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Archive for May, 2009

Expensive Weekend Trip

May 18th, 2009 at 01:17 pm

We went out of town this weekend. We hardly ever go anywhere, so we decided to 'live it up.' Of course we went over budget on spending. We had taken cash and when that ran out, we turned to the debit card. So the rest of the month will be filled with frugal spending and trying to make extra money to not rely so heavily on savings to make up the difference.

Even though we went over, I wouldn't change anything. It was such a great weekend and one that was much needed.

We had budgeted roughly $400 for the trip but spent closer to $500. With my husband's pay check being about $300 less due to him being in the negative for earned time off, going over budget will cut steeper into savings. That makes me sad since savings is finally getting to a nice amount. But hopefully next month we can rebuild savings and put back at least half of what we are taking out this month.

Saving Money While Traveling

May 14th, 2009 at 01:30 pm

We are going out of town for the weekend and I'm super excited about it. When we travel we try to be as frugal as possible about some things so that we can enjoy what we want in other areas.

Food is a good example. We will bring snacks, drinks, and sandwich items so that we can save money at meal time. This way those meals that we do eat out can be a little nicer.

We also always stop at the welcome center when traveling to pick up brochures and coupons.

So how do you save money when traveling?

Job Opportunity

May 13th, 2009 at 02:34 pm

So my husband's company was sold and he was hired by the new company. They take over in a few weeks. But one of his co-workers who wasn't hired by the new company has found a new job that wants him to put together a team for a 3 year project. He asked my husband if he was interested since the pay could be substantially more. The downside is that my husband would have to travel - something he isn't crazy about doing.

I told my husband that I would support him if he wants to pursue this new job. We have moved several times through the years for my job, so now it's my turn to support him.

Since the money is so much more than we are living on now, we could be debt free within a year if we just take all that money and apply it to our debt. That is our plan. However, I'm a little nervous since two years ago I would have thought that if we made as much as we do now then we could be debt free fast. It just seems with each pay raise that our expenses somehow go up and we don't send as much to bills as we think we can.

All of this news makes me glad I started this blog. Here I can keep myself accountable to the Saving Advice community and send that money to pay off our debt instead of spending it somehow.

This is still all up in the air. I kind of hope he gets it since I've been itching for some sort of change to happen in our lives.

Thank goodness for savings

May 12th, 2009 at 07:04 pm

My husband's job has been crazy this year. First the company filed bankruptcy and then they were sold to another company. But the new company isn't hiring everyone. So that has been up in the air if he would be hired until about two weeks ago when he found out he would be hired. Now he is in the last few weeks before the new company takes over.

He has a negative personal time balance and knew that the company planned to take it from one of his checks. Well they are taking it out of Friday's paycheck. His check will be $300 less.

This weekend we are planning to go out of town - a trip I have been looking forward to for weeks. My husband was worried we would have to cancel since his check will be less.

Here is the beauty of budgeting and saving. I already know how much of his check will need for bills and the amount he will receive will cover it. Our weekend trip was coming from money in savings anyway, so it is already paid for. We usually 'blow' at least $100 on non-essential stuff. We'll just cut that out and we will only be down $200 - the amount he has automatically put into savings from his check. So if we really need it, we can just grab it from savings.

I'm hoping to eBay and do some online writing to make up the difference and not have to pull it from savings. Still it's nice to know it is there in savings if we need it.

Over Budget for Week and it's just Monday

May 11th, 2009 at 09:50 pm

So maybe my $30 estimate for groceries for the week was a little on the low side. I spent $54 but not all of it was grocery-related. I picked up the girl some more paint and paint brushes. That was probably close to $10(it was big pack of brushes plus a palette to mix paint), but she loves to paint. It will keep her occupied for hours so definitely well worth the money.

I did buy a few items like toilet paper that we don't necessarily need today but might need by the end of the week. I'd rather buy it now than have to return to the store later in the week.

I will probably hold off on the digital TV converter but go ahead and buy the fan. It's really hot and a fan would help out greatly.

Cutting Expenses

May 11th, 2009 at 01:44 pm

This weekend I canceled my Gamefly membership. I love to play games and had signed up a few months ago. But it seems lately I've been playing less games and it just seemed pointless to keep it going.

So I'm going to add that money to the $20 challenge. It's $17, so my new total is $30.76. By Christmas, that will be a savings of $136 alone.

The Plan for the Week

May 10th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

This week should be pretty easy as far as groceries are concerned. We have a few things in the pantry that I plan on using. So I should can spend less than $30 and get everything I need.

This week I also hope to buy an oscillating fan. This week Walgreen's has a deal on their 3 speed fans. You buy one and get Register Rewards. So I can spend $1 more for the fan($19) and get $5 in Register Rewards. I just have to remember to use them before they expire.

I would also like to pick up a digital TV converter box. I have the coupon, so it should only cost us $13.

So I'm looking at spending around $65 this week. I have about twice that amount in my bills/grocery account. If I can stick with that, then we should be in really good shape for our weekend trip out of town.

Happy Mother's Day

May 10th, 2009 at 04:18 pm

Today the girl woke up at 4am in the morning and crawled into bed with us. It wasn't too long after that my husband rolled out of bed to give us more room. Well when I woke up, I found that he had already been to town and bought Diet Cokes(yes!) and pink and white roses.



I love fresh cut flowers but really don't like spending money on them. I worried that he spent way too much money. But found the receipt. He spent a total of $20 on roses, so that's not too bad. So now I can fully enjoy them knowing they won't put us in a financial bind this week before payday.

Joining the $20 Challenge

May 8th, 2009 at 11:48 am

So I've been reading a lot about the $20 Challenge and have decided to give it a try. I'm hoping to save enough money to have a decent Christmas fund by December.

My plan is to cut out some unnecessary bills and to spend less at the grocery store. So I will keep my grocery budget but when I come under that amount, I will put the difference into the $20 Challenge fund.

I've decided to start the challenge with the $7.76 cash that I got from a refund check and $5 that I received from my Mom for some medicine that I picked up for her.

So far I have $13.76.

I already know a few expenses I plan to cut but will post more about those once I've canceled them.

Frugal Graduation Gifts

May 7th, 2009 at 04:41 pm

Between my husband and me, we have about 25 nieces and nephews. This year two are graduating from high school and one is graduating from college. This makes for a stressful May as we try to attend graduations and two of these will be out of town.

We probably won't make the college graduation. Next year she will be attending a 4 year college. It's this weekend and it's out of town. So we are going to send a card. I'd like to send a little gift but need to be frugal since it isn't budgeted. The other two graduations are in the month's budget.

I'm thinking I can take some of the scrap booking supplies I have that I'm seriously considering selling on eBay and make her a card. Then I could possibly crochet her something from my massive yarn stash. I'm so proud that she will be attending my Alma mater next year and am thinking I could whip up an afghan in the school's colors. There is no way I could do it by the weekend but it would be a nice 'send off' gift before she actually goes on campus in the fall.

I could make a no sew blanket even though I would have to buy the fleece. It still could be a nice gift for under $15. I definitely want to do something with the school's colors.

Any frugal graduation gift ideas would definitely be appreciated.

Every little bit helps

May 6th, 2009 at 04:17 pm

Today I cashed a check for a whopping $7.76. It was a refund from an overpayment to one of our paid off credit cards. Instead of depositing it into the checking account, I decided to cash it to have a little money on hand. While I was cashing it, the teller said, 'every little bit helps.'

$7.76 can buy me a meal or several drinks. It's just nice to have a few dollars in your pocket. I stay at home so I don't need a lot of cash but it is handy to have a few dollars for a drink or for the train ride at Wal-Mart(when I have the three year old with me).

In the spirit of every little bit helps, I do plan on joining the $20 Challenge. I also plan to start making small, weekly payments to our lowest credit card debt. Even if it's only $10, it will add up over time. I just have to keep in mind that even the smallest amount of money can make a difference when it comes to paying off debt or saving money.

New System for Paying Bills

May 5th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Last month I tried something different with our money. We have two checking accounts. They aren't his/her accounts but one is an account I had started for my freelancing money. Last month I tried using that account for paying bills. So when my husband got paid, the first thing I did was to move the bill money to that account. I also move the grocery money and household expense money. That way what is left in the checking account is gas money and lunch money for my husband. That way he knows how much money he has to make last until the next pay period.

What always happens to us is that we spend way more than we should when my husband first gets paid. We have money in the bank, so like dummies, we think we can afford to splurge. Then what happens is we don't have enough money to pay all of our bills. It's really been depressing since my husband makes enough money for the bills and for our other expenses.

It worked really well last month. It was definitely less stressful so I'll do it again this month.

We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey and have tried the envelope system before. We may go back to it for groceries, gas, and lunches. That would help us build up our checking account if we aren't constantly tapping it for expenses. That's the great thing about cash. It keeps you on a budget.

The Unforunate Truth

May 5th, 2009 at 04:13 am

Today was the day to pay the bills for the first of the month. This included the big credit card. We have two credit cards. One has a little over $1800 while the big one has a balance of $12,500. Every time I make the payment to the big credit card, I can't help but to think of all the things we could do with this money if it wasn't for out debt.

My goal for 2009 is to have our credit cards paid in full. Right now I will be lucky to have the small one paid off at the rate I'm going. There is still time to get on track and pay off both by the end of the year. It just means budgeting and tightening up our spending.

We may have to live on a tighter budget for a while but in the end, it will be worth it. Having this blog will help me keep accountable and on track.