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Overdue Update

October 25th, 2006 at 02:39 pm

I've ignored this blog for five months, but I wasn't ignoring my goals for that time. I was actually able to pay off the 6500 in credit card debt I started out with in Jan. more than two months earlier than planned! I've still been putting 12% in my 401(k) too so that has risen to roughly 11,500. There is still a student loan to pay off, but I won't be focusing on that much in the next 6 months.

I really need to figure out what my next goal will be. We have set the wedding date for April 28th, 2007 so I have almost exactly 6 months to save and plan. I am confindent that we will have a classy, beautiful day without going overboard and letting things get out of control. My tendency is to want the best of the best, but now since I know how hard I have to work for the money I'm quickly becoming better at making purchases that don't hurt the wallet so much!

This is my favorite time of the year, but it can get expensive. We are having Thanksgiving at our house like did for the first time last year. It won't be as expensive because we had to buy so much last year that I didn't have.

Our finances are to remain separate after we are married, which seems a little abnormal to me, but will work best for us. I can trust the man I am going to marry. He is very rational and good with money. He's helped me a lot. I don't worry about things changing after we're married. We've been together over 5 years and lived together almost 3, but I wonder if they will. Certainly if we have kids that will be a dramatic change, but aside from that I think things can only get better. I'm becoming more secure and that makes me happy. I don't ever want to be unprepared for anything that happens and I know the only way to prevent that is to plan for the worst and I am learning and trying to do that. It's unpleasant at the time, but in the long run, it can only make things better.

I look at my parents, and not to criticize, but there are things they should have done different. I know it's hard and it's helped me realize that financial security is something that I should be thinking about all the time. I only wish I would have made smarter decisions earlier, but I have time and I am in a great position now. I just have to keep working at it and not "relapse" into my old habits.

That's the basic story. My homework is to set specific goals for the wedding and a new monthly budget for the next two months. I have a shopping trip with my best friend planned in the beginning of Dec. and presents to buy so I'll spend a little more than usual the next two months. I started a saving for Christmas earlier in the year, but it was more important to me to pay off the credit card, so I neglected it, but that will definitely be something I work on next year. I like giving good gifts!

Life Gets in the Way

May 9th, 2006 at 06:17 pm

So the trip with my best friend was just what I needed. We made a pact to take at least one together a year. Hopefully we can do that for many years! I didn't spend as much as I planned for so I'll be using that for some of my spending money this month, which is great because I'm trying to be very frugal. So far it's working but it is only the 9th. Who know's what I'll have my heart set on in the next few weeks? I'll probably spend more on gifts this month than I will on myself, but gotta show people you care!

Temporary Insanity

April 19th, 2006 at 07:45 pm

It took some time, but my ambition has started to die down. I grew bored with saving and it's so hard to tell myself no. I have no willpower against certain things, which I know is my brain trying to make excuses and justify what I want to do. I'm just struggling because rules are hard to follow and what's best for you isn't usually the eaisest path to take, but I still want to succeed and I still have faith that I will do the right thing. I just get these urges to abandon it all and they are so strong I temporarily lose my head!

Justification

April 6th, 2006 at 02:58 pm

The next two months are going to be expensive, but fun! I have a trip to SoBe with my best friend in two weeks. The hotel and airfare have already been paid for and I've been saving extra for spending money for the past two months. That's all I'll be taking, so I won't feel guilty about spending money that should be used for something. I've had to buy a couple new swimsuits which I debated over the purchase for awhile, but finally found a couple of adorable, discounted ones on Bluefly and Victoria's Secret. That provides me with more motivation to work out and since we go boating every weekend, I'll get good use out of the for the rest of the summer.

As soon as I get back I have to plan fiance's birthday and find a great gift for Mother's Day. I never scimp on fiance's birthday because he does so much for me, I have to give him something spectacular. For mom I was thinking about jewelry, but may be able to find a cheaper way to show my appreciation. She's easy to shop for.

Peer Pressure

March 30th, 2006 at 05:48 pm

For April I've decided to take a much more aggressive route toward paying down my credit cards. Everyone likes to say that they are credit card debt free and I want to too! Too large of a balance to pay off in 1 month, but I can double the payments to $1000 a month and have 3 cards that I do carry a balance on paid off in 5 1/2 months. Will not also be saving $1000 a month like I intended, but this seems like the smarter thing to do.

I've never felt they were that much of a burden but now I'm embarrassed about it. Many of my friends have so much debt and I see how much it makes them worry. I just want to take a proactive measure to stop it before it comes worse.

I need motivation daily to keep my goals in mind, but it's starting to become a habit to try to find ways to spend less. I'm just trying to make the smartest decisions I can. I want to feel like I'm going somewhere.

Bigger Rewards

March 24th, 2006 at 07:41 pm

I've accomplished my goal for this month of saving $1000. It hasn't been a struggle, but some months I think it will. It feels so much better to work and achieve a goal than it would have felt to go and buy a new outfit. (Although looking good does make me very happy.)
This should be a good weekend. Fiance won 1000 at poker last night, so he should be in a good mood for a while. Making money is his favorite thing to do. He'll probably just use this money to keep funding his habit, which is fine because I think an idle man is a dangerous man. He has more than enough hobbies to keep him out of trouble and some of them we do together.
Shopping for the last couple of years has been the thing I did while he was playing golf, but I have to find a new hobby this year. I'm more interested in taking care of the house and gardening than in the past and since we've become closer to the neighbors, it's nice to spend time outside. In the afternoon on the weekends we go out on the boat and relax. Summer is definitely our favorite season. It seems like it will never get here at this point. It was snowing when I came into work this morning. I'm not complaining though because the snow makes me want to stay indoors where there aren't too many temptations to spend money.

New Goal

March 22nd, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I've written about what I've been doing right this year, but I still need to work on the things that I can improve on.
The category that has the most potential for improvement is "Beauty Services", which totaled 298.00 in Feb. this year, and included hair cut/color, 2 nail fill ins, and tanning. I don't tan every month, but I do get highlights every four weeks. I could stretch that out a bit longer, and the same goes for the nails. Wouldn't be so bad if I didn't also have a category for "Beauty Products", but that is usually under $70 per month. Still seems a little high for hairspray and lipstick.
My goal for April is going to be to keep those expenses under $250.

What I'm Doing Now

March 21st, 2006 at 02:37 pm

I've been keeping track since January of everything I've spent this year. I like doing it and it's helped me see where my money is going. I've been able to spend less every month since I started tracking it. Before this, spending and credit cards were getting a little out of control. I feel really proud of myself, but I'm not getting credit from other people that I feel I deserve!

Good things I've done so far this year:
$500 per month toward paying off credit card debt
12% into retirement account
Consolidated student loans
Saving $1000 per month

And the most amazing thing:
Spent less than $100 on clothing

I'm lucky that my living expenses are taken care of by someone else, but now that we are getting married, I feel it's only right that I contribute more to the housing, utility, and car expenses.

On an average day, I don't spend any money, I bring healthy food to work and I've replaced shopping with working out (lost 10 lbs so far this year!). I buy the groceries, but we only eat salads so that only amounts to about $300 per month.

My weakness is shopping, but I'm trying to only buy clothing that I need and that is on sale. It also helps to remind myself that I need to pay for things I've already bought instead of new things.

I've also started transferring as much money as possible into my savings account so that I only have the money I need in my main checking account. It's easy enough to transfer it back in case of emergency. Logic being that I can't spend it if I don't have it. Or I just take cash if I'm going somewhere with too many temptations. It feels good to tell myself no.

Fighting Spending Urges

March 20th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

My #1 priority has become saving money. I'm recently engaged, so I feel more obligation to make good spending decisions. I'm starting out trying to save $1,000 per month which is very doable. I have to cut out some shopping, but I'm finding that easier than I anticipated. I can't cut out everything, because some things would make me unhappy to be without. There are so many temptations, but I'm determined to stick with this for the sake of our future.