Thursday, July 31, 2008

July wrap up....

July seems to have been the fastest month yet this year! I can hardly believe we only have 5 months left of 2008!! July was a great month for me, and I hope it was for you as well.

I was able to keep to 20 no spend days for the month which pleased me very much!!

This month I was good!
  • Groceries: $84.34 ($4.34 over budget, but I am usually so far under this doesn't bother me)
  • Gas: $79.00 (yeah! $1 under budget!!)
  • Dining out: $54.42 (much better than last month)
  • Entertainment: $10.00
  • Gifts: $19.38
  • Clothing: $19.60

I earned $50.92 from surveys and freebies I received were Nivea face cream, Aveeno night cream and a year membership to Blockbuster Rewards. (my payment for the $125 focus group won't hit until next month).

I also added $3653 to my savings account. Next month I will add $700 from my paychecks and $85.44 from eBates. I am going to be on vacation Aug. 1-10, but the things I have planned should keep my spending in check, so I am anticipating another good savings month. Not as good as last month because I am not expecting big payments, but with my frugal ways, I'm sure I will be able to add another healthy chunk to boost my savings.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer, getting out and enjoying some time outdoors! I will check in periodically while I'm on vacation, but may not post much, depends on what I end up doing. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Upcoming stay-cation

I am taking this Friday off and all of next week, so I have been trying to figure out what do with my time off. For starters, I will finally take advantage of the pool at my condo. I have yet to go in, so I am looking forward to this. There will also be a big festival in town the last 3 days I am off and I know I will probably go to that each day. It's a fun place to run into people I haven't seen in years. ;) I'm going to a BBQ for friend's birthday and I will be taking a day trip to see another friend I haven't seen in a really long time. Of course, I'm sure I will spend some time out on the lake water skiing. I'm also going to spend some time cleaning out my storage closet and finding things for my parents garage sale that will be held in a couple of weeks. So, now that I have figured all of that out, I don't think I will have much free time to worry about how to fill my days! I'm hoping to also have a couple of lunches and dinners with various friends that I have a hard time finding time to catch up with. I'm really looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing during my 10 days off.

Has anyone else done a stay-cation this summer? Did you think you spent more or less money than when you travel on a regular vacation? I'm hoping to keep the expenses down, but I also don't want to skimp on experiences, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm going on a trip in September or October to visit a friend in Arizona, so I will travel for that one. But I have 4 weeks of paid vacation each year now, so I think I will probably end up doing a lot of time off at home. Which is just fine with me....any day off from work that I am being paid for is a good day in my book!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

This weekend is looking to be another fairly relaxing and mellow one. I am going to participate all 3 days in the survey that will earn me $125. A friend is coming over and we are going to the open air market in town and will probably grab a coffee. (I have a gift card) Sunday will be another day of chores and laundry probably. I got a call from the library that some books I had ordered are in, so I'll pick those up tonight on my way home today.

I was invited to go water-skiing for the weekend with some friends and I seriously considering it. My friends are leaving today and going to be gone all next week on their vacation. They had asked if I wanted to join them Friday-Sunday. I know it would a lot of fun, but it's a 4 hour drive each way and then camping for 2 nights. I decided that I didn't want to drive that far for only 2 nights, plus most of the first day would be setting everything up. So, I opted to stay home and save the money. Maybe next year we can plan it so that I can go for a longer time. Besides, the weather forecast doesn't look that great for the weekend and that would really tick me off if I drove that far and then had crummy weather.

And I must wash my car and vacuum it out, it is filthy! Ugh, not a chore I enjoy at all, but it must be done. So, what do you have planned for the weekend?? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What a lovely weekend....

I had the most relaxing weekend, it was great! Friday night I went home, sat out on my deck with a glass of wine and a good book. I watched the sun set and felt very peaceful. Saturday morning I woke up quite early and just laid in bed for awhile listening to the birds chirp and looking at the beautiful sunny day ahead. When I finally got up, I made a nice cup of tea and read the morning paper. My neighbor was out of town, so I read his paper, he doesn't mind. Then I slowly started on chores I needed to do, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc. But I was sidetracked when I went out to sweep my deck and ended up playing with my flowers and cleaning them up for about 2 hours. :) Saturday evening I was suppose to go to a party, but I didn't feel like it, I was completely enjoying my quiet, solitary weekend and wasn't feeling too social, so I called the host and made my regrets, then sat down again with my book and read for several hours. Sunday dawned another sunny, beautiful day and I was feeling so content. I spent the day in much the same way I spent my Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then late yesterday afternoon a friend called to see if I wanted to go see Mamma Mia, so I decided it was time to get out of the house and be somewhat social. I am so glad I said yes, we had the best time!! I don't think I have laughed so hard in such a long time. It was a great show and we had a blast! What a great weekend!!! And I only spent $10 for all that fun!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I have just been invited to participate

in a 3 day survey next weekend. I will log on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and answer the questions necessary each day. It is not expected to take longer than 30-45 minutes each day and when I am done, I will earn $125!! Now that is what I like to see! A survey that really pays you for your time. I do a lot of surveys and so far this year I have earned $316.40 for my time. I usually do the quick little ones that don't take much time, but also don't pay a lot. They are fast and come frequently. It usually doesn't take long for me to build up to a $10 or $20 check. Some nice extra pocket money, without a lot of effort.

If you are interested in trying out surveys for a little extra cash flow, there are 2 links in the sidebar to the right which will take you to 2 of the sites I like. Or leave me a comment with your e-mail and I can send you referrals for any others. Sometimes I am asked to try new products which they send to you, and that is always fun to be able to try something new without having to pay for them, and then getting paid to try them.

It's fun and a great way to earn some extra money!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So far this has saved me $3000 and counting....

When I moved into my condo last year, I was the very first person to move in to the complex and they are still doing construction. While construction is going on and until every unit is sold, owners do not have to pay condo association dues. I love this! Right now the last building is set to open up for selling sometime in September and I don't imagine they will sell out before the end of the year. In the meantime I have been continuing to keep the amount in my budget and have been making the payments to myself in the form of savings deposits. What an easy way to add $2400/year to my savings!! This will really help me get the money together to pay the loan to my parents. I'm doing really well on that front and am actually looking forward to writing them a check for $10,000 next April. If all goes really well, I can pay the final $10,000 off to them in October 2009. But I will keep you posted on that. So for now, I hope the units continue this slow selling process and that it is sometime next year before I have to start paying my monthly dues. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July goal reached, yeah!!!

Finally, yesterday I received my economic stimulus check, so what did I do with it? I took it right to the bank and deposited into my savings and stimulated my account! :) With that deposit and some other small checks I had, I added another $700 to my savings. This brings my July savings to $3650! Yeah! And I was hoping to at least add $3600, so I am really happy to have surpassed that. And we are only at the halfway point of the month, so I'll see what else I might be able to add before the 31st.

So, did you receive a stimulus check? And if so, what did you do with it?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

D'oh! I was fooled.....

Last night I came home from work, grabbed my mail and headed into my condo. I saw an envelope from the US Treasury and on the back in big red letting it says, Stimulus payment! Oh yeah I think, I'm finally going to be stimulated!! But no, I was fooled! It was a confirmation letter stating that yes I will be receiving my Economic Stimulus check in the amount of $600 and if I don't receive it in 6-8 weeks of this letter I should contact them at blah, blah, blah! OK, I know they sent this out before and my check is in the very last batch to go out, which is suppose to mail this Friday, so it should be here sometime next week, but do they really have to send 2 notifications of this? That seems like a very unnecessary expense they have gone to for this thing! Sheesh! I can only imagine how many more ways they find to waste money....

So darn it, no stimulus check yet, but I'm hoping it comes early next week! I'll keep you posted. Oh, and when I receive it, I won't be going out shopping, instead it will be going right to my savings account! Yeah!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July is off to a great start...

so far this month I have added the $2950 to my savings and I am only $650 away from my goal of adding $3600. And I still have yet to be "stimulated" by our government! I'm hoping that this will mean that I am going to surpass this goal and add even more to it. ;)

Other categories in my budget are looking to stay pretty low this month. I love summer, it seems the time of year where I spend the least amount of money! Yeah! I have really been enjoying our nice weather lately, sitting out on my deck reading or going for walks. It's been great! And with it staying light later and later, I am not having to turn on the lights in my condo, so definitely saving money there. Also, I have been using my BBQ to cook with, oh, I love the smell of BBQ! :)

I had a nice quiet weekend at home, not spending much money at all. I went grocery shopping and spent $32.80, other than that, I spent no money all weekend! I watch the free fireworks show at the church next door to my condo! Went to the library twice and read a ton, just enjoying being outside.

I hope everyone else is having a great summer too!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday! And a very enjoyable weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Main Goal for July

Now that we are at the halfway point of the year I decided to take a look at where I am now and where I would like to be 6 months from now. I am saving like a madwoman to get the money to pay my parents back. I want this monkey off my back and the sooner the better. So, with that said, my main goal for July is to add $3600 to my savings account, hopefully more. To do this I will add the $2200 from the land lease money, my $600 economic stimulus check and $700 from my mid-month paycheck. I'm also hoping that my continuing to be frugal and smart with my spending, I can add more than this. I will also add any monies I get from surveys and I have a $20 rebate that should come in this month too. And as always, I am keeping my eye out for money everywhere. So far this year I have found $116.58 on the ground and everywhere. OK, most of that was from the $60 + bag of quarters I found, but still, that's a hefty chunk of change to find. :)

Happy Saving!!!