Archive for the ‘Monday Wrap-Up’ Category

Last week I took a break from blogging. Nothing major was going on — I just felt little inspiration to write anything. I also wasn’t participating in my daily reading of other sites (see links on the right to most I check out often).

I also have a stack of receipts piling up on my desk that need to get incorporated into my budget for the month. Don’t get me wrong — I didn’t go on some wild and crazy spending spree. But I did avoid the grocery store and opted to eat out a bit too much last week. Time to tally that up and get back on track for the balance of the month.

So — no goals were made or worked towards last week. But onward and upward.

This week’s goals:

  • Blog every day — not just to ramble on, but to continue to use this blog as a place to keep myself accountable. I’m just setting this one goal but I think it may pay off in a few different ways for me. I’ve got many starts to saved posts on different topics, too, so some of the work is done. 

Happy Monday!

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From a work perspective, I’ve never experienced a week like this one before. A roller coaster of work, emotion, feeling overwhelmed, feeling empowered. End result: going in to today I have a much larger staff and scope of responsibility.

I haven’t blogged as much as I’d like but I’m still here, still have many post ideas, and will continue to do my best to get them articulated.

In the meantime, let’s look at last week’s goals and see how I did.

  • Yard Sale – I got my items in order only for it to rain on Saturday and my dad’s POA postponed the sale! But the work is done and my stuff will be out for sale next Saturday. Check out my tips for a great yard sale that I’ve learned over the years.
  • Income tax return — honestly, it was pretty much a wash and my return was insignificant. I splurged and bought a new office chair from Office Depot (for about 50% on sale and with a coupon) and some cheap fishing gear.
  • Budget — I began my budget in an Excel workbook. Not the most robust, but something to work with this month. I’m not thrilled with Microsoft Money, honestly, and want to check out some of the 8 Free Personal Finance Management Programs that Consumerist, and their commenters, discuss to see if I can find one that’s a good fit for me.

It’s a new month and a new week. In my mind, the last couple of weeks have just been a warm-up for my serious effort of debt reduction. Had to loosen the muscles up, do a few calisthenics, stretch this one or that. Now it’s time to start the steady workout.

Goals for this week:

  • Explore personal finance software packages
  • Decide which method of debt reduction makes the most sense for “me” (i.e. for readers of other personal finance blogs and books, snowball versus high interest rate methods of prioritizing which accounts to pay down, which I’ll be discussing later in the week)
  • Have some fun! If this week is going to be anything like last week, I need to make sure to build in fun and leave the workday behind me.

Well, my coffee is getting cold and it’s about time to get ready for work. Time to take on a new week!

Last week was interesting. In a very short time, my life at work has changed — I’ve become much busier and engaged in our business. Exciting, but tiring, too.

As far as my personal goals here is what I accomplished:

  • Complete calls to credit card companies — Ok, I only made one but was successful in lowering that APR to 14.99. Big difference. I have a few more calls to make this week.
  • Download statements and begin to work with Microsoft Money – I tried it out, and honestly, I realized that I didn’t want to spend that much time with this program. Instead, I began a simple Excel spreadsheet to let me track income and my expenses for the month. I put down a sample budget that I’m sure I’ll be editing over the next few months as I used it more. I’m happy to now have a framework and April will be the first month I’ve ever budgeted, well, anything on paper.
  • Finish taxes — Done! More on what I’ll be doing with my return later in the week.

Some other things that happened this week as far as how I spent money. A couple of days last week I had to work through lunch. I live very close to work so I almost always come home to eat. Instead I ate at Quiznos. Not terrible on the finances, but I was unprepared.

Also, I finally returned about $100 worth of clothes I didn’t like or didn’t fit to Old Navy. These were charged on my Amex over a month ago. I picked up 2 polo shirts and some socks and still had about a $77 credit to the account — yay debt reduction!

Goals for this week:

  • Yard Sale — Begin purging closets and drawers for things to sell at my upcoming yard sale on March 31.
  • Income tax return — make a plan for that money, likely to include a few household purchases and seeding of my emergency fund.
  • Budget — continue to refine.

I promised last week I would report back on my results to get my credit card APR’s lowered. However, I was tied up most of the weekend and not really free to make long calls — which I didn’t know they would be until I tried one. After speaking to a customer service rep at Capital One who then promised to transfer me to an “account manager”, I was on hold for 10 minutes and hung up because I had to get off the phone.

But I’m nothing if not persistent and will get these calls done this week.

However, I did accomplish a few things:

  • I filed or shredded about a year’s worth of statements, records, bills and reciepts for larger items. I can see my desktop!
  • I found my copy of Microsoft Money 2006 (for small business and personal finances) buried under the piles and installed it
  • I talked to family members about my new “cash-only” life — to let them know that I won’t be going out to eat as much, I won’t be spending as much, and I’ll be working more on my side business on the weekend than before
  • I also calculated the last 9 months of utility bills to start seeing what I pay in energy costs throughout the year — part of getting ready to budget
  • Spent very little going out on St. Patrick’s Day! About $10 on drinks. Flasks are a wonderful, wonderful thing!
  • Cut some coupons and had a very “smart” trip to the grocery store last night — preplanned several crockpot meals that should get me through until next pay period

Goals for this week:

  • Complete calls to credit card companies
  • Download statements and begin to work with Microsoft Money — time to see where the money has been going before I start thinking about budgeting
  • Finish taxes

Here’s to a great week!