Friday, September 28, 2007

A small success, but I'll take it!

After work today I had to go to Target to fill a prescription. I was transferring a prescription there to take advantage of the transfer special to get a $10 gift card. While I was waiting for the pharmacy to fill the prescription I wandered around the store. I ended up in the women's clothing, surprise surprise! I even ended up in the dressing room with a cute pair of pants to try on. They fit in the waist, which is great, usually the waist of most pants sticks out really far in the back and it drives me crazy. These fit, but they were about 8" too long! Ugh! I hate being only 5' tall and about 90 pounds! I can never find nice clothes in my size! Anyway, with the gift card the pants would have only cost me about $13, but then I would still have to get them shortened (I don't sew!). So, I thought about them for a few minutes, then put them back on the rack and walked back to the pharmacy where my prescription was ready and so was my gift card. I picked both up and walked out of the store. Yeah! I think I will hold on to the gift card and see about using it for some Christmas shopping later. I felt very proud of myself for my restraint when it came to the new pants. Of course it helped that I thought about having to blog about blowing it again on the new pants. Thanks for keeping me in check! Have a great weekend everyone, and hopefully I will steer clear of clothes shopping. Yikes! I will cherish this small victory tonight. :)

I must confess.......

I have not done all that well with my shopping exile! Darn it! OK, I have done just fine on my grocery shopping exile and I am way under budget for the month and probably will be for next month too. Dining out is also so far under budget I thought I had made a mistake with my numbers, but sure enough, it's all good! I have even taken my lunch to work every day this month except for 2 days. :) BUT, my clothes shopping exile failed before it even started. Ugh! My downfall, I love, love, love getting new clothes! This month I have bought a new wool coat, didn't need it, but dang it is cute. A pair of pants that will be perfect for Disneyland next month, a nice pair of slacks for work, a cute jacket and I'm pretty sure there has been more. The problem is, my mom and I spend every Thursday evening together and we usually end up at the mall. We really need to come up with something better to do, this is getting out of hand and I certainly don't need to be buying any clothes. I am going to have to start thinking of some other things, I'm sure she doesn't need any new clothes either. In fact, I know she doesn't, I clearly remember spending almost an entire day packing up her clothes when she moved last month. Ugh! I have got to get back into my good discipline mode. October will be better, I will make it better, I know I can do this!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Must be the change in seasons.....

but I already feel like hibernating, which is not a bad thing! Hard to spend money if you are burying your head. My biggest entertainment this time of year are college football games that I have season tickets too. We do spend the entire day down at the stadium tailgating before the game and everyone brings some food to share, so it's a fun, fairly inexpensive day, except the tickets, but those are purchased all the way back in February, so it really doesn't feel like I am spending any money this time of year.

We are heading on vacation though at the end of October, we will be going to Disneyland for 4 days, then driving north to Stockton for my Gramma's 90th birthday. While we are in Disneyland the hotel is only going to be $720 for 4 nights, and I will be paying 1/5th of that. So, not bad for me. My aunt is getting us discount tickets for the parks and airfare should only be about $220 even with the multi-destination like we are doing. So, not too bad and it will be so much fun to go to Disneyland with my niece and nephew who are 5 and 9. Good fun!

Other than that, it is a pretty frugal time of year for me. It gets dark so early that I usually come home from work and am in for the night, so not much money spent going out. This will be my first year in my condo, so I am curious as to what it will take to heat the unit. I'm hoping not much! I tend to make a lot of soup and casseroles during the winter too, which I usually make out of whatever I have on hand, so they don't cost much.

Today I set up an auto transfer of $10/week to my ING savings account, I don't think I will even notice $10 being gone in which case I may bump it up to $20/week. We'll see how it goes. I was giving it a lot of thought this weekend about how I still feel really strange about my finances and seem to have lost a lot of passion for them. Then I realized, that while I was paying off debt, I was sending multiple payments in each month, therefore I was always seeing a decrease in my total debt balance. Got me thinking that if I want to see my savings increase, I had to do something to continually see it growing, so I set up this weekly transfer. I hope it works to make me get excited about saving and watching my money grow the way it did watching my debt decrease. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is the answer I am looking for.

Wishing everyone a happy end of summer evening. Over and out........

Friday, September 21, 2007

This weekend I have a baby shower to attend. I really dislike baby showers, wedding showers, bachelorette parties and the like. I am single 35 year old with no kids. I have been to countless showers, parties and weddings for people over the years, and everyone of them I have taken a gift. Now, I may never get married and I doubt I will have children, but nonetheless I always go to these parties. My question to you, is it ok to say no to some of these invitations and not send a gift? This month alone I have been to a wedding reception of a cousin I haven't seen in over 6 years, a friend's child's 1st birthday party and now the baby shower. This has been a slow month for me, I usually have at least 5 of these events per month. These things are killing my budget! My family is quite large, on my father's side, I have 52 first cousins, so you can imagine how many weddings and showers I have been to. What, if anything, do any of you do in these situations?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's time for a shopping exile again........

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I started taking a good look around my condo. In the bathroom I realized that I have 4 different kinds of hairspray, 3 kinds of shower gel, and 5 different kinds of mousse and gel for my hair. Then I went into the kitchen to find something to eat for breakfast and something to take for lunch. The problem? I had way too much food to choose from and it made it really difficult for me to decide what to bring today. Then I go to my closet to get dressed, what do I find but SEVERAL options of clothes to wear! It made me stop and think how lucky I am to have this problem! How many people get upset by having an over abundance of things? Probably not many, but many people also probably do not realize how lucky they are to have so much! I decided that it's time for me to stay out of the stores again for a bit. I have plenty and need to go through some of this stuff before I can justify buying more. I really think I would be fine to not buy any clothes the rest of this year and I know I can go a couple of months without buying any styling products for my hair. As for food, I should really only be going for perishables right now, I have a freezer loaded with food and a pantry that is busting at the seams. I will try to use up what I've got before buying more or eating out and will use the money saved from this to continue funding my emergency savings. Does anyone else ever do this?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sometimes you are deceived into believing you are getting a deal

I was looking over my Comcast bill the other day and thinking it was pretty high for what I was getting or I should say, what I was using. This all got started when I received an offer in the mail for Clearwire Internet services which looked like it was going to be fairly reasonably priced. I decided to call Comcast and see what could be done to lower my bill. I should tell you, I have one of their bundle packages, so it should be a deal, or so I thought. My bundle of cable, Internet and phone was $99 but with all the taxes and fees added on, it was costing me over $125/month! So, I never use my home phone, I only have it so I can have Internet. Turns out, I don't need the home phone, nor do I need the super-extended cable that came with my bundle. There really isn't anything good on those extra channels, so why am I paying for them? So, I have dropped my landline and changed my cable to basic and I have now saved myself over $60/month plus all those taxes they charge for that $60! Yeah! Why pay for something you aren't using? I feel pretty good about the savings I got today and will enjoy it much more when bill paying comes along next month. Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!

Some happy news on retirement.....

After meeting with the financial advisor he gave me some homework assignments. Some were quick little things that took no longer than a couple of minutes to complete. Then there was one that I had been dreading doing. I knew that I have a pension coming from my long ago days of working in grocery. I don't know why I was dreading finding out the details, thinking that it would require a lot of legwork on my part. So, financial advisor calls me the other day, wants to know how I am doing on finding out that information, still nothing done on my end. After I get off the phone with him I decide that I should at least go online to see what I can find. After about 10 minutes of online research and 5 minute phone call, I have my answers. Turns out that if I wait until age 63, I will get a pay out of $449.74 each month. Not a huge amount, but it's nice to know that I will be able to count on it. And if I ever do decide to go back to work in grocery, I will just add to that pension. I really enjoyed my job there, it was low stress and for the most part, really fun talking to people every day and I usually had nice co-workers too. Always nice to know that I can fall back on it if I need/want to. Financial Advisor was quite impressed at how quickly I was able to get this info back to him as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Emergency savings....

In my post yesterday I was saying how now that I don't have debt to pay off and I have purchased my condo, I am somewhat bored with my finances. I really need to figure out what will get me excited about them again. SMB commented that I didn't mention whether or not I have an emergency savings account. I do, currently it has $5793.02. I know it should have more, but what is a good number?? I know this can be completely different for everyone, so I look forward to hearing what you have to say. When I met with the financial planner last week, he thought that I should work on getting the E-fund up to $10,000. As far as other savings goes, for retirement, I am taking full advantage of the company match in my Simple IRA, and I am working on fully funding the Roth IRA. Then what should be next?? Do you think it is wise to try to pay off a mortgage early? Or should I continue adding to my savings? Or should I start a savings for a car? The one I have now is in great shape, but I know it won't last forever. A vacation fund? Oh, what to do, what to do...... I look forward to any and all advice. Thanks!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Boring, boring, boring

So, I haven't had anything to post about for a little while, I think because my life has become pretty mundane. I have been reading lots and lots of blogs and implementing things I am learning from them into my life, but my life seems to just be cruising along on auto pilot lately. My networth is increasing nicely every month and I am noticing that I am getting better about not spending money frivolously, but I just don't feel satisfied about my financial state. I think because in the past I always had a goal of paying off this debt, or that debt, then it was saving money for a down payment on a house. Now that I have done all of those things, I am at a loss for what my next "goal" is. Any ideas? I enjoy finding new ways to be frugal all the time and am really learning a lot from other's blogs, but I need something to kickstart my passion again at growing my net worth. Sorry I am rambling, I'm not doing a good job of getting my point across. I just need something to get me excited again about my finances and watching them grow. Any thoughts, comments or criticisms are welcome! THANKS!