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Archive for January, 2013

Major Budget Change

January 28th, 2013 at 05:19 pm

I had been hoping to get an apartment for $600/month which included furniture, internet, and cable (with HBO) with a private bathroom. Water was to be $10/mo and I had to pay my own portion of the electricity since the property would be student type living (roommate). But I wasn't able to get the deal that I was promised so it would now be $705/mo (that's including the water).

So now I'm looking at different places but WITHOUT a roommate. If I'm going to be paying that much I'd rather live on my own. Albeit I'll have to purchase my own furniture since I don't have any but that's okay. I only want a new bed with mattress, a table with chairs, sofa or loveseat, coffee table and a nightstand. I'd buy the bed/mattress new but the rest I'd get second-hand. My parents would actually give me one of the tv's that they have that has a DVD player on it. They just purchased a new tv and it's no biggie. haha!

But on my own I'd have to pay for electricity, water, and internet. I don't need cable because I have Netflix. I WAS hoping to find a place where I can pay $600/mo maximum for everything, but that probably won't happen.

I have two reasons that I want my own place.

I've NEVER lived on my own.

I went from my parents, to marriage, to a roommate when I become legally separated, to the Army, to deployment. Especially the last three years...

The second reason is just that I'm just over having a roommate.

I want to live on my own, be by myself and not have to consider someone elses feelings if I put something somewhere...

Whenever I get into another relationship I want to have that experience of just taking care of me. Technically I have been for the past three years but having to live day in and day out with several other people constantly and not being able to take a breather is just grating on my nerves!

So I'm aware that it may take me more gas than I had budgeted for but I'll just have to reduce my grocery budget. I wasn't planning on using the whole thing anyways. But I'll still put the rest towards bills of whatever is left over.

But that's life. To take what it gives you.

Just to let you know I've taken in consideration that I may not be able to find a place just for me. Which means that I WILL have to go the student type living. I've looked at another place where I would pay less than $600/mo. Private bathroom, water, internet and cable are included in the rent. But I would also have three other roommates. But it would allow for me to pay some things down and in a year I'd try another route.

Wish me luck!! =D

Almost Home!!

January 11th, 2013 at 10:57 am

I am excited! As you know I'm here in Afghanistan but I'm excited because I'm almost home. What I mean is that this year in 2013, I will actually be going home to the states!! YAY ME!! We got here in 2012 and this is what we've all here been looking forward to (even if it's not happening anytime soon). 2013!!!

I'm REALLY excited because it means that I'll be able to take control of my finances instead of having my parents do it for me. It means that I will be able to get a debt pay off calendar in the works. It means that I'll be able to drive my own car. It means that I'll be able to wear jeans. It means that I'll be able to use a bathroom without having to get completely dressed in the middle of the night and having 5 "neighbors" right beside me. LOL!

It means that I can finally have a room by myself instead of three to twelve roommates. I can have my laundry room and have my clothes done in an hour or two. I can eat what I want instead of eating what's available. I can actually take control of a lot of things instead of relying on someone else to do it. I can actually be able to wear my hair down!

To all of you that haven't been deployed, you have no idea it is to be restricted in what you can and cannot do on a personal level. Everyday we work. There is no "off" time. It's 24/7 here. And it gets even harder if you get injured here which is the current position that I'm in. I had a previous injury that healed when I came here (fractured foot) and at the end of Nov I injured my knee. I've literally have not been injured for about one month (no pain and able to actually walk/run without any adverse effects).

I've been trying to lose weight since I've been here and have only managed to lose 6.4 lbs as of this past Saturday. Yes it's all about my diet mainly but it's almost virtually impossible to count calories or carbs here. It's about portion control and that's the reason that I was overweight in the first place (248 lbs at my heaviest before I joined the military).

Right now as long as I can pass tape I'm good to go. But I'm working on passing weight which might be something I may not be able to do. Why? Because after doing a body-fat percentage on myself, I have 143 lbs of lean muscle mass. For me to make weight I need to weigh 154 lbs. I need to actually LOSE muscle in order to make weight. So my plan would be to keep the muscle I need and lose the muscle I don't need (do you know how hard it is to do push-ups?!).

In fact I can't even do standard push-ups right now because my knee gives out when I put weight on it. Just kneeling on my knees is difficult. (I injured my knee when I fell of a trailer, I believe that I hyper-extended it at the time. Right now the P.A. believes that I don't need surgery and that the ligament was torn. So it'll be a slow recovery. I believe that I need physical therapy which I've asked for but I haven't received it as of yet). I will do push-ups on a stability ball so that I can at least keep up with it. My idea is muscle fatigue for push-ups then try doing them with a weight on my shoulders. I want to be able to do 50 standard push-ups with no issues.

At least I have no issues with doing sit-ups as long as no one is holding my feet. So I do 100 of them with a 6.6 lbs medicine ball and will work my way up 13.6 lbs. My goal is 80 sit-ups in two minutes (I currently do 61 because I keep stopping).

There is nothing I can do for the running right now. I will start walking/biking again next week as long as my knee doesn't swell up like a balloon again...

I just can't wait to get back into things in the states! I REALLY want a subway sandwich! HAHAHA!!

Appreciate the little things in life people, you never know when those will be taken from you. Then you'll realize how much you miss being able to call/visit your family whenever you want to. Or even go to the grocery store. You have no idea how much I want to just go to the grocery store just because I can. And I HATE to shop. LOL!

See ya when I see ya!!! =D

I Want to Do an IronMan!

January 10th, 2013 at 02:34 am

I like to do something that physically challenges me. I did 3 half-marathons in 2011 in 6 weeks. I've also done a sprint triathlon and a few other smaller races.

What I want to do is a 70.3 IronMan this year (http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman-70.3/augusta/course.aspx#axzz2HRhDOfQB) but I just realized that I no longer have a bike. UGH!! (I gave my bike away a while back before I joined the military) So now I have to purchase a bike. I was trying to figure out if I should get a triathlon bike, a road bike, or a cyclocross.

For a quality bike (meaning I will only purchase one of these kinds for a LONG time) it's still expensive. Respectively the cheapest prices are $2,730, $2039, and $809.

Now albeit the cyclocross bike is the cheapest but unless I am actually doing a cyclocross race then there is really no point in getting it. The setup on that particular bike is a lot different even if it does have some of the things I would look for it also has elements that I DON'T need as well. It would be a waste of money to purchase a bike that only has half of what I need.

So that leaves two options: triathlon or road bike. Which of course I realize that they are the most expensive of the two... I've compared them both and I am trying to find a cheaper retailer to purchase them from. I also need to keep in mind that when I purchase this bike, that I'll be keeping this for a VERY long time.

I've even considered riding this bike to work (it's about 9 miles one way). This way I can really get my monies worth out of it. My ultimate plan is to do a full IronMan.

I also realize that I will be participating in these races for a long time because I want to go to the Kona IronMan.

I did look up the bikes on other sites so that I can find the lowest costing bike. I've found them as low as $2,000 and $900. I'm glad that I was able to find them for a lot less than the original price.

I won't be able to do the IronMan triathlon this year as planned but I'm looking to do it in 2014. I need to save up for this bike. If only I had a coupon!! ARGH!!!

So the race is going to cost $300 and the bike about $900 - 2,000. Hopefully I can save quickly and I want to continue my racing.

2013 Money Saving Challenges

January 5th, 2013 at 03:28 am

I've been looking for some money challenges to do for this year. Something in order to help me save.

I happened to see Wealthy Warrior's challenge and have decided to participate. You can look at their challenge yourself if you'd like at http://beawealthywarrior.savingadvice.com/2013/01/02/52-week-money-challenge_99973/

Basically for the 52 week challenge, every week you put that amount of money in the bank. week 1 is $1, week 2 is $2, etc. I'll either do 52 weeks or break it up into two 26 week challenges.

Also I will do a money jar challenge. Whatever change that I have will go into the money jar to be tallied monthly. At the end of either the year or quarter, this money will be added to my savings account (I haven't decided yet).

I'm also going to do an Ebay challenge which would be to sell $500 by the end of the year.

I've heard about snowflakes. I think that is basically extra money that comes your way of doing extra things (not neccessarily a job but extra monies that are earned). So I will do a $250 Snowflake Challenge.

If any of you can think of any other suggestions for money saving challenges, just drop a line.

So far for 2013 my saving money challenges are:

52 (or 26) Week Challenge
Money Jar Challenge
$500 Ebay Challenge
$250 Snowflake Challenge

Military Pay Increase?!

January 3rd, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Well another day another dollar. But in my case it's an extra $175.03 per month gross.

I've been looking at the military pay raise charts. I knew about the 1.7% pay raise to the basic pay but found out less than a week ago about the raises that would affect Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

This is great! This means that I can possibly either put more towards debt, savings or whatnot! I'm not sure how much this equals to after taxes but this is way better than any employer that I've worked for.

I have received two raises in the past year and I haven't even been promoted yet! (currently an E-3). Now I have to really look at things and figure out how to work it into my budget.

In the past my very small raises went into my pocket and seemed to have never existed. Now I want to respond appropriately. This will take some time for me to decide. What I really want to do is start contributing to my retirement. I already know that I want to put it in a Roth IRA although I'm not sure if I want it to be a TSP Roth IRA or one held with a bank.

There are also other things that I want to do such as participate in the 70.3 Half IronMan in 2014 (I need to purchase a bicycle for this because I no longer have one), go to the 2016 Olympics, do the Kona IronMan in 2015 or 2016 and purchase or build a home.

I could start my savings plans now for all of that as well as the things that are on my 2013 goals list (I'm thinking of adding these to my 2013 lists so that they can start getting funded). Or start contributing to my retirement earlier instead of waiting til I get home or both...

I will more than likely wait til I get back home to actually contribute to my IRA.