<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: November, 2010
 

Archive for November, 2010

Update to car repair

November 16th, 2010 at 06:49 pm

Well it turns out I didn't need brakes on my car after all. Frustrating that I had to pay for labor for them to discover this but I don't blame them since the dealership told me I needed brakes and I took my car to another repair shop to do the work since they were $110 cheaper than the dealership.

I spent $228, $143 of which was for them to diagnose the check engine light that has been going off.

All in all, I have about another years worth of brakes and spent less than I had planned so I guess that is good news. Plus they vacuumed my car. Very nice surprise as it needed it badly - thanks to dirty soccer cleats.

So the balance of our tax refund that was to pay for repairs today will go to the MasterCard payoff.


Christmas shopping & other stuff

November 16th, 2010 at 09:47 am

I was not able to get what I wanted at CVS yesterday. Twice I have gone and both times they were out of the item. Apparently they will have another shipment on Wednesday so I'll stop by on my way to work.

I went Christmas shopping last night. I had a Gap Groupon I needed to use by 11/19. I was able to get my son 3 long sleeve tops and I am now done shopping for him except for a new cell phone. The display on his broke so he has been using one of our old phones. I know that I can get him a new phone for $20 or so. I scored a lot of good deals with his gifts so I am under budget for him.

I also got some things for my daughter. She's almost 11 and girls clothes are so much more expensive than boys clothes. I had a 40% off coupon but even with that I still ended up spending $90. Her birthday is in January so I also need to be on the lookout for gifts for that as well.

I know that I will be able to get some really good deals on Black Friday on some of the other things she wants so I think I should be able to stay on budget.

I never know what to get my mom and came across a really good deal I read about on a frugal blog. It's a free 8x10 picture on canvas from the Canvas People. All I need to do is pay about $15 in shipping. That comes in under the budget I had set for my mom and she would love a picture of my kids. Going to look through my digital pics tonight and see if there is a good one to upload.

Someone asked on my last post about how my cash budgeting was going. Honestly, I haven't withdrawn the cash yet. I was at the ATM yesterday to deposit checks and I didn't withdraw the money. Since I've already spent just a little from each budget category (household and personal care) I need to look at my budget spreadsheet to see what the balances are and then withdraw that amount.

Lastly, I took my car in this morning to get new brakes, replacement of the air filter and for them to see why the check engine light has been going off. I hope it's nothing major (the car only has 36,000 miles on it). I've got about $500 cash for car repairs and I'm hoping I only need to use no more than $400. Fingers crossed.

So far so good

November 15th, 2010 at 01:36 pm

This week has started out well so far.

Sunday we had only our planned spending and it turned out to not be as much as I expected.

Today I went to Target to return something, had the refund credited back to my debit card and walked out of the store without buying anything.

I do have a few groceries to pick up for dinner this week, I have a $5 off coupon that I want to use at CVS for something that is on sale and I think I will do some Christmas shopping this week, but other than that I don't anticipate much, if any, spending out of our discretionary budget.

I did email two of my girlfriends whom I normally exchange Christmas gifts with and asked if we could simply do a cookie/goodie exchange. They both agreed so now my list of people that I need to buy for has become smaller.

I'm also not exchanging gifts with one of my sisters and her daughter. She is hurting financially and is on the brink of having to move in with our mom to avoid losing her townhouse so it was easier to just say no gifts this year. It's just as well anyway because I always feel I need to buy something out of obligation, even though she never needs anything, and then the gift gets returned because she either doesn't like it or it doesn't fit.

I'm getting tired of buying Christmas gifts beause I feel like that's what I'm supposed to do. Since we are now on a tighter budget it's become easier for me to speak up. We've also agreed to not buy gifts for my sister and brother in laws as well.

I'm trying to keep our Christmas budget at $400 this year. Normally it is MUCH more than that but I'm trying to use the cash I have saved so far which would normally be more but since I failed to save for a while I trying to work with what I have.

I think I can knock out a lot of gifts on Black Friday and save quite a bit of money.

Starting fresh

November 11th, 2010 at 08:09 pm

Tomorrow my husband is paid, I am paid on Monday, and that means the start of another budget cycle (I budget by pay period).

As I mentioned in my last post, I think I'm going to go ahead and withdraw cash for a few of my discretionary budget catgories and record the entire withdrawal in my budget. As my one commenter on that post suggested, I like the idea of having the cash and when it's gone it's gone so no chance of overspending and if there's any cash left over I can keep it for the next budget cycle. Also, I only have to record one entry for each of the categories.

It's worth a try at least and I think a step in the right direction to going to all cash.

I have the day off tomorrow and plan on grocery shopping for next week's meals. I meal planned today and feel good about next week.

There will be some spending this weekend:

New lenses for my glasses, possibly new frames (insurance will pay for most).

My husband and I always have a Friday date night and we go out for Mexican food. Something to look forward to after working all week.

I have a $10 Kohls coupon that I want to use for a pair of pants for my son. He cannot wear denim to school so he needs some pants for the cold weather.

We do have another out of town soccer game this weekend and I anticipate that we will buy lunch.

Refund check and a question

November 10th, 2010 at 07:44 pm

We recceived our state income tax refund check today. It will be used to put new brakes on my car. Glad I can pay cash for that.

In reviewing our budget I'm thinking about using cash for certain discretionary categories instead of using my debit card. I'm just trying to figure out the logistics of that and how to enter in my budget spreadsheet. For example, if a withdraw $25 for personal care items but only spend $15 of it, how would I record that in my budget? The $25 withdrawal or the actual $15 spent?

No Spend Challenge = FAIL

November 10th, 2010 at 01:15 pm

As soon as I hit the publish button last Friday I knew I was biting off more than I can chew. And sure enough by Saturday morning, I knew this challenge would not be a success.

My 14 year old son had been asking to get a haircut for the past few weeks and on Saturday morning he asked again. I paid for the cut with cash I had from being reimbursed for something so the money didn't necessarily come from budgeted money.

But, we went to In-n-Out ($23.16) on the way home from my daughter's soccer game, I ordered a new cover ($6.94) for my iphone since the one I have is broken and we had dinner out Monday night ($53.90).

We are a few dollars over budget because we went over in gas, groceries, and personal care. My daughter had 2 games this past weekend that were out of town so that took it's toll on my gas budget and I bought stuff at the grocery store that I had coupons for but didn't necessarily need for this week. I also got a bag a frozen chicken breasts at Costco to the tune of $19.99 and even though we will have them for a while it still puts a dent in my budget. At $1.99/pound, I can't get this price anywhere else.

Our personal care budget is over because I did some CVSing and spent more than I should have. I do like to buy things we use with coupons when they are sale even though we might not necessarily need them immediately. I figure I would rather pay as little as possible for stuff we use instead of waiting until I need it and paying full price, however this can sometimes put a dent in our budget as it did this pay period.

So, I will need to take a look at our budget for the upcoming pay period (I budget by pay period) and make adjustments as needed, taking into account travel for soccer and basketball games. I'll also need to make extra efforts to spend as little as I can on groceries.

My no spend week challenge

November 5th, 2010 at 09:26 pm

I menu planned and grocery shopped today for next weeks dinners. I have a few more groceries to buy but other than that and some gas for my car, my hope and challenge is to not spend any money for the next week.

Bills are paid and the fridge is almost full so this should be a pretty doable goal, although with 2 school aged kids I never know what expenses will arise. Also, I admit that this will be a challenge but I'm determined to do it because not only is it a step towards spending less but also to getting the MasterCard paid off.

Ugh and catching up

November 4th, 2010 at 10:41 am

October was pretty crappy in terms of spending and tracking our money. I kept procrastinating about entering stuff into Quicken and therefore, out of sight out of mind.

The good news is that we got our taxes done, bad news is that we had to pay on the federal portion. I am awaiting a few hundred dollars refund from the state and I think it will go to savings. I really want to build up our emergency fund as I'm worried that with money being so tight something will happen and we will have to rely on our credit card to pay for it.

Good news is that I'm now up to speed with Quicken and my budget spreadsheet. I don't like having to enter things twice but for now it works and is worth the extra effort.

I've been tweaking my budget spreadsheet and think I've got it to where I need it to be (formulas, how info is displayed etc). I'm hoping that by the beginning of the year I will have worked out all the kinks and can start a new workbook for 2011. I'm doing a biweekly budget and assigning bills to each pay period and I'm liking how its been working so far.

Good news is that I paid off two credit cards. Our flat screen tv is paid off (we did the zero interest thing) and a small amount from JCPenney. I'm now snowballing those payments to our MasterCard.

I've gone mostly to all cash (debit card) except for my weak spot of dining out. This continues to be our biggest budget buster. Lack of planning on my part is mostly to blame. MUST DO BETTER.

The focus now is on paying off the MasterCard. I need to project payments so I can estimate how soon I can pay it off. I did make a fairly large payment last night with the cash reserves in our checking. I never transferred the reserves out of our account as I was too afraid I may have missed something major in my budget and actually need the cash, so I've decided to make smaller payments with this money until the reserves are gone and I'm confident I didn't overlook something.

I've been thinking about some financial goals for 2011 and hope to nail them down soon. One of these goals will be to record my thoughts here on a more regular basis because doing that keeps my financial goals at the forefront.