Monthly Spending – September 2016

September is a pretty average month. I don’t have any big spending and it’s been consistent month over month. On average I’m spending a little more than $3K per month since I started tracking my spending every month. This month, I even purchase a “new to us” furniture for the house which led me to projects I wrote in here and here. Even with that, I didn’t really spend much. It was my sisters birthday month, so they also received some present. I used some gift cards to purchase that.

I did notice that I bought snacks 3 times this month – all the same large hershey milk chocolate bar. It’s not expensive, but I didn’t realize that I’m eating that much candy every month. The bar is only $1.79 per bar (the largest one) but I’m eating that whole thing almost every week. That’s a lot of sugar intake. This is one of the benefit at looking closely on your spending, regardless how little it is. I’m not against eating candy, but if I think about the times that I bought one, it acted more of stress reliever than me craving for a candy. As I said, I took on a new role and I’m still trying to navigate what it means and ways to handle stress. It’s good to see this pattern, so I can stop it.

My spending is just a little below August. I used mint and download it on excel. From there, I look at every line item and check if there’s something unusual. This month, I even spend $3 for an ATM fee – oops.

DESCRIPTIONAMOUNTWHAT ARE THESE?
Mortgage & Rent1800This is where I choose to spend my money
Furnishings523.17Some new to us furnitures and supplies
Student Loan200
Groceries185.69A very low Costco trip
Internet66.1
Restaurants47.24This is mostly brunch
Cash & ATM40This should be all restaurant spending too
Mobile Phone33.88
Shopping33.56part of the decor
Gas & Fuel26.22
Gifts & Donations25Donations
Gift22Sister's present
Home Improvement10.95part of the house furnishings
ATM Fee3oops on this.
Grand Total3016.81

Repurposed Hutch to Media Tower

Continuing on to the month of interior decoration, my second project is finding a media tower. I searched around and saw something similar to this or this. After seeing the price (we’re talking about $700 – $1200), I knew that I have to be creative. I quickly search the internet for media tower DIY and behold all this projects on Pinterest. It took a couple of weeks of searching craigslist, before I found the hutch listed by a non-profit consignment store. It cost $80 + tax, but since we don’t have a truck, we have to pay for delivery — another $120 for delivery. I also got a $20 merman end table, and $20 arm chair. Since I know that we will have to rent a truck anyway, regardless where we get the hutch, I opted to pay the delivery and purchase the 3 items.
This is the hutch before. It’s old and dated, but it works. The size is perfect. You can see in the left that we’re using an older bookshelves from ikea. This is a very heavy hutch and it took us some time to move it from the living room to the spare room.

I decided to paint the hutch dutch white, similar to the old console table, which I painted before this project. Since I already have the paint, primer and materials, I didn’t have to buy a new one.

I used a shellac primer here. This is probably over kill but I already have it and don’t want to buy a different one. I used Behr Marquee Dutch White to paint the whole shelves. We also took out the doors from the upper cabinets and created a hole in the back. I thought about buying a new holder, but the old brass knobs looks great with the white cabinets.

Supplies:

  • shellac primer
  • paint (Behr Marquee Dutch White)
  • Sander (150 grit)
  • screw driver
  • 4 inch roller
  • brush (used a good one with smooth finish)

Since I already have the supplies, I only spent the $200 for this project. Without it, it will cost roughly $260. The hardest part of this project is moving the hutch from the living room since it is one piece and very heavy. There’s also a lot of waiting. It probably took a full 2 days. I sanded and prime for one afternoon, and painted the outside for another afternoon. I also painted the inside on a different day and waited a week for the paint to cure.

This is the hutch after

Just for fun, here’s the end table that I got with the purchase, for $20
. The makers mark shows mersman 8405. It’s the exact diameter that I’m looking at and I really feel that I scored a deal with this end table.

 

Repurposed Coffee Table

This months’s hobby (or as what my husband say, obsession) is redecorating our living room. When we move in our house about a year an half ago, we didn’t buy any additional furniture. We moved from a condo to house and I postponed any big purchase, aside from a pet and a wedding.

Recently, I’ve been looking around to see if there are little improvements I can do in terms of interior decoration, without necessarily breaking the bank. I started repurposing what we have. First project is repurposing an old coffee table.

Old coffee table

I inherited this piece of furniture from my parents. It’s actually a bit to big for my couch set, but I like the style and it is solid wood. I thought about refinishing it or painting it but decided to try and change it to an ottoman.

There’s a lot of instructions out on the web for this. I didn’t do anything special. It cost me $69.68 for materials and supplies. I shop on labor day and Joann’s fabric are having a huge sale. Otherwise, this will cost more. The foam alone is $35/yard and fabrics are not cheap.

Here’s a photo after:

ottoman

It took 2 half days with tufting being the most time consuming. It looks pretty good if you ask me and we’ve been using it for about a month now. The fury baby decided to take off the tufting, so those buttons are gone – you can tell that she’s planning on it from the very beginning.

Supplies

  • 2″ high density foam (I used a coupon and got this for 60% off)
  • batting
  • Button, tufting kit
  • Fabric
  • Staple Gun
  • Staples
  • Spray adhesive
  • Drill
  • 6″ needle (yes, it’s long)
  • upholstery thread

Step 1: Measure the table and decide placement of the buttons. I used a diamond tufting technique and drill 14 holes, starting with 3 holes, then 4, repeating it twice.

Step 2: using adhesive spray, place the 2″ high density foam

Step 3: Using the needle, mark the placement of the hole in the high density foam

Step 4: Cut the foam where the buttons will go

Step 5: Prepare the buttons. Follow the instructions from the kit

Step 6: Place the batting, pull it in and place it using a staple gun

Step 7: Place the fabric

Step 8: Sew in the buttons (tip, the more you cut into the foam, the easier it is to pull the buttons)

Step 9: Pull the fabric in and place it using a staple gun

Step 10: Admire your work!

 

Monthly Spending – August 2016

This post is late. One month late. August has been a whirlwind. New opportunity came in at work and that took some time. A lot of time which warrants a longer post. So, let’s just say that August was all about work.

At that same month, my sister went to college and we went on a good old road trip and drop her off. It was a fun trip and brought back all the memories back when I moved in to my dorm room. Our gift to her is a new laptop, which was split between my sister and I. She paid some part of it, since she decided to get a higher end.

img_0063Our fur baby also had her annual exam. We were lucky enough to find a vet that is walking distance. Reviews were pretty good and I was happy with the new doctor. Fur baby got all her immunization and the doctors recommended that she lose a couple of pounds. Fur baby was definitely spoiled by her grandparents when we’re gone, but she’s back to normal now.

I didn’t hit my spending goal this month. I think I lapse a bit for the last two months and didn’t really track my spending. Despite of this, I was surprised that aside from the gift, I was actually on track with my spending. This just let me know that I should also budget for gift.

So here you go – my spending for August (September to come next)….

DESCRIPTIONAMOUNTWHAT ARE THESE?
Mortgage & Rent1800This is where I choose to spend my money
Gift363Laptop and some other donation
Student Loan200
Utilities184.59Decrease from the previous bill (yay)
Travel141.8Hotel. We stayed overnight when we drop off my sister and I paid for the hotel.
Veterinary133Fur baby's annual exam + immunization
Internet66.1
Restaurants46.39
Furnishings42.13I started re-decorating my place
Fast Food34.77
Gas & Fuel33.91
Mobile Phone33.88
Rental Car & Taxi9.36Lyft
Coffee Shops9.21
Groceries3.58Our last trip to Costco on 7/31 lasted us for a month 🙂
Grand Total3101.72