Jan 29, 2009

February Food Challenge

Krystal from Give Me Back My Five Bucks is having a February Food Challenge. The challenge is to set a budget for your food purchases for February, and stick to it. Each Friday there will be a check-up to see how everyone is doing.

My budget for the challenge will be $130 for groceries for myself. This is kind of a lot for groceries for only one person, but most of the time I still go over (at least by a little bit)! But this time since I actually have to check in with the other bloggers, hopefully that will give me more incentive to stick to it.

Jan 28, 2009

New Laptop has arrived!

My new laptop came yesterday!! It's a little weird because it's basically the same model, just thinner, lighter, and with all the ports in different places. But it works, and it's fast, and it's lovely, so I'm really happy.

And, remember how I bought one for $845? Well, about two days later Dell sent me an email with a link to this HUGE SALE they were having. I called and very respectfully asked if I could get the discount, but I was shot down. Apparently they don't have any kind of price protection service at all. Now I wouldn't normally do this, but I cancelled my order and bought a brand new one for the sale price the next morning. I did feel like a bit of a jerk, but the computer on sale was even faster and better than the one I had first bought, and it was a whole $200 cheaper!!! So even though it might have been a spiteful move, I feel it was completely worth it.

The only sad thing is that since my EF is horribly depleted as of late, I took half of the money from my Travel Fund and half from my New Car Fund to pay for it. I updated the sidebars to reflect that.

Jan 25, 2009

Awesome weekend

Right now I'm in the office trying anything to avoid doing my homework for tomorrow, so I decided to update you on my cool weekend. Friday night I invited some of the other girls in my department out for dinner. They chose this place called Cozy Thai, which has (surprise!) Thai food. I never had Thai before, so I was really excited. I decided to go the standard way, and just ordered some Pad Thai. Simple, but it was soooo tasty!! And the best part is, I had enough for lunch yesterday and it only cost $11 for the meal. I definitely have to go back there again.

Last night my roommate and I decided to have a fun night in. We had all these grand plans to cook quiche, but it kept getting ruined, so we ended up wasting a lot more food than was necessary. First, the pie crust completely collapsed and spilled the egg all over the place, then on the second try the cookie sheet warped and spilled half of the egg mix out again. We salvaged that one, but unfortunately it didn't even really taste good. So, needless to say, we will not be trying to cook more quiche again anytime in the near future. But the rest of the night was fun- we watched Vanity Fair and then went to late night arts & crafts at the student union and painted some birdhouses. We love going to arts & crafts, but it's funny because we're usually there with a bunch of freshman. It's fun though, and now we have a few more things to decorate our living room with. :)

Ok, back to homework now I suppose. I am drowning in it. But my reward for getting everything finished will be going out to the movies with some of the girls later.

Jan 19, 2009

Restaurant Challenge Going Well...

Remember how I mentioned a few posts ago about limiting my dining out to once a week? Well, so far, it's working! Granted, I've only been back at school for one week, but still. Last week I only went out to eat once, at this really cool sandwich place I never went to before. I went with the writing group that I am now a part of. We might go again tonight when we meet, but I'm not sure. Hopefully this week goes just as well, but we'll see if I can keep this up once the warmer weather kicks in and I'll want to do other things besides stay dry and warm at home. Not that I believe this will ever happen... I don't think the snow is ever going to stop accumulating and just melt already!

Jan 15, 2009

January's Tale of Crazy Spending-- Mein Laptop ist kaputt

Sorry I've been MIA so long, but I've been mourning a "death" in the family. On Sunday morning, I accidentally murdered my laptop. The weapon? A cup of apple juice. My dad and I had to do some emergency surgery on the kitchen table. We tried our best to revive it, but it is completely dead now. The bad thing is that my laptop is no longer under warranty since it's almost 2 years old, and Dell was going to charge me a minimum of $500 to repair it and replaced all the messed up parts. So I let myself be convinced by various friends and family members into buying a brand new one, since for a few hundred more I can have a new one that's more or less guaranteed to work right. So I ordered my new laptop on Wednesay- unfortunately, it set me back $825. Oy, it still hurts to see that number. I just have to keep reminding myself that (unless I do something completely moronic again) I'll have it for a few years and won't have to buy another for a long while.

Jan 8, 2009

Eating Out

So I was reading savingdiva's blog this morning, and she mentioned something in a post about how she tries to only eat out at a restaurant once a week. This is a pretty good idea from my view, and I think I might have to borrow it! At school my biggest expense after the bills are paid is going out for meals-- even if it's just for a quick sandwich at Panera or something. Her idea seems like a great idea to both save money and stay healthy. So once I go back to school, my goal this month will be to only eat out once a week. This will be tough for me to implement, I'm sure, since I love going out to eat and I never want to miss out on fun when people invite me places. But limiting myself a little might have its benefits; we'll see. I also think that if I only eat out once a week, I'll choose a nicer restaurant over McDonald's or the coffee shop. Wish me luck!

Jan 4, 2009

Travel Plans

I have to go back to school in a few days, and I'm not looking forward to it. So yes, I am already dreaming for the summer. This summer I won't be living out at school since my lease ends in May and picks up again in August, and I probably won't be working at all (I get a summer stipend from the university). What will I do to fill my time, you ask? Travel!! I have a whole bunch of different trips planned. Most are small(ish) weekend or day trips to places in the area that I've always wanted to go to but never have. My list of places to visit in my lifetime keeps growing and growing, so this summer will be my time to check some off! Naturally, since they are fairly close, I hope to do all of these trips on a tight budget to save money. As of now, the list of places I'm planning to go includes:
  • Niagara Falls
  • Pittsburgh
  • Boston
  • Longwood Gardens
  • Newport, RI
  • Montreal & Quebec City
A road trip with my best girlfriend to either Chicago or Nashville might also be in the works- we're not sure yet. But the Montreal trip is the one I'm most excited about, since I'll be visiting one of my best friends who lives up there. I've never been to Canada, and Montreal both looks and seems like an exciting place, so it should be awesome.

Jan 2, 2009

Starting off my year

Hi everyone! I thought I'd start my new year off right by posting some financial goals for the year. I have a feeling that it's going to be a lot harder to accomplish these than the goals I had last year, considering I make a lot less money and have many more expenses (I no longer have the luxury of living at home haha). Also, in the past few months I've struggled with sticking to a budget, and have been spending more than I earn (and don't even ask about December's spending-ugh). But keeping to the "New Year- New You" mentality that so many people apply, I am working to change that. I am going to try even harder than I've been to spend a lot less. This way I can save for things I really want-- traveling and a new car.


1. Learn to live within my grad student budget: I still struggle with this, even after a whole semester. I usually always have to dip into my savings to pay my bills when the month is over. I want (and NEED) to change this!

2. Add an extra $1,000 to my Travel Fund: I have a ton of trips planned this year and also a big one next year, so I want to have this fund up and over $5,000 by Dec.

3. Bring my New Car Fund up to $3,000: I want a new car, and it's entirely possible that soon I will need one, since my car is so old. I want to have more money available for a down payment. Right now the fund is a tiny bit over $1,000, so I will have to work hard to achieve this one.

4. Refund my Emergency Fund: Since I dipped into this to pay bills during this last semester, it is embarrassingly low. I need to get this back up to at LEAST $2,000, but I intend to put in more if that's possible.