Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Updates, updates all around

Last night I did SEVEN PUSHUPS. wowwee! Actually, I did 23 total by doing the sets and resting in between for 60 seconds, but during the flat out max set, I did seven in a row. In good form, too. My arms are not as sore as I expected.

We've also been keeping up with our $2 dinner challenge. We've had tortellini with sauce, lots of pb&j sandwiches with chips and watermelon (soooo nice in the hot weather), mashed potatoes and beans, fried rice, ramen with stuff in it. I want to have baked potatoes and salsa, but it's way too hot to cook anything for that long.

One night this weekend we went out for dinner with his roommate and a friend, and spent $15 EACH...which was painful when we realized how many $2 meals that adds up to. I don't want to go overboard with being frugal, but I would have a LOT more money to save and to spend on other things if I paid more attention to what I spent just on food.

In other news, I decided mostly how to spend my $600 tax rebate. About $100 of it went almost immediately to a beach trip I'd forgotten I'd committed to. $60 of that was just for the car rental, the other $40 was for food at the beach and afterwards. Note to self: start cash budgetting for trips you commit to when you commit to them! (Like, Renn Fair next month. Star NOW.)

I gave myself $100 to spend on video games and my trip to see my sister.

I put $400 into a fund for health and beauty fund, bringing the total to almost $1,000 (I got the rest of the money by reshuffling my emergency fund as I mentioned in one of my previous posts).

I'm torn--and this is kind of weird to talk about. Despite the fact that blogging is typically considered a very exhibitionistic hobby, there are certain personal things that I'd like to keep personal, especially when they don't really relate to personal finance (example: you will never hear me bitch about PMS on this blog unless I end up in serious financial hot water because of it--and even then I probably won't tell you the reason). But this, um, delicate matter is definitely related to finance.

I'm a big fan of Spa Week. I get a one-hour full-body massage every April and October for $50 plus tip, and I usually do one other service too--eyebrows, facial, teeth whitening, manicure, etc. A while ago, I decided to try electrolysis for the bikini area. Shaving is uncomfortable for me, creams don't work that well and waxing is expensive, but some of the costumes I wear are, well, bikini-esque, so I do need to be neat. And, honestly...well, it's a personal preference too. Oh, jeez, I'm blushing.

Anyway, my ex had had electrolysis done on his back before we met, so I knew that it actually worked. In April of last year I had my first electrolysis treatment during Spa Week and LOVED the results. I had my second treatment in October, and planned to keep going every Spa Week until the procedure was done.

The problem, see, is that electrolysis is a procedure involving six to eight visits, preferably within a prescribed timeframe of visits every few weeks, and while both salons I visited offered great discounts on full packages with the first Spa Week visit, I didn't have an extra grand or so lying around to pay for such a luxury. By planning ahead for it this time and using that tax rebate, I could get it over and done with by Christmas.

However, $1,000 is also about 1/4 of what it's going to cost me to get Lasik surgery. That's a good chunk of change. Do I want to spend it on zapping hair (a total luxury) when it might mean an extra year before I get perfect vision (also a luxury, but arguably a better investment)?

I don't knooooooow. I want both, and I want both right now.

I'm keeping this fund growing as a means of paying for both services. I will probably get the electrolysis package in October if I can find the entire series for less than $1,000 with the Spa Week discount. I wonder how the economy will affect pricing on this--will they slash prices because people are cutting back on luxuries? Or will they not be able to afford discounts because people are cutting back on luxuries? I guess I'll find out.

I'm also going to make a hard and fast goal, though, to completely fund Lasik by the end of 2009. It really should be doable looking at my budget. It's just fewer than four performances a month. And if I change my health care reimbursement account to cover it, it would cost me even less theoretically. By tightening the belt and doing $2 dinners, bringing lunch to work instead of eating out, going to one less movie a month...I should be able to do this. I need to focus on the goal...and maybe put up a sidebar counter!

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