Luna's Landing

Another day, another lesson learned


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Saving Money While in Grad School?????

Is it possible??

Here is what I have found out…

To start off, I would like to share a little back story..

I met my husband when I was 14. We were high school sweethearts! I took college classes in high school, and graduated high school early to keep up with him (cus we were so in love… bawww). I was in college for 4 years. In those four years my husband and I got married, and had two children. I missed one week worth of class for each child (while still breastfeeding!), and have never taken a summer off. I am now in my second year of my master’s program, and again took summer classes. I am a teaching assistant for my university, in which I get to teach the classes entirely on my own. My tuition is waved for my masters, but I had to take out student loans all four years of my bachelors.

I have lots of student debt… but i am not scared!!!

So here we are now.

My husband and I have now been together for nearly 9 years, and we are ready to buy a home, and stop living pay check to pay check.

If we want to start living this way once I graduate, we have to start saving now… like this very second.

Let me let you in on a little secret… I do research for a living.. I am pretty good at it… so I have done my homework here. I wanted to know:

How can I save each month?

Can I get a home loan with student debt?

What are banks looking at when they assess you for a home loan?

How much of a home loan can I afford?

And of course…. what kind of jobs can I get with a master’s degree in human communication (research focus on the LGBTQ community).

There are a bazillion tips out on the interweb on how to save money, but about for every 1,000 tips, I can use 1. Well, one is better than zero right?

So here are my tips after much research:

1. Write down your finances. Every penny. Start off with delegating your bills out to each pay check. For example: my charter and electric bill come out of my first check each month. My rent comes out of my last check each month. Next, total up how much you make and subtract how much you spend on bills, gas, and groceries. How much do you have left?? Can you put 10, 20, 30, 50% of your leftovers into savings? If so, do it!!

2. Bite the buck and buy groceries, lots of them. Get the kind of groceries that you make meals from scratch. You would be amazed at how much this will save you. Also, always make a little extra to take to work with you for lunch the next day. Eating a brown bag lunch every day will save you hundreds!! Also, buy store brand… you wont taste the difference. Remember, these meals do not have to be betty Crocker, just a filling meal. Extra tip: Aldi’s has the cheapest veggies, and Walmart has the cheapest chicken!

3. Get netflix… so this is $10 a month, how will that save me money?? Well a movie ticket is also $10.00 and it is just one part  of entertainment for one night!! Instead of going out with friends, invite them over, have everyone bring a snack to share, you can make some from your groceries, and watch a movie on netflix. Not enough? Start watching series on netflix that you can get addicted to. I like Walking dead, Lost, Downton Abbey, and a few more. Wanting to watch the next episode may keep you in and save you on gas, food, a movie ticket and more. Maybe you can get some class work done between as well!!

4. Stop using credit cards. If you can not afford it when you swipe it, you can not afford it. If you can not afford it, you will pay payments. If you pay payments, you are paying interest. If you are paying interest, you are spending more and more and more. Stop it.. now. Its a slippery slope…

5. Do not clip coupons. These are scams… did you know that??? “What a great deal!! $1.00 off something I wont need for three months, then I will forget I have it!” or “$2.00 off 2 of the same thing, I will have to get that, even though I have never used this brand before and would not have bought it if I never had a coupon.” No… Just no. You are spending more than you would have if you never had the coupon. If it is for free… fine, use it. If it is for something you buy regularly and you need, use it. Otherwise, THROW IT AWAY!!

6. Call your tv service and electric company. Are you paying the lowest rate you could be paying? Probably not. Charter reduces my bill every time I call.. I call about once every 6 months. Most electric companies can give you a set rate on your bill each month; is it lower than what you are paying now? If so, take advantage of that!!!

These are my 6 golden tips for now. I am hoping to find more!! I am saving a lot each month just by following these tips.

Do you have any more tips? Comment them below!

Do you want me to write tips on the other areas I have been researching? Leave me a comment, I will get to it ASAP!!!

Thanks for reading!


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Being an adult about big kid choices….

I have been trying to figure things out…

Do I go for my PhD? If so, what schools? Do I take a year off? If so, should I adjunct and try to find a consulting job? Can you consult with just your masters? Would I find a consulting job? Why is everything so scary and big? Does my family move away or stay here? blah blah blah….

I have been talking to all my friends and family, trying to see what their reactions and advice is…

I have been doing a lot of soul searching to find what I really want…

And then it hit me…

I want to be with my family. More than money, more than a home, more than a fancy Doctor title, I want to be with my kids and husband.

Today I have decided that worrying and panicking about what will happen next is doing nothing for me and my biggest dream, a happy, healthy home.

So tomorrow I am going to start emailing my contacts, asking them questions, lots of questions.

I know a professor who owns a consulting firm, I will bug him.

I know people who adjunct, I will bug them.

I am going to look up how to be certified to do divorce mediation.

I already know how the PhD programs work, but I do not know how job hunting works.

I am going to be logical. I am going to do my research, search for wise advice, and I am going to make my decision then.

There is nothing more I can do at this point in time.

I also need to remind myself over and over… and over, that if I choose to stop with my masters that it is not because I am giving up or because I am a failure. Most people never make it this far, especially at my age!! If I choose to stop my education, or take a break, It was simply a better choice. Also, I can ALWAYS go back!!

So tomorrow I begin my logical, calm, search to make the best decision for myself and my family….

Image

Blondie!!

P.S…. I bleached my hair blonde…. in case you were waiting to know my decision on that!!


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Anxiety, Excitement, Exhausted, Motivated

I have been questioning what to do next.

Lots and lots of questioning…

Right now I am in the summer semester between my first and second year of my masters program. I need to start applying to PhD programs, and begin writing my thesis.

All of a sudden I don’t know what I want to do anymore. I do know I want to finish my masters, there is no doubt about that.

I have two kids and a husband waiting for me to finish school. I feel like we are all on pause until I am done.

We want a house, a life, less stress, and lots of love!!! Do I want to wait just one more year, or do I want to wait 5 more years?

Then again, how will I ever buy a home??? I live in an area that shacks costs 150,000. The taxes are outrageous, and I have 40,000 is student loans.

PhD= more student loans, even with an assistantship, and no PhD= less pay…

WHY ARE THERE NO EASY ANSWERS???

Oh boy….

I really want to be done, I also really want to earn my PhD…..

I could take a year off and work and think about it… but then if I do go back, I will hate myself for being a year behind.

The only thing I can really do with my masters is adjunct, and if I am really super lucky, I can do some communication consulting… not many options..

I will keep updates on decisions I make, but for now, your guess is as good as mine….

As far as the motivated part in the title… I am motivated… motivated to rock the next year of school so I can do whatever it is I will be doing next 🙂

Trying to always remember the bright side


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Should do list…. I need to prioritize…

Jafar writing a to do list!!

Jafar writing a to do list!!

Right now, as my kids wrestle my husband to the ground, I should be writing a post for class.. I will do that as soon as I am done blogging 🙂

I have mentioned multiple times that I am crazy busy and do a lot. So today I thought I would share my to do list… I like to call them my should do lists…

To do…

Write my class post

Order a book off amazon for my qualitative methods class

Do some picking up around the house

Start an assignment that is due the first day of my qual. class

Begin my thesis literature review (I REALLY need to do this one)

Start looking back over lecture notes and syllabi for next semester

Go grocery shopping

Go to forever 21

Go to Macy’s

Finalize a literature review for my Romantic Relationships class

Find my APA style book

wash my car….

Get my hair cut

Get my eyebrows waxed

Read 6 chapters for my qual class

Do some MORE laundry… it never ends!!!

Go to the bank

Get Chandler new tennis shoes

Get a pedicure (I may take Lyla for her first time!!)

Make a vet appointment for Neville (our fur baby)

And more that I am sure I am missing….

During all these to do things I also play and take my kids fun places (I think we will be going to the science center tomorrow!), cook meals, and other mommy duties!!

My friend just called me… got to go…

whats on your to do list???

what do you always put off??


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Beauty is for superficial people…

Makeup, manicures, pedicures, fancy shmancy clothing.. all for fake superficial people.. right????

No, not really.

Listen, I love to just throw on sweats for the day and run out of the house with no makeup as much as the next grad student. Sometimes comfort really is a priority. I can not, and I will not sit in the library for 12 hours researching and writing like a mad man if my clothes and shoes are uncomfortable.

But here is the thing….

Humans like beauty. Does this seem superficial.. maybe.

In all societies and cultures we have different beliefs on what beauty is. However, one thing remains constant; beauty is related to the perceptions of intelligence, wealth, power, respect, and much more. When we see a well dressed man we believe he has worked hard in his life, he has a good job, and he is smart. Same with a woman. She is put together, intelligent, and has a good life.

This is what we think when we see beautiful people.

Did you know that teachers, instructors, and professors get higher student evaluations when they are perceived as good looking. Multiple studies have been done to show that appearance, more than any other attribution correlates with evaluations. Some studies have even gone as far to say that students listen, and possibly even learn more from good looking instructors.

Now, I know I can teach my students without looking like barbie, because trust me I don’t.

However, when teaching, I try a little harder. I am NOT trying to look sexy.. not sure if I am capable of that. I am trying to look professional.

I like to do this when buying a new car or any large purchase as well. Try it, you will find you are treated much better and often “win” more when you look more put together.

As I am in my 20s, I am just now really figuring out my style. I like layers, and bracelets, flats (even though I am short), earrings, scarfs, necklaces, and occasionally a cute hat. When I did costuming and makeup in my undergrad it was all for theater… and therefore I SUCK at every day makeup.

Then I found Kandee Johnson!!! I love this girl! Watch her, you will be in love as well. She does  everyday makeup as well as costume makeup. She shows you how to do high end and drug store brands of makeup (we all know this grad student uses the drug store brands). 

Anyways, now that I have found my own style, and understand how to do my makeup, I feel like superwoman. My confidence has boosted, heck, I think I walk a little taller. I have also noticed more respect from others.

Beauty is on the inside. But sometimes your inside shines more when you feel better on the outside.


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More about me…

In case someone decides to read.. I thought maybe I could share more about myself before posting more blogs.

First, my kids! I have two children under the age of 4. They are wonderful, beautiful, fun, and energetic… very energetic!! My daughter is smart, creative, and sassy like her mommy. My son is funny, laid back, and a wee trouble maker like his father. Their father, my husband, is a hard working guy doing his best to support us. He is a funny, smart a** kind of guy who is actually a big sweet heart. He has to be a great guy to deal with a wife in grad school.

I can get a little stressed out… I am currently working on my masters degree and will be applying for doctorate programs soon (nerve racking).  I am a researcher of human communication and focus on romantic relationships.

You know how everyone asks the mechanic friend to work on their car?? I’m the relationship mechanic friend…

I really enjoy my research, but it doesn’t get more nerdy than this…. Since I love my research, I also have the pleasure of teaching human communication. How lucky am I? I get to teach people how to deal with conflict in their relationships, how to tell a girl you like her, how to have those hard conversations, the science behind feelings of passionate love, and a whole, whole lot more!!!

I have two cats… who really I should have mentioned with my kids, because they are  also my kids… and I post about them a lot on Facebook… I look like a crazy cat lady in cyber world…

Jafar

Jafar

Lastly, I play roller derby. This is my time… I put on skates, sweat my butt off, hit girls to the ground, get hit to the ground, and go home. I know, sweet deal!

I love each part of my life, but each part comes with multiple smaller jobs and challenges causing me to be going all the time. My main focus is my kids. If I ever felt they were not getting the attention they deserved, everything else would stop.

This is my current life in a nutshell… now I think I will start posting randoms…