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Archive for January, 2013

Things that make the budget go BOOM!

January 29th, 2013 at 11:46 am

Picked up DS from his dad's house Sunday and he had just come out of the shower. Saw a HUGE rash on his tummy with lesions. Called the doc and got him in. Turns out to be just dry skin (phew! save those sick days!), but it wreaked havoc on the budget. I had to procure, per doctor's orders:

1) Cetaphil cream
2) Unscented Dove
3) Mineral Oil
4) Hydrocortisone prescription

CVS only had one type of mineral oil which cost over $11! Cetaphil cream was expensive and I had NO coupons! I love to coupon and get the best price, so this whole thing was a thorn in my side. Luckily, CVS had a Dove ECB deal going on and I had coupons. I stocked up on unscented varietals for him. Sigh.

This is a sign that I need to be better about SAVING and trying to plan for these expenditures. He is rather healthy so this is not an often occurrence, but still. SH*T happens.

And...breathe out

January 28th, 2013 at 01:21 am

So I took Jerrold Mundis' advice and tried as best as possible to just live and track spending during the month of January. Although it is not yet February 1st, I spent the weekend creating a spending plan that includes debt payoff projections. I also updated my debts list for a nice reality check (OY!!!) I USED to do this, but in current months I have always used my spending planner but without the projected payoffs. Thus, nothing gets paid off and I spend the extra money. That bad habit is being set aside.

My income increased slightly in January and I have adjusted my withholding as I received way too large of a refund for my comfort. I am feeling much more optimistic about my financial world.

The young man whose wedding gift bounced? He was more than gracious about the whole thing. It took awhile to get a hold of him, but I am mailing a money order tomorrow. It's so amazing because when you're in a panic, it feels like the whole world is going to implode. As always, everything is absolutely all right. Now, breathe out!

So the most embarrassing thing that could happen...happened

January 13th, 2013 at 04:15 pm

Back in October, my mother found out a former neighbor for whom I babysat got married. She instructed me to get a card and give a little money. This was on Halloween. I wrote a check, gave it to his mom and that was the end of it. Lost track of that check and low and behold, it was cashed last week and bounced. They are a young couple and I feel AWFUL! I have to slink to his mom with tail between my legs and request his address. I am hoping she does not ask why, but if she does I am prepared to be honest. I am also prepared to foot the bill for any fees incurred as a result. Oh the horror!

I am trying to spend a month relaxing about my finances as Jerrold Mundis instructed, but it is so hard, especially with gift checks being bounced. Christmas and a child's immediate birthday add to the financial stress I've placed upon myself. I have been diligently tracking spending, planning meals and even walking the aisles of Aldi calculating my total as I shop. I am going to make poached salmon using a large piece I had stored in my freezer and needed a bottle of wine. WAS going to buy the $6.99 bottle as a splurge and drink a bit myself, but by totaling up my purchase as I shopped I put it back and got the $2.89 bottle instead. It's movement in a good direction.

On a better note, I have been making lots of yummy things from scratch and have not thrown away as much food as a result. Thanks again Lucky Robin! This week I made a slow cooker full of low fat, low calorie lentils. I froze half and ate the rest daily for lunch. Utilized the whole pot! I then made a slow cooker full of coconut curry chicken which we ate for two nights and I ate for another night and a lunch. We used the whole thing! Woohoo! I stuck to our meal plan, didn't eat out and also ate reasonably well for my weight loss goals.

I am trying to stay positive but I am still living in a fog of anxiety and embarrassment right now. Next Saturday I am attending a meeting for people with addictions problems (it is a general meeting. A friend who is in AA suggested I go. I will attend with him.) I want the emotional weight of my finances gone so I can focus and achieve goals.

Debt reading and other things...

January 4th, 2013 at 03:27 pm

Thanks to Spondulick's Forever for being one of my favorite blogs. Upon reading your sidebar, I found How to Get out of Debt, Stay out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis. Lovely BF gave me an itunes gift card which I used to purchase this book and have been reading for two days. While I have read Suze Orman, am acquainted with Dave Ramsey, this program seems the most realistic and feasible. I will mix it up with some SO and DR to my liking and hopefully get the ball rolling.

A win for me was receiving a catalog yesterday for the Company Store. Winter sheets on clearance with free shipping? I almost purchased, was so close to the trigger. Then I remembered how much more expensive those sheets will be from not paying off the interest on the debt I already have. I stopped myself and was successful today. That being said, I will build room in my spending plan for myself, but not enough for $100 sheets I do not need.

I have updated goals, etc. I will refine later. I am still working on my food stamp challenge for myself. It is exceptionally difficult, but it has helped me to plan meals and curb frivolous spending. I made pizza dough and a huge slow cooker full of sauce for New Year's Eve. I then used the sauce over the course of the week for pasta dishes. I used it all! I will continue to refine my planning and what not.

Last year I had a goal of accumulating Target gift cards from good sales and Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to use towards Christmas. That plan got derailed due to my beginning a masters program to get my administrative certification (before the law changes in 2014...best do it now). I did have a nice chunk to help out with the holidays. I am going to continue that work and see if I can better that number.

Here's to a better year! I feel like I'm always jumping off the wagon, but as Mundis points out, first you must admit you have a problem. I admit it, I have a problem. Let the real work begin!