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Archive for January, 2011

A Little Interest and House Stuff

January 31st, 2011 at 03:45 pm

I checked my savings account at ING today. I made a whopping $0.93 in interest this month. I only transferred most of the EF there ten days ago, and it's only counted as being in the account for 7 so I imagine next month it'll be over triple that. I keep $2000 of the EF in an easily accessible account at a local branch, but not the one I normally use on a day to day basis. If a true emergency hit and I didn't have access to anything for three days that would be kind of a mess.

I also found a penny in the parking lot of the chiropractor. It went in the coin jar towards the new laptop fund.

Spent $100 on dues today for our old homeowner's association and while my husband was out there paying it, our old neighbor asked him what he was planning to do with the house. His nephew was with him and is looking to buy and is handy and we wouldn't even need to fix it up, just sell it as is. DH gave them a tour and he really liked it. Which would be really, really nice, but...he wants us to carry the contract and I don't want to do that. I want the house completely gone and out of our name.

I told DH to find out why he wants to carry a contract, if it's a question of downpayment, we'll be selling the house for less than it's worth and it should easily qualify for a mortgage with the extra value. Other people are looking to rent it but I don't want the hassle involved with being a landlord. And I'm not sure what the legalities are involved in something like that.

Spendy Day but Planned for It

January 30th, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Today was definitely a spendy day. We spent $40 for the Harry Potter exhibit at the science center. We spent $90 at Red Lobster, but will each get a second meal out of it and this was only one out of two meals out for the six week pay cycle. And my daughter got two pairs of jeans and a really nice set of boots. I hadn't planned on the boots but they were on sale marked down to $19.96 from $49.50 and since she has no dress shoes and they were in her size, 13W, it felt like a really good choice to make. She needed new jeans in a smaller size because she's lost some weight and her old ones were literally falling down. In total we spent $81 on her clothes.

Also a tank of gas to drive to Seattle and back so that was $28.09. Will have to fill it up again tomorrow.

For the new pay cycle my goal is to eat out only twice during the six weeks, but have the amount spent be $60 which will be half of this pay cycle's amount.

Weekend $ and Meal Planning

January 28th, 2011 at 02:52 pm

I still feel pretty awful today. I don't think this cold is going anywhere fast and that's annoying because we are going to Seattle on Sunday to the Pacific Science Center to see the Harry Potter exhibit. It leaves on the 31st (I think) and we had to reserve a time and everything, plus pay $10 per person ($40) total. It would be more if we weren't members.

I don't really care all that much for HP. I mean, I liked the books and everything and the movies are okay considering how much they leave out, I guess, but I'm one of these people that read each book once, watched eash movie once, at least up through five, and then let it go.

My family on the other hand is obsessed. So mostly I'm just going for them. I'm much more interested in the upcoming King Tut exhibit. I saw that as a child on a field trip and it made such an impression on me that I want my kids to see it, too. That'll be around sometime in the spring. We are eating breakfast at home, packing a lunch for the road, and having our one fancy meal out this pay cycle (six weeks) at Red Lobster.

I did yield to temptation yesterday and order a pizza but I had DH go pick it up instead of having it delivered, so $27.11, no delivery surcharge, no tip. We made it 17 days without eating out, which is pretty darn good for us. We ate the leftovers for lunch today, including sending cold pizza in lunchboxes to school. Both kids had yogurts ($2).

DH made French toast with real maple syrup and milk for breakfast so that was $4.50.

Dinner tonight is leftover homemade chicken noodle soup which I already put the cost in for the day I made it so basically free this time around. DH is making a two pound meatloaf ($6) and we will have a can of pineapple for fruit ($1) and milk ($2), so $8 for dinner.

We found a couple boxes of toaster waffles when we did our inventory earlier this week so that will be for tomorrow's breakfast. We get a gluten free one from TJ's (not because we have gluten allergies, just because it's the one type that doesn't have other ingredients in it that my son is allergic, too). We'll eat a whole box of eight so that will be $4. We'll have it with apricot jelly (free from my aunt) and powdered sugar (I dunno, 10 cents worth, maybe), and milk ($2). I also have some sausage patties that need using up. ($1). Total $7.50.

Lunch will be homemade cheeseburgers because we have four buns that need using up.
Homemade buns (.50)
1 pound organic hamburger (2.49)
4 slices Tillamook cheddar (.50)
Chopped onion (.05)
Condiments (.25)
Baked french fries ($2)
Pickles ($1)
Water
Total: $5.79

Dinner will be leftover meatloaf (free)
Potatoes($1)
Carrots ($1)
Broccoli (1.69)
Milk ($2)
Oranges ($2)
Total: $7.69

DD was talking about making a batch of homemade brownies which generally costs about 75 cents if she makes it with cocoa or $1.50 if she makes it with Baker's chocolate. We don't tend to eat sweets more than once a week (unless we're sick and needing ice cream). We also don't tend to snack much. If we do it's on things like air-popped popcorn sprinkled with organic cheese powder, and comes in at around 50 cents.

I signed back up with Global Test Market. When I was doing them before I was making about $50 every six weeks. I don't know how well I'm going to do now that I'm 40, though. I seemed to screen out of everything, when before when I was 37 and 38, I did almost everyone. Guess I'm not in the market they want anymore. Oh, well. I'm going to look into that watching videos for money thing Laura was talking about the other day. I'd like to add to my new laptop fund a little faster.

I am Mrs. Crankypants Today

January 27th, 2011 at 03:49 pm

I am Mrs. Crankypants today because I am still horribly sick with this cold and I had to go and be a GOOD MOM because my youngest had a large speaking role in the assembly at his school. Do not even ask me why they are celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day now instead of two weeks ago. I do not know. And since I missed the Veteran's Day assembly because I couldn't walk at the time, I really didn't feel like I could miss this one, too, (even though all he did in that one was sing and his dad and grandma both went). All I wanted to do was stay curled up in bed with a bowl of ice cream and a nice cuddly blanket, but I've been able to do so little with my kids lately I wanted to do this for him, despite feeling so awful. And he was so happy his dad and I both made it.

Why is it that there is always one person who thinks they need to douse themselves in an entire bottle of perfume before going to a public event? Or smoke an entire pack of cigarettes? Do they not realize how much they stink, how bad it is for the people around them to have to breathe that in, especially if they have allergies? There are at least 30 kids at my son's school who have asthma. And if you can't make it through a 45 minute children's assembly without taking a smoke break, there is seriously something wrong with you beyond addiction. End rant.

Someone tell me why it is not a good idea for me to order a pizza delivered? My willpower is very low and I am more than tempted to pay the $27 for a Montague's All Meat Marvel from RT, plus tip. Normally that is enough of a reason not to do it, but it would just make everything so much easier.

So far the only money spent today was on a nasal syringe. $6.29.



The Evil Empire is Still Evil

January 26th, 2011 at 05:58 pm

I am terribly annoyed with The Evil Empire (BoA) today. On Jan 21st I made an online electronic payment to them to pay off the last of the loan interest that came in after I had "supposedly" paid off the entirety of the loan with their "payoff amount." It was supposed to be credited that day, but it never posted and it showed no record of payment pending. Then after that I couldn't even get into the account again for the next couple of days. It kept taking me to the VISA instead.

Finally I was able to get in there and it still showed us as owing that $218.18, so I sent DH to the bank with a paper check to pay it off. He asked them to look it up there and make sure there was no electronic payment pending first, so that we didn't end up with a double payment. There wasn't so he went ahead and paid it. Guess what just showed up today? The electronic payment that should have been credited on the 21st like the website claimed it would be! So now I'm down an extra $218.18 in the checking account. And who knows how long it'll take them to send the refund check. I am beyond irritated.

It's not like I need that extra money at the moment, I've got plenty of cushion in the account, but it's the principle of the thing. Can't these people just do their jobs right in the first place and keep a functional website and have their tellers know what they are doing?

So I still feel like death warmed over so meals for today looked like this:

Breakfast:
Joe's O's cereal for 4 ($2)
Boiled Eggs (free, from chickens)
Milk($2)
Total: $4

Lunch:
2 Kids--
PB&J sandwiches ($1)
Apple (.50)
Orange (.50)
Pretzels (homemade) (.25)
water

DH--
1 can of chili ($1.29)
2 biscuits (.30)
Leftover homemade chicken nuggets (amount taken out earlier in the week)
water

Me--
1 bowl of ice cream ($1)
1 glass pineapple juice ($.50)

Total: $5.34

Dinner:
Homemade chicken noodle soup
--onion (.75)
--2 carrots (.50)
--2 celery stalks (.50)
--parsley (free from plant in yard)
--salt and pepper (.02)
--garlic (.25)
--chicken broth ($1.25)
--half package egg noodles (.50)
Milk ($2)
Leftover chicken (amount taken out previously)
Total: $5.77

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and make better food for the family. DH cut up everything for me for the soup and followed my directions for putting it all in the crockpot and it turned out great. We only ate half of it despite everyone having two bowls but me so plenty leftover. Still, it was a pretty cheap food day all in all.

I am tentatiely planning better food for tomorrow but I think I'll wait until then and see how I feel and then post it for the day. I've got two written out, one for if I feel better and one for if I don't.

DH spent $5 on a box of Campfire Girl Mints. I told him they have to last for two weeks at that price. I also bought several vitamin supplements today for my immune system and because of muscle cramps in my calves. Magnesium, potassium, golden seal, echinacea, vitamin C, and fish oil. Spent around $75. I'm rounding because I don't feel like getting up and checking the receipt.

Sick with the Yuck and Snakes...No, Not that Kind

January 26th, 2011 at 01:01 am

I've managed to catch a cold on top of my kidney infection. It's that awful sort of full head, dripping nose, sore throat, don't want to do anything productive cold. So my meal planning kind of went out the window. We did not get takeaway though, no matter how sorely I was tempted. This makes...16 days I think with no eating out.

Instead I opened the cupboard doors and pulled out chili for the boys and beef stew for the girls. I don't like to do that sort of thing often. I'm not a big fan of processed foods but the chili was from Trader Joe's and the stew doesn't have additives or preservatives so in a pinch it'll do. That was about $7. I also ate ice cream twice today. Not something I normally do, but my throat hurt so much I just didn't care. It's $4 a quart and I ate half of it. Yikes. Oh, well. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

DH spent $25 on a plumber's snake today and used it to clean out the dryer hose. The dryer hasn't been drying properly in ages and after going through three cycles on high heat with one load he figured out it was jammed up. It's twenty feet from the dryer to the outside vent so he bought a 25 foot snake. He got out enough lint to make a cat with. Now it's drying nicely. One thing to look for when we buy a new house is a dryer connection on the outside wall of the house. It was so easy at our old house, you just reached in from the outside and pulled out anything that was there. This house was badly designed when it comes to accessing things.

The final interest payment on the loan posted today so it is officially paid off, unless they pull something like interest on the interest. Darn evil empire(BoA).

My meal plan for Wednesday is basically Joe's O's (like Cheerios, but organic and from TJ's) cereal for breakfast and whatever DH packs the kids for lunch and chicken noodle soup for dinner. I've got onions, carrots, celery, parsley, chicken broth, some leftover chicken, and noodles and they can just go in the crockpot and simmer away for four hours.

Laptop Fund, Loan Interest, and New Clothes

January 24th, 2011 at 07:27 pm

I rolled up the rest of the coins in my coin jar, at least until I ran out of penny wrappers. I think there are at least 200 pennies left to do. DH went ahead and took the rolled coin to the CU. It was the wrong CU, but oh, well, I'll get it back tomorrow in dollars and take it over to the right CU, along with the $45 I've squirreled away for my new laptop fund. Come to think of it, there is money in the checking account over there, too. I think I'll add that to my fund as well.

$42.47 opening balance
$63.00 rolled coin
$45.00 squirreled money
$63.47 checking money
-------
$218.94 total laptop fund

I'm about 1/4 of the way there. Yay!

The payment I made online last week for the interest that came through after we paid off the big loan didn't go through and now it's not letting me access it. Every time I click on the link it takes me to our VISA instead. Fortunately the statement came in the mail today so I just wrote out the check and DH took it down to the bank when he picked up DD from high school, so that is taken care of. That was $218.18. So that should see the last of the loan. If they try to slap us with anymore interest charges I will be annoyed. The previous amount was supposed to be the payoff amount so that this wouldn't happen in the first place.

Other than that we spent no money today, although we did spend $133 last night on new clothes for the kids. My son has grown two inches since school started and my daughter has lost enough weight that all of her clothes are super baggy on her and she was constantly hiking her jeans back up. Not too bad for ten articles of clothing.

Meal planning for tomorrow:

Oatmeal ($1)
Eggs (free, chickens)
Milk ($2)
Canned peaches ($1)
Total: $4

Lunch:
2 Kids--school
PB&J sandwiches (homemade bread, homemade jelly) ($1)
Carrots (.50)
Baggy potato chips (.50)
Baggy Natural Cheetos (.50)
Yogurt ($2)
Water

2 Adults--home
1/2 a leftover cheeseburger (free)
2 leftover chicken legs (free)
oranges ($1)
leftover potatoes (free)
Yogurt ($2)
Water

Total: $7.50

Dinner:
Spaghetti ($1)
Homemade sauce consisting of one onion (.75), 2 cans tomato sauce ($1.50), 1 6 oz can tomato paste (.50), 1 can diced tomatoes ($1), garlic (.25), and herbs (.50)
Homemade Texas Toast ($1)
Milk ($2)
Dinner: $7.50

$19 for the tomorrow's food, not bad. Probably the best since I started keeping track.



Freezer Inventory

January 23rd, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Oh, my gosh, going through the freezers was a pain in the neck (and back), but it's done. I am wincing at how much we had to throw away due to freezer burn. Some of those items from the bottom of the freezer were from before we moved here in January of 2010. Yes, a year old! Ugh. I estimate we threw out $200 worth of food. And an additional amount of frozen garden produce that if purchased probably would be about $50. We will have to pay for an extra garbage can pick up because of it. *sighs*

We took an inventory of what was left and I made a spreadsheet of it. Remember my estimate of being able to go three weeks without buying any new meat? Way off. I think we will definitely be able to go three months without buying any new meat. Maybe even four. It's almost ridiculous. We live near a grocery store now. We don't need this kind of a stockpile. Even for serious carnivores like us.

I am going to have to come up with some new ways of cooking boneless skinless chicken thighs (25 pounds!) other than grilled on the George or made into homemade nuggets or we will all go crazy. I am currently watching a cooking show called Chinese Cooking Made Easy put out by BBC2. I'm hoping she'll do something with chicken soon so that I'll have something new and interesting to cook. Most of what she's made so far I'd have to buy ingredients for, although I did have some langastino in the freezer and she made that.

I plan to go through the cupboards this week as well and sort out what we've got in the way of canned and boxed goods and make another spreadsheet for that. That will help immensely with the meal planning. In the meanwhile, my plan for tomorrow:

Breakfast:
Waffles with homemade blueberry jam ($1)
Eggs (free, chickens)
Bacon ($2)
Milk ($2)
Total: $5

Lunch:
2 Kids--
Nitrate free Deli Meat and cheese sandwiches ($2)
Apple and an orange ($2)
Baggy Natural Cheetos (.50)
Baggy plain potato chips (.50)
Water (free)

2 Adults--
Tacos ($3)
Can of Pineapple ($1)
Water

Total: $9

Dinner:
Egg fried veggie rice ($1)
Homemade chicken nuggets ($3)
Milk ($2)
Broccoli ($2)
Ketchup (.50)

Total: $7.50

Coin Jar and Sunday Meal Planning

January 23rd, 2011 at 03:03 am

I rolled up the coins in my coin jar and ended up with $53.50. And then my son asked, "What about the other coin jar?" and pointed to one on a different shelf. It was a mayo jar and it was half full. I wasn't about to count up any more coins at that point though, so hopefully I'll get to later tomorrow (well, technically today). That all goes to the laptop fund.

Made it through another day of no eating out. Meal planning is really working for us. So Sunday's meal plan for the four of us will be:

Breakfast:
Chicken sausages with sundried tomatoes and provolone ($4) and homemade biscuits (.50), sausage gravy (.25) and milk ($2), so $6.75 total

Lunch:
Club sandwiches (homemade whole wheat bread (.25), tomato (.90), lettuce (.30), bacon ($2), roast beef ($2), ham ($2), turkey ($2), condiments (.25)
Cucumbers ($2)
Oranges ($2)
$13.70 total

Dinner:
Pork Chops ($4)
Potatoes ($1)
Green beans ($1)
Carrots ($1)
Milk ($2)
$9.00 total

Lunch is a little pricier than normal since the meat is all nitrate free, but it's also something we can make easily with a toaster and microwave. On Sundays we can't use the stove to cook at lunchtime because Mom has a Bible study meeting in the kitchen during that time (started when she couldn't get out to go to church due to her fall and she just continued it afterwards because it was easier) and our wing of the house doesn't have a stove. Usually I put something in my crockpot and make instant potatoes and veg in the micro, but we are out of pot roasts and picnic hams. Still, it's far cheaper than the old option which was grabbing meals at McD's ($25 for four of us) or Olive Garden ($75).

I have enough lunch meat to make it through the next three weeks of school sandwiches in the freezer, so my goal for the next 3 weeks is to not buy any new meat. We have all kinds of chicken, hamburger, beef stew meat, steaks, lamb, and a turkey in the freezers so we are going to work on getting that down. For all I know there are some pot roasts buried in the bottom of the chest freezer. I even have three bags of shredded turkey leftover from Thanksgiving that could go in enchiladas. Maybe DH and I should make an inventory of what we have in the freezers. Maybe in the cupboards, too. I'm forever buying stuff and coming home to put it away only to realize I already had some.

If all I have to buy in the next few weeks is milk and fruit and veg, it should give me substantial grocery savings to bank. Quite frankly, we could probably go six weeks without buying any meat, but I like having a bit shorter goals than that. I can always add on to the end of it.