Archive for August, 2009

$500? Ha!

August 31, 2009

Never having actually paid bills in my life (neither has my husband), it was interesting to guess at what we would spend our first month as homeowners. I budgeted $500.

Paid $187.00 deposit at the end of June (day of our closing)
Paid $129.28 + 2.95 (for paying by phone) for 16 days of use!
Next payment will be $167.81 for 29 days of use.

Cox (internet, cable, landline):
Free installation
Paid $47.66 last month for them to move a cable outlet to an interior wall (totally worth it)
Bundle package for one month is $141.54
next bill due is $142.88

Natural Gas:
monthly bill of $54.32 plus
$170 deposit
next amount due is $31.96

Utilities (water, sewer, trash):
Deposit of $110
plus $20 for fee start/transfer of service
plus other charges = $181.19

ADT Security:
Paid $339 last month for installation
Just paid $86.97 for three months of monitoring (7/14 to 10/13)

All of the bolded amounts were paid in August and totaled $766.25.*

If we subtracted the deposits we paid in August, it would be $466.25. Under fudget. 🙂

I’d like it if we kept our  bills to under five hundred, because bills plus mortgage (which does include property taxes and homeowner’s insurance), we’d be right around $1200. Which is roughly three times what it cost us to live in our old garage apartment. And this place is three times as big. And that math makes me happy about our move. 🙂

*(I know the spreadsheet says $769.20, but I made a little typo on the utilities that wasn’t corrected until after uploading the Google docs picture into that post…it’s not off by much (and in our favor!), so I’m leaving it.)


August 2009 Review

August 31, 2009


August is over (or close enough, since we’ve declared tomorrow a no-spend day) and it’s time to look at where our money is going. I put smiley or un-smiley faces next to each category to indicate my feelings, hehe.

Car – We spent a lot more on gas than I thought we would when we started the month, but I had to work out-of-town twice, and we also visited family twice. I’ll get around $200 for my mileage, so that will really take care of most of the gas expenses for the whole month! And like I wrote in the previous post, we got rid of my car, and will hopefully see some savings from that.

Groceries – Spot on, and we hosted a few dinners! I thought we were quite a bit over, but once I looked at receipts and put some purchases into household (like flowers, shampoo, dishwashing soap), it knocked us to right under.

Work eating out – This one is usually my nemesis, but I’m cutting myself some slack for eating out when I worked out-of-town. Also I met up with Mr D2S three times for dinner when he was working, and that is always fun.

Work-related – Mr D2S needed new work shoes, and I finally got a new pair of pants. I’ve been thinking I’d buy more work clothes ever since I graduated, but this is my first purchase!

Household – Such a catch-all category. 1/3 of that was for a haircut for me.

Eating Out/Entertainment – I wrote about this one at length. Even after that hard look at what we were doing, we still slipped up and ate out a couple times when we probably shouldn’t have. But that’s okay, right? When we’re SINKs with a bunch of kiddos, we’ll really miss those nights out at restaurants!!

Church/Charity/Miguel – Finally, we’re giving closer to what we should! It feels good.

Fun Money – Mine all went to clothes and a couple presents. Still thinking about returning a dress (about $30), but am not sure. If I can think of a place I’ll wear it to, then I’ll keep it.

Bills – Clearly, my estimate was way low. Luckily, though, some of this was one-time fees because it was our first full month living in our new home. I’m gonna post more about bills later.

House – I didn’t have any specific plans for buying things for the house, but still budgeted a chunk, just in case. All I put in this category was a new digital camera (on sale for 22.93!!!) and a serving dish I also bought on sale.

What’s all the Extra Spending??

$1408 – two round-trip tickets to Europe. 🙂 🙂

$122.13 – new cell phone for Mr D2S because his died on him. We’ll actually get a rebate on it, but I’m not sure how much. Maybe I should make sure he remembers about this…

$922.26 – elliptical machine. Yikes, huh? We’d talked about getting one for a very long time (before we were even married and living together, actually) and it just seemed to be the right time. We bought Consumer Reports Best Buy at a good price. We borrowed a truck and saved the delivery and assembly fees. I really hope that this investment lasts us a long time and gets us both in good shape!

Of course there are things I wish we would’ve done differently (mostly not ate out so much), there are things that I wish hadn’t happened (the husband’s phone breaking), things that I wish we could’ve had money saved up for (the elliptical, the plane tickets…but really we spent all of our savings on our down payment)…

However, I am happy with a two key points.

1) If you ignore the Extra Spending, we were $90 under projected budget. Maybe I’m getting better at this guessing thing!

2) We spent less than we made (by $2590.83). That’s not as much as I wanted to put into savings, but it’s a nice cushion.

Double Incomes, One Car

August 30, 2009

Both Mr D2S and I are the youngest in our families, and somehow were blessed with such wonderful parents, that after we graduated college, found jobs, and got married, they let us keep driving the cars they had purchased long ago.

My in-laws decided that they had helped their other kids purchase cars and didn’t want anything in return.

My family was very diplomatic and thought maybe I should pay each of  my siblings an equal share of what my car is worth. (Really, a very low estimate of what it is worth.) Instead, my husband and I decided that we didn’t really want to invest anything into the car (selfish, I know) and opted to give it to one of my sisters’ families. They have kids old enough to drive and could use the extra vehicle. Since that sister never got a nice car to drive while in college, she gets this one free and clear. And that makes me happy.

Sharing a car with my husband shouldn’t be too difficult. He has a car from the city that he drives to and from his job. Soon, our schedules will be that we’ll work all the same days, except I’ll work one that he’s off. So if he wants the car, he can just take me to work.

I’m very happy that we’ll save money with less car maintenance, fewer gas purchases (his gets better mileage), and only one car to insure.

What would you do with extra cash?

August 29, 2009

Inspired by The Non-Consumer Advocate

What would I do with….

an extra $100? Probably eat out and not feel guilty.

an extra $1000? Give $500 each to two charities. (Instead I think we’ll give a total of $600 this coming month to two near and dear causes.)

an extra $10,000? Give $1000 to those charities, five grand to our Europe fund, and the other four grand to the car fund.

Eating Out Reflection

August 22, 2009

We’ve spent waaaay too much money on eating out this month. I say that because we’re overbudget. Did I underbudget and not plan well? Or do we just eat out too often? I’m going to delve into this…

$21.70  – Chili’s To Go for Two.  It had been a busy evening, we had little to no food in the house, and we enjoyed a great meal while sitting on our new patio furniture. One thumb up.

$24.04 – Lunch for Two at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Mr D2S got suckered into lunch with old college friends, one that was only in town temporarily. I tagged along because it was my day off. Two thumbs down.

$63.02 – Brick Oven Pizza for Four at Local Pizzeria.  Muy delicioso. Treated out-of-town friends. Four thumbs up.

$35- Lunch for Two at Local Diner.  Mr D2S treated one out-of-town friend again. Because I didn’t get to partake in the yumminess and because of the crazy price: One thumb down.

$60.20 – Dinner for Four at Local Romantic Restaurant.  Once again, we treated two friends who don’t live here. They did cover the tip and bought gelato for us later. Also, we used a $10 gift certificate, and I deducted $20 from the bill, because the friend had given us money for feeding him the two previous nights at our home. We’d tried to refuse the money, but he left it on the fridge. Two thumbs up.

$5.50 – Lunch for Two at Arby’s.  Thanks to coupons, we feasted well for fairly little. One thumb up.

$18.86 – Dinner for Four at TGIFridays. I’d written about this earlier. A bit of a bummer, because we’d planned on free food and entertainment, but it did feel nice to treat two friends to a good meal for not much money. Two thumbs up.

$32.33 – Lunch for Two at Red Robin. We justified this one because I’d just gotten my promotion and Mr D2S had just gotten his new assignment. What it is it that celebration = food?? Two thumbs down.

$40 – Dinner for 7 1/2 at Famous Landmark.  The bill was more than this, we just tossed in $40 into the pot. It did cover more than our share, but it was also our idea to go to this place. One thumb up.

$11.10 – Dinner for Two from Subway. What a bust. The whole reason we got Subway was to quickly eat so we could make it to the movies on time. Turns out, the lady at the cell phone place was so slow, that we still missed the show. Two thumbs down.

Well, the thumbs up definitely triumphed (+ four thumbs up). I know we’ve treated people a lot, but it feels nice to do that. And eating out with friends and family is what makes it fun.

I think one thing I can take away from this, is that if I think about the purchase beforehand, I can determine whether or not it’s “worth” it to me at the end of the month. Convenience and laziness are not reasons to drop thirty bucks on a meal. But sharing an experience with seldom-seen loved ones is.

Coupon Codes

August 22, 2009

I have a scrapbooking date with my sisters tomorrow. Thanks to Walgreens promotions, I ordered 25 prints and an 8 x 11 scrapbook page that will cost a total of NOTHING. Then I ordered 50 more prints for $5 plus tax. Not too shabby.

Now, only if I had done this earlier in the week. The photos won’t be ready until a few hours after our scrapbooking date. 😦 Oh well! I can at least have my pages prepped and ready for them!

Update: One of my sisters also procrastinated with ordering her pictures, but called her Walgreens this morning, and her pictures were ready (twelve hours than the website said)! So I called my Walgreens, and lo and behold, mine were ready too. 🙂

August is Half Over…

August 14, 2009

It’s mid-August, and I’m not starting another year of school. It’s so weird after 19 years to not have the whole back-to-school thing going on…

Anyways, here’s how we’re doing, money-wise:

  • We have barely touched our car money ($34.21/$400), but both of our cars are now pretty low on gas. We’re probably driving to visit our parents this weekend (it’s so handy that both sets live near each other!), and I am working out of town twice next week, so we’ll definitely do some filling up. Also, one of my tires has a slow leak that should probably be fixed at some point…
  • Only have about $80 left for groceries. This will be tough, seeing as how we have very little in the house.
  • Have almost used 2/3 of our work eating out money. I keep underbudgetting, thinking I’ll stop using so much of it. I really do pack my lunch most days, but when I work 12 hour shifts, it’s hard not to buy something to eat at some point, and I count it as this category. Also so far this month, I have met Mr D2S for dinner one night.
  • We’ve gone overbudget with our Eating Out/Entertainment category. That could be a post in it’s own…
  • We’ve busted on our charitable giving , but this one makes me happy!
  • I’ve used my share of Fun Money, plus the husband’s too. I rarely buy stuff for myself, but I did get some deals on clothes, and bought a couple birthday presents. I’m also very tempted to buy some new clothes (or shoes, or both) for this interview I have next week. I already have the promotion, basically, but this interview is a formality. And one I’m nervous about. So maybe new shoes would help. 🙂


August 11, 2009

I just got a promotion at work.

I am super stoked.

Frugal Dinner Out

August 10, 2009

Tonight, Mr D2S and I had plans with two friends to eat dinner and see a show. This was courtesy of a gift certificate my mother gave me as a graduation present. However, the event was outdoors and terrible thunderstorms ruined our plans.

Since the friends had already arrived, and we’d offered them free fun, we decided to go out to eat and pick up the tab.

We went to TGIFriday’s. I think this place is yummy, yet a little bit more pricey than, say, Applebees or Chili’s. However, I am on their email list and have a coupon (good for all of August) that gets $5 off each of your friends’ entrees. Also, we had a gift card from redeeming credit card points last month.

Here’s what our bill looked like:

2 waters — 0.00
2 sodas — 4.78
appetizer  — 6.19
entree  –10.28
entree  –9.48
entree  –11.49
entree   –8.59

total: 50.81

minus $15 for the coupon…

plus $3.05 for tax….

paid $25 with our giftcard….

and we owed $13.86 plus the tip, which one friend helped cover.

Not too shabby for stuffing four people to the brim.

The deal would’ve been stretched even further, of course, if two people hadn’t gotten sodas ($4.78), if we’d skipped the appetizer ($6.19), and if no one had upgraded their sides ($0.99 times two). But, still…not too shabby!

I also have a Get More Stripes card with TGIFridays. They keep track of what you spend and after 100 stripes (aka 100 dollars), you get an $8 giftcard. This month is double points, so we got 72 points for tonight and are just a three away from our next reward!

Tax-Free Weekend

August 8, 2009

After work today, I decided to do a little clothes-browsin’. It turned into clothes-buyin’.

It’s tax-free weekend in my state (which is basically limited to clothes and shoes).

I used my regular 10% discount.

I have another 10% off that’s good for all of August (on products owned by my company).

So for what would’ve been $105.93 +  8.517% for sales tax…

I paid $85.79.

And, I’ll probably end up returning a dress priced at $36.99. The idea of it was cute, the execution…notsomuch.