April 2017 Expense Report [Month 4]

Analysis: Expenses

  • Rent – $1767.95 – Fixed and in Budget. Actually a little less this month due to overpaying previous months. Balanced out.
  • Personal Allowance – $40 – Fixed and in budget. I actually still have $9 and some change. but I am just going to carry it over to avoid from needing to deposit in the bank.
  • Food & Dining – $664.13 – overall the budget is $650/m. grrrr, my spreadsheet had a discrepancy in a cell formula, so I spent a little more than planned. Cell formula fixed and the budget was zero balanced from other categories.
    • Groceries – $524.49 – included a Costco stock-up. Toilet Paper for life. Laundry stuff too. Clean smelling clothes for daaaayyyyysssss! 
    • Restaurants – $8.90 – cursed! A Friend pulled me a long for a last minute lunch run. I caved. And it wasn’t all that good. boo!
    • Coffee – $35.00 – 1x weekly mom-child time. actually reduced this by $15 this month.
    • Juice/Smoothies – $10.08 – after dental care treat
    • Fast Food – $65.23 – again, beginning of the month stuff. quickly put a stop to this. last two weeks were a $0.
    • Work lunches – $20.43 – this act started up in the beginning of the month. I put an end to that.
  • Auto & Transport 
    • Payment $334 – fixed and in budget
    • Gas $143.34 – trying to drive as little as possible. we had an trip to the family’s for Easter, but other than that I was able to keep it on the low from the budgeted $205/m.
  • Shopping
    • Household – $0
    • Books – $4.99
    • Gift/Hobby – $10.97 – was supposed to be paid with personal allowance but my child borrowed my cash. I didn’t get it back in time needed for purchase of the gift.
    • Electronics & Software – $1.99 – fixed and in budget
    • Pet Care – $11.84 – My cat had OCD about cleaning herself. So much she has licked away all the hair from her stomach and part of her underarm. Poor thing is going to look like a Sphinx soon. But now she is doing it so much that its breaking skin.I was recommended to use this Dr. Gold’s anti-spray with low doses of hydrocortisone, corticosteroid, and lidocaine. Not hearing her lick every 5 minutes is a blessing! And to say she is feeling better. I am looking forward to seeing her hair grow back in!Tip: spray 2-3 times into your clean hand and rub it onto the cat. Spraying directly on the cat can lead to gnarly scratches.

      Update: ugh, my furry child is moving away from her stomach (stuff works), but is instead taking out her leg hair. Prozac next?! Or another furry child to keep each other busy.

    • Shipping – $22.75 – Child’s penpal
    • Misc – $3.23
  • Bills & Utilities
    • Cellular – $90.02 – fixed and in budget
    • Internet/Cable/Phone – $109.15 – fixed and in budget
    • Electric & Gas – $51.10 – under budget $13.90
  • Charity – $25.00 – to help support the White Helmets. Because the whole situation is just heartbreaking and soul crushing.
  • CC Payment – $7.50 – trailing. balance $0.
  • C. Loan Payment – $555.39 – fixed and in budget
  • Annual/Sinking Funds – $104.00 – fixed and in budget

 
Cost saving initiatives:

  • Continue to pack my lunch and snacks for work. The latest work meal was blackened talapia, rice and sauteed spinach (consumed 3 to 4 times a week)
  • Still making free espresso or London fogs at work.
  • Friends asked me last minute to go out to eat. Ah! Not when I am on a tight budget. But instead of saying “no” (because one still needs a social life for good health), I scoped out the menu online before hand. Finding that a big proportioned side salad ($5.95) and a pint of beer ($5.95) would have me spending minimally.  I also ate a small bite at home prior to going. Lucked out, they bought be dinner because I had paid the tab back in the day. #win
  • The child and I get to Sbux once a week for breakfast. It’s a great time for some one-on-one conversation. Now I eat breakfast at home before we go and I went from ordering the specialty coffee down to a regular java. And I don’t miss the pricey drinks at all. If I want to get really crazy I add a couple shots of flavored syrup. I can’t say it brings the expenses down much because sometimes the child’s BFF joins us. But still saves us approx $10-$15/month #win
  • Started washing out the plastic tubs from food products to reuse. Will be great for packing work lunches or potluck to go containers. Not sure why I have not started doing this earlier. #environmentalWin
  • Bought local concert tickets months ago via use of the summer fund. Decided not to go. Sold the tickets for $15 more than I paid. Threw it in the snowball of my auto payment.
  • Said “no” to really good tacos for lunch like a zillion times. One day the electricity was out at work for 1.5 hours during lunch time and my food was frozen. It was tough to say “no”!
  • Ordered my Obi (Wan Kenobi) to establish my home phone with free service (Google Voice)
  • I’m reading a lot more. Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Since I do take my child to Sbux one time a week, I might as well try to save some money. They had a promotion running where you buy a gift card for a friend (the child) and get $5 GC for your self. I missed being on of the 45,000 purchases. #fail

 
Income

  • Salary$5,633.39
  • Amazon affiliate income earned: $4.06 (thank you!) – not counted in total salary as funds are deposited until they reach a set minimum amount.

 

Cruuuuussssshhhh It!

Starting Auto Loan Debt: $7,651.08

Ending Auto Loan Debt: $6,528.41

Snowball $151.08 + $60 + $300 + $80 + $16 + $157 + $35= $799.08

Regular payment $334.

Total towards car this month: $1,133.08

The bank employees viewing my account are probably like, “WTF with all the transfers?!”
Okay, maybe they are not. But I’m like, “OMG! This is cool!”

But going forward, I don’t anticipate such vigor. It will be approx. $400/m snowballs + a 3rd paycheck will have me on schedule to pay this off by November. Although, I see the balance… – $400… I would need to come up with $128.41 to tip it under the $6K line. Haha. We’ll see. I don’t know if I can pull it off.

Starting Total Debt: $71,313.09

Ending Total Debt: $69,964.86

The debt total was just teetering on the $70K line. I had to find a way to tip it over. Throwing whatever money I could find within reason. I don’t feel like I have missed out on too much. Maybe I’ve just learned to balance things better? Dunno.

Please let things continue to go smoothly.

$10,000 by November. Here’s how I am going to do it.

I’m always messing around with my spreadsheets and making new scenarios for this debt pay down. Well I kept tinkering with it because I was coming up short on being able to pay the auto loan in time.

Current goal is to pay down approx $7,000 by November before the SL come out of deferment.

Well I forgot about the snowball. (duh! such a dork sometimes). once the Emergency Fund was back up to par, that money would then go towards paying off the auto loan in time. Which brings me to the next part.

Excursion Fund

Remembering the last part and repurposing a small savings account ($500) recently has now made it possible to add the new plans of saving  up for what I am calling a “generational growth excursion”. I realize some people may not agree with that. And I totally get it, as I have $70,000 of debt to pay off. I argued with it myself for a while. But this is an opportunity of a lifetime I couldn’t pass up for various reasons. Here me out: it will be the first time I am paying cash for a large purchase. None of the excursion is being paid on credit. And what is needed beyond the $3,000 will be raised:

  • asking friends and family to donate their recyclables to us
  • setting up for weekend hire (garage cleaning,  painting, mow the lawn, car washes, etc…)
  • grocery shopping trips – earning 5% cash back rewards with immediate payoff

Even with the mentioned above, the budget would still need to be whittled down a bit. Here is what was revised on the monthly budget in more detail:

  • clothing budget – $50 brought down to $0. This will be tough not buying any clothes. The child has mass amounts (even though she says she has none). And I can buy anything needed from my personal allowance (I am gong to stretch my $20 bi-weekly faaaaarrrr). Maybe I can participate in a clothing swap and/or hope for gift cards & clothes gifts when holiday or celebrations arise.
  • Household/Food – $700/m to $650/m – savings us $50/m. This adds some restraint, but will not be too much if eating out is done rarely and work meals continue to be packed. So far in the last two weeks, we have not been out to eat at all.
  • Cellular x2 – $100 to $85 – $15 savings per month. I happened to log in to see what the most basic plan was for data on the prepaid phones. At least for my phone since 90% of it tethers off wi-fi. Well, we are at the lowest plan, but found my provider lowered the plan rate for whatever reason.  Glad I checked it!

  • Internet/Ph/Cable – The $35 savings is tentative right now. I will explain in a future post when I get it set up. But essentially it’s moving my house phone to Google Voice (free) with the use an Obi phone adapter (one time purchase). I’m not stranger to Google voice – been using it for years – as its a great way to provide an alternative number to dates or businesses. I didn’t connect my home phone before because there was talk that years ago that GV was going away. But now I hear its not. Once installed, I will rid of the the cable once again. Leaving the house with wi-fi only at the “standard” rate (these companies drive me crazy).

Total added savings per month: $115

with potential to save up to $150 (aka $1,800/yr).

Other: re-purposed savings account became the EF account; sinking funds account became the excursion fund account and dropped automatic transfers down a $100/m; added annual payments (aka, sinking funds) as a line on the expense report for now. but will be dropped into the EF account. really I just need to set up the money to be automatically transferred.

And that my friends, will just have us skimming by in November to make $7,000 in debt be paid off and $3,000 available towards an excursion equaling $10,000 I never thought I had to pull a trick like this.

ps – I would show you my debt payoff calculator scenario, but I want to leave an element of surprise to the amount snowballed this month. will post when all is past tense in the next week or two. :)

pss – I know you’re asking, “but what about paying the $2,394.40 of student loan interest before the deferment ends?” I’m using a 3rd paycheck in December to kick that too the curb. I never knew I had such monies. Focus works (hope I can keep it up all year).

Tackling errands, Cleaning out the closet & that antique thingamabob

This morning I tackled many errands. Getting the oil changed in the car, returned library books, made copies of Arabic recipes, picked up the child’s Easter present (with great savings due to a couple of Michael’s coupons – $10 total for cupcake decorating kit + cute Wilton tin liners. Then I bought 3 packages of cake mix $0.99/ea – all from my bi-weekly $20 personal allowance), stocked up on groceries we will need for the week and scrubbbbbbeeeedd my car. Love that it’s CLEAN and I did it myself (it’s been a while since its had a bath). So it was freeeeee.

The car still needs to be vacuumed. I was arguing with myself earlier if it would be better to get the car washed with vacuuming done at $20 a pop every 3 months or do it myself when needed. Still have not come up with an answer. But if I do spend the money, it will also come from my allowance.

My girlfriend told me yesterday that she was impressed I could maintain with a $20/bi-weekly allowance. So am I! Let’s see if it sticks.

After all my tasks were done I was ancy to do something.

Most of the time I feel like I am sitting around biding my time until my debt gets paid off. But today I actually tried to take my child to play in the city at a museum, have lunch, and explore on the dime of our summer savings account. She declined (teenagers! normally she loves the museum, but a video game won). I really should just go alone to the exhibit I have been trying to see, but its a distance. So I saved the event for another day and set out to declutter my closet. Vowing to toss anything that I haven’t touched in 6+ months.

Unboxed the china

I unearthed the china from the boxes that my mother passed down to me a few years ago. I have never taken it out of the boxes to observe. Good time to do so and to contemplate what to do with it all. It’s a beautiful birds of paradise antique set made in England.

I always wished I could drink tea in the English countryside. Sipping Earl Grey tea with cream & sugar and the pinky finger out.

the grandparents

There is a complete setting for six people (I need to replace one broken bowl). So… what do I do with the set? It’s all very fancy. I don’t own a china cabinet to put it in. The child says she is going to throw a tea party for her friends.

It’s not worth much financially, but has a lot of sentiment. I know I vowed, but I can’t part with this just yet.

Oh ya, does anyone know what the thing on the left is? There is a small opening at the bottom. The holes on the top are too large for salt (IMO) and I cannot imagine putting that much salt in something of decent size. Maybe there is supposed to be another one? Maybe just pepper?

Found it! It’s a sugar shaker!

Donations

I decided to part with a bunch scrubs I no longer need. I’m actually bummed they are not my daily attire anymore. Because there is a fondness there like one has with lounging in yoga or pajama pants.


So, I folded them up and will drop about 5 pairs off at the thrift store. I have two other sets in practically new condition. Will list them to see if I can make a few bucks.

And I have a great Lorna Jane double zipper vest from the premium black collection I will list too (unfortunately that doesn’t fit me anymore. but I only wore it once or twice anyway).

The other stuff is odds and ends that will be donated:

  • one decorative pillow
  • nice pair of Salomon trail running shoes
  • pair of heels and pair of slide ons
  • 4 small decorative pictures in frames
  • a new cat toy the feline didn’t find entertaining
  • 3 blouses, 3 t-shirts and a jean jacket that never fit right
  • floating shelf and 2 curtain rods
  • a bag of the child’s clothes allotted for a friend but never made it there

I did not get rid of too much, but the closet is clean.

Today’s savings: $25.80

$20 washing the car myself and $5.80 by using coupons on the child’s gift (and I’ll get to the be the taste tester of delicious cupcakes)