Recent Money Woes

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This year whenever anyone asked us what we wanted for Christmas, Hubs and I replied “money.”  We have been working on updating our kitchen, one small step at a time.  I have almost finished all of the painting of the cabinets, and we will replace outdated and nasty appliances one a time, as we can afford them.

Since we have been married, we have had a counter microwave.  It has worked well, and we will keep it when we replace it, but we are not thrilled about it.  We have wanted an over-the-range microwave, but to do this, we will need to adjust the cabinets above our oven.  I have not painted those cabinets, because of it.

Anyway, we decided that the money we got for Christmas, along with the money I have gotten from my piloted program at school, we would use towards a microwave.  We ended up getting a lot more money than expected, and we came in under budget for our Christmas this year, so we decided that we would also get a treadmill with the money.  Here is the breakdown, as I had figured it out:

$746 (Cash, extra money from Christmas, money from piloted program)
~$300- Microwave (Ended up being $300.66)
~$320- Treadmill (Ended up being $342.32 with a 2 year warranty)

This leaves us with $57.02.

If you read my blog earlier, then you know that our tv died.  We are now looking at buying a new one.  We are coming in under budget for December by about $100, so I am willing to put that towards our tv.  We also have $60 in our “house” envelope that we will put towards it.  That brings us up to $217.02.  I told Hubs that I am willing to use about $250 from our savings to go towards the tv as well.  If you are keeping up, that means we are at $467.02.  Some other miscellaneous money I have available includes:
Paypal (~$45)
Rebate apps (~$65)
Change jar (~$50)

Total: ~$160

Absolute tops of how much we can spend on a tv is $627.02.  I do not want to spend that much, and Hubs is being really good trying to find them for under $400.  (I do love that he is on the same page with me about spending money and making large purchases.)

(I also have an upcoming photo shoot in February, but won’t count that money until it happens.  I also want to save all of my photography income this year to hopefully fund a new lens.  I don’t want to come reliant on it.)

Basically, we will be able to replace our tv, but not with something as expensive and nice as the original one.  I told Hubs that if we use the money from savings and are down to not much emergency fund, then things are going to be pretty tight for quite a while.  No eating out, no coffees for me (once my gift cards/gift certificates are gone), no extras really.

If we include the new CD player for Hubs’ car that we got before our trip to Chicago for Christmas, this makes 4 LARGE (over $200) purchases for us in about 1 month.  This is UNHEARD OF in our world.  I am happy to say that even with these purchases, we are paying them outright and will have no additional debt!  No extra payments!

So there ya have it!  An update of our purchases.  I need to redo our January budget so we can really pump up how much we are putting into our emergency savings fund again.  It needs to be built up and built up fast!

Have you had any unexpected, large purchases lately?

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Clothing Confessions

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So, I mentioned that I may have spent quite a bit of money on clothes in the past week or so.  I wasn’t kidding.  I think for the number of items I got, I didn’t actually spend that much.  I will see what you think.

The first place I went was a resale store called Ditto.  I had a full stamp card, which entitled me to $20 off. And I sold back two tops for $6.00.  They were also having a sale where you buy one tank top, get one 50% off.  (I think it went for all tops, because 2 of my non-tank top shirts ended up being 50% off as well). I ended up spending $10.31 at this store, and this is what I got:

1 tank top ($4)
1 tank top (Originally $2, but 50% off, so $1)
1 sweater ($12)
3/4 sleeve shirt ($10)
3/4 sleeve shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)
1 long-sleeved shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)

The total before my $20 for my stamp card and $6 for selling back clothes came to $35.00.  After tax I paid just a little over $10!  Not too bad!

The next store I went to was Plato’s Closet.  This is also a resale store, so prices are pretty low.  My stamp card wasn’t completely full, and there weren’t any really great sales, so I paid “full price” for their items, which ends up being much lower than if I would have bought them new at the mall.  I ended up paying $60.87.  Here is what I got:

1 short dress ($5.00)
1 belt ($6.00)
1 pair of black leggings ($4.00)
1 pair of charcoal grey leggings ($5.00)
1 short dress ($7.00)
1 black maxi skirt ($9.00)
1 striped tank top ($4.00)
1 striped cardigan ($8.00)
1 long sleeved top ($8.00)

Now, if you notice, I have not bought any new pants, which is really what I needed at this point.  The two stores I went into just didn’t have any selection of work trousers.  Because of that I ended up going to a 3rd store: Ross.  This store isn’t a resale store, but they have newer fashions that are marked down from department store prices.  I ended up spending quite a bit of money here, but a chunk of it went to a new pair of tennis shoes for Hubs.  If I take that out of the equation, I ended up spending $67.86 on clothing for myself.  Here is what I got there:

1 top/sweater set ($13.99)
1 dressy sleeveless shirt (Originally $14.99, on sale for $9.99)
1 black and white striped top ($7.99)
1 pair of black trousers (Originally $12.99, on sale for $8.99)
1 pair of black trousers ($12.99)
1 long sleeved blue and grey striped top (Originally $6.99, on sale for $4.99)
1 long sleeved pink top (Originally $4.99, on sale for $3.39)

One thing to note is that almost all of the tops that I bought during my trips can be paired with a number of different pants: trousers, skirts, jeans, etc.  This makes them much more versatile.  I am able to create more than just 1 look from each top.

For a grand total of $139.04 I bought 22 items!  That comes to an average of $6.32 an item.  I think I am ready for fall!  I am already well stocked for winter, so I don’t foresee me buying any new clothes for about a year.  I am hoping to add a line item in our budget for clothing.  I know Hubs is in need of some new items, and come next fall, I would rather have a large sum saved up instead of having to dip into savings.

I do feel guilty about buying myself clothes, but in all honesty most of my fall clothes are ones that I got when I first started teaching (I am starting my 8th year this year).  I have a stack of clothes that I will be donating to Goodwill in order to clean out my closet and really get rid of those items I just don’t wear.  (This is one good thing about Hubs wearing a uniform to work.  We don’t have to worry about buying him new work clothes, too.)

The next big shopping trip I have planned is in September.  I will be going to the consignment sale to get winter items for Miss C.  I don’t think I will spend as much as I have in the past, as I have quite a few 2T items already stocked up in the basement.  I have a lovely friend who has handed down many clothes to us, which makes life much easier (and less expensive).

When was the last time you bought yourself some new clothes?  Do you have to buy clothes for work or do you have a uniform that you wear?

Friday Financials

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If Murphy comes in threes, then I think we should be safe for a while.  In the past week we have had a dog taken to the vet, a wreck, and an emergency surgery.  I would like a calm life for a while.  Here is how our finances are going right now:

*We had to take $150 out of our emergency savings for the vet visit.
*We had to readjust the budget for upcoming vaccinations and medications for the dogs.
*Unless the car damage is over $1,000 it is highly unlikely that the insurance will cover it.  The damage is minor enough that if it is not covered, we will not get it repaired.
*Our emergency fund will be used for medical bills once they start coming in.
*I got $5 for filling out a survey a few weeks ago.
*We got a $100 gift card from when we signed up for Directv.
*We have been spending more than we had budgeted on eating out, as Hubs has been at the hospital with me, and I have not been able to cook.
*Our gas bill was $10 less than budgeted.

Yeah, it’s not pretty.  This week has made me so happy that we have our finances in order and have our emergency fund for these unexpected emergencies.  I am completely aware that we will most likely not be able to hit our $4,000 goal for our emergency fund.  I won’t know how much we will have to use up from our savings until the bills start rolling in.  That could be a month or so, which gives us some extra time to tighten our belts and possibly save a little more.  I also have short term disability insurance, so I am going to apply for that, since I have missed 2 days of work for this and will possibly miss more depending on how I am recovering.  That should help with some of the medical bills.

I don’t have much else to add to this financial update.  It is pretty depressing, but again, I am happy that we have things in order and are not overly stressed about paying for the bills.  We will make it through this rough patch, and we will be stronger for it.

Has Murphy visited you lately?

Bandit Budget Buster

Had to take the pup to the vet today.

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This was after the doctor had been in to seen us.  Bandit has faced itchy skin for the past few years.  He has scratched his head, face, neck, and ears open more times than you can count.  He lives in a cone whenever we leave.  Unfortunately we were at the vet because when I went out to work in the yard on Saturday I forgot to put his cone on him. Here is the worst part:

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That is a hot spot.  We thought he had ear infections again, since he seemed to scratch at his ears the most this time.  I took him to the vet expecting the regular routine: shaved head, cream, antibiotics, cortisone shot.  This time, though we had a surprise!  When I told the vet tech what we were there for, she got really excited about this new medicine that has just come out: Apoquel.  It is specifically for itchy dogs.  It is supposed to quell the itch in about 4 hours and completely stop the itch in 24 hours.  The vet didn’t even really want to discuss it… he said he was prescribing it.  He has seen Bandit so many times for this very issue, that he said it would be perfect for him!  I was very excited, but nervous about the cost.

The trip today was quite expensive, but not the worst we have seen.  The total was $247, but I also go heartworm prevention medicine for both dogs, which upped the cost.  Here is the breakdown of the bill:

Examination: $36.00
Apoquel (50 tablets): $80.00
Cefpodoxime (antibiotic- 14 tablets): $32.90
Heartgard for Bandit (6 month supply): $39.60
Heartgard for Rose (6 month supply): $58.50

Total: $247.00

The dogs had $100.00 in their envelope, so I paid $100 cash, and the rest will come out of our emergency fund.  I am also looking at their vaccination records, and it looks like they will each have 1 vaccination coming up in May.  Rose will have 1 coming up in June.  Both will have 1 in October, and Bandit will have 1 in November.

I am going to have to go back over our budget and adjust for those vaccinations coming up.  Right now I put aside $80 a month.  This has been enough for now, but since it emptied their built up supply that would have covered vaccinations, I will need to up their amount for probably the rest of the year.

Another adjustment will be for the Apoquel.  This is a medication that Bandit will be on for the rest of his life.  After the first two weeks he will only take 1/2 a tablet a day.  For these first two weeks he will need 1/2 a tablet twice a day.  The 50 tablets will get us through almost 3 months (12 weeks).  In the future the 50 tablets will get us through 3.5 months (14 weeks).  That comes down to saving about $25 a month for just that prescription.  I also need to make sure that we save $17 per month for the Heartgard refills.  I think I may start an online savings account for the medicines.  Trying to keep that much money in their envelope for that long will prove too difficult.

I think I may try to lower their monthly cash to $60 (this will cover food, treats, etc.).  That will free up the other $20 to put into a savings account.  That leaves me with finding another $22 to add to it for meds, and then about another $40 or so for vaccinations.  I should be able to do that with no problem, although there will have to be a few adjustments made (not eating out as much, not as much money for clothing, household items, etc.)

If this medicine does what it claims, we will in fact save money in the long run.  The food that we feed Bandit is specifically formulated for healthy skin and coat (but we have not really seen much difference in his itchiness).  It is about $60 a bag.  I can buy 2 bags of Rose’s food for that price.  We also sprinkle a supplement on his food, which is about $20 for a small bag.  The supplement lasts about 2 months.  We buy Benadryl for Bandit, which is cheap, but is an added expense.  We seem to go to the vet 3-4 times a year for itchy problems, which is about $50 a visit, and even more if he gets a cortisone shot.

After all of this, I can definitely say I am happy we have our cash envelopes and emergency fund.  I can’t even imagine what we would have done if we would have had to find $247.00 on short notice.  I don’t know if it would have been possible in the past.  I was able to schedule Bandit’s appointment without worrying about the cost.  There will be some long-term adjustments to make, but it isn’t as stressful as it could have been.

Any budget busters in your life?