Also. Boyfriend and I are now the proud owners of an elecric orange joint checking account! Our other joint account is/was based out of state (across the country), so it's pretty useless to us now, and we've never really gotten around to opening another. Problem solved! I'm excited. We're going to use it for our food + fun purchases. But I have to say, I LOVE the electronic money transfer feature! We did a wire transfer once (he was out of state, I was in major need of rent money… what can I say, I used to live on the edge), and it cost a freakin' fortune after all the stupid fees and such.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I'm craving a cupcake right now. There's this little (TEENY) place just down the street from me that makes the best cupcakes you'll ever eat. Ever. Sprinkles (as amazing as the design is) just sucks. These are just delish. But at 3 dollars a pop, they're kinda pricey. I could make a batch of cupcakes myself… but then I'm stuck with a ton of stale cupcakes that I'll just end up throwing away in two days. (I should prolly invest in a cupcake container of some such to prevent said staleness). Hmm. I'll reevaluate after I buy groceries. Necessities first, you know. (I'm making myself a veggie lasagna – for fabulously cheap – that will last me 2 weeks. And it's just as delicious on day 14 as it is on day 1).
Friday, August 28, 2009
Somebody got laid off today because we have VERY little work coming in (most of our clients are involved in real estate / architecture, etc) and well… I'm worried that I'll be next (again!). I do feel stable in my job for the most part. Yes, I'm doing a lot more busy work at the moment than real work, but due to the situation with previous coworker, I feel like I'll be okay… at least through the fall. Here's hoping that we get some work in by then. Sigh.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I just set up a transfer to take a HUGE sum of money out of my ING account. I'll be replacing it the second my direct deposits hit my account this month. It was a terrifying experience, but I truly feel that it will be my saving grace in terms of sticking to a budget. Here's hoping.
I could use a drink…
I've discovered why my budgets never fail to, well… fail.
I'm basing all my spending by PAYCHECK not month. So, really all my spending is based around the random day when I get paid… I'm paying for things due the next month in the previous month, and it's a mess. Duh. Starting in September, I'm going to do something that unnerves me a tad, but I think it will be for the best. I'm transferring the entire amount of two paychecks (and my budget number) OUT of my ING account. Yes, it's scary. BUT when I get my paychecks in September, they are immediately going BACK into ING… so it will be as if they never left. I'll lose a bit of interest doing this, but honestly, I think it will really make the difference. I'll try this for the month and see how it goes. If it works well, I'll do the same thing again in October.
I thought about maybe having them direct deposited into my ING account, but then I'd have to pay stupid fees to BoA monthly, which just won't happen!
I'll have to remember to schedule a transfer for the 28th or 29th so my money ends up in my checking account on the 1st.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I decided to bite the bullet and set up auto transfers to my savings accounts. It's going to make saving a snap… instead of spending the earmarked funds on new clothes. I've got portions going towards my car insurance account, taxes account, and the regular amounts going towards BoA and E-Fund. I'll increase the E-Fund amount in October.
I've completely reworked my budget for September. I may have some tweaking to do… depending on if/when we find a new carrier for our cable and internet, but most of it is solid.
I've separated dining out/entertainment from groceries as I figure this might work better than lumping it all in one category… and it might curb spending ALL our grocery money on restaurants. I've also included a line item for a date for our six year anniversary!
My car insurance is due in February for the year. I'm saving 200 a month starting in September for this, so I can just write one check for the year. I'm also putting a large chunk of money towards my 1099 taxes fund (which I've YET to gather all the money for… sad), and that should be fully funded and waiting for me come tax time in two months. I've lowered my e-fund contribution until this is fully funded. I hope to have my e-fund fully funded by January (possibly later depending on if I get a Christmas bonus this year; which I'm not at all expecting). I wanted it funded by December, but… we'll see. And, I've added a line item for repairing the side mirror on my car (which I've needed to do for many many months). I'm starting to add to that in October, and should have the money set aside by January.
I've added many other line items that I've left blank for September (as they do not apply), such as dr. co-pays, golf lessons (which I believe I'd like to start again in late October or November) etc, but it's nice to see them all there so that I can play around with my budget to my hearts desire. I am LOVING this new spreadsheet! It's SO easy to work from a zero-based budget with it. Lovely! When my savings are caught up, I would like to build up a buffer in my checking account of 100 or so for miscellaneous expenses – and just because, it's a little unnerving having a mere five dollars in your account!
Next year I plan to be more aggressive with savings. When my e-fund is at 10k, I'm going to focus on paying off my car, and contributing to my travel fund (even if it's just a small amount each month), as well as my Roth. However, I do want to pay my car off entirely (within the year!?) so when we look for a mortgage, we don't have that hurting us.
My profit sharing contribution should be ready in September as well. Being my first year getting a contribution, I'm unsure if it's put directly into my 401k, or if I'm cut a check? If I'm cut a check, I think I'm going to put it in my Roth instead. Does anybody have profit sharing that might know the answer?
I got an email this morning from my favorite boutique, Lacoste. Somebody filed a lawsuit, so anybody who purchased from Lacoste in LA County last year with a credit card will receive 20% of any item until February. Yes! As I'm on a shopping hiatus right now, I intend to use it in conjunction with the semi annual sale in January.
Also, last week I received a credit card offer in the mail which intrigued me. It's an AMEX/Fidelity Retirement benefits card. For every 2500 in purchases, they'll deposit 50 into your current year Roth IRA. How cool is that!? Now… I don't need yet another credit card. However, I'm going to file this one away for sometime next year. I've never heard of any other retirement card before, and I just think it's neat.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Hi my name is Savings. I currently have $1 dollar in my wallet. When I started managing my finances I was worth -180,000 (aprox), and now have a net worth of -9800. I currently work in a fabulous field where I can wear jeans to work and have been doing it for 3 years. I make roughly an above average salary (for my level and location) per year. I want to have several million waiting for me when it comes time to retire. Aside from learning about finances, I really enjoy ballet, yoga and cupcakes. I think the world would be a better place if suffering didn't exist. I had egg noodles, cheddar cheese and stir fried veggies for dinner last night and it was decent. I have had seven significant others over the course of my lifetime (counting awkward middle school relationships). One thing that makes me different is my shyness. Now that I'm done with this mad lib, I think I'm going to cook dinner for my boyfriend.
1. Since I always overpay my car payment (I round it up… typically by about 25 dollars or so; not much but it's something)… my monthly amount due has been lower and lower each month. I continued to pay the regular amount however. This month, I received a bill for higher than my standard amount due (by about 50 bucks) and a due date of NEXT month. No payment due this month. Curious. I'm still paying my bill this month though. I'm so confused. I ought to call and see what's up.
2. I'm DEAD broke right now. I've taken one credit card out of commission for the moment… and it's sitting in a drawer at home. The other, I keep just in case in my purse, but I'm not allowed to use it. In a month or so, when my new budget takes hold, it's likely doing in the drawer too. For a while at least.
3. Payday is next week. It's already spent. However… credit card no. 2, which I've been using to do a lot of unnecessary (but fun!) shopping will be entirely paid off. And the bills I have to get paid will get paid. After that, I'm out of cash again. Ugh.
4. BUT! I've come up with an amazing new budgeting spreadsheet that I've fallen in love with!!! It's SO super fabulous… it tracks income, expenditures (a column for each day of the month) and savings. It's fantastic, and it's really going to help me get back on track. The one on mint is useful… but it just doesn't work as well as this will, in real time. LOVE google docs :-) Anyway, I've already done up my prelim. budget for September, and I've got a lot of money left over in savings. Happy! Now the hard part is to stick to it!
5. We've been eating out less and less (not at all for an entire week!). Partially because my credit card statement scared the living daylights out of me… which I guess was the kick in the butt I needed. But in my new budget, I've worked in a category for dining out… and it will be sufficient for a few meals out. I'm considering doing the all cash thing again for food. That seemed to work better than debit/credit.
6. We're going to switch the cable/internet bill over to a new provider. I've been shopping around, but it appears that there is only ONE crappy (from experience) provider in our area. Argh.
7. I'm saving up for a day at the spa. There's this fantastic spa two towns over from me that's SO amazing, and fairly affordable for a spa day package. I'm hoping to have enough saved by my Christmas vacation to use it (if we're here; depending on boyfriend's work situation), or possibly earlier in November. So excited!
8. I'm going to bite the bullet and pay 5 dollars a month for text messaging. I pay by text now, and I end up paying MORE than five dollars. Frustrating. I've tried texting as little as possible, but let's face it… it's super handy and I love it. Sigh!
Friday, August 14, 2009
As today was payday (finally!) I made multiple payments: Cell phone, other personal bills, etc, plus my entire Shell credit card. Phew! I still have to pay off my other credit card, but as the due date isn't for 3 weeks, I can easily pay it off next payday. I am officially taking myself out of the credit card game for a while… keeping them in a drawer at home so I can't use them! What a relief.
I'm only spending money on gas, and the odd grocery here and there. No more eating out! We've eaten out the majority of the last two months, and it simply has to stop! It adds up FAST.
I'm excited! Next month, I'll be back on track. I intend to increase the auto-save levels to my ING account and I'll be back on track to funding my emergency fund. Exciting!
I think I just got burned out financially after so many months of deprivation. But now I'm fully committed to saving again :-)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Spending has been quite out of control lately. Almost a year of spending NOTHING (on anything fun) has built up and I've been irresponsible. Sigh. This is IT! I got a lot of things I've been needing (new clothing, mostly) and some new products I've been wanting (and am now obsessed. Bliss spa… you are my kryptonite).
Boyfriend and I are thinking of going camping this weekend… of course this means buying a tent, sleeping bags, cooking accotremonts, etc. It may be a pricey endeavor, but fun I've no doubt! September brings our annual pilgrimage to the Hollywood Bowl, where we sit and dine first class in box seats. For one day a year? It's totally worth it.
And the end of summer will bring Fall… a season of trips to Starbucks for Caramel Apple Cider, drives through the countryside, Thanksgiving and Christmas… I've so been looking forward to the holiday season for some time now. I must get my spending under control so that we can enjoy these things, but keep money flowing into the savings accounts… which has been lax for a lot of months.