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Archive for September, 2008

$97 in groceries

September 23rd, 2008 at 07:44 pm

doesn't buy you much. Mostly because my son was with me. I did get chicken, ground beef, and short ribs, along with milk, 1/2 and 1/2, eggs, bread, and ice cream. Probably spent an extra $15 on impulse stuff. At least I came in under my $100 goal, so that's good.

Two big outlays for the kids this week. My daughter is starting to play the flute. $25 for a 5-month rental, which is great, but then $25/month thereafter. Ouch. And DS is taking an art class. Double ouch. But it's his absolute favorite thing to do, so it's the last thing I'd cut.

Back to school night is tonight. So far the school year is going well for both kids. I'm hoping it will be a great year.

Not much new on the savings/money front. I'm dreading the month-end accounting of all of the mutual fund balances, as the markets have been so crazy. Good thing I have 20 years or so to retire Embarrassment.

Grocery Challenge Update

September 16th, 2008 at 01:19 pm

It's been a while since I posted on my progress. I'm still doing ok with it. I'm sticking to about $100/week at A&P or Shoprite. I did go to BJs to stock up on some things, and after backing out the price of stuff I bought for Dad and MIL, and alcohol (charged to "Entertainment") I spent about another $100.

My goal today is to pay some bills and update my checkbook (we got paid yesterday). I need to deposit a check in the bank also.

I'm intrigued by all of the turmoil in the markets and wondering how it will affect us personally. I'm sure the balance on our investments will be way lower because of the market, but we're in those for the long-term. My job is safe. Hubby's company was just taken over (bought out, whatever phrase they use). We're not sure what the impact of that will be, or when we'll see it. I guess the plan is just to continue to hunker down...

Utility Update

September 11th, 2008 at 08:23 pm

Got the gas bill today. Usage was slightly higher than same month last year, and about 25% higher than last month, due to the few times we ran the pool heater. Overall, on my budget billing, I still owe $102 more than they've billed me, but I should make that up next month (assuming comparable usage to this month). That will give me an additional month or two to get ahead and lower my bill the next time they reset the amount.

I am almost done reading an interesting book called "A year without Made In China". Took it out of the library. A woman tried to go 1 year without buying anything from China. Very difficult with a 1 year old and 4 year old, considering that clothes, shoes, toys, etc. are ALL made in China. It's an interesting read. I doubt (in fact I know) that I wouldn't make it past January 15th. Way too hard. And even in her case, it seems like she's just putting off purchasing stuff from China until after the year is up. Interesting read anyway.

My daughter is in 4th grade and wants to play the flute. This is the first year they offer band, and she seems into it. We can rent the equipment, but it seems like even with that option, it's pretty pricey (~$100 commitment to start). Does anyone have experience with this? I'd be interested to hear how the costs add up...

One step forward...

September 5th, 2008 at 02:21 am

two steps back.

I sold a book on half.com for $10! That's a record for me. Unfortunately, the car battery and electronics died the same day (one month after paying it off, of course!) so that was a huge hit. And so it goes...

Other than that, we're hanging in there. Trying to keep tabs on our expenses and not buy unnecessary things. I'm hoping that "back-to-school" will mean fewer spontaneous opportunities to spend money. To that end, no plans this weekend, except for some soccer games, one of which I think will be rained out with all this crazy hurricane weather!

All this fun is killing my budget!

September 1st, 2008 at 02:33 pm

We have a group of friends that we get together with frequently. It's great because we all get along, the kids all get along, and it's always a really fun time.

The downside of all this fun is the hit on my entertainment budget. Every time we get together, even if we're not hosting, we bring something toward dinner (pasta salad, corn on the cob, watermelon, something like that). We also bring a bottle of wine or a 12-pack of beer. So we easily spend $20. Of course if we're hosting, it ends up being more, even if we're just doing burgers and dogs.

I guess because summer is coming to an end, we've been getting together more frequently, so my budget has taken a hit. (I refuse to call these "grocery" expenses, and put it toward my "entertainment" budget instead).

I told hubby we need to be creative about this going forward. Think about an inexpensive meal we can serve when we host, and plan better what to bring. Today, we're bringing a watermelon, on sale for $3.88, and maybe a bottle of wine we already have in the house. Always a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, I did the 3rd week of grocery shopping yesterday. I went to one store and spent $72. I wanted to go to a 2nd store to take advantage of the sales, but didn't get around to it. If I get there, I'm going to limit myself to $28 to keep within my $100 budget. This is a big change in mindset for me, because normally I'd take advantage of whatever sales I wanted to, and it cost what it cost. This time, $100 is the limit!

I also have to run August numbers and plan for September. That's on the agenda for this evening...