Weekend Update: Relaxing, Planning, Budgeting

Well, la di da and Happy Monday to you all. It looks like I’m sort of emerging from the foggy funk I’ve been in the past several days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any stretch of the imagination all cheery and upbeat with a super terrific can- do attitude. I’m just sort of in my no-nonsense, enough with the excuses and the bullcrap sort of frame. Can you dig it?

I had a nice weekend. Overall relaxing by way of crocheting, visiting with friends, reading, and some more picking up and cleaning. I cleaned so well I think I’m going to crate a Family Challenge to keep the dining table clear for one whole week. Think the kids will go for it? Maybe if I bribe them with my famous ice cream sundaes at the end of the challenge? I actually completed two small crochet projects this weekend but I’ll save the full pictures so I can participate in a FO Friday for the first time this year. And, I might even have a WIP Wednesday to share.

I decided I might as well and do some crocheting until the blanket gets started and right now I’m knocking out some baby gifts for friends and still trying to figure out a great bracelet for a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure I’m going to try some sort of granny rectangle but we’ll have to see how it works out size-wise. Book-wise, I’m almost done with V for Vendetta (I’m putting off finishing it as much as possible, it’s so good) and I also started Battle of the Labyrinth. My son just spoke with me and gleefully bragged about he finished the series yesterday and has already begun The Lost Hero, the first book of the second Olympians series.

My hall closet is mostly empty. My living room is not but at least it’s mostly organized. My dad donated 16’ of shelving and their brackets to me this weekend. I just need to buy the tracks that go on the wall. Cue Spending Challenge Update!

I tend to be more spendy when the kids are with their father. This has always been especially true when I haven’t imposed some sort of spending restraint on myself. By the way, I think it’s about high time I stop calling it spending challenges and spending diets and spending restraints and just face it for what it is—a damn budget. Some months it’s going to be tighter than others but the fact is telling yourself you only have x amount of dollars to spend one month is a budget. Wrong? Right?

Anyways, back to the update. First of all, my car was ready on Friday. I paid my mechanic $462.93. $236.32 was an outstanding balance. My bill for the new repair (replacing the power steering hose and the oil change) came to $453.22. So, the other $226.61 was half of this amount. This put a dent into the money I’d been setting aside but this is what those cushions are for. I’m going to go ahead and pay the rest of this next month because I need to maintain some sort of cash cushion in place to buffer Ex’s income shortfalls. But, ok I just realized this isn’t part of the challenge so cue the REAL challenge update. Yeah!

I actually managed to not spend anything until Sunday. And then I spent:

  • $30 on gas
  • $20.25 for breakfast with a friend
  • $6.42 on newspapers for coupons (one specific very high-value coupon but there’s a couple more in there I’ll happily use)
  • $26.97 on grocery items I ran out of including much needed toilet paper

This comes to $89.26 in spending; however, I got an Amazon payment of $8.02 for one of the items I shipped earlier in the month. I’m crediting this to my spending challenge money because I spent money to make money and I think they should even out in that sort of scenario. Basically, I’ve got $30 left for the last seven days of the month, half a tank of gas, and decent amounts of food.

There’s a birthday party this weekend for the son of a friend of mine I haven’t seen in over a year.  I’m a bit torn on what to do here. On the one hand, I want to give him a book because that’s my standard kids’ birthday present. Books cost money. The one I particularly want to give him comes in at about $11 give or take. On the other hand, I obviously have the supplies on hand to make him something. I have Amazon prime so I have until early Wednesday to make a decision. What do you think? He’s celebrating his seventh birthday. Do they ever get too old for stuffed toys?

For groceries, there are a couple of things I’m out of which I need to pick up like milk and eggs (coupons for both) and I’m taking advantage of the big Purex sale this week to stock up on my absolute favorite laundry item in the world (also, the ONLY laundry item I need and that’s so awesome).

I think I might make it. I might cut it really super duper close, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it. That is, of course, if I don’t finish the closet project this month and here is my damn quandary. By the way, before I continue I am finding it hilarious the always grumpy untenureds have a post up today about their thoughts on external effects of spending—specifically not having any free time as a way to drastically cut spending.

 You know I’m on a mission to get rid of as much “extra” and “unnecessary” in my house (and life too) as possible. To make sure I actually do this thoroughly, I’ve imposed a sort of restriction on myself to do only one room a month—no more, no less. This month is the hall closet. The majority of the de-cluttering work in this area is done. I can probably afford to go through my Halloween and Christmas décor to eliminate a few things even further but what’s really looming over me is how to put everything back.

The hall closet I have is deep and makes much more sense as a coat room although that itself is sort of dumb in a hot, tropical climate. It has a shelf and clothes rod all around. But that’s it for shelving. I think this is what’s really ruined my past organizing attempts in this place. The shelf is high and hard to reach so I try and put stuff I need rarely up there. The problem is, everything else goes on the floor in piles. This sort of system makes the majority of things either completely inaccessible or very difficult to access. In other words, it’s dysfunctional. It’s clear I need shelves. And now I have them, but I need to purchase a crucial part—the tracks which go for $9.54 each at Home Depot. I’m pretty sure I’ll need 4-6 depending on final measurements and may need to purchase the screws. I’ve estimated the cost to come out to $65 on the high end. Budget buster.

If I go ahead with this project, and Ex doesn’t give me another penny, my spreadsheet tells me I’ll have about a $600 cushion to rollover into next month. This is not the $1,000 I wanted but that’s been out of the question since my friend and I discovered my car was leaking power steering fluid pretty steadily.

What do I do?

My thinking goes like this. If I buy the tracks, I can install the system this weekend with help from my dad and a friend. This means, I can declare the closet complete by the end of the month and can begin to plan for next month’s target—the massive playroom and adjoining laundry closet. I also may want to learn from my experience and budget for some type of organizing expense to occur next month. I most likely won’t need it because there is a good enough amount of storage in there as-is, it’s just not being utilized properly, but you never know and I had re-organzing related expenses when I did the kitchen project so it’s clearly not unwise to think about.

If I don’t buy the tracks, I won’t be able to call the closet complete until next weekend—the first weekend of March. In the meanwhile, I’ll be wanting to start the playroom despite the fact the hall closet contents would still be in the living room. Not only that but I’d have to include the closet’s expense with the March budget and I already know I have to pay the rest of the car repair next month and may have some expenses in the playroom. I also remain clueless as to what to expect for income from Ex next month (I’d ask but what he says doesn’t mean anything).


8 thoughts on “Weekend Update: Relaxing, Planning, Budgeting

  1. I found that by leaving a nice tablecloth, placemats, and napkins with rings on the table the kids suddenly stopped leaving things on the table. I also have a rule that anything left on the back of the chairs will be locked up for a two days..they have each only left things there once.

    Good luck getting everything done. Im rooting for you. My livingroom closet was the worst…took me three weeks to clean out 😦


    • Thanks!! So far, the dining table survived its first night. The kids thought it made a great race track. I’ve tried having the table set but it’s like stuff invites more stuff. My closet has been a nightmare but it’s almost over.

  2. I’m on a mission to keep my table and counters free from clutter. So far, so good — and we are about three days in. Since I have a small house, and am always near or in the kitchen, I just remind everyone not to leave anything there whenever they go to set things down. It’s working… and I have been doing way less reminding.

  3. Pingback: Hump Day Happenings « MutantSupermodel Musings

  4. We are living in each others minds….
    Your doing great. I had to watch my spending when I stopped working last year. I thought it was going to be really tough. I kept the goal of not wanting to go back to work so fierce that I think I ended up spending less than I ever had before.


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