<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: The Budget
 

Viewing the 'The Budget' Category

Work Craziness and Progress Made

July 7th, 2018 at 03:53 pm

So D(X?)H and I got our bank account situation squared away this past week. He had a previously existing account still open from before we got married, so we just split our joint balance down the middle and transferred half to his account, then took his name off of it. Closed the joint CC. We're getting there.

Still haven't moved my washer/dryer. Between the hassle of hiring a truck, the weather not cooperating with my dear sweet volunteers, and the whirlwind of my life, I think I'm just going to hire someone to do it and save myself some headache.

The last two weeks have been rough to say the least. Had a really really bad (emotional) day at the end of last week, and it happened to coincide with my boss' announcement that he put in his two weeks. We were still trying to fill *his* boss' position, so currently I'm the most qualified person in the building to step up. Which I'm now doing, at least temporarily. While there are so many good things to this (will look good on my resume, is good experience, will come with a bonus), it's going to add a mountain-load of stress on my plate at a time where I was trying to eliminate as much change as possible. I really loved my management team when I was hired on, and now both are going to be leaving or gone. I met the top candidate for the senior position and wasn't even remotely impressed, so this could be really terrible in the end. I'm trying to stay optimistic, but it's hard to not be ridden with anxiety about the whole thing.

But hey, rolling with the punches is just what I've got to do right now. So do it I will.

The good news in all of this is that the raise I was already going to fight for has a lot more leverage behind it. I had the opportunity to give them a number, and we'll see what they come back with. Depending on how all of the transition goes, I may end up looking for another job. Not ideal given I'm not sure I'll even be in this city for longer than a year, but we'll see. If I can manage to stay put while making enough money and not wanting to rip my hair out, that's definitely my preference. haha.

***

Now that our finances are split, I have a much more accurate picture of what I have to work with and my budget. I'm really curious to see my first utility bill - that's still kind of a question mark. But hopefully once that bill comes in and I figure out how big of a bump I'm going to see in my salary, I can be on more solid ground for planning. Until then, just trying to keep expenses low and my mental health stable.

Hope everyone had a great holiday week. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!

Back again! With even more change this time.

June 1st, 2018 at 01:03 pm

So here we are again – I haven’t posted in quite some time, and a big life change is happening. So I come back to the SA community. Y’all have seen me through so many life changes. Why should this one be any different? Ha.

So I’m getting a divorce. DH and I have been unhappy for a long time and grown apart pretty drastically over the last few years since we got married. It’s been amicable – weirdly, lovingly so. We both know it’s the right thing to do, and we’ll both be better for it. Our divorce thus far has been far healthier than our actual marriage. Irony and all that. Nonetheless, it has been hard. We’ve been together almost 8 years. It’s going to be a lot of history to shift away from. It’s going to continue to be painful. But I’m trying to focus on opportunity and the chapter that lies ahead. There is plenty to be thankful for. Not the least of which being our continued support for one another.

The splitting up comes with a lot of logistical stuff to deal with, and going from two incomes to one is going to certainly be an adjustment. I’m apartment hunting right now. We’re on the hook for our current apartment until the end of July, so we have some time. Just seeing what’s out there and hoping something amazing in my price range pops up… We thankfully have about $20k saved up in our joint account since getting married. We’ll be splitting that down the middle. We have no shared property, so things should be pretty easy on that end. None of our belongings will be hotly contested or fought over, so it’s really just a process of getting it all done.

I drew up a budget for myself last week and was more than a little scared about making all of my student loan payments. I’ve been paying about $600/month in minimum payments, and an additional $180 for my car. Which is a lot for just my debt… But I think I’ve worked it all out for the best. I was able to get my big chunk of private student loans refinanced (approval went through today) – which not only dropped my minimum down, but also my interest rate went from an average 10% variable to a 6% fixed. Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty good about that right now. Really happy this full-time job thing worked out for me after all. Ha. So that dropped my minimum payments down by about $150/month. Then with the money we’re splitting, I’m going to pay off one of my federal loans (about $1600) – which will eliminate a $130/month payment AND the rest of my car (about $4400). I wont have a ton of savings to show for it, but at least I know I’ll be able to cover my bills. And of course I save on interest payments.

And while I will have dropped my minimum payments, I don’t plan to only pay the minimums. In fact, I’d like to continue paying about the same amount every month as I have been. I just want to make sure I’m good even if I can’t go above my minimums. Really, I’d like to aggressively pay my loans in the coming year – in a way that I couldn’t before (both because I was paying so much, and because DH was so appalled by my minimums that paying above was not an option). My plan is to divert the majority (if not all) of my freelance income toward debt. And step up the amount of that I’m doing.

My other plan is to ask for a raise – sooner than later. I have more than demonstrated my value since starting my job, and my boss is amply aware that I should be getting paid more. We’ll see what I can swing (or rather, what he can swing).

So I’m getting there. I’m plotting and planning and trying to figure out all of the things I’ll be able to manage through it all. To be completely honest, I’m ecstatic to get to live alone again. I really enjoyed it when I did. And while of course it was amazing to have shared finances, I’m excited to have the opportunity to really dig into paying off my debt in a way I haven’t been able to. I think it will be so freeing to see it being chipped away at, and will put me in a great position for the next chapter of my life – because I honestly don’t know what it will look like or where it will be.

I’m just beyond thankfully that I’m not finding myself in an awful position through all of this. I understand that I am truly lucky (from both an emotional and financial standpoint) for things to be as smooth as they are.

There are a million things I could update here, of course. But for now, I’m going to just be excited about this bit of progress. These days, taking things one day (or even hour, at some points) at a time is where I’m at. Just have to keep moving forward. Ever forward.

Hope y’all are well, and I look forward to catching up with your posts as I become more active!

Back to Normal after the Holiday

November 28th, 2017 at 04:48 am

Whew! What a weekend. It was a really nice time, but very long. We clocked about 14 hours in the car total, visited 3 different cities, and ate 3 different Thanksgiving meals. I gained roughly 6 pounds over the course of it all. haha.

Trying to get back to feeling normal. All of the traveling (and eating, and drinking) had me exhausted all day yesterday. We didn't get home til 5pm on Sunday, and the only thing I had the energy to do was throw some pasta in a pan and heat up sauce. I think I went to bed at 8:30.

Yesterday at work was alright despite the tiredness. It's going to be a busy week - which I don't mind so much. I went to the wellness center after I got off, and worked out for about 1.5 hours all told. I've been really enjoying one of the pre-programmed courses on the elliptical, and it's an hour long. At the end of that hour it says I've burned almost 700 calories, so I'm really good with that. haha. Then I got on the rowing machine for 2000 meters. After working out I swung by Aldi. Managed to stay under $50 - which puts me right at my $250 budget for the month. Would have been slightly less, but we had to buy some things for our "Friendsgiving" contribution when we were out of town - and those foil pans at the grocery store are ridiculously expensive. Had I realized I would have found a Dollar Tree or something. A 12-pack was also included in that, so the total there was close to $40.

I suggested to a friend of mine we get together this week because his birthday was over the weekend. When he asked where I'd want to go out, I suggested he come over and I cook, so that's what we're doing! I'm making chicken paprikas tonight, which has been sounding so good lately with the chilly weather. Bought a bigger bird than usual so I could use part of it for a soup I'm making later in the week. I've been saving all of my vegetable scraps to make broth. Want to add chicken to it for even more flavor (and the meat for the soup itself). I've never made broth at home, but when I saw the idea to keep the ends of carrots, celery, onions, etc. I loved the idea of not letting them go to waste. So I started a bag in the freezer to keep the odds and ends. And then the same with chicken. When I trim meat, I end up just throwing little bits in the trash. Saving them in the freezer made sense to me so I could add them to the broth. Less waste is always welcome in my house.

Meals this week are:

- Chicken Paprikas w Egg Noodles
- Sweet potato and black bean burrito bowls (DH made this last night and it was great)
- Hawaiian Chicken with Rice
- Sausage and White Bean Soup
- Emergency Pizza

I'm expecting leftovers with a few of these, so it should cover us through the week. Maybe more, we'll see!

Started my little bit of xmas shopping. Hoping to finish it all by the 10th or so - then ship the box out to my mom's. Clarified with DH's family that we will not be doing gifts again this year. Did grab DH a pair of socks. Will be picking him up just a couple more little things. Putting my tree up at some point this week!

Just hoping to ride out the rest of November here without spending too much. It was an expensive month with all the travel. December may be pricier than I expected it to be, as it looks like we'll have a few visitors over the course of the month, and DH is taking another trip back to Ohio (I have my opinions on this). But I'm going to do my best to minimize all spending otherwise.

That's about it for now! Hope you all have a lovely week!

Finally an accurate picture

November 18th, 2017 at 06:29 am

So though I've been budgeting with Mint for the last month or two - I had found some errors and needed to clarify a couple of things with DH about how things were being paid (he set up autopay for a lot of our accounts), and how often the university pays him. I adjusted my numbers and the situation isn't quite as dire as I had initially understood it to be - we can at least live off our full-time income without having to stress that one spare dollar over the budget is cutting into our savings. And if we're frugal about it, we could even sock some away in our savings. Which will be useful during the summer months when DH wont be working. His income is supposed to increase by a bit come next semester when he starts teaching, so that will also help. We can't quite sustain with just my income. Sadly, he makes about as much as I do as a PhD grad student as I do working full-time.

So with that accurate picture, I feel much more comfortable setting some goals for the next year or so. Now that I do have a full-time job, I'd love to revisit the idea of consolidating (at least my private) student loans to get those interest rates down. And I really love the idea of throwing any extra income that way so I can hopefully get rid of them some day... I'm already paying $640/month in my minimums. But it will remain like that if I don't get super aggressive.

Thankfully, I am seeing some business stirring. That last possible photography job did not end up happening, but I have another smaller gig in the works and a potential design project as well... so the networking has been paying off. This kind of work is so dependent on word of mouth. It's nice to see things picking up finally.

This week has been (and will continue to be) a pricey one. Just a lot of socializing - which means drinks, dinner. A friend of mine came through town earlier in the week. Another had a birthday. Today we're driving to Nashville for the taped table read of my screenplay (woooo!), but that also means food/drinks. Next week we're going back to Ohio for the holiday, which again... Thankfully we'll be with family a lot of that time, but not the entirety. And our gas budget is definitely blown.

I guess on the good news, I'm killing it with the grocery budget, and even with a couple small purchases my "misc" spending hasn't even kicked in because of the refund I got from my cancelled class.

Speaking of which, I got a GREAT deal the other day using Victoria Secret coupons from the mail. 20% off any item and 2 free pairs of undies with any purchase. I've been putting off buying another "everyday" kind of bra. I'm the type that wears the same one day in and day out most of the time. Which isn't good, and wears them out quite quickly. $30 for a VS bra and a couple pairs of undies was an incredible value.

Need to get a jump on my xmas shopping. Still need to get word from DH's family if we're going to do any gifts. But I for sure am going to buy something small for my mom, sister, and mom's BF to send to their place before xmas hits. And I think DH and I decided to exchange a couple small things. So there is some spending in the works.

I'm actually excited about xmas for the first time in a really long time, it just being DH and me. Our plan is to have a Die Hard marathon at home, lounging in our PJs, exchange gifts, make delicious food, and all around relax. I'm looking forward to putting up our tree. I'm looking forward to no stress. I'm looking forward to the holiday feeling like an actual holiday. It's an almost foreign feeling for me, but I can get used to it.

At any rate, time for me to get some things done before we whisk out of town for a really exciting event tonight! I hope you all are having such a great week.

Week Overview

February 14th, 2017 at 07:48 am

Just realized it's been about a week since I last posted. I need to stay on the ball (when I'm not posting, you can be sure I'm probably spending more than I should). It was a fairly busy week, and a slightly spendy one.

I decided to forego having a drink after class, and instead spent some time with a friend (just hanging out outside of the studio). The rest of the week there wasn't so much socializing. Just a lot of work and writing. Then Sunday DH and I had our "Date Day" - which was a day trip 2 hours away to Huntsville, where we visited the US Space and Rocket Center. I'm a huge space nerd, so it was pretty fantastic. We saw "Hidden Figures" while we were there (cheaper than a movie pass at the theater), then used a Groupon gift card a friend got us for xmas for dinner. Ended up taking home leftovers that I ate for lunch yesterday.

Yesterday was a rather insane day - I had found a job posting that I was really excited for, and was doing the research I felt I needed to write a very well thought out cover letter, etc - when I realized that the application deadline was 3 HOURS later. So it was a mad rush to get all of the information together and in the online system (which takes forever all by itself), then hastily write a cover letter. I didn't even have time to proofread it... so I'm a bit discouraged by that. It's the first job I've seen posted in the new city that I was so excited about that I applied this far out. Who knows what will happen... it was just frustrating given that I was going about it the right way and trying to be overprepared - then ended up having to muddle through it at the speed of light. It makes the rest of my job hunt process that much less enticing.

After the job application fiasco I went with a friend out to some thrift stores. We were looking for a prop for our upcoming shoot. We found some great options, and I also found a pair of adorable new heels and a blazer that I think will be great for job interviews - both $6 at Goodwill.

We did our grocery shopping as well. $62 at Aldi and I think about $20 at Target (we needed cat food). We looked at getting replacement brush heads for our electric toothbrush at Target and they were $21 for a pack of 5! Did a quick search on Amazon and it looks like we can get a generic pack of 20 for $17... so you know which way we'll be going on THAT. Sheesh.

We had our "V-day Celebration" last night - which consisted of making this feta dip and eating some brie for dinner. lol. It was supposed to be our appetizer, but we were both full and decided to save our steaks. They might end up being lunch today because we defrosted them, but I'll be out of the house from 3:30 until late tonight at class and he hosts trivia tonight.

Took a look at our budget, which isn't going nearly as well as I had expected it to. Our water bill was more than expected, our internet bill made up for the reduction we had last month (should have expected that), the oil change was more than expected. Thankfully we're not crazy over on our restaurant or misc budgets, so there's that. It's just disheartening to see all that red in Mint! ha.

At any rate, I should probably get to some work. This week is going to be just as (if not more) busy than this past one!

Weekend Expenses

February 6th, 2017 at 06:47 am

It was a very busy and very enjoyable weekend for me. Worked Friday night, then came home and got ready for my trip on Saturday. Woke up bright and early and drove to Lexington to meet my friend from Ohio. The AirBnB was fantastic, in a great location, and perfect for what we needed. We got lunch and a couple of beers at local breweries, then spent the night in with a bottle of wine, Indian takeout, and a couple of boardgames. It was absolutely perfect.

I added up the cost - and it ended up not too bad.

- $51 for the AirBnB (friend bought my drinks and lunch to cover her half of cost)
- $5.08 for a drink and snack on the way there
- $15.80 for Indian takeout
- $10.59 for bottle of wine (in retrospect, I prob didn't need to buy a bottle. But now I have some at home)
- $18.48 for breakfast
- $20 for extra tank of gas

Total: $120.95

I think the lesson I've learned is that I could shave off some extras at meals - probably didn't need an appetizer with the takeout, or a coffee and OJ at breakfast... Ah well.

Regardless, though, the trip was a great success - and I found an audiobook at the library that I am LOVING so far, which I got over halfway through on the way there and back.

***

The other expense that went way above my expectation was my oil change... I was well overdue for one. This is my first since moving South, and back in Ohio I always used the LubeStop by my house - which is roughly $60 for a full synthetic oil change. I go synthetic because I can get about 6,000 miles between changes rather than 3,000. At the Jiffy Lube by my place here in TN, the full synthetic change was $90!! What?? It was most surprising because I used to work there, and I don't ever remember it being that high.

I think the worst part is that they have you get out of your car before presenting the prices - so they're already done with half of your "inspection" (again, I work there, so I should have remembered this). So by the time I got the fun news, I didn't really have time to go somewhere else, and I was already out of my car and it was over the bay. So I just went with it. Though I didn't do the full synthetic. I did the synthetic blend, they gave me $10 off, and it still managed to be $70 total.

Needless to say, I wont be returning.

I may just break down and start pricing tools so I can do it at home. I'll have to price it all out and see how it works out. Or just research competitors in the area.

***

Grocery shopping today - and then I think I might be foregoing the networking meeting I was planning to attend. I'm exhausted from the weekend and haven't had a full day at home in weeks, it feels like. I wouldn't mind some time to catch up on a few things and maybe, I don't know, work out... haha. That weight isn't going to lose itself!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Feb 1

February 1st, 2017 at 06:43 am

We're already one month into 2017. How did that happen?? Sigh. So I paid all of my monthly bills this morning and set out our budget. It'll be slightly less lenient than last month, but not too much so. Adjusted the gas budget to reflect the unexpected increase last month. Added a couple of things we know are coming up (Amazon Prime membership, a gift for his cousin who just had a baby). Adjusted the restaurant/bar budget - we're still only planning to eat out when we have company or are traveling, but we're both going to be out of town this weekend and we have friends visiting later this month. So the budget reflects that.

We decided that we're not doing gifts for Valentine's Day. We're going to make a nice dinner in - with the steaks my MIL bought us for xmas. And I'm going to make this whipped feta recipe. When we went to dinner this past month on our one date night we tried it, and it was delicious. So I'm attempting to recreate at home.

Also adjusted DH's and my misc spending money (essentially our allowances). DH mentioned wanting a little more freedom to get out of the house and go to a coffee shop, etc. He works from home and doesn't really have any friends here (as much as I've tried to introduce him to people), so he ends up cooped up most of the time. I am hoping to host a board game night sometime this month to get him a bit more social. And I think we'll be attending an Oscars party at the end of them month. It'll be good for him.

Updated my goals for February - most are holdovers from last month. It ended up being a really busy month and I while I didn't accomplish everything I set out to, I'm happy with what I did. And I'm just happy that I've been consistent in updating, because honestly it's the only thing I've found that keeps me accountable. So grateful to have you all here to motivate me!!

So that's that! Hope y'all had a great January and are looking forward to a productive February!