Challenges for October 2011

And I’m back. What better way to return than a post about what I’d like to accomplish this month? Some of it’s money, some of it’s fitness, all of it requires attention!

Yes, I call them Challenges rather than Goals because I’m a competitive sort of person with myself and think it’ll make me more likely to get stuff done. It’s October which means that my quarterly items from my 101 in 1,001 need to be done too.

  • Complete weeks 1-4 of Couch to 5K
  • Update resume
  • Go through closet and dresser for tossing/donation/sell back
  • Save 75% of swim pay and babysitting pay
  • List 2 items on Etsy
  • Track spending and establish budget for November
  • Start making lists for the holiday shopping season
  • Submit for reimbursement for LP trip
  • No shopping for me other than work related stuff for convention.
  • Send out packages to D, The Bro, and BatGirl
  • Write for 4 of my JoyJuice prompts
  • Pick Sewing Sunday with friends
  • Bring lunch 4 days a week and only 2 dinners out a week (one with Gia, one with Frank)
  • Pack up winter hats to send home
  • Make eye appointment

I think that’s good for now, I don’t want to get too ambitious. Ha.

What would you like to accomplish in October?


Where to go from here?

money goalsAs life starts to settle down a bit, I’ve been thinking about what my savings goals should be. I know what they were, but now that I’ve bought a new car and moved, what should be next?

I know that we will likely be moving again in a year or two, and my car should be fine for quite a bit, but you never know so I want to sock some money away there (maybe $1,000 just in case?) but neither is really as pressing as it was earlier this year.

Emergency fund and Six Months are still important to me, but the Six Months is so daunting. Maybe for now I’ll snowball (or sweep) that until I get some of the other stuff caught up. I’ll need my Christmas Gifts money soon enough, you know.

School is totally on the table, but I attended a training that put a whole new idea in my head and it is so completely different that I’m not sure how to approach it. It would be at a totally different (and more expensive) school and may require more undergrad classes before I could even start the Masters.

I have a lot to think about on a personal financial level and a lot to discuss with that guy I like a whole lot on a joint financial level.

Which brings me to another question of how we’re going to merge our finances or if we are even going to at all. I guess that’s a wait and see for now until he finds a job and has income coming in so we can see where we are then.

It’s all very confusing right now!

I should probably start with my usual process when things are confusing and chaotic – pick one thing and just do it. I mean it’s not like I can’t transfer money when I figure stuff out more, right?



This time I was prepared…

In the next few days, I’ll have to write a check out for the deposit on the new apartment. That guy I like a whole lot has been great about getting me his part of the money for the move and what not when I’ve needed it so that is super helpful, but I have to put in my part too!

Previously when I’ve had to do things like this, it always hurt a lot because I hadn’t really prepared for it. I’d shuffle things around and something invariably wouldn’t get paid on time because of it.

It was stressful.

But because I’ve been saving specifically for this, I was able to take it from savings and move it to my checking account so that when it’s time to write that check, I don’t have to worry that something else might not get paid. Sure, it’ll sting a little, doesn’t it always? But I have the money so the sting isn’t stress this time.

And that feels good.

Will it always be that I’ve managed to save the money first before I need it? Not always and I recognize that…but this time I did and will continue to try to be ahead of that ball.

How about you? Are you one who tries to anticipate what’s coming and be prepared or do you wing it and hope for the best?

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 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?

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.

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

  • Take clothes I don’t want to Clothes Mentor or to donate.
  • Bring lunch 4 days this week.
  • Move money around and put 75% of swim pay in savings (25% in Cap Com and 50% in ING)
  • Get groceries as in ONLY what’s needed (Make a list and stick to it!) Do laundry with only cash on hand.
  • Finish current Etsy project, list and promote. Post and promote The Lauren.
  • Test drive 2 cars.

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


Challenges for February 2011

I found that establishing challenges for the month of January helpful in being more careful with my money. You can see how I did with that one here if you’d like. I also found my Mint account helpful in tracking all this.

This month here are my challenges for myself:

  • Save $400 towards my goals. (I have to save for a tax bill so this had to be reduced a bit from last month.)
  • Outside of #missionsushitour and my trip to Chicago, eat dinner out (including take out) no more than 2x
  • Update photos and listings on Etsy to include new items and better photos of current items.
  • No clothing purchases outside of maybe a new bathing suit for the pool. (I should be good on this, but I’ve had the ones I wear now since October and sometimes they just give up on pool life. Unless I want to show my goods, I have to replace them when this happens.)
  • Donate to two charities. (One from a friend and one I’ve never donated to before.)

What are you working on this  month?