To bike, or not to bike: that is the question

March 31, 2013

Since spring has finally sprung here in my hometown, I have been itching to get outside. I already love running, and I can't wait to do that and prep for my 2nd half marathon in September. But lately, I have been wanting to bike.  I live very close to trails and within biking distance of all major shopping areas. Yet, I'm unsure if this will be a worth while expense for me. Bikes can definitely be expensive depending on what you get.

Because of my job(s), I have to drive. That is something that I can't change, but I'm still struggling with the pros and cons of this expense, should I decide to purchase a bike.

Luckily, there are some cheap bikes out there. I could probably get a decent one that will get the job done for $300-$400 without any bells or whistles. I have also seen many very expensive bikes ranging from $2000+ which is just ridiculous in my mind, unless that is your primary mode of transportation or you are a professional rider or something.

The 2nd issue I am faced with is if I will even use it that much to make it worth while. I know I SAY I will, but things always change and I'm worried that it will just go to waste. I mean, we don't have a very long summer as it is.

We will have to see. I'll definitely have to budget for one, and If I end up scoring a great deal, I will let you all know!

Monthly Expenses

March 23, 2013

To continue on with the fact that I want to budget out every cent I am spending in April, I decided to see exactly where my money went the last 30 days.  Again, to see if there is any category that I can cut down on.

I have always found it interesting to see how people allocate money. I understand everyone has a different situation, but that is what makes it interesting.  This did make me realize I have to spend less on random shopping such as new clothes and little trinkets. As well, I bought way more fast food than I wanted too this past month.  On the bright side though, I still spent way less on coffee than normal.   March is also a huge birthday month for me.  It seems that a lot of people close to me have their birthday in or around this time, causing a major hit to my bank account.

Lets hope I can increase my savings and cut down the fast food and shopping categories for next month.  Yet, I think I am doing pretty well cutting down my disposable expenses,  which makes me realize I need to start finding ways to increase my income. Hum....

Where in the world did my money go?

March 16, 2013

You know that time when you put your mind to something, then you take a few steps back? Yeah, that has been March for me.  Can't say this has been the best month for putting my frugal ways to the test. But I suppose you need to fail to learn right?

Definitely made some bigger purchases this month that were wants and not needs. I've noticed that my  perception of those two extremes is still flawed. I suppose I didn't need that pair of heels, that picture frame... and mind draws a blank. Clearly, there's my problem. I don't even remember everything that I have purchased this month. Because of that depressing revelation, I decided that for the month of April, I am writing down every single purchase that I make, no matter how small.

I'm hoping that this tracking system will allow me to see where my money is going, and the areas I need to cut down. I already corrected my coffee problem, and you'd be happy to know I have only purchased a coffee once over the last two weeks. I'm darn proud of myself for that, definitely a step in the right direction.

So, starting April 1st, lets find out where all my money is going, because I evidently can't be trusted to keep mental notes.  Fingers crossed!... Maybe I should start practicing in March.

Spending cash instead of plastic

March 11, 2013

Today I had someone bring up to me the idea of using cash over plastic. I've seen tons of articles on both of these opposite ideas.  Different ways work for different people I'm sure, but lately I've been going with the cash option.

Starting in march, I want to take out $150 cash every payday (every 2 weeks) and have that be my entertainment and more fund. Now, this doesn't include major bills such as rent, credit cards, phone etc. This is strictly entertainment, groceries, coffees, and meals out.

I have done this before and it's worked really well in the past. Because for me personally, if I can see the physical cash dwindling down in my wallet, I'm much less inclined to spend it.  With plastic, it's easy to swipe and just forgot you ever spent money, which is a very bad habit.

With this system, I'm hoping I'm able to survive. I should be able to considering I've already cut my grocery and morning coffee costs.

Anyone else have luck with the cash over plastic system?

The coffee expense

March 3, 2013

Ever since college, I have been an avid coffee drinker.  Having at least one cup a day, give or take. Now I know there are millions of other people out there who have the same addiction that I do. We are surrounded cafes, coffee shops and even Starbucks in our local grocery stores, which I have definitely been a customer at.

Because of my love for coffee, I decided to see how this expense is affecting my budget and how much I'm losing from my goal of being a millionaire.

During college, I definitely was a Starbucks girl. I rationalized in my head everyday that a $5 latte is totally normal and that I could afford it. Well, nothing like a cup of coffee slapping you in the face to realize that is ridiculous. Since then, I have pretty much broken up with Starbucks and am now an avid Tim Hortons fan. Which my wallet is happy with, but I tend to go overboard.

I'd say I go to Tims and get a medium double double about 3 times a week, having coffee at work the other days.  So...

$1.64 (which I think is what I pay every time) x 156 coffees in a year = $255.84

I'm actually shocked with that number.  For some reason I thought it would be more.  Regardless, that is $255.84 that could be going into savings.  So, because I own a Keurig coffee machine, I wanted to price out what it would cost per year if I used strictly that and never bought coffee at Tims again.

The kind of Keurig K Cups I normally get are $13 for a box of 18 on average, which means each cup of coffee costs me $0.72.

$0.72 x 156 coffees in a year = $112.32

That is much more reasonable. Telling me that obviously I don't need to waste time going to Tim Hortons, as much as I LOVE roll up the rim right now... haha! Not to mention the gas that I'm using to get there, when I can just make coffee in the comfort of my own home.

I could be saving $143.52 a year from cutting out Tim Hortons! Now don't shake your head, I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but any bit counts. Especially with the goal that I have!

So coffee from home it is! I really hope I can stick to this actually, it will be tough, but if anyone see's me with a Tims in my hand, feel free to get mad at me! I'm sure there will be a few exceptions from the rule, but cutting the majority out will definitely help in my journey. Seems like a positive to me :)