Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Grocery Challenge Update

I went over my $250 grocery budget this month by $27.  Not too bad!  I thought that setting a $250 budget goal was pretty lofty so I'm okay with going slightly over.  The reason that we went over was because it was Lil' Punk's 2nd birthday and we had to buy extra groceries for a BBQ.  We grilled at our house and had a very nice time. 

I won't be doing such a strict grocery budget because I noticed that we had less fruit and veggies in the house.  I was able to supplement the veggies from our garden but not entirely.  Fresh fruit is expensive and I'm definitely not willing to compromise that in our diet. 

Overall, it was a good experience.  I learned from it but can't won't do it every month.  My August grocery budget is back to $400.  Whew!

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Weekly Spending Reports

I have done weekly spending reports in the past but I'm no longer doing them.  I really like reading other bloggers weekly reports because I can see where they spend their money.  I don't do them anymore because its too hard to keep track of my spending.  I'm tracking my spending this month in an Excel spreadsheet so I do know where we're spending our money.  I will post my spending at month's end. 

I am happy to report that we have all of our bills paid with our paychecks that land on the 15th of the month.  That was a goal this month and we made it.  It has been so tempting to pay our mortgage with the checks at the end of the month but it messes up my budgeting. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Resisting My Shopping Urge

I hopped out of bed this morning and thought that I really wanted to go shopping.  I wanted to go to Express and buy new jeans.  I don't really need new jeans but I would like some.  Jeans are my favorite item to go shopping for.  I new that I had a couple coupons from Express.  I checked out their website and I see that their jeans are buy one, get one half off. 

Express is about 40 miles from where I live.  I decided that I would just stay home today.  A shopping trip to Express is not in my budget this month.  I will miss out on this sale but there will be others.  I guess that I'm getting more responsible :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Going Out Tonight

I'm so excited to be going out tonight.  The last time that I went out was in March.  I use to love going to the bar and I would spend a lot of time there--to the tune of 5 or 6 night a week there.  Obviously, that doesn't fit into my lifestyle anymore with being a mom.  I do miss going out occasionally though.

I'm going to have a rockstar time tonight :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Much do I Pay a Babysitter?

I have a babysitter for Saturday night.  She is coming at 8:30 and drives herself.  I love it!  I asked her if she had a rate that she charged and she said no.  She came recommended by my neighbor and I asked her how much she pays her.  She said that for her 2 kids, she pays $5 per hour.  If her third kid is there, she adds an extra 2 or 3 bucks per hour.  I only have one kid and she will be close to bedtime or in bed at that time.  I don't believe in shortchanging her because I hardly ever get babysitters and I want her to be available the next time I need one.  I would rather pay extra now than be cheap and have her never want to come back. 

Any advice? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To Roth or Not?

Year to date, I’ve contributed $550 into my Roth.  My 2011 goal was to contribute $2500 to it.  We shut off our IRA contributions because we wanted to save more money for the house.  I’m debating about contributing more to it now to reach my 2011 goal. 

I know that saving for retirement is very important.  However, both Y and I have awesome retirement plans at work.  His employer automatically contributes 9.12% of his pay to a pension for him.  He also participates in his work 457 plan.  I thought that he was contributing $100 per month into it because I set it up.  We just received his statement and he’s actually contributing $200 per month or $100 per paycheck.  I was happily surprised but I’m not going to switch it back. 

I just wrote a post about my 401K.  I will be getting a dollar for dollar match up to 5% so I will definitely contribute 5%. 

The big question is whether I want to contribute more to my Roth IRA.  I would also like to put money aside for a new vehicle for Y.  He’s had some problems with it and I don’t know how much longer it will be feasible to keep putting money into it compared to buying a good used vehicle. 

So many decisions…

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 2011 Tidbits

My daughter turns 2 the end of this month so our daycare should be going down by $1 per day.  Its not much but I will take it.  I’m so happy with her new daycare.  I don’t pay for holidays that they are closed so it is about the same price or even cheaper.  I paid $120 per week before and I now pay $25 per day now.  I’m not sure if I have to pay for days that she is sick and doesn’t attend or not.  I would think that we do have to pay for those days but Y seemed to think not.  He’s the one who initially set Lil’ Punk up at this daycare so they may have told him that.  I will check on that.

I paid an extra $50 this month on my student loan.  My initial goal for 2011 was to get it below $6000.  It now sits at $6973 but my payment hasn’t hit yet for July.  That will bring it to just under $6900.  Assuming the other regular payments for this year, it will be at $6500 approximately.  I think that I’m going to leave my goal of under $6000 for the year.  I had thought about aiming for $5000 or under for my student loan this year but I think that may be stretching it considering my other goals for this year. 

We went kayaking on a nearby lake last night with friends.  We already have our kayaks and gear.  We picnicked at the lake.  I brought sandwiches and my friend brought grapes and chips.  I didn’t go to the store to buy anything special for the sandwiches.  I used turkey that I already had and egg salad.  I also had one peanut butter and jelly for Lil’ Punk but it turns out that my friends’ kid wanted that to.  I really like hanging out with friends and just doing whatever.  It’s nice not to have to worry about being on your best behavior or making something fancy.  We had a really good time lazily kayaking and swimming in the lake.  It was a late night as we didn’t get home until 9 pm but there are only so many warm summer nights. 

I really like leaving comments for my fellow bloggers.  I like for you to know what I’m thinking or offer a couple words of encouragement.  I’m not able to comment when I have to log into Blogger because my computer is older than dirt.  I have my comments set to where anybody can leave a comment with their name/URL.  I would encourage more of you to do that so I can leave you comments.  I appreciate all of the comments that I get.  I know that I often don’t comment on your comments but I am grateful that you took the time to put your thoughts onto my blog. 

We’re having a freakin’ heat wave here.  Soooo hoootttt!  Lovin’ it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grocery Challenge Progress 7/18/2011

My grocery challenge for July is proving to be quite challenging.  I’m still under my original $250 budget at $172.14.  We shopped last week and bought too many drinks and goodies.  I have noticed a real pattern with buying drinks.  We spend so much money on soda, energy drinks, juice, water and milk.  With the exception of milk and water, we could cut out the others.  However, I’m just not willing to do that.  I love my soda.  We buy water because we have well water and it tastes like complete crap.  We also haven’t had it tested so I’m not exactly sure if its healthy to be drinking it. 

Amazingly, we still have quite a bit of food in our pantry.  You would think that it would be empty but its not.  We also have a lot of food in our freezers.  We even have a frozen pizza left in there as well as frozen entrees for our lunches.  We have a slew of venison brats.  We took about 60 pounds of venison (deer meat) into the local butcher and had cheesy brats made.  They mixed the venison with equal parts pork so we still have a lot of venison brats. 

I have been eating quite a few veggies our of my garden.  So far, we’ve eaten peas, radishes, turnips, and lettuce.  It’s all been very good.  I’m looking forward to fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.  I can’t want to start canning and pickling.  Having a garden has helped out our grocery budget but its probably not worth it if you consider the hours that it takes to plant and maintain.  I enjoy gardening and plan to continue doing it. 

I need to stay strong the last half of the month to sustain our low grocery spending this month.  How are you doing mid-month with your grocery spending?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Waiting on 401K

I was told when I started my current job that I would get the 401K paperwork in the mail in around 30 days.  It's been just over 30 days and I still haven't seen anything.  I'm eager to get enrolled in it because I get a 5% match on the first 5% that I put in.  I don't want to get used to bigger paychecks.  Hopefully I will get the enrollment paperwork this week :)  This will also be the first 401K that I've ever had and I can't wait to start getting free money.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Payday or So I Thought

I got up excited to check our bank accounts online.  I wanted to see how much my first full check should be at my new job.  Y had gotten a raise that should have been on this check.  I checked both bank accounts and nothing.  I couldn't believe that both of our employers had messed up.  Then I looked at my phone and realized that it was the 14th, not the 15th.  Oops!

I guess I will check tomorrow.  Blonde moment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Waiting on Work Reimbursements

I'm waiting on $999.04 in reimbursements from work.  It's been over 3 weeks since I first turned in my expense report.  I'm hoping that I get the money soon.  I did pay for them out of our checking account so thankfully I don't have almost a grand sitting on a credit card racking up interest. 

I would have already had the money but I filled out the wrong area of the expense report initially.  I wish I would have done it correctly so I would have the money by now. 

Oh, well.  Just waiting...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Over $900 a Month in Gas

That's what we spent on gas for May.  I was too embarrassed to blog about it at the time.  I know that its so much money to spend to just get to work.  I had a long commute and Y had a couple doctor's appointments in another town.  Still, utterly ridiculous!

I'm happy to report that we've spent under $150 this month and both of our vehicles have full gas tanks.  I'm loving my shorter commute and our checkbook is loving it, too :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Five Things

I stole this from TeacherFinance

Five Things I'm Proud Of:
1.  I have my bachelor's degree.  I took 4 years off after high school so it was super special to me when I got this.
2.  My daughter, Lil Punk.  I love being a mommy.  She turns 2 this month.
3.  Living a Non-violent Life,  I grew up with violence and I have completely renounced that life. 
4.  Donating my hair, I'm in the process of growing my hair out for the third time to donate it to Locks of Love.
5.  Working at a for profit that gives millions back to the community

Five Things that I wish I did better
1.  Decorate
2. Organize
3.  Boring Sex--I like the mind-blowing kind but it would be nice to be better at the boring kind.  haha
4.  Have more compassion for deadbeats.  I don't know their story so I shouldn't be judging.
5.  Blog

Five Times of Year I love
1.  My birthday, I will unabashedly plan my own party and have fun the entire time.
2.  Lil' Punk's Birthday, it just reminds me how special I am to be her mommy
3.  Christmas, I love getting together with family and friends to commemorate the birth of our Savior
4.  Fourth of July, grilling, fireworks, lake, family, etc.  Love it!
5.  Halloween, I love dressing up and getting candy.  I get to dress up Lil' Punk now, too.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My New Side Gig

I have a new side gig with an old co-worker.  I refer people to him and I get the first commission off of his sale.  He gets everything himself after the first one.  I have no idea how much money I will make but anything is better than nothing.  Basically, I'm not doing any of the work, he is.  I will just refer people and get paid.  Yay!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Top Referrers for the Past Month

I'm very grateful for all the visitors to my blog.  I thought I would do a post on my top referrers for the past month as a thank you. 

1.  Saving For Later
2.  Moneyapolis
3.  No More Spending.Net
4.  Digging out of Debt, One Spoonful at a Time
5.  Chronicles of Debt
6.  It's Me, Sam
7.  Mein Taglich Brot
8.  Jessie's Money and Jordan's Too
9.  Cents-To-Save
10.  Swagbucks

Thank you for the links on your websites.  If you're interested in trading links with me, leave me a comment.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pantry Challenge: Harder than I Thought

I went to the store yesterday after work armed with the grocery ad, coupons, and a short list.  I wanted to get fresh fruit, veggies, soda, bacon, cheese, and frozen entrees for lunch.  I know that you're probably wondering why I would be buying frozen entrees when they are much more expensive than unprocessed food.  I wanted to buy them because at $2 apiece they are much cheaper than eating out and they are convenient.  In the morning when its completely hectic trying to get Lil Punk up and out the door, I can just grab them and go.  It added up much quicker than I thought it would.  This is what I bought with the prices I paid.

Bananas 1.72
Pears 1.58
Asparagus 3.41
Tomatoes .63
Potatoes 5 lb. 3.99
Milk 3.89
Bread 1.69
Cheese Slices X 2 3.00 total
String Cheese 3.22
5 Frozen Entrees 10.00 total
Juice X2 3.76 total
Juice boxes 2.50
Canned beans .79
Bacon 1 lb. 1.99
Ham lunch meat 2.69
Soda case 4.99
Baby wipes 4.99
Laundry detergent 1.99

You can definitely look at my purchases and comment that I shouldn't have bought certain things like the juice and soda but we really like them and I don't know if I'm willing to cut them out.  I don't think anything else is extravagant.  I need to just stay out of the store to keep to my $250 July grocery budget.  I will try to plan the dates of my next grocery trips.  I'm thinking around July 17th and 26th.  To date, I've spent $64.67.  I'm going to need to be very careful to stay within budget. 

Any tips?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To Pay Down Student Loan or Not?

I’ve toyed for quite a while with paying more on my student loan.  I owe just under $7,000 on it and I pay $112.53 per month.  While this is not a huge sum to pay monthly, it annoys me that $30 of my payment goes to the interest on the loan each month.  I also don’t like to have another obligation of a student loan payment.  There are so many monthly obligations that I’m not willing to ever cut out like phone, electricity, DirectTV (possibly in the future, we shall see), and insurance. 

Y and I have always tried to keep our monthly bills as low as possible so we can save our money for the next thing we want/need.  I think that this attitude has served us well but I haven’t applied it to my student loan.  Y seems to think that it’s a low amount every month and it isn’t worth it to use our money out of savings to pay it off.  He would be fine with me paying extra every month to get rid of it though.

I wrote yesterday that I am feeling very bored with my annual goals.  I think I might be feeling like that because I’m not sure where to put my energy.  Putting my energy into paying down my student loan would be a good use for it that I would not likely regret in the future. 

I’ve received numerous comments in the past that have suggested that I use our savings to pay off my student loan.  I’ve already made the decision that I’m not going to do that.  However, what do you all think about me paying extra monthly to it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feeling Ho-Hum About Annual Goals

I just feel blah about my annual goals.  I've tried to reevaluate them and possibly change them for what would motivate me.  I'm lacking motivation.  We're halfway through the year and the beginning seems so long ago and the end seems so far away. 

Will we ever have enough money to build a house?  Maybe I just need a good night's sleep :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pantry Challenge Progress 7/4/11

I declared in the end of June that I would be doing a pantry challenge for the month of July.  My plan is to keep our grocery spending under $250 for the month by eating down our pantry, freezer, and eating out of my garden.  I'm happy to announce that Serendipity is going to join me.  Anybody else is welcome to join us in our venture. 

So far I have spent $6.50 on juice boxes and cupcakes.  In preparatin, I opened the grocery circulars this morning.  I was checking out what was on sale and what meals I could make with the sale items.  I even wrote down a couple meals before I realized that I was going about this challenge all wrong.  I need to use up what's in my pantry, not shop for inexpensive meals.  I might need to buy milk, bread, and some fruit this week but I have plenty of meals that I can make for the week without buying more groceries.  I need to change my mentality with this challenge. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 2011 Goals

  • Stick to grocery budget of $250
  • Save $1000
  • Cash in USBank rewards
  • Empty Paypal account
  • 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.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July! We're off to the lake today for some quality family time.  Love it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

$3600 a Month in Subsidies!!!

I have compassion for some areas of Minnesota that have been cut due to the state government not agreeing on the budget.  However, this lady is receiving $3600 a month in child care subsidies for her 8 children.  No wonder the state is broke.  You've got to be kidding me.  How do you have 8 children that you can't take care of?  She's receiving $3600 a month in subsidies just for her kids.  How much is she making?  Minnesota has gotten too liberal for its own good.