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Archive for March, 2008

March roundup

March 29th, 2008 at 09:08 pm

Well, March was a spendy month; I spent about double what I spent in February (gulp). Much of the addtional spending was justified but still I hate to see so much variability--and I *really* hate it when my spending for the month surpasses my income for the month, even with the tax refund.

Extra spending was as follows:

$600 another expensive vet trip for Henry and his allergies
$165 getting a broken tooth fixed at the dentist
$500 buying the beginnings of a new professional wardrobe as I prepare to transition from academia into the corporate world
$200 in professional expenses (books, software)
$100 stocking up on wine, beer, sodas and extra food for a party
another $200 in extra food expenses--not that the food was wasted, but that it was eaten out or bought prepared, thus unnecessarily expensive
$82 to buy 200 "forever" stamps before the price increases on May 12
$132 prepaying an extra month early on my home gas bill--they changed the date the bill was due and refused to change it back, and I really like to pay my bill immediately after my monthly paycheck arrives and not a week before it arrives, so I decided to get a month ahead to avoid any late fees.
$90 extra prepayment on the mortgage to get it down to 89K.

As so often happens, financial and weight control go together--I slacked off a lot on exercise during March, and gained back 2 pounds. Still down about 7 from the end of last year, but I can feel those two pounds.

So the goal for April is another personal "challenge" month to see how close I can keep my monthly total spending to about $2000. No "extras" this month (unless I get a job interview, in which case I still need a professional pair of shoes), and I need to start back shopping more at Aldi's and Giant, much as I hate them, rather than at my beloved Wegmans. And I pulled out the pricebook I put together two years ago--time to update it since the last time I used it was in 2006. Should be interesting to see how food prices have changed in that time.

And it's a challenge month for health, too--I've joined an online "April Boot Camp" challenge on Leslie Sansone's walk club board, the goal of which is to lose 8 pounds during April. So I'll tighten up and refocus on fitness, too. I just started another round of "First Strides," the local women's walking/running program (that was another $40 out the door); those two workouts a week with other people (in addition to the two mornings a week I walk with my friend Anne) should help keep me from slacking off).

Big Spender

March 24th, 2008 at 01:51 pm

I am about to send out resumes looking for a summer internship, and in the fall will start hunting for a job in the business world (accounting). After a lifetime in academia, where my standard Lands End/LL Bean wardrobe has been sufficient, I decided that I needed at least a few more upscale pieces. So I bought 3 blazers, a pair of pants, and a skirt (mostly Jones New York brand) in preparation for the transitition. I also bought a bit of makeup since I almost never wear any. All in all, I spent about $500, although if I'd paid full price, the price tag would have been about $720, so I saved about 30% by virtue of sales and (eek) opening a Macy's charge to take advantage of the 20% discount (I'll close it shortly after paying the bill).

I feel queasy spending so much on clothes, but then, working at a college, I sometimes see students dressed up in their job interview clothes and realized I had nothing so high quality in my wardrobe, so I figured it was time to bite the bullet.

I suppose I should also have something a wee bit more corporate than my embroidered basset hound handbag to carry papers in, too!

Final Report: My February Challenge

March 1st, 2008 at 09:56 pm

My February Challenge was to do a "fiscal fast," minimizing extras and sticking to spending on monthly bills, food, fuel, and medical emergencies. Total goal for spending was $2000.

On the one hand, I overspent my budget by about 10%, so that the total spending for February was about 2200. And yes, about 200 worth of expenses could have been either postponed (most of them) or avoided (a few of them), but only $5 is spending I regret. And on the other hand, that $2200 is the lowest monthly spending in quite a while, as my monthly spending for 2006-2007 has averaged over $3000.

Spending included 10 no-spend days--more of them in the first half of the month. The second half I ate out more (but had lower grocery expenses) as midterms at school kept me busy (busy for teachers as well as for students!) (note that by "eating out" I mean grabbing a sandwich or bowl of chili at a fast food restaurant and not a full-sit down meal at a real restaurant, of which I had only two, one after doing a 24-hour fast for a medical test, and one after seeing a play (for $5 each) with my sweetie as our belated valentine's celebration.

This month I'm going for a monthly total spending of $2700--still a cut but not nearly as much because I anticipate car repair and veterinary expenses, plus I need to buy at least one nice job interview outfit since I will be looking for a summer internship and getting ready for "real" job interviews come the fall.