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Home > Archive: April, 2006

Archive for April, 2006

Putting the Dream into Action

April 30th, 2006 at 11:06 pm

So April is over and I finally feel like I am one step beyond chaos. I started this blog on April 9th with $105 in my long term savings account, and today there is $185 in it. My only goal was to add $10 a week to it, but somewhere along the way I put in $50 that I didn't need. Maybe that won't happen every month, but I at least know that its a possibility. It all seems very strange.

I feel like the dream of finacial stability is reachable. Seems odd with such a small amount in savings, but it will get better and I will get better at putting money in. I don't feel helpless. I know its still a pretty steep hill I'm climbing, but at least I'm climbing.

I had to talk to my daughter tonight about using electricity. She had got it into her head that she couldn't turn the lights on at all, so she and her brother were sitting in the dark playing games from the light of the tv. I told her that we were trying to turn lights off in rooms we weren't using, not the ones we were in and that they didn't have to sit in the dark. I think she understands now. At least she turned on the light.

Maybe I've been a little overzealous about saving money, but I don't think I ever said she coudn't turn the lights on in a room she was in. Well, we'll see how it goes now that she understands the difference between wasting electricity and using electricity.

Frugal things I did today:
Hung 2 loads of laundry on the clothesline.
Baked a loaf of bread while the potroast was in the oven.
Cooked from my pantry and freezer.
Earned $8 for signing up for a free trial with gamefly, and 50 cents for signing up for another survey company, this one supposedly pays a minimum of $4 per survey, but we will see.

I did turn down one survey invitation today. It was paying $34.95 to evaluate and survey a dating site. Now I filled out a big profile on this survey site and one of the things it asks is marital status, so I don't know why the heck they are sending that offer to a married woman. I talked to DH about it and he said sign up for it, you don't have to do anything about it, but I just don't think it is ethical to do that. So I didn't. Sure wish I could have done it if I'd been single, though.

I've been thinking about what kind of goals I should have for May. Not quite sure exactly, but I probably should try to keep a complete accounting of all spending for a month. I have a pretty good idea of where we waste money, but I'm sure there are things that just slip by, as well. So I'll keep a little notebook in my purse and jot down everything I spend and for what and see where I might improve things.

Tomorrow I will have to buy some pole bean seeds. I don't know where they got to, and I know I had 2 packages of them but they aren't with my other seeds, so bummer. I did manage to weed the strawberry bed and cut down and weed half the herb bed. Managed to dig up a few starts of oregano, it likes to make babies in the walkways so I always dig them out and offer them on freecycle. We are going to have a garage sale this summer though, so maybe I'll sell them for a quarter each. Way cheaper than at a nursery, and not too expensive for garage sale pricing.


April 29th, 2006 at 11:31 pm

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.

Today didn't go as planned

April 29th, 2006 at 06:56 pm

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.

Payday Stuff

April 28th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

Today I paid the mortgage my parents took out on their house to pay my medical bills. It is $935 a month and I paid $1000. Then I went to the courthouse and paid the property tax, $364.69. I'm just glad I don't have to pay my parents property tax. Even with their senior exemption, its a few thousand dollars, ouch. One of the benefits of living in the boonies on a 1/3 of an acre piece of land.

I went to the grocery store and bought milk, tomato plants and tidal wave and easy wave petunias, a planned purchase. I didn't make it over to the credit union to deposit the freezer money, but I've put it in a sealed envelope so I have to tear it open to spend it. The extra step will make it easier to not just blindly grab it, I think. Also, I forgot to grab the aluminum cans this morning so didn't do that either. Well, maybe on Monday.

Filled up the car, at $3.05 per gallon, coming to $43, in an 18 gallon tank that had 3 to start with. Still an ouch. I've set aside an extra $10 to put into long-term savings, also.

I cashed out my first survey check, so that will be issued June 1 and will be $49.84. So cool, for just a few hours work. It's all good. Now I best get those tomato plants into the ground and hang some more laundry. It is 75 degrees right now and I can probably dry another load by tonight, maybe two.

Oops, forgot

April 27th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

I forgot to mention I also did an evaluation survey this morning and earned $15.

Rose Broke Her Finger

April 27th, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Or more accurately had her finger broken by a boy at school. Not on purpose or anything, just horseplay at recess. We were able to get a late night appointment at the after hours pediatric clinic her pediatrician's group has, and the x-rays confirm it is broken. She has to keep a splint on it for two weeks and can't play soccer during those two weeks, and then has to have it checked and if it has healed well can play in the last game. And no P.E., either so she is really bummed.

She's worried that she won't be able to do her school work, she's in the middle of what the kids call W-Awful testing, which is actually WASL testing, our state's No Child Left Behind thing. Next week is the third and final week, and I don't know how she is going to write properly with her hand all splinted and wrapped. I suppose I shouldn't worry too much, she's only in 4th grade.

So, anyway, had to make 2 trips to town today, once for Tobias to work with his dance instructor for his recital solo and then again to the doctor's office. Had to make a co-pay of $15 and did end up having to use my roll of quarters to put gas in the gas tank, for the unexpected trip, but I am putting ten dollars in to the freezer money account tomorrow to replace it. I think I will take my aluminum cans in tomorrow when I do my banking and shopping, so I can deposit that money, too.

Tomorrow is payday and it can't come too soon for me. Today was the electronic funds transfer of $10 into long term savings, bringing that to the $185 I mentioned last night.

I am going to be able to send for a survey check tomorrow, too as everything I've done so far has now come through and I have hit the $40 mark it requires for a check. If I read their thing right, it should come the first week of June.

Today was 60, not much wind, but I hung a load of laundry anyway and the towels that were in the rain yesterday where almost dry by night. I think they ended up wetter then when I hung them up in the first place. But tomorrow is supposed to be like today so I can hang more.

I signed up for a freebie today and that is about it on the frugal zone.

Didn't spend today

April 26th, 2006 at 08:20 pm

I like these no spend days. Not that I wasn't challenged to spend. The kids had early dismissal from school and of course, they wanted to go somewhere and do something. Not going to happen. I have exactly 2 gallons of gas in the car and $12 to buy gas until Friday and I have to go to town tomorrow so Tobias can meet with his dance teacher, he has a solo in the recital and she wants some extra time with him, and then soccer practice tomorrow night. I will have enough gas for the trip, the half trip and then to get to town on Friday which is payday and I can fill it up again.

I do have a roll of quarters for back up but I do not want to touch that, its supposed to go into my freezer money account on Friday. But I will have it just in case. I already owe the freezer money account the $35 I was supposed to put in and ended up using for gas money. I've tweaked my budget around again so I don't think I'll run out of gas money next time.

I have to pay property tax on Friday, yuck. It is so inconvenient right now to go to the courthouse, there is a big case and there is no parking, but at least I'll be making a town run anyway, so it won't be extra gas wasted.

Last night the weatherman claimed it would just be overcast until early afternoon and then there would be sun, so I hung laundry out this morning and of course, it rained. So I had stuff on my drying rack, stuff on hangers hanging from my shower curtain rod, stuff hanging from the treadmill, stuff on the gazelle and shirts on the backs of all the kitchen chairs. Well, it is drying. I got spoiled by 3 beautiful, sunny days. There's actually still a load of towels hanging on the clothesline but since there is nowhere to dry them, they are staying there until tomorrow and then I will spin them in the washer and hang them in the house. My goal of not using the dryer for the rest of the month has almost made it and I don't want to give in on it yet.

Tomorrow there will be an electronic funds transfer to my long-term savings account of $10, bringing my total to $185. $65 more to go and I can open an ING account and get the free $25 for doing so. I know it seems like such a small amount compared to what some people are saving, but this is still so new for me, and I am proud of myself for doing this much.

I earned $2 for a survey I took today. I am going to sign up for a couple more trial offers tonight after the kids have gone to sleep. One pays $20 and the other $10, so my nice little balance is growing and I will be able to request a check once it hits $40. Unfortunatey its a net30 payoff, so I'll have to wait a bit over a month to get it, but that's okay, it'll be coming and when it does it goes straight into short term savings, which I haven't created yet, but will.

I am actually starting to enjoy this whole saving money thing. I feel like I've gone from passive acceptance to proactive fighting to save and get out of debt.

Another Gorgeous Day to Make a Little Money

April 25th, 2006 at 02:39 pm

It is so nice out today. It's not quite as hot as yesterday, but there is a bigger breeze so the laundry is drying just as fast. I am starting to think I will get through this huge backlog of laundry without having to use the dryer once, and thus cut that expense out of our electric bill altogether.

Just a general recommendation, don't have all four family members down with food poisoning the same week or you will be doing laundry for the rest of the month. Looking on the bright side of things, if it hadn't been for the food poisoning, I never would have been laying in bed surfing the net and found this site and started getting our finances back on track, so silver lining time.

I was hoping for a no spend day today, but ended up spending $5.00, ($1.99 for milk, the rest for a fifteen pound bag of potatoes and a 62 cent bag of chic-o-stik candies, sigh). It would have been $5.02 but the girl at the convenience store didn't want to give me 98 cents in change, so she took the 2 cents out of the need a penny, leave a penny container on the counter. This brings my running total to 87 cents this week. 13 more to go and I will have a dollar I did not have to earn in any way, shape, or form. Q: What's a few pennies here and there? A: A dollar. I wonder if anyone would just hand me a dollar with the same attitude? Well, a few somebodies have almost gotten me that dollar. And as soon as it is a dollar, I will add a dollar to my change jar.

I spent an hour doing surveys this morning and earned $6 at one site and $3.50 at another. I sure had to wade through a lot of dogs to get to some decent survey companies, and of course, the balance has to be a certain amount in each account before they mail a check out, but $8.50 isn't a bad hourly wage for pointing and clicking.

I was bummed last night when I missed out on a $5 survey invitation that had filled up by the time I tried it. This kind of makes up for that.

Another $18.32

April 24th, 2006 at 11:02 pm

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.

Spending to Save

April 24th, 2006 at 10:49 pm

I spent money today: $18.00. Well, it would have been $18.32, but I was dealing with my mother who thought it was easier to give me $2.00 back from my $20 bill, than $1.68 (I said people keep giving me money, this brings it to $0.85 this week). She went to the organic supply place and picked up a truckload of compost for my garden. Much more frugal than the $5 bags of compost that you'd need a ton of to do the same job.

I only had enough of my own homemade compost to add to one garden bed and one flower bed, so I needed the extra, especially since a couple of my beds have dropped about 4 inches over the last two years. With what she brought out I built up the 3 most depleted garden beds and have enough to do about 36 X 1 feet of flowerbeds. Once I finish spreading it around she will bring me out another load which should cover the remaining 36 X 1.5 foot driveway flowerbed and the 36 X 4 foot roadside flowerbed. Yes, I have a lot of flowerbeds.

Last year we tore down the old ramshackle green house (well it was made with that heavy duty plastic) that was on the property when we moved here and was rotting badly. But that has expanded the food garden space significantly. I doubt I will use it this year, I need to tack down a tarp and kill off all the weeds that are there. But if I get ambitious I might weed it. There is just so much else I need to do first, like get to all the dandelions before they turn into seed heads and my kids are tempted to make wishing stars by blowing them all over the place.

I planted some more lettuce and put up my eight bean teepees and will plant green bean seeds tomorrow. We are well past the date of last frost and it was 76 today! Very breezy, too. The laundry dried fast. I dried four loads today. But I digress. I will be planting kohlrabi and radish seeds tomorrow and maybe more if I don't get lazy. Both kids are in school tomorrow and DH is in Alaska, so I have the option of being lazy. Though I seldom am. I like being in the garden too much to stay inside for long on a beautiful day.

Anyway, spending money on the compost will pay off substantially this summer as we eat all of our organic produce. Things grow better with good compost. And a little fish emulsion doesn't hurt either. I may even trek to the bay this year and get a couple garbage bags full of seaweed to add to my own compost. Nature's perfect fertilizer. Although, I should probably find out if there are any regulations on that. There didn't used to be, but better safe than sorry.

Goodness, that got rambly. Oh, well. It's no surprise by now that I tend to write a good bit, is it?