Sunday, February 8, 2015

Steps Toward Financial Fitness Volume Three

I am going to do things a little bit differently this week.
I am going to log my daily expenditures for full accountability.
Let's see what I can learn...

      Sunday:  I ran a couple of errands this morning including going to Lowe's to pick up some odds and ends that will enable me to complete projects in the kitchen and will be used for a history group project.  Home improvement spending = (can't locate receipt); Educational spending = (can't locate receipt).  I also stopped by WalMart to pick up further odds and ends.  Grocery spending = $99.83; Educational spending = .$28.80; Household (rug for basement bathroom) = $10.  Because I am such a pushover I bought Bishop a monster.  Eating out = $3.59.  After returning home I got to work preparing some goodies for a Super Bowl party that we were set to attend.  I purchased chips at WalMart, otherwise I used what I had on hand to make the world's best bean dip and some rolo-stuffed nutter butters dipped in chocolate and then decorated to look like footballs.  All the food went over very well!

      Monday:  On the way to pottery class Bishop and I went through the McDonald's drive-thru for a bit of breakfast.  Eating out spending = $11.58.  After pottery we went out on the town to post My Son Pinocchio promotional posters at a host of locations.  The cool thing is that we earn a couple of tickets to the show by putting up these posters.  I am already signed up to usher twice, work boutique twice, and sell flowers twice.  Each time I do one of these I get to watch the show for free.  I am going to get to watch the show a lot without breaking the bank.  Yay!  While delivering posters I went to a store that sells homeschool books.  I picked up a history book that I am going to need for next year.  It was 30% off and I got a calendar for $1.49 (household).  Education = $29.43 .We went out to Chili's for lunch.  This was a planned lunch out as a bonding experience.  It is something we used to do periodically with Christian and we felt we needed to continue the tradition.  I had a coupon for free queso, yum!  Eating out = $53.07.  While in the neighborhood we stopped by the dance shop and picked up new soft jazz shoes for Maceo.  Clothing= $43.66.  And simply because I am a sucker I bought Bishop a mocha frappe after scouts (Eating out = $3.43) and Maceo a monster and snack after rehearsal (Eating out = $5.21).  I paid the bills today and I paid an additional amount on my mortgage and two student loans.

      Tuesday:  I took myself to breakfast and a tea at Panera.  Eating out = $5.15.  I have a little table by the fireplace that I like to sit at  and do computer work, make appointments, do paperwork, and plan lessons.  Today I scheduled the payment on my credit card, the big one that I am paying off!  I also scheduled dental appointments, we all need our teeth cleaned, and a doctors appointment for me so that I can have a knee issue addressed.  My pharmacy is in the same building as my doctor so when I go to this appointment I will refill Maceo's prescription (he has a nickel allergy and belt buckles can aggravate so he has a salve prescription that is refillable twice).  All of this is part of my plan to use my resources wisely.  We have insurance, we should be using it.  We have the prescription, we should use it to stock up.  It is possible that our impending transition could drastically alter our insurance situation so I need to take advantage of what I currently have.  I still need to schedule a mammogram.  Bishop made an incredible lunch utilizing the leftover roast beef.  He made sandwiches that were diner-worthy and were so filling that he and I only had dessert for dinner.  That dessert dinner was an apple crisp utilizing apples that were starting to get a wee bit soft. Bishop insisted that I make something with those apples before they go bad.  I appreciate him holding me accountable.  I was hesitant because I was preoccupied but it was tasty and gratifying to know that I hadn't allowed them to go to waste.  I was very occupied last night sorting and purging and making further progress in the kitchen.  I am trying to be brutal in regards to my decision-making.  I plan on selling items either via a yard sale or through internet.  I have a box of books ready for sale and have started a bag of this and that to donate to the thrift store.  Maceo's Tuesday's are really full.  He spends 8 hours at the theatre with about an hour for dinner.  He has traveling company rehearsal from 2-3:45. troupe from 4-6, and My Son Pinocchio rehearsal from 7-10.  So he eats out on Tuesday just after troupe and then he usually gets something light just after Pinocchio rehearsal.  So the least frugal expenditure of the day would be his food - Eating out = $16.  I began painting the vintage metal cabinet that my kitchen sink rests in.  I will be working on it steadily over the week.  I must keep making progress on home improvements.  My purse broke today,  that's what I get for loading it down with books and files instead of just a wallet and chapstick.  When it broke I immediately put "go shopping for new purse" on my to-do list.  Then I took a deep breath and checked my closet for a bag that would get the job done.  I did (and I have gotten multiple compliments on my bag made burlap rice bags).  As I was cleaning and purging I rediscovered some books.  Just before heading off to sleep I began a Bible study that I had never even read before.  The study is on simplicity - timely, don't you think?

      Wednesday:  I once again found myself at Panera for a bit of breakfast.  Eating out = $5.04.  I went by the library and printed a rough draft of Maceo's resume so that his vocal instructor could look at it and give me advise on how to make it better.  We will consider this an educational expense = .10..  I then went by the leather store to see if I could pick up some tidbits that the history group kiddos might find inspirational when creating their own medieval-esque weapons.  I also ended up picking up some animal skin parchment that we will use to make manuscripts.  Educational = $25.82.  I got Maceo to vocal instruction, then headed over to Pickleman's to wait for him.  I typically order a tea but today I was so hungry.  I ordered food for myself and the boys   Oh my, this is so not a frugal day.  Eating out = $34.25.  After a very stimulating history group and then running Maceo to and from the theatre just to have to return to the theatre I opted to take Maceo out for a quick bite to eat Eating out = $19.60.  I have totally overspent today.

      Thursday:  I found myself at Panera again this morning using this quiet time to get myself organized for the day.  Eating out =  2.72  I then went to the library where I used the computer to purchase some sheet music.  Educational = 9.95 music plus 1.10 print out.  Then, thinking that it would be cheaper, I went to Kinkos to copy biomes materials for nature study group.  Educational = $3.71.  (For the record, it is cheaper to copy items at the library.  Black and white copies at the library cost .10 and at Kinkos for .11.  Color copies run .50 at the library and .53 at Kinkos.  I will just do my copies at the library from now on).  I then rushed home to do some house cleaning and then to get Maceo to a brief practice session for his tent theatre audition.  I let him get pizza at Walgreens on the way home. Eating out = $5.73.  I chose to eat Ramen. I picked up Bishop and returned home to nature study group.  We had a good time.  I then took the boys to Steak and Shake for dinner.  I used a $10 gift certificate to defray the cost.  Eating out = $23.49.  I had to fill up the gas tank in the Jeep.  I utilized the credit card that I just paid off.  I know that I said that I would only use it for groceries but I have decided to also utilize it for gas.  I get double the rewards points on grocery and gas purchases, the two expenditures are easy to distinguish and will make accountability easier.  (Gas on the credit card = approximately $25).

      Friday:  Oh, my morning started way too early as Maceo had a promotional performance at a local elementary school's opening assembly.  Upon his request, we swung through McDonald's drive-through for a bit of breakfast on our way there.  Eating out = $10.  I had minor successes for the remainder of the day as I managed to avoid eating out for lunch and dinner.  I made small pizzas for lunch using my recipe for pizza crazy crust which is very economical.  I even made the sauce from scratch.  I didn't have any fresh garlic so I used dehydrated minced garlic.  For dinner I made beef strips, rice and greens.  I found discounted thin beef steaks at Wal-Mart.  I paid $6 for them and it seems as though I will get two meals out of them.  Maceo and I did go to Wal-Mart after his promotional performance.  The intent was to purchase hot tea, vitamins, and ibuprofen - items that will help him get through a crazy month of of rehearsals, auditions and performances.  However, we came out with more then we went in.  Oftentimes, I would be kicking myself a bit for allowing that to happen but not this time.  Many men's clothing items had been reduced in price and the stocking hats and gloves had been designated as clearance items.  I bought some hats and glove for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  Service = $8.  I bought athletic pants and several shirts for the boys that were all discounted.  Clothing = $70.  Groceries = $81.30.  These purchases were put on the credit card and I will pay it off next pay period.  Maceo and I had a wonderful evening of entertainment  His vocal instructor hosted a cabaret; all of the students performed.  It was magnificent.  I did spend $5 to get Maceo a show poster and $15 to order a DVD of the show (entertainment) Oh....and Maceo wore one of his new shirts to the show.  Afterwards I went to an art gallery that was hosting a post-it note art exhibit.  The art was available for purchase for $2 a pop.  I purchased three little pieces.  Entertainment = $6.  I allowed Maceo to get a snack at Walgreens on our way home.  Eating out = $5.48.

      Saturday:  Maceo had another promotional performance this morning and, yes, we did a little more eating out, we went by Sonic on the way to the performance.  Eating out = $12.17.  The performance was a good time but I am certain that Maceo has had an even better time during the rest of the day.  I gave him some cash and he has been hanging out with friends.  I know that he has gone out to lunch, had a coffee and a truffle, and will be going to the theatre.  the amount of money spent is yet to be determined but it will come out of the entertainment  budget.  Entertainment = $40. While Maceo has been out on the town I took Bishop to the art gallery to see the post-it note art exhibit.  He was duly impressed.  He selected two pieces for himself and I picked up some more.  Entertainment = $10.  We learned that Bishop could participate in this exhibit as an artist next year.  That would be so super cool.  I had a bit of a fail in that I knew that I would be distributing more show posters today and I failed to take tape with me so I stopped at CVS and bought tape even though I had many rolls at home.  On the positive side, I did sign up for a rewards card and got two rolls of tape at a discount. Household = $2.40.  I bought an iced tea at Panera to sip on while I did some computer work.  Eating out = $2.36.  Someone left the newspaper at Panera so I scored a sudoku puzzle.  Yay!  And I did get Bishop a mocha frappe.  Eating out = $3.43.  I turned the central heating off because the weather was quite spring like.  I made a really fabulous chicken cacciatore with chicken that I had purchased on sale and had nearly forgotten in the refrigerator.  I have done a pretty good job at keeping waste at a minimum but I do need to finish cleaning out refrigerator,  I am still listening to lectures while I drive around town and I have started reading a new book all courtesy of the library and I have done a good job getting items returned or renewed - no fines!

Here is my reality check.
Here is my analysis of my spending for the week:

Eating out: $222.30
Entertainment: $51
Clothing: $113
Service: $8
Education: $98.91
Household: $13.89
Gas: $25 (approximately)
Groceries:  $181.13

I have spent my February budget for clothing and utilized $13 of that which rolled over from January.  The educational expenses seem a little high for one weeks worth of spending.  It is obvious I need to continue to track my spending in this area.  The biggest reality check comes in the areas of eating out, entertainment and groceries.  Altogether I spent $454.43 in those categories in just a weeks time.  That is unacceptable.  It is painfully obvious that I have spent far too much on eating out.  I will have to continue to track my spending in these areas to hold myself accountable and I must endeavor to get this spending down.

I have not completed everything that I have set out to do this week but I have made some progress.  I purged more than 10 items from the living room.  I have selected about 40 books to take to the used book store or to sell at a yard sale.  I painted the metal cabinet that my kitchen sink sets in.  It looks really nice.  I paid off the big credit card.  I still need to get my tax information better organized so that I can communicate with Herb so that our taxes can be completed.  I still need to seal the kitchen countertops and finish painting the stairwell.  Making progress.

Christmas Jar of Change:  $9.48 added to previous balance of $40.70 would mean that the new balance is 50.18.

Home Emergency Fund:  This still stands at $40.  I will add another $40 next pay period.

52 Week Savings Plan:  The balance remains at $113 until next pay period.

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