Things to Celebrate

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I’m sitting here with some tea and my barely functioning laptop, settling in for another late night of paper writing.  It’s been a long day in class and the library.  And in spite of my best efforts to avoid this, I still have work to do.  Apparently it’s just my way.  It’s deeply rooted.  And I’ve decided today that I will accept it.  I’m a procrastinator.

So in honor of my paper due tomorrow, I will write about something else…things that I’m currently celebrating (in spite of the whole paper thing).

1)  Last class today.  My other classes ended weeks ago.  But this class just held on, with serious work involved on top of it, including a presentation today.  Speaking of which, it was about zwarte piet.  I’ll have to share some updates on that at some point.  So today was the last class of the semester.  And after I write these three papers, I’ll be on summer vacation.  That is something to celebrate (until I remind myself that I need a job).

2) Sunshine.  Today wasn’t really sunny.  And yesterday wasn’t sunny either.  In fact, yesterday was chilly and rainy.  But last week was super sunny.  So sunny, in fact, I got the tiniest bit of a tan, which continues to makes me thankful.  Gardens, parks, beaches, and forests.  A lovely few days of sun.  I hope to see it again someday.

3) New  and known people.  The past few weeks have been filled with new people – great people, including residents, newcomers, and visitors.  And the next month promises to be filled with just as many friends visiting.  This makes me happy.

4) Plane tickets.  I’ll be in NYC for a bit next month.  Meeting my new niece and my friend’s wedding are the types of things that will get me to return to the States.  I’m super excited for the visit.

5) Prince’s birthday. Of course.

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Savings: Status Check

I made the decision to begin saving some more serious money in May.  As a starting point, I set spending targets in the various necessary and unnecessary categories of expenses.  I didn’t come anywhere near those targets in May, which makes sense considering I set the targets more than halfway through the month.  So June was my first opportunity to test my ability to exist within self-imposed limitations.

I’m actually pretty happy with the June results.  I didn’t meet every goal.  In fact, I went over in quite a few – but only by small amounts.  I went over by a lot in a couple.  And in a few, I barely spent at all.  Plenty of lessons learned along the way, I’m hoping.  I felt like I was progressing when I caught myself pulling out my debit card at the drug store and considering which budget category the money would come from, and whether or not I had enough left in the budget for the vitamins, lip balm and gum.  This process requires an entirely new way of thinking.  I may not be getting all of the answers right.  But at least I’m starting to ask the right questions.

June was also the month for cutting back on some services.  No more Showtime (I had to wait until the United States of Tara ended).  I also managed to negotiate a cheaper rate for the internet, changed the Netflix subscription, and canceled a $15 monthly subscription to a service I didn’t even realize I signed up for a while ago (yeah, I’m that bad).  And although not perfect, I did respectably well with taking my lunch to work, helping to significantly reduce the number of trips to the ATM.

I still need to pick it up and figure out another source of income.  But at least June was a good start. 

Here’s the latest.