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Archive for January, 2011

Lunch Challenge...

January 31st, 2011 at 08:31 pm

I have joined HouseHopeful's lunch challenge this month. I enjoyed teriyaki chicken, jasmine rice and pineapple topped with a splash of sweet chili sause today..um YUM. And thanks to leftovers, I get a do-over tomorrow.

Last fall I found a nice insulated Columbia lunch tote on sale at Kohl's - normally $14.99 for 2.99 + 30% off...I used it for the first time today and I LOVE it. It held all the fixins, plus a soda and an extra platic container for the pineapple after I opened the can.

I also took bagels and some cream cheese for breakfast this week- My job provides free coffee...and a container of creamer for a week is $3... so for $3 a week, thats a fairly cheap vice...(especially in leiu of $4 a day at Starbucks....)

Today was my first no-spend day in a while.

Tomorrow would be another no-spender except I need to get gas. But food-wise, wont have to spend a cent!

Thank you HouseHopeful for the challenge and inspiring me to get back to this healthy, frugal habit!

And another week has whizzed by...

January 28th, 2011 at 08:01 pm

Where is time going? My goodness. Work has been incredibly busy, which is a good thing as the time flies by so fast...but the bummer side is that....well, time flies by so fast.

This week was all about work, homework, my oldest turning 29, and...well, a little sleep mixed in.

My paycheck today was about $60 more than I expected. I lowered my FSA portion from $50 per check to $12.50 PLUS the lower Social Sec taxes...

I wish I could say that the $60 was going to be stashed away for some wonderful treat. Unfortunately, that plus has been absorbed into having 3 extra people and 4 extra animals living here. CLEARLY, I need to reset the financial groundrules. THe bank of mom needs a hiatus.

Not much else exciting going on. But I must say...life is beautiful!

Form Letters are sometimes very welcome!

January 19th, 2011 at 07:25 pm

"We are pleased to inform you there was no change from your last exam"....Smile And thats exactly what I wanted. SO, the girls have a clean bill of health for another year!

My grandson (6) lost his first two teeth in the last two days. The tooth fairy is staying busy at his house! He is so cute...Hes pretty proud that his tongue can stick out between the remaining teeth. Big Grin


Hard to believe he is this big already.

Not too much exciting happening otherwise. Life is good!


2011 off to a great start!

January 17th, 2011 at 10:34 am

I am loving this new year!

First, my new years resolution of forgiving myself has made a HUGE impact on life. For the first time in as long as I can remember I no longer mentally beat myself up for everything Ive ever done. My focus is better, my outlook is better and I am enjoying the good things that are happening even more. Best of all, the number of times I have to redirect my thoughts is dimenishing. YAY

Then,all the bonus $, raise $ and the money the hub is chipping in towards expenses. WOW. I feel almost downright wealthy. (Ok. an extra few hundred in the bank account at the end of the month may not constitute wealthy....but having the wiggle room to not stress feels wealthy to me!!)

The hub and I went to pizza last night using one of the 'one large pizza per month for a year' coupons that I won at a silent auction. Price paid $130 (and the $$ went to an excellent kid cause)...actual cost of pizze = $21.95 each or $263.40. I got a smokin deal which is even sweeter when we discovered last night that this pizza is the best we have ever had...honestly, this resaurants pizza is amazingly goood...so we have a new favorite for each month that will feel 'free'. Smile
Caveat= tip plus drinks was not free, but well worth it to us as an inexpensive date night that also provides leftovers for a yummy lunch the next day.

I am helping a previously homeless teen- she is so thankful to have a place to live and is a sweet, helpful girl. She helps out without any nudging, which I greatly appreciate. Initially I was going to have her pay $25 per week, but she is struggling to find a job, so that is on the back burner for now.

It just feels like this year is off to an awesome start for a lot of good reasons.

Today is a Holiday...and I plan to spend it cleaning and studying. It should be a no-spend day for me.

Life is awesome!

1,000,000 Visits!

January 15th, 2011 at 01:53 pm

Im not one to normally watch my blog statistics but I realized that sometime today the number of visits to my blog will hit 1,000,000...HOLY COW

I have been blogging here for almost 5 years and this is one of my favorite personal enjoyments!! I have made so many friends and we have shared births, deaths, graduations, marriages, debt stories, success stories...

Fun stuff!

I completed my first psychology quiz today and am holding the A...yay!

This is a three day weekend...and now I can just relax and enjoy the next two and a half days!

No big plans- laundry is going, dishwasher just finished...mainly just plan to enjoy my Kindle. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

TGIP

January 14th, 2011 at 07:08 pm

Thank goodness its PAYDAY at last!!! WHEW.

Todays paycheck included an extra $270 (after taxes) from my 10% loyalty rebate at my job. I will tuck that away for a rainy day. After getting paid, I am all caught up and back on track with my budget now. That feels really really good.

I bumped up my vacation account an extra $5 per week. I think I have decided NOT to go to Jamaica this summer for my friends birthday, but rather just go to her party in So California. The Jamaica trip would be fun, but there are going to be other couples going that I barely know...and I am just not sure I want a big vacation to include the unknown of someone else's friends. Id rather put the money towards a trip that I have more say in. I will still get to celebrate with my buddy, but it will cost me under $500 instead of over $3000; PLUS I can go visit my other friend who is going through a mastectomy soon and will be recovering from cancer treatments this summer. (The two friends live about 2 hrs from each other, so I can rent a car down there and easily do both.)

I finished giving all my evaluations today. Everyone seemed happy with their review and raises. We are opening a new location in about two months, so next week will be spent figuring out all of the furniture logistics. (We are selling the old and putting new in the new location.) From one busy project to the next...but it keeps life interesting and fun.

So so so so glad its the weekend!! Life is good!



The big squeeze...

January 12th, 2011 at 05:52 pm

(Sorry to any guys reading this blog)

My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of weeks ago. I decided I needed to schedule an exam and had it today. They put the picture of my previous one up on the screen and there were the arrows pointing to suspicion...this exam will tell me if the little white patch has changed or is cause for more concern. : It will be good to get a check mark on this and forget about it for another year!!

Is it payday yet???? Seriously, it has been a long time since I had this many days left after the budget ran out. I obviously miscalculated the benefit of that fifth Friday last month. :{ Thankfully, tomorrow is the last day before payday. I had to put gas into my car tonight and it tapped the line of credit for the whole $50. Next time I get a month with an extra paycheck I will budget MUCH differently.

The good news is this coming weekend is a three-day-er. Now that brings a smile to my face! I dont really have any plans...but that extra day is always nice to have.

The tech said that the results from the test should be back within just two days...will certainly breathe easier when those are disclosed. But in the meantime...life is good!

Post #2 for today.

January 11th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Today was exciting for another reason....1-11-11 is the birthday of such a special little girl.

You see, her mom and dad have had two...TWO....late term miscarriages prior to today. The first, a daughter, was 24 weeks and lived only minutes... and the second, a son, was born at 22 weeks and only took a couple of breaths. Both births were devestating to this young couple who simply wanted to be blessed with a baby to love....and the second nearly stopped them from trying again.

14 weeks ago, the mom again went into pre-term labor, but the doctors stopped it and put mom on strict bed rest in the hospital.

Today was their daughters birthday. All 7 lb 10 oz of her...healthy as they come.

I have never seen two more excited parents.

Kinda makes my focus on my finances seem....well, insignificant.

Happy Birthday little Ms. KH. Your parents have waited a long time for you. Welcome to the world.

New and MUCH BETTER Day!

January 11th, 2011 at 07:01 pm

Today was the polar opposite of yesterday. It started off more of the same this morning...but I scheduled time to meet with the disgruntled employee and encouraged her to tell me what was going on. Ended up being some very misguided assumptions (gotta love assumptions...not)And I think we are back on track.

Then, the calculators were posted for raises and the bonus. HOLY COW. My raise is $370 per month!!!! And the bonus will be $4200. SERIOUSLY? After double checking, it looks like these numbers are accurate. I am so excited! I feel some serious breathing room entering my budget!! WOW. Maybe that trip to Jamaica will happen afterall! Not sure yet, but it is fun to have wiggle room to give it serious consideration!

I got my first score for my psychology and got 12 out of 12...so I am on track on my first week in.

What a day! Life, needless to say, is super fantastic today!!!!

Tough Day.

January 10th, 2011 at 09:55 pm

Today was a tough day at work. A major hiccup with an employee over time off. I anticipated a bad reaction and arranged for our HR manager to come and talk about the rules around her situation...but it still did not go well. I try to be more than fair whenever possible...but sometimes, rules are rules and I cant make exceptions to policy that we enforce with everyone else. I left work very frustrated and disappointed. Sometimes I wish staff could walk a mile in the managers shoes when this kindof stuff happens.

So back on topic...I will sure be glad to see payday gets here on Friday. This has been one of those pay-periods where the money ran out before it was time for payday. I am trying really hard not to dip into savings, but will be forced to if any expenses occur before Friday.

My friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer learned that they will be doing a mastectomy in the next couple of weeks. She has stage two- not sure which type tho. It breaks my heart for her but she is handling it fairly well. She wants to get the cancer behind her so that she can get back to her life.

Sorry for the down mood tonight. Its just been a tough one. sigh.

Weekend spending

January 9th, 2011 at 08:26 pm

My weekend consisted of a trip to the mall where I took advantage of a 75% off sale at Bath and Body works. Three things that normally would have cost about $35 for $8. Yumminess in a scent, hand soap, lotion...An $8 treat for sure.

Other than that, I bought a couple of steaks, a BOGO chicken breasts, and stocked up on some other items for about $45. Last night we had an amazing rib-eye steak dinner with all the fixins and tonight some yummy chicken fetuccini alfredo. ANd I have plenty of options for the week ahead. So all in all, not a bad weekend for expenses.

The week ahead will be a challenging one. Lots of things going on at work. SOme good, some not so good. I know by Friday, I will be ready for the three day weekend next weekend!

Turning 50...but not for a few months.

January 8th, 2011 at 07:44 pm

My bff and I are both celebrating our 50th this year. Several months ago I reserved a beautiful 8 bedroom home in a resort for 4 days and all my kids and a few close friends will be joining me as guests that weekend. I have been saving and planning for several months already and I still have 4 months to go!

Today my friend called to say she is having two parties. One at her home on her birthday for all of her friends and relatives...and the second is a destination party that will most likely be in Jamaica!! So, now I have to decide if I take the inexpensive route and celebrate in So California...or if I go all out and join her in Jamaica for an all-inclusive 7 day adventure! Hmm... It would be much more do-able if I wasnt having my party...however, I am still very excited about it and wont change my plans.

I guess I will see how finances go over the next month and decide if I have it or not. My friend and I have been buddies since we were 12 and neither of us have ever done a big to-do for ourselves...so Im honestly hoping to do both.

I guess I will see!

Pancakes for Breakfast tomorrow!

January 7th, 2011 at 08:33 pm

The raise matrix did not get published at work today so I still dont know what my increase will be. :/ It will most likely be 5-6%, which is about double what I thought... I did learn that our reward bonus will be more than I anticipated- potentially 6% of my salary last year. After taxes and 401K contribution, that will still be a very nice check! (um, yay!)-

My co-workers gave me a $75 gift card to our local grange last year in leiu of flowers when my mom died. I wasnt sure what to do with it, so I still have it. I think I am going to get some above ground planters for a small garden. Last year I planted zucchini and they did awesome...so I am eager to do a little more this year.

On the way home tonight I stopped at the store and bought some boysenberry syrup and bacon. I havent had pancakes in a long time and thought that sounded yummy for breakfast. The store had several 10 for $10 sales going on so I stocked up on pasta and other pantry supplies.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend. Smile Life is good!

Psychology and Paid back loans!

January 6th, 2011 at 08:55 pm

I am taking psychology for this term. If the syllabus is any indication, Im in for a grueling study routine for the next couple of months. At least it is a subject I am interested in!! I finished my first assignment tonight.

I recently loaned my son and my daughter each a fairly hefty amount (at least for me- $850 and $750 respectively). Low and behold, my son paid me back yesterday and my daughter is paying me back tomorrow. (whew). I am glad I can help the kids when they need it, but when it takes most of my short term savings to do so I get a little nervous. Anyway, it will be good to have my savings account built back up. I also have a couple of rebates coming back on the new phones- those need to go back into savings as well!

This weekend is actually a free weekend...no plans! Yay! Looking forward to just getting the little things done.

Whew!

January 5th, 2011 at 09:27 pm

My evaluation went great! Our process includes doing a self evaluation and then sending it to your boss (my boss is the CEO) and they do an evaluation and you sit down and discuss the two. My boss said he was happy with what I wrote and decided to use just my evaluation this year. Thankfully, I gave myself good scores and ended with a 4 out of 5. (5's pretty near impossible to hit)...so I am happy. Still not sure what my increase will be- but should find out on Friday. (last year I received a 6% increase for a similar score- but I have a feeling this year will be 4%.

I will be happy with whatever it is!

Now I have to complete evaluations for each of my employees. I should use my bosses idea and just accept their scores...however, they seem to have scored themselves low- so I have four evals to write. Luckily, I have a great staff so they will be fun to write!

For now, I will just breathe a sigh of relief that my eval is over for another year!



Evaluation Tomorrow- oh boy...

January 4th, 2011 at 06:10 pm

I get so nervous before evaluations. I think Ive done a good job...but I never know whether its ok, good, great...until after the evaluation is done.

The good news is that I will find out what my raise will be. I know it is at least 3% but might be 4%. Either will be welcome and appreciated!

Also this month, we get an empllyee rebate of 10% on all interest earned or paid on our accounts. I think this will equal about $200 for me on my next paycheck.

Then next month, I will get the bonus...I feel so blessed. I truly love my job, so getting the perks really sweetens the deal!

When I get all the final numbers, I will redo the budget! I will put part towards bills payment and part towards vacation.

Big Grin Life is very $ good!

2011 is off to a GREAT start!

January 3rd, 2011 at 07:01 pm

Self forgiveness is so powerful. I honestly feel like I have shed a 1000 lb weight off my shoulders! I was focused and empowered today! I did find my mind still heading down the dark path, but I am getting quick to redirect and WOW- what an impact! It was very heartening to read the responses to yesterdays post and realize others were in the same boat- (I was almost too embarassed to publish my self-analysis) So, thank you for your support.


In other news:

I registered for my next class, Psychology- which is very timely for me. Smile My job pays for schooling as long as I get a C or better- so I turned in the paperwork to get reimbursed for my previous class today.

I scheduled an appt for the yearly big squeeze...oh lordy if we can put a man on the moon why are we still inflicting torture on women like that? Oh well, after my friends diagnosis last week I know it is one of those necessary evils. :/ Yippee skippy.

My job had a great year inspite of the economy, and it looks like we will get a bonus this year! yay! I feel so stinkin blessed to have a great job that also shares the success with staff! The employee banquet is next month and that is when we get the bonus. Cant wait to see what we get!!!

Great day...yep, life is good!

That New Years Resolution List is on the back burner for now. #1 Goal is...

January 2nd, 2011 at 08:59 pm

**A very dear friend of mine contacted me this afternoon to tell me that on Thursday she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a very healthy woman- hasnt ate meat for almost 20 years, doesnt smoke, drink...has been eating raw foods for most of this last year...exercizes- looks a good 10-15 years younger than she is (almost 50)- a good reminder to get that yearly exam...I will schedule mine tomorrow. :/ When is yours?

The hub and I had such a nice, relaxing time at the cabin. Turned out that the satellite tv didnt work...and that was such a blessing. We visited, went for a quick walk (it was 15 degrees)...I read, he played his xbox game...and well, just had some serious down time!

I wrote a list of resolutions that will be put on the back burner for a while. I decided my #1 goal should be to forgive myself. I can be downright BRUTAL on myself for bad decisions, mistakes, and procrastinations...how many times I realize that my entire drive to work was a subconscious lashing of everything Ive done wrong....and I have a feeling those thoughts keep me from being all that I can be. So...I spent time this weekend focusing on my thoughts. Any time I started berating myself, I stopped the thought, reminded myself I was forgiven and that the next time I would....(put a positive action here)...

I am a little embarrassed at how many times I had to redirect my thoughts...how does one become their own worst enemy without realizing it? So....my #1 goal is to fully forgive and let go of the past- and to do things differently going forward.

Tomorrow is my first day back to work from vacation..it has been an amazing week off that I thoroughly enjoyed!

I cant wait to see how many times I forgive myself back at work...Smile

Happy New Year everyone!