I was waiting to make this post until I could know for sure whether my third $25 PP would deposit before March or not ... it didn't, so it'll go for March.
NM tax refund - $87
NE tax refund - $142
Fed tax refund - $540
Swagbucks PP - $50
FB sale - $30
PerkPoints - $25 AGC
Pact - $16
Pinecone - $10
Car Insurance: Pd 215 6 mo. premium, added 36
House Gas: 39.36
Auto Fuel: 14.53
Restaurants: 39.24 (2 ff and Chinese buffet for two)
Kari - 22.66 (stocking up on food w/coupons)
Treats - 23.21 (before starting 40 day challenge)
Gifts - $12.13 (NEs Valentine's)
Tax Prep - $34.98
ROTH - $200
EF - 10% + $1,068
So ... for this month it gives me an approximate 70% savings rate (I'm not including the car insurance payment in this calculation because it was previously accounted for in expenses only in monthly "installments")
My groceries category is way low this month mainly because I was eating the food I purchased in January from the store that went out of business, plus the frozen fruit I bought from Sam's in December managed to last til Friday (supplemented by two bags of ff I'd bought from closed store.)
I expect my grocery bill to be much higher for March, but that will be countered by no money spent on treats (until March 31 ...)
March is going to be interesting. I'll not only have my 2.5% raise going into effect, but I'll also have the 7% retirement contribution be taken out AND I changed my deductions from 2 to 3. Of course that income won't factor in til April, but I'll at least get to see what it's gonna look like.
After factoring in what I know I'm going to spend in March and estimiating some other expenses, my goal is to put $300 extra into my Efund in March. (above the 10% minimum)
However, there are some items I'm contemplating ...
Shoes - $20 x 2 (my work shoes are pretty much shot - I am planning on ordering two pairs so I have an extra pair on hand in case this style goes away before I need it again - good, comfortable dressy shoes .. worth their weight in gold.)
Kari supplies - ala Cat Whisperer - second litterbox with high sides ($12), one or two mechanical toys to help with boredom while I'm at work ($30-40), food puzzle ($10) automatic food dispenser ($50)
The litterbox and food puzzle are the only two items I'm sure I'm going to get, the others I'm still contemplating. I have roughly $90 in AGC, which would easily cover what I want, plus some. I'm also hoping my reward from Achievemint will arrive soon ($100 visa gift card)
Gym - $39/month ... I won't have a chance to check it out this weekend, but I plan to next Sunday. I also want to see how my paycheck pans out for March to see if I'll feel comfortable deducting $39 from it ...
Fitbit upgrade ... I love my Zip, but the cheap batteries I got from eBay don't last more than a month or two. They were 5 for $2. To get a battery that lasts 4-6 months, it'd be $10+. So ... I'm thinking about upgrading to the next level where you don't have to have a battery - you charge it via usb cord. This would be approximately $100, although I saw a mention on YNAB forums today of someone seeing it at Walmart for $29!! If I see it for that, I'm grabbing it, no question!
Archive for February, 2015
I was waiting to make this post until I could know for sure whether my third $25 PP would deposit before March or not ... it didn't, so it'll go for March.
I've been doing some looking into a trip out to CA in September for my grandma's 93rd birthday. I priced out Greyhound, AmTrak and Southwest. All of them came out about the same price, but Southwest was 7 hrs travel time versus 40+ hours. Driving would be ~29 hours.
Today I ran across a neat little tool - Google Flights. You input the dates you'd like to travel between and it finds the dates which would save you the most money. I found one flight for 340, but I'd have to stay for 14 days ... No can do. But I do think I'll be able to leave from L instead of O, which is what I thought I'd have to do to get a good deal. (just will have to pack very lightly)
It got COLD here last night and today. Brr! It was -8 at noon today.
Glad I have plenty of hot chocolate to keep me warm.
Yesterday I went to a city health fair (during work hours!) and got a nice free chair massage. I also talked to a lady from a local gym.
*pilates classes (included in membership)
Plus all the usual weight, cardio, etc.
The city employee rate is $39/month for a 2 year membership.
I'm really, really tempted. The track and the pool are the two biggest draws to me (really the track is the biggest draw.)
I'm just not sure if I want to commit to $39/month for two years ... I'm most likely to use it when it is either too cold outside or too hot outside for me to feel comfortable walking outside (or most of the winter when it gets dark so early.) However, I would probably use the weights too.
I *can* exercise at home for free. No extra gas spent, and don't have to make sure I'm clothed decently.
I just think a track would help me make actual improvements, vs. stepping in place at home.
It would be about a 20 minute drive (one of the closest places to me. there is a $10/mo place no contract that is about 30 minute drive, but no track or pool)
I think I'd most likely use it Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Maybe Saturday too (too hot/cold to walk to the library)
I also like that for my Pact app that I could just check in and not have to worry about making sure I get enough movement in to count (it has a feature for home workouts which tracks accelrometer movement.)
If I do this and actually USE it, future Laura will thank present Laura for this. (health wise) If I do this and don't really use it, future Laura will beat up present Laura. (waste of money that could've been put towards savings goals)
I'm thinking I might check and see if I can get a one week membership to test it out and see if I will really DO the 20 minute drive after work during the week ... plus to see how crowded it is during the times I'd want to go. I know they'll do a one day trial, but that is hardly enough to really test it.
I just know how hard it is sometimes for me to make myself do workouts even with the motivation of watching a new episode of POI... Will I really be able to make myself drive 20 minutes .....
Sunday night NE and I went out to a Chinese buffet with his friend/wife. It was nice to spend some time with them, and NE was able to have his will witnessed.
I ended up only getting one semi-sweet food - mainly because I was stuffed! (I ate way too many corn nuggets - yummy!)
6 days out of 40 are down now in my 40 day challenge! So far I'm not finding it too difficult to stay away from the temptation of buying junkfood ... of course I also haven't had any majorly stressful days this past 6 days. That's when the real test will come.
I read "The Mockingbird Next Door" this past week at work. It's about Nelle Harper Lee - the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was REALLY good. Towards the end of the book it mentioned the movie Infamous with Sandra Bullock (based on the Clutter family murder in the early 60s in Kansas - which Truman Capote wrote the book In Cold Blood about.)
NE and I watched it on Amazon IV last night (only $2 to rent! paid out of my Amazon credits). I liked it, although I think NE was slightly bored because it was mostly talking/interacting and not too much action.
Today I started reading "The Cat Whisperer." I am *really* liking it so far. Ceejay, you might want to check it out if your cats are still having issues.
No spending since Sunday - groceries and dinner - roughly $48 total. With 4 days to do, I think I'll be putting over $1000k to my EF! Wish every month could be like that. (I'd have to earn a whole lot more!)
Yesterday when I got home and got on Swagbucks I saw I had had a 1500 SB infusion. I was wondering what that was from, so checked my account ledger.
It was from doing my taxes on TaxAct! I had clicked through the link when I did my taxes, but hadn't seen anything in the Shop and Earn tab or anywhere else saying pending .. so figured that since I already was a customer of TaxAct that I wouldn't get the points.
Glad I was wrong. I just need 400 more now to get my next $25 PP reward. Sweet!
I also had a nice surprise EOB from my bloodwork. I wasn't asked for a co-pay at the time, and was expecting to pay at least $30+ for my part.
Today I got the EOB - My portion? $0!!
I have to say, I *really* like my insurance plan.
I walked to the library today and brought back a number of items. Picked up some things that were on hold. One of them was "The Rosie Project" which I'd seen recommended by a number of people on YNAB forums.
The lady behind me saw the book and told me that her book club had just read that book, and that there is a sequel to it (The Rosie Effect.) I told her that I was looking forward to reading both. (I considered asking her about the book club, but I was in my scruffies and wasn't sure what kind of impression she'd have ... )
Later as I was heading out the door, she was behind me. She told me that she'd seen my keytag for the library card and hadn't known they had those - so she got one too. I told her that I found it pretty convenient as long as I had my id with me! (I have my id on a lanyard with the library card keytag.)
I'm curious what your opinion is on this ...
Tomorrow NE and I are going to eat at a Chinese buffet with his friend BT and his wife. I'm paying for NE's and I's meal. At the buffet there is a fairly good selection of sweets.
Since I am paying for the buffet as a whole, if I took some sweets as part of my meal, would that count as my buying junkfood?
I'm thinking that it doesn't, since I'd be paying the same amount no matter what. So it isn't like I'm paying specifically for the sweets section.
If I were in a grocery store shopping, then buying a candy bar, etc., would be a clear cut no. Or if I was at a restaurant where you order desert separately. But when it is already part of a meal?
Just curious what you all think.
(This is in relation to my 40 day goal of not purchasing junkfood.)
I helped NE fill out his Last Will Friday night. He asked me if there was anything specific I wanted of his ... had a hard time thinking of anything, but finally came up with one of his fishing rods. He's going to have his friend BT and wife sign it as witnesses.
I probably need to do something like this too, but I'm not sure how legally binding something like this really is. A document you get off a CD from Office Depot and print out?
How/Where do you include account information, etc? An addendum or something? Should you include a clause in there about how you want social websites handled?
I don't celebrate Lent in my faith, but after having spent three years working in a Catholic school and seeing how much it meant to the people there, I have thought about making my own Lenten type commitment.
When I was having issues with eating out too much and made the goal of no eating out for 60 days - I succeeded and in the end pretty much completely got rid of the bad habits that had been forming. Not that I don't stop for fast food once in a while, or eat out, but it isn't the norm.
So ... with my recent blood test results (lipids) I realized that there are two things that could help reverse those results. Eating less junkfood and being more consistent in my exercise.
So ... for 40 days (starting Wednesday, the 18th) my commitment is to not buy junkfood (may eat it, but cannot purchase it)and to get a minimum of 20 minutes of activity EVERY day.
My hope is that by the end of 40 days I will have broken through the bad habits I'd fallen back into the past 4 or 5 months with junkfood, as well as regaining good habits of exercise which kind of went by the wayside both with the weather and it getting dark early plus not feeling well often.
This of course will also save me money.
So far so good.
I got the new label maker yesterday just before heading home for the day. Today I got to play with it. Our new computer system doesn't allow us to install programs on the computer, so I can't access all of the neat features - at least not until GK installs the program for me.
I cashed out Pinecone points for $10 tonight.
NE wants to take a friend of his to dinner this weekend (either Sunday or Monday) to tell him about his upcoming surgery, etc. Since he paid for Valentine's, it's my turn to pay. (this will be a cheaper meal - Chinese buffet vs. the V pizza buffet.) I've been in the mood for Chinese for awhile, so it'll be nice.
I'm on track to put $1000 in my EF this month - as long as I'm really careful with my grocery spending for the coming week. There isn't too much I can think of that I'll need to get other than bananas and sweet potatoes .. oh, mouthwash too.
I saw a recipe on MyFitnessPal for black bean oatmeal burgers. It's a fairly simple recipe, and I'm pretty sure I have everything needed. So I might make those this weekend - would be great for lunches next week, and maybe freeze some too if I have enough black beans to make extras.
Oatmeal is supposed to be really good for lowering cholesterol. I used to eat it a lot for breakfast, but really prefer the fruit smoothies (frozen fruit, banana, flaxseed, chia seeds, PB2 powder, water, sometimes carrots if I remember to get some ...)
So maybe I can get the oatmeal in at lunch in these burgers.
I really need to get to the bank and figure out if I want to try for the $150 bonus. Every time I think about doing it I end up having one of my major sinus? headaches and am not at all productive after work.
I'd think about taking an afternoon off to do that and get my hair cut/highlighted and a few other odds and ends that aren't easy to do after work ... but with NEs surgery coming up in a few weeks I'm not sure how much time I'll need to take off for that.
At least one day for the surgery, and then he'll need me to take him home the next day - might have to take off the third day, or at least part of it. So ... will be using some of my vacation time.
I'm thinking that I'm going to CA in September. It'll be my grandma's 93rd birthday. If I can schedule it around Labor Day, then I won't have to use too many vacation days.
My brother and I are working together to have him and mom come here (NE) in May - probably Mother's Day weekend. I'll use a few vacation days for that too.
I haven't heard anything more about my high-school reunion ... am kind of questioning whether I really want to do it anyway. NJ isn't exactly my first choice of vacation destination ...
The lady who said she wanted my DVDs yesterday came by with the $30. I had just lain down for a nap (not feeling that great) when she knocked on my door - so I missed it. Luckily she hadn't gotten too far away when I heard a ding letting me know I had a FB message - checked it and was able to get her to come back!
I called the place I have had a term life insurance policy at for the past 5 years and canceled it. It was due to renew on 3/15, so I was running out of time to cancel it before being charged another year's premium. (I'm going to be covered by my work life insurance as of 3/5 and can take it with me if I leave.)
I got in contact with an actual person at the doctor's office today. Looks like my thyroid is under control now with the current dosage! My Vitamin D level was really low which is why they prescribed me Vitamin D pills (one a week for 8 weeks, then retest.) One somewhat surprise was that my lipid panel showed my cholesterol was high 258? I think. The nurse suggested fish oil capsules ... yuck, no!
I know what I've got to do ... I just have to *really* cut out most of the junkfood/sugary junk I've been stress eating. I also need to get much more consistent with my exercise. 20-25 minutes of walking at work isn't enough.
My weight and my numbers are telling me I need to do something different.
I've just got to figure out how to rewire my brain for what I go for when I'm stressed out.
Stopped by Goodwill today and dropped off 4 boxes of books and 1 box of miscellaneous items. Also broke down several boxes and threw away a few others.
My living room is now empty of boxes. I do need to get a two-shelf bookshelf for the things that aren't fitting on my one bookshelf in the living room.
The futon I was trying to buy from someone on FB yesterday has been sold It was $25 and looked in pretty good shape. I'll just have to keep looking.
My visit with the pastor this morning went well. We talked nearly two hours! I really was trying to be succinct, but there was a lot of backstory needed ... He gave me some helpful suggestions and told me to let him know if I needed to meet again. I'm really glad I did it.
I didn't go anywhere today. Wasn't feeling very good and it was just too cold outside (colder than yesterday.)
I did however manage to go through about five boxes in my living room. Three boxes of books, plus another box of odds and ends will be heading to Goodwill either tomorrow (if they're open) or Tuesday.
I also went through my DVDs and picked out 3 that I definitely could not get rid of. The rest (17 of them) I took a picture of and posted on the local FB garage sale page. Tomorrow afternoon I should have someone coming by with $30 to pick them all up! Sweet!
I also found a futon for $25 on the FB garage sale page, but NE ended up not coming over tonight, so I might lose out on that one. (He has a luggage rack on top of his Subaru so we could have tied it on to there.) If it is still available tomorrow, I'll be getting it.
I made enough on PerkTv tonight to redeem for the $25 AGC. Should have that by Monday night.
While looking on the FB garage sale page I found something I'd been looking for for awhile - I just hadn't been sure what it was called. A perpetual calendar. People ask me all the time what the date is - so if I had one on the counter, they wouldn't have to ask. (I'd just have to be sure to change it each day!)
The one on there already had a taker, but I found one on Amazon. None on Office Depot (which is where we are supposed to order all office supplies from.) I'll have to talk to my boss about it on Tuesday to see what can be done.
Friday night NE and I ended up going out to eat at a local pizza restaurant buffet that starts with V. When we first dated back in 2004 I had a surprise birthday party for him there. That was the last time either of us had been there - he was saying that now that we've been back together for almost two years (1 yr 9 mos) that maybe it was time to try it out again.
It was good food, but as is the problem with buffets, it is hard to eat reasonably - and I definitely overdid it. Good thing we don't do that very often!
I gave him the maple syrup (and a card.) He seemed to really appreciate it.
He's really nervous about his upcoming shoulder surgery (March 11) - so much so that he bought a packet of last will/testament +POA from eBay and plans to have his apartment cleaned up by that date.
He'll be in the hospital for at least two days after surgery, and then have at least a 4 week recovery time, two of which he isn't supposed to drive.
I got a message from my doctor's office - twice on voicemail on Friday. One of the things I had tested last week was my Vitamin D levels - it must have been pretty low because they called in a prescription for Vitamin D supplements to my pharmacy - take one per week for 8 weeks and then redo bloodwork. Nothing was said about my TSH level, which was the main reason for the bloodwork! If they're open on Monday hopefully I won't have to play voicemail tag with them (they close at 4:30, which is when I get off work.)
I have an appointment to talk with my pastor on Monday.
I'm thinking about going to see a movie - Old Fashioned - afterwards. I mentioned it to NE and he had no response .. which usually means no interest. Oh well, I can go see it by myself.
I read an interesting article today which was linked to in a journal on the YNAB forums - one of the ideas in it was that what trips most people up when making goals or plans is that they get overwhelmed by everything they'll have to do to reach the goal/finish the plan. The better thing to do is to think about the goal/plan on what you need to do to reach it *that day*.
An example given is "I want to play lead guitar in a rock band." Instead of thinking about how many hours of practice that would take and getting overwhelmed and most likely not doing anything towards that goal, think about what you can do *today*. I will practice the guitar today.
In finances I could see an example being "I want to retire at 55." That could be overwhelming in the big picture. What is a small step? What can be done *today?* I will call my car insurance to see if I can get a better price. (reduce expenses) or I will work on learning *skill* which I can eventually use to earn side income. etc. etc.
I cashed out for $25 PP a couple days ago and already received it. Then today I cashed out again (after cashing out my Bing points) so should have that by Wednesday or so I'd guess.
I'm getting close to my next $25 AGC with PerkTV - this one's gone much slower because they reduce the point values on some videos.