Guess what I'm putting in the mail tomorrow:
A check to pay off my car loan!
It's less than $600, and only about eight months early, but I am very excited and proud that I actually own a car. A car that needs the brakes checked, but whee! nonetheless. I have the money in my savings account, so it's not going to hurt anything. And the rest of the money in the account should totally cover the cost of my Christmas trip.
We are getting some extra money in a few weeks. Our salaries are going up and we should be getting back pay. My take-home will increase by $100 per paycheck, and I am hoping the back pay will be about $1000. Along with the money for the Saturday program, plus coverages and NOT having to make a car payment, my financial life should get much easier.
The AmeriCorps money should be coming anytime too. And that's a ton of money. Too much to know what to do with, honestly.
I have put the Prague ticket on one credit card, the one that I will just have paid off. The other card is nearly empty too. I should easily be able to make payments to get the trip paid off before I even go. Which means more money to play with!
I dream of getting a new computer, but I'm not going to. The computer I have is just fine; it's the connection that sucks ass. I've got an entire year of digital photos on here, plus 1300 songs. (Don't worry, all the pics are saved on CD and/or in Snapfish; they're not going anywhere. As for the music, much of it is from my own CDs and I could always download stuff again, should something happen.) Someday prices will drop some more and I won't be quite so strapped, and I might even get a laptop. Someday.
If I were rich, I would buy an iPod. But my three-year-old Discman and ten rechargeable batteries are working just fine for me right now. No need to go all fancy for little old me.
I know that I have to remember to budget money for the car, which is tough to do. I tend to ignore problems and hope they go away, which is absolutely the worst thing with a vehicle, so I'll have to work on that. Again, must get brakes checked this weekend. Prevention, yay!
This sounds so silly and mundane, but it's kind of exciting to me: I can go to Costco more often. You know that it's nearly impossible to walk out of there without spending more than $100, which is quite a lot for a struggling NYC teacher, especially in the first half of the month. But now, I'll have a little more discretionary income, and I've also toned down on all the impulse, extravagant buys. Like, I don't need to get the four-pound bag of pistachios. I love them and they're tasty, but I've got half of the last bag left and am slowing down on the need. So that saves me thirteen bucks on my next trip. Each time I go, I get better at resisting other treats like frozen pizza and cake and stuff.
Now that I have all the bodyflow tapes at home, I'm actually working out on my own, and for free. No need for the $80-a-month fancy-ass gym-that-I-never-go-to.
Ooh, and you know what? I could actually go to movies. I resubscribed to Netflix, so I can still watch stuff at home, but I haven't been to a movie theater in months, and now I can! Talk about whee!
Only one and a half semesters left in my Master's, and I'm going to only buy used or discounted books for them, because I'm tired of paying off credit cards just in time to load up on expensive-as-all-hell textbooks from the campus bookstore. This semester I saved over a hundred dollars by shopping online and buying a previous edition. Score!
I will obviously save some money, adding to my Roth IRA and to my savings/travel account.
But I will also try to save some and earmark it for my own apartment next year. Assuming I stay in New York to teach a third year, I will reward myself with my very own place to live. Out here in Queens, it won't be too crazy expensive, I hope. It will be bigger than my tiny room and it will all be mine, to be messy or to workout in or just do nothing. Mm, exciting!