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Archive for July, 2005

yes...I went shopping

July 31st, 2005 at 08:46 pm

Today I got up early and went to the Farmers Market. I was reading an article this morning in my latest Organic Style magazine about how it makes more sense to buy locally grown produce when you have the chance rather than organic produce at the market, simply because it's much fresher (duh). So, I headed out, and $13.25 bought:

Two green bell peppers
Two white bell peppers
Two purple bell peppers
Five zucchinis
Three eggplants
Six ears of corn
A bunch of greens (Indian Spinach, I think)
Several tomatoes

I stopped by the grocery store and picked up three avocados, a head of romaine lettuce, three gigantic peaches, and a package of organic eggs ($15). I also bought the Sunday paper ($1.75). I walked into Michaels to pick up their August class list and did not buy thing.

Later, I realized that the toilet had broken, so I paid $5 for a new flapper, and fixed it myself.

I'm pretty happy with the day. My August savings goals may be in jeopardy because I may take a few cake decorating courses with a friend (they are half price this month). I'd have to buy decorating tips too, so it would end up being approx $58. However, I have bought almost all of the groceries this month (almost $200) so BF can take care of that next month.

I just realized that I didn't spend much at all on eating out this month (maybe $10 max). BF and I didn't eat out together much either. That's why that grocery bill is so darn high *sigh* but better groceries than restaurants, I guess.

Off to figure out the tastiest way to prepare eggplant...

sloth-like Saturday

July 31st, 2005 at 12:55 am

I'm on my own this weekend, and I had two goals for today: 1) have a rare no-spend day 2)try to eat better than I normally do. I successfully completed number one, but not without difficulty. All day I caught myself thinking about things I wanted to buy..."oh I should go to the grocery store and pick up some avocados"..."I could really use another cute skirt"...."I could buy that cookbook, it looks wonderful"..."I wonder if that infomercial teeth-whitening product really works"... etc etc etc. I have not left the house all day (other than to get the mail) and that is the only reason I have not spent anything today. Unfortunately, goal #2 failed miserably. I filled my desire to shop with an excessive amount of chocolate. I succeeded in doing a little cleaning, a load of laundry, and a load of dishes today. Otherwise, the rest of my time has been consumed with eating chocolate, thinking about shopping, watching tv, and finishing my book. The peace and quiet and lack of planned activities is a welcome relief, though.

We shall see how tomorrow will fare....

curtains

July 29th, 2005 at 02:23 pm

What did I just say about needing to stay out of the stores? I stopped by JcPenney last night because they were having a big sale (as always) and I knew they had lots of curtains. I bought some for our bedroom. I'm still not sure if they are perfect or not; I'll have to live with them for a few days to see. They were half price, though. I also bought a skirt at half price, which I'm wearing today, and I've already received one compliment on it. Smile

In any case, I spent about $70 yesterday. I made a dessert last night for a dinner party we're going to tonight. BF is going out of town for the weekend, so assuming I stay out of the stores and keep myself busy at home, it should be a no-spend weekend. Today is payday, so I put $75 in savings and $25 to my Roth. The prescription still isn't ready and probably won't be until next week, so that goes into August's budget, along with my car repair. All I have left to spend on this month is rent.

I put 17% of my salary into savings & retirement this month. I think I've been calculating my "percent of income spent" wrong, because I'm counting things twice on my spreadsheet (once in the category, and again in the credit card part if it was charged). If I'm looking at it right now, in July I spent 81% of my income and put 17% toward savings, so that makes for a total of 98% used. Not bad. I had a lot of cash flow this month, though, with an extra paycheck and my rent deposit returned (and no rent paid in July). Next month will be tighter. Time to batten down the hatches!

Goals for August:
$150 to emergency fund
$50 to family fund
$100 to Roth IRA
$100 to Christmas gift fund
$100 to smaller college loan (twice the payment due)
get my car fixed (the main part, anyway)

frustrated

July 27th, 2005 at 03:13 pm

I'm still irritated with my job. I stayed home from work yesterday and tried to get over a stress-induced headache. In the afternoon, I stopped by the post office to mail out a few things to my family and my requisit half.com book. A few more groceries and home needs at Target found their way into my car. I stopped by Michaels and bought decorative candle holders for my apartment and a Christmas gift for my mother that was $20 off (I'm already done with her Christmas gift! yeah!). I wandered through Barnes and Noble and nearly came out with nothing, until I saw a magazine about businesses in my area. It had a big section on good and bad car repair shops with consumer reviews. Given my current track record of having a car shop tell me every year that I need to replace my serpentine belt, I bought it. After getting gasoline, I went home, put away the groceries, hung up my new decorations and some that had been waiting to be hung, did two loads of dishes, and oiled our new kitchen island top again. Dinner was in the crockpot and turned out ok (not enough spices, I need to get better at that). BF and I decided to ride our bikes to the library instead of vegging out in front of the tv. I really needed that! It was so refreshing! I want to go bike riding again tonight.

Post Office: $9
Target: $50
Michaels: $80
Barnes and Noble: $11
Gas: $18

Total Spent: $168

All I have left budgeted to spend on this month is one prescription, rent, my car repair, $50 to savings and $25 to Roth IRA. I'm way over budget again. I don't even want to think about it. Our pantry is completely stocked, so I need to stay out of the stores!

one more for today

July 25th, 2005 at 08:34 pm

Just a few things:

1 - I just found out that I'm not gong to get comp time at work anymore. Before, if I had to come in early or stay late for a meeting, I got that amount of time to use as I wished (like personal time or vacation time). I'm salaried, so I don't get paid time and half for that time. Now, I'm not going to get it at all. I'm just going to be expected to do whatever these people ask me to do. Did I mention that I'll never get an increase in vacation time, either? That even if I'm here for 30 years, I'll leave with the same two weeks I started with? I'm putting my job search into overdrive. This place is NUTS.

2 - I sold another book on half.com - only $3 total, but it's better than nothing.

3 - I really am proud of paying off all my credit cards in full. My current debt (college loans) now stands at just under $15,000 (if I paid it off today). I really wanted to get under that amount, and I'm under it now! Yay!

painful car repair estimate

July 25th, 2005 at 01:34 pm

My car is going to cost about $700 to fix...and that's only to replace the things that I can actually hear going wrong (i.e. catalytic converter rumbling and a belt squealing). I suspect I need my brakes looked at and my tie rods replaced. I can barely afford to replace the catalytic converter, so the other things are just going to have to wait. My car is probably not worth much more than $700. It's tempting to buy a newer car (and everyone is saying DO IT), but the cost of these car repairs is nothing compared to what a monthly car payment would be. If I spend $1000 a year on repairs, that's still only $83 a month. I'm not going to find a car payment for that, and even if I could, it would likely be a piece of crap car that would need additional repairs anyway. *sigh* I wish I made a lot of money so I could buy a brand new car and not have to worry about this for a while. At least the repair estimate was only $20.

After hearing that painful estimate, I went to the grocery store and blew $100. I know, silly. It's funny how I feel that repairing my car is not worth it but sugar free pudding is. Stick Out Tongue We are stocked for a while now, especially in fruit.

I paid off my other credit card in full ($380). I sold a book on half.com and was paid for it today ($4).

I applied for a few jobs last week...we'll see if I hear from anyone. I need to make more money if I am ever going to get out of this state, buy a new car, buy a house, etc etc etc.

Saturday and Sunday were no spend days. I don't think I've ever said that. How refreshing!

Ikea goodies

July 20th, 2005 at 03:23 pm

Last night I went to Ikea and bought several things for our apartment, totaling about $64. I got this mirror, which I had been dying to have for the dining room, and this print for our bedroom. We already have this one in the bedroom (are you sensing a beach theme?) so it will look nice. We are ticking off the days until we can get away and move to the west coast, but until then, we are making our bedroom into our own ocean oasis. I had to go to the doctor yesterday (UGH) so I felt I deserved a treat, and I got a $1 frozen non-fat yogurt cone at Ikea. They are surprisingly delicious! We stopped by the MOA, got a baby gift for this weekend, and BF bought some new clothes. We ended up ordering pizza for dinner (he paid). Not doing so well on the diet circuit, but the apartment is getting better and thus my spirits are lifting a little.

This morning I've been researching jobs. I'm trying to decide how I should reinvent myself. I desperately want to be a copyeditor but no publishing firm in this city will hire me (I have little experience) and I don't want to move to the east coast. I was looking into becoming a paralegal, but it sounds like they do most of the work, while the lawyers get the credit and the big bucks. I think next I'll look into desktop publishing.

Monday Schmunday

July 18th, 2005 at 10:14 pm

It's always Monday.

I didn't bring my car in this weekend. I did a little shopping on Saturday (just some necessities and a couple of small gifts). Ate lunch at Taco Bell but ate dinner in. Wasn't feeling too well in the evening, so I mostly read my book. On Sunday I ran to the Farmers Market and bought the most beautiful petunia plant. It's about three times the size of a normal hanging plant. I can't wait to hang it up on the deck! It's been in the 90s for almost two weeks though, and close to 100 all weekend, so I haven't hung it up yet. Today we've gotten a bit of relief, finally, with 77 degrees. The weather here is nuts, and that's one of my primary reasons for wanting to get the hell out of dodge. My sort-of-not-really-in-laws bought us lunch on Sunday, and I made dinner for all of us.

I got my rental deposit back from my previous landlord today - YEAH! I'm so happy it came. I'm going to pay off my other credit card with it, and this month's bigger college loan payment. Not the most exciting to most people, but I know savingadvicers will appreciate how good it feels to pay off a credit card. Wink Of course, it will be a temporary happiness if my car repair is exorbitant.

Hoping to get back into my frugal ways this week...

Also, I'm wondering how Laura (FrugalTexan75) is doing. Haven't seen her around lately....hope things are ok!

on track so far

July 15th, 2005 at 04:24 pm

Today is payday. I put $100 to my college loan, $100 to Roth, $100 to emergency savings, and $25 to family savings. I'm pretty proud of myself! Yesterday I went to the doctor (finally) and got three months worth of allergy med refills. It was a big outlay of money at once, but at least I don't have to worry about it for a while. AND I had the nicest doctor I think I've ever met. Bonus!

I have been completely stressed out lately. The apartment is so overwhelming, because it's all in boxes, and we are merging our stuff. "do we keep this one? or this one that looks exactly like it?" It's hard. My sweetie has been really great though, doing most of the cleaning while I do most of the freaking out. I'm at the point where I want to throw all of my stuff out the window just to make it less cluttered. I've also been feeling down about my ever-increasing weight (hello? what is my problem??) and my job. My car sounds like a lawnmower with high pitched squeal (belts and muffler, no doubt). People honestly stare as I drive by.

So, I'm a little stressed.

Luckily, my girlfriends are coming over tonight to hang out. I really need some relax and let-loose time. I also really need some alone time. Maybe I will try to get out of the house on my own this weekend.

My finances this month are equally out of whack. I've already spent over $1500 this month (that includes savings) and I have about another $1500 budgeted to spend. It's a three paycheck month, though, and I'm expecting my rent deposit back any day now. The thing that is going to throw me way off course is my car. I talked to a repair shop last night but they charge $80 labor just to diagnose the problem, and the guy was soooo condescending (I WAS a woman walking into a repair shop alone, after all). I'm going to look around more tomorrow for a place with people who don't make me feel like a stupid 12-year old girl.

Looking forward to the weekend! Hoping to keep spending at a minimum (other than the car problem). I think I need a vacation, so I'm thinking about visiting my parents later this month. We'll see if that's feasible.

rest of 2005 goals

July 13th, 2005 at 03:21 pm

1. Pay off other credit card fully in July, so I have no more credit card debt. Only charge onto cards what I can pay off each month, not more. Preferably pay everything in cash instead of using cards.

2. Have a total of $1400 in emergency savings by the end of December.

3. Have a total of $1400 in Roth IRA by the end of December.

4. Save $25 a paycheck toward savings fund for family member.

5. Pay $100 a month to smallest college loan.

6. Keep an eye on electricity consumption, and install programmable set-back thermostat to help with that.

long term goals

July 11th, 2005 at 01:40 pm

baselle said: What's your big goal? What's inspiring you to save money?

and I've been thinking about that ever since.

MAIN GOAL:
1 - Have enough saved to move out of state comfortably, without racking up debt. I would have moved away two years ago, but I didn't have anything saved, and my parents flat-out refused to help me. That just made me more determined to do it myself without help from anyone. I can't even find a new job here, so I'm worried that I will have a really hard time finding work anywhere. Thus, I want a financial cushion.

OTHER BIG GOALS:
1 - Have money for a downpayment on a car. Preferably $5000, but I know that will be difficult.
2 - Save for retirement by socking away money every month and knowing my investments.
3 - Pay off my college loans.
4 - Buy a house, and have enough of a cushion to support that huge investment.

What's really inpiring me to save money is my desire to not be poor or credit-reliant because of a big blow to my finances (like a giant car repair, coming up soon). I don't want to be one of those people who are one paycheck away from being homeless, and I have lived far too close to that for too long.

More short term goals coming soon...

2005 goals

July 6th, 2005 at 06:20 pm

It's the middle of the year already - how the heck did that happen?!?! I went back to last December and pulled up my Goals for 2005. They were:


-pay off credit card in January. like, after the first payday in January.
This didn't happen, but I paid it off this month (so only half a year late)

-start a Roth IRA in January and contribute to it every month.
Started the Roth in February. Contributed in March and April. May and June hiccups, now I'm contributing again.

- sock at least $5 per pay period away in my emergency fund. ($5 is for really bad months...otherwise I want it to be much, much higher than that)
January, February, March, and April were pretty good. I had a road block in May and June but am contributing again.

- pay off my car insurance in February. try to be frugal about the wedding I will be going to.
Paid off my car insurance in April. Then I switched to a much lower rate in June. I was actually really frugal with the wedding.

- pay off one college loan in March.
Paid it off in March!

- increase payments on the other two loans starting in April.
I couldn't do it in April, May, or June. July will be different.

- fully pay car insurance premium in June, without going so broke that I have to put groceries on the credit card.
Since I changed insurance carriers, this didn't work. It's a monthly automatic draft now.

- keep spending to 100% of what I make each month...not more.
And I TOTALLY sucked at this. The only month I did that in was June, and that's only because I didn't have to pay rent on an apartment.

So, I have a lot to think about. What are my goals for the remainder of 2005?

feeling lucky!

July 2nd, 2005 at 06:42 pm

So, after all of my complaining yesterday about my former landlord...he called yesterday and said he has my old place rented for June! I already sent in my July rent check, but he will tear it up. I'll meet with him this weekend to go over the checklist and get my deposit back! Yeah!!

I told BF that since I didn't have to pay rent on the other place, I could give him half of our current rent now (he already paid it in full himself, knowing that I had to pay rent on the other place). He refused to let me pay, saying that I let him stay with me for a year rent-free (which is true), and we can start splitting the cost in August. He really is a fabulous guy.

That freed up $600! I paid off my 0% interest credit card, put $50 to my Roth, $50 to savings, and $150 to holiday gift savings. That only leaves $34, but I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY to have that stupid credit card bill over and done with. I have another credit card bill to pay off later this month, but that will be easy, and I'm so glad I don't have that debt hanging over my head anymore. Really, I'm dancing around the living room.

This is also a three-paycheck month for me. I have things budgeted out, but I'm really going to try to spend less than what I've got written down. Plus, I'll have that extra deposit money coming back to me, so I'll be able to put $300 more in savings and $200 more in my Roth.

What a great day! I guess that money tree really is working. Wink I bought one at Home Depot a couple of months ago, and it is flourishing, even at the new apartment. According to principles of feng shui, you're supposed to put a money tree in the southeast corner of your house to bring in good money vibes...that's where mine is! (or, I have a great boyfriend and have been lucky...but I like the money tree too!)

June was a mess

July 1st, 2005 at 01:36 pm

Groceries: $165 paid by me (total spent, $240)
Paid to Credit Cards: $443
ATM (cash): $100
Eating Out: $115 paid by me, no idea what total spent was
"Extras": $418
Target/Walmart: $121 paid by me (total spent approximately $430)

The only thing under budget was gasoline at $74.

Nothing to savings. Nothing to Roth IRA.

135% of income spent.

YIKES!

I also had to pay rent on my old place today. I'm locked in a lease, and I gave my landlord the requisit 2 months notice (which would be July 31), but he had been looking for a renter for July 1. He had over 50 phone calls in June and did not select a renter. I'm a bit miffed about this. It would have been nice to be getting my deposit back now instead of paying out. But, oh well, I'll never be paying that much for rent again.

Today, more shopping coming up. We're going to look at furniture and such with BF's parents. I'm not thrilled about the expenditure....my credit card bill for July is already over $300. It's really hard to keep BF (and his parents) reigned in and not spend a lot.

July goals:
-Keep grocery expeditures at a reasonable level (preferable no more than $160 total)
-Keep eating out bill at $30 paid by me (unrealistic, maybe, but we'll see)
-Keep Target expenditures at $40
-Keep ATM at $60
-Put $150 toward savings and $150 toward Roth IRA

This weekend will consist of moving heavy stuff up stairs. Enjoy the 4th holiday, USA-ers!