Friday, June 15, 2007

Short Term Goal (Mostly) Accomplished!

With my May 31st pay check, I accomplished my goal of accumulating $10,000 to be transferred into a one year CD. Unfortunately, I was traveling and didn’t really have time to deal with it at that moment. When I got back the next week and called the bank to close the account, I was informed that it would take 3-5 business days to receive the check. Yesterday I got the check and placed it in my checking account for the short term so that I can open my CD with one nice $10,000 check and start looking for a new savings or money market account. As soon as the check clears, I’m going to find the highest yield 1-year CD I can find.

In the meantime, with my short term goal completed, I need to start thinking about another short term goal. I have some major travel scheduled for the end of this month and need to take another (expensive) class, probably in August, meaning my rate of saving is going to take a hit for a little while. Perhaps a good financial goal would be saving $750 a month from now through December, but I’ll have to think about that.

In an effort to control how much money I make, I do have a couple of career goals for the short term. Over the next month I plan to determine where my next assignment will be. The current front runners are Manchester, NH and Tepotzotlán, Mexico. I think I could be happy either place, so for now, I’m just trying to manage the process and see whether Mexico even is a viable option. In addition to managing my next assignment, I also have the goal to update my résumé, compile a list of dream companies and send an e-mail to career services at my future school to see if I might use them to obtain an internship next summer. Hopefully I’ll get this done this week, but I definitely need to get it done before my mini-vacation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Side Effects of Being Frugal

I’m trying to live a mostly frugal life, when travel isn’t distracting me. So far I’m three months in to having a budget and tracking every penny I spend. I get a little thrill at the end of the day when I enter my expenses and see my organized life laid out in a spreadsheet, but over the past few months I’ve noticed certain things that I would call side effects to my recent frugality.

  1. I get more physical activity. I’ve already bought the gym membership (for a whopping $6/month), so now I feel the need to use it daily. I try to walk more places to save gas, but in the process get more activity.

  2. I drive more evenly. In town I try to drive slowly and coast when possible. I’m certain I’m annoying all the other people trying to get to work on time, but stop and go driving can really take a toll on my gas mileage. If I’m making a longer trip, I try to use cruise control and I certainly don’t speed a lot, because the last thing I need is a budget-breaking ticket.

  3. I plan better. If I’m actually going to use my car to run errands, I plan out several errands to be in one trip. I plan my meals, only buy what I need, and eat all of what I buy.

  4. I generally eat healthier. I would not consider most junk food to be meal-worthy, so any junk food I buy is in addition to the more meal-like groceries. It’s obviously an extra expense and something that can be cut. It turns out that healthy meals like lentils and rice and very budget efficient.

I’m sure there are other unintentional benefits, but these are the ones I can think of off-hand. In addition to more money in my saving account, that is.

Being frugal is kinda fun.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

June budget

My June budget:
Category Budget
food $300.00
housing $500.00
entertainment $300.00
transport $200.00
clothing $150.00
travel $400.00
health $200.00
beauty $100.00
education $0.00
misc $300.00

total $2,450.00

I'm hoping I don't spend that whole amount in June, considering it's close to my entire take home pay for the month, but I do have a round trip to NYC on my car to see my parents this month, and end the month in Hawaii, which surely won't be cheap. I have a slightly higher than average clothing budget (even though I haven't come close to using it in past months) because the Hawaii trip is for a wedding, and weddings involve looking pretty. I might actually use some of the beauty budget for that reason, too. Aside from those abnormal expenses, June also involves Father's Day and my brother's birthday. We'll see if I can keep within the miscellaneous budget with those and a wedding present.

Friday, June 1, 2007

May Results

I did a little better in May.

Category Budget


food $300.00


housing $500.00


entertainment $250.00


transport $200.00


clothing $100.00


travel $200.00


health $200.00


beauty $100.00


education $0.00


misc $600.00



total $2,450.00



The estimates, at least, were more accurate, even if there was drastically more spending in certain categories, like the mischievous miscellaneous category. On the other hand, I didn't end up getting my (expensive) prescription filled once again, and i delayed such expenses as new running shoes, the boyfriend's graduation present, and getting a hair cut. These things are just going to catch up with me and my budget later.

On to June!