Archive for September, 2008

September Goals Redux

So, updates.

I finally turned in  the cable box.  My monthly bill will now go from about $110 to $45.  Still higher than I’d like, but at this point it is a necessary expense.  If I stay in Astoria after Dec I will definitely shop around for a lower price.  In the meeantime, I can certainly use that extra $55 a month.

As for my goals:

1. Stick to a weekly budget. The weekly budge thing did not go so well.  I am trying to compensate this week because I don’t have a lot of expenses, but I am almost an entire week’s budget over budget for the month.  Well, I tried.  Next month, I am trying a variable week system as suggested by Ali.  If that doesn’t work, I will try something else.

To be fair, when I say it didn’t work I mean I couldn’t stick to it.  I still think it was pretty effective in helping keep my costs down overall.  It just made me feel too down on myself, and that’s not fun or healthy, so I won’t budget that way in the future.  Also, I know I’m not going to stick to something long-term that makes me unhappy.

2. Update on a regular schedule. I feel pretty content with this. I wrote here a lot more, even if I didn’t do it on a strict schedule. I also feel like I only wrote where I actually had something to say.

3. Find some extra income. I did some freelance work, although it went less well than I could have hoped at least I worked on that. So that was some. And while reducing a bill is not exactly income, it helps, and I am going to count that. Still, I think this a goal I could definitely continue to work on harder.

4. Use what I have. This went great! Through swapping things I already had for new things, reading books I’d been meaning to read, watching movies I’d been meaning to watch, and using my computer for tv I got tons of use out of things I had and did not feel sad in not having new things. I also saved a lot of money on food by being much better than I’ve been in the past about using up both leftover meals in news and using ingredients I already have.

So that was September. Next up, October, and a new year for us Jews. New goals should go up Wed. I think you guys should also post goals! Consider yourself tagged, Adiel, Ali, Cris, and Bluemilker

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September 29, 2008 at 3:03 pm 5 comments

Our Swap Items

I’m a packrat, a hoarder. I get in honestly, from my mother.

Hoarding is not the way to save. I’ve talked about it a little before but holding on to lots of stuff doesn’t mean you buy less. It means you buy more, because you forget what you have, or you need more shelves, more hangers, bigger dressers, bigger closets, a bigger home, a storage space.

This isn’t to say I’m against stuff. I love stuff. I just need to fight my natural inclination to keep everything, and just try to keep things I really want. And since I’ve gotten better at that, I’m helping my mom to do the same.

With that in mind, yesterday she and I got ready for the clothing swap together. I am a terrible photographer and do not have beautiful photos with tons of details like some posts.

Everything is from a home with a cat, and most of it is from a home with a small amount of smoke, so if you have allergies be prepared to clean things. Shipping is going to be cheaper on combined shipping than if you just added the shipping prices for the items together. Items ship from around 10027, New York, NY. You can calculate shipping here at USPS.

To claim, please comment below with the following information:
–Email (Paypal email if you want your stuff shipped)
–Whether you want to pick your clothes up in person or have them shipped
–Items claimed

All numbering is left to right and top then bottom. If you want more detail about anything ask for it.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1. Escapades, red velvet, L – CLAIMED
2. Guilty, spandex nylon, L – CLAIMED
3. DKNY, bratop, needs washing, M
4. Brioche, lace, spandex, lycra, nylon, 9-10
5. DKNY, bratop, M – CLAIMED

6,7,8,9,10
6. MODA , bratop, 5
7. Ambiance, L
8. Ambiance, L
9. Kaspar, M
10. Small spot, L

11,12,13,14
11. Lululemon, 6
12. Cha Cha Vente, M – CLAIMED
13. M
14. Ann Taylor, M – CLAIMED

15,16,17
(sorry for the blurry)
15. Tag still on, 11
16. Silk, 8
17. Limited, L -CLAIMED

18,19,20,21
18. H & M , 10 – CLAIMED
19. M
20. L
21. Mandees hip-hugger, runs small, 11 – CLAIMED

22,23
22. Top & pants set ,12 petite – Pants CLAIMED (Top still available)
23.Victoria’s Secret velor pajamas,run small,L – CLAIMED

24,25,26,27
24. M
25. boucle texture, M
26. Wrap pants, brought back from India, one size – CLAIMED
27. Cotton/spandex,L L

28,29,30,31
28.Fang,L – CLAIMED
29. L
30.GAP,L
31.Victoria’s Secret,S – CLAIMED

32,33,34,35,36
32.L
33.Embroidered,no size
34.Angora, spandex, etc.,M
35.M – CLAIMED
36.Danish,second-hand,L

37,38,39,40
37. Tristan & Iseute, some spots, extra L
38. Victoria’s Secret, S – CLAIMED
39. Alloy,polyester with hood, M
40. Tristan & Iseute, L -CLAIMED

41,42,43,44
41. Tweeds, S
42. Aeropostale, has a tiny hole, S – CLAIMED
43. L
44. Jones NY, 2 small stains in front, M

45,46,47,48,49
45. Stain, L
46. unravellled strap (still functions fine, just not neat edge), extra L
47. Spandex, teen M
48. Banana Republic, XS
49. Tweeds, 100% cotton, washable spot on the front, S

51,52,53,54,55
51. Needs straps teen L
52. 7
53. Tripp needs button 7
54. Tommy jeans 7 – CLAIMED
55. K-Mart shorts L

56,57,58,59
56. Fleece (puffier than newer ones boucle-ish), L
57. Made in Thailand, no size L?
58. Sweatshirt fuzzy outside (reverse look), zipper broken, M
59. 4

60, 61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68, 69
61. 6 ½ – CLAIMED
62. David Aaron 6 ½ – CLAIMED
63. Italian leather 37 European (6 ½ ? 7?) – CLAIMED
64. 7?
65. Handsewn hat with artificial flower decoration
66. Acrylic winter scarf
67. Velor leopard scarf
68. Organic socks one size fits all – CLAIMED
69. Bra top adjustable 34C cut small
ETA:
70,71,72, 73,74
70. 8
71. Limited, velor, M
72. H & M , with tags, L
73. H & M, with tags, M – CLAIMED
(same red halter dress in two sizes)
74. M, says “Happy Bug”

75,76,77,78,79
75. Polyester
76. 100% silk
77. 3 in 1 headwrap sash scarf, polyester, tags still on
78. Shawl, polyester
79. 100% silk – CLAIMED

80
80. Tinkerbell shirt, says “ready to fly” – CLAIMED
I love this shirt so much, but it is just too tight. Arms are pretty small.

OK, that’s everything!

September 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm 22 comments

I Knead More Dough

Getting ready for the clothing swap (expect a post tomorrow about that) catching up on work at the day job, and starting to feel like one day soon I might actually not be behind on everything. It’s a good feeling.

I made this

I made this

Still behind on budget, though, and still looking for new ways to save. Could I eat on $10 a week? Maybe. I learned to make bread this week, thanks to a friend. I had an irrational fear of baking with yeast, and now I’ve done it and it worked and at the end there was tasty bread. Even though I’ve complained recently that some of my scratch-cooking efforts have ended up costing more than buying pre-made things, as far as I can tell scratch bread is still much cheaper. Especially if I do it on a regular basis. And since I eat sandwiches just about every weekday for lunch, cheaper bread should help.

I’ve also been good about using up ingredients for dinner. I had some eggs and milk that were past due but not gross, so I made quiche. I had leftover cheese from making casserole so all I had to get was spinach. I’ve also been good about using up leftovers instead of getting something new for dinner. I try to be good and mix it up with different side dishes so I’m not just eating the exact same thing every night, but I am about out. I think I’m going to see what fresh and frozen veggies are cheap or on sale.

The real problem is eating out. I need to work on doing it cheaper. I don’t want to never go out with friends, but I need to be better about plannign when I am going to do it and spend less when I do. I know all the tricks. I almost never order drinks or dessert. If I get an appetizer it is usually because it is my main dish-sometimes it’s because I am sharing one with people. That’s fine, when I do that I eat less of my main dish and have leftovers, and then I’ve gotten two meals for the price. Sometimes I snack before going out. But still, I find myself spending way more than I want to, and a couple times recently have felt like I spent too much for what I got. And even knowing all the rules, I mess up.

I just need to think about my goals when I look at a menu or make a plan, and remind myself what matters more in the long run. And when I do go out, it should be a budgeted for decision so I can just enjoy it-because when I have budgeted for it, I am happier. It’s so crazy to think how often I used to eat out or order in as a matter of course and not appreciate it.

September 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm 5 comments

Not that kind of money blog

There’s a lot of financial stuff going on right now. I’m not going to talk about any of it. This isn’t that kind of money blog. Sure, the big stuff relates to the little stuff, and that may come up a bit. I am not an economics person, though, and I don’t pretend to be. I am just a gal trying to save some money.

*

I’m having some trouble on that saving money bit right now. I think the weekly budget I gave myself was overly ambitious. It works fine for a standard week-it gives me money to spend on food and necessities and leaves room for a little fun. It does not work well for anythign else. For example, this weekend I went to New Hampshire, and at the end of the weekend I am left with $2 for the rest of the week. There were a couple places I could have saved a few dollars-I get nervous about getting hungry on buses and didn’t plan and ended up wasting about $4 on food. Also, it was colder than I expected on Friday because I am an idiot who doesn’t check weather reports, so I had to spend a couple dollars on some stockings so I wouldn’t freeze my legs off.

The point of the budget was to push myself, so I am going to see how close I can keep it to $2 for the rest of the week. I have leftover quiche for dinner for a couple nights, and some fruit and ice cream and such to go with it, as well as some pasta and broccoli in the house so I should be fine there. I am planning on playing Dance Dance Revolution this week and don’t want to skimp on that, so that’s $5. I am learning to make bread tonight and will want to pay for ingredients for that, no idea how much that will be. And I don’t want to skimp on either of those things.

I’ve run the numbers, and it looks like I could still be saving a lot if I upped my weekly budget a bit. I was about $20 over last week, and it looks like it will be about $15 this week. Since I committed to it, I am going to keep this weekly budget for the rest of September, but I think next month I will up it a bit. After all, there’s nothing saying I can’t go under budget on slower weeks.

I also want to cut more though, to have a bit more breathing room and maybe be able to save a bit more. Buying snack food is definitely hurting my trip budgets. I also could try and get cheaper bus tickets. I already have my tickets for my next two trips, and the second bus I take always costs the same amount. On the first bus though, I could definitely spend less (and in fact have, some of my later trips cost about half as much as this one did.) I know Lucky Star, Megabus, and Bolt Bus are all offering $1 fares these days if you can snag one. But I still need other little places to cut money. It’s hard, because for the most part I’ve cut almost everything. I am not willing to never eat out, never travel (and thus never see my boyfriend), or not play DDR with my friends.

The home gameLast week we played DDR at home, but it’s a long trip for 2/3rds of us and the pads and music selection aren’t as good. If I got metal DDR pads, it might be worth it, but then I wouldn’t be saving money.

I guess eating out is the easiest place to cut though. I should work more on cooking with friends (Jesse and Ali have been very helpful by coming over and eating with me, because they are awesome.) I could plan my eating out better, and have it work better with my budget. I have nothing expensive planned for next week, so maybe I can make up some of my going over then, and work more on cutting extras. Suggestions welcome, as always.

September 22, 2008 at 4:56 pm 5 comments

Tool

I have been planning on getting rid of cable TV. Most of the shows I watch are available online, I have a ton of new DVD’s thanks to swaptree (stuff I’ve already seen, but bonus features! commentary tracks! re-watching!) and new books to read thanks to the book swap and work. It’s too expensive to justify right now.

I say planning to, because I haven’t. First it took me a while to call them. then I called and they said I am going to have to bring it in. Then I tried to unhook and, um, I can’t. I think it requires tools, which I don’t have. The only tools I own are allen wrenches. SO it’s now been about two weeks, and at this rate I am going to have to pay for another month of service that I can’t afford and don’t need. As soon as I get back from being away for the weekend, I have to tackle this.

Made it through the wrest of the week without spending much more money, but I also didn’t get anywhere on most of my other goals. Still updating regularly-I bet you’re thrilled 😉

September 19, 2008 at 4:01 pm 1 comment

Clothing Swap

I’ve mentioned before how much I am a fan of clothing swaps. Ali over at tatteredtaggedtreasured.com is planning one, and I figured I’d post the info in case anyone is reading this and not that:

The post is here. If you are interested, you can go there, read the rules, and sign up. I personally am very excited to get some free clothing and make some more room. My dresser is full, which is weird, because before it had another person’s stuff in it, and I still have huge laundry bags of stuff to wash, so I could definitely get rid of some stuff. Part of my problem is that when the boy left he took his hangers, and some how I don’t seem to own any, or, only about ten. Hmmmm.

I think after this is figured out, we should try to plan a food swap since the book and clothing ones are so great, and those are the areas I spend the most money.

It could work either more as a traditional potluck, or something like grabbing all the non-perishables you don’t want and trading them for ones you do, like getting rid of cans of peas and getting some baking ingredients or some other combination. Does these seem reasonable? Any suggestions on how to improve on this idea are welcome.

If all goes well, the next thing should actually be a yard sale. We are planning on getting rid of the dresser, desk, and bookshelf I grew up with as well as a bunch of other stuff at my mom’s place.

September 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

Goals Update

Well, last week was fantastic for my goals! I stayed so far under budget that I managed to “replace”* the $11 I’d gone over the week before. I made M/W/F updates and I felt like I actually had things to say each time. For goal #3, I didn’t get any extra income but I did update a resume and it’s almost ready to send out, so I accomplished something. For goal #4, I got ready for a book swap, and in doing so I enjoyed what I already had. I realized in sorting through books how many books I had that I hadn’t actually read yet. I piled them up and started getting through as many as I could, and managed to get almost the whole way through the stack before the swap.

This week I am already over budget and it’s only Tuesday-I still have two days to get through, and I know I need to buy food in there. Actually, in writing that now I just figured out a way to put off buying food-go me.

I have a freelance job to do this week, so I just have to find the time to do it. Fortunately, it’s one I am actually kind of looking forward to doing.

The book swap was great-I got about six books and managed to get rid of about two suitcases worth of books. It was also a really good time, with great company and food. We went out to dinner after, and that was also fine for my budget. The only problem was the amount of money I spent on things to make a cake for the gathering. Lately I seem to spend a lot more when I cook something then when I buy something pre-made. This is partially because I’ve run out of a lot of ingredients, so it should balance out again soon, but it is kind of silly.

I also failed to post an update on my goals on Friday, but I’m not that stressed about that.

How did your week go?

*apologies to my old writing prof for the use of the quotation marks.

September 16, 2008 at 8:58 pm 1 comment

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