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.

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….

Minimalism and Makeup

I was a wannabe minimalist for a while there (see previous posts) but I’ve succumbed to the pressure to buy.  Specifically makeup.  And lots of it.

When is enough, enough? Well after a few hundred dollars (I haven’t really counted but when I’ve qualified for Ulta’s Platinum status on the rewards card – I know I’ve spent $350 at that store alone.)

But I don’t believe in expensive makeup.  The most costly thing I own is my Revlon Color Stay Foundation.  But what I don’t spend on one product I definitively spend on 30 different products.

However I think I’ve finally hit my limit.  I was going through a shopping cart on Ulta or Sephora and I realized, “I have that color” and then on another site, “I have a color that’s very similar to that and I’ve NEVER used it!”

So once more I’m on a spending moratorium.  I’m still looking at products mind you.  I’m just not buying unless i really need it.  And if I find one of the products or samples or whatever I have just isn’t very good – I toss it.

(Favorite product right now – Wet N Wild Silent Treatment Color Icon Trio.  On my nails is Wet N Wild Mega Last nail color in Wet Cement.)

So I’m going to try and use a different product on my eyes every day.  Pull out every palette and try each color. Really get some use out of what I have rather than keep spending money!  It is what it is (my face that is) so any new product can only do so much.  Nothing out there is going to make me look like Kate Upton, no matter what it claims to be able to do.  I still need to get some skill in applying it too.  So practice I will do.

Minimal Email

For the last week I’ve been working on sorting through all the messages I’ve let accumulate in my Inbox at work. I leave the messages there because I seem to think that I’ll need to refer back to them. You know, each “Lost/Found Keys in the Lunchroom” email, and each “we saw this error 6 months ago and you might see it again” email. I had a sorting system but I was a little to granular. I had one for Wireless issues, one for WAN issues however if the issue seemed to span Wireless and WAN I always didn’t know quite where to put the message. So I’d leave it in my inbox until I decided…

So I followed a suggestion instructions on Leo Babauta’s website zenhabits.net. I modified his list but I think it will work for me. I created an Action folder and an Save folder. I found that when I searched for an email I’d open up my All Documents link (we use Lotus Notes at work – don’t judge me) and just search for the sender/receiver or subject. So now I just have to go to the Save folder or still go to the All Documents. Under the Save folder I have a couple of specialized folders that I do actually use. But those folders had to meet criteria – have I actually looked in this folder in my recent memory, or will I likely do so. If it didn’t meet these requirements the folder was trashed and the emails were moved to the Save folder. For example, I like to save the emails regarding new employees at our company or emails that are sent when people leave the company. Those two folders I’ve actually used recently and I like to go through them nostalgically and remember people who came and went.

Today, finally, I’ve completed emptying my Inbox of all that crap that I didn’t really need to refer to. Anything that I still need to act on is in the Actions folder – and this I hope to keep up to date – moving items out when they are acted upon. It took me maybe 4 hours to really get this completed.

Weekly Project Update

Accountability.  I don’t generally follow through on things I say I’m going to do.  Look at this blog for an example.  I started it in September of 2012.  Then didn’t post anything for 4 months.

I overeat/don’t exercise – I say I will – then I don’t.

Well, maybe this blog will help me be accountable for something finally.  Here’s an update on my budget situation.

This week I brought my lunch 3 out of 5 days.  That’s better than 50% so I’m happy about that.  I ate out twice but made sure not to splurge.  Total spent on food out for the week was around $12.

Overall, I’m very pleased.

On the crafting front – I’m almost halfway through the second pillow case I’m hand embroidering. I’d like to have this done for the Belleville Flea Market.

On the Antique front – I have a bunch of milk bottles I bought a few months ago and I would like to get those cleaned up for the flea market too.

Lots to do…

Budget (Update #1)

I just re-read my first blog post and remembered my first decision was to live by a budget.  I haven’t given up on this yet.  The first couple of month’s I didn’t drastically change anything. I listed how much I spend on everything and then gave myself some reasonable limits.  These limits didn’t stop me from spending, however.

I tried bringing my lunch to work – I stopped after a a week.  I kept meaning to but I didn’t do it.  Turns out living by a budget doesn’t just happen.  It takes thoughtfulness.

I’ve noticed this to be a recurring theme in my life. I tend to just float by in life. Whatever happens, happens.  Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t.  I feel that I don’t have a lot of control over what goes on in my life.

I’m wrong of course.  We control most things in our lives.

If I want to save money on lunch by bringing it, I need to think ahead and plan how.  I don’t need to buy a lot of special things for lunch. Whatever we have in the house will probably do just fine. We always have can’s of soup, lunch meat, salad stuff, left overs, etc. The task I had to commit myself to was to actually make it each night.  This week, and last week I finally succeeded in doing this for the most part.

The second thing I needed to do was start thoughtful purchasing.  I’ll discuss this in a further post.