Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unexpected Expenses and Major Updates

I haven't posted in awhile due to an unfortunate event....the loss of my laptop. It first started having problems in September, and after several attempts to repair, the blue screen of death (complete with the "fatal error" message), showed up on my screen just after Thanksgiving. This has been a difficult loss, and I'm still debating what I am going to do. I will definitely need to purchase a new one, but I'm going to see who has the best post holiday sales before making any quick purchases. I would love to get a Mac Book, rather than another Dell. I have heard that Apple will sell their older computer models at a discount, even though they only advertise the newest ones. I'm going ot look into it, but I think that the price tag might be a little too steep no matter what. For what I'm using it for, probably better to stick with the cheaper options.

One major purchase that I made (prior to the laptop disaster), was an iPhone. You are probably thinking...if you don't have any money, why would you buy an iPhone, that's crazy! I've been wanting one for over a year, and had been weighing the pros and cons for quite some time. After consistently getting the free phones that come with the plan. I decided to treat myself to a really nice phone, with the understanding that Grandma and Santa would be covering that credit card bill. I was able to pay for the entire phone with my Christmas money. Although my monthly plan has gone up quite a bit, I have already found that the phone helps me to be more functional. Plus, it is also an iPod, something that I didn't have and was hoping to purchase. I do believe in treating myself every once in awhile, and this was certainly my big treat for the year.

Two major updates:

First, I got a roommate.

After living by myself for the past three and a half years, a friend moved in with me in September. It has been great having someone else around, and it certainly helps with the monthly expenses when you can split everything. It's amazing the other things that I've been able to focus my money towards because I have that much more income available each month...I've actually been able to save some! Living with a roommate can be challenging, and it's a decision that I thought about quite a bit beforehand, but it has been a great experience so far.

My roomie is also financially conscious, and so she and I have been trying one technique together to be more thrifty - our "End of the Month" list. This is the list of all the things we'd like to buy at the end of the month, should we be able to save our money until then. We don't entirely limit spending, but we try not to make any big purchases until after the 15th of the month. We have found that it is really easy to spend most of your paycheck within the first weekend, which can make for an awful end of the month. By waiting on the big things, it also makes for a fun challenge to see how much you can save until the end. In November, I was able to buy all new bedding, something I'd been waiting to get for the past year. Sadly, December required a payment of personal property tax for my car, so there wasn't a whole lot leftover, but I already have my list started for January.

The other big decision that I made was to register for classes at the university where I work. As an employee, we are able to take a certain number of classes as part of our benefits package each year. With the turn that the economy has taken, I don't think, that there is a better benefit than free education right now. With tuition costs continuing to rise, I'm going to take advantage of every free class I can take right now. If it means achieving another degree, I will be able to be that much further ahead when I take my next step in my career. It will be several years before I'll even be close to the PhD, but Dr. K does have a nice ring to it!

That's what I've been up to for the last few months. With this holiday break, I have all sorts of post ideas saved up from the last few months that I just might get to now!


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