Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2012 Budget Recap

Income
Projected
Actual
Y 2nd
1125
1125.13
ND 2nd
1202
1310.67
Y 1st
1125
1125.1
ND 2nd
1202
4173.6
Flex
408
416.66
Reimbursements
Other

Total
5062
8151.16
Expenses
Fixed
Mortgage
430
500
Car
350
350
Life Ins.
122
122.31
D-TV
51
55.98
Electric
100
109.54
Phone
175
184.12
Student Loan
112.53
150
Daycare
550
459

Total
1890.53
1930.95
Variable
Gas
450
369.04
Groceries
450
599.73
Household
200
65.93
Y Fun
200
60
Gifts
250
366.2
clothing
120
49.99
ND fun
200
60
Beer
150
117.71
Entertainment
120
Misc.
300
259.74
Eating Out
120
57.2
Donations
27
Trash
104.14
Credit card
177.44
Total
2560
2314.12
Savings
Automatic
500
500
Other
500
3416.66

Total
1000
3916.66

Grand Total
5450.53
8161.73
Left Over
-388.53
-10.57
 
My budget goes from the paychecks at the end of the month to the next end of the month.  We got paid today so we start over today with January's budget.  We went over in the gift category but still had a good month.  Thanks to my large commission check.  The grocery category is high because we bought a half a pig.
 
Any helpful advice?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

January 2012 is a Low Spend Month

Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily is doing a low/no spend month for January and I've decided to join her.  It is much needed after all the Christmas spending.  I'm so sick of stores.  I really need to watch my spending in all areas.  I have tracked my spending for December and I will for January, too.

I will post a January budget and will blog accordingly to keep myself accountable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 in Review

2011 was a good year for me.  This year I did the following:
  • Became micomanaged at my old job
  • Quit my old job and was told to immediately clean my personal items out and leave
  • Got a new awesome job that I love!
  • Went from 5 banks down to 2, much simpler and easier
  • Cleaned out my old savings account from my other job that was close to $10,000 and added it to my regular savings
  • Received Y's pay from being stop-lossed
  • Settled into our new house
  • Grew a garden for the very first time and decided that I need a little bit smaller one this coming year
  • Tried canning for the first time ever and loved it.  I have a weakness for all things pickled.
  • Decided that I needed to work on my marriage and opted to watch Dr. Phil to get good ideas and it has worked.
  • Decided to wait to have Baby #2 because we need a stronger marriage
  • Paid down my mortgage by $35,000 roughly
  • Took Lil Punk to the lake many times and she loved it
  • Started my first 401K
  • Managed to live and thrive in the country.  It's not always easy being a half mile from your nearest neighbor.
  • Became a part of the small community in which I live.  I actually recognize people at the grocery store.  The manager is okay with me giving a couple grapes to Lil Punk in the store.  I offer to pay extra when I check out and they always refuse.
  • Bought my first pair of skinny jeans
  • Ran a 3 mile charity run
  • Went camping over Memorial Weekend with good friends
  • Supported one of my very good friends as her husband is deployed. 
  • Took a weekend trip with Y and Lil Punk.  We checked out an aquarium and had a great time.
  • Planted trees
  • Planted strawberry and raspberry plants
All in all, it was a very good year.  I had a little adjustment to the country life but I love it.  I keep getting ideas on things that I want to do the following year.  I will do another post about that.

I love seeing other blogger's ideas for 2012 but I also love seeing the good things that you did in 2011.  Please steal this post idea because I love reading about the positives in your lives. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

401K Update

I enrolled in my first 401K ever the beginning of October.  I started by contributing 5% with a 5% match from my company.  I have contributed $1259.98.  Hence, with the company match, I will have $2519.96 going into my 401K.  I definitely plan to stay at my company so I will hopefully be getting the full amount.  If I continue at this pace for 2012, I will have over $10,000 going into my retirement. 

I quit making contributions to my Roth IRA this year.  With switching jobs, it wasn't in the budget.  I will take another look at this after we build our house.  I'm happy that my new 401K is taking some of the place of my Roth IRA in terms of retirement investing. 

I will also be increasing the amount that I put in as of January 1st to 6%.  Every January 1st thereafter, my contribution will increase by 1%.  I really love that option.  Now I just need a statement to find out the balance.  I'm not sure if I've received anything in the mail about logging in online. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to pop in and wish all of my fellow bloggers a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a happy, safe Christmas and remember that we're celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. 

I tried explaining the true meaning of Christmas to Lil Punk and she just kept repeating, "Baby, Birthday, baby, birthday."  It was kind of cute.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I Hoard Money

I have a tendency to hoard money, both in my savings accounts and at home.  I will usually have a few hundred in cash at home just in case we need it.  I keep quite a bit in our savings accounts.  We don't want to go below $30,000 and have $37,000 right now.

Since I grew up poor, we had to do without some things that others would consider basics.  One time we didn't even have a working toilet indoors.  We had to use the outhouse for a winter.  That sucked.  I hated it.  When I was 17, I asked my mom for $5 to buy tampons.  I did have a job but was making minimum wage and had probably spent my money.  My mom told me that it wasn't her responsibility to buy me tampons because I had a job.  At that point, I knew that it was up to me to provide the basic necessities for myself.  (As I type this, I cringe as a mother.  I can't imagine ever telling my daughter that I wouldn't buy her the basics like tampons.) 

I hoard money because I don't want to be without.  At 19, I moved out of my parents house.  I had to have money in savings or rely on my credit card for anything that would come up like car repairs, new tires, or an apartment deposit.  My parents wouldn't help me out, even if I would have asked.  They wouldn't even cosign a student loan for me.  I knew that if I didn't have the money, I might have to move back home which wasn't an option. 

I still worry that something will break down and I can't afford to fix it.  I think that I will always have that fear.  That fear can be a good thing as it has pushed me to make good money.  I have a high work ethic and an inner drive because I want to break the chain of poverty. 

Savings can be a good thing but it doesn't always stem from a good thing.  I just want myself and my family to have a better life.  (Side note:  I don't necessarily think that money means a better life but it oftens opens up doors through education that will also break the chain of violence.) 

Why do you save money?  Just to have it?  Just for fun?  To be responsible? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Bought Half a Pig

We bought half a pig and got it today.  This morning I drove an hour and a half to meet my best friend to pick up the pig.  We got about 100 pounds of pork.  It is all packaged and wrapped.  We had bacon and ham made.  It is more expensive to have the bacon and ham but it is so worth it.

My best friend's parents bought the pigs when they were babies and fed it out.  I prefer buying my meat from farmers because I know that they aren't injected with tons of hormones.  I don't get so caught up in completely organic because I'm okay with having the animal eat corn that was sprayed with insecticide.  However, I'm not okay with all the hormones that make an animal reach maturity in half the normal time. 

We paid $100 for the pork and $80 for the packaging and smoking.  That evens out to be $1.80 per pound.  Yes, I know that you can get meat cheaper than that in the grocery store but you can't get thick cut bacon or good pork chops for less than that.

Now we just need to find somebody to sell us a half or quarter of a beef.  Since we have the pasture space, we might just have to get a steer.  That is a huge undertaking.  I'm not sure if we're ready for that :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Did I Go Too Far??

I commented on a blogpost yesterday that was about weekly spending.  I don't want to go into what I wrote because the blogger chose not to post it and instead took down the entire blogpost.

I was trying to be honest about what I thought.  What I said wasn't kind but I meant it to be helpful.  Obviously, I and other commenters hurt this blogger's feelings. 

What is proper etiquette for commenting on PF blogs?  Should you always be very nice if you have concerns?  Or should you try to speak up and voice your concerns? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sharing the Love

Cents of a Country Girl nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.  It's an award for bloggers who have under 200 followers and deserve some love.  Thank you so much for the nomination.  I am also a country girl and I love it! 
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Part of being nominated for this award is passing the love around, which I’m only too happy to do. So here are the rules for getting this award and passing it along:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and Paste the Award to your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the word and love to other bloggers.
5. Have Fun!!
Cents to Save blogs about money, life and food.  Her latest blogpost is about becoming a caregiver to her folks.  I admire people who are able to step up and take on this roll.  It's becoming less and less with our culture which is sad.

Niki over at http://www.debtfreebythirty.net/ is a military wife.  I was a military wife for about a year and a half when Y was in the army.  I know what a hard job it is and we didn't even have kids at the time.  She is super motivating and always has helpful advice.

Little Lamb is a huge animal lover who is working on digging out of debt.  She's had a rough couple weeks with the passing of her beloved rabbit.

A Mom's Dime is a new to me blog that I really enjoy.  She's expecting a little one and its neat to watch her get ready.  I hope she posts pics of her little one.

Rafiki is a blogger that reminds me of myself in my younger days.  He struggles with finding the balance between living life and saving money.  He is much better at saving money than I was.  He is well on his way to building long-term wealth.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Boss Came Through!

I talked to my boss about having our employer pay for the expenses and she said that she would okay it just this once.  Yay!!  So happy that she agreed and that I asked!

Have you ever asked for something that you thought for sure you wouldn't have a chance at and they agreed to what you wanted?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Work Expense: Uggh!

I'm writing this post to get it off my chest.  This has been bothering me so much that I actually woke up last night thinking about it.  I had a ton of expenses with my old job, including mileage, to the tune of about $25,000 to $30,000.  Now I was grossing around $65-70,000 so I wasn't making enough to have all those expenses but I knew that I had them.  It was ugly there.  I had to pay for my own assistant, pay for my marketing/advertising, pay for my gas to drive wherever (and I put on a lot of miles), and pay to go to their mandatory conferences.  I got sick of paying for so many expenses when I was a W-2 employee.

With my current job, I'm reimbursed for most things.  I get reimbursed for mileage, meals with clients, part of my cell phone, etc.  They are really good about reimbursing me.  However, I do sometimes have to pay for credit reports, appraisals, or title work if they are ordered but the client won't pay for them because the deal fell through.  I found out yesterday that a deal that fell through in October had a bill for title work to the tune of $365.  The client called me and of course wanted me to take care of it.  I can't say no because I ordered the title work and this stupid title company still charges me. 

I called the title company today to see if they would waive part of the fees.  I have since quit using this title company because they mess things up and it is too expensive for me when the deal falls apart.  I had one other one with this title company that fell apart and the borrower had to pay about $400 in fees and didn't close the loan.  Thankfully, they did pay the fees.  They said that they would waive $35 so I will only have to pay $330.  I'm never going to use this title company again.  I will pay it but it sucks.  I might as well pay in on Thursday when I get my commission check. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fantasy Football: In the Money!!

I started a Fantasy Football league at my work at the beginning of this football season.  We all put in $10 and the split is 50/30/20.  We are now in our playoffs and I beat my opponent today.  That means that I will play somebody for 1st and will either get 1st or 2nd.  There are 9 of us playing so I will be looking at $36 at least.  Yahoo!!

For those of you unfamiliar with Fantasy Football, it works like this.  At the beginning of the season, you have a draft.  In our case, we had an autodraft so everybody gets their players automatically.  Each week you decide what players you should play.  You can add or drop players throughout the season.  You need to be very diligent about studying which players are doing well and changing your players around each week.

I'm so happy that I'm in the Money!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Small Grocery Trips

Y talked to me about my grocery shopping habits.  I tend to prefer to grocery shop twice a month.  I usually spend around $150 to $200 per trip and get the items that we will need for the next couple weeks.  Y asked me not to do that because we have so much food in the house after I go shopping.  He does have a problem controlling how much food he eats and he said that its too hard for him to control his eating habits when we have a full pantry and fridge.  I'm trying to respect his wishes and grocery shop less but its so hard.  I think that I spend more because I have to go to the store more often.  I also notice that I am less likely to pick up staples like rice and flour when I shop for only a few things at once.

I think that the most efficient way to grocery shop is to menu plan for 2 weeks and shop for everything that we will need.  I have to supplement those trips by buying milk and some produce in between. 

Does anybody have any tips on how to grocery shop with smaller trips to the store?  Do I still menu plan for a week?  It sounds silly but its hard for me to shop for an entire week and only buy what we will need for meals.  I have ended up not doing much menu planning and just picking up the essentials to get us through.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sticking to my Budget

I'm tracking our money this month and am trying very hard to stick to our budget.  It's a challenge in any month but especially in December.  I just have to keep remembering that I am sticking to my budget voluntarily because I want to achieve my goals.  We really, really want to build a house in the spring of 2013 and we need to have our current mortgage paid before that.  I would really love to have some money in savings as a cushion as well.

On the other hand, there are plenty of fun things to do in December for little to no cost like driving around and looking at Christmas lights.  I did that with some friends on Sunday.  Any other ideas for getting out of the house this month and not spending much money?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Loving Jeans

As my fellow blogger and friend, Rafiki, pointed out in my comments, I really do love jeans.  (not to be mistaken with the love I feel for people).  I don't buy expensive purses or get my hair colored but I buy jeans.  I think that everybody has something that they have a weak spot for.  I get to wear jeans on Fridays and donate to United Way.  It's my favorite day of the week because of the jeans. 

What is your weak spot?  Shoes, purses, food, cars, cute clothes for your kid, home decorations, furniture?

Everybody has something and I want to know what you struggle with.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bleeding Money!!

I feel totally out of control with my spending.  I went out for Black Friday and spent around $250.  It's not so much the money that I've spent on christmas presents but the money that I've spent on myself.  I bought a new pair of brown boots and skinny jeans for myself.  A couple weeks ago, I bought 2 new pairs of jeans and 2 sweaters.  I don't need this stuff but I want it.  I love jeans and it is so hard to refrain from buying them.  I have talked before about setting a monthly amount that I can spend on myself for clothing but I've never done it.  I think that would prevent overspending.

I just need to stop.  No more online shopping for myself either!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Accomplished My 2011 Goals

I revised my goals for 2011 a couple months ago when Y and I decided to put more emphasis on our mortgage.  We had 3 goals for the remainder of 2011.  Here they are from a previous blog post:

1.  Have Mortgage under $50,000.  It's currently at almost 56K.  This will really be pushing it.
2.  Keep savings at $30,000.  Our savings is at this point but I need to include it so I just don't rob our savings to accomplish number 1.
3.  Have student loan under $6000.  This will mean paying an extra $200 to it.  This is doable but I really want to do it.


We are on pace to do it.

Mortgage:  I made a $4000 payment today to the principal which will put us about $20 under our $50,000 goal.
Savings:  I don't have a solid number for this for November but it should be around $33,000.
Student Loan:  I have one more regularly scheduled payment which will put me below $6000.

I still can hardly believe it.  These were really stretch goals and we accomplished them.  I had a huge commission check this month of just over $8000 which was what made them doable for it.  I worked my butt off in October and it really came through on my check today. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Donating to Charity

This is something that I've struggled with for a long time.  I really don't donate to charity outside of clothing to a second hand store that donates to a charity.  A few times a year, people will ask me for donations and I happily comply. 

My employer matches dollar for dollar for donations made to our local United Way.  United Way sent somebody to talk to us about it at work.  They will even automatically withdraw the money from our paychecks throughout the year.  I decided to donate $250.  It actually came out to $252 over the course of the year.  It is $10.50 per paycheck.  It's not a lot of money but I hope that it will help United Way in my area. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Forgo Grocery Shopping Trip

Lil' Punk and I didn't go with Y on his hunting trip because she was sick on Friday and yesterday.  She had a fever of 102 that wouldn't go away.  She is much better today and I'm feeling a little cabin fever.  We need milk so I thought that we would run into town to grab milk.  Then I started looking through cookbooks and started a grocery list.

I went shopping last weekend and stocked up on the things that we needed.  I spent $150 last weekend.  I decided to skip the grocery trip today and called Y and asked him to pick up milk.  I decided that if I went to the store today it would be at least $50 and I didn't need to spend the money.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Local Holiday

Today marks the first day of Deer Hunting Season which is pretty much a holiday here.  I do not hunt but Y does.  I don't see anything wrong with hunting but I don't have the patience for it.  When Y shoots a deer, he butchers it.  He will usually take it in and have venison sticks, jerky or brats made with the meat.

Lil Punk and I are going up tomorrow to the place where Y hunts.  We've never went with him before but he hunts with his good buddy and his buddy's wife invited us to go with her.  It won't be a very expensive weekend.  I did pick up drinks today to bring with and then there will be gas for the trip.  That should be pretty much it for expenses.

Does anybody else deer hunt?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not Obsessing About Money

I had to take a little break from this blog because I was growing increasingly obsessed about our money and our money management.  I haven't been spending any more money even though I haven't been blogging regularly.  I still think about our money but I was finding it unhealthy to be writing and consequently thinking about money all the time.

I'm still focused on our goals for the year which include knocking our mortgage down to under $50,000.  Currently its under $54,000 and I'm not sure if we will make our goal for the year with regards to our mortgage.  We paid over $2000 on it toward the principal in October which is very good but I do need to build up our savings back to $30,000 now.  Y bought a $1600 computer which came out of our savings.

Do any of you other personal finance bloggers find that you start to obsess about money at a certain point?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revised Annual Goals

I have revised my 2011 annual goals to 3 main areas that I want to work on.

1.  Have Mortgage under $50,000.  It's currently at almost 56K.  This will really be pushing it.
2.  Keep savings at $30,000.  Our savings is at this point but I need to include it so I just don't rob our savings to accomplish number 1.
3.  Have student loan under $6000.  This will mean paying an extra $200 to it.  This is doable but I really want to do it.

I had made these revised goals last week but I was reading a post over at Rafiki's blog and it reminded me that I should post them.

Down with the Mortgage!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Went Shopping for Lil Punk Today

Lil Punk shot up like a weed in the past month.  I had bought a couple of short sleeve shirts on clearance a couple weeks ago but they were the only shirts we had left that fit her.  We went shopping with my mother-in-law today.  We were armed with our coupons.  I ended up spending about $85 but she should be set for the next six to nine months. 

I had bought her a winter jacket/snowpants combo but Y wants me to return it.  It is Columbia and that is a very warm brand.  It is very cold here, sometimes up to 50 to 60 below with the wind chill.  We are outside a lot and I wanted her to have a warm set.  It was $90 for the set.  Y had bought her a pair of snowpants this past summer at a garage sale that fit her.  I guess that I will return the Columbia set that I bought for her and just buy a jacket to go with the snowpants we have. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

My 401K

Yippee!!!  I received my 401K paperwork in the mail today.  I haven't had a chance to go over it but I'm excited.  This is the first 401K that I've ever had.  This is the first employer sponsored retirement plan that I've ever had.  I've mentioned before but I get a 5% match.  I will definitely contribute my 5% to get that match but I'm not sure if I'm going to go over that amount for now. 

Maybe I will start with 5% and plan to bump it up 1% every year.  Does anybody have ideas on increasing your contributions in a painless way?  LOL!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Made a 30K Mortgage Payment

I put $30,000 toward the principle today on our mortgage.  Y and I had talked about putting 43K on it but we decided that might be cutting it too close on our end.  We compromised and I made the payment today online.  That puts our mortgage at about 56K before our payment for October 1.  Now I just need to keep chipping away at it.  56K isn't such a large amount.  I want it gone sooner than later while keeping our savings at a constant.  I personally think that I'm much better in debt paydown mode than saving mode.

I really hope that I don't regret this decision to put so much toward our mortgage instead of keeping it liquid. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend in the Country

Lil' Punk and I went to visit my best friend and her family this weekend.  We had a lovely weekend doing lots of country activities.  Yesterday, we went to her mom's house and rode on a wagon pulled by their horses.  It is an event that is open to the public for $5.  We of course didn't pay because we're almost like family.  Everybody gets to take a wagon ride and pick a pumpkin from their pumpkin patch. 

Last evening, we made salsa.  I'm hoping its good.  We made it last year but it was rather bland.  We wanted more spice and flavor this year without it being too hot.  I think that we succeeded.  We were trying it last night but its always a little different after it sits.

Weekends like this are on the very inexpensive side but are priceless.  Very good times :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Completed 5K Goal

I ran a 5k today which was one of my 2011 goals.  I didn't do great but I did run the entire way through.  I actually placed second for my age group for women.  I was pretty surprised at that.  It was hard, harder than it probably should have been for me.  I'm not sure if it was because I was running faster than I usually do or because it was super windy.  It's often windy here but when I train, I usually try to run into the wind first.  We ran with the wind first and then against it which is way harder in my opinion.  I'm proud of myself that I ran the entire thing. 

I also met Brock Lesnar today.  Awesome!!!!!!!!  He's not as big as he looks on TV but still a big guy.  Anybody else a UFC fan who can appreciate that?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can We Afford a Second Baby?!?

We are thinking about having another baby.  Lil Punk is 2 now and we think we might be ready.  But can we afford another one?  I know that we can afford the cost of diapers, food, clothing, etc.  The thing that I don't know if we can afford is daycare.  For Lil' Punk, we pay around $500 per month.  Can we really afford $1000 a month in daycare costs?

Should I even be asking this question or should we just go for it and make the finances work later?  I certainly can't put a price of the joy that Lil Punk brings us and we do want another baby.  We do need to be able to afford another child though. 

We could make it work but it would put a lot of things on the back burner, like building a house. 

Are we overthinking this? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago today I remember turning on the TV in the morning as I was getting ready.  It was between the two planes hitting the World Trade Center.  I watched as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.  I was in shock.  I didn't realize at the time the enormity of what had happened.  I knew that it was bad but not how it would affect thousands of people directly and our country going forward. 

The last ten years have seen our country at war, one after another.  We are fighting an unknown enemy.  We, as Americans, realize that we can easily be attacked and would rather be proactive about it.  We realized who are our friends and who are not.  We have entered into a new realm of military spending. 

The heroes of that day will always be remembered. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Propane Bill

We filled up on propane this summer.  We have a 1000 gallon tank and they are only able to fill 80% of the tank because they need to leave room for expansion.  I called and requested it and that's when the woman at Cenex told me they can only fill that much.  Ok, that's fine.  They actually filled us to only 70%.  That might not sound like that big of a deal but it means that we might have to buy propane in the middle of winter when propane prices are much higher.

For our summer fill, we paid $1.74 per gallon.  During the winter, propane can go as high as $3 per gallon but around the $2.50 mark is pretty common.  I just got the bill for $1070 that is due in about a week.  I will definitely need to transfer money out of savings to get that paid.  It's expensive to live in the country where natural gas isn't available. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Paying off Our Mortgage

Y and I had a heart to heart last night about our finances and wanting to build our house.  We have about 61K that is liquid cash as of right now.  We agreed that we would put 43K down on our mortgage.  The current balance is just over 86K so that will pay it in half.

We decided that we've gotten too used to having a big safety net and our spending has increased accordingly.  That's not what we want because we really want to build our house in the spring of 2013.  We need to pay off our mortgage because we will have to refinance anyway and get a construction loan to build.  Our original plan was to keep our mortgage and increase our cash so Y could build most of the house himself.  We decided to just hire it done and get a construction loan.  That way it is done in a timely manner and we don't need to stress about building it.  I think that this way will be much better for our marriage :)

It's a little nerve-wracking to decrease our savings by so much but we need to cut our spending and I think that having a goal of paying off our mortgage ASAP will do it. 

I haven't made the huge payment yet.  I decided to wait a few days to think on our decision.  Also, I need to move the money out of ING and that will take a few days.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Received My Waste Management Bill

They told us that they would take off one month and they did just that.  I received the bill today and the $35 credit was on the bill for a full month.  They pick up our garbage at 7:30 in the morning.  We've received nothing but exemplary customer service from this company.  I'm quite pleasantly surprised that I'm so happy with our trash removal company.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All I Want to Do is Shop!!!

I went shopping 2 weeks ago and I did go to Express and buy jeans.  It's like I opened up the floodgates and I want to go again.  I have the day off and I'm going into (a bigger) town with Lil' Punk to get paid on my side gig, have lunch, visit my chiropractor and I want to go shopping for clothes. 

I think that a large part of me wanting to go shopping now is that I feel good about myself.  Another part is that the dress code at my new job is much more casual than my previous job.  We can wear jeans on Friday if we pay $1 to United Way.  The men wear ties on occasion but the women aren't expected to wear suits everyday.  As long as we don't wear jeans or hoodies the other days, we can wear whatever.  It opens up so many possibilities for my wardrobe.  I just want to shop and shop to get it updated. 

Maybe I should set a limit of $50 per month from now until the end of the year to go shopping with for myself.  That way I know that it is in the budget so I won't go crazy and spend $300 at one time. 

How do you regulate your clothes shopping?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Love Sundays and Money Tidbits

We had a really good weekend just staying home and relaxing.  We went for a walk around our block today.  It's a country block so it was 4 miles total.  About halfway through, I asked Y if I could climb into the jogging stroller with Lil' Punk and he could push us.  He said no. LOL!

Y's raise came in with the last paycheck.  It's about $100 more  each paycheck.  I'm so proud of him that he has done so well for himself.  He didn't even graduate from high school.  He got his GED when he wanted to join the army.  The army really taught him discipline which has done well for him. 

Our electric bill was $170 last month.  It is so expensive to run the air conditioner but we do anyway.  It's not worth it not to for us.  I ordered propane for this winter.  I paid $1.74 per gallon and it was about 620 gallons.  That will be $1080 that will be due next month.  I think that its much cheaper to get our propane tank filled now than in the winter though. 

I'm going to shop my car insurance.  It is $480 semi-annually now for 2 cars with full coverage.  I am no longer my own insurance agent so I'm able to shop it.  Hopefully, I will be able to save some money.  That is due September 6. 

September is going to be a very expensive month.  I might actually be ready for September though.  I love the summer but its so busy.  The fall is really nice, too. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crazy Stock Market = Opportunity

I took advantage of the lows this week to buy.  I bought about $4000 in stocks in the past ten days.  I bought Caterpillar, Conoco, and Bank of America stocks this week.  One of my goals for 2011 was to have $8000 in my ING Sharebuilder account.  Previously, I was sitting at about $6000.  I saw the correction taking place and went for it.  I know that I didn't buy them at their all time low but I'm still happy with the prices of the stocks that I got.  I'm currently sitting at about $9300 but hoping for more now.

Now that I've bought, its time for the stocks to go back up :)

I'm still loving my job.  The weeks are flying by.  I've tried to stay off the internet in the evenings because I want to be more present in my life.  I've noticed that Lil' Punk acts out when I'm on the computer so I know that she needs more attention.  That's why there have been a lack of posts this week. 

I'm looking to catch up on my favorite blogs now that Y took Lil' Punk into town.  Happy weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why I Quit the Coupon Game

I had slowly cut back on going to drugstores like Walgreens and CVS to get very cheap or free stuff.  It's been a few months since I've even been in one of those stores.  I quit because it became too much work to drive all the way there to see if the advertised merchandise was even in stock.  I might save a couple bucks but often times they were out of stock.  It took a lot of time and money to save a couple bucks. 

I would rather cut a few coupons and go to the main stores that I shop at to get good deals.  It was time consuming and a little bit stressful to always be chasing the deals.  There was a lot of time spent online figuring out where the deals were and spending the ECB or Register reward before they expired.

I know that many people still do these and I certainly don't fault them for saving money.  It just wasn't worth the little bit that I saved.  I was never really good at it like some though.  I wasn't willing to go to multiple stores on one day or have multiple rewards cards.  Props to those who do it though. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Check In

I had a really nice weekend.  We went to a wedding yesterday.  It rained and Lil' Punk started exclaiming loudly as the bride walked down the aisle.  We had to stand in the far back where she could run a little bit.  It was an outdoor wedding so it wasn't a big deal.  I felt like I was constantly running after her.

Speaking of Lil' Punk, her daycare cost went down $1 per day because she turned 2.  It's about $25 a month savings.  Not a lot but it adds up.  The people there are so awesome.  The price wouldn't have went down with her old daycare.  Yay for that change. 

I pickled some garden veggies today.  It's my first time pickling anything so I really hope that it turns out.  I pickled a mix of cucumbers, peppers, okra, onions, garlic and carrots.  The thing that sucks is that I won't know how they taste for quite a few weeks.  Meanwhile, I will continue to make other pickles as the veggies, mainly cucumbers, are ready.  I really love gardening.  It gives me a useful hobby. 

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blogging Funk

I've kind of been in a blogging funk lately.  I used to blog at work at the job that I hated.  It took up quite a bit of my time.  I'm not able to even look at any blogging sites at work anymore.  I find that I don't blog as often anymore.  I blog because I like it but lately it has been hard to find the energy at night.  My stats are way down for July.  Thank you for all my devoted readers :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July 2011 Goal Recap and August 2011 Goals

  • Stick to grocery budget of $250 Sort of pass.  Over by $27 but still pretty good.

  • Save $1000 Pass!

  • Cash in USBank rewards Pass!  I cashed in $100 in credit card rewards.

  • Empty Paypal account Pass! 

  • Close bank accounts;  get to 2 banks, ING and the bank I work at.  Somebody asked me why I would bank where I work, none of my co-workers can see any of my banking information.  They can only see my name and address, not my balanaces or which accounts I have.  Sort of Pass!  I am down to my work, ING and still have our old primary account open.  Not everything is switched over to our new account.


  • August Goals
    • Save $1300
    • Stick to grocery budget of $400
    • Pay an extra $150 to my student loan
    • Have all bills paid with the 15th checks
    • Can
    • Get propane

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    July 2011 Budget Recap

    Income
    Projected
    Actual
    Y 2nd
    1030
    1030.9
    ND 2nd
    1400
    661.76
    Y 1st
    1030
    1080.24
    ND 2nd
    1400
    1378.01
    Flex
    408
    416.66
    Reimbursements
    999.02
    Other

    Total
    5268
    5566.59
    Expenses
    Fixed
    Mortgage
    430
    430
    Car
    350
    350
    Life Ins.
    122
    122.31
    D-TV
    51
    43.72
    Electric
    100
    113.48
    Phone
    175
    169.4
    Student Loan
    112.53
    162.53
    Daycare
    550
    570

    Total
    1890.53
    1961.44
    Variable
    Gas
    450
    466.7
    Groceries
    250
    277.34
    Household
    200
    221.59
    Y Fun
    200
    209.64
    Gifts
    80
    119.28
    clothing
    120
    8.73
    Healthcare
    40
    124.36
    Beer
    125
    157.07
    Entertainment
    120
    53.07
    Misc.
    300
    328.8
    Eating Out
    120
    31.9
    Rimburseables
    36.15
    Other
    36.88

    Total
    2005
    2071.51
    Savings
    Automatic
    500
    500
    Other
    500
    1217.36

    Total
    1000
    1717.36

    Grand Total
    4895.53
    5750.31
    Left Over
    372.47
    -183.72