I checked my credit report last night and my credit score has gone up 23 points to 786. That's not the highest its ever been which was 803, but its the highest its been in a good long while, so I'm pretty happy with it.
I want to keep it pretty high, as we are still hoping to buy a new to us car at the end of this year and I want to stay in the excellent range.
Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category
I checked my credit report last night and my credit score has gone up 23 points to 786. That's not the highest its ever been which was 803, but its the highest its been in a good long while, so I'm pretty happy with it.
I didn't spend anything yesterday. I stayed home with 2 sick kids and the weather made up for not raining all summer. The river is actually starting to rise from linked puddles to trickle. I had never seen it so low in my life as it had gotten to. Had a huge storm with lots of thunder.
I forgot to mention on Friday when I went Christmas Looking, I also stopped at JoAnn's and got some yarn, and splurged a bit and got a set of the oval/rectangular hand looms from the Knifty Knitter product line. I already had the round ones from last year. This makes knitttng so much easier.
Yesterday I knit myself a new scarf that comes close to matching my new jacket. And today I started on a matching hat. I've been watching the second season of 24 on loan from a guy DH works with, so knitting justifies all the time staring at the tube, otherwise doing nothing. supposedly I can make mittens with these things, too but I have my doubts. I can see socks, but not how I'd make a thumb for mittens.
When I'm done with this, I will make DH a scarf. He wants one that is extra long. About the length of the one the fourth Dr. Who had if anyone knows what I'm talking about. That's not going to happen, but I will make him one that is longer than standard as he is very tall. I also want to make a blanket for my dad for Christmas. The largest of the looms is for making blankets and I think it will work well enough. We'll see. It'll be an adventure.
Today will be a no spend day, also. It stopped raining so I had some time to bring wood in without getting drenched. It is not near as cold as it had been, its in the 50's, so I may not even need to use the stove, but I'll have it ready the next time the weather drops again. I cleaned the stove out today, so its ready to go, too. The ashes had piled up quite high.
The kids are almost completely better, well enough to go to school tomorrow. There are only 3 days this week. Friday is veteran's day and the school has Thursday off, as well. It's going to be a long 4 day weekend. DH was originally supposed to be home during this time, but then he had to work the extra week, so its just me and Monstro and Destructo Girl, er...I mean, my lovely, sweet children, locked in a house for four days straight...I mean, enjoying each other's company without outside interference. Then two weeks later, repeat, only with a five day weekend. I may come out of this quite, quite insane. LOL But sanity is over-rated, or so I've heard.
Basketball practice starts on Tuesday for Rose, so she'll be active again, and that is always good. She tends to chub out a bit between sports seasons, then gets all "I'm so fat" about it. She's ten. I don't know where this is coming from. I don't say anything. Her dad doesn't. Probably some brat at school. I've tried to encourage her to run on the treadmill or use the gazelle between seasons, but I'm not going to push it. There's only a few weeks between seasons, and it goes away again with a week or two of hard practice. But she will always be like her dad and me, if she doesn't exercise 3 or 4 times a week, she'll put the weight on. That's just how our genetics work.
Well, I best get dinner started, oven-baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and green something, either beans, or salad, or kohlrabi, or cucumbers. Not sure, on that, I'll have to see what the kids want. That and start on load 3 of dirty dishes, I kind of let that slide when we got sick, yuck. It was either cook meals or wash dishes and cooking meals was the better option, LOL. But then I ran out of stuff to cook in, so...off I go now.
I just sent off my first customer complaint email. My brand new Scripto lighter that I had purchased for lighting fireworks failed to light after the tenth firework went off. Very frustrating. It took 30 minutes for us to find a gas station still open so we could get a new one. It just really put a crimp in the whole night. Fortunately it didn't ruin it and we were able to resume it, but much later and with the added "benefit" of tired, cranky children.
I'm not sure if they'll do anything, but I feel better just having sent it. Maybe they'll send me a new one. That would be nice.
A few months ago I wouldn't have bothered complaining, but I guess you all have rubbed off on me.
Well, technically one more sample came in the mail today but it is a really good one. I got the Glad Force Flex garbage bag. I only signed up for this on the 12th of April and it came in 22 days, even though it sad 4 to 6 weeks. Nice turn around time there.
I also signed up for four more freebies today. Nice little freebie flurry after the drought.
I don't know what has gotten into me today. I'm not usually this chatty. Or maybe I am and it just usually comes out in one long burst.
It's been a few days since I've updated this, but I now have been given a grand total of $0.93 by people who did not want to make proper change. I know this is very silly to keep track of, but I also get a kick out of it, so there you go.
I got my first real sample in the mail today. I don't count the DVD for RVing, because it is not really something that I will be able to use for anything in my real life. At least not right now.
I got the Reach flosser, a pretty blue one. I am really looking forward to using this tonight as my back teeth are tightly packed and it can be hard to get back there with floss. My dental hygeniest used one on me once and I loved it. Of course, I managed to lose that one before I could ever used it. I used to be very disorganized. Not anymore, so I'll keep track of this one! It's already in my toothbrush holder.
As I mentioned previously, DH comes home tomorrow. So far this new saving thing has gone fairly well. With DH stuck up in the arctic circle in barracks with no access to a place to spend money, its been up to me. With him home, I'm not sure it will remain easy. He has always been the main spender in the relationship. Well, maybe that isn't true. He's always been the first spender. I've always been the rebound spender. As in, DH just spent all this money on himself, what do I get?
That sort of thinking has been curtailed somewhat over the last couple of years, but I'm just so unsure of what is going to happen with him actually home. We have talked about it and agreed what we are going to do, but will he keep up his end or will he not, and then the two of us fall back into old destructive spending habits?
He will only be home for one week this hitch and that will help with lessening urges to spend, but it isn't easy on the family when he doesn't come home for the full two weeks. And it looks like he may be working more 3 and 1's instead of 2 and 2's for awhile. Financially, I can't complain. Each extra week means a very tidy sum of money, and an extra large credit card payment for that month. Emotionally, its really tough on the kids. I don't like it either, but I'm a loner, always have been so I cope better than most would, I think.
I guess I'll talk to him about all this. No use in keeping it to myself. It feels good to have gotten it out there in cyberspace, so I'm not obsessing on it all night and can sleep peacefully.
I really dislike school fundraisers. I didn't like doing them when I was in school and I don't like doing them as a parent either. I feel like if it isn't one thing it is another with that school. I miss homeschooling and not having to feel like I should be paying extra for stuff, but it was Rose's choice to go back to school at the start of 4th grade and I never had any intention of homeschooling Tobias, he wears me out too fast.
Anyway, this week the school is having the scholastic book fair. Unlike when I was a kid, it isn't just books they sell now. They have all kinds of trinkets and other garbage. I made Rose use her own money for trinkets and the diary she wanted. I did buy a couple of books for the kids, though.
They are also selling tickets for the school carnival right now which is Saturday. DH will be home and he can take the kids. I don't do crowded places, I'm not exactly claustrophobic, more like crowd phobic, it just really raises my anxiety levels.
I wasted a little money today on a meal out, I knew I was dealing with stress by eating fast food and that it wasn't wise, either healthwise or moneywise, but I did it anyway. Spent almost nine dollars, it was so unnecessary, but it did help with the stress so there you go.
We had a hail storm this morning (hello, Mother Nature? It's May!), and there was a threat of freezing tonight, so I took the shelves out of my portable greenhouse and stuck it over my two tomato plants. I really do not want to lose those. Now I'm glad I couldn't find the bean seeds because a freeze would keep them from sprouting.
I hung two loads of laundry today. I keep thinking I'm going to catch up, but then it rains. We are supposed to have yet another weather swing tomorrow and it will be at a high of 70. I don't know that I particularly believe them anymore, but we shall see.
I haven't signed up for any freebies or trial offers today. My laptop is making an atrocious noise. The fan keeps trying to commit suicide but so far hasn't succeeded. I am going to find out if I can get the fan replaced or not. I can't afford a new laptop yet, that is what all my survey money and mypoints g.c.'s will go for.
I don't particularly like using the desktop PC. The screen is too big and too close (can't adjust it further back or it will fall off the desk) and the chair is not comfortable, so hopefully the other is a fast fix. DH just had to have the mondo sized computer screen. The only thing I like about the PC is the ergonomic keyboard. Okay, I'm whining now, so enough of that.
I'm going to go wander through one of the survey sites and see if there isn't anything I can sign up for.
Gambling scares the living daylights out of me. I think if I were ever to start I'd never find my way back out again. I don't even like stopping at the reservation casino to use the facilities when the kids can't make it all the way home. I see all these people that seem like they are chained to slot machines and card tables. I don't even buy lotto tickets. Never have in my life.
DH has bought lotto tickets a couple of times but he pretty much avoids it, too. Well, today in the newspaper they had a coupon page for 2 free scratch tickets and 2 free lotto tickets, no strings attatched, unless you count the possibility of a gambling addiction rearing its ugly head.
Okay, maybe I am a little overboard about this whole fear of gambling, but I'm not even sure if I shoud try to use these tickets. It seems irrational not to use free coupons for free tickets. Then again, since my uncle was shot to death for cheating in a poker game when I was 3, maybe its just as well that I am irrational about it. I suppose I can just hand them to DH and have him decide what to do with them when he gets home, take the whole thing out of my hands.
My alarm clock did not go off this morning. I have no idea why. It is still set properly and was on, it just didn't go. I suppose I may have to get a new one. This one is 15 years old, and it is just possible that it is not working. Anyway, we all slept through Tobias's soccer game. He never sleeps in, he is usually up before everyone else, but today he did. He must have needed it. I know I did.
I suppose it is just as well that we didn't go to the game because it was raining something awful. Watching soccer in the rain is not my favorite pasttime, and either I or Rose come down with a cold if we do.
So we stayed home today. The kids have cabin fever, though and are picking at each other. I considered at one point going out to eat with them, but I didn't really want to inflict them on anybody else, and that would be spending money that was unplanned and waste gas.
Later on I considered going to the grocery store, just to get out of the house, but again, I don't really need anything at the closest grocery store and even that is 10 miles away. My car averages 20.1 MPG, so that is a whole gallon of gas just to drive the round trip. I chose not to do that.
Then I wanted to go down to the little convenience store a mile away and buy ice cream, as we are out of ice cream. I really had to talk myself out of that one. I didn't need to waste the gas, I was going to be near the store that had ice cream on sale on Monday, I didn't need the ice cream, I just wanted it so I could stress eat, because the kids were driving me batty.
The rain finally stopped and the sun is out, so I could walk it, but the ice cream would be all melted by the time I got home with it. But no. So no wasted gas and no money spent.
We are going to make brownies tonight from stuff on hand and maybe that will get rid of my sweet tooth without me driving down to get ice cream, that I just want and certainly don't need.
I'm a little stir crazy, too. DH gets back Monday at midnight, so I can relax a bit then and get away from the kids a little. They are great kids but there are days when I just really want them to go be great kids at someone else's house.
I almost forgot. I was in town this morning because of Tobias's dance class and I ran over to Penney's to buy a new purse because the strap on my old one, which I have mended several times, broke again and is now completely unfixable, plus there was a bad spot in the leather. I was very upset that I could not fix this purse again as I love this purse. It is perfect, because it is part organizer and it has the slots for all my cards (insurance, library cards for me and both kids, Costco, license, etc.) so I didn't have to have a wallet, too.
I knew I'd have to buy a wallet because there was no way I was ever going to find a purse this good again. I thought I'd try Penney's anyway because that is where I bought the purse 4 years ago. You can imagine my delight when I found the exact same purse. Well, instead of burgandy it was red, but other than that it was identical. They also had brown, black, blue, and white but the red was prettiest. I wish they'd had turquoise, I would have really gone for that. But I was very happy to get this same purse and I will use it until it falls apart.
Oh, and it was on sale, too. Normally $26, it was marked down to something that was $18.32 with the tax. Interesting that my two main purchases today were identical amounts.
I also spent $1.25 for the five red romaine starts from the organic place and $3.83 to get deli ham for Rose's sandwiches for school lunches (also from the organic place).
Okay, I think that's really it this time.
I am very annoyed with my term life insurance company right now. They are supposed to take an automatic payment out of my checking account on the 24th of the month. If the payment day falls on a weekend they can take it the preceding Friday. Which would be today. If it fell on the weekend. Last time I checked the 24th was on Monday. I always make sure there is money in there on the 21st though, because they have been known to do this before. Only this time they took it on the 19th!
So I called them up and yelled at my agent. Long story short, they are reimbursing me for the $14 overdraft fee, but only if I come in to the office today and pick up the check. Thank heavens my CU is reasonable, too. They agreed to not list the overdraft on my record and as long as I brought in the check from Allstate today, they'd put the amount they charged me back into my account and keep the money from Allstate. So I do have to go to town twice today after all. An extra nine bucks in gas, but I'll do some things in town that I have been putting off because I don't want to do them when I have the kids with me.
I wouldn't be so upset if this were the first time Allstate had pulled a fast one. It happens at least twice a year. It just is really annoying. I have worked hard to retain a good credit report and I don't need to have these things messing stuff up. We want our credit in tip top shape so that we can buy a new (to us) car in 3 years and not get taken on the interest rate.
Seems like there are two things that are constants in my life, bills and weeds. I spent a good portion of my morning getting rid of weeds, but you pull one out and there will be another one there tomorrow in its place. Bills, of course, you can see the anaology, right?
Recieved a bill today from my husband's dentist for some extensive dental work done in February. I'm not really complaining about it, because after insurance we only owe $29.60. Our medical insurance improved greatly at the start of the year, but since our pretax amount out of paycheck went from $175 to $550 to pay for the premiums, I will complain about that. Just a little. Fortunately it coincided with a raise that was completely eaten up by the increase. But we do have vision, better dental, and orthodontist now, which if you'd seen my daughter's teeth, you'd know it was needed. Unfortunately we started her treatment last June so we are out all the money we already put into her mouth. Still she will have stuff going on for three years or so, so it is still a positive when it all comes out in the wash. Just sometimes doesn't seem that way.
I worked on knitting my scarf for an hour today, signed up for a freebie, signed up for fatwallet and quickreturns, hung a load of towels, and baked a loaf of bread and some cookies. Where do you all find surveys that pay money? Most of the places seem a bit shady.
Now I'm off to take Rose to soccer practice. Tobias and I will lap the soccer park twice to get in some exercise today. It is gorgous out, but it will be breezy there by the river, so definitely taking jackets.
Last night I had to turn on the furnace. I was not a happy camper. The weather has been in the 50's for a couple weeks now and I had shut it off at the end of March. We don't use it much anyway unless we're sick, we usually use the wood stove, with the thermostat programmed to kick the furnace in if the house temp drops below 60, which it only did twice this winter, once when it got to 9 degrees outside and once at 17. Gotta protect the water pipes.
But with the sleet storm last night it just got too cold in the house. I didn't have any kindling or small wood in the house to start a fire with and I was not going to traipse all the way out to the woodshed at midnight in a sleet storm. Needless to say I've rectified that today.
I am really glad I took the time to zip up my greenhouse door though. It's just a little greenhouse, 3 feet tall by two feet wide and one foot deep. But it has my snow peas and spinach, chard, and lettuce starts in it. I had been hardening them off in preperation to transplant in a couple of weeks, but the weather had been so mild I'd left the flap raised a few nights running. Checked on them today and they are doing just fine, despite the bizarre weather.
It rained all morning, then around five it started snowing. Twelve miles away at the soccer practice fields it was only sprinkling and then after ten minutes the sun came out. Still cold, but at least the girls weren't getting drenched.
On the drive home the tops of Black Mountain and Sumas Mountain (which are really only foothills to Mt. Baker)were just blanketed with snow, but the valley was completely clear. Weird. it's gorgeous now, well, it was, the sun just set.
Things I did to be frugal today:
Hung a load of laundry on my drying rack, which I positioned over the hottest furnace vent last night.
Brought a load of kindling and small wood up onto the porch.
Folded newspaper into kindling sticks until I had a grocery sack full.
Resisted my son's attempts to convince me to run over to the IGA and get him a corndog during Rose's soccer practice. I made him one when we got home instead.
Didn't have to drive all the way to town because it is spring break and there were no dance classes this week.
Signed up for 2 more samples.
Started a fire, but left furnace able to kick in if the temps drop too low.
Baked a loaf of bread when I was baking chicken (in a covered casserole so the smell doesn't get into the bread) instead of using the oven two separate times.
Pretty good, so far.
So I adore Netflix, about the greatest creation for those of us who live in the boonies. At various times I have been on different levels, but have for some time been on what I thought was the lowest level of 3 out at a time, unlimited. Well, it had been so long since I had checked the options that I decided to go and look and see if anything had changed. I was very happy to see quite a few new levels. We've been with Netflix from the beginning and it should have occurred to me to check sooner, but oh, well. Anyway, I reduced it to one movie out at a time, unlimited, so am now at $9.99 a month there instead of $17.99. So that auto charge will drop by 8 bucks. I am not quite ready to give it up altogether.
I spent a good amount of time going over the Freebies lists this morning and signed up for 12 samples. It would have been more but some of them just wouldn't load. I started a notebook that lists the sample sent for, the date I sent for it, and how long it should take to show up, so I can try to track them down if they don't get sent. I fully expect at least half of them to not show up, though.
I thought I'd better be organized about it after reading (from start to finish) someone's blog that had major couponing, rebating, and sample acquiring. Mine is on paper after reading her computer went wonky and she lost quite a bit of info. I will never be that deep into it, though. It's hard to be that organized with the kids around.
I have read about 5 blogs now (archives, too) and am amazed at all the different approaches to this savings thing. All sorts of interesting terminology that I had to look up, like ING accounts and such.
DH and I are discussing other cuts we can make. The big sticker is cable. I'd like to drop down to the most basic program they have. He doesn't want to because he doesn't want to lose SciFi channel. I think that since the two shows he wants to watch (the new Dr. Who and the new Battlestar Galactica) come out on DVD soon or are out on DVD already, we can get them from Netflix. He doesn't want to wait the extra couple months for the DVD's.
For now I will let it go, but I'll take it back up next month and see if sitting with the idea for awhile has made a difference. Could be I'll even manage to get him to suggest it and think it is his idea which I can then agree with. It's been known to happen. My parents have a dish, so maybe we can record those two shows and then he wouldn't have to wait at all. Hmm. Maybe. Mom's a bit uptight about subject matter. We are in there every Friday anyway for Rose's dance class so I could tape it and retrieve it on the same day, even. That might make a good compromise.
Today I cancelled our membership to Columbia House dvd club. We had long ago met our membership requirements and truth be told, I didn't really use it because any dvds we wanted usually went on a really good sale the issue week, much less than the club's price with shipping. The last time I bought a dvd set from the store I had a newspaper coupon for it for 10% off and a store rewards coupon for $4 off any electronics purchase, which they said was good for dvds. All told, it would have cost about $15 more from Columbia House.
I didn't think they were ever going to let me cancel. Why did I want to quit? Half the time I would forget to send the slip in to not get the movie and end up with movies I didn't want. And they were too expensive. Even with their deals? Yes. Every time I said I want to cancel my membership, they came back with some other offer. No, I don't want to switch to just buying when I want to and not worrying about the member's selection card, I just want to cancel. No I don't want to spend the $15 in fun cash I had accrued, I just want to cancel. No, I am not interested in joining your sister club BMG to be sent CD's in the mail, I just want to cancel. I think I said that about 15 times.
The guy was good, but not good enough. I stayed polite but firm and got away with what I wanted and was sent an email with a confirmation number saying it was cancelled. We shall see what shows up in my mailbox. Oh, yes, and I also told the guy to have a nice day before he could say it to me. It felt just a tiny bit wicked. But I meant it, too. He was perfectly well behaved, just pushy.
After I finally got off the phone with them I called Proactiv to cancel that. I use the product, but only a couple times a week now and I have a huge backlog in my cupboard, probably a three year supply. When it runs out, well we'll see. Since I quit eating high fructose corn syrup my skin has been clear.
They were much more accepting of me cancelling there, probably because I loved the product and simply explained the situation and the lady agreed with me that getting them every two months was silly, but in the future if I came back they could send it every six months instead, which is nice to know. I came away feeling a lot happier with them than Columbia House.
So anyway, that takes off a charge of $40 every 2 months from the credit card, and random CH charges as well. I've got a couple more places to call to cancel more auto ship items, but I really did not want to deal with it today, the other two kind of wore me out. I'll try to get to those tomorrow.
But I feel good about what I did do. I might not be saving money with these steps, but I don't feel like I'm wasting it anymore, either.
Blogging is new to me, but journaling sure isn't, so bear with me as I figure out the odds and ends of the system. I found this site about a week ago and completely fell in love with it. I have been in denial of our debt situation for a long time but for the past two weeks I have been searching around for good websites to help us get a handle on things and this one has been simply wonderful.
So, massive debt. We sure have it. It is hard to believe that only seven years ago we were debt free, bought a house paying in cash. We owned both of our cars (still do) outright. But that was before my last pregnancy that turned high risk at week 32 and required more hospitalization than the insurance company wanted to pay for and incurring a $30,000 unsecured debt.
Still, we managed to get along pretty well, but starting in 2002, I have had 3 major surgeries in 3 consecutive years, all with benign (hence the lucky), but too large to leave alone tumors that might endanger other organs and after losing both the appendix and gall bladder, I was glad to get rid of the last one without losing something else. This last year has been tumor free and we hope it stays that way.
Needless to say, our insurance wasn't too forthcoming and we ended up with a massive debt of $150,000 for hospital bills. My parents let us put a 30 year mortgage on their big house, so we pay $935 plus $65 extra each month on that. Fortunately they will leave us the house in their will so they do not mind doing this for us. I'm sure we would have declared bankruptcy without them and I did not want to have to do that.
Beyond that we still have $37,800 left on our own 15 year mortgage we took out to cover expenses while I was sick, so we pay $375 a month on that, plus $25 extra. We had gotten our unsecured debt down to $25,000, but it is at $31,000 now, due to orthodontist work to correct our daughter's messed up bite, and being overextended beyond our budget and DH's pay.
So good news, our insurance changed at the beginning of January and now covers orthodontist and vision and more dental than it did before, but it also is taking out more than double what it took out of DH's paycheck before. Fortunately he got a raise at the same time which leaves us with $50 extra a month than he was bringing home before (again lucky).
We have finally as of the start of this year, stopped using credit completely. I have been slowly cutting stuff out. My son has lost interest in tae kwon do so we took him out of that, freeing up $65 a month. My daughter still has a year on her contract and is still motivated to go so for now she stays in. Both kids have been taking dance lessons, which are paid up through June. It breaks for the summer and then they will not be taking them next year, which together frees up $85 a month. Between those they just about cover our gas for the month which is running $2.79 a gallon here.
After a propane bill in January of $272 we turned off the furnance and switched to using our woodstove full time. We had free wood from family from fallen trees on their properties that had been sitting in our carport for 3 years and was nice and dry. The stove gets hot enough that I can warm up a pot of soup or chili or other meals in a can, can warm up canned veggies or boil eggs or water for tea, so we do that some to save on using the oven (which is electric, not propane). Once our pantry stock runs out I will be making chili and soup instead of opening cans.
When I do cook, I make everything from scratch now. We have maybe a six month stock of canned goods in the pantry, but when its gone, its gone. I bake a loaf of bread pretty much daily, but I had already been doing that because my DH is allergic to high fructose corn syrup and that is in almost all bread these days.
So, we are definitely trying now. Ready to face this debt situation head on. It is scary to not be hiding my head in the sand, and I think DH still wants to a bit, but he has agreed with me that we have to take some measures now and more as we find places to cut.
I am hoping to save on the grocery budget as we have a lot of meat in the freezer so really all we need are fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, and eggs on a weekly basis. I am hoping that we have eliminated the propane bill. Our electric is coming down with the longer days, though we don't see it as we are on budget pay year round.
There are other steps I plan to take in the next few weeks, but just getting to this point has been kind of freeing. Or at least as freeing as it can be with a slightly over $200,000 total debt load. It's just a little, but baby steps still take you forward and I'd rather be going forward than backwards.
Wow, I wrote a novel. Well, they won't be this long in future.
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