Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starting a New Chapter

Today is my last day at the Mississippi Supreme Court. I am feeling so many emotions. I am thrilled, excited, hesitant, sad, inspired, the list could go on and on. I have had such a wonderful experience at the Court. From making new friends, having a great boss that is laid back and a pleasure to work for, having a great suite of employees willing to help each other out, flexible hours, long lunches, breakfast on Friday. . . you get the point. While I am hesitant to leave this job because it is familiar and I am great at it, I am really excited to start the beginning of a new chapter in my life. What I would classify as "REALLY practicing law." I know that this new chapter is not always going to be grand, but it probably is going to be a roller coaster with many ups and downs trying to find my way. However, that is half the fun - learning about yourself, your capabilities, and impressing others with your willingness to take on any obstacle.

I have the long weekend off to enjoy myself, and I am going to take the time to mentally prepare myself for this next chapter.

Anyone been through a similar experience lately that can lend some advice?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I have a lot running through my head right now, so this is going to be sporadic.

  • I made my 8th no spend day for this month yesterday!

The only bad part is that I am sure that I will make up for it this weekend in Memphis. A girl can only save so much, right?

  • I spoke with my future boss yesterday.

My first day is Monday, so I am supposed to go by this afternoon and tell him how I want my office furniture to be placed. I am really excited. I have been working for the State for two years now, and we do not have such perks here. In fact, your furniture stays how "they" place it. I am also thrilled to meet everyone that I will be working with at my new office. I have only had the opportunity to meet some of the people, but today I will get a chance to meet EVERYONE. I hear only good things about the people that work in the office, so that is a good sign.

  • My jewelry came in yesterday.

I can finally mail my step-mother her birthday gift! (Her birthday was July 17th). Better late than never.

Otherwise, I don't really have too much going on in my world. I am super busy at work trying to wrap up all of my projects since tomorrow is my last day. I am driving home tomorrow after work to get my hair done Friday morning and then driving directly back to head to Memphis for the weekend. August is looking to be just as expensive as July. I am going to be broke....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu is a little harder to put together. We have several evening obligations to attend.

Monday night one of the bf's best friend's from high school and her husband are in from San Diego and we are supposed to be going to dinner with them.

Tuesday - Spaghetti with toast. (This has been on the menu for weeks, but we have yet to eat it.)

Wednesday - Totinos - Cheap and easy. I have gone way over budget this month in food.

Thursday - The bf has another set of friends coming into town from Charlotte, NC. He is supposed to be having dinner with them. I am unable to make it because I am driving home Thursday night to get my hair cut on Friday morning and then heading straight back for our weekend in Memphis.

Friday - Rendezvous in Memphis.

Saturday - Unsure - we are heading to the Dave Matthews Concert.

Weekend Spending

I didn't do too bad this past weekend in spending. Here is a recap:

Friday night - wine for dinner - $14.42.
Saturday - 2 books at border's. One for Bachelorette Party and one for myself - $29.19.
- Dinner - $50 gift certificate
Sunday - No Spend.

Grand total: $43.61.

Of course, it did help that my mother was in town and bought most of the meals. My bf bought our lunch on Saturday and I contributed a bottle of wine for Friday's dinner and $50 in a gift card on Saturday night, but other than that, Mom picked up the tab.

Friday, July 25, 2008


While I am not as gun hoe about Premier Jewelry as most of the guest at the purse party last night, I did do some good networking. In fact, I met up with a lady last night that I had previously met and chatted with at the jewelry party I attended. She is a real estate agent and is looking for an attorney to close her loans. I told her about my new venture into private practice and we exchanged business cards. Guess what - she stopped by my new office and asked if I had started working there yet. When they told her I would not start until August 4, she said that she would be back. She relayed that my co-workers are really excited for me to come start working, and she is really excited to start doing business with my firm. Not only have I made a new friend, but I have made a new networking contact!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Such a Sucker

That is me...summed up in a nutshell. I just broke my no-spend streak by purchasing a 70 cent snickers bar in the vending machine at work. I thought that I could resist, but just couldn't.


As I previously mentioned, I am hosting a bachelorette party for my old roommate the second weekend of August. We are having her Lingerie shower at my house on Friday night and then heading to Memphis to party on Saturday night. I originally had wanted to plan her party closer to her wedding (in October), but the other girls that volunteered to help ALL wanted the second weekend in August. *

Well, yesterday I found out that ALL three other girls that volunteered to host her party have backed out and are not coming. Only one girl, her sister, is actually sending money to help defray the cost. This is frustrating because I do not have the money to cover all her expenses and I don't feel appropriate speaking with her about it. She has been a very dear and great friend to me and I know that if the situations were reversed she would plan my bachelorette party without any help. The help is not really the problem though because I can plan the party by myself, it is a money issue. The only solution that I can come up with, is after finding out who all is attending the events to send them an email asking for volunteers to bring appetizers to her Lingerie Shower. I expect whomever is staying in her hotel room is expecting to split her cost and at dinner/bars her friends are just going to have to pony up. Any other suggestions?

*The second weekend in August was inconvenient for me because I start my new job that week and am not sure what time I will get off for a party that starts at 7 at MY HOUSE.

Purse Night

Tonight I am attending purse night! I learned about purse night when I attended my friends jewelry party last week. Since I am hosting a jewelry party next month, I get a free purse and to preview the new jewelry line that will be available at my party. I am super excited. I suspect the purse will be cute (I will try to post a pic tomorrow), but even if it is not my style, I will have a free Christmas gift.

Something really suck in my head at last week's jewelry party. The hostess stated that her two favorite prices were "free" and "half off." She's not the only one!

I am finding that this jewelry party is really a great idea. Not only am I getting to make new friends, but I am connecting with old friends. I cannot wait to have all the girls over.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

August Plans

I have two very expensive weekends starting off August. The first weekend, the bf and I are heading up to Memphis to catch a Dave Matthews/Willie Nelson concert. Expenses include:

Ticket plus misc at concert - $100.00
Gas - $25 (we are riding up there with another couple)
Meals - $80 (one expensive dinner with drinks on Friday night and then Saturday and Sunday's lunch and dinner)
Vet - $30 (have to board my babies)
Birthday gift - $30 (t-shirt at concert. However, this will come out of my gift fund)

Total - $265
This money will come from various places including travel fund, gift fund, and groceries/dining out.

The following weekend I will be hosting my old roommate's bachelorette/lingerie party. We are again heading to Memphis. Expected cost for the weekend:

Food for Lingerie Shower - $100.00
Lingerie Gift - $30.00
Gas to Memphis -$35.00
Room - $75.00 (my share plus part of the bachelorette's)
Dinner - $50.00 (my share plus part of the bachelorette's)
Beale St. - $100.00 (my share plus part of the bachelorette's.)

Total - $390.00. WOW, things really add up.

I am hoping some of these costs will be defrayed by other friends willing to help. I may dish out some of the food responsibilities and others should help with her drinks and room. Needless to say, once the $390 is gone, that is all I have.

That is $655 in just two weekends. Look's like the other two will be low key.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Almost There

I have almost made my goal of 5 no-spend days for the month of July. I hit #4 yesterday and it feels GREAT to be so close to a goal. Especially, since I have done so terrible on my budget this month. I am going to have to take Bailey's comment seriously and only eat mac & cheese for the remainder of the month if I run out of other food.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it is a start to a new week and a new menu! Here is what is on the list this week:

Monday - Spaghetti w/ toast or Meatloaf with oven roasted potatoes. (Haven't decided which one we will be having. We have turkey meat that needs to be eaten tonight. )
Tuesday - Blackened Chicken with Fettuccine
Wednesday - Pizza
Thursday - Baked BBQ Chicken, green beans, and rice
Friday - Tacos (I swear the bf loves Tacos and requests them every week.)
Saturday - Chicken Fajitas

Weekend Recap

I was very good this weekend, but I must admit it was because I had a little help. . . my mother came to town!!!!

My mother arrived Thursday afternoon just in time for my 6:00 tennis match. It was fun to have my mother there to watch me play because she is a very talented tennis player so she had a lot of pointers at dinner later that night. I just started playing tennis this year and have been taking lessons. Of course, I make very common mistakes for beginners, but it was interesting to hear how to fix the mishaps.

Friday morning we got up and took the dogs for a walk. I usually take the dogs for about a thirty minute walk. However, my mom and I decided to go an hour. Well, after about 45 minutes, my little baby (he weigh 6.4 pounds) decides that he has had enough and sits down refusing to get up. I ended up having to pick him up and carry him the remainder of the way. It was too cute. He was protesting the walk. Afterwards we went to lunch, and then had a lovely girls day out getting our nails and toes done (mom's treat). Friday night was pretty uneventful. I cooked dinner and then read a book until I feel asleep.

Saturday morning I had my first private tennis lesson (I have been taking group lessons once a week). Then after a little yard work, the bf, my mother and I went to the lake. That made for a very relaxing Saturday afternoon. We cruised the lake on the boat for about 5 hours at which time we were all starving and decided to cook steaks, asparagus, corn and baked potatoes. It was delicious!

Sunday we did it all over again at the lake except this time I got burned. The sacrifices we make to have fun. :)

My mom leaves today after lunch. I hate to see her go. We have such a great time every time she comes to visit. It would be nice if we lived in the same town.

FYI - I had my third no spend day on Sunday!!! Only two more to go to reach this month's challenge of 5 no-spend days. I think next month I may increase the number to 8. I will have to see it I hit my goal this month. Otherwise, it will stay at 5 until I can achieve it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Because I have been a little over zealous this month with spending, I had to withdraw $200.00 out of my emergency fund to make it through the rest of the month. I am hoping that I can manage NOT to spend all of the $200.00 and be able to replace some of the withdrawn funds at the end of the month. However, I have gone over in several categories.

So far the damage is:

Groceries - $301.26/$300
Shopping - $418.46/$150.00
Gas/Auto Maintenance - $247.36/$160

(Keep in mind that there are still two weeks left in July. I filled up my car yesterday with gas so maybe (highly unlikely) I will be able to wait until August before filling up again. But, I know that I will need to buy more food before the month is complete.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jewelry Party Part 2

As I am sure that most you can guess, I am a sucker and ending up spending $48.69 at the Premier Jewelry Party last night. But, I killed two birds with one stone. Not only did I get myself two cute bracelets and a scarf, but I got my step-mother a birthday gift.

I got one bracelet by signing up to host a party in August. And guess what - I get 30% of my sales to use towards FREE jewelry. And if my guest spend over $450, I get 50% of my sales. Sounds great to me because there was a lot of very cute, affordable, jewelry that I would love to add to my collection for my new job.

In addition, by signing up to host a party I got my step-mother's gift for $10. I only had to purchase one item. (This is how I got suckered into buying the second bracelet that I got). If I didn't buy one item I had to pay full price for my step-mother's bracelet which cost $49.00. So, in the end, I won by getting both bracelets for $48.69.

I got the scarf for free also!

Although I have attended several of these parties, I have never actually hosted one. I think it is time my friends re-pay the favor and come over to shop!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jewerly Party

One of my friends is having a premier designer jewelry party at her house tonight. You know the kind of party where you invite people over and then YOU, as the hostess, gets free or discounted stuff depending on how much your friend's spend. I told her that I would come, but I have absolutely no money to my name. I have gone a little wild this month spending (see Michael Kors purse) and I am at the point of no return. Is it rude to go to the party and not buy anything? I don't want to not show up at all, especially since I told her that I would be there, but I "DO NOT" have any money. What if I bring a friend that I know will spend money, would that be better? Have any of you ever been in this situation and if yes, how did you handle it?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It is the start of a new week and a new menu. This week I will be eating:

Monday - Lasagna, bread and salad
Tuesday - Hot dogs with chips
Wednesday - Dirty Rice
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Spaghetti with Marinara Bread sticks
Saturday - I have yet to decide what we are having. We invited the neighbors that live across the street from the bf to come over and have dinner. So, we have to make something yummy.
Sunday - Leftovers

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Spending - OUCH

I think this weekend has caused me to go over in almost every category. I have spent relentlessly. But on things that I had to spend on.

I finally, I mean FINALLY, got my oil changed. Along with the oil change, I needed new windshield wipers and an air filter. Grand total at the shop - $75.16.

Then lunch on Saturday at a bbq restaurant for the bf and I - $12.60. A friend from high school of the bf's just opened this bbq restaurant and we told him that we would check it out.

Dinner Saturday night: $49.32. This included rib eye steak, baked potatoes, salad, and apple pie with ice cream for 3. It was delicious. We were cooking out at a friend's house.

Then the bf and I went on our weekly run to the grocery store (Walmart). We spent a lot. I hope that it is going to last us through most of the month because my grocery budget is minimal. For $126.35 (the bf and I split this, so my part wasn't this much) we got:

Brown Rice,
8 x 8 baking pan,
Fudge Ice Cream Pops,
3 lbs ground turkey,
2 cans of Tomato Sauce,
Mozzarella Cheese,
6 Smart Ones,
Pepper Jack Chicken Dinner,
Hot Dog Buns,
3 Bell Peppers,
2 boxes of Corn Bread Mix,
Taco Dinner Kit,
Onion Powder,
Onion Salt,
Garlic Powder,
Onion Soup Mix,
5 lbs hamburger meat,
24 pack diet coke,
Shaving Cream,
All Detergent,
Dirty Rice,
Trash Bags

Grand Total for the Weekend - $207.43

Friday, July 11, 2008

I've Been B-A-D

I have had this obsession lately with buying a new purse. Not only do I want one purse, but I want two. One chic bag for work and one clutch for the evening. Can you blame a women? So, after scouring ebay . . . I have finally purchased the work purse. It is a Michael Kors Chesterfield, medium sized, shiny black patent leather, satchel. It is absolutely adorable. Not to mention that I got it for a fraction of the actual cost. Essentially, I paid $157 for a bag that retails for $348 + tax. I cannot wait to get this little beauty in the mail. Wanna see a picture?

2nd No Spend

I had another no spend day yesterday, although I did drive a LOT. That is 2/5 for this month so far. It actually isn't as hard as I thought that it would be. I just have a feeling that on the days that I do spend, I am going to be spending more. We shall see. Now, if only I can continue the no spend streak through the weekend. I doubt it though, I really need groceries.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I am beginning to get really nervous about starting my new job in August. It is not the feeling of not being qualified, it is the fact that it is change. A change in surroundings, a change in work, a change in people and a change in pay. There are a lot of money expenses that I have yet to work out.

First, my commute is increasing from about 4 miles round-trip to 30 miles round-trip. That means, either my gas budget will have to increase or I will have to move closer to work. I am not sure which option is better. Currently, I live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a friend. Living with a roommate keeps my cost of living low. I split rent and all bills. If I move, I will have to rent a place on my own for an extra $300, plus pay all bills alone. I don't think that I will be spending an extra $400 in gas every month for the longer commute. But gas prices are not the only consideration. I will have the wear and tear on my already 7 year old car. I won't be able to go home for lunch to let the dog out. And I will have to wake up at least an hour earlier (30 min commute and have to be at work 30 mins earlier). However, the bf will still be in the same location which is close to my current residence. Logically, we would split our time between our two places, but then we are both spending money on gas. Another solution may be to buy a new car that gets far better gas mileage. I will start a car fund soon and snowflake my ending balance each month into that account. Additionally, I can probably get about $7,000 for the car I currently own.

Second, I will have the cost of business cards, and possibly the cost of having to be admitted to more courts to practice law. This is NOT cheap people.

Basically, too many things are running through my head about starting my new job. Needless to say, I am starting to become stressed.

How have you coped in the past to starting a new job? Should I move closer to work or stay put? Do you think buying a new car with better gas mileage is a better option? The $400 I would spend to rent a new place each month could go towards a car payment and insurance.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No Spend

Yesterday was my first no spend day for the month. I don't usually have very many of these, but maybe I will set a new goal for myself for this month and try to have at least five no spend days.

How many days in a month do you usually not spend a dime?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chicken Piccata

anja3582 left me several great and easy recipes. I will give them a shot and let everyone know how they turn out. I know that the bf will be glad to eat something new since my recipe collection is rather limited. I finally made the chicken piccata last night. This is the bf's favorite recipe, so I thought I would share it since it is super easy to make and delicious. Of course, I cannot take credit for it, it came from

6 to 8 chicken breast halves, boneless, no skin (I used chicken strips. They are easier to cook and tend to brown better.)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika, or to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 to 8 thin slices of lemon
3 tablespoons capers (optional)

Put chicken breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap; pound to flatten to about 1/4-inch.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika; dredge chicken breasts to coat well.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté chicken breasts in batches, about 3 minutes on each side.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Stir in chicken broth, scraping to loosen browned bits. Add lemon juice and heat through. Return chicken to the skillet with the lemon slices; heat until sauce thickens. Add capers, if using. Serve with your favorite pasta (I love angel hair pasta).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I must confess. . . every week while planning my menu I never stick with the particular days that I have down to make a certain meal. The menu plan is more of a guide to know what needs to be bought for the week so that I can survive with the food in the house. Because I had a rather expensive weekend and plan to have another in two weekends, I am hoping to make meals out of food already at the house. With that being said, here is my week's menu:

Monday - Chicken Piccata. I have had this on my menu every week for the past three weeks and have yet to make it. That means, I have all the necessary ingredients. So, I will definitely be eating this tonight.
Tuesday - Lemon Basil Pasta with Shrimp
Wednesday - Tacos with Salsa and Chips
Thursday - Baked Chicken, Rice, and Veggies
Friday - Spaghetti

I am unsure of what I have in the house to make for Saturday and Sunday. I know that I have a couple more packages of chicken and maybe one more package of hamburger meat. I will let you know what I have once it has been decided. I am pretty happy with this week's menu and hope that it saves me some money. I sure need it to. I don't know whether it is because it is summer time and I have more time after work to shop, but I have been spending money as fast as I make it. Not good :(
I had a great 4th of July at the beach. We got to the beach late Thursday night and went out and had a few drinks with some friends. The bf bought most of my drinks so I only spent about $15 at the bar. We got up early Friday morning, the bf went and got the boat out of dry storage while I made sandwiches and snacks for the afternoon. We headed out to Crab Island for the entire day and got back to the condo just before the fireworks started at 9. We were so tired from the long day on the water, we went to bed early. The next morning we did it all over again. But Saturday night we went out to eat at a really nice restaurant for dinner. Afterwards we headed to the bar for a few drinks. My total at the bar was $33.
Gas for the trip - $76.37
Ice for the boat - $6.14
Drinks for the boat - $20.82
Drinks at the bar Friday - $15
Drinks at the bar Saturday - $33.00

Grand total for the 4th of July weekend - $151.33. That means that I only went $1.33 over budget for the long weekend. Not to shabby.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Independence Day

I will be out of pocket for the 4th and through the weekend so I wanted to say: HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY AMERICA! I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July. I will be soaking up some rays and watching fireworks. Maybe a hamburger and hotdog in there too. My main goal for the holiday/weekend is to keep track of receipts and the categories I spent in. I tend to let my financial tracking slide while out of town. This weekend is going to be an attempt to do better. Will report back on Monday. Until then. . .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July Expenses

We are starting off July with an expensive meal out. My bf's college roommate, his wife, and their new baby are coming into town today. We are planning on meeting them out for dinner. With food and drinks, we are probably talking about $100.00. Which I am sure will be well worth it. The bf rarely gets to see his college roommate because he lives 6 hours away and they just had a baby. We went and bought a baby gift last night, but the bf paid so I will probably try to split dinner with him.

Besides tonight, this weekend is also going to be pretty expensive. We are leaving tomorrow after work to head to the beach until Sunday for the 4th of July. It is a tradition for the bf and I to go to the beach, spend all day out in the boat, and then watch the fireworks. I am pretty excited! However, we tend to eat out every meal except for breakfast. So, I am budgeting $100.00 for food and $50 for my share of the gas.

Other expenses for the month include:
a $200 registration fee for a convention which I am attending July 15-20.
gas and food while at the convention.
two birthday gifts.
several happy hours to celebrate friends birthdays.

The good news. . . I have two free weekends when I will be in town and don't have any plans. Hopefully during those two weekends I will be able to recoup the money that I am spending.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June Tracking

June is officially over and it is time to see how I did on last month's budget.

I paid off my credit card debt!

Prescriptions: 175.55/50. I went way over budget this month in prescriptions. I combine my personal prescriptions for the month along with my pet's frontline/interceptor. This month I decided to buy a six month supply on frontline which cost me $55.00. I also had my dog's annual vet visit where he got several shots/vaccinations.

Utilities: 47.73/100.00. I am not sure if this is a true estimate of my monthly utilities because it is the first month the my new roommate has been there. So, there may be some utilities that were paid previously when old roommate had transferred the utilities that were in her name to her new house. I should get a better estimate next month.

Groceries: 153.60/200. There was a week when I didn't have to buy groceries because I was in the Bahamas. Otherwise this number would have been really close to over-budget.

Eating out: 41.67/100. I did rather well with eating lunches and dinner at home.

Misc: 217.15/130.50. This category always gets me. If I don't have another category to place my purchase I add it to the misc category. I tend to go over-budget every month in this area. Need to work on that.

Gas: 91.99/160. I didn't have a chance yesterday to fill up otherwise I would have because my gas tank is pretty low. If I added another $60 on this amount which is probably about what it takes to fill up my measly 14 gallon tank I would have been pretty close to budget.

That is how I did this month, how about everyone else?