May 29, 2008

May Budget Recap

Hey everybody! It's budget review time, get excited! This is how my budget broke down this month... This was the first time I had a real budget, taking every penny into account. I had some slip-ups, but overall I think it went alright.

Income: $1,300 expected/$1,413 actual

Expenses:
Loan Payment
$155/$160 -- I threw in a little extra this month.
Car Repair $500/$160 -- Way under!!
Dentist $200/$147
Gas $100/$200 -- Yes, I’m aware this is completely ridiculous. I took way too many trips this month, which doesn't make a good pair with rising gas prices. I’m going to try and cut back next month.
Cell Phone $25/$25

Fun Money $120/$135 -- I know this is an excuse, but a friend invited me to dinner last night and I couldn’t say no! I only ordered an appetizer and water to save money, though.
Netflix $15/$15
Misc. $50/$73 -- I bought: hair dye, some vitamins, face wash, a face mask, envelopes to sell books on half.com, a car air freshener, and a dvd that was on sale. Aka, too much stuff.

I also had a few unexpected expenses this month:
Bellydancing Recital $15 -- I wasn't aware that I needed to pay this fee to participate in the recital!
2 5K Race Sponsorships $30 -- It's hard to say no to people hitting me up for money...
Haircut $17

Savings:
$135/$436 -- Yay! This one is really exciting- I split it between both my emergency and car repair funds so that they are now both even at $1,125.

In case you are wondering, I don't have to pay rent or any utilities because I live at home. My parents never asked me to pay for rent or food or anything like that, probably because I'm only home for a short while until I go back to school. Also, I don't have any dental insurance, which is why I had to pay for the cleaning. I had it for awhile, but it was very expensive and it is cheaper for me just to pay for the 2 yearly appointments. And I didn't include my stimulus check in the income because I am using it for a trip to Florida in a few weeks (very irresponsible...).

May 27, 2008

Baseball Game

The Phillies game was last night, and it was so awesome! I don't really like baseball all that much, but going to a game is so much better than watching it on tv. They did all kinds of fun things, I got to see Jamie Moyer pitch, and plus the Phillies beat the Rockies 20-5!!! Plus, I'm proud to say I mostly stuck to my budget. I spent $43 total, which is just as much as I had left for the month. Here's how it broke down:
$35- Ticket
$2- Tolls
$2- 2 Hot Dogs (dollar dog night!)
$4- Water
Luckily my friend paid the $11 for parking (!) since I drove us down. I think the prices for food and drinks there are ridiculous, but it's mostly my own fault since I bought a bottle of water to bring in but then forgot it in the car. But overall, everything was so worth it... I had so much fun!

May 25, 2008

Not as stimulating as I had hoped...

My stimulus check came in the mail yesterday, and I was highly disappointed. It wasn’t $600 like they said, and I was annoyed that they lied about it- everybody gets $600! yay! I must have missed some small print somewhere along the line. For awhile I made a big stink (mostly just to my family and other unfortunates who would listen to me), but then I sat down and realized that I didn’t even pay $600 in tax this year. I got back exactly the amount that I paid. I guess it makes sense that they wouldn't pay me the full $600 because then they really would be giving me free money, not just the illusion of free money. So yeah, I guess I should feel like a winner since I didn’t pay the IRS anything this year... woot…

May 22, 2008

Payday

It's payday today. :) I got my last check for May, and it was a couple dollars more than the first one, which is nice. Mostly I have everything for the month paid, except for my dentist appointment tomorrow, so I think most of it will go to savings! Anyway, I'll give you all the run-down of my budget at the end of the month, so we can see how well I did.

One thing I did notice though, is that I have wayyyyy too much vacation time. Right now I have 127 hours, which is enough for three whole weeks of vacation! The stash will take a big dent from my two week-long vacations (one in June and one in July), but I'm still not sure if I can use it all before August. I earn 11 hours each paycheck, which is kind of ridiculous, and we can only cash out up to 80 hours when we leave. I'm a little nervous to schedule too much time off, (even though it is my time to use), but I guess I'd better start taking some vacation days!

May 20, 2008

Car Inspection

My car went in for inspection today. I was both dreading finding out what crazy things would be wrong with it this time, and really excited to have some things fixed. I had a veritable laundry list of tiny problems that the car has been giving me (power steering, windshield wipers, etc.). But... when they called me with the estimate they said there was nothing wrong! I hate how my car acts up all the time when I drive it, but whenever I try to explain it to someone else, it acts perfectly fine. My dad tells me I'm imagining things, but I'd like to think since I drive it all the time, there's at least a small chance I know what I'm talking about.

The good news is that the inspection only cost me $88! That is by far the cheapest inspection I've ever had. I had budgeted around $500 for car repairs this month so I wouldn't have to bust into the repair fund. But my dad helped me out a lot, and last weekend we did a tune-up and an oil change together. That saved me so much money since I didn't take it in- I only had to spend $72 on the actual parts. So I got lucky this time around, and that leaves me an extra $340 to save this month! :)

May 17, 2008

Cancelled Plans

After dinner today I was going through my budget for May and got a little bummed out. I was going to go to this food & wine festival next weekend, but now I'm pretty sure I can't afford to (without blowing my budget apart anyway). It's a 2 hour drive (in a gas guzzler) plus a 17 dollar ticket for the day, not to mention all the tasty food I would be tempted to buy. I only have about 45 dollars left for my "fun money" this month, which I need to save for the Phillies game that my friends and I are going to on Memorial Day. So I think I'm going to skip the festival this year, even though I think it would be really awesome. Maybe if I plan a little better next year, I can go then.

May 16, 2008

My Short Term Financial Goals

Last post I said I would give you a little bit more info about my finances, so here goes. For the past year I’ve been working full time and saving all the money I possibly could for grad school. Since I was insanely lucky and managed to get an assistantship that comes with a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend, I won’t need that money for living expenses while at school and can now use it for other things. This is how I plan to split up the money:

1) Emergency Fund of $2,000- Right now I’m close to halfway there! I plan to use this money if something unexpected comes up during grad school, since my budget will be ├╝ber tight.

2) Car Repair Fund of $2,000- My car is a ’96 and seems to be breaking a lot lately (I paid just under $3,000 in repairs last summer alone!), so this account will be for various repairs that I’m sure will be coming up in the future. And if I don’t need it after all, then I will have a little stashed for a new car sometime down the road!

3) Travel Fund of $5,000- I already have accomplished this goal, and have the money in an ING savings account. Travel is very important to me, and I have some big travel plans in the future, which is why the number is so big.

As far as these goals go, I hope to have them all accomplished by the end of August of this year ('08). Wish me luck!

May 15, 2008

New to the Game

Well, I have finally taken the plunge. Lately I've been reading a lot of different PF blogs and have become inspired to start my own. This is a place where I can keep track of my both my financial and personal goals (and hopefully get some support along the way).

Hmm a little bit about me...
a) I'm a 24 year-old grad student currently doing the schooling thing full-time
b) I love with anything to do with languages and linguistics (ask me about anything German!)
c) I come complete with all the usual student loan debt and the less-than-glamourous salary
d) Traveling might just be my one true obsession.
e) I'm trying to live a fun and full life on a grad student's budget.

Overall, I think I do a pretty good job of budgeting and saving already, but it will be good get my plans and ideas in order so that I can make them happen more easily.