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Archive for July, 2005

July reckoning

July 31st, 2005 at 08:11 pm

walked with mom for 60 min

Bought a paper this morning spent $1.25
Went to Walgreens and spent $16.08 on HBAs. The Savings were $15.96 plus I'll get a $10 rebate back from this.

Met my parents for lunch at Outback used my gift certificates that I purchased at 12% off, no problems. I spent $18 and brought half my steak home for dinner tomorrow night.

Total spent for the month should be $371.69 but I must have added the totals in the journal wrong somewhere because the actual total is $400.89 just missed my goal of $400

Here's how it broke out

Gifts $2.50 - this isn't included in the $400 total since I have a gift fund that I used to pay for this

Groceries $109.64
Fast Food $44.42
Restaurants $46.00
Nieces $18.04
Clothes $26.59
Books/Newspapers $22.58
Gas $46.56
HBAs $34.49
Entertainment $4.75
Other $27.77

My goals for July were:

1. Only spend $400 for groceries, gas, entertainment, clothes, household basics and misc. My freezer is full thanks to SHARE and my pantry is full too, so I shouldn't need too many groceries, only produce and whatever is on sale.

Close enough at $400.89

2. Walk at least 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.

Done

3. Only go to fast-food restaurants twice and only eat at regular restaurants three times.

Missed this one big time. Went out to fast food restaurants 7 times and went to restaurants 4 times Frown

4. Save $1000 above my 401K contribution and on top of my third paycheck.

Done

5. Save all of my third paycheck for the month.

Done

6. Cook meals at least 2 times a week.

Done

So I made 5 out of 6 goals, that's good.

I also did a networth update for the month of July. My networth increased by 13% I'm excited by that number it's a bigger jump than I expected.

I read Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris. Vampire Romance/Mystery. It's a good book part of an ongoing series. It's funny and different.

movie day

July 30th, 2005 at 08:41 pm

This morning I chopped up my veggies for the week and made a potato salad to eat the next couple of days.

Went to our branch library and picked up 10 holds. Then drove in town and went to the main library and got some back issues of Money and Kiplinger's magazines to read. Our branch library is so small they don't carry old issues of these I could get them on old but wanted to look at them first.

Next went to the Discovery Channel store in the mall and got this terrific musical piano toy that has lots of buttons to add drums and strings and rock and country etc. etc. etc. sounds. It was 29.95 and 30% off. Total was 22.50 I had a free GC for $20 that I used so I actually only spent $2.50 If my youngest niece doesn't want it for her birthday in Sept I will probably give it to Toys for Tots in December. I hope my niece wants it, because I love to give her noisy gifts so she can harrass my sister Smile I tell my niece that's her job, to bug her mother and that she does a very good job and deserves a promotion. LOL

Next browsed through Barnes and Nobles writing down more books to put on hold at the library.

I met a friend of mine at the dollar theater and we saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Funny movie, but very strange. Spent $1 for the ticket. Afterward we went to Cold Stones for ice cream and sat around talking and catching up for about an hour. Spent $3.75 on ice cream.

Stopped at Schlotsky's to pick up dinner on the way home and spent another $5.04.

Total spent so far this month = $337.61 tomorrow is the reckoning to see if I can stay under $400 looks pretty easy today. Although my goal for limiting fast food is totally shot. Frown

smaller paycheck

July 29th, 2005 at 10:15 pm

Walked with mom for 50 min

Because I did so well with my company stocks I'm going to owe more taxes, (there's always a catch Smile ) so I decreased my deductions on my W2. Now each paycheck is $60 smaller. That's $120 from my monthly budget since I don't count the occassional 3rd paycheck in my budget. I'll have to save less the rest of the year because I can't squeeze it out from anywhere else, or at least I don't want to. If you don't allow for some fun and wants in your budget you're sure to blow it.

Went to Rosie's Diner with my parents for dinner. Spent $7.00 then went to Safeway and got some produce and eggs. Spent $5.05 They had corn on the cob 8 ears for a $1.00 I'm buying some and freezing it for this winter. I love corn on the cob.

Total spent this month so far = $325.32

Finished reading Dance of Death by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Mystery. This was a good book. I like all the books I've read by these authors, they are always unique and slightly different from the usual run of mystery books.

nothing new today

July 28th, 2005 at 08:13 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

No financial stuff today, just work. Finished listening to Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens. Romance. Very good book. Went to the library and picked up more holds.

Can't believe it almost Aug.

only 4 car payments to go

July 27th, 2005 at 07:51 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

Drove into work today. Stopped by the bank and got some cash then went to the gas station. Gas was 2.17 a gal. Ouch! Spent $22.61

Met a friend for lunch at Black Eyed Pea and spent $11

After I got home I walked with mom and then went to McDonalds for dinner and spent $8.72 another fast food meal Frown I've really busted this goal for the month.

Total spent this month = $313.27 Not sure if I'm going to stay under $400 for the month have plans for both Saturday and Sunday. Since I tend to spend most of my money on weekends and because this month has 5 weekends I think my total might be a little high. We'll see.

Got my last month Longs rebate for $3.00 in the mail and got this month's Walgreens rebate for $4.98 + the $10 Pepsi rebate ready to send tomorrow.

Made a car payment so only have 4 more to go till it's paid for. About 3 years ago I decided to buy a new car. I had the cash saved up, but the dealership was offering 0% financing for 3 years so I decided to keep my cash and finance the car. Because interest rates have been so low the last few years I will only make about $700 in interest over the 3 year period. But even if interest rates were higher I don't think I would refinance at 0% again. I HATE having a car payment every month. It just nags at me. Every month I think I already have this car I've been driving it for x number of months, why am I still paying for it? I don't know why this gets to me so much but it does. Maybe it's because I've been out of debt except for my house for close to 20 years now and I just can't stand it. I've been counting down every month since this started, very aggravating. Smile

movie with niece

July 26th, 2005 at 08:11 pm

Took my youngest niece to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Cute movie. Spent $10.25 Then we went to Taco Bell for dinner, (her favorite) and spent $7.79. I don't count this as eating at a fast food restaraunt. It goes under the time spent with nieces category of my budget.

On the way home I stopped at Walgreens and bought this months FARs and sales. Had a 50 cent coupon on one item so even better than free Smile Spent $8.98. Will get $5.48 of this back in rebates.

Total spent for this month = $304.55

Monday

July 25th, 2005 at 08:08 pm

walked with mom for 45 min

Finished listening to A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens. Romance. Good book.
Watched The Incredibles that I borrowed from the libraray. Cute movie.

Sent for my Sargento's Bistro cheese rebate $2.99 finally used up all the cheese so I could get to the UPC.

After some research decided not to buy the computer from Circuit City. Doesn't have hardly any software and I would have to spend about $200 to get what I want, so I'll just wait till the right deal comes along. If it's not back to school there will be good deals at Christmas.

sister's b-day

July 24th, 2005 at 09:13 pm

walked with mom 55 min

Got my mail this morning and the discounted credit cards I purchased Wednesday came. So it took about 3 days. Also got the form from Great Fun to fill out for the $20 Gift Card for Exxon/Mobile. Filled it out and sent it.

Went to Safeway this morning for produce and a newspaper. Saved 30% on sales. Spent $9.44
Next went to Albertson's just to get corn on the cob also on sale and spent $2.00
Then went to Longs where my sunflower seeds were 30% off and spent $4.95
All of these stores were on my way so I didn't make any special trips, just start and stop.

Next stop was Media Play. It was a triple points day. If you don't know Media Play has a program were you join their replay club for $7.95 and get 1 pt for every dollar you spend. When you spend 100 dollars you get a $5 rebate. However on triple points days, which happen about once a month, you get triple points or about 15% back on each dollar spent. I only shop their on triple points days and I also get 4% back by using my Nesteggz credit card. If you decide to buy a membership only buy a one year one because on triple points days they renew the membership for free. I didn't know that and bought a two year membership Frown I buy a lot of their stuff around xmas and for the nieces birthdays. They like computer games and CDs. I also buy several books each month for myself. I had a $5 rebate so after the rebate I spent $18.33 and I'll get 19% of that back in rebates.

After Media Play I met my family at Macaroni Grill for my sister's b-day. My parents paid for everyone so no out of pocket money.

Total money spent for month so far = $277.59

Circuit City has an AMD Sempron laptop for $549 and it has all the bells and whistles I've been looking for. I've saved up for a new laptop in my short-term savings fund and I've just been waiting for the right deal. I'm going to do some more research on it tomorrow and will probably buy it Wednesday after work.

I read Stolen Magic by M. J. Putney Romance/Fantasy It was pretty good. Good mindless read by which I mean it keeps your attention but doesn't force you to think to hard Smile

Friday

July 23rd, 2005 at 12:02 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

This was a money moving day. I took my 2nd paycheck this month and the $1000 I was planning to save this month and some money left from last month and put $3000 in the Vanguard Growth Index Fund. 1 1/4 more months of retirement purchased WOOHOO Smile

Then I transfered the money I have saved for my short-term goals and my Extra Fund to my new ING account. Then I transfered the money I have saved for my property taxes, car and house insurance to my new PayPal money account.

Stopped at McDonalds for an ice cream cone after walking with mom last night so spent $1.06. Well worth it, it's been miserably hot here, Colorado. Supposed to get some rain in the next few days so hope it gets better.

Total spending this month = $242.87

Read House of Gaian by Anne Bishop. Sci/Fi Good book, 3rd of a trilogy.

Great Fun

July 21st, 2005 at 08:35 pm

Walked with mom for 55 min today.

Went to the library and picked up more holds and read this month Money magazine.

Signed up at the following site. If you sign up for $1 for 2 months they send you a $20 ExxonMobil Cash Card. They have discounts on restaurants, movies, theme parks, local tourist or entertainment discounts, (like for bowling or miniature golf) travel deals, car care deals etc. I found a few restaurant things that I will probably get in the 2 month time frame. If you decide to continue with the program it is $9.99 a month. I expect I will cancel after 2 months and just get my $20 card for $1 plus whatever restaurant coupons I like.

https://www.greatfunonline.com/global/scripts/secure/Promo.asp

Edited to add the $1 to my total spending for the month = $241.81

Gift Certificates

July 20th, 2005 at 08:47 pm

Walked with mom for 45 min and fixed dinner afterwards instead of succuming to fast-food. Smile

Got my June Walgreen's rebates in the mail today. Also got my 401K statement, didn't do so good this last quarter, the overall is up, but it's mostly due to my contributions not increases in the value of the assets. Oh well, hopefully the stock market will rev up the last 6 months like it did last year. And at least it's still a gain, better than a loss.

Finished listening to All About Love by Stephanie Laurens. Romance. Very good book. Another favorite author.

I also finished reading The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. Sci Fi. Another very good book by another favorite author.

I found a website that sells Gift Cerficates at a discount of up to 14% off. You don't have to register or sign-up or make monthly payments. The selection changes often but I have seen all of the following on the site, Target, KMart, Barnes and Noble, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Penny's, Red Lobster, Outback, Kohl's, Toys R Us, Circuit City, Staples and Amazon to name a few.

Today I bought 4 $25 Gift Cards for Outback for $88 a 12% discount and 4 $25 Gift Cards for KMart for $84 a 16% discount. However, I'm not counting that money as spent yet, I will count it spent when I use the cards. The shipping was free. I prefer the casual buying of cards at a site like this instead of bidding on ebay or joining a club and paying monthly dues.

Here's the site if anyone else is interested.

http://giftcardsestore.com/store.asp

Credit Cards

July 19th, 2005 at 09:10 pm

Went into work this morning, but had such a bad headache and watery eyes from allergies I came back home early. Took more allergy pills and took a nap and the headache eventually went away about 3:00 pm.

Bad day for eating out. Everyone has budget areas where they struggle and eating out is definitely mine. Went to Sonic for lunch and spent $7.93 then my mom called and wanted to go out to dinner before we walked so went to Rosie's Dinner and spent $10.00. Paid for that two ways, it was so hot and Iwas so full it was miserable to walk tonight. We only walked 50 min today.

Total spent this month so far = $240.81

Verified my ING Account was activated today and transfered some money to the account. Also got my $30 bonus which will go in my Extra Fund for my Canada trip.

I finished listening to the Three Fates by Nora Roberts on the way home from work. Very good book. It's a Romance. She's one of my favorite authors. Always tells a great story, with good characters and good dialog.

I also finished reading Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I agree with his general premise that everyone would be better off without debt, however, I have a hard time with his tone. That I know what's right for everyone and if you don't agree you're stupid tone. Drives me nuts. He thinks everyone should have no debt including their house and I think that's a great goal to strive for, however, I have decided not to pay my house off just yet because I think it makes more financial sense to invest the money where I get a better return than the 4.5% interest I pay on my house. And that's before the tax break, so I'm really only paying 3.15% interest.

The other area where I disagree is he thinks it's stupid for anyone to use credit cards. His presumption is that people who use credit cards, even when they pay them off in full each month, spend more than people who use cash. I know that's not true in my case because I charge almost everything on credit cards and I stick to my budget so I know I'm not spending more than I planned. Also I use rebate credit cards which return some of the money back to me for using them to pay for things, so I actually come out ahead using credit cards over paying cash.

I have three credit cards that I use depending on what I'm buying. None of the cards have annual fees and they are all paid in full every month. The first card is used for all gas, grocery and drugstore purchases. The card gives a 5% rebate on all purchases made at these type of stores. I've received $80 in rebates from this card in the last year, just for doing my normal shopping.

The next credit card is one that pays 1% back on everything you purchase. It also pays 3% for all purchases made at Media Play or Sam Goody's where I shop at least once a month. I have several of my monthly bills charged to this card to get the 1% rebate and so I don't have to pay out postage to pay the bill. I find this a convenient way to track my spending and I've gotten $120 rebated back on this credit card in the last year.

My third credit card is a Discover card and they have various promotions each month that pay a % back. They pay back up to 1% on all purchases and then they have a promotion that might pay 5% on restaurant charges or like this month gas and tourist attractions. So for this month all my gas purchases will go on this card. Once you get $20 in rebates built up you can convert the money to gift cards up to double the amount depending on the reward you want. I usually exchange my $20 cash for a $25 gift card at Borders. I've gotten 3 $25 Borders gift cards in the last year from this card.

So just by buying the things I would buy anyways, but using the reward cards I've made $275 in the last year alone. So I guess he can call me stupid, but I've got $275 more than I would have following his advice.

Savings bonds

July 18th, 2005 at 08:34 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

While my sister and BIL make a lot of money they are the type of people who will always spend more than they make, so my parents and I knew they would have very little, if any, money saved for my nieces college. I feel that college is a necessity for the majority of kids these days. So my parents and I started saving money for their colleges when they were very little.

I decided to save $10,000.00 each (I have 2) and made that goal a couple years ago. All of the money is currently in stock index funds. My oldest niece is 14 so there's only 4 more years till she goes to college so I put $5000.00 of her college money into I-Bonds today. Currently they are paying 4.8%.

The reasons I decided on I-Bonds are:

1. The money is only locked up for one year after that I can get to it whenever I want with a 3-month interest penalty if it's before 5 years. After 5 years there are no interest penalties.
2. The interest rate is competitive with CDs. Compare 1 year CD with 1 year bond
3. I don't have to pay taxes on the interest until I cash the bonds in
4. I never have to pay state taxes on the bonds
5. It's very secure I don't have to worry about the value suddenly tanking right when I need it for my nieces college costs.
6. If inflation rates goes up, my interest rates will go up also.
7. I used Treasury Direct and I didn't have to pay anything to buy the bonds.

Over the next few years I plan to gradually move all of their college money into I-bonds.

good article

July 17th, 2005 at 08:25 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

Bought a Sunday paper for $1. Total spending for month is now $222.88

Read The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins. Kind of a modern day fairy tale, rather weird book. Wouldn't recommend it.

I did find a good article about spending on the web. The author gives a good description of what most people on this website do to save money in their everyday lives. I enjoyed this article and several of the other ones on her website too.

http://www.spendingwisely.com/articles/0505/000091.html