Weekly money check up 12-12

Oh my! Ever since I started doing the weekly moey check up with My pretty pennies, time just flies by. So here´s the money check up for these past days.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on (surprise surprise) Christmas presents. And more to come I´m afraid.
2. Today I am thankful for long hot showers and curling up with a book.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was lazying with Grasshopper.
4. I will consider this week a success if I buy my family´s presents.
5. One of my favorite holiday decorations is the Nativity scene.

So, how was your weekly money check up?


New and original way of reducing stress

Shh… Can you keep a secret? I just found a new and original way to reduce your stress levels.

Shhhhh… Can you tell what it is?




It is silence. Plain and simple peace and quiet. No, I´m serious. Just take a few seconds to listen to all the noise that surrounds you. try to identify those sounds. Now try to concentrate on you computer again and block them out. Go back to the state where you didn´t notice your neighbour´s wasshing machine, or your computer´s fan.

It´s hard, isn´t it? One minute you are calm and unaware and the next you are battling with all that noise. Where did it come from? Aaarg. It is now quite difficult to get back on track. And think of all the energy you are using to try to block the unwanted sounds. You are in fact wasting that same energy every single day, sometimes even more. That means you get tired for no apparent reason, it is a source of the tension you feel.

Noise has some very bad effects on your overall health. It affects your nervous, endocrine and cardiovascular system, causing:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Head aches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure

However, it´s not only unwanted noise that negatively affects us; it is also the ones we create ourselves, the computer fan, the TV, the radio, the telephone… The good news is that, because noise surrounbds us constantly, reducing it even for small periods of time represents a HUGE relief. Here´s some things you can try this week to reduce noise and stress:

  1. Switch off the radio/MP3/iPod. When you leave your house don´t plug in the earphones. Don´t turno on the radio in your car. Use that time to think, on your shopping list or on how to deal with a complex work situation.  Look out the window and find a new shop or a cool looking restaurant that you never noticed before.
  2. Turn off the TV unless you are actually watching it. TV doesn´t keep you company. It doesn´t make the house feel less empty.
  3. Watch less TV and don´t use it to fall asleep. The sounds actually make you sleep less soundly and not get as much rest as you would otherwise. Have no TV evenings. Choose a day when there is nothing you like on and simply do other things. You can use that time to read, play a board game, iron or just chat with your family or roommates.
  4. Don´t have the TV on when you eat. That way you will pay more attention to what and how much you eat. You will enjoy your meals, and the company, much more.
  5. Don´t fill in your “dead” periods, like waiting for the bus or walking the dog,  with sound. No music, no phone calls. Just be present.

If you think about it, we sometimes use music or we call someone just to not get bored. As if not being bombarded with sound or conversation will lead to a deadly boredom. It doesn´t. Silence allows us to get to know ourselves better, to take more reasoned and hence better decisions, to get to know our surroundings and to fell more relaxed.

Like my grandma always says, only the boring get bored.

Try some of these tips out this week and tell me how it went.


Weekly money update

Here is my weekly money update for this week. After last week´s spending extravanganza, this week seems a little mild, but surprisingly Christmassy

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Christmas lunch with my exworkers. $40 was maybe too much.

2. Today I am thankful for having three living grandparents who know who they are and, more importantly, who I am and how much they love me.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was a family get together and setting up the Nativity scene at my grandma´s house.

4. I will consider this week a success if I can manage to find the due dates for my Master´s in the inexplicably complex university web site.

5.  My favorite Christmas gift as a child was any thing that came in a box. Don´t know why it took my parents so long to realize my love for boxes. Oh the possibilities.

Unemployed budget madness

By the time I started working, I had been reading personal finance blogs for a while, opened a IngDirect account from my allowance savings and sponsored a woman in conflict through Women for Women. Because I knew how hard it had been for these bloggers to track their pennies and keep their spending under control, I wrote every single purchase on a sheet of paper with the month and year as heading and attached the receipts with a clip.

Aproximately a year after I had a regular income, I started dating Grasshopper and realized that I no longer needed to keep such close tabs on my money. I was in control, and knew what I could indulge in and what I couldn´t. At the beginning of each month, I´d put about half my salary in savings and just didn´t worry about how I spent the rest. Whatever money was left at the end of the month, I´d just roll over to the savings account. On top of that, I started tutoring a lovely ADD kid, and made an extra $100-200 a month. This money, paid in cash, I kept as an emergency stash/Christmas fund/random trips fund.

I know I´m a money nerd because watching my savings, and the interest grow, makes me feel a little fuzzy inside. Grasshopper calls it my serious problem with saving. I call it my Ant personality.

Anyways, even though I worked part-time for near minimum wage, because I´d been so dilligent in my savings, I could afford to take an 8 month break from work to concentrate on getting my degree, and make a big deposit to Grasshopper´s and my Living together emergency fund. And I still had a big personal cushion to lean on when I finished my internship in August. However, when I paid my Master´s last week, I spent all that money, apart from $300, which is my new much leaner cushion. The stash had long ago left the building.

And now I´m getting worried about my spending again. I tutor 3 people at the moment, earning roughly $300 a month. About $150 goes towards petrol and publc transportation, with the rest I need to save for my new, much more expensive insurance, get Christmas presents, give to my sponsored sister, and start a car fund to save for repairs, which will most likely be much more expensive that my old old car´s. So I´m trying to find a way to make more money and keep the money I have. It seems like I´ll go back to the list until I can figure out a better way to manage my irregular lifestyle.

Thanks to Stuart Miles for the pic.

Some thoughts from the weekend

This weekend has been quite good: on Friday I had 2 lessons and I got paid. Then I spent that oh-so-recently earned money on a Christmas lunch with the people in the departament I interned at earlier this year. I had some of those conversations that people with a job seem to just get into with people without one.

For example:

Them: I didn´t expect to see you here.

Me: Ehem, I know, Someone called me a few weeks ago to ask if I wanted to come, and it seemed fun.

Them: So, what have you been up to? Got a job yet?

Me: well, I´ve done (insert several big achievements here).

Them: So, no job. Yeah, this economy blah blah blah.

This actually happened more than just a couple of times. Maybe it´s like when you are single and surrounded by married couples and all they can think to tell you is to find a husband and that the clock is ticking. Or when you are married and the child- ridden insist you reproduce. What is with that? Or worse still, do I do that too?

It´s a good thing I did sign up for that Master´s because, not only were they quite impressed, but my boss, who is not only and amazing engineer, but a lovely man, told me to go back and ask for a job directly once I finished it. So it seems like I made a good decision. Yay for me.

Then I met Grasshopper and we thought up of a Anniversary plan. We ended going to a cute apartment in the mountains close to where we live, for 70% off the price and had a very nice time. He even got me a present, which I didn´t expect and which I loved.

Today we had lunch with his family and then I had my nephew and niece´s birthday party. I got them really simple small gifts this year, but it seems I hit the nail on the head, because they ripped them open and started using them the moment I gave them the presents. And they bragged about their new possesions and about the fact that I was the giver of the gifts.

So how was yor weekend?

Thanks to Phaitoonfor the photo.

Exciting internship opportunity

I am so excited today. When I opened my email, there was a new offer for an internship in a great (GREAT) company, not  only in my chosen field but also doing what I loved best of all. Needless to say I am very excited about the opportunity to be considered. It would be what I need to get in and start working as an engineer eventually gaining the experience I need to get the job I want.

Hopefully my resumé and experience will call their attention in order to give me a call, which is all I hope for right now. But I can´t be sure because I got the email through a job search site and I don´t know what profile the company is looking for.

So wish me luck, again. And I´ll keep my fingers crossed.

Thank you photostock  at freedigitalphotos.net for the cool picture.

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