(Mis)Budgeting

As an adult in my early 30s (32 to be exact), I realize it has come time for me to take the official plunge into home ownership (kicking and screaming of course). This has been something I’ve been brewing on for at least a year, but I’m admittedly frightened by the entire process and as a result I haven’t quite pulled the hypothetical trigger…until last week.

Found a realtor, Check! Everything else should just fall in place now, right? Nope. Now comes shopping around for home loans, saving money (which I should have been doing longer than four months now), home inspections, builders, fees upon fees, moving expenses and so on. The entire process (now having heard it over a dozen times) causes me a great deal of anxiety.

scared gif

Of course the most important part of this equation is careful budgeting so I CAN save enough for a down payment, other fees and closing costs. Seems simple enough right? I’m careful enough with my money, right? Wrong!

During my lunch break today, I printed out my last three months of bank statements and took a fine tooth comb through every swipe I made with my debit card. To add fuel to the fire, I decided to highlight each swipe in a designated color that i assigned to a specific area of spending (ex. “Entertainment”). And yes, my handwriting is atrocious (I was writing quickly since I did this at work).

Budget labels

As I combed through each line item I realized that the majority of the swipes were under the “Entertainment” category. I lump things like movies, dinners out, exhibits, concerts, alcohol, misc, clothing purchases that aren’t for a specific event, unnecessary Amazon shopping, etc. Basically anything that I don’t need that involves fun or indulgence. It was shocking to me to see that I spend about 20% of my paycheck each month on “Entertainment” and about 10%-12% on groceries/household items. Shockingly, I don’t spend as much on gas as I thought. I’m actually doing fairly well in that category considering the fact that I work about 45 minutes away from where I live. Of course, not shocking 60% of my budget goes towards actual bills like rent, car payment, utilities, student loans, medical bills, vet bills, car insurance, credit credit, etc (things that are necessities).

So what does this tell me?? Well, one I’m apparently a social butterfly–but mostly that I need to chill on my spending on social gatherings (even in the realm of my relationship where we “share” the responsibility of treating for dates–we take turns). It seems simple enough to fix this, but will take some serious adjustments. For starters, I could limit eating out to once a week and only go to places with deals. I could also not order alcohol out (because that’s easily $10 a drink in some places) and “brown bag it” during times where friends are preGaming before a night out anyway. I could also shop MORE based on sales/deals, clip coupons (I really hate doing this), use money saving apps, more closely track my spending…maybe even start using cash more so I’m more aware of my spending habits??? I had been meeting with two friends weekly on Sundays to have an open discussion about how shitty we all are at saving money (to hold each other accountable), but I’ve preferred lazily laying in bed on Sunday mornings with my boyfriend (because we’re both lazy) instead (do you blame me?).

shrug - gif

It all seems overwhelming, but not impossible. It will be painful, but it needs to be done to get to where I want to be within the next year. I just need to approach this in a realistic way that will work FOR ME. Maybe I’ll document this very painful process along the way.

 

Advertisements

Passed The Test?

Per usual, I overextended myself this past weekend and never quite caught up on sleep that I lost in the previous week/weekend, but this wasn’t just any run of the mill overly social weekend, it was The Teacher‘s 30th birthday weekend and I really wanted to make him feel really special because he deserved it…annnndddd…I just really love celebrating people’s birthdays.

Since he and I had, had some solo time a few days before the actual day, he asked if it would be ok if I basically spent the entire afternoon/evening with him and his friends, to which I was perfectly fine with. His friends (who we had brunch with the week prior) coordinated a game afternoon of sorts. While his friends are very different from mine (they’re a little more calm, maybe a bit more reserved and way more sophisticated)  I’ve gotten used to them and I can tell they really care a lot about him, which I think is very sweet. They seemed just as excited about his birthday as I was, which was far more excited than The Teacher was. I think he was mostly just excited to have an excuse to day drink the bottle of Scotch I bought him, because birthday!

Shortly after arriving, his other two friends (the married couple) arrived with a gang of snacks in tow. I’m talking groceries from Whole Foods, bih! The couple that was hosting (the engaged couple) had a plate of cheese, lunch meat and bowl of pretzels, but this couple upstaged them in their own house, which was kind of funny. We all stood around in the kitchen as they unpacked their bags. We had dinner plans later that evening, so I was confused as to why they felt the need to bring so much food until they unpacked bag #3 and handed me chicken jerky, halo top ice cream and two different kinds of cheese sticks (I ate the cheese sticks before snapping a photo).

 

The Teacher mentioned that you were doing Keto and we’ve both done it and we know it sucks when you don’t have many choices of things to eat, so we brought you keto snacks so that’d you have something to eat too because he says you often don’t think of yourself and sometimes you forget to eat.”

Ya’ll. YA’LL!

I don’t know if it was the alcohol (I had downed a drink on an empty stomach), the exhaustion (I had stayed up til 3 a.m. frosting birthday cupcakes I made for him), my blood sugar (I had actually forgotten to eat that morning) or just genuine flattery from the nice gesture, but that really warmed my heart and gave me that burning sensation you get when you feel like you’re about to shed (happy) tears. They in no way needed to do that, but the fact that they took time (and money) to think enough of me to bring me food was sooooo sweet. I was very appreciative of the love.

charlie puth hearts

Shortly after snack time we got started playing board games. Now I like board games and my friends and I have game nights fairly frequently, but The Teacher and his (guy) friends like some SUPER complex board games–games I’ve never even fucking heard of, but in the handful of times I’ve played with them now, I’ve faked tried to be a good sport and at least pretended to really enjoy and understand the game. I didn’t realize I wasn’t alone in this foolery until the girls (the wife and fiancee) asked for my cellphone number so we could group text about how much we hated whatever game we were playing. It was kind of a relief that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way and to my knowledge, the guys never even noticed that we were communicating with one another.

who run the world

During the board game, the Teacher would periodically show affection. He’d gently rub my back or place his arm around me or on my leg, he’d even kiss me here and there, but nothing overly inappropriate, just brief and sweet expressions of affection. I typically don’t like a great deal of PDA, but since we were in a more intimate setting with friends of his that were also in (more serious) relationships, it felt natural. I’d say 3/4 of my “friend group” are single(ish), so doing relationship-y things in their presence would feel strange–at least at first…which is part of my apprehension for intergrating The Teacher into my friend group, but I have some smaller things planned in the coming week with friends of mine that are in relationships.

Anyway, at one point his friend’s fiancee felt the need to stand on a soap box to talk about how “FUCKING CUTE” she thought we were being and how happy she was for us and how apparently when we first started dating he showed them a photo of me and they thought and STILL think I’m beautiful and how much they LOVE me and so on…It was sweet to hear all of the kind words, even though most of these compliments were coming from the most sauced up person at the table. Everyone seemed to agree with her though. Cheers. I felt like I passed some sort of test with that declaration.

scotch

Shortly after her table speech (and adding me as her facebook friend), she asked why he and I were not “facebook official”, to which we both admitted to having the “facebook discussion”, but that both of us were too lazy to ever login to facebook and use it on a regular basis, so it never became a priority to even be facebook friends, let alone publicly display that we’re in a relationship with one another. This honestly hadn’t crossed my mind since talking to my friend’s boyfriend a few weeks back where he also admitted that they weren’t facebook friends either. In time when we both stop being lazy, I’m sure we’ll eventually become facebook friends to never tag each other in photos, statuses or even each other’s walls–is it still called wall?

no idea

We ended up downtown some time later for dinner and while the Teacher was quite sauced, he was more of a goofy, free spirited, I-still-have-my-shit-together, kind of sauced. The kind of intoxication peak that most people hit right before everything goes south (luckily he never went south). He was happy and I could tell he was genuinely enjoying everyone’s company and that made my heart smile. His cute little acts of affection continued throughout the night and I was surprisingly not entirely weirded out by it.

We ended the evening well after 2 a.m. back at his place just enjoying a few low energy moments together before being old and crawling into bed. He continued to express how appreciative he was for everything I had done, as he knew I really made a huge effort for him! It felt great to hear that from him, because I really wanted him to have a good birthday and practically stressed myself out over it, when he’s really a simple person that doesn’t require or ask for much.

For the first time since we’ve been seeing each other, I actually allowed myself to lazily sleep until noon (he normally does this with no problem at all). My anxiousness around him is starting to fade. I feel a level of comfort with him now that I haven’t felt with someone in a really long time and it feels amazing. It feels wonderful to wake up next to this person and knowfeel that they genuinely care about you…

Ugggh, what is all of this sugary sweet babble even???

And to think, I almost let this pass me by because I was being stupid and blind (not that being blind equates stupidity, because it doesn’t).

 

 

“Only IF YOU want to”

I think I’m in that part of the relationship where the two parties involved really like one another and only want to do things to make the other person happy and suggest/invite/plan for things without the other person feeling the pressure of obligation. Good ol’ honeymoon phase we meet again.

The Teacher and I had a lovely date night planned last night. We’ve recently started incorporating more midweek “get togethers”, especially now that my job stopped requiring me to work 80 hrs/week and I can see straight again.

Anyway, on our way to dinner, we discussed plans for a weekend get away at the beginning of next month. We have sort of been casually (and hypothetically) speaking about this for the better part of 2-3 weeks (mostly while one or both of us are sauced out of our minds), but finally made firm and concrete plans as of this past weekend. Since he has a little more time than me right now (school is out for the summer), he’s planning the logistics of the trip (when we’re going, where we’re staying, whose car we’re taking (probably mine since I have 4×4 and we’ll need it in the mountains), what we’re doing when we get there, etc) and only asked me to just confirm with work that I could get the Thursday and Friday off that we’re planning on being out-of-town.

Done and done. Our first trip, should be oodles of fun, hopefully.

Towards the end of the conversation he apologized for requesting to cut our trip short by half a day (coming home Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon) due being invited to an old friend’s birthday dinner that Sunday.

His mention of this dinner didn’t even phase me. I just assumed he had plans with friends, have fun. I’ve never been the kind of person to tell my S.O. that they can’t go do things with their friends solo. That’s absurd. Plus, two solid days in the mountains is plenty, his apology seemed unnecessary.

“Yeah, my friend such and such is having a birthday dinner that Sunday. You haven’t met him yet actually. You’re more than welcome to come ONLY if you want to.”

Pause.

If I want to. ONLY if I want to.

what me

Obviously I know what that *really* means, but if I’m looking at the statement completely out of context (and without any sort of emotion) it comes across more of choice or an option on my end almost as if he’s saying, “you get to decide if you want to go, but I won’t be phased either way”, which is fine, but doesn’t really communicate the underlying notion of maybe him wanting/needing me to go if for no other reason just to make an appearance? Or suppose it went the other way and he genuinely didn’t care if I went. Why would I want to go somewhere with someone who doesn’t care if I’m there? This is obviously somewhat important to him or he wouldn’t have mentioned it or be cutting vacations (that he initiated) short to go. And suppose I had no interest in going and took his statement to face value he would absolutely be phased AF and probably suppress his anger over it until “snapping” one day over an argument about juice.

juice

Yes, I said juice, even though neither one of us cares for juice.

So ok. I’m being a bit facetious–sorta. I’ve been around him enough at this point to know that these things really do matter to him and he probably would be legitimately offended if I chose not to go and I don’t blame him. That would be fucked up of me unless I had some legitimate reason for not being able to attend. When you’re a couple it’s just sort of assumed that you’ll make attempts to be as selfless and accommodating as possible and sometimes that means really understanding how important something is to your S.O., being there to support them and compromising.

Am I excited about this party? Hard to say to say at this point–but I’m not really focusing on how I feel. It matters more to me at this point to do whatever makes him happy and if that means accompanying him openly/publicly as his girlfriend and rubbing elbows with whatever friend of his I’m meeting this time, bring on the party favors. I’m all for it with a smile on my face. I think I left my response,

“If you genuinely want me to go–like if you’re asking if I’ll go with you, like your ‘plus 1’, I’d be more than happy to go with you…that sounds exciting, I appreciate the offer 🙂 .”

D’aww. But seriously, he’s used the, “only if YOU want to” phrase a little too much lately…he’s even used it during–well, that’s TMI. and it’s slightly starting to become a pet peeve of mine. Of COURSE I want to, we’re in a fucking relationship! If I’m genuinely dead set against doing some activity–like robbing a bank, I would speak up and say that (and I have and with tact). I’ve said this to him a few times (maybe jokingly), but communicating something he needs comes across better if he’s not framing it in a passive aggressive , “it’s up to you” sort of way, though I think that’s just part of his non-confrontational personality in general. Perhaps he doesn’t want to come across needy.

This can definitely be worked through, but I think it also comes with time and comfort level on both sides. I know I created this “monster” from how aloof and emotionally detached I came across a few months into casually dating him. I’ve really been trying to make up for it by overly expressing my feelings or gratitude, but I still feel like I’m not doing enough. The guilt consumes me daily.

 

Settling In…

While life continues to be in a consistent state of chaos daily, I’ve been on vacation (mentally) for the better part of the last week. Blame the odd ball holiday midweek, followed by a day off due to comp time (because I’m salary and don’t get PTO), then the weekend two days later and it’s no wonder why I’m checked out.

Aside from work and other personal/family obligations, I can’t really complain. My relationship (still can’t believe I’m saying that) with the Teacher has continued to go well. I find myself learning something new and exciting about him everyday. I’m really enjoying getting to know him (better) and I’m starting to let my guard down a little more each time we interact. I have a bad habit in the early stages of a relationship of being a bit more protective than I should be of my emotions, but maybe this is from getting hurt in past experiences from wearing my heart on my sleeve. Going through these experiences has caused me to be a bit aloof (emotionally) and at times cold. Usually further along into a relationship I’m fairly committed, attentive and invested, but early on I’m very careful about how much I invest emotionally (in case things don’t pan out). Admittedly, I’m somewhat emotional by nature, so I’ve been trying to be more aware of my actions and feelings over the past year or so to gauge my emotions. I have to say that it helps to be with someone who is not only kind and understanding to this, but is also VERY PATIENT. The Teacher hands down has to be the most patient person I’ve ever been with, because I’m a little crazy and out of sorts, yet he’s supportive and rolls with the punches with a smile and makes me feel like I’m not in a constant state of losing my mind. With each passing day I feel more comfortable with him and with our relationship. It feels stable enough to me now that I’ve started to think ahead to introducing him to friends.

Of course, as I mentioned previously, I’m admittedly somewhat of a private person and I haven’t said much (if anything) about him to friends. I just periodically disappear from group outings like a ninja to be with him. I take that back, I have (within the past two weeks) mentioned him several times to one of my best friends, but not in explicit detail. Anyway, while attending a BBQ/pool party this weekend, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to “plant the seed” so to speak and clue them all in. While he was not physically at the gathering with me, it felt freeing to openly talk about him and express concerns/fears I’ve had about introducing him to friends. Most of this is on me and my own wackiness and need for “control”, but some of it is genuine concern that my friends (at times) can be a little intense and I don’t want him to feel overwhelmed.

overwhelmed.2gif

My friends were extremely supportive of my reasonings for keeping my mentions of him fairly limited over the past few weeks and told me to incorporate him into the group whenever I felt comfortable. Well, all but one of my friends who literally cornered me aggressively to demand to know WHY I like this guy. I’ll attribute the outburst to him being borderline drunk and perhaps being genuinely surprised that I was in a relationship in the first place. I’ve always had a hunch that this particular friend of mine might have a small crush on me and perhaps his extreme reaction confirmed that. I haven’t addressed this with him since the encounter as I believe he may not even remember doing it if I did mention it.

After opening up about The Teacher to several of my friends I left the party early for our date night. We decided to do a movie out followed by general hanging out post movie over his place. In conversation at some point during the night I referred to myself as his “girlfriend” to which he stopped me to point out what I had said with a smile. Apparently I haven’t done this yet and it meant a lot for him to hear that.

tom cruise happy

We planned on me staying the night because he had invited me to brunch the following morning with his group of friends and it made more sense to stay over than run back to my place to come right back over to his 10 hours later. We’ve had many overnighters, so this wasn’t anything abnormal. One thing that’s been kind of funny about these overnighters (which have primarily happen over at his place) is how he’s “reminded me” that I’m “welcome” to “leave things there” if I wanted. I didn’t really take him seriously the first one or two times he told me and replied jokingly that I’d leave a single tampon on his bathroom counter just to be silly, but he’s mentioned the “leaving things there” bit just about every time I’ve been over since, so I finally stuffed a few necessary toilettree sized items (that he obviously doesn’t have in his bathroom already as a guy) into a toilettree sized bag and intentionally left them on his bathroom counter.

Brunch the following day with his friends went well. I’ve met this group of friends (actually two couples – one married, one engaged) previously, so the initial awkwardness of being introduced to them has mostly faded away. Anyway, we went to a dim sum dumpling place where the waiters served everything on rolling carts. It was trendy, yet overwhelming. I’ve always prided the Teacher on being super sophisticated (he drinks brandy out of actual brandy glasses, I drink bourbon and whiskey out of coffee mugs, plastic cups, whatever I can find really), so I was excited to be introduced to the world of dim sum. I admittedly didn’t eat much mostly because I’m embarrassed to eat with chopsticks (and told him this last week) and I was a little drained from staying up so late the night before. Even through all of that, I made it a point to observe him and his friends as we all sat there. He seemed slightly nervous and a little less talkative, but mostly collected. They all seemed genuinely welcoming to my presence and made sure to include me in on conversations and jokes and of course shared many stories of The Teacher…teachering (goofy things that he’s done or said)…I felt kind of bad because he’s been so open in welcoming me into his friend group sort of soonish while I’ve been a bit more protective of mine, but I’m working on it.

Post brunch, we went over to his friend’s place for a board game afternoon and drinks. His other two friend’s wife and fiancĂ©e’ ended up dipping soon after, so it ended up just being me and the guys for a bit. We drank bourbon and scotch and played some overly complicated strategy game that lasted at least two hours. I stuck around shortly after the game ended and eventually made up an excuse to go because I wanted him to spend alone time with his guy friends. It’s hard to truly catch up when you have your girlfriend, wife or fiancĂ©e’ hanging around and I get and respect that. I sense that it’s rare that the three of them truly get to hangout sans girls in tow, so they obviously needed that. He apparently ended up hanging out with them for several hours and caught up with me (via text) later on that evening shortly before I went to bed. It makes me happy that he had that time with them.I would never want him to feel like I “had” to accompany him any time he wanted to be with his friends (because I don’t), but I’m also (learning to be) happy to accompany him should he want me TO be there.

This week I have the task of semi coordinating birthday plans for his birthday. In briefly speaking to some of his friends yesterday (while he dipped off to the bathroom) they alluded that he’s fairly apathetic about his own birthday (as I’ve also noticed) and even failed to remind them about it the year before (what kind of friends don’t remember your birthday???). That ends this year! I’ve made it known to him that I’m a “birthday person” and we WILL be celebrating his birthday, especially since it’s a milestone (30). I feel like I’ve taken enough mental notes on things he’s either referenced or left around his place to have an idea of what to get him. Hopefully my hunch is right.

This should be fun!

 

Secret Boyfriend

I was having sangria on a good friend’s patio Saturday afternoon and having a bit of a chat with her boyfriend.

sangria

We were just casually talking about the weather and all sorts of current events going on in the world. He’s a cool guy and such a great fit for my friend.  I’m over the moon happy for them. Somehow in the conversation the topic of facebook came up to which he said,

Oh, she and I aren’t even facebook friends. I do have my relationship status as “in a relationship” though.

His statement kind of took me by surprise. I mean, the two of them (at least around all of us) have been fairly public with their relationship, why wouldn’t they be friends on facebook? Is that necessary though? Should they even need to parade their relationship all over social media like that? Especially if he admittedly doesn’t really “do facebook like that”.

He admitted to not really being “active” on facebook and it just not really crossing his mind to even befriend his (now) girlfriend and that he didn’t see it as being a huge deal, which got me to thinking…

jazz music intensifies

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with The Teacher lately. As I mentioned previously, we’re together now several times a week with overnighters mixed in, but confession time… the one thing no one knows (at least in MY life) is that he’s (now) my boyfriend.

img_4825.jpg

Yep. The “B” word. I haven’t even really typed that, let alone really said that out loud to anyone in my life until now. It just hasn’t been something I’ve elaborated on much with anyone, outside of one my best friends and even he doesn’t know the extend of it all (he just knows we’ve spent quite a bit of time together lately). It’s more so something I’m trying to wrap my head (and heart) around for now. I don’t want to get ahead of myself? I mostly just want to focus on establishing a sturdy foundation and taking it day by day, week by week or whatever. I mean, just a few weeks ago I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to date anyone at all…so I want to make sure that I’m actually holding up my end of the deal and for me that means I need to focus.

For the past few weeks, this relationship has been great and while this may seem kind of fast, we’ve technically been sort of seeing each other (casually) for a few months, I just had some other things sort of holding my attention? I’ve tried to really make huge efforts to focus on spending just uninterrupted, us time together and so far so good. Lately, I’ve made appearances with friends (w/out him for now) and mysteriously vanished without giving my friends much detail as to where I’m even going or what I’m even doing. I don’t think it’s their business and I’m protective of my love life and want to ensure that my relationship is heading in the right direction before integrating the two.

Ideally, I’d like to be a “good girlfriend”, but I also don’t want to be so consumed with a relationship that I lose my identity. I do feel bad though, because I’ve met a handful of his friends (before we were an “item”) and he seems to talk fairly highly about me to them and equally talks about them quite frequently when we’re together (indicating that he’s close to them). Meanwhile, he’s not only not met any of my friends (he knows I have quite a large friend group because I’ve vaguely told him about them–but also not in a lot of detail or even by name(s) ), I’ve said very little if anything to them about him. They know I’m dating (or have been dating), but all of the details become “muddy” from there. I always find myself dodging specific questions and deflecting topics off of my personal life and towards other less personal things. I just don’t want to elaborate on it (yet). I feel like that’s just my (well I guess our) business.

Even though The Teacher is not my usual “type” (or well, maybe he is in a round about way), I’m not “ashamed” of our relationship or even him as a person. I like him. What it really boils down to is that it’s been a few months since I’ve been in a relationship, so I’m trying to “adjust” back into that mindset so to speak, but also attempting to maintain some sense of normalcy and sanity in the process. I don’t want to rush things or “lose” myself in someone out of lust or infatuation. I want to approach it logically and I want it to be meaningful and for these feelings to be real and grow organically. I want to take it seriously and for me that means to really take the time and energy to focus on it. I feel like we’re on the same page and I appreciate him being respectful and patient because I’m coming off of a few months of crazy.

One thing that kind of pushed me closer to the idea of being more “public” about our relationship (at least with my friends) was meeting up with a group of my friends Friday (after work) to check out an art exhibit that’s in town. I haven’t hung out with some of the group that was there in some time and I noticed two of them were coupled up with their new baes (I’d say 2/3 of my main friend group are single). I watched as they did all of the little cute things that new couples do (the hand holding, the PDA, the giggles and inside jokes), it was all very cute and I was happy for all of them. In fact, all around us were dozens of couples walking hand in hand together, enjoying each other’s company. Spending time there made me oddly sentimental.

Anyway, we ended up spending Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon together. We spend much of Sunday sleeping and talking before grabbing a late brunch. Our conversations always so colorful. I enjoy the time we spend together just talking the most. We talked about everything from movies we want to see, to short (day/overnight) trips we plan to take and even his looming 30th birthday which is in two weeks (he seems less than excited about that though).

For right now, I’m enjoying things. I enjoy our time together and I look forward to what’s to come. I’m just taking things day by day and week by week. I can imagine when (or if it gets to that point) I do introduce him to friends/family, their reactions will be, “You have a WHOLE ASS boyfriend and didn’t tell anyone?”

Whole. Ass.

cheese head

And in case I didn’t make the connection clear in this post, he and I are also not facebook friends, much like my other friend and her boyfriend, because I also admittedly suck at regularly using facebook. It wouldn’t bother me if he were, it just wouldn’t change the frequency of time I devote to even logging into the site.