Friday, March 28, 2008

March/April

Recap of March goals:

1. File and pay taxes. Done! I’m still waiting on my state refund, but I filed and sent in my federal payment. What a relief!

2. File my FAFSA for 2008-2009. Done! And not only is this done, but I registered for summer classes and applied for the necessary loans. In addition, I did some research and discovered that tuition reimbursement under $5,250 per year is not taxable! My company caps the annual assistance at just under that, so I’m safe. It’s too bad their reimbursement won’t cover the entire cost of my education, but I’m glad what they are offering is tax free.

3. Do some soul-searching. I did do some soul searching. A lot of it. And I came to a decision I can live with, even if it’s not what other people would do. (Again, I don’t mean to be mysterious, but I’m not ready to talk about it, although I’ve got the post started. Someday.)

4. Stick to my budget and try to bring in a few extra bucks. Yeah, right. I did manage to bring in some extra money (or WILL bring in the extra money; the work is done and I’m waiting on payment which should come rolling in soon), but I didn’t do so well with sticking to the budget. Between last-minute Costco trips and two visitors, I sort of threw caution to the wind. I need to keep working on this.

April Goals:

1. Really work on sticking to the budget. I may need to leave my debit cards at home, honestly—or be more proactive about getting money out of the bank and into the envelopes instead of trying to keep track of what I’ve spent from each category via debit card. Truly, a recipe for disaster.

2. Try to lower my electricity bill. I will be getting my first electric bill for my new apartment any day now, so I will have a threshold to try to beat. I aim to do this in a couple ways: turning lights off in rooms I’m not in (I’m really bad about this for some reason!), and turning off the power strip to computer during the day while I’m at work and at night while I’m asleep—basically, the power strip should only be on when I’m using my laptop. I don’t use the computer every single night anyway, since I don’t have internet, so it really doesn’t need to be drawing power except for a few hours a week. I wonder if it will make a difference?

Eventually, I’ll switch to CFLs but my super has to swap them out (very high ceilings, and I don’t have a ladder) so I’ll wait until at least one light goes out before having him do them all at once.

3. Clothing challenge. As I’ve posted about, I need to do some wardrobe upgrading in a smart and thoughtful way, and April’s the month I planned to do it. I need to set the budget, develop a good list (that’s under way and I should get it posted this week), and find some sales. And I definitely need to do weeding out! I try to have a rule that one new thing in means one old thing out, but I apparently haven’t been sticking to it lately. Also, perhaps getting rid of some of my “it’ll do” stuff will spur me to find a replacement item of good quality, instead of passing it over since I technically already have a whatever.

4. Plan and book my trip home. My youngest brother is graduating from college (*gulp*) in May, and I need to book a flight and rent a car for the trip. I’ve been keeping an eye on ticket prices, and they’re definitely much higher than they were a few months ago. I used to be able to fly home for just under $200, now it’s looking like $230 will be a deal. Boo.

5. Find a new $5 bill. I broke a $20 earlier this week because I needed smaller bills—and got one of the new $5 bills. It looks really cool, but I didn’t have time to inspect it, since I had to hand it over to the person I broke the $20 for in the first place right away. It’s got stars on it! And purple! I’m not really a notaphile but I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the new versions of money that have come out in my life.

What are your goals for April?

2 comments:

  1. In pricing out your flight, you should check out sites like farecast.com that offer predictions on how airfares might change over time. Of course, there are no guarantees, and sometimes price isn't the only consideration --- if you have preferences like only flying nonstop, or a specific airline --- but it might help you make an educated guess.

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  2. I love Farecast! I find that I usually get the best deal booking directly through the airline's website, but Farecast gives me a good overview of what to expect, and the travel sites like Expedia, Hotwire and Orbitz help me find which airline to go to directly.

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Thanks for commenting!