Hello 2019 and the No Spend Challenge

Despite being only 12 days into the new year, it’s already been quite the adventure. I had been hoping to study abroad this summer before I graduate college, accepted that that dream was dead because the money simply wasn’t there, and then woke up to an email telling me I’d been awarded a scholarship that covers almost the entire cost of the trip. So, as it would happen, I’m studying abroad this summer in the country I’m planning to concentrate on in my graduate program and PhD if I decide to continue my education even farther. The whole thing is incredibly surreal and until I’m in the plane headed toward Paris, I doubt it’s gonna feel real.

This whole situation has really shifted my finances into focus for me. Although I still have a while until I need to start paying off my student loans, I still have a lot of other expenses coming up this year and not a whole lot of money to pay for them. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, stresses me the fuck out.

I hate to even think about the cost of graduating college which includes buying a cap, gown, tassels, announcements to be mailed out, etc. Then within that same month I’m moving to a completely different state which means driving my car 500 miles, so lots of gas, as well as paying to register my car in a new state and probably a million other things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Now, I will be the first person to tell you that these things aren’t going to be nearly as painful to my bank account as they would be for most people. I’m extremely lucky to be able to fly back and forth between where I live now and where I’m moving to because my girlfriend works for an airline. I get one free carry one and one free checked bag which I can fill up and transport to her apartment so I don’t have to worry much about the financial aspect of moving that involves actually moving my stuff. However, everything else also exists.

This year I also want to spend time traveling to Puerto Rico to see my girlfriend’s family, as well as traveling to Colombia and Hawaii to explore and see some amazing friends. All of these things are cheaper for me than the average person, but that doesn’t stop me from getting anxiety about all the other spending points I know I’m gonna reach in those trips. It’s time I shut up and start saving money and paying off credit cards while I’m still in college and my life is still relative low cost.

Recently I got a free copy (thanks Amazon Prime!) of the No Spend Challenge and after reading through it I determined that straight up no spending is probably the best way to have money. It’s an obvious conclusion, but the act of actually doing it is gonna be the hard part. The book gave me some tools to use to achieve this goal, but it ultimately comes down to me to actually achieve this goal. I’ve spent some time looking at how exactly I’m going to do this, and as a visual person, I think the best method for this is creating a spread in my bullet journal.

My bullet journal is a hot mess because it’s a direct reflection of my brain at this point. Some elements are perfectly organized and thoughtful, while others are literal pages of unreadable scribbles. My game plan at this point is to create a graph of how much I owe on my credit cards and actually watch that number decline. I figure that if I get a hang of this kind of thing now, it’ll make paying off my student loan debt a lot easier when I get a better paying job.

2019 is gonna be a really big year for me, and I want to make sure I can afford to enjoy it to it’s fullest. So, let’s do this!
Advertisements

Goodbye 2018

2018 thoroughly and completely kicked my ass. It played out like a roller coaster of ups and downs, none of which had the appealing quality of a roller coaster which is to be able to see the twists and turns coming. I truly don’t know how I feel about this year reaching its end, but I do know that I’m incredibly thankful for it.

The whole thing started out just fine. I mean, Trump was still president, but things seemed like they could get worse. And, as things so often do, they did. In April my brother almost died from sepsis shock. We still have no idea how he got it or why it went from zero to a hundred so fast. The point is, I got a call from my mother that I needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible and say goodbye because things looking like I was gonna be going to a funeral soon. I drove over an hour to the hospital and braved my crippling anxiety about driving to see my brother and managed to get there right before that put him in a medically induced coma to save what little blood oxygen he had. Within thirty minutes, they were preparing him to be airlifted to a much bigger hospital more equipped for the severity of his state. That’s when I decided I should leave, and I did. I got about a mile from the hospital when a guy ran a red light and hit me while I was turning at over 60 mph. The front end of my car was mangled beyond brief, so much so that the paramedics were shocked both my legs weren’t broken.

It was a really rough day for my parents.

April really set the tone for the rest of the year. Not long after that car accident, I met the beautiful person that could very well be my soulmate. Then my storage unit with all my worldly possessions got broken into and ransacked. Later that same week my brother got released from the hospital, somehow alive and doing generally alright. Not long after, my mother told me she might have cancer and I told her I’m not straight. We laughed hysterically at the weirdness of the entire situation (and she still pretends she doesn’t know I’m dating a girl, but I suppose her willful ignorance is more pleasant than her hatred). My roommates and I moved into our new apartment, only to realize it was a shitty run down place. I lost my entire presentation for my undergraduate thesis, but still made an A in the class overall.

I really don’t know what 2018 was attempting to teach me, but I now have an incredible drive to find a sense of balance, which is going to be made even more difficult with the crazy year 2019 is shaping up to be. I’m planning to travel A LOT more, graduate college, move to a different state, and maybe even start my master’s program or go to law school or start a small business. I don’t know yet. What I do know is that I wanna document this coming year and all it’s ups and downs and possibly find some balance along the way.

I’m strangely hopeful for 2019, so I really hope it doesn’t disappoint, but, in the end, that’s really up to me more than anyone else, huh?

The Charlotte Trip

After a lot of carefully planning to avoid failing like our original plan had, my roommate Sam and I went on a road trip to Charlotte, NC to go see Hayley Kiyoko in concert! We drove about 5 hours there, and 5 hours back with a stop in Asheville to check out a bunch of bookstores.

The trip there was dreadfully boring, as I-85 often is. We were so excited and just wanted to get to our hotel so we could get ready for the concert and make sure we got there early enough to get a good spot at doors. As it would turn out, our hotel let us check in early because they weren’t busy and instead of getting to doors 3 hours early, like we were hoping, we got there 5 hours early because we misread the time. Either way, it worked out great and we got an awesome spot in the venue.

The show was absolutely amazing, and I’m so glad I got some great footage of it! The crowd was phenomenal to the point where we almost made Hayley cry. The vibes were fantastic and it was overall probably the best concert I’ve ever been to. Afterwards we, and a small group of other people, managed to sneak around to the back of building and hung out for about an hour and caught Hayley as she was leaving. She was beyond nice and we all took a group picture.

We immediately went back to the hotel and crashed pretty much instantly, woke up the next morning, and then started toward Asheville. We were complete zombies by this point, hence why I didn’t think to film anything for the vlog, but it a really nice drive through the mountains. We had a list of bookstores we wanted to hit up and it was the chill sort of thing we needed before heading back to Atlanta, especially since we hit it during the tail end of rush hour.

By the time we got back to my apartment, we were already half asleep as we ate our Taco Bell, and I unfortunately at to be at work the next day. It was an awesome little road trip, and Sam and I are already trying to plan another trip the second we can secure the funds. I’ll definitely be keeping this journey in the fondest part of my memory.

Nothing But Thieves Concert!

My roommate, Sam, and I have been planning to go to this concert since the day that it was announced. We found the band Nothing But Thieves together and therefore have an unspoken bond over them. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we were about getting a chance to support a smaller band we absolutely love. It was a rather small show, which is easily my favorite kind of show. We got to chill, buy some merch, and still end up at the barricade.

photo-oct-30-8-22-32-pm

We hadn’t heard of the opening act, but we managed to find their EP and I can honestly say that their EP doesn’t do The Wrecks justice. They were absolutely amazing and had the best vibes ever. Normally I find opening acts forgettable, but they got the crowd super hyped and were insanely rad. We even got to meet them after the show (all of those photos turned out terribly, but it was still a awesome!) and they are seriously the sweetest guys. If I don’t heard more from them and about them in the future it’ll be a tragedy. I mean, they dressed up for Halloween, that’s dedication, my friends.

photo-oct-30-10-05-23-pm

Then we got to see Nothing But Thieves, who are easily some of the most talented people I’ve heard music from in a long time. Their lead singer has a vocal range people would kill for, and the entire band way too talented to be so unknown. When their lead singer heard us singing along with the lyrics, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone smile so big. It was an amazing experience and I wish I could go back and do it all again.

photo-oct-30-9-15-20-pm

After the show Sam and I got a chance to hang out with the tour photographer and have a great conversation. It was definitely a much needed night of fun and excitement and I hope we get the chance to go to more shows like this in the future. It’s the best night I’ve had in a long time.

If you want to check out Nothing But Thieves or The Wrecks, which I would highly recommend doing, their stuff can be found on Spotify and they both have awesome websites with links to everything you could want to know:

www.nbthieves.com

www.wearethewrecks.com

Do yourself a favor and go listen to them. It’s worth it.

 

A Trip to the Etowah Indian Mounds!

This semester I had a couple days off for a fall break, and after not seeing my nephew or family at all since June, I decided to spent it with them and some friends I haven’t seen in even longer! During this same time my family was planning on visiting the Indian Mounds near our little town and they were nice enough to invite me along. It’s not very often, if ever, that we get a chance to do things as a family, so I was pretty excited.

I thought I would do a throwback to the video blog type things I’ve had so much fun making in the past for this trip. It mostly features my nephew, but I love him, so it’s totally okay.

Where Have I Been in September?

September has been by far the busiest month I’ve had this year. Between all my classes, midterms, and so much more with work and life, I have been constantly on the go. I’m hoping that October will bring some relaxation my way, but if things go as planned, then I’m in for some not so relaxing adventures.

Right now, I have some stuff planned for October, and some posts already in the works (that is if things pan out, which they always seem up in the air until the last second when it comes to my life). I’m working on getting another job so I can possibly get a place of my own next year, I’m changing up my major just a little bit, and I’ve been working on my post-college plan with the help of some amazing people.

I’m excited (and a little nervous) for what’s in store for October and, really, just the rest of this year in general. In the meantime, I’m gonna listen to Bon Iver’s new album and continue my routine of work, school, gym, and sleep. You should be hearing from me soon! Between then and now, however, please enjoy this cat video (the best part is about 50 seconds in, trust me).

My New Dorm Room!

After saying Goodbye to Gunn, I got to say hello to my new room on campus. I’ve lived here for about a month now, and this place is finally starting to feel like home. It took a while to get settled in between work and classes, but at last, I have everything together.

Now, I didn’t clean up or make my bed because I wanted to take pictures of what my dorm actually looks like in its natural state (dirty coffee mug and all).

Photo Aug 28, 1 06 31 PM (1)

Photo Aug 28, 1 03 34 PM

Photo Aug 28, 1 04 22 PM

Photo Aug 28, 1 05 11 PM

Photo Aug 28, 2 04 36 PM

If anything, my plants are very much enjoying their new view! I didn’t manage to get any usable pictures of my closet because it’s so dark, but I promise it’s nothing special and looks extremely average. If you wanna see everything together, I tried my best to do a panorama picture, but it’s not my strong suite.

Photo Aug 28, 1 11 08 PM

And before you ask, yes, I don’t have a closet door. Apparently, whoever lived here before me broke the door, so now I have a blackout curtain, hence why my closet is way too dark for photos.

Overall, my dorm is very average and I love it. It’s definitely home (at least until Spring 2017), even though I’m rarely here because of how busy the week gets.