“Change Your Money, Change Your Life”

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The view outside of the public library, where I’m taking advantage of the free, amazing wifi!

The line above is one that is used a lot in one of my new favorite podcasts to listen to, called  Budgets and Cents. The “budgets” part is from Cait Flanders (formerly known as Blonde on a Budget) and Carrie is from Careful Cents. Cait got herself out of about $28,000 in debt in 2 years. Carrie and Cait are both freelancers in the financial writing field (and they do other things as well.) Their podcast is relatively new – in its second “season” as they call it. A lot of the topics relate to their freelance work, but there are also episodes that talk about how they did find life after debt, and how they take care of themselves with self-care, etc. I just find them extremely down to earth and it’s like I’m listening to friends. I get inspired listening to them. So, let’s talk about how I’m “changing my money” these days.

I have good news. I found someone to sublet my apartment, and a place where I can move to on a month to month basis starting in September. The person who will be taking my current place is only taking it until December, but there is a possibility it could be for longer, so I’m crossing my fingers the new tenant like the area and decides to stay. Because then, I can move to a larger city, sooner. Oh, so excited!!

With any change, I see opportunity. Yes, I’m only moving literally next door, but I see the opportunity to get rid of some of my stuff. Yes, get rid of some of my crap! When I moved last year, I fit everything I had into my car and a car carrier that rode on top. The only thing I originally mailed from Boston was a large painting, and then my friend Dan helped me free up some room in  my car by mailing some boxes for me. But you know what? I don’t need all the stuff I’ve accumulated, and I certainly don’t need all the clothes I’ve been holding onto. And the idea of lightening the load of crap in my life is exhilarating!

With the decrease in rent I will be paying (the new place is unfurnished and not professionally managed like the place I have now), I will plan on saving some of it and putting some of it toward my credit card bill which is currently sitting just below $4,000. I can’t WAIT to see that balance come down! To remind myself of it, I set up an alert with my account. Every day, I get a text message reminding me of the balance, as well as the fact that the balance is over $3900. When I get it below $3900, I will then change the alert to let me know when it’s over $3800, and so on. And every time I open up that freezer and see that other credit card literally encased in ice, I feel more confident and strong, and in control of my life and finances.

I’m going to start tracking my spending, and actually stick to it for more than 3 days this time. I need to know exactly how much I am spending on groceries, etc., because since I don’t do many activities that cost a lot of money, that’s really my biggest ticket item, I’m pretty certain of it. And I already know one area where my spending has got to stop. It’s going to be pretty hard though. It’s spending on junk food or munchies food at the campground store where I work. We get 20% off as an employee, but the prices are still too high in my opinion (you pay for the convenience of not having to go into town to get your food and other items.) And I can definitely find more healthy alternatives to the food offered there. (Example, eat fresh broccoli dipped in ranch dressing, rather than potato chips.) I’m trying to come up with an incentive for myself to keep that up –  I will start up another bank account and every day that I don’t buy something there, transfer $2.35 into it (that’s my cost for a large can of Pringles with my discount), or I do buy something, if it costs less than that dollar amount, transfer the difference into that savings account. And at the end of a certain period of time, decide what to do with that cash that has accumulated.

In fact, I just opened an account with CapitalOne360, and it’s called No Junk Food (you can give your accounts nicknames.)  So this morning, I transferred $1.35 to that account, since I bought two things of crackers that totaled $1.00 yesterday. And I also just went through my checking account statement and wrote everything down in a small notebook I plan on carrying around with me, and wrote down next to all the expenses what they were for. That is definitely eye-opening, but I think it will be even more so when I write down the number at the same time I’ve just spent it. I’ll let you know regularly how the money is adding up. (Yes, I plan on being more regular with posting onto the blog.)

I think I know why I hadn’t posted on this blog so much this past summer. I was feeling pretty frustrated and out of control or lost about a lot of things.

  1. Financially, I felt very constrained, and will, for a while, but now I feel like I’m taking steps to get in control.  I will write more about that in a separate post, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned here.
  2. Job-wise, I was unhappy and felt directionless. Now, even though I’m not exactly sure when I will be leaving my current place of employment, I know I am starting to make plans to do so. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I made this drastic move in my life, why it hasn’t come out exactly the way I planned, and what I can do to rectify that.
  3. I’ve realized small town living is not for me, so I’m taking steps to be more financially fit and be able to make a move to a larger city. I’m talking to folks about that new prospective city of Albuquerque and am researching into it a lot before I even go for my first visit. I’m remembering that it’s important for me to live in a lower cost of living area than where I am right now, and that that is a big priority for me in looking into prospective places to move to. Living where it’s less expensive gives me more freedom to explore work that makes me feel happy about being on this earth and contributing to society, not just punching a time clock every day for a paycheck. And I know in my heart that that kind of work will involve animals, in some way, shape, or form.
  4. Finally, I’m turning my attentions to things that make me happy. Some of them are activities that I used to do regularly and had fallen away from – like going to the gym or exercising. I’m still not at that regular pace I used to be when I worked in an office and had a very routine daily schedule, but I’m allowing myself time to get back to that gradually.  I’m not gonna make myself feel guilty about it. I know it’s gonna be rough and my body will definitely feel sore some days.
  5. Writing is another thing that makes me happy and I’m thinking up ideas for regular series of posts. Ideas about things that will remind me of what it’s like to live in a way that makes me feel like I’m grateful to be alive, and living a life of abundance, and not just deprivation. I think I’ve been spending too much time lately thinking about what I don’t have, rather than what I do have.  I’m hoping the ideas that are percolating in my brain will be helpful to others.
  6. I’m spending more time reading and learning (currently reading The Book of the Navajo by  Raymond Friday Locke and loving it because it teaches me about some of the history and culture of the folks I work with and live around every day.) I never want to stop learning and I want to be respectful of them and their history.

Speaking of things I have in my life, I have some amazing coworkers. The below photo is what a coworker and friend did as a surprise for me. She’s always playing practical jokes on me, and they just make me laugh and feel loved. I wouldn’t want her to change a thing. I hope she is reading this, because she knows who she is!  🙂

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10 thoughts on ““Change Your Money, Change Your Life”

    • Judie, I LOVE the city data website!! I came across it before I made my move out of Boston and found it extremely helpful. I’ve not heard of epodunk though, so thank you!!!

  1. Not sure what it would be like to live there with a ~10,000 population, but we really liked Silver City, New Mexico, when we visited there. At least three people engaged us in animated conversation about how much they loved living there. We were in a campground in downtown that was clean and neat and beautifully landscaped and kept. They have reasonably-priced little cabins to rent, which would give you a chance to see what it was like there without making any kind of a commitment. Other towns may have similar accommodations for you.

  2. For junk food/snacks at work, I just put some granola or cereal in a container. Cheaper and healthier than typical junk food.

    • I do that sometimes – take granola bars, etc. But there are lots of chips there and I like salt. So today I tried some tomatoes and cottage cheese, and I think that might be one of my go-to snacks! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Terri,

    You said that writing makes you happy and at one time you were thinking about writing a book. It’s free to get a book published in eBook, and print format on Amazon and a book can be quite profitable year after year after it’s published.

    Also, when you travel to cities to check them out, consider staying in a hostel. They are cheap, and you get to meet a lot of interesting people there. The people managing the hostels are locals who can give you a lot of inside information about the area also.

    • I’ve been thinking more and more about the book over the last month, Jerry, believe it or not. I’ve been thinking of more regular blog post series (one will get published today), and the content of what I want the book to be about.

      When I go to ABQ, I’m actually staying with a lady who has a good mutual friend to me. She offered for me to stay with her, and she has lived in Boston in the past, so she will know my frame of reference. Also, a friend of mine who lived in ABQ for five years has been telling me about it, and he’s making the road trip with me in October. All of your suggestions are good, thank you.

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