I am 28 years old, make $65,000, live in upstate New York and work in the nonprofit sector
Introduction: I’m Asian-American, first generation, grew up low-income. My career has been focused on financial wellness and wealth building for low-income communities. I’ve learned alot about finances, but not sure I would’ve sought out the same info at such depth if work wasn't the catalyst.
SECTION ONE: ASSETS AND DEBT
Net Worth: -$2,100
Retirement: $39,000. Before my Master’s, balance was ~$50k, accumulated in 3 years post college. Maxed out Roth IRA and 401k for 2 of those years.
Equity: None. My partner K bought a house for us recently, still under his name only.
Savings Accounts: $650
Checking Accounts: $250
Credit Card Debt: $0
Student Loan Debt: $42,000. $22k federal, $20k owed to siblings.
College: No debt, thanks to a full-ride scholarship I won. I had part-time jobs and spent most of my money on clothes. My brother sent me $1000 every year, and other siblings gifted me money during holidays.
Grad school: All my current debt. I dumped savings and some retirement funds into tuition. Even with a scholarship of $20k/year, I had to borrow 40k. Professional school is expensive, y’all. I had part-time jobs, and all earnings went to living expenses.
Other Debt: $0
Inheritance: Me - none.
Partner – The house down payment was a gift from his parents. He’ll also get a significant inheritance from eventually. His parents grew up poor but aren't anymore, and have always been frugal. The life his parents gave him is what I’d like to give my kids if I have them: set them up well without spoiling.
My parents worked so hard to support my family. When I tried to give them my paychecks in high school, they told me to keep them for myself. When I bought gifts for them during holidays, they told me I should spend for myself. My siblings (including me) who spent the most time in the US, and thus could benefit the most long-term, are all financially stable. My older siblings still struggle and won’t accept help. I remember all the time how lucky I am to have a supportive family.
Before March, I lived in a 2 bed apartment in a big city with a roommate. I planned to visit K for Spring Break but moved in with him instead due to quarantine. We intended for this to happen after my graduation, but the timeline was sped up. We never shared finances before but now he was taking care of all our living expenses. K didn’t mind and was happy to. I wouldn’t have cared if our situations were flipped. But I felt guilty having someone else pay so much for me. And for so long I was a strong, independent woman and it felt like I was giving up some of that.
But I realized that we are partners in many ways, including this. We try to make life easier for each other, and K was doing that for me just as I do for him. Besides, my independence was enabled by the safety net of my family. I aim to provide the same for K, for my nephews/nieces, and for my kids if I have them – and I certainly won’t consider them “less independent” for taking those opportunities. Seriously, this has been a main point of my whole career! Gotta apply it to myself.
Partner’s Net Worth: $200,000+
SECTION TWO: INCOME
Income Progression: I was an English and Classics major who had tried some teaching and considered law school. I really blossomed skills-wise at my first post-college job, and learned so much from many wonderful people. Also, the nonprofit field allows me to be a jack of all trades due to their funding constraints. Turns out I’m a master of none, and that's okay (;
2015 - $15,000 for 10-month term
2016 - $48,000 annual, promotion
2017 - $52,000 annual, promotion
Start grad school
2018 - $40/hour, consultant
2019 - picked up $20/hr for university
End grad school
2020 - $65,000 annual, strategy-related role
After graduation this year I was unemployed for 3 months. In August my current employer offered me a short-term, full-time position and hope to keep me long-term. Crossing my fingers, as I’m very inspired by their mission and impact. Regarding salary, if I stayed in/gone back to expensive cities, I would’ve sought a higher range. I’m now in a low COL town so adjusted accordingly.
Monthly Take Home: $4,481. Taxes taken out, no benefits.
Partner’s Monthly Take Home: ~$7,000. Deductions for health insurance (for both of us), 401k, HSA, all that jazz. This has been his salary for 2 years. Before this, a grad school stipend (~$35k) for many years.
SECTION THREE: MONTHLY EXPENSES
Our finances are joint now and we consult each other on buys at $100+.
Property Taxes: $800
Home & Car Insurance: $45
Savings & Investment: Whatever’s left after expenses.
Debt Payments: $0. I'll funnel all my earnings into this (after Roth IRA). But it won’t be enough before the grace period expires and interest is capitalized on my federal loans. Anything left owed to the feds will be covered by K’s savings and paid off before 2021. Then I’ll focus on paying my siblings back.
Gas/Electric/Heat: Unknown, these bills are lying around somewhere.
Phone: $0. K is on a family plan, and I’m on one with my siblings.
Groceries: $600 average
Subscriptions: Amazon Prime $10. Netflix and Hulu 0, using family plans. Google Play Music Family $15.
Gym Membership: $60 for K's membership. Will get mine once we’re comfortable going again.
Pet: Unknown, haven't summed up all the cat things.
Miscellaneous (eating out, hobbies, gifts, random purchases, etc.): $200 average
SECTION FOUR: THE DIARY
Day 1, Sunday
8:45 am After waking up and going back to sleep a few times, I finally just get up. I do my morning routine: wash face, brush teeth, take pill, contacts, ring, brush hair, moisturizer.
My partner K is playing with the kitty, and I join. We adopted her not long ago, so she’s still acclimating. K calls her a scaredy cat because she’s skittish about everything. She's now in her carrier, in catloaf position (paws tucked and hidden, so she looks like a bread loaf) and not budging.
9:20 I check on my plants and do some planty things. I decide I want crepes for breakfast, and defrost 2 leftovers in the oven. As I wait, I scan through old starred emails. One is from Chase, offering a complimentary Shoprunner one year membership. Why not? The website tells me I already have an account, of course. But I don’t know my password and have to reset. I’m hungry and will get back to this.
I eat the first crepe like normal but everything falls out, so the 2nd gets the pancake treatment. With apples and maple syrup, they’re delicious.
Shoprunner finally works. I haven’t been spending much online, but if I do I’ll get free shipping (I never buy online without it).
12:00 pm We eat defrosted pizza for lunch. We’ve been watching Brooklyn 99 during meals, but today we watch Adventure Time. I give him my crusts as usual, since I don’t like them. Afterwards, K asks me to crack his back by standing on it. I manage to do so without totally breaking his back. Then I putz around while he packs for a work trip. I make him coffee and give him his daily portion of cookies (he asked me to hide and portion them). K leaves to finish up work at his office. I play Tetris on the Switch.
4:15 I take a shower. Fall weather hit one day last week with zero transition, and it’s been much cooler since, and the toasty water is so nice. K gets home and finishes packing. We drive out to his company lot so he can get the rental car. We hug goodbye. It feels like our long distance days again ); I've gotten very used to seeing him all day every day thanks to quarantine. He calls me before I get home - his car wasn’t delivered due to some miscommunication, so I have to drop him off at the rental center.
7:40 I feed the kitty and finally start cooking. I make pork chops seared in a cast iron pan, finished in the oven. I flavor it with salt, pepper, thyme, coriander, dill, and sage. I love cooking and being able to experiment so much. Sometimes it turn out a bit funny but hey, that's how I learn. I eat a pork chop with leftover jasmine rice.
My favorite Youtube channel has a new video. I don’t follow many but enjoy Safiya Nygaard’s content so much. The new one is about acrylic pour art. I think I'd feel bad about all the paint, but the finished pieces look so cool! I actually like her “bad attempts” more. I should try acrylics; I've mostly used watercolors but might be missing out on a medium I'll like.
9:30 K texts that he’s reached the hotel. It’s not that long a road trip and unlikely anything bad will happen, but I still worry. I’m glad he arrived okay.
9:45 I cut my fingernails. They grow like weeds, so I snip them every week otherwise they poke my eyeballs when removing contacts. I play Hearthstone on my phone during this. Then bedtime. My nightly routine: brush teeth, mouthwash, rotate fittonia plant, ring off, contacts out, lip balm, lotion.
11:30 Okay, I’m still awake, browsing online. I set my alarm for 7:30 am and sleep.
Day 2, Monday
7:30 am Alarm wakes me. Snooze. Alarm again. I get up and feed the cat.
7:55 I put on a work outfit: green pleated maxi skirt and a mint green top with an orange, pink, and green floral pattern. Pink cardigan too since the office is cool.
My style is the most "feminine" and "loud" at this office - lots of colors and patterns, and silhouettes that are stereotypically feminine. Sometimes I wonder if I should tone myself down. Whether people might take me more seriously professionally if I wore more pants, muted colors and patterns. But this is what I enjoy, and if people underestimate me based on how I dress, that's on them, not me. I'm fortunate that previous coworkers have shown confidence in my abilities (even when I had little confidence) that I never had to "tone down” myself to get more respect.
8:00 Pack for work using a swag bag they gave me, which I know is cheesy but fits all my things well. Grab Greek yogurt and spoon for breakfast. I need to attach a voided check to my direct deposit form, so I add that. Got badge and mask. Mist my maranta. Shoes on – I pick Sketchers since my maxi will hide them mostly. But no one will notice my shoes, per the wise words of Gustav in Ever After!
8:10 While backing out, I spot trash bags on my neighbors' curbs - it's trash day. Usually my partner takes out the trash, so I debate waiting until next week. Then I tell myself the trash will get gross and stinky, even if in plastic bags, and also to be an adult. I roll the can to the curb. Upon arrival at work, I find a parking spot where I don't have to back up to get out. I'm always paranoid about hitting things/people, even with plenty of lot space. I haven't actually hit anything/one (that I know of) but still.
8:40 My coworker responds about the office book club. They've been reading White Fragility. I stop by her office and get the book, yay! The group is meeting again next week so I need to catch up. I then eat my yogurt. As my boss walks by me, she compliments my skirt (:
10:00 Meeting with boss and person she's been waiting to chat with for awhile, via phone. Person is shocked and unhappy at our update, and ends the call fast. Me and boss chat about a realization I had this morning, that will likely change one of the main things we want to do for my project. Whether this is a good thing or not is TBD. I go refill my tea at the hot water dispenser, so far away at the other end of the office. Note to self: bring own mug and stop hogging this office one. Then I find a thing that could be a big breakthough, maybe. If other things go a certain way, perhaps.
11:45 I head out. I'm doing half days remote because I don't feel like prepping lunches to bring. Also I feel bad about leaving kitty alone all day (dunno if she cares). It's sunny but chilly outside. I'll definitely want all remote when it gets colder.
12:00 pm Wegman’s pit stop. They stock new plants every week or so. I debate a cute succulent for $5, but as I put it down, accidentally brush against a leaf and break it. Now I have to get it! I also buy a huge cat grass for $4, to distract kitty from eating my ponytail palm.
12:20 I drop into a local flower shop for the first plant I’ve ever ordered, a rattlesnake calathea. So pretty (: There are more leaves than expected for this size pot and price. This florist sells small plants for only $5 and take orders. (Very dangerous, but I limited myself to one plant...for now.)
Going home, I have to do a loop because the main road has one-way sections, arg. I think I have a lot of driving anxiety, probably because I spent 8 years using mostly public transportation and walking.
12:35 Instant ramen and diet grapefruit soda for lunch, classic adult meal. I think that the best standard brand is Mama ramen, and my favorite flavor is the creamy shrimp tom yum. The best spicy ramen are the Samyang spicy chicken ones. I usually add dried seaweed, but not feeling it today.
I later set up work in our office room. It’s so nice to have my own desk. I was using K’s since he no longer works from home, but prefer mine with my own pictures and knick-knacks, like my squishy stress bunny. I try to access files through remote desktop but can’t. IT puts me on hold. Is it worth driving back into work? Now the line tells me to leave a voicemail; I do, but I’d rather just keep holding.
2:55 An IT person calls me back. As I’m telling him what’s wrong, I realize I never logged into remote VPN, so of course I had no access. I apologize to him, feeling bad I wasted his time. This must be like the jokes about people not plugging things in yet expecting them to work. IT sends an email saying the ticket was resolved. My silliness is documented for eternity.
Meat stick (prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella) for consolation. Back to work, more munchies so I eat an apple too.
5:40 K and I chat and agree to play Don’t Starve Together later, which we started a few days ago. Dinner is pork chop, rice, defrosted mixed veggies. My friend and I talk over the phone as I eat. We grew up in the same hometown, and she's been my bestie for a long time. I can’t recall a time when we weren’t friends! (She does - when we were very young. I just have bad memory.) She’s recently had very exciting things happen, and I love hearing her life updates. She's one of few friends I'm close enough with that we speak very candidly about everything.
7:30 Kitty joins me on the living room couch. Her sudden epiphany: she can knead my blanket, and does for a long time. I pet her while she kneads. Then dinner for the cat. I also check on my new plants and water them.
As I go outside to repot a plant, I see a small package on the porch. Addressed from a friend and labeled "fragile". It’s a ring dish! So lovely and thoughtful, and I was just thinking about getting one. I text my friend many thanks and place it in the bathroom.
8:40 K and I play Don’t Starve Together on our computers. About 5 minutes in, we’re suddenly attacked by scary dogs and I die ): I’m a ghostie for awhile as he attempts to revive me, but it’s a struggle. We decide to play Stardew Valley next time, since this game more difficult than we thought it’d be. I play Animal Crossing afterwards. A new neighbor moved in, a cute koala named Alice!
11:30 Okay, time for bed. Ugh, I keep browsing instead of sleeping.
Day 3, Tuesday
8:00 am Alarm goes off. I push snooze. Then I remember kitty is waiting for food, so instead get up and feed her. I eat yogurt and get work started.
9:50 Break time! I drive to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore nearby. I haven’t gone in the past two weeks, but we got some amazing furniture deals here. Like our beautiful 10x13 living room rug for only $50. The thrift stores around here have actual thrift store prices. Our friends recently got a coffee table from here that was exactly what we're looking for. I’m happy they got it but also kind of jealous.
I find a pretty glazed square saucer ($0.50, plus another 25% off), an adorable panda mug ($1.00), and a mug painted with a lovely floral pattern ($0.50) but a chip on the lip. Doesn’t matter since these mugs will be pots.
10:40: Home and work, more research on how to do all the things. I get a meat stick and prep ramen. I am so cold‼ I wrap our living room blanket around me like a shawl. This was an Amazon gift last year from K. He searched “softest blanket” and said everyone recommended this one. It is indeed incredibly soft, and I love it so much. I’m shall walk around and sit like this. Thermostat says it’s 64 degrees. Hmm, maybe my body is just rebelling against adapting to lower temps.
12:40 I finally eat lunch. I got distracted by work. The ramen warms me up some, but my fingers and feet are still cold. It’s far too early for me to break out mittens, right? My new succulent’s plastic pot fits perfectly into the flower mug. Panda mug is less of a home run; it’s a large sphere but the opening is just a bit too small. I’ll just repot another plant directly into it. I replace the dining plate under the grass with the square saucer. I check my money tree. I tend to ignore it, as it does pretty well left alone. Its new leaves got so big!
1:30 I use Teams chat for the first time. A colleague tells me some people who received my earlier mass email were confused about a certain line and emailed her assuming a more positive future outcome. I send out a clarifying email that the news is indeed as bad as it sounds...and people are not happy about that now. I just feel guilty I can’t make things better.
4:00 The itchy bumps on my finger are multiplying. I have some isolated eczema. Years ago, it was all over my hand and severe, but with medication slowly receded and now pops up in small spots. A similar bump on my leg that keeps coming back (only when I scratch it…I know, I know). I put on medicated ointment.
4:20 Someone replied all to my clarification email, pointedly questioning our decisions. Yikes! I ponder how to respond, then decide to do that tomorrow instead, when I can fully refrain from being snarky.
I go repot my haworthia into the panda mug, which should be the last time I repot her. I’m doing this out on the porch, squatting over pots with a spoon and bag of dirt, and wonder if people are judging me. Another package out here, from my hometown friend. It says Edible Arrangements, ooh. K calls me as I start opening it, so I narrate the process for him. It’s strawberries dipped in chocolate! I eat one right away, so yummy. I text my friend thanks and eat more. Must save some, reluctantly, for K.
6:00 I do some clean up. I’ve been leaving dishes, wrappers, and such strewn about. Without K here, I’m less prompt because no one can see my shame. Mini brush to sweep crumbs and such off counters, then regular broom for the kitchen floor because I made it messy in just 2 days.
The cat is eating the grass!
6:30 I consider exercising. We made sandbags with contractor bags and lawn pebbles, but I'm not workouts. Before quarantine, I went to the gym 3x a week (starting last Sept) even in bitter winter. I really enjoyed feeling myself get stronger. Now I’m not nearly as disciplined. My partner is much better about it, even doing cardio in between lifting days. Maybe I’ll work out tomorrow.
Instead, I wash rice and Instant Pot it for dinner, then take a shower. I feel so warm afterwards! I’m determined to keep myself that way.
7:00 The cat joins me on the couch for some blanket kneading. She does her bass purr, which disturbed me when I first heard it because it was so strange and so deep that I thought it might be a distress sound. I hear it during pets, and sometimes she’ll sit far away from us and just rumble like that. Eventually dinner time for kitty, then for me. I eat a pork chop with rice and leftover mixed veggies. I put the rice in the fridge! I forgot several times and had to throw it away the next day. I know rice is cheap, but I hate wasting food like that. Some Animal Crossing after. One of my neighbors is moving out tomorrow :(
11:35 It’s so late. I do my nightly routine and go to bed.
Day 3, Wednesday
8:15 am I finally get up and go through my morning routine. Putting on my ring is easier to remember when it’s out on a dish instead of hidden in a crowded basket. I feed kitty and start work. My boss responded to the reply all email yesterday evening. Whew! I do think that was better coming from her instead of me the newbie.
9:00 I look up how to access someone else’s calendar on Outlook, because I need to see my bosses’ schedule. Microsoft’s directions seem to apply to the online version, and other search results match it. I click around Outlook instead, and figure it out that way. I mist my prayer plant and eat a yogurt.
9:50 To the ReStore. I go in and out of the house 3 times because I forgot my keys, donation box, and phone. Rihanna's Skin comes on from my playlist as I drive. Yeees, I haven't heard this in a while and sing along enthusiastically.
I find 4 ramekins for $2.00. This will complete the set I picked up here before. K wants them for baking but doesn’t think he’d use them enough to justify a new set. I also nab a ceramic thing made for an unknown purpose ($0.50), to be a nice small pot.
10:35 Home, shrouded in the blanket as I type up research. Ramen again for lunch. I could bring it into work, but then my coworkers might judge and/or pity me for eating like a college student.
12:40 pm I get dressed for the office. Weather app says it's 70s outside, so I put on a light pink maxi skirt with a geometric pattern, a light orange/coral top with a floral print, and teal cardigan. I end up walking instead of driving since it's nice out. I immediately feel happier and refreshed! I think I’ve been grumpy from feeling so cold in the house. Like hangry, except…crumpy.
1:00 A sign outside a bakery says today’s special is carrot cake cupcake. Nooooo, I love carrot cake but I’m trying not to buy treats. But this bakery has such good cupcakes…I go in and buy one for $3.00. It’s difficult to resist these when they’re so cheap compared to prices in larger cities. I eat the cupcake at work and it is the perfect dessert.
1:50 The internet stops functioning as I'm writing up a form online to submit ): Instead, I call someone to break the bad news to since there's no email listed for them. I really dislike calling people I’ve never met, since I rely so much on expressions and body language. Several tea treks this afternoon.
4:00 I text a friend about helping me lift a dresser out of the garage later. I bought a lovely wood dresser for $150 from FB last month to replace our current dinky one, but it needs TLC. I’ve been procrastinating hard but am afraid this is the last week of nice weather, so want to fix it up now. Plus it can be a nice surprise for K.
4:30 As I’m leaving, some coworkers chat to me! I’m so happy – I’m a shy person at work, mostly because I feel like I have to absorb all the info possible and then I can start to say things, otherwise I’ll make a fool of myself. This shouldn't apply to general chatter, but somehow does for me. It’s really nice talking to them.
5:00 At home, NY driver’s license came in the mail. I feel so official now! Except, this isn’t a REAL ID and I thought I was getting one. The NY webpage says to bring more documents to the DMV for one one. I guess since I won’t be flying soon, not a big deal. And I can always use a passport, though I dislike carrying that unless really needed.
5:35 My friend comes over and we carry the dresser from the garage to the driveway. He points out that some of the backing is reinforced with staples (???) instead of nails. Ah well, this was cheap. I start off by sanding edges where the veneer is scratched or started to peel; harder to do precisely than videos show. Then a long, long time putting wood filler in those spots. It’s hard getting it to stick without bits falling off. Okay, not so sure how well this will turn out :/ I leave it to dry overnight, so tomorrow I can stain
7:00 After a hot shower, I put on my workout leggings that have a fleece lining. Not to workout, just for the warmth. Desperate times! I know that after winter, these temps will feel like beach weather. But right now I’m cold. I go feed the kitty. Then I remember I was supposed to send a form for work and do so, so very late :(
8:00 Dinner. Pork chop, leftover rice, defrosted corn. K and I chat as I eat. We call it a night early though. I finally get the dishwasher going; I left so many dirty dishes sitting around this week. I play Animal Crossing. I search for a new neighbor and pick the first one on a mystery island, a horse named Papi. He really likes nature, so I feel we’ll jive there.
9:00 A couple of friends text yes for a group video call next week. We know each other from grad school but are all in different states now. Many things have been happening for everyone, so I’m excited to toast to them!
10:00 I actually want to go up to bed this time, but the kitty is snuggled next to me. I’ve been petting her for at least 30 mins. But finally we go upstairs for the night. I scroll through subreddits before sleeping.
Day 4, Thursday
7:45 I get up and do morning stuff, then feed the cat. I try to turn on my work computer but it does nothing until I charge it. Yogurt for breakfast, then burrito myself in the blanket for work.
9:50 ReStore break. I accidentally walk out in flip flops instead of sneakers but am too lazy to switch. Oh well, I’ll be that person in socks and sandals.
At the store, I immediately grab these beautiful blue glazed pots, labeled $4 for the set. There’s also a soft, pinkish white pillow. But it doesn’t fit colors I want for any room; nah, I’d regret it later. I find a pretty set of Japanese-style art, depicting varied pots and flowers. The frames are beat up though. I take a picture to send to K later to see if he likes them. But on my last circle about, the paintings have disappeared. That’s okay, someone else will enjoy them.
K might declare a pot moratorium when he gets home, as he’s threatened before. Hah, he’ll be using the car anyways so I can’t even go thrifting then.
10:55 Home and back to work. I get an email from Accounting that there’s a check for me. First one, woo! They told me it would be Thursdays, but I’m so used to Fridays that this was a surprise.
11:40 Hot ramen, mmm. While waiting for them to poof, I check my plants. I browse FB and subreddits while eating. Then upstairs to dress. Today, a navy and white triangle print blouse to pair with my black and white feather print pants. I also break out a nice pair of sneaker-like shoes, in grey suede.
1:45 Back in the office, many rounds of hot leaf juice. I pick up my paycheck, and Accounting confirms my next will be deposited. I also stop by HR to ask how I can set up Zoom meetings.
4:00 I drive to the credit union to deposit checks. They close too early, in my opinion. How do people who don’t have flexible workplaces find time to use them?
K recently added me to his account. My bank has no branch here, though I got them years ago specifically because they were national and I wanted access wherever I went in the US :/ I don’t like paying ATM fees, so K has been withdrawing cash if needed. I’m also not comfortable using a bank app out of paranoia that someone might steal my phone and siphon my account. I think my bank accounts and Social Security number are the only things the tech giants don’t have, so I guard them as my precious.
4:30 Home for more work in my blanket.
5:30 K and I chat. We decide to see if our friends are available for board games this weekend, and if not, watch a movie. I suddenly realize I didn’t defrost a protein for dinner, and even putting it out now won’t be enough time to unfreeze it. Nooo. I end our call to work on the dresser (but lie to him about why).
I put stain on a few samples of filler. I got it matched at a local hardware store, but not sure if the stain will look like its label image. Wait, the label says to leave the stain for 4-6 hours before using a 2nd coat…well, I can keep sanding. Except there's definitely too much wood filler on these spots, because I’m doing one corner for so long.
6:23 I go inside and eat leftover corn and a meat stick for dinner. I’m crumpy again. And sad this won't be done by the time K gets back. I decide to make a latte, likely a bad idea so late. But I want something cozy. I mix in cocoa powder and honey with it. We have a grinder, aeropress, and French press (for guests) but use Wegman’s beans and a cheap milk frother. Occasionally we get nicer beans at a local shop, and my partner eventually wants to upgrade to a real fancy grinder. The coffee set up captures well our spending habits.
7:00 The cat stole my half-eaten meat stick‼ She flees, but stops to eat her prize, so I snatch it from her clutches. K had asked me if she’d be unrecognizable when he gets back, and I think so. Very bold now. After I feed her, she goes downstairs and meows a lot. I will not be summoned, cat! XD I stay here until she’s back in the room, quiet, and then I go downstairs. I eat chocolate strawberries and browse FB and subreddits about plants, finances, and furnishing homes. I should read for the book club. Eh.
9:15 I find out online there’s Fall Festival on the main street on Saturday! I’m excited; I was visiting last year when it happened. There were hay bales and scarecrows and tractors and kids getting faces painted. I wasn’t sure they'd have it this year, but glad that local businesses will get a huge boost in sales.
I also remember we got a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers from there, now still our living room and only shed a bit during the year. Since they last for so long, I want a set for the guest bedroom.
9:30 I play Tetris. A couple of bad rounds, but I get 6th once! Pretty good. I cross some animals, and say hello to Papi. Then I go empty the rest of the dishwasher and load it again, and sweep up ramen bits. I don’t want all this to linger longer if I feel lazy tomorrow. K sometimes says, “Good job, past self!” out loud to acknowledge what he did in the past that make the present less stressful. I really like that, so now I try to approach things more that way.
11:25 I go to bed. But I have a throbbing caffeine headache, and my stomach feels hollow. Why did I do this to myself? I read some “messy” Money Diaries from the Drama Watch Roundup to tire out my brain. It takes a long time for me to fall asleep.
Day 6, Friday
7:00 am I wake up needing to pee. Can't go back to sleep due to residual headache. I do my morning routine and feed the kitty. I have to boot up my work laptop. Its battery runs out so quickly; it’s a bit annoying that I won’t be able to go anywhere without the charger. Oh well. I start filling in a spreadsheet to organize what I’ve been researching.
I am blanket. Blanket is me. (Or is it I?)
I email my Boss about setting up a Zoom call for us and another person. Then tea time. I use a loose chai from Wegman’s. It’s really good; I’m glad their generic stuff tends to be decent quality.
9:50 To the ReStore. I almost forget my mask but luckily don’t. They’re strict about them, thankfully. I saw them kick out a man who tried to go in without one. He kept arguing that he had the right not to. Of course, and there are consequences to that. This is also a charity shop and volunteer run, so they probably care less about pissing off a few people. I feel bad for the businesses and employees who end up with potential losses from booting noncompliant customers. It’s not a dilemma I’d want to face.
Today I find a large peachy pillow, $3. Glad I didn’t get the other, since this fits better and is so soft. I also get two glass vases of similar height and shape but one has a vertical pattern ($1.00, with additional 50% off) while the other has a wavy pattern ($1.00, with additional 25% off). Close enough, for the guest bedroom flowers. And I finally drop off the box.
10:45 I reach Wegman’s to grab a few things. Two 10-pack meat sticks (12.29 each) and two 2-liter bottles of diet grapefruit soda ($0.75 each). I also look at the fish, since they stock fresh ones on Fridays and are usually sold out by evening. I love whole fish and would eat it every day if I could. I pick 2 porgies ($6.99/lb) and ask them to descale and trim the fish but keep the heads. I’ll get both fish heads tonight since K never eats them. I’m so excited for dinner!
More work at home. My boss CCs me on an email about me sent privately to her and few others. Her response is amazing and is a virtual mike drop. I appreciate her so much. I do a speedy lunch, ramen and soda. And speedy dressing: same pants as yesterday, sheer burgundy top, teal cardigan, the suede shoes. I finally bring my mug! It’s bigger so less tea trips.
2:00 Meeting with boss and another person our org works closely with. The prep I did is not useful, because the conversation turns in a different direction than expected.
4:15 I get home early and do last minute cleaning. K texted earlier that he should arrive by 6:00.
5:00 I haven’t heard kitty in a while, and get worried. I walk around calling her, and she meows in response, from our master bed. She rushes out once I open the door.
5:45 Finish work and take a shower. Kitty gets many pets in apology for accidenally imprisoning her. I manage to snip two of her nails, but she escapes before I can do the rest. Then the house alarm goes off. K is back! He says the house is chilly – okay I’m not going crazy XD He is skeptical that it’s truly 65 degrees in here and turns on the heat. The cat hides, shy again with K here. I tell him it’s probably his haircut. We unload the rental car and return it.
7:00 Dinner prep. I season the fish and wrap them in aluminum foil for the oven. This time I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and coriander. I chop up mushrooms to roast too.
The fish and veggies end up delicious! I do warn K about the little stomach bones. If we’re sharing one big fish, I split it into fillets and pick out all the bones myself, but we each have our own and I don’t feel like doing it twice. I get all the fish eyes, yum.
9:30 K tells me the news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing. A friend also texts me about it a couple of minutes later. I am so sad. She was such an amazing person and inspiring woman. I read an article detailing parts of her life I hadn’t known about before. This makes me even sadder, though.
10:00 We finish the strawberries together. K nods off during Adventure Time. I’m hit with a sense of déjà vu: this happened exactly, early on in our relationship. Sometimes history repeats itself in a cute way. We eventually go up to sleep. My mouth stings as I brush my teeth - the sore on the inside, near my lip, is getting worse. I've been trying not to irritate it too much since it's in an awkward spot, but that's clearly not working.
11:30 I’m still awake reading random things on my phone. So bad. I go to sleep.
Day 7, Saturday
9:15 am Phone buzzes me awake. Friends confirm the Fall Festival plan.
10:15 I’m still in bed because warm. K offers to turn the heat up, but I’ll be fine. After I wash my face, I can’t find my towel so drip awkwardly over the sink until I remember one on a nearby shelf. K must have grabbed our dirty towels for laundry.
10:30 I put crepes in the oven to defrost. I wish I'd put parchment paper between layers when stacking, because it’s been annoying separating them.
K and I talk about the new health insurance cards, and what appointments I'll make. First will be Planned Parenthood, because I’m on my last pack of pills! The only time I wasn’t covered was the months after college graduation and before my job started. I worried so much that I’d have an accident and be buried in debt. Luckily didn’t happen. I also really appreciate when work pays into insurance, after having to pay the entire premium myself during grad school.
K browses the Nintendo shop and pulls up the Ori sequel. I do want it but think we should wait; $40 seems pricey and we have so many other games we haven’t started or finished. He tells me he did buy Hades on sale since we tend to play these types of games more. I really liked the trailer so glad he did.
11:30 I scroll online while I eat the crepes, watch K play Hades. I love the art, but not sure I’d be good. You battle many enemies, and you have to react fast. We switch and I play! It's challenging but not too much that I feel like I can’t figure it out. At some point, K finds socks on the ground and puts them on me since I’m too busy playing but still complaining about cold feet. Thanks K!
1:45 He reminds me we’re supposed to meet friends at 2:00. Today's outfit: green pleated maxi, a mustard top, and a magenta suede vest with long fringe on the shoulders and edges that reach my calves. One of my favorite statement pieces.
2:15 We find our friends and chat, waiting for the other ones. Apparently the festival was canceled, and instead there’s a small farmers’ market. Now I feel bad having asked them out for this – the cancellation wasn’t mentioned on the official webpage!
Our other friends get here and we check out the market. It smells delicious; there’s one stall with donuts, one with pretzels. K and a couple friends go for donuts. I find the dried bouquets vendor and request two with orange, pink, and purple-blue flowers. They cost $9 each, but K pays since I don’t have cash. We all decide to walk down the main street for fun.
4:00 I stop for $5 bubble tea. I get lavender with traditional bubbles (there are popping ones, but I think those are weird). It's yummy, enough flavor but not so much that I’m eating a candle. K and friends get ice cream, trying the fall flavors. Then we all part ways and go home. Another package at the door, with K’s name on it, but he’s not expecting anything. They’re cool wooden coasters with a laser cut outline of the city we met in! Turns out a friend sent it as a gift.
6:30 Dinner time. K baked chicken with cumin and other seasonings, plus rice and defrosted peas. We watch Adventure Time. It’s interesting to me how adult kids shows can be. There are incredibly sad/disturbing moments that would be completely missed by kids. During episodes I get text alerts from in my siblings' group chat. Adorable pictures of my cute niece, finally smiling instead of looking angry. For the rest of the night, K and I take turns playing Hades. He keeps getting further than me, but I’m not too behind!
9:30 Bed time. We’ll see if I can sleep early tonight.
Weekly Total $69.97
Food + Drink = $46.89
Home + Health = $23.09
I think I tend to buy little things during the week. In contrast, K tends to make bigger purchases of many items once or twice a month. It’s nice to see my spending be “normal” again, since for a few months I was spending a lot on furnishings and such. I do want to be better about buying less treats, and resist buying plants (though now that space near the windows is running out, less a problem). The resale market is good for calming my inner shopper. I don't feel like I’m missing out too much, because there’s so much out there that even if I don’t nab this thing, a similar thing will pop up later. So I'm okay being pickier about those purchases.
submitted by Charybdis523
Passed Security+ 2 hours ago with 844/900
Warning: Very long!
After studying on and off for past 2 years I got serious last month and passed this afternoon. I got 81 questions, 5 PBQs and scored 844/900.
Here are my thoughts. Background:
Working in IT but no direct experience in Security. Study Method:
I bought GCGA but did not read all. I gave up on half way because it is too much to absorb and I am not a reader. I binge-watched Keith Barker’s videos on CBT nugget. I like his teaching style but don’t find it as organized as Professor Messer who covers all the topic if you can keep yourself engaged. Once I was familiar with the topics, I started taking notes. I listed all exam objectives and started filling out the information. I had to buy Security+ by WM. Arthur Conklin because he followed the exam objective and was easier to take notes from. I would have utilized Darril Gibson if he had followed the exam objective (huge influencing factor for me).
Once I finished version 1 of taking notes, I did all end chapter quiz from WM. Arthur Conklin and GCGA. I usually got 3-4 questions wrong (out of 15) on each chapters and took quiz on CBT nugget. I do not remember the actual score but I was very disappointed with the result. Therefore, I had to change my study method (lesson #1). I went back to my notes and pretty much googled every topic and filled in more information. After spending 1 week inside Lord Google, I bought Dion’s practice test and scored 75 on the first one. Again disappointed, I learnt collecting note is not sufficient but you actually have to understand and retain it (lesson #2). In next four tests, I scored 82%, 81%, 84%, and 81%. I was still not satisfied so I reviewed the questions I got wrong and found out just knowing the definition is not sufficient to pass the exam but you need to be able to differentiate two similar looking terms (lesson #3).
I also bought Professor Messer’s practice tests and scored, 85%, 85% and 90%. I did the last Dion’s test and scored 80%. At this point I was like I am not going to score more than this and scheduled the exam last night for this afternoon.
It was online and went smooth. Thought about exam:
70% of questions were no-brainer. 20% of questions needed second revision to understand what the question was saying. And 10% including PDQs were b***h. They were totally confusing and unheard of. I know zero about Linux so I could not understand 2 or 3 logs/commands and just chose one. When I finished all multiple choice and returned to PBQ, I had 28 minutes left. My advice:
- Pick one resource and read everything. Do quizzes and revise everything you did wrong and the right one that you were confused about.
- Now pick a second resource and fill in the gaps.
- Do examcompass quizzes to make sure you understand the definition.
- Print the exam objective and try to explain each terms. Are you able to answer what, why and how? If not, you have not understood it, you’ve just memorized it.
- Do Dion’s and Professor Messer’s quiz to understand scenario based question.
CompTIA does not test you whether you know definitions or not. It tests you whether you can apply to knowledge in the given scenario. Bonus:
Since you managed to read until this point, here are some Security+ concept to think. Especially to those who have failed the exam and wondering why they failed despite reading many resources and memorizing all definitions and acronyms.
If you were able to drill down answers to the following 2 options, will you be able to differentiate between these two? (These are all from SY0-501 objective.)
IV vs Nonce, Data-in-use vs Data-in-transit, Ephemeral vs PFS, key stretching vs salting, security through obscurity vs obfuscation, ECC vs ECDHE, CTM vs GCM, PGP vs S/MIME, CCMP vs AES, NAC vs 802.1x, pinning vs stapling, Subject Alternate Name vs Wildcard, extended validation vs domain validation, PFX vs P7B, BPA vs MOU, Adverse actions vs Off-boarding, RTO vs MTTR, PIA vs PTA, snapshot vs system image, differential vs incremental backup, Technical vs Logical control, role of Data steward vs Data custodian vs Privacy officer, Transitive trust vs Federation, SAML vs Shibboleth, OpenID Connect vs OAuth, Secure Token vs Software Token, ABAC vs RBAC, PIV vs CAC, Recertification vs Credential Management, reason to delete user account vs disable account, If you are looking to improve password policy, would you prioritize complexity or length?, SCADA vs ICS, sensors vs collectors, reverse proxy vs load balancing, TAPS vs port mirror, correlation engine vs SIEM, HSM vs TPM, attestation vs secure boot, Hardware root of Trust vs TPM, Trusted OS vs RTOS, SoC vs IoT, Secure baseline vs Continuous Integration, Immutable system vs Non-persistence, SQL queries vs Stored procedures, stress testing vs fuzzing, model verification vs configuration validation, Static code analyzer vs sandboxing, compiled code vs runtime code, containerization vs Type II Hypervisor, Paas vs Iaas, DMZ vs AirGap, RAID 5 vs RAID 1+0, Fault tolerance vs Redundancy, scalability vs elasticity, master image vs templates, RFID vs NFC, motion detection vs Infrared detection, Firewall rules vs ACL, AH vs Tunnel Mode, Full tunnel vs tunnel mode, Heuristic IDS vs Behavioral IDS, Inline vs In-band IDS/IPS, Out-of-band vs Passive IDS/IPS, Layer 3 switch vs Router, active-active vs Round-robin load balancer, application proxy vs transparent proxy, Fat vs Standalone AP, Thin vs controller-based AP, Agentless vs Dissolvable NAC, SMTP vs IMAP4, Media Gateway vs Spam filter, Network scanner vs protocol analyzer, Pulverization vs Pulping, Netcat vs banner grabbing, exploitation frameworks vs Pentesting. Nmap vs Network mapping. License compliance violation vs application blacklisting, DLP vs data exfilteration, Data Execution Prevention vs code signing, WAF vs load balancing, Bluetooth vs ANT, Infrared vs Bluetooth, containerization vs sandboxing, storage segmentation vs virtualization, Corporate-owned vs COPE, Rooting vs Sideloading, FDE vs TPM, GPS tagging vs Geolocation, Ad hoc vs Wi Fi direct, tethering vs Hotspot, SFTP vs FTPS, Subscription services vs SaaS, Race conditions vs memory leak, DLL injection vs Refactoring, embedded systems vs SoC, intrusive vulnerability scanning vs active pentesting, Privilege escalation vs Pivot, Hash collision vs Birthday attack, WPS attack vs brute force attack, IP spoofing vs smurf attack, Typosquatting vs watering hole attack, session hijacking vs replay attack, URL hijacking vs clickjacking, Amplification vs DDos attack, ARP poisoning vs MITM attack, SQL injection vs XSS attack, backdoor vs RAT etc. Final thought:
Security+ is hard. Only knowing definition does not help. If you read the exam objective it says “given a scenario, analyze/deploy/troubleshoot etc. Therefore, you need to know how to analyze, deploy, troubleshoot different scenario.
Don’t just memorize the definition. You might be able to pass the exam but you will not learn. Here are my notes. I did not learn from this note but I learnt in the process of compiling this notes from multiple resources. If you are a visual person, the pictures will help you. I’ve gone deep in some topics, for example, IPSec which you might not need but it really helped me understand what it is and the process of implementation. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1asUIELKhbkV2oJdeFuL7F3B2l5HLf3dn/view?usp=sharing
submitted by 1unusualredditor