Thursday, October 30, 2008

November Challenge: Record What We Spend

Ok, so up for the month of November is a tried and true challenge.

Record every penny my husband and I spend!

Before I didn't have too many vices, but I just started working on a new project. At the client site there is a vending machine. Everything in the vending machine is $.25. They have a lot of good stuff I like there. There also have a large variety of sodas for $.25, more than beyond the usual cola stuff.

The past few months we've been in months with "unexpected" expenses, so I want to see how our spending compares to previous months. Last time we tracked all of our expenses, it came to about $5,000.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Unexpected $$$

Earlier this week, I was happy to receive 2 checks in the mail; one addressed to me and one addressed to my husband. Each was for $85. Totally unexpected, without any letter of explanation from a medical group.

I figure that this medical group overcharged us from some shots we got before our big vacation! I paid $100 for each of us, so I am assuming that the $85 is a reimbursement above our co-pay of $15.

I still haven't figured out exactly how much we spent on that vacation of ours, but now I get to subtract $170.

Every little bit helps!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Do You Combat Laziness?

This weekend, C and I didn't have much planned. In fact, on Friday night, we didn't have anything planned. There were two things I wanted to do over the weekend - do the first exercise in Your Money or Your Life together and go through our closets to find some clothes to donate. Tomorrow there is an organization that is picking up used clothes, toys, etc. in our neighborhood and both C and I have been pretty disorganized in our closets. After getting our new bed (Cal king size), the other rooms in our house are overfilled with stuff. If our closets were cleaner and more organized, we could store our extra stuff there (unless we're able to get rid of it).

Well this weekend, C and I went to the gym, went to the Farmer's market, went grocery shopping, saw a movie, went to church, went on a bike ride, and visited some open houses. I also did a lot of cooking after the Farmer's market and C did a lot of dishes after I completed my cooking.

Around 9 pm on Sunday, I realized that we still hadn't done those two things that I wanted to do and I just didn't have the energy to do them. I think next time, I'll just have C and I clean out a few drawers, rather than our whole closets. Maybe smaller goals will help us be more successful in our goals?

How do you accomplish the chores that you're not excited about, but feel that you need to do?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Geez I Need a Budget . . .

Recently C and I have been spending a lot of money.

We spent quite a bit on our 4 week vacation. It was a once in a lifetime trip that we wanted to take before we have kids (thinking about having kids in a few years).

Then we just bought a new bed from Costco. This was sorely needed since we had been sleeping on a bed purchased from craigslist 2 years ago for only $25. In this case, I really do think we got what we paid for. The bed totally sagged in the middle if we put it on a metal bedframe, so we had to leave it on the floor in order to not wake up every night with back pain. We only woke up occasionally with back pain, but it was becoming more frequent, so time to pull the trigger. Incidentally we had received a wedding gift of cash with the stipulation that the money was for a new bed, so you can consider this an expense that we had money allocated for.

We just had some semi unexpected auto repairs. Unexpected since you never know what your car is going to break down, but only "semi" since the car is 12 years old.

Now C is making noises about getting a new computer. Granted, right now we don't have any working computers that we own. Both C and I have work laptops, that we also use for personal needs. I agree we need a computer, but on top of all of our other recent expenditures, it seems like a lot! This will be especially critical if I want to seriously explore my career options.

Of course, we are against going into debt to purchase travel/consumer goods, so that's not an issue. I'm just worried that we're not saving enough for our house down payment.

I think I'm going to ask for Quicken for Christmas!

Friday, October 10, 2008

1 Mistake I Made in Light of the Market and 1 Thing I Did Right

Well, everyone has been posting a lot about the economy. How can you not with the wild fluctuations going on? In light of what's going on, there is one thing I did that I can identify as a mistake and one thing I did that I can identify as a good decision.

My Mistake
The mistake I made was in not distributing my 401K contributions evenly across the year. Had I done so, I could have taken advantage of dollar cost averaging. Instead, I maxed out my contributions mid-September, meaning that my account is not going to be taking advantage of these new lower prices. I knew that I was going to max out in September but I decided to do so anyway since I thought it would be nice to have extra money for Christmas and potential year end vacations. I also thought I might be switching jobs so it would be easier if I maxed out my 401K at one employer rather than trying to figure out the exact amount I would need to contribute in my new employer without going over the maximum contribution limit. Now it looks like I won't be switching jobs in the near future. Since I work in financial services consulting, it just feels too unstable to be looking for something new. I'm also well respected in my current job and I enjoy it for the most part.

My Good Decision
The good decision I made was in deciding to hold our home down payment funds in cash. I began saving in earnest for a home about 3 years ago. It was always my intention to buy a place in 2007 or 2008. After getting married 2 years ago, my husband and I were able to significantly increase our down payment fund. It's pretty disheartening to see so much of your money only early 3% when the rest of your money is earning 7% or 10%. But we stuck to traditional wisdom and kept that money in an ING Savings account. I never even opened a CD since I was never really sure when we would find a house that we liked and pull the trigger on the purchase. Now I am so glad that we didn't risk that money since we want to use it in the short term.