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.

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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.

Cheap Makeup

I’ve worked for a computer consulting company for years. But even before that I didn’t have much to do with makeup. Too much work to put on. I would sweat it off, or it would just disappear.

Then I started watching a couple of beauty “gurus” on You Tube, and I found out that if you have the problems I mentioned above – use different makeup.

But then I was like, “But I don’t know which kind I even need. Have you ever looked at the makeup aisle? It’s a little overwhelming. And one of the makeup artists on You Tube only likes MAC products. MAC is not cheap. I’m not buying MAC.”

Then I found emilynoel83.  (AKA, Beauty Broadcast).  She loves and reviews tons of drugstore makeup.  She turned me on to ELF Cosmetics and Wet n Wild.  Both cheap drug store brands but with some good products.  ELF has $1 makeup brushes!!! And they are great! Also some Revlon and CoverGirl products which have really great quality.

My plan is to once a week review makeup.  I’ll go through my collection, what I wear every day and always come back to.  I hope you enjoy it.

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.

Embroidery and Budget Update

I went ahead and bought a cheap embroidery machine – a Brother PE-500. Its pretty nifty. I’ve used it a couple times. I’m waiting on some tea towel fabric to get delivered. I’ve been playing around with free embroidery files from the Internet. I keep having to remind myself I only have a 4 inch square. That’s 10 cm. Any larger and it won’t transfer to the machine, it can tell the size. So I’m playing with some free software to see if I can re-size the patterns. One thing I was looking forward to on the Ellure model is that it can do sewing and embroidery. At first that wasn’t a big deal to me since we already own a sewing machine, however on the table that I’ve got the two machines on it would be difficult to have both actually operating. The sewing machine is pushed to the back to give me enough room for the embroidery machine. And if I want to make the tea towels I would need to have both available. I envision being able to start one towel embroidering and then have another towel that I’m hemming. So I might get another little table for the other machine. Right now I’m using a drop leaf table in our dining room anyway and I could get another table and put it in my room, or I could expand the other side of the drop leaf… I’m still planning.

I’ve blown my budget for the month on that purchase. But I’m happy I bought it. I’ve still been not eating out too much. Took my lunch to work. Was home sick for 2 days so I ate at home those days. Today I’ve ordered in but that’s because I have to leave early and didn’t want to be starving all afternoon.  And its Friday… So quit judging me…

The dogs and cats (of which we have 2 and 3, respectively) also ate into my savings. I’ll be splitting the bill for their checkups with my mom and sister, so I think I’ll be out about $400 from my savings for them.  On a good note I finally hit $1000 on my savings account.  (it will be $600 now but its the thought that counts right?)

This month (January) I spent only $129 on restaurants – not counting what I paid in cash and debit.  For Gas I spent $114.  Not bad over all.

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…

What I’m saving for (right now)

I love arts and crafts – I have yarn and embroidery thread and scrapbook paper out the wazoo.

Here’s my new desire.

http://www.babylock.com/embroidery/ellure/

Image

I went to a local vacuum and sewing machine repair store (shout out to Fenton Sew and Vac!) and the sales lady gave me such a demo that I was hooked.  Of course the price made me choke a little. But they have in store classes and full support services and a package deal that really makes me drool a little.

As opposed to a comparableBrother model, the Ellure is a sewing and embroidery machine. The package deal includes a starter kit of full spools in a variety of colors, an assortment of stabilizers, and digitizing software.

I’m planning on monogramming and putting designs on towels, and pillow cases, and all sort’s of stuff.  I want to sell some of the things I make. We have a table at the Belleville Flea Market every month and I thought I could try to add a few items there and see if they sell.  I’m also thinking about Etsy.  I’ve also wanted to make wedding gifts before but usually don’t because I don’t have the time to actually sit down and do nothing but embroider.

Even though the shop offers free 0% financing for 24 months, I’m scared to just go out and purchase it and then not use it and regret it.  So I’m saving up. Not only will this give me the time to really consider if I’ll consistently use the machine, but it will also let me see if this desire dies out.  I get a lot of half brained ideas. A lot of buy it now and start a business ideas that never pan out, too.  So heres my saving schedule that I’ve figured out.

Out of each paycheck I already save $150 automatically (setup as an auto transfer through my bank) to my savings account.  Before I can buy the machine I decided I have to get $1000 in my account to give me a cushion in case of emergency (car, house, health, etc.) after that first $1000, everything on top is for my machine.

So I have $754 as of today.  If I keep saving $150 per pacheck I’ll have $3454 by the end of  August 2013.

However, if I start saving $250 per paycheck, I’ll have what I need by the first week of July 2013.  Seems like a significant improvement to me.

So I upped my auto transfer today to $250.  Lets see how it goes!

**Update** Inserted better link for the Belleville Flea Market.