currently

 

Currently Reading:¬†I read salt. by¬†Nayyirah Waheed in February. Waheed is an Instagram poet that published a couple of collections of poems. I really relate to her words and style.¬† She’s fiercly feminist and tough on white people, but so many of the poems were really helpful to me last month. I’m also still working on The Screwtape Letters¬†by C.S. Lewis. I’m flip it open every now and then. I need to finish it, and crack open something new.

Currently Singing: Worst In Me by Julia Michaels.

Currently Watching: Bojack Horseman and Cheers. I’m on the last season of Cheers which is very sad.

Currently Loving: Coming home to my own home and a happy dog who misses me.

Currently Celebrating: It’s Lent, and I’m doing a very bad job at being Lenten. I’ve been meatless every Friday, but I prefer to take up some routine or ritual that is reflective or good. I still haven’t thought of something.

Currently¬†Thinking: I’m currently preoccupied with the house projects I still need to do.

  1. Sand and finish the hardwood floors.
  2. Take measurements of the kitchen and attempt to design my “dream floor plan.”
  3. Remove/throw away the old furniture and junk that the previous owner left in the house.
  4. Get the workout/studio room in a functional state.
  5. Put shades or curtains on the kitchen windows.
  6. Buy a couch and chairs.
  7. Clean the upstairs.

Currently Worrying: That I need to start saving for a newer car. I could definitely drive mine longer, but I’m worried something else will be wrong with it tomorrow. I’ve put almost as much into it as I paid for it – of course it wasn’t that expensive. My plan is to hang on for a little while and build a savings. I think if I hold out and wait for something to happen, I will at least be comfortable making the decision to buy a newer one.

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2017 year in review

1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
Getting my ACL reconstructed and hobbling around on crutches.

2.If you had to describe your 2017 in 3 words, what would they be?
Busy, productive, revealing.

3.What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’m capable of swerving around awkward situations a lot better than I used to be. Turns out, if you actually have to converse with people, you learn some things.

4.What single achievement are you most proud of?
I found a house and put an offer on it and purchased it.

5.What was the best news you received?
My answer last year: I got a raise. My answer this year: I got a raise.

6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2017?
I think it was seeing my friend Nancy in NJ.¬† We hadn’t seen each other in awhile, and it was a joy to be together again.

7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Patience. I injured my knee, and after waiting months for it to heal, I finally had the MRI and found out I would need surgery.

8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My mama.

9.Which new skills did you learn?
I’ve been cooking a few different things.

10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?
I’m immensely grateful to my Mom for encouraging me to buy my house.

11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2017, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
Unfortunately, I think it would be a stupid ABC Family drama. I had a lot of shit going on with my sister/roommate. We still aren’t on good terms.

12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
For most of 2017, I was very happy. I didn’t feel quite so lost. Life happened to me, but it was good. There were tears and stresses and weight gain and weight loss and fights, but I think I’m learning how to be happy and fulfilled.

13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
Physical Therapy was mostly a mental exercise. There were so many times when the therapist told me to do something, and I had to think so much just to do it. I think the knee surgery, overall, was the most mentally taxing experience of the year. I was off work and trying to relearn how to walk and not eat my feelings and not do things that would mess up the healing process.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Nora, Nancy, Rachel, Rachael… my bar regulars.

15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I had a really great review that resulted in an acknowledgment of all I do at the company, and I felt really encouraged.

16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I spent a lot of nights with my niece. Between working and watching her, I didn’t go out that much. My sister and I put a lot of strain on our relationship while living together. I had hoped to move out in 2017, but didn’t until 2018. I still have a long road ahead as far as mending that relationship. My brother got married so now he’s off living his life. My parents and I still get along really well.

17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I read a book called Keeping Faith that was very good. I wouldn’t say that it affected my life in a profound way. I really should blog more so that I can remember these things.

18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I get a lot of compliments while tending bar. One of the older guys in the least creepy way possible (I swear) told me I look “sophisticated and sexy” in my glasses. That still makes me laugh… my mom said the same thing about my glasses. Another of the older guys said I’m very pleasant, level-headed, and intelligent. I wish I could remember any other compliments that were a little more meaningful, but I have really enjoyed working at the club.

19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Witnessing Nora learn all her words. Good meals. Good coffee.

20.What cool things did you create this year?
I painted a bunch of pieces to do a show at the local gallery. I hope to have a little studio space in my house soon.

21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
I was pretty chill most of 2017. I sort of just rolled with everything. I planned a couple of trips. I applied for a coaching job and then I found out about needing surgery. Then my car needed more work.

22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Had major surgery.

23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Seeing Anastasia on Broadway with Nancy.

24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
The knee surgery really upped my motivation for getting to a healthier shape.

25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
When I first thought about buying my own place, I was absolutely concerned about the money. It turned out to be completely unnecessary because between my two jobs, I’m doing fairly well. My house was very cheap and I plan to renovate and remodel to increase the value.

26.What experience would you love to do all over again?
I know I’d love to NOT have an allergic reaction to a wasp ever again.
 

27.What was the best gift you received?
I got a projector for move nights. ūüôā

28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I think this sums it up.

29.What was the biggest problem you solved?
My living situation.

30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
I drove a couple guys home after my shift, but I was starving so I stopped at Burger King. Some stupid shit ensued. It still makes me laugh.

31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Honestly, I bought mesh laundry bags, and I can’t believe I used to do laundry without them. #adulthood

32.What one thing would you do differently and why?
I don’t think I can answer this until I’ve really addressed the issue with my sister.

33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Keeping my finances in order through almost two months without work.

34.What activities made you lose track of time?
Working.

35.What did you think about more than anything else?
It’s a toss up between my knee surgery and buying a house.

36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Gambling. Haha. I do love bar conversations.

37.What new habits did you cultivate?
Walking almost every day.

38.What advice would you give your early 2017 self if you could?
Go to the doctor and get your knee looked at!

39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
I was definitely less concerned about money in 2017. I just had better control of it (plus a little more of it). Also, my main financial goal changed from paying off my student loans to buying a house.

40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
I think this was my mom. She was supportive through all the sister drama and she helped me find a house and encouraged me to do it. She’s the best.


What do you want the overarching theme for your 2018 to be?
So last year, my theme was adventure, and that actually ended up pretty accurate. I think I would like my theme for this year to be relationships. Personal relationships, work relationships, familial relationships. One thing I’ve learned already this year is that living on my own gives me a little more push to be with friends. I’m so introverted so it’s rare for me to recognize that need, but I think it’s good that I want to spend more time with people.

What do you want to see, discover, explore?
Maine. Still Maine.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2018?
I’m not sure. Maybe everyone.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
The guitar has already been super helpful for me this year. I have been practicing almost every night to help me get through some stuff. It’s a great distraction, and people already love my voice so I would love to be able to play well.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
Understanding.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I have been working so hard on my morning routine the past couple of months. I truly feel like I’m making better habits. I hope to continue working on this part of my everyday life.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
STILL ACCURATE: I have some nervous habits I’m really trying to get rid of altogether. So hard to do.
What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I want to do things that have been talked about but never accomplished.
How do you want to remember the year 2018 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I’d love to say I went on a great vacation or that I paid off my student loans or that I lost 40 lbs. I’d love to look back on 2018 and say I met my husband. I just hope I have good times to remember.
What is your number one goal for 2018?
To meet more people

short-term money goals for 2017

I have been thinking about my short-term financial goals for a few weeks. I want to shake up my current plan of attack and I finally decided to write down these new goals. I loosely base my financial plan on the debt-snowball. I love Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps,” but there are a few reasons why I don’t follow his plan religiously. First of all, I don’t make a lot of “extra” money each month ( I refuse to say “I don’t make enough money” because that’s a lie – hashtag grateful). Additionally,  I successfully use a credit card and pay it off every month. I plan my splurges very carefully – I just swipe for them rewards. Even though I don’t follow his plan religiously, I had been taking his “throw everything at the loans” approach to the extreme. I pinch every dollar out of my pay check and end up leaving almost nothing in my regular account. This just doesn’t make sense for my situation. Since I just don’t generate copious amounts of income, it’s going to be a few years before I really beat down this debt.

So my new savings goals are:

1. Keeping at least the amount of one paycheck in my regular account
I’d like to automate my bills again and in order to do that, I will have to have enough green in my account. It will take some time to get use to this system. I might have to rework how I budget each paycheck since it won’t act like a zero-base in my account, but I truly believe it will relieve a lot of stress.

2. Maintaining a flex spending account of $1000 for recreation
This goal really torments my inner debt killer who says that I can’t have fun until I pay off my debt. “HANNAH YOU ARE IN DEBT AND DON’T DESERVE HAPPINESS.” It’s 2017 and I have been killing debt for 2.5 years. Shut up you debt murderer. I really value experiences over material objects and want to travel and visit friends and family. They don’t have to be elaborate trips, anything will help me de-clutter and unwind. So I’m officially saying that I am willing to let the debt linger just a little longer, if that means that I can have a few more experiences this year.

3. Bumping my emergency fund up to $2000
I know that Dave Ramsey says that I don’t need more than $1000.00 in my emergency fund, buuuuuuuut I don’t purchase pet insurance even though I have a very large dog who occasionally needs things for his greater health and wellness. Furthermore… my car needs a few more repairs before it will be in better running condition. These are things that I know are going to pop up in emergency-like fashion. I prefer to get ahead of my emergencies.

4. Keeping a little cash “savings” at home for special occasions
This one is a new strategy that I read about recently. The author of an article I was reading said she kept cash in her bedroom as a little bonus money. When I get bonus money, I usually put it towards one of my bigger goals like debt or Christmas or I use it to buy something I have been eyeing online. I still think those are good options, but I want to see what happens if the piggy bank piles up to $100 or $200. I’m thinking it might be good if something like a candle party pops up or if a sibling has a fundraiser or if I want to go out to eat with my friends without worrying about my budget or my savings goals. This one may not work for me, but I want to experiment.

summer 2016

the summer of tiny toads migrating from the river to the backyard
the summer of my car being past due for an inspection
the summer of training Charlie in the driveway
the summer of no rain
the summer of fleas
the summer of having no money
the summer of puppy play dates
the summer when Norie was 8 mo.
the summer we put down a laminate floor
the summer Brody called me every Saturday to go fishing with him
the third summer since graduating college
the summer of my twenty-third year

my favorite side hustling links

tax return

Here’s the thing about living in a small town and working for¬†a small business: it puts a lot of pressure on my wallet. Adult-ing is hard. Balancing my love for my rural hometown and the need to have a successful career and pay off my loans causes me a lot of stress.¬†In an effort to be proactive in this aspect of my life, I’m on a mission to make money on the side. I know I have the spirit of a side hustler, I just have to find my niche.

Pinterest is constantly filling¬†my feed with articles featuring lists of ways to make money¬†online or from home. Some are really helpful, some not so much.¬†There are a few lists that I found¬†extremely helpful. The Penny Hoarder is my favorite so far, but I also really like Making Sense of Cents. Here’s a list of the best suggestions for making money on the side as well as a list of odd jobs that actually bring in a little extra cash for me.

  1. 6 Online Jobs for College Students by Seed Time
  2. The 4 Side Jobs That Make Me Over $3,000 a Month by Busy Budgeter
  3. 103 Ways to Make Money at Home by The Penny Hoarder
  4. 30 Side Jobs to Make Money & Pay Down Debt by Frugal Fanatic
  5. Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month by Making Sense of Cents

I also have my own personal suggestions for a busy millennial struggling for pocket change.

  1. Selling garage sale items/thrift store finds on eBay and Facebook
  2. Trading in clothes you don’t wear at a clothing boutique
  3. Completing surveys on Swagbucks
  4. Starting a band

I’ve made quite a few sales on eBay with items I bought from the Salvation Army. The turn around is relatively quick if you find interesting things. I¬†sold kids snow shoes, a pet barrier for¬†the car, and an HD cable antenna – all of which I found at the thrift store. I also sold a few things I was no longer using, like a pair of Ariat boots and a guitar case.¬†I go through my closet to weed out items I don’t wear enough, and I trade them in at a local clothing shop. I do this almost every time the seasons change. I usually trade my items in for store credit so I can get something new, but they also offer cash in exchange for lightly used clothing.

I started using Swagbucks a couple of months ago. I was primarily using their search engine and only earning a few Swagbucks a week. I didn’t understand how so many people had success with it, but after I started completing the surveys, I racked up enough ‘bucks’ to redeem a $25 PayPal gift card. It only took a week or so once I started doing a couple of surveys every night. I was really impressed with the variety of gift cards available but opted for the PayPal card since I have a couple of small bills that come out of my PayPal account. I haven’t referred anyone yet, but if you find this post helpful at all, use my referral link to get bonus Swagbucks.

If you have a couple of musically talented friends, or family in my case, get together and start a band. It requires some equipment, but¬†a lot of venues¬†have equipment on site. I was lucky to have a family member who had all the equipment already. Booking a gig every few weeks can bring in a good amount of cash (as long as you don’t spend it on alcohol while you’re out performing). Bonus: playing music and getting out of the house can help you unwind and have fun.

I hope to keep expanding my list of side hustles as I continue to pay down my school loans. I keep track of almost all of my bank/financial transactions so I should be able to compile my monthly earnings pretty easily.Maybe I’ll be able to do a “Side Hustle Monthly Roundup.

 

march goals

So here were last months goals:

  1. read 3 books 
  2. eat healthy for 21 days (a modified 21 day fix)
  3. exercise 3 times per week (beyond walking charlie)
  4. lose 4 pounds
  5. knit a few more baby hats for Nora
  6. go through my junk//de-clutter
  7. go through my closet//simplify my wardrobe
  8. paint the hallway upstairs
  9. paint the basement “hall”
  10. take more photos

So I still have not added more lifting into my daily routine. I’m stuck. I don’t know why. This month I am going to focus on doing three 20 minute workouts per week (plus all the walking with Charlie-which is about an hour every day).¬†

 
The wardrobe simplification is on hold until my weight stops fluctuating, in other words, until I’m at a weight I am happy about. I did lose 5 lbs though! I will tell you how. Vegetables. Obviously, walking my dog helps, but really it comes down to less carbs and more veggies and protein. I’ve known this for awhile too. It’s what works for me. So I’m continuing to do this modified 21 day fix for a while. Maybe I can get down to my goal if I keep at it (not this month but in a few months).
 
March Goals
read 3 books
  1. lift three times a week for 20 minutes
  2. finish knitting Mia’s scarf
  3. take more photos
  4. job search and read up on my field (potential fields too)
  5. find a new way to volunteer
  6. quit twirling my hair
  7. save money for summer trips (little to no spending)
  8. train/play with charlie every day
  9. lose 5 lbs.