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September Budget

August 31st, 2005 at 11:20 am

Payday today, as well as time to see if this bu-jit thing people keep taking about works. I tracked my spending last month, and this is based on that.

Alright, here's my first try at a written budget: (just me, no kids, but an SO I pay for 1/2 the time when we go out)

September

Fed, State, local, and SE tax: $1000 (I get nothing taken out of my check, this is based on my estimated tax figures)
Rent $565
Electricity: $65
Cell phone: $44
Cable internet/Netflix: $21
Transportation: $ 80
Health care: $178
Groceries: $180
Eating out: $120
Snacks: $30
Pers. hygiene: $40
Entertainment: $50
Laudry: $10
Household: $10
Clothing: $200 (no-tax week this month; I'll buy all the clothes I need)

Total: $2598. (Without taxes: $1598). This will let me put $1000 in my savings account, assuming I get no extra work this month. So that's my goal: $1000 in savings! Yeah!

Suggestions on cutting down are welcome, although some expenses are fixed, and others, I can honestly say I don't really want to reduce. I have no debt, so I don't really have to save with 'gazelle intensity'... I just want enough in the bank that I can quit my job if it gets too bad.


The plan for September

August 30th, 2005 at 11:41 am

The plan for September can be summed up in one word: EARN! Yeah, I'm usually better on the 'save' part of the equation because my income from my main job remains constant. Because I got a promotion this year (but no raise for it, raises are usually done at the end of the year regardless) I expect to get a raise at the end of the year if I do stay with my job, so I'm just going to put 110% effort in at work, do my best, get the quality of the show up as high as a team of 5 can make it. It'll definitely be noticed at the end of the year. So that's my medium-term plan for greater income.

The short-term plan is the side job I've been working for my roommate. $20 an hour. If I can work for her just $10 hours a week, that'll be $800 a month. Take out taxes and it'll be about $550. But still, that's $550 straight to savings. That'll get me a month ahead as far as savings goes. The project has to be done by the end of September, so anything extra I'm going to earn, it's going to be this month.

The long-term plan is to expand my skills. I'm looking at taking a 3D animation class that's nights and weekends. It's $3600 for an intensive 12-week course. I have a meeting with one of their guys tomorrow-- I've GOT to get my demo reel together before then! It's mostly together now, but I'm not that happy with some of the animation that's on there.

Oh! And the other good thing is that I finally started applying for health insurance yesterday. The Freelancer's Union has a plan that's about $180 a month, which I know I can afford, even if it means saving a little less. It's worth it for the peace of mind.

Spending (which isn't doing -quite- so well as my earnings, but is doing OK)

Thur Aug 25- $5.65- lunch
$12.00- takeout dinner
Fri Aug 26- $1.50- ice coffee
$1.25- sprite
$48.00- Dinner Heartland Brewery
Sat Aug 26- $8.00- Transportation to Long Island and back
$10.something-- PS2 game ( I have the receipt somewhere, I'll find it by the end of the month to get a clearer total)
Sun Aug 28- $1.00- root beer
Mon Aug 29- $2.25- ice coffee

I haven't decided if I'm doing a written budget for September rather than just tracking my spending. If I base it on August's figures, I shouldn't be too far off. It may help me eliminate an ice coffee or two, and keep my grocery spending down, if I budget just *slightly* less than I spent this month on those things.

For all of you that have to buy gas: You truly have my sympathy.

Spent money... As usual.

August 25th, 2005 at 01:06 am

At least I brought lunch to work...

I've really been wanting this shareware game. There aren't a lot of mac games, and I really wanted it... What's hurting me most is that not only did I pay the registration cost, playing it is keeping me from doing per-hour work for my roommate, which could be earning me money. So after this entry, I'm going to work for an hour and a half for her, which should even me out after paying for the game...

Tuesday spending:

Coke: 1.25
Pers. hygiene: 8.30
Game registration: 24.99

Could have been worse. A splurge, but less than $35 total for the day.

2 more things that are hopefully going to save me money: 1) 0.99 of that 'personal hygiene' (which is basically my all-encompassing category for things I buy at the drugstore) was a small notebook. I'm going to start a price book to save money on groceries, and I've already entered the prices of the things I usually buy at Freshdirect. The next time I go to my other grocery stores, I'll write down and compare prices... and 2) I've started using a free online budgeting system, justbudget.com. It's working pretty well for me. I don't have Quicken or Microsoft Money or any of those, so this is the next best (free!) thing. Hopefully it'll keep me writing stuff down, and it figures out totals automatically, which will save me a lot of time.

Off to play games! I mean, work for my roommate... Yeah, yeah, that's it.

Sunday/Monday spending

August 23rd, 2005 at 01:44 am

I'll be so glad to get paid... Yeah, I've got another week and a half to go, but when it happens, I'll be able to pay my federal, state, and local estimated taxes, and I'll have a much better idea of how much money I have. Right now, with my money split up into 3 accounts, and this '3000-ish' coming out of one of them, it's difficult to see how much money I have. If I balanced my checkbook every month I'd have a better idea... Maybe it's time to start. Yeah, it's probably time to start.

I have no food in the house, so I've been eating out, or eating badly at home. Sunday dinner was 2 hardboiled eggs and popcorn. Tonight I had ramen noodles and doritos (OMG SODIUM). I placed a freshdirect order yesterday which will be delivered tomorrow. I haven't accounted for the total yet because it's always an estimated total, and you don't know till they send you a confirmation email how much you'll actually be paying. It's about $80, but I bought a huge family pack of chicken breasts, which should last me a while. And lots of healthy foods! Lettuce and carrots and apples and tomatoes and bell peppers, and lots of yogurt.

Sunday spending: $4.00 on lunch
Monday spending: $4.62 lunch
$1.25 soda
$0.80 candy

I needed the candy. It was a rough, rough day at work.

Considering leaving my job

August 21st, 2005 at 12:31 pm

Yesterday afternoon my boyfriend came over. We rented a movie (Harold and Kumar go to White Castle), played chess, and then went- we couldn't resist- to White Castle for dinner. We talked a lot about me quitting my job, which is something I've been debating about doing for a while. On one hand, in many respects I'm not happy with the way I get treated at my job (no benefits, have to pay self-employment tax). On the other hand, it's a decent salary, and I don't know if I'd be able to find another job in my field, and how long it'll take to do that, and whether, even if I find another job in my field, it'll have the things I'm lacking at my current job. I'm trying to save all I can, but having '3 months expenses' or '6 months expenses' doesn't mean a lot when you don't know how long you're going to be unemployed.

Self employment tax comes out to about $5000 a year.
Health insurance comes out to about $2400 a year.

If I could find an employee job with benefits, I'd be able to make $7400 a year less, and still have the same take-home pay.

I'll see what happens in December. I think if my boss agrees to make me an employee, I'll stay, even if no health insurance. If he gives me a $6000/year raise, I'll probably stay, even if he doesn't make me an employee or give me health insurance. If he doesn't do either of those things, I'm out of there. Even Starbucks offers health insurance...

Friday/Saturday spending

Fri Aug 19 $76.00- Transit pass
$7.43- Lunch
$0.75- candy
Sat Aug 20 $3.00- breakfast
$1.97- ice coffee
$1.00- laundry
$4.89- Blockbuster rental

Doctors visit

August 19th, 2005 at 01:00 am

Very expensive day... I cry -_-...

I've had pink eye for the past couple days, and yesterday it was really bad and irritated and decided to go see a doctor in case it was bacterial and needed antibiotics. So I had to take half a day off work (I don't get vacation time, so I'm going to get paid $70 less this pay period) and go see a doctor. Now, I don't have health insurance, so it was really expensive, and if it wasn't enough that I had to pay $200 cash to go see the doctor, I had to go to an ATM not affiliated with my bank and ended up paying $3.50 in ATM fees. Oh, and I had to wait 1 1/2 hours to see a doctor, even though I had an appointment.

So of course it wasn't bacterial, and I paid $200 to find out the pink eye was going away on its own.

I never do this. I hadn't seen a doctor (other than an eye doctor for my annual exam) in 5 years. I hate paying a doctor to tell me nothing's wrong with me. I should be really thankful, though, that it isn't bacterial, that I don't have to buy antibiotics, and that it'll go away on its own. So I'm trying to focus on that rather than being really annoyed that I payed $200 to find out nothing's wrong.

So while we're looking at the positives: Blood pressure was 116/80, which I believe is good, and weight was 1.4 lbs over the 'healthy' range for my height. Yes, it's over the healthy weight, and that's not great, but the good news is I've lost about 12 lbs over the past year. So, go me. And, I need to be really grateful that I had the $200 sitting there when I needed it, and I'm not in debt, and I'm not going into debt over seeing a doctor.

Spending for 8-18-2005:

Breakfast: $2.89
Candy: $0.80 (didn't have time to stop to eat lunch)
ATM fees: $3.50
Doctor: $200.


Tuesday spending (and saving!)

August 16th, 2005 at 11:12 pm

When my roommate got the mail last night, there was a state tax refund in there for me! Turned out I'd miscalculated and the state figured they owed me $62.50. I can deal with that. I went to the ATM at lunch and checked my balance. I decided to throw $600 from my checking account into my ING savings account. It's possible that I won't have enough in my checking account to cover taxes when Sept. 15th comes, but if that's the case, I can just transfer money from my ING account to my savings. Doesn't cost me anything, and if it earns a dollar over the next month, why not? And if I'm good with my money and don't have to transfer anything to my checking account, so much the better. Besides, it'll get me in the habit of keeping my tax money somewhere where it can earn interest until I actually need it...

Plus, ING's interest rate is up to 3.3%. Yay! An extra $3 a year, based on what's in there now, but I'm not going to turn it down...

Today I didn't spend a lot, although I did need to go to the drugstore to get some eyedrops. Bought some shampoo, because I was low, and a couple things I probably didn't need...

Spending 08-16-05:

Bagel: $1.90
Health/hygiene: $17.35

Spending Sunday and Monday

August 16th, 2005 at 02:07 am

Payday today; I got more than I expected considering that I had a week off. Maybe the way that it was counted was just weird, and I'll get a day extra pay this pay period, and a day less pay next pay period. Oh well, I won't count on the extra money just in case. The amount I get paid sometimes seems pretty random.

I was planning on doing some extra work tonight, but I watched a movie instead. There's always tomorrow...

Here's the spending for Sunday and Monday.

Sunday 08-14-05:
Freezer bags: $3.46
Ice cream: $1.25
Take out (dinner and lunch next day): $6.00

Monday 08-15-05
Ice coffee: $1.50

Yesterday and today

August 13th, 2005 at 07:19 pm

Yesterday night my boyfriend came over. We were planning on renting a movie but it was so hot neither of us wanted to leave the air conditioning, even just to walk the 4 blocks to the video store and back. Today's been another hot day, so I've just stayed inside.

Spending:
08-12-2005: $1.78- ice cream
08-13-2005: nothing so far, although ice cream sounds good today too.

Meh.

August 11th, 2005 at 11:32 pm

Off from work this week. I've been working for my roommate. She's paying me somewhat near what I get paid at work, so the week off from work's not hurting me too bad, although it would be hurting me less if I was willing to work 8-10 hours a day rather than 3-4. Bah! I've been lazy. I've wanted a vacation. But I don't need one... I'll try to work all day tomorrow, and then either Saturday or Sunday. Once I get back to work I'll keep working 2-3 hours per weekday and one day a weekend for my roommate. That work will last till the end of September, so it'll be a good source of a little extra cash for a while.

I ordered groceries off Freshdirect today. Not too cheap, but it's the only way I can get good produce in my neighborhood... Unless I want to travel on the subway to a decent grocery store, and then travel back to my apartment carrying 30 lbs of groceries. I spent more than I usually do because I got some nice steaks. Rather than going out this weekend for dinner and a movie, my BF and I are going to rent a movie and eat a nice meal at home. $35 for steaks is a lot, but less than a steak dinner at a restaurant. Also paid a Macy's Bill, (I pay the full balance off every month) for a dress and some jewelry I'd bought last month for a wedding. And, because I didn't have any groceries in the house, I went to McDonalds for lunch. My groceries will come tomorrow, though, so hopefully no eating out next week (or maybe just one lunch... Maybe...)

Macy's bill-- 91.56
Groceries-- 67.19
Lunch-- 5.30

Total: Uh... A lot. Bah. The groceries will last me 2 weeks though. For dinner I'm having an ear of corn- only thing left in the house. Woo.

First entry... Expensive day

August 11th, 2005 at 02:28 am

I don't know if I'll keep with this but I guess I'll try it out.

I'm 23, graduated from college just over a year ago. I work as an animation director (love the work- hate the lack of benefits -_-) on a children's show. I was very fortunate in that my parents payed for my college education, and I don't have any debt. I live with 3 roommates (which helps keep costs down) in NYC, New York.

Today was a crazy expensive day. I ran out of contacts about a month ago, and to get new ones I had to go to the optometrist. I'd been putting it off, mainly because of the money. Because of my astigmatism I need Toric lenses, which are very expensive ($75/box-- $150/3 month supply). The perscription on my glasses is also about 5 years old, and my doctor wanted to replace them, but I said I just didn't have the money. I see fine with them, and I really only wear my glasses in the morning as I'm getting ready for work, and in the evening right before I'm going to bed. The good news is my prescription didn't change at all, so maybe my eyes have stopped getting worse. Contacts are something I could go without if my budget got really tight, and I know I need to consider that as a possibility... But I hate the way I look with glasses. I hate the little indentations I get on the sides of my nose. I hate the pimples I get on my nose when the sweat accumulates there during the summer.

Eye exam- $75
Six month supply of contacts- $300.
Italian ice-- $0.75

Total: $375.75. Plus I got a $15 rebate for buying 4 boxes of contacts at once, so I'm going to send that in and hopefully get that back soon.


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