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Archive for June, 2008

June tracking results - very very UGLY

June 30th, 2008 at 07:58 pm

RENT $952.00
STUDENT LOAN $141.00
ELECTRIC $72.00
GAS (as in cooking) $10.00
TRIPLE PLAY $109.00
GIFTS/CHARITY $296.53
(Aunt bday, china earthquake, work parties contr.)
FOOD (incl. lunches at work) $423.12
MEDICAL $72.00
KITTENS (litter, food) $94.31
ROTH $458.00
PHARMACY stff $85.00
CLOTHING $231.08
HOUSE STUFF $703.00
(Roomba, AC, plant, kitchenware, shredder, hampers, shower curtains)
DRY CLEAN, LAUNDRY $31.50
MISCELANEOUS $264.00
(IRS bill, phone chargers, consumer report, ethernet wires, entry visa, passport photos)
GROOMING - haircuts for both $43.00
CAR INSURANCE $240
GASOLINE $335.27
TOLLS ez pass $200.00
OTHER TRANSPORTATION (TAXI, PARKING) $14.50
CAR MAINTn/EXPENCES $155.00
(parking ticket, car registration)
FUN STUFF $98.20
(Magazine, lotto, 3 month game subscription, itune)
EATING OUT $799.17
PERSONAL EXPENSES ON TDY $136.73
tips, rounds of drinks, food, metro pass
reimbursed by per diem -$136.73
GENERAL SAVINGS $300.00
VACATION SAVINGS GOAL $87.00 (Train tickets Amsterdam to Paris)
Total $6,213.50

I bought things for the house I wanted for months - I don't spend as much on house stuff normally.... but eating out category is horrible. I had no idea we were spending this much! I need to at least half it. I am not anywhere near my savings goals.

I WILL try much harder in July!

Who is still doing June expenses tracking?

June 19th, 2008 at 01:42 pm

I am still doing it - and it is not pretty!
June seems to be a more expensive month than average(maybe because I am tracking?), and seeing it expressed in numbers is hard. And I am only 2/3 of the month in.
I gave myself what I though was a very reasonable budget with a lot of allowances and space. Turns out it was more of a "wishful thinking" budget.

I track cash daily, credit card purchases downloaded weekly and sort everything according to budget categories.
I'll have to adjust it next month to reflect reality, and I have to try much harder. I will keep doing this until my projected budget and my actual one actually match!!!!
And I will post it at the end of the month no matter how badly I did.

Took a day off for pluming problems

June 18th, 2008 at 07:02 pm

Got woken up by the insistent non-english speaking neighbor. Evidently my toilet bowl leaked and flooded his ceiling. Took a day off, waited for the plumber all day, got it fixed. Got a headache - from not being able to get out all day and stressing out over the possible dishwasher discovery.

Anyway, I wasted a personal day and did not really enjoy it.
the only thing I bought all day was milk - and it was not even organic (that store we'd have to drive to).

I am keeping with my goal not to eat dinner out until weekend (to make up for the eating out spree last week). Day 3 and holding.

Nice weekend away

June 16th, 2008 at 08:32 am

We spend the weekend at a friends house in the Catskills. Trees, greenery, porch... Like another world to me. It was very relaxing, and as always after visiting, I get the itch to buy a house there.

We spend a lot of money eating out (about $200) but thats how it is. I will try not to have dinner out until Saturday to average things out.

My company is taking my stimulus check :(

June 11th, 2008 at 02:36 pm

Just saw the circular about it.

We are under the "flat tax" system where we get taxed to the organization at 22%. But we don't get to claim ANY deductions or tax breaks at all.

This was done to "equalize" all international employees in amount of taxes deducted.

So because of stimulus they will apply $600 less towards our 2008 tax advance payments. Frown Even though it is not an advance for the rest of the US.

This sucks! I've been looking forward to my check so much! Frown((((

IRS tease - it is hard to give up this check!

June 10th, 2008 at 10:48 am

Yesterday, I was looking through new mail and saw what looked like a check in the IRS envelope. Thinking it may be the stimulus come early, I was excited.

When I opened it, it was indeed a check from the IRS, but for $3,200! With the letter explaining that it is a refund for overpayment to the state.

We were floored. Of course, we were pretty sure that we calculated our taxes correctly. So immediately came the sinking feeling that it was a mistake.

From looking over our taxes quickly, it seems that DH added “taxes withheld” and “tax advance payments" together (with the logic that it is all taxes already paid).
The amount was correct; he just did not separate them.
The state must have found tax advance payments in the system and applied them again.

We will, of course, double check this very carefully on the weekend before calling IRS on Monday. I wonder if the IRS will be as stubborn in agreeing that it is a mistake and they do not owe us money, as they would be in a reverse situation.

Anyway, my fear is that a mistake in our favor is likely to end up being as much trouble for us as the reverse.

Oh, how I wish I could keep this beautiful check – I felt so much richer for a moment. But, alas…

Disappointing $70 lunch

June 9th, 2008 at 01:21 pm

Just came back from lunch with DH (he had a doctor appointment in Manhattan, so we decided to meet on my lunch hour).

The meal came to $70 and sucked. (it was not worth the calories eaten either)
That is upsetting. I should have gone to a place I knew.
Or get a recommendation (which is still no guarantees it won't suck).

So lately we discovered one new excellent restaurant (cheap too) and had disappointing meals at two others ($92 and $70 - and the first one was highly recommended by hundreds of people who apparently don't know what they are talking about)

So these 2 bad meals are almost the cost of the air conditioning unit! I don't mind paying for a good meal, but this... leaves a bad taste.

But you can't discover new restaurants without trying. And you can't live in NY and only go to 10-15 restaurants over and over. And it is a joy to discover one you like.

So I am trying to get over this waste of money. Frown

Well, at least the company was excellent.

Eating healthy(at home!) is quite expensive

June 5th, 2008 at 03:30 pm

A receipt from buying few groceries today. It is a lot, especially if you look how small the quantities are.

Finally! I got my 1% interest rate reduction after 36 month!

June 3rd, 2008 at 09:05 am

I've been counting days this month. Now after 36 months of on-time payments, I got my "consolidation reward" 1% interest rate reduction. It may not sound like much - but it is 1/3 off my interest!

Now my student loans are locked at 2.1%!
Less than official inflation, let along the real one. So now, out of my $140 monthly payment about $100 will be going to principal.

It is a little celebration Smile
2.1% sounds so nice!

Even more freebies!

June 2nd, 2008 at 01:03 pm

3 nice toothbrushes and 3 antibacterial toothbrush holders given free from dental insurance representative at annual enrollment campaign.
worth at least $12
adding it to the challenge money

New total: $24.80

2 nice freebies today!

June 2nd, 2008 at 08:57 am

One is access to a comprehensive online Chinese language learning programme offered by the developer for free to a small group of people in the language programme at work.

Second one is a free magazine subscription for a year (one of the interesting specialized ones that you can't get cheaply) And it is being offered to a selected group through my employer, not through one of those "mouse trap deals".

I am quite happy and signed up right away (I don't sign up for cr@p just because it is free.)

Starting my challenge

June 1st, 2008 at 06:44 pm

$12.80 today

I went out to CVS on the first day of the new sale and managed to get some of the items on good promotions that would usually be gone by day 2.

Oral B toothbrushes for $1.77, toothpaste, bounty and few non-sale items. Saved: 12.80. Real savings, because I would have to buy these things anyway. They only had like 9 toothbrushes and I bought 5. I somehow felt it would be wrong to take all of them. Like I would be doing something not so nice and somebody may need the savings more than me, and it sucks to come and not find any... I know it may be silly, but is like grabbing all the shrimp from the buffet - allowed, but kind of wrong. Anybody else thinks it is crazy to feel this way?