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.

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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.

One of “those” days…

Ever have a day when you’re so overwhelmed you sit at your desk for the last 4 hours of the day and just do nothing? Not really nothing… just anything but work.

Or have you ever had a day where the project you have to get done, doesn’t? Not because you didn’t work on it. Rather you worked on it for 15 minutes in every hour of they day but then got interrupted at least, if not more, than once an hour by something that is absolutely more important than your project.

The world is burning and you’re project is to find out how to stop it – but you keep getting interrupted by the little fires starting to eat away at your building which you legitimately have to stop now, but these little things keep interrupting your work on the big picture.

For me, this happens every day. Its frustrating. I think its what makes me so crabby in the evenings.  I think it causes road rage as well.  However I’ve come up with a way to work with it.

My most successful way to focus, I’ve found is to estimate an amount of time that I think I can get a specific task completed. Sit there for that amount of time, close my email, put my phone on do not disturb, and do it.  If I get a little longer than that allotted time, I let myself. But I have to complete that task.

Then I choose my next task and how long it will take. And I do it again.

This also makes my time sheet easier. I have to account for all my time spent in a day, what project I spent time on, what customer I worked with.

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.