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Archive for September, 2008

Payday - this month is TIGHT!

September 30th, 2008 at 06:48 pm

Got paid today. Paid my mortgage & normal monthly bills. Put gas in my car and put $237.00 in an extra payment to my student loan.

I put the extra money from the electric budget ($37.23) and a few other catagories into savings. I like to build up a small amount in a freedom account for any expected 'unexpected' expenses (if you know what I mean).

Since I have all these planned savings and planned overpayment of my student loan, I sometimes have a tight month cash/spending wise. But its by choice. I want to meet my goals and for the most part its not a hardship for me to do so.

Last month, I had a lot of events - camping, a concert, and a wedding. So I spent more entertainment/gifts wise. So this motnh the entertainment budge is a little smaller Smile

I also filled up the tank and made a BIG grocery run. I plan on doing some baking and I wanted to try making my own bread. Now I'm set except for getting some more milk and veggies later next week.

So now, after all is said and done, I've got a small amount left for discretionary spending.

From today until the 15th, I have:
-$16.02 in the gas budget (But I usually only fill up once a pay period).
-$36.96 for groceries
-$19.21 for entertainment/spending (this was already a lower amount than usual)
-$6.00 for cat litter
-$15.28 for personal items (really need to stock up in this catagory)

My goal is to stick to all of those budgeted amounts. To not go over in any catagory AND to not move funds from one to another. Its doable, mainly I just need to plan food and keep myself entertained VERY cheaply Smile

Luckily, there's a lot of good tv on right now. And what I don't watch during the week, I can catch up on with Comcast On Demand and the internet Smile

For meals,

I plan on having oatmeal for breakfast, tomato & cucumber salad & a cheese sandwich for lunch. Dinner will be pasta most likely

Thursday: Cheerios & milk for breakfast, pasta salad for lunch, meatloaf muffins for dinner.

Friday: Cheerios & milk for breakfast, salad w/ meat for lunch, tacos for dinner.


First Day of Fall

September 22nd, 2008 at 06:43 pm

Happy 1st day of Fall! I'm enjoying having the windows open Smile

Today, I went over in my grocery budget. It resets on the 15th, but I'm probably going to need one more run to the produce stand in the meantime.

I went over knowingly though. I found a good deal on blueberrys (end of season?) and bought 4 pints. I've already frozen them and will use them in blueberry banana muffins. Very healthy muffins and much less calories than store bought ones, which is great since I'm doing Weight Watchers. Blueberry muffins are kind of my guilty pleasure Smile

I have already prepacked food for tomorrow and have snacks to put in my desk drawer.

I worked out for 1/2 an hour tonight and plan on taking a walk tomorrow. Either heading out to a local park or just walking around the neighborhoods close to mine.

Oktoberfest and a meal plan

September 21st, 2008 at 06:28 pm

Today my sister and I took my nephew and a friend to the Oktoberfest. She had free tickets (saved $7.00). Free rides for the kids and fairly cheap food, drink and beer Smile We stayed a few hours. I spent $6.00 out of pocket. And it was a great day!

Tonight I pre-sorted food for the week and made lunch for tomorrow. To prepare, I pre-portion 1 cup Cheerios into individual plastic bowls. I premeasure 1 cup milk into individual containers. I pre-portioned 8 oz of yogurt into containers. I also cut up 4 containers worth of carrot sticks. So now I'm ready to go forward with my meal plan.

Monday:
Breakfast: Cheerios & milk
Snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Meatloaf muffin, carrots
Snack: mini bag of popcorn
Dinner: Tuna sandwich on Rye, salad
Snack: To be determined Smile

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Cheerios & milk
Snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Pasta salad, pears, carrots
Dinner: Tuna sandwich on rye, baked fries, salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Cheerios & milk
Snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Turkey bacon BLT; salad
Dinner: Spaghetti with ground turkey, salad.

Thursday:
Breakfast: Pears, Yogurt
Snack: carrots
Lunch: Cheese sandwich, pasta salad
Dinner: Chicken, roasted potatoes

Friday:
Breakfast: Cheerios & Milk
Snack: Fruit smoothie (homemade)
Lunch: Sloppy joe over pasta, salad
Dinner: Chicken taco salad over baked tortillas

Now I just have to follow through with the plan Smile

Gift Shopping and focusing on electric

September 20th, 2008 at 03:28 pm

Went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a wedding gift off their registry. Online, BB&B said the item that I wanted was in stock. When I got there, they said all the remaining items on the registry had to be ordered. So now I have to go off the registry.

BB&B had a big clearance section up front and I managed to snag some good early Christmas gifts.

I spent $12.51, and got a Glitter spun Candle set with a holder, red berry wreath and a pillar candle for a friend of mine. Budgeted $10.00, spent $3.74, saved $6.26.

I was able to get a large Maple Syrup candle in a very manly jar with stopper - perfect for a guy friend of mine. Spent $3.79. Budgeted $10.00, saved $6.21.

I also took care of getting some small gifts for just under a dozen coworkers. Just a little token gift that I'll wrap in tissue paper and a ribbon bow. I got 4 Yankee Candle Christmas (2.49) scented votives and 6 glass votives in evergreen (also $2.49). For about 50 cents and a handlful of tissue paper and ribbon, I have 10 work gifts!

I ended up getting a wedding gift at Linen's N Things. They matched the 20% off Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. Spent 23.99. A little more than planned, but oh well. I also grabbed a wedding gift bag and card at the dollar store $1.50.

I did go to the movies today with my mom & nephew. $8.00. Picked up a soda at the dollar store and brought my own popcorn from home. (The theatre allows outside food).

Mom insisted on lunch, so we went to a local place. She treated. Which was fine, cause she owed me for some socks and stuff I picked up for her the other week, so now we're even Smile

She wanted to stop at the Halmark store. Looked at a few cute things. And my nephew was VERY enamoured with a musical Halloween card featuring Star Wars characters. I went back in and splurged on it. $4.99. And he will carry this thing around for weeks!

Now I'm home, watching the first 3 episodes of Sons of Anarchy on Comcast On Demand. I am about to make dinner and get some stuff done around the house.

The air's still off. And I checked my electric usage today. I've used 297 KWH this billing period with about 6 days to go. Last month, I used 383. I've got the air off and am using minimal electric, so I should come in well under last month's usage.

My goal for October is to have air and heat off the whole month. There's been a big temp drop in the last few days, but hopefully it won't go any lower in the next month or so!

Happy Friday and Thinking About Groceries

September 19th, 2008 at 01:28 pm

Its a happy Friday for me because I have a day off from work and the only goal I have is to do nothing Smile I have the windows open and its almost chilly in the living room.

I'm still in my pajamas. I already made breakfast and lunch and am watching an Agatha Christie movie "Murder Most Foul". I REALLY love mystery movies.

Its been a busy week for me, and the down time is much needed. And as a side benefit, today will be a no spender because I am staying home all day.

A/C is still off. I've up to 13 days of no A/C this billing period.

Yesterday, I stocked up on books, cookbooks and movies from the library.

I got a TON of free stuff from our work outing on Wednesday. In addition to the free lunch and fun that we had, I took home a bunch of leftovers. 3 cans of soda, a bottle of water and a HUGE catering pan of salad. With all the good greens, peppers, cucumber, and more.

Stopped me from having to go to the produce stand for a full veggie trip. I just quickly grabbed tomatoes (1.46) and carrots (2lbs for $1.49). Saved approximately $6-8 dollars.

And I had a nice big salad for lunch and am planning another with dinner Smile

I did some grocery shopping this week and was able to get some good deals. I've also had to change the way I buy some things due to packaging downsizes and/or prices.

Doing Weight Watchers, I consider 8 oz yogurt a serving. Only Acme carried the individual 8 oz yogurts. but they just downsized to 6oz. So I have switched to the 32 oz Dannon container and am just portioning it out into plastic containers for easy travel to work.

At the Acme, I was able to get a couple of good deals, including .... 101 oz Olive Oil for $9.99!!! A good deal around here is 50 oz for 9.99, so this was a steal!

I spent some time at the Dollar store yesterday. I needed to stock up on cleaning supplies, hand soap, and food storage containers.

I also scored with large bags of hashbrown potatoes at the dollar store. Its tough to find any frozen potatoes where the only ingredient IS potatoes. So I bought two!

On my grocery list was popcorn kernals. Acme had a 2 pound jug of them for... get this... $6.99! Walmart, where I usually get the popcorn was $3.99, up from $3.49. But now they carry a 2 lb bag of generic kernals for $1.50. Great deal compared to Acme's $6.99! And I just put the kernels into the old jug from my last purchase.

Soda prices are increasing and since I already have an unhealthy addiction, I'm working hard to cut back on my soda use. I'm drinking more water and I made a pitcher of generic crystal light fruit punch. No soda today so far.

I've started thinking about Christmas and plan to make my list this weekend. I have rough ideas, but I'm going to nail down gifts for each of the people on my list. Also, my Mom's birthday is coming up. I got her a book for $7.99 and I plan on cooking dinner for her and my dad.

This weekend, I have to get a wedding gift from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I have a 20% off coupon and plan to spend about $25.00.

So lots of spending, but a very tight budget. I'm hoping to save money any way that I can, including coming underbudget in my entertainment catagory. Time to get creative!

Catching up

September 16th, 2008 at 06:27 pm

Lots of stuff going on. Cleaning, organizing, laundry, ect.

Returned a poncho to Kmart since it was unopened during the camping trip. $4.99 back in my pocket.

Returned the dress that I had bought for a wedding. Using one from my own closet Smile

Did 3 loads of laundry today, only used the dryer once. And thats because I ran out of doors to hang the sheets/blankets on Smile - no outdoor drying line.

Turned A/C back off tonight, although it wasn't running all that much even when its on. Its nice to have the fresh air coming through the house! I've guestimated that I've had 10 A/C off days in this billing period, which doesn't end til the 27th.

I'm working on my grocery budget. Its been challanging to eat healthier on a strict budget.

Packed breakfast and lunch today, but splurged on a soft pretzel. I've already packed breakfast for work tomorrow, but no need to pack lunch! We're having a work outing at a local state park. Free subs, yum.

I have a great idea for the outing tomorrow. Since the park charges by the car, not the person, we're parking in a local shopping center and carpooling into the park. We should be done around 2, I'll carpool back to my car and then I'm going to use the parking pass that the driver used and head back into the park for an hour walk. Gotta work off that sub Smile

Ready to Camp!

September 11th, 2008 at 06:47 pm

We leave for Jim Thorpe tomorrow! I am really looking forward to it. So far, I've paid $19.00 in camping fees, $15.00 in drinks (alcohol is allowed at the site), and $4.99 for a poncho.

I still have to put in my share for all the food and give the girl driving some gas money. And what I get out of it is 3 days of fun with some new friends!

I also went out and bought some sweatpants. Good idea in the cooler weather and I only own one pair right now and I pretty much live in sweats during the winter. So an extra pair is always useful. I also picked up a backpack and a long sleeved teeshirt featuring my college football team. Its all cute and girlie in pink and grey (not the team's colors).

This week the air has stayed off. I have the windows open and in the evening, there's no need for ceiling fans.

While I'm gone this weekend, my mom & nephew will look in on the cats. I told my nephew if he plays with the kitten for 20 minutes, I'll give him a dollar Smile We'll see how that goes.

I'll be back late Sunday. Have a good weekend everyone!

Forgot my lunch

September 9th, 2008 at 07:07 pm

Packed breakfast for work, but forgot (translated into was too lazy to make) lunch. So I spent 1.03 on a salad, .55 on a soft pretzel, and .85 on baked doritos. I did have dinner at home though!

And I spent some time this evening making a large salad with pasta for lunch tomorrow.

Today, the A/C was off all day, and it rained earlier, so its nice and cool with just a tad of humidity. I am getting excited for Fall. I get this sorta nesting feeling this time of year. I want to bring out blankets and candles and prepare to snuggle Smile

Tomorrow, I am heading to my parents house after work. I'm supposed to watch my nephew for a few hours and set up my dad's new computer. I will probably get dinner out of it.

I have to prep for my camping trip. Pick up a poncho (roughly $7) since its going to rain this weekend. I'm sharing a tent with some friends (free). My share of the camp site for the weekend was $20.00. And two of the girls are going to buy food on Thursday night, so I'm looking at probably another $20.00 towards that. I am really excited to be going, even with rain!

And, I forget if I mentioned this or not, but I'm going to a wedding at the end of the month and its pretty fancy. So I went shopping last weekend for a dress. Is it me, or did all the stores stop carrying dresses except for in the juniors department? I finally found on, which I liked all right, but was pretty expensive. Well, I remembered the cute dress that I wore to my high school reunion last year and suddenly I have a dress that I love! Taking back that other one on Thursday!

No spend and No A/C

September 8th, 2008 at 06:45 pm

Today was a no spender. No a/c either. I was supposed to hang out with that guy I've been seeing, but we had some miscommunication and decided to reschedule. Truth be told, I'm not sure that we have anything going right now. He's a great guy, but I'm not feeling the chemistry.

Tonight I made all my food at home. Premade some food for tomorrow, but plan on stopping at the produce stand on my way home to stock up on salad stuff.

Also, I found the greatest drink coasters in a Pier 1 catalog. At $15.00 for a set of four, its a bit pricy for me. So I did some online research thinking that if I could find the wood bases, I could stain them, use patterned scrapbook paper and use a clear coat of sealer. But I can't find the kind of base coaster, so I'm putting that idea on hold til I can browse some craft shops. They would make great Christmas gifts.

Not so lazy Sunday

September 7th, 2008 at 07:01 pm

I ended up going to a party last night instead of staying in. Brought some drinks from my fridge as a contribution, so no out of pocket spent.

This morning, I slept in, made breakfast, lunch and dinner at home. Premade food for tomorrow. Deep cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the living room. Cleaned the upstairs bath including lots of scrubbing. Did three loads of laundry and only used the dryer once for bathmats. Hung everything else inside.

I cleaned out the closet and put together four more large bags of clothes to donate. Mostly went through old suits and dress clothes that no longer fit and are not needed in my current work situation.

I painted my toes, gave myself a facial, organized my jewelry. Played with the cats, talked to some friends, made lists of things to do and goals

And I still managed to watch some tv, take a nap, and generally enjoy myself. I feel like I got a LOT accomplished!

The A/C has been off since last night. And the best part was that today was a no spender.

Nasty Rain and I Taught the Kitten to Fetch

September 6th, 2008 at 10:36 am

NorthEast is getting some harsh rain today. I've been up since 6:30 - cats woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. It was only raining lightly this morning, so I ran to the produce store and got some potatoes, a green pepper, peanuts in the shell and tomatoes. $7.97. Not too bad. Right after I walked back in the door, it started pouring and got really windy.

Now I'm back home to watch old NCIS episodes on dvd borrowed from the library. Now I'm watching Monk & Psych, which I taped last night. In between, I've been cooking and playing on the internet. And I'm pretty sure I'll be grabbing a nap soon.

As for teaching the kitten to fetch -- he was jumping all over the older cat. To distract him, I throw his toys, (or a pen, whatever's handy) across the room. Today, all I had on hand was a piece of scrap paper. I balled it up and threw. He batted it around and then brought it back to me. I threw again and he brought it back to me. This lasted like an hour because if I didn't throw again, he would pick it up and put it on my lap. Too cute!!

Today is a great day to do nothing. I was invited to a party, but I am definately not going if its raining. If I stayed home all night, I'd be fine with that. I could fill up my time with finding new recipes and playing video games. Much like my college days!

Banana Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins

September 1st, 2008 at 03:03 pm

Made some muffins this afternoon. Tweaked the recipe a bit and they came out GREAT! Big, tasty and healthy.

Today, I cleaned, played on the internet, watched a movie, read a book. Tonight I'm supposed to hang out with this guy. I'm hoping to talk him into staying in and watching a movie.

I already have food packed for work tomorrow. Breakfast of cheerios & milk; morning snack of muffin. Lunch is spaghetti salad.

And while I was writing this post, the guy just called. Wants to stay in. Make me dinner at his place. So today will still be a no spender! Woohoo!