I kept fairly good track of my spending this month, but even so did overspend in several categories (food being the main culprit.)
I had some extra expenses that I had not counted on with my switch from a landline based DSL to a non-landline based DSL.
I made some purchases that I probably should have foregone.
However, I was able to sell some items, as well as return some items.
So, all in all, financially speaking, not a great month, but not the worst.
I will be starting my second job sometime in August, which will bring in about $28/wk (3 1/2 hours)
I need to make a decision about whether I'm going to pay my gym membership in full for a year at the reduced rate, or just pay one-quarter at the reduced rate by August 30.
The DFWO group I joined in July is doing a 7-day Caribbean cruise at the beginning of January. It cost's $700 + taxes and tips. I'd really like to go on this, but there is no way I'd be able to save enough to go by January, unless I put all my savings + extras toward it.
So, thinking about how excited I was about the Kenny G concert, and how it motivated me to "find" money to be able to go, I've come up with a long term goal.
Starting in August, I now have 3 savings goals.
1. Car Fund (until fully funded):
$220/mo base + all HSBC interest
+ 40% of extra* monies
2. House Downpayment Fund:
$50/mo base (TDAMERITRADE)
+ All ING interest
+ 30% of all extra* monies
3. Cruise 2010 Fund:
30% of all extra* monies
*Extra Monies = Second job, proceeds from anything I sell, survey money, 5th paychecks, ING referral rewards, Carpooler money, overbudgeted amounts in gasoline, 50% groceries, bonuses, etc.
Once the Car fund is fully funded, it still will get all HSBC interest (to help pay for repairs.) But the House Downpayment will then go to 60% all Extra (plus the monthly savings), and the Cruise 2010 Fund will go to 40% all Extra.
I will track all extra money on a page (sidebar). I'm not *too* far from fully funding my Car Fund. I just have to really buckle down and quit spending so much overbudget in a few categories which keeps dwindling down my one-month buffer, which I then have to replenish, so send less to the savings goals.
-- I also think I'm going to track my gas mileage. I need to get gas tomorrow, so I'll start as of August 1.
Archive for July, 2008
* I finally received my reimbursement check from the disability insurance overpayment. So, that's $16.25 more which I'll be putting in my Downpayment fund.
* I had an ING referral go through today. So, that's $10 more to the Downpayment fund.
* My carpooler paid me today. I'm probably going to have to get gas tomorrow - so I think I'll put that $10 to my gas fund. $10 worth of gas should get me through to Friday, and a replenished gas fund.
* On Sunday I went on my first outing with the DFW club. There were six of us who ate lunch at the museum (good price/food). Then 4 more showed up in time to do the tour. The exhibit was really quite large, and I really enjoyed seeing works by Monet and Gaughlin etc. in person.
* I used nearly 1/2 tank of gas to go to the museum and back. Ugh.
* I've really been trying to do the gas mileage "tricks". Such as driving 55, not using a/c unless absolutely needed, trying to keep a steady smooth pace, etc.
I'm not sure if all of that has given me much more than an extra 15 miles or so. I'm also not sure if it's worth continuing when I'm having people practically running over me on the tollway. Or, like yesterday on 35, having people tailgating me and giving me birdy signs when they finally pass.
* This weekend I had a very visual reminder of why it's so important - so *vital* to have renter's insurance. Sometime Sunday morning one of the apartments in my complex caught fire. By the time the fire was out, 4 apartments were destroyed, and 12 others were heavily damaged by smoke and water. One person was injured, but I haven't heard anything about pets.
Neither my carpooler nor I had even heard the sirens or commotion because the area where this happened is on the other side of us, closer to the main road.
* I spent a bit of money this weekend on foolish and wasteful things. Things I knew I shouldn't be spending money on even as I bought them. Unfortunately, they are not things that can be taken back.
I got stressed out at work on Friday (over something which I found out today was not even necessary) and the "who cares" monster came out to play. Oy.
* I have signed up for not just one, but for TWO 5k's in September! One is on Labor Day, and the other is on the 14th. I was so happy to find races that weren't on Saturday. I really want to make going to church a regular part of my life again.
* The race on the 14th benefits an organization that does a lot to help underprivileged children in India and the US inner cities obtain an education. I have set a fund raising goal, and made a donation page. If anyone is interested in hearing more, let me know.
* One of my co-workers today told me that her daughter was interested in doing a 5k with me. So I gave her the info for both of the races I've signed on for, and told her I'd love to have the company!
* I've been having trouble with my abductor muscle the last week or so. E, my PT was telling me it could be overtraining. I sheepishly asked him if the problem could also be caused by drinking too much coke.
After telling me what I know already (i.e. soda dehydrates muscles) he told me that for every ounce of soda I drink, I should drink 2 ounces of water to somewhat mitigate the effects.
He also suggested using foam rollers to help work out my leg muscles. Although he said a much less expensive option was just getting some pvc pipe from Home Depot, etc. That it would serve the same purpose. **Bright idea alert! I just remembered that I have two pvc poles that my dad made for me years ago (for some exercise video - which have gone unused) which would work perfectly! Can't get more inexpensive than free!
E will be working at the gym in the morning, so maybe I should take one of them and see if he'll have time to show me what to do.
* E also told me today that due to minimum wage rising, that the gym's monthly fees will be going up as of September 1.
So, since my training session is coming to an end (2nd week of August) I will have to start paying the quarterly fee.
I can either pay for the first quarter by the end of August at the lower rate, then after that have to pay at the higher rate.
OR I can pay for a full year's membership at the lower rate, then once that year is up, will have to pay the higher rate.
Paying a full year upfront will save about $120 over paying the higher rate.
My only quandry though is, what if I do end up moving to CA in March? They have a no refund policy.
You know, I really should have checked the dates before I got so excited and started putting money in a special fund.
So, if you remember from my last post, I had saved enough to go see Kenny G with a friend. Today at lunch I went to the website to purchase my two tickets, and was greeted with the fact that October 1 and October 2 are WEEKDAYS!
I could probably handle going to a concert on a weeknight, and getting home late. But my friend T more than likely wonít be able to do it. I hate to not go with her, because its almost become like a tradition. Anyone else I can think of, probably wouldnít want to do it on a weeknight either.
I donít want to go alone Ė especially at night in downtown Dallas.
So . . . I guess Iím going to have to pass on this one. I will check with T to be certain, but it not only is a weeknight, but it is a schoolnight for her as well.
Jeffrey or Nate -- I can't post comments on the blogs! I tried at work today, and I couldn't post a comment (even with the subscribe feature turned off). I thought maybe my work computer was being funky.
Now I'm at home on my computer, and I *still* can't post any comments!
**Weird. I was just able to make a comment on this blog. So, I tried again on another blog I wanted to comment on, but it still didn't take.
ETA -- Ok, I cleared out my temp internet files, as well as my cookies, and now seem good to go.
Today I finally received my cell phone rebate from AT&T. Yay! Of course, they sent it as a Visa debit card instead of an actual check. Guess they think that for the people who actually follow through and get the rebate, that the hassle of having to use a debit card will be another chance for their money not to actually get used.
So, as to Kenny.
The last time I updated my Kenny fund, I was up to $37.
Today I am adding the $30 rebate to it -- for a total of $67.
What does this mean? Well it means that I am going to be purchasing two tickets to see Kenny G on October 2 in the next hour or so! Woo Hoo!
I also received $10 from my carpooler today, plus I closed a bank account and received a check for the remaining balance of $1.69.
So, of that $11.69:
$5.69 --- Car Fund
$5.00 --- Downpayment Fund
Slowly, but surely . . .
Last weekend when I was at my mom & stepdad's, I asked my stepdad if they did anything with the coke codes. (My mom is a MAJOR diet coke addict - my stepdad likes regular Coke.) He said they didn't do anything with them.
So, I asked him if I could have them to enter on the coke rewards website. He agreed to that.
So far, through a couple caps I had, plus the two codes he sent me that worked (two others didn't work, no matter what letter or number I put) . . . we have 46 points!
I'm not sure how many points movie tickets are, but when I have enough for 3 of them, I'm planning on taking him and my mom out to a movie. That way we all get enjoyment from it.
So today I decided to test the waters again at Craigslist.
It was a mixed bag of results.
I posted my 19" TV/VCR in the freebie section. An hour later I had met a man in the McDonald's parking lot, and he drove away with it.
I also reposted my ad for the Brita Pitcher + filters, as well as the Spanish learning books. I toyed with the idea of reposting the Spanish learning computer programs as well, but was told it probably wouldn't be a good idea. I think I'll probably end up taking them to Half-Price bookstore and see what I can get.
So far the Brita pitcher ad is still up and going. But . . for some reason my Spanish learning books ad got flagged!!
I was planning on doing a bunch of meal prep for the week today - plus meal planning and maybe even my laundry. Guess I was in too lazy of a mood to do all that though.
I did manage to make a triple batch of Veggie Bean Burgers - yielded 13 burgers. I ate one for supper, and the rest are flash freezing right now. I didn't quite follow the recipe, which I think is why not all of the "burgers" held together very well when I flipped them in the skillet.
I was going to make Vegetarian Sloppy Joes tonight, but then I realized that the recipe calls for cooking at least 10 hours in the crockpot. So, I put together all the ingredients, and will dump them in my crockpot in the morning before heading to work.
This was a no spend weekend for me (dad treated for IHOP yesterday.)
I got a text message from AT&T that my rebate from my cell phone purchase had been mailed - finally!
I still haven't received my refund from the overpayment of my disability insurance. If I haven't gotten it by Wednesday, I will be calling them again. I seriously hope they don't do this to me again next year. (My salary was reported as over 15k more than it really is -- so they held out the concurrent amount to pay for the disability ins. premium for that pay amount. This happened last year as well.)
I finally managed to get my pictures off my cell phone. I'd forgotten that I had placed a "no browsing" hold on my phone, and to send pictures, you have to be able to browse.
I had a blast! We arrived there a bit before 6:30 a.m. I got my timing chip and figured out how to attach it to my shoe, then we just walked around for the next 40 minutes or so. It was still pretty cool weather wise.
Here's me before heading to the start line:
About 7:20 racers started heading towards the start line, so my dad and I followed along. The starting gun went off at 7:35, and about three minutes later the section I was in started moving. There were probably around 2500 people racing.
I had made up a playlist last night of upbeat songs/motivational songs that would take about 50 minutes to run through. I was definitely glad to have my music. I used a combo of my music motivating me, and picking out landmarks to run between.
I crossed the finish line at . . . 43:37!
So I completed two goals - I finished the race (running across the finish line!)AND I finished under 45 minutes! Woo Hoo!
Here's a picture of me after the race:
They had bananas, watermelon, bags of chips and cookies, peanut butter bars for the participants - they also had beverages - including beer and soda, which seemed rather counterintuitive to me, but oh well.
My dad and I went out to eat at IHOP. Much better than the supper of plain spaghetti we had last night.
I am going to check into what 5k's may be in September -- my goal for that one will be 41 minutes or less!
Thanks again everyone for your wonderful support and advice!
Tomorrow morning is my first 5k! I was signed up to do one back in May, but was sick at the time so couldn't do it.
Wednesday after work I picked up my free tank top and a cap which is part of the race day packet.
I was reading this one site about preparing for your first 5k, and it said something about not bringing an mp3/ipod for safety reasons. Does anyone know if that really runs true? I was planning on putting together a playlist for my run to help keep my mind off what I will be doing.
My dad is going to be staying over tonight, then we'll be going over to the race in the morning (*early* morning - need to be there by 6:30 a.m.!) He's bringing his video camera to make a record of the event.
My main goal for tomorrow's event is to . . . well, to finish it!
I signed up for my first event with the DFWO club - we'll be going to see the Impressionists exhibit at a museum in Fort Worth. This was something I was wanting to do anyway, so now I can do it AND meet new people at the same time! Woo Hoo!
Through the DFWO club I have also found out about a couple meetup groups I wasn't aware of. One is called Random Acts of Kindness, which is a group that mainly visits a nursing home once a month, works with the Salvation Army a couple times a month, plus a few other things.
I'm going to have to actually make use of the Yahoo calendar to make sure I don't double schedule myself. What a problem to have.
Today was payday (every Friday is, actually). I decided that I was going to go ahead and make my August contribution to my car fund today. August is a 5 paycheck month, and HSBC is running their 3.5% deal through Aug. 15 - so I scheduled $400 off to the Car Fund. It should be in the account by the 27th - probably not in time to figure into the daily average for July, but will help out the August one.
This Sunday I plan to do laundry and do a whole bunch of freezer ready meals - to hopefully help me keep my grocery spending in check. The more I can keep control of that expense, the less my savings will be slowed down by having added the "Social" category to my budget.
First of all, I want to say thank you to all of you you responded to my last entry.
The various comments got me thinking. Tonight after work, I picked up my race day pack from RunOn - got a free tank top and cap. My number is 1004.
When I got home though, I felt very motivated to look and see if I was able to find anything different. So, I did a little googling.
Most of what I came up with was similar to what I've found before. Except for one thing. DFW Outdoors. Oh wow! Remember I mentioned about wanting someone to go visit the new art exhibit? I mentioned something about wanting someone to go biking with, etc? Well, on this months calendar, they have an upcoming trip to the particular art museum exhibit I was wanting to see AND they have a river tubing trip planned, not to mention a bunch of movie nights.
Now. Here's the drawback. Membership costs $25/month, then it costs extra for whatever events you attend (with some free exceptions).
So, deep breath here. What if I commit $120/month to "socializing". That would break down to the $25/mo membership fee, $26/mo for two Vegetarian meetup outings, and leave $44/mo for DFWO events.
To do this, it would mean that my savings goals would slow WAY down. I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with that.
When/if I start working one evening a week at the gym in August, that will bring in after taxes about that same amount -- so I might break even.
Meet new people
Get outdoors, physical activity other than the gym
Have people to go places with, do things with
Maybe make new friends
Savings will slow down to less than a crawl
Income from 2nd job previously intended as a boost to savings would go almost completely to this
I also think that I am going to join the DFW running club. It costs $25/yr and besides running events, also has some social events.
So, in summary:
DFWOutdoors: $25/mo base; budget $44/mo events
DFW Vege' Meetup: 2x/mo ~$26/mo
DFW Runners Club: $25/yr, some social events, volunteers needed at some races, special monthly club races
Start attending church again regularly: free
Will all this equal a better lookout on life? I guess time will tell, but mostly I think it depends on me. If I can get up the guts enough to cut back on my savings goals to do this.
P.S. I signed up for a DFWVege meet - a brunch at one of the organizers homes. So that will just cost whatever the food item I bring costs to make. Yay!
I'll start with two positives.
1. My carpooler gave me $12 yesterday rather than the normal $10. So that makes my Kenny G fund up to $37.
2. Work has actually kept me fairly busy lately.
I have a good life. I have family who love and support me. I have friends. I have a job, roof over my head, food to eat, etc. It should be enough, right?
But the thing is, I don't have anyone to really talk to. I mean *really* talk to. Talking to my parents - how much can you really say to them anyway? Talking to my friends - esp. when I hardly get to see them or talk to them - its hard to really *talk* or keep up a real relationship. It especially doesn't help when nothing seems to change.
Most of the time I can fight these feelings off by reminding myself how much better I have it than 90% or more of the world. But sometimes I can't. More often than not lately, I can't.
I wonder what is the point? It's not like doing a fantastic job at my work is going to get me a raise anytime in the next 10 years - the most it will do is help me keep my job.
It's not like all my consistent exercise of the past couple years has done much for me at all. A person meeting me for the first time is most likely NOT going to think that I look like someone who ever has seen the inside of a gym, let alone spends 5 days a week at one!
It's not like putting myself out there on singles websites or joining singles dating services (in the past) have gotten me anywhere.
Recently, I've been hearing from a good number of friends I've had through the years via facebook. The one thing that has very consistently run through all of our catching up is the fact that 99% of them are married, and or have children.
Tonight, I for some odd reason decided to check in at this one singles site I used to have a profile on, and saw that a recent success story was of this strange looking guy who'd been a member of the site since before I'd joined it - over 9 years ago!
Here I am, supposedly in what should be the prime time of my life - idling. Having achieved only the goal of being a teacher (for a short while), but none of my other dearly cherished dreams.
I really don't see how this is going to change. I keep grasping at straws, keep searching diligently for glimmers -- anything to give me some small shred of hope. Meanwhile, I have this strong feeling that all my efforts are futile.
I'd like to have someone who I could just say - Hey, you want to come over and watch this movie I borrowed from the library? Or, hey - you want to go check out the new special exhibit they have at the museum on Tuesday (free night)? Or how about - hey, you want to have a card game/board game whatever game night? Or, just even someone who would actually be *interested* in hearing my oddball thoughts about things, or hearing about what happened at work. Or someone who'd be interested in going for a bike ride, or a run in the park, or just even laying out on a blanket in a park enjoying nature? It would be really great to have someone who doesn't think I'm odd because of what I *do* and *don't* eat or drink.
Ok, to be REALLY honest -- I miss touch. I grew up in a household of touch-oriented people. In the grown-up adult world of work and even friends - people just don't touch each other. It's understandable, with the litigious society we are, but it's also really sad.
Like I said, I *do* have friends. But, with the exception of N and T, they are only within the reach of a phone call -- and we've really not kept in touch very well. T is married and has two young kids plus lives about a 30 minute drive from me. N is almost divorced w/two kids - the only topic w/her is her soon to be ex - she's really not someone I'd have chosen to be friends with (we met at a lifestyles program that an exbf had encouraged me to go to) - she's actually the ex-sil to the ex-bf of mine's ex wife. (Say all that in one breath!)
I think I need to accept that two of my dearest dreams - dreams that defined who I thought I would be - are never going to be. I need to figure out new dreams. I need to figure out just how a person can be single, happy and feel like a contributing member to society.
The weird thing is that right now I'm actually feeling okay about work. It's usually when I've had a long spell of hardly anything to keep myself occupied with at work that I get these feelings of how pointless and aimless my life is.
This last week or so, almost every night I have completely blown my healthy eating plan out the window. I've gained back at least 7 of the 12 lbs I'd lost. I stopped at a store this afternoon, in the pouring rain, just to get a soda and some ice cream.
Something's got to change. I just wish I knew how or what.
If you actually managed to make it all the way to the end of this . . . Thanks, I appreciate your "listening."
This weekend I signed up to become a ChaCha guide. Tonight I spent about 20 minutes going through their registration process, and taking the fitness assessments. I finished all 3 parts within the time limits - but got the message at the end that I wasn't needed! Arghh! That would've been such a perfect and easy way to make a little extra cash doing what I normally do - surfing the net in my free time. I wish I knew what the problem was. Oh well, will just have to keep looking for something else.
This weekend, inspired by my desire to earn enough money for my Kenny G tickets, I did two things I'd been putting off. First, I took a couple items back to Sam's Club which I did not need anymore due to finding an item which replaces them for the next 10 years or so.
Second, I took a couple DVD's and some books to Half-Price bookstore to sell.
Sam's Club Refund = $26.59
Half-Price Sale =$8.00
I decided to put 50% of my "new" money towards the Kenny G tickets, since that was what had truly motivated me to get off my duff and get those items done.
So . . . $17 to Kenny G
.........$ 8 old balance =
.........$25 out of $65 needed
Then, I decided to put 25% of the remainder to my Car Fund, and to my Downpayment Fund. So, that is an extra $8.50 to each.
I stayed at my mom and stepdad's this weekend. We played 3 hands of Uno, and I won all of them.
Then today we went to a play called "The Boyfriend". It was a musical spoof of 1920's era British comedy. It was pretty funny -- I loved the dancing - the Charleston and the Two-Step. The plotline was so-so. I also loved the flapper girl dresses -- funny thing though, my mom had never heard the term "flapper girl."
She asked me where that term came from, and I wasn't really sure. I'm thinking maybe from the style of the dresses? The pleats kind of "flap" when you move in them?? Probably could find this out on Wiki - maybe check into it tomorrow.
This morning my carpooler handed me $8 and told me it was for me to treat myself to lunch.
My lunch today was a veggie omlette (made in my bowl I keep at work) and a handful of french fries from the catered lunch given to us by one of our vendors (a seafood/steak place).
The $8 goes to my Kenny G Ticket Fund!
Old balance: $0.00
New Balance: $8.00
I also got two emails today about my TV/VCR combo from Craigslist. So it looks like I'll be able to get rid of that pretty soon!
About a month ago I purchased two tickets for the Beach Boys concert which will be in September - for my mom's birthday. I actually splurged a little on getting somewhat nicer seats than usual.
Tonight I was adding the concert on my facebook page, and while I was getting the correct url . . . I saw him.
Him who, you may ask. Kenny G. Yes, he is back in my town again. The man with the lusciously sweet locks, and even sweeter melodies. The man who my best friend T and I went to see a couple years ago - sitting in the section where we had quite a view of his backside.
The tickets are not on sale yet for the average non American Express card holder, but I imagine they will be in the next month or so. (Concert is first weekend of October.)
So . . . two tickets to the concert (backside section) plus handling fee would be right around $65. So, how to come up with the $65? I could ask my friend T to pay for her ticket (because of course, I'm going to have her come with me!) But I really hate to do that because she and her family treat me so very often when I go places with them.
I'll have to figure something else out. Ok -- I've got it. Maybe *this* will be the extra motivation to not spend ONE penny more than necessary on food for the next two months. Hmmm. . . maybe I could also allocate all carpool money towards the tickets - not just add it into my slush fund.
Oh I can hardly wait to call T and tell her about this! She is SO going to flip out!
On Thursday I got a mypoints offer for 50 points to open a bank account with Compass@Bank. Also, part of the offer was a free ipod.
Well, I don't particularly need an ipod, because I've got a perfectly good mp3 player of my own. But . . I'd been thinking about getting something similar for my dad for Christmas. I'd planned on getting him one close to what I have, but when you see something for free . . .
So I decide to bite the bullet and go ahead and open the account. There's a number of choices you can make to "build" your free checking account. I don't remember all the choices available, but one of them was something about "earning" and extra $25 for each year the account was open.
So . . I get my dad's Christmas present, I get 50 mypoints, AND a year from now I'll get a $25 credit? Ok. I'm game.
I start going through the application process - for the most part it's fairly typical.
Then I get to the fun part. They require address verification via a phone bill, utility bill or bank statement.
Well . . . I only have a cell bill now (which they don't accept), I don't have utility bills (paid for by apt), and almost all of my banking statements are online.
So, I had the most recent statement from my BofA IRA cd account. I faxed that in on Monday after receiving an anxious Nellie email from them telling me my account can't be approved without address verification. (At this point I was thinking - Are we overanxious here or what?)
I called Monday afternoon to verify that they had received the fax, and was told that there had not been any note of one yet. But as soon as they had it, I should get an email.
So, Tuesday afternoon, no email. I call again and am told that they had received my fax, but that it wasn't acceptable. What?! Two reasons: 1) Not current enough (March 31, 2008 statement) and 2) not a bank statement. Um . . . okay, so Bofa isn't a bank?
Now we're to this morning. I print out the first page of my ING June statement, white out all the currency and account info, then fax it in. Late this afternoon I finally receive the email telling me my address had been verified and my account approved.
Oy Vey! Here I thought opening an account with HSBC was a pain in the patootie.
Now, as soon as my opening balance transfers, I can then complete the process for getting the ipod. Then it's just a waiting game to see how long it takes to actually get here.
I think I now have a few too many bank accounts open. I have two which I think I'm going to go ahead and close to help streamline myself a bit - especially after adding this new one. Luckily I am NOT required to have a direct deposit to this account - so I'll probably just keep the $25 opening deposit in there until I get my $25 credit ( a year from now).
I sure hope my dad likes his Ipod (and that I can help him figure out how to use it!)