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.

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.

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.

Auctions

My sister is a computer programmer with a shopping addiction. So she decided to start channeling that addiction into a business. She buys and sells antique and vintage items. And sometimes, plain, old crap.

I’m of two minds on this business. There is nothing more exciting than hearing her phone go off with bids on Sunday night. (Ebay app for Iphone). I’m part of the shipping department.

I’ve never discussed my anxiety issues with too many outside my family. But when we have to start packing I get the biggest anxiety attack and I get mean. So I don’t do the actual packing. I do the postage and labeling. I’m also the packaging materials acquisition expert.

Another problem I have is I’m an aspiring minimalist. This business and minimalism do not go together.

I guess you could call me a minimalist hoarder.