to look forward to in about 5 years or so.

My dad might be able to help me out, but right now I owe him about $300 for my car and cell phone (David and I just went on his family plan to save money.) So to be fair, it’s a wash. I have already paid about $400 on that dental bill, $200 from my savings and $200 on my credit card.

So now I have another $360 to deal with. It will have to go on my credit card, because my savings is empty. I had been hoping and dreaming about paying off my credit cards by next summer, but now it doesn’t look like that will happen. It is so frustrating, because I just want this debt GONE.

A couple months ago I was feeling good about paying it off and saving for a wedding sometime soon and taking a nice trip for David’s golden birthday. Now I don’t know where I am anymore and it’s frustrating and a little heartbreaking.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time. Do I need that cup of coffee? Why would we pick up dinner when we have a box of Mac & Cheese at home? I guess that’s all I can do right now, and hopefully I’ll be halfway out of this hole again sometime soon.

Whew. <end pity party>

Dreams

September 25, 2008

First off, I’m not going to forget to do this. I was given my second blog award (I am totally lame and forgot to blog about the first one) by Ginesa.

I have to thank her, because if anyone’s blog is encouraging, it’s hers! We found each other, thanks to the internets, and have enjoyed cheering each other on in our weight loss journeys. She is doing GREAT! Not only is she losing weight, but she’s training for a race and doing a kickass job on her runs. Plus she has an adorable daughter who just turned one, and posts pictures often. Yay babies!!

Okay, now that I have remembered to write about that…

I had a dream a couple months ago about a bakery. I’m unclear as to whether I owned it, or was just a customer. It could best be described as a dessert bar. It was decked out in black and pink and had a modern, yet whimsical and a not-too-girly feeling to it. Kind Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. It was in a part of town that was part nightlife/part college area. Although it happened to look just like this street of gay bars that I visited in Thailand.

There were big comfy couches and booths where groups of young adults picked off large trays of gourmet goodies. Fancy versions of youthful desserts like Oreos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Twinkies, and other treats like cookies and cupcakes. It was like a cafe, where people could come in, hang out, study, work, chat, and eat delicious desserts. Or they could place orders to go. It was cool. And it was open late.

I awoke with the insane urge to open this place.

A couple days after this dream, a coworker talked to me about a thought she had about opening a “Wonka Bar.” She had just seem us perform in “Willy Wonka” and had this idea of opening a bar that served candy-themed drinks. It fit in perfectly with my dessert bar idea. It could be called the “Candy Bar” and could serve all kinds of delicious desserts along with yummy drinks.

Just a couple weeks ago, after dinner with my dad and sister for her 13th birthday, we wanted to go get dessert. I racked my brain for places to get dessert, near downtown. We had just come from a restaurant. We didn’t want to go into another one just to order dessert. Kopp’s custard was far away. We didn’t want to go to a grocery store to get cupcakes and eat them in the car. We settled for gelato from Whole Foods. But eating gelato in a car on the way home was not the perfect way to end the night (though close, because Whole Foods’ gelato is yummy).

I started thinking, does Milwaukee really not have a cool place to go get dessert? Shouldn’t we have one? We have plenty of awesome bakeries, but those require planning and forethought. What if I want to GO OUT for dessert, at 9:00 at night? The closest thing I can think of is at the InterContinental, where you can order up some chocolate truffles or petit fours at $2 a pop. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for.

So now I’ve had this thought, this dream, of opening up a “dessert bar” in Milwaukee. I’m not the best baker, but I would learn. I’m pretty good, and if I had the time, I think I could develop quite a nice talent. But running a bakery? I don’t know… It sounds like a good idea sometimes, but then I think about all the potential problems.

How would I get started? Where would I find money/space? Would I be able to sell stuff? What about equipment? What about health insurance? What about health codes and regulations? What about the potential of financial ruin? What if no one thinks it’s as cool as I do? And so on…

I keep thinking about working towards it, though. Maybe devote my weekends to baking. Learning about it and trying out new recipes. I have a couple friends who own theatres. Maybe they would let me sell some treats on show nights. Maybe I could develop a small following. Maybe I could start a by-order-only business, and then hope for it to grow. Maybe… what if… what about…

I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the 8-5 job that I’m in right now. My creativity is stifeled. I need more. I want more. I deserve more. I wish I could jump into this RIGHT NOW. But I have to step back and think. Maybe I can go to MATC and get my associates business degree. I hear that gives you some good entrepreneurial information, and it wouldn’t take half a lifetime to finish. Maybe in five years, I can really start something. Or maybe in five years I’ll think it’s even more foolish than I do now.

And it’s time for my favorite Disney quote. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast sings,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

What Is Important

September 11, 2008

On this, the SEVEN year anniversary of the attack that brought down the twin towers, I can’t help but feel a little different. I can’t help but think about what I’m doing and what is truly important to me.

Also, I still can’t think about that day without losing my breath and tears forming in my eyes. I didn’t know anyone who was injured, or worse, that day, but my heart just breaks for those who were, and the families that are still reeling from the events.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I found out, or how that day felt. I remember watching the coverage in the evening, sitting alone at the kitchen table, trying to do my math homework. I remember my mom keeping my (then 6-year old) little sister in the den, with the TV on PBS, because they were running the normal after-school cartoons. I remember feeling lucky and grateful that my dad’s flight to New York City was scheduled to leave at around noon that day, rather than the early morning flights he was usually on. I remember crying, a lot.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. If anything can be gained from this, let it be that the empathy and spirit of Americans can continue, and we can save and use the best parts of ourselves from those days. Patriotism is not liberal or conservative and neither is compassion. It’s human.

Confronted with our mortality, what is important to us? If we were to die tomorrow, would we be happy with what we’ve done and what we have?

I know that I am not ready to leave this earth. I still have a lot of life to live and a lot to figure out, but I do know that I feel confident in what I’m trying to do and where my priorities are.

  1. Love
    It wasn’t hard for me to realize that love is the single most important thing to me. And because of this, I am SO happy and SO grateful that I have the most amazing person to love, and to love me back. As long as I have that, life can never be too terrible.
  2. Family
    My family is extremely important to me. I’m so happy that we’re all so close. As I grow, I feel their love and support behind me even more. I’m not totally and completely 100% sold on having a family of my own. But I think I will, and the idea really excites me.
  3. Career
    Here’s where I’m stuck. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I was foolish for not finishing college when the opportunity was practically handed to me on a silver platter. As a result, I sometimes feel hopeless. I have a good, steady job that pays the bills, but it’s not where I see myself forever. But I don’t know where I see myself forever. I love theater, but am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not good enough to make a living of it out there. That hurts, but I have to be honest and realistic. I love photography and I love baking, but I don’t think I know enough about either to run with the idea at this point in time. Going back to school for a degree in business would be the easiest option, but all I can do with that degree would be to hope to end up somewhere, and doing something, that I love. At 23, I know I have plenty of time to figure things out, but I’m frustrated in not having any great ideas at the moment.
  4. Money
    Let’s face it, money is important to most people. I can’t live without money. I would like to have more money. I would like to be able to pay off my debt and go to college and travel and have a wedding and a house and kids… but I would not trade money for any of the first three items on my list, and especially not the first two. As long as I have those, I know I’ll be okay.
  5. Cake
    While not a traditional basic need, as long as there is cake in this world, there is good in this world. I speak the truth.

If anything else is gained from the memory of this date, I hope it is that everyone can be reminded of what really matters.