Monday, October 29, 2007

On vacation.....

I will be on vacation starting tomorrow and returning on Monday. I hope everyone has a super week! I'll fill you in on my trip when I get back, hopefully I won't spend too much! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New shopping record

Had to go grocery shopping again today on my way home from work. Why do I always put this off until I have to stop on the way home or I won't have anything for dinner? I must get better about this! Grocery store still in the midst of remodel and it's getting more and more confusing every time I go in there. Today was the start of a new ad, so I thought I would get in there and get the good stuff (loss leaders) before they run out and I have to get a rain check, that I never remember to use, so there I was stuck in the middle of rush hour in the grocery store. Ugh! BUT, I walked out of there tonight with $61 worth of groceries for the low, low price of $5.47!! That put a smile on my face for sure! Ok, I am a big Diet Coke addict and they had a sale 5/12 packs for $12, not bad, so I stocked up, oh and if you buy 5 of them, you also get 2 boxes of crackers free! Crackers are one of my favorite snacks, so I think, what the heck! I also bought some beer for tailgating this coming Saturday and some cornbread mix, also for tailgating, some laundry soap, milk and some tampons. So, I get up to the register and she rings it all up, I run my loyal shopper card, cuts the bill in half. Then, I pull out my $25 gift card I earned for doing surveys, run that, leaving me with a balance of $5.47! Oh, and I got 2 big baking potatoes for dinner tonight and my lunch for tomorrow. I'm quite pleased with this shopping trip and am sitting here right now enjoying a beer while my potato bakes away in the oven. I think I'm beginning to like going to the grocery store at rush hour, I seem to be doing quite well in my shopping. I certainly hope this is a new trend for me.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quesion about pensions

I have recently gotten the information regarding my pension and what the pay out will be when I decide to take it. This is from my first job, back when I was 16 and working at the grocery store. I stayed long enough to become vested in my pension and this is what the payout looks like.

At age 55, I would receive 60% of the benefit, meaning the checks would be $278.84/month, but if I wait until age 63, the monthly check would be $449.74. So, what would you do? Thankfully I have 20 years before I can even try to decide what to do, but the thought has crossed my mind and I just don't know what to do, so I thought I would ask what others would do.

Also, can I plug my pension into my retirement numbers and add them in to my net worth, or are they completely separate? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Budget Schmudget........

This past weekend I was looking over my budget and getting mad at myself for going over in some areas. And then realizing that there were several areas where I had not spent anything and haven't spent anything for months and months! I'm wondering if trying to budget so tightly is hurting, rather than helping me.

I am going to try something new next month and see how it goes. I've decided that I am going to spend freely without a budget and see where my money goes. BUT, before I do anything, I am going to pay myself and put money into savings. Then I will allow myself to spend without trying to make sure that I am under budget in every area. I think the constraints of this have been causing me such anguish, then when I go over, I feel like I have failed. For instance, since I know I am going on vacation at the end of the month, I set my budget up to have hardly any grocery money and of course, I have gone over my budgeted amount. Now I feel like I have failed that area of my budget and was really getting down on myself for it yesterday. Last night, it came to me. Why did I think I could get by on such a small amount of money for food this month? I'm only going to be gone the last 2 days of the month. Not very well thought out on my part!

I tend to go in spurts of spending money, so I am very curious to see how this new plan goes for me. I think for the month of November I will wipe out my budgeted amounts on my spreadsheet and although I will keep track of what I spend in the different categories, I won't put target amounts in. I'm just curious as to where my money is going. I'll try to keep very good track and report back to let you know how it's going. Any comments?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Goals, to finish out the year

I was looking at my spreadsheet of my finances that I have kept since I was in the throes of paying off debt. It's really great sometimes to look at it and see how far I have come, from being over $30,000 in debt, to now owning my own condo and with the exception of the mortgage, I am debt free. As you may have noticed, I have added my net worth graph to my blog, and it has gotten me thinking. What would I like to see that graph look like by the end of the year? And what about next year and the year after that? 10 years from now? Well, before I get too far, I would like to share some of my goals for the next few months to finish up the year with it.

*I would like to see that Net Worth total be at $70,000 or higher.

*I would like to have $7,000 in my savings account.

And some other goals I have had for 2007, I have already achieved. I bought my first home in April and I love it! I am even enjoying paying the mortgage as opposed to writing that rent check each month and saying goodbye to that money forever. I also have remained, consumer debt free and although I use my credit cards each month, I also pay them off in full each month. I really dislike paying interest. Have I told you that before? LOL!

As for 2008, my number one goal is to get the amount of my mortgage down to 80% so I can drop that damn PMI! It's only about $20,000 left until that point and I think if I am very diligent I just might be able to do it. At the latest I would like to see this gone by June of 2009. I will use my bonuses and I have decided to put my survey money and any "extras" to that. 2008 it will also be a year that I remain consumer debt free, I just can't imagine slipping back in to my old habits of shopping and paying for it over and over in the form of interest. I don't want to put too many goals down, but I would like to focus on these big ones.

Has anyone else started to think about goals for 2008? If you have, I would love to hear about them.........

Friday, October 12, 2007

Earning extra cash........

I love to earn extra cash, even if it's only a few dollars. I do a lot of surveys and this week alone have received $22 in checks for surveys I have participated. So far, I haven't really decided what to do with this extra money, I just deposit it into my checking account and spend it wherever. I was thinking that I really should track it and save it for something special or use it for small indulgences that I usually go without. Any suggestions? If you are interested in hearing more about surveys and what I have earned from them, send me an email. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not spending money....

so far this month I am doing extremely well at not spending money that I don't need to be spending. Like I said earlier, I think it is because I am anticipating our upcoming vacation and would like to be able to come home still debt free and with my savings in tact. I think I am going to be able to it too! Here it is the 11th of the month and I have only spent $25 on groceries so far and $28 on gas. I was suppose to be going out with my girlfriends tomorrow night to a dueling piano bar, but since 3 of the 7 had bailed, I decided that I didn't want to go either, it's one of those things that is so much more fun in a group. And of the remainder of girls going, I am not really enjoying as of late, she has a new boyfriend and is changing or I should say not acting like herself around him, and since she invited him to our girl's outing, I really didn't want to go. So, tomorrow I will have a nice quiet Friday evening and will enjoy a movie on tv that I have been wanting to see and some popcorn and wine. :) Actually, I think it will be a relatively quiet weekend and I don't think I will be spending much. That's good, it will leave me with more money to spend in the Magic Kingdom at the end of the month. So, here's to a frugal, yet fun and relaxing weekend.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Money and vacationing..........

Are we really only 1 week in to October? Maybe it's because I am leaving for vacation on the 30th, or that I have already written out all of my bills for the month, but it sure seems like it should be later than the 8th! I went shopping over the weekend with my cousin for her birthday. I was very good and only came home with 2 sweaters and a t-shirt. And now I am taking one of the sweaters back and the t-shirt, so I was very good! :) I have already taken the cash out of my checking account that I will be taking on vacation and since I pay my credit card off each month, I know I can use that for vacation as well. But looking at the numbers, I feel broke already! Maybe it will help me to keep a frugal mindset seeing that the money is already spent for the month, even though I know it won't actually come out of the account for a few weeks. And there is still plenty in there to enjoy on my vacation, but I know that what is there is suppose to last me until the end of the month. I really might actually have more money for vacation if I am in this frugal mindset. I tend to play a lot of mind games with myself in regards to money, does anyone else do that? I know I have money in my savings that I can pull for vacation, but I hate, I'm really hate, taking money out of savings, even though it's there for just such things as vacation. I know once I am actually there and we are enjoying our days in Disneyland, I won't think twice about spending the money and enjoying the trip. I guess I would rather keep things frugal before going and then not worry about the money I am spending while I am gone, I can always save money when I get home again! Plus when I get home, I will have just had another paycheck deposited into my account. It will be good for me this month though, because I want to make sure I have the money to spend while on vacation and seeing a smaller balance in the checkbook might just help me say no to extra, unnecessary expenses this month.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Shopping for groceries....

I really dislike shopping for groceries, so I usually put it off as long as possible. I have been doing really well and not spending much, rarely going to the store. Last night I came home from a meeting, tired and hungry. There was very little to eat in the cupboards and although the freezer had a lot, nothing was thawed and ready. It was raining and cold out, so I knew there was no way I was heading to the store or to pick something up. So, I rummaged through and found a box of mac and cheese and I had milk and butter, so I knew I could make that at least. I felt a little silly eating Spongebob mac and cheese, but no one was around to see it so it was fine. But at work today, while eating the rest of the mac and cheese for lunch I knew I was going to have to go to the store. So, after work, off I go to QFC, with my list in hand. There is nothing worse than going to the grocery store at 5:00 except getting there at 5:00 and realizing the store is in the middle of a remodel.......whoa, when did this happen, I know it has been THAT long since I was last here. So, up and down the aisles I go, checking things off my list, hoping to keep the cost down pretty well. I picked up enough to feed myself for at least a week when adding these new items to those in my freezer. I get to the check out, the cashier is cranky because of the remodel, the bagger is irritated that I have my own cloth bags because they are harder for him to put the groceries in, whatever and the cashier and bagger are busy talking to each other and don't say much to me, although they are talking about my purchases and my cloth bags like I am not even there. All a reminder to me of why I dislike the grocery store so much. Funny, I didn't mind it when I worked there, maybe because they were paying me to be there, hmmm, never thought about that before. :) So, my total comes to $25.78, not bad for enough food to last for a week, probably longer if I pair them well with what I already have on hand. And I see on my receipt that I saved over $17! Now a 40% savings does make me feel better and my shopping trip has just gotten better. Of course I was reading my receipt as I was heading out the door of the store, so it's hard for me to pinpoint if it was the fleeing of the store or the actual savings that brightened my mood! Regardless, I am happy to have food in my cupboards and I won't have to go back to the store for awhile. Next time I will plan better and not go at rush hour! :)