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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!

Spending...& First Paycheck!

January 31st, 2014 at 08:15 pm

Today I got my first paycheck! I've been technically hired as a tour guide at my school for a little while now, but we only had training and first shifts last week. So I got $36.94 for 5 hours. Most weeks, I only work 4 hours, so I'll be getting paychecks for 8 hours every two weeks. I would add in more shifts, but I'm not certified yet and I don't really have the time anyway, with my 15-hour-a-week internship, clubs, and four classes >.< But some money is better than none!

I did pretty well on spending:
$4.00 (pizza split with roommates)
$6.00 (giant load of laundry)
$29.99 (new boots-my old ones are disintegrating)

All my other spending has been "subsidized" by pre-earned or gifted gift cards:
$15.01 (DevaGel from Amazon)
$17.73 (Capezio ballet slippers from Amazon)
$15.00 (ticket to Regency dance via Visa gift card)
$4.01 (Starbucks)
$3.37 (Starbucks)

I might be spending a little money tomorrow, as I need new socks and some other necessities. No new snowflakes, but I should have enough Swagbucks for another $35 paypal soon, and my Qmee for the month should come through soon as well.

Start-of-Semester Spending, Snowflakes, & Snow Snow

January 21st, 2014 at 08:32 pm

I haven't had much excessive or unplanned purchases, but I've still spent more than I'd like to as of late:

$65.00 (haircut)
$115.00 (eye exam and 1 box of contacts)
+$75.00 (mom paid me back for eye exam)
$11.04 (CVS for snacks and dorm stuff)
$3.95 (dinner at Five Guys)
$120.86 (textbooks - and I didn't even buy all of them!)
$6.00 (train ride home for weekend)

I also spent $4.00 on public transport rides, but that was already on my card. Sadly, I now am at $0.00.

For my first snowflake, I got $4.47 cash back from my credit card. Normally I'd match that by adding the same amount to my "extra money" bucket, but since I'm so tight for money at this time I'm holding off. I can see it as covering that Five Guys dinner though Smile

My 5 $5 Amazon cards from Swagbucks credited, so I'm maxed out on those for the month. My $10 Target gift card from my first ever MyPoints cash out finally came as well! My dad also randomly gave me $5 even though I told him not to. I'm hoping for some sponsored blog posts, some more rolled coins, and more Swagbucks rewards before the month is out, but we'll see.

My new January snowflake totals: $52.74 cash, $35 in Amazon, $20 in visa giftcard, $10 Target.

As for the real snow...it's snowing! Quite a lot, actually. Now back to homework, because I can't bet on classes being cancelled tomorrow.

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!

New Year's Eve & First-of-the-Year Snowflakes

January 1st, 2014 at 08:48 am

Spent New Year's Eve going into the city with some friends. Spent $6 taking the train in, $4 on the subway (already on my card and spotted a friend a $2 ride, which she paid back me in cash), $20 on a ticket to an improv show, and $1.65 on a muffin (I was STARVING by the time we were waiting for the train home). I also got a $4.01 drink at Starbucks, but that was already on my card. All public transport was free after 8 pm, so we went crazy using the subway and train to visit ice sculptures, outdoor concerts, and the fireworks. Got home quite late, around 1:30, but awesome night Big Grin

I'm going to track my monthly and yearly snowflakes this year. Since I put the money from my various little "money makers" in my accounts at the end of each month, I'm starting 2014 with a decent-sized snowflake!

$8.00 rolled coins (still processing, so I'm counting it for January)
$0.77 savings account interest
$1.83 Qmee for December
$2.67 Amazon Mturk for December

All except $0.75 of the interest is going in my Extra Money bucket in my savings account Smile That one is really adding up quickly, and I'm going to use it to fund some of my hobbies...namely going to historical dances and ren faires.

I've also found exactly $8.85 in Canadian money in my house (actually, dad found most of that).

Working on more (six hour) shift tomorrow, then Montreal starting the 3rd...lots to do to get ready before then!

Early Birthday Gifts + Montreal Planning

December 29th, 2013 at 02:37 pm

Had a decently productive day, both in terms of things to-do and money.

Ordered a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks this morning, and am already back up to 128 swagbucks (and that's just with searching, encrave, SBTV mobile, daily tasks, and one code). I've only just realized how easy it is to rack up the swagbucks, especially when I can leave things running while I do chores/eat breakfast/read/work out. Dad also gave me his change because he only uses quarters...2 nickels, 1 dime, and 11 pennies, which will be added to my "coins to roll" bucket. And Mom paid me the $5 she owes me.

Dad and I went to REI to pick out hiking boots. I knew I was getting them for my birthday, but my birthday isn't until February and I didn't realize I would be GETTING them today. But my parents decided to give them to me now so I can wear them in Montreal Big Grin While we were there, I realized I need a hat (I have hats, but none are warm enough for Montreal in winter). I found an adorable faux-fur and "plumberry" plaid one with earflaps...for $34.50. I decided to just deal with the high price tag because it was the warmest "fashionable" hat there AND it's really cute. But when I went to go buy it--it rang up for $23.93 Smile

Now having dinner with the family and then off to a friend's for the evening!