Money Diary: Day Three

6:50 AM – Up and at ‘em. So tired, because I didn’t sleep well. I take the dogs on a walk, feed them, and head back to bed. I am really enjoying this week of slow mornings!

9:00 AM – Up for the second time. I eat some avocado toast, and hop in the shower. I am supposed to meet my friends’ new baby this afternoon and I want to be fresh and clean! I get ready to head across town and walk the dogs one more time.

10:45 AM – Drive across town, and decide to make a brows appointment. I kill some time looking at records at Music Millennium, and end up breaking my spending freeze when I pick up a record cleaning kit and a Killers album on vinyl. $46.87

 12:00 PM – I head to the salon and get my brows done. Ow. The price we pay… $17 (including tip)

12:30 PM – Back to my parents’ house to eat lunch, whatever I can find in the fridge, some chicken and rice. I watch trashy television for a couple hours until I can go over and meet the baby! (babies are on a very specific schedule apparently!)

3:00 PM – OMG this tiny human is so freaking adorable!!!! Something about little tiny babies, I just love them. Don’t want one myself, but I’m a great Auntie. We catch up over some mint tea and it’s such a lovely afternoon of baby snuggles.


4:30 PM – I grab a cookie and head out the door for a schlep across town to home.

5:00 PM – That was a fairly painless drive after all! Get home just as roomie does and we take the dogs out. I attempt to fix a record that has been skipping and unfortunately, I think it is scuffed and will need to be replaced. So sad.

5:30 PM – We decide to get Frank’s Noodle House for dinner, each getting an order of chicken with hand-pulled noodles. Roomie gets spicy and I get mild. I pick up the check as we tend to go back and forth on who pays for dinners when we eat out or get take out. $25 (with tip)

6:00 PM – We watch an episode of the Blacklist and eat our noodles, YUM!

7:00 PM – Stuffed and content, I enjoy one of my ciders that I picked up a few weeks back. Super good! Roomie goes downstairs to paint and I enjoy more X-Files and catch up on some writing.

9:00 PM – It’s early, and a Friday night, but we decide to head off to bed early, because we are old people……

Total spent: $88.87

Money Diary: Day Two

6:45 AM – And we’re up! I feed and walk the dogs and again take a morning nap as I haven’t had an actual day off in years. It’s glorious!

9:15 AM – Up for the second time. I am feeling a little groggy so I make some coffee and some hash with whatever I can find in the fridge. In goes an egg, some cheese, some potatoes and leftover chicken. I try very hard not to be wasteful so I make an effort to use up whatever odds and ends are left during the week. I’m far from perfect but I always try.

10:30 AM – Head over to my bestie’s house. She’s fighting cancer for the second time so I spend time with her every day that I’m home. Today we watch trashy shows on TLC and Animal Planet, eat some snacks, and I drink the coffee that I brought in my thermos.  Her husband joins us for lunch and I head back home around 3pm.


3:15 PM – Arrive home and it’s time to walk the dogs. Each dog gets a 20-minute walk even though it’s raining.

4:15 PM – I get a notice in my email reminding me that I have a payment for my animal credit card due. I have a specific credit card that I put only my animal related purchases on. If I pay each purchase off in 6 months there is no interest, so I make sure to keep track and pay off each payment as soon as possible. $236.23

 5:15 PM – Roommate gets home and we catch up since our schedules haven’t overlapped much lately. We talk about upcoming weekend plans and look at planning a trip to San Diego. I just got home from spending a few days there with my Godmother because she had surgery. It made me miss home, and family, so we decide another trip is in order.

6:20 PM – I’m not super hungry so I snack on baguette with goat cheese that I picked up earlier in the week.

7:00 PM – I spend the rest of the evening watching old X-Files episodes while my roommate paints. We all head to bed around 9pm.

Total spent: $236.23

My money diary, day one

Do you guys read the Money Diaries on Refinery29? I do and am kind of obsessed. I will spend literally hours reading through what people do and spend their money on. Is that weird? I don’t think so.

I mentioned a few months ago that I did a food diary for the and LOVED doing it. So I think I will do my own Money Diary, maybe I will even submit it and see if they publish it too! The difference is I will post one day at a time. I won’t publish it all at once because I imagine that would be a very long post! So let’s start with today.

Day one (Wednesday)

6:50 AM – Ugh, dogs. I love them dearly but why must we always be up so early!? My roommate and her man are off to work and I’m off to walk my dogs. I make coffee and a piece of toast. I’m exhausted from a poor night’s sleep so I decide to take a morning nap.

9:30 AM – And we’re up. The dogs are playing and I drink more coffee. I watch a little bit of the Today show and get ready to go see my mom.

10:15 AM – Jethro (one of my dogs) and I head out to see my mom. We are going to get lunch and I am going to borrow her apple peeler. I walk Jethro around my parents’ neighborhood because we are a bit early for lunch.

12:00 PM – Arrive at Mom’s office. All her coworkers love to give my dog belly rubs and head scratches. He doesn’t mind. Mom and I (and Jethro) walk over to Cheese and Crack, and get some mac ‘n cheese to split for lunch, Mom pays because she’s awesome. Jethro enjoys meeting everyone on our walk over. Mom and I eat in her office and split a Coke from her fridge. I head back to her house to get the apple peeler and Jethro and I head back home.

2:30 PM – Walk the dogs, Red and Holden stayed home so they get a longer walk, but it starts to rain so we cut it short. I spend most of the afternoon hanging out with my dogs, putzing around the house, watching the X-Files, and munching.

5:30 PM – I finally make a smoothie to stand in for dinner. My roommate is at an event tonight so she won’t be home until later. The dogs and I enjoy a nice evening at home relaxing.

7:30 PM – Browsing guys on Bumble, dating is awful. I know some people love it but I really don’t enjoy it, and I certainly don’t think I’m good at it. I give up and work on some blog writing and other miscellaneous tasks.

9:00 PM – Roommate is home and we catch up on the day.  Final walk for the dogs and into bed (I feel like a grandma but I hate being up late!)

Total spent: $0

Finally home!

Yesterday was the travel day from Hell, literally.

It started with a 4am wake up call (East Coast Time) for a 7am flight. The roads were SUPER icy so my shuttle driver went slower than usual. I finally got to the airport, and got situated. They let su know the airport was closed, no inbound or outbound flights. So the plan coming in from LAX was not able to land. They were rerouted to Indianapolis. Ok fine, do I want to go to Detroit and then on to San Diego? No, that’s the wrong direction! So I wanted for our delayed flight (which ended up taking off about 10:30 which meant I missed my connection flight). Landed in LA at 12:45 (Pacific Coast Time) and go to collect my luggage (which was I was told would be available to pick up in LAX).

Ok, 30 minutes no luggage. So I go to the lady to ask, “it’ll be out in 30 minutes”…….ok fine I’ll wait. Mind you, I’m tired, hungry, and my dear friend Jessica has been hanging out at LAX for an hour now, after driving 2 hours to get me.

…..2 hours, no baggage. I fill out the form and tearfully go find Jessica. We have a nice drive (3 hours in the pouring rain, which never happens in SoCal!) and grab in-n-out on the way home. Finally, around 7pm we get home. I have now been awake for 18 hours. I am tired. I am crabby and emotional. I hug my Godmother and pass out.

I am telling you this, because normally this would have been an excuse to spend money on comfort items. Throughout the day I could have caved and bought coffee, a muffin, snacks, lunch on the plane, and many other things.

What did I spend money on? In-n-Out on the drive home. It’s my favorite comfort food, that I rarely get. We don’t have In-n-Out in Portland, so I only get it when I visit family in San Diego. It cost me $6.20 for a burger, fries, and soda. And it was worth every penny! I also intend to pay back my friend for the gas, but I feel good about that, as she rescued me!

Travel is definitely a difficult thing for anyone’s budget. If you don’t plan accordingly, it can really mess up a budget! This is just for day-of things, I am not even talking about the travel itself. I try my best to pack my favorite snacks so that I am not tempted to buy food, and drink the free crappy coffee on the airplane (enough cream and sugar mask anything!) I don’t spring for the upgrade, I don’t do any of the bells and whistles, and yet I always make it to my destination just fine! I did check a bag, which they lost, so I got miles for that. Still not what I paid for the bag, but it helps!

My point is, it’s possible to travel without blowing your budget. I’ll do a post on the traveling itself sometime, but today was all about the bells and whistles! I am still pretty tired from the circus yesterday so that’s why I just can’t tackle that yet!

What are your travel tips and tricks for saving money?

Self Care

I know we have talked about this before, and I know I’m not the only one talking about it. But guys, self care is SO important. We live in a culture of giving so much of ourselves. We give to our work, to our friends and family, to our coworkers, the community, our children, and yet so rarely to ourselves.

I truly believe that in order to be the best version of ourselves, we need to take better care of ourselves. This can mean different things to different people. My friend Heather does yoga each morning with her cats before her morning cup of tea. She posts beautiful pictures on her Instagram that definitely make me consider taking up yoga…..but then I remember that I hate yoga. Some people run, write, sing, swim, to each their own. Don’t do something just because it’s trendy, do whatever truly refreshes you!

So this brings me to yesterday. I was encouraged to work from my hotel room instead of going into the shelter. When I go out on deployment for work, often this means 16 days away from home, without a break. And I don’t know about you, but my body tends to revolt after about 10 days straight of working 12 hours a day. So my awesome boss encourages me to take a day in the middle of my deployments to wok from the hotel. I get to sleep in, take my time, and work from bed if I so choose. And let me tell you, it does wonders! Sometimes I think “oh I don’t need it this trip I’m feeling good”. …….Nope. I always feel better if I take that day to regroup.


So this was my view yesterday. I worked from bed whilst enjoying smashed avocado with chicken. Think chicken salad but no mayo, just rotisserie chicken and avocado, maybe a little salt. It’s one of my very favorite things to eat, it’s easy on my tummy, and very nutritious! It’s fully of healthy fats and protein, so it fills me up and I don’t feel guilty about it! This is what self care looks like to me. (sorry if I sound like a broken record people, but I really believe this is important!)

What’s her point? You may be asking. I see articles on a daily basis about all the things I can buy to aid in my self care routine. Fancy pillows, Fancy tea bags and oil diffusers, sound machines and exotic bath robes. I don’t think you need any of it. You certainly can if you like, but self care doesn’t need to cost you anything!  The most expensive thing about yesterday was the avocado because they aren’t in season. Sure, I could have gone and gotten a facial, a massage, had my nails done and sipped a fancy latte. But I chose to stay in the cozy hotel (mind you it was 11 degrees, a high for the week!) enjoy my avocado smash, take a nap, enjoyed a hot shower and lazily drank my coffee. It was glorious. I still got my work done, but I was rested. I wasn’t rushed, I wasn’t in a hurry, it was so nice!

I realize that my work situation is a little different than the average individual. But do something special during your nightly routine, or your morning routine! Take a Saturday afternoon to slow down and pamper yourself! We can take care of ourselves without spending a fortune I swear!

On this New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of 2017. How crazy is that? Where did this year go? I feel like I say that every year though. Even though SO MUCH happened this year, it still feels likes like it flew by.

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite moments of this year, and look forward to some of the things I am seeing for the new year.

February – I moved in with my good friend Rachel. It was a good move for both of us, and our dogs love each other! It is so nice to have a roommate that I adore, because we spend so much time together. We binge watch Buffy, talk about what’s bothering us, compare notes on our dates.  It really is so nice to have amazing women in my life that I get to spend time with.

May – I took an epic road trip across the country with my friend Sue to bring my sweet foster boy Jethro home. He was from a case we handled at work and I was in love. Still am. I knew the day I met him that I wanted to bring him home. He deserves the best life, far from where he came. Sue and I packed up and drove from Ohio all the way to Oregon. It should have taken 4 days, but it took 6 because we got stuck in a snow storm in Wyoming! Jethro got a new home with us and we are so happy to have him! It may have taken one of our dogs a little while to adjust, but he is well settled now.

October – I left one of my jobs. I know that may not be a positive for everyone, but for me this was a good move. I was in need of something more in my life, and I needed my schedule to be more accommodating to my needs. My other job involves a lot of travel but I can pretty much pick when I want to be gone and when I want to be home. I also work from home but that is so much more conducive to my lifestyle. It allows me to be home with my animals more, as well as spend time with loved ones . My job now is rewarding, engaging, fulfilling, supportive. My coworkers are my family, my chosen family. We choose to be away from home for holidays, birthdays, milestones. We wake up at the crack of dawn to do really difficult work, heartbreaking work. But it’s worth it. It fills me with such joy to know I am making a difference in this world, and I am so lucky to have found these people and this job.

December – Two of my good friends welcomed little babies into their lives. I am so excited to get to be Auntie to these two adorable little ones. I take my job as Aunt very seriously and I intend to love, snuggle, kiss, coo, and generally fawn over them for as long as they’ll let me.

What I am looking forward to in 2018:

May – My family and I will be taking a trip to London and Amsterdam. I haven’t travelled abroad in a while so I am really looking forward to this trip!

In general, I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends, working with my dogs, snuggling my kitty, and trying to move forward with my life. We can so easily get stuck in one place and I think it’s important to keep trying. Keep trying new things, keep seeing new places, keep opening your eyes to new experiences.

I look forward to having my boots on the ground more, and working my ass off as much as I can. I look forward to long days and long nights. I look forward to all the experiences that may present themselves. I look forward to falling in love. Happy New Year everyone.

January spending freeze

If you are anything like me, you PROBABLY over spent during December. Now, I am sure some of you were totally on point with your budgets and didn’t go a cent over (Go You!!) I am not one of those people. So for the new month and the new year, I need a fresh start. This is what brings me to the January spending freeze!

Now, I’m not going to cut out all spending entirely. So here is my list of do’s and don’t’s for my upcoming challenge month!

What I CAN spend money on:

Food – Nothing fancy, just good ole groceries. I am planning to budget about $70 a week for food but that is pretty reasonable for me. I know many folks can do it way cheaper than I can, but my health being what it is, I need to be very careful with what I eat. So I am willing to pay a little more to put good food in my body.

Gas – You know, to keep my car running safely.

Pet food/supplies/medication – I have three pets. Two medium sized dogs and one tiny geriatric cat (my #soulmate). I buy the dog food from Costco and it costs me I think $37 a bag which lasts about 3-4 weeks (when I’m out of town I board one of my dogs, and they provide food). Which reminds me to include boarding fees in this. My sweet oafish pit bull is a total love, but he still is 65 solid pounds of strength which is a lot for most people to handle. So I board him at the vet when I travel for work. The cat gets wet and dry food, three medications, fluids, and frequent vet visits. He isn’t cheap but I would do ANYTHING for my sweet old man.

Rent/Utilities – ’nuff said

Medical – Doctor visits, medicine, appointments etc. As someone with Crohn’s Disease, it is very important for em to see my doctor regularly and do as I’m instructed. This also includes any costs associated with prep for appointments (Yuck!!)

What I CAN’T spend money on:

EXTRA food – ie fun groceries/eating out/coffee out/you get the picture. Do I really NEED the fancy cheese? No. Do I really NEED another kind of smoked salmon? No. I will work on getting back to basics and cooking what I know, and doing so cheaply.

Booze – I am not a big drinker, but I definitely enjoy a drink in the evening a couple of nights a week (I prefer cider over beer or wine) and I certainly don’t need to be spending that money.  It won’t be a huge amount of money, but every bit adds up.

Concerts – Holy moly I way over did this part of my budget this holiday season. No concerts for me! (with the small exception of the Foo Fighters tickets whenever they go on sale!)

Clothing/shoes/accessories – Fun fact, I love clothes. I love clothe shopping and window browsing, all of it. And I certainly don’t need anymore clothes. So it seems like a great way to save more would be to spend less in this BIG category. I will not browse the Madewell sale page. I will not wander into Nordstrom just for fun. Nope, none of it. (This will likely be the hardest one of all but I am determined!)

Extras – you know that extra piece of chocolate at the grocery store, that pair of socks, a new toy for the pup, all those things that in the moment seem like such a good idea, but really they aren’t. I will do my very best to stay away from traps (I’m looking at you Target and Costco!) but even these can sometimes not be avoided. I go to Costco for dog food and I go to Target when I need things like laundry soap and Kleenex (or some other equally odd combination of items).

Some people do a fabulous job of accomplishing their goals long term, but for me I need short, attainable goals. I need one week, one month. Those are goals  I can get behind. It is easier for me that way to build up to the bigger goals. So I’m starting with no extemporaneous spending for January, I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes. Do you have any new years resolutions !?




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Christmas Eve eve

This morning I took holiday gifts to my nephew, his Mom and Dad. Seeing his tiny little eyes light up when I walked in the door with a bag full of gifts, my heart just exploded. I don’t have kids, but I love my little nephew with everything I am. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a little one is really magical. You see, Christmas isn’t really all about the gifts and presents. It’s about spending time with those your love. And yes I do love giving him gifts, but I think I already mentioned how Oprah helped me out with that one. Each year he gets something he wants, something he needs, something he can wear and something he can read.

So this morning I decided he should open his book present, so that we could read it on Christmas. So we opened the Charlie Brown Christmas book, and read it together. That time together, snuggled on the couch, was worth more than any money could buy.

There will be many gifts under many trees this holiday season, but which ones will we really remember? The time with family and friends, that’s what is really important this time of year.

Yesterday my mom and I made cookies and fudge, wrapped presents, and decorated the tree. We spent time together, we ordered Chinese food, it was perfect. No gift is better than that. Time with her was all I wanted, and it was wonderful.

So if I may make a suggestion, don’t  buy all the stuff. People don’t need stuff, they need YOU. Just show up, that’s what people really want. I don’t need any more socks, trust me! I’d much rather have dinner with a friend, time with my nephew. So, because it’s Christmas, let’s remember to give our time, not just things. Happy Christmas.


Halibut for days

I love halibut, it’s my favorite fish by far. Since moving to the pacific northwest, we have a wealth of fresh fish available to us. I don’t think I ate any fish growing up, and if I did I certainly didn’t like it.

But now, holy balls I LOVE halibut. Lucky for me, my father has taken up fishing lately. He fishes all the damn time. And one of the perks is her bring home fish (rarely). But I now have a freezer full of freshly caught seafood to enjoy. I try to spread it out and enjoy it sparingly, as I don’t have an unlimited supply, but I do cherish what I have been given.


That’s my daddy, proud fisherman! Isn’t he cute.

Now, clearly the fish he is holding is not a halibut. Or at least, that’s what I discovered upon looking it up.

Fish is usually quite expensive, especially when it’s out of season. But local, fresh caught fish can be inexpensive when it’s on sale, and if you buy the whole fish. So typically that’s what I do. I buy a whole fish and have the person behind the counter fillet it for me. So I typically buy fish only 3ish times a year. I portion it out and freeze it individually. Then it lasts us longer. Additionally, as mentioned, my dad brings home fish occasionally. On those occasions where he does catch something he can keep, he will share with me. He and mom can only eat so much fish after all. And my father has other friends who fish as well, so we are never lacking.

By shopping locally, and seasonally, it saves me a great amount of money. I have friends all over the country and we are rarely eating the same thing at the same time. What is in season in Portland varies from what is in season in Missouri. What are you eating this season?

My favorite blogs

Like many of you, I have my favorite blogs that I read on a regular basis. Most of them, have to do with frugality, and most of them I have been reading for years! I may not know these people personally, but I feel like I know them from reading about their lives for this long. I hope you will check them out (alright I have the feeling most of you know them too!)

The Financial Diet is a great place to start. It has a whole group of contributors with different, interesting points of view. Multiple articles published daily share all kinds of experiences. From dating frugally, to inexpensive grocery ideas, it’s a great well rounded financial picture.

Frugalwoods is one of my very favorite blogs ever! Mr and Mrs Frugalwoods bought a homestead in Vermont not too long ago, and it is such a cool perspective! She genuinely makes me want to move to the middle of no where on a farm. They grow their own fruits and vegetables, heat their home with wood her husband has chopped, it’s amazing! They lived in Boston for a few years prior and I found that life interesting to read about as well! They have one little girl and another on the way so I am curious to see how this affects their life on the homestead.

The Non Consumer Advocate  is written by an awesome gal named Katy who also happens to live in Portland. I have been reading this blog longest of all. She works as a nurse and has two boys in college. She writes about her life, how she saves money creatively, and her side hustle of selling items she has purchased at local Goodwill stores. It’s a very relatable blog. (fun story, once I saw Katy walking down the street to the local grocery store and I made my dad turn the car around so I could say hi)

The Frugal Girl is another one I adore. Kristen lives with her husband and four kids and writes about daily life. She writes about grocery shopping, what they eat for dinner, what the kids do for fun, and family outings. I love it. She is kind and compassionate, and speaks with such heart. Because of Kristen I subscribe to Mighty Nest which I absolutely love. It’s a monthly subscription box, which sends you something that is eco friendly for the home. I have gotten glass water bottles, Tupperware, glass cleaner, sponges and dish clothes. It costs $10 a month and each thing you receive is worth at least $10. If you are looking for a cool gift for something this holiday season, I highly recommend it.

What about you? What blogs do you guys read?? Which awesome blogs am I missing out on?