Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Budget 5/27 - 6/9

Time for a budget. Some bad news, some good news and some great news!

First the great news, I got my vacation compensation finally! Only 9 weeks after I stopped working at my last job they decided to finally give me my unspent vacation money back! Before taxes it totalled $1,342!!! But after taxes I got a little less than $700 back. Screw you tax man! Also I contributed more than usual this pay period to my 357 retirement plan (good news I suppose).
Other good news, my utility bill stands at a measly $45, the lowest I ever remember seeing it and a far cry from my sad sad days of my payment agreement. It may be one of the last payments I ever make on my own to the utility company as I have finally told my landlord I am moving out! There's still a little bit of uncertainty as to whether I have to pay for July's rent but I am hoping the answer is no and this budget will also see my last rent payment ever!

Now the bad news. First we got stuck in traffic on Mother's Day and I decided to use the web on my old cell phone. Bad idea! Despite the pains I endured to make sure I was on the best cell phone plan for me, I had failed to realize that unlimited texting did not unclude any web access. So I racked up $35 in charges in one day. But the worse news is that I apparently have managed to let my credit card escape the deep dark confines of my wallet and get used for non-emergencies such as sneakers and wine. The damage: $210! So soon after I got my balance down to zero!

Anyway so here's the new budget in which I will account for the above and allocate my vacation earnings accordingly:

Starting Balance = $1904

Rent (last one?) - 725
Perkins Loan - 93
School Loan - 54
Utilities - 45.90
Sprint - 100
Capital One - 210
Laptop - 70
Groceries - 100
Misc. - 75
Fiance* - 432

I currently owe my fiance $288 in old debt plus $205 for a festival ticket. With the money I give him I will almost erase these debts AND he will filter some of the money into the wedding account! Once I move out officially I will be able to pool all my additional money into this account! I seriously can't wait for this day!

Where it Went 5/13 - 5/26

Before I explain how I did on my budget the past two weeks, I want to talk about the $10 I didn't spend but should have. We returned from our Disney vacation after enduring several days of rain and one sunny which I was too cheap to pony up for sunscreen that I didn't remember to bring. And oh man am I in pain now.

I would love to write more about our trip (and will) but I'm swamped at work and cringing in pain right now. There's really no excuse for me to have been SO stupid. I used to be a certified life guard for Pete's Sake! And yet one day at the water park (fun) has led to three days of agony (and counting). Last night was spent furiously spraying vinegar on my burns and other home remedies such as milk and mustard (yes mustard). I have aloe but it stings too much. Readers please please wear sunscreen whenever you will be in the sun. And this concludes my public service message.

Now onto the budget:

Aunt Sallie Mae - 406/406.96
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Nice Collection Agency - 125/125
Perkins Loan - 93/0
School Loan - 54/0
Sprint - 64/0
Misc./Disney - 111/140
Clothes - 0/151
New cell phone - 0/54

I've been meaning to own up to this for some time but you may have noticed I've been buying some new clothes lately and this certaintly is not typical. Unfortunately the past few months I have been putting on some weight and I don't fit into half of my old clothes. That and the need to update my work wardrobe has added a new line in my that sucks. I've been trying not to dwell on this for a while now but it's not really going away. :-( More on this subject (and my plan to combat it) later I promise.
I didn't pay my other student loans yet as I'm still one payment ahead thanks to April's extra paycheck (and unlike Aunt Sallie's loans, these don't accrue interest daily).

I got a sweet new cell phone thanks to renewing my contract with Sprint. That's all for now but look forward to some good news and a new budget in a later post.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I got a new laptop!

Greetings from Sallie's Niece's Headquarters - now not broken! I had been dealing with a semi-broken laptop for months now...which I just didn't want to deal with because I kept telling myself "it's not really that broken" to "well I can't afford a new laptop right now." But finally last week when my fiance was out of town the problem got worse and worse and yesterday we decided to set out in pursuit of a computer that would not make me want to give up computing forever.

Originally we set out to purchase a netbook...small and affordable..they sounded really cool. AND picking up and playing with the netbooks we saw I did kind of appreciate the novelty of the mini cmputers..but they were just too small. I really never bring my laptop anywhere except from the couch to the bedroom (haha) so I didn't need something so portable and I wasn't willing to sacrifice keyboard and screen size just to save a couple of bucks. In fact, the laptop I ended up purchasing was cheaper than the netbook I was eyeing.

So I ended up with a Compaq Presario X2 CQ60. I'll spare you the technical mumbo-jumbo but the fiance who knows more about it signed off the on the specs and I signed off on the price ($389) after first eyeing a sign in the store that said "ask about our open box specials" and we ended up getting it out of the box for ten percent off!

And since I of course did not have $400 floating around in the bottom of my purse the fiance and I decided that he should apply for a zero percent interest Best Buy card to charge the computer on. I would have tried applying in my own name but I'm still working on rebuilding my credit. We were approved and I have six months to pay the sucker off at no interest (around $75 a month). So yes another unexpected expense right before our Disney trip but I really needed the computer for my sanity (and wedding planning) and I really love it! They keyboard is very easy to type on. Look forward to more blog posts now that I have a functioning laptop!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Budget 4/13 - 5/27

The combination of my utility company telling me I owe them nothing (?) and the Sprint online access to my account not operating right now has made this budget a little sketchy. Also and here's the big thing: next week we're going to Disney World!!!! So here's my best estimate of my budget for the next two weeks (i.e. the things I know HAVE to be paid):

Starting Balance = $1113*

Aunt Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Nice Collection Agency - 125
Perkins Loan - 93
School Loan - 54
Sprint - 64?
Misc./Disney - 111

*My paycheck is still being lagged $180 every two weeks. :-(

It really stinks that I haven't gotten my vacation payout from my old job yet. That $800 would have helped a lot on our upcoming trip! Luckily we're flying free, staying for free and have one free park day so it's not a super expensive vacation. Here's hoping that check arrives in the next few days but in the meantime I'm very excited to be going on vacation!

Where It Went 4/29 - 5/12

I know I sound like a broken record but things have got to get better for me financially when I can get out of my friggen apartment lease. Worst case scenario (and what's looking likely to happen) is that I have to pay rent for the months of June and July and then NEVER AGAIN. It's not so bad I realize and I'm very lucky to have not one but two places to hang my hat, but ugh, the money I'm wasting! I could be saving in my emergency fund, I could be contributing to the wedding deposits, heck I could be out buying ten news pairs of shoes each month with an extra $725!

My spending has been a tad out of control now that the warmer weather has kicked in as well. I felt like going for a walk and oh look there's a restaurant...why don't I get take out? Also I've been social a little more and well that aint free. I don't regret it though, live is meant for the living and I've never claimed to be a hard core frugalist.

So here's where my money has gone compared to the budget I set two weeks ago:

Rent - 725/725
Perkins Loan - 93/0*
School Loan - 54/0*
Groceries - 100/70
Dry cleaning - 60/54
Misc. - 101/180
Dinner out - 0/63
Mother's Day - 0/50
Makeup - 0/30

*Not yet due

Reception Deposit - $2000 - from my parents
Photographer Deposit - $500 - from my fiance

There's no turning back now, we're getting married!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some Wedding Plans

Finally I have a free moment in which to write about our upcoming wedding plans. We have set a date with the church two weeks ago and as of a couple of hours ago our reception venue's deposit has been paid! It's too late to back out now, we're actually getting married! :-)

The wedding is next July, you read that right, 2010. Sometimes it seems like way too far away and sometimes it seems like it is already sneaking up on me. Why July 2010? Several reasons really:
  1. It gives my parents some time between my sister's wedding last summer to save up for yet another wedding. It also gives my fiance and I some time to save up for the things we'll be paying for.

  2. My work schedule and several of the people in our lives are much more flexible in the summer.

  3. Because being engaged for one year is too short and two years is too long. A year and a half is just right.

  4. We like summer weddings!

Anyway it should be one excellent wedding. And I know in the past I've droned on and on about how weddings were a waste of money and selfish on the part of the couple but I take most it it back now - I'm a giant hypocrite and I'm excited for our wedding. We are going to make a conscious effort to make sure the guests have a good time too which includes 1) providing excellent food and 2) holding the wedding in a resort town in the sumer so that guests can go on a mini-vacation if they so desire.

Next week we're also meeting with a photographer. This process has been tougher than picking a groom, I swear! Wedding photography is all so beautiful and it's really an aesthetic as well as financial choice.

That's all for now. I'm looking forward to going through this exciting process with my groom-to-be!