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Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category

Major Budget Change

January 28th, 2013 at 09:19 am

I had been hoping to get an apartment for $600/month which included furniture, internet, and cable (with HBO) with a private bathroom. Water was to be $10/mo and I had to pay my own portion of the electricity since the property would be student type living (roommate). But I wasn't able to get the deal that I was promised so it would now be $705/mo (that's including the water).

So now I'm looking at different places but WITHOUT a roommate. If I'm going to be paying that much I'd rather live on my own. Albeit I'll have to purchase my own furniture since I don't have any but that's okay. I only want a new bed with mattress, a table with chairs, sofa or loveseat, coffee table and a nightstand. I'd buy the bed/mattress new but the rest I'd get second-hand. My parents would actually give me one of the tv's that they have that has a DVD player on it. They just purchased a new tv and it's no biggie. haha!

But on my own I'd have to pay for electricity, water, and internet. I don't need cable because I have Netflix. I WAS hoping to find a place where I can pay $600/mo maximum for everything, but that probably won't happen.

I have two reasons that I want my own place.

I've NEVER lived on my own.

I went from my parents, to marriage, to a roommate when I become legally separated, to the Army, to deployment. Especially the last three years...

The second reason is just that I'm just over having a roommate.

I want to live on my own, be by myself and not have to consider someone elses feelings if I put something somewhere...

Whenever I get into another relationship I want to have that experience of just taking care of me. Technically I have been for the past three years but having to live day in and day out with several other people constantly and not being able to take a breather is just grating on my nerves!

So I'm aware that it may take me more gas than I had budgeted for but I'll just have to reduce my grocery budget. I wasn't planning on using the whole thing anyways. But I'll still put the rest towards bills of whatever is left over.

But that's life. To take what it gives you.

Just to let you know I've taken in consideration that I may not be able to find a place just for me. Which means that I WILL have to go the student type living. I've looked at another place where I would pay less than $600/mo. Private bathroom, water, internet and cable are included in the rent. But I would also have three other roommates. But it would allow for me to pay some things down and in a year I'd try another route.

Wish me luck!! =D

Military Pay Increase?!

January 3rd, 2013 at 04:06 am

Well another day another dollar. But in my case it's an extra $175.03 per month gross.

I've been looking at the military pay raise charts. I knew about the 1.7% pay raise to the basic pay but found out less than a week ago about the raises that would affect Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

This is great! This means that I can possibly either put more towards debt, savings or whatnot! I'm not sure how much this equals to after taxes but this is way better than any employer that I've worked for.

I have received two raises in the past year and I haven't even been promoted yet! (currently an E-3). Now I have to really look at things and figure out how to work it into my budget.

In the past my very small raises went into my pocket and seemed to have never existed. Now I want to respond appropriately. This will take some time for me to decide. What I really want to do is start contributing to my retirement. I already know that I want to put it in a Roth IRA although I'm not sure if I want it to be a TSP Roth IRA or one held with a bank.

There are also other things that I want to do such as participate in the 70.3 Half IronMan in 2014 (I need to purchase a bicycle for this because I no longer have one), go to the 2016 Olympics, do the Kona IronMan in 2015 or 2016 and purchase or build a home.

I could start my savings plans now for all of that as well as the things that are on my 2013 goals list (I'm thinking of adding these to my 2013 lists so that they can start getting funded). Or start contributing to my retirement earlier instead of waiting til I get home or both...

I will more than likely wait til I get back home to actually contribute to my IRA.

Donating Items to Family and Organizations

December 22nd, 2012 at 04:32 pm

Well I know they aren't kids anymore but they're still MY kids.

But I've been in their current shoes. One has just moved to a new place with my granddaughter and her new husband. The other has moved into her first apartment with her boyfriend and are expecting my other grandbaby.

Well I've decided to help out my kids. I'm not giving them money. I'm actually giving them things that they need instead.

I know for my youngest, I'll be getting her diapers, baby food and whatnot for the new baby as well as laundry detergent, paper towels, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

As for the oldest one I'm not sure what I can give her yet besides the same as above except for the baby stuff. (unless she's expecting and hasn't told us yet). The older one knows how to coupon but she who would say no to extra help. I'm not sure if the younger one knows how to coupon (if not she needs to learn).

I'm not actually spending extra money to get these items. I know how to get the majority of these items for free (such as diapers and laundry detergent).

Since this doesn't actually affect my budget I'm not worried about cost.

I've also will donate to at least two other types of organizaitons. A humane society, retirement home and possibly a women's shelter.

I actually know what the humane society in my area want/need. But more than likely I'll need to visit the shelter and retirement home to get an actual list of things they also want/need.

I have the ability to get certain items for free or near free and not a lot of money. I figure that since the actual item is more valuable, I'd donate that instead. In other words, since I can't afford to give them $20 but I can buy a few items for less than $5 but it actually would have cost $20-40 without coupons, I'd rather give them the product.

I don't know if that seems selfish or anything. I'm not sure if anyone will think that I'm not "donating correctly". I really don't care what they think. This is within my capabilities to donate the way I've described.

I've already decided to have several boxes for this. I figured that if I do this every few months then I'd have a good supply to give. (I plan on visiting my children so I'll just take them with me instead of mailing them).

By the way, I also donate my coupons (the ones I don't use). You can donate your coupons to the military overseas (they can use expired coupons up to six months after the expiration date).

Go to this link for more information about it: http://www.ocpnet.org/

What Do You Think?

December 15th, 2012 at 01:30 am

I have made a tentative budget of $200/mo for groceries. This not only includes food but also hygiene products, cleaning supplies and whatnot. I didn't think that I would be able to do this but I've reminded myself that I've done this before on less with coupons.

I've been thinking about something though. What if at the end of the month that I've spent less than $200 for all my groceries. Should I:

1. Roll over the difference for the next month
2. Use the difference to pay towards debt
3. One month rollover, then the next month put towards debt.
4. After 3 months rollover to savings.

I'm leaning towards number "3".

What do you suggest?

Cutting My Grocery Bill in Half

December 14th, 2012 at 04:22 am

Normally when you go to the grocery store you try to use coupons and buy things that are only on sale. Well I know that a lot of people get tired of doing that. I found a way to help solve the issue. e-Meals! This is a service built by two SAHMs. They go to the stores in your area according to the sales items they make a grocery list for you and/or your family as well as the menu with recipes. They do it for dinner and lunches.

No more scouring the ads to find out what's for sale. It's done for you. No more trying to figure out a dinner and/or lunch menu. It's done for you. They also give you the recipes for the menu.

Now even if you don't use coupons you've already saved because they only use foods that are on sale. But if you DO use coupons then you'll save even more money!

As an added benefit they can even customize your meals. From vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free, portion control and so on.

You don't have to keep the same menu either you can change it ever so often. I bought the 1 year for half price (got it from groupon.com). They have new menu/grocery lists every wednesday.

I think it's great for all of us that want to pay less groceries but don't have the time to go through everything to build the menu and grocery lists.

By the way, they also do crockpot meals!


November 24th, 2012 at 07:26 am

Well just to let you know, I'm a couponer. I'm not an extreme couponer. I can't go to a store, get $100 worth of stuff and only pay $1. Not yet at least! What I have done is pay $71 for $147 worth of groceries and I've paid $53 for $109 worth of groceries. Couponing isn't easy!! But I do believe that it's worth it!

You have to organize your coupons so that they work for you. But before I left for Afghanistan I donated all my coupons to the military.

Did you know that military personnel can use coupons up to six months AFTER they've expired!!

I sent them to a woman who then gathered up all the coupons sent to her and mailed them to a representative. There is one in each area/region.

But right now I don't have any coupons. So I need to restock but I don't want to start from scratch. So I've been thinking of having Sunday newspapers sent to my brother's house (he has my stuff anyways). But only for the three month subscription, that way I can stock up a bit and be able to shop for groceries right when I get home!

It only costs about $37 for the (13 week) subscription which is saving money from actually buying it every Sunday.

This is what really helps me budget for groceries every month. Don't get me wrong, not everything needs a coupon for me to buy. But I will try to wait for a sale if I can, but since I literally have to restock my kitchen I'll need to purchase almost everything!! UGH!!!

Funny thing is that when I get home, the newspaper in my area costs substantially less than the one in my brothers' area. But he gets more coupons. Oh well...

Relationships and Money

November 21st, 2012 at 09:28 am

My becoming debt free has me looking at a couple of things that I didn't consider in the past.

Money and relationships.

I come from being a spender and married to a spender and living paycheck to paycheck. It's not a way of life that I am going to continue in my future. If I could CHOOSE the person that I would have a relationship with, it would be a saver. That way I know that we'll have money in the bank.

I know I'm a spender but I believe that I have frugal tendencies. What I mean is this for example:

I want a TV. A NICE TV. I want it to be flatscreen Sony HDTV Plasma WIFI Smart 3D (without the glasses) and at least 65" if not more. This is what I want. That is the spender in me.

The frugal in me says this:

Yes for flatscreen because it saves space. No for size, you get a 50" or more. No for Sony because you're paying mainly for the name. No for plasma, get LED because moving companies will not insure that and the quality isn't that much from plasma as long as it's 120hz. Yes, to WIFI because you use Netflix and that can be hooked up to the tv directly. Yes to HD because that's pretty much what is sold now-a-days. Yes to smart tv because that's wifi enable, you can use the netflix with it. Maybe to 3D and if you can't find one without glasses then either settle for one with glasses or don't get 3D at all.

So pretty much the frugal in me says:

flatscreen HDTV LED WIFI Smart 50" tv with or without 3D. that's what you get.

Also the frugal in me says the best time to purchase a tv will be in January just before the SuperBowl. (this means I will shop online and have it sent to family in the states since i'm deployed).

I want a saver because the saver will make sure that we save for it instead of just buying it the same day we decide to get one. This will also allow me time to make sure what are the best options for us based on needs/wants.

I also don't want a person that is in debt and NOT trying to get out of it. I want someone who is either debt free or on their way to being debt free. I don't want anymore financial stress in my life or relationships.

Finances can break a relationship and I prefer my relationships to be broken on something other than finances, although I'd prefer them not to be broken at all.

My ex is still financially crippled. It has been 2 1/2 years and it looks as if I'm the only one that has learned from there past mistakes. But he's older than me significantly and should have already learned these lessons a long time ago. Maybe one day he will and will be at peace financially. I wish him much luck and happiness.

My future is brighter after it being so dark because I can see the light at the opening of the cave. The walls are no longer closed in on me. I am no longer dragging myself on the rocks and dirt of the cave floor. I am now walking crouched over, making small steps towards the opening that I can tell is not that far ahead of me. I can't wait to get there because I know it'll be such a beautiful place to be in. And waiting there is someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with that has the same goals.

So far so Good

November 16th, 2012 at 04:34 am

Well I've been looking for a personal finance software that would allow me to budget for the present and the future. I use to have Microsoft Money but I didn't really like the way it would try to get you out of debt although I did like the look of the interface that was used with it.

Well after much searching I've found what I'm looking for because when I get home I'll need a budget that will get me out of debt as well as plan for the future: youneedabudget.com otherwise known as ynab.com

I'll have to purchase it just before I get home so that it's waiting for me and ready to use. It's one of the reasons that I can't wait to get home because I'll start a new chapter that is about getting me out of debt, saving money, and buying/building my own home.

I want to be an independent woman and proud of where I am financially. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud that I have four less collections to worry about. I'm proud that I've paid off three credit cards and I'm proud that I'm going to continue to pay off other bills while saving money.

I'm especially proud of the fact that I've saved about $3,000 and counting.

But I wouldn't be able to do all of this without my parents. I've only been able to do this since I've been in the military which has been one year now. My parents have basically been solely taking care of my finances.

I didn't have access to them and still really don't while I'm here. When I get back home I'll have to dive into my finances and continue the awesome job that my parents have done.

Because of them I've been able to afford higher rent for my apartment and a new-to-me car. Yes, my rent is higher ($600) but it includes a 24/7 gym, 24/7 computer room, internet for my apartment, wood floors, furniture, my own laundry room and cable (HBO, etc). Water is $10/mo and the electricty is less than $40/mo so far. Renter's insurance is about $15/mo. So I can pay as little as $650/mo for my apartment.

I DID have to buy a new vehicle because my car wouldn't have made it to my duty station much less 5 miles down the road.

My new vehicle is a 2004 Sorento. It already has a tow package and roof rack AND it was in my favorite color!! It only had 75,000 miles on it at the time and I found it. Of course I asked my parents if it was a good by ($10,000 loan approximately) and they agreed especially since it's an SUV compared to the 1995 Altima that I had.

I do pay on it bi-weekly so that I don't pay that much interest. I already have a high rate on it already and I'm looking forward to refinancing it to get a lower rate and my parents off as co-signers ASAP.

My youngest brother (I'm the baby of six kids) has also helped me out whenever he can. I always ask him for advice about men and money and anything else that I think he can help me with.

Without my family I don't know where I'd be. I know not in as good a position of where I'm currently at. I'd be living paycheck to paycheck. But now I don't have to worry about that anymore. There has been a HUGE relief for me.

I love my family! THANK YOU!!!!

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