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This and That, Thinking of Budget/Goals

October 12th, 2014 at 02:13 pm

This past week I haven't felt the greatest. I powered through the last 3 days of work ... then got in a good nap before NE came over Friday night. But Saturday and most of today ... I vegetated. lots of sleep, lots of doing nothing.

Well, not totally nothing. I did *finally* get the cheese cleaned out from my oven so that I can use it again. That stuff was pretty hard encased on the oven bottom. I didn't get it all off, but after testing it, it was enough so I won't get to test out my smoke alarm anytime soon. Smile

I also did a load of dishes. (Can I say how much I love having a full sized dishwasher again?)

I thought about doing laundry, but then realized that if I washed out a couple bras, I could get by another week. This would be my 4th week - all clean tops, reusing a couple skirts and jeans. Can you say - she has too many clothes?

NE will be coming by tonight and we'll be making pizza from a Chef Boyrdee kit. I need to get cheese and pineapple. He's bringing the hamburger for his half. Smile (pineapple only goes on my half) Maybe we'll watch Edge of Tomorrow - rent it off Amazon.

With all the rest I've had this weekend, I am feeling much better than I have in awhile. Here's hoping it'll last. I need to get a flu shot soon, but don't want to get it when I'm feeling sick.

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I am starting on my 4th week of the no eating out challenge. Overall I think it is saving me money (at least from what I'd been doing since living here.)

NE's stepsister that we went out to dinner with on Tuesday night (first time ever meeting each other - NE and stepsister) posted some photos she took of us on FB. The one with NE and I looked fine, but the one with NE, her and I ... I guess I don't see myself standing next to skinny people too often. Ugh.

So I am thinking of adding something new to this challenge. Not only no eating out, but no spending more than $5 on junk food per week. I would eliminate it completely, but I think that would backfire.

I also feel like I'm spending way too much time on the Internet (Bubblews esp.) So when I get home from work I am going to do 30 minutes of piano, 30 minutes of some form of exercise, 15 minutes of language practice and 15 minutes of cleaning/organizing.
Then I can get on the computer.

On the nights NE isn't here, I'm going to limit my computer time to 2 hours. Outside of that I'm going to read books or magazines! (Not surf Internet!)

I haven't quite figured out how to regulate the weekend days better yet ... Maybe 15 minutes of Internet time for every 30 minutes doing something else (piano, reading, cleaning, making something, exercise, etc)

Like I said, I spend WAY too much time on the Internet.

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I have been watching this awesome new show on Hulu+ called A to Z - it's the story of a relationship. Two episodes so far and I absolutely love it. I also have been watching Selfie - not as good as A to Z, but it has plenty of LOL moments. Smile Plus I love how it's playing on the My Fair Lady storyline.

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I am still thinking about my goals. This month I have an extra paycheck, so if I used that money, I could wipe out several wants - couch, printer, remote start on car in one fell swoop. And have some left over to put into general savings.

I love YNAB and have used it off and on for years and years. But ... I am starting to think that a different approach might work better for me. Since I'm not attacking a debt monster, and I don't have any big huge things to save up for other than retirement ...

Maybe something like this - still live off of last month's income (per YNAB)

Put the amount needed into the Must Have categories. Then the remainder goes into a non-tracked category - kind of a whatever it's needed for without having to be tracked.

Must haves would be: tithe/offering, rent, utilities, Internet, phone, auto fuel, insurances, ROTH contributions, car savings, general savings, emergency savings,

Groceries, clothing, household goods, hair care, etc., etc., etc. would come out of whatever is left and not be tracked explicitly.

So for example, I go to Walmart and I spend $70 on grocery items, cat food, makeup, and maybe a new pair of shoes. Instead of painstakingly splitting all those items out, I'd just track it as "Walmart:Non-Tracked"

My reasoning is that I can do pretty good for a few months tracking minutia, but then it stops working for me ... I miss a receipt or two or three .. This way I will still be tracking it, but it won't have to be detailed - so if I miss entering a receipt or two or three, I can just get the info from my CC site and not worry about the details.

I would want the amount in this category to build up so I have money available for bigger things (vacations, couches, etc. ...) Maybe put a minimum amount that has to be left in there if making a bigger spend/purchase. (This is what would keep me from willy nilly spending everything just because it's there - I'd want to be careful with the spending so I have it for other bigger things.)

Whatever extra monies I get (like from Bubblews, etc.) would automatically go into the Non-Tracked category. Extra paychecks or amounts larger than say $500 would be figured out as it happens.

Anyway ... haven't figured it all out yet.

5 Responses to “This and That, Thinking of Budget/Goals”

  1. Dido Says:

    Sometimes the detailed tracking can overwhelm you--I know this happened to me. I used to be a pretty religious tracker for years--then came the time where unemployment and serious parental issues hit simultaneously, and my ability to muster the willpower to track went out the window, even though I "should" have been doing it more assiduously because of the lack of income. What matters is what works for you. It sounds like you've worked out a reasonable compromise--go for it!

  2. snafu Says:

    I hope you're feeling better soon. Going for a walk after dinner keeps you off the couch. I walk the dog in the early AM and that period when dinner is in the oven to bake for an hour. I meet a lot of paid dog walkers who take two or three pups at a time. They like getting paid for going for a pleasant walk.

    Since it's my goal is to keep food costs to no more than 4% more than the previous quarter, I track grocery edibles. It's significantly cheaper to buy paper, disposables, cleaning products and misc. at liquidation outlets, discount and Dollar stores making the extra stop worthwhile.

    We use clothes allowances with limits determined at the start of the year. If you have enough clothes, you could limit seasonal purchases to a couple of accessories like scarf or sweater and transfer unspent sums to travel or tickets to concert or some event. This is closet 'change-out,' a terrific point to review anything not worn, not used, not needed etc. Can anything go to a consignment shop?

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Amen on too much internet time. It's not all I do, but I feel like I turn to it too much. I've had a couple of bad habits that have gotten worse over the course of this year that I know I need to face at some point.

    I too am interested in a less assiduous tracking system. I really like being super detailed about the budget, but I realize that's part of the internet time suck for me, checking accounts, adjusting spreadsheets, etc. Right now I feel like I really need to stick to it, but once things aren't so tight, I can hopefully start just spending what we need to and dumping a certain amount into debt and savings. It'll be a hard adjustment but good, I think. I do worry about my family though; I could see any or all of us having a spending creep where we spend gradually more without realizing it. We've all gotten pretty naturally frugal but all have spender pasts, so I know we need to be aware. Maybe next year after things loosen up, I'll see what I can do in that area.

  4. snafu Says:

    You're doing a fabulous job of sticking to your plan to avoid eating out. I'm guessing you will notice a significant different in the food cost segment of your budget since restaurants overhead demands more than double raw cost to create profit. Would you find it helpful or more motivating to assign the savings to a specific project? For example, by targeting your retirement program or a ROTH those grow tax free. If you like to travel you could have funds in place by vacation dates.

    I wondered if broadening categories would help your enthusiasm for money management. For example, Walmart's check out clerk could easily sub total for each of cat supplies, clothes, non edibles/cleaners/paper goods and food via items set on the conveyer.

    ...just a thought

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Thanks everyone. I am feeling better now. I'm hoping this weekend will be the one where I have both the time and the energy to finalize budget numbers.

    Snafu - I have three grocery stores within two miles of my apartment - none of them Walmart. I still go to Walmart once in a while, but definitely *much* less than before. I do have money going to my ROTH and savings categories. The "flexible" money would be outside of those categories.

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