Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Spend Week 2/26

Nothing spent today, either. And I'm finding that it's not nearly as hard as usual. I think seeing my totals from last month and have really motovated me to stop wasting money. Plus, lately I haven't had time to spend money even if I wanted to!

It's Thursday and so far David and I haven't spend a dime this week!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Spend Week 2/25

NO MONEY SPENT TODAY.

And man, was it hard. There was a top at work that I wanted so, so bad. I tried it on and loved it. I held on to it all night and finally gave in. Then, I went to grab my purse and thought..."Wait, I'll have to write about this in the blog!" I didn't want to have to confess, so I sadly put the top back up. I am very proud and I'm glad I didn't buy it!

Things I Won't Pay For

I was reading a post form Broke Girl over at http://bebrokebuthappy.blogspot.com/ and she has the neatest post about things she won't buy or pay for, you should really go check it out! I thought I'd do the same things, and also add things that I do pay for, but refuse to pay full price. (I must add that I never say never, and who knows what could happen, they are just things that I generally don't pay for.)

Things I Don't Pay For:

  1. Manis and Pedis-I DIY them.
  2. A land line phone- I don't even use the minutes on my cell, much less a land line.
  3. Lawn Service- I have a husband for that.
  4. General vehicle maintenance (oil changes, tire repair, minor things)- David is a Mechanic by trade so he does all of this.
  5. Pet Groomer-I have a short haired dog, or I'd do this myself, too.
  6. Husband Groomer-due to his job he must keep a very short hair cut. Luckily his friend next door shaves his head for him once a week.
  7. Car wash-I can do it at home for free.
  8. Budgeting Software-I print off worksheets online, or create my own.
  9. Lunches while at work-I brown bag it, and enjoy it more.
  10. Late Fees, or Overdraft charges-I stay organized and use bill pay online to prevent these.
  11. Checkbook registers-I am probably the only person left who still uses these! But you can want into almost any local bank and they had them out for free, verses ordering them online.
  12. Checks-my bank gives them out for free. They are boring and don't have carbon copies, but I don't write checks enough for that to matter.
  13. Pizza delivery fees or tips-I just for get it myself. It's usually faster then waiting or them anyway.
  14. Gym Memberships-a benefit of being a military spouse is that I get to use the gym on base for free. When I can't make it there I have a dog that loves to go on walks.
  15. Movie Rentals-I get a free Redbox Rental every Monday.
  16. Bottled Water-I have a filtered pitcher at home that I fill bottles with.
  17. Ice-I use the ice maker, and save ice in the deep freezer for parties.

Things I Won't Pay Full Price For:

  1. I love CVS and Walgreens, and never pay full price for any toiletries, cleaners, paper goods, make-up, batteries, snacks etc.
  2. I use coupons at the grocery store and can normally save 20% or more.
  3. Books and Magazines-Thrift stores sell the CHEAP, or Amazon.
  4. Any seasonal item-they all go 75% off the holiday, just stock up for next year.
  5. Clothes-I shop off-season and get great deals.
  6. Thrift Stores in general have great home decor, plus I enjoy seeing what goodies I can find there.
  7. Park Admissions-most parks or museums have discount or free days. Check their websites for me details.
  8. Movies-Rarely do we watch movies at the theater, but when we do, we always watch matinees. They are generally at least $2 cheaper.
  9. Candy at movies-that's what big purses are for!
  10. Greeting Cards and Invitations-I make my own using the above mentioned seasonal clearance craft supplies.

Rude Awakening!

I got one this morning! I was researching budget worksheets because I'm trying to find one that really works for me. I printed off several and I am going to use one a week until I find that one that really works, or until I've done enough research to make my own. While googling I found this Monthly Spending Worksheet that I think will be perfect for my end of month totals on general spending.

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/moneymanagement/a/Month_Spending.htm

I went ahead and calculated all the numbers for each week of February. (I know there are still 3 days left in the month, but we both work every day, so I'm sure we're done with the spending, if not, I'll change the numbers.)

I had NO IDEA we spend SO much. Here are the totals for the month, first is actual spend and in green is the budgeted amount.

Groceries: $397.13 $200
Gas: $245.45 $250
Misc: $862.31 $200
Total: $1,504.89 $650

As hard as that is to both see and admit, I did learn a few things. First, I need to track more and compare DAILY what I've spent, verses what I have budgeted. Secondly, I see that we spend a ton during the first week of the pay period, and very little during the second. Probably because of guilt. I really need to learn to get past that "It's payday, and I deserve to go out to eat." NO I DON'T. And lastly, maybe I'm not being realistic with my budget? Gas, obviously is good. And I'm thinking I should break down the "Misc" to really see where it's going. Also, once I quit work in 3 weeks (only 24 days left!) I will have more time to devote to both budgeting and meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping, thus cutting out all the last minute runs to the expensive local market and dining out.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Spend Week-Fat Tuesday

NO MONEY SPENT TODAY!

In fact, I didn't even leave the house. David had a work dinner tonight so I didn't have to cook either. All in all it was a good, frugal day. I've been reading A LOT of PF blogs this afternoon and am very inspired! Hope you all had a fabulous day, and laissez les bon temps roulez! Happy Mardi Gras!!!

Summertime Goals

Ever since I made the decision to quit my job, I’ve had all these big plans. I am all the time coming up with things I can do now, that I couldn’t do while working 50+ hours a week. Boy-I have been missing out on SO much. But I feel overwhelmed and unorganized now that I’ll have all this free time, so I have came up with a plan, and a list of goals that I want to accomplish this summer.

  • Most importantly, I want to devoted the entire last week of March (my first week at home) to Spring Cleaning. This will include, but is not limited to:
    1. Dusting the base boards. While sweeping today I noticed they are quite dusty! So that must come first because now I am obsessing over it!
    2. Re-organizing and purging my closet, including storing all winter coats away for the season.
    3. Re-organizing the Garage. (David doesn’t know yet, but this includes him!)
    4. Re-organizing the closet under the stairs. Ok-here is where I admit, the boxes are then are from when we moved in 4 months ago, and still need to be unpacked. And probably tossed!
    There is much more to do, but that’s enough for now.
  • Then I want to go through all the magazines in my office upstairs. I have stacks of them, and while they are organized, they are efficient if I need to find an article. I want to make a binder to store all the different articles. (One for home d├ęcor , one for organizing ideas, recipes, holiday ideas…you get the picture!).
  • Sometimes this summer my Mom and I are going to pick blueberries, and strawberries at a patch in hometown. We’ll freeze some, and can jams, and syrups with some.
  • Also another important one, I want to plant a garden, and add some colorful flowers to the from yard. It’s already landscaped but needs more color. The garden will ave tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, chives, cilantro, mint…and more I’m sure, but those are a MUST.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Spend Week 2/23

Today was totally a Monday. It was pretty uneventful. We both got home from work around 4:30, played with Bear, and the had supper. It was a lasagna I'd made a couple week ago and frozen. It turned out really yummy and was super easy and fast. I'll be making many more once I quit my job and have more time to cook. Then, we spent money. We totally forgot about a gift we needed, and had to run to Wal-Mart and buy it ($20). But that was all that was spent today, so all in all not a bad day. I'm off tomorrow and David has work, and then a work dinner to attend, so it'll just be me and Bear. My plans are to not even leave the house!



***Oops, I forgot to mention that I spent $10 ordering coupons online. I will get that $10 back and then a lot more by using the coupons during M-Karts Double Coupon Week, but I need to mention that I did spend it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feb. Week 4 Budget

Hello Sunday, I'm go glad for a new week!

Bills: $0 (None due until March)
Food: $0 (Using pantry this week.)
Gas: $60
Misc: $0*
Cash: $40

* We are going a "No Spend Week". Like every other week, we each start out with $20 cash. Normally we have a $50 "Misc" fund for dining out, and other random things that might pop up. But this week our goal is to only use the cash we have on hand. Both vehicles have already been filled up, all the bills are paid, and we don't need any groceries, dog food, household items, etc. So we should be good to go! I'll be posting more about this as the week goes on.

Feb. Week 3 Summary

YUCK. This was a BAD week. BAD. BAD. BAD. But I'm going to be honest and lay it all out here in hopes that next week is better. It WILL be.

2/15-2/21:
Bills: $441 (at budget)
Gas: $80 ($20 over)
Food: $90 ($40 over)
Misc: $109 ($59 over)
Dining Out: $208 ($208 over)

TOTAL OVER BUDGET: $327. I know. Should I give you a moment?


Again, YUCK. Now the break down:

Bills-at budget. On the 15th I pay all bills due in the second pay period. (Ironically, our "bills" each month are low. It's the CRAP that gets us.)

Gas: I don't know why this is high. Prices are creeping back up, maybe I should re-consider the budget for gas?

Food: This is due to 2 random trips to the grocery store in walking distance to my house. Naturally it's a "fancy" store with high prices. Each trip cost $20 this week. That is NUTS and can't happen!

Misc: is over because DH surprised me with roses on V-Day. Very nice, but also $85. I haven't said a word to him, and won't. It was nice, and we'll leave it be.

Dining Out: This is NO budget for this, since it's *supposed* to fall until "Misc". Accept when you WASTE $208 on it. Then it because a monster of it's own. I know why we overspent, and there are 2 reasons. First being my Mom and Sister were here, and we went out to eat twice and had ice cream, the other is that since I put in my notice at work this have been stressful there to say the least and I have the mentality that I "deserve" to go out after a long day rather then cook and clean up after. But what I really "deserve" is to save for our future and become debt free.


So, on to next week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic (The Movie)

LOVED IT. LOVED IT. LOVED IT.

I saw it tonight with my Mom and little sister (13 years old). It was a great movie, with no vulgar or rude scenes. And it had a wonderful message for adults and children alike about debt and credit cards. It got a great lesson across in an amusing and insightful way. I strongly recommend it, and will probably get it for the little sis for Christmas.

I saw it at a really good time for me too. I was uplifting and encouraging and in the end no one "saved" her from her debt. Instead, she sold everything she had and paid it off in full. In this economy it's great to know that yes, it's hard and scary, but there are ways to get out of it. I am motivated more to really work hard on this and to know what Financial Independence REALLY means.


On another note, my sister, Mom, my Neighbor and I are all heading out at 7am to K-Mart tomorrow. And since there's a 25 coupon a day limit I will probably go everyday in order to fully benefit from it. Also, I still have that $36 gift card to K-Mart to use!!!! I am so excited, I can hardly wait. I'll check back in tomorrow with all my goodies!!!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Companies Coming!

Just got off the phone with my Mama, and she and my sister are coming to visit this weekend. My Daddy is on a business trip and won't be home until Sunday night. Mardi Gras is in full swing here and the girls wanted to see some parades. I am extremely close to parents, brother and sister and living 12 hours away from them in NC almost killed me. Now that we live only 4 hours away we try to see each other at least every other week. Even if it is just to meet half way in Mobile, AL on Sundays and have lunch. I will miss this when we move again in 2 years, but for now I couldn't imagine a greater blessing. And that goes back to why I quit my job.
BUT-I do have such a hard time staying within the Spending Plan when they are here. We shop, and eat out, and shop more. It's kind of ridiculous really. And I justify it as "but I love spending time with them"...and that may be. But does "spending time with them" really have to mean "Shop"?
I was talking to David about it and we decided to use our gift certificates to a local restaurant one night while they were here, and other other we'll go watch a parade and picnic on Muffelettas, since it's it Mardi Gras. I'm just going to have to be mindful of what we're doing and find other ways to hang out rather then shop. Maybe a Wii Bowling tournament? Plus, Mama will be here for the kick off of double coupon week at K-Mart so we are planning a big trip on Sunday.

Greatfully Unemployed

I just printed of my letter of resignation. I'll be turning it into my upper management and faxing a copy to HR in about 4 hours. Am I nuts? Why in this economy am I leaving the highest paid job I've ever had? Truthfully, I don't know. But also truthfully, I am not the first bit nervous about it, nor do I think I'll EVER regret it. Here are the Pros and Cons of leaving work.

Pros:

  • I am NOT happy, enough said.
  • I have a 2 hour a day, 100 mile commute. That's and extra $50 a week in gas, not to mention frequent oil changes and wear and tear on my car.
  • I have been neglecting my house for far too long because I didn't have time or energy and I have living like that.
  • I will save much much more with my couponing when I have more time to devote to it.
  • I really miss cooking meals and home and just being the stay at home wife I was for the last 4 years.
  • My brother is coming home in April for 2 weeks and I want to go home the entire time.
  • David is leaving the country for military reasons and I want to spend the time he's gone at my parents house.
  • My poor dog has to stay inside the garage all day while David and I are at work.
  • I have to buy "work" clothes that outside work I will never wear, and Ann Taylor isn't cheap.
  • And finally, even though there are many more reasons, I hate missing out on stuff with David because I'm always closing the store and MIGHT see him one day a week. I've had enough of that!

Cons of leaving:

  • Losing my income, which will be off set by my free time to coupon, cook, and lack of gas usage. So really, there are no cons.

And there you see why I'm leaving. It's no an impulsive thing, I've been going over and over this for almost 4 months now. I kept hoping I'd like it better, but if truth be told what I really hate is the lack of time it get anything done, and no manner of raises will give me more time off. Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2/16 Check In

I'm going to be trying to check in each night this week, or close to it in order to motivate me to record and track my spending. I also want to list my "frugal choices" of the day.

Today we went to Wal-Mart first this for some ammo for some the guns since DH was going skeet shooting this afternoon. While there, we also got some candy, chicken from the deli, and Mardi Gras beads that were awesome and had gators (my FAVORITE animal) on them. It was $40 but we paid with cash DH had on hand, so while we didn't spend any budgeted money, we were still wasteful.

While at Wal-Mart we got a $30 gas card and DH filled up (more like 3/4 full) his truck. That should definately take him through the rest of the week.

So total today: (Excluding cash) $30, all budgeted.

Frugal Choices:

  • I took my lunch to work.
  • I researched online and ordered TONS on coupons to use at K-Marts double coupon week.






And I'll post Sunday's here since I didn't start until today.
$30 gas in my car, budgeted with $15 left for gas later in the week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb. 15-21 Weekly Plan

Good Monday morning! But boy, does it NOT feel like a Monday. David is off work for President's Day, so it feels more like a Saturday. For him atleast, since I still have to work an 8 hour day.
I have been struggling lately with organizing, tracking, and following our Spending Plan. It's not hard, and it's the same Plan we've bee using for weeks now with great results. But lately it's just been so hard to keep track. I want to blame it on my new work schedule, but the truth of the matter is that I haven't been putting forth the effort it deserves. And it kills me, because we had such wonderful results the entire first month! So back to the basics. I think my main problem was that since we did so well in January, I thought we could continue on in February, and I didn't follow it as closely because I *thought* I knew what I was doing. Apparently NOT. I've deamed this week the "Back to the Basic Week", meaning that we are slowing down and simplifying this week. Regrouping and cleansing our spending habits. I've been summarizing weekly, but just for this week I'm going to it down nightly and see what happened that day and what I can take from it.
So, on to the plan!

Food: $20 (Probably less, we don't need any groceries this week, but I wanted a buffer for anything that might come up.)
Gas: $75 ($45 for me, $30 for David)
Cash: $0 (We already had some cash on hand.)
Misc: $50

Total: $145 for general spending.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekends=Budget Busters

They are real budget killers for me! Lately it hasn't been too bad with Mardi Gras and all the free parades, and the fact that I've been working so much. Normally I am off on Sundays, and it is SO hard to stay on plan. It's the only day DH and I have to do anything together. He's up and gone before me, and since I work mostly evenings and gets only around 11pm, he's already asleep or close to it. Needless to say, on Sundays we like to go out to eat because our one day off together never lasts long enough and we don't want to waste it cooking. And then while we're out we decide to "just get out of the house" which is code for SHOPPING, but neither of us wants to admit it.

I'm committed to trying to find other free or low cost activities. I realize that while I'd love to spend nothing on the weekends that just won't happen. I believe it's Dave Ramsey who said most goals fail because that are unrealistic to begin with. I agree with that 100%, and what to do this the right way, so I'm trying to be realistic and frugal at the same time.
This weekend shouldn't be too bad, since I work 9-6 on Saturday and 10-7 on Sunday. David is going paint balling tomorrow, but that's budgeted since he does it every Saturday with his unit. Today is hard though, since I'm off and David got off work at noon since it's Friday. My parents sent us some money for Valentine's Day so we had lunch at our favorite spot. Tonight is the Moon Pie parade in town, and we're going with all our friends to that, so YAY for free entertainment, and free moon pies! I also found a gift card in David's wallet for Sears/Kmart for $35!!! He thought there was "only a couple dollars on it"! So score for me!!! It was actually $150 that he got from there for being military, and he was able to purchase a GPS for truck for FREE, plus I get the leftover $35. So since I've got the shopping bug this weekend I think I'll take a little trip.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Menu Planning

I know, I know. It's Thursday! But things have really been nuts here lately and I need, desperately, to get back into the program. Also, my schedule for next week has be closing the store Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. So David will be on his own in the kitchen. I am an enabler and for the first 5 years of our marriage I've taken all responsibility for the cooking, cleaning and grocery buying. Now I can't, even though I still want to, after working 50+ hours a week it just isn't going to happen. But David is doing very, very well when I plan and set stuff out for him to cook. So here's the menu for the rest of this week and the following.

Thursday: Jumbolya
Friday: Going to the Moon Pie Parade, so I'm thinking we'll go out.
Saturday: Breakfast-Cereal, Lunch-Frozen Pizza, Dinner-South Western Burgers
Sunday: Breakfast-Skillet Hash, Late Lunch/Early Dinner-Shrimp Alfredo, Garlic bread
Monday: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Mashes Potatoes, Peas
Tuesday: Sandwiches, Chips and Dip
Wednesday: Pancakes and Bacon
Thursday: Dirty Rice
Friday: Chicken Sweet and Spicy Pasta, Garlic Bread
Saturday: Breakfast-Cereal, Date Night (Late lunch, Early dinner).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am NOT gone.

Just really, really busy. I've been working 40 hour weeks, add the 10 hour a week comute and I'm gone over 50 hours a week. But looking at the silver liner I am making more money and spending much less, since I have less time to spend it. The last week we didn't follow our budget at all. I thought we could, and I thought we had a good handle and routine. But I was WRONG. I do really well when I follow the budget and check in on it every day. Sunday we'll start back on following the budget very strickly and tracking it better.