Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Money Report

Last week went really well. I filled up Homer the Odyssey late in the week for $45, and ended up with $15 left over in my pocket. And then someone walked up to me Friday and said, “Here, thanks,” and handed me $70.

Sometimes short term memory loss is such a delightful thing. I’d forgotten the loan, so it was all like, “SURPRISE! You’ve just won the Payback Lottery!!”

Today’s supermarket journey netted me six gallons of milk, 18 eggs, half a pound of coffee, a bag of pears, a bunch of bananas, two bags of cereal (yes bags, not boxes), five pounds of potatoes and a pint of whipping cream, and set me back $46. I took another $50 in cash, took the kids (and me, I looked like the Shaggy DA’s wife) to Supercuts for bang trims and handed over $35.

And then I took the kids to Starbucks with a gift card (woo hoo) and came home triumphantly clutching $100 for the rest of the week – which is going to include a dinner out on Saturday (I have a coupon for a free birthday entrĂ©e) (there has to be something good about the ordeal, and I claim that all the free this and that coupons are it – I also got a free sundae at Baskin Robbins) (neener neener neener).

The $100 budget continues for now; this week and next, after which I’ll have a new budget in place that is a more realistic “going forward” budget. It’s already helped tremendously for us, stopping an awful lot of crazy simply by forcing me to back away from Internet purchases and “you know what would be {cool, convenient, nifty, handy, groovy, hot}? A {consumer good I don’t actually need at all and which probably costs a good $50 or more}!” purchases.

My Big Picture task for this week is to go over our free credit reports (Annual Credit Report will get you all three free – you have to resist each individual agency’s offers of scores and monitoring and whatnot, but eventually you get to the free report to which you are entitled annually) to make sure I know about and agree with everything on them. This is a vital act of fiscal nit-pickery that we tend to give a miss because we are “busy”; and then we pay higher interest rates and get declined new credit at the most inopportune times because we didn’t realize we had negative things on there in error.

I urge you to go check out your reports. Go on. It’s not that bad. Have your printer hooked up, print them out, settle in with a cup of coffee (or rum, if it makes you feel warmer) and a highlighter and go over the thing. Ask questions. Look up answers. Be persistent and annoying if need be to get errors corrected. This stupid sheaf of papers tells the banks how to treat you. Don’t just get to know it a little better – make yourself the master of it.


Science PhD Mom said...

Well done fellow LBYMer! I, too, conquered the grocery lists today with aplomb, saving a dazzling 52% on today's haul with judiciously applied coupons and sale shopping. I kicked myself upon discovering I had left out a $1 off coupon! The woe! Ah well. There is always next week.

P.S. On an utterly red herring tangent, if you are a Jane Austen fan PBS is showing 14 more weeks of Austen flicks on Masterpiece Theater. Just FYI. Not that I'm a fan or anything...*ahem*

Science PhD Mom said...

By the way, happy birthday!

Rena said...

Whoa now. It ain't your birthday yet! Is it? I thought it was next week. You'd think you're sister would know. LOL.

Excellent advice on the credit report. I didn't know there was something on mine until I was turned down for a loan. Not once did the collection contact me. Not once! Turns out it's a mistake, but it's taking me AGES to fix it. Still a huge hassle. So definately, CHECK YOUR REPORT REGULARLY.

Marty52 said...

Safeway had some great sales last week and I saved 55% on mine! That's the most I have ever saved. Then, yesterday, I needed a shopping fix so I went to TJMaxx and allowed myself $25 to spend. I got a mail organizer and a new paper towel holder that won't fall over and the total was $24.89. WooHoo! I've also decided to forego getting haircuts for the duration... at $35 a pop it really adds up! I do like to keep a semblence of bangs though so your Supercuts idea sounds good.

Thanks for the kick in the pants about the credit reports, too. But... your link isn't working for me. :0(

LOL... my word verification is
POOYUDU... too funny!