An expensive week

I recently mentioned making some tough calls regarding the pets in the household. Today, one of those tough decisions was finalized. We took two of our three cats to a local no-kill shelter and paid the shelter to re-home them.

I have very mixed feelings about this, and our reasoning behind the decision was NOT the financial aspect of having fewer pets. Long term, however, I think it is best for everyone.

I’m a little bit disappointed that I am not going to be able to put $200 towards paying off the credit cards this week, as I have been doing EVERY week for awhile now. It’s OK though: I have successfully avoided frivolous purchases, and there will be more money next week. I am also proud of myself for NOT giving in to the temptation to drown my guilt about the kitties in a big bowl of ice cream.

Spending since my last post:

$235 to surrender two cats to the local shelter.

$15.92 on cat food and $13.69 on litter for the remaining kitty.

$47.01 on gas. I’ve been making a point of not speeding and driving carefully, and I got 31mpg instead of the 29 I got on my last tank of gas!

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A small victory!

Tonight, hubby wanted take ‘n bake pizza. Normally I would have given in, tonight I  decided to go to the grocery store instead. My total felt a little high, but I got six frozen pizzas, 20 frozen burritos, and an assortment of other things which should last quite awhile.

Today’s Spending:

$37.68 on groceries.

Where to draw the line?

I’ve been craving a Chipotle burrito bowl for….days, really. This evening, I caved and got it, at hubby’s urging. Even though I haven’t spent anything since the grocery shopping trip two days ago, I felt a little guilty….but I REALLY enjoyed that bowl, and hubby certainly enjoyed his burrito.

I’ve been doing SO well overall, and I am TERRIFIED of slipping back into old habits. I DON’T think this one treat by itself is a big deal, but I don’t know where to draw the line between an occasional treat and overindulgence. Hmmm

Today’s spending:

$13.63 on two meals at Chipotle.

Seeing the obvious

I’ve been making an effort to eat through the miscellany in my pantry, even as I buy convenience food more regularly. There was quite a bit of food in there that I bought without having a recipe in mind that was just….not appetizing. Four cans of garbanzo beans, for example. NOT my favorite food. I have NO idea why I bought them. A few nights ago, I took two of them and made some hummus. It was delicious, and helped me to get through most of my last veggie box.

Tonight, though, I was poking around in the fridge, freezer, and pantry looking for something to prepare for dinner. We had a frozen pizza, frozen mixed veggies, a piece of leftover BBQ chicken, a bag of rice, and a few odds and ends. I racked my brain for awhile trying to come up with something appealing, but to no avail.

Eventually, I realized that I COULD GO TO GROCERY SHOPPING. I hadn’t blown my money on some frivolous nonsense, and we were running low on a few staples as well as convenience food. I felt a bit silly for not realizing it earlier, but now we’re stocked back up on staples and convenience food. I wound up making chicken fried rice using the frozen veggie mix, and it was delicious!

Today’s spending:

$40.41 on groceries. Looking at my receipt, there is not a single thing on there that I feel like I shouldn’t have purchased. This is a new feeling for me, and I like it.

$26.61 on brunch with friends. I used to eat with this group twice a week, and I’ve cut it down to every other week or so. It’s still a pretty frivolous use of money, but at least I also got to bring hubby a HUGE portion of chicken-fried steak.

Switching banks is frustrating!

Today I got paid with an actual check because my direct deposit is in the middle of switching over to my new bank. Hubby still hasn’t gone into the new bank to get added to the checking account, which is going to set back cancellation of the old account. I wish it were all done already.

Today’s spending:

$15.74 on coffee and milk. Hubby and I are going decaf, had to get some decaf beans.

$14.09 on cat food. A HUGE improvement over the $35 a case prescription food!

Switching banks.

On Monday, I called my bank to ask two things: First, if they would reduce the interest rate on my credit card. Currently it’s at 16%, and since I have outstanding credit, have been a customer of theirs since 1987, and have NEVER missed a credit card payment, I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. I was wrong, and they refused to lower my interest rate. I was peeved, but not overly so until I asked about the $8 monthly fee that had suddenly appeared on my checking account.

Apparently, my weekly direct deposit is $29 too small to waive the fee. The fact that there are four of these deposits made each month doesn’t matter to them. The website says more than $500 direct deposit per period, which I foolishly assumed meant per month. Apparently, there has to be a direct deposit of at least $500 in one transaction.

I was quite irritated when I hung up. My long history with this company apparently means nothing to them, nor does my always being prompt with payments. The two people I spoke to didn’t seem to care. It only took a few minutes after the phone call to decide that I was done with them. I did some research, and went to another bank whose policies made sense to me as laid out on their website. I brought a list of questions, and was really pleased with the answers I received.

Now I have a brand new checking account, and I already had a credit card through this bank that I had been using as a balance transfer card. It was 0% interest for the first year. I’m only 6 months into that year, so I just transferred another big chunk of my balance onto that card. If I can keep up the payments I’ve been making lately, the entire balance should be paid off by October, and I’ll be debt-free!

Spent since my last post…

$5.50 ATM Fees. When I opened my new checking account, I forgot to bring money to deposit, so I used the ATM there and paid fees from both banks. D’oh.

$75 on vegetables. I cancelled my outstanding order, and had to pay for the three boxes I’d received since my last payment.

$19.64 on doggy poop bags and a shower nozzle holder. I broke the shower a few days ago, tried to fix the part unsuccessfully, and was happy to discover that it only cost $6 to replace the part I broke!

$16.58 at McDonald’s. I know I know, hear me out…this morning, I got a call at 9:30 from one of my employees….my assistant manager never showed up to open the store this morning! I dropped what I was doing and fled the house to get to the store as quickly as I could, and I didn’t bring food, my jacket, or really anything that wasn’t RIGHT by the door when I left. I also didn’t get breakfast, since I wasn’t scheduled until 11:00 and hadn’t eaten when I got the call. I had to get food, and I can see the McDonald’s from the front of my store.

Another look at recurring expenses

Recently I posted about my recurring bills. They aren’t much, and after my first look I was fairly content with the numbers I saw. After writing the post, though, those numbers stuck with me and I began to wonder if I could reduce/eliminate some of them. It didn’t take me long to see that I could.

First, I’m calling tomorrow to cancel the CSA membership. I will miss my weekly box of veggies a bit, but frankly, quite a bit of it goes to waste. I’m NOT a big salad eater and neither is hubby, and me trying to eat an entire head of lettuce every week PLUS chard PLUS kale was just…well, it felt like a punishment. Today I threw out three bunches of chard and two heads of lettuce. I will make an effort to buy a small amount of produce that we will enjoy every time I hit the grocery store from now on.

Next, I asked hubby to call State Farm and ask about a discount program I had read about for our car insurance. We don’t drive either car much, and apparently if we report each car’s actual mileage every six months, we are eligible for a discount depending on how many miles we drive. A better solution would be to sell one of the cars, but I don’t think either of us wants to do that right now!

Also, I’ll be calling the bank tomorrow to ask for a reduction on the interest rate we pay on our credit card. While I have them on the phone, I’m going to ask about the $8 monthly fee I’m suddenly being charged for my checking account…I was under the impression that if I had more than $500 a month of direct deposit, there was no monthly fee.

Finally, we’re making some tough decisions regarding pets. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but we have more than ten pets and the cost of feeding and maintaining them is tremendous. Not to mention…with so many pets in the house, none of them get the attention they deserve, and I always have a bit of underlying stress and guilt about that.

Spending since my last post:

$28.05 to refill the Starbucks card. D’oh.

$9.96 for milk and three loaves of bread. Hubby goes through PB&J’s like nobody’s business!

My generous sister who works at Starbucks gave me her weekly pound of coffee, which saved me about $10 on coffee today too!