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Hashtag Working Girl/You’ve Got to Have a J-O-B

Hello, everyone, it’s Krysta again. I’ve fallen behind in my posts meaning I’ve got quite a bit of news to tell you about, so it’s story time. Gather around, my lovelies….

So you know how people usually start college the fall after they graduate?

Yeah, that might not be happening this time.

Thanks to one of the bumps on the rollercoaster that is my life, I missed the opportunity to start college on time this year. Now before you start “le gasping”, let me assure you I’m still going to college. Maybe I’ll start mid-fall, maybe I’ll start in January, I don’t know right now. But I do know that I’ll be paying for my education myself because my parents can’t do it all themselves. After all, I have five other siblings who need their attention and, frankly, their funds. That means I have to start working ASAP because apparently universities don’t accept Monopoly money.

Which brings me to my next point: a job. Now a few weeks ago, I’d been thinking about just working at a place like CVS or Wal-Mart, but then I got offered a nannying job by a friend who had just left said nannying position. Basically, a couple–I’ll call them the Stevenson couple–needs someone to watch daughter Stevenson (and the neighbors’ daughter) until Mr. Stevenson gets home from work. I’d actually have to pick them up from the bus stop (which is a foreign concept to a homeschooler) and take them to the Stevensons’ house. Now I won’t go into all the details of the job, but my friend tells me the girls are both fans of One Direction, which means I already love these kids. The details have been all worked out and the family likes me enough, so I’ve officially got the job. This is amazing, considering my mom (who came with me) somehow managed to talk more than I did, making me seem shy and codependent. Nevertheless, I’m employed. Huzzah.

Unlike most people I know, I’m quite excited about having a job. And not only is this one relatively easy–I’m not Mary Poppins or anything, but I have a lot of experience with kids (raised/raising five siblings)–but it pays $75 a week, which is a lot when you’re always broke. I mean, that’s $300 a month…as in $300 more than I get now. (You can probably imagine how pumped I am about getting my first paycheck soon!)

But as you employed folk know, there is a downside to money–budgeting it. Now that’s something you can’t avoid–even if you really want to. I’ve been trying to come up with a good budget plan, but I don’t have one yet. So far, I’m thinking of just altering the suggestion Bethany gave me to make room for tithing by decreasing the amount needed for what we call “involuntary expenses”–things you consistently have to buy for yourself. Involuntary expenses are, as you know, not to be confused with that pair of shoes you just have to have, or the smoothies you’ve been craving for two weeks. Those are voluntary expenses and they’re in a very separate category.

Now most of you employed folk may know all about what I’m going to do here, but I encourage those of you who don’t to stick around and read this. Not to say that you have to follow this to a T, but looking at everyone else’s budget plans really helped me to develop my “prototype plan”, even before I needed one. I think it’s a good idea to see what works and what doesn’t and then try to make your budget plan to fit your life. So unless you’re way ahead and have already looked into budget plans (or have your own), here’s your starter package: my prototype plan. Now I’ll probably make some adjustments once I have a consistent cash flow (and another job), but I’m thinking of separating my paycheck into five parts:

  • savings- 65%,
  • short-term goals- 5%,
  • voluntary expenses- 5%,
  • involuntary expenses- 10%,
  • tithing- 10%, and
  • emergency funds- 5%

Savings is taking up more for me than it will for most of you, but that’s only because I have to meet the deadline before it’s time to fly across the pond. I hope you don’t feel pressured by this to save up more than half your paycheck. My short-term goals are just things I need or want a lot (e.g. my own laptop, a smartphone, new earbuds, etc.), preferably before we move to London. Voluntary expenses are just spur-of-the-moment things I want to buy–like a second dinner just because I’m out with my friends, or anything I want but don’t need that I haven’t saved up for. Tithing is what I put in the offering basket when I’m at church, mostly to support missions trips and other great things my church does for the community. Emergency funds are just what they sound like: money for emergency purposes only. I put that in italics because it’s important. I used to call everything an emergency and just spend $30 on food, which would be nice if I didn’t eat all of said food in only one sitting. (Talk about expensive taste. Ba-dum-tsss….)

So I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to cover (and then some). Sorry if you’re confused.

…Okay bye.

–Krysta

old school, new school, gently-used school

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When I was a little girl, I’d always thought about being a ballerina or joining a contemporary dance company; but I never imagined that I would actually be able to pursue it. I even took a year off when I was a freshman to find out if there was anything else that I would like to do with my life, but there wasn’t. And there isn’t, still. But now I have to make up for the lost time by pushing my training into overdrive, and what better way to do that than a summer dance intensive?

Hi. It’s Bethany.

I know that summer 2014 is a long time away, but typically auditions for intensives take place the winter beforehand, so if I want to study anywhere, I’d better start looking now. And I have, except I’m not sure where I’d like to go. My top picks are the summer programs at Juilliard, Jacob’s Pillow, London Studio Centre, and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire. They’re all very far away from where I live (Virginia), but I’m really interested in their programs.

Contemporary dance has always been my passion, but I wouldn’t mind studying ballet, which is technically what I’m trained in, or ballet technique. I’d call it nearly impossible to start a career in dance without proper ballet training, no matter how old you are.

ghgJuilliard is a three-week intensive taking place next August in New York City, focusing on ballet and modern dance. It’s very expensive, estimating at one thousand dollars in tuition and an extra thousand dollars for accommodation.  London Studio Centre is an English university I can see myself training at after I graduate, and it’s pretty cheap. However, the camp only lasts a week and it almost seems like a waste of time/money to fly out to London for only seven days of contemporary training. Trinity Laban is also in England; this intensive lasts two weeks and I’ve heard amazing things about it (free accommodation, too). At Trinity I would be able to tailor my timetable to the things I wanted to take (ballet, Graham-based contemporary, yoga, etc.) and that’s pretty cool.

Now, my dream dance school, the crème de la crème, is Jacob’s Pillow up in Massachusetts. They have a summer program for professionals and pre-professionals from ages sixteen on up, specializing in either ballet, commercial, or contemporary. Free accomodation for approved applicants, but it’s extremely selective; only twelve men and twelve woman get chosen each year. The contemporary program, which I would be auditioning for, costs about $1,800

I would love to attend any combination of these schools, although my heart is pretty set on Jacob’s Pillow. For an aspiring dancer this is an incredibly important decision; for me especially because next summer is my last season as a high school student. I’ll also have to decide how much out of my paycheck/savings I want to pay for tuition and/or audition fees (because I really want to help my parents out); but I don’t want to spend too much, because what’s the point of going overseas and doing all these intensives if I end up with no money for college? So many, many things to do.

— Bethany.

girls just wanna have funds

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It’s my birthday today. Turning sixteen has always been depicted in movies as a big deal for a girl, but for me it’s just another road sign on the path to finding a job. I have been looking for places to work for about two months now, but haven’t really seen anything I like yet (I know what you’re thinking: “Silly Bethany! You’re not supposed to like your first job!” but I’m not a fan of pointless experiences, so I want to like it at least a little). Truth is, on the inside I feel about thirty years old, but on the outside I look about thirteen; those two things simultaneously make it difficult for me to find places of employment that will both accept and suit me.

This weekend I’ll be having a proper birthday slumber party in true American fashion, with junk food, a Doctor Who marathon, and about twelve other sixteen-ish girls. Lots of my friends have jobs now (Anna works at Dairy Queen, Krysta is a part-time nanny, etc.), so late on Saturday night I’ll probably get to ask them some questions about the whole “working girl” thing. One thing I do know is that I do not want to babysit. Some girls adore children and like taking care of them for long periods of time on a regular basis (like my friend Ahna-Louise, who wants to be a teacher), but that’s not really my thing. My younger sister is only three years my junior and she’s pretty good at taking care of herself, so I don’t have much experience in this field.

In a perfect world, where ballet classes are free and Niall Horan from One Direction is my boyfriend, I’d be able to do the kind of short-term work I would prefer: waitressing or retail. I can fold clothes, I can smile and carry things; these jobs are ideal for me. But, being as young as I am, it’s a little difficult to secure a steady income anywhere. Krysta and Maddie, the other co-owners of this blog, are both older than me, and as far as I know they didn’t have a hard time getting their jobs. Le sigh.

Long-story-short, it’s my sixteenth birthday (and yes, I always have birthdays in the middle of the week. Leap years screw it up for me), and I need a job so I can write up a well-functioning budget plan. I’m the one who likes to make lists and charts and itineraries. Ask Maddie and Krysta.

I’m one step closer to England today. (:

— Bethany.

“Started From the Bottom Now We’re…”

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… Here?

Hello, everyone. This is the first official post of the “London Bound” blog. And this is the part where we explain what, exactly this blog is about and what we’re doing.

  • First off, London Bound is run by three American girls, two of whom are still finishing high school. You can get to know us on our “About Us” page.
  • Second, this blog is about one thing, and one thing only: our dream to live and study overseas in London, England. We started London Bound to document our progress; how we plan to work hard, study hard, and save money to achieve our set goal. Most, if not all, of our blog posts will have to do with our different methods and ideas.
  • Unfortunately, we can’t really tell you how often we plan to post here. It depends on whether or not we have anything to share, but I can assure you that our content won’t be too scarce, since there are three of us to keep this thing up and running.
  • You can always contact us with any questions or requests, using any or all of the information on our contact page. We don’t bite!

That’s really all we have to say for now. Each future blog post will be written by one of us individually so you learn about us separately and really get to understand what we’re doing here. See you soon.

Krysta, Bethany, & Maddie.