Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'll Be Rich... Someday

Before you read this post, let me assure you I haven’t sold my soul to the devil of consumerism.

Now, I always liked saving and doing well with my money.  When I got married, it became a whole new ball game, especially because I didn’t have a job for so long. Yes friends, getting deals is my sick obsession, I admit it.

 I want it to become your sick obsession too.  Come, drink the kool-aid!  But in all seriousness, I like saving money, and because I have so many friends who are college age or freshly graduated, I want to share some ways I save or even make money with very minimal effort on my part.

What you’re already doing: searching the web

Don’t get me wrong; google and I are best buds.  I have 3 gmail accounts, plus a google+ account that I still don’t understand. But I found another site that PAYS me to search the web!  The downside is that it doesn’t pay for every single search, but I would guess it pays at least 25% of the time.  It awards you swagbucks, and you can cash these out for gift cards to major companies like Amazon.  I’ve been a member just under 2 months and already have $5 in points.  If you’re interested, here’s my link (hey I’m not stupid, I may as well cash in on your faithful readership):

What you’re already doing: checking e-mails

There are two companies that pay you to read their e-mails.  It literally takes me about 10 seconds total to click through these each time I check my e-mail, and the payoff is completely worth it.  My personal favorite of these companies is called mypoints.  I like them better because they send more emails, which makes the payoff faster.  I just ordered a $75 gift card from them in May, and I will have another $100 for Christmas gifts when the time comes.  Some of this is from making purchases through their site or doing surveys, but still: worth it.

The second company is called inbox dollars.  The upside to them is that they pay cash.  The downside is that if you don’t actually participate in their offers every so often, they downgrade you to weekly e-mails instead of daily. My link for that one is

What you’re already doing: shopping online

There are also two companies that literally pay you cash back for every purchase you make online.  How did I not know about these before??  So when you do your Christmas shopping online, do it through these sites and earn cash back.  The first one is  They give you a $10 gift card with your first purchase; I already have my $10 Target card in addition to the rebate.  The link is

The other website is  This site often gives you a higher percentage of cash back, but I always check both just to be sure I’m getting the best deal. That link is

What you’re doing already: shopping in stores

A site called plastic jungle lets you buy gift cards at discounted rates.  For instance, there are tons of gift cards on there now for 20% off- you pay $20 for a $25 gift card.  You just automatically saved $5 before you even walked in the store.  This would also be a great idea for Christmas gifts!

All of these sites are ones I have used personally and can assure you are the real deal.  Here’s another secret: I don’t pay for Christmas gifts with my own money.  Ever, really, unless they get really expensive.  It takes a little bit more effort, but let me know if you’re interested and I’ll share more about that later! Happy saving!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Confession #1

Confession: I have no idea what I want.

Exhibit A- last night, even though our budget is no good for this month, the Mr. and I went on an adventure!  Here is how it happened:

Enter the room.  Zoom in on girl laying in bed moaning. Boy finally notices and asks whatever could the problem be?

Girl: “I need chocolate.”

Boy: “Do we have any?”

Girl: “No.”

So it was that we traipsed in the rain across the parking lot to the grocery store across from our apartment.  This should be easy, right?  I wanted chocolate.  The store has chocolate. But in the chocolate aisle which is also the ice cream aisle, I started to think maybe I wanted ice cream? So we spent five minutes looking at ice cream, but nothing sounded good. 

Back to chocolate. I spent another five minutes debating the merits of a bag of chocolate vs. a candy bar.  Finally, we walked out of the store with two bags of chocolate and some ice cream for the boy.  After eating two mini chocolate bars, I decide what I really wanted all along was some ice cream.  I steal boy’s ice cream to satisfy this longing.

Exhibit B- I start my job next week.

This is good.  Really, it is. I know this.

BUT I have gotten quite used to laying around reading blogs and books and emails and facebook stalking everyone I know all day.  A part of me is sad to give this up.

Once I bring home the first paycheck, I think I will be convinced that a job is for the best.

The lesson in all of this, really, is two-fold. First, never live across the street from a grocery store.  Second, find a boy (or girl) who loves you so much they are willing to put up with your nonsense, even when it means spending 15 minutes deciding if what you think you want is what you really want.  Don’t marry them until you’re sure they will do this.

Words from the wise.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Party Time!

So back to the pity party with me, myself, and my computer with 26 tabs opened to different jobs.

I kept hoping I would read a job description and think, “That’s it!!  My destiny all wrapped up in 60 words or less!” No such luck.

So finally I turned to my safe zone.  Nannying.  I was not thrilled about this prospect, but applied partly out of desperation and partly because of that voice in my head screaming, “Get out before the cat pillows and embroidered cat sweaters get you first!”

I applied for a couple of jobs that I thought might actually be fun.  No word.  I got a couple of messages from moms interested in my profile, but none of them fit what I was looking for except one. So I responded to that one, while still applying to others I thought would be more fun.

Well, what do you know, I finally got an interview with the not-so-fun-looking job.  I interviewed, loved the family, and loved the kids!  I could work part time and still make more than I was hoping to make, plus they gave me some vacation days and paid holidays!
The final dilemma was the car situation.  I would need the car twice a week, but if I had it, my dear other half would have to work for more than 9 hours those days.  Well, here’s the kick in the pants, reader. 

Three weeks before my job starts, my hubbub gets called into a meeting where they tell him he can now work from home one day a week, any day he chooses.  Hallelujah and thank you Jesus, problem solved. (He works just one long day and gets a short day in return, which he needs in order to pick me up in time from the job. Could it get any more perfect?)

And after all my whining and complaining (and a dash of sulking), I realized God had done exactly what I asked him to do.  Never once did I get an interview with Starbucks or any other nanny job.  He opened the doors, and gave me a great job.

An awesome God, indeed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

The second blessing God gave us came in the form of my job.

When we moved, I gave myself a couple of weeks to settle in and figure out what I wanted to do.  But when the time came to get a job, it roared into town with a fury!

All of a sudden, I didn’t want a job, I needed a job.  What was I doing all day?  Why did I suddenly become so boring? Where is my life going? What if I forget how to talk to people? HowlongbeforeIbecomeacrazycatlady?? I was bored and lonely and needed desperately to get out of the house.  So the search began.

But not so fast, I had a couple of problems.

Problem #1- Hubby and I share a car.  He has a full-time job which he uses said car to get to.  Me=carless. Therefore, I needed a job that was either within walking distance or on the way to his job with magical hours that perfectly coincide with his.

Problem#2- I haven’t the slightest idea what to do with my life.  I got a degree in early childhood education because I really like hanging out with kids. I discovered, however, that I do not enjoy teaching them.  They are much more fun to hang out with than to teach.

So Google and I became very good friends. and were invited to the party as well.  I prayed and prayed and prayed over this (thus far nonexistent) job.  I prayed very specifically (which I rarely do) that whatever God wanted me to do, he would open the doors, because I hadn’t the slightest clue. Even MORE specifically, I prayed that if he didn’t want me to get the job, I wouldn’t even get an interview.

In my floundering, I turned where most directionless recent-grads turn: Starbucks.  There were two within walking distance, I worked in food service for many years, and I really do like the coffee shop atmosphere.  I applied, feeling pretty confident (here’s where that college degree pays off *nudge nudge*), and mentally gave myself a week to hear back from them.

A week came and went, and nothin’.  So what’s a stir-crazy housewife with no kids and barely any “house” to do?

Sulk.  That’s what.  But all the pouting in the world didn’t give me a job, so back to the drawing table, friends.

(There really is a blessing in all this.  I’ll get to it next time.  If you’re going to stick around, you may as well know that I don’t know how to make a long story short, but boy oh boy do I know how to make a short story long.  Need proof?  Look how long this parenthetical paragraph is.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Only the Beginning...

To welcome you into this little life of mine, I’d like to share some of the things God has done for the hubster and me since moving to Portland.  (It is a goal of mine to somehow incorporate every nickname for “husband” into this blog.  Ideas are welcome.)

You see, whose-bond (say it aloud!) always told me that he wanted to move to this great city, going so far as telling me he felt called here.  I didn’t feel called anywhere, so along I came.  But even before arriving, I began to see that God really was at work in this decision. 

First thing’s first: a job.  Sadly, money really does make the world go round.  The boy moved out here in May and lived with his grandma while he made searching for a job his full-time job.  He eventually found one, and we felt lucky because they were willing to give him 2 weeks off for a lovely wedding and honeymoon with yours truly.

However, this job was not ideal.  So the search continued, and he went on interviews during his lunch break in hopes of something better. 

Then the big day came.  Well, the big week actually.  He flew to good old Missouri for the wedding, and while we were picking up some of the wedding party, he got an email.  Casually, he said, “Well, I got another job offer.” 

Naturally, I snatched the phone from his unsuspecting hands and began to devour all attachments detailing benefits and pay and such.  Turns out, this job was a $12,000 raise.  I’m sorry, for those who didn’t catch that, let me repeat it.  This job was a $12,000 raise. 

So as not to keep you in suspense for too long, yes, he took that job.  Not only did he take it, he was given much more responsibility (which he somehow thrives on??) and was so much happier.

Needless to say, this was the first of many many blessings to come! I’ll share more in my next post!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Toast to Beginnings!

This blog is dedicated to those people.

In my life, God amazingly loves me now, after my 3 billion sins, just as much as he did in my newborn innocence and perfection.

My husband loves me in a truly astonishing way, even through my yelling and nagging and blubbering and indifference.

My family and friends love something in me that I can’t name, but am so grateful for.

This blog is about all of these things, yes, but it is also about my search to love in this way.  Everyone is unlovable at times, revealing the worst of themselves, the least tamed parts, and I want to learn to love the world in these moments.

Need a recap?

This blog will be about:

My savior
My husband
My family
My friends
My search to love the world better

Oh, and there might be some bits in there about how I just graduated, got married, and moved across the country to where I knew exactly 4 people (and counting!).

Join me, won't you?