October Budget Recap

Budget, October, Shopping

Oh Gilt Warehouse Sale, you DESTROYED my budget this month. And Homegoods, you certainly didn’t help either. I most certainly failed my shopping budget this month. Next month I am really going to try to stick to it.  Try always being the key word.

Groceries:

Budgeted: $250

Actual: $250

Difference: Spot ON! 

Gas & Transportation:

Budget: $50

Actual: $0 ( I didn’t drive hardly at all…but I did get a $60 ticket…which I’m paying when I get my paycheck)

Difference: $50.00

Shopping

*This includes both clothing and home goods, eventually I will separate it but for now this works.

Budget: $300 (I upped it for October and I STILL went over…)

Actual: $506

Difference: $206

I spent $220 at the Gilt Warehouse sale and found a chair at Homegoods that was $80. Not to mention I got my bridesmaid’s dress for my sisters wedding ($55) and my halloween costume ($55).  That really sucked up most of my budget and I had a few little trips here and there that added up quickly.  Next month I have a few things that I need and want to get that will hopefully keep me at the $250-300 range. I decided to up my shopping budget to $300 for now…as I clearly can’t get down to $250, even my boyfriend laughed when I told him my goal.

My mom decided to buy all our Bridesmaids dresses so that added $55 back in.

Food/Entertainment

Budget: $100 but flexible

Actual: $130

Difference: $30

Much better this month…but still over. One very expensive birthday lunch for a coworker, caused me to go over.

Beauty

Budget: $50

**I rarely get my hair and nails done so this budget will be as needed.

Actual: $50

Difference: Spot ON! 

Got my hair trimmed up this month. Good thing I don’t need to do that more than every 10-12 weeks.

Blog Expenses

Budget: $150

Actual: $135

Difference: $15

October Budget

Total Budget: $900

Actual: $1071

Difference: $171

I did have some other really big expenses this month (international micro chips for the dogs) and added some additional payments for some outstanding bills. But overall (other than my clothing budget) I feel I did ok this month.

I also decided to start including the blog in my budget for October, I have been investing more money into the blog (self hosting, conferences, and soon; giveaways) with the hopes that it will help me with being a better blogger. Ultimately I’d love to do giveaways that I don’t buy myself, but right now I don’t have any sponsors so I’ll get a few things here and there to do a few giveaways. I’m also really interested in placing some ads on some other blogs. I found Passionfruitads.com and was completely amazed! I’ll definitely be heading on over to buy some ads on some other blogs for November and December!!

November Plans

November I have plans not only to cut back on spending but also to make a little extra money.  I’ve got a huge (and growing) pile of clothing that I want to list on Poshmark. Have you tried Poshmark before? I used it a few years back when it was just an app (now you can use it from your computer) and sold a few items from my closet for more than I would have if I brought them to Plato’s Closet or Crossroads Trading (they never take anything I have, even if its designer). My mom also has my  Juicy Couture dog carrier listed on Ebay which will hopefully “fetch” a few dollars. I also have a massive amount of books that I need to try to sell at a bookstore that does book buying.  The last one has been a thorn in my side because the store I’m going to bring them to isn’t in the city and means I have to drive like 30 minutes away…pain in my ass.

As far as my shopping for November I don’t need anything major for my apartment, with the exception of a lamp for my desk. I also re-arranged my closet a little bit so I’ve got a few ideas for the space above my coral dressers, that requires a mirror some little touch lights and perhaps some wall decals. (I’ll be doing a post on it when I get all the goods!)  Its taken me quite some time to get my apartment to where I want it. I still have some decorating to do (art and so on) but at this point spending too much, if anything at all, is a waste of money. Especially on decor items.  In a year I’ll have to sell everything anyways so spending a ton of money on decorating is counterproductive.

Clothes on the other hand. I always shoot for a Buy One, Get Rid of One policy. Each item I buy I replace it. This month I have a few things on my list of things I want/need.  I really need a new winter coat for these days that its not quite cold enough for my North Face, but not warm enough for my lightweight jacket. I walk almost a mile to and from work each day and it can get chilly. I really love a coat from Bebe but its $180, but my bargin hunting paid off and I found a very similar jacket for $85 at Akira. So I’ll be purchasing that for sure this month. There’s also a pair of boots that I like from American Eagle that are $80 but I’m waiting for a good coupon before I buy. I also found a few sweaters at H&M that I like, how I live in Chicago and only have like 4 sweaters is beyond me.  The new Toms for Target line is coming out on November 16 and I really want one of the sweaters and a poncho.  So those are on my list too. Between the Jacket and the Sweaters I should be able to do quite all right with my budget. The boots I’ll wait for a 40% off coupon.  Since I have a real list of things I actually need and there are no sales going on this month, I should manage it ok. I do have to start Christmas shopping as well. But I usually don’t have too many people to shop for anyways (my sisters and a few friends)

Building my savings is crucial for next year. The amount of money I need in my account (plus money for my flight, transporting the dogs, and additional luggage, not to mention renting a car in France) is astronomical. I’ve been adding more and more to my savings, but then having to spend it makes it difficult to keep a balance. Paying off my credit card is a big goal as well. By next September I want to have a HUGE chunk of debt paid down (credit card and at least half of my medical bills) Thanks to my sister I should be able to get my credit fixed up in no time…then its the goal of paying off my 100k in student loans…

Do you have a monthly Budget? Are you successful in sticking to it?

Ok lets talk about feet…and those nasty Bunions

I don’t care who you are, or how often you wear high heels…you cannot tell me that your feet don’t hurt, feel cramped or look torn up at one point or another.  I was the  ultimate high heel wearer up until last year. I only  just recently have been able to venture into wearing heels around 3in. But have always instantly gone for the 4-6 in heels if I could. I never had problems up until 2011.  I had started working at a casino as a cocktail waitress in 2011. It was a great job money wise but it absolutely destroyed me (my body and my soul). Long hours, miserable people didn’t outweigh the large sums of money I was bringing in I got myself out of there in 2013 and never looked back! Best thing I ever did, hands down.

So what does this casino have to do with my poor aching feet?

When I first started, you should have seen the shoes they wanted us to wear. 6 inch wedges that were cheap and wobbly, on CARPET. We wore them for not even one day.  I remember leaning against a slot machine trying to keep the pressure off my toes while stimutaneously trying to maintain my balance so my ankles didn’t wobble over and break. My supervisor came over and said you can’t stand like that. I gave her the worst death stare I could and said you put these shoes on and say that. She smiled and said ok! (completely thinking she would win the battle) Less than 30 minutes later she came back and said I could change my shoes.  So one crisis was averted. But they still required us to wear 2 inch heels, stay on our feet for 8-10 hours, sometimes longer with only a few 30 minute breaks. A few of the girls wore pedometers…on average, we walked 10-13 miles a day.

Can you imagine walking 10 miles a day in heels? With no real opportunity to rest your feet over the course of 8-10 hours? Its brutal. I started with the ability to wear the highest heels and left with feet that wouldn’t even allow me to wear some flats. My bunions aren’t as bad as some peoples, but my bunions are painful and I’m affected by them every single day.

Just before I left the casino I was in search of some pain relief and a way to correct them that didn’t involve surgery. A friend had bunion surgery and was out of commission for nearly 6 weeks. I obviously couldn’t afford to take that much time off.

I tried some different separators that you could buy at walgreens, a little cusion for the outside and even found a little bunion brace that you were supposed to wear at night…but the hard plastic dug into my skin and caused me to bleed. So those (although they helped a little bit) were out. I searched and searched…and then I found them.

Yoga Toes

Yoga Toes

I read every review I possibly could, people corrected their bunions by wearing them daily! At the time I discovered them I was so broke it wasn’t even kinda a joke. I could barely afford to pay for gas to get to work, let alone spend $40 on toe stretchers. So I waited.

Finally earlier this year I made my yoga to purchase and couldn’t have been happier. The second I got them, I instantly knew they were going to help and couldn’t believe how cramped and tight my feet were. I was in a lot of pain after wearing them for about oh…5 minutes. I left them on for about 15 and couldn’t take it anymore. But I worked my way up to leaving them on for an hour. Each day another 5 minutes. Now I can put them on more comfortably and  not be in tears because they hurt my poor toes. I’ve actually been really bad about wearing them. (its a lot easier to skip wearing them when you wear more comfortable shoes all the time)  I’ve gotta get back into wearing them because it really does help relieve a lot of the pain in my feet and not just the bunions.

So what causes a bunion?

Image Credit; WebMD

Image Credit; WebMD

According to The Mayo Clinic “A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. A bunion forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out.”

Genetics, how you walk (I have pronated feet), arthritis, and the shoes you wear can help to aggrivate and cause bunions.

There aren’t many options when it comes to bunions that don’t involve changing the shoes you wear, pain relievers or surgery. Taping and splinting (or stretching your toes with the Yoga Toes) help to allieviate the pain. Even with surgery, the bunions can return.

The podiatrist I went to suggested I do a few things. Use orthotic insoles to help with the pronation (which means my ankles dip inwards towards each other), take pain meds to relieve the pain and stop wearing heels. I was already not wearing heels regularly. The insoles are much easier for me to wear in the winter and can be difficult in a lot of flat shoes. They’re intended for boots/sneakers and other shoes that enclose your entire foot. Most flats don’t leave the room for me to wear the insoles.

Although surgery probably would be beneficial for me, I just can’t take the time (and the money) to have it. Being out of commission for 6 weeks or even on crutches for that time is not realistic for me. Being on crutches for 2 weeks when I sprained my ankle was bad enough!

Yoga Toes, however, are awesome. Even though they initially hurt when you wear them, I did notice after wearing them for a little while each day for a week or two that my feet were in a lot less pain. The ones you get at Walgreens or CVS or other pharmacies just don’t compare. You really need one that fits your feet, not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. The ones at CVS were gigantic on me! It was well worth the extra cost of the Yoga Toes as they come in a variety of sizes (and colors!) both for men and women. If I know I’m going to have a long day in heels, I bust them out at the end of the day. Even for 15 minutes it helps with any foot pain!

I totally recommend getting some Yoga Toes (even if you don’t have bunions or foot pain) as they can help to prevent them. I never thought of foot care until my feet were destroyed. Now I want to prevent any further damage and avoid surgery.

Yoga Toes, Bunions, Stretcher, Feet, Foot, Toes

**I was not compensated in anyway for this review by Yoga Toes. All opinions of Yoga Toes are my own.**

New Series Coming in November: How to Fix Your Credit. The Bad Ass Way

credit score, repair your credit, bad credit

In my recent motivation to get myself organized (primarily because I’ll be moving out of the United States next year) I decided as well that I need to make sure I know how much debt I have and what I can do to start eliminating it. Usually I just get a debt collector bill in the mail and I just put it in a stack of papers and forget about it. I figure not looking at it means it doesn’t exist right?! Wrong.

My credit score is terrible. I couldn’t even buy a house if I wanted to…probably not for at least another 5-10 years, or at least till I paid off at least a huge chunk of my medical debt and some of my ever growing student loans. Even though I don’t plan on buying a house yet and am perfectly content with renting, there’s a chance that in a few years my boyfriend and I will want to. Whether its in the US or elsewhere, having a good credit score is only good for you and your future.

Ignoring that pile of bills? Not such a smart idea.

As I’ve said before I’ve made some huge strides, paid off my car and working towards paying off my credit cards, not to mention creating a healthy savings account. And let me tell you something. It is hard. I’ve improved on my budget (compared to what I was spending a few months ago) but I’m still going over every month. November will be the month! I’m telling you!

Back to the credit report….I talked to my sister who is pretty awesome at the whole getting your credit back into shape kinda thing. If I’ve got a question on how to get something off it, or what will improve my score the fastest, she’s always got the fix.

After a nice long chat about how awesome the Bridesmaid’s dresses are that we just scored for $50 (hey hey David’s Bridal Semi-Annual Sale!) we decided to have her write a weekly series on fixing up your credit score so you can, you know…buy a house or something.

Starting in November, my sister Michelle will be covering the basics of a credit report, what you can do to fix mistakes, delinquent accounts and what other methods you can use to fix it up and get it in tip top shape! To further demonstrate her awesomeness, she got her fiance’s credit score from really bad (like when you look at the scale and it says poor to excellent…it was poor) to even better than her own! And hers is in the excellent end of the spectrum! Talk about awesome. Even better? She did it in less than 2 years. 

So whether you know what your score is or if you don’t even know how to find it (trust me, I’ve had to explain it to quite a few people…in addition to telling them that they should be doing it once a year!) or if you’ve got some pesky little buggers on there that just won’t seem to go away, each week Michelle will be chatting (in a non-boring way) about what you can do to fix it up and improve it even if you’ve got like 100k in student loans like me!

Michelle isn’t an accountant, but she’s spent a lot of time researching, talking to and negotiating a lot of delinquent accounts off her fiance’s and her own credit scores. She’s helped me get organized and figure out what I can do to make it better.