When Other People Affect My Budget!

Even our friends can learn something from our living on a budget! It’s very difficult to be the person living on a budget who has to say no to something fun and our friends can learn to be sympathetic and understanding. Yes, I know – you’re laughing at me. They could; whether they choose to is up to them.

One of the things I find most difficult about living on a budget and working to pay off my debt is other people. That’s right: other people. Sure, I struggle with myself when I’m hungry and tired and want to stop and grab some fast food on my way home, even though it’s a poor use of my money. And there have been many tears shed because I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for a car repair, but what I find even harder is feeling like I have to justify my inability to spend money on entertainment.

Everyone’s financial situation is different. We don’t all graduate from college with the same debt to income ratio. And even if we did, the choices we all make after that would put us in different situations anyway. Very few people I know (and even those I don’t know!) have the same debt load that I do, so they find it hard to understand why my budget doesn’t include a lot of money for going out. When that happens, not only am I fighting myself – of course I want to go out and spend time with my friends and have a nice meal – but I am fighting their pressure . Without revealing details of my financial situation when, frankly, it’s not any of their business, it’s hard to get them to realize that I’m not trying to avoid them. And not to feel guilty when they do.

LearnVest has several useful articles with tips on managing some of these situations. Those friends who never seem to consider your financial situation? There’s one for that.

What about you? How do you communicate your limits to your friends?

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Book Review – The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

It’s sometimes hard to find good ebooks available to borrow from the local library. The waiting list is usually long and so many of them aren’t books I would be interested in reading. Harlequin romances are not for me.

So I happy to find this book available to borrow immediately while browing through the library’s listings. I’ve read Julie Klassen’s The Lady of Milkweed Manor and while it wasn’t my favorite, it was a good read.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall tells the story of Margaret Macy, a London lady who finds herself running from her home after overhearing her stepfather giving his nephew what is essentially permission to rape her. In an effort to support herself, she finds a place as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected. Eventually she returns home but not before realizing she may have made a mistake in her judgment of Nathaniel.

Margaret’s development in this story is superb. She starts off as a spoiled little chit – I have to admit, I did NOT like her at the beginning of the story! – but develops into someone very likeable and kind. Nathaniel’s character is also deep and his faith permeates his life. They are two very likeable characters.

The glimpses into 18th century servitude are very interesting. I don’t think I’ve read a historical romance with such a detailed look at how and why things were done. The author starts each chapter with a quotation from a different reference book, such as Below Stairs by Giles Waterfield, which speaks to something that happens in the chapter.

I was very sad to see this book end. My roommate made a comment that really resonated with me: “That’s the problem with ebooks. You don’t see the end coming.” And it’s so true. When you read a paper book, you know you only have a few pages left and you expect the ending. When I read an ebook, I don’t often check to see how many pages I have left. I was extremely disappointed to see this one end – I would have loved to know a little more about what happens next.

All in all, a very good read. Nathanial is a very God-fearing character and lives his life as such. The rest are certainly true to the period. I would highly recommend this book. Should you choose to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Again, all opinions are my own.

Pencil Me In

There’s something about autumn. The days are cooler and the nights are crisp, inviting you to snuggle under a quilt and enjoy the warmth just a little bit longer. A chance to walk around in a hoodie and smell the change in the air. It’s a time of year that is alive with possibilities: new schedules (that are usually more structured than summer’s!), new places, new people to meet. There are so many opportunities out there that it’s hard to choose just one. Photography, voice, computer classes, languages; Bible studies, networking groups; there are so many things to do and learn and experience!

But in the midst of all that, it’s important to remember to save time for you. Time to spend with God, time to work out, time to relax. Why is it that we are always the first thing to get pushed aside? I don’t know about you, but time booked on my calendar to run to relax is most often pushed aside for work or friends or other things that are important. And it’s ok to do that sometimes, but I have to remind myself that it’s not ok to do it all the time. If I don’t have enough sleep or spend time with God or exercise, I don’t have enough energy to do everything else to the best of my ability.

In an effort to combat this, I have reserved one night a week as “me” time. This is a night when I can do anything I want to. If my bathroom needs to be cleaned and that’s what I want to do, that’s fine. But if I want to lay on the couch and watch TV, that’s ok too. It’s my night.

Credit has to go to my brilliant roommate for this idea – she did it first and encouraged me to do the same. And it has helped to know that I have that night to look forward to! It’s easier to do the things I need to do the other four days in a week when I know I can do whatever I want without guilt for that one night (no, that doesn’t mean I can go rob a bank. You know what I mean!).

So I’m looking forward to fall and the chance to learn some new skills, spend some time with new people, and plan out my alone time!