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Archive for May, 2005

May Stats

May 31st, 2005 at 07:00 am

114% of income spent this month. *sigh*

Didn't pay off much on my 0% interest credit card, but I paid off my other one in full.

I switched car insurance companies because it was a $256 yearly discount. whoo hoo!

The massage lady took a significant chunk of money, $190. I'm really glad she didn't call me again this month for another appointment. Once a month max from now on.

Spent what I budgeted on birthday/mother's day/baby gifts!

Earned about $20 on eBay.

I did really great in my "extras" category: only $30. That's a record low! and gasoline, only $57.

My huge budget buster this month was groceries: $265. What the heck? I have never spent that much on groceries in one month!! I really need to make an effort to stick to June's grocery budget.

With any luck, I will be able to move out of my apartment at the end of June. That would save me $160 in June. Overall, this move will save me $145 a month, or $1734 a year. Plus, I will be with the man that I love. I am really happy about that.

June goals:
--Pay off other credit card (again) and stop charging things on it
--Pay $200 to 0% credit card
--Spend no more than $80 on groceries
--Stick to rest of budget
--List more books on half.com
--Clean & donate as much stuff as possible, so I'm hauling less over to the new place!

browsing the stores

May 29th, 2005 at 08:19 am

Yesterday we took a trip to Ikea to peruse their merchandise, and to get some decorating ideas for our new apartment. What a great time! I could do without the weekend crowds, but that store has so many neat gadgets and things, and most things are so inexpensive. A lot of it is too cheaply made as well, but there are some treasures. I finally found the frames I was looking for, 6/$4.24. Later I bought some white paint for them, $4.58. That will be a project for tomorrow, if the humidity drops! We didn't buy anything else at Ikea...we decided to wait until we are in the new place and can do some measuring, and will go back on a weekday when we are less likely to be trampled by the crowd. We need to make a budget for this project so we don't go crazy buying stuff!

We stopped by Target and bought too much. Even with a gift card, I spent $25.18 of my own money. I got a great bowl though, one that will work well for bread rising. Indian food for dinner (BF's treat), and he bought some red wine for dinner tonight. I've been up for a while already today and baked the cake for tonight's dessert (still have to frost it), and am working on making bread as well. I have a lot of cleaning to do before BF's parents come over (or rather, WE have a lot of cleaning to do, but he has to get out of bed first!).

Hopefully it will be a no spend day.

more groceries?!?!

May 26th, 2005 at 03:48 pm

I went the grocery store. AGAIN. Seriously, what is my problem this month?! That brings the grand monthly total up to $264.71. It's ridiculous! I went because my BF's parents will most likely be coming over for dinner this weekend, and I wanted to prepare dinner at home rather than going out and spending their money. I say that because I know we would have to fight to get the check, and because they are paying for so much stuff for their other kids.

So, the menu will be cheese and spinach lasagna, green beans deliciously prepared somehow (a friend gave me a weight watchers recipe, maybe I'll try that), french bread, salad. For dessert, mexican chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting. I got low fat cheeses and all that to compensate for the decadent dessert.

I also bought a number of low-fat snacks. I know they are not the cheapest nor are they necessary, but I want to successfully lose weight, and they will help. The problem here lies in that I am not really a vegetarian. I am a carbo-lacto-tarian. I could live on bread, cheese, and chocolate happily for the rest of my life! Unfortunately that is not conducive to a healthy body...bummer!

Otherwise, I'm doing great financially. I haven't eaten out all week. I brought my car in to the shop tonight because it's had this hideous underbody rattle for a couple of days. I was cringing, thinking they would want to replace my entire muffler or something. Turns out it was the heat shield, which the guy said is basically unnecessary anyway considering my driving habits. They took it off for free and sent me on my way. I hope that was a good idea. It was free and it doesn't rattle anymore, so that's nice.

I'm still really excited about our new place! Gazing at a pile of books I have sitting by my computer, I'm reminded of all the packing I have to do...and how I should really start listing this stuff on half.com!

picked a place!

May 25th, 2005 at 07:38 am

We decided on a place!!! We filled out an application last night, and will probably sign the lease this evening. Yippeee!!!!!!!!!! It's so nice. It has all hardwood floors, brand new kitchen appliances, a dishwasher, funky lighting, a washer and dryer in the unit, a dining room (which I really wanted), a deck, and lots of natural light. The people downstairs seem really nice too. Now I just have to give my landlord notice. and start packing!

I made three ebay sales and was finally paid for all of them. I mailed out two yesterday ($10.79) and will mail one out tomorrow. Other than that, I have been really good about not spending.

what a great weekend!

May 23rd, 2005 at 07:23 am

Friday: looked at two apartments (no to both), ate delicious Vietnamese food for dinner (BF's treat), read good books & surfed the internet for the rest of the evening. Spending log: $0.

Saturday: looked at two apartments (both ok, not great). grabbed hot drinks to ward off the cold rain (my treat). read books and napped. ate Vietnamese leftovers for dinner and went out dancing (BF's treat). it was so much fun! we've never gone out clubbing together, just the two of us, and we had a great time. and, three of my eBay listings sold! Spending log: $8 for coffee.

Sunday: looked at one place (interrogated by homeowner, so that was a no-go). packed a picnic, went the park, and lounged in the brief sunshine with our books. I made cheese enchiladas and spanish rice for dinner - yum! we attempted to make churros, and then watched the Motorcycle Diaries. I loved it. I wish they had shown more of Chile, but it was great nonetheless. Brought back great memories. I expected to dream in Spanish, but I slept so hard last night, I don't remember dreaming at all (a seldom occurance). Spending log: $0

I wish I only worked every other week but got paid the same amount! After such productive/fun weekends, returning to my workplace is such a bummer...it's back to staring at the computer screen for eight hours a day, and sitting in the car for at least an hour commuting. I want more free time!

payday, check already spent

May 20th, 2005 at 02:06 pm

This was a really spend-crazy month. I've got the spending record in front of me, yet I'm not sure what happened. May is only half over and my last paycheck of the month came today, and it's mostly spent today as well. It would be SO nice to find a new place that I can live with and split the rent, so it drops drastically...right now rent payments take away 34% of my monthly net income.

The big kicker this month has been groceries, though. I've spent $175 already! The massages and my credit card bill from last month have also substantially strained my budget.

We had a great, frugal girl's night last night. I made pizza dough and provided a couple of toppings. One friend brought the rest of the toppings, breadsticks, and dessert, and the other two brought beer. We always have a great time sitting around talking and watching tv together! I really want a real dining room, so there is space for us all to sit down!

Yesterday's lunch was not so frugal, about $9 at the grocery store. I got this fabulous Amy's Kitchen frozen vegetarian Indian meal, though, and I'd love to buy them again (with coupons).

I bought groceries again today, $19 worth. I'm going to make a raspberry gelatin poke cake this weekend, as fat-free as possible. I also want to try making my first artisian style loaf of bread...I'm looking forward to it!

Headache is still here, but the hatchet is gone. I'd like to be less dependent on Excedrin!!

so sick of rain

May 19th, 2005 at 07:40 am

It has rained 17 of the last 24 days. And you thought I was kidding about monsoon season...

Spending Log
Monday: $5 Greek dinner
Tuesday: $15 oil change & tire rotation, $7 Taco Bell for 2, Walmart trip but I didn't pay.
Wednesday: $26 prescription, $7 birthday box mailing, $8 car headlight bulb, fast food breakfast but I didn't pay.
Today: I have to mail a package from a half.com sale, probably about $2.

Yesterday I stayed home form work with a migraine. I didn't actually stay in the house all day because my landlord was having it appraised and I didn't want to be around. So, I took a bunch of painkillers and BF and I went clothes shopping for him. It was an enjoyable time. I would not have gone if it had been sunny (the light would have killed me), but that was not a problem since the sun will seemingly never come back to MN. We returned home, I took more painkillers, and we went to look at four duplexes. Only one was promising, but I'd like to look at it again after the people move out, because they had so much stuff, we couldn't even open up some doors. We came home, ate frozen pizza, and I went to sleep. My head feels full today but doesn't hurt as much. I have identified a cycle in my headaches...one day bad headache, next day worse headache, next day it feels like I have a hatchet lodged in my forehead. Drugs don't really help prevent the cycle, though I haven't tried real migraine meds. I'm not sure what the trigger is, but at least I know there is a pattern now.

Tonight the girls are coming over and we're making homemade pizzas. I had better find a crust recipe!

productive weekend!

May 16th, 2005 at 07:47 am

I can't believe how productive this weekend was. I think it is the hot pepper liquid concoction that the massage lady gave me...it has really boosted my energy!

Forgot to mention that on Saturday I also did three loads of laundry and went to the library to pick up several books on how to bake bread from scratch. I paid a $.25 library fine.

On Sunday I woke up at 6! I got up and started making homemade cinnamon rolls. I also baked chocolate peanut butter brownies, since I had the oven going anyway. I dropped off my Goodwill box, looked at two apartments, stopped by the co-op for milk and rose hips, picked up some necessities from Walmart, searched through the classifieds and made note of the new duplexes available, and ate all my meals at home. We also looked at a home for sale during an open house and ended up talking to the realtor for an hour. I spent $14 for a birthday gift, $20 at Walmart, and $10 at the co-op.

ebay/half.com listing madness!

May 14th, 2005 at 07:51 pm

I have a quiet evening to myself tonight, and I decided to finally get my act together and list more things on eBay and half.com. I listed five things on eBay and three books on half. I can't wait to see how they do! It's so hard to know how to price things. It would be nice to get some extra money in and clear out the house a bit...I can see why people get so excited about (and addicted to) these sites.

wish me luck!

closet of doom conquered

May 14th, 2005 at 04:25 pm

I cleaned out my closet today. It was mostly full of old empty boxes, leftovers from my move here. I broke most of them down and put them in recycling...ahh, empty closet freedom! Sitting beside me is a large box ready to go to Goodwill. I think I'll bring it over there tomorrow.

We looked at an apartment today, too. The place was very well maintained, though a little dull. The unbelievable part about it was the landlord. He was grilling us about whether or not we had jobs, what those jobs were, where exactly we live now and for how long, etc etc. I overslept this morning and had just thrown on a pair of jeans, a college sweatshirt, and hadn't curled my hair. He questioned me about the sweatshirt, asked if I was still in college, and was surprised when I said I had graduated several years ago. We mentioned that we were looking for a quiet neighborhood, and his response was, "If you like to party and do drugs and turn your music up loud, this is not the place for you." I looked him in the eye and said, "I don't think that will be a problem." Two seconds later, as if he hadn't heard me, he said, "If you like to turn your music up real loud, this won't work out." What?!?! Do we look like crazy drug-addicted loud-music players? I was appalled. I know it was all due to my college sweatshirt. We've gotten nothing but stellar treatment from every landlord we've met, but I've never worn that sweatshirt before. Another interesting aspect of this search is that people often will not return my phone calls, but if my boyfriend calls them saying he's interested in their rental (and doesn't mention that I called before), they will call him back in no time. Just little aspects of our society that I detest.

I've not done well with my diet lately, but that's ok. I'm not going to starve myself anymore.

Spending Log:
Wednesday: $15 to savings, $15 birthday gift, $10.60 book for myself, free dinner
Thursday: $80 massage, $30 concoction given to me by massage lady to increase metabolism and boost immune system, dinner at home
Friday: $21.21 gasoline for trip to see family, free dinner
Saturday: $19.07 gasoline, $20 ATM for upcoming week's events, $50 loan payment, dinner at home

yeah. no spend days are infrequent in my life.

My massage was great. She told me I am allergic to the cold - what a great reason to move out of the tundra!

just say no to cheesecake

May 11th, 2005 at 10:40 am

I'm eating out tonight for BF's friend's moving-away party. I'm a bit nervous about eating out when I have absolutely no idea how many points things are at the restaurant (no nutrition facts online, either). I've been pretty frugal with my food intake today, though, so I'll have 15 points left over as long as I don't eat anything else until 7:00pm. Yesterday I ate 26 points. Better, but still not perfect. It definitely takes a while to get the hang of this. It's a fine line between eating enough to not get a pounding headache but not so much that I go over in points. Fiber One is the best cereal ever, only 1 point for 1 cup!

Last night's apartment viewing was Flashback To The 1970's. If I was 70's kind of girl, I may have liked it. There's something about puke yellow appliances that makes me not want to cook, though (or even stand in the kitchen, for that matter). I made a couple more appointments for this weekend. I just discovered that my landlord is renting out the main level of my current place. You can hear everything between the apartments...the floor must be an inch thick. Another good reason to get out of dodge, who knows who is going to move in!!

Goal Monitor:
- walk every day with coworker: so far, yes.
- eat out wisely on Wednesday night, and also on Friday night if the plans stay the same: hoping to!
- schedule more apartment viewings: done.
- carpool on Wednesday: didn't work out.
- clean out the Closet of Doom: pending project for this weekend.

spending too much

May 10th, 2005 at 12:12 pm

Yesterday I went to the grocery store after work to pick up some low-fat snacks and free-range eggs. I bought myself a small bouquet of flowers too. I stopped by Walmart to get a couple of things that I couldn't find in the grocery store. Upon arriving home, I discovered I was locked out. To waste time until the keys came home with their captor, I went over to Kmart and perused their herbs. I bought a basil plant and an oregano plant, even though I am trying to grow some from seed (I don't expect them to live, seedlings never grow well for me). I resisted buying takeout, and made pasta after I got in the house. I ate 30 points (tsk tsk! way too much!) and earned two by walking with my coworker.

Grocery Store: $34.35
Walmart: $2.64
Kmart: $4.88

Today I played with my coworker's toddler for 3 hours while she was in a meeting, and we did our walk with his stroller as well. That's got to count for at least 2 points earned. Taco Bell for lunch - $5.

I can't imagine having a toddler. I am so tired after only three hours! I seriously doubt my ability to be a parent with that kind of lame stamina.

I see everyone making goals for the week, so here are mine.
- walk every day with coworker
- eat out wisely on Wednesday night, and also on Friday night if the plans stay the same
- schedule more apartment viewings
- carpool on Wednesday
- clean out the Closet of Doom

red, red wine

May 9th, 2005 at 07:18 am

I drank more red wine this weekend than I have in a looooong time. Birthday parties and Mother's Day, oh my! I ate horribly as well, throwing weight watchers out the window, but I'm back on today.

Friday's massage was sooooo good. She practices a mix of eastern and western medicine (actually has an MD in her home country) and told me that my gall bladder is inflamed. I am to drink rose hip tea for 10 days to flush it out (odd, considering I've been looking for organic rose hips for months...am I more in touch with my gall bladder than I knew?). She's coming back on Thursday night to work on my stress and do more acupuncture. My parents told me not to worry about the cost, but I hope she can come monthly after this week instead of weekly. It's just too costly (though she is amazing). BF and I had dinner at home after she left. Friday's Spending: $80.

Saturday was a rainy day. I slept late, and then made almost-vegan pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. I did a lot of cleaning and made some greeting cards. Made a quick trip to the grocery store for appetizer ingredients. Friends came over, we ate appetizers, went out for dinner, drank lots of wine, and came back to play games. It was a late, but fun, night. Saturday's Spending: $41.55.

Sunday was a nice day too. I called my parents. My mom loved her breadmaker. BF and I went over to his family's gathering, ate too much, and played with everyone else's kids. We looked at yet another apartment that really should have been priced at $200 less than they were renting it for. We decided to drive around my neighborhood looking for For Rent signs whilst eating a Dairy Queen blizzard. Called a few apartment owners when we got back, and I went to bed early. Sunday's Spending: $2.

Tonight...I have no idea what is on the agenda. Maybe we'll get a chance to look at a couple of apartments, maybe we'll go to the climbing gym instead. This week promises to be crazy busy...I have stuff planned virtually every evening! It's supposed to rain all week. I wish I had bought that light therapy box I was looking at, because dreary weather really brings me down. I hope the meteorologists are wrong!

payday friday

May 6th, 2005 at 10:28 am

Today is payday, and I paid off my not-0% interest credit card. I pay it off every month, so it's not a big deal, but I need to put that card somewhere where I can't find it, so I will STOP USING IT.

I started counting Weight Watchers points on Wednesday and am attempting to adhere to the diet.

Wednesday: no money spent, 22 points eaten, 20 minutes of brisk walking done. All the apartments we looked at on Wednesday sucked. They were all extremely run down. I had a huge headache from such a drastic drop in calories, so I went to bed early.

Thursday: no money spent, 36 points eaten (stupid Oreos taunting me from the kitchen after dinner), 20 minutes of brisk walking done. Again, a huge headache, despite the Oreos, and I went to bed early.

Today: I will be spending money on a in-home massage, and hopefully that's all. I'm doing well on the diet so far today, and I intend to avoid the Oreos tonight.

I read that you are supposed to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day if you want to lose weight. No problem here! I love water.

It's interesting...ever since I started seriously dieting, I haven't wanted to spend. I think the two are really connected in my life.

No idea what we are going to do about the apartment search...we've looked at 22 places, and I'm sick of looking.

wacky wednesday

May 4th, 2005 at 07:16 am

Monday: spent $15 on dinner, $18 on candles (on sale at Pier One), $7 on a birthday gift, $36 on electric bill. Couldn't find any clothes. Everything is lime green. Walked around mall.

Tuesday: $21 on gasoline, $92 on groceries. Made dinner at home. My freezer is completely stuffed full. Plenty of lunch ideas in there, so that will help with eating lunch out. Walked for thirty minutes with a coworker.

Today: nothing, with any luck and perserverance. I brought a salad and diet pepsi for lunch. Hopefully my coworker and I will go for another walk. Tonight, dinner at home.

We looked at another apartment last night. It was a fairly good size, very good price, kind of boring and a bit run down, but much better than others we've looked at. It's definitely staying on the list. We're looking at three more tonight.

My coworker added up my Weight Watchers points yesterday and it was astronomical (as I figured it would be). I need to get back in shape. Thus, the lettuce and walking.

I've got a massage scheduled for Friday (the one I canceled last month) and a birthday party to attend on Saturday. Those will be my biggest spending moments of the weekend.

Payday Friday! yippee!!

revamped budget for May!

May 2nd, 2005 at 08:51 am

Thanks for the encouragement. I hope things get better, too.

I revamped my May budget, and I hope I can stick to it. Why is it so hard for me to stick to a budget? Should I put my credit card in a bowl of water in the freezer? I pay it off every month (though I am still paying off my 0% card too)....it's just hard not to give in to temptation. Every time I see a friend, it means spending money, and that's frustrating. I'd love to see them without that need to spend. I get the impression that dinner at home is too boring, though. I also have the urge to buy random things, and that brings up my "extras" line. A crafty thing from Michael's, a book, some chocolate...etc.

Yesterday I made a pineapple upside down cake, and it turned out great. Yum! I haven't had one of those in years.

We went to the movie Interpreter last night. It was pretty good. Nicole Kidman is SO thin!! I thought she was going to blow away in the outdoor scenes.

I'm going to the mall with a friend tonight. I'll probably buy my dinner, and maybe a new shirt, if I can find anything that does not resemble lingerie. Of course, it's been spitting hard little rocks of snow from the sky here for the past two days, so my sweaters are still in full rotation. Stick Out Tongue