Posts filed under ‘being unfrugal’

Moving Matters

I think moving is one of those things that really motivates me to spend, spend, spend. Of course, when you’re moving into a new place, or at least when I am, is usually a terrible time to spend. You have to pay a deposit, rent, sometimes first and last month and a broker’s fee, you need to pay for gas to drive your stuff there, etc. You need to either hire movers or buy food for the kind friends that help you, or maybe just be super mighty. I am not super mighty, by the way.

But a new place needs new stuff! When I moved into my last place I needed a tv stand, and door hooks, and baking supplies, and all new bathroom stuff since my old stuff didn’t match the tiles in the new place.

The shower curtain I totally, completely needed. And ended up not getting-I got a different one.

The shower curtain I totally, completely needed. And ended up not getting-I got a different one.

I am lying. I didn’t need any of those things. But I wanted them, and they were useful, and I got them. It’s not bad that I got them. The problem is that I identified those wants as needs.

Now I am moving to a new place again. I want a dresser, and new towels and maybe some baskets and a toothbrush holder for the bathroom, (what can I say, I like matching bathrooms,) and a rug and a new litter box, and probably some other things.

The dresser is practically a need, since otherwise there is nowhere for my clothing to go except in a big pile, and since I have no car it makes sense to get a cheap new one that can be delivered. The bathroom, well, if I see it cheap I will probably get stuff. Matching bathrooms make me happy! I only want a couple things, and, well, we have to give into wants somewhere. The rug I am going to try and trick my boyfriend into buying if I am getting the dresser. The new litter box is a straight up luxury, and I am going to skip it-I just one that looks nicer since it will be more visible, but the one I have is covered with a dome and looks fine, and I can maybe put an end table we already have over it.

I have to be strict with myself! As J.D. at Get Rich Slowly always says, nobody cares more about my money than I do. Nobody else is going to make sure I don’t waste money that could go towards a down payment on a cute lamp I’ll probably leave behind when I move.

I also need warm things since I am moving to a colder climate. There, at least, I’m excited to not spend. I realized I have a winter jacket from high school I can use. It’s 10 years old, but I’ve barely worn it in that time and it’s super warm. And since it’s from 10 years ago, it’s probably back in. Or, I don’t care, because it’s warm. I already own scarves I also don’t wear, and my mom is always trying to give me gloves so I can just actually take some next time she offers, or find some that she gave me in the past. What can I say, I hate bundling up as much as I love matching bathrooms. I’m all about the hoods and use of pockets.

I do need to buy new boots though. All my current boots were bought with motivations other than surviving a New Hampshire winter. I almost bought some Bear Paws on sale at Target the other day, but with shipping I felt they weren’t worth it. So, any recommendations for cheap, warm, tough (or tough-ish) boots? Or ways to not spend on a new place?

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December 23, 2008 at 8:32 pm 1 comment

Getting Back on Track

In February, I started trying to improve my financial situation. Until about October of this year every month I got a little better. I found new ways to save, I did new things to keep me on track, my savings grew. My original plan was to save up enough to be able to afford my rent when (if) my boyfriend went away to law school. I saved enough, and got good enough at cutting costs, that I didn’t have to touch that savings when he moved away. I haven’t given myself enough credit for that.

I started slipping though. I created unrealistic goals to try and save even more, and failed, and felt defeated. I stopped tracking every expense. I haven’t come up with a new trick or motivational tool in over a month. I slowed down posting on the blog, when part of the point of the blog was to keep me on track.

It’s okay. I have to forgive myself, move on, and keep getting better. I realized I’d stopped reading new posts new places all the time and had started just reading my favorite blogs. I got really excited the other day when I spent about an hour going to different sites and reading about tips & tricks, and also pitfalls.

I also have a deadline now. I am leaving my job to go to grad school. I am going to look for a part time job, but until I get one I have to use my savings. I am incredibly excited about grad school, and I will do whatever it takes to be ready. So I am making Dec.15th to Jan. 15th a no-spend period.

It’s hard. I want to buy new bags and clothes and organizational things and pens and everything for school. I am going to try & make do with what I have, and maybe pretty up some old things. I want to go out to eat everywhere I love in the city, but I’ll be back after I’ve found a part time job, and going out to eat will be a perfect way to visit my friends. I want to keep buying gifts, but the plan is to stick to a budget and be done by Dec. 15th (that’s mainly psychological.) I will be reducing my rent by about $800 a month-all that money is for savings.

I am allowed to spend on gas, and buying dinner for people helping me move. I can buy groceries, and food for my cat. I think I will need to spend money on some toiletries. I will need to spend money on laundry, probably a bit more than usual. I am trying to decide if I am allowed to go out to eat at all, and if so, what the budget for that should be. But the plan is, no fun spending.

Which doesn’t mean no fun! I’ll be living with two of my favorite people, and we can stay home and watch movies and cook meals. I think instead of the cooking taking turns thing Ill just plan an old-fashioned pot luck. My boyfriend will be home. There will be Hanukkah and Christmas to celebrate. I just have to remind myself that that is enough. It is wonderful, and I am fortunate. Plus I don’t need to buy new things because I will be getting presents!

Now, I need you guys to help me stick to this. And in the future, I think I will give myself planned vacations from saving (instead on unplanned, like this one.) Not going crazy spending, which I haven’t done in years. Just no need to blog about it (although I can), no need to rack expenses, no need to follow a set budget. That way, just like a real vacation, I can come back rejuvenated.

November 26, 2008 at 3:32 pm 3 comments

October & November Goals

So October was slow month, blog-wise.  I only made 7 posts.  However, that’s because it was an awesome month, life-wise.  As I mentioned, two of my favorite people got married, I went to visit my boyfriend for his birthday, and I went to Hawaii.

All of this sounds like it should be really expensive, but it wasn’t.  Well, the wedding was really expensive by my standards but I think as far as weddings go, it was cheap.  For Hawaii the expensive part was the plane tickets, which  my mom paid for.  While we were there we kept it cheap by staying with family, buying groceries and eating at home & bringing snacks with us, and trying hard not to go crazy on souvenirs.

I also managed to spend $0 on my costume and still, I think, do a pretty good job, so that was a plus, and I did a freelance job and got paid which helped balance out all my crazy spending. I also set up my first C.D., at ING. I have a road trip fund that has been sitting around in cash. It is only $150, but it is better earning interest than not and I know the trip won’t happen in the next 12 months.

Here’s how I did on my goals:
1. Implement my new weekly budget system and stick to it. Poorly. To be honest, I entirely lost track of my budget. I started using mint.com, which I like, but I can’t keep track of my cash or weekly totals the way I am used to. I think I should stick with using my spreadsheet from now on. As I mentioned, I got kind of bored with entering things but if I do it every day it didn’t too bad, and I really do a better job when I write everything down. Because I was so lax, I am not even sure how I did. I just know I spent way too much money and didn’t allocate enough.

2. Use images in my blog. Of my 7 blog posts, 3 have images. However, it’s a better percentage than before. Should I keep working on this one? Do you guys like reading better when I use pretty pictures?

3. Make things new. I was very excited about this and started working on my dresser the first day. I got a bunch done, and then, well, that was it. This month should be a LOT calmer for me, so I am going to keep working on this.

I think, since October was so out of the ordinary, I am going to try again with the same goals for November. I hope that isn’t cheating 😉

How did you do?

November 3, 2008 at 9:41 pm 3 comments

Sick Of It

The wedding was fantastic. It was beautiful and fun, and the food was delicious. Most importantly, the couple was perfect.
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I am sick of worrying about money. I am sicking of freaking out about whether people will pay me back for things I buy, or making a point of ten dollars between friends. I don’t like saying no and having my friends worry I can’t afford it and feel bad, or feeling awkward about that.

My budget is shot, there were a couple large expenses for the wedding that I did not take into account, and some for my cat. I am sick of entering numbers and have not been doing my old totaling up that I used to see how much I was spending on each category of thing.

I still love buying things discount, spending less, reusing things, and finding things for free. I am just burned out on keeping track, and still don’t know how to handle social expenses. I need some new motivation, or a better way to do this.

October 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm 4 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

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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