Thursday, February 7, 2008

Welcome!

Well!

I guess most of the new commentors (and those of you lurking and not saying anything!) are here courtesy of my contribution to Madame X's New York Stories (I'm #11). Thanks to her for posting my story, and welcome to everyone who's clicked through today.

Given some of the upheaval that's been going on in my life lately, I've not been posting as regularly as I would like to, but I'll be working on that in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully you'll stick around and hopefully I'll write stuff that's interesting and thought-provoking.

As an update to my recent post about Taco Bell's new Fiesta Platters, I'm crushed to report that the Taco Bell listed as being near my new apartment is, in fact, closed. Thus there was no cheesy, crunchy, chewy goodness available for me when I went to pick up my keys earlier this week.

And back to financial matters, a few things of note:

I'm making a greater effort to bring my lunch to work again. I seem to go through phases of this, where I get sick of leftovers and go back to getting $7 salads and other extravagancies every day before I catch myself. However, I've also started having a regular once a week lunch with some of my female coworkers--I'm finding them wonderfully therapeutic, am making friends and learning a lot about networking and other career-type things (out of the five of us, I am not the newest to the company, but I am the newest to the industry in general). We trade off paying, so although I'm eating out five times in a row, I'm only paying for it once. I think it works out pretty fairly, and it's something that I'm going to consciously work into my budget.

One of my friends has a Costco membership, and I've been debating getting one. I learned there's a Costco not far from my new apartment, so I could walk there and take a car service home, or even push my granny cart all the way there. However...will I find it useful? Most people I know who go to Costco stock up on meat, and I am a strict vegetarian. Will I find enough things to purchase for me as one person living alone that I will be able to save $50 per year over what I'd spend at the regular grocery store? I'm not 100% sure, but my friend has agreed to let me come along as a guest next time she goes, to see if I think it would be worth it. I might also see if I can split a membership with someone--I'm pretty sure I could save $25 per year by buying things like toilet paper and granola bars in bulk.

Similarly, I want to start shopping at Trader Joe's. I've only been there once, but was impressed with the yummy things available for cheap, and I keep meaning to go back.

And lastly, what I plan to do with my bonus:
1. Pay for half my sister's plane ticket. My sister and I are very close. She is going through some rough personal issues as I have been, and we've been talking about her coming to visit in a few weeks. She's in law school and doesn't have a lot of money, and spending around $100 to fly her in for a visit will be a gift for both of us.
2. Moving costs. I still need to book a moving company (I'm hoping to be able to do the move for around $200 including tip) and buy a few more things for the apartment--a toilet seat, shower curtain, bathroom rug, lightbulbs, and I'm sure other things. I'm bookmarking $300-400 for this.
3. Emergency fund. Since I had been planning to move in with Mr. Ex Boyfriend, I had started saving to move, and had socked away $1,500. However, since I'm now doing it on my own, the total cost is going to be more than twice that, and I've pulled out quite a bit of my emergency fund (whether this was a true emergency might be up for debate, and I'm mulling a post explaining/defending my choice) in order to make this happen. But I'm raising my monthly expenses, and I want to build my rainy day fund back up to a full 4-6 months of expenses in the bank. So the remainder of my bonus will go a ways toward that.

I do think that when you get an unexpected windfall, you should blow some of it so you don't feel deprived, and plan what to do with the rest of it so it doesn't get frittered away. "Blowing" money on my sister's visit is the best way I can think of to spend my money, and when I realized that's what I wanted to do with it, I felt like my employers gave me an even bigger gift than just a check.

1 comment:

  1. LMM,

    I really liked your write-up, on Madame X's blog. It really shows the good that comes out of living within one's means. It is great that you have a plan for cash inflows. Yes, this is important if one wants to put something aside every month. Good work! And thanks for sharing.

    ELE

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting!