Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Skipping May

Hi, everyone! 

I just wanted to let you know that you won't be hearing much from me in May, for a few reasons.

1.)  I will have house guests for a good part of the month, which will keep me busy!
2.) It has been raining non-stop for weeks now.  When/if it ever stops, I am going to have serious 'catch-up' to do in my yard and garden.
3.) My birthday is in May and that tends to keep me extra busy, too!

Therefore, while I will still be tracking my expenses, I will probably only report it all at the end of the month in my monthly recaps (and yes, I know I still owe you an April recap). 

Also, I am suspending the $50 Grocery Budget Challenge in May as my with feeding extra people (house guests), specifically ones with special dietary requirements, makes my $50 budget seem a little unrealistic.  But I will be starting that up again in June, so not to worry!

So anyway, if you don't hear much from me in May please don't worry.  I will post when I can and I am still lurking and will be back with gusto in June!

And if you still want to read daily money saving tips, you can visit my other site, 'The Single Saver.'

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gas (up, up and away....)

Should I be thankful that gas is still under $4.00 a gallon here?  Today I spent $66.02 filling up my tank.  Gas was $3.89 a gallon.  I wish that $66 would last me longer than 8-10 days. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm doing something right!

I just realized my electric company has a really cool feature where you answer a series of questions (home size, # of floors, # of people in your home, types of appliances, heating, etc.) and they will compare your most recent month's electric usage to those of houses near you that have similar criteria.  Guess what, I am using much less electricity than those I was compared against!  Check out the graphic, below:

And here is the graph for the annual use!  Even better!

After being so careful, and being discouraged that the bills weren't lower, it makes me feel good to know at least I way on the low side of energy usage compared to my neighbors!  I must be doing some things right!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Look at all this money I've spent!

Okay, I haven't done a lot of overboard spending.  Most of these items are just way overdue to be reported here.  Tracking my expenses has been rewarding, but it sure is hard work to remember to actually do it!  

Mortgage = $880.79
Car Payment = $350.00
Long Term Saving and Investment (not including my 401K contributions) = $325.00
Gasoline = $61.33 (gas was $3.85/gal) and $66.08 (gs was $3.78/gal)
Cable/Internet - $105.79 (completely ridiculous... and I have the relatively cheap plans, too!)
Trash - $55 (I got a $2 discount this quarter because they forgot to pick up my recycling this week)
Water Bill - $25.98
Sewer Bill - $22
Gas/Heat Bill - $51
Phone - $30.33
Pet Food - $30.33
Vet Bill - $92.11 (One of my dogs steps on something in the yard that went through her food and she was also due for her shots... my other dog goes this Saturday for her shots, too, so expect more vet expenses this month)
Misc. Stuff From Walgreens - $30.69
I bought myself a toy - a tablet so I can use my computer at work like a touch pad on a laptop - I bought it used on eBay for... - $19.04
Postage (to mail my taxes) - $12.03
Business Expenses - $10 and $50
Yard Care Company - $28.78
Spent $37.17 at Walmart - which is broken down to $23.39 for clothes and $13.78 for misc. (batteries and TP)
I spent $6.08 on material, which will be turned into a top when I get around to making it, so I will categorize this expense under "clothing." 
That's a lot of spending and the month isn't over yet.  But, other than the little tablet I bought, I can't say any of the rest was unavailable.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

The best $25 I have spent this month....

As you may recall, last Fall my family went through a minor cancer scare.  One close relative was diagnosed with melanoma (luckily early and still treatable) - which resulted in me having to get scanned, myself.  In my case, they did three biopsies and two came back as pre-cancerous things that were "on its way to melanoma, just not there yet," as the doctor described it. 

This resulted in quite a few medical bills for me, but really a small price to pay to get those "things" removed before they got worse.

Tuesday I went to the doctor for a new skin scan, as I now have to do every 6 months.  I paid my $25 co-pay, got scanned, and was told there was nothing that needed removed this time and I could come back in another 6 months!  Woo hoo!  

Even though nothing was found this time, I think the $25 was the best money I have spent in awhile.  It is important to take preventative measures to take care of ourselves.  I still have a few spots on the "watch list" and by getting them checked out regularly we can catch anything as it develops before it gets out of control. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Food Costs, They Are A Risin'


I went to Aldi yesterday.  Regular readers here know how much I love Aldi.  It seems they have raised their prices in the last couple weeks.  Milk was up $0.30.  Lettuce was up $0.20.  Other items were up $0.10.  It doesn't seem like a lot, but it all adds up.  

I was talking to a friend at work about this.  I said that I already eat very frugally.  Now how am I supposed to cut back from frugal?  It is so frustrating.  

Anyway, I ended up spending $23.63.  Here is what I bought:

• loaf of wheat bread
• 2 lbs bananas
• 1 bag frozen California Medley
• 1 box fish sticks
• 2 cans tomato soup
• 1 can green beans
• 1 can peas
• 2 lbs squash
• 1 lb tomaotes
• mustard
• 1 box of four CADBURY CREME EGGS (score!)
• 1 gallon skim milk
• 1 lb broccoli
• 1 head of lettuce
• 5 lbs navel oranges
• 1 box of spaghetti
• 1 lb of kiwi fruit

I know that is still a lot of food for a small amount of money, but I sure did feel the rise in prices.  For the first time in a long time I felt really limited while I was shopping.  For instance, I wanted some grapes but they were $3 for a package.  I ended up getting the oranges instead, even though I really would have preferred the grapes, because I knew they were a much better deal for the money and were on sale for a great price.  I also noticed that the cans of tomato soup seemed suspiciously smaller.  Most packaging seems smaller anymore.  Why must they do that?  I'd rather they kept the sizes the same and just raised the prices if they really needed to.  Instead, I feel like they are trying to trick us.  Sigh.

Today we went out to lunch for a coworker's birthday.  I spent $5 (cheap Mexican + coupon = half off lunch!) on lunch for myself and pitched in $2.50 towards her meal (classified under gift expenses).

That means so far this month I have spend $28.63 on food for myself and have $21.37 left to spend (plus any of my surplus from the previous three months should it come to that).  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March Spending Recap

Below is where my money went in March:

Mortgage = $880.79
Car Payment = $350.00
Long Term Saving and Investment (not including my 401K contributions) = $325.00
Gasoline = $232.44
Phones/Cable/Internet = $190.73
Utilities (heat, electric, sewer, water) = $177.98
Car Insurance = $165.00
Business = $99.00
Car Maintenance = $95.35
Medical = $80 (Had a prescription filled and forgot to post it – sorry!)
Hair Cut = $54
Car Registration = $49.87
Groceries = $48.35
Pet Expenses = $47.73
Entertainment = $20
Charity = $16.00
Stamps = $7.92
Misc. = $3.01
TOTAL SPENT = $2,843.17

Reflection: Not one of my better months, but mainly it is just because of the timing of how some expenses fell.  I had some business expenses, car registration, car insurance, and some car maintenance all fall at once.  Plus my hair cut and prescription refill hit at the same time.  So lots of expenses that are not monthly expenses all hit at once.  

April doesn’t look much better with some very expenses scheduled plus I found out I need $200 worth of work done on my car – but I really can’t complain as I really haven’t had to spend much on this car over the years.