The Cash-Money Watch of the Century

 

Twenty four days til Christmas...

Twenty four days til Christmas…

Gift image via Wikimedia Commons user Evalowyn

11/9- SAM’S CLUB

Eclipse 4 pack of “Big e-packs”     $9.52
Altoids 6 pack     $8.12
Extra variety 15 pack     $7.98

SUBTOTAL     $25.62
TAX     $2.11
TOTAL     $27.73

11/9- SPROUTS

Strawberries     $2.50
Blackberries     $2.50
Edamame     $2.99
Grape tomatoes     $0.98
Raspberries     $2.50
Dozen roses     $5.99

TAX     $0.49
TOTAL     $17.95

11/12- CVS

Fleece throw     $3.99
Rx     $7.32

TAX     $0.33
TOTAL     $11.64

11/13- WALMART

Milk     $2.93
Maple bacon     $2.98
Breakfast sausage      $3.48
Carrot cake slice     $1.98
Cheesecake     $5.98
Tilapia     $7.48
Eggs     $1.98
Wheat bread     $2.88

SUB/TOTAL     $29.69

11/13- EWC

Tip     $8

11/15- SPROUTS

Blackberries     $1.96 ( 2 @ $0.98/each)
Blueberries     $2.50
Grape tomatoes     $2.00
Navel oranges     $1.37 ($0.98/pound & I got 1.4 lb)
Organic spinach blend     $1.98
Raspberries     $2.50

SUB/TOTAL     $12.31

11/15- BATH & BODY WORKS

Body lotions ( 4 @ $3/each)     $12
Purse-size lotion     $5.00

SUBTOTAL     $17.00
TAX     $1.40
TOTAL     $18.40

11/18- TARGET

Long sleeved shirts (3 @ $7.20/each)     $21.60
Leggings     $9.60
Winter bird figurine     $4.00
Tights     $6.99    (need to return these, wrong size)

SUBTOTAL     $42.19
TAX     $3.48
TOTAL     $45.67

11/19- SUBWAY

6 inch sandwich     $2.00

TAX     $0.17
TOTAL     $2.17

11/19- VET

CBC, Thyroid test, dental cleaning, IV fluids, EKG test, and oral antibiotics     $410

11/21- CHIPOTLE

Steak bowl     $7.20

TAX     $0.59
TOTAL     $7.79

11/22- SPROUTS

Blackberries     $1.67
Blueberries     $1.66
Mandarins     $2.98
Honeycrisp apples     $3.98 (2 lb @ $1.99/lb)
Organic baby spinach     $1.98
Organic baby arugula     $1.98
Raspberries     $3.34 (2 @ $1.67/each)
“Wild mix” tomatoes     $1.50
Bananas     $0.40 (2 @ $0.49/lb)
Chia seeds     $6.49 (this is the smallest container they had)
Hint water     $1.50
Mango passion tea     $2.00
Organic oatmeal     $3.00
Organic 2% milk, 1/2 gallon (there was no 1% gallons of milk)     $3.79
Eggs     $1.99
French bread     $1.89

TAX     $0.12
TOTAL     $40.27

11/26- WALMART

Tidy Cat “Light-Weight”     $7.78

TAX     $0.64
TOTAL     $8.42

11/26- KROGER GAS

Gasoline     $23.55 (9.618 gal @ $2.44/gal)

11/27- MACYS.COM

Queen mattress pad     $19.99
Iron     $9.99

SHIPPING     $9.95
TAX     $3.29
TOTAL     $43.22

11/29- KROGER

Pie, small size     $2.19
Pie, pumpkin     $2.99
Hershey’s “Air delight” bars     $2.00 (Buy 2, get 1 free)

TAX    $0.17
TOTAL     $7.35

11/29- SPROUTS

Blackberries    $5.00 (2 @ $2.50/each)
Blueberries    $2.99
Edamame    $2.99
Grape tomatoes    $2.50
Honeycrisp apples    $2.11 (1.06 lb @ $1.99/lb)
Organic spinach blend    $3.49
1% Milk Gallon    $3.49
Apple coffee cake    $2.99
Whole wheat bread    $2.89

TOTAL     $28.45

11/30- LOCAL ICE CREAM SHOP

Scoop of ice cream    $3.20

Rent     $739 (paid 11/26)
Water/trash     $46.31 (paid 11/26)
Electricity   $32.25 (paid 11/19)
TWC     $77.18 (paid 11/4)

Oh, heavens, this was $745.81 of spending.  Which means with bills, I paid $1,640.55 this month.

Also, let’s talk about why it was so expensive. The cat went to the vet this month. I love her and all, but that was $410 of my money that went to her. Totally worth it, don’t get me wrong, but holy guacamole, that bill was crazy high.  I did my best to temper my spending the rest of the month so that things could be reigned in a little.  Also, this next month, even though it is Christmas, I am going to be very mindful of my spending.  This next month, I am going to refill my prescription for the next 6 months, and trust me, that will be expensive, too.  I would have done it this month, but after I saw the vet bill, I thought “Eh, I still have a month or two of pills, let’s wait.”

Next week in particular will be rough.  I have appointments with my dentist and my regular doctor, both of which cost money to see.  The dentist will cost some money, and my doctor will be $125.  Argh….

Also, I should mention that someone tried to buy $396 of Timberline products on my credit card.  I caught this when I went to go get my rent check.  Since I just paid off my credit card, I knew there was something wrong: why was there a balance?  Come to find out, my card number was stolen somehow.  I don’t know who, where, or why, but I did shut it down.  Also called my bank’s fraud department and reported it to them, too.  They are working on sending me a new card, and it should arrive next weekish.  I will be checking my mail frantically until then.  The moral to this story is:

  1. Fraud is alive and well.
  2. You need to check your bank accounts and credit cards daily.

Oh!  In happier news, my credit score is 804.

Image via History with a Twist blog

My bank likes to offer free credit scores to the customers periodically, and I always take advantage of these offers.  Now, the last time I pulled my credit score, it was 796.  So it actually went up a little bitty bit. (To be fair, the outstanding balance because of the fraud may have affected it.  Didn’t think about that.)  This means that financially, I am slowly but surely moving in the right direction.  I don’t feel like it, though.  I feel like my savings are going nowhere, and I look at other people and see that they (visually) are doing better than me.

But then I remember this: you can’t look at a person and assess their true financial status.  So I am wasting my time in watching others and comparing myself to them.  All I can do is look back at my previous financial states and know that I have made progress, even if it never feels like enough.

11/2- RACETRAC

Modelo large     $2.59

TAX     $0.21
TOTAL     $2.80

11/4- MACY’S

Gift for a friend     $17.99

TAX     $1.48
TOTAL     $19.47

11/4- SPROUTS

Blackberries     $0.99
Guacamole     $2.99
Honeycrisp apples     $7.00
Raspberries     $5.00 (2 for $5)
Chocolate bar     $2.29
Chocolate bar     $3.00

TAX     $0.44
TOTAL     $21.71

11/4- TIME WARNER CABLE

Standard bill     $77.18

11/7- EATZI’S

Banana cream, challah, mashed potatoes, meaty meat, and bottled water     $19.87

11/8- VET

Feline vaccinations, quick grooming, and check up     $99

This puts me at $240.03 for this time period and $373.40 for the month.  Take note, though: the vet gave me a procedure estimate of some things that needed to be done, and they weren’t cheap.  All said and done, it would be roughly $410 to get the work done.

Now, I love my cat.  I really do. I just hate how much that work costs.  That will put me back a month entirely on my savings progress, and I really can’t afford to be put back like that.  Well, I can, but I don’t want to be put back that much.  And then how am I supposed to get Christmas presents for the people who matter in my life?  I wasn’t necessarily planning to spend $400 on presents, but I wanted to have the wiggle room of $300.

So here’s my plan: get the damn vet work done.  Then, limit myself to fresh fruit, milk, eggs, bread, and whatever is in my freezer for the next month.  (I will make an exception for some bacon and sausage to put in the freezer.  Mainly because I am out now.)  But I can keep my spending in control by just remembering that my apartment IS full of treats and food; I just have to look closely and see it.  Also, the only other things I am going to get today are the crafty things I found at Michael’s.  And that’s only because I have a 25% coupon for the place.  That’s actually the reason I didn’t buy the stuff last time I was there.  I knew they’d put out a 25% coupon if I waited long enough.  Now that they have, I don’t want to waste it.

 

 

 

 

11/1- SPROUTS

Strawberries     $2.50
Arugula     $2.99
Blackberries     2 @ $0.99/each = $1.98
Blueberries     $2.00
Grape tomatoes     $2.00
Raspberries     $2.50
Unsalted butter     $3.69

TOTAL     $17.66

11/1- KROGER

Snackwells vanilla cookies     $2.69
Goldfish     $1.25
Goldfish     $1.25
Snyder pretzels     $2.50
Pasta     2 @ $1.00/each = $2.00
Cheese slices, singles     $2.94
Baby carrots     $1.79
Yogurts     4 @ $0.40/each = $1.60
Sandwich bread     $1.00
Animal crackers     $1.89
Skittles, fun-size (discounted Halloween candy)     $1.49
Jif peanut butter     $2.99
Salad dressing     $3.09
Jam preserves     $3.29
Pesto     $2.79
Strawberry vinaigrette     $1.89
Milk     $3.39 (This is why you have to pay attention at the store- I thought this was $2.50. I was wrong.)

TAX     $0.12
TOTAL     $39.95

11/1- BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY

Warm, puffy jacket that is long and warm     $69.99

TAX     $5.77
TOTAL     $75.76

$133.37 on the books, and it is the first of the month only, sheesh.

But let me tell you about that coat, and how the shopping process for it went: I knew I needed a new coat this year, all the way back in February when I was still wearing my old one.  I have owned the old one since roughly 10th grade of high school, and just for reference, I am 26 now.  This coat is literally about 9-10 years old.  It has served me amazingly well since only last year was when the buttons really started to fall off, but I knew it was time.  The lining on the inside of the coat has all but ripped itself out.  It is just worn out and not warm anymore.

Shopping didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  It took trying on about 4 coats, but I narrowed it down.  Part of the reason it was so easy was because I was looking for a longer coat, not a peacoat.  Basically, I want my legs and butt covered this year, and that is really hard to find for some reason.

The coat is a navy color, so it will be nice and anonymous (not like my neon running shoes).  It is made of a slight rain-coat material, so that will also keep me warm in the rain.

10/25- SPROUTS

Strawberries     $1.67
Blackberries     $1.66
Blueberries     $2.99
Edamame     $2.99
Grape tomatoes     $2.00
Honeycrisp apples     $4.74
Raspberries     $3.34 (2 @ $1.67/each)
Yogurt     $1.99

TOTAL     $21.38

10/25- GEISHA

Sushi, edamame, rolls of all kinds, steamed rice bowl, etc.     $69.55

TAX     $5.74
TOTAL     $75.29 – GROUPON = $45.29
TOTAL LEFT (including TIP)     $65.00

10/27- WALMART

Chicken voila     $3.88 – $1.00 MANU. COUPON = $2.88
Double pack of Froot Loops     $5.00
Tidy Cats litter     $12.98

SUBTOTAL     $20.86
TAX     $1.07
TOTAL     $21.93 – $19.92 (returned those god awful expensive allergy pills) = $2.01

10/30- KROGER GAS

Gas     $29.16

So the last part of October set me back $117.55.  I can handle that.

I should point out that the sushi dinner was amazing beyond words.  I love a good bit of sushi, but not everyone else does, so I find myself limited in how often I am able to suggest sushi for a night out (with anyone) and get an affirmative response.  This particular restaurant is a favorite of a good friend’s, which is why she suggested it so long ago for our bank-employee happy hour.  Tried it then, and never looked back.  It is well done.  I have grown to like sushi more as I have gotten older and have a much better idea of what I like to eat.  Used to, I didn’t like it at all.  Granted, I am still a pain in the ass when it comes to Chinese food (I am not a fan and will eat a bowl of steamed white rice only), but so be it.  Everyone has stuff they try and try and still don’t like, so Chinese food is that for me.

Also, edamame is difficult to find.  I was thrilled when Sprouts had it last week, but I was concerned (and rightfully so) that they wouldn’t have it again this week.  I was right.  They didn’t.  (Also, no baby-sized guacamole, either.  Glad I have some in the freezer.)  I suppose I could throw more effort into this and go to the multicultural supermarkets near my apartment complex.  That might be worth it.

So October costed $1,118.13.  Woo-hoo!  Getting better at not spending as much money, and I am still able to indulge myself and my manfriend in the awesomeness that is life.  Way to go, ma’am.

Things smell beautiful, until they make you sneeze!

Things smell beautiful, until they make you sneeze!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

10/15- KROGER GAS

Gasoline     9.66 gal @ $2.82/gal = $27.35

10/17- EWC

Exfoliating scrub     $38

Tip     $8

10/18- MACY’S

Underwear (6 pairs for $25) and some new fake pearls (for $29)     $56.07

10/18- CENTRAL MARKET

Apple     $1.10
Cocoa powder     $1.33

TOTAL     $2.43

10/19- MICHAEL’S

Pack of cards     $2.99

TAX     $0.25
TOTAL     $3.24

10/19- MICHAEL’S

A shit ton of card decorating stickers     $27.92

TAX     $2.30
TOTAL     $30.22

10/20- KROGER

Barilla pasta sauce     2 @ $1.88/each = $3.76
Pie     $3.99

SUB/TOTAL     $7.75

10/21- DRY CLEANER

Three pairs of pants     $8.37

Environmental Fee     $0.45
TAX     $0.73
TOTAL     $9.55

10/21- WHATABURGER

Burger     FREE
Medium drink     $1.84
Medium fries     $1.84

SUBTOTAL     $3.68
TAX     $0.30
TOTAL     $3.98

10/21- SAM’S CLUB

Certirizine     $16.48

10/24- KROGER GAS

Gasoline     9.18 gal @ $2.64/gal = $24.32

Also, I paid my rent and stuff:

RENT- $739
WATER/SHIT- $46.12
RELIANT- $38.07

So all the other stuff adds up to $227.39.  With bills, that makes it $1,050.58.  I’ve attempted to be very conscious of my spending this month and look at things and consider the legitimate question of “need/want.”  The underwear, I justified not only because of the price but because of the need: there are holes in mine!  I also got a free Sam’s membership for a month, so I went ahead and got a pack of allergy pills.  That is over a year’s supply at about $17.  Please note that I will be returning my other 90-day supply bottle from Walmart that costed MORE than that. While costclubbing all your purchases is not the only way to go on all things (nobody needs 5 lbs of fruit, yo), it is sincerely silly not to check out the prices and know what is cheaper through them. Also, I have to be aware of what I will actually go through and what I won’t.  I go through things like gum, candy, cereal (Froot Loops and such), and toilet paper pretty frequently, so it makes sense to purchase those in large quantities at a decent price.

The other side of the coin is this: I live in an apartment, and space is limited.  I already filled up my laundry room storage space with excessive amounts of toilet paper, so I really don’t have space to stock up on any other stuff like that.  Similarly, there is no good reason to buy a three-pack of orange juice when I barely go through a pitcher in a month.  The only time I went through one in a week was when my manfriend drank some with breakfast.  Also, I still have the container of detergent I bought for myself in March sitting on a shelf, waiting to be opened.  I think I MIGHT actually open it next month, since the package my parents gave me has lasted me since April.

Also, gas prices dropped nicely.  I love when that happens.  When was the last time it was below $3?  Love it, especially since I’m driving to Addison tomorrow…

10/3- SPROUTS

Blackberries     $2.98
Blueberries     $2.50
Guacamole minis     $2.99
Croutons     $1.99
Lettuce     $0.99
Honeycrisp apples     $4.81
Mini orange pumpkin     $0.77
Baby carrots, organic     $1.50
Tomatoes     $3.00 (2 @ $1.50/each)
Horizon mac & cheese     $1.99
Mac & cheese     $1.99
Sprouts mac & cheese     $1.98 (2 @ $0.99/each)
Honey roasted peanut butter     $3.99

TAX     $0.06
TOTAL     $31.54

10/4- TIME WARNER CABLE

I paid them in person and waited for forever….the usual $77.19

10/5- KROGER GAS

Gasoline     12.245 gal @ $3.02/gal = $37.09

10/5- WALMART

Bread     $2.88
Eggs     $1.98
Sausage     $3.48
Bacon     $2.98

SUB/TOTAL     $11.32

10/6- WALMART

Toilet paper     $11.97
Dove soap     $6.88 – $1.00 MANU. COUPON = $5.88

SUBTOTAL     $17.85
TAX     $1.47
TOTAL     $19.32

10/7- CVS

Birth control     FREE
Fluticasone prescription spray     $12.28

TOTAL     $12.28

10/8- BRAUM’S

Single dip of peppermint icecream     $1.39

TAX     $0.11
TOTAL     $1.50

10/8- ALBERTSON’S

Peas     $1.50 – $0.51 = $0.99
Peas     $1.50 – $0.51 = $0.99
Peas     $1.50 – $0.51 = $0.99
Green Giant frozen veggies (4 @ $0.88/each)     $3.52

TOTAL     $6.49

10/10- LOCAL FOOTBALL GAME

Admission      $8

10/10- KROGER

Bertolli chocolate cake     $3.00
Bertolli chocolate cake     $3.00
Annie’s mac & cheese     3 @ $1.00/each = $3.00
Blue Bell pint of ice cream     $1.50
Blue Bell different pint of ice cream     $1.50
Snyder’s pretzels     $3.49
-$1.00 MANU. COUPON (for the Bertolli desserts)

TOTAL     $14.49

10/11- SPROUTS

Baby carrots     $1.69
Blackberries     2 @ $2.50/each = $5.00
Grape tomatoes     2 @ $2.00/each = $4.00
Green leaf lettuce     $1.29
Strawberries     $2.99
Low fat milk     $3.39
Yogurt     $2.50
Neon gummy worms     $3.03
Ground beef, grass-fed     $4.39

TAX     $0.25
TOTAL     $28.53

10/14- WALMART

Colander     $1.97
Eggs     $1.54
Scope mouthwash     $3.97 – $1.00 MANU. COUPON = $2.97
Resolve “Spray N Wash” cleaner     $2.48
Generic zyrtec pills     $19.92
Systane eye drops     $10.97 – $3.00 MANU. COUPON = $7.97
Tic tacs, 4 pack     $2.88 – $0.75 MANU. COUPON = $2.13
Extra gum 3 pack     $2.24
Gum (Orbit?)     $2.24
Altoids     $1.64 – $0.50 MANU. COUPON = $1.14
Hershey’s trick-or-treat bag of chocolate     $4.68
Oil bottle     $4.28
Swiffer wet refills     $4.44
Toilet bowl freshers     2 @ $0.47/each = $0.94
Foil     $2.98
Orange juice     $3.00
Parmesan cheese     $3.98
Cheerios     $3.48 – $0.50 MANU. COUPON = $2.98
Fiber One streusel bars     $2.98 – $0.50 MANU. COUPON = $2.48

SUBTOTAL     $76.24
TAX     $2.44
TOTAL     $78.68

So this was $249.24.  As you sit there and judge me: yes, I attended a football game for $8 and only sat through 1/2 of it.  So sue me.  It was great, I got to watch the marching bands perform, and then I got to go to the grocery store.  And, I might add, I saw a peregrine falcon chilling at the Kroger, so that alone was worth being out at a grocery store on a Friday night.

Picture via Dolovis via Wikimedia Commons

Otherwise, most of this spending is uneventful. My man friend and I made some lasagna that was fairly good (I figured out what we were doing wrong, so in a month, once we are no longer sick of lasagna, we will make it again).  Also, my freezer is nice and full now.  This is for sure a first-world problem: how am I going to eat it all?  And for once, the ratio of sweets to healthy food is not 5:1.  It is more like 3:1.  It’s all those vegetables I bought…

Mainly, I can not stress enough the importance of coupons to me.  I don’t want to go all “dorky coupon girl” on you, but really: clip the good coupons and plan your trips accordingly!  As you can see, I did pretty well at Walmart, and I used the majority of the coupons I brought with me (the exception being one for Skittles.  I looked at the package and thought about how much I like my teeth without additional cavities in them, so I walked away.), so it wasn’t a total loss.  Keep in mind, I do spend about 20 minutes a week reviewing the grocery ads sent out during the week to decide where to go.  Albertson’s was having a super cheap deal on frozen veggies, so I made a special trip there to get what I needed.  I obeyed the limits on the circular, my freezer is full, and I didn’t have to spend a terrible amount of money to do it.

 

 

 

Tags:
The biggest of them all.

The biggest of them all.

Picture taken by ME. Take that!

Before you start reading all the things I bought at the grocery store, you should know that I hosted about six people in my apartment for a small gathering where I cooked for everyone and made tasty tacos.  The funny thing was, I figured that buying all the food would be the expense that put me over this month, but let’s not lie, it was the State Fair, despite my free entry.  And more importantly, I’m not gonna lie to myself: the State Fair is badass, and I did spend money on it.

And you know what?  I had a lovely time there.

9/23- KROGER GAS

Gasoline     9.360 gal @ $3.06/gal = $28.73

9/23- KROGER

Paper towels (multi-pack)     $4.99 – $0.50 MANU. COUPON = $4.49
Cheese     $1.99
Taco seasoning     2 @ $0.50/each = $1.00
Tortillas     2 @ $1.59/each = $3.18
Huge avocado     $0.99
Normal avocados     $5.34 (I got 6 normal ones.)
Yellow onions (2)     $1.18
Roma tomatoes     $1.38
Lettuce     $0.99
Ground beef (1 lb package)    2 @ $3.99/each = $7.98
Milk     $2.97
Tortilla chips     $1.59
More tortilla chips     $2.50
Kroger brand diet cola     $0.89
Kroger brand diet lemon lime     $0.89
Ginger ale     $1.00
Ginger ale     $1.00

TAX     $0.68
TOTAL     $40.04

9/27- SPROUTS

Strawberries     $2.99
Blackberries     $2.50
Blueberries     $2.50
Grape tomatoes     $1.50
Lettuce     $1.50
Honeycrisp apples     $4.76
Milk     $3.39
Yogurt, big container     $3.49

TOTAL     $22.12

9/27- DART

Two train tickets     $10

9/27- STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

Entry tickets     $0 (the benefits of working as an educator)
State fair coupons     $25 (used to purchase some wine and also some salt water taffy)

9/28- NORDSTROM RACK

Tennis shoes     $39.97
Warm coat/jacket hybrid     $64.97

SUBTOTAL     $104.94
TAX     $8.66
TOTAL     $113.60

GIFT CARD     $102.72
LEFTOVER:     $10.88 (paid with debit card)

So this all adds up to $136.77.

I also need to list my standard expenses:

Rent: $739*
Water/trash/etc: $42.61*
Time Warner Cable: $77.19
Dallas Morning News: $11.52
My mother: $45
Electricity: $51.93 (September was a bitch for my A/C, clearly)*
LA Fitness: $32.46

 

Okay, so I did all my math (note to self: do this another way next year with a spread sheet, because you make it so much more complicated than it needs to be), and my grand total this month was $1,445.56.  This means I went $45.56 over my low-end budget goal.  I am slightly disappointed in myself, but hey, I got really close to it.  That’s a great step in the right direction, and that’s what Dave Ramsey/(insert your favorite budgeting person here) tells you to do: baby steps.  Budgeting is a pain in the ass, no one ever said that saving money would be easy or a ha-ha, funny-good time. It requires effort.  But the satisfaction that comes with doing it right…damn, there’s no better feeling.

Except when you get to eat chocolate cake, or really, any kind of dessert.

 

 

 

 

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