07 May 2014


I've moved to wordpress! It's a much cleaner, modern, more user-friendly platform. If you subscribe or have a link bookmarked to Life As Told By Zoe, take a second and update those to


post signature

08 April 2014

Goals: quarterly update

This has been one crazy quarter. I accomplished quite a bit and can now shift my focus. I changed some things around and added a couple others.


Language intensive project: study 1 language for 3 months per language (ASL, French, German, Spanish) FAIL

Possibly enroll in school in September (depends on financial aid and financial situation midyear) postponed until 2015


Accomplish 3 side tasks at work per day CHECK
Visit ABQ IN PROGRESS {link}
Take a trip with my Little  IN PROGRESS {link}

Progression goal:
Pay off immediate debt CHECK  >> Save 3 months expenses postponed until after 100% debt free >> Begin attacking student loans IN PROGRESS
ADDED: Save $40 a month for tuition

Run a 5k IN PROGRESS (Race for the Cure & The Color Run)
Run a half marathon CHANGED Run a 12k (Bloomsday 12k & Sandia Mountain Shadows Trail Run 10k)
Run 3-4 times per week FAIL 
Drink 4 cups of water per day FAIL
Limit sugar intake  FAIL

Participate in 2-3 bible studies CHECK {1} {2} {3} 
Practice yoga once a week FAIL
Listen to two spiritual messages per week CHECK {1} {2}

post signature

06 April 2014

Budget: 5 March - 5 April

Man I really need to make blogging more of a priority!

Recap for 5 March:

Click to zoom
I went WAY overbudget for this one, but mistakes happen (even a few months in a row).

Recap for 20 March:

Click to zoom
I was super stoked for this check. After quite a few payperiods of going overbudget, I finally buckled down, paid my pet deposit, and even made an extra payment to Dentist 2, leaving my balance at $101.

Projected for 5 April:

Click to zoom

I sold my iPhone to Virgin Mobile when I switched, and finally received my $50 credit, which came in handy because I need to pay Verizon for January.

I'm running a couple races in the next couple of weeks, so I tacked the registrations onto this check so I could get them out of the way.


At my workplace, we get a bonus for perfect attendance per quarter (every 3 months). It's pretty tough to get, but I've managed to work hard enough to get it for the past two quarters in a row. I also got a raise so that will be on the next paycheck. Hard work pays off, quite literally!! I'm super excited.


Ohmigod, ohmigod you guys!!!!! I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED to pay off this last $101. I'll be adjusting this budget to accommodate my "reward", which I'll share when I decide what I'll do.


Whoa we haven't seen this category in a while, have we?! Since I got the raise, I'll be accommodating about $20 a paycheck to get a head start on tuition. It scares the wits out of me to think about going back to school, but also excites me at the same time.

I'll also be saving for a trip to my hometown (Albuquerque) in October.

The strings of debt are slowly, but surely, being cut down. If I can do it, YOU can do it too.

post signature

11 March 2014

One step at a time

I have a big dream list. Sadly I can't do most of it now, either due to work restrictions, money, or time -- otherwise known as Life Circumstances.

I've had to delay school for quite a while, once because of debt, once for love and now for debt once more. When I moved to Washington, I was planning on moving back to Arizona and finishing my degree at NAU, starting in fall of 2015. When Riley and I ended things, my plan was kaputt and I had to make some decisions. Then I got into my dental debt.

I made the decision to stay in Washington, mostly because moving is expensive and a pain in the ass. Also, there's really no place I'd rather be right now. I made a series of steps I need to take, no matter how long it takes to do them.

STEP ONE is paying off my "smaller" debt (the step I'm currently on).
STEP TWO is saving for my two trips this year (July and October).
STEP THREE is paying off my student loans and calling Dave for my debt free scream.
STEP THREE POINT FIVE is applying for scholarships.
STEP FOUR is attending community college using grants, scholarships, and my paycheck.
STEP FOUR POINT FIVE is saving everything I can for step five.
STEP FIVE is transferring to university using grants, scholarships, and my paycheck/savings.
STEP SIX is graduating debt free and getting a teaching job.
STEP SEVEN is funding grad school for library science.
STEP EIGHT is finally doing all the things I can't do now.

That's a lot of steps, and I'm only on step one. The other day I let my brain skip to step four and naturally, I freaked the hell out. I sent myself into a panic and got extremely discouraged when I added up the numbers and compared it to my income.

But what I was really doing was throwing a tantrum that I can't have my cake and eat it too; I'd have to delay my Wants, and, prioritize what's really important (school and staying debt free).

Even though I really have 3 years of coursework left, I may have to take some time off school to save. To most people, this sounds stupid. School is important, yes, but as a teacher, I won't be making much money, and if I want to do all the things I want to do, there's no way I can support myself and do those things on a teacher's salary. As much as I want that degree, I want to be financially free when I graduate even more.

I've felt the chains of student loans and other debt. I've added to the amount of money I've spent on debt the past few years and it makes me sick what I could've done with that money if it hadn't been going in other pockets besides mine. It makes me sicker to think about the amount of debt I would be going into if I were to take loans vs. the average teacher's salary. I'd be poor forever and never get to do what I want.

Sometimes it's hard to remember I have my whole life ahead of me. I can't compare my life to others. I can only compare it to mine. I don't have to travel while I'm young. I don't have to finish college in four years. If I'm patient, stay focused on the now with the future in mind, and work hard, things will fall into place.  It's okay to be a little different.

post signature

10 March 2014

Budget: 5 March

5 March payperiod

Click to zoom

Because my birthday is this Thursday, I'm throwing a party for my friends. What's a birthday party without cake? I probably overbudgeted for it, but I'd rather over budget than underbudget. I really wanted a Frozen-themed cake like these:


But I can't find anyone who can do it (or any other Frozen cake) ANYWHERE. So I'm settling for my all time favorites: cookies and cream ice cream cake and chocolate covered strawberries. MMMMMM.

My boyfriend (Eric), his mom, and I went to the casino and I won some cash. Unfortunately, I forgot my wallet in a Safeway shopping cart and some dirtbag decided to take the $90 that was in there as a finder's fee. At least they turned in the rest of my wallet and didn't take my cards.

I have to tell myself they needed it far more than I did, and I did have to remind myself several times that it wasn't budgeted for a Need (it was budgeted for a date night). I still had $90 (I won quite a bit) to spend on us though. (I was forbidden to spend it on bills, even though it probably would've been safer that way HAHAHA).

post signature

27 February 2014

Budget: 20 February

20 February payperiod:

Click to zoom


Glorious, glorious $275 rent. 

I decided to spend a little money on myself, my cat, and my friends. While the money could've definitely paid off a lot of my remaining Dentist 2 debt, I believe in rewards and after over that wonderful $1000 payment (and being 85% done with this portion of the debt), I decided to blow some money.


I'll be tackling those awful things called student loans next (after saving up for some fun stuff). I've been carrying them around, paying $100 a month, for the last 4 years. I'm done. Goodbye, student loans. You won't be missed (or replaced).
post signature

19 February 2014

Budget: 5 February

I drafted this post right after payday, but apparently forgot to click "publish". All this time I thought it was posted! I edited it so it's updated, but some AMAZING news is in here.

Recap of the 5 February payperiod:

Click to zoom


I got a roommate, so expenses are beautifully cut in half. Paying rent this month will be glorious.

I got rid of my phone insurance. I have an iPhone 4 and will need to upgrade to replace it if anything happens to it, so I'm saving about $12 there.
Currently planning on inheriting my boyfriend's phone and making the switch to Virgin Mobile. More on this next month.

I did get renter's insurance. It has been on my To Do list for months and when a guest inadvertently made me believe my apartment building was on fire when the fire was actually a block down from my place, I acted quickly and got the insurance.
I split food and household for this month, because I have no idea what I'm going to need to buy for household and I have a feeling it may end up being pricey.
Internet is lowered due to roommate, but utilities is not, since the utility bill would be just for me.
As seen above, I was a little happy with my card this month, so Emergency Fund gets repadded.


I had a petsitting job this month, so that gave me $340 extra in income. I made sure to budget for expenses so I didn't fudge up everything, like last time.

I got $499 back on my tax return, so add that to my normal $175 payment, the $275+ from having the roommate, and the $200 or so I will have left over after petsitting = $445 balance left on Dentist 2.

I'm pretty sure the accounts payable secretary fell flat out of her chair when I started making these payments. Up until now, I have only made $25 payments because of the snowball.

Hello Freedom, I'm Zoë. I think we should be friends.

post signature

24 January 2014

Budget: 20 December - 20 January

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.
Zig Ziglar

I totally forgot to post the last payperiod update, so this is a superpost.

I went way overbudget the last couple of months. *cringe* More money, more problems, indeed.

Recap of 20 December payperiod:

{Click to zoom}

Well the good news is, I paid off Dentist 1 and part of my Medical CC. 
The bad news is, I went WAY overbudget by being impulsive and lazy during my petsitting stay 
(that wasn't a very good week for me, mentally) 
You live and you learn.

Recap of 5 January payperiod:

{Click to zoom}

Baseboard heaters = money suckers. Snuggle up buttercup, because those suckers are not getting cranked anymore. I bought a heater to keep me and the kitty meow cozy.

It was also pointed out to me that the formula I was using for the "difference" section was incorrect, so I changed that to reflect ACTUAL (minus) BUDGETED to show how much I was over or under budget (thanks for pointing that out, Nancy).

Food was overbudget due to me deciding to do this detox. I was nodding off at work after 9 hours of sleep and 6 cups of coffee. I had played with my sleep and exercise schedules and finally concluded it had to be my diet. So I found a detox online and I had to buy all these groceries. Then I realized the detox was not the right one for me. I finished it, but still had a ton of food left over. Which isn't terrible, considering it was all vegetables and fruit and I've been able to spread it throughout the month.

Corduroy was having issues in his Fecal Fort (catbox). That was solved by a bigger box. I plan on getting him one of those cabinets, so I just hope it fits.

I totally forgot to account for prorated charges in the internet department. I adjusted for next month's budget.

Hot dog, this is an exciting two months!!! With the snowball minimum payment process, I paid off yet another creditor and be free of that debt. Since I got my holiday pay with this check, I applied (most of) that toward my last non-student loan debt. WHOOHOO!!!!!!

20 January payperiod:

{Click to zoom}

Notice something different? Like lower rent.....?

I bit the bullet and decided to get a roommate. I can't deny the math any more. As much as I love living on my own, having a roommate will exponentially open doors to me being debt free, which, in turn, will allow me access to fulfilling my dreams. Debt freedom date: Spring 2015

He moves in at the beginning of February. I'm finally getting around to paying my pet deposit, since he has a dog.

Tax season is upon us! I'm super excited to file my taxes, because I know I'm getting at least some money back from student loan interest. I know I'm getting a stipend for my health insurance, but that will be placed in a special account and only used for that, since it completely covers my premium for a year. Thanks Obamacare :o)

post signature

20 January 2014

Cute commuter crap

There's a constant controversy between commuters and cyclists. I respect both, since we're both on two wheels and going somewhere.

I am not a cyclist. I don't ride for races or long distance touring (yet).

Some people are confused when I wear (gasp) regular clothes -- even dresses and skirts -- on my bike instead of the blinding highlighter colors and padded pants.

What else would I wear?

One of my favorite blogs, Bikeyface, is a bike commuter blog and hits this laughable question bang on the nose:


One of the biggest conundrums of commuting is finding necessary things like reflectors or lights that don't cost and arm and a leg and don't make me look like I'm going to race the Tour de France, especially as a woman.

I have a whole Amazon Wish List full of fun reflectors and lights, so I'm sharing with you some of my favorites I've added and/or bought.

(This post is completely unsponsored and just my opinion on these products.)

FunFlector Reflectors: Tags & Stickers

I am so in love with these tags. They're cute enough to be a backpack zipper pull or hang on your bag, but they're also effective.

Available on www.funflector.com and www.amazon.com

Funflector also has stickers and slap bracelets. While I probably won't wear the slap bracelets on anything but a night run, I definitely want to add the stickers to my helmet.

Available on www.amazon.com

PoCampo Reflective Bird Pin

How discreet is this??

Reflective Bird Pin | Po Campo

{photo credit}

Available on www.pocampo.com

Whimsical pin by day, reflective pin by night. This little guy does a double duty.

PoCampo Reflective Bandana

I use bandanas to cover my face when it gets too cold to breathe outside. This is be perfect for commuters like me, or who don't wear helmets, but also wants some added visibility.

Reflective Bandana | Po Campo

Available on www.pocampo.com

OneTwoThreeSpeed Reflective Helmet Bows

Pink Reflective Bike Helmet Bow by onetwothreespeed on Etsy, $18.00Red Reflective Bike Helmet BowBlue Reflective Bike Helmet Bow

Sensing a theme here with double duty??  I'm absolutely in love with these. They look like a simple bow on your helmet but at night they reflect just as well as those ugly hi-viz vests. Plus, you can buy multiple and attach it to your back rack, bag, or front basket.  And they spice up an otherwise bulky, ugly, boring commuter helmet.

Available on www.etsy.com

LeBands Reflective Nonslip Headband

reflective non slip headband great for running, walking, biking at night .picture shows it reflecting

Okay, I admit, I love this more for running (I usually wear my helmet), but it was too cute to not share for those who do not wear helmets.

Available on www.etsy.com

Bookman Light Set

These are all the rage in The Netherlands, where there are more bicycles than people (and cars). They're fun little bandy lights available in multiple colors that are easy to take on or off your bicycle and come in sets of two (one front white light, one rear red lgiht). You can even stack them to get 360 visibility. Apparently they're really bright (I haven't bought any.......yet) but I'd put them more in the "be seen" category.

Available on www.amazon.com

Nite Ize SpotLit and PetLit Lights

There are two products here, one for dogs (cheaper) and one for humans. I see no reason why the dog light can't be used if you don't own a dog. These, much like the FunFlector reflectors, can be put on your bag or a rack for added visibility. They're very small (about the size of a housekey), but even a small light is better than nothing.

Available on www.amazon.com

Nite Ize SpokeLit Lights

I have these in red on my bike. They work pretty well for being seen, since they move with your spokes and get driver's attention, but the battery can die quickly (20 hours of steady, 24 in flashing). I'd recommend buying batteries for these in bulk and to always make sure they are turned off when you're done riding. They are fun to have on the bike, and add a rare side visibility that most lights don't offer.

Available on www.amazon.com

Petzl E91 Tekkina Headlamp

I know this is supposed to be a list of things that don't make you look like a commuter, but I've found that a headlamp really helps with riding at night or in winter. I wear my headlamp in conjunction with my (ugly, but effective) Planet Bike front light  and also when I run. The nice thing about these headlamps is that they're colorful (and therefore, less "cyclist" looking) and they help you see things from the sides like that annoying dog that always chases you.

Available on www.amazon.com

What are your favorite reflectors or lights? Do you think there is such a thing as "too much"?

post signature