The Story of a Setback: Stupid Cars and Stupid Me

Two stupid things happened to stupid me *right* before I moved to NJ.

ONE ENDED UP BEING PRETTY COSTLY

So there I am, just driving along, minding my own business.  I had stopped for some fries at McDonald’s (don’t judge me), and was back on my path, driving along the interstate, listening to an audiobook.  There are two lanes.  The guy in front of me is going kind of slow, so I put on my blinker, and pass him.  I get back over in the right lane.

Then, in slow motion, as I bring some fries to my mouth, I notice a cop is on my left, staring at me.  I munch on the fries and try to just drive along, minding my own business.  Well, don’t you know, he slows down and gets behind me, turns on his lights and his siren, and pulls me over.

I couldn’t believe it.  He asked me to get out of the car.  He gave me a ticket for eating while driving.  WHAT?!  He said, “I saw you eating, and who knows what else you were doing.”  It took everything in me to not be a smart-ass and say, “driving.  That’s what else I was doing.” Continue reading

Holly Is Awesome! (And Why I’m Getting TWO New Credit Cards!)

Well, folks, if I were to tell you I’m getting two new credit cards, you’d probably knock me upside the head and tell me to get it together.  Credit cards are what got me into this debt mess, and I need to stay far, far away from them until they’re paid off, or maybe forever.

THE FIRST CARD IS KIND OF LIKE CHEATING

In my new fancy job, I get to have a corporate travel card!  It’s a shiny new AmEx and it came in the mail today.  I almost felt guilty opening the envelope, calling in to activate the card, and tucking it away in my wallet.

The good news is that I’m only authorized to use this card for corporate travel, and it immediately gets expensed and paid for by the company.  And the payment history positively impacts my credit history.  Easy peasy. Continue reading

Mel is Awesome! (And Frugal Fun in NYC)

I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats to hear how life’s been for me here in the great Garden State.

What can I say? It’s been going well!

ABOUT WORK

Work’s been tough. On the team, we have two ladies from Executive Relations, one lady from Customer Service, and our manager and I are from Marketing. Needless to say, we collectively represent three *very* different perspectives about how to go about creating this new Executive Relations program. Continue reading

Liebster Award!

Liebster-Award

I couldn’t be more honored that dear Kara of The Daily Whisk nominated me for a Leibster Award–over a month ago.

I hope you’ll forgive me for taking this long to respond… maybe you heard that I just moved across the country and started a new job? 😛

How did you decide on the name of your blog? About a year ago, my friend Grace and I started the blog SmashTable. It’s meant to be cooking and crafting, because that’s what we love to do. We liked “smash” as a play on “smashing” and “smashed”–haha. And so when I decided to document my financial journey, I wanted to keep “smash”, and I felt like I was embarking on a deep-space odyssey, so SmashOdyssey came into being.

Where does your blogging inspiration come from? I don’t know if I’d say I’m naturally “frugally-minded” but I am without a doubt “financially-minded” and when something happens of financial significance along this journey, I want to make note of it, here.

What is it that you love most about blogging? At first, what I loved most was feeling less alone on this odyssey. Now, I love being your friend. Continue reading

Relocation Complete: Pt 6 – New Job, New Home, New Adventures

So I’ve been here (a little over) a week, and I guess we can say the relocation project is complete! I was offered a cool new job, negotiated my salary, found a place to live, decided how to use my relocation funds, figured out how to replace my husband’s student loans, and dealt with a rent increase.  And moved!  Now, we’re here. 🙂

NEW JOB

I started the new job last Monday, and I love it! Because we’re a brand-new team, our first order of business is to create a plan for what our team is going to do (due by the end of the month) and then, well, we’re going to do it! In addition to my boss and myself, there are three more people coming. I was the only one who started this week. The other three start tomorrow. So I was really glad to have a week head-start, to get to know my manager, Lily, and our Associate Director, Grant.

My goal here is two-fold. Continue reading

Relocating Isn’t All Bad: Pt. 5 – Seeing Friends and Family and June Update

If you’re not caught up, you can read about my getting a job offer, negotiating my salaryfinding a new place to live, distributing my relocation fundsdiscovering my husband no longer qualifies for student loans, and then finding out my rent went up by $300/mo.  Relocating has been tough, but it hasn’t been all bad.

SEEING EVERYONE BEFORE LEAVING

I know I’ll be back in NOLA about once a month, but as it was when I was coming in from Houston, the weekends are super brief and fly by in a flash. And so before moving away from New Orleans, I made plans to see all of my friends and family.

My dear friend Ms. Chris treated me and Michael, and our friend Erika to lunch and ordered us a bottle of champagne to celebrate! They were on their lunch break from work! Hahaha! My Nanny Cathy had the whole family over for lunch twice before I left, and she gave me a “snowman kit” for decorating my first snowman when the time comes. My Nanny Beth took us out to lunch and promised to come visit soon. My former coworkers and dear friends Marvin, Grace, and Mindy and I went to dinner one night and laughed and reminisced about old times in the store. My other friends Andrew, Rachael, and Danielle and I went out to dinner and got to celebrate everyone’s upcoming new jobs and life changes.

Normally, I see all these friends from time to time, but to have seen them all in the span of a week or so was just like happiness-overload, and it was great. Continue reading

Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 4 – More Unexpected Curveballs

Thanks to all of you who have been following this cray-cray saga of mine! It might sound silly, but the solidarity I feel in knowing I have friends here is really comforting.

If you need to catch up, you can read about my getting a job offer, negotiating my salary, finding a new place to live, distributing my relocation funds, and discovering my husband no longer qualifies for student loans. And now…

SURPRISE! THE RENT HAS GONE UP

So over the last week or so, since I found a place to live in NJ (sight unseen), I’ve been emailing back and forth with the landlord lady Sarah. At some point I had mentioned that Michael might come up and visit sometimes, and that my mom might sometimes come up, too.

Well then one day out of the blue she emails me and says that due to the number of visitors I’ll be expecting, I should probably rent the larger room vs the smaller one which I had originally agreed to. The room I had wanted was $975. I remember seeing the post for the larger room, too, for $1195. And I remember not caring about the size of the room.

And then she tells me that she forgot to update the Craigslist posting I had seen and that really the rooms aren’t $975 and $1195, but $1050 and $1275. Continue reading

Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 3 – Unexpected Curveballs

WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR STUDENT LOANS?

So as you might recall, my husband Michael is in school full time. Every semester he gets a federally backed student loan for about $5000 to cover his tuition. I’m not really worried about this. The interest rates are low (4.5%) and once we knock out our consumer debt, I’m confident we can pay off his student loans in no time.

But…

About a week ago he received an email stating that he no longer qualified for student loans. What do you mean? This must be an error. Oh yeah, and I’m in the middle of preparing for a big cross-country move.  Can things possibly line up at a more inconvenient time? Continue reading

Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 2 – Money

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET $7500 IN ONE LUMP SUM

So I recently received my relo money.  What to do with one lump sum of $7500?  Well, of course I’m supposed to “relocate” with it, but what does that mean, exactly?

GAS/HOTEL

We’re driving my car up over the course of two days.  1283 miles, getting 28 miles per gallon (at least), averaging gas of $3/gallon, that means we’ll spend approx. $137.46 in gas.

We’re driving 8 hours New Orleans to Knoxville on day 1, ten hours Knoxville to Basking Ridge on day 2.  One hotel night has been booked.  $85.

CAR MAINTENANCE

My car, despite having 102,000+ miles in its 5 short years of life, is in excellent condition.  Before we go, I’ll get an oil change, Michael is changing the rotors, rotating the tires, and flushing the coolant system.  At most, this will cost $250.

FLIGHTS

After driving up and moving in, Michael will stay with me in NJ for a few weeks (glad he’s free this summer!).  He’ll fly home end of July/early August, as his school semester will start shortly thereafter.  His ticket home is $150.

My mom wants to come visit.  As you know, we’re super close, and the thought of her not knowing where I live is unthinkable.  I’m happy to pay for her round trip ticket, $300.

That’s $922.46, leaving $6577.54 to spare.  What else should I spend it on? Continue reading

Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 1 – Housing

Looks nice to me.

Looks nice to me.

I know it´s been over a week since my last update. TRUST me, it´s been nuts. And I know I´m starting to sound like a broken record, and for that, I´m sorry.

When we last left off, I decided to accept the promotion with the relo package and move to New Jersey in a couple of weeks. Yay!

There are approximately 1,000 things to think about before this move, and Michael and I are trying to think through all of them carefully. First of all, WHERE am I going to live? Continue reading