Weekly Money Check-Up

 

1.  The most I’ve spent this last week was on a pair of running shoes when I put a hole through the toe box from my marathon training.

2. Today I am thankful for health insurance.  Mr. got hurt during a football scrimmage and broke his shoulder in several places which required a trip to the Emergency Room and as we found out today, surgery.  Without insurance it would be so expensive and since we have dual insurance we aren’t even responsible for the hospital co pay.  I’ve never broken anything (knock on wood) so I can’t imagine what Mr.’s going through and it makes me very sad to see him so helpless.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was sit in my back yard patio and enjoyed a sparkling lemonade outside in the sun and talking to my daughter about going into middle school.

4. I will consider this week a success if I run 4 times a week and balance my checkbook.

5. For the 4th of July, I had planned on going out of town but in light of Mr’s broken shoulder, we are probably going to stay home and have family over for bbq and drinks 😉

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How Laziness Can Cost You Money

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff on line about finances lately.  I am forever searching for ways to organize my paper clutter and today, during lunch I ran across this article on “How Laziness Can Cost You Money”.  After reading this article, I realized that I have been guilty of 3 items on that list.

 

  1. Failing to Set Financial Goals

In the past I was really bad about this.  I mean I had stuff floating around in my head about what I kinda/sorta/would/could/should do with my money but not really actual concrete and achievable goals.  I’m doing better by making sure that my goals are specific and achievable.  Now for example, my goal is to save $5,000K by September 1, 2011 and not, oh I hope I can save $5,000 soon.

  1. Being Disorganized

I am guilty of paying my bills late.  There’s all sorts of excuses for it – I’m too tired lazy to do bills tonight, I’ll do them tomorrow.  I’m too tired to go on line and see what’s cleared the account or jot things into a check ledger or run Quicken because I’m too <appropriate excuse inputted here>.  Fact of the matter is I was just too scared and a little lazy to sit down and pay my bills because it’s depressing to see money being paid to someone else and not keeping it for myself.  I also had stacks and stacks of paper everywhere and it was too over whelming to open, purge and sort the mail all at once. I gave myself 2 weeks to do this project and now that I have a command center in place, it’s easier for me to sit down and pay my bills.  I have a designated area that is neat, tidy and holds all my tools (calculator, files, check book) to pay my bills as they come in.

  1. Igorning Your Credit Score

I admit it – I don’t know my credit score.  I haven’t checked because I   already own a home and don’t need any cars in the near future.  But,   really it’s because I’m scared to face that I probably have a horrible credit        score since I’ve been ignoring my money problems and putting my head in     the sand.  Also, I plan on paying for most items in cash so I’m not terribly        concerned about it.  Maybe one day I can look it up without freaking out before hand.

I’m working diligently on the first 2 items on the list.  The 3rd I’m not so worried about yet.  I may start worrying about it if I have to buy a new car. Moving forward I’m going to try to pay my bills on time every month and hopefully if my scores are bad, they will improve once my bills are paid off.

 

Weekend Plans

TGIF!!

I love Fridays because the day flies by and once I leave work I am immersed in family time!  I usually get to have dinner with my sisters at my house and we usually watch movies, dance or just shoot the breeze all night.  Today is the last day of school for my munchkins so we are planning to have a BBQ/dinner party to kick off the summer for them.  Their cousins and grandparents will be there as well and they are going to have a blast!  It’s not going to be too late of a night because I am running a half marathon tomorrow at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

After my run, I will be driving hobbling like an 80 year old home to ice and rest up.  Then we are going to a baseball game with some friends where I will be walking hobbling like an 80 year old all around the city.  Hubby’s co workers gave us some tickets and we found out some of our friends are also going so we’re super excited to spend more time with our friends.  I am hoping not to spend too much money this weekend but have a feeling that the Mr. will want to spend because we’re planning that spending fast starting July 1.  I have to make sure we are on the same page about how much will be spent tomorrow.  I will be eating like crazy

Sunday, I’m hoping to do house stuff.  I found some brand new Ikea picture frames that I bought last summer while cleaning the hallway closet the other day.  My plan is to print some art onto cardstock paper and frame them in near the entryway to our home.  I also need to hang up more picture frames.  I also have a painting project for an old mirror that I got for $1 last summer.  It’s really big, square and ornate.  I’m going to spray paint it black and hang it up in the hallway in our home.  I’m also going to be attempting to sew sewing some pillows for our couches with fabric that my mama picked up for me.  After all that, I’m planning on having a nice, relaxing home cooked dinner with my wonderful little family.

I’m planning on bringing $40 to the baseball game this weekend.  I’m going to eat a lot from home and keep some snacks in the car so we don’t have to pay horrendous ball park prices for food.  I’m really hoping to only spend some $ on beer for hubby.  It’s always tricky meeting up with a group because they usually want to split the bill evenly.  Which would be okay if everyone ordered the same amount of food and drinks.  Often times though we always order less but shell out more and the people who order more shell out less.  So, to be fair I’m going to ask for separate checks before the bill comes.

Extra income

My mother in law is planning on retiring very shortly and will be moving back to Taiwan.  She currently owns two homes – her primary residence and a rental property.  She is contemplating selling the primary on the home while she is in Taiwan and continuing to rent out the rental home.  Mr. and I have helped her out quite a bit in fixing up the rental property, forfeiting lots of weekends last summer and this spring.  Apparently, she has told Mr. that if he would like to manage the rental home for her, she will give him $200 every month to help.  She’s looking to rent it out at $900 a month and after giving Mr. the $200, she will keep $700.  Mr. has been busy meeting with potential renters and working really hard to get the property in shape and more attractive to renters.  Anyhow, he told me last night that he should have renters moving in there the next 2 weeks.

We discussed it a bit and we decided that we for now we would save the $200.  We really want to buy a new house in the next few years.  We also want to pay off our debts but are uncomfortable not having a good chunk of change in savings in case one of us loses our jobs.  I know most people would recommend us using the extra $200 to pay down our debts but I want to pay off debt AND save money at the same time.  To compromise, we will be saving the $200 until we hit $5,000 in our Emergency fund.  As of today (pay day!) and an automatic transfer of $625 to our ING account, we have $2,606 in our emergency fund plus an extra $1,000 in our regular savings account.  I’m estimating that by the first of September we will hit the $5,000 mark.  Then we’ll snowball the $200 to my student loans.  Of course, any money that I can free up from our budget now (like not going out to eat, no shoe shopping (sad face), no espressos (another sad face), no picking up house decor items (super sad face) will be used to go towards Sallie.  My goal is to pay the $13,000 I owe them off within the next year.  My minimum payments are $190 (at 6.8%) and I need to free up $1084 a month to pay them off in that time frame.  Considering that my eating out costs use to be so high that I felt like I actually ate a car, I think I might be able to find the extra $894 per month to reach my goal.

Running Fail

I was supposed to run today and I got stuck at work late and haven’t ran.  The gym closes in an hour and I’m uncomfortable going out this late by myself.  I’m chalking this up to a rest day =)

On a side note, my feet are killing me and I can’t wait to get much needed new runners next month!

Spending Fast/No Buy will start in July

The Mr. and I decided we will be starting our spending fast in July.   However, we have 2 weddings to attend.  The first is during fourth of July weekend for my best friend and is local.  The 2nd wedding is 3 hours away for hubby’s cousin.  We planned on giving each couple $100 cash gift.  For the cousin’s wedding, we have to pay for lodging because it will also be sort of a family reunion since a lot of his family lives abroad.  This was already planned and the money has been set aside in our ING direct account.  Even though it’s already planned and we have the funds available to go, I’m feeling guilty for having to spend that money.  I would rather keep it and use it towards paying off our debt.  But, Mr. has insisted we go since we care about these people and it would mean a lot to them for us to show up.

We have a huge problem with eating out and spending money on little things.  We don’t splurge on a lot of big ticket items but the small purchases add up.  I had to make sure that Mr. and I really know what we are up against.  I told him that unless it is one of our immediate family’s birthdays or weddings, we are not accepting any invitations to go out to eat or to happy hours after work.  Mr. was a little skeptical but he said he would try.  We are both really social people so this is going to be really tough for both of us.  We brainstormed a bit on things we can do that won’t cost a lot of money :

  • have potlucks at our place and invite our friends over.
  • Hang out with my sisters at my house instead of going shopping and lunches.
  • Take the kids to the park to play instead of to the arcade.
  • Use the library system to check out books instead of buying them.
  • Have garage sales to get rid of our unwanted/unused household items.  Purge, purge, purge!
  • Plan our grocery shopping based on what is on sale and what we have coupons for.  I won’t be going crazy the like the extreme couponers on TLC but I’m hoping that I won’t have to pay too much money for stuff my family actually uses (e.g. toiletries, cleaning items, chicken stock, cereal, juice, milk etc.).
  • I’m looking into getting produce from the farmer’s market to try and lower our costs even more.
  • I want to cut cable but Mr. is resisting the idea because according to him I’m sucking the joy out of our life and that is the one thing he wants to keep.
  • Stop going to Target, Costco etc for random things.  We always end up with other stuff and it costs us lots of money.
  • STOP EATING OUT.  STOP BUYING LATTES.  I cannot tell you how much we waste money on these two things.  I think one way to curb the lattes is to buy a used espresso machine from craigslist this month.  My co workers keep telling me that it will pay for itself within a month or two.  The eating out….it’s mostly because I’m too tired lazy to pack it the night before.  What the Mr. and I have decided to do is not take our debit cards with us to work and will lock it up.  We will make sure our gas tank is filled every Sunday so we won’t run out of gas and happen to wander into restaurants/bars/etc after pumping gas.  Instead, we will come straight home. We decided that since I do 99% of the cooking, after dinner is done he will pack our breakfast/lunch for the following day.

What we will spend money are:

  1. Female personal items
  2. Hair cut/color (my hair is crazy curly and I’m going grey from all my stress).  I only get my hair done 3-4 times a year, though.
  3. Necessary toiletries (toothpaste, floss, facewash, facecream, deodorant, razors etc)
  4. Groceries
  5. Gas to get to and from work
  6. Running shoes in July, which should last me until January 2012.
  7. Bills – Mortgage, Car Insurance, Utilities, Daycare, Gas, Gym
  8. School stuff for munchkins (clothes and supplies)

Hopefully, Mr. and I (along with our munchkins) will learn that we don’t need things to be happy.  We just need each other to have fun and live a full life.  I know we can do this, even if we might fail at times.  With all the money that I’m hoping to save, I want to tackle and pay off my student loans in the next 12 months.

 

Eating out

I am trying very hard to curb our eating out and it’s really hard to get hubby on board.  Prime example, I already had last night’s dinner in the oven when his mother decided to come over after work.  It was going to take an hour for the chicken to be done and since she was starving by the time she got to our place, my mother in law and hubby insisted we go out to dinner.  And we ended paying for it.  Granted, it wasn’t much – I think maybe 25 for the 6 of us to eat.  But, I’m trying to steer us towards not spending money and hubby just isn’t quite on board with me yet.  I really want to stop eating out completely except for the rare occasion.

The good news is that I’ve packed our lunches Monday/Tuesday and I didn’t buy lattes.  Baby steps for now, right?

Any tips for getting hubby on board with this no spend?