Mid October Random Musings

Well, I think I’m finally safely over the $60,000 net worth mark!  Shortly after I posted my October net worth, it jumped over $60,000 and hasn’t gone back under since.  Woohoo!  That feels good.  I’m more happy with this milestone than I was when I hit $50,000 net worth.  Why?  Probably because it’s taken me many more months to go from $50,000 to $60,000 than it took to go from $40,000 to $50,000.  This month is also a three paycheck month for me, so I’m getting pretty excited to see my net worth on November 1st.

 

Last week my employer handed out $100 Visa gift cards to all full time employees for all their hard work over the year.  That was a nice, unexpected bonus.  I bought last week’s groceries with mine.  I still have money left on it, so I’ll probably be buying more groceries with the remainder.  Mr. Frugal Turtle also gave me his gift card (we both work for the same company).  So, I’ll be buying groceries with his gift card as well.  Nice!  Free groceries for weeks!

 

I bought a pumpkin last week and I’m going to attempt to roast it.  We’ll see how it goes.  I read up on how to do it correctly, so hopefully I’ll have pumpkin puree for the whole year.  Also, I’m extremely excited about roasting the seeds.  Yum!

 

I still have yet to hear about the job that I interviewed for a couple weeks ago.  I’m almost on the verge of giving up on hearing if I got it or not.  The woman I interviewed with said I would hear something within a couple of days, so I’m not sure what’s taking so long.  I know companies can drag their feet on the hiring process, which is why I haven’t given up all hope.  I’m still looking for new job prospects daily, but unfortunately there’s not a whole lot going on in this area.  There are larger cities about an hour to an hour and a half drive away.  I don’t think I want to commute that far every day, so I’m feeling stuck,  Fortunately, I have a job, and I’ll keep working there until I find something that fits me.

October Net Worth

On October 1st, 2015 my networth came in at $59,201.79.  I consider my networth to be what I have in my savings account, my IRA, and my 401k.  I’m sooo close to $60k net worth!  It’s taking forever to get over that mark!  Unless the markets completely bottom out, I should hit it this month.  October is a three paycheck month for me, so when I post November’s net worth, I’ll (hopefully) have a huge smile on my face.  Small, baby steps, right?

My expenses for September were a little higher than normal.  I had a splurge purchase (a new bike!) and Mr. Frugal Turtle and I took a week off and went roughing it in the woods for a few days.  We also spent a day at the Renaissance Festival.  We have gone every year since we started dating.  We both love it and it was well worth the expense.  I tried to get free tickets, but I ended up failing on that.  Oh well.  If I subtract those expenses from the total, it’s right around where my expenses have been for the last couple of months.  Not too bad!

I love camping.  Even though we ended up going on one of the coldest weeks in September, and I almost froze to death one night (ok, not really), I still loved every minute of it.  I love reconnecting with nature, and the time off from work came at the right time.  It’s still stressful there.  Every single time I walk in to work, I’m just waiting for the announcement that our benefits are being reduced, or heck, even our pay.  I did apply for another job, and ended up having an interview last week!  Haven’t heard back yet, though.  Fingers crossed it  works out!

On our way home from camping we were both starving, so we picked up a couple of take-out $5 pizzas.  That was a rare treat!  Usually the only pizza we have is frozen or homemade.  On a side note, I made a killer Alfredo Sauce pizza last night with spinach, mushrooms, tomato and basil.  It was sooo good!  That one is definately going into the rotation.

I also spent $15 on a fundraiser that my niece was having through school.  In the fall, they go around raking leaves for the elderly, and they ask for funds to be able to do this.  I can’t say no to that!

Here are my expenses for September!

Item Cost
Rent 400
Netflix Fee 8.54
Bike 240
Beauty Product 5.57
Groceries 244.73
Gas 32.77
2 take-out pizzas 11
Ren Fen Tickets, food, purchases 84.75
Cell Phone 38.45
Checking Account Fee 3.95
Niece’s Fundraiser 15

Grand total of $1084.76.

I’m hoping to keep my expenses for October down.  I don’t see anything in the near future that I would have to spend extra money on.  There are no trips, or events planned so far. Oh, wait, scratch that.  Halloween.  I still haven’t decided if I’m dressing up, though.  It falls on a Saturday this year, so I might end up going out and celebrating.  I might feel left out if I don’t dress up.  Hmmm.  I guess I need to start thinking of costume ideas.  Cheap costume ideas.

 

7 Things I Do That Save Money Part 1

There are so many ways to save money!  Here are some of the ways I save.

1.  Carpool

My boyfriend and I work for the same company and work the same hours right now.  Ever since we moved in together, we’ve carpooled, and it has saved me a lot of money and wear and tear on my car.  Mr. Frugal Turtle usually drives since he has way less miles on his car.  I usually only end up buying one tank of gas a month.  I know this won’t always be the case, and one of us will switch to a different shift or get a new job completely, but I’m enjoying this while I’m able to.

2.  Garden

I’m very green when it comes to gardening.  (Get it?  Green.  HaHa!)  But I’m trying to grow some plants in pots right now.  Lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, a few different kinds of peppers, basil, and spinach are what I’m attempting to grow right now.  My mom on the other hand, has been gardening her whole life and whenever I go visit, I end up coming home with grocery bags full of fresh veggies and greens to enjoy.  For free!  It’s awesome!  You can’t beat fresh from the garden produce.

3.  Cell Phone

Right now I use a three and half year old Virgin Mobile phone.  It has some character and can be fussy at times and shut off for no reason, but I can call and text and do everything I need to do on that phone.  So I’m keeping it.  So many people tell me I should upgrade, but I’m holding strong!  I pay around $38 every month for my phone and when I eventually do get a new one, I’m probably going to look into Republic Wireless.  I’ve heard good things about that company.

4.  Cook at Home

I love to cook and bake!  One of my favorite things in the whole world is being in the kitchen with music blaring and having a good drink on the counter to sip from. If Mr. Frugal Turtle is around to keep me company it’s even more awesome!  I find great recipes on Pinterest.  If I’m not sure what I want to do with an ingredient I get from my mom’s garden, I’ll just search that item on Pinterest and a lot of delicious, interesting dishes pop up.  I can usually find one where I already have all the ingredients right here at home, and if I don’t, I improvise!

5.  Shop the Deals

I tend to shop at four grocery stores.  I love the local Food Co-op in St. Cloud, MN!  They have all the delicious, local and organic produce and other different foods that are harder to find.  Unfortunately they are pretty expensive, but this is probably the one area where I splurge on.  Then there’s the cheaper, large grocery store where I buy the bulk of my groceries.  They send out coupon books every so often and I make sure to stock up on the items I use the most.  Then there are two smaller, slightly more expensive grocery stores I frequent.  One is close to where I work, so if I want to make something after work, but need one ingredient, that’s the store I head to.  The last grocery store also sends out coupon books, and is relatively close, so I usually only go there when I want to use their coupons and it’s on my way to or from someplace else.

6. Cut Cable

I cut cable out of my life about four years ago.  Haven’t missed it.  Mr. Frugal Turtle cut out cable before I moved in, so we rely on mainly Netflix for our shows.  When I hear about all the stupid reality shows that are on television now, I realize we made the right choice.  I thought people were more open to cutting cable lately, but a co-worker found out recently that we didn’t have cable and I think her mind was blown.

7. Thrift and Discount Stores

I’m pretty lucky that I can wear jeans and a t-shirt to my job every day.  As a result of this, I buy most of my work clothes at thrift shops.  The rest of my wardrobe is largely made up of clothes purchased at Kohl’s with a 30% off coupon.  There are so many cute clothes at thrift shops that I spend a couple hours there whenever I go and  my arms are heavily weighted down by armfulls of clothes waiting to be tried on.

September Net Worth

My networth at the beginning of September is way to close to my networth at the beginning of August.  I know the markets are down temporarily and they will come back up, but I was really hoping to hit a networth of $60,000 or be extremely close to it.  Unfortunately, as of September 1st, my net worth was $58,507.36.  I shall try to look at the bright side of things, and realize that it is still an increase over last month’s amount.

Also on the bright side of things, my expenses had another amazingly low month!  Mr. Frugal Turtle and I are planning a camping trip in September, so I reserved and paid for the site in August.  Other than that, it was a pretty straightforward boring month where I socked away any extra money to my savings account.  I love that feeling of having hundreds of dollars left over after all my bills are paid that I can just save.  This leads me to another subject…

I haven’t really talked about my job at all since I’ve started this blog, but there was a change in management recently and the environment at my employer has become scary. People, mostly upper management, are being fired or suspended for very weak reasons.  Other managers are quitting before they get fired.  They lowered the starting wage to $10 an hour whereas before, the company paid so well, people were thrilled to get hired there.  There are rumors of decreasing the amount of vacation time to save money.  This is causing everyone a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.  My job doesn’t feel safe anymore.  I’ve begun the job search, but haven’t applied anywhere yet in the hopes that once the new manager has fired everyone that he wants to, things will go back to normal.  In case that doesn’t happen and the company would go under or I would quit or get laid off, I’m very happy that I have a large emergency fund, and I would be able to take my time finding a new job that I would enjoy instead of just settling for anything.  Frugality brings choices and I have a feeling I’m just starting to experience those choices.

Now back to the regularly scheduled program!  Here are my expenses for August:

Rent $400
Netflix $8.54
Movie theater snacks $19.86
Gift Certs for grocery store and restaurants $85
Cat Food $62
Groceries $108.53
Gas $33.44
Cell Phone $38.45
Campsite $77.5
Household Items $55.91
Checking Account Fee $3.95

My total is a very low $893.18!

There is an awesome website for my area called The Value Connection that has deals on gift certificates to local businesses.  One of those local businesses is to the expensive organic co-op that I frequent.  I can buy $20 gift certificates for $16.  I also buy gift certificates for restaurants that I frequent.  It’s an awesome, easy way to save a few bucks!

The cat food that I buy for my tabby, Rus, is the organic, no fillers type.  Very expensive, but I feel it’s the best cat food for him.  He’s like family, so I do everything I can to keep him healthy and that includes buying good quality cat food.

Unfortunately, September’s expenses are looking to end up a little higher.  We’re half way through the month and I’ve already spent more this month than all of August.  I don’t expect to spend money on anything other than groceries at this point, so hopefully it’s not too terrible!

August Net Worth

I thought I should probably update the blog for August, considering August is nearing it’s end.  I can’t believe summer is almost over!  Kids in the area started school already, the temperatures definately feel more like fall than summer, and I’ve already made a pumpkin pie.  Summer went by way too fast.

On August 1st, 2015 my net worth stood at $58,229.61.  It has happily been trending upwards the entire time I’ve been keeping track.  Mostly because I continue to add to it every couple weeks when I receive my paycheck, but with the markets spiraling downward right now, I’m curious what my networth will be at come September 1st.  I’m not complaining about the markets though.  I’m not even close to retiring right now, so I want to be able to buy as many funds with my money that I can, and right now they are on sale!

Income/Expenses for July 2015

My net income for July came in at $1770.01  This is purely take home pay as I contributed $1528.8 to my 401k.  From the $1770.01 I transferred $641 to my savings account for a grand total of $2169.8 placed into savings/investments for July.  Not bad!  I do what I can with my average income, and I think I am doing alright for myself.  My expenses for July were also pretty low.  If only they could be this low every month…

Without further ado – my expenses for July 2015

Item Cost
Rent 400
Netflix 8.54
Groceries 195.10
Lunch with Mr. Frugal Turtle 18
Miscellaneous 83.35
Gas 33.75
Liquor 29.09
Cell Phone Bill 38.44
Household Items 10.34
Haircut 35.5
Checking Account Fee 3.95

Total expenses = $856.06

Mr Frugal Turtle and I were invited to take a weekend mini vacation and travel to a lakehouse cabin several hours away.  We spent the weekend with two other couples and one of the women absolutely loves to cook, so she offered to buy the food and cook all the meals for the weekend as long as we pay her our share for the food.  Hell yes!!  The food was amazing!  Well worth the $20 per person total.  This is included in the miscellaneous total along with a birthday gift for my niece.

Groceries were also pretty low considering I was the one who did all the grocery shopping for the month.  I must confess though that my parents live 10 minutes away by car and my mom has a huge, amazing garden with a lot of variety.  Whenever I go visit them in the summer I usually end up leaving with one or two reusable grocery bags filled with freshly picked from the garden produce.  I probably leave there with about $25-50 worth of organic produce once a week.  Thanks mom!

With August just about over and no real plans to spend any more money, I can look forward to another low expense monthly report for this month.

Here’s to frugal living!