Check in for 1st Quarter 2016

How did I do spending wise?  Not great.  But my tax return helped a lot.

January $89 left over

February neg $2350 – Vacation – mental health break

March $2979 left over

April $379 left over

In March I started my new savings plan.  We had a great vacation in February where I decided to go with my mom and take the train to Chicago and go first class.  A ton of fun with my mom.  Came home with the flu.  But we had fun.  Want to do that again.  Wiped out my savings. Yes I know that’s not what savings are for.  But a mental health break is sometimes needed.  And next time I know how to do it cheaper.

In March I got a great tax return and paid off all my credit card debt and put $1700 in savings.  That felt good to get back on track.  Starting with zero on my credit cards feels great. So I’m going to try to work on maintaining that.  Plus I’d like to save $600 a month to get a six month reserve fund.  At this rate I should reach my goal by November.

In April I spent quite a lot, but those were household expenses for the most part.  Things that I didn’t want my mom to have to put on her credit card.

But to be totally honest – I need to cut back eating out and shopping for fun.  Online purchases are entirely too easy.  I think I might try something new.  No Paypal transactions going forward.  And I’ll try something that isn’t new. No purchases the same day as I see an item.  And remember – no sale saves you as much money as not spending anything at all.

Here’s the budget for May

Rent/Groceries $1200

Gas and Auto – $80 (Thanks low mid-west gas prices)

Business Purchases – $70

Entertainment – $25

Dining out – $200

Doctors and Medicine – $150

Shopping – $100

Cash – $80

Misc. – $50

Total Expenditures $1955

Total to Savings $600

Total for the month – $2555

Projected for May

I already know I’m going to a movie during the beginning of May.  Also I may be getting a new-to-me car at way under the cost of a new car. But I’m hoping to sell my existing car for a decent amount too.

Checkin for Week of January 18

So I caved under the sales at JCPenney.  I’m weak.  However I would like to note I spent much less than I normally would have.  I bought 2 blouses and 1 pair of exercise pants.  Total with the sale and the 20% off was only $46.  Then I ate at Sarku.  That was really the whole reason I went to the mall.

So I’m starting now, no clothing or shoes purchases.  Nothing. Nada.  I have plenty of clothes and shoes.  More than plenty.  I’m going to purge a few more items that I don’t wear and/or make me uncomfortable (don’t fit, ugly, etc.).

Currently my budget looks like this:

Income: $2850 (per month)

Rent/Groceries: $1255.00   (I live at home so I just contribute towards all expenses)

Auto (Gas): $80

Business Services: $100

Entertainment: $25

Food and Dining: $200

Dentist Loan: $400  ($2866 remaining)

Medical: $150 (HSA Reimburses this amount.)

Shopping: $100

Cash: $60

Misc: $60

Add to Savings: $420

Total Expenses Budgeted: $2850 – (I’m trying to do the Dave Ramsey budget every penny model.)

 

Regarding my savings.  I’m working towards getting a hefty savings built up.  I’d like to get a 6 month cushion built up.  Then on top of it I’d like to start saving for a car.  I want to get where I’m saving around $800 – 900 per month.  Once I’m done with my Dentist loan that will help.  And then with my cutting out purchases that should also push me towards that goal. Food and Dining are the next to take a big cut.  This needs to come way down to help me reach my savings goal.

Purchases – Check in

So for the month of January I’ve already spent around $200 on purchases.  However I’ve created a new budget item called Business Services.  I’ve recently started trying to sell some of my crochet items on Etsy.  I’ve actually sold one thing.  However I had to create a budget for fees and supplies for this endeavor.  So I set up a budget of $100 per month.

Yes I’ve already blown it for this month.

But I have a good reason.  My sister works for someone who needed some new logo apparel for their business.  And I offered to try to come up with a new logo and use my embroidery machine to do up some shirts and sweatshirts.  So I needed supplies for this.  However, I’ve learned even more about the cost of being cluttered.  I didn’t take inventory of what I already had.  After I purchased things from Joann’s and Amazon, I found that I already had some of the things that I thought I would need.  So I now have some duplicates.  However I’m chalking that up to a learning experience as well and am getting myself more organized so this doesn’t happen again.

Additional purchases were made for our “Go-Bags”. Some call these “Bug-Out” bags.  These are some first aid and food kits that we put together a while back in case of emergency at our home or even if we had to evacuate.  I thought the items needed to be refreshed.  We put these together about 5 years ago.  I couldn’t believe when I saw the expiration date on the first aid stuff that it had been that long.  So I had to do some  unexpected purchases of stuff for those.  Then my mother and I tested some of the MRE’s to see if they were going to work for us. We were curious how bad they would be.  They actually weren’t bad. We both agreed that we could live on them.  However, there was one that tasted so bad we each only gave one taste and threw it away.  It was an Indian dish. Muttar something.  It was bad.  And I like Indian food.  This tasted… not like Indian food.  So we took those out of the bags and made sure we had some good ones.  The vegetable stew with beef was very tasty.  Then there was some shredded potatoes with bacon that were yummy.  So I reorganized those and they are back in our closet.  However I just received the first aid items that I need to load into the kits, so they’ll have to come out one more time.

Other than that there haven’t been any purchases. (There were a few that were left overs from last month.  Hautelook items sometimes don’t ship for a month or two, so even though I purchased them last month, they reflect on this month’s budget.) I’ve controlled myself well.  I’ve been putting things on my wishlist on Amazon, to revisit at another time and see if I still want them.  I also went through my wishlist and cleaned it up.  There was a lot that were old wishlist items that just weren’t needed anymore.

Another thing helping my budget is the lower gas prices in the St. Louis area.  This has caused my gas budget to go from $120 per month to $80.  And even that is high I think.

Plans for next month – One thing I really want to get purchased with next month’s budget is a Go Bag for work.  I work at a location that if something were to happen, I’d like to be prepared.  So I have plans to go to our local military surplus store and get a bag together.  I have the list of everything I need ready.

So this is a long post but I wanted to show my progress.  I feel like I’ve made some progress.

Budgets – the ongoing saga

So last month was a horrible budget month. Totally blown. To many shiny things to tempt me.  

So this month I’m going to focus on contentment. Many of the things I buy are because I’m sure I NEED this thing to look better, to feel better, to do something better. And yet I get the thing and I don’t feel different. I now must remember to use it. I must find a place to store it. 

Right now, I need nothing. I have food. I have shelter. I have clothing (more than enough). I have a car. What I need is to be content with these things. To take stock of what I have. And appreciate those things and myself for what we are. 

Instead of buying I’m beginning a decluttering plan. I’ll link this later if I like it. I will start with the things I can change. Not the things I cannot. And if I need to buy something to make decluttering work better – I’m going to try to wait a day or two to make sure I really need it. 

I’m going to try to post a few times this week with my progress. 

Minimalism and me

I’m intrigued by Minimalism. I’m reading about it constantly.  I don’t really want to see and count how many things I live with – but to have a room not look cluttered and to love everything in a room is my dream.  Right now my home is filled with Ebay and Flea Market inventory.  The good news is, in just around 2 months we hope to be able to move most of this inventory into a pole barn and out of our residence.  Yay!

So my desire to finally have clean and clear surroundings may actually happen soon.

I’m also looking for ways to reduce my waste and overbuying.  I’ve finally got my budget sorted.  I started using an online budget tool which let me get all my credit cards and bills together in one place and analyse my spending.  With that done I’m finally looking at what I can cut back.  Right now I have no debt outside of the rental units I own with my sister.  And that makes me very relieved.  However I still don’t have a 6 month savings built up.  This is my goal now.

So to lessen how much I buy every month I’m starting a new plan. When I see something I want – I wait.  I’m making myself wait at least 2 weeks. Maybe a full month.  This will make me save for the item I want and also to see if I still really want it after that initial thought enters my head.

For example – right now I want a yarn winder.  I want you so bad!

But it’s in my amazon wish list.  And I’m waiting….

What I can’t do….

I love dancing. I love to watch good dancers. I love to watch a crowd dance at a wedding. I’d even join in. But I can’t dance.

I wish I could dance. Just to be able to hold a beat. To swivel and slide on the floor. But alas, there isn’t a rhythmic bone in my body. Oh people say i look fine. But I don’t believe it. I know they are wrong. I just don’t feel right when I dance. I feel… clunky, slow, off beat.

I imagine that when good dancers are dancing, they feel it, they feel good, they feel right. Maybe I’m wrong. But that doesn’t mean I should dance.

Drugs and Death

I just read a really accurate artcile about Drugs.  The part that got me was the title –

Aaron Sorkin: Drugs not ‘overdose’ killed Philip Seymour Hoffman

I thought to my self – what is that crazy ‘shroom eater saying now.  But it wasn’t that at all.  He stated a very good point about how we say things can give the wrong impression to others.

“We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine…He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed – he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it.” (quoted from article linked above. Source bbc.com/news)

I‘ve noticed in reading, and my own writing, the tendency to put things into a Passive sentence structure. When I was in school I couldn’t understand what they (the teachers) meant when we were learning about these.  But now I find myself doing this daily.  We use this structure to shift blame. “The computer was broken” as compared to “John broke the computer”.  It makes us feel better to be passive, not blaming, not accusing someone, even ourselves.

We all have a responsibility to make sure we are doing the right thing. The amount of drugs he took didn’t kill him.  The act of him taking drugs did.