Friday, May 26, 2017

Making a HUGE Decision

I got a job.  A real job.  A real working from home job.  And I am not sure if I really want it.  You see, I have a dilemma.  I thought I found that perfect job that I had been looking for.  It was a writing job, which I could not be more happy about.  It was writing for a blog! How perfect, right?  Unfortunately, after the initial first call, I have not heard any news.  No interview.  No details.  Nothing.  So I had to move on.

Since I was not finding the jobs I wanted (or should I say, the jobs I wanted weren't calling me back), I decided to try my luck with regular jobs.  I tried Amazon, which didn't work out.  Then yesterday, a job I was not really expecting to hear from called me.  They want to hire me as a customer service rep and requested a few items.  Items that I need to have if I want to legally work in Costa Rica.  Now, I've never worked in Costa Rica before, so this will be a first for me.  It's a work from home job of course, which is nice,  but it's 10 freaking hours a day!  Ten hours a day, 5 days a week.  They require me to work on Saturdays, which is not ideal, but it only involves answering the phones.  Not sure what the calls will be about yet, but I'll make it a point to ask at the interview.

I'm not sure I want a full time job with such a rigid schedule.  It was actually one of the things I did not want while I was searching for a work from home position.  However, the pay is good (not great, but enough to make a difference).  And it is at home, so that's a bonus.  So, I'll give the job a go. It won't hurt to just try and see if it might work out.  I might be able to start off full time and go part time if the work load proves too much.  I might even be able to ask for a more flexible schedule once I get my foot in the door and prove my worth.

 I can't believe it has proven this difficult to find the perfect work from home job. They either all want full time hours with a rigid schedule (and a full work load) or don't offer enough money for me to waste my time.  And the ones that seem perfect just seem too good to be true as they never respond to my emails.  It's quite the dilemma.  I feel stuck.  And yet, I feel good knowing that all it takes is for me to try a few jobs out to see which one will work for me.  The search continues.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Date Night With My Baby

Technically, my 17 year old son is not a baby anymore, he's practically a grown man.  But to me, he will always be my baby and last night we had one of the best mother son date nights ever.

With 4 kids, it's not easy finding quality time that I can spend with each kid individually.  Especially since my oldest is getting ready to one day soon leave the nest, it's important I spend that time with him so we can have that lasting bond.  I have to say, I'm pretty lucky that at 17 years old, he doesn't mind being seen out in public with his mommy.

So as a treat to show him how much he means to me and how important our relationship is, I took him out on a spur of the moment date night, just the two of us.  We headed to Lincoln Plaza where we had dinner at Smash Burger, a restaurant we'd never tried before (the food was pretty satisfying).

After browsing the shops and strolling about the mall for a bit, we went to the movie theater where we watched Alien Covenant (which was pretty entertaining).  And of course, we had to get popcorn.

Then to top of the night, I treated my big boy to a drink at Starbucks (cookies and cream), while I had a mint cappuccino at Pops and a huge cinnamon roll from Cinnabon (which I took home and shared with my other kids).

It was truly a night to remember.  A night filled with food and fun, laughter and meaningful conversation.  That is what I would call a successful date night with my son.  I hope I can implement some sort of outing with each of my kids at least once a month.  After all, in a world filled with strife, it's always good to come back to the simple things, like spending quality time with the people you love most.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Budgeting For Life

We all know that having a budget to simplify your financial life is just a smart way to live. But finding a budget that works for you and knowing HOW to budget can be tricky.

I have to admit, I have gotten very very lax on budgeting.  I use to be the penny pinching, budget every penny to make it count kind of person.  Now I just spend every dime willy nilly without thinking twice.  How did I become such a spendthrift?

It took me years to get here, but my mindset has recently been: live everyday as if it's your last. Enjoy life! So instead of depriving myself so much like I use to, I figure, why not treat myself.  But I have been treating myself a little too much and a little too frequently of late.  And right now, we cannot afford for me to be so carefree with money.

I need to implement a budget and one that actually works.  Last year, as simple as my budget was, it quite simply failed.  I hated having to account for every single dime that I spent.  Yes, it's good to know where your money goes, but budgeting for things like gum is crazy.

I think I finally figured out a way I can still treat myself and stick to a budget.  I have to lay out all our must pay bills, the really important stuff that we cannot afford NOT to pay.   The light, the car, the kids' school fees, etc.  Those are all set in stone and need to be paid every single month.

I will need to set up some kind of system where I have all my bills planned out for each month and how much each bill will be (and an estimate for those bills that tend to fluctuate each month like electricity).  Then I need to set aside an amount for spending money, a set amount each month that is just mine to spend however I choose, without having to account for every single nickel and dime. Then I'll set aside an amount for savings and miscellaneous.

As soon as I can figure a system out and have that in place, I think I can get a handle on our finances. Some people might  think that having to budget sucks.  But even if you make a ton of money, I think its just smart to have a budget in place.  Keeping track of your money and making sure you can account for where your dough is going makes life a little easier.  Keeping on top of your bills and your spending makes for a stress free life.  The budget savvy person is also a happy person in real life because they have their financial life under control.  I need to start budgeting for life.

Friday, May 5, 2017

This Work Situation

I love being a stay at home.  I have no complaints in that area of my life.  I love being available for my kids, for whatever they need whenever they need me.  I am there for school activities and just day to day life in general.  I am home to get household duties accomplished on my time, while also having free time to run errands.  I just love the stay at home mom life.  But if it is one thing about that life that I have to complain about, it's the lack of having my own money.  I don't get paid to stay home, sadly.  I do it because I want to and because I feel the need to.  But I also realize that to live the life we want and to have extra funds we need, we cannot keep living on one income (at least for now, until hubby gets a raise).

I need extra money but I want to still have the ability to stay at home with my kids, so what do I do? I get a work from home job.  If you think about it, working from home gives you the best of both worlds, almost.  You are working, so you are making money while still being able to be at home when your family needs you.  And if you are lucky to find a work from home job with flexible hours, you still get to control some of your time during the day to fit in school activities and running errands.

For me, it is always a struggle to keep a work from home job.  While I love the extra money, losing some control over my time can be a bit bothersome.  And it can be tricky finding the right work from home job.  I want a job that is super flexible where I can set my own hours.  I don't want to be stuck at my computer from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.  I need a job that has minimal responsibilities and not a lot of work.  I am a full time mom which means I don't need the added stress.  Something simple and straight forward works best for me.

The other issue with working from home is payment,  While the extra money is nice, it's hard to earn a really good salary working from home.  Most jobs want to pay the bare minimum, especially if you don't have to commute.  So you have to decide if the job is worth it for what you get paid.  In a lot of cases, it is.  But it would be nice to get paid just a little bit more.

My work situation I have going on right now is getting a bit complicated as I have not yet started working in the position I applied for.  I have been 'reassigned' 3 times and this third time is testing my willingness to stick with this job.  Last week we had a bit of an issue with payment being delayed, to the point of me almost quitting.  This week, since my position is not ready, I have been assigned a task I am dead set against doing.  But if I want to keep this job and make money, I will have to do it.

Yes, working from home is most likely the best alternative to working outside the home if you are a mom and prefer to be home with your family.  It offers the chance to earn extra money while still being available for your kids, so it can be a win win situation.  But you have to have patience and stick with the process because finding the perfect work from home job can prove to be a challenge.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Not A Party

We celebrated my daughter's 10th birthday this past Wednesday and I cannot believe my little princess has grown up so fast right before our eyes.  Where does the time go?



This year, we're doing something very different from the norm and not having a party. Instead, we're having a small celebration with a few friends at the park.

Now, this may be cheating a little bit with the 'it's not a party' idea, since we will be having cupcakes and treat bags for the kids to take home.  But it's definitely not a party that I would normally host. There is no decorating involved.  No piƱata (say what!).  And most importantly,  no stress!  Yes, NO STRESS!!!!

This idea is so genius I can't believe I didn't think of it years before.  No extra money was spent renting out a party hall.  Just a simple gathering of close friends at the park for a picnic lunch of hotdogs and a few snacks.  Kids get to run around and just play, letting off some energy and parents can just chillax at the park and shoot the breeze.

I don't have to stress about who's coming and RSVP's.  I don't have to spend hours on party preparations. I don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to decorate.  I can just relax and let the day take shape.  All I have to hope for is decent weather and we'll be happy.

As per tradition, we did go ahead and celebrate my daughter's birthday on her actual day of birth with a trip to the movies and dinner at one of her favorite places in the mall.  She even got a few gifts because what is a birthday without a few presents to open.  She just wanted to keep things simple this year and I have to say, I don't blame her.  It was time to switch things up a bit.  I'm glad her and I could settle on what to do to celebrate her birthday without the big 'to-do' of an actual party.  She gets a simple celebration and a fun day at the park with her friends and I still get to plan a celebration for her special day.  Plus I didn't break the bank doing it.  I call that a win-win situation.




Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Car Is Ready!!

We got the call yesterday and it was very good news.  A lot sooner than expected, our vehicle is fixed and all ready for pickup.  This news comes just in time as we are gearing up to celebrate my daughter's birthday next weekend and without a car, that would have proved to be a little difficult.

I can finally have my freedom back.  Being able to just get up and go and not having to ask permission is going to be a nice change from the last few weeks.  Honestly, it's not like I've been driving around in my own car from the start to feel like the last 4 weeks were torture.  I had been a public bus rider and at the mercy of others when it came to car rides for the last 10 plus years.  It was just a nice and welcome change for me once I was able to drive again and have a car to do so.

I am a little bit on the nervous side now, as far as making sure this never happens to us again.  Yes, accidents happen.  You can't really prevent an accident, can you?  Can YOU?  Maybe, but they are called accidents for a reason.  They just happen and when you least expect them.  I just hope we can keep ourselves from getting into such a predicament again and be a little more careful.  After all, this is our one and only family car, our sole source of transportation.  And it's a brand new car too, so no more f*ups!

I will do my part to keep the car running in tip top shape.  I just hope hubby does his,  It has really been a  struggle not having a car and it's a struggle we know all too well.  We've been seriously blessed with my mother in law letting us use her car occasionally.  But I don't want to be at the mercy of someone else all the time.  When her car isn't available, it puts us at a disadvantage.  And although it really cannot be seen as a necessity for living, having a car just makes life easier, especially if you are a busy on the go parent.  Now, while it would be nice to have 2 vehicles at our disposal so that when one car is indisposed at least we have another to carry us around, that is not our reality.  One car families are pretty common in Costa Rica and you praise what you have because there are so many others without.

With all that said, this time next week we will have our car back and I could not be any happier.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Only Two More Days

Wow!  How did the time fly so fast?  One minute, the kids are just about to start their Easter break vacation.  The next mimute, they are saddling up to return back to school.  Why does the time seem to be speeding by in the blink of an eye!

I am excited that we're that much closer to Easter; the egg hunt, the baskets filled with goodies, the wonderful brunch.  I am really looking forward to Sunday.  But that just means that it'll be back to school for the kiddos and back to the same old for me.

I don't mean to be a negative Nancy.  I can't really complain too much about my daily routine.  I have a pretty decent life as far as lives go, so I am grateful.  But I do find that I am not as gung-ho about the kids' school this year because of the time difference and the many changes that seem to be occurring on the daily.  Plus, as much as I love taking them to school everyday, the constant going to and from multiple times a day makes me wish even more for school vacation.

I am just going to take it one day at a time.  I am not going to worry about how many days are left until Monday.  I will not count down the days until July, which is when the kids get a 2 week mid year vacation.  I will live in the moment and enjoy today.  And when Sunday comes, I won't dread it as the day before school starts.  I will embrace it for what it is:  Easter Sunday, a day filled with fun for my family to enjoy.