Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grumpy Tuesday

D is a very grumpy girl. I just did my type-A subtract-all-the-bills-from-the-current-amount-residing-in-the-checking-account thing…and came up with a NEGATIVE number!!! HOW did this happen? (I should say, how will this happen…since I am looking into the future.) Sigh. I know how it happened…both M and I were over our allotted amount on credit cards this month (and I didn’t bring my lunch today – BOO!).

On top of that, we have our new monthly car insurance bill, plus I threw $200 at our outstanding credit card bill, plus the quarterly bill we get from our Alma Mater came. This doesn’t include the tuition for the class I just registered for (Yay! At least I got my online Anatomy class!!)


Yes, I know – we have an emergency fund for these items. Actually, the car insurance would have come out of that fund anyway…if we were on the 6-month plan. So. I transferred some cash over from the emergency account, and I’ll try to bunker down and chill out for another 2 weeks. But it’s just so hard. I try and keep myself from wishing away the days, but I’m really so bored at work that I can’t help it. I have a test tonight and a test Thursday…I really just want it to be next Friday so M will get his second paycheck!

I like putting money in our happy accounts – not throwing it down the drain to various credit/loan institutions. We have about $1,000 per month going to loans and credit stuff every month – and when you break it down like that I get kinda nauseous. That number doesn’t include our monthly credit card bills either! That is just car loan + school loans + paying off big credit card. Booooo. I can’t WAIT until we have paid off that credit card – it’ll free up some cash!! Then we can start chipping away at one of M’s school loans that has ridiculously high interest.

Anyway. I better go find something to do – I do have that annual review coming up…Anyone else having a downtrodden Tuesday?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Registration Day

I really lucked out in college – I had pretty good registration times for all four years, owing to a variety of factors: luck, my mom’s friend in the registrar’s office, being an English major…but mostly a combination of luck and wriggling my way into classes thanks to mom’s connections (she is the administrative assistant for one of the school’s academic departments).

However, tomorrow will be the second time I’ll register for classes out of my college bubble. The community college where I’ve been taking my class just switched over to stepped (?) registration – the more classes you have under your belt, the earlier you get to register. Good for students that are close to finishing a degree and need only a few classes, bad for the part-time student who is just trying to get some pre-requisites out of the way!

Anyway, I really hope I get into an online class…there is a night option, but it meets four days a week, for five-and-a-half hours PER DAY. Yeah. I really like to read and do stuff outside of class. So I think that’s a no. I checked the space in the online class this morning, and it looked promising – but I’m scared to look now! I’m getting up really early tomorrow so I can register at 7:30 a.m. – let’s just hope my professor wrote that letter to the department saying that I was passing! We shall see. I hate leaving things in other people’s hands (type-A, remember?).

Anyway, I’ve gotta run but I’ll do a quick weekend recap – drove to Charleston with A and E, met up with college Roomie and had an AMAZING time. Danced, ate, saw hot boys in flight suits (M already knows allllll about our tiny obsession), saw really hot planes (I heart flames)…and did a lot of shopping with no results. (Which was good for my wallet and bad for morale)

Anyway, I’m home and it’s raining and I’m a little bored. I can’t wait to get home, hunker down with my note cards and get crackin’ on those books!

I'll figure out my summer classes (and how to pay for them) tomorrow. Ha. OOOH that reminds me, I need to ask M about his work reimbursing him for his classes...that bill is due really soon!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Silver Lining

So. I was freaking out about two hours ago - about my car, about the insurance, about a ridiculously high credit card bill that just showed up. But...I talked to a reputable Honda guy, who says he can fix the car for $450 (after I drive home to see him). Insurance is obnoxious...but I think we'll survive this. I just need to yell at some people to fix everything. As for the credit card bill - M put his real estate classes on there (and work is supposed to be paying him back), which were more than $600.

So. We WILL be fine. I just need to breathe.

And, some great things have recently happened that I need to be grateful for:
- Our State and Federal returns are already in our checking account
- Our kitty got a clean bill of health at the Vet on Saturday
- I bought a shirt on sale for $19.95 (down from $88!!!) on Saturday
- We finally opened our online savings account
- I saw my mom, dad and brother on Sunday
- my annual review is in one month! (Hopefully this means a RAISE)
- I'm (hopefully) seeing a couple AMAZING college friends this weekend

That last one is a a bit iffy at this point. I was all about the trip to Charleston, SC - until my car decided to poop out on me. Now I'm thinking of taking it up to my parent's house so it can go in the shop.

I don't know... Anyway. The point it - I'm fine. M is fine. Kitty is fine. I just need to breathe, and it'll work out.

Car Troubles

I just got off the phone with Goodyear – they were just supposed to do a much-overdue oil change…and just called with news that my 1992 Honda needs more than $900 in maintenance repairs. This fact, plus the fact that my car will need a new timing belt next year (which is more than $500) make me want to cry. My car is only worth about $2,000…and I Just can’t afford this. But, we can’t afford a car payment either. Actually we could, if we weren’t paying $470 a month for M’s car. Yes. $470. My mom is calling our old friend that looks after our Hondas, to have him call the Goodyear and see if it’ll really cost that much or if they’re just BSing a 20-something woman. UGH!!! OMG. I JUST said this weekend how I love my car and I don’t want a new one. But I don’t want to pay more than $900 either.

Looks like our tax rebate check might have to go toward a car instead of M’s credit card bill…at least we have that money coming in. That’s a blessing.

I can’t help but be really angry at M. I don’t have a car payment, but I help him with his. The $470 a month plus the $900 every 6 month for insurance is UNBELIEVABLE. And now I don’t think we can afford a car for me because his costs so much. That isn’t fair. I have never had a ticket or an accident…and I have driven my old, beat-up Honda for more than 8 years now. Sigh. I’m just upset.

Auto insurance is another issue we’ve being dealing with. My insurance company decided that since I was married, M’s points from his accident last year should be on my policy as well – a way to strong-arm us into getting on the same policy. It doesn’t matter to them that M has his own policy that we pay on. SO UNFAIR.

So, I am pretty pissed about cars right now. I’m thinking I should just not get my car fixed, let it sit at our apartment complex and take the frakkin light rail every day.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2007 Taxes? Check.

We finally finished our taxes the other night – glorious. We get a little more back than we expected…but had the unexpected expense of having to pay to file. We had borrowed my dad’s tax program, and unlike the free one online, you had to pay for both state and federal taxes. Not cool. Then, if you wanted to pay your filing fee by just subtracting it from your refund (the logical and lazy choice), you had to be $35 extra! That is insane. As M was objecting to the ridiculousness of the entire process, I whipped out my credit card. (This was the FOURTH time I had read out our W-2’s to M while he entered the info, and I was not doing it again…) Oh well. Way to go Turbo Tax…you suckered another one.

I’m really excited about getting a refund, but I am more excited about our “incentive check” that’ll be coming as well. We’ve already decided to put the whole amount toward our outstanding credit card debt…but I have the feeling I’m going to be accosted with requests for “Rock Band” when we have all that cash in the bank. I love Guitar Hero, and Rock Band is soooo much fun – it’s just that the game is $150…and that is a bit nutty to me. Oh well, M is amazing, so I should probably drop the stingy wife routine for a bit, eh?

We had book club last night – next up is Little Children by Tom Perrotta…and we decided to read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov after that. I’m super excited about both – I’ve read Lolita already, but it’ll be good to be able to discuss that book – it’s a little racy. And by a little I mean very very unsettling. Problem is, I want to buy Little Children! The cover art (NOT the movie tie-in cover, I can’t stand those…I could talk about that all day…) is so great – with little goldfish or tiny cookies and grass… The cover is just innocent-looking, with a slightly-menacing feel. I love it and I want it. Oh well, we’ll see.

In other news, I didn’t win my office’s NCAA pool – oh well, I really wasn’t expecting to…but what HAPPENED to UNC in the Final Four? Talk about losing it…

Anyway, sorry it's been so long since I posted...but things have been crazy with work and school (I have two tests this week)!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Books, Books, Everywhere...

I’m going to keep this short because I’m absolutely exhausted – thanks to my latest reading adventure. I started My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult on Tuesday after class…and I’m almost done today. I’m a pretty fast reader, but this story has just sucked me in and isn’t letting go. Therefore, I stayed up reading until 1:30 a.m. last night, long after M went to sleep (the kitty too!). The sad/great thing is, I want to just drop everything and finish the dang book!

I’m kinda a bibliophile. I love love LOVE books – not just reading, but also owning them. Now, I am not opposed to libraries – like my best friend S – I even thought about becoming a librarian after college – but there is something about those titles lined up on a bookshelf. I had a really tall, five-self bookshelf growing up, and I think it slightly fueled my obsession. I would leave books lying around the house all the time…usually two at a time. When I got older and had even more books, it saddened me to have to move my
American Girl, The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley books to an attic box. In college, as an English Literature major, there were even more books lying around.

Borders and Barnes and Noble continue to be soothing spots for me (I love used books stores too; I’m really not being picky. There are just so many more BIG bookstores) I always knew books were pricey, but after I graduated from college it really hit home. $20 for a paperback? $35 for a hardback? That is NOT cool. Still, from time to time I’ll give in and go on a tiny spree, and occasionally I’ll get a gift certificate and go nuts. M and I have two
Target bookshelves in our place, filled with colorful titles that range from classic to trashy – and I love every one of them.

Anyway, this is kinda random – but comes back to personal finance, I promise! If you count up all the books that I own, it would be a LOT of money. Now, it’s not quite as bad as Carrie Bradshaw owning $40,000 in shoes…but my books aren’t $400 a pop! Anyway, it’s a vice that I am trying to get over – I’ve been frequenting the library much more often (when I’m not reading for class or for the book club I started – I know, I’m a huge dork)…and I think I’ve only bought one hardback book since I completed my
Harry Potter collection. So, I’m doing better. But I still have to hold myself in check when I aimlessly browse a Borders…

Well, this wasn’t that short…but I could talk about books forever! Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I really want to put some art on our dining room wall. And I want it to look like this. Right now we are about 1/6th of the way there…with one photo (bought off etsy.com) nicely framed and hanging smack dab in the middle of the wall. Sigh. Sometimes my mom’s Martha Stewart compulsions just take over and I want to decorate…too bad it’s so expensive to do so.

It doesn't help that I recieved THREE home-decorating-and-general-prettiness catalogues yesterday. Boo hiss. We still have a few hundred dollars left on various Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma gift certificates (left over from the wedding), but I really wanted to save them and put them towards a console table. Alas, that dream is quickly fading.

Food, Food, Fantabulous Food

Last night M and I went to our local ginormous grocery store and spent a wad of cash - $108!! I originally had our food budget down as only $150…which is ridiculous because my husband is 6’ 1” and loves to eat. As in a sort of human garbage disposal. So THAT budget item needs to be increased. However, I felt OK about the $108 or two reasons:

First, I spent a good 30 minutes poring over the Kraft quarterly magazine, picking out meals that were easy, looked yummy and had a short “needed ingredient” list. I hope that this will give us something to look forward to – not only cooking together, and then eating the deliciousness, but yummy leftovers as well too. (I don’t mind taking these for lunch. M, on the other hand, doesn’t enjoy it so much. He works with a lot of women, and although they will bring their lunch, the men in the company all seem to go out every day. Which is ridiculous. But, I understand why he is more compelled to eat out than I am…)

Second, we may have spent $108, but we saved over $25 with coupons and store specials. We also bought a lot of generic items. Really, when you think about it, $108 is not a lot of money. We bought items for breakfast (bread and yummy strawberry jam for me!), lunches (lunch meat, provolone and Dijon mustard), four separate meals and dessert (chocolate-peanut butter cookies…yummm). If we ate out instead of cooking, the four dinners alone could cost us anywhere from $80 - $120. So I’m trying to chill about the grocery thing.

I’ve been trying to be Suzie Homemaker and cut out coupons, create recipes, etc., but sometimes it’s just exhausting to come home after class (I don’t get home until 9 p.m. two days a week) and cook a meal. Sometimes I’ll get M to make something while I’m gone, sometimes he’ll make me a grilled cheese or omelet when I get home, or sometimes its just cereal – which is fine! It’s just amazing to me that my mom came home after work and always made an amazing meal. When I think about the time and money that went into all those home-cooked meals, I get a little choked up!

On another food note, M and I went to an out-of-town wedding this past weekend. It was great, and thankfully we didn’t have to pay for lodging since we stayed with friends – but we still had to pay for the meal on Friday night and the subsequent partying all weekend. On Friday night we went to a really nice restaurant – we got looped in before I could see the menu prices…$25 entrees, etc. – but we did relatively well and only spent about $75 for the two of us. But then you have to tabulate the money spent on gas and drinking…not cool. Although the weekend was probably only $150ish, that is still $150 I wasn’t planning on. (And we still haven't bought the wedding present yet)

Good news though, M might be getting promoted at the end of the month! I really hope it comes through – the extra money would be great…we need to get that credit card paid off!! One last note - last night I was cleaning up the place and found a $100 gift card to Macy's - the same gift card that I though I'd lost in the move! SuperSweet!!!