The Struggle Bus

I don’t know if you’ve heard of me, but I am the Struggle Bus. I am what you ride when shit gets too real to ride the Easy Train. Years ago I was the Easy Train, I was new and shiny, engine purred like a kitten and my Mercedes hood ornament was so shiny!But that was years ago. Now I don’t have a hood ornament, some ass-wipe kids took it. My seats are mostly metal, the cushions and fabric are torn off from extreme use, and age. I am kind of stinky, a mix of wet yuck and gasoline. I used to drive smoothly, but now my exhaust pipe blows black gunk and my engine might have a cat stuck in there. But, you already know who I am- who am I kidding.

I am the Struggle Bus. The “I forgot my matching shoe and to brush my hair” transit vehicle on your way to work. I drove you to the store with your last nineteen bucks. It was twenty but I hit a bump and a dollar flew out of the window. Oh, almost forgot to mention how the windows don’t roll up or down because they are cracked and have baseball sized holes in them. I think it gives me character.

I am the Struggle Bus. I am the reason you spilt a smoothie on your white pants before that meeting with your boss today. You know, the meeting where said smoothie-pants smelled up the entire 3rd floor conference room and people just looked at you as if you were a puppy who peed on the rug. I picked you up from that meeting too… except…..PS. You left your keys on the passengers seat and I have zip ties for door handles- so good luck on getting those back. I’m pretty innovative with zip ties.

I am the Struggle Bus. Everyone rides me from time to time. I am usually taking brand new moms to their baby’s first doctor appointment, you know, the one where the doctor freaks you out about everything and then you cry because your baby lost more than 10% of its body weight. Or sometimes I come and pick you up right after a night of intense drinking, I do that for a lot of people. Maybe that’s why I smell?

I know what your thinking. Why the hell would you want to ride the stinky-cat-engine Struggle Bus when you COULD ride the Easy Train? Cause the Easy Train is pretty sweet. Usually you ride it when you have more than twenty bucks for the week and clean pants. And the Easy Train is nice, actual seat cushions, and it doesn’t even stink!

But everyone gets to ride the Struggle Bus, it’s a right of passage. The type of lesson that makes taking the Easy Train feel remarkable. Rides that detour at “Get Your Life Together” and “How to Adult” Avenue. I don’t want you not to like me just because I am not “as nice” as the Easy Train- after all, he doesn’t have the life experience I do. I know I kind of stink, and I know the seats are sticky sometimes, but I have so many lessons to teach you. So please, next time you’re riding the good ole Struggle Bus, try to be appreciative of the things you do like, or think about how everyone has a turn on the Bus. It shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing, but just another learning experience, a part of life.

Love always,

Struggle Bus.

Adultish’s Crash Course in Budgeting- Dave Ramsey Style

This blog is brought to you in part by divorce, learning to survive your twenties and the inevitable mental breakdown.

I “grew up” really fast. I would say my childhood was completed by the time of 8, and then it was all about responsibility. I always had a really good cushion in life though when it came to my living situation. When I moved out I went to live with my aunt and uncle, rent free. Then I moved in with my then-boyfriend-now-ex-husband, rent free. But when I got divorced it was a whole new world of rent, car insurance, and meals for one. WHAT IS LIFE. Who knows, but these are my tips along the way.

Budget, budget, and budget again. I know a lot of concern comes from when we feel the budget we just implemented doesn’t work after a few weeks- that’s because a budget should be ever evolving. The moment there is a $5 discrepancy, or you had an emergency expense come up- it’s time for a new budget.

Along with budgeting is automatic bill pay. Be it scheduling a check to go out a few days prior to when rent is due, or signing up for automatic payment with Sprint for your phone bill.

Don’t utilize all of your available credit. For instance, if you have a credit card and the limit is $500 a month, do not put $500 on it even if you’re paying it off. Your credit score is based on the amount of credit you’re using paired with the amount of remaining credit. If you utilize all of your available credit you are “maxing out”, even if you pay off or not.

Shop around. Amazon is really tempting but the dollar store and Walmart are usually cheaper- and no need to wait for it to ship.

Also with Amazon, use your shopping cart for thinking. If you REALLY want a new car stereo- add it in your cart and let it be. One of three things will happen. One- you will decide against it. Two- it will go on sale and you will buy it. Three- you will buy it after waiting and know your decision was justified. 2/3 involve saving money.

Your health is really important. I am really NOT  the most reliable source for healthy eating as my diet is mainly coffee and leftovers- but small simple changes make a huge impact. Drink all the coffee you want- but flush it out with water. Eat (at least) three meals a day. Make at least one high in protein, one high in veggies/ vitamins/ minerals, and another just make it delicious! Meal prep and save your life. (nobutseriously) know what you like, buy it and make it. You won’t go out to eat as much, and you’ll actually eat!

Challenge yourself to 30 days of no spending. This is easiest at the beginning of a month. Pay your rent, insurance, gas- all the necessities. Buy groceries that you NEED to make the meals you will EAT. And *do not spend another penny* this is when the amazon cart trick is helpful, same with meal planning.

Look up anything and everything by Dave Ramsey. Figure out how to debt snowball- GET OUT OF DEBT. This has got to be the biggest thing ever. Once you pay off your debts you will have so much additional money left over each month- it’s almost like a second job.

Build your savings. Start with saving $1,000 and DO NOT TOUCH IT. This comes in handy when you do have automatic bill pay but not enough money in your checking’s. (Sidenote: make sure you bank doesn’t penalize you if they have to take out of your savings)

 

Finally- realize that all of these things combined help you reach your end goal in life- financial freedom… oh, and being an adult/ having your shit together.

GYST DAY

I’ve spoken before about GYST days and how I value them. Sundays are my coveted days for Gyst-ing I like to get as much done as possible so that I can try and relax during the week (or, if you’re keeping up with my life; in case I get a deadly head cold and sleep for 48 hours).

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A made bed is now a rule for me, because if I don’t make my bed I tend to crawl back into it for “just 5 more minutes”. Most Sundays I have to calculate my priorities, cleaning/ chores or homework. This Sunday I did my chores first because I was totally  putting off homework. #Whoops

I deeply needed to organize all of my files, bills, letters, divorce crap- so I got out my trusty label maker and labeled a file folder/pendaflex thing and got to work. I really didn’t like the idea of all my bills and important documents being in a million places, so organizing them like this was awesome! Now if I need anything I know exactly where it is, and it takes a second to grab. And of course in the event of a fire/ tsunami/ SoCal-Natural-Disaster we might have, I will be prepared! IMG_4915

Around 10 I practically forced myself to sit down and get some homework done. I wouldn’t say that my classes are hard (excluding one that I am in right now where i’m 98% sure my professor is trying to kill me). However, it takes such self discipline to sit down for hours and devote your time to homework. Nevertheless I do it- even if I seriously don’t want to.

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At some point in the day I dusted the house, did some laundry, cleaned my bathroom… and then the fun part of GYST day…

PEDICURE TIME! IMG_4989

Now of course this is not an every week thing for two reasons. 1- I hate people touching my feet and it took an unbelievable amount of will power not to kick this lady in the face. So ticklish it’s agony. (But I have cute toes now!) And 2- I am not rich by ANY means, and this is definitely an unnecessary expense.

All in all this was a pretty typical/ normal GYST day for me. Sometimes I do more, sometimes less- but the point of GYST-ing is to literally Get Your Shit Together. Homework and cleaning are always a priority, as is some sort of hair mask (I saved you guys from the picture, you are welcome), and on occasion I shave my legs.

Only occasionally- winter is coming. 🙂

#HandleIt

One of the most profound things I have learned in life is that you just have to to #handleit.

Is the sink over flowing with dishes and are you out of clean underwear? Handle it.

Homework due in 45 minutes, you just burnt your dinner and your hair has reached the limit of dry shampoo intake…. #handleit. impossoble things

There are so many things that I don’t want to do. For instance, I don’t want to call the lawyer about my divorce on my lunch break; but I have to. I don’t want to come home and do homework when I am dead-dog-exhausted; but I have to. I don’t want to look at my bank account, or set up an automatic savings plan, devote an entire day to laundry and meal prep; but I have to.

Being adult-ish means we have to do stuff we don’t like. We have to put our big girl (or boy, no judging) panties on and get shit done!

Because if not we would all be naked on the couch eating cheeto puffs and bon bons…

 

Let that sink in…

cheeto puff