In which our narrator introduces herself
I bought this domain originally with the intent of publishing and developing my crock pot recipes, which I turned to as an easy way to feed myself good, wholesome, tasty meals with a minimum of effort and expense. I arrived at this due to these pressures on my budget:
- The economy’s in the toilet (duh).
- I work in an industry that’s hurting considerably (namely entertainment).
- I racked up a mountain of debt during a four-month bout of unemployment (not to mention due to a bad case of moving to NYC when I was 22 and joining a rock band).
- I racked up a lot of student loan debt going back to school to develop marketable skills in web design (marketable skills that my liberal arts English Literature degree enhanced but did not necessarily provide).
- I live in NYC, where no matter how much money you have, there is something to spend it on.
- I have two cats, whom I love dearly, and whom love me way more than any animal should. My first cat, Basil Hayden, is a nervous nellie with inflammatory bowel disease, determined after a very expensive year at the vet. I adopted the second, Bootsie Collins, to keep Hayden company and thus keep his stress level way down.
- I live with chronic pain, most effectively managed with prescriptions (and you bet they’re expensive).
- My boyfriend lives in California.
My crock pot experiment has been a rousing success. I even expanded the experiment to include baking my own bread and cooking cat food (the vet recommended it to help Hayden’s IBD). Not only did I feel better, but Hayden felt better. And my checking account felt better too.
But there was a problem. It wasn’t sustainable over time.
Working in the entertainment industry means long, erratic hours, and being frequently in pain, I didn’t realize how much cooking my cat’s food and baking my own bread would prevent me from lazy days on the couch in front of the TV. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss that. Once the weather became hot enough to prevent me from turning on the oven and stove, those experiments went right out the window.
The other thing not sustainable over time is my budget.
Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich has been a regular in my Gmail inbox for awhile now, and I’ve taken some of his advice to heart. Specifically, his idea of automating your payments and savings to make your personal finances effortless to manage, maximizing savings and minimizing accidental overspending. Mint was a handy tool for monitoring expenses vs. income as well but after awhile it started to feel…judgmental. As judgmental as a web-based app can be.
Looking at I Will Teach You To Be Rich more tonight, I found one post in particular that seemed so insanely obvious but never really occurred to me. In this post, Ramit explains how to apply the 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. Work-smarter-not-harder is an adage I’m well aware of but never quite grasped how to do. In my line of work, you grind and grind to make your month, then you rise and grind again, until you’ve eventually ground yourself to a bloody stump. It got me thinking, how do I save my efforts and kick up my results?
I’ve been working some nights and weekends each week in two sister concert venues that I love dearly, but it takes its physical toll. I’ve started super early days at my full time job so I can leave early so I can go straight to the club and start selling tickets: 16 hours total, half of which dealing with the (frequently drunk) general public head on. I leave the club with a nice amount of cash, but it takes so much out of me physically that I wonder if that’s why I’ve been in so much pain this year.
Through this blog, I hope to chronicle my way to health — physical and financial — all the while using my crock pot as a means of grounding me to feeling better physically and mentally. It’s the very embodiment of the 80/20 principle, after all! Here’s hoping that I can help others in a similar situation to make things happen.