Not getting your hopes up but not getting burned out

Mondays are tough for me right now.  The weekends give me a little bit of fun time to forget that I’m making my way into dire straights.  The funds I have saved are now just about entirely gone and still no hint of a job.

Last week a family friend claimed to have the answer to my prayers.  He knew of a part time admin job that he said I should be a shoe in for.  I am positive he had the best of intentions and that he believed he could help get me the job, but a week later and no emails or calls and I have to say I’ve definitely lost a bit of faith.

Its easy to look at everything and become down trodden.  I keep seeing openings that I think I’d be perfect for.  Or sometimes my emotions get the best of me and I get angry when I see someone who is not happy in their job or not good at it.  I have to hold back the woe is me feeling.  Its not right to begrudge someone else their job just because I still haven’t found one.  I need to channel those feelings into something more positive.  Volunteering is a perfect place to cool down and get some perspective.

But its Monday again, back to the applications.  I am finding the balance between not getting too far down and not thinking that everything which comes along is going to work out immediately.

The good news is I applied for a couple of jobs at the SPCA before I started volunteering there and when I asked about it this weekend they said they didn’t think any interviews had been scheduled yet.  So there is a little more hope in he jar for this week.

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What To Do When You’re Out Of Work

Things have been a little tumultuous here, sorry for the GIANT gap in blogging.

I left my job as a nanny to move about 3 hours south with my boyfriend so we could be closer to his 6 year old daughter.  We had planned the moved for a long time and I was saving what I could cause we all know moving is expensive.

I have been here about a month and even though I started applying for jobs before I left, nothing has come up.  I have had a couple interviews and have been applying for anything under the sun I could see myself doing.  Fast food, grocery stores, schools, day cares, admin jobs, big box stores, dog walking, animal shelter positions, pop-up Halloween stores, bars and restaurants, breweries, you name it.  So far nothing has stuck.

I am getting stir crazy.  I spend all day with a pup who is having separation anxiety and very little people to people contact.  Money is also getting short.

Heres what I am doing to try and stay sane:

Selling Stuff Online

Right after we got Nellie (our amazing pup) someone introduced us to Offer Up to get her a dog crate without spending $100.  Offer Up is very similar to Craigslist except it is much more photo focused.  You can search for an item and you see pictures of everything.  When you’re interested you select the picture to see sizes, price, condition, etc.  We got a perfect dog crate for Nellie for only $25!  It was a great win.

Now before we moved I tried to pare things down as much as possible, but we all know there is always more STUFF.  I have been taking pictures of clothes, shoes, a coffee table set we don’t use much, little knick-nacks, old purses.  Everything I even hesitate on keeping I list.  If I change my mind or am not offered with as much as I would need to part with it I don’t have to sell it.  I can take them down or change the pricing at anytime.

I haven’t made a ton of money but every $10 bill helps big time when money is short.

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OfferUp is in the Appstore for iOS

Get out of the house!

Everyday I make an effort to get out of the house at least twice.  Aside from taking the pup out for her regular walks I try to take her to the park or the beach once a day.  Having her is a great conversation starter and allows me to interact with other adult humans.  Most places that you are allowed to take a dog are usually free too!

I am also trying to work with the dog to lower her anxiety when we leave.  I leave the house in varying amounts of time always trying to be back in the apartment before she starts to get worried.  My only trouble is trying to find something free to do when I leave.  At first I had been sitting in the stairwell with my computer applying to jobs or watching Netflix on our wifi but the pup has gotten smarter.  Now she watches through the window to make sure I have actually gotten in my car and left.  Sometimes I go to the library or drop off applications at different places.  I have been making every effort not to succumb to the Starbucks all over the place.  🙂

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Set a schedule

Each day I have a schedule.  It rotates around what has to be done that day but I make a list in my planner and stick to it.  Usually it looks like this:

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Keeping some semblance of a normal schedule helps me feel normal.  The second week I started to feel very… Blah… I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, no matter how much cooking, cleaning and laundry I did.  (Note to self I could never be a stay at home mom/wife.  I respect them immensely.)

To get a Passion Planner which I highly recommend or use it for free if you’re short on cash right now you can visit their site.

Get in shape

Our new apartment has a gym that I was originally super excited to use but I found that taking a good long walk with Nellie is better for me mentally with the added physical benefits.  However you choose to get your exercise though make sure you do!  Use the resources around you.  If you don’t have a free gym in your building check out local community rec centers or go for a long walk.  Explore your new neighborhood or find the things you’ve always walked right by and have taken for granted for years.  Either one will get you into a new headspace and refresh your brain while keeping you active.

Cancel old subscriptions and emails

When else are you going to have time to do this?!?!  It certainly isn’t glamorous but it has the added benefit of not being bombarded by all the sales on things you want when you have zero money.

Take on a project

Even better if it is a paid project.  Be sure not to take on anything that is going to cost you to!  Right now I am cataloging and copying old pictures for the family I nannied for in Arlington.  I took pictures of the kids almost everyday and while most of them are of nothing special it really shows how much they grew and is a great look back on all the little things that made our time together so special.

Let your weekends be weekends

This goes along with setting a schedule.  Like anyone who is over scheduled if you are trying to do too much you’re going to burn out.  Take a break from the job hunting.  If you are doing it as much as I am you need a break!  You deserve a break.  Get out in the sunshine, grab a beer at a local dog friendly brewery (my new favorite way to treat myself), get out and talk to people.  Who knows you might meet someone who has a lead on the perfect job while you’re out socializing.  But don’t let that be your motivation.  If its rainy rent a movie from the library or rent a whole bunch and have a marathon, play board games or cards, just get your mind off the job search for a bit.

Turkey Trot!

It’s that time of year!  Everything is popping up Christmas already and holiday shopping has begun!  To make your shopping a bit easier and more rewarding this year I am doing a Turkey Trot.  Its a super simple way to … Continue reading

Getting rid of fines with a financial potty chart

Chart your progress like a two year old's potty training!

Chart your progress like a two year old’s potty training!

Since January I have been trying to Get My Financial S*** Together.  I have tried new systems and am still learning what works best for me, but I have have made incredible strides in the last few months.  While I have been reading and watching videos on personal finance, I have found that it is very easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things you “have” to be doing.  So I decided I was going to give myself no more than three challenges each month and work on those.  If you read my post on Moving Away From Autodraft, you know that I found it useful to track some of the things I new were creating problem.  Sometimes just paying attention is all you need to do before making any big changes.

My biggest challenge for the month of August has been to eliminate fines and service fees of all kinds.  Currently my checking account will remove all service fees if I keep an average minimum balance of X amount of dollars.

Here is where the potty chart comes in.  I live by my planner.  It is a habit from high school that has taken over my life in a good way.  I know its a little crazy, but its almost like my security blanket.  I hardly go anywhere without it.  So for my “Fine chart” I just used what I already have.  I check my bank balance every day and look to see what additional payments are set to come out and when.  For everyday that I am safely above the minimum account balance I give myself an immature brightly penned in smilie face.  If I see that I am getting close, I run to my change jar and make sure that I deposit the money before I end up below the minimum.  Yes this is incredibly juvenile, but it works when you are an adult for the same reason it works when you are a kid.  It is a visual representation of progress and everyone likes to see the results of their hard work.

My trusty planner.  Sorry I can't show you the calendar view full of smilies but I have too much info on it.

My trusty planner. Sorry I can’t show you the calendar view full of smilies but I have too much info on it.

Now I have applied this to my bank service fees as well as other fines, parking tickets, library fines, etc.  My month has been remarkably full of smilies.  I do have one red X 😦 for a library fine incurred at the end of June, but I refuse to let myself down.  The challenge now is to avoid any more fines for the rest of the month and hope that September will be completely full of smilies.  Or even take it a week at a time.

Give yourself small challenges to take on in all areas of your life.  The more you see you issues (financial or otherwise) as a game, you can challenge yourself to win the game.  Even if you aren’t winning every challenge, a few of them won leaves you better off than you were before.  Its also a great way to learn about yourself.

Free Help with personal finance

I just wanted to drop a quick note and let everyone know about this gem I stumbled upon today. Lately I have been devouring as much practical (and appropriate for my current situation,) personal finance information as possible. I have had bad luck with some “Celebrity Financial Experts” and I have been really craving things that are put out there in a way that is straight forward, entertaining and very informational.
Today I found this link through PNC Bank. They call it PNC Achievement Sessions. Although it isn’t as entertaining as say Mr. Money Mustache (who I also enjoy reading,) it presents a lot of good information.  You also do not need to be a PNC customer and for the few videos I have watched so far, it looks like education is the goal, not selling you their products.  This is hugely important to me.  I hate feeling like some one is just trying to suck me in under the belief that I am doing what is best for me when really all I am doing is filling their quota.
As with any financial advice I feel it is important to diversify not only your money, but also where you are getting your information from. Let me know if you have any go to resources!

7 Souvenirs of August!

I have to say, part of me is disappointed that Groundspeak isn’t doing a 31 Days of Geocaching in August this year. I was really looking forward to the challenge and the boost in stats.
This challenge looks like it’ll be fun though. They put out the list of souvenirs and what you need to do to earn each one. If you meet all the the achievements you will receive a special souvenirs.
A few days ago they released a quiz to show which challenge was supposed to me most geared towards you. http://blog.geocaching.com/2014/07/new-quiz-your-geocaching-personality-type/
“Which type of Geocacher Are You?” I got Explorer http://blog.geocaching.com/2014/07/new-quiz-your-geocaching-personality-type/
What are you? Are you looking forward to this new August series? Will you buy any of the geocoins for sale?

Starting Thirty One1

Sorry, its been awhile since I have been on here.

I have had a busy few weeks.  Last weekend we went to Virginia Beach to hang out with my BF’s little girl.  We had an amazing time at the zoo and the beach and mini golfing.  It made me so excited about our plan to move there at the end of next summer.

When we got back I was crazy excited because I knew a big pink box of Thirty One goodies was waiting for me!  I opened the box, knowing what items I was getting but I was still surprised.  Despite the colors and embroidery not really being my style, I love every one of the products!  I think I was most surprised by the Vary You Wristlet.  I am not a fan of soft wallets, but this wallet/wristlet combo fits all of my new budgeting needs!  It is very spacious without looking bulky or over stuffed.  I have separate pockets for my three daily money spending categories (food, gas, misc) as well as all of my cards, receipts, and even my change and my cell phone! I use it as my wallet in my bag but can quickly grab it if I am running in somewhere quick just to get coffee.

After my initial excitement wore off I started to get a little nervous, I am having my first party (I am hosting) one week from today! I am hoping for a great turn out but don’t have huge expectations lol.  I even invited a few girls I knew from middle school and high school who live in the area and I had lost contact with.  I am very excited and very nervous.  I’m hoping to get some great games and prizes together.  I don’t even care if no one buys anything, I just hope people have fun!  It’ll be good practice for my party booked for next week!

On Significant Losses

Today was a tough day.  Not like tough work out at the gym or even bosses hassling you at work, today was one of those days that all day you wish wasn’t really happening.

Today started off with happy kids and breakfast, grumpy kids getting ready for school, drop off at school was normal.  the 2yo and I ran some errands and I even bought an expensive water flosser after my exciting trip to the dentist yesterday.

When we got home things took a downturn.  2yo had a melt down which is normal for a 2yo.  My boss(and very very good friend) was sitting in the living room talking to her visiting step-mother-in-law just before heading out for lunch.  I took 2yo upstairs to his room to watch a video and calm down.  I came back down to get him a drink when I saw S(boss and friend) sitting in a chair on the phone with a look of panic.  She said “something really bad has happened.”  It appeared she was sitting on hold for a minute or two, but when the other person on the line came back and told her the news she was devastated.

The strongest woman I have ever met in my life had lost everything in that moment.  She was rocking back and forth sobbing and just asking “why?, why does this always happen?”  My biggest fear at that moment was that something had happened to her 8yo who is deathly allergic to nuts.  I have never been more relieved to find that what I first thought was not true.   I do not know how our family could survive if that was the case.

After a minute she returned to a sense of her normal self and asked the person on the phone, “Ok what are the next steps?  Where do I need to go?”

I began to realize it was her brother.  He died very young (45) and very suddenly at home of natural causes.  The next hour or so was one of the saddest of my life.  This woman who lived with her father dying when she was 12, her mother when she was 18 was now having to experience the death of her older brother at 43.  She had such a small family to being with and it was still being taken away from her and her sister.

The next several hours, I made phone calls and tried to keep as much of a normal day in place as possible J(her husband) came home from work to be there when S got home.  (She left for several hours to go identify him and meet with various officials.

The next big blow came when the 8yo came home.  He happened to get to the house just as his mother was and she called him into the car and they talked and cried for a long time.  I was with the 2yo when 8yo came in from outside.  To see the look on his face and and know the pain he felt cannot be described.  2yo gave his brother a hug and said I love you and we’re all just trying to trudge through it.

I have experienced death with close family members, and recently, but to see how children deal with such things that are often beyond their understanding is beyond me.

D was an amazing guy, he was fun and energetic.  He loved sports and his friends and family and more than anyone else he love and was so incredibly proud of his nephews.  He will be missed by all who have met and know him, but the biggest loss of all falls to the children who never got to know their uncle as an adult.  Fortunately the memories they do have of him are rough housing in the basement, playing soccer in the yard, the 8yo even had an incredible trip to the Super Bowl with him.  There was so much fun and laughter and energy.  One day we will be able to look at those times and the smiles will overshadow the tears, but for today and probably many days from now, most of what we feel is the loss of someone who has changed all our lives forever.