- Got free lunch at work at work and due to over-ordering I have free dinner now!
- Enjoying a free kalanchoe plant from work as a new dining room centerpiece – perfect because it doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and is bright and wonderful.
- Spending a quiet Friday night in with my dog – cleaning my home in preparation of my dad coming over tomorrow! He’s going to help do some manual dad-labor around like installing hookups for a washer and dryer and making sure my refrigerator installation goes swimmingly.So thankful he’s here to help with this crazy journey of homeownership!
- Running Swagbucks on my mobile while cleaning the house and running some videos on the laptop.
- I’ve been getting creative with poo bags for my dog – I’ve been taking plastic sleeves of newspapers, fruit bags from my grocery store purchases, and other random bags to hold off on my buying poo bag rolls.
So….April has been incredibly expensive. Like…WTF expensive. My Mint.com is red all over the place – and it’s interesting because it started with such good intentions!
April started off rather fantastically – I got a legitimate tax return for the first time in 3 years. I had done really well with saving in February and April and was sitting pretty on a nice amount of cash in all accounts…and I was thinking of actually paying off my smallest student loan. I was waffling because it would leave me completely without an emergency fund…so I threw 1/3 of the amount into the loan instead.
Man…I’m really glad I kept the emergency savings! Here’s why:
On April 11 I stepped out of an appointment and by the time I got to work was hobbling with excruciating pain in my right foot and ankle. Nothing was relieving the pain. So here’s how that financially broke down:
- $50 copay from PCP to be told she had no idea and got a referral to a podiatrist
- $60 for the podiatrist
- $20 for the prescribed ankle brace
- $89.19 in ubers/taxis between work and the doctor’s offices over the course of a week
- $110 for a new pair of sneakers
My sneakers were so old they they lost all their ankle support and that is why I rolled my foot and severely strained a tendon in the first place. I walk and workout too much to not replace my sneakers every 8 months….it had been a year and a quarter. I was holding off on this because they are expensive but I didn’t realize it had been THAT long…….and if I had just spent the $110 a few months ago this could have been avoided.
$329.19 so far
When I moved in December my new home was left with an ancient Frigidaire….and I do mean ancient. I’m 75% sure they actually painted the front of this fridge to hide rust. It has probably been an energy nightmare this whole time…but sometime over the weekend the freezer door popped open and I have not been able to get it to fully shut since:
- $50 for the groceries lost (I am guessing this because I’m really not going to go back and itemize but I have spent $277 so far this month on groceries and a lot of that went into the freezer.
- $596 for a new refrigerator – I will get some help with this down the road but I did have to put up for it first. I pre-approved for the Lowe’s card and got 10% off.
My dog came down with an unexpected itching problem and I had to take him into the vet. While about 70% of this will be covered by pet insurance, I have to pay up first!
There has been an article by The Atlantic circulating my frugal blogs entitled The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans that talks about how, based on a study from the Federal Reserve Board, 47% of Middle-Class Americans do not have enough savings to take care of a $400 emergency.
I failed this month in the sense that a lot of these things could have been avoided if I had just taken care of them in a more timely manner and I’m going to do better about this going forward!
The win: I am able to pay this off thanks to keeping my emergency savings. It’s what it’s there for and I’m glad I took this bit of advice from most of the big wigs of budget blogging. You know that box of ebay items I keep talking about? This weekend would probably be a good time to get on that….
- I went to visit my boyfriend for the night in Baltimore – topped off my tank in Delaware using my Plenti card at an Exxon. We didn’t spend beyond groceries – took our dogs to see his niece and had a dinner at home while watching Cops and Kimmy Schmidt (which has kept me in most of the weekend) and he let me bring my laundry to do at his place in my ongoing postponement of buying a washer and dryer.
- I had my first Aldi experience today – I had only been once before for a very quick snack grab. Today….today I shopped. I spent $63 and got a LOT of staples and produce. Tomorrow I’m going to make a smoothie for breakfast and make a salad for lunch!
- Giving myself a “spa treatment” at home tonight with coconut oil and a complimentary shower cap from a past hotel stay.
- Spending a little time reorganizing and updating my Mint.com accounts – keeps me mindful.
- I have a nice pile of things I can let go of and put on ebay….so why am I so lazy about something as simple as taking pictures???
#tfw you have enough money in your savings account to pay off your smallest student loan today…
…and your foot goes NUTS and suddenly hurts so bad that you have to make an immediate doctor’s appointment for the next day $50 minimum copay + $110 if I need to see a specialist – between $8-$81 per prescription that may be needed (based on past prescription history)
…there is a leak in my first floor ceiling that looks like it could a window? Or not? WTF is going on here? And I’m so worried it will cost more than what’s in my bank account right now. So far I’ve only had to put $200 into the place so I knew that something would come up. I just now have to….handle it.
- I took my dog on a nice long walk today – we went up Passyunk ave and I stopped in at the pet store and got one of Wally’s favorite treats at 20% off and scored some free kibble samples! Wally loves the samples in his tricky treat ball.
- I really wanted to go to Lowes and have a gift card…but talked myself out of it. I know I’ll spend more than I need and didn’t need to lose my parking spot. Instead I listed one of my pieces of curb furniture on craigslist for free.
- Tonight I’m stopping by someone’s home to pick up a $5 wall clock that will go great with my shabby chic farmhouse wall – I will get to and from using my bus pass.
- I made spaghetti with meat sauce to get me through the next few days – not sure what I’ll do after that! I have some things in the freezer I can eat and will see what else I can forage. I’ve spent a little over $80 on groceries so far this month.
- I love cable and I’ve been watching it all weekend – it’s worth the expense if I use it, right?
- I found 3cents while walking my dog this morning! I’m always finding change, cash, and homegoods on the curb when walking my dog.
- I had to hit the laundromat this morning – I was able to use the smaller washers so I didn’t have to put more cash on the laundry card! They use a card system and if you put $20 in you get a bonus $3 so every time I feel that I have to pop a twenty on – not today! I was able to hang a lot of my items instead of putting them in the dryer and was able to dry everything in 42 minutes over 4 dryers (you get x amount of free minutes in the dryers depending on what size washer you use) I haven’t purchased a new washer and dryer yet for my new home but have only had to spend $40 this year at the laundromat by using other people’s facilities (thank you dad and boyfriend <3 ) but by getting more than one wear out of work clothes by hanging them back up as soon as I get home with a little febreeze – I can also hang them up in the bathroom when I shower to steam them out. I ALSO FOUND ANOTHER PENNY IN THERE!
- I also stopped at the ThriftWay on the way home (bundling errands) and spent $36 on some non-chicken meats, some sauces, and a few items for baking. My weekend plans fell through so I’m going to spend my time indoors making some food for the week. I haven’t made spaghetti in forever!
- I just spent 10 minutes signing up for a bunch of free samples! It’s like getting random gifts in the mail that i forgot about by the time they arrive.
- Since I’m staying in I will be spending the weekend cleaning, swagbucksing, inboxdollaring, and sleeping. Frugal as fuck.
While I am often very discouraged by my student loan and home debt – something that keeps me going has been my freedom from credit card debt in 2016. This time last year I had about $1,700 left in credit card debt and I had it paid off by December.
I still use my credit cards – I just pay them off every week.
Every single week.
Sometimes even multiple times a week – once I see a balance I just pay it off. Doing this keeps me from spending more with them because I know it’s coming out of my bank account ASAP.
I’m going to Atlanta for Dragon*Con in September so I went ahead and bought my tickets and badge. It felt so good to just pay that off today and know that my vacation for this year is secure!
Ohhhh a new month and one step closer to a goal I put for the year!
By the end of April I may be ready to pay off my smallest student loan of $4,405
How am I going to accomplish this?
1. Dry April
I am not drinking alcohol for the entire month of April! In the last 6 months I’ve spent about $439 on “Alcohol & Bars” according to mint.com – this does NOT include when I have one or two at a restaurant because that counts as “restaurants”($346 in the last 6 months so probably $100 or so of that for the alcohol parts) Not only will I save about $89 on the alcohol alone but I am less likely to go out to dinner this month and I always tend to eat more out and more groceries when drinking. It will also be good for my health!
2. Jamie, It’s Time to eBay Your Shit Again
I always say I want to do this pretty much every week….so I’m going to say I have to list my random box of shit to ebay by the end of this month. It really only takes me about an hour to photograph, research, and list an item – yet I am lazy. I made $66 last time I listed some random items on eBay so it’s definitely worth the time. They make it so easy to buy shipping and I use recycled shipping supplies for no cost.
3. Automation, Bitches.
$100 automatically sweeps to my savings every paycheck and Digit has been automatically transferring small amounts to a savings account for emergency/travel savings.