Tag Archives: Mint.com

Why I’m not a bad money manager.

I am not a bad money manager.  I have been thinking for the past four years, that something was wrong with me, after all, why am I continually coming up short in the budget department?  Why, when I keep cutting corners, eliminating experiences and streamlining personnel services, do I keep receiving warning notices from Mint.com that I am over my budget for….food….gas, you know, little things like that? Reading David Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is illuminating, but this summer, I realized that simple envelope systems and debt-snowballs are no match for giant reductions in income.

This summer, I was, once again, reviewing and modifying my budget, looking around my house for more things to sell or donate in a feeble attempt to live more simply, when I happened to check the State Franchise Tax Board website to be sure my last payment had been recorded.  The site has this really cool feature that allows you to see archives of the last four year’s wages earned and taxes paid.  It was then that I realized the enormity of the Los Angeles Unified School District pay cuts and furlough days. 

Between 2008 and 2009, my pay decreased $1,072.15

Between 2009 and 2010 my pay decreased $1,572.04

Between 2010 and 2011 my pay decreased $5,977.17. 

If you have been keeping up with that math, the difference between my teacher’s salary in 2008 and 2011 is $8, 621.36

I would add an exclamation mark, but there is nothing to be excited about. I am coming up short about $862 a month.

This is not entirely the fault of our union, UTLA, for weak negotiations with the District or the LAUSD, because their budget is controlled by the California.  This is not entirely the fault of the California because the State budget is dictated by the taxes collected in the State both income and property tax and some sales tax revenue thrown in too.  Our State is suffering, just like the country, in fact we are just a small part of the entire global economic downturn, but that down turn was caused by the few and mighty who control Wall Street. 

So when I’m feeling the pinch and thinking of second jobs, launching a business, writing material to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers and my own ebooks and independently published books, it is my effort to retain a shred of dignity after 34 years of teaching almost 600 children to believe in themselves.  It is time for me to believe in myself, regardless of whether the LAUSD, UTLA the California, the Federal Government or Wall Street investment bankers believe in the value of teachers.


Filed under Education, Life thoughts, Teaching

Create 2011

Dreams and a Plan 2011

My New Year’s Day tradition is to create a collage visualization of my hopes, dreams and plans for the New Year and so this afternoon I sat down at the kitchen table with my husband and youngest daughter (who is 19)  and spent a pleasant couple of hours scanning magazines for inspirational words and photos.  My 2011 collage has a theme:  Create.  That is also the word that popped into my head during a Winter Solstice meditation with Diana Lang two weeks ago.  I take it to mean that I can create the life I want, and it doubles as inspiration to create art and the written word.  My plan has three categories:

1.  Create health & peace of mind

2. Create and maintain relationships

3.  Create art

I will create a more healthy lifestyle by developing the habit of exercise at Equinox and Curves and integrating it into my daily life.  I have chosen the 10,000 Steps walking program and I have my spiffy new pedometer to track my daily steps.  I have realized that if I walk (either on the treadmill or an extended walk with Charlie, my dog) for an hour, I can rack up the steps fairly easily.  I am also committing to yoga at least twice a week.  This also helps with creating peace of mind, but is definitely a good strength training routine as well.  I will continue with resistance training to help build bone strength.  The big news is my recent re-acquaintance with Weight Watchers.  I am attending weekly meetings and making daily use of eTools to track my food. I have come to the conclusion that tracking creates the discipline I need to succeed.  I am proud to say that In the past month I have really become mindful of the food I eat and am excited with the 5 lb. weight loss!

Charlie, my walking buddy, on the way home from his bath. Note the cute scarf?

I will create peace of mind by tracking my spending and saving habits too, and will continue my money education and devotion to becoming money-wise.  By tracking my habits on mint.com I will have a realistic visual of where my money is going and how I can gain control even in these tough economic times, taking into account  furlough days and the cutbacks imposed on education by lack of State funding.

I am open to creating new friendships and devoted to maintaining those I have.  I will continue to nurture the friends and family I am blessed to have in my life presently and appreciate these relationships.  I am taking a positive path to relationships and plan to focus on positive aspects of relationships while attempting to eliminate gossip and other negative habits that are detrimental to honest friendships.  I will practice patience, support and giving.

I will create art by focusing on my writing through my classes in the UCLA Writers Program, this blog, a daily 2-minute journal and various writing experiences.  I will expand my creative experiences through any art form that becomes available and will be open to opportunities to  express myself through music, art and crafts.

This is my new nifty 2-minute timer.

2011 is a blank slate, a new beginning and a chance to “Embrace the art of living.”  My vision is clear and my plan is in place.  Feel free to share your plan for the New Year!  May it be a truly happy year for us all.


Filed under Life thoughts, New Year's