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52 Week Savings Challenge and Angst

April 21st, 2015 at 08:43 am

52-Week Savings Challenge
Week 16 (saved to Week 21)

The Freedom card rounding hit for this week. It was a bit more than I expected, so I got to knock out another of the 'higher' numbers.

Snowflakes
Freedom Card Rounding - $40.89

Total Snowflakes: $40.89
Rounding (from reserve): $0.11

Beginning Balance: $629
Deposit: $41
Ending Balance: $670

Reserve: $0.36 - $0.11 = $0.25

This puts me at almost 48% of the Challenge, and we're just past 30% through the year.

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Meanwhile, I've been spending out of control! It's really mostly planned expenses, getting ready for two back-to-back vacations, but still, there's been a lot of money going out lately! Some of it I was able to put on my PayPal credit, which gives me six months of no interest, and the rest is on the Freedom card (which is paid off monthly) so at least I'll be getting 1% back on that. I may have to dip into my slush fund savings when the bill comes due, but I've never gone this far into the year without dipping into that fund in the past, so I'm not too upset about it!

Part of the problem is that the first trip is to Napa for S's work President's Club. While the trip itself is pretty much all expenses paid for both of us, it's "resort business casual" (whatever that means!) and "suit and tie required" dress, which is not the norm for either of us. S only has one nice suit, and he's worn it to the past several work events, so he wanted something new. He really wanted something tailored, since as a competitive cyclist he's hard to fit (big legs, small waist and hips, broad shoulders). He ended up getting a really good price, for what he got, but it was still twice what I probably would have spent!

Then we hit Kohl's for "resort business casual" wear for me, and a nice dress for the suit-and-tie event, since all I have are very dowdy skirts (it's a passive-aggressive thing since my boss won't let me wear slacks) and capris. Of course due to S's schedule we went when I didn't have any percent-off coupons. It was late and I wasn't in the mood to try anything on, so I did that at home, and of course the fancy dress I bought was just horrible once I put it on. I went by myself another night and got a couple other dresses, and a couple of replacements for some other things that didn't fit. Two days later, of course, was the "lowest prices of the season" sale, and $10 cash back for every $50 spent. Given the boatloads of money we'd just spent, I wasn't about to just let that go!

I did find an online-only coupon for 15% off (there as a big dry spell with Kohl's coupons for a while!), so I spent most of Friday morning re-buying everything we'd purchased and were keeping, plus a couple of other little things I'd forgotten earlier. When all was said and done, I ended up saving an *additional* $250 to what we'd originally spent, *plus* I got $90 in Kohl's cash. So I really made out on the savings, but I still spent quite a lot to get there! (I've returned some of the original purchases already, and the rest will go back once the online orders arrive.)

Hopefully, we should have very minimal spending the end of April/beginning of May. The work trip is basically all expenses paid, except souvenirs and if we want to do anything during the few hours of 'free time' we have. My pilgrimage is the next week and I've had the money set aside for that for a while now. Then we don't have much until the middle of the month, with our anniversary; I'm using the Freedom card rewards for the anniversary dinner, which is the bulk of that expense (the gifts are already paid for). I'll be out of town again at the end of the month, but it should be a low-cost trip. I'm going to try to get us focused on a frugal June, though!

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Funny (non-financial) story. When our grandma died several years ago, my sister and I went down to visit with our grandpa, and stayed at their house (which my aunt and uncle had bought from them as a vacation home, when my grandparents moved into a senior/long-term care facility). We were looking through old photo albums and ran across a picture of my grandpa when he was in the Navy, and both said, "Oooh, dreamy!" (Which I guess is kind of weird to say about your grandpa, but whatever.)

We got together with my cousin a couple of weeks ago, after my aunt & uncle's funeral, before she want back down south. (She's now living in the house down there.) My sister mentioned that if she ran across the photo, we'd love a copy. She laughed and said, "I know exactly which picture you're talking about, I have it on my work desk!" When she got back home she sent my sister the picture and sure enough, it's the same one. Smile

What do you think? He was a dreamboat, wasn't he? Even for a grandpa! Wink

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Elitism

November 30th, 2014 at 02:06 am

I had a long post written, spurred by an incredibly elitist comment on a blog here (though honestly I don't know why it surprised me), but of course I took too long for the software to deal with it and for whatever reason my Lazarus add-on for Firefox got uninstalled, so I can't recover it. Probably for the best, it was fairly pointless and rambling. Wink

We postponed Thanksgiving due to illness -- my sister and my husband. Since our celebration is only five people (one of whom is sis's 5-year-old daughter) we figured it was better to reschedule than have a big meal for two people. (We live within 15 minutes of each other so it's not difficult to get together.) We'll have our dinner next Sunday instead. Thankfully we figured it all out before anyone did major prep work for Thursday's meal!

I broke my self-imposed rule and left the house on Black Friday. Since the news was reporting expected and actual smaller-than-usual crowds, I figured I'd check out the parking lot and see how things looked. Honestly it was no busier than a normal weekend. I went to Kohl's, since I needed jeans and winter boots and I had a $10 coupon plus 15% discount. I got the jeans on sale, a few tops on either a 55-60% off sale or clearance, and found some boots for $25, marked down from $80. (I only really walk from my car to the office and back, so I don't need heavy-duty winter boots, just something other than heels.) I also got a new set of microfiber sheets; we bought some last year and they're like sleeping on a cloud. They haven't pilled up too badly, either. I usually like to have two sets of any 'type' of sheets, so that I can put one on the bed while the other is on the laundry, but these are $120 regularly and I won't pay half that for sheets. They were on sale Friday for $30 -- major score. Overall I spent $110 -- so got $30 Kohl's cash back -- and saved $290. (My typical Kohl's goal is to save at least twice what I spend, so I'm happy.) S needs some new business-dress pants (he ended up heading down to see family early Friday morning, as he was feeling better) so we'll use the $30 for that next week.

(Still a little pointless and rambling, but far less so! Wink )