101 General Update

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I have been doing really well and completing items for my 101 Things in 1001 Days project, but I’ve been horrible at keeping the list updated here on my blog.  I’ve been too preoccupied with all this personal finance and trying to find a new job stuff!  As some of you may have noticed, I’ve changed my blog header in an attempt to bring myself back to the list at least a little.

I can think of at least 5 goals that I’ve completed (all over a year already – whoops!) and another 12 progress updates that need to be made.  So I’m going to start rolling those out a little more regularly.  I only have 13 months left 🙂

I’ve also been trying to find more people that are participating in this project to help keep my motivated. I find that the PF Bloggers I follow have been a huge help to me, and hope that fellow 101-projecters could do the same.  At the moment, my friend Cara is the only one!  Or maybe this could be my extremely passive way of convincing you (yes, you – the person reading this) to join too?

IWIWIW: How to Discover Your Life’s Purpose in About 20 Minutes

I Wish I Wrote:

HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR LIFE PURPOSE IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES
by Steve Pavlina, January 16th, 2005

Why I Wish I Wrote It:

I don’t like my job.  I thought that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I’m not even 4 years into it, and I’m ready for something new.  Unfortunately, everything I’ve done post high school was geared towards getting me here.  So now that I know it’s time to go somewhere else, I have no idea which direction to take. Articles like this are supposed to help:

Here’s what to do:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

I’ll admit I have not yet committed my 20 minutes to this exercise. Perhaps this is just me making more excuses, but my head has been so clouded lately that focusing has required more effort than it should, so my attempts to start the list have not gone well.  (I suspect this is also why it takes me a long time to fall sleep and why I suck at yoga.) I have, however, been keeping a list of jobs and/or organizations that stick out to me (such as the Boys and Girls Club, Culture for Kids in the Arts, children’s libraries, tutoring, and academic support), so I at least have a starting point.

I’m curious if anyone out there has tried this, or similar methods before?  Did they work?  Have you discovered your life’s purpose?

It’s Not You, It’s Me: A PF Love(?) Story

For the last 3 months or so, I’ve spent hours in front of a computer screen reading PF (personal finance) blog after PF blog, following PF bloggers on Twitter, and as you can see, writing my own PF related blog posts.  But I think my little PF crush is over…

That’s not to say PF and I won’t still be friends. My Twitter and RSS feeds will both still be dominated by PF bloggers. I will still do my monthly recaps (which I know some of you don’t care about, but it’s helping to keep me accountable).  I will, however, no longer be trying to break into the PF Blogging World.

I’m not even sure why I was trying (if I was trying?) in the first place. I don’t have any new, brilliant insights into finance.  I have two bank accounts, a TFSA, and zero investments. I haven’t taken so much as a math class since grade 11 (which was, er, geez… 13 years ago?). I don’t want to “compete” with the bloggers that have been on my radar – I want to learn from them. And I have – to the point where I think I need to stop consuming so much of it and focus on something else. At the moment, that’s finding a new job. Overall, it’s getting this 101 Things list updated and back on track.

My personal finance situation is still, well, not great. (Student loan debt the size of a mortgage, a low-paying dead-end job, a negative net worth, practically living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, etc.) But, I’m so much better off before this little PF crush of mine began.  Maybe if/when my financial situation changes I’ll start crushing again, but I’m sorry, PF.  Based on psychologists this internet meme, it just wasn’t meant to be.

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January Recap

After falling off the wagon in December, I seem to be getting back on track, but still not nearly as good I did overall in November.  The app I use to track my spending recently did an upgrade and it now automatically gives me the sum of my expenses each month (I wish they did that for income, too).  So now it’s blatantly obvious that I’m spending more then I’m making each month…  Yikes.  But enough of that, let’s get down to it.

 Jan13

THE GOOD

Tracking. I’ve gotten SO GOOD at this! When I don’t get the chance to track something right away, I still remember the exact amount even if it’s days before I get around to punching it in.

Medical.  All of my benefits are based on the calendar year, so a new year means I don’t have to pay for my chiropractor out of pocket until I max them out.  I’m now going once every 10 days instead of once a week, so it’ll be almost 2 months before I have to pay again.

Car Insurance. Starting in March, my car insurance will be about $10 a month cheaper. Yay!

Gym. I quit the gym! And my timing couldn’t be better, because I managed to snag a 3 month membership to boot camp for… (wait for it…) only $35. Yes. $35 for 3 months.

THE BAD

Food. Ugh… this is ALWAYS the problem. 16% of my expenses are on food? I don’t even like food, so how could this be?? Well… to be fair, part of it was replacing some of the things I lost when my fridge died.  But most of it was me being too lazy to cook. I got off track with keeping my fast-food budget under $100 about 2 weeks in, and it just got worse from there.

Rent. I lied in my last recap. Starting in April, my rent will be about $20 a month more…

Spending. In January, my overall spending was about the same as it was in November.  Problem is, in November I spent $150 on the chiropractor (out of pocket) which I did NOT spend in January… so where did this $150 go?

Savings. I still have not contributed anything to my savings (TFSA).  So $0 compounded weekly at 2.5% over 4 months equals… $0.

Fees. $8 this month.  But the credit card balance is sitting at $0 and I don’t owe any one any money.

THE IN-BETWEEN

Personal Care. Usually, this isn’t a significant expense for me, but I had to buy more fish oil supplements (and that’s not cheap) and a few things to prep for my wisdom teeth removal in 2 weeks.

Gifts & Travel. These were both carried over from Christmas.  I doubt there will be any travel expenses appearing again any time soon.

No Spend Days. Fell 3 days short of my goal, with only 7 no spend days this month… I think maybe the novelty of it has worn off?

On my 4th month of tracking, it’s becoming pretty clear that fast food and eating in restaurants is my spending vice. And this tracking doesn’t even really paint the full picture, as my boyfriend usually (generously) takes care of the bill when we’re out together.

I know I need to get this better under control, I just really hate cooking! And doing dishes.  And grocery shopping.  I don’t understand you people that enjoy cooking… but would like to invite you all over to my house any time!

FEBRUARY GOALS

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February will be an interesting month, as on the 14th (yes Valentine’s Day) I will be getting my wisdom teeth out.  I’ll be off for at least 4 days, but could be as much as 7 days before I’m back to normal.  It’s a long weekend here in Ontario (Family Day on the following Monday), so I get 5 days off work but only use up 2 vacation days.  I imagine a good chunk of my food budget for the month will consist of smoothies and meal-replacement drinks. I also have no idea if I’ll be with it enough to leave my house (or even blog) or not during that week. Here’s hoping it’s a fun little “stay-cation” consisting of pain-killers, sleep, and movie-marathons, because I need it!

  • Reduce overall spending by $100 (compared to January)
  • Stick to my food budget!
  • Cook/prepare meal at home at least 3 times a week.  (Frozen dinners, KD, and cereal do not count for this goal.)
  • Do not drink all the smoothies/meal-replacement drinks before my surgery.
  • Take the time to recoup post wisdom-teeth-removal.
  • Collect ALL THE MOVIES so I have something to do during said recuperation. (Recommendations welcome!)
  • Do yoga or some sort of “at home” workout at lest 3 times a week.
  • Start Boot-Camp (post-surgery).
  • Keep applying for new jobs/find a new job.
  • Update my 101 List.
  • Update my blogroll.

IWIWIW: The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome

I Wish I Wrote:

THE SHORT AND SWEET GUIDE TO BEING FUCKING AWESOME
by  Julien Smith of In Over Your Head on January 24, 2011

 Why I Wish I Wrote It:

It’s basically an inspirational self-help post in disguise, but with over 5000 likes, 1500 re-tweets, and 145 comments, clearly it works.  As suggested by the title, it is short and sweet, with 3 easy to remember “standards of awesomeness” – which is great because ain’t nobody got time to read long, complicated articles.

The message is simple, easy to remember, and 100% relevant and doable for everyone:

From this day forth, your purpose is to be the most fucking awesome person you can imagine being.

That’s it, folks.  Just be awesome.  (I mean, you obviously already are pretty fricken awesome because you’re here reading my blog.)

Also, there is a picture of a shark in space!

I’M GOING TO QUIT MY JOB

Yes boys and girls, after all the “should I?”, “could I?” back and forth of the last few months year, the multiple blog posts, the whining, the bitching, the endless complaining, I have finally made a decision:

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I’M GOING TO QUIT MY JOB!

For those of you that know me in real life and/or follow me on Twitter, I know this isn’t new news, but it is new to the blog. And after the events of this past week (in which I started collecting my personal belongings and was seconds from walking out the door, only to be stopped by the fact I have to get my wisdom teeth yanked out of my face next month and can’t afford to pay for it without my health benefits), it’s clear that I’ve got to take this declaration seriously, so that I can walk out the door without any regret.

Now, I’m no dummy. As tempting as it is, I’m not going to march into my bosses office and politely hand over a letter of resignation and sheepishly give them the ol’ “it’s not you, it’s me” spiel (or if I’m being honest, tell them where they can shove this job).  No, no. I’m giving myself time to hopefully find a new job before leaving this one. I say hopefully because this will be my last season working at the theater, even if I haven’t found something else by that point. I’m hoping it won’t come to that! If it does, I’ll likely look into temp work, as I know a lot of people that have landed FT jobs thru temping, including my mom. I’ll worry about Plan B if it comes to it – but I mentally and physically cannot (and will not) take another year of this.

I’ve already began applying, but I haven’t really put much effort into it yet, trying to hold out for that one perfect job posting. The job market really does suck though, and each day it’s become more and more apparent that holding out isn’t going to get me anywhere.

Most of the postings that do interest me either pay the same or less than what I’m making now, or are contract positions.  Initially, I wrote them off, but I’m now rethinking that. I’ve been overlooking the other benefits these jobs likely have – health insurance, room for promotions/raises, a regular schedule, and most importantly, getting me out of the toxic work environment I’m currently in.

My resume and cover letter really need an overhaul. Neither have been updated in nearly 4 years, and don’t include the two three jobs I have been working during that time. Chances are I’m going to have to enter a new field, and I’m ok with that, but that’s been a factor in my procrastination. There is a growing list of fields that interest me and many of them are similar to what I do now, but the resume will require some tweaking to better sell myself and land me some interviews in those areas.  It’s such a daunting task and I’ve been putting it off because by the end of the day, I’m so overwhelmed and stressed that I just want to lay on my couch and drink Bailey’s. No more excuses, Amanda!

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Aww… thanks John!

I’m going to quit my job. There is a ton of anxiety behind those six little words, but there is it. And now it’s out there for you all to help keep me accountable, and hopefully to support me in this decision.

IWIWIW: Preschool Gems

I Wish I Wrote:

PRESCHOOL GEMS & IT’S TWITTER FEED
By Leslie McCollom

Why I Wish I Wrote It:

It’s adorable! It makes me laugh! And I’m super jealous that I didn’t think to turn the things the kids I teach I say into a Twitter feed and make billions of dollars by turning it into a book. Or a TV SHOW!?!? (Oh wait…)

I only teach kids a few weeks out of the year, but one summer my assistant and I wrote some of the quotes down and I still laugh about them.  Like: “Wholly cow! He SPITTED in my MOUTH!” or the kid that did a 3 minute “monologue” where he put on a faux-fur coat, curled up in a ball, and said nothing. (He later told us that the piece was entitled “Roadkill”.)

Anywho, here are some of my favourite gems to entice you to check it out, if you have not already done so:

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