Archive for July, 2008:
July was a good enough month. Here’s a recap of our month, including what’s ahead for August.
We had some cheap fun picking blueberries at an orchard. Relaxing, and cheaper than the pre-picked berries. They didn’t last long in our apartment–we ate them as they were, put some in pancakes, put them on cereal, and put them in yogurt. Mmm.
More cheap fun was had when we visited the Pittsburgh Zoo for free on Shane’s company’s day.
I made some progress on the “stockpile for baby” front. I now have 539 diapers and have paid $32.32 out of pocket for them (that’s like $0.06 per diaper!).
I’m gradually adding maternity clothes to my wardrobe. Some of the highlights include a $5 pair of repaired black pants and some $3.99 shirts from Old Navy. My Gap jeans arrived in the mail yesterday (about $24) and I’m pleased with how they fit. Yay, eBay!
Lastly in baby news: On Saturday, I will have an ultrasound that will hopefully show us if we’re having a boy or a girl! The last time I checked, the “guess the gender” poll was tied. I’ll probably use my cell phone to update Twitter before I can post it on here, so if you’re extra-curious, follow me!
I shared some ways I make money blogging, and some of you added more ideas in the comments.
By shopping around, I was able to save some money on our renters insurance premium. I even got a little prorated kickback from our old company once we switched! We’ll now deposit $9 per month into an ING Direct savings account so we’ll earn a little bit of interest on the money and will have it ready to pay in full next year.
It’s looking like we’ll be spending another year in Pittsburgh. Shane is going to have a new job within his company, and it’s a good opportunity for him. We’ve decided to renew our lease (we were on month-to-month in July). Renewing our lease will save us $100. Our landlord is crediting us with the $50 we overpaid for July, and we had budgeted for $50 more for the August rent, so our true August rent is $100 less than we expected it to be. Yay!
We spent about $90 on gas this month. I know that’s a low figure for many families, but I was a bit disappointed with our gas mileage this month. We’ll try to drive a bit easier and reroute some trips to avoid particularly steep long hills, with the goal of getting more miles per gallon.
Food was a little high–$303. We ate out a few more times than usual at regular restaurants and picking up fast food. My dad was in town for a few days, and I had spent a little more at the grocery to have things in the house he might like. And, we ate out a few times with him. I’m not concerned about the figure, and I know it will be about the same for August, as we have some family things going on.
Our electric bill was about $60, which is OK but the air conditioner probably ran more than it needed to. It doesn’t get humid in Pittsburgh, so we can stand to have the windows open and fans going more often. At night, I need to have it really cool in here so I can sleep.
- $6 Pinecone research
- $211 ad revenue
- $50 (Overbudgeted for renters insurance. Thought it would be $150 and set aside that much. It was $102.)
- $7 from renters ins. refund
- $5 Wahl hair clippers mail-in rebate
- $26.96 Rite Aid rebates
- $100 from rent ($50 credit, $50 budgeted for Aug. rent)
- $20 ish bank interest
- $60 ING Direct referral bonuses
- $20 Target gift card from Ebates referrals
I wanted to find at least $250 in snowflakes in July, and we more than doubled that goal!
My other goal was to have our emergency savings 95 percent complete. We’re almost there–just need to let some checks clear. It probably won’t be at 95 percent done by the end of the day, but whaddya do.
Goals for August
I want to continue to go through our belongings and toss, sell, or donate everything we no longer need. I will set a goal of listing at least five items for sale on eBay or on craigslist in August. After we’ve pared things down as much as we can, we’ll need to get some shelves or drawers to make better use of our space.
We would like to complete our six-month emergency fund this month. I had originally set a goal date for August 15, and I’m not sure if that’s going to happen now. But, hopefully sometime in August we’ll have it together.
Other August happenings
My family is visiting for a few days, and at the end of the month we’ll be driving to Indiana to visit some more. We’ll need to set aside some extra money for gas and other on-the-road expenses.
Oftentimes, frugal folks like to make repairs or do projects themselves to save some money. In certain circumstances, that’s a bad idea.
Take today for example.
I was walking out to Shane’s car to put a box in his trunk. The car was wrecked in February and has been sitting for quite some time (really long story). I saw a bee near the trunk keyhole, but thought nothing of it as I put the key into the lock and popped the trunk.
Suddenly, I saw about a dozen of them. Not your friendly bumble bee, but wasps!
As you might imagine, I got the heck out of there.
I wondered if getting a can of Raid would do the trick, but I was worried about Shane being exposed to the toxic chemicals or possibly getting stung. It didn’t seem like a worthwhile attempt, so I thumbed through the Yellow Pages to find an exterminator.
I explained what I saw and got a few estimates. It would cost anywhere from $90 to $150+ for them to take care of it. Yikes!
I had an exterminator come out and take a peek at the wasps to give me a more concrete estimate.
He immediately saw one nest, and told me it would be $150 to solve.
I told him that I had lower estimates from other companies, and while he wouldn’t match it, he did come within $10. Sold.
He sprayed and did his thing and discovered three nests with two varieties of wasps living inside. Lovely.
The problem was much bigger than I thought–much bigger than some amateurs with some Raid could safely solve.
As annoying as it is to pay $100 to solve a problem like this, it was worth it to have someone else tackle it.
Lesson learned: It’s probably better to let a trained professional solve a potentially dangerous problem. Let them do it and avoid an ER visit for getting stung repeatedly by angry wasps.
And, if you have a car that’s been sitting for an extended period of time–watch out!