Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Unprepared

I had spaghetti for breakfast. Yup, you read that correctly. I was rushed to work and didn't prepare anything for breakfast so I had two options: 1-run across the street to Brugers and grab a bagel or 2-get resourceful and eat what I have at work. I got some pretty odd stares putting a plate of spaghetti in the microwave at 9:45am but oh well, it was free and I was starving. I'm potentially going to Applebees tonight with my Leadership group so I have to save all the money I can so my allowance lasts one more week. Hopefully tonight I actually get around to baking those muffins!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fantastic weekend comes to an end

What a great weekend. MG and I house sat while my folks went to visit the sister in New Mexico. Friday I worked and hung out with MG and the BFF. Saturday I cleaned out some of my junk in the storage room so I can make room for my big move home this summer. One huge bag to GoodWill, one huge bag to the trash! Definitely still more to do but it's a good start. I got off work early Saturday evening so I thought I'd surprise Matt and not tell him I was on my way home. Come to find out, he was trying to surprise me by getting my watch engraved so he wasn't even there when I got home! He gave me this watch back in September but hadn't found a good engraving place until he found one close to my folks house-taking my watch without me noticing and getting it engraved without me realizing you're gone is not an easy task so I understood it'd take some planning. I do love the end result though! One of the links says 9/18, which is when we started dating and he has a nice message on the inside of it. Yay

We decided that since MG had a gift card to Marcus Theaters and the closest one to us is in my hometown (close to my parents house) so we finally saw Alice and Wonderland. His gift card even had enough on it for popcorn! It was kind of a trippy movie, but what else should I have expected with Tim Burton? Afterwards, we came home to play a game and whoever won had to get Little Ceaser's. I won! So we made a fun trip to get our $5 and fell asleep watching "The Invention of Lying".

Sunday I had a group project and normally when I have to get up early and hike somewhere, I like to stop at Caribou or Starbucks. Although I hadn't had breakfast, I stopped myself from spending the money and luckily, one of our group members offered coffee to everyone so problem solved! We even got finished a little early! My mom had grilled some chicken breasts for MG and I so we had those for lunch. YUM! We tried to make rice to go with it but it was really soggy and not cooked well so we made chicken wraps instead. Double YUM! I headed off to work again and realized I didn't have to close like I expected. I also found someone to work for me on Sat. if I switched for her Friday afternoon shift. YES! We can go to Wisconsin after all!

Sunday night we had a nice spahgetti dinner and actually stayed awake through "The Invention of Lying", cleaned/packed up the house and tried to head to bed early for our too-early commute in the morning.

I did also make a few purchases at Express...but let me explain. On Sat. I had a $30 gift card for racking up points with my Express card. I bought shorts and fancier flip flops. THEN on Sunday, sweaters were %40 off, which means with my discount they're 70% off! You can never have too many cardigan sweaters-so I got 3...overkill, I know but I did pick colors I don't have a lot of (or any) clothes in and I can dress them up for a professional setting or wear them casually and still look nice. Lastly, two of their editor dress pants, the grey and mocha colored ones, are being discontinued. I have always intended on buying them for when I have a real job but that's not going to happen anytime soon so I have to get them now anyways. Since they're being discontinued, they're 30% off, meaning %60 with my discount. How can I pass these deals up? My Express card had a balance of $0 and although I shouldn't be spending my money on this when I stress about it all the time, these deals won't last forever. Once this gets paid off, I've decided I'm going to put allowance aside every paycheck for Express. I can't afford to keep splurging unexpectedly like this and yet I still do. So if I have the money saved up for when we get an extra 15%off, I can physically see how long it took me to get that money and a-I might not be so tempted to spend it all/waste it all and b-I will be prepared for any purchases I do make with that money.

I will also be starting to put money aside for Country USA, which is a concert over my birthday weekend that lasts for about 4 days and it's really such a fun week. Campsites shouldn't be that much split between everyone, I think only $30-40 and we get discount tickets for the concert part for only $40 so if I do $10-$20/paycheck, I'll be fine by the time June comes.

So with all this spending I'm doing, I have found ways to cut back. I once again avoided Starbucks this morning even though it was SO early and it's attached to my office building! I brought my lunch of left over spaghetti and diet coke but then I got a coupon for a free Punch Pizza! YUM! So I'm saving the spaghetti in the fridge at work so I will be prepared for the rest of the week's meals and not have to eat out at all! I just need to make some more muffins tonight for breakfasts at work and I'm set.

Last, but certainly not least since this is kind of big news....my school job in the accounting office has asked me to stay for the summer. As a student employee, I'm supposed to be terminated come May 31st but they found a loophole and want to keep me through the summer since I'm already trained and can really help them with account closings this summer. It's the same pay but 40 hours/week for about 10 weeks. The biggest downfall is that I'll be living in Lakeville this summer rather than on campus so the commute just got a whole lot suckier but if it means a decent paycheck, I'll take it. I have no other options at this point so it's important. I feel a little better knowing I will have two jobs for sure this summer and after doing some math this morning, I'm thinking I can save about $4000-$2000 to save and $2000 towards loans. That would help!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick question for everyone

Ok, so I'm keeping this post fairly short for today but I need your opinion. Today is Express payday and in order to make ends meet next payday with my smaller paycheck from being gone on Spring Break, I have to think about how to arrange the money accordingly. Normally, 20% goes to savings, which this week is $17. The rest of that paycheck goes to complete my budget and anything left over is a loan payment. Today, the left over amount is $34.20.

My original plan was to save that $34.20 to carry over to my next paycheck to make ends meet. Then I had the $17 I can choose to save or make a loan payment. So there are two options right there.

Or, I could make a loan payment with $34.20, keep the $17 in savings and then when the next paycheck rolls around and I'm a little short, I can take what I need from savings.

I know savings is important and all but when I have an interest rate that's 12.75% and I won't be able to make a loan payment at all next paycheck, I really want to do what I can right now. My interest has already accumulated to $17 so if I let that sit through this paycheck and the next, it's going to be a lot harder to make a dent in the actual loan after I get through the interest.

So it's up to you readers-let me know what you think is the smartest move to make this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thanks Mom!

Before spring break, my mom gave me ICE (In case of Emergency) money. Thankfully there were no emergencies and that money is still in tact. Upon offering to give it back, she said I could keep $50 of it. YES! It turns out that gas was over $20 more than I had set aside so now I have to pay the credit card bill with the gas purchases on it and I was going to have to find an extra $20 from somewhere. TaaDaa! And I still have a little balance on my credit card from my own stupid purchases (see earlier blog posts) so I can use that to pay it off! Thanks mom! She also said that while we house sit, she made spaghetti and chicken breasts that we can have for meals and let me gas money for all the commuting! THANK YOU! Maybe, JUST maybe, I can stretch that now $31 (yes, I had a meeting at Starbucks yesterday so I spent some more money...oops) for 2 weeks. I can do it!

The meeting at Starbucks was beneficial though. I met with my Journalism School mentor Elizabeth Dehn, who just started a cool new blog for herself. She gave me some great tips on starting out, including some names I can contact about potential jobs. She was excited about my blog and said there's even potential to get ads for my site! I never would have thought this could be a job in itself! That would be the best since I have to post almost daily anyways to keep me sane! Anyways, I now have a new outlook on job hunting and I'm hoping it can last a while.

I did apply to Kwik Trip gas station yesterday for a summer job. Just in case nothing else turns up, I can have two part time jobs and this one pays better than Express PLUS the BFF will be my manager-fun! And it's right by my parents house so I could even walk if I wanted to.

Speaking of Express, I got a raise! It's a whopping $.23 but I'll take what I can get. It's not the promotion I'm working towards but I have my review this afternoon so hopefully I'll find out how close I am to reaching that goal.

Lastly, on a sadder note, MG's craptastic computer has officially died. I hated that old thing anyways but his cash flow minus a strict budget is depleted once he buys a new one. Bummer. We both really need good jobs asap! Bye bye social life-good thing we have an abnormally good time playing board games for free.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A fresh start

As I've mentioned, today is payday. I only have $68 left in allowance already because I spent $20 on gas and had to take $20 out for an assignment where I had to make copies at the courthouse and to develop pictures so I could get my room listed for a sub leaser this summer. Anyways, $68. I am beyond determined to keep my spending on track and stick within that limit for the next 2 weeks. The countdown is on and let me tell you, it's already a challenge. I remembered that I have a box of pizza rolls in the freezer here at work but my heart is set on Erbs and Gerbs. I would love a nice sub and fountain drink but there's $7 right there when I can spend $.75 to get a diet coke (OR fill up my water bottle for free at the drinking fountain!) and chow on some pizza rolls.

ALRIGHT-So I had a break in this blog post and in that time, things have changed. I did end up finding a can of diet coke in my desk drawer from a few weeks ago so that takes care of any beverages. AND the U has Grad Fest going on right now. Basically you go, get your cap and gown, do exit interviews for student loans and all that jazz. MG just called to inform me that caps and gowns are $32. Now, I realize that fabric and caps and tassels don't just appear out of thin air and people do actually work to make these and thus cost money BUT seriously U? You have already taken every dime I have and have put me in this serious financial bind by boosting your tuition and fees every year since I've been here and yet you couldn't possibly cover this after all the thousands I've given you? Seriously? Well-there goes half of my allowance just like that.

$36 left for 2 weeks and it's STILL pay day today! Pizza rolls and anything free is looking pretty great right about now. This will be quite the challenge considering I am house sitting for my folks this weekend, which means that $36 will go entirely towards gas with all those trips back and forth. SWEET!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm starting to panic

Thanks for the advice people-it helps. I wish I could keep you in my wallet reminding me to keep my money in there unless I need it. It still has been difficult to be spending free this week since I haven't taken the time to plan meals, pack my lunches etc. but I'm trying-I really am. Tomorrow is pay day and it can't come soon enough. I miss having a hefty savings account I could fall back on and not worry from paycheck to paycheck. I have about $17 going into savings and $35 left over after my budget is complete but I can't even make a loan payment because I have to carry it over for my next scary, depleted paycheck. BUMMER!

I did the math today to figure out what my next paycheck will look like since it's pretty much cut in half and it was kinda of scary. If I am able to go to Wisconsin over Easter weekend, I will be about $30 short of fulfilling my budget, not to mention no savings deposit and no loan payment. That's 2 paychecks with no loan payment and that is VERY scary to me. I guess it's what I deserve for going on fabulous spring break.

On top of all that, I'm beyond stressed about after graduation. I just wrote a fantastic, creative, unique cover letter with the advice of a good friend who basically uses hers as a golden ticket to really cool jobs. I've updated my resume, which now includes my latest award "Outstanding Student Employee" from the U of M that I just received. And I've been filling out applications as much as possible. Here's the thing: I'm a little limited because I won't have much money saved up for living expenses come May so I'm forced to stay close to home until I can build up some savings. That really limits my options. I'm just really nervous I'll be stuck just working at Express and not able to afford anything, let alone set aside significant savings or make advanced loan payments. I'm just really beginning to panic that I'm going to drown financially and much faster than I ever expected. I know I have the nanny position to fall back on and that would really help to not have the living expenses etc. but it's a temporary solution. I don't know how to ease my nerves about this really scary unknown future. I have WAY too big of loan payments coming my way to be calm about this.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bye bye savings and bye bye spring break

Credit cards are bad. Very bad. I really should get rid of mine. Everyone once in a while, I use it for little things here and there and forget about it. This has happened a lot lately and I'm realizing..."shit, I don't have money for this balance." I had to take money out of my savings tonight to pay my bill to maintain my good credit but now I'm really disappointed that the majority of my savings is gone just like that. I don't know how to get it through my head that it's not ok to spend when I don't have extra money lying around. Seriously. I feel like I have cut back a lot these past few months but I'm getting back into my old habits and it's NOT good. Any advice, tips, tricks, ANYTHING?! HELP!

It's the end of my last spring break and I have two things on my mind. 1-YIKES! School is done in less than 2 months and then I'm on my own with absolutely no financial plan. It is very scary not knowing how I'm going to make ends meet and be able to afford these upcoming crazy loan payments. 2-I'm going to work my ass off to earn as much as I can at both jobs in order to maximize my income and secure myself for this scary upcoming summer.

I'm going to stick it out at Express as long as I can but at the same time, I need to buckle down and try to find a full-time position. Between the scare of falling back into my old poor spending habits and the bleak financial future already, I'm starting to really freak out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back to reality

First of all, here's a shout out to MG and his family. His brother's leukemia is back after only a very short period of being in remission. We found out a couple days into the trip and it's tough. The bone marrow transplant from his younger brother didn't work so now they have to look into other options. It looks like he'll be doing out-patient chemo for five weeks and then wait a six month period and then chemo for two years. As a result, doctors say he will have to post-pone starting college even longer, which is probably the most upsetting part for MG'S bro.

We were going to go visit his family over Easter weekend and now Express is cracking down on attendance and requesting days off etc so they have rejected my request for that weekend. There's a new manager that's doing the scheduling and her new strict rules that only 4 people out of a staff of 60 can request off one day at a time is completely bogus. We don't need all 60 workers in one day so back off. We all have other lives since this is only part time for all of us so get off your high horse and be realistic. Plus she keeps scheduling me for shorter shifts-if she would just schedule people for a little bit longer, we would be able to request more days off when we need to. When there's a family emergency like I mentioned above, it's not fair for these rules to be so strict. Now I have to wait until the Wed before Easter weekend and then scramble to see if anyone can take my shift with such late notice. UGHHHHHHHH. If things keep up, it's going to be a real challenge to keep this job but I absolutely need it to afford my budget every two weeks, let alone make loan payments or build up my savings. I really need some advice here.

Well, I'm back to the 30 degree weather, piles of homework and I have a nice little cold/bronchial infection in the works to boot. And when I say little, I mean it's growing out of control as I type. My lung capacity is half of everyone else's so any cold or infection goes straight to the lungs and wears them out. It's likely I'll be missing work tomorrow or Sunday in order to be hooked up to my nebulizer and medicine. Fantastic.

The trip, however, was worth it. The weather was MUCH better than expected, the company was fantastic and a break from work and homework was perfect. I even brought a couple dollars home with me and didn't have to use my card. For gas, to make it fair, we put it all on my card and I'll divide it up when the bill arrives. But I set aside cash for that too so I should be good to go. It was such a nice place and the party scene was at our hotel's beach so we could bring our own drinks out to the backyard and have a great day for free. The nights were a little expensive with $10 cover charges everywhere we went and $12 a drink but I only needed one of those each night so I kept the spending to a minimum. We made our own meals for breakfast and lunch usually and then sometimes we went to dinner and sometimes we cooked.

So I have about $10 cash and $20 left in my allowance to make it until payday on Wednesday. That should be easy as pie to make it. So far, no one will work for me this weekend so it looks like I'll have those hours going for me too-even if I do feel like completely butt. Time to eat some ice cream and watch Precious.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who do I think I am?

This week I must have been under the impression that I'm rich. I don't know how I got it in my head that I can spend all this extra money but I easily and frequently did. I just updated my budget and although it's not terribly detrimental, it's not exactly ideal. Instead of eating the groceries I've already spent money on and that will go bad while I'm gone, I chose to eat fast food for most meals. Why? Because I was lazy and distracted with midterms that I just didn't put any effort into it. I also ended up having to get a few more things for the trip (batteries, magazines etc.), which came out of my allowance. I did end up finding the BFF a good b-day present for $20-an electric wine opener since we both struggle with opening those darn bottles. However, she was having a bad b-day so I surprised her at the restaurant she was going to with her family and dropped $25 on drinks for her-oops. She had a great time and I'm happy to do it but I really need to stop living outside of my means!

Today, however, is payday and I have already made my $61.10 loan payment. It feels great to see that number go down but it does feel like a terribly slow process. I was also able to boost my savings by more than normal. It's at just about $200, which is quite the improvement to the $.22 I had a month or two ago.

My mom did end up giving me an early Easter present, meant to be spent on a bathing suit for the trip and some spending money. That will definitely help but I am a little bummed that I have to worry about money while I'm there. It's to be expected I suppose but still a bummer when no one else seems to be concerned. Oh well, at least I'm getting outta here! No school, no work (THE BEST PART!) and I'm not even bringing any homework! Normally for a vacation like this, I would go to Barnes and Noble to buy a book or two for the car ride and lounging on the beach. Instead, I've borrowed two, renting one from the library and I'm actually reading a book or two of mine that I haven't gotten to yet. God, I sound like quite the bookworm.

Now I'm off to my last shift at Express until I get back! I plan to work the entire weekend I get back to make up for my missed week so I better enjoy this freedom while I can! South Padre here we come!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Slight change of plans

So I changed my paycheck plan just a little bit.

First of all, I realized I was putting too much towards rent because the roommate that collects rent checks also collects cable money. I was originally putting that cable money towards rent, when it should be coming out of my utilities fund. That leaves me an extra $13.57 from each paycheck. Not that much but helps. So I was all excited because I assumed my loan payment could be an extra $13 bigger (over $100!). But then...

I realized that all the extra hours I've been trying to get is to make up for the time I won't be working so I need to make sure I have enough money saved up for that paycheck. As a result, there's no miraculous loan payment going Sallie Mae's way anytime soon. I've doubled the amount I put towards savings so it can be extra reinforcement when my paycheck's cut in half. This makes it an $82 savings deposit and only $61.51 loan payment. I'm glad I'm still making a payment at least. I think this is the best decision; better safe than sorry.

I also was taking a look at the money I have set aside each week for Spring Break spending money. After gas, travel items and a trip to the liquor store, I will have about $40 a day. I have no idea if this will last me so I'm a little concerned but I think if I play it right I can do it. Good thing it's free to lay by the (gorgeous!) pool and sip my own beverages! And good thing we have a kitchen so we don't have to have expensive meals every night. I'm curious to see if this is reasonable or not. EEK!

Last but not least, I had extreme self-restraint tonight. MG and I ran to Target to stock up on goodies for the trip. Bathing suits are on sale and there were two cute ones I really wanted. Actually two cute tops and a solid black bottom that would match both of them. I was dreaming of a new suit for the trip since the two I have are a couple years old. I allowed myself to try them on and both were perfect. Believe it or not, I ended up getting neither! I couldn't pick just one and I ended up spending $40 without the suits anyways so it was definitely a smart choice. Smart doesn't always mean happy-I definitely acted like a pouting four-year-old as I walked out of the store suit-less. But I'm already over it (for the most part). I know I'd rather spend that money while I'm on vacation, considering my budget is already tight but still, they were really cute.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Great week for great paychecks!

I know I JUST posted a couple hours ago but I have some more exciting news! My Friday paycheck amount is posted online and it's much more than I expected! I guess all those extra shifts I picked up have paid off! I'll be getting $206.09, which means 20% goes to savings ($41.22), $69 goes to checking to cover my budget and that leaves $95.87 to give to Sallie Mae. That's a much larger payment (almost double!) than I expected so I'm pretty stoked. With that payment, my loan will be down to approximately $3111.91, which is just a few payments away from being under $3000, YES!

I have contemplated paying for my parking ticket with this extra money but I'd rather argue it or pay for my mistake with my budgeted money-if I can. If worse comes to worse, it comes from savings. I just would hate to detract from a larger loan payment since I know an upcoming paycheck will not have a payment at all.

I'd also like to point out my attitude about this unexpected extra money. Normally this would give me permission to shop or put some extra money towards spring break, (and trust me, as I type this I would like to put it towards all of those things) BUT please notice the excitement in the first paragraph about paying off my loans. I'm so pleased to have discovered this attitude, and although it's definitely not as fun as a new outfit or a few extra drinks on the beach, it's worth it.

Stupid parking ticket

I forgot to mention this last week but on Friday, I got a $42 parking ticket! I was outraged considering: I paid the meter more than I needed to just to be sure, I've parking in this spot every week for almost a year and other cars in the same parking lane were not ticketed. They're claiming I was parking in a truck zone for longer than 30 minutes and good thing I came out to my car when I did because they were going to tow me! Why would they have a parking meter that says, "1 quarter/hour up to 12 hours" in an area where you can't be there more than a 1/2 hour?

The thing is, I don't have time to go down to the court house and argue this when my days go from 8am-6 or 9pm and I work on the weekends but I also don't have an extra $42 at the moment. Does this constitute as an emergency? What's the best idea? I need some help!

Monday, March 8, 2010

It doesn't cost a thing to smile

One of my favorite songs, "There's Hope" by India Arie hopped on my ipod this morning at work and it inspired today's post. The chorus goes:
"There's hope
It doesn't cost a thing to smile
You don't have to pay to laugh
You better thank God for that"

What a positive message for this gloomy Monday.

Anyways, nothing too new going on. Wednesday is payday and I'm thrilled for that, although the money will all be allocated somewhere by Thursday. It's the BFF's birthday on Wednesday and I still haven't figured out an inexpensive good gift. We will be celebrating over Spring Break and I'll bake her a cake etc. but I'm still hoping for something good to come up. She always out-gifts me and I always feel bad I'm never as financially secure as she is. Any ideas are more than welcome!

I should be able to make a $65 loan payment this week, which is pretty exciting. After interest, that'll chop down roughly $55, which is never a bad thing. And I always love seeing my savings account grow as well. I swear, my Friday paychecks are almost more rewarding than my bigger school paychecks that give me my allowance. That must mean I'm getting into the right mindset huh?

I haven't done a good job of staying within my means as far as going out to eat etc. but I'm trying my best this week before SB to really cut back and utilize all the food I have so it doesn't go bad while I'm gone. I just having extra costs on my credit card from my extra spending. It's not a ton but a couple meals here and there rack up and I have to realize how bad that is since I don't have my safety loans to back me up. UGHHHHH!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Back to my old blonde self!

I finally cashed in my envelope of money set aside specifically for getting my hair done. $90 whoppin dollars. On my way to the hair apt. I was thinking, "Man, that'd make a nice loan payment or would really help when my spring break paycheck rolls around. Maybe I should just cancel and keep the money and let my hair be gross." I felt bad canceling at the last minute and I figured I'd been saving up for this for months now so I deserve it.

And let me tell you, it was worth it. I didn't realize how badly I needed it until my hair dresser kept commenting on how dark my roots where and that she assumed I must have a full head of brown hair by now since it's been so long! Yikes! And it really does look so much better. My boss at Express went nuts telling me how fabulous it was. Maybe this was a good investment because if I seem fashionable to her, it might help me out with this raise I'm working towards!

I am still kind of bummed I couldn't have made a big loan payment or made my savings a little stronger but I'm working both jobs today and doing my best to make up some extra hours. Long but productive weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I caved

So today I had class until 2:15 and a meeting at 3:30. It didn't make sense to waste time going all the way home and back in between so I worked on homework in a computer lab. I didn't have a snack with me and didn't know how long my meeting would go so I caved and bought Starbucks. I didn't want to but I knew the caffeine would do me good with another long night of mounds of homework and yoga. I figured I could enjoy it guilt free because I didn't have the option this time of making it at home. Then I get all the way to my meeting and the guy doesn't even show! I could have gone home after class after all and made free coffee and been a lot more productive! URGH! Oh well, I can't even remember the last time I had Starbucks so I had to cave at some point.

I got asked to work tonight and sadly I had to decline a)because I had to put my new yoga mat to use and b)midterm week is really kicking my butt and I should focus. Also, I had to give up my Sunday shift because I have an Oscar party to volunteer at. I told them I was only available until 3, they approved it and then scheduled me until 4. Lame-o! I will just have to do an even better job of stretching the money I do have to last me through these lower paychecks and pray that better opportunities come my way soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The streak has ended

Well, 4.5 days lasted a while but today I finally caved. I did a great job at Rainbow and my coupons got me $22 additional savings, not to mention the other sales...But I also had to swing by Target to grab new headphones, courtesy of my mom-bad idea.

I even told MG on the way there that I was ONLY going to grab headphones and get outta there to keep my streak going...BUT then I realized I was going to need flip flops for our trip and then I saw yoga mats were on sale and mine is quite embarrassing. It doesn't lay flat so I look like a complete tool with my mat flopping around while I try to do lunges. Plus, my instructor explained that the reason I have a big bruise on my spine from ab workouts is because my mat is so thin.

And THEN while I was in the workout area, I was looking at how much weights were so I could workout at home but I refrained on those for now, BUT I did see a workout video that focuses on my lower half. When I do yoga sculpt, it focuses a lot on my arms and core but I really want to tone my buns and thighs so I can feel confident roaming the beach in a week and a half. So in my last effort to tone up, I got that to do in conjunction with yoga. After I FINALLY finish this stupid midterm paper, I'm definitely going to try out my new mat and DVD!

So sadly, the streak has ended, but it's not exactly free to be healthy so I should consider it an investment right? Oh well, this just means my allowance is officially gone (besides that lone dollar in my wallet)until a week from today. Let the streak start again!

It's Wednesday Already?

I know just last week Wednesday seemed to take forever to arrive but after this busy week, time is just flyin'. Anyways, day 5 of this no-spending challenge is off to a great start with a very real possibility of getting to day 6 without a hitch.

I was invited to the Shout House tonight for 80's night but a)I have a big pile of homework and b) I don't want to have alcohol be the item that breaks my streak. When I told my roomies why I couldn't go, one said, "that'd be so much fun!" and she was referring to my no-spending challenge. I will admit, it kind of has been fun getting creative and resourceful so I don't waste unnecessary money. I'm hoping that I can go long enough to start a habit-wouldn't that be great?

With a dinner at home and a night at the library, it'll be easy to avoid spending. Although it is double days at Rainbow and I have a stack of coupons so I probably will get a couple groceries -but in my book, my grocery money is already set aside and my no-spending challenge is referring to my allowance so I'm still good. I need just enough to stock up until Spring Break!

Also, this weekend will be easy to avoid spending because minus my hair apt. I'll be working (a lot), doing homework and volunteering at an Oscar party so I don't even have time to spend! Perfect.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I should be doing homework...

but I just had to share a proud moment! My first class ended early and my second class was miraculously canceled so I finally have a full afternoon dedicated to my to-do list. I've been craving an afternoon homework session at Caribou Coffee but guess what! I came home to grab my things and realized no one but MG is home! The house is quiet (it's rare!) and I have a coffee maker sitting right behind me so I'm skipping the loud coffee grinders and the distractions of people watching to turn my dining room into a free version of Caribou. The table here is bigger too! This is SO unlike the Katie of 2009 and a very proud moment indeed.

My Sallie Mae payment from LAST Thursday finally went through today. It says it was processed yesterday and I have accrued $1.12 since YESTERDAY! Good god Sallie Mae. Oh well, with all this money saving I'm doing lately, I'm boosted with confidence that I refuse to let it defeat me. The loan amount is down to $3,197.78, which is just about $1000 off from the original total minus all that interest crap. Just one more week (+ a couple days) and another payment is coming their way!

Lastly and sadly, my headphones are broken. No music comes out of the left ear unless my head is turned all the way to the left-not exactly my ideal listening position. It happened yesterday so my new challenge is to see just how long I can bebop around campus or spend late nights closing at Express with only right ear music. It's probably only $15 to get a new pair but I'm on day four of no spending and I refuse to let a pair of headphones break my streak.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Got gas?

I sure do! But it's the good kind, not stinky at all! I'm referring to, of course, car fuel. Rainbow has a promotional program where everytime you purchase groceries, you receive Roundy's Rewards towards BP gas. These rewards equal discounts on gallons of gas. I've been receiving rewards for a while now but I always went to the more convenient, non-participating BP so I never knew what I was missing out on.

But in my quest to save every dime, I wanted to stretch my last BP gas gift card as far as possible so I asked MG to go slightly out of the way to a participating BP to see what would happen. This afternoon I got a text saying, "Wow we saved a ton on gas." At first I assumed sarcasm but come to find out, it was quite the steal! Although a lot of my rewards had expired, I had quite a bit stocked up and we saved $.90 per gallon! Normally it takes a little over $20 to fill up the tank but today it was only $13! Holy Canoly does that make me thrilled! So that leaves me with $16 left on the gift card meaning I can easily get another fill-up since apparently I'm only $1.40 away in groceries to receive my next reward. What a fantastic discovery!

I have to keep this short since I have a paper to write but I would like to proudly say I made it through day 3 without spending a penny. Even if that meant I had a tuna snack pack and popcorn for lunch, I did it. Tomorrow should be another easy savings day! How long can I go?!

A case of the Mondays

Is it Monday already? Sure enough. MG works early on Mondays so I come in to work far too early for my liking. To make matters worse, I would like to reference a favorite movie of mine: Dumb and Dumber. Loyd and Harry are driving in the car and trying to entertain their new hitch hiker friend and ask, "Hey, want to hear the most annoying sound ever?!" and without an answer they proceed with an obnoxious off-pitch wail that as Dane Cook would say, "makes you want to punch babies." Well there's been construction going on in this building for a while but now there's drilling effecting our department directly and it truly is the most annoying sound ever. I don't even think my head phones can drown this one out and it's so irregular that I can't even get used to it. Not a great early Monday start.

Anyways, I came to the realization last night that I am soon to be coming up on a paycheck that is anything but ideal. Of course it's deserved since I will be on a beach having a grand ol' time, but that still puts me in a big crunch later. So as of now, I'm trying to preserve all the money I can to make things easier during that time. I'm on day 3 of not spending a dime and let me tell you, it's not fun. I had a morning group meeting at the Purple Onion and I couldn't even buy a hot chocolate or coffee, which would have allowed me to get the internet access code.

It's definitely a challenge but I've always been a fan of challenges so let's see just how far this money can stretch me. I have $1 in my wallet in case of a real emergency (because you know that'll do a lot of good) but my goal is to have it in tact by Friday!