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Archive for December, 2005

Happy New Year . . . almost . . .

December 31st, 2005 at 05:11 pm

What a nice day. My boyfriend and I cleaned the house. I handled the bedroom, living room, and tidied the office a bit (this is an ongoing project), while he did a bunch of dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. We got a new set of dishes from his parents this year (well, new to us) . . . so he put those away too.

Now we're just deciding what to do for New Year's Eve. We had been planning to go to a friend's house and just hang out; however, our friends are sick . . . So, now I think we'll go to an inexpensive dinner (pho, yummy!) and then hang out with another group of friends. Hopefully it shouldn't be to expensive.

I've been thinking about 2006 goals, but I don't have anything firm. I won't wrap up my December numbers until I get paid on the 6th. I should post by then what my goals are Smile

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Spending:

$17.11 groceries

$58.53 left in budget (til 1/5)

Back home . . .

December 30th, 2005 at 04:50 pm

We arrived back home late last night, and returned the rental car today. That was a bit of a funny experience. When we went to pick up the car on Friday, the location we scheduled a pick up was closed! Ugh! So, we called the customer service line and they actually ended up being very helpful. We got a free upgrade and only had to go a few blocks over to another Budget location in order to pick up our car. My half of the rental is $80 (which I have in short term savings), and I only spend $13.03 for gas. We travelled with a friend of ours, and he picked up a couple of the fill-ups as a thank you for the ride. My boyfriend picked up one other fill-up, and I handled the topping off this morning. So, about $100 per person instead of the roughly $290 for a plane ticket (plus transportation to the airport).

Anyway, Christmas was lots of fun. I spent it with my boyfriend's parents and sister and had a good time. There were a few rough moments, but that's kind of to be expected with his family. My boyfriend and his father don't really get along, so at least once per trip there is some sort of blow up. His mom, his sister, and myself just go in the other room and have a cocktail or something Smile We also got to see a lot of old friends, as well as a few friends who moved back home only recently and who I know from Seattle. Lots of spending on going out Smile But oh well . . .

I actually came in under budget as far as Christmas shopping. I'll take the $66 and earmark it for my dental visit in February. I also got some more Christmas cash, which I'm still not sure how I'm going to use. I'll try and use it on something fun though Smile

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Spending/Saving:

$60 to short term save (Christmas money)

12/23
$22 dinner out

12/26
$2 snacks

12/27
$44 drinks out

12/28
$11 cigarettes
$1.50 ATM fee
$7 drinks out

12/29
$10 road snacks

$75.64 left in budget (til 1/5)

Housekeeping . . .

December 22nd, 2005 at 11:05 pm

I finally got motivated to clean up around the house. Finished all the dishes last night and mopped the floor, I also finished some laundry that needed to done before we leave tomorrow.

Work has been crazy this week, and I barely had time to finish all the little things that needed to be done today. I'm going to be gone all the way through January 3rd, which is going to make for a very relaxed holiday. We're leaving tomorrow for my boyfriend's parents. We come back on Thursday and will spend the rest of our time off at home. I won't have internet access while at his parent's house, so I'll use this time to wish everyone a happy holiday Smile

Now for some financial housekeeping before leaving and we'll be all set Smile

I get paid tomorrow, which is nice since I have $27.19 leftover in my budget. For now I'm earmarking it for short term savings. I know in February I have some dental work I need to have done so this will start that fund (should be about $200). On Tuesday I had my last cleaning for the year . . .

Here's the breakdown for the budget (12/23-1/5):

$262.50 half of January rent
$242.45 oil heating bill (once a year expense)
$57.63 regular payment for government student loan
$213.12 spending

Normally I budget $250 for spending (this includes groceries/utilities/play money). I have a lower amount for a couple of reasons. First, I did so well in the last two weeks staying below my normal amount that I want to see if I can do it again Smile Second, since I wasn't really expecting the oil bill I hadn't budgetted it in. Hence a bit lower spending this pay period Smile I'm sad that I won't really be able to put very much extra towards debt this month. I have a small incentive check at the end of the month (should be around $140) which will go partially towards the last of my ER bills and partially towards a bit extra on the student loans.

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Spending/Saving:


$27.19 to short term save

$15 cigarettes
$8 stamps
$4 coffee

$186.12 left in budget (til 1/5)

12/20 . . .

December 20th, 2005 at 08:17 pm

I've been so unmotivated over the last few days. I really need to do some laundry and finish the dishes. We're leaving early friday morning for the drive down to my boyfriend's parents, and I would rather not have to worry about laundry the night before Smile Of course, I'll probably put it off . . .

I did sell another book on ebookdrop . . . 3.74 yeah!

Other than not not much going on. It's been incredibly busy at work and I'm just too mentally numb to comment much more. Maybe that's whats up with procrastinating on house work. You know when it's crazy busy and your brain just kind of goes numb? Yeah, I'm feeling that Smile I guess I'll just relax tonight and be motivated tomorrow Wink We'll see how that works . . .

I did stop by the drug store to get some misc toiletries . . . face wash and the like . . . I'll need to bring it a long over Christmas, and I'd rather not run out while there Smile

Spending:

$11.11 drug store

$31.53 left in budget (til 12/23)

12/19 Update . . .

December 19th, 2005 at 08:24 pm

Hmm, I would say it's been busy here, but really I've been lazy Wink I had a nice relaxing weekend just lounging around with my boyfriend. Now we're all rested up to spend a week with his parents. We did go out with friends on Saturday, but only ended up spending $9 since most of the night we were at a work Christmas party. Seems kind of weird - since it wasn't out work - but we know most of the people that work there, and it was very casual - complete with a keg.

On Thursday one of my coworkers was fired. It was sooo hard, HR pretty much just told the manager that we had to let her go because of her outage. I ended up being the nice consolling manager, but we both were in the back crying . . . It was just such a shock, and now I go to work everyday expecting her to be there.

Fridays spending is all out of wack 'cause I was just too tired after all of that to pack a lunch or even care about my spending. I couldn't sleep either, I guess I'm still in shock at how fast it happened.

I mailed all my Christmas packages and last minute cards. Now I'm all set for the holiday, except my bf's sister's present. I'm kind of leaving that up to him since I made some suggestions. He'll have to make the final decision.

It looks like I'll come in under budget, which is nice. Especially since I lowered my normal spending amount from $250 for two weeks to $221 in order to try and make up for some of my doctors bills.

Spending:

12/15
$13.03 cigarettes
$11.17 post office (from Christmas budget)
$2.99 coffee

12/16
$4 coffee
$5 lunch
$4.58 snacks

12/17
$8 drinks

12/18
$22.46 groceries (toiletries/cigarettes/groceries)

12/19
$15 cigarettes

$45.64 left in budget (til 12/23)

ebookdrop update . . .

December 15th, 2005 at 10:36 am

Thanks for the comment, mjrube94. The exciting thing about eBookDrop is that it's based here in Seattle. So, even though the package is mailed media rate it will only have to go a couple zip codes over. I'm not sure how the post office routes packages, if maybe they'll end up going a long way to a central processing center, but hopefully the mailing should be pretty quick.

In fact, the post office box for ebookdrop is in West Seattle (not near where I am), but the label routes the packages through the zip code right next to my work. I'm thinking if I go to that post office (about 15-20 blocks from me rather than the one a block away) that would speed things up too. I'll have to give that a try next time. This time I have to mail other packages and won't have time during my lunch to go down to that post office and wait in line.

In other news, I received a Christmas check from the parents for $200. I haven't really decided what I'll do with it yet . . . it's for myself and my boyfriend (although my mom just wrote it to me, since she knows we don't have a joint account). I'm thinking some will go to savings and some will treat us . . . maybe a dinner out?

ebookdrop . . .

December 14th, 2005 at 10:22 pm

So, motivated by another poster I decided to check out ebookdrop. Between my boyfriend and myself we have TONS of books. Seriously, four floor-to-ceiling Ikea style bookshelves. So, yeah, we don't really need all of these books. Some are ones we want to keep, but I went through and checked the ISBN for a bunch of those "never really liked it" or "will never read it again" type books. Four of them are "wanted" and will be shipped tomorrow . . . total $6.82! I'm very excited.

I've always though about bringing some of the books into a used book store or listing on ebay, but just never was motivated. I guess ebay was just to intimidating (seemed like to much work for such a small profit in this case) and I didn't really want to lug a big bag of books on the bus just to find out some used book store didn't want them (most of these books were bought at a used book store anyway).

I must have entered about 30 ISBN numbers, hopefully some of those will be in demand in the future. I'm excited to see how easy the process is. I have the label printed and the books set aside. My work is always getting shipments, so hopefully I should be able to find a box that'll fit them well. If not, I can always wait a couple days for more boxes to come in Smile It works out especially well since I have to walk down to the post office anyway to mail out Christmas packages.

Wednesday update . . .

December 14th, 2005 at 07:48 pm

I've finally gotten all my Christmas packages wrapped and ready to mail. I will go to the post office tomorrow. We still need to get something for my boyfriend's parents and sister though.

Work today was actually slow (very strange), so I spent time trying to catch up on things. It's always nice when I actually have time to do my job, rather than cover for us being under staffed in another area Smile

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Spending:

$1 coffee
$2 gum/chips
$10.52 soup/toiletries at the drug store

$119.87 left in budget (til 12/23)

Forgotten bill . . .

December 13th, 2005 at 07:28 pm

My boyfriend and I share a rental house that we moved into last November. Our landlord told us the resevoir for the oil furnace will be filled once a year. He paid for it that year but from then on it became our responsibility. However, I completely forgot to factor in the price of a fill up into my budget . . . my half is $240! I'm trying to look at it in the big picture - it works out to about $40 a month. I did some fiddling with my budget for this month, and I'll be fine - I'll just have to put off paying back the emergency fund until my first paycheck in January. I guess it could be a lot worse . . . the only utilities we pay are electricity and our phone (well, I guess and the oil bill too) . . . I'm pretty happy to *not* have to pay garbage and water . . .

Other than that little surprise when I got home, today has been pretty uneventful. I did make one purchase at the drug store, but I was pretty proud of my shopping: 1 box of Christmas cards, my boyfriend's birthday card (I couldn't help it, it was just perfect for him and his birthday is early January), soup for lunch, and padded envelopes for all the gifts going out. All for under $12. Not bad.

I had a craving for coffee this afternoon, but I avoided it and was very proud of myself Smile Funny how the little things really matter in your motivation. Here I am having to pay out $240 I didn't even remember as a bill, but I'm still happy 'cause I didn't cave and buy a $4 coffee. Wink Everyone always says the small things add up, which is true, but for me it's more that the small things keep me motivated each day.

Spending:

$11.14 drug store

$133.39 left in budget til 12/23.

Weekend Christmas shopping

December 12th, 2005 at 03:54 pm

After my update for the final spending from November, I figured I should let everyone know how December is going Smile

It's always weird when I'm still thinking of "November" spending - the money was spent in December, but is from the paycheck in November. I get paid every other week, and I just find it easier to think of my paychecks as the 1st for the month and the 2nd for the month. I then have standard expenses I subtract out of each check - such as the $100 for my private student loan comes out of the 1st paycheck while the $57.63 for my government student loan comes out of the 2nd paycheck. This works out well, but it leaves me entering final "November" spending on December 8 because I end up on a weird cycle for everyday expenses.

Anyway, I was paid on 12/9 . . . here's the breakdown:

$262.50 half of rent (Jan)
$100 regular student loan payment
$204.04 to short term save (to be at goal)
$221 all other spending

Friday I bought my boyfriend's Christmas present. I went with a friend to check out amps at a guitar store. After all my research about guitar amps, I ended up getting my first pick. Total cost for amp and a cord ('cause it would be good to be able to actually plug the guitar in) was $280.68. Not bad. At one point I was leaning towards a $400 amp so it really worked out well. My friend dropped me off at home and ended up taking the amp with him since my boyfriend was home. It can be a bit difficult to sneak in a box that big Smile

After work on Saturday I met up with another friend to do some more Christmas shopping (actually, the amp consultant's girlfriend). I bought presents for everyone on my list, and looked around for something for my boyfriend's sister and parents. Total spent was $141.32, which leaves me with $78 left in my budget for presents. My sister is getting a DVD box set (6 Feet Under from HBO), two of my friends are getting books, and my parents are getting framed pictures. I already have the pictures all printed out, I just needed to pick up some nice frames. My mom is always complaining about not having enough pictures of my boyfriend and myself, so I figured this would be a nice gift. Now we just need to decide on my boyfriend's family and we'll be all ready to go.

Not much spending other than the Christmas presents. We had friends over for dinner on Saturday (we used pantry/fridge items, they brought wine). Sunday I got really motivated to clean the house. I ended up scrubbing the bathroom, finishing up all the dishes, and vacuuming and mopping the living room and kitchen. It doesn't really seem like a ton of work, but I did a very thorough cleaning (into all the little corners). It felt good afterward Smile

Spending:

12/9:
$4 coffee
$10 cigarettes

12/10:
$4 coffee

12/12:

$15 cigarettes
$43.47 electricity bill


$144.53 left in budget (til 12/23) - $14.45 per day

Final November Spending . . .

December 11th, 2005 at 02:24 pm

I finally had time to update all of my November numbers. Overall I think things are okay, but the plane tickets for my uncles funeral kind of threw things for a loop.

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Spending:

Must Haves:
$525 Rent
$11 Phone bill
$236.03 (way over in this category from last month)
$157.63 Regular loan payments

$929.66 or 53% - a bit over, goal is 50% but not bad for a rough month

Save:
$82.56 Short Term Save
$286.69 Long Term payback (from ER visit)

$369.25 or 21% - under in this category, should be more like 30%

Wants:
$46.38 Work Snacks/Coffee
$137.29 Cigarettes
$208.01 Misc. (including plane tickets)
$26.90 Dinner/Entertainment
$28.21 Cable internet

$446.79 or 26% - over, but primarily due to plane tickets for the funeral
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Savings:

$603.51 Short Term Savings (need another 68.99 to be at goal)
$802.79 Emergency Fund/Long Term Savings (need 197.21 to be at goal)
- my ER bills have finally come in, and been paid
$2300.37 401K (up $304.18 from 11/1)
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Debt:

$2925.57 Private Student Loan 1 (decreased by $36.88)
$3380.14 Private Student Loan 2 (decreased by $26.62)
$8392.28 Gov. Student Loan (decreased by $34.38)
-----------------------------------

Debt reduction for November seems kind of small, but my main goal was to pay back my Emergency fund. I had to use it for an ER visit, but it should be paid back by the end of December.

Starting December 1, I'm now vested in my employeers pension plan. I haven't really decided how to add that in to my number, but I guess it should be included. I'm only 25% vested, so the total vested balance is $270.


I'll update with my new paycheck (12/9) and Christmas shopping from over the weekend later. I think this post is long enough Smile

Long time since an update . . .

December 7th, 2005 at 09:48 pm

It's been a long time since an update. Things have been a bit hectic here, my uncle passed away and I had to head home on short notice. It was a bit rough, as his passing was completely unexpected, but it was good that I was able fly home and be there with my family.

It just got back this morning, and rushed to work. I haven't input my numbers into my spreadsheet to see my breakdown, but I know I'm a bit over budget because of the last minute plane fare. I think looking at rough estimates I should still be fine. I have tomorrow off, so I think I'll just rest and go through the budget sometime tomorrow.

Spending:

12/1:
$13.03 cigarettes
$9.34 groceries (veggies)
$4 coffee

12/2:
$127.80 plane ticket
$9 lunch at the airport

12/3 and 12/4:
$41 misc. spending (groceries, snacks for people, gas)

12/5:
$15 cigarettes

12/6:
$2 coffee

12/7:
$4 coffee/snacks at airport

Over $135.05 in budget (til paycheck, 12/9)