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Successes & Not Such Successes

July 28th, 2014 at 08:28 pm

While I have been keeping up with my budget, these past two months I've consistently gone over in a few categories, especially dining and clothing. But in other areas I've done extremely well, and I can afford to be spending money, so I'm trying not to worry about it too much. This month I've already spent a little over $100 in clothes; however I'm planning on returning some shorts and several items were needed (yoga shirt, yoga pants, hat). And I love dresses haha.

Because of my camp job I get a free Y membership, so I've been going to as many yoga classes as I can fit in (sadly, I can really only go on weekends). Besides that I've done a lot of hiking and have been going to free events around my town.

I have a passive goal to spend as little as possible on furniture for my apartment next year. I've acquired lots of living room furniture from my aunt and family friends; I'm collecting Target and BB&B coupons because I may want an ottoman, storage containers, drawer system, and rug. I'm planning on a new mattress pillow top being my most expensive purchase. I finally finished making my futon bedframe, so it now has two sections that are 12 1/2 inches high and 25 inches wide (for storage). Dad had all the hardware, tools, and stain and he paid $3 per 2x4 (we used 4 pieces) but he didn't let me pay him back. And I cleaned off a plastic drawer set that my father found in the trash.

I've acquired a lot of Amazon gift cards from Bing and Swagbucks and I'm planning on using that to buy my hair products; I also have had a few $25 PayPals. Finally, I tried out my first credit-card-for-a-reward play, with good results. REI was offering a $100 gift card if members opened a Visa with them. Since I had been considering buying a membership anyway ($20 for life), I figured this was the time to do it.

After one purchase on the card, I received my gift card. Then they put out a promotion for a $20 gift card when you spend $100+. Just today I went in to buy the North Face Recon backpack, which will work for both school and hiking. I had been planning on buying this backpack anyway, and at $99 it was the perfect price, but better with a $100 gift card! I added a face sunscreen stick to bump me over the $100 mark (also something I had needed to buy). After applying the gift card I paid $13.63 (with my REI credit card) and received the $20 gift card. Nearly like a $7 profit! The only catch is you have to use the gift card between certain dates, but if I can't think of something I need I will buy my father his Christmas gift.

Not too shabby. Now the trick is to refrain from buying new clothes and going out to eat so much--it's hard when I have so many staff dinners and invites from friends, combined with no self control when it comes to yummy food!

May Budget & Anticipated Earnings

May 8th, 2014 at 08:18 pm

Sooo I finally did my May budget today! I also like to have an anticipated earnings spread so I can see if I'm making money or breaking even, so to speak. This is probably more detail than anyone needs to know, but posting it online makes me feel like you guys are keeping me accountable xD

Paying my loan interest is last on my list of priorities--sadly, it's not going anywhere. $750 of the debt is my portion of our last month's rent, which was effectively the deposit on our department. My dad paid for it because I'm currently lacking a checkbook, so once mine comes in I'm taking the $750 from where it's been sitting in my savings account. It does mean only about $390 of my budget is out-of-pocket this month.

The transport category is blech and I am the least happy about it. I calculated it based on how many times I have to go in and out of the city for my internship and on-campus job (18 times overall). Each time I go in or out, the easiest, fastest way is to take the train ($6) and then the subway ($2). That's $16 roundtrip. Ick, ick, ick. I've been exploring other options--there is a bus & subway combo for $2.50, but it more than doubles the commute time, which means I would have to leave at about 6:30 am. We shall see >.<

I'm expecting around $521 this month in earnings between my various pay days, ideally selling items as I declutter, gifts, and PayPal money from Swagbucks. I'm working two (very) part-time jobs in May, a tour guide at school and a retail job. As unpleasant as it is, I'm going to try and pick up as many hours as possible...I grabbed an extra hour today at my tour guide job and I'm going into the store an hour early tomorrow.

I love doing my budget...until I go and look at the numbers. Does anyone else have that issue?

Montreal Spending

January 10th, 2014 at 09:16 pm

Won't go into insane detail about my Montreal trip, either in spending or experiences, because I have a travel blog for that! I had a lot of fun, but still have a list of things I need to do and see in Montreal alone...I can never be done with any one city! I started the trip with a total budget of $300 USD and $8.85 in Canadian money found at home.

Pre-trip expenses:
$96.57 for 3 nights in hostel (breakfast included)
$4 groceries (we made a few meals at the hostel and had late snacks or desert while out)
$16 each for gas
$10.11 snacks and toiletries

$125 USD exchanged at money changers

Credit card (BoA Travel Rewards; no fees):
$3.75 maple butter
$5.18 metro day pass
$17.61 biodome adule (I stupidly forgot my student ID)

Total USD spent: $278.22

We did manage to do some free organized things: a hike up Mount Royal, an awesome fireworks display, exploring. And we didn't end up going ice skating so I saved money there, and we didn't really go out Saturday for which my wallet was thankful. We were also expecting to pay a lot for parking, but we lucked out and had free parking ALL weekend!

Yay for relatively cheap weekend getaways!