Back to reality and my Budget

Down the rabbit hole only the strong survive the trip back

Down the rabbit hole, only to return stronger.

It’s been a few weeks since I got back on my budget.  I’ve even started using my debit card exclusively and no longer charging anything.  I need to pay it off and get my budget back on track.  I have school expenses and a class for work I have to pay for.  I’m still attending a 4-year institution, but I also have to take off work for 2 1/2 weeks for a medication aide class I am taking to further my skills at my job.  My job may or may not pay for my med aide class, but that would require me to commit to only working for them.  They can only guarantee me 8 hours as a med aide per week, and I can’t commit to that.  I want to work as much as possible at the higher pay.  I’m not dumb, money makes things better.

Money really does make things better.  Not everything mind you, but it surely made my life happier when I thought I didn’t have to worry about it.  I even lost my insomnia for two weeks while I was living in La-La land thinking I didn’t need a budget.  It was a great two weeks but now it’s back to reality, even if reality is insomnia, no money, and a strict budget.

What I’ve been doing in the past two weeks

I started living off my debit card only.  I realized I only had about $100 for the rest of the month, which required me to only buy what is needed.  I needed a tank of gas and food, but at least my pantry was stocked and I didn’t need too much.  I  just needed to make sure I only got what is needed, nothing more.  I made a list of what I wanted to get and checked out prices online for a good starting point.

I haven’t gone out with friends.  I realize that I seem like a hermit, but I have no good reason to go out other than spend money.  There really isn’t much to do in this town without spending money.  Even with money the options are limited.  I have decided that playing video games online with friends, or watching movies at home will be my entertainment.  Not very sociable, but then again when I am in school I don’t do much anyway.  Not very many people understand that, and I don’t ever plan to make them.  To each their own.

I don’t buy fast food or convenience foods.  Ok, I really haven’t done this since I was married.  I’ve been a poor divorced college person for way too long and going out to eat is never in my budget.  I go when I really need to get the hell out of my house to spend time with friends.  I’ve been cooking more and more for myself in the past year and a half, so going out to eat seems less and less fun.  Once I find someone in the area that likes mexican food, italian, greek, vietnamese or anything that isn’t fried I will cook the hell out of everything for them.  Seriously though, my cooking is just not for the people around here otherwise I would have friends over every weekend.

That’s what I have been doing to save money. I don’t buy name brand, except for peanut butter.  Gotta have my natural peanut butter.  I also don’t have very many places to choose from when it comes to shopping, so I go where I know things are cheap.  I have a small grocery store for things like cheap seasonal fresh fruit, a walmart for everything else and the dollar store for cheap canned stuff.  Other than that I just stay away from shopping all together.  It’s just easier to not spend if I’m not tempted.  Besides I get more homework done that way.

Have you gotten back to using a budget?  What are the ways you choose to curb spending?

- FBS

$3400 mistake in credit card Debt

Panic button

The last panic I experienced was after I saw a payment of $3,400 go out to my credit card. Yeah, my last post was about not letting my credit card debt own me.  That was before I saw more money go out than I had in my checking account.  I don’t know WTF I was thinking.  Let me explain.

I had planned on making a big payment because of the third paycheck I would be receiving in October.  I had figured I could use that paycheck to pay off my remaining debt or close to.  Either way I was going to wait for the last money to come in before I sent my payment.

On my day off I was wasting time trying to wake up when I saw an email saying my payment for my credit card was due.  I had never let it lapse so close to the due date so I figured I would send some money to take care of it.  I would pay the rest at the end of the month.  I’m not sure if it was because it was my day off, I wasn’t awake or I had only slept 5 hours, but I had sent a payment of $3,400.

Panic set in

That night when my bank notifies me of the payments sent out for the day I saw the $3,4000 staring at me on my notification screen of my phone.  I had been taking a break from school work and relaxing over xbox live.  I instantly starting gasping for air as I did not remember sending a payment that big.  I had debated sending a huge payment, but thought against it because it was so early in the month.  I remember thinking I could swing $1000.  Nothing more, and I definitely would not be buying anything including groceries.  I would only spend money on gas and I had just filled the tank which would last me until my next paycheck.

I still don’t remember punching $3,400, but in the end panic attack or no panic attack I accept it.  I accept I overpaid with money I didn’t have.  I accept any and all charges.  I also accept that panic set in.

I guess the moral of the story is whether I want my finances to run or not, I need to get back into budgeting, paying attention to my debt and being the responsible money person I was.  If I don’t I am liable to get blindsided again by dumb money moves.  I definitely don’t want that again.

Anyone else take a break from budgeting only to get back into a mess?

- FBS

Credit Card Debt is what I have, Not who I am

College Credit Card Debt

I have had a hard time writing a post to publish.  I skipped my last deadline and still had trouble coming up with anything.  It wasn’t for lack of writing as I have 115 drafts hiding in the wings of my blog.  I have also been sending out lots of emails and texts to a new love interest and I started school.  School takes up a lot of my writing and time,  since I never seem to be perfect enough when it comes to what needs to be said.  These are not excuses, just explanations of where I siphoned all of my time instead of on this blog.

I think I haven’t been able to come up with much to publish on this blog, because my life hasn’t had much to do with finances.  More like I have been ignoring my finances lately in order to live life.  I know I had a huge credit card bill and no fun money, so I set up everything to be paid at the beginning of the month and let it go automatically.

I usually don’t carry credit card debt, but it seems as though paying down my washer and dryer along with other household problems has made my balance increase instead of decrease.  I finally put plates and license on my car, so I could drive that to save money on  gas (also own an SUV for winter).  Little did I know it gets cold at the end of summer and looks like driving the car is a bad idea.  I only say that because there are freeze warnings, along with snow possibilities all the time.

Timing, and not knowing my area seems to keep adding to my credit card debt.  It doesn’t help that I didn’t save for current class like I normally do.  I just figured I was going to keep putting off classes if I didn’t just suck it up and put the money on my card.  I don’t regret accumulating the debt as I know it is my priority to pay it off before adding too much more.  I still use the card for gas and groceries, but have been frugal and not buying much of anything.  I know I will have it paid off quickly if I keep that mindset.

Have you ever racked up credit card debt and regretted it?

- FBS

Life takes Breaks so why not my Budget too?

She loved life and it loved her back

My blog stopped working this weekend.  I have to say it was completely my fault.  I was trying to start a class for work, juggle CSU, and my personal life.  Needless to say I failed–miserably.  At least I didn’t forget to pay the bill for my Internet provider or to my domain provider.  Wouldn’t that be the shit, not paying my bill?  I can’t say I am perfect though, because I racked up some debt blowing off steam this weekend.

I had one of those weeks that just wouldn’t quit.  I keep thinking when it ends I will…  Not a good sign since I have been trying to live more in the present.

I tried starting a class for work that would give me more opportunities.  It would help at my current company, but I could take the knowledge to other companies as well.  It was a two-week class that involved a full textbook and no breaks in site.  I knew it was going to be hard and thought I was prepared.  I have been taking 8-week condensed courses through CSU for a while now, but it didn’t prepare me for an even faster pace.  I had 5 chapters I had to finish, study and somehow find time to work before the next day.  That is where I would take a test on the 5 chapters scoring 85% or better, and then I would do it all over again.

I also had Work

I’ve only been at my current place of employment a little over 3 months.  I’ve already started training a newbie, moved on to a more advanced unit and worked a whole area of 51 residents with 1 other CNA.  I’ve dealt with plenty of deaths and changed my outlook on life.  If that was a sign that I should have taken a break then I don’t know what was.  I didn’t take a break instead I went straight into starting school.

Then came my Personal Life

I’ve made some new friends, and some old friends since moving to my new state.  I miss Colorado in a way, but have been trying to adapt.  To me it’s like loving this state and then you run into something you don’t understand and being completely confused about everything.  I guess that is how someone describes a relationship.  I’ve also run into some of the same problems with my new and old relationships.  I’m happy, but then I am completely confused.  It didn’t help this past week at all.

I finally realized I couldn’t study, work and skip my personal relationships at this moment.  I needed to fix that.  Lack of sleep was only making matters worse.  I moved my class for work to January when I could take time off work.  I moved CSU to start classes at the end of September. I had a day off because of the timing of it all.  I reached out to everyone and anyone I knew.  I needed some sane time and being by myself was not going to cut it.  I had no one reach back.  It was devastating.  What would normally be blown off my back, cut like a dull finger nail clippers-painful and slow.

Then a Friend Changed Everything

A friend of mine dropped everything to come and fly out to me.  I was completely ecstatic.  Someone to hang out with who understands me, someone to laugh with, be at ease with, to talk to and enjoy life.  I laughed until my gut hurt, I talked about whatever came to mind, I overspent money enjoying life.

Sometimes over enjoying life is worth the money.  I now have some debt because of this weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m not sure how I will pay it off, but sometimes living life is more important.  I won’t look at my budget, because I would rather feel the high that this weekend brought then worry about finances.  A big change to what I am used to, but for the moment it suits me quite well.  Besides, debt, my budget and money will all be waiting for me when I do take the time to see what damage I have done. Life takes breaks so why couldn’t my budget?

Have you ever blown your whole budget over a weekend of living life?  Have you regretted it?

- FBS

Save Money Why Stress?

Save Money why Stress

 

I have one of those relatives that will stew about money even if it is a $1.  She could even save money and will still let it run in her mind for months. She will ruminate, let this $1 plague her for months and never stop talking about it.  She doesn’t do it to spite anyone, I personally just think she has some sort of anxiety.  This anxiety makes her nervous, anxious and feel sick if something is a minor problem.  This time it was money.

 

I took my relative to Target with me as a fun little outing, working nights it’s hard to make time for the people I love.  We were having fun just chatting and getting food for me, when she found a deal on cat food. It was the cat food she busy for $11.99 sale price including a free $5 gift card.  She didn’t know it was for two items until she got to the register.  She thought it was Two separate $5 gift cards for both bags of food she purchase.  That’s another part of the story.

The Math

Cat food 16lb @Walmart – $11.78 per bag or $23.56

Same Cat food @Target 2 bags @ $11.99 and get 1 $5 gift card. Total $18.98

Savings of $4.58 before taxes. 

Not huge savings, but enough to get the food and two bags at Target instead of her usual place to shop which is Walmart.  Personally I don’t buy pet food from either place, but thought she should take the deal and run.  I did the math before we left the store and tried to calm her down.  Money is money and she saved money.  She didn’t lose any.

I’m just not sure why this is such a huge problem.  It’s the cat food she likes to buy for her two cats, it was on sale, and she did save money.  She had a problem with the gift card at first, but the cashier and I both showed her the ad to prove the fine print said two cat items.  With all this logic I’m just not sure why she still be having a problem with the money she saved.

Do you know someone who frets over a dollar or two?  Has anyone lost a dollar or two and wouldn’t stop talking about it?

- FBS