Sigh ($108,628)

Went to the library last night. Paid $1 to replace my old card, which I haven’t used since 2006–probably because I had $35 in late fees! Whomp whomp. But really it’s like buying 4 or 5 regularly priced kindle books, and now I can borrow tons of them for free. Not super impressed with the selection of actual books at the library, but I think that’s mostly because I don’t want to lug around giant hardcovers. But I’ll look into their catalog and see what I can have sent from other libraries.
For more money spending, I will also be buying coffee today, and driving up (and paying for parking) tomorrow–and likely dinner tomorrow as well.

The good news is I have to work on Columbus Day. While I would have welcomed the three day weekend, I’m totally fine with going to work, having it be a relatively quiet day, and getting paid. Oh the joys of being paid by the hour…

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Slow Progress? ($108,592)

Not really progress? When it’s not payday, and my net worth is creeping down (as it understandably does as I pay bills), it’s definitely hard to see my progress. But it’s what I’m not seeing that counts. I’m seeing yesterday’s pretzel and $12 at the frogurt shop ($10 of which I’ll get reimbursed for), but I’m not seeing and Boston lunches in the month of October. I’ve only got five more coffees left on my Starbucks card, but I’m not seeing any additions to it (I won’t be surprised if this happens sooner than I would have hoped). There’s a kindle book or two on there, but I’m currently looking into how to rent eBooks from the library, since my monthly Amazon Prime rental got read in one day.

As previously stated, I’m getting reimbursed for my frogurt (wish I could link to that Simpsons episode–go to YouTube and type in Simpsons Halloween frogurt (maybe)). I used to do an occasional mystery shop, and that’s what this is. I won’t do then for something I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy, and wouldn’t potentially spend the full amount on. They can be like coupons where sure you saved 50 cents, but you also spent $3–on something you don’t really want/need/may end up throwing away.

In other money news, I sold a dress on eBay. Likely for less than I paid for it, but it’s been sitting in my apartment for a year with the tags still on it and didn’t fit, so it’s not doing me any good there–recovering some money is better than recovering no money. So that will put 40 or so dollars in my pocket.

I’m hoping to get my net worth over ($105K) by the end of the year. It’s a little ambitious with Christmas, but I think I can do it if I’m disciplined.

Mint Obsesssion ($107,989)

This morning’s mint.com obsession is Trends – Spending – By Category.  I should first say that I looked at my spending over time and was impressed with my limited spending in May, June and February–around $3,600.  I thought I did so well last month only spending $3,900.

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Oh but then I remember the crazy increase in my student loan payment, and that in at least on of those months I didn’t make my big payment at all because of the transfer.  I also look at the fancy pie charts for last month and over time:

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Last month over half of my spending went towards my student loan payments/attempts to make progress to pay down my balances (pats self on back).  Over the last year it’s only been 32% of my spending (hangs head in shame).

In both cases food is about 15% of my spending.  I. Am. One. Person. I do not need for 15% of my spending to go towards food!  (Full disclosure:  a lot of that “other” is probably uncategorized lunch purchases, which I was too ashamed to categorize, because then my food budget would have clearly been even more over). So far this month (and toward the tail end of September) I’ve been disciplined in bringing my lunch with me.  I’m also hoping to bring my transportation expenses down from around $700 a month to around $500 this month–$450 if I’m being really optimistic, but I have a couple things to be driving to on weekends, so that kind of reduction might have to wait until next month.  But at least for the three months when parking is free that will put an extra $200 in my pocket each month, at least some of which will be saved or go to loans.

I don’t expect to be as disciplined in the shopping category this month–because I need to find some new commuter shoes (or hopefully get the ones I have fixed because I love them so) and because I’ve been eyeing a Christmas gift or two.  The overall goal is for the education category to be a little over 50%, though actual dollar amounts obviously matter too.  Because I’m spending SO DAMN MUCH on my student loan payments I should be spending a much smaller percentage on food–more like 10-12%.  This month’s pie chart will be really skewed by my extra paycheck (and corresponding extra loan payments), but hopefully I’ve have worked on some habit changes when it’s time for November’s chart.

I think writing this crap down is helping.  We shall see.

Payday! ($107,771)

Good news is it’s payday. The sad news is I remembered I have to pay my bar dues this month. I was actually planning for this this month, but I saw it on my fridge this morning and reminded myself. I hate spending money when I can’t see the utility–and I’m sure if I actually went to any bar events I’d have to pay for them anyway.

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But look! I took a pretty picture on the train this morning!

My net worth promises to go down again in a few days when I pay my federal student loans, and I have a (small) balance on my Chase card to pay–I’m getting extra rewards (whatever those are) for amazon purchases this quarter, so I’ve made two purchases there, and I’m waiting for the second to post before I pay it.

Buying coffee again today, but my amazon coffee rode should get here today, so I’ll be back to making for a few days at least (hopefully). Made coffee is not as good as Starbucks, let’s face it. I have brought my lunch for the last eight days–that’s like some kind of record!

On transportation costs I’m at -42 from what I usually spend between my pass and parking, after three days of the new train station. I’m actually doing better when you consider what I’m not spending on gas, but it’s easier to keep track of the daily costs. I’ll be driving up past my old station tomorrow, to go to a friend’s after work–but she’s worth paying for parking!

Hump Day! ($109,318)

I’m really liking the closer train. I definitely thought it left five minutes earlier than it does and was frantic my entire drive–but I’ll probably remember what time it leaves now. Lunch, smoothie, and a bagel were all brought with me today, though I will be buying coffee. Hopefully my amazon coffee order will arrive today and I can bring that tomorrow too.

My dinner attempts last night were not so fruitful. I made budget bytes’ Mac and cheese–not impressed. But I did buy ingredients for lasagna to make this weekend, so that will likely be most of my meals next week or the week after.

I’ve already spent about 25% of my budget for the month, according to mint. It would be nice to have the “where I should be” marker be where I am, but my monthly expenses don’t work that way. I’ll make it even worse tomorrow when I get paid (yay!) and make a $900 student loan payment (ew).

Minty Fresh, Minty Clean — ($109,234)

My one main gripe about mint.com, which I generally love, is that I can’t set when my month begins.  I want to start it on the last day of the month, instead of the first, because I always have a payday then.  Instead it always shows that I’ve spent more than I’ve earned, pretty much up to the 30th or 31st.  I looks discouraging–I only want to see red when I’m actually spending more than I’m making in a given month (which definitely happened in July and August).

The existence of large outlays at the beginning of the month doesn’t help either.  Bought my expensive train pass for $335 this morning (about $50 more than I usually spend) and, though it hasn’t shown in my transactions yet, am sending another $500 to Student Loan #1–but the sooner I send it the less interest that accrues so I won’t wait until my next paycheck hits on Thursday.  I will throw $925 at my federal loans on Thursday though!

So far (a half hour in) the new train is nice–my drive is so much shorter and now I can relax!  I messed with my budgets a bit this morning, and my total budget is $4,061 for the month.  I didn’t mess with my commuting budgets, but I’m hoping train changes mean I come in closet to $3,800 (with hopefully $6,000 coming in this month because of the extra payday)–though anything over that because of extra student loan payments doesn’t count.

I know that says closet instead of closer.  Holy crap wordpress on safari on my phone is terrible!

Month End — ($108,868.07)

We’ve reached month-end and I’ve spent about $250 less than I’ve earned this month.  Not as much in savings ability as I’d like, but I had two weddings this month, and didn’t start getting determined to actually stay under budget until the middle of the month.  WIth that said I did buy a calzone yesterday…and Wendy’s today.  

This month I’ll have three regular job paychecks–Yay! So I can probably have Loan #1 paid off at the end of the month. I’m hoping I can get a little Christmas planning out of the way.

I spent just over $3,900 this month.  This seems excessive, but over $2,000 of that went to student loan payments.  Another $280 to my train pass, $72 in parking and $305 in gas.  I’m hoping I can keep my transportation expenses for the month under $475 this month.  I’m not going to mess with my Mint.com budgets there, but I’ll try to cut down on some others.  I’m hoping I can save at least $700.  Very aspirational for the month.  Let’s see how it actually goes…