January 2015 Net Worth Update

First month of 2015! I’m really pleased with myself; aside from the major planned purchase from my travel savings, I stayed right on track with the tight, savings-focused budget I set up. I feel like a lot has happened since I set my goals up last month, so just as a reminder, my plan is to try this tight budget out through March and see how I feel about it; I may ease up a little at that point if this is leaving me feeling deprived. Continue reading “January 2015 Net Worth Update”

I Have What I Need, and That’s Hard to Remember

what-do-you-needI’m scheduling this post for my 36th birthday, which (as I write) will be here in less than a week. I just deleted some emails from various retailers promising sales on down jackets, shirts, and shoes. It was the down jacket one that got me ready to write a post — because I thought “oh, I should look at that.” Then I remembered that I have a totally functional down coat that I bought about five years ago and that shows no signs of dying. Why the impulse to go look at that online shop, then? Continue reading “I Have What I Need, and That’s Hard to Remember”

Zero Food Waste 2015, Week 3: Sharing

Fzero food waste challenge 2015or anyone just dropping by, I’ve taken a vow to stop wasting food, and I’m doing a weekly series where I track how that’s going and give a recipe. This week: no-waste food tip #2 (sharing); my grocery shopping (much better than last week!); and a recipe for polenta with vegetables and eggs. Continue reading “Zero Food Waste 2015, Week 3: Sharing”

Tax Time

2014 taxesI’ve been dying for January because I thought I had a decent chance at a real refund this year, for the first time in ages. (Generally I’ve ended up either owing a small amount, or getting a small refund.) As of yesterday I finally had enough documents in that I could start working on them, and even though I’m not totally done yet, because I’m still waiting for one official W2 and one official 1099 to make an appearance, I think, based on my preliminary calculations, that I was right and I should be able to put a healthy chunk of cash towards my Roth IRA. [Can I take one second to be mildly depressed about this, though, because I’d rather blow it on some new clothes. OK, better now.]

Continue reading “Tax Time”

How To Save Money on Drycleaning with Washable Dress Shields

[Previously, in “how to avoid paying professionals for routine wardrobe care”: I repaired my own boots with a leather needle and some waxed thread.]

Recently, I started back to a part of my job that has me wearing my four suit jackets more frequently (I’d been wearing nice sweaters, which are washable as long as you don’t put them through the dryer, all through the fall, but I need to be a little more formal on a semi-regular basis now.) This sent me back to a project I’d picked up the supplies for in the fall, but hadn’t implemented yet, because admittedly it’s a pain: it requires the aforementioned upfront investment in materials, and the job itself is boring and a little finicky at the same time (only when you’re putting things together initially; after that maintenance is trivial.) [Note for the completely sewing-challenged: you could also probably pay someone to do this for you pretty cheaply.] However, it’s going to save me a ton of money since I now won’t have to dry-clean the jacket every time I wear it — possibly no more than once a year. Continue reading “How To Save Money on Drycleaning with Washable Dress Shields”

Zero Food Waste 2015: Week 2 (plus Braised Coconut Chickpeas and Spinach)

zero food waste challenge 2015Last week, I got fed up and added a new 2015 goal: zero food waste. I’m planning to keep a running public list of everything edible I have to toss, as well as use these Wednesday food posts to discuss how I’m making this happen. This week: no-waste food tip #1 (laddering); a report on how I did at the grocery store (not as well as last week!); and a totally delicious packed-lunch recipe. Continue reading “Zero Food Waste 2015: Week 2 (plus Braised Coconut Chickpeas and Spinach)”

Deciding on a Retirement Plan Beneficiary (Especially When Unmarried Without Children)

I don’t usually write technical posts, but this one is, more or less, so it needs a big giant disclaimer on the front: I am (OBVIOUSLY) not a financial professional. Please consult someone who actually knows what they’re doing before making any serious moves.

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to give you some solid advice: whether you’re single or married, make sure your retirement account beneficiaries are properly named and for heaven’s sake, get a will made. [Full disclosure: I’ve done the first, but not the second; it’s on the list for this year.] Continue reading “Deciding on a Retirement Plan Beneficiary (Especially When Unmarried Without Children)”

Wednesday Food Post (plus: make awesome lasagne like me)

Y’all, I am killing it on the grocery front this month. Things got off to a good start when I took out cash at the beginning of the month, divided it up, and went shopping…only to come home with $45 still in my pocket from Week 1’s grocery/spending money. So on Saturday I added $60 to my wallet (Week 2’s spending money) and set out to do the shopping.

I made up an additional goal for myself to add to my previously-established 2015 goals. This goal: ZERO thrown-out food in 2015. I’m not going to get too wild — I won’t be composting vegetable scraps or making stock out of all my chicken bones — but I don’t want to toss any perishables languishing in the vegetable drawer, or any leftovers I just didn’t want to eat. Maximizing my food dollar and minimizing my waste: what’s not to like?

Continue reading “Wednesday Food Post (plus: make awesome lasagne like me)”

Finding a Home for Future Me: Creative Housing Options for Solo Retirement

Single Retirement HousingI got an email from a reader the other day — which was cool! I love getting emails! — that said, in part:

Hi, I am so happy to have found your blog! I didn’t know if I’d ever find another single woman in her thirties who writes about personal finance and cooking! I [was frustrated] with only ever hearing from writers who are partnered, which makes for a completely different financial context than my own…. It’s so great to see another me out there!

The writer is planning to start her own blog (which is awesome, and I look forward to plugging it here whenever it launches). I’m looking forward to the company! There aren’t that many 30- and 40-something long-term single bloggers out there; it’s one reason why I really appreciate Tonya from Budget and the Beach. Continue reading “Finding a Home for Future Me: Creative Housing Options for Solo Retirement”