31st Birthday Resolution

After much consideration for the past few months, my 31st Birthday Resolution presented itself to me in July.

For the 31st year of my life, I am GOING FULL WITCH. 

What does this mean, you might ask?  Let me explain.

Three Fates, painting by Emily Balivet

Three Fates, painting by Emily Balivet


This doesn’t mean Halloween witch, or Wiccan witch, or Goth witch (although I fully embrace deep, dark lipstick on a regular basis).  I love those things but this is something…different.

This is me being totally open to exploring all the earthy, natural, divine, strange, left-handed, taboo, mushy, divine aspects of womanhood.   Another way to name this would be “Exploring the Divine Feminine,” or “Going Full Goddess,” but witch sounds better.  It reminds me of the many ways that women have been persecuted and disempowered throughout history for daring to practice natural medicine, midwifery, and spirituality based on the sacred feminine.

“Witch” also lends that wild and weird quality that is, semantically at least, empowering me to get a little freaky without reservation and without worrying about being judged.  I’m buying crystals, guys.  I’m chanting, burning incense, signing up for Full Moon Goddess teleconferences, reading all kinds of cards, communing with my spirit guides, setting intentions.  I am absolutely wearing dark lipstick, and I might wear a giant flower crown out in public for no reason at all! (What?!  That’s crazy!)

The point is, I’ve been doing these things for a little while and I keep adding practices and researching different ways of being, and I’m just going for it.  I’m allowing myself to do whatever is interesting in the name of sacred womanhood.  There’s not a religious sect I align with (although I am a yogi and leaning towards the tantric and bhakti paths).  I’m not following any gurus.  I’m going to do what I want, learn, and teach.  If you’re interested in what I’m doing, follow along.  I’ll share anything that I stumble on, fascinating and probably also mundane.

Blessed be, y’all.



It’s Budget Day!!!

I am actually excited about Budget Day.  At the end of each month I find a free evening when I can sit down with my Spendee app, bank accounts, personal Excel spreadsheet and a big ol’ glass of wine, to reconcile that month’s budget and make a budget for the upcoming month.  Sounds fun, eh?

Okay, I’ll admit it can be a little scary.  I used to think that budgeting would only show me lack, only make me aware of how little I have (in financial terms).  I thought, there are all these things I want and need, and this will show me that I cannot have them.  Once I bit the bullet and really committed to doing a monthly budget, I realized that it has the opposite effect.  It is actually pretty reassuring.  In fact, I find the whole process calming.

I do what is called a Zero Sum Budget.  That means I calculate, to the best of my ability, what my income will be for the month ahead, and then I account for every penny in my budget.  I know where every cent should be going.  In order to do this, it’s important to know what your concrete expenses are.  These are the expenses that don’t waver, such as rent and utilities.  Put your money there first.  Then you can spread what remains over the incidentals.   It can be helpful to look at your previous months’ spending to see where your money goes.  If you spend a certain amount every month on gas, you can work off that number in your budget.  This will also help you to pinpoint any areas in which you overspend.

It’s very useful to use a template.  Some people love Mint.com or other online budgeting services.  I made an Excel spreadsheet based on Dave Ramsey’s budget template, which I am attaching here–feel free to download, personalize and test it out yourself!  I’ve included basic instructions and inserted  comments where you might like to make changes.  I like Excel because I can manipulate the data any way I want and I can make updates each month based on what I’ve learned.  I can also make lists and leave notes for myself, as you can see in my examples.

Budget Template | Whisper & Howl

Click to download!

Budgeting has helped me a lot both mentally and financially.  There are a lot of things I’m still working on.  If you download my budget template, you may notice that I tend to overspend on certain categories (food, for instance), and that I’m not great at saving.  I’ll delve deeper into my issues as I work on ways to improve.  Until then, happy budgeting!

Have any questions about my template, my journey or budgeting in general?  Ask away in the comments section!