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Archive for June, 2011

Pre-Op Exam and Coin Jar

June 30th, 2011 at 02:36 pm

I had my pre-op appointment this morning and everything went well. I still have to get a fasting blood lab done (maybe tomorrow morning, maybe Tuesday) and an EKG preformed Wednesday, which no one told me about and my doctor only happened to notice on the form he had to fill out. *sighs*

I went ahead and added the $15 I had left in my wallet to the coin jar. Payday is tomorrow and I have $16 left in checking which is enough to cover the milk and lemons I need to buy at the store today. That way I won't be tempted to buy more than I've determined I need to get. I wouldn't even get the lemons but DS is begging me for lemonade and because of his allergies it has to be made from scratch. Since he can't have apple or grape juice, lemonade is one of the few drinks he can have that isn't milk or OJ.

Two Days No Eating Out, Coin Jar, and BoA

June 29th, 2011 at 07:12 pm

I am back on track with the no restaurant eating. The kids really want pizza this weekend so I said I would make one on Saturday. I'll have to buy cheese and pepperoni, but that still comes out far cheaper than the same amount of pizza from anywhere (except maybe Little Caesar's Hot 'N Ready) and it tastes better, too. I have some leftover onions, tomatoes, peppers, ham and chicken sausage I can put on it, as well. We like our pizzas loaded.

I put $1.27 in the coin jar today. I've got $15 left in cash until Friday and if I don't spend it between now and then it goes into the coin jar, too. I can't forsee spending it at the moment. I've still got $16 in the checkbook which is enough to buy milk, which is the only thing we are low on.

The payment I made yesterday to BoA credit card posted. After I make the next payments on Friday I will officially have the credit card debt under $20,000. Even though it seems like I've made little progress the last two months, we have made some and that is a good thing.

It Never Rains but it Pours

June 29th, 2011 at 02:45 pm

Just when I thought I'd have a breather another medical bill and another dental bill have come in. Darn it. $106.93 for a visit and strep test back in April for my son and $193.20 to the dentist for me, DS and DD. That should seriously be it. I can't think of any other medical/dental that should come in now. I guess that's $300 less to credit card debt this month.

Money Out

June 27th, 2011 at 05:47 pm

Since the BoA website was still being stupid today--I could get in a bit further but I still couldn't make a payment--I went down to the actual brick and mortar bank and made a payment of $900. That makes a total of $1500 so far this month and I will have another $1900 at least to put on debt next week. Not all of it goes on the VISA. We did use the MC to pay for our stay at the Inn at Virginia Mason because it gets extra points for hotels, so that one is getting paid off in full. Amex is also getting paid off in full as it is each month, around $500. Also $500 will be set aside for our trip back to Virginia Mason for the surgery to pay for the hotel.

Then the following week I should be able to set aside $1000 as temporary holding money for the end of the paycycle when DH makes no money for two weeks, and put $2000 aside for medical, using the remainder for the few bills left for this month, including the car payment. The paycheck after that will go in with the temporary holding money. Anything left over after all payments are made in that two week cycle will be put in the Emergency Fund, with the idea that if I need it for medical I can use it. I am hoping $2000 will cover the cost of my portion of the surgery, but it's possible August money will have to be set aside as well.

It is complicated but I forsee us getting back on track with debt repayment by September.

DS went out to the house today with my mother and they collected all the aluminum cans. Between what was there and what was here they had 87 pounds, so DS got $28.50. He has enough now to pay for the 3DS except for sales tax, which will add an additional $24 that he still needs. He says he will work extra jobs to try to earn it before we leave for our trip, and I've agreed to let him try, but he really will have to work for it.

I Made it Eight Days

June 26th, 2011 at 05:22 pm

I can't believe I forgot to post yesterday. I am like Posty McPosterson of the Clan McPostsalot and I totally spaced. Anyway, yesterday was day eight of no eating out challenge. Unfortunately today was not day nine. I don't actually feel bad about it though. I got the manager's special from KFC, which was seven pieces of dark meat chicken, 2 large sides, 3 biscuits, and a mini chocolate chip cake for $15.85 (that's the with tax price).

That was actually enough food for two meals so we had it for lunch and for supper. I added a can of green beans to dinner for veg. The biscuits we are saving for breakfast tomorrow and half the cake for another day. I don't feel too bad about this as breakfast was free today. So $15.85 for the day plus food leftover seemed like a good choice when I woke up with a head full of congestion. I am so sick of allergies right now.

I am going to try to finish out the next week without anymore eating out though. Just because I gave in one day does not mean I need to give in every day.

Meanwhile, I balanced the checkbook on Friday and then sent out the bills.

$522.90 Anesthesiologist
$172.37 to ENT Doctor
$144.00 Water/Sewer Old House
$100.00 6 weeks allowances (plus extra jobs money)
$100.00 propane holding tank (ING)
$100.00 property tax holding tank (ING)
$_17.00 HOA dues holding tank (ING)
$100.00 Emergency Fund (ING)
$250.00 Groceries
+_90.00 Fringe

I have $986 left. I was planning to put $900 onto the credit card, but the stupid BoA website has not been working all day. I just keep getting Out of Memory at line 612, which is usually code for update your fricking flash player, but since I just updated my flash player I doubt very much that that is it. I will try again tomorrow and if it isn't working than I will go down to BoA in person. Nothing is due before the 4th and this was just an extra payment anyway, but I really wanted to make it and I'm bummed.

As for allowances, DD got her $60. That's $10 a week for her and she has to make it last for the next six weeks. DS got his allowance of $36 or $6 per week, plus $2 in tooth fairy money and $2 in extra jobs money. He picked up 200 pinecones and he gets a penny a pinecone, so a total of $40 for him which we promplty went and deposited into his bank account. He's now got $220 saved up for the 3DS he wants to buy.

My allowance was buying seasons one and two of Fringe (which was $90). DH will get his the payday after he comes home. He gets $100 for six weeks.

I got back four ones and 15 cents in change from KFC so that is going into the coin jar for the EF. I am hoping to go out to the house tomorrow and mow the lawn and weedeat. Hopefully DS will gather up all of the aluminum cans and bag them up. We had a bin in the shed that was full of them but something or someone got into it and now they're all over the floor. I told him if he does it he can have the money for recycling them.

And of course anymore pinecones he picks up at a penny a pinecone. He really wants to buy the 3DS before we go on vacation on the 11th but he doesn't quite have enough without doing extra jobs. And I've already told him we won't loan him money again. It's not that he doesn't pay it back, because he does. But we are trying to teach him that sometimes you just don't qualify for a loan, not even from Bank of Mom and Dad. Sometimes you just have to save up the whole amount on your own.

He seems to really get it. DD, not so much. She's already spent $15 on makeup and is planning out the rest of her purchases. I suggested, like I do every payday, that she at least put $10 into her savings account. I may have to make it more than a suggestion. She's almost 15 and resistant to saving in a big way. But she also thinks that credit card debt is stupid, so at least she's got that going for her.

Emergency Fund Update

June 24th, 2011 at 08:46 pm

I made my deposit of coin jar money today at CU#2. I added $3 before I made the deposit, bringing the amount deposited to $31.50. I also added .96 to the coin jar tonight. I also sent $100 to ING.

$828.06 ING EF
+100.00 deposit
$928.06 Total ING EF

$285.91 CU#2 EF
+_31.50 deposit
$317.41 total CU#2 EF

$928.06 ING
+317.41 CU#2
1245.47 Total EF

No Eating Out Challenge Day Seven

June 24th, 2011 at 07:36 pm

Well, I've made it a week without going to a restaurant or ordering takeaway food. One more week to go. I very well may extend it until we go on vacation in July as we are doing so well and not feeling at all deprived.

Scrambled eggs (free from chickens)
Homemade beef sausage ($1.50)
Strawberries ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $4

Leftover spaghetti (free, used up last of sauce and noodles)
Cucumber slices (.79)
Chicken quesadillas
--leftover Cornish game hens (free)
--spelt tortillas (.50)

Total: $1.29

DS and Me
Steak ($8)
Corn on the cob ($1)
Can of green beans ($1)
Milk ($1.50)
Mashed potatoes and gravy leftovers (free)

Total: $11.50

Grand total for day: $16.79

Day Six No Eating Out Challenge

June 23rd, 2011 at 05:44 pm

DD felt good enough to eat a bit more challenging foods today. She wanted me to get mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC, but I told her we had some potatoes and gravy left from meals earlier in the week and she agreed to that. Crisis averted.

Scrambled Eggs (free from chickens)
Pancakes (.50)
Real Maple syrup ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $3

DS and Me
Cornbread (.50)
Chili ($2)
Milk ($1)

Leftover mashed potatoes and gravy (free)
Scrambled egg (free from chickens)

Total: $3.50

Fresh Udon Noodles ($1.69)
Chicken ($3)
Can of green beans ($1)
Fresh strawberries ($2)
Milk (1.50)

Total: $9.19

Grand Total for the day: $15.69

Day Before Payday

June 23rd, 2011 at 04:58 pm

So I emptied out my purse of all the money that was left and added $13.26 (over $3 of it was coins) to my coin jar. Then I rolled dimes and pennies. With my ones and a five I'll have a deposit of $28.50 to go into the local part of the EF (my safety net) at CU#2 tomorrow.

I received the bill from the dietician yesterday so that will be 3 medical bills to pay tomorrow. Not bad. We may have one more bill coming from them (less than $25), and one bill from the local walk in clinic (I forgot to ask DH if he paid up front when he took DD there for her ear infection, but it would only be 10%). Feels like we're getting our heads above water now in the medical game again. So, yay.

I balanced the checkbook. I was supposed to do that last weekend, but I procrastinated a lot. I have nothing left in the attached savings account (which isn't part of the EF) of the money I set aside for medical, but I used it for the oral surgery Wednesday, so that is okay. That was what it was put there for. So I'm right where I am supposed to be, on budget. I just wish I could eek out a little more to go to the EF. Oh, I know I'll send $100 sometime this pay cycle. Just not sure when.

Sometimes I skate the line pretty closely, but this time I had $300 left in checking. Of course, it's earmarked for debt repayment or medical, but the point is it's there.

Day Five No Eating Out Challenge

June 22nd, 2011 at 08:35 pm

Today was kind of off target because of DD's surgery. Neither of us ate breakfast and DS had it with his grandmother so that was free.

DS and Me
chicken noodle soup (1.49)
grilled ham and cheese sandwiches ($2)
Milk ($1)

Homemade vanilla milkshake ($2)

Total: $6.49

Leftover spaghetti sauce (free)
Freshly made spaghetti (.50)
Homemade garlic bread (just crushed garlic and butter brushed on homemade buns) (.50)
Milk ($1)

Total: $2

Grand total for day: $8.49

Medical Spending--Wisdom Teeth

June 22nd, 2011 at 02:51 pm

DD had her two lower wisdom teeth taken out this morning. She doesn't have any on the top (neither did DH) so it was a little cheaper than it would have been if she'd had all four. They also cut the gum away from the back molars that had been growing up over them because of the way the wisdom teeth were pushing. We had to pay $399.60 up front before the surgery. Considering their original estimate for our portion was closer to $700, that really isn't so bad. I also paid $10.95 at the pharmacy for 3 prescriptions for DD, a painkiller, an antibiotic, and a anti-nausea to take with the painkiller. Thank goodness for generics.

On Friday I have 3 more medical bills to pay from DS's surgery and then that should be over with and we'll only have to worry about my upcoming surgery in July, which will be more expensive since it is invasive and will involve at least one overnight, they think. So far I have not had to touch my meager emergency fund. I keep hoping that will remain the case. Still, better to touch the EF than to reach for the credit cards.

I've got two appointments next week for medical. One is DD's follow up from the oral surgery and one is my pre-operative appointment. So a whole week without anything medical (unless you count physical therapy, which I sort of don't). I don't think there's been one of those at all this month.

Frozen Dinners of the Homemade Variety and Day Four No Eating Out Challenge

June 21st, 2011 at 01:13 pm

Last night before I went to bed I was nosing through the freezer figuring out what today's lunches were going to be. The kids and I couldn't really come to a consensus of what we wanted so I turned to my stash of homemade TV dinners. I make these up when there are only enough leftovers for one person's meal, as opposed to enough leftover from dinner for everyone to have lunch the next day.

DS happily claimed the little chicken pot pie, DD was thrilled to find a turkey, stuffing, and veggie combo leftover from the turkey we roasted in April, and I discovered a chicken enchilada that was calling my name. It fed our need for variety without having to make up three different things for lunch today.

Blueberry Muffins (.49)
Scrambled Eggs (free, from chickens)
Beef Bacon ($2)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $3.99

Leftover pot pie (free)
Leftover turkey dinner (free)
Leftover enchilada (free)
Salad (free, garden)
Dressing (.25)
Strawberries ($1)

Total: $1.25

--hamburger ($1.37)
--cheese (.50)
--1/8 cup tomato sauce (.13)
--1/8 cup onion (.25)
--condiments (.12)
--homemade buns (.50)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $4.37

Grand Total for Day: $9.61!

I love it when the cost of leftovers really lowers that daily amount like that. It'll definitely help balance this coming weekend's picnic ham. Today is a no spend day, as well. Tomorrow won't be as I have to get a prescription for DD who is having her wisdom teeth out and I have to pay up front for our portion of the surgery. At least the money is available and it won't have to go on a card. Even last year we might have had to charge it so I am very glad about where we are right now even if it does seem we keep getting battered with medical expenses.

Day Three No Eating Out Challenge and Lots of Errands

June 20th, 2011 at 05:57 pm

Today was a good day. Although I feel like I had to run a lot, it wasn't so bad. I started off at physical therapy and so that was $90 out. Had a visit to the chiropractor but the month is already prepaid so no money out there. Went to Trader Joe's to get the cheaper Clam Chowder to have on hand for after DD's wisdom teeth get removed so she'll have an easy choice that has plenty of protein in it. I also picked up peanut butter and two packages of nitrate/nitrite free all beef hotdogs. I spent $32.47 there.

I stopped at Link's Optical (because it was across from TJ's) to pick up a couple packages of the glasses cleaning wipes, so that was $11.50, but we'll be stocked for a good while. Or a while anyway. When you have four people in one household wearing glasses they don't last as long as when there was just two.

After that I went to Bank of America to pay on the credit card. I only paid $500 today, but I will pay another $500 on Friday which is payday. Normally I pay $1000 in one go, but with the medical bills everything is off kilter a bit and I have to pay up front for DD's oral surgery Wednesday and that will be $400 so I just did half for now.

Then I went to the store and got some Icy Hot Naturals to put on my back. It's not as good as Mineral Ice, but I wasn't going to drive around looking for it when my back was starting to lock up. It cost $7.99 for a big tube (8 ounce, I think).

Okay, so still no temptation to eat out which is nice. I thought this was going to be tougher because I am so tired, but we are all into the planning and the making of meals so it's working very well.

Homemade biscuits with strawberry jelly (.50)
Bananas (.80)
Homemade Lamb sausage ($3)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $5.80

Beef Quesadillas made with--
--leftover beef potroast (free)
--spelt tortillas ($1)
--shredded cheese blend ($1)
Cucumber slices (.79)

Total: $2.79

Cornish Game Hens ($8)
Leftover potatoes (free)
Leftover gravy (free)
Can of green beans ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $10.50

Grand Total for day: $19.09

So under my daily goal of $20, not too bad. I was guessing on the cornish game hens on what they cost, based on what they are selling for now, which is $4 a hen. They've been in the freezer for a while and probably cost less than that at the time. I can't imagine I'd have bought them at full price. But it's close enough.

Tomorrow will be at least partially a seafood day. I've got some Langastino that needs to be eaten and while I was rooting around in the freezer I also noticed there was a two pound bag of prawns so those will go into a meal later in this week. There was lots of frozen salmon as well so I think we will have salmon for dinner tomorrow. I should take some out to thaw now. Or maybe I should save the salmon for when DD can barely chew. Hmm...well, I'll figure it out this evening.

I need to balance the checkbook. I skipped doing it this weekend so really need to get to it.

Day Two No Eating Out Challenge

June 19th, 2011 at 02:27 pm

I am happy about how good the kids are being about not eating out. I told them we were going to try to go two weeks with just homecooked meals and they are actually pretty happy about that. Seems they really do prefer my cooking and it's more an issue of my not wanting to cook at times more than them wanting to go to a restaurant that makes them ask so much. Interesting what your kids will tell you when things slow down in the summer.

Anyway, today's menu:

French toast with powdered sugar and cinnamon ($1)
Milk ($1.50)
Chicken sausage ($2)

Total: $4.50

Clam Chowder ($1.49)
Chicken Noodle soup ($1)
Canteloupe ($1)
Cucumbers ($.79)
Cheese cubes ($1.50)

Total: $5.78

Beef pot roast ($7.52)
Corn on the cob ($2)
Green beans ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $12.02

Grand Total for day: $22.30. A little high but there will be leftover pot roast for sandwiches tomorrow so that will bring tomorrow's price down.

It is getting harder to find the pot roasts for under $3 a pound. Until all this medical stuff started this year I was seriously considering getting a side of beef direct from an organic farmer but we may well likely have to put that off for another year since I don't think we will have the money available by September which is when you have to pay.

Better Than a Restaurant

June 18th, 2011 at 07:35 pm

That's what my kids declared after eating this tonight:

It was delicious and a third of the cost of getting hot meatball sandwiches at our favorite Italian place.

Day One No Eating Out Challenge

June 18th, 2011 at 01:33 pm

Well, today has gone (and will continue to go) in an excellent direction. No one has even been tempted to ask to go out to eat, because we made up a yummy menu plan this morning.

Poached eggs (free from chickens)
Whole wheat berry bread (.15)
Homemade blueberry jam (free, from Mom)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $1.65

Meatball sandwiches
--Hamburger, 1 pound ($1.37)
--1/2 cup 5 cheese blend ($1.00)
--Homemade sauce
----2 tomatoes (.85)
----half a large yellow onion (.25)
----1 tbsp minced garlic (.10)
----basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme (free from garden)
----salt and pepper (.05)
----2 cans organic tomato sauce ($2)
----1 small can organic tomato paste ($1)
--Homemade hot dog buns (.25)

Total: $6.87

Leftover meatballs (free)
Leftover sauce (free)
Whole wheat spaghetti ($1.00)
Milk ($1.50)
Green beans ($1)
Corn on the cob ($1.50)
Butter (.10)

Total: $5.10

Grand total for day: $13.62

Guess I can still get a day under $15 once in a while!

I am baking homemade buns, a pan of cornbread, and some biscuits this afternoon for meals this week. DD is making sugar cookies for her brother. She can't eat them herself anymore, except maybe one cookie a week, but she still likes to bake.

Eating Out Hiatus Challenge Plus Meal Planning

June 17th, 2011 at 02:46 pm

Anyone care to join me on a no eating out challenge? I'm aiming to start tomorrow (Saturday) and go for two weeks without going to a restaurant or getting any takeaway or delivery from one. It's been getting out of hand lately and I'd like to get it back under control.

I've decided to start posting meals and meal costs again because that was such a good tool for me when I was doing it before. DH is away so it's just me and 2 kids and sometimes Mom joining us for dinner.

Scrambled eggs (free from chickens)
pancakes ($1)
Real Maple syrup ($1)
Fresh strawberries ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $4.50

Clam chowder ($1.50)
Chicken Noodle soup ($1.50)
Bananas (.50)
Sweet potatoes (.50)
Fresh cherries ($1.50)

Total: $5.50

Homemade fish sticks
--cod fish ($4.79)
--panko, flour, corn starch, eggs for breading (.50)
Onions and Bell Peppers ($2)
Corn on the cob($2)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $9.79

Grand total $19.79

My goal right now is to keep meals to under $20 a day. Because of DD's pre-diabetes and DS's allergies, I no longer have the luxury of keeping things under $15 a day. And with the rising cost of fresh food due to gas prices I simply will do my best with the sales, buy produce in season, and hope $20 a day will do it. That's about $600 a month. Far cry from the $450 to $500 I was doing, but also still better than the $800 we were spending last year.

Quiet Few Days

June 16th, 2011 at 08:44 pm

I've been quiet for the last few days because I totally messed up my knee again. I didn't even do anything to it. It just suddenly swelled up and started hurting. Well, it may have been getting in and out of the Corolla loaner car. Not really made for a person with disabilities. That is the only thing I can think of and I do remember it twinging then. I finally got in to the doctor today and he drained 15 cc's of fluid out of it then shot me up with cortizone. I feel like it's always one step forward, two steps back with this thing. Will it never really heal?

I haven't done anything productive since Tuesday, but neither have I been spending wads of money so I guess it balances out. Laying in bed with my leg elevated and with ice on while reading is at least free, yes? Tess Gerritson continues to entertain even if I am reading her Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles series backwards (I don't know if it has an official name or not for the series). Doesn't matter though, each book is a treasure on its own, although I still wish there weren't so much hard swearing. I am currently reading The Apprentice. I should be reading The Surgeon first but it was checked out and besides, this is the one where Jane meets her husband and I want to read that more than I want to read them in order

I got my doctor to call in new prescriptions of my high blood pressure medicine and my sleeping pill. I will need the sleeping pill on vacation with all four of us staying in the same room and the various levels of noise my family makes from outright snoring to sleeptalking. I can't afford to get sick from lack of sleep on our vacation since my surgery immediately will follow it.

Today was the last day of school and I am so glad it is out for the summer. No more 7 a.m. drop offs. No more having my life dictated to me according to the school district's schedule. No more making endless sandwiches for school lunches. Just nice lazy days ahead of us for the next week and afternoons at the pool.

Busy Day

June 13th, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Before DH and I took the vehicle down to have it Scotch Guarded, we filled up the tank. It cost $56.19 for 15.358 gallons at $3.659 a gallon. I have found Scotch Guarding to be worth its weight in gold over the years. There are stains I never thought we'd get out of the couch that came out because it had been protected. We got melted wax crayon out of the back seat of the last car even. I will get it back late tomorrow afternoon. They gave us a Corolla as a loaner. Not impressed, but at least it wasn't an itty bitty little Yaris. I can feel the difference in my body after driving it.

The Sienna is definitely better for my disabilities. Apart from comfort of seating it also allows for easier entry and exiting. In the smaller car I have to use my cane to get out and it's a real struggle. They say the Corolla and Matrix are virtually the same car, but they really are not. I can really tell the difference there. There is also ten times the lumbar support in the chair (of the Sienna) and my low back does not ache while driving it which is great because once is starts to lock up and spasm, I'm pretty much no good for a week.

We took DH to the airport today. He is supposed to text when he gets up to work safety, but usually forgets.

I had my physical therapy in the middle of the day and am pretty sure the therapist was trying to cause permanent damage a few times. It was probably the most painful session I've ever had. But the walking was easier this evening so maybe it is worth it all.

Before DH left he empited out his wallet and had $3.28 for the coin jar and five dollars in ones, all to go to the EF eventually. Bit by Bit it grows.

My mother managed to fall again, tripped face first into the chicken coop. Her glasses dug into the bridge of her nose and her nose itself is an ugly shade of brown, all puffy and swollen. And she managed to sunburn herself something fierce. She's doing okay, but I really wish she'd be more careful. When we move out we will definitely not move too far away if we can help it. If she's going to keep falling (it'd been months since the last fall) than she needs people around to make sure she's safe. *sighs*

We'll get our car back tomorrow afternoon after the kids get out of school. I am glad we do not live too far from the dealership.


June 12th, 2011 at 05:16 pm

DH and I went out to work at the house today. Yard work, which I used to be so good at and now I just loathe it with a passion. Because of my knee I can't just sit on my knees and weed, which is really the best position for it. And one of our neighbors walked off with our little sit on rolly cart thing, so I can't use it either. I end up sitting on my backside with one leg stretched out and there is only so long you can do that for before it kills your back. Still, I managed to pull out a good amount of crab grass.

I also took and hacked down the clematis and honeysuckle vines. It had taken over that entire area and run way out of bounds. I'm sure it'll come back just fine as those four plants have been virtually impossible to kill for ten years.

I think we may end up using weed killer. I spent a lot of time being an organic gardner when I was healthy, but now I'm not and the weeds are just so rampant I think I'd rather spray and be done with it. I feel guilty about it, but at this rate I don't think we'll ever catch up. I have enough newspaper to maybe smother 3 flowerbeds, but since there are five and there are six garden beds as well, I just don't know.

I dunno, we might be able to hire someone to come in and just do it all organically, but that could cost an awful lot since there is so much to do. And because it is in the boonies. I kind of wish there was some place where you could just put it up for sale as is and buyer could deal with it all. It's not even like we want all that much for the place, really. Just enough to pay off the under $21,000 mortgage and enough for a good start on a downpayment on our next one (which will have virtually no yard at all, I swear). *sighs* I miss being able bodied.

At some point I'll have to go out with Mom and her truck to get all the plant material we tore out and weed eated today. I think we could fill the truck bed and then Mom could take it to the greenery recycling center for $2.

Is That a Troll Under that Bridge?

June 12th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I really dislike trolls in the forums. It's worse than spam in the blogs, I think. Especially when they go on and on defending their position which is clearly not one that belongs in a money saving forum. And then degenerate into namecalling when no one else supports their statements. Misspelled namecalling and very bad grammer.

Surveys and Medical

June 9th, 2011 at 04:31 pm

I want to sign up with MySurvey and was wondering if anyone here had a referral link, since I might as well help someone else out at the same time. I've been doing two survey companies, but am wanting to get a bit more serious about it. I used to make about $50 a month doing surveys, and it would be nice to have that again going into the EF.

I went to the dentist yesterday and now he's thinking it needs a root canal, so he's referred me to a dentist that does that. Unfortunately insurance will only cover 50%. I also took DD to the oral surgeon yesterday and her wisdom teeth definitely need to come out since they are starting to push on her molars and after all that orthodontic work we don't want it getting wrecked. Plus she's in pain a lot. Insurance will also only cover half of that. She only has two with no sign of any on the top so at least that makes it cheaper. She'll be getting them out on the 22nd.

I haven't decided what I will do about my tooth. It only hurts when I chew, but it is kind of exhausting to only chew on one side of your mouth. I'd like to wait until after my surgery in July but I'm not sure that will be possible. I should probably just go and do it. It doesn't rain but it pours. I'm forecasting our credit card debt payoff as end of February now. It's still less than a year away. We are still making progress, just a bit more slowly and I can live with it.

I added $1.29 to the coin jar yesterday and $4 in ones and 66 cents to it, today.

Paid Some Bills

June 7th, 2011 at 09:47 pm

Payday was Friday, but what with all the new car business I didn't do anything about it until today. Well, it did it's own thing on the autopays, but I recorded it in the spreadsheet today and deducted it from the checkbook.

$37.61 DH Life Insurance
$32.50 Me Life Insurance
$41.00 Old House Insurance
$96.51 Car Insurance
141.00 Storage
$348.62 Total autopays out

I was going to pay two medical bills and the mortgage today as well, but got so busy today I didn't get around to it. I'll do it tomorrow.

DD's 2nd meeting with the dietician went well. She was quite pleased with how well DD is doing. DS's filling went well, too.

I spent $89.79 at the grocery store today and added 21 cents to the coin jar.

Errands and Appointment-Making

June 6th, 2011 at 04:28 pm

Today was a very busy day. We went to the insurance company and got the insurance switched over to the new car. It will be $110 less per year. We got an in person estimate for having the Crown Vic detailed. Only $200. I was very surprised, I was expecting double that, but apparently we've cleaned up the worst of it ourselves. We do need to try to replace the gaskets on the door, though. May not be possible to find them as it is a '92 and obsolete despite the fact that I see dozens of them still driving around all the time. We may just have to buy a car cover to put over it so water and snow melt don't leak in during the cold season.

I scheduled an appointment with the dentist for Wednesday morning as that filling is still hurting me when I chew. Put a call in to schedule the scotchguarding of the new car, but ended up on voice mail. I called the billing service for DS's surgery because for some reason they had billed it to my MIL who was the emergency contact instead of me or my husband who are actually responsible for the bills. Got that all straightened out. That bill is $522.90 so I will send that off tomorrow now that I know it will be credited properly to the correct account.

I still need to schedule an oil change for the Crown Vic. Will do that after the detailing though, which will be done on Thursday. Probably should just schedule it for Friday then. So a lot of vehicle expenses this week, but we knew that.

DD and I meet with the dietician tomorrow and DS goes to the dentist with DH for a filling. I am glad he is home for it as I have a hard time with my kids getting needles poked into them. Then DD meets with the oral surgeon on Wednesday for a consult on her wisdom teeth which are pushing against her back molars and causing pain. They are also preventing the dentist from getting at a couple of tiny cavities he needs to seal, not fill, I think he said. So dental will be spendy this week, too. We may need to dip into the emergency fund, but I will try my best not to.

I put four ones and 19 cents into the coin jar today.

Coin Jar Savings

June 6th, 2011 at 12:16 am

When we cleaned out the blue car we found some change and I had a bit in my purse and DH had some in his wallet so altogether we added $1.99 to the coin jar. That will go to EF savings when I get enough to roll. I also added a one dollar bill.

Worked out at the House

June 6th, 2011 at 12:14 am

After we brought the car home we dumped the kids with MIL and went out to the house to work. We weed eated around all the front flower beds and up the driveway and we mowed the two front ditches and the horseshoe between flowerbeds. We pulled out a bunch of weeds and we ended up filling the garbage can which we left out by the road for Tuesday morning pickup. We also stacked a pallet board with wood and left it at the end of the driveway with a free sign. Hopefully someone will take it.

Next door neighbor took the generator and he's mechanical so he is going to try to get it running again as they have no back up heat if their power goes out. We can't use it anymore as its tail is braided wrong for the house we live in now or the ones will be looking at for the future.

Neighbor's wife might take the old bathtub we pulled out when we remodeled for her friend that recently acquired a goose who wants a place to swim. That would be nice, then we wouldn't have to haul it to the dump. We are going to have to make a dump run though. I just don't know for sure in what as FIL has sold his truck and my mom's little truck is tiny, so it's harder to stack it full enough to make a dump run worthwhile.

We are heading back out there tomorrow after school to do some more work in the garden and back yard. Some of the weeds are over my head! I'll have to sit on something as I can't sit on my knees on the ground. I also need to brutally trim back the honeysuckle and clematis, to maybe 1/5 of it's size. It's taken over a fair bit and needs to be tamed. At least DH's dad will be there to help us. He works long and hard without complaining.

Salsa Red is Very Pretty

June 6th, 2011 at 12:03 am

I am exhausted. Long story short, they came through for us with the red vehicle, knocked five more thousand off the price of the Sienna, threw in a bunch of free perks (free maintenance for two years), discounted offers like attaching a trailer hitch for cost of parts if we wanted one. And a warranty that covers all the electronics in the car at a discounted price.

They entered the information into the computer at 2.9 percent and sent it into whatever database that stuff goes into, and they get a phone call one minute later (not an email or an instant message, but an actual phone call) from BoA asking if we would agree for them to buy the loan. Considering how much BoA already owns my soul, I was hesitant. They offered a 2 percent interest rate if we would let them buy our loan. The lady we were working with said they wanted it bad because we were such an excellent credit risk. We went ahead and agreed to it. At least all of our debt is in one place now, with a very user friendly internet banking site. The Toyota one is not so much.

Our salesman said that all the other salesmen kept coming over and petting the car all morning and took a poll saying it was the prettiest Sienna in five counties. I had to laugh at that. It is gorgeous, I'll admit.

When we were in with the lady doing paperwork she was talking to us about what our salesman had said about us, that we were the nicest customers he'd ever had (and actually we were his first that he did the whole test drive through sale with in 2008), so he was very happy when we wanted to work with him again. Of course we did. He's such a nice guy, low pressure, good at his job, is extremely thorough in explaining things, and a genuinely good person.

The most important thing of all is the comfort level, though. With my disabilities it makes getting in and out of low to the ground cars difficult. This one makes it so much easier and the seats are incredibly comfortable. Everyone has enough legroom and I didn't hurt when we got out of it. It is everything we could have hoped for and it fits nicely into our budget. I'll miss the Matrix, but I have no regrets for getting a vehicle we can afford now when such good offers are thrown at us.

Oh, we drove away with a full tank of gas from them, too. I didn't feel so bad about having so much gas in our trade in after that. Especially since it is a 20.9 gallon tank as compared to a 12 gallon tank.

It Does Work

June 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am

DH did some searching on line and discovered that it might not be the starter in the Crown Vic after all and that the battery was just so dead for so long that it couldn't be jumped, but it might start if we left it on the charger overnight. So we did that and voila, it started right up.

We drove it around for a bit and then we took it to the gas station and put air into the tires, then over to the local do it yourself car cleaning place and vacuumed out a bunch of pine needles under the hood. We had some Clorox wipes that we used on the doors and dashboard (one of the doors still needs work) and we did some of the seats. We took it over to the self-car wash and did a presoak and then a high pressure hose. It got off most of the dirt and pollen. We spent six dollars doing all that.

This morning we took it into the regular car wash and got their top of the line wash and wax which was $13. Then we swung over to Kmart and picked up windshield washer fluid, a thing for reattaching the rearview mirror, and some adhesive for some other bits that are loose inside the car.

DH will take it over to the detailer for an estimate. The carpets need to be seriously steam cleaned and the seats need a more heavy duty cleaning than we can give them without renting equipment, but for having sat there for a year, it seems in pretty decent shape. We'll also take it in for an oil change sometime this week.

The car is worth about $2000 in a private sale according to KBB for the shape it is in (or will be in after it is ready for sale) so I don't feel bad about spending a couple hundred dollars to get it into salable shape. It's a 92 luxury model (we bought it used in 98) and has a modern sound system that we put in in 2008 that you can plug an MP3 player or flash drive directly into. It is quite nice, just dirty. It's also pretty low on miles for a twenty year old car, in the 120,000's.

My PT is looking for a good and reliable car and I am thinking of broaching the idea of giving her the car in exchange for 15 to 20 free sessions. She's always talking about how she barters with other professionals for things, and if I could free up that $90 a week for something else that would be awesome. Right now her husband is laid off and going to school and they are dealing with only having one vehicle working. I'd love it if she'd go for it.

Unexpected Car Thing

June 4th, 2011 at 11:48 am

While we were at the dealership yesterday getting the oil changed and the brakes checked, tires rotated, and a new rear windshield wiper put on, the guy in charge of used car sales asked us if we would ever consider trading it in. We said yes, but not until next year when it was paid off and we bought a Sienna.

He then offered us $2000 above what it is worth as a trade in (according to KBB), which is also about $2000 more than we still owe on it. He said that people are wanting our particular model really badly right now because of gas mileage and also because of the paint color. Our paint color is really popular, a gorgeous, bright metallic blue, but they can't get it anymore because the paint factory that made it was wiped out in the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami. He said he could probably sell it within the week. So if we were to accept his offer it would be paid off and we'd have $2000 as a downpayment on something else.

So we decided to go see if "our" new car salesman was there and we could test drive some Siennas. He was. They had one certified used and the others were all 2011's. We test drove the 2007 and it was in really nice condition. It had been owned by some grandparents who rarely had kids in there, usually about once a month. It had been maintained at that dealership so they had all the records of it, too, and our salesman was the one who originally sold it. It was a really sweet car. I just didn't like the interior wood paneling which was sort of an orangey tortishell color. It was also just gray on the outside and I don't like that.

Then we went to test drive some of the new ones. We really loved the way they handled. All of them, not just the new ones. But all the colors were really bland, pale blue, silver, gray, and white. The white was actually very pretty, but we've had a white car in the past and they just show dirt at a tremendous rate. I want a red one, and I'm willing to wait for one, because when we buy this next car I want to keep it ten to fifteen years and I don't want to be unhappy with the color.

Well, they must be really hungry at that dealership because they were all, "Is there a number we can give you so that you'll buy one today?"

I was all, "I'm sure there is," but I wouldn't name it. They offered us the 2.9% financing for five years. I said I wanted the weekend to think it over, and we needed to come back and test drive with the kids, make sure the legroom thing was going to be a good fit for them. I'm sure it will be, but I'm drawing this out because I don't want to be rushed. The kids are not getting any shorter and legroom has become a real issue in the Matrix.

Turns out the payments for the Sienna would not be terribly much more than we are paying now and it would be a five year loan that after the first year we could throw more money at, probably pay it off in 3 if we wanted to. I'd just have to adjust our debt repayment by a couple hundred dollars a month. Our car insurance would actually go down because of the massive amount of safety features. It's almost a wash.

I'm still not convinced, though. They said they could get a red one down for us with the stuff we want within 24 hours, so if they actually have it there today when we take the kids, I'll believe they are really, really ready to bargain. I just wish we hadn't just filled up the gas tank in the Matrix a few days ago. I wonder if we have enough gas cans to siphon most of it out?

We cleaned out the car on the off chance we go for this, and if we don't, hey, we have a clean car. The kids are a little sad about trading in the Matrix, but they knew it was coming next year, so they will deal. We get to keep our vanity plates, too, they will just transfer them over.

We'll see how it all falls into place. I know with all the driving to Seattle we'll be doing with the surgeries and follow ups, having a more comfortable vehicle may be important. Especially right after when I have to be somewhat reclined to be in less pain.

I still think we should wait until January, or at least December, but I am getting really tired of fighting with my daughter of legroom in that car. And DH thinks we should just get it now and be done with it for comfort's sake. My mother thinks we should, too, since it's mostly a wash. We will see, I guess.

Oh, Fiddle!

June 2nd, 2011 at 04:18 pm

The older car is all charged up but it won't start. It is making that ugly clicking sound that means, in my experience anyway, that it needs a new starter. *sighs* Still, we need to do this. That car has much more leg room and is easier to get in and out of with my knee. The Toyota is fine when I am driving and can have the seat all the way back (because my son is still little and he sits on that side) but in the front passenger seat it's not very comfortable, because my long-legged daughter sits behind it and it can't be all the way out. DH does all the driving when he is home because my knee aches if I can't stretch it out all the way so I don't drive anymore than necessary.

I wish we could get that Sienna now. *sighs again*

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