The time really does fly by...
So let's take a look at spending for the month:
I'm overall really happy with how I did. Though I definitely went over budget in a few areas- mainly with restaurant eating, as usual- I'm still quite proud of the accomplishments of the month. I spent half what I did last month on food, and I think I only purchased coffee one time.
I had a few just really stupid expenses that I shouldn't even have bothered with- $20 in TV that came on Netflix 4 hours after I bought it on Amazon, and $20 in iCloud storage because I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to technology. That's $40 that could have been put to MUCH better use. Sigh...
Not included in this breakdown was the $1,562 payment to clear my CC, the $748 put toward my EF, or the $100 in car repairs I made.
It also doesn't include the $25 in Gas I spent today, which wont clear for a couple more days.
I didn't make any freelance income this month, which did put me a bit behind... but I still ended up with money leftover (though it's getting rotated into paying next month's bills at the moment).
Now on to budgeting for October!
I'm going to pad my EF a bit more, because I still haven't found a job to replace mine when the contract ends. I'm already a month ahead on my Student loans, but you can never be too careful. I don't have a CC payment anymore, so there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to add another $1,000 or so.
Archive for September, 2013
The time really does fly by...
Last week was incredibly busy with several events for work and being out Thursday afternoon and Friday for BF's sister's wedding. I'm playing catch-up this week, but feeling much better today about progress than I was yesterday. I had events all weekend for work as well, so I didn't get much of a break-- and because I had drill the weekend prior, I haven't really had a day off to just relax. I'm definitely starting to feel a little burnt out as a result. I'm trying to stay energetic and positive, though.
Despite all of that, I'm still managing to stay under budget overall. I should really get to the grocery store here soon, but I'm also trying to use up some of the random odds and ends I have in my kitchen. I just know if I let it go on too long that I'll start eating out because there's nothing convenient to grab. I feel like half the battle of budgeting/saving is knowing your own behaviors and pre-empting them. haha.
Because I'm about $150 under budget with only a week or so left in the month, I transferred $50 to my savings account. I have a few savings goals that I need to keep in mind, and with my car deteriorating fast I know it's not a terrible idea to start saving up for a new one. I'm hoping it holds out for another 6 months before completely falling apart. haha. But we'll see. I only have $1k in my EF, so I'm thinking that padding it might be good regardless-- at least until I secure a job for November. I really do want to focus on my loans, though. It's kind of sad when I have to decide between saving or paying off my loans. I guess it's good that this is where I struggle, rather than spending money on stuff I don't need.
Anyway, lots to do today, so this is a quick update! Below you'll see my current spending for the month (in green) compared to the same period last month (in yellow). Feeling pretty good about it
Nothing terribly interesting to report today. Went to the mall yesterday and managed to not spend a cent! Had to help the BF pick out a suit for his sister's wedding this weekend. I'll be wearing one of the many dresses in my closet that don't get nearly enough wear. Usually I use a wedding as an excuse to buy something new. Not this time!
Ate breakfast at home. Brought my coffee and lunch to work. Leftovers from last night. Mmm. I'll be cooking dinner tonight to bring leftovers in tomorrow.
Used rewards points and a coupon to grab a makeup item for $3.25 (including shipping). Pretty pumped about that. I did break down and buy the second season of New Girl from Amazon Prime this morning. It was $22. But considering I don't pay at all for cable or TV, I can justify the cost. Season 3 starts tonight and I'm not quite caught up. If only Netflix would have just put up both 1&2...
That being said, I'm still on track to be way under budget. Though I did budget $200 for medical expenses, and I haven't quite gotten around to scheduling an appointment... we'll see what that works out to be.
That's about it for today's update. Hope you all are having a good week so far!
So here we are. Another week, and we're a little over the halfway mark in September. I can't believe just how fast time is flying...
At any rate, here is my update:
This past weekend was drill weekend. I ended up staying in at my place Friday night, so no spending there. I wasn't feeling well and just ended up taking a long bath and watching Netflix.
Saturday I got gas on my drive down (it's an hour to get to where I drill, which is about 5 min away from my mom's house. That's where I stay so I don't have to drive back). Spent about $25 on gas.
I always end up going out to lunch on drill weekends- because they usually give us rather unappetizing boxed lunches and it's our time to take a break from the day. Saturday we hit chipotle. I spent about $6. Yesterday, we went to Piada- that was roughly $7.
Saturday night I stayed in, had leftovers from mom's fridge, and worked on an online graphic design class that a friend of mine is paying me to take for her. I kind of feel bad- I generally wouldn't do something like this. Education is important. But she's never going to be a graphic designer, and it's a win-win for us. I would have paid to take this class, and I'm getting a bit of cash out of it. And she doesn't have to spend time struggling through it. This is how I rationalize it, and that's that. heh.
Last night was pretty chill. Ice cream Sunday with the boy, and then watched some TV and went to sleep. This week is going to be a really busy one- so I wanted to get some rest.
Today I ate breakfast at home, brought in coffee. I tried my Aldi Donut Shop coffee for the first time today. Not terrible. I put so much flavored creamer in it that it really doesn't matter what coffee I use regardless. Brought a can of soup for lunch.
Tonight I'm going to the mall with BF so he can buy a suit for his sister's wedding this weekend. Hoping I don't feel the urge to purchase anything. It's hard to trust myself in malls... but I have faith that I will maintain my self control.
Cooking dinner tonight so I can take leftovers for lunch. I didn't go grocery shopping this weekend, but I should be okay for the next few days. I may hit Aldi for a few things, but I'm going to try and hold out until the weekend if possible. I have plenty of food at home right now.
Mid month breakdown:
The green bars are for this month, the yellow are for the same period from last month. As you can see, food and dining spending is way better this month than last. I was also able to pay a lot more on the student debt this month, which is awesome.
I used my CC for all purchases this weekend (to get the rewards points), but I paid it off this morning, so I'm back to a zero balance.
Right now I have $60 in amazon gift cards from rewards points-- thanks to PNC points and Swagbucks. I'm going to start piling them up as much as I can to buy xmas gifts and little things that pop up. I'm at about 100 swagbucks right now. I'm earning them pretty fast these days...
Anyway, time to get back to work. Hope you all had a great weekend, and have an equally great week!
Not much to report on today. Ate breakfast at home, brought coffee along. Boss took us out for lunch. I did go out to dinner with a friend I haven't seen in a while, spent about $15 on food and one beer.
Paid my internet bill. Still under budget for the month. Still feeling good about things. Did get an email saying that my $50 Amazon gift card is on its way (it was on backorder from my PNC points). I'm also up to 371 Swagbucks, so I'll have another $5 Amazon gift card on its way soon. The one from last week cleared just yesterday.
Tonight BF and I are going to our friends' to play a board game called Settlers (if you've never played, I highly recommend it!) and socialize. I like these nights in. They're inexpensive, and we have a really good time.
So that's it! Tomorrow should be a no-spend day. Not sure what my plans are for the evening, but I'll be heading down to mom's to stay because I have drill this weekend. Yippie. lol. It'll be nice to see her, regardless.
Hope you all are having a good Thursday!
What. a. week.
I happily reported on my little victories the other day, but I'm having quite the hectic week regardless.
Yesterday I worked through mid afternoon, then left work early to drive down to Columbus to see the USMNT beat Mexico 2-0. That was pretty amazing! I did buy us food on the way down, as BF covered both tickets and drinks while we were down there. That was about $14-- so nothing crazy.
We did end up driving back last night, but it was still a late one. I woke up not only exhausted this morning, but my allergies were raging, and other fun factors have my stomach in a bind (unfortunately, not alcohol related).
I ate breakfast and lunch at home today-- took my car in to get the muffler fixed. I was happy to come out of it only spending $100. There's another piece that will likely break at some point, and they quoted me $300 for that... but it'll just make it a little louder and wont actually hurt anything. So I opted to wait until it gets bad to deal with that. Still need to fix my windows (the front ones don't roll down anymore), but that's another expense I can procrastinate. It's about to get cold anyway, I don't need to roll my windows down Paid the bill with the CC to get the reward points, but I'll be paying it off in full as soon as it posts.
That being said, I have an extra $400 in the budget to reallocate. Which will, of course, be going to that student loan account. I'll be able to dip under $12k this month. That's pretty exciting!
In other good news, I had talked to BF previously about the potential of him giving me a "loan" to essentially refinance some of my student loan debt. I usually wouldn't intermingle my expenses with a significant other, but given that we're planning on getting married in about a year, it seems alright. I'd never ask him to pay my loans off, but from a joint financial perspective, him paying off my loan so that I can pay him back at zero interest is going to save a lot of money in interest over the course of the next decade or so. The faster I pay off my loans, the sooner I can contribute more to things like downpayments on a house and saving for having kids/college/etc.
We talked about it for a while, and he was a bit uneasy because he still hadn't sold his car and wasn't quite where he wanted to be in terms of saving. We had also originally talked about him paying off the total $12k.
Yesterday, though, we revisited the topic-- as he finally sold his car and is back where he was in his savings. The arrangement we agreed on was that after I cut this loan in half, he's going to pay off the last $6,000 on it, and then I'll pay him back at zero interest for that one. Kind of a testament to my dedication to all of it, and it gives him a little time to save up a bit more as well. Nonetheless, that's still quite a bit of money I'll save in interest-- and it'll likely move into a situation where that same money just revolves after a loan is paid off. It could save us a lot in the end.
Needless to say, the BF is a pretty awesome dude. And I'm so very fortunate that he is in the position to help out where he can and already does.
All that being said, it's time for me to get back to work. I have a lot of catching up to do! Hope you're all having a great week.
Alright. So my paycheck cleared and here were are:
September 15: Pay off CC
September 15: Have $1,000 in EF
By End of year: Get SM4 Loan down to $6,000
I know, it seems like not a ton when you're only down $400 or so-- but the money I had left over to pay my loans included all of my minimum payments as well. Next month there will be a much bigger dent on the loans themselves. Also, I will hopefully have some leftover budgeted money to put toward it at the end of this month. We'll see how I do!
Nonetheless, it feels good to have that CC paid off and a little money saved. I know that $1,000 is pretty easy for me to blow through without a job (hence why my CC was so high already), but I really do want to focus on these loans. Perhaps I'll re-evaluate after the first of the year.
So yesterday I spent all day at a nonprofit volunteering my creative services, and it was a blast. They also bought our group lunch and dinner, which was really nice of them. I brought coffee from home and ate breakfast before I left, so yesterday was a no-spend day.
BF also gave me his activated 5-day bus/train pass from this weekend, so for the next few days I'll be riding for free. Woo! I called my mechanic over the weekend, but never heard back. I need to call again today... as I really need it fixed by this weekend.
Today I'll be bringing coffee/lunch. BF and I are driving down to Columbus tonight to see the USMNT play their qualifier against Mexico. I told him I couldn't buy my ticket, as it wasn't in the budget-- so if he wanted me to go with, he would have to cover it. And cover it he did. He really is a sweetheart, that one. I'm thankful that only one of us is facing a serious student loan problem. Outside of the car loan he just got, he's debt-free. I'm sure it'll make our future marriage much happier the less debt we've got.
I have a super busy day at work today, so I'm going to get going. Hope you all are having a wonderful week, though!
So yesterday I felt like crap... and consequently spent the majority of the day in bed. Thankfully, however, I woke up feeling pretty good today... and now am having one of the more productive days I've had in a while
Rode my bike to a friend's this morning to go on a 3 mile run. Yesterday I agreed to do the 4.5 mile leg of a marathon relay that's happening in 3 weeks. Last week I tried to run 2 miles and felt like death. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do in 3 weeks. Today's run was rough. And we definitely took a couple of walking breaks. It doesn't help that my 3 mile ride to her house wore me out before I even got there. Nonetheless, I'm happy I did as well as I did and I'm excited to run the relay.
After I got home from my bike/run/bike, I started on my laundry, cleaned most of my apartment, went to the grocery store, washed the hand-wash only clothes I have (a task I've been putting off for a while), hardboiled the 8 eggs that had today as the "use by" date, and phew. I am beat. And my feet are incredibly tired now.
Feeling really good, though!
I spent just under $25 at the grocery store. Had a lot of stuff leftover from last week, and I'm stocked up on many of the essentials. So I'm feeling pretty good.
My pay check should ideally clear tomorrow. Pretty pumped to allocate that money. I did make a mistake in my calculations, though. I forgot my landlord hasn't cashed my check yet... so that's $475 less that I can allocate to student loans. Glad I caught that prior to making that payment. That means I can only really allocate about $775 to student loans this month-- but that is still largely additional payments, because I had already paid this month's Sallie Mae bill last month.
Tonight BF's roomie is going to come over to get this whole car-fixing process started. I need to call my mechanic to see when I can drop it off, though. I really need my car by this coming weekend to get to drill. Bah. Stupid car troubles. Tonight is also Ice Cream Sunday! BF and I have a weekly ice cream date... and it's something we always look forward to
That's it for me! Hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday.
So I hounded my boss enough that yesterday he cut me a check. Our payroll person has been out for the last couple of weeks, and I guess a problem with our servers has made it difficult. Nonetheless, I am $4500 less poor. At least for now.
I deposited the check this morning, so hopefully by Monday I'll be able to move it all around. That's when the fun starts. Pay off the CC, put about $750 in my EF, and then fix my car. After that, it's time to hit those student loans. I just need to make sure I keep enough in my account to cover rent and utilities for next month, and some grocery money, and the $200 I set aside for medical expenses (I need to schedule an appointment).
I sat down with my spreadsheet and worked it out, and it seems I'll be able to put a total of $1,250 toward student loans comfortably, assuming a budget of $500 for car repairs. I'm reeeeeally hoping it's not even that much, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
If I pay off the CC, pay up the EF, and put $1,250 toward my loans, I should be left with $1,569 in my account-- which will get me to my next paycheck, ideally, including those repairs. Potentially more, if I underestimate a couple of those expenses. That would be nice...
So that's spending on big ticket items, here's the recap of spending over the last week:
"Health and fitness" is my insurance payment, and my rent should sneak in next week when my landlord cashes my check. But as you can see, food and dining is only at about $63-- which only includes a $10 non-grocery purchase (ice cream for BF and my weekly Sunday tradition). Woooo!!! If you compare that to the same time period last month, you see a rather large difference:
Have I mentioned I love Mint?! Something about being able to visualize the difference graphically really resonates with me.
Last night did end up going out with friends. All of my drinks were covered by BF and his roomies, as I drove home (so I only had a few anyway). Cooked enchiladas before going out. BF really liked them. We'll be making that again.
Not sure exactly what the plans are tonight, but hopefully it won't be too crazy. I'm exhausted from going out last night, and not really wanting to do too much celebrating. I'd be happy just lounging around my apartment all night, in all honesty.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to really do a number on my apartment. It sorely needs to be cleaned. It's probably not a terrible idea to look at my grocery situation and decide what I'll be cooking this coming week. I'm happy to say that I actually cooked all 3 meals I intended to make. That's pretty good for me. I usually have grand plans, and then end up throwing food away because I'm too lazy to cook... ugh.
Nurturing better habits here!
Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!
So it's Friday and I can say honestly that I haven't spent a dime on lunch, coffee, or dinner outside of the grocery store.
Of course, that is in part thanks to a boss that buys us lunch pretty frequently and a boyfriend that was nice enough to grab me a pumpkin coffee this morning
Went to the City Club today to see a great speaker. Work paid for our tickets, which came with lunch. Very nice.
Tonight I'll be eating leftovers for dinner or making enchiladas, depending on the plans for tonight. BF's roomie is (I think) coming over to get the car-fixing process started. I need to secure my exhaust pipe somewhere that is NOT dragging on the ground so I can drive it to the shop. So it'll be a start.
BF and I are heading about 45 min away tonight to celebrate a friend's b-day. I have a $40 bar budget for the month. I'm trying to limit myself to $10-15 tonight. That shouldn't be difficult, as BF generally picks up bar tabs. But we'll see. I'm going to want to go easy tonight regardless. I'm working most of the day tomorrow.
So yesterday I had a great call with the marketing staff at Ready For Zero. That's a website that aims to help you pay down your debt. I've had an account on their site for some time now, and they started blogging regularly and created an online community on Facebook that I've been fairly active on. I created this image a couple of weeks ago to put up as my laptop's desktop wallpaper to keep it front and center, then posted it to the group in case someone else might benefit:
One thing lead to another, and now I'm creating a few more and creating a post for their blog, with potential for freelance design work in the future. Just goes to show that providing value with good intentions can go a long way.
I'm so ready for the weekend. I don't know what it was about this week, but I'm exhausted today. My allergies are on the fritz, and I'm just plain tired. I'm also getting antsy because I still haven't gotten my paycheck. I really don't care much for getting paid once a month already. It just makes it worse when our server is having issues and we can invoice or cut checks... bah. Thankfully, I'm not on a time-crunch for any bills up to this point. I just want to get paying on this CC already.
Anyhoo. Enough complaints! Time to get back to work. Hope you all have a great Friday!
So this week has been going *incredibly* well. No food or coffee purchased out, and I cooked up a big batch of soup last night-- so I have leftovers for a few days. Still have lunch in the fridge from yesterday, so I'm set for today.
I was looking at my PNC points yesterday, and realized that I had enough for a $50 Amazon gift card, so I ordered that. It's apparently on backorder, so it'll probably be a while, but it's nice to know it's on its way. It could make for a good gift, or possibly pay for a few items on my wish list.
I also have a $5 Amazon gift card from my Swagbucks account. I just started hopping on every day to start building up the points. I usually only do the things that take a minute or so (NOSO, daily poll, search a few random terms). Today I installed the Chrome plugin so it's my default search. Maybe that'll rack them up a bit.
I'm also a subscriber to Birchbox. It's $10/month, which is a good enough splurge for me. If I review everything in a month, too, I get 10 points per review (100 points gives me $10 to spend in the store, which can usually get me something useful).
I figure that racking up the rewards points isn't a terrible idea with the holidays coming up. It's terrible to start thinking about Christmas already, but I figure if I start planning now I might be able to prepare adequately. I also have 2 weddings that I need to plan gifts for (and a wedding shower this weekend...).
I stumbled upon a website yesterday that I thought was really great:
Some of you may already be familiar, but it's all about saving and debt reduction. She's personable, and has a great blog. She also promotes the "Spending Fast" and the "Spending Diet." I was reading through, and it's all about writing out needs/wants lists and finding ways to make do with what you've got. I'm not sure I can go quite as intensely as she does, but I'm sure going to try!
It did get me thinking about a few purchases I'd really like to make in the next few months:
- New eyeshadow (the one I use every day is almost gone)
- Settlers of Catan (a board game that I absolutely love.. but has a pretty steep price tag)
- Membership to a local forum "Club" (it's great for networking and they have fantastic speakers)
- A new pair of boots for winter
These are definitely not "needs." They're wants, some of which are more justified than others. I have *plenty* of eyeshadow, just not in the shade that I use every day. Maybe it's time to switch things up? I own the iPad version of that game, and my friend has it... so it's more about having the convenience to play it with other people. But I have tons of board games as well.
The City Club membership would be nice, but can definitely wait (might put that one on the xmas list). And boots are certainly the most practical... maybe that will be a matter of selling off some clothes and getting them consignment. I should do a good raid of my closet regardless...
So many of these things are things I can do without... so I'm not going to account for them in the budget. I'll either make do, or find some other way to grab them.
Enough rambling from me. I'm going to eat the lunch I brought from home and finish up work so I can enjoy some of the gorgeous weather we're having here in Ohio! Hope you all have a great day.
On a roll this week, I mean it!
Did my grocery shopping last night. Spent $58.73. Seemed kind of steep, but if it keeps me out of restaurants, I'm certainly okay with that. I'm still trying to cope with the ridiculous amount of money I spent on food last month...
Made chili for dinner last night, have enough leftovers for 2 meals- brought one for lunch today, but the office ended up buying takeout for everyone. It really is a great perk of working where I do. My boss comps quite a few meals for us.
I'll have a little more time to cook tonight, so I may just do so to have more leftovers later on in the week (I tend to get lazy a lot and only eat things I can readily grab and eat or pop in the microwave. Leftovers rarely go bad in my apt). I'm going for a run after work, so we'll see how I feel after.
Brought coffee to work today. Almost out. I decided to be brave, though, and try out the Aldi brand "Donut Shop" coffee. We'll see how that is. I'm a Dunkin Donuts girl for the most part when it comes to coffee. That being said, I use so much flavored creamer, I'm not sure it's going to make much of a difference. At half the price, I'm willing to experiment.
As of today, all of my utilities and rent are paid (except internet, which doesn't post or let me pay until later in the month). So once I get my paycheck, it's almost all toward my goals, baby! Well, that and car repairs. I still need to take it in to be looked at...
So I forgot about my PNC points program... and apparently my heavy spending with the CC last month racked them up. Can't say that's a *good* thing, but it at least is a silver lining! There's a $50 Amazon gift card coming my way. Woo! I'm almost out of the eyeshadow I use every single day. I know it's kind of a silly expense, but I'll use just a little of it toward that. Good news, regardless!
Last night I got this really awful muscle spasm in my foot. I get them fairly frequently, but never for more than like 20 seconds. This one lasted about 5 minutes. Terribly painful. Had to soak it in hot water eventually to get it to calm. Think I need to start drinking some serious water, and maybe grab some over the counter muscle relaxers if it happens again... so strange.
Okay, enough rambling. Hope you are all having a great day!
So it's back to work we go!
Didn't spend money on food out last night. Finished off a bottle of wine I've been meaning to get to while playing a board game with friends. Oh- I also went for a run yesterday! Progress! lol.
BF bought dinner. I offered to cook, but ah well.
Today the boss took us out for lunch, which was really nice (and delicious). I'm heading to the grocery store tonight to stock up and cook dinner. Still at the office and I need to get going because I'm starving...
Hope you all are transitioning back into work alright! Later!
So yesterday I finished that editing job (finally!), and they were *super* fast in paying me. I just started the transfer from my paypal account to my bank account, so I'll be distributing that money where it needs to go soon.
Yesterday I only spent money on ice cream-- it's my and BF's weekly date. He's been paying for things a lot, so it seemed worth it to shell out the $$ for ice cream. Made dinner at home, and didn't go out. We were feeling pretty tired, so we just hung out around the house with his roommate. I finished up the 2nd season of Once Upon a Time. Which is good. Because now it wont be a distraction... I have a lot to accomplish today!
I still need to mail in my rent, so I'll be doing that. I want to cook up breakfast for the rest of the week, work out, catch up on work for both my full-time job and side business, and vacuum around the house.
It's a lot to get done in one day, but I'm going to try my best. That being said, better get to it! Hope you are all having a lovely holiday.
I can't believe it's already here. The time has just been flying by.
So it's Sunday. I'm thrilled for the long weekend-- I have a lot of catching up to do on different things professionally and around the house. It'll be nice to feel like I have a chance to get on top of things.
Friday I had the opportunity to go out, but I didn't feel terribly well, and certainly didn't want to go out and spend money on drinks I didn't really feel like drinking. So I stayed at home and binge-watched the second season of Once Upon a Time (that just got added to Netflix weeee!).
Yesterday I spent some time cleaning, submitted a job application, and then drove down to Columbus with BF for the soccer game. He pretty much covered everything except Arby's (kind of a weird tradition for us when we go). It was about $17 between the two of us, but he paid for the tickets, as well as drinks and snacks while we were there.
Today we're debating whether to go to his family's picnic. We'd both love to see the fam, but it's another couple-hour drive, and after being in the car so much yesterday we're both a bit pooped. If we don't do that, we'll probably go to a friend's for board games. I thankfully have drinks to bring, so that will be a zero expense night.
Very excited to get my paycheck so I can start on these goals of mine. I'm kind of stuck until then.
This week I have some shorter-term goals:
[ ] Spend $0 on food from restaurants/fast food
[ ] Put in 2 job applications
[ ] Work out at least 3 times
[ ] Eat gluten free
Shouldn't be too difficult, but it's important to map them out!
At any rate, I should probably get to some of the things I'm trying to accomplish today. Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!