Posted in budget, Debt management, income, Payday

Paycheck budgeting

Depending on how often I’ve gotten paid throughout my adult life, it’s affected how I pay bills. I’ll admit, it was much simpler when I got paid once a month and just pay all my bills with each check. And it forced me to budget what was left over much easier. And I always felt broke for the rest of the month.

Then there’s the weekly paycheck. I’ve been through the weekly. It felt like I actually had money, but it forced me to divide my bills up into 4 pay checks and hope I get everything paid off at the end. It was quite stressful for me.

More recently, I’ve been paid twice a month or every other week. The results are quite similar for these two, at least in my experience.

Now, I divide my monthly payments into two payments. For the most part, the bigger payments I actually divide in half. The smaller payments, I can divide it into two payments each or I can pay one bill one week and another at the next check. It’s all about keeping track of what’s being paid and how much is owed when.

The last thing I want to do is miss a payment and end up paying late fees. I’ve been known to pay late fees and right now, I’m trying to avoid that! I could save so much money if I stop the late payments!

I’ve attempted the Excel spreadsheet budgeting, but it hasn’t been very effective for me. I’m going to start using a calendar to show myself when and what I’m paying and how much is going where. I’m a visual learner, so I need to see my due dates and payments. It is a new way of tracking my budget and payments that might be a lot of work, but I’m sure it’ll be useful for me in the end. I’ll post later on my progress.

I want to do the cash spending as well, so any spending money for the week or specific time period is to using cash only. I still need to work on this as I’ve already failed with this paycheck.

Posted in Books, budget

Kindle e-book folly

My husband got me a Kindle reader a while back. It’s been amazing to read books on sick a light device! I love it! I take my Kindle EVERYwhere, even if I don’t crack it open. It’s just that day chance might get a page or two in that I’m searching for.

I found myself checking out freebie ebooks. There’s a nice list emailed to me every day. I also check out freebie books on Twitter and Facebook. Why not, it’s free! Kindle Prime even gives members the ability to borrow a book a month.

Then, I do this thing called searching amazon.com for randomness. I’m so uses to my freebie books that I overlook the price for books. Don’t get me wrong, I like to buy books now and again.

But last night, I made the folly to look at books. They sounded interesting and I didn’t notice a price. I sent five books to my Kindle Cloud. Did I mention this was a folly? I even neglected to review my email receipts.

Tonight I was checking my bank accounts. What do you know? I just charged five books varying in price from $0.99-$1.99 each.

I really need to be more aware of what I’m buying! Now I HAVE to read these books. I’m glad these are books I’m interested in reading. And I refuse to check if I could get these for free…

Posted in Freebies

Family movie freebie

After months of submitting rebates with my iPhone Ibotta app, I racked up $30 that my husband and I decided we would cash in for Regal Cinema gift cards for a free family movie experience. The other options to cash in we’re PayPal, Starbucks, or iTunes. I could not decide alone, they’re all great options!

Since it’s my husband’s birthday weekend, I asked him which he prefers and he opted to see a movie. So, we got $30 in gift cards for Regal Cinemas and was able to get tickets for 2 adults and 1 child and still have some leftover.

Movies are much costlier these days than when I was young, but any time I can get free admission to a movie, I may as well take advantage of it, right?! Of all the movies to choose from, we decided on Guardians of the Galaxy mainly because it’s Marvel and it’s been out for a while.

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The movie was quite entertaining with a lot of adult humor. The 5 year old was not so entertained. All during the previews he said, “Is the movie starting yet?” Then once it started he said, “When are we going home?”

My favorite character of Guardians of the Galaxy was Rocket. He is a clever character, a mechanically inclined Raccoon-looking McGyver. He is also great friends with Groot, who has amazing abilities to grow it’s branches to hurt and help those around him. Place the two together and it’s absolutely hysterical.

Anyway, if like to say the family movie outing was worth it. Although, I could have had more trips to Starbucks or many more hours of iTunes fun with the same amount of money. But, it’s not often we see a movie, so I’d like to hope it was worth it!

What would you do with $30 in rebate money to cash out?

Posted in Financial Fast, Unnecessary spending

Financial Fast fail

There are so many times I make those “New Years resolution” and it lasts two weeks if I’m lucky. Recently I decided to do another Financial Fast where I stop spending on anything except needs.

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Yeah, I’ve failed more than I can count in the last ten days. Wait, it’s only been ten days?!

I have successfully spent money on “wants” at so many stores! And today a group of us at work went to eat a small bite after the career fair out on for separating soldiers.

Talk about a total fail. Adding up all my unnecessary expenses in the last ten days, is say in at around $100! Oh my, I need to get back on this Financial Fast if I’m ever going to pay off bills!

6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. (‭Haggai‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NIV)

It is important to place careful thought into how we spend the money God blesses us with. How do you steward the money God gives you?

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Posted in budget, Financial Fast, Groceries

Grocery shopping

The inevitable grocery shopping day. It’s necessary at least once a week, but many weeks it’s much more often. Groceries in Hawaii are ridiculous. I likely spend on average of $150-200 a week on groceries. I’m starting to limit the frequency of shopping and I Derrick my best to stick to my list.

However, yesterday, I indulged and chose to shop at Target instead of Safeway. Except there were a few things I could not find, so I need to shop again at another store tomorrow.

There were a bunch of items on clearance, which meant I splurged a bit. I think it’s quite worth it and will save me the cost of buying the item at a later date when it is not on clearance. So, I bargained with myself at the store.

Other than my chai tea latte mix that I drink every morning and the tomatoes and basil to go with my mozzarella cheese, I’m fully stocked for at least a week, hopefully more. So I’ll make a quick stop for these items before work tomorrow and hold it in my work refrigerator. Then possibly get some bread and milk next week and we should be good for a while.

I’m learning to use what we’ve got, so the lunch and dinner menus are limited until my next payday, which isn’t until September 19.

Luckily a few items are on my rebates app on my phone, so I get a few bucks back! And it got me some shopkick points for another app, in my attempt to get a decent gift card for Target on a later date. Maybe I should shoot for $100 gift card, which means I need to use the app more frequently!

This might save some cash for Christmas, I better stop in for shopkick points more often!

How are you budgeting for groceries? Christmas? Leave a comment to share!

Posted in budget, Financial Fast

Birthday blunders

No, it’s not my birthday nor anyone else in the family. But, we did go to a five year old’s birthday party today. Don’t get me wrong the party was loads of fun and I had a chance to catch up with some friends.

But, the birthday present is what caused me to go shopping yesterday. The Financial Fast does not allow for gift giving. But, I really wanted to give back to this cutie who worked so hard during soccer season when I was assistant coach.

I bought her two cute toys and a moderately priced LEGO toy for my own five year old. My child insisted on putting together his Legos last night. Then proceeded to being it out during the party and lost a piece.

So, I bent the Financial Fast rules to buy a gift for the birthday girl, gave in to buy a you for my own child, then he lost a piece.

On a good note, I brought home some delicious leftovers and heated it up for dinner! It all pays off in the end, I hope!

Happy birthday, little friend!

Posted in Freebies

Smithsonian Museum Day

Last year, I saw an add for a museum day that was free for 2 people on a specific day. My husband and I viewed the museums in our area and decided on the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There were 4 of us, so we paid for two people, so it was half off for each of us. Any discount is better than none, right?

It was a fantastic time of hanging out at the museum and taking loads of photos. It was a museum none of us had ever been to before, so it was really neat.

Well, time has come for this year’s Smithsonian Museum Day. The same museums are available and this free event for two people is for Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Go to http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ to register. Why not, it’s free!

Anyone in any state can participate! Leave a comment on which state and museum you plan to visit!

Posted in budget, Debt management, Financial Fast

Financial Fast – round 2

Several months ago, I attempted a 30-day Financial Fast. What’s the idea behind a financial fast? Basically, it’s to lower expenses, pay off creditors, and start saving.

Yet, it seems I have since made matters worse. It’s so easy to become focused on what you don’t have and splurge on things you don’t need.

Here’s where budgeting and being extremely strict about spending comes into play. I usually do not spend much on anything. But just one slip of payments to creditors and the fees go haywire!

Today is September 2nd and lets get this budget figured out before the end of the year. In fact, let’s start the financial fast today and pay off some major creditors!

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (‭Luke‬ ‭16‬:‭10‬ NIV)

I don’t get paid much, especially by the means to live in “paradise” Hawaii. The cost of living here is ridiculous and the every day needs are totally unfriendly prices. There’s no easy way out here.

Currently I have 5 creditors, plus a college loan to pay off. Unfortunately, my income does not allow for me to pay off credit cards and not use any of them for anything.

I do have one that is a specialty card that I can only charge for specific charges, which I refuse to use anymore. Unfortunately, the total this far is higher than it should be and I should place more on it monthly than I do so that I can snowball the payments to the next card.

Also, my bank account is pretty bare at the moment so it looks like we’ll be cleaning out the refrigerator this week and not buying groceries. Let’s see how far this pantry can stretch as well!

Payday is this Friday. I get paid every other week. Stretching the income for two weeks is indeed a challenge!

There’s also a freebie book I found on budgeting God’s way. I am determined to read a chapter a day and see how educating myself will be helpful as well in curbing the spending.

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭40‬ NIV)