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There are two areas where I'm going to have to go beyond my budget (and one area where I may recoup some of that loss).

I mentioned before that I have a relative staying with my bf and I. What I didn't mention is that she's been here for a year. She's been without a job the whole time, very down on her luck, discouraged and depressed - I know she was putting effort into looking, but she just couldn't find anything. Before she moved in with us, I was helping her financially (I gave her over $15,000 in a 2 year period). One positive about her moving in was that my payments to her could stop. She hasn't been able to pay us rent, but she has been cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry. We never asked her to do that, but she took it upon herself. It's very nice, but my bf and I REALLY want the apartment back to ourselves. Finally, finally, she's secured a job, a GOOD job, but unfortunately only part time (with the possibility of full time, benefits, and an excellent salary). She's been looking for a place to live near the job, and has promised to "pay me back." I'm not sure what that means, but this is where I may "make" some money. (though I'm more than willing to have her postpone payment if it means she can more quickly and easily find a place to move into)

In addition to helping her out with money, I was also paying her cell phone bill (in my name). She's been able to pay me back for that the last couple of months. This week, the contract is ending and I'm not planning to renew it. I was going to buy her a prepaid cell phone to help her out, though. Then when she gets her credit and finances back in order, she can sign up for her own plan. That's the first reach outside my budget -- possibly up to $100 for a cell and some minutes.

The second reach has to do with my GPS. It's a loss/win, I guess. My relative doesn't have a GPS and she has a tendency to get lost (and call me for directions). My bf and I were contemplating getting a new GPS. So, I figure I can give my old one to her, and he and I can buy a new one. This may cost anywhere from $300-700 (so 150-350 for me). I'm not 100% sure we're going to do this now though; we may wait another year. And no, it's not a necessity, but I think it'll make her life easier, and I'm all for that. Easier = less stressed = happier = more self-confidence = less depression.

I would really like for her to be happy and successful again. She did so many things for me when I was younger; she was always my rock. It was really disturbing to see her fall apart and then her inability to put herself back together. I want to do whatever I can to help her. So far that's -- letting her continue to stay rent-free until she (1) gets paid (her first check won't arrive until October) and (2) finds a place she can afford near her job; getting her a cell phone; getting her a GPS (maybe); and giving her my old desktop comp (I already gave her my old laptop).

I'm crossing my fingers that come November she will be well on her way to restarting her career, in a lovely house, and at my apartment it'll be "just the two of us" once more. :)

Monthly Budget

I'm re-evaluating my monthly budget - the one I did last month was pretty useless.

Rent: $1050/mo --> Our landlord increased our rent by $100 when we renewed the lease. I figure we can count on this happening every year. :(

Gas: 100 --> I really like From it, I figure I use about $3.84 in gas driving to/from school. I do that 3 days a week, so that's $11.52/wk or 46.08/mo. On the weekends, I usually don't drive more than the 7 miles to the beach or mall ($3.76/mo), but I do drive 80 miles to visit friends about twice a month. ($33.66/mo) In total, that's $83.50/mo, but I figure I need to leave room for when I make an extra trip to see a friend.

Food: 250 --> I honestly have no idea how much my bf and I spend on food every month (likely A LOT). I thought that maybe it would be a good idea if both he and I put 150 each into our joint account per month with the understanding that $300 is the max we can shell out for our groceries and restaurants. The other $50 will be from my personal checking, allotted to the Tuesdays & Thursdays I have to eat dinner at school. That's $12.50 per week. I think that should be enough. And then the extra $50 is for when I go out with my friends.

Cell: 120 --> I pay for both my and my bf's phone (but he pays all the other utilities, which is very very wonderful of him).

Car: 370 --> Payments will end in May 2011!

Health & Dental: 100

Eyecare: 12.50 --> includes once a year check-up and contact lenses (150 total). I'm not sure if I'm high or lowballing this amount.

Drugstore: 30

Oil change: 15 --> I do this about once every three months, costing around $45. They also wash my car for free.

AAA: 8 --> I think this is $100 per year. Has been absolutely invaluable on several occasions.

Costco: 5 --> I think this is $60 per year. I shop here once a month; I love them!

Makeup: 20 --> I figure I spend about 40 every 2-3 months, just on face powder/concealer.

Pedicure: 16 --> I usually get this done once every 2 months, at $31 each time (incl tip).

Haircut: 16 --> I do this about twice a year, at $100 per cut (75 plus tip).

Dry cleaning: 20 --> I have two cardigans that I wear constantly that are dry clean only. :( Plus a few dresses, blouses, suits... but I don't wear any of those often, now that I don't have to dress up for work.

Grand Total = $2116.50

Maybe I could put the money for the eyecare/makeup/pedicure/oil change/haircut every month into a separate savings account? Then I can draw on that when I need to. (Edit: I did set this up, so I'm going to try to funnel $90 per month into this account)

I've started doing my eyebrows myself, so that's saving me $30 per month. I'm going to get rid of the gym membership, saving me $37 per month.

I'm not counting clothes into this budget... I haven't felt much urge to shop lately (probably because I've been too busy with school/work!) so we'll see how long that lasts. I've also been looking through my closet, cleaning it out, and overall feeling pleased with what I have. :) A good sign!

Right now, I have about $15,000 in my checking account. I'll be getting about $500 every month from my job, and another $10,000 at the beginning of January. At the budget I outlined above, I'll need $8466 for Sept through Dec. That leaves me with $6534.

So, I think I should be able to pay off my Mastercard and still have enough to live on until my next loan payment comes through. AND have enough for my family and friends' Christmas presents. :)

Some Changes

I made a few changes to the blog. I got rid of the "Shopping Fund" and replaced it with the "Emergency Fund." I think that's the smart thing to do. It also mirrors how my bank accounts are set up (money market = vacation fund; savings = emergency fund), so it'll be easier to keep track. I've had $300 sitting in my savings for awhile, and I added $100 to it today, but from now on nothing will go into it until I pay off my credit cards. Just wanted to keep a bit in there to give me a head start.

Update on Finances

Today and tomorrow, I'm taking back the following purchases:
$267 (Bloomies)
$1038 (Nordies)
$139 (
$130 (
= $1574.00

That will immediately go to my Mastercard, leaving me a balance of $6748. I'll also apply the earnings from the bag I sold ($2400), leaving me with a final balance of $4348.

I may next try to sell a few more bags. These are the ones I'm thinking of selling, and what I hope to get for them:
Coach Ergo Satchel ($400 -- break even)
Coach Swingpack ($80 -- break even)
Rafe Joy Long Clutch ($200 -- $50 loss)
Rebecca Minkoff MAM in Emerald ($400 -- break even)
RM Nikki in Iris ($575 -- $100 profit!)
Tylie Malibu Utility in White Leather ($250 -- $50 loss)
= $1905.00

(yes, I have alot of bags! but other than black, I only have one for every color of the rainbow. Does that make me less crazy?? ;))

We'll see if I'm able to sell for that price, and if I'm able to let them go. One way or another, this card will be paid off by the end of September.

Cancel the gym?

I'm thinking about canceling my gym membership. I go, at the most, a couple times every 3 months. I know I would go more if I had a workout buddy, but my only friend with the same membership lives too far away to get together frequently. I used to go nearly every night, but I think it was because I needed an escape from my living situation, and also, I had a lot more time then (only work, as opposed to work and school).

I have an exercise bike and an elliptical machine (which squeaks and drives me crazy! but I probably just need to spray it with something) at home... I can probably get by with just those. Though I find the gym very motivating (when I actually get my butt over there), and don't have the typical home distractions that have me quitting my workout after 15 minutes.

I'm wasting $38 per month by not going! I guess I'm still hesitant about canceling because I don't want to have to pay those ridiculous initiation fees again, if in the future I realize I need the gym to get me in shape. I was originally going to freeze my membership for 6 months, so I'd have some time to think about it, but they've changed their policies, and now you can only do it for a "valid reason" (i.e. medical, leaving the country, ect)! :(

So, I'm not sure what to do. I suppose I'll make an effort to try to go to the gym this month, and if that fails, cancel. At least canceling is easy - a couple steps, all online. I hate talking to their reps! They're unpleasant and pushy.


I think I'm being too hard on myself. I do want to save, and I want to cut down on spending, but I also want to enjoy life. Part of enjoying life, for me, means buying clothes! Labeling myself as "addicted" merely because of that is not fair. I don't have a constant need to go shopping (nor do I have withdrawal symptoms if I don't go shopping!). But browsing online does relieve stress, and it does lead to me finding things that are cute. My real problem is that I have never had to conform to a budget, and I think I need to allow myself some time to get used to the idea. I was making a lot of money at my last job, my bf makes a lot of money... and both he and I were of the mentality "if I see something I really want, I'll just buy it." It's a really satisfying mentality... but now, having moved down to this part-time job, it's just not realistic anymore. That hasn't totally sunk in yet. So on the one hand, I feel guilty, and have been writing these posts trying to "punish" myself, and on the other hand I'm still stubbornly feeling like I can and should buy whatever I want. And then my bf, who still can follow "see it, want it, buy it" is pressuring me to cut down, and that's frustrating... so I suppose I'm rebelling against both myself and against him!

I did my summer shopping. I'm going to take back the excess and be happy with the remainder. I'm going to work towards getting used to the constraints of a budget, and keep in mind that in 2 years, I'll be making much more that I did before, and after my loans are paid off, I can be budgetless again!


I've done quite a bit of damage in the past two weeks... but at least have some returns to offset it??

Starting next week, I'll be in school and working from 8:30am-10:30pm two days a week, and the other three days I'll be studying, exercising, doing some creative writing and fiction reading, maybe taking a language class... so basically I'll have a lot less time for shopping in general. I hope this will help lessen my appetite??

At least I don't spend money on drinking, smoking or gambling. My bf and I have really been trying to cut back on eating out too, so... yeah, clothes/shoes shopping is my only (big huge) problem right now. How do I get myself to stop?? I've said "must stop" to myself a hundred times, but then I find myself casually browsing an online store, finding something I love, and easily and quickly clicking "purchase."

Maybe I should just go back to the working full time + school thing?? I thought quitting my job would make me stress less, subsequently making me shop less... but I guess I was wrong? :(

Do I just flat-out have an addiction? Instead of getting the constant urge to smoke, I have the constant urge to shop? When I shop, this runs through my head: "oh, this is moving me one step closer to having the perfect wardrobe; so perfect that I'll never have to shop again." Also, I think "this is the clothing/shoe that I've been missing! this will make my life easier" (i.e. flat black leather boots -- can wear them in the rain, with my jeans that are too short for anything but flats, flats will be easier on my feet, etc). Some of this is logical thought. Some of it isn't.

I hate grad school. Maybe this is all what it comes down to. Whether I'm working full time or not, school is always there, school is what I hate, school is what makes me shop, school is what makes me turn to my addiction. Honestly, I was such a healthier person 2 years ago, before this all started. I exercised all the time, I cared less about shopping, I cared more about spending quality time with my friends... I was happier.

And now I'm stuck with 80K+ in loans, and I have to keep going and make it through these last two years, even if I hate the profession that I went to school for in the first place. Sometimes I feel like I made all the wrong decisions two years ago. Or even farther back, when I was coddled and content back in undergrad.

Anyway. I'm just being dumb. I should be stronger than this. I made my decision, I need to quit whining. And I need to start saving, or I'm going to be in a much sadder state when I graduate.

New layout!

Took me a couple hours to find one I liked and get it to work, but I'm happy with the end result. :)

I had an exhausting day of work yesterday, so today I'm just relaxing and checking over my finances. I'll post an update in a few minutes.

Money coming my way

I made a big sale on ebay a couple days ago... so now I have $2400 coming my way (I made about a $400 profit!). Also, $148 from old books I sold on Amazon. And $173 from a clothing return. ($2721 total)

That made me feel good... maybe a little TOO good, since I promptly went online shopping. :\

Once the money is officially deposited in my account, I'll use it towards my Mastercard and then adjust my debt totals. Hopefully my stupid shopping hasn't off-set the earnings too much!!

About Me

If anyone would like to contact me, my e-mail address is

What degree are you pursuing?

  • As of 2010, I've graduated law school and obtained my JD!
What is your current living situation?
  • I live with my boyfriend in an apartment in southern California.
Why did you start this blog?
  • I quit my full-time job over the summer of '08 (I quit to focus more on school), and knew I had to somehow control my spending habits. This blog has been extremely motivating for me; it allows me to keep tabs on myself.
What are your future goals?
  • First and foremost, I want to pay off my credit cards. I want to restore my credit score to 700+. I'd like to buy my own house or condo sometime in the near future, but I'm not sure when I'll feel secure enough in my finances to think about doing that.
  • I love video games and my dream is to go into video game law! I'm a total foodie, and lucky I don't weight 5000 lbs. I've always been a voracious reader, and will devour all kinds of fiction. I'd like to be a writer myself one day... but I need to do less daydreaming and more actual writing for that to happen. ;)
Updated 2/8/12

This is frustrating

I had to buy books yesterday, and my loan funds won't come in until the end of the month, so my credit card balance has increased again. I'm going to take a few purchases back to the store tomorrow, so I should be able to (finally) start making some progress.

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