Musings

My paychecks are so irregular these days.  I think I want to open a Christmas club savings account.

It’s funny…I was to receive tax refunds from the Feds and two different states…the only one I haven’t received yet is one state refund…the tiny one!

Future Purchase: Laptop?

laptop

I may have to face the reality of a large purchase soon.  My laptop is over 5 and a half years old, and it overheats quite often.  I have been regularly backing up my important documents in case it decides to go kaput one day without warning because I learned the hard way about backing up  your hard drive.  The hard drive in my laptop is the second one I’ve had.  I’ve also upgraded the memory to its maximum (quite a while ago), so there’s really no improving it.

I’ve been eyeing several laptops to replace the one I have.  I don’t want one as large as the one I currently use.  When I bought it, I planned on watching movies and playing games on it in addition to school work.  Now, I would love to have a more portable laptop–possibly even a netbook.  I keep fantasizing about having a computer that would be easy to bring to class.  I would love to type my notes since I transfer them all to my computer anyways.  Also, I would have fewer excuses for not working on my thesis.  My most common current excuse is, “The house is too noisy so I have to shut the door to my workroom.  The room is too hot when I shut the door, so the computer overheats quickly.  When it overheats, it shuts down.  And transporting it to another location is annoying.”

Flimsy excuses aside, transporting my current laptop is more than a small pain in the neck.  It weighs 7.5 lbs and is 14″ x 10.5″ x 1.5″ big.  The touchpad no longer works, so I have to use a USB mouse.  The laptop has only one working USB port, so I have a 4-port hub hooked up to it so I can attach my mouse and use a USB drive.  In addition, since the darn thing overheats so easily, I have a cooling pad that sits underneath and blows fans on it constantly.  All of these extra accessories make it that much more cumbersome to transport, and the bag I carry everything in is bulky and heavy.  And as for using it on battery power?  Not possible.  I bought a backup battery when I bought the system, but they are both so old they drain quickly.

Wow, after outlining everything, I have almost convinced myself to buy a new laptop.  I know I will need one eventually, but do I really want to wait until this one dies unexpectedly?  It wouldn’t be the end of the world, because there are computers at school that I use all the time (thanks to my handy USB drive) and there is a slightly newer desktop computer at my house.

I hesitate because I know it will not be an inexpensive purchase.  I am not sure if I want a smaller regular laptop or a netbook.  I know that I will get extra memory and an extra battery if possible.  I am not sure what brand I want.  I do know that I do not want another 7.5-pounder!

Weekend dose of reflection

Well, since I didn’t post a Saturday Savings, I’m going to do a Saturday/Sunday combo post.  It’s going to be quick n’ dirty this week–I’ve got studying to do!

How did I save money this week?  This actually wasn’t that great of a week for me in regards to monetary temptations.  I should be writing a list of ways I frugally failed.

What am I thankful for?  The fact that I have a job (more than one, actually).  I may work too many hours and have other various complaints, but just having this job is a blessing.  It has given me motivation (and funds!) to keep up with my PF goals.

My financial interest

Let’s take a short trip back in time to explore my budding interest in personal finance.  Earlier this year, I wrote a journal entry that documents an event that inspired me to begin paying attention to my cash flow!

Finance update

My latest kick is that of getting back on track with my personal finances.  What probably inspired me was the mistake that the city water office made that cost me over $1,000 when they paid someone else’s account TWICE using MY checking account.  Thankfully I had decided to open my checking account statement RIGHT AWAY that day, and the $800+ charge jumped out at me.

The next day was Saturday, but I went to the bank anyways.  It was open ’til noon, so I sat down with the guy in the office and explained the situation.  He was nice enough to get right on the research and took my cell phone # so that he could let me know Monday what he found out.  Well, to sum up the resolution to this wakeup call, a lady from the city called, apologized, and assured me that a repayment check (for both charges) was on its way.  She said this would never happen again.  Oh, it won’t, I assured myself.  I will be watching my statements like a HAWK and possibly ending my direct debit account with the city.

At least the situation was fixed, and I am now motivated to do something about my personal finances.

As always when I get interested in something new, I begin to do research.  Who knows how long my intense interest will last, but at least I will have learned something during my research that I will always be able to use.

Well, thank goodness I found that $800 charge that jumpstarted my PF interest!  Who knows how many months the city water office would have kept incorrectly withdrawing money from my account?  As it turned out, my interest has lasted, as shown by the PF course I’m taking as well as my occasional blogging.

I now have concrete goals and a determination to complete them.  I can safely say that my interest in PF is not passing.

The best things in life are free

Usually the title phrase is used in reference to the warm and fuzzy aspects in life, but this week’s entry is less typical.  A few days ago, I realized how much nicer my bedroom is now that I have plants in it.  I’d been keeping all of my plants on the back porch, but after noticing that a few were getting too much sun, I decided to move them inside.  Having them inside with me adds not only aesthetic benefits to the room (and oxygen!) but a feeling of having more life in the room.

Another great thing about my plants is that they were all FREE!  One plant in my room came from a cutting from my mom’s kitchen plant.  Several others I own came from other cuttings or fruit seeds!  Let me tell you, as a frugal person who had never dabbled in gardening until a few months ago, I was thrilled when I discovered the magic of plant cuttings.  Clearly the love I have for my plants is great enough that I will have to write another entry about them…but that will come at a later time. 🙂  Good night.

The best things in life are free

While I do want to keep control of my finances (especially since I previously had no idea where my money went), I would never want to become obsessed with money, turning into a fearful penny-counter.  Therefore, it is beneficial to take account of all of the earthly blessings in one’s life that have nothing to do with purchases.  I’ll start with the top one in my life: family.

Without my family, I would not be who I am today.  I have grown into a person who values love, intelligence, education, nature, art, and so many other priceless things in this life.  My mother always saw potential in me and encouraged me to write.  My father taught me to read.  I remember visiting the botanical gardens and reading art books with him when I was young.  The other members of my family have also shown love in their own ways.

PF class assignments

My first assignment for my online PF class required me to keep a week-long spending journal.  Each transaction was to be marked want or need.  I found out that I spent twice the amount on wants than I did on needs–yikes!!

The latest assignment is to do a budget–something I’ve struggled with in the past.  I tend to fill out one on Quicken (and I did the same on MS Money when I was using that before) but never really check if it’s working or not.  I update it with only a vague idea of how to do so, and I know it doesn’t help my spending at all because it’s a tool I don’t know how to use.  I hope this will change after I complete the assignment, and I will have a budget that is relevant and helpful.