Thursday, April 9, 2009

Busy (and expensive) month.

I am sorry I have not been keeping this thing updated. However, my spring break from teaching is 1 1/2 days away so I hope to write a nice post over the weekend.

April has been an expensive month, but at least I'm paying cash.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Shopping.

I just got back from my spring shopping trip. I did not buy much. I got two new dresses from American Eagle that will be very cute to wear out, and I could also wear them to work if I throw on a shrug or sweater with them. Total cost? $70.

I also got three new pairs of underwear from Victoria's Secret. They usually have 3 for $30 or 5 for $25 deals going on. I got a $10 off coupon in the mail from them, so I got three very cute new undies for $20.

Not all that much stuff, but I rarely have shopped since last August. So, I felt like splurging a little and and it was all budgeted and paid for in cash.

Finally, while at the mall I saw that New York & Company is hiring part time sales associates. I have three years of experience at a high end department store, so I applied for a position and noted that I can only work weekends until soccer season ends, at which point I can do evenings and weekends. I also wrote down that from June 12-August 14 I am available any hours since it'll be summer vacation from school. Hopefully they will call. I'd rather work in retail than at a restaurant.

Tomorrow is payday!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Budget Travel!

I apologize for being MIA lately. I haven't had much to update about in the personal finance arena. I only get paid once a month, so payday is Tuesday. I did pretty well with sticking to my cash envelopes in the month of March. I only went over a little bit, and now I know where I can trim back in April so that I don't go over. =)

This weekend, me and C decided to go on a small trip down to Myrtle Beach, SC. It came about at the last minute, because I knew I'd have tomorrow (Monday) off work. We got lucky, and Chris was told that he didn't have to report in again til Tuesday. I asked a friend of mine who lives in Myrtle about good places to stay and she recommended Hotel Breakers. So we looked into it and they had an Ultimate Romance package where we got a rooftop ocean view room, chocolate covered strawberries, a small bottle of champagne, and free breakfast. The total cost for two nights? $230.

It took us 5 hours to make the 2 1/2 hour drive, however, because Friday evening there were tornadoes in the area we were coming from. One of the tornadoes crossed over I-95, which we were driving on, and stopped traffic for two hours! It was annoying, but today when we came back the drive was very easy. We are looking forward to going back in the near future.

Here are some pics:

This is the view from the balcony/patio attached to our room. It was huge, since it was a penthouse room.

This was also taken from the rooftop. Here you can see the water, the sand, the beautiful landscaping, and one of the hotel's swimming pools with two hot tubs. =)

C is a great boyfriend for spoiling me and taking me on trips. Also, I'm thinking we got a great deal because of the economy--the hotels are trying to generate business by offering cheaper packages. I highly recommend Hotel Breakers because it was clean, had great amenities, and the staff was wonderful and accomodating!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm Around.

I have been really busy lately, so I apologize for the lack of updates!

I do have one quick thing to write about, though. I got my first cavity filled yesterday and also got my bite wing x-rays done at the dentist. The total cost was $190, which I paid in cash. For that, I am very proud. I am getting what I need done, but not going into debt. Yay!

I am getting my next cavity done next month, and this time it will be $140 because I don't need x-rays again.

It's strange how panicked I was at first over this, but all it took was some budget tweaking. If I didn't live on a budget, it wouldn't be possible.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why do I keep the car?

Most of the people on the Total Money Makeover forums think I should sell my car and get a beater until I'm debt free. This is why I will not.

When I bought my car, I traded in a paid for car for it. The old car was having problems every month. For several months straight, very expensive repairs needed to be made. One month, the starter died, and that cost $500. Another month, the belt came off and I lost my power steering. That was $300...and etc. It was becoming a huge hassle, and when I got hired at my first job, I needed to have reliable transportation.

My dad helped me look at cars, and I bought a brand new 2007 Chevy Cobalt. It is very fuel efficient (at the time, gas was still very high). It gets around 30 MPG. Also, it's under warranty so if anything goes wrong it will be fixed for free.

I hate the monthly payment, but the peace of mind that comes with it is worth it. I know I will be paying it off early, so I can deal with it for now. I do know that all future cars I buy will be paid for in cash right away. But as someone who was just starting out in the real world, it was *impossible* for me to pay cash for the car. I had nothing in savings and only had the trade-in as my down payment.

So the car will be staying...and when I pay it off, it will stay until I have enough in cash to buy a hybrid vehicle. I'm leaning toward a Ford Escape Hybrid when the time comes. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, many years from now. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

How exactly did I rack up my CC debt?

This is the tale of how Ninja racked up her credit card debt.

After graduating college, I lived at home for a few months and during that time I had paid down my credit card debt to just $800. Then, I moved out of my parents house. There were some boundary issues present and I was sick of fighting with my mom, mostly about money. She wanted me to be debt free, but I was sick of hearing her moan and groan every time I spent *any* money because she knew I still needed to pay off the credit card.

When I moved, I wiped out my emergency fund to pay the deposit on my new apartment. I didn't use my credit card for anything, though. A couple months later, though, it was my birthday, so I bought myself a shiny new laptop. On credit, of course!!! Then, a few months later, I used my credit card to partially pay to go on a cruise with my two best friends from college. That added on even more debt.

Finally, when I got my job where I currently live, I used my credit card to buy furniture for my new apartment and for all my travel expenses. When I got here in August 2008, I owed a little over $5,000.

Luckily, I had a signing bonus, which I used to pay off about $2,000 of what I owed. I've been throwing as much extra as possible at the balance since then, and I have learned my lesson for real this time. I do not use plastic unless it's my debit card, and I never will ever again.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meals - Week of 3/8

Sunday: Spaghetti with marinara sauce

Monday: Black beans and rice with green beans

Tuesday: Soccer parents feed me at the game. C is on his own.

Wednesday: M cooks? But if not--mac and cheese.

Thursday: Hamburger helper.

Friday: Vegetable soup and toast.

Saturday: Date night with C, so out to eat!

All I need to buy at Wal-Mart today is milk, bread, fresh fruit, and a bottle of aloe lotion because we got horribly sunburned watching softball outside. The gorgeous weather was awesome, but sadly we forgot to put on sunscreen before being outside from 10 AM until 4 PM! Oops!