Thursday, January 31, 2008

January wrap up....

Wow! Where did the first month of 2008 go? All in all, for me it was a good one, with the exception of this cold I now have, my first in over 2 years! Darn it! As far as money goes, I was under budget in a lot of categories this month, so I am pleased.

Groceries: I spent a total of $95.66, thanks in part to some great bargains, some thrifty shopping, a free grocery store gift card and a little meal planning. I am still eating a lot of the food I picked up on my Jan. 17th shopping trip.

Gas: Only spent $55 this month, and I still have a half tank, so I should be able to make it through the first week of February without having to fill up also. I'm sure it helps that my commute to work is only 7 miles each way. :)

Dining out: I had budgeted $100 and only spent $68.38! Not bad!

Clothes: I actually came in negative in this cateogory. I budgeted $125 and returned some items I had bought last month, making this category -$208.79!!! With my birthday coming next month, I am hoping to keep this trend going.

Gifts: $17.66 plus whatever I spend on my neice tonight, although that could fit into next month since I will give it to her on Saturday. But still, a far cry from the $100 I had budgeted!

Now, for the categories I went over, UGH!!! Entertainment! This has a lot to do with the renewal of my football season tickets and can't be avoided, but I enjoy it so much, I don't care! :) Health and beauty were also over since I had my hair cut and foiled, but that only happens once every 3 or 4 months, so most months this is under. My phone bill however was high (over by $30) due to too many text messages! Ugh, but I have added an unlimited plan to avoid this happening again! Everything else was pretty much on course and I managed to put $525 in my savings account, so that 's good. I changed my car and homeowners insurance this month, it won't save me any money, but my new agent is someone I have known for a long time and I would rather give my business to someone I know, than an 800 number for customer service. I rounded my mortgage payment up to the next 100, paying an extra $53 on it this way. Oops, almost forgot to add that my electricity bill was over my budget by $38, but dang, it's been too cold not to have the heat on!

And I had a whopping 21 no spend days this month!!! I'm such a hermit in the winter time! I can hardly wait for spring to come!! I get so depressed this time of year, it will be nice when it stays light later and the sun is shining more!

So, now if I could just get rid of this darn cold, I will be feeling much better about things! I'm off to the drugstore to get some Nyquil and I have to go find a birthday gift for my neice. Hope everyone had a great January!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Under the weather

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been feeling ill for the last several days. In fact, yesterday I never even got out of my PJ's. Feeling somewhat better today, but still not great! I'll have a January wrap up coming in the next few days. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grocery shopping update

So, I did my grocery shopping last night and I must say, I am quite pleased. I bought enough food that I shouldn't have to go back to the store until February, with the exception of some fresh produce and milk. I got $97.29 worth of groceries for $25.31! I had the cashier ring everything up, then I ran my loyal shopper card, then I ended up being able to use my $10 off a $50 purchase coupon, then I used my $30 gift card, bringing the total down to $25.31. Now my only problem will be trying to decide what to have for dinner every night! :) It's really so much easier when the choices are limited! So, it looks like my grocery spending for the month should be pretty small and that of course makes me very happy!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Making the most of a bad situation....

So, I went to the dentist today for a regular cleaning and to get a toothache checked out. I've had this toothache for about 3 months, I know, I know, I should have had it checked sooner, but I was too busy. I had nightmares about hearing that I was going to need a root canal or something, and although I still might, my dentist wants me to try an antibiotic first to see if that helps. He doesn't see any cracks in the tooth and he is hoping that there is just a small infection that can be taken care of with some amoxicillan. I'm all for the less expensive and much less painful option of taking care of it. Crossing my fingers that this will make it all go away. I will go pick up my prescription this evening and I was thrilled to see that in the grocery ad this week there was a coupon for a $30 gift card for the grocery store when you bring a new or transferred prescription in. Yeah, so I will get my antibiotic which is always a cheap one and then get a $30 gift card for my groceries that I will need to be getting tonight also. So, at least I will be able to hopefully take care of my toothache with an inexpensive prescription and will also get my groceries for just about free. I also have a coupon for the store that when you spend $25 you get $5 off, so I plan on using that too. I'll let you know how well I do on my shopping tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Paying off debt and losing weight; the similarities....

I have a friend who has recently lost a great deal of weight and she looks fabulous!! She gets compliments on her new figure all the time and it's great to see the turn around in her self esteem. I asked her how she feels about the weight loss, the work it took to get there and if she ever thought she might slip back in to her old eating habits. She admitted that she does occasionally cheat, but that "nothing tastes as good as thin feels!" This got me to thinking about money and being in debt v being debt free. Having been in debt up to my eyeballs before and now having only a mortgage for debt, I can completely relate to her feelings of success with her weight loss. I just wish I could come up with some way to put it as eloquently! ;) It really does feel amazing to know that I am building my future and am done paying for my past. Can anyone think of a great way to phrase this? I'd love to hear what you might come up with.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Taxes and free filing

Just an update; the free file option on the IRS website will open tomorrow, Jan. 11th, so if you have all your stuff together, are ready to file and earned less than $54,000 last year, go to www.irs.gov and check it out. I plan on giving it a try!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tax time

It's getting to be that time of year where I have to drag out all my financial info to file my taxes. I have always done them on my own before and I'm hoping to continue to do that this year, but I'm a little leery of it since I bought my condo this year. Does anyone know if it's going to be more difficult for me to do them this year? I want to make sure I maximize my benefit of having purchased, but I have no idea where to begin!

I do know that if you earned less than $54,000 last year you can go to www.irs.gov and click on the link to free file. I have taken advantage of this over the past few years and I still qualify, so I'm going to attempt to do it that way again. I'm hoping that turbo tax or one of those will be available on free file and will walk me through everything dealing with my home purchase.

My goal for the upcoming weekend is to gather all the information and have it ready, so as soon as I have all of my statements I can file. I know I will get a refund this year, hopefully it's a big one! :) This will really help me fully fund my Roth IRA this year. Anybody else started to think about doing their taxes?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

January, off to a great start

well, here it is, the 6th day of January and I have only had one day where I have spent any money. Yesterday started with some grocery shopping, I had put together a meal plan and a very detailed list. While shopping I adjusted my list and menu based on what I was able to get on sale. I left there spending only $48.88 and shouldn't have to go back for more than a week or so. I went to get my hair done, foiled and cut, I knew this would be my biggest expenditure of the day, but I do it so rarely, I was OK with spending the money. The gal didn't charge me as much as usual because I really only had her trim the very ends of my hair since I am trying to grow the length out, nice surprise! :) Then, I went to see my niece and nephew's brand new puppy and stopped at the pet store to pick up a toy, only $6.52 for a gift. Then last night several of my girlfriends and I were headed out to dinner and to see Jersey Boys (which I highly recommend if it's coming to your town). We were unable to go to dinner downtown because no where that we wanted to go was taking reservations due to the football playoffs, so we ended up eating at great restaurant near home that we love to go to and we always have a great dinner. Went to the show, came home and went to bed.

Sundays are my day to regroup and get ready for the week ahead, so I have spent the day doing laundry, cleaning, watching a movie and generally vegging out! :) I'm looking to the week ahead and am excited about the meal planning I have done and am curious to see how well this works out for m. I certainly hope it helps me to save money and avoid eating out. I think it will. I should have very few days where I spend any money this week. I'm trying to be very frugal this month in anticipation of February, which for some reason is always a very expensive month for me. Shortest month of the year and I always spend the most money! :( At least this year I will be prepared for it.

As for my mortgage payments, I have decided that early this year I will focus on putting the money into my retirement accounts and fully funding them before making accelerated payments to the mortgage. Once I have fully funded the retirement accounts and brought my emergency savings up to a level I am happy with, then I will put some extra money towards the mortgage. I will keep you posted on how it goes, I think it will be very motivating for me to see those retirement accounts growing.

Wishing everyone a great week.....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Wow, I can't believe it is 2008 already! Seems like I was just thinking that I couldn't believe it was 2007! Yikes! It's true what they say, time really does go faster the older we get!

Well, I am off to a great start for 2008, I haven't spent any money at all over the past 6 days! I'm pretty sure I can make it through tomorrow without spending any either. I have been giving some thought to my 2008 goals and I know I want to pay down my mortgage to get rid of the PMI, but I have a question for you all. The PMI portion of my mortgage is only $57.73month which is great, I'm happy that it is so little. I also want to max out my Roth IRA and bring my cash savings up to at least $10,000. I am thinking about putting a little bit of a hold on paying down the mortgage so aggressively in favor of maxing out my retirement first. What do you all think? I have been putting an extra $400-500/month on my mortgage, but am thinking I would like to max out the Roth first, bring my cash savings up, then focus more on paying down the mortgage so aggressively. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Happy 2008!