Archive for December, 2011
I created a new 'not planned' category. Thought about calling it 'impulse', but that seemed to have a negative connotation. And not all my not-planned spending are impulse, some are pretty calculated.
I think I could also call this emotional spending, a lot of the justification is for emotions not so much logic.
My spending this week includes:
$500 for a trailer that has a lot of sentimental attachment to me and the sale will help someone who is not able to buy groceries. I don't have room or use for the trailer so I'm 'lending' it to a good friend to use indefinitely.
$555 for a painting that I'm bidding on on ebay. Its from a new artist who I follow on YouTube for another reason. She lives in an eastern european country and has trouble making ends meet (like most folks), I also am 'friends' with her on facebook and I see her financial struggles, she lost her job for a bit, etc. I personally would like to see her quit her day job and focus on the activism she does (and shows on youtube), and sell paintings to make ends meet. So that was one reason to bid so high. Another was I really like the painting, she even did a video of how she made it, and I would really like to have it in my house. I have never bought art like this before so that's exciting too. Most of the stuff on my walls are either gifts, from the dumpster (seriously, but its a beautiful oil painting in a really nice frame), or prints/sketches I picked up on my travels. There are 4 paintings on auction, all are currently over $400. She's only auctioned one before for $81. She started painting in November. I suppose its possible they will become quite valuable, but I don't know what exactly that means to me since I'm not buying it as an investment but to have forever.
What is art worth? I've been thinking about that a lot these last few days (as I've bid on a painting more than I've ever bid and I'm deciding if I want to up my bid to make sure I get it, how high should I go?) I'm trying to equate price with enjoyment. Isn't that a hard task!
$100 or so on home decorating. I've been organizing and decided that not only did everything need a place, but it had to be a nice one. So, for one of the few times in my life, I went out to buy stuff to put stuff in (besides plastic bins, I always buy those!). For example, I have been using the cardboard box that my space heater came in as a paper recycling bin in my home office. I upgraded that to a basket. I didn't use any of the baskets I own because I wanted a specific size, so I went to the Fair trade market and bought one for $14. Its beautiful. I look at it constantly since I can see it from my computer.
Added: Here's the picture:
I made a time line and figured out when I should pay what. I am going to change my automatic savings to be monthly and occur with a pay period.
This has all of my regular expenses. I have $1000/month for my credit card which is an over estimate, I only charged $700 the last few months. And often charges have funds designated in a savings account.
The only other bill on here is K credit card, but according to this I will have about $3000/month (plus any extra income) to put towards the balance. Minus any other bills or things that come up. We'll see how this prediction holds out...
Now to go change the automatic withdrawals...
(updated - pay dates switched)
A big part of the financial picture is income. My father used to say 'its better to make your income bigger than your budget than to try to make your budget match your income'. I got a lot of great financial advice from my dad.
Tracking my income is a bit tricky. I have several sources. I think for now I will just focus on income from salary. And just on 'take home', which isn't even 'net' because retirement has been taken out. But its what actually gets deposited into the bank account for me to use.
There are 3 sources (2 of mine, 1 of K) and they all get paid differently.
$1,468 - every 2 weeks - $38,183/year, $3,182/month
$1,741 - twice a month - $41,788/year, $3,482/month
$1,000/month (consulting, not guaranteed past spring 2012)
$2102 - twice a month - $50,461/year, $4205/month
Total (not including consulting)
$10,870 per month, $130,432 /year
Timing for mortgage payments has been an issues (partly because I never wrote it out like this and thought about it, this blog has been helpful). Mortgage is $2600/month (includes $600 in taxes) and none of the income is enough to cover the entire payment. So I have a savings account that I use. I need to re evaluate how to use it, I should be deducting the full mortgage from paychecks I don't need for other bills. (first i need to study the other bills timing..) And I should study when the automatic savings gets taken out, they should correspond to income (some were set up with other income structures or just willy nilly - $25/week sort of thing).
... I started a to do page so I can keep track of all the things I think about when I blog. When I started this I was wondering what I would do once I wrote all my initial posts, and so far each post seems to end with things I need to do. Little bit each day. I have the rest of my life to work on it.
Went shopping at Trader Joe's today, bought about 2 weeks worth of my food and a months worth of wet food for the cats (they mostly eat dry). They like Tuna for Cats from Trader Joe's.
I got 6 bottles of wine (Italian), and more cheese than I usually get. I got cheddar, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, creamy cheddar chives and herbs from New Zealand, cheddar & Gruyere (mixed), and a cheese fondue. I am way more concerned about the additional calories than the money for all this cheese:} But cheese is one of my favorite things in the world and one of the few things I indulge in.
The fake meat is two packages of Morningstar fake bacon. Its one of the few fake meats I eat regularly. Trader Joe's is one of the cheaper places to buy it so I buy 2 when I"m there.
The groceries is a pizza dough (1.29) and black olives. I also sometimes buy dried or fresh ravioli and tortellini for a few dollars that lasts weeks.
I need to do a lot in this category. I have vague ideas where my money goes and comes from, but its been a while since I've looked at specific financials.
Its hard for me to care in too much detail when my mortgage is so high. I pay $2600/month (includes taxes). So adding up my $3 coffees spent once a week seems a bit silly. But I really should do it so I can actually quantify this view, and perhaps the numbers won't actually be like my perceptions.
Here's a good place to start. Add to my TODO...
I'm going to guestimate my food and groceries and then check numbers.
I do most of my food shopping at the local farmers market, and buy food grown within 100 miles. I live in Southern Calfornia so its a great selection. I typically spend $30-40/week at the market.
I buy other foods at Trader Joes - wine, cheese, pizza dough ($1), butter, yougurt, packaged foods, etc. I eat a lot of dried cheese ravioli and tortellini, one $3 bag lasts many meals (10 or so?).
I am suspecting I spend an awful lot of my food money on cheese.
I also shop at Smart & Final once a month, for paper towels, toilet paper, bags, and water. I like to keep emergency water around and rotate it, so we buy water in 2 1/2 gallon plastic container that we drink (instead of tap water). I think totals are under $100, and that includes the soup noodles I pick up for the veterans. I try to keep the volunteer office at the local VA hospital supplied with instant meals. I have a weekly meeting there, so all I do is buy them when I'm at Smart & Final, leave them in my car and carry them in. For $20-$25/month I feed a lot of vets.
I don't have any personal credit card debt, I pay off what I charge every month.
My financial partner K was out of work for a while and ran up a bill of $19,000. Its currently at $14,600 at 7.75%. It cost $100 interest last month which was worth it to me to not pay it off using our savings.
The only other debt we have is our home equity loan ($131,700) and mortgage ($318,200).
#1 short term goal is to pay off this credit card. I have not idea how long it will take. Its one of the reasons I started this, to see if I can track and predict.
I am pretty frugal by nature.
-I prefer to shop in discount stores like Marshalls or Ross, because of the selection. I don't like shopping for clothes, and I've had some clothes for a very long time. A lot of the clothes I wear were gifts.
-I like red wine, my favorite is Italian. I usually buy it at Trader Joes - my favorite is a Montepulciano D'Abruzzo for $3.99 a bottle.
-I don't eat out that often. I have a lot of food intolerance and allergies so I don't eat a lot of food I can't control. If I do grab food its a 6" cheese sub from SUBWAY. And I drink water. (I can't have High Fructose Corn Syrup or I have a severe reaction, so I can't eat processed foods). I do go to a local restaurant and see a friend play live music, it costs $30-$70 depending if I bring company.
-I tend to use what I have, and fix things.
I am really into automatic savings. I have a lot of bank accounts. When I know I am going to do something (like travel somewhere) I figure out how much it will cost, then start an automatic with drawl into an account. It really helps me because I travel a lot. I also save for people to come visit me. I save $25/week so my high school friend can come visit one a year!
My current automatic savings:
1) $16,000 - Misc fund - this is my emergency fund. Automatic savings is $14,000/year ($1200/month)
2) $1000 - House fund - mostly designated for new fence and tree trimming. No automatic savings (need). Constant need for house repair.
3) $1000 - Taxes - Not enough. No automatic savings.
4)$3600 - Cats - for vet bills. Automatic savings $200 every 2 weeks. Not sure how much to save, have 3 12 year old cats. Vet bills typically $2500/year.
5)$55 - Me savings. For things I want. Automatic $33 every 2 weeks. Balance recently went to pay K credit card.
6) $5 - K savings. After his cc paid. No automatic savings
7) $2200 - Mortgage and bills. To cover times when payroll doesn't match up with bill paying. automatic savings $400 month.
8) $200 - Cars. To pay for car repairs and eventually new cars. Automatic savings $400/month. Balance recently went to pay K credit card.
TRAVEL - will end when trip taken
9) $400 - $100/week VEGAS 1/12
10) $700 -$400/month London 10/12
11) $800 -$200/month - Nieces 1/12 - air already paid
12) $950 -$25/week - J soon
1) K cc - current $15,400
1) Emergency savings current $14,000/year. Add 10% -$1400.
1)need to figure out current for K and J