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Archive for April, 2007

Disneyland Here I Come

April 29th, 2007 at 01:56 am

I'm off on my vacation in a few short hours. I'll be off the blog treadmill for the week, I think, but will be back on Sunday Next. Hope you all have a great week out in PF blogland.

So Much Done Today

April 27th, 2007 at 09:04 pm

Today was kind of crazy, but it was the last banking day before my trip. I leave Sunday. So today I paid:

$335.29 Property Tax half year
$910.37 Medical Mortgage
$400.00 House Mortgage
$100.52 Citi Master Card
$400.00 BOA Master Card

And I got $1000 in traveler's checks and $70 in cash. I will be taking along a roll of quarters and a roll of pennies from my change jar. My cheapy souveniers are those flattened pennies you get with a design etched onto them. They have quite a few scattered about Disneyland and I try to get different ones each time I go. I have quite the collection.

I am going to try to keep my expenses down to $1400. I am allowing $330 to go on credit card but that will be paid off once the bill comes in. There are some places that will not take traveler's checks even though they are supposed to. I don't know why but they don't. Fortunately the park does and the hotels do. I am hoping not to use the CC at all. With splitting so many costs with my friend it is possible to achieve this. Probable is another story.

I also got out $100 for DH to use the week I am gone. He shouldn't need to use it all but I'm not counting on there being any when I get back. It should cover the two fast food meals a week for t-ball nights, adding money to their lunch accounts and replacement of milk, bread, eggs, etc. if needed. I tried to shop ahead so they won't have to buy much of anything.

Then we got our wifi network system and DH is going to try to get that installed and up and running tomorrow. Lots of money out but all of it planned and saved for so I don't feel bad about it. Maybe a little.

DH's check was supposed to have his raise on it but guess what? It was on the paper statement but not on the electronic deposit. What the H E DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS good does that do us, I ask you? Anyway, the extra will be added to next week's paycheck, which means a smaller tax bite out of it since next week's is the two day check. I am so over this company. REALLY BIG SIGH.

So that's me today. I'll try to do one more blog tomorrow before I pack. We'll see. If not, I'll blog you when I get back.

Spendy Day

April 25th, 2007 at 05:49 pm

Today started off with a visit to the physical therapist, so that was $50 right out of the gate. After that I picked up DH from the airport and then we went to get gas at $3.10 a gallon. The other stations are at $3.25. We filled it up but we used the Costco cash card so I'm not sure how much it was off of that. Probably $45 as its an 18 gallon tank and only had 1.5 gallons in it at fill-up time.

Then we went to LensCrafters to pick up my year supply of contact lenses and to have both my regular glasses and my prescription sunglasses adjusted. No money out there as I'd already paid for the contacts.

After that we went to WalMart and bought more Rubbermaid tubs for moving stuff to storage and also items I'll need for my trip. I got a small First Aid Kit, bottle of Rolaids, nasal spray, sunblock, and vitamin C. I tried on swimsuits but none of them provided enough support on top, or enough material for that matter. When did one piece bathing suits get so low cut? If I wanted a flimsy bikini top I wouldn't be looking at a one piece to begin with. Sigh.

Then we went to Arby's for lunch. Just too much money out today, but I guess all of it but Arby's was necessary spending.

I wanted to take the car to the car wash but it is still closed. I am hoping it will reopen soon. My punch card is full and they owe me a free wash and wax and I'm getting annoyed waiting. I hope they aren't broken down. I know there are other carwashes in town but I've got a free one coming and I want it by golly!

Cars and Reasonability Part 2 + Babbling

April 24th, 2007 at 09:17 pm

DH and I talked on the phone over an hour last night about cars. He thinks we should just start saving $400 a month in the bank until the Crown Vic goes belly up and then go looking with a sizeable downpayment. Reasonable. Better than a giganto loan. Rational decision, I think. Sigh. Okay, then.

Meanwhile, we need to get the two free and clear vehicles we own up to snuff. The Crown Vic needs a major at home detailing session and to find out why the darn engine light keeps coming on five minutes after starting the car. And the Blazer, well, the air conditioning doesn't work, the 4 wheel drive is a $200 repair short of working and something is wrong with the accelerator.

Come to think of it, the Chevy is probably closer to belly up than the Ford. But I don't want to own an SUV ever again, I don't think. Maybe one of those hybrid ones some day in the very distant future when cars run on water or something.

Anyway, DH is being far more reasonable than I am about buying a new car, I think I may be reacting too much from the I wanna factor of my brain. Even though I know I don't want the long loan, so he makes sense. So we will do that, save and save and hope that it works out the way we want by the time we need to buy a new vehicle.

So that means of the $800 net raise per four week pay cycle, $400 goes to car savings, $100 goes to EF, $200 goes to debt repayment and the remaining $100 will go to upgrading our internet connection and possibly getting satellite TV. The kids are begging for it. I'm on the fence, but more on the no side. DH isn't sure he wants to go back to our old TV lifestyle at all. We do want to wifi our computers, though, so that will be a one-time cost of $200. We will see.

And of course, if necessary, the amount in car savings can be treated as a secondary EF, but only for a really bad emergency situation.

My new laptop battery came today and I am now portable again. Love it. And my new flash drive, specifically compatible with my old Toshiba Tecra 8000, came along with it. I am a happy camper. I feel like this computer can go a few more years now without being so darn tempted by the pretty new Toshibas out there. My little workhorse is doing just fine, even if it is a bit slow. Once we have an upgraded internet and a household network, speed will pick way up, anyhow.

I don't think I will upgrade to Vista. I'm doing just fine with the old XP upgrade. I'm just glad I could get a compatible battery for a computer this old.

Reasonability and Cars and Wanting What I Want

April 23rd, 2007 at 08:22 pm

I've been looking at cars again. I've been looking at what we can afford and also what I'd prefer to do. I'd prefer to get a nice used car for $9000 and a 3 year loan. Even if we can now afford a $23,000 very slightly used car (7K miles, 2006) with a 5 year loan. I am very reluctant to lock myself down into a 5 year car loan.

In the past we had a 5 year loan that we paid off in 3 years, and a 3 year loan that we paid off in 2 years. But this would be a five year loan that we took the entire five years to pay down.

I have been going back and forth over this possible obligation. The thing is that we keep our cars. The Crown Vic is a '92 and still running strong 15 years later. Though we bought it in '97, still we've had it for ten years. I know that if we get the more expensive car that we will keep it at least ten years, possibly much longer.

The $23,000 car has all of the features we want and leather seats. Cloth seats are no good with children and their messes, just too hard to clean. It has the room for my 6 foot 3 inch tall husband to be comfortable and still gets 28 miles to the gallon on highway driving, which is where we do 80% of our driving. The two models they have (which are identical except one is plum and one is aubergenie, one is 8000K miles instead of 7000, both darky reddy purplish, but not girly) and one has tan seats and one has beige seats.

The $9000 car is two sizes smaller, gets 34 mpg highway, has gray cloth seats and is "please officer, pull me over and give me a speeding ticket" red. It is a 2004 with 36K miles. It is plenty roomy enough for me even with being smaller and I would do the most driving in it. It is nice enough. It would do just fine. It might be a bit uncomfortable for DH, but he'd make do. But I don't really want it. I want the other one.

Am I being unreasonable not wanting to take on a $23,000 loan that lasts five years if I intend to keep what is virtually a new car 10 to 15 years? Will I be a grump about driving a perfectly serviceable car with a much smaller loan?

Last time we bought a car, the Blazer, I gave in to what DH wanted and I have regretted it pretty much since. It is not what either of us intended to buy, it was not what we researched and planned for. It was pretty. It was an impulsive veering off course of what we had previously decided on. It is hard to manuever and tense to drive. But he wanted it and it was an excellent price so I said okay.

I want what I want this time. Not something I am going to regret. But will I regret the five year loan? Circular logic only makes me dizzy!

Questions? Comments? Answers? Anyone?

Back In It and Vacation Budgeting

April 23rd, 2007 at 08:11 pm

Today was my first no spend day in forever, it seems. I've found myself relaxing far too much lately now that the money noose is no longer closed tightly around our necks. In fact, its more of a lasso than a noose now and the cowboy's aim is off a bit, too.

So I've decided I really need to get back in it and stop letting money piddle away left and right. I am also making up a budget for my vacation. I already know what hotel fees and taxes are going to be and I'm hoping to figure out how much money for food I will need. My souvinier budget is pretty strict, I get one lapel pin and one t-shirt or sweatshirt. I will be buying a gift for my parents-in-law there for their 40th, glass blown wine glasses with their names and wedding date etched on.

My friend and I are planning out our restaurants in advance, we have menus and pricing as well, so it shouldn't be too difficult. We also may split some meals, too. At some places portions are just huge and can easily be halved, even if you have to pay a $1.00 extra plate fee charge.

I have to go and buy a swimsuit tomorrow. My old one is so worn out that I think I might be committing a crime if I were to wear it in public. Now that our development's pool is repaired and back in operation I'd be needing one anyway, so this purchase is not simply for the trip. I found out they offer free water aerobics on W and F to homeowners here, so after I get back and have my operation and my recovery time, I will start doing that, I think.

I am going to try very hard to not waste money just because we have it. We still have debt. A lot of debt.

Better Breakfasts

April 22nd, 2007 at 08:22 pm

I've been eating so much bad food lately, most of it not of my own cooking. I have to say I have really gotten lazy this month and also have gained about 5 pounds. This is really, really bad. Not only healthwise, but medically and financially.

I have to be very, very careful with what I eat to keep my symptoms in check and I haven't been. My biggest excuse is lack of time. The thing that sends me off the most is skipping breakfast, but I don't like taking time to make breakfast in the morning after having made it for the kids. It's not like I can just eat the standard and not to mention carboriffic fare of toastor cereal or waffles either.

Anyway, today I decided to make up some breakfast TV dinners for the freezer. I now have 2 weeks worth of breakfasts in there. I have:

6 servings of omlettes (turkey ham, scallion, bell pepper, x-tra sharp cheddar, tomato)
6 servings egg scrambles with homemade sausage which will be accompanied by fresh cucumber slices
2 egg scrambles with sugar-free bacon and daikon home fries

This also accomplished using up some stuff that would have gone off in another couple of days.

If I make it to the store on Tuesday they should have some ground lamb marked down and I will make up some lamb de provence with lavander patties (just one pound ground lamb with 2 tbsp herbes de provence with lavander seasoning) and some ground pork for making more homemade sausage. I also would like to make up some salmon patties (egg, parmesan, garlic, salmon) to freeze for lunches. I can make the salmon patties whether I make it to the store. I've got some canned salmon that is getting close to the use by date. May make some tuna patties, also.

Dinners tend to be much easier for me to cook without planning ahead or even with planning ahead. I'm hoping starting my day with a good brekkie and not ignoring my health and dietary requirements will make this urge to eat out and eat junky go away.

I feel so boring!

April 20th, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Today was just an average day and it almost seems silly to blog about it. Maybe I'm going through a faze? I dunno.

Anyway, I went to the massage therapist today as my hip went all wonky earlier this week. It helped a lot. That was $50.

Went to Costco and spent $126.00, though $100 of that went onto the cash card to be used as gas. Gas is up to $3.05 at Costco and well over $3.25 at most other stations. Again we are the highest gas in the state of Washington. Sucks to be us if we want to drive right now. Otherwise I just bought kosher beef hotdogs and chicken pot pies. Oh, and I picked up the new Hillary Duff CD/DVD Dignity for Rose but that was with her allowance, so it doesn't count into my spending.

I set aside $60 to go into the vacation fund but did not have the time to deposit it today.

My parkhopper ticket for Disneyland arrived today. Hard to believe that in 9 more days I will be hitting that park with a very good friend that I have not seen since 2003 and without the kids! Oh, we will take them in another year or two, I suppose, but the little one is still too afraid of many carnival rides and I don't want to waste a trip not being able to go on things because of that.

Then after that is the conference for my illness, so all told I will be away from home for 8 days. DH will be on his own with the kids, scary. Well, not really, he's a good hands on dad, but he might find it scary. At least they will be in school on five of those days.

I haven't decided yet on whether I will take my computer with me or not. Doubt I'd blog much anyway, I'll be exhausted from all the walking around and having fun.

I'm working on a trip budget and am going to do my best to stay within it or even under it. Still a work in progress, though.

Bad Week for Blogging

April 19th, 2007 at 04:32 pm

This has been a rough week for getting on the computer and blogging. Rose is badly sick again for one. I thought it was pneumonia for awhile because of the depth of her coughing and the fact that she was getting dizzy.

But when I took her to the doctor her lungs and bronchials are clear. She has a severe sinus infection though and a chest cold. Lovely. $15 co-pay. So we got two prescriptions, generic zithromax and flonase. $20 total co-pay. I'm not sending her back to school until Monday.

Tobias had his first t-ball game and goodness its going to be boring. Two games a week that last far too long. We're definitely going back to soccer next year. This is too tedious and unenjoyable to watch and T says he was bored during the game. It was also very cold there. It isn't right on the river, the river is across the road and down in the gulley, but its close enough that it makes it quite cold. So blankets are going along for tonight's game. Rose will be staying home. I don't want her out in the cold. The neighbor girl will keep tabs on her.

I also spent $20.00 this week to fund T's hot lunch account.

I ordered my parkhopper for Disneyland which should arrive on the 25th. $189. I think that covers what has been spent this week, then.

And I've managed to write 9 pages this week. Not great but something.

Savings Update

April 19th, 2007 at 04:21 pm

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10.00 to savings. I sent it off to ING this afternoon and that brings the amount in the EF to $610.51.

I peaked at the interest for the month so far while I was there and it was $1.26. I like it.

Just an Ordinary Day--That's Irony

April 15th, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Sorry, nothing financial today. Too distracted. A lot of things happened today. Well, two things happened today. The first was my parent-in-laws 40th Anniversary party, which was quite lovely and went very well. Fast forward.

The second was about the little girl who had the ectopic pregnancy. Actually, it was the boyfriend who came to talk to me, because her parents wouldn't let him see her anymore. Said she trusted me so he was going to try to, too. He wasn't upset, he was terrified. I don't think I've ever seen someone look so frightened in my life.

I knew there had to be more going on just from what he wasn't saying and the way he wasn't saying it, but I finally got it out of him, because he wanted to tell someone. He didn't get her pregnant. He agreed to say he did to try to protect her. She was raped by a seventeen year old cousin who was living in her home and threatened her if she told the truth. He was only her "boyfriend" to hang out with her to keep the other guy from getting around her as much as possible, but the only thing he ever did was hold her hand to pass himself off as a boyfriend.

He did not know what to do, but he was scared to leave her alone. He was scared to talk to his own parents because of all the lies the two of them told in all of this and because he was afraid the cousin would hurt the girl again. Everyone thought he was the villian of this piece. Can you imagine a fifteen year old boy taking all this on himself? I don't even have the words.

Well, I had words, just not on that. Talked to both sets of the parents, talked to the girl, and talked to the cops when her parents called them, which I would have done if they hadn't. Cousin admitted everything, thank goodness, and is out of the home and in juvenile detention tonight.

And the "boyfriend," the only one she trusted, is allowed back around the girl, as long as he isn't a real "boyfriend." And her parents? I told them they better start talking to their daughter because she was too scared to come to them when she needed them most. It's a different age. We have to make sure our children come to us when they are in trouble and the only way to do that is to communicate all the time. Every day.

I am so proud of that boy, trying to protect her. Even if he was misguided, his heart was in the right place.