Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bullet list posting because well I'm feeling a little lazy today

  • We did end up going home for dinner on Tuesday and made hotdogs and had chips as a side. We thought of making fries but I was way too hungry to wait. :p
  • Yesterday unfortunately was a pretty expensive day for me. I had to go to the dentist to get my permanent crown and of course something went wrong and they had to send it back to the lab to add more porcelain to it. Le Sigh. Any way, I wasn't able to bring my coffee from home to work because it would have been ice cold by the time I drank it (dentist appt. was at 8am). I love iced coffee but not just room temperature after it cools down coffee. Just doesn't seem right. I spent $2.65 at Dunkin Donuts for a large iced coffee.
  • I had a scheduled hair appointment after work. I spent a good amount of money on the haircut, style (sad that getting your hair blow dried is considered a style), tip, and I bought a styling cream that is supposed to help with my frizz and natural waves/curls. The total damage was $70.33 eek!!!
  • Here is the breakdown: cut and blow dry- $40 ( I need to go to a cheaper place) Redken styling cream- $19 (seriously? This is why I just always throw my hair in a messy bun) tip- $10 could have been lower but I tip well if I'm happy with the service..and the rest was tax. My only defense is that I had seriously been considering a perm/body wave but my stylist talked me out of it and told me to try the cream instead. I guess in the long run I'm going to be saving probably 100+ dollars not doing a body wave and I'm also keeping my hair healthy instead of damaging it with chemicals. Oh well. Guess I'm just simple when it comes to my hair. 
  • Waiting for the dentist office to call me so I can go back this afternoon. Total damage for that will probably be around $250-I already have paid half of the bill. We have insurance but I have maxed out my benefits for the year already. I had to have a LOT of dental work done in the past couple of months. :( I'll post the exact amount for today's appointment later. I better be going back today (they are calling me when the crown comes in and  since they are closed on Fridays and it is labor day weekend. If they don't call by lunch I will be calling them!
  • Updated my credit card/Sallie Mae loans on the side bar.
  • Hubby is jumping out of a plane in a couple of hours. He is in an airborne unit and this is his 15th jump-business as usual. :)
  • Made my lunch for work today :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saving Money by Eating More?

I know it sounds odd right? Perhaps I should rephrase my entry title to Saving Money by Wasting less because that is really what my goal is for this month. The very nice thing is that the hubby (S) is on board as well.It is so embarrassing because it feels like every time we get ready to go grocery shopping (we do a big trip usually once a month or so) we end up filling up almost a garbage bag of expired food from the fridge and this time after organizing our pantry...almost another garbage bag of expired products. I was even horrified to find some packaged things from 2012 unopened. Eek! Part of the problem I think is that our pantry/closet has 5 shelves but they are VERY deep and things just get pushed to the back and lost. I mean four 1/4 bags of taco chips-what the heck! Why wasn't one bag finished before opening/buying  a new one? I blame S for that one. However, I'm just as guilty as well.

Anyway, in order to combat this we bought some containers from Walmart and organized things into bins like (pasta-huge container for this one), side dishes, snacks, seasonings, baking supplies, etc. Hopefully this will help us to really start to eat what we have first. My goal is to take a weekly inventory and see what we have that can be used for meals and to really keep track of expiration dates. We bought a chest freezer from my coworker over the weekend for $60.00 so I think that will also help a lot for perishable foods.

Ok, that's great you are thinking but what does any of this have to do with your post title? Part of the reason that I think we waste so much food is that I pretty much only eat dinner during the week and meals/snacks on the weekend at home..that is when we don't eat out on the weekend. I'm very notorious for taking a cup of coffee to work and being able to have that sustain me until dinner. Horrible, I know. My body is kind of weird though unlike people who wake up in the morning and the first thing on their mind is food or eating, I honestly do not get hungry until I actually put something into my body to jumpstart my metabolism for the day. I can pretty much go all day without eating. HOWEVER, I DO know how bad that is for my body and also for my mind (brain functioning at its fullest) so I do make an effort to at least eat Lunch and Dinner every day unless I get bogged down at work and simply do not have time. On Sunday I told myself that if I don't eat breakfast then I at least need to start eating more balanced meals instead of just bringing a microwavable side of Stouffer's macaroni and cheese or lasagna, or just the main part of the meal from last night's dinner. For instance- yesterday for lunch I had a sandwich, a nectarine, and 1 part of a snack cake. I also brought yogurt but was way too full to eat it. Today I had a leftover stuffed pepper (I'll have to post the recipe-I use roast beef, provolone cheese, and mushrooms) and I brought a butterscotch pudding to eat but remembered I still had the yogurt from yesterday so I wanted to eat that first instead of it sitting in the fridge forever. I feel by making balanced lunches and taking them to work I'll be using more of our food and wasting less. I am so determined to do this. I don't want to waste a single thing that we bought from Sunday's shopping trip. Tonight my husband's unit has a meeting at 6pm and I have to be at it. Usually we would probably just go out and grab something after since it will be late by then. However, we already planned on hotdogs for tonight (something quick) and I'm determined to actually stick to that and not spend money doing dinner out. Hopefully we don't cave! :)
As for spending- yesterday was a no spend day and if I have my way- today will be one as well. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

September Goals or my list of things to do...

You know, it seems like every month I see a lot of bloggers post their goals for the month. I always think to myself that I don't have any goals that I'm really trying to accomplish professionally so I usually avoid the popular monthly goals post. However, I realized just because they may not seem like goals-I do have a list of things that I need to get done and why can't those be my goals for the month? So here they are and I'm breaking them down into easy steps for myself. These are all personal goals not really financial yet but having them online will remind me to get them done!

1.Get my wisdom teeth pulled [ No pain from them but they aren't looking so hot :( ]
A. speak with dentist at my appointment for crown on Wed.
B. set up an appointment for the referral place
C. Go to the appointment
D. I'm sure I'll have to then schedule for the teeth to actually come out
E. Go to that appointment
F. Recover

2. Get my hair cut- I feel like I haven't even realized how long it had gotten until someone commented on a picture on FB and pointed it out...and now I can't believe how long it is either.
A. Call and set up an appointment (for this week)
B. Go to appointment and get hair cut. (Since I don't dye/highlight my hair that should be relatively easy and relatively cheap)

3. Get my prescription refilled and possibly transferred to a new pharmacy
A. Call and see if the office is still closed on Fridays (yay sequestration..not)
B. order the refill and see if I can get it transferred somewhere else so I don't keep running into the same problem every 3 months ;)

4. Go to social security office and get name changed/new social security card.I know that this one is especially important for my husband and I should stop procrastinating on it...oops.
1. Find out where office is.
2. Call and see if I can set up an appointment
3. Go in on a Friday after work
4. Gather everything I need
5. Go to appointment.

5. After social security is done and I get my new card...
1. Study for NC driving test.
2. Go to DMV- take driving test (written)
3. Hopefully ;) get new NC driver's license.
4. Surrender Illinois license :( :(

6.Get Notary Public status (Depends on when class is available.
1. Call and sign up for a class at the community college
2. Take Class
3. Take my oath at courthouse
4. Buy/Order the seal

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Second Student Loan Paid Off!!

At work so very quick post. I just paid off my second student loan this year! It had a starting balance of $1000 and is now at 0!! To date I have paid off two loans whose original amount equals to $2,800-that was the original amount of the loan which does not include any interest that I also paid on it. Next to go will be the loan with $1,623.04 on it. The starting balance on it was $1877 so I've only paid off about $253 on it so far since I started my loan payments. It is GOING DOWN!!! :) Wish me luck!

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's payday and a little bit of planned shopping/purchases for the weekend.

It's Friday? Wow. Time must have been flying this week because I couldn't believe it when I woke up this morning. Well since I was AWOBL (Away Without Blogging Leave)...(yeah I just made that up), I figured I'd do a quick recap of the week. Now I could lie and say that we ate at home all week but then I would just be dishonest. We ate out twice this week which I'm pretty disappointed with-we usually only eat out once or twice on the weekends. I think the problem was that since my husband had to pick me up from work every day this week he wasn't able to start cooking dinner before I got home. Now granted, I usually get home at the same time and cook dinner for him....but he usually doesn't get home until 6:30-7 when he usually works. So...yeah. Le Sigh.

Tuesday- Normal day at work. I think I worked on some accounting issues for one of the Veterans that my office is a fiduciary for. They were recently rated as Competent so I will no longer be in charge of their financial affairs. For dinner we ate at Buffalo Wild Wings. I did, however, think about money and just ordered water instead of a usual beer or coke. After dinner, we went grocery shopping for some things. Again, I focused on savings and 1. Didn't buy more than I knew I would use. 2. Was better on impulse buys. 3. It must have showed because we spent $83.67 opposed to the normal $130+. Baby steps.

Wednesday- Let's see. My boss took the day off but my coworker and I ( I work in a 3 person office) were still very busy and productive. Definitely not the whole when the cat is away the mice will play scenario for us. My husband and I made steak and pepper sandwiches for dinner. They were really good. Alright, so I have a really bad habitat of procrastinating and I have been trying to work on that. A couple of months I was introduced to Fly Lady which is a website that helps people with cleaning/ getting organized. She has a couple of points that I really like- 1. You can do anything in 15 minutes. 2. Cleaning blesses you and your home even if it is not done perfectly..3. You can't organize clutter.  4. Stop being a perfectionist. It's usually our thinking when cleaning that we need to make something look perfect or get it all done at once that causes us to give up or put it off before we even begin.  Now granted, I'm not that messy and we don't really have a lot of clutter in our house. However, I procrastinate a lot which quickly causes the house to fall into chaos. In order to combat this I asked my husband to start making a list of 2-3 things a day that he wants me to get done around the house. My husband rarely, if ever, tells me to do something or asks me to get something done. I feel like this way not only will I stop procrastinating but I am more likely to get things done if I actually have a list or tasks set by another person so that I don't feel like I'm letting someone down. He is actually on board with this and in just two days I've already started noticing a difference. :) For Wednesday, he asked me to clean our master bathroom which only took 10 minutes (almost everything on the counter was mine anyway), vacuum downstairs (I got a new dyson so this is actually fun for me), and clean up my clothes in the bedroom/straighten up my closet). I really actually enjoyed doing this tasks because not only is it making my home look better but I'm getting things done that might have been annoying my husband and I just never knew it.

 (Ok well time to get back to work so I will continue this when I get home) **Continued on Monday***

Thursday- Again, this was another eat out dinner day. We got Chipotle and I had a steak burrito and he had a steak burrito bowl. I thought about it and we ended up sharing a large drink instead of just getting two drinks like usual. That was at least a two dollar saving right there. It is so easy to forget how quickly items add up on a bill. Totally spent: 18. and some change.  He asked if I wanted to stop by 2nd & Charles ( secondhand book store). It was tempting but since I have books at home from our last trip to read still I told him no. That was probably at least $30 in savings. I was proud of ourselves. :) When we got home I asked him if he had made me another list and he had. The first item was to do two loads of laundry. At first I was like two? How about one? However, I threw in a load of towels for one load and then did another load of dresses/gentle items for another load. Hey...towels count as a load of laundry right? The second and final thing on the list was to organize (read: be able to close) my closet in our second bedroom/office.  I use that closet mainly to store all of my dresses and then there are some misc. boxes with my husband's paperwork/army records/etc. It honestly only took about 5-10 minutes to rehang some dresses that had fallen down and organize some other things. Easy peasy. Wow-I have never said that before. haha.

...and that brings us to Friday.
Friday- I worked until 2:30 and then met a friend and her friend at the mall. My intent was to buy some Fall pieces for work but I guess I'll have to wait until September because there is not a lot of stuff out there yet. My second mission was actually a little out of the box for me. I have been reading some fashion blogs and one of the blogs that I fell in love with is a lady that wear professional outfits to work and she would pair nice designer/upscale items with shirts or pieces from Forever 21. Now don't get me wrong, Forever 21 is great I'm sure if you are a young teenager and into the current and latest trend. However, as as 25 year old and working in a business casual law office I tend to stay away from the store. Not only because I need more professional attire but also I find the clothes/material to be cheaply made for the majority of their things. I will say though I will sometimes find one or two quality pieces. I feel though that it has definitely gone slightly downhill because when the stores first opened the quality was so much better. ANYWAY, I decided to give it a try. After a long and exhausting search I did manage to find 3 shirts (one green/one blue peplum type tops/one plain white button down), one  blue dress, two belts (obsessed with a black belt with gold metal bow) , and two necklaces there. The total came out to $93 and some change. At first I considered returning some items but when paired with a belt it gave the outfit a whole new look so I think I'll keep them. Jeesh when did clothes get so expensive? I've been spoiled by shopping at TJ Maxx for most of my things. I also went to NY& Company and found a nice teal short sleeve button down and a skirt. The items were both on sale and they also asked me if I had a military id, I did, so I received an additional 15%. Now because my husband is military and I am also issued an I.D. card there are many stores in town that will give out discounts. However, since I never feel comfortable asking about discounts I only will use it if they specifically ask for the i.d. I do know there is a lot of people out there who will ask stores if they do military discounts and I almost feel like they are trying to take advantage of the store or they feel entitled to a discount. Now if YOU are the one in the military I certainly understand but if its your husband that serves...I don't agree with that. Maybe that's just me. For dinner we had my favorite frozen pizza- Home Run Inn! Makes me think of Chicago every time. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

autobody repair and meatball sandwiches

We took my car into the shop this morning for autobody work. I got into a minor accident last month which really was just getting someone's paint on my car and vice versa. Not even a dent. However, my husband wanted to get it repaired and since it is his car I don't blame him. The vinyl on the car doors was also peeling and it turns out it is only 100 to repair so we are going to get that done as well. (We have a five hundred dollar deduct able with our insurance for the actual accident repair).On that front I have to say "Thank God." The car is a 2007 jetta and actually in really good shape still physically but the peeling vinyl looked pretty awful. At least it was mainly only on the driver side of the door. We are pretty sure it was caused by the sun since the car hasn't ever really been stored in the garage and has dealt with some harsh summers and winters.

What is the point of this you may ask? Well since my car is in the shop and my husband is off of work this week he has the fun job of being my chauffeur to and from work. Mainly because I don't think he wants to be stuck in a house all week long without a car. Can you blame the guy? Any way, we were driving home and were planning on having meatball sandwiches for dinner which we still had to make. I was so hungry and he asked if we should just pick something up instead...I battled with myself and said no. Then he mentioned the burger place by our house and again...I managed to say no. But it certainly was tempting. :) I'm proud that we went home and made the planned meal. Not only would we have wasted money we would have been eating really unhealthy and since my husband is training for something at would just hurt him in the end. Today was easy to say no even though I was so hungry-let's just hope that next time I will be able to be strong and say no again.
We really want to start saving a set amount of money monthly and I feel skipping one or two meals out would really help to jump start that goal.

As for my debt-I'm pretty much already done with paying my loans for the month...and I'm already itching to make another payment. Slow and steady wins the race though. I have my husband's birthday coming up in October and Christmas will be just around the corner. Time to save a little bit.

I know that I am just coming back now to blogging and I know I'm really bad about telling personal stuff about me but I'm pretty much an open book and would be happy to answer any questions about myself, my debt, or my life if you have any questions. So go ahead...ask away and I will be happy to answer!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up and Budget Findings

Is it already Sunday night? Where did the weekend go? On Fridays I usually only work until 2:30 which means I usually end up going shopping or running errands. Before you get too jealous of me I work 8:30-5 Monday through Thursday and Friday 8:30-2:30 without an actual lunch break so I DO work 40 hours a week. This Friday I was planning on grabbing lunch with a friend that I haven't seen in a while but given how busy/crazy this past week was at work I had a feeling that I would not be getting out of work early and I was right. On the downside I didn't get out of work until 4:30 and didn't get to see a friend. On the plus side I probably saved 25 dollars on dinner and didn't spend any money on shopping. I guess I'll take that as a plus in my book. On Wednesday it was my co-workers birthday so I went on Monday to get a gift for her. While I was shopping I found a really comfortable pair of black/nude bandolino slingback pumps and was so tempted to get them for work. The price was pretty good as well- I think 30 or 40 but I told myself I didn't NEED them. My black heels for work are still in great condition and I've had them for almost a  year now. I think my husband and I are both really trying to be more frugal.
Today I was working on a budget and as I was going through what we had already spent this month on bills/rent/misc., he noticed a mistake. On our direct t.v. bill we got charged almost double what we usually pay. I'm glad that we have been paying more attention because since almost all of our bills/purchases go onto a charge card and get paid off in its entirety at the end of the month we probably wouldn't have noticed. Steps in the right direction right?
Hopefully the rest of this month will be pretty frugal but we have a planned 700 expense for car repair. We'll see. 
Alright well that's about it for the night. I might have a cup of coffee and start getting ready for work tomorrow. Meanwhile, my husband's unit is on block leave so he doesn't have work all week long. Lucky guy. ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A promotion and almost a payoff!

No, the promotion is not for me but for my husband. He found out today that he has passed the Captain's board which means he will make Captain in May of next year. I am so proud of him! The payoff refers to the bold black number on the right side of the screen. Not only am I now under 20,000 on my federal loans (private loans not included in that number) I am also 200 some dollars away from paying off my second student loan this year! I'm super excited and know that my payments will be able to get larger and larger as I pay off my smaller loans. Finally feel like I'm making progress!