Look, you can't see the bottom of the jar now!
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.
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!
Viewing the 'Savings' Category
So I went to my friend's house last night. We had roasted chicken, broccoli, and macaroni & cheese. I usually don't eat macaroni & cheese because of the carb count but I was starved and decided to have a small amount. I bolused for it and it was delicious, even if it was just the boxed stuff.
After dinner we watched the football game. My friend went to his den and smoked a cigarette but I wasn't at all tempted to follow. I was too into the game at that point and wasn't about to miss even a few seconds. It appears that the Cowboys might have broken their December 'curse' but time will tell about that, huh?
This morning I put a widget on my dashboard. It's just a little no smoking sign that shows how long it's been since I've had a cigarette and how much money I haven't spent on cigarettes. It's nice to have it there if I need a little resolve booster. I also started washing the walls. What a job that is! It really does help to get rid of the cigarette smell, though, and I have a Scentsy burner going with Hazelnut Latte in it. It smells so good and does a decent job of masking the cigarette odor.
Anyway, so far so good. I figure I've not spent somewhere between $9 and $13 on cigarettes since Friday. It's hard to know just how much I haven't spent since some days I'd smoke less than a pack and other days I'd smoke two or more. In light of that, I estimate that I've not spent $12 on cigarettes! Because I used my debit card for cigarettes and putting the money not spent on those in a jar would mean a trip to the bank to get the money out, I'm going to just keep a running tab and next Friday I'll transfer that amount from checking to savings. If someone has a better idea, I'd love to know it. I'd really like some kind of visual reminder but going to the bank every couple of days to get cash for a jar seems a little counterproductive to me.
I work tonight and need to get busy now coming up with something to take for my meal. I'm thinking leftover cornish hen will make great chicken salad to have with some fresh vegetables and dip.
Okay, so this year was good, bad, and even ugly financially.
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.
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
should enable us to contribute $1,000 to $1,500 a month to savings/investments, presuming we don't opt for life insurance on me at this point. Now we just have to figure out the specifics. We're thinking perhaps a Roth IRA for each of us, with his being $6,000 a year and mine being $5,000 but that still leaves some money to invest.
In addition, we'll have another $10,000 to $15,000 to invest annually, either in a lump sum or some other fashion. I haven't a clue what to do with that but it seems to me that investing $22,000 to $30,000 a year should help us catch up, right?
If you have thoughts on venues other than a Roth or 401(k) please do share! We're actively researching and considering our options.
DH and I talked (again) about going back to the envelope system we used a couple of years ago. He agreed that it really helped us rein in our spending and that carrying a debit card or wad of cash makes overspending just too easy. So tonight we decided to revisit that envelope system and to make it work for us. Honestly, I think we need to go back to revisiting our budget at the end of each month, too. We have a few new expenses (gym membership, a new medication for him, life insurance, etc) but the business is doing well and we need to get a handle on all of this so we save/invest money productively rather than blow it.
And we've decided to start saving/investing my pay, all of it! Gulp! Not that its that much but I'm just sayin'...I think we'll start with saving rather than trying to invest it so that if something happens we have that little cushion. Once we feel a little safer we'll probably feel comfortable investing it. We're both sure we can live off what the business brings in, probably somewhat less than the business brings in but we'll see.
As LuxLiving said in the comment to my previous entry, we've come a long way! But we really do have a long way to go. I hope we're up to meeting the challenge and I'm so excited about trying!
November is just about over and after bills are paid and money is put into savings, we have close to $2000 left! Woohooo! We're not sure if we should throw it at savings or earmark it for investment or perhaps do something else with it. It sure is nice to know we're on the right track, though.
Here's hoping we can produce similar results in December!
I'm off today and have a few errands to run. I'm going to the bank to get cash to fund the envelopes for the next two weeks and will talk to them about opening a savings account with them. Then off to the washateria to do laundry. Oh joy!
After that, I'll head to work and pop in and say hello to our DM who will be there conducting a two hour training. I won't stay long, maybe 5 minutes. I just want to meet the man and get a quick look at the training stuff. While there, I'll check out the 75% or more clearance items and see if there's anything we really need. I doubt there is but I like to look, anyway. Just in case.
From there, I'll come back to the shop and when it closes tonight we're headed to the local grocery. They're switching to a new store brand and all items of the old brand are 50% off! Hopefully we'll find some good stuff at great prices.
Dinner tonight will be Slow Cooker Chicken and Biscuits with salad and fresh green beans. I made the chicken and biscuits last night and there's plenty left for tonight. It's a good recipe and the dish is quite tasty!
We decided to go with Provident Direct for our savings account. Their interest rate is slightly higher than the others and we've read and heard good things about them.
So, I've been trying for three days to open an account with PD. When I completed the online application I got a message saying the application couldn't be processed and to call them. I did call and leave voice mail, thinking they would return the call the next day. They didn't so I called them again, got a different department and left them voice mail. No call. So I called them again yesterday and talked to a woman who said she could take the application over the phone. Wonderful! But there's a problem. Our driver's licenses don't have issue dates on them. I don't recall ever seeing a Texas license with that information on it and apparently it's required to open the account. The rep I talked to insisted that the account simply can't be opened without that information. I asked her if they have other people from Texas with savings accounts and she said, "Oh, I'm sure we do!" and when I asked her how they opened their accounts without that required information she got a little hostile with me, told me someone would call me today, and ended the call.
Okay, so someone will call me today. We'll see if that happens. In the meantime I still have money I'm burning to get into a savings account and don't have a license with the issue date on it... ugh!
I'm not great with numbers but can handle a checking account with no problems as long as I actually stay on top of it. But there's something going on with our account right now that I simply don't understand. If I check it online or call the automated number, the balance will be $XXX.XX. I find out what credits and debits there were, add deposits that don't show yet, subtract payments and such and get a new balance. So far so good. The next day or two days later, I call and get the balance and transactions again. But the numbers don't jive. The transactions that came through don't explain the balance. Does that make sense? I'm quite frustrated. Yesterday, the balance was over $1,300 and I made a $55 deposit last night after they were closed. Today I called and it's a little over $600 with only $400 some odd dollars in transactions coming through after the $1,300.
What am I missing, y'all?
I'm off tomorrow so I'm going in to talk to them about it. But I am puzzled and very frustrated!!
Thoughts on this?
Okay, I figured out part of it. The only other online banking I've done had the pending transactions right there on the main page with everything else and they were visible at a glance. I've gone months without any kind of online banking and am just getting into it again. I realized, while standing outside fretting over this, that there must be a link to those pending transactions so I looked and sure enough, the balance the bank shows is *after* those transactions. Whew! That explains most of it. The rest I'll figure out in the morning. My brain is fried from worrying over this!
My youngest son, the OTR truckdriver, is in town and since I was off Monday I decided to spend the afternoon with him. I picked him up around 1:00 and he treated me to a great lunch in Tyler at a Tex Mex joint called Cancun. I'd not eaten there before and it was a nice restaurant. He had enchiladas and I had beef fajitas. And to have my son pick up the tab! Oh la la, it was great!
We then went to the washateria and washed clothes together. We both needed to tend to that chore so it made sense to do it together. While the clothes washed and dried we talked about his girlfriend, money, Dave Ramsey, money, his job, money, and such.
He heads back out on the road Tuesday morning and I won't see him for another 5 weeks or so but before I dropped him off he had me take him to an ATM where he got money. And he gave me some! He gave me $300 toward about $500 he owes me. I've tried to tell him he doesn't have to pay me back, that per Dave and many other finance gurus the money was something I could do for him, not a loan. But he wants to give it back. He's anti-debt in a big way and I understand why he feels as he does. But really, he doesn't have to give that money back to me.
Since he insists, though, I took it. There are a lot of things I could do with $300 but these $300 are going into savings. What a nice cha-ching!!!