Lifestyle

Work Life Balance: When There’s Too Many Plates Spinning

Have you ever been to a circus and watched someone spin plates on a stick? Of course it’s quite impressive, and it certainly took the performer plenty of practice (and many failures too) to get their personal plate to spinning ratio perfect. But even he or she will reach a point where they just cannot add any more plates without all of the others crashing down.

My plates recently came crashing down to the floor.

Thankfully none of them shattered. I did learn, however, that I, the crazy lady that thrives on constant side hustling and very little sleep, do have a tipping point.

Adding the Final Plate

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy side hustling and I constantly have several gigs going on at once. I have my full time job working in the senior living industry, which consumes over 40 hours per week (not including the 2-3 hours I spend commuting each day). I work at an espresso stand several times during the month on my days “off.” I’m doing some freelance writing and also trying to keep this website updated for you. And I also recently completed a 2 month stint working as an usher at the circus in the evenings. I usually have no problem managing my time, and actually feel pretty energized by the amount of work that I do.

Until I decided to cater overnight high school graduation parties. I just spent the last three weeks working all week long, then working from 9pm-6am serving pizza and donuts to newly-graduated high school seniors 3 nights on the weekends. The company I worked for was created out of a mission to keep seniors safe from drinking and driving on what is statistically the deadliest day of the year for teenagers, and I highly value their vision. Unfortunately, these parties were almost deadly for me.

The multiple, consecutive days of sleeping just an hour here or there left me feeling worse than terrible. My concentration was nil. My social life was non existent. I couldn’t get anything done at home. I gained a few pounds when this pushed my Weight Watchers diet out the window. Plus I ended up calling in sick twice at work because I physically felt so ill. And what do I have to show for it? Five hundred measly dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, $500 is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. But everything comes at a cost, and to me, my physical, mental, and emotional well-being is worth way more than $500.

Managing Money

Mayday Mayday: My Spending Habits Need Saving

Ahh, the first of May. A day to celebrate the impending arrival of spring. A day filled with top ramen haired memes of Justin Timberlake. A day of chaos and anarchy in most large U.S. cites. And for me, a day to reflect on my spending habits during the month of April.

I use an app called Personal Capital to track my spending, and I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love it because it serves a great purpose in showing me how much money I spent in various categories. And I hate it because it shows me how much money I spent in various categories.

I mentioned earlier in the month that I was participating in a Pantry Challenge and was planning on limiting myself to $100 for groceries this month. Drumroll please…. I went $127.51 OVER budget, for a grand total of $227.51. If I break it down, I actually only went about $35 over budget. I spent about $40 in cat food and kitty litter, which I now realize should be in its own separate category. I also spent $53 on liquor and mixers to bring to a party, which I could put into the entertainment category. But regardless of what lame excuse I try to come up with, I still failed at this challenge. I also spent $113 on eating out this month, which I consider to be a high number for me.

Overall, I did have around $400 in unexpected medical and car expenses for the month, which did make my spending higher than anticipated. Even so, I still spent $367 less in April than I did in March! Definitely not something to sneeze at, if I do say so myself.

Based on all of the numbers, I’m going to give myself two challenges for the month of May:

  1. Only spend $75 on restaurants (I’m going out of town for two days, so I’m making that a little higher than I normally would).
  2. $125 grocery budget for the month

If you have any savings challenges for the month of May, I’d love to hear about them, so let me know! Happy saving!

Managing Money

4 Common Money Mistakes Made By Women

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. Overly plucked eyebrows. Cringe-worthy haircuts from years past. Blurry, tequila-fueled hook ups with men that haven’t quite figured out they’re gay yet. There’s always something we, as women, can look back on with regret. Thankfully, the pain of these awkward memories usually fade, just as sperm-shaped eyebrows always grow back. But sometimes women make terrible mistakes that stick around for decades (just like that shamrock-shaped tattoo you got in a tent outside of a bar on St. Patrick’s Day — yes, that really did happen). Money mistakes can take many shapes (fortunately, most aren’t in the shape of a lucky plant). Here are 4 of the most common mistakes I see women make with their money.

Trying to keep up with Ms. Jones

Your favorite celeb posts an Instagram picture wearing her new waist trainer, so now you have to have one too. You can’t make your car payment this month, but you definitely can’t miss your bestie’s bachelorette weekend in Vegas either. You can’t be caught dead in a car that doesn’t have heated seats and built-in GPS. Whether or not we like to admit it, women care about how other people perceive them. We want to be the prettiest, the smartest, the most talented, or the wealthiest, just so we can impress other people that probably don’t even care about those things to begin with. Unfortunately, this usually comes with a price tag (both literally and figuratively). We buy things to make us appear more like the person we want to be. It’s fine to buy things that make us feel good about ourselves, take ourselves on a relaxing vacation, or even reward ourselves for a job well done. It’s not OK, though, to buy ridiculously expensive designer sunglasses then not have enough left over to pay the rent or buy your baby’s formula. It’s all about balance. Make sure you pay for the essentials first (including putting something into savings), then by all means spring for those hot new shoes if you have extra cash leftover.

Assuming he’ll take care of you forever

“My husband has a retirement account, plus a pension from the military, so I don’t need to save for retirement.” But what happens if you get divorced? “That will NEVER happen.” What if he dies young? “He’s perfectly healthy.”

This was a conversation that I had several times with a friend, and it absolutely kills me to think about all of the what ifs. No one ever plans to get divorced or expects their seemingly healthy husband to pass before you’re both old and gray, but guess what? It happens! It happens ALL THE FREAKING TIME! My dad was 71 when he passed away, which is still relatively young. My 63 year old mom suddenly found herself solely responsible for the mortgage and day-to-day expenses, despite my dad’s pension and social security income being slashed in half upon his death. Thankfully, my parents were always very smart with their money. Plus they had ample time to get the finances in order prior to his death. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many widows lose their homes, have to live with their children, or just simply not even know how much money they have or where to access it.

Long story short, never rely solely on your significant other to manage your finances and your financial future.

Rushing into things

Along those same lines, I’ve seen women totally screwed when they moved too fast in a relationship. One friend purchased a home with her fiancé, only to divorce him less than a year after marrying him. She kicked him out, he didn’t have a job, so he quit paying his portion of the mortgage. I don’t know the specifics on how much of a struggle it was for her, but I know she moved in a few roommates and a new boyfriend soon after, which I assume helped her make the payments.

Similarly, I have a cousin that signed an apartment lease with a guy she’d only been dating a few weeks. Sure enough, her crazy started showing through and he bailed. She tried to sue him for his portion of the rent that he’d promised to pay when they signed the lease. That failed miserably when she saw him across the courtroom and fell for him all over again. Oddly enough, he bailed once again, just as soon as she dropped the lawsuit. Go figure.

Not asking for more money

It’s no secret that men make more money than women. Just last week people were posting all over Instagram in support of Equal Pay Day, which highlights the wage gap between men and women in the United States. Part of this is a broken system. But part of it is that most women are afraid to negotiate their pay. I have hired a few employees in my day, all of them women, and not a single one has ever tried negotiating with me for higher pay. I’ve also spoken to several friends who tell me they’ve never tried negotiating their pay either upon hire or after a performance review, out of fear of rejection or fear of coming across as greedy. I don’t know how greedy I’ve come across, but in all of my negotiations, I’ve never had anyone flat out refuse. Maybe they didn’t give me as much as I’ve asked for, but they’ve always increased the offered amount. In my opinion, it’s better to ask and be turned down than to risk not asking and losing out. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.