Weekly Money Check Up

From My Pretty Pennies (italics are from MPP)
Weekly Money Check-Up is a fill-in-the blank post once a week. The first four questions are always the same each week and the fifth is always different.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on rent.
2. Today I feel ambivalent towards money. (I’m stressed about a lot of other stuff today.)
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was having sushi lunch (gift card from my dad).
4. I will consider this week a success if I make it through without breaking down and crying.
5. My guilty pleasure TV show is old episodes of Buffy or Seventh Heaven.

Care to participate? Fill in the blanks in the comments section or post it on your blog and link back to here! Thanks for participating! 🙂

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A $146.70 Lesson

And boy did it sting…

When I leave my apartment, I turn the lock on the door behind me and go because usually the keys are in my hand or my bag. (I keep my car keys and house keys separate so that they’re less bulky and I can slip my car key into my pocket at the gym.)

Saturday, I went to the store to get produce like groceries. When I got back, I took my bags of fruit and diary into the house and thought about how much I needed to lay down. As I was getting settled, putting my things where they belonged and putting the food away, I realized  I had left my phone in the car. No biggie, I’ll run out and get them then finish the rest.

With car keys in hand, I walked  out the door. Locking it behind me. (Of course.)

Wait. I looked down at my hands…I had already hung the house keys up on the hook by the door.

I was really tempted to cry, but I didn’t. First I looked in the maintenance guy’s closet at the end of the hall to see if there was anything I could use to break into my house or maybe even a spare key. Hey! You never know…

There wasn’t though.

Next? I called the people I thought might have a spare key to my place. One I know is in Chicago which is a huge help of course and I thought a couple other people might have one so I gave them a ring, but to my chagrin, they did not.

Here’s the thing. It’s February and chilly out. Granted it’s a bit warmer than last week, but it was NOT warm and all I had on was a fleece. I thought about going to the store to see about getting the items I might need to break in and realized that wouldn’t work – my wallet was on the futon right next to my keys.

I called Daddy-O and he said that he could come up but I’d have to wait for him (about 2 hours out) to help or I could try a locksmith. He was pretty sure they would likely be ABLE to let me in, but would they be WILLING? Well, there was only one way to find out!

I started calling around and finally found someone who had an available person to come to my house, all they wanted to see was my license and a check or cash for $135. (Seems a little shady, but OK I could do that.)

So to make a long story short, guy showed up, let me in, asked to see my license and for my phone number, wrote a bunch of stuff down and left with my check in hand. It took him 20 seconds to get in my apartment and 12 times that for me to find my check book.

What was the other $11.70? That’s me getting 3 new sets of keys made which I’m putting around town in case this happens again. Let’s hope it doesn’t. I’m trying to SAVE money, not spend it on stupid things like locksmiths.

Expensive lesson learned. Make keys ahead of time and know where they are!

What’s an expensive lesson you had to learn the hard way?

Challenges for this week (Feb21-28 2011)

I’ve decided that it’ll be more “fun” to call my goals challenges. I can be a fairly competitive person (with myself) so I think this will help more. Also, you should know that my weeks go Monday to Sunday.

Goals Challenges for this week (Feb21-28 2011):

  • Pantry Challenge is in ON! No groceries other than produce and yogurt.
  • Bring lunch all week.
  • Decide what I’ll be donating this year to the Equinox Celestial Celebration this year. Last year it was scarves for the baskets.
  • Get rid of 30 Items (rules over here) (Last time I said 5 I did 40 something so we’ll see how this goes!)
  • Update Etsy photos and list The Nettie Scarf.

So that’s it for me. What are you working on or towards this week?

#weeklygoals

The shoe shopping date that wasn’t

bandalino shoeIt was a great date, but it was not shoe shopping. Let me explain…

Last night I had plans for dinner and shoe shopping with a friend. We are both shoe lovers so I was expecting an evening of great fun.

The dinner was good, the conversation was great and we shared many laughs but then it was time for shoes. Typically, I’m made fun of for my slightly extensive shoe collection. What can I say? I adore shoes.

And I was ready! I had my gift card to one shoe store that has such an extensive selection I was sure I could find something to love and take home to be mine – possibly even the shoes I’ve been eying for months now.  (Yes that’s the pretty shoes. They’re Bandolino and not only available here, but at a few other places as well.)

I had my card for Macys if they were offering an additional discount for using it and I knew I could find my pretty shoes there if I didn’t find them elsewhere.

We started out at the store I had my gift card at and was just shocked by all the ugly. Seriously. There were so many ugly shoes! (Tomorrow over on Cute~Ella is I’ll feature some of them with commentary.)  Here’s just a peek.hot mess gladiators?

They did have my pretty shoes at that store for the same price they are sold for in Macys, but they didn’t have them in my size.

We continued on, making our way though the shoe stores in the mall. We were looking for a specific pair of red shoes I had seen several times for my friend and generally looking for my pretty shoes or something else that caught my eyes.

Ultimately, I didn’t buy any shoes. Gasp. I know, I know.

I had planned on it, put money aside for them and was all ready to go.  Was it a function of being so overwhelmed by all the ugly and therefore disenchanted about shoes over all?

Was it a function of me doing well with my savings goals and part of me feeling like it wasn’t worth spending the money? Or possibly the design universe cooperating with my savings plans and challenges? (There was a whole lot of ugly in general throughout the mall. New York and Company and Deb? I’m looking at you!)

Was it something else? I don’t know. I do know that when we ended up at Macys at the end of the night, I just couldn’t buy my pretty shoes. Part of that made me sad, but the other part of me just said that, “Maybe it’s just not meant to be…” And all of me is thinking that the time spent with my friend was well worth the ugly shoes…especially when we had so many much needed laughs over the ugly shoes.

Have you ever planned on buying something, had the place picked out, money put aside and everything only not to be able to do it when you got there?

Challenges for this week (Feb 14-20, 2011)

I’ve decided that it’ll be more “fun” to call my goals challenges. I can be a fairly competitive person (with myself) so I think this will help more. Also, you should know that my weeks go Monday to Sunday.

Goals Challenges for this week (Feb 14-20, 2011):

  • Only Monday Dinner out until I get to Chicago
  • Bring lunch every day this week.
  • Do laundry with only cash on hand.
  • Finish current Etsy project, list and promote. Post and promote Nettie Scarf

So that’s it for me. What are you working on or towards this week?

#weeklygoals

Challenges for this week (Feb 7-13, 2011) Recap

I’ve decided that it’ll be more “fun” to call my goals challenges. I can be a fairly competitive person (with myself) so I think this will help more. Also, you should know that my weeks go Monday to Sunday.

Goals Challenges for this week (Feb 7-13, 2011):

  • Take clothes I don’t want to Clothes Mentor or to donate. Nope.
  • Bring lunch 4 days this week. I brought lunch 3 days. One day I went out with Mom and Friday I had to get lunch.
  • Move money around and put 75% of swim pay in savings (25% in Cap Com and 50% in ING) Yes!
  • Get groceries as in ONLY what’s needed (Make a list and stick to it!) Do laundry with only cash on hand. I did. I added one thing to the list at the store though, razors, but I meant to put them on the list at home. Laundry didn’t get done.
  • Finish current Etsy project, list and promote. Post and promote The Lauren. No on the first one. Yes on the second one! But I called it the Daisy Next Door. And it’s so cute.
  • Test drive 2 cars. Nope. Worked through lunch and then opted to relax in the evening.

How did you do with your challenges for last week? (If you’ve posted about them, please feel free to put the link in the comment section!)

#weeklygoals

Taxes? They done hit me hard

This last year I made some money, not a lot by many standards, but enough to be comfortable to a certain degree and then some. Looking at it in retrospect, I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t save more. Really. I am and that’s one of the things I’m working on for this year. To be a better saver.

But, I digress. Sorry.

Last year I made enough money that I got nailed on taxes. According to my part time job, I don’t work enough hours to regularly take out that much in taxes. Combine it with what I make at my full time job, I make more than enough to get taxed. (I had asked them to take out some anyway, but it wasn’t enough.)

It was enough of a hit that ends up costing me about $700 in the end. Yes, if you’re saying, “Grrrrr.” I’m with you.

I started doing research and talking to people who know far more about this than I do and to sum it up, I basically have three options (legally):

  1. Quit the job and not have that income for playing/saving or my free gym membership.
  2. Buy a house or condo/ get married/ have a kid (Basically a major life change that will affect my income levels and deductions.)
  3. Go back to school and take loans to do it. (I can get income credit for part of my tuition and school fees and deduct the interest for any loans.)

OK first things first, I won’t quit that job until it’s not fun anymore. I like my gym and love my kiddos even when they’re totally being difficult. Not going to happen and as a side note, I get way more out of working with them than they do.

Secondly, I’m not in a position to buy a house or condo right now…getting married and having kids will be wonderful life changes when they happen, but rushing them for tax purposes isn’t my idea of a good plan.

The last option is feasible and I’m looking into it. I do want to go back to school and possibly this is the kick in the pants I need to make it happen. I don’t mind taking loans out for school because I believe the pay off is more than financial.

Do you know of any other LEGAL options? Right now, I’d prefer to take above the line deductions where possible because I don’t have enough to over come the Standard Deduction. I don’t think at least.

Do share.