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Monthly Progress Report (#10)

Monthly Progress Report (#10)



Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more details. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

It's the last day of the month! Which means it's time for another monthly progress report! Even more exciting - we're in the double digits y'all! That's right, we're on to the tenth monthly progress report. 

If you're interested in how things were looking back in the single digits, check out August's monthly progress report.

Also, I'm now 30! Ah, September has brought some milestones for sure! 

And also some high credit card balances and more student loan debt. 

Not a great start to a new decade - it's seriously time to grow up. I mean what is more adult than thirty? Some of my old high school classmates have ten-year-olds (heck, some of them might have teenagers!) and I'm over here ordering takeout every Friday because I deserve it after a long week and I don't want to cook! It's time to stop acting like a kid and get serious.

Alright, let's take a look at my debt balances:

Mortgage: $148,000 
Car Loan: $7,400
Student Loans: $6,700
Credit Cards: $3,350
Grand Total of Debt: $165,450

My student loan balances
Ugh. That number is $1,700 bigger than August's number because of a new student loan. The good news is my credit cards are down slightly. I mean, really, really, slightly. But, hey, it still counts.

On the bright side, I know I've made some positive progress on my renovation fund.

Renovation fund requirement: $13,250
New Grand Total of Debt: $178,800

After taking into consideration my savings in my renovation fund, I'm only $800 more in debt than I was in August. I'm not happy about it but it's better than I had expected.

There hasn't been any changes on the savings side of things but here's a refresher:

Savings account: $2,000
P2P Lending account: $250
Investment account: $150
Grand Total of Savings: $2,400

Summing it all up - I'm $800 worse off than I was a month ago and I desperately need to get better at saving money. I know I keep saying this (I'm sorry for getting stuck on repeat. I really am.) but hopefully everything will change once my renovations are a thing of the past.

I hope you're all enjoying the fall. Anyone else look forward to fall because all of your favorite clothing items are hoodies? Seriously, I might have enough hoodies to wear a different one each day of the month. Maybe it's time to clean out my closet and list some items on Mercari.
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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report (#9)

Monthly Progress Report (#9)



Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more details. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

Oh man, it's my least favorite time of year again - it's the last day of August, it's Labor Day weekend, it's the dang end of summer! It's gone quick. Seriously, I think it was just May yesterday.

The last time I checked in was for my July progress report. I'm excited to see how August turned out, I'm optimistic. I think I'm making some progress. Even when it comes to saving up for my more expensive renovations!

Ugh. Still super bummed about my renovations delay.

Also bummed about turning 30 in September. THIRTY? How did that happen?! When I was little I remember everyone telling me how fast time went as I was counting down the painfully slow seconds to the next big thing - summer, permit, license, college - you know, all the exciting things that happen when you're a kid. Now I'm the one commenting just how fast time goes by.

Anyways, maybe I should change the subject before I get started about the price of milk when I was little.

Let's take a look at how my debt payoff is going:

Mortgage: $148,200 
Car Loan: $7,600
Student Loans: $4,350 (for now.. my fall semester bill is coming!)
Credit Cards: $3,600 (Annnd we're back over the $3,000 mark again 😡)
Grand Total of Debt: $163,750

My student loan balances
Alright, so I'm $350 further into debt than I was in July, but to be fair it's mostly due to my text books and other class materials. One of the books was almost $200 and of course that wasn't the only thing I needed for the class. It's insane.

I'm thinking about renting my textbooks in the future. Have you tried to rent from Amazon or from another company? Let me know what you think about it in the comments.

So it wasn't as great as a month as I had hoped but I know I made some progress with my renovation fund. I've been trying to squirrel away any extra penny I get.

Renovation fund requirement: $14,150
New Grand Total of Debt: $177,900

Taking into consideration my renovation fund, I'm feeling a little bit better. That total is $500 lower than it was in July. So I didn't kill it this month but at least I'm moving in the right direction.

Which is good because I'm pretty sure I'll be moving backwards in September.

Let's check out my savings balances:

Savings account: $2,000
P2P Lending account: $250
Investment account: $150
Grand Total of Savings: $2,400

I haven't added anything to my savings and I'm feeling guilty. I'm hoping by the time I get my yearend bonus I'll be able to add a little something while still working on taking care of my ridiculous amounts of debt.

Overall, $500 towards the black this month! Now I need to start preparing myself for 30, fall weather and more debt. Ugh, this time of year is always a doozy.

Now back to your experiences renting textbooks.. Please help me save some money, talk me into it!
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Monthly Progress Report (#8)

Monthly Progress Report (#8)



It’s the last day of July and I haven't blogged since the last day of June when I posted my last monthly progress report.

I know, I know, I'm totally a bad blogger.

It's just A LOT has been going on.

My renovations totally faltered. So back to the drawing board. I'm thinking I won't actually do them until next spring or summer, but who knows? Anything can happen. But I like the idea of saving up a little bit more money. Especially since I know the price is just going to go up.

I know what you're thinking. Like, how does this happen? Well, I'm honestly not sure. Bad luck, maybe? I picked a well respected contractor who has been in business for over 30 years. I researched him. I got referrals. But he can't fulfill his end of the bargain. Who does that happen to?

I'm annoyed and it's been a frustrating month with the whole situation - but it's over and it's time to move on.

Alright, so now that I got that off my chest - how about we check out how things are shaping up for me financially? I may be a bad blogger but I'm not about to forget my monthly progress reports! No matter how bad the month has been.

Let's start with my debt totals:

Mortgage: $148,400 
Car Loan: $7,900
Student Loans: $4,400 (unfortunately in a month or two this number will be going up)
Credit Cards: $2,700 (yay! Back under that $3,000 mark again!)
Grand Total of Debt: $163,400

My student loan balances

Alright, so it's an improvement.

So far.

I've debated if I should set a new goal to get to on the renovation side. Obviously, I don't have a set number in mind but I can guesstimate. Don't you love that word? Guesstimate - when an estimate just isn't flimsy enough. 

Renovation fund requirement: $15,000
New Grand Total of Debt: $178,400

I mean, I based the number off of some facts. It's not totally out of the blue but it totally depends on choices I need to make - and since I can't make up my mind to save my life - I just padded it a little bit more.

That number is petrifying by the way. $15,000?! Holy cow! How the heck am I going to make up that difference?!

Yeah, obviously I have no idea. Just another disappointment for me as far as renovations go. You get why I've been in a little bit of a funk now, right?

Alright, moving on..

Let's check out my savings balances:

Savings account: $2,000
P2P Lending account: $250
Investment account: $150
Grand Total of Savings: $2,400

Yeah, still totally unchanged. Which, unfortunately, I anticipate them to stay for quite some time now.

One day I'm going to get my savings in check. One day.

In order to keep piling it on - lets quantify all this bad news. I'm $13,250 more in the red than I was at the end of June. 

Oh dear. 

That's awful news. Especially since I know it's going to get worse before it gets better with my next class staring later this month - meaning another student loan. Thankfully, taking one class at a time means smaller student loan balances.

What a disappointing month July has shaped up to be. Let's hope August brings some good news!

Do you have any nightmare contractor stories? Share them with me. Let's commiserate together. I hope in the end everything worked out for you! 
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Monthly Progress Report (#7)

Monthly Progress Report (#7)



It’s the last day of June, which means it's time to check in and see how I'm doing with my debt.

Before we do that I feel like I should apologize. I know I've been a bad blogger, things just get so crazy in the summer. I really admire people that blog daily. It seems weekly has been a struggle for me lately with the warm weather and so much to do around the house. I’m not promising I’ll get any better in the next few weeks because I think things are only going to get crazier. But I am trying. And one day, I promise I’ll be a better blogger.

Anyways, enough about my poor blogging habits. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, maybe you're curious and want to check out last month's progress report?

Alright, now let's see where we are after seven months of trying to get my financial butt in gear.

June has been kind of a rough month for me. Still no renovations, my car needed new brakes (both front and back!) and I bought tickets for a couple of different events. Why? Because I'm not going to miss my favorite band playing an hour away even if they're playing at 10 PM Thursday night and I have to work Friday. Also, because I'm impulsive and want to make the most out of my summer and I'm in a bad mood about my renovations... so not spending money isn't going great.

Here it is, here are my debt totals:

Mortgage: $148,600 
Car Loan: $8,100
Student Loans: $4,400
Credit Cards: $3,100
Grand Total of Debt: $164,200

My student loan balances


I'm not thrilled. It seems like any time I make some sort of improvement on those credit card balances, it never fails I end up with some unexpected mess the following month. All these messes seem to be car related recently. Hopefully, since everything has been taken care of I'll get a break for a little while. Just kidding, I'll have a car insurance bill in August before I know it. UGHHH.

Such is life, I guess. I'll have to make more of an effort to get those card balances down.

The good news about my renovations continuously being pushed back is I have more time to knock the balance needed down.

Renovation fund requirement: $950
New Grand Total of Debt: $165,150

I was so surprised by that number I had to recalculate it twice to make sure I wasn't missing something huge. But it really is right! The majority of the decrease is due to some extra money I earned at my mom's garage sale.

I'm so happy to be under the $1,000 mark in my shortfall. Of course as the renovations are dragged out it leaves me with a ton of time to think and add more things I'd love to see done.

Even without all my newly dreamt up wishlist items, I anticipate there being unexpected expenses. I've never took on a project quite this size so I have no idea just how many surprises can arise. Hopefully I'll get lucky and we come in under budget! Yeah, I'm skeptical about that too.

Now, onto the depressing news of my savings accounts. Since I’m still so focused on debt, nothing much has changed in my savings. Well, nothing good. 

Here's a quick look at the savings side of things:

Savings account: $2,000
P2P Lending account: $250
Investment account: $150
Grand Total of Savings: $2,400

I actually lost money in my Lending Club account - two loans look like they're going to be uncollectable. Two fairly new loans. That's what I get for writing I had been fairly successful - a $50 loss and a foot in my mouth.

It's ok, I knew P2P was riskier than the rest and overall I'm still happy with my returns.

June was an ok month, I'm $700 better off than I was at the end of May. I'd like to eliminate my renovation fund shortfall ASAP and it looks like I'm finally in the homestretch. Now if only I don't end up with any major expenses in July, I should be well on my way to being where I need to be.

Do you have any big plans for the Fourth? It's one of my friends birthdays so we'll be celebrating with a pig roast and fireworks! Hope you have a great Fourth of July! Be safe.
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Earn Big with Shopkick this Weekend 6/21-6/23

Earn Big with Shopkick this Weekend 6/21-6/23



I’m having a rough week so this post is more PSA than anything remotely insightful. But I hope that it helps you out. And more importantly, I hope you’re having a better week than I am!

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Shopkick - the app that pays you to walk into stores. If you aren’t using Shopkick, you should be. It’s easy money. So download the app, check out my little Shopkick tutorial and start racking up the kicks!

Whether you’re new to Shopkick or a seasoned pro, this weekend would be a great weekend to hit the stores - Shopkick has announced today June 21st until Sunday June 23rd is a Blue Weekend!


What does that mean? Blue Weekends are weekends where Shopkick goes crazy. Crazy with the kicks! 

Ok, I sound a little crazy. Let’s try this again. Blue Weekends are offered from time to time, usually holiday weekends like Labor Day - you know the big shopping weekends. On Blue Weekends extra kicks are offered for walking into stores and linked card purchases (both online and in store purchases).

Here’s a look at some of the walk-in offers this weekend: 


And some of the online offers: 


Now let’s get shopping! A little retail retail therapy is just what I need. I hope you get some fab deals this weekend if you hit the stores and even if you decide to stay in, enjoy the first weekend of summer! That’s right, it’s finally here!!!
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Adventures in Christmas Shopping: Call in the Reinforcements

Adventures in Christmas Shopping: Call in the Reinforcements



Since Tara and I were beginning to lose a little steam on our Christmas shopping goal we decided to switch it up a little bit when we went shopping this past Saturday.

First, we skipped the month of May since so much was going on (seriously, as soon as the weather starts to get nicer, weekends seem to disappear). Then, we decided to ask our friend Gloria to come along. I figured telling Gloria all about my goal and then buying myself some new summer shirts was pointless, so it was time to buckle down and get some Christmas shopping done.

Honestly, I'm starting to sweat what I’m going to get my parents. I basically have nothing for them (especially my mom - sorry Mom!) and I’m getting nervous!

I did buy my dad a coffee mug at a specialty gift shop during May in order to make sure I stuck to my one gift a month rule. The total was $13.12 - expensive for a mug but I had bought him one last year and he dropped it. He specifically asked me to replace it so at least I know he'll like it!

My goal was to end the day with something for each of them. It didn’t matter if it was something small or big or cheap or expensive. I just needed to start making some progress.

We started our day with TJ Maxx. They had a ton of sneakers on clearance and I would love a new pair of running shoes but I don't like buying stuff at the first store we go to, especially for myself. So I passed. And now I'm hoping some will still be there on our next trip!

After TJ Maxx we headed down to Homegoods. The stores are so summered out now, I love it! I looked at patio furniture, coolers and picnic baskets (seriously, picnic baskets!) for a while before settling on a gift for my mom! Finally!

I passed up the pretty neat flamingo wine glasses and bought her a Yankee Candle. My mom is kind of a candle snob and won't burn anything but Yankee Candles. I mean, they are nice candles but they can be pretty pricey at $20+ for larger sizes so I was excited to see them at Homegoods!

Even cooler, these candles were scents that had been retired and brought back - they call them “Returning Classics.” I thought it was a neat little touch the label told you when the candle was originally made. Honestly, I was way too excited about these candles. But I'm still kind of excited just writing about them now.

If you totally get my excitement and decide to go out hunting for your own throwback candles, I have a word of advice for you - skip the Orange Creamsicle candle, it sounds like it should smell amazing but it's kind of a disappointment.


Honeydew Melon & Strawberry

Yeah, I actually bought two candles - because my candle drawer is empty and the scents were so good! I spent a total of $32.33 - so about $16 each. Not too bad for Yankee Candles.

Next we went to Macy's and checked out their Backstage area. At this point I decided it would be a good idea to pick up swim trunks for Mike as summer is really starting to get into full swing. I spent most of the time in the men's section looking at all the fun prints. Since Mike is 6'6" and likes board shorts the new short shorts style wasn't something I thought he would like but they had a decent selection.

Gloria had never been to a Macy's Backstage so it was great to see her try to take it all in. Ultimately she decided TJ Maxx and Marshalls were priced a little better and had a bigger selection. But to be fair both stores are at least twice the size. And not just stuck in the back of Macy's. I havehigh hopes for Backstage - I'd love to see Macy's expand their bargain section in the future.

I rounded out our mall visit with a pretzel while Tara and Gloria went for the healthier smoothie option. But is there anything as good as a nice warm mall pretzel? I don't think so. My pretzel set me back $3.99.

After the mall we headed over to TJ Maxx. Now that I was stuck on getting Mike swimming trunks I knew exactly what I was looking for. They had three options that would do - flamingos, elephants and little tiny sharks. All navy blue. I let him pick out which ones he liked best and to my surprise he went with -

Sorry about this shoddy photo -
obviously, I need to work on my photo skills!

- the elephants! I was pretty excited since they were my favorite too. I didn't buy anything else, so I got out of TJ Maxx fairly cheap - my total came to $10.73.

Our last stop was Burlington but by this point we were all pretty hungry so we didn't wander around too much. But they had a ton of swim trunks! I was happy with the elephants from TJ Maxx but Burlington had every color I could imagine.

We ended the day with hibachi. It was a perfect end to a nice girls' day. My portion of dinner was $26.93. I know that sounds expensive but it was more than enough food to have for dinner the next night. And it was delicious.

Total for the day: $73.98. I've been doing good keeping myself under my $100 limit!

Total for non-Christmas items: $57.81

Cumulative total for Christmas 2019: $223.75


Overall, I'm going to say it was a success. It was nice to have Gloria come along and keep us on track a little bit. We definitely needed a little change of pace. 

And I'm happy I finally bought something for my mom! I didn't find anything for my dad but at least I have a couple things for him stashed away.

How are you guys enjoying the nice weather? Have you found the perfect swimsuit for this summer?
  
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A Ticket for Your Thoughts - Two Free Mets Tickets!

A Ticket for Your Thoughts - Two Free Mets Tickets!



I was a little bummed yesterday, my renovations have stalled for the foreseeable future and my contractor’s response time leaves a lot to be desired.

But then as I checked my email for the 20th time to see if said contractor responded I saw an email from the Mets titled “A Ticket for Your Thoughts..”

Two things - 1) Yes, sadly I am a DIE HARD Mets fan and 2) I was expecting some cheap bleacher seat in exchange for a crazy long survey. But my, oh my did I underestimate the Amazins. Not only were they offering two tickets, they were offering two field level tickets for the completion of a ten minute survey. 

You better believe I didn’t hesitate to fill out the survey. I would have filled out an hour long survey for field level seats but it really only took the promised ten minutes. The questions mostly focused on how I felt about the Mets as well as the other professional sports teams in the New York area. 

If I’m being honest, it wasn’t a bad survey at all - I’ve filled out way worse for 50 cents on Swagbucks. Hey, 50 cents is 50 cents!



After answering all the questions I received a code that I could use to purchase two tickets to any home game Monday through Thursday (excluding July 2nd and 3rd). I lucked out and was able to pick a Mets-Cubs game right before Mike’s birthday. 

Relax, I told him about my free tickets - I’m not cheap enough to gift them as a birthday present. Although, I am a firm believer that tickets make the best gifts!

So for ten minutes of effort on my lunch break I received two seats right behind the third base bag (definitely gonna be on my toes with those foul balls!) that would have cost $160 plus fees. Definitely one of my favorite survey prizes!

Moral of my little blog post? Sometimes it’s worth signing up for promotional emails! I wish I could share the link with you. I’m hoping you have a similar email waiting for you in your inbox if you’re a baseball fan. Even if you’re not, going to a free game and seeing all the commotion and eating ballpark hotdogs has to be a good time, right?

Have you gotten a survey from your favorite MLB team in exchange for free tickets? If that’s not your thing, tell me what your favorite survey prize was/is!
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Broke Dolly
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