On Friday Estimate

Have a bad confluence of a lot of plans just when I realize I need to rein it in a bit (I have a trip coming up at the end of the month — it's for work, but I have a lot of friends in the cities where I'm going and will probably spend a good amount of non-reimbursable dollars)! Onward. Tonight: Dinner and a movie with friends ($25). Saturday: Breakfast/lunch at home (free!). Supposed to go for a run but it's about 3 degrees outside with a bunch of snow on the ground so not sure how that's going to happen. But I will try! Dinner with friends ($40) and maybe going out after ($20). Sunday I need to have a real work catch-up day, but I also have a yoga class (prepaid) and need to do some grocery shopping for the week ($30). Total: $115. Tempted to get $120 in cash from an ATM to make myself stick to it.

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 11:06 am 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: February 2015 Check-in

I'm paying off a Bank of America credit card with the kind of absurdly high interest rate you get when you forget to make a couple of payments on time… Feb. 2015: $2,972 March 2015: $2,763 And I'm building back up my savings: Feb. 2015: $704 March 2015: $1,181 I have a column in my debt and savings spreadsheet called "money not spent" which since Jan. 1 totals $1,282. I'm trying to put at least $600/month toward debt and savings, so right on track so far!

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm 0

On Fifty Nifty Small Town Rankings

@RiffRandell Also Chevy Chase is affordable because it's populated by people who can afford to live in Chevy Chase. Which seems a little tautological. (The average salary is over $250K! The median price of a home in Chevy Chase is $1.2M!)

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm 0

On Why Do Your Own Taxes When VITA Will Do 'Em For You Free

@Lily Rowan Yes! Billfold contributors skew strongly (for obvious reasons) toward people who are self-employed freelancers. But if you had one salaried job, or two, you can definitely do it yourself. It's not even that hard to do state taxes the old-fashioned way by hand if you're only dealing with W-2s. I did it a few years ago because TurboTax charged $35 and that would have eaten up half my refund.

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 9:46 am 0

On Monday Check-in

@Erica Only if we go to the dive bar with pitchers, because unless we're really making a night of it there's no way for everyone to buy their own pitcher, and people don't always have cash to pay the $3 or whatever they owe for their share. So for those who go every week we just try to make sure the same people aren't paying every time. (There's also a pretty big salary disparity and so the people who make more tend to pick up the tab more — I'm in the middle, so my time will come, probably this Friday!)

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

Friday I went out for drinks with coworkers (free, not my turn to pay) and then was running late to dinner with friends so I took a cab ($10) and then had a few more drinks with dinner ($39). Total: $49 Saturday I made brunch with a friend (free!), spent $4 for a latte en route to pick up brunch supplies, went for a run (free!), had dinner at home, caught up on TV, and went to bed early. Total: $4 Sunday… Sunday things went off the rails a bit spending-wise. Got coffee ($2) and then didn't drink it because I went to a dim sum brunch with friends ($22) and picked up groceries for the first part of the week ($29). Bought two cookbooks for sale on Amazon ($36). Total: $89 And theeen spent $190 paying off some parking ticket debt. O_O The worst is that isn't even all of it… Total: $142 before the parking tickets, $332 after.

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 9:19 am 0

On Parks and Rec and Money

@allreb Leslie got glammed up a lot, too. Her hair/makeup in season 2 are much more realistic for a municipal employee. By the last couple of seasons it's clear that she's getting much more expensive highlights, wearing nicer clothes, and is a lot more conventionally gorgeous. (Amy Poehler of course can't not be gorgeous. But her clothes get much, much better.) I think this is partly just a sitcom lady thing, though; I think it happened on 30 Rock too.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm 0

On Get Interest-free Banking With Digit, a Terrible New Way to Save

Meh, disagree. I've signed up, ***not as my primary savings method,*** but because I'm occasionally like "on days I bring lunch to work I should transfer $7 to savings instead!" or "every time I think I'm going to take a cab and then walk I should put that money in savings!" and then never do it. (I do have regularly scheduled transfers to savings already, this is just whatever I can save on top of that.) If I save a little extra, great, and the worst that could happen is … well, that it's a massive scam to get everyone's bank account information, but gonna assume that's not going to happen for now. As I understand it, it's basically a souped up version of Keep the Change. http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/19/8064431/digit-is-the-automated-savings-plan-we-ve-been-waiting-for

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

Friday: Dinner at Chipotle on my way to happy hour ($8). The East Coast cold snap has been making me miserable, so I picked up a humidifier/vaporizer at the drugstore to see if it would help ($25, and it did!). Had a drink with coworkers (free) and then hung out at home waiting for my room to become less Sahara Desert-like and doing my taxes with Turbotax, which ended up costing $76 (!) for federal and state filing :-/ Total: $33 without taxes, $109 with. Saturday: Movie and lunch with friends ($20), then picked up some nice bread for Sunday brunch ($7). Went to the grocery store ($53) and then hung out at home with some friends and rented a movie on iTunes ($4). Drank too much whiskey and bought two Kindle books ($21). Total: $105 Sunday: Brunch and laundry and catching up on work all day! Free. Total: $214, including $76 worth of TurboTax. I estimated $100-ish for the non-tax expenses, which was an underestimate but not by much (too many impulse buys, thank you Amazon one-click)

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 10:14 am 0

On Friday Estimate

I don't usually estimate, but I actually have a pretty planned and predictable weekend coming up. Tonight: Work drinks and maybe dinner, and then going to catch up on TV I'm behind on and stay warm in the frigid temperatures. I bought last time, so coworkers owe me and hopefully I won't spend more than $20. Saturday: Going to see a movie with friends and then getting lunch/brunch ($20). Staying in the rest of the day, with a grocery run ($60) somewhere in there. Sunday: Hosting brunch, hanging out at home, going to an Oscar party — all should be free-ish. But also have to do my taxes and I need fancy TurboTax this year, so $35 for that. Total: $100 for the weekend minus the doing of taxes.

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm 0