Uncategorized, Life, Money

Facing the hard financial truth

So many months ago my therapist recommended I put myself on a budget and keep track of every expense. I downloaded an app and started: 

$27 groceries, write it down. $18 gas, write it down. $57 dinner with Mona… You get the point. 

And I did diligently. For about 3 weeks. Ugh. Story of my life. Inconsistency. So for the past 4 months or so, I’ve been writing half my expenses down and trying to moderate the rest of my spending. Which means I’ve been half-assing my budget.

Now I haven’t been spending extravagantly. I’ve been eating home a lot more. Spending more nights in, seeing fewer friends out, if at all. 

And yet, my savings is still going down, even with my second job (some months I didn’t put that towards my credit cards but towards my savings yet it still has gone down. )

Truth be told, my budget is tight and any extra expenses hit my savings. $200 in gifts for 2 cousins’ baptisms? From my savings. $500 deductible from a car accident? From my savings.  $600 dental work? From My savings. My therapist went up an extra $55 every 4 weeks? From my savings. Over the months, non-expected expenses adds up.

And honestly, putting $1000-$1400 a month towards my credit card was overly ambitious, but I can’t stop now. My debt is at only $1,900 now. The goal is in sight. I’ll be done by December 1. 

So this month, I re-dedicated myself to tracking my expenses on my app. And to make it easier, I text the expense to myself immediately. For some reason, entering into an app right when the expense is incurred is a chore, but texting is easy. So I send myself a text and enter it into the app later.

And boy, I can see where my money is going. Food is going to be a problem with the amount have allotted. It’s only Oct 5 and I have less than $100 left. For the MONTH. 

(This food expense is for me alone. Anything that involves Mona has its own budget.)

I’m playing the responsible and dependable game and I am going to make this work. My friends are asking for a night out. I do have a budget for my own stuff, which has taken a hit already ($50 Dr copayment, $22 movie, $40 home supplies.) I may have to push the dinner to November. Or just pass on it. I do have a budget for saving $27 every week. I’ve touched it often but now I have over $100 in it. I don’t want to use it. 

Honestly?  I had no business starting dating Mona. Or getting a new car lease in Sept 2015. But here we are.

This is a hard time in my life. I gotta keep my nose you the grindstone and make the tough decisions. That and be serious about making more money. 

And KEEPING more money. 

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Blogging, Life, Uncategorized

A slight check in

Geez haven’t blogged in forever. So what’s going on with me? 

Mona– things are good with us overall. Two weekends ago we went to Long Island’s North Fork for some farm stands, a winery and decent meals. Then a few days later she got on my case for not looking for another job to increase my income to make our future easier faster. She’s right, I do need to get my ass in gear. And I need to keep my ass in gear. And she shouldn’t have to get me in gear. I’ve never been a great self motivator. Something I need to remember. 

We got past it, for now. I have started looking for a job with verve again. 

So overall, we’re great. 

My primary job – it’s been 14 months now, things are going well. Someone left recently so we’re bet busy.  I really don’t see a future with my particular company.

My second job – I’m still taking external pictures of real estate. I do enjoy it even though it eats a full day on the weekends I’m in upper Manhattan now: Harlem, Inwood, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights. Some really nice architecture up there. 

It’s lots of walking, like 10 miles an outing. But extra money is nice. Not that I’m keeping any of it. Using it to pay off debt or unexpected expenses. 

Debt–  I’m down to $2,488, from my height of $19,500 maybe 13 months ago. $2,500 from my tax return, another $3,000 from my savings, then the rest from my paycheck or second job. Not bad. 

So that’s me in nutshell. Sorry I haven’t read much lately at all. Hopefully I’ll start managing my time better. 

Hope everyone is safe in these crazy times.

Career, Life

Nice to do the Right Thing

Happy Independence Day to you Americans! What did you do? See family, friends, fireworks? BBQ! You know what I did? 

Cleaned my apartment, studied the company I’m interviewing with tomorrow, uploaded pictures that I took for my side job taking external pics of real estate. 

All three needed to get done. I rarely get free non-gf, non-picture-taking free days, so I took full advantage. BBQ’s can wait and I’ve seen fireworks. And these things needed to get done. 

My apt was a danger zone, borderline disgusting. Now… it smells of cleaning products and candles.

I need to upload pictures every week in order you get paid. It takes a couple hours. SoI made an enormous dent in this week’s work. 

And of course, I needed to prep for the interview. I’ve actually interviewed with this company once before a year and a half ago. Same position too- Client Service, but they wanted me more for a product management job, but I didn’t want to work in PM anymore. In retrospect I should have….

But now, I have my CS sea legs back and this is in my old industry. I intend to crush this interview, then the next two and get a great offer.

Career, Life

I Need a Reminder to Pay Attention to My Reminders 

So I put lots of reminders in my personal and work calendar. Perhaps too many because I’ve started to not check what some are for. 

That’s not good. Sometimes, it could be to say my affirmations and sometimes it’s because I have a conference call. So they span the spectrum of importance, but all are important enough to make a reminder for.

I’m not going to lie to myself. I miss them because I’m being distracted, caught up and sloppy. My mind moves quickly and often I’m scattered. I know life moves fast but I need to slow it down enough to pay attention to things on my schedule. Victim mentality is not the path to a successful life. 

Focused mentality. Careful, purposeful, deliberate. Calm. Thats what I’m going to bring moving forward. 

Life, Money

Goal: I want to buy some art

Its good to have goals in life. 

The other day I was in Manhattan shooting pics of real estate, and I was assigned to the hip SoHo area (So(uth of) Ho(uston Street) ). Houston in this context is pronounced House-ton. I don’t know why, maybe that goes back to the British pronunciation. 

Anyway,  SoHo is known for its expensive clothing stores, and, as I discovered, street art. Here are two displays that I took photos of:

Some of the ones I saw were just beautiful and cool. And a little expensive, like a few hundred dollars. Now, I’m in full payoff debt mode, but DAMN I would love to be the type of person to buy a few pieces of SoHo art that I could decorate my house with. 

That’s now a goal. I want to grow my lifestyle so I can be in that position. That I have enough in my discretionary budget to buy some and not think twice about it.

And soon! 

I want to buy some art!

Career, Life, Responsibility

Overwhelmed and Needing to be Responsible with Time

Times are tight.  

My team at work is down one and a replacement is not being hired. What we’re doing is training people from other teams how you do my team’s work. Seems like they’re saving $ on salary and having us do more with less. 

I’m learning other team’s work too, but if you don’t use it you lose it and I’m finding shifting gears from my work to another team’s takes effort. Maybe it’s self- created stress. The stress of doubt.

So with things being busy, I usually work late. 

BUT my photography side job takes more time than just the picture taking. I have to “curate” the pics first, meaning upload,  choose the best shots if I take multiples, ensure that I have the right pics for addresses… all that takes time during the week in the evening. 

On the weekends, I’m either taking pics or seeing Mona. I haven’t cleaned my apt in weeks. And things are getting bad. I don’t maintain cleanliness well. It always seems like I don’t have time because I’m rushing to do something else.

And I need to start looking for the next step in my career. 

I need to prioritize better.  I need to honor that prioritization. I need to put down my phone more. My game is getting bigger. I need to be bigger, expand my capacity and honor my responsibilities better. 

I have no time to be lazy or mopey or low energy. Not anymore. Rex has hit a new level.

Career, Life

My Morning Mosey Commute

Normally, I work from home…

“Waitaminute, Rex. If you work from home but the title of this blog post is about your commute, that makes no sense! What gives?!”

Eesh, back off. Read on and it’ll make sense. Patience.

Anyway, normally I work groom home… HOWEVER today I had to go into my company’s office in Manhattan.

“Oooooooh. I got it”

Now, technically I live in New York City because I’m in one of the “five boroughs” (Brooklyn, to be specific) but since I live in outer Brooklyn, it still takes me a while to get into Manhattan (“the city” as we native New Yorkers call it.) 

I live near a subway stop, however it is a local train (many stops) and to optimize my time I normally transfer to an express subway line (fewer stops) to get into the city faster.

HOWEVER… today I got ready, got breakfast and got onto the subway EARLY. I don’t go into the office a lot, so I tend to run early to ensure I get into the office by 9.

FURTHERMORE… since I work from home normally, I do not have a card key to my office, and the receptionist does not get in earlier than she has to. So in the past, I’ve stood there knocking on our glass door until a Jane/John Earlybirdwormgetter opens the door.

Ugh. 

But today… I’m running VERY EARLY and I got something on my local train that I’ll never get in an express train: 

A seat. 

So the algorhythm ran in my head, with permutations of time, subway lines and my office receptionist coming in.

The answer? STAY ON THE LOCAL LINE. 

It’ll take longer,  time-wise, sure. ButI can relax,  say some prayers, and most importantly… BLOG