Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When are you moving to the suburbs?

My ex-boyfriend stopped by my office yesterday. That may sound odd but we are friendly and work in the same industry so I see him from time to time. I enjoyed talking to him - I'm way too old to hold romantic grudges - but it seems despite former intimacies he clearly has no idea about my life goals. Srlsy? I may have to devote a couple of posts to the things he got wrong, but here's the first one.

In talking about real estate I mentioned to him (let's call him X) that if my husband-to-be and I ever decide to move, the houses in one of our potential neighborhoods, X's current neighborhood, all seem to have only 1.5 bathrooms at the most. Those in our hypothetical price range, that is.

X was confused. He said "well you guys shouldn't move there, you're going to move to the suburbs, right?" Hello? Have you met me? I loathe the suburbs!

This isn't the first time people have made this assumption. People think that just because my fiancee bought a condo downtown that this purchase was cheaper than a house or just a "temporary" home. They think our priorities will change once we are married and god forbid start reproducing. Wrong. We LOVE the condo life, we love the downtown, having a sustainable walkable lifestyle, and hope to stay in this immediate area for the foreseeable future.

And, just to clear things up. Fiancee's condo cost just a little over $150k, an amount that would pay for a modest home in the suburbs. He didn't buy such a house because that's not the life we want. Mowing the lawn? Commuting to work? Driving everywhere? Nope, not for us.

As for children, I would love to raise kids in a diverse urban area where we can go to museums, the library, the park, without having to get in the car. Every time I go for a walk in our city I'll run into friends, co-workers, neighbors. I am friendly with shopkeepers and all the people with cute dogs. I don't want my kids to be sheltered!

Besides, why spend money "upgrading" to the suburbs when the money we would pay in increased mortgage costs, increased taxes, increased commuting costs, house upkeep, etc. could go towards our other goals: early retirement, world travel, college savings for the little ones?

Everyone says my priorities will change. But you've heard it here first, we're staying put as long as we can!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Got My State Tax Refund!

I'm back from a week-long mini crisis with my husband-to-be's family and $141 richer due to the great State of New York depositing my tax refund. I had a very stressful week and I'm very glad to be back home and getting things back to normal.

Stress has followed me home, however, in the realm of still waiting on news about my employment, not having the time and motivation to move out of my apartment that I'm still paying an arm and a leg for, and wanting to plan just one tiny thing for the wedding without people telling me that I am "jumping the gun."

From what I have seen so far, long engagements are awesome finance-wise but they also suck!

I will post news of what I will be doing with my extra tax money as soon as I figure it out myself.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Budget 02/18 - 03/04

I'm having some trouble logging into my utility account and there may be some unexpected expenses while I'm away but here's a rough budget for the next two weeks. I'm still waiting on a few debits to hit my account in the next few days so I'll just assume they have hit.

Starting balance = $1140

Rent - 725
Sprint - 60
Utilities - 150? (including $40 towards Payment Agreement)
School Loan - 54
Groceries - 50
Clothes - 50
Misc. - 51

Hopefully my husband-to-be can kick in a few more bucks towards my water debt so I can be one step closer to ditching my apartment.

Where it Went 2/04-2/17

Had to check out of town for a mini-crisis with my future in-laws but wanted to throw a quick update in to keep track of my budget. So here's how I did the past two weeks compared to the budget I set out.


Credit Card - 100/300
Aunt Sallie Mae - 406/406.96
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/0 (hasn't posted)
Nice Collection Agency - 125/0 (hasn't posted)
Train ticket - 80/0
Groceries - 50/0
Beauty - 30/0
Valentine's Day - 20/5
Transfer to Savings - 0/50
Entertainment - 0/90
Misc. - 67/272

I got my tax refund so I spent a bunch of money on miscellaneous stuff (booze, lunches out). I did, however, send $300 to my credit card this month, knocking the balance down to about $135.

I didn't end up going to see my friend so I didn't need the train ticket or the manicure.

I put some money in savings and also paid towards a concert ticket for another music festival I'm attending this summer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Woohoo, got my tax refund!

Thank you, Uncle Sam! My tax refund came yesterday, a full three days before it was scheduled to arrive in my bank account via direct deposit.

I decided that my highest priority right now is to knock out the last of my credit card debt so I sent $200 towards the balance, for a grand total of $300 I paid this month. I now have a very small balance remaining on the card and hope to knock the rest out this month.

Look for an update on my sidebars finally to acknowledge this goal as well as kicking out the rest of my Short Term Debt (Water, Friend C, Utilities).

In the meantime, Happy Tax Refunds to all you people lucky enough to get them this year!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well at least I didn't use my student loans to care for my 14 kids...

because apparently that's what the infamous Octuplet Mom, Nadya Suleman, plans to do according to her interview with The Today Show. Just an FYI, if you are a full time graduate student as this woman is, you are eligible to take out loans in excess of the full tuition to pay for living expenses.

Usually these are private loans, which are evil. Thankfully I only did that one time during my education or else I'd have even more debt.

Seriously, good luck to her in finding a lender.
This whole story has made me so sick. Did you see the pictures of her house? Disgusting.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lake Tahoe On A Budget

Haha, you can't go to Lake Tahoe on a budget. Well we budgeted for it in advance by way of the Vacation Fund. And we were extremely lucky to have most of our expenses paid for my my husband-to-be's travel rewards, but still Tahoe stole our money. Here's how:

Flight - paid with points
Airport lunch - $48*
Two sodas at transfer airport - $6!

Car rental - ? I think it was $140

Hotel - paid with points

Dinner at the bar of the hotel - $40

Heavenly lift ticket (me) - $82
Ski rental (me) - $36
Heavenly lift ticket/ski rental and all-day lesson (him) - $160
Drinks and lunch on the mountain (me) - $44!

Fancy dinner where we got engaged - $200+ (I had elk. He had buffalo. It was amazing!)

Dog sledding! - $95 each

Cable car ride up the mountain at Squaw Valley - $9 each!**

*Though I decided not to save up any of my "own" money for the trip, my parents gave me $100. And I spent $88 on vacation (and $9 filing my taxes.) The items I paid for were our lunch at the airport and my lunch on the mountain.

**We got lucky at Squaw Valley. The cable car ride was supposed to cost $22 each but we bought a dinner package and got most of our money back when it turned out the restaurant wasn't open. So we spent several hours hanging out on top of the mountain for pretty cheap.

We ate all the rest of our meals in the hotel honors lounge where they give the VIPs free food. It felt good to hang with the VIPs and enjoy free eats and amazing views.

All and all it was an amazing place and I of course will always remember the trip for the moment in which a certain someone asked me to marry him.

BTW, if you ever have a chance to go dog sledding, do it! So much fun!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Budget 2/04 - 2/17

This budget may need tweaking in a few days as I'm going to see a friend for the weekend and expecting my tax refund soon but in the meantime I should post it to keep myself honest. I'm also budgeting for a manicure since it's high time I got one (and to show off my ring!).

Starting Balance = $1138

Credit Card - 100
Aunt Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Nice Collection Agency - 125
Train ticket - 80
Groceries - 50
Beauty - 30
Valentine's Day - 20
Misc. - 67

I'm throwing $100 at my credit card and will hopefully get rid of the rest of it this month with the help of my anticipated federal tax refund of $316. New York is also giving me over $100 back but they are not half as quick as the feds.

I don't anticipate spending too much money when I visit my friend as she's sort of a homebody but I could be wrong. I'm looking forward to seeing her and catching up on some girl time before I'm an old married hag.

Where It Went 1/21 - 2/03

Payday, marvelous payday. I still have a job. I have a husband-to-be. Life is good. Here's where my money went over the past two weeks, compared to the budget I laid out for it.

[Note that this doesn't inclue ANY vacation spending in Lake Tahoe, even though I, in fact, spent $88 while I was away. But this spending was induced by the fact that my parents sent me $100 for the trip. I don't feel guilty about this - they wanted me to drink those expensive apre ski beers, correct? More about my trip to come soon hopefully!]


Dentist - 25/25
Rent - 725/725
Water - 50/100*
Sprint - 64/64.15
Utilities - 156/151.63
School Loan - 54/54
Groceries - 0/20*
Misc. - 65/48*

*These numbers are a little confusing to calculate. I did pay $100 towards my water debt instead of just $50. That was due to the fact that my husband-to-be gave me $50 towards the shared goal of getting me out of my apartment. I then took the $50 he gave me and used $20 of it on groceries and the other $30 on miscellaneous things which skews the numbers a bit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Ring

I've got a lot more posts to write but work has been kicking my butt since we got back. They can't fire me now - who else would do this crap? But anyway, I figured my female readers would love to see my engagement ring. So here it is:

The picture doesn't do it justice, it's amazing! Heirloom diamond that has been in his family for a long time plus six little diamonds in the setting. I originally thought I wanted a solitaire setting but I'm glad he decided on this one instead - gives the ring a little extra sparkle. I still feel a little odd wearing it - like I am playing dress up - but I hope I'll get used to it.

We're going to get it sized today since it's too big. I thought I was a size 7!

Still can't believe we're engaged!!!