Home > Archive: May, 2015

Archive for May, 2015

All Year Gift Fund instead of Christmas Fund

May 29th, 2015 at 03:16 pm

This is the first year I budgeted for all year gifts instead of just a Christmas fund where my goal was to get 1/2 of the money budgeted from 'free' sources.

I have been doing very well, but am curious to see how much people budget for such things.

Lots of family/friends. Some have bigger budgets than others. I splurge a LOT on kids, but give small gifts of books to friends kids.

My 2015 All inclusive Gifts/Holiday Budget is about $1500. That seems SO high, but its really reasonable, since other than nephews/niece and my parents and hubby, the budgets are usually $5-$25 per person.

What kind of gift budgets to you guys have?

In my 2015 budget, I included:

Sister (33)
Nephew (14)
Niece (2)
Nephew 2 (12)
Friend's Baby

I included Holiday/Event budgets:
Mother's Day
Father's Day
Valentine's Day
Thanksgiving - Food/Decor
Christmas - Food
Halloween - costumes
Family Member's Wedding Shower
Family Member's Wedding
Sister's Graduation from Nursing School

Then I have Christmas:

Sister (33)
Nephew (14)
Niece (2)
Nephew 2 (12)
Pollyanna between Sister in Laws
Friend 3
Friend 4
Friend 1 Baby
Dollar store trip (friend tradition for frugal decorations/wrapping)
Baby Gift
Sister's Boyfriend (if still around)
Friend 2 Baby


May 29th, 2015 at 11:50 am

Today was Payday.

I paid:

-The Rest of the Glider/Ottoman (orig $493.98)
-$780 to the Last Credit Card Balance
-$75.48 to cell
-Mortgage payment
-Cable bill
-Water bill

Auto Savings Scheduled to be pulled:

-Gifts $60
-Auto Expenses $20
-Slush fund $100
-Home Upkeep $50

Cashflow to be spend this pay period:

-Personal $18.18
-Entertainment $220
-Pets $23.01
-Groceries $223.52
-Amazon Subscribe & Save Groceries: $53.06

VERY Productive and Fun Day

May 24th, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Today was both productive and fun. I accomplished a lot and got to spend some time with my nephew.

-I made a full breakfast for us (no eating out)
-Ran dishwasher
-Cleared out photos from phone/Cloud
-Replied to Craigslist responses
-Made grocery list
-Activated new credit cards (renewal cards)
-Paid all but $30.xx of glider/ottoman off credit card (will pay the rest long before the statement even closes
-Ordered toilet paper & paper towels off Amazon (found good deals, time to stock up).
-Paid nephew to do some heavy lifting. He's looking for odd jobs to get some extra money. So I paid him $25 to bring Christmas/Wrapping/Gift Closet items to basement from soon to be baby's room (requiring lots of trips), to bring trash/recycling from basement to cans outside and to bring up items for FB/Craislist meets and to put them in the car. Well worth the money, because he EARNED it.
-I broke down boxes from basement for recycling
-I bought us lunch at Burger King ($9)
-My husband and I rented a movie with the nephew to spend some time hanging out with him ($2.99 - entertainment money)
-I went to the ATM and deposited cash to go towards the baby items
-I met a FB person to sell mini frames
-After the day, I dropped my nephew off at my parents. We brought the dog to say hi Smile
-Got gas on the way
-I unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded any dishes from the sink
-I had another person buy a not great quality side table for $5. I did also show off the hutch in the basement to the guy. He was interested in any other pieces we had.
-I listed another piece on Craigslist today.
-Played with the dog
-making dinner at home

Its been a great day!

FB & Craigslist Sales Part 2

May 24th, 2015 at 11:06 pm

Today, I sold:

1) Mini Frames bought to use in the wedding last year. $7.00

2) a not well made side table $5.00

I also has someone interested in an item, then back out (but did tell e he was no longer interested).

I also had someone interested in a different item that said they wanted to meet this afternoon, but did not respond to set up the meet.

I can only hope that person comes through tomorrow!

FB and Craigslist Sales

May 23rd, 2015 at 08:19 pm

I have been putting up furniture and other items in an attempt at decluttering the basement. The furniture is something I inherited and has been sitting in the basement for almost 8 years. It has to go!

I tried selling before with no luck. So I priced to SELL and required the buyer to do all lifting/moving of the heavy stuff. To me, that is a win as well!

To date, I have sold 2 of the biggest pieces of furniture. The Solid wood buffet and the dining room table. It has chairs, but they are in terrible condition and did not sell. They work, but should be refinished, so I am going to give to goodwill.

All money from the sales 4/3 to 5/4 went to my last credit card. All the sales after 5/4 will be going to baby purchases (crib/glider).

4/3/15 $10 blanket sale
4/5/15 $10 camping chair sale
5/4/15 $10 marble cutting board sale
TOTAL TO Last Credit card $30

5/17/15 $70 Buffet sale
5/18/15 $15 portable cooler sale
5/20/15 $30 dehumidifier sale
5/23/15 $35 dining room table sale

TOTAL TO DATE toward Baby Purchases: $150.00

Money changes 2014 and 2015

May 22nd, 2015 at 03:14 pm

Total Debt Paid in 2014 13,372.03
Total Wddng/Honeymoon Cashflowed 2014 11,000.00
House Repairs Plumbing 2014 5,375.90
House Repairs Basement 2014 6,350.00
Car Loan Paid in 2014 4,125.93

TOTAL Money Change in 2014 40,223.86

Debt paid to Date in 2015 (5/20/15) 10,259.99
Car Loan Paid off 2015 1,595.93
Crib Purchase - cashflowed 2015 319.99
Glider/Ottoman - cashflowed 2015 493.98
Gutter/Soffitts Home Repair 2015 1,933.00
Car Repair - cashflowed 2015 499.67

TOTAL Money Change 2015 to Date 5/22/15 15,102.62

New Retirement Balances

May 19th, 2015 at 10:56 am

5/19/15 Total: $84,246.46


Little more money in & no spending

May 19th, 2015 at 12:25 am

I was sick today, so I worked from home (yay nice boss!)

I worked until 3:30, then ran down to the corner shopping center to meet a FB sale. Sold a portable chargeable cooler for $15. Going to pay towards the baby furniture.

Other than that, I had snacks at home - no real meals as I have not been up to it.

I am laying down in front of the tv and decided to rent Unbroken with a free gift card I had to Amazon. So I still consider this 'No Spend'.

Today's 5 things include:

-updating prices on a few Craigslist posts
-eating at home
-doing FB sale meet

Sunday Funday

May 17th, 2015 at 06:57 pm

Today, I got up and did a lot of things off the To-Do List Smile I had an appointment for a couple to pick up the big buffet from my basement at 1. It is very bulky and I had to remove things from the path they would have to take to get it out of the house.

- Folded laundry from the dryer
- Listed new items on Craiglist and on FB Yardsales. Nothing has been selling the last week or so, but I had a few hits yesterday/today.
- Unload dishwasher
- Clean kitchen
- Refilled aluminum water bottles for grab & go use
- Clear front entry for furniture moving
- Cleared landing to basement for furniture moving
- Moved baby items to holding area in basement
- Cleared hallway between stairs and front door (moved winter jackets to coat closet)
- Moved wine rack & shoe rack out of the way. Will have to put back later.
- clean off basement stairs (cat hair tumbleweeds)
- Vacuumed part of basement - tracked cat litter and fur tumbleweeds.
- Move basement boxes (Husband did all the heavy lifting)
- Couple came to buy the buffet. $70 cash. They negotiated down from $85, but they did all the moving and we now have room in our basement. The cash goes towards the baby furniture purchases. I am very happy with the deal. I hope they keep coming!
- Check Inbox Dollars. Did another item to help with getting to $40 goal asap
- Unpacked box from Amazon that was littering up the living room. Broke down the box and put into recycling. Contents put away
- Walmart for small grocery items. Used $10 gift card from Recyclebank. $10 will be transferred from the grocery fund to the Gift fund. I use all 'free money' towards gifts/Christmas
- Unloaded and put away groceries (I have a bad habit of leaving them out for a while).
- Take down hanging laundr, fold and put away
- Prep outfits for workweek
- Set up appointment for another FB Sale for tomorrow (travel cooler from basement - $15)
- Ordered mail order medicines
- Called in refills for monthly medications.

Tonight, a group of friends and my husband & I are going to see Pitch Perfect 2. We may grab dinner after. Should be a fun night!

Busy/Spendy Saturday

May 17th, 2015 at 01:35 pm

Yesterday was nice. I was feeling the baby an awful lot, so I was sore & uncomfortable for a good half of the day.

So to get my mind off of it, my husband suggested seeing Mad Max in 3D. $20.10 for 2 tickets, but it came straight out of entertainment money.

We went to lunch after at a local Brew Pub - $50 even with tip, but I brought leftovers home for part of dinner. Also fully paid for by the entertainment budget.

When we came home, we sat on the deck with the dog for a while, enjoying the weather (free). We had dinner at home (grill and leftovers) and watched some DVR (free again).

In between being lazy, I accomplished a lot:

- Cleared personal email
- Opened & clcked Mypoints Emails and Inbox Dollars emails
- Updated Google Calendar with medical and social appointments (share with husband)
- Did 5 loads of laundry. Clothes, bedding, dog bedding and living room blankets. Hung dry most of clothes, put bedding and blankets in the dryer.
- Cleaned kitchen
- Ran Dishwasher
- Updated checkbook with day's spending
- updated Craigslist items
- Added new Craigslist items (4 more)
- Checked Inbox Dollars - have over $30 in bank. Made request for payment and utilized offer of - get to $40 in 30 days and they skip the payment fee of $3
- Did more free offers with Inbox Dollars (new balance: $34.69. Pending approx. $7.20 in other offers. Will have to wait until 5/31 to confirm the posted.
- Live Chat with Inbox over missing $2.50 offer for opening a Target Redcard. It was since applied.
- Opened mail/filed and threw away junk

I also have someone coming today for one of my Craigslist items. A beautiful buffet that I inherited from my Great-Aunt. Its just not my style and really is cluttering up the basement. I significantly lowered the price last week and have someone picking it up today. They will carry from basement & remove and pay me $85. Worth it to me!

401k - Love it!

May 15th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

My work matches $3 for $1 for the first 1% of my contribution to the 401k. After that, up to 4%, they match $1 for $1.

So essentially, for 4% contribution, I get 6% match. I currently save 12% of my income into the 401k, and with the match, its 18% of my income. I like that!

Since its pre-tax, I'm not even aware of the money not coming into my pocket. Plus seeing my Retirment Account balances increase, makes me very very happy!

Debt Repayment & Today's 5 Things

May 14th, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Last Credit Card Payoff is going well.

Once I paid off the card in front of it in my snowball, I put $1252.08 to the card in March, $2131.37 to it in April and $909.84 so far in May.

Tomorrow is pay day and I am putting $726 towards it (already included in the May #).

I am also putting $313.04 towards the new glider/ottoman.

Yesterday, I took the dog to the vet. Turns out he has an ear infection, which required tests plus meds and he got some vaccinations. $313 out of pocket.

Minor setbacks, but we are still going strong!

Today's 5 Things:
Call Dr [DONE]
Redo budget with new pay [DONE]
Update Payoff plan[DONE]
Set up card payments [DONE]
Sit on the deck with the dog and enjoy the weather [DONE]
Make dinner at home [DONE]
Bed early (will do)

Last Few Days

May 14th, 2015 at 12:55 am

Sunday -
-Visited Mother-in-Law in the morning (husband bought a beautiful necklace for his mom)
-Followed by my parents to visit for Mother's Day ($25 gift card plus $0.50 card)
-It was also our First Anniversary, so my parents gave us an anniversary card and $40 towards our anniversary dinner
-My sister gave me some hand me down clothes for the baby (Freebies!)
-Husband gave me a Mother's Day gift of a gift card to get a mani/pedi
-Husband gave me an Anniversary Gift of an Alex & Ani bracelet which the initial of our last name on it.
-Came home & husband did yard work, I sorted and listed all of the new baby things
-Went to dinner on the Chesapeake Bay, at an upscale restaurant for our Anniversary Dinner. They had a buffet for Mother's day, which was really good. We had a free $50 off $75 due to a promotion from the business that we rented our wedding tuxes in. The bill came to $87.xx, so
we used the $50, the $40 my parents gave us and we put in another $20 for tip. Our waitress was phenomenal and we truly had the best
time. The restaurant is right on the water, there was a lot of boats going in & out and the sunset on the water was romantic.
-To end the evening, we had our Anniversary cake, made new by the baker who did our Wedding cake. It was a complimentary service and the cake was

Tuesday - I was ill. I called out of work and slept all day and into the night. Nothing was accomplished, but I feel SO much better today!

Today - Wednesday's 5 Things:

-Bing Rewards
-Took dog to vet
-stopped by parents to show dog off to nephew
-mailed painting contract

Revisiting Sinking Funds - share your thoughts

May 11th, 2015 at 06:45 pm

I am revisiting my Sinking Funds

I have:

1. A Slush Fund - this is made up of all our Once a year costs:
-Vet for Cat 1 ($200-250/year)
-Vet for Cat 2 ($200-250/year)
-Vet for Dog ($200-250/year)
-HOA Fee ($150/year)
-Sewer bill ($200/year approximately)
-Misc Insurance ($80/year)
-TOTAL $1180/year (put away $100/month).

2. Vacation Fund - $20/month - Only planning little long weekends from time to time

3. Home Upkeep/Repairs Fund - currently saving $50/month, but have utilized lately and balance is low.

4. Gifts fund - $60/month and is supplemented with 'free money' from Bing, rewards, etc. This covers birthdays, anniversarys, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween (costumes), wedding showers, baby showers, etc. We are extremely generous with the nieces/nephews and supplement sports and activities, so the 'costs' are a little higher than if we were just buying small presents.

5. Medical Fund - currently only $10/month. We have funds provided by work into an HSA and I put $33/check pretax in as well. It covers deductables, etc.

6. AAA/License Renewal/Inspection - $15/month

So we have had a lot of large home repairs, lately. However, what do you all budget for normal upkeep, repairs, etc? Do you have slush funds for this?

I am attempting to figure out the right number for our family.

Busy & productive day!

May 10th, 2015 at 02:20 am

Today, I completed a lot and had a lot of fun!

-In the morning, I watched some tv, cleared my email, did Inbox Dollars, uploaded the Recyclebank, reduced furniture prices on Craigslist, bumped the furniture photos on my FB sales sites and filed emails

-My husband picked up the 'free' cake for our 1st Anniversary. The baker provided a small layer of cake as part of the wedding cake services. Yay

-I went to the ATM and the dollar store for healthy Gestational Diabetic friendly snacks - peanuts, sunflower seeds, unsweetened applesauce etc.

-I went to Target, where I used a coupon sent to me to receive a $20 gift card for starting a Target Baby Registry (yay free money!)

-Went to Babies R Us to purchase a glider & ottoman set. I utilized 15% coupon, will get 10% ($49.38) back upon my due date as part of their registry program, and will get $38 in Rewards gift cards in the next month. So this amount went from $579.98 to $493.98 after the 15% off, minus $38 in register rewards, minus the $49.38 in registry gift card. So final 'cost' after money back is $406.60. I am happy with this splurge!

-We had lunch with a good friend & her husband and 2 kids. They made lunch at their house and we hung out. She is done having kids and was going to sell her 1 year old car seat & 2 bases, which happen to exactly match the stroller I just bought - so I bought those from her for $100. She also gave us freebies of an activity/walking center, a teething rattle, 7 receiving blankets, 16 bibs, an activity mat and a bumble. Very generous!

-Afterwards, we stopped by our friend's bar for a drink for my husband and for me to chat with the bartender. They always are asking for pregnancy updates and my friend lives right by there Smile

-We then went home, where we put away all the goodies, I cleaned the kitchen and we took the dog for a walk.

-I was really tired, but it is an absolutely beautiful day. My husband suggested dinner at a restaurant right on the Chesapeake Bay. They have a huge outdoor area on the water and really good seafood. I jumped at the chance!

We are lucky to be 25 minutes away from this beautiful area on the water. Here are a few quick pics. They have a live band on Saturday nights, beautiful views and an eclectic clientele. I love it!

Updating the last few days of 5 Things

May 9th, 2015 at 02:19 am

I haven't posted, but have been keeping track of my '5 Things' being done.

-worked 7a to 3:30p
-picked up minivan from my parents
-used van to pick up crib from store & transport home
-returned van to my parents
-grocery shopped
-confirmed doctors appointment
-made tacos at home

-doctors appointment (baby is doing well!)
-balanced checkbook
-received reusable grocery bag (prize for winning some trivia)
-Cancel car appointment (recall)
-Pay AAA membership
-Purge basement paperwork
-scan interesting paperwork
-prep papers to bring to work to be shredded
-tossed broken bin for paperwork
-updated prices of furniture online
-dinner out with hubby ($37 out of entertainment spending)

-brought old paperwork into office and placed in secure shredding bin (perk of working in a financial department)
-update appointments calendar
-email friends
-call in glucose #s for gestational diabetes
-update baby registry
-order toilet paper from Amazon (good deal!)
-reschedule 1 doctors appointment
-cancel another doctors appointment
-obtained new salary & created good estimate of take home pay
-used that new figure to update paycheck budget
-create guestlist for 'if I were to have a shower'
-update Blog
-went to movies with friend (she had free tickets & I bought snacks $17).

5 Things from the last few days

May 9th, 2015 at 02:10 am

I was forgetting to update my 5 Things from the last few days, but I have been tracking!

Wednesday - I worked 7a to 3:30pm. We made tacos for dinner (although I had to spend a little at the grocery store for some supplies). We also borrowed my parents' mini-van after work to pick up the crib that we had purchased. That was a big help!

-Bing Searches
-set up schedule for van
-confirm Thursday doctors appointment
-clear personal email
-borrow van
-pick up groceries
-pick up crib
-drop crib off at the house
-give the van back
-made dinner at home

Thursday 5/7 5 Things:
-Balance checkbook
-received free reusable grocery bag for a trivia contest
-cancel Hyundai appointment
-Pay AAA Membership
-Purge paperwork from basement (really old - it was fun to go through)
-go to doctors appointment (baby is doing well!)
-Had dinner out with the Hubs

Friday 5/8 5 Things:
-Took paperwork into the office to put in the secure shredding bin (perk of working with finance)
-Update appointments calendar (send copy to the husband
-Email friends
-Call in Glucose #s for gestational diabetes
-order toilet paper off Amazon (good deal)
-reschedule one of my June doctors appointments
-Cancelled appointment with primary doctor since being seen by OB
-Found out pay raise from promotion, which led to redoing my budget with a very good estimate of what my new take-home will be!
-put together a list/addresses of friends I would want to come to my baby shower (if I were to have one which I'm not supposed to know I probably will)
-updated baby registry
-meet friend for movies after work (she had free tickets and I bought the snacks $17).
-bought gift card for Mother's Day gift

LONG wait for promotion/increase in income

May 8th, 2015 at 07:13 pm

I was unofficially offered a new role at my place of employment back in mid-January. 3 months later, I finally have received the pay increase (back dated to 4/13).

My income at this company has increased pretty well and I am incredibly happy.

-I started with this company 4/22/2013.

-On 5/19/2013, they adjusted my income to a new industry standard of income (increase of 6.19%)

-Because of that, there was no merit increase in 2014

-On 3/12/2015, while still waiting for the new role, I received a Merit Raise of 5%

-Today, backdated to 4/13/2015, my pay increased by 12.7% from 3/21/15 (which is a total increase of 18.33% from 5/19/2013 and a total increase of 25.66% from 4/22/2013).

Can't beat that!

No Spend and Yes to Getting Things Done

May 6th, 2015 at 12:22 am

I worked from home today. It was a no spender! I had a lot of meetings where I just had to listen, so I was able to get quite a few chores done during those times.

I was able to get a bunch of things to do off my To Do List. Here are today's '5 Things'.

-Did Bing searches
-Entered MyCokerewards
-Did Recyclebank
-Brought bin of glassware up from basement
-unwrapped all the glassware
-itemized, took pictures & listed glassware on fb sales and craiglist
-Cleaned furniture in basement - wiped all down
-Took pictures of furniture in basement
-Posted furniture for sale on FB & Craigslist
-Do laundry (dog bedding, dog towels, our bedding, clothes)
-Put 1 load in dryer & hung the rest out to air dry
-Fold all laundry
-Clean silver tray, photograph list for sale on FB & Craigslist
-Unload dishwasher
-Load dishwasher
-Clean kitchen
-Take out recycling and trash
-Wash recycling can
-refill aluminum water bottles for easy grab & go
-put together rack in basement
-put away Christmas & Halloween items in their original boxes (was lazy putting them away last year)
-Organize Christmas items and place in tubs on storage rack
-Organize Halloween items and place in tubs on storage rack
-Organize misc items, household items and shelve on storage shelves
-Put additional items for sale
-clean part of basement - items for trash, etc.

*I actually accomplished quite a lot in the basement. I hope to sell that furniture & clear out even more. I will do my best to sell at the highest price possible, but I REALLY want these items to be gone

Here is a picture of the basement 'before'

Here are some 'After' pictures!

Going back to my '5 Things'

May 5th, 2015 at 12:06 pm

I ALWAYS have a running To Do list & it feels like nothing ever gets done. However, I have to remember that even getting 5 small things off the list is an accomplishment. If I get more off there, even better. So here is tracking my '5 Things' from yesterday.

- Updated Target Redcard registration (want 5% back as part of our baby registry is there and we may utilize them more now)
- Balanced checkbook
- researched car registration fee (due July)
- updated baby document
- updated baby registry
- checked medical bills/claims
- called & set up car appointment for recall
- call in medical bill payment (using HSA card)
- activate Health Reimbursement card from spouse's work (applies to maternity costs)
- do BING searches
- cancel hair appointment for Tuesday
- move furniture in basement with husband (he did most of the work)
- have financial discussion with spouse (completed thoroughly)
- Track spending for the day

Spending for 5/4
$1.50 for a soda
$2.45 for breakfast (forgot milk for cereal)

Retirement Investments Update

May 4th, 2015 at 03:36 pm

Friday was payday, so today I checked my retirement accounts.

New Balance: $82,853.28!

Payday - Extra paycheck

May 1st, 2015 at 12:41 pm

May is an extra paycheck month. Based on how I budget, today's check is the extra one.

I used it to:

Pay the computer purchase $399.99
Pay the crib purchase $319.99
Pay maternity clothes/dog supplies $131.06
Pay Car Repair $499.02
Pay License renewal $25

and Will use funds to:
-Purchase a gently used stroller, car seat & 2 bases $175

So after a few other budget appropriations, I have $166.94 to the Last Credit Card. This, plus a $25 payment a few days ago (from extra entertainment budget) bring the balance down to $5522.96. I am still on plan to pay it off before the baby gets here!