Where’s My Money, Honey?!?

2012 is HERE! A few quick updates:

I have officially lost 90 lbs since surgery. I learned this on New Years Eve, and it was a very handy piece of info to have before rocking a VERY hot dress.

New Years Eve with two of my favorites!

…watch out, now! It’s a little blurry….but the fierceness is clear. 🙂

I had a whirlwind weekend. I went from finding out I hit the 90 lb mark, to heading out on the town in a killer dress, to fried chicken and football (the Chargers AND the Steelers won!)with the guys on Sunday….and a ton of shenanigans went on in addition….I’m just not mentally equipped to share them all on the blog at the moment.

Losing 90 lbs seemed like a great reason to celebrate, and we had a great night. When the countdown was over, I realized that, as I figured, I didn’t feel any different. However, I was very excited about the prospective things I plan to acheive this year.

With that in mind, I am still in full pursuit of making a bunch of things happen (you read the last post….there’s a whole freakin’ list!).

The big deal this year, is managing, saving, and properly allocating my money. The funny thing is, regardless of the fact that I make really decent money, I feel like I am always catching up. My bills are paid, I have money to float between checks. But, in the long run, it’s kinda tragic to see how much of my money goes to what categories.

I introduced Josh and Alex to my online financial guru, Mint.com tonight. The site is amazing! It’t free, it syncs your accounts to give you a really accurate picture of what kind of money you spend on what categories. You can budget certain categories specifically to track your spending, make budgets for big things like a new car or a big trip (to, I don’t know, Italy?), and it makes cool graphs to show you your net worth, spending, etc.

I am a bit obsessed with my finances. I take the time the tuesday before each payday to sit down with Mint, and track my spending from the last paycheck to now. I outline my budget for the next two weeks, and track all upcoming bills, etc on my calendar, in my phone, in my planner, and in my to-do notebook that I take everywhere. Is it a little much, sure. But that is what works for me. Now that I’ve taken on a vehicle once again, and I am working to save money for the Italy trip, I am trying to be extra cautious. I want to see where every penny is going, and have money allocated for upcoming events of the month in advance.

Things I Am Changing to Keep On Track:

1. I might have to start carrying around my mini notebook to track EVERY. SINGLE. EXPENSE. like I used to.

2. Spend more time working out, and less time shopping. Haha.

3. Re-vamp my refrigerator. By sticking to a nutrition plan, I’ll stick to a certain shopping list, therefore, reducing my grocery bills (Say it with me: protein shakes, water, chicken, turkey, fruit and veggies). Of course, I’ll set aside a little something for splurges like the occasional fro-yo or Starbucks soy caramel macchiato. You can find me at Costco in the pharmacy….that’s where they keep all the protein shakes!

4. Online Bill Pay. By setting up auto transfers for every expense, I am forced to keep the money there to cover said expense.

5. BirchBox.com. Let me tell you…I can easily walk into Ulta and drop $50 on makeup or hair things that I do NOT need and will NOT use every single day. BirchBox sends a customized group of samples to my door for $10 a month. Basically, it gives me new products to try and play with, and it’s less wasteful than buying a full-sized product that can potentially expire before I get my money’s worth.  If I find something super amazing, I can buy it on the Birchbox site with points earned, or use my Ulta rewards program to earn/redeem points and buy it in the store. Not too shabby, is it?

6. Get a library card. San Marcos library is only a few blocks away, and yet here I am buying a ton of used books on Amazon.com all the time, and just letting them pile up on my bookcase. I’d rather own the books I can’t live without, and borrow books from the library (or from the Kindle prime library! WOO!).

As you see, these are all relatively easy changes to make. They don’t require much effort, past the initial time it takes to implement. An extra fifteen minutes now and then to update your budget and look over your finances is totally worth the money you can save yourself! Not to mention, it’s what we are supposed to do now, people! We are grown-ups. Lol. Mint.com has an Android, Apple, and Kindle app! Besides, there are countless money management tools online, on your computer ( I made a budget spreadsheet back in the day on Microsoft Task Launcher, that I STILL use. I tweak it as necessary, but by inputting the info, it does the math for me. I print it, and use it in my household binder. YES. I have a household binder), and on your smartphone. Apps like Argent let you input every transaction you make, similar to my notebook idea. If you have the discipline to actually input the amount each time you spend, you can see how quickly you are spending, and it helps establish an accountability.

Moving on, I’ve started my research for skin removal surgery, seeing as my goal weight is probably about 6 more months away. I just recently enrolled in my new companies insurance, and I am excited to get that thick book of policy coverage, so I can wage yet another war against them in the pursuit of skinniness! Lol. According to what I have found out so far, I won’t technically be a candidate until I am 18 months post op….which is Christmas Eve of this year. So I guess I’ll wait until next January for the harassment to begin, and I’ll have the actual procedure done after I return from Italy. That’s kind of a bummer for me, because I was already having grand visions of myself in an all-white retro-inspired swimsuit. But hey, I can improvise! And about Italy, did I mention that Rosetta Stone is pretty much amazing? I swear, I am actually thinking in two languages. It’s RIDICULOUS!

Well, now that I’m done rambling about my domestic money management tricks….it’s time for me to finish this budget worksheet and update my household binder….and take my butt to sleep. My lovely 4 day weekend has pretty much come to an end…so it’s back to work tomorrow! Two and a half days until the weekend, and I am SO excited, because I have a friends big swanky birthday part to attend. And the theme is animal print. It’s like the clothing universe is smiling upon me….because I sure do have a purple leopar-print dress that needs to be rocked before it’s too big! Pictures soon!

I hope everyone had a great New Years weekend, and that the excitement for the new opportunities is still there. Change is constant….so, just remember to put your mind to it, and you’ll make everything you dream of, a reality! 2012 is our year….just like the last one and the next. Make it count!

As a matter of fact…I think I’m just gonna clean out the dang fridge now.

‘Til Next Time!