Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Well, 2007 is winding down to a close. It's been a good year - we went to Vegas, Airbear became a homeowner (and I became a home-resider!), I got to move to the Seattle campus and stop commuting four bojillion miles to work every day, and I feel like I really got the whole manager thing started off well. I've also done really well with money here at the end of the year, and at the beginning of the year demonstrated that I can do really well with eating healthily (even if I am not, at the moment, actually doing so). We both solidified some friendships, too, and I at least feel like I have stopped worrying about the rest of them that are douchebags. Well, most of the time.

So before we head out to a New Year's Party (hosted by some of the aforementioned people), I am shamelessly copying LaRue's look ahead at 2008[1]:

Top 5 Things To Do In 2008
5. Send more letters (real life letters) to some of my "chronologically gifted" relatives
4. Learn new things [2]
3. Dance! Now that I'm at the Seattle campus, there should be lots of studios on my way home. I need to set something up!
2. Encourage political (and other) awareness in my students, and threaten to fail any 18-yr-olds who don't get educated and vote
1. Pay off billz! [3]

Top 5 Things To Avoid In 2008
5. Working too hard on my stupid procert portfolio instead of just getting it over with
4. Getting worked up over stupid people (or determinedly irritating students)
3. Working more than 40 hours/week
2. My crazy boss
1. Meteorites [4]

Happy New Year, everyone!

[1] It's okay because she already shamelessly copied it from something else.
[2] Obviously not during my procert, but afterward.
[3] Year-end bill progress tally and goals to follow in next p0ast.
[4] This was Airbear's suggestion. I was out of ideas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ho, ho, ho

I am having a hard time holding on to my money as the holidays approach. I bought a little prize for each of my instructors (a $10 BN gift certificate), but I feel that makes me a good boss who shows appreciation for her workers. So I'm okay with that. But then I also spent like $50 on supplies to make cookies for a couple of Airbear's friends (and only a couple, because most of the rest are big DBs), and then last night went out to industry night with LaRue, who has not been out in a really long time.

Well lo and behold I spent like $40 on dinner and drinks. Damn it.

Then again, the entertainment was worth it :) Now just have to stay out of the movie theater and keep from buying extraneous Christmas presents for 4 more short days. Everyone has presents already, it should not be this hard!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Results: Month 1

You are never going to believe this.

So I scrimped and saved and didn't indulge, and I held my breath for the last week on a $60 checking account balance. But I finally got paid today (whoo!), paid my remaining two bills for the month, and tossed another big chunk at one of the credit card balances. I left myself a little "cushion" this time, because of Christmas, but I have nearly all my presents bought so that cushion should pretty much stay put (and if it survives the holiday, I'm throwing most of it at another credit card). I could probably through another $200 at my debt and still be safe, but you never know what might happen over the holidays (i.e., my mom, Airbear and I might all need massages and/or margaritas).

Anyway, that's not the unbelievable part. Now that all the December bills are paid, I totalled up all the payments I have made to credit cards this month.

(Drum roll, please.)

Monthly total credit card debt reduction: $2,742.19

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So far, so good...

Another two days of $0... but man, this week is draggin' on. Is it really only Tuesday?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Counting down....

And no, I don't mean " Christmas."

When my last paycheck arrived, I paid nearly all of my bills for the month[1] and looked at what I had left over and decided to make an additional lump-sum payment on one of my credit cards. Now, normally, I tell myself that I pay "as much extra as I can" while still leaving myself a nice-sized cushion in the checking account. Then I can always make another contribution later out of what's left of the cushion when the next paycheck arrives, right? But then you know what happens to that cushion. It shrinks a bit. And then a bit more. I'm still pretty tight-fisted when it comes to spending money, so I usually do have cushion left at the end of that pay period and can actually make another contribution to one of the credit cards. And I do! But along the way little bits of that cushion have been spent on things I probably could have done without, and that additional contribution is smaller than it could/should have been. Like I said, I'm not as bad as others, and I am pretty proud of how well I usually do, comparatively speaking. But it's resolution time right now, folks, so it's time to "nut up," as my brother would say.[2]

So, rather than leave a big cushion, I made a big payment and currently have $60 to last me the next 6 days.

Sounds scary!

I used to do it all the time when I was in college--in fact, $60 would have to last me a lot longer than that. I ate at the cafeteria, and I spent all my time studying so entertainment costs were pretty low. Plus, everyone was poor. Those were definitely helpful factors.

But there is no reason why I cannot do this now. First of all, it is only 6 days. Four of those days I will be at work all the time, and that makes it pretty easy. I've got a fridge (well, freezer) full of reheatable foods, so I don't even have to worry about eating cup-o-noodles every meal or something like that. I've even got a mostly full tank of gas, and no "Bring a gift under $x dollars!" holiday parties to go to. Luck is on my side.

If something disastrous happens, I always have an empty credit card as a back-up plan, although of course I am hoping it won't come to that. But as long as a meteor doesn't fall on my car or the roof doesn't cave in, I should be fine. And then I will have the satisfaction of having paid more toward my debt than I would have by playing it safe.

Wish me luck!

[1] There are two bills left to be paid after my 15th paycheck - one because it is auto-pay and the other because it is too big to pay beforehand. But fear not, as soon as that paycheck hits the bank--bang, bang! Down go those bills.
[2] Sorry, mom, he really does.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Good...and bad....but great!!

So I am currently baking a whole bunch of chicken that was on sale at the supermarket (and yet was amazingly low-fat and beautiful!), so that we will have some more freezer dinner options. A couple of the chicken breasts will turn into yummy tortilla soup, and the rest will just be for entrees. Two of the entree ones I rubbed with this stuff, which tastes quite delicious. Not the kind of thing I'd usually buy to try out, but we got a container of it in a little gift bag at a work function of Airbear's. Mmm, mmm, mmm. I also made a big pot of chili last night. Vegetarian, too, but more for cost reasons than out of any moral disinclination to eat meat. But don't tell LaRue that, I'm sure she is thinking I'm reforming. Ha.

Anyway, stocking the fridge back up so that we can continue trying to eat inexpensively. We have been doing so well at not spending money that I still had eight hundred dollars left in my checking account when I got paid on Friday!!!!11! Zomg! But then I paid bills and bought some plane tickets and used my entire paycheck (plus about $300 of that exciting surplus) within a matter of hours. Oh well, the bills are all paid for the month and I will be getting another paycheck in T minus 12 days. And counting. Really counting.

Did well over the weekend, between Airbear working (and eating at work), the snow (i.e., reluctance to step outside my door), and my inability to find certain exorbitantly priced Christmas gifts I wanted to buy. So there's a few days of success, and today I sort of spent $0 again.

Except I sort of didn't spend $0. I actually spent about $200 on a Christmas gift, via my mom, who has this singularly unbelievable amount of positive video game karma. Whenever I want to buy things that are sold out or impossible to find, she manages to locate the one store in the state that has only one left in stock. She is a highly valuable super secret weapon in the quest to buy video games, and I shall hoard her all to myself. Mua ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. HA HA! All my other sucker gamer-nerd friends will have to find their own super secret game-hunting weapons.

In summary, I have been doing good...but today was very bad. But it was awesome because it will be a super Christmas present, and Christmas only comes once a year!! Plus, I only have a very small number[1] of presents left to buy, and then I will be able to keep my spending under much better control at least until my mom's birthday in May. ;)

[1] This small number unfortunately includes another of those damnable hijack presents I hate so very hard. I got my invitation to the office holiday party (which, thankfully, is at the same time as our Friday Morning Meeting(TM) this week, meaning a) the meeting will be a party and b) I won't have to attend/try-to-make-Airbear-attend an after-hours holiday party). The downsize is that I have to buy another one of those "$10 limit, pick a good gift that people will want to steal!" hijack presents. A-holes. I hope I buy a $9.10 jar of M&Ms ($9.10 to allow for sales tax), and our boss accidentally thinks $10 = $10K and gives me a yacht. Let's see. ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's snowing!

LaRue and I went to do some Christmas shopping and all of a sudden it started blizzarding!![1] So we rushed home in order to avoid getting stuck on one of the three million hills between the mall and my house. We were just in time, too - it just kept snowing faster and faster, and now my front yard looks like this:

[1] Blizzarding for Seattle, which means "a trace to two inches."