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Archive for June, 2006

It's Thursday night!

June 29th, 2006 at 04:46 pm

Love Thursday night cos it's almost Friday! And this Friday is payday, too!
I have lots to do once I get paid. I have to get my hair cut (I've let it grow a month beyond what I usually do, but trimming my bangs has done wonders). I have to get my camera checked out -- I think my memory stick is corrupted. I want to grocery shop at Kroger and Aldi, and I want to pick up some non-food items at Wal-Mart. I have a baby shower gift to buy. I need gas. I think I owe money to the lawn mowing guy. So yeah -- it's going to fly away, and still, I'm happy as a clam because tomorrow's payday!!!

I will summarize my June stats tomorrow.

My July goals will be reasonable. I will put $400 on the credit cards, and add $40 to my mortgage payment.

I've been thinking about Fern all day. Hope she is doing well.

Carolina Bound

June 27th, 2006 at 09:36 am

Haven't posted for a few days -- not much is happening. I'm trying to coast until payday, which is Friday. Eking out my last bits of food, using up my last quarter tank of gas. Man, I'll be happy to see payday! The good news is, I haven't disturbed my savings.

On Sunday I got some free entertainment when a friend gave me a comp ticket to a bluegrass festival. Lots of fun -- until the weather turned nasty. Also on Sunday my son dropped by on his way to the grocery store -- no, not because he wanted money -- he wanted my shopping expertise! He had $40 for two weeks worth of groceries. He actually didn't need my help; he did a great job. Even put back the Pillsbury cookie dough without prompting. Maybe I have rubbed off on him, somewhat.

One little victory to report. My total liabilities (mortgage, car, credit cards) are now less than the estimated market value of my house. That means when I sell it, the proceeds should pay off everything. From now on, I'm finally working toward profit! Whooppee!!

Check from Chase

June 23rd, 2006 at 04:18 am

I got a $25 check from Chase that, if cashed, will activate a payment insurance program on my credit card account. It says I can cancel within thirty days. I gather from some other posts that some of you do this? I feel funny about it. I really don't want the program. Thoughts?

Shoe leather express

June 22nd, 2006 at 05:17 pm

Yesterday was a no-spend day -- plus I went to a luncheon that my company paid for -- so it was a good day, money-wise.

Today I packed a lunch in the morning and left it at home. Luckily, I left it in the fridge, so it wasn't spoiled and I had it for dinner. But I had to come up with lunch with only $1.87 in my purse. I decided to walk to McDonald's. (About a 15-minute walk each way). I saw immediately that I was going to order the double cheeseburger for only $1, but there was no drink under $1. So I just got the cheeseburger. I found a bench in the shade and ate my burger while it was hot, then walked back to work and drank water from the fountain.

I walked because I am trying to save gas as well as money. After work I walked to the gym for my strength-training workout (also about 15 minutes away), then back to my car. It was a lot of walking in hot, sticky weather, but I feel like I really made an effort today.

New mailbox

June 20th, 2006 at 04:33 am

The new mailbox, with post and pedestal, came to $51. It was really a challenge getting it home and set up, since the pedestal is SO heavy. Just as I got it in place, I noticed THREE people coming up to help. They were amazed I had done it. I should have said -- hey, I lift weights!

Mailbox drama

June 19th, 2006 at 04:42 am

Someone ran into my mailbox yesterday! It is a rural mailbox on a pole and pedestal, and I had it inside a half whiskey barrel with some flowers. The whisky barrel was old and starting to fall apart. The accident turned it into matchsticks!

The young man who did it came by with his father to apologize. He was dodging a car in the dark; it was a total accident. They offered to pay, but I said no, no problem. The truth was, I was going to dismantle the thing anyway, and I need a new mailbox -- this one is rusted and bent. (A little more bent now!)

I declined their offer without hesitation. Afterwards I thought, I could have used the money, but I wouldn't have felt right. Being generous gave me a nice glow all day.

I DID go to Goodwill and they did take the items back, but with a stern warning not to remove the tags next time!

Back to Goodwill & Lousy Spray Bottles

June 18th, 2006 at 09:58 am

Well, I decided to try and take back a couple of the Goodwill items -- the pants that I know my son won't wear, and one of the bras. Turns out it is a "backless" bra, and I don't need that! I already cut the tags off, so I don't know if they'll take them back. If not, I'll just donate them.

This morning I put some ammonia and water into an empty spray bottle for some cleaning chores. The bottle quit spraying. I dug around and found another spray bottle with an inch or so of all-purpose cleaner. Made sure it didn't contain bleach, then added the ammonia & water mixture to it. Well, that bottle didn't spray either. Getting annoyed, I looked around some more and found a Windex bottle about 3/4 empty. Added the new mixture in there, and yay, finally had a working bottle and the "new" cleanser did a nice job. I used to mix my own cleansers but got out of the habit. I actually did find another spray bottle with a mystery solution in it -- it wasn't labeled, shame on me. I have no idea what it is and I don't dare use it.

Good news and day of shopping

June 17th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

Yesterday was a no-spend day. Also, exciting! I learned that my grandchild, who is due to enter the world in November, is a boy! (I already knew he was on the way, but didn't know his gender yet). This is my first grandchild, and I can hardly wait. Unfortunately, my son and his wife live ten hours away by car, so I will have to make do as a long-distance grandma.

Today I spent quite a bit (for me). I stocked up on staples at Aldi's -- $37.00. Then I stocked up on pet supplies at PetSmart -- $51+. On to Target, where I bought a $50 gift card. Goodwill was having a 1/2 price day so I stopped in and found -- ta da -- a "new" pair of black pants for $3. I also bought some baby clothes, a pair of pants for my son, two bras and a T-shirt for me. $19 all together. Before all this happened I went out to breakfast because I was intensely craving biscuits & gravy. That was $6, with orange juice and tip included. After my shopping was done, the lawn mowing guy came by for his $30.

I have also promised a friend that I will go see the Prairie Home Companion movie with her tomorrow. That will be a matinee, about $7.

I am already feeling uneasy about some of my Goodwill purchases. Will my daughter-in-law dislike the idea of used clothes for her baby, even though they're near perfect? And the pair of pants for my son are probably cut too slim for his taste. Oh, what the heck, they were $1.75!!!! I can donate them back, for Pete's sake!

A blah day

June 15th, 2006 at 06:10 pm

My spending today: $1.06 for a breakfast burrito, plus $2.00 to pay back a friend, and $30 tucked away for the next time the lawn mowing guy comes.

This weekend I have to buy a birthday present, get some more groceries and get a haircut. I've been skipping the haircut for several weeks now, but I'm starting to look a little rough around the edges. A little scruffy and disreputable.

I'm getting impatient to have more money. I'm feeling boxed in. I have to remember that I'm working toward my freedom. And sometimes working toward your goals just isn't that exciting!

A day at home

June 14th, 2006 at 02:59 pm

I stayed home from work today because my sinuses were killing me. I slept a lot and feel better now.

I decided to get creative and throw together some leftover bits and pieces in the refrigerator into a casserole. The ingredients are turkey, rice, white sauce, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, broccoli, carrots and peas. It's ... not great. But perhaps when I get really hungry it will taste better. Or maybe it's one of those that will be better on the second day.

If I really can't eat it, the dog will like it!

Obviously, this is another no-spend day since I haven't left the house.

Requiem for black pants

June 14th, 2006 at 07:33 am

I noticed when I was getting ready for bed last night that my black pants are wearing out on the inner thigh.

My black pants! I wear them every week. They fit, they're comfortable, they go with everything. I don't want to buy another pair!

I was toying with idea of not buying any more business clothes, since I will (hopefully) retire next May. But I don't know if I can go without black pants for that long. I'm already struggling with limited choices in shoes.

Anyway, I dedicate this blog to my faithful black pants, who served me well and will be sorely missed!

Training Day

June 13th, 2006 at 06:14 pm

It was a long day -- three hours on the road, six hours of training, three more hours on the road. I made the mistake of taking Benadryl, trying to get my sinuses clear, and of course I got so sleepy I could hardly hold my head up. (Luckily I was not the one driving).

I was hoping to have lunch provided, but our trainees took us to Subway. Oh well, I will get a per diem, so it's still a free lunch. And the sweet onion teriaki chicken was very good.

I did have the foresight to bring a bagel for the road, but I ended up spending a couple of dollars on drinks. (The Benadryl made me dry, too!)

In the middle of my session, my son called. His electricity had been turned off. I knew things were bad for him, but didn't know he was behind on his bills. He got a new job recently but hasn't been paid yet, though he was promised a paycheck last Thursday. I let him use my credit card to get reinstated. I have no worries that he will pay me back, but I do worry that his new employer isn't making payroll!

Waiting for the lawn mower guy

June 12th, 2006 at 04:17 pm

My lawn mowing guy said he would pick up his money tonight, and I'm waiting for him to come. Otherwise, I would be in bed, because I slept poorly last night and I think a cold is coming on. I feel awful. I have to train tomorrow, too, a three-hour drive away. At least I don't have to drive, but I would be planning on staying home if I didn't have this to do.

Didn't spend any money today. Wasn't even tempted by the vending machines. I MUST be sick!

So many weeds, so little time

June 11th, 2006 at 05:32 pm

It rained all day yesterday, which made today perfect for weeding. I weeded two large areas which were pretty overgrown. I'll be sore tomorrow, but I feel pretty good right now.

I'm going to watch "Dreamer" tonight -- have to return the DVD to my friend tomorrow, so I'd better get to it!

No spending at all! No driving either.

Grocery shopping challenge

June 10th, 2006 at 09:22 am

Today I went grocery shopping with a challenging $12 limit. I spent $11.47 and got a gallon of milk, a package of bagels, a dozen eggs, a can of cat food, a bottle of shampoo, a pound of ground beef, a pound of butter and a package of 40 fabric softener sheets.

Observation: I could have waited on the fabric softener sheets. I thought I was going to run out of my liquid softener, so I put it on my list as a top priority. Turns out I had just enough already to do my laundry. That kind of bums me out, because I paid $1.00 for the softener sheets, and I would rather have bought the liquid refill, which would have gone much farther -- but it was more expensive, and I was trying to stay within my limit. That is how the poor stay poor!

I made some spaghetti sauce with the ground beef, and I baked brownies to freeze as snacks. I'll use the bagels for breakfast with cream cheese, and for lunch or dinner with turkey lunchmeat and cheese. I'll have eggs for lunch/dinner also. I'm also planning on making broccoli cheese soup with ingredients I already have, and I have some French onion soup in the freezer, so I think I'll be OK for a week.

Next week I'll have a similar limit. Interesting times.

A bit of a scare

June 9th, 2006 at 04:59 pm

It was ALMOST a no-spend day, but mid-afternoon I bought a bag of popcorn from the vending machine. Once again, my hunger overcame my sense.

I had a bit of a scare at work. When I was getting ready to go home, I threw my wallet into my lunch bag without even realizing what I was doing. Then I decided to check my purse to make sure everything was there (I tend to scatter my stuff during the day). Well, I didn't see my wallet and went into a panic looking for it. I had just decided that it must have been stolen and was mentally going through the list of all the things I had to do -- when I took a look in the lunch bag, and there it was! Now I'm so grateful I didn't lose my wallet! It almost makes me feel like a got a bonus!

No-spend day, by default

June 8th, 2006 at 06:09 pm

Well, it was another no-spend day, which is easy to do when you accidently leave your purse at home!

Of course, I was risking getting a ticket for driving without a license -- which wouldn't have been cheap.

Other than that, it was a typical day, except that I had cookie dough for breakfast. Well it was OATMEAL cookie dough with raisins, so somewhat nutritious!

Got back on track at lunch with a turkey sandwich and baby carrots; then a grilled cheese sandwich and peas for dinner.

I find I have completely given up soft drinks. When you're really strapped for cash, they're a ridiculous thing to spend money on. I also haven't bought bottled water in quite a while. I'm drinking water from the tap, with ice. It's not bad. It's what I grew up drinking!

My lawn mower (a person, not a machine) has mowed my lawn three times since I paid him last. We keep missing each other. He left a note this time, just to touch base, I think, because he knows I will pay him. It's going to be $90. Sometimes I think I can hardly wait till it snows again!

Barricaded from the kitchen

June 7th, 2006 at 03:36 pm

So the carpet cleaner was coming at 8 AM this morning, so I moved all my living room furniture last night. A lot of it went into the kitchen. This morning I realize I cannot get to any of my food.

So on my way to work I stopped at Subway and bought a breakfast sandwich for $2.43.

Lunchtime rolled around and of course I had nothing. I bumped into a co-worker who has done me lots of favors (including loaning me many Netflix movies). On the spur of the moment I invite her out to lunch, my treat. I take her to a nice little place that serves tasty, healthy food. We both order modest lunches, but the bill exceeds $20. When when tipping time comes I tip 20%. (My son is a waiter and I know how much he depends on tips.)

After work, I head home thinking -- I should stop somewhere and get some takeout. And then I gave myself a shake. What am I doing? I went home. The carpet was pretty dry, but I didn't want to move the furniture yet. I moved a few things and squeezed my way into the kitchen and managed to make myself a sandwich. Whew! Averted a third meal out! I'm still a little annoyed with myself for not planning ahead. But I did owe my co-worker a favor and I'm glad I paid up.

I got a letter today from American Express telling me that $3,000 was my balance transfer limit. So that's that. Now I have four credit cards to pay off!

Debt, Temptation and Foul Odors

June 6th, 2006 at 03:53 pm

Well, I thought I was going to be able to transfer all my debt to American Express and have just one payment to make per month. I looked at my online account on Capital One today and I see that only about 3/4 of the balance was transferred. So far nothing at all has happened with Chase and MBNA. I don't know what the deal is -- I was really wanting to get them all consolidated and Amex offered such a good rate. But I will pay them off no matter what. It will happen eventually.

Monday was a no-spend day, but today I broke down and got a granola bar from the vending machine. I get so hungry at work. I don't have snacky stuff at home to pack, because I've been so frugal with the grocery shopping. I'm also not predicting very well how much food I'll need when I pack in the morning. I guess I need to be more realistic.

Tomorrow the carpet cleaners come, and not a moment too soon! I hope they can clean the smelly spots my poor kitty left during his last weeks of life. They're pretty bad. I've been using "Get Serious" on them -- which worked great for dog poop stains -- but it's not doing the trick.

My task game

June 4th, 2006 at 07:09 am

Weekends --

I want to relax -- I have to get things done. Having tasks having over my head almost ruins my weekends.

My most satisfying days, however, are the ones in which I get something done, but also enjoy myself doing something fun.

I've developed a sort of game I play. I make a list of everything I have to do -- no particular order. Then I roll a die (I use one from an old Dungeons & Dragons game, because it has a lot of numbers). I do whatever task is that number on the list. The element of surprise helps me somehow.

When I get that task done, I do something fun -- like what I'm doing now! Then I roll the die again and get another task done.

I never get through the whole list, but I do get things done, and still have some fun. Of course the fun is always something free, like reading or doing a puzzle or watching a free movie.

And of course, when I busy myself like this all day, I don't get out to spend money!!!

Two-day recap

June 3rd, 2006 at 04:40 pm

Yesterday was a no spend day, just as I'd hoped. I got a free lunch as well, but was too nervous to eat much of it! I had to make a presentation to a group right afterward. Public speaking always makes me nervous. It went well, though. I always say it went well if I had no rotten eggs or tomatoes thrown at me!

Did some shopping today:

$5.34 for cat food at Wal-Mart
$10.90 for groceries at Kroger. Bought almost all loss leaders; got milk, bread, eggs, hot dogs, buns, lunchmeat, chicken breasts, spaghetti sauce, baby carrots and popsicles.
$18.34 at Goodwill -- found a nice, Chinese blue silky (but not silk) top to wear under jackets -- $2.50. The BEST find -- a brand-new paper shredder for $14.99. I've seen similar models for $40-50. A shredder has been on my list of things to buy for a long time. I'm SO delighted!

I also went to the library and checked out five more books and can hardly wait to dive in!

When I made muffins on Thursday morning, I had some batter left over, which I save in the fridge. Today I made two pancakes out of it. Delicious! Maybe even better than the muffins. Of course, the syrup really added to the taste.

Planning on tomorrow being another no-spend day.

Upcoming expenses & free food

June 1st, 2006 at 04:37 pm

I said that a birthday gift was my only anticipated expense (other than the usual) but there is another. I have to get the carpet cleaned. I have found some smelly spots. I also have to get a checkup at the doctor before I can renew my lovastatin. That cost will be reimbursed, but who knows when? I've been waiting two months for another reimbursement.

I've also got some new windowsills to be installed -- I have the material already but will have to pay a handyman to do the work.

Today at work there was a carry-in breakfast. For the price of making homemade muffins, I was treated to a nice spread of egg/ham casserole, fruit, juice, bagels, doughnuts, and of course muffins... I brought a bagel home at the end of the day and made a cheese sandwich for dinner. Tomorrow I'm training again at another location, and lunch will be provided. I'm realizing there is a LOT of free food associated with my work! I've always looked at it as a problem -- too much temptation -- but it's really a benefit if I just control myself.

Today was a no spend day. I'm going to count them up this month.