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Archive for May, 2007

disclaimer * pity party for one....

May 31st, 2007 at 08:03 pm

My dad is in the hospital and not doing so good.

Wow guys...I am remembering the stress of a full time job (even one you love) + a sick loved one + lack of sleep + a husband who works the opposite shift of yours.

Needless to say stressed, pooped and scared is a sucky place to be.

and what does all that do to a budget..um...no time for shopping, cooking, or packing a lunch...so add to everything else and extra pound or two or five from a sucky fast food diet (not to mention the lack of energy)...and the added cost that lack of preparation brings...and you have a really bad cocktail.

My birthday is this weekend...and I have two wishes...one that my dad makes it...and the other that if he continues to suffer, that he passes peacefully and quickly...how is that for truly contradicting matters of the heart.

sigh.

Camping season is here!

May 28th, 2007 at 09:21 pm

We took advantage of the 3 day weekend and went camping up at a nearby lake! We lucked out and got a great spot and enjoyed spending the trip with friends. Food was all home cooked and frugal...the sites GORGEOUS! We went on a road trip yesterday to visit nearby waterfalls...all free---and all wonderfully beautiful.

The weather was great...days- 70s...nights 30s...which meant short sleeves and campfires...mixed in with smores and hot coffee!!

Walks, fishing, reading and chatting....and a few days away from the grind.

My dad made it through the weekend---the doctor says we have between 1-6 months left with him....(ok, they told us that about Grace 6 years ago...and she's still going strong!) so I have decided to enjoy everyday...prepare for the worst...but hope for the best....and just be here for both of them as my mom and dad adjust to the news. Really, what else can I do?

I took advantage of some quiet time this morning while the guys were fishing and pounded out a new budget. I am happy to say that I have computed in plenty of saving and wiggle room...which is a vast improvement over my first attempt...and I am looking forward to applying that budget and seeing results.

I am still loving the new laptop and loving the car...and best of all, LOVING my new job. It is still, very much, my dream job.

Life is good today.

The word you never want to hear from the doctor...

May 23rd, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Hospice.

Such a scary, sad, maddening, hurtful, painful, surreal word...when someone you love is sick.

It takes your breath away, makes you cry, leaves you feeling hopeless...

It is the beginning of the end...

It is a transition to acceptance...(or so Ive been told...right now it is a big black hole waiting to suck me in...)

and it sucks.

The doctor told us that it may be time to call hospice for my dad.

He can't breathe on his own very well...and he refuses to go into the hospital to 'prolong the inev....' dang.

Sorry guys...my rollercoaster life just took a downward spiral tonight.

I guess we will see how tomorrow goes.

I miss the library!

May 18th, 2007 at 06:19 pm

If you have access to a library, I envy you. Our libraries have been closed for over a month now...and the proposed levy on this vote did not pass. So, we have no library...and it looks like it is a long ways off before we get one. All those books are just sitting in locked buildings, collecting dust and becoming endangered species.

We go to Barnes and Nobles and I browse...I have spent close to $100 on books for work and refernce in the past 6 weeks. Amazon saves me a little...but how I miss the sanctuary...and luxury of the library.

My job is still my dream job. I am cleaning out old files and figuring out ways to get many of the files scanned so that the paper goes bye-bye. I am having so much fun. My boss (CEO) kids that "I" really am the boss of the organization...and I say thats just as it should be!!! lol

I've had a busy week and am looking forward to a couple of days to catch up...but I also am looking forward to my work week next week too....lots of fun things to do!

My mom and I are going to try to hit a yard sale or two in the morning. Tomorrow night, a bbq with DH...and Sunday...laundry, groceries, and maybe a haircut.

back to the original topicc of this entry... I so miss the library. I daydream about spending my lunch hours browsing among those books. I sure wish it was an option.

sigh.

one more major purchase

May 14th, 2007 at 06:41 pm

hello...my name is thrifty ray, and I keep spending money...

what now? well, Ive bought myself a laptop.

Of course, I would not have done so without a laundry list of reasons why...so here goes.

I have to use a laptop when taking notes in meetings...and Ive never used one...so I bought one.

My employer offers a 3 year, interest free loan...so my payments are only $15 per paycheck until paid.

I was using the kids' business computer...which, now that I am not working for the business, I was starting to feel a little wierd about.

(I've wanted a laptop for years)...weak, yes, but probably one of the top reasons for the purchase...

and i can interact with the family at night while they are watching tv...I can actually sit in the same room and do whatever on the puter.

I bought an HP...and it has plently of the 'nnumbers' that I really dont understand...but the techie guy at Costco listned to my needs and told me this $999 model was what I needed, rather than the $1499 that he would buy for himself...so 999 it was.

This can only improve my skills for my position at work....so I consider the need and the free interest a cool two-fer.

I continue to stick to my bring-lunch-from-home plan. It sure saves me a bundle. I also make a pot of coffee each morning at work...so no $3 per day coffee expense. and we are getting better at eating at home at night. So an a+ lately on food expenses!!!

I have to say, I love being able to watch tv and play on the net at the same time...something Ive never done before...

and for sure, I will be able to stay better connected with all of you this way!....which of course means my focus stays on budets and frugalitiy!...ummm...so, a good purchase in my book. Smile

but I am done...no more spending...now my focus shifts back to basics. !!!

What the??? Am I a budget newbie???

May 12th, 2007 at 07:48 am

eek! I just went back and reread my last entry....and I sound like I just started over in the world of budgeting!!!

first, I scratch my head in wonder about where all the money is going...

and then I list the necessities when working...gas, clothes, meals out?, blah, blah...

I need to get back to budget basics 101 and revalue the needs vs the wants...

Clearly, the problem isn't the cash flow...it's the attitude.

argh

30 lashes with a calculator tape for me.

New Budget....

May 12th, 2007 at 07:36 am

First, there's the fantasy... (wow, all that money, I will save all of it for the first year...yada, yada...)

And then there's the reality...
I worked on a new budget last night to include my check...and with the added expenses of going back to work- (ie gas, clothes, a meal out once or twice a month...Not to mention the car payment) (no, I do not have buyers remorse..still LOVE the car...just talking realistically)...there just isnt this big huge amount left over.

Things will be MUCH improved once DH's wood business pays off those initial loans. Of course I accelerated those payments with part of my check.

And I am socking away 15% of my pay into my 401k...(Including the employer match, I already have $739 guys!!!...and have earned $3.79 in dividends!)

I will continue to tweak the numbers today until there is substantially more ending up in savings each month.

I'll continue to monitor the cash flow...but right now, the expenses win...ugh.

I still LOVE my job. I am having a blast and getting lots done. My desk is in the middle of the administration area. Out in the open...so I am in the hub of activity. I am enjoying the responsibilities...and have even learned that Im not as unorganized as I thought...Because organization is now a primary focus, I am actually able to organize quite nicely (if I do say so myself)

And I keep a bowl of redhots out on the counter...employees and visitors alike know the bowl is there...and it is an active little bowl...I fill it up and a couple days later it is empty...I probably spend $1.50 each week...and enjoy knowing that everyone gets a little tasty treat each time they pass by!!

GD is coming today...so Im gonna get the wagon cleaned out for a nice little stroll this afternoon. Weekends are very important when you work!


Back in the world where fraud abounds...

May 10th, 2007 at 06:26 pm

As many of you know, I recently returned to work at a credit union.

Being back, I am getting to hear all of the new twists and turns that fraud is taking...and it's bad news guys. Fraud attempts are growing at an amazingly alarming rate.

2 year ago, we saw 2-3 fraud attemps per month...

fast forward and now we are seeing 4-5 per week!!

The fasest growing is wire fraud.

There are many varieties of the fraud...but the RED FLAGS involve:

1. a check (could be certified or not)
2. a story
3. a request to wire, western union or epay funds to 'somewhere'...usually in the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
4. a promise of some advance fee or easy money.

These scams are hitting every type of business, ads in newspapers, hotels, lotteries...you name it.

I am more than willing to offer my opinion on any questionable transaction. Please be safe with your money...the old addage that if it sounds to good....is 100% right in these circumstances.

STOP and ask...your financial institution, law enforcement, or even me.

egads...the bad guys have sure multiplied in my two year hiatus.

Frown

the best things in life are everywhere....

May 8th, 2007 at 07:57 pm

k guys...Im on a roll, but I had to share this experience.

As part of our family bonding time, we have decided to go bowling on Sunday nights. DH, me, DD3 and her boyfriend...and whoever else wants to go.

Young adults under 17 bowl free with a paying adult...so we only have to pay for 2. Fairly cheap fun.

But this week, we got a double bang for our buck.

We are bowling...and right next to us the lane lights up...so we look to see who our new 'neighbor' is...and low and behold, here comes "SUPERMAN".

Yep, he was in full superman garb...down to his cape and boots...and he looked to be about 3 years old. Big head of curly hair...and he was one proud super-hero.

Superman was with his dad...and was the sole bowler. Superman bowled like a pro...thanks to the bumpers and a little help from dad.

He carefully carried the ball to the foul line, and let it roll of his hands...often, the ball barely made it to the pins...but always- Superman beamed with pride as a pin or two fell...and he anxiously ran to dad with a "high 5"...

I do not remember how many spares or strikes we got that night...but I remember that sweet little smile...and that flying cape each time he spun and ran to dad...

The perfect food

May 8th, 2007 at 07:37 pm

Ok...it probably isnt...but tonight, it is hit the spot comfort food...TOAST!

crunchy, warm, buttery, cheap, easy, yummy...not much on nutritional value --but sometimes, there just isn't a match for good ol' toast...back to the food plan tomorrow but tonight...let there be toast!

The 'new' car

May 6th, 2007 at 08:04 am

I bought a car yesterday...or really I should say 'financed' a car yesterday.

It is a KIA Amanti. I wanted to get something a little more sporty...but I wasn't having much luck with the whole MPG/ price/ meeting my expectations thing.

Then, we saw this one. Very nice, clean, two years old, under 25K miles, moon roof, basically loaded. No dings or scratches..Very comfortable, roomy and still gets good gas mileage. The dealer traded in DD2s monster rig...and still met my budget...actually, I was able to get into the car and include the monster rig deficit ($5K) and still came out under high blue book.

DD2 will be paying 1/3 of the payments to pay back the loss...and so my payment came in well within the $225 budget that I wanted to stay under!!!

and I will get better gas mileage...so I will save about $250 per month over what I was paying (between payments and gas)!! Smile

and, it is nicer than any car I've ever owned...leather interior, dual cooling, 8 airbags!, cruise control, 6 disc cd player...and it drives like a dream!! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Happy Ray.

What you don't know, can hurt...I just didn't realize how much!

May 1st, 2007 at 08:31 pm

Boy, oh boy, oh boy...

How do I make this long story short. I dont think I can, so bear with me.

First...take a daughter, who makes really good money. Then, she makes a really POOR decision and leases a new car that GUZZLES gas and has super high payments..ugh. (You what???)

Mom. nice little compact car...paid off. Nothing fancy, but it works and is reliable. Sips gas...

Then, daughter loses high paying job...

So, mom decides to help daughter out and trades cars for a while...

Then, mom decides she HATES cars that guzzle gas, no mater HOW NICE THEY ARE AND HOW MANY FANCY GIZMO's THEY HAVE.

So, mom decides to trade in the gas guzzler and get something more efficient and budget-wise.

THEN...mom learns there is an UNKNOWN serious delinquency on her credit...WTF?
Get this, friends... it is for a whopping $8...yes, $8 that I had no idea was out there...and my credit score is tanked.

So, mom writes to the company and PLEADS to have the $8 debt wiped from the report...but in the meantime, she either has to pay the $400 per month lease + $260 month gas bill...or trade it in...and pay higher (1.5% higher) interest because of the tanked credit score from an $8 debt.... SH*T

Yes, I could trade the gas guzzler back to daughter...but she is a single mom with no job and a mortgage of $1100 per month to pay and the mother of my grandson.... SH*T.

what to do...clearly, what I didn't know is hurting quite painfully in my pocketbook...all for a drasted $8 flippin bucks....ARGH