Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Month of Living - Day 1

Oh what, you think just because I succeeded at something I'd stop there? Do you even know me? I have something entirely new planned!

This month, I am going to live.

Now that sounds easy enough. Just don't die, really. Easy success. One of the easiest successes you can possibly have. At the end of the week your coworker doesn't ask you, "So, did you die this week?" because you didn't! You did that correctly, even if everything else failed you. At least you didn't succeed at dying. You failed at that too. Wait.. I was going the other way with that. Yay! You succeeded at not dying!

I've been reading a book penned in the late 1880's called How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. You can get it free from project Gutenberg. It's a great whimsical read about how, as creatures of this earth, we are all given the same amount of time each day as another person. We are all given 24 hours. We cannot take more. They cannot be taken from us. When I wake up I have an entire day - and every day I wake up I will have that.

The key is to use it.

The author mad an example of the symphony. You can say you love music but do you really know everything there is? You don't have to be able to play - but do you know WHY the orchestra is organized like it is? Do you know WHY the architectural shape of the building was so important? The author says if you take time to learn this, suddenly the symphony comes alive. You can appreciate the sounds you hear from their mathmatically placed locations on the stage, you can go, "Aha! That is why they did that!" and you can really immerse yourself in the experience... and you can leave still not knowing how to play a damn note.

There are things I've always wanted to do. Things I've always wanted to learn. How to sing. How to dance. Politics. Philosphy. Creepy sci-fi tinfoil hat crap. I want to learn all of it. I'm going to live. I'm going to take the opportunity to do things I wouldn't normally do (this doesn't mean clubbing - yes I'm looking at you, slightly over eager friend)....

Like recently a friend of mine suggested going out at night to the cemetary and trying to conjure ghosts. Now, this is silly. This is weird. Nobody does this except 14 year old snotty teens and witches... so why the eff not? What's the worst that can happen? What's the best? At worst I bet I end up cold and shivering in some graveyard slightly disappointed. At best, I have a life experience.

Oddly enough, I am incredibly ill today so there isn't much 'outside' stuff I can do - but I believe I can still do indoor stuff. Things that would improve my life or give me experiences or help me live or at least, learn. So today I'm going to crack open a book or two on politics. It's something I've always wanted to know more about and I'll be a voting citizen next year so I should really understand what's going on around me in my ner country.

So here's month #2 - The Month of Living, under budget of course!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Budget Month - Day 30 - Conclusion

Want to know how well I did? Even WITH rent coming out today, which I said I wouldn't count, I made it in under budget. Only $30, but hey, if we don't count it, I came in at $390 UNDER BUDGET BABY.

I have put over $700 into a savings account. I have nearly $200 cash on me. Glynn has triple that. The credit card has had over $300 paid off on it. I have food paid for FOR A MONTH.

I have saved:

$1826.61 this month. What did I say I'd save? $1713.87.

I saved $112.74 more than I expected I would - working one week less than I expected I would!

Next month I'm going to do it again! I will be rich!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Faggot... you say he's a faggot...

There's a big reason I love my job. The stories. There's stories I have I can't tell a lot of people because, well, they're a bit 'wrong'. This is one of them. This is the best one of them.

It was a Friday night and my girlfriend and I had been called to this job in butt-fuck nowhere. Expecting a farm or something perhaps a bit smaller, we were taken aback when we drove the 2km driveway to a huge mansion with three story pillars and a four story fountain with black Mercs and Bentley's surrounding it. This was not your ordinary farm!

As it happens, we were doing an event for a multi-billionaire and his lawyers and investors. He was a huge racehorse mogul, apparently. He was in his late-sixties if I recall and had enough money that he couldn't possibly care what people thought of him.

So after our show this strange old man invites us to have dinner with him. The food was made by his personal chef and delivered just for the party - couldn't we stay for a bit!? Normally I'd say no, but this old guy was so endearing!

He got out this giant bag of weed and passed it around to all his work buddies, explaining how he dried it in his dehydrator, etc etc. He poured me a limoncello, it was quite nice. So we went outside to this massive custom-made wooden table overlooking his grand estate filled with million-dollar horses.

Somehow during dinner it comes out that I'm Jewish. The old billionaire suddenly perks up and goes, "I have a song about you!" and he grabs his iPod and sticks it in the wall. Turns out he can plug his iPod into any room of the house via the wall and play music anywhere he wants as loud as he wants. So, of course, he chooses the entire house and 'loud' so the outside can hear it.

He picked the song Jewel "Pieces of You".

Oh you can see it getting better from here, can't you? At first I was unimpressed. Ugly girl, the lyrics said. He reassured me this wasn't the part about me. Pretty girl, the lyrics said. He assured this wasn't the part about me. I was offended. He laughed and said, "Okay maybe this part.. and the next part!"

Faggot, the lyrics said. And then this old billionaire stoner horse racing tycoon jumps on the super-expensive hand-carved table with his workmates surrounding him and decides, well, to sing. "Fagggggggooooooootttttt.....fagggggoooooottttt. Don't worry this part is not about you!" This old coot is singing into his joint and starts stripping off his suit.

"This is the part that reminds me of you! You say he's a JEWWWWWWWWWWW!!!" and he puts the joint to my mouth - not to smoke - but to sing backup into! "C'mon," he says to me, "You HAVE to know this part!" Finally, he strips down to his bracers, undershirt and pants, swinging his more-expensive-than-my-car coat around while dancing around singing "Jewwwwwwwww!"

Afterwards he gets off the table and says, "You know what. I really like you. You should come up here every Friday! I'll give you one of my houses! And...and..." he searched his mind for something that could seal the deal, "...a Hyundai!" He seemed so proud! Wow, this was an offer I could NOT refuse! A house, sure. But a HYUNDAI? That was the best gift ever!

Of course the old billionaire was a bit out of it and kept rambling, "But... my wife wouldn't need to know! She's always out on Fridays anyway and she wouldn't miss the house... we have five of them anyway... but how to give you the Hyundai. Shit. I don't know. How can I give it to you without her knowing??!"

And his financial advisor speaks up, "I can rearrange your finances so she can never find out. I'll hide it!"

And the old billionaire exclaims, "Perfect! You see there! A house and a Hyundai and all you have to do is come over every Friday!" then he hesitated, thinking for a moment before adding, "...and stick your pinky in my bum!"

To this day I have got to say - the man may have been a wacky old billionaire - but he sure as hell knew how to impress a lady! And to think, if I had only taken him up on his offer I'd have a house and a cheap import car by now!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Budget Month - Day 28

Two days left. $9.22 per DAY below budget and $597.13 left to spend in the next two days, according to my budget (but, even luckier, not according to my bank statements).

I need to buy chicken food and dog food and some groceries today, which should total about $200 (I buy in bulk) and then I'll be able to do a final wrap-up on how much I saved. I wasn't able to work one weekend this weekend, which was horrifying because I got offered quite a few decent jobs that I would've snapped up like a fish in seconds if I was home.

I think my savings is still above what I said it would be, though. Remember, my income is insanely variable while my husbands is insanely stable. This is what makes budgeting just that little bit more difficult. But there's no way, unless I decide to go on a massive gambling streak (good idea!) to spend the last of my budget. I'm going to make it. Ahead. By almost 20%.

The fact that I didn't actually restrict myself that much is such a bonus. A few expensive events I didn't attend because I 'couldn't afford them', but that's good! I never was one to say no to a thing just because it was there... and the total of those things I denied were about $200 worth of things. They didn't really make a difference to my lifestyle either.

After this month, we'll start talking investments!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Budget Month - Day 25

I got those wall letters this month for $5 total. I spray painted them with paint I already had and hung them on the wall with double sided tape. Budget decor, yo.

Five days to go...! It doesn't look like I have any more money to spend. Not that I've maxed out my budget, but that I literally have NOTHING due. I don't need groceries or bills paid ever again for this entire month. I need to buy some petrol but I have $75 still on that budget, which should easily get me to Maryborough and back using my little eco-savvy Astra.

I've made pies instead of buying something to bring Mother. I also need to transplant one of my purple capsicum into a pot for her, and those are my gifts. Budget-y! Score!

I also pretty much found the wedding dress I wanted too. For $290. I swear each day I do this I get better at it. My dress is $290. My shoes are $600. My husband's suit is $1100. His shoes are $500. Hahaha. I like how I played that one. Although it sounds like a lot - the suit, shoes, and hell, even the dress are all reusable! The wedding dress is plain and simple (which I wanted this whole time and is surprisingly difficult to source) and can definitely be worn multiple times. The suit is a classic Boss. The shoes for me are goldeny strappy Choo's I can wear with anything to jazz it up and men always need a nice pair of good leather shoes. It's just a given.

I am $10.01 per day behind budget. I can get away with spending $119 per day and still remain under budget. (whereas my budget overall is $170 a day, so you can see how I'm still behind). Of course I only have $75 to spend on petrol for a trip I should spend ZERO dollar at. Hell, even if Glynn and I end up going to dinner with his friends (we have tentative plans) and it comes to $100 each of us... that's still only $275 I spent and I have $600. So there we go. But I'm obviously not going to waste $200 on food. Well.. not food I can make better myself anyway.

So yeah. How's that for a little bit of Gucci and a little bit of Geese? Or a little bit of Choo and a little bit of Budget. Now find someone else who can mix THAT as well as I somehow manage. ha!

I'm still determined to be a millionaire in five years. Watch me.

Glynn's scared because I asked to look at his Super. That's incredibly personal, but I am certain I could earn him more money on it. I figure - at best I want him to succeed so we're both rich because I plan on being with him. At worse - we break up and I've set HIM up for life, which I like. Just because things don't work out doesn't mean I can't make sure the person I once loved (and always will, I know it, even if things go sour) is set for life. But of course, I did just really ask him to show me his most personal financial closet skeletons.

Either way, I've been studying super funds, hedge funds and the stock market. I know exactly where I plan to go with the money I save. I am certain I can have us saved up to $200k by December 2012. Watch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Budget Month - Day 24

It's in the last little home stretch. Am I going to have to be tight this week? Well - yes. I've figured it out - I've given myself almost exactly half of what I have been spending the last few weeks in order to make it. While I've been spending around $1100 a week (shit some people don't even MAKE that, which is why I know I can do better at saving) this week is around $600 for everything.

There was a small hiccup but I'm working around it and it looks plausible. There's a good chance I can go all weekend without spending a dollar. I won't make any either.

Mother - the Mother - was in a car accident. From what I've gathered from gossip and herself (but she'll never tell you how bad it really is over the phone so you don't worry about her) she's not doing the greatest. Glynn and I are going to go up to the farm this weekend to help her do the chores that really need to get done.

Glynn wants to fix the fireplace so Mother and Father can cuddle up. I've always loved Mother and Father's relationship. It's been nearly 31 years now and you can still see the twinkle and smile when he speaks of Mother. You can tell that even after a bunch of houses, eight kids, hundreds of cows and half a dozen careers that they stood by each other through it all and came out just as in love as they started. I pray every day when Glynn and I are in our 50s that we still look forward to getting a fireplace to curl up in front of together. Nothing would make me happier.

I want to work on the garden because, well, because I'm greedy. See, Mother has space. So I get to take over her space pretending to plant what she wants but secretly, it's what I want. Farm fresh food at my disposal? Yes. No, I'm kidding... I do it because we both love gardening and fresh food and it's fun to share that with her. There's this little part of me that sees me in her and I'm fairly certain I'd adopt many of her mannerisms and attitudes towards life as I get older. This is not a bad thing. I could also be projecting. It's not uncommon.

So we're doing that this weekend. Which should cost us no more than petrol. Which I've budgeted for.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Budget Month - Day 22


Six dollars per day ahead. Ha-ha! Sure, rent is due tomorrow and so is electricity and a car payment but you know what - I'm making it! I'm AHEAD. So ha! HA!

That is all.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Budget Month - Day 21

17..18..19..20...21... nearly four days has passed since my last post about my budget. In the last four days I managed to only spend $30. Yes, that's right - for four whole days. And I could've gotten away with not spending that $30, as well, just as easily. As an added bonus, one of the last four days was a work night and I made money.

Glynn got a call about the Bedford truck. It had been sold to someone else (thank Gd). Glynn also decided he needed a trailer (told you) and we went to look at one yesterday. It was broken and unable to be towed home (thank Gd), so we saved that money.

I'm $1.98 a day off on my budget. You saw that huge gap. I closed it, baby! 9 days left of this experiment and it looks like I'll do it without starving, haha.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but early last week I was looking for pecans because I was in the mood for them. They were like $26 a kilo at the market and I was thinking of this budget so I didn't buy them. The VERY next day, my co-op listed pecans for $9 a kilo. So now I have 2kg coming for the price of 2/3rd a kilo at the shops. This and I bought 4kg of juicing fruits.

I'm still not behind! So I'm buying luxury goods (things I don't need) frequently and still saving money. Which makes me wonder what would happen if I was very very strict with my budget. My husband would probably leave me. LOL.

I have some investments planned. Glynn and I are discussing them. It actually seems perfectly feasible for us to be millionaires in 10 years if we're good and follow through. Actually, with strict planning, I'm pretty certain I could've done the same thing when I was single. I don't think people place nearly as much stock in, well, stocks as they should. Meticulous saving and proper investments seem to make reaching a million dollars cakewalk.

Says the girl who's $1.98 behind budget. Things are easier in my head than in real life. What can I say? I'm optimistic. Besides, by the time I realize I'm a moron and it's much harder than I realized, I'm halfway there. I can deal being a half millionaire in 5 years.

I don't know where I'm going with this post.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Budget Month - Day 18

This is what I love about chickens as they grow. They get personalities. You can totally see it in this photo with the curious little one in the back. This morning I caught the three big ones on the bed and four of the five little one scampering in their box (still too cold at night to let them stay out there). The fifth one was on top of the box. Proud. The fifth one is Miz Curious there in the back.

I think I misunderestimated how much food it takes to feed these guys. I might be running out of pet food budget soon, but this is one place I refuse to find a cheaper model to get me to stay under budget. I'm not spending today or tomorrow as far as I know, so this is good. $29 a day behind BUT I've managed to also save almost nine hundred dollars for my wedding! I accidentally overpaid electricity. Oh well. Better gone than not, am I right?

Bills are all paid. Food is stocked. I've had a lot of fun with friends (who I think have subsidized my budget experiment WAY MORE than they should have!) and I've made some lovely delicious meals while having saved money. So even if I don't make it under budget, I've done well - and that's all I can ask of myself.

Even if I don't make this... I'll have saved a bunch of money. Even if I don't make this... I'll have learned a lot about savings and investing and budgeting. Even if I don't make this - there's always next month. It takes steps. If I can LOWER my spending and save over a thousand dollars this month, surely I can do it next month and lower it even more and save even more, right?

I have definitely bought some frivolous things. But I have also cried upset over the idea of spending any money on anything. I've bartered with the teller for discount chicken. I've haggled with people. I've saved money - point blank.

This is not me giving up. Far from it. I'll probably starve the last week than go over budget - but I don't want a failure to be the end of me, because it's not. I restricted my budget quite a bit! I halved my food bills and quartered my entertainment spending. Hell, I spent almost 10% this month on miscellanious crap than I did last month.

If I fail, I'll just do better next month. Until I'm incredibly wealthy. And all because I put my mind to it.

I guess, like my chicken, this is the age I start getting my money personality. Soon it'll grow and flourish until it's a big fat money-saving hen. Eh, I was trying to close where I opened. It worked. Sorta.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Budget Month - Day 17

$25 a day behind budget. *sigh* What is that by day 17? $400? Like 2 1/2 days of ZERO spending to get where I want. And as you can see above, my ducks are HUGE. They need a tub to splash in pretty badly. I heard target has some mini baths for about twenty dollars. I also heard Reverse Garbage in West End might have one. We'll see what I can do to get one really cheap.

Also, I'm putting my last food payment down today. $78. *sigh* I still have almost $200 in food to spend, but still. It just LOOKS so bad. I can't believe it. I don't even know what to do. I feel like I'm either failing or that the last week of this experiment will leave me as a shut-in peeking between my blinds at all the neighbours.

GAH I just remembered I need to pay electricity today too. $84. That's pretty much my budget for the day so I'm STILL 3 full days behind.

I suck balls.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Budget Month - Day 16

The babies enjoying their first day ever outside.

*sigh* So back onto the farm part of my life instead of just budget budget budget for a moment - one of my baby chickens passed away. It's always sad when this happens mostly because you wonder if you could do anything. I suppose after awhile that feeling goes away. I've had a few chickens die now and it's not very uncommon. Still, it's depressing. I don't know how or why, all I know is there's one less chicken.

There's also the fact my baby duckling is now obviously a male. Overnight, too. Woke up this morning and the baby was bigger than the girl duck I currently have. They're both Muscovy so the male tends to be twice the size of the female. If he's this big already, he's a male. He still has baby feathers! Bigger than the other duck! Such a boy.

I also got a new egg today. It's exciting on the mini-suburban Costello farm (because it's a pale pale imitation of the real Costello farm). I double checked and compared it to my other eggs (I always try to keep one of each on hand just for this) and it's definitely bigger, slightly wider and not as pointy. Oh, and whiter. So someone new is laying and I think it's an Australorp! Either New Nigella or Julia Child have started laying (or again, for Julia)... which I'm looking forward to!

I was concerned the introduction of the new babies would make them stop. It made Fanny stop, but that's because she's a smarmy passive-agressive bitch chicken (yes chickens have personality) that also thinks she's my mate. So when I brought home babies that weren't hers she was pretty pissed (and rightly so, if I were her!).

I let the babies out in the run today, which I closed up. This way the flock gets used to the babies but the babies are protected by the mesh on the run from nasty pecking from my 'missus' chicken. Also, that makes it so the babies get to, for the first time since they hatched, play in the dirt!! They're SO happy! Scratching and pecking and drinking.

That leaves me at 29 mouths to feed for now until the male duck decides his older girlfriend is a good hitching post and gives me some ducklings. Of course, by then some of the chickens should be on the Real Costello Farm (TM!) and I won't have that many beaks/mouths to worry about then, if I don't accidentally find a sale on baby chickens that I end up bringing home - again. (I totally never do this. Honest. Honest. Honest?)

So I'm on day 16. $29 a day behind. Score. That's a little over two straight days of NO spending to catch up. Which I plan on doing. Like every other damn week. *sigh* I kinda knew this would happen, too. I thought, "No I'm going to budget slowly and meticulously so the end I am not scrimping." But.. looks like I will be.

However, -all- of the huge bills are paid. Like $200 healthcare and $120 cable and the really expensive monthly things. I don't need to pay those again until next month. So that is probably way spiking my spending.

When I look at it with my ACTUAL budget... like... I have $250 left in utilities to spend... and I haven't even spent half my departmental budget. I've only spent a third of my entertainment budget. However, my healthcare budget is completely paid up. My food is getting a little close. And my miscellanious only has $50 left.

So... give and take, I suppose. I've GOT money to spend in my budget, I'm just way behind because the big monthly bills are already paid. Or so I can pretend. I really really really wish I could break down my budget into weekly and see how I'm doing then. Like... a THIRD of my entertainment budget. A third! In 16 out of 30 days! That means I'm excelling at not spending money on frivolous entertainment. And half of my departmental (not really.. I have $310 and only spent 140 of it.. so I'm ahead there by more than half too) keeps me right on track. My misc is $83 spent out of $150 so that's not even that terrible. Don't buy miscellanious stuff for three days and I'm caught up, really.

Hell, I'm only a third through on my car as well.

So I guess it just looks worse than it is. BUT I will not use that as en excuse to buy more chickens. If I keep this up and spend only on bills from here on out, I think that I'll come quite a few hundred under budget. Which is awesome.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Budget Month - Day 15

I don't want to die a loser. You die a loser if you feel you haven't lived life enough when it's over. That one goal. That one dream. That one thought you never grabbed a hold of and actually followed because you gave yourself so many damn excuses it's made it impossible to see the possibilities. That's what I don't want to die thinking about.

Sometimes I look at people with deep sadness and watch as they sigh about lost dreams and lost ideals that never fruited because of some thing that happened to didn't happen. Either money or time seemed to be never made. Constant excuses were made and when the subject approached doing it now, yet another excuse was made. Age. Time. Money.

You're never too old to follow your dreams. You're never too poor to find a way to earn your dreams. You're never have less time than the person beside you who's always found theirs. We are all given a number of years, but we tend to live a very decent few decades - to which each one of us has the opportunity to make the most or the least of. It's what you chose to do with the time you're given, which is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - to do what is best for you.

So this budget. This budget. I am thinking about my future and the things I truly want; houses, land, investments, travel opportunities, and the list continues. I think to myself like I tend to do (as I cannot think to someone else just yet) that I should approach these goals like I approach all my goals - with a great deal of seriousness. And I'm not talking "Be serious, you can't do that." I'm talking, "What would it seriously take for you to do that?"

If I save well for three months - three! - I can go to Greece with my husband for a small number of weeks. If I save well for all twelve months of the year, I can do that trip every year and buy a house within five years and an investment property in ten. Ten years of saving in the entire 100odd so I get in life so that I can spend the rest of it almost never worrying about money, having a passive income and seeing parts of the world every year? Why don't I do this?

Excuses. Time. Money. Bullshit. I'm not one for it. I see, day after day, people who sit there and complain about their life and how hard they have it compared to other people. All that energy. All that pain. All that jealousy. Why wouldn't you use it more constructively? Instead of spending an hour writing about how you can't get a job, why don't you put your resume out there, call a few friends and ask if they have openings or hell, sell some unneeded possessions?

Sure you can say you have no time or no money but if you're not happy, loving life, feeling successful and being ambitious about your future, is that really time and money you're spending well? Sit back and review how you spend you time and money. Look at what things make you happy and what things don't.

Forget numbers for a moment. Does the high-paying job make you miserable? Did you have more freedoms when you were a broke student (and less stress?)? Maybe. Maybe not. But if the money isn't making you happy - it's not buying you a damn thing other than living. And you're not doing that much either.

In th end, you're the most important thing in the world. You're the only constant in your world and you're the only person who will have to live with you forever. Do you like you? Do you like where you're going? Do you like where you are? Make steps to work toward that. For fuck's sake, follow your dreams! Any age! Dreams are just as important at 60 as they are at 6!

Sit back and reflect for just a moment. What can you improve? Improve it! What makes you miserable? Get rid of it! Surround yourself with only things that make you happy because you're the only one who has to live with the things you surround yourself with. Nobody else. Keep friends you love. Don't keep the ones who constantly use you but you give them a second chance.

And for the love of Gd, don't die regretting everything you never did.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Budget Month - Day 14

Two weeks in and a day from halfway. I am currently at $6 a day over budget. I'm a little concerned about what rent and electricity will do to that in two days, but I digress.

I've been reading a new financial book for women. At first I was a little offended at the idea of 'budgeting for women'. It either insinuates I'm bad at saving money or it insinuates that, as a woman, I have some un-male habits that cause me to spend more. I think I just plain don't like it when someone suggests women are predictable and only act a certain way, or they're not normal women. Hell, I even had a conversation about the expectations people have on women maybe... three days ago?

However this book made a clear and good point as to why women should be more careful with their money than men. Fact: Women on average make less than men. Fact: Women on average live significantly longer than men. Meaning, we have to live a lot longer off a lot less money in order to survive old age. This makes sense to me. This is inspiring to me. What do I do when I'm inspired? I pass it on - because I'm Jesus like that. (Must be a Jewish thing.)

So I'm making a deal with my readers. I am going to continue this budget thing - once a week I will update on something budget-y. I'm also doing a few other things:

I currently own two credit cards. One has a few thousand limit and is almost full. The other has a few thousand limit and is about $1500 full. $4500 in debt is really not something to be concerned about. Y'know, unless it has interest. Which the big card does. The little one doesn't. Not for another 4 months. With today's cheque coming in the mail (I confirmed it was sent last wednesday) I can pay off a full thousand on the big interest card. Then I can tranfer two thousand of it to the smaller no interest card. Leaving me with $3000 with 0% interest and $500 at 14%.

Currently I have almost $500 in savings gaining 6% interest. So with this credit card hogging space I'm losing money. Might as well chuck that savings onto the card, I suppose. It's annoying because that money was 'paying myself first'. But I am not paying myself very well if my debt exceeds my savings investments, am I?

I guess what I'm saying is by the end of today I will have an entire credit card paid off. All because I budgeted. I should point out I don't consider paying off credit cards part of my budget - technically the money is still there. I will cancel the card in the future and I've decided when. When I have that exact amount of money on the card ($3500) in cash in savings, I will close it. I will no longer need it 'for emergencies' (like I ever did...) and of course, I will have paid off the second one and will do the same exact thing.

Then - I will invest. I will talk about this when it happens - like I said I want to update weekly on this. I'm eyeing some stocks at the moment, but we'll see how I go. Unless I go high-risk, there's no point in using money that can go on my 14% credit card (because I'd need a 15% or above return to make it worth it). So once the credit card is paid off, I can start paying the other credit card, then I can invest what I pay myself, which may be as soon as next month.

I am excited.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Budget Month Day 13

Quickly, before Glynn wakes up. Today is 'no computer and no TV' day, which means money will probably be spent. Eeek. I am a whole $9 per day behind right now. I cannot wait until I can go Monday and Tuesday without spending anything so I can try to catch the fuck up, because that little tiny behind bit is really getting to me!! It makes me want to see if I can have the money gap there next month before rent, so when rent comes in I don't have to think about it.

Either way though, the gap is definitely closing. I'm being more careful. I'm even getting more work! I wanted to do so much work last night but my fiance was against working too late, which disappointed me. I would really like it if he didn't work Saturdays so that when I work, he can stay awake for the night. If I had continued on my path I would've had 6 jobs! Insane.

This month's expenses compared to last month's is really telling, though. There's amounts in there that are $500 or more below last month's amount. There's some that are not even 10% of last month's amount. And I'm almost halfway through! Even though last month I didn't budget at all and only spent and tracked, it's still a good sign.

My car insurance got cheaper, my car is being paid off.. everything is just finally starting to come together in my life in every way.

I'm hoping to be a millionare by next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Budget Month - Day 11

I know what you're thinking. I know exactly what you're thinking. I'm psychic and can predict all of my readers opinions at once. First, you're thinking, "Why the fuck do I continue to read this shit?" then you're thinking, "Fuck, she's posted again. It means she hasn't failed. Now I can't feel better about myself." See how I made you a loser, there? Why DO you read me, anyway? You'll never grow up to be a doctor. This is why I like your sister more than you. At least SHE will take care of me when I'm old. ....ah fuck, sorry, I have Jewish Mother Syndrome. It's like Tourette's, but with guilt.

Honestly - I could be doing better at this. I'm currently sitting at $159.43/$182.94. So... that's not better. And honestly I could say, "But you know, I don't have bills for a week!" Which is... kinda what I said last week. Keeping this pattern up will have me a week from my goal with no money left to spend and I was really hoping I could do a 'ha watch me budget well ALL month' instead of a 'watch me fuck it up in 15 days and spend the next 15 as a miser'. So. Gonna try THAT. The first one, not the miser one.

So, I've been living a lie. I've been drinking dehydrated coffee. If you know me (and you should, otherwise you're some pervert reading my blog for cheap budget thrills, you sicko) then you know I love my coffee. So much so, my machine resembles something out of a Sci-fi movie and my coffee tends to be handpicked off mountain tops. I'm a spoiled bitch.

In order to get new coffee, I either have to suck it up and by some cheap local brand I can't really stand for $34 or drive to my favourite coffee place (40km and about an hour and a half because it's on a mountain) and spend $20 on a new bag. And you know what? My petrol budget is kinda not looking so great right now. I could take the motorbike - but it's out of rego and getting caught ain't cheap either. So... dehydrated coffee. My bowels are fighting me in this battle. They are losing. DIE BOWELS DIE!

I called again about my missing cheque and it should be here today. Some of my lettuces died and I'm hoping planting my brussel sprouts there is alright for them, because those are the plants I hadn't budgeted for transplanting. We haven't bought a truck, there's food in the fridge and cupboard, bills are 100% caught up and I've squirreled away $250 in savings already from this month.

So I'm not doing bad. But I'm not doing great. Us Jews call that "Meh."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Budget Month - Day 8

It's that time of the week again - fruit and veg week. It's a big harvest this time - with a lot of kiwis and bananas and mandarins. Specifically we have:

8 kiwis
4 limes
7 mandarins
4 lemonaid fruit
2 oranges
3 banans
1 three-headed pineapple (no really!)
4 avocados
8 apples
and 1 custard apple (don't ask what I do with these*)

for vegetables I have:
3 potatos
5 giant space garlic cloves
4 sweet potato
2 zucchini
1 capsicum
2 corn
1 purple lettuce thing (scientific term)
1 celery
1 broccoli
1 bag mushrooms
1 lettuce
1 raddish
1 bok choy
1 savoy cabbage
1 leek
1 bag roma tomatoes
4 green onions

I really really want to make some dried granola bars in my dehydrator this week. So I think I'll dehydrate the apples and pineapple for it. I am also considering a ratatouille... since, y'know, it uses pretty much a ton of veggies.

Also, today I got chook scraps, which my co-op gives for free if they have extras. I save a day of chicken feed with this. (3 days a month, 10% of their feed, $3.50 per month!)

They're in the backyardnow. So much space for them, it hardly feels like I have too many now.

*I poisoned my husband, okay?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Budget Month - Day 7

Apparently I know myself pretty well. I have this penchant for buying things at the local organic health food shop. I'm even a card-carrying member. I was not aware of this until I went yesterday, but it seems when I got my last $5 off voucher for being a member, I wrapped it around my card so when the woman at the counter asked me, "Do you have a Healthy Life card?" I saw I had $5 off! Considering my purchase was $15, this pre-thinking saved me 1/3rd of my grocery bill!

I got spelt flour, steel cut oats and some barley flakes and had a magazine included with my purchase. Normally I dispise health foods magazines. They feel like advertising done with fear and I really don't like that - especially since they claim these magic pills fix everything. And it's simply not true - and a health food shop should know that. Basically, I feel a lot of health magazines spread lies to sell their health-product that's actually no good and because people read it in a health magazine, they don't think to check. But I digress.

I found coupons for bottles of glucosamine, fish oil tablets and zinc - all things we normally have regularly anyway (which is really how you should coupon cut). I can get all three bottles for somewhere around the realm of $5. Nice. So I clipped those and wrapped them around my card as well. Since it's a shop I tend to go into not for specific items but just to find ideas and healthy things I wish to cook with (I almost never enter the supplement area without knowing what I want though). This should save me heaps of money.

Steel cut oats are a brilliant idea for a purchase, by the way. Usually in the morning I am made of this word called 'blargh'. It only turned into chipper when I've had my coffee. Which can take awhile as I can never seem to find the coffee maker (or my brain) first thing in the morning. I love breakfast. I feel it's the most important meal of the day. As a nutrition student, I've seen studies on just how beneficial breakfast is to dieting - and I still can't manage it.

That's where cheap-as-chips steel-cut oats come in. One cup oats, four cups water, set on low in the slow cooker and by morning BAM delicious slow cooked hot breakfast when you wake up. Oh heaven! If only my crockpot can fry eggs and turkey bacon, I'd never need a man. Because we all know I keep men around to fry eggs. That makes sense. Also, my sexism is a lie. Just like the cake. (Bu-cake-ke!)

So it's been a week and my budget is showing me as spending $20 more per day than I've allowed. Here's the thing - I don't owe anyone a dollar at this moment. I don't owe anyone anything for, hm, 3 days. And then, I owe about $500. And then... another week of not owing anything. Which means - holy shit I'm doing this. By the end of tonight the $20 per day over will be eliminated. By tomorrow I'll be ahead. By wednesday, I'll be leaps and bounds ahead. That cookbook IS IN SIGHT, baby.

Speaking of books, my fiance and I have this bizarre habit of reading to each other every night before bed. I read things like Nanny McPhee and The Magic Puddin' to him and he reads Little Miss and Mr. Men to me. Because we're six. Admit it, you think it's cute. Pervert.

Anyway, I discovered that Glynn was out of books to read me. They cost anywhere from $3-5 each, depending where you buy them. Glynn said to me, "Get the packs they have now, those are only $30." But my budget for books was $20!! Except... it wasn't. It was $30. And... here's where I stuffed up in my favour - I have books in my budget twice. Apparently I really love books.

My budget program, for some reason, has books listed under 'Departmental'. I guess at some point I felt this was entirely illogical and put it under 'Entertainment'. But departmental still has a $40 book budget, whereas entertainment has a $30 budget. I guess that means I buy $30 worth of entertaining books and $40 worth of useful books? Ha. So, I gave myself a $70 book budget. I love me.

I finished my Dresden File book I was reading and am disappointed because I recall saying I wouldn't buy one all month and I'd depend on free books. That's not difficult, but damn, the book left off on a point where the next book will obviously take off from - and it made me almost go out and buy the next one on my Kindle right then and there. But I didn't.

Tonight when Glynn gets home we're going to cut these giant oil barrels in half he brought home from work. We're scrubbing out the inside, putting rubber sealing on the edges ($3 a metre) and spraypainting the cans ($15 a can) candy apple red and then stenciling ($15 stencil) the names of the contents along the side in black paint (gift from friend) to make customized pots for the apple and orange trees we have.

Normally those trees would take about $60-200 pots each, depending on your taste. This is costing us about, oh, $45 for 4. Plus, the stencils are reusable. Plus, I can plant things like thyme, rosemary, sage and coriander at the base of the trees to grow as ground covering beneath it. So I'm going to write on shiny red paint in deep matte black "gala apple ° coriander ° thyme" along the outside of the pot. I think it will look quite nice when it's done.

Later this week I'm entertaining a lovely woman by teaching her to make soap. This is extremely beneficial to me - I get to spend time with people I want to spend time with, I get to make soap, I get to use things I already have and I get to spend a few hours doing something for pretty much no money at all, except materials I already have. Plus, I might get to impress her with my soap-making abilities (I am such a loser when it comes to pretty girls). Or I might do that fumble where I made soap on a stick.

Either way - I'm ahead, I've got plans, things are going well - and, oh, get this - I enjoy work again! I think the budget has made me love work because I don't need the money to cover bills I forgot to pay anymore. Now it's purely saving money and that's what I'm doing with it. So when my boss offers me a job, I am quick to take it and do it. Then I shove 10% into my savings and the rest into my account, so that at the end of the month I can pay off my credit card. Woohoo.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Budget Month - Day 6

There's a part of me that's regretting posting as much about my budget as I have been. Not in the sense of 'if I fail, now everybody will know' (which is, actually, exactly why I did it - pressure not to fail) but more along the sense of 'I feel like a snob'.

I do. I really do. I'm aware my partner and I actually have it pretty well and talking numbers is embarassing to people who makes less than us or are in worse situations that we are. The thing is - we were on the verge of ripping our hair out from financial troubles.

Honestly, nobody talks about the middle class or upper middle class when they discuss 'budget'. And again, I'm aware of how entitled I sound; hear me out. Most of the people in middle class and above have worked their way up to that point from lower class or just downright dirt poor.

Both my husband and I grew up with hardly anything, though our parents tried, there simply wasn't enough. Because of this, when we finally were able to have money of our own, we squandered it - didn't know how to budget at all. It was the opposite most teenagers find themselves in - usually from a comfortable income at home with their parents suddenly to broke uni student paying for an apartment and furniture; however, we came from poor and then worked hard and worked our way up the ladders perhaps a bit too quickly.

I became a model at a very young age and went from tiny city apartment in LA to being paid to travel the world. All very glamourous, really. Suddenly I had to buy Gucci heels and Diane Von Furstenburg wraps because I deserved it. Oh there's a damn expensive word if you ever earned some money in your life. I earned the money, obviously, so I deserved things that I thought I could afford. Funny, how when rent came around, I had to borrow until my next shoot was in, pay everyone off and then buy another damn designer something or other, leaving myself broke for the next bill. Ad nauseum.

My husband on the other hand, worked his arse off, dropping out of school at 16 to join an apprenticeship to become an engineer. He bought his first house at 20 because he "Liked the garage". No kidding. He didn't even see the house before he bought it - because of the garage. Obviously we came from two completely different money backgrounds, grew into money in two completely different ways and then ended up with exactly the same habits because of it.

And I think people need to talk about this. I think it's important. Someday, if we play our cards right, everyone who didn't have much and worked hard is going to find themselves with extra cash here and again. They're going to have to think about buying a house. They're going to have to think about kids. Etcetera.

Nobody talks about the gap there. They either discuss finances when you're broke and in school or they discuss finances when you're paying off your mortgage with 4 kids and two car payments. Nobody discusses money when you actually have the damn stuff. It's taboo to discuss it then. If I were going through a harder time, perhaps it would be less embarassing. And that's just not fair.

How am I supposed to pay for a house if I go straight from broke uni student to mortgage if I don't use my money wisely in that small few-year gap between the two? I believe more people between the ages of 20-25 should talk more explicitly about money - we're the ones spending it! It's embarassing to discuss how much money you have going to your retirement, but not how much you spent in one night at the bar buying rounds for all your friends? A little backwards I feel.

So I'm going to continue to talk about it because, well, nobody does. Nobody with money says to themselves, "You know what I should do? I should write a budget that sets me well below my means so I can be ready for anything." I think I have one whole friend that thinks like this - and she's IN finance! (Hi Bec!)

So, I'm going to sound entitled and I'm going to sound a little snobby. But I'm going to take that risk.. and I'm going to take that risk so that other single people without kids and mortgages will stop and think for a split second before they buy something they don't need and go, "Wait. Maybe this is better spent elsewhere." And maybe it'll make those days of mortgages and kids and car payments just that little bit easier.

Now I'm going to go and get those oil drums my husband brought home and cut them in half and paint them so my apple trees can go in them - so that I don't have to spend my hard earned money on expensive pots. Then I will get the wood I have and build my dogs a new kennel - so I don't have to spend the money on a new one. Because someday I'll have a mortgage. And I'd like to be able to afford it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Budget Month - Day 5

I'm only 'off' from my budget about two days now. Meaning if I don't spend any money for two days, I'm back on track. This is possible, but I could also, y'know, just spend less for a lot of days instead. Considering this is including rent, electricity, trash, internet, phone, car, some groceries and health insurance, I really don't think it's fair to say I'm behind. Everyone has a lot of bills in the begining of the month (though I changed that and next month should be smoooth sailing!).

Today I was feeling a bit lonely, as my husband is away working to make extra money for our family to save up and I really wanted to get out and go shopping. Now "going shopping" is a very very bad thing to say. Obviously it's not "going to buy new clothes" or "going to buy something I need", it's "I really would like to purchase things with no thought as to how they fit into my budget". That's what "going shopping" means to a woman.

However, I was determined to spend very little, come home with things I needed or could use AND spend a lot of time doing it, because otherwise spending $100 on clothes in an hour is just depressing. Whereas what I really did - which was spend sixteen dollars in 5 hours was so very much better!!

How did I manage that one?

I went yardsale shopping! Driving around takes up heaps of time, plus with my iPod it's kind of fun. I got to blast Porn Academy and Metallica and Pantera and it was great. Driving in the sunshine with lots of open roads (I live in a rural-ish area) and singing and dancing and bartering.

Here's how my spending broke down:
$2.50 for one necklace (turned out to be the most expensive thing I bought for the value)
$4 on ALL those glass homebrew bottles, and the guy said I could come back for another 2 dozen for free
$1 for the five ice-cream bowls, which look PERFECT for taking photos in for my other blog, nothingbutanapron
$1 for the top
$2 for each pair of shorts
$1 for the video game
$1 for the awesome geeky bunny figurine
$1 for another necklace

That's right - two necklaces, 27 glass bottles, 2 pairs of shorts, a top, five bowls, a video game and a figuring for 15.50. I was SO proud of myself! I think I learned the trick to yardsales.

Don't bring more than $15.

If you find something more expensive you can go to the bank and get money for it. If it's not worth going all the way to the bank and back - it's not worth it. (Though the $50 for the entire set of Guitar Hero drums/guitars/games was SO TEMPTING)

At one point I spent around $12 I had and went to the bank and got another $20. Of course I didn't end up spending much more than that, but it was a DAMN good way to budget my yardsaling. Plus the, "Oh it's $6? Damn I only have a five," works really well for haggling.

My next bill due is next week and is my Foxtel. Also, rent. And electricity. My food bill is paid. My groceries are up to date and so are the rest of my bills. If I spend like I have today for the rest of the week, I should be about $500 ahead.

Also, I popped another $30 into my savings, having already saved $110 for the month! And it's only day 5! For reference, my budget is not my income. My budget is far below my income, but I really have the ability to live way below my means and I'd like to.

It's time to grow up.

I'd cry, but I have no onions.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Budget Month - Day 4 Revisted

Bah, this is my blog, I can post if I want to. At least my posts have substance. I needed to get this out because it made me cry. I failed big time today - not at budgeting, just at *trying* to save money.

First my car was blinking hecticly at me for more fuel. Please, it blinked, give me something to eat, I'm hungry. Knowing now that the local petrol station is a rip off, I decided to chance it and go to a Caltex because I have a $.04 a litre fuel voucher from Woolworths. Watching it blink more sporadically as I got stuck behind a bobcat trailer was the worst part. Finally I get to the petrol station, put in $30 and proudly hand over my voucher going, Gee, this will save me eighty cents!

"I'm sorry we don't accept those."
"What? You're a Caltex!"
"Yeah but we're not a WOOLWORTHS Caltex. We're just a regular Caltex. That'll be $30."

So I failed at saving money there.

Then, I was on my way to the bank in a pretty big rush because when I called Medibank they told me the money was already set to come out (but I changed next month's to be easier on my banking system) and my account was short. When I got there, the money was already out - so I was in the negative in my account. Luckily, I got there in time to avoid overdraft fees, but I wasn't there in time to get a downright embarassing reaming from the teller about how she wasn't sure I could give her money (?!) because I was over, ladadada, go to hell. Not her saying to me go to hell, but me saying it to her. In my brain. Because I have no testicles for that.

So after failing once, then failing again.. I kinda just cried. I cried because I was humiliated at the bank during the worst time possible - when I was actually trying.

Then, as usual, I became the person I always become immediately after crying: Determined Woman. Oh, I don't know if you've met Determined Woman, but she's damn determined. "Fuck this shit. Fuck this shit to hell!" I said to myself, because I curse in my brain quite frequently. I stood up, marched into a bunch of stores and demanded jobs.

I am free every day but weekend nights, I can sell a cow to a horse and, at the health stores, I made sure to mention I was a nutrition student. At Harrison's, the beauty shop, I mentioned I make soaps and lotions and even displayed my knowledge in additives by describing their properties while showingly reading the first label I picked up. I was smooth. I would've hired me. If I can sell a cow to a horse, you should see what happens when I want to sell myself to an employer. It's magic.

So I was promised a heap of calls and nods and smiles and went on my determined way. I was not done! No! I went home and I called the magazine that had published me and never paid me. I had contacted them three weeks ago with no materialization of my cheque. I discovered that they had been confused by my statement of "I never got the cheque for $750" because, as it turns out, the cheque was for ONE THOUSAND dollars. Not seven fifty.

So now they're resending it. $250 more than I orginally thought I earned. That's right folks, determined as fuck me just managed to most probably get a second job AND get $1000 in a single day because someone humilated me. That's just how I roll.

At the mall I saw a gold buying place as well. I have an engagement ring from my ex I used to like until my soon-to-be husband bought the giant ring I currently own, which blew my ex's out of the water by like, oh, 10x the price. Let's ignore the fact my ex made me pay for my own ring anyway. So, it's not like it has good memories. I paid $600 for the ring. $200, hell, $100, would make me part with it. So I'm gathering that and a couple other things my mother gave me that I never liked (and aren't heirlooms) and I'm going to sell those.

Am I done there? NO! Fucking bitch at the bank who embarassed me, you have NO idea what I will do to prove to you I'm not some broke bitch who's going through a hard time - nope. In a month you're gonna see - my credit card will be paid off, Glynn gets his raise, and I'll have made thousands of dollars worth of deposits not counting the new job I'm certain I'm getting.

I'm also calling photographers today*. They promised me a large job shortly and I think it's about time they gave it to me. I'm going to demand to work with them in about, oh, five minutes.

I've also managed to get my health care switched to the middle of the month and Foxtel switched to around day 9 of the month, so that the first week I can focus on the car, electricity and insurance payments. I've made shit easier.

So what do I have to say to money right now?

Bring it on.

*Edit: DONE! I called them. Hopefully I will have more work very shortly.

Budget Month - Day 4

"Our plants are growing our of their pots," I told Glynn last night.
"So buy more pots," he told me as his eyes glazed over at a photo of a tractor on eBay he's been eyeing this week (next week it will be an air compressor, watch).
"I can't! I didn't budget anything for plants! So I went on Freecycle and posted an ad looking for free pots."
He looked confused and looked back towards me, "You're actually serious about this thing, aren't you?"
"I want that cookbook," I confessed.
"Yeah, but you could just go out and buy it today. You're serious about this. You really want to budget."
I shrugged, "Just because we make a lot of money doesn't mean we need to spend a lot of money."
He seemed proud, "Even when you tell me you don't do anything when you're home, I don't believe you, you're always doing something to improve this family."

He finally sat down last night and looked at my budget, "You accounted for parking?"
"Only $20. Good thing I did! I spent $5!"
"Yeah but, I would have never thought about that."
"I know, that's what last month was for, figuring out where we spent money so I could put it in a budget."
"Bank fees? You put a budget for BANK FEES?"
"Good thing I did! $16 went to that."
"You really thought this through."

Except, I didn't. I've realized a critical flaw in my plan, that I do NOT think I should be held accountable for. What flaw did I have?

This month has 5 Wednesdays. Barely, but it does. Problem is, Wednesday is the day bills are due and also the day rent gets paid and the day Glynn gets paid. So my rent this month, instead of being $1440, is technically $1800. And the electric bill is another $86 more than I budgeted for. BUT, this is not fair. Theoretically I could simply pay my rent and electricity on Thursday and be perfectly within budget for the month and incredibly ahead with that extra money laying in the account.

I don't really think it's condusive to budgeting to pay my bills late just so I can say I win at budgeting. So - this last Wednesday of the month? We're gonna count it, but we're also going to add some money into my rent budget and my electricity budget for the month. Do you readers feel that is fair? Last month only had 4 weeks and I budgeted off of that.

On another note - I realized my Foxtel and my Health Insurance are due in two days. The former is $120, the latter is near $200 for the both of us. There's $150 in the account right now, $300 in cash on me and I really don't like that. It doesn't leave me with much. Especially since I owe a tad more money on my fruit/veg delivery this week as well.

I have never liked that my car payment, Foxtel and Health all came out the same day. That alone is near five hundred dollars spent in a single day. So today - I am calling Foxtel and Medibank and having them change my billing days to the middle of the month. That way I can pay for food, car payments and insurances (car/home) on the 6th, like normal, and the other ones on the 15th, so that it's easier to manage.

As for food - I have finished my mandarins. I finished my zucchinis. I finished my capsicums.

Currently I stand at:
1 pineapple
3 lemons
1 lime
1 corn
1 lettuce
1 broccoli
2 avocados
7 apples
5 bananas
2 sweet potatoes
1 ginger root
5 potatoes
7 tomatoes
1 radish
2 mushrooms

I ate more than I thought, and less than I thought at the same time. I obviously have a lot of fruit to use before Tuesday when I pick up my next box. Banana bread? Cliche. Apple pie? Done it three times this year. I'm sure I will figure it out and then post it for all to see.

Also, I have discovered recently that the trees lining my neighbourhood are edible. They're lillipilli trees and actually are good for making jam. Also good for making jam is the honey I get for free from the farm. The only other ingredient in jam, when the fruit is high in pectin, is water. I'm going out today to collect lillipillies and make a jam from it using free fruit, free honey and free water. I'm going to call it the "Free Jam", I think. Now there's taking budgeting to a whole. new. level.

I might buy an onion today.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Budget Month - Day 3

I have discovered a small problem with budget blogging. I love blogging in the morning when I first wake up. Yes, I wake up like this. No, I do not plan on changing. This leads to problems, however, because I can't really blog about how well I did that day if the banks haven't even opened, can I?

I'm doing well! (I can try, apparently) It looks like I'm doing badly, but I just paid off a gamillion necessary bills - and I've budgeted for that! I paid rent. I paid some utilities ($86 electricity, $150 mobile phones and $14.53 in bank fees [which I also budgeted for!]) and I did go out yesterday and I did donate some money to charity (and I'll be damned if it wasn't worth it).

All in all of my $159.43 budget per day, I've spent $242.11. Don't look at me like that! First of all if I simply go two more days without spending any money, I'm back on my average. Second of all, I don't have a single bill due for at least another week, and then it's just electricity, the last hundred of my (and Glynn's! Don't place the blame soley on me here) phone bill, and rent again.

As it stands I still have over $500 in utilities I've still budgeted for, another thousand eighty in rent, and another $333.70 in entertainment. I'm THRILLED. It may only be day 3 and my average may be two days off of 'in the clear', but my bills are paid, I'm considerably under budget and I've planned for this, thanks to calculating my expenses last month and preparing myself for things I had forgotten (like bank fees!).

As a side bonus, last night I got super tired and didn't end up cooking (wut?) and Glynn used the pizza bases and sauces I keep frozen and made pizza using only one capsicum and some mushrooms. So basically, I have a lot of ingredients on my list still left and *four days* to use them, which is so many levels of score. I did eat a mandarin for breakfast yesterday and I plan on doing it again shortly. I have not grocery shopped in 5 days. This is really good for me, especially if you know me and food.

As a second bonus, after day one Glynn came home and said, "I got milk!" and I was horrified! I had planned spending the entirety of Day 1 without spending a cent. But, get this... his boss wanted him to buy some milk for work. His boss said to him, "What is milk these days? (rich men, go figure) Is it about $3 or $4? Bah, here's a five, keep the change." Well, when Glynn went to get milk is was 2 for $5! Free milk!

All I have left to do this week is buy a damn onion!

Edit: I don't know how I forgot this, but I've spent most of the last two days downloading free books using iPhone's Stanza application. I've downloaded 200 out-of-copyright titles. Books I read in school, books I wanted to read, books I only want to read for the fame (Proust), and others.

I also took a page out of one of my finance books and deposited $80 into my savings nearly immediately. It's not budging.

Budget Month - Day 2

As promised in yesterday's post, I went out today with friends and actually thought I managed well! My date was kind enough to have read my blog and was very understanding about me trying to save money, which really helped. The chivalrous bastard in me really wanted to pay for my date, but hey, money isn't the only thing I got (and let's face it, I ain't got that no more, so I gotta depend on my personality - damn.).

According to my budget, I spent $438.50 today. Stop looking at me like that. $360 of it was my rent. What did you think I did? Buy shoes? $5 was parking and another amount was a gift (like I'd tell you how much that was). I think I did well for going to a place that looked like, well, above. I should let it be noted I spent nearly SIX HOURS at this place. So ha. For my money, it was a good deal.

Of course, I also had an amazing time. How else can you have an amazing time for six hours barely spending over ten dollars an hour unless you have excellent company? Which I did. I got to spend time with people I hardly spend time with (and people I'd like to spend more time with) talking of ghosts and life experiences and how it feels to freefall and sex and drugs and jazz (as opposed to rock and roll).

Now - to tackle more of my fruit and veg box. Let's work on the zucchini, shall we? I hate zucchini. Okay - actually I don't. I do. I don't. I can leave it, I guess. It's too, well, chini, for me. Needs less chini and more zuc. No, I have no idea what I'm on about either. All I know is zucchinis are those vegetables that make life difficult for me. I always end up giving them to the chickens.

Ba da bing! Not only do I always keep homemade pizza dough on hand (yes, everything) but I get to use 4 more tomatoes AND the capsicum. Plus I already have homemade sauce in the freezer (everything) - so this should be a nice quick easy thing to make up after a long day out with the girls.

Although I should mention right now one of the gifts I bought today was a capsicum for a beautiful lady's guinea pig. Problem is the shop I stopped at only sold capsicum by the bag. I somehow managed to get another 5 capsicum.

I still don't have that damn onion.