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Archive for January, 2007

New Credit Score

January 31st, 2007 at 05:11 pm

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.

Auction Update

January 31st, 2007 at 05:06 pm

Our auction on ebay is now up to $154! And it doesn't close until midnight Sunday. Three people are bidding and four people are watching. Pretty good first time experience, I think. Just $48 to go until we hit the amount I was hoping to bring in with these upgrades.

Lightspeed was Fast!

January 30th, 2007 at 10:23 pm

Well, as promised, Lightspeed had the money in my paypal account by the end of the next business day. I transferred it to my CU so it should show up on Friday. That is $18 received so far this month for my vacation fund.

Pending:
$5 from Your2Cents
$3 from ReadRevenue

I'm about 2 days out from cashing out at Dayslook. It'll be my first time cashing out with them so hopefully everything goes fine. It's a $5 cash out. I'm also 2 days out from cashing out at ReadRevenue again, although I don't think I will cash out until I find out what is going on with their system. I'll just keep building it up for awhile.

Do They Think My Time's Not Important?

January 30th, 2007 at 02:47 pm

I would guess yes. Doctor's office finally called back at 2:40 and do you think I actually got to talk to the doctor? Noooooooo. They just rescheduled my appointment for Thursday morning. So I waited around 4 hours for them to reschedule the appointment. Now why couldn't they have done that in the first place and not messed up my entire day?

Well, on the bright side of things, that makes it a no spend day after all. But I'm still aggravated.

Our First Auction

January 30th, 2007 at 02:05 pm

Boy, I'm just a busy little posting beaver today, aren't I?

DH held off on putting his 2 Alaska Airlines first class upgrades on ebay until last night. I thought he was going to do it sooner, but this way the auction can run for a week, end on Sunday and be mailed out quickly the next day.

It's doing pretty well. It's already up to $102.50 with six days to go. We're hoping to get $200 for it, but being guarranteed slightly over $100 already is pretty darn good. DH has seen them go for as high as $250 for a pair.

Whatever we end up with is going to go straight into building the Emergency Fund back up.

Habits: When Bad Ones Become Good Ones

January 30th, 2007 at 01:19 pm

I've been thinking about little habits I have that save me money even though that was not the intention, it just turns out to be the benefit.

For example, my car has a delay on the lights. I can set it anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, and that is how long they will stay on after the car is turned off before they switch themselves off.

For years now I have had it set on the 3 minute delay because that is approximately how long it takes me to get everyone and all their stuff out of the car and up to the front porch and get the door unlocked and get inside. So I don't have to leave the porch light burning all day long if we leave in the morning, knowing we won't be back until after dark.

Now in the beginning this was just a bad habit of mine to forget to turn on the porch light, but now I consider it a good habit that saves a bit on the electric bill.

Anyone else have this sort of habit that unintentionally saved them some money?

Best Laid Plans

January 30th, 2007 at 11:51 am

Well, my whole plan for the day has been shot. The doctor's office called and cancelled my appointment for some reason or other and said that the doctor will call me "sometime" today to do a phone appointment. Couldn't give me a time, of course, so basically I either have to wait around all day for the phone to ring or say screw it and go do what else I had planned to do. And with Murphy's Law being what it is, I'll be outside waiting for the school bus when he finally calls. Frustrating and annoying.

Plans for Today

January 30th, 2007 at 10:32 am

1. Go to the doctor.
2. Possibly go to the pharmacy depending on what news I get at the doctor.
3. Stop by Michael's and get their monthly calendar as I am interested in taking a jewelry making class. If I like it I may consider trying to make some stuff for profit.
4. Go to Costco. I decided to bite the bullet and keep the Costco membership, but I am going to have to get a new card because my lost one is just not turning up.
5. Deposit my $8 check from ACOP into my vacation fund at the credit union.
6. Pick up organic milk and some organic lunch meat for school lunches.

So it will definitely be a spend day, no way around that today.

Survey Earnings

January 29th, 2007 at 06:40 pm

I did a 300 point and a 200 point survey today at Lightspeed that put me over the top on my points, so I was able to cash out for a $10 check, sent to paypal, supposedly by the end of tomorrow's business day. We'll see. The last time I had enough points to cash out there they sent a check in the mail.

I am still waiting on ReadRevenue, which is driving me crazy. At least when TinklyCash went on the fritz, they told us why. Sigh. If I hadn't had such a good exerpience with ReadRevenue, I would have given up on them after this. If I haven't gotten my money by 2/13, which will make it a month, then I will no longer use it anymore.

Dinner Plans

January 29th, 2007 at 03:15 pm

I'm torn about dinner tonight. I know I could just make something simple like spaghetti and meatballs, something that I don't have to babysit if I put the meatballs in the micro. But I am still so tired and even that sounds like a huge production.

I have to go buy milk anyway so I'm trying to talk myself down from getting a pizza while I'm out. It's only $6 for a large pepperoni, but then again, its $6 that really does not need to be spent. The problem with being sick is that my resistance to spending money goes way down. There is just so much ease, or at least there is a perceived ease to getting take out.

If I didn't need milk, I wouldn't even drive down to the store as it requires more effort than I really feel like putting out there. Oh, I'm alert enough, its not like it would be dangerous for me to drive the 1.2 miles to get there, but I'm just really lethargic. Haven't done my treadmill since last Wednesday.

I do have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. I'm kind of glad I couldn't get in today, so I could get some more sleep while the kids were at school.

Beautiful Wedding on a Small Budget is Possible

January 29th, 2007 at 01:25 am

Someone else wrote a big rant about the cost of weddings and I was going to leave this as a reply but as it got so long, I decided to just make it my own blog entry.

I had a beautiful, gorgeous church wedding with about 60 people. My mother and father's gift to me for the wedding was my $500 dress. The dress was exquisite and I couldn't have been any happier in Vera Wang. My in-laws gift to us was the cost of the church rental, with the accompanying wedding planner whether we wanted her or not, and the kitchen clean up crew for approximately $500. I did spend $119 on a veil. I could have made a perfectly good veil for $20, but I fell in love with this one and paid for it in cash. I borrowed the hoop skirt slip thing that holds the dress out poofy from my SIL. My shoes were $10 white ballet shoes.

What did I spend (pre-paid by the way) on: I spent $750 on photographs. I'd seen what an amateur photographer had done to my SIL's wedding and I felt this was an appropriate splurge. We had a long enough engagement that the photo package was paid for long before the wedding took place. To this day, nearly 12 years later, I do not regret that.

I paid $100 for silk flowers and florist's tape. My wedding colors were burgandy and teal, which would have been hard to find in real flowers and cost about $400 to have prepared. I checked out every video tape and book in the library on how to arrange wedding flowers that they had and I learned how to do it. I put together two massive bouquets for either side of the altar, that stood on 2 $10 rented pedestals. I also made a large swag that went over the fireplace in the reception hall in the church basement and two of the ushers were charged with bringing the vases and pedestals down to the reception after the wedding was over to make them do double duty.

I did my own bouquet and that of my two attendants, did the mothers' corsages and all of the boutinierres for the men, buying a package of pins with a pearl like head for pinning them with for $2. I used about $30 worth of white ribbon (not from the bridal section, where it was much more expensive) and $5 worth of burgandy ribbon leftover from Christmas, to add finishing touches to the flowers and to make pew bows for the first ten pews, every other row (which I also learned from a library video.

We rented two candlelabras from the rental place for $10 each that held 24 candles each, each box of 12 candles cost $2, so $8 for candles. We are still using those white candles nearly 12 years later during power failures. I bought a unity candle at Micheal's for $12. The preacher we paid $50 and the pianist was $20 to play Moonlight Sonata during the lighting of the unity candle and to play the actual Here Comes the Bride Music. We used a CD with Pachabel's cannon in D for the processional, and we played a song that was special to us, also on CD. Both CD's we already owned.

We actually paid for the rental of the groomsmens tuxedos and had a coupon, 3 for the price of 2. So DH got his and the 2 others for $100. We also bought the fabric for the bridesmaids' dresses, a lovely teal satin, and my mother sewed them. They were simple and forgiving yet elegant, as my SIL was quite pregnant and my other attendant was also a bit larger. They were designed to be dresses that could be worn again, as perhaps to a banquet or another wedding as a guest. The material, pattern, and thread cost $70 and the girls bought their own shoes together. The flower girl dress was her Christmas dress, and it was burgandy and she wore her regular white patent leather shoes.

We got our wedding cake from the local grocery store. Instead of buying a wedding cake we got a 25th wedding anniversary design. It was completely white and very elegant, 3 tiers and one sheet cake, simple white cake with white frosting and frosting as the filling. The store set it up for us, and the cake cost $100. Comparable wedding cakes in the same design book cost $300. We had bought a cake topper for $15 at a craft store and put it on ourselves after the store people left.

We mostly used the church's dishes for the reception, though we did use my grandmother's punch bowl and the cake serving set I had been given at my bridal shower, as well as two champagne glasses also given at the shower. We used a $2 bottle of sparkling cider for our wedding toast. We had coffee, tea, punch, nuts and mints. The wedding had been at 2 so that people would eat lunch before the came and the reception was done by 5 as we had a reservation to make for our honeymoon, so people didn't need to eat a meal there anyway. We spent around $30 and most of that was the price of the can of coffee and the nuts. No fancy dinner, no big dancing extravaganza.

Decorations downstairs included 6 packages of streamers and 2 packages of balloons in the wedding colors, 2 teal paper tablecloths for $30, engraved wedding napkins $25 for 100 when we bought our wedding invitations at the same mail order catalog for $100. Aside from the punch bowl of my grandmother's we used a five branched silver candelabra with candles from upstairs that my husband and I and my SIL and BIL had given as a gift to my in-laws for their 25th wedding anniversary. SIL had used it at her wedding, too.

So the grand total for my wedding was $1646 out of pocket, $2646 if you count the gifts of the church and the dress form our parents. Oh, and add in the price of the book How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget, $4 used at the used book store. $2650. A beautiful wedding with not one thing I would have changed, all for less than $3000, and everything prepaid with cash.

Everyone told me what a beautiful wedding it was, how they were sure it must have cost a fortune. I just smiled at my DH and we kept our secret.

Yesterday and Today

January 28th, 2007 at 09:04 pm

Yesterday was game day and as usual, Rose's team got trounced. It just is hard to get any rebounds when 4 out 5 players on the opposing team are a head taller than the tallest player on your team.

I emailed the head coach last night and I told him that next year they need to divide the teams up more evenly between ages and grades and experience and lack of experience and height because when you have one team from your school that is beating everyone by 30 points or more and the other one has barely managed to win 1 game all season, there is a huge inequality and it makes the losing team very dispirited every week. I don't know if he will do anything about it, but I'll be a big pain about it at the start of next season to at least be heard on the issue.

Rose got fouled on badly and got pushed into another player who's elbow went right into her temple. She was hurting too bad to even take her free throws and she's good at those, almost always makes them in practice. Another girl got slammed in the face and her tooth cut through her lip and was bleeding. She couldn't take her free throws either but also had to have a sub. Same person fouled them both. She got pulled two fouls later, thank goodness.

We packed our own snacks yesterday so no money was spent at the vending machines. The kids left the game with my parents and I came home to rest. Which I did do some, but then I got to writing and 26 pages later it was 3 a.m. That's really good for my health. But when stuff starts writing itself, I tend to go with it, because you never know when the muse is going to leave.

I made a promise to myself that I was going to write 365 pages this year, whether it was good or not, the habit needs to be gotten back into. And blogging doesn't count! And neither do outlines. That doesn't mean I have to write a page a day, I just need to hit my page count by year's end.

I went back and read the stuff over this afternoon and corrected all the typos and grammatical errors that weren't intentional, and I was really pleased with it, as sometimes middle of the night writing turns out to be less coherent than other times. In any case, its going in the "write" direction. Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.

Today I went in and picked up my kids and got gas. I used $30 of my gas money. It was down to $2.55 a gallon. I didn't go to Costco where it might have been cheaper because I can't find my Costco card and I didn't really want to go all the way across town, either. My card expires at the end of this month anyway and I'm not sure I will renew it. It's a hard decision, especially since they raised the fee.

Mom got me some eggs from the organic egg farm when she went out to get some for herself, so I have four dozen fresh eggs in my fridge. She cleaned them out between us. So that cost $6.

I got really fed up with a rude person today, and kind of let them have it in my own understated way. I always try to be polite, even when what I really want to do is be less than polite, to put it politely. Some folks are clueless and no matter what you do or say, they shall remain clueless. But such is life when you are dealing with people who don't have an ounce of common sense or consideration for others.

I'm going to try to see the doctor tomorrow if I can drag myself out of bed. Or more accurately not fall back into bed once I get the kids off to school. Or at least make an appointment for Tuesday if necessary. I am tired of being tired and not well.

I did a survey this morning and have a $5 check coming from Your2Cents. I also took a prequalifying survey for ACOP but I don't know if I'll get it as they asked about what type of TV service we have and we don't, so that's probably a no. I didn't make the one with the product trial I wanted as it was supposed to have started the 24th. Oh, well, these things are hit and miss. I've gotten two offers this month from Vindale but I just don't know if I want to do those anymore.

I'm still waiting on ReadRevenue to pay out from the 1/13 cash out. I'm not sure what is wrong but I heard from another one of the PTR places that they were having problems connecting with paypal due to an earthquake and dislocated cables, and since both are Asian Island based that's probably what the deal is. So it will most likely get straightened out eventually.