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Just tracking

August 15th, 2014 at 01:37 pm

This month I did not create a budget for the first time in a long time. I am, however, tracking my spending. Here is where I sit 1/2 way through August.

Gas $138
Household $102
Grocery $243
Entertainment $150
Car $0
Clothes $82
Personal Care $52
Gifts $22

Extra Income $22.16


Total spent $789

Just feeling quiet lately, so that's all I'll post today. Have a great weekend!

Interesting

August 6th, 2014 at 08:30 am

One of my facebook friends is working through a book called "Wild Money" by Luna Jaffee. I'm interested enough to want to take a look through it, but none of the libraries in my area currently carry it. She does have a website and will send you a sample chapter, so I did that.

I just love personal finance books. I somehow think they are going to have the secret that's going to magically make everything perfect. Ha!

She has 8 steps to building and growing your nest egg. They are similar to Dave Ramsey's steps with one big difference. She has a specific amount to have in savings, then steps 4-6 are all about different retirement funds. Then she talks about just investing for the future (non retirement funds) and then college savings. There isn't anything about paying off the home early and giving money away. Of course, this is only about building a nest egg, not about a whole life plan.

I like that she actually breaks down the retirement part. She talks about getting the employer match, then going to a Roth, then back to the 401k to a 10% level.

I admit, I've been doing this a bit backwards. I paid off my debt, then started saving in my 401k and saving for emergency fund at the same time. A big ole' $7000 emergency happened and wiped out my savings. Then I fixed my car and the camper and went back into debt. Boo hoo, boo hoo.

During all that I kept putting in 15% of my gross into my 401k. Great! But Luna made a point that smacked me right in between the eyes. If you save up all your money in your 401k, then it is hard to get to when you have an emergency. DUH! According to her, I'm back at step 2, paying off the car & camper fix it debt. But I'm still saving 15% into my retirement. My company puts 8% of my gross into my retirement. Yay! I'm definitely catching up from not saving much before age 36. I look at it like I have 23% of my gross income going into 401k, which is awesome.

So, can I drop it down a bit? Decisions. Do I drop down my retirement by 5%, pay off my debt and save up the $5000, then push it back up to 15%? Leave it at 15% and just do my best by being frugal to save up the emergency fund? I'm torn. I currently take home about $2080 a month, with $1033 in scheduled bills that won't go away(rent, student loan, cell phone). The student loan is 1/3 mine, 2/3 ex husbands and he sends me a check for his portion, but I don't dare count on that money like I do my paycheck.

So why doesn't it seem like that is enough money? Wait, is there ever enough money? ;-) I can survive on where I'm at. I was even doing well at saving some money before the car/camper happened. So maybe I just need to be patient and not mess with my retirement. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

Tracking

August 5th, 2014 at 07:44 am

This month I did not create a budget. But I still tracked my spending from the 1st and I'm going to track it, just not budget out for it. I don't know if I've tracked my spending without having a plan before.

I expect August to be somewhat of a spendy month because of the beginning of school. I've already rented my textbook for my management class and signed up for the exercise classes that are held at the university. Since it will be the start of the semester, I should get a lot of free food and I'm looking forward to that.

I splurged on some new bicycle shirts for myself. I no longer need any running clothes, but my bicycle gear is leftover from when I weighed 40+ pounds more and is just hanging off of me. This hasn't been a problem until boyfriend started wanting to work out, including going for bike rides. I bought two, spending less than one would normally cost and am pleased.

Some bad news here. My great grandma died on Sunday morning. She was 95 and totally with it until the end. Her funeral will be in Florida next Wednesday. I will not be able to make it. I'm sad, but plane tickets are $500+ and only some of my family is going to be able to make it. I hate to miss it, but it is also limited vacation because of the start of the school year. I'm glad my Mom understands.

No Spend July numbers

August 1st, 2014 at 07:02 am

Boyfriend paid for dinner since I drove to bowling, so I didn't spend any money last night!

Here are the final numbers from my No Spend July.

Fixed (mostly) planned, spent, left
Savings/Debt $400, $400, $0
Rent: $600, $600, $0
Cell Phone: $67, $67, $0
Donation: $25, $25, $0
Student Loan: $366.04, $366.04, $0

Variable:
Gas (car): $100, $100, $0
Household: $5, $36, -$31 (dishwasher gasket)
Grocery: $320, $314, $6
Entertainment/Restaurant: $130, $130, $0
Car Maintenance: $0, $0, $0
Clothes: $5, $2, $3
Personal Care: $20, $23, -$3
Gifts/Donation: $45, $45, $0

Extra Income: $340.56 (most of this is ex-husband's check for his share of the student loan).

Some quick lessons learned

July 31st, 2014 at 11:01 am

If you don't spend much money, you don't have coinage to roll and deposit into your savings account. Bummer. However, I was able to do enough to push me over the $1000 in savings! Yay!

I used to read blogs where they were being frugal and saving money. They would talk about being down to their last six dollars and somehow, somehow, I found that romantic. I was impressed by them, sure. But I would also just be inspired and think how nice it was that they had such a budget. Grrr. I'm not saying this right. I would glamourize their budget skills. Until this month when I cut my budget down and had to stay within its limits and...I hated it.

If you don't count our dishwasher repair, I have $6 left for dinner out tonight for our last bowling night. I didn't like being so constantly on vigil with my money and the people who have to live like this have my utmost respect for doing this every month. Those living on a fixed income; I don't know how they do it. I have said "no" to myself many times this past month and I would not like to live like that all the time. And I was choosing to live like that! This wasn't something I had to do. I picked to do it.

I do want to pay off the credit card and I'm still going to throw all I can at it, but I'd also like to live a little.

Having said that, I will post my numbers of my No Spend Month tomorrow. I truly wish I could be more cheery and tell everyone how great it was to do a No Spend Month; how it got me in touch with my budget and with the things in life that don't cost money. Yes, in a way. However, I already appreciate those things, so I'm not sure this taught me a whole lot more.

I did have 19 No Spend Days this month!

I'm going to go over, but I'm OK with that

July 30th, 2014 at 07:16 am

I had my long weekend and it was....OK. I was glad I took the days off of work, but I didn't get much done around the house. I don't feel I was productive, but I also don't feel like I rested. Instead, I did a little of this (reading) and a little of that (watching TV) and some of this other stuff (basic house cleaning), but nothing that I would brag about.

Unfortunately, our dishwasher started leaking like crazy. I spent part of Friday figuring out what was leaking and I ordered a replacement part. This will put me over for the month, but the replacement part was about $30. To call someone in? $$$$$. It arrived yesterday, but I didn't get home until after 10PM, so I'll fix it tonight.

Other than that one mishap, I think I can make it through the month on the budget I created. I'm going to be so glad when this month is over. I'm going to a cash, no tracking system for August.

Yesterday was a doctor's appointment, work, jewelry making class with a friend, then meeting another friend for drinks and talking at a local place. I had fun, but it was a busy day for me and I'm just not used to it. I'm very tired because I didn't unwind until about midnight.

Only two more days to go!

Double Lunch

July 24th, 2014 at 08:24 am

Tuesday and Wednesday were NSDs. I now am up to 16 NSDs this month. Only one more week to go of my No Spend Month and I have $20 left. I think I can; I think I can. It will be close.

Today I will spend money on bowling $10 (taken out ahead of time, so doesn't impact the $20 I have left) and have already stopped at the grocery store for taco shells. I will be going to Michaels after work to pick up a package I had shipped there for free and to pick up some supplies for the jewelry class I'm taking next Tuesday. This will be put on the gift card that I purchased from Raise, saving 9% on the card. No cash out of pocket.

I packed a double lunch. One to eat at lunch; one to eat after work as dinner. No money spent for tonight's dinner.

After bowling, I will stop at WalMart for the last of the things we need to get us through the next week. Boyfriend has turned into a yogurt-loving fiend.

I have Friday and Monday off of work for an extra long weekend. No particular plans, but I hope to not spend hardly any money.

Next month, I'm going to the cash only, no tracking budget. We'll see how this works.

A real challenge

July 21st, 2014 at 10:58 am

My workplace is taking us to the ball game tonight!! I do like baseball and I'm happy that my work is buying us tickets. Unfortunately, those tickets don't include food, drink, or parking. Dang. The parking is easy. There is a place to park about 1/2 mile away that's free. I brought extra food with me to work with the hopes that it will be enough for both lunch and dinner, so I don't need to purchase food. I have my water bottle that I can refill before I leave work. I can't take it in with me to the game, but they will have a water fountain somewhere, right?

I will bring some money in with me just in case. I think I can have a good time without spending any money. That would make today another NSD! That would be a total of 14 NSDs for the month of July! I do still have $3 in my entertainment/restaurant budget, but I'm hoping I can hold onto that for bowling night.

I have $15 left in my grocery budget. For the month. But I think I have enough food in the house. It still is going to be a challenge. I will be glad when this month is over! I have much respect for those who have to do this every month. For the most part, I am able to buy what I want when I want. Luckily, my wants aren't usually too out of this world.

Thank you, thank you

July 18th, 2014 at 06:29 am

I love it here. I whine and complain and you guys tell me that it's OK and give me suggestions to fix my issue. You guys rock!

I think part of the cash problem is that July was a 3 paycheck month, with the last paycheck falling on June 30th. So I took out my paycheck $220 in June, but most of the money was spent on paper in July. Then I took out my $220 on Monday for this paycheck cashage and will take out $220 on the 28th. So I have cash, but no budget.

Anyway. The credit card I'm paying off closed today and it went from $2700 to $1700 in a month. I'm definitely make progress! It used to be that I had a large credit card bill when I first started my job. At that time, I had a certain amount I would pay per month, not throwing everything at it. It was so large that I treated it like a rent payment. I would up the amount when I could, but I still made sure I had some fun money. Trying to pay off the credit card ASAP this time is making it so that I throw everything at it, not saving a lot of money for fun.

Well, that and me trying to do a No Spend Month. That's my own dealie.

Yesterday I spent money on bowling $10, lunch with coworkers $7, taco shells $3, and Subway dinner $16. We bought the three footlongs for $15 and we both have dinner tonight too. I smartly packed water and chips from home and also a cooler with ice packs to take home the extra subs. Now I don't have to cook dinner tonight!

I'm hoping for a NSD today and another No Spend Weekend. The only thing that might break it would be buying bread for boyfriend's lunch.

One of my coworkers just gave me a bag of kitty treats that her cats didn't like. Since I anticipated spending money on treats and now I don't, I took $5 from Household and moved it to restaurant/entertainment, so at least I'm not negative in that category! Smile

Feeling Broke

July 17th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Maybe it is the trying to do two No Spend Months in a row, but I'm feeling broke. I was just looking at my pay stubs for the past five years and my take home is about $170 more per paycheck than it was when I started. And I was extremely happy to be getting what I was getting when I started!

I like my job. I mostly like the people. I don't really have any burning desire to get another job and I think I get paid well for what I do. I'm lucky. I know this.

So what gives? I'm actually wondering if the budget itself is making me feel broke. When I first started my job, I was on my own, in my own apartment, paying all the bills myself. Now I live with my boyfriend and pay him a certain amount (about 40% of the bills) and the groceries. But the budget tells me that I have no money to eat out. What I used to do is take out a certain amount of cash and used it for groceries and clothes and out to eat. Cash gone? Done spending.

Now I'm trying to fit that cash system into a budget and I have a lot of cash left in my wallet, but my budget says I have no money. Admittedly, these past two months have been lean on spending (or supposed to be) because I'm paying off my credit card after fixing the camper and the car.

The strange thing is that I feel broke, but if you had me sit down with a pen and piece of paper and asked me what I want---I can only think of a handful of things I wish I could buy. Of course, they are BIG things (trip to Hawaii, anyone?).

So where is this feeling of being broke coming from? The budget. The excel budget. It is telling me that I have $65 left to spend for the rest of the month. Nevermind that I have $120 in cash in my wallet. Or that I get paid on the 28th and will have another $220 then.

I know there are tricks to make yourself feel less broke. Make a list of free things to do like go to the park or the library. Start a gratitude journal. Savor the little things. Use up some of my gift cards.

Or maybe for the month of August, go back to cash and not track and see what that does for me.

Yesterday was a No Spend Day. Today will be bowling $10, lunch with co-workers $7, dinner at Subway with boyfriend $???, and a stop at the grocery store for taco shells $3?.

Half Way Through

July 15th, 2014 at 06:41 am

I'm trying to do another No Spend Month. So far, so good. I've had more success this month than last month and more No Spend Days too! Let's hope I can keep it up for the rest of the month. I'm a little worried. Mostly about the grocery budget.

Here is the budget numbers so far:

Item, Budget, Spent, Left
Gas (car): $100, $100, $0
Household (includes cats): $10, $4, $6
Grocery: $320, $282, $38
Entertainment/Restaurant: $125, $104, $21
Car Maintenance: $0, $0, $0
Clothes: $5, $2, $3
Personal Care: $20, $23, -$3
Gifts/donation: $45, $45, $0

Extra Income: $260.37

Things will be tight, but I think I can do it, if nothing comes up. The biggest thing I'm concerned about is the grocery budget. I just did another big grocery shop, but I don't think it will be enough to get us through the end of the month. Mostly, I'm concerned about lunches. Boyfriend is on his healthy streak, so I want to keep him supplied in yogurt and apples.

Yesterday I went to two stores and spent $100 on groceries. That should be enough to get us through two weeks, with only a couple of fill in trips for milk and bread. I went over on my personal care, but since I anticipate not spending anything on clothes, those two cancel out.

It's all a matter of saying no to myself!

Staring at the numbers

July 3rd, 2014 at 06:35 am

As if staring at the numbers is going to magically come up with a different plan of attack. I have probably pulled up my budget spreadsheet 15 times in the last two days.

Numbers as of 7/3/14:
Title, amount budgeted, amount spent, amount left

Fixed:
Rent: $600, $600, $0
Cell Phone: $67, $66.60, $0.40
Donation: $25, $25, $0
Student Loan: $366.04, %366.04, $0

Not fixed:
Savings/Debt: $410, $410, $0
Gas: $100, $0, $100
Household: $10, $0, $10
Grocery: $300, $80, $220
Entertainment: $125, $50, $75
Car Maintenance: $0, $0, $0
Clothes: $10, $2, $8
Personal Care: $20, $0, $20
Gifts: $50, $45, $5

Extra income: $5.25

I've already pulled out bowling for the 5 weeks in July in my entertainment budget. Told you about grocery shopping already and the clothes. Today I sent $25 to a wedding couple and $20 for my step-dad's birthday present, taking my gifts budget down to $5. I have no other birthday or other events for the month.

I had a no spend day yesterday. Went to work, went for a run with boyfriend after work, stayed home and ate dinner. Tonight is bowling and I will be doing the last of the grocery shopping for all next week. I have a list. I have a plan for menus.

Then, I hope to have a complete No Spend Long Weekend!!! Have a wonderful one, everyone!

Passive Tightwadery

June 19th, 2014 at 09:14 am

In the Tightwad Gazette books, Amy D talks about passive tightwadery. Where the TV cameras could focus on the chip aisle as the family grocery cart zooms on by, never stepping into that particular aisle. As I'm doing my daily "what frugal thing did I do today?" sometimes it is hard to think of an active frugal thing I did the day before. It is sometimes the avoidance of stuff that saves me money.

Yesterday is a perfect example. I went to work. Drove right from home to work. It absolutely stormed at lunch, so I read my book at my desk, eating my lunch. After work, I drove straight home. Made dinner, read more of my book, watched a little DVRed TV, went to bed. Never spent any money.

Today I will; it's bowling night! $10 for bowling. Something for dinner. $26 for the spin class at work that is held during lunch. It doesn't start until July, but it looks like it will be a popular class and I wanted to make sure I got in before it was full!

Frugal thing I did yesterday: brought my lunch from home. Good thing I did because there was a huge thunderstorm right at my lunchtime. I didn't want to go anywhere; it was downright nasty! I almost always pack my lunch. My co-workers are usually shocked when I buy lunch because it happens so rarely.

Day 2

June 3rd, 2014 at 07:33 am

New gardeners should have a guide when they go to the garden center! I went to use my groupon and was completely overwhelmed. I wandered around for over 1/2 an hour not even knowing where to start. I knew I needed a watering can, so I had that in my hand. I had a groupon for $40, so I knew I needed to spend at least that much and hopefully, just over that amount. I ended up spending $24 over the groupon because I did not read it closely enough to realize that the groupon only applied to plants, not to my watering can.

But that's the end of my gardening spending for a while. I have seeds to plant and some starts I did indoors to also plant. NO MORE GROUPONS!

Then I went to Bath and Body Works to use my BOGO coupon and my freebie coupon. I had a gift card so no money out of pocket.

Onward to WalMart where I had a $50 gift card. I ended up spending $5 out of pocket. Everything except the hose was on my list. I purchased:
Dry Milk
Gatorade powder
Strawberry Jam
Chocolate Syrup
Rice
Eggs
Cocoa powder
Baked Chips
Special K Crackers
15 foot garden hose
Airbourne chewable tablets

Today's planned spending is my monthly gas gift card and a few things from the regular grocery store: bananas, taco shells, milk, grape tomatoes.

Later this week I'll go to Meijer for a few things that are on sale and I have coupons (carrots and broccoli).

No excuses, but not a good start

June 2nd, 2014 at 07:08 am

I'm starting my No Spend Month. Yesterday was the first day....and I already spent money! We were on our way home from the dirt bike track yesterday and stopped at Sams and Home Depot on our way home. I spent $7 on grapefruit at Sams and $40 at Home Depot on plants and tomato cages for the garden. Neither of these two things were unplanned, but I spent a little bit more than I expected at Home Depot. Plants are expensive!

Someone mentioned that I should post my budget. I keep track of my budget in google docs on a spreadsheet.

Savings/debt: $250
Rent: $600
Cell Phone: $67
Donation: $75
Student Loan: $366.04

Gas for car: $100
Household: $75
Grocery: $300
Entertainment/Restaurant: $125
Car Maintenance: $0 (I just had a big car fix, so I anticipate no repairs this month)
Clothes: $0
Personal Care: $75
Gifts: $50

Extra Income: $15 so far

Some notes on the numbers:
Household is high for garden stuff. This is my first garden and I pretty much don't have anything.

Entertainment is slightly high because boyfriend and I are on a bowling league and pay $10 each week for the league. We normally grab something to eat since we go to bowling right after work.

Personal Care is also high because I get my hair cut and colored every six weeks by one of my good friends. This time it is happening the day of a wedding of another friend. It normally is about $48 (including tip) for a cut and color.

I already feel a little bit defeated because I look at a No Spend Month to be just that. Not spending money on stuff like bowling and hair and garden. :-/ I have a groupon that I need to use before next Monday on another garden place and then I should be done spending on the garden for a bit.

Another rule for my No Spend Month. I'm not counting spending gift cards in my budget. So, using up my $5 Starbucks card will not be reflected.

NSD yesterday

August 6th, 2013 at 07:14 am

On Sunday I spent $21 on food. $10 and a big bag of Splenda at Sams Club and $11 on food for SO's run to New York. When we went to Sams, he found a sound bar that he was looking at for $65 cheaper than what he found elsewhere. This is funny to me, because I wasn't really planning on doing my Sams shopping that day, but figured since I was driving and we were on the street of Sams anyway...why waste gas and go later?

I did the rest of the shopping while he oogled the TVs and such things and found the sound bar. He was happy that he saved money and I was happy to get my Sams run done.

Then we went to Best Buy to pick up something SO ordered online and had shipped to the store. I am not tempted in the least by Best Buy, so no spending there. Then we hit Meijer for grocery shopping for his trip. He took me to Wendy's for lunch and then we went home.

He played hockey on Sunday night where he scored the game winning goal! He was playing against his best friend's team, so they were egging each other on the whole day. I was glad, not only that he won, but that he scored the goal with less than a minute left to play. YAY!!!!

Yesterday I didn't spend any money. Just went to work and went home right after work. No spending.

I've already spent $69 today for Big Kitty to get his shots. I need to do a little bit of grocery shopping, mostly fresh fruits and veggies for lunches. Then I hope to have another NSD tomorrow.

What I'm going to try to do

August 2nd, 2013 at 05:44 am

I think what I'm going to try to do for August is to post here a bunch to keep myself on track. I'm going to post when I spend money and what I spend it on. A way of keeping myself accountable.

So, in the spirit of that, I spent money yesterday.

$33 in household. Cat food, windex outdoor cleaner wand, air freshener to put by the cat box, baby wipes to clean the kitties where they can't reach (a suggestion from the vet).

$39 Food. Red Pepper, Onion, Lunchmeat, frozen shrimp, bread, milk, eggs, chocolate chips, bananas, Dortitos, Water, chocolate syrup

$126 Entertainment. $62 for campsite, $64 for four tickets to the baseball game (this is actually the Mom's Day and Birthday present for my Dad and his wife)

$5 Clothing. New pantyhose. I literally did not have another "skin tone" pair.

$31 Personal care. Weight watchers subscription, face wash, new scrubby poof.

Also, I'm going to make up a list of things that I don't need to buy. Those things that I have enough of--but I still buy more, like body lotion and pens. I'm especially a sucker for pens at the beginning of the school year.

Low Spend August

August 1st, 2013 at 07:02 am

This needs to be a low-spend month. I mean, this NEEDS to be a low-spend month. I am going to make a promise to myself that I will not spend on anything other than absolute must-haves, like food, gas for my car, and regular bills. Somehow, someway, I need to get myself back on track.

Having said that, I will have one relaxed day, where I take my Dad and Step-Mom to the local baseball team's game at the end of the month. Other than that, I hope to stick close to home and not spend much money. Now to just get everyone else on the same page as me! One thing that will help is the start of school, which usually means a few free meals around campus. That will help the entertainment/out to eat budget.

Today will not be a NSD because I need to buy the baseball tickets, reserve the campsite, and do some grocery shopping. SO is on the road today and tomorrow, so I can eat cereal for dinner. I tend to eat really simple when he's not home. Or I make up something like a stir-fry where I can eat it for many days.

Taking a chance

July 31st, 2013 at 05:35 am

I'm planning on a NSD today. In anticipation, I'm going to post how I did this month.

Item---Budget---Actual
Rent---550---550
Cell---67---66.60
Donation---50---50
Student Loan---366.04---366.04

Gas (car)---100---100
Household (including cats)---86---211 (to the vet!)
Grocery---355---391
Entertainment/Restaurant---87---87
Car Maintenance---0---0
Clothes---135---135 (bought my yearly pair of running shoes)
Personal Care---88---97.95
Gifts---25---29

Extra Income---278.24

My extra income is more than enough to cover my shortfalls in my categories, but I'm still disappointed that I can't seem to keep my grocery bill under control. I really need to work on that. Next month will be spendy. Big Kitty goes in for his teeth and I anticipate that to be at least a few hundred dollars. I'm buying pro football tickets as early Christmas gifts for a few people. I am also planning on a Mom visit in September--including going camping! I'm very excited!

Low spend Wednesday

June 5th, 2013 at 08:46 am

Yesterday when I went to buy the cheese sticks for boyfriend's lunch, they had only 2 left. I bought the two and the cashier let me know that they were getting a truck in that night and would have more in the morning. So, this morning on my way into work, I stopped by and bought 6 more for next week's lunches ($6). I hope that is the only spending I will do today.

The farmers' market is on campus today, but after much mental debate, I realized I have enough in the house right now, so I just walked over and looked, but didn't buy. Maybe next week. A big factor is that I have class tonight and don't have a good way to keep stuff from baking in the car while I'm in class. I just might bring a cooler next week!

I find out how I did on my test tonight. After tonight, only two more weeks of classes. I think I can. I think I can. I'm so ready to read a pleasure book without the threat of homework hanging over my head. I also know that eventually this will all be worth it, but it does seem very far off. There are days when I wonder why I'm even getting a 2nd degree. I like my job; my pay is decent. Why am I stressing myself out?

On a good note, I am in love with google docs. I now keep my budget there and can easily access it from work and home and anywhere else. It's so nice to be able to update it or pull it up to see where I stand.

Tuesday, Tuesday

June 4th, 2013 at 01:50 pm

Yesterday ended up being a NSD. I didn't mean to do it, but when I tried to buy the cheese sticks for lunches, they didn't have any. So I didn't end up spending anything.

I did have a test in my class, so I was stressing about that. Instead of going for a walk at lunch, I studied. Not sure how I did; I didn't feel very confident when I turned it in. More of a "well, might as well turn it in now because I'm not going to get any smarter in the next five minutes!" I had already gone over my answers once and just decided to turn it in and go for a quick walk around the building.

Today I have made up for yesterday. I bought my gas for the month ($125), picked up my cleaning ($17), bought water, cheese sticks, bread, lunch chocolate, parmesan cheese, and tortilla chips ($19). I received a $5 Amazon gift certificate from swagbucks and found 27 cents on the ground.

I will be going home after work and riding the bike on the trainer while watching some TV. Then, onto studying and reading for tomorrow nights class. It's an exciting life I lead!

May numbers

June 3rd, 2013 at 07:06 am

I managed to make the last day of May a NSD. Yay! Then I spent a lot of money on Saturday. More on that in a minute.

May numbers
Item---budget---spent
Rent---$550---$550
Cell Phone---$67---$66.60
Donation---$50---$50
Student Loan---$366.04---$366.04

Gas (car)---$100---$100
Household---$100---$93
Grocery---$300---$270
Entertainment/Restaurant---$100---$50
Car Maintenance---$0---$0
Clothes---$50---$75
Personal Care---$100---$24.95
Gifts---$50---$87

Extra money in: $381.04 (sold a textbook, did good on surveys 'n stuff, money from the ex for the student loan)

All extra money not spent in a certain category this month went towards the Visa bill.

Saturday was a spendy day: Groceries $41, Personal care $77 (hair cut & color, plus eyeball stuff, face wash, girl stuff), out to eat $17, household $43 (mostly cat food & litter). Whew! What a way to start June with a bang!

Yesterday was a NSD. The in-laws came over to borrow the power washer. The summer session of hockey started up. I studied for my test today. I still don't feel ready. But I doubt I ever will. Not sure about my decision to take a 6 week summer course!!!

Oh yeah. That.

May 30th, 2013 at 05:54 am

So I was complaining in my last entry that saving $300/month seemed easier before. Then it hit me this morning: I now pay the full amount towards the student loan and the ex sends me his portion with a check. I don't dare count on this happening (although it has happened for about six months now), so I essentially have an extra $240 coming out of my budget every month on paper. When I get his check, it all will go into savings. But, again, I don't count on it the way I count on my paycheck.

Oh yeah. That. So now I'll jiggle with the numbers again, taking that into account. Maybe the budget won't seem quite so tight then.

Also, Petunia100 had a great idea of rolling over whatever I don't spend in a category into the next month's budget. I'm showing how much of a long time lurker I am--there used to be someone on here years ago who was trying to do a budget based on minimum wage and in her spreadsheets, she would roll over her amounts to the next month. I was always inspired by her posts because she seemed to take such pleasure in simple things like drinking hot tea and footie PJs.

Yesterday I took myself out to Subway for dinner between work and class. $8. Wow. That was even with a leftover gift card that I've been meaning to use up for months now. Subway has gotten expensive. Then after class, I ran to WalMart and spent $18 on top of the $25 gift card I had. I got most everything on my list and used about $3.25 in coupons.

What did I buy? (kinda boring, I know)
2 - Weight Watchers Ice cream (coupon)
3 - gallons of water (track, truck, home water)
1/2 gallon of milk
bag of yellow popcorn
chocolate chips
fun size hershey's bars (pack of 10 for lunches)
homemade mac & cheese meal
2 boxes granola bars (track food) (coupon)
3 boxes of lean cuisine egg rolls (work lunches on class days) (coupon)
pound of butter
2 jars spaghetti sauce (coupon)
jar of strawberry jam
loaf of bread

So now I hope to not spend anything for the next two days. There are slim pickin's for fruit/veggies for lunch, but I'll survive. I have a list already started for Saturday shopping. Since I have a hair appointment that day, I'm going to be out and about anyway.

Playing with the budget

May 29th, 2013 at 07:07 am

Still working out the kinks in my budget. I must be a geek because I've been playing with the spreadsheet numbers and playing with the numbers and playing with the numbers. I am thankful that I have numbers to play with, but I'm wondering about my sanity. My first goal is to pay off the credit card. So all my extra money is getting thrown at that. After that, I'd like to save $300 a month. It feels like I was able to do that easily before the whole ex business came up, but now that I'm working with actual budget numbers, I wonder how that ever happened.

I wonder if I'm one of those people that don't do well with a budget because I tend to spend money in all the categories because I budgeted that amount. I budget $50 on clothes, guess I'll go buy some clothes, even if I don't actually "need" the clothes. Otherwise, I wouldn't even think about buying clothes unless I know I need socks.

Anyway, I'm working on the numbers for June already. I know I have a hair appointment and a car appointment, so I have to make sure to budget money for those things. Need to have some money in the gifts category for Dad's day and boyfriend's birthday. So add a little here, subtract a little there.....

This past weekend was a complete NSD weekend. I spent money on Friday, then didn't spend anything until yesterday. I bought beef jerkey cheese sticks for boyfriends lunch--$3. That's all I spent. I returned cans for $1.50 and found a quarter, dime, and a penny. Almost enough "in" money to pay for the cheese sticks!

Today I have work, then class after work. On my way home, I'm going to swing by WalMart to use my $25 gift card from my credit card reward points. I'll use it for boring stuff like groceries for the week. I anticipate having to spend a couple of dollars above the $25 to get everything on my list. This could very well be the last spending for the month. Cross your fingers for me!

Woohoo!

May 4th, 2013 at 04:48 am

The financial issues with the ex seem to be over! I signed papers and sent off a cashiers check on Thursday, so now I can get back to normal finance business! I'm so excited!

Unfortunately, between the attorney and the cashiers check, I have no savings and I'm going to have a bit of a Visa bill to pay off now. I'm confident that I will have that paid off within two months. It will be a tight two months, but I'm up for it.

So far for the month of May, I've spent $43. $2 for the cashiers check, $17 for food (grape tomatoes, apples, greek frozen yogurt, peanut butter pretzels), $2 for clothes (I had a $10 off $10 Kohls coupon, so I bought me a polo shirt), and $12 for take out Chinese to celebrate the end of the ex business.

Mom's day presents and cards are done. For Mom, I sent her a new mp3 player that she asked for. She uses it to walk and listen to books on tape while she sews, so I feel good about that gift. My ex-MIL gets a magazine subscription that I knew we both liked. My step-mom is getting a matching ticket to a baseball game---my Dad's birthday is in May, so I thought a fun present for both would be going to a game.

I have one more birthday at the end of the month (ex-MIL) and I am not sure what to get her at all.

Today we're going to the dirt bike track (very cheap for me). Tomorrow I go to a graduation party, then watch SO's hockey game. I have a card for the graduate, but need to write out a check. I also hope to go for a long run tomorrow. Gotta get ready for the 10K next week!!

April numbers

May 1st, 2013 at 08:30 am

Item---Budget---Actual---difference
Rent: 550---550---0
Cell: 67---66.66---.34
Donation: 50---50---0
Student Loan: 366.04---366.04---0

Gas: 100---100---0
Household: 195---224---(-29)
Grocery: 310---331---(-21)
Entertain/Restaur: 150---194---(-44)
Car main: 0---0---0
Clothes: 60---66---(-6)
Personal Care: 114---$113---1
Gifts: 0---96---(-96)

Extra income: 371.74 (ex student loan payment, amazon gift cards, found money, reward gift cards, can deposit return

I went over my budget by about $200 overall. Other than gifts, I'm hoping to keep spending down to a minmum for May.

Budget/Schmudget, what budget?

April 29th, 2013 at 05:37 am

Went a little crazy this past few days. I will definitely, positively be over budget on many categories when this all plays out. Dang.

I was going to have a whole pile of NSDs this month. I will still meet my goal of 14, but this past week was just going to add to the total. Instead....well.....

Wednesday, SO needed me to drive him to his van, where it was fixed. Since I was going to be "in town" anyway, I decided to get the errands done that I was going to get done on Saturday when I had to be in town for work. So, to the Apple store to exchange my wrong laptop cord for the right laptop cord. Then to Home Depot to pick up the cushions I ordered online and had delivered to the store.

Then to Meijers for groceries 'n stuff. Spent $7 on clothes (black socks for work, snaps to fix a lunchbag with a busted zipper), $17 on household/cats, $14 on groceries, and $11 on personal stuff (including $4 on nail polish that I didn't NEED, but wanted).

Then to pick up $21 worth of Chinese for take out. Yum!

Thursday I have nothing written down, but I also don't have NSD written in my calendar so I don't even know if I spent anything. Let this be a lesson to everyone: write it down!

Friday I bought SOs cheese sticks for this lunches and was having one of those days. You know, don't care, whatever, I think I'll eat pizza on the couch? $19 in Pizza.

Saturday I worked (sweet, sweet overtime) and on the way home, I needed to pick up some groceries so I could go the next two days for NSD. Spent $15. I was talking with Mom, who mentioned her mp3 player bit the dust. With Mom's day coming up, I knew what I was going to get her now! $62 later, Mom's Day for Mom is done. I went ahead and ordered my ex-MIL's gift at the same time--$24 for a magazine subscription I know she likes.

I ordered Mom's gift from Amazon and went ahead and signed up for Prime so I can watch movies and shows and have the two day shipping. Since I am a student, I was able to get it for $39 for the year. But, there is $39 I wasn't really expecting to spend.

Yesterday was a NSD and today probably will be. I took today off as a vacation day to "recover" from working on Saturday. It is supposed to be a great day after the fog burns off, so I plan on pumping up my bike tires and going for a bike ride.

I am disappointed at myself for going over my budget. I think I do so well for a while, then I burst out and spend more than I planned, then go back to trying to live frugally. I could make excuses that most of the things I bought were somewhat planned. I knew I was going to buy Mom's gifts. I just thought they'd come out of next months' budget. I will plan accordingly next time.

Some things, though, were just wants. Nail polish. Amazon prime. Luckily, I will be able to pay for all of this without too much trouble. That's why I took the overtime on Saturday. A little extra money for the fun stuff I want. I just need to figure out a budget that really works for me.

Blowing the budget a bit

April 23rd, 2013 at 02:34 pm

Today is a planned spend day. So far, I've spent $4 at the post office to mail out a book I sold, $15 for food (tomatoes, raisins, oatmeal, yogurt, water), $10 for Mom's Day cards, $8 for household (candles), and $36 at Amazon for food (dried apples and individual bags of pop chips for lunches).

Most of this was planned and on a list. Except the mom's day cards. I was at the store buying candles and thought I would take a look while I was thinking about it. The cards I picked out made me laugh hard while standing in the aisle, so I had to get them. It's a lot more than I would normally spend on cards, but with 3 "moms" to buy for and since the cards were really funny, I believe they are worth it.

I can already see that May is going to be a spendy month. A graduation, three Moms, two birthdays--yikes!

I'm not yet sure if I am done spending for the day. I already know what I'm having for dinner (leftovers). SO isn't going to be home until late, so maybe I'll watch some stuff from the DVR. I have it in my head that I need to do some...um....foundation shopping (if'n you know what I mean), but I could probably put it off a little bit longer.

Spendy Wednesday

April 18th, 2013 at 01:37 pm

Broke my streak of NSD with a Major Spend Day (MSD?). At least, it seemed like it to me!

Groceries: $48. string cheese, lots of fruit and veggies, water, clif bars, taco shells, fizzy fruit drinks (I'm trying to kick diet coke and think that this might be my 'treat' instead of diet coke), lemon juice, cheese, tortilla chips, Doritos

Gas for month on gas card: $100

Econ book: $30 (used on half.com Checked into the awesome idea of renting and and found it would cost $40 to rent it)

Chair cushions: $47. Boyfriend bought this really cute folding chairs/table set for the deck and we found out at the store that cushions improved the chair's comfort substantially. Only, they didn't have a color we wanted, so I finally ordered it online.

Laptop Cord: $84. Dang Mac. I ended up ordering it at Apple, but I did take the suggestions into account and checked into amazon and ebay. Unfortunately, my laptop is old and needed a cord that I wasn't able to find cheaper than Apple.

Clothes: $30. Two new running shorts and a running shirt. I saw them last week and resisted, but kept thinking about them. They were on sale this week. This was a want. I wanted bright colors so drivers can see me when I run in the morning. Now I got 'em.

I think I can go today and tomorrow not spending anything. Saturday will be my next planned spend day with a hair appointment and out to eat. I will probably pick up bread and milk for the beginning of next week, so a small grocery shop is planned.

Here, it is raining, raining, raining. Rivers and creeks are over their banks and it isn't supposed to stop raining until tomorrow. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be affecting our basement.

March update

April 7th, 2013 at 08:36 am

My numbers:

Savings--went negative and I actually don't want to think about it because I don't know when the negativity will end

Item: Budget---Actual---Left
Fixed
Rent: $550---$550---$0
Cell Phone: $67---$66.66---$0.34
Donation: $50---$50---$0
Student Loan: $366.04---$366.04---$0

Variable
Gas (car): $100---$100---$0
Household: $45---$45---$0
Grocery: $237.80---$267.50---$-29.70
Entertainment/Restaurant: $90---$86---$4
Car Maintenance: $0---$0---$0
Clothes: $75---$0---$75
Personal Care: $85---$85---$0
Gifts: $45---$46---$-1
Exercise: $30---$57.95---$-27.95

Found/extra money: $312.77 (looks impressive, but includes $240 that ex pays me towards student loan that I don't count on).

Total: $2053.61---$1720.15---$333.46

If you don't count the $1000 that went to the lawyer, I was actually under budget for the month.

March update of yearly goals--
1. Save $X000. No, the financial issues have hit with a vengeance.

2. Run a 10K. I signed up for the River Bank Run 10K

3. Ride a "T-Shirt" bike ride. I'm leaning towards the Colorburst tour in October in Lowell.

4. Try one new recipe per week. Yes! This month I've made Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, Spicy Orange Shrimp w/Broccoli (this one was so yummy that I could happily eat this instead of shrimp with broccoli at the Chinese restaurant), and Spicy Chicken Curry.

5. 12 No Spend Days--Yes, I had 14

6. 20 Workout days. Yes, I had just 20.

7. New Running shoes in July

8. At least one 6 week summer class. I am actually signed up for 2. Economics and Accounting. One is the first 6 weeks, one is the second 6 weeks.

9. New Walking shoes in January--already done.

10. Read 50 books. I'm up to 11.

11. Up my annual donation by $X00. I have increased my donations by $25 over this time last year. Only $275 left to go!


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