Aug 25 2008

We’re spending way too much!


What in the world are we doing? For some reason, this–the month that Shane and I have our emergency fund completed– is the month that we’ve spent a ton of money beyond our budget.

I’m not quite sure what’s going on, but we need to put the brakes on before we really get out of control.

It seems that shopping leads to more shopping. If we go to Target for a small list of items, normally we stick to that list. Lately though, more items that we suddenly “need” are creeping into our basket.

Even though I’ve had some success in freezer cooking, we’ve been eating out quite a bit lately.

And, in preparation of our new arrival at the end of this year, we’ve been buying things to help us with home organization and such.

Bit by bit, it adds up and starts to get a little out of control.

To top it off, we’ll be traveling to Indiana for a long Labor Day weekend. Even though gas prices have dropped, we can expect to spend at least $150 on gas. We’ll probably go out to eat a few times then as well.

Fortunately, our spending hasn’t caused a budget crisis–yet. If we keep this up though, we’ll be in trouble.

How we hope to get back on track:

– We track our expenses in and I tend to monitor our bank accounts on a daily basis. We’ll be able to take a closer look at our purchases so we can evaluate them. Did we really need that item? If so, then I’m not going to worry about it. If not, I might return it to the store.

– With September approaching, we’ll have a new month where we can just start fresh. We can regain our focus and stay committed to our budget.

– When we get back to Pittsburgh, we can institute a “no spending” weekend and avoid eating out, trips to Target, thrift stores, and anywhere else unnecessary.

Aug 22 2008

‘You traded the Bluesmobile for this?’ ‘No, for a microphone.’


Five years ago, I was getting ready to move from my parents house in West Lafayette, Ind., to Bloomington, Ind. to attend Indiana University. I had a carload and pickup truck-load of belongings, and in that haul was my beloved first major purchase: My computer.

I had a job at Osco Drug, and worked there all through senior year of high school and through the summer after high school graduation. I saved a lot of my money, and spent about $1,200 to buy a computer. $100 of that was for my printer/scanner/copier, which I still have. $400 of that was for a 17″ LCD monitor. The rest was for a custom-built computer, that for its time, was superly top of the line.

It served me well through college and in the time beyond.

These days, my printer still works. The monitor isin great shape, but has depreciated to about…oh, $50.

And the computer tower itself? Whoa. Not worth a whole heck of a lot at all. Still runs fine, but it’s so outdated that I don’t think anyone would pay me much of anything for it.

Shane is going to take the hard drive out of it and put it in a case so that I can use it as an external hard drive with my new laptop that I got a short time ago.

We’ll take the memory and upgrade my parent’s desktop.

The other parts are so worthless that there is no market for them, and I’ll just take it to a computer parts recycling place or Goodwill or something.

So we’ll give my old monitor and the memory to my parents when we see them next week. As a trade, we’re in negotiations for having my dad wax my car and vacuum the insides.


This trade reminds me of the line in the Blues Brothers, where Jake discovers his brother Elwood has traded in their Bluesmobile for a microphone.

Was spending $1,200 on a computer worth it? At the time, yes it was. Computers were really expensive, and I wanted something that would be really good and would last me all through college. Laptops were even more pricey at the time.

What’s even better–we’ll be able to get rid of a large desk (got it for $10 at a yard sale or thrift store in college) and we’ll have a lot more room.

If you told me five years ago that I’d be scrapping my computer for parts and trading it for a car waxing, I would have probably fallen over laughing. And then I’d start singing a song from the Blues Brothers.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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