No Net Worth Today…

I don’t have a net worth update tonight.  My loan is showing up as paid, but I don’t think the money is out of my account yet, and a very large credit card charge hasn’t reared its ugly head yet.  And I’m too tired (and it’s too close to my bed time) for me to make the necessary mental adjustments. 

I don’t have much to say tonight, but I don’t get to post from a computer as often as I’d like, which means less opportunities for pretty Mint.com pictures.

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I’m so very happy with my month so far–hopefully that isn’t spoken too soon.  I’m over my $0 budget on coffee shops this month–I went to Dunkin prior to a house thing, to the tune of $5 and change.  Not a life ender or a budget killer for that matter.  I haven’t made $1,200 in planned student loan payments yet–I believe one is pending for tomorrow and the other for Wednesday.  There’s one more for tomorrow that kills my second undergraduate loan. This is already showing up as paid in my loan tracking, but not in my bank account.  That bit is a little over $600.  Moral of the story:  I expect “education” to take up 75% of the pie by month-end. (Here’s the educational lesson kids, don’t take out loans to go to law school)

There’s a lot of spending here on “health and fitness.”  I don’t have new insurance cards yet, and instead of getting harassed when my old insurance backdates its cancellation, I told the man at the Consumer Value Store to treat it as though I didn’t have insurance.  It took him a really long time to understand this concept. So once I get the new insurance information I’ll be the one doing the harassing, about getting reimbursed.

Things are going swimmingly on the food front.  I have a two leftover mac and cheese meals, and three chicken stew meals in the fridge.  I’m planning on work lunch (maybe paid for, maybe not) on Tuesday and going out for trivia with the manfriend on Tuesday and Wednesday.  But so far I’ve spent $0 in my Restaurants and Alcohol/Bars budgets, so I should still be within budget after the week.  I’m hoping to bring plenty of snacks and food with me for my commute home, so I don’t feel the need to order a full meal while we’re at trivia. We’ve got more dinner plans on Monday, but that’s to use a long-held gift card.  (Free food!)  So far I’ve spent less than $130 on groceries this month.  I will be buying more milk from Cumbies on my way home tomorrow, but other than that I’m holding strong to my once-a-week grocery shopping commitment.

I’m too tired for further thought tonight.  If only I could find a way to be too tired to spend money.  Good night all, and happy budgeting!

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October Recap! ($105,805)

I’ve been blogging for like a month now.  Is that right?

October Recap

First, my Mint says that my net worth is in the ($104)s.  Sometimes my loan posts the payment before my checking account shows the money coming out, so it looks like I have more money than I do–in this case to the tune of my $975 payment.

Next things next: my spending for October.  This month includes a lot of money spent on personal care, including getting my hair did.  I also bought $30 worth of body wash (that I could only found online in a six-pack…so I won’t be needing to buy that again for another three years or so).  I also paid my bar dues. The “other” slice of the pie includes $100 in events for this month and October ($45 of which I better be getting a refund on), $35 in library late fees (since I did return my actual books on time, and I’m pretty much only borrowing Kindle books, I don’t expect to see another one of these any time soon), my $30 in freecreditreport and life insurance, $97 in phone bills, and about $40 in TV expenses (including two months of TiVo).

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Total auto expenses (gas, train pass, parking, and insurance) were $603 last month.  Hopefully October had more driving than November will, and gas prices will continue to go down (cross your fingers, toes and any other available appendages). The previous month was $737, but I think there’s even more room for improvement here.

I spent $392 on food!  Compared to $596 the previous month.  I think it’s probably actually a little more, if I were to properly categorize a few that Mint didn’t recognize, but that’s also probably true from September.  Either way–this is a SERIOUS improvement.

And now–the big daddy: $2,402 on student loans.  This included paying off Undergraduate Loan #1.  I definitely won’t match this figure in November, because I had an extra paycheck in October, but it should be at least $2,000 for the month.  My net worth has changed about $3,000 since a month ago.  It’s like I’ve spent more of my money on things that maintain my net worth (paying down loans), and less on throwaway meals.  Hooray!

Other Non-Recap Stuff!

I discovered a similar blog a little over a month ago, which is what got me going on blogging, and helped light a little bit of a fire under me saving/spending/debt-paying-wise.  This particular blog monitored her daily spending, and she also gave props to other bloggers that she was following.  I checked out a bunch of them and, unfortunately (for me) most of them weren’t really blogging anymore. I think for many of them it was because they had met their debt-paying goals (super awesome for them!).

I have since found a bunch of other blogs through just searching through wordpress, many of which I’ve started following (and poring through archives).  A lot of them I feel like I’m learning from, especially where I think the people are in similar situations as me.  I can’t really get behind a blog where the writer says “I’m $50,000 in debt…I used $40,000 in savings, and sold off my three extra cars and now I’m freeee!”  Awesome for them, but some of us don’t have extra cars or five figures in savings.  But for all of those who are slowing chipping away using only your salary and expense-cutting, keep on doing what you’re doing and blogging about your successes and setbacks–it’s helpful to know that there are others in the same boat as me.

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.