Friday, August 23, 2013

Budgeting Tips!!!

To go along with my previous post, here are some tips I have used to help me stay out of debt!!

When you first get paid, set aside the required amount for different payments in this order

1. Tithing - it is a commandment to pay 10% to the Lord. I'm not crazy for doing this. Just try it, and test out his promise in Malachi 3:8

2. Savings - so you can always have a little extra during the hard times. I grew up with always having a 20 dollar bill in cash with me and putting 50% into my savings. But, since I'm grown up now, 50% isn't really that doable, especially since I'm not super wealthy. . . but do what you can. 10% or 20% or something. Just be consistent!!

3. House/Rent - it is probably best if you pay this first so you can have a place to live

4. Utilities - let's just be honest. It isn't fun to live without electricity or anything like that

5. Car payment/insurance - Even though you have a regular payment/bill, you can also save money by taking other methods of transportation (bike, bus, walking, carpooling, etc. ) and not buying gas all the time.

6. Any other bills you might have - credit cards (P.S. Don't buy stuff on a credit card if you don't already have the money to pay for it!!! Stupid idea. Just use your card to build credit, not destroy it.)

7. Depending on how many people you have to provide for, set the rest aside for food/entertainment/more savings/rainy day fund. Save money on food costs and don't eat out. There are plenty of quick ways to make food without having the blown up price of eating out.


That's pretty much it. I hope it helps. Do you have any nifty tricks up your sleeve to help you budget or save money?

How I went into debt before the age of 10 . . .

Don't you love pay day? It's pretty much one of the best day(s) of the month! But, you definitely have to budget your money so you don't go into debt. Even though pay day is great now, it was always one of my most dreaded days of the month growing up. We were lucky enough to have chores and allowance.

I was always so angry about my chores because I had a whole entire list, and none of my friends had any chores at all, and if they did, it wasn’t consistent or hard. I still remember what our first Job Chart was: say your prayers, bed, get dressed, put your PJ’s away, hair, teeth, extra-job room, practice the piano, put your dishes away, and finally, after all of that, we could mark the chart that we had done it.
Ok, so I know that I'm lame to complain about it, cause I could really do that in 30 minutes. But, our chore list got longer and harder as we got older. Our summer chore list consisted of that previous list, plus more piano practicing (a whole entire hour!!!), cleaning our bedrooms every single day, another extra job (i.e. cleaning the gutters, mowing the lawn, organizing the pantry, etc), a service to somebody in the neighborhood, weeding the garden or doing other yard work, reading for at least 30 minutes, writing in our journals every day, doing summer workbooks, reading the scriptures, and exercising. A lot of times we would visit the old ladies in our neighborhood for our act of service, mostly because they gave us treats when we went by.
It took us a minimum of 3 hours to complete our summer chores (which is super long when you are a child!). It was so frustrating to be tied to your chores when you just wanted to play, because in our family it was against the rules to play before ALL of your jobs were finished. (maybe that's why I didn't have very many friends....I didn't do my is all making sense now)

At the end of the month, my dad would dig out his blue box (no, it isn't Call Box from Doctor Who) and take off the chart from the fridge where we had to prove that we did our jobs. We would get paid according to whether or not we had completed our daily chores. The older we got, the more we got paid. I always dreaded this day because let's just be honest, most of the time I didn't actually do my jobs because I always got stuck on reading for 30 minutes. There was a dark time in life when we actually had to pay Dad one dollar for every day we didn’t do our chores. I’m pretty sure only one out of us seven kids is the only child who didn’t go in debt before the age of 10 and that was definitely not me.
So, moral of the story: Do your chores so you can have friends. Don't go into debt. And be grateful for parents who will take your money when you don't deserve it.
What shenanigans did your parents pull to help you learn the value of hard work and an honest days' wages?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Count to 100 . . .

So, I am no longer a cashier. YAY! Now, I am a Preschool Aid. Bigger YAY! I work with small children and it takes me back to my carefree days of innocence. In particular, I remembered my first grade class as a 6-year old and how great it was. Little did I know then, that I already had the awkward gene in place just waiting to come out:

In first grade we learned how to count to 100 in groups of 10. How cool is that? It's pretty cool when you're six. For one of the activities, we were required to bring 100 of the same item to help us learn to count. I really wanted to bring M&Ms or cookies or something equally awesome, but like I've posted before, there were seven kids in my family and we were on a budget. So, after talking to my mom, the only thing we could find in groups of 100 were barley pearls. You know, those things you never know what to do with but is in your food storage? Yeah. That.

So, I put my little handful of barley pearls in a Ziploc bag and skipped off to school for our activity. I must not have read the note the teacher sent home or I must have lost it or something because I walked into the room to see all the kids with awesome things on their desks. Somebody had M&Ms (my first choice), another had Oreos (second choice), some kids had baseball cards, licorice, and other assortments of awesome things on their desks.

It was only until the activity started that I realized that we were supposed to trade the things that we brought with the other kids in the class. That way, we had different groups of 10 items to help us count and then we had treats at the end. It was at the tender age of six years old that I knew what utter humiliation was. Obviously, I was that one kid that nobody traded with. I was that little awkward girl sitting at her desk trying to persuade the other kids to trade their baseball cards and oreos for barley pearls. Who wants barley pearls? Who even knows what they are in the first place?!?

Moral of the story. Always read the notes the teacher sends home with you, and always keep a secret stash of deliciousness for such occasions as that.

Do you know what barley pearls are? Do you have a secret junk drawer to keep yourself from being humiliated?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Awkward Dates- Part 3

So, I will make this my last awkward date story for a while since it is a doozy. First of all, I have to say, blind dates are the WORST idea invented by the stupidest person that existed. Ok, now that is out of my system, here goes:

I was set up on a blind date by somebody I hold very dear and love very much. I haven't had good experiences with blind dates in the past, so I really didn't want to go at all, but I grudgingly agreed as a favor to the said dear person. I was told that he needed a date to a single's dance and he was about 30 years old. Well, at the time, I was 23 and a seven year gap was a lot, but I was willing to give it a shot anyway.

So, on the appointed night, he had to drive for an hour to pick me up, then both of us drove for an hour to the dance and during the car ride I was trying really really hard to have a good attitude and show genuine interest in the conversation.

Rule #1: if you are nice to somebody of the opposite sex, it only proves to them that you actually like them when in reality you don't even want to be there and they are weird and you just feel bad if you are mean and hurt their social-clueless-feelings.

Once we got to the dance, I walked into the building only to see a 70ish year old couple boogying on the dance floor. That is when I realized, that he had taken me to a Single's dance for 30 years and older as opposed to the 30 and under dance I was expecting. It was at this point in time that my heart stopped a little as I realized that this guy was older than I thought.

Rule #2: always find out how old your date is BEFORE somebody sets you up with them.

Turns out, he was 39!!!!!!!!!! That is a 16 YEAR GAP!!!!!!!!!! Holy moly. Super awkward at that point in time. Then throughout the whole dance, people kept coming up to me and saying, "Wow! You look really young to be here!" No duh! I'm WAY to young for this guy! So, not only did I feel super awkward, I felt like people thought I was one of those weirdo people that goes after guys that could be my dad because they have money.

But, he wasn't really super rich because he was a Burger King Manager person with the headquarter people somethingerother. Granted, he was well off because he was pretty up there and he's only had to provide for himself. But, even though I want to marry a rich guy (who doesn't) I know that would never happen especially if he was over the hill!! What the heck. And the really weird part is, he knew exactly how old I was. Blech! I want to throw up a little just thinking about it.

But, I was still trying to be nice and I told him straight up that I was only there to have fun and he took that as evidence that I liked him. (Refer to Rule #1) Oh great. Then, after the dance ended (FINALLY! It only went until about 10:30 because all the old people needed to get to bed), I thought he was going to take me home since I was way done when he unexpectedly stopped at a shopping mall so we could look at the cool stuff in the windows and make a wish in the fountain.

I'm sorry, but I'm not a hopeless romantic. Maybe if I actually liked the guy  then it would have been endearing, but it was just weird. And he kept walking around trying to hold my hand because it was freezing cold outside and my hand "needed to be warmed up." Whatever, I know that was just an excuse to hold my hand.

Rule #3: Always wear something with pockets so things like this won't happen to you!

Anyway, after what felt like forever, he wanted to take me somewhere else and I just told him I was tired and had to get to bed cause I had work in the morning and it was still an hour drive back to my house. The ride home was super weird. He literally pulled out his baby album from the 70s so I could look at his baby pictures on the way home. WHO DOES THAT?!!?  Whatever. It is over and I'm glad. And, although he was super nice, I was taller than him which is NOT ok and he was way too old and awkward for me. Even I couldn't handle all that awkwardness built up inside him from all his years of being at Burger King.

Well, this brings an end to my awkward dating stories for a while. And people wonder why I'm not married yet. . . . Well, here's a thought: Maybe if I had a normal date once in a while, things would be different.

Have you ever unintentionally been on a date with somebody way too old for you? What would you have done in that situation?

Awkward Dates - Part 2

My last post was about a creeper awkward date in high school. My next super super awkward date happened a few years later while I was in college. The Sweethearts dance was coming up and I didn't have a date. So, my sister and her fiancée decided to help me out and set me up with his best friend. I didn't really want to go but they dialed his number and when he answered they said, "Alaina has something to ask you." and chucked the phone at me. There wasn't much else to do without making things super awkward so I asked him if he would go to the dance with me.

I had no idea where he lived, so when I went to pick him up, I brought Anna and Josh who knew where he lived. Well, apparently he moved so I went to the wrong apartment TWICE because Josh couldn't remember which apartment it was. So, that was an awkward way to start out our date. After that, the date was really weird and I was also glad when it was over.

Fast forward less than one year later. My sister is now married and called me to say, "Hey Alaina, do you remember that date I set you up on?" Obviously, who could forget a traumatizing experience like that? "Well, he's engaged another guy........."


Have you ever sent a man to the gay side from a bad date?

Awkward Dates - part 1

So, in relation to my last post, I have decided to reminisce about some of my most awkward dates I've ever had. Just keep in mind that almost all of my dates have been like this, these are only the highlights. I attract awkward dates. Here Goes:

High School. Yes, I know this was quite a while ago, but it has been burned into my memory forever and ever. My date took me to Nickelcade. (Bad date idea. Never do this.) He spent the whole time blowing stuff up with his violent video games which I do not support in any way while I spent my time trying to make that stupid light stop in the goal zone. Well, between all of us on the group date, we won enough tickets to get one of those cheap mood rings for everybody. My date put his one and compared the colors with the paper he received and excitedly said, "Mine says I'm feeling happy and romantic!!" I warily looked at mine and compared it only to have it say that I was miserable and depressed. Eerily accurate. I obviously didn't say that to him...then he took me to KFC for lunch during which he said, "Sorry I didn't shave today, I ran out of time. . . " and then he proceded to pull out of his wallet a card with my name and number, address, and both of my parents names.................Creeper alert......................................

So, I will spare all of the awkward details and only highlight that during the course of our all-day date (which is also a bad idea. I HATE dates that last more than a couple of hours) he spilled water on me at the restaurant permanently staining my silk dress, stepped on my toes, and stepped on my dress which almost made it fall down, plus many more small awkward moments. The date finally ended and I was so so relieved to have to never speak to him again until the next day at school. I forgot he was in one of my classes and then at the beginning of class, he stood in the front of the class and talked for FIVE minutes about how great I was and how awesome our date was and blah blah blah blah.

Needless to say, I was very embarrassed at this and my face turned beet red while everybody else in the class was literally turning around in their seats to stare at me. It was like the most awkward movie you've ever watched, except real. It was awful!!

Well, the next year at school he was arrested as a sex offender. The rumor was that he had molested his sister. I don't know how much of that rumor was true, but going on dates with a registered sex offender is a bad idea.

Have you ever been on a date with a registered creeper?