Saturday, December 25, 2010


I did post before this but my posts seemed to have been swallowed. Ah well!

Merry Christmas everyone! It's been a wonderful day and, even though there have been rough spots, it's been a really fantastic year.

This year I built my career, I fell in love, I got myself to a better place mentally. It's been wonderful and I am very very lucky to have everything that I have.

And today, for the first time on December 25th since the 1820's, it's snowing in Atlanta.

Today is a good day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I'm thankful for my health and that of the ones I love.
I'm thankful to those who have created tiny humans for me to love and play with.
I'm thankful for inexpensive wine, organic chocolate, and mashed potatoes.
I'm thankful for my partner, John, who makes my world balanced and beautiful.
I'm thankful for ambition, drive and energy.
I'm thankful that I have so much.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Back to Life

And here we go. I'm done being so dormant with this blog I believe! I have a fixed laptop, a car that is running better, a fair amount of work booked, but enough free time to finally get down to business with some other projects that I've been meaning to work on.

I'm so happy that things are getting together. Yes, I'm still in debt, but I'm happy and hopeful.

Right now, I'm working at the lovely Georgia Ensemble Theatre on a play called the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I've got a great cast of energetic and fun people, and I'm really liking Assistant Stage Managing this show. I've got a fair chunk of free time right now because I don't have to be at the theatre until after 6 most nights, and I actually have Monday and Tuesday off. I'm doing well with extra overhire work, looking forward to helping load in A Christmas Carol this coming Monday. I also have a production meeting for a play I am Stage Managing in the spring on Tuesday.

I'm on track to meet my minimum expenses this month, and will definitely have some left over. Though I have nothing booked for January yet, December is looking insane and I'm pretty sure I'll be in good shape.

This blog is going to change a little bit. I'm going to broaden it to more than just personal finance, though that will continue to be a big focus, as well as frugality. I'll have a new banner soon I hope. And much more regularity with posting.

Hopefully I'll stick to this. I know sometimes I don't, but hey.... lets try again!

Friday, October 15, 2010

And Again

I feel like every post that I write these days is about how something unfortunate has befallen me financially. Sometimes I feel like the universe is mad at me. My car got booted last night. $75 fine for being 20 minutes outside of a 12 hour parking allowance.

Well, it is what it is. But seriously, I need the universe to cut me some slack. I'm working every day as much as I can. Sometimes I'm working three different places each day. I'm trying to catch up but I feel like the universe won't let me.

I'm just going to keep working and keep breathing.


Saturday, October 9, 2010


So last week my phone was stolen. It was stolen from under my pillow at work while I was sleeping on my break.

This was very very upsetting. My one luxury that I allow myself is my iPhone and I had no way of recovering it. I had to go out and purchase a new phone.

I got angry and upset for a few hours, then I breathed through it and let it go. Sometimes being mad really doesn't do any good.

Still, yet another setback. $2700 in debt right now. Way too much. I'm going to fight this.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Being Human

I've decided that being human is incredibly annoying. Having to maintain your body can get wonderfully expensive.
I've been joyfully blessed with an eye infection that required a $125 trip to the eye doctor, which will be followed by another $200 odd next week when I go in for a follow up and pay for new contact lenses. These are those necessary random expenses that drive me crazy because they put me even further behind.
Because this is a short month and October 1st is a Friday, I've not made out as well I was hoping for this month.
The flip side of this is that I'm due five paychecks in October, which is theoretically an extra $600 just from my current gig. This is good and promising and should help. I'm feeling though my dream of breaking even by the end of the year might not come to fruition though.
I might be able to do more extra project work in October once I shift to evening work, but I don't feel as though I should be banking on it. I'm also yet to find out how well I'll make out on my part time admin job and whether I will be paid before or after the last of the month.
I'm very strict about that dividing line. If the calendar flips, then I shift to that months budget regardless.

I just really really hope that I can do a little better before my next round of medical and icky expenses in November. Hate being human.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Domino Effect

One thing tends to lead to another it seems. July was a rough financial month with me only earning about $322. That wiped out my savings and adding in several other bills has cascaded and put me back in debt.
Next month it'll be a year since I started working full time as a freelancer. I was hoping to end my first year in the black, and I'm sad I didn't, but with the work I have booked I'm not running back to corporate America. I seem to be making this work.
I am, however, on a total spending freeze. We will be eating from our limited pantry. I have purchased Christmas knitting supplies, and I have no other upcoming major bills until November. It's time to recover. I'm even considering taking my credit cards out of my purse.
Sometimes it is just so darn easy to swipe a card. I'm mad at myself for that.
I think I'm going to be able to knock about $400 off my debt this month, but as I owe $2300 that's not going to feel like much of am improvement.
On the plus side, I'm working on a really cool show and I've been slogging through my reading goal for the year. The plan was 60 books. I doubt that I'll hit that but I feel like I've been doing pretty well.
I've really got to get back on the whole making extra money thing. I'm working full time during the day right now though which makes it harder. Just gotta keep trucking.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Forward and Back

Well, I'm in debt again. Not a huge amount compared to previous escapades... about $2,000. Definitely too much though. Luckily, I have a four shows booked... a total of 7 months work booked between now and May. Thats a lot of solid work, all of which pays above my minimum. I'm hoping that between now and the end of the year I can get all the way caught up, even replenish my savings a little. Every large bill has been covered as far as I can tell. This of course does not include the unexpected, but it's definitely a good thing that I don't have to stress about bills for a while. I'll still be working as much extra as I can to get this debt cleared.

I've never really been able to get ahead. It's been a huge weight on my shoulders and I can't wait to get it off of there. I'm on a pretty hefty spending freeze excluding planned things, and I really can't wait to start working at a new theatre company on August 30th.

England was great. I have the cutest nephew and niece in the world. All is well there and my brother had the most gorgeous wedding. I'm so glad that I went.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home is Where the Heart Is

Next week I get to fly home. My tickets were horribly expensive. I was lucky, I had a lot of help, but as it stands I did have to charge part of them so I have some debt to clear. Not only that, but this month and next month I am squeaking by on very little work. I'm hoping that things will come up, like the 6 days of work I randomly had booked this month which covers most of my rent. Still, though, it's probably going to be rough sailing for my until September.

I have work booked from August 30th to November 26th so far. I'll be able to breathe during that time and hopefully use that as a way to catch up a little. My goal is to finish out this year completely in the black with a little extra in my Emergency Fund. It'd be so nice to have that account sitting with three months worth of bills in there.

I've done a few odd jobs here and there to make some extra money. Some suited me, some really really didn't. I'm looking at heading back into the world of writing a little more heavily on days when I am not working. I have so many project ideas but have difficulty sitting down and writing. I've noticed I get more done in certain parts of the house, though, so I really should just get up in the morning, set my computer up on the dining room table, and work. We'll see if that theory works out at all.

In the meantime, soon I will see my brother married and meet my niece and nephew. I'll help my Mum move into her new house and I'll see my sister on her birthday. Very exciting and total worth every penny.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time Flies

Everything is going by so fast right now. I can't believe it's almost July.
Tomorrow I get to close a show, and I'm still very uncertain about what might happen between now and October. Everything feels as though it's so up in the air.
I was going to be working a job in August that I had to turn over to someone else purely because I can't afford it. It's weird when you can't afford to work. But I have to get better about remembering my minimum amount that I need to make a week, and I can't take jobs any more that don't pay that. I really really need to be better about that. It's so hard for me to turn down work that I don't always look at things in black and white. I don't always remember that work takes up lots of time, and that time also needs to be spent paying rent.
Wow thats a convoluted sentence. Basically. Think things through, pay attention to the salary, remember what you're worth.

I think it's all going to be okay, just need to do a little brain rewiring.

I still have a lot of money to find in order to fly home. I have time, but it's really running out. I'll make it work somehow, I always do.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting All Booked

So after not having work booked, I'm getting a fair bit busy. I have one show in rehearsal right now, another show starting rehearsal tomorrow. Then in July I start rehearsals for the next one, and I'm also booked for November and February.
This is pretty great for me. Some of these gigs pay well, some of them less so. I'm excited to have work in my calendar. Right now I'm consistently working until September 4th. I'll really need to keep on top of day gigs and extra work to get my bills paid though.

One thing that I haven't had much success in recently that drives me nuts is getting my savings back in shape. As a general rule, you should have three months of expenses in saved up. I don't. I've got about two weeks right now. It's one of those frustrating things because I find it so hard to get ahead.

When I'm working this much, I eat out a lot. If I just have an hour to go and grab food, I do. I don't buy expensive food, but it really does add up. So, it's going to be back to using my trusty bread maker to make fresh bread and back to buying things to make sandwiches with.

I've got to keep on top of this, get my savings built back up, and get travel money saved up. My big brother gets married in July and trans-atlantic plane tickets sure aren't cheap these days!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sacrificing Wealth for Art

June and July are going to be financially rough for me. I know this already. I'm prepared for it.
I'm working on two plays that, in a nutshell, pay diddly squat. But gosh it's going to be satisfying. I get to work on new contemporary work, play with some of my best friends, meet new awesome people, and add some very nifty credits to my resume. I'm glad I'm doing that, but this is one of those things where there isn't money in it.

When I left my corporate job last year, I knew there might be times like this. I was prepared for it and I've never really been into having money but hating my job. This is the first time, though, where I've really put myself in a financial pickle. I really think it'll be worth it, but I doubt very much that I'll be clearing my overdraft either month.

As well, the price you pay for loving what you do and working in the non-profit industry. I'll be doing as much side work as I can, but I still doubt it'll quite be enough.

By the way, you can now find some of my writing on the Gaucho blog

Also, hi Mimi :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have no idea why I have titled this post "Plink". Just felt right.

Sometimes, being broke is particularly rough. I'm having trouble getting my spending under control again. You'd think that I'd be fine, what with working a bunch and such, but I find myself always spending more money than I intend. If I go to Target for one thing, I end up with three other things I had forgotten that I needed. I've been trying to be on a spending freeze, but that doesn't seem to be working so well.

What I really need is a major kick in the teeth. I should be done with vet bills for now. I need to save for plane tickets, but I certainly don't need to be going out a bunch or buying anything that I don't absolutely need.

Each month I start with nothing charged to my ING overdraft. This is where I pull gas and grocery money from, as well as other miscellaneous expenses. Pretty much every month it's got several hundred dollars charged to it that I need to clear. It's driving me bonkers. So I think May is going to be my serious lockdown month. I'm considering taking my card out of my wallet. Drastic times call for drastic measures of course.

Has that ever actually worked for you?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Errors in Judgement

So I took a job for the last month which was a lot of hard work. I put in 30 hours more than I should and subsequently managed to knock my hourly rate (I was getting a flat fee), down to below minimum wage. No fun. I managed to get out of the second half of my contract and am working on something else that is a little more money, a little less driving, and a lot more fulfilling.
My issue here is that in hindsight, I should have gotten more details about the job before I took it. Part of it is that I didn't know the right questions to ask, but part of it also was just my desire to work work work.

I spent 6 weeks without a day off. I might have gone a wee bit crazy around the end there.

So now it's back to working what a normal person works. The only problem is that with that, comes less income and a little more financial stress. I have a $250 vet bill to pay this month, and as it stands, with what I have booked, it's going to have to get pulled out of what has become a miniscule savings account balance.

I'm starting to freak out again because I'm back to making painfully slow progress on my debt. My student loan is costing me a minimum of $608 a month which is about half my expenses. I want to get these payments down but it's so darn hard to find any extra money to throw there. I'm using every penny I have to cover bills and living expenses. So here we go again. It's spending freeze time. Last night I bought enough groceries to last a good long while. I have a couple of things to buy for the garden and a birthday present to get and after that, no more going out, no more nothing. We're going to see if I can get through the month and charge absolutely nothing to my card other than gas.

I feel like I might not be able to pull this one off, but I'm sure going to try!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

HItting Monthly Goals

So I've been working on keeping to a couple of goals. I've been doing pretty well. I've been completing a pair of socks each month as planned, though I've had a bit of a leg up (no pun intended) the last couple of months because they've already been partially finished.

Also been keeping up with the reading. I've finished I think four books so far, though unfortunately I still have 60 to go this year. I'm not giving up hope yet, but I'm definitely going to have to do better.

I've started working on paying extra on to my student loan. It's only been a little bit, $21 last month, but the idea here is to lower my monthly payments. Because I'm freelancing, I don't have a guaranteed income, so the lower the amount of money I have to make to stay afloat, the better. I'm hoping to get it down to payments of $400 this year. So far my payments are $609. I have 37 monthly payments more to make. Scary scary number.

I'm keeping my spending down when I can. I've been eating out more than I should be of course, but I'm working on getting that under control again. Also hoping that as spring comes, our utilities are lower and that will certainly help.

Doing okay on the work front. My nine week gig ends soon, but I just started another one. It doesn't pay stunningly well, but the work is kind of fun and I don't have too many hours. I can do other things in the meantime.

Other than that, just plodding along feeling a little stuck, but progressing as best I can.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In the Interest of Not Being Thought to Be Dead

Darnit I disappeared again! No excuse.

So, the last 6 weeks have been terribly busy. I'm on week 6 of a 9 week gig and though it has been grueling and challenging (which I actually like), it has also been great for my finances. I've had a few normal hiccups, like vet bills and such, but the last two months I have hit my monthly necessity goal and been able to not pull anything out of my emergency fund.

Now the bad news. Taxes are coming. Taxes are one the most frustrating things for me because I never seem to get it right in my head what will happen.

Last year, working my 9-5 corporate job may have paid off $11,000 in debt, but it also pushed me into a higher tax bracket, so I owe money. A lot of money. More money than is left in my emergency fund. So, I'm remaining calm and working hard and hoping that I can get this all balanced out somehow.

One of the things that I do that can sometimes be a little crazy is, I never turn down work if I can technically do it. So you might find me getting up at 7am to drive an hour to go and install a set for six hours, then driving directly to my regular gig and setting up and stage managing a show, then going to have dinner with my heavily neglected best friend, then heading back home to sit up and do paperwork, then crashing at 2am, getting up at 8am, and doing it all again. It's busy, it's crazy, it's exhausting, but boy is it ever fun.

And this is how I make ends meet. A little here, a little there. Have crescent wrench, will travel. In this profession how can I not? I could have three weeks where I get no work, run out of red wine entirely, and watch 31 episodes of Stargate SG1 in four days. Keeping busy is good. Working is good. Being able to pay my bills is good.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a two show day to prepare for and someone has to handle the fake snow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saving Money in Odd Places

Now that I'm back to my regularly scheduled "holy cow I'm broke" routine, I may randomly throw a few of my money saving tips your way. And this one is for the ladies out there (or the boys, hey, I'm no judge and I love bold guys).

A while ago, I went to my doctor and mentioned that my eyes are sometimes itchy. She recommended that I was more vigilant about removing my eye makeup (I have been known to refer to my mascara as armor). She told me to try using baby shampoo to remove my eye make-up with at night and I tell you something, that woman is an absolute genius. I put just the tiniest dab of baby shampoo which is $3.99 for 20 fl oz on a damp cotton ball, swipe it over my eyelids, then flip over the cotton ball and use the clean side to wipe up any shampoo residue.

It's amazing, fast, no tears is true, and it's amazingly cheap. I think that bottle of shampoo will probably last me for several years. I've been doing this for four months and I've made no noticeable dent at all in the bottle.

On another note, this month I think might be my very first month that I "break even", meaning that my income covers my living expenses (not counting gas and food). Fingers crossed!