Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finances and Birthdays and a Cup of Christmas Tea

Last night S and I sat down and discussed finances. First, we pulled up his USAA account and looked at Spending for the month of December so far. It was pretty ugly. I took all of the debit transactions he made and categorized it by Monthly Bills, Gas for his truck, Money that we spent as a couple (mainly weekends and groceries), and then the spending that he does on a daily basis on post. As a couple we spent over 500 dollars this month on groceries and going out. We went out a lot more this month than we usually do. I think that since deployment is coming up extremely fast, all of the husbands are trying to get their wives to get to know one another so that we have some kind of support system or budding friendships in place while they are gone. We also spent close to 800 dollars for plane tickets home for Christmas. We spent 800 last month for Thanksgiving to fly home as well.  It's weird to say "we spent" I'm trying to get over the fact that it's technically "our" money now, but it's a work in progress at least. 

Not all hope is lost however, we have been putting in over 1,000 a month into savings. 
I also discovered that we will be saving over 200 a month just on not buying gas for the truck. The jetta that I drive (his car as well) only requires 40-42 dollars every two weeks to completely fill up the tank! We obviously won't be spending money going out to dinner together. However, even if I do go out to dinner with the girls it will be buying one meal opposed to two. I also probably won't be buying any alcohol at meals since I'll be the one driving home. Also, I have a very low tolerance for alcohol-I get immediate headaches from any type of alcohol that I drink after the first few sips. The headache can last from 20-30 minutes at a time. Not very enjoyable. Anyway, I digress. We also figured out that on his very base pay of his O1 salary without including his recent promotion to O2 and without including the fact that I am now a dependent, or his deployment pay, if he pulled in the 3400 that he was a little over a month ago which is after taxes and his retirement fund, that we will be able to save 2,000 a month. Our goal is to pretend that he is still only making O1 pay-everything extra plus the 2000 a month will immediately going into our savings for our wedding and general savings. 

This sum does not include my paycheck. Right now with my pay from the employment agency I pull in about 1200 a month. However, 600 of that immediately goes towards student loan payments. I also have my credit card payment to make. My contract ends at the agency at the beginning of 2012. I will have to speak with my boss about how much I will be getting paid. When it comes to my credit card I feel like I am right back to where I started but I've already earmarked all of my Christmas spending in my savings account and I'm going to make a mass payment after Christmas and after we return from Chicago. I'm also considering a second job on the weekends. I would probably consider a book store or something. It's not so much for the money its more to keep myself occupied on  the weekends to make deployment go by faster for me. 
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Alright, enough about finances for now. My second category...Birthdays..specifically one...today my mom turned 62! I was able to surprise her by shipping her chocolate covered strawberries from edible arrangements to her work! She said that she was having a pretty bad day at work (she works at my elementary school and its really hectic this close to Christmas vacation) and that the strawberries were just what she needed. I was happy that I could do something for my mom even when I was still in North Carolina. I hope my mom had a good day. The fact that I made her so happy kept a smile on my face for the remainder of the day at work.
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A cup of Christmas Tea...and we come to the final topic for tonight. At work today we had to go to one of our client's apartments so that we could witness a Living Will for her. She is 95 and couldn't be sharper! She also is such a sweet lady. She sends cards to everyone in her church whether it be their birthday, christmas, or just a "thinking of you" card. She showed us her card collection. She literally had boxes and boxes of cards ready to be written in and sent to others. That seriously made me so happy for some reason. It was so nice to see good old fashioned caring about others for a change. Looking at her apartment so carefully decorated for Christmas made me think of my all time favorite Christmas story/poem- A cup of Christmas Tea. I even went back to work and ordered it with Barnes & Noble giftcards for my new mother-in-law. I thought it would be nice to share something with her that means a lot to me. If you haven't read a Cup of Christmas Tea...I highly recommend it. It really puts Christmas and its meaning into perspective. Its cute and short but has a powerful message. 


Ok...well that's it for tonight. It's midnight and this young wife (if you consider 23 young...) is tired and needs to wake up for work tomorrow. 
                                      


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wait...I've actually started shopping for everyone on my list and didn't wait until Christmas Eve?


I am proud to say that I have already purchased presents for my husband, my mom, my brother, and I got part of my dad's present taken care of. I just need to finish for my dad and buy my sister's present. It is such a great feeling to have almost everything shipped out to Illinois already. ( I love buying gifts online!) Da hubby has already bought gifts for his dad and one of his brothers. We are purchasing his mom's gift when we get back home. He just has to buy for his younger brother. I told him that he didn't have to order my gift yet ( a new laptop!), that he could just wait until after Christmas to order it. He might even get a better deal that way..who knows!

Oops..I still have to buy for people at work but I am planning on getting something small. I have one gift picked out for one of the people at work. I just need to figure out for my boss and our loan processor. It definitely won't be anything too big though.

My credit card is definitely feeling the pain from Christmas. However, I have earmarked the amount that I have spent for Christmas in my bank account already. Once my bill comes in I'm going to pay for all of my Christmas spending.

In other news, S has a Christmas party tomorrow so I will need to figure out if I need to bring anything to that. If I do I already have the recipe picked out I think! Alright, well time to get back to work. It's been a slow day for the first time in a while. However, I can think of some files that I need to work on. I hope everyone else's Christmas shopping has gone well so far.

After Christmas I will post what I got everyone in my family. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trying to Turn Over a New Leaf: The Spending Edition with a little help from Gail Vaz-Oxlade

I went to the court house today during my lunchtime to get copies of our marriage certificate. That was easy enough. I found parking immediately, didn't have to wait it any line, and ten minutes and a check written out for thirty dollars later I had 3 copies of my certificate. I was on my way back from work and I was tempted to stop at Baldino's (sub place) for a turkey sub. Suddenly that banana and strawberry lemonade yogurt didn't seem so appealing to me. Here is a little bit of how the conversation with myself went.

Me: Well I'm already driving.  I always work through my lunch so I never have an opportunity to go out for lunch. I should take advantage of it.

Smarter Me: You said that you were just going to go to court and come back. Besides, your other coworker is waiting until you get back before she leaves to run an errand.

Me: Yes,but it won't take long. And besides...I've been reading that Gail Vaz-Oxlade book about getting out of debt. This can be my one last hurrah and then I'll start for real next week.

Smarter Me: Why don't you just start now. You have food at the office that you paid money for. Why are you going to let it go to waste? Why spend money on food when you DONT NEED IT. Why do you need a starting date to become all saving and not spending..don't go.


Needless to say...I didn't go. I went back and ate my banana and yogurt. And drank my coffee from home.
The second thing that I did to think about making a change with my debt situation.


I was driving home from work and trying to think of a cohesive dinner menu. It wasn't working. I thought about going to the store and having to spend more money. Then I thought well if we can't come up with something that we both want/or can agree on maybe we can just order a pizza, and it would take the stress off of me from trying to figure something out. INSTEAD-I texted the hubby and told him that he was on his own for dinner tonight. I ate leftover macaroni and lobster pasta that I had leftover from going out to dinner the other night. He isn't home yet but he said that he would throw something together. We have italian sausage, buffalo chicken wings, eggs, soup, pasta, things to make sandwiches...believe me he has stuff to make. I'm not starving him I promise. I'm just happy that I ate my leftover pasta-otherwise it would have been absolute waste of money. It wasn't a cheap meal.

Well back to my Gail Vaz Oxlade book. I'm loving it a lot. I'm aware of most of the material that in it already-but its a fun and easy read. I can't wait to utilize her free spreadsheets online!!!



It's almost the weekend so....Can you name one way that you saved money today? Or if you are adventurous...two  ways???

Monday, December 5, 2011

He didn't want to Open a Joint Account?

My husband and I were sitting in the living room this evening after he got home from work at 8pm as is his usual these days. I mentioned that we have to open a joint account still and he seemed hesitant. He claimed A) he didn't want too many accounts (since when is 2 a lot?) and that he was worried the army would mess up his pay if he switched his money to a new account. Instead, he wanted to do an autodeposit into my account for the bills. Umm....what?

One of the main things that they speak about with predeployment is to make sure that your wife has access to all of your accounts in case something comes up or whatever. I guess I was kind of angry and hurt that he doesn't want to open a joint account which is something that I think is very important to do. He doesn't have to worry about me draining his account or anything like that-for God's sake. He realized that I was angry and of course he says that we will open a joint account...which kind of makes me even angrier. I don't need him placating me-I need to know that we stand on the same page when it comes to finances. I don't want him to give in without discussing things just because I'm not happy about something.


I guess that we will need to be grownups and discuss it. Wish me luck.Now if only my laundry would finish so that I could go to bed. It's midnight and I'm absolutely exhausted.


Spending for Today

Appliance Warehouse-30.29- bill for washer and dryer
Christmas Present for my brother-60 dollars

So far S and I have bought a present for my brother and a present for one of his brother's. We still need to buy for my mom and dad, his mom and dad, his other brother, and my sister. I also need to shop for something small for the people from work. We are such a small office (4 people) that I would feel guilty not buying something for them.

I'm not going to lie...I feel tired and stressed out. Good night everyone.


And here is another question since I love them so much-When you first got married (if you are married) how soon after did you get a joint account or combine your finances? How did you feel about it? Happy? Or did you feel like you lost a little bit of freedom? And for the singles out there-Would you combine finances with a significant other or wait until marriage?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Countdown to Christmas....more like countdown to Deployment

I'm going to share a little secret-something that I haven't told anyone else. I think I'm suffering from a little bit of denial about my husband's deployment. Yes, I know that it is approaching and fast. Yes, he came home on Thursday night with his multicam uniform for Afghanistan. Yes, he started packing his stuff for Afghanistan. Yes-we started working on predeployment planning tonight. And yes now I know about his funeral plans. That was a slightly hard moment for me and it brought me straight to an image of Carrie Underwood's, "Just a Dream" music video. If you haven't seen it ever,or if you know someone in the military, it might just bring you to tears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLntFKtR66g

Anyway, I just kept thinking that it was so far away, and now its practically pounding on my door. When he went to training for a month I was fine for the most part. I think I might have cried just once the entire month that he was gone. I knew that he was still in the United States and everything that he was doing wasn't "real" per se. This, however, is the real deal and I can't pretend that it isn't. 

Am I scared? Am I worried? Hell yes. However, I'm trying to keep it together and I'm trying to take it one day at a time. I'm not the type of person to say poor me over and over again-it's just not my personality. Besides...if it's poor anyone it would be poor S-not poor me. I entered this relationship knowing that he would be deployed at some point in our lives. I knew what I was in for. I'm just going to have to take this one day at a time and make the most of the time that I have left before being apart from S for 9-12 months. One day at a time. I've been contemplating on getting a second job just to keep myself busy but we will see if I follow through on that or not. 


On a lighter note...we went to S's military ball last night. Apart from the stress of getting there ( hair appointment/makeup application ran an hour late) and we were literally racing to get there...the night went very well. The resort the ball at was absolutely gorgeous and we stayed at a really quaint hotel that was built in 1895. And the dress that I decided to wear again...also a success. I was sitting at my table completely by myself because hubby (hee hee) was outside talking to some of his men and other people were dancing on the dance floor. A colonel and his wife approached me at the table. She walked up to me and said, "I just wanted to tell you how beautiful I thought that you look. Your hair is gorgeous and your dress is beautiful. You look very elegant. Then she asked her husband, "Doesn't she look beautiful?" And the colonel said "Yes, she does." Not too shabby for a 1st Lieutenant's wife to be complimented by a colonel's wife. It definitely made me feel good about myself and it made my night! 


This morning we grabbed breakfast at IHOP when we came back from the hotel. Then we picked up a Christmas tree from Lowe's. We had a low key afternoon , did some predeployment planning, and then went over to our friend's house for pizza from Mellow Mushroom and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation- All in all not a bad night. This past week I paid 290 for my student loans. I also spent some money for hair/makeup, gas, and some other necessities. I'll post my figures tomorrow. 


And how about you? Is there is something after Christmas that you want to avoid or are you ready to meet the New Year with open arms and champagne toasts?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Battling the WANTS and focusing on the practical

I WANT a new dress for my hubby's (hee hee) military ball. However, I have this beautiful dress sitting in my closet. I wore it last month in my friend's wedding. It's also the perfect amount of appropriate for the occassion (read-fancy).



It's tailored and fits like a glove. I also have the matching shoes and shawl.


So..you are probably scratching your head and asking...what's the problem. Umm... I don't want to be seen in the same dress again. We might be using the photos from his ball as our formal engagement pictures in the newspaper for his hometown...yeah...don't ask. lol Long story short-his parents want to make an announcement. I just don't like being seen in the same dress twice. I don't know if it makes me feel cheap or like I can't afford something else. I think I spend too much time worrying about what others think of me. However, I'm going to fight against it and just wear the dress that I spent over $300 on when you include shoes, shawl, dress, and alterations. I spent fifty dollars just to alter the dress. I ordered the smallest size and
I still  needed to take it in several inches.


I'm going to save my money by not buying a new dress and put it to another WANT of mine- Getting out of credit card debt. Let's be honest-if I bought a new dress I would have put it on my credit card instead of using my bank card, even though I have the funds to purchase it in my bank account.

What about everyone else? Is there something that you didn't buy when you really wanted to and instead used something you already had? Please share if you want!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Confession Time....

I married the love of my life yesterday. :) We had a courthouse wedding but we are having our actual church wedding with friends and family after S gets back from deployment. I'm a very happy wife today. :) We are keeping this pretty secret and so far only our parents know. So if you somehow know me or are facebook friends....please keep this on the very very down low. Thanks for respecting our wishes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Credit Card Balance- 755.00!

Current Balance $755.00


Last Statement Balance $1,005.03

Minimum Payment Due 12/08 $ 0.00


I will make this card go to 0 if its the last thing I do this year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Now I understand why everyone hates interest so much...

Previous Balance

$1,684.76
Payments and Credits
−$1,300.99

Purchases
+$592.39

Balance Transfers
+$0.00

Cash Advances
+$0.00

Fees Charged
+$0.00

Interest Charged
+$28.87

New Balance
=$1,005.03

Well readers (All three of you :) ) : I went on Discovers website this morning to pay off the added charges I made over the weekend. Gas: 42.15- I fill up my car with gas once every two weeks. :) and I went to Rite Aid for paper towels and soap-12.09. S was making pasta and he declared that he needed paper towels for the aftermath. lol. He was right.

Anyway, back to today-I decided that as soon as I make any new purchases I will pay them off right away. Today, however, happened to be the end of a billing cycle. My lovely balance of 976 dollars became 1005.03 with the interest added on for the month. I made the snap decision to make a 250 dollar payment immediately even though it isn't due until December 8th. With this 250 payment minus the gas and Rite Aid purchase added in-I'll be down to the 800's. For the first time in my life I have such intense focus to pay this credit card off. I want my only debt to be student loans. Although I would gladly give those up as well. I'm hoping to be able to make another payment this month but it's going to be tight. I owe my fiance 400 for a plane ticket. However, I've decided to put aside 100 each week into savings so that it will be ready for him. As of right now..I have 100 set aside in savings for him.

Right now since I work for an employment agency I get paid every week. However, once I get hired officially this is going to change. I will have to rework/create a budget. I feel kind of guilty because my fiance and his BAH pays for most of our expenses. I really want to contribute a little more. I hope once this credit card is paid off I will be able to do that.
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Well I love reading details about everyone else's life so I'll tell you about my week in review-if you are interested and still want to read this.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty stressful because my boss was leaving for the week to go to Vegas to get married. No..it wasn't spontaneous lol. I came into work early every day and left late every day-I was averaging about 1o hour days.

Wednesday-I was the only one in my office that day. I got a lot of work accomplished and left the office at 4. I stopped off at a bank to drop off a payoff for a mortgage on a loan. Which means I was toting around a 130,000 check. Good thing they trust me! I got home, ready to relax, and enjoy some tv...turn the tv on...and...nothing. With a sinking feeling I check my internet connection...not available. Last Resort-check the phone-no dial tone. No cable, no internet, and no phone. I called Time Warner and they said they wouldn't be able to come out until 1-3pm the next day. Well there went my plans for the night. I spent the night pouting and reading my kindle. I also ate Ramen noodles that night because for some reason I was craving them for the first time since college. Weird. I had plenty of other appetizing food that wasn't chock full of sodium and absolutely devoid of nutritional value.

Thursday- I cleaned the apartment and did laundry from 9am until 2 pm. I also moped around the house since I didn't have tv. I did listen to my ipod though. Around 2 pm my hero dressed in a navy blue Time Warner shirt came to my door. Turns out they disconnected the wrong line when they were out disconnecting someone else's in my apartment complex. Le Sigh. On the plus side I was extremely productive that morning/afternoon. My apartment was spotless although that didn't last for too long. Sigh again. That night S and I went out for dinner at Carolina Ale House. I had a Stella Artois and their "famous" pub burger. It was extremely delicious as usual. Oops I almost forgot-I had the smothered fries-melted cheese and bacon-yum!

Friday-We were supposed to go out and work on decorating our apartment. Instead S went to work out in the gym and ended up pulling a muscle in his upper back. He ended up on bed rest for the day and I just read and watched tv for the most part.

We did have a discussion of sorts that night. It was more like me telling him that I can't always be the one to clean everything in the apartment. I mean I don't mind straightening up but when I clean and then an hour later the place looks messy again-it's irritating. I think what really annoyed me that morning was that he told me we were out of milk and peanut butter so I went to get some while he was nursing his injury. I came home and opened the fridge and saw a milk container. It was completely empty. He told me we were out of milk but he didn't think to I don't know..ummm...take the empty container out and throw it inside the trashcan that is next to the fridge? Sigh. He kept telling me that he will try harder. I told him that he always tells me that but then he continues to do things like that. I just get so tired of having to do everything. I mean yeah, I don't work 15 hour days like him but I still have long days at work. Oh well..everything ended up working out and in two months from now when he is deployed...I'm sure that I will be willing to give anything just to see him even if that meant empty milk containers in the fridge. I need to make the most of the time that we have left together before his fast approaching deployment-to a very dangerous area of a very dangerous region of a very dangerous country-that's all that I can say.

Saturday-We got a new picture for our wall, new sheets (yay), and a diploma frame for me. We need to figure out how we want to decorate before we can start buying more stuff for the apartment. I am a minimalist at heart when it comes to clutter. We had lunch at Jason's deli and made a frozen skillet meal for dinner. We relaxed and watched movies that night. I had two gin and tonics. In case you were interested...

Sunday-Church and then we had lunch in the downtown area. We do that a lot after church on Sundays but we also wanted to take photos of Fayetteville. We are planning on putting some black and white photos of the town around our apartment. We came home and I took a nap. For dinner we had pasta and his best friend came over. We watched some tv and then called it a night. I started and got halfway through a book called Gideon's Sword-written by two of my favorite authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Alright-lunch is over-time to get back to work! How was your weekend? Are you planning on making any additional payments this month for anything? Let me know!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A case of the wants, gimmes, and I deserve it.

Note to self: When you are in the process of paying down debt you shouldn't look at clothes, boots, and shoes online. It just makes you want them more. It's kind of masochistic to tease yourself like that.

I need to learn to accept that I can't have immediate gratification. Maybe I should do something for the first time in my life and actually save. Save for Christmas. Save for a dress to my fiance's military ball. Save to buy new shoes for work.

I need to accept that what I have right now works fine. I don't need a new purse. I don't need this fall's latest trend...although those riding boots certainly do look cute on everyone that I see wearing them. unless my shoes are literally falling apart...I can wait.

It's time to be a grown up. It's time to realize that everything has a price. I need to figure out what that object's value is to me. Is half a week's worth of work worth those $160 riding boots from Aldo? Yeah...I'm starting to think they aren't.

If I stay focused I can pay off this credit card in under three months. In order to do that I need to budget for Christmas gifts and not put anything on my credit card. I know that I can do it...I just need to kick my own ass sometimes.

How about everyone else? Have you been budgeting for Christmas? If you do-how much do you put away every month?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Closing my eyes and taking a huge leap...or how I decided to action against my credit card debt.

I made a very large payment to my credit card today. The largest that I have ever made. It freaks me out a little. Ok...it freaks me out a lot. The payment consisted of most of the money that I have made since starting my job. I don't know if this was a smart or stupid thing to do. I just felt like it was impossible to get my balance down by just paying a hundred or two hundred dollars a month. It seems like every month I am right back to where I started.

My balance for my credit card is...$2,277.15
I paid...1,300.99

A LOT. And letting my calculator due the simple third grade math....
This brings me down to 976.16.

This will be the first time that it is under 1,000 ever. I did a balance transfer back in August 2010. My card has never been below 1,000.

This is my chance to break free. I just can't fall back into a trap. Christmas is fast approaching and my loans start repayment in December. I NEED to get this credit card paid off to free it up for loan payments. I just hope that I will be able to get there.

I took a huge leap today. I just hope it wasn't into a bottomless pit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge....

....In reference to the above mentioned matter, lol I need to stop writing letters to clients...ha ha.


Ok if you are familiar with the PF blog world there is a blogger out there that you keep visiting their blog even though they drive you crazy when it comes to their finances. Seriously...I relate it to the container of coffee haagen daz in the freezer-you know it's bad for you but you keep coming back to it and can't wait to take another bite out of it. In this case- I'm talking about that blog. The blogger is notorious for spending extreme amounts of money and then spends a long blog post trying to justify it. One example...birthdays. Now the blogger mentions that she/he/it (I'm keeping things anonymous out of respect for the blogger) is planning to spend around $300-400 for an upcoming birthday.




I was also one of the many that read his post and thought that she/he/it was crazy. And then...I bought stuff for S's birthday. Did I spend too much? Yes. Do I regret it? Only slightly.



S does A LOT for me. Right now he pays rent and most of the bills. He gave me his car to drive when I moved down here. He pays for groceries and almost all the dinners we have out. He spends a ton of money on me. Yes, yes I know we are going to be married soon and all that..but he does a lot for me and never asks for anything in return. Just recently he paid $500 for us to fly out to Chicago for MY friend's wedding. We are splitting the plane tickets for Thanksgiving, but that is the kind of guy that he is. I was the one that actually mentioned that I wanted to start paying bills and help out with costs now that I am working. This month I paid the cable bill which was around 113 for cable, phone, and internet.

Anyway, I spent a good amount this month. Can I justify it? Guilty as charged. He loved his presents and had a great birthday. That's all that matters to me in the end. Since this is a PF blog I'll be honest with what I spent. Feel free to comment about my overspending. I deserve it.

American Eagle- 5 shirts/sweaters-
$174.14
Best Buy- Season 5 & 6 of Always Sunny in Philadelphia -$37.43
Hallmark- 7.09- card and gift bag
Rite Aid- 2.97- tissue paper
Food Lion-20.28-candles, chocolate cheesecake, and pop

Total: $241.91

It was a lot...I know. But I'm just going to be more frugal this month. I've come up with a tentative budget and I'm going to post it soon. Good night blog world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where am I at?

Well I've put my student loans out for the world to see so now I am going to show you what really matters-the money. My checking accounts, savings accounts, and my debt which is as up to date as it can get.

Let's get the Ugly part out of the way:

CREDIT CARDS

The first number is the amount owed-the second is my credit limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Discover Card: $1,783.32/4,400
First Financial Bank: 0/3,750
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bank 1 (Not actual name of bank)

Checking account 1:
$110.75
Checking account 2:
$437.77
Savings account: -70ish not very sure about the exact amount since I don't have online access to it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bank 2

Checking account: $1,498.03
Savings account: $20

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Ok... I'm going to take Mysti's from Digging Out from Our Mess, idea and do a GBU- Good, Bad, and Ugly

GOOD

* Everything added up I have $2136.55. Now it's not a lot granted but I only make 1224 a month right now after taxes. The good thing about it is if I had to...like if my credit card became instantly due I would be able to pay it off immediately in its entirety...after completely draining my bank accounts lol.

*Another good thing. It's not usually good to have a credit card balance but if you do most people say that you should only carry about a 1/3 of the credit limit as a balance. Right now I am only a couple hundred dollars off that mark. 1/3 of my account would be 1466. I am 339 dollars off from that mark.

* My credit score is 770.

BAD
* The fact that I have any credit debt at all

UGLY
* I need to create a 1,000 emergency fund, followed by 6 months of expenses. I really want to work on saving money and paying off my credit card. My credit card payments will be able to go towards my student loans and savings. My goal is to pay off my loans a lot faster than scheduled.

Well I put everything out there. How about everyone else...where are you at if you don't mind me asking? I love hearing about how everyone else is doing good or bad. If it's bad...you can only go up from where you are at.. :) and if it's good then you should be proud of what you have accomplished :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

REALITY CHECK

Victoria's Secret $-51.36
Food Lion $-38.44
Food Lion $-24.16
Rite Aid $-18.39
Bank FEE $-.30
Discover Card Payment $100.00
Discover Card Payment $200.00
Mario Triccoci $85.00
Denny's $19.64
RDU $40.00
GAS $ 44.15
Mash House $ 54.41
TWC $113.57

789.42

Upcoming expense: 22.25 birth control

From October 3-21st I spent 789.42. It's crazy how fast money goes when you aren't keeping track on your nickels and dimes. I'm still working on creating a budget. S's birthday is in 6 days and I need to go shopping for him tomorrow. I want to spend a reasonable amount.

I'd like to explain the Mario Tricocci expense though since usually I spend about 15 dollars on my hair for a haircut. I went back to Chicago for a wedding that I was in, and the maid of honor told me that she would book me a hair appointment at a salon...she never did. I scrambled to find a salon open on a Sunday that could take me at 10am or earlier. Mario Tricocci was the only one that I could find. The Mash House- I went out to dinner with S and for the first time in a very long time (well not the first time in a long very time that we went out to dinner-we tend to go out a lot...) but the first time in a while that I picked up the check :) I love having a job! Victoria's Secret...S came home from being gone for a month *blushes* and got something fun and frivolous. On the plus side of the 700 that I spent this month 300 of it went to debt repayment :)

Well that's it for now. Time for bed!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It really is like army wives...and sallie mae has come a knockin'

I finally feel like a grown up. Sallie Mae knows that I'm done with school and with it student loans go into repayment. I'm probably going to be paying 300-400 a month in student loans. I've been visiting the Sallie Mae website everyday. It is on its way to be coming my most visited site.

In other news, my fiance is home! I got onto post on Friday night at 7pm which is when we were told to go to the battery. The troops finally arrived there at 9:30. I didn't really mind the wait though because 1. I had nothing better to do than wait. 2. I got to speak with some wives that were really nice in his unit. I hadn't really talked or met anyone in FRG really so it was nice to meet some of the wives. It was only a tiny bit awkward at one point. We had spent two and a half hours talking about pretty much everything. Then one of the wives said that she doesn't really go to FRG meetings because her husband doesn't want her to be around officer wives. The other wives said that they can be snobby and wear their husbands rank and always have coach purses.. It was at that point that I said "Well my fiance is an officer but I promise I'm not mean." I decided that it was better to say something than not say something and them to find out. Especially...since my fiance is second in command of his battery and he was actually acting commander of the battery because the Battery Commander's child was born during that time. They were like "Oh you didn't seem like one."

I want to be completely honest right now so as not to get the wrong impression. I wasn't angry or annoyed or offended or hurt in any way. It's life. And you know what...my dad was an enlisted NCO in the national guard for 30 years. He sacrificed and put me and my brother and sister through private school for 13 years on a very small salary. I have nothing but respect for enlisted soldiers. I don't believe in this whole- I won't talk to you because my husband is this or that. I got to see S and I had totally put the whole situation out of my head almost instantly until today. When S got home he said that one of his soldiers came up to him and said his wife wanted to apologize to me. She didn't realize that I was S's fiance. S told him not to worry about it and that I honestly didn't mind or care.

It's just crazy to think that someone was so nervous that they offended me that they had to apologize to their "boss." I mean I appreciate it but no apology was needed. I just want to be Lauren, not ma'am or Mrs. _____ or Mrs. Lieutenant_______. I really hope that they won't be standoffish next time I see them. I just want friends. I don't care who your husband is or how much their pay grade is. I hope that they are able to see that. Also, the only coach purses that I own were bought waay before I was even dating S. :p I just don't want to be treated differently.

One last thing-S and I have discussed splitting some of the bills. I'm actually going to be able to make my budget now! Stay tuned for my pitiful wages. :p But hey...they pay the bills. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some mixed feelings and new bank accounts

Spending Report
Sunday
-46.72- Groceries-Food Lion
-22.52-Prescription
44.51-Sallie Mae payment
44.00-Polish life insurance

Monday
8.50-Stamps
6.75 Chipotle Chicken burrito


I've been feeling apathetic all day. I guess it didn't help that I woke up late- 7:23 this morning but I was able to shower, get dressed, make my french vanilla coffee, throw on some makeup, and make my lunch and leave my apartment by 7:48 and pull into work at 8:00 am exactly. I even ran out of my car and dropped the mail into the complex's mailbox. Thank God I only live about 5 miles from work.

Work went fine today but kind of slow and the pounding headache that I had all day didn't help. I was really starting to feel down on myself. I have a college degree, an honors paralegal certificate and I'm earning 9 dollars an hour. It feels embarrassing to me. I am so grateful for this job-I am, but I get a little jealous when I see that a lot of my friends are teachers. I mean 40-50,000? That is a lot of money no matter any argument a person might say about teachers not making enough. You want to see teachers not making any money-try working for a private catholic school. Sorry...done with the rant. My mom works for a private school and makes almost nothing as a teacher's aid and head of the school's daycare program. But...I digress.

I honestly hope if they decide to hire me after the temp period ends that I will get at least somewhat of an increase. Even 10 an hour would be better than 9. Anyway, for some reason the attorney and the loan processor both asked me if I was bored today and if I was enjoying working there. Now, trust me, I am an extremely good worker-if I am to toot my own horn, and I never have an attitude or act bored. I'm always smiling at work. I think that they knew that it just seemed like a slow day today. However, them saying that made me start questioning things. Am I happy there? Yes. Is this really what I wanted to do with my life? No, not really. Do I still want to work there if I get officially hired and get a pay increase. Yes.

I guess that I just want to be used to my full potential. I don't want to feel like I wasted my education when I worked so incredibly hard for it. Hopefully I will be given some more responsibility as time goes on.

Ok well let's continue with my day. The rest of the day went well minus the pounding pulsing headache and my stomach killing me. I had gone to the gym on Saturday and attempted some situps and goodness were my abs sore like cringing in pain sore. I left work around 4:15 in order to get a new bank account at a local bank. The firm uses this bank for its accounts so I felt secure going there. I definitely got hooked up with the deluxe package by using the attorney as a referral. That was nice. The only thing that I'm worried about is that they deposited over 400 dollars into my new checking account and only 100 is showing up online when I looked tonight. Maybe the checks are pending? If it isn't resolved tomorrow then the bank is getting a call. I'm not about to lose over a weeks worth of pay. Wow..how sad is that...after taxes right now I'm only making 306 a week. This will have to change or I will maybe have to move on. I hope it doesn't come to that though since I do enjoy working there.

I went home from the bank and my pounding headache came with it. I took some aspirin and then I took a two hour nap on the couch. I woke up around 7 and forced myself to get up and buy stamps for the bills that have to go out tomorrow. On my way to the grocery store I decided to buy Chipotle for dinner...even though I had plenty of food at home. Like I said, I guess I was feeling kind of blah. I got my chipotle and as I was pulling up to our apartment my fiance called.
I'm happy to hear from him but it is kind of mixed feelings. It's really hard to explain. I mean for one thing we have never had one phone conversation where he doesn't abruptly hang up on me because he has another call. It's understandable since it is his work phone but it gets a little frustrating sometimes. I'm not trying to sound whiny though. Also, I feel like this month has given me a lot of independence and it is going to be weird not making all the decisions anymore. It won't be hard to get back to how things are but it just seems a little odd. Finally, when I've talked to him he seems to get kind of short and defensive which isn't like him at all. Maybe he is so used to ordering people around for an entire month. I don't know. I'm definitely not questioning our relationship lol and there isn't anything that I'm really worried about. He mentioned that we should start getting things ready for our legal marriage when he comes home. We are going to get married at the courthouse for paperwork reasons (POA and so that I can be contacted first if god forbid something happens to him on deployment). After deployment we will get married what I consider officially in the church. I think that he is just tired, frustrated, and wants to come home. Funny-that's all that I really want-for him to come. Four more days and things will go back to normal. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lingerie and a Reality Check...girls only! Warning: a difficult subject is mentioned

Last night I thought about the fact that S. (fiance) will be coming home in about eight days. Then my thoughts turned a little R rated (blushes) and I thought it would be nice to get a sexy little number as a surprise for him and something fun for me. Let's face it lingerie is fun! Now, shopping for lingerie is no easy feat for me. Nothing ever fits! It's always too big on me! Ok...I'll admit it I'm pretty underweight for my height...about 30 pounds underweight...but you know what..whatever. I suffered from an eating disorder from 6th grade until the end of my junior year of college-which is when I started dating S. When I tell my friends that he changed my life it is in more ways then they can imagine. I think that because I starved myself for so many years it had a negative effect on my body..ya think? I'm not trying to make light of eating disorders. It's just once you've gotten through one you need to accept it which has taken some time, and move on and live your life.

Well I'm digressing. The point is lingerie is usually too big on me. My cup size is slightly below average-I'm a 32B. I guess that I'm extremely lucky after hurting my body for 10 years. I go to Victoria's Secret and try on stuff and usually nothing fits. Now, Fredericks of Hollywood is different. Somehow I'm always able to find something that fits me. Now granted it might not be something that I am completely in love with but it still makes me feel good about myself (Now that I need lingerie to make myself feel good-wow this post if full of disclaimers). I know that they don't have a Frederick's of Hollywood anywhere near where I live so I decided to try the online website.

I'm browsing and browsing and I decide to go with a reasonably priced outfit...and then the sales tax hits and the shipping and handling. 63 dollars I think to myself-I get paid every week I have money and it's only 63 dollars....charged to my credit card...that I'm working my darndest to pay off...but I haven't seen him in a month...yeah you know where this thought process is going. Then I started thinking about delivery. I work 8-5 and yes it's a gated apartment complex but what if its left in front of my d0or and I probably won't be home..and what if some dishonest person takes it...but people get stuff delivered all the time and they seem to get their stuff...

As you can tell I was a little conflicted. I started thinking about how people wait three days before purchasing something so that they can think on it. I didn't even need three days. I pulled up the discover card website-stared my balance straight in the face-added on what I would be paying for the lingerie, and then I promptly clicked out of the Fredericks of Hollywood website.

I don't know what I was thinking. When I just moved to NC and didn't have a job I would dream about the day when I would bring home a paycheck-any paycheck and pay off my credit card. Now I have a job and that goes out the window? I don't think so! It's time to get serious-save money and pay off this debt. I'm proud of myself for being strong. I need to get out of the I DESERVE THIS mindset.

Well if you are still reading...thanks! Sorry if some of the stuff in this post was a touchy subject but it was my life for a decade and I'm not going to make any excuses or be embarrassed about what I went through. I survived and I'm happy and healthy now. That's all that matters to me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Putting it all out there- Part 2 -Private Loans from Sallie Mae

Loan # Program/Lender Status First
Disbursement
Date
Current
Principal
Balance
Interest
Rate
1-01 Signature Student Loan - UNSUB /
SLM PRIVATE CREDIT STUDENT LN TR
In School 08/25/2006 $6,464.22 3.25% Loan
Transaction
History







1-03 Signature Student Loan - UNSUB /
SLM PRIVATE CREDIT STUDENT LN TR
In School 09/05/2007 $2,987.47 3.25% Loan
Transaction
History







1-05 Signature Student Loan - UNSUB /
SLM PRIVATE CREDIT STUDENT LN TR
In School 08/29/2008 $4,500.00 5.25% Loan
Transactio

1-06 Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan - UNSUB /
SALLIE MAE BANK
Repayment 10/01/2009 $5,688.46 8.75%

TOTAL: 19, 640.15

Federal Loans+ Sallie Mae=

$31,425 +19,640.15= $51, 065.15


IT IS TIME TO START PAYING OFF THESE LOANS!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Puttting it all out there Part 1-Federal Loans...


Type of Loan Loan Amount Loan Date Disbursed Amount Canceled Amount Outstanding Principal Outstanding Interest
1 DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $4,668 10/12/2010 $4,668 $0 $4,668 $0
2 DIRECT STAFFORD UNSUBSIDIZED $2,832 10/12/2010 $2,832 $0 $2,832 $132
3 DIRECT STAFFORD UNSUBSIDIZED $2,000 09/07/2009 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $204
4 DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $5,500 09/07/2009 $5,500 $0 $5,500 $0
5 DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $1,000 04/06/2009 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
6 DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $1,877 04/06/2009 $1,877 $0 $1,877 $0
7 DIRECT STAFFORD UNSUBSIDIZED $2,000 09/09/2008 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $210
8 DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $2,623 09/09/2008 $2,623 $0 $2,623 $0
9 FEDERAL PERKINS $1,800 07/19/2007 $1,800 $0 $1,800 $0
10 STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $4,500 07/12/2007 $4,500 $0 $4,500 $0
11 STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED $2,625 07/13/2006 $2,625 $0 $2,625 $0
Total DIRECT STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED



$15,668 $0
Total DIRECT STAFFORD UNSUBSIDIZED



$6,832 $546
Total FEDERAL PERKINS



$1,800 $0
Total STAFFORD SUBSIDIZED



$7,125 $0
Total All Loans



$31,425 $546

Waiting for the Pizza Delivery Person (See...I don't discriminate)

Nope. There is no story behind the title of this post. I placed an order from papajohns.com online and now I'm waiting patiently for my large grilled chicken and extra cheese pizza. I'm a little excited for it. Just a little. Coming from Chicago it is almost embarrassing for me to order Papa John's. However, it is kind of slim pickings for Pizza places in the south. Well maybe that is my uneducated opinion of the South's pizza situation. Let's just say that in Fayetteville, NC, there aren't too many choices. We will leave it at that.

This week has gone by pretty quickly. Work went well and the time seemed to fly by. On Friday I received my first pay check in North Carolina. The total was 179.52 after taxes. Granted, it was very small since I get paid nine dollars an hour and only worked 21 hours that week. I work full time but I actually started work on a Wednesday for my first day. This week I worked the full forty hours. I know 9 dollars an hour isn't a lot right now but at least it is a start in the right direction. I get paid every Friday not every other Friday. Besides...I was lucky if I worked 20-30 hours every TWO weeks at 8.25 an hour. I am actually extremely grateful for this job. It makes me so excited to know that I will be able to pay my student loans, my credit card bill, and contribute to the household. I'm going to wait a month to see how much I will make for a month, and then I will create a budget for that! I'm very excited to make my first budget ever!! Yep...you heard that correctly. Oops!

I really need to resist the urge to go and spend my money on more clothes...redecorating the apartment (Trust me-it's a complete mancave right now.,etc. I just don't really feel like I'm a part of this apartment yet besides my books on the bookshelves and my clothes in the closet and the dresser. I didn't really bring any personal touches to the apartment when I moved in. I'm hoping that I can change that slowly in bits and pieces. My fiance has already given me full permission to change the place to my liking. I'm planning on creating a part of my budget to reflect decorating. I think this is a good idea since I don't even really have a clue as to how to decorate the place or what I want to do with it. It will definitely be a work in progress.

I really want to come up with a name to call my fiance instead of just "the fiance." It makes it seem almost like I'm apathetic towards him and that cannot be farther from the truth. He is the best thing that ever happened to me if that doesn't sound too corny. I'm going to put some thought into it and let you know soon (if anyone reads this ) :) Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Have a great night!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Receipt strategy and 4 days and I already got a key.

I’ve been working at the Firm for 4 days and they have already givenme (a temp worker) a key to front door of the office. I must be doing something right so far. Last night I mentioned that I had a receipt strategy. Confused? Well of course you are if you have no idea what I am talking about. Alright so I’ve gone to the store twice in two weeks- a standard once a week shopping extravaganza. My fiancĂ© is still on his short deployment training thing in California. Let’s just say that food lasts a LOT longer when it is just me. A LOT . Ok I think you get the point. Anyway, going back to my college days I had a tendency to buy a ton of food and forget about it. Some would remain in the cabinets for months and I would just buy new food. Wow that came off as a me being hoarder-which I totally am not. Most of the food was crackers, soup, macaroni and cheese, you know, the kind of food that can stay in the cabinet for months lol. Anyway, I’ve decided that I really want to start eating what I have before I go out for more food and spend money that I didn’t need to. So how did I decide to do this? Simple. I keep my receipts from the stores. Once I have eaten an item completely for instance-a bag of bagels or a block of cheddar cheese, I highlight the item on the receipt . Yes, you read that correctly. I highlight my receipt from the store. It’s kind of interesting to see what I have eaten during the week and what I have left over. I also know what I need to buy more of, or what I shouldn’t buy anymore since I haven’t touched the item so clearly I’m not that interested in eating it. Maybe this is just me being OCD but it has really helped me so far with not wasting food.

Well that is pretty much all that I have to report. I worked from 8am-5p.m. I dropped off some packages for work at Fedex box. I got home and paid the Verizon bill and Helzberg bill (I’m paying my fiance’s bills while he is in Cali-but he already signed the checks from his account. I’m just filling in the numbers and putting them in the mail lol. I did two loads of laundry, worked out at the gym in the apartment complex (can’t beat free-and the gym is EXTREMELY nice as far as apartment complex gyms go. Then I came home, showered, (in case you were wondering lol) and had spaghetti for dinner. I topped off the night with a little bit of coffee icecream. Well that’s about it.

Time for bed! I can’t wait until Friday to get my first paycheck from work :) ALSO totally random and not previously mentioned in the blog but I thought I lost my fiances' garmin-or that it had fallen out of the truck-but I found it today! I was already researching the prices for a new one online. I spent the past two weeks freaking out about it. It was exactly where I thought it would be. I just did panic searching last time-aka tear apart the car frantically looking for it to no avail...even though it was right in front of my face all along.

Carrot sticks, hummus, and my week in review

I find it funny that I get upset when some of my favorite personal finance blogs that I like to read don’t get updated on a day to day basis. Then I look at my blog and I feel ashamed. I don’t know what it is about not updating. I LOVE to talk about myself on a day to day basis with others. Ok, that came off a little narcissistic. What I meant to say is that I am pretty much an open book with my life and I don’t have too many topics that I keep off limits from others. Now with that being said I am going to make it my goal to bring more of myself into this blog. One of the things that I love about the PF blogworld is the absolute openness that people share with complete strangers. I can’t really think of another situation (unless it was your husband/fiancĂ© /boyfriend or best friend) where you would discuss the nitty gritty details of personal finance. I love reading about other people’s lives and day to day updates. Hopefully my blog can one day reflect that.

Alright now let’s see I last left off on Tuesday. I’m going to do a quick update for the rest of the week and then we will be fresh to start again tonight (Monday night).

Wednesday-First day on the job. I woke up early, got ready, made my coffee (which was a story in itself) made my lunch (my lunch breaks are in-office so I can be there to answer the phones) and then I was on my way. Work went well that day. I learned a little bit about the office and by the end of the day I was already creating new files for contracts for clients. I went home and worked out at the gym at the clubhouse (apartment complex’s gym) and then made rice for dinner. I definitely need to add a protein with my dinner next time if I’m working out.

Thursday-Thursday was extremely similar to Wednesday. Work from 8-5. I got home and made dinner. I had a very low key night. I didn’t end up working out.

Friday-Work from 8-12-(We close at noon on Fridays). After work I dropped off my hours at the employment agency. I rewarded myself with a chicken burrito from Chipotle for lunch since it was my first week of work. Total cost: 6.85. I went home and enjoyed my burrito, drank a beer (because I’m 23 and I could lol) and watched some tv. I got a text from my apartment complex friend asking if I wanted to go to a wine tasting with her that night at 6. The wine tasting was Austrian wine…very interesting. It was the first time that I drank wine without getting a pounding headache. I purchased a bottle of beck bergenlund for around 20 dollars. I have to look at the receipt. After that my friend treated me to frozen yogurt since I drove. Don’t worry-we waited about 2 hours before I drove home and we probably drank the equivalent of one glass of wine with all the samplings combined. Drinking and driving is not something that I take lightly, seeing as my aunt passed away from a drunk driver. I went home that night and watched a bit of tv and called it a night.

Saturday-LAZY Day! I didn’t do anything for most of the day-just bummed around the house. I went to the store around 8 at night and spent 104.00 in groceries and cleaning supplies. I saved 25 dollars with the store card and coupons that I had clipped.

Sunday-Went to church and went to the mall and purchased a couple of shirts that I was in desperate need of for work. I made banana nut muffins to have for breakfast- and I cut up carrots into carrot sticks to go with the vegetable dip that I purchased. I just need to toast my bagel in the morning and make my bagel sandwich for lunch. I also purchased hummus and pita chips but I think that I will bring some of those on a different day.

Alright-I need to be up in a couple of hours so I’m calling it a night. Tomorrow I will tell you about my receipt strategy when it comes to my food. Lol. I guess its just my OCD showing through! I will also list prices for my clothes and maybe some pictures of my new shirts if you are interested. :)