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Archive for November, 2007

EF Update and Spending and Shopping Plans

November 8th, 2007 at 09:41 pm

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10 to savings. I transferred it to ING.

$2188.58 Old EF Balance
+ 10.00 Deposit
---------
$2198.58 New EF Balance

I also spent $74 on the 3rd Series DVD set of Doctor Who which came out this week and arrived in my mailbox today. It is nice living so near to an Amazon shipping warehouse. 2 day shipping for the price of 3 to 5 business days. I won't be making my usual monthly music CD purchase. Not that they are comparable in price but my deal is one purchase like this a month whether it be a movie, a DVD set, or a music CD.

Not too much going on. We've got a long weekend here. Today was early release at school and then the kids don't go back until Tuesday.

I will be taking Rose shopping for basketball shoes later this week, which will cost, and a couple pairs of winter pants. She really only has two pair now that the weather has turned and the cold season has started. Since there was snow in the rain today I need to rectify that pretty quickly. She's grown 4 inches since the start of the last cold season so not much fits. I think we can get by with only buying her two more pairs unless there is a really good sale.

Money Back

November 6th, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Getting back into the habit of blogging daily is harder than it seems. I may just have to content myself with three or four entries a week.

My kid's school has initiated a new food program and is giving free breakfasts for the next four years to all children now, not just the one's who qualify for the reduced or free lunch program. And they made it retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Which means my son's account just had $56 dumped back into it. That's nearly a month and half's worth of hot lunches. He'll eat breakfast at school quite often just because he has to get up so early with the newer start to the school day that he often isn't hungry yet, but by the time he's at school he's ravenous.

So it was a nice surprise to get the money back and I think we're going to take more advantage of the new breakfast program since it is available to all children. It'll save us a little on our grocery budget anyway.

EF Update and Other Stuff

November 3rd, 2007 at 05:43 am

I sent the monthly $100 deposit to ING today.

$2088.58 Old EF Amount
+ 100.00 Deposit
---------
$2188.58 New EF Amount

I also did some organizing in the pantry and in one of the freezers. Still have a bit more to do until I can inventory what I have, though. I should get through that tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will be making a pot roast in the crockpot and a chicken on the rotisserie and we will use that meat for dinners this week. I'll have to freeze some of it so it won't go off before we can use it all.

I'll also be cutting up veggies ahead of time. I've done onions and a red bell pepper and I tomorrow I will do broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and tear up a head of lettuce to store in my salad spinner.

I also diced up a bunch of ham and shredded up some cheese for making omelettes in the mornings. I'd started buying those premade omelettes from the grocery store and they are a sorry tasting, preservative filled concoction that in no way tastes anything like my own. It only takes five minutes to make an omelette in my large fry pan and then I can split it between me and the kids.

I think I may make up little omlette making kits and toss them in the freezer, just a little container that has the diced ham, diced onions, and diced red bell peppers in them in pre-measured portions. Then take one out the night before to thaw in the fridge.

I can't believe I was letting myself by those omlettes. It cost $5 for a package of two. I can make ten omlettes that would feed the three of us for ten days for that same amount. That's how far I had fallen.

I suppose I ought to do up menues for the week as well, though that may not get done until Sunday. We'll see. Don't want to overtax myself.

How I Can Get My Head Back in the Finance Game

November 2nd, 2007 at 03:57 am

So, how to get my head back into the game of finances? It was easy enough when money was tight and we had to stretch everything just to meet our bills. Now, with things being so very much easier, and a second raise following the one of three months ago for DH, I find it is becoming easier to not pay attention and to let some of the new money fritter away.

I really don't think that is at all a productive thing for me to do. Yet, the desire to ease up has been so overwhelming and the idea that if I don't look at what I'm doing, then I'm not really doing it, is kind of looming large. I don't want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand and yet at the same time I don't want to think, either.

Dangerous, that. Not thinking. Gets you into all sorts of trouble. And out of trouble has been the goal for years now, and it really does need to continue being the goal. Just because we have breathing room does not mean that we don't still have massive debt hanging over our heads. That medical debt is not going to go away of its own accord.

So, what to do? Well, first of all I need to stay out of restaurants and start cooking again. There are a lot of reasons for this, but first and foremost it's because my food is healthier as I know where it comes from. It's either organic, or at the very least, free range, hormone free, and steroid free. Second, it tastes better than any restaurant food. One of the benefits of being a fine cook, if I may be allowed to toot my own horn.

And third, it's also much more frugal to buy my own food and cook it. Even with organic food it is still cheaper to make a meal than it is to do a drive thru run, even off the dollar menu. I know this, I've done the math before. You know this really shouldn't be reason number three. It should be reason number one. This just goes to show how very far my mind is away from where it needs to be, doesn't it?

So all of that requires planning because we are going to be busy. Two days a week at tae kwon do, two days a week at basketball practice and Saturdays are game days. That means menu planning and crockpotting and making lists of the pantry and freezer again. And not wasting food by letting it rot in the veggie bins because I was too lazy to prep and cook when it's so much easier to eat out. Such a vicious circle, that, isn't it?

So obviously step one here is organization. That's not the only thing that could use some organization. I want to get a real bill box. One of those letter box things like Lillian Vernon sells that has a slot for each day of the month, plus big slots for miscellaneous bills.

My method of two little cardboard boxes is not cutting it and every so often a corner tears out. The wooden box would go a long way to curb the frustration, plus I would be able to tell at a glance what bills need to be paid when because they'd be in their corresponding cubby. And stuff would go in there promptly upon opening it. No more little piles and oops the power bill slid under the bed and suddenly you realize oops, I forgot to pay it last month. How lame is that? At least I stay on top of the interest bearing debt. But I need to stay on top of everything, so bill box gets to join spreadsheet in my list of tools to get my head back in the finance game.

We've been careless with gas, too. More than one trip to town in a day, not grouping errands into a single trip, not making sure everything is in the car that needs to be before we leave so that we don't have to go back home after five miles to retrieve something we need. Like say the tae kwon do uniforms. So, I need to concentrate on that, too.

One other thing is that I've let the surveys slide. It's been weeks since I've been serious about them, so I need to get on the ball, go clean out my survey email account and start doing them again. I know it wasn't much but it did help to build up my EF account and that is still one of my top goals here. Get it fully funded. Though just one month's worth would be nice, and I would feel so much more secure.

Daily blogging always helped tremendously in the past, so I should really wrap my head around that. Keeps me accountable, keeps me from hiding and gives me a place to vent if I do something stupid with money or celebrate if I do something brilliant with it. And reading the blogs again, at least some of them, on a daily basis too, because they inspire, instruct and make me realize that I am not alone in this.

So it really comes down to three things in the end, doesn't it? Planning, organization, and follow through. And I think if I follow those three steps I really and truly can get my head back in the financial game.

EF Update

November 2nd, 2007 at 03:05 am

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10 to savings. I didn't do anything with the one last week either, which meant I had $20 to move to ING today. Interest was also posted to my ING account today.

$2062.87 Old EF Balance
20.00 Deposit
+ 5.71 Interest
---------
$2088.58 New EF Balance

It's coming along nicely. I'm almost up to half a month's expenses now.

Head in the Clouds Part 2

November 1st, 2007 at 09:19 am

And this is just how badly I'm not thinking. I paid my property taxes today, well, techinically yesterday since it's after midnight. Pretty big thing to forget about, isn't it? Well, at least I didn't forget to pay it. Now that really would have been bad.

So $335.88 out the door for half year taxes. Yes, those are low. We're not a city out here. More like a blink and you missed it, with the accompanying services (few, mostly volunteer), and most of it goes to the schools anyway, which are good.

I also added 2 handfuls of change and $7 in ones to the coin jar. Didn't count the change. Still too apathetic at the moment, but I'm trying, anyway.

Head in the Clouds

November 1st, 2007 at 08:34 am

I have seriously been so out of it lately, my head is in the clouds. My focus just is not on financial things at the moment. But I got a good deal today so I thought I should trot my sorry self over here and blog about it.

There's a new place that just opened up in my county (Whatcom) and they deliver. It's free range, steroid free, and hormone free protein, frozen and vacuum sealed. It's not organic but it is as close as you can get to it without being it and with delivery I don't have to worry about it sitting in the trunk for the long drive from town. It should last quite awhile when interspersed with the chicken and fish in the freezer already.

Other than eggs and cheese, I shouldn't have to purchase protein again for a couple of months. So even though it was more than half my monthly food budget in one go, I think it was well worth the expense.

They sell it by the case and I ended up with 55 beef steaks for $150. Very good portion sizes, too, no skimping. That works out to $2.72 per steak. It was T-bone and rib-eye, New York strip, and filet mignon as well as two other cuts I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go and get the brochure. Pretty good when the recent sale price on a plain old chuck roast was $2.99 this week.

Whenever I need more I just call them, order, and they put me on their delivery route for that week. The $150 a case is an introductory price for a year. Not sure what I'll do if it isn't a renewable special offer, because I don't want to go up to the $300 it is supposed to be after that.

Anyway, it's nice to find a good source of beef without having to buy a side of beef and find room for it in the freezers.

I won't use them for chicken since it's all white meat and we all prefer dark or seafood because we don't eat most of what is offered and we don't eat enough pork to even think about that. But for beef, definitely.