Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Money-Saving Tip of the Day

So this seems like a no-brainer, but to me it was a revelation. I shop at Tom Thumb for my groceries, almost exclusively. But when it comes time to fill up my car with gas, I usually just stop into whatever gas station is closest at the time.  I definitely won't be doing THAT anymore after realizing how much I can save by going to the Tom Thumb station and using my rewards points. Now, I'm not one to keep track of 20 different reward cards, but like most places, Tom Thumb stores your reward card info for access with your phone number. If you shop at Tom Thumb, or a grocery store with a similar rewards program, I definitely recommend going onto their website to see if they participate in a gas rewards program.  Tom Thumb's is pretty awesome - $1 spent on groceries = 1 point, and 100 points gets you 10 cents off per gallon at a participating Tom Thumb gas station.  (I realize I sound like a commercial right now...but I promise Tom Thumb isn't paying me to say this - wish they were though!) This may not seem like much, but believe me it adds up quickly! When I realized I needed to get gas before heading to work this morning, I made sure to drive the extra couple of blocks to the Tom Thumb station because I thought I probably had some rewards points saved up from the past few months. Turns out I got 50 cents per gallon off!!! So I filled up my entire tank for $45, which would normally cost me about $52-$60! Not a bad way to start the day at all...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cha-Cha-Changes! (alternate title: Take this job and shove it)

Funny Workplace Ecard: The next best thing to quitting my job is fantasizing about quitting my job.

No more fantasizing...I've done it!! Yes, people, I quit my job. What?!? Eeek!!! *Chorus of angels sings*

Here are some things I am looking forward to now that I have my life back:

  • Catching up - With my friends, my family, my life in general. I feel like I've been so disconnected from everyone since I started at that job 13 months ago. Even before I was traveling on a weekly basis, I worked crazy hours in Dallas on the weekdays (and usually weekends...bleh). This means more time to visit my family in Tyler, catch up with my besties here at home and cuddle their babies, and make time to stay in touch with all my favorite out of town friends. 
  • Cooking and eating at home - I don't know if any of you know how MUCH I hated having to eat out three meals a day, 3-4 days a week as I traveled to New Orleans for work. Oh wait...yes, you do know, because no doubt if you've talked to me at ALL in the past 6 months, you've heard it more than once (a minute). I love to cook; it's therapeutic for me. Not to mention so much healthier and cheaper.  And when I'm not forced to eat in restaurants constantly, it makes me enjoy and appreciate even more going out to a nice meal or trying a fun new spot. 
  • Keeping my feet firmly on the ground - We all know I'm not a huge fan of flying. Doing it twice a week for the past 6.5 months was enough to give me several (more) gray hairs. Although I guess ONE good thing did come of all the flying...I am much less afraid of it now. My heart only speeds up a little upon takeoff, and my palms hardly ever get sweaty anymore. Yay for conquering fears! 
  • Getting back into shape - Cajun cooking (hint: butter is the main ingredient). Bourbon Street (hint: alcohol is not calorie-free).  My thunder thighs have reached an unprecedented level of jiggle. NOT OK. Now that I don't live half in NOLA, I can jog outside with far less fear of being mugged. I can go to my favorite classes at my gym again. And I can study up for that Group Exercise Instructor recertification I've been wanting to get. 
  • The possibility of changing my life's path - I am planning to go back to school.  Cue the "professional student" jokes...hardy har! But it's time for me to stop complaining about how I hate practicing law and DO something about it....nothing but my own fear and inactivity was forcing me to do it.  More to come on this later, but I'm hoping to go into a speech pathology and/or language therapy program so I can work with kids with developmental delays. I've always described myself as a patient person. Now I have to qualify that - I am a  pretty patient person WITH CHILDREN, ANIMALS, and occasionally, on a good day, adults. Most of the time I just think grown-ass people should know better. I'm really looking forward to making my passion of working with kids into a career. I'll keep y'all updated as that progresses. 
 Now, it wasn't ALL bad. Mostly...but not all.  The job gave me a thicker skin, something I needed in a bad way, and something that could have probably only come from working in a big law firm.  Also, so many of the stories just beg to be told because they are almost too unbelievably twisted to be true. The....how do I put this nicely....colorful bunch of crazies I worked with and for would make awesome material for characters in a book someday! Not all of them were crazy (in a bad way) though.  I'll miss the nutballs I came to know and love at my job - both in New Orleans and in Dallas...you know who you are! But don't think it's that easy to get rid of me...we're still gonna hang out, and actually the Dallas folks will likely see me more often. 

It's still hard to believe that I won't be going back to that office. I'm starting a new contract gig that will give me flexible hours and the benefit of free time and living at home.  Sure, I'll have to put myself on a strict budget, which is something I really haven't had to do before. But I've saved and planned for this moment for months. My happiness is worth so much more than a few new pairs of shoes. So for tonight, I'm not worrying about any of that. I'm kicking back on my couch with a cuddly, purring kitty, laying out workout clothes for the morning, and assembling the ingredients for a crock-pot meal to pop in before I leave for work. It may not sound too exciting, but to me, it is heaven!