Life Improvement #1 – Saving Money

To start this year in blogging, I am going to introduce you to a little series called “Life Improvement”. I’m not sure how many episodes you’ll get, but I’m open for any and every idea you might have.

Why am I doing this? Well for starters, I want to be happy. I am not UNhappy at the moment, but I feel like I could do more for myself as well as Mr. Crazy Sheep Lady-to-be and so I’m investing some time, effort and research into life hacks that are actually helping me become a better person, a happier woman or just a more organized girl in general.

And without further ado, here is part 1.

Every year I want to travel and every year I can’t. It’s because there are so many great things I can buy with my money instead of saving it. I never learned how to save money, so I’ll have to learn it now. There already are a few things I’ve learned ever since I’m living on my own. Here’s a short list of how I am already saving money:

  • Eating a piece of chocolate before going shopping – I’m not craving any sweets when I pass the shelves on my way to the cash-out. Yay!
  • Buying clothes when they are on sale – If it’s not on sale, yet, I wait. And most of the time I forget about the item. *lol*
  • Paying with my Starbucks card – If there is no credit on it anymore, no Starbucks for me! (I put money on it every three or four months. It has helped me a lot!)
  • Having breakfast before going to work – That way I won’t buy anything from the bakery that I pass on my way to work.
  • Recycling – tinfoil, zipper bags… but also decorations. There is no reason to buy new christmas decorations when you already have 4 huge boxes full of stuff like we do.
  • 52 week money challenge

This is all very well and it helped me a great deal but it doesn’t get me anywhere closer to a week in San Francisco or Cork. So, here is what I’m going to do: I’ll prepare a jar, just like the picture shows. But instead of starting with 1€ (it’s hard to come by Dollar in Germany ;)) I’ll start with 52€. That way, saving money will get easier every week. And really, I don’t earn that much that I could afford to save this amount of money in december. You know, with food and presents and such…

I’ll keep you posted as to how easy this actually is for me.

5 dollar saving planAnd then there is this cute little idea. We have a 5 Euro bill, so I can adapt this into my little scheme to save even more money! Yaay! I’m handing them out easily, as I tend to forget about them. Putting them aside and saving them seems like a perfect idea to me. This will probably work even better than the 52 week challenge, as there are no set dates on when I have to add more money to this jar. I’ll also continue my little tradition to put all the copper coins aside and to see how much I gained at the end of the year. This year it was about 15€. Not bad at all!!

All in all I’m sure I’ll save a lot of money in 2015. And who knows? Maybe even enough to go to San Francisco AND Cork!

Do you have a different way as how to save up money for a special occasion? I’m all ears! 🙂 I hope you guys had a great day and that you started – or will start – 2015 in a happy, smooth and relaxed way.

Cheers!

Looking back

There are three days left until 2014 and I do what everybody does: looking back on the past twelve months.

They haven’t been the easiest, that’s for sure. But they haven’t been the worst either. I’ve been moaning and crying through-out the year, but now that I think about it, I made a lot of happy, cheerful memories. This time last year, I’ve been a wreck. Dad had died and the whole world has been turning apart for me. I’ve never have been this sad on Christmas or dreaded New Year’s Eve like I did in 2012. Let’s try and see, if I can come up with at least 12 memories that helped making this year better than the one before:

January

I’ve been mourning the loss of my father, yet I have been funtional enough to actually eat and sleep properly. My crafting and reading has been reduced to null and I gave up on dancing, but I had my partner that helped me through this phase. I’m very lucky to have him by my side.

February

A new phase of my training started and our teachers started to prepare us for our exams. With these exams I’d be allowed to work as a trained nurse in the development and care for people with special needs. I was close to just throw it all away, but I stopped myself and got off my lazy arse. I wrote about 80 applications for the final year of my training.

March

The final preparations for Dad’s funeral took place and we finally agreed on a day. I was invited to a few interviews and even got the OK of one of the schools I applied for. I was so happy, that there were people out there that wanted me to work in this area!

April

The funeral took place right after Eastern. I mistook my Dad’s urn for a flowerpot and I knew that he’d have laughed about that until he couldn’t breath anymore. Somebody should have told me… The funeral too place on the sea and the weather was glorious, even though it was still winter during that time! I was able to laugh and we had a great time. I dreaded the day, but it turned out to be very happy. Funerals are supposed to be happy – you should celebrate the life of the deceased and that’s what we did.

May

The final weeks at school before we were send into the dreadful weeks before the exams. I hardly listened, yet knew all the hints the teachers gave us. One teacher told us exactly what he was going to ask from us and I felt well prepared. End of May: One exam down, three to go!

June

I had many fights with the head of training about my placement. She forbid me to work at the school that gave me the OK, even though she was all ears before I applied. She said I didn’t earn enough money in that year. I didn’t care, because it was the perfect placement and I could have easily get a full-time job after that year. On a brighter note: three exams down, one to go! Oh, and I started watching Doctor Who!

July

I decided not to write any more applications. 100 were enough. I was happy with the decision not to do the final year of training and work under the first title I got without the exams (it’s similiar to the Bacholer/Master-system, just not that highly qualified). On a very short notice I received an invitation for an interview – where I got the placement(!!!) and earned more money, which was unimportant for me but seems to be very important for future generations that want to absolve this training *yawn*.

August

I passed every exam with ok grades. Nothing to boast about. The end is in sight and I’ll never look back to the months I spent at this school. These four weeks will be the last before I start at my placement. All in all I spent the last 10 weeks at home or with friends. I’m very happy I have seen so much of them this year.

September

I start working at a school for special education (speciality: physical disabilities). I know from the start that my team is not working well together and I have a very bad standing, as I’m not a teacher. I get treated like I’ve never worked with children before (I’ve been a nursery nurse AND worked at a school for special education before, I might add) and as if I’m slow in understanding. Some think I’m a student at this school. All in all it sucks, but it’s better than working in a nursing home. I’m very dissappointed, but I know that in the next 10 months, there is nothing I can do about it. And really…it IS better than working in nursing home!

October

Nothing really happens. I break off all contact with my sister who hasn’t ever been there for me and all I can say is: GOOD RIDDANCE!! After my mum told me, that Dad loved to watch me dance, I decided to pick it up where I left it and got to see some familiar faces again.

November

Celebration time! Nov 17th was our 5-year-anniversary as a couple and my partner proposed!! I’m going to be a married Crazy Sheep Lady in two years time!!! And since that one 10-year-old at work dislocated my thumb, my standing among my colleagues is so much better!

December

I survived Christmas. And now I’m looking back, smiling and thinking: It could have been much, much, much worse!

 

I decided I’m going to look back every month to see and remember why and how life can be good. It’s so easy to forget the little things, but it’s well worth it to reflect and be grateful for every smile you receive.