Sunday, August 15, 2010

spending, spending, spending

So I am in the process of buying a bed from Craigslist, and I am also taking a short trip this month. This means I'll barely be saving anything. It's stressing me out a bit. Or at least is weighing on my mind. I'm going to try to cut back in other areas. I saw a vase for $300 that I was about to buy and then realized that I probably should not. Same with a pair of shoes for $120. I guess I will just delay.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My most favorite time of the year

. . . is approaching. It's a time when my income increases. First, just like last year, I got a credit for my gas bill. I should not have to pay a gas bill for several months starting from August. On the income side, I will have paid all of my social security tax probably by the end of next month. So my paychecks in September, October, November and December are bigger than the rest of the year. This year I've been paying $756 a month in SS tax. That is an enormous amount of $ to have added to a paycheck. This is like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all wrapped into one. And then the best part of all (hopefully) is getting our bonus paid in December. Our business seems to be doing okay this year, so hopefully it will be comparable to last year's.

Midyear Budget Update

I've gotten around to doing my midyear budget update. The most interesting thing is to compare it to last year.

Luckily, I'm about $16,500 ahead this year. The big difference is school. No more school loans! That does not, however, include the cost of my new furniture ($4,000) and the new healthcare costs (still figuring out how much I'm actually going to end up paying).

This is where I am ahead of last year:
Rent (slightly less; I paid more the first few months of last year)
Phone (no phone bill; saved about $500 so far this year)
Charity (this expense will even out in the end)
Gifts and Entertainment
and slightly ahead in Personal Care, Fees, Restaurants (miraculously)

I have spent thousands more this year so far on Travel and Clothing. Clothing is catchup spending from years of not buying anything. Travel might end up being not too far ahead, as I took my big trip earlier in the year this year than last. Of course I'm tempted to take another big trip this year, but have been fighting myself on this. Am planning a mini-break to Montreal later this month with my friend, so that has to be my last getaway for this year if I want to keep my travel costs reasonable.

Overall, I have so much more wiggle room without the massive school bill that even my $4,000 furniture does not make a substantial difference. School debt sucks.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Money in, Money out

I was going to do my midyear budget update, so I can compare it against last year's and try to make myself feel like I'm not reeaally spending so much more this year, haha. However, I realized its hard to keep track of my expenses right now. I still download my Mint transactions every month and categorize them in an Excel grid. But even in my not very active balance sheet there are certain expenses that make things more complicated. These fall into a few categories:
1. Work-reimbursed expenses: I always have $ outstanding that work owes me. Usually at least a few thousand dollars.
2. Health care: This year this is complicated. I pay for my care, and then for $1250 worth, my company reimburses me. For $1,000, it comes from my FSA. Also, right now I've got a $600 claim that just got denied. I have to call on Monday and figure out why they are not covering it. I think I needed preapproval (despite being told I didnt), so that could be a very costly mistake.
3. New furniture: Right now this is an off-balance sheet expense. I'm just recording my monthly minimum payments of $42. For same reason I am carrying this on a card for six months, I don't want to put it on the balance sheet!

Next week I should have a better understanding of what part of healthcare is still outstanding and in two weeks I should get a new expense report. Of course I already have work travel between then, so I'll rack up more expenses.

Overall, I know that I've spent a lot more on clothes, health care, furniture (4,000 more!) and possibly travel than last year. But I think my quality of life is better and I'm feeling more balanced.