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Archive for September, 2006

Bon Voyage....

September 30th, 2006 at 09:55 pm

Weekend is here. Before now, we'd spend a couple of hundred or more just running "errands" and having no real spending plan. Now, we do Frugal Spending. We have a set limit, a plan, and more frugal adventures. Found the bread outlet today. Got a couple of things there. Bought lunch at a new barbecue place with money my mom sent for me to "do lunch one day." I'll have to send her a thank you. Went to the new mega, mega grocery store (size of a small mall) to see what's what. Bought gas there (regular was 1.89!) and walked through hundreds of people. Paid real close attention to prices and only bought things on our list that were good prices. Left with $8 worth of stuff! Made progress with my credit cards. Have paid off and closed those small balance store cards you collect. But the forum said to keep cards open for credit scores. So I transferred a high interest card balance to a low interest one and put the card into the file. We're going to throw a retirement party for our first retired card. Bon voyage Mr. Credit Card!

Plumbing analogy

September 29th, 2006 at 07:31 pm

Okay. So after reorganizing all our insurances, I have a plus in my favor of 10. When I went to pay the mortgage today, I added that ten to my principal. I used to add money quite often, but with the big increases in taxes and insurance, I haven't in a long while. I saw on the forums that so many people do this, and it got me thinking. Even though I only had 10, it will add up. We have discovered a small leak in one of our bathrooms. The way we discovered it was the big puddle. Small drips make a large amount of water over time. So it should be with my 10 dollars. At least in my universe.....

More Insurance....

September 29th, 2006 at 12:25 am

Went back to the insurance company today and finalized my insurance changes--both auto and household. They took time to answer all my questions and I feel like things are set for now. Funny thng is, when all is said and done, I think with all the changes I broke even. So my budget won't be adversely affected. That's a relief. Cos it seems most everything else has gone up! Hubby actually asked me if it was okay to have lunch out tomorrow with co-workers. I thought it was nice since he makes the money and doesn't do much with it for himself. But he knows I've been working real hard to not eat out or spend outside the budget in order to pay off debt. So he asked. Thought that was an affirmation that we were on the same road. Whew! All this brain power has been exhausting.....

Insurances

September 27th, 2006 at 09:04 pm

Wow. My head is spinning. Having to reorganize my auto and home insurances. I spent the last hour and half with the insurance people. I have a great home ins. agent to work with. His office people are terrific. They spent so much time trying to update everything and fill me in on all the changes in the policies. Seems that the insurance company told them that they were dropping windstorm coverage if the policy holders didn't have the car insurance with them also. This is standard I think now within the industry. Since we live in hurricane zones, we have to have windstorm. But our auto policy was with a company from WAY before we bought the house. So I hated to leave them. Not only are they great, they are well priced. But times they are achanging. The house agents weren't even told about the change until AFTER the deadline. So they aren't happy either. Either way, I think I will win out. The house agents are awesome and they did so well after the storm. After some of the horror stories (some people still don't have their money and can't live in their homes), I like my company a lot. So I'll get it all straightened out. But my head is going nuts from all these figures! I am glad I have started budgeting cos it looks like all the new stuff will cost more each month. So I can see what I can afford within my budget. Helps me not to panic as much. Oh well, this is life....

Savings....

September 26th, 2006 at 09:22 pm

Okay, so now that I have my grocery spending down, I decided to try the sales and coupon stuff. We haven't gotten the paper in a year, so I might have to start again. But we do get a mailer once a week from the most expensive grocery and I pick up those coupon thingys at places like Walgreen's. So today while I was out mailing a package to my DD, I stopped at a couple of places to get the good prices on things that I use. I don't usually stock up except for hurricane season, so I don't buy things when I don't need them yet. Until now. I spent 27 and saved 10 with coupons and such. So I guess I had a savings of a little over 25%. It's a start! I am not sure what is a good percentage of savings. I'm not sure what to shoot for. But, it is a baby step in the right direction.....

Buying Gas--Yipee!

September 25th, 2006 at 05:33 pm

We had heard about a gas war going on in the neighboring town. Two grocery stores were battling it out. Turns out we were on their street running an errand this weekend without even thinking about it. We saw that the first store had busy pumps, but no line. Since Hubby's truck needed 3/4 fill-up, we decided to stop. The lowest grade of gas was 1.94 per gallon! The grade we got was 1.99 per gallon! We saw a big drop in the budget for gas coming! Hope you all have the same good fortune in your area.

Fun things I learned....

September 24th, 2006 at 08:16 pm

A news station here set up a blog for information, frustration, and a way for people to connect to each other during our Hurricane Rita "vacation." One of the items was: Fun things I learned during Hurricane Rita. Boy, I wished I had written them down before they were removed after we came back. People kept such a great sense of humor despite all that we went through. In honor of the first year anniversary (today) of Hurricane Rita, here are some of my fun things.
1. Your daughter in law will forgive her in laws from moving in after only three months of marriage, but after three weeks, your dogs will drive her nuts.
2. Toilet tissue is a hot commodity. People and evacuees where we were staying stripped the shelves to prepare for the damage the storm would also bring their way. Police were called due to a fight over the last package of toilet paper.
3. To save the car left behind, you WILL manage to get it in the garage for the first time in 10 years.
4. It takes 16 hours to drive a 2 and 1/2 hour drive if you average 5 mph. most of the way.
5. When the CD player in the truck goes on the fritz, you will go crazy after listening to the same CD for 5 hours. We only had news on the stations until then. And we couldn't take out the CD or it wouldn't work.
6. Your kids will insist on your renting and catching up on the show LOST that you have never seen cos they don't want to have to explain everything.
7. Kids hate to live without TV. Electricity and cable were out for a few days even where we evacuated. Electricity got back online first.
8. Your husband will think you are clairvoyant when you insist that he take a battery lantern with him when he reevacuates to another city to help prepare for cleanup/repairs in the plants. The lights WILL go out on him as he opens his motel door.
9. The roof of the house will sustain holes, but son's old junk car will not have any damage whatsoever. (Course it was hard to tell)
10. Those tranquilizers you got from the vet for the dogs do end up saving your sanity.
11. My daughter found out that you can fit five people, a cat, and a pit bull in a one bedroom apartment for a couple of days with no air and overflowing toilet. She took in a friend's family.
12. And all around you, there are kindnesses from all kinds of people.
Here's to all of those still getting back on their feet. Especially those without homes still. God bless.

I wouldn't have believed it....

September 23rd, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Wow. I used my new spreadsheet and totaled up the groceries from last week. Now, I did grab a couple of things out of the hurricane supplies since our season here is about over. But I don't really stockpile much beyond that stuff because I would not remember I even have it. And there is not too many places to stock it so the hurricane supplies are about it. So I challenged myself to see how long we could go without needing stuff from the store. I did buy a couple of things like a loaf of bread, but mostly stuck with things here and cooked. I could have gone longer, but we want to grill out Sunday dinner. But the total shocked me. I only spent 35 total for the two of us all week. Including paper goods! I haven't done that since we first got married and Hubby was still in college! Course I didn't count the money given to DD for college and I don't know how much she spent for food itself. But I am working on us first. This could be the start of a whole new life.....

The Hubby is on board

September 22nd, 2006 at 07:23 pm

I knew that my Hubby wouldn't be a problem about spending money. He just doesn't do it unless it is dinner out for the kids or something. He is going to put me to shame while I work on this. It is totally within his nature. Maybe a challenge for me would be to see if I could spend less than him. Don't think I could win that one. He showed me more things that I can do on my Excel spreadsheet that helps me keep totals. I had a plan in mind, but didn't know how to set it up. It will be a big help keeping me accountable. Hmmmm. I've been getting my books from the library lately. He is almost out of books, but usually would rather buy a new paperback. Maybe I can win this week....

Vet Visit

September 21st, 2006 at 09:27 pm

They love my dogs. They really do. The westie is such a bundle of energy that it takes at least two people to trim her nails. And even then, they have a real hard time. They had missed a shot with the other dog last month so I had to take her in, also. The old me would have just paid the extra office visit charge. The New Frugal Self asked not to have to pay a second charge. (It wasn't my fault, they had missed it on the list.) And they didn't charge me. Whoohoo! Saved money! I am beginning to like this feeling! It is not hopeless after all. I can make little changes and save a bit at a time and make a difference. Wonder what little hole in the dike I can plug tomorrow....

Hurricane Rita

September 20th, 2006 at 05:56 pm

This week is one year from the preparation, massive migration, and time away from home because of Hurricane Rita. While we didn't get the awful suffering of Katrina victims, so many of whom had been taken in by our communities and had to leave again (!), there are people still struggling. And many didn't come back. People ask why we live near the coast. Believe me, it isn't my first choice. And I know people who have vacation homes on the beach and I wonder about that, too. But these communities are more vital than people realize. The whole area is filled with refineries and chemical companies built way back when oil was nearby. Moving them would be astronomical. My husband's produces chemicals for gasoline, plastics, cleaning products and I don't know what else. So much of our daily lives are tied into these plants. Not to mention the families of oil rig workers and fishermen that live here. And the shipping loading and unloading people in the ports. Then you have medical, educational, and other facilities for all of us. But the sense of community is amazing. We lived away for three weeks while people went around tarping roofs for us and putting things back together--my husband's plant lost 10,000 power poles alone! One town lost their water plant and another let them tie in and get water back to their community. A biker restaurant fed law enforcement people. Local news stations put blogs on the web so you could find out what was going on and talk to each other while you were kept away for three weeks. Also, kudos to those who took people into their churches, schools, etc., and took care of them. (We had our kids to go to.) And those who came with food, water, and a helping hand. I saw real caring. So we stay, pay big premiums, prepare and pray every year. And learn what is really important. I know I wouldn't want to go through it again, but I am grateful for the lessons.

Thinking Twice

September 19th, 2006 at 08:50 pm

You guys are starting to make a difference in the way I think. I went back to the pharmacy (for the third time poor people) to get the remainder of a prescription that they filled for my husband last week. They didn't have enough pills the last time, so he paid the co-pay and we both have tried to get the remaining pills. Seems the insurance company had a screw-up on their end and wouldn't quit charging us another co-pay for the remainder of the pills. Since he had only gotten two pills the first time, another co-pay would have made it a bit expensive, but he needed them, so I didn't really care after the second try. However, the pharmacy waived the co-pay and ate the cost. I appreciated that. But what made me think twice was while I was going through the store, I saw a book that I thought I wanted. I LOVE books. I usually go to the library sales and now I'm once again checking books out of the library to save costs. But I thought about it. It wasn't much, but...Two weeks ago, I probably would have bought it. Now, I'm thinking of how I can put that money on my debt. Since I allow a budgeted amount per day and anything not spent is put immediately on debt, I have motivation every day. I put it back and walked away. Left the store with a loaf of bread, free (sorta) pills and a smile. Thank you!

Where did all the critters come from?

September 18th, 2006 at 05:02 pm

Growing up on a "mini" farm, we raised all our veggies and stuff, but the animals were raised on my grandfather's dairy farm. Mom didn't like animals much. So we had outdoor pets like dogs and a pony. So years ago, when Hubby and DD wanted to help out a dog someone needed to get rid of, I agreed only if it were completely trained cos I knew nothing of indoor animals. Little did I know that I would be "boarding" the family pets. A few years after the first doggie, my daughter saved up her Christmas money and bought her a Westie. Such a cute little thing, hyperactive with lots of personality. Gets along well with numero uno dog. Then she moves away and decides to leave dog with us because the dogs had been together for awhile. Then DS's fiance inherits family dog from her mom and she can't keep it at that time, so elderly little thing comes to stay for a year. Sweet thing that gets along well. Fiance pays for bills, but taking three dogs to the vet to board or something is like driving a sled team. After wedding, kids take the dog home with them and we are back to two. Until a few months later when daughter now in college gets a kitten. Sweetest kitty I have ever known. But this summer she was gone so much we have kitty boarding with us. Now she looks to be staying awhile. We have to keep animals in separate parts of the house and rotate them out every few hours. I took a page out of the financial information here and added monthly expenses for all the pets into my monthly budget so I can keep track. So now, I can be sure I have the money to take care of Allie, Holly, and Lucy. Crazy that I have more Critters than Kids!

The Pirate

September 17th, 2006 at 06:25 pm

Hurricane Rita did a number on fences around here (among the other things). Since roofs are more important and insured, almost everybody in the neighborhood has gotten their new roofs. We live inches apart here (coming from a mini farm growing up it is a switch) so fences help keep the pets and littlest kiddoes from climbing on stuff and getting hurt in your yard. Our neighbor on the right got a bid for his fence and we asked for one too since the neighbor behind us isn't replacing his. The bid was a bit high and we are learning to save in advance for these things, so we decided to wait. I was curious though to see how the fence would come out. The 3 person crew was unusual. In addition to boss guy, there was a small, frail person (gender unknown) and a tall, broad shouldered person dressed like a pirate (also, gender unknown due to hair and dress styles). After the fence was finished, I ran into neighbor who was coming home from work and we inspected the fence. He told me that the boss guy hired physically challenged persons(small woman on dialysis) and mentally challenged persons (tall guy in pirate clothes--neighbor's words this time not mine). Now, my grandmother drove a school bus for years for challenged kids of all kinds. She tried to teach everyone the worthwhile value of all human beings. (She had lost two of her own.) So this touched me. I am still going to save up ahead instead of habits of the past, but I think I'd like to give this guy a call even though he is a bit expensive. I like what he's doing. And who knows, I might get to chat with a pirate....

my daughter's boyfriend

September 16th, 2006 at 03:43 pm

My college DD called yesterday and asked if she could spend $400 on a weekend event for her boyfriend's birthday. After I could breathe again, I thought about it. Now, I've known this young man for years because he is a friend of my college DS. He is the nicest and most thoughtful person. My daughter hasn't had the best of luck with boyfriends and we all conspired (me, DS and DIL) to put them together a few times to see if they would hit it off. They did and we are thrilled. Not only is he fun and considerate and all around nice guy--he is handy. He just saved us over $700 in car repairs on my daughter's car. In addition to a lot of other things he has done. I thought that I might combine their birthdays and give her the money. I think he is worth it. And nope you can't have him.....

the waffle iron

September 15th, 2006 at 08:14 pm

My mother hated her waffle iron. Course mom hates mornings period. But the old ones stuck easily and were hard to clean. Hubby was gone overnight to visit the college kids so I rummaged in the cabinet and found my waffle iron. Now, I love waffles. Thought it would be an inexpensive dinner. Turned out crispy and yummy. I think my waffle iron likes me. I intend to do this more often. Great way to save some money on food. Now, if I could just figure out why the bread machine I got as a gift hates me.....

Ahhh the workboots....

September 14th, 2006 at 09:53 pm

Poor hubby. he is the most generous soul on the planet--except to himself. After not batting an eyelash paying 350 to fix my car again, he agonized over his workboots. Every three or four years, he has to replace the steel-toed boots he wears in the chemical plant after they give up the ghost. He even went and scouted them out and found a sale, but couldn't buy them. I actually have to go with him to pay for them. I talked him into a little more expensive pair that has better fit and a better heel for climbing all that equipment he has to inspect. Then I paid for them. I got an idea from you guys. If I took an envelope, labeled it workboots and put one dollar a week into it, he'll have more than enough money in three years to pay outright for it. I stuck the envelope on the picture board near my computer. He looked at me funny, but then the light bulb went off over his head. This just might work folks. Thanks guys!

Here I Go....

September 13th, 2006 at 11:04 pm

I've been lurking about for a few days and I love this place. Since getting clobbered by Hurricane Rita last year, I lurked on a weather website for the summer and they spent a lot of time sniping at each other. This place is so supportive and fun. I finally decided to join in.
I come from very frugal parents, but I either didn't get the lessons well or didn't get the gene. So I find myself in a big hole. Looking for info, i found this website and have already had so much fun reading the tips and daily triumphs and mishaps. When I found myself constantly saying, "been there" I decided this is for me. Looking forward to spending time with you.