Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April wrap up...

Wow, April went fast and I can hardly believe that tomorrow is May Day!! April was by far the smallest spending month I have had in ages. I can't believe how little I spent and yet I didn't feel like I was living so frugally. I had a great month.

Groceries: $51.08
Gas: $55.00
Dining out: $23.97
Entertainment: Nothing!!
Donation: $50.00
Gifts: $40.83
Clothing: Nada!!

And to top it all off, I had 25 glorius No Spend Days!!

I also earned $32.60 from surveys and I found a bag of change while out walking that had over $60 in quarters! That was crazy! I have found lots of money while out walking, usually just small change on the ground, but this was a big find!

Next month is looking to be a little tight again, as I am working really hard to get the money together to pay off my parents ASAP, but I also have some extra money coming in from eBates and a gift card from Office Depot Worklife Rewards that will be almost $150. I can use that to buy other gift cards, like Visa that I can use for everyday expenses.

I will be watching my niece and nephew for 4 days the first weekend of May and will be staying at their house. And I will be getting paid from my brother for it. Normally I would not let them pay me, but they are insisting as it is for several days. OK, I'll let them. :)

I won't be getting my economic stimulus check until July, but when that comes, it will be going straight in to my Roth IRA. While I am working to get the money to pay my parents back, I will still be fully funding my Roth. That is non-negotiable!! I should be able to pay them another $4200 before the end of the year. Yeah!

So, I hope everyone had a great April and with all the showers we had here, we should be seeing some beautiful May flowers.....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I am a woman on a mission.....

Last week I made my first loan payment back to my parents. They loaned me $20,000 to help with the down payment on my condo a year ago. This is why I hate borrowing money from family and/or friends...

So, I was sitting in my parents kitchen yesterday and I asked my mom if she had given the check to my step dad to take to the bank yet. (She tends to forget stuff like that.) He asks what the check is for and I tell him the first payment on the loan. Now, when we set up the loan I was told I could pay them back starting one year after I borrowed it and I could either make annual payments or monthly payments, whichever was easier for me. I thought I would go with annual payments, one less bill to worry about monthly. The terms of the loan were a straight 5% of the total, my understanding was making the total $21,000. Hence, my first payment was $2100. He asked why I wrote it for that much and I explained that it was 1/10th of what I owed and I would pay that same amount annually. He then went into this long winded explanation of APR's and amortization schedules, all of which I understand, so I tuned him out for the next 20 minutes. When he was done, I explained that I understood all of that, but it was my understanding that the interest was again, a straight 5% of the total, but if I was wrong, please, let's get this figured out now so I know exactly what I owe at any time. Oh no! He has this way of trying to make you feel dumb when he is talking to you and says, it's fine, we'll do it your way, even though that wasn't his understanding of the loan terms. UGH!! My poor mom is sitting there very uncomfortably when he looks at her and says, what do you think? She says she is fine with either way, and let's just keep it the way I understood it to be. Then he says, well, it probably won't come out that much different anyway. UGH! Well, now you can bet they are going to get their money back much faster than over the next 10 years! I want this paid back to them ASAP!!! So, it will now be my mission to be able to write them a check every few months for the $2100 and have this monkey off my back sooner rather than later!

And that my friends is why I don't like borrowing money from friends or family!

And by the way, I wanted to say to my step dad, that it isn't his money anyway, it's money my mom got from life insurance when my dad passed away, so what the hell is he so worried about?? But I refrained.......for now! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oooh money has been tight this month...

but it is my own doing, so I really can't complain too much! I have set some lofty savings goals for myself and I am doing my best to stick to them. I made my first loan payment back to my parents and it felt really good! I'm hoping to be able to make another one to them in 6 months instead of waiting until next year.

I also have been aggressively contributing to my Roth IRA and adding money back into my savings that I took out to make that first loan payment. Next month it's looking a little tight too, but I think I can do it! I have looked at the money coming in and going out and I feel pretty good about the savings I can accumulate if I just stick to it! June is looking to be much better as that extra paycheck month will hit at the end of May, making things a little looser in the wallet. Of course, knowing me, I will just think that means I can put more in savings. I really should try to do something nice for myself during this time.

As for April, I have done really, really well so far! I am on day 18 of no spending this month and I should hit at least 23 if not 24 before month end. Groceries, I have only spent $45 on and gas is still at $31. Not much action in my wallet this month for sure. It's strange to see so little activity, but I'm liking it! :)

I hope everyone else is having a great April too!

Friday, April 11, 2008

April check-in.....

1/3 of the month is gone and I am doing really, really well on my budget this month! So far, I have not eaten out at all and I have had 8 no spend days! 9 if you count today and I don't anticipate any money leaving my wallet today either. I did go grocery shopping the other day and my total after the reimbursements from work means I spent $45.36. I really don't think I will need to get groceries for at least another week or so. Yeah! Gas, I have spent $31 and the needle has barely left the full line, which means this should be good for quite awhile too. Still no new clothes and no entertainment costs, although last night my mom and I went to a movie, but I had a gift card and she bought the snacks. I'm heading to the library after work today and probably stopping by Blockbuster, I have a gift card for there too. So far, April is indeed looking like a very small spending month for me. I hope this continues for the rest of the month.

This weekend is suppose to be the nicest weather we have had yet this year, maybe even up to 70* on Saturday! Yeah! I can sit out on my deck with a good book and a glass of wine! :) Hope everyone has a fantastically frugal weekend!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wow, groceries are getting expensive

I stopped at the grocery store on my home from work today, with my list in hand and I only picked up 3 items that weren't on my list, but were on sale. I think I contemplated EVERY single thing I put in my cart! I don't think I have ever done that! I got out of there for $65, of which $19 will be re-imbursed from work for some office supplies and a birthday treat for a co-worker, but still, how could I have spent$46 on food just for me?! At least when I got home the groceries filled up my cupboards and I should be good for quite awhile, but still!! Sheesh! I will definitely have to really keep my eye out for sale items and stock up when I can. I am pretty good at buying the same things all the time so I know my prices and I know a lot of items I can get cheaper at Target, so I will start to do that. I am also happy that the farmer's market is opening next week and is right on my way home from work, so this should help out immensely! :)

Is anyone else getting as frustrated with the high cost of groceries?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What a nice surprise for a Monday morning...

This morning I get to work early and log on to my e-mail. There is a message from my brother with "inheritance" in the subject line. Hmmm, I think, I wonder what that's about. I quickly look at the calendar to make sure it's not April Fool's day, he is famous for pulling pranks on me. In the e-mail he tells me that our dad's aunt's estate, she passed away at least 15 years ago and at the time had left us some mineral farm land in North Dakota and some money, is contacting us again. This time someone wants to "lease" our mineral farmland for $675 each. My brother didn't give me many details of it or didn't have the letter at work with him, but he was writing to let me know that they were trying to locate me and several of our cousins, there are 52 of us on this side of our family!!! He's going to call me tonight with the details and who I need to contact so that I can find out more about it as well. Should be interesting and would certainly be nice to gain some extra money. I'll let you know what I find out.

On another topic, today is my 6th no spend day this month! I'm hoping to have 20 no spend days for the entire month, so I think I am off to a stellar start! :) I know I have to stop at the gas station tomorrow morning and probably at the grocery store for a couple of things on the way home, probably won't have to buy much the rest of the week.

Oh, and I did treat myself this morning with a latte using a gift card on my way to work. ;)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Omaha Steak review

OK, so I got home from work yesterday and there was the lovely, HUGE Styrofoam cooler on my doorstep, it looked lovely, I must say! So, I quickly lug it inside, and I must say it is HEAVY!! I open it up and am blasted with coldness. A good sign since there is meat packed in there. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning sorting through all that is in there. Oh how fun! I sort it all out and organize everything, double check my packing slip against the inventory and am pleasantly surprised, there is an extra bottle of steak seasoning. :) I rearrange everything in my freezer and just barely get all my new stuff in there. It's so full now it's pretty dark in there because the light is now being covered up by all the meat! Hmm, what to have for dinner tonight? I decide to try the burgers out because I have buns in the freezer too. I pull out 2 patties, have to cook one for my lunch for tomorrow too, and 2 buns to thaw out. I go outside, oh by the way, it's the warmest day we have had this year and the sun is shining, and fire up my new BBQ that my parents gave me for my birthday! I can hardly wait to try these burgers, they are really big and look really great! I swear it took the absolute longest time EVER for that meat to cook, I think that's just because I was so excited though! ;) Finally they are done and I am happy to report, there was minimal shrinking, a sure sign of good hamburger is minimal shrinking, less fat! I get it on the bun, add all my condiments, grab a beer and sit down to eat. OMG, this burger was DELISH!!! Yeah! I'm so pleased! And lucky me, all I can think is, I am having one for lunch tomorrow too! Oh, it was heavenly and I'm quite pleased that there are 18 more of these burgers in my freezer along with a wide variety of steaks. Yum Yum! Can't wait to try more of these great treats this weekend. Yeah, I am happy that this venture turned out so well and am already dreaming of what I will want to order next time. I just hope I get another gift certificate again and can find a great online savings code to really stretch my dollars. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Oh, the bank can be so irritating...

I log on and check my bank balance every morning, just to keep tabs on my checkbook and verify what has cleared. Well today, for the 3rd time this year, I have had to contact the bank because they have cleared checks for the wrong amount. This time it was only $.10 over what I had written it for and the store had shanked it as, but this is the 3rd time this year!!! I wonder how many of us are losing money by not paying closer attention to this. And why is it that each of these times, they have cleared the check for amounts over what I wrote them for, never less than? Hmmm! I guess I will have to continue to keep tabs on this, very irritating for sure!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April better be a small spending month...

I was crunching some numbers this afternoon, wanting to know exactly where I would be financially this month. I'm happy to report that I don't have much planned this much, so it should be pretty easy to get by on what I think I will have to spend. As I said earlier, I am hoping to have at least 20 no spend days this month, I think, given the numbers I saw this afternoon, that will be easier than I thought. It looks like I will have only $250 for gas, food and any other necessities. I could put less in savings and have more to spend, but I don't want to. I think I will be just fine with the $250 and if something comes up, I know there is money in savings if I really, really need it. It's nice that the weather is starting to get better too, I can go out and do more that won't cost me anything. Plus, tomorrow my Omaha Steaks order will arrive giving me lots of food to eat as well as what I already have on hand from my big shopping trip last weekend. So, I have another challenge for myself this month, I'm up for it, bring it on!!!

OK, to be fair, I also have lots of gift cards if I get a real hankering to spoil myself at all. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March wrap up

Well, I was doing fantastically, staying under-budget in SO many categories for March, right up until the very end. Last weekend shot the budget all to, well you know!

I went over my grocery budget by $16.03!

Gas budget was also over by $.01, darn nozzle!!!

Electricity was over by $19.76, which I guess isn't too bad, it was only $69.76 for 2 months!!!!

I had to pay an extra $570 for my property taxes too!!

And my savings was under by $55!!!

On the positive side of things, I had 20 No Spend Days! And I only spent $28.66 eating out for the month. I also overpaid my mortgage, adding $103.61 to principal, so that helps.

I also earned $29.10 from surveys, $10 referral to my ING account and got loads of free stuff in the mail!!!

I'm hoping for a very quiet April!!!