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Archive for March, 2006

Getting my budget on track

March 31st, 2006 at 09:12 pm

Alright guys, I'm gonna be brutally honest here. For the past two months I have not been keeping to any kind of a budget or even really tracking how much I've been spending. I could give a million reasons ...er.. excuses, but the plain ol' fact is that I've fallen down on the budgeting job.

So now I think I have paid any and all lingering expenses related to moving (ya know, all those "final" bills - ugh!) so I *think* April will be a more normalized month.

So tonight I spent several hours going to all the various financial websites with my money info, a trusty calculator, a piece of paper, and my copy of You Need A Budget. Over the past few months I have made various attempts at setting my budget straight, but it just wasn't happening. So, tonight I started with a completely blank budget, and started it from March 31.

I decided that I was going to leave $1k in the Emergency fund, pay off my CC (~$800), and put the balance (minus March's pay) in my Freedom Account. From my Freedom Account I'm going to pay my 6-month's car insurance, the balance of my renter's insurance, and have money designated for car repair, clothing, entertainment, etc.

Well, I was feeling pretty good about how I had all the numbers working out for me .... then I realized something. In all of my categories there was one VERY important thing I had not set aside ANY money for --- My brother's wedding!! Well, he hasn't quite asked her yet - will be on Sunday or Monday - but it's a pretty foregone conclusion that she's going to say yes. So, that means that probably in August or September I'll be making a trip to Flordia to see my little Buster Brown get married and finally have a sister! This of course is going to cost money - whether I drive down there or fly. So, I went back to my budget and added a Wedding category, and cut money from one of the other categories to start funding for it.

So hopefully this month I will actually keep myself on my budget and keep track of my money.

KIF,

Laura

Phantom of the Opera :)

March 29th, 2006 at 03:32 pm

Way back in 92 the guy I was dating at the time and I really wanted to go see Phantom of the Opera. At the time my family was living in New Jersey about 30 minutes away from New York City. He came to visit me over Valentine's weekend -- unfortunately the tickets were already sold out - had been for months. We ended up seeing Wrongturn at Lungfish instead (an off-Broadway play which had Tony Danza in it - very good!)

A few months later Phantom was on TV and we watched it "together" (he was in PA, I was in NJ) and called each other during the commerical breaks. If it was nowadays, we would've IM'd each other! LOL!

So, anyway, what's my point you may be asking?? Smile Well, a theatre in Dallas is performing Phantom of the Opera thru April 16 -- and I bought myself two tickets (the cheap balcony ones of course.) I asked my best friend Tammy to go with me (she went with me to Jim Brickman a couple years ago) but she's not sure if her family is going away for Easter weekend or not. If she can't, then I'll probably ask my mom, then my dad.

I am so excited about finally getting to see this performed live!! One of my favorite songs from it is "Music of the Night."

Being able to do these kinds of things is what makes it worth it to me to sacrifice in other areas of my life.

In other news - work is going much much better. Today I sat in on a meeting where they were demonstrating how to use some new software. I had very little clue as to most of the terminology, but I think if I was given the info to plug in, I'd be able to do it easily. I also was given a new project to do which will keep me pretty busy tomorrow. I love being kept busy. Smile

Ok, I better get going! Time to go home! Smile

Laura

P.S. My DSL at home is now working wonderfully! Yahoo!

This and that

March 22nd, 2006 at 07:41 am

Well, I still don't have internet access at home. I have my DSL modem all connected to the phone line (the working one in the kitchen) but now the problem is my ethernet card. Somehow between it working just fine for cable internet in my last place, and moving here, it decided to stop working. The technical speak is that it isn't "bound" to the TCP/IP.

So, this weekend I'm going to find myself a new ethernet card and figure out how to install it in my computer -- and hopefully have internet access!!

My dad stopped by yesterday. He brought me a house-warming gift from my Aunt. It's one of those bed pillows with a built-in massager, a drink holder, and side pockets for reading materials/remotes etc. It's something we saw in Brookstone a few years ago for $150 that I really liked (but NOT for that price!) then this past Christmas we saw it again in Foley's for $29.95. It still isn't something I would have spent my money on, even though I really like the idea of it. I need to get some D batteries to make the massage function work. She's getting me something else too that she ordered from the internet, it might be here by Friday, whatever it is.

I really do appreciate her thoughtfulness and generosity. Sometimes though I get so frustrated because I am trying to simplify my life - have less "stuff" to figure out where to store. It's just crazy to me how much "stuff" I have, even though every time I move I purge a ton of things. Most of the "stuff" that accumulates between moves are things that are given to me - either as gifts, or as pass-on's (like from my parents, since they divorced I have "inherited" a king-size bed, a computer desk, dishes, etc. etc.) Again, I appreciate everything - but ... I was perfectly happy with my twin bed, my computer desk, the amount of dishes I already had, etc.

I hope I don't sound like an ingrate. It's just that the amount of stuff I have has a direct relation to my cost of living. What do I mean by that? Well for one thing, if I had to pay for my electricity, then every new electric appliance acquired would add to my bill. Another thing (far larger than the electricity) is the square footage required to adequetely arrange/store all the "stuff". Then of course all the "stuff" which requires maintenance, or requires me to purchase more items to make it work (case in point - my Tivo!).

If I were to start over completely from scratch, I think I would be in a studio apartment furnished with a daybed (both a couch and a bed), a computer desk, a tv, a dresser, one set of bookshelves, enough dishes for one week for one person, and one set of pots and pans, one set of silverware. Or .... I could just live in one of those fully furnished extended stay places and whenever I needed to move, I'd be able to fit everything into my car! (Of course I wouldn't be able to have my cat then, so that wouldn't be quite so perfect.)

Okay, enough rambling for today.

KIF,
Laura

All Moved In :)

March 15th, 2006 at 12:59 pm

Hi all,
It's been a little while since my last update. Today now marks one full month that I have been at my new job, and I am loving it more and more. Smile Everyday I am given more responsibilities and tasks as they realize what I am capable of.

I moved into my new apartment on Sunday, March 5. It went pretty well, although it took longer than I had anticipated. All in all, the move cost me less than $200 - including the cost of the UHAUL truck, gas, some boxes I ended up having to buy (ran out of the free boxes, and couldn't wait to get more-time crunch), food food for the moving crew, and a few other miscleaneous things.

I absolutely love my new place! My things fit into it much better than I had thought they would - they're just arranged differently. But what I LOVE the most is the fact that I am able to walk to work in about 3 minutes time! I walk home for lunch as well (even though I only have a 30 minute lunch!)

I did have some problems though - my phone line wasn't working - no dial tone. I called SBC (local telephone co.) and they said my line was turned on and according to them working fine. Since I had elected not to pay the $5 month extortion.. er, I mean inside line insurance, if they sent someone out it would cost me a service call. I called my apartment management, and they told me they were responsible for one working phone jack.

Yesterday (yes, I was without a dial tone since I moved in - of course I have my cell, so not really that big of a deal) they finally sent a maintenance guy over and he managed to get two of my phone jacks working (the one for TIVO and the one in the kitchen, but not the one in the bedroom for DSL.) I'm thinking I'll just run a long phone cord from the kitchen to my computer for the DSL.

On Sunday when I went grocery shopping I bought something which triggered me getting TWO FREE movie tickets good for ANY theatre/ANY movie up to $12!! I wish I knew what it was that triggered it. Smile

I'm going into withdrawls not being able to check my email everyday (can't check email at work due to virus fears) and not being able to check my bank accounts daily. Hopefully I'll have my DSL up and running again this weekend so I won't have to rely on the library or my mom's computer to access email/bank accounts.

KIF,
Laura