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Archive for September, 2011

Not Much on the Financial Front

September 29th, 2011 at 01:56 pm

I did clean out my purse today and had $1.81 in change to that went into the change jar. I gave my daughter a $5 this morning so she could buy lunch. She doesn't eat peanut butter and I had to throw out the lunch meat (despite ordering it by the slice, they didn't eat as much as they said they would) as it had gone off.

DH is home. Yay! It will be good to have him home for a while now.

Mom's class on what to expect when you go home from the hospital was long, almost 2 hours when it was supposed to only be 1.5 hours. Those chairs are rough to sit in for that long with a bad back and knee. I go back tomorrow at 9 for another one of her physical therapy classes and then some time in the afternoon she'll be released to come home.

My aunt and uncle who I have not seen since my daughter was 3 and I was pregnant with my son, stopped by to see my mother. They had no idea she was in the hospital. Gee, Mom, and I thought I didn't talk to my sisters much. They were on their way up to Canada to visit their daughter so they stopped here. I gave them Mom's room number and they said they'd stop by and see her, but whether they will or not is anybody's guess.

Tomorrow is payday. I'll be glad to see it.

Grocery Shopping

September 28th, 2011 at 10:33 am

I went to my favorite grocery store this morning because they were having a one day sale on produce, things like cucumbers 4/$1, celery for .39/lb, sweet potatoes $1/lb, lettuce .79/head, radishes .50/bunch, bananas for .59/lb, beefsteak tomoatoes that were really red for .50/lb and corn for 3/$1. The salad dressing I like was also on sale so I picked up another 1000 Island and a chunky blue cheese for $3 a piece (preservative free). I picked up a new brand of Dijon mustard that had no additives or preservatives that was on sale.

They also had some meat marked down and I know I said I wasn't going to buy any meat right now since I have so much in the freezer, but it was ribeye marked down for quick sale (use or freeze by today) and I ended up with two steaks for $4. They are big enough that each one is two portions, so I'll get four servings from it. Also Isernio's all natural mild Italian chicken sausage was marked down for quick sale. This is the kind in the chub and not the kind that comes in links, so I will form some of it into patties and some of it into crumbles for a homemade pizza topping and freeze it.

I did refrain from buying a lot of unnecessary items though and am well under the grocery budget. I spent $54.49.

Quick Update

September 27th, 2011 at 09:11 pm

Mom's surgery went well and she's doing fine. Thanks for your prayers.

I had a close call on the eating out challenge. Today was just very stressful and I wanted junk food badly. But for the sake of my wallet and my diet I managed to resist it. I grilled some chicken instead, but I was very resentful in my own head about it. Still, it got me through to the other side without spending money.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

September 27th, 2011 at 08:10 am

My mom is going in for knee replacement surgery in a few hours. I'm a little nervous about it as she is 72. Please pray for her if you pray.

After a year of working 3 on/3 off, DH will start working 2 on/2 off when he returns to the slope after this time home. While this is good news, it is going to screw with the budget I had figured out through the end of the year. And it means he'll be working through Thanksgiving and Christmas this year instead of having them off.

2 and 2's are way better emotionally and financially in the long term, it's just that it would work for our budget so much better if he worked 3 then had 2 off instead of having 3 off and then working 2 for the changeover. I guess I'll see how far things will sretch. Again. Don't know what I'll do about January if he has to stay home that extra week. Maybe we will still be able to swing it. I won't be able to make maximum payments on anything though, which will be annoying.

This will definitely help with the no eating out challenge. We simply won't be able to waste any money at all until the end of November. On the bright side (and I always try to find one of those), DH will be home for my next follow up trip to Virginia Mason. I was going to try it by myself, but now I won't have to.

I think we'll continue eating as much as possible from the pantry and the freezer to try to cut grocery waste. I am really glad cucumbers, cabbage, bananas and lettuce are cheap at the moment. I think that's going to have to be the main produce for now. And pretty soon the cheap oranges will be in as well. And DH is going to have to cut back his milk consumption, too. No more going through 3/4 of a gallon on his own, per day.

I need to do some serious meal planning so we can figure out the best way to save money on that. Today will be spaghetti and meatballs, and then not sure for Wednesday since DH's flight gets in at 6. Maybe I can make a lasanga since I will have sauce leftover from making the spaghetti. I'll just do up extra meat for that. I can always grill up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the George for my diet.


No Eating Out Challenge

September 25th, 2011 at 07:18 pm

I am still going strong on the no eating out challenge, though today was, well, a challenge, as I totally forgot to put a roast in the crockpot. We almost always have roast on Sundays and I didn't even think about it today until 3:30. And the kids were wanting McDonalds and I was very tempted because of the buy one get one free quarter pounders. But I did not give in to this.

Instead I looked in my freezer and saw some beef ribs. It took about 15 minutes to thaw them and a little over an hour to cook them. Dinner was still on the table by 5. The nectarines have been lovely right now so we had those and I had a salad and the kids had green beans. They are not really lettuce eaters, though DD will have it in tacos or on a cheeseburger. DS hates lettuce, but will eat baby spinach and cabbage, so I guess I can't complain too much.

Anyway, I'm glad I didn't give in. I'd really like to make it to the end of the month without eating out at all. Starfishy, are you going to join me for another week? Or anyone else, if you want to. It's nice to have at least one other person doing it with me.

We went to The Market to buy the additive free deli meat for lunches. I actually did it by the slice this time. This is such expensive meat and I am tired of having it get to Thursday and having to throw a little bit out because there are no preservatives and it goes off. So I asked the kids exactly how many slices they use per sandwich and then added it up and had the deli girl slice me exactly that much. The girl laughed at my specific requests but cheerfully did it, commenting that a lot of people aren't that smart about it. I wish I had been sooner. I also got milk while I was there.

Tomorrow I have physical therapy, so that will be $60 out. Then I should not have to spend any more money until Friday.

A Little Spending

September 24th, 2011 at 02:38 pm

The ridiculous heat we had yesterday (86 degrees) is gone. It's resting at 73 with a nice breeze today. The sky is overcast, but not the type that makes you think it's going to rain, just the type that makes it be not quite so bright outside.

The kids went for a walk to return the two DVD's we rented from the DVD Express box and some library books. Our local grocery store has a public library turn in box in it. It's kind of wonderful. They pick up on Wednesdays and Saturdays and backdate anything to the time of their last pickup, so it's not overdue just because you turned it in elsewhere.

DS's alarm clock is malfunctioning so we went to get him a new one and it doesn't work. Or it doesn't fully work. It doesn't light up one of the digits. So say it is 12:35, the three is missing. It's just not there. Weird. So I will be taking it back, but not today. Maybe tomorrow.

I also bought a small salad spinner. I was being lazy about eating the veggies I need to eat, because if I didn't prepare it ahead of time I wouldn't eat them. But if I did prepare it ahead of time they would get soggy in the Ziploc baggy (paper towel included) and start to go off. With the spinner I can keep it nice and crisp and have it prepared ahead of time.

I have hit the 11 pounds lost mark since starting this diet and 37 pounds since my surgery. I am going to swim laps today in a little while.

Oh, yeah, I also bought a garlic press. I am tired of peeling it and mincing it and this just makes it so much easier. Both of these gadgets will make meal planning so much easier because I will stick more closely to what I plan to make, and that makes a lot of difference.

Payday Stuff

September 23rd, 2011 at 01:09 pm

Today was payday so I did bills and then ran around doing errands this morning. I had an irritating time at the CU (see previous post), but otherwise everything went smoothly. I will be glad when DH gets home Wednesday so we can take care of the irritating things.

$1000.00 to savings (possible Jan. extra week off)
___17.00 HoA dues savings
__100.00 Property tax savings
__100.00 Propane tank savings
__100.00 Emergency Fund
___37.68 Garbage
__215.00 Chiropractor
__754.24 set aside for HSA
___33.00 DS's school photos
$1000.00 Loan payback to Mom
___13.56 Electricity old house
+_183.91 Master Card (paid in full and put away)
_______________
$3554.39

I have about $400 leftover. I took out $50 in cash and will pay $60 on Monday for physical therapy which leaves me about $290. $100 of that DH will get for his allowance. I am buying a new bread machine which will be less than my allowance, but not by much. That leaves $90 for food, but I think we can get by with only buying deli meat for next week's lunches and some milk, especially since we are still on the no eating out challenge. Whatever is left will go into the EF.

Speaking of the EF:

$2223.18 Starting Amount
+_100.00 Deposit
_________
$2323.18 New EF Amount

$2323.18 EF Amount
+__37.30 Coin Jar savings
__________
$2360.48 Total EF

So I've met my goal of $2250 in the EF. Next goal is $2500.

A Bit Frustrated with my CU and the HSA

September 23rd, 2011 at 12:48 pm

When we signed up for the HSA the lady at the credit union told us that there would be no problem with me depositing money into DH's HSA account, I just couldn't withdraw it. Well, guess what? They were wrong. I can't deposit it into his account either. I can deposit it into his savings that is attached to the HSA, I just can't do it to the HSA itself and neither can he unless he goes in in person. And he has to fill out paperwork every single time he makes a deposit. I specifically asked about this three times. Every time the lady assured me I could make the deposit.

Now I have to wait for him to come home from Alaska before I mail off these bills. He comes home on Wednesday so it's not that bad this time, but it is frustrating. These people need to be properly trained so that they tell you the facts when you sign up and not just random wrong things.

I think what we will do on the next paycheck (he'll be home for this), is to just run $2000 through the account and take it back out again. Then I can just keep track of things on a spreadsheet until I hit that $2000 mark. I might do it with $3000. I just need to add up the stack of paid medical bills from earlier in the year and see what they come to.

Not Much to Report Today

September 22nd, 2011 at 08:21 pm

I am doing fine on day...whatever it is of the No Eating Out Challenge Starfishy and I are doing. Today was a nice use up all the leftovers day.

I spent $1.09 on a packet of highlighers for the kids for school. I gave the chiropractor a check for $215, but he's holding it until tomorrow. He'd rather I do that than pay with a CC as he has to pay a fee every time someone charges their visits. I don't want to pay with CC anyway, not even the one I pay off in full every month.

Tomorrow is payday. I have budgeted this one pretty tightly as well, but there will be a bit more breathing room. I just really want to have that money to set aside in case DH has to take an extra week off in January. It's worth it to pinch now so we don't get overwhelmed later or have to touch our meager emergency fund. So far the kids are being very good about it.

I paid $1 to rent Hanna out of the DVD Express box. it was excellent. I'm not sure what I was expecting from it, but about half of it was different from those expectations. Still, it was very interesting. I liked the alternate ending better than the original. The original one just sort of...ended without coming to a real conclusion. The alternate one seemed to go full circle.

I added .59 to the change jar. I had $1.25 more, but DS needed that to buy a graph composition book for his science class tomorrow so it never made it to the change jar. They have to purchase them in class as they are a special order thing. I think that's it for today.

Money on OTC Meds

September 21st, 2011 at 11:16 am

I spent $30 on medication this morning. I woke up feeling nasty. I had one day last week like this, but it followed a night of no sleep and then it was gone. This time it feels like the onset of a full on virus. Ugh. So I bought a jar of Vick's vaporub, some nasal spray and some plain white pseudophedrine, so at least this way I can breathe. I don't like taking regular cold medicine because most of it is colored with artificial dyes or has sweetners and fillers that affect my weight and make me bloat. I don't want any of that on top of being sick.

I used some of the money I was going to put into the HSA. Well, it was medical, but it's not deductible medical. Still, I'd rather feel good right now than pay a bill a couple days early.

I might go over to the club and sit in the sauna and try to bake this thing out of me. Sometimes that helps. Of course that requires effort so maybe a nap instead.

I also spent the last ten bucks in my checking to buy 20 cans of green beans. The store had them on sale and I was almost out and we eat them several times a week. This was a good deal anymore (20 cans for $10, so .50 each. There's like $1 left now. Well, there's more, but not everything has been processed yet this week. I still have $5 in cash in case I need to buy milk before Friday.

The no eating out challenge is going fine. It's nice not to be wasting money right now. I'm making a pizza tonight for dinner based on what we have on hand, instead of getting one as takeout.

Refund is Bigger than I Thought

September 19th, 2011 at 03:20 pm

The refund from the oral surgeon was $151.02. That was quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. I thought maybe $50 or less. So what I did was I deposited $101.20 into the Safety Net portion of the EF, and kept $50 which will go into the HSA when I go to the other CU. It'll cover the smaller bill from Virginia Mason I got the other day. I thought that the Allstate bill and my dollars were in my purse, but I guess I took them out so I wouldn't be carrying them around all weekend. So that didn't get deposited yet.

$421.03 Beginning Safety Net
+101.20 Deposit Amount
-----------
$522.23 Ending Safety Net Balance

$1,700.95 ING EF Amount
+__522.23 Safety Net Amount
------------
$2,223.18 Total EF Amount

I have hit my goal of getting the Safety Net to $500. My next goal for the Safety Net is to have $1000. I think that is a good amount to have ready locally to get through an emergency with the rest on tap within 3 business days from ING. It would cover a few nights in a hotel, gas and meals.

My next goal for the EF itself is to hit a total of $2500.

Got a Call

September 19th, 2011 at 02:08 pm

The doctor's office of the surgeon who removed DD's wisdom teeth called today. We had to pay in advance there, and apparently after processing by the insurance, we paid too much. (Ha! I paid exactly what they told me to pay.) Anyway they wanted to know if I wanted to come up there and get the refund or have it mailed. It's only five blocks away so I will go there. I don't know how much it is as the receptionist said it was in a sealed envelope. I know it won't be much. We paid around $800 or $1000, can't remember. But it'll be nice to get something anyway. I will put it in the Safety Net portion of the EF since I will go there later today to deposit that refund from Allstate and my coin jar money.

Odds and Ends

September 19th, 2011 at 09:51 am

I had to buy a music book for DS's orchestra class, so that was $9.32. I had .68 in change from that and put it in the coin jar. That leaves me with $5 in cash for the rest of the week.

I bought my produce yesterday and the deli meat for the kids lunches. I have $10 left in checking for the week after I pay the PT today and the tournament fee tonight. That's okay. I have a full tank of gas and I don't need to buy anything else before Friday. DD will need $5 to buy a ticket to the homecoming dance and DS has pictures next week so I need to budget a bit for school fees next week.

I am happy not having the money because it will help me stay on my no eating out challenge and my eat from the pantry/freezer challenge. I know it seems tight, but it was the way I could send the most money possible to the credit card Friday.

I've been on my controlled carb diet for 13 days now and so far have lost 9 pounds. And that is 35 pounds lost since the surgery. If I stick with this, it's interesting to think that this time next year not only will my finances be in order (no CC debt), but so will my body. I do need to start swimming again, though. I've been lazy about exercising and I know my immune system could use the boost as I am still stuffy from the cold last week.

DH ran the numbers on what our tax refund will be next year. We're looking at around $3500, depending on how much we can deduct for the HSA (I think we may actually hit the full amount). We'll only be able to deduct $600 for our kids though. This is the second year he's made enough that they don't let us deduct the full amount for our kids. But the $3500 will definitely put the final nail in the coffin of the Evil Empire (BoA) so that is good.

Figuring Out the Budget through December

September 18th, 2011 at 11:25 am

Well, it took some serious number crunching, but it looks like if we are careful and are a little more conscious of our spending between now and the end of the year, we will be able to set aside $1000 a month, which will give us $3000 extra if DH has to take an extra week off in January. It's about 3/4 of a full week's salary. There's a possibility of more, but I decided to do it with setting aside $1000 a month for medical (and $500 a month for next year's deductible). If there are no more large bills to arrive from Virginia Mason then that money will be there if we need it to get through an extra week off. And if we don't need it for medical, I think I'll put it into the Emergency Fund. It's nice to know we can swing this without dipping into the emergency fund.

I've calculated in the costs of Christmas presents and another trip to Virginia Mason (a half tank of gas @ $30, a meal in the cafeteria @ $7, parking @ $10) in December. I may do an overnight in the hotel ($119 plus tax) as well if I end up having to go down by myself, so I can split the drive into two days. I'm confident enough now to do the drive by myself at that time of day, but that many hours driving in one day makes my knee hurt and my back hurt. If I do stay in the hotel I will also have to plan two more meals there (approximately $15 total in the cafeteria) and additional parking time ($12).

It'll all work out. Definitely won't be able to pay off our CC debt until the end of March though. *sighs*

Movie Day and Coin Jar

September 17th, 2011 at 09:15 pm

DD and I went to see a movie today. We saw Contagion. It was very well done, very believable. We both liked it a lot. It was solid and very good. I wasn't blown away or thinking, hey, I need to see that again right now, but it was definitely worth the money ($16.50 for the two of us to see a matinee). It was nice to have a girls' day out with her. We don't really get that much anymore now that she's 15. I used part of my allowance money to pay for it.

DS went to a decoy show with my mother. They were selling some of Dad's collection. They made $1220. After paying for the table space and the hotel overnight, the profit was $1020. Mom had promised DS 10% for his help. So he earned $102. He's really excited. Right now he has $148 in his possession ($10 from last pay cycle, plus the $36 allowance for the last six weeks).

Mom is taking him to buy a couple used video games tomorrow and the rest he wants to put in his bank account to save. He, at least, is getting the concept of saving. I told DD she has to start saving at least $10 out of her allowance every six weeks regardless of what she wants to buy. I just want her to get into the savings habit. She's never really been one for saving, but I think it is a skill she really needs to have by the time she gets out of high school.

Anyway, I cleaned out my purse tonight and had $4.50 for the coin jar. I still have $15 in cash and plenty in checking for what needs to be purchased this week. Tomorrow I have to buy a music book for DS's orchestra. It costs less than $10, though.

Meal Planning from the Pantry

September 17th, 2011 at 07:32 pm

So I inventoried my cupboards today and I have a lot of pasta noodles--angel hair, spaghetti, macaroni and egg noodles. And I have a lot of hamburger in the freezer. I like making one skillet meals if I can get away with it so I decided to look and see if I could find some homemade hamburger helper type meals. My kids really like these, but we can't use the normal type, we have to get the more expensive Gluten Free Mrs. Lepers. That gets expensive even getting it relatively cheaply buying a case at a time from Amazon.

Well, I found a great blog post on making your own from scratch. http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-hamburger-help... It breaks it down very easily with one version and then lists a bunch of variations at the end. Plus you can pre-measure your spices and pre-measure your pasta and have it all ready to go ahead of time for those busier nights. I am looking forward to trying several of these in my attempt to eat from the pantry and freezer as much as possible for the rest of this pay cycle.

The ones I am most interested in are the lasagna, chili cheese, chili mac, cheesy macaroni, and cheesy beef taco. Pretty much all I would have to do is add a salad or other green veg for a balanced meal. I am looking forward to experimenting some, too. Maybe with ground lamb and herbs de provence. Should be fun and I'll end up with some new meal time regulars that don't cost too much.

Smaller Paycheck Update and Other Thoughts

September 17th, 2011 at 09:54 am

I talked to DH last night and we figured out what was going on with the paycheck. They took the full amount of medical out of it instead of just half. It has to do with how his funky 3 on/3 off work schedule falls during a month. But the next paycheck will be higher since there will be no medical taken out at all and there will be no Social Security taken out because he hit the cap this week. We'll have an extra $1000 coming to us this cycle which will go directly to Virginia Mason, really. But having it for medical bills is great because it means we don't have to divert it from somewhere else.

He did say there might be an extra week off around the Christmas holidays as things slow down. I hope not. I don't think we can slide things for 3 weeks with no paycheck without wiping out our entire emergency fund. He doesn't get any kind of paid vacation or paid time off, so there's nothing that would cover it. He could get unemployment for that time period, but I feel like that would be abusing the system and also it wouldn't be very much, especially since he'd have to do it based on Alaska and not based on Washington even though he'd file through Washington. It in no way would come close to matching the lost income.

At least he gave me a few months' warning that it might happen (he just found out and so far it's only a maybe). I will try to channel at least another $1000, two if I can swing it, into the EF between now and the end of the year. It'll be tough but if I stick to my goals of no eating out for health and weight loss, I think I could manage.

Maybe on top of my No Eating Out Challenge, I should add an Eat from the Pantry Challenge where (with the exception of milk and produce and salad dressing) I buy nothing else this pay cycle and we just eat up what is in the cupboards and freezer. I could probably save an additional $300 doing that. I would have to go and get the kids' additive free lunch meats though and freeze them because I'm not going to feed my son something he is allergic to just for a challenge. I'll have to reinventory stuff and see where it all stands and think about it a bit before deciding.

DS is willing to take peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey sandwiches twice a week and only have meat sandwiches three times a week. That would cut things down a bit as the additive free stuff is pricey, as well. DD said she'll take leftover cold homemade pizza or if I get her a soup thermos, leftover stews or soups or whatever. DS piped up that he'd take chili if he had a soup thermos. So maybe I'll pick up a couple soup thermoses if I can find then now that rush for back to school is over. I think Freddy's carries them year round.

The Mail Brings Good News/Bad News

September 16th, 2011 at 04:57 pm

So another bill from Virginia Mason came, but this one is only $45.07 and is for a couple of the follow up appointments.

But the good news was Allstate sent us our Safe Driver Refund. If you go your six months without an accident they give you a partial refund. It's just $20.30 but it's something. It was too late to go deposit it when I received the mail so I will do that on Monday along with the $13 in the coin jar. It will go into the Safety Net portion of the Emergency Fund at local CU#2. Step by step, bit by bit.

Payday

September 16th, 2011 at 02:01 pm

I was surprised to find the paycheck about $300 less than it should have been. They took medical out, but it was still $300 short of what it usually is when they take medical out. I'll have to try to talk to DH about it tonight if I can get a hold of him. He's been very busy up there lately. The only thing I can think of is maybe the 401K deductions have started. They weren't supposed to start until October, but maybe they approved him short of a year on the job or something. It wouldn't be the first time. We got medical benefits after one month instead of three, so it's possible.

It's just a little frustrating because it meant I could only send $1700 to the VISA instead of the full $2000 I had intended to send. Two steps forward, one step back is what it feels like. I also sent $100 to the one MC. It's minimum payment was $31, but I couldn't do that. I know that other $69 could have gone to the VISA, but it just felt wrong to make such a tiny payment on the MC. I guess this was a kind of compromise.

I had to go to BoA in person today because I could not find my car loan statement. And they don't let you pay it online like you can the credit cards. I could set up an auto pay but I think DH has to sign the paperwork as well as me as the loan is in both our names, and he's not here. I had the number so they looked it up and applied it to the right thing, and I have a receipt to prove it if something goes awry.

I stopped at the BoA over by the gas station since I was over there, but they weren't open. At 9:30! Whatever happened to banker's hours? Maybe they are like one of my credit union branches that is open 11 to 7 instead. Anyway, I had to drive all the way down town to pay it.

I filled up the gas tank on the van. I was running on fumes (as in the display said I could drive for 12 more miles before I ran out of gas). It cost $61.82. I'd say ouch, but that's a pretty normal price for a full tank these days.

I paid for internet and the phone bill for the old house, got the amount of kids' allowances out from the CU, and sent $200 to the 18 months same as cash for the laptop (which brings the total down to $600). I've set aside $60 for physical therapy on Monday and $65 for DS's tae kwon do tornament fee. I took out $40 for me to take DD to go see a movie tomorrow and for incidentals this week.

I have $100 left in the checkbook for groceries. I decided it was okay to go close to the wire. If I hadn't I'd have only been able to send $1600 to the VISA. Since we are not eating out for the rest of the month I think we'll get by just fine with that amount. Anything left over at the end of the week will go to the coin jar and eventually the EF. This should be an easy grocery week since DD is spending the night at a friends and DS is going off with Mom to the decoy show. They tend to eat a lot more on weekends, so they will be doing that on someone else's dime which is nice.

Ceramic Lined Pans Question

September 16th, 2011 at 11:10 am

My TeflonŽ coated 16 inch skillet is getting scratched up and the lining is wearing off badly. I have decided not to buy anymore of this type of pan in the future. I've got a set of hard andonized pots and pans, which I love but were very expensive gifts, but nothing near so big as my skillet. I saw some ceramic lined pans that are big enough, but I have never used ceramic cookware. Anyone have any experience with it? Is it good? Does it cook evenly? Does the lining scratch? Is it easy to clean?

I'm just wondering if I should muddle through with the scratched pan and save up for a big andonized skillet I can buy online or if the ceramic is worth buying for far less money?

I use this pan for a lot of stuff, my spaghetti sauce recipe, noodle dinners, stew, enchilada sauce, chili, etc., so not replacing it is not an option, though I can hold out a while longer.

Bits and Pieces

September 15th, 2011 at 08:39 am

It's Thursday, the day before payday, and I don't need to buy anything, so I cleaned out my purse and my wallet. I had $3 in ones and 23 cents in change so added that to the coin jar. Don't know if I will make a deposit tomorrow or not. I don't have enough coins to roll anything and only have $13 (I think) in bills. I usually wait until I have around $30 to make a deposit, but then again, it's not earning any interest just sitting there on my dresser. Not that it's earning that much more in that particular CU.

I'm making pizza for dinner tonight. We have half a can of tomato sauce (which I'll add Italian herbs to), some leftover ground beef and leftover ham that needs using up. We also have cheese that's been open for a while that needs using up. I'll add pepperoni, onion, and some sweet bell peppers to that. I just need to remember to put the ingredients into the bread machine around three so it has time to rise before dinner.

DS is going away with his grandma this weekend, so I will have to take care of the chickens. Fortunately they come in on there own at night so all I have do is shut up the coop behind them and let them out the next morning, making sure they have water and a bit of feed. They scratch for most of their food.

It'll be nice to have a day off from both DS and Mom, to be honest. They will spend Friday night in a hotel and then participate in a decoy show on Saturday. Mom has done this a few times now as she sells off Dad's extensive decoy selection. DS makes 10% of the total profit for helping her (after she takes out the fee for the table rental and the hotel). Last time she made a profit after fees of $800 and he got $80.

He loves to go to these things and would do it for free, but he works hard for her and it's one of his few ways to earn money, besides his little aluminum can collecting business, and his allowance. He makes almost as much in a year at eleven as I did at 12 with all my babysitting (though not with the berry picking thrown in).

He's good with his money, too, saving up for things. He saved up for about half a year to get his 3DS. Now he wants to buy some software that will make his portable DVD drive run on his Netbook. He's patient with saving money which is good, because some of the things he wants take quite a bit of time to save for.

I wish DD was a bit more like that. I'm going to require her to start putting $10 in the bank every allowance day starting tomorrow. She's agreed, though grudgingly, to do so.

Ergh

September 14th, 2011 at 01:54 pm

I think I spoke too soon. The mail just came and in it another medical bill. I was sure I was done paying for all the surgery stuff. Guess not. Though this seems to list every date of service I had except the time in the hospital and the surgery itself (which is paid for already). Well, it's $978. So I guess that $1700 that I was going to save up for the other surgery that it turns out I don't need after all, is going to have to go to medical anyway. I'll put the extra $700 into the HSA when I get it and leave it there. I just don't want to take the chance something else might pop up. Anyway, so I'll pay this bill on the 23rd.

I had just sat down and figured out what to do with all of the paycheck coming in on the 16th. This bill won't affect that at all and the nice thing is I'll be able to put $2000 on the VISA this payday. About $1000 of that goes to cover the plane tickets and the hotel overnight that is part of DH's expenses to get to work and back. About $300 goes to interest and only about $700 to principal. I will be able to send another thousand on the 23rd that will all go to principal. I will also start repaying my mom $1000 a month on the 23rd.

I think I will have DH put the next ticket on the MC because of the lower interest rate. Actually, he should stop using the VISA altogether for a while. That will give us a chance to get the VISA with the higher interest rate down. We won't get the miles for it, but we will get cash back rewards. I just want to get the VISA down to $10,000 by the end of the year. It makes me disappointed when I thought we'd have it paid off by the end of the year and I know that's impossible now. But I do think when we get our tax return in March we will be able to finish paying everything off and be out of credit card debt.

I'm going back on a no eating out challenge for the rest of the month and maybe for all of October, too. I can then squirrel away that money for debt repayment. When I don't focus on not eating out, it happens way too often. I've probably spent $300 on eating out in the past month. I need to stop. I have plenty of time to prepare for meals with the kids in school. Not doing it right now is just being lazy. Plus eating out is not conducive to my diet.

I would really like to go one week without getting knocked on my butt. I know we are much further ahead than we were at the start of the year and I know that medical bills can't be helped, but sometimes it just seems like it never ends. I am grateful for the EF I have of over $2000, because we didn't really have that before.

I think I need to go listen to my theme song (Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, at least the chorus) and adjust my mental attitude again. It can often help me get my head on straight.

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down. I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down...

I am so Tired

September 14th, 2011 at 08:41 am

Despite the fact that I slept from ten to seven, I am totally wiped out from the trip to Seattle yesterday. I could seriously take about a three hour nap right now and just might once the youngest is off to school.

The trip to Virginia Mason went well. My healing is coming along on schedule and I won't need to have the other surgery in November. He's not saying I won't ever need it, but now he's saying maybe five or ten years down the road and possibly not at all. That would be wonderful. My next follow up is in December.

Not having that surgery means that $1700 I was going to set aside for medical can go elsewhere. Not sure where yet. Maybe to build up next year's $2500 deductible or maybe to debt repayment. Maybe I'll split it in half and do a little of both, or maybe I'll throw it at the mortgage and bring that down to $17,000 left. I'll have to think about it.

I found 33 cents at the hospital yesterday. As I told Baselle, I think people in Seattle just throw their change away. It went in my coin jar. FIL had to borrow a ten off me yesterday and when we got back to town he paid me back in five ones and a fiver. I put the ones in the coin jar. I am going to try to hold on to the fiver until payday and if I don't spend it, it will go in the coin jar, too. I have $15 left in checking, a fully stocked fridge, and no reason to spend any money. Aw, heck, I'll just put it in there now.

Busy Weekend

September 11th, 2011 at 09:20 pm

This weekend has been very busy for me. We went down to the creek today and waded around in it. It was so hot, but the creek is nicely shaded by trees and it is free entertainment. It is a lot lower than I am used to seeing it. Maybe down by 2/3rds. It wasn't as cold as I'm used to it being either, but it was cold enough to be refreshing. I was almost tempted to take the kids to a movie today because of the heat, but the creek (and my trying to be frugal) won out.

We went to the grocery store and did the shopping for the week. I spent $85.42 and found 2 cents in the parking lot so that went into the coin jar. I found two of the pot roasts that were cut right and were on special marked down so snapped them up. We'll have them the next two Sundays. I made the one I found last week today in the crockpot. It was nice not to heat up the house. I made corn on the cob and potatoes and green beans all in the microwave.

I bought several cucumbers and deli meat. When I got home divided up the deli meat and froze part of it for later in the week. It doesn't keep for more than 3 days since it has no preservatives or additives. I peeled the cukes and sliced them up. My diet requires a lot of low glycemic veggies per meal so it is so much easier to grab out several slices and add it to whatever protein I am eating at that meal. Without the prep I might be tempted to ignore the veggies. At least I never seem to get tired of cukes.

The diet is going well. I'm down 4.4 pounds just since starting it. That makes 31 or so since the surgery. I've got a ton more energy since starting it, too. Exercise was a bit lax this week, other than swimming on Monday and walking a bit today. This week will hopefully go better.

The painters finished the house today and the painted the front and back doors (which look gorgeous). They still need to do the back deck, but then they will be gone. I will be glad to see them go. They smoked a lot and the kids couldn't really go outside without having coughing fits.

I taught myself some more html coding today. I got the hang of most of it, but one more thing I need to work on before I move on with the lessons. I had to learn it since LJ's rich text editor has not worked correctly since the last "upgrade" a month ago. I prefer to edit my stuff there if I later see a mistake and RTE isn't making that possible.

Not too much on the financial horizon. I will have physical therapy tomorrow so $60 for that, $55 for DD's musical theater class on Tuesday, money for parking at Virginia Mason on Tuesday and a little extra "just in case" money. There shouldn't be anymore money out until payday Friday.

CC Debt Totals and Musings

September 9th, 2011 at 09:00 pm

Thought I'd take a look at my total credit card debt, as I haven't in a few months. There were some charges made last month (more than I knew about) and things went up that should have gone down. I suppose you can only control the spending of another person to a certain extent. Even when you are on the same page most of the time about getting out of debt, there are unplanned splurges that happen. I would rather they not go on a credit card, or worse yet multiple credit cards that I had paid off, but again...there is only so much one spouse can do.

There is also a plane ticket to Portland and a plane ticket to San Francisco that DH had to get. He had to go through Portland on the way up to work and he'll have to go down to San Francisco briefly on the way home. That's an additional $500 or so.

Anyway...

$21,013.23 BoA VISA
$01,655.18 BoA MC1
$00,183.91 BoA MC2
---------------
$22,852.32 Total CC debt

I think my plan of attack on Friday (after making the car payment and the few small incidental payments that are due at that time) will be to pay off MC2, make a small payment to MC1 and throw as much as possible at the VISA. Interest rates have changed recently and now the VISA has the highest one while the MC's have both actually gone down. So I will throw all extra money at the VISA. It's the one closest to its limit so paying it down will have more of an effect on our credit rating for the short term.

Unfortunately this puts us into next year for the final CC debt payoff. I am a little frustrated by that, but I always knew it was a possibility with all the medical expenses this year. I can pay off somewhere around $1800 on the VISA on the 16th and then throw at least an additional $1500 at it the next week.

DH says they usually get fairly large bonuses at his new company at year's end. He didn't get one last year because he'd only been there three months. It would be nice if we got one, and would help immensely on the debt payoff, but I'm not going to count on it. I don't know. Bonuses at the other company were only around $800. Supposedly at the new company they are closer to $10,000. I have a hard time believing that, though. I know he's in a big money industry, but that just seems ridiculous to me.

There should be an additional $1200 in this pay cycle since DH has hit the SS cap with wages. If so, I'd like to put most of it in the holding tank for upcoming medical expenses. Then it can be transferred to the HSA when it comes time to pay the bills. Normally I set aside $500 a month for medical, so together that would be $1700. All of my Virginia Mason bills to date have come to $1750 and I won't have to have more radiological tests with this next surgery so $1700 should cover it. Then the November pay cycle I will put $1700 in to medical to go for next year's deductible and then I think it will be safe to go back to just $500 a month. That would have the money set aside for the $2500 deductible covered by the end of January. Next year shouldn't be too bad for medical, but I'd at least like to have the deductible covered.

The extra $1200 in December will go partly to Christmas and partly to debt. I am hoping to buy a few things over the next couple of months for Christmas presents so I don't need to use too much of that money for Christmas. Sheesh, I can't believe I'm thinking about Christmas when it's been 80 degrees out all week.

I will be glad when this next week passes and I can start making forward progress again.

EF Update

September 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am

I had enough in checking to cover the ADT auto pay so I took the money I set aside for it that was in my holding tank and stuck it into the EF. I added my last $5 to the coin jar money and then deposited it, a total of $32, into the Safety Net.

$2050.61 Beginning EF
---39.77 To ING EF
+--32.00 To Safety Net EF
-------------
$2121.98 Total EF

The Safety Net portion of the EF is now up to $421.03 and the ING portion of the EF is now up to $1700.95. My goal for the month is to bring the total of the EF to $2250. That leaves me needing $128.02. There will be the regular $100 transfer of planned money so I just need to scrape up an additional $28.02. Shouldn't be too hard. I would really like to have the total EF up to $3000 by year's end.

Ready for Autumn Now

September 8th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

We've had temps that have hit the 80's almost daily for the past week. I am melting in this heat. It's September in the PNW. It's supposed to be rainy and cool or at the most 70 with a breeze. It's hard in a house with no A/C, and my mother does not have the sort of windows that work with the window units from our old house. We didn't use them much, but on days like this we would. I'm doing my best with keeping curtains closed during the day and running the fans all night with open windows, but it can only do so much. It is nice not to have an electric bill that goes alone with A/C, but right now I'm not sure I care that much.

Today after school I took my daughter to buy her jazz shoes for her musical theater class. Oh, my gosh, size 12. She's surpassed me. I know jazz shoes run a little small, but still. Anyway, the shoes cost $37.99. Ouch. They were half that two years ago.

After DS got out of school we went up to Office Max to buy the remainder of the school supplies now that both kids have complete lists. Well, mostly. I still have to get a tissue box and a hand held pencil sharpener. I had to buy two scientific calculators. They were $18 each. I told them if they lost them or broke them they were replacing them out of their allowances.

DS's tournament entry fee is going to cost $65. He's going to do the yellow belt poomse. DH will be home to do the driving. It's only in Marysville so not too far away, but still more than I want to drive if I don't have to. I went in with him to his class tonight. He's amazingly focused and disciplined. It's a far cry from how he used to be. I stayed for the whole class though my back was yelling at me by the end. Next time I think I will stay in the car with the seat reclined until the last ten minutes of the class. I'm just not capable of sitting on those hard benches for so long yet. Instructor seems to think he has a good chance at a silver medal.

Day 2 of my diet went okay. The scale was down .6 of a pound this morning. No cravings. Not as much hunger as yesterday, but I definitely have a killer carb withdrawal headache. I don't think it's caffeine withdrawal because I was only drinking one can of Pepsi Throwback a day.

I still haven't remembered to go to CU #2 for the Safety Net deposit. I have it in my purse and everything but I am such a ditz right now with all the other stuff I have to remember. I have $300 left for the next week until payday. I'm going to go ahead and let them take the security system payment out of that amount instead of transferring the money from the holding tank, then I'll sweep the money I set aside for it into the EF. Hopefully I will remember to do both tomorrow.

Freedom!

September 7th, 2011 at 09:41 am

Both kids are off for the first day of school and I have the whole day to myself. Okay, I have a dental cleaning at 11:00 but that is just a blip on the radar. Otherwise I have the day free until 2:15. I am also in the mood to really write which I haven't been in ages, so chapter 32 and I are going to spend some quality time together, as well as a short story I've been working on. My goal for the day is 2000 words, which I can do easily without interruptions and kids about the house.

There is really nothing on the financial front today, other than to transfer the money from the holding tank to the checking account for the security system bill that comes due on the 11th. No other bills are due until after payday on the 16th, though there will be school photos. I've got money set aside for that though.

I'm planning on taking the kids swimming after school today. Hopefully it'll be pretty deserted and I'll be able to swim laps. I've debated going earlier to the adult lap swim, but I really want to write while I'm in the mood.

Started my diet this morning. So far so good and no cravings.

Some Not So Promising News

September 7th, 2011 at 06:40 am

DS and I went out to do some work on the house last night. While we were there we talked to one of the neighbors. A house way down the street near the dead end sold for $30,000. Now I don't know what kind of shape it was in or anything like that and I strongly suspect it was a foreclosure or a short sale or something for them to just get out of it, but it was the same type and size as our house 1680 square feet, single story, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. The lot was smaller though by about half and there was no garage or storage sheds and it isn't a fenced yard.

I just hope that doesn't mean that's how low property values have fallen out there. But there are a couple other houses for sale on the street and the selling prices are much higher than that. I just don't like seeing a house go for so little out there because then everyone will expect a bargain. Since I'm already going to be pricing it around $30,000 under it's assessed value, I don't want to have to go lower than that just because some bankruptcy people went under or walked away or something.

Another house two up from ours, the people in it went bankrupt and it was foreclosed on. They bought it as a foreclosure from people who went bankrupt and were foreclosed on. I'm starting to think that house has bad karma. Just so long as ours doesn't.

We do have the distinction of being one of the few cleared lots. A lot of lots are still heavily treed. We also have one of the few fences. There are strict rules at the HoA about fences and cutting down trees, but we moved into a place where the previous owners had gotten permission to fence the yard due to having a deaf child who might have wandered onto the highway without the fence and wouldn't have been able to hear the traffic and then took down a bunch of trees without permission and just paid the $500 fine for doing so.

I am starting to think about using it as a rental property. I am willing to offer a discounted rent if they are willing to fix things up. Like I'd pay for the paint if they were willing to paint. I'd pay for the wooden flooring if they were willing to install it. That sort of thing. Rents go for $800 to $1000 out there, so I was thinking $500 to $600. Enough to cover the mortgage, security system, HoA dues, and the insurance. They'd assume the water/sewer, electric, phone, and propane bills. It wouldn't be a profit making venture, but it would no longer be a drain on our finances and we'd have a fixed up house. Though it would be a hassle to have a rental 25 miles from home. I don't know. I am thinking about it, is all.

Too Hot to Cook!

September 6th, 2011 at 06:29 pm

Tonight the house was too hot to turn on the oven or the range so instead I decided it was leftover night. There were some leftover chicken legs, some leftover tuna fish, and some leftover pulled pork. We all chose one and ate it cold. We also had cucumbers and watermelon and milk. Very simple and no adding to the major heatwave going on right now.

Tomorrow starts my diet and I will be using my new baby George grill. It was $19.99 plus tax. That won't heat up the house much, fortunately. I am roasting a whole chicken tomorrow, hot day or not so I can have a bunch of cooked protein on hand. Or maybe I'll put it in the crock pot and set it on the back porch.

As I've mentioned we had a ridiculously cool summer while everyone else was going through a heatwave. Now when summer is almost gone we finally get hot days in the low 80's. It's scheduled to be around that for the next ten days or so. I think we are in for an Indian Summer. We will definitely be using the pool as much as possible.

I forgot to mention that I added $1.55 in coins to the coin jar yesterday from DH cleaning out his wallet. Today I added $3.73 from my purse. I didn't make it over to the CU yet to deposit the money into the safety net. I forgot both yesterday and today. I will try to remember to make the deposit tomorrow after I take DS to school.


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