Sunday, April 24, 2011

One month.

My birthday is coming up in one month from today. As I turn 25, I can't help but recall that last year I made a goal to pay off my credit card debt and keep my shopping habits in check. Well I'm here to tell you that by May 24th, 2011, my credit card debt should be a thing of the past! 

After 12 long months, my credit card bill is finally under control. In one month, I will have the entire thing paid off. This is a big deal for me as I can't remember the last time I did not have a credit card payment. Once I started my new job, shopping became rare as I felt like I had less time and less interest in spending money on things I didn't necessarily need. I've made due with all the work clothes I have in my closet. The most I've purchased was a few basic 'going-out' pieces and a few work jackets from Nordstrom Rack - yep, I bargain-shopped, and lived to tell the tale. Best of all, my Nordstrom bill was $41, which will be paid in full when it comes. This may seem to be a small feat for some, but for this shopping snob, this was a huge step for me. I even turned down a $35 designer shirt because it cost more than everything else combined that I'd picked. I'll pat myself on the back for that one, thank you! 

One thing that made a huge impact for me was saving up for a move. I saved every penny I could over the last 6 weeks or so, and put my credit card on the back burner. I wanted to make sure I had enough money for a deposit and any other moving expenses, as well as any other expenses that might come up this summer. Last week I realized that my living expenses will not change much initially, so the money I'd saved wasn't necessary anymore. Had I not had my credit card to pay off, I would have just kept saving. Instead, I chose to take the huge chunk I'd saved and put it towards my credit card. This credit card payment was the biggest I've ever paid. The biggest lesson I learned over the last 6 weeks is that I am in control of my finances - if I want to save for something, I can do it. If I want to pay off my credit card, I can do it. And, I finally feel like I can start saving for big things (once the credit card is done). Paying off that huge chunk of my card was scary, don't get me wrong. But knowing that by June I can restart my nest egg made it worth it. Instead of feeling like it would take me all summer to pay off my credit card, I now look forward to paying for a vacation in August in cash AND having money set aside for whatever else might come along. That's a great feeling. 

I'm happy that I feel like my finances are stabilizing. I thought I'd be at a certain place in my life by the time I turned 25 (which I think I mentioned for my birthday last year). I'm happy to say that I think that place has been found. I feel in control of my finances, and therefore my life. What an awesome feeling. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

School's Out Never

Remember when every few months your whole life changed? Ok, maybe not your whole life, but your day-to-day schedule changed. Whether you were in elementary school or college, each quarter/semester brought the promise of exciting new experiences. There was a distinct beginning and end. And there was also summer vacation to look forward to. 

In May it will be 3 years since I graduated from Purdue. I still miss the semester changes every few months. Even though I went to school year-round almost every year I was there, you could still look forward to a nice break in between changing up your class schedule. You got new books, new syllabi, new teachers, and in some instances, a new chance to something even better than last semester. I remember my first semester of senior year being the busiest semester I ever had - and my class schedule was really light for my entire last year at Purdue. But I was in charge of recruiting participants for a fundraiser, writing for a brand new publication, helping do the PR for said publication, and working up to 20 hours a week. With school. All on top of having as much fun as possible with friends on weekends (let's be honest, we had plenty of fun during the week, too). 

My job is great. I love the company and the work that I do - for the most part. It's different every day and I wouldn't have it any other way. I can see myself working with this company and moving up into whatever department I choose. But as I told Mr. L the other day, I feel like I'm getting a 6-month itch. A restlessness that feels school-related in that nothing major has changed in my day-to-day life. It's become routine, and when you're in school, as soon as something becomes routine it changes again. I told him that it doesn't mean I want to leave my job, whereas in the past that's what I felt I needed to do. But I feel like I need to mix things up a bit. Is this why people take time off - to relive the anticipation of summer break? Of course, the difference is now we look forward to having an extra day on the weekends versus 3 months of laying by the pool every day. 

In January and February I volunteered with J.A. again, which was great. I was happy when it was over because things at work were getting more hectic. Now that I feel like I'm getting back in the swing of things, I feel like I need that extra distraction. Something to detach from work completely a few hours a week, and running outside can only do so much. When I worked at J.A., I wrote on the side. It was like homework, but not every week. And I loved it - I was able to pursue other interests outside of work and I was commited to it. Maybe because I feel like my life is consisting of work, exercise, and sleep during the week, I also feel like I need more than that. Don't get me wrong, I have fun on the weekends and enjoy all my time with Mr. L. I get together with friends when I want to and go shopping to unwind, but it's usually money I don't necessarily want to spend. I think I miss being culturally involved with the city I live in, and writing about local happenings helped me stay in tune in other places I've lived. 

I'll be moving downtown in May (yay!), which is something I've always wanted to do since I was a kid. I'm so thankful that I'm in a place in my life where I can achieve the things I've always wanted. Mr. L and I are looking forward to a fun-filled summer together, which will help me feel a part of the bigger picture on a regular basis. So maybe pursuing a freelance writing gig will keep my creative juices flowing, while also keeping me busy the way I want to be. If I could handle writing papers, studying, writing articles, working, fundraising, and a social life in college, there's no reason I can't handle it now. I guess the busier I am, the happier I am.