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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!

Nothing too exciting

August 8th, 2014 at 09:25 am

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!

Wednesday

August 7th, 2014 at 09:09 am

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!

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.

That just felt cheap

July 22nd, 2014 at 07:55 am

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.

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.

Shrimp Chowder

July 20th, 2014 at 04:49 pm

Recipe for the shrimp chowder that I ate for days.

1 bunch green onion tops slices (4-5)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove)
3 TBSP butter
12 oz cream cheese - room temperature
3 cans cream of potato soup
3 soup cans of milk
1 can of corn, including liquid
1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound shrimp (shell off)

Saute onion and garlic in butter in large pot. Add cream cheese and cook on low until melted (or very soft). Stir in soup, then stir in milk one can at a time. Add cayenne pepper. Simmer 1/2 hour. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is cooked and pink.

I also boil four extra potatoes with skin on, just like you would cook them for mashed potatoes. Then I add them when I add the shrimp.

I had No Spend Days on Friday and Saturday. Friday night we went for a bike ride after work. It was a very nice ride on the paved path near our house.

Saturday was the HOA meeting (I am so glad that is over) and then we went boating. We didn't get home until 6. Boyfriend then washed his boat while I did some house cleaning.

Today we woke up early and went to the trails. He rode his bike with a buddy while I ran. Then we stopped at the grocery store and I spent $25, which will get us through this week and most of next. I will probably need to buy milk, water, and maybe bread for next week.