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Archive for April, 2009

April '09 Challenge

May 1st, 2009 at 12:33 am

Getting a little concerned about upcoming expenses now that summer's almost here. The kid will be home for summer and hasn't been job hunting yet. I've stockpiled on groceries but am concerned about the increase in utility usage, arguments about the car, upcoming school costs. Also, we have major dental work coming up. Yikes. I'll keep thinking good thoughts... I've tried to prepare but feel like I might be a little short since I don't want to withdraw anything from the "challenge account"...

Anyway... April's Update...

My $20 PLUS challenge to my money market/wealth account included
(1) $48.25 deposit in 'leftover' five-dollar bills, one-dollar bills, quarters, and dimes, from budget envelopes over the two paychecks
(2) $40 not spent (one day the hotel parking attendant waved us out of the parking garage without requesting our payment and on another day a coworker brought me lunch. I also cancelled a doctor's appointment that wasn't needed until December)
(3) $50 transfer from tax refund (still stretching that tax refund)
(4) $100 gift from my parents after their visit
(5) $250 transfer from paycheck due to surplus in April's budget (partly from cancelling IRA auto withdrawal)
(6) My automatic transfer of $180 was deposited on Apr 20.
(7) A new paycheck allotment of $50 per paycheck was deposited (I changed my tax exemptions/withhold--I was paying too much in taxes through the year)
(8) April interest added was $9.39 (part of this account is a 6-month Certificate of Deposit) and $8.12. Total interest added $17.51

Wealth acct/Money mkt balance, $9,089.76

Savings toward extra mortgage payment Apr 27, $320

Total in account Apr 27, $9,409.76

Hope to keep this up and not get derailed by upcoming expenses. FOCUS!!

New and 'Re-Newed' Clothes - Shopping With Mom

April 21st, 2009 at 01:00 am

My parents were visiting during last week and my mother and I had some mother/daughter time by going shopping. I have a 'clothing' envelope that I'd been adding $30 a month to for the past several months and had a budget envelope of roughly $300 and some change. (I don't shop for clothes that often.)

My mother is a frugal queen. But she calls my father cheap. I intuitively know the difference, but couldn't explain it. It just makes me laugh. I have my money management skills from both of them. My brother is actually the only spendthrift in our family, but he, too, has saved and invested his income wisely.

Anyway, my mother and I had lunch (buy one get one free, of course), went shopping at one 'regular' department store (briefly), but the majority of our time was spent at a thrift store.

At the department store, I spent about $70 for one thing (I needed a new basic suit (jacket and pants) for work, that I can mix and match with my current wardrobe--this was an investment for me--and my mother bought nothing. One purchase at the department store.

At the thrift store, however, my mother spent about $39 and bought 2 skirts, a clothes hamper, a dress, a peach-colored skirt suit, a knit top, two work-pants for my dad, a straw totebag, a black purse, and 5 sewing patterns. I spent $70 dollars and bought 4 knit tops, 2 long sleeve blouses, 3 purses, 3 belts, two work-pants for my stepson, two tank tops for gym workouts, one pantsuit (which will mix and match with my department store pant suit) and one basic black skirt suit (which was the big ticket item on the "better clothing" rack, costing $19.) Needless to say, we had a much better time at the thrift store. What a bonding good time!!

My parents have gone back home, but there's a sale at the thrift store this week--50% of all clothing to celebrate Earth Week. I still have $160 left in the envelope, but think I'll only take $20... Maybe a few more 'new' shirts to go with my 'new' suits... Life is good...

"Travel" Not A Budget Item - Should It Be?

April 21st, 2009 at 12:20 am

The kid's birthday usually falls on Spring Break in March. This would be FABULOUS for families that like to travel and combine a "Happy Birthday". Welcome to Disneyworld or Jamaica or whatever... Not one time have we traveled ANYwhere for the kid's birthday.

I grew up a military brat (my father was in the service) and my first spouse was an Army man--I moved almost every two or three years for most of my life growing up. Since my divorce however, I opted to stay put and raise my son in one place.

The kid turned 20 his last birthday. A good friend of mine has a daughter who turned 13 and she took her daughter shopping AND to Disneyworld. I thought: Wow! I must not be a good mother. I have deprived the kid of traveling and REAL vacations. My son was OBVIOUSLY born to the wrong mother.

I asked him if he wished we had traveled more as a family when he was younger, but he didn't know the answer, since he didn't know anything other than staying at home.

Vacations are costly. We did go on a family cruise once to the Bahamas with my parents. That was a one-time deal. (That took me 18 months to pay for.) I never even had a budget for travel, except for visiting my parents. Travel was never on the list. But now I wonder if we should have done more traveling (like to national parks or the Grand Canyon or Disneyworld) when the kid was growing up. What do you all do with your families and children when it comes to travel?

We can still do some's not like it's too late. I'm thinking about a cruise to Alaska. A road trip to the Grand Canyon. A trip to Europe? The kid probably isn't that interested in hanging out, but he'll likely go if I pay for it. Plus, that would be another goal for my sidebar...hmmmm.... Do I really need another goal??

March Challenge '09

April 8th, 2009 at 12:10 am

Christmas account new balance Mar 25, $1004. (After regular savings allotment and income tax refund money.) Goooaaalll!

Money Market/wealth account:
My $20 challenge to my money market netted a $31.75 deposit in 'leftover' dollar bills, quarters, and a cancelled lunch date.

My automatic transfer of $180 was deposited on Mar 20.

March interest added was $8.45 (part of this account is a 6-month Certificate of Deposit) and $6.66, total interest added $15.11

I deposited $500 from my tax refund.

Wealth acct/Money mkt balance, $8,443.90

Savings toward extra mortgage payment Mar 25, $240

Total in account Mar 25, $8,683.90

The challenge is to get this account to $15,000 or better by Dec 15, 2009. Now that the Christmas account and checking account cushion are fully funded, maybe I'll get more focused (FOCUS!!) on automatic deposits, drive-by deposits, allotments, transfers, quarters, pennies, etc.