Thursday, December 4, 2014

November Budget Recap

So here we go, another month and some more money spent!

Food is always my big budget breaker. But for some reason I didn't do too bad this month. Luckily, we didn't have to pay for Thanksgiving dinner, so that big expense was not in the picture.

For some reason gas and wine are together (necessary evils?). The bf bought a lot of my wine this month, which was super nice and this line does not depict how much I really do drink. As for gas, I visited my family, but my mother proceeded to pay for the small amount I used driving home. And it really does pay having a small fuel efficient car! 

I finally got my hair done, and it feels amazing! Having nice looking hair not only makes you feel better but also makes you look your best. Personal includes a pair of pants that needed to be bought for work and insoles for shoes. 

The hobby line is definitely a kicker! I finally am back into dancing but start up costs are quite a bit. Hopefully it will be less this month, until it's time to pay for classes next month! 

My income for this month was pretty high, considering I took a few days off around Thanksgiving. For rent, I pay the bf a proportion of my income and he uses it for household materials or incidentals and other bills. 

My total spending on the bottom could be lower on incidentals but it's pretty good considering my income. 

The amount put towards loans is a bit upsetting but better than nothing. They are both above the minimum payments, but with over 30k in debt, I really should make the effort of the extra $100 to $200 a month. 

For December, hopefully Christmas does not turn out to be too expensive, even though I've saved some money throughout the year, there is always the unexpected. There are also some pretty big bills coming up in January that need to be saved for (taxes, dance). So here's to making sure the budget keeps on working!  

How was November for you? What are you looking to change in December? 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

So, I Bought A Car... The Numbers...

As a follow up to my last post of buying a car, numbers were promised and here they are!

In total, the total bill for the car came out to be a whopping: $15k.

Yes, $15,000 for a depreciating asset. Kill me now.

Anyway, I put $5k, or a third, as a down payment, bringing my monthly payments to $230. However, minimum payments do not help in paying debts off early. I have started with including an extra hundred dollars every month and will re-evaluate at the end of the year how much more I can add.

As for other expenses, the car being a small one, requires $30 of gas every two weeks. As for repairs and the like, I've already started putting away a small amount of money each week to make sure that when needed it is already there!!!

As for student loans, I've managed to only pay off $3260 these past 14 months (ever since my grace period ended. It's far less than I would like to admit, but my income has recently only increased dramatically and I was more focused on saving rather than paying off debt.

So my total debt is now 10k plus $24,652.22 for a grand total of $34,652.22.

Wow, that's a lot of money... But it only makes my debt journey a bit more interesting... having a car really worth it?! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

So, I Bought A...


Yes, you read that right! This PFer bought a car and not one from Craigslist either!

If this is hurting your brain please turn away now because it isn't going to get any better.

With winter coming and the realization that with a vehicle of some sort, getting from my current job not only would become easier but also finding another position would be much more successful, I decided to put all my savings into a depreciating asset.

Looking online, there was a great deal for what looked like an awesome car. It ended up being sold, and thus my heart broken, but along came another car with another amazing deal. With a lot of persuasion from many sides, a sold sticker was put on with my name! And with lots of paperwork and lots of signatures, I drove it away and have been driving it ever since.

What have been the benefits as of late? TIME! And I really mean that. Not having to spend hours of my time on the bus anymore has given me a freedom to pursue other activities as well as devote more hours to finding a job in my field. No longer am I just reading, but I'm up and about, reconnecting with old friends and finding new ones at that.

Even though I look at having a nice vehicle as a luxury, I've been starting to see it more as a necessity for a professional person. Unless you live in a city or area with great public transportation, the majority of people cannot depend on undependable and often late buses.It makes life that much more stressful and time-consuming.

Nevertheless, what's done is done, and my getting out of debt journey has become a bit harder. Luckily, my rather large down payment definitely put me on a better footing than most. So from now on, there will be gas and any random repairs that the world has waiting for me. In the next part of this I bought A... there will be lots of numbers along with how I'm planning on paying it off early!

Have you ever made a stupid and irrational decision such as this? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

And Then It Was Fall...

It's finally turned into fall and everyone is looking forward to football, baking and of course, holidays!

And everyone could easily ask, where has she been? Well, lots of places, but really nowhere. I've been reading many of your articles and still practicing many habits of frugality and trying to develop my frugality muscle. 

Life has been quite busy and still I feel stuck on the treadmill. On the job front, even with having taken some time off from blogging to go full force on this super important aspect of my life, there have been very little changes (aka none). It's quite disappointing and it looks like I'll have to take even more drastic measures to see how I can land my first career position. It really is one of the main ways that will not only help me pay off my debt but also make sure I'm not eating cat food at the ripe age of 60.

Hopefully you guys missed me only a bit and I'll be back to updating you guys about my adventures and my debt payoff...which has only gotten larger...

So, what's new with you?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Small Things That Really Pay Off

One of my favorite activities of the week is buying flowers for the home. It's done with quite a bit of care and I'll spread them all around the house in small vases to give some color and life to each room.

Being able to wake up everyday and see them reminds me of the small pleasures in life that really don't cost a lot of money but have big payoffs.

This can go right into any part of your day and your personal finance journey. What is the bright spot in your day? Sometimes it's getting lunch from a nearby restaurant. However, if you get it everyday, it doesn't make it anymore special than a daily routine. Limiting it to only one day a week really livens up that small meal, but also helps divert that money towards goals that you didn't think could be accomplished.

We had been looking for ways to redecorate our home, on the cheap, and wherever we went, we couldn't find exactly the right design that we wanted. With a little TLC invested into the sewing machine, it is up and running and our house is on its way to becoming a home. It's not only the satisfaction we get from seeing them on an everyday basis, but knowing that we made them ourselves.

It can be easy to pick up what you need on the way home from work, but without prior research, it can become a thing that sits in your household because it has served its purpose for one time, or that is no longer liked after a few months. Being able to identify what it is that's really needed or wanted in the moment might take some time, but can provide a lasting and satisfying end result.

What are some small (or big!) things that have had a big payoff for you?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Favorites: Round 3

Ah, the weekend and another week of work starts! The weather has really held out here for the week, so I've spent a lot of time on the patio getting caught up on my reading! This weekend has nothing in store for me because of work, so the usual of farmer's market and relaxing when possible! How about you? Any good Memorial Day plans?

And of course, some great articles from the week!

When I hear others saying that they don't have any money saved, it makes me wonder, what are they actually doing with that money? Over at Making Sense of Cents, Michelle writes a great article on a few of the excuses people use.

Over at Budgets Are Sexy, there' a great discussion on maximizing money to get yourself the most amount of happiness.

What could have your student loan payments gone to and what are they preventing? That's the question at Journey to Saving asks you to ponder as she talks about her life plans.

Laurie at Frugal Farmer tells her story about how eating organic has really changed her health and her life. I'm a really big advocate of eating well for your body and love highlighting stories of people who have found healing through healthy diets.

Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Unexpected Costs of Graduation

Ah, graduation! They come in all sorts from kindergarten all the way to college. It's a great time for all involved, but for any college graduate, it can be a scary time. It's finally time to fly out of that nest and show what you can do as a full fledged adult. There are quite a few expenses that will creep up, but with some planning, can turn out to be steps in the best direction.

The costs of going to or hosting a graduation party. Usually family will pick up these costs, happy to make the day special. But hosting a whole bunch of people for the after party might cost you a pretty penny. Look at doing a pot luck and everyone bring a bottle of something or other. This will help keep costs low but ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Move out day! Hopefully by graduation day the ex-students have plans as to what their next few steps are, especially if they don't have a job lined up. If not, finding a last minute place and a quick way to move might break the bank. Movers definitely don't come cheap and if you are looking at your own place, look at putting down quite a bit of money for first and last months rent along with a security deposit.

The financial costs of finally being on your own. This is the day some parents have been waiting for their entire lifetime. The day they tell their kids that they are no longer on Mommy's and Daddy's payroll. That it's all up to them. It can be a scary thing if the kids don't know, but most parents start leaving hints months before.

For those that are prepared, the most important thing is having a budget all lined up and understanding what is coming in and what is going out. Whether it be a part-time job down the street or their dream job, expenses will start piling up quickly. And the cost of things, especially essentials, will be quite a shock if your not used to it ( I certainly was not completely prepared). And how about those unexpected expenses? Those life moments? That's when an emergency fund comes into play. For a single person just starting out, $1k is definitely enough to get through most of the typical emergencies like car repairs.

Student Loans. They are the most obvious but along with that, usually forgotten until the bill comes in the mail. Even though there is a six month grace period, it's not a time to relax! A few extra payments during this time can shave quite a bit off the years you have to pay.

As you can see, graduation season is chock full of expenses, especially ones that can lead down a road of a lifetime of bad habits or a short term strapped for cash moments. But there are always frugal ways to celebrate any special event!

Can you think of any other graduation costs? And congrats to all those grads out there!