Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anyone making resolutions???

I was thinking about this last night and contemplating making a resolution that I have been wanting to make for a long, long time. I am going to give it my best shot and will try to give up drinking soda. I have a diet Coke habit of 4, 5, sometimes 6 or more cans a day. Not only is this bad for me, but it's also really, really expensive! I am thinking it will be best if I try to ween myself off of it and only have it as a special treat occasionally. Has anyone else done this? And do you have any advice on how to achieve success? Thanks!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finishing the year up right...

I have had 3 no spending days in a row this week and it looks like tomorrow will be another one. I have enough gas in the car to get me where I need to go, enough food at home to feed me properly and no need for anything at the mall. I do however, have to go to the grocery store on the 31st to get some food for the NYE party and the open house I am going to on the 1st, but neither of these require much shopping, in fact, I already have most of the ingredients I need, so it won't be a lot of money spent. I'm looking forward to keeping up this habit in the new year and not over spending, and really focusing on reducing the debt load on mortgages. It'd be great if I could pay enough off on the condo to remove the PMI, that's going to be my big goal for the year. I think I'm gonna have to figure out a way to bring in extra money to apply directly to this debt. I know for sure that my survey money will go there, but anything else I can do will absolutely help it out too. Any ideas???

Happy New Year to all!!!! Enjoy, be safe and have fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Survey income for 2009...

I wasn't as diligent about it as usual, but my income from surveys this past year was $1532.91. It was much harder for me to take the time to do the surveys as I was so busy with wedding planning, renovations and moving, but that's still a fairly respectable amount for not much time invested. I'm happy with it, but of course I'll try to increase it next year. :)

Mortgage payments made..

Happy new year to us! We have made both of our mortgage payments early, they were both due on 1/1/10 and they are both paid already. I love the feeling of seeing them go down, in fact, one of them it a milestone today. The mortgage on my condo dipped below $200,000 with today's payment! Yay! I can't wait to see it continue to drop and with my renter paying rent now, it should really help it plummet. New balances:

Condo #1: $199,999.99 (OK, so I just made it under $200,000!!)

Condo #2: $283,348.88

The car loan will be paid off in a couple of months too and then we'll be debt free except for the mortgages. Oh, if only we didn't have to do the kitchen remodel, I could send a ton of money to the mortgage, but since we've demo'd the kitchen and it's a big empty space, I guess we're committed to doing it now. Oh well, I know it will be so nice when we are done with it and it will totally be worth it. I keep telling myself that.

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Goals for 2010...

I think it's time to set some goals for the new year and the new decade...I'm going to try to make them achievable, but not too easy to achieve. I need a good challenge to get us where we want to be for the future, so here goes...


*Continue paying down both of the mortgages, paying more than the principal each month

*Stay consumer debt free

*Pay off the DH's car

*Continue adding to our retirement accounts, including the Roth IRA

*Not be too much of a Scrooge and let us have some fun with the money we do have, but to do it responsibly.



I know these aren't really clear cut goals and they need some fine tuning, but I wanted to get them down in writing and will work on the details of how I will attain them in the next 10 days. Got to start somewhere, right?

2010 is upon us...

Wow! Where did 2009 go? I can't believe it's just a few days until Christmas, then only a week left in this year. Whew! Planning a wedding while buying and renovating a new home certainly does make a year go quickly. While it's been a great year, I am looking forward to 2010 and hopefully things calming down a bit and getting back on track of paying down mortgage debt. Now that we have 2 mortgages I am having some anxiety about getting them paid off as soon as possible. I have a renter in my condo that I had prior to our marriage and while the extra income is great and it would come in handy for us to pay for the renovations on our current condo, I have decided to use it directly to pay down the mortgage on that condo. Right now the rent isn't quite enough to pay the mortgage, but if I use the extra $1000/month towards that debt, it will soon be enough to cover it and will actually start to generate an income for us or ultimately pay off that mortgage quicker than we thought possible. We'd like to start having kids soon and if possible, we'd like for me to be able to stay home with them for awhile, so if we can get the mortgages down to where the rental income and my husband's income can pay for them both along with all of our living expenses, which should completely be doable, then we'd be in a great position for me to stay home with babies. My big push for 2010 is to reduce these mortgages and for us to remain consumer debt free while not touching our emergency fund for the renovations. It's going to take us a little longer to finish renovations, but knowing that we aren't going in to debt to complete them is worth more than finishing early, as far as I'm concerned. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season, take time to reflect on the reason for the season and enjoy time with family and friends.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1 month until the big day...

The wedding is 1 month from today and we are starting to get super busy. With the bridal shower, fittings, last minute shopping, plans and still trying to get work done on the new condo, I am worn out! I'll be on hiatus from here until I am a Mrs., then I'll be back! :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

And now the expenses start adding up...

We have really gotten in to the demolition stage of the work on our condo and are starting to do some of the putting back together of the place. We went to Home Depot both Saturday and Sunday and spent a small fortune!! We got the paint, light fixtures, ordered carpet and some more cleaning stuff! Two trips to the dump and a stop at the cabinet store (we haven't ordered those yet!) and we are racking up the expenses. I think we have enough supplies to do a lot of work for quite awhile now and shouldn't really have to make any hardware store runs for at least another week or so! Yesterday we got the walls all washed down and taped ready for painting, we even got one accent wall painted in our bedroom. I'm hoping to be able to make it back down there this week after work several days and finish painting our bedroom, then it's off to the guest room to paint next. Once both rooms are painted we can have the carpet laid and get those rooms about finished for now anyway. They will at least be livable and we can start working on other areas of the place. I'm excited to get it all done and see what it looks like, but I'm also enjoying the process of getting it there. My fiance and I are finding out that we work really well together on home improvement projects which is great, because we have a lot of them in our future! So much to do and hopefully move in before the wedding which is now only 7 weeks away! I'll post pics of the before and after bedroom as soon as we are done. Hope everyone had a great fall weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tenant is back in...

I was so surprised last week when the gal I thought was going to be my tenant e-mailed me to tell me she had changed her mind. She absolutely loved the condo when she saw it and was super excited about living somewhere so nice. I was disappointed, but thought oh well, it wasn't meant to be. Then on Monday morning she e-mailed me again and said she had given it a lot of thought and if it were still available, she'd like to rent the place. Yay! I am so happy to have this taken care of. She has sent me a non-refundable deposit and is looking to move the first part of December. This works out really well for us since we are trying to get work done on the new condo and have the wedding coming up in November. Lots to do, so it's nice to have this checked off of my list! I'll keep you posted if she changes her mind again. Fingers crossed that won't be the case! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Renovations are expensive...

We have just purchased the appliances for our kitchen and while they were actually quite a bit less than we were expecting, we have decided that we need to do a lot more in the space to make it work for us. We will have to put new carpet in the bedrooms as what is there is completely trashed, more so than what it looked like before we purchased, it's amazing what furniture can cover up!! This coming weekend we are going to tear out the old carpet and pad and let the place air out for a couple weeks, we've picked out new carpet, but are going to wait to install it until after we are done painting. And back to the kitchen, we have decided that we may as well bite the bullet and make the changes now as it's not going to get any cheaper and it'll be easier to do it before we move in. So, our next several weekends are going to be spent demo-ing out existing stuff in the condo, then working on painting and cleaning. I see a lot of nights and weekends at The Home Depot in my future as well, oh well, at least it's all going to be worth it in the long run, right? Please tell me it will all be worth it! :) Now we're really hoping we get a lot of money as gifts from the wedding, it'll really help out with these ever growing costs!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Darn it~

my renter backed out, she decided that she doesn't want to live so far from work and leave her dog home alone all day. Dang! I was so sure it was going to work out perfectly! Ugh, now I have to get to searching again for a tenant. So not looking forward to this, but I have to do it! I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Hope all is well with everyone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Found a tenant...

I'm super excited to report that I have found a tenant for my condo! My best friend mentioned to a gal she worked with that I was going to be renting my place out and the gal just happened to be looking for somewhere to move, out of the city and into the suburbs. I am very comfortable with the referral from my friend, I know she wouldn't steer me wrong, plus I have run the background and credit check, she has EXCELLENT credit and she is looking for someplace where she can stay for several years, although we'll start out with a 12 month lease. Yay, I'm so happy! I was very reluctant to rent my place out, but I think this is going to work out great! She is in her current lease until Nov. 30th which for us works out well. The new condo needs some work done on it and we aren't planning on moving in for a month or two anyway, so this will give us some much needed time to finish the repairs and renovations. Plus, I am getting more in rent from this gal than I thought I would be able to ask for the place. It's still not quite enough to cover the mortgage, but it's close. So excited! She has already put down her deposit, so it looks like we are set! I'll keep you posted if anything changes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

GRRRR....

Gross! OK, so we got the keys to the new condo and I went there after work to do some cleaning! Sheesh! I know it's not like an apartment and the owner isn't trying to get a damage deposit back, but is it to much to ask that they clean the kitchen sink and scrub the toilets? Man oh man, this place is filthy! It's going to take awhile to get it in shape and I can be comfortable that it is clean. Isn't it common courtesy to at least do some basic cleaning when moving out of a place? I can't imagine that people think it is totally fine to just pack up there stuff and leave without a backward glance to the mess they are leaving behind. OK, must put my rubber gloves on and get back to cleaning! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We have keys...

Yay! This afternoon the Realtors dropped off the keys to the new place. We can't go in until 9:00 tonight, so I'm just going to wait until I am off work tomorrow to head down there. I've got my arsenal of cleaning products ready to go and am looking forward to getting in there and really cleaning the place up. It'll be so easy to get a lot done since it will be empty, no furniture or anything to work around. Oh, I can't wait to get in there tomorrow night and start cleaning! :) Yay! New place in a GREAT location! So excited!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Closing tomorrow...

Wow, this has all gone so quickly. We are closing on the new condo tomorrow!! And, I may have a potential renter already for my current condo. A friend of mine has a gal she works with that is looking for a place in the town I live in and is really interested. Yay! I have been so busy getting the wedding invitations out that I haven't even thought of packing yet. Oh well, good thing we aren't moving right away. We are going to go in to the new place and make some changes before we move in and since we still own this place, we aren't in any hurry to vacate. Besides, my potential renter is locked in to her current lease until Dec. 1. I wish it were maybe Nov. 1, but if it works out, she would be a great tenant! I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New home...

Closing paperwork has all been signed by the fiance down in California and he has Fed Ex'd it back up here to the title company. I've arranged the wire transfer of the closing monies and we should be all set to close on Tuesday! Yay! I'll keep you posted on how things go. Hopefully we can start on Wednesday getting in to the new place and cleaning it out and seeing where we need to start with the first few renovations. Heading out right now, if I get time, I'll post more tonight.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where is August going???

This month seems to be flying by. Maybe it's because we are going to be closing on the new condo on Sept. 1st or maybe it's because as of tomorrow, the wedding is only 3 months away. Yikes! So much to do, so little time! I met with the Realtors about selling my place and for now it's going to make a lot more sense to rent it out and then revisit the idea of selling it in a year or so. This month is going really well though as my spending has been very slim. So far I have had 8 no spend days and although this weekend looks to be a spending one, next week looks like it will be pretty frugal. Since we are getting ready to move, I haven't been doing much grocery shopping, trying to eat through what we have on hand, easier to move if there's less food. Plus, I haven't wanted to buy too much because I'm not sure if we'll have a refrigerator in the new place when we first move in. The one that is in there currently is so disgusting, we aren't going to use it at all, just get rid of it and buy a new one. We're also going to have to buy a new dishwasher and stove as they are in very poor shape as well. I'm OK with holding off on the dishwasher right away, since I live alone most of the time, I don't create a lot of dishes, so hand washing will be fine for now. We were planning on re-doing the kitchen anyway, so the new appliances have been factored in to the budget, but the longer we can hold off on purchasing them, the better I think. I've been saving my survey earnings and will use it for things for the new condo too. So far this month, I have earned $172 from surveys. I'm having a great year with surveys and have been trying every single one that comes my way. Seems to be working as they are coming in more and more frequently. Seems like a good way to spend some extra online time and earn some extra spending cash! ;) Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wow, that was fast...

We made the offer on the condo on Wednesday morning at 10:00, the seller countered and by dinner time we had mutual acceptance! We'll be closing on September 1st. Now we need to figure out what to do about my condo. Do we try to sell it right now in this repressed market, or do we rent it out for 6 months to a year and then try to sell it? Tough decisions ahead. I'm going to meet with our real estate agents this next week and discuss putting mine on the market and see what they think I can get for it, if it's not reasonable, I will rent it out for awhile. I really don't want to be a landlord, but I also don't want to sell my condo for too little. So, even though I know I can't rent it out for quite enough to cover the mortgage and association dues, I think renting may be the way to go, at least for a little while. My fiance can afford the new place on his salary and I can certainly afford my place on mine, so we can swing it for now, which might be the best way to go and hope the market recovers quickly, so we can sell my condo. I don't want the hassle of being a landlord is what it really boils down to. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on this? Is it really not as bad as I am thinking it will be?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lots going on...

The garage sale last weekend was a big success!! I got rid of TONS of stuff and made some money to boot! We had great weather and my step dad did an amazing job with the signs which brought a lot of people in. When we were done we had only 3 small boxes of stuff to take to donation.

It's been REALLY hot here this week. We don't get this kind of heat often and it's tough for us to deal with. It's been in the mid to upper 90's, which may not sound too hot to some of you, but when you aren't use to it or equipped for it, it's unbearable. Very few people around here have AC, myself included. I don't even have a fan, so it's been really hot. I have been closing all of my blinds in hopes of keeping the heat out. Taking cool baths in the evening and drinking lots and lots of water. Haven't felt much like eating since it's been so hot, which is good for the wallet and the waistline! It's suppose to stay like this for at least another week!

Well, we did it! We made an offer this morning on a condo that we love! It's right downtown and we can walk to everything, something we both love and will take full advantage of. It's a great deal and needs minimal work to update it. I really hope we get it, it would make a great first step for us! I'll keep you posted, hopefully we will hear something today or tomorrow about it. I'm sure the owner will counter our offer, but we figured that so we put in a low offer with room to haggle. Keep your fingers crossed! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Clearing stuff out...

I am taking tomorrow off from work and my mom and I are having a garage sale. My parents moved in to their house a little over a year ago and my mom decided it was time to clear stuff out, if they haven't opened the box yet, they probably don't need to keep it. And with me getting married in a few months, I know we will be getting all kinds of new stuff, so I have decided to get rid of a lot of my household goods I have had since college. It feels really good to clean out and go through stuff and purge all kinds of "extra" stuff we have lying around. I am getting rid of lots of kitchen stuff and I know it will be a little tough to get through the next months without some of this stuff, but it'll be great to already have room in the cupboards for the new stuff when we get married. Hopefully it will be a great day and we can get rid of lots of stuff. We have a plan that whatever doesn't sell by Saturday afternoon, we are taking to Salvation Army on Sunday, it's NOT going back in to our houses. ;)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Didn't sleep well last night....

Do you ever have one of those nights where you just can't sleep? And the harder you try to go to sleep, the more it eludes you? I fell asleep fine, but could not stay asleep. I woke up at 2:00am and I think I finally fell back asleep at 5:30, 30 minutes before the alarm went off! Darn it! I hate that! I'm not sure why I couldn't sleep, but all thoughts kept returning to money. We are doing fine financially, but we are still looking for a house and we may have found one over the weekend, we are talking about putting an offer in this week. We're pretty sure we are going to do that and we both feel that this is a great starter place for us as newlyweds, it will give us a little room to grow, as we are hoping to have kids soon, so it will hold us for a few years, when we will need to up size, but it fits in to our budget right now without stressing it. The F will still be traveling back and forth to California for work and since the company won't be paying for it, we will, we didn't want to buy something more expensive yet. We are going to have enough stresses in our lives, we don't want to add money stress to it as well. I think we are making a smart decision on this place, and I hope we get it, but buying a house is such a huge thing, and it is obviously stressing me out! Hoping we find out more about the place today and decide what we are going to do, maybe then I'll be able to get some sleep. Until then, coffee, here I come!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Transferred some more money this morning...

after having a fairly inexpensive weekend, I decided to transfer some more money into the savings account. Only $150, but every bit helps and is getting us closer to that goal of $30,000. We haven't asked my parents for any of the money yet for the wedding, they offered us a set amount of money and will give us some whenever we need it. Up until now, we have been paying for things on our own. I think we are about done paying for our stuff and what is left will be covered by the money they have offered us. So, I guess it's time to start asking for them to pitch in. I hate that, but I know they would feel awful if I didn't let them pay what they are comfortable with, so next time I see them, I will have to bring up the conversation and start getting some of the money from them to pay for stuff.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, we had fabulous weather here and we were able to get out and enjoy a lot of it, hope you did where you are too!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A change in the goal...

The F and I were talking the other night about savings and what we want for a down payment when we find our dream home. He suggested we try to have at least $30,000 down, so I have changed the goal ticker at the top of the page to reflect that amount. But I have a feeling he is much like me when it comes to these kinds of things and we will reach this fairly quickly and increase that goal. I'll keep you posted! It's becoming clear to me that I have a very addictive personality when it comes to stuff like this! Ha! At least it's not an addiction that should be able to get me in trouble! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back pay coming...

I just got a phone call from the F and he is going to be receiving just over $6,000 in back pay that is owed to him. This will be added to our savings at his request. He wants us to work as hard as we can to continue adding to that savings so that we have as big a down payment as possible when we finally find the house of our dreams. I love that he is so practical about this, just like me. I think this is a good sign as to how we both relate to money... :)

What a nice treat to come home to...

I got home from work yesterday to find 2 packages for me. I love getting packages, the anticipation of what is inside, hmmm, what can it be? So, I open them both up and find that they are both products for me to try for the next couple of weeks and then do short surveys on. I can't tell you what they are until I am done, but it'll be fun to try them both out and even better, the short surveys when I am done, are both going to pay well. $25 for one of them and $45 for the other!!! Jackpot! So far I like both of the products, but I won't be able to tell anything until some time has passed. Fun stuff, and just the pick me up I needed after feeling so down yesterday! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just one of those days....

do you ever have one of those days where you just feel down, for no real reason? I'm having one of those today. I wish I could just snap out of it, but I can't and I don't know why! Grrrr! OK, I am going to really try to feel better, not sure what this is about. :(

Sunday, July 12, 2009

An entire weekend with no money spent...

I have just had the best weekend and it didn't cost a dime! I came home from work on Friday and ad the most relaxing evening, I sat on my deck and had a nice glass of wine and read my book. Saturday I slept in and it felt wonderful!!! I never do that, so it was very indulgent! I made cookies for my neighbor for his birthday and delivered those, then back out to the deck with my book. I started my laundry and enjoyed the quiet day of reading in the sun and lounging. Today, I finished my book which was a goal for the weekend, now I can go see the Harry Potter movie next weekend, yay! I've spent the rest of my day relaxing and watching movies, although I did tackle a huge stack of ironing that has been staring at me for a long, long time. Feels like I have a closet full of new clothes now. ;) I went to bed early every night and slept in both days, it was heavenly! I haven't driven anywhere or spent any money. Not all weekends can be like this or life would be extremely boring, but every once in a while it feels great! I hope you have all had a great weekend too! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm a little bit envious...

yesterday I went to my Mom's retirement party where she worked for just over 20 years. They had a lovely reception in her honor and it was so nice to see so many people turn out to wish her well on this new journey. I was amazed to hear so many people say they didn't think they would ever be able to retire as they knew they wouldn't be able to afford it. It got me thinking about my own retirement and how I am doing with it. I know I am nowhere near where I should be in terms of saving and need to get better about it. But I also reminded myself that I do have a pension that I can start drawing when I am 55, that I do not include in my current net worth. I hide this money from myself so it will be a little like finding money in a coat pocket when I don't expect it.

Anyway, I am so happy for my mom and I know she is in a great position to retire and not have money issues for the rest of her life. No wonder she looked so darn happy yesterday! She has worked very hard over the years and planned well and now will reap the benefits of that hard work. It was pure motivation for me to get my own butt in gear and follow in her footsteps. I came in to work this morning and increased my retirement savings by 2%. :) Happy saving everyone!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Update on the goal

So, it looks like I will have no trouble at all reaching my goal of $20,000 by Aug. 31, so I am increasing that goal to $21,000 by that same date. When I chose that first goal, I really thought it was going to be a struggle to reach it, but it proved to be much easier than I thought. If the same is true again, I will continue to increase it. I'll keep you posted on how it is going. Keep checking back to watch the ticker above move along. :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Merging our finances...

The other day my fiance and I went to the bank and opened up a joint checking/savings account. I think, keyword there is think, we have the same style of handling our money, but this will be a real test to see if we do. I know I am more of a saver than he is, but then I am more of a saver than a lot of people, so this comes as no surprise to me. But, I think we are both pretty good about spending within our means and not spending carelessly. Neither one of us carries any debt other than my mortgage for me and a car payment for him. We are still house hunting too, so most of our extra money has been going in to savings for the down payment. We will be keeping our own checking accounts for now and may continue to do so even after we are married. I guess we'll have to see how it goes with our spending between now and the wedding. We plan on using the new account for anything that comes up that is a wedding related expense or anything out of the ordinary. I don't have much to say yet about the account since we just opened it on Monday, but as we start using it and seeing how we both handle money, I'll keep you posted on our progress. Does anyone have any helpful advice on how to handle this new process for us? Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I couldn't help myself...

I transferred a little bit more money into savings today. I rounded down in my checking account to make the balance at an even hundred, so I took the difference and added to my savings account. This brings the total savings balance up to $19,083.72. I still have 2 full months in order to reach my goal of $20,000, me thinks I'm gonna make it. No problem! :) Perhaps I should increase my goal or shorten the amount of time to reach it. Definitely something to think about. What would you do?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Got in a little overtime

We are having an audit at work this week, so we have been busy getting all of the requested paperwork together. Last night I ended up staying until 10:30 working on this stuff, so yesterday was a long 14.5 hour day. This will definitely put me over for hours this week resulting in some overtime pay! Yay! Bet you can't guess what I am going to do with the extra money.... LOL! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Added more to savings...

Today when I got to work I found out what my paycheck will be this Friday, it was more than I thought, yay! So, I added another $127.15 to my savings account. This will get me through the next 2 weeks with $800 in my checking account and no bills to pay. I know this is more than enough to get me through, so I will undoubtedly be able to add more to my savings when the next payroll rolls around, but for now I am just going to leave it as is and will wait until next payday to transfer some more money. This coming Thursday is my 8 year anniversary at my job and will result in a raise, probably smaller than usual this year due to the economy, but every bit helps and this raise will go directly into my savings account as well.

I'm planning on today and tomorrow being no spend days....other than that, not too much going on around here these days. Just looking for any way I can to add money to my savings and get that balance up to over $20,000 by the end of August. At the rate I am going, this should be no problem at all. I have a stack of survey check payments at home that I just need to take to the bank, they add up to another $116, which will also be added to savings when I finally get around to going to the bank. Oh how I love to watch the savings account continue to grow, so much fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Continuing to add to savings...

Nothing new to report, just adding to my savings and trying to reach my goal of having $20,000 by the end of August. I have had the past 4 days off and have been really good about not spending much money. Today I added another $100 to the savings and tomorrow I will know what my paycheck is going to be this Friday, most of this one will go to the mortgage, but all of the other bills are paid, so I will hopefully be able to add more to the savings account then. I have a very mellow week coming up, not much spending going on at all. Hoping to have several no spend days again....

Anyone else trying to put money away in savings? And if so, what are you saving for?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Friday for me, yay!!

so, it has been another no spend day, making that 5 in a row!!! The streak will end tomorrow though, I have to go buy a few groceries, gas for the car and a father's day present for my step dad. Oh well, it was great while it lasted. I'll see next week how many more days I can go without spending. I noticed on my budget that last year I had 16 no spend days in June, this year I only have 8 so far. It's gonna be tough to beat last year, not sure, but you can bet I'm going to try. :) Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Get out and enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No money spent

Another day with no money leaving my wallet! Ah, glorious day! ;) This makes 4 no spend days in a row....think I can go for 5???

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cleaning out the cupboards

So, I was giving it more thought last night about ways to reach our mini goal of having $20,000 in the bank by the end of August. At this same time, I was also looking at the sale fliers for the grocery stores. Then it struck me, why not try to eat up the food that we have in the cupboards before going to buy more, with the exception of course of produce and dairy, everything else, we have plenty of in the cupboard right now. So, it will be our goal over the next 2 and a half months to really clean out the cupboard and go through what is already on hand. I think I am just in the habit of shopping every week and just go through these regular motions without taking stock of what we already have. This will be good for us, not only in that it will save us money, but it will also allow us to eat some stuff that might otherwise have gone bad in the freezer. So far this month we have only spent $21.60 on groceries, I wonder what our total will be at the end of the month now.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

A mini goal

I just decided that I am going to do my best to get that savings ticker up at the top there, up to $20,000 by the end of August. Yikes! That's $1294 I will need to save in the next 2.5 months. Hmmm! Not sure what made me decide to try this, but I'm going to do my best. I think I better get my mind set back into frugal, frugal mode and see what can be done over the next 11 weeks. This means I will need to save almost $120 per week if I am going to make it. I guess this means I have to get serious with my mom about having that garage sale we have been talking about. I'll keep you posted as to how I am progressing. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back from vacation and saving money...

I just returned from a week away, visiting the F and we had a wonderful time. He had to work while I was there, but we made the best of it, and it was just nice for us to be able to see each other every evening, the way normal couples do. Since he is still living in hotels, I had a lot to do even while he was at work, it was great to have a chance to lounge by the pool with a good book. The hotel was across the street from the mall, so on the days when the weather wasn't so good, I headed over there and wandered around. What an eye opener!! Holy moly things are expensive. I don't go to malls very much, so I was very surprised to see how many people are out and about trudging through the mall bogged down with loads of bags, and it got me to thinking, how are they paying for all of that stuff? I then started paying attention to people at the registers in the stores, watching as most pulled out credit cards to pay for things. This made me cringe, hoping that they are planning on paying those bills off in full when they arrive, but guessing that most of them are not. I use to be one of those people and was so happy to know that I am not that way anymore. I love it that when I buy something, I know that I own it from the minute it is put in the bag and I walk out of the store. If I do happen to use my credit card, I know that in less than 30 days, I will own whatever is in that bag. Just that simple thought was such a huge stress reliever. I had some money saved just for spending on vacation, to splurge with, but wouldn't ya know it? I didn't find a single thing that I thought was worth spending my hard earned money on. What a nice thought to come home from vacation with just about the same amount of money that I left with, well actually more since payday was while I was gone also. ;) So, first thing I did this morning when logging in to my bank was transfer some of that money from the checking account into my savings account. Now that was a greater thrill than anything that could have fit in a shopping bag. Heehee! Wedding is 5 months from tomorrow, so adding that money to savings will really help. I hope you all had a wonderful week and weekend! I'm back to work tomorrow, but only for a 4 day week, then I have another 4 day weekend. A girl could get use to this schedule.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hours have been cut back...

but I don't even mind it one little bit. With things being a little slow at work lately, I am scrounging for things to do on some days. I hate it when there isn't anything to do. If I'm not going to be busy at work, I don't want to be there. I would much rather be out enjoying the nice weather we are having currently. So, I have offered to cut my hours back a little bit. My reasons are twofold, one it will be nice for me to have a little time off and two, it will help the company out a little while we are slow. Now you might be thinking, but won't this mean a pay cut?? Yep, it will, but it's only 1 day every two weeks, financially the F and I can afford to do this and I think it will really help my mental outlook. Besides, if everyone offered to cut their hours a little bit, we can all still have jobs when things turn back around and we are back to our usual busy, busy status. I figure it's time to take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy! Life is short, must enjoy what we can!

I'll just take advantage of EVERY survey op that comes my way and I doubt I will feel much of a pinch financially! Plus, let's face it, I am frugal, frugal, frugal! Ha!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a month for surveys...

I have had quite a run on the surveys this month and so far have earned $226!! I admit, I have been trying every survey that has appeared in my inbox and usually I don't have this good of success, but wow, I have been accepted to at least 80% of them. If you're looking to make a little extra money, give it a try. It's a fun way to earn a little extra cash and why not, since I know you are all online just goofing around anyway! ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just don't have it in me I guess

I have noticed that I don't have much to say on here lately and when I do write, my heart is just not in it, so after thinking about it long and hard, I have decided that I don't think I will continue posting anymore. I'll leave the blog up and you can always let me know if there is something you would like me to answer, but for now, I am going to just let it coast for awhile. If inspiration strikes, I'll write something, and if not, I won't. Thanks! Oh, and I will still continue to be stopping by your blogs for regular doses of great financially savvy info, so please keep posting. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sorry, out again, but now I'm back...

Once again I have neglected my blog for too long, and for that I apologize. I went on vacation a few weeks ago and came home with pneumonia!!! Thank goodness for paid sick time! I am feeling much better, but now am busy catching up on work from both vacation time and sick time. Oh well! Makes the time go quickly between visits with the fiance if I am busy. I want to thank all of you who have stuck by me through my vast absences and thanks to those of you who have taken advantage of the survey referral links off to the right. I have been trying to keep up with all of the survey opportunities lately and have been surprised to have already earned an extra $863 so far this year from surveys alone, not to mention all of the great products I have been sent to try out. So fun!

Once I am caught up on my work I will be back, I promise! Hope all is going well for all of you! I'll be checking in on you all soon too! Thanks and happy day to you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Savings strategy

Last night the fiance' and I were talking about saving money for our new house and our life together. It's tough because we live in different states and are traveling back and forth a lot, which starts to take it's toll on the pocketbook. Anyway, we aren't seeing each other for 2 1/2 weeks which I know isn't long, but that will actually save us both a ton of money. We had gotten in to the habit of seeing each other every weekend which, when you are buying plane tickets, really adds up. When we are together on the weekends we like to go out and that of course ends up costing a lot of money too. So, we have decided that we are going to try to get back to the every other weekend plan of seeing each other, which means we should each only need to buy one plane ticket a month instead of two each. Huge savings right there! And when we aren't together on the weekends we obviously won't be spending as much money either as neither one of us goes out much when we aren't together. As I was lying awake last night trying to think of more ways to save money, I decided that I would charge myself a weekend tax every Friday. I set up an automatic transfer of $20 every Friday to go directly into my ING account. I know $20 isn't much, but it will add up quickly, and if I don't have it to spend, it will help me grow my savings without hurting too much. Isn't it so easy to waste $20?? I think this will be good for me because it will give me less money to spend foolishly and will continue to add to my savings for my future. Hey, if $20 is easy, I might up it to $25 and continue increasing it by $5 increments until I start to notice it. Time to tighten the belt and live frugally again. I'm looking forward to it, I love to watch my savings grow, that right there is entertainment to me! :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

House hunting

The fiance' and I have been out house-hunting most of the weekend. Ugh! I really do not like house-hunting at all! I really like my condo, but it is in no way big enough for 2 of us, so we will need a bigger place for sure. We found some really great places, way out of our price range, and then we found some really crappy places within our price range. Guess it's time to put the nose to the grindstone again and get to trimming the fat in our usual spending. Ahh, time for another challenge! I love it! We're not in a big hurry to buy another place because for one, we do have my place which will be fine for awhile longer and two, he's not here all the time, so it is still me living alone most of the time. I just wish we could find something sooner rather than later, I really don't like spending my weekends getting in and out, in and out, in and out of the car! :( Oh well, hopefully we can find something we can be happy living in for years to come.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Huge gains added to savings account

I received a check yesterday for over $9000 from my oil land!! HOLY COW! I didn't really think I would ever see any money from it, I guess I'm a bit of a pessimist. Oh well! I added $9000 of it to my savings and kept a little bit out to spoil myself with! Why not!?! ;) What a great week this is starting out to be. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends and family are so amazing... I am blessed...

Well, the wedding plans are still coming along nicely and we are getting so many things taken care of early AND, even better, we are doing this all on a fairly small budget and so far, we are staying within that budget. We are of course accomplishing this with a lot of help from friends and family. They have all been amazing and are really helping to make this a great day that we will have fond memories of, and won't look back on and feel that we overspent. We have friends who have offered us the use of their timeshare for a week for our honeymoon, so we will be going to Hawaii and won't have to pay for accommodations! Yay! My fiance's parents are giving us miles to buy our plane tickets with, another Yay! One of my bridesmaids is making our cake for us, she has done several dozen wedding cakes for other and they are beautiful. She won't let us pay her for it, so she has offered to make it as her gift to us. We are thrilled! And last but not least, we have another friend who is an officiant and she is going to do the ceremony as her gift to us. Not only are these things saving us a lot of money, they will be things that will make our day so much more special! I only hope that I can do something in return for them that will show them just how much we appreciate all they are doing for us. Any ideas? Thanks!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I've added another countdown to my blog...

Down towards the bottom of the page you will see the countdown until the wedding, just in case you are interested. :) I'm big on checklists and countdowns, so I thought I would add this. Hope everyone is having a great Friday and has an even better weekend! :) Cheers!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Long overdue post....

I'll bet you thought I had abandoned my blog, didn't you?! Sorry for the extended absence, I have no excuse, other than I have just been busy, busy, busy! Working a lot of overtime, planning a wedding and just being too darn tired when I'm not doing those other 2 things. But even worse than that, while not minding my blog, my spending has gotten out of control!! Ugh! I feel like I am bleeding money every time I turn around. With working extra hours, I have taken to eating out more or buying convenience foods when doing my grocery shopping. Planning the wedding is certainly taking it's toll on the finances too. We have secured our venue, caterer, photographer, officiant and DJ so far. And I am hoping to make a final decision on my gown tomorrow. All of which means deposits sent to save the date for services. In the last month I have spent over $3,000 in wedding related expenses. We are almost done with getting things settled for now that will require deposits, so it will be awhile until we are spending more on the wedding, but dang it feels like it's never ending at the moment. And my parents have told me how much they are going to contribute, but I am trying to hold off on taking the money from them so I know that I still have that to work into the budget as we get closer. I am also really pleased with what we have managed to do so far and are staying within or under-budget on most categories, so that will give us more to work with as we get to crunch time.

On top of working and planning the wedding I have been trying to take advantage of every survey opportunity that has come my way lately and so far this year I have managed to earn an extra $365! Not too bad! That is going straight to the savings account to help out with the wedding. I almost have the cake paid for with just my survey earnings!! Not too shabby!

I'll try my best not to let too much time go by before my next post, I promise! In the meantime, I want you to know, I have been reading lots of blogs and keeping up with what is going on in your lives. Please don't write me off yet. :) Happy spring!

Monday, February 9, 2009

2nd detail completed, we think

So, we think we have set a date. Nov. 14th. We have a couple of venues we will be looking at this coming weekend and are hoping to nail it down then. This is hopefully an easy date to be able to find something for as it's after the big wedding season and before holiday parties. :) Wish us luck!!

And today, I had an unexpected expense, but thankfully not too big a deal and I was able to easily cover it. I had to purchase a new battery for my 8 year old car. First time I have had to do it and thankfully it was only about $100. Didn't need to take anything out of the emergency fund or put it on the credit card. Yay! ;)

Other than that, not too much going on here. Once we have the venue set we can get moving on many of the other details. A couple of the sites we are looking at will have their own catering requirements which will make it easier, although maybe not less expensive, to get these things done. I'm really looking forward to shopping for the wedding dress and helping my bridesmaids pick theirs out. I'm letting them each choose a dress that they like and that flatters their figure, my only requirement is that they be black. I'm hoping this will allow them each to pick a dress that they can wear again for something else and they will be comfortable in whatever they choose. Most of the other wedding details I must admit, are not really my cup of tea, so thankfully I have 2 very good friends who are very excited to help with this part. I'll keep you posted on how the details come along... :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1st engagement detail tended to...

We, or I guess I should say he, bought an engagement ring for me. We picked it out from a small, independent jeweler in our hometown. We were both happy to be able to support a small business and that it was in our own community was even better. I can't wait to start wearing the ring. Right now it is being put together, but it will be ready on Friday. It's a beautiful ring with a high quality diamond. I had no idea these things were so expensive or that there was so much that went in to the pricing of a diamond. Sheesh! When I was in San Francisco earlier this month we looked at Tiffany's. I had to do a lot of convincing for him not to buy a ring there, it's ridiculous how much more a ring can cost, just because it came from Tiffany's. Suffice to say, I think he still spent way more than was necessary, but I couldn't convince him otherwise. I guess I should just let it go and be happy that I will be wearing such a gorgeous ring. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Major change in my life...

OK, so my blog is all about change and fellow PF Bloggers, have I got some change to tell you about!! I'm getting married!!! So, things have been going very well with the new beau, obviously and I'm sure some of you are thinking this is moving very quickly, believe me, my family thinks so too! But, we have known each other for 20+ years and at this point, we are engaged, no plans yet on when the wedding will be, probably not until the end of this year or even spring of next year.

So, I think my posts will have more to do with wedding costs and how to cut costs wherever possible. Any tips you all my have would be greatly appreciated! Seriously, greatly appreciated!!! We went ring shopping last weekend, well, we've been shopping for awhile, but we went ring "purchasing" last weekend. Holy cow those things are expensive!! I think women get off easy only having to buy a wedding ring for the groom! :)

Just wanted to share that exciting news with you all and I look forward to planning the wedding and letting you all know how it is going financially speaking. :) Cheers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First 2 months of the year are always expensive...

and it's not because I am paying off credit card bills from Christmas!! I always have the 12 month premium due for my car insurance and my Husky football season ticket renewal both come out of January's expenses. Now, I do have the money put away in savings for both of these, but I always try to challenge myself not to take as much out of my savings to pay both of those bills. If I can, I like to try to pay for them both fully with the money that is sitting in my checking account. Of course this results in finances being a little bit tight for the first 2 months of the year, but what a great feeling once those 2 months are over and I have paid these additional expenses and still have my savings account in tact.

Nothing much else going on, went to San Francisco last weekend to visit my beau, he lives in California and I am in Washington, so it's going to be expensive for awhile until we are living in the same place. But it's still in that new and exciting phase, so neither of us minds too much the extra expense. ;) Ahh, ain't love grand???!!!

Happy day to you all!

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 Wrap-Up and 2009 Goals

Well, a little late in coming, but I finally am back into the swing of things after a very busy holiday season and have put 2008 to rest, financially speaking. I have used my time off to enjoy time with family and friends and to look toward 2009 and what my goals are for the coming year. So, without further adieu, 2008 numbers:

220 No Spend Days!!! I am really excited about this number, I was hoping to at least keep it to 50%, but have managed to surpass that goal and did not spend any money at 60% of the time last year.

$1856.50 earned through surveys! I kind of tapered off on taking surveys towards the end of the year, mostly because I was just too busy with work and my new beau!

Now, for the less exciting numbers;

Groceries: Budgeted $1200, spent $1209.63. I don't think I could have guessed more accurately for this one. I know the grocery category is going to have to increase this coming year for several reasons, mainly being that groceries are just getting more and more expensive all the time.

Gas: Budgeted $1000, spent $749.24. I'm really happy with this and I think a lot of this success can be attributed to gas prices decreasing toward the end of the year, making better decisions when going out to run errands and walking and riding my bike for short trips to the store. Of course the fact that I only have a 12 mile round trip commute to work helps out a lot too!

Electricity: Budgeted $600, spent $276.57. This is due mainly by throwing a blanket on when I am cold, reading instead of watching TV and making an earnest effort to watch the amount of electricity used. Turning off lights when not needed, hanging clothes to dry, etc.

Condo dues: Budgeted $2400, spent $576.03. This is only because I didn't have to start paying dues until October, this year the amount will be dead on.

All other categories were pretty close on as well, nothing was extremely over budget and nothing was way under budget (darn it!).

I have added $9273.33 to my savings account and am getting closer and closer to my goal of having the $20,000 needed to pay my parents back in full for the loan to help me with the down payment on my condo.

As for 2009 goals, they are as follows:

* Add the full contribution to my Roth IRA
* Increase net worth to $90,000
* Increase retirement savings to $17,500
* Pay off loan in full to my parents by Dec. 2009

I haven't fully decided what my budget will look like this year, but I think I will wait until January is over and see how it goes, then take a more serious look at the numbers.

I am going to work again on taking advantage of survey earnings and this year instead of adding them to my savings instead of just depositing them into my checking account and spending it with all other money. I think this will help to see that savings account really grow too.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2009!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Just a quick note to you all, I'm sorry I haven't been around this past month, things have been crazy with an extra workload, a new romance and the holidays as usual making things super busy! I'll be working on gathering all of my 2008 numbers this week and publishing my year end totals and 2009 goals! I hope everyone had a very happy holiday season and is enjoying the start to the new year! I have been working on my goal list and I will fill you all in asap! Happy New Year!!