Archive for the ‘Spending’ Category

2nd biggest purchase of our lives…

October 25, 2009

Well, last post I mentioned that I thought we would be making a very large purchase. And we did.

We bought a new (used) car. That whole “one-car family” thing lasted a mere six weeks. In theory, it was good, in practice, it had some flaws. A couple days we realized we both needed to have a car and had to rely on family or friends to help us out.

We (really Mr D2S) researched what would be a good purchase for us. In the end, we were both very happy with what we decided to get. I think we negotiated a great price too!

While we could’ve waited a few more weeks and paid cash for the car, we decided to take out a loan to help build our credit. I am normally very anti-car loans, and it took a lot of convincing on the husband’s part to get me to go along with it. We put 1/3 down on the car and will pay off 80% of the loan before the end of the year. Basically, in the end, we’ll pay about $2000 over 12-24 months.

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How Much is a Night in a Hotel Worth?

September 26, 2009

While we were on a trip earlier this month, we had the option of either staying with relatives (for free), or paying for a hotel close to the airport (not for free).

Sounds like a no-brainer, and normally I’d be all over the free option, and not even discuss alternatives.

In the end, though, Mr D2S made a few valid points:

  • we’d save at LEAST an hour and fifteen minutes in drive time the morning of our flight (meaning that much more sleep!)
  • we wouldn’t have to worry about traffic or stress about being late
  • we’ve shared a hotel room only a couple times and it would be FUN!
  • free breakfast (okay, that was my point, but it’s a good one, right?)

After making some calls, we found out that the hotels on the airport property were charging $130. We booked a room at an off-site hotel for $90. Turns out it was just as close as the more expensive options, and we were very impressed with the room. I wish we could’ve spent more than 8 hours there!

How the Best Buy Guy Suckered Us

September 26, 2009

We were very excited that our new house has a dishwasher.

We were NOT excited when it stopped working a week and a half after we moved in.

After getting a clog fixed in our kitchen sink fixed, we hoped the dishwasher problem would clear up, too. No such luck. Basically, after a cycle was complete, we’d open the door to see that the soap had just ran out of the dispenser and made a mess on the dishes. We tried both liquid and powder detergent, and also tried using different cycle choices. We even paid an appliance guy $45 to NOT fix it. URGGHGHGH. Apparently it had timer issues, and it was not cost-efficient to have that repaired.

So, one afternoon, when we were both off work, we went to Best Buy, to just look at dishwashers. We had one in mind (thanks Consumer Reports!), but weren’t necessarily wanting to purchase right away.

They had the one we wanted, and after noting the price (on sale, but not by a ton), I stupidly suggested we look at TVs before leaving.

Normally, it’s Mr D2S who wants to browse, and I think I was just trying to be nice. Also, I’ve been wanting a TV in the bedroom for awhile. Since I often go to bed before Mr D2S even gets home from work, it’d be nice to be able to watch a DVD or something.

Anyways, after they see us looking at appliances and electronics, boy, did they sweep in. And one guy won.

And so did we?

In the end, we got our broken dishwasher hauled away for free (normally $20), an extra $16.75 off the dishwasher that was already marked down, an extra $33.99 off the 42″ plasma television that was also already on sale, and free delivery (would’ve  been $70). Not too bad, right?

We walked away wondering if we were crazy, but then we decided that we would’ve bought a TV sometime before Christmas, and might as well group it with our dishwasher that would be nice to have sooner than later.

Also, now that they’re both at our house, I am definitely okay with our decision. I never want to be without a dishwasher again, and I love our new TV situation!

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.

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.

July 2009 Review

August 4, 2009

july2009review

Well, I finally finished up July’s budget. As I already mentioned, we went way overboard with our House category. Our place does look good, though. 🙂

Two unplanned expense: our dog went to the vet ($205.52) and we bought plane tickets to go to a family wedding this fall ($517.80). We knew these things would happen eventually, but because we drained our savings for our down payment and closing, we didn’t have it set aside.

I made our car budget really high, thinking we’d put the leftover in our Car Fund, but because our checking is (relatively) low, I didn’t transfer anything.

Groceries….man, insane. We didn’t have much to start out with (thanks to our low budget last month and the fact that we moved), but I still think we overspent for what we got.

I blame myself on the Work Eating Out. I had to drive quite a bit for my job and the lure of Taco Bell and McDonald’s couldn’t be resisted. I still packed my lunch, but I did eat dinner on the road.

Eating Out/Entertainment: This one we overdid it, but I’m okay with that. We went to three movies (more than we went to all of last year probably), and took my sister and her husband out for their birthdays. We also just clearly ate out a lot. It was usually with friends/family and we had fun.

The Medical is because I carried it over from last month. I need to start keeping a stash for our next unexpected Medical thing because our deductible is now $500 (meaning we’d pay $250 more).

I could’ve fudged the numbers more (like how I started the month early and carried stuff from June over), but it’s all the same in the end, right? I was just a little curious how much we actually spent, so it’s all there. We spent more than we made, but our funds never got scary low, thanks to our credit card and the fact that Mr D2S gets paid right before the end of the month (but I actually count it as the next month’s pay).

Oh, another thing to note: we’re pathetic about giving to other charities. Maybe we should just up our weekly contributions to the Church. Or at the very least, give a large lump sum later in the year. We’ll see…

The Cost of Furnishing a Home

August 1, 2009

I just added up what we’ve spent on big furniture pieces.

$3892.75

Here’s what we bought:

  1. Queen mattress set plus bed rails
  2. King mattress set
  3. King bed and two nightstands
  4. Dining table
  5. Eight dining chairs
  6. Couch table to be used as buffet table

How naive was I to budget only $2000 for the house our first month? I really thought we’d buy the queen bed for our guest room and live in there for awhile. But we started browsing (intensely really, as we went to multiple places, multiple times) and found all the dining room items that we loved, and a bedroom set that was a fantastic deal. I really wish we could’ve found all of the stuff at one place, but we ended up having to spend three separate delivery fees. Argh.

Other things that we purchased that fell under our House category:

  1. portable phones
  2. floor lamps
  3. entry rug
  4. entry mirror
  5. picture frames and artwork
  6. lawnmower
  7. security system
  8. patio furniture
  9. outdoor rug
  10. solar lights
  11. and some bills, of course

Add all that up, throw in moving costs (less than $100), pizza for the family that helped move us, and random other things, and it’s a grand total of over $6000 that we’ve spent on our house.

YIKES.

Not-so-free Furniture

July 15, 2009

It’s amazing how I can go from being excited about NOT spending money (see last post regarding museum and dinner), to how excited I am about spending a LOT of money.

We just chunked down right over 3 grand on furniture. Well, we actually only paid 20% today, but that’s a tale for the next post.

Since we’ve moved into our new home (about three weeks ago), we’ve purchased quite a few items. The first was a queen size mattress set. We had spent our first nine months of marriage as renters sleeping on a very used full-size mattres, and by golly, it was time to move up. We bought a fairly economical queen, and have been enjoying it in our guest room. But our eventual plan was to get a king for us in the master bedroom. (I used to think king-size was overkill, but as an above-average height woman, with a husband and a dog that’s afraid of storms, king it is!)

We went browsing at a furniture store the other night and found a king-size canopy bed we both agreed on, and a couple dining room tables that were contenders. We’re going back for the bed sometime soon (and have a $100 giftcard to put towards it!).

Move on to today, and we’re at another furniture store. We’d bought a very reasonable bedroom set at this place right before we got married. I’d told Mr D2S that I refused to move in until there was at least a dresser for me to put my stuff in! 🙂 Anyways, the same lovely saleswoman that sold us that set, showed us around today. Well, she didn’t really show us around, and that’s what makes her lovelier. Furniture salespeople can get pretty annoying.

After browsing, we found a table that we both LOVE, and it had an affordable matching sofa table that will work perfectly as a sidebar for our dining room. We decide to go ahead and get it, and since we’re going to be paying for delivery, might as well check out the mattresses. (We were content with crashing in the guestroom for awhile longer.) They were having a really good sale (thanks to liquidations and the bad economy!) A very comfy, lush king was priced at $939, but a joking “will it drop any more in price?” led to us buying it for $800. It’s much higher quality than I expected us to buy, but I think it’s money well spent.

June 2009 Review

July 2, 2009

budget june09 final
Something’s off. I really think we spent 1239.48, but I don’t have the time to figure out how that extra ten bucks got in there. The reason I think it is ten dollars high is because below this part of the spreadsheet I have a section where I post spending for each day of the month (Date/Place/Amount/Category), and when I total those amounts, it’s 1239.48. Oh well.

It looks like we really did awesome for June. Very minimum spending. In all honesty, it’s a little bit fudged. A fudget, if you will. I stopped June’s budget at the end of the 28th, because we bought our house on the 29th and the money started flowing like crazy out of our accounts. Also, there was some spending I actually didn’t record, but pushed it ahead to July. (Examples are two medical bills. I put them on the credit card, which was paid off on the 29th, which I consider part of my July budget. Usually if I charge something to our card, or write a check even, I consider it spent the day I do that, not the day I pay it off or the day the check posts. But on occasion, I like to fudget.)

Onto a recap:

Cars – I aimed high in hopes of having enough to pay for Mr D2S’s car registration. He ended up getting that on the 30th, so it’s in July’s budget and now it just seems we drove a lot/gas is pricey.

Eating out – This wouldn’t have busted, but on the 28th, we were desperate for Taco Bell, and also earlier in the month we ate out on a giftcard, but tipped super good.

Church – I feel bad about cutting the Church short, but on the last Sunday of the month we were trying to not write any more checks (to keep our account nice and full for the closing) and all we had was a $20 to give.

Unplanned – In addition to buying my grandparents a trashcan (which they loved and took pictures of), I bought Mr D2S a small birthday gift. An Entertainment Book for $10. I purchased it back in May, but didn’t record it in case he actually looked at our spending and wondered what I was up to.

Here is our take-home for June:

Mr D2S: 2855.54
Mrs D2S: 6404.82
Total: 9260.36

My pay from May got delay…ed (ha, rhyming fun!), so June looked better than it technically was.