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Archive for June, 2015

Been awhile - some updates

June 29th, 2015 at 01:12 pm

Just checking in. Things have been busy over here. SO and I had a blast on our mini getaway (2 days at a local BnB). There was a bit of confusion which resulted in us getting an extra night sometime in the future, so we'll definitely be going back there. The restaurant had the best toast I've ever had, and it turns out, it's just from Costco, so I'll definitely have to check into getting some.

We leave for Fl on Wednesday afternoon. I still have no idea about costs to us, but I guess we'll find out. My brother is going to be staying at our place to take care of the animals, so that will save us quite a bit in boarding fees. I plan to cover his food costs (I'll leave a frozen casserole or two for him to heat and eat, plus we have a pretty stocked fridge) and pay him a small flat rate - probably $75 or $100.

SO and I spontaneously decided to do a 3-day detox cleanse. The scale hasn't been moving for my dietbet, Fl is coming up, and it's just generally a good idea to hit reset on our bodies. The total cost for all ingredients for both of us was about $160. While I definitely could have done better on this (buying frozen or from Aldi), it comes out to about $80/person or about $26/day. The average cost is supposed to be about $16. I will also note that some of the cost was for supplements which will obviously be more expensive. As for the cleanse itself, we made it through day 1 (although we're both a bit crabby about not getting food). The breakfast drink isn't too bad; lunch is just brutal; and dinner is manageable. We're hoping that even though we'll be off of it by the time we leave for Fl, it'll help us keep our gluttony in check. I will also add a huge shout out to SO who's basically only doing it to support me. There's no way I'd stick to this by myself, but having him there makes it easier.

Animals are all good. DD2 is finally starting to get the hang of going outside. She's been going on the patio consistenly for awhile now, but in the past few days, she's finally started going number 2 actually outdoors. We're also transitioning to taking her all the way outside whenever she goes to the patio door. DD1 got the hang of potty training so much quicker, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Random Updates

June 22nd, 2015 at 12:51 pm

After the fiasco last week, things have been slightly better. DD2 is back on the prescription food, so her droppings are more solid again. She's getting the hang of potty training. We went to visit my mom this weekend and she had no accidents. She went to the door each time she had to go to be let outside.

However, we have plenty of spending coming up. DD2 actually broke our living room table, so we had to replace that: $540. We got a very sturdy wooden one that is not likely to move when 2 80-lb. dogs slam into it. We also have the BnB trip later this week and then the Fl trip next week. I'm very excited for a little bit of a break, but am dreading what the spending will look like. DD1 also has his yearly shots coming up next month.

I'm not sure, but I think we came in well under our pet spending this month. I'm going to roll that to next month to covers his shots. Other than that, I think July is also going to be pretty lean. Luckily, we have 2 free Papa John's pizzas from rewards points. Those are my fallbacks in case I hit a down point again.

Auto Accident

June 18th, 2015 at 03:32 pm

I also completely forgot to mention this, but I was rear-ended the other day. I was so angry that I didn't do anything I was supposed to (take pictures, exchange info, etc.) other than snap a picture of his auto insurance card. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got, so I decided to file. His company told me they may not accept liability given that I had so little information. While I understood that, I was still peeved about it. Fortunately, they were able to confirm the accident with the guy and have accepted liability. It's a good thing as there was more damage than I thought totaling just under a grand. So I'll have to get my bumper replaced in the next week or so.

Fell off the wagon...

June 18th, 2015 at 02:47 pm

We got Five Guys for dinner. In full disclosure, I still feel it was worth it overall. There's just some guilt that I ultimately could have done without it.

***DISCLAIMER: The next part of this story gets a little gross if you're squeamish like me...***

I fully intended to make lemon pepper chicken with potatoes au gratin and veggies yesterday. However, when I got home somewhere between 630 and 7, I was greeted by a crate full of crap...literally. DD2 had gone in her crate. She's been having lots of diarrhea lately, so it was mostly liquid and she'd smeared it everywhere. As I was going to get her out, she did what she normally does which is sit and wait for me to open the door. However, her tail was swishing right in the pile of you-know-what. So she comes out of her crate, guns blazing, and despite my best efforts to get her out of the apartment as fast as possible, she still managed to smear poop on my purse, SO's travel bags, and several walls. After I walked them, I immediately put her into the bathtub and got her cleaned up. And then I had to address everything else. Basically, by the time everything was clean (including me since I definitely needed a shower afterwards), it was almost 8 and SO still wasn't even home yet (he was supposed to get off at 5).

All of that made me really upset and the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. I even tried to talk myself into it. I reminded myself of my goals - both financial and weight-related. Nothing worked. I was convinced nothing would make me feel better than a huge burger and a bag of greasy fries. And actually, I did feel a lot better and while my wallet is definitely lighter, my weight didn't really increase.

Tonight, I will be cooking the chicken, potatoes, and veggies as SO's friend will be spending the night.

Weekend Spending and Other Updates

June 15th, 2015 at 01:37 pm

There was finally some spending. SO came home Saturday!! I spent $65 on groceries, $7 on gas station fare (2 energy drinks and a bag of chips) on the way to the airport, $60 on a Sunday afternoon movie date (Jurassic World in IMAX 3D - so expensive, but worth it to us). We went to SO's parents' house last night for a cookout. I've mapped out a meal plan for the rest of June using chicken and tuna as the bases for most meals. I plan to hit BJ's and the grocery store tonight with a budget of $150. Then I will need to make one more stop next week to fill in the gaps (right now, there's only two items I foresee needing).

DD2 went to the vet last week to get her boosters and rabies. It's kind of nice not having to pay anything since it's all spread out under the $60 monthly care club payments.

SO and I have the bed and breakfast next week and then the FL trip around July 4th. We haven't really budgeted for either of these (one was unexpected, but the other, there isn't really an excuse), but I'm reasonably sure we can cash flow them.

I just sent in another $150 Chase Freedom payment. That puts the card at $305. I still need to move that $100 from Navy Federal which will put it at $205. If I can find the paperwork for Aflac, that will be $150 more leaving me $55. I have $35 budgeted from next paycheck which means I will just need to find a lousy $20 bucks. I may cancel my monthly $25 savings transfer to my BOA account and use that.

On that note, I've been trying to simplify all the cards/accounts I have going on. I recently closed my pet and vacation funds from Capital One 360 leaving me with Car and Emergency funds. I also have a checking account with them that I will look into closing once I verify the period has passed on their promotional offer. I'm going to close the BOA CC and my savings account with them. I had it to prevent overdrafts, but since I now keep a buffer in the account, it's no longer necessary. I really don't want to close the BOA credit card as I've had it the longest, but it has an annual fee and I no longer use it, so I'm going to take the hit to my credit score now while I don't necessarily need it. Once I finish up the Slate and Marlo Furniture cards, I'll have to decide what to do with those. I had originally planned to close them, but I may just stick them in a drawer somewhere, so the available credit still helps me. I also want to simplify the loans (I have 3), but since 1 will be paid in December, one is my mom's responsibility, and the third is on auto-pay, that may not happpen for awhile.

June Budgets

June 15th, 2015 at 01:14 pm

I'm really late on this, but here's the June budgets:

My Account
BOA Savings: 25
Capital One Savings: 30
Netflix: 9
Insurance: 83
BOA CC: 33
Navient Loans: 45
ACS Loan: 170
Phone: 170
Wells Fargo: 50
Target: 83
Food/Gas: 90
Misc: 50
Mariner: 100
Chase Freedom CC: 656
Chase Slate CC: 25
NFL Points CC: 60
Apartment*: 1400

Our Account:
Rent: 1535
Electric: 70
Gas: 60
Verizon: 95
Groceries: 300
Entertainment 75
Misc: 0
Couch: 200
Pets: 400

The apartment under my account is my contribution to our account. For my account, I added in a miscellaneous fund for those random things that keep popping up.

I have yet to charge anything new to the Chase card, and that budgeted amount is the full balance, so if all goes well, then it will be paid off fully. I made a meal plan for the rest of the month and this may be the first time we come in under budget in the groceries category. I already know we're going to be over our entertainment budget, but I didn't want to fudge it, so I put what I had budgeted.

May Numbers (Our Account)

June 12th, 2015 at 12:44 am

We really bombed this...

Item: Spent (Budgeted)
Rent: 1555.84 (1560)
Electric: 89.09 (140)
Gas: 58.35 (60)
Verizon: 93.15 (95)
Couch: 50 (100)
Groceries: 105.60 (200)
Entertainment: 682.03 (300)
Misc: 144.93 (0)
Pets: 1083.91 (200)
Total: 3862.90 (2651)

The last three categories really killed me...especially pets. I'll post June budgets tomorrow, but I upped the June budget to $400 as a result of this egregious failure of pet expenses.

May Numbers (My Account)

June 12th, 2015 at 12:31 am

Below is my April recap. Apparently, I missed May budgets, but I'll put in the numbers from my personal spreadsheet:

Item: Spent (Budgeted)
BOA Savings: 25 (25)
Capital One Savings: 30 (30)
Netflix: 8 (9)
Insurance: 84 (84)
BOA CC: 67.67 (0)
Navient Loans: 34 (0)
ACS Loan: 170 (170)
Phone: 178 (178)
Wells Fargo: 50 (50)
Target: 0 (0)
Food: 66 (40)
Gas: 138 (50)
Clothing: 40 (0)
Pets: 0 (0)
Miscellaneous: 261.39 (50)
Entertainment: 192.64 (0)
Taxes: 0 (0)
Chase Freedom CC: 1396.52 (460)
Chase Slate CC: 25 (25)
NFL Points CC: 57 (57)
Mariner: 100 (100)
Car: 353.48 (0)
Apartment*: 1400 (1400)

More things, plus need some advice

June 11th, 2015 at 05:52 pm

I've thought of some more...most importantly:

Oldest CC: My BOA card is coming up on its annual fee of $59. It's my oldest card. I don't charge anything to it other than to my auto-fill EZ Pass and a recurring payment for SO's Christmas gift that wouldn't be too difficult to pay off. I'm going to call and see if the fee could be waived, but they've never been willing to work with me in the past. My question is, do I close it if they won't work with me on the annual fee? I'm guessing they won't waive it every year and there's not much difference between closing it this year or next, so I'm tempted to just take the hit to my score now while I don't particularly need it. What do you think?

Food: Other than the whole pizza debacle earlier this week, I've been doing well. I am out of milk, but I'm trying to hold out until this weekend when SO gets back.

To-Do List: I made a huge to-do list of things I want to do before SO gets home. My goal is at least 5 things each do. Last night, I finished 5, but started at least 5 others.

I've Been Slacking

June 11th, 2015 at 02:49 pm

SO comes back Saturday. Until then, I'm mostly just trying to survive. These past few days in particular have been rough. I did cave and order pizza, but managed to stop the slide when I was trying to justify fast food the very next day (and the next). Lots going on, so I'll give a brief update on the things I can think of:

Spending: Other than the pizza ($20) and an unexpected winery trip ($40), I've been pretty good. I still owe a June budget, but it's pretty tight.

Mom Loan: She is fully responsible for this but asked me to move the due date. Navy Fed wouldn't move, but I am going to pay it ahead one month, so she can set it to auto-pay when she wants. She will be paying me back through...

Vegas Trip: (I fully expect heat for this, so feel free to fuss...) My mom got a birthday offer for 5 nights at MC with $150 slot play. Considering my mom can go 3 days on $50, this would be nice for her. We're doing it as a mother-daughter trip. Her sisters may also come in from Denver just for the weekend. With our play on MyVegas (a rewards game) we'll have 7 rewards between us which we'll use for 2 more nights, probably another slot play, and then a couple of buffet passes (aiming for 3 2-person passes). She also has Southwest rewards which we will probably use for flights. She is covering my flight, so basically we'll just need spending money for the week. I have to work out the budget and start saving for it, but I'm thinking 2k will be more than enough for just the two of us.

Found money!!: This is a biggie. I completely didn't realize that Aflac (I have 3 policies) pays a wellness benefit for two of my policies. My coworker mentioned they can be filed at anytime, so I confirmed with my rep. If I can find documentation for all of them, that will be $420 ($60*7). I submitted 4 so far. Any of this money will go to...

Chase Freedom: Made another $200 payment. I'm down to 456. I have another $100 to put towards it from NavyFed bonus. Technically, $160 of this is actually joint spending, so I could pull that from our account to pay it, but since our account is so tight and I think I can cashflow it from the Aflac payments, I'm going to try and handle it.

Vacations: I know it's ridiculous to be going on vacations, but I also really don't want to give up experiences during my debt pay-off. (Conflicting priorities, I know...) Since SO and I have been apart for almost a month (the longest since moving in together), we decided to go away to a BnB when he gets back. I bought the Living Social for 2 nights (the $160 on the Chase Freedom card) and booked it. My little brother will be staying at the apartment, so no pet care needed. SO will not have to take off work as it's planned midweek around his work schedule. I have extra work hours saved up to cover my time off. The other vacation was one I alluded to at the beginning of the year: Fl with SO's family. I had meant to be saving for this, but his family is very loose with planning, so I have no idea what we'll need. We'll have to see what that spending comes to. I'm trying to convince SO to get the Chase Freedom card ($200 reward for $500 spending) to help cover it since I failed to properly plan it. We do still have the $400 Verizon card too, so that's a start.

Goals Update

June 3rd, 2015 at 01:16 pm

I'm breaking even (may even slightly be failing) in the goals arena...

- Build emergency fund back to $1000 (Failing - It's at about $100. I plan to focus on this in parallel with the NFL Points card which comes after the Slate CC. Until then, it's $15 each month.)
- Reduce credit cards (Passing - I'm down to 5 - 2 of which aren't in use and have no balances.)
- Add savings categories (Major fail! Although I'm adjusting this. Part of the problem is that I'm spread so thin, so I'm actually consolidating all of my various savings accounts. More on this later as I have to nail down exactly what I need.)
- Increase retirement savings to 10% (Passing? Raises become effective during the second pay period this month. At the point, my contribution will go up to 10%, but I'm also hoping that my take home pay is at least what it currently is.)
- Build $200 buffer in checking account (Done - 2/6)
- Build $1500 buffer in joint account (In Progress. This was completed, but with May being such a terrible month, it's been depleted. It's currently at about $400)

- Lose 10% of my weight (In Progress - I've been stuck at 6%. Part of the lack of motivation is that the weight I'm at is where I want to be, but I've worked out the past two days and plan to kick it into gear...)
- Win at least 4 months of my dietbet (Major fail! If I manage to hit the 10% this month, then I will have done the reverse of this goal which would be winning 2 months and losing 4. Since this month alone will probably get me my money back, I'm hoping to be able to knock off these last 5 lbs.)
- Adopt a puppy with SO (Major pass!! DD2, aka Riley, is so spunky and full of life and we adore her!!!)
- Get dogs outside for more than an hour 4 times a week (Pass! I'm actually surprised I am doing so well with this one. It's mostly because on Saturdays and Sundays, we do the dog park plus walks to the nearby town center.)
- Cook more from scratch (Pass. I am still buying processed/convenience foods occasionally, but I'm definitely becoming more comfortable in the kitchen and probably about 90% of the time, we eat at home. Yesterday, I made some pretty awesome popcorn shrimp!)

- Blog at least twice per week (Pass. I haven't actually checked, but I definitely feel like I'm being pretty consistent in blogging.)
- Post monthly budget and month in review entries (Pass. Sometimes, it's more like mid-month before I get around to the recaps, but I am doing them!)
- Participate in one 'challenge' quarterly (Eh...I'm inclined to say pass in the sense that I am currently doing the 5 things and pantry 'challenges'. My goal for this was to try new tactics, so in that sense, this is definitely a pass.)

I also want to add one to the blogging: Comment more! I read the blogs, but don't particularly do a good job in participating. I'd like to change that, so I'm adding that in.

Chase Freedom in my sights

June 2nd, 2015 at 01:51 pm

The past week, I've made 3 different payments to the Chase Freedom card bringing it down to 445.44 (at it's highest, it was $1500). My goal is to have it completely paid off by the end of June as I believe interest starts accruing with the period ending 6/10 (already paid that statement balance). After that, I'm going to put it away and concentrate on paying off the Slate card and getting a handle on my spending before I attempt to start using it for rewards.

I owe several posts - a May recap (terrible!), a June budget (will be bare bones due to the May terribleness), and a goals update. I'll try to get to these throughout the week.