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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Another way to keep away the stress..

I am a busy woman. I am always on the go. Mom duties, student and teacher duties, and sport duties (i just like saying duty at this point).

Here is something I have found to really keep my stress levels down…

A clean house… or rather a lack of a dirty house…

When my home is messy, I can not concentrate on anything. I walk in the door and become an instant grump monster. How can I cook meals for my family in a messy kitchen? Who can study or write papers in a toy filled living room? My kids cant play if their room is messy. I don’t like to get dolled up in a disgusting bathroom.

The funny thing is, the things I don’t do when my house is messy, are all stress relievers for me. I bake and cook a lot… like a lot a lot.. and I love doing it!  CHECK OUT THE PICTURE I POSTED!! Thats a cake I made for my leagues birthday party… I call it the Skate Cake (super creative as always!!) I made the wheels out of chocolate.. any derby player should love this cake!

Cake by Luna!!

Cake by Luna!!

If I procrastinate on my homework because my house it too messy to concentrate.. talk about added stress the next day.

If my kids cant play in their room, they would just sit in front of the TV and watch Umi Zoomi all day…. One, I don’t want TV monsters, and two, mommy doesnt want to watch word world and team umi zoomi..

Getting dolled up.. well if you look like a slob, you feel like a slob. I love doing makeup, I like having time to do my hair and look presentable, because I then feel presentable.

So….. clean house = Happy Mommy!!!

I have a routine to keep my house clean, and this is the KEY to having a clean home in my household.

In the mornings I wipe down counters, unload the dishwasher, sweep around the house, and vacuum. Simple, fast, and ready to go for the day.

If I am home with the kids all day, at nap time I do toy clean up to maintain the house.. nothing much.

At night after the kids go to bed is when I really clean. I load the dishwasher, do laundry, fold laundry, wipe down doors, swiffer the hardwood and tile, organize book and dvd shelves, and each night I find something new to deep clean (when I run out of things, I start over). This method allows me to have a constant clean house.

Not only does a clean house help lower my stress in all these magnificent ways.. it also helps because I have a silent house to myself when I clean at night. I have lots of thoughts in my head (healthy, not crazy.. promise). When the kids are in bed, I have to keep quiet. This means I clean quietly. This gives me all kinds of time to think about things. When I go to bed, I am ready to sleep, not ready to think anymore… and thats amazing!!!

So anyways… clean house… its more beneficial than you may think 🙂


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The first post…

I’ve heard around that keeping a blog helps a person reduce stress. Blogs give people time to be them selves, be creative, and think about what is going on in their lives. I am a mother of two beautiful young children, am married to a wonderful man, am working on my masters degree, instruct at a local university, and play a pretty intense sport. I love every aspect of my life, except for my stress levels. I am going to give this blog thing a try. Im sure I will never have a reader, but that is not the point of my blog as of right now. If I tell my friends and family about my blog, I feel I will be pressured to write in a certain way or leave things out. I may blog about what I did that day, what I need to get done, what I made for dinner, funny things my kids did, or something completely random… WHO KNOWS! Here is my official first post…