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Archive for February, 2007

February Savings Total! $1344.61!!

February 28th, 2007 at 10:14 am

Just a quick update on my February #s. I'm still totalling the spending, but I've already calculated the amount I've transferred into savings: $1,344.61!

Some of this was my state tax refund (122.00) & an inherited insurance dispersement ($470.00). The rest is all from my overtime and any misc. savings. This is a great number!

I know I way overspent on eating out this month. So my goal for March is to make up for it.

I'm continuting with my overtime, I did 21 hours in January & 40 hours in February. I'm trying to do about 10 hours a week through the end of March. Every little bit helps!

whew! my electric bill!

February 27th, 2007 at 03:23 pm

Got my electric/gas bill today. Its the first month in the house that I had the heat on the full month. WHEW it was high. $149.00. UGH! I have the money in my budget, but its really the principle of the thing!

Part of the problem is that the thermostat the house came with was unreadable. I couldn't tell if the temp was at 65 or 75. I had to go with my comfort level as a guide. So I'm sure it was higher than I wanted. Plus, the heat was on at higher levels when I wasn't home.

So last night, I installed the $29.00 programmable thermostat that I bought at Lowes last week. Now I have it set at 60 when I'm not home & 65 when I am. I'm planning on bundling up & we'll see how that goes for my bill for March. I should see a big difference.

Survived the snow & house stuff

February 25th, 2007 at 07:01 pm

We got a few inches of snow, then it turned into sleet. But it was over after about 3 hours. I was able to clean off my car, as well as shovel & salt my walkway & a path to my car. Unfortunately, we had sleet again afterward, so my driveway is a sheet of ice.

I am going to try to go into work tomorrow for some overtime. Becuase people around here seem to have a mass hysteria over snow, I am going to wait and go in around 9 or 10 when there are less people on the road.

Tomorrow, my family is coming to dinner. We're having spaghetti. And my dad is going to take a look at my icemaker & hopefully help me install the programmable thermostat.

I spent a good part of my afternoon cleaning my house. I deep cleaned the kitchen, the living room and the downstairs bath. My major accomplishment though, is that I installed my kitchen clock radio all by myself. Its one of those ones that hang under a cabinet. I am so proud of myself over such a little thing, but hey... I did it by myself!

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about things to do around the house. I'm trying to do a little at a time and to use the most out of what is already there.

braced for the storm, spending & saving

February 25th, 2007 at 08:57 am

Well, the ice storm is headed this way, set to start a little after 1pm here. I'm at work (yes, on a Sunday). I leave at 1. I'm hoping to stop at Lowes right before the storm to pick up some salt. Then if it hasn't started snowing, I'm going to the grocery store. I just want a few veggies, so I'll be able to go through the quick lane.

Its a miracle, but my work is still offering overtime & will continue to do so through the end of March. I'm hoping to do 10 hours a week during that time.

I will have 357.00 to add to savings from Wednesday's paycheck. I also have $478.32 from an inherited insurance payment, which will also go directly to savings.

When I have my taxes back, that will also go directly to savings ($936.00)

I've roughly figured that if I continue to do overtime through march and I put all the overtime into savings, then after that,I will have less than $1500.00 to save by the end of the year to meet my goals. Which would be awesome.

However, I am not going to let myself get burnt out. If I can't do the 10 hours without overstressing myself, then I won't. But I am really going to try to do so, with the minimum amount of stress.

forgot to mention savings!

February 22nd, 2007 at 04:23 pm

I just transfered $16.52 to savings as overage on my water bill. I'm working to get the water usage down, but first I have to fix a sometimes running toilet. Its on my to do list. Since I'm not too familiar with fixing things, I'm going to ask a friend to help.

new robe, spending & free lunch

February 22nd, 2007 at 03:07 pm

Well today was a spender, but not too bad.
I packed my lunch, but part of it kinda got ruined (long story), so I ordered a salad with some people from work. $7.00, but I ate 1/2 today & I'll have the other 1/2 tomorrow. AND I'll pack the rest of my food too.

On my lunch break, I went to Boscov's. I've been wanting a big fluffy robe, but have been putting it off. I figured now was the time to check out the sales. I found one just like I wanted at 75% off. I ended up paying 13.50 for a $54.00 robe! NICE. And I paid cash from my clothing budget.

One of my coworkers lives in my neighborhood & she waved me down on the way to work today. She had shut her front door with her house & car keys inside & therefore couldn't drive to work. So I brought her and she presented me with at $5.00 lunch voucher for our work cafeteria. So I'm going to hold onto it. I'm planning on packing my lunch for 3 weeks starting tomorrow. When I make it through the 3 weeks, I"m going to treat myself to a free lunch!

Overtime is still available at my work thorugh the 28th. I never made it in on Monday due to a fall on ice. I was really sore, so I stayed home and had a no spend day. Since then, I worked 2 hours OT yesterday, I did 1 today & I'll do another 2 hours tomorrow.

Then next week, I"m going to do 8 hours Monday, 2 hours Tuesday & Wednesday, getting in as much as possible before it ends. All that money is going directly into savings.

I"m having my family over for dinner Monday night and I've asked my dad to help me fix my ice maker & help me install my programmible thermostat. I'm afraid to do it totally by myself.

Obsessed with my electric bill

February 21st, 2007 at 08:43 am

They usually read the meter around the 20th, so I start looking online for my balance. I'm obsessed this month because this will be the first month where I had the heat on the full month. I REALLY can't wait to see what its like at the worst part of the year. They actually cover electric/gas, so we'll see how it goes. I'll let you all know as soon as the bill gets posted online!

Update on Goals

February 20th, 2007 at 07:31 pm

Here's an update on some of my goals in no particular order.

1. Track all expenses for the full year [done so far--down to the penny]
2. Limit soda intake/purchase [very limited- also switched to generic soda for the few purchases]
3. Stick to weight watchers [fell off the wagon a bit due to stomach problems, getting back on track with a modified version]
4. Find part time job/ find roommate for additional income. [Pending due to unlimited overtime being offered at work]
5. Increase 401k witholding [pending for annual review, will increase with raise]
6. Maintain $0 balances on credit cards [done, will continue]
7. Use library for entertainment. [done, also using free subscription to Netflix]
8. Cancel XM radio [pending, gave myself 3 month extension as a reward for large amounts of overtime]

interesting post

February 20th, 2007 at 03:44 pm

I'll admit it, I'm a little obsessed with personal finance and especially PF blogs. I check out Saving Advice daily, plus I have a few individual blogs in my favorites and I pretty much daily check out pfblogs.org.

I came across an article at stopbuyingcrap.com entitled 'What If... Your Net Worth Is Public?' Very interesting idea. Money is such a taboo subject in some ways & so easily talked about in others. It'd be a shock if our net worth was out there for all to see. And the fact that its public would probably change the way we do things. I know for sure that I would. I know I have changed a lot of my habits since I've joined this site.

This blog & site helps keep me grounded. I am really honest in my writing and there are times where I think about doing something (spending money-wise) and then I think how would I explain that to you guys? It also motivates me to find new ways to save money or earn money & put it into savings instead of spending it. I LOVE being able to say I added another $300.00 to savings instead of buying that new beadspread that I want, but do not need Smile

So check out the article & let me know what you think!

No spend today

February 20th, 2007 at 02:08 pm

Today was a no spend day. I had a goal of packing my lunch for 3 weeks straight, but I'm going to break it tommorrow (not even a full week in). Our work team is haveing a little lunch out. At one of my favoritre restaurants. So I'm going to get a fried chicken salad (which is HUGE) & have 1/2 for lunch & the other 1/2 for my dinner tomorrow. I'll bring breakfast & snacks to work & I"m planning on having water at the restaurant.

Then I'll be sticking to my packing lunch resolve for the rest of the 3 weeks, adding 1 day on at the end.

overtime, food, house stuff

February 18th, 2007 at 12:02 pm

I worked 12-5 yesterday & am working 5 hours today. So I made my 10 hour overtime goal for this week after all. I am working 8-5 tomorrow & I'll put in another 2-4 hours of ot later this week. I packed my food again yesterday & today.

I'm preplanning my meals for the week & after I get home tonight, I'm going to make some spagehetti sauce for dinner & to freeze. I'm also going to make some blueberry muffins to freeze as well. I'm going to premake tuna for sandwiches, and salads for the week. The easier things are to grab and go, the better.

I FINALLY have all my tax info together. One of my w-2s never 'arrived' so I had to wait & request a copy. Normally I break pretty much even on my taxes, but due to the job change, house purchase & tuition expenses, I'll be getting a little over 900.00 back. ALL of which is going to my savings goals.

I had bought a programable thermostat, which I am going to attempt to install tonight. The directions make it look pretty simple, but who knows!

I didn't find a cabinet knob that I liked with the wood on the cabinets, so I'm going to hold off. I want to pick a paint color before I make a final decision anyway, so I'm going to walk through Lowes later this week to get some ideas.

I haven't had a no spend day in a while, and the only reason that I didn't yesterday was because I stopped by Happy Harry's with my mom and while I was waiting for her to make her purchases, I found some panty hose on clearance for 19 cents each. They only had 2 pairs in my size, but I got them both. GREAT deal! Worth breaking the no spend day for.

I've got a couple of movies from my Netflix Trial, so I'll be having a movie fest tonight while I'm doing all my cooking--I have an old movie I"ve been wanting to see, plus GridIron Gang, and the Illusionist.

spent at lowes

February 16th, 2007 at 04:34 pm

I went to the new lowes by my work today. I wanted to check out any grand opening sales/presidents day sales. I picked out a couple of different knobs for the kitchen cabinets. I figured I'd check them out in the kitchen, pick the one I like return the others and then get enough for all my cabinets. Little details to spruce up the kitchen Smile

I also bought a programmible thermostat because I can't even begin to tell the temperature on the really OLD one that the house came with. I think I'm keeping the heat low, but I can't really tell if its at 60 or 70 right now. Really. Its THAT bad.

I also bought some windshield wiper fluid, which I desperately needed given all the salt on the roads right now.

I leave work at 8 tonight & I'm heading about 15 minutes out of my way to the Walmart. I'm picking up most of the groceries. I want to do some stocking up, so I'm using some of my spending money on top of my grocery money. I'll make up the spending money by packing my lunch instead of buying.

I also have been offered more overtime, including Sunday hours. So I work my normal hours tomorrow & I"m contemplating going in from 12-5 on Sunday & 8-5 on Monday (my days off). The sunday hours would offset my cabinet knobs, the thermostat & I could still reward myself with the Harry Potter preorder. We'll see how I feel Smile

Snow recovery & Dollar store temptations

February 15th, 2007 at 04:13 pm

I'm only going to make 5 hours of overtime this week. Mainly due to snow issues. So I will not be getting to preorder Harry Potter 7. I'm going to hold off on that mini reward for next week. There is overtime available again next week. So if I do 10 or more hours of overtime next week, I will let myself preorder. I like these mini-rewards. This system seems to work for me Smile

On the other side of things, I couldn't bring myself to pack today. I haven't been to the grocery store in a while. So I bought food, but I'm DEFINTATELY going to pack tomorrow & I'm going to hit the grocery store on Saturday. I'm hitting Walmart to stock up on my snacks & veggies. The Walmart has the best veggie prices in the winter & always has the best prices on muffin mixes, microwave popcorn, generic Dr Pepper (2 liters for 49 cents), and other goodies. I also need ketchup, worstershire sauce, some salad dressing, and wheat pasta. I'm trying to make a list & STICK TO IT. I tend to go overboard at Walmart. But at the same time, its a little out of the way, so when I go, I really want to stock up on the cupboard stuff.

I went to the dollar store today, I was looking for a toilet bowl brush, which they were out of. But I found really cute socks & snack cakes and some bath stuff! I came very close to buying all of them... but then I put the basket down & walked away. I didn't NEED any of it. Except maybe the socks...but I'm sure I can find a better deal. Just because they were in pretty colors, doesn't justify buying them at $1.00 each pair.

I'm really going to buckle down with the eating out. I have been doing really badly this month. I made it 3 weeks in a row with packing my lunch in January, so thats my goal---starting tomorrow, I want to go 3 weeks of packing all food, snacks & drinks. Definately doable!





meeting mini savings goals

February 14th, 2007 at 05:36 pm

I get paid tomorrow I'll be putting 387.86 towards savings for this paycheck. In January, I put 300.97 toward savings. So I've already beat last month. And I still have another paycheck with lots of overtime coming on 2/28.

With this paycheck, I'll meet sever mini savings goals. I had moved some around from my original plan, so bear with me if its a little off from what I previously said.

I've met my mini goals for:

-2008 HOA fee
-One Time Lawn Service (for 1st mowing since the grass is overgrown since I bought the house)
-Lawn Mower
-Garden Hose
-and some partial savings will go to outdoor furniture

Manditory Pantry Usage

February 14th, 2007 at 07:19 am

Well, last night our snow storm turned into an ice storm. I can only open one of my car doors, my trash can is iced over. Today was the scheduled pick up, but they won't be able to get to my trash Smile I tried shoveling my steps again, but the snow is covering about 2 inches of ice and the temperature is still dropping. So I gave that idea up.

I haven't been to the grocery store in over a week, so since I'm stuck in the house, I'm going to have to use up whats in the pantry and fridge. I have a little salad stuff left, and plenty of pasta and tuna fish. So I'll be set.

I get paid at midnight tonight. But I kinda doubt I'll make it to the grocery store even if I make it to work tomorrow. So I'll probably eat the pantry stuff through Friday.

Yesterday, I left work early. I felt a little foolish leaving early, so when I got home I decided to be productive. I cleaned the kitchen, cleaned, dusted and vacuumed the living room & organized a lot of my paperwork. Then I went upstairs and FINALLY put away my clean laundry and cleaned my bedroom.

I'm going to lay around this morning, but this afternoon, I'm going to change my sheets, and finish up the paperwork.

I really need to organize my basement, its like Christmas exploded down there, but I'm putting that off for a while. I REALLY need to be motivated to do that.

my mind is not on my work

February 13th, 2007 at 01:07 pm

My mind is not on my work today, its on the weather outside. I came in an hour early today, buts its snowing & sleeting & I decided to leave early today instead of leaving at 7. Delaware is not known for its snow savvy. People panic very easily in bad weather, people with 4 wheel drive speed & people with older cars drive REALLY slow. Unfortunately, neither type steers clear of the other, so there are a lot of accidents. Plus, the salting of the roads isn't the best.

Driving in snow isn't that bad as far as I'm concerned, but we have sleet now & the roads are starting to ice over. So I made my overtime hour a regular one, and I'm using 1.5 hours of personal time and I'll be leaving at 4:30 today. WHEW.

I need to get gas on the way home, but there are no cheap gas stations on the way, so I"m going to fill up 5.00 worth and get some at the better station tomorrow.

Its funny, but most of the talk in the office today has been about the weather and stories of accidents caused by bad weather. I can't wait to get home safe & sound.

I'm going to snuggle under a blanket, eat leftovers and watch Lost Season Two, I'm a little over halfway through the dvds. I'm sucked back into the storylines, so I can't wait for Season 3 (which is still running now) to get onto dvd.

getting back on track

February 11th, 2007 at 10:10 am

I got way off on my spending this week & last week. But I'm good to go again. My goal is to pack my lunch each and every day for the next month. Definately doable.

Today I've got a migrane, so its a no spend day for me. I've taken some pain meds, closed the blinds. When I feel better, I'm putting in some of Lost Season Two, so I can catch up. I'll have sloppy joe for dinner tonight. I had some in my freezer, so all i have to do is make some pasta to go with it.

Later, I'll premake salads for the next 3 days & some tuna to take for sandwiches the next 2 days. I have frozen sloppy joe for one day this week & frozen pasta sauce for another. That'll get me through the week. I'm hoping to hold off on grocery shopping til I get paid on the 15th.

I've been working dilligently at the overtime being offered. So I've been overworking, plus I've been eating badly AND I've been stressed about a friend. We had a surprise birthday party for her this weekend, but this week she had a cancer treatment & has been a bit down. She took a radioactive pill that kept her in isolation for 3 days. I've been visiting for 30 minutes at a time, and bringing her books & movies to keep occupied with. But its been taking its toll as well.

So today is my day of rest and as long as my headache's gone, I will go in for 8 hours of overtime tomorrow. My goal was to try to do 10 horus of OT this week, but our office is going to be closed at certain times this week, so I probably will only get the 8 hours in. Still good though Smile

Why do you want to get out of/stay out of debt?

February 9th, 2007 at 03:42 pm

I saw this thread on MSN Money & I just HAVE to comment. It was interesting to read the replies over there. I really think it is both an easy and tough question.

First it brings up the question, what do you consider debt? I am proud to say that I have no credit card debt, no auto loans. But I do have a mortgage and 2 student loans. So I like to say I'm credit card free Smile

Ultimately, I want to save for retirement and pay down my obligations, no matter what 'type' of debt they are.

The reason I want this is because I want to be independant and responsible. I grew up watching my parents have money problems and watching my Dad stress over money matters. Since I was a teen, he's said over and over to 'watch out' for credit cards. So I've always had a healthy respect for them. I've used them smartly & don't carry balances.

A significant factor to my attitude about money and debt is rooted in my parents financial instability. As I've gotten older, my father has carried on many conversations about their financial situation. To tell you the truth, he's put the fear in me. I worry about how my parents are going to survive in their later years.

The worst of it is that about 15 years ago, my fathers best friend committed suicide over financial problems. He had large amounts of debt and was so overwhelmed he committed suicide, leaving his wife and two daughters to deal with both the emotional and financial aftermath.

The situation hit my father hard and when he started talking so negatively about their financial situations, I actually worried about his emotional and mental health. I did talk to him about it. I told him it was scaring me and we had a in depth talk about his retirement savings, which is VERY healthy. I feel better about their situation now.

But I will NEVER forget that worry over my father & I want to make sure that I will never be in that position. I've taken on some debt to reach certain goals-- student loans to get multiple degrees and the mortgage to purchase my home. I'm doing everything possible to incurr no more debt.

But that feeling of fear will always remain with me and that is why I want to get out & stay out of debt.

very long week

February 9th, 2007 at 11:45 am

Well, its been a long week. I've put in 14 hours of overtime this week. And I'm going to try to get as much in while its still available. I have set mini goals for myself & have set up small rewards as well. I was only going to work 12 hours this week, but I decided if I work 14 hours, I would use part of the overtime to renew the next 2 months of my XM Radio subscription. That got me out of bed this morning.

If I work 10 hours of overtime next week, I will use one of my overtime hours to preorder the new Harry Potter book. The week after (if theres still overtime), I will award myself with a lunch out at the salad place.


I've been motivating myself to do this overtime with these small rewards AND with the knowledge that all the overtime (with the exception of the XM, the book and the salad) will go towards my savings goals.

I've found it to be more rewarding to me to have smaller goals. Even if they're something I would have just moved money around for when it came time for them. So here's an example of a few of my mini goals and when they'll be reached, thanks to my overtime and other extra income. I would like to point out that I may have overinflated the amount needed, but I like to overestimate instead of under. Smile

Lawn Mower: $200.00 Completed 2/15
Garden Hose: $30.00 Completed 2/15
Car Repair Fund: $500.00 Completed 2/28
Christmas Fund: $400.00 Completed 2/28
Vet fund: $200.00 Completed 3/15
Outdoor Furniture: $300.00 Completed 3/15
Homeowners Assoc 2008: $90.00 Compltd 3/15
Sewer Bill 2008: $200.00 Completed 5/15

I also have larger goals for my New To Me Car fund and my emergency fund, but they won't be met with just my overtime for January & February. I have an expected inheritance of $2,500.00 that will go to the new to me car fund later this year.

lotsa overtime

February 7th, 2007 at 09:30 am

My motto on overtime is get it while it lasts! It has been offered off & on over the last month. The first week, I worked 8 hours, the 2nd 9 hours, the 3rd 4 hours, and this week I worked 8 hours on Monday, 2 hours today & I plan to do 2 hours tomorrow & possible 1 or 2 hours on Friday. I'm iffy about Friday because I'm getting a little burned out.

Every hour of overtime is roughly $19.00 post taxes & 401k. I am hoping the overtime offering will contue through the month. My goal will be to do 8-10 hours next week and the week after. We'll see how it goes.

All my overtime will be going towards my savings goals. If I do the 2 hours ot on Friday, then those funds will go to fund another 3 months of XM radio, which I was going to cancel in March. I listen to it daily at work & I figure this treat would motivate me to work on Friday as well. We'll see how it goes.

I fell off the wagon a bit with packing my food, but I'm track again today. I packed salad for lunch & a tuna fish sandwich & baked fries for dinner. Yummy.

small slide, overtime, general stuff

February 1st, 2007 at 04:21 pm

Well, I went a little off my diet/packing lunches yesterday & today due to general laziness & stomach issues. I'll be back on track tomorrow. I'm going to premake pasta salad for tomorrow.

My office is offering overtime for an uncertain amount of time, so I'm going to take advantage while I can get it. I'm going to do 2 hours tomorrow & I'm coming in on my day off Monday & do 4 or 8 hours depending on a possible appointment I might have. My goal is to do 8-10 hours this upcoming week.

We're having a surprise birthday party for my best friend this weekend. I'm in charge of bringing chips & dip, veggies & dip & cake. I am getting the cake from a specific bakery because my friend loves it so much. I also got her a few things for a gift, but I still need to come up with a good present to go with them. I plan on going to the store tomorrow night for all the food.

I have decided to put off looking for the second job... as long as the overtime is available, it'll work out better for me. Once the OT dries up---I WILL get a second job.

On the bright side I went to the dentist today-- no cavities Smile I LOVE my dentists office. They're out of network, but they've always been willing to fill the claims for me anyway. Under my new dental coverage, my out of pocket expense for my dentist was supposed to be $75.00. They charged me $22.00. I know they could be making more off me, but they don't. And thats whey I LOVE them.