Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Start

Hello All (if anyone is out there),

After a long time off from blogging, I am back. Over the past year and a half, I have tried to be frugal and mindful of what I spend, but managed to rake up some more debt. I am back again trying to document my successes and failures in another attempt to stay accountable.

At the moment, I am engaged in the job search process. If I do manage to get a job (which I hope I will), then next year, I will finally be able to put a significant dent in my awful credit card debt. And if I keep the job for two years, then I should be able to eliminate my current debt, start saving, and perhaps purchase a home. But until all that, it is cheap, frugal living.

Monthly snowflake goal: $100. This goes towards my freedom account.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Cheap Snacks

Hy-Vee is running a 3-day sale of some items at $1 each. One of the items is Chex Mix. Also, has a $0.60 off coupon for Chex Mix. I printed off five of these and went to the store. So I got each bag at $0.40. When I got home, I transferred the contents of one bag into serving-sized Ziploc snack bags – five of them. So each serving is only 8 cents. That beats the 85 cent vending machine prices anyday!! I also got two 10-packs of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mixes at a dollar each! I love shopping with coupons – don’t you?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monthly Roundup - September

End of another month! This is the first month that I have not reached my Monthly Challenge goal, and I am upset about this. My goal for this month was $150, and I have reached $128.01 (85.34%).

Here's the summary:

$20.00 – Textbook Sale
$32.90 - Online Surveys
$11.07 - Coupon Savings
$62.30 - Amazon Sales
$1.74 - Interest
$128.01 (Goal - $21.99)

I am quite amazed at the amount I made using Online Surveys, although to be quite honest, some of the surveys were done a month or so ago, and I only got the money this month. Another area I am impressed by is “Coupon Savings”. I was a savvy shopper this month and stocked up on some things on sale and used coupons for these things as well. So that’s good. Although I did not actually reach my target goal, I think I am going to still have $150 as the goal for next month and see how it goes. Since I only was operating on a half month’s salary in September, all the challenge money goes towards my expenses, and nothing actually goes towards savings or debt elimination, but all in all, I still feel proud of myself.

My budget is another story altogether. I went over again this month – by $185.52. The main culprits were – losses at the casino, and when my sister was visiting, I paid for her gas, took her grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and treated her to a nice time out. I usually pamper my baby sister - she is a student too, and poorer than I am, so I don’t feel particular guilty about this. I also had very few no-spend days. Here are my “Pamper Account” details:

No-Spend Days: 8
Spend-Only Days: 13
Eat-Out Days: 9
Pamper account total: -$12 (including last month)

This is horrifying! My resolution for next month is: I will spend money ONLY on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (not including regular, fixed expenses such as rent etc.). My hope is that by holding off on getting something I want to buy until the weekends, I will be able to control my cash-flow better. I don’t know if I can actually pull this off, but I will try.

Scary ATM Recepits

I was at the ATM a few days ago to withdraw $10. I had very little money in my account and was struggling to make what I had last a few more days. As the machine was processing my request, I lazily picked up one of the receipts that someone had not bothered to take with them to indulge my voyeuristic curiosity. What I saw made my eyes pop. I would have $19.22 in my account once the ATM spat out my measly $10. The other person had $46,369.85. I would give a great deal to be able to say that receipt was mine! The difference is starker when you actually see the receipt, so after removing all possible identifying info (though there really is none on ATM receipts), here are the couple of receipts, for your viewing pleasure. Click to view them larger.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Small ATM Scare and Why It Helps To Ask Anyway….

I was going to do laundry over the weekend and needed to get some cash to change into quarters for doing it, so I went to my local ATM. Now, my university directly deposits my monthly stipend into my checking account which is linked to my university ID card. So, at ATMs, I typically use my university ID instead of a checking card. It’s worked pretty well so far, but on Saturday, after I got my $10, and got to the laundromat, I realized that my id was missing – only about 3 minutes had elapsed and I hurried back. The parking lot at the ATM was empty and I was pretty sure no one had been there while I was gone. When I entered the booth, I didn’t find my card and assumed that the machine had reclaimed my card for safe-keeping. So I called the bank customer service to ask what needed to be done. The lady who answered told me that there was nothing she could do – the machine automatically shreds the cards, the cards are reported as lost and new cards are issued. I told her that it was my university ID that was lost, and she said that my university would have to reissue a card to me. I was quite disheartened – my ID works as a free bus pass, and a new one would cost $20. It all was quite depressing. Anyway I told her I’d call the branch office on Monday just in case. She said she was sorry, but she didn’t think it would do any good.

But I called… and apparently the machine does not shred the cards, and I can go there this afternoon and pick mine up. I’m glad I didn’t take the silly CS rep’s word for it and did ask. I saved myself $20 in new card fees. And, I have decided to make a mental note to make sure to check I’ve got my card back from the machine each time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Lowest Checking Balance Ever!

Last night I checked my checking account balance online. I wanted to buy some groceries. I knew that my balance was running low, and wanted to check and see how much I could safely spend. Imagine my astonishment when I logged on and saw that my total checking account balance was $ 0.34! I had forgotten about my insurance auto-payment and was counting on there being at least $75 in there. I could have transferred money from my online HSBC savings account, but that would take a few days. So I decided not to buy anything last night, and to deposit all my online survey checks in the morning. I should also be getting $65.40 from a sale I made on Amazon. So, I am okay after all, but it is terribly scary seeing a balance of only a few cents in one's primary checking account. In the end, I did not go grocery-shopping, but instead went home and cooked stuff I had in my pantry - which was just as good.

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