Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 21 & 22: On Day 21 my BF Surprised me with tickets to Mumford and Sons

I woke up full of anxiety and energy yesterday.

As I blogged about on Tuesday, I set up an airbnb account. After a evening run I got home and found a request for the Wednesday! The very next day! I have no idea what inspired me to say yes. My bed is broken an although my room had the appearances of being clean, it was not. Also, I had known for over a month that my BF had a surprise planned for me that night, and all I knew was that I would be outside for a good deal of the evening. So, I was super excited about that, but it meant I had to fix my bed and finish cleaning my room, buy new bedding, pack to hang out in other people's apartments for 4 days and look amazing by 4 pm.

First: I fixed my bed that has been broken for months, using random boxes I found and filling them with old magazines creating a lift to support the broken beam. I feel resourceful and proud of the accomplishment.

Then I made an expensive trip ($188, and that was after I put 3 items back!) to Target for new bedding and such. I am going to do a room before and after post. This image is just a tease.

Now for the fun part. I had no idea what to wear for my surprise because I didn't know what I was doing. I wanted to wear pants because being outside implies sitting on the ground. I wanted warmth, because SF is crazy chilly at night, and I wanted slightly elegant in case it was someplace outside but nice. 

Day 21 (going out) 
my errand outfit wasn't bad, but I was too busy to take a photo
Top: Converted Dress from Modcloth (it is a dress but it is so short I can NEVER really wear it that way) Layer: hand-me-down cardigan, Jeans: Earnest Sewn (they are my have, I love how they fit!) Shoes: on sale at Ambiance, only a few months old and they already have a hole

Surprise time!!! He kept acting like he didn't know where we were going and I could pick the next bus stop and my surprise was that there was no surprise, but as we got off the BART in Berkley I was pretty sure there was a surprise and a good one, because we never leave the city on BART. So, when the bus driver said next stop The Greek Theater and I almost squealed. I did jump across the aisle between us and kiss him.


He had gotten us tickets to Mumford and Sons, they are my favorite band. The show was so good, even the concession nachos (that I should not have spent money on, but I had to because I forgot to eat during that list above) tasted better than normal nachos. There were songs that almost brought tears to my eyes. They closed the show with two harmony pieces that really were phenomenal. The audience was mostly amazing, in that we all sang along and such. It was so fun having the sunset during the show. Overall, I just think they are actually talented and they do a great show and their songs inspire me. And it is cheesy how much I love them.

Nonetheless, the best part: BF doesn't even like Mumford, he doesn't listen to them except that they are overplayed on the radio, and I hadn't even hinted that I wanted to go, and there was no special occasion- he was just being awesome.

Day 22
Top: Vintage fabric made into super flowy top, Necklace: Hand-me-down from mom, Jean: Levi curvy $70ish 2+ years old and loosing shape, Shoes: Bass and one of my fave pairs

You can't really follow up the best day ever, but today happened anyway. I took Ella on a long walk, and bought some apartment improvement stuff. Mostly, I just thought about how much I loved last night. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 20 (again) Selling Shoes

As I mentioned in my last post I am trying to purge my apartment. I found some beautiful tennis shoes. They are new, not my size, and not my style. I am selling them. I posted them on Copious. You can buy them through the link.

Day 20: My New Side Gig (Airbnb)

I found this post yesterday: 15 Side Gigs to Make More Money Today. I think it has some really great ideas. (Side note: I am stalking this woman's blog. I think it is full of great advice and I need to tell her that soon.)

Speaking of side gigs- the photographer from airbnb just left my apartment. I am posting my room for rent a few nights a week/month while I am doing some roaming this summer to cut down on expenses. I live in the heart of one of the most touristy parts of San Francisco, so I figured why not let some people enjoy my space while I bring in some cash?

I stayed at an airbnb apartment in Paris and a shack in Austin during my last vacations. Both experiences were perfect in their own way. I loved having an apartment to share with my travel buddies on both trips. The Paris place was on the 6th floor with no elevator, but I got to sip wine with my legs out the window sitting on the roof. The Austin shack was in a sketchtastic neighborhood, but the back yard gave access to the river and it was beautiful! (Also, it might have taken us a day to find the AC, and in the Texas heat that was killer!) I really liked that both places had some cons mixed in with their pros- it made the experience more real. Our Paris place wasn't in a neighborhood where travelers stayed, and it was nice to leave the tourism and just be in the city each night when we got home. As for Austin, I have spent so much time there before that trip I just wanted to be in the city and avoid the suburbs or anything that felt too much like being a tourist in a place that feels like home. All told: I think airbnb and couch surfing are the best ways to travel.  Hotels are great and all, but there is just something lovely about being in a neighborhood and staying in a home. (Confession: I have never been a couch surfer, but I have hosted one. He was a great guest and oddly enough we have run into each other multiple times since he stayed with us.)

If you are interested in my place here is the link to my listing:Private Room in the Historic Haight.

An additional plus: the whole thing has me excited because my room is actually kind of clean, and so is my apartment. It is fake clean and I need to now go through all my storage and odd hiding places to purge my apartment of random excess, but I am so excited to continue simplifying my space!

As for my clothes: With all the cleaning and such I have been pretty lazy about my clothes. I most likely will wear a work out outfit today (I need to run 6 miles) and the same outfit as yesterday for the rest of the day. I have a meeting tonight, but it is in my kitchen- hence no reason to dress up.

Sweater: Hand me down from Rachel, Top: Striped T-shirt that was woven with no seams (supposedly making it fit better, but I think really just creating a great pitch for the price to be silly high, but I bought it on sale for $17), Jeans: Gifted from Christy, Shoes: Wedged Ankle Boots bought on sale from ShoeBiz- they got holes in the almost instantly and ShoeBiz wouldn't allow me to return them... 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 19: Credit Transfer vs Personal Loan

I made the very exciting decision to start a program in the fall to train for becoming a hospital/hospice chaplain. I am thrilled! I am also aware that this is the opposite of my plan to find a job that pays me more than I was making. This makes my need to be budget conscious a much more intense goal.

As I mentioned a few posts back I created accounts on Mint and Credit Karma. From what I can tell I have a few options and things I need to consider. I need to reduce the interest I am paying on my debt in order to get it paid back in a reasonable amount of time. I also want to lower my payments, and oddly my credit score should improve if I take out more credit (not more debt) and diversify my credit  in order to reduce the percentage of credit I am using and prove my ability to pay back multiple forms of credit.

For months/years I have received pre-approved offers for personal loans and credit transfers. I am working on determining the pros and cons of these two options.

Credit Transfer:

  • Zero interest for 6-18 months feels like a great deal
    • Con- if I can't pay the full amount in 18 months the interest come back to get me
      • pro- I could possibly do a follow-up transfer of the remaining amount before the interest kicks in
        • Con- the market could change in 18 months and I might not be eligible for the second transfer
    • Con- if I use the card for anything else, the payments I make will go toward the new balance not the old, so I can't use the card at all 
      • pro- I don't plan to use the card and I have other cards I could use if I NEED to, but only if I need to
    • Con- balance transfer fees
Personal Loan:
  • More time to pay but has interest the entire time
    • Con- interest
      • Pro- much lower interest than I have now
    • Con- It is a set amount, I can't save money by paying it faster, it is what it is once it is set
      • the interest is lower so the set amount is lower in the long run
    • Pro- it diversifies my debt
      • Con- I have never had a personal loan and new things scare me (that is a fake con- me being scared isn't a valid reason to not make a wise financial choice)
    • Pro-it moves me to only paying one payment each month (less payments to think about means fewer chances for me to miss a payment)
Things to think about:
  • How much can I afford to pay?
  • How fast do I think I can reasonably pay it?
  • How will it impact my credit?

Even though I really love the idea of zero interest I am leaning toward having more time to pay and diversifying my debt. Also, the zero interest plan does require I pay a transfer fee and that might end up being really close to the interest I would pay with the loan.

Now, for todays photo: Today is a dreary day and I need to spend all of it indoors cleaning my room. Therefore, there will be no selfie. I am wearing 9+ year old velour pants and an overpriced striped t-shirt, but my dog is really cute all wrapped up in my blankets.

 This is Ella, she is my favorite. 

Please note: I am not a credit councilor, and I am not giving you advice. I am talking about what I am doing to figure out my credit/debt situation.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yesterday was Day 17 and I went on an adventure

The day started with a trip to the Treasure Island Flea Market. It was amazing, but definitely challenged my not spending goals. It is such a fun place to roam and see all kinds of old beautiful things. I didn't need anything so I didn't buy anything, but my lovely man bought me a jewelry box. I am pretty excited about it. 

From there the adventure involved shopping used furniture type places looking for helpful pieces for his apartment. 

First he took me to Building Resources. They are a non-profit that sells reusable and recycled parts of houses that were remodeled or demolished. It is basically a beautiful junk yard. We didn't find anything we needed but find some lovely randomness.

(freebee selfie in the old window reflection) 

From there we googled furniture places and found a lovely gem of a warehouse tucked away in an ally in Bay View. The Richard Gervais Collection is AMAZING. I took so many pictures, but I am only posting a few.

 (I am kind of obsessed with the chandelier.)

Our last stop was SCRAP. I love SCRAP and haven't been in nearly a year so I was very happy to stop in. I found this old school desk and wanted it desperately, but lets be real- I have no room for such nonsense.

As for the outfit:
 Dress: $3 at a garage sale on Valencia- it is one of my favorite dresses and I almost didn't even want to pay the $3 for it when I got it 3+ years ago, Slip under dress: flash sale purchase was $120- I paid $40, Bracelet: purchased in India last one of a set of 5 I bought, Belt: hand me down, Purse: Hand me down, Shoes: purchased at Ambiance on sale $27

As for today, I was lazy all day and only wore workout clothes, except for the few hours I had on jeans and a T-shirt. 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 16: I killed a pink leopard and found pretty fish

Head Band: gifted, Hippster hair: the result of going running when I was supposed to go meet friends and not having time to shower, Scarf: H&M pink leopard print for $10, Sweater: hand me down from Rachel, Top: hand me down again from Rachel, Leggings: Spanx- overpriced, I have worn them 4 times and they are already on the verge of having a hole, Shoes: Street find- yes I am wearing shows I found on the side walk. I have had them for years and still don't have a foot fungus.

So, I spent all day in my house watching West Wing. I am so excited that I know what I am doing in the fall (!!!). It is so great to not be crazy about the job hunt anymore, but today I was epically lazy. I didn't leave the house until 5 pm, but at that point I did run 5 miles. I then met up with people in the Richmond and ate at Q (Q is kind of awesome, even if they make their Sangria by putting OJ in wine and calling it a day). As we were walking we found some beautiful fish, living in the WORST pet store ever. They were so pretty, but they were not living in pretty homes. Someone should go rescue them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 15: Flash sale boots

Once upon a time, when I thought I had money, I received and opened tons of emails a day informing me of flash sales. (Sales that last for about 12 hours) I bought way to much stuff because it was just too easy to find sales when they just show up in my inbox. As I move toward self disciplined spending I am unsubscribing from all of my sale emails. 

Boots: bought on a flash sale for $20ish. I never wear them but I am going to try to wear them more.
Also, look at that wood floor! It is so beautiful.

Cardigan: Target 5+ years ago, Top: J. Crew gifted by Christie, Jeans: Indi custom denim, Boots: Flash sale.

Same as above: except Shorts: Clearance at Anthropology 
I wore them most of the day, but I had to change to jeans before the evening so I wouldn't freeze in my lovely chilly summer city. 

Also, the painting behind my head in most of these photos was purchased in India. It is painted with ground up stones on silk. I love it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 14: brought to you by the color red

Scarf: Boutique on Mission Street, Cardigan: gifted by Christie, Necklace: gifted, Dress: $8 from the Painted Bird 5 years ago, Belt: hand-me-down from Rachel, Leggings: Spanx- overpriced but at least they are think, Shoes: Izod on sale $16, Jacket: gifted from Jenny

Confession: I only wore this in the morning. I had to do a mid-day outfit change because I got invited to the Giants game. We were playing the Nationals. I didn't want to show up wearing red. 

Second Confession: The same thing happened with yesterday's outfit. I ended up changing tops before I went out for the evening because it was getting colder.  

Final Confession: I LOVE wearing red. I wasn't allowed to wear it at my old job and I am just so, so very happy that it is no longer off limits. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 13 and Roses

I am not sure what is happening with my face, and I think my dog is confused as well.

Top: Modcloth bought with gift certificate I got from them for doing a customer survey, Bracelets: Target, Coffee Cup: Ritual Roasters- Christmas gift from my favorite person, Jeans: GAP gifted by Christie, Shoes: Bass on sale $40ish- such quality shoes! 

I took some time to enjoy the roses in bloom on my run in Golden Gate Park. They match my top, so I thought I would share. (Mostly, Grandma, I wanted you to enjoy them.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 12: Trade as One, Warm weather, and Sutro

My Trade as One box came in today!!! Trade as One has started doing a seasonal box of organic, fair trade pantry staples and have a subscription. I am super excited about the food, for a few reasons. 1) I am not good at planning appropriately for grocery shopping. I don't do well keeping staples stocked. 2) 95% of the box is things I actually need. Rice, oats, quinoa, and beans- 5% is chocolate! I also joined the coffee club, so I get my favorite drink in the world. Plus, it came with lip balm and soap. 3) Everything in the box is helping farmers receive a fair wage- and Trade as One did all the work to be sure I was eating ethically. 4) They have a gluten free box option, so I can eat everything in my box! 
JOY! They sent recipes and some information about the history of rice as well. I am excited! 

Also, my box came with 4 coupons for 20% off your first box. Let me know if you are interested and I will share a coupon with you. 

Now on to clothes:

Today has been remarkably warm, so I am going to be brave (or silly) and wear shorts out in my city. I spent most of the day in work out clothes- I was supposed to go on a 8 mile run. I ran 5 miles, but as soon as I got to Sutro Baths I had to slow down and roam the area- it is just too beautiful to not enjoy slowly. So, I walked around then walked the 5 miles home. Over all it was lovely. 

Top: LOFT on sale for under $20, Shorts: LOFT gifted from Christie L (I have 3 Christies in my life and 2 of them give me clothes) Shoes: Gifted by my parents - side note on the shoes, they came with an odd story about how they were designed by a stay at home mom who wanted more comfortable shoes for chasing her kids around. I love them for roaming the city. They are Libby Edelman.

These are my two fave photos from Sutro today. I also posted them on instagram, but I didn't apply a filter to these two.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 7 & 8 and personal finance tool/options

First: I have to admit I often wear the same clothes multiple times in one week, but usually no one notices because I see different people. Well,  now that I am documenting my outfits that doesn't work.

Second (and more importantly): I set up my Mint account and my Credit Karma account today. I was super happy that a) they were both super easy it was to set up b) my credit score is good (I don't know if it is wise to tell the world I have good credit, but I do and I am excited!) c) they both gave me options for how to save money and how to improve my credit score. Overall, I am excited about my endeavor to become financially stable. If you haven't created an account I recommend you do. 

Day 7
Cardigan: Taget $20, Shirt: Modcloth $27 (wore it Wednesday and Thursday- but I only wore it 4 hours on Wednesday), Pants: Target $20 bought with Gift Card from Candace 4 years ago, Shoes: Izod on sale for $14 (3 months old and I have already worn a hole in the back heal)

Day 8
 Scarf: Free and I think it was gifted or I got it at a clothing swap, Necklace: hand me down from my lovely grandmother, Blazer: Target $20, Top: The LOFT $25 over 5 years ago, Jeans: Indi custom jeans, seriously you send in your measurements and they send you jeans that fit, but I think they went out of business. (You might notice that I bought 3 pairs of $200 jeans in the past few years. All of them were on sale for $80-90. I am still unsure if these were a good or bad choice. I think all three of them fit better than less expensive jeans I have bought in the past, and I am not planning to buy more jeans anytime soon.) Shoes: Ambiance sale $27
I chopped my head off in the posts, and that is unfortunate because I wore an awesome braid today. 

Freebee selfie
I just posted this because like this and think it is more fun than the actual selflies, but you can't actually see the clothes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 6 of clothing simplicity and Food Justice

So, we are only a week in and I slacked on all of my weekend wardrobe. I will work on a recap post tomorrow. 

Here is what I wore today, I had an interview so I dressed up a bit and then I had hang out time and a meeting in I was hosting in my apartment so I wore something comfy and casual. 

 Top: Modcloth Pam Breeze-ly Tunic $30ish, Necklace: Boutique in Austin $20, Pants: LOFT: on sale for $20, Shoes: Ambiance on sale (I wear them all the time, in fact they are the second pair I have of the same shoes) 
Same outfit as above but this is how I actually wore it for the interview 
Blazer: Gifted by Jenny and Purse: hand-me-down from Rachel
Sweater/long cardigan: hand-me-down from Rachel, Top: gifted by Christie, Jeans: Gilt Ernest Sewn flash sale $90 retail $200- they are my FAVORITE jeans, Shoes: Gift from mom and dad

As I have been thinking about the sources of my wardrobe I can't help but be grateful for my friends and their generosity. 

Also, I ran this morning.  I am training for a half marathon- I think I am going to post all my workout clothes in one post. I am going to have to be careful about workout clothes becoming my new cheat. I went into GAP and realized I love their workout collection, but do I really need to look good while I sweat?

Tomorrow I am joining a learning salon hosted by IDEX that will be focused on food justice. This is the book I am supposed to read before tomorrow at 5. I attended a lecture by the other about a year ago so I am excited about the book.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 2 of Clothing Simplicity

Within no time of making my no clothing commitment I walked by a store I love having a sale. I am really grateful that I am doing this whole public accountability thing. I walked past the store. I didn't even go in. 

So, I spent the day in doors mostly in sweets, expect when I went running. I applied for 10 jobs and even heard back from a few already. I may or may not be going out tonight, if I do I will be wearing this.

Dress: H&M $5 on final sale, Necklace: Purchased 5+ years ago at the boutique in Houston with Rachel, Boots: one of those online flash sale member only sales $90 

I have decided that those are a bad idea for me (and most people). The pressure to buy fast makes me spend money before I am sure and the super low prices tempt me to buy things I don't need. Also, I fail to research the companies to verify ethical clothing practices.

Lastly, I am so very happy it accrued to me that I could take photos of the clothes before I put them on. No more selfies.

What are some spending traps you know to avoid?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Trying out the simplicity thing (AGAIN)

Fun fact #1: I became unemployed in December.
Fun fact #2: I am really bad at budgeting.
Fun fact #3: I love clothes and have a substantial wardrobe.
Fun fact #4: I feel like the people I know are really generous and I have my needs met.
Fun fact #5: I have been reading some budgeting blogs and decided I need to get back in the blogging game.
Fun fact #6: I am better at things when I am accountable for them. (aka: when I blog)
Fun fact #7: I am setting a goal to not purchase any unnecessary clothing or accessories for the next year. (yep, not until May 7, 2014) 
Not so fun fact: I have set this goal before and failed. So here is the idea- I am going to blog about it. Mostly by posting my outfits and other related information. Based on what I can remember about each outfit I will try to say cost, store of purchase, and how long I have had the item.

Here is todays outfit:

Necklace: handed down from my mother, Jacket: gifted from Jenny, Shirt: $10 Gap purchased at Buffalo Exchange, Bracelets: Purchased at Target in 2006; Sunglasses: $10 Buffalo Exchange, Jeans: Gap gifted to me by Christie, Shoes: Purchased at Ambiance on sale for $26

Necessary items that can be purchased are: undergarments, shoes when my current ones get holes, workout attire- but only when my current workout clothes have holes, running shoes - I will aim to borrow clothing for special events- I don't think anyone I know is going to ask me to a brides made in the next 12 months, but if it happens I will buy the dress 

I am choosing my clothes as my main focus because I feel they are one of the most significant ways that I am part of exploiting the poor in the world. You will notice that I mention some brands and stores that are not amazing when it comes to their justice policies. I will try to blog about that as well.

I am also going to try to take on some other spending cuts and share them. I know I need to rethink my spending on food and entertainment. 

I am being inspired by And Then We Saved, also once upon a time I read Your Money or Your Life, and I liked the $30 a Week blog when it was going.

Are any of you reading budget blogs? I would love to hear your suggestions!

So, yes I am finally crossing over into the blog world of people who post selflies - but I hope it is for a good cause.

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