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I got rid of a lot of dead weight today! Amazing!

January 4th, 2012 at 08:34 am

A little while ago I canceled my cable TV service and downgraded my cable internet to 'standard'. The prorated bill for this month is $69 but next month it will be $60 plus the one time fee of $45. The month after that it will be just the $60 or so. Wow, what a change that will be from the $116 I've been paying!

$56 a month is nothing to sneeze at and not having cable TV will encourage me to read more and get out of my apartment more.

I also canceled a $45 every three months subscription to a website I access but only occasionally. No need if I don't use it!

Then I went to Netflix and changed my membership to streaming only and cut my expense there by $8 a month.

The total for those three changes comes to $79 a month! When that's added to not spending, on average, $258 a month on cigarettes, the total is astounding at $337! A month! Yippeee!

Ladies and gents, that's half my rent! Or a nice sum of money to split between charity and my vacation fund.

Wooohoo, what a way to start the new year!

Auto insurance opinions needed

January 3rd, 2012 at 09:09 am

I currently use Geico for auto insurance. My policy renews this month at $770.40 for 6 months. I can get the same coverage with Progressive for $323.00. Wow, that's a huge difference and it might seem like a no brainer but I don't know much about Progressive.

Do any of you use it and what are your thoughts on it?

2012 goals - not very firm yet but progressing

December 31st, 2011 at 07:55 pm

I've never been good at goal setting. No, that isn't true. I'm good at setting goals but the achieving of them seems to trip me up. I'm pretty sure it's because I make goals then just kind of wait for them to happen. Umm, that hasn't worked out well for me yet so I'm going to try to set up some steps to achieve the goals I have for 2012 and see if that makes a difference. ;-)

Although tomorrow is January 1st, my plans are still pretty vague - you know, I want to do things like 'save money', and 'waste less' but don't have a lot of ideas on how to succeed.

I do have a few steps in mind, though, and here they are:

Start a $1 bill challenge for 2012. Thanks to Be A Wealthy Warrior for the idea. I'm not sure it will work for me but I'm happy to give it a good try.

Continue to take snacks, meals, and drinks to work. Doing this with leftovers really helps reduce food waste and is just an all around win!

Stay with my beautiful quit! Not spending $240 or so a month on cigarettes is pretty awesome. I'm going to split the money I don't spend on cigarettes between the local charity that needs help and my vacation/cruise fund.

Make consistent use of You Need A Budget and my Dave Ramsey envelope system. I know that the two of those work beautifully to keep me on the straight and narrow path but I have to be more faithful with them.

Work hard to have two no spend days a week. I know I can do it.

So, that's all I really have in mind right now. I'll ponder all this awhile longer and will come up with a more firm plan.

As usual, suggestions and ideas are welcome!

What kind of challenges with tangible outcome do you give yourself?

December 13th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I see some of you are still doing the $20 challenge. I never did quite figure that one out. What I mean is I couldn't figure out what the $20 meant, exactly, since some of you are waaaaay over $20 nor could I figure out just what you did with the challenge money. I like the idea of challenging myself, though, and here's where I need your help.

I can easily challenge myself to cook and eat at home, take lunch and snacks to work, and have no/low spend days. I might not succeed every time but I generally do or at least the challenge leads to improvement and progress is progress! But those things don't generally lead to anything tangible for me. What I mean is this - I might not spend $10 eating out on a given day but I more than likely will spend that $10 on something else. Probably not that day but another. That doesn't get me anywhere, you know?

So my question to all of you is this: what kind of challenges with tangible outcome do you give yourself?

Chicken thighs and motivation - a strange sort of process

December 11th, 2011 at 10:29 am

I'm stressing a little because it's December 11th and I have no financial goals in mind for the coming year. Or the month. Or even the week! I feel so stuck right now as far as finances go and I really need to get motivated.

This might sound odd but two ways I find motivation are making my menu plan for the week and cooking. Yeah, I said making a menu plan and cooking. Both of those activities remind me that I need to use what I have on hand. And that leads to a reminder that I don't need to go to the grocery store for things I don't have on hand. And that leads to a reminder that I don't need to go out and willy nilly spend, though I really don't do that, anyway. And that leads to a reminder that I need to find ways to cut back on this or that to help me save more. And that, eventually, leads me to coming up with ways to do that. Voila, I'm motivated. Wink It's a strange sort of process but it generally works for me.

In light of that, I'm about to work on this week's menu and I'm pondering just what to do with the chicken thighs in my fridge.

So tell me - how do YOU get and stay motivated to stay on track and save?

The Purge 30 in 30 Days Challenge

January 2nd, 2010 at 07:21 pm

I've decided to participate in the

Text is "Purge 30 in 30 days" and Link is http://wildblueyonder.savingadvice.com/2010/01/01/join-the-january-challenge-purge-30-in-3_56208/
"Purge 30 in 30 days" challenge and am pretty psyched about it. I'd already planned to get rid of some things so this challenge helps me get started on that goal.

Most of the stuff I purge will be given away via Freecyle but I might sell a few things, too.

So far this month I've already given away 4 items on Freecycle. If I understand the guidelines, that's 1.5 points per item giving me 6 points as of today.

I'm just happy to be rid of those 4 items!

One smallish 2010 goal met!

January 2nd, 2010 at 02:42 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 02:19 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 10:41 am

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

Post holiday stuff, more this and that, here and there

December 27th, 2009 at 08:27 am

Even though I don't "do" Christmas, I really enjoyed taking Mom and Pop to Dallas to see the family. Both of my sisters were there, both nephews, two of my three nieces, etc. The ex husband of one of my sisters was there and he brought his best friend from waaay back, someone I hadn't seen in well over 20 years. The food was great, the company was fantastic, and the day over all was wonderful! I got some pictures but most aren't too good, darn it. We only stayed a few hours and headed back that evening. The traffic wasn't bad at all and I wasn't too late getting home.

The next morning I had to be at work at 6:30, which I wasn't thrilled about but oh well, such is life. It was a crazy, busy day, though! I think the post -holiday sales brought more people than the pre-holiday sales and we stayed very busy all day long.

The man person and I did a little grocery shopping this morning and I do mean a little. We don't need much and spent a tad over $13. I'll fund that envelope again Friday morning but until then we have $9 left to spend on food. Woot! Wink Like I said, though, we don't really need anything so that's no real challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I'm working on 2010 goals and not getting very far. The hospital and physician bills we have to deal with have crimped the plan and I'm not sure just what to do so I'm pondering it and considering options before proceeding with next year's goals.

Okay, time to head to work. Have a great day, all.