Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2012 Budget Recap

Y 2nd
ND 2nd
Y 1st
ND 2nd

Life Ins.
Student Loan

Y Fun
ND fun
Eating Out
Credit card


Grand Total
Left Over
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! 
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 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?