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Long but good shift and low spending

April 14th, 2015 at 05:11 am

I really enjoy days like this one.

My shift was long but good. Apparently the espresso machine was pulling ridiculously long shots yesterday and when I arrived at work today two techs were trying to repair it. Almost three hours later they were still there and a bit puzzled. After replacing two parts the shot time was better but still erratic, swinging wildly from perfect to way too long. They said to watch it for a day or so and if the timing doesn't improve to call in another work order. Oh the joy of having bad shots! When the machine does this, it takes two to three times longer to make an espresso beverage because I have pull the shots several times to get the right ones. Ugh. One would think an espresso machine that costs $20,000 would be a bit more reliable, huh?

I also started training a new worker tonight. She's pretty sharp and I think if she's patient with herself and sticks with us she'll turn out to be a good barista. I hope so as we desperately need a few more. Although the store was busy for quite awhile after I arrived, it slowed down around 7 PM so we got some good quality training time. Yaay!

When I clocked out I picked up $15 worth of groceries then headed home, stopping for $9 worth of gas. Since I took lunch and snacks I didn't buy anything to eat on site so my spending for the day was $24.00. I like it.

Dental appointment not so bad ...

April 6th, 2015 at 09:17 pm

and not as expensive as I thought it would be.

It turned out I had a calculus deposit behind my lower front teeth and anaerobic bacteria had gotten under it and infected the gum and surrounding tissue. D'oh, no wonder I felt so much pain!

The hygienist numbed the area then used her handy dandy ultrasonic tool to break up the deposit. At first she and the dentist thought I'd need an anti-biotic but once the pieces were out and they could see the area they decided to leave it alone in the hope that it will clear up naturally. They both said it should but if I still have pain in the morning to call for an anti-biotic.

I already feel so much relief. I'm still numb but not completely. I told her I can deal with some pain but not that agonizing stuff I had going on.

The bill came to $192 for an emergency visit, xrays, and the calculus removal. I checked with the insurance company about using my HSA debit card to pay for it and they said that's allowed so I did that. Whew!

And the best part is...I didn't need anything other than the numbing gel. The hygienist was very gentle and explained what she was doing each step of the way and that helped to ease my anxiety.

I hope the infection clears up quickly but I'm going to work another appointment or two into the budget over the next few months. I need to get this phobia under control and get some work done.

Thank you for the good thoughts!

A little Friday spending but it sure feels good to have bills paid!

April 4th, 2015 at 02:07 pm

I worked a 7.5 hour shift yesterday, 5.5 hours of it alone. Argh! Whoever wrote that schedule should be horse whipped or made to come work a similar shift. Scheduling one person alone on the Friday before a major holiday isn't wise, especially during the busiest time of any day! They do that to me too often but supposedly it's because I've been there the longest, deal best with the long line of caffeine deprived shoppers, and am the fastest. Well okay, but shouldn't my pay reflect those wonderful things? I think so! Oh, I get to do it again today! I work 12 to 5:30 and 5 hours of that will be alone. Oh my, they really do trust me, don't they? Ha ha! ;-)

I took my lunch and snacks and ate those so -0- spending on food during my shift. Way to go, Denise! When I clocked out, I got half and half, cat food, and B12. I spent a total of $12.83, entered the amounts into EveryDollar, and it feels great to know I have cash for the next two weeks and my bills are paid.

Carry on, soldier, carry on!

Not a no spend day but really nice, anyway

April 1st, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Mom and I went to the nursing home this morning and spent a couple of hours with Pop. Brutal is the only word that describes it. His rapid decline and her emotional upset over it are sometimes just too much to witness. We left exhausted, came back to my apartment, and had lunch and a little rest.

We then went to the post office because I needed to mail some things to my youngest son who is in west Texas. I'd forgotten about that until he sent me a text this morning reminding me. Ooops! When we left the post office, we headed to one of the area consignment shops. Mom needed jeans and since I've worn to thread bare condition most of my clothes I decided to look a bit. I found four shirts that fit nicely and look good but bought only three of them.

Then off to Walgreen's where Mom bought chocolate covered marshmallow eggs for herself. Ha, she loves her chocolate! I bought a few "last chance" frozen dinners. I don't eat much processed food but for the price of .99 they were difficult to pass up. With a salad and some green beans or spinach, they'll nicely round out a quick meal after a long shift at work.

We didn't get around to buying a weed eater but maybe tomorrow.

So although today wasn't a no spend day as I'd planned, I spent well and had a nice time with my mother.

Post office - $12.65
Consignment shop - $14.03
Walgreen's - $10.18

Total spending for the day - $36.86

Tuesday blathering

March 31st, 2015 at 10:54 pm

I woke up at 3 this morning. My alarm was set for 5 AM but I was so very tired last night that I crashed on the couch before 9:00 PM. I rarely sleep more than 5 hours at a time so sleeping until 3 was great. For some reason, my blood sugar was 244 at about 7 this morning! My insulin pump was functioning fine so I bolused some units to deal with the high and by 9 AM my blood sugar was back in the good range. Later in the day it was too high again, 277! I bolused a small amount of insulin and put away our weekly order. That's some pretty physical work and between the insulin and activity the blood sugar was 108 a little later when I checked it. When I got home, I changed my set even though I put in a new one last night. Ugh. Those sets are expensive so every time something like this happens I cringe. But diabetes stuff happens and it is what it is!

I worked a 7.5 hour shift but forgot my lunch so I spent $4.33 on that. Grrrrr! I don't do that often but I really need to do it never.

After work I went to the bank to deposit the tax refund check then by the nursing home to see Pop but he wouldn't even uncover his head. I sat in a chair for about an hour, talking to him now and then while he talked to someone else who wasn't there. Dementia sucks, folks. It just sucks. I finally left and called Mom and she told me she wants to get a weed eater tomorrow so when she's ready to get out and about we'll go get one of those and go to the nursing home. Maybe we'll be able to get Pop out of bed and to the dining hall for a little bit of socialization time. Neither of us needs to spend money on lunch so we'll probably come back to my place for a quick meal together before she heads home.

Yesterday evening and this morning I went over my expenses with a fine tooth comb, a very fine tooth comb! There isn't a lot I can do to eliminate or reduce expenses but here are a few things I've done or will do:

Put my HuluPlus subscription on hold and will cancel it in April. I don't have cable television and pick up no local stations so I've relied on HuluPlus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime for viewing. The main reason I got HuluPlus was to watch "Vikings" and an old science fiction series I loved but I haven't used the service in a couple of months so it can go. That's a savings of $8.49 a month.

Decide if I want to keep my Amazon Prime membership. I do a lot of my shopping using Prime so I need to think about this for awhile. I pay annually but If I cancel Prime in September when it's up for renewal, that will be a monthly savings of about $9.

Decided to keep Netflix. I use it for about 90% of my television viewing and feel it's worth the $17.30 I pay per month.

Reduced my Starbucks card reload amount to $30 a month and am considering reducing it to $20. Even though I work at a licensed Starbucks we don't routinely get free drinks. When the boss is there, she'll sometimes let us have one but we don't count on that. I don't drink their dessert in a cup drinks - just unsweetened iced tea, no water added and coffee, hot or iced, or an Americano with cream. I need to drink more water, though, so reducing the amount I spend at work will help with finances and water consumption. That's a savings of $20 a month.

Right now that's about all I can do but progress is progress. Right? Right?? Right! ;-)

I'm off for the next two days and need to do some preliminary moving stuff - you know, throw out what needs to go, pack what I'm not using, etc. I also need to clean the apartment and do laundry, work on my Coffee Master certification, and work hard to have two more no spend days. Yeehaw!

Day 34 of not smoking:how did I afford it?

January 19th, 2012 at 10:33 am

34 days without a cigarette and I'm $289 dollars richer! Sort of. Actually, I don't know how on earth I managed to afford cigarettes since I can't imagine having spent $289 in the last 4 weeks. I don't have it to spend so how did I do it? Misplaced priorities, no doubt. Oh well, I'm working on that slowly but surely and at least I'm not blowing money on smokes anymore.

I haven't heard from the management at the kitchen store where I applied for a part time job. Hopefully they'll get in touch with me soon. It would be great to earn another hundred or so a week.

I haven't spent much money the last few days. I've been taking my meal to work with me and haven't gone anywhere or done anything spendy. I do have to go to the grocery store this morning for a couple of things but shouldn't spend much at all.

All in all it's been very quiet and very non-expensive since Saturday. Gotta love that!

Thrifty eating, another $5 a month cut out, cable gone & a weekend off!

January 7th, 2012 at 04:29 am

I worked today and took lunch and a drink but still ended up buying a drink while there. I also had to get half and half (a requirement for my coffee!) so this evening I went to Albertson's and spent $12 on a few things. I still have $15 in my grocery budget to last til the end of next week so I'm doing fine on that.

Dinner was more of that delicious Mexican stew and a bit of the King Ranch Chicken. It was a very good meal but I'm so thankful there's just a little of that stew left! I'll probably have it for breakfast and finally be done with it.

I changed my Spotify subscription to the $4.95 a month plan so that cuts out another $5 per month. That isn't a lot but it all adds up, right? Between not spending money on cigarettes and the other changes I've made, my monthly outgo should now be about $346 less.

346! That's a substantial difference, y'all!

The cable company sent their tech out this evening to disconnect my cable television service so that's done.

And I'm actually off this weekend. It's not often I get a weekend off so I'm going to savor this one and relax. And probably look for other places and ways to cut expenses!

Today's spending & auto insurance update

January 4th, 2012 at 01:34 am

The complex office was closed today so I didn't pay the rent or water but will do that in the morning. Before work today I bought an iced coffee and a small tube of hand lotion to keep in my apron pocket. The total was less than $3, so it wasn't a no spend day but it was a very looooow spend day.

The mexican stew I took to work was very well received. My boss ate some on her lunch break and the rest was scarfed up by a young man who seems to always be broke and hungry!

I called Geico and it turns out I have comprehensive, collision, roadside service and a couple other things on that policy (I'd forgotten) which explains the rate difference. I checked to see how much 6 months would be if I do away with those things and it's still about $70 more than the Progressive quote. Since the vehicle is a 2002 and paid for, carrying those things on it probably doesn't make much sense anymore. I'm going to call a local independent agent to get a few more quotes before I make a decision on what to do but it looks like I'll change auto insurance companies unless Geico gets on the ball.

Tonight's dinner was the last of the chicken and noodles. It was delicious and knowing that food won't end up in the trash made it tastier. Right now I have the last of the frozen meatballs from Target warming. They'll be packed, along with a little bit of brown gravy and steamed squash, for my work lunch tomorrow. Thanks to CCraw for the idea on a way to make the meatballs more palatable. Wink

I guess that's about it for today. Oh yes, today is Day 18 of not smoking and I feel great!

14 days, 119 pennies, and the new year is upon us

December 30th, 2011 at 02:55 pm



Look, you can't see the bottom of the jar now! Smile

It's been 14 days since I've had a cigarette. I haven't cheated, haven't bummed one off someone, I simply haven't had the taste of a cigarette though a few nights ago I came close and could have smoked one. I was sorely tempted, too, but I got through it.

There are 119 pennies in my jar and later today $119 will be transferred from my checking to savings account. I've decided to split the money I don't spend on buying cigarettes. Half of it will go to a local charitable organization I've found that needs it and the other half will be saved to take myself on a cruise. I think it's fair to give away at least half the money I'd normally waste. Also, I've wanted some Flower Bomb perfume for well over a year now (and I can't even tell you how much I want it!) but it's way out of my price range and I think I might take some of the money I haven't blown on cigarettes and buy myself a tiny bottle of that before I start saving for a cruise. Wink

I feel great. I'm sleeping better (not remembering any dreams again), have no coughing, my mood has stabilized, and I certainly smell better! I haven't gained weight...yet. I have to really keep an eye on that. All in all, it's going beautifully.

Today I must pay my rent and water bill. The electric bill isn't due for two weeks and since I need to put my not smoking money into savings I'll pay it on the next pay day. I have to prioritize that not smoking money because if I don't, I'll blow it on something stupid!
Before I head to work today I'm going to re-work my irregular income planning sheet, too. It needs to have a few changes made to it.

Anyway, Happy New Year to me. And you!

7 days, 59 pennies (dollars) and counting!

December 23rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Today makes 1 week since I've bought or had a cigarette. Whew! I've survived the first week! However, I know from past experience that I can never let my guard down. Not a month from now, not a year from now, not ever. And that part is a little tough to deal with. Meh, it is what it is, though.

Here's my Not Smoking jar this morning. It has 59 pennies in it! It's absolutely ridiculous that I've spent $60 a week, give or take, on cigarettes for however long! Oh well, moving on is the ticket, right? Next Friday I should be able to move about $120 from checking to savings. Not bad for two weeks of not smoking!



Anyway, I was off yesterday, am off today, and close tomorrow. I haven't spent much money at all in the last three days and that's a very good thing, indeed.

Today I have to run to the dollar store for eggs and more cleaner for the walls. Other than that I shouldn't have any spending. I love these no/low spend days. Smile

Didn't spend much today - cleaning walls and other fun stuff

December 21st, 2011 at 02:23 am

I remembered to take my lunch and snacks to work today but forgot my breakfast so I spent $2.42 for a breakfast burrito and after I got off I bought a Trenta Iced Coffee for $3.40. That's all I've spent today. I imagine the folks at the place where I got my cigarettes are wondering if I'm sick or dead or what as they're accustomed to me stopping by every couple of days! Meh.

After I got home I cleaned some more of the walls. I'm almost finished with the bathroom and kitchen. Wow, it's amazing just how disgusting smoking makes them! I'm using hot water and some great smelling variety of Mr. Clean with Febreeze and it really makes a huge difference in how the walls look and how the entire place smells! I know from past experience that in a few weeks, with more cleaning and no smoking in here, it will smell almost as though it was never smoked in. Almost. I'll be content with that.

Next on the list is washing every fabric item in the place. I'm taking my time doing all this. No need to rush but the sooner it gets done, the better off I'll be!


Almost 4 days in and $34 not spent! Rockin' on :)

December 20th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

As of right now, I've not spent somewhere around $34.00 on cigarettes. It's hard to say exactly how much I've not spent since my smoking habits varied so much day to day, hour to hour, and stress to stress, but it's certain that I've not spent anything at all on cigarettes since I bought them on Tuesday last, two packs for $9.50. Not only have I not spent any money on them, I haven't bummed a cigarette from anyone, either. So, I've not smoked at all since around 1 PM Friday.

It really doesn't seem to bother me much, the not smoking. Yes, I think of smoking now and then but I wouldn't say I often truly crave a cigarette. Part of that might be that work is keeping me so busy I just don't have much time when I'm there to think about it. But I think most of it is the use of the Nicotine patch.

I'm not getting anywhere near the nicotine I did by smoking yet I seem content with things so far. When I quit for almost a year, I used the patch for only 2 weeks then stopped and was fine. For a year. I've decided to use the patch longer this time, most likely according to the directions, which is 10 weeks and three steps.

In preparation for that, I bought a box of 14 Step 1 patches yesterday for about $20. I'll stay on Step 1 for 6 weeks then go to Step 2 and we'll see how it's going.

So far, I'm fine, though. A little edgy at times, a little snappy with folks once in awhile but not a rip roarin' B*$#@. Yet. Wink

In addition to the patches I bought yesterday I spent $36 on a prescription and that's it for the day's spending.

I work a long shift today and am taking breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Spent $18.40 today and still no smoking!

December 19th, 2011 at 05:26 am

I was scheduled to work a pretty long shift today but this evening the place was very, very slow so I got to leave an hour and a half early. On the one hand, I like that because I was tired and ready to go but on the other hand those are hours I won't be paid for!

It's now been 58 hours since I've had a cigarette and I estimate I've saved a little over $17 at this point!

I mentioned in another entry that I'd love to have a visual reminder of the money I haven't spent on cigarettes and LuckyRobin made this suggestion:

"If you want a visual reminder try something like using an old mayonaise jar and for every dollar you save put in something like a marble. If you don't have marbles, something cheap like beans or unpopped popcorn kernals. You'll be able to see your daily progress as the jar fills without running to the bank for money."

I just love this idea! Isn't it great?

After work tonight I did a little shopping for a few things I really needed. I spent $18.40 but should be good for a few days. I'm pooped and headed to bed. I hope you all have a marvelous and productive Monday.

28 and counting!! :)

December 17th, 2011 at 11:08 pm

No, that isn't my age though don't I wish it was? It's also not the number of thousands of dollars I have in savings! Wink

It is, however, the number of hours I've gone without a cigarette!

I was so very tempted to buy a pack this afternoon on the way home from my very long and very, very busy day. I thought, "Well, I can smoke one or two then stop" but I know myself. If I buy a pack, I'll feel guilty for 'wasting' them and I'll smoke them all. Then I'll buy another pack. I'm better off simply not going there. No matter how much stress I'm under or how good one sounds at the moment.

I took my lunch and enjoyed it and didn't even really want a cigarette after eating. The day was so busy and stressful that I did break down and give into temptation eventually. I bought a Trenta iced coffee with plenty of cream after my shift was over. I spent $3.40 on that and part of me really didn't want to spend the money but the biggest part of me desperately wanted that iced coffee!

I work again tomorrow and have decided I'll not buy coffee, tea, or anything else at work. I'll be happy with my lunch and diet pepsi or water.

But yeah, 28 hours without a cigarette. Yaaaay me! Smile

And although I'm beat, a friend has asked me over for dinner and the Cowboys game, I said I'd go, and I'm going. He smokes occasionally so this might be a bit of a temptation but we'll see how it goes.

Thank you for the continued good thoughts and support. I very much appreciate y'all!

Basically a no spend day

December 17th, 2011 at 05:16 am

I forgot to take my check book to Target so I couldn't pay the $84 on the Visa that I'd used to pay for my Novolog. I put the check book in my purse so I'll remember to do that tomorrow. I did take my lunch to work and didn't buy a single drink during my shift today.

To top that off, I didn't stop anywhere for cigarettes on the way in or on the way home and am now eating the garlic chicken I prepared and am about to go to bed since I have to get up at 5 AM.

My lunch and snacks for tomorrow are packed and I'm determined to not smoke tomorrow.

One day at a time.

Payday - envelopes funded and $10 free money :)

December 16th, 2011 at 07:06 pm

My pay hit my checking out last night so I went to the bank and took out $175. I put $125 in the food envelope, $30 in the gas envelope, and $20 in the entertainment envelope. Food includes eating out, something I rarely do, and I usually don't need $175 for two weeks of food but with the family get together next week I want to make sure I have enough cash to buy what I need to buy.

I paid for my mail order Novolog, $84, with my Target Visa and will go to Target today and pay that amount on the bill.

My serve.com account was credited with $10 so that's some free money. Smile I still haven't gotten the $10 for signing up but hope it shows up soon. My sisters have both signed up and I'm hoping to get others to sign up. Hey, $20 for a couple of minutes of time is pretty good and I don't mind making an extra $5 when someone else signs up. Smile

Anyway, so far so good. I still have some money in the checking account. After funding the envelopes and paying bills plus the $84 on the Target Visa there isn't much but it's all good.

Rock on, rock on. Smile

Really low spending today - yaaay!

December 13th, 2011 at 12:53 am

I worked a long and very arduous in ways shift today. I ate the lunch I took but didn't get around to eating on breaks so the snacks I took will go back with me tomorrow.

I just made some scrumptious chicken salad to take for tomorrow's lunch. I'll have it with roasted asparagus and a low carb yogurt. I'm also taking an avocado in case I need something extra.

When I got off today I was exhausted and just wanted to come home. But I was also very thirsty so I bought a Trenta iced tea and headed home. No stops, no more money spent. Smile

I get paid Friday and will fund my envelopes, though there won't be a whole lot of funding going on since I have some medical bills I need to pay. Oh well, it's all good and I'm beginning to get that motivation back, thanks to y'all!!

The paycheck after that should be pretty good since I'll have two weeks at 40 hours on it. Woot! That will come in handy in January!

Drats! I keep forgetting my menu for the week

January 5th, 2010 at 09:26 pm

but here is this week's menu, late.

Sunday night we had Farmhouse Beef Casserole with steamed green beans. It was my first time making this casserole and it was good but I'll make changes next time.

Monday night we had lima beans with the lower carb cornbread I made. It was good and there are leftovers for lunches.

Tonight we're having Turkey Italian sausage and baked cabbage. The man person might have some of the limas with his.

The rest of the week we're having, in no particular order:

Cheese and spinach crustless quiche served with green salad and crispy steamed carrots

Vegetable chicken soup, made with the meat from two chicken legs and quite a few vegetables lingering in the fridge, served with low carb biscuits and butter

Spicy baked chicken served with green salad and stuffed mushrooms

Poor Man's Steak, leftover baked cabbage, and 1/2 a small baked potato each

And that's it for this week - thrifty but tasty and hearty.

Oh, and I only worked 5 hours today but I ran off this morning and forgot my snack so I ended up using $1.50 of my gift card. Other than that, though, no spending so far.

Not really a no spend day but...

January 5th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for the great ideas for winter comfort foods, y'all. I figured soups and stews would be the favorite and yep, that's pretty much what happened. I love 'em myself, though, and always appreciate new food ideas and y'all came through again.

I wanted cornbread with my lima bean dinner last night but it's too high in carbs so I experimented and came up with a pretty darn good substitute. I used Carbquick and a little bit of a cornbread mix I had lying around and came up with a concoction that actually produced a very cornbread like thing. Yaaaaaay! It's still a little too high in carbs for us to go nuts with but in moderation we should be able to have it once a week or so.

Yesterday four bill payments came out of the bank account but neither of us had personal spending so we sort of, kind of had a No Spend Day! :::insert weak cheer here:::

A sneak peek at my new database!

January 3rd, 2010 at 03:29 pm

Here are some views of my new expenses database, which doesn't hold much data yet but will as time passes.

Here it is showing all records:



And here's a shot from after I did a find for all records with the category of "Dining":



By the way, that category name will change to "Groceries/Food". I have a few adjustments to make and a little tweaking to do but so far it's working quite nicely!

One smallish 2010 goal met!

January 2nd, 2010 at 10:42 am

Okay, so it's not really that important but still...

I got in from work yesterday to find that the man person had gotten the database started. I've entered the last week of December's bills, payments, and other outgoing money just so I'd have some data in it and so far it seems to work well. It needs some tweaking and adjusting but it will be fine for what we need, I think. He doesn't think I'll keep up with it and he could be right but I think I will. I might need a little prodding here and there but we definitely need a way to keep up with things and I think this is it.

And there we go - one 2010 goal has been met! I had a very simple goal of finding an easy way to keep track of expenses and now that's been accomplished.

It's up to me to actually use it but the man person did his part and that little goal has been met. Yaaah for tiny baby steps!

Quick wrap up of 2009 & today's spending

December 31st, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Okay, so this year was good, bad, and even ugly financially.

The Good:

The man person's business is doing pretty well and pays most of the bills. I'm still working at the job I've had for two years and we manage to save a good portion of what I bring in or we use it for "fun" stuff.

In May of 2009 I opened a 401(k) with my employer and while there isn't much in there, it's something. I also have a very small pension amount with them. I doubt that I'll be with the company for 20 more years but who knows? It could happen.

We're about 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF but feel pretty good about what we have in it now. Even the amount we have gives us some security.

We rarely are late to pay a bill now. When it does happen, it's because I simply forget to deal with it, not because we don't have the money.

Our credit reports look a hell of a lot better than they did two years ago.

The Bad:

There isn't much in my 401(k) or pension account. Yeah, they've only existed for a few months but I want them stuffed with goodies..now!

We're only 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF. I want it fully funded..now!

Once in a while I'm forgetful and we don't get a bill paid on time. I want to have no bills to pay..now!

Our credit reports, while looking a lot better than they did two years ago, still have a hickey or two on them. I want them cleaned up..now!

Okay, so I'm a little impatient.

And the Ugly:

We have that $45,526.52 hospital bill to tend to. We have a payment plan set up with the surgeon but will throw extra at it and are paying on the pathology bill and will throw extra at it, too, but that hospital bill just looms over us as we try to figure out the best way to deal with it.

All in all, I'd say 2009 was a good year for us financially. Not spectacular but better than 2008 and certainly much better than previous years.

And here's hoping the upward trend continues in 2010.

Oh yeah, here's today's spending:

Laundry - $2.50
Cigarettes - $4.70
Denise Cell Phone - $80 (this is normally around $45 but I got a new phone and part of the monthly charge was pro-rated so this bill was higher than usual)
Americano to have while washing clothes - $2.11

Figured out how to keep track of expenses!

December 30th, 2009 at 06:41 pm

Our expenses for December ended up being very close to what we had on the planning sheets we prepared at the end of November and that's a good thing, indeed. But I've been agonizing over finding a better way to keep track of expenses. It dawned on me, finally, that I already knew the way to do it.

Some years ago the man person created a Filemaker database for me to keep track of blood sugar readings, meals, exercise, medication, physician's visits, etc. and I still use it. It's great and it's so easy to sort and find things. Why not do the same for expenses? Duh! I could even use it for income.

So, I sat down and made a list of the things I need it to have and he's pondering it for a day or two before he gets started on it. Apparently its better to get it right the first time than to revise the thing once its done.

I can't wait until it's ready and I can start entering things into it. I'm turning into quite a numbers geek. Wink

December 7th spending & no spend days

December 8th, 2009 at 12:55 am

Spending for Monday, December 7th

Business - $8.69
Groceries - $5.44
Medication - $24.88
Paid storage bill - $100
December 7th total - $139.01

I'd really, really like to have at least two no spend days a week. In the past we've had weeks with four or five no spend days but honestly I can't remember the last no spend day around here!

Maybe while we're working on the Irregular Income Planning sheets tonight I can bring up the no spend days idea. Even if the man person isn't supportive of the idea I can aim for personal no spend days. I can take my lunch and drinks to work and hit the door as soon as I clock out rather than walk around a little to see what's on sale. In fact, I just packed a bento for tomorrow - leftover baked chicken from tonight and celery sticks, some with peanut butter and some with a marvelous cream cheese dip I made. I'll take along some instant coffee so I don't buy a cup of java on break and will drink water with my lunch. I have half a tank of gas right now and unless we drive a lot more than usual that should last until Friday or so. Yeah, I think I'll aim for Tuesday and Thursday as no spend days, at least on a personal level, and I'll try to fit another one in.

Sounds like a plan to me!

I heart envelopes!

February 16th, 2008 at 05:25 pm

This morning I went through the bank drive thru since the lobby isn't open on Saturday. Since I've gotten into the habit of going in to the bank for all transactions I really missed it this morning! But I managed. I gave the teller the list of cash amounts and asked him to put each amount in a separate envelope. He gave me an odd look but did it.

After finishing at the bank, I went to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. I spent $35, leaving $95 for food.

Someone emailed me asking what payments are 'enveloped' and exactly how we handle our envelope system. The business and larger expenses are funded daily by money that comes into DH's business and things like food, gas, and clothing are funded by my pay.

Here's the breakdown of the envelopes funded by money from DH's business:

The business envelopes are funded six days a week because the business is open six days a week and is mostly a cash one. Each night we sit down together and record what's come in for the day. Some cash and all checks are deposited into the bank. Varying amounts of the remaining cash are put into each of the business envelopes and because we add money almost every day we know where we are with each envelope at any given time. When it's time to pay a bill the money is removed from the envelope and if we have enough in the checking account to pay that bill we pay it and put the cash in other envelopes that need more money. If we don't have enough in the checking account to pay that bill the cash is deposited into the checking account and we write and send the check for that bill and start filling that envelope for the next month. Using this system we're able to know exactly where we stand with bills, pay them on time and not worry about spending food money on advertising or some other need.

The expenses covered by my pay every two weeks are set ones and here's a breakdown of them:

Food - $130 Covers food for two people.

Gas for truck - $130 My pay for this period was less than usual so I only put $75 in it. DH will fund the remainder.

Entertainment - $25 Yes, we do budget a little for entertainment. If we didn't, we might go nuts! We didn't spend the last pay period's entertainment money until last night and it was nice to go out to eat and know it was budgeted for. No pain, no stress, no guilt!

Laundry & Clothing - $20 We don't have a washer or dryer so I go to the least expensive washateria to wash and dry clothes. I don't spend $20 in two weeks and the remainder is kept in the envelope to help with clothing expenses. We rarely buy new clothes and even if we do they aren't at all expensive. We generally spend less than $200 a year on clothes.

Whatever is left of my pay, whether it's $10 or $100, goes into savings.

So there you have it - the envelope system that works for our business and personal expenses both. Is it any wonder I have a mean crush on Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University?

Session Two of Financial Peace University

February 5th, 2008 at 03:45 am

DH and I both felt this class was more of a review than anything but we certainly enjoyed it. In general, it was about how couples can work together to manage their finances and teach their children to be responsible with money.

For me, one of the best parts was when one of Dave's daughters got on stage and talked about what it's like to be Dave Ramsey's kid. That she had saved $8,000 by the time she was 16 and her dad matched that to help her get a $16,000 car, paid for in cash, was pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, my kids are past that age and I missed those early years to teach them about money. I didn't know so I couldn't teach them. But I'm learning now and want them to have a better start in their marriage/relationship/adult life than I did so I plan to send both sons and their significant others to FPU. I think that's the least I can do to attempt to make up for being a bad example of financial responsibility. If only I'd known then what I know now...

And in other news, today's spending is $128. We spent $100 for our FPU course, $9 for laundry, and $19 for dinner out. We'd planned and budgeted for this dinner so there's no guilt here! And it was so nice to just take the money from the 'clothing and laundry' envelope this morning before I headed to work, knowing that it was there just for that and using it wasn't going to cause any kind of crisis...

$66.07 so far...

February 3rd, 2008 at 12:04 am

That's our spending for yesterday and today. That includes $10.59 for food at Wal-Mart, $2.24 for a hot dog and drink for me at work, $1 for coffee for me at work, gas in our truck, and $35 for my oldest stepson. The hot dog and drinks for me at work should come out of the food money since that $87 is for groceries and eating out so I removed $3.25 from the food envelope and slipped it into the savings envelope. I'm not sure if I should have just kept it for myself since I used my money to buy the things at work but I decided to just put that money in savings. That seemed fair to me. Wink

$66.07 seems like a lot of spending for two days but we didn't spend $28.71 on cigarettes in the last two days and that's a very good thing. Smile

DH confessed that he found a couple of butts and has smoked them but he's an adult and I can't prevent that. As for me, I haven't had a smoke or even touched a cigarette since we quit the morning of January 31. I know myself. I can't smoke one, not even one little drag, or I'll be off and running again.

My patch came off at work last night and I haven't replaced it. I'm fine without it. Oh yeah, now and then I think about smoking but it's when I have nothing to do, which isn't often. And even when I think about it it's a fleeting thought. For some reason I don't experience the physical agony and such that so many people do. But that doesn't change the fact that I love to smoke and am addicted. Or that I have to avoid only one cigarette...the next one.

I so very much wanted to go out to eat tonight. Instead, I grabbed a container of store bought barbecued shredded beef from the freezer and nuked it and we had bbq sandwiches. I'd also put some wings in the slow cooker this morning and DH had drained them a few times for me. When I got home from work I drained them again and covered them with Country Bob's Sauce, let them cook about an hour more and we had those with the sandwiches. Not as tasty as mexican food would have been but certainly much cheaper!

And now I want a cigarette. Oh yes, I do want one. I won't have one but I want one!

It might just be shuffling money but...

February 1st, 2008 at 08:20 pm

It's hard to describe what the last three days have been like for me. I've been in the depths of despair and have been almost elated, also. Why? Well, let me tell you!(Glad you asked!) And no, we didn't win the lottery!

About three weeks ago or so (after we last paid bills) we set aside envelopes to put cash from the business in to pay expenses. We realized that if the money is in our pockets it gets spent. So we wrote things like Rent, Electric, Advertising, and Materials and Supplies on regular envelopes and every night, after the shop closes, we sit down together and go through the sales for the day and put it in the envelopes. Business is slow (apparently in this field it drops off somewhere around Christmas and stays slow until early to mid February) so there have been days when we only had $25 to put in envelopes but we'd put $5 in this one, $10 in that one, etc and keep just a little for ourselves. We do this every day we're open, 6 days a week. Keep in mind this is our first time of doing this and we had no idea if it would work.

Then recently we opened a checking account at a bank closer to the shop. My checks go into that account as have some cash and all checks written at the shop. I've managed to be very careful with that checking account and rarely write checks from it. DH has a debit card for it but I don't because I KNOW from experience that it's just too easy for me to spend money with a debit card. Long story there but for me plastic just isn't money. It's.. plastic! Instead I get a little cash from when I need it. When it's gone, it's gone.

We just started Financial Peace University (FPU) last week and got Dave's envelope system. Since we already have one going for the office expenses so we decided to use the FPU system for things like food,
clothing, laundry, gas for the truck, etc. After looking at that cash flow plan a couple of days ago I didn't see how we could possibly do this and was so upset! And I'm still not sure how we're going to do it. But yesterday I realized that all this is just part of getting control of the finances and rather than panic and worry I need to stay calm, learn from this, and USE it to help us.

So last night I realized we needed to get the phone bill paid immediately or we'd incur a late charge. Now mind you, in the past even if I had the money to pay on time, I rarely did. I just didn't think about it and we constantly were late on bill payments and paid those late fees.
But last night I did think about it so I called the phone company and paid the bill over the phone with an e check, making sure I noted that in the checkbook. We had the money in the checking account so there
was no danger in me doing that. Plus we had the money for that bill in the Phone envelope set up recently.

So, this morning I picked up my paycheck and went to the bank. I took the FPU envelope system with me. It's very small, looks much like a wallet and fits in a purse easily. I knew the amount of cash I needed to get for the next two weeks and knew how much for two of the four categories I needed. I couldn't remember the other two amounts but knew the total amount to get. So I get to the bank and rather than go through the drive through I walked in. Why? Well, there were a couple of reasons but one was something that just dawned on me this morning. When I use an ATM or drive through it's just too easy. It's too easy to get cash from the ATM or a drive through teller without THINKING about it. For me, it's similar to using plastic. So I decided to go in to the lobby because that makes me THINK about money. Ehh, it's hard not to think about it with all the money related stuff staring at me. Also, I needed the cash broken down into certain bills and it was going to take a little while and it's cold outside and there's no need to hold up other customers while I piddle with money. So I went to the teller, gave her the deposit slip and check with the 'less cash received' part filled out and said, "I need this cash in a certain way." No problem.

I got $87 for food for two weeks, $87 for gas for the truck for two weeks, $25 for entertainment for two weeks (not that we will use it but we figured that amount in on the CFP sheet so I did it) and the remainder was $51. I walked to a side counter and put $87 in the food envelope, $87 in the gas envelope, $25 in the entertainment envelope, and left the $51 remainder in the bank envelope. Then I headed to Wal-Mart because we needed bread, lunch meat, and a little fruit.

Okay yall, this is where it gets good! Why? You'll see change of thinking popping up a lot though you may see some of that already. I got to Wal-Mart and walked in with my little envelope system and my keys and my cell phone and nothing else. No checkbook, no cards, not even my purse. I walked by the deli and saw they had my favorite egg rolls at 2 packages for $5. I bought a package of orange chicken a few days ago for dinner one night this week and figured egg rolls would be great with that so I got one package. Not two, not three, just one. Then I picked up bread, lunch meat, 3 bananas and 2 apples. That's it. I didn't wander around the store, I didn't look at every thing there. Oh, I thought about it but I had $87 in that envelope to last two weeks so I knew I couldn't fritter it away. I got what we needed and went to the self check out stand where I rang it all up and paid cash - $10.59. I paid for it, put the bills and change I got back back into the food envelope, wrote on the envelope what I'd paid and the new balance, and got out of there.

I got back to the office and told DH how much my check was and such. I balanced the checkbook, told him what's in it (a little more than we usually have, even on my payday!) and started showing him the envelopes with the money. He had the office envelopes in his hand and we started going through those while we talked. He said something about being a little short on the rent money which is due today then commented that we had enough in the bank to cover it. At about that time he handed me the phone bill envelope and told me to go ahead and deposit that and send the payment. I said okay then it hit me. I paid that last night out of the checking account! I told him and he told me to just deposit it then. But he'd just said the rent money was short so I asked what he needed for that. He counted and told me. I opened the phone envelope and handed him the money and said "There, done."

I know, this is simple stuff to some of you but this is a light bulb moment for me! He took the money, grinning, added it up, saw that it was enough and called the landlord and told him to come get his money when he was ready. After giving him that money I had $25 left of the phone money. We slipped that into the electric bill envelope which is still short but we have until the 12th to pay it.

Okay, so the phone was paid last night, the rent was paid today, the electric bill envelope has about 1/4 of what it needs with about 11 days to go, and we have plenty of food because we believe in stocking up when prices are really good.

Realizing the bank account was in the positive(not a lot of money there but a little), he went ahead and ordered something he needs for advertising purposes. The cost was only about $38 or so but he did it over the phone. Afterwards, he realized that he had $30 of that $38 in the advertising envelope so he got that out and moved it to the savings envelope. Yeehaw, another $30 in there!

At this point, yall are probably thinking "Big deal, they're just shuffling money around!" and that's true, we are. But this is our first time doing this and it takes awhile to tweak it so that its just right. For awhile, it will go on like this and that's okay. The point of all this, though, is that we're beginning to see the light about how we spend and we're beginning to be able to pay things when they need to be paid, and still have a little left. And more than that, we actually have money to shuffle!! I can't tell yall what this feels like to me!

The main reason we can do this is the Cash Flow Plan and the Allocated Spending Sheet. They're helping us prioritize what needs to be paid. A lot of people can do this without help but we need help and FPU is giving it to us.

No, it won't be easy and it's going to be very rough at times. We have a lot of old debt to deal with and at some point we will. But we have to take care of the four walls and the business and that's happening, slowly but surely. And my next check will be very small since I am only working a few hours this week. But most of the bills will be paid and we'll have food. And life will rock on, even if it rocks a little slowly. Smile

I hope all this makes sense to yall. I'm just so excited I had to tell somebody! I think I see light at the end of the tunnel.

Staying calm in very disturbed waters

January 31st, 2008 at 01:43 am

Since posting the entry earlier today about our Cash Flow Plan shock, DH and I have done a lot of talking. Blessedly, we're on the same page in all this. And even more wonderfully, he's a rock right now. He's concerned but is staying calm and keeping me from freaking out. He'll freak out later when I'm calm. That's how we do things around here;only one person freaking at a time. Otherwise it's pure chaos.

Together, we decided to have dinner out tonight (our last hurrah for quite awhile!) and enjoy it. So we went to a place that serves great hamburgers. He had a hamburger and I had a steak sandwich and we split an order of incredibly fantastic onion rings. The cost was $16.72. And since we'd already decided that we must quit smoking NOW we went to Target and got a week's worth of nicotine patches. We know the patches help since we used them during our quit in 2004. While at Target we got milk and a couple other things we needed and I used my 10% discount and a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more so we spent $37.96.

The patches cost $24.34 with the tax and discount figured in and although I'd guessed we spend about $45 a week on cigarettes he told me today we spend closer to $70. So, since we won't smoke while using the patch that's an immediate savings each week of $46 and some change. Back in 2004 I used the patches for just a few days and he used them for a couple of weeks. I don't think we'll need them for more than 3 weeks so we will see the $70 a week savings very soon if it goes as it has before.

We talked about me finding a different job and the issue with my medical expenses. He made me see some positives in all this mess like the fact that his business has very low expenses and is growing and we both know how to live on almost nothing and creditors aren't hounding us right now.

I get paid Friday and will use $87 of whatever I get to put in the food envelope. This is a three pay period month so I figure it's okay to divide the monthly food budget amount by three rather than two. It makes me feel a little better, anyway.

I remind myself to take deep breaths and I tell myself, "Four walls first, we'll be fine.." It helps.

Today's spending...not too bad & more clearance knickers!

January 26th, 2008 at 04:58 am

I found two more pair of those clearanced knickers! Someone had returned them, I suppose, so I bought those suckers for $3.74 each. I also bought a dark milky way bar. My spending today came to $8 and some change. Not too bad for two pairs of sleep pants that my DH *really* likes on me and a quickie snack during my break. And I never even thought of looking at the other clearance items. I was just thrilled to find the knickers!

I took my lunch to work - homemade beef tips and rice with gravy and green beans. I ate it hastily but it sure hit the spot.

Tomorrow I work most of the day so I'll take a sandwich and a tin of kippers and an apple. That should keep me going until I can get home and eat dinner with DH. Dinner is going to be barbecued shredded beef sandwiches and chips. Light and easy since I have a full schedule.


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