Home > Archive: December, 2006

Archive for December, 2006

Mortgage Stuff

January 1st, 2007 at 01:51 am

It has really been bothering me that I wasn't able to send in extra principle on the medical mortgage this month. The regular payment is $910 and change but I always, since the beginning have sent in $1000. So after the tough month of January is over, I am going to make mortgage payments of $1010 for the next year. Not just for the next 9 months which would be the $90, but for twelve, because I imagine not paying the $90 extra this month makes more damage than replacing it $10 at a time can make up for. I wish I could make up for it next month by adding an additional $100 but that's not an option.

I will have to make the straight payment on my house mortgage, too this month I think. But that is only a difference of almost $25. If I can, I will squeak it out, if I can't, I will add it onto the next payment.

Financial Improvements--Food Management

December 31st, 2006 at 07:39 am

I tend to track my leftovers pretty well. That habit is getting well-established. But trying to keep menu plans going, well, it works for a week or two and then I let it go. But during the weeks it works, it works really well. I want it to work all the time. Not working leads to meals out and way too much money spent.

I think what I need is six weeks of weekly menues that I can put into rotation. I also need to make enough at meals to provide for leftovers for other meals. Like tacos one night and taco salads for lunch the next day, spaghetti and meatballs followed by meatball sandwiches. Macaroni followed by macaroni pie, that sort of thing.

I want to have in place a working system by the time February starts. In the beginning menues should draw on what I have on hand in the pantry and the freezer. I have a lot of sauces that I picked up for cheap at Sunshine Liquidators, our local overstock and scratch and dent place. And they are all free of allergens or additives that we are allergic to or can't eat. So I need to figure out how to use them. A lot of them have recipes on the back of the bottle so I can play around with those and make sure they are financially feasible recipes.

I'd also like to do some OAMC, well maybe some shorter sessions that can bank some freezer meals for the nights were I am exhausted or sick. Just to make life easier and us not so prone to go out. That going out to eat is really what kills the budget. That and school hot lunches. Have to get those things under control.

Financial Bad Habits--Managing the Checkbook

December 31st, 2006 at 05:46 am

One thing that I really need to get better at is balancing my checkbook. I tend to go for days with a general idea of where I am in the checking account, but I don't actually sit down and do the actual math. This makes it really easy to burn through money that probably should have been spent on other things or put into savings.

So I'd really like to break that bad habit. I need to try to keep it up to date and balanced daily, and if not daily then every other day. I also need to enter it into some kind of tracking software at least once a week.

Tracking software goes hand in hand with another thing I'd like to begin. I want to start tracking all expenses. Ultimately I'd like to do it all year, every year, but I think for now I'd like to do it starting with January and try it for a month and then re-evaluate after I get through the month. I'd like to keep a little notebook in my purse so I can write down everything and then transfer it over into a spreadsheet or something like that.

If I can manage to keep a spending journal and balance my checkbook daily, I think the miscellaneous money that gets frittered away would stop frittering and things would be easier for us.

Financial Improvements--Managing the Grocery Budget

December 31st, 2006 at 05:38 am

I've been thinking a lot lately about things I can do to stay the course, or improve it. Some may call them goals or resolutions or steps and put them along with the new year, but I don't. Because I don't really like anything that starts with the new year or in any way smacks of a promise to do something better or different in the coming year, because take a wild guess what happens when I do do that? Anyone? Yeah, I don't do them.

So these are just things that I'd like to learn to do so that things go better for me as I go.

I'd like to keep my grocery budget to $200 a month, or rather $200 every 4 weeks. We have four people in this house. DH, who can usually eat a horse and drink a cow in one week's time. But he is only home 12 days out of every 28, and he is fed by work when he is up there. Me, and I eat maybe 2200 calories a day but I exercise vigorously five days a week and on my off days tend to only eat 1800 calories. My daughter, who has 1.5 hour basketball practice 3 nights a week and 2 1 hour long games on Saturdays, who tends to eat 2000 calories on work out days and 1400 on non-workout days. And my son, who is currently going through a growth spurt and eating about 1200 to 1400 calories a day depending on physical activity.

I think we should easily be able to stay within this amount if we completely stop buying convenience foods and eating out. I am wanting to eliminate all not from scratch foods anyway, as they have so many unhealthy ingredients. This should leave us with about $100 for meat protein, $30 for dairy and $70 for 100% whole wheat bread items, fresh fruits and vegetables each period.

We eat a lot of protein due to postprandial hyperinsulinemia (all of us have it except the youngest one and we feed him the same as us as he is showing signs of it, just hasn't been tested) and we don't like vegetarian meat substitues or beans of the non-string or green variety. Cutting back on protein is not an option for us to save money.

I think $100 a month should be adequate. We can usually get 10 pounds of hamburger @ $1.48 per pound, 10 pounds of chicken hindquarters @ $0.39 to $0.59 per pound, whole chickens at $0.59 per pound, beef roasts @ $2.49 per pound, tuna fish $0.99 (label must read tuna, water or tuna, olive oil, salt is okay--no autolyzed vegetable broth or any other additives), turkey legs or necks for $.0.69 per pound. We get 4 18 packs of organic omega-3 eggs a month at $2.19 per pack. If there is a good sale I will buy salmon or other seafood like shrimp or crab, but that is rare. All meat must be free of added ingredients, like a "10% solution added to enchance flavors," non-genetically modified, wild caught and not farmed in the case of seafood, no growth hormones, and free range. We prefer grass-fed and kosher, but sometimes there is a limit to what we can expect from our local grocery stores and most organic meat is out of our price range.

The most expensive thing is the sliced sandwich meats from Applegate Farms that have no additives, preservatives or in the case of ham has not been cured. The kids take that for lunches. Once it is opened it must be used within 4 days. I really need to divide these packages up and freeze the excess because the kids won't go through a whole one in a week's time. And also the organic milk is very pricey, too. DH drinks regular milk but the rest of us drink organic. DH can go through one gallon in 2 to 3 days by himself while we go through 1 in about 5 days. I can get coupons from Organic Valley dairy and I use my reward coupons from Fred Meyer as well.

I also need to start making my own bread products again. I have the bread machine, the ingredients and the recipes, but I never quite get around to it. I need to get around to it. Bread is pretty much my last convenience product but since we buy organic bread and 100% whole wheat bread, it is pricey. I can do this. I just have to want to.

This is all doable. It just needs to be done-able. Okay, making up words now. But I think my point is clear here. Just do it. I'll very grudgingly let this be categorized under goals, but I consider it more of a plan.

What Saving Advice Means to Me

December 30th, 2006 at 05:56 am

When I first came on the boards and started blogging here, I felt like I was drowning. With a debt load rapidly approaching $250,000 I could not see a way out. Not a way that didn't involve bankruptcy anyway. But then one night I was suffering with a horrible bout of food poisoning following my neice's wedding and I was googling money and debt reduction and savings and I stumbled across this site.

And I started to read the blogs. And read, and read, and read, between runs to the bathroom. Not like I could sleep with those stomach cramps. I think I read blogs for 16 hours straight until I finally fell asleep exhausted and woke up thinking there was a way. I continued reading for about 5 days and then I started my own blog. And something miraculous happened.

I was drowning. But the people here threw me a life jacket. And then...then they taught me how to swim. And how to climb up onto the dock and walk away from the edge. Oh, I'm a far cry from the shore yet. But I'll get there. I know I will. Because I have you guys, you are my lifeline, you gave me back hope, you have been there since my very first blog entry and those who joined later as well, with welcoming arms and helpful advice and encouragement when I needed it and even when I didn't. So thank you to everyone. I can't even express what this place means to me or what it has done for me. But I am grateful every single day that I found it that day back in April. And that I found all of you.

2007 Budget in Place

December 30th, 2006 at 04:12 am

I put together a new budget for the new year. It is pre-raise as the January raises obviously have not come through yet. DH is "supposed" to get a big one this year but it was "supposed" to come last summer and just keeps getting put off, so I'll change the new budget if and when it happens.

So far, it looks like we have $100 worth of wiggle room. Not exactly great but we'll manage. I want to try to split that $100 each month between raising the EF back up and saving for vacation.

Today's Financial Tasks are Done

December 30th, 2006 at 03:46 am

Today has been a good day. I got all of my errands accomplished, though I think I must have hit the slowest drive-thru bank tellers in the history of the universe. And all I was doing was making a deposit! I didn't even need cash back. The easiest task for them to perform and despite being there first (it was a 3 lane drive thru) I was fifth out of six cars served because I chose the lane with the drawer and not the ones with the tubes. So I had to wait for the girl to press the button to open the door for me to get my deposit slip and check in it, despite having pressed the teller call button twice. Which she might have done earlier if she hadn't run off three times. The other teller seemed preoccupied with filling up the candy basket. Hello, last banking night before a big holiday weekend, get your act together. End rant.

But I got all the various monies transferred to my checking account and I mailed off the check for the Medical Mortgage. This is the first time ever that I have not paid extra towards the principle. I hate that, but this month couldn't be helped. When I pay the house mortgage next week it'll be the same thing. Ugh. But after that it'll go back to normal.

I was going to drop off my house insurance payment at the local office today, but the lazy bums closed at four instead of five today for the holiday weekend, so I had to mail it. I'm not happy about that, I prefer to do as many bills in person as possible but oh, well, what can you do?

I received a check from Your2Cents and deposited that into the vacation savings account, along with the ones and rolled coin. So the total deposit was $41.50, bringing the amount in that account to $61.50.

I can't remember if I wrote about his before or not. I have the opportunity to go to a convention for my support group for my disease in May and it is a tight knit group so it is going to be fun. Some of us will be arriving a day early to go to Disneyland for one day and I am hoping to be one of them.

I do not have to pay for airfare as DH has plenty of miles, so I just have to come up with the hotel fee and the park pass money. I can have a roommate to cut the costs and I may do so. DH's schedule works out so that he will be home to watch the kids. So if I can get the money saved it will all fall into place.

Plans for Today

December 29th, 2006 at 09:28 pm

I am taking my kids in to spend the night with my parents, so after I drop them off I am going to the CU to deposit my ones and rolled coin.

$26 in ones
$10 in quarters
$.50 in pennies

Total deposit: $36.50.

Hopefully, I won't have to use it for anything else and it can stay in savings where it belongs. This is not to build up the EF, this is the start of a vacation fund, along with $20 already in that account, bringing it up to:

Vacation Fund: $56.50

We plan to take part of our income tax return to build the EF back up and the rest of it will go to debt.

New Credit Limit

December 29th, 2006 at 09:20 pm

One of our oldest credit cards just raised our credit limit by $5000. So now instead of it having a limit of $20,000 it has a limit of $25,000. Are these people nuts? Who in their right mind allows someone to borrow that much money without it being secured? Oh, that's right, Bank of America.

Our other two cards with them, which used to be MBNA, have also raised significantly since BOA took over. One has a limit of $19,000 and the other of $16,000. Ridiculous. They really, really want to lure people into debt.

I think the reason they are so high is that we are finally starting to make headway in getting our debt down and they want to tempt us back into spending to get out balances up higher and making more profit for them. Greedy.

Savings Will Take a Hit

December 29th, 2006 at 07:32 am

I decided to quit putting my head in the sand and hoping I wouldn't have to tap savings to make up for the generator money and sit down and crunch the numbers. So I did. And there is no way around using the money in savings. There just isn't.

So I will be left with $600 in savings. I'm a little bummed, but you know what? That means I still have $600 in savings, which is $490 more than I had when I started this blog and $600 more than I started 2006 with. My glass is still half full.

I probably won't be able to throw too much at savings until March. I've got homeowner's dues to pay of $125 at the end of this month, the second half of my 6 months car insurance to pay of $180.50 by February 22, and then I still owe $200 on homeowner's insurance between now and July and Property tax comes due April 30th for the half year of just under $400.

Medical is caught up for the year and hopefully no one gets sick between now and April as our per person deductible is $250 or $750 per family. I will have some dental to pay I think as I have a January appointment. I should be getting a check from the orthodontist in the next couple of weeks. They are usually around $250. Probably use half of that to pay the dues and the other half plus $30.50 to pay the rest of the car insurance.

I am dreading the propane bill. That may wipe out the rest of my savings account. Now that I am well and my wood pile is thawed out, I really need to go back to using the woodstove again. 2 months on propane heat, oh, I don't even want to know.

Found a Penny

December 29th, 2006 at 01:40 am

3rd Entry for today

I found a penny on top of the microwave (?) today so added it to my coin jar. Just five to go and I can do a roll.

And Autovantage still sucks, in case you missed my rant 2 entries ago.

Money to Savings

December 29th, 2006 at 01:37 am

2nd Entry for today.

Today was the automatic deposit of $10 to savings. I think I'm going to hold off on sending anymore moeny to ING until payday. As it would take 3 days to get there and 3 days to get back it would be awfully hard to tap it if needed before payday. I really don't want to need it.

And AutoVantage still bites, sucks, and has the rudest customer non-service trolls on the planet. Just thought I'd repeat that if you didn't catch it in my last entry.

AutoVantage Bites

December 29th, 2006 at 01:30 am

Okay, so I posted how I had to cancel several of those programs on the 19th. Well, what do you suppose AutoVantage does? Charges me on the 21st after telling me there would be no further charges. So I called them up for the 3rd time. This time instead of LaTosha, I got Lilia or Lilian, not really sure as her English was not that great and the boiler room she was in was very loud.

Her line, "Our records show that you are still an active member." Snarky voice.

Me: "That's funny because I cancelled on the 19th and you charged me on the 21st."

Her: We have no record of that.

Me: I have a confirmation number and the name of the person I talked to.

Her: Oh. (Pause). Okay, give me the number, then the name. (I do.) Oh, here it is. You're right, it didn't get into the computer. (Switched from Snarky voice to Dumb Blonde voice).

Me: Oh, really? Then what are you looking it up on? (Silence) This charge better be removed from my credit card within the week or I am contacting the BBB and I will be disputing this with my credit card and blocking your charges.

Her: It'll be taken care of. (Back to Snarky voice)

Me: That's what they said the last two times I've called.

Her: I said, It'll be taken care of. (Nasty voice now) Thank you for using AutoVantage. (And she hung up on me).

Me: Screw you, you rude little troll and the horse you rode in on.

I will never ever do business with any company owned by Trilegeant again. If any of you feel like doing a trial membership with AutoVantage, DON'T. It's nothing but grief. They should have cancelled back in June!

Cleaned out my Purse

December 28th, 2006 at 04:00 am

Yet another entry from me.

I just cleaned out my purse and found a $1 bill, 1 dime, 1 nickle, and 1 penny that I added to my change jar.

Tomorrow I will clean up the floor on the passenger side of my car, as I know DH dropped some change there yesterday and I know that there are at least 3 dimes in the Blazer, too. I might just be able to make a roll of dimes by Friday.

I do still have one dime in my purse but that's parking meter money. I don't think I'll be anywhere where I'll need to use it but I always carry one, same way I used to also carry change for a pay phone back before I had a cell phone.

Coin Jar

December 28th, 2006 at 03:51 am

2nd Entry today. Well, third, if you count the one that was for yesterday but went through today. Anywho...

I counted up my coin jar tonight. I am 9 dimes, 6 nickles, and 7 pennies short of rolling new rolls. I did have enough for one roll of quarters (with $6 in quarters left over), and one roll of pennies.

I also have $25 in ones. So depositable amount is $35.50 and just have to wait on the remaining $5.27 worth of coinage to make more rolls.

Actually, I think I will deposit the $35.50 anyway on Friday when I go to town so its out of the house and sent off to ING and earning interest anyway. I still have enough in unrolled coins that if I do have to dip into it to buy a gallon of milk, I can do so, even if I have to pay in quarters!

I want so badly not to touch savings. Oh, this month is going to be a squeaker!

Another No Spend Day

December 28th, 2006 at 03:31 am

I reckon I'm going to have a lot of these no spend days over the next few weeks, and will really have to keep a sharp eye on the spending. That's okay, though. I don't want to be lax with it. Tomorrow should be no spend, also. It helps when you don't leave the house?

Dinner tonight was out of the freezer, turkey necks, which the kids love and broccoli and cauliflower, which the kids also love. I ate other food that I had on hand as I didn't feel like thawing out two packages of turkey necks. This was a pretty cheap meal as I got the necks the week after Thanksgiving when they were selling for 29 cents a pound.

My goal for the next two weeks is no eating out at all. Not even cheapy fast food places. Everything home-cooked and from the current stores in the freezer, fridge, and pantry.

I found out last night at the grocery store that they didn't have gallons of Organic Valley milk because it was affected by the big power failure down Seattle way. Bummer. Not sure when they will get it into the stores. That will be the only grocery spending I will do until the 5th, but only if they get production back up and running.

For 12-26-06

December 27th, 2006 at 09:46 am

Okay, these late night or early a.m. entries are starting to be a habit with me. I think the whole holiday thing threw my sleep cycle out of whack and I need to reset the whole system.

DH had to leave for Alaska today so on the way to the airport we stopped at McDonalds to use all the gift certificates we got for Christmas. Not the greatest eating healthwise, but I didn't have any sugar, just drank water with my burger and fries (I'm sure those had transfats!) Felt sluggish after eating it, too. Well, what do I expect eating white flour?

I withdrew $50 from the bank today, $30 for DH's travel money and $20 for my incidentals. I'm going to try to make it last until January 5, which is our next payday. We won't eat out at all between now and then, either.

I used the last of the grocery money tonight, too. I bought apples, organic milk, bananas, marked down shrimp and salmon (from the day before Christmas, (I froze them when I got home), hamburger, lettuce, green bell peppers, and a Danish squash. This will supplement the rest of the produce I have on hand and some of the fruit should last until payday. If not I have canned pineapple and home canned peaches. I may have to borrow from my change jar to get milk, but I think it should last if we keep it to one glass each at mealtimes (and I only drink it once a day) since DH is gone now. He's the biggest milk drinker.

I had to work out a very careful budget but I've covered all the bills there will be between now and the 5th. Buying that generator really knocked us for a loop, but I still feel it was a necessary purchase, even if we don't have another power failure this cold season. It will definitely hit our savings account hard, but then what was I really saving for that can't be put off so we can absorb the hit?

What else today? I read another chapter in The Underground History of American Education. Honestly, its like working my way through a thesis. It is interesting and it is giving me a lot to think about, but its sooooooo long.

Oh, and I watched The Devil Wears Prada, which was given to me as a Christmas present. I liked it, it had a wicked sense of humor. It sounds like it was quite different from the book though. I don't know if I'll keep it or not. I've been trying to winnow my DVD collection down a bit, preparing to sell stuff on I'll have to think on it a bit. I've got a box of books ready to go, though. I just have to find where DH put them.

Our Christmas Weekend

December 26th, 2006 at 08:05 am

The last two days went pretty well for the most part. Two no spend days in a row. Of course, nothing was open today but the casino, so that makes it pretty easy to not spend, and only someone with the patience of a saint would have gone into a store on Christmas Eve. Which, if you were wondering, does not even remotely describe me.

Yesterday was good, nothing bad at all happened, the Ice Queen was even there and she was actually (gasp) nice. Maybe she's thawing out after all these years of being, well, the Ice Queen. It would be nice to have two sisters who actually behaved like sisters instead of just one.

Today was great for most of the day until my husband's uncle showed up at MIL's house. He was NOT supposed to be there. He was not invited. We called and made sure that he was not to be there. It was a very tense 10 minutes before he left. I was about to take the kids and run. This man is nuts.

When my little boy was four years old, this man kicked him out of his chair by physically lifting him up and tossing him on the ground and then sat down in the chair himself, even though there were plenty of other chairs and my son had been sitting in this one for a good twenty minutes. Well, T got mad at him and said, "Hey, that's my chair, give it back." He was ignored. He said it again, and was still ignored. He then said, "If you don't give me my chair back I am going to kick you." Again he was ignored. So my son kicked him. His reaction? To strangle my son.

And then when DH stopped him he claimed my son gave him a migraine by kicking him. I mean, hello? Unless your head is your butt (which in his case that very well could be), you aren't going to get a migraine from being kicked by a barefoot four year old (not to mention he was playing volleyball one hour later in the full sun, and he has a migraine?). I do not believe my son should have kicked him, though if I had been treated the same way at that age, I would have. Heck, I might have done it NOW. It's not like my son did not warn him or try to solve it himself first.

Then the uncle tried to claim that T could be taken away from his parents for assault, to the boy. At age four! And he said it was an unprovoked attack. I'm sorry? If you toss a kid to the ground how is that unprovoked? Well, we talked to the police the next day and they laughed at that line and said no way would a four year old ever by charged with assault. Which we knew anyway. But we were advised to never, ever let this man anywhere near our kids again. And we hadn't had any contact with him for 2.5 years.

The police said it was up to us whether to press charges or not but it most likely wouldn't make it to court, so we chose just to sever all contact. Seeing him again enraged me. Especially since he was uninvited. DH and FIL did form a barrier so he couldn't get past them to where my kids were and I wouldn't look in his direction or even acknowledge he was in the room.

It was very prickly until he left. I am glad he did. I did not want to have to. It took a bit to calm T down, he is still afraid of this man even though we haven't seen him or talked to him in so long. He ran and hid. He seems to be fine since then, but I will not be surprised if he starts having nightmares again like he did after it happened.

Other than that, it was a good day, though. With good food and good company and DH and I scored big with a really nice weight bench.

Mass Production

December 24th, 2006 at 02:58 am

I am mass producing lasagnas today, it is a long and exhausting process making these babies from scratch, but I'd rather do several in a day than one at a time anyway, since it pretty much involves getting every pot and pan in the house dirty, not to mention the food processor and the salad shooter, a couple cutting boards and a chef's knife.

But it is coming along and it is sauce time so the house is about to smell very, very good. In the midst of thawing and cooking hamburger, boiling whole wheat noodles, shredding cheese, chopping onions and garlic, digging around in the cupboard to find the big bulk containers of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sea salt and green, white, and black peppercorns, draining diced tomatoes, making sure there is enough butter to grease all the pans with (hey, this is not low-fat lasagna, after all, even if I am using leanest hamburger and skim mozzarella), I also had to make peanutbutter cookies for Santa Claus.

I did make the peanutbutter cookies a little healthier by using extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and an omega-3 organic egg. At least they are higher in protein than most cookies. I had one with my balanced dinner and they taste much better than regular peanutbutter cookies so I'm happy. I probably won't eat anymore of them, though.

Well, my break is over. DH has processed more onions for the second batch of sauce. He is crying. Literally, from the onions, so I best go help him out.

By the way my blood pressure is down to 120/80 and I am feeling a lot better today.

Today was Exhausting

December 23rd, 2006 at 10:34 am

Today was a really long day. The good news is that we have completed all of our Christmas shopping and I only have maybe 20 rows left to knit on my Dad's second hat. We did not use credit at all, it is an entirely cash only Christmas.

The bad news is that I have been feeling kind of generally bleh this week, even though the sinus infection is starting to clear up with the antibiotics. This morning (12-22-06) I woke up and my hands and feet were horribly swollen and my face was all puffed up. I immediately went to take my blood pressure and it was 145/95, yikes. Called the doctor and he sent home some samples of a different BP med with a diuretic in it with my mother who just happened to be in the office when I called (happy coincidence, especially as they closed at 12:30 today and I couldn't get him on the phone until noon). And called in a potassium prescription to my pharmacy.

I'm to monitor my BP, which is already down after one dose and if it gets too high, I'm to go to the urgent care clinic. I think this will solve it but it was a little scary for awhile. Most of the time I don't even think about the fact that I have high BP, I just take a pill and eat right and I go along with my life. This sort of thing really throws me for a loop when it happens. Makes me remember that yes, I am still dealing with a disease that causes high BP and with a family history of high BP. Just because the disease is under control 99% of the time does not mean it is not there.

DH and I did manage to pick out a new door knob and deadbolt set several hours later when I felt more normal again. It is really pretty. We were going to go for brushed chrome but when we saw this gorgeous brown brushed copper we got it instead. It matches the brown trim on our house almost perfectly. DH installed it tonight and we now have a front door that opens and shuts again. So much more convenient. We spent almost $60 on it.

DH and I argued about that for a bit. I just wanted to replace the door knobs as the deadbolt was perfectly fine, but HIS opinion was that having a door knob and a deadbolt with two different keys would drive ME crazy. Not him, me. And he didn't want to be changing them out again in a month when it happened. So I eventually agreed with him that it probably would bug me and so we got the full set. For twice the price. Sigh.

I think our EF is going to take a major hit. It isn't going to be as easy to absorb the cost of the new generator as I thought it would. $867 is a huge purchase to just take in without a blip. We'll see. I'm going to try really hard to not touch the EF but I think in the end I may have to sink it down to $700 or so. Sigh, again.

Other spending today included $10 for the potassium prescription.

For 12-21-06

December 22nd, 2006 at 09:19 am

Things I have done that needed doing:

Cancelled (again) AutoVantage
Cancelled (again)
Cancelled (again) Preferred Home Network
Cancelled Onlingo
Cancelled Video Professor

I don't know if I will get any money back from the companies that I had already cancelled months ago and they failed to stop charging my credit card or not, but I did lodge complaints about AutoVantage and PHN, with BBB. They were very rude to me on the phone about it, even though I had confirmation numbers and names of people I had spoken too. Tickle was very nice to me and promised they would look into it and refund any money that was due back. Notice how they didn't get reported to the BBB. If any of them try to charge me again we'll go the route of disputing with the credit card and seeing if we can't block charges from those companies.

I finished knitting one hat for Dad and worked some more on Rose's scarf.

I went to the bookstore and bought my Christmas presents from Mom which I will give her tomorrow to wrap and give back to me on Christmas Eve. It seems silly to do it that way and a waste of wrapping paper, but its what she wants to do, so okay. The books I got were by David Bach, both that I have read before and wanted my own copies of, The Automatic Millionaire and Smart Couples Finish Rich. I had $3.65 left over out of the money she gave me for my present. I think I may break my no sugar rule and get a gelato for myself with it! But not until I'm alone after the kids have gone back to school and DH is up in Alaska again.

Today was the day of the automatic deposit of $10 to savings so I sent that off to ING.

I went to Costco and got all the fixings for my Christmas Lasagnas, except noodles, they didn't have there and I forgot to get them when we were at Fred Meyer later so I'll have to get them tomorrow. We have to go back to town tomorrow because our front door knob will not open from the inside anymore. It just stopped working and DH is unable to fix it with his usual tinkering. We could just go out the back door but its not in the best location what with all the extension cords for the Christmas lights. It's also quite a ways from the alarm system, which gives you 30 seconds to get out the door before it goes off. Which is fine if it is just you and not two little kids you are trying to rush out the door. So we will be buying a door knob and lasagna noodles.

I picked up a copy of The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto at the library today. Reading it on the net was just getting to my eyes and really, I just prefer reading books on the printed page.

My day in a nutshell.

Chritsmas Tree is Up!

December 21st, 2006 at 04:03 am

Finally! We put up our Christmas tree today. I don't think I've ever had to wait this long before to have one in the house. We still haven't decorated it yet, the kids are watching Ant Bully and DH is watching with them and I'm not going to be the one to go drag the ornaments out of the shed in the dark. So maybe it won't get done until tomorrow. That's fine with me. Just putting it together was exhausting.

It was a no spend day today which I am glad of, being as its the first one in a good while, what with all the Christmas shopping and eating out twice. My package from Amazon came today so that takes care of my mother. I still need to get the gift certificates from McD's for my nephews and finish knitting Dad's hats, but then I'm done on gifts. I think.

I haven't done any PTR's since DH came home, we have just been too busy. I might get a chance to do one tonight, who knows though.

Tomorrow the kids are going to spend the day at MIL's house along with SIL's two daughters and DH and I will finally get some alone time. Looking forward to that. We are going to go see a movie, the new Cameron Diaz/Kate Winslett one. I've read mixed reviews but I still want to see it. It's been so long since I've seen a movie in the theater. The Lake House and X-Men 3 were the last ones we saw. We will go at matinee time as it is much cheaper then, although not nearly as cheap as it used to be. We never buy from the concession stand, we just make sure we are not hungry when we go to the movie. Movie popcorn never tastes as good as it smells anyway.

I think that about covers it.

My Day

December 20th, 2006 at 07:47 am

Not too much to report on today. I did finally get my antibiotics so maybe I can put this sinus infection to rest. That would be good. Prescription cost $25.

I also spent $23.17 at the grocery store buying organic meat.

DH took the kids to the Santa Train. I decided that I would just make myself sicker if I went, so I didn't. They had a good time, and had a great photo taken with Santa.

I did drive down Starry Road tonight to see some of the lights. They have some amazing houses out that way, storybook beautiful, so I at least saw a little without being exposed to the cold air.

DH found my notebook tonight of all the trial offer membership numbers and when stuff was cancelled, confirmation numbers and the name of the person I spoke to. Now I can go to town on the companies that did not cancel my memberships when they said they would and have continued to charge me. And I will take no prisoners.

Lisa in WA

Not blogging much

December 19th, 2006 at 10:03 am

I haven't been blogging much these last two days. I got distracted by reading the online edition of An Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. It is fascinating. I suppose that's what I get for clicking on one of Perky's links. I know better than to do that when I'm supposed to be busy doing other stuff, but do I ever learn? At the rate I'm going its going to take quite some time to get through it, but I've read something of his before and really liked what he had to say and how he said it, so I'm sure I'll wade through it. I'm learning a lot of stuff I never learned in school and probably the reasons why I never learned it in school.

Anyway, on to financial stuff. Christmas is sure a spendy season. It is very easy to think about raiding the savings acoount! Not good. So far we've resisted it but the temptation is very real.

DH did spend $40 today on getting his hair cut, his beard trimmed, Tobias' hair cut and buying the shampoo and conditioner they talked him into at the salon. Sigh. The shampoo is expensive and totally unnecessary, but well, DH likes it better than other stuff we have on hand and when he gets that way, which is rarely, I just roll with it.

We spent most of the day at my mother's house doing laundry and had to make an emergency trip to the orthodontist when Rose's wire came loose. It's to be expected when she's lost 3 teeth in 4 weeks time. She was supposed to have an appointment tomorrow, but the Dr. just fit her in today so now hopefully I can get in and go to my doctor about this pernicious sinus infection/cold/bronchitis whatever the heck illness I have. Not to mention I think my blood pressure meds aren't working anymore either, so will have him check my BP while I am there also.

That's about it from my little corner of the universe.

A Very Busy Day

December 17th, 2006 at 09:51 am

Rose's games went pretty well today. They didn't win either one, the first
one was hard as the other team had 3 girls who were taller than Rose by a
head or more and she's the tallest player on her team. And there was a lot
of fouling going on that wasn't called.

The other team would hook their feet around in front of our players ankles and trip them. It looked like a move that they were taught to do, when you have four out of five players doing it consistently, it is not an accident and it isn't just one person playing poorly. That's bad coaching and bad reffing to allow it. I've seen similar things in soccer and it can really cause injuries. In fact it did here, one of the girls had to leave the court and sit out for about 15 minutes it hurt her ankle so much. At least the refs were calling on the double dribbling and traveling the other team did. So the end score was 22-12.

The second game went a lot better, they only had one girl who was a head taller than Rose, and a few of similar heights to our girls. It was a tight game, well played, although one of our girls suddenly got really scared of shooting. She is a good shooter but it's like she's afraid of missing so instead of taking shots when she's in a great place with no guards on her, she'll pass it to someone, and not usually to someone who is open. She could have scored half a dozen times, but its like her confidence
went away. Still, our team did great and the score ended up being 32-26,
only a six point spread.

Afterwards, the kids went with MIL and FIL down to Stanwood for the Christmas thingy at some campground, like a Christmas Fair with tons of lights and stuff to do, so DH and I got a lot of time to ourselves. We went out for RM dinner to our favorite Mexican place. I'm sure its not hydrogenated fat free, but I gave in as DH really wanted to
go there. We ate way too much food! But only spent $24.14 plus $5 tip.

DH and I went shopping and got gifts taken care of for FIL, MIL, both young nieces, and the yarn for me to make Dad two hats. I'll have to knit in overdrive but since I can do a hat in 3 hours it should be no problem.

I also bought the throwaway containers to make the 2 lasagnas that are BIL and FIL's requested Christmas presents. And two more because both sets of parents (mine and DH's) have requested my lasagna at their Christmas get togethers. At least its easy to mass produce! I still have to buy the ingredients, though. I make them in the throwaways or it can be months before I see my glass cookware again.

Then at home I ordered Mom's present to be delivered by Wednesday, and 2 CD's that I wanted for DH to give me. That just leaves me with the McD gift certificates for 3 of my nephews (I quit giving to nieces and nephews after their senior year of high school). Now I just have to go with DH to buy his weight bench and I am done!

So obviously it was a very busy and very productive day. Tomorrow will be
productive too, but for less happy reasons, we are CLEANING the house.
Yuck. Deep cleaning. But then we will finally put our tree up. Yeah, don't have it up yet. But you should see the outside of the house. In fact, you probably can from googlespace, LOL. It's a tad decorated with the lights. Oh and MIL and FIL gave us two more yard decorations, like we needed more lights! DH will put them up tomorrow, though.

Oh, and we bought gas today on the Costco cash card.

We're in for It!- - Now Updated

December 15th, 2006 at 02:13 am

We're about to get hit by another storm tomorrow. They're talking 100 mile per hour winds. It's already dumping huge amounts of very cold rain, the back half of our driveway is a little lake. We need to regravel next summer so it doesn't get so bad.

DH and I spent the day looking at generators and finally decided on one. He's gone back to town to pick it up while I do Mom duty with Rose at basketball practice. He took Tobias with him.

The generator we decided on costs $779, is water and rust proof, and will run for 10 hours on one tank of gas. I belive it is a 2 gallon tank. They had the sign up that says if you apply for the Home Depot card you get 10% off, so DH decided to do that. We won't use it though except for this and will pay it off immediately. It should cover a little more than the sales tax. Our sales tax is 8.4%. WA state has the highest sales tax in the nation, I think, and our county has one of the highest in the state.

This is a really big purchase and I was planning on making it, just not this soon. With the extra paycheck we have the money to do it, and I do not want to lose another $500 worth of food because I can't run my fridge and freezer. On the drive home I started having a really bad feeling that we needed to go back and buy it today and not wait until tomorrow. I've learned to go with those feelings and so has DH. DH called a bit ago and he got the last one there, so I'm glad I sent him back.

I'm not sure on the grand total yet but I'll edit this to add it in when he gets home.

Edited to add:

DH made it home safely! The rain is getting torrential. He decided not to apply for the Home Depot credit card as he thought it would be too easy for him to use it! So no 10% discount but no future temptation to use a credit card either, so maybe we still save in the end. The total cost of the generator with tax came to $844.

A Bit Spendy

December 14th, 2006 at 07:13 am

I picked up DH today and we went out to lunch at Black Angus. We spent $36.39 including the tip. It was very good and it was nice to chat over a relaxing meal.

We had conferences this afternoon (finally!) and both kids are doing well, except Rose in spelling, which is laziness, the teacher agrees with me on that.

Both kids are good kids, helpful, kind, leaders, that try to make sure no one is left out. They are friends with everyone, but have a good circle of closer friends, also. I like hearing that about them.

Not much of an update tonight. DH is giving me sad puppy dog eyes so I best go attend to him.

DH Comes Home Tomorrow!

December 13th, 2006 at 04:53 am

And not a minute too soon. 23 days is an awfully long time. I do miss him so much on these really long shifts. The money is good, though, that helps some to compensate.

I spent $14.07 today on dinner. I woke up with a barking cough so decided maybe I shouldn't get my germs in the kids' food. So they had both breakfast and lunch at school today and then boughten dinner. Which reminds, I wrote a $20 check to fund T's lunch account.

I'm not sure what I'll do about breakfast tomorrow as it is Cook's Choice, which means they don't list what it actually is. Drives me crazy when they do that. But hot lunch tomorrow is something both kids will eat and then DH can cook dinner.

I am having a devil of a time getting through to my doctor. Half the time they forget to turn the answering machine off and its not one you can leave messages on, either. Since he is semi-retired, he only works 3.5 days a week. And the other doctor that I go to is a specialist, not for general sickness, so she can't help here. Maybe I'll just go to the clinic. I hate doing that, though.

The Power of One

December 12th, 2006 at 10:45 am

Okay, I'm being a little hokey with that title. First issue, the power, is back on. In fact it woke me up and I can't get back to sleep so I decided to come here and write a bit.

Second issue, one. Or rather ones. I have decided to not just save my coins, but to throw in any one dollar bills I get. I've seen a couple people here doing it and well, I decided to jump off that bridge because Tina did it first. No, I've been thinking about it for awhile. Resisting it really. But I keep circling back around to the idea. So I decided to go for it.

So tonight when I emptied the coins out of my purse I also took out the ones. I had $6 in ones. So into the change jar they go. My change jar is an old Miracle Whip jar, by the way. It serves its purpose well. I used to keep it in a Litehouse 1000 Island dressing bottle but at one point there was too much change in it and the bottom of the jar came off with the weight when I picked it up. Miracle Whip seems a bit sturdier so far.

I have not been getting the rush I was getting before when everything extra was going into building up savings. Sending extra off to the credit cards just does not give me that same thrill. So, I think that I will go back to putting all my little bits and pieces into savings and take the bigger hunks that I have carved out of the budget, like the money we used to pay for cable, and use that for the extra on the credit cards. Otherwise I just lose the motivation, I think.

But I am also going to work hard to keep all expenses down so I can still send extra to the cards. I think that is a good trade off. I can still see my savings grow to a level I feel safer at. Right now the level I want to reach is $2000. Beyond that, $4000 or one month's pay. I just feel the need to have that for peace of mind. I mean sure, six month's living expenses would be grand (majorly grand, like 24 grand), but that could take ages. So one month's pay is the long term goal for now and half that is the short term goal. I am $399.02 away from the short term goal.

My $5 cashout from TinklyCash arrived at paypal today (24 hours, yay!) and so I transferred that to my CU and when it shows up I will send it off to ING along with the next $10 weekly deposit. It should show up the same day so that will make it pretty easy to do all at once.

All right, I'm getting sleepy again, so that's enough for now.

Yet Another Power Failure

December 12th, 2006 at 02:33 am

I am getting very annoyed with Puget Sound Energy. This is the 3rd power failure in less than a month's time. Okay, I know there is a big windstorm (again), but I didn't even see any trucks in our area working to get stuff up and running again and this was 3 hours after it had gone out. You would think the portion that has a school on it would be considered a priority, but no, it's not.

It's been out for several hours and if they don't get it back on tonight, I'm going to end up losing food again. I think I'm going to insist that they knock some off my power bill as they've cost me an awful lot of money in ruined food with their slow (lack of) service.

I did spend just under $15 on taking the kids out to dinner. I am just getting so tired of this. I also didn't do any of the other things I had planned to do because I didn't want to get stuck on the wrong side of a downed tree from the school.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>