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Archive for June, 2015

Didn't get the job :(

June 24th, 2015 at 09:08 pm

Sigh. I've been looking for and applying to other jobs. DH's response to my frustration is virtually always "why don't you take some time off?" which would be nice, aside from the fact that I've been "off" work for about four months. I'm not even really sure what I'm doing so wrong! I've even gone to those resume review things offered by our library. Meh.

Anyway, I've just finished applying to a temp agency. I think part of the problem is that I don't have enough experience (or as much as the other people applying) for the permanent positions I've been applying for. Temp positions pay much less (pay is around $9-10 per hour, a sneeze away from minimum wage here), but hopefully that way I can manage to get more experience and maybe try to fanagle myself into something more long-term.

Last night I felt super crappy after hearing I didn't get the job, so DH surprised me with carry-out (paid for with his personal spending allowance) so I wouldn't have to cook and could just wallow and watch crappy TV. Very grateful to have a supportive partner

In any case, I've decided to only spend 5 hours a day job-searching, the rest doing housework/cooking/exercising and starting to volunteer (I loved volunteering where we lived before and I've found some good opportunities here). This way I won't feel overwhelmingly like a failure when my 8+ hours a day in job searching/applying doesn't yield quick results

Personal spending money changes and determination of monthly goals

June 19th, 2015 at 08:06 pm

So since I quit my job (in February), we decreased our personal spending money from $20 per week to $10 per week. I generally didn't spend most of this, and just threw whatever I didn't spend at the student loans (now just one loan). DH, on the other hand, likes to eat lunch out during the week and would often spend his entire $20 on eating out (his friends often spend 4 times this per week). Yesterday I was going over our budget with him to figure out how much we can save for retirement (from his pay alone), and he requested that we re-up the personal spending money to $20 per week. Personal spending money will now also be what we use to buy family/friend gifts/cards/postage (not including nuclear fam Christmas gifts--though I'm going to try to figure out some more frugal options for these) and clothing.

I've agreed to the change, as he has been so good about honoring the rest of our budget (he loves to spend, so I know this must have been difficult!) and this way I can budget for gifts and clothing more easily. I need some new clothes, but since it isn't specifically budgeted for, I feel guilty to spend anything (since it seems like such a personal expense).

Soo...adjusting our budget. It looks like we will be trying to save at least $75 per month for retirement (more once I get a job). This past month was a little strange because of the car repair and the laptop purchase, but next month should be better. My mom is coming to visit in July, but she's pretty low-key and likes frugal activities (as a single mom of 3, she is very used to finding low-cost, fun things to do Smile!). She's not in a great place financially--especially retirement-wise--for her age, so we'll be paying for everything (she's covering airfare). I don't expect her being here to radically change our budget, though--and outings will be covered by our travel savings fund.

Next month I am going to try to track ALL of our expenses. I've been a bit loosey-goosey lately, guestimating the budget amounts and all...I was planning on going over our statements at the end of the month to separate everything out...but without receipts I can't categorize everything properly since I honestly can't remember what I bought at Target/Sams/wherever like two weeks ago...

Oh, also had an ahhh crap moment when I realized that our various insurance policies cost more than I previously estimated...it all works out to $910 per year (before I estimated just under $800). I forgot to include our roadside assistance in there and under-remembered our renter's insurance. So per month that's about $10 more than I estimated. I don't like "saving up" for these though, since they're staggered enough to where I can cash flow them.

In other news, I'm fairly certain I didn't get the job I interviewed for Frown...bleh. Time to start looking again. I guess the worst thing that could happen is I don't work in July and get to spend more time with my mom Smile

Also, not gonna lie, not working rocks. But it's also a bit rough--we would be able to save so much more if we were a dual-income household!

Weekend happenings...happy times, spending, and mini-rant

June 15th, 2015 at 06:41 pm

This weekend we had some of DH's friends (C and V) over--we went to Niagara Falls and took them around our town. Most of the trip was super fun! Also, we spent only a little bit above what I was expecting.

61.45 Groceries/beer purchased before they arrived for breakfasts and one dinner
25.53 Gasoline (filled up tank, we still have 1/4 left)
13.20 Coffee for the four of us
59.32 Lunch for the four of us
76.00 Passes to various Niagara attractions for DH and me (C and V paid their own passes!!)
97.42 Dinner for the four of us
15.00 Lunch for DH and I
5.00 Tasting at brewery for Dh and I
-----
352.90

Overall, we paid only a little more than I had planned. Part of that is b/c we were told the night before their arrival that V had certain dietary restrictions and that her doctor demanded she adhere to a strict type of diet (intolerance to a long list of things, will only eat certain approved brands of foods, must be 100% organic, etc.). I didn't mind accommodating this at first, since (as a vegan) I always appreciate it when a host takes the care to accommodate my dietary preference. This is why our grocery bill was so high for just the few days they were here. A lot of that was in organic nuts, organic fruits, particular type of organic tea, gluten free organic bread and organic fruit juice (what we were told she has to eat for breakfast). Interestingly enough...her diet apparently does NOT extend to meals or snacks out (where she ate absolutely anything!). The only time she ate the special foods on her "diet" were breakfasts and the dinner at home we cooked (we couldn't find a local restaurant to accommodate her diet). Then...when they left this morning...I noticed they took a bunch of our food from our pantry and fridge! When I went to make breakfast and saw they'd taken all our nuts, dried fruit, hummus, a bunch of tea, leftover enchiladas I made the day before they came (and they jacked the glass container they were in too!), juice, and misc canned goods (????). DH said I shouldn't make a deal of it, since they had a long train ride ahead and if they had asked I would have said yes...but that isn't the point! Who the heck takes a bunch of food without asking?!

Whatever. I can say that the one bright point of having them with us was when they offered to pay for parking at Niagara Falls, which cost $20. They didn't cover us for anything else, but that $20 is the first time they've chipped in for our share of anything.

What's even more annoying is that C frequently bragged about how he makes twice what DH does...sigh. Anyway, overall the trip was pretty fun, and DH and I got to spend some romantic time alone at NF--so it was well worth it! DH was also very happy to see his friend C. I've already vented to mom, so I'm going to try to just remember the happy parts of this past weekend (there were many fun and happy parts!!) and let go of the frustration/judgement with/about C and V.

Anyway, I'm off to go catch up on reading other blogs and prepare more for my interview tomorrow!

Loooong entry...recent/upcoming goings on

June 8th, 2015 at 05:09 pm

Apologies in advance for the super long entry, I've been busy preparing for my interview last Friday, and then going on frugal outings (walking in the park by our apt and going to Canal Days in Fairport--including a rubber duck race!).

Pantry challenge is going well--which is good, since DH has had some social engagements (advisor-related and networking) that he spent some money at (but he kept it to drinks, not dinners!). Anyhow, this week I spent $20 on produce, coffee, bagels and stuff for DH's lunches (sandwich bread, pretzels, strawberry jam). That should last us thru Friday--when we have out-of-town guests coming in (DH's friend and his gf) neither of whom I am a huge fan of...ugh. But I'll play the good hostess. And then vent my face off to my mom. lol.

DH's friends want us to show them around here and take them to Niagara Falls (1.5-2 hours away). We'll be dipping into our travel savings for this...knowing his friends, they will likely expect us to pay for everything (even though they basically invited themselves to our place. Didn't ask. Just sent dates they were going to be staying with us). Before we moved to NY, they wanted to come and visit our place--I planned dinner and everything, then a couple hours before they came they called and said there was this place in the area they really wanted to try and asked if we'd be up for going out instead of staying in. We said yes, then when we got the bill, DH put in $110 and handed it to his friend, who refused to pay, saying that they had come to visit US and had not expected to pay. Ugh. It was like $200 before tip (and his gf's drinks alone were like $50 of that). If we had invited them out, or even chosen this place, I would not have had a problem paying the whole bill--but they're the ones who wanted to go out! Double ugh. In any case, I told DH to let his friend know in no uncertain terms that we would NOT be paying for all their expenses (they want to do boat outing, private tour, fancy dinner, etc. etc.). I'm SO not looking forward having these people in my apartment Friday-Monday...but this guy is one of DH's favorite college friends...so I'll get over it. I should really try to get a more positive attitude about it. Breathe.....

Anyway, in relation to the job search: I got an email from the director of the foundation last Wednesday requesting an in-person interview. I chose the earliest available time (Friday morning) and so spent the next 40 hours prepping. I think the interview went well--but I really have no idea about what the other people applying for the job are like or what their qualifications are. I'll know mid-this-week if I'm getting called back for the third (supposedly final) interview round. There are an awful number of hoops to jump through in this process of applying for a part-time job that I don't even know the hourly pay for. Sigh.

Since I started the process of applying for this job, I haven't been looking into other job possibilities since I'm really hoping for this one. But at this point, 3+ weeks in, I'm wondering why I didn't start looking for a backup. Ugh. I'm going to start looking again, once I plan out what we're going to do with the...lovely people...coming to visit Fri-Mon.

Mrs. Frugalista’s Pantry/freezer challenge

June 2nd, 2015 at 02:15 pm

I’m also taking up Mrs. Frugalista’s pantry/freezer challenge. It turns out that my freezer is more overstocked than the pantry. Sooo… I guess that it is good that I did not do my shopping this weekend, because we have more than enough. I’m very much a fan of the all-in-one dishes, so this is nowhere near as fancy as LuckyRobin's (whose garden sounds awesome!). I have a ton of frozen vegetables, giant bag of onions, sack o sweet potatoes, and misc rando produce

Anyhow, I figured it so I don’t have to do any shopping this week:
Dinners:
Monday (yesterday) – Cold citrus noodle salad
Tuesday – Roasted sweet potatoes with kidney beans, spinach salad
Wednesday – Veggie stir fry with tofu and rice
Thursday – Pasta bake, side of broccoli
Friday – leftover pasta bake, side green beans
Saturday – Fried rice with sweet potatoes
Sunday – Veggie burgers with oven fries

I’ll have to do some shopping next week—since I’ll be out of coffee (whaaaaaaaat! I know, I know...it's not good for you...and probably technically a violation of the pantry challenge...but there it is) and a couple of fresh produce items for the dinners below. I eat leftovers for lunch, husband likes to bring sandwiches to work—so we’ll need more bread and pretzels. We’ll also need more bagels.
Next week:
Monday – Inari sushi and edamame
Tuesday – Chili with brown rice
Wednesday – Linguine with lentil sauce
Thursday – Sweet potato enchiladas (I’ve got a bunch of sweet potatoes—can you tell?)
Friday – Rigatoni w/ eggplant, artichoke hearts and roasted red bell peppers
Saturday – Leftover sweet potato enchiladas
Sunday – Lemony red lentil soup

I’ll see where our pantry stands after the second week to see if I can squeeze anything else out of there. We have a ton of frozen stir fry that I have not included much of above. We have enough baking stuff for weekend waffles and the bolillo to go with Sunday chilaquiles, so that’s good. I also have some cake flour left from when I baked our wedding cake (last July) that ehhh I’m not sure is still good. Does flour go bad? I couldn’t find an expiry date.