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EF to the Rescue!

July 14th, 2008 at 01:36 pm

Drainage problem that created a foundation problem: $10,500

Having the money on hand to pay for this 'issue': PRICELESS

Just popping in (life has been crazier than ever) to say that I am SO THANKFUL we have an EF to pay for this. Five years ago this would have ruined us, now all we have to do is concentrate on building it back up.

On another note, I think diligently couponing is FINALLY paying off. I've built up a nice stash of coupons - not just to use for myself but to use for trades. Hopefully we'll start seeing some real savings soon. We do have a few little stockpiles going so I'm gonna just keep plugging along. It's kind of a fun 'hobby' for me. DH has rolled his eyes at my 15 boxes of pasta and 15 jars of sauce (pasta was all free, sauce was very cheap) but he likes when I get good deals on extra snacks and drinks we wouldn't normally have around, too. So all in all I think he's on board.

Oh, The Mistakes I've Made

June 10th, 2008 at 07:07 am

Oh, The Mistakes Iíve Made

Well, itís been a month of learning and mistakes. I finally got Microsoft Money loaded onto my laptop so Iím in the process of updating that. Then Iíll have a full picture of the damage. I have a feeling itís going to be ugly. My plan of attack is to assess the damage, regroup and move forward.

I really am trying to get into couponing because I KNOW I can save a lot of money. Iíve seen it firsthand, but finding the time to do it Ďproperlyí has been a real challenge and Iíve made some mistakes. Last Saturday I went to Rite Aid to pick up some of the rebate items for the week. Now Rite Aid is not convenient for me Ė in fact itís in the exact opposite direction of anywhere I need to go. I had to drive DH to the airport so it was Ďsort ofí on my way home. I had my list and my coupons Ė and both kids. When I got home I realized that only I only had 1 of the shampoos I meant to buy. I know I picked up both of them, but I think the other probably ended up sitting on the check out counter off to the side. Those counters are small and crowded and it probably got pushed out of the way. I was not charged for it, but I needed to buy 2 for the rebate. On the other hand, my coupon was for $4 off 2 and the cashier pushed that through (I guess thinking that she had rung up both them) so I still got it for free, but I would have had 2 for free after the rebate. Then, I didnít realize the rebate for the hairspray I bought (FAR plus I had a coupon) was only good at the beginning of the week. The tag was still on the shelf and I didnít check closely enough. Then I bought the wrong sunscreen for the rebate (still an ok deal at B1G1 and I needed it.) The only things I did right were the toothpaste and deodorant rebates. I thought I was all set with my list and coupons and I still managed to screw it up. I think the lesson here is to pay closer attention Ė AND try to shop without the kids. I thought I had myself organized enough to just run in and grab what I needed to get out of there quickly, but it cost me some $$. I know I could just return them but I do need the sunscreen and hairspray (and I did use a coupon with the hairspray) so Iím just gonna chalk it up to a life lesson. It doesnít end there. I went to Kroger to get a deal on Kelloggs items and I needed 6 products for the deal and managed to only have 5 so instead of $8 off , I only got $4. I was in a rush to pick up the kids and didnít realize it until I got home. Sigh.

One thing I did right was find coupons for Dr. Pepper $1/2. Walgreens had 2 liters on sale for 89 cents so I got 4 2 liters for $1.56. I have more coupons but I havenít had a chance to get to Walgreens again. Iím going to try to stock up at 39 cents/bottle but Iíll have to wait until DH is back so I can run around without the kids.

So, Iím trying. I just have to be a little more careful. Iíve reorganized my coupons so I think that will help, too. I find it hard to spend the time organizing my shopping trips AND find time to do the actual shopping. I know there have been weeks in the past that Iíve been all set to go get something from a particular store and I never make it there before the sale is over. It can be overwhelming sometimes.

You Have To Crawl Before You Can Walk

May 15th, 2008 at 06:50 am

Ok, Iím not even crawling yet. What do you call it when a baby canít get up on all fours yet, but lies on his stomach waving arms and legs wildly hoping to propel himself forward? Thatís where I am.

Iím *almost* caught up entering expenses into Money. Keeping on top of that always motivates me. I got the paperwork to transfer my other 401K into a rollover IRA. We closed on our refinance last night and as soon as it is available online Iím going to sign up for biweekly payments. Now I just need to open 529 accts for my boys. Slowly but surely Iím making progress.

In other news my baby will be 6 months on Saturday. How did that happen? I bought a sweet potato and Iím going to start him on solids this weekend. Maybe it will help him sleep through the night. I probably shouldnít get my hopes up.

Searching for Money

May 14th, 2008 at 06:00 am

I canít find my Microsoft Money disk anywhere. I want to load it on my laptop since that is what I use all the time now. DH is all geekified into World of Warcraft (insert HUGE eyeroll here) and Iím tired of fighting with him for the desktop.

I have searched high and low for that disk, and even opened all the other disks to make sure it didnít get stashed in the wrong cover. I havenít seen it in years but I havenít needed it and figured it was with all our other disks. What a PITA.

Do I make the $10 investment to put it on my laptop? I think I will since it will allow me to stay on top of things easier.

I have some cash stashed for the $20 challenge but I havenít counted it yet. I really need to make a trip to the credit union.

A few things that made me happy this past week: the grocery store had a great deal and I now have 12 boxes of cereal and 12 boxes of fruit snacks for very little OOP (I think around $8) and I still have a few $3 off register rewards. I used my $10 JCPenney coupon for nearly free underwear. My favorite hand soap was on sale for less than half price. Things are slowly getting back on track.

Now if I could just get my receipts entered into Money I could see how bad the damage is so I can make corrections. I bet the disk is with the $1 off Peter Pan coupon I lost and they are laughing at me.

Help! I Need a Band Aid!

May 8th, 2008 at 10:36 am

Or, a good swift kick in the butt. Itís been a crazy week and Iím exhausted. When I get overtired I get lazy and when I get lazy money tends to flow more freely. I know I get the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does, but how do you balance everything?

I get up between 5:15-5:30am (an EVIL time of the day!) and start my day. Shower, get ready for work, pump, get bottles ready, get kids ready, bring kids to school, etc. No matter how much stuff I get done the night before, it always seems to be a marathon in the morning. Itís easier if DS2 would just sleep in until 6:15 or so, but heís been up with the roosters lately. Then I go to Ďworkí all day. Pick up the kids (if my day) and start my Ďrealí job. Laundry, pick up, quality time with kids, make dinner on the nights DH is not home, baths and on and on. And DS2 doesnít sleep through the night so Iím up several times with him. He doesnít care for the bottles (of pumped breastmilk) so most days he Ďreverse cyclesí and eats at night. I know it wonít last forever so Iím ok with it. But, Iím tired. Iím EXHAUSTED. Last night I went to bed after 11 and it seems like I got nothing done.

I had car troubles yesterday that (thankfully) was just a battery problem and easily remedied. But the coordination of schedules to get my car from work and fix it throws everything else off.

Anyway, all of this leads to me not having as much energy to stay on top of things. We ate out 2 days this week and I didnít have time to make lunch this morning as we barely got out the door on time. I just HAVE to get myself more organized! If I were more organized little things wouldnít throw everything off so much. But, when do I have time to get everything in order?

Tonight I have to make brownies for the boys to bring in to their teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week and have DS1 sit down and make a card. Iím behind on laundry (I may never win that battle!) And I know I have at least 1 bill to pay. Oh and I need to call the mortgage company to schedule the closing for our refi. DS1 needs a haircut sooo badly, but itís just going to have to wait for this weekend. He looks like I fished him out of the dumpster, but I donít think I can handle another chore/errand right now.

I need to stop the bleeding now before it really gets out of control. How do you do it? I canít seem to get myself together.

And I have some money to add to my challenge but I haven't counted it yet. Sigh.

Need Recipe Ideas!!

May 6th, 2008 at 09:41 am

Ok, after all the discussion on potlucks a few days ago I need an EASY breakfast recipe. I just found out we are having a breakfast potluck next Monday and someone else already called 'dibs' on donuts, juice, fruit tray and paper goods. So, I need something I can make the night before, can be heated up in a microwave (if reheating is necessary) and is EASY EASY EASY to make (I don't cook). I do have access to a refrigerator but since it's for breakfast that probably won't be necessary. All you frugal cooks out there, any ideas? Thanks!!

Cheap Drugs

May 1st, 2008 at 06:06 am

Nah, Iím not talking about a dime-bag.

I went to get some allergy medicine because the alternative was to just chop off my head. Since that didnít sound like the best solution, I went to the store to get something that would stop my nose faucet. A 20 pack of Claritin was on sale for $16.99. Right next to the Claritin was the store brand version (same active ingredient) on sale 10 for $3.35. I picked up both packages and examined them closely. Besides the name brand and the prettier packaging, I saw no difference. So of course I bought the generic version. It got me thinking Ė who in their right mind would pay more than twice the cost for the name brand? That is a HUGE difference in price. I walked out of there feeling so smart that I left without cough drops. Sigh.

Well, weíre almost done with week 3 of our new budget. Looks like this week the gas line is under control. Neither one of us has filled up our tanks so the big overspend last week will be offset by being underspent this week. Fortunately, it looks like a timing thing. The other good news is that DH will be off for the summer at the end of May and wonít have that horrendous commute for a couple of months. That will definitely help the bottom line.

I will bring my $20 challenge money to the credit union this weekend and then transfer it to my shiny new ING account. On to a new month!!

Week in Review

April 28th, 2008 at 08:06 am

We did really well with our budget except one line item. We were overbudget in gas by $77!!! I know part of it has to do with the timing of fillups but COME ON! I am really going to try to hold out filling up until this Friday to see if I can even things out a bit. I guess I'll have to watch this expense closely over the next few weeks to see if our budget number is realistic.

I'm Probably the Last One....

April 24th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

...to open an ING account. I thought for a free $25 (and potential referral $) it is a good place to keep a few bucks. I don't have a lot to keep there, but it'll do.

Soooo. I'll add the $25 to my challenge $$ and I got a $6 rebate check in the mail.

$57.57 CHACHING!

Quack Quack!

April 24th, 2008 at 10:04 am

I finally feel like I'm getting my financial ducks in a row. We're supposed to close on our refinance next week and I just started the process of rolling over my 401Ks from my 2 previous jobs. I also realized that the whopping $1400 in my Roth IRA is sitting in some short term money account get a measly .11%. Glad I checked. So, I need to find somewhere to put that. I am not investment savvy so I guess I need to start educating myself.

Mortgage Shmortgage & Milk Money

April 23rd, 2008 at 12:32 pm

We did it, we locked in to refinance. We paid a couple of points to get the rate down. When we crunched the numbers, this made sense to us. Our mortgage payment is going up by $140/month. We knew this was going to happen. If we hadnít refinanced, the payment was going to go up by $240 and that would have difficult to absorb. After some research and getting some quotes, we went ahead and refinanced with our current lender. Besides getting the best deal that I could find it will be super easy b/c we qualified for no income/asset verification and the appraisal was waived. So, we are scheduled to close next Tuesday. The person will come to our house and all we have to do is sign, sign, sign. I also inquired about making biweekly payments and Iím going to go ahead and set that up when everything is in place.

Gas is about $3.45 here. At this rate I can barely afford to go back and forth to work and itís even worse for DH who has a long commute. I stopped at a Ďconvenience storeí for milk yesterday and was charged $5.45!!!!! Had we not been completely out I would have left it there. I was going to go to the grocery store but we really didnít need anything else and itís not really on my way home. There is a little hole in the wall place on my way home that Iíd never been to. So, instead of going out of my way I decided to stop at this Ďstoreí to just pick up a gallon of milk. Lesson learned, I will never go there again. Then again, with gas prices what they are I probably would have spent on gas what I was overcharged. HIGHWAY ROBBERY I do believe that over the weekend a gallon of 2% was $3.05. At Kroger it is generally $3.92 and Walmart near home is $3.66, Walmart near work is $3.77. Note to self: pick up a gallon of milk if near Costco whether we need it right then or not. We go through a lot of milk and it definitely wonít go to waste.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

April 22nd, 2008 at 11:29 am

Happy Earth Day!

Iím bummed because itís raining and I was going to take my 3.5 yo out to clean up trash in our neighborhood. We can do it tomorrow (itís not like the trash is going anywhere) but I wanted to do it today in honor of Earth Day. Iím sure theyíre talking about Earth Day at school and it would have been a nice Ďtie-iní to bring the concepts close to home. I think Iíll just stress that EVERY day is Earth Day so we should clean up the trash anyway Ė itís the socially responsible thing to do.

Recently Iíve been bringing a lot of leftovers to work for lunch. I tend to have 2 or 3 different plastic containers at any given time so I just keep a stack of paper plates in my desk drawer. At lunch I dump my food on to the plate and nuke it. Well, in my effort to Reduce Reuse Recycle Iím going to go to the Dollar Store after work and pick up a regular plate to use. I already just wash my plastic utensils and reuse those. I donít know why I didnít think to get a plate before. I donít just heat them in the plastic containers b/c I often have more than one serving and I donít want to reheat what Iím not going to eat that day. Also, thereís always a long line at the microwave so I try to be efficient and just have to heat one thing.

I do believe my efforts to lead a more frugal lifestyle will lead to a more Ďgreení lifestyle, as well. And that is never a bad thing.

Challenge: Found 51 cents around the house . Does my house produce coins? It seems like Iíve been finding a lot of change around lately. If so, I hope it starts spitting out dollar coins soon!

Smart or Deceitful?

April 20th, 2008 at 07:17 am

I take care of all the day to day household finances - the checkbook, savings, bills, etc. DH pretty much takes care of our measly LT savings. He generally has no interest in the checking account and is happy to let me handle all of it.

So I have a confession to make. I always tell DH there is less in savings than there really is. Yesterday I fudged the number by about $800. He is a spender and if he thought we had 'extra' money around, he would find a use for it. I like to have that cushion in addition to our regular emergency fund for expenses that, while are not emergencies, we need/want the money for. A little security blanket if you will. That way, if he does overspend on something it really won't hurt as much. But I'm not going to tell him this b/c he'll justify his purchases with 'well, we have a cushion to absorb this.' Anway, I kind of look at it like when you tell a person who is consistently late that something starts 15 min earlier than the 'real' time so that he/she is on time. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty, but most of the time I pat myself on the back for thinking ahead. It's not like I'm hoarding the money for myself. What do you think, is it wrong of me to do this?

Oh, and I found 15 cents in the laundry yesterday to add to my challange.
New total = $26.06


April 18th, 2008 at 07:39 pm

Ok, this has nothing to do with personal finance but everything to do with laughing in the face of insanity.

My 3.5 was playing games on noggin.com (something he is quite proficient at navigating) and I was feeding my 5 month old in another room. I asked DH to go check on DS1 because I hadn't looked in on him in a few minutes. A minute later I hear 'let's go show Mommy' in a tone of voice that is trying to conceal controlled laughter.

DS1 comes into the room dressed only in his underwear. He had found a Sharpie and had written on his belly, hands and nose (that I could see). DH says (with obvious glee) 'Ask him where else he drew'!

D, where else did you draw? Did you draw on the desk?
Did you draw on the monitor?
'Did you draw on the walls?
'Did you draw on any furniture?' I'm running out of ideas at his point?

DH: GO ahead, show Mommy where you drew with the SHARPIE.

DS1 pulls down his underwear and shows me his Black Sharpie Penis.

HAHAHAHAHAHA I swear this is why I had children...for the entertainment value. I couldn't make this up. I had to leave the room before I could 'reprimand' him and explain that 'we don't color our bodies.' Oh, the joy my children bring me!!

Weekly Progress and Cheating

April 18th, 2008 at 07:49 am

Weekly Budget Update:
Underspent Childcare: $1 (really just rounding in my budget)
Underspent Food by $20 (knew weíd be overspent in beer/wine so tried to offset this)
Overspent Beer/Wine by $36 (DH used food $ Ďby accidentí)
Overspent Dining Out $6 (budget was 0 for this week)
Underspent Gas: $31

Total: Underbudget by $10 for the week

I was going to take that $10 out and add it to my $20 challenge money, but Iím going to let it ride. I suspect the underspending in Gas might be offset this week as just a timing of fillups. Iíll watch this for a few weeks to see what we really spend. It may fluctuate a bit from week to week. All in all, not too bad for our first week. It may take a while to get DH fully trained :-)

So, I feel like Iím about to cheat on my budget a bit this week. DH wants to do a big Costco run tonight. Buy a big piece of meat, diapers and a few other things. This will be funded by some money we have in savings not really earmarked for anything. So this run will be Ďoutsideí the budget and not funded by any budgeted funds. It will certainly put less pressure on our weekly food budget. I feel like Iím cheating though Ė like I should just live on whatís in our budget. I guess since itís my budget I can make the rules and I should just be thankful I have this money to use. This will leave some room in the food budget to perhaps stock up on a few good deals rather than have to spend it all on food for right now.

As I tweaked our budget over the past week, I somehow ended up with $20 extra dollars so I added that to my challenge money. I also decided that every other week (when itís my week to get an Ďallowanceí) I will take whatever change and $1 bills out of my wallet and put it in my challenge money. This week I had $4. I also found $1.16 in change around the house.

Beg Balance. $ .75
Additions: $25.16
New Balance $25.91

Would someone please slap him?

April 16th, 2008 at 10:21 am

So I get home yesterday after spending our last $4 of grocery money on a gallon of milk. I see that DH is cooking and drinking a glass of wine. Hmmm, I don't remember having any wine in the house. He must have caught a 'look' on my face because he immediately says 'I used my beer money.' Something is not adding up to me. Turns out he 'forgot' I gave him the beer money in cash and he used the debit card to buy wine. I calmly explained AGAIN that the only transactions on the debit card should be gas. Everything else is in cash and I gave him the cash last Friday. Turns out he spent it, but can't account for it. REALLY?! WHAT A SURPRISE!! Maybe this way he will actually realize how much he nickels and dimes himself into a hole. So he decided he isn't going to his fishing tournament this weekend. I think he decided he couldn't 'afford' it, or that he would rather save his money for a more desirable tournament. But there is no way he'd admit that to me. Sigh.....I hope he's learning some good lessons!

I've decided that I am going to do the $20 challenge and I started yesterday. I was at lunch and I wanted something 'snacky.' I had already eaten everything I brought for lunch. I took out 75 cents and was going to go to the vending machine for some chips. I actually got a phone call and forgot about it. A little while later I noticed the coins stacked on my desk and I realized I was just going to get the chips b/c I was bored. So I decided instead of buying chips, I was going to start my $20 challenge with that 75 cents. I was also trying to figure out what to do with whatever $$ I accumulate at the end of the year. Since I normally would put change in my sons' piggy banks I am going to split my $20 challenge money 3 ways. 1/3 to put in each boys' account and 1/3 for me.

So $20 challenge balance: .75 WOOHOO

$20 Challenge

April 14th, 2008 at 04:23 pm

I've been thinking about doing the $20 challenge so I perused some other people's entries to find out how people are doing it. I find it interesting that people are paying themselves to exercise. It's a great motivator but my question is - where does that money come from in the first place? You have to have the money to begin with in order to add it into the challenge money. So if I decided to pay myself $1 every time I go to the gym and I went to the gym 5 times in one week I'd give myself $5 toward the challenge. Well, I don't have the $5 to begin with. So instead of moving money from one pocket to another (paying myself) I'll have to find new ways to generate the $$ to add to the challenge. Surveys, loose change, etc. I usually put my change in my boys' piggy banks so I need to think this through a bit more. Hmmm, I need a plan.

Easing into it

April 13th, 2008 at 04:28 pm

So, I have $4 left for grocery $$ this week and that is earmarked for another gallon of milk before Friday. I'm hoping that DH is on board. I think we have plenty in the freezer and pantry to sustain us this week but DH is kind of a food snob. Dh wanted to go out for pizza tonight and I reminded him it wasn't in the budget so he paid for it out of his 'own' money. HAHA, I feel like I'm teaching a child about the value of the dollar.


April 12th, 2008 at 02:05 pm

So DH had seen the budget. What does he do? Goes out and spends $20 on wine. So that's going to have to come out of our weekly food money. We now have $42 left for groceries this week and I have to buy night time pullups for DS. I guess we will have some interesting meals this week.

On a happy note, I got offered an online class to teach starting this week so I will have some 'extra' income coming in over the next few weeks.

Dayum, it's been a while.

April 9th, 2008 at 11:03 am

Well, after having a baby and starting a new job I'm back on the wagon! I took a paycut to have a low stress job that is closer to home. The job itself is mediocre, but the family-friendliness makes up for the lack of professional stimulation.

I've already started back with couponing and last week I spent $25 on food, but saved $40! I really enjoy the challenge and I hope that I can stick with it. DH seems to be on board and I ran the new proposed budget past him. Highlights of the new budget: we each geta $50 allowance every other week. We get paid on opposite weeks, so he gets his allowance when he's paid and I get mine when I'm paid. $100/wk for groceries seems high but that includes DH's beer (that he would buy regardless of what I say) and diapers/wipes for my littlest man. I'm hoping to keep it under that though. We just have DH's student loan and our mortgage so that's good. We do have an emergency fund so that's taken care of. I have a bit of money set aside for each child (not much, around $1700 for older DS and about $1100 for baby). I need to figure out what we're going to do with this. I do worry that my car is older (1999) and we'll have to replace it at some point. I'm not sure how to save for it as we're pretty much running on a zero balance budget. That said, we each contribute 10% to our 401Ks and we do save for those bigger, less frequent bills like car insurance and xmas. But, there isn't much left over. My most difficult challenge is getting DH to 'buy in.' He's a notorious budget buster. Not on big ticket items but on little things here and there at the grocery store or buying beer. I *think* I can work on the grocery part but he's not willing to give up his beer. He's an avid fisherman and he belongs to a fishing club. He teaches an extra class a semester and uses that stipend to pay for his fishing weekends. That's why we have a 'fishing tournament' line on our budget. That's his stipend money. Before we came up with this he was spending a couple thousand a year on that stuff so I told him he had to find a way to fund it himself. So, it's working well so far. This Friday marks the beginning of our new budget. This is for the next 4 weeks, what do you think?

Net Pay 5,062

Child Care (1,064)
Food (400)
Misc (oil changes, etc.) (100)
Dining Out (100)
Gas (500)
Savings (ins, travel, etc.) (250)
Mortgage (1,450)
Student Loan (220)
Allowance (200)
Fishing Tournaments (180)
Direct TV (86)
MLGW (300)
Verizon -
Bell South (103)
American Home Shield (41)
Daniel (20)
Zackary (20)
Total Expenses (5,034)

Ending Balance 28

Holy Moly!

August 14th, 2007 at 11:26 am

Wow, it has been quite a while since I've updated. I find when I stray from this site my spending goes up and my motivation goes down. Slowly but surely Iím getting back on track.

Letís start with an update: our only debt is our mortgage (a whopping 202K) and DHís student loans for his MBA (around 12K). We have our emergency fund established and need to focus on paying down debt, saving for our kidsí college and our retirement.

Weíve only saved about $1500 for my almost 3 year old. Weíre just deciding exactly how we want to invest it. With another child due in November, itís going to be tough to put away any amount of money for both but weíre going to try!

Iím going to take 4 months of maternity leave so Iíve been trying to estimate how much weíll need for that. We always have the E fund to fall back on but Iíd like to save that for a true emergency Ė not something we know about and can plan for. I think we decided we need around 8K. 4 months of mortgage payments ($6K), $1K for car ins due in December and $1K for Christmas. Everything else we should be able to cover with DHís paycheck (he makes considerably less than I do). Of course when I go back to work we will have additional childcare expenses. Sigh, itís neverending!

Some portion of the $8K needed for my maternity leave will be covered with s/t disability. Iím not exactly sure how much this is going to be. I should get 70% of my salary for 6 weeks. But, there is a 10 day waiting period so really that is only 70% of 4 weeks pay. So somewhere around $3000 - $3500. That leaves around $5K. I have $1800 saved up in our savings acct and DH has about $3K in a money market acct. So weíre just about covered. Iíd like to have a little cushion though (say $500-$1000) just in case his paycheck doesnít quite cover everything. I think we should be ok when the time comes.

Iíve started back into couponing. I forget how addicting finding deals can be! It really turns into something of a hobby for me. I hope I can make it worthwhile!!

The next thing I want to do is create a personal financial statement . Iím scared to look at our 401K balances though. I fear we are way behind schedule. We are 35 and 37 years old and I think we only have about $100K total. We each put in 10% of our salaries, but thatís only been for about the past year or so.

A new budget buster to love

March 12th, 2007 at 01:28 pm

I haven't been here in a while...busy busy busy. I need to start hanging out here more often to find new ways to save. I just found out yesterday that I'm pregnant...due in November. So there are many things to save for. We have most of our baby stuff from DS but will need to save to pay bills while I'm off. I'm hoping to stay home 4 months again. That means really tightening our belts for the next 8 months! Ahhh, it's for a good cause : )

An Expensive Lesson

January 25th, 2007 at 09:06 am

I have been soooo busy lately. I have not been on top of things since right before Christmas and itís really taking its toll. We are eating out a lot again and just spending way too much on food. I had been on top of the coupon thing but havenít had time (and I do find it somewhat time-consuming). We also bounced a bunch of transactions last week and were charged $480 for doing so. QuestionÖwhy didnít the bank just refuse the charges (like the good old days) and not allow you to spend more? AnswerÖ because they will charge you $32 per transaction. I am taking full responsibility for this. It has been years and years since weíve bounced anything. I knew we were cutting it close but when I checked online it didnít look that bad and I transferred $$ right away. Well, the online stuff is not very accurate and the problem had already occurred by the time I transferred some $$. SO FRUSTRATING. Who has an extra $480 lying around to give to the bank? Itís not like I have a chronic problem with this. They did call me and say they would cut the fees in half ($240). I guess itís better than nothing. So I will spend my weekend catching up and figuring out just how bad things are. Iím sure we will be able to cover everything, but we really need to stop the bleeding. My online class ends this week so I will have more time/energy to devote to getting back on track. SighÖ.

Christmas Hell

December 6th, 2006 at 11:07 am

Ugh.....this time of year is so stressful! I have hardly anything for Christmas and no ideas. Since everything has to be shipped I really hear the clock ticking away. I HATE tte mall. I HATE wandering around aimlessly just trying to figure out what crap to buy. DH is taking care of FIL and a BIL. Still have 2 BIL, a SIL, 2 kids, my 2 sisters, my mom, my MIL and BIL's long-time girlfriend. And then a few misc kid's gifts.

I only have 2 things for DS, a puzzle and a book. I keep looking online at toys, etc and I just can't find anything. He is 2, he shouldn't be this hard. But, I dont' want a bunch of crap that he is not going to play with hanging around my house until I get rid of it. He is already going to get enough of that from other's. I would LOVE to skip the gift part of Xmas and just have family togetherness. Instead I'm going to spend $$ on stupid presents and get stupid presents in return. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but I'm sure the other family members are having the same frustrations about me. Ok, I guess my rant is over. Complaining isn't going to make this problem go away. Only shopping is going to make it go away and I would rather stick a red hot poker in my eye than go shopping. ARGH!!! Oh, Happy Holidays ; )

Chugging along

November 28th, 2006 at 11:13 am

I have another $38 for my sahm acct. I'm not sure what I'm up to at this point. I'll have to ask for the balance when I make the deposit.

Thanksgiving was nice and busy busy busy. We had a nice visit with my inlaws and DS enjoyed them, too. We put up a xmas tree (artificial $200!!! GULP). I'm trying to look at it as an investment because it will save us $$ in the long run since real trees are around $70.

I have been trying to eat better but I kind of slacked off over the holidays. It could have been worse but it could have been better, too. I ate lunch out today which killed my diet and budget (McDonald's). I hope I can do better the rest of the week. The problem I have is not having enough time in the mornings no matter what time I try to get up. So I didn't grab anything for lunch. My 2yo often turns a nice relaxed morning with plenty of time into a scramble by dragging his feet about everything.

Scary thought....I have no idea how much is in the checking acct right now. This rarely happens but we have been SOOO busy I just haven't found time to sit down and enter everything into Microsoft Money. I really hope to catch up this weekend. It seems I am behind on EVERYTHING. Luckily, classes end next week but my online class preparation has already started. Ahhh, the joys of working 2 jobs. You'd think we'd be doing better but all this 'extra' money is already earmarked for various things. I put a preliminary budget together for 2007. The key to sticking to it will be ORGANIZATION. Something I really have to work on.

The Monday Blahs

November 20th, 2006 at 11:54 am

Not much to talk about on the financial front. I did deposit some more money into my sahm acct. I can't remember exactly how much right now, I think around $25. I've got to get my checks to Schwab so I can open my Roth IRA. I just keep forgetting to swing by there. I guess I can deposit the checks and just write a check to them and mail it. Sigh.

I know I am a scrooge....I just can't wait for the holidays to be over. I am trying to be upbeat for DS who will love all the decorations, etc.

Why pull all the xmas crap out just to have to take it down and put it away. Seems like a lot of work to me and I'm already so busy. WHy go out and spend hundreds of dollars on gifts that I'm not sure will be used/liked. I brought up having all the adult children just buy for the 'grandchildren' but no one wanted to do that. All we end up doing is swapping gift certificates and useless gifts. What's the point? My sister and BIL have a ton of money and just buy whatever they want. So I end up buying them more crap for their overcluttered house. My sister has an Amazon wish list and there are a bunch of books (she's a big reader) and $24 lip balm. OMG. Not to mention all the stuff that I get (that I don't want). I know I'm sounding so bah humbug. I can't help it. I'd rather skip the whole gift giving thing and just enjoy the holidays. Well, I have many more years of fake cheer ahead of me so I guess I'd better grin and bear it! Bah Humbug!! : )

My list

November 16th, 2006 at 12:11 pm

Yes, Iím jumping on the bandwagon.

1. Iím really annoyed because I typed this all out once but have no idea where it went.

2. I donít mind doing laundry.

3. The first car I bought by myself was a stick shift and I had never driven one. I couldnít afford an automatic.

4. I majored in Accounting because I couldnít think of anything else to do and I wanted to make sure I could get a job.

5. I feel guilty when my boss praises my work because my job is EASY and I spend most of my time on the Internet. But I donít want any more responsibility.

6. I spent 15 years slaving away putting myself through college, working long hours, getting raises and promotions, getting an MBA and moving 1000 away from family and friends for a job opportunityÖand all I want now is to be a sahm.

7. DH is my second husband. I met my first husband when I was 19, we married when I was 23 and separated 2 years later. There was nothing wrong with him, he was a nice guy I just didnít like being married. My DH now is A LOT like my first husband.

8. I need to lose 17 lbs which kills me because I was always thin. I am now on the South Beach Diet.

9. When I was third or fourth grade I would write out the lyrics to Kenny Roger songs and Ďsellí them to my father for a quarter. He was such a good sport sometimes!

10. I moved out of my house when I was still in high school to escape an abusive stepfather. I never forgave myself for leaving my 2-year-old sister there. Thankfully my mother finally got rid of him when my sister was still too young to know what was going on.

11. I RARELY cry. My mother once called me Ďcoldí because I showed no emotion at my grandmotherís funeral. I have known DH for about 9 years now and he has only seen me cry 2 or 3 times.

12. I donít really have any hobbies. I like to read when I get a chance but thatís not very often anymore. I like to read mindless drivel Ė but not romance or science fiction.

13. My favorite food is popcorn with lots of butter and salt. (No wonder why I need to lose weight)

14. I have never voted, Iím not even registered. (Oh, Iím steeling myself for the barrage of hate that is going to generate!) I never tell people that because I know itís shameful. I donít even know who ran in the last election. When people start talking about politics my eyes glaze over and I tune out. I just canít seem to get interested. I figure if I voted Iíd just be going in and randomly picking names. What good is that?

15. When we had a United Way campaign at work I chose to give my time rather than money (I was here at 5:30am one morning to make breakfast sandwiches to sell for the breakfast sale). Iím pretty sure the lady who processes payroll thinks Iím cheap because I didnít make a bigger donation.

16. Iíve lived in 5 states: New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee.

17. We moved every 2 years until I was in high school.

18. My first boyfriend was black and I had to hide it because my stepfather is a racist. Which I always thought was odd because he is Iranian and has a bit of a darker complexion. I never told my boyfriend why I didnít invite him over because I was ashamed.

19. We still co-sleep with my 2-year-old son and NO, I DO NOT THINK THAT IS WEIRD. I use attachment-parenting methods to raise my son and he is turning out just great thankyouverymuch.

20. I HATE going to the dentist. Thankfully I have good teeth (knock on wood).

21. On our honeymoon, DH and I went to Amsterdam, Barcelona and drove down the coast of Italy.

22. Iím a disaster in the kitchen. I can barely boil water. I read recipes and sometimes donít understand the terminology so I donít know what it is Iím supposed to do. I feel like an idiot. (What the hell is braising anyway?)

23. About 10 years ago I passed the CPA exam but never bothered to get my license.

24. I hardly ever listen to music or watch movies. The last movie I saw was Walk the Line on HBO and I was disappointed.

25. Iím usually quite a loner but always say Ďyesí when asked if Iím a Ďpeople person.í

Whew, that was difficult!!! But sort of cathartic in a way. Iíve really enjoyed reading everyone elseís lists.

Blah blah blah

November 6th, 2006 at 12:45 pm

So it's a rainy, dreary Monday. I am at work and SHOULD be working, but I am so unmotivated. I feel like I have so much (personally) hanging over me right now.

It was a bad $$ weekend. I went shopping at both Walmart and Target. DS needed new shoes and a few more shirts to get him through fall/winter. I've been buying his clothes at yard sales (and MIL bought him a few new things) and got some through freecycle. But, he still needed a few shirts. Why is it that the yard sales have only had girl's clothing lately? I guess I went a little overboard with the shopping and spent way too much. That is sooo unlike me. It was just a little of this, a little of that. New baking sheets (needed those) some storage tubs to pack away DS's summer clothes. Most everything were things we did need. I think I spent about $5 on heavily discounted halloween decorations for next year. Oh well, I guess I need to move on and accept that sometimes I have to spend money.

I did well grocery shopping, I saved alot pairing coupons (most doubled) with sales. However, I've now decided to do the South Beach Diet so quite a few of things are a no no for me (at least during Phase 1). Now I have to go to the store and get more SBD friendly items. I hope it will be worth it. Eventually, I won't have many restrictions so the food won't go to waste.

I got on the scale this morning and DID NOT LIKE WHAT I SAW!!!! I weigh about 12 lbs more than I did in March. I have really let myself go and need to just suck it up and lose weight. So I have a good 17lbs to lose. OMG how did that happen! Well, I know exactly how it happened. I ate and was a sloth. So it's time to get off my fat a$$ and do something about it. Great, just in time for the holidays.

So, I got up at 5am this morning and got on my treadmill. I didn't set any time or distance records but I MOVED for 30 minutes and that's a start. So my goal is to exercise at least 4 times a week...5 is better but I have to be realistic.

That's it for now. Financially I am off track due to my high spending weekend. I've got to balance the checkbook to see just how much damage I've done. I guess I need to do a better job of budgeting for 'misc' stuff so when it hits, it doesn't have as much of an impact. I should get a few more rebates rolling in to add to my sahm account.

Getting there...

October 26th, 2006 at 08:23 pm

So I FINALLY figured out how much I need to transfer from my reg acct to my sahm acct...76.42 which brings my total up to $120.41. That is not including the coupon money I am in the process of tallying.

The problem I'm having is that my receipts are scattered and I don't know if I'm going to be able to find them all. I guess this is a lesson for me that I need to be more organized. I will make that a goal...be more organized so I can track my savings.

So $120.41 REAL money....I am excited to watch it grow.

Met with Resistance

October 26th, 2006 at 09:45 am

For the past few months Iíve been paying about $1000 each month on the student loan. I really want to get it paid off by the end of next summer/early fall. Other than the mortgage, this is the only debt we have so I want it GONE.

DH has been ok with this until the past few days. Heís going on and on how we should be investing that money rather than paying off the debt. Our investments are doing well and he wants more money for that. Iíve been resisting because I want to pay off the debt first. His student loan rate is rather high (7.25% I believe) and we are doing much better than that with our investments.

We are both teaching the time value of money in our Business Math class and itís spurred him into a battle to redirect our money. Iím not saying heís wrong (I do understand about present and future values), but I really want this debt gone. So we may decide to compromise and put $500 toward the student loans and $500 into the Schwab account. I told him that if he felt that strongly about it he could have $250 from each paycheck direct deposited to Schwab. That way the $$ doesnít stay in our checking acct and get spent elsewhere. So the ball is in his court to actually DO something about it.

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