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Archive for September, 2007


September 30th, 2007 at 07:22 pm

I'm trying to get my budget planned for October. My income should be slightly higher due to working overtime and due to October being a 3 paycheck month. Also, my electric/water bill was $40 lower than last month since the weather is cooling off. As a result, I'm going to up my saving deposit this month from $150 to $200. I'm also going to try paying $50 more on my car payment at the end of the month.

I will have some extra expenses this month, the main one being a trip home next weekend for my sister and brother-in-law's birthday party. So, that means 2 gifts this month, plus extra gas costs. I have tried to budget extra toward gas this month to account for this. I also need to take my cat in for his annual exam and shots. I have budgeted $90 for this.

On the home improvement front, I decided to go ahead and buy a new back door now instead of waiting. I have a contractor coming out to measure on Tuesday, and hopefully it won't take much longer to get the door installed after that. I'm paying for this out of my savings. My next major decision is whether to go ahead and get the tree next to my house cut down or wait until I save more money. I thought about waiting, but my friends have advised me to get it cut down before winter, when ice could weigh the branches down and they could damage the roof of the house.

Losing My Mojo

September 26th, 2007 at 01:30 am

I feel a bit like I'm losing my financial mojo. I've stopped tracking everything I spend. I'm still using my budget, but I went over on household expenses due to needing to get a new door. I want to pay everything off now, and I get frustrated when I realize how long it will take to even feel like I'm making progress. It is discouraging to see so much of my debt payments going towards interest.

Despite this, October should be a good month. This paycheck will have 10 hours of overtime on it. Plus, my tiny raise went into effect in September, and it looks I'll have an additional $25 each paycheck. And I think October is a 3 paycheck month. Oh how I love those months, since that last check has fewer deductions.

More Part Time Work

September 26th, 2007 at 01:19 am

I have the opportunity to take on some additional work for a few months. I've been asked to work Saturday mornings from mid-October to January. This is a good opportunity, and I think I'll say yes. I just hate giving up every Saturday morning. However, these meetings are usually pretty busy, and it is an excellent chance to make more money. If I say yes, that means I'd be working Tuesday night, Thursday night, and Saturday, AM. 4 meetings a week. That's a lot with a full time job. But the allure of extra money is so enticing. But what good is the extra money if you wipe yourself out earning it? Such a tough decision.

Made $72 extra today

September 19th, 2007 at 01:56 am

I finally got around to calling XM and cancelling my account. My new car isn't equipped with XM, and with car payments now, I don't have the money to have it installed. So, I called up today and stopped the service. Since I paid for a year in advance in April, I should get a credit to my credit card for around $70. I missed XM at first, but honestly, I've found some new local stations that aren't too bad. And on road trips I have the CD player.

Now, I just need to do the same sort of thing with my cable--either cancel the digital cable/DVR, or try Dish or DirecTV.

Crazy Week

September 15th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

But I'll be earning some extra money as a result. I worked about 7 hours of overtime this week at my full time job. And I worked Tuesday night, Thursday night and this morning at my part time job. I'm enjoying having today to slow down and get caught up on things.

Another 2 week budget just ended for me, and I managed to stay within budget. I still need to work on groceries though. Even though I am withing budget, I still think I could cut back even more if I just stick to my list. The hardest part of budgeting for me is dealing with my variable income. The money I get from my part time job varies depending on how many meetings I work and how product sales and attendance are. So, as I plan, I never know how much to budget for that until I actually get paid. For example, I got paid yesterday, and made about half of what I did the last paycheck. So I guess now I'll really need to be strict on that budget.

Fall is in the air, and it is time to tackle some of those home improvement chores I have been postponing. The back door to my garage needs a better seal. I thought I'd just need to put a door sweep on it, but once I started looking, I noticed that the threshold is rotting away, which is why the gap is so big. Unfortunately, this goes beyond my home improvement skills, so I might need to call a handyman. I'm tempted to replace the whole door because some of the wood on the frame looks as though it is rotting too. But when I looked at the prices of doors and installation at Lowes, I thought twice. Hopefully I can get it livable and save for a new door next spring. I have so many plans for the house, but it is hard to do them while sticking with the budget.

Money Related Regrets

September 6th, 2007 at 02:14 am

Earlier this week, I read this post on Blunt Money:

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This got me thinking about my own money-related regrets, and I thought I'd share them here.

1. I rented for over 15 years. I don't even want to think how much that rent totals up too, but I just did. I was at my last apartment 11 years with a rent around $400 a month: $52,800. Still, if I had purchased a house sooner, I wouldn't have been able to afford anything like where I am now. So maybe waiting had its advantages.

2. I ignored my finances while I was in my 20s and 30s. Now I'm 40ish and time seems to be going much faster now.

3. I bought a cash value life insurance policy. This was my first investment decision, and I think it probably wasn't the best decision.

4. I love electronic gadgets like MP3 players, TiVo, and other such things. And sometimes those "must have" purchases sit around unused after a few months. A perfect example is my PDA. I just had to have it, and now it seems too big to even bother carrying around.

The rest are car related.

5. When my previous car was paid off, I didn't apply my payment to savings. I just kept the extra money in my checking account and enjoyed having the extra money for splurges. I eventually did start saving, but I wasted a few years before doing so. Big mistake.

These last two regrets are ones I am living with now.

6. Taking out a car loan again. I should have driven my Sunfire into the ground, but I wanted something newer and safer. Now I'm adjusting to having a payment again and worried I may have over-extended myself.

7. I bought a vehicle with poor gas mileage because I wanted something to haul things in. This has forced me to start combining trips and has virtually put an end to quick jaunts to the store. So in that respect, perhaps it is good that I am conserving more.

I'm sure I could come up with more regrets given time! Do you have any?

August Recap and September Goals

September 4th, 2007 at 02:59 am

August was my first month drastically reducing my spending, and my monthly report in MS Money shows progress:

-Reduced Fuel costs 25% (No road trips this month and 3 "no gas" days)

-Cat food expenses decreased 50% (I have been buying from when they have 20% off offers. I can get 2 cases for about $10 more than the cost of 1 case at Petco.)

-Household expenses decreased 86%. This was obviously my big money drain the last few months.

-I had 14 "no spend days" in August

September Goals:
-5 "no gas" days
-Continue tracking every cent spent
-$150 or more to ING
-Look into cost of Dish or DirecTV in order to reduce that $86 cable bill

Thanks for Nothing

September 3rd, 2007 at 01:51 am

I never posted about this, but back at the beginning of August, I received notice of my raise this year: 3%. Can you see why I didn't mention it? Anyway, I found out yesterday that starting in January, we can expect a 5% increase in the cost of our health insurance. Great. So much for that raise. With that 5% on top of the increased cost of parking, I'll probably make less this year than last, even with that raise.

I sometimes feel like I'll never get ahead.