Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Vacation Update

I am still on vacation from work, but I am back at my apartment now. I returned from my parent's house yesterday. I was planning to stay another day or two, but once I heard the forecast I decided to head back early. I am sure glad I did! They got over 7 inches of snow last I heard. There is also snow where I live resulting in more accidents, so I am glad to be safely home and not having to go anywhere.

On the money front . . . I didn't spend much money while at my parent's. I did go to the mall, but I did not find anything! That saved me from spending money unnecessarily. My parents are very generous when I am home. They paid for my oil change, bought me a few things from Target, and drove me around while I was there. My car sat in the garage most of the time. It was great. They have so much snow there, so I really didn't want to drive on their roads.

I love that gas prices have gone down. It only cost $15 to fill up my tank after my 4 hour drive to my parent's house last Monday. It cost a little more when I got back here yesterday because I also needed a car wash due to all of the salt on my car. (Another reason I am not a fan of living in the upper Midwest.) I also needed lots of groceries after being gone for a week. I was able to limit my spending on groceries to $34. That was good. I stocked up on a few things, so I should be able to spend less next week. My only expenses for the past week have been gas and groceries. The total was around $75 which was within my budget! Yay!
I got some great presents from my family for Christmas. They were all items that I wanted but didn't want to buy myself. Those are the best things to get. I got an angel food cake pan, a purple shirt from The Limited, a sweatshirt with my college logo on it, and a banana tree. My family loved everything I got them as well.

I am still working on getting my 2009 goals figured out. I hope to post them soon. As of right now, I am planning to be boring and stay home tomorrow night. I have a cold, so I don't feel like going out. I am planning to see how I feel tomorrow and decide. Some friends of mine are having people over, so if I do anything, I will go to their place. At least it will be a cheap night if I do something.

I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve and stays safe!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ready for Christmas

I am ready for Christmas! I baked, worked, cleaned, and packed this weekend. There are a few things that I didn't get done which I had hoped to. I decided that's okay though. They didn't have to be done before I head home for the holidays. Now my biggest concern is the weather. It isn't snowing right now, but we got a storm this weekend and more snow on the way for Tuesday. I just want to make it home! I was planning to leave on Tuesday, but now I think I will be leaving tomorrow. I hope it ends up working out for me to leave a day early. If not I will be able to get the other things done that I wasn't able to this weekend.

I didn't spend any money this weekend. 2 no spend days! If I head home tomorrow, I will end up spending planned money. I will need to get gas when I get to my parent's and buy my brother's Christmas present. I don't like my tank to get too low in the winter especially when it's been so cold here and my car will be sitting out at my parent's. I shouldn't spend any other money unless I go shopping. Very tempting . . .

I hope every is ready for Christmas and has safe travels for the holidays.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pre-Holiday Expenses

I went to the store today to pick up a little fruit to get me through the weekend. I only spent about $2. I don't plan to spend any other money this weekend besides filling up my car with gas. This should be minimal as I only need a few gallons. I want to have a full tank when I leave for my parent's either Monday or Tuesday.

I am going to bake some cookies and bars this weekend. I purchased all the supplies for those over the past few weeks, so no more money needs to be spent there. I also have all of my Christmas presents (except for one I can't get yet) and the supplies to wrap them. That's also on my to do list this weekend. I will be picking up my brother's present when I get back home.

My other weekend plans include: making the top of a quilt (for my parent's-not their Christmas present), cleaning, doing laundry, packing, and lots of working! It's going to be a busy weekend. I hope I can get through it all. I am planning to go into work tomorrow and then work from home on Sunday. We are supposed to get more snow sometime Saturday and into Sunday. Sunday will be a good day to stay home and finish up frosting cookies and packing.

Overall, I shouldn't spend more than $30 before Christmas. This is assuming I don't go shopping once I get home. I am thinking about going, but I know I shouldn't spend the money. I can't wait to get home and eat lots of food!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Passed!!!!

I passed my test this morning. I am very excited about this. This means that I can submit my reimbursement through work for $519.95!! This will cover my expenses for signing up for the next part. I have passed two parts and I have two left. I am exhausted.

Now it's time to start getting ready for Christmas. I can't wait to bake.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Exhausted . . .

I am exhausted right now, but I can't sleep. Not good. I have my big test on Wednesday and I am starting to freak out. I am really trying to think positive that I will pass, but I am also trying to prepare myself for failure. I wish I wouldn't have told anyone I was taking this test this week so that if I failed I wouldn't have to tell anyone! Not good! I am taking this afternoon off to study and workout. Since I haven't slept much (not for lack of trying), I might also sneak a nap in for a short bit if I think I might actually be able to sleep. I need to be well rested for tomorrow.

It's freezing here right now. The cold and snow will probably keep me from doing much over the next week. This is good though because I don't want to spend any money and I have a ton to do after I get this test over with. I want to make the top of a quilt for my parent's for Christmas. I also need to make lots of sugar cookies. I will also be doing some work this weekend so that I can't head home on Tuesday and not have to worry about a thing for the next week or so. Last year I left some things until after I got back from my vacation time at Christmas. I thought about it the entire time I was on vacation from work. I decided to just work hard and get it all done before hand this year so that I can really enjoy my vacation.

I shouldn't have to spend too much money on my vacation. I can't wait to see my family, rest up, eat some good food, and relax. I want to make my 2009 goals as well over my vacation. I haven't been home since August, so this will be nice. I have seen my immediate family, but there's still something about seeing them at my parent's versus them coming here for a quick visit.

I need to update my sidebars sometime. I was able to transfer some more money to savings. This brings my total to just over $10,000 in savings. I am very excited about this. I should have everything updated by the start of 2009 with my plan for the new year in place.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Spending

I went to run errands today which means more money spent. I had to go to two grocery stores, but I bought only what was on my list at least place. I am all set for my holiday baking now. I made a roast today which means no cooking for the next few days. I should only have to go to the store once before I head back to my parent's house for the holidays. That trip should be under $10, maybe even under $5.

I also got gas today. I debated about filling up, but I want to make sure that I have a full tank since I have to drive to my test on Wednesday and it's going to be cold here this week. I paid $1.669 a gallon. I was well under budget on my gas.

No spending now until later next week at the earliest I am hoping. I hope to workout again tomorrow (I went this morning), but the weather will determine if I dare go out or not. We might get the edge of a winter storm tonight/tomorrow. Tomorrow through Tuesday will be lots of studying. I have my test on Wednesday morning. I am very nervous. I really need to pass. Work will reimburse if I do, so there is also a lot of money on the line. I am taking Tuesday afternoon off to get some extra study time in.

I will be very busy once this test is over. Then I need to start getting ready for Christmas. I can't wait to start baking. My mom and I split the cookie making duties. I usually make sugar cookies. I have a lot of them to take this year. I also want to start thinking more about my goals for 2009. I have some ideas, but I need to write them down and see how realistic they are.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Was Tagged . . .

I was tagged by Young Black and Prosperous. (I love her blog!)

So, six things about myself . . .

1.) I don't like the cold and snow, but I live in the upper midwest.

2.) I am in the process of becoming a CMA (Certified Management Accountant).

3.) I love reality TV shows.

4.) I very rarely eat out. (This saves me money!)

5.) I love reading 'Newsweek' magazine.

6.) My favorite color is blue.

That was harder than I thought it would be!

I will tag . . .

Forest on Finance and Full o' Debt.

I really enjoy both of these blogs. I just found Full o' Debt, but I really enjoy it. I have enjoyed reading Forest's blog for awhile now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This Week

I can't believe it's already Wednesday! I went to the dentist today for my 6 month cleaning. For the first time in a long time, I don't have any cavities!! I am very excited. I have been trying to floss and rinse a lot more this past year, and I think it might have paid off this time. That will save me some money. I had budgeted to have one filling. I will save this money towards my next visit in case I have cavities next time.

I am very stressed out right now. I have my big test one week from today. I still have a lot I feel like I need to learn. I really need to pass this exam. I will be out $190 if I don't pass. Plus the stress of not passing. What a week it's going to be. I have no plans for the next week except work, working out, studying, and sleeping.

I can't wait until Christmas for a break. I have a week off to spend at home with my family. I will need it. Once this test is over I have Christmas to get ready for. I have my shopping done, but I need to bake and make one present. I also need to send out a few Christmas cards too.

Is anyone else stressed out about the holidays?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Shopping & Gym Membership.

I decided to run out over lunch today and do my Christmas shopping. I was able to get everything except a gift card for my brother that I will get once I get back to my hometown on the 23rd. I came in under budget!!Yay!! I only spent $75 this year due to a change in how my family does Christmas. We have decided that we really don't need anything and limit things to one small item for each person (there are only 4 of us). I got everything on sale. It was all at least 50% off. I love that. I also got something for my aunt who is also my godmother and my two direct reports at work. I like to give them something little each year. I got them each a mug and some hot chocolate. I also bought containers to put some cookies in that I will make the weekend before Christmas. I love the holidays. I enjoy trying to figure out the right gift for each person. I also enjoyed that this year did not cost me nearly what last year did, but I enjoyed shopping just as much and will enjoy giving each person the presents just like I did last year.

I joined the gym on Monday. I worked out Monday and today. I am hoping to go every other day. It feels great to be working out again. I just hope I can get myself to go even when it's freezing outside. I decided to go with one of the 24-hour places because it's the best priced in my area. It's also a brand new location with the corporate offices attached, so it has very nice equipment.

No more spending for me this week! I am hoping to not have to go get groceries other than bananas this weekend. More studying, saving, and working out for me this week and weekend.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday

My family has left, my apartment is put back together, and I am exhausted. My family arrived on Thursday right as I finished cooking. All that was left was for my mom to make gravy and my dad to carve the turkey. Everything turned out great. I was very surprised since I have never made a full Thanksgiving meal all by myself before. They came with lots of extra food that I did not tell them to bring, but that's my family!

We had a great meal, watched a few movies, went a parade, shopped, ate some more, and enjoyed each other's company. I think I enjoyed this Thanksgiving more than in the past because it felt like it was a holiday since we were here instead of at my parent's house. At their house, they have their normal routines that make it feel like any other day. The weather was great. No snow or wind, but a little chilly. It's the end of November though, so that's to be expected.

We went out shopping on Friday. Everyone got at least a few things. My dad and brother went their way, and my mom and I went our own way. My dad and brother went to two motorcycle stores and some sporting good stores. They were able to save 20% off everything at one store (they normally don't have sales). My brother got some clothes he was looking for at 50% off.

My mom and I braved a mall. We drove to one that was further away from my apartment, but it had all of the stores we wanted so there was no driving from mall to mall. My mom got a sweater, two long-sleeved tops, and an iron for $40. That's pretty good in my mind! I finally got a new cell phone after a month of looking and trying to decide. Now I have to deal with a mail in rebate for that. I am not a fan of those. Oh, well though! I also got a phone for my brother. His phone was free since I purchased mine. I love free!! And he loves the new phone, so it worked out very well.

I also bought some workout clothes. They were all on sale. The gym that I am going to join opens on Monday. I am very excited. I am still trying to figure out how to work this into my budget, but I really need to start working out again. I know it will be hard work, but in the end I will end up feeling much better. I have some health problems, and all of my doctors recommend that I workout in order to help my pain levels. My enrollment fee will be waived since I called and got my name down already. I have a few things from when I worked out in the past, but a lot of them are worn out and/or too small now.

My mom brought me a hostess gift this weekend . . . Yahtzee!!! I am very excited. I had no games, and I really wanted one. I love Yahtzee. It reminds me of growing up.

That was my weekend!! I have also enjoyed having a few days off from work. This weekend also made me realize that I am very grateful for everything I have from my family to my clothes to my apartment. I know it may seem like my family spent a lot this weekend, but it was all planned and budgeted for. The total was not a lot since everything purchased was at least 25% off this weekend. Most of it was more than that with some even being 60% off.

As for this next week, I am sure it will be busy. I will start going to the gym, eat leftovers (I sent some back with my family and still have a ton), work, and study. I should not have to go to the grocery store until next weekend. I have no shopping plans since I was just shopping. I really need to study.

It's snowing here today. I don't mind snowy days when I can stay home and curl up under a blanket. I hope everyone had a great holiday like I did.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I bought the last few items that I needed for Thanksgiving. I also got some things so that I won't need to go to the store this weekend or next week. Well, I may have to go pick up some bananas, but that should be it. I have been busy cooking and doing dishes tonight. I still need to clean and do one more round of dishes. I am trying to do as much as I can tonight so that I don't have to do too much tomorrow.

I really hope that I don't spend very much and stay within budget on Friday. I can't wait for tomorrow to look at the ads. I love looking at them even if I am not planning to go and buy anything in them. I will post this weekend and let you all know how I did.

My family leaves on Saturday, so the rest of the weekend will be spent doing a little picking up after they leave and studying. I will also be enjoying my leftovers!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Spend Weekend

I spent no money this weekend!! I stayed in all day Saturday and Sunday, so that would be why. I had a lot to get done and it was cold here so I didn't mind. I have a very busy week between work and getting ready for Thanksgiving. I spent no money today either. I am hoping to do the same tomorrow. Wednesday I have to pick up a few things for Thanksgiving, but hopefully I won't sped any more than $10. On Friday I really need to limit myself. There isn't anything I really need though, so I should be okay.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Friday

I am so glad it's Friday even though I have to do some stuff for work this weekend. The nice part is that I have full access from home, so I will be able to work from the comfort of my couch.

Today after work I went to the mall to look at a few things. I checked out cell phones. I have narrowed my decision slightly. I am going to wait until next week to do anything in hopes of them having some after Thanksgiving sales. I ended up buying a sweater. I had planned to look next weekend, but I found one I really liked today and it was 25% off. No shopping for me next weekend now!

Then it was off to the grocery store to get everything for Thanksgiving since I am having my family here this year for the first time ever. I think I did pretty good. I spent $45.02. I had planned for $45. This includes my food for today through Wednesday as well. Then next weekend will be lots of leftovers for me!

Yesterday . . . my toaster oven broke. I emailed the company since it's not even a year old, but no luck so far. I use it every morining for breakfast, so now I have had to change my morning routine. So, my no spending next weekend may go out the window if this doesn't get fixed and there is a really good sale on one.

Cell phone side note . . . I do not have a landline, so this is my only phone. I have been researching and price watching in order to get the best deal on a high quality cell phone. For me, this is a very important decision since I will have this phone for at least two years. I hope to limit my spending on this phone, but I also want somethings that is high quality.

This weekend . . . I hope to not spend any additional money. More studying this weekend! I also need to start cleaning and getting ready for my family next week. And of course work!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Busy Week

This has been a very busy week for me at work. Next week will be as well. This means no time to spend money though, so that's great. I am planning to go grocery shopping this weekend for Thanksgiving. I am really hoping to keep my spending under $45. I normally spend about $25 each week on groceries, so this is an increase of $20. I have a list which I priced out with the best ad this week, so I should be able to do it.

I might go look at cell phones this weekend if I get the itch to shop. I will not be buying a new phone this weekend though. I want to wait until after Thanksgiving to see if they have any good deals then. I would like to get an idea of which phones I like prior to Thanksgiving weekend.

I can't wait for the holidays so that I have a long weekend since mine will be cut short this weekend due to having to work. I also need to fit in lots of studying this weekend. It will be a busy one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Updates and Links

I just updated my sidebars. My travel fund decreased slightly, but not due to use. I took $150 out of this fund to put towards making an extra payment on my car loan. I am really trying to focus on paying this loan off. I have only had the loan for one year, but I want it paid off sooner rather than later. My overall savings also increased.

I also updated my ING Orange Savings link. If anyone doesn't already have an ING account and would like to start saving with them, please use a link on the right. If you deposit a minimum of $250 for your initial deposit, you will a $25 bonus by using the link. I will also get $10, so it's a great deal for both of us.

Decisions, Decisions

I am eligible for a new cell phone due to my contract being up. I really like the phone I currently have, but the battery doesn't last as long as it used to. I am having a hard time deciding what to do. I want a new phone so that I have a good battery, but I have no idea which one to pick. There are just too many options. It also seems like phones have gotten more expensive with all of the different choices out there now. Any suggestions on how to pick a new phone?

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Week

I am so glad it's Friday! It's cold and windy here today. I ran a few errands after work so that I can stay home all weekend. I went to Trader Joe's and Walmart. I spent about $40 total, so that's not too bad. I shouldn't have any other shopping trips until one week from Sunday when I go buy everything for Thanksgiving. That will be a spendier trip. I do have $10 in gift certificates to use at my regular grocery store, so I am planning to go there.

I still have not gotten gas, so sometime next week I will have to do that. I hope to not spend any money other than on groceries until Thanksgiving. Well, groceries and my normal bills.

My plans for the weekend are to stay home and study. I really need to get a lot done this weekend. I also want to get some things done around my apartment so that I don't have to do so much next weekend because I also may need to work some next weekend due to the short holiday week after that. Why do holidays always end up during the busiest times at work?

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Have Heat!!!

I love when simple things in life make you happy. A very nice man from the heating company came late yesterday and fixed my furnace. Apparently my apartment complex has a wasp problem (news to me) and they get into the HVAC unit through a vent. They get into the motor and it breaks. It is very nice to be warm again. It came just in time too because we have had rain/snow all day today. It's not a very nice day here.

I ended up going nowhere and spending no money this weekend. It was great. The last time I spent any money was on Friday. Even then I only spent $1.79 on groceries due to having coupons. I am hoping to spend very little this week. I will need gas and a few more groceries, but that should be it.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Cold

Well, they still don't have the heat fixed in my apartment. It was 62 in here when I woke up this morning. The maintenance man who came on Saturday was not able to fix the furnace. He said that the apartment office would need to have a heating specialist come in to look at it. When I called to talk to the office on Saturday after he left, they told that they would not have someone come in until Monday. I asked what they would do in the meantime then since it was going to be a cold weekend. They said nothing. I left a message this morning for the manager stating that the furnace needs to be fixed right away this morning and that I want to speak with her today about this situation. I feel that they should have had someone out here on Saturday to take care of this. We'll see how today goes. I hope I have heat for tonight.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Burrrrrr . . .

It's cold in my apartment!! I turned my HVAC unit on for the first time since I turned off the A/C this fall. It's really loud and rattling. I called my apartment management. They have the maintenance people coming out to look at it soon. Even the person from the office who came to listen to it said that it shouldn't sound like that. I hope they come soon because it's going to be cold again tonight. Good thing I have a lot of blankets!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Goal

My goals for this weekend . . .

1.) Only spend money on gas and groceries. There should be nothing else I need this weekend.
2.) Study lots!!!!

There is currently snow on the ground outside. I am not sure if I am ready for winter, but it's here whether I like it or not. I might have to turn my heat on this weekend since it's going to get cold and stay there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted . . .

I joined the millions of people in America today and voted. I went mid-morning and didn't even have to wait in line. It was great.

On another note, I got my first ever flu shot today. My arm is a little sore. It was free since I have my health insurance through my employer. They did it on-sight this morning. What a busy day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October Review . . . Thinking about November

I can't believe it's November 1st already. My net worth increased in October, but not by as much as it should have. My net worth is currently at $7,562. That's increase of about $784 over last month. Considering that this was an extra payment month for that's not a very good increase. My 401k took a good sized hit this month. That hurt.

I spent more money than I wanted to in October, but it was mainly due to my certification exam. I registered to take one of the parts, so that cost $190. I also ordered additional study materials for this section. I am hoping to take this part of the exam prior to Christmas, but I have until the end of February is something happens and am not take to take it as planned. Once I schedule a date though, no going back. I am hoping to really increase my studying time starting this weekend.

I was under budget in all categories, so that was great. I hope I can manage that in November as well with Thanksgiving in there. My family is coming to visit me for Thanksgiving, so I increased my food budget for the month to account for this. I have a little bit set aside for shopping that weekend, but not much. I really don't need anything, but I am sure I will find something that I want.

As far as goals go for November, I am hoping to stay under budget in each category as mentioned above. I would also like to limit spending as much as possible to only items I think I really need. I am hoping to make a large extra payment on my car in December. I need to save as much as I can now to make that happen. I also need to study lots in November. This should promote savings.

My mom is coming to town today, so I am meeting her at the mall. I hope to spend no more than $50 this weekend for everything. I have a full tank of gas so that helps! My mom said that she would treat me to lunch out today. We usually split a meal which helps save money. She is looking for some dress pants, so I will be concentrated on helping her find clothes which will limit my looking at things I don't need. I am hoping to finally find a scarf today. It's going to start getting cold again next week.

I will let you know how my spending goes this weekend. Lets hope I keep it under control!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Grocery Store

I went to pick a few groceries today because the store closest to my house had a number of things on sale that I needed or will need in the next week or two. The place was a zoo!! It was crazy. And to top it off, they were out of some of the items on my list!! I am never going back on a Monday after work again. People know a good sale when they see one I guess.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I updated my sidebars. All of my funds have increased expect for the house down payment fund. I was planning to start contributing to this, but my plans changed. I decided to work aggressively to pay off my car. I am hoping to have it paid off two years from now. After that I will focus on saving for a house.

I have money saved for a trip, but I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. At least I have the money if I decide to!

I picked up a few groceries today and got gas. It was under $25 for three quarters of a tank!! How exciting. I am not planning to go anywhere tomorrow because it's going to be cold and windy here with a change of flurries. That means no more spending this weekend for me. I will have to get a few more groceries sometime this week because I only bought produce today. I still have $13 in my food budget for this week, so that's fine. I hope they have some good deals in the ads tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Glad It's Friday

What a week this was!! I am exhausted after a very busy week at work. I have to decide this weekend if I am going to take another part of my certification exam prior to the end of the year. I want to, but I haven't been studying as much as I need to. I am hoping to see how the studying goes this weekend and go from there. Any thoughts on how to get myself to study even after a long day at work?

I am hoping to not spend very much this weekend. I need some groceries. I hope to keep my non-grocery spending to less than $20. I also should get gas this weekend. I heard some places here are down to $2.29. How great is that! A year or two ago I would have been complaining about that price. Now I am glad we're that low ago. I am curious to see how long it will continue to drop.

The weather is getting colder here. I am still waiting to turn my heat on. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to wait. I think I can for sure make it until Sunday. I hope I can go even longer than that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I just wanted to say thanks to Always the Planner for mentioning me on her blog.

For those of you who haven't, check her blog out sometime. I really enjoy reading it. Click here to check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

It's been awhile since I have posted again. I always mean to, but sometimes the days are over before you know it. The weather has cooled off here. I am really trying to not turn my heat on. I regret that decision some mornings when I don't want to get out of bed. Last year I was able to hold off until almost Thanksgiving. I don't think I will be so lucky this year. My apartment maintenance people are coming to do energy audits on each apartment next week. They will be cleaning the refrigerator coils and HVAC filters. I think I am going to leave a note asking if we could get programmable thermostats installed. It's worth a shot to see what they will say.

I asked this week about my equity adjustment at work. My boss said it is still planned. I am curious to see how much it will be. It should be in place sometime
in November. These things always take a long time to go through at my workplace. This will be nice because it will offset the cost of my health insurance premiums which start in my January checks.

I have been doing pretty good at not spending extra money. I am going to do some meal planning this weekend and make a grocery list based on that. I want to start grocery shopping less often, so meal planning would really help me out in that area.

I checked my 401k balance the other day. It was painful. I am just going to forget about it for awhile. Or try to!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I have been meaning to post for almost a week now, but I just haven't gotten a chance. I am trying really hard not to watch too much about the economy or worry about my retirement money. The biggest reason I worry is because I want to be paying extra on my car to get it paid off, but I am not sure if that's a great idea right now. I feel like I should be putting all of my extra money into savings for the time being. I am planning to put it all in savings and make larger extra payments every few months. I think I will have enough set aside to pay around $1,500 extra in December.

I am not sure how I will do at meeting my net worth goals over the next few months. I hope things will turn around so that I can meet, or exceed, them.

For October my goals are simple . . . Study, Save, and Sleep! I have been exhausted lately, so more sleep is in my plans. I need to really work on my food budget. I can't afford to go over this month with the holidays coming up. I am hoping to go under if anything since I am hosting Thanksgiving next month, so I will need some extra for that. Due to my family traveling 250 miles, they are somewhat limited as to what they can bring. They will be supplying some things which helps.

I also need to work on my budget this month. I need to find somewhere to move money from to put towards extra doctor bills. I am not sure where this is going to come from yet.

When I had my performance review at work back in June, I was told that I would probably be getting an equity adjustment at the very end of October when I hit my one year mark in my current position. I feel this is warranted since I am making less than the other people in the same position as me in my department. With things going the way they are in the economy though, I am not sure if I will be getting this. Is it right to ask about this? Or should I wait until they bring it up? I would love to hear what you think!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Goal Review

My September goals . . .

1.) Increase net worth by $500. I believe I met this goal. My rough calculations show that I did. I will know for sure tomorrow though.

2.) Limit fun/extra/personal spending to $50. This includes any clothes. I did not succeed at this goal. I went over due to buying a pair of jeans and some dress pants. They were a great deal though. I went over by $14.

3.) Save $250 towards house down payment. This will be my first month of trying to set aside month specifically for a house down payment, so we will see how it goes. I did save $250. However, I think my savings strategy has to change. A house is just not in the plans right now. I am still going to save this amount each month, but for other purposes.

4.) Buy no personal hygiene or apartment related items. I have so much shampoo, toilet paper, dish soap, etc that I should not be buying anything like this! I did great on this one. I did not buy anything in this category.

5.) Study for career related exam at least 4 times each week. I have been putting this off. It's something that I really want to do, but take a lot of times and dedication which I have not been very good at lately. I was not successful at this one. I studied, but not as much as I would have liked. I hope that I can do better in October.

6.) Exercise at least 4 times per week. My definition of exercise currently is anything that gets me up and moving. I can't wait for my new yoga DVD to get here to try that. I also go for walks which I count. The weather is going to cool down at the end of the week and I can't wait. I love fall. I didn't manage the 4 times per week, but I did get in 3. So, not great, but better than nothing!!

Overall, I think that I did okay. I am hoping to post my October goals tomorrow. I need to revise my budget due to a few changes. My doctor appointment line item needs to be increased. This will result in taking some funds from elsewhere.

I hope the economy stabilizes soon. I hate hearing about how the markets do from day to day. It's a good thing I have a long time until retirement.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lunch with an Old Friend

I went out to lunch today with a good friend from college. He was in town visiting a cousin. We went to PF Chang's and he treated me to lunch. How very nice of him!! It was a great lunch. It's one of the few places where I can eat with food allergies and not worry too much. They have a specific gluten free menu as well as knowledgeable staff.

As long as we were at the mall, I looked for a new scarf. No luck though. All of the ones I liked were way out of my budget. Not too surprising. My friend was looking for some jeans. He ended up finding some at a store where I had a coupon. He saved about $23, so that was good.

I took him to Trader Joe's while I did my monthly shopping there. He has never been there since there isn't one where he lives. I talk about it all of time though, so he wanted to check it out. I bought him some salsa from there since he brought some for me from a place I loved in college that I can't get where I currently live. I spent $29.99 including what I purchased for him. I have $40 budgeted for food for this weekend since I was making my monthly TJ trip. I did not get any fruit at TJ, so I will go to the store near my apartment tomorrow to get some for the week. I have $10 left for this, so I could be able to stay within budget.

I also need to get gas tomorrow. It's been three weeks since I got gas!!

As for the week ahead . . . I have to pay rent this week. That's never fun. I am seeing a new doctor this week. I am not sure how much this will end up costing me. She is in-network, but I don't know if it will be a copay or my deductible ($300) and then 20%. I sure hope it's a copay!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Weekend

I did pretty good with my spending this weekend. I only spent money on groceries (about $24). However, I am not sure that I have enough to get me through the week. I am hoping that I am wrong about this. We will see as the week goes on. I went to Super Target for my grocery shopping this weekend. They tend to have better prices on most things where I live. The only problem is that the product is hit and miss. This weekend it was pretty good, but there wasn't a lot of it left on the shelves.

Next weekend will be my monthly trip to Trader Joe's. This will increase my food spending for next weekend to around $40. I am hoping their prices haven't gone up too much in the past month.

One exciting thing this weekend was that I got a library card!! I have lived in this area for a little over three years now. I have only been to the library once so far until this weekend. I finally went and got a library card while I was there. I checked out two books about the GMAT. Even though they are available through the library I think I will end up purchasing one so that I can make notes in it and use the online features that I number of them offer. I thought this would be a good way to see which one I liked best.

The rest of my weekend wasn't too eventful. I cleaned, cooked, and studied for my professional certification exam. I need to get back into the habit of studying a lot more than I currently am. The library was a great place to study this weekend. I am hoping to go there most weekends to study. It's also a nice change of scenery.

I am not planning on spending any money until next weekend. I am really trying not to spend any during the week. Next weekend will be Trader Joe's, regular grocery store or Super Target, and gas. I haven't gotten gas for a few weeks now, so that's great. I have a friend coming into town, so we are meeting up for lunch one day this weekend. That shouldn't cost me more than $8. I never go out to eat anymore, so I don't feel too guilty about this. I also have the cash to cover this, so I am okay with it.

Have a great week!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Food Budget

I think I may need to increase my food budget. I have a restricted diet due to food allergies. This causes me to eat mainly non-processed foods. A lot of the foods I eat have been increasing in price. In order to offset this, I have been eating the same 10 food items each week. It's not very exciting and it's getting old. I think I need to increase my budget in order to due a larger variety of foods as well as eat a littler healthier. I have also been buying less fruits than I should be. We will see how much more I spend this weekend when i try to buy a larger variety of food!

Have a great Friday tomorrow!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shopping & Future Plans

Well, I went shopping this morning. This means that I will not meet one of my goals. My goal was to limit my spending to under $50 for September for things like extras and clothes. I spent $59.25 today. I am okay with not meeting this goal. I got a great deal on the clothes I bought. I bought a pair of black dress pants and some nice jeans which I can wear on casual days at work. The store had a buy one get one half off deal. Plus I had a coupon for $30 off a purchase over $75. The original total was $119, but with all of my coupons, I only spent $59.25. I needed new pants due to losing some weight over the last six months. I only have two pairs of dress pants which fit. I am hoping to not spend any money on clothes for a month or two now.

Other spending this month . . . I haven't spent any money this month until today on anything other than my normal bills, groceries, and my professional association dues.

My future . . . I just found out that a state university is going to begin offering their MBA program at an off-campus location close to where I live. The school campus is about 1.5 hours from me, but the off-campus location is within 15 minutes!! I am seriously considering starting to study for the GMAT and taking it to see how well I do. If I decide to do this, I would apply to start school next fall. My work reimburses up to $5,000 per calendar year for tuition and books. Based on my calculations I would end up spending about $6,000-6,500 out of my pocket on tuition and books. I need to calculate the total cost including the GMAT and other things which will come up like application costs. This would require me to completely rework my financial plans for the next few years. I would also have to put off buying a house longer than I would like.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Survey Money

I have been doing online surveys since the end of April through two different companies. I have earned about $60 from one company so far. I have no earned enough points to cash out anything from the other company. I feel like a number of bloggers lately have been cashing out a lot of survey money!! Why am I not getting surveys worth high points/dollars and/or that may surveys!?!?

If anyone would like a referral link to one of the companies I use, just let me know!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend Spending

I feel pretty good about my spending this weekend. I only bought groceries and put gas in my car. I tend to do my grocery shopping each Sunday. I also get gas every other Sunday assuming I am not driving more than normal. I fill up every week if I need to.

I looked through all of the area grocery ads this morning before I deciding where to go. A supermarket about 8 miles from me (one I have never been to) had great meat prices this week. I was completely out of all meat. I have been refusing to buy any with the high prices. I bought three pounds of hamburger and two pork roasts. The majority of my grocery bill this week was spent on meat. I might even go back on Saturday before the ad expires and get some more hamburger. I saved about $1.20 a pound, so it's worth it. This will last me a few months at least. I put almost all of it right into my freezer.

I also got gas on my way home from the grocery store. Gas was 10 cents cheaper in this area than by my apartment. Any savings helps!!!

I didn't spend any money this week other than paying two bills. I had to pay my internet bill and renew my professional association dues for the year. I am very pleased with myself this week. This week should help me achieve my monthly goals . . . at least some of them.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Results and September Goals

I just calculated my August net worth and it increased!! That's always a good thing. My current net worth is $6,071.42. I am very happy about this. I started the year with a negative net worth. My goal is to reach $7,500 by the end of December. If I work hard, I may be able to reach this by the end of November.

I did pretty well overall with my August spending. I came in under budget in each of my categories. I even ordered a yoga DVD and still managed to not go over. I have decided that I need do something to help me relax. I would love to take yoga classes, but they are not in my budget currently. I found a DVD that sounds great online for $15.

My September goals . . .
1.) Increase net worth by $500.
2.) Limit fun/extra/personal spending to $50. This includes any clothes.
3.) Save $250 towards house down payment. This will be my first month of trying to set aside month specifically for a house down payment, so we will see how it goes.
4.) Buy no personal hygiene or apartment related items. I have so much shampoo, toilet paper, dish soap, etc that I should not be buying anything like this!
5.) Study for career related exam at least 4 times each week. I have been putting this off. It's something that I really want to do, but take a lot of times and dedication which I have not been very good at lately.
6.) Exercise at least 4 times per week. My definition of exercise currently is anything that gets me up and moving. I can't wait for my new yoga DVD to get here to try that. I also go for walks which I count. The weather is going to cool down at the end of the week and I can't wait. I love fall.

I will try these 6 for this month and see how they go. I hope this holds me more accountable and helps me achieve each of them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thinking Ahead

I did a lot of driving this weekend (780 miles), most of which was by myself. This allowed a lot of time for me to think about things. I went to my parent's house on Thursday. On Friday I drove my grandma back to the town where she lives from the hospital where my parent's live. Then back to my parent's on Saturday and back to my home on Sunday. It was a long weekend. I am exhausted this week!

Here are some of the thoughts that I had about things going on in my life.

I really want a house. Being at my parent's solidified how much I enjoy having a yard, a grill, and no neighbors running down the hall. I am going to try to put about $250 of my savings each month towards a down payment for a home. It will take me awhile to get enough saved, but it's a lot more than I am currently saving.

I have also decided that I am okay with buying a house prior to having my car paid off if I was able to find a home and get a mortgage that fits my budget and down payment that is saved at that time.

I am hoping to start posting monthly goals. I think that this would help me stick to what I want to achieve each month. Then it wouldn't just something that only I know. I am also going to start posting my net worth.

I need to really think about each and every purchase. I want to save as much as possible. I feel like I have cut most unnecessary spending, but I am hoping to find more ways to save. I called my cable company last month and they lowered my internet bill by 20% each month. So, there is one way that I found to save! I am trying to avoid driving unless I really need something. I have a number of books that I would like to read, so this will help me stay home. I also tend to stay home more once winter comes because I don't like going out if the roads are snowy or icy.

I will have to really think about what I want my goals for September to be. I have a week to figure them out.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Unplanned Trip

I am heading home for an unplanned trip tomorrow morning. My Grandma is very sick and in the hospital, so I will be heading back to visit her. I keep extra funds in my gas budget at all times for things like this. I will be driving, so I will be able to use that money without it ruining my entire budget. I am fortunate that I am able to drive since flying is so expensive now. I shouldn't spend too much money this weekend since I will be staying with my parents (and eating their food).

Have a good weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Weekend

I didn't buy anything except groceries this weekend!! I am very proud of myself for this. I have to admit that I did go to the mall this weekend, but I just window shopped. As much as I felt like I wanted to buy something before I left my apartment, I didn't feel the urge when I got there. I almost felt guilty walking into a store and thinking about buying anything. It makes me feel a little proud of myself. I hope I can keep this up. I really want to save money!

I am struggling to decide if I should save for a house down payment for pay my car off. I have always thought that I would want to pay my car off before I bought a house, but now I am not so sure. I am getting frustrated with apartment life, so that's contributing to the question at hand.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 16, 2008


It's still early on Saturday morning, and I am itching to shop. This is not good!! I am really trying to save money and not spend it. Some days you just want to go spend some though! I am thinking about going to the mall this afternoon if I still feel this way. I am hoping that the feeling will go away. I really want to save as much as I can so that I can build up my emergency fund, travel fund, and house down payments fund as quickly as possible.

I am getting sick of living in an apartment, but I don't have much choice right now. I don't have the money for a down payment or the continued upkeep on a house if I did buy one. With all of the changes to the lending industry, I think I might have to save longer than I was initially planning for a down payment.

Some times it just seems like even though you're saving, it's never enough. I really don't like those days.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ING Account

I just opened an ING savings account. I am very excited about this. I used the referral link so that I got a $25 bonus. I am going to use this account to track the money that I have to either pay off my car loan early and/or use for a house down payment. I am hoping this will be an incentive to save even more.

I added a link on the side for a referral bonus. If you open an account with $250 or more, you will get an additional $25 by using this link. I will also get a $10 referral bonus. I only posted one link as I am still learning how to do things like this. I will post more if anyone ever uses this one!! It seems like most people out there already have an ING account.

Have a great rest of the week! (I wish it was Friday!!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I went to the eye doctor today for a regular eye exam and a contact exam. I have vision insurance through work, and it was still expensive!! It's been over two years since I have been to the eye doctor, so I decided I better go. I was debating between getting contacts or new glasses. I can only get one per year with my insurance. I ended up going with the glasses since my contact prescription didn't change, and I have a few boxes left. (I decided to get an exam even though I had some because I have been getting headaches and I wasn't sure if it was due to needed a different strength.)

The cost. I had a $15 copay. The frames were fully covered. The lenses were $54. I added anti-reflective and scratch coating which was $61. The total was around $133 after tax. I pay about $45 a year for my vision insurance premiums. I really debated about getting vision insurance. I priced out glasses elsewhere and decided that the insurance really did help me save money.

I also stopped by Hallmark when I was out today. I had a $5 rewards certificate. I needed some birthday and congratulations cards. I was able to get 5 cards and only spend $0.29 since I had the certificate. I am very excited about this!!

Side note - Gas prices have been decreasing here. I hope this trend continues.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Long Weekend

I am currently on "vacation". I decided to take Thursday and Friday off from work to head home to visit my family. I am hoping for a relaxing weekend.

I headed to my parents after work today (a 4 hour drive) and noticed that gas prices decreased more and more the further I got from where I live. I hope they stay like this (or go down more) so that I can fill up for less than I was expecting before I head back on Sunday.

On Thursday we are planning to go to a resort at an area lake for two nights. My parents have this week off and were planning to go somewhere local for a mini-vacation. It has now turned into a family vacation. It's been a number of years since we've done something together other than going to a relatives house out of town for one reason or another. We will be enjoying a nice meal out and maybe going bowling at night.

On Friday my mom and I are going to a spa for an hour or two. (I decided to treat myself. I have been stressed lately and really need to relax.) My dad and brother will be golfing. We will also hang out on the beach at the lake and probably the hot tub at the resort.

Saturday my mom and I are planning on going to some quilt stores and little shops in the area on our way home. My dad and brother said they are not interested in this. (Not surprising.)

I am hoping that I will be able to eat some good grilled food while I am here this weekend. I can't have a grill at my apartment, so I love coming home in the summer time.

Financially this weekend shouldn't be too bad. The biggest expense will be gas. The massage is not in my normal budget, but I really want it. I have to treat myself every now and then. My parents are paying for the room and most meals. (How nice of them!!!)

Have a great rest of the week.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This Weekend

It sounds like it's going to be a gorgeous weekend here after another storm filled week. I really wish the severe weather was done for awhile. I have a few things I am hoping to do this weekend, so money will be spent. It is all budgeted for though which is great.

1) Dinner with my mom. She is in town for the weekend, so I will be seeing her tonight for dinner. It's nice to see her even if it's only for a short time since we don't live in the same state.

2) Black sweatpants. I have been wanting another pair of sweats for awhile now. I love sweats!!! I wasn't planning to buy these until the fall (they are in my clothing budget for Sept), but I have a coupon and a gift card. I have a hard time finding clothes that I like and/or fit, so I decided to just get them now. As long as I am going out to see my mom later, I figure it works out great since it's not an extra trip.

3) Groceries. I am hoping not to buy too much. I will make my list prior to going. I have some leftovers from yesterday, but I need fruits and veggies for the week. I also may stop at a specialty store if there's time later when I see my mom. This would eliminate a trip there in a few weeks, but I don't know it will work out today.

4) Gas. This one may hurt. gas prices inched up here again yesterday. I was hoping they wouldn't since I am waiting until after I see my mom to get gas. I put everything on my credit card and pay it off twice a month. Right now I am getting 5% cashback on gas, so that helps with these high prices.

5) Other. I have a few other coupons for stores I love. I am hoping that I won't be tempted to buy anything, but I do have about $35 extra budgeted in July just in case I find something that I want. Since I have a hard time finding clothes that fit me, I usually go to the mall and come home with nothing. I have a coupon for a bookstore though. That could be dangerous!! I also need another pair of dress pants, but I am hoping to wait until September to buy these. They will be replacing a pair that are not looking so great. I will be waiting until I get more coupons for my favorite stores and then I will head to the mall to search for a pair.

I hope everyone has a safe and great weekend.

PS - I did really well 4th of July weekend with my spending. I went out with friends and only spent $5. I bought groceries, but kept it within my weekly budget.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Holiday Weekend

I am so glad that it's a holiday weekend. I am looking forward to having tomorrow off and not having to use a vacation day. I am hoping to have a quiet weekend to get a few things done that I have been putting off for awhile now. This should help me resist the urge to spend any money that I don't need to. I bought groceries today after work so I should be set for the next week. I spent $25 and came home with one bag. That's never a good sign!

With the start of the new month comes my final numbers for the last month. June was not a good month for my net worth. While it did increase, it was a much smaller increase than in the past. This was due to my 401k not doing so hot with the way the market was over the past month. I was able to stay within my budget in each of my categories. I put a little extra into my car payoff fund since I didn't use all of my spending money. I hope that I can continue to control my spending and save! I also hope that my 401k turns around soon.

Looking ahead . . . I should be able to save in July. I don't have anything big planned. My mom is in town for a meeting one weekend, so I will be driving to see her and go out to dinner. I need to save up for August. I am planning to go home to visit my family. I always end up spending more than planned when I go home.

I hope everyone has a good holiday weekend!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Always Something . . .

It seems like there is always something that comes up. First, it was the hail damage to my car. I thought that was all taken care of. I paid my deductible and got my car back looking like new. Now today I checked my credit card statement only to find out the my insurance company did not pay my entire rental car bill. Of course, being Sunday, the people at the rental car place and the insurance agency are not able to help, and I have to call back on Monday. It's not like my Monday was not busy enough already!!

I feel like grocery prices are really impacting my budget. For medical reasons, I have to follow a special diet. This means that I can't always just buy what's on sale at the store each week and make it work in order to save money. I make a trip once a month to Trader Joe's to get certain items that are approved for my diet that I can only get there. I then shop at a lower end grocery store, Walmart, and Target the rest of the month. I have noticed an increase in price in a number of my basic food items I buy each month. I will either have to adjust my budget or adjust what I am eating.

I had two of my four cavities filled at the dentist this week. I have the others scheduled for a few weeks from now. It is so expensive to get cavities filled even when you have dental insurance. I brush multiple times a day, floss 4 times a week, and use mouthwash everyday. I guess I better get to flossing more or something. Good thing I have money set aside in savings for medical/dental bills. It still hurts though!!

I feel like I need to cut back somewhere to make up for all of these things, but I don't know where I can cut. I really try not to spend money unless I have to. I did rent two movies on Friday night from Redbox. I used a code though, so I only paid $1.07 total. I think I deserved that since work and finances are stressing me out lately.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Budget

As promised here is a look at my current budget (which includes my merit increase) and the details behind it.

Category Amount Notes
Rent $1,080.00 **For my area, this is normal since I live alone. I wish it was lower!
Student Loans 90.56
Car Loan 368.50
Extra on Car Pmt 35.00 **I take any extra from other categories to apply here each month.
Insurance 68.12 **Car insurance and renter's insurance
Gas 140.00
Oil Change 8.00
Car Registration 9.19
Gas Bill 17.81 **Budget monthly average instead of actuals by month
Electric Bill 30.00 **Budget monthly average instead of actuals by month
Internet 45.95
Cable 40.00
Food 120.00 **This includes groceries and eating out
Monthly Spending 77.00
Apt/PHP Items 15.50 **Items needed for personal hygiene and my apartment
Doc Appts 10.00
Medications 7.00
Haircut 9.00
Clothes 25.00
Golf 10.00
Gifts 25.00
Savings for Taxes 8.33
Savings 400.00

Total 2571.84

All of the items highlighted in blue are those which do not occur monthly. They may be once per quarter or annually. I budget for them each month though. This makes me feel better so that I don't have to all of the sudden find money for one of them at the end of the year. I buy gifts throughout the year, but I budget $25.00 each month so that I don't have to come up with extra money around Christmas time to buy gifts for my family.

My monthly spending category is for going out with friends, renting movies, and anything else that I would want to do during the month.

My food budget may seem rather low to some people, but it works for me. I do not buy any premade items, so all of my meals require cooking. I try to cook on Sunday, so that I have leftovers for the rest of the week. I also do my grocery shopping on Sunday once I look through the ads and make my list based on those ads.

The savings category is used for a number of things. I divide it out each month based on where I need/want it to go the most at that time. Some of the categories which it ends up in are my emergency fund, travel fund, car repair/emergency, extra towards my car loan, new technology fund, moving fund, etc. This works best for me because then I can evaluate each month where I might need the money most since of these funds are ones which I may not need to add too unless I take money out or they are not used that often.

I know that this budget may seem rather long and odd to some, but it works for me. I think that's the most important part. I have been budgeting like this for a number of years now. I try to avoid surprises, so it works for me to budget for the annual items all year long. I have thought about combining some of the smaller items (like car registration, savings for taxes, and gifts) into my larger savings amount, but so far I have not done that.

I am saving for retirement through my 401k. Between what I am contributing and the company match, I have a total of 14% of my salary going towards retirement each year. I would like to start an IRA in the near future, but I have other things that I am concentrating on right now.

I am not putting an extra towards my student loans until my car is paid off. The interest rate on my student loans is less than what I am making on my savings each month, so I am not too worried about those right now.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my budget!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

This Past Week

It's been a little bit since I have updated on the happenings in my life. It's been a busy week.

First, we have been having a number of storms in the area. My car was severely damaged by hail last weekend. I was told by the auto body shop that they should be able to fix it. They will have to replace a number of the parts though. Luckily, I have insurance to cover hail damage. It does mean that I will have to pay my deductible though. I do have a certain portion of my savings account set aside for car related repairs/emergencies, so that helps. It's very time consuming taking care of getting your car fixed, dealing with the insurance company, and getting a rental car. They said that it will take a couple of weeks to repair my car. I take very good care of my car, so it's hard to be without it and have a rental. I can't wait to get my car back. I just hope it turns out looking like it did prior to the hail damage.

Second, I received my annual review and merit increase at work this week. Even though I knew it was coming up, it's still makes me nervous. The review went really well, and the merit increase was what I expected. There are days where I feel that I deserve to be paid more, but when I consider benefits and flexibility at my company, I like where I am at for pay. The merit increase resulted in having to re-work my monthly budget. Part of the increase is going to my grocery fund due to rising food prices. The rest is going towards debt in order to pay that off sooner.

Last, I increased by 401k contributions this week. I decided to put more in my 401k since I don't feel that I can fully fund an IRA at this point in my life. I thought that putting more in my 401k was better than doing nothing right now. It's a nice feeling to know that I am saving for retirement, but it also makes me nervous when I come home and hear about how bad the stock markets did today. At least I am young and have time for things to turn around.

I will try to post my budget this weekend so that everyone can see how I budget things out each month. I will explain the details of it soon!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shopping Trip

I made my monthly shopping trip to Trader Joe's today. I go once per month and buy everything I want for the next month. I stuck exactly to my list today and only spent $20.52. It was exactly what I thought that total would be. That's always a great feeling to be right on with no surprises.

My monthly food budget is $120. This includes eating out and groceries. I very rarely eat out, so it's not an issue that they are combined into one amount. I spend between $20 and $25 at Trader Joe's each month. The rest is my weekly shopping trip to a regular grocery store or Super Target depending on where the better sales are. I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays and plan my list based on the new sale ads for the week. I don't think that my food budget is excessive based on what I have seen other people have budgeted each month. I bring my lunch to work every day, so this saves a lot of money.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trying To Decide

One of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog is because I am struggling to figure out some things financially.

1.) How much do I need in my total savings at all times for an emergency?
- My current goal is $6,000 for my emergency fund, but as long as I have that in my total savings I feel like I should be okay.

2.) How much should I pay down on my current debts versus save?
- I am debating about taking anything over $6,000 from my savings account and putting it towards paying off my debts. I currently pay extra each month towards my debt, but it would be nice to pay even more. Is this a good idea? I think it all goes back to what is the minimum that I am comfortable with having in savings in case something happens?

My third question is both financial and personal.

3.) Where do I want to live?
- I feel as if I am currently priced out of my area. I am not able to afford to buy a home without a large savings. Even if I save a large down payment the monthly mortgage payments will be more than I want. I would like to live in an area where I feel more financially stable, but how far am I willing to move from my family. I am planning to start saving for a house down payment in the next two to three years. Even once I start saving it will still take me a number of years to save a 20% down payment for the area that I am currently living in. I also live somewhere warmer!

These are the questions that I struggle with then working on my finances. I am hoping that this blog journey helps me answer these. I do read other PF blogs and feel that they also help with these questions.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stimulus Money

I just checked the IRS website to find out when I should be getting my stimulus check. I should be getting it next week! I am not planning to spend this money. It will be going directly to savings. I am going to use it to build up my travel fund. I may be traveling late summer/early fall with my brother to look at colleges he is interested in. I am also hoping to check out areas that I like, so the trip would serve two purposes. I am currently trying to decide what area of the country I want to settle down in. This money will eventually help me figure that . . . or at least I hope so. I have been trying to figure out what area best suits me for awhile now. I am not a big fan of wind and snow (especially together). My stimulus money will have a few months to earn interest before I use it which will also help fund the trip. I hope that my interest rates don't bottom out by then!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Starting Out

Welcome to my blog!! I am a twenty-something woman on the journey of life struggling to find my place while paying down my debt. Since graduating from college I have started watching where my money goes much closer. I am currently working to pay off my car loan and student loans while also saving for a home of my own and retirement. Please join me on my journey through it all.