I'm coming to a close with my PhD (sooner rather than later), and I tend to need "goals" in my life to work for and toward. I guess it's just part of my personality. So, I think I'm going to start making mini-resolutions each month. And, my first one is going to be related to my finances. After going through my expenses for the month of May, I've made a mini-resolution for the month of June:
No dining out in restaurants for the entire month of June.
If I spent almost $400 last month eating out, let's see how much better I can do. It'll take some planning and foresight on my part, especially with the boys, but let's see how well I/we can do.
(And, for the record, since paying off my credit cards in February, I have not charged on them sense. Debit card, all the way. Not too bad, I'd say.)
I've decided to start a monthly addition to my little blog on my money. I did this a while back ago when I paid off all of my credit card debt (which was ultimately in the $18,000 range), but I'm going to continue this sort of disclosure here each month.
Since I'm quite sure that nobody is reading my blog (hi, Alison and Chris), I'm not really concerned that I'm "spreading all the business." Rather, I want to start making myself more accountable for the money that I make and the money that I spend. I'm a big girl, so I need to pull up my big girl panties and start being more honest with myself about my spending habits. The goal: Nothing earth shattering, I just want to be spend my money well. I want to be a responsible adult who can keep her shit together. That's all.
So, BoA's online banking service has a nifty little feature that lets you "see" where all of your money is going by dividing your expenses into categories, adding up those categories, and giving a percentage of those expenses in relation to one's monthly income. I've listed my May expenses according to percentage of income and I've also included my justifications/rationales/freak out thoughts for my or your amusement.
My May Expense Report [gulp] from April 25th -May 25th:
Groceries: $900 [What the hell?!? I spent $900 on groceries last month!?!]
Utilities: $405 [This includes electricity, water, telephone, and internet. Yes, internet is a utility that we can't live without. Facebook is a necessity.]
Restaurants: $371 [OMG! I spent more than $1200 last month just on FOOD!?! Okay, I have two growing boys and a Marc but still $1200 on FOOD?!?]
Healthcare/Medical: $369 [Okay, this isn't entirely accurate/fair. There are several visits to the pediatric neurologist and psychiatrist in here for Tobey, which are not regular expenses. But, this is also my trips to Wal-Greens, which would include my (abso-freakin-lutely) necessary sunblock, make-up, Slim-Fast shakes, and hair color. Still, that's a lot of sunblock and make-up.]
Car Payment: $300
Hobbies: $284 [This includes the boys' karate and my dirt therapy. This is a bit inflated because I went a bit crazy in my dissertation-depression and bought a crapload of plants last month.]
Gas: $269 [Not too bad.]
Insurance: $186 [This is car and life for me and the boys. Gotta have it.]
Service Charges/Fees: $153 [Okay, in my defense most of this is to the TWU library for overdue books, which I had to have for my dissertation, and the overdraft fees ($10) from savings to checking. We'll just think of the TWU library part as a "donation."]
General Merchandise: $133 [Stuff from Wal-Mart odd and ends]
Other Expenses: $242 [This includes my monthly charitable donation, entertainment, dry cleaning, home improvement--odds and ends "stuff."]
Total Expenses: $3750ish
Yikes. Because, let's just be honest here. We all know that I don't bring home $4000 a month. The worst part of the whole thing, the part that makes me shake my head--I spent $100 last month just at Sonic. Only Sonic. That means, I spent almost $100 on Diet Dr. Pepper's with Vanilla. Ho-ly Crap.The worst part is that this doesn't include sending my mother any money, which I need to be doing like I promised her.
So, what is going to be different next month. Let's start with the restaurants. We are going to cut waaaaay back on the restaurant expenses. I'm thinking in the $150 range next month. I'm also going on a Sonic haitus. Cold-turkey. I've got to do better about running to Sonic for a drink when I'm at home bored.
I'm also going to start looking for ways to cut back on my grocery expenses. I recognize that Alex and Tobey are growing boys but seriously, $900!!! That's just outrageous. I probably need to own up to my newfound love of all things salty, which means frequent, unnecessary trips to Earl's for chips, dip, beer. That's gotta go, too.
So, my resolution for May 25th - June 25th: Stay home. Don't spend money. Eat what's in the house.
So, it's May 2009 and time for my annual summer resolutions. I'm going to teach Summer II, but in the meantime, I've got 2 months to work on these resolutions. Tobey is going to summer school, Alex is going to karate-camps, and here's what I'm going to do:
Finish up my dissertation. Whether I graduate in August or December, I will have the dissertation done and defended at the end of the summer. I've got about 20-30 pages left to generate and then I'll work on the revisions... Nothing too extreme though. T is pleased with what I've done so far so I'm not too worried about accomplishing this goal this summer.
Work out 5x week on the treadmill or elliptical.
Live healthier lifestyle. I'm going to do a raw-food, vegan detox diet for a couple weeks to get back into a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully, much of it will "stick" after summer is over. I think I'm going to juice and experiment with new recipes for veggie and fruit juices and smoothies, and I'm really kinda excited about this. I need some balance, figuratively.
Practice yoga. I need more balance, literally.
Clean my house from top-to-bottom. Garage, closets, bookshelves. Again, balance.
Take the boys to the movies.
Take the boys to the pool.
Take a roadtrip with mom and the boys to Colorado to visit Donna.
Go to the club with Marc.
Take a roadtrip with Marc somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe Houston. Maybe Kansas.
Reconnect with Marc. I have a great boyfriend. We just haven't seen much of each other lately.
Take the boys to Six Flags.
Start learning Italian. I'm going to Italy in January, after all.
Stop drinking. Not that I drink a lot. But, again, it's going to be the summer of healthy living.
Apply to University of Hawaii's disability certificate program. I'm thinking of working on an online certificate from the University of Hawaii in Disability and Diversity Studies. I would wouldn't really be like school...mostly just interesting opportunities to read and think about Disability Studies. (And, I can stall paying on my student loans until I pay off my car.)
Work on my custom textbook for Comp I and II at NCTC. I'm excited about this.
Work on WPA-stuff--adjunct training, research workshops, stuff like that...
Work on course-prep on ANGEL for Fall 2009. This is probably going to be much more fun because I have a lot more time to get my stuff together.
Read all the books I've bought but haven't gotten around to: Revolutionary Road, No Country for Old Men, Love in the Time of Cholera, Everything is Illuminated...
Clean and organize my office. I finally feel like I'm not going to get fired any day, so it's probably time to "make" it more my own. See if Keith and Chris would be okay with painting it. Putting up a couple of posters. Getting some plants. Organizing it. Did I mention that I needed balance?
That's the plan so far. I'm excited and ready to get to feeling more like myself.
I want a wife. Just like in Judy Brady's short essay/story, I want a wife, too.
I want a wife who will take the boys to the park on a beautiful, sunny 80 degree Saturday afternoon while I work on stringing together something that resembles a chapter in a dissertation.
I want a wife who will cook a healthy, balanced dinner because I'm too busy grading the last of my English Comp I students' papers.
I want a wife who will finish washing, folding, and putting away the laundry while I answer the 100+ emails sitting in my 'inbox.'
I want a wife who will clean up the living room and kitchen while I read and put together an assignment/lesson on Chapter 12's discussion on integrating visuals/images into documents for my tech writing class.
I want a wife who will put kiddos to bed and read them bedtime stories--and not run out of the room after 2 minutes--while I compile notes on The Wasteland for my Brit Lit class.
I want a wife who will shop for groceries--always using her coupons and driving around for the best deals--while I read and respond to students' rough drafts.
I want a wife who will drive little boys to pediatric physicians/neurologists/ psychiatrists while I finish reading and taking notes on another book on "autism as mercury poisoning/braindamage/a disaster."
I want a wife who will explain to my 11 year-old son for the 100th time why I don't have the emotional strength, physical endurance, and/or financial reserves for a pet. Even though, I understand that "every kid needs a dog."
I want a wife who will fill out the 25 page educational assessment forms for the upcoming ARD while I have student conferences.
I want a wife who will attend ARD meetings while I teach class and hold office hours.
I want a wife who will remind me when I step on the bathroom scale that--despite my 10 pound weight gain and bloated and pale complexion--I look great.
I want a wife who will keep the bank account balanced so that I can buy groceries/gas/hair spray without worrying about whether there is any cash in the account.
I want a wife who will tell the cashier at Wal-Mart to "suck it" when my [autistic] son starts singing the theme song to Thomas the Tank Engine at the top of his lungs and she yells back to "Be quiet!"
I want a wife who will explain to my officemate, Keith, that this is just a really rough semester/year for me and that I promise I am not usually this manic/tired/depressed/anxious.
I want a wife who will reassure me that I'm doing a great job at work/school/home even though I feel like everything is slipping slowly through the cracks.
Like Brady concludes at the end of her essay, with all the tasks that a wife does, who wouldn't want one?!?