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Recent Excel Budget Crunch = Excitement

February 24th, 2016 at 08:48 pm

The closing of the sale of my townhouse was today! Hooray! In honor of such a big event, I decided to create a spreadsheet of all my debits and credits to represent the "Before" (all my monthly expenses and income during the ownership of my townhouse) and "After".

Monthly expenses that I will no longer have to pay after today:

$18.92 - Rental Unit Insurance
$28 - Tenant's Water/Sewer Bill
$175 - Homeowners Association Dues
$822.20 - Mortgage + PMI

With the check I receive from the sale, I will be paying off my vehicle and my student loans! This means after that point I will no longer have to pay:

$181.65 Student Loan payment per month
$271.14 Vehicle Loan payment per month

I'm going to have an extra $1496.91 in my bank account each month. Woo hoo!

I'm currently paying $850 in rent (technically $425 since my boyfriend and I split it) and looking to buy a home (again) instead of wasting money on a house I don't own (or like).

I'm pre-approved for a conventional mortgage loan of $250K and extremely happy that I won't have to pay mortgage insurance anymore.

I never thought that I'd be free of my student loans before the age of 30 and I'm beyond thrilled that that time is fast approaching!

5 Ways to Save Money Each Month

April 1st, 2015 at 06:47 pm

HBO announced that they will be offering their online streaming service starting this month (April). Do you hear that? That's the sound of millions of cable subscribers jotting the note "cancel cable" into their 2015 planners. To follow this up, here's a tip: go get an antenna. No, not those contraptions with the bunny ears and tinfoil, but one of the new streamlined antennas that you can hide behind your TV. Unless you're living in an extremely remote area (we'll have to see if this works out in Bozeman, Montana!), you'll be able to pick up local HD channels like FOX, NBC, CBS, etc. for a one-time fee of about $40. This way when you cut the cable cord, you'll still be able to watch the news, sports, and your favorites like Modern Family and The Blacklist. It's a great way to save a few bucks every month.

Another way to save a few bucks is to shop with apps. Target's Cartwheel app and Cub Food's Rewards app are my two favorites to grocery shop with. I basically take a few minutes before heading to the store to look at their featured coupons. I then plan my meals around the deals. (Not to mention the Holiday Station gas savings with Cub rewards points!) I know Costco and Sam's Club are also two places to save money when grocery shopping, but I'm a single woman with no children. I don’t need to bulk grocery shop.

Amazon Prime. Do I need to say more? Okay, I will. Amazon Prime is a great tool to save money. An annual fee of $99 gets you a streaming TV/movie service, free (or discounted) Kindle books, free two-day shipping, and a free music streaming service (with no commercials!). Find a pair of jeans you like at the store, but they are just a little too expensive to justify buying? Look those up on Amazon - 90% of the time they are cheaper. Need a present for little Timmy this weekend, but don't have enough time to go to the store? Boom. Amazon will have it at your front steps in two days. Recently canceled your gym membership to save money and now want to buy a treadmill? Amazon will give you a deal and deliver it for free! Need to buy kitty litter but don't feel like straining your back trying to lift the 40 pounds into the trunk of your car? Amazon. Okay, that may make me sound lazy, but time is money. Also, I look like an idiot trying to lift those massive bags into my trunk. But think of it this way, you now can take the time to go for a walk around the block enjoying the Spring weather instead of going to the store.

Summer is coming. Save some money and buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to your ideal temperature (mine is 71) only the hours you're at home and for when you're at work set it so it's at 78. Your energy bill and wallet will thank you!

The last money-saving tip I'll pontificate on is being a do-it-yourselfer. I'm the daughter of a plumber. He's been preaching to me since I could crawl on the importance of learning to fix things yourself, or at least try before calling a professional. A few weeks ago my vacuum stopped working. I started Googling the prices of vacuums and looked on Amazon at different reviews. I almost bought one, until I thought "You know what, let me first see if I can fix this thing before dropping 100 bucks." I Googled the make and model of my vacuum and watched a YouTube video on how to take it a part. In 20 minutes I had that thing working like it was brand-spankin' new. I immediately called my dad and told him all about it. So, not only did I save about $100, I also felt great about myself. You can find a video on how to fix pretty much anything on YouTube. And you can find a video on how to make pretty much anything on Pinterest. Last month I made a personalized jewelry box for my niece's third birthday. Had I bought it in the store, it probably would have cost over $40. And just let me say, I'm the last person you'd pick to be in a crafting club, so if I can do it anyone can.

Let's quickly review.

Five Easy Ways to Save Money Each Month:

Cancel Cable, Get an Antenna
Use Grocery Apps
Amazon Prime
Programmable Thermostat
Be a Do-It-Yourselfer