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Archive for April, 2006

Yesterday and Today

April 30th, 2006 at 01:32 pm

Last night ended up being fun. I personally didn't spend any money. My BF and I came back to my house and cleaned my room. Then we went out with a couple of my friends to the movie. (He paid for the movie...hehe.) My friend is a manager at Pizza Hut, so she had a pizza in the car. (Free dinner!!! YAY!!) And she was kind enought to bring me Dr. Pepper. Aren't friends great?!?

Today, I was going to take my little sister shopping. We weren't actually going to buy anything (yeah...right....i'll keep telling myself that!). I just wanted to do something to get out of the house and we always have fun trying on clothes and stuff. BTW, she's only 10 but LOVES fashion and LOVES shopping. I mean, what do you expect when she has four older sisters. But, anyways, we didn't end up going. Not sure why though, I think it is because I ended up getting online and I think my parents are taking her out to the movies.

So, I didn't spend any money today. That's cool. I don't know what I'm going to end up doing tonight, but I probably won't spend any money.

On a side note: Just recently my BF started a fairly strict diet. Because of this he can't really eat out. It just ends up being to much work. This is really nice because we would always take turns paying whenever we went out on a date. It definitely has saved me a LOT of money. Smile

Another quick note:
I determined today that my absolute latest deadline for buying a car is June 23rd. That is when my sister returns from Italy and needs her car back. So within the next month, I will begin diligently searching.

College is EXPENSIVE!!

April 28th, 2006 at 11:03 pm

I applied for parking a couple days ago for fall semester. It got me thinking of my expenses for school. I calculated what summer semester is going to cost me and here is what I discovered:

Summer:
Gas - $10/day x 35 days = $350
Parking = $30
Textbooks = $100
Total = $480

Fall:
Gas - $10/day x 20 days = $200
Parking - $10/month x 5 = $50
Textbooks = ~$300
Total = ~$550

Note: Gas only includes getting from my house to school. It does not include work or errands. Also, for fall semester it does not include gas that I will need for observing local schools.

But, today my mom told me that my dad is planning on trying to help me out a little with the money for gas. Although, I also realized that I should be ok for Summer. If he still wants to contribute, I'll probably save it for Fall.

I just can't help but imagine where I would be if I didn't have my tuition paid for through a scholarship. It would be very very difficult to be going through college without any debt.

LASIK is a NEED!

April 28th, 2006 at 11:00 pm

I realized AGAIN tonight how much LASIK is really a NEED. It isn't even a want anymore. I really do need it. And in my opinion it is worth EVERY penny. My eyes are TERRIBLE! I mean absolutely horrible. To give you mind picture, you can stand two feet in front of me and if I don't have my glasses on, your face is a blur. That is TERRIBLE! I can't where contacts anymore because they were making my eyes so sensitive to the sun that I couldn't even open my eyes if they were in. Apparently as your eyes get worse, the more sensitive they are to the sun. Glasses for me are so outrageously priced. I have to get the thinnest lenses they make, thus equally at least $130 for the lenses alone. That's crazy. Then, I can't have just one pair, because if something happens to one...i'm screwed. I can't drive, I really, honestly can't function. So, I have to keep both pair with me at all times. It honestly is risky for my ability to function to rely on a small item that is made of thin wire or plastic. LASIK is a must. If it works for me, I will no longer be in this situation. I'm believing I'll have enough saved up to get LASIK by 2008, hopefully before I'm married. We'll see.

Sorry, random ranting. My glasses just got bent tonight (I haven't even had them very long) and it just reestablished the fact that need LASIK.

Cheap Entertainment

April 28th, 2006 at 10:59 pm

Let me first start off by saying I got paid today! That was definitely needed. I also was able to pick up three extra hours at my regular job (which is the better paying job) YAY! So, that will add some fluff to next week's paycheck. It was definitely a blessing.

Secondly, I saved some money tonight! YAY! Our town does movies throughout the summer downtown, in the park. So, they were showing Robots tonight. My mom and sister went out to dinner before, but I kindly declined. Instead, my boyfriend and I packed a picnic (and saved some more money). It was definitely fun and Robots is a really funny movie.

Overall, I think today was a pretty good day. Tomorrow, my boyfriend is treating me to a few hours at the driving range. So that won't cost me anything. And then tomorrow evening, I'm heading to see the Braves play the Mets for only $2.50!!! That's what I call a GREAT deal.

Ok, I guess I can't just leave on that note and not explain how I'll be getting such a great price. Well, Turner Field (where the Braves play) has a $1 Clark Howard section (the seats are the worst and there is NO chance of sitting closer), and then the general upper level is $5. But, if you buy tickets on game day and you have student ID, you can get buy one get one free seats for any level (except the $1 seats). So, all my friends and I are going to head up there for a cheap night at the ball park.

Taxes

April 28th, 2006 at 06:12 am

So, I thought I would elaborate more why my taxes were so high.

Last year I had three W-2s and one 1099. Up until October, I was a contract laborer with my company. And, three different people ended up paying me throughout the year. Then, working for the same company, I ended up getting hired by the staffing company that my company contracts with. It is all a bit confusing. But, to set things straight, I didn't get taxes withheld until October.

As a matter of fact, I've ALWAYS owed money. Every job I have had has been contract labor.

This year I paid over $1000 in estimated taxes, so I didn't realize I would still owe as much as I did. I just wastn't prepared. But I used a tax program to calculate my taxes. And I also did them by hand, because I thought it was high as well. But, it was correct.

When you are contract labor you are consider self-employed, so you have to pay 15% FICA. (The employee's portion and the employer's portion.) So, it adds up.

Sadly, I'll face the same issue again because with my second part-time job, which I started this year, I am contract labor again. Smile But, at least this time, I'll have money set aside.

Where does it all go?

April 27th, 2006 at 05:53 pm

I'm currently at a point where I feel like I am completely broke. I'm sitting in class right now and I'm going over my finances. I've been using Microsoft Money for the past couple months to track my expenditures. I currently have about 6 months of records in.

Since I feel like I have no money to spend right now, I asked myself "Where does it all go?"

I noticed that, yeah, my Food: Dining Out was pretty high. But, for the past 2 weeks, I've turned that around. I've been trying really hard to pack my lunch and cook dinner more.
I then noticed that I was spending a lot at Walmart & Target. This was all clothes and other household stuff (also known as JUNK). But I also noticed, I haven't gone shopping for clothes or JUNK in almost 3 weeks.
Pretty much, I noticed that although I've MAJORLY cut back spending the last couple weeks, I still haven't gotten ahead at all.

Then I realized...those darn taxes are still kicking me in the butt. I ended up owing a total of $694 to the government. For me, that is a LOT of money. Almost a whole month's income!!

These taxes just really messed me up. I finally decided to get my finances together and I've been working so hard to save money. And now I have nothing to show for it.

I now see the benefit of budgeting money for things. Had I set aside money every month for my taxes, I would not be in the position I am in now.

Car Situation

April 27th, 2006 at 08:45 am

I thought I would elaborate more on my current situation with my car.

I have been saving for a year now for my car. My dad, in order to help me out, has agreed to match what I save up to $3000.

I currently have $2200 that I've saved. Plus another $500 that was given to me. My dad told me he will go ahead and give me the $3000. That leaves me with a total $5700 for my new car. Also, my dad has agree to buy $1300 of the car (which I can later buy back from him). This leaves me with a total of $7000 for a new car.

I'm very confident that I can get a really good used car for this amount of money.

Also, I've now figured out that I will not be needing a new car until June. This gives me some time to find the best used car for me. Smile

Once I get active in searching for a car, I will post more updates.

Here we go!

April 25th, 2006 at 11:55 am

This is my first posting on my blog! YAY!

My journey began a few short weeks ago when I first found savingadvice.com. My original plan was to transfer my limited amount of savings into an Emigrant Direct account. I spent about a week looking into this and the day I finally decided to do it, things changed.

Apparently my dad isn't too fond of the idea of taking my 1992 Nissan Sentra on the 100 mile trip everyday to school. Which means, it's time for a new (used) car.

At first this seemed like the end of my savings. However, my sister is studying abroad this summer and brought up the idea that I use her car while she is gone! Great idea!!!

I still need to buy a new car, but this buys be a little more time. I think I'm going to reconsider the idea of putting my savings into a Emigrant Direct account. Smile

On a side note, here are my upcoming expenses that I'm trying to save for:

Very Short Term: (within the next couple months)
1. Summer semester - ~$500
2. Fall semester - ~$800
3. New Car - ~$7000
4. A few minor medical expenses - ~$150

Short Term: (within the next couple years)
1. Wedding - ~$5000
2. Honeymoon - ~$2000
3. LASIK - ~$2500
4. Dental Work - ~$5000
5. Tuition for my last semester in college - ~$3000

Long Term:
1. Retirement
2. Home (purchased with cash)

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned because I plan to keep updates on the progress of my saving for all my goals.