Savings--went negative and I actually don't want to think about it because I don't know when the negativity will end
Cell Phone: $67---$66.66---$0.34
Student Loan: $366.04---$366.04---$0
Gas (car): $100---$100---$0
Car Maintenance: $0---$0---$0
Personal Care: $85---$85---$0
Found/extra money: $312.77 (looks impressive, but includes $240 that ex pays me towards student loan that I don't count on).
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!
Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category
Update (very late)
Save $5000. Yes, still on track for this one. So far, the issues are staying away.
Run a 10K. I will sign up for that this month.
Ride a "T-Shirt" bike ride. I'm leaning towards the Colorburst tour in October in Lowell.
Try one new recipe per week. Yes! This month I've made South Indian Spiced Chickpeas, Honey Glazed Salmon, Chinese Pineapple Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (first fail), Chicken Tikka Masala, and Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake.
12 No Spend Days--Yes, I had 15
20 Workout days. No. The flu kicked my tail and I only had 16.
New Running shoes in July
At least one 6 week summer class. They released the schedule on March 1st, so I'll be figuring out which class to take.
New Walking shoes in January--already done.
Read 50 books. I'm up to 7.
Up my annual donation by $300. Haven't increased this one yet.
This week Wednesday and Friday, I had NSDs. On Thursday, I did the monthly Sams club shop, along with groceries for the weekend. I spent $23 on food and $15 on kitty litter (which goes under household for me). It's a little bit tight on the budget this week because I am getting my hair done tomorrow, which should cost between $50 and $75, depending on what I get done. I go about every six weeks; it is definitely one of my splurges. If I get highlights, it will be the higher number.
Things are pretty quiet around here. Boyfriend is gathering all his stuff to do his taxes, so I'm sure I will help him do that. Probably next weekend though. This weekend is hair and then dinner with the ex-in laws for my birthday.
It was my birthday yesterday, so I took Monday off of work. I rather like how a birthday turns into a birthweekend!!
I managed to have NSDs for the last few days of February, but on March 1st, it was time to go to the grocery store! I spent $47 on groceries, $6 on kitty litter, $5 on flowers (it WAS my birthday, after all), and $5 on playing stick and puck.
Yesterday, I gave myself permission to go a little crazy if I wanted---and I had a No Spend Day! How did that happen?!? I rode my bike on the trainer in the morning, boyfriend went to play stick and puck with his friends for about an hour while I stayed home and did a bit of cleaning. When he came back, we went to get our skates sharpened and for dinner with Dad. After dinner, we were so tired that we just came home! I was thinking we were going to go to the mall afterwards (the restaurant is right across the street), but all of us were so tired that we just left. I'm getting OLD!
I've decided on a complicated formula for my extra money I bring in for the month. My ultimate problem is that I don't really have a pressing goal right now. So I have no big incentive to save any extra money that I get. My only debt is the one I have with the ex that I can't pay off early. My car is paid for and is running strong (knock wood). I'm not saving for a house because I live with my boyfriend, who owns the house. No plans for a big vacation. No big expenditures planned for the future.
I save 15% of my gross into a 401k, my work contributes 8% (whether I contribute or not). My goal is to save $5500/year into an emergency fund/car replacement fund/slush fund.
Boyfriend and I have an agreement that I pay him a set amount to him for "rent" and then I buy groceries. He pays the house bills and buys the Sams club stuff (unless it is obviously something only I will use, like girl products). It works for us.
All this to say that when I get extra money, depending on what it is, I will allocate it accordingly. Can deposits will go into the grocery budget. When (if) the ex pays his amount of the loan to me, that amount goes into savings. Amazon gift cards will either go into gifts or grocery, depending on how they are spent. "Fun" gift cards (Bath and Body Works, Victoria Secret) will go into the gifts category (might be a gift for myself!!). Straight up extra money (survey money) will go into savings. Restaurant gift cards will go into Entertainment. Found money (usually change) goes into the change jar to get turned in twice a year and put into savings.
Very complicated, I know. I tend to think of the extra money as "gift" money, so I wanted to make sure to have some fun with it and since I'm on track with most of my savings and I don't have a big incentive to save for something right now--I'll do it this way. Now, if there was a plan for Hawaii in my future, I will definitely re-think my plan!!!!
Just the numbers, ma'am.
Item Budget Spent Balance
Savings/Debt $300.00 $460.00 -$160.00
Rent $550.00 $550.00 $0.00
Cell Phone $68.00 $66.66 $1.34
Krista $50.00 $50.00 $0.00
Student Loan $366.04 $366.04 $0.00
Gas (car) $100.00 $100.00 $0.00
Household $50.00 $44.00 $6.00
Grocery $250.00 $251.00 -$1.00
Entert/Resta $75.00 $108.00 -$33.00
Car Maintenance $50.00 $0.00 $50.00
Clothes $30.00 $6.00 $24.00
Personal Care $40.00 $63.95 -$23.95
Gifts $30.00 $60.00 -$30.00
Extra Income $406.17
Totals $2,365.21 $2,125.65 $239.56
Coin Jar $169.50
Working on the March budget, trying to make the numbers balance. I'm a geek, so I do love to number crunch, but I'm getting tired of playing with March's numbers. I have a big insurance payment due, so I'm working the numbers over--which always means lowering them somewhat. I have most of the payment already set aside, but just need to do a bit more pinching to finish it up.
I'm also looking at February's numbers, where I went over in a few categories again. Still working out the bugs of my budget. I don't anticipate spending anything the next two days, but since you never know.....
I'm still figuring out my strategy for my extra money. I think I'm going to have a complicated way of allocating where that extra money goes. Some will go here; some will go over there. Nothing straight forward for me!
I spent $5 yesterday on a Birthday card for my Mom. I bought her present and had it shipped directly to her, but I wanted to brighten her day with a card too. I overspent a little, I admit. She's having kind of a hard time and so I wanted to give her something special. She lives far away, so I can't give her a hug in person. And I really want to. So, I'm compensating by buying a fancy card. I will call her on her special day too.
I was surprised at myself that I am using a card as a substitute for a hug or some other kind of emotional support. That a card would have that kind of feeling attached to it. We're normally not big card people. I guess I don't know what else to do.
One thing I'm not sure about is what to do with the extra money I have each month. I'm not talking about extra money from my salary, but the money that comes from taking surveys, finding money, you know--the money you don't and can't really count on.
My question is how to add it into the budget. Right now, I just have a generic category that includes all extra money. But should I add that extra money to specific categories? I don't get an accurate picture of my budget if I say I spent $250 in groceries, but $20 of that was money I received from returning pop cans (Michigan has a 10 cent per can deposit, so when you return the can, you get 10 cents per can). Or I spent $34 at Amazon for my birthday present (a cookbook and a half sheet pan), but I used gift certificates for them, so I don't want to take that money out of gifts. Or I could add in the Amazon gift certificate amount to gifts, so it would be a wash.
How complicated. But I don't know how else to be accurate. Unfortunately, I can sometimes be talking about $50-$100 per month in extra money. That's quite a bit to be unaccounted for.
How do you handle the "extra" money? Does it just get thrown into savings and you don't worry about it much?
Until last month, I wrote down what I spent, but I didn't actually have a budget written down. Then I tried it last month and was surprised at how much I spent in the various categories. I can see that this is going to be an ongoing tweaking experience.
I think my work income is steady. I've upped my retirement contributions and all of the deductions have been taken out, so I have a good idea how much I get to take home every two weeks.
I will be messing with the budget numbers, but I'm also thinking about the categories. I would like to add an allowance aka "blow money" category. I don't want to track every latte under the out to eat/entertainment category. At the same time, that seems kinda silly because my money budget is just that. MY money budget. I am the only person I am budgeting for, so why do I need an allowance?
The second category is an "exercise/body" category. I am making it a priority to exercise and I think I would like to have a category to track what I spend for that. Examples include the heart rate monitor I bought this month, race entries, exercise-specific clothes, stuff like that. Right now, the heart rate monitor went under personal care. Not exactly what I was thinking when I created that category.
Yesterday was a NSD. I worked until 6, then went to the indoor track and ran for 25 minutes. Went home, made mac & cheese for dinner and watched "Til Debt do us Part." The boyfriend is on a run to New York, so I have the house to myself for a few days.
I'm hoping for another NSD today. Tonight is spin class after work, I plan on eating frozen egg rolls and a salad for dinner, and I hope to read my "Shadow of Night" book. It's a huge book and is due back to the library on the 21st, so I've got to get it in gear to finish it by then.
Since a big storm is coming today, I decided to do the big Sams/WalMart run last night after spin class. I knew it would make for a long day--but I sure wasn't tempted to go too far off my list because I wanted to get home!
I spent $200 at Sams, but my boyfriend will pay me back $190 because of our financial agreement (he buys most of Sams; I buy the regular groceries).
My spending ended up like this:
Food: $40--$10 at Sams, $30 at WalMart
Household: $15 (cat food, sharpies)
Clothes: $6 (nylons)
Personal: $4 (lotion)
McDs: $7 (dinner out and "reward" for getting shopping done)
I also went to Bath and Body Works because they sent me a coupon for a free travel sized item. I went in, got my free item, and walked out. I just did an order from them, so I didn't need anything. But I was tempted. It sometimes feel cheap to walk in, get my freebie, and walk out. But I do it anyway!!
I spent $30 yesterday on a used heart rate monitor from a co-worker. I'm excited because I've wanted one to see if I'm working hard enough while working out. I didn't want to spend too much, in case it just wasn't my thing, so I got a nice Timex one that would have cost me $70-$80 for $30. And who knows? Maybe this will be my Valentine's Day present. How romantic!!
I am almost positive I'm going to do the last of the grocery shopping for the week at Save A Lot and if I go at lunch time, I will also hit the post office and send out a free calendar with bikes on it to my parents (who are both big road bicycle riders). It was on the free bookcase here at work, so I snagged it.
I keep being reminded that tracking is key--to money and to weight loss. I understand that, but I still sometimes wonder about it. It gets kinda old doing the tracking. I'm an online weight watchers member, so we're supposed to track every single bite of food.
I understand that it makes you accountable and you can see what you've eaten. You evaluate what you're eating to see if it is worth the points.
It is the same with money. Writing it down might make you say "hmmm, that latte wasn't worth it this time."
However, the dark side is that if you go off the rails, you stop tracking altogether. Have a major shopping spree and you just don't feel like tracking all you've spent. Have a big night out for dinner and you don't log it. The other part is that maybe you do track, but then get discouraged because you've just blown your budget.
I posted my monthly budget numbers and showed that I went over on almost every single category. Sounds bad. I felt bad for a little while, until I realized that I live mostly on cash. So I don't have a big credit card bill to look forward to. That's the good news.
So how important is it to track, really? If I'm spending cash and only the cash that I have budgeted to take out, is it as important to track? I like reading others' tracking, so I do want to keep up, but I need to adjust my attitude. I don't want to look at this as a pass/fail situation. More of a learning situation, where I can keep an eye on my numbers and tweak them to reflect my real life.
I love reading when others post about what they spent for the month, so I want to join in! It's an odd month to join in because even thought I went over on almost all of my categories--it was basically a 3 paycheck month, so my categories are based on a 2 paycheck.
At least that's what I'm telling myself. We'll see how we do next month.
First number is the budget, second is the actual
Savings: $340 $400
Rent: $550 $550
Cell Phone: $68 $66.81
Donation: $50 $100
Student Loan: $126.04 $126.04
Gas: $100 $100
Household: $120 $176
Includes cat food, kitchen stuff, and several puzzles
Grocery: $300 $395
Tried several new recipes and needed ingredients
Entertainment/Restaurant: $100 $136
Included a buy $75 get $100 on campus food
Car Maintenance: $50 $173
Renewal of licence plates, bought new plates and transferred title for pop up camper that was given to me
Clothes: $100 $141
Bought the yearly "work walking shoes"
Personal care: $75 $139
Hair cut and color and big order from Bath and Body Works
Gifts: $50 $10
Extra income: $182.53
This includes survey money, swagbucks, found money, credit card rewards, returned items, and the deposit on cans
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