Recent Divine Discussions

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Off to da A!!!

I am off to Atlanta for the weekend. I have budgeted $225 for the trip and I plan on sticking to that. I'll hit you guys up when I get back and let you know if my budget was a success or not.

Until then, have a great weekend and happy blogging!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dimple's Divine Domain

My post, My $100 grocery budget and tips for saving on your grocery bill, is included in this week's Festival of Frugality #114 hosted by No Credit Needed.

This is the first time I submitted one of my post for a festival so I am excited that I got listed. There are many great articles, I encourage you all to check them out.


If you came to my blog via the Festival and are new to DDD (Dimples' Divine Domain):


Welcome!! Come on in and make yourself at home. Don't be afraid to look around and check me out. A quick glance at the column to your right will give you a quick summary of where I am currently in my financial journey. Hope you come back again!!



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Monday, February 25, 2008

Tax Man Delivereth

My tax refund was deposited into my checking account on Friday. It was like Christmas all over again. For like half a second.....then my mind started going in overdrive on what I was going to do with the money. My refund totaled $2629.

Here is what I have done with the money so far:

  • - $500 to my Emergency Fund (bringing the total to $3555.81)
  • - $699 to pay off one of my credit cards
  • - $40 to my FCU savings
  • - $100 on me and sweet pea
    • - $20 on books
    • - $40 on movies
    • - $40 at Burlington Coat Factory

That leaves me with $1290. I was going to pay off my Discover card with that but I am holding off on that until I figure out what I am going to do about my car.
Single Ma gave me some good advice on a post I did last week on my car situation. I currently drive a 2006 Honda CRV and my monthly car note is $532. I know right!! I would like to trade in my car for something reliable yet less expensive. I am looking into two different options at the moment:

1. Sell my car privately. Pay off the difference, which should be a little under $1K. And then buy a used reliable car for under $8000.

2. Trade-in my car. Buy a used reliable car and run the possibility of coming out upside down on my loan (under $10K total).

Of course the first option is the most ideal for me. I need to call Statefarm (car loan folks) and find out what restrictions, if any, that I have when it comes to selling my car. Once I have spoken to them, then I will research the different mediums in which to sell my car through (e.g. autotrader, autohopper, newspaper). I will also need to take my car in and get it checked to make sure everything is running smoothly. Once I get my car listed, it will be the waiting game. A lot of inquiries, people coming to look at and test drive the car. Ugh! I am not looking forward to that. Anyways, if when I do sell the car (gotta be positive) I will pay off the difference of my loan balance with the remainder of my tax refund.

If this doesn't work there is always plan B (trade-in) or plan C which is to just ride out what I got now and use the remainder of my refund to pay the Discover card.

I may just go ahead and pay off my Discover card and still do plan A. I can then pay the difference off with part of my emergency fund. I dunno. I am sleepy and all this thinking is making my eye twitch.

Decisions, decisions...........










Thursday, February 21, 2008

My $100 grocery budget and tips for saving on your grocery bill


I did a post back in October on how I kept my grocery budget under $120. In that post, I had pictures of the grocery shopping I had done earlier in the day for a total of $29.76. I also listed a number of ways I keep my grocery budget so low. Today I did some grocery shopping for meat and some other misc items. Here is what I bought:




- 2 packages of chicken breasts
- 2 packages of drumsticks
- 2 whole hens
- 2 packages of chicken wings
- 1 bag of roma tomatoes
- 1 bag of onions
- 1 bag of organic baby carrots
- 2 gallons of water (not shown)
- 1 bottle of bbq sauce

Total = $24.90

One big way to save on groceries each month is to package the food you buy into servings sizes. Your serving size depends on how many people are in your family. I separate out my sizes based on how much food my daughter and I consume in one meal. Take for instance drumsticks: My daughter will eat one drumstick while I will eat two. So I package those in threes.

I know some folks are visual so here is what the groceries looked like after I cleaned and packaged them up:


I have 14 servings bags of chicken. If we ate chicken for dinner everyday, this would last us more than 2 weeks (Remember that I also bought 2 whole hens). Since sometimes we eat fish or no meat at all this will last us even longer. It might even last the whole month.

And just in case you don't feel like clicking on the link to that post from October, here is what my veggies looked like after I did my packaging thing:




I do most of my shopping at a farmer's market located across the street from my apartment complex. So the food I buy is fresh and majority are organic. So I buy organic foods and STILL stay under $100 a month. I buy other lil things like soy milk, tofu, eggs, orange juice, rice and little snacks for my daughter from Dollar General Supermarket or Walmart.

TIPS THAT CAN HELP YOU SAVE ON GROCERIES EACH MONTH:

Stop buying more food than you use.

If your food is perishable, then don't buy more than you know you will cook. It makes no sense to buy a whole gallon of milk when you know it will expire in a week and you will most likely only use no more than half of it. I purchase what I know I will use. Nothing more. The only time it really makes since to buy more than you use is on items that are on sale at a ridiculously low price and have a long shelf life. If you HAVE to buy more than you use than do the following:

Freeze what you wont use in a week

This only applies to foods that perish pretty quickly. I used to have a problem with spoiled veggies and fruits. I either never got to them fast enough or I totally forgot I had them and they would go bad. Freezing my food has helped me in that area. I just wish my freezer was larger.

Organize your food

How many times has food spoiled in your fridge because you forgot it was there. Or you went shopping and bought something only to find out that you already had it in my fridge or pantry. Organize your food and it will allow you to keep a better track of what you have in your fridge and pantry.

Freeze your leftovers

There is no rule that says that you have to eat your leftovers the very next day. Freeze them and have them next week. What do you think frozen dinners are? Food that was cooked (to a point) and then frozen. Your leftovers can be handled the same way. I made chili in my crockpot 2 weeks ago and I some last night. And it was goood!! Key to make your leftovers taste even better than before......

Leftovers + Microwave = Blah!

Microwaving leftovers removes some flavor out of them and leaves them quite bland. If your leftovers taste good then you will be more likely to eat it instead of throwing it away, therefore WASTING food and throwing out money. Use your stove top, toaster oven, or stove oven to reheat your leftovers.


Invest in a crockpot

I resort to using my crockpot before I think about going shopping. Why? You’ll be amazed by the different dishes you can make using a crockpot. They usually don’t require that many ingredients and most of those are things lying around your pantry or fridge. Just throw in some veggies, meat (or no meat), broth, and your own spices and you got a banging stew. Check out this site for crockpot recipes.

Stop being so conventional when it comes to cooking

Try new things. Use what you already have to create a dish. A meal does not always have to be a meat, veggie, and side. Think outside the box. Don't have the ground beef to make your lasagna? Then make yourself a banging veggie lasagna. Who said you absolutely NEEDED meat? Do this and you will cut back on those unnecessary trips to the grocery store that tend to add up big time.

Exhaust all options before going grocery shopping

You THINK you don't have food in your fridge? Let me come up in there and TRUST I will come up with a meal that would knock your socks off. Before professing to the world that you have no food at your house and you NEED to go shopping, exhaust all options first. Take an inventory of what you have and see if there isn't a meal in there hiding somewhere. You can also check out this
site. It is a recipe search engine that helps you find recipes based on the ingredients you already have in your fridge.


Look, saving on groceries is not rocket science but it does take some dedication. If you are not willing to invest a lil of your time then you might as well keep doing what you are doing and spending what you're spending. You don't have to do ALL the things I listed above. Just make some changes here and there and trust me you will see a difference.


Lists and Link Building Meme

I haven't done one of these in a long time. So here we go:

I got tagged by
CT Mom for this meme. You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!) It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially! I tagged 5 of you guys so check the end of this post. tee hee



The benefits of Viral Linking:
One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode
Attract large volume of new traffic to your site
Build your community
Make new friends

The Strategist Notebook ~ Link Addiction ~ Ardour of the Heart ~ When Life Becomes a Book ~ The Malaysian Life ~ Yogatta.com ~ What goes under the sun ~ Roshidan’s Cyber Station ~ Sasha says ~ Arts of Physics ~ And the legend lives ~ My View, My Life ~ A Simple Life ~ Juliana RW ~ Mom Knows Everything ~ Beth & Cory's Mom ~ A Mind Forever Voyaging~ enjoying the ride ~ Jennifer's thoughts ~ Mom of 3 Girls ~ Amanda ~ Don't Make Me Get The Flying Monkeys ~ ExPat Mom ~ Just Jessie ~ Wilson Six ~Krisitn ~ Nuttier Than You ~ Shonnte ~ Summer's Nook ~ Laura Williams Musings ~ Melissa's Idea Garden ~ Confessions of an Everyday Housewife ~ Blah Blah Blog ~ Stop the Ride! ~Soap, Blings & Girly Things ~ It's All for the Best ~ Keeping Feet ~ Junky Love in Freehand ~ Getting Out of Debt ~ Free From Broke ~ Money Matters ~ Arohan's Investing Life ~ My Investing Blog ~ Finance and Fat ~ Iowahippiechick ~ ~ Cathlawson.com ~ Making Cents Of Debt ~ DebtDiet ~ MakingMoneyJournal ~ Life Liberty & The Pursuit Of Money Mrs Micah Brightside of Debt Fiscal Musings Paid it Down and Moving Forward Phoenix from the Ashes Canadian Saver The Good Life on a Budget Last One In Line Finding Financial Peace CT Mom ~ Dimples Divine Domain



I am tagging:

High Class Low Income

Common Cents


Mrs. Nespy

No More Spending


FanDD

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Side Biz Update

I finished up the project for my church today. I delivered the database this afternoon and the client was very happy with the results. She asked for a couple extra things as we did a run-through of the database and I added them for her right there on the spot. She was able to see me in action and was quite impressed. I am real excited that I completed my first project. Even though it was pro-bono work, I learned a lot from the experience:

- I still have much more to learn about databases, especially when dealing with non-engineering related areas.

- I need to really manage my time better. Working full-time, raising a child, Treasurer of a rapidly a growing group focused on empowering and inspiring our community, managing two blogs, actively involved in my church, AND working a side business can turn ones life into chaos if not managed correctly. Because I did not adjust my schedule accordingly, this project took me a week and a half to finish when I know I could have had it done in less than 3 days.

- When I do get a handle on this business stuff, I am gonna blow this out the water. I am good. I mean I am really good at what I do. I was able to anticipate a number of features that the client would most likely want without being told. I am a quick learner and even though things were a lil rocky at the beginning, I picked up real fast and was flying through it at the end with no problems at all.

-Creating databases is just the beginning. I can't wait until I get Oracle and AutoCAD under my belt. I will be able to provide a wider range of services to my clients. A whole package deal! It is one thing to work with part of a system but the WHOLE system is just spectacular! (Oh God! I sounded so like an engineer
)


Things are definitely working out well. On Sunday, I was offered another job by my church. They want me to create a database to track the tithing of each member (for tax purposes). They offered to pay me for this database which I accepted. They should be sending the information tonight and based on what they are looking for and how much data I will be working with, I will respond back with my quote. It's my church so I won't be charging them any outrageous fee.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Deal or No Deal: Trading in for a less expensive car

I was posed a very good question by Millionaire Mommy on my new budget post:

"I have to ask, have you considered reducing your car payments by driving a less expensive make/model? Or is your life energy (time price tag) a good fit for you in this category?"


I never considered getting another car. I thought the only way I could reduce my car note was by refinancing my loan to get a lower interest rate and hence a lower car payment. I seriously never even thought about getting another car.

I really would like to look into this. Especially if it means of having my $532 car note cut in half or more. I know so much more than I did when I purchased my car in December 2005. Back then I had just graduated from college and landed a good job and my only concern was to get a nice, reliable car.

I see roadblocks though:

1. I may wind up upside down on my new loan. The Kelly Blue Book trade-in-value of my 2006 Honda CR-V is $15,500 yet I owe $19,157. I could sell my car privately. It's private party value is $18,270. I would still be about $1000 short. Either way, I won't be coming out on top.

2. I love my car. I love the way it is made, the wonderful gas mileage, the feel of it. It is perfect for my lil family. It is big enough to carry the extra stuff we lug around but small enough to easily maneuver through the craziness that is Orlando traffic. I have been searching the net for different types of cars that fit the bill but none are coming close in regards to gas mileage. That is a major factor for me. I don't want to save on my monthly payment just to turn around and spend excessively more on gas.

I am going to check out some dealerships this week to see what offers I get once I figure out what car will suit my needs and wants. I'll make a decision once I know what to expect.

Until then I am open to suggestions, tricks, or tips that may help me out.

Thanks

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Crockpot Recipe of the Week - Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped organic baby carrots (organic is optional) = $.75

2 cups of chopped celery = $.50

2 cups of chopped sausage (whateva kind you feel like) = $.90

2 cup chopped okra = $.98

1 cups of shrimp = $1.64

1 chopped vine ripe tomato = $.33

1 cup chopped onion = $.10

2 cans of chicken broth = $1 ($.50 a piece)

4 tbsp flour mixed with 1/2 of water

Spices = pepper, salt, red pepper, chicken bouillon


TOTAL COST = $5.20 (approximate)


Prep Time = 15 min

Cook Time = 8 - 10 hours on low or 4 - 5 hours on high (all depends on you)



Directions:

Turn on crockpot on desired setting. Add everything to the crockpot. Season. Cover and let it cook.

Recipe online




The online recipe calls for a roux to add to the gumbo. I decided to not make that because I didn't want my gumbo too thick. I just added the flour mix. You do whatever fits your fancy. You can also serve this with rice.

It was good and hearty. I have a lot of this left. I packaged up some of the broth. It makes an excellent sauce when making stewed chicken. I froze the rest. I'll probably have it again on Sunday. I'll add the roux then and have it with rice.




*Edit

I mixed up the shrimp and okra sizes. It is ONE cup of shrimp and TWO cups of okra.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I made the Top 50 Business Plan Posts: 2008

YAY!!!


Yours truly made the list of the Top 50 Business Plan Posts of 2008 @ EvanCarmichael.com. Here is an excerpt from the site:


"Looking to write a business plan for your startup idea? Trying to revamp your current business plan to help bring you more money? Look no further than our list of the Top 50 Business Plan Posts of the Year.

We've searched through millions of blogs to find the best individual posts that deal with writing a business plan over the past year. Some are by well known bloggers while others are new upstarts but, either way, you are sure to get valuable information on how to kick your business plan into high gear this year! Enjoy!"


My post, Steps To Becoming My Own Boss, came in at #27. I received an email from Evan Carmichael himself letting me know the good news. I am so excited. This is definitely a sign that I am going in the right direction with my plan. For all who do not know who Evan Carmichael is, read about him here. If your thinking about pursuing your own entrepreneurship dreams then I definitely recommend his site which has numerous resources and information.


Gotta see it to believe it??

Are you one of those folks that need to see it to believe it?


Well if you are and you were skeptical about Revolutionary Money Exchange, here is proof that they're bonus offer is legit:



I joined them on 2/3/08. I received my bonus money the same day. And after I verified my checking account, I transfered the $25. That posted to my checking account today. I also have a $10 bonus, from a referral, that I transfered to my account today (Thanks to whoever that was!!). That money should show up in my account by Friday.

In other "Side Hustle" news, one of my items sold off eBay yesterday. I made $10. Not much but a whole lot better than zero.


It is only 13 days into the month and I have already made $188.04.


Shawty is a TEN!!!!!

LMAO

Monday, February 11, 2008

Debt vs. Savings

I have been really contemplating putting majority of my refund ($2000) into my emergency fund. That would bring my balance a little over $5K.

I would then use about $500 to pay down my credit card debt and then use the remaining $129 for myself.

It is just a thought I am entertaining at the moment.

I know I should probably use all the refund to bring down my debt.

I have two weeks to make a decision.


Question for my readers: Debt first or savings?

Don't limit your answer to my current situation. For anyone dealing with debt, how do you prioritize between becoming debt free and building a sound safety net (i.e. Emergency Fund)? Especially when you have children?

Sandisk Sansa 1GB MP3 Player with FM Tuner for $9.99

Woot.com is currently selling a Sandisk Sansa M240 1GB MP3 Player with FM Tuner for $9.99 with $5 shipping. Please note that the mp3 player is a refurb.It would make a good emergency FM radio for a disaster kit.





(image credit: woot.com)


Single Ma did a post last week on emergency planning. She asked her readers if they were prepared for an emergency. I thought I was prepared. I mean I am of course a Floridian and I have been through many hurricanes. I have had my own hurricane/emergency kit since I came to Orlando for college. My kit consisted of batteries, a number of flashlights, cans of food, can opener, an first-aid kit I purchased from a store, lighters, scissors, $10 in cash (all ones) and a pen (with no paper...lol). But after reading her posts and checking out the resources she gave and what they suggested for an emergency kit, I realized that I was way off.

So I took some time out yesterday to go through my kit again and check it against Red Cross' Emergency kit list. I already have an extra mp3 player that I don't use that much so I added it in my kit. I am going to pick some things up today at the dollar store (poncho, regional map, whistle). I'll exchange out the $10 in ones for $10 in quarters. Many of the items on the list is stuff you can find in your home (or at least I found in mine) or create yourself:

  • -notepad
  • -list of phone number
  • -space blanket (I just used a spare blanket I had)
  • -one change of clothing for me and sweet pea (including socks and underwear)
  • -toiletries (mini deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, soap)
  • -plastic spoons
  • -deck of cards
  • -copies of important documents (e.g. license, birth certificate, SS card, passport)
  • -safety pins
  • -rubbing alcohol
  • -peroxide
I currently keep all my emergency items in a storage box. Unfortunately that box is starting to overflow with the amount of new stuff I am adding to it. And since both lists only refer to a waist pouch (how can you have ALL those things in a tiny pouch) or a backpack, I am obviously using the wrong thing. Luckily I have an extra back from my college days that I will be transferring everything to. I am feeling more confident that I will be closer to being prepared for this hurricane season. I don't think you can ever be 100% prepared but you can get real close.


ARE YOU PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY?



Resources:

Red Cross Emergency Kit List

SFF.net Emergency Kit Lists

Friday, February 8, 2008

I did my own taxes

Yeah. I went and did that joker myself.

This week has been a busy week and next week will be even busier. I wasn't going to be able to see the accountant I mentioned on this post for another 2 weeks. I already had my information inputted into TaxAct so I went ahead and finished it off. I wish I would have used the deluxe version. I had a refund of about $1442 right before it ran the alerts. After it was done and I answered the questions it popped, up my refund had sky-rocketed to $2629. I used itemized deductions this year instead of the standard (I should have done the same last year) and there were some deductions that I could take that I wasn't aware of (state sales tax, tithes, donations). Applying those deductions allowed me to qualify for the child tax credit, which it wasn't giving me before. I got the full $1000, hence the large jump.

I started the return last night around 10 pm. I didn't wind up finishing it until 1 am (I kept nodding off....lol). Anyways, based on the IRS refund cycle, if I had submitted my return last night I would have received my refund next Friday, the 15th. But since it went through today, I should get it on the 22nd. Oh well. One week ain't gonna kill me.

I'll do a post later on what I plan to do with my return.

I love tax time!!!!

Yall have an awesome day!!


Resources:

TaxAlmanac

Fairmark

IRS Free File


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Crockpot Recipe of the week - Dimples' Style Chili

Ingredients:

2 packages frozen ground turkey (equals about one package unfrozen) = $2 ($1 a piece)

1 red pepper = $.75


2 cans kidney beans = $1.10
($.55 a can)

1 onion = $.15
(1 bag of onions@ $1.50 a bag. About 10 onions a bag)

3 roma tomatoes = $.54
($1.25 a pound. 7 good sized tomatoes make a pound. Can substitute a can of tomatoes for about the same price)

Spices = $.10
(yeah......guesstimate. Sorry, don't have time to calculate that mess)

1 package cornbread mix= $.25 optional



TOTAL COST: $4.89


Prep Time = 15 min


Cook Time = 8 - 9 hours on low or 5 - 6 hours on high (all depends on you)



Directions:


Turn on crockpot on low setting. Add kidney beans. Dice up tomatoes, onion, and red pepper. Add to crockpot. Season and brown turkey in skillet. Add turkey to crockpot. Add more spices. Cover. Keep yourself busy for 8 - 9 hours. (Some people go to work. Others run errands and handle their business. I mean you can look at the crockpot for as long as you want but that may be a lil weird)

When chili is ready make cornbread. That gives it time to cool down a bit.


Results:



It was good!!! My baby ate 2 bowls.

I have a lot of chili left (Remember, I am measuring by a two person household. Actually 1.5 person...LOL). I packaged up the remaining chili into 3 tupperware bowls. Taking one to work tomorrow for lunch and the other 2 are in the freezer. I took a pic:


Here are some things that help me keep my grocery bill under $120 every month (Normally it is under a $100 except for the months with cooking holidays):

Freezing your food is a great way to stretch it out. And what is even better is that if I am ready to have the chili again, I can reheat it with my crockpot. All I would do it sit the tupperware bowl in some hot water for about 5 minutes to loosen up the food at the bottom. Then I would dump the chili into the crockpot, add a lil bit of water, and let it ride. Comes out just as good as before, sometimes even better.

When you think you have no food in your fridge or pantry and are contemplating going grocery shopping, check out this site first. It is a recipe search engine that helps you find recipes based on the ingredients you already have in your fridge. All you have to do is type in what you have in the search box and hit search. It pops a list of online recipes for you.


I will try and post a crockpot recipe and tips on how to save on your grocery bill once a week. In the meanwhile, if you want to go and find your own crockpot recipe then check out this site.


*EDIT

My daughter is the one who made the cornbread. All by herself. She wanted me to let you guys know that. LOL

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I did it!

A speaker system I had on Amazon just sold this afternoon. Net earnings = $71.04.

This takes care of the $52.07 I needed to reach my goal for my trip to Atlanta in 3 weeks. I am so amazed by the amount of money I have been bringing in on the side. The past couple of weeks have been really good. I still have a number of items listed on Amazon and eBay. I am contemplating on what I am going to do with that money once it comes in. For the time being I will let it sit in my Misc account.

I am going to the A yall!!!!!!!

Anyone have suggestions of some places I should hit up?

Monday, February 4, 2008

My 1st Trip to Another State

On February 29th I will be heading out on my first trip to another state. The furthest north I have gotten is Pensacola, Florida. I have been to two islands in the Caribbean. But this will be my first time in another state. And I am sooo psyched!!

My girls and I are going to Atlanta to see Steve Harvey and Monique. Even though I am extra excited about taking this trip I really don't want to spend any of my budgeted money on this trip. And if you noticed, I haven't taken this trip into account on my February budget. So I put my hustle hat on and have been working on making some extra chedda to spend on this trip.


Here is the estimated cost of the trip:


Tickets: $48

Gas: $45

Hotel: $52

Spending money: $80

TOTAL: $225


Here is what I have collected so far:


Text-Link Ads: $11.28

Ebates: $16.65 (paying out to my paypal on the 15th)

Amazon sale: $72

eBay sale: $40

Revolutionary Money Exchange: $25

American Consumer Opinions: $8

TOTAL: 172.93


Only $52.07 to go!!!! I listed a few things on Amazon this past weekend and I will be putting some stuff on eBay and Craigs List this upcoming weekend. I'll keep you guys updated on my progress.


[image credit: dancedresser.net]

My new budget

Yeah I know......this is like my 20th budget revision but whatev. There probably will be 20 more.

I posted my January budget
results this weekend. Things got a lil shaky this past month. Some comments left by my loyal readers rang true and I decided to take another glance at my budget and see if I could beat shape my budget into submission. I was fortunate to have found this fascinating woman's blog via Single Ma and was reading through her Baby Steps to Financial Freedom posts and came upon her 13th step: Crafting A Budget That Fits Your Needs (I definitely suggest reading her post if you are looking into redefining your budget). I went back and analyzed my budget results for the past 3 months. I identified my weaknesses and my strengths. I created a list of my needs, wants, and values. I prioritized them and then created a budget that fit my family.

Just so that you all can get a gist of the changes I made, here is my original budget that I intended to use for February:


And introducing my new and improved budget:


I have added some new categories:

Dining Out: This used to be tracked in my Misc budget. We don't eat out that much and when we do, I buy one meal and split it with her (The meals are large enough for us to eat and still have left overs to take home).

Home Phone: Was being automatically debited from one of credit cards. I will now pay the bill using one of my checking accounts.

Maintenance (Car): I have been trying to incorporate this somehow into my budget. Well it finally made it.

Beauty: One of my 2008 goals is to get my sexy on so this is definitely place to start.

Medical: I am trying to get my health on the right track also. I know I will have at least one doctors appointment a month for the next few months. My copay is $15.

Households goods: This includes toiletries, cleaners, and other necessities. I shop at my local dollar store, hence the low budget.

Allowances: I give my daughter a $3 a week allowance. I am also going to give myself a $10 a week cash allowance. I know it seems small but this is for the little things here and there that I may pick up. And plus I am trying to discipline myself against spending frivolously. With everything being accounted for, $10 cash a week ($40 a month) is not so bad.



With my previous budget, I attempted to squeeze as much as I could out of the flexible categories and add it to my cc debt snowball payment. This resulted in me spending way more than I had budgeted. With this new budget, I have allotted for my needs and wants.
If I max out each budget category, I will have $216 left over to apply to my credit card debt. Of course, I will spend only what I need to spend and anything left over on top of the $216 will be used to pay off my credit card debt.

In 4 weeks we will see how this new budget works out.

What do you think about my new budget?


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Wanna earn some extra money?



ING Direct


Being that it is tax time and some of you fortunate folks will be receiving a tax refund in the next month or two, I have included ING Direct referral links on the top left column of my blog. Currently there are two links for opening a savings account and another two links for opening a checking account. Just click on the link of your choice, follow the steps, and open an account with at least $250. You will receive a $25 opening bonus and I will get $10 for the referral. Each link can only be used once and the ones posted on my blog expire on February 20. If you wind up selecting a used link just email me at dimplesdivine at gmail dot com and I will update my blog with new referral links.


Ebates


Ebates is offering a $10 sign-up bonus. With Ebates you can earn cash back on your purchase at your favorite online store just by shopping via Ebates portal. You must make a qualifying purchase between January 20 and February 14 in order to receive the bonus. This offer of expires on February 14.

Revolutionary Money Exchange

Very similar to Paypal, Revolutionary Money Exchange (RME) allows you to send, request, and receive money from RME account holders for free. Register, send money, receive money, and transfer money to your linked checking account for free. Sign up is simple, secure, and fast.

For a limited time, you can get a $25 bonus by emailing me for a referral. Once registered, you can refer all your friends and family members and make up to $500. I signed up today and received my $25 instantly. I included a print screen as proof:


This offer expires on 2/29/08.


$60 of free money only a few clicks and sign-ups away. Gone and get ya hustle on and if I find anything other opportunities for you to make free money I will be sure to post them on here.



Credit Score Update

Looks like paying more than the minimum on my credit cards is definitely paying itself off. My credit score shot up this month.

January 08 Credit Score

Transunion: 663

Experian: 660

Equifax: 617



December 07 Credit Scores

Transunion: 632

Experian: 627

Equifax: 601


I also closed one of my credit cards in December. That posted to all three of my credit reports and it doesn't look like it had the negative effect to my credit scores as I once thought. My goal is to reach a credit score of 700 by June of this year. Though it seems that I can easily achieve that goal with the first two credit reporting agencies, Equifax is up in the air. Unfortunately, I have one collection from 2002 still showing with them while the same collection account has fallen off of my Transunion and Experian reports. The collection is due to come off my Equifax credit report next year and I can't wait.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

End of the Month Report - January 08

BUDGET RESULTS


January turned out to be one crazy month. I went over my entire budget by $29.27. Luckily I have overdraft protection and the money was pulled out of my savings account. I forgot all about my insurance bill that is automatically debited from my account on the 28th of the month. My overage was also offset by the $262 in extra income I brought in. Makes me wonder: Did I overspend because I had the extra income or was I just lucky?

Income: I brought in an extra $262.52 via a combination of income from my blog, Pinecone Research and sales off of Amazon and eBay. That extra money definitely saved my behind.

Miscellaneous:
This category has been labeled as DDD's baddest budget buster and I do believe that I broke the record this month. I was over budget by $312.62!!!
There were a number of things, unforeseen and foreseen, that came up:
  • - Car registration renewal: $36.10
  • - Doctor appointment co-pay: $15
  • - Prescription: $15
  • - Cold medicine: $20
  • - Souvenirs from birthday celebration: $50
  • - Money to sister for computer: $60
  • - New hair dryer: $50
Just those alone added up to $246.

Gas: I went over on gas by $68.91. We had quite a number of major projects that came in this month. Of course I was given the responsibility of overseeing them and this required me to work at the client's office instead of from home. I met all my deadlines and have two left that I am going to get done this upcoming week. After that I picked up some cost analysis projects that I can work from home.

Rent & Utilities:
I was over budget by $26.19. In December I winded up changing my cell phone bill's due date from the beginning of the month to the middle of the month. I winded up paying a month and half on my January bill.

Groceries: I went over in this category by $63.67. My team had been working so hard this past month so I decided to buy them all lunch and bring it to our end of the month meeting this past Wednesday. Fortunately I get reimbursed for all that. I turned in the needed information in on Friday and should get a direct deposit sometime next week. So in reality I came under budget by $8.33.

Car Note & Insurance:
Over by $3.53. I miscalculated my exact monthly payment. I am still debating on if I should increase my deductible and receive the $10 decrease in my monthly paypment.

Daughter's School:
Under budget by $105.20. No school the first week of January so no tuition due. Again, something I totally did not take into account when I did my January budget.

CC Debt: I winded up paying about two to six times the minimum payments on my credit cards.


NET WORTH



My net worth decreased by $675 dollars. The two culprits were my 401K due to the stock market craziness and I adjusted my car's retail value by $785. Aside from those two, everything is looking pretty good. I currently have a goal of reaching a net worth of $1 by January of 2009. That means somehow eliminating $28,702 in 12 11 months.

Not sure if I can really do it but I will definitely have fun trying to. If I am able to meet my goal by January 1, 2009 I plan on giving myself a very very nice reward.

Hope you guys are there for the ride.

Powerful




I'll let this video speak for itself.