Tuesday, November 24, 2009

He's Finally Got It

Today we're finally getting around to replacing my stolen laptop. My husband requested that I check the Black Friday adds before we head to the store tonight. We'd discussed doing the Black Friday thing though I like my bed and generally don't think the deals are worth the crowds.

Anywho, I ask where I should check and he names 2 big box stores and another kinda local option. He starts to mention Wally World, then stops himself and says "wait, no matter how good the deal is you don't want to buy it there right?" I agreed and we moved on. Doesn't seem like much but three years ago there would have been a long drawn out discussion. Today he just take it and move on.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Utility Escrow

Budgeting for utilities can be frustrating, especially in places that have 4 distinct seasons. The increase in winter bills comes when many are also paying for holiday gifts. In our case it's also when my husband's checks take a 2-3 month nosedive. I also wanted a better handle on how much money it takes to run our household month to month.

Last spring I set a utility escrow sub account at ING to help work in this problem. I pulled our last 7 bills (we'd only live in the house 7 months) and did some math to figure out what our average would be. If you have all 12 months just add them up and divide by 12. I was missing spring/summer months, so I took the one summer month I had, multiplied it by 6 and then added the winter month and divided it all by 12. Based on our apartment bills and our lack of AC use I knew that the spring/summer months would be about the same.

To automate the process I added a formula to our spending spreadsheet in Excel. It's set up to take our annual number ($125) and subtract the monthly bill amount that I was already plugging in. At least once a month I spend a few minutes transferring money to/from ING, so this transfer just got added to the mix. Once our bills exceed the annual average I'll pull the money we've been setting aside to pay the difference.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This morning I had 2 slices of No-Time Bread that I made last night with some butter and peach freezer jam that I made this summer. Followed by some knitting and Hulu time. Perfect start to a lazy day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Wall

Last night I got home and collapsed on the couch. After a bit I made it up to bed, watched some TV and promptly fell asleep at 8. I'd told my husband not to let me sleep more than an hour, in hopes of getting up and doing something. Looking back that was a pipe dream. He woke me up and got some dinner. We talked for a bit and then he fell out so I played online for a bit. I fell asleep by midnight and slept for almost 11 hours. Today I'm sneezy and stuffy and otherwise relegated to the couch.

I guess getting up early (6:45ish) to do the 30 Day Shred, work stuff, and going out 3 nights during the week was too much. Body, I've taken note. Okay, now no more of this being sick stuff.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One of my responsibilities at work is to run a scholarship program for our constituents. I've been deep in the weeds of application review for the past few days. One strange thing I've noticed- a lot of people don't have their own checks.

More than 15% of the applications were accompanied with money orders or checks in another name. There was another group (15% or so)of applicants whose employers sponsored their application fee.

Another one of my responsibilities is to provide work related trainings for our constituents. After seeing all of this I want to provide some personal financial literacy trainings. It doesn't fit at all with our mission (or funding) but I feel that the lack of personal checking accounts is indicative of other issues our constituents face.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We seem to be on an ebb and flow cycle with drama, with waves crashing in every 2 weeks. A few things happened at the Mr.'s job yesterday that put into question his ability to be there long term. I told him he needs to do what will make him happy, but not jumping without a parachute(new job). I like the company he's currently with and thought it would be a good long term fit, but if they're going to play games it's not worth the drama.

In other news after waking up from my summer depression I've managed to pack on more pounds than I'm happy with. I've always been overweight, but I just hit a wall. More importantly, I can't do things I like to do without getting winded. I'm doing the 30 Day Shred. This morning was day 2 and I can't pull myself off of the couch because I hurt even though I'm about to be late for work.

This is the cheapest fitness endeavor I've ever started. I'm wearing old sneaks, exercising in my living room in gear I wouldn't wear to the gym, not driving anywhere to work out, and best of all the routine is free via On Demand. I'll let you all know how it works out.

Finally, have you heard of Groupon? It's a group coupon based on your home city. To keep with my desire to get in shape I've bought 2 fitness groupons- a punch card for classes I've been wanting to try and another punch card to a different gym for free workouts. Usually there are a minimum of people who have to purchase before the deal works (ie at least 10 before the deal is on) but they work in my city daily. I have quite a few friends that love it so I thought I'd share.

*the groupon link is a referral link. I was in a fog through most of the summer FCC stuff, but there it is.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Big Spender

Today we spent a lot of money. A lot. A combination of replacing things that were stolen (largely reimbursable by insurance), my quest for the house to look like we've lived here more than 2 months, and a store closing.

We left the house for breakfast, lamps, furniture looking, and replacing Ipods. The breakfast wait was ridiculously long so we put our names on the list and went in search of lamps. Right now on his side of the bed there's a lamp he's had from college. Mine is empty. The lamp store was closed when we got there so we decided to replace the game systems that got stolen. That took up the majority of our wait and we headed back to the restaurant. It's the kind of place that I would wait an hour for a table. It's just that good.

The rest of the plan was West Elm to look at dinning tables and the store for Ipods. That is until we saw a going out of business sign for a garden store that I love. I wrote about an overpriced couch that they had and I loved in the spring. We walked in and my husband and I, who can never agree on ANYTHING when it comes to decor both instantly liked a table. Our unwritten rule is that when this happens (pending available funds) we buy it. End of story.

We visited one store for Ipods but didn't like their warranty so we kept going. At this point I he left with a friend to take the tables home and I returned to the garden store. Let's just say other than seeds I should be set at garden start up time. The new door needed a bigger sweep so I made one more stop before coming home. To top it all off, after a short break at home we went to another store and purchased new Ipods.

I don't have the receipts in front of me right now, but my mental calculator is putting the damage at around $2,000.

The corresponding accounts (and soon to come insurance checks) cover all of it, but outside of buying cars, the house, and paying tuition I can't remember the last time I spent that much in one day.