Recent Divine Discussions

Monday, December 29, 2008

Its my Bday and I'll shop if I want to........

........well kind of. LOL!

My birthday is this Saturday. I will be *cough* 27.


Damn I'm getting old.


Anyhoo. Thanks to some very nice sales and some extra moola, I was able to splurge a lil something-something on myself.


Here is what I have bought....so far:



HP All-In-One Printer -> $42.74

Bought this beauty from Buy.com. It was on sale for $45 and I used a 5% off link. Free budget shipping. Definitely needed this since I plan on picking up some major side gigs in 09 will also be working on helping Sweet Pea start her very own business.


Lane Bryant had a wonderful sale on bras (B2G2) and panties (5/$25). I found a $25 off $75 coupon code on the net and placed an order for 4 new bras, 5 boy shorts (my favs) and a couple of cute earrings for a grand total of $60.92 (including $7 shipping).

I received a $10 birthday gift certificate from Old Navy. I also had a $10 reward certificate from a month or so back. After both were applied my total was only $10.70. Here is what I bought:


Black Strap Heels -> $10


Brown/Purple Pumps
-> $10



Cute Blue Top
-> $10




Still got more shopping to do:

Macys sent me a $15 gift certificate for my birthday (I luv them!). I plan on hitting up there New Years Day sale (cuz you know there will be one) and copping myself a cute purse.......or a new toaster oven. As long as I dont go over $20.

Amazon has some cute Kenneth Cole Reaction and Steve Madden shoes on sale. The prices range between $20 and $27 bucks. But a couple of folks on a slickdeals.net forum said there was a good chance that those prices would drop to around $13/$14 bucks in the next couple of weeks. So I will wait and see for now. Plus I need 100 more points on MyPoints to get cash out for a $25 Amazon e-certificate. As soon as either one of those happen (hopefully both) I am snatching up these fabulous heels:


Currently $24

Currently $27


Currently $20

*sigh*


I can't wait. Can yall tell I love shoes??? If yall could only see my purse collection.

Thats it for now........I think.

So far I've spent around $113 on myself. Not bad. I brought in $400 of extra money in this month and designated a $100 of that for myself. I will go over my designated amount but oh well. Its my birthday and I'll shop if I want to!!!! LOL!

I still have my $50 Spa Finder gift certificate that I received from cashing out my AmEx points in August. I'll use that on Thursday but I am debating between a facial or a massage. Or maybe I'll just do a body wrap.

Gotta go plan some birthday festivities for Thursday and this weekend.

Ciao!



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Xmas Shopping - Done!!

Finally.

Its times like these that I LUV free shipping. Majority of my purchases were made just this way.

Here is how my budget turned out:

Person

Gift

Budget

Actual

Mom

Cell Phone

$30

$30

Sweet Pea

Bike

$25

$35

Sister L

$25 Target Gift Card

$25

$10

Sister E

Cookware Set (stainless)

$25

$25

Niece

Clothes

$20

$15

Brother

Jordan Hydro IV Slides

$25

$25

Godson J

Crayola drawing set & mini football

$10

$7

BF K

Book

$0

$2

BF's son N

Personalized duffel bag & football

$10

$14

BF's son J-R

Clothes

$5

$7

Adopt-A-Child

Everything on each child's wish list (8)

$125

$124

TOTAL

$300

$294



Mom: My mom's cellphone is about 3 years old and isn't going to make it to see 09. I checked out Craig's List and found a dealer who was selling Metro PCS phones for practically nothing. The phone, a Samsung flip phone, is brand new. Nothing extravagant. My mom is a simple woman.

Sweet Pea: I was set on buying her some arts and craft stuff but after seeing her light up when she saw some bikes at a store we were in a month ago, I changed my mind. I got her a Huffy Sea Star bike from Walmart. The bike was originally $44.88. I had a $10 gift card that received from cashing out some of my points @ MyPoints. I did site-to-store as my delivery option which was free. Final cost = $35.

Sister L: I already had a $10 gift card from cashing out some of my points @ MyPoints. I then purchased a $15 gift card on eBay for only $10. The seller offered free shipping.

Sister E: I purchased my sis E a 12-piece Tools of the Trade Stainless Steel cookware set from Macys. The set was on sale for $34.99. I had a $10 off $25 coupon.

Niece: I got my munchkin 2 beautiful dresses, a Baby Phat onesie set, and some cute booties during one of Macys fabulous sales. I did my shopping from the comfort of my apt. The total came up to a lil under $25 and I had a $10 off $25 coupon code. I am a platinum card member so the $5.95 I paid in shipping was refunded back to my credit card (I get up to $60 worth of free shipping during the year as one of the perks of being a platinum card carrier).

Bro: He was a very hard one to shop for. I finally decided on getting him some new slides since he wears the ones he has 24/7 and was due for some new ones. He loves Jordans so I chose to get him the Jordan Hydro IV Slides. I found them on Footlocker for $34.99. I used their 30% coupon during their friends and family sale. Final cost = $25.

Godson J: I got him this huge crayola drawing set that included washable markers and crayons from Dollar General for $6. I also got him a mini football to match the one his big brother is getting.

BF K: She got a book: You: The Owner's Manual. For $2. And since she reads my blog: Merry Christmas chica!!!

BF's son N: A personalized duffel bag (football) with his name on it. Ordered it from Walmart.com. Also got him a junior size football.

BF's son J-R: I got him the cutest onesies with the cutest sayings. They were $2 a piece.

Adopt-A-Child: With the help of Walmart.com $1 clearance on clothes, savvy shopping, coupons, and pure determination, I was able to get almost everything on each child's wish list. Fortunately our department collected a lot more money than they needed and offered to purchase tricyles for the 3 kids on my list who wanted them. They only were $20 each at Walmart but it still helped. So if it was not for that I would have been way over my budget or some kiddies would have been outta luck (JK...I would have dropped the $60 on those bikes in a heartbeat). Our company was able to take care of each of the 300+ kids on our list.


Of course through all this shopping I couldn't help but buy myself some goodies. I told my fam that I wanted nothing for Xmas and would rather them use that money for my mom or for them to sponsor some kids. So I deserved to splurge just a tiny bit on myself. I'll do a post on what I bought later.



Friday, December 19, 2008

Meet the family who live on $44K a year - Debt-free

Uh yes....you heard right.

This family of 7 lives on $44K/year. I know SINGLE Americans with no kids who can't won't live on that. Oh and get this....their last name is Economides.



Here is the article:

Meet the family who live on $44K a year — debt-free

The Economides clan of Arizona reveal how to recession-proof your finances


By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
updated 10:26 a.m. ET, Thurs., Dec. 18, 2008
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/28295159/from/ET/

They’ve been called cheapskates, tightwads, misers, and just plain weird. But names that others would consider derogatory are embraced as badges of honor by Steve and Annette Economides.

The couple and their five children bill themselves as “The Cheapest Family in America” and “The Frugals.” On Thursday they showed TODAY viewers how they, too, can have everything they need and live debt-free in an expansive home in one of America’s tonier neighborhoods — on less than $45,000 a year.

“The economy is in a tailspin, and we’re just perfectly fine,” Annette Economides told TODAY’s Ann Curry in New York, adding, “I am the Warren Buffett of groceries.”

Rummaging the racks
Annette was joined in the studio by her husband, Steve, and three of their five children: Abbey, Joseph and Becky. Before talking with Curry, the five Economides watched a video of themselves doing their Christmas shopping in stores that specialize in bargains near their Scottsdale, Ariz., home.

Annette rummaged through racks of clothing marked down to the bare minimum for clearance. She inspected tchotchkes, remarking on the prices. Elsewhere in the store, Steve was looking through sporting goods, his face lighting up when he found a Nike volleyball for $2.50 — a perfect gift for Abbey.

At the checkout counter, Annette paid with cash. “Twelve items for $17.15,” she said proudly. The family’s total Christmas shopping bill this year was $90 for 27 gifts.

Their Christmas decorating budget was one dollar.

$8 jeans, $10 tux
Some kids, especially kids in their teens or 20s, might be embarrassed at such frugality, but Joseph, Becky and Abbey heartily approve of their parents’ respect for money and volunteered stories about their own bargain hunting.

Becky said she favors Lucky jeans, which average around $120 in retail stores. “I found a pair of Lucky jeans for eight dollars,” she said.

Not to be outdone, Abbey jumped into the conversation. “For me, eight bucks is expensive,” she said. “I have American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi Strauss.”

“I was going to tell you about my new custom tux,” Joseph piped up. “Ten bucks.”

“They realize what life is about,” Abbey said of her parents. “It’s not consumerism. It’s not ‘How much does that stuff cost?’ It’s ‘Do I want it? Do I need it?’ ”

Steve compared the family’s outlook to the way Americans approached life in the days of “Little House on the Prairie.” “You learn to appreciate life and people more than you appreciate stuff,” he said. “You’ve got to focus on changing the perspective. It’s not always new, it’s not always expensive that says love.”

Budgeting for fun and profit
Steve and Annette Economides weren’t born to be cheap. Both have said that they were typical American kids who never thought about budgeting. But before they married 26 years ago, they took a financial planning course and decided to give budgeting a try.

“It started out as a game, and then became fun to play,” said Annette.

Breaking down their budget to 19 categories, they paid off their first house in nine years on an average income of $33,000 a year. Their second home, which they estimate to be worth more than $700,000, was purchased for more than $200,000 and is almost paid off.

They plan every meal before going to the grocery store, building their menu around specials and coupons. The monthly bill to feed a family of seven is $350.

They don’t buy on credit. They buy late-model used cars with cash. They also budget cash reserves for auto and home repairs so they never have to dip into reserves.

Today, the couple works from home, running their Web site, homeeconomiser.com, and traveling to spread the gospel of frugality to others. They also have a book, “America’s Cheapest Family,” that spent time on the New York Times best-seller list. Their average income over the past 26 years is $44,000.

Before they left, Becky told Curry about her latest purchase, a late-model Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

“I’m saving five years for a truck,” she said. “I bought it for $11,500.”

She paid in cash.



Monday, December 8, 2008

December 08 Budget

DECEMBER 08 BUDGET




INCOME

HR fixed my W-2 error which was costing me about $100 per paycheck. I'll get the overage back via my tax refund.


AUTO

I am finally going to get some tints on my car. I have been meaning to get them for the past two years and never had the time or money (or both).

My gas budget ia at $200 but I hope I spend way less than that.



FOOD

*cough* @ that "Dining Out" budget. You would have thought that I would have learned my lesson by now. But I can't surrender the white flag just yet. I

Went grocery shopping and used COUPONS! Three of those jokers helped me save $5. I printed the coupons from online. I am going to sign up with some coupon sites and also look into signing up to get the Sunday paper or just buying one here and there.


DEBT

Just paying a minimum and a half on them and see if I can do some damage with the money I have left after everything is paid.

My student loan monthly payment went up to $157.10. Not quite sure why. Gonna call them this week and found out.



MISC

I budgeted $175 for beauty this month. I am going to get my hair done (micros). It is usually about $40 for the hair and $75 for the service. I also need to restock on some of my hair and skin products.

Even though I don't have any plans to go to the doctor this month, I budgeted $30 just in case.

Budgeted $300 for Xmas gifts.



XTRA INCOME

It is only the 8th of the month and I have already brought in $350 in extra income. $300 of it went to my Xmas budget. The $50 will go to birthday expenses.

Friday, December 5, 2008

November Budget Results

*cough*

My November Budget Results:




Income: I had $93.99 left over from last month. I brought in an extra $352.21 that consisted of blog income and my 401K distribution from my past employer. I missed my income goal $200. The HR department has had their share of errors since the contract started. They some how entered my W-4 information incorrectly and I was getting taxed at a higher rate then I should have. They fixed it on the paycheck I received yesterday.

Rent & Utilities
:
My water bill was higher than expected. Everything else was ok.

Auto: I only spent $152.18 of my gas budget. $152 on gas!!!! Aren't recessions supposed to be a sad time? Why can't we have a great economy and low gas prices?

Food
:
I went over my grocery budget by $117.89. But I have several good reasons why. $60 went to groceries for Thanksgiving dinner when I went to my parents for the holiday. $20 went to rolls I had assigned to bring for the Thanksgiving luncheon we had at work. And $21 went to buy groceries for a dish I brought to a potluck I went to. So essentially I only went over my budget by about $17. I also went way over my dining out budget. I took my brother and his friend to dinner ($75). I sponsored several other dinners with friends and/or family.

Debt: I made regular payments and paid down a credit card. Just two more to go.

Misc:
I went over every budget in this category except for daycare and savings. *smh* I gave my mom $300. My allowance overage included winter clothes I purchased for myself and sweet pea. And obviously the overages in those categories had to come from somewhere. Hence my pitiful $81.73 to savings instead of the budgeted $266.


What you saw above is similar to what has been going on the past few months. I obviously gotta pull on the purse strings and stop the unnecessary spending in some areas or at least budget for them.

I think I'll hold off on tracking my net worth for the time being. I'll start it back up later down the road. I just want to focus on my debt, house, and career at the moment.

I'll post my December budget in a few.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

$10 off $25 Macys Coupon for this Fri & Sat

Here is a printable $10 off $25 coupon from Macy's for this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5th and 6th. Coupon is good until 1 pm on both days.




Have fun shopping and keep to those budgets!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Xmas Budget

I mentioned my initial goal of $35o for Holiday gift shopping in a post I did in October. Well I reached my goal last week but winded up using giving $300 of it to my mom. Long story short, my mom is the only one paying the bills right now (mind you both of my parents work) and I wanted to help her out.

Anyways as of this moment, I currently have $50 in my Xmas gift fund account.
After redoing my list, I have set my budget to $300.

Xmas List

1. Daughter - $25


2. Niece = $20


3. Mom = $30


4. Sis #1 = $25


5. Sis #2 = $25


6. Bro = $25


7. Adopt-A-Child (8 kids) = $125


8. My Bestie's 3 boys


N = $10

J = $10

J = $5



TOTAL = $300



Thanks to the Xmas goodies I purchased on sale last year and saving all my decorations and tree, I really had nothing to buy for decorations this year. :-) Definitely keeping that a tradition. My daughter and I had a great time opening up the boxes of stuff.

Thanks to a little inspiration, I am focusing more on giving to those who are in need this Holiday season. I am now in a position financially where I can give without it hurting my pockets. I don't believe that Christmas is about how much gifts you are able to give/get or how much money you drop on gifts. Its about spending time with your loved ones and being grateful for what you do have. If you can't afford to buy gifts this year, don't fret about it. Remember what that you DO have is time. So make it a memorable one.

This holiday season I've learned that there is so much to be grateful for. So much more than just gifts. I dislike terms such as "Can't afford Christmas". Christmas isn't to be bought. It is to be celebrated. Cherished. Remembered.


Do you remember everything you got for Christmas when you were little? The only one I really remember is my 1st bike and that it is mainly because my dad taught me how to ride it that day. What I do remember is picking Xmas trees with my dad, or helping my mom bake a cake, playing hide and go seek in our apartment complex with 20 other kids, or going to the beach (I live in Florida). I couldn't tell you what gifts I got those years. Just goes to show you its not about the money, its about the memories.


If you teach your kids to measure Christmas by the number of gifts under the tree, don't be surprised when they react as such when your not able to deliver.