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Archive for July, 2008

OMG - We spent more than we took home this month!

July 31st, 2008 at 02:43 pm

By over $400! (I just edited it, I forgot the plane ticket)
Nothing leftover for savings. And not counting the stuff we bought with gift cards we had before.

RENT $951.00
STUDENT LOAN $141.00
ELECTRIC $112.00 TRIPLE PLAY $109.00
GIFTS/CHARITY $675.00 (wedding, gift)
FOOD $452.00
MEDICAL $10.00
ROTH $308.00
PHARMACY stuff $103.00(Sunblock, shampoo, etc.)
CLOTHING $847.96 (2 pairs summer shoes, Anne Fontaine Shirt, few Lacoste polos for DH)
HOUSE STUFF $408.16 (Dyson Animal refurbished, kitchenwares)
DRY CLEAN, LAUNDRY $4.50
MISCELLANEOUS $8.00
GROOMING $104.00 (make up)
CAR INSURANCE $239.82
TRANSPORTATION (GAS/TOLLS) $650 (approximate)
OTHER TRANSPORTATION (TAXI, PARKING) $8
CAR MAINTENANCE/EXPENSES/REPAIRS $250.00
FUN STUFF $413.00 (ipod touch and stuff for it, book, earrings)
EATING OUT $592.00
MY AIRFARE TO VEGAS $420
in total about $6,800

We had a wedding of a close relative - $600, DH birthday(best steakhouse), a "need" - new vacuum cleaner (2 cats, so it is a need) and a "want" of ipod touch.

But this cannot go on. I have to hold myself accountable. It is so easy to just buy what I want. I did horribly this month and it should be a wake up call.
I am supposed to be SAVING MONEY!

At least when i had few hundred dollars leftover I could view it as some sort of movement forward. But now I don't even have that excuse.

Last minute 4 day break - Vegas

July 29th, 2008 at 08:37 am

The ticket was $420.

I decided to join DH on his business trip. His hotel/air/rental car is paid for by his employer, so we'll just pay my airfare and hang out in Vegas again.
Anyway, it is a change of scenery. We'll pay for meals and entertainment but it should still be a bargain.

30 days in Europe - my vacation cost estimate

July 25th, 2008 at 10:18 am

This trip is different. Normally I never plan in such detail and spend the entire time in one country, but this time it is Europe, so it is different. We are planning everything far in advance to save money. And still, the estimate is running up there.

So here it goes:

$909 Flight to Amsterdam, one way (booked and paid)
free 6 nights accommodations in Netherlands - (hotel and location are very nice) 4 nights in Amsterdam paid by reward points, 2 nights with a friend in Delft
$89 train to Paris $89 (booked and paid) - great deal, good time, direct
free accommodations for 7 nights in Paris in a high-end hotel on Champs Elysees no less (reward points)

$200 tickets to Munich estimate (fares found earlier but not yet booked)
€ 230 Accommodations in Munich - during Oktoberfest (rented apartment by owner)
€ 300 Bavarian National Park 3 days accommodation estimate (rural Germany is not very expensive)
$10 Rental car in Bavaria for 72 hours - $10 (fee to renew my expiring miles that will pay for it)
€ 156 Train to Vienna
free Hotel in Vienna 3 days -with rewards points (central and luxury)
??? Transportation from Vienna to Kiev - Unknown (train or plain?)
free Kiev - accommodations - (staying with family friends who now work there)
$180 Train within Ukraine - estimate
$200 Hotel for 2 days elsewhere in Ukraine

Incidentals always change, so I know it can only be a rough estimate:
€ 250 Shopping (a piece of clothing or something to take home) - souvenirs, but a useful household item a place is famous for.
€ 3,000 Food, admissions, incidentals (€100 per day)
we will alternate between tasty street meals (like herring sandwiches in Netherlands), picnics and nice sit-down meals. I already have a list of cafes in Paris I want to try. Local food is a part of the travel experience.
€ 300 Other transportation - we plan to mainly walk, and we stay in very central hotels... but we may need to take public transportation and get to/from train stations (no taxis and we pack light)
€ 400 other activities (like classical concert in Vienna, bike day tour in France, etc)
$1600 Tickets back (estimate, not yet booked) can be 1,000 - 2,000, based on luck
So with a horrible exchange rate it nears 11K.
We will celebrate our 1 year anniversary on this trip
I hoped it would be less, considering all the free accommodations… and have put in a lot of effort and research into reducing cost, but still... Each time I promise myself that our next vacation will be simple - and that never happens.
Do you guys think this estimate is realistic?

To have kitty spayed - $408

July 8th, 2008 at 11:02 am

Just got a quote from the vet. Kitty #1 cost only $240 a year ago.

There is no danger of kittens - she is an apartment kitty and never tries to get out. But I don't like to see her suffer when she goes into heat. So I guess I'll have to do it. I've been reluctant because of fear that something may go wrong and she'd be hurt. It is surgery, after all. And she is a very sweet and gentle kitty.

Keep the change program

July 3rd, 2008 at 09:22 am

The kind they advertise with BAM and other banks.
Easy to make it on your own. After receiving the statement I will just count the number of transaction and put a dollar for each transaction into my challenge money.

What $54 buys you at the farmers market

July 2nd, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Dairy (13.75)
4 youghurts (12oz)
1 small milk (12oz)
bigger bottle skim milk

$5 tiny box goosenberries
$5 sweet cherries tiny box
$4.5 1lb sugar peas
$5 2 heads of lettice (very fresh, with roots)
$2 arugula bunch
$6 baby greens and 3 sweet peppers
$2 cheese danish
$4 dozen eggs
$4 tomatoes
$3 pumpernickel bread

after that I went to the supermaket and bought cucumbers, bacon and a bottle of water for the office: $10.

rice, pasta, potatoes would be much cheaper. I wonder if price has anything to do with so many people not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables/leafy greens.
They are much cheaper at a grocery store, but there they are not "how vegetables should be". They don't smell nicely, greens are not crispy, tomatoes are not ripe... so I can't help but think that they are not as good for me as vegetables that are aromatic and can be smelled across the kitchen.