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.

Promotion = Raise

September 26, 2009

Well, I mentioned that I was offered a promotion at work. Today, I was finally told the salary that went into effect two weeks ago:

$113,000.

Wow. It’s not even the most in my profession (I’m sure a few fellow classmates are making more), but I’m still wowed. It’s $12,000 more per year than what I’ve been making. $1000 more a month. (Around $600 after taxes, I guess….)

I will also get a bonus based on performance. It could range anywhere from $4,520 to $11,300; but it sounds like it’s always near the lower end.

Now that we’re more or less settled in our home, it’s time to start socking it away! I’m so tired of spending all of our income, but I also value what we’ve been purchasing/spending it on.

However, there is one more VERY large purchase I see in our future…

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’veย  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!

A September NOT to Remember

September 25, 2009

I only mean that spending-wise. And blogging-wise.

We’ve been overspending because:

1) We’re suckers.

2) We’re lazy.

3) We make a lot of money and it’s hard not to spend.

I haven’t been blogging because:

1) We went on a mini-vacation.

2) Our wireless is down, so I can’t sit on the couch with the laptop.

3) I’ve been working so much, that I only have the strength at the end of the day to read my Facebook feed.

Both of these trends have got to stop.

Be on the lookout for posts on:

1) How the Best Buy Guy Suckered Us

2) How Much is a Night in a Hotel Worth?

3) The $8000 day

Mortgage Mortgage

September 5, 2009

mortgage09012009

Our mortgage payment is set to automatically withdraw from our checking account. The system works so well, that it was withdrawn twice this month!!

Good thing we’re not ones to have our funds get very low.

September 2009 Budget

September 1, 2009

september2009budget

In an effort to streamline the budget, I consolidated some categories. I added our cell phone bill to all the household bills. The $30 a month that goes to our adopted Venezuelan kid is now with Other Charity. Dry cleaning is included in Work Related (since we only dry clean Mr D2S’s work clothes). And in case anyone cares for distinction, Household includes boring stuff like laundry soap, while House encompasses mostly decor items.

Special Categories for September:

Trip: We’re going out-of-state for four days to attend a family wedding. Lodging is covered (thanks, in-laws!), but we’ll need to pay for a rental car, food, and fun.

Gifts: We need to purchase three gifts for weddings (the one mentioned above, plus two this summer that we were unable to attend), we have a new nephew that surely needs something cute, and a couple family birthdays are just around the corner.

$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.

Electric:
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. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d like it if we kept ourย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

*(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

august2009review

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

$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 ofย  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.