32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Frugalista

Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about money.  As much as I am trying to improve my personal finances, I hate to check my account balance because I hate to visually see the breakdown of how much I overspent.  It kinda burns my eyes and I become overwhelmed with this feeling of guilt.  From getting the kids to Indianapolis to this holiday weekend, my account transactions have been less than favorable.  So, last night I couldn’t sleep because I was worried I’d be broke when the kids returned barely able to pay all the expenses related to moving plus daycare plus extra daycare to run, attend my race in September, make it to sorority meetings/functions (instead of just paying my dues), and have a social life.  I do not mind chiseling away at the social life since “socializing” requires some money but I want to continue my active running schedule and get the kids active in things too which, as we all know with kid activities, requires money.  I said a quick prayer that God will release any worries and fears from my mind so I could get some sleep – I was knocked out after that.

Moving is not as much of a hassle as it seems.  Besides finding men who will move your stuff without wrecking, ripping, and/or breaking things – the cost is pretty low.  There is the deposit which is usually one month’s rent, plus the rent to move in, plus the cost of a truck, and time cleaning up the old apartment.  My landlord says I have plenty of time to move and everyone seems to agree esp those who have gone through a foreclosure saying it takes months to complete and ask tenants to vacate the premise.  I just don’t want to move during a Chicago winter.  And, I need to make sure I get my deposit back.  My kids have broken a few parts of a window blind, the walls need repainting in some spots, and my youngest locked his self in the bathroom once so part of the door frame is kinda sitting in the corner of my bathroom (lol I’m not asking for the full amount back) but I deserve something.  I am not picky when it comes to apartments except expecting it to be clean, in a good area, and rodent/roach free.  My main thing I cannot live without is a washing and dryer in the building.  Currently, I do have a regular (non-coin operated one) but I guess I will take a coin one if that’s my only option.  Plenty of rentals in my neighborhood but not sure if I should move now or later since my landlord still expects the rent although I doubt she is paying the mortgage.  What she does with the money should be of no concern of mine.  I am simply renting the space upstairs. 

Still no child support.  I knew it would take weeks to get the paperwork in the system and the HR dept up-to-date with the changes but it’s been almost 3 weeks.  Ok, maybe I’m impatient since 3 weeks isn’t that long of a time but I want my money.  That will help me buy the kids’ back-to-school crap now rather than later.  Cover more summer fun stuff rather than picking an event every so often.  And, since kids out grow everything, it calls for new clothes for the upcoming fall & winter months.  I am still saving but not as much as I had hoped during the summer.  I put aside $200 from my check last week and will be able to put aside $500 from my check next week so that’s a little extra.  I will attempt the same next month as well.  My student loans are in repayment in September.  I have an outstanding tuition bill for $500 due that I need to pay off.  And an outstanding medical bill that I can have my Medical Flex acct cover.  Once I get the tuition bill paid and work my $350 student loan pymt into my budget then I will be cool.  By then, I should have child support coming in to lessen the blow.  I upgraded my phone plan from 450 anytime minutes to 900 anytime minutes since my Support role involves more phone calls than before.  If I surpass that amount then my only other option is to go back to the unlimited plan.  My job does not cover my telephone bill since working from home is optional and something I’d rather not give up.  I save $160/month in daycare with my two wfh days so upgrading my phone bill to an extra $30/month is a small price to pay.  However, when my contract ends, Mr. D is putting me on his family plan which will give me unlimited minutes for about  $30/month.  Let’s pray we are still together by then – if not, I still want that hook-up!

This weekend I endured another rant from family about how cheap I am.  They kept saying how I make “good money” or have a “good job” – what the hell does “good” mean in this context?  So, since I make “good money” I should be able to buy that $80 BeBe dress from my sister which does not fit her.  I have never paid $80 for any dress – not even my wedding dress which I bought brand new off eBay.  I should be wearing expensive (and often ugly) shoes like Aldo for $50 from the clearance rack.  I told my sister that clearance should be about $20 or less – I have only paid $50 or more for shoes I can run/sweat/exercise in.  My mom said she tells her co-workers all the time about her cheap daughter.  They laughed but I don’t care.  I have never felt the need to buy expensive brand names or look like I have a “good job”.  It has never been me although people expect it.  Mr. D called me a yuppie.  He says I do not dress like I have a corporate job because I rarely wear business clothes.  I walk around all day everyday in jeans, sneaks, flip flops, or running shorts.  He also says I remind him of someone like Ellen or Bill Gates – people who can afford to splurge but would rather dress comfortably in regular everyday clothes.  I am a regular everyday chick – why change because of what my job consists of.  I know I am no more important than anyone else so my priorities are aligned perfectly – money only has the power you give it.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fiscal Chick

mochamoneypiggybankSince more and more people I actually know have gotten laid-off from I went into semi-crazy-saving mode.  I only say “semi” because every now and then I gots to have something or the boys require something so yea….budget out the window.  My goal at the beginning of the year was to pay down crap from my credit report so I can get on track to buying a house.  Thing is this, I don’t plan on staying in Chicago so I don’t want to buy a house here and feel the pressure to sell after just a couple of years esp in this market.  Sooooo, I have been saving saving saving!  I was told by Suze Orman, that crazy yelling guy from that Bull/Bear show, and ING (my 401k folks) that we should all have a six month emergency fund just in case.  According to my monthly expenses for BASIC needs (not counting cable, internet, or other extras) that would be about $6-8k.  Since I have stored most of my tax refund check, I am about halfway there. Notice the word “about” is in italics lol. 

My mom hates it.  She seems to think I should act like I have a decent job.  I do….when I can go out when and as I please.  When I can pay a bill after I forgot about the last two mths (I forget sometimes). When I can take the boys to any show they wanna go to on a whim.  When I can use my debit card without praying at the register that it goes through.  I like having that comfort of knowing I can as well as the discipline of knowing I don’t need to.  The downfall is that I like to see money accumulate in my account like it’s fun or something so I try to see how much more I can add.  I like to pay my monthly bills and tell Bank of America to transfer $300 into my savings account just so I’ll think I’m broke.  Yea…I’m crazy but I have slacked a lot lately.  I am extremely disciplined at holding onto money because we never had much growing up so I want to make sure the kiddies and I have what we need. 

When people started getting laid-off and relying on their 401k, savings, and unemployment checks I went into overdrive.  I didn’t wanna say my tax check is sitting in my living room on that nice stand or that it’s parked outside fully gased up.  Actually, I don’t have a flat screen….I am past due for a bigger TV though.  I don’t have a car…..but I do have a Chicago Card for every bus & train in the city.  I enjoy money, learning about money, how to grow money, how to lose money (always informative), and how to make your money work for you cause I ain’t tryna be slaving at work!  I wanna do like the executives….get the phat check, make some key decisions here and there (without sacrificing my soul), and spend some time on a beach somewhere.  I track my monthly grocery expenses so I only have to go once a month except for little things and buy in bulk as much as possible…I’m copying another blogger.  And I’m learning to knit because it is actually pretty easy, I can prb sell my crap once I master it, and that’ll save on winter stuff for the kids in roughly eight months. 

Bad credit and all I STILL refuse to give the creditors my money just yet.  As my 401k grows with the bull of the stock markets and my savings account balance increases I pray to realize my dream of being a homeowner but not now just because homes are cheap as hell.  Somewhere I want to be after I finish my Masters in a few years then I won’t have to hear that crap about needing a man to take care of me.  After I fix my credit then I can brag and say I can teach a man a few things about finances…..until then, let me shut up and stay as much on track as possible.  And, last but not least, God helps those who help themselves so maybe I won’t have to COMPLETELY pay everything on my credit report to get my house.  Let us pray….

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , , | 1 Comment

Single Mom in the City

momToday I was searching blogs to see what other people are writing about these days.  Some people write about the latest celeb gossip or cat fights….I really don’t care.  Some write about government stuff namely the economy….I follow that but sometimes my mind refuses to think so I end up going elsewhere.  Some people write about sex….interesting but not as much as other people seem to think since I could care less about your sex life.  Some write about religion and other serious topics….once in a while is cool but is there not something else that crosses your mind?  Today I read a blog about frugal tendencies and pinching pennies….she sounds like me for a second so I was intrigued.  I used to keep a blog on Myspace but has since started this one because….I don’t know….Myspace is kinda Myspace. 

The last year has been challenging to say the least.  This time last year I was living in a suburb outside Chicago, with my kids, job, car, and weekly church activities.  Fast forward to now, I live in the city, without a car, same kids, same job, and less church activities.  I lost my car and I lost my mind!  I didn’t know how I was going to do simple things like grocery shop, get clothes, go to post office, get to church, much less get to work.  God had things planned out while I was about to lose my dang mind!  I live maybe 3 blocks from the train station….I love it.  I take the train to work which is a 45 min commute then I take a shuttle to the front door of my office.  I can read, play tetris, unwind, talk on the phone, text, listen to music, nod off to sleep….anything I want to do before and after work.  Problem solved.

Daycare.  I found a home daycare down the street from my house….soooo walking distance so I walk them there, drop them off, walk to the train, and do it all over again after work.  She has no certain pick up or drop off time so no late fees….same price for all week!  She even picks them up things I don’t have time to get during the week like hat/scarf/glove sets when winter set in…..boots for the snow….paper for school…stuff like that.  She is kinda like the mommy when I am at work and forget to the mommy stuff….I am not superwoman! 

Groceries.  There are actually two grocery stores near me both roughly 5 blocks away from me.  One is a little smaller than the other with less deals or specials so I tend to prefer the bigger one.  I do stop at the small one on my way home for little things like Pop Tarts (kids love those) or milk or bread.  But, the bigger store in the opposite direction has delivery….yes, you read that correct….delivery!  Maybe it is just me but I have never heard of a grocery store that delivers if it wasn’t Peapod.  And, their  fee is $7.50 no matter how much or little you buy.  I can sooo swing that.  Shop once or twice a month….get it all done and over with….easy!  Now, you gotta be careful to check your receipt.  Make sure what you paid for is is your bags when they get to your house.  Overall, I am doing good.

Church.  When I go my required days which are every Sunday for Sunday school and service and every second Saturday for the leadership meeting….I take the bus.  Right now, it is cold outside so I have people picking us up or I may take a cab but I also don’t make all those days knowing they understand so I roll with it….play it by ear….do what I can.  When this weather breaks I will have no excuse not to be there….I just can’t wait for warmer weather period. 

Shopping.  Online….online….online!  I am a professional eBayer.  I have bought so much off that site that it is ridiculous!  Craigslist too.  I try to find sellers who will deliver or just pay shipping depending on the actual sell price but I get good deals online….I have kinda gotten lazy since I started shopping online.  Walk through a mall?!  That is too much work!  There is almost nothing you can’t buy online…it is the best.

What I really miss is Goodwilling…..going to the Goodwill and shopping til I drop!  My sisters and friends can’t believe I shop there but I started when I lived in Indiana….so much stuff you find that it is is insane!  I have so many Express, Kenneth Cole, Nine West, H&M, Hollister, etc clothing and sweaters that it is simply lovely.  It took some time to buy regular price and that was only by default because I really needed it but I soooo need to get back to the Goodwill.  Get my fix….everything $5…..always a sale….I could spend hours in that place.

Am I going to get a car?  I don’t think so.  As the month go by people keep asking me and I say the same thing….NO!  It is almost like it bothers them that I don’t have a car!  Goodness!  This is city living at it’s best.  I cannot wait until the summer….the kis go to Indy with their dad….I get to enjoy the beauty of my fine city kid-free for a month or two….oh the fun I will have!  Four more months to go….now, this weekend, off to see Disney On Ice!  Some things I pinch pennies on….others I gotta shell out so the kids can have a life too.  Why is this pic such a sexist unrealistic representation of …… whateva it is representing?!  And how big are her panties?!

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Me | , , , , | Leave a comment