Home > Archive: September, 2010

Archive for September, 2010

Medical Spending & Emotional Spending

September 27th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Well, today I went to the doctors for a medical condition I was having. Long story short, I left work with the intention of going back after the appointment, but ended up being send for tests. September is not my month, I can't wait for October.

Anyway - doctors appointment was a $20 copay (used the HSA card). I spent about $9.49 on an item for my condition, but was unable to use the HSA card for it.

I also spent $32.37 for gas & $4.99 for Wendy's. The fast food was my emotional spending after a stressful afternoon.

I am now home. Tomorrow, my boss is having us go out to lunch. However, we will have to pay for ourselves. I have $15 cash for that.

Lazy Sunday by Necessity

September 26th, 2010 at 04:07 pm

Well, today is a cooler, rainy day & makes it perfect for lying around. Thank goodness, because I need it. I have done something to my leg or am having something going on because my leg is all swollen. I plan on going to the doctor tomorrow, but today, I will be putting my leg up.

This week is going to be very hectic for me. Monday, I hope to get to the doctors. Tuesday & Wednesday - I am watching my nephew after school. Wednesday night, I have a homeowners association meeting and Thursday will just have to be a night of rest Smile

Yesterday, I went on a wine tasting tour. Its a really good deal $30.00 for tastings at 10 wineries over 2 weekends. A single tasting is around $7.00, so the deal is good. I did not pay for the pass today, as I was designated driver. I did pay for gas, brought food to picnic with and bought a bottle of wine to take home for a later date.

Today, I already returned some yard equipment to my parents, picked up a book & some Halloween decorations that my mom got me & dropped off some stuff my friend left in my car yesterday.

My goals today are to:

1. Sit down as much as possible (this is REALLY hard for me)
2. Create a meal plan for the week
3. Finalize a budget for October 1st
4. Make dinner & food for tomorrow
5. RELAX. I hate that I need to tell myself that

And here a few pics from the wineries!

Coming Clean To You All

September 23rd, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Over the last 2 years or so, I've mentioned some backsliding with debt. I am not going to make excuses. But I am going say that I have not added to the debt in months and I am working to pay it off.

I've personally faced the reality of my debt, but I haven't really shared it. I'm going to be brave and do it now. UGH. I hope for constructive criticism and not flaming and I know my SavingAdvice family will come though Smile

And I would note that over the last 4 years, I've paid off over $20,000 in student loans & school expenses, paid cash for the down payment on the house, bought a new a/c unit & hot water heater for the house & paid for several car repairs for my old car.

Mortgage: $157,224.83
2nd mortgage (part of a county incentive program) $4502.14 at 0% APR
Car Loan: $13,301.14 0% APR
Fed Student Loan: $3689.59 5% APR
CC#1 A: $627.77 $12% APR *this is the new debt
CC#2 D: $5654.70 0% APR *this is the new debt

I hate those #s and I plan on paying it down as quickly as possible.

CC#1 started at $751.20 at the beginning of September. I would also point out that my budget is very tight, even with the roommate, so I need to get creative about paying down the debt!

Not So Frugal Today & random updates

September 23rd, 2010 at 03:06 pm

Well, I did not pack any food today (Failing my lunch challange for this pay period). So I had breakfast in the work cafe and will grab a sub from subway. I WILL be packing again tomorrow.

In other news; I got a $50 bonus from ING for opening a checking account with them.

I received a $10 gift card to Old Navy & another is on its way to me. I took advantage of a 3 times the points promotion!

Last night I returned a cable box from my bedroom, which will save me approximately $9 a month. I got 2 of the digital converters (Free).

Yesterday, I switch my homeowners insurance. The company I was originally with wanted $449.00 for the year. The new company is $480, but is the same company as my car insurance, so I will save 10% on the car insurance - savings of about $140 yearly. And I get better coverage with the new company.

I am still waiting to downgrade my gym membership. I will do that next week. Savings of about $10/month.

So - lots going on. This weekend, I am supposed to go to a Wine Tasting Festival at several wineries. The ticket for 2 days is $30. There are 10 wineries. There will be live music, beautiful scenery & some food.

The friends I am going with have done this before. Apparently they pack some food & each buys wine at a couple of the wineries and at the end, we sit at a picnic table & finish off all wine & have a picnic.

Lucky me can't drink. So I am going to be designated driver. I will not have to buy the pass $30 savings. I WILL bring food $approx $25 and I probably won't be buying any wine. So at least this way it will be more frugal! Smile

Maybe I will be able to drink the 2nd Saturday of the festival.

Today's spending - and a book recommendation

September 20th, 2010 at 01:55 am

My mom & I went to see Easy A, which we both really liked. She treated for the movie ticket & popcorn and I treated her to lunch out after. $10.85 spent for 2 slices of pizza, a large salad to split & 2 drinks. Not a bad deal.

We had a good time & it was REALLY good to get out of the house. Something is still not quite right with me, I am feeling pretty tired and just 'off' and being cooped up in the house due to lack of energy is getting me a little down. So the movie was a great pick me up and was much appreciated.

Tonight, I watched some trashy tv (Real Housewives of OC, ect), made sloppy joe & packed food for work tomorrow. Then I settled down to read 'Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation'. Its a compilation of letters written to Mrs. Kennedy after JFK was assassinated. The letters are very moving and its a very interesting look into the lives of all types of Americans at that time.

I was not alive at the time of the assassination, but I do remember experiencing the Challenger launch and its tragic end while in school. That had an impact on me and I cannot imagine what I would feel about seeing the President assassinated.

I plan on asking my parents about their memory of the event and I know my dad will enjoy the conversation. He is a history man - but not in terms of facts and dates, but experiences. I actually plan on recommending the book to him as well.

Disappointed in Gail Vaz-Oxlade

September 19th, 2010 at 02:07 pm

I'm watching Til Debt Do Us Part & Gail just asked the couple to research the benefits of leasing a car.

I understand what she is trying to do - use leasing versus buying to get the cheapest payments possible to have them pay off their debt as quickly as possible.

However, she does NOT explain the the long term benefits/faults of leasing. Anyone watching this show is being led to believe that leasing is better because the payment is better 100% of the time.

What do you guys think? I'm a car buyer, not leaser. But I do understand that leasing has its benefits. I just feel its irresponsible to only give the benefits of one side for this one situation.

Been MIA - and spending updates

September 18th, 2010 at 03:24 pm

Well, I have been MIA. I was in the ER Monday night & out of work Tuesday through Thursday. There is a $150.00 copoay for the ER visit, which will be covered by my FSA plan. I went back to work yesterday after a follow up doctors appointment ($20 copay). After work, I ran some errands then rested up at home.

I plan on continuing the rest throughout the weekend. I feel better, but am not 100% yet. The last few days used up the last of my sick time, so I have to be very careful. Any more time, would have to be supplemented by my vacation time.

Yesterday, I spent:
$7.00 - Dollar store - groceries & greeting cards
$14.75 - lunch & dinner (salad & sandwich)
$47.79 - groceries (with lots of 'splurges' like bagel thins, strawberry yogurt & weight watchers muffins!)

Today, I spent $19.59 at WalMart. $9.88 of which was for a camping chair to take to my nephew's fall ball games. The rest went to shampoo, conditioner & deodorant. As for the chair - I lost the one I've used for years at a concert I attended this summer. So I'm happy to replace it, it will get MANY uses.

Today, I am running to the library ($0.75 fee to be paid) and then to my nephew's baseball game (free). I plan on watching library movies & reading at home tonight

Cash Envelope Balances (good through the 30th):

Kitty Litter: $10.00
Groceries: $29.43
Entertainment: $41.00
Weekend Wine Tour: $70 (this is a 2-day planned event with some good friends. This amount includes the ticker, food to picnic with & a bottle of wine)

Frugal Acts Today

September 13th, 2010 at 02:08 am

I was laughing to myself earlier about how domestic I was being today. Then I realized I really was being more frugal than domestic.

Today, I made dinner at home, packed tomorrow's breakfast & lunch, sat with the windows open & a/c off, I drank water & lemonade instead of soda.

I bought veggies from the farmer's market vs the grocery store, probably saving me $5-10.00

I vacuumed with what I like to call my franken-vacuum. Its pieced together with electrical tape & a clothespin - but hey, it works! And it was free after my dad fixed it up.

I watched library movies & worked on a puzzle I bought for 50 cents at Good Will.

Then I took out my winter wool pea coat, which has been sitting in my bedroom closet waiting to have 2 buttons put on and my old express work pants, which needed the zipper re-sown and the pant leg hemmed. I did the buttons and zipper. But I am going to have to buy some hem tape because these pants have been a pain with the pant leg.

I also pre-planned my wardrobe & jewelry for the week. This is a first for me. But I am trying to adhere to the new enhancements to the work dress code & I wanted to be prepared for the week.

And I have to laugh, my personal goal is to actually do my hair & makeup each morning this week. Normally, I sleep in until the last possible second. Then I go to work with half wet hair & no makeup. Which is the norm for half my coworkers, but I decided I'm going to try to start spiffing myself up more Smile

Hope everyone had a frugal day!

Plan for the week

September 12th, 2010 at 07:30 pm

Well, to help me with my lunch challenge, entertainment spending & with weight watchers, I have a weekly plan set up. I've set a meal plan, workout goals and my social commitments to a calendar.

Money-wise, I've been able to have the a/c off & windows open. My roommate's rent was due on Friday (the 10th) but it is still unpaid. However, I have not seen her since Thursday since she's been away all weekend. That may be why I haven't received it. She's always just handed it to me instead of leaving a check. Hopefully, I will get it tonight when she comes home.

As for my schedule - I would like to note that my exercise activities have been modified for the next week or so due to tendinitis in my foot. Booo to that.

Today, I am home doing laundry, planning my weekly wardrobe per our new dress code, and watching movies from the library. I have The International, Black Christmas and When a Stranger Calls. Yay for free movies!

$0 spending.
Gym - bicycle 30-45 minutes, plus weight training.
Entertainment - no commitments
Breakfast: oatmeal, apple
Lunch: Salad with tuna
Snacks: goldfish, microwave popcorn
Dinner: pasta with spinach and a salad

$10 spending
Gym - off day
Entertainment - Nephew's ballgame (free); Pub night with friends ($10)
Breakfast: apple, animal crackers, cereal
Lunch: Salad with tuna
Snacks: goldfish, microwave popcorn
Dinner: pasta salad (to be taken to ball game)

$15 spending
Gym - 30 mins bike, 15 mins strength training
Entertainment - Dinner out with friends
Breakfast: oatmeal, apple, animal crackers
Lunch: Pasta salad w/ turkey pepperoni
Dinner: Medallion salad from restaurant

$0 spending
Gym - 45 mins bike
Entertainment - no commitments
Breakfast: to be determined (after grocery shopping!)
Lunch: Salad with meatloaf muffin
Dinner: shake n bake chicken/potatoes

$15 spending - happy hour dinner & drinks
Gym - 30 mins bike
Entertainment - Happy Hour with coworkers
Breakfast: to be determined
Lunch: pasta salad
Dinner: Salad at happy hour; tuna sandwich at home after

Sat -
Spending: $10 at Delaware Park races (can bring own food). Then $10 Oktoberfest with sister to celebrate her anniversary

Sunday - Day at home; groceries shopping for spending; movies from library (free)

Work Dress Code & Weekend Plans

September 10th, 2010 at 05:49 pm

They have clarified some things in our work dress code. We have always been business casual during the week & allowed jeans on Friday. During the summer, they gave us Flip Flop Fridays.

Well now we have no more flip flops and they are cracking down on the dress code. This is because people are abusing it. Thanks coworkers... a few jerks ruin a good thing for all.

Anyway, I've always been able to wear solid colored fitted tops with my dress pants and khakis to work. Now, because of a very LITERAL interpretation of the 'no t-shirts rule', I can no longer wear these very clean cut, professional looking tops. Because they are technically t-shirts if they do not have additional details (cap sleeves, decorative necklines, ect). I find this ironic because the tops that now fit my dress code are actually LESS professional than these tops.

And it stinks because about 60% of the tops in my wardrobe are NO longer work appropriate. I am going to have to stretch my wardrobe though - because I am on a clothing spending break. This should be fun! Thank goodness sweater weather is fast approaching.

As for the weekend, I have a happy hour today & my nephew's baseball game tomorrow. I was invited to go with my sister to the Renaissance fair on Sunday, but I just don't have the money right now. So instead, I am planning a relaxing weekend around the house.

Lunch Challange

September 7th, 2010 at 07:33 pm

I'm working a personal Lunch Challange for September. My goal was to pack my breakfast/lunch/snacks all month with 2 exception.

I used the first exception on Sept 1st for a soft pretzel ($.55) and the second today for a bottle of water & a pretzel ($1.90). I forgot my reusable water bottle as I took it home Friday to watch. I will NOT be forgetting it for tomorrow! lol

Additional spending for today - I will be stopping by Acme for some lettuce & some ground turkey if it is on sale. Other than that, no extra spending.

I am passing on my weekly pub night with friends as I saw most of them yesterday at a friend's bbq. I plan on spending the time getting my bedroom cleaned & organized.

Today's 5 (Well, really 6) Things (to get done)
1. Library
2. grocery store
3. clean bedroom, dust & vacuum
4. pack food for tomorrow
5. call for wellness appointment by phone
6. pay electric bill - locked myself out & need to reset my password from my home email account

No Spender - Quick update

September 7th, 2010 at 12:43 am

Today was a no spender. I went for a walk at a local park (free) and went to a friend's bbq. I already had the veggies & dip ready to go.

I am continuing my lunch challenge in Sept. and I've already packed food/drink for work tomorrow. I'm hoping for another no spender!

Sooo Sore today & cash envelope totals

September 5th, 2010 at 05:21 pm

Well, thanks to all the physical yard work yesterday, I woke up with a VERY sore back. I'm taking some anti-inflammatory meds and trying to walk around to loosen up the muscles Smile

Well, today will be a day of rest instead of a day of cleaning cause there's no way I'm going to be able to handle picking up stuff for scrubbing the bathtub.

I went to the farmer's market & got some veggies. Other than that, there is no spending for today. I am heading to my sisters for a bbq.

My cash envelope totals are now as follows:

House Stuff - $0 bought items on Friday
Groceries - $25.52
Entertainment- $31.13

Tomorrow, will be a no spender as well. The only thing I have planned is another bbq at a friends and I already have the items needed for veggies & dip.

No Spender, but definitely not due to doing nothing all day

September 4th, 2010 at 08:40 pm

I planned today to be a yard work day as I just borrowed my dad's weed whacker and hedge trimmer. The temperature has lowered significantly & I was able to open up the windows and turn off the a/c. I woke up on my own this morning (as opposed to an alarm) and was outside in the yard by 9:15 am.

So today, I:

-Mowed the lawn
-Weed whacked around deck and air conditioning unit
-Weed whacked walkway in backyard
-Raked and bagged the yard
-Cleared the deck of debris blown onto it.
-Trimmed shrub in front of my house. This was a BIG task as 1/2 of the bush is dead on the inside. Its not the prettiest now, but I need to borrow a saw from my dad to get rid of the bigger dead branches.
-Weed whacked grass growing in crack in driveway.
-Bagged up all trimmings (4 full bags full).
-Piled all the yard waste into the car, as well as my 2 big tomato planters full of dirt and dead plants. -Took it all to the free yard waste disposal site.
-When I got home, I vacuumed out the car VERY well.
-I took the hose & rinsed out all planters that are now empty
-Did 2 loads of laundry.

And that was by 1pm.

Then I:
-made lunch
-made jello shots for a BBQ tomorrow
-unloaded the dishwasher
-cleaned the kitchen
-vacuumed and mopped the floor
-polished the kitchen table
-watered the plants

I have a few more things on my to-do list, but I made myself a nice margarita first & sat down to take a break Smile

The rest of my list is to:

-replant a plant (DONE)
-bring up last load of laundry
-clean the living room (DONE)
-vacuum and dust the living room (DONE)
-take cleaned out planters to the basement now that they are dry (DONE)
-vacuum upstairs bathroom floor (DONE)
-take a shower (DONE)
-make a yummy dinner
-PLOP MYSELF ON THE COUCH, watch some movies and/or read a book. No other work for the rest of the night. Even though my bedroom is a mess and so is the upstairs bathroom. That could be tackled tomorrow.

At least I knocked off a TON of stuff of my to-do list! hee-hee

Quick Spending Check In

September 2nd, 2010 at 09:46 pm

$2.02 for limes for Margarita Girls Night In
$17.98 tequila for the margaritas plus vodka for the jello shots I am bringing to a party this weekend.

Not too shabby... but I had to pare down the grocery budget even more to cover it! lol.

Late Night Update

September 2nd, 2010 at 02:16 am

Well, I packed food 99.99% today as I bought a soft pretzel. I will be getting rid of that habit starting tomorrow Smile Breakfast, lunch & snacks are already packed for tomorrow.

Today, I worked 7:30 to 4pm. Then I stopped by Joann Fabrics and picked up jeans patches. Unfortunately, my favorite jeans got worn in the inner thigh, so I used the $2.99 iron on patches and tried them out. Worked ok although they weren't an exact match. I'm just hoping to get the jeans through the next month or so of weight loss, when I have slightly smaller jeans that will work just fine.

I ate dinner at home & then met my parents at the movies to see Piranha 3D. My dad & I share a love of cheesy, over the top horror movies - the more crudeness the better. My mom was not as thrilled as we were, but we all had fun. $12.25 ticket.

My parents also followed me back to my house and dropped off a weed whacker and electric hedge trimmer that I asked to borrow. I am planning on taking care of the yard this weekend. I have a very small lot and can get around doing major yard maintenance too frequently. As long as my parents don't mind sharing, I see no point in buying those items myself.

Tomorrow, I am having some girls over for girls night in. We plan on making margaritas. My buddies are bringing stuff to make nachos and I am picking up some tequila and supplying the margarita mix. We should have a blast!

Today's spending:
$0.55 pretzel (from spare change in desk)
$12.25 3D movie ticket

Cash Envelope Balances:
Groceries: Start $110/ Current $64.82
Entertainment: Start $65/Current $43.90
House/Lowes: $40 plus coupon
Kitty Litter: $10

First Day of September! (Long)

September 1st, 2010 at 02:53 pm

Welcome to September! I'm looking forward to cooler weather where I can keep my windows open and not run A/C and therefore save some money. Unfortunatley that isn't happening this week. Its in the mid to high 90s here.

Yesterday was payday, I spent 8.85 on pub night with friends (entertainment budget) and $42.19 at the grocery store to get most of my staples for this pay period (thru the 15th).

I have been working hard to make my money work for me. I paid some bills - bought gas, paid cell phone, car insurance and my cable bill with my Old Navy cc. They are doing triple rewards points and that plus the balance I already had, will yield me a $10 gc. Which I will use with another gc I already have to get some fall pants Smile I am paying the cc off as soon as the charges post to the account, which will leave a $0 balance.

I also reduced my 401k contribution (while still keeping the company match) and all that extra amount is going straight to my credit cards.

I have lowered my entertainment budget to $65 per pay period and my grocery budget is $110 for this pay period and about $70 for my next pay period. I am going to work extra hard to stay within these budgets.

I also have finagled $40 in funds to use with a $10 off $50 coupon for Lowes. I need a new basement window cover, some weather stripping, carpet tape & CFL bulbs. And purchasing all at once will save me $10 Smile

I an reinstituting my Lunch Challange for myself for September. I went off plan a little at the end of August and really want to be back on track. So my goal for Sept is to pack breakfast, lunch, & snacks 100% with 2 exceptions for the month. One exception is today where I bought a 0.55 pretzel.

I would like to state that I don't mind the lunch challange because 1. I save money 2. Its easier to stay on my WW plan and 3. I'd rather spend disposable funds on being social Smile

Finally, I plan on lowering my gym plan from 19.99/month to $10 a month. I can switch on the 24th of Sept and already have it on my calander. I also am returning a cable box that I have in my bedroom. Promo ran out & returning it will save me $9/month.

Cash Envelope Balances:
Groceries: Start $110/ Current $67.81
Entertainment: Start $65/Current $56.15
House/Lowes: $40 plus coupon
Kitty Litter: $10