Couponing? I'll try anything once...

Sunday, April 24, 2011
I've clipped coupons before, but I've never made it a habit or been obsessive about it. I have a cousin who has recently started couponing and feels the need to update Facebook status about it more often than necessary. I hope to not become that kind of person however I do tend to become obsessive with new things!

I'm going to give it a shot because I feel like I do a lot of other things to save money and I don't really know what else to do. I typically buy generic foods and sometimes shop at the United Grocery Outlet store in town, which is why we had Halloween shaped mac & cheese with Easter dinner today. Let's face it, the shaped macaroni tastes way better than the noodle-y macaroni and when it's 50 cents compared to $1.25 you don't care if you're eating bats and pumpkins! If you don't know if you have a UGO near you check here: to see the one nearest you.

One of my issues is not knowing where to get these magical coupons. I recently subscribed to All You magazine which contains about $70 worth of coupons per issue. A lady at work was selling subscriptions for her sons school and instead of spending $3/issue I decided to subscribe for 10 issues for $10. Of course I can't use all of the coupons in there but hopefully it will be worth it.

I suppose the best way to find anything out is to go look, if you have any suggestions please let me know!

Cooking...for real.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Since I have been living basically on my own since graduation I for some reason got the idea in my head that "well it's cheaper to go through a drive-thru than to cook for one person". I'm sure some of you have had that thought as well. Especially a few months ago when I would work from 9-5 then drive 30 minutes to be in rehearsal (hopefully) before the actors arrived. I had rehearsal until 10:00 most nights so my choices were either grab something in the window of time between 5:30 and 6:00 or wait until 10:00 to run by Taco Bell, the latter being an option I chose too many times, just ask my hips!

If you look at my Menu page after I calculated everything it ended up being really cheap to cook than to go out. I know that seems like such a "duh!" statement but I never really put calculations in it, it's so much easier to spend $3 here and $4 there than to go to the store and spend $30. I think that was a bad habit I had. I would go out here and there thinking it wasn't so bad and getting out of the store with just the basics for breakfasts and lunches for about $25 didn't seem too bad. Adding it all up if I were to spend $25/week on basics and then spend money on going out I was definitely wasting a lot. I know for most of you this may be something you've learned on your own and already know but I'm sure some of you were like me and thought you were saving money by going out.

Typically when I ran through the drive through I would get a kid's meal with either chicken nuggets or tenders and fries and the meal cost $4-ish. After cooking our own and calculating it ended up costing only $1.80! How crazy is that!

Well I'm sure I rambled a lot because it's past my bedtime, my body doesn't seem to know it doesn't have to go to work utnil 11 tomorrow. I will come back and edit this later.


Saturday, April 9, 2011
Have you ever heard the term "Godwink"? It's written about in a series of book by SQuire Rushnell (yes the Q is supposed to be capitalized!)

I wanted to include this in my last post but I felt like I was chasing metaphorical rabbits and stopped myself. This is the definition of a Godwink by the author, taken from his website
A godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience where you'd say, "Wow, what are the odds of that!"

What do godwinks mean? Think about when you were a kid and someone you loved gave you a little wink across the dining room table...Mom or Dad or Grandma. You didn't say "What do you mean by that?" You knew. It meant: "Hey kid, I'm thinking about you right now." That's what a godwink is too: a message of reassurance from above, directly to you, out of six billion people on the planet, saying "Hey kid...I'm thinking of you! Keep the faith! You're never alone."

Basically it means that nothing is ever a coincidence, which is a belief that I agree with. You may disagree and that's fine too. I wanted to share a few of these that have happened in my life.

It's interesting that even though I'm only 24 I look back on the past 3 and a half years and see what drastic changes have taken place.

In the town where I grew up no one ever leaves, you're born there, you die there and that is that. I always knew I wanted to leave. Not necessarily because I thought I was better than everyone else but more because I needed to prove to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to.

That attitude started in 9th grade when all of my friends decided to side with another girl instead of me and almost overnight I was virtually friendless. When you go to a school with a graduating class of 60 there aren't a lot of choices for friends. So I did something I thought I could never do, I auditioned for the school play and got the part and met my best friend April. Through theater I was able to discover who I was and who I could be. Through losing many close "friends" I gained one wonderful, meaningful friendship that keeps on keepin' on from 500 miles away.

I mentioned in my previous post that I attended community college before going to a 4 year school. This wasn't really my decision but I'm glad I listened to my moms advice on this one. I had recieved offers to join Phi Theta Kappa for every semester but I really didn't want to fork out the $75 registration fee which seems ridiculous now but when I worked at JC Penney's and made $5/hour $75 was a lot of money! So once again my wonderful mom took over and made me register. Thankfully she did because when I decided to transfer to Maryville that membership saved me $18,000 each year for the 3 years I was there. Now that's a good investment! I had no idea the school offered this scholarship until I was accepted and went over my financial aid packet with my advisor. So if by chance you're reading this and in community college with the option to join PTK, take it!

Maryville is a small town, it's large compared to where I was raised but people here consider it to be a speck on the map. So what are the odds I would meet someone who grew up here before I'd even visited the school? When serving as a summer missionary in Louisville, KY my roommate was a student who attended Boyce College, an undergrad school associated with the Seminary in Louisville. Her friend Mary came over for dinner one night after I had just learned about the interpreting program and we were chatting about our backgrounds and it turns out she had grown up in Maryville and lived there until moving to Kentucky for college. I took this as a sign that I was going in the right direction and it may sound silly but that influenced me to take a leap of faith and move to Tennessee.

I never thought I would be an interpreter, I had met one Deaf individual in my entire life, my friends neighbor. This was until high school when I met 2 more while I was taking an intro to ASL class. I didn't know anyone who was an interpreter, I really don't even know that I knew it was a profession. After transferring to Maryville I began dating my fella, it turns out he's from an interpreter breeding family haha. He has uncles, aunts, and cousins who are interpreters and missionaries to the Deaf in other countries. Now he is learning the language, it looks like he wasn't going to be able to escape it!

The summer of 2009 I was searching for interpreting internships in Chicago so I could be near my beau (he has since graduated and moved to Tennessee to be near me) I had a hard time finding anything. He talked to his church people and they set me up with an internship...but not with interpreting. I was able to have a great opportunity to do a lighting, sound, graphic, and video internship with a branch of Willow Creek Community Church. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, this church is huuuuuge. Like an verage of 21,000 people attending weekly services huge. I'm not sure how this qualifies as a godwink but it was a really cool experience that I would never have had otherwise.

I finally g found an interpreting internship in Chicago for the summer of '10 I was setting up all of the logistics and had even gone up to visit the building, do an interview, and present my senior thesis. Approximately 1 month before going to Chicago I recieved an e-mail stating that they no longer had an internship available for me (apparently the guy never asked his boss if he could train someone). So here I was planning to graduate in 4 months with the rug pulled out from under me. Thankfully I was accepted to do my internship at a local church here in Knoxville. That in itself has been a wonderful experience, I've met many great people both Deaf and Hearing and I really feel like at this point in my life this is where I'm supposed to be. I think if I had gone to Chicago I would be miserable, I'm not a city girl. I need mountains, rivers, backroads, and wildflowers. I think God knew I would be of better use here than in Chicago and I'm glad.

That is all I can think of for now, my brain is rebelling against me and is requesting to rest now. I suppose that's okay :)


Getting Started

Hello! My name is Sunny and this is my first attempt at blogging. Thanks for stopping by!

First I'll give you a little bit of background about myself; I'm a 24 year old college graduate working in a field unrelated to my degree and up to my ears in student loan debt. Sound familiar? Thought it might, and that's why I've decided to start this blog.

I graduated high-school dead set on becoming a zoologist (I pushed my marine biologist dreams out the door in 6th grade when I realized I was kind of afraid of water). After a few semesters I knew I still loved biology but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life picking up poo, so I changed my major to Education, then to Special Education, Theatre, and finally settling on General Studies. This was all in the span of 2 years at community college, which I only attended at the urging of my parents but I'm SO glad that I did! I turned up my nose at community college, or High School Part II and I had my heart set to get away from my hometown as soon as possible.

After my 2nd year of community college I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to do with my life. That summer I moved to Louisville, KY to serve as a Summer Missionary for the North American Mission Board, it was here that I found the next clue on my path. I took an American Sign Language class in high school and I picked up on it pretty easily so I took another at the community college. It was something I enjoyed and was easy to learn but I never thought about making it a career until that summer when my supervisor kept asking what I was going to do when it came time to go back to school in the Fall. I didn't have an answer, I shared my whim of becoming an ASL Interpreter and she encouraged me to find info about colleges with a degree in that major. The first school that came up was Maryville College, I sent off for information and a few weeks later found myself on a 5 hour trip with my awesome supervisor. I was very intimidated, going to Louisville for the summer was the first time I'd stepped out of my comfort zone and here I was in a car going to tour a school that was 500 miles away from home.

When I arrived at the school I fell in love. It was beautiful and historic (It was a seminary during the Civil War) and what really sold me was that I felt like I'd fallen into an episode of Gilmore Girls, it had such a small town quaint charm to it. So there it was, I sent in my application in June, toured in July, and moved there in August. Quite a whirlwind!

The school was in fact everything I thought it would be, up to that point in my life I had accumulated no debt (Thank you community college!!) but Maryville was not exactly inexpensive. 1 full year costs nearly $40,000. Thankfully I had scholarships to cover more than half of the price but as for the other half I had no choice but to borrow. At first it didn't seem so bad, after all once I grdduated I would have a fantastic job that would pay for everything right? Well...sort of. I do have a great job working with adults with Alzheimer's and Dementia but it isn't exactly putting my degree to good use. Thankfully I'm able to pay my bills but it feels like I'm never going to dig myself out of this pile of debt I've put myself in.

That's where this blog comes in. It's not so much for anyone else as it is for myself. I'm planning to record my finances so I can track my progress. I feel much more motivated when I can see things on paper (or in pixels!) and I feel like that will keep me on track. I'll be using Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover and keeping track of my student loans (how much I owe, interest rates, payments, etc.) as well as my other expenses and see where I can eliminate some of the things I spend too much money on and use that money to go toward my loans.

So there it is, it seems simple but I know I have a tough road ahead of me, I also know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13) and whatever I learn from going through this will make me a better, more financially responsible person in the future. Goodnight!