Friday, January 28, 2011

Recapping the Week

So I didn't do as well this week with my spending, but what a week it was!  I spent 40 hours on the job and about 20 doing homework and going to class. So here goes

Monday - $33.00 - OTC meds (~$28 reimbursed by FSA today)
Tuesday - $1.31 Snack
$25.00 Gas
Wednesday - $2.73 Postage for Ebay Sales
Thursday - NO SPEND!
Friday - $.40 Food
1.58 Treat for the little one
$300 Cash withdrawal

Definitely an expensinve week, but I knew it would be. The $300 will be spent for the weekend but I will just count  it all in this week and start fresh on Sunday!

Have a great weekend all. We depart for our mimi-getaway early in the morning!

P.S. I'm doing great on my weight loss resolution! I am down another 1.6 pounds with about 8 to go to goal!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tracking Spending - Week 1

Sunday, 1/16 - NO SPEND
Monday, 1/17 - NO SPEND
Tuesday, 1/18 - NO SPEND
Wednesday, 1/19 - NO SPEND
Thursday, 1/20 -
$25.00 - Pediatrician co-pay (will be reimbursed 1/28 by FSA)
$12.00 Library fine and fundraiser donation
$16.68 Cat Food
Friday, 1/21 - NO SPEND
Saturday, 1/22 - NO SPEND

I'm not leaving the house today because it's SUPER cold out, so we'll be staying in, watching movies and doing housework. Therefore, today will be a no spend too. I'm happy with my expenditures for the week because we have an expensive weekend coming up. I can't wait for our getaway!

On another note, I am down another 1.6 lbs from my last weigh in! My goal weight is only 9.8 pounds away  now.  That makes me very happy.

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend. I am off to check my Ebay auctions and then start a spaghetti sauce for dinner.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflecting on Recent Credit Card Use

I've been thinking a lot about our recent decision to charge and immediately pay off Christmas simply for the "easiness" factor. While I am very proud of the fact that we stuck to our holiday budget and immediately paid the bill, it's what happened after that I find frightening.

For a couple of weeks after Christmas, just because I was traveling and such, the credit card stayed in my wallet. I just kept forgetting to take it back downstairs and put it in the safe. I even used it a couple of times, on purpose, and then immediately paid the bill - just to see how it felt.

Then one day I was headed to the store and realized I couldn't find my debit card. I didn't have any cash, either.

A little voice in my head said, "Just throw it on the credit card and worry about it later."

Now, it was late, I was in a hurry, and I was trying to get home ASAP on a crappy, dark, and cold night. But that thought put the fear of God in me. What was I thinking?

I took a few minutes to rummage through my purse, located the debit card in my "other" wallet, and only then did I pull in to the store.

Phew. That was a close one.

When I got home, I took my credit card out of my wallet. Immediately.

You see, while we DID use the card responsibly, and we DID pay off the charges right away, I was definitely tempted not to. Which leads me to believe that I am not ready to use credit cards in the manner they are to be used.

Maybe I never will be?

I don't know. But this was an eye-opening experience, for sure.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 2010 vs. January 2011

I've always been a spreadsheet geek and have maintained an Excel file for all our debts and assets for several years - even when we were still debting, I tracked it in Excel. After posting earlier, I thought to myself, I wonder what kind of start our year was off to in 2010?

So, just for fun, I pulled up our January spreadsheet from last year:

  • We had $3,847 MORE in medical and credit card debt
  • We had $4 in our savings account (eeek!)
  • We had $16,190 LESS in our retirement accounts
I'm sure our car loans were considerably higher too, but I wasn't tracking those then, for some reason.

Wow!  Now, granted, we paid some things off and added some new debt in those 12 months, particularly in the medical category, but this just floored me.

And then I got to thinking: maybe I should re-examine our retirement contributions right now. While I sure do love the matching funds our companies provide, I would really like to have that kind of money to pay towards our debt!

This isn't the first time this has crossed my mind. Your thoughts?

Payday Wednesday Update

It’s payday and that makes me a very happy girl, even though my funds are already spoken for.  I paid the bills and updated the sidebars over there --- >
Not much debt reduction was done this time around since I had a couple of planned expenses I knew we had to cover. I budgeted those out of cash flow from this check:
·         Truck registration:  $300 (haven’t done it yet, but it will be somewhere between $285 and $310)
·         Husband’s 40th birthday mini-getaway:  $240
I’m a bit bummed that these expenses are falling in January, because that would be a nice chunk toward our debt. But, I have to remind myself that one of my 2011 goals had nothing to do with debt repayment, and that was to spend more time alone with my husband. So, I consider this a good thing, even though I could have paid that towards our last medical bill.
Back to money:  one of our 2011 goals is to pay off $8,800 in debt this year.  Our grand total to date is…..
….wait for it…..

$365.  L
We have a long way to go, but we’ll get there. As a comparison, we have paid off $1,607 in debt since we began tracking on 11/1/10:
November, December and January:  $1607 or $536/month.
Sigh. It seems insurmountable, but we’re determined. And at least the numbers are going in the right direction!
I’m making progress on some of my other resolutions, also. More on that in a later post.
Until then,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tracking No Spend Days

So, I've always loved saving money and have made an effort to spend as little as possible throughout the week. But I have never actually tracked no spend days. Since I have been so inspired by Sharon's no-spend February plan, I'm going to write down my spend free days for the rest of the month. Thanks Sharon for motivating me to do this!

Sunday, 1/16/11 -  NO SPEND!
Monday, 1/17/11 - NO SPEND!
Today, 1/18/11 -    NO SPEND!

Until tomorrow,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weight Loss Update!

I almost forgot! My Biggest Loser contest is going well.  I have lost four pounds since 1/3/11.  I celebrated by buying myself a couple of new tops, a pair of work pants and a necklace - all on gift cards from Christmas, so it didn't cost me anything. The other participants in our contest are doing well, too, so I don't know if I am going to win or not, but it's fun to lose weight while enjoying a little friendly competition.  :)

Since one of my New Year's resolutions was weight loss, I'm happy with my progress so far. How are YOU doing on your 2011 goals?  I hope the answer is  GREAT!  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not much to report

Sorry I haven't posted much lately.  There really isn't much to say.  I've begun grad classes again so on top pf my 40+ hours at work, I'm also in the classroom two nights a week for 3.5 hours each  night. So that is keeping me pretty busy.

On the finances side, I will update our progress on Wednesday  when I get paid. Our numbers are moving slowly. We have decided to do a mini-getaway at the end of the month to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday, so we are setting aside a little cash for that, and that will slow our numbers' descent a bit. I'm excited though - it's the first time in years we have planned something with two of our best friends and their spouses and we will all be kid-free!

Nothing much else to report. It's cold, we got a ton of snow last week, and our daughter caught a tummy bug yesterday, so we're laying low this weekend.

I hope you are all having a great weekend! See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Resolutions

1. Establish a $1000 E-fund. And keep it above that amount…see earlier post.
2. Eliminate $8,800 in debt. This includes our medical and credit card debt, and would bring the truck loan balance down under $3,000.
3. Graduate from college (again.) Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll have my master's in June.
4.  Continue to lose weight. Goal is 15 more pounds.
5.  Find a way to make $80 in snowflakes per month. I upped this from $50 because we really need more momentum on our finances.
6. Be a better wife and mom. I know all moms struggle with this, but I seem to be spreading myself exceptionally thin between my job and grad school.  I want to make more time to go out with my husband - alone J - and also do more fun activities with our daughter.
7. Spend some time improving myself.  There are things I used to do which I don’t do anymore – I gave them up when we faced financial struggles and I never went back. Sadly, a number of those items directly affected my health and well-being. This year I vow to:
a. Go see the dentist regularly
b. Go have my eyes checked (it’s been 5 years!)
c. Spend a little more time and money on my appearance
d. Visit the chiropractor at least 7 times (helps me with migraines)
e. Exercise at least twice a week.
During open enrollment in December, I changed my withholding amounts for my FSA to cover most of these needs if not all.  I had to do some guesswork but I feel confident that I allocated well, so these items should not after-tax budget figures I use much.

So….there we go. I will do a check-in once a month at the end of the month to document my progress on these resolutions.

Well, that didn’t take long….aka Murphy comes to call

The title of my post every other Wednesday is usually “Payday Wednesday  Update,” but this week Murphy decided to visit, and that coincided with my normal payday update.
So, an unexpected car repair went into today’s bills, and the bottom line is our E-fund shrank instead of grew. I am beyond frustrated.  I managed to cash flow some of it, but had to tap savings for the rest.
It seems like any time I begin making any real headway on growing the E-fund *something* happens.  I managed to pay all our other bills and got a slight reduction in our overall debt, but the E-fund took a hit. I am beginning to think the only way it will ever be at a respectable level is if we come across an unexpected cash windfall. 
Now, I know that the purpose of an E-fund is for things like this, but it’s still extremely disheartening to never have more than a few hundred dollars at our immediate disposal. It doesn’t give us much in the way of peace of mind.  I’d like to think that I could pick up a part-time job to grow it, but I don’t see how that’s possible since I work full-time and go to grad school full-time. And my husband works full-time, then watches our daughter while I work and go to school, so that really limits his availability, too.
I guess I am going to have to find a creative way to make some extra income beyond the few snowflakes we have added through selling stuff.  ???
Anyway, I’ll update the sidebars, pitiful as they may be. And I still need to re-do our 2011 goals and get those up.  I will cover that in a seperate post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 is here!

Hi all! Sorry for the long absence. I have been traveling for the holidays.

I don't have much to report on the PF front other than I went over budget in the last 6 days of the month. I would say I am sorry for it, but I actually got some great deals and put away some things for next Christmas, so I'm OK with it. I have the money in this week's paycheck to put back what I took out of savings for my purchases. I'll update our numbers on Wednesday as I normally do.

On another note, I will redo my 2011 goals and post them Wednesday also - maybe sooner if I get to it.  I made a step in the right direction for one of the goals which was to continue to lose weight. I have gained back about 5 of what I had lost, so I need to lose about 14 pounds total. My friends and I are doing a Biggest Loser competition and I am stoked! I actually (gasp!) got on a scale today in front of five people - two of them being men. That was painful but it's what I need to do to be accountable, so I am doing it!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I know I did, and I feel so happy about this year and what's in store for us.

See you soon-