<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: January, 2016
 

Archive for January, 2016

January 2016 Recap

February 1st, 2016 at 02:08 am

I can't believe that the month went by so fast. Just seems to be more and more so the case the older I get... ah well. Hopped onto Mint and took a look at my spending for the month. Things are a little off for a few reasons, but here's the snapshot:



My CC payment bar is off because of my balance transfer. But I actually paid off the remaining $200 after the transfer and then the minimum payment on my Amazon Visa.

Given that I've counted all grocery purchases made at the end of this week for this coming one, they didn't apply to the January grocery budget. Also, I filled up the car twice - I just started using the joint account a bit more at the end of the month, so that isn't accounted for here.

I was just under on the restaurant budget, which was a bit frustrating. Still not awful, but I would have preferred to eat out less. There were a few other times that DH paid from his account, too. I'm hoping to do less dining out in February. Internet has been over every month for the last 6 months. I may have to reassess there - but paying $10 more still seems like a better deal than increasing our plan most likely. Will have to look into options.

The "business expense" overage was due to filing my sales tax, and the "Everything Else" at the bottom was my Q4 local tax. I had forgotten that both of those hit in January.

"Shopping" also included a $20 pair of slippers that I paid from the other account. My feet have been suffering this winter, despite it being relatively mild. DH bought a pair to replace his go-to pair that began falling apart. I didn't own a single pair, and when I tried his on I realized that was the solution to my frigid toe problem. 2 pairs of socks hasn't worked, but these things are like magic.

So all that being said, my "No Non-Essential Spending Month" wasn't entirely successful. But I have been practicing more mindfulness with my spending - thinking through purchases rather than just impulse buying. And I didn't go hideously over budget. I'm just going to continue on that trend.

February will also be the first month we're operating mainly out of the joint account. I'll be closing my PNC account here shortly, and DH will do the same. So we'll get a much clearer picture of where we're both spending. Which I'm sure will be enlightening!

I think that's it for me now. Hope you all had a successful January!

Progress + Groceries

January 28th, 2016 at 08:52 pm

Went through and switched all of my autopay bills to the joint account, and paid off the last $200 of my PNC credit card. So now all I have to do is withdraw all of the money from my checking and savings accounts and put them in my business account for taxes. Then I can close those. Still haven't decided if I'm going to close my PNC CC or just put it in a box and keep it just in case of emergencies. It's my longest standing CC to date, and it'll keep my credit score a bit higher theoretically just having a higher credit allowance overall. For now, it goes in the box. But I do still need to call and close that silly Toyota credit card that I never wanted in the first place.

I'll be saving approx. $40/month now that I've switched over to a 0% interest rate, and I added 11 months worth of savings to my spreadsheet where I'm keeping track of these things.

***

Also went grocery shopping today - and sad to report that it put me over my $200 limit. I could have waited until Monday to buy a lot of the items I got, but rather than making two trips, I figured it made more sense to just buy everything for next week this week. So honestly, I think I'm just going to start this trip for February's budget and just not going again until the week after (which is entirely do-able). So I retract my previous statement. I did make it under $200 for January Wink

Spent $34.78 at Aldi - and stuck to my grocery list. My second stop was at Target, where I spent $40.76. But that included some considerable savings. We weren't really in need of cat food or litter yet, but they were having a great deal on our brands, which included sales prices, a $5 gift card for purchasing, two coupons I printed, Cartwheel coupons, and my 5% off for using my Target RED Debit Card. So I essentially spent $17.67 on a huge bag of food and a 35lb. container of cat litter. We'll be stocked for a long while, and in total it was way cheaper than I had priced it via Prime Pantry. So I count it a win! Everything else I purchased was on my list and I had coupons for as well. We shouldn't have to buy personal care products for quite some time either.

On the menu for this weekend/next week:

- Thai Chicken Stir-fry
- Pork Chops w/ Roasted Carrots and Cabbage
- Mexican Pizza
- Baked Chicken Drumsticks w/ Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- BBQ Chicken w/ Cheddar Pancakes

Glad to be home

January 27th, 2016 at 05:12 pm

After about 2 hours in the car this morning, I finally made it home. Staying at mom's wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated, but I'm happy to be back with my kitties - and excited to see DH when he gets home from work. Sleeping in my own bed is going to be glorious.

Didn't end up doing laser tag yesterday - as it's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Instead, went back to the house with my sister, played a board game, and then went out to dinner at Bob Evan's. She seemed in much better spirits, so hopefully my time there was able to cheer her up a bit. Either way, this conversation with mom is going to be a rough one when she gets home. Not sure exactly when it's going to happen - but it'll have to be within the next few weeks. Preferably sooner than later, her birthday is just in a couple of weeks and I know she's stressed about turning 50. But I'm not sure there will ever be a "good" time to have that conversation. Sigh.

***

Sales tax payment went through today, so that's been taken care of. Also saw that my local Q4 taxes hit my account. So much money out for taxes, and I've still got so much more to go... sigh.

My American Eagle gift cards finally hit from Swagbucks... so I went to purchase the swimsuit I had planned (my reward for hitting my Dietbet goal) and of course they sold out of my size. That's the second suit I found that I loved and sold out a few days after I decided on it. It's been a frustrating experience. I found 2 other tops that I liked, and decided to order both for now in case I didn't end up liking one and the other was sold out (as it will most definitely be, given the trend). So once they arrive I'll decide between them and return the other.

Speaking of my Dietbet, my first game finalized, and I won a profit of $9.63 - not a ton, but I also got my money back. So that's good. And, you know, lost weight Wink Second game finishes in a couple of days.

That's about it for news. Hope you are all having a lovely week!

Jan 26

January 26th, 2016 at 05:51 pm

It's been a little while since my last entry - as it was a busy weekend, and then I went to mom's Sunday night to supervise and taxi my sister around for a few days. I'm happy to report that is going better than expected, though she really does live in the middle of nowhere now. The drive during the day is bearable, after dark it's pretty rough.

Spent a bit more over the weekend than planned, but not by a ton. Just more drinks and eating at restaurants than I wanted. Stopped to get my faaaavorite burgers in the whole world on the way back into town. But I did cook dinner Sunday night.

Yesterday spent nothing. Dropped sister off, went back to the house, worked and watched movies, worked out, then picked her up. Ate all meals at the house.

Today, though, she's only on campus for 4 hours so I decided to stay around that area while she's in class to avoid driving back and forth so much. So I'm posted up at Panera for a while. Spent $9.58 on lunch, which was delicious.

When I pick her up from class I'm taking her to Lasertag. Mom left me $20 for gas money, and I think it would be better spent on my sister. She's having a really hard time with the transition and I think she could use a little fun in her life right now. She's got a slight disability - not low functioning special needs, but developmentally she's quite behind. She's 21, and it's pretty evident that my mom hasn't taken the steps to make sure she's self sufficient. Girl doesn't have a driver's license, hasn't worked a day in her life, and the possibility of her moving out is a distant possibility at this point. But now she lives 30 mins from civilization (even further from any of her friends), has very limited internet, and no way to get around. My first night with her she was in tears almost the whole time. Apparently my mom drives her just as crazy as she drives me, but she's quite literally stranded with her. I'd be in tears, too...

***

In some good news, I weighed in for one of my Dietbet games today and I made my goal! The second ends in a few days, and I should still be maintaining at that point, so I'll be getting my money back and hopefully a nice little profit as well Smile

Also booked our Mexico trip on Sunday!!! That was planned, and came out of the joint account. I felt guilty booking it now that things are so up in the air with DH going back to school and us trying to save money, but we've had that plan for a while and it was incredibly cheap - less than $600/person including flights for 4 nights. And I'm only going to turn 30 once.

A little victory as well - stopped in Marshall's before heading into Panera, to pass a bit of time. No interest in buying anything. I suppose that's a good sign!

At any rate, time to get back to work. Hope you are all having a lovely week!

Balance Transfer Went Through!

January 23rd, 2016 at 02:05 pm

I feel like such a nerd getting excited, but my balance transfer finally posted in my account, and not a day too soon (given that email yesterday about the interest rate increasing). It's so fun to see that number so low now - there's $200 left, because the new card has a lower credit limit. But the plan is to pay that off and then that card will be closed eventually. Or set in a drawer for emergencies for the time being. Either way, the thought of saving roughly $35/month (or more, with that rate increase) is really exciting. And that money will sit there until after I pay off the other CC with roughly the same amount. After I get this tax mess in order.

***

Went to dinner last night. It was really nice to spend time with my friends - it's been a while since just the three of us hung out. The restaurant, though... sheesh. New Indian place that just opened up, and maybe it's just the growing pains, but I had probably the worst service experience of my life. The food was okay. I went with the Tandoori chicken to keep it healthy - hadn't eaten any dinner at that point. Stuck with water. The total was about $15 after tip. Will not be returning there any time soon.

***

Today I need to get gas (for the first time this month!). Driving down about 45 min away with a friend for his holiday party, then we're going out. Staying at his friend's down there. Which is convenient, but I wont be sleeping in my own bed for another 4 days. Which is stressful. Nonetheless, the party should be good - we get 2 free drink tickets. Afterwards I'm only planning on having 1-2 drinks. Wont have to drive at that point, but I just haven't really been interested in drinking a lot. Don't want to add the calories or spend the money, really.

Tomorrow I guess we're going to brunch as well? I was asked last night which place I wanted to go to. This is why I like driving separate... sigh. These meals out are really adding up... I might try and convince him to forego that, particularly because I'm probably going to get lunch out at least one day next week. I'm going to stick (relatively) around my sister's campus so I don't have to do the back and forth so many times.

I think that's about it for me today. Let's hope the next few days go smoothly. Everyone have a great weekend!



Gotta Pull Myself Together

January 22nd, 2016 at 02:37 pm

It's been one of those weeks. Nothing horrible or tragic has happened, and I still have much to be thankful for. But it seems like almost every aspect of my life is in conflict or flux. Things with DH have been tense since we started talking about him going back to school - mostly communication problems. We seem to have worked through them for the most part, but I was in an awful funk most of yesterday after our 3rd tear-filled discussion on the subject the night before. There's just a lot to be worked out, and I think the uncertainty makes me anxious, and then he's been getting on the defensive when I bring up those concerns. We've addressed that. And I think we're finally at a point where we feel like we're playing for the same team. But it didn't come until after a bit of a breakdown yesterday.

That, however, stemmed from my mother - the usual point of stress in my life. My relationship with mom consists of 2 things: her talking (mostly complaining) and then her asking me for things - either directly, or more frequently "woe is me-ing" until I offer to fix it. I hate to sound so callous when it comes to talking about her. But it's an awful, one-sided relationship that she's never addressed (why would she?) and I haven't either. Mostly because I'm terrified of hurting her feelings.

To avoid the risk of rambling and sounding like a spoiled brat, I wont go into the specifics - but at her passive-agressive non-request, I'm driving 1.5 hours away next week and staying over at my mom's (new, way out in the boonies) house for 3 nights so I can cart my sister to and from class (40 min away!) while she's on vacation in Mexico. She called last night to ask for a few more things, and that's when the breakdown happened.

I've been trying hard to practice empathy with her, and see things from her side - but it may be time to have a serious chat with her. All I can think is thank goodness I'm moving. It feels sad to want to get far away from my mom. I truly want a healthy, enjoyable relationship with her. It's just been challenging to say the least.

So on top of tension with the husband and the family, my business plans have been up in the air (given DH's desire to go back to school), and taxes are stressing me out. At least my weight loss is still going well. And yesterday the kitties were extra snuggly.

All that complaining now finished... I really do need to pull myself together. The show must go on.

***

Dropped my local tax payment for 2015Q4 in the mail. Sent off my sales figures to the accountant for the second half of 2015 to get my sales tax filed and paid.

My Swagbucks from our honeymoon purchase credited to my account yesterday, so I bought two $25 gift cards to American Eagle to purchase the new swimsuit I picked as my reward for losing the weight. The rest will be stored until we need it - or I'll just buy Target or Amazon Giftcards to use toward groceries.

On my Chase Slate card it says that the balance transfer has been complete, but it's not showing in either account yet. So more waiting there. Just got an email saying that my interest rate just went up to 19.24%, so hopefully that'll go through before I get charged again.

Still under budget about everywhere - including gas. Actually, I haven't spent a single dollar on gas this entire month. I guess that's good given I'll have to fill up probably a couple of times with this whole taxiing my sister around nonsense.

Tonight I'm supposed to go to dinner with a couple of friends. I reluctantly agreed. We have so much food at home. We just haven't gotten together in so long. It's looking like I would spend $12 + tip. Not horrible, but also not money I really want to spend. Maybe I'll just eat a light dinner at home and get soup or something. We aren't going until 8pm, so that's probably not a bad idea.

Saturday night I'm going to a work holiday party with a friend, and then we're going out in my hometown - something I haven't done in years, and will be interesting to say the least. I won't be drinking too heavily, so I'm expecting not to spend more than $20, and hopefully half that.

Today I need to finish up editing a set I shot last week, and do some administrative work. I also might stop by the store either today or tomorrow. I'm almost out of coffee, and Giant Eagle is running a couple of really great sales that I'd like to take advantage of (including a couple of things that are straight up free if you're part of their program).

On track for only spending $200 on groceries this month. I'll take the victories where I can!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Getting There

January 20th, 2016 at 01:37 pm

Spent some time yesterday actually charting out the budgets on the new (joint) Mint account. My plan is to be paying everything out of it by next month. DH and I had sat down a few months ago to talk over expenses and what we estimate we spend. He doesn't do any sort of budgeting, so it's going to be a learning experience finding out how much we actually spend between us.

I got a little more granular than I did with my own categories - mostly because I think it'll be useful at the end of the year to see where we're spending, and where we can cut down. My husband is a numbers guy. So even though I'm sure he wont be checking in on the account much, it'll be better for me to illustrate things later on. Not that I want to preemptively win arguments, but I really don't think he knows just how much he spends, and when we have to cut back drastically (for instance, if/when he goes back to school), it'll be easier to find where we can reduce.

***

Got a couple of checks in the mail that have been long overdue. So that's nice. Pretty much all of that income will be put toward tax savings. I also need to calculate out my income for the second half of 2015 so I can send it to my accountant and get my sales tax paid. That will be a project for today.

***

Today I'll probably swing by a mailbox and drop my Q4 local tax payment in the mail. Hooray for taxes... :/

***

Yesterday was a no-spend day. Not a very productive one, but I didn't leave the house until the evening - to go to a friend's for dinner. So free dinner as well. Tonight we'll cook. Thinking I'll make my Italian chicken again. DH really enjoyed that, and I'm making zoodles to go with it (zuchinni noodles) to make it a bit healthier. I need something a bit lighter after the *delicious* meal of enchiladas and black bean soup I had last night.

Speaking of healthy, as of yesterday I hit my goal weight for my Dietbet! Now all I have to do is maintain or lose more for the rest of the month and I'll for sure get my money back (and then some)! Feels really great Big Grin

***

That's it for me! I hope you all have a lovely day!

Spendy Weekend

January 18th, 2016 at 03:49 pm

Well, relatively spendy, anyway. We were out and about quite a bit. Dinner out Friday night (DH paid), Saturday we hit the store and bought snacks on our way out of town (DH paid again), then had dinner out that night as well (again, DH paid).

So yesterday when we got breakfast out, I footed the bill. About $20. Needless to say, I'm happy that we'll be eating at home the rest of the week. My stomach will be grateful. And even though DH paid, I'd like to be spending less together as well.

He's going to be switching his direct deposit over to the joint account today, so that will be good. I'm still waiting for the balance transfer to go through on my CC. It was supposed to hit today, but with the bank holiday I'm assuming it will be tomorrow? Hoping, anyway. Then my savings will be transferred to my Ally account for tax savings.

My non-essential spending didn't work out so well this week. I've been using swagbucks and ebates a lot lately, and I see deals and think it makes sense to take advantage of them. Nothing too crazy - but I purchased a $25 Sephora gift card to get the extra points. I'm going to have to buy new mascara here soon, and that's where I get it. Specific kind, the kind I like and feel good splurging on. Then in order to get my $10 Target gift card and the 4% cash back at Ebates, I spent $27 on a pair of leggings on sale at Athleta (the heavier performance ones for working out). The ones I wear the most are starting to rip at the crotch. lol. I reeeeally like the ones I picked out, and I generally buy them at around the same pricepoint at Marshall's or TJMaxx.

So that goal is a bust, but at least I'm taking the time to think through my purchases and not impulse shopping. Both of those would have been purchases I would make this year. And I'm still under budget for the month in all categories. Baby steps, I suppose.

***

Speaking of work out wear, I'm on schedule to win both of my Dietbet games next week - only a half a pound to go! That means I'm down 6.2 pounds now and I'll be getting back my $45 + winnings, if I make that goal. It feels really great Smile

It's going to be a busy week, so I should get back to work. Hope you all enjoyed your weekends, and those of you who have the day off, enjoy that as well Big Grin

Mid-January Update

January 15th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I can't believe it's already Friday! What a week. Things are feeling better in terms of the uncertainty mentioned in my last post. I've been starting to think through options, and that helps. I feel less out of control in the situation.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store - spent $48.45 at Aldi and $53.81 at Target, which seems like a lot, but I got enough to pretty much cover us through the rest of the month. And I still have $25 left in my budget to still stay under $200 for the month. The Target run included purchasing 2 bottles of vitamins - which was pricey, but were needed, and also got me a $5 gift card. I also got another 5 Lean Cuisines, as they were still on sale for $2 each, and I had a coupon off of 5. It's nice to have them around just in case, and I doubt I'll find a better price. Used my coupons again, as well as Cartwheel for the first time. Still waiting for my Target RED debit card to come in the mail so I can start using that. But the Chase card came. I'm just waiting for the balance transfer to go through - which should be on the 18th.

Last night I had a meeting with someone I met photographing an event a few months back. I sent him a photo I took of him meeting the former mayor, and he promised me a drink - the first I've had since New Year's. It was nice, and it turns out he has contacts in Nashville - both in the photography and urban planning worlds (that's what my degree is in), so it's encouraging that he's offered to put me in touch. I need all the help I can get.

Because it's the 15th and photos work again, here's where I'm at:



The internet is autopay, and doesn't come out until the 20th. The credit cards I've actually paid on this month - not sure why that's not up there. And the car payment should post today (I dropped it off yesterday).

But most important observations: Only $12 in shopping! "Shopping" includes anything other than what's included in the other categories, so it's also my misc. Also $0 in gas this month. I think I only spent $40 last month, with it being so very cheap and my not leaving the house much these days. haha. It's nice to not be running all over the place. Business expense really shouldn't even be on there - I need to switch those autopay accounts to my Huntington.

Next month there wont be a finance charge category, theoretically Smile

I'm thinking I'm going to look into consolidating my student loans - at least my private ones with Sallie Mae. My interest rates are through the roof (I'm talking like 9.5%), and it would at least be worth it to try so I can start making a bit more progress on them - or at least not losing a crapton of money every month.

So that's that. Halfway through January, and making a bit of progress! Here's to an equally (if not more) successful second half!

Jan 13

January 13th, 2016 at 06:44 pm

The last few days have been busy with work, so I haven't had much time to update - not much movement on my goals, though, either. I'm hoping that once this photo set gets done that I'll have some time to set aside and knock out much of the stuff in my sidebar list.

Not much to report in terms of financial news, except Amazon was late delivering another package, so I contacted them and they extended my Prime membership for free another month. So that was nice. Need to drop off my car payment today - just hadn't gotten around to it quite yet, but it's due tomorrow.

Feeling a little down today after a conversation with DH last night. It seems things are going to be a bit up in the air over the next couple of years. He wants to go back to school (which is good - he should), but that puts a lot of things into question in terms of what I'm going to do - particularly with my business. If we're moving (possibly twice) in the next two years, that doesn't give my business much time to get established. And definitely not enough to be able to support both of us, as well as the additional cost of having a baby in a few years. Just makes me wonder if I should start thinking about getting a "real" job now, or when he does go back to school. The original idea was to push ahead with my business so that when babies do come I have the flexibility of working less. That's probably not going to be possible if he's not pulling in more than a stipend.

Not impossible, but definitely much to think about. It's got me a little stressed to say the least. I don't deal well with uncertainty and things shaking up my plans. I want to be supportive, it's just difficult when I've got anxiety about the whole thing. Either way, I know we'll figure it out, whatever "it" is. Until then, just focusing on saving. And working through options so I feel like I have some semblance of control or direction. If we weren't planning on having kids in a few years, I wouldn't be sweating it at all - things are just so much more complicated when I throw that in. Funny how that happens.

***

In some good news, I'm doing great with the budget. I will have to go to the grocery store this weekend, but I've still only spent $52/$200 for the month, and it's almost half over. I can't believe how quickly this month is flying by!

Alright. Back to work! Hope you are all enjoying your week!

Jan 11

January 11th, 2016 at 01:55 pm

Things are still moving along. Making some changes to maximize my savings. Non-essential spending month is going okay. Did have to buy a new Brita pitcher the other day, but used a gift card we got from the wedding to purchase. Added $19.99 to my snowflakes (I'm adding them as I use them). Our previous is an off brand we've had for years, and it's still functional. DH said he wanted to get a bigger one, but I was going to hold out. Until I bought a new filter for it at Target. Turns out they've changed the size of their "universal" filters. They don't fit our generic one, and I'm not sure I'm going to find ones that do fit. So looks like DH got his way after all :/

Also decided to look into some ways to save at Target, given it's my secondary grocery store. I usually buy what I can at Aldi, then head there. I signed up for a Target RED debit Card. It basically links with your already-existing checking account, but then you get 5% off every purchase, and a few other nice little perks. Given how much money I tend to spend there, it seems like a worthwhile thing to have. I also downloaded the Target Cartwheel app to my phone, and I've started looking at their online store coupons. Printed out a handful the other day and used a couple for things that we needed already - Magic Erasers, with the discounts, were cheaper than the Target brand. Also picked up 5 lean cuisines for lunches. They were on sale for $2/each, and I had a coupon. A lunch for under $2 seems like a worthwhile investment to me, and I really do enjoy them. They also work well as "emergency" dinners if I don't feel like cooking.

Progress on the rest of my goals is fairly stagnant. I've spent $52/$200 of my grocery budget. The list of other financial stuff will likely be done in a day. I just need to get a day to power through it all.

I've still got 3 lbs more to go on my Dietbet - and 2 weeks to accomplish it. Starting to get a little nervous, but I know I can manage it if I'm diligent. I'm definitely feeling/looking better. Ordinarily I wouldn't focus on the number on the scale so much, but I have to in order to win the challenge and get my money back so... Wink

Need to continue my video series as well. I've just been so wrapped up in this TV show I'm loving that I've been watching that on the elliptical instead. Need to get back in gear!

As for savings goals, I really need to do some collecting from clients. I've got about $3k in open invoices, and would love to have that money to put in my savings for taxes. It's been difficult to save much at all when I don't have much coming in.

In good news, though, I have a shoot today! Booked last week, with another one later in the month. So at least I'm working. Things are still managing to be busy.

At any rate, hope you all have a great day!

Jan 7

January 7th, 2016 at 04:00 pm

Alrighty. Things are going well as can be. Applied and was approved for the Chase Slate CC this morning. Hopefully the balance transfer will go through. The limit I got was lower than on my other - so I'll transfer $2k and then pay off the remaining $220 to zero out that card, then begin on the Chase Slate - which wont increase because, you know, 0% APR for 15 months! Woo!

There will be a bit of spending today. My mom gave us a really nice humidifier, and I've been meaning to get filters for it so we can start using it. This awful cold I can't seem to shake has motivated me to get it done. Spent some time researching this morning, and there don't seem to be any places nearby to pick them up, so I ordered them on Amazon - free shipping with Prime, and I used my $6.67 I've accumulated with my Amazon Points Visa and offset the cost. Three filters for $5 isn't bad! Hopefully they'll help :/ At this point, I'm calling them "essential."

And because I'm starting to track my savings and snowflakes for the year:

Switching Fit's Car Insurance - $173.58
Cancelled Click Subscription - $18.00
Cancelled ClickinMoms Subscription - $60.00
Amazon Rewards points toward humidifier filter - $6.67

Total: $258.25 for the year

Not too shabby! Once the CC balance transfer goes through, I'll calculate out the savings and add them to the list.

Tonight I'm going across town to do a (free) yoga class with my SIL. Then we're going to get a healthy dinner somewhere. Hoping to do something cheap, and very light. I had a heavy burger last night and got rather queasy. I guess all this healthy eating has been working on me!

That's about it for today. Hope you are all having a great week!

Jan 6

January 6th, 2016 at 01:40 pm

Nothing of note to report - believe I'll be opening the Chase Slate CC and transferring my balance, but that's old news. I just went over it with DH yesterday to get his feedback, and now it's a go.

Yesterday went to the grocery store for a handful of things (toilet paper, tissues, feminine stuff, olive oil, garlic, chicken). Only got a few things beyond my list - these delicious (and very healthy!) lentil chips from Aldi, a jar of marinara (I meant to put this on the list and forgot), and a tub of cottage cheese for breakfast this coming week. I struggle with what to eat for breakfast when I'm trying to lose weight. And I'm attempting to limit my carbs, so oatmeal is out. This seemed like a good way to go.

All together, I spent $26.

Made fajitas last night. Turned out pretty fantastic. Have enough leftovers for at least one meal. Tonight I'm heading to a friend's to make dinner with him. He decided to try that Blue Apron service. I personally think it's too expensive - if I'm spending $10/portion, someone else is making my food! But I'm still happy to come over and see what the fuss is all about Smile

As for goal updates:

- Still doing good on the non-essential spending
- I thought $26 was a good grocery run. My have to stop back again later this week, but maybe not, even. We have a lot of stuff to make.
- I'm down 2 lbs. from my original starting Dietbet weight! Woo!
- Watched a Sue Bryce video yesterday - one day closer to 28!

Today will be a heavy editing day. And a light(er) work out day. My legs were so sore this morning that I'm pretty sure they were the ones that woke me up. haha. Going to focus on stretching and maybe do some arms.

Hope you all have a lovely day!

Day 5 No Non-Essential Spend Month

January 5th, 2016 at 02:31 pm

Things are looking good in that department so far. I'm sure it helps that I haven't left the house in a few days. haha. Today I will be getting out a bit - and doing some spending (obviously not on non-essentials). I have to hit the post office to get a few things out that I've been procrastinating on. It's just been so hard to motivate myself to go anywhere now that it's actually cold. haha. I also spent yesterday catching up on some editing, and that is a big priority right now.

I also need to head to the grocery store for a few key items - toilet paper and tissues, mainly. Still sick. *Really* hoping it will let up soon. It's been over a week now. When I get ill, it's difficult for me to shake. Never horribly severe, usually, just lengthy.

***

A couple of frustrating/weird things happened in the last couple of days. I had a rather unpleasant experience selling my camera on Amazon - long story short, the buyer didn't have any familiarity with my old-model camera, expected it to perform like a new one, and requested a return saying that it was damaged and/or not in the condition listed (which is not true). All of my previous selling on Amazon has gone smoothly, so I didn't have much familiarity with their returns policies. So I sent several messages back and forth after she filed an "A-to-Z Guarantee Claim." I didn't realize, while I was conversing with her about it, that I had to appeal the claim. So instead of getting the partial refund we agreed to (to cover my shipping), she received the full amount (Amazon automatically transferred the money) AND I have this nasty performance ding on my account for selling "damaged or dysfunctional equipment" (which it's not - I tested the camera after she returned it to me).

Ugh. Out $20 in shipping and still have to get rid of this stupid camera. I know there are people out there that love selling things online, but I have no patience for it. Hoping someone on Craigslist will pull through for me. May just drop the price substantially so I can be done with it.

In other news, we got our reimbursement checks from State Farm - opened new policies, and our good driving discounts don't get added until after it goes through underwriting, I guess? But then a couple days later we got an invoice. After calling our friend/insurance agent, turns out they overpaid our reimbursement and then invoiced us for the difference? lol. Good to know the method behind the madness, but it seems like a really inefficient way of doing business for them.

Either way, I'm saving about $170 this year with the switch, just for my car. I forgot to ask DH what he was paying before. Also - I'm starting to log our savings/snowflakes, partially because I'm a numbers junkie and partially because I like to have stuff to show DH when we talk finances. Maybe it will inspire him Smile

***

Also made a decision on the CC conundrum, I think. I found another card that is 0% APR for 15 months, with no balance transfer fee OR annual fee. I'm going to transfer the balance from one CC there, close the one that I don't want/use, and then see how it affects my credit score. Then I'll make a decision on the remaining CC. I'll either close it, or just leave it in a drawer for an emergency (that's what I do with the one that I don't want/need now).

That's enough for now! Lots to do today. Hope you all have a good one!

New CC?

January 3rd, 2016 at 04:46 pm

So I'm in the process of restructuring our finances so that we can handle them together now that we're married. DH and I opened a joint checking account, which is what we'll use to pay for all of our expenses. I think we're both going to close our personal checking accounts and just each have a credit card to use when we want to purchase gifts, etc.

So I have a personal checking, savings, and credit card with my current bank. My savings account currently holds my tax savings - which I'm going to transfer to my business account (which is where it needs to be anyway) and then open a savings account for my business so I can keep things separate. Money from my checking account will be transferred to the joint account. And then I'll have my credit card.

It currently has a balance of about $2,200. I get charged roughly $35 in interest every month. In Mint today I saw a suggestion of getting an Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which would give me 0% APR for the first 15 months. I'm thinking I might open that card and transfer my balance, to save on that interest, and then close all of my accounts with my current bank to make a clean break. I haven't really been spending with that card (it's been near its max, and I've been trying to pay it off). At that point, I would only use the Amex for business expenses (as needed), and I would pay off my Amazon Points Visa and use that one for my personal expenses (mainly just gifts for DH and anything that might pop up as an emergency).

My current CC is my longest standing, though. I'm not sure if my credit score would suffer terribly if I were to close that account. I have another CC that I need to close (that I don't ever use and didn't even want. Long story). I know closing these things will have a negative impact, but not sure for how long. Or if it even matters - DH and I have no plans of purchasing a home anytime soon, nor any vehicles. And I'm pretty sure his credit score is stellar. Kid has almost no debt (god bless full rides to college).

So for a savings about $420 this year, it seems to make sense. Because I'm saving for my tax payments, I'm not going to have the opportunity to focus on the CC for a while (beyond making my slightly above minimum payments).

Any thoughts would be appreciated Smile Thanks, everyone!

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2016 at 05:35 pm

Our NYE party was a hit - only about 10 people all together, but I still made a nice spread: hot sandwich roll, honey glazed smokies, and caprese skewers. As well as some hummus, salsa, chips, etc. DH handled the bartending for the night. We had made up homemade sour mix the day before and if how I felt yesterday was any indication of how much I enjoyed them, well...

Thankfully, we do have quite a bit of food left. A lot of lunchmeat and some ciabatta rolls, so we'll do sandwiches a couple of times this week. Tons of leftover drink fixins as well, but I think I'm going to take a break there. haha. I've been sick for the last week or so. Drinking as much as I did NYE was probably a mistake, but it's a holiday... Now I'm focused on getting better ASAP. It's starting to get rather miserable.

I don't have much to report on the financial front. Yesterday was a NSD. Today will be much of the same. I do need to go through and pay bills, but I decided that January will be a no-spend month. At least outside of the essentials. So far so good! Yesterday DH and I literally laid around all day, hungover. We watched a couple movies - Interstellar and the Lego Movie. Both were incredibly good. Then the rest of the day I finished the book I was working on, "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. Another good find. Not terribly exciting in the plot department, but a nice calming read that speaks to how peoples' attitudes change as they encounter abundance. Interesting stuff.

After finishing, I made myself some tea and started another in bed. Decided to tackle "Walden." It's one I've never read, but you hear a lot about. And I think it's perfectly tied into my theme of Making Space. I opted out of sitting on social media for hours this morning and got a good chunk of pages this morning read as well Smile

***

I sat down and thought through some of my goals for the year, and usually I write out a list of 10-20 things I want to accomplish. And usually they sit in that list all year without much accomplishment. I decided to do things differently this time around. I'm going to set basic monthly goals, but other than that I'll just stick to making good daily decisions (a la "Making Space") and record my accomplishments as I meet them. I'd rather celebrate the things I'm proud of than be perpetually reminded of the things that have no longer become priorities.

Not to say that I don't still have goals Smile It's just hard to tell at the beginning of the year if something like NaNoWriMo will still be a priority in November. Things change, and I like to stay flexible. So instead, I'll tuck things like that away in my mind, and re-evaluate when the time comes.

For January, my goals are:

- No spend month, outside of essentials (no clothes, home items, beauty products, entertainment, etc)
- Cut grocery budget to under $200
- Win Dietbets (lose 6.7 lbs by Jan 25)
- Finish 28 Days with Sue Bryce Program (I purchased this last year and never went through it)
- Go through pricing course with photog friend

As for overarching financial/budget goals with DH, I've decided to not even have that conversation. haha. We went over our basic goals when we had the original (stressful) conversation, so until we really know what this is going to look like, I'm holding off. Instead, my goals will be to get things actually set up! In January, I would like to:

- Set up Mint for Joint Account
- Switch DH's direct deposit to Joint Account
- Switch all autopay bills to Joint Account
- Figure out account structure and open/close necessary accounts (personal and business)
- Enter all of my backlogged income and expenses into Quickbooks so I have an accurate look at what I'll owe in taxes

So I will add these January Goals to my sidebar, and hopefully we'll see some progress!

Wishing you all a lovely New Year!