Saturday, February 6, 2010Tweet
Saturdays are my days off, which means they incredibly stress me out.
What I do Monday through Friday is set for me -- I go to work -- and Sundays are the same -- I go to my parents' house. Saturdays I volunteer at the library from 10am to noon. Almost every Saturday I have something to take to the post office and something to take to the bank, so I have to do this before going to the library because the post office closes at noon. Despite doing this every Saturday, I somehow always misjudge how long it will actually take me to run these errands and get to the library late, meaning I actually stay there later than noon. I eat lunch when I get home, and then I have a few free hours until 4, when Mike gets home and wants to talk to me for an hour until church at 5, after which we come home and have dinner.
Today I really want to go shopping in that little window of time, because I haven't had a chance to go the past few weekends and I have a bunch of gift cards to New York & Company, who's having a buy-one-get-one-free pants sale (which is really what I need). But I know I also need to put a few solid hours of work into this current project, and if I try to do that while Mike is here, he will drive me nuts talking to me. I could go shopping after dinner, but that only gives me about an hour until they close, and I will not have had a free moment all day.
So no, Saturdays are not my day to relax.
There are other things I want to write about -- NFP, an update on my job, freebies/sweepstakes -- but as you can tell, I'd better get my butt up and shower and eat and get my stuff together for the bank/post office.
It was nice to pretend for half an hour that I didn't have a bunch of stuff to do.
Thursday, February 4, 2010Tweet
A while ago, I wrote about my feelings on tithing, and how I felt reassured that God would supply us with the money we need if we were faithful in giving back.
It occurred to me the other night that I have had steady freelance work since October. And it's not a case of the same few clients having a lot of work. As soon as one project ends, another one pops up. A college professor was contacted by a former high school student of his looking for an editor. Someone I did work for in New Jersey has referred me to several people, the most recent of whom e-mailed me literally the day I was finishing up a project, with a project that will last me right up until this other author is done with his second book for me to edit. Part of it, I know, is that I have great references and that, obviously, I do good work that gets recommended. But I don't like to explain away the fact of timing, that every time I wrap up one project, a new one pops up. That's a blessing.
Mike and I discussed last night a new plan for giving. We give $40 a week at church and $30 a month to our World Vision child, which leaves us with about $50 more that we'd like to donate. For Christmas, my aunt bought our family this large gift basket from the Women's Bean Project, and Mike and I took the six-bean soup package, which I made yesterday for dinner. I thought how great it would be if we could take that $50 and make it a double blessing: use it every month to buy a gift from a charitable organization and give it to a friend. Rather than having to agree on a charity every month, we're simply going to take turns. Mike already had a plan for March, so I get February.
Aside from the charity thing, I've always been really big on giving gifts. It brings me joy like nothing else to work on getting something for someone that I know they really want or would really enjoy, and giving it to them at a time they aren't expecting anything. I had forgotten this at one point in my life, maybe a year and a half ago, and I'd really hit a low point where I was just doing my job and schoolwork and everything else and found no joy in anything (it didn't help that Mike was several hundred miles away from me at the time). I was in church when I was suddenly struck with remembering how much joy I used to get from giving random gifts and doing random acts of kindness. I've tried very hard this past year to make that a part of my life. I really like this idea of making it a monthly thing and benefiting a charity at the same time.
On a somewhat-related note, I am addicted to the website Mint.com. It has made planning and sticking to a budget incredibly easy because it updates automatically and shows you how much you have left in each category, plus keeps track of money you need to save up for a regular purchase not made monthly. And it sends me an e-mail automatically if I go over budget in any category. I think it will be extremely useful once we start paying off Mike's student loans, which I was able to load into Mint, because it will (I think) tell us when we need to start paying them, keep us updated on any interest that's accruing, and obviously work our loan payments into our monthly budget as well.
Mike is getting really interested in our finances because of this class he's taking, something about managing finances for non-profits. I think it's made him more mindful of keeping our spending on track with our budget and thinking up more ways for us to save money / earn more interest on our money. I'm looking forward to when he starts bringing in his own income rather than sucking it all out for tuition payments and textbooks (he does bring in some from his work, of course -- about the same as what I make every month doing freelance work).
Speaking of freelance work, I have to get started on this new project. Remind me to talk about the power of networking sometime -- it's shocking how much work I have now can be traced back to the summer Mike and I lived with his aunt and met her next-door neighbor.