Monday, March 31, 2008

Drop in net worth

I decided to add the debt to my parents into my net worth total. UGH! Boy did that make it look ugly!!! But, I think seeing it there will really motivate me to pay it off sooner and will give me a more clear picture of exactly where my finances are. At least next month I will see the loan drop by 10% as I make my first annual payment to them. :) Easy come, easy go....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finishing up March...

I hope on a high note. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow and other than hosting dinner for my girlfriends, I don't have much planned. I should end the month with 20 no spend days!! I ended up doing a pretty major grocery shopping trip yesterday and have stocked up on quite a bit of food. This should keep my April grocery spending in check. Also, I received a gift card for Omaha Steaks, and placed my order on Friday, this should be arriving on Thursday. I've never ordered from them before, but I'm excited to see what the products are like. This will really stock my freezer up and I shouldn't have to buy any meat at all for the next couple months. I'll let you know how it is.

I filled the gas tank this morning too, which usually last for me about 2 weeks or more. If all goes well, I should only have to buy gas one time in April.

I am challenging myself to spend less than $50 eating out in April as well as having at least 20 no spend days. Also, no buying clothes in April.

April my first annual payment is due to my parents for the money they loaned me for my condo down payment. I will be paying them $2100/once a year for 10 years. I'm hoping to have it paid off sooner than 10 years though, I don't like owing money, especially to family. I know they don't mind, but it makes me feel strange owing money to family.

Other than that, I don't anticipate much excitement in the month of April. I would be very happy if this rainy, snowy, crappy weather would subside and the sun would come out. I'd really like to pull out the flipflops and dust them off! Let the sunshine!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

A part-time job in my future???

A customer/friend of my current employer is taking me to lunch on Tuesday and would like to discuss hiring a part time bookkeeper. He wants to know what to pay someone and discuss the job. He didn't say he wants to offer me the job, but I think if I told him I was interested he would be willing to hire me. He wants someone for only about 5-7 hours a week which would be easy for me to fit into my schedule, he pays really well and we already get along great and know each other quite well. The duties he mentioned on the phone today are already things that I do at my regular job, so the learning curve would be minimal, but the extra pay could really help me attain and exceed some of my goals. I'm really looking forward to having lunch with him on Tuesday and I will keep you all posted on how it goes. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I hope you all have fabulous plans! If it stops snowing here, I will be quite happy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A great day of mail

The other day I opened my mailbox to find all kinds of fun stuff. Checks from 3 different survey companies, a survey to fill out and mail in with a $1 bill in the envelope and a product to test for the next week that I will later fill out a survey on and be paid $8 for participating. Not a single bill to be paid was in the mailbox, nor was there any junk mail. Yeah! What a fun day to open the mail. ;) I look forward to more of these days, hoping they come more frequently.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random thoughts....

This past weekend I helped my parents clean their new house, they should finally be able to move in next weekend. UGH, what a pain that was to clean. Why 2 people feel the need to build a 4700' house for just them is beyond me! Cleaning it gave me a whole new appreciation for my <800'!! :) Then I got to thinking what their heating bill is going to be like! Yikes! Again, I love my little condo! Speaking of which, I can't believe I have been in my condo for almost a year now! Wow, time flies!

Today I reached my 18 day goal of no spending days this month, and I still have almost a week go to. Hmm, I wonder how many days I will really come out without spending this month???

Today is my nephew's 10th birthday! Holy cow, again, I ask, where does the time go? Seems like it wasn't long ago that my sister in law was calling and asking if I wasn't too busy that morning, would I be able to drive her to the hospital?? I remember driving her in a panic during rush hour and timing contractions!! ;)

So far this month I have earned $24.10 from surveys and loads of free stuff, I'll fill you in on all of that at month's end.

I'm taking a vacation day from work on the 31st, no particular reason, just want a day off. And if I don't use up all of my vacation time I lose it, so rather than have that happen, I am going to take a day for myself and relax and enjoy.

Hope spring is looking good for everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frugal weekend ahead....

So, I don't have much planned for the weekend, even though there is a holiday. My brother and his family are out of town so we won't be having Easter until maybe next weekend when they return. My parents are busy wrapping up all the final stuff on their new house that should have been completed today, only 7 months behind schedule and a lot of my friends are out of town for the holiday. So, while it will probably be a lonely weekend, it will also be one with little money spent. And you know I like that! :)

Tonight I am stopping by the library to pick up a book that is in that I had ordered, going to the bank to make a deposit and stopping by Blockbuster to pick up a movie with a free movie rental coupon I have from some survey I did awhile back. Yeah! No money spent!

Tomorrow I will wake up and go running, then probably spend the day reading my new book and doing laundry and other various chores.

Not sure yet what Sunday has in store, but I'm sure it will be pretty mellow too. Hmm, I wonder if I can go the entire weekend without spending any money at all??!! Ah, I doubt it, I may have to go to the grocery store at some point, maybe I'll wait until Sunday to do that.

Anyhow, I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, gets lots of good candy from the Easter Bunny and finds all the eggs that are hidden! ;)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Welcome spring...

I can hardly believe it is the first day of spring already. That may be partly due to the fact that it is 38* outside as I write, but it also seems like it was just Christmas! Where does the time go?? Yesterday after work it was a beautiful evening and I was fortunate enough to go walking with a good friend. This friend was of the four legged variety and he was so excited to see me, what a warm, excited welcome he gave me. His owner, my friend's mom, was sick with the flu and had been down for about a week now. Her poor dog, Charlie, hadn't gone out on a "real" walk in almost a week. So, I went by her house, picked him up and off we went walking for about 90 minutes!! What a lovely way to spend time. :) We walked all over town, down to the waterfront, back up several hills, then back down, and up again. Ooh, my muscles are killing me today, but it's that good kind of muscle ache that tells you that you did something good for yourself. Maybe it will get my lazy butt out there more often, I really enjoyed the evening and I slept great!

Along with the first day of spring, I noticed the daffodils coming up in the gardens here at the office and it looks like we should have tulips any day now too, or maybe it will be a few weeks for those, but I don't care, each are signs of spring and warmer weather to come. Yeah!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic first day of spring. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nothing much to report

I am on day 13 this month of no spending. I have brought my lunch to work everyday this year and I am WAY under-budget in so many categories this month, which is a good thing. I do have to pay an extra $570 this month for my property taxes, but with all this saving I have been doing lately, I won't have any trouble coming up with the money for that. I have had the same $5 bill in my wallet since last month and I don't see it going anywhere the rest of this week either. I am really in a spending hiatus lately. Hmm, I wonder what's going on.....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Workplace gripes

OK, so apparently all the men in the company are taking tomorrow afternoon off to go skiing!!! Mind you, I don't ski, but I think it's quite rude that neither myself nor the other woman here were even asked if we wanted to go!! The company is also paying for every one's lift ticket. OK, so what do we get out of this? Certainly she and I are not staying at the office while everyone else is out skiing! She is a part owner of the company, so she made an executive decision that she and I are leaving the office when they do and heading for manicures and pedicures, on the company credit card! Oh, and she and I are going out for lunch, again on the company. :) Thank God she is around, or I think I would have ended up being the only one here at the office all afternoon while everyone else is skiing and having fun! Men! I swear, they can be so inconsiderate sometimes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Almost blew the lunch challenge today....

The only other female working in my company and I have become friends, probably because are the only 2 women and there are 19 men, but I like to think we would be friends anyway. Anyhow, today we had a little bitch session about the men around here and thought we should go out to lunch just to get out of the office. I was all for it today, the men are driving me nuts. BUT, my boss asked me at the last minute if I could order in lunch for a few of us as there were somethings he would like to discuss over a lunch meeting. On the plus side this saved me the money of going out to lunch, but I also missed out on the chance to get out and spend some time with a friend. Oh well, I am focusing on the money I saved, that's definitely a good thing! Plus it helps me keep up my record of not buying lunch everyday since Jan 1st. Hoping to make it everyday this year. Maybe next time she suggests we go out for lunch, I will suggest we take a walk, good for our health and our wallets. :)

Why do I have such an aversion to spending money on myself???

I have been giving it a lot of thought lately, trying to figure out why I just can't seem to spend money and why although I have no problem spending money on other people, I don't tend to spoil myself. I think it has something to do with the fact that when I did spoil myself before, I didn't know when to stop and got my self in a heap of credit card debt. All through college I let my credit cards pay for everything, I would make my minimum payments so that I never hurt my credit score, in fact, I had an amazing credit score, which led to my being able to obtain more credit. Ugh, what a mess!!! My first year out of college, I spent at least 75% of my time working. I would work a shift, the whole time, hoping and praying that someone would call in sick so that I could take their shift to earn extra money. That first year, I paid over $17,000 worth of credit card debt. Over the next couple of years I would rack up a little more debt here and there, but still I was making progress. I vowed once I finished paying off the debt, I would NEVER get into needless credit card debt again. To this day I only use my credit card for less than $100 worth of charges a month, if the balance gets higher than that, I have an anxiety attack. I try to tell myself now that it's OK to spoil myself a little and splurge every once and a while, I just can seem to do it. I think I rather enjoy seeing my balances go up and being financially free of debts that the thought of doing anything to wreck all my progress scares the crap out of me! I know, I know, I need help. Any suggestions on how I can break free from this total frugal freakness? Or am I doing OK?

Monday, March 10, 2008

No spending days

I am hoping that I can go this whole work week without spending any money. I think I can do it. I have plenty of food in the cupboards at home so I shouldn't need any food, the gas tank is almost on full, no bills are due this week. Hmm, I don't see where I have any need to spend anything, let's see if I can make it.

So, did everyone have a good weekend?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Paying for expensive hair styling....

I really dislike my natural hair color, I mean REALLY dislike it, so I have been foiling my hair for years, um since like 6th grade, I'm now 36! That's a helluva lot of money spent on my hair over the years and it really ticks me off when I think of it like that. Not only the money, but I wonder how much time I have spent in the hairdresser's chair over the years? Yikes! So, I went in this morning to get my hair done again; for the 2nd time already this year and I bring up the idea of wanting to make the maintenance easier on myself and how can we go about that. My haircut is simple, hair is growing out, pretty much all one length, so nothing fancy in the way of a cut, but how do I make the coloring lower maintenance? Can I tell you that I love, love, love the gal that does my hair, she is so awesome!!! She always comes up with the best solutions, this time was no exception......We looked at the highlights she had done last time and found a color that didn't have as bad a grow out problem as some of the lighter colors. She colored all my hair that color, it's not far off from my natural color, but it had some real shine and vibrancy to it and then only put 4 foil packets up around my face to break it up. The result? Excellent! I will have a much easier (read: less expensive) hair color to maintain and I am really pleased with the color and love the way light reflects off of it. She trimmed it up and it looks great, much healthier and I love it. I'm so happy I thought about asking her about it. And she was happy that I was so happy. Oh, and she also gave me a discount because I sent a friend to see her a couple of weeks ago. Yeah!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pinching Pennies

I found a new blog earlier this week that I am really enjoying www.pinchthepennies.blogspot.com is new to blogging, but she already has some great posts out there. Just wanted to get the word out so she can see some more traffic and hopefully get some great answers to her questions. Thank you all in advance for supporting her as she gets her start. Enjoy!!

So, today is payday....

This is my paycheck that I don't pay my mortgage out of, that will come out of the one two weeks from now. I know I have a big property tax bill coming, I will probably need almost $600 to send in so that there is enough there next month to pay my semi-annual taxes. And I have also deducted my auto-drafts that will fall between now and next payday, along with a transfer to my savings account. So, I am trying to decide what to do with the rest of the money. I think I am going to try leaving it in my checking account this time and see just how little of it I can spend over the next 2 weeks. If all goes well, I will be able to add whatever is left next payday into my savings and start fresh with the new paycheck.



How do you all handle payday? I usually pay myself first and last.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What a pleasant surprise this morning...

I decided to stop at Starbucks this morning and treat myself with a latte. I had received several gift cards for my birthday last week and decided that a latte today would be a nice morning treat. So, I swing in to the drive thru and order up my drink, get up to the counter to pay only to be told that the person in front of me had paid for my drink. So, a quick look in my rear view mirror, I notice 1 person in the car behind me, I quickly paid for his drink. The gal working at Starbucks told me this had been going on for about an hour and a half! How cool! I'm not sure why, but this latte tastes so much better than usual, maybe it's because it has a great story to go along with it! ;) Hope everyone has a fantastic day!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

re: Extremely low grocery costs...

http://escapebrooklyn.blogspot.com/ asked me how I was able to only spend $36 last month on groceries and I realized that I probably didn't fill you in on everything. Sorry, not trying to hide any information from you, I just hadn't really thought about it. Last month I received (2) $30 gift cards from my local grocery store for having (2) prescriptions filled there. $60 in groceries definitely helped out that category in my budget and I stocked up on some really great sales they were having too.

I think I have also neglected to tell you that breakfast is always served at my office, so I never need to eat at home before heading in. And there are always stocked cupboards of snacks and sodas on hand for whenever we want or need something. This has been a huge help to the budget for sure. And if I forget my lunch some days, I can always eat cheese and crackers that are on hand there, saving on the dining out budget as well.

So, I apologize for not divulging all the information before, I hadn't meant to deceive anyone. I think I still do a pretty good job sticking to a budget and not overspending on my food. What can I say, I'm a cheapskate!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Goals for March....

Now that we are in the 3rd month of the year I think it's time that I start to look at the goals I set for the year and see where I am at in attaining them and what I need to do to get there. I am doing really well at adding to my Roth IRA and I am still maintaining my 3% auto contribution to my Simple IRA which will be fully matched, this one I know I can maintain. :) I have put off paying too much extra to my mortgage so that I can bring my cash savings up to $10,000 and fully fund my Roth IRA.

I am fairly frugal; but I think there is still more that I can do to save money and put it away before I spend it on other things. So, for the month of March, I am really going to focus on spending less, having more "no spend" days and putting the savings away. I'm hoping that I can have at least 18 days where I spend no money. I have tons of food still in my pantry and freezer and I am going to work on eating through what I have. Using up things I have before I buy new. I have so much in the way of beauty products too, I need to go through these before I buy more. It has finally started to warm up enough that I have turned off the heat again and if I get chilled, I put a blanket on to keep warm. My heating bill should definitely look much better this next time. :) I have reduced my cable from digital to basic analog to save money. And I don't anticipate eating out much this month, so that will be nice on the wallet too.

I am getting my hair cut and foiled this coming weekend and I know it will be about $100, but I can usually go about 3 months without having to do this again. I think I will talk to my stylist about going back a little more to my natural color and see if I can go longer between appointments.

With the cost of gas increasing all the time I am going to make a concentrated effort to drive less, plan my routes better when I am out and probably stay home more. Also with the weather getting better, I will be able to walk or ride my bike more places.

I know some people think that living like this does not sound fun, but to me, I really enjoy the challenge and seeing my net worth grow really makes it worthwhile. And if I am able to retire earlier that will really add to my happiness!!!