The Adult List

On Tuesday, I put on a very adult outfit.

One part because we had clients in the office, one part because I was seeing Lucky for the first time in a while and knew the dress + heels would get him (and they did) and one part because I was signing my loan documents for my very first home and dressing the part seemed appropriate.

The adult line has been drawn many times so far in my life…when I turned 18, when I turned 21, when I graduated college + started my first real job + lived on my own out of the dorms + started paying for a just about everything on my own (that was a big one), when I really started paying for everything on my own.  But NOW, homeownership…woo-eee, no turning back.

Going through the home buying process, not alone, but more alone than I expected to be on a few levels, was a great experience.  Along the way, I’ve come up with some ideas about adult things I must do or not do, have or not have now that I’m a mortgage-paying member of adulthood.

I probably shouldn’t buy things I can’t afford.  Well, you know, except for the house.  I don’t think too many adults actually follow this guideline, but I’d like to be more consistent with my maturity, responsibility and self-control when it comes to spending. Because, you know it’s the adult thing to do.  Of course, there’s the annoying, little fact that moving makes you want to purge everything you own that was perfectly acceptable for the last year or however long you’ve had it and buy all new everything, coordinating everything, shiny and pretty everything, but I have a little left in my up-front home fund and everything else can wait.

I’m pretty sure homeowners sit on their patios and drink coffee in the morning, wine at night.  This has actually always been a vice of mine and I get TWO patios in my new place, so I don’t think this will be an issue.

Women who own homes have pretty lingerie.  I have sexy lingerie, but lately I’ve been noticing the pretty pieces that just scream to be worn around the house when it’s just me, you know, being an adult.

I recently read a blog post about completely free ways to make your house a home.  My apartments have been increasingly homey, but this condo is 100% mine and I want to feel as such, by speaking fondly of it and my things, spending time there, spreading out to utilize all the space and filling it with music.  My adult music of choice?  Frank and Michael.

Adults must, from September to February, stock beer in the fridge for football season.

My new place needs some kind of cohesive style throughout the house that utilizes more new furniture than hand-me-downs or Craigslist purchases.  This comes back to the money, money, money issue, so I will be patient.

I am definitely going to need a cleaning schedule and the motivation to follow it.  Or maybe a cleaning lady.

This new line, with the definitive before and after, is an opportunity to renew my ideas about who I am and who I want to be, what I want to do with my life, who I want to let in my life, who I need to let go from my life. 

Like everything, it’s a work in progress.

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How do you save money?

I just wrapped up tracking my spending for August. Notice I said tracking my spending NOT my budget because even though I tried to make the switch from knowing what I spend to following a budget late last year, it lasted all of a few months.

I’m embarrassed to say that my spending has been OVER my earning for the last six months. Yep, I only successfully didn’t spend more than I earned for the first two months this year. Don’t get me wrong, the first two months were big savings months and the last six haven’t been radically over what I earned, so I’m actually still in the black for the year. Barely.

Naturally, with my spending raging out of control, I decided to buy a house. Makes sense, yeah? The idea was that I’d save money by owning (thank you, plummeting housing market) and in the first place I would have.  I got my good faith estimate for my new place last night and it pretty much matches my housing costs right now, but the HOA gives me more plus I’ll save on gas for many reasons, so don’t worry that I’m going to end up as a short sale or foreclosure!

Trying to save anything during the month I’m closing escrow and moving doesn’t make much sense and if all those upfront costs were included, of course I’d be spending over what I make, but that money is coming from a separate fund and I am not counting those costs in my monthly expenses.

So, taking those out of the picture, I have given myself the goal to save $200 of my regular monthly income based on my regular monthly expenses.

Which led me to the question of “how do you save money?”

Today I really wanted a Whole Foods sammie from their sandwich bar (turkey on focaccia – legit focaccia, something I have only found in ONE of their stores and sadly not the one I work by anyway – with Muenster, sun-dried tomato ai0li, pesto aioli, lettuce, tomato, roasted red peppers, panini style…it’s heaven in your mouth and you’re welcome), BUT it was only because I was driving by after running some errands and I knew I had salad and soup at work and wouldn’t, in fact, die if I didn’t get my beloved sammie. Did I just save $8? I don’t really think so. It’s more like I didn’t spend it and I’ll find out in 30 days if it paid off in the amount of $200.

Being that I decided house-buying expenses don’t count, I guess this next point moot, but with the holiday weekend coming up (and no holiday in sight for me thanks to Bridezilla my sis) I thought it would be a good time to buy the three missing appliances for my new place to “save” a little money.

Spending money to save money has never made much sense to me, but I’m still a sucker for the advertising ploy. Again, doesn’t really count as saving. That money I would have spent on full-priced appliances will stay in my house fund for the next thing I need want to buy.

I follow some bloggers who are going on spending fasts this September, but I’m not quite ready to go there yet, although it might be the kick in the pants I need. The challenge I’m setting for myself here is simply end the month having NOT spent $200 of what I’ve earned. That’s how I save money.

And…because I like goals, my other goal for the month is to leave my anxiety in August.  August, being my birthday month, is one of my favorites, so it’s kind of a terrible place to leave anxiety, but there’s no need for it in September.  I cried it out a bit last night in one of those “what am I crying over?” moments where you realize you just need to cry over nothing and everything.  Today, with the fresh start of September, I will run and do yoga, two great stress relievers for me.  I think that’s a great start. 

So, how do you save money?  What are your goals for September?

A Small Picture

I’ve had moments since graduating college where I’m like, wow, I’m an adult, but nothing hits you harder than owning a home…well, owning a mortgage on a home and having the blessing of paying a bank every month for the next thirty years of your life.

In discussing the home and the whole process I’ve been going through with my mom, she had one of those “I can’t believe my baby’s buying a house” moments. To her, I’m 12. To my dad, I’m about 8 so he’s having an even tougher time with it.

All my apologies to feminism, but I was susceptible to the Prince Charming and happily ever after influences of my childhood and never really imagined I’d buy a house on my own. It wasn’t even on my radar until maybe about a year ago and sadly, even at that point, my thought process was like, “with my luck, I’ll give in and buy a house and a week later meet Prince Charming and he’ll have his own place and we’ll just be a mess of real estate.”

Lucky has a place, but I decided to buy after meeting him and before knowing where our relationship is going because that’s the best I could do. 

As Oprah says and as I’ve named my blog:

“Doing the best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next.”

I made the decision that was right for me right now and as I read recently:

“It will all add up to something, even if it’s disconnected now.”

You can’t know the big picture, you just piece together the little ones until you see it. When I was in the mess of the first house I put an offer on, my feeling was that I just wanted to fast forward a few months to get through the stressful bits of the loan process, escrow, the renovations and be there already. That was probably my first sign that something was off. I’m excited about this big event in my life now and the journey that I imagine it’s starting me on.

Coffee on the house!

I briefly mentioned here that I put an offer on a house, but my, how things have changed since then.

Too many DIY home shows had me thinking a cheap fixer-upper was perfect for me, but after the offer was accepted and my earnest money was handed over, it was time for inspection and the inspection freaked me the fuck out. Suddenly the renovations I would have had to do + the renovations I was dreaming of to turn it into a cute, little, perfect-for-me home > my budget + my comfort zone + my anxiety threshold.

Still within the ten days I had to back out without penalty, I produced a new list of properties to check out and my very patient (and caring and sexy and…okay, Lucky is my realtor) realtor took me on home tour #2 and I found a different place that I loved and felt much more at ease about and did a little switcheroo.

Sooo…escrow opened yesterday.  The word escrow always makes me think of this Gilmore Girls episode where Luke’s brother-in-law runs around screaming that he’s in escrow:

Ahh, I miss Gilmore Girls.

Anyway, being newly IN ESCROW means another inspection period, and even though now that I know first hand that can change things, I don’t see it happening that way and imagine this time it’s just going to rock on by and before I know it I’ll be moving into this new place that I’m now dreaming about.

So, what exactly am I dreaming about?  Well, that was going to be the point of this post, but my long-story-short turned into a bit of a long-story-longer and I will save that for next time!

Naked Chef

While I sometimes lament being single and sometimes wish I still had a roomie to make In-N-Out runs with and come home to watch Say Yes to the Dress with, I really like that I’m on my own.  I’m an introvert and need my alone time and I like the freedoms that come with living on my own.

Also, I may or may not be kind of competitive with my sister and every time she’s over she comments that she wishes she had lived on her own instead of going from our parents’ to college to living with her best friend to living with her fiance.  Point, emjaye.

I like having total control over how to decorate, singing loudly in the shower and having parties without checking someone else’s schedule, but the freedoms truly culminate in the kitchen.  While cooking naked. 

It’s not that I love cooking naked, it’s that I love that I can. I don’t do it often, but if I’m not dressed and I’m hungry, I’m not getting dressed to walk 15 feet across my – and only my – apartment to my – and only my – kitchen.

I found myself watching a show called “I’m Pregnant and…” over the summer. Each episode follows a pregnant woman in an nontraditional situation. This particular episode was called, “I’m Pregnant and a Nudist.” It made me wonder if I was a nudist (I’m all about the power of suggestion), but in my defense, it was the middle of summer and I was quite frugal with the A/C, so taking my clothes off while I hung out around the house by myself just made sense. 

Now it’s winterish and getting cooler (and I’m frugal with the heat) so I can safely say I am not a nudist.  However, I really do enjoy the “I’m not wearing pants” dance that my sophomore year roommate taught me (that sounds much more like a college any guy’s fantasy than it actually was). 

And someday I will find a man who will thank his lucky stars that I have held on this quirky habit from my single days.