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budget categories?

February 28th, 2017 at 07:19 am

How do you categorize vitamins and powdered supplements? Personal care, groceries, its own category, or something else?

I make a smoothie nearly every morning with several powdered supplements (including protein powder and mushroom powder) and frozen fruit. I count the fruit under groceries but I've been counting the supplements under personal care. I also take a multivitamin, vitamin D, and vitamin B, and I count those under personal care too. Needless to say my personal care budget category is really high, but I'm not spending all of that on shampoo or toothpaste.

Let's not even talk about how much I spent on groceries this month! I had such a frugal January. On the plus side - my favorite protein powder is on sale at Costco, so I bought the max and will give half to my mother (she loves it too). It's good until 2019, and like I said, I use it almost every morning!

I bottled my latest batch of kombucha, and this time I added turmeric and sliced fresh ginger. I read that that may help increase carbonation. I'm excited to try it in a few days!

This week's lunch soup is a delicious three bean and vegetable chili from the New Fast Food cookbook, made in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. It has become my new favorite! Beans cooked from dried, onions, garlic, zucchini, fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, and kale. Very summery. I like to think that it's helping me fight off all of the viruses floating around the office!

Tuesday thoughts

February 21st, 2017 at 01:30 pm

A friend convinced me to start running with her again. She's training for a 10K at the end of May, which I might sign up for too. I haven't run consistently since my first (and last) half marathon over three years ago. The weather has been so gorgeous lately that we did a couple of runs outside last weekend! I picked up a few new running/yoga shirts during the President's Day sales. More than anything, I need my work pants to fit well again.

I'm struggling with my financial goals feeling so out of reach. I should have started saving for a house the moment I started working (although, I guess I was paying off student loans at that point). My rent is doable but high. As much as I'd love to move to the west coast, I don't foresee that happening while my parents are still living, or without a viable career path. Even a 10% downpayment is SO much money, though! I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately I will need a new car before a house. I'm doing what I can to keep this one going but it's not worth properly fixing at this point. Truth - I've never had a car payment thanks to generous gifts from my family, including this car 12 years ago. I've been looking at used vehicles for at least a year but wow - high miles and high payments seem to be the norm!

I also need to bulk up my emergency fund - that's priority one!

pottery, taxes, etc

February 15th, 2017 at 08:47 am

I'm taking a wheel-thrown pottery class with my sister. I took two rounds of this class ages ago (like 12 years ago), and for some reason I had convinced myself that I might be better at it now. Ha. I'm only halfway through the course and I can't wait for it to be over. In 10 years when I think I might like to try this again, someone please remind me that I hate pottery and am terrible at it, would you?

So far this week:
$10 - Extra bag of clay to share (I paid my sister's half)
$12 - Allergy meds
$12 - State taxes

I had my job review; all went well, but I need to step up my goal-setting if I'm going to move forward. It's great having such a supportive supervisor.

I finished my taxes yesterday. $12 paid to state, $127 back from federal, but the amazing piece - $648 back for my state rental refund! I was not expecting that. My rent is so high, it's a nice bonus.

nearly a no spend week

February 13th, 2017 at 09:08 am

I'm pretty pleased with the last week, spending-wise! I only bought one song on iTunes; all other spending was on pre-scheduled bills. It's not particularly fun to restrict spending and restrict food intake at the same time, but I'm doing ok. Last weekend wasn't great eating-wise, but I threw out the rest of the birthday cake yesterday and had a salad for dinner!

Yesterday's batch cooking included baked tofu, an enchilada casserole, and Thai cauliflower chickpea soup. I have a lot of salad greens to eat too.

Since I was feeling a little miserable last weekend about my self-imposed double restriction, I refocused my savings goal to save a total of $5000 this year. A solid goal may help me stay focused, rather than the ubiquitous bigger emergency fund, buying a car (someday soon), buying a house (preferably before I'm 50). My first benchmark for this year is $4000 in my emergency fund. Should be there by the end of July if all goes as planned.

Happy Monday!

high spend weekend

February 7th, 2017 at 02:27 pm

I spent a bit more than anticipated over the weekend.

- I found out that my favorite music artist will be here soon, so I splurged and bought a ticket.

- Dinner and drinks with friends

- Chipotle lunch

- Costco grocery shopping - $65 this time! - and gasoline

- Target (the land of magical disappearing money - wasn't too bad this time though)

- Trader Joe's - I bought a case of unsweetened soy milk for my weekly soy yogurt, so I won't need to go back for a while.

- Birthday massage

- Carrying bag for the awesome yoga mat that my coworker gave me for my birthday

I did get a gift from my parents and a rebate from 1-800 contacts, and most of that spending was planned. I should be good to go on groceries for most of the month, and nothing else exciting is planned for now!

I spent some time writing out my goals/affirmations for the next year. Focusing on what I want for the future will drive my choices.

I didn't watch one minute of the Superbowl! Wink

Feb 3

February 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 am

{deleted the work situation}

In actual financial news, I spent a record low of $238 on groceries in January. Coupled with $62 cash in restaurant eating, I spent $300 on food. I'm still busy eating down my pantry and freezer.

Another record low? $48 in gasoline. February may be slightly higher, since I'm taking a community ed class. All in all, I feel good about January, and aspire to make February even more frugal.

last day of January

January 31st, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It's somehow the last day of January already! Wow.

I've been lying low - lots of viruses are flying around the office and I'm doing my best to fend them all off. I've already been sick with month-long colds twice this season and I think that's enough.

The home vet came by last week and it turned out to be much cheaper than expected! Since it was less expensive, I splurged on a 5-week Slim Team challenge through the vegan recipe service I subscribe to. So far so good. I've counted my calories every day for years anyway, but this is motivating me to actually stay within a set amount.

Last weekend I made soy yogurt, 16 bean soup (in the instant pot), vegan lasagna, red lentil dahl (in the instant pot), and wheat roti. I love my instant pot, and my stand-up freezer!

My newest culinary adventure? Making kombucha. I love it, but it's $3-$4 a bottle in the stores, and really not that hard to make. I started my third batch on Saturday. It's a lot like maintaining a sourdough culture. Now I have delicious probiotic drinks filling up my fridge!

Jan 25

January 25th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Last night I stopped by Costco to fill up my gas tank ($22) and decided to go inside for a few staple groceries too ($16) - cauliflower to make aloo gobi, kale salad, bagels, and bananas. I resisted the delicious snack aisle and stuck to basics.

The rest of the month should stay on budget. I've only eaten out twice this month and don't expect to again, unless my coworker really does want to go out for lunch on Friday (we'll see). If so, I've already got cash for just such an occasion.

I've had this blog for so long that I know there are people in my real life (read: my ex) who know of its existence. How do you handle that? I find that I don't want to say much on the off-chance that someone IRL (not from this site) might be reading.

Jan 23

January 23rd, 2017 at 12:28 pm

I've successfully avoided shopping for over a week! I attended the local women's march on Saturday and went home afterwards rather than to Costco or Target. It was actually decent weather for January, but still chilly enough to make me want to go straight home and warm up! The march itself was really fun.

I'm trying to eat down my overstuffed pantry and freezer, so yesterday I made my weekly supply of soy yogurt, a lemon blueberry cake loaf, and a peanut sauce stir fry with mock duck. I need to get better at batch cooking for the week, but I've found I'm much less motivated to cook for one. Today's lunch was soup from my freezer, which I love having on hand. I'll need to make another batch of soup next weekend.

I'm waiting on a refund from The Limited of about $20. They recently filed for bankruptcy so I really hope I get my money back. I'm also waiting on a $60 rebate check from 1-800 Contacts.

I started my taxes and it looks like I'll get about $100 back...if I submit them manually. The online tax services are so expensive. I haven't filled out a paper tax return in years, so I'll have to stop by the library!

I watched Stuffocation on Netflix and now I'm about halfway through the book. My long-term goal is to buy a house, and I think changing my mindset about "stuff" will help me get there!

hi all!

January 18th, 2017 at 01:55 pm

I've been terrible about blogging but I promise I'm still lurking (as several of you know).

SO! 2017.

The two cats and I are living in the duplex I mentioned in my last post. After a few necessary changes done by my landlord (new carpeting, new dishwasher, etc) it's a pretty decent place. My eventual goal is to have a house of my own, but before that, I'll have to replace my 16-year-old car.

My job is great! I have a fantastic boss and coworkers, and I've learned so much. I received a promotion late last year (just a salary boost and recognition for all the work I had already been doing), which was so appreciated. I'm still not as challenged as I'd like to be, but I'm happy to be well employed.

One of my older single lady role model friends emphasized my need to ensure that I'm protecting myself financially from here on out, because all I've got is me. Admittedly, I haven't been great at that since I started on this new journey, but saving as much is possible is my main goal for 2017. The somewhat terrifying political climate we're about to enter into solidified that for me.

2017 Financial Goals:
- Continue to send 6% to retirement plan
- Continue to send $25 a month to Roth
- Save $2000 in emergency fund (and don't touch it unless it's an actual emergency)
- Save $200 a month for eventual car payment
- Get my age of money to 30 days in YNAB

Other Goals:
- Reduce grocery bill
- Get out more (meet some new people via meetup.com or elsewhere)
- Read 15 books
- Lose weight/more yoga/climbing gym

good news (finally!)

April 21st, 2015 at 07:48 am

I'M EMPLOYED!!!

Yes, that deserves all caps and three exclamation points. Not only did I just accept a position at a great place, my salary is right where I wanted it (read: much higher than I've made at former jobs), and it really seems to be a great fit. The people were genuinely nice, it ties into one of my college majors a bit, and I think I'll get to use most of my skills. Plus it's a brand new position, so I'll be building it from the ground up. I start in a couple of weeks.

I'm seriously thrilled. I can't wait! It doesn't seem real!

Tonight I'm looking at a duplex that's available May 1. It seems pretty perfect. There is a lot of interest in it, so we'll see... but if I want it and get it, I'll be moving ASAP. The actual act of moving is not something I look forward to, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Things finally feel like they are moving forward!

Now I need to buy a few key work clothing pieces and to lose these 10 pounds of stress weight I've gained in the last six months. All in due time. I think I'll have the opportunity to walk a lot more at my new job, and they have an in-house gym!

splitting the finances

March 26th, 2015 at 11:17 am

I'm relieved to say that last week's car issue was just an emissions problem and only cost $100!

I caved yesterday and got my own Costco card (we had one, but I let the membership lapse). Gasoline and organic food are both cheaper - worth it.

The household finances have been fully in my care for the last 4 years. He wants to take them over now. Late fees, missed payments, and extra charges are no longer my problem, right? I started a new YNAB budget for myself and it felt good.

I'm feeling much more optimistic this week despite multiple job rejections. I feel like things are going to turn around soon. (Please, universe?)

Several days alone next week means I'll be seriously reevaluating all of my belongings. I've got so much stuff that I don't use every day but I don't want to get rid of, like camping gear, my bike, speakers, etc. Hopefully my next place will have a storage locker. I REALLY wish I could buy a house. It's incredibly difficult to part with things when I know I'll want them again after this transient phase is over.

For the last six months (except December), I've kept the grocery budget under $300. That is some kind of record for me! It's good to know I'll be able to spend even less than that when I'm on my own.