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Archive for November, 2007

End of Year Summary??

November 28th, 2007 at 05:58 pm

I'm working on an end of the year summary sheet so that at the end of December, I'll be able to get a big picture of what we spent during the year.

I'll be adding up all the monthly expenses for each category and getting a total, but where should I go from there?

I would like to be able to figure what percentage of my income went to each category...but unfortunately, math is not my forte. Any suggestions?

I really don't want to fool with Microsoft Money or Excel as I've tried those before and they just don't work for me.

Goal #3...Check!

November 28th, 2007 at 04:16 am

Wow! We just paid off CC2..three months early. We are so determined to get rid of these debts that we've cut back on spending so much. We're able to dedicate so much more money to it. Boy it feels good!

We're thinking that CC3 could be paid off by at least June of '08 so I'll add that to our goals. Then we have to look at the big student loan. I don't even want to think about it.

Thanksgiving went pretty well. We had family in town but managed not to spend too much on eating. I got my 21 lb turkey for 29 cents a pound! Too bad we don't care too much for turkey, but I'm trying to force it down for lunch.

I'm rereading The Tightwad Gazette to hopefully inspire me to take the saving up a notch. I'm glad I did, because there's so many articles that I don't remember reading and I'm looking at them with a new eye.

So far we've spent about $250 on Christmas and we're nearing the end. I wound up buying a few items online, just for convenience. I figure it saves gas and time.

I am forgoing the additional sewing classes to save money and will just look for a used book. I can't be the first female to ever teach herself to sew. I am also receiving a used sewing machine for free from a fellow co-worker. It's broken, but I can look into getting it fixed, depending on the cost of course.

My Price Book

November 13th, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I decided that I should work on my price book. Last time I updated it was over 6 months ago. Since then, it feels like the price of groceries has increased and I've been spending more money at the checkout.

I love the price book because it makes me much more aware of the actual cost of things. I have been surprised many times to find that what I thought was a decent deal was really no deal at all.

The only problem with grocery pricing (beside the actual high price of groceries!) is that Wal-mart changes their sticker price often. It won't even be advertised as a "Rollback" but the price on the shelf varies. For example, great value all purpose flour is sometimes $1.06 for 5 lbs and sometimes it's $1.12. Granted a price book would help nonetheless, but one of the ideas behind it is that you become aware of pricing cycles. I don't think there is a cycle at Wal-mart.

I'd also like to join Sam's or Costco, but I just can't figure out whether I'd really save money there. I perused the shelves and took notes a few months ago and there is a savings for some of the items I buy, but can I justify the membership fee?

Any suggestions?

Coupon Discovery

November 8th, 2007 at 03:58 am

I'm sure others already know this, but I discovered at Walgreens that I can use a coupons for an item that is free.

For example,

Walgreens is running a BOGO on St. Ives lotion and body wash. Buy the lotion get the body wash for free. I had a $1 coupon for each so I received $2 off my bill. I've done this before on shampoo and conditioner.

YEAH! I love saving money!

How I was able to save money by...

November 7th, 2007 at 03:35 am

learning to keep an open mind.

As DH and I took a walk while MIL watched the kids, I pondered out loud how much I had changed in the last year and even in the last 5 to 10 years.

When we were first married, I never cooked. I didn't really know how and I didn't know what to cook. Nothing seemed to turn out well. I believe this is the second biggest cause of our current debt.
The first cause is poor financial planning while attending graduate school.

Since the inception of our budget last November, we've changed drastically. I got tired of DH complaining about us not being on a budget, his implications that I was the cause of our money problems, and tired of the same old..."well, we'll just spend less money this month!" So I took a day off work, and put all our financial info. into Mvelopes. We stopped using Mvelopes after about 2 months because I still didn't feel in control of the money. Then I started handrecording our expenses.

Then I happened upon a book called "The Tightwad Gazette." Although this book could be thought of as radical in some ways, it opened my mind to possibilities. I began to wonder why I was using baggies for everything, why I never turned off lights when I left the room, and why I never learned to cook. I spent a lot of time researching and reading.

I forced myself to keep an open mind. Since then, I've learned a lot about cooking and we eat things that I NEVER would have considered even a year ago. My sister thinks I'm absolutely insane for eating beans! Once I read that some people hang out their laundry, I was dumbfounded. It never occurred to me to do this. Now I've used the dryer twice since August. I cook in bulk and really enjoy it! I love providing homemade items like waffles, breakfast burritos, and other dishes for my family and doing this provides a real sense of accomplishment. I stopped buying all the convenience foods and saved a ton of money. I'm taking sewing classes. Once I opened my mind, I found liking things wasn't as hard as I imagined. It's really just a mindset that I developed growing up.

I look back a year and say WOW..I've really changed. I look back 5 years ago and say "What in the &*^$ was I thinking?"

A powerful lesson is learned. Be willing to try things you never imagined.