Monday, May 30, 2011

Expensive weekend

Well, the dress clothes for the funeral ended up $310 total (but I did get back $20 in Kohl's cash to use later).  The suit jackets ended up $75 each, with tax. I made the mistake of having the guys look at shoes with me while we were at Kohl's, rather than just getting them on my own.  The shoes they picked out were $57 each, so about twice what I had budgeted.  And Dh wanted a dress shirt he saw, so that added another $22.  Ah well...

I really need to get back into couponing and getting the good deals.  I've been pretty lax the past month - I just haven't seemed to have the extra energy.  And with the past couple of weeks and dealing with the loss of our friend I really have had no desire and have found it hard to concentrate.  While grocery shopping yesterday I had at least brought 2 coupons with me, totaling $2.50.  I totally forgot to give them to the checker!  So, my goal now is to get myself back into the game of savings.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More of those inevitable unexpected expenses

Sadly, we have a funeral to attend this weekend.  Dh and Ds are going to be pall bearers.  Unfortunately they aren't much "dress up" kinda guys so their nice attire consists of khaki's and the like, but neither of them have a suit jacket or black shoes and Dh doesn't have black slacks.  So, will have to fork over some dough on all that.  We got Ds's sport coat tonight - $70 at Penney's, which was about the minimum I figured I'd have to spend.  Tomorrow I am taking Dh to Kohl's where I have already scoped out a bunch of black sport coats on clearance for $66.  I have no idea what size he is in that kind of jacket, so hopefully one of them will be his size.  I saw their dress slacks are running about $27 and they had some dress shoes for $35.  I did get a 15% off coupon in my email today from Kohl's (THANK YOU KOHL's!!).  All in all this is all going to cost me about $225 total. But, it's one of those things that can't be helped.   It's also costing us quite a bit in gas as we've had to fill up the truck in order to haul some things to help out with the funeral service and reception.

What to do with my hair?!

I have a lady that that cuts my hair - she has a little salon in her home.  It's cheap - $12 and I tip her $2-3.  My hair is shoulder length layered so I can usually go 8 weeks between cuts.  I've always colored my hair myself (well, my mom does it for me) as I have never been able to afford having it done professionally.  The past few times I've colored it I've tried to go change from blonde to a light brown - the color just won't hold too long - within 2 weeks it's all faded out back to blonde (which isn't my natural color anyhow, so I'm at a loss as to why it keeps going blonde, since I haven't actually used a blonde dye for quite some time now!).  I've been wanting it a light brown with blonde highlights, so splurged and spent $50 (with tip) for my hair lady to do this. didn't turn out near the darkness I wanted it to, but I did like the highlights she put in.  The shade did last quite a bit longer than my home dye, but my hair lady said that the reason my other dye jobs didn't last could have been a result of the shampoo I was using...some shampoos fade out the color, so it could just be that is why my home dye jobs have not held whereas hers did hold longer.

So, it is time for a touch up..and I'm at a loss what to do. I still REALLY want it light brown (and my hair lady realized it probably wasn't as dark as I wanted it and said she would go even darker next time), but I just do not want to shell out another $50, especially if I am going to end up as disappointed as I was last time.  I'm thinking of trying a light brown shade at home and then keep using the shampoo I switched to to see if the color holds longer.  Probably worth a shot to spend $7 or so compared to $50.  Heck, I guess it would be better to color my hair at home every 4 weeks at $7 each rather than spend $50 every 8 weeks! Hmpf.... I've been using Clairol Nice n Easy, so I think I will try the new foam type they have out. It looks like that I can do myself rather having to have my mom do it for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding new savings

In January I got a nice raise which gives me about $300 extra per month, after taxes.  We had been discussing in the past year getting me a new car.  My car was 7 yrs old and nearing 125,000 miles - more than likely to soon be needing costly repairs.  Mom offered to loan the money and I was considering a mid-size 4 door car in the $20k range.  We sat on the offer for close to a year (as I really didn't want a car payment for as long as possible).  Then dh and I made a very good decision and decided we would buy something used, not more than 2-3 years old!  I was so proud of dh!  He's finally becoming a tad frugal!  With cash available and time to look to our advantage we figured we could come up with a pretty decent deal on something nicely used.  We ended up with the deal of our lifetime! We got a 2011 car, with less than 5,000 miles on it for half what it had been new 6 months ago! We paid $12,600.  Dh had also been wanting to buy a used SUV type truck - something we could all fit in (kids, their friends, dog, etc) and something that would haul our trailer.  Dh was able to find something perfect for $5k.  So we combined our purchases as one loan from my Mom for $19,000 (to include sales tax/licensing).  All in all - less than I originally thought of paying for ONE new car. We still are trying to sell my old car, so when that happens we will be able to reduce the loan balance, hopefully by $5-6k.  I'm currently paying her $250/mo, but plan to increase whenever I get a raise (usually every year or two).  With all the change in cars and the addition of another one, of course our auto insurance went up - but it went up a lot more than I would have expected.  I was paying $240 a month and it went up to $360 and that was without even adding the extra truck!  I did some online shopping around and changed insurance companies. I am now paying $278/mo for everything.  So, figured I saved at least $1000 per year by switching (to Progressive, by the way)

I also was able to make some changes to our cell phone plan as my contract for the phones Ds and I had expired. We were paying about $130/mo for 3 phones (Dd is on my mom's plan as a 2nd phone was no cost to her). Dd got on my mom's plan too, for $10/mo and I changed to T-mobile prepaid plan. I purchased a phone for $30 and a $100/1 yr card.  In 3 months I have only used about $20 so far.  I so rarely use a cell phone that is the perfect plan for me!  I just have it for emergencies and quick calls when Dd needs to be picked or or something like that.  I then dropped Dh's plan down to a basic one phone plan for $30/mo ($35 with taxes) until his contract runs out (a little over a year more now left).  So we have reduced our cell phone bill by about $75 per month.  When dh runs I will switch him to a prepaid plan like I have. He rarely uses his phone either.

With the warmer weather upon us my electricity/heating bill will go down significantly.  Our April bill was $345  - - - May is now down to $207 and June - Sept will probably be closer to $130/mo.  That will give a nice boost to the monthly budget and help give a little breathing room for a few months.

Trying my hand at blogging again!

I LOVE to read other's blogs and when I do I always wish I was a blogger!  It's hard for me to stay motivated to keep it up, I guess.  Life will get in the way and then I get off track.

Our monthly budget and lack of money left over after bills has been a struggle lately and I haven't been able to figure out exactly why.  We've been managing along from paycheck to paycheck, and able to cover those inevitable "unexpected" expenses each month, but this week has been the worst.  I have $107 left in checking and not paid until next Tuesday.  I am hoping the direct deposit will actually hit my bank account on Saturday morning.  If payday is on a Monday, this is what happens..well, Monday is a bank holiday and Tuesday is payday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our payroll company will be transferring the moneys to our accounts on Friday, so it will be available on Saturday.

Right now I have to figure out how to come up with some extra money for a sport coat, black slacks (he only has light colored dress pants in his closet) and black shoes for order to be a pall bearer at a funeral.  I found a nice jacket at Kohls on clearance for $66 and the black slacks are running about $27.  I was hoping to find shoes for $30 or less, but Kohl's only had $35 and up.  Walmart had some for $24 but were out of his size. I looked online at Payless Shoes and they have several around $30. I was digging through my coupon pile and found a 20% off coupon for Payless, so that would bring it down to $24 for shoes.  With tax and all this is at minimum going to come to $130 total.  And of course I need to purchase it before payday.  Dd's bank accounts are linked to mine and she has about $150 in hers, so I guess if worse comes to worse I will borrow from her for a few days.  Or I could always get my checks from my side jobs a few days early.  I hate to do that - it's no problem to let the owners know I'd like to submit my monthly invoice a few days early, but I just hate to ask unless it's dire emergency.  I will probably just transfer Dd's money over for a few days.  Luckily this payday is a 96 hour check so an extra days pay, since it's typically 88 hours - an extra days pay will be nice to have right now. 

I have been trying for months now to get a $500 emergency fund in savings.  Things just keep coming up. In March we had ants invade our house (again) so that was $240, plus another $43 added to my monthly budget.  Our internet router went on the fritz, so a new one cost $84.  I have to have working internet to work from home and Dh can't seem to survive without being online 24/7.  Dh needed a few shop supplies he was out of, totally approx. $100, Dd needed a dress and shoes for her upcoming 9th grade dance.  Though I am proud of her choices - dress only cost us $25 and the shoes were $37.  She is having her hair done by a friends sister and they are eating at a friends house before the dance. 

I am trying very hard to work this paychecks budget to have at least some of that $500 to put in savings.  My net check will be about $2570 plus approx $600 from my side jobs. After fixed expenses I should have about $1300 left!!  I need to get away from relying on the income from my side jobs to get  by each month.  Those could end at any time. My mom is taking myself and Dd to Hawaii (expenses paid by Mom!) next month, but I would like to have a couple of hundred to take with me.  I'd like to buy my mom dinner one night and maybe a few souvenirs.  And I'll need to leave at least that much at home for Dh and Ds as I know they will eat fast food every night, since neither of them cook. We'll be gone for 10 days, but my end of June payday will happen during the trip, so I could always wait until that paycheck hits my account and then I will for sure have even more money - enough to use my debit card and take my mom to dinner.

I just cashed in 7050 MyPoints today for a $50 Kohl's gift card.  Darn, it sure would've been handy to already have that in my hand to purchase the dress clothes for the funeral!.  Oh well, it should be here before the Hawaii trip and we can use it to purchase a few more summer clothes items. I could use one more pair of shorts, a tank top and some cheap flip flops, and I'm sure Dd would like something new.  Plus, whenever you spend $50 at Kohl's you get a $10 voucher to use on another purchase, so it's really like we're getting $60 to spend :-)