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Archive for July, 2007

It's Legitimate!

July 31st, 2007 at 02:11 am

I am a very happy camper. I just received my first $50 check from that survey company I've been talking about. And it's written on a BoA account, too. Yay!

I just cashed out with them again two days ago. They do take the full six weeks to get it to you, but it comes. Oh, and they are open to people in Canada, Australia, and the U.K., as well as the states.

Now, as for the folks that I have sent invites to who haven't seemed to have received them: It appears that AOL and Yahoo consider it to be spam and don't let them through, so if you have a different email addy, leave me a message here. I will use your linked account to send a message back to you that you can then use to send me an alternative email address.

If you don't have AOL or Yahoo and still aren't getting the invites then chances are its getting caught in your spam filter as well or your junk mail or bulk mail folders.

So, if you still haven't received the referral link I'll try again.

Oh, and the $50 goes into the EF just as soon as I cash it tomorrow.

Oddz and Endz and New Car Talk

July 30th, 2007 at 01:39 am

Today I added $4 in ones and $1.20 in change to my change jar. I don't have enough coins to roll any one type just yet, but I do have $24 in ones now, so I will deposit that on Monday along with my two checks and send them off to ING to the EF. That will give me a deposit of $72.22, which will bring my balance in ING to $853.27. Just $146.73 to go to hit $1000.

Starting in September we will be contributing the $10 per week I've been doing all along to the EF, $100 every 4 weeks, and all survey money to the EF.

We will be starting a new car fund and contributing $500 a month.

And we will be paying an extra $1000 towards debt. That should still leave enough of the raise left to raise our food budget by $100, pay for the kids activities and get the current vehicles into shape by the time we are ready to buy our new vehicle. And we will be raising our 401K contribution by 1%.

There is a large rumor that Toyota will be releasing a Hybrid Sienna mini-van in 2008 and that is what we have wanted all along since they started introducing hybrids. It may not be until 2009, and who knows, Ford may beat them to it at the rate it is chugging along pushing out hybrids.

But that is what we are aiming for and I'd like to have somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 saved up for a downpayment just so our payments are reasonable. Any bonus money that comes along will go to the new car fund.

The only way I will consider buying a new car is buying a hybrid. Otherwise we would go used. And there just isn't a huge used hybrid market. And there are no mini-vans yet.

We have talked Prius as well, but that is only good for the four of us. If we ever want to take the kids places with their friends, its impossible with our current vehicles. T has to be in a car seat until age 8 by Washington state law and it is impossible to have two adults, two car seats and two ten/eleven year olds in either of our vehicles.

Now, why start in September instead of August? Well, August won't have a full paycycle at the new raise. We'll only have an extra $1000 this first paycycle and I'll be using it to fund some accounts. I used to have a budget that took so much for each item and saved it up until that item was due, but its been a long time since I actually followed that kind of budget.

Well, I want to again. So each month I will set aside money for medical, auto and house insurances, property tax, auto repair, house repair, and propane. There may be more, I'm not sure at the moment. Maybe an activities and vacation fund as well.

I'll divide the bi-yearly amounts up into monthly amounts and deposit those into a savings account for common expenses, and will have a spreadsheet to track what goes in which category. So that is where that first $1000 will go, seed money for some of these categories. It will get this plan up and rolling again and hopefully allow us to stay on top of the budget instead of swimming with our heads barely above water.

The only thing left for me to do now is to make the new budget spreadsheet and the new maintenance fund spreadsheet. That's easy enough.



That ING Thing

July 28th, 2007 at 10:02 pm

I sent $20 off to ING today to add to the EF. That was from the last two Thursday's weekly $10 auto deposit into my CU savings. That brings the amount in the EF to $781.05. That leaves me $218.95 left to go to hit the $1000 mark.

While I was there I peaked at the interest generated for the month and it was at $3.34. It won't be as high next month since the vacation money is no longer in there earning interest, but it is still nice to see. I have checks to deposit still, the refund from Comcast and the reimbursement from my mother. I will do that on Monday and send them to ING as well.

The post office did not deliver the mail today like they were supposed to, so I won't know until Monday if the GTM check has come or not.

Home from Victoria

July 28th, 2007 at 05:16 am

It's good to be back and in my own bed after a week away. My vacation was pretty good. The rest of the family had a better time than I did. I got sick so bad that I thought I had pneumonia and ended up staying in bed for 2 days straight, except to go to London Drug and pick out cold medicine. They happened to be selling the Harry Potter book, and of course it had the British cover art, so that was neat.

So I was dizzy and just totally coughing down in my lungs and we almost went to a walk in clinic, despite the cost of it, but after two days in bed I woke up feeling better (still pretty bad though). So I didn't go to Craig Darroch or the Titanic exhibit or the Undersea Garden, but everyone else did.

I did however go on the carriage ride through Beacon Hill Park, which is similar to Central Park in New York, only safer. We really liked that and it was $90 well spent because we learned a lot about the city and the park and of course Tobias got a kick out of the horse because it kept passing gas. He's at that age.

Despite that it was a lovely ride and we saw people parasurfing. They had special surf boards attatched to their feet and parachutes on and the wind would pick up the parachutes and they would fly into the air. It was amazing. We also saw the world's tallest totem pole at 156 feet. I have a picture of my kids in front of it and the scale is just mind-blowing. I'll try to post it. I haven't done pictures before on here but DH is home to help me figure it out.

I did get to see Hatley castle, but I was not impressed. It was way overblown. By the time I was marginally well enough to do Centre of the Universe the kids were down with it so we didn't go.

I spent a lot of time in bed sleeping and a lot of time in bed reading Harry, which I finished Tuesday night. I spent time in the hot tub to help break up my congestion and it helped a lot. And the kids were out with DH for long stretches of time, which was really nice. So even though my vacation did not turn out quite the way I planned, and even though I still have a cough, ears that crack when I swallow and a bit of gunky stuff, I had a lot of me time, a lot of rest and a pretty good read.

I was actually disappointed in a few things in the book, but for the most part after the first 200 pages it went fast and was exciting. One thing I had predicted came true, so I was happy to be right about it. But that's all I will say about it because I know so many people don't want to know anything at all until they are done reading it and I know how careful I was to avoid any spoilers until I finished it.

I came back with a $20 bill and a couple dollars in change, so not bad. I'll put the Canadian money in a jar until we go to the zoo next. We're really close to the one in Langley and it is so much nicer a zoo then the one in Seattle is.

I'm looking forward to having my mail all delivered tomorrow. I hope that $50 check came. It's been six weeks so it better have. I just hit 1000 points again with them so I need to cash out again, too. I did a few surveys while I was sick in bed.

I guess that about covers everything. Oh, I probably have money to move to ING. I should do that, too.

DH Got the Promotion!!!!

July 27th, 2007 at 12:49 am

DH just faxed back the signed job offer for the new job. We are really excited, especially after months of run-around and getting our hopes up, only to find them dismally crushed.

This last time I said I wouldn't believe it until he had the offer in his hands. Well, he's had it, so I believe it. The raise won't go into effect until his second paycheck back up. So it won't be until September that we see what a true four week paycycle is like. But it should be $2000 more every 4 weeks, net. His day rate will be $525. I can't imagine it. And all that with only a two year certificate of completion from a technical college in Engineering Technology/Architecture and a two year A.S.T. college degree, (that's associate in specialized technology).

It will be great to be able to start making huge strides in debt repayment and finally get the Blazer repaired and do the one or two things to the car that need doing as well. Plus, DH will be able to start his next correspondence school session on his way to his B.S. Of course, I've teased him for years about having a degree in B.S., but this will be one from a college, not one for talking his way around something! LOL

We plan to build up the EF and a car fund now. We're thinking towards a Prius or if not a hybrid, something like a Matrix with good gas mileage. In a perfect world there would be a hybrid mini-van, because that is what we really want. Oh, well.

This is our last night in Victoria. I'll write more about it when I get home, I think. Just wanted to share the good news.

Yesterday was Expensive

July 23rd, 2007 at 01:15 am

We went to Butchart Gardens yesterday and boy was it ever expensive. In the long-run I think it was worth it, but man! All money is in Canadian dollars.

$ 56.00 Entry fee for 2 adults, 2 children
$ 49.77 Lunch
$ 15.74 Dessert
$ 58.16 Souveniers
$ 23.73 CD of music group playing at the gardens
$ 7.50 3 hot chocolates
--------
$210.90

We had lunch at the Blue Poppy Restaurant. It was not as expensive as the other on grounds restaurant and it had food the kids would actually eat.

DH and I had the best fish and chips I have ever tasted. Rose had a pasta dish with those swirly shaped noodles and marinara sauce and foccacia bread and Tobias had a cheese quesadilla (freshly made tortilla) and fries and some of the foccacia bread. Everyone tasted everyone else's food and it was all good.

Then we decided to have dessert. Tobias had a very chocolately cookie, DH had mango cheesecake and Rose and I had chocolate mousse. The mousse was very good, and extremely rich. If it hadn't had whipped cream to cut the richness I never would have made it to the bottom. Very yummy. A little expensive for the amount, though.

The fireworks were pretty good but it would have been better if there had been some wind. The smoke was very thick and just stayed there so after awhile you couldn't see all of the fireworks.

Oh, and it rained. It poured. Imagine sitting on a wet blanket on saturated grass and no sign of the rain stopping. That was us. I woke up with a nasty cold this morning. Throat on fire and enough phlegm being produced for the population of a small island. Fever, too. Lovely. Just once I would like to be well for my entire vacation. Ah, well. It was a good day overall, but I don't think we'll go back there again in future. We've been twice now and though this is the first time we've seen the fireworks, we don't need to do it again.

You can't leave on fireworks day and get readmitted so there was a lot of boredom after we'd seen everything. Plus, I didn't want to pay dinner prices to eat a second meal there.

For dinner we ordered pizza from a place that delivers 24 hours after we got back to the condo. It was okay, but I wouldn't order it again. I wish we hadn't gotten so much. We ordered 2 large pizzas, cheesy bread and tzatziki with pita bread. Never order when you are that hungry should be my motto. It came to $43.63.

So:
$210.90
+ 43.63
--------
$254.53 Total spent 7/21
$400.04 Total spent 7/20
--------
$654.57 Total Vacation Spending

I'm glad I brought an extra $300 with me. I'm almost to the amount I had originally budgeted. Nothing else will be nearly as expensive as Butchart and we have a lot of coupons.

I did get some Blue Poppy seeds. I have been wanting to grow blue poppies for a long time but have never found the seeds before and I wasn't about to pay the $15 per plant from a mail order company, when mail order plants don't always survive. And even if they say 100% guaraneteed I have found it difficult to get either a refund or a new plant from mail order companies. I will have to declare them at the border but I bought less than $10 worth so no big deal.

Vacation Spending So Far

July 21st, 2007 at 07:49 am

We made it safely to Victoria and for 10 days worth of internet access it costs $15.95 Canadian. Not bad. It's $4.95 if you do it day by day, so even though we'll only have it for 7 days, it is much cheaper this way.

So expenses so far in Canadian Dollars:

$ 78.03 Ferry Crossing
$ 23.99 Breakfast
$ 1.29 extra milk
$ 56.07 Lunch (on the Ferry, ouch!)
$ 23.54 Dinner
$ 1.39 extra burger
$199.78 Food from Costco for the week
$ 15.95 Internet Fee
--------
$400.04

I ended up bringing $1000.00 in Canadian money instead of $700. Part of the extra came out of the grocery budget. From tomorrow on we will be eating two meals at the condo and only one meal out, so daily expenses should drop quite a bit after today.

Tomorrow we are going to Butchart Gardens and the fireworks show. They have coupons in the lobby for dollars off or percentages off tickets for various attractions. I can't remember if Butchart is one of them or not, but several of the other places we planned to go this week do have them.

Well, I better get to sleep. It is almost 1 a.m.

Off on Vacation and Survey Info

July 20th, 2007 at 11:28 am

Okay, I'm about to set off on my vacation. Victoria is pretty wired so hopefully I'll be able to do a couple posts while I'm up there.

For those who asked for the survey link, I put some more comments on the previous post here. A couple of you asked for links that I had sent links to last month. Go read my comments on the last entry and if you still haven't gotten the link let me now and I'll try to send them again, but it may be a few days depending on internet availability where I am.

Survey Tracking

July 19th, 2007 at 06:09 am

I'm not sure what is up with GMT today but they are shooting out surveys like nobody's business. I am now up to 912 points, which means I am 88 points from cashing out for another $50 check. All I need is a 50 and a 40 point survey and I'm there. Last time I cashed out was June 14th, which means I'll have earned this $50 in 5 weeks time. Not bad at all. Still waiting on that first check to come. It has 13 days left in the expected arrival time.

As soon as I know it is completely legitimate I'll post it here. If anyone else wants to sign up now before I get that check besides the three people who already have, leave me a message here and I'll send you a referral email through your email linked to the SA site.

Everything I've read about them has been positive so I really, really hope they are legit, because this is quite the money maker if it is.

Eye Opening Article

July 18th, 2007 at 09:25 pm

I read this article today:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/BrokenChinaADysfunctionalNation.aspx

If you think business practices in the states are corrupt and stupid and that our economic system is broken, this article about China might have you thanking your lucky stars that at least we are decades away from the sort of thing going on there.

It's a long article, but very good and well worth the read.

Survey Stuff

July 18th, 2007 at 08:44 pm

I spent the morning doing surveys. From GTM I did a 30, a 40, a 50, a 75, and a 100 point survey today and I qualified for all of them, that's a rarity. I cashed out last from them on June 14th and I'm already over 700 points, just 300 to go to cash out again. Still have 2 weeks left in the 2 to 6 weeks for the last check to arrive.

I also did a 150 point survey from Lightspeed.

Still no invitations from Pinecone. I've done 2 screeners from ACOP but it has been months since I've gotten a real one from them.

Y2C sent a qualifier finally last week but of course, I didn't qualify on that one. It was a $5 one, too, so I was annoyed.

NFO MySurvey has been exceedingly slow. I've done one 10 point survey from them in the past 2 weeks. I've found them to be quite hit or miss recently. Either a bunch come in one week or it dribs and drabs the whole month through.

I am anxious to receive the check from GTM since it is for $50 and it is the first time I cashed out with them. Everything I have read says they are legitimate, but I want to know by my own first hand experience. They are the most enjoyable survey company I'm signed up with. And the most frequent to send out surveys.

Tomorrow is the last day I'll receive any mail before vacation. On the bright side, the 6 weeks will be up by the time we get home from the trip, so it should be here by then, if it doesn't come before.

401K Update

July 18th, 2007 at 05:42 am

I got our 401K statement in the mail today. Our new ending balance is $47,795.31. The year to date increase is $5,481.11.

$42,312.20 Beginning Balance
+ 1,176.71 Employee Contribution
+ 949.41 Employer Contribution
+ 3,135.07 Market Gain
+ 319.53 Other Transactions
- 99.61 Fees
-----------
$47,795.31 Ending Balance


We have $2204.69 left to go to hit $50,000. I am hoping to hit that before December of this year.

Money In

July 18th, 2007 at 03:37 am

I received the $10.00 payout from Lightspeed today so transferred that to my CU.

I ended up spending $16.10 at the grocery store, so that means I had $3 in ones and 90 cents more in change to add to the change jar.

I only spent $5 on cherries today instead of $10 at the farmstand.

Spending Today

July 17th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

Added 70 cents to the change jar today. I spent $4.31, but they gave me back the extra penny's worth, since they were low on pennies.

I plan to spend $10 at the cherry stand this afternoon, maybe more if they have any Raniers.

I'll have a $15 co-pay for my doctor's appointment today. It's just a blood pressure check. I'll also get written prescriptions to send into the mail order place for the two new meds he put me on 3 months ago, one for thyroid and one was a lower dose bp med. It's too expensive month to month to keep doing it that way now that I know they work.

No eating out today and I don't think there will be anything else to buy, either.

Little Updates

July 17th, 2007 at 06:51 am

I added 23 cents in coins and $3 in ones to the change jar today.

I got a reimbursement check for $42.89 that will go to the EF.

Lightspeed survey money didn't show up in paypal today. I was surprised as they said next business day, and that was today. They are usually that fast.

I am over the halfway point ($25) to cashing out with GTM again.

DH was told the job vacancy announcement has gone up and that they hope to have the paperwork for him to sign Wednesday before he flies home, which would mean he would start the new job when he goes back after our vacation. I still don't believe them. Not until it is in writing. Not after last time. Or the time before that. I almost wish DH didn't tell me this stuff until it was a done deal. I don't need to obsess about it.

Getting Ready

July 17th, 2007 at 03:36 am

As much as it pained me to do it, I transferred the $700 of vacation money out of ING and back to my CU. It will arrive on Thursday and we leave on Friday so that works out well. I left it in until the last possible minute so that I could earn as much interest as possible on it.

I spent $60 on prescriptions today and $22 on pizza dinner for the three of us. I'm trying not to cook too much before we leave as the fridge is pretty empty and I don't want to fill it with leftovers we won't eat before we leave.

I've got to get caught up on laundry so I can start packing for everyone. Why is it the mom/wife always ends up doing all the packing? How come everyone else seems to get all clueless when it comes time to nicely roll up their clothes and stick them in a suitcase but instead fill them up with dolls or trains?

Oh, well, I'll survive. I always do.

DH and His Job

July 14th, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Strange things are afoot at DH's work. The Bugaboo has been transferred South. Not just from where DH is to further South in the state, but the other end of the U.S. diagonally. You can't get any further away than that. Guess too many other people found him to be gumming up the works and messing things up for everyone.

An alternate has finally been hired for DH's job and DH will start training him when he goes back after our vacation. Once there is someone else who can do DH's job, DH won't have to pull double duty of doing his own job and doing someone else's job.

But strange things...The guy who has been trying to get DH into the higher job for the last year is leaving the company. He got hired on at a different field. And once he gets there he wants to see if there is a position for DH as well. Since they are gearing up it is highly likely. He asked DH if he would be willing to go. Since it would be a net raise of $24K a year (don't remember what the gross raise was) DH said of course he would consider it.

So DH's two immediate bosses all of a sudden come to him and ask him to please hold on, everything should be sorted by the end of the year and the position they want him in will be available. That's a song and dance he's heard before.

DH is a little torn on what to do if the situation arises. We are doing okay right now. Not winning any races, but okay. I think he is leaning towards staying at his current company. The idea of changing companies is a little scary to both us. We have decent medical insurance and a very good 401K and if he jumps ship it'll mean 3 months paying a COBRA and a year with no 401K, plus all the hassle of a roll over.

Last time we rolled over a 401K they screwed it up and issued us a check instead, which of course, they'd already sent the tax part to the government. There was no way to get it back or fix it so we spent what was left on debt. Now that was over a decade ago and it was a different company, but I've been wary of roll overs ever since then. Or maybe paranoid. But when I think of what that money could have become in retirement. The check we got was for $25,000 after the penalty, and that was 12 years ago. Scares me to think how much the 401K would be if it hadn't happened like that.

I think DH plans to stay. He hasn't said as much but I think he does. He's got the training now for the other job and half the time he is doing the other job as needed. If everything falls into place like it should he will get it. But from past experience I know that you can't depend on anything to ever fall into place as it should.

Mostly I am trying not to think about it. Whatever will be, will be. But until it happens, I try to be satisfied with where I am. I refuse to ever get my hopes up again based on anything that is said by his work.

If I allow myself to think about it my mind races ahead and starts making plans. One of the first things being that DH will go back to school, correspondence style and get his next degree, which is reimbursed by work 100% for A grades, which is what DH always gets.

The second thing of course being rapid debt reduction. Which is something I want so badly that if I allow myself to think about his too much, and it doesn't happen, I know I will be bitterly disappointed. So, for now, I just have to breathe deep and let it go. Life will happen and I will have no control over it whether I stress about it or not. So I choose not.

Vacation Budgeting

July 14th, 2007 at 06:59 am

DH and I have settled on places to visit on our trip to the island. All prices are admission for 2 adults and 2 children.

Hatley Castle--Home of Lex Luthor on Smallville and Dr Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in X-Men, has 3 large gardens as well (one is Japanese, one is Italian, don't remember what the 3rd is) $52.00 About a four hour visit

B.C. Royal Museum currently showing the Titanic exhibit, plus standard exhibits
$68.50 Half day visit

Butchart Gardens with fireworks and laser show $56.00 Full day visit

Centre of the Universe--Planetarium and Observatory with interactive exhibits and shows $23 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Craigdarroch Castle--Just a local castle DH wants to see, had 39 rooms $31 1-2 hours

Total $230.50 Canadian
Or $220 American

That's what is on the agenda so far. We also plan a visit to the Undersea Garden and a carriage ride, but don't have prices on those as of yet.

More Oddz and Endz and ???

July 14th, 2007 at 01:19 am

I added $1.15 in change to the change jar and $14 in ones to the change jar today. I received a refund check of $5.33 from Comcast left over from the old phone system. The check is made out to my DH even though the account was in my name, not sure why they did that. The new system is in his name, maybe that is why?

I have a twenty for miscellaneous weekend spending, so I shouldn't need to dip into the ones.

DH comes home on Thursday so I will deposit the check and any ones to the CU and then ship them off along with the weekly $10 to ING for the EF.

I have one more transfer I can make before I hit the limit. Curious, there is a legal limit of 6 unsigned transfers per month. Does that mean I can only transfer six into ING in a month or does that mean I can only transfer six from each CU, which would be a total of 12. Anyone know?

Survey Earnings

July 13th, 2007 at 08:13 am

Tonight I did two 150 point surveys and one 75 point survey at Lightspeed. That brought my account up high enough to cash out for a $10 paypal payment, with 35 points left in the account.

Lightspeed is usually very fast (no way to avoid the pun, sorry) and it will most likely be in the account by morning. That $10 will go into the EF.

I also did 4 non-qualifying surveys with GTM today, so that was 20 points. I am almost to the halfway point ($25) to cash out with them.

Pinecone has been really slow lately. So has NFO. Did get a screener from ACOP today and haven't heard anything from Y2C in awhile, either.

Oddz and Endz

July 13th, 2007 at 02:00 am

I transferred the weekly $10 to ING this morning, bringing the total in the EF to $760.51. I peaked at how much interest I have earned so far this month and it was at $1.46.

I read this article and thought it was interesting, though not really something I didn't already know, it validated what I did know and echoed my experience here at savingadvice.com:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/HowToSaveTwoHundredThousandInSixMonths.aspx


Added 37 cents to the change jar today.
Spent $10 on gas and $12.63 on dinner for me and the two kids.

Yesterday the temperature here got to 105 by five o'clock. It took until 3 a.m. just to get my room cooled off enough to sleep. Fortunately today it was "only" 82 at its worst and there was a nice breeze. Still have a hot house but not a baking hot house.

The kids are spending the night with my mother and I will pick them up tomorrow at four. Tomorrow is also payday so there will be a good bit of money going out to credit card debt.

I am currently watching 3 different shows on the internet that I either missed when we didn't have cable or are from the U.K. One is Kyle XY which can be watched directly from the network website, one is The 4400 which I am watching season 3 of off of youtube and the third is a supernatural one called HEX which is very, very weird and dark, and definately British.

I finished watching Mansfield Park last week and loved it. Of course, it's Billie Piper so what's not to love? Watched the British miniseries of Casanova and Blackpool, both with David Tennant, again what's not to love? Okay, they were both a bit weird and they allow far more things on their television shows than we do even on HBO it seems.

I'm looking forward to watching The Ruby in the Smoke when I get through the current ones. And yes, I am watching a lot of tv but it has been far too hot to do anything else! In a week I probably will go for two weeks without watching any because we will be on vacation and then I'll be reading Harry Potter which always takes me at least a week.

I think that covers everything.

Spending Journal

July 12th, 2007 at 09:12 am

From 7/11:

Spent $10.55

Also added 45 cents to the change jar.

96 Degrees

July 11th, 2007 at 09:12 pm

Wasn't there a boy band called that about ten years ago or so? That's how hot it is right now. 96 degrees, and today there is no wind at all. The only way the kids are allowed to play outside is if they stay under the trees, at least until the sun moves to the other side of them and then the horseshoe will be in the shade and they can play there.

I think they are nuts. The house is still plenty cool enough to be mostly comfortable. But it was not cold this morning despite running the fans in all the windows all night. It was just cool.

I hope this heat wave breaks soon. It's tempting me to buy a single room air conditioner or something. I've always said I'd never need an AC in the house since we only have 2 hot months. But after last summer and now this, I'm sorely tempted.

They're Putting it in the Dictionary

July 11th, 2007 at 10:38 am

According to this article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19698856/>1=10150

they are putting the word "ginormous" into the next issue of the Miriam(sp?)-Webster dictionary. I like using made up words. I'm not too thrilled they are validating this one. Sigh.

Vacation Musings

July 10th, 2007 at 09:36 pm

So I have $700 saved up for our family vacation in 10 days and its sitting in my ING account along with my EF. And I'm looking at that balance and thinking how I really don't want to see it drop down when I take that $700 out. I like the higher balance.

Crazy, huh? I save up for it and then don't want to spend it. Strange when I am so looking forward to this trip. Having the extra money in there has already generated interest of a bit over a dollar this month. And I don't like the idea of the interest dropping down to half of what it is making now.

I'll get over it. I won't go cancelling the vacation just to save the money. I just think I'm being silly. Does anyone else ever have these random thoughts of not wanting to spend money saved for a specific purpose on that item?

I remember going through this before, too. Not wanting to spend the EF on a car repair emergency when that was what it was really there for.

8 Great New Books About Money

July 10th, 2007 at 09:08 pm

I ran across this today:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/EightGreatNewBooksAboutMoney.aspx

I thought I'd pass it along since so many of you here on the blogs are interested in reading good finance books.

They all sound quite good to me but I think I'll start with "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money" by Steve and Annette Economides. If I can find it.

Already Too Hot

July 10th, 2007 at 04:03 pm

At 8:30 a.m. it was already 87 degrees out. There is a hot wind blowing and all the trees are shedding what looks like 1 inch long, 1/8 inch diameter pinecones. It looks like it is snowing, if snow were bigger and you know, brown.

It's just supposed to get hotter and hotter. I set the sprinklers in the garden this morning and will let them run until noon, I think. The ground is parched and everything is growing so fast right now. I don't want to lose any of the veggies, because having them is making a major dent in my food bill.

I had every single house fan going in the windows all night to get the house cold. I have several of those double window fans which work really well. It's nice and cool but I imagine that won't last past noon when the sun is directly overhead and beating in through the skylights.

I'm so glad I did all that crockpot cooking last week. It is really making a difference that I have so much I can just warm up in the microwave and not have to heat up the house by using the stove.

Interesting Kind of Day

July 10th, 2007 at 04:13 am

I almost had scary neighbors again. Or a scary neighbor. I hate that the house next door is a rental. There's only four rentals in the entire development and why does one have to be next door to me? I wish the owner would just sell it.

Anyway, after Tobias got on the bus to summer school today I ran into board president of the development and he told me that the house next door had almost been rented to a guy who had said he had one misdemeanor for pot possession ten years ago.

Well, fortunately the owner of the rental ran a background check because he had that misdemeanor all right, ten years ago. Of course, he had failed to mention the ten felony counts of manufacturing crack and meth that he'd gotten in the years since then. Or that he was currently using, which is why he was thrown out of his last home. So why is this guy not in prison? I thought we were tough on drug offenders?

This isn't even that kind of neighborhood. The puppy mill out of that house was bad enough. And they were really creepy. This guy would have given me nightmares and made me fear having my kids out in the yard. It's such a nice house. Why does it attract the freaks?

Okay, anyway this afternoon we went to town to see the chiropractor. Then I picked up organic milk and tortilla chips (2 1 pound bags for $3) at the grocery store and cherries at the gas station. No, that's not as odd as it sounds. They have various cherry stands around town and this one is at the gas station near the grocery store. I spent $8.65 for the groceries and $10 for 8 pounds of bing cherries. That works out to $1.25 a pound, way better than anywhere else.

We also had dinner at McDonalds which came to $12.17, and stayed in the lovely air-conditioned playland for an hour.

The temperature was 86 today. There was a breeze but it was still pretty stifling. We stopped by Mom's for an hour before heading home with a bag full of snow peas and kohlrabi. I've been watering since we got home. The ground has gotten really dry really fast and the flowerbeds and the garden really needed it. I am tempted to leave the garden on all night, but if I do it when I get up at 7:45 to get T ready for school I can let it go until 11:00. The question is will I remember to do that in my sleep deprived state? I don't know. My timers only work for 2.5 hours so if it needs longer I either set it and forget it or go out in the pitch dark and I don't wanna.

I added $2.55 to the coin jar today.

Savings Update

July 10th, 2007 at 03:16 am

I deposited the rebate check and the survey check in the CU today and sent that $155 of to ING. When it gets there the EF will officially be $751.05.

Just a Slow Day in the Country

July 8th, 2007 at 09:22 pm

Today is shaping up to be a no spend day. So was yesterday. The kids were begging to go out to eat or to go down to the gas station for junk food, but I have held firm. We just don't need to make any trips when we will be going to town tomorrow, and they don't need junk food anyway. They just want it.

I wrote 12 pages yesterday, so I am quite proud of myself. Getting back into the flow of things again was not as hard as I expected once that pesky writer's block broke.

I received the final final bill for my surgery and I owe $1097 for my portion. The last so-called final bill was off by $10. Not in my favor. Ah, well. Life goes on and I go with it, so I'll deal. As ever.

I had to harvest more broccoli this morning and pick more strawberries. The garden is going like gangbusters and the zucchini, cucumbers and squash are still in the flowering stage, so I imagine in a couple more weeks they will take off like crazy. Hopefully they will wait until we get back from our vacation.

We are trying to decide what we will do on the island. Butchart Gardens of course, with the fireworks and light show, and we plan on going to The Center of the Universe, but after that, it's pretty much open. There is a Native American exhibit that we wanted to see last time we were there.

I'd like to go inside the parliament building as it was closed last time we went for Canada Day. And I'd like to go whale watching and take the carriage ride through downtown Victoria. We took the carriage ride through old Victoria last time we went.

The kids want to see the Undersea Garden again, which is amazing. It's built right on the floor of the bay and you can look right into the underwater habitat. It also has stuff like in an aquarium. And maybe we'll go see Miniature World and the Butterfly Garden again. We have seven days up there and some things only take half days. But we don't want to run every single day. We'd like to just hang by the pool a couple times.

At least lodging isn't costing us anything. We're going through my parents' travel program. They had a bunch of points about to expire so they booked a condo for us to use. It has a full kitchen, so we will be taking some food across the border with us. I still have to check on exactly what can cross the border. But we know where the organic grocer is up there and there's always the QFC if we need it.

Aside from the Undersea Garden, when I ask my kids what they want to do up there they say they want to go to the Spaghetti Factory! And the ice cream place with 97 flavors. DH is just as bad, he wants to go back to "that little Italian place" and the ABC breakfast restuarant. Which we will, but of all the things they remember, they remember the restaurants the most vividly.

I guess I shouldn't throw stones. When I went to Disneyland last I was looking forward to the Blue Bayou restaurant an awful lot. Big Grin Just have to remember this isn't a food vacation. We're only planning on one meal out a day anyway, since we can cook breakfast and one other meal at the condo, except the day we go to the one restaurant.

Not much going on today. Laundry and dishes and minor house pick up to do. And a nice day to hang clothes on the line. The weather report for this week scares me. It's going to be back in the mid to high 80's and one day at 90. Well, that will dry a lot of clothes, won't it?


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