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Archive for May, 2006

Cell phone woes over

May 30th, 2006 at 05:10 pm

I didn't actually blog about this, but the post office misplaced a paid bill I sent off for almost two weeks! It finally cleared this morning as an ACH, and Cingular said that since the envelope was postmarked the 16th of May they would not count it as a late payment and there would be no interest charges added to the account.

Tomorrow I am going down to the CU and fill out the paperwork to make that an autopayment. It's the same every month so no surprises. I am just glad Cingular was rational about it. As soon as we knew there was a problem we talked to them and they were very nice about it, especially as we have never been late before.

It bugs me. Our CU has just finished updating its webtools so now we can pay any bill directly out of our account, but I like the convenience of autopay a little better than that.

Family Day

May 28th, 2006 at 11:28 pm

Today we drove up to Lynden and went to the McDonald's there. We stayed for a good couple of hours. The kids played in the tubes and I read my gardening book. Of course, they both had happy meals and I ate off the dollar menu. Then they both got the freebie kid cones for dessert. It was just over $12 (8.4% sales tax).

Then we stopped at MIL's house to spend a couple of hours there. We watched (and helped, sort of) them make a cobblestone pathway. They had the forms and then you pour the concrete into them and use a trowel to smooth it down. Then they had some green landscaping rocks, I'm not sure what it was, it looked a little like jade and a little like that soft, almost soaplike stone that I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. Apparently college geology classes don't stay in your mind forever.

Anyway, they pressed the shards of these green rocks into the poured forms so that they were even, kind of like mosaics, and then MIL put a little glitter over it all. It was a very pretty effect. What's more, it shouldn't be too difficult for me to recreate it. They, of course, bought 100 bags of concrete at once. But I figure, if I do a bag a week, it shouldn't be quite so overwhelming budget-wise. I've been wanting to put in a pathway for a long time, just couldn't see myself doing it, since DH is gone so much of the time. But this shouldn't be so hard.

Anyway, afterwards we went to my mother's house and I cooked them all dinner and then the kids are spending the night so I get some free time tonight. I've started on laundry as it is supposed to be sunny tomorrow and am working on the kitchen. The floor needs mopping, so I'll do that tomorrow.

Oh, I did spend $10 at Haggen to get a black caladium. I am just waiting on two other ones that are in the reds to show. They usually don't appear in our stores until early to mid-June. Then I will be done buying flowers for the year.

Payday Friday

May 27th, 2006 at 12:54 am

Today was payday.

Paid:
$1000 to mortgage
$300 to Chase Visa
$40 fee for soccer camp for Rose
$20.50 to Lowe's (used my gift card of $10 off a $25 purchase) to buy 2 caladiums and a canna
$9.98 for 2 gallons of organic milk

Have set aside:
$20 for long-term savings
$17.11 for freezer money account (this was the amount left over in the checkbook from the previous paycheck)
I will deposit those on Tuesday as I didn't make it into town in time to do that today.

Recycling

May 25th, 2006 at 05:23 pm

Yesterday when I had to drive down to the school during the day, I noticed a lot of aluminum cans on the side of the road. On the way back I saw a lot on the other side of the road. There were at least 30 beer and pop cans. The next time the weather is nice and the kids are in school, I think I'll take the one mile walk down and back with a plastic bag and collect those cans and add them to what I will take in to the recycling place.

If I had one of those sticks for picking up litter, I'd do that, too as it looks pretty awful and the adopt a highway people only come out once a month to clean the area. But I don't want to just stick my hand in something that might be ooky.

Maybe if I pick up cans once a week it'll eventually be a nice little (very little, I think it is at 35 cents a pound now) profit to go in savings. Plus the exercise never hurt anyone.

I Did It!

May 25th, 2006 at 05:17 pm

I met my first savings goal today. My electronic funds transfer added ten dollars to my savings account, bringing long-term savings up to $250.52. Tomorrow is payday so I will add in some more, probably just ten or fifteen, but I am excited that I am 25% of the way to $1000. This seemed so far away when I started the ten dollar a week thing, adding whatever else I could as I went. I will also add a bit to the freezer money account, maybe 20, tomorrow. I'll see after I do the bills and pay the mortgage.

Stupid Convenience Items

May 24th, 2006 at 11:30 pm

I stopped in at the little store/gas station a mile from my house today to pick up a head of garlic (25 cents) and noticed a little display on their counter next to the register. It had single, wrapped, flavored cigarettes for 72 cents each. I asked them if people actually bought those, and they do! I was stunned. Then the guy behind the counter said, what's really amazing is if you multiply that by the number in a pack it would cost nearly $16 for a pack. And people do this one at a time!

I haven't been this annoyed at the American consumer since the peanut butter pre-mixed with jelly in a jar.

Mortgage Search

May 24th, 2006 at 11:22 pm

Today I put the wheels in motion to refinance the house. We want to put the current mortgage of $37,500 and our credit card debt of around $32,000 all into a new mortgage on our house. We will change it from a 15 year fixed loan to a 30 year fixed loan. By doing this, it will free up $200 a month for us to start saving for a new car. Because I don't know how much longer we can limp along with the two we have. I'm hoping a year or two, so we can save up as much as possible. One of the vehicles will go as a trade in, probably the Blazer as I don't think anyone in there right minds would buy it if we did a FSBO. It just costs too much in gas right now. Hopefully, we could get $2000 as a trade in. Its in great shape inside and decent shape outside.

Then we could keep the car as our back-up car. Although we went for a long time with only having one car and we did okay with it. So maybe we will sell it, too. I'm just not sure at this point. We have to be able to refinance first, which I don't think should be a problem, as we have a great FICO and no one knows about the mortgage on my parent's house they took to pay my medical bills, as its in their name. According to all of our stuff, we should have an extra $1000 of disposable income. Obviously, we don't as we pay that each month on that mortgage, but it doesn't really matter. We still would be fine.

I hope this is a quick and painless process, as I've never really dealt with internet mortgages before. But the guy I talked to seemed pretty straight-forward. I should have a quote by no later than Tuesday. Possibly by Friday, but I won't count on that, and wouldn't be around to get that call anyhow.

Doing this would make things so much easier, so I hope it all pans out.

Frustrated

May 23rd, 2006 at 10:41 pm

I had the car in the shop again today. My so-called $145 part and $55 labor turned into a total of $374. And the check engine light is still coming on, only instead of coming on after the car has been driven for a minute it is coming on after about five minutes.

They said it would be ready at 1:30, it wasn't. They said it would be ready by 4:30. I had to borrow my mom's car to come home in time for the kids to get off the bus. At 4:30 I called the shop. It still wasn't done. They close at six. Was it going to be done today or not? Because I didn't want to drive all the way back to town only to be told it wasn't done.

The answer I got was they were 99% sure it would be done and fortunately it was. But I still don't think they even bothered to diagnose the check engine light.

I have had such a good relationship with this shop but I think I may go back to the dealership instead to have this done. I am so tired of throwing money at this car. Almost $600 this month and that doesn't include the price of gas.

I am going to redouble my efforts to get us out of debt and increase our savings. Especially because I had to charge this. I will have the money to pay it on Friday and we will pay it online immediately. It really made my stomach upset to pull out the old credit card for this.

If it hadn't been after five when we got back to town I would have taken the money from the long term savings and freezer account and then replaced it on Friday over putting it on the card. That was psychologically devastating to use that card after consciously not using it for a few months.

More Money to the Freezer Account

May 22nd, 2006 at 08:18 pm

I did put the rolled coin in my purse last night and an extra roll of quarters that I had accumulated in the 2 weeks I had been forgetting to take the coin in and deposit it. So the total deposit was $25.50, bringing the account up to $164.08. There must have been a smidge of interest dumped in at some point, also. I don't keep up on this account much because up until April, it didn't have much in it, is only a savings account, so the money is either there or not, seldom going in or out. Well, it is still seldom going out, but its going in with a bit more frequency now.

My son had his last rehearsal before the recital today, well except for dress rehearsal, so I ran to the CU during that time. My daughter didn't go to school today or I would have taken in the cans. I just didn't want to drag her around too much. Both because she isn't feeling well and because I still don't feel well, either.

Oh, well, I'll get them in one of these days. I loaned $5 to my neighbor for gas. I don't know if I'll ever see it again, but I did it anyway.

I also bought a big container of egg flower soup at the one MSG-free Chinese restaurant in the county. This is my major comfort food when sick. There is enough for six meals and it cost $5.24. This and Mrs. Grass should get me through this cold.

Didn't spend on anything else.

Humidity and Thunderstorms

May 21st, 2006 at 10:40 pm

Today was a humid 73, which is in a lot of ways worse than a dry 87, but no kind of day could have made me not be a little cranky today. Woke up with a sore throat. Not the kind that makes you want to scream every time you swallow, but the kind that is there all the time, kind of in the background, but it still hurts, just not the type of hurt you can't function with. What we call a "summer" cold, onset with weird weather swings. Even ibuprofen didn't dull it down, but fortunately ice cream and popsicles did help freeze it out. I hope it is better tomorrow.

We had two big thunderstorms tonight. One came through at 8 p.m. and dumped so much water on us that it was coming over the sides of the gutters as well as down the downspouts. I ended up taking photos with the digital camera because DH doesn't believe me when I say water goes between the house and the gutter as well as over the free-standing side of the gutter. He's never home when it happens! Digital camera has the ability to record small bits of live action, too. Now maybe I can get him to put up the new gutters I have been whining for for 2 years. He has a Home Depot gift card he got from work as some kind of thank you for something, so it won't even cost anything, the card will more than cover it. I think he just wants to buy a miter saw, but honestly, we don't need a miter saw. We can borrow one from his Dad. He isn't even a tool guy, but sometimes he wants what he wants. I suppose we all do. But the freak storms are fading the paint on the side of the house and so the gutters are a need.

The other storm came through at ten. This one went through in about ten minutes instead of a half hour like the first one. The thunder wasn't as loud, either. Didn't see lightning with either one.

Did spend some unnecessasary money today, but less than $20. I was feeling too lousy to cook so for lunch we drove up to Lynden. We got food from the dollar menu from McD's (with enough for dinner, too) and ice cream from DQ and I took a different route home than we drove there, so we had a lot of nice scenery to look at. We also went by a gas station that was at $3.16 a gallon so we filled up there, so that cost $45, but that is a planned gas expense that I would have paid out tomorrow anyway. That is 3 cents cheaper than the cheapest one in Bellingham. Going for the drive helped us all with the stir crazies, too.

In the afternoon we cleaned out my son's room and took out a bunch of toys he has grown out of which we will either garage sale or freecycle, depends on how much work I feel like doing. Today's attitude would say just chuck it on freecycle, but I sure wouldn't mind getting a little cash out of it. Or I suppose I could list it on almostfree, might actually get a bit better than garage sale prices for it then.

Some time in the evening my son's friend R came over for about an hour and a half, so they were happily occupied for a bit so I could catch up on my emails and keep my crankiness to myself.

Not much else happened tonight, other than watching a series finale of my favorite show, that really should have been 2 hours long instead of one. It deserved that, but I at least enjoyed the hour they did have. If this show were still on next year I'd have a heck of a time giving up cable next month.

Tomorrow my son has his last class before the recital and maybe if I go put the rolled coin in my purse right now, I'll actually take it to town with me and deposit it in the freezer money account. Here's hoping.

Payday and Savings

May 19th, 2006 at 06:15 pm

Today was payday and I didn't have as much time as I normally do since I started off the morning with that massage. She even gave me an extra 20 minutes over the hour (free) because we were having such a good conversation that she lost track of time and realized when the hour was up she hadn't gotten done all that she wanted. Gotta love that. She said I was in pretty bad shape and should probably come in again next week. I'll see how this plays out first.

I went to the CU that I keep my freezer money account in and made a $25 deposit, bringing that up to $138.58, must have earned some interest on that odd change. I had already paid back the money that I'd borrowed for gas the one week. I still managed to not only forget to grab the aluminum cans to cash in, but the rolled coin as well. I swear, I don't think straight in the mornings. I'll have to take them out to the car the night before I go in next.

Then I went to the CU that has my long-term savings and deposited the $10 that I had set aside previously and an additional $15, total deposit of $25. That account is up to $240.52, so all I need is $15 more and I can open an ING account. I have to leave $5 in the account to keep it open.

After that I went to the cheap gas station, since it is near the CU and topped off the tank. It was at $3.19 as compared to $3.29 everywhere else in the county. Gas costs more here than it does in Seattle. It's because of all the border traffic, we get a lot of Canadian shoppers, so they up the cost to sell to us. It annoys me, because the refinery is in our county so shipping costs are virtually nothing and yet they squeeze us. But that is a rant for another day.

Then went grocery shopping at Fred Meyer. They had beef ribs on sale for .98/lb and Alaska king crab for $6.99/lb, so I got some to freeze. I know I'm not supposed to be buying meat right now, but all we have left in the freezer is chicken, beef steaks, and some seafood. We do like a little more variety. Did not buy any produce but did get milk as they had the Organic Valley milk on for $4.29/gallon, which is over $1 off, so I got two.

I had been hoping to get to Costco today but ran out of time and had to get back for the bus. Of course, I'd been hoping to get there in that sort of I really don't want to go there but need to go there type way. But I always overspend there. I've done better the last few times I've gone and I only need 3 things when I do go, but still the temptations there can be overwhelming.

I'll think about going tomorrow. Rose is going to an all day birthday party/barbecue at one of her best friend's houses tomorrow so it would be a good day for just me and Tobias to go in. Rose always hates that she can't have the samples because she has so many food allergies it isn't worth it for her to try their samples. But they always look so good to her. I can take them or leave them, and usually leave them. My son, however, can make it into lunch time. He'll eat anything, my little bottomless pit. I don't know where he puts it, that kid has a racing metabolism.

Power bill came. Those extra hot steamy showers my son was having when he was so ill and couldn't breathe gave us a hit. But it was still lower than before we started conserving. The next one should be lower again. I'm thinking about getting a water heater timer and we will be getting a water heater blanket as soon as DH comes home this time. We want to keep that power bill down as low as we can.

I just hope the last few days of super heat from the sun that made us have several fans on full time isn't too expensive. At least the weather broke. We had a little rain today but mostly its been a humid, overcast 63 F. So not too much going on on the fan front. Still I shouldn't complain, at least we don't have to worry about A.C. around here. That can get really pricey.

Savings, Big Payments coming, and good neighbors

May 18th, 2006 at 09:18 pm

The automatic deposit was made into long-term savings today, bringing it up to $215. I haven't gotten around to placing the last $10 left over from the previous pay cycle in, but I have it ready to go for when I go to town tomorrow.

I will also be adding some to the freezer money but won't know for sure how much until I do the budget tomorrow. Probably $25, though. I also have $15.50 in rolled coin and I still haven't taken in the aluminum cans, so hopefully I won't be so scatter-brained again that I forget. I mean they are in a big hamper on my front porch. It's mesh, see-through and I have to walk right past it to get out of the house. You would think it would not be so difficult for me to remember.

Tomorrow will be a busy day, I have a lot to do. My morning will be peaceful, though. I have a therapuetic massage scheduled, and I had thought about cancelling it and not paying the $45 for it, my back is really messed up from turning over the compost pile and it has aggravated the old injury, so I guess I'll just have to suffer along and go in, LOL.

DH called and he will be working an extra week, so that is 21 days straight, 14 hour days, anything over 8 hours a day is overtime pay and all of Memorial Day will be overtime pay, also. We'll be able to have a little breathing room, but not much as our CC&R half year dues coming up in July and I really hope the old home owner's association goes belly-up. I could do without the dues. I already maintain the utility easement between my house and the neighbor's house that they are supposed to maintain.

Actually, the new neighbors said they will help with that once they get a lawnmower and even borrowed my lawn mower and did the mowing of it and mowed their lawn last weekend, and today they gave me a one gallon gas container, filled up and borrowed the mower again and did the easement again. I think I am going to like them. And it sure beats an empty house (twice) or a domestic violence situation, which we have seen since we moved here.

Also have coming due half year car insurance towards the end of June and house insurance due the end of July. So like I said, some breathing room, but not much.

In the Mail and other Stuff

May 18th, 2006 at 04:40 pm

Today my mailbox was full of good stuff. I got the Head and Shoulders sample shampoo and the John Freida Sheer blond samples, both for Rose and my 2 $10 gas cards from Great Fun. Cool. Of course, it won't even fill up half a gas tank anymore, but its something to help cut the cost of running a car right now, which is much needed.

It's not quite as hot today, its at 80 but there is a breeze. I have to go mow the lawn, but most of it is now in shade, so it won't be too hot for me. The grass is growing like weeds. And the weeds are growing like weeds, too. I have to get out the weedeater, too. I think I have to replace the string, but I got a big old roll, so that means handrolling, but it is so much cheaper than getting the prepared stuff.

Have to get the rest of the wash hung up, also. Right now stuff is drying at about 3 hours time, so I should be able to get 3 more loads up tonight.

Rewards Coupons

May 17th, 2006 at 10:54 pm

Today I recieved my Fred Meyer spring rewards coupons and rebates. I'm actually quite happy with the offerings this time. Not that I wasn't happy with the winter ones, but there were 2 I couldn't use. This time around I can use everything.

I got a $2 off coupon for any meat purchase totalling $5 or more, $2 off any produce totalling $5 or more, 10% off any patio set or accessories (need a new replacement cushion) with no minimum purchase, and 20% off any men's apparal (DH needs new heavy duty t-shirts to wear under his coveralls and parka gear when he's out in the field up to his knees in snow, which it is still doing up there), so that is good timing.

They also sent a $3 rebate off any purchase, minimum $3 spent, and the same for $2.50 and $1.50. Can only use one rebate at a time but the coupons can all be used in one go along with one rebate.

I am very happy with meat and produce coupons, as they are so hard to come by.

Car Maintenance

May 16th, 2006 at 09:57 pm

I took the car into the shop today to have the oil changed and the power steering fluid changed and it cost me $140, ouch. Well, they did top up all the fluids and do the whatnot bits of the 3000 mile check-up and everything was low, probably evaporated in this heat. 90 degrees today. Yuck.

Also got an estimate on how much the next repair is going to cost, which is $145 for the part and about $55 for the labor. Big sigh. But its part of the brake system and it has to be done. I've got it scheduled for next Tuesday. This time I will come home on the bus and then take a bus into town once the kids are out of school.

I love my car. I really do. Despite the fact that it is 14 years old, and seems to need something new every six months or so. It is comfortable, it is easy to drive, it only has 118,000 miles on it, it is paid for and gets an average of 20.5 mpg, which is okay, not great but not awful. But sometimes it feels like a great big old money pit.

I just really wish we weren't so far into debt that we could buy a new (to us) car that was only about five years old. I won't even talk about what our other paid for vehicle is doing, or rather not doing, in our driveway right now.

But this is what we are saving up for, so eventually we'll get there.

Hanging out in town for a few hours can be expensive, potentially. Especially since the repair shop is more or less next to the mall. But all I bought today was a sun hat for me to wear in the garden or on walks. My scalp burns through my hair, despite the fact that I have tons of it, but then I think redheads are prone to sunburn anyway. Even those of us who have burnished auborn coloring and not the lighter true redheads with the freckles, still burn easy.

Now that went off on a tangent, didn't it?

The kids keep growing

May 15th, 2006 at 10:16 pm

I had to take Rose shopping for summer clothes today. She's outgrown everything. Well, it still all fits but the shorts are way too short now to be worn in public and certainly too short to be worn to school. Fortunately there was a very good sale going on and we were able to pick up 4 pairs of bermuda style shorts and one longer knit pair, and 4 tank tops with the non-spaghetti straps. She still had a couple of tank tops that fit and weren't in danger of becoming half shirts that will coordinate with what we bought. Spent $54 rounded up and that includes our 8.2% sales tax.

I have to go through what my son has tomorrow. Most of his growth has been through the back area, though his legs have grown, too. But I was already buying him extra long tank tops last year and most of the boys shorts available were either board shorts, or the pants that you zip the ends off and they become shorts. He doesn't get any bigger around, just keeps growing taller. I'm hoping he won't need much.

I also had to buy a new garden hose and some new sprinklers. One of the hoses had been left out over the winter full of water and it froze and it caused holes. Fortunately they weren't too expensive, the sprinklers were $5 each and the hose was $8 for 100 foot hose. That was $13, tax included. I have to keep my big organic garden properly watered or I lose the money and the benefit of growing my own veggies to save money.

So $67 spent today.

I shouldn't have to spend any more money before Friday, except to pay for my oil change tomorrow. And hope that nothing else needs doing on the car.

Cable going bye-bye

May 15th, 2006 at 12:53 am

DH and I had a long phone conversation tonight and we have decided to cut cable. All cable. Not just down to the most basic package of all, but completely gone.

I forget who, but earlier on today (or technically yesterday as it is after midnight as I type) calculated everything the spent on technology and I thought what a good idea. Well, coming close to $2500 was not a nice feeling.

So I broached the subject to DH who has been kind of noncommittal about it up to now. Then I laid it on him, we were paying $780 a year, give or take some cents, for cable tv. And we don't watch all that much of it anymore. The kids don't watch much at all, just videos or dvds from the library.

And even though we both feel very weird about taking this step, not because we can't do it, but because it just seems so bizarre that we would want to, we are going to. It's been such a large part of our lives, our upbringings and all. When we first got cable when I was ten, it was like a whole new world opened up. But these days, that world isn't such a great place to visit and so many shows just aren't age appropriate and yet are billed as shows for kids.

Any series we want to see will eventually be out on dvd and any series that doesn't last long enough for dvd isn't worth getting invested in. We've had too many shows we liked yanked off tv over the years, so not much point in watching something, sometimes.

So we're taking the plunge. As soon as this season of Dr.Who is over, we are cutting the cord. As of June 1st, no more. Wow. This feels huge. But it feels very right.

Garden Purchases

May 13th, 2006 at 11:10 pm

I picked up 3 flats of petunias today (@ $13 for 48 plants, so I am done with the petunia budgeted money. It's going to look amazing though and it was a really great sale. I got a vividly hot pink, a magenta dark pink, and a red. Other than caladiums and a new sage plant, I should have no more garden spending this summer.

I'm bummed about my sage plant. It was six years old, 18 inches high and 2 feet wide and it was the most gorgous tri-color. But this last winter killed it off and it just about broke my heart to have to yank it out. But sage plants are cheap and I can easily justify getting one since we make vast amounts of homemade sausage (or as my daughter calls it: sauce sage).

Bought enough milk ($11)to get through until next payday, and won't be going to the store again until then, either.

We also spent $4.50 at soccer today for 3 bottled waters. Since it was the last game, I also took the kids out for pizza. It was just under $25, but there are plenty of leftovers.

So all told, spent $79.50 rounded up. Kind of spendy, but gardening saves my sanity with my DH gone so long.

I got an early mother's day gift from my mom. She took the kids overnight, which is what she wanted for her mother's day. I just gave her a colosus coleus plant.

Tomorrow will be a no spend day. I hope.

Wasted Food

May 12th, 2006 at 11:54 pm

I forgot to put dinner away tonight before we left for Rose's dance class. I hate when that happens. It means I wasted two pieces of chicken, 3 servings of potatoes, 1/2 can of green beans and a big bowlful of what was probably the best gravy I have made all year. Darn it. Hard to cut the grocery budget if I end up being so fluffy headed I forget to wrap up the leftovers.

Not much else today. Oh, spending journal. $2.00 for two bottled waters at the dance studio.

Savings Account Milestone

May 11th, 2006 at 09:24 pm

The usual $10 deposit was electronically transferred into my long-term savings account today, bringing me over the $200 mark. It now has a grand total of $205 in it. And I will add another $10 tomorrow as that is what is left that I hadn't spent after paying all the bills.

The new pay cycle begins tomorrow. It will be small, only 4.5 hours, but one car has 3/4 of a tank and the other has 8 gallons. That is enough to get me through the rest of this week and until next week's Friday. Soccer ends Saturday, so I will only be driving to town twice next week for dance classes. Well, three times, twice on Friday to do banking stuff and mortgage stuff. But we're good.

I am hoping to remember to take the aluminum cans in tomorrow and will add that to my freezer money.

I am going to be getting a check sometime between the 15th and the 30th of this month for doing product evaluations and one issued the first week of June, also from doing product evaluations and trial offers. Between the two of them there should be just slightly over $100 and that will start my new laptop savings account. We took my laptop in to have it looked out, but they can't even get a replacement fan for it.

It seems so wrong to me somehow that a laptop bought 4.5 years ago that is in otherwise perfect shape internally, and is held together pretty well, except for having added a bit of electrical tape because one of the things that covers the wires broke off and it made little sparks when I opened it (only, I say, LOL), can't be used anymore.

It's also a big annoyance because I have so many files that will have to be transferred. Oh, well. At least I didn't lose my files. And I am looking forward to getting that new laptop when I've got the money saved.

I didn't spend any money today. Did use gas to get to and from soccer practice for my son.

Pantry Eating and Chores

May 10th, 2006 at 07:35 pm

As a way of cutting my grocery budget, I have been trying to eat down my stores in the cupboards and freezer this month and have been pretty successful with it.

Tonight I cooked the last of the $0.79 per pound turkey legs (purchased after Christmas) and one of the many packages of organic mashed potatoes, adding a salad. Very good. Roasted the turkey so no oil on that but did have some macadamia nut oil (from the scratch and dent) on the salad.

I still have a huge amount of the $0.29 per pound chicken and quite a few steaks, possibly another roast, hamburger, ribs, and various seafood. So still a lot of protein to go. The cupboards are beginning to show empty spots.

I really don't like leftovers, but had them anyway. Lunch was leftover taco meat salad with some cheese (still from my stash) and I skipped breakfast this morning. Okay, well I slept through it. After getting the kids on the bus, I went back to bed, just exhausted. I had food poisoning a month ago and sometimes I still get exhausted, doctor says it just lingers sometimes. So no guilt over the sleep-in.

Mowed the front ditches and the side lawn today. Still have to do the front patch by the propane tank and the whole back yard. I don't want to do that back yard at all. But DH won't be home most likely for 3 weeks so I will have to do it. Wish I could afford to hire it out. I'm allergic to grass as it is, cutting it just goes after my breathing and leaves me all itchy.

Hung a load of laundry and have come to the conclusion that I should never do just a load of socks and unders again. Or at least the socks. I ran out of clothes pins! Ended up hanging the longest ones over the line and a few towels also. I'll wash the socks with the regular clothes from now on. Live and learn.

One Month of Blogging

May 10th, 2006 at 06:37 pm

I have begun my second month of blogging and what have I learned since coming here? Probably the most important thing I have learned is that I can save money despite my debt load. It's not a lot of money but $10 a week adds up. I end this first month with $195 in my long term savings account. Aside from the $10 per week, I was also able to put in $50 at the end of the pay cycle.

I have learned that not using my dryer much has dropped my electric bill substantially. I have learned that if you do a second spin on the washing machine it gets a lot more water out and then your clothesline time is cut down substantially.

I have learned that getting support from other people trying to overcome their debts and save money makes it so much easier for me to do the same.

I have learned about click thrus to earn money, surveys to earn money, trial offers to earn G.C.'s and earn money, and product evaluations to earn money.

I have completely changed the way I look at finances and have cut out tons of things that I thought were necessities and really weren't and have learned to pick and choose my luxuries (keeping Netflix on the one out at a time, as opposed to the much more expensive 3 to 8 out at a time).

I have quit a DVD club, a beauty club, and a book club that were all not necessary or all that worthwhile. Sheer laziness had kept me from stopping these autoships.

I'm sure I have a lot more to learn as I go along, but I don't feel like I'm taking baby steps anymore. More like toddler ones.

Spent a Bit, Made a Bit More

May 9th, 2006 at 10:43 pm

I spent a little bit today, $5.05. I had to pick up milk @ $2.39 for the gallon (not as good as the gas station but they were out of skim), a head of lettuce (so I can have the rest of the taco meat as a salad tomorrow) @ $1.19 and the rest for a corndog for my son. That last one was not necessary, other than to save my sanity and not have to listen to him have a snit all the way home from Rose's soccer practice. He's going through a phase, I was just glad to get some protein into the kid, if you can call it that from a corndog.

I had thawed out a potroast for dinner and stuck it in the oven just before we left for soccer. It was done when we got home and perfect. Nuked a can of green beans to go with, leftover from the case sale last December. I'm just about out but the next case sale will be in June if they go by their usual pattern. It was nice to walk into the house and have dinner ready.

Didn't really do much today besides click-thrus while watching tv, but I did do a product evaluation that will net me $17.05. And folded and sorted and hung up laundry.

Frugal with Food

May 8th, 2006 at 10:30 pm

Today was about as frugal foodwise as I could make it. The first asparagus of the season was cut from my garden today, ten spears total! My crowns are five years old now, so I get good production.

So for breakfast I steamed 2 spears, diced them and added them to a 2 egg omelette that has just little cheese, leftover from a great cheese sale months ago (I freeze it). The eggs are from the farm down the road and cost 5 cents each. Teensy bit of olive oil from the scratch and dent store (neither scratched or dented, I suspect the brand was phased out).

Lunch was a turkey sandwich (homemade bread, 2 slices turkey from a deli sale of $1.99/lb where I bought several pounds, repackaged and froze them). Added a glass of milk from the $1.99 a gallon cost at the gas station. Handful of chips from the jumbo bag that was on sale 2 for $5.00.

Dinner was 2 pieces of my 29 cents per pound chicken hindquarters (from a sale where if you bought ten pounds it was 29 cents a pound and I bought 40 pounds and repackaged them). The 8 remaining asparagus spears, a small can of crushed pineapple from the scratch and dent store including the juice, and a 49 cent red bell pepper and 1/2 a yellow onion stir-fried in the previously mentioned olive oil.

Of course, food is usually nowhere near this frugal, but it was a fun game today figuring it out.

Frugal things I did today, hung laundry, baked bread, did paid to reads.

Loot!

May 8th, 2006 at 07:35 pm

Today I got a $10 Lowe's gift card in the mail, and not one I sent for, either. They send me ones a couple of times a year, probably because I spend so much money in their garden department. Or at least, that I used to.

I also got my sample of Olay Regenerist Serum that I will try out tonight.

We used the $10 Exxon card we got last week on the way to drop DH off at the airport. It coverd just a smidge over 3 gallons. Horrible. But it is free and is a little over the amount of a round trip from our house to town and back. I am glad to have had it.

I just wish I could have used it at the Arco, because they are still $3.13, not $3.29. But I shouldn't be looking a gift horse in the mouth by complaining about where I can use the free card. I should just be grateful to be cutting my gas expense down a bit in the first place.

Getting Organized Saves Money

May 7th, 2006 at 09:57 pm

I know this, but I still constantly misplace things. Yesterday I bought new bean seeds and guess what I found today when we were cleaning the living room? Of course, the bean seeds.

Slowly, slowly since the beginning of the year we have been making progress in the direction of being organized people, and in some areas I have gotten much better. But I hate buying stuff because I can't find the stuff I originally bought. It wastes money and causes no end of irritation.

We have been throwing out a lot of stuff that we shouldn't have been keeping, recycled what we could, shredded and burned in our woodstove what wasn't safe to recycle, and given away a lot of outgrown kids clothes on freecycle.

Back in December I paid for a year's subscription to out local newspaper. I have been so busy lately that I haven't been reading the paper very much (i.e. just the comics, opinion page, and advice column. Which 2 our of 3 I can access online.

When we aren't using the woodstove much now that it's spring, it doesn't even get another use. So tomorrow I am going to call them and drop down to Sunday and holiday paper delivery. And then walk down to the gas station and get the Tuesday paper that has the grocery fliers in it after putting the kids on the bus. That will help so much with the clutter problem.

I may even cut out the Sunday paper and get a seven month refund. I only get it for the ads really, and my mother usually has those at her house. Or maybe they have them on-line. I will have to check into that.

Today was a no spend day. We made tacos without lettuce today because we were out. Nobody complained though. Had everything else on hand and it still tasted good. It's probably going to be about 2 to 3 weeks before I can start picking lettuce leaves out of the garden.

The Best Thing

May 7th, 2006 at 02:49 pm

The very best thing I like about this site so far, is that when I get yet another phone call from SIL telling me of the big purchase she has made with money she doesn't really have of something that I would really like to have but definitely don't need to have, I can come here, read a bit, and get my head on straight. Common sense is good in big doses.

Bad Planning

May 6th, 2006 at 10:20 pm

When DH is home it seems like it is too hard to plan anything and we always end up catching meals on the fly. This has to stop though. It is too expensive to keep eating out.

We did McD's, which was $12.01, would have been cheaper but DH had to have the milkshake instead of the soda and that makes it a dollar more. Then we went to my mom's to pick up our son for his soccer game. Our daughter stayed there, she's not playing right now because of the broken finger.

At the soccer park, DH went to get son a hot chocolate ($1.50) and popcorn ($0.50). Well, he came back with a $2.50 bottle of Aquafina for me (didn't ask for, but drank it anyway) and some weird Italian soda thing (it was pink), also $2.50.

After soccer we went to the grocery store and I got enough turkey to divide up for lunches and freeze in week sized amounts, since it was on a really good sale. I'll probably make turkey wraps for me as Tobias only takes cold lunch twice a week, sometimes once. Also bought organic milk, oranges and strawberries (splurging) and a few other items, grocery bill of $70, but we won't spend any money next week on groceries at all, as there will only be 4.5 hours on that paycheck. And all that will go for gas.

I also picked up 2 packets of pole beans, Kentucky Wonder and Kentucky Blue, one I like for eating fresh, the other for canning or freezing. And then I got my mother's day gift a week early. It was a hanging fucshia basket in a color combo I rarely see, white and deep purple. I didn't figure it would still be there next week, and it was on sale. Spent just over $20 for both.

No more shopping this week at all. Not even going to set foot in a store.

Free Gas

May 6th, 2006 at 09:19 pm

I received my $10 gas card from Traveler's Advantage today. Then I had to stop and think where the heck we had an Exxon in the county. Finally remembered there's one near the airport in town, kitty corner from the Arco with the cheap gas. And there is one in the IGA parking lot off the highway I drive every time I go to town. So, whew! I can use it.

DH goes back to Alaska Monday afternoon so we will use the gas card on the way to the airport, as it will be right on the way.

The Value of a Penny

May 6th, 2006 at 01:42 am

I signed up for the six paid to read email sites that comparerewards listed in her blog and have already started making money. Sure, its peanuts, or pennies, but its still something. It definitely falls under the something for nothing category, although technically, its something for almost nothing.

In my pursuit of the penny, with the subject of people keep giving me money heading, I was given yet another cent extra in change because the store did not want to give me four pennies. They gave me a nickle instead. This brings my total of free money up to $0.94. When I reach one dollar I'll have to go back and see what day I began tracking on. I think its only been about 2 weeks.


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