Well there’s been lots going on ’round here! Let’s get to some highpoints:

1. I almost bought a condo – seriously. Stupid me. I have ALWAYS said I don’t want a condo. But this one was in the perfect location and seemed like such a good deal. Til the home inspection found water damage that everyone dillydallyed about taking responsibility for and til the HOA bylaws revealed that oh yeah there ARE pet restrictions even though the listing agent said they’re wasn’t before I put the offer in and til the bank called saying that cuz of some silly condo rule I couldn’t finance the way they are started the process for and it would probably be doable but more expensive. At that point – I decided walking away was the best course of action. Got the earnest money back, but was still out $1,075 in various STUFF since I was about a week out from closing. An expensive lesson learned: DON’T BUY A CONDO.  We are now recovered from this adventure and back to plan A as outlined last month. Good news? I did my 2011 taxes and ended up getting a $814 refund (thought I’d have to pay in) so that’s “bonus” money to help offset the condo money-loss fiasco. So I’m not really setback in my savings after all. Phew!

2. South Beach diet is going well – I have been quite good overall about sticking the plan. A little too much wine here and there and occasionally on weekends I snack too much on candy, but doing really well in general. The exercise…not so great. My hip flared up this month and has made it difficult to find the motivation/a litle nervewracking to get into the gym, plus I’ve been working a LOT of extra shifts so I’m even more stretched time-wise.

3. The House Downpayment Savings Plan is going strong! – Here’s the standings for March:

1. PAH jobs:  a petsit job, kitten nail trims = $155 net
2. Relief shifts: 3 shifts = $605 net
3. Extra hours: staff meeting today = $25 net
4. Grocery total in March: $100!  Savings from budget: $80! Savings over last year:  $211!
5. Tax refund = $815

Extra income:  $1600, Grocery savings: $200, Standard savings: $600
Loss from savings: $1075 for the condo debacle
Net added to Downpayment Fund: $1325
Goal monthly savings: $1600 — not bad considering the condo and that I didn’t start with extra shifts til mid-month!

Looking towards April – I will have 2 overtime and 1 relief shift and a couple small PAH jobs. Grocery should be close or just below budget of $180/mo. I project to add ~$1450 to the downpayment fund!

4. Couponing is finally paying off – With my new goals and budget and perspective firmly in place, I have been doing great with my couponing in March and April. For March I far underspent my combined budget for groceries, personal care items, pet supplies, and dining out – only spent $100 of my 2012 $180/mo budget! Remember how I spent on average $311/mo in 2011 and was aghast at how much I was “over budget”? Well I looked back at my budgeted numbers in 2009 for these categories….and I was already budgeting $300! So actually I had been staying on that budget which means that for this “challenge”, I can ACTUALLY count my savings off of $300/m0. Yay! So March was a $200 savings towards the downpayment fund 😀

Another thing I am going to be doing regarding my couponing, is taking a page from Mavis at http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com and post my weekly shopping trips. I think this will help me stay accountable to my monthly budget/savings as well as help me keep track of my totals. Plus, it’s fun! This way I can look back at all my shops, not just the extreme ones. Some weeks may have just pics and totals spent, some may just have shopping list and total spent, some may have more elaborate coupon transaction details. It  will just depend on the trip and deal and my mood. Last week was a great one, I’ll give the deets in my next post.

5. Summer is coming! – Ok, it’s not, but spring is here. Which in western Washington means mecurial weather and lots of fakeouts. There has been 4 (FOUR!) of my days off which were both warm enough and sunny enough to go to the park next door and lay on the grass reading. I am SO excited! Seriously, the disappointment and disillusionment of the condo debacle is mitigated by sunshine and realizing that I am exactly where I want to be. The joys of this small town in the summertime just reinforce my house plans to stay in this exact locale and wait for the right home to come on the market. It’s lots easier to be patient when laying on a blanket in the park on a gorgeous day off.

K, next up: Shopping the 4th week of April

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Ok, I promise I will get back to tell you about the crazy condo-buying-oh-not-so-fast and couponing and hip-hurting and south-beaching soon but right now –

DID YOU SEE THE VAMPIRE DIARIES THIS WEEK? O. M. G.!!

Seriously. There was like giggly chortling and hand clapping and cheering and bouncing in my chair. I know that my heart leaps anytime there is a first kiss between characters that I love in a show. But this was just….beyond. Like a Finally and Thank God and OMG and YES and I Can’t Believe That Happened NOW and Really, No Teasing? and What’s the Catch and hoping and holding my breath to make sure it really happened all in about 10 seconds of time.

Phew! I’m fair worn out. No exercise needed today!

It was a callback to Dawson’s Creek when Joey had been fighting off her feelings and wrestling with acknowledging them after Pacey kissed her and confronted her. And finally he just called her out and there was a heartstopping countdown and hand catch and then she gave in to herself and kissed him. And it was beautiful and passionate and innocent and free all at the same time. And this kiss, so long in coming, between Damon and Elena was just as forceful and poignant and bittersweet.

I love Kevin Williamson. He’s the best.