Strategic Spending

I noticed over the weekend I have developed a habit of strategic spending. Stuff comes along that can fall into one of my budget categories, but because I just don’t want to spend the money, I tend to forgo the opportunity. One example would be my friends coordinated effort to go to wineries monthly. A tasting itself isn’t that expensive, but then you have to buy a glass of wine after and some snacks (if you weren’t foresighted enough to bring your own, which I will next time) and those costs are the ones that add up. I was trying to get out of it when a deal came up for a local winery that could be bought for four which included the tasting, bread and cheese pairings, souvenir glasses (which none of us ever buy anyway, but are fun to have) and a gift shop credit which can be used toward buying snacks. Divided four ways, it will cost around a third of the price of a regular outing. I propositioned the other ladies about buying it, they all agreed it was a good deal and I went ahead and bought it. Even better- I got an additional $3 off because I waited to buy it until the site put up a coupon code for the weekend. 🙂 Another thing I have been putting off because it costs so much money is trying Krav Maga classes. Again, I waited and no sooner than I was ready to cave than a coupon site came out with a deal for the local Krav Maga gym! My fiance and I are buying one each so that we can try the classes together.

I also need new work shoes. I’ve completely worn out the lateral right heel to the point where I’m getting no support from it. I was on my way to the shoe store after work today when I remembered I had a $10 off coupon for the store, so I decided to wait until tomorrow. Then, when I was almost home, I heard on the radio that it was tax-free weekend starting this Friday in my state, which means I can buy clothes, shoes and school supplies tax-free! So, while the tax would only be a few cents, I would rather wait until Friday to buy the shoes and save all those extra pennies.

Finally, I’m waiting to buy certain things until online coupons are available. I need a few personal care items, but the companies aren’t putting up any new coupons until the beginning of the month. So, again, I’m waiting for the coupons so that I can save a few extra dollars.

Saving money I think is sometimes a matter of patience.  If you’re smart about waiting until the good discounts are available and seeing if deal sites come out with anything within your desired time frame, you will reap the rewards!

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Cash envelope, take one

Cash envelope, take one. Action!

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Yes, it’s taken me almost a month to get around to finally making it. And I did! But, it’s not quite long enough so I will be making another one later and I’ll turn this into a little cosmetic pouch for my purse. I was originally going to make it in another style, but chose this for its simplicity in manufacturing. Well, I think when I make the next one I’ll go back to Plan A. 🙂

Revenue Increase Hopes Abound

July has been an arduous month emotionally for me. My full-time job is becoming more…more…unbearable? Untenable? Draining? It’s a lot of different things right now, and as the days progress something more insane/unstable happens which tells me it’s TIME TO GO. But, where to?

Well, I’ve been following the “networking is what will get you a job” model, and I have let certain friends and a woman I work for on an extremely part-time basis know that I am looking for a new, permanent, full-time job that, oh, I don’t know, actually challenges me intellectually and gives me a chance to grow. Well, that woman is well acquainted with my full-time job, that’s how I met her, and she and her office manager are in the process of creating a job for me!!! Better hourly rate? No, but I’m at least guaranteed a solid 40 hour work week which my current job doesn’t. Ultimately the paychecks will be better because I’ll be working more. Also, the new position, whatever it ends up being, will be more likely to give me a focus and intent with a career path as opposed to the go-no-where job I have now. That’s what really makes me resent my current job- I was promised growth and opportunities, which are not happening, and I doubt they ever will. Ha, I was promised a lot of things with my current job and none of them are really happening! The new job isn’t 100% yet, so I am not holding my breath, but I was told that by mid-September everything should be figured out, and at the point I’ve been given an official offer and can submit my two weeks that’s when I’ll start holding my breath!

I also started to finally post some things online for sale. I did a Craigslist post with those dresses for sale again (I think I mentioned them before?), and an eBay auction for some troll dolls from my youth.

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The auction is set to end in a few hours but at least it has one bid on it, so I’ll make a bit of extra revenue. Now, what I have decided to do though is to keep the money I make in my PayPal account and use it to buy stuff on eBay for my wedding (if I can’t find some of the things I need for cheaper elsewhere). This way, I can try to regulate how I spend money on my wedding to some degree and if I have money left over when all is said and done, then I can put it towards my debt.

I’m trying to think of more ways to increase revenue. The flash mob I choreographed went extremely well, and I think I should consider re-visiting choreographing first dances for weddings, and now flash mobs for proposals and/or weddings, again. A few years ago I taught some friends how to dance for their wedding (for free though) and a couple of years after that I choreographed a first dance for a couple who did pay me. I attempted to market the idea, but got very, very little interest so I was quickly turned off from the idea and haven’t considered doing it since. But, with the flash mob going so well, I may be able to garner better interest if I were to try again. I’m going to sleep on the idea a bit more and see if I can think of better ways to build the idea.

For now, that’s all I got with increasing revenue. I am feeling motivated by my one eBay auction having bids on it, so I will put more stuff up for sale on there over the next few weeks. And hopefully the job will be created and I can get out of my current job and make more money!

Reading Up on the World of Personal Finance

I think one of the best weapons I can put in my arsenal to fight my debt is to educate myself on the different methods of tackling debt and creating a smart personal finance plan. Of course I started off with No More Havard Debt, but last night I read up on some of Dave Ramsey’s methods and today I was reading Frugal Dad because I felt skeptical about some of Ramsey’s baby steps.

Of course, I have mentioned how I have somewhat adopted Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope system. I was reading his baby steps methods last night and went to bed thinking about them and how they would actually work in my life. I definitely agree with baby step 1, which is to build an emergency fund of $1000, something I need to do. But, if you lived where I live, you would know two things: one, 1k would barely cover half of your (comparative to others modest) mortgage, and two, the drivers in this area require you to always have your insurance deductible readily at hand. So, if I and my fiance were to suddenly lose our jobs and I and/or him were to hit someone (or someone hit me, which has already happened twice in 8 months….), we’d be up a certain creek in a matter of days. I personally agree with what most people say, which is to build 3-6 months of back-up money. But, considering my current financial situation, I’ll build up the 1k and go from there. Hopefully by the time my wedding rolls around, I’ll have a better egg laid, but as Dave Ramsey puts it, “Baby steps.” Ramsey goes onto six consecutive baby steps to eliminating debt and building wealth. Right now, the journey for me is eliminating debt, I will worry about building wealth some other time.

Frugal Dad is an interesting read on Dave Ramsey’s steps. His main point in the post I read is that you can’t just blindly follow some “guru’s” advice because everyone says it works for them. You have to develop your own method of tackling debt and building wealth. I’m more inclined toward the Frugal Dad’s baby steps order (which of course were inspired from Ramsey’s). Frugal Dad is just a great website period, I recommend it for people who need ideas and information regarding personal finance.

Also, I like to look up financial planning and money tracking ideas on Pinterest. I found a pin from The Nest Effect that included ideas on how to create a personal finance folder. She created templates for different items, and I’m admittedly scamming off her ideas! I started creating templates last night to create a personal home management journal, because while her templates are cute and super appealing to me, they cost money to buy from her and I’m perfectly capable of opening my word processing program and making some myself for the cost of my personal time. Heck, if I can make them look nice and pretty, and think of original titles so that I’m not sued, I’ll put them up for free! Help ourselves to better help others. Or, I’ll try to find some printables somewhere else online that are free, at which point I’ll link them.

I plan on continuing to read up on personal finance and debt management while I continue on this quest to hopefully expedite the process some. I have no great words wisdom or earth shattering ideas that will eliminate my debt in a matter of months, but like all things in life, it will come with time and patience.

Paying Bills

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Yesterday was one of those days where I got the mail, looked through it and found some out-of-the-blue bills. Medical bills to be exact, ones that I had been waiting to come for a while actually. But, I wasn’t all stressed like I would have been once upon a time. It may derail me from my goals a bit, but earlier this week I made payments on my credit cards, put some money into savings but still I was still able to pay these bills without using that money I had just put into savings. For once in my life, I feel like a financially responsible adult (which is pretty sad since I’m closing in on 30).

I keep on having these random bills pop up, but I’m glad at least that I have the financial stability and determination to pay them ASAP that I once didn’t have. I only expect one more random bill to pop up and I’m prepared to pay that quickly. After that, so long as no unforeseen financial disaster comes along (and stuff has a way of popping up, so knock on wood!) I believe it’ll be pretty clear sailing! I still haven’t given myself a timeline for repayment of my debts, but again, I like to have a better grip on my budget first and I’ll go from there. I’m just so proud that I paid the bills quickly and easily because I’m finally sticking to a budget, not buying junk I don’t need and using my resources for a better future, for myself and my future family!

OUCH!

Loans and credit cards accumulate interest daily. The companies don’t just figure out your interest at the end of the month, that would not allow them to maximize their profit. Instead, they compound the interest daily so that they’re able to make a few more cents everyday off of your debt.

So, part of my strategy this month will be to track how much interest my student loan accumulates daily. I checked last night and then I checked today and it already hurts. $12.45 in interest in just one day! Ouch!

Increasing Revenue: Dance! Dance!

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So, for the month of July one way I’ll be increasing revenue by dancing. More specifically, I’m choreographing and filming the choreography for a flash mob proposal. Dance is one of those talents I have that I get to use to make money part-time.

The proposer and I are meeting up today to film the choreography for the flash mob at which point I’ll be paid. Then, when I recruit and execute the flash mob, I’ll be paid again! A fun way to make some extra cash. 🙂