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Archive for January, 2009

Money, weight and sleepovers!

February 1st, 2009 at 02:49 am

I am sitting here next to my GS (4) watching a cartoon with him and the hub. We are having a sleep over. Popcorn, carmel apples and waffles are on his agenda of fun things to do.

Tomorrow, the hub and I are going to a superbowl party. The host and hostess are insistent that we just bring 'ourselves' but I am not comfortable showing up empty handed...but this is our first time to their house and there is going to be about 20 people there...many we do not know. What do I take??

I picked up the free bbq dinner last night that I won in a drawing. It was supposed to be a dinner for two...but we fed DD1, her hub, me and GD (3) and there were even left overs...and it was very yummy. Then, I worked on their budget with them for this next week.

Then, I headed over to DD2s house to start a budget with her and her SO. They are in much better financial shape...so it is more of a spending/savings plan for them.

Ive lost another two pounds...and things are definately fitting looser. We had a mini goal to lose 10 lbs each before a trip we are taking next weekend...and I have achieved that goal. The hub says he has too, so we are both on our way to our goals for Puerto Vallarta!!

Well, time to get back to the cartoon. Nothing like a hip-happening Saturday night...lol.

Free Breakfast + Free Lunch + Free Dinner = NSD!!!

January 29th, 2009 at 04:35 am

We had a staff meeting this morning and continental breakfast was provided. Then, I had a meeting that went through lunch and Subway was served....and as I was leaving for school, I saw leftover subway in the fridge, which means "help yourself!" So I did...

School, then home...and it was indeed a NSD!! Tomorrow morning, I have another meeting and breakfast will be provided....I have my lunch already planned...and dinner will be leftovers...so if all goes according to plan it will be a no spender too!!

My clothes are looking and fitting looser...and I can see that my face looks thinner. Big Grin...and best of all, I am eating healthy and feel like I am doing it right for the first time ever.

On Friday, I have to go in for another one of those mammo-sqeezy things. I had one 6 months ago, followed by an ultrasound...and this is to determine if that spot is anything more than just a spot...I am looking forward to having an answer and putting any concerns to rest.

DD3s (17)ultra controlling BF (18) is on day 2 of basic training in the marines...He has been a thorn in our side the way he treated her...and I am relieve that he is occupied for the next couple of months...but DD3 is heartbroken and lonely. However, tonight she is acting a little like the pre-boyfriend DD3. I sure hope she see in this time what we saw. (fingers crossed)....

Isnt life like a giant rollercoaster? Some days you feel like a bug...somedays your the windshield... or something like that...


70% off - what a deal!

January 28th, 2009 at 05:17 am

We had a baby shower for a co-worker tonight and I was in charge of decorations and game gifts. I scored on the gifts as a local superstore had many of their pre-packed bath lotions, soaps and things on 70% off...things that normally would have cost $13 - 15 cost me $3 -4. The recipients LOVED the gifts.

The baby shower went well. It is always fun to see a first time mom opening those cute little baby things.

So...I got home late (almost 8pm) and Nana needed to shower..so I ran up and helped her...and now I am in bed (9:15pm) and have to be back at work at 6:30am....followed by a long day and school tomorrow night.

My dd2 called today and asked if I would sit down with her and her SO to work out a spending plan....I guess I will just go from DD1s to DD2s on friday nights for a financial counseling sessions...luckily, they live close to each other.

I may run back over to that superstore tomorrow and pick up some of those bath sets for gifts...what a deal!!

Im a WINNER!

January 27th, 2009 at 04:27 am

A couple of weeks ago I went to a local wine event for $10- which allowed 5 wine tastings and lots of food tastings.

Well...at the BBQ tasting, they were having a drawing...AND I WON SECOND PLACE!! They called me today...second place is a bbqd pulled pork dinner for two!! I get to pick it up on Friday (they are a take home/ caterer place...no restaurant.) WOO HOO. Their food was yummy- the bbq/smoke the meat for like 16 hours.

Today was a no-spender..and Ive lost 6 pounds...does it get any better than this???lol

this, that and the other....

January 26th, 2009 at 02:57 am

We rented our first 'Red Box' movie today. $1, IF we take it back tomorrow. So, we are going to watch Appaloosa tonight.
The red box is at Walmart, and got it while we were shopping. We spent $101 today...which included $30 worth of dog food and $11 for hairspray and makeup....so $60 on food for the week.

Tonight we enjoyed bbq'd steaks, salad, green beans, potatoes and bread. It was just as good (if not more enjoyable) than eating out...and the meal cost us under $15 for 4 of us + we have leftovers for two-three lunches.

I am struggling with my class assignment this week.. I need to present an arguement about family....I have plenty of supporting evidence on why it is harder to raise a child now than before...but am struggling. The first draft is due tomorrow night for peer editing....I guess I know what my lunch hour will be spent on tomorrow.

DD3's very possessive boyfriend flew out tonight for the Marine Corps. I wish him a safe journey...but am SOOOO glad he is unavailable to my daughter (17) for the next several weeks. IT is so hard to watch your child in a situation like that. Hopefully this break will help her realize that there is a better way....

Hi ho hi ho...its off to work again tomorrow....

Another sign of the times....

January 25th, 2009 at 02:12 am

I went to the library today...and it was PACKED...I guess the word is out that this a frugal way to spend an afternoon...and a great way to find things to read and watch ...I have never seen the library like it was today.

I had a few overdue fines from my inability to get to the library...I gues $18.40 is a "few"...ouch. But uf I have to pay a fine, that is where Id want to pay it. I love our library. Ichecked out 4 books, including a Rachel Ray cookbook and the book: The Shack. Now I just need to find time to read....

I made a loaf of banana choc chip bread today since my bananas were getting overripe. And I made a roast for dinner. I stopped after the library and picked up french bread (it was still oven warm, yum!) and some lettuce...they had boneless/skinless chicken breasts on sale, so I got two bags (8 lbs for $12). A few other odds and ends came out to $31.56.

The library fines come out of my allowance...and the food comes out of the food envelope.

No grandbabies visited today...very quiet day. DD3 is staying at her sis's house tonight...so the hub and I are home alone...this is happening pretty often anymore...feels like an empty nest.

Throat is feeling better tonight.

We will probably watch a movie on TV and enjoy the fire and p&q...oh and a glass of red wine.

Great day.

My first month as a 'Financial Counselor

January 24th, 2009 at 04:49 pm

I am helping DD1 and her hub with their finances. They have made some unfortunate choices over the past several years and are now dealing with the consequences. In December, DD1 called me crying...her hub had just had a garnishment against his check for an unpaid bill and they did not have enough money to make it.

Looking at their bank statement was...well, a shocking eye opener for me. NSF fees, numerous ATM wds, fast food, multiple weekly trips to walmart...and all of the bills were past due.

I loaned them money to catch them up under ONE condition: I would manage their money until I was paid back...and they could NOT waver from the plan.

So, every Friday evening, I go to their home and we make a spending plan for the week. We pay bills and they know exactly what they can spend on food and gas. And nothing else.

And there was NO wiggle room this month. The only way they could pay thier bills and have money for food and gasoline was to figure out a way to make extra money. SIL is a DJ on the side, and he was able to book a couple of gigs. DD1 cleaned my moms house on weekends. They used the babysitter the minimal amount...only while they were working. SIL used the more economical car on the days that DD1 didnt work. DD1 found coupons to help, the got creative with meals...

Last night they entered their final paychecks into the account and here are the results:

All bills are paid for the month, with no past dues.

NO nsf fees were incurred on the account.

They have had frugal, but nutritious meals.

They have enough to get them through the end of the month.

And, they each got $10 to spend on anything they want.

Not bad for month one. I am praising them, and trying to make sure they understand the importance on living within their means from here on out.

Funny thing, I am using basic tools...but my son-in-law, who I am sure thinks of me as most son-in-laws do,...NOW calls me a financial whiz...LOL.

Not sure about that, but obviously, using the basic rules of finance and working together as a team are working for them, for now. And thats ok with me!

Sore throat continues...but is now joined by fever...

January 24th, 2009 at 02:46 am

UGH. The good thing about feeling this crummy is a leave work early day with my co-workers blessings. (They avoided me like the plague today.)So, today was a shorter day than the last few.

It is/was also my beloved dads birthday (he passed away a year ago). I was still working at lunchtime and decided to meet the hub, DD2 and her SO, their baby daugher (2 months) and my mom for lunch to celebrate papa's day. My mom and I treated everyone and split the tab ($46 each, including tip.) We splurged at Olive Garden and even had dessert...but not long after I got back to work, my feathers wilted and I headed home a little after 4pm...(so, I left about 45 minutes early for the day.)

They just put in a new gas station by my job...it is one that is tied to a chain store that gives you extra $$ off if you are a 'preferred' customer...(which only means that they have my phone number and address on record and I carry a little card that they scan when I buy things. Because the station just opened this week...the discount today was $.10 a gallon. So I paid $1.86 gallon and my gas this week only cost me $21.08....what a difference from those days where my fillup was $75 or more.

I am planning to stay low key this weekend to get over this cold. Cant wait to get a good nights sleep again.

Oh- and thank you to all of you who posted congrats on my last entry about my raise...you made my day and I appreciate your well wishes!



NSD...and I got a nice raise!

January 23rd, 2009 at 04:16 am

My blur of a day today was a no-spender. I have a yucky sore throat and after working 13 hours yesterday (without taking a break)...I woke at 4am (thanks to the sore throat)...and finally decided to go to work at 5:30am to get a head start on the day, since I couldn't sleep anyway(I normally go to work at 8am.) Crazy day and end result was I attended a business meeting for lunch (Subway sandwiches provided)...and worked until 6pm tonight with, again, no break. I am POOPED. (did I mention the sore throat???)

Anyways, I am exempt...so it all washes...like on days that I have to take nana to appointments and dont have to doc my sick leave...etc.

I received a great evaluation and a nice raise today. A surprising 6.5%...I am struggling with such a blessing when so many others are struggling to even find work. Right now, my goal is to pay debt and rebuild our emergency fund. The hubs...to afford another toy. I am putting my foot down and insisting on pretending like the raise never happened so we can build a financial safety net.

Tomorrow would have been my dads birthday...(happy birthday papa, I miss you!)

Nana's new 'Boot"

January 21st, 2009 at 02:02 am

I went with Nana (my mom, but we call her nana cause of the kids and grandkids) today to the orthopedic surgeon. Yup- broken bone that would not heal without firm support. SO, she got one of those velcro boots that she has to wear 24-7 (except during her shower).

Problem was, nana could not coordinate walking with a cane and the boot...whatever that hand-brain connection is was short-circuiting...and she couldnt do it. SO...luckily my boss is very understanding and allowed me a work at home afternoon so I could help her shower and get settled. I think she is ok to get to the bathroom on her own and to bed...so I will just be there in the am to help her get dressed...and then off to dialysis.

I DID spend $10 today picking up lunch for Nana and the hub...(I stuck to my meal plan today...cant wait for the next size down in jeans!!!)

BUT...yesterday I collected all may change and turned it in today..$26.23...so that more than paid for lunch. Right now I am saving my extra $$ for nesw vacation clothes for Puerto Vallarta in May. Smile...which will hopefully be 2-3 sizes smaller than I am today... Big Grin

Burning Bills and Recharging the batteries today

January 19th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Happy MLK Day! Today being a federal holiday means a stay at home day for me!! I have been doing things that I never seem to have time to do...like going through old bills and receipts and BURNING most of them. With pretty much everything online these days, there really isnt much need for me to keep them...so up in smoke they are going!

I have caught up on some of my DVRd programs, deep cleaned, gotten rid of some piles of paper..and have started a 'garage sale' box. Smile I love days like these where I am completely on my own schedule, can watch what I want, and just enjoy my time. (Princess Perky--after raising 4 kids, I am feeling your loss of nap time pain as I sit here solo)

Oh! I cleaned out my old purse...and found $12! and some change....so following Jeffrey's advice about NOT saving change, I have hit every change nook and cranny today and gathered it all up....am taking it all in tomorrow to turn into paper money.

Normally, I wouldnt find any money in an old purse, but this one I just took critical stuff out of right before Christmas so that I could have a smaller, lighter purse to tote around...I just found the time to go through it today.

My smaller purse is really cute, got it for $.75 at a garage sale about 3 years ago and use it all the time. But it does not hold everything I need for normal day to day (glasses, inhaler, etc.)...so I got an organizer-type purse. Much better!

Ok...thats enough of a break...I need to get back at it!!

End of the weekend...

January 19th, 2009 at 06:05 am

I went shopping this weekend and got some great deals on clothes for the grandkids. I spent $71, but before sales and discounts the items would have been $162. Makes me shudder to think about the mark-up on clothes. These will go into the gk's Easter Baskets.

We went grocery shopping today and got everything we needed for the week...and came in well under budget. We spent just over $100, which is almost $40 under. If we keep this up, I will need to readjust the budget. Tonight, the hub made bbq boneless porkchops...they were so yummy. We have meals planned for the whole week...so we should have several no spenders this week..

I start earning an extra week vacation in April...which will bring me to 4 weeks and 4 days!!! I am so grateful for the generous time off. I love being able to take a day here and there, aside from the week long vacations.

My mom broke her foot a coule of weeks ago.poor thing..and Tuesday we have an orthopedic surgeon appt to find out what we need to do about it. Hopefully, there will be a fairly quick and easy fix...I guess I will know more on Tuesday.

Oh..and the best news...I put my jeans on today...one size smaller than I have been wearing AND THEY FIT...Look out Puerto Vallarta...here I come!!!! YAY

$10 worth of FUN today!

January 18th, 2009 at 05:04 am

Our local winery had a great event today. For $10, we got 5 tastes of wine and they had about 20 food, cheese, crackers, and sweets vendors..YUM. Plus live entertainment and it was open from noon-5pm. I went with a friend and we sampled our way through lunch and early afternoon. It was so much fun!

Then, tonight we went to dinner with the friend and her hub...my mom had given my hub a $50 gift card to Outback, so the meal was cheap for us.

The hub and I may splurge tomorrow and go to a movie. BUt otherwise, we plan to stay pretty low-key. I am off on Monday...so I am looking forward to THAT being my home alone day...

My evaluation is next week...so I should know then what my raise is going to be...

Life is good!

A crazy NSD buster

January 16th, 2009 at 03:53 am

It is my week for insane NSD roadblocks.

Yesterday, I had a very hectic day at work. I didnt take lunch, which I had planned on using to do my homework. So,then, I planned on getting to school an hour early and do my homework then...but I ended up not leaving work until 5 minutes after class started. I got there about 15 minutes late...and there was NO PARKING...anywhere! I drove around several nearby streets...and there was nothing. So I pulled into a parking lot across the street from the school and asked the guy at the coffee shop if I could park in their lot...OF COURSE he said...IF YOU BUY A COFFEE. arg. $2.50 for coffee that I ddint drink, and 25 minutes late for class!! What a day.

The good news, TODAY was a NSD.

Tomorrow night I will meet the kids again for another financial counseling session...I plan to pick up a $5 pizza on the way...then GS (age 4) is coming over to spend the night with gramma....

followed by a three day weekend.

Life is good!

My second NSD was THISCLOSE...and then...

January 13th, 2009 at 04:48 am

Argh.

I enjoyed a NSD yesterday..and was coming up on NSD 2 (in a row)...meals all planned...I could almost taste the sweet smell of a small success...

And now, to tell this story, I need to back up a little...about 10 days ago...

I am taking my second college course and needed a textbook. Can you spell EXPENSIVE? (although I have heard this book was realatively cheap compared to other texts)

Full price/brand new- $65...used, $35.
So I looked on Amazon and found a good copy of my book for $5.95 +3.99 shipping. UNDER $10. Problem was I wouldnt get it in time for classes. But, the savings was too good to pass on.

So last week (my first week of class) I squeaked by without my book with my instructors blessing...but I was sweating bullets today. I needed that book! If it didnt come, I was contemplating buying the full price book (as the used were all sold out now)...so that I would have it tonight for class.

Low and behold, the book arrived! So, DD3 ran it into town for me.

I open the envelope and pull out the book....


AND ITS BRAND NEW. Wow. I was not expecting a brand new copy of the book.

As I go to toss out the packaging, wondering at my stroke of luck I notice the postage on the envelope. $11...ELEVEN Dollars...when I paid less than $10 for the book and shipping and the book is brand new..

I emailed the seller and he explained that it was a used book, he is just very careful with his books. He did not realize how much it was going to cost to mail the book when he put it on Amazon.

My conscience simply would not allow this poor guy to pay more to mail the book than I paid for the book and shipping...so I sent him $7 which at least covered the shipping and allowed him the $5.95 on a book I was about to pay $65 for...

He was pleasantly surprised and I was still greatful for the condition of my book.

And poof...my NSD spree was short and sweet.

The envelope had $140 and the bill came to $135 and change

January 11th, 2009 at 04:00 am

Talk about pressure. I took the hub to Walmart today to get our weekly groceries. I budgeted a little higher this week because we needed laundry soap, dog food, and he was hungry (I broke the cardinal rule by taking him hungry...but he slept in and didnt eat before we went.)

As he added extra stuff to the cart, I tried to keep tally in my head. Him, special snacks for the grandkids...Milano cookies for DD3... processed snacks for his lunches...Me, fat free yogurts, skim string cheese, veggies...plus a little more of each because I seem to always be feeding at least 2-3 extra mouths many nights for dinner. And the grand total was $135 and change. At least we came in under budget...but I had hoped we could do it for much less. However, we did buy the economy/family size laundry soap and fabric softener...so we wont need to buy that again for a month or two.And dog food for three full grown Labs is expensive.

So, if we now go according to plan, we should have several no spend days this week!

All meals are planned...and the meat for two nights is already cooked and ready to assemble the meals.

Tonight we are watching a couple of movies that I rented (our big splurge).

As I posted last night, my work laundry is done... so tomorrow should be a fairly peaceful day! Smile

Friday Night Laundry -

January 10th, 2009 at 05:37 am

I had a light bulb moment tonight. I have been spending most Sunday afternoons getting my laundry done for work the following week...but I am home alone on Friday nights. Duh! So I am doing all of my work laundry tonight so I dont have to think about it or 'get home' on Sunday to take care of this...wow. Sometimes my slowness amazes me.

I had my counseling session with the kids tonight. They have a long ways of digging themselves out of the financial mess they are in...but DD1 is using my points, printing coupons, finding/using sale ads...they are spending no frivulous money until they can check off all of their bills paid each month and they are cooking and eating at home. I asked them how it was going tonight and they both said they were enjoying having a plan and working together. So, I guess our plan is working. I will continue to meet weekly with them for at least the next 3 months..and then move it to monthly for the remainder of the loan that my mom gave them...which is two years. If they stick to the plan, there IS a brighter tomorrow in store for them and their kids.

I am also using the old envelope system to see if we can stick to a solid budget this year. The debit card is just to darn easy to use. Working with the kids is helping me rethink our financial priorities. So far I am keeping on track with the new years goals!

Off to a frugal new year...and Jeffrey was quoted on the radio today!

January 9th, 2009 at 04:12 am

I am long overdue for an entry in my blog...This morning, on my way to work I was listening to John Tesch radio and he had a tip by our own Jeffrey about why saving dollar bills is better than saving coin. (Jeffrey, you're a celebrity!!)It was fun to hear John quoting Jeffrey...and mentioning OUR SITE!

Anyways, that made me remember that I need to take time to blog and to catch up on all of your blogs.

We had a great family vacation at the rental house. We played, baked, watched movies, visited...it was 7 days of fun family time!...with all 16 of us!

When we got home, the hub and I decided that we should eat more frugally at home, rather than going out as much as we have been. So, I made a big pot of soup, and we have been making meals at home this week. Hoepfully, this will help us lose some weight for our vacation in May. I would so LOVE to feel great on the trip.

I decided to also stop drinking caffine...and no more nightly glass of wine. I am on day 5 of both, and have had a heck of a headache this week...been a little tired...but am feeling better otherwise.

My boss talked to me today about taking on another area of responsibility. It will be a great opportunity for me...and will definately give me a learning opportunity. I should know more within the next week or two. This means, I will need to pass quite a bit of my 'assistant' role on to my assistant..which ultimately means more $$ for her. (She will be thrilled!!)I have been so blessed by this job.

I am meeting with DD1 and her hub tomorrow night for our weekly financial counseling session. I am trying to help them work out a plan to 1. stop living paycheck to paycheck (and always in the hole) and 2. become debt free and start saving for a house. We have been working on this for 2 weeks...and for the first time since they can remember, they have money left over abd payday is tomorrow! I will be working with them for at least one year, perhaps two--until they repay a loan that they had to take from my mom to get back on their feet...but so far, they are sticking to the plan.

All in all...all is well here. Everyone is healthy and well, I cant ask for more than that!

Hugs