So, with the wedding rapidly approaching, finances have been a recurring theme for discussion with the fiance and I. I have been thinking lately - I do not currently have a 401K, so I put money into an IRA monthly right now. We are trying to save for a house in addition to the wedding. We took two roommates specifically to reduce monthly expenses, so we could save - between the two of us we should be saving $200-250/month. My latest thought though is this - should I suspend my IRA contribution for the next 10 to 12 months and divert those funds into the downpayment fund. That would give us an extra $100/month to save. I'm just wondering if this is wise. My gut tells me it is. I can always redivert that money into the IRA should anything happen, and my fiance contributes 10% to his 401K, with a 150% match on the first 6%, which amounts to a contribution of 19% overall. I'll be discussing this with him in the next few days. This 'we' instead of 'i' thing is harder than it seems.
I got good news today. Effective Monday I will be getting a 50cent an hour pay raise at my full time job. Yay! This amounts to an extra $60/month. Yippee. I immediately broke out the budget to decide where to put it. Not done playing around with options. Will definitely be put to good use. Happy Friday to me!
I did it! I saved for over Tuesday night I went out and got myself a laptop! I'd been looking at prices and deals, and when I saw one I felt was best, I jumped. With a protection plan it was about $200 more than I had saved, but I'll repay myself from my second job. It's soooo nice. My old computer is 7years old. It's been limping along for probably the past two years. I could have replaced it a while ago if I got another desktop or a cheaper laptop, but I wanted something that would last a decent amount of time, and do what I wanted it to do, otherwise I'd just want to replace it quicker. I wish it didn't have window's vista b/c it's so new, but couldn't really get one w/o at this point, so oh well. Ces't la vie.
Two more days w/o spending. I had a dream last night that we got pizza. I was so pissed to blow that much money so early, but also to not be able to put it in my challenge money. Guess it's working. I've been sick the past two days, so that's helped.
Well, two no spend days so far. This adds $2 to my $20 Challenge.
OK, so January's almost done, I'm a little late, but I've finally come up with a $20 Challenge for myself. For every day I do not spend money (my allowance not planned expenditures), I will put a dollar in my challenge. That amounts to a maximum of $30/month, but if I don't spend anything in a month, I'll really have $80 saved as that is the total of my monthly allowance. I'll also lose weight b/c I won't be spending money on impulse junk food. Wish me luck!
We got my wedding dress today! Well, put the deposit down anyway. Mom and Grandma went with me. This was the third place we went to, and the third time I've been back there. I didn't expect to order it today as I had wanted to go to another store to try on a dress in my size that this place didn't have in the proper size. I'd kept going back to this dress when I looked at the pictures. It has a sweetheart neckline with lacy beaded wide straps, but they can make them detachable. We looked at it with veils, and when Mom suggested we put down a deposit, I said, OK. It's beautiful, accents and minimizes where I need it, and I feel comfortable in it. So I decided, it doesn't matter what the other dress looks like. I like this one and no one else is going to see the other one. I've been thinking about this dress since I first tried it on. It was $875, but that will include the alterations. Mom's paying, and she was expecting to spend a lot more. Now to find a veil, and all that other stuff. Yay!
Siren, our baby rescue from September is now a 5lb 4 month old, and rambunctous. Saturday she wasn't active, and not eating much. We'd been monitoring her eye as the ulcer had grown again. She wound up having to go to the emergency vet because she was in so much pain, and it was not the kind of thing that could wait until Monday. The vet wanted to take it out that night, but agreed with us that w/ meds she could last until Monday, at which time we could also have her spayed (emerg vet not equipped), and to come back if the eye ruptured. So she had the surgery Monday, stayed until today, Wednesday, and cost us a grand total of $741, and that's with a 25% discount from our vet, and not getting charged for the office visit at the emergency vet. He knows we take in rescues and currently have two kittens, both with eye issues. I took my part time job to pay for the wedding, but I swear it's really paying for the cats!!! $&*@$&@*($@& KITTENS!
At work, we sit in cubicals, so it's really easy to overhear your neighbor's conversations. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing, and usually we try to ignore what we hear, obviously. Well, today, I heard my supervisor speaking with the company who handles our 401k, asking what the procedure and penalty is for withdrawing funds from her 401k. I wanted to jump up and shake her for even thinking about doing that. She's two years younger than me, and not in as settled a life-mode. She was talking to someone later about how she wants to pay off some credit cards and wants to buy a home next year so she can stop throwing money away on rent. I'm sure she does not realize how bad of a decision it is to use her retirement money to do these things. I just want to shake her until she comes to her senses!
El Nino brings the East Coast mild weather. This is certainly evident this year. After several years of snowstorms in early December bringing us noticeable accumulation (at least 2 inches - enough to stay more than a day or two), we are a week into December and not a flake has been seen. While this is nice for driving, it does not bode well for our reservoirs come spring and summer. Plus, it's nice to see the snow, at least a little bit of it.
I love the little things in life.
- Picking my sister up at the train station at 11:15 at night so she could suprise our parents for Thanksgiving.
-My grandfather knew who I was on the phone today without having to be reminded that I was his granddaughter (he has Alzheimers).
-When one of my cats lays on my pillow and purrs so loudly it wakes me up.
-Watching the first big fat flakes of a snow storm.
So many things in life cost money, and I do not have a problem spending it when it is justified and reasonable, but it is nice to remember the things that bring a smile to my face without costing me a dime.
I have a parttime job, to save for the wedding and bulk up some other savings categories. Most of the time I like it fine. Lately though, the college girls have just been grating on me. They need to talk amongst themselves, and they have those breathy silly voices, and some of them wear clothes that are just way too tight for their bodies, and show us parts we just don't need to see. I know this seems like jealousy, but it's not. I just listen to them and think, what purpose is _X_ behavior serving for you? I hope I never sounded like them.
In other news, I think I just made $100 - I bought two pairs of sunglasses at my old job, and never used them; one of my coworkers is into fashion, so she said she'd buy them, sight unseen. Score! I just have to decide if I want to give her the case for both, or keep one for myself. Decisions, decisions. I paid a little more for them than that, but I'm glad to recoup any money. Sweet!
My future sister in law has a saying - free pets are the most expensive. As a vet, she gets many clients who are bewildered at the care expenses they need to pay for the pet they "got for free".
I have paid for none of my current animals (the cats that is), all but one were found outside our apartment. For the permanent 3, my half of their food and care averages $75/month. For the kittens, between the endless vet visits for the one we found at 10days old, and their voracious appetites, I almost don't want to know how much they are costing us. I want to know to have some idea. On the other hand, it won't change things - they found us for a reason, we're caring for them, and the money is going to healthcare and food, not toys or other luxuries.
It does hurt though sometimes when I think of where that money could go otherwise. If it were my choice, there'd be two felines, not five. But G-d decided otherwise, and I'm trusting his reasons. I just wish they came with monthly stipends.
Since I wrote yesterday about the influence this site has had on me, I feel I must divulge my other purchase this week - two tickets to A Chorus Line for my parents. My sister will be contributing part of the money, but I currently have a $239.50 charge sitting on my debit card. Why would I spend this much? Well, my mother was watching this show in July of 1977 when NYC had a citywide blackout. They went home, I was born 9 months later , and she never got to see the rest of the show before it closed in the early 90's. The first thing I thought of when I heard it was opening was that I'd love to get tickets for her and my stepfather to see it. He agreed, in fact said she's mentioned it twice!, and Amanda (little sis) agreed to chip in. So, we got them good seats, and hence, I now have said charge. I feel however, that it is worth it. I usually don't spend more than $40 on each, and given how much they are willingly spending on my wedding next year, it's only fair. Lately, I've been feeling the non-material value is more important than the material, and this to me has a high 'non-material' value. It's not 'stuff' but something they are going to enjoy and remember. That, to me is the point of giving.
OK, this site, more to the point, these blogs, are getting under my skin. I went out this morning to see the Black Friday deals b/c my little sister wanted to go. I was picky, way more critical of the prices, and impatient of stores with long lines, as in, I didn't feel it was worth it to wait on them. I only picked up two pairs of sweatpants and a glove and scarf set, both of which were reasonably priced to begin with, and marked down. When one of the sweatpants turned out to not be discounted, I said, well, then I don't want it! A lot of what I looked at, I thought to myself, yes, but I can probably get one at a thrift store, I just have to find one. I'm still willing to spend way more on things that I'm sure many others are, but I do see an improvement.
The biggest influence, I have to say, has been reading LRJohnson's blog. Seeing how little she spends, and how much she gets for her money has been such a big inspiration. Thanks everyone!
I hate this time of year fiscally. I have been going over my budgeted amount in several categories. I am going to reexamine my grocery category, and writing down all expenditures. I get an extra check this month, so I'm going to reconcile receipts with the SO, set my transfer acct straight, stare at the pitiful amt I have left, and divy that up.
My other goal for the next 5.5weeks (yes, that's really all that's left in the year)is to block gym time into the schedule, oh and in the meantime, also meet with photographers, DJs and florists for our rapidly approaching wedding.
There are days when I really want to just run off to Vegas with the honey.
My mother had a thought the other day, which she was so kind to mention to me today. Now, two months after we've booked my wedding reception for 200 people, and they've put a downpayment on it, she suddenly had the idea that we could have had a small wedding, and then they'd have given us money towards a dp on a house.
She claimed, after I just about went postal on her, that I never mentioned anything about wanting a smaller wedding. So, my reluctance to book such a big place, and my squeamishness at the large # of guests she added to our guest list didn't give it away!!!!???? No, I did not outright say "why don't we have a smaller wedding, and then you can give us the rest of the money for a dp." I thought it would be rather rude to suggest that if it costs less than they budgeted, that they just give us the extra money. Sigh. I had such a hard time coming to terms with having a large wedding, it was a real struggle. But I had made my peace. But, now that's just been reopened, and I have to work on putting it back once again. There are times when I really hate money.
AAAAHHHHH! They are everywhere. In September, we found a 10day old kitten on our balcony. We've had to bottle feed her, and she had multiple visits to the vet due to an eye infection, and not wanting to poop on her own. So, she's now almost 8wks old, almost off the bottle. Hey, we can finally get some peace. Nope, Thursday, fiance comes home to find a momma with three kittens, and it's going down to 30deg.F that night. He catches two, and has guilt about not getting the other one. He bundles them off to a foster. Next day, catches the third. Its too late to bring him to the lady that night, so he goes to the vet this morning for a check up with the intention of handing off later to the same rescue woman. Well, our vet says the rescue is so overloaded and the cats keep passing infections around. Sigh. So for now, we're fostering him. Problem is, he's cute, and all black. He's healthy so far, 1.5lbs, and probably close to the same age our little Siren is now. We already had three cats, two of whom are outside rescues. AAAHHH, we don't need two more! Or more after that. Kittens need to stay away. In the summer, we'd leave them with mom b/c they can survive outside, but in the winter, it's just cruel to leave them if they can be caught. We'd love to catch and spay mom, but she won't be caught.
The problem is that they get expensive. We don't want more cats. More cats = more expenses. We want a house, and to pay for a wedding, and save up for kids. ARGH!
So, part of my part time job money will now be going to the kitten fund. I can still fund the wedding acct, and build up the rest of my savings, it will just take a bit longer on the savings. At least the fiance and I are on the same page, and he's not out trying to save the feline world while I'm trying to save our pennies.
Sigh. We're calling this practice for parenthood.
Starting a $20 Challenge.
I've been working on losing weight since the beginning of the year. It's slow going, and I've hit a few bumps, but I'm determined. I am starting a Freedom Account category for my challenge, and I'll seed it with $20. Each time I workout I will add one dollar. My goal for this money is pay for new clothing when I get to goal, or close to it. I may also add a dollar for each pound lost. We'll see. Wish me luck.
Ok, I told you all about my car and job. Here's more, as it's happened fast!
1 - Car is at the shop as we speak. It got a check up from Honda - all good mechanically. It needed a battery, but that's b/c it was exposed for a week while the car sat w/ no hood. Se la vie. The estimate to fix her up is $4500. Wow. She's just shy of 7yo and still worth $8000 according to the adjuster who did the estimate. That's about half what I paid. Cool.
2 - Employment. I got a short term gig at my former employer, whom I'd left in June for the job I got laid off from. I started there the Wednesday after the layoff. And got a call that there was an opening back at the place I got laid off from. After the layoffs, someone resigned in my dept. So they have a replacement opening. I accepted, and I'm starting back next week. I could have started this past Monday but I'm going away the end of the week, so figured why not just start when I come back. All told, with the vacation and the two days between jobs, I'll only lose 5 days pay. Well, a little more b/c I had to go in late three days b/c of the car issues, an interview, and my fiance getting socked with a migrane, so all told, it's a little more, but still not bad. Someone was looking out for me.
With cutting down my budget for August and September, I'll be able to pay everything, and put some money towards my Contingency Fund, which will help with the car.
Normally, when the bridge is washed out, there are signs warning you. Someone for got to post the signs on my financial journey. I left for work Wednesday morning, and discovered my car was gone. Stolen! I also lost a day's pay dealing with that, as it takes time to fill out a police report, notify insurance, wait for them to get back to you, then find a rental car. So, I get everything taken care of, including me , and go off to work Thursday in my rental car. Half way through the afternoon, I'm testing, and I get asked to go to the temp agency's office at the company I'm working at. When I get there, they inform me my contract is being terminated effective Friday, the next day. Nice! It's due to internal restructuring, not performance. Still blows. So I am currently with out car, and with out job. Oh, they found my car Saturday morning, two towns over, missing the hood, front bumper and two quarter panels. It still runs, but who knows what insurance is going to want to do. We'll see.
At least I've been saving and living below my means for the past year. I have my money for August already saved, plus about a month to two months expenses saved, depending on what I'll need to pull from. I also have a part time job lined up to start in the next week or so, so that might be some income coming in. I also am sending my resume out to a ton of people in the next week, so we shall see. It's just such a blow to have two major things happen at once. Ouch.
It costs me roughly $66/day to live. That is my net income, minus all true savings (any money not saved with the intention of being spent at a later date). While that's not a lot, and though I have no statistics, it is probably about average for the US, it is more than many people around the world see in a month. Sobering. Now I have to think of ways to lower that number.
We get to start wedding planning tomorrow. This should be fun, she says with only mild sarcasm. I want to get married, and I want to celebrate with my family and friends that day. I just don't understand why a one day celebration should cost me more than my car. At the same time, I don't want to seem 'cheap' and I don't want to look back and wish I'd done more, or better. I'd love to do a dessert reception, or a cocktail reception, however, that's just not what's done in this region. I'm not shallow, but I do care about the impression I make. I just don't get why $65/person gets you a chicken and pasta dinner for a wedding, and $50/person gets you the top of the line dinner choices for any other type of party. I understand a slightly higher cost for a wedding w/ the tasting, and the cake, but seriously. Am I crazy?
I will control my spending, I will control my spending, I will control...
Quick post - it's late, I have a sleepy fiance waiting for me. I spent yesterday and today helping him and his sister and her hubby clean his mom's house as she's in the hospital. I love her dearly, but it's an ongoing problem, and a costly one dealing w/ her and her husband. They are always one step away from losing their house, they have too many pets, and can't take care of things due to health problems. So we pick up the pieces as they let us. Which sometimes costs major money, and always costs some, as it's a 2hr trip, so tolls and gas, which ain't cheap. I know it's minor, but still can be a problem. Sigh. And this time, b/c of the stress, we treated ourselves to dinner after cleaning yesterday. Awesome dinner, but very trendy place, so very trendy prices. LOL. So worth it, but sucks when you're trying to control the spending. This is why I try to keep my monthly spending plan lower than my income, so I have a cushion for things like this. And as my grandfather liked to say "we plan, and G-d laughs". Have a good week.
PS - thanks for all the comments. I am not from England, though I have family there. My name is Marianne, and I got sick of the 'mare' jokes, so started spelling my nickname differently in college.
So, it's actually been a year since I got serious about fixing the financial mess I had gotten myself into. I think I've done a decent job. My debt is going down, and my savings is going up. Last month however, I started a new job - for less money, with a longer commute, and upped my savings goal, as I am now saving for a wedding. Eek! Talk about the mother of all curveballs! So I have less money coming in, more expenses, and more savings needs. What will happen? Will our heroine make it and realize her goals? Stay tuned!