Something that hasn’t happened for quite some time is me having my life together. lolz. Still not there yet (as I’ll be couch surfing for another week) but well on my way, I think. Monday was my first day of work at a non-profit Ballet Company in the East Bay. Not only is this the first job I have no intentions of quitting within the year, but I’ll also be privy to free dance classes! How dope is that? Super dope.

My role is flexible, but currently projected to consist of administratively assisting the operations manager, school principal, and artistic director; coordinating the work-study volunteer program; and being available¬†during¬†Saturday dance classes which is when we have Pre-Ballet for tiny dancers. I’m kind of super stoked about it.

In addition to me not hating life and resenting the fact that I have to hold down a big girl job, this new position will allow me to budget effectively. I haven’t really been able to do that because I’ve been working hourly positions with no benefits… which led to inconsistent paychecks and retail therapy. ha. I’m not even mad though, I know most of it was me loathing the process of trying to BS a cover letter to pretend I was interested in something I literally couldn’t care less about, and just opting for quick Craigslist hires. But now that I am officially a salaried employee, I’ve been nerding out on Numbers spreadsheets and budgeting, which leads me to my bright idea:

Gift cards.

Perhaps surprisingly, given my personality type, I’m a terrible saver. I always find reasons and exceptions and gifts to give and ’emergencies’. It was particularly bad when I worked in the Financial District and could drop a couple hundred¬†at Anthro and American Eagle on my freaking lunch break if I was so inclined. (I was coping don’t judge me.)

Yesterday it occurred to me that the easiest way to keep track of my non-essential spending would be to purchase gift cards at the beginning or end of¬†a¬†month, and then only spend cash/debit money on food and toiletry items (and like, rent. ha). I’m thinking I’ll probably purchase gift cards for the following establishments:

Target: even though this won’t allow me to take complete advantage of the Redcard 5% savings program, I’ll still get those perks if I buy food and personal items at target, and I think it’s definitely worth a try to control myself by preallocating funds for little luxuries and impulse buys. I figure it will be simple enough to split transactions in the event that I want to snag a $5 movie like Mud in the checkout lane in the same visit that I purchase Justin’s Almond Butter and Rimmel London mascara.

iTunes: I used to be kind of hard on myself about how much money I spent on music until I was like, listen ~ you’re a songwriter. Get over it. I also have a monthly Evernote Subscription that’s $4.99, but that’s allocated to a different portion of my budget. Either way, I’m lenient when it comes to music and productivity app spending.

Starbucks, Chipotle, Panera: Honestly, I don’t go to any of these places super often, but the friend I’m staying with lives across the street from all three. Bless. I decided to include them because they are located in proximities by which I spend a large portion of my time, and I figured it would help me track Eating Out expenses. I’m not crazy about the mochas at Starbucks or Panera, but Panera has really good salads and Starbucks has decent tea that comes with honey packs if you ask (!!) and those ‘Marshmallow Dream Bars’ are a pretty satisfying gluten-free snack. Mexican food is my absolute jam, and even though I find Chipotle a little bit bland and disappointing sometimes, it’s not terrible and it would be nice to have a giftcard when I find myself choosing that option for a meal. Plus for some reason I think I thought they didn’t actually have tacos, but apparently they do so now I want to try them. ha.

If I purchase the gift cards at Safeway, I may end up saving money because they sometimes have promotions specifically for gift card purchases.

Sooo yah. I’m hoping that this system will be particularly helpful with Target + iTunes since they like to take hella long to actually take money from your account. If i’m not paying attention it ends up a lil’ bit like Russian Roulette and I’m like, expletive!! I totally forgot I spent a combined three¬†million dollars on random EPs and RedCard purchases.¬†

Which also reminds me ~ because impulse buys ~ I have always wanted to buy an entire box of candy bars. I would always see them when I used to help my mom do the Sam’s Club shopping for the church daycare she used to manage, and when I tag along to Costco with friends out here in the Bay. I don’t have a membership to either of those, but I saw that you can also purchase on Amazon, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to celebrate my God-given blessed employment with 36 milky ways on deck.

I found this on google, but it looks like something glorious is about to happen with melted butter and milky ways in a sauce pan...
I found this on google, but it looks like something glorious is about to happen with melted butter and milky ways in a sauce pan…

K. That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for reading about the life I lead.

~ b

p.s. how hilarious is this photo of my nephew: 


4 responses to “ballet + bright ideas”

  1. Just curious as to whether you had any financial planning classes while in high school or college? Another way of doing your “gift card” idea is to put a certain amount of cash in envelopes each month, labeled for the various expenses you have. When the money is gone, you don’t spend any more that month in that area. Just be sure you have a “savings” envelope or account, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! I did receive sufficient financial training, though primarily at home as opposed to high school and university. I find the envelope system a bit cumbersome, which typically affects my follow through; but I agree, it does seem to work for some people. Thank you for stopping by!


  2. Bek! That gift card idea is brilliant. I’ve dabbled on and off with the envelope system (aka we listened to Dave Ramsey after we got married) but I loathed it and constantly just used my debit card anyways bc I felt like a fool fumbling for cash at the checkout. With efficient planning I could do all grocery and household shopping with giftcatds! Ah! Might have to try it in Sept ūüôā sooo happy you are happy and settled!! Praise!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debit cards make it really hard to keep track of spending, I agree. Cash (so old fashioned!) is the most reliable method. The gift card idea sounds like it might work but it might be a little limiting in the long run. There is an app you could download that helps manage finances, and it will tell you if you are spending more than you should. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember the name! Anyway, let us know how you get on, and congratulations on snagging a job you like with cool perks!



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