Week in Review 10.1-3

This month I’ve… 

  • Started knitting a sweater for bf’s dog
  • Went to a craft fair
  • Got to meet my new “niece”
  • Finally watched Iron Man 3

I bought…

  • A laundry hamper
  • Groceries
  • Cardigan (that I promptly got candle wax on…need to get on cleaning that)
  • Redbox movies (IM3 & Now You See Me)
  • 2 Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes (& pumpkin spice creamer to make my own!)

October Goal Progress includes…

  • Baked a pumpkin pie from scratch with bf! (Pictures to come)
  • Changed my headlight!

How has your October been?

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Week in Review 9.3

9.3 mosaic

This week I…

  • Finished a 20 page study guide for my psychology test
  • Finished bf’s sister’s baby  blanket!
  • Had a job interview (that went really well)
  • Played with the most spoiled dog in the world
  • Ate entirely too many candy corn pumpkins
  • Have to make some paradigm changes to be less insecure

I bought…

  • BILLS (well paid not bought)
  • Gas
  • Dresses
  • Candy corn pumpkins

September Goal Progress includes…

  • Had an interview for a second job (part-time) that went really well. They just have to clear me missing some of training. I also applied for more e-lance jobs for course and presentation design, so we’ll see.

How was your week?

May 2013 Recap

Like I promised on the first, I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and I think despite some terrible things this month, my overall outlook on life and the things that I do and don’t have control over has definitely markedly improved. I am considerably happier with my life now and am starting to feel more assertive and confident in who I am, what I deserve, and what I want to accomplish.

physically fit

  1. Have a balance of $1800 on my Discover Card
  2. Pay $250 of the $500 I owe my university
  3. Have $100 in my savings account

None of those things were accomplished. I ended up being a few hundred dollars short of income this month because my grandfather died (and I had to take off of work – I don’t get bereavement or sick days or anything) and because I got sick. I also ended up driving home a lot more this month because of my grandfather’s illness and because my family’s German foreign exchange student is leaving tomorrow 😦 More about my budget is below.

physically ffit

  1. Lose 13 lbs
  2. Log into MFP every day and log all exercise/food intake
  3. Do purposeful yoga at least 3x/wk and the Sun Saluation daily

I logged in every day for about the first week. I lost 2lbs? I gained 4 during the month and then lost those and the additional 2. I wish I would have done more yoga – I find it always really helps to center me, but keeping my wits was about all I accomplished 😛 Next month, however, bf seemed okay with the idea of going to a yoga class as a date (I love them, but I can’t do it regularly at $15/pop).

pphysically ffit

  1. Finish the book of Matthew
  2. Read Millionaire Next Door
  3. Attend Stanford virtual finance classes
  4. Write 15 blog posts (min)
  5. Meditate daily

HA! I did accomplish some things this month!!! I did finish the book of Matthew. It initially reminded me of a lot of leadership development books I had read, but then suddenly at the end (during the crucifixion and when the parables started becoming really heavy) it got…stressful? to read. And I wasn’t aware that the books after that are also telling this story. I will throw this out here that I was not raised in the church and have been going since February with bf and his family (Episcopalian). His mother gave me a Bible and we met with the deacon of the church. He suggested I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Honestly it was a little relieving to know there’s going to be more about the crucifixion. It seemed…like there should be more than 10 pages on that (not being flip). I did write the blog posts! I think 3/week is something I can comfortably keep up for now so that will become a standing goal. Meditating daily was something that tied with my goals of thinking positively. I did a lot of reflection and a lot of journaling this month, and it has really helped. I was able to confront a lot of things that were holding my relationship with bf back, and a lot of things that were just holding me back as a person.

Miscellaneous:

I heard back from the job (didn’t get it 😦 ), applied for another that was filled before I got to it, and I’ve applied to a third I haven’t heard back from. The wedding I attended was a ton of fun! I ended up getting a dress for it at Marshall’s that I can also wear to work or church, so I’m pleased with it (natural waisted and teal). I also got a pair of nude pumps from Payless Shoe Store. They work with pretty much everything I own, because all other heels I owned were actually giant wedges or were 4” high, so I needed heels that were work appropriate etc. And this also works out because I have another wedding to attend in June! Multi-purpose dress! Rock of Ages was pretty cool! It’s the second broadway tour show I’ve seen (the other was Wicked in Edmonton).

So what about my budget? 

This month wasn’t awful budget-wise, but with having to pay May’s rent, June’s rent, and a deposit this month, it made my “three paycheck month” actually not that great. In fact, since I got paid the 31st and will be using that money for June bills, I’m not including all that in here at all! 

May Spending Recap 2013

Total Income: $1226.40 + $98 transfer from savings & Total Spent: $1377.33 for net difference of -$52.93. That $52.93 would be from the interest + $24.96 that was $20 on gas and $4.96 on food all used on my Discover Card. 

  • Rent/Internet– $760 – May + deposit for the new house!
  • Discover & Interest – $76.93 – $49 minimum + $27.93 in interest
  • Electricity – $59.18 – This is actually a lot less than I thought it would be; however, I expect the one coming up to be higher
  • Gas – $139.04 – I’m hoping this falls in June back down to under $100 because I’ll be going home a lot less and found a more efficient way to come back from work.
  • Medicine – $26.87 – I’m hoping I get my insurance straightened out so this falls to like $3/mo.
  • Food – $110.50 – This actually isn’t terrible for one person I suppose. It also includes eating out.
  • Phone – $50.59 – This is standardized and auto-withdraws every month.
  • Miscellaneous – $154.22 – About $60 of this is the wedding outfit + shoes + 2 birthday presents, $50 is Pop-A-Lock (I am so displeased about that y’all), and the rest was cat food, a new bra, and kitchen supplies (trashbags, paper towels, etc.)

Reflection: 

I’m hitting the point to where I really need to increase my available cash, and the only ways I can really see doing that are if I decrease my spending or increase my income. After discussing my finances with others and looking at it on paper, the only way I could cut my spending is to do a complete spending fast…and to be honest it seems a little more doable if I could increase my income in some manner, so that’s going to be one of my big focuses for June.

I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money. – Pablo Picasso 

April 2013 Recap

It was definitely a month of showers. April was pretty much the worst month I’ve had since February/March of 2012 (which were “dumped in a bus station” bad). I didn’t really set goals for this month, but I guess I did accomplish a few things that fall under the three big categories. Other things that happened this month can be found here. I am determined that May will be a month of flowers!

physically fit

  1. My savings account now has $100! 
  2. I finished paying for my car insurance!

physically ffit

  1. I lost the 8 lbs I gained in March (from February) + 4 more for a net loss of 12 lbs! 

pphysically ffit

  1. Wrote 10 blog posts! 
  2. Signed up for a finance class through Venture Labs at Stanford!
  3. Applied for a new job at a nonprofit!

So what about my budget? 

This wasn’t a terrible month budget-wise, but my income was a lot smaller because I took off a few days + having Good Friday off, so I missed almost a week of work. I don’t get leave or holiday pay, so it was like a long weekend. But it was worth it. Even if it means things were tight. 

april2013

Total Income: $1212.69 & Total Spent: $1291.39 for net difference of -$78.70. Yeah. I used my Discover card =/ but I did put $100 in my savings account, so I guess technically I have a net gain of $21.30. Though I shouldn’t have used my card. 

  • Car Insurance – $120 – I have officially paid my car insurance!
  • Discover – $80 – Kind of moot since I spent $50 of my limit this month. =/
  • Electricity – $62.37 – It’s getting warmer, so the bill is going to climb a little.
  • Gas – $143.51 – I went home four weekends in a row in addition to what I normally spend (home = $240+ mile round trip), soI spent roughly double what I normally do.
  • Medicine – $26.87 – I’m having insurance problems right now, so I’m having to pay for things like BC outright. It’s not a big deal right this second, but it’d be nice if they would sort out clerical errors!
  • Miscellaneous – $150.97 – This includes knitting purchases, girly purchases, and a purse that I bought for my brother’s gf after depositing cash in my account (since she doesn’t have a debit card).
  • Phone – $50.59 –  I finally called and figured out why I couldn’t access my account and setup autopay, which means I save $6/month!
  • Rent/Electricity – $385 – This is pretty much the same as it always is.
  • Savings Transfer – $100 – Yeah I put monies in my savings account!
  • CC Interest – $28.61 – Not in the chart up there, but that is included in my expenses. I did remove the protection plan fee from my card, so this is just interest…

Reflection: 

I didn’t really set budgetary goals this month, but I think I did pretty well. Only 12% of my expenditures were unrelated to bills or necessities (gas/food). I’m glad I ended the month 12 lbs lighter than where I started, and although April was icky and terrible, I’m looking to put my best foot forward into May. As Thoreau says:

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

And I don’t.

March 2013 Recap

Obviously, with it being over halfway through April, you can bear with me when I say this “March went out so much like a lamb, I cannot even remember what I did.” While that is only sort of true, it is true that March was certainly a #YOLO month for me. I’m not sure if this was because of how anal-retentive I was during January and February (1200 calories every single day, paying off my rent debts, less spending, etc.)…but suddenly, during March, I just did not even care. So as of when this post should have been written, we’d be roughly 15% of the way through the year. RIDICULOUSNESS, AMIRITE? So I’ve made…better progress toward my goals in April, but this is about what went down in March…

physically fit

  1. Put $200 (min) into savings acct
  2. Make $100 in Discover Card Payments
  3. Research & set up a mock portfolio with Morningstar
  4. Create my loan repayment plan
  5. Spend $$$ to eat out a maximum of 2x
  6. Don’t use Discover Card

Yeah no. None of these happened. I didn’t even keep a budget. In fact, I took off of work for three days so that I could go to Gulf Shores with bf and his family. It was a ton of fun, but took nearly $300 in income + ~$100 spent on souvenirs and preparation things.

physically ffit

  1. Lose 10 lbs
  2. Log into MFP every day
  3. Complete weeks 1-4 of Couch to 5k
  4. Do Wii Fit Yoga routine 2x a week
  5. Contact Habitat for Humanity & volunteer a minimum of one Saturday

Nope. Didn’t even log into MFP. IN FACT I GAINED 7 LBS. Great right?

pphysically ffit

  1. Read 4 books minimum (1 per week)
  2. Learn and use one ASL sign a day (31 total)
  3. Revise & update my résumé and LinkedIn
  4. Write 16 blog posts

Nope. I did learn some more sign language because I saw my grandparents the last weekend of March, but I didn’t achieve really anything mentally. Actually, I found out I had to apply for reentry into my university because I took a semester off…which is more than a little frustrating since I called ahead of time to specifically ask if that would happen (to which I was told, “No”).

I know a lot of this sounds like complaining, and that’s probably because so much has happened between now and March and I’m a little sleepy (and thereby grumpy 😉 ); however,

th (1)

I needed a #YOLO month…or so I think. It was a month filled with wonder and joy. At least, it was one I spent mostly at bf’s house eating food his mom cooked, watching tv, and in general being happy. I didn’t achieve my goals, but honestly, after some reflection, those were less things I actually wanted to achieve last month and more things I thought I had to achieve before 1/4 of the year was through to show I had made adequate progress.

So what about my budget? 

I didn’t really track my spending. At. All. So I’ll just use my bank statements to figure all this out. I’m not even doing a pie chart…

Total Income: $1245.65 ($192.20 leftover from February)with & Total Spent: $1437.07. This is obviously not including Discover Card nonsense, which ends in total payment: $124, total spent: $42.52, and total interest: $33.96. I did finally get rid of the protection plan that kept charging my account!

  • Rent (& internet) – $395 – This is pretty much the same every month.
  • Telephone – $56.35 – I have a Net10 Trac-phone
  • Auto – $73.12 – Not that terrible. I didn’t do a lot of traveling this month using my car.
  • Electricity – $54.19 – A little lower than last month!
  • Discover – $124 – Not the ending balance…
  • Everything Else – $734.41 – I couldn’t even tell you. This is food, clothing, eating out, etc. I don’t even know.

Reflection: 

So it did go out like a lamb…

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February 2013 Recap

The shortest month of the year is gone! I’m a little sad, but at the same time relieved. Mardi Gras is done with, Valentine’s Day is done with, bf’s birthday is done with (I promise I’m not the Grinch), and now we’re 16% of the way through the year! So what kind of progress have I made on my goals?

physically fit

  1. Pay my roommate the remaining $421.10 I owe him
  2. Save $460 for my car insurance (due in March) – I later lowered this to $300 (based on anticipated income), but I actually saved $400 and will pay the remaining amount the eighth!
  3. Don’t spend ANY $$$ on eating out or vending machines – I spent very little? 🙂 I spent $10.99 taking bf out for yogurt and $9 on food at work (both the last week of February). The latter was because I had only had yogurt the day before and was starting to get sick from low blood sugar. 
  4. Don’t use my Discover Card AT ALL – Welll…sort of? I used it twice, once to buy baking things for Valentine’s Day and once to buy a loaf of bread, but both times I paid back that amount as soon as I got paid, so although I did use it, I paid it off during the month, which I hear is how these things are supposed to work.
  5. Begin researching Morningstar for creating a portfolio – NOPE.
  6. Stay within my set monthly budget – I did for most everything except miscellaneous expenses. There were a lot more “holiday-esque” celebrations this month than I anticipated.

physically ffit

  1. Lose 10 lbs – Almost! 02/01/13 – 188, 02/28/13 – 179.6, aka a net loss of 8.4 lbs
  2. Log into My Fitness Pal every day – Yes!
  3. Work out every day – Ha. Ha. Ha. No.

pphysically ffit

  1. Write 13 blog posts (minimum) – Eh. No. But I didn’t do badly either? I hit 9, or roughly 75% of that goal.
  2. Read 8 books – NOPE. I intended to, I really did, but I wanted to finish Catch 22 so badly…but I hate it so much. I think I’m throwing in the towel for now on finishing it.
  3. Work with BF to learn to read sheet music – I’d say there was a little bit of victory here. When I went to church with him I could at least follow the pitch of the hymns I didn’t know.

Looking at that, it doesn’t seem like I actually got a lot done, but I’m very satisfied. Only eating out twice (and spending $20 vs. $150) on that this month is a really big accomplishment for me, as well as seeing a weight starting with 17_ for the first time since 2008. And I made progress on most of the ones I didn’t outright accomplish. Reasons for that are mostly work-related, in that we have a huge deadline coming up so there’s been a lot of coming early and staying late and sleeping 15 hours from exhaustion every day.

So what about my budget? 

I did a lot better this month than in January. I tracked my spending very carefully, and although there was a hiccup literally on the last day of the month with card interest and fees tipping my expenses to be a little more than my income, I would say that February blew January out of the water in regard to spending. 

Feb2013

Total Income: $1475.08 & Total Spent: $1442.88 for net difference of +$32.20.

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! 

Except not really. Discover charged interest (which I had forgotten to take into account in my budget), as well as a Protection Plan Fee. So when I take into account that expense (even though I didn’t spend it, it’s still on my card and therefore I count it as an expense), my total spent is $1489.10 for a net difference of -$14.02. Although I am in no way pleased that number is still negative, it’s still a drastic difference from the -$202.25 from last month. In fact, it’s a 93% improvement! #smallvictories

  • Rent (& internet) – $496 – I am officially caught up on rent with my roommate! Yay!
  • Groceries – $108.8 – Exactly $19.99 of this was eating out. $10.99 was from treating bf to froyo on his birthday, and $9 was the cafeteria at work. The rest actually from a grocery store (and not even the deli part 😛 )
  • Auto – $73.12 – Gas is getting more expensive. Also I’ve been visiting bf’s family a little more often, so it’s a little more gas.
  • Electricity – $61.48 – A little lower than last month.
  • Discover – $73 – This was the $49 minimum payment plus the $24 payment to pull me back under my limit (which had happened because I forgot how interest worked because I’m silly).
  • Miscellaneous – $174.13 – This was VERY high this month, but that would be because it includes a trip to the doctor’s office, my mom’s birthday present, bf’s birthday present, Valentine’s Day stuff, etc. February is an awful month for gifts! Some of this was also stuff like cat litter (boring).
  • Savings/Specialty – $432.20 – $400 of this was car insurance (surpassing my goal of putting $300 toward the total $480 this month) and $32.20 is still sitting in my bank account…although honestly it will probably go to gas for the next two weeks instead of my savings account.
  • Fees – $46.22 – This would be the payment protection plan and interest that I didn’t even remember existed. Because I miss the forest for the trees sometimes.

Reflection: 

If I had anticipated the interest, I would have spent less on bf’s present and made sure to have a back-up lunch at work, which would have kept me in the green. But now I know and can adjust accordingly. I wasn’t as frugal as I could have been, but I hit a point about 75% through the month where it was really difficult to keep depriving myself, and honestly, I don’t think I can sustainably do that. Being out of debt and saving up for tuition asap is very important to me; however, to constantly have to say no to everything is really too much. What good is 2013 if all my memories are of me hiding out in my room looking at spreadsheets? Nada.

So was February Fierce? Yes.

January 2013 Recap

So January is officially over. We are 8% of the way through the year already! How did that even happen??? So I started the year with a lot of goals, and I’m going to be doing a little wrap-up of progress on each so that I stay on track, or at least am aware I’m not doing it (which to be honest is more of a problem than just not wanting to).

physically fit

  1. I know every penny I spent this month (I even went in and split transactions where needed and wrote in what I spent cash on – I feel fancy!)
  2. I created a standardized budget to use from February on that I think will work for me!
  3. I paid my roommate $700 of the $730 I owe him

physically ffit

  1. I’ve been working out 2-3 times a week (yoga, jogging/walking 4 miles/Wii Fit)
  2. I lost 11 lbs total this month! (1/1/13: 199; 1/31/13: 188)

pphysically ffit

  1. I found a way to finish my psychology minor that will cost me approximately $225 less in tuition/fees (if approved). I can take the last class as an independent/distance learning course on my own time for $445 versus at the university for $678.
  2. I read two and a half books this month! I know that should have been a higher number, but c’est la vie! I was thinking of adding a books page to do brief reviews…
    01/17 – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    01/24 – The Stranger by Albert Camus
    Current – The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald

I’d say it was a pretty successful month goal-wise. I know there’s tons more to do, but a lot of things (e.g. having an EF, saving for things) take time.

But what about my budget? 

I would say it’s not as awful as it could have been, but I could have done better. BUT, this month I tried to be very cognizant of every penny I spent. I have to be in February – my car insurance is due before my first paycheck of March >:| (which I suppose I want to work up from living paycheck to paycheck anyway, right?)

jan

Total Income: $1071.69 & Total Spent: $1273.94 for net spending of -$202.25.

Whomp Whomp Whomp. 

  • Rent – $700 – I now only owe my roommate February’s rent + $30. Yay! [I’m not one of those people who spent all their money on frivolous things and then went “Oh well no rent for you!” My parents sort of pigeon-holed me into having to go to school last semester and it was tuition or rent. Luckily I live with my best friend who was super understanding and knew I was working and trusted that I would pay him back, which I am]. 
  • Groceries – $191.05 – This is pretty much ridiculous. I group eating out into this as well, which is why it’s this high (I know some people have separate budgets, but I think food is food).
  • Auto – $68.71 – This is for gas to go to work, to visit my parents/brother once (about a 120 mile drive), and oil to change my oil
  • Electricity – $65.62 – Pretty normal and self-explanatory. My roommate and I keep a giant Excel spreadsheet. I pay the electric bill in full (it’s in my name) and he takes his portion out of the rent I owe (the lease is in his name)
  • Discover – $228.59 – This is payment to my card (plus $28.59 in interest that they charged at the end of the month that ended up overdrafting my card. I completely forgot that was even a thing). Lot of good putting money on it did me.
  • Miscellaneous – $46.99 – This would be getting a new license (lost my wallet in December), lotion, payment protection fee from Discover, and a trip to Goodwill

Reflection: 

So how could I have not overspent this month? Well. For one I could have not eaten out as much. I could have also cancelled the payment protection fee (which I keep meaning to do but it’s hard to find where on the website and I really don’t want to call (is it worth $17 to call? Probably)). I could have not gone home until February. Those three things alone would have probably kept me in the black for this month. This is better than other months (like where I overspent by almost $600 in December), but I just have to keep striving to be better.