I had a No Spend Day yesterday. I ran on the indoor track at lunch (Summer has finally arrived and the indoor track is air conditioned!). After work, I went straight home. I cleaned the bathroom, played in the garden for a while, and finally, finally took apart our box fans and gave them a good cleaning. This is really something that should have happened at the beginning of the summer and I'm just now getting around to it.
By the time I did that and dinner, it was 8:30 at night. Boyfriend had gone out with a couple of buddies to go ride bike, so he didn't get home until after 9. Maybe that was why I was so productive.
Today I will be buying him a pizza and me some Chinese. Friday night celebration! I was going to put myself on a to-do streak and make plans to do something tonight, but I think I'll take it easy. Tomorrow is vet appointment for both cats, then a hair appointment for me. Afterwards, I'm thinking I'm going to wash my car--maybe even vacuum it! I want to get ready for the Fall when it gets too cold to wash the car in the driveway.
Sunday I'm thinking boyfriend will want to go out on the boat. It is supposed to be warm and sunny and it is his favorite thing to do. I'll pack lunches and bring a book to read.
Have a great weekend!
Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category
I had a No Spend Day yesterday. I ran on the indoor track at lunch (Summer has finally arrived and the indoor track is air conditioned!). After work, I went straight home. I cleaned the bathroom, played in the garden for a while, and finally, finally took apart our box fans and gave them a good cleaning. This is really something that should have happened at the beginning of the summer and I'm just now getting around to it.
Yay! I finally was able to go to the Farmers Market yesterday! I was working on No Spend Days on Wednesdays and wouldn't even go over because it would just be too tempting. Finally I was able to go (with a list, of course). I bought tomatoes and flowers. I'm happiest about the flowers because they are something that make me feel like my budget isn't going to strangle me if I can buy $5 of flowers.
I also bought gas for the car yesterday and refilled my gas card. I stopped at the store on the way home for bread, water, and taco shells. I looked at the bacon, but didn't have enough cash, so left it on the store shelf. I'll survive without bacon. Wait, did I just admit that?!?
Today for lunch I have leftover mac & cheese from Tuesday night. Tonight for dinner I'll be eating tacos with the very last bit of lettuce. I have a meal plan for the weekend, which includes Chinese from my very favorite Chinese place. I haven't eaten there in over a month, so I'm really looking forward to it.
Still thinking about my retirement, but it looks like I'm going to leave everything as is. Since it is pre-tax, I would probably only be bringing home an extra $50ish per paycheck, which doesn't seem to be a make or break amount for me right now. Just need to buckle down and be happy where I'm at!
I'm proud of myself for having another NSD yesterday. But not buying anything at the baseball game felt...just cheap. I didn't mind parking a little bit away and not paying for parking, but to not get anything to eat or drink at the game just made me feel deprived. I did have money in my pocket, but the budget is so tight that I just couldn't do it. I didn't NEED anything, but it was hard to pass up the french fries or the dippin dots. It was hot and at the very least, I wished I had a water.
Oh well. Today is looking to be another NSD. I get to go home right after work (YAY!!). I will run at the indoor track at lunch (air conditioned) and boyfriend is planning on going for a bike ride with a coworker, so I'm hoping to have the house to myself for a little while after work. A very good thing, because I have more cleaning to do and it is easier to do it when he's out of the house.
I really don't anticipate spending any money until Thursday. I made a pan of enchiladas on Sunday and will eat them most of this week. We have lots of food for lunches. We have breakfast stuff.
I made a big pot of potato shrimp chowder on Saturday. I have eaten it every day since. I do really like the soup, but I am extremely glad today is the last day I have to eat it. Since it is a "cream of" soup, it doesn't freeze well. The good, frugal thing I can say is that once you make it, reheating it is easy. Hard to give yourself a reason to go out when you can heat up the soup in 2 minutes and be eating.
Eating out is definitely one of my temptations. I love going out to eat. I like to go to places where I won't be making what they make at home. Like the Chinese restaurant. Or the Thai place that just opened up that I haven't tried yet. It allows me to try new things and sometimes I will get brave and try to make them at home. Sometimes it is things I just never will make at home (hello, french fries!). Yeah, I can make baked fries and do so, but deep fried french fries with cheese and ranch dressing....YUM. Anyway.
I did not spend any money yesterday and hope to not spend any today. After work, boyfriend and I went for a run, then I heated up my soup, did some laundry, and read my library book. Watched a little of the All Star game. Nothing too exciting.
Today I will run at lunch because I have a meeting after work to take over treasurer duties for our Home Owners Association. Yuck. Hopefully, it will be pretty quick. We have our meeting on Saturday and the president wanted to get the duties handed over before then. I'm not looking forward to the HOA meeting either because the neighbors on our end of the street are feuding with the neighbors on the other end of the street. It all has to do with 4 year olds riding quads and golf carts up and down the street---at 11 PM at night. It's not pretty.
I have a coupon for a free fountain drink at a local gas station and I think I'll treat myself to it on my way home from the meeting tonight.
Tomorrow is bowling and dinner out. Also, my co-worker is leaving and the office is going to lunch to say goodbye. I think I might go over on Entertainment/Restaurant. We'll see if I can keep it under control. But I have 3 more bowling nights and this lunch and $21 left in entertainment. Huh.
Yesterday I suddenly realized I have too much entertainment. I have 5 books checked out of the library. I've purchased (and not yet read) two more books. I have a paper box full of magazines to read. I have lots of TV shows on the DVR to watch. This in addition to normal life. I have TOO MUCH. It is time to declutter and make some more room in my life. I canceled all my book requests from the library (except those already on their way to me). I am not going to check out any new books until I get through my own books and get rid of some of those magazines.
Next up might be clothes or the boxes in the attic. When I moved in with my boyfriend, most of "my" stuff went into the attic. Kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, etc. It's been four years now, so maybe it's time to let some of that stuff go. I have given away stuff as I see the need. My cousin bought a house and I gave him pots, pans, and dishes. A co-worker was collecting items for a needy family and I donated a microwave. It's time to look through what's left and decide what to do with it. I think I go through this every year where I want to make room for what's next.
I did not want to post this. Who wants to admit that they didn't do what they said they were going to do?
I am anticipating a NSD today. We don't need anything food wise and I hope to be going home right after work. So I'm going to post my numbers.
Category, amount budgeted, amount left
Gas (car), $100, -$45
Household, $120, -$15
Grocery, $300, -$28
Entertainment/Restaurant, $165, -$16
Car Maintenance, $0, $0
Clothes, $40, -$223 (more on this)
Personal care, $75, -$51
Gifts/donation, $150, -$5
I was going to be negative anyway, but I didn't anticipate this much. On Friday, boyfriend signed up for a Tough Mudder. He has about 3 months to get into shape (and I'm not talking about round). His workout shoes are over 10 years old and are cross trainers. On Sunday, we went for a run and it hurt for him. He wanted to go where I go for my running shoes to get fitted. They do an excellent job there at fitting your feet and getting you in the right shoes for you.
Unfortunately, I could not stand the temptation. I buy new running shoes in July every year since I started running. I could have waited two days to buy them in July, when I normally buy them. The store is about 45 minutes from our house. I completely and totally justified my purchase of my new running shoes two days early and during my No Spend Month. I also bought a water belt that I have wanted since the beginning of the month. Running on the trail on Saturday I realized that if I'm going to train for a half marathon or a marathon, I'm going to need a way to hydrate. I also drove to the store and had to get gas for the Bug. I would have had enough to get to work today, but would have had to get gas tomorrow (for the July budget).
When I logged into my credit card account today, I saw that my Weight Watchers online subscription was charged. I'm on the 3 month plan and I thought my three months were up in July. I was wrong. So my personal care budget shows that.
I'm tempted to try another No Spend Month in July. No weddings. No hair appointments. One birthday at the beginning of the month--someone who is totally non material. I don't see anything else on the calendar that worries me.
I did not want to post my negative balances. I think of myself as someone who sticks to what I say. Maybe that's why I immediately want to try again!
Frugal thing done Friday: I did stick to my list for all my shopping
Frugal thing done Saturday: I ran on the trail and boyfriend rode his bicycle, the trail riding was free!
Frugal thing done Sunday: I packed water bottles for our shopping trip so we wouldn't be tempted to stop at a gas station while we were out.
I think this is the part of goals that I'm not good with. I'm very black and white. Either I succeeded or I failed. I don't look at it like "I got farther than I would have if I didn't set the goal." I know I should look at it like that, but I don't.
Having said that, this No Spend Month didn't go the way I had hoped. I could make excuses. It was boyfriend's birthday. I had bowling every Thursday. But, to be honest, there are always going to be unusual things going on in any particular month. Money is tight for me right now, but that is because I'm throwing everything I can at the credit card to get it paid off. Looking at my spreadsheet, I'm over in almost every single category. Which is why I'm saying "fail."
I might like to try for another No Spend Month in July. Probably because it didn't feel like I did a whole lot different in June than I normally would. Or maybe I'll give myself a month "off" and try in August. Bowling will be done. There will be a lot going on at work with the start of the semester, which will keep me busy. There aren't any birthdays.
I'm here posting because I want to be accountable. By not hiding where I'm at, I'm hoping that it will help me make better decisions. I'm hoping to provide a record to myself so I can figure out what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.
I didn't spend any money on Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursday was bowling, boyfriend bought dinner, and I bought drinks (gatorade & iced starbucks) after bowling. I have already spent money today and anticipate spending more.
Frugal thing done Tuesday: I brought 4 pair of shoes to the shoe repair guy. 3 need resoled and the pair of sandals need their straps shortened by an inch and a half. My two Danskos that are being resoled are my work shoes and I wear them 90% of the time to work. I wanted to get them done before I started going into the wood of the sole.
Frugal thing done Wednesday: when we eat at Wendy's, I've been getting a salad. They give us two packets of dressing, but I only use one. I bring the other one home and on Wednesday I used it on my dinner salad.
Frugal thing done Thursday: Ate toast. Boyfriend likes super soft bread for his lunch sandwiches. He hates hard, dry bread. So I bring it to work and toast it for breakfast. With some peanut butter (stored in my desk) and a banana, I've got breakfast!
I promise to share my final numbers on the 30th. It's not going to be pretty. Maybe I need to adjust numbers. Maybe I need to tell myself no more often. Maybe I'm just one of those people that think they want to be frugal, but really still want to buy their $4 grape tomatoes.
Did I ever spend money. $5 at SaveALot for cheese. $7 at McDs for lunch. $8 on the sprayer that boyfriend wanted for washing his boat. $105 (!!!!) at Meijer. I bought food, another workout shirt for boyfriend, mascara and eyeliner, cat food, laundry detergent, and a wedding card for the wedding we're going to next weekend.
I spent $30 of the $68 on meat. I'm set there for a long time. Then it was eggs, popcorn kernels, ice cream, cracker chips, a veggie tray for boyfriend's birthday work "treat", bananas, cheap pizzas, tomatoes, apples, potatoes...I'm sure I'm forgetting things.
Anyway, with the $240, I still look to be in the black, but sheesh. It surprised me, although it shouldn't have. Thanks to their deals, I have $11 to spend on my next shopping trip--but I shouldn't need hardly anything this next week. Lots of food in the house now.
I'm hoping to have a No Spend Weekend.
Frugal thing done yesterday: I took a few online surveys, two of which may turn into product testing. Even if they don't, I earned some points towards my next Amazon gift certificate.
5% off everything at the main store I shop at. I have a list--it has about 15 things. I anticipate spending a bit of money. I have already spent money today, but I should be able to have another No Spend Weekend once I get done with the grocery shopping.
Yesterday I spent $10 on bowling; $9 on dinner for me; $5 on dinner for boyfriend; and $26 for the lunch time spin class at work.
What came in was a $10 gift certificate from amazon from one of the survey sites I belong to. I'm up to $275 in non-paycheck money that has come in. Admittedly, most of that is from the ex for his portion of the student loan. I would like to roll that into my budget categories for the month, but I wouldn't be able to do that until I actually receive the check.
Actually, I think I'm going to do that. When I receive his check, I will use it to cover those categories where I need it for the month. I'm hoping to put a lot of it into savings or paying off debt, but sometimes I will need it in other categories, depending on the month.
Frugal thing done yesterday: I picked up a penny when I came across it in a parking lot. I always pick money up!
On Friday, I did buy the cat stuff. As an added bonus, there were $2.50 off coupons on the cat litter I purchased, so I spent $28 for 76 pounds of cat litter and a large bag of food. Then, I spent $11 on Chinese for dinner. I love, love, love Chinese.
Boyfriend cleaned his boat while I cleaned the house. Do we know how to party on Friday night or what?!?
Saturday and Sunday were both NSDs for me. Saturday we went to the mall. Boyfriend needed shorts and took me out to lunch, using a BOGO coupon. We were also looking for marine wax, but couldn't find it. We went to several stores, but not the right stores. Bummer. Luckily, I was not tempted at any of these stores to spend money. When it cooled down a little, I weeded out the grass from our rocks.
Sunday we went out on the boat. Boyfriend got pizza from his favorite pizza place on the way home from boating (it isn't convenient from where we live, but if we head north for some reason, he usually wants to stop and bring pizza home). We got home around 5:30 and just hung around the house.
Today I'm back at work. I hope to not spend any money today either. I'll be going to the library on my way home after work and then stay home.
Frugal thing done Friday: combined sales with coupons to get a lot of cat stuff and stuck with my cat-only list.
Frugal thing done Saturday: used a BOGO coupon at the restaurant
Frugal thing done Sunday: packed lunches and drinks to take on the boat instead of buying something from the snack shack.
Thought I would do a budget update since we are 1/2 way through the month. I'm trying a No Spend Month, which has actually turned into a Low Spend Month.
I'm only going to update the variables
Item budgeted spent left
Gas (car): $100 $100 $0
Household: $75 $93 $-18
Grocery: $300 $130 $170
Entertainment/Restaurant: $125 $79 $46
Car: $0 $0 $0
Clothes: $0 $25 $-25
Personal Care: $75 $0 $75
Gifts/donation: $50 $45 $5
Extra income: $265
Gas for the car is a gift card, which is why it looks I don't have any $$ left. I have $65 left on the gift card. Household went crazy with garden and I put the cat stuff under this category.
Today I will spend money. I will spend all my money (I think). I take out cash when I get paid every two weeks and I think today I will be spending the last of my cash. I get paid Monday, so that just means no spending for the weekend. That isn't that hard for me. I like to stay home, so I won't spend any money that way.
Yesterday I spent $10 on bowling; $9 for dinner (sushi from the grocery store); and $19 at the grocery store (bread, 2 pkgs cheese sticks, 2 pkgs shredded cheese, special k chips, and a diet coke).
Today I will spend on kitty litter, cat food, and the Chinese I didn't buy on Tuesday. I might be able to resist the Chinese. We'll see. Unfortunately, I have it in my head and can't get it out. Maybe, like on Tuesday, I will drive right on by and not get any.
Frugal thing done yesterday: boyfriend and I carpooled from work to bowling. I dropped him off at his car this morning so both of us could go to work.
Yesterday managed to be another NSD. That makes #5 for the month. I forsee the next two days to have spending in them, but I'm hoping for a No Spend Weekend!
On Tuesday, I did not get myself Chinese!!! I picked up boyfriend's pizza and then went home and went for a run. I was so proud of myself for not getting Chinese and instead eating the meal I had planned.
I did spend $20 on a magazine renewal. That was for two years for Cooking Light. I often will make meals from the magazine, so this is a good spend for me. It keeps me trying new veggies and eating better.
Frugal thing I did on Tuesday: I rode the bus from my work to the big grocery store. I didn't have much to get, so I saved myself the gas money to drive there. Riding the bus is free for me with my work ID.
Frugal thing I did yesterday: I made up a big batch of my homemade cocoa. I add this to my coffee both at home and at work to make the coffee special. It is just a combination of dry milk powder, splenda, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Today is bowling, so I will be spending $10 for bowling and $something for dinner. I will also be taking back something that boyfriend bought that I love, but we don't need. He has been spending a lot of money on fixing stuff around the house too and doesn't need to be spending money on pretty things that we don't need. He didn't want to take it back, but I have no problem doing that.
I almost feel like I'm not doing No Spend Month quite as strictly as I would like. Workout shirts for boyfriend; eating out on bowling nights; pizza for boyfriend. All these things are wants, not necessarily needs. I don't know if I need to crack down on myself or if I should just shrug and keep doing the best I can. I guess, for me, there would never be a real "No Spend Month" where you don't spend anything at all. There is always going to be gas for the car to buy and groceries. Maybe it is enough that I'm questioning what I'm buying.
I did not spend any money yesterday. I went to work, walked at lunch, went home right after work, and didn't do a whole lot at home. Read my library book, took a bath, watched some hockey, and watched some DVRed shows.
However, today....today. I did not sleep well last night. My tiredness is making me cranky and wanting to eat unhealthy food and spend a lot of money. I don't know why one night of sleep would affect me so dramatically. I did not run this morning as I had hoped and went to the grocery store at lunch, so I didn't run then either.
I stopped at the local, smaller grocery store on my way into work and bought: milk, blueberries, water, and a head of lettuce. At lunch, I went to the large grocery store and bought: tomatoes, yogurt, 90 calorie bars, special k chips, asparagus, and raisins. I spent $30 between the two stores. To get me into next week I will just need to buy bread, milk, and string cheese. But that will be later, so the bread is as fresh as I can get it.
I also pre-ordered boyfriend a pizza for dinner. He's a little bit down because he also has had a lot of money going out the door for various things. I'm rather used to being on a somewhat tight budget; he is not. He loves, loves, loves pizza and was in the habit of asking me about once a week to pick him up a pizza and he would pay me back. His budget is now so tight that he wants the pizza, but doesn't want to buy it and hasn't been asking me to get him pizza. Just trying to perk him up a bit.
But, since he's getting pizza, I want chinese. I don't want to eat his pizza, but I love, love, love chinese from the chinese place by our house. Nothing compares. Not a home cooked meal, not a frozen meal, not even another chinese restaurant. And, since I'm tired and grouchy, I am doing the dangerous thing of telling myself that I deserve it. Yeah, except I don't.
Frugal thing done yesterday: Ate a spicy chicken ramen noodle soup thing I've had since I moved to Michigan (5+ years ago).
On Saturday I ended up not getting an elephant ear. The place that was selling them didn't look to be set up for a real elephant ear station. I want deep fried dough, not baked!
But I ended up spending $13 at festival anyway. I was waiting to meet up with my cousin and she was running a little bit late. I was standing next to the hair wrap people and I have always wanted one. The last time I saw them I was interview for jobs (5 years ago) and I didn't think it would look very professional to have my hair wrapped. I spent $11 on the wrap and gave $1 tip. Then, when my cousin did come, we ended up getting a program for $1 donation so we could find things to do with her kids.
At Meijers on the way home from festival, I spent $26 on exercise shirts for the boyfriend and $30 on food. Boyfriend went to go mountain biking the other day and couldn't find his one "wicking" shirt. I want to encourage his exercise, so I bought him a couple of 40% off short sleeve shirts. It's his birthday at the end of the month, so maybe I'll count this towards that. I don't have my receipt with me, but most of my food was produce--broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, bananas, strawberries.
I had a NSD on Sunday and I'm hoping for one today.
Frugal thing for Saturday: combined all my errands. I hit the library, the gas station, festival, and the grocery store on the way home. I try very hard to never made a special one-off trip somewhere.
Frugal thing for Sunday: I didn't go anywhere! I ran in the morning and painted my toenails and just hung out at home. It was lovely. I didn't get many things done (like cleaning the house), but I did have a relaxing day!
Yesterday I spent $20 on bowling ($10 for last week; $10 for this week), $9 on dinner (sushi from the grocery store), and $26 at the grocery store.
10 frozen dinners ($3 coupon + on sale) I use these for easy dinners and lunches at work.
2 - 4 packs of yogurt ($1 coupon + on sale) This is what I eat for work lunch when I don't do the frozen meal thing.
Loaf of bread (boyfriend's lunches)
Frugal thing done yesterday: surfed a few freebie sites to get stuff like sample shampoo and cat food. I actually use the freebies I get in the mail, so I look at this as stretching my budget. Also, it is fun to try new things without paying for them!
I'm hoping for a NSD today. My plans are to go for an inline skate after work on the paved path by my house and to pop up the pop up and clean it out from this past weekend. I don't know when we are going to use it again, so I'd like to do a quick wipe down and take out things that shouldn't get too hot or too cold (like the gallons of water and the dish soap).
You'd think since I'm trying to have a No Spend Month that I would have had a NSD before day 4! Just goes to show how hard it is for me to do this, I guess.
My boring NSD: ran in the morning before work, walked at lunch on the indoor track (it was raining), went right home after work. Made dinner, made lunches, cleaned up the kitchen, took a bath, watched some hockey, read a library book, did my crunches and planks, went to bed.
It was very nice. I do love days like that.
Today I did not run before work, so I will run at lunch. Bowling after work. I'm going to hit to grocery store while I am waiting for boyfriend (we drive together to bowling), I anticipate spending about $25-$30 on things that are on sale and I have a coupon for. Then bowling ($20) and probably dinner for me ($9).
Frugal thing done yesterday: I made up about two weeks worth of oatmeal packets to keep in my desk at work for breakfasts. 2/3 cup instant oatmeal, sprinkle of salt, heaping tablespoon of Splenda, heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a ziplock bag. I have little tiny boxes of raisins to add to my oatmeal and there's breakfast! I have access at work to a hot water dispenser, so this is an easy way to frugally eat a healthy breakfast.
I have such exciting titles, don't I?
Yesterday I bought my monthly gas card--$100. That normally takes care of all gas I need for my Bug to get to work and do what I need to do. I don't mindlessly drive around, so bringing that amount down this month probably isn't realistic.
I went to the grocery store to get the things that I don't like to buy at WalMart or to get things that were on sale. I bought bananas, milk, tomatoes, taco shells, and powdered creamer.
I anticipate a No Spend Day today.
Last night after I got home from work I finished planting my garden. I only have two 4x4 raised beds, so it didn't take long! I have tomatoes, peppers, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, and radishes planted. I started to figure out how to water my garden when boyfriend came home and wanted to mow. My hose has to go across the lawn to get to my garden, so I watered by hand and will work out the sprinkling this weekend. We're supposed to get rain today and we'll be bowling tomorrow night, so I won't get to play in my garden 'til Friday.
I cooked dinner while I was out in the garden. Chicken thighs in the oven (along with chicken breasts for taco meat), rice in the steamer and when the rice was done I steamed up the last of the asparagus.
Took a shower (I had to bug dope myself to work in the garden. The mosquitoes are HORRIBLE!), organized my coupons, watched a little baseball, and read my library book. I was probably asleep before 10 PM.
I disappeared for a while. I tend to only be on the internet when I'm at work and work got crazy busy. But I'm back because I need a No Spend Month (NSM) and I'm going to try to be accountable here. I've been spending a lot of my free online time at Weight Watchers because I need to lose a little bit of weight, so I have been focusing on that.
But a car repair and pop-up camper repair has put me in a little bit of debt, so I'm hoping to get back on it and tracking my progress here.
June will be my NSM. I have not ironed out all the details yet, but I need to re-tighten the belt. No buying anything that isn't needed. Food, gas, bills, and gifts will all be exempt. It's Father's Day and boyfriend has his birthday, so I'm not going to not get them things because I'm doing this NSM thing. I will not buy clothes, things for the house (only whatever it takes to use up my garden gift cards I have).
Wish me luck!
Last night was my final in my summer Economics class and she already posted our final grade--I earned an A-!!! That makes me very, very happy. Now I have a small break until my other summer class starts up. I plan on going to the library tonight and get a few pleasure reading books to enjoy. Ahhhh. Bliss.
I haven't spent any money since Saturday. I was tempted last night to get a little something to celebrate the end of class, but I just drove on home. I think being a homebody is the easiest way to save money. I just want to go home, so I don't spend money. Our internet is acting up, so I can't even shop online. If I was out and about, I'm positive I would spend money. Even a little bit.
Lately it feels like all I do is go for a run, go to work, go to class, and do homework. It makes the end of the class even sweeter to not have homework hanging over my head. I was just thinking that it would be nice to have something to look forward to. Even a small vacation. Wait, have I already said that once? Probably. I think it is important to have something in life to look forward to. If I was completely free, I would totally plan something every year to look forward to. Something kinda big, like a road trip out west, or a trip to Paris. Just having something on the calendar. Not necessarily "I already bought the tickets" but "we are definitely going to Hawaii in February 2015." Something to plan for. Something to look forward to. Although 2015 might be too far away for what I'm thinking.
It looks like my lawyer bill will be paid off in July and then I can work on some of my other financial goals. I want to donate more ($1000 total for the year). I want to build my savings back up ($2500 by the end of the year). I should add those goals to my sidebar.
My Weight Watchers quest is still going strong. I am on my 3rd week of following it closely. I have learned that I am one of the unlucky ones that can't really go over my daily points. Can't use my activity points, can't go into the extra weekly points they give you. Bummer. I often joke that I run to be able to eat french fries. Not too many french fries in my future right now!
I plan on going grocery shopping tomorrow. I have a list. I would like to go on my lunch hour and ride the bus, but I'm afraid I might have too big of a list to do that. We'll see. I might try it anyway! It will definitely make me stick to my list then!
It was a NSWeekend this weekend. I went shopping on Friday at the grocery store and didn't spend another dime. I will today!
Saturday we went to the homeowners association meeting in the morning. An hour and a half of not-so-exciting stuff. Afterwards, we resisted all temptation and went home. I cleaned the house while boyfriend worked on the yard. We're having sprinkling put it in a few weeks and he wanted to start getting ready for that. We just had black dirt trucked in to give our poor grass seed a bit of a boost. Lots of yard work things being done this year! After I cleaned the house, I went for a run.
Side note: I am actually proud of myself for running 4 times last week. That I actually got up out of bed and went for runs--or did them after doing something else is something that is not easy for me to do. I want to get more exercise into my life and I do enjoy running. There is a Nike app that I use and can have people cheer for me on facebook. It seems to be the thing to get me out of the house and on the road. I hope I can keep this up.
When we were both done with our chores, we watched motocross, then some hockey, then went to bed. While I watched these sports, I was also paging through a magazine and looking at recipes to try to figure out what this week's new recipe was going to be. I hardly ever just watch sports.
Sunday we woke up early. Too early. I was hoping to sleep in to do more catching up on sleep. Oh well. By 9 AM I was inline skating on the paved trail near our house. I have to drive to the park to get to the paved trail, which is a bit of a bummer. But the trail itself is beautiful and I skated about an hour--just out and back.
Came home and prepared food stuff for the week. Lunches, made the cookies from this week's new recipe, made up taco meat for boyfriends tacos that he will eat for dinner or a snack. Just did all the kitchen stuff in one shot. Then relaxed until boyfriends' hockey game.
Today I ran in the morning before work. I was afraid it was going to rain on me, but it held off (yay!) and I was able to run 2 miles. I notice that my morning miles are much slower than miles I do later in the day. Legs just aren't awake yet, I guess. I'll work until 5, then go to class. Right before class I'm dropping off my old microwave to a co-worker who is collecting kitchen stuff for a young woman who seems to need everything to get on her own. My microwave was just sitting in the attic since boyfriend and I moved in together, so I offered it to her and she accepted.
After class I hope to go to Kohls, then Meijers. I have a $10 off $10 coupon they sent me, plus a 15% off coupon. I'm going to check out the sandals because the pair that I've been wearing for 10 years finally died. If they don't have something I like, then I'll get some kitchen towels or something similar. Then to Meijers for fresh fruits and bread for lunches.
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!!
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!!!!
I love days where I don't have to go anywhere.
Today is a day spent catching up at home. I'm doing laundry, planning menus, and watching some basketball and hockey. I already ran on the treadmill (yay! exercise done!), and went out and refilled the bird houses. The snow here is about a foot deep and I don't like filling them in the dark when I get home from work, so they either get done before work (if I have time--HA!) or the weekend.
I planned my menu to use up what I have in the house. I made my grocery list with only those things I actually NEED, and I think that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the month. Maybe I'll make a dent in the overstuffed freezer then. And stay within my budget.
Since we have no plans to go anywhere, I'm hoping for a NSD.
Yesterday I spent $5 to go to stick and puck at the ice arena and worked on my hockey stops. I'm still learning how to ice skate and how to handle the puck. It was very busy last night, so I felt in the way--but as of now they don't have a "beginners only" stick and puck, so I'm out there with the real skaters. Oh well.
I also spent $5 at the grocery store for bread for lunches and pineapple for the meal I'm making on Sunday. I should have leftovers to eat for lunches at work this week.
I had to buy string cheese for lunches today, so it wasn't a no spend day. I bought enough to get us through this week and next. Bf likes the string cheese with the beef jerkey in it, so I try to get him that when I can. Spent $7.
In response to weight loss/exercise goals--I do have some. Actually, I could post my yearly goals, which involve both money and exercise.
1. Save $5000
2. Run a 10K race
3. Ride a T-shirt bike ride (at least 35 miles)
4. Try one new recipe per week
5. 12 No Spend Days per month
6. 20 Workout days per month (workout days are days where I spend at least 30 minutes on the bike, the treadmill, or something else where I have to break a sweat).
7. New Running shoes in July
8. Take a 6 week summer class towards my 2nd Bachelor's degree
9. New walking shoes in January
10. Read 50 books
11. Increase chartiable contribution to $1000
So how am I doing on my resolutions? This is the key part--the reckoning.
1. Save $5000. Yes, on track for this one. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I will be able to keep this one because there has been some unexpected financial "issues" crop up. Dang those issues.
2.Run 10K. I start the official training in Feb. I have been running about 2 miles indoors consistently.
3.Bicycle ride. I have been going to spin class and also riding my bike on the trainer. Haven't decided which ride I want to ride.
4.One new recipe per week. Yes! Honey chicken with cashews (ww), Shrimp in coconut curry sauce (ww), Beef and Broccoli Bowl (cl), Ginger lime chicken (ww), banana muffins w/lemon frosting (ww). That last one was the best. That lemon frosting was the bomb!
5.12 No Spend Days per month. I actually had 16.
6.20 Workout Days per month. I had 22.
7.New Running shoes in July.
8.6 week summer class
9.New walking shoes--done!
10.Read 50 books. I have read 4 so far.
11.Charitable contribution up to $1000. So far I have not donated any more than I did last year.
I need incentive to write in here. I need a new schtick. When I was doing the low spend month, I did really well at writing. Now that I don't have something to really update, I don't write.
So I thought of a new schtick. For the next 30 days (August 16 - September 15), I'm going to see if I can pinpoint something frugal I did that day. I don't know if I have 30 days worth, but I'm going to try.
August 16: I cut open my toothpaste tube to get one more use out of the toothpaste before tossing it.
Update on my monthly goals:
Track all WW: Not even close. I obviously have a problem with doing this.
10 NSDs: I have 9 so far
Save $320: I'm at $370! I didn't even realize that!
Work out 20x: I'm at 10
After 3 NSDs, I had to go grocery shopping yesterday. I spent about $23 (thanks to another Save A Lot $5 coupon!) on groceries. Also 'rented' my textbook for the Fall semester and bought some more dried apples on Amazon. Love them for keeping in my desk to add to my oatmeal in the mornings.
I finally got the approval to take my class for the fall. I am employed by a university and they allow us to take classes for free! I'm working on my 2nd bachelor's--this time in accounting. So I had to pull the trigger on the book to have it in time for classes to start later this month.
Trying for a NSD today. I'm going to spin class after work, so I'll be too sweaty to stop somewhere on my way home. At least, that's what I tell myself to keep myself away from the stores!
Incoming included returning $1.80 in cans, received my $25 WalMart gift card from mypoints (a rare occurrence meant that I had enough points for a $25 gift card. I normally cash out at $10), and $10 from my Speedway Reward Points. I also found 3 pennies in my wandering.
I have a trip to Sams in my near future and since Sams and WalMart are right next to each other, I'll be spending my gift cards then. Since I received $50 in gift cards, I put that much money towards savings out of my normal allowance money. I almost have enough reward points on my CC for another gift card--but I may pick something like Bath and Body Works this time. Can't be practical all the time, right?!?
My car hasn't moved since Thursday. Friday was spent at home, just reading, watching some DVRed shows, and thoroughly cleaning the frige. I did read The Frugalista Files, which was OK, but didn't really apply to my life. It is a book about a woman who is learning to live on less, while still living fabulous. Well, I've never aspired to live fabulously--I just want a small house in the country and not to have to worry about looking like I'm fashionable. It was a quick read, and I expect that she pretty much just took some of her blog posts to make the book.
Saturday we woke up early and took the boat out. We didn't get home until 9 PM at night. We drove 3 hours to meet some friends and hung out on the water for something like five hours. They took us to dinner to thank us for taking us out on the boat, then we drove the 3 hours home. I was only tempted to spend money once--on the way home I was thinking of buying a Diet Coke at a gas station, but I didn't.
Today was another chill day at home. I can't honestly say I've done anything really today. Did a few loads of laundry, cooked some food, ran my 2 miles, but that's about it. Took a nap. Read a few more magazines (which I will put in the free magazine bin at the library).
I really need to go shopping soon. I am running out of certain supplies, like the stuff to make homemade pudding pops. I'm trying to wait until I get my other $25 gift card for WalMart, so I can use that (and only have to go to WalMart once--I'm not a big fan of shopping there, but I'm not turning down free money either). I have my lists, but I also am playing with the idea of doing some personal shopping, not just grocery shopping. I would really like one more short sleeve running outfit.
And maybe some socks. Yeah, more socks.
I will say that $300 wasn't as much of a stretch for my No Spend Month. Yeah, I only had $2 for gas at the end of the month, but I think you spend what you have. If I only had $250, I would probably still "run out" of money at the end. You fill the container you're given.
I could have cut back on a few things. Been a little cheaper about groceries, not eaten out when I did. However, I normally use at least $75 in gas for a normal month. The vast majority of that is just driving back and forth to work. This month was different because I had vacation time where I didn't need to drive to work. But I did drive up to the beach house to hang out with Mom. If I gave myself $250, then take $75 from the top for gas for work, I'm left with $175. Maybe that's do-able, maybe not.
While bf and I have separate finances (and I like it that way), I do pay for the groceries, so my No Spend Month affects him. If it didn't affect him, he wouldn't care what I did with my money. But when you don't know if you can buy lunchables for his lunch because you're running out of money...it seems a bit not fair to him. Why should he "suffer" for me trying a money experiment? (I'm only using lunchables as an example of something he may have wanted from the grocery store that I may or may not have gotten because of low funds).
We have lots of food in the house still. This did not clean out the cupboards as much as I thought it would. I don't feel I had any major breakthroughs about money and spending. I'm proud of myself for achieving my goal and I guess I could say that I could live off of $300/month if I needed to. Like, emergency.
As my rewards, I used some of my amazon gift cards to buy 3 pairs of new work out socks and a pyrex 8x8 glass pan. Spent $27 out of pocket. I love fun, funky socks. I also had Chinese for dinner last night. And now, back to normal spending life. Groceries, gas, etc. etc.
To keep up with my goals for August:
Aug 1 & 2:
Tracked WW both days
Worked out both days (yoga and spin)
No NSDs yet (but I anticipate the next two days could be that way)
I have a vacation day tomorrow and I just stopped at the library on my way home from work, so I hope to not leave the house and read and just hang out at home. Ahhhhhh.
I'm going to try to still achieve my goal! When I drove home from work last night, I noticed I had a bit more in my gas tank than I thought. I was at 3/16 of a tank when I drove home last night. This morning, I made it into work just under 1/8 of a tank (and the gas light on). I'm going to put in the last $2 on my way home tonight and I should be able to get home and then to the gas station in the morning.
I'm going to make this!!
Day 30 Numbers:
In: $25 Walmart giftcard from turning in credit card points; found a dime
Dang. It's not going to happen. I'm going to be close, but I'm not going to keep it under $300. I have to get gas, but I spent $7 on sunglasses yesterday. Bf wanted to go out on the boat again, so he called his friend and off we went.
On Saturday I learned that sunglasses are very nice to have on the boat because you're not squinting your eyes against the wind. I don't own any sunglasses. So I spent $7 on a pair of cheap ones. I knew what I was doing, so I take total responsibility, but I'm disappointed none-the-less. I need to get gas--about $5 should get me to work and back tomorrow. So, I'm going to go over by $3.
You could say that if I took my can money and used it, I wouldn't be going over. Or if I didn't put all my change into my change jar, I might have been OK.
I'm going to look at this as a learning lesson and not an epic fail. I know there are other things I could have done to not put me so close, but as my first time trying this I think I did OK.
Two more days! I wonder if there will be a spending backlash against all that I have not bought this month?
Day 29 Numbers:
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