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Archive for December, 2006

New Years Resolution Cliches & Financial Goals

December 31st, 2006 at 05:57 pm

Just like a million other Americans this year, I'm resolving to lose weight & save money. In some cases, the two go hand in hand.

I restarted Weight Watchers, which I'm excited about. I have to track what I eat. Since healthier food can be more expensive, the fact that I have to plan food and watch portion sizes, will help counteract some of it. Plus, since eating out is harder to deal with while watching what I eat, I'll be forced to eat out on a much less frequent basis.

Here are my detailed 2007 Financial Goals:

1. Track all spending for the full year. (Previously, I've only tracked a few months at a time)
2. Limit soda intake & purchase. (this is a VERy bad habit of mine. I'm going to drastically decrease this from a couple of sodas a day to one 12 pack every 2 weeks.
3. Find a part-time job, put all extra money into savings. Also, continue looking for a roomate. (I'm hoping to find one through word of mouth since Craigslist didn't work out. I ended up with more scams than serious inquiries)
4. Increase 401k withholding
5. Put expected 2,500 inheritance into ING as a New to Me car fund. I hope to get another 3-4 years out of my current one, but its good to get started saving early.
6. Replentish my Car Repair Fund back to $500.00 (Need to save 164.10)
7. Save all change & deposit monthly to savings for Christmas. My goal is to have a cash only Christmas again this year (Already starting w/ $14.64)
8. Put insurance payout(from inheritance), estimated 400.00 into savings
9. Since my car insurance is broken into nine monhs of payments, put the extra months payments (March, April, May) into savings
10. Suspend blockbuster online every 2 to 3 months. This will give me a change to build up a queue of movies that I want to watch without wasting the subscription. On the off months, I can utilize my library for entertainment
11. Cancel XM Radio subscription when it comes due again in March
12. Review cable/phone/internet bill in September. My promotion rate runs out in October. My goal is to get rid of the phone (using only cell phone).
13. Switch previous job's 401k to an IRA
14. Review credit report quarterly for inaccurate information (using free credit reports)
15. Fully fund emergency fund with cash (have additional funds in savings bonds, ect, but I'd prefer cash) Goal is to increase cash by $3932
16. Find additional sources of income, such as babysitting, running errands, ect. Or find savings in normal expenses. My goal is to find at least 2 per month

Post Christmas Savings

December 30th, 2006 at 02:16 am

I went out on my lunch break & bought some Christmas stuff on sale today.

I got:
-Suction cup hooks for windows. 2 packs for $1.98
-Candy canes 0.27
-2 bags of Hershey Kisses 0.87 each
-2 sets of Christmas lights-100 feet 1.24 each,
-Ribbon 0.49
-Ornament hooks 0.12
-3 packs of 16 ball ornaments, 0.74 each
-Craft christmas present for mom for next year 1.24

All in all, I spent $10.85. I used my Chase cc where I had a $15.98 credit from a return of Christmas ornaments. So no new Christmas spending. And I still have $5.13 in credit on the card.

2nd hand dishes

December 29th, 2006 at 04:06 am

In college I bought a set of heavy stoneware dishes & bowls from Goodwill for about $10.00 for the set. They have served me well.

Last year, I inherited my great-aunts daily dishes. I used them in tandem with the college dishes.

I also inherited her china, which is beautiful. The pictures don't do the china justice. I'm going to work on getting some better pictures of the china this weekend.

planning & camera

December 29th, 2006 at 03:43 am

I'm having some serious thoughts about my plans for next year. I want to work on planning, self-control and re-evaluting my decisions. I'm still working on my goals for 2007.

I also have been taking some pictures with my new FREE cheapo digital camera. I wanted to share some of my inherited and second hand furniture. There will be more pics to come.

This is the 1920s wardrobe that I inherited from my great aunt. I've loved this piece since I was a kid. its sturdy, roomy, and pretty. I REALLY love it.

after Christmas and phone calls to fix problems

December 27th, 2006 at 07:36 pm

I made it through Christmas on cash only. (I used some of the cards for online purchases, then paid off immediately). So I did not go in debt for Christmas.

I got some good stuff for Christmas, an under counter cd/clock/radio for the kitchen. It was something that WANTED, but did not NEED. So I put it on my list. I also got a set of tray tables which was also on my list. My mom gave me a jewelry of the standing ones that has hooks to hang necklaces. I have a lot of silver jewelery & keeping them enclosed helps stop tarnishing, so it will definately be useful. I got a few movies and some hardback books that I was really wanting. I still haven't exchanged with my best friends, I'll be doing that tonight. They always have the best gifts... all fun stuff. And they know my taste, so I usually love them all.

Today was a heavy phone day in that I was making tons of calls to sort stuff out. Heres the 'phone log'.
-2 calls to my car insurance because they applied by 12/18 payment as a second payment to december's due date instead of to the 1/7/07 due date it was intended. After the second conversation where we went through all my payments & all the due dates for the last year, they finally agreed with me.
-2 calls to my vision insurance to sort out a denied claim. The first rep told me that the denial was accurate. The second person told me that it should have been paid & would call my eye doctor to straighten it out for me. I plan on writing a letter to the company about her good customer service. (I will follow up with the eye doctor tomorrow to confirm the issue).
-2 calls to my new bank (for the 2nd checking account). They declined my payment to the mortgage company even though the funds were there. After the first call, I found out that for the first 30 days, they hold all deposits for 5 business days. Nobody told me that. I reread all the paperwork they gave me. It is not stated anywhere. PLUS I had to go into the bank today because they never ordered my Visa check card. So far I'm not impressed. On the second call, I explained about the forgotten order of the check card, the fact that I had to make an extra trip to the branch, the fact that the additional hold time was not disclosed to me, that the mortgage company will charge a $20.00 NSF fee AND that they charged me a $32.00 NSF fee. The 2nd rep refunded the $32.00 fee, but said there was nothing they could do about the mortgag company's fee.

-1 call to mortgage company. They haven't gotten the payment returned from the bank yet, but the rep said when they do, they will resubmit the payment. I will get a $20.00 NSF fee. But since I had tried to make my payment so early, it won't be late even with having to resubmit it. (I plan on calling after the payment reposts and asking if there's anything that they can do about the fee)

WHEW and today is only 1/2 over.

My direct deposit for 12/30 is already set up. So once that goes through AND my mortgage payment clears, I'm going to close this new checking account. The customer service people were very rude, the incompetance of the person who set up the account is annoying and I was told by the rep today if there were any more issues with fees, they would NOT work with me. Now, I've been with my other bank for over 8 years & NEVER had a fee, so I don't think I will again with this new one, but their service is so bad, I'm going to close the account & just open up a 2nd checking account with my first bank. It'll be easy to switch direct deposit to that one.

I'll be back later today to do my 2007 goals.

spending, new computer & being sick

December 23rd, 2006 at 02:52 am

Well, I've spent most of the week sorta sick, so I've been comfort eating. Which requires spending, but it hasn't been too bad.

I've completely finished all my Christmas shopping, I just need to wrap, which I will do tomorrow.

I had money set aside in my savings for a new laptop computer. I was hoping to wait til next year to buy one. But my 6 year old Dell laptop has been limping along for months. It has viruses & little quirks. The monitor is loose, so sometimes the screen goes blue & I have to hit it on the sides to put it right again. All annoying, but still usable.

However, this week, the laptop broke the hinges. I mean completly came apart on one side, tearing the plastic casing & seperating the keyboard from the monitor. The other side is starting to tear, but for some ridiculously scary reason, the picture still shows (after I hit it a few times). The monitor portion no longer stands up straight, but if I put it on the couch, with the back laying against the arm AND I don't move it AND I don't shift around too much on the couch, it will stay relatively put together.

Well, I just can't deal with it, so on Wednesday, I ordered a new computer from Lenovo. Another laptop for numerous reasons. I was able to go through my work, which got me a 15% discount. I'm waiting for it to arrive, but in the mean time I'm using this poor Dell that REALLY needs to be put out of its misery!

I'm making a list of financial goals, which I'll share once I'm finished.

I work from 8-2 tomorrow and then I'll be doing Christmas stuff the rest of the day. I have a whole to-do list.

Doing pretty good

December 18th, 2006 at 12:56 am

Well, my goal this week was to not spend between Tuesday and Friday. I did pretty good, but not perfect.

Tuesday I spent $3.49 for donuts that I bought for a work party that I had forgotten about.

Wednesday & Thursday were no spend days.

Friday I spent no cash, but I did buy groceries. I stayed within budget, but I'm definately going to have to revamp my goal amount for groceries. I think I was being a little too optimistic.

Saturday, I spent no money, and got free soda & pizza at my nephews birthday party.

Today I have a migrane, so I am home & haven't spent a dime. And because I was so sick this morning, my mom stopped by with lunch for me. So I got a free sandwich. Thanks Mom!

Tomorrow I'll probably still be recovering from the headache. So my only goal is to clean up around the house & plan my food to take to work all week.

oh, and I still have one Christmas gift to get, but thats it.

Spending & Fustration with my sister!!

December 12th, 2006 at 01:25 am

Well, I went to get an alignment for my car only to find out that I actually needed new tires instead. Its a shame... I had priced alignments & I had a $10.00 off coupon. But instead of spending $45.00, I spent $249.52 for 3 new tires & a headlight. Normally I change my own lights, but this one was giving me trouble, so I just had them do it.

After that, I treated my dad to lunch at a little restaurant. $15.75 including tip for salad & a sandwich for me & french toast and scrapple for dad. This place is a good deal.

In exchange for lunch, my dad helped me pick up a Christmas tree. I got a 7 foot tree for $32.99 (which is pretty decent pricing for my area). I also picked up a snow shovel. Not that we need it in this area right now (no heat on today). But I knew eventually I'll need one.

So I set up the tree & decorated tonight. Afterwards, I made dinner from leftovers I had in the fridge.

I did 3 loads of laundry, using the dryer for 2 loads & hung all of the third to air dry.

And finally, I vaccumed all the needles up from the floor with the FREE (used) vaccum that my dad had given me.

My goals for this week are to:
-Return some ornaments to Kmart (15.98 back into the checking).
-Pack my food through Friday (payday)
-Have no spend days from Tuesday through Friday
-Eat a big lunch before going to my newphews birthday party on Saturday at the roller rink, where I'll be temped with hotdogs & french fries.

Definatey doable.

On a different note, I am REALLY annoyed at my sister's attitude towards money. She works hard to support herself & my nephew, but she lives with my parents, paying little rent, gets free & FREQUENT babysitting from my parents, borrows from my parents, has late payments, and complains about money problems.

I have a lot of resentment about all this, but since I can't really do anything about it, I try not to think about it. BUT today I found out that she and my nephews father bought him (a six year old) a child's ATV. She could have put the money towards the karate lessons that he is always talking about or baseball in the spring, but NO, they buy an ATV & store it in my parents garage (AGAINST their very vocal wishes!) I am BOILING MAD.

UGH. Well, I'm off to watch How to Eat Fried Worms & then a Poirot movie. Then I'm going to bed early. Work tomorrow.

Lotsa stuff going on

December 10th, 2006 at 04:52 am

Well, its been a busy week. I opened up a checking account last week, got a free digital camera. I signed up for a portion of each paycheck to go into the 2nd checking account to cover household bills.

I earned 1.12 setting up the new checking account with my mortgage company. They send your checking account 2 small deposits for you to verify & then they let you keep it.

I received an $18.00 rebate from Staples for the paper shredder I bought from them for $17.99. (so I came out .01 ahead).

I signed up for the Sony Visa offer today and was instantly approved. As soon as I get the card, I will make a gas purchase & pay it off immediately. Then wait for my $150.00 credit to appear on my account.

I've been bouncing the idea around of either getting a roommate or getting a second job. I REALLY like my privacy, but I don't really want to take on another job. So I put an ad on Craigslist about the room & seemed to only come up with spam as responses. And possibly a scam...7 of the replies were from people out of the country all with the same style to their emails all requesting me to call an out of the country number. I ignored those.

So I think I am going to try to get a part time job in January and take my time finding a roommate. I hope word of mouth works better for me.

In the meantime, I have been OVERSPENDING. Its not been good. But I've been able to use cash instead of the credit cards at least.

Also, I referred a friend from my old job to a position with my new one. If she's hired (and I think she will be) I should get a $500.00 bonus. Which would at least cover my overspending (and then some).

Goals for the upcoming week:
Stick to budget--I always seem to manuver money around when I decide I want something...take a little from this catagory & a little from that.

Not this time, I am going to spend $14.00 at the grocery store for salad & fruit stuff & thats it til payday on the 15th. The car is gassed up, so I should be good to go. We'll see.