Moving to Northern California wasn't the easiest. Everything out here is ridiculously overpriced- especially real estate! When we moved up here, I managed to get a job part time at a college to add a little bit of money here and there to an exhausting budget. That was about a year and a half ago.
Fast forward to 2016 and I am now working full time. I actually love my job and the fact that I'm making a lot more than I did back home in the ole' big apple. Though this thankful increase of funds could not have come at a better time, now we are faced with a tough decision.
After all the bills are paid, we are left with approximately 1500 dollars to squirrel away, spend, or invest. Not much relief considering hubby's impending retirement will set us back about $1K monthly. Our current living quarters are provided by the military - a vastly under-appreciated commodity if you ask me. I'll have to come up with a plan to solidify living quarters asap!
Today I get to sit down with a financial planner for an hour to map out my 401K. I'm super excited - got my columnar pad with me filled with all the pertinent data- should be a breeze
Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category
Moving to Northern California wasn't the easiest. Everything out here is ridiculously overpriced- especially real estate! When we moved up here, I managed to get a job part time at a college to add a little bit of money here and there to an exhausting budget. That was about a year and a half ago.
And so two years to the letter, we receive word that Uncle Sam wants us up north... Voila nous-en! The weather up here is much nicer and the trees make it all the more pleasant. I was able to land a job while hubby does his military 'thing'.
Earlier today I logged on and took on Jeffrey's 52 week challenge and offered my children an incentive for saving. Yours truly will math their saving incentive 100% provided they do the following:
- Save every week for 52 weeks straight with no 'withdrawals'.
- place money in a sealed envelope marked 1-52
- grades must stay as they are (any drops reduces the matching percentage!)
So far they've agreed. Let's see how much this will cost me lol
And so I sit here at our local post library combing through the savingadvice website - such a joy to be back on here again! So much to learn here! Since our incomes will be shrinking back down to one salary and I must resume my armywife lifestyle, I'll be updating this blog more often.
Today's lesson was learned the hard way. Since I am still technically working, I was unable to be present during the packing of our household goods. My husband (bless his soul) had his uniform out visibly and forgot to put it in the designated spot we labeled as DO NOT PACK. For those of you who have ever endured a household goods packup, you know what happened next lol... his boots were packed in one of the fifty or so boxes that are now safely tucked in the vehicle.
Fun stuff. That little slip up is gonna cost me $160.00
hello all my frugal friends and savers alike!
It's been quite a while since I've updated this blog! I'm still supplying found currency into my Changepot (total as of today is $764.43) but I must admit I've fallen off the frugal wagon. The first step to financial recovery is admission of an issue (my wallet keeps slimming down while my credit cards seem to swell up with unnecessary expense). I'll outline a budget and set to work on fixing this issue starting this weekend. Good thing this stimulus payment is coming our way- we'll be needing some extra bucks for the essentials before the cash crunch
I've been bad.
What started off as a good year with lots of excess money and little trips here and there has now become a budgeting nightmare.
My bad points:
I have student loans which threaten to report my payments as late (they kinda are)(20+yrs)
I've got a horrible contract with DirectTV which I have no power to negotiate with (1 yr)
I've got a new lease for a car that barely moves maybe once a week (it's semi-luxury) (3 Yrs)
I've got nice furniture which I now have two zero finance credit lines that give me two years to pay off before turning into giant inflated financial train wrecks. (2 Yrs)
I also have a huge personal debt which I pay monthly and cannot budge or face serious issues- leaving us with one functional check per month.
I won't despair too much.. here are my goo d points:
Thinking ahead of time, I separated two CD's which are due to expire right before thanksgiving- just in time to shop for the holidays so no worries about that.
I have managed to save a few dollars here and there with my envelopes despite not having a budget- though not as impressive as it could have been, three hundred is still a good number for saved money.
I haven't touched the found money but it's nice to know that if I ever need it, I have some money there in case of emergency.
Now that i've got those things off my chest.. it's off to step 2- naming the bills and placing them accordingly. Since I've accumulated two credit card bills, I have to budget out a certain amount of money in order to pay these cards off before 2008. I'll work on those now and post it later
Thanks for reading... and it's great to be back!
After much deliberation, DH and I have decided to move into base housing. I am neutral towards moving because of all the complications involved. Financially this move will save us an additional $440 monthly. The hardest part of moving is the psychological impact it has on kids.
I have been a bad girl. I have yet to save any money this month because of our extensive outdoor activities (and my lazy approach toward cooking home meals). Hopefully I'll be able to clear my head and come up with a plan of attack soon.
Well, at least five days are better than 0 days, right? I have learned to control my spending somewhat and the points system thrives for my two frugal fans.
It's been 236 days since I began picking up change and tossing it into a jar. The rules are strict: No fountain coins, no money found at home, no spending in case of emergency. Zip. Zilch. Our total increased significantly this past May. The total inside the changepot today is: $230.66
Here are the statistics( as of May 31):
Bills: 31 (+7 bills)
Total value: $152.00 (+$106.00)
Coins: 920 (+154)
Total value: $70.98
Dollar Coins: 1 (new)
Quarters: 138 (+18)
Dimes: 255 (+21)
Nickels: 118 (+18)
Pennies: 408 (+97)
My first Monthly Report
Here's my first attempt to document all found change for the month of MAY.
(16) Bills/Paper Currency
1 dollar coin
Monthly Total: $154.55
Dollar Finds: 14/31
$100 find: (1) May 25th Atlantic City
$5 find: (1) May 9th Jersey Gardens
Largest Day Total: $100.99 (May 25th)
Smallest Day Total: 8 cents (May 2nd) Opera day!
The $100 bill looks so lonely there in the jar! I know we'll never be able to find another bill of such high denomination but it was certainly EXCITING. I was able to feel like a real winner for the first time ever in Atlantic City!
My fellow frugal friends and savvy savers alike, I am happy to announce that today we have passed the hundred dollar mark in FOUND MONEY!!!!
Our current total is $100.32!!!!!
$100.32 in exactly 223 days! Okay so it's not enough to pay a mortgage or even a car insurance bill but the fact is PEOPLE DROPPED $100.32 indirectly into my jar for no apparent reason. I love it!!
So.... Have you started your own changepot? yet?
I AM SOOO HAPPY!!!
Today I received a NICE bill from my gas company. Apparently I overpaid on their billing plan and (GET THIS!!) I'll be receiving a check for $240 bucks because I didn't use as much gas as anticipated. This is awesome because now I get to take that money ($160 which is already separated and budgeted) and put it in savings YAYYYYY!!! I am also adding the $240 check as well... making it a whopping $400 that just fell right out of the sky. I can't quite count it as found money but this definitely qualifies as a sudden windfall of moolah.
I am on my happy cloud right now. Time to go dancing!
Wednesdays and Thursdays are the designated cleaning days in my house. I whip out the diluted cleaning products, get on all fours and scrub til' my limbs go limp. Each room in my home gets the royal rubdown- linens washed, rugs scoured, windows wiped. I believe this vigorous cleaning quells the spread of infection/disease in my home. It also helps my children become accustomed to doing their own chores and spot cleanings. When mommy is under the weather, big sister whips out the lysol and windex. Little sister even helps out by taking cups downstairs (one at a time) and picking up after people.
During yesterday's cleaning frenzy, I discovered a box of yard sale items I bought about eight or nine years ago. I'm talking GI Joe dolls (NIB), collectible plates, porcelian dolls, sandwich makers, crochet how-to books, you-name-it-I-bought-it items at 70% off sticker price. I remember purchasing these items solely for future value. My husband asked me if I was going to start selling them. I am at odds because I just can't bear to part with it yet!
Hubby laughed because he saw how attached I was to the "stuff". I then directed his attention to his own stash of junk: various military "collectibles", ill-preserved sports cards, etc. He drew the line when I pointed to a stack of UNOPENED model plane kits he bought back in early 2000. His excuse? "Work's got me real busy right now... I'll do them when I have some free time"
I married a fellow packrat, folks.
I must start off by saying this...I am no fan of cellphones and their gazillion accessories. I remember a time when people would go run errands and not have to "check in" every five minutes. The calls I receive during my outings often disturb my mood significantly.
I keep my phone on vibrate mode because: #1. It gives me an excuse to say "Whoops, I didn't catch the call on time!"
#2. I feel it is rude to talk when I am in other people's company (unless it's the sitter with an important rugrat report).
#3. It lessens the probability of picking up the phone while driving.
Hubby bought me a bluetooth headset last year so I can talk while I drive. I was reluctant to use it at first but then I pictured myself looking like supercool Uhura from Star trek (my 60's idol lol)- so I opted for the device.
My darling husband purchased one for each of us and after weeks of happy usage.... his headset broke. It was beyond repair. Apparently Hubby pulled a "Lenny" chokehold (Of mice and men) on the headset- smashing the tiny gadget to pieces in the process.
So I offered my headset because he drives around alot (Army Recruiter). He popped in one day during lunch with a small Cingular shopping bag and handed me a newer model of the headset.In a desperate pitch to compete with Verizon Wireless, Cingular ran a bluetooth special offer with a $30 Rebate Visa Debit Card.
I received the card in the mail yesterday just as I was headed to the grocery store. I had planned to buy $50 in groceries this week using my ATM card but Cingular's card saved the day! I bought all that I needed for this week for exactly $30.52. I whipped out 52 cents in dimes and pennies and left the store a happy camper
Aside from my small victory against the tight budget, I also found a total of $3.05 in the form of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Funny- three dollars sounds like nothing when you say it. Anyone can earn more than that in an hour of work (well... except waiters which have my full sympathy for standing on their feet for hours!). These three dollars come from walking around and talking to my shape-up partner about anything under the sun. A little leisure time spent WITHOUT television or computer is a blessing in disguise. TV and the internet made me stagnant far too long and while I don't blame electronics for making me fat, I do blame myself for not moving around and enjoying life at a leisurely pace.
My strolling partner asked what I was planning on doing with that money. Since I just started going back to church, I am considering some form of charity (split part of the daily finds and offer it during the collection portion of Sunday mass.) My partner laughed because the amount I'd give is way too small under our current economic standard. I disagree.
I feel what I give in charity comes from my heart. I don't work (yet) and hubby's salary covers all our dues. Our church envelope denominations start at $5.00 and goes up to $25.00. But enough about that... on to the bigger fish, I say!
Congress once debated on eradicating the penny and rounding things off to the nearest nickel. THAT COSTS US MORE MONEY, FOLKS! I have found dollar bills in the trash, coins on the floor, in the bank, in the street, in front of my house, in the bushes, on my car, in the subway, ALL OVER CAMPUS, under radiators, inside empty desks, the list goes on. Heck, I even saw a homeless man PASS on what seemed to be 75 cents in quarters, dimes, and nickels. Apparently the change wasn't good enough for him?
We need to re-evaluate our thoughts on what we consider valuable, folks. It costs 1.3 cents to make 1 cent. I urge all of you to start your own changepots and gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
So it's 2006.
I'm a little older, a little wiser, a little heftier LOL.
After reading several financial blogs, I have realized that my savings plan has been utterly incorrect the whole entire time. Sure it feels good to save SOME money out of the home expenses but the truth is- I PAY MORE IN FEES THAN I SAVE IN A MONTH!
For example, my smoking habit used to cost me 28.00 a week. On some months that means 112.00...other months it's 140.00. If I save that 140.00, I get like 30 to 40 cents in interest. My student loan payment, which is just ten bucks more, is taking 53.68 in interest EVERY MONTH until i pay it in full. The numbers are quite disconcerting.
So I log on to daveramsey.com to see what the drawling guru has to say about paying off SL debt. "Snowball it!", he says. I say "No Way!!" Snowballing my SL will make me a little more jittery because it will take me a pretty long time to half the balance.
Earlier today I had such a craving for watermelon... I was literally salivating during class ::sigh::
Today I had a very rude awakening. Hubby and I received a bill that was past due. The amount is over 1K. It turns out I've been paying way less than what I should so it's time to re-do the home budget. With my new business, I have selected the task of paying the mortgage + auto insurances woohoo. This will lower hubby's obligation a little and tie up less capital
Oh boyyyy... the long last two weeks! I've got four papers and one full length play to write. CRUNCHTIME!! I haven't paid much attention to saving because of my school and online ventures. Between that and the kids, I barely have private time
Aside from the fact that I'm one year older (sigh), I have to venture in the snow to catch a broadway musical. Normally i'd be in a good mood but today I feel like POOOOOP. I am currently procrastinating one ONE paper (due TOMORROW) and there is one huge mountain of dirty clothes in my room that plagues me like scrooge's ghostly friends. Oh well!
I've decided to cut the following three things from my home budget:
1. Manicuring (I took off my fake nails and have applied a transparent coat instead. Savings: 51.00 X 12= 612.00 yr)
2. Junk fund (I usually take 20 bucks from the food budget to buy soda and crap. Gone now.. diet time (Savings 40.00 X 12= 480.00/yr)
3. Target card usage (they dont have cashback so I've decided to use citi more often. Potential savings: 300.00/yr)
Total saved this month: 141.00
Total saved in one year: 1392.00
Have you decided what to do with your budgets?
TO START RUSHING!!!!
Wow. This is the first time in four days that i've been able to sit down and read my email. I'm going to venture out soon in hopes of obtaining some minor gifts... geez it's soooo cold out! I went out earlier to take DD to the clinic... not looking forward to the gust. After reading a post on here, I'm going to set two objectives today:
1. DECORATE for XMAS
2. START WRITING CARDS for delivery 12/3/05
Hopefully i'll be able to get this done..i'm crossing my fingers!
After reading so many cool blogs out there, I made one up and have been chatting away about anything under the sun (all the while neglecting my supercool saving advice bloggie ) Just got in from seeing the RCMHS in Manhattan- hubby managed to get orchestra seats from the MWR for 35 bucks heheh. The show was great, the food was immensely overpriced, and I have newly hatched blisters from walking around Midtown with a 45 pound child attached to my hip. Gotta love motherhood!!
I must say, I am VERY HAPPY with Jeffreys IPOD offer posts. I have opened up two CDs with Netbank and one credit card offer from Schwab- so that's THREE IPOD shuffles shufflin my way wooohoo! I have decided that I'm keeping one and giving the other two as gifts during three kings day (my family gives gifts in December and January for the latecomers hehe), The CD rate is AWESOME imho- if I had more to put in, i certainly would... this way I have more secured capital to put back into my online business in 2006.
On a happier note, I was able to register for my grad courses without a hitch this semester... so I'm a happy camper
Ok.. time to relax and take a bubble bath. CIAO!
Today I feel just like the weather outside... dismal, humid, and cold. The bills don't skip a beat.. the mid month bills come pouring in before payday, creditors hungrily outstretching their hands, palm-up, eyes blazin'. I've got them in my bill basket for now.. resisting the urge to 'pre-pay' with my emergency funds and rest easier tonight. Sometimes I feel like i've got a touch of OCD when it comes to bills. I've gone bankrupt once in my life and now i'm slowly regaining my balance financially. A bankruptcy can really screw up your plans if you want to get a house and a car... mannnn.
This month I get to say goodnight and farewell to hubby's pre-military student loans. I just finished making my last hefty payment and after this month, two hundred smackaroos is freed up for good... YEEEHAWWWWWW!!
Move over Dave Ramsey.... Jeffrey Strain and Saving Advice.com is the bommmb digggity!
Don't you just looove how when you get extra windfalls of cash, you spend it all right away!? I got paid a hefty check from an online venture that I decided to be brave with.. and went a little crazy with the profits lol. I paid my husband's huge Target bill and managed to buy a few things with the loot left over. I added the chump change to the Christmas envelope (side note: thanks to a member on here who clued me in that you can have multiple mini accounts in ING and name them whatever you like,, that is outstanding!! I opened up an online xmas account with them hehe)
The entrepreneur bug is hitting me hard as of late. I am so fed up with saving my pennies! On a smoother note, I just finished writing a play about tourists on the Staten Island Ferry- hopefully my classmates won't butcher my piece!
came in the mail yesterday.
Last month, hubby walked into Target (we pronounce it Tarr-JAY here) and walked out with a large credit allowance. Needless to say, he did what marketing managers love... IMPULSE SHOPPING. What is it about Target that is soooo addictive? I was a loyal Wal-Marter not too long ago! Every trip to Florida would include a grand pit stop for a few bucks worth of goodies... ::sigh:::
So hubby went off.. buying MONTHS worth of stuff we already had stockpiled. He also indulged in the newest playstation consoles- buying one for each of us (the most time consuming device i've ever experienced... idle hands are the marketer's tools I say). I got the bill late when I strolled in from school.
NINE HUNDRED BUCKS
Oh sure.. one hundred more and we score a 10% off certificate on any of our purchases.. but dayum... NINE?
Needless to say, this is not in my budget to pay this month. We've splurged with the credit cards this month and now the nine here combined with the dividend card bill means:
#1. NO ABILITY TO SAVE THIS MONTH
#2. TAPPING INTO EMERGENCY FUNDS
#3. BUH BYE CHRISTMAS ENVELOPE
Actually.. if I tap into the funds, the christmas envelope stays put. Oh well..
One of the things I love about the fall is the natural ability to sleeep and just be increasingly lethargic for no apparent reason. I have twenty one books I HAVE to read... and have yet to open ONE lol. I've got a business plan to map out for the school publication that i've yet to start on... anddddd... my room looks like taz ripped right through it!
I'm hoping this is temporary
I did start the holiday envelope with a meager donation from my purse today. I usually divide the money in parts and stuff the envelopes with the smaller amounts. I read the news on August Wilson's passing... it's a loss for the literary world indeed. I read his play fences for a drama class and found it quite invigorating.
Today I attended a free computer training class at school and got a free flash drive just for attending. It's even got my name on it hehehe. They taught us how to make a powerpoint slide heheheheh. I LOVE IT!!
I've decided that i'm going to make a slide documenting my envelope/habit process.
Last night hubby took me out to eat to celebrate my degree arrival. Funny how being a college graduate doesn't really hit home until you see the actual diploma in your hand. The one that came in the mail is the 2 year one though... the 4 year one is coming in June after I walk in the ceremony. GULP... it's only taken me.. uhmmm 8 years to get a 4 year degree lol. That's okay though.. my two greatest diplomas are in the other room watching Tom and Jerry until bedtime =o)
That being said... here are the goals for October:
1. Cut down on buying sweets. (OUCH.. it's time to burn away the 20 pounds I have put on passing up cigs)
2. Set up a holiday envelope (Min $300 by December). (Its Christmas in October in my eyes. I am stocking up on gift certificates and cashing out reward points AHEAD of time lol)
3. Tweak the bills down somewhere by 20.00 (I'm thinking probably phone bills?)
By the way.. OKtoBrianna is the name of the chick on Billy Idol's tattoo.. Happy October Y'all!!!! YAYYYYYY
I passed by the gas station on the way to class today and saw the price at $2.93.. BIGGG difference from two weeks ago ($3.29). I'm still feeling yucky and the kids aren't helping mommy at all lol. They both have the sniffles as well.
Financially things are looking up, especially since I started my savings full force this month. August was a bit of an impromptu attack on the budget considering we'd gone back to the spendthrift (dark) side. My goal is to get to 5K in savings by graduation. If I continue going the way I am, this will be do-able without choking the budget. A friend has joined in on the challenge- lets see how far she goes
I wish I could say I spent the day sleeping... that would be a luxury far too costly for me to indulge. I have caught the almighty laryngitis/sore throat bug that seems to be plaguing DD's school (the job has its perks lol)
As I sit here in my robe and flannel pjs, I kmow I have a fever but I refuse to lay down.
DH and I have decided to go with the loan (thanks for the advice ) considering I am going to start a FT job in January and have a side business going. The money I make will pay off this monster loan while hubby concentrates on the rest.
I almost leapt out of my seat when I read the front page article of SA... delinquincies!?
DUHHH... considering the recent Hurricane catastrophe/s, how are these people going to pay? And how's it going to affect us (the rest of the country)? My heart goes out to the families down there & all I can do is pray for them.
I am thoroughly puzzled. It sucks because I should be focusing more on my twenty million classes and chores... but I just can't seem to make up my mind. My problem is financial in nature and well.. what better place to rant about it than this lil' ole corner of the net I call home
The problematic Paul
Hubby has over 20K in Student Loans that are deferred until he gets out of the service. Problem is.. the interest YEAR AFTER YEAR gets tacked on to the principal.. and well.. it is growing exponentally. We haven't paid since 2002.
We traded in a leased vehicle that we hated for a nice vehicle that we love. Problem? Well.. the leased car wasnt paid off so now we pay for the new vehicle AND the remainder of the leased one.. ouch! We're talking over 30K here. We pay 700/mth on this monster alone.
My Car is still not ours.. I've got until 2007 and the monthly payment is a choker (500/mth)
A few other bills (non credit) have surfaced so we pay them monthly ( approx 400/mth)
Bottom line.. these bills are choking the budget, offering NO tax deductions, and frankly.. they're driving me bonkers.
The protagonist Peter
We have been preapproved for a loan that will wipe all these debts, plus leave a lil pocket money for us to play with. The PROS: our cars will be OURS, the loans will plague us no more...
THE CONS: This house will have NO equity whatsoever. We'll be paying this loan right alongside the first mortgage.. and so, i'll be freaking out more than the usual ...
TOTAL: 1600 in payments becomes approx 700...
What would you do?
Today my DD came home with three notes from school. One was good news, the other a reminder.. and the other....
Judging from the pristine white envelope marred with red pen I knew it couldn't have been good. It was a letter stating that we have to pay full price for her meals in school. Normally the careless spender in me would shrug off the news and pay whatever they charge.. BUTTTTT
The difference is HUUUUGE! (36.20 FULL PRICE FOR ONE MONTH VS. 5.60 FOR REDUCED PRICE ONE MONTH)
Highway robbery I say!
Currently, I have the luxury of being YARD DUTY MOM two days a week- partly to watch my daughter AND to recoup a couple of my hard earned greenbacks.. so in short, I've seen what qualifies as lunch
AND I am NOT having it!
I called the school, scheduled an appointment with the principal, typed up a letter stating that DD will not be eating school lunch anymore, and well.. I'm still waiting for my blood pressure to get back down to normal.
BUT.. I do have some good news.. I have saved some money on my car insurance by switching to ALLSTATE. Geico could kiss these grits for all I care
Today I taught my husband a valuable lesson.
We sat TOGETHER and mapped out our financial plan for the next 5 years. We've got a few expenses coming up that are guaranteed budget killers. After a moment or two of silence, I suggested he call the cable company to "cancel the cable service". He managed to shrink the bill down by 18 dollars.. which in my envelope terms means more greenbacks whooopeeeee!
Funny how we never calculate finances to the "T". After paying my bill, I now owe a little over 600 from various bills, show tickets, and things of that genre.
I am currently working on the business plan for my company and the college publication since i'll be fairly occupied today. I'm in good spirits thus far (a rarity at 6am lol) and remain pleasantly optimistic despite my lack of gym exercise routine.
Now for the nightmare
I ran out of contact lenses yesterday so I went to my regular opthalmologist- only to discover that he'd relocated with his family. Good for him! Staten island isn't really a good place to raise a family in my opinion... but anyway... I had no choice but to be seen with 'the new guy'. This person was very unprofessional and kept his gaze sturdy on other 'things' while talking to me- which made me feel extremely uncomfortable but I needed to get my lenses. Needless to say, I told my husband about this ogling and my husband has assured me that he will be going there to pick up my lenses personally- glowering all the while.
But enough of that... i've got some work to do and some numbers to crunch... toodles!
Wow.. the five classes and part time job is starting to weigh me down a bit lol. As if I wasn't busy ENOUGH, I have now been voted on the board for a visual arts magazine on campus which will meet two days a week and one saturday a month. I am also the business manager (the treasurer, etc.. aka the one who does up the pretty budget!) so I will be even more stressed out because we handle tons of entries and editings... yum!
I made a superhuge payment to one of the rewards cards today so I'm expecting some change back in reward munny next month.. just in time for thanksgiving. Speaking of rewards, I got my $75 Gap gift certificate complements of Amex in the mail today. Funny.. when I was younger, I'd have hightailed it over to the mail and spent it already.. but now it's all about being practical. I'm going to buy a few sweaters at a gap outlet and give them away as christmas gifts.
Anyhow.. i'm off to do some homework... ciao for now
Just thought i'd pass this along to my saving friends....
expires sept 30, 2005
open up a free checking account and apply for a debit card/w paypass.
no minimum balance
no maintenance fee
no direct deposit needed
must keep acct open for 180 days to keep your bonus.
$50 deposited in account upon opening
go to us.hsbc.com, use "BCARD" in special promotion box.
Copy and paste this link to read up on the terms and apply:
The Positive Side:
What a wonderful Sunday!
Despite the nice weather outside, I've been here at home- catching up on my blog reading and finance surfing. During my little over one month recommitment to not smoking and spending frivolously, i'd managed to save up exactly $773.68 in 6 envelopes for the month of August. My September envelopes are filling up slowly but surely. Judging from the entries in my finance log, the savings total a little over 1K in what I call 'free money'. It's quite an accomplishment- considering this is all money i'd be giving away in the guise of habit (smoking, overeating), finance charge (credit cards), regular prices (formerly known as the anti-coupon mommy), can dumping (although the 5 cents is money already paid, consumers throw cans away to eliminate bulk can recyclings) . It's funny because my neighbors look at me like i'm crazy when I lug my cans in to the nearby supermarket. I smile because it's doing these things (recycling cans, passing on cigarettes, etc.) that have given me back some of my cash. I'd spend over a thousand bucks a year just buying cigarettes alone- this is money I'd never see again (at least not in the form of cash, anyway). When I see a can, I think to myself "I just found five cents!" Truthfully, if you examine your own budgets, I am almost positive there is some money waiting to be freed up. Here's an example of what I do:
Common Electricity bill in my house: 147.00 After replacing bulbs : 121.00 (-26.00)
Cable (Modem & Cable TV) 150.00 After negotiating with rep : 110.00 (-40.00)
Phone: 60.00 After changing package 51.00 (-9.00)
Now it doesn't look like much when read initially.. but if you calculate the total, I am now saving 75.00 in bills. BILLS THAT I'D USUALLY PAY BLINDLY. So what does Barb do? She takes that 75 bucks, creates an envelope called bill savings and adds it to the monthly envelope.
At the end of the year, Barb has 900.00 that she shouldn't have. Hence the term, FREE MONEY lol. That's just one envelope though. I have 6-7 envelopes on average during the month.
So when I load all those cans in my car when I go grocery shopping, I smile because it's doing these little things that give me a chance to open a CD with free money?
THE NEGATIVE SIDE...
**updated Monday Sep 19**
Ironically, my husband has been charging up his brand new store charge card because he has a 6K credit line. The problem is... the APR is 19.99%, and I am almost positive we'll have a carryover balance in October! I've manipulated the budget to include my envelopes and a little bit of ING funding but there is absolutely NO cushion for credit cards. So far his total on the card is 980.00 and coupled along with the gas card charges, we're looking at credit card bills around 1100.00
So now the debate begins... do I tap my envelopes or do I make him sweat it out?
I've got a little while to think about it though... let's see what happens
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