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Archive for February, 2007

Bitten by the Bug.....

February 27th, 2007 at 07:16 pm

The flu bug. I don't think I've ever had the flu before. Hubby came down with it last week, along with a massive bacterial infection. Try as I might, I knew I would be in trouble this time. So yesterday I went to the doc myself and got some Tamiflu and antibiotics because I was already getting the infection. I was so stressed because we have a very important thing to attend for our DS and I didn't want to miss it. Our medical part of our budget has taken a hit this month, but it's not too bad. At least the money was in there! But when we go visit DS and DIL we will rent a hotel room instead of staying with them. They just got over a stomach flu and don't need anything else! So that will have to come out of somewhere. That's okay. I wouldn't miss his event for anything if I can help it.

At least now I can enjoy the sun shining. We haven't seen much sun in two months here. And the warmer temps. The heating bill should finally take a break. Last month was fairly high for us. So maybe things will all balance out.....

Star Trek

February 22nd, 2007 at 05:38 pm

Went to therapy yesterday and it was great. Had an interesting question posed to me. Who is your favorite character in the old Star Trek series? I thought about it for a bit and realized that my favorite was the doctor. Dry humored, helpful, knowledgeable....Seems that correlates. The doctor was always around, helping out. Supporting. Jumping in when he could help. Never really taking charge, but an important part of the group. And he always had a not take it seriously sort of quip in there. I guess it is supposed to describe characteristics in yourself. I asked Hubby who his favorite was. He is a Scotty. A go to, fix it guy. With a sense of humor. What an interesting idea! I loved the exercise....so who is your favorite and why?

Rockabye Baby!

February 14th, 2007 at 09:01 pm

It's official. DS and DIL are having a baby! This means I'll be a grandma by the fall. DS will be almost exactly one year older than I was when I had him. My baby is having a baby.....

Curses! Foiled Again....

February 13th, 2007 at 04:21 pm

Hubby's trip out of town was cancelled at the last minute. Not that I'm unhappy he'll be home. I'm really glad. But I had planned on no spending to finish up the last two days of my month. I had hung on to the last 4 dollars of my grocery money and was really hoping to make it to the end. I was going freezer diving and finding those things that Hubby hates to eat. Things like fish and peas. He hates the smell of both and I was going to pig out on fish from the freezer. And finish the month in triumph. I know that if he is home, there are a couple of things he is out of that he might want before the two days are up. I told him last night that I wanted to do without, but I don't know if he'll stick with me. I rethought my menu, found something that he could take to work for lunch from the pantry, and found some pork chops in the freezer to thaw. Hopefully, I can persuade him to last two days without his chips or more bottled water. I know he doesn't ask for much, but I really, really wanted to win the challenge with myself.....

Double Dipping...

February 12th, 2007 at 07:11 pm

Our extended family has about a birthday a month. I started a birthday fund to go alongside the Christmas fund and used a little used checking account to keep it in. I put some in each month toward the bigger birthdays (mainly the kids in the family) and thought I was doing great. Yesterday, I bought a couple of things to squirrel away for Christmas and on the way home, I got to thinking about this. I asked Hubby--when do I put in the gift costs, when I incur them or the month I actually send them. He said to put in the month I BUY them. Okay. That sounds right. Then I realized I have too many gift columns. I have a Christmas fund, a birthday fund, and a gift fund. I had been using the gift fund for shipping and other costs. But I also had been putting the birthday gifts in there. And putting money in the birthday fund. Good grief! I have been counting the money twice! I figured out to deduct what I spend on gifts from each fund's allocation for the month and deposit what's left for the next big one. The gift fund will remain for things like valentine's day. I know not to send candy to the kids because I've had it not arrive for two months (actually happened once)or else melt in an outside package mailbox before they could pick it up. (My fault--didn't think about that!) So I need to try to find another type gift to celebrate with them. I also have been known to send "Just Because" gifts to my parents. After all, they have put with me for a lot of years! I think I could have a little fun with this little gift fund. Now that I know what this fund TRULY is.....

I've been thinking.....

February 11th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

I have been reading that so many here have set up allowances for themselves and their SOs. Our budget doesn't really do that. Sounds like a great idea. But I'm the kind of person who needs to account for all my purchases or I totally lose perspective. So my budget contains a category for just about everything. I have included all my vices and all of Hubby's. I have a tiny chocolate category, hobbies, books, clothes, etc. Hubby has his vices and the basketball games. He gets his share of books, music, clothing. We don't spend in all categories every month so the extra goes into savings. And the amounts budgeted are fairly small. Just being able to keep track and see where we were spending the money. It has greatly reduced the stress and also increased our savings. We don't spend as much as we used to because we account for all of it. It seemed to work for us. But what did Hubby REALLY think? I may have overestimated his comfort with this. I decided to try to pin down his thoughts on it. I asked him what he thought of my knowing his every move. He can always access mine, because I insert comments beside the money amounts I spend. But I am usually the only one reading the sheets. He may not like feeling scrutinized. I was thinking of redoing the whole thing and giving him the amounts that belong to him and letting him run with it. No leaving receipts for me to log. He surprised me. He likes the way we are doing it now. He doesn't mind me knowing what's going on. I guess he likes that HE doesn't have to keep track of where his portion is going. I do take care of a lot of things for him--medicine ordered and picked up, meals for lunches, money ready for haircuts, etc. He isn't a real spendy person anyway. Actually this way, I hope he gets to spend more of his hard earned money than me going hog wild and he's only getting what's left. I'm more accountable. He does have to hide gifts from me until I receive them. Those are the only things he charges. This may not work for many. I can see us doing this both ways. I can see that it wouldn't work for say--my parents. For some reason we have fallen into a pattern that works for us. But I am so glad I clarified that what was working okay for me is working okay for him. So onward we go....

The Energizer Dog...

February 9th, 2007 at 06:05 pm

I took DD's doggie to the vet to get her nails trimmed. It is worth the $10 to have help and, let's face it, it is a hoot watching them do it. The doggie is a west highland terrier--westie for short. These little things are cute, very intelligent, have tons of personality, and are bundles of hyperactivity. You can pick this dog up and the little legs keep going. I kid you not. I have gotten her trained to stop long enough and crouch down so I can trim her. But I have to be fast. She's getting better at it. Unlike our
other dog, this one has long, sharp toenails. Not only that, you can't trim much of the end off or she bleeds. We had one scary time when we had to take her to the emergency vet on a Sunday because she broke one off. So, I don't take a chance. Off to the vet once a month to trim those nails. It takes at least two of them, sometimes with me included to hold her down. This dog only weighs about 12 pounds. But she is very strong and moves at the speed of lightning. We are all covered in fur and panting by the time four little paws are done. Yesterday, they introduced a new person working with them to this little procedure with us. Poor thing. She was holding on with a death grip. I appreciate them every time I do this. And I include it as an essential part of the pet budget. All in all...it is a cheap price for a pedicure.

My desk threw up....

February 8th, 2007 at 04:52 pm

Papers are everywhere in the house right now. Don't know how this all got out of control. This morning, I even found the Christmas file. Sheesh. I have been working on financial stuff, the tax file is pending, Christmas file needs to be finalized and put away, paid bills need to be filed, stuff needs to be shredded, and my price book needs holes punched and notebooked. I even have a letter I need to reply to from a friend sitting here from before Christmas. This is seriously looking like a paperwork day. Putting away receipts, unearthing the organizer/calendar, putting things away. I might need to designate a day for organizing papers. I love to play with the computer and spreadsheets and budgets. Now, I have to buckle down and do the not so fun stuff. I'm such a proscratinator. I really don't mind it, I just seem to make a bigger mess than fix the small one. I think paper multiplies like coat hangers.....

The Library Sale....

February 7th, 2007 at 05:39 pm

I have a friend who saves to go quilting in New England once a year. I also know someone who used to save all year to attend an ornament convention every year and loved it. Someone else buys dolls and make wonderful miniatures. My brother and family save to go on a ski trip or beach trip almost every year. I love books. All kinds of books.

My favorite event just for myself, is the big library sale. When I moved from the town where it is held, I paid to keep a library card and pre-internet, we used this library for the extensive reference and other sections for the kiddoes' school projects. I still keep it. I totally forgot about the sale until I received a notice about it. I had not set aside any monies in the budget toward it. I don't need any books, but that is beside the point. I absolutely love to go and browse. And buy. New authors, old authors. So I asked Hubby what he thought I should do. I didn't want to take the challenge money I'd saved. I didn't want to use monies that we accummulate like medical and stuff. I didn't want to use anything that we would need for the month (ending the 14th). And I didn't want to take monies out of emergency fund. We lit upon the clothes budget. We have hardly used the clothing monies in any given month. I've bought a purse and he's bought a couple of things like socks. This month, we have spent nothing. We both need to replace a belt and I need to replace tennis shoes, but those can wait until next month. So, I took the clothing money. And spent it all. I bought a lot of great children's books for that grandchild we might be having this year. I now have a mini library for children. A lot of our children's books were in the areas of the house damaged by the hurricane. And I bought books for myself. I love getting a hardback book I saw a few months ago for $1. Or less on the last day. I was reading one yesterday waiting for Hubby's truck to get its oil changed. And I love getting books that are from loved authors that you can't find as easily. Like a treasure hunt. I love books.

I have added in a line for the sale so I can save up for next year. I was grateful not to feel guilty about spending the money on something I love to do. You guys are right. A budget is freeing not restricting. Having a plan for fun stuff is a great idea!

Did I mention I love books.....?

The Elf and the Shoemaker....

February 5th, 2007 at 07:28 pm

Growing up, I had few shoes. I had long slender feet and they just didn't make too many shoes then that fit. My feet or our budget. So, I usually had a school pair that was comfortable, a dress pair that wasn't, and eventually a tennis pair for...well, tennis. My mother had a shoe thing. Still does. Once, she won a $100 a month shoe spree for a year. It was totally fitting because she loves shoes and has little, cute feet that you find all kinds of shoes for. And she could always find bargains in her size. But I never caught the shoe bug.....

A few years ago, the shoemaking elf came to live in my house. Shoes began to appear in droves. Basically, I went shoe nuts. I bought all kinds of shoes. And I hardly ever wear them. I still have the habit of wearing one or two pairs most of the time. I have given a bunch away and the rest are in plastic clear boxes on my shelf. One whole shelf of stacked shoes. Don't even know for sure what I do have. A year ago, December, I bought a pair of boots on sale with Christmas money from my mom and dad. Thought she would find that funny. Then, I made myself a small challenge without even realizing it. I decided no shoes for a year. Looking at those stacked shoes today, I thought about the fact that I had done it. No shoes last year. How had that happened? I guess the shoe elf moved on, having accomplished his mission. I have shoes for just about everything now. I need to replace the tennis shoes I grabbed out of DD's pile (she's her Nana made over) that she didn't want. But I need to pull out and see what I have and rotate those around so I will wear them. And only buy the one pair that I need to replace. That's the challenge for this year.

Now, what's with the coats and jackets.....

TV or not TV?

February 2nd, 2007 at 07:48 pm

We've become a Nielsen ratings family again. Years ago, we did this. Funny thing was that at the time, Hubby's company gave us a tv almost every Christmas. Was a generous thing, but we ended up with about 9 tvs. Only 3 or 4 (one in the garage in the shop, one in the living room, one in the kitchen, one on the porch)were even on cable, but it was fun hearing the guy's jaw hit the floor when I told him. Nowadays, according to the person I talked to this time, that's not uncommon--even tvs in the bathroom. Wow. We've given tvs away and now only have 3--one of which is not working well. We keep tvs like cars, til they drop. Not going to spend on those nice new flat ones until the price greatly drops. Not that I don't blame people. DD's boyfriend got one and it is NICE.

The funny thing is that when you are held accountable, just like with budgets or the food diary, you tend to analyze what you do. We don't watch that much tv anymore. I tend to watch more after Hubby goes to bed. And it's fun to catch things you've never seen before. The other day, we watched Casablanca for the very first time. But, it will be very interesting to see just what we do watch. I do some stuff to tv. Especially in the evening. Like painting, sewing, crocheting, etc. With a mind like mine, I have to have something to focus it on. Still, we've gotten pickier about what we watch. It will be an interesting experiment. Wonder how much electricity the tv uses? In any case, they sent us $5.00 to do this. I've put it in the $20 challenge money....

Keeping with the Program.....

February 1st, 2007 at 08:00 pm

I realized I have 22 dollars left in the grocery fund with two weeks left in the month. This is just for food. I have money left in paper goods, but I have plenty of paper stuff to last me for the two weeks. I don't want to get into the habit of borrowing from another fund if I can get it to work. So, with that in mind, I wrote out a list of menus for the two weeks. This looks doable. I really haven't gotten the courage to list the "essentials" like milk to see if I can get them all within the 22 dollars. I think we can get really close with this. I'd like to challenge myself to try to finish on target. It's the little things that excite me....