Year of Saving: March

Benjamins

Year of Saving: A Recap

On January 1, I announced that 2015 would be my Year of Saving. A lot of things came to a head and I decided that it was time to cut down on unnecessary spending, amp up my savings power and get a better handle overall on my finances. Sounds like a high bar to aim for, right?

Well, I created three rules to help me help myself. More information about them can be found in my Year of Saving announcement, but they can be summed up as follows:

  • No buying anything unless it’s taking the place of something else (“one in, one out”).
  • Buying lunch at work a maximum of once per week.
  • Purchasing alcohol a maximum of once per week.

March at a Glance

Um.

I spent a lot.

Let’s just leave it at that.

(That “one in, one out” rule? Yeah… me doing a clearing out of my “stuff” in January has now been negated. Oops. But breaking even is better than nothing?)

An Unplanned Source of Income

Part of the reason why I spent so much more than I had expected in March (mainly on stuff, less on experiences unlike in February) is that I logged some overtime at work. But instead of sticking that extra money into savings like I know I should have, I, well… spent it.

Not my proudest moment, but I mean, if one is going to indulge in retail therapy after a hard day’s work then that hard day’s work must go towards paying for said retail therapy, no? On the bright side, I’m pretty sure my impulse spending has been satisfied and April will be getting back on track with this savings thing.

But I didn’t totally fail at saving in March! I did set aside a nice chunk of cash to open up a new savings account. I’ve now bucketed out my savings in specific accounts for emergency, travel, and retirement. That is most definitely progress on the savings front.

The Food I’ve Spent My Money On

Asian Pear was in town for the last four days of the month visiting me! We had a great time that I’ll write about in more detail, but suffice to say a lot of my dining out budget was spent the days she was in town. We ate at:

  • Mi Cuba Cafe: One of my favorite restaurants in DC. Excellent experience as always. We actually went here twice as AP loved the food so much! Hands down, the best thing on the menu is lechón asado (Cuban style roasted pork).
  • We, the Pizza: The pizza was really good (I had a slice each of buffalo chicken and spinach and artichoke) but the server didn’t ring up the handmade soda I ordered, so I went without. Bummer, as I haven’t had a Shirley Temple in ages.
  • Thip Khao: One of the best dining experiences I’ve had all year. The food was AMAZING and exactly like the food I remember eating when I backpacked through southeast Asia in college. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Get the laab.
  • Golden Brown Delicious: Awful, just awful. The hostess was horrible and apparently GBD prioritizes takeout orders over dine-in orders (?!?!) so we waited 45 minutes for our food. The wait would’ve been longer had we not complained. Plus after 45 minutes, I expect great food. My “poutine” (as AP pointed out, it was not true poutine as it had no cheese curds) was decent, but not great. Get a donut to go if going to GBD… or better yet, don’t go at all.
  • Farmers Fishers Bakers: Another one of my favorite restaurants in DC. It never disappoints! I had the mad pig jambalaya and it was GOOD.
  • Graffiato: Oohh, my goodness. Such good food! I’d go back in a heartbeat. My favorites were the brussels sprouts and squid ink pasta.

April Forecasting

I expect April to be a fairly quiet month in terms of finances. (Then again, I said that about March and went a little shopping crazy. Oops.) If I log any overtime this month, I’m going to stick that extra cash right into my savings rather than spend it. I also want to keep adding to my individual savings accounts, which I’m on track to do.

Last month I said I wanted to look into holistic health, fitness, and medicine (acupuncture, facials, massages, yoga, running) but… I haven’t made any headway with that. It’s become a priority for April, though, as my doctor recommended to take up meditation to help manage my stress levels. I can meditate at home for free, but I’m a believer in the big picture when it comes to health so I want to start taking steps in that direction. And to challenge myself on things I’m not good at, but more on that in another post…

A Day in the Life: March 2015

A Day in the Life March 2015_2

I guess the “A Day in the Life” vlogs are going to be a monthly thing now, huh? It’s been a lot of fun making videos of little clips that show a typical day. I especially think it’ll be a lot of fun at the end of the year to look back at these videos and see what typical days have been like for me in 2015!

Here’s my vlog for March. Just a regular weekday involving a trip to Target and a delicious Cuban meal.

Lately

lately

Lately, I’ve been busy.

Which is really no surprise since I’ve been scarce around these parts, quite possibly the scarcest I’ve ever been considering I’m not on vacation and that’s generally the only time I let my blog grow idle. But I’ve been so busy at work, and when I come home I find that the last thing I have on my mind is writing a blog post or returning comments or leaving comments or scoping out blog posts to include in link love. These ruts come and go; they always have. But this one’s stuck around for an unusually long time.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and YouTube.

I cried at the end of The Kennedys and now want to read everything about the Kennedy family, especially John and Bobby and Jackie. I watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and didn’t like it, with the exception of Titus whom I adore. I finished Friends and still am dumbfounded at how anyone can find Ross Geller an even mediocre human being when he just sucks all around. I can’t get enough of YouTube makeup videos by chelseawears and allanaramaa and camiloveskiwi and jambeauty89 (but mainly chelseawears, let’s be honest).

Lately, I’ve also been spending a lot of time on YouTube.

I don’t know if “spending a lot of time on YouTube” necessarily means working on video, but hey, why not? Even though I haven’t been feeling blogging as much recently, I’ve still been uploading videos regularly. That’s largely due to the fact that my four Iceland-related vlogs were all edited and uploaded within like, three days of returning to the States after my vacation. But it’s also because filming and video editing is a totally different skillset than what I do at work and it’s nice to switch to doing something else after work hours. I’m excited to keep working on my channel, and I’ve even purchased the domain name musicalpoem.tv because YouTube is dumb and won’t let me change my username.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with oils.

I’ve been a fan of facial oils for a while. (Remember that LXL video I did like a year ago where I raved about facial oils??) But now I’m expanding that to ALL oils. Essential oils, hair oils, face oils, body oils… hell, even cooking oils! I used a pure hair oil (no silicones or additives or whatever the hell gets put in a ton of hair products) to treat my hair last night and MAN. My hair has never felt softer. As for the body oils, my skin has never felt more hydrated. Which is no small feat, considering my skin has been getting drier and drier each year.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to treat my body better.

I want to start running again, and there are only so many times I can say this without actually doing it before I feel like pitching myself out the window because I am literally the only reason why I haven’t started running again. (Same with yoga, although I have a feeling blogilates will be a lifesaver on that front.) If it’s not the weather, then it’s being swamped at work. This that and the other thing, really. Just need to get up and do it and start making progress.

Lately, I’ve been falling hard for my wok.

Yes, that’s correct: my wok. I brought it back from Hong Kong when I visited last October and admittedly haven’t used it as much as I should have. I have a small kitchen! But I’ve been using it to make fried rice and now I can’t stop making fried rice because it just tastes so good when made in a wok. I can’t ever go back to using a frying pan to make fried rice (and weep for past me who always used a frying pan, back when I had no wok).

Lately, I’ve had the massive urge to spring clean.

I’m sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that it’s technically spring, although the snow we got on the first day of the season could’ve fooled me. But I just want to go through all of my stuff and get rid of (either throwing out or donating) what I don’t want or use or need anymore. I started doing this last fall and stopped. I still have the two bags of stuff I want to donate sitting in my apartment. That’s pathetic, and I just need to spend a weekend taking care of that and I will feel so much lighter once it’s all out of my apartment.

Lately, my desire to save is at odds with my desire to spend.

It’s the age old story: get marginally better at saving money but then buy one thing, and suddenly you want to buy ALL OF THE THINGS. Sigh. And then a sale hits, and then you do buy some of those things (but luckily not all). Oh, well. Learn and move on.

Lately, I’ve been missing the blogosphere.

The blogosphere is constantly evolving and changing and I feel like any time I fall into a blogging rut I fall out of the loop with my blogging “circle.” Twitter has been a gamechanger when it comes to keeping in touch with fellow bloggers, particularly those that no longer blog but still are active on social media. Still, whenever I fall behind with my Feedly or even my Twitter feed I feel like I’m missing out on vital updates in my friends’ lives. So tell me… what’s new with you lately?

Waylaid Plans

It was a crazy week.

Actually, it was the beginning of a yet-to-be-determined amount of crazy weeks.

I came home on Friday exhausted, mentally and physically. Frustrated, too, with the fact that the craziness was affecting my very loose plans.

I’ll re-join my yoga studio after my Iceland trip. I’ll start running again in the spring. I’ll start eating better. And maybe it’s time to start fiddling around with online dating?

You know, that sort of thing. (And let’s not even talk about the stuff I NEED to eventually get around to doing for my blog, YouTube channel, etc. Oh boy.)

Crazy weeks don’t exactly leave a lot of room for the best laid plans, and my plans were half-assed at best.

So instead of coming home and despairing on Friday night about the crazy and the waylaid plans, I cracked open a beer. Forget dinner… a beer was needed. As was a weekend all to myself doing nothing but sleeping. Right?

Well.

After a flurry of impromptu texts I found myself at one of my favorite restaurants in DC with two of my favorite coworkers.

A photo posted by Amanda Osborn (@musicalpoem) on

Obviously the food was great (just look at that lechón asado!) but so was the company. I laughed like I hadn’t had all week.

Then came a lazy Saturday where I spent most of it lounging in bed, watching YouTube and taking care of some money stuff. Because sadly, bills wait for no lady.

(I may or may not have ordered fancy French dry shampoo online as well. No regrets.)

Which somehow led me to my first meal eaten al fresco for 2015, with two of my closest friends. I had brats and kraut and Paulaner and thought of my brother, who would have been proud of my menu choices as he did an exchange to Germany back in the day.

In true Saturday night fashion, dinner and drinks led to drinks and hanging out at a rooftop bar. Unfortunately, the roof hadn’t officially opened for the season, but the music was excellent and I may have even danced to a song or two I recognized from my whirlwind trip to Buenos Aires.

Then I slept in like I haven’t in weeks on Sunday, only getting out of bed for a friend’s invitation to get pho for lunch. OBVIOUSLY my answer was yes, because when have I ever said no to noodles?

And then I got groceries and came home and watched The Kennedys on Netflix and thought hey, with a weekend like this, maybe this next week won’t be so bad.

You know what? Even though this week isn’t even close to being halfway over, I’m hopeful yet.