Friday, July 31, 2009

Goals and White Uniform Shirt Score

I've been giving this blog a lot of thought lately. What do I want it to be? A frugal living blog? Life hacker? Product review blog?

It started last year when I realized I was never going to have a savings or any emergency money if my spending equaled my earnings. (Quick study, I am). In my 20's I landed in credit card hell, got out of it in my 30's, and will do anything to avoid that again. So I started this blog to document my struggles with consumption, temptation and simplicity.

Then BlogHer, who pays me enough for a pack of gum every six months for ads on my main blog, Everyday Lunasea, said I couldn't do product reviews on that blog as long as I was receiving their advertising. So I put my reviews here. I do product reviews when I get a product free to try, or if I just really like something I buy. I don't do product reviews of stuff I don't like, because according to my agreement with the companies I contract with, I don't publish anything if I don't like the product. But I will NEVER, never write a positive review for something I had a negative experience with. I'm a blogger, not a PR person and I'm definitely not a salesperson. In fact, I suck at sales.

So I guess it's all three. This coming month should be challenging because I have to end the month with about $1,000 in my checking account in order to pay the first months's tuition for the boys and my office rent on September 1. I took two weeks off in July, which means I'll get paid less this month (I get paid for July sessions in August). Also, A. needs new uniforms and it's my Dad's birthday. Oh, and A. turns seven in early September and wants a Star Wars b-day party, so that's an extra expense during a tight month, too.

Just so you know, here's how we have our expenses divided. G and I have completely separate accounts. Here's what he pays for:

Homeowner and earthquake insurance
All home repairs
All yard stuff
Cell phone bill
Water and Garbage
Gas and Electricity
Most car repairs & maintenance

Here's what I pay for:

School tuition for A. and B.
Car insurance
Phone bill
Cable TV
All kids' needs (clothing, field trips, supplies, pull-ups, etc)
Household goods

We each pay for our own life insurance and our own business expenses. We've never sat down and compared what we pay each month and what percentage it is of our total income, but I know that my expenses are about 100% of my income and G's are about 70% of his. We should probably make that more equitable, but we haven't gotten around to it, and I seem to be comfortable in the role of the martyr.

Heading into August, we' re going to have a tight month. A. wanted a Nintendo DS for his b-day but I told him he could either have that or a party for his classmates. He chose the party. Oh the one hand, yay for him choosing experiences over things, and on the other hand, buying him a Nintendo and scrapping the party would've been a whole lot easier for me.

Now I'm searching for cardboard tubes to make 25 cheap light sabers. Yay.

Today there was a 2-day coupon in the paper for $10 off any $20 purchase at Kohl's. So we headed down there immediately and picked up 3 uniform polos for A. We're supposed to buy them from Land's End but I seriously doubt anyone's going to look inside A's collar for the tag. So 3 Arrow polos, usually $16.00 ea, on sale for $10, cost me about $23.

In our freezer we have enough fish for maybe 2 more meals, some sausages and some shrimp. I'll plan to buy frozen chicken and potstickers at Trader Joe's to fill it up. My goal is to spend less than $600 this month on food for all of us. I average about $700, and if I'm totally not paying attention and buying lots of convenience foods, it can get up to around $1000.