Tag Archives: money

Takin’ the A train

9 Aug

The twin cities do not have a mass transit culture like Chicago or NYC have. We have a bus system, but most people who use it either don’t have a car or work downtown and don’t want to pay for parking. We used to have streetcars, but the cities took them out in the 60s. My parents talk about taking the streetcars when they were kids and through high school But they also talk about the ice wagons, so…

Anyway, a few years ago (maybe 5? 7? I don’t remember), they opened a light rail line between downtown Minneapolis and the airport/Mall of America. I’ve never used it. But this summer, they opened a new line between the two downtowns. green lineIt goes right through campus, and there’s a station about a 10 minute walk from my new place. But I still haven’t used it.

Until yesterday.

Why yesterday? Well, the MN Vikings are without a stadium right now while they rebuild theirs. And so they’re playing on campus for two years. No biggie, as I’m not usually at work on a Sunday. But they had a pre-season game last night at 7, and I knew traffic would be hell trying to get off campus after work. So I thought I’d take the train.

My friend SP doesn’t have a car and works downtown, so she is a mass transit expert. I made her kinda walk me through where to buy the tickets, etc. Which she was more than willing to do. So I felt like I knew what I was doing, even though it’s really not that complicated and I probably could have figured it out.

So I walked to the station – took about 10 minutes. I just missed one train, so I had to wait 10 minutes for the next. Poor timing on my part. Well, not poor timing – I just left later than I had planned on. When I got on the train, it was pretty empty. But it quickly filled, and by the time we got to campus, it was about 2/3 full. The ride took about 20 minutes. (Actually 23 minutes, if you’re curious.) I then had about a 10 minute (not even) walk to get to my office.

Here’s my big debate now: do I give up my parking contract and just take the train to/from work?

Cheaper. About $35 less per paycheck.
Use way less gas each month.
Less wear and tear on my car which means less maintenance.
No traffic issues ever.
Pretty relaxing ride – very air-conditioned! And the stations have heat (in the winter).
More green – doing my part to help the environment.

Less flexibility – can’t just leave and run somewhere after work.
Having to walk probably 15 minutes each way in whatever kind of weather we’re having. (Right now, my parking contract is in a garage that’s connected to my building by tunnels.)

Yep, can’t decide. I’ll probably try it a few more times, maybe in some icky weather, just to see how it feels. But if you have any opinions on it, let me know!

Here we go…

2 Aug

In October 2010, I moved back with my parents. Partially to help them out as they got their house ready to sell, and partially to save money. You see, I had a plan of how to reach some financial goals in terms of debt and retirement. So I had to spend as little as possible. But I needed to keep dancing. Yes, needed. I can’t imagine my life without it. So for four years, I lived on a cash-only basis, I didn’t go out much, I didn’t buy a lot of clothes, I ate out less, I put my stuff in storage and stayed with friends paying cheap rent. My target date, if all went according to plan, was July 1, 2014.

And you know what? I MADE IT. I’m now debt-free, I’ve looked at my retirement and savings and am track, and I have a habit of operating with cash only, no credit.

When I moved four years ago, I knew where I wanted to live when I was out on my own again. And I found an apartment in that complex. The rent is a little higher than I was planning on. But I readjusted my budget and just know that things will be a bit tighter for a short while. It’s worth, though, to live in a grown-up place in a neighborhood I love.

July was crazy. I moved. And after moving so many times (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and now 2014 – yikes), I know that moving is the most stressful thing I can do to myself. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of practice over the last few years in how to cope with it. Rule number one: Have professionals do the actual moving. Rule number two: Unpack as quickly as possible. I moved on a Wednesday morning and had the last things done on Saturday. BOOM.

And while money is tighter, it’s not horribly tight. I can still go out with friends, I can buy some clothes, and most importantly, I can still afford all my dancing. And I’m excited to live my life again! I’m in my own apartment, which hasn’t happened since 2010. I just feel like it’s all starting over, I get to be a grown-up again and not crash with friends. I really can’t describe how excited I am. I’ve been inspired to cook and bake again, and I’ve started going to the gym every day before work. (OK, it’s literally a two-minute walk door-to-door, so how can I not? But still…I’m there every morning!)

And I love my apartment! It’s got enough space but not so much that cleaning’s a pain. All my stuff fits in nicely, and there’s great storage too. The kitchen is fantastic, although I haven’t cooked with an electric stove and oven in years. But I’m adjusting to that.

I owe my parents and my friends a lot for letting me live with them and pay cheap rent. I can never describe to any of them what that support and help means to me. Without them, I would have had to stop dancing. And can you imagine me without dancing? That’d be one sad Cathy. Let’s not go back there, shall we?

I wish I was a better writer so I could convey just how energized I am now to do THINGS. I’m knitting again, I’m baking, I’m reading, I’m RUNNING again (right? yeah it’s been a while)…I am HAPPY. So very happy.


Time to refocus

1 Jan

Happy new year!

Here we are again. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of resolutions. But I know I’m not perfect, by any means, unlike Calvin:


(I love that cartoon.)

So looking back at what I wanted to focus on in 2013 and setting the focus for 2014…

Physical health
I did get back to the gym on a regular basis. I certainly ran more. But then I broke my foot. I was in such great shape prior to that, and it’s been hard to get back into a regular routine with any sort of endurance. But this week has been good. So for 2014 I’ll keep working on going to the gym regularly, building endurance, and running more.

My eating didn’t change much this year, although I somehow got a little sugar addiction lately. Boo on holiday food. So let’s refocus on that for 2014: more veggies!

My writing was definitely done in waves. I had stretches of lots of blog posts, and then nothing. (See: lack of posts in December.) So there’s the focus for 2014: more consistent blogging.

Breaking my foot really made me appreciate dancing. Prior to that, I was going to more groups and practicing on my own. After I broke my foot, I practiced a lot because I was working on checking out. But since then, I’ve struggled to get into a routine. So after the holidays, it’s more group classes, more practicing on my own, and still appreciating it.

Creative hobbies
I stopped baking for a while in the last few months for various reason. I packed my grandma’s recipes, so I can’t go through those until after July. But I’ve baked more this week and will continue to do so. I did learn to crochet but didn’t practice, so now I need a refresher. I certainly knitted more this year and will continue to do so for 2014!

No movement there. Meaning no action taken on my part to have anything happen. Stupid Mr Big still in my brain. But steps have been taken this week…more on that soon.

I’ve made some progress towards my financial goals, although Christmas was not planned for as well as it should have been. Oops. So I’m going to take the first six months of 2014 and refocus on money.

Mental health
This year, I realized that my issues are like a chronic condition. I will always have them; I can only cope with the flare-ups. And I’ve done a better job of that lately. This will always be a focus for me though.

At the end of the day, I still strive for this:


And hope to remember this:

light of your being

I hope 2014 is everything you want it to be. Happy new year!

Time to refocus

1 Jan

I like New Year’s because it’s a chance to refocus. I don’t like resolutions…they sound like work and negative consequences and failure. I prefer to think of it more positively: let’s refocus our efforts as we start a new year.


Unlike Calvin, I’m very aware I’m not perfect. But here are the main things I’d like to refocus on in 2013.

Physical health
I was doing very well for most of 2012, but December was kind of a bust. So, time to get back to the gym three times a week (like I was before). I’ll keep running and do more strength training. I want to continue and increase my morning yoga. It’s such a great way to start the day.

It’s also time to get back to eating healthier, especially now that the holidays are over. (I don’t even want to think about the food I ate in December!) And expand the types of food I cook. Chicken and rice can only be made so many different ways.

Writing has become very important to me as has this blog. I’d like to write more often and build a consistent schedule of posts. (I’ve been doing well this week, haven’t I?)

You know, this has become such an integral part of my life, and I sometimes take it for granted. I want to make it a more deliberate part of my life again, and I want to become a better dancer. I want to dance more – go to more group classes and more parties at the studio. I don’t always make a priority of the group classes, and they are really good and fun to go to. I also want to work on things on my own that I can do on my own, like Cuban motion exercises.

Creative hobbies
I’d like to bake more and try new recipes. Keep going with my grandma’s recipes and try those. I’d like to do more knitting – maybe try mittens – and maybe learn to crochet too.

I think I need to take a more active part in dating too. Meaning actually trying to meet people.

I think I have one final hurdle to overcome in terms of managing my money as well as I’d like too. So my goal this year is to tackle that hurdle. If I can do it, I’ll reward myself with some of the money I’ve saved.

Mental health
It’s going to be important to continue to work on avoiding the thinky place. I’ve made great progress, but I still have some work to do on it. I have a feeling this will always be something to work on for me.

I guess my ultimate goal is this:


Thanks, Michelle, for the image! It sums up perfectly what I ultimately aim for. That, and to make the day better for people I meet each day.

Here’s hoping 2013 is all that we all want it to be. Cheers!

Weekly roundup

3 Dec

Last week, I…

*Got back to doing yoga in the mornings. OK, so it was only 3 mornings. But still, that was more than the few weeks prior to that. And it felt good, so I’m going to try to do it more this week.

*Realized that for me, dancing is so much more than just dance.

*Started getting excited for the holiday season.

*Watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


And cried. Again. Don’t judge.

*Started working on a new header for my blog. Stay tuned!

*Got stood up by two friends on two days. Both for good reasons, but still. Oh well, at least it was a cheaper weekend as a result.

*Made an egg bake for dinners this week with an ingredient I haven’t used much before…chorizo!


It’s fantastic.

*Made great progress on knitting for Christmas presents. But I can’t show you those til after Christmas. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

*Finally saw the Gangnam style video. Yes, I’m way behind the times. Just call me old and out of touch, thanks.

*Made those chocolate-covered pretzels again. And haven’t eaten TOO many of them…yet.

*Read. I finished “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for book club and “The Lost World” just because. Now I’m on to “Jane Eyre” and “The Alchemist”. I love reading.

*Went to my first dog agility trial. A friend of mine and his wife run their two dogs – miniature poodles – so cute! Their dogs are really good.

That’s a random shot of the course. Sorry, IPhones aren’t real great for taking action shots. Or close-up shots.


The black blurry ball in front of the tunnel? That’s one of their dogs. It was a very interesting experience and tons of fun. Because at the end of the day, it’s still a dog event. And how can that be bad?

*Had two great dance lessons. Huge progress being made here, people!

*Received what might be the best text message ever.

If you don't watch TBBT, you don't get this.

If you don’t watch TBBT, you don’t get this.

Made me laugh out load and almost spit out my coffee. Thanks, AD!

The Dance-O-Rama post, part 2

3 Sep

[This post got to be waaaayy too long, so I’m breaking it up into two parts. Here’s part two. Read part one here.]

So I got home from Dance-O-Rama, exhausted, way overtired, and completely lost. Lost in who I am, what kind of dancer I am…pretty much no confidence in myself at all.

I had this whole week off, which was good. I figured I would need some time to process it all. And wow was I right.

I slept 11 hours on Sunday night and Monday night each. That helped. But I was still unsure of it all. I was feeling incredibly down. I was starting to feel a bit glad I went to Dance-O-Rama just to have had the experience. But I was still thinking that I wasn’t a good dancer.

Then I started thinking about a few of the conversations I had at Dance-O-Rama. I started thinking about what those people said and what they meant.

My teacher talked over the weekend about how the Dance-O-Rama experience was so emotional because it makes you grow as a dancer and as a person. And growth hurts. Dance-O-Rama is like the equivalent of 40 lessons, he says. For me, the personal growth came in doing something so different and so outside my comfort zone.

My friend JA talked about her Dance-O-Rama experience which was similar to mine. She was a bit overwhelmed at first and was ready to pack it all in by lunch on Friday.

My friend AL kept texting me all weekend. She reminded me that making the finals didn’t matter because I had finally made it to Dance-O-Rama. She also reminded me that I was technically associate bronze for this competition. So I was technically competing at a higher level and sometimes in the age category younger than me. So really I was doing well just holding my own. She also said that I should just think “wow, this is my life, everyone else is working right now and I’m looking like a rock star ballroom dancing at a competition.”

My friend JF who came to watch part of the competition told me to just have fun and stop thinking.

And I also remembered what my friend ND said when he came to Showcase. He said that he enjoyed it because it was so great to see me at my happiest.

None of these things were helping though. I was feeling so poorly of me as a dancer, I skipped the practice party on Tuesday. I was so down, I figured no one would even miss me if I weren’t there. But I had a lesson on Wednesday that I knew I had to go to. So go to it I did.

I got my scores at that lesson. First my solo. There were three judges for the solos. I got very nice comments, and scores of 92, 93 and 94. Supposedly there are very few 94s and above given for solos.

Then the closed heats. Those are scored first, second and third place. If you don’t get any of those, you don’t get a score. I got firsts in my lindy heats and in one full bronze heat. (Sadly, I can’t remember which dance. Foxtrot? Rumba?) I got a few seconds and a couple thirds too. So I placed in maybe 7 or 8 heats out of 24.

Then the open heats. Those are scored gold, silver, bronze. They give more than one of each, depending on how many entries there are in the heat. So as I told my friend KB, gold means firstish not first. I got golds in all my associate bronze heats and in one of my full bronze foxtrot heats and in my lindy heats. I also got a few silvers and bronzes. So again, maybe 7-8 heats total out of 30?

After I got my scores, we started our lesson. And my teacher asked me why I was so emotional after getting such good scores. And I started crying again. I told him my confidence was so low and the whole thing was just overwhelming and that I felt like there wasn’t one thing I could do better than any of the other students who were there. We chatted some, but I knew he couldn’t really help me. Which made it feel like I was on my own fighting this, which was a very different feeling. Before, he always been able to say something in such a way that I could hear it and believe it. And I didn’t feel like he could this time. He did comment on how much my dancing improved over the course of Dance-O-Rama and how that improvement came home with me. We started working on some smooth technique in waltz. He mentioned that he would love to see me come early to events to practice these things now. And I told him that with the way I was feeling, I didn’t know if I’d be making it to anything except my lessons for a while.

The next day (Thursday), it hit me. I have been waiting for someone to say the right compliment about me and my dancing to fix this whole feeling. I have given up fixing it myself. I kept expecting someone else to fix it for me by saying a magical phrase that I would hear and instantly believe and feel better. And that’s never going to happen.

I have the power to fix this. Why have I been giving that up? I have turned into such a downer of a person because of the negative spiral. No confidence in anything, getting upset all the time, depressed and anxious. Who wants to be around that? And why am I waiting for someone to make me believe I’m a good dancer when it’s really up to me to believe it?

Then I got mad at myself but only for a short bit. Yes, I had let things go and not dealt with anything. But getting mad about that wouldn’t fix it or change it.

So I decided to choose to believe. Fake it to make it for a bit, if you will. I went to the group class and practice party on Thursday thinking I was a great dancer, a fun person, and not a shy downer.

And you know what? IT WORKED. I had a blast at that party, and my dancing was relaxed and fun. My teacher commented towards the end that I was dancing like someone who believed in their talent. He also mentioned that he was glad I was there because after our lesson the night before, he wasn’t sure I’d show up. Which is always nice to hear. That he was glad I was there, I mean. No one wants to hear someone isn’t sure they’ll show up.

So, Dance-O-Rama. I’m so glad I went. I wish I had thought about this sooner, or at least come to some of these realizations earlier so I could have had more fun there. But in some ways, I needed to go there and in a way hit bottom to start to pull myself out of the deep thinky place I’ve been in. Being there, regardless of my feelings at the time, I got to experience something awesome that very few people ever get to do. I bonded with my friends that were there because of that shared experience. I realized my scores told the truth: I am a great dancer who was up against some tough competition, including a lot of people who do Dance-O-Ramas all the time, and I held my own. I more than held my own; I kicked some ass in some heats.

And it’s not about being better than others. It’s about being as good of a dancer as I can be. Which is a great dancer, considering my talent. I just have to work hard and remember that the days of easy fixes and learning new things quickly are long gone. But I still can do anything my teacher gives me to do; it just might take longer than one lesson to get it. (Side note: we spent Friday’s lesson working on technique in bolero which it turns out is silver level technique. And I was getting it. Man, I hate it when he’s right.)

I’m feeling so much better now, both in life and about dance. I think Dance-O-Rama really helped to start to pull me out of the thinky place. And as I told me teacher, this isn’t a permanent fix. I’m sure I’ll slide back there at some point and probably often. But I just need to continue to fake it to make it and actively think and remind myself and BELIEVE. In my dancing, in my teacher’s faith in me, and in myself.

And stop wallowing. And start being me again.

The Dance-O-Rama post, part 1

2 Sep

[This post got to be waaaayy too long, so I’m breaking it up into two parts. Here’s part one.]

Last weekend was Dance-O-Rama.

I’ve been having trouble putting my thoughts and reactions into words, hence the lack of a post til now. There is just so much to sort out!

It was an incredible weekend. And an exhausting one. And an emotionally-charged one. And a thrilling one.

I did not sleep much the night before we left. I had to be up early, as I had to be at the airport by 8:30. I had my packing list all done and everything laid out on the table. So that morning, it was just check the item off the list and throw it into the suitcase. I had figured out that my dresses would fit in my garment bag which would actually fit as a carry-on. Sweet. So no need to worry about my dresses or my shoes getting lost.

Thursday had some downtime. We had a few hours after checking in before all of us from our studio met, then we had a few more hours before dinner. Downtime at an event like that is not good for me, especially since I didn’t think I’d have any so I didn’t really bring anything to do during downtime. And me plus nothing to do equals thinky place.

Put me in thinky place in a social situation, and my shyness kicks in. So at dinner, due to the thinky place and this event being outside my comfort zone, I got shy. And quiet. Started shrinking into myself again.

But dancing started the next morning. I was very excited for that. Breakfast was at 8, dancing started at 8:30 (my teacher wanted to do warm-ups at 7:30), my first event was a solo at 8:32. Thursday night, I got to sleep around midnight and was planning to get up at 5:30. I woke up at about 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep until 4. So I started the competition on about 3-4 hours of sleep. Awesome.

My solo was the foxtrot open, which had been going well in practice. And it went very well here. The floor was bumpy; my heels got caught in the cracks a few times. But my posture was good, and I felt like I nailed it. In fact, my text to KB was “first solo done. kicked its ass”.

Then the heats started. The first day was closed, and the heats started with smooth. So I took the floor with my teacher (at around 10:30), and we started dancing.

And the traffic killed me. They had so many entries, they had to do two heats at a time by splitting the floor in two. So it was about 8 couples trying to do smooth on half a floor. Lots of near collisions, a few actual collisions, and I got flustered. You can’t practice for that kind of traffic. Everyone else seemed to be doing so well and handling the traffic so much better. The afternoon was rhythm, and it didn’t get much better. Lots of arms flying around. I just felt like I was the worst one on the floor during my heats and that I couldn’t deal with the traffic issues, and I felt like that all day. Except for my lindy hop heats. Those seemed OK.

But overall, my confidence took a big hit that day. My teacher thought I was doing well, but in my head, it didn’t seem like it.

That night we had the costume party dinner/dance. It was a ’50s theme, which was fun. I hadn’t really recovered my equilibrium yet, but tried to have fun anyway. I was also worried about the all-around heat I had that night – at 10:38pm. (The last heats that day were right before midnight.) The all-around heat started with a semi-final round. It went well – my teacher said it went great and was the best dancing of mine of the day and was the best I had done the cha-cha ever – but I didn’t make the finals. Not that I expected too at that point.

That night, I got to sleep shortly after midnight. I had to get up at 6 the next day. And once again, I woke up around 2 and was up for 2 hours. And at that point, I was going to quit dancing. Period. I thought that there was no way I was good enough to be a dancer, I wasn’t good enough to be at that competition, and I wasn’t fun enough to have people want me around. (Can you tell I was deep in the thinky place?) That morning when I got up, I started crying in the shower. I had wanted to cry all day the day before but kept fighting it. And I fought it in the shower because I didn’t want to have red eyes for everyone to see, plus I felt like if I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop for a long time. I mentioned to my teacher at breakfast that I was very close to a breakdown but that I knew he couldn’t do anything to help me because he had to dance so much.

The heats that day were open. And I knew my opens were solid. At the point of the competition, I was better at dancing open than closed. So I knew Saturday would be the better day for me. Plus, my friend JF who lives in Chicago came to see my morning heats. Which was an awesome boost for me.

But once again…half a floor. Lots of couples. Traffic. Thinky place. Feeling worse and worse about my dancing, my ability to hold my own against the other couples on the floor, and about me. Frustrated I couldn’t pull myself out of this and angry that I was getting in my own way of having fun.

That afternoon, the rhythm heats started. At one point, my teacher had a long-ish break. (With five students there, he didn’t get a lot of breaks of any sort.) I don’t remember what he said to me, but I told him about my closeness-to-breaking-down and what I was feeling. And I started crying. (Did you know you can cry with fake eyelashes on? Yeah, I didn’t either. Turns out you really can.) And as always, he was incredibly supportive and helpful and direct with me. We talked for a few minutes then he had to go dance. I had about 20 minutes before my next heat, so I just stayed in the area outside the hotel ballroom. Because I couldn’t stop crying. Tears were just overflowing my eyes no matter what I did to try and stop. Then my friend JA, who is another student from my studio, came outside. I had had some brief conversations earlier with her about the emotions of this event, and it turns out she was experiencing some of the same thing. We talked for just a few minutes, and then bless her, she started trying to divert me by talking about fun IPhone games like SongPop. (Which, yes, is awesome and I now play it.)

Then I went back in to do my closed rhythm heats in full bronze. And at that point, I was so tired and I wasn’t fighting a breakdown, and I knew my teacher was concerned for me. So I just danced. I was resigned to not doing as well as the other couples, and I was a tiny bit relaxed because I had gotten out some of that emotion. And the opens actually felt good.

Dinner-banquet-awards that night, followed by the professional competition. Which was amazing. Jaw-dropping. Mind-blowing. And very fun to watch.

Breakfast the next morning wasn’t as a group, so I actually missed a lot of my group. My friends MS and CS were there as was my teacher. MS and CS and I were trying to get on an earlier flight. We did but it wasn’t until 3pm. So we walked around the city for a bit, and it helped to just spend some time with them. Then off to the airport (which took over an hour) and then a quick lunch. Then get on the plane and go home.

I was exhausted when I got home. I unpacked, got Chinese food with my roommate, and then probably just watched Netflix all evening – I really don’t even remember. I went to bed kinda early, I think. I did take my insomnia meds so I would be sure of getting a decent night’s sleep.

Then I woke up the next day (I had the day off work) and started to think about it all.

To be continued…

Is being busy worth it?

3 Mar

I’ve talked before about wanting a simple life. I’m still not sure how to achieve that. I’ve tried to weed out my clothes and books to declutter. And that’s my focus right now in terms of simplifying.

Mainly because I can’t figure out how to eliminate things out of my schedule and still do all I want to do! I work Monday through Friday 7:30 to 4 at my job. Then after work…
…On Mondays, I go to the gym and then to my part-time job, getting home around 8.
…On Tuesday and Wednesdays, I go to my part-time job until 8 and then go to the dance studio, getting home around 9.
…On Thursday, I go to the gym, I meet friends for dinner, then go to the dance studio, getting home around 10.
…On Fridays, I go to my part-time job, getting home around 8.
…On Saturdays, I go to the gym, then to my part-time job, then to the dance studio, leaving home around 10 and getting home around 6.
And none of that (other than dinner on Thursdays) includes socializing with anyone – or doing any hobbies. And on the weekends, I need to clean, do laundry, pay bills, go to the grocery store, get gas in my car, and make all the food for the following week.

Sometimes I feel really busy. Does having this schedule mean I can’t try to simplify my life? Am I crazy to try to do all this each week? Is it worth it?

I think it may be worth it. I’m working so much at my part-time job partially because the work is there (in terms of helping the owner) but also because I’m trying to save money for Dance-O-Rama. And dancing is so important to me and brings me joy and happiness. So yes, I’m super busy, judging by how little I’m actually home. And I do get super tired by Friday night. But I try to keep in mind that this is all bringing good to my life, it’s busyness for a reason, it’s better than going home at 4:30 and sitting my ass on the couch to watch TV all night, it won’t be forever, and it’s all working towards goals and a better life.


Weekly roundup

27 Feb

Last week, I…

*Took a trip to Mexico via food.

*Made my goal of working out three times! First time in a LONG TIME I’ve made the goal.

*Made great progress getting out of the thinky place.

*Had a long conversation with my dance teacher about the thinky place.

*Had a fantastic dance lesson where I just danced and thought about the feeling of each dance and treated it like a performance. That showed me how much I’ve been forgetting to just let the joy I get with dance in when I dance.

*Rediscovered some inspirational quotes that have helped with the journey out of the thinky place.

*Met the fabulous MM for happy hour and laughed for three hours.

*Went to the Dancing with the Twin Cities Celebrities fundraiser and had a blast. And had a cocktail.

*Wondered if Quicken or mint.com would be better for my personal finances.

*Did my taxes. And found out my refund is going to be bigger than I had estimated.

*Tried running. And succeeded.

Mint.com vs Quicken

26 Feb

I’m still trying to save money and stay strictly within budget each month. Tracking how I spend my money is key in doing this. So I’ve been looking for tools to help with us.

I’ve been using Quicken for about 10 years. And I really like it. I never use the download feature, because I’ve always thought it’s important to enter my receipts. That way, if I see a transaction on my statement (yes I balance my checkbook each month) that’s not already entered, I know I missed one and can review it. But I’m not sure how important that is to me anymore. Maybe just reviewing a list of downloaded transactions would suffice?

Lately, I’ve been hearing people talk about mint.com and how superlatively wonderful it is. So I checked it out.

Mint.com seems like a really good option. But what I can’t figure out is the one thing that I love about Quicken. In Quicken, I can set a list of monthly transactions, like my car insurance which is auto-deducted from my checking account, and have Quicken automatically enter them however many days ahead of time. So I have all these transactions entered about 10 days prior to the date they happen. So when I look at my register in Quicken, I see a true balance for 10 days out. I cannot figure out how I can get mint.com to do that. It seems to be able to download transactions that have already happened, and it can remind me of upcoming ones. But it doesn’t enter upcoming ones for me.

Does anyone use mint.com? Am I just missing this feature? If it can do it, I’d love to switch, because mint.com seems to be better at goal-setting and budgets. Or is there an option that’s better than either of these?

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