Archive | January, 2010

Beauty is A Pain in My Wallet

18 Jan

Pain is beauty. I’m not talking about angst, here. I’m talking waxes, diets, workouts, uncomfortable shoes.

But not only is it a pain in my feet, it’s a pain in my wallet. I recently added up how much I can expect to pay for beauty services (haircuts, eyebrow wax, the occasional manicure) and it scared me a little. Okay, a lot.

I go to the local beauty school for my services. There’s a salon/spa, and if you get a haircut or color, you can save money by having it done by a graduate training student. I’ve not had my hair cut in some time, so I’ve yet to give that a try. However, I get my eyebrows done there regularly. The staff are very professional, and do not make fun of my thick, bushy eastern European eyebrows. You go into a private room, shut the door, and lie down. I tell my esthetitican exactly how I want them and about 5 minutes later, poof, perfect eyebrows. The cost? $15 plus tip. I  tip 20% if my eyebrows are, indeed, perfect, and if the esthetitician was friendly, listened, and maybe chatted with me while she worked. So, $18, 6 times a  year (every 6-8 weeks, usually 8+ because I get lazy/forget to go). That’s $108 per year. Remember that.

Let’s say I get an actual haircut (at the same place, for simplicity’s sake) twice a year. $19.50 plus tip ($23) adds up to only $46 per year. But let’s not forget: I have bangs. I need to get them trimmed every 6-8 weeks. That’s $5 for a trim, plus tip of course ($6), say 6 times per year – $36. So just on my haircuts and maintenance, $82 per year. But wait, there’s more! Even though I’m a wee 20 years old, I have grey hair. Bad genetics, what can I say? I get sick of people pointing it out (“Oh my goodness! You have grey hair!” gee, thanks, never noticed) and I feel like at my age, it’s looked at funny. So I also color my hair ever 6-8 weeks. Thankfully, this one I can do on my own, and I only shell out max $3 per box of dye. Only another $18 per year. So our hair total: an even $100 per year.

I did mention “the occasional manicure”. I’d like to point out that my last manicure took place just before senior prom. I don’t do manicures, mostly because the jobs I’ve had since 2007 have forbidden nail polish or fake nails. Now that I can paint my nails, I do so frequently, however I do it myself with my own nail polish that I’ve collected at various points (I always paint my toenails in summer) and some that I’ve received via gift card. I won’t add that into the total because it’s not a regular expense, just the odd bottle when I have a spare $5 and feel like a color adventure. However, in about a month I’ll be standing up in my friend Dave’s wedding, which means I’ll be needing a french manicure to match the other girls (even though I’m on the groom’s side, long story). Again, assuming I get a manicure at this same salon, and assuming I don’t need to get any fake nails, an “express manicure” will run me $23. “French application” is an extra $8 (not sure why). So $33 plus, again, tip: $39. Hell, let’s say this manicurist was fantastic and round it up to an easy-to-calculate $40. Let’s say that I have a special occasion only twice per year (overestimation, I’m not that fancy): $80. I’m afraid that I’m going to like getting a manicure so much that I go in for one way more often than that. I do have a “5 minute French manicure set” that I use, but it doesn’t always yield fantastic results, and for special occasions I think a professional job is in order. So let’s just assume that I don’t want to go through the hassle and I only spend, maximum, $80 per year on my nails.

So far, our running beauty total is $288.

Scary, for me at least.

Not to mention my desire for a health club membership. That’s a whole different animal. Cost per month, workout clothes, extra equipment. I would like the little extra push that having a membership would entail (I’m paying for it, you bet your bottom that I’ll use it). But I’m picky. I don’t want to go to just any old place. I want to go somewhere NICE. My first experience with a gym spoiled me. I had a trial month at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, which, as all locals know, is for the rich people. A membership runs over $50 per month, and after you’re 23, it jumps up to just over $60. But man, is it ever nice. New equipment, private workout room for women, 24 hour facility, super nice locker room. It has everything. I’ve not yet tried any other place, so I can’t really compare, but I feel like I won’t want to settle for the YMCA. Maybe Bally’s? I’ll give it a week long trial membership shot. Let’s estimate a good median price of around $40 per month, or a whopping $480 per year. (Perhaps less. The company I’m going to be working for apparently offers a discount at a bunch of health clubs. I don’t know which ones or how much of a discount or what else is entailed. Hopefully a good one and it’s a good discount, and hopefully I can utilize it.)

But then, as I said, other expenses. I have exactly one workout outfit. One tank top, one pair of running pants, one sports bra. Two pairs of sneakers, but me being me, I want a new pair that is only for the gym (I feel gross showing up in my dirty, beat up New Balance from  high school, and my black NB just look funny, because they’re made for boys, but they were all black and I needed them for work at one point). Let’s estimate here. Let’s assume that I do all my workout shopping at Aerie (aerie f.i.t.), since my employee discount applies at our sister stores. So let’s estimate  $50 for that pair of NB made for Aerie that I’ve been lusting over. Let’s add another $50 for a couple of tops and a couple of running pants. Say $25 for another good sports bra. $125, estimate. That’s not bad, for one-time cost, figuring I won’t need anything more than that, if I hit the gym 3-4 times per week.

I already have some paraphernalia, like a yoga mat, and a stainless steel water bottle. I don’t know what other gear I would need.

So assuming none of my regular beauty expenses change (that’s $288 per year in case you fell asleep, reading this book) and I decide to get a gym membership and some new gear, that’s $893 per year, just on my appearance.

And that’s not counting the little things I pick up every now and again: replacement mascara, a new shade of lipstick, maybe a new set of brushes. Though, admittedly, these expenses probably total less than $20 per year. I’m not too big on makeup, and I usually only purchase it with a gift card or for some special reason. Hardly ever.

Almost a grand every hear just on my physical appearance. That’s scary, since I’m estimating that I made less than $10,000 last year. I don’t even want to think about the money I spend on clothes, and food (out).

Okay, so if you’ve read this entire post, first off congratulations. Second off, any ideas on how to shrink my spending without skimping on quality of service?

I’ve Got Charisma

12 Jan

I suppose those few readers I have might be interested on yet another update in the job search adventure.

Today, or rather sometime in the afternoon yesterday, I got a phone call from the bank. Turns out, they need someone to work on Fridays, and they must not have realized I’d quit my other job or make it work somehow for them. They gave the position to someone else.


They liked my interview so much that they decided to create a position for me. They said they liked me so much they didn’t want to lose me. So instead of a 20 hour per week teller position, I’d be doing 10 hours per week as a teller. It’s not a ton, but there’s room for me to work up to 30 hours. They just can’t guarantee me more than 10. It’s a foot in the door and either way, it’s work. I’ll take that.

HR is going to contact me sometime either late this week or early next week.

I’m very excited to begin my life away from sweaters and food. I’m very excited that they liked me so much they wanted to work out some way to keep me around. I’m very excited about the money that will help me achieve my goals.

Things seem to be looking up for 2010. Scratch one resolution off my list!

Counting My Blessings

11 Jan

Today, in the advent of another flat tire that I can’t afford to fix, I decided to take a step back and look at the good.

I’m relaxing on 400 thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets right now. Not the MOST luxurious, but still better than anything I’ve ever had before. It feels pretty fantastic.

I’m about to curl up under my electric blanket. I’ve never realized how heavenly that is, especially when it’s like Hoth outside and I’m fresh out of tauntauns. Points to the person that gets that, besides Boyfriend.

Speaking of, I have a pretty fantastic boyfriend. I texted him my woes, and he came over bearing my favorite Chinese dessert (sugar donuts, probably not authentic but still SO GOOD). He listened to my problems, and cuddled with me for a bit. It really made my night better.

I have some awesome friends. My best friends. I don’t know what I’d do without almost daily “am I a bad person because…” phone calls and the tip cupping every Friday night. If I’d never experienced a rocket ship night my life would be a sham. Thanks, guys.

And so, dear reader, the moral of this story is that sometimes when life hands you lemons, remember that delicious lemon meringue pie you got with your boyfriend that one time at Baker’s Square. Because you’ve never had a better lemon meringue pie in your entire lifetime.

Money Goals

10 Jan

I have a few money goals for 2010, and in order to hold myself somewhat accountable to them (and to remember them while I’m gazing lovingly at a pair of shoes), I’ve decided to record them here.

1. New bank account. One that lets me debit purchases without a fee. I need that little bit of protection, because I have a very bad habit of overdrawing my account. I usually have to use my card as a credit card, and purchases are delayed, and surprise, fee. I know, I know. Use my check register for all purchases. But sometimes I forget that I bought that $5 lunch and bam. Fee. If I used it as debit, if I have no funds, it won’t let me use the card.

2. Automatic payments. I’d like to be in a place where I can set up an automatic payment every month for my phone bill, and maybe my credit card.

3. Considerably less debt. This is the one that’s going to take the longest and most effort. I have  a student loan that is teetering on default (I need to call them and see if I can still qualify for a deferment until I’m back in school in 3 weeks. I can’t afford to pay it off in total). I also have a $2700 closed credit card account, and my current credit card is about $150 over the limit, though the minimum payment is at only $15 (I know, but I can’t afford to pay more off right now.). I also have to pay back a school I attended briefly, and that’s another $700. I’m counting on my tax return to pay off the large credit card substantially, and if I’m lucky, the small one will be under the limit as well. I’m trying hard to pay off all of these debts, but at $7.25 an hour  and 3-6 hours per week, my retail job doesn’t do it. I make less than $200 per month at my restaurant job. So that’s just under $400 a month.  I spend about half of that on my phone and credit card bills.

4. Knowing went to say NO. I work in a retail setting. The clothing is geared towards people of my age. I get paid next to nothing but I get a large discount. Which means I’ve got this problem with buying the clothes. I convince myself that if I buy basics I’m getting a good price. Except if I want a white tee, plain, I’d be spending around $10 with the discount. If I go to Forever 21, the plain tee shirts are $3.50. I need to learn when to say no and when to look for a better price on something I actually do need.

5. Learn to find alternatives. I’m a coffee drinker. I sometimes make my own coffee and take it to work, but more often than not I stop at Starbucks, since it is about 10 feet away from the store I work at. I figured out that I spend around $7 per day when I’m working in the mall at Starbucks alone. That’s an hour of busting my but, for what, a latte? I need to either  A) quit my outside coffee consumption completely, or B) switch to say, tea, or a plain old cup of joe.

These are just a few to start, I’m sure I’ll get more goals once I really start getting into the nitty gritty of my budget. Hopefully I stick with this. I’m giving myself 6 months to get my affairs in order and have some sort of savings fund.

Frozen Tundra

7 Jan

I’m updating the old blog while it’s blizzard-ing outside. We’re due to get another 6 inches on top of the 6 inches we already got. I guess that happens when you live in Wisconsin. Eeesh.

Anyways, I suppose a couple of you may be wanting an update on how the interview actually went. I’d say it went well. I seemed to get along with all three (!) interviewers, and I think I impressed the branch manager with a fully prepared list of references. Good ones too. They told me they’re still interviewing, and that they’d give me a call if they decide to extend an offer. They said that I interviewed very well. I don’t know if that means “We like you” or “It was good but no cigar”. I guess I’ll find out if/when I get a phone call.

In other news, I found out that another university in my area offers Anthropology as a major. Downside? It’s a private school, and costs $40,000 per year. But, it’s also considered the Ivy League of the midwest. Upside? The school offers tuition remission for part-time courses for any undergrad degree to their employees. Now I just need to wait until a position pops up that I’m qualified for. Also, I’m thinking about applying to transfer to the school, since I can have my application fee waived via a friend that’s an Alumna. It’s worth a shot, and when she went there, the school gave her more of a financial aid package than the local public university I plan on attending. The only upside for me attending the public school is that I have a guaranteed spot. The downside is that it’s not a particularly reputable school. In fact, it ranked minimally effective and the third from the bottom in a list of graduate programs. People also call it yoU Wasted Money. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I don’t have much else to say, except Brrrrrrrr.

I leave you with today’s quote:

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well” – Henry David Thoreau

Interview Panic

5 Jan

Okay, I know I said that I’m fantastic at interviews. I really do believe that, when I’m confident that I have enough skills and experience to get the job to begin with. There’s no bullshitting, no stumbling on words. Only the cool knowledge that I can sell a pair of jeans like nobody’s business.

But now that I’m up for a job that I’m not 100% sure I’m qualified for (but I’m 100% sure I can learn quickly), I’m feeling some panic. I’m interviewing for a teller position at a local bank. I’m telling myself over and over that a teller position is really a sales position, and that I have years and years of cash-handling experience. Its helping.

I’m just really nervous that some experienced person will end up swooping in and getting the job. I’m sure they have a ton of applicants. It helps that I know someone working there. It helps that I’m charming. But, as you can see, I’m still freaking out.

I’ve also only ever had to wear a suit to interview once. I didn’t have the funds to get the jacket tailored, so the arms are ever so slightly too long.

My eyebrows have not been waxed.

My roots are showing.

My front tooth is crooked.

I want to die.

(I do not want to die, this is an inside joke. Sorry for the confusion.)

And so, dear reader, I go to finish my laundry and choose my attire. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t screw this up!

Cleaning Up

4 Jan

Today, I told myself I was going to clean, get my errands done, and call the people I need to call.

And then I slept til noon and I’m still in bed, writing this.

I still have time to call a friend of a friend about a studio. I still have time to clean, and prepare for my interview (WHICH IS IN TWO DAYS), and I have time to do my laundry.

I do not have time to go get my paycheck from work, nor do I have time to set up a meeting with my college to figure out what’s going on with my ability to register.

Ordinarily I’d get upset because I have next to nothing to do and I’ve already wasted half the day. But its cold outside (17 degrees F) and I’m under my heated electric blanket. Sure, I could get up and start cleaning and do laundry, and go up into the attic to find all my clothes and go through those. Or I could sit here and watch season 1 of One Tree Hill.

And so, dear reader, hope that I decide to stay on the path of progress, and make something out of my day. If not, I’ll probably see you again later.