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Archive for February, 2014

Meal and house plans

February 23rd, 2014 at 06:05 pm

The hub is back in Alaska for the next month.

Since I am feeding just me, I have planned simple meals for the next week. I put the makings for split pea soup in the slow cooker this morning, will make a big batch of oatmeal today and am going to cook up some chicken for chicken and quinoa. These will make up breakfast, lunches and dinners for the week. Big Grin

My three oldest kids recently lost their paternal grandma (my ex-mother in law). She was a nice lady who was extremely frugal her whole life. She saved a nice nest egg, only to have her two primary heirs (her son and her brother) fight over everything while she was spending her last days here. Thank goodness the kids were there with her to keep it out of her hospital room as much as possible...and shame on both of them. I am so proud of my kids for making their grandmas final days as peaceful as possible, and to show her that there were at least three people who loved HER and not her money and possessions.

It just drives home the point to have that will and/or trust and make sure you write down what you want (funeral, cremation, services or no) after you go. SOOOO important for those left behind.

The hub and I are making good progress on our financial goals. Unfortunately, there have been some emergencies with a couple of the kids that have really drained the savings. Frown Bank of mom and dad must close, but we have a tough time saying know when it will impact the grandkids. But the hole must be plugged. I am at a point where we have helped, but any more will be enabling. (If I were objective, Id probably say we passed that point a while back- but at least we are drawing a line in the sand now)

I'm about to start my NINTH month in the little house. Thankfully, the weather is starting to warm a little and spring is coming. Spring and fall are my favorite times of the year, and living in the country just makes those seasons more enjoyable. There is an old wooden planter on the side of this house that promises to burst with tulips in a few weeks. The wonderful thing is that my dad planted these tulips years ago, so for me, those flowers are a continuing gift from him. In his younger years, my dad was a burly truck driver but in his older years he softened and loved planting flowers and feeding the squirrels and birds out here.

We will be making repairs and remodeling the big house this spring and summer. I will move into it when it is done and make a final decision as to whether to stay out here or not after next winter. Whether we stay or not, the work must be done.

So, it is a wonderful sunny day today, one that will be filled with cooking, laundry and cleaning. The type of Sunday 'putzing' that I love. I hope everyone has an equally beautiful day!

Concert cancelled and no luck with cell phone plan

February 15th, 2014 at 04:01 am

The LeAnn Rimes concert was cancelled- reason, east coast weather and cancelled flights. So, we opted to just stay home- the change in plans and refund on tickets saved us about $500 for the weekend, which was fine with me!!

We stopped by the store for our cell phone provider and had no luck with any change in plans to shave $$ off the expense. My job refunds me $90 a month for having a smart phone, so our plan isn't too bad. Our contract is up in December, so I will make a note to recheck then.

I made caprese on sourdough toast for my dinner tonight and the hub had leftover Chinese that he had a few days ago, making for an inexpensive Valentine's dinner...but even more important, we avoided all the crowds.

I am starting my 9th month in the little house. I bought a little toaster oven a couple of months ago ($40) which has come in really handy. I can toast, bake, broil, etc. Between that, my crockpot, microwave, electric skillet, and rice cooker, I can cook everything using electricity and save my propane for heat. Doing this, I can make it almost a month on two 13 gallon propane tanks.

We will most likely move into the bigger house here in the country this summer and save the little house for visitors. I have a few more months to make up my mind. Living in the small space works for me, but I would like more room for the grandkids when they visit. Plus having the washer and dryer in the house where I live and not having to lug it up and down to the other house, is a convenience I enjoy, especially when it is raining/snowing. That alone could be the deciding factor!






Happy Valentines Day!

February 14th, 2014 at 06:06 pm

Happy Valentines Day!

I am on vacation today and Monday is a holiday, so a nice 4 day weekend ahead. This is the hubs last weekend home for a month, so it will be nice to be off. We are going to a LeAnn Rimes concert tonight. The hub is the fan, this is his Valentines gift from me.

This is my last vacation time for a while. Work is so busy I really cant afford anymore time away for a while.

Speaking of work, I am all moved into my new workspace. It is so different working in a cubicle instead of an office. I can hear everything everyone says and vis-versa. Our team will be in this space for the next year or so, so plenty of time to get used to it.

I am so excited about the progress we are making on paying off the last CC debt. If all goes as planned we will have it paid off in about two months!!

Financially, my focus right now is doing my due diligence on things like insurance and cell phone bills to determine if we can shave anything off those expenses and paying off the debt. Otherwise, things are all budgeted and fairly predictable each month. In a couple of months it will get more fun because 'extra' income will go towards savings! Cant wait!


Feb- challenging some bills

February 11th, 2014 at 02:22 am

Today was a vacation day. The end of a fun 4 day weekend. We arrived home from our mini-trip, unloaded and I got organized for the week ahead.

I carved out time to call our tv provider to cancel a service which was no longer in the free trial. That will save us $48 per month! In addition, we were overdue for a free upgrade on our system boxes, and so I took advantage of those.

Next challenge is our vehicle and homeowners insurance policies. I have a feeling we are overpaying at least the vehicle insurance policies.

And the last challenge this month is reviewing our cell phone plan.

Hopefully, this time investment will add up to some nice savings!

Would you leave a tip?

February 10th, 2014 at 04:19 am

The hub and I are enjoying a get away this weekend. We are staying in a rental house in a resort area that we like to visit. We have rented with this company several times over the years. I always visit in the low season, so that we can rent two nights and get the third night free. We also have to pay a cleaning fee each time we stay. There is no daily maid service like at a hotel. The cleaning fee is to take care of cleaning the house after we leave. However, before we go, we are supposed to load and start the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, empty all the trash cans into the outside containers, etc.

When we arrived this time, there was a nice little postcard with the housecleaners picture and profile and an envelope. I assume for a tip? But Im perplexed, because, in addition to paying for the rental, we also pay a separate cleaning fee.

I can understand a tip at a hotel when someone tidies everyday and you don't pay a fee specifically for cleaning, but this seems ridiculous.

What would you do?

We have had a wonderful weekend. It snowed like crazy, and we got to sit in the hot tub and watch it snow. Of course, we FROZE when we had to get out. My shoes were totally covered with snow and so I walked (ran screaming) through the snow barefoot to get to the door. Brr...

I was able to pay $3000 more on the credit card because of budget and a bonus at work. We are totally on track to pay this last bill off by the end of April (yay).