On Monday Check-in

I don't estimate because I'm a bad planner :) FRIDAY: activities were all free: work drinks (boss paid) and sushi (SO paid). took $20 out of an ATM to put on my WMATA card, so… $20. SATURDAY greasy fast food lunch: $8.50. Ethiopian takeout for dinner (and breakfast and dinner the next day): $15. lying in bed all day reading Harry Potter books: free. $23.50 SUNDAY got lunch with friends: $11.50. filled up my car: $22 (!!!!). watched a basketball game with a friend: $37.50. parked at said basketball game: $12. $83 (!) Total: $126.50, but that's including $42 on various transportation costs (bus fare, gas) that will last a few weeks. on the other hand, didn't go grocery shopping yet, because we are not getting snowed in so there's no rush! honestly kind of a crappy weekend because I've been sucker-punched by winter depression/anxiety. always hits this time of year and just have to ride it out.

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 11:11 am 0

On Monday Check-in

Friday: 3 beers — two for me, one for a former intern who just got a job! — at happy hour ($22 with tip; I overtipped because we were at a beer garden and the lady bartenders had to wear ridiculous liederhosen-type outfits with very short skirts in winter). Dinner at home (free!) and an Uber to my SO's place later in the evening ($8). Total: $30. Saturday: SO bought coffee/bagels (free!), but between a leisurely breakfast and lying in on a sunny morning I was running late, so I took an Uber ($9; worth it for 30 extra minutes in bed) to my friend's wedding dress fitting. She bought me lunch (free!). Went for a run (free!). Roommates got Chinese delivery and I couldn't say no ($15). Stayed in and watched Netflix and ate cookies (free!). Total: $24 Cheap weekend went off the rails Sunday: Had to replenish some pantry staples ($19) and got a breakfast sandwich on the way ($6). Late/necessary Christmas present to myself of new running shoes ($127! eek). Watched football at home with a friend (free!) and used an Amazon gift card to order some stuff for a home improvement project ($65, but I only paid $15). Total: $167 Monday: Went for a run and stopped for milk and coffee at the bodega ($6, LOL $4 milk what was I doing). Lunch with a friend ($10). Grabbed some frozen pierogies for dinner ($2.50) and then met up with friends for a drink and dessert ($13). (Total: $31.50) Total: $252.50 (but a very reasonable-for-a-3-day-weekend $125 without the running shoes!), although I still have to buy groceries for the week.

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 10:45 am 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

Comments welcome! Take-home pay: $3300/month (I think. This excludes 401(k), FSA for health care and transit, and health premium, all of which changed this year and I haven't gotten a paycheck yet. I work in media in Washington DC.) **Fixed expenses** -Rent + utilities: $1280 -Share of cell phone bill: $50 -Car insurance: $60 -Spotify and Hulu: $21 **Savings/debt repayment** -Paying off ~$3500 in credit card debt: $600 -Savings: $150 I also am paying off some other stuff — minor medical bills, parking tickets, etc — from 2014 that I haven't listed here. **Other expenses** I don't find the Mint categories very helpful so I make up my own. -Groceries, lunch, solo food: $300 -Socializing (mostly food/alcohol, occasionally a movie): $250 -Uber: $25 (I have an uber problem. This is an attempt to control it.) -Everything else: $400 (haircuts, household stuff, dry cleaning, parking tickets, occasional books, about a tank of gas a month. I don't belong to a gym but I do spend a good amount on my running habit. this is kind of a "where does it all GO?!" category, but I've found having rigid budgets just leads to me spending a lot of time adjusting them rather than living within them)

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm 0

On Every Day Farmers Are Hustling

This perspective is a little odd to me because it seems to define "farmer" in that hipster-friendly way as "produces things that humans eat pretty much right away in their original form." I'm from the Plains states and all the farmers I know grow cash crops -- soybeans, feed corn, hay, etc. And I'm pretty sure a lot of them qualify as "small" under the USDA definition (under $250K gross income). The side hustle there, I suspect, is the kinds of jobs people do in small towns, not selling to farmer's markets and making artisanal jam.

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm 0

On Tuition is Crazy But Can We Also Talk About How Some Student Loans Paid for Cruises?

@jfruh Yeah, two things: federal loans are now all made by the Education Department, so they're not underwritten by banks (or Sallie Mae) anymore -- they had been US gov't $$ before, but given to the banks to lend/manage. And colleges can no longer direct students to a specific private lender/bank if they need to borrow more than they're allowed to under federal loan rules. More here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/preferredlenderlists.phtml (On a side note, Mike and Logan, if you want a "What We Talk About When We Talk About Student Loans," I work in a financial aid/communications related field...)

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm 3

On Tuition is Crazy But Can We Also Talk About How Some Student Loans Paid for Cruises?

@jfruh As I understand it, with federal loans, after your tuition is paid, you get a check for the leftovers. But $55K in debt means that some of the loans were from banks and probably went straight to the students to begin with.

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm 0

On Friday Estimate

No real plans this weekend, so I could spend $50. Or $250! I'm going to try to keep it under $100. Tonight: Going out with either one or two groups of friends. I'll budget $30 total; if that includes a meal, maybe $40. Tomorrow: Driving a friend to the airport and going for a run! $0 for that. Hanging out at home for the rest of the day. I haven't bought groceries or cooked food for myself in... too long, so I'm going to try to eat all my meals at home. $15 for some preliminary groceries. Sunday: $15 at the farmer's market. Another $30, probably, at the grocery store. And that's $100 exactly. I suspect I might have a brunch somewhere in there that could bump it up to $120. Hopefully no more than that!

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 11:26 am 0

On Help I Hate My Job

Logan, you give fantastic advice. Your friends are lucky to have you!

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am 0

On Friday Estimate

No huge plans this weekend. I've spent spent spent for all of May, but I think I should be able to hold it down for June. Tonight: Already spent about $50 today, but should keep it down the rest of the day. Tonight is family dinner with my roommates. I usually cook for these, and this time I'm not, so I'm just going to get some limes for cocktails. $5 at the grocery store. Tomorrow: Going for a run in the wee hours before it gets too hot, so probably will treat myself to an iced coffee later. $4. I'll also need to make a grocery run because I don't think I have any non-breakfast food left. $10-$15. Then a friend's birthday; I'll budget $25. Total: $45, on the high end. Sunday: $10 at the farmer's market. No plans the rest of the day, so I'll budget $30 for groceries and $10 for incidentals. Total: $100.

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:22 am 0

On Let's Throw Some Money at Our Problems: May 2013 Check-In

So... I sort of cheated this month because I spent a LOT of money, but I'm pulling it out of savings instead. They were planned purchases, but perhaps not the most prudent ones. American Express Gold Delta Skymiles, 15.24% APR Feb. 2013 balance: $1,469.95 March 2013 balance: $1,172.95 April 2013 balance: $963.54 May 2013 balance: $776.45 I'm slowing down a little bit, but am hoping to have a cheap(er) June and throw some more money at this one (as well as slowly building savings back up). Once I get under $500, it's in impulse payoff territory.

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm 0