Dilemma

Maybe my lovely readers could help me out with this small issue I’m having.  Every payday I place money in an account that is used for my student loans.  And it’s (mostly) strictly for my student loans—a few side purchases such as flea medication for my cat or medicine for me has been pulled from it but that’s been in rare cases.

Remember that student loan I forgot about?  Well, turns out that there was an issue in that too.  I apparently read the student loan summary wrong—or they supplied information on another loan thinking I was going to consolidate them.  Well, that was the plan originally but with the forgetting them issue, this was dropped and I just assumed that all the loans they had sent me were with that company.  This wasn’t true, so again I dropped the ball on my loans.   But I picked it up again a few weeks later when the company who actually owned it, gave me a call.  After numerous emails (I really do need to check my personal email more often….) we were able to set up a time to call each other. The lady I spoke to was very nice and gave me an offer to consolidate that loan plus the ones I had just started paying on.  Sadly, my other loan isn’t able to be included in this consolidation.

After months of waiting…okay, after a month and a half of waiting, it was approved and I’m all set to start paying back on that loan come September.   After 3 months of paying on it, it should wipe all loans out of default status.   I think—I have this written down and if it’s not true, I’ll be calling the company who told me it would.   Now my small issue comes about with August.

Provided that the previous loan holder doesn’t take my money on the 25th as was previously scheduled (this actually happened with my other loan.  It was sold but the previous company took the payment as scheduled.  It worked out in the end because it went through as a overpayment.), I’ll have a time when I can make a partial payment to both student loans that is considered extra.  This would help out with both and would help pay on the accruing interest in the loan that is now in forbearance.

Or I can not put as much money into this account and instead use it for us.  We’ve been cutting back on a lot of things in order to make sure that we pay on our debts, save for several things and one of these areas we’ve cut back a lot is at the grocery store.  We still pay a lot of money every month for groceries/household items but not as much as before.  We’d been eating a lot of stuff that was in the pantry but now we’ve kind of come to the point where this isn’t really a great option.  We’re running low on some stuff and not just in the pantry.  Our household stuff needs to be looked at too.  It wouldn’t affect the payment schedule at all as I know that in September I will have the money to start paying on the one and the other doesn’t have a payment scheduled until February.

Part of me really wants to make an extra payment (even if it will only be partial payments) and another part of me wants to take some of that money and go spend it at the grocery store to give us a little breathing room.   Granted I have about 10 days to find out if either of these will be an option (though I guess I’d be paying on the consolidated student loan at least) but I like to plan ahead.  I get paid on the 24th but can always use this money after it’s been deposited into this account.  Should I even be worrying about this right now?

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Spending Recap 7/9-7/15

Monday no spend day

Tuesday  $4 milk

Wednesday no spend day

Thursday no spend day

Friday $25 Taco Bell/movies (b),  $25 bookstore (p)

Saturday $270 groceries/farmers market (semi budgeted)

Sunday $180 (b) Wal-Mart/Big lots/Amazon, $32 gas (b)

I’m okay with how much I spent on groceries this past week because of a few reasons.  We’ve been going through a lot of bottled water lately–more than I want to for a few reasons.  But as we haven’t bought soda for the house in a few months (I haven’t drank any at all but my fiance still does when we go out to eat), it is one of the few things I drink now.  And the tap water doesn’t taste right.   So we bought a filter for our facet this Saturday and saved a lot of the plastic bottles.  Eventually, I want to put a pitcher in our fridge but we don’t have the room for it.  I get by with the water bottles because I can turn them on their sides.   The water filter will pay for itself in a month.

The other reason we spent so much is my fiance is now trying to eat healthier.  He’s more picky than I am at fruits and veggies, so we are trying a few things out for him.  I actually got him to eat a piece of mushroom yesterday! He apparently doesn’t mind the taste of baby portabella mushrooms–not a huge fan but he’ll it them.  And of course, it seemed like we ran out of everything–charcoal, mouthwash, bug spray and sunblock lotion.

The only other thing of real note that happened was my kitchen ceiling broke finally and fell.  Not all of it but a good chunk of it.  No one was hurt and nothing was broken thankfully.  I spoke to the landlord’s wife on Tuesday when I first noticed the crack in it was getting worse.  They were “too busy” to come out this last week so I’ll be calling on Monday.    My AC is now working over time because most of it goes up into the hole.  I’d turn it off but my house gets too hot if I do that.  I hope it cools down soon.

A lot of the money spent on Sunday (okay not a lot but a third?) was spent on cleaning supplies and a new swiffer mop.  It was to clean up the mess in the kitchen–the dirt from the ceiling almost stained my rug in there and it ruined my old mop. Couldn’t get it cleaned after we used it to get up all of the nasty dirt. We also purchased Insanity and a rug–the rug is going to be our workout mat.  A much better choice than the workout mat as we can keep the rug in our living room.

How’d your weekend go?


Whoopsie!

It’s the little things that get me every single time.  Sometimes it’s a great thing, like when my guy comes home with $1.99 beef jerky and surprises me.  (It’s the only kind of beef jerky I’ll eat out here—the stuff I love costs $15 a pound and exists only in upstate NY unless I want to ship it to myself for $23ish) And sometimes it’s me being extremely silly in some areas.  How silly you ask? And I know you are scoffing to yourself, quietly, thinking that I would never be silly.  No? Really? Well, fine than.  Moving on.

For instance, when we first were moving into our new place way back in December (wow, time flies!), I was doing the budget and forgot to include groceries for part of the month.  Now, if this would have yielded us a huge amount to put into savings, I would have caught when I was adjusting everything.  Instead, that part of the month was barely breaking even as it was.  Come to that Friday, I was sitting there and writing out on my handy little sticky note our biweekly budget and found that we had an “extra” 50 dollars that we could save.  So I was pumped! We had gone from saving about a $100 every 2 weeks (if not more) into barely putting $20 away for our efund.  And then I noticed I had nothing written down for groceries.    I than had the joy of trying to figure out if how to pull an extra $100 out of the budget.   I remember moving some saving goals around and just squeaking buy that two week period.  Well, squeaking by for what we were used to—we didn’t spend over what we had earned and we were nowhere near as bad as what we had been in the past.

Now for my next awesome move.  Remember how I have said I do the budget months in advance and just update as needed?  Apparently my awesome skills of looking at a calendar failed.  I did fine up until May and was than deciding we would be getting paid on Thursdays instead of Fridays. If that wasn’t enough I had us getting paid at the end of one month and a week later, we were getting paid again at the beginning of the next month.  Granted, it wasn’t horrible—I just had to shift some dates and when the rent was being paid or the utilities but I felt dumb just for doing it.  To make matters worse, I had these dates being used in saving goals and payment goals.  This means I had to go fix them there as well.   Oh and apparently, I magically learned how to read the calendar for December’s budgets and fixed it.  No idea how I did that without noticing that it was about three weeks between being paid but I did.

Thankfully, this last one didn’t cost money.  Just my pride as I wasn’t even the one who figured it out. The first one was something that didn’t hurt us too much as I could finagle what we were saving for and we weren’t living on a prayer.  Anybody else do something like this? Or is just me?


Spending Recap 3/19-3/25

Monday no spend day

Tuesday $4 Wal-mart (got to hate milk sometimes)

Wednesday no spend day

Thursday $5 gas station, $30 phone, $26 Netflix

Friday $107 Home Depot (gift), $12 Wal-Mart, $37 gas (b), $22 Hardees’s (date)

Saturday $93 Aldi’s (b), $ 54 Wal-Mart, $45 Wal-mart (pet supplies), $118 Wal-Mart (only $12ish over our grocery budget!)

Sunday $20 movies (saw the Hunger Games and only had to pay $4 dollars out of his personal money to get some popcorn and a soda), $3 video store

 

All in all I think this was a good week.  I didn’t foresee the  pet supplies but we ran out cat litter and wet food and his dry food was running low.  I don’t begrudge buying him it either because he’s part of our family and needed it.  Granted I could have bought a lesser quantity but this way I don’t have to worry about it for a bit.

I don’t know how your weekend was but mine was fabulous.   The weather was great, had some friends over and we tried out my guy’s brand new grill.  That’s what we picked up on Friday at Home Depot.  I budgeted $50 for his birthday present and an extra $50 for our date but he got to choose between a better date or a bigger present.  He went with the grill and I only went $7 over but we took that from our remaining date balance so it was okay.  But he’s happy and it means I have to cook a lot less. (He did get it a week early but I bribed him to go with me to see the Hunger Games so it was well worth it for me)

And I didn’t spend all that much this week!  Well, it looks like I did and we might have spent a wee bit much on some meat but I’m okay with that.   Most of it was (mostly) budgeted for!  And it is always nice to have a full freezer/fridge/pantry.

How was your weekend? I hope your weather was as nice as mine!


Grocery Woes

As some of you know, I’ve been having issues with our grocery budget.  I have tried going to Aldi’s to shop but have found that while the one in my town has some useful things, it doesn’t have everything.  Which is fine—I just got to Wal-Mart for the rest of our stuff.  I’ve also been hitting up the dollar store for cleaning supplies and some hygienic items as I don’t really notice a difference in the quality of either of those groups.  Well, the packaging might be a bit dinged up but I’m not really trying to impress anyone with my Windex (or glass cleaner as the case may be).

I also try to come up with some general meal plans for two weeks.  But I know some people can really narrow it down—maybe the days will change but they know that they are having roast chicken with mashed potatoes and a salad.  I however know that we will be having some sort of chickeny dish with some sort of side.  And that is true for most of my two week meal planning.  There are some exceptions—we plan a larger meal on Sundays.  For instance this last weekend my guy made a huge pan of rigatoni and we had that and some nice salad.  Then I had it for lunch for the next two days and we ate some leftovers on Monday.  And it lasted just long enough that I didn’t get sick of it.

My problem stems in the days other then Sundays or our date nights (sometimes if we just do yummy Chinese we can do two or three date nights) is that I know what type of meat we have in the freezer and what we have for sides, but I don’t generally have a clue as to what type of dish I’m actually doing until the night before.  And sometimes I’ll just pull out the meat and decide what to do as I’m cooking.  Or (when I’m really tricky) I’ll just tell my guy to make something using the meat that’s pulled out and my suggestion to him is to make it yummy. (And isn’t that just the greatest suggestion of all time?  And yes, I know it’s horrible but that’s all I have sometimes)

So my new plan is to design a meal plan for one week and the other week I will do what I’m doing currently.  Why not do two weeks?  I figure it will be easier if I start off with one week and move from there.  And I actually want to do the meal plan right-breakfast, lunch and dinner. Challenging for me? Yup but I think I can handle it.

 Do you have any suggestions? How do you do it? Right now I write my grocery list around the ideas of what we *could* eat but I think I can fine tune that, don’t you?


Spending Recap 3.5 to 3.11

Monday $48 Amazon (gift card)

Tuesday no spend day

Wednesday no spend day

Thursday $34 cable

Friday $30 Mexican food (b), $32 liquor store ($20 was budgeted for but the wine is yummy)

Saturday $41 at Aldi’s, $196 Wal-Mart, $11 at Braum’s (that was all groceries…obviously I fail), $360 bills on-line (b), $12 vet’s, $5 post office, $40 gas (b)

Sunday no spend day

As you can see my experiment at Aldi’s didn’t really help.  Granted, I spent about $50 on non-grocery items (toilet paper, paper towels, kitty food, etc) and I did find some items we are going to continue to buy there.  The coffee isn’t bad and we got it for half the cost as we would have at Wal-Mart.  Same for the water and soda we picked up.  As bummed as I am about going over my grocery budget, I have to say there was nothing I was really sad about buying.

I bought a toaster and a cake topper from Amazon—the cake topper is going to be for the baby shower I’m helping to throw.   The gift card I won from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.  No lie, when I won it, I was dancing around my kitchen.

So all in all, not too shabby I guess.  If I didn’t count paying my bills I would have more no spend days.  But in my eyes, they count as me spending money.  I have been getting better at planning them though so that I’m not paying things on random days.


First Budget of March

200 Groceries
100 Personal (divided by 2)
50 Date
400 Utilities
60 gas
60 payment

 

That’s my budget for this period.  I’m going to try to slim down our grocery bill though.  We did run out of some needed things like toilet paper, paper towels, and some other random odds and ends.   But I think that by splitting our buying between Wal-Mart and Aldi’s, that we can cut at least $25 off.  (I don’t know if I am under or overestimating but I will let you all know!)

As a side note—I don’t have to buy paper towels all that much.  Maybe once every month or so which is really nice.  The way I do this is by a two pack of super rolls and we don’t use our paper towels as napkins all that much.  Instead we use our cloth napkins which were a much valued gift to us.  We have enough to last us a week and as I do laundry every week, it works out really well for us.

The 400 for our utilities still includes our gas deposit (which I’m really looking forward to being gone) and our car insurance.  (Our car insurance is really low because we have a beater car)  The gas money, well, I’m hoping that we don’t have to use all of it this week.  We generally don’t have to but I don’t think I’ll be saving as much for our car from it this week.  (Again, I do have a set aside going into the car fund but whatever is not used from the gas fund goes into there).

This also doesn’t include any of our saving goals.  I have some set for our wedding, our debt, and a few other things that are going on.  Hopefully, I have more left over from our above categories so that I can squeak it into our savings accounts.  I will probably be saving my personal money so that I can go shopping in another few weeks.  My guy’s cousin is getting married and I might just buy a dress I’ve been eyeing.  We also need to start putting aside money for a gift.  I figure a $100 is a good gift right? They’ve been living together for a while so I don’t know what they would need.  We will be putting aside a little every pay check in order to not break us.

How’s your budget looking?