Ok so here's my tiny dilemma...
My current amount of gas money in my wallet is $35.
I'm not quite ready to fill again but might before the weekend is out. I always fill it at around half which is at most 10 gallons but usually more like 8.
Monday is when I pull the next $40 out of my account for the next two weeks gas budget.
The last time I checked, regular was at $1.659 so I should really have no trouble filling (when I do) twice on what I already have in my wallet.
I was reading an article about how some people deal with the lower gas prices, knowing that it's going to go back up, by basically pretending it's still $4 a gallon and stowing away the difference for later when it does go back up.
So part of me was thinking perhaps I should do something like that too, pull out the $40 on Monday and stash whatever is currently in my wallet aside for when it goes back up.
But the other part of me is thinking, why not just take that $40 and pay it as extra on something.
Viewing the 'Budget' Category
Ok so here's my tiny dilemma...
I stopped by Fred Meyer's tonight as I wasn't going to have any other time this weekend to do some clothes shopping. I needed to get a couple pairs of workout pants as the ones I currently am using are pretty worn out and really shouldn't be worn outside the home. I have decided to start walking on my lunch breaks since my work clothes are starting to not fit so well anymore. So I need another pair that I can leave at work during the week.
I lucked out in that the ones I found that fit were on sale 30% off ending today. When I went to check out I opted to not do UScan because it's rather annoying to do clothing through it. Of course while waiting in line I saw the gum and remembered that I wanted to get some more.
When it came to be my turn, the total came to just under $50 and the cashier asked if I wanted to get a second pack of gum since if I spent $50 then she had a coupon for $10 off. So I did. Which made me fell better about my purchase since even with 30% off I was a little over budget.
I think we'll make it through November with a credit balance before I even pay the bill. Here's how we're looking for October:
Previous Balance: -132.55
Current Charges: 33.94
New Account Balance: -98.61
And the comparison between last year this month and the current bill is:
October 08 9.4 avg kWh/day 1.10 avg cost/day
October 07 14.6 avg kWh/day 1.66 avg cost/day.
We did use the heater some and I'm not sure if it wound up on this bill or not. Doesn't matter, one more month down wahoo!
It's been a while since I've blogged here. Not really too much to write about really.
Our electric equal pay rate changed in August. It went down about $12/mo. Pretty excited about that since it means a year of living with a different roommate made a difference.
In June we started trying to lower our electric bill. We bought a power squid for the TV/VCR/DVD/Stereo/Digital Tuner and have been pretty diligent with turning it off when we aren't watching anything. We had to get a power squid because a normal power strip didn't work to have the off switch in reach. We started seeing a difference in usage and $ per day right away. To the tune of $10/12 a month less compared to the same month the year before. Crazy! Of course we started it at the end of what gets factored into our Equal Pay but we'll have all year to do it this time around.
Initially my goal was to have our bill be a credit every month, even through the cold ones. I'm not sure we can reach it so I'll settle for a credit at the end of our year because that would mean a drop in monthly rate again.
We bought a new shower head, I thought it was one that you could turn off the water at the head (so you wouldn't have to fiddle with the temp of the water) but it turns out it just drops the output from 1.5 gal/minute to .5 gal/minute. Even if we don't use the switch it's still an improvement on our old one which I'm assuming like a normal shower head had an output of 2.5 gal/minute. I think this will help as we'll use less hot water (we don't pay for water so it's just the hot I care about) so we'll need to re-heat less water and lower our electric bill some too.
I also tried for a week to lower the temp of the water heater. That didn't go over so well with myself or my roommate. Our water heater does not have temp settings just Hot, Hotter, Hottest. There's actually three options for Hotter so 5 settings in all. It was on Hottest, I dropped it a notch to the highest Hotter but after a week we decided, especially with the cold weather coming, to turn it back up. Maybe in the summer we'll try dropping it again.
I'm not in a place to try my mom's way of dealing with the water heater and that was to turn it off at the breaker when not in use. Which meant that 20 minutes before we wanted hot water we had to remember to turn it back on.
We've got a little bit of a cold weather right now. It's currently about 40 out and I used my electric blanket last night for the first time in a while. I've got the kind that turns off after 3 hours, I don't like the ones that stay on for 10.
And this morning, I actually turned on the heater. We have baseboards and in the winter I try to keep it always at 50 and only jump it up by small increments when we actually want it on. I was hoping for one more month of not using the heater to build up a nice credit for when we will be using it a lot more. Ah well.
Oh and what I mean by a credit bill is.. when I looked at my actual bill for September I saw the following:
Prior Balance: -99.64
Current Charges: 35.98
Current Balance: -63.66
So before I even make my equal pay payment I have a credit balance. I think we'll still have that for at least one more month.
I have an apt to take my car into the shop on Monday. The clutch is randomly slipping and I would hate for it to cause serious problems while I'm driving it and since I've made some headway on paying off my should be empty CC I am going to bite the bullet and see what the damage will be (to the pocketbook that is). I made the last payment to the CC today that paid it off (except for any residual interest) and the plan is to just use the CC to pay for car repairs, then pull out of the various accounts to pay off the CC soon as the charge hits. There'll be a little delay in the transfer of money between accounts and if I'm paying it off that quick there won't be a finance charge. Or at least not much of one.
I have decided I'm going to drive more to work. I already have enough bus tickets to get me through the summer on the days I want to walk all the way home (so I would bus in). The other days I will drive in. The reason I don't walk in is 3 miles is too risky in my opinion to guarantee that I get to work on time. Not to mention the whole 'hot sweaty red faced' look isn't really attractive in an office environment. I have to let the transportation withholding get pulled from my June 15th pay check but after that I can change it back to 0 and just go from there.
I gave my bus buddy fair warning that I was going to do that. At least during the summer I'll still ride in with her 3 times a week.
On days when I have appointments I have been driving to work. It just makes things easier and I have a place I can park for free on the east side of the river. The downside of course is that it takes me 15 minutes to still walk to work but the plus side is I'm at my car earlier after work if there's someplace I need to get right over to.
I just went and bought a new set of tickets for the bus. I have not been using as many as I thought I would need but I still buy the same amount figuring that come September I'll need them since I probably won't be walking home.
However on leaving the ticket office I realized the following. To drive to where I park and back is 4 miles round trip. That's maybe at most a fifth of a tank of gas. Or less than a dollar at today's gas prices. To take the bus to work, is $1.75 each way. And with the way I've been driving lately I've always had gas money left over each month.
With all the walking I do though, it's easier to just take the bus one way then walk home. But I think on the days I'm not walking home (Tues, Fri) I'm just going to start driving.
I haven't decided what to do about my transportation amount that gets pulled pre tax every month. I was thinking I would drop it down to $17.50, or just one book of tickets. I have four books right now and a month with just taking the bus when I walk home will use about 12 on average.
Of course there's other things too like potential rides from my roommate in to work which would save a ticket on days that I walk home.
I'm still mulling it over. We'll see.
I also applied for another position at my work that might potentially lead to a raise.
I received a check on Wednesday for the difference that was missing in my check. Of course, not much by way of taxes was taken out of it but at least now I know that I am at the same rate I was getting before, which I should have been. So I went ahead and started my clothing allotment, and wound up paying a total of $400 on my credit card. Not all of that came from this extra check just I was able to add to what I had set aside previously.
In the end, I will always have something extra to pay on my debt I just won't have a clear idea of how much because....
~ I changed my transportation withholding amount last month -but I sent it off straight to the company that takes care of it instead of giving it to HR. Since HR didn't know they were to decrease my transportation amount they pulled out the full amount instead of half. My next check they won't pull out anything to compensate.
~ I want to sign up for AFLAC insurance but the information they give us isn't very clear as far as cost and such so I was waiting til the rep came to discuss options. He will be in sometime next week. That will affect my check slightly.
~ I can contribute to my 401k starting with April's check. That will affect my check starting then.
~ I get a review in March. There's a chance a raise might be involved there.
I think I'm not going to play with my withholdings this year. It's just been too confusing with my pay in general and I would rather just not have to pay again. Though I might check and see if I can just change my Fed to 2 and leave my State at 1. But it will be July before I even consider anything.
Another thing I held out from the extra check I got last week was the entry fee for a half marathon in June. There's a group at my Curves that are going to train together for it. Apparently only the first 3,000 entrants get t-shirts so the gal in charge was encouraging everyone to register online. I get her enthusiasm, this is her first event. But I could take or leave the t-shirt. Still, online is easy so I went through the motions this morning to register only to find at the end that there would be an extra fee of almost $4 for registering online. I decided to leave the fate of my t-shirt getting to the post office and will be mailing in my registration tomorrow.
Tonight is the Oscars and while I really could care less in the general scope of things, the theatre I volunteer at is the only sanctioned Oscar Night Event in the state of Oregon. I think only one non profit in each state is awarded that privilege and this is their third year in a row doing it. It's their biggest fundraiser and rather appropriate since it's the Hollywood Theatre. I will be working there tonight and it will be a lot of fun. They'll have red carpet, paparazzi, drag queens dressed up as famous people doing catty commentary as people arrive, there'll be food, drinks, raffle and silent auction prizes, and I think the coolest of all, the actual programs from the real event will be handed out to the guests. Those were delivered yesterday during our volunteer meeting. But I didn't actually see any of them. We are encouraged to dress up if we want, but we don't have to. We just can't wear jeans.
There was something odd about my paycheck this month. I could tell right away in my direct deposit amount. I did expect that taxes would be more, considering I support the payroll software my company uses and I know how it calculates taxes. But the net amount was far less than even I expected, even with an hour of overtime.
When I got to work and got my check stub I saw why. My first check in Jan showed hours worked as 86.67 (which is correct for salary hours at half a month) and an amount of 1700. My second check in Feb showed hours worked of 173.33 (which is correct for salary hours at a full month) and an amount of 3000. Now if I were to go by my first check, my second amount should have been 3400. To make matters even more confusing, at the rate I was getting from the contract place (before I went permanent) my amount for one month should have been 3200.
I emailed my boss about it and she is checking into it. I just want to know what my actual rate of pay is supposed to be. I don't see why I shouldn't expect at minimum the amount the contract place was paying me. Either way, I need to know what to expect so I can budget accordingly. By taking my clothing allowance amount out this month, I had enough to cover all bills plus have a little bit of breathing room and pay a tiny bit extra on a credit card. I guess we'll just have to see what next month holds.
Oh and my boss said I'd be getting a review in March, my official '3 months' with the company since I went permanent in January. And salary would be discussed then as well.
Over the weekend I paid off my small student loan! That makes me happy!! It also frees up a $50 payment I was making to it to be used elsewhere.
This Friday I will receive my first full month check. It will be nice to see how much I'm actually receiving. Although it will change in a month or so once they actually start taking money out for my retirement. Still though I think I'm left with at least $100 extra to pay off stuff.
I think I need to give myself a clothing allowance. I've been in my new job for 4 months now, and some of my clothes are showing signs of wear. Since I need to dress a little nicer I want to be prepared for spending a little more when it comes down to it. I'm considering taking that $50 that I was paying on the student loan and just setting it aside every month so that when I do need to buy clothes I have the cash for it. I rarely pay full price on anything, usually it's on sale, more often on clearance. But still things add up and with my height that adds at least $10 to the price of things no matter how much it's reduced by. Especially where pants are concerned. I don't need to buy anything now which is why I think I should start setting aside money now so I have it when I need it and don't raid savings or pull out the cc.
I'm pretty excited for Friday though, let me tell you.
Somehow I forgot about my car registration. I happened to remember when I glanced at my license plate and noticed the 11/07. So Saturday I went to DEQ to have my car tested. It passed the first time! It hasn't done that the last two times so I'm definitely not complaining. Total cost, $75. For two years. So again, not complaining. Just I had forgotten to allow for it in my budget. I did have a $100 cushion in my account and I had some money in an 'envelope' for January's bus pass. Since I haven't even bought December's yet I figured I could pull from that and re-fund it later.
All told, my cushion is now down to about $54. Roommate will pay rent and her part of utilities which will bring my cushion back over $100 next week. So I am still good to go.
I do not know how I would have survived this job transition without all the work I've been doing the past year to try and build an EF and be more conscious of spending/saving.
I'm more than ready for next month's COBRA payment, a bit less than originally anticipated since Dental isn't included so I accidentally overpaid last month. I'm not entirely certain I'll be ready for the stretch between January 15 and February 15 when I'll have only two weeks worth of pay but we'll see. There's still the kicker refund to come in which will definitely help matters.