Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I just finished my mid-term English exam, so am taking a break to write up another post. I've been off work for three days with a sore back. It's migrated from my shoulder area and settled for now in my lower back/hip area. I think it's a combination of things: different mattress (from the weekend), dog wash, exercise (I know...but snowshoeing!) and period cramps, which I don't normally get. Anyhoo, it's making me pretty unhappy as standing or sitting for too long just simply hurts. I have a chiro appointment for Monday morning, so hopefully that will help. I suppose I should take a Tylenol as well, although I hate bandaid solutions. (Regular) exercise would help immensely, too, right? :P

As you recall, these were the challenges for the month. Let's see how I've done on the financial end of it:

  1. Choose a financial goal for the month!
·         $200 - $300 to VISA card - FAIL + PASS. I DID put $341 onto the VISA, but I also racked up about $500 in expenses on it, pretty much at the same time.
·         $100 into my travel fund, $50 to vet, $50 to car, $50 to EFund - I've put $40 into each, and $60 into my EFund.

  1. How will you achieve your goal this month?
·         Similar to last month: take lunches to work; use my calendar, debit and notebook to track my spending; and use more cash. This is also so I can have more coins to roll, to put back onto the VISA card - I'm going to take a PASS for this; I didn't do it right away and still have to update my spreadsheet, but I DID keep my receipts so I wouldn't miss anything and added the expenses to my calendar
·         Shave some off the grocery bill where I can: $50 - $60 week for food - work in progress
·         Shave the gas money to one fill per month - $80. This means *gasp* walking if it’s getting low. Easier now that it’s slightly warmer and staying light a bit later.
·         Can I get away with putting $70 onto the hydro bill, rather than $90? - I've put $80 on the hydro bill each month, rather than risk it being too low. I can adjust as necessary.

  1. How will you allot your spending this month?
·         Cats. They’re continually hungry (imagine!), plus Dinah’s specialty diabetic food. I’ve upped my budget for them from $80 to $100 per month. - so far, so good.
·         As above, cut the gas budget from $150 p/month – which I’m not sure I’ve ever hit anyway – to $80. I have a friend visiting for a few days and will likely use a bit more than normal, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep it to just one fill regardless. - $69 this month and I've done a LOT of driving this month, comparatively. Hoping I can make it to March.
·         Be diligent about making lunches and breakfast daily. It’s working well so far, so I think lowering the grocery budget is feasible. Besides, how much food can one person eat anyway? (Answer: you’d be surprised!) - Pass. My friend made several meals, plus she very generously paid for the whole weekend away, which included most meals! I bought one Subway sandwich for dinner.

4. Track your purchases!
  • Doing well with this, so it shouldn’t be hard to carry on. I now have a little notebook to mark my purchases in. It was an old one hanging around at work, so I asked if I could have it. - PASS, although I'm not doing it daily. It IS being done.
5. Are there any “exemptions” for the month
  •  I have a $150 payment I need to make, plus at least two dinners out with friends. I go out for dinner very rarely, so this will be a treat for me. I still have to make sure I don’t go overboard with the meal, though, so I'll budget $20 for each of those. - no dinners out (other than with my friend who was visiting), so those are a fail, or a pass depending on how you look at it. The $150 payment was made, however.
  •  Chiropractic appointment(s). I will get 80% back for these, so that money can get rolled back into a budget at some point. - two of these for the month. $80 out = $65 (approx) back. PLUS I had a dentist appointment, which, it turns out, will be fully covered by insurance ($242). Hurrah!

The decluttering is more of a challenge. I haven't done anything since my initial round at the beginning of the month, but do have a long weekend ahead of me, so I will hopefully at least clear out my kitchen pantry if nothing else. As for when this stuff will get moved out of here, that's anyone's guess. I'd like to sell some of it, but the most convenient way to do that is to log back onto Facebook, and I'm almost two months into my FB ban and quite enjoying it, so I don't want to do that unless I have to.

Otherwise, I've just got my essay thesis to post today - have to think of the thesis statement first - and will take a down day. Likely I'll just drink lots of tea and watch HGTV. In my pajamas.

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