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My weekend high expectations were certainly met; J and I had a terrific time together! We went shopping, saw two movies, watched a lot of Olympics, ate lots of food, and laughed constantly. It was just what we needed after a month and a half apart.

Beginning Balance: $97.50

+$50 babysitting cash (used it all on food, parking fees, etc.)
-$56.54 dinner
J paid for everything else

Ending Balance: $40.96

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Happy Weekend Ahead!

There are many downsides to long distance relationships–I don’t think I need to reiterate this list since they’re fairly obvious. But one positive thing for LDRs is when you finally get to see the person.

You know the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. I think I would grow just as fond of J if we were living in the same town as we do being apart, but I do turn into a different person after two long, cold months of not seeing each other. For example,  I am currently sitting at my desk at work like I’m a little school girl on Christmas Eve. I check the clock every half hour. All my gal-pal coworkers keep giving me comments about my stellar mood. I have a silly grin that has been plastered on my face since I woke up this morning. Perhaps the saying should be “Absence makes the heart a giddy fool” instead? ;)

Weekend Plans Thus Far: Tonight I have to babysit (because my bank account has diminished to a mere $97), but he will be waiting for me at home when I get off (and I have planned a nice “hello J!” surprise apartment for when he arrives). My roommate will be out of town and we plan to go see Avatar and Valentine’s Day (a his/her movie compromise). Of course besides entertainment, we seem to have brainstormed far more restaurant ideas than there are meals in our weekend so we will attempt to tackle that challenge with gusto.

Aw, yay. I love happy weekend and cannot wait for them to begin!

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It’s only Day Seven and already the optimism of a new year has quickly been replaced with the Winter Blues. Ugh. Anyone else feel a little down in January? Cold weather is really only useful in November and December when you have a cozy decorated den to relax and snack on Christmas cookies. But now that holiday parties are over, the new year brings strong convictions against sweets and laziness, so I’m over this cold weather.

I’m sad my lovely holiday is over. On Monday we received the days off we’ll have this year and I’m very sorry to announce I have zero paid holidays until Memorial Day. That’s five cold months from now.

Oh yes, and then there’s the fact that I spent six wonderful days with J. My friends, that is the longest amount of time we have spent with each other in our one and a half years of dating. Isn’t that a little depressing? It was so wonderful to be together, but it so impatient to begin our life in the same town. I understand the circumstances and am thankful he’s finally graduated; but I wish the economy was better or we had stronger job contacts or that I could just blink and he’d be up here working at a fantastic company.

Does anyone else get the Winter Blues? How do you deal with them?

{photo}

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One of the reasons I love living in a semi-big city is that there’s always something fun to do on the weekends. This past weekend was my roommate’s birthday, so I got a few of our friends together and surprised her with ice skating and karaoke on Friday night. Then Saturday we spent the day around the city and venturing to the National Harbor. Sunday I babysat, which was much needed for my budget.

Birthdays are fun, but I hate the pressure of paying for the birthday girl/boy’s meals. I will do it, but I have never been a fan of that tradition. Perhaps that makes me sound like a heartless friend. I always refuse people paying for me and consider the “going out” a gift in itself. Is that a weird thing to hate, or are there others who feel the same way?

Beginning Balance: $82.14

+$50 babysitting from Thursday night
-$11.00 ice skating
-$20.00 dinner
-$6.00 parking
$7.41 gasoline
-$3.31 starbucks
-$20.00 lunch
+$80 babysitting

Ending Balance: $144.42

This is going to be a busy but very short week. :) Hooray for Thanksgiving coming soon!

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…years ago I went on my first date with J. It’s funny looking back at how awkward and nervous we both were. Or maybe I am just speaking for myself. I woke up so giddy that morning and it took me an hour to pick an outfit. The afternoon was so pleasant that I had my apartment door open and I remember seeing him at the doorway with wildflowers in his hands. We started laughing when we got to the restaurant because it was a Tuesday night and so empty. I remember I ordered spaghetti and asked him about old girlfriends (two things I heard later you should never do on a first date.) After that I had the most amazing week of my life. What a funny time that was back then! It’s been a great year and a half and I can’t wait for more.

Forgive the occasional bursts of affection and sentiments. I try not not let this be a “love blog” but am such a little Romantic I can’t help it sometimes! :)


{Photo/art from MadeByGirl}

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The other day I went out to lunch with a friend. (I promise this was before I vowed not to eat out.) She mentioned that she’d like to go somewhere cheap since things were kind of tight.

“Of course, cheap sounds great to me!” I said, always thankful for a frugal food suggestion. As we were eating, she disclosed a little more on how “tight” things were for her.

“I just found out I was late paying my rent and now I have a $35 late fee on top of that,” she moaned. “I’m going to have to ask my dad again to pay for me this month.”

“Oh no! How late were you paying rent? Surely if it was a couple of days they could waive the fee?”

“Well, the landlord emailed me this morning saying I haven’t paid yet. I really thought it had gone though!”

“Hmm. Did you see the money go out of your account? Because if your check has been sent or your bank account has been charged, then surely you can show your statement to the landlord.”

“Uh, I don’t know,” she said nonchalantly. “I haven’t checked my bank account since sometime in September.”

I tried not to choke on my sandwich.

“Oh,” I said simply, meanwhile thinking to myself: How can you go an entire month without checking your bank account???

“Hm, well I hope you get things resolved,” I said and then proceeded to tell her some empathetic story about how I once overdrafted twice in one day.

I could tell she was done with the money talk, so we continue with our lunch and on to other topics. But I really wanted to keep talking about it. I wanted to get out a notebook and create a budget for her. I wanted to tell her I’ve been there. I remember having $10 to my name. I remember when every meal I ate out tasted like money dropping from my wallet. I wondered if she thought that as we ate.

But I didn’t say any of that. Perhaps I should have. I guess I’m a coward when it comes to talking about money and my thoughts how one should handle it. I never want to come off as “holier than thou.”

 

So that brings me to some questions for the blogosphere:

1. Has anyone ever been in an uncomfortable situation like above where you confronted a friend/family member regarding their finances? How did it go?

2. How often do you check your bank account? Personally I feel a bit uneasy if I go a day without checking mine.

3. Do you currently feel like your finances are out of control? I know most of my readers are those who have a handle on their finances, but perhaps some of you would like some help. If so, I have definitely been there. I’m no expert, but I’d be willing to digest your financial situation and help set goals and create a budget. Please email me at myprettypennies[at]hotmail.com if you would like some help. :)

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I feel like cars are similar to relationships. When you’ve driven a car for years, you become intimately acquainted with it. You know when things aren’t going well. You can feel when things are different. You take for granted the good times and can sense when it needs some extra TLC. Lately I’ve felt like things were off. Weird noises came from odd places and braking was not as smooth as it used to be.

Since I’m such a loving car owner, I could sense my neglect and took it to the shop on Monday. My mechanic Butch (real name) told me that it’s time for me to give my Honda a new makeover:

First Priority: Get four brand new tires immediately.
Then: Get new axles & alignment.
Then: Replace the belts that are cracking.
Then: Replace the brake pads.
Meanwhile: Continue changing oil.

I immediately took my car in to get new tires yesterday and it cost me $350 (-$60 rebate). Ouch! Nice birthday present. ;) I paid with a credit card, but will use my “Car Fund” to pay it off. I keep around $500 in this account for car repairs. (I don’t like using my Emergency Fund for car repairs since these are almost expected for older cars.)

The other repair items are a priority but not necessarily immediate. I plan on fixing these repairs over the next few months and am guessing a liberal $500-700 will need to be forked out from now until Christmas. Bummer, right?

I learned a long time ago that cars are high maintenance and require money and attention to keep them running. My goal is to celebrate my ’94 Honda Accord’s 20th birthday before getting a new car. I don’t mind driving a beater and would rather have a crappy paid-for car than to go into debt. However, that means by 2014, I’d like to have $10,000 saved for a new ride. Hmm… I suppose I will have to start a New Car Fund as soon as I’m debt free.

Ahhh, the joys woes of being an adult!

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