How I Packed for 10 Days

So, before my trip overseas, I searched the web for packing tips for 10 days. Much to my surprise, the “advice” wasn’t catering to me. Weather, work outs, engagements, etc. all played factors into packing.

Working Out: Work out clothes were easy to pack. I doubled my shoes with some outfits on days I didn’t have to dress more appropriate. Travel = walking a lot to sight see. I packed four outfits for working out because I knew I’d probably only have time for a few work outs. Early mornings, late nights, and jet lag all threw me off and I ended up working out a record one time. However, I walked a lot throughout the days. Next time, I’ll probably pack two or three pairs of work out gear. I made sure all of the workout clothes fit in the smallest packing cube to keep me in check about over packing.

Business Casual: Easy enough. What I can get away with wearing at work is pretty much what I packed. I brought two jackets which actually weren’t warm enough – kind of a fail. I packed about six shirts, but could have gotten away with four. I brought three dresses and could have gotten away with one or none. I brought three pairs of pants and bought one pair there (and damn, that was a good buy) to wear while there. I packed two scarves, but mostly wore one. I brought three four pairs of shoes (athletic, casual, and two chunk wedges) and could have gotten away with two. Moral of the story = no one cares what you wear because you are travelling!! I think I packed too much, but packed lighter than I usually do for domestic travel, lol.

Money Belt: Money, money, money. I usually wear a travel/money belt. I personally just feel safer this way on long flights where people generally pass out throughout the flight and the plane is dark. Better to be safe than sorry. I also kept within my budget and probably could have done better. I bought a pair of shoes while overseas, which weren’t a good buy and ended up giving them away to a friend upon return. Glad they got put to good use though. Given my meals, etc. were paid for, I only took $300. I exchanged currency when necessary. I probably could have saved about $50 on some impromptu purchases (shoes) but I’ve spent far more on dumb stuff. $300 was enough to just shop and I actually didn’t even spend that much. Something like $260 and that was mostly on gifts for people.

Now it’s back to working out and saving more money. I feel a bit more refreshed and want to plan my next adventure. Who knows where? But I have a feeling summer is going to be great. I’m still a bit jet lagged, but plan on at least going on a couple of walks this Easter weekend. Happy Easter to all who take time to read this.



Small Goals of a Singleton

I used to be the type that would try to tackle everything at once and then got “bored” which was really a sign that I had no clue how to tackle all of those goals I had planned on tackling. Multitasking wasn’t necessarily the problem; more like not understanding how to achieve goals I’d never accomplished before. So, I became highly overwhelmed when I tried. 
My 2017 started with one big goal of not drinking alcohol for an entire year. I am doing well in that I don’t dwell on the goal and it’s now become quite natural to just say no when offered or skip the aisle at the store. With that set aside, I started focusing on three areas that I felt like improving over the course of the year: health, finance, and travel. God is already in the plan. 

Health: I hated who I had become. I grew up as an athlete and put that on the back burner around 2010. I had slowly let a lifestyle of partying become my priority and I got stuck there. Then I hit rock bottom and I saw the choices I made so clear. After that night, it was so easy to quit that lifestyle. I gave myself a month to work out any would be cravings for fun and then began my journey. It’s taken me almost three months to enjoy working out again and now I absolutely love it. Running and lifting weights has definitely replaced the party lifestyle. I’m so okay with that. I also have enjoyed paying attention to how my body feels when I fill it with healthy food.

Finance: I looked back at my life and wondered why I never got anywhere financially. The highs and the lows and the stupid financial mistakes. I’ll always remember a former co-worker who had parents who set her up for financial success. She followed those footsteps and made sound decisions too. She would always say, “I don’t have any money” and then one day she bought a house, got married, and had a couple of kids. NO MONEY MY ASS! She was smart and saved and saved and saved. The “no money” line was part of her budget. The truth came out about that later. People’s financial truths come out eventually. Even the ones who seem well off. So, I guess it’s best to budget for one’s own goals instead of keeping up appearances. 

Travel: Who doesn’t want to get away? Who doesn’t want to explore?   This can be packed in a budget. $100 per month at the end of the year is $1,200 for travel or whatever. Getting away for 3 days or more can really reset the mind, in my opinion. Being able to travel just to a neighboring town for the day or weekend and explore could be a jump start to resetting goals and values. I love to just take a drive sometimes so I can clear my thoughts and just to shake up a routine. 

Lastly, I speak as a single person. I have time and freedom to achieve the above goals of improvement. It’s taken some time to embrace the singlehood. I used to be caught up in trying to be un-single. All of my energy went there. Whether it be from the stress of people telling me to find someone, get on a dating site, etc. or societal norms of starting a family. I am just going to focus on my goals because it feels good to do that. It feels good to be happy with me for once. It feels good to not be held accountable for people’s expectations of me. Besides, they say “love finds you when you least expect it.” Whoever wrote that quote, I don’t know. But, I’d rather have someone find me when I’m happy and enjoying life! 

Writing Down Finances

I injured myself and so I have to take it easy exercising. In fact I am only stretching until all is well. I’m still good on healthy eating though.
Thought to blog about the fact that every single day I write down my account balance in a notebook. Even if I didn’t spend any money during the day, I do this.  This strategy has helped me so much in knowing how much I have going in and out. I also feel as though I don’t spend as much money and helps me stay on budget!
Just a quick little entry for some motivation!

Reflection: No-Spend month 

I managed to spend *drum roll* $135.63 extra this month. Broken down this looks like: Food, misc., and clothing.
Food: $64.14
Misc: $43.59
Clothing: $27.90
What an eye opener on food because I thought I only ate out like 3 times. In reality, I ate out 6 times! As per usual, a trip to get a birthday gift set me back some thirty-ish dollars. I can’t remember what I bought in terms of clothing, but that came out to almost thirty dollars.
This no-spend month has definitely helped realize some spending habits though! Instead of eating out four times per week, I ate out six times throughout a 31 day period. So ten times less than I would normally.
I will try and do this again this next month because I was still able to be social with friends, coworkers, etc. Saving is my top priority this next month. Really, I had some extra spending due to my car fixes. I count that as bills. I’m really tying to get rid of the eating out all of the time and spending on items I don’t need.
I would be left with $500 in savings but I bought a plane ticket on credit and will pay off that. No need to throw it in savings if there is debt! Also, I already put some funds toward savings this month.

Motivation: Part 2

I’m going about this year in phases. If you know business, you know that there are quarters in each year. Phases are like the quarters, except the phases I’m embracing are short. I like working with short goals because it doesn’t feel as intimidating and daunting. 
Phase One: January.
Phase one is practicing paying attention to what is NEEDED. Do I need to go to the grocery store every week? I have found that I don’t and so far my Costco haul has been sufficient. I have still been able to be social and explain why I’m not eating out. Thankfully people have been encouraging. In phase one I have also cut out alcohol. This has helped to not impulse buy. Not constantly spending money is actually pretty liberating. I did eat a meal out yesterday. I’m not kicking myself in the ass for it though. It was $17.25 and I was hungry and the food was good. No regrets. However, if I did that every week or every other day, as previously done, I would feel a bit defeated. I also bought new eye glasses. This is justified because I need glasses every day of my life to function in the world. This was good because it was like my “shopping”
Phase Two: February.
So far January has really helped me get comfortable with not spending money on items that aren’t necessary. February is a goal of increasing the health factor. As I previously blogged about, I wasn’t paying attention to “healthy” eating for my no-spend month. I just wanted to practice not eating out and no spending money. Starting in February, I’ll be going on morning runs. I mention this now to get into a groove of waking up earlier. I’ll do the wake up 10 minutes earlier each day. My goal is a 5am run for 30 minutes, 3 miles. Then arms or legs. I love p90x ab-ripper x as part of my workout too.
Phase Three: March
Travel. More on that later. I already have my trip booked!

Motivation: Part 1

How 12 months of savings adds up!
Saving $50/month = $600
Saving $100/month = $1,200
Saving $200/month = $2,400
Saving $250/month = $3,000
Saving $300/month = $3,600
Saving $400/month = $4,800
Saving $500/month = $6,000
Saving $600/month = $7,200
Saving $750/month = $9,000
Saving $1,000/month = $12,000

I didn’t add up all the posibilities of savings, but sometimes it helps to just take a look at those posibilities.

Saying “No” is becoming easier and easier. Prioritize. If people drop off your friends list, etc because you are committing to better yourself, then so be it. Get rid of the negative, non-supportive folks anyway. With that, I’ve decided to not be tempted to take off on trips that are not necessary. This is a three day weekend and so instead of “having fun” and posting all the “fun” on Facebook, I’m laying low. I didn’t really get the concept of spending here and there and then all of the sudden someone wants to do something and I’d struggle to afford the possibility. Also, just because I have money doesn’t mean that I have to spend it. Repeat that last sentence!
This is the year to save and not feed needs with material things. January is going rather slow because 1) it’s after the holidays 2) weather doesn’t make me want to go outside sometimes 3) re-evaluating takes some energy. I want to come out of this year on top!

No-Spend Month and Budget Breakdown.

I just purchased a plane ticket and will now start in on not spending a single penny on non-mandatory items. I have to buy food, gas, and pay my monthly bills – THAT IS IT! No shopping for extras and no going to the grocery store without a list. 
Budget Breakdown…
Fixed and variable expenses.
Fixed = expenses that don’t change = rent, student loans, etc.
Variable = well, they vary from month to month.
I’ve written out all of my fixed expenses, variable expenses, and total salary. I now know how much money I should have left over. What I have failed to do in the past is put my grocery list in the FIXED expenses category. This would just fluctuate. Eating out/Entertainment would also not be in the FIXED category.
Let’s be real: I hate when someone tells me what to do! 😤 When I put limitations on things I go and do the opposite even if it is not good for me in the long run. This is what happens when I put too much of a restriction on things like food budget and Eating out/Entertainment. This is why I increased my food budget drastically. I don’t want to be in the mindset that I can’t have.
However, the no-spend month (which has been written by many bloggers before) is essential in starting off a budgeting year! So this month, I’m making no spending a priority.