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Archive for January, 2016

January Recap

January 31st, 2016 at 01:18 pm

I can safely say that we accomplished a low spending month in January. Our savings rate was close to 60% of our net income. We really need to work on the "miscellaneous" category of our budget. We had a significant over budget amount in this category. We will try to continue having low spend months hoping like heck to reach the goal of having $50K in our Career Change/EF by the end of this school year (I'm a 10 month employee). If we reach it, that would be about six months ahead of schedule. Although, I want to be optimistic, I also have to realistic. We have to pay property taxes in February and May and we also have a spring break vacation at the end of March. At minimum, I would like to get at least close to it.

Well nothing else to report. I hope you all have a healthy and frugal week.

Great savings this month!

January 29th, 2016 at 05:03 pm

This month has been a very exciting month in terms of savings. We used credit cards this month just to pay bills/necessities and once they posted I paid the credit cards right away. No frivolous use of credit cards at all. It helped that we do not have to pay car insurance for the months of January and February. Our auto policy is astronomical because we have our DS#2 who is under 25 with an accident on record. He helps pay his portion of the policy. I'm glad we have kept things to a minimum.

Paying It Forward

January 27th, 2016 at 01:04 am

Simply put, I'm so very grateful for all the things I have. I realize that I am very blessed and that there are others less fortunate. I created an event on Facebook called Pay It Forward. I invited my friends to join me in creating blessing bags for the homeless community in our area. Every month I will pick a different cause. So far, I have 13 people who have committed to contributing and I am really excited to be able to help and my friends and family/friends are very generous. Next month we are collecting baby items to donate to a women's homeless shelter and in March we will probably collect white cotton socks for the men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces. In August, we will do school supplies. Any other ideas?
Sample of blessing bags prepared by a friend:

End of January/Snowflakes/SAD

January 23rd, 2016 at 04:39 am

We've had a few windfalls this month:

-$347.00 from a cancelled gap insurance policy on our son's vehicle. Saved $300.00 of it immediately.
-$10.00 Amazon gift card through Swagbucks
-25.00 AMC Theaters Gift card through Chase credit card
- 5.00 Starbucks gift card through Chase credit card
-.11 cents found on the floor at work

Next month, I'm expecting a cash back check from Amex for purchases at Costco. We are up to $169.00. This will end soon since American Express and Costco have severed their ties. Let's see what Citi will offer through Costco. I will cash the check at Costco and put it towards our Puerto Rico trip in March. I've managed to save $600 for the trip in a very short time.

January is slowly coming to an end (like a turtle)and we definitely went over budget on the "miscellaneous" category but under budget on other categories. I do not for see a lot of expenses next week except for a $10.00 co payment for hubby doctor's visit.

I am now taking B-12 and D3 vitamins to try to help my SAD. I decided that I will bundle up and go for a short walk every day to get some sun in. I've also been using my light box for at least 45 minutes a day. Today, I'm feeling much better.

Well, I hope you all have a nice weekend. If you are being affected by the winter blizzard please be careful and safe. For those of you suffering health issues or matters of the heart, I pray that you have a speedy recovery or a healed heart.

SAD/Update/No surplus

January 21st, 2016 at 02:34 am

Well it's that time of the year in which SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is making a grand appearance and with a vengeance I should say. I've not been at work since Tuesday and the doctor gave me the rest of the week off to try to pull myself together. I just hate the effect it has on my mood. My doctor prescribed another medication. I just find it so ironic that I have such a happy-go-lucky personality but this can turn my disposition from happy to down right miserable as soon as the deep freeze comes. I am trying so hard to snap out of it and relying on my Christian faith to survive this.

Financially, things are going as expected. Some over budgets categories but also some under budget items and luck would have it, I have to reimbursed my job for the money they overpaid me. Ha, ha, I knew it!

I hope you all have a great end of the week.

$5K surplus (not really)

January 15th, 2016 at 09:58 pm

This morning as I checked for payroll deposits I was surprised to see an additional $5K in my account. I quickly checked my pay stub and I see that I received a $5K stipend that it is clearly not mine. I contacted the payroll department and they said they would look into it and get back to me. Any corrections will be done for the next pay period. I, of course, will not touch that money because I am certain that I will have to give it back, but man, it was like hitting the lottery. You know what I can do with that kind of money? It would go straight to savings if it was rightfully mine. Smile

I made the regular deposits to the savings and paid some bills. I have $500 left until next pay period. Next month is a tight month because we have to pay property taxes. I was thinking the other day how much it stinks to have a paid for home but still have to come up with $700 every month to pay taxes. I just have to discipline myself to put away the $700 each month instead of having to come up with the money in one shot.

On another note, I've been feeling pretty run down lately and afflicted with a pesky cold. As a result, I've not cooked for the last two days and I'm afraid that if I keep this up it will be a budget buster. I'm staying home this weekend and try to get better. Monday I have to report to work but there will be no students, just teachers. Hopefully, I will feel better by Monday.

That's it for today! I hope you all have a great weekend.

Today's spending

January 12th, 2016 at 10:59 pm

I was hoping for a non-spend day but I forgot that we were running low on heating oil and a delivery was inevitable. The funny thing is that we budgeted $300 for that and the bill came exactly $300. I'm not complaining about the price of heating oil this year. We paid $1.50 per gallon but in previous years we have paid up to $3.69 a gallon and this is the first time we fill up since July. The nice delivery man left us the bill and three chap sticks with the company logo in our mailbox. The sticks were certainly appreciated since we go through chap sticks like there is no tomorrow. Today we had the very first taste of snow in New Jersey with a light dusting. This past fall and winter have been rather strange here. The fluctuations of temperatures are crazy but it's taking a toll on people's health with many afflicted with respiratory problems and not being able to shake the common cold (me included).

Stay warm or cool (people in warm weather).

Outside today



Budget

January 12th, 2016 at 02:02 am

It's almost the middle of January and I am please to say that our we've been really doing great so far with the budget. We still have a little over $200 in our grocery category, $120 under gasoline and in the miscellaneous there is still $160 of the $200 allotted. We did go over budget on some categories but I'm not worried because I feel we will have a surplus at the end of the month. One of the deficits comes from the Verizon Wireless. Last month, I was suckered into buying a mini iPad at a discounted rate. The salesperson failed to tell me that I would have a monthly $10 fee for the iPad line. I say that he suckered me into it but I really should've asked questions and not signed the darn contract. I'm now under contract for the iPad line and will have to pay a penalty if I want to cancel it. I'm really stuck now paying for it. Oh well...it's my fault and I take responsibility for not being an informed consumer.

I hope you have a great week.

Week One, 52 Weeks of Gratitude

January 9th, 2016 at 03:13 pm

I am changing the 365 pictures of gratitude to 52 weeks pictures of gratitude. I find it difficult to post something every day so I decided to post one picture per week. So this week's picture of gratitude is an affirmation I found on the internet and I wrote it on a small card with little hearts. This affirmation applies to several aspects of my life and I love it. Here it is:



On another note, things are going well with my attempts to cut down on junk food. I do feel a lot better physically. Financially speaking, I've had four no spend days, managed to earn couple of snowflakes, began saving for spending money for our March trip, paid college tuition and contributed significantly to the Emergency/Career Change fund.

I hope you all have a great frugal weekend!

One day at a time

January 6th, 2016 at 05:02 pm

I'm already feeling better or maybe it's my mind playing tricks on me. I'm on my third day of eating better, I know that's not a long time but if you are a heavy soda drinker and have a horrendous sweet tooth you would probably agree with me. Right before the year ended, I finally went to the doctor for a physical and she suggested that I lose weight given my family health history (diabetes and coronary heart disease). My dad passed away from sudden cardiac arrest and my oldest sibling, who is only 51 years old, is already on dialysis. I feel like I have more energy and more alert.I'm trying to build will power and find things to motivate me. I am keeping a journal and setting goals daily as oppose to unrealistic short term goals.

This affirmation seems to be keeping me in check each day:

The harder the struggle the more glorious the triumph.

365 Days of Gratitude, Day #4,#5

January 6th, 2016 at 12:33 am

I failed to post what I was grateful for yesterday but here it is: A book exchange at our disposal at work.




What's left of my Christmas decorations to honor my Latino culture. Tomorrow we celebrate the Epiphany.

365 Days of Gratitude, Pic #3 and more

January 3rd, 2016 at 10:32 pm

First, I just want to send a ((HUG)) to PatientSaver. I've thought of her all day.

Today, I am grateful to have the fortune to grow up in a place with these views and for the ability to speak two languages.



On a financial note, this week I will have to send a check for $7K to pay the next to last tuition payment for DS#2.

We were hoping to be at $27K on our emergency Fund/Career Change by the December 31st and I am happy to say that we surpassed the amount by almost $2K.

We've had three no spend days in a row so far since the new year. (:

Our 2016 goals are as follows: (in no particular order)

~Reach the $50K mark on our Career Change/Emergency Fund

~ Pay as much debt as possible (car loan)

~ Use credit cards cautiously

~ Continue to love each other and make our marriage #1

~ Make 10 Blessing Bags for the homeless community in my town.

~Donate to the food pantry every month

~Loose weight as requested by my doctor

365 Days of Gratitude, Pic #2

January 2nd, 2016 at 08:57 pm

This little guy came to us as we were mourning the loss of our beloved LhasaPoo, Max. He is quite the character and a handsome guy and I absolutely love him to pieces. His name is Leo and he is a Lhasa Apso!

365 Days of Gratitude, Pic #1

January 1st, 2016 at 11:31 pm

As suggested by PatientSaver, here is a picture of what I am grateful for today.

Lasagna soup: Simple ingredients, easy to make and everyone loves it.