Monday, May 6, 2013

Hunting & Gathering: The April "No Spend" Challenge

So this past month, in April, I did a "no spend" challenge and I'll be honest - it sucked. I read about it on Pinterest (obviously) and wanted to try it to try and see if I could limit my spending and stop being poor. Turns out, it made me feel ever poorer..more poor? Anyways.

My goal was to only spend $200 for the month but I made it $250 to be a little more realistic. I mean, I live in the city and have a life. Plus I like Starbucks...

Ok so rent, gym fee, bills, etc did not count towards this $250 but groceries, eating out, coffee, shopping, entertainment, etc did. Damnit - the latter ones are my favorite things, too.

It was a struggle but I definitely learned a lot. I legitimately made lunch every night for the next day and spent a lot of time prepping food and cutting fruit. Ew. I have never done that in my life until now. It takes effort but I'm getting used to it.

Dave and I sometimes ate what we had in our cabinets just to use up that stuff you usually never touch (soup, couscous mix, etc) and we also got our produce from the Haymarket farmers market on Fridays. We became hunters & gatherers...hunting through cabinets and gathering fruit downtown. I really refined those ancient skills. Also, I must say I am obsessed with the Haymarket farmers market.  I spent $15 there once and got 2 avocados, 2 boxes of blueberries, 1 box of strawberries, 6 apples, 1 eggplant, 1 asparagus, 1 bag of carrots, a HUGE bag of salad mix, and 2 red peppers. It is so cheap! I think the quality is good, you just have to really use it or it goes bad by the end of the next week. I mean it's not organic, but hey, we can't always afford to shop at Wholefoods now can we? What didn't help was that I had too many bags and left my vegetables on the train once. I came home and cried. It was devastating. 

There were mannnny "unexpected" expenses I encountered that really added up, however. For instance, I had a dress altered for a wedding, needed to pay for flowers, already had a few dinner plans set in stone, and found myself scavenging left over Easter candy at CVS, because who doesn't like a sale - and a sale including chocolate. Also, I had to pick up my diploma I got framed, needed pet supplies at Petco, and Dave and I had a nice dinner at Legal's because well...why not. I was very proud of myself for not shopping all month. That is a big deal. But I cracked on April 30th when I found myself at Marshall's and purchased a pair of shoes. Damnit Franco Sarto, you've done it again - your shoes are just too cute! It's Molly's fault. She made me do it.

I was smart, however, and bought a Groupon for a manicure / pedicure in March and booked it in April because I knew I would need some light in my life during this oppression I imposed onto myself. I may have cheated a little because I kind of got a lot of errands done in March in anticipation of this challenge. Oh well, just thinking ahead! But then I got another a few weeks later during a bachelorette party. Oops.

I made coffee (really, I made Dave make it) in the mornings or used the Keurig at work instead of going to Starbucks (*tear) and ate all the fruit from the farmers market as snacks during the day. Also good for my diet and a way to eliminate bad carbs!

Basically the point of it was to learn to 'go without' instead of rushing to the store every time you need something. Which is what I do. And it's usually the dollar store because from my prior post as you may remember, I'm a cheap a$$ ho. It was supposed to make you think about each purchase and although I went over the $250 (think x2), I think I learned some good lessons. It enabled me to keep saving for that Louis Vuitton, and a house. In that order.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Getting Personal

So as some of you may have noticed (if you love me), I took a little Facebook hiatus recently, but now this bitch is back. I just needed some time away from annoying people airing their dirty laundry, "selfie" shots, and constantly checking Facebook for things I really shouldn't care about. I needed to focus on other things and get my shit together (Carol!) and overall improve my life productivity. Well turns out I missed it - but not really. I'm strictly only back on the 'book to post my wedding photos and look at baby pictures from my friend who is about to pop. 

With that said, I'd like to air a grievance I have with the general female and male population ages 23-33. And that would be the "selfie" full body shot. If I see another "selfie" of someone's abs, "v thing" (no idea what this is called), or a half-naked porn shot on Facebook or Instagram, I may just die. Maybe I'm being a bit sensitive and jealous because I lack a "v thing" and maybe I want one....but I have just one word: really? When is it enough? If you feel as if you need to post your 6-pack or naked bod online for all to see, please just audition for weight watchers commercials or a soft-core porn. Either would do. Have you no shame? People's grandmothers are on Facebook. 

But what I've realized is that NOTHING in our society is private or sacred anymore. Not even a woman's womb. Yes, all around me there are pictures of half naked bodies, ultrasound shots of unborn fetuses, pregnancy tests (you peed on that, gross), people posting that their kid took their first dump on the toilet (I've seen this WAY too many times). This is all nice, and I like to share things, too, but going off Facebook for a month reminded me how nice it is to have privacy. It's so rare nowadays. People constantly want attention, reassurance, etc and they want it from total strangers online to make them feel good about themselves which makes zero sense to me. I'm sorry (no I'm not) but how about digging deep within and finding some..what's it called...self confidence?

People are just too damn obsessed with themselves that it was getting unbearable to see everyday. Don't get me wrong, I'm back on Facebook because it's probably the best way to stay in touch with friends, especially when they don't live close. And it's fun to see what's happening in your friends' lives, but still, I don't need to know when you have explosive diarrhea or about that rash on little Katie's ass. That's enough. I'll now have to block your feed. Call a doctor, do not consult the Facebook world for help, for little Katie's sake.  Oh and If I EVER pop out a child, you better freaking bet there will be no hospital shots of me 2 seconds post-birth. No. Way. I would want a shower, some makeup, and probably a new vagina first, thanks.

So to close out this rant I will leave you with this amazing quote from the talented, oh-so-clever, and beautiful Tina Fey that should make everyone feel better, in general. It's hilarious and so true - 

 ”Every girl is expected to have caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall butt, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, and the arms of Michelle Obama. The only person close to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes. Everyone else is struggling.” - Tina Fey

....And as for the T - I can't even get into it. It's been so unbearable... I can't. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Will Never Cook You Dinner

As some of you may know, I really, really, really, hate cooking. When I'm hungry, I want to eat and not spend 45 minutes baking a meal. I'm not Betty Fucking Crocker. When I want food, I want it immediately. It's called instant gratification. So sometimes, (every night) dinner is often a predicament for me. I don't usually get home from work / the gym until about 8:00 PM. Sometimes I run into my apartment like ravenous wild boar and shove whatever I can into my face. And then, I'm full and go to bed. Sorry Dave, you're on your own (I'm a bad wife).

I realize this is awful. I have beautiful new kitchen stuff from my bridal shower and wedding, yet I can't bring myself to use it. My own mother-in-law even gave me a cookbook last year for Christmas, probably hoping I would feed her son. I haven't even opened it once (please don't tell on me). I think some people just like cooking and some people don't. And I don't. I'm Irish for God's sake. I grew up eating chicken and potatoes in a different form every night. Thanks Cin!

I eat very healthy during the day. KIND bars or whole wheat english muffs for break-y with all natural peanut butter. A tofurkey sandwich or salad for lunch. Greek yogurt with flaxseed and fruit for snacks. Then dinner hits and I fall apart as a human being. When my sister, the dietician food nazi, lived with us for a year, she cooked healthy dinners every night and I was so spoiled. I'd like her to move back in only for this reason. I also don't eat meat or any seafood so my options are more limited and therefore Dave is a vegetarian by default, at least during the week. A sad vegetarian at best.

I can say that I make a mean mac and cheese. Pasta is the only thing I am capable of making. When I do decide to fire up the old stove, I usually end up making the same pasta dish for weeks before we get sick of it. It's actually pretty embarrassing because I'm an adult, I'm now married, and I should know how to make a dinner. But I just don't care. I guess someday if we have children I will have to feed them. But I know kids love mac and cheese so I should be all set with that.

So, the moral of the story is that if I ever invite you over for dinner, it means you're having pizza. Bon apetit mes amis!

Things I usually eat for dinner instead of cooking:

- Cereal with soy milk
- Cheese and crackers
- Tortilla chips and salsa (About twice a week)
- Carrots and hummus with a combination of any of the above
- Raisonets (pure deliciousness)

Random T Observation: On the bus the other day I noticed a man pouring booze into his red bull can in broad daylight. I gave him an A for effort because he didn't care who noticed..and I kind of wanted some. Just kidding.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meat Sandwich in My Face

So this past summer I took a new job and was so excited. And then it hit me..."dear god no, this means I have to start taking the ...T". My world basically came crashing down. I threw a fit. Actually - several. My first week back on the T, I was depressed. My husband thinks I'm a snob because I'd rather sit in my car (alone), listen to my Matty in the Morning (questionable taste, I know), and yell at other cars on the way to work. I don't see anything wrong with it. It's peaceful.  I'd rather sit in traffic everyday than be on the circus which I call the train. One of the first nasties I spotted was a woman sneezing all over her hands and then grabbing the handle, rubbing her snots all over it. It was at that moment I realized the microscopic dangers of the MBTA. Hand sanitizer became my best friend. I have no shame. I'll whip if out even If I see a person with questionable hygiene. Eye contact counts, too.

I've seen a lot of things on the T lately that make me go "hmm" and that also piss me off. For instance, all of a sudden a hand appeared in front of my face holding the bar the other morning. It was a man. With long fingernails. I vurped (vomit-burped) in my mouth immediately and cringed until he got off the train. Seriously, cut your god damn nails - no one wants to see that! Especially me. GROSS. And since then I've noticed several long-nailed weirdos all around me. Dear sirs, you will never get a girl with fingers like those. 

Here are some other random T observations from the past few weeks:

- The ginger beast who nearly crushed me to death on my way home the other day. Must you take up so much room? And don't you dare fall asleep on me. He's been spotted twice.

- The girl with the weird outfit consisting of a black cape, bright neon sneakers, and a maxi dress. Definitely made me go 'hmmm' but kudos to her for not giving a shit. I wear some pretty outrageous outfits on the weekends when I go to the dollar store. I never care either. It's better that way.

- Man with the meat sandwich in my face. After a long day and grueling workout, I was attempting to sleep on the bus ride home when I smelled food and opened my eyes to a meat sandwich literally 2 inches from my face. I don't care what you eat and appreciate the fact that you supported the local vendor in Forest Hills Station, but please remove your meat sandwich from my facial region. This situation lasted a good 10 minutes until meat sandwich man got off the bus. I was scarred. No stranger should ever be that close to your food...maybe he trusted me a bit. I don't know. I wanted to yell "Get your meat out of my face!", but thought he'd take it the wrong way.

- Drug addict couples. I caught some "grief" for this the other day on the book. Like really, it's Facebook and no one is serious on Facebook. If you are - get a life please. I don't need to be lectured about how I should pray for people. No. I only care about animals.  If you are offended by my comments, here's a solution: Don't read my blog. With that said, I've recently spotted several drug addict couples. It goes like this. The males are usually slumped over and slurring their words, eyes mostly shut. Their beautiful soul mates are usually swearing loudly and often times applying makeup. They are always donning sweatpants and hoop earrings. There's usually some dramatic fight regarding pills and then I put my headphones on because I can't watch this train wreck anymore without a sharp object to stab myself with. Lots of "f" bombs. They don't care if children or nuns are present. Really. I don't have sympathy for people who can't help themselves and who cause disturbances in public. Sorry I'm not sorry. 

How bout the time I got on the bus and these thugs who wreaked like marijuana tried to talk to me. I was in gym clothes and a huge puffy jacket. I didn't respond. Ain't nobody got time for that. One of them then stated "That's ok - she ain't even that cute". Loud. For me to hear. Thanks asswipe. I sat there the rest of the bus ride thinking to myself "welp, this is nice" No one looks good after the gym! And if you do, then you're a freak of nature and probably didn't work out hard enough. I thought about doing something outrageous to completely freak the shit out of them. Like roaring like a lion or making a ridiculous face and holding it the rest of the ride. But it wasn't worth it. I didn't want to scare other passengers.

So yea, the T makes for great people watching but sometimes I just can't take it. I actually can't even post some things because they are that bad. Can't wait to get up and do it all over again :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Things I Would Do If I Was President

I've been thinking lately....what is wrong with all of these people in office??? Someone like me should be in office. I'd get shit done! So here's a list for you to ponder of the things I would accomplish if I was President. Make sure to check back for updates as I plan to add to this list as amazing ideas pop into my head! They're so....political.

- Four words: Less dicks, more chicks
- Open more animals shelters
- Make it a law to spay & neuter your pets
- Mandatory hour naptime after lunch (siesta, please!)
- Make green tea the National Beverage
- License test renewal for all old fogies EVERY YEAR
- Hand free birth control out on the streets (But really, this would solve a lot of problems..)
- Open more mental institutions so the crazies had a place to go

Monday, January 14, 2013

Being a Cheap A$$ Ho

So recently Dave & I met with our financial planner aka my friend Matt and discussed things. It went very well, but made me somewhat stressed. I'm SO bad with money. I wish I had taken business classes in college or something. A life course, perhaps. Do they teach one of those? They should. Like how bout a little warning regarding college loans. Thanks teachers. I feel like finances are so confusing and scary and impossible to comprehend. Sooo I thought I'd blog about ways that I try and save money or cut spending since I think this is something that everyone tries to do. Try being the key word. I've also included suggestions from some friends who are good at this:

- Call Comcast and threaten to leave and go with Verizon Fios. They may try and work with you to save a few bucks here and there and maybe there's newer packages out there. (Thanks Miss). Do this monthly.

- Unsubscribe from store newsletters, living social, groupon etc. (Thanks Laur!) I did this when we were saving for our wedding because I love groupons. I mean who doesn't? It definitely helped but now I'm back on. It's an addiction, people. I will be taking up knitting in a few weeks thanks to a spontaneous purchase. Oops.

- I am constantly cleaning out my closet and giving clothes to my skinny bitch friends and also to Goodwill. Although I don't make money off of this, it makes me feel good and makes room for things when I do buy them. And then I don't feel like a hoarder. Haven't worn it in a year = toss.

- I also recently began consigning clothes at an upscale consignment store in South Boston. So far I've made about $100 selling nice things that I just simply don't wear anymore - jackets, sweaters, shoes, etc. Although you only get a percentage of the sale price, it adds up and makes more sense to consign nice items versus giving them to goodwill. Give them the shit stuff. (Just kidding)

- Craigslist the shit out everything you don't use in your apartment or house. Or your mom's house. Or your mom's basement.  Or your neighbor's storage cubicle in the basement.

- Bring lunch. It really makes a huge difference. Last week I packed lunch all week and only spent $5 in the caf! And we have those cards where you swipe and it comes right out of your paycheck. Dangerous! Some weeks I've spent up to $30 on coffee, lunch, snacks, etc. but not anymore!

- Make coffee in the morning. This used to make me so depressed because it didn't ever come out as good and I prefer iced coffee always. But, now I'm used to it and actually prefer our home-brewed joe! Dave makes a mean cup of coffee, I'm so lucky.

- Prostitution and/or stripping....... JK on this one guys. Relax.

- Avoid Target at all costs. I'm working on this one. It's hard. I'm actually scared to step in there but I need to go soon to get a few (thousand) items.

- Have a YARD SALE in the spring, summer, or fall. It's so fun! My friend Miss and I had one this summer and I made about $100 and got rid of a ton of crap. She made $300. She's always been good with money. Me, not so much. Also, I couldn't negotiate and I let people completely take me. "$5? No, ok you want it for $1? I guess that's ok...". Melissa happened to up-sell some of my items. How? I don't know. She's just good.

- DO NOT shop at the mall. It's such a joke. I literally only shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Old Navy, and Target and think I have nice clothes. Until I look in the mirror. They have awesome stuff!  I let my sister by the expensive shit for me. She only shops at Anthropologie and J.Crew. Fine with me. Bring on the gifts, Kel!

- Write down a list of all the bills you have. It will make you depressed and not want to spend money, because you CAN'T.

- I listen to Pandora and rarely purchase music. $1.29 a song? F U itunes, it used to be 99 cents.

- Having a clothing swap party. We did this once at Molly's and it was fun. It's like free shopping. Donate the rest to Goodwill.

- To all you bitches getting married, communicate with each other! I'm lending my friend and future bride a TON of things from my wedding. I donated my dress, gave my veil to someone, gave a hair clip to another, etc. There's no need to go buy all new votives or signs or place card holders. Re-use that shit and save a buck or two. Put it towards open bar, your friends will thank you.

- In the summer, opt out of a gym membership and run outside and do weights and abs in your home. I did it this past summer and it got me outside (I'm a hermit) and I actually enjoyed it.

- If you want to do gym classes - find groupons and deals for yoga classes, etc. And then immediately unsubscribe again.

- Credit card rewards: find one with rewards and use that instead of your stupid Bank of America one that gives you nothing.

- Buy all your cleaning stuff, tp, paper towel, etc. at the dollar store. I don't care how white trash this makes me, they have the best prices for this stuff!

- I love to craft and have been making my own greeting cards for a few months. I vow never to purchase a card again. Plus, it adds a cute, personal touch!

Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means "cheap". I spend too much money. I go out, I order pizza frequently, and I like to shop but there's smart ways to do it so that you can allow yourself to go out for dinner and drinks with your friends without feeling too guilty. I hope this blog entry changed your life. What do you do to save money?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My New Friend Luis

I love Craigslist. You can get some nice furniture for cheap but when it comes to actually selling things, it gets weird. I listed a small, flatscreen tv the other day and got a few hits. I was giddy upon seeing them in my inbox. Someone's actually interested in my stuff? How exciting! One person named "Korre" (not sure what kind of name that is) just wrote... "$25". I didn't feel compelled to respond since "Korre" didn't say hello or offer any other nice words or greetings. I mean he/she was cutting right to the chase which is fine, I guess. But no thanks, Korre - I got a better deal.

Luis offered me more and we made a deal. He didn't speak / type good English, but a deal's a deal and I'm looking to make money, honey. All of a sudden I got really scared, though, and didn't want to give this stranger my address. Lauren suggested I meet him in public so I wrote back to Luis. It was awkward. He responded "I get pay Wesdnday if that ok with you". Well, I'm not sure about your grammar but ok Luis, I choose you. I informed Luis I wasn't around Wednesday but could meet him Thursday at 8 PM in Roslindale Square. Bring cash. It sounded (and felt) like a freaking drug deal. Or a blind date. I don't know, they're both bad I think.

I then informed my husband that I was meeting a stranger Thursday to sell our tv and that he was coming with because I wasn't ready to die. Not until I get that Louis Vuitton. 

Luis and I decided to meet at 8 PM in front of the market in Rosy Square. I was so nervous. I didn't want to give him my phone number so we just left it at that. Would he find me? Probably...I would be holding a tv. What will he look like? Will it be everything I dreamed of? Will he be nice? Will he rob me? Will he shoot me? Will he love me? Gosh, I hope not. I planned to not bring my purse just in case. I would run home only after I was sure he was gone. 

So Thursday came around and I rushed home from the gym to get ready for my awkward Craigslist encounter. How fun. I cleaned off the TV and carefully put it in a cute TJ Maxx bag. Dave and I walked down to meet Luis. I then got an e-mail that he was about a quarter mile down the road at Dunkin Donuts. Luis - I said the Village Market, not DD! As if I haven't exercised enough today... So we walked to Dunkin and I immediately spotted his all black tinted out hatchback vehicle. I just knew it was him. I should mention - I didn't bring my purse in case of the above mentioned situations and I didn't wear my wedding rings either, you know, just in case he spotted them. You can't trust strangers, people! Didn't we learn this when we were little?

So we conducted our drug deal and each went on our merry way. And you know what!? Luis was really, really nice and I made a new friend today. He is from Dorchester and we are going to be friends forever. Or maybe just for today. But I'm so happy that I made $30 (which I will probably blow tomorrow night) and that I made it out alive. And I even let him keep my cute TJ Maxx tote. That's true friendship.

Hmm what can I sell now...? Do you have any awkward Craigslist adventures worth sharing?