Budget Planning Part 1: Fixed Expenses

I am no financial expert.  The only way I’ll ever get to retire is if I stay within the public employee program in Colorado for the next 30 years && they don’t cut the program too much.

I loved my little school in Albany, but the pay was though.  I took home roughly $2,000 a month. Which left just a little wiggle room. With a lot of missteps, I eventually found my footing and was making gains on the debt I initially accumulated while adjusting to said income.  My cross country move set me back a bit but as I adjust to a new pay scale and expenses I am hoping to dive back in towards paying off debt and using my money in ways that satisfy me.

For the same reason someone should make their athletic or health goals public (accountability, support)  I am also working on being transparent.  I am working on learning how to budget in a more meaningful way, previously I would allot myself a daily allowance after all bills had been paid.

This like my yoga,running, or bouldering will be a practice.  There will be mistakes along the way and I certainly have a lot to learn.  My first goal is to list my fixed expenses.

Monthly Payments:

Rent: $785

This includes our pet fee & monthly water bill.  J does pay more, but we divided it on a ratio of our incomes.

Utilities: 40ish

Our utilities tend to vary a little, but have stuck around the 80 a month range for the past few months. We keep our house cool but are limited by our non energy efficient appliances since it is a rental.

Cell Phone/ Internet: $50

J and I share an unlimited plan for T-mobile that we also use to hot spot for our home internet needs.

Home Insurance for home in Albany: $55

I am currently renting out my home in Albany, due to some clerical error, this payment keeps coming out of my Denver checking account instead of the one associated with the rental but still something I need to account for.

Car Insurance: 300 per 6 months

I FINALLY was able to do a 6 month payment for car insurance.  For years I had a monthly bill, My car insurance is low because my car is 10 years old.  The blue book value is nearly identical to that of a deductible, so I no longer have comprehensive and collision.

Movement Climbing & Fitness: $65

After a few year hiatus from joining any gyms, I did join a climbing gym that also offers yoga, treadmills and rock walls.  The jury is still out on if this is totally worth it, but I do enjoy bouldering so for now I’ll keep it.

Personal Loan: $374

I should note that the final payment for this loan is at the end of this month! Woot!

Personal Loan: $ 60

Credit Card C: $25*

Credit Card B: $ 55*

* These credit cards are no longer being used.  I did manage to pay off one over the past few months & these look like they could be settled quickly if I could organize myself a bit better & once I make that final personal loan payment, I plan to continue using that amount to pay down the others.

My grand total fixed expenses: $1,509

Aside from debt payment, there isn’t a lot of fat to be trimmed in terms of my fixed costs, I imagine through my more variables spending (food, clothes, entertainment) I’ll find a lot more money that I can put towards my remaining debt & saving.

 

 

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Loving Denver (almost)

It is no secret that I absolutely love Albany NY.  I didn’t ever think I would.  I was eager to leave, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of going to college within a two hour radius of Albany.  Despite my eagerness for something new, I surprised even myself when I moved to San Diego again when I went to DC and most surprising when I stayed in Albany.

I hadn’t planned on that either, I had run out of money in Spain and was planning to take advantage of my parents winter home (also my childhood home)  for a few months before I decided my next plan.  Initially I stayed in Albany because of a guy I was dating, then a 3 year contract that I had signed with my school, and finally because I finally found the sense of community and life that I had been hoping to find.

I had no intentions of leaving Albany.  I bought a little house and was ready to stay put.

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And then J and I started dating. His career lead him to Colorado in a far more selective field than mine.  While it may seem crazy for me to up and leave a city that I love, well, crazier things have happened.  Last spring when I was finally able to speak a bit about the move to Denver ( I had finally notified my employer)  I came across a book; This Is Where You Belong. I had started reading it but since I was still very much entrenched in a community I already knew I belonged, it wasn’t the right time.  I returned my library book and held off until moving to Denver.

I’ve now been a Denver resident for the past 4 months ( although not entirely, because of the Virginia DMV, but that is a long arduous post for another time.) And it’s been a bit rough for me, its quite the culture shock at work ( from a well organized private school, to well, the polar opposite) and the lack of friends.  Among the other stuff like, always having to use GPS, searching for running routes, finding radio stations, etc.

It seemed like a high time to try reading This is Where You Belong again.  I ordered a copy from amazon so I could ear mark and note take as much as I’d like. Throughout the book, Melody Warnick offers her experiences trying to love the place she lives.  At the end of each chapter she provides some action examples, and it is my best intention to give each one a try to see if it improves my overall place attachment.

The chapter Lace Up Your Sneakers offers 6 do-able actions to encourage traveling in your community by foot.  While they are all great, some are more easier than others, for example: we do not live within 1 mile of any grocery store, library, or post office, (despite having a high walk score of 78) however, I can bike commute any day that I choose.

Which, is area that I’ve been focusing on as apart of my own “love where you live” campaign.  When I discovered that my work was 4 miles away from home, I eagerly bought myself a commuter bike. I am able to take bike paths for 3 out of the 4 miles, which allows for safe travel, often allowing for me to listen to Spanish language lessons along the way. Biking allows for me to get the sunshine, fresh air, and mindless time before and after work, rather than aggressively driving.  (yes my 4 miles is rather aggressive)  To say that commuting encourages place attachment is definitely true, as I struggle with the idea of moving to another neighborhood if I’d like to maintain my commute ( J however, has to drive, so a compromise may have to occur).

As the days have shortened and the temperatures have dropped, I haven’t been biking as frequently.  I do plan to bike commute once a week.  Denver weather is crazy, and it seems that each week has at least one 50/60 degree day still!

Its a small step towards finding my footing here in Denver, but I as I add in all the other newly developed habits, I hope to create a stronger bond with Denver.

Training Log Tuesday (TLT) Carlsbad 13.1

So it’s been a minute since I’ve updated my little corner of the internet. This fall has been tough. (new job, new city, etc) But rather than writing 1,000 words about it, I’m going to move forward. I ran the RnR Denver in October and was pleased with my 2:17:44.  I am still adapting to altitude; although it’s more likely struggling with this (going on 5 months of an) Ulcerative Colitis flare up.

Anyhow, with RnR gone and over I’ve begun my focus on training for Carlsbad 1/2 marathon in January.  It has been a bucket list item of mine to run the Triple Crown in SD since my days of living there, since flights to/from San Diego are reasonable, it’s finally the time!

I would love to have a PR day, but with this flare/altitude/etc its hard to see where I’m at with my fitness. I joined a local running/ training group (Runners Edge of the Rockies) which has helped immensely in getting in the long runs and meeting a few people.  (although I desperately miss my NY running ladies.)

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This was a particularly long intro for this past weeks training long. They won’t always be this wordy!

Monday:  9 mile bike commute/ Total Cardio Body Fix/ 4.15 mile run @11:30

Monday was an active day, the weather was warm (70s) so I opted to bike into school.When I got home, J was out so it gave me a chance to do a workout video in the living room without feeling silly, & afterwards took Marcy dog for a run/pokemon go binge around the Bronco’s stadium.

Tuesday: Speedworkout with Runners Edge – 1.5 mile warm up/ drills/ strides/ intervals w/slight incline / cool down for a total of 6 miles

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I met up with my running club for some speed workout.  This is something I fiercely avoided in Albany, I think because I knew so many people I was worried that I’d be the slow kid.  Here I don’t know anyone, so I am able to get over myself. Overall, I was ecstatic on how this all felt. Our coach told us to run at a 10k effort – which I felt like I was following, but with my watch not working correctly anymore, I couldn’t actually see my paces until the data uploads to my phone.  It ended up that I was running closer to 5k paces! (which felt like 10k!) woot!  I haven’t seen those paces since moving, so it definitely put a bit of pep in my step.

Wednesday:  Upper Body Fix

I was home before J again, so I loaded up the upper body fix video.  After I had planned to get a few miles in, but after running a few errands that took longer than I expected, I took the day as a rest day.

Thursday: Rest

I can’t remember what I did on Thursday, but I know I didn’t run. So theres that.

Friday: 3 mile run @ 11:30

After two days off of running, It was almost easy enough to skip another day.  But J was doing work at a nearby brewery, so I packed up my little bag with a coat and Marcy and I headed out for a few miles before meeting him there for a beer & pizza. After we came home, layered up and headed to the Parade of Lights in Downtown Denver.

Saturday: 10 miles @ 11:52

This run felt awful the entire time.  Immediately, my heart rate was sky high and it took forever to get it to level out.  We were on non-technical trails ( ie dirt paths) but I definitely didn’t have as much power as I did on the few spots that were road.  I was dropped by the 4:15 pace group within the first mile and they were long gone by mile 2.  I kept plugging away even though every everything sucked.  We were running at about 6,00-6,500 feet, which is more than Denver’s 5280 so I can partially blame that.  Although when I came home, I realized I am fighting off a slight cold, which was probably more of the culprit.

Sunday: 4.46 miles @ 11:07

It was a gorgeous day, but I spent most of it putting our house back together.  Since we traveled for thanksgiving & then went back to work this week, our house was messy.  I spent most of the day, cleaning, organizing and washing everything in the house. While I would have preferred to run in daylight, since I only get to do that on weekends, I didn’t make it out until about 5pm.  Marcy dog and I did our tried & true around Bronco stadium ( not nearly as satisfying as a SUNY loop but I’ll take what I can get).  I didn’t feel like burning trash, which was a relief.

Overall, I wish my paces were each about a minute faster than they are.  I’m not sure if its the altitude, Ulcerative Colitis, this cold, or if I am just sucking, but it is a bit discouraging not see an improvement in my overall pace.  I’ve started a more diligent routine of vitamins & probiotics, so maybe I’ll see some improvements by the end of the month.

[Training Log] Rock n Roll Denver 13.1

My goal last week was to add an additional day of running each week.  Slowly I’d like to get back to 5 days of running, but I’m still adjusting to balancing my new job, and new live in status with the bf.  While my mileage is still low I am motivated by the increase in days, I know if I stick with it, it will all fall back into place.

Monday:

I had wanted to run after work, but discovered mid day that I had to attend a class for DPS.  By the time the class was done and I was back home, I spent my evening semi-lesson planning and unwinding from a busy Monday.

Tuesday: 3 miles@ 9:39 & 5 mile bike commute (to/from DBC)

 

 

I am a fan of the Denver Beer Co and decided I would try their run club.  Some how, I managed to be there on a day that they were doing a fundraiser for all of the natural disasters which included outdoor spin classes, yoga classes, and run club. The Lululemon test truck was also there & if you ran in their shoes for 2 minutes, you walked away with a black t-shirt.  ( I did wait in the line to run & get the shirt ) The run club was massive.  I ran well & much faster than I have but with it being such a giant group, there was no one to connect with.  After the run, I ran on the test truck and left.  It was a bit disappointing in terms of meeting people, but I did like the urban route.

Wednesday: Yin Yoga Class

Over the weekend I joined the most Denver gym.  Movement Climbing & Fitness.  I am wildly overwhelmed by the facility, but I am hopeful that by attending a few classes and using their equipment, I may gain the courage to start to rock climb/ bolder.  I’ve never taken a Yin style class before and while it was okay, it didn’t quite reach my needs.

Thursday: 3 miles @ 11:07

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I put J to work to cook dinner and headed out with Mdog for a few miles.  Within the first quarter mile I rolled my ankle and felt my it band strain.  At first I thought I was much more injured, but luckily after walking for half a block, I realized it was sore but okay to run on, and so I did.  The run wasn’t impressive, it was hot & I was tired but plugged along around the football stadium.

Friday: Rest & 5 mile bike commute to Joy Ride Brewery

Since pulling my ankle the day before, I decided to take the evening off.  Somehow J and I manged to muster up the energy to bike over to a new brewery for food truck & beer.  We also played the most epic round of rummy before heading home.

Saturday: 3 miles @ 9:44

I was suppose to do closer to 10 with Amanda, but my stomach was not a fan.  I had to cancel and went back to bed.  J and I ended up sleeping until nearly 11.  (which is wildly unusual for us) and it was awesome.  After we ran a few errands before tackling our house for some solid cleaning/ organizing.  J’s collegue from Belgium is visiting for a few days.  By the time we were all squared away, I had enough time for a quick run before we headed to see a show a Red Rocks. My splits were awesome (10:19, 9:49, 9:16)  I fully credit the huge drop in temperatures since earlier in the week.

Sunday: 6 miles @ 10:08

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The concert last night didn’t end until midnight.  By the time we got home had a snack & some water it was well near 2am.  I don’t know the last time I was up until 2am.  I forced myself up around 9 but was only working at 65% for most of the day.  Most of the day was dedicated to lesson plans & course work for DPS.  I would have skipped my run, but I was determined to add day 4 of running. J had taken the lead on cooking dinner so Mdog and I headed over to Sloan lake park for some miles. The temperatures were in my favor again and I felt great despite how over all tired I felt.  We executed beautiful negative splits and my running confidence is slowly building back up.

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I still have a long way to go if I think I am going to PR at Carlsbad but I am eager to continue to build on & up!

 

Film on the Rocks

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve wanted to go to Red Rocks Amphitheater. I blame it mostly on the Dave Matthews Live at Red Rocks album, but really, it just seemed SO very different from any venue in the Northeast. Shortly after moving to Denver, I was checking out the concert line up to see what we might be able to attend before the summer season closed out. In the process, I saw that they do Film on the Rocks, where different movies are aired on a large screen.

The final week of the 2017 season was September 11th and they were showing Twister. Twister is on the list of guilty pleasures and I was super excited to go. J agreed to skip softball that evening to join me.

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We did many things right for this event, we packed a picnic dinner ( sandwiches, pickles, chips and cookies) an empty nalenge to fill in the venue, a sleeping pad to sit on, and a crazy creek.

Before the movie started, there was a local band that preformed. It was enjoyable to just sit and listen to music on a nice Monday night. (and leaving all the other responsibilities behind..)

The move started around 8:30 and was a lot of fun. The crowd cheered throughout the movie (most notable when animals were saved from the tornado) but was genuinely enjoyable. J & I are already looking forward to next years line up!

[Training Log] Rock n Roll Denver

I am still no where near running 5 days a week, but for the past 2 weeks I have managed to run 3 days. The temperature are finally about to cool off, most days for the past few weeks have been hitting high 80s, so the change is very exciting to me.  GIVE ME FALL !

I know I might regret it a bit depending on how the winters are here, but summer is not my favorite for athletic purposes.  Anyhow it has been wildly busy for the past few weeks as I am trying to get my footing at school.  Eventually it all has to come together.  I didn’t get a chance to open my computer once last week for personal enjoyment, so I missed my training log among other posts I had been sketching in my head.  Rather than an extremely long recap, I’ll shorten 2 weeks ago to simply what was done and a usual for the rest.

9/4-9/10

Monday: Heavy smoke day from PNW fires.

Tuesday: 21 Day fix Total Body workout video

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3.1 mile run @ 11:00 + 9 mile bike commute

Friday: 3 mile run @ 10:53 + 9 mile bike commute

Saturday: 5 mile run @11:04 + 8 mile bike commute to Sunny Side Music Festival

Sunday: Off

Run total: 11 miles

Bike Total: 26 miles

9/11-9/18

Monday: Off. J and I went to go see Twister at Red Rocks !

Tuesday: Off.

Tuesday was tough for me, I was feeling super home sick and just bleh.  Eventually went out for a walk with Marcy dog but was pretty flat all day.

Wednesday:4.1 @ 11:40  & 9 mile bike commute

 

My colitis hasn’t been super well controlled lately.  And I am fairly certain I am not absorbing as many nutrients as I am eating, so I have been feeling extremely lethargic.  I do have reasonable health insurance now, but the only barrier is scheduling appointments around a school schedule. Anyhow, I felt tired & beat up, but headed out for a very slow 4 mile run.

Thursday: 9 mile bike commute

I don’t quite remember why I didn’t run on Thursday, but my guess is that its safe to assume that it was nearly 90 degrees.  J & I did take marcy dog for a walk to catch some pokemon. (yes, we still play.)

Friday- 3.2 @10:15 + 9 mile bike commute

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I easily could have skipped this run too, but J was going out for his own run and I really had no reason not to go out.  Plus we were going to grab a beer at another neighborhood brewery, but I wanted to get Mdog out for a bit of exericse. My lungs felt awful (even though most of the smoke has cleared out) but my legs felt strong once they shook out some of the biking.  Overall I felt far more encouraged with my effort & pace than I did on Wednesday.

Saturday- Rest / Colorado Springs

Initally I had planned to do 3-5 miles, but had forgotten that I had a class I needed to attend for working at DPS.  The class was engaging and the time went quickly.  When I returned we got our act together to drive down to Colorado Springs.  I had been there once nearly 10 years ago, but it was winter & we mostly did drive by sight seeing.  We enjoyed our afternoon exploring and I don’t regret missing a run.

Sunday – 10 miles @ 10:40

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I was very worried about running 10 miles.  I felt good when Amanda and I had run 8 two weeks ago, but my mileage has been low.  Since it was an out & back trail, I figured if I felt like hell, I’d throw in the towel and turn around. The first two miles were a bit brutal, but then I felt great.  Our return run was definitely faster than our out and I am feeling far more confident that I can build back up to where I was in May.

Run Total: 17 miles

Bike Total: 30 miles

 

After two weeks where I’ve managed 3 runs, I am hoping to squeeze it up to 4 this week.  I did join a gym ( gasp! I haven’t been a member of a gym in years, but since I am unsure of running routes & lighting & etc, I figured it was a good investment to allow me an alternative as I become more familiar with the city. I’ll also start focusing on building up my days & mileage to begin training for a PR at Carlsbad 1/2 in January.   The light is on at the end of the tunnel, now I’ve just got to look at it!

 

Sunnyside Music Festival

With both J and I being new to Denver we are constantly learning about events and the best way to plan for them.  Earlier in week we participated in a fantasy football draft.  Even that we were all beat up from Labor Day weekend & just work life in general, that was the most non social social event I’ve ever attended.  But in the process, we learned that J’s friends were planning on going to the Sunny Side Music Festival that weekend.

After a morning full of work & errands, we packed up our bags & bikes and headed off to Chaffee Park for the festival. We were able to take the bike path the majority of the way, and cruised on side streets until we arrived.  We locked up to some racks near a bar, but later saw that they did have a bike parking lot within the park.

By the time we had arrived, J and I were starving.  Unfortunately the food situation wasn’t great.  In one gated area, there was hot dogs & burgers & pizza and the other side of the park had extremely long lines for Mexican food.  We settled on the burgers and inhaled them.

After we went into the park to find our people.  By then, the last band was starting, and we enjoyed hanging out and chatting.  Because of some strange rules ( only beers of 3.5% or lower are allowed in the park, so the beer trucks had to have a gated off area to serve)  we had packed our own beers (technically they should have been under 3.5% but no one was checking) and enjoyed them in the park.

After the band ended, we said our farewells and we all headed back to our bikes to head home.  It was a mellow evening, but enjoyable to be out listening to free music.

Things we would do differently:

  • pack a picnic ( the food options weren’t great nor were they really worth the price.)
  • pack more beer.  We only had one each as we weren’t sure of the situation

Things we would do again:

  • bike-  biking allowed easy access without having to worry about parking

Overall its a free event, with opportunities to donate which goes back into the local community.