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Archive for April, 2007

On the Road Again.....

April 25th, 2007 at 11:56 am

On Sunday, DD called. I knew that she'd been sick all week, but she sounded horrible on Sunday. I packed a quick bag and went to see about her. Hubby ran up with me for the day, then he came home to go to work. While he stayed with her, I ran to the store and got some things that she needed. Then on Monday, DD and I found her a doctor just down the street so that she can go whenever she gets that sick again. I stayed until Tuesday and we just hung around and had a restful time. The steroid shot she had turned her into a Santa elf with round, rosy red cheeks. I called the doc to make sure she was okay. At first, I thought it might be the antibiotics. She is still swollen and pink, but that should clear up.

We talked about something that Hubby and I had decided to try. We are going to give her biweekly "paychecks" for her expenses and let her budget it herself. She pays her own bills, has files for each, and I think she would really like this. She has worked and had her own money before, so this would be like getting paid and having to budget. I can see my way to do this now that I have a budget and know what we usually give her. Also, I told her about this website so that she can read and get creative like the folks here. I can't wait to get started. I need to figure out all the particulars and maybe get it set up when our month starts on May 15.
Then she can get started before summer sessions start.

Next step, Hubby and I are talking about paying off more of the credit cards with our savings. The problem is that we have a lot of big expenses coming due. So we need to sit down and plan. It will be a relief to get more of the debt off our shoulders.....

Getting Smarter.....

April 19th, 2007 at 11:57 am

about eating out. We've been doing much better with our eating out dollars. We plan more and try to be smarter about it. Often, we split meals. I'm still working on Hubby getting water instead of a drink, but he's getting on board with most of it. Yesterday, though, he ate lunch out with a co-worker who paid for the meal. He had Chinese and had leftover rice and an eggroll. He didn't bring it home. I could have used those as a leftover lunch. He promised to do better next time. This week, we broke down after several months and gave in to the pizza craving. We used a coupon and got the pizza for 8.55 total. Hubby's half lasted two meals, mine four. So it only cost us about 1.43 per meal. I am still working on avoiding fast food, but occasionally something just screams your name......

Safe vs. Safety....

April 18th, 2007 at 01:30 pm

deposit box. We had that debate in the forums. I received my letter saying that my SAFE deposit box was due for its renewal. The rate schedule said that my SAFETY deposit box would stay the same price. I already had on my calendar to transfer my box from the main office of the credit union to the branch office just opened by my house. The last time I was at the main office, it was just two stories of girders and the vault. They had so much hurricane damage that they had to gut the place. They were operating out of small buildings on the site. Since the new branch is a couple of minutes down the street vs. a 15 to 20 minute drive, I decided to go ahead and transfer the box now. I made sure the branch had a box available in the size I needed, and went to the main branch. I had to thread through the construction to get to the lady at the vault. She gave me a slip that read SAFETY deposit box (in print--she didn't write it). I went back to the branch where they set me up with the new hand scanner and showed me how to get myself out of the vault. No more waiting for someone with a second key to let me in. Wow. I asked about the debate....is it SAFE deposit box or SAFETY deposit box. They said that their material calls it a SAFE deposit box. So I guess that is the real name. But, I've called it SAFETY deposit box for so long that I'll have to practice this one.....

Constipated Shredder.....

April 17th, 2007 at 08:38 am

was the diagnosis by Hubby when my almost new shredder quit working. I was bummed, thinking I would have to buy another new one when I couldn't get this one to working. I saw some papers were jammed, unplugged the machine, and tried to clear it. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't clear completely. Seemed okay to me. But Hubby went and got a screwdriver from my toolbox, took apart the motor housing, and found the entire housing completely jammed with little bits of paper. Nary a clear spot in sight. I have never had a shredder do this. I was busy doing something else, so he declared it constipated, removed a ton of paper, and put it all back together. Works like a charm now. So I didn't have to go into my household goods fund and get a shredder. And I won't let the paper get too full in the little container because unlike my other one, this shredder doesn't work well that way. Now, I can shred up the pile that accummulated recently. It would probably be better for me and the shredder if I figured out how to get rid of all this junk mail that comes here.....

Negative Numbers.....

April 16th, 2007 at 09:35 am

are in WAY too many categories at the end of this budgeting month. It ended on the 14th, and as I transferred the funds to Christmas Club and whatever, I took a really good look. Yikes! Of course, Hubby will get some back on the gasoline budget because of a company trip, but the fun categories were off kilter. The bright spot was groceries. I had 35 dollars left out of 200. That was a first. I usually hit close to zero on that one. But I really have to clamp down on the rest. Sheesh.

I've decided to change the way I do the $20 challenge. I can't really pay myself for things as much because I account for every dollar. So I decided to review the final results for the months of this year. I have a total at the bottom of my budget sheet that represents where I have saved money in each column. That's where the eat at home, not spend on clothes, not use gas monies show up. In the little savings each month. They add up. So I decided to keep on trying to save on water, food, gasoline, electricity, etc., and use those totals as my challenge money. Because it is a challenge to figure out ways to conserve and not spend. Because now, I drink my own water and eat my own food and so forth. I will add up all the little dollars here and there. And those negative numbers are subtracted out. So I only have what I actually did save. The only snag I see is that January falls in the middle of my first month (Dec. 15-Jan. 14)so I will count only half of that one.

Totals: Dec./Jan. 173
Jan./Feb. 337
Feb./Mar. 313
Mar./Apr. 106
$20 challenge total so far...929

So far so good. At this rate, hopefully I'll have 3000 at the end of the year. That will be my goal. Now, I'm off to unplug the television and the microwave....

What's in the Bag.....

April 15th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

I asked Hubby when he came home. Especially since he held it out to me. Oh, goody! I love something in a bag. This time it was fruit. The March of Dimes walk we were supposed to go on Saturday was cancelled due to the weather, and the people-in-charge at Hubby's company didn't want the fruit they had purchased to go to waste. So they let the employees take it home. Hubby brought me a bag of small oranges and bananas. I've been eating on them all weekend. Yum! I LOVE free food. Funny thing is, I've been reading about people getting money after focusing on it. I had spent several days last week saying I wish I had some fresh fruit, but hadn't gotten to the store. Mostly because I was waiting until the 15th when my next month's grocery budget started. Then fruit appeared.....I definitely should start focusing on money...just have to figure out how much.....

And They're Off.....

April 13th, 2007 at 08:33 am

tax papers to the IRS! I always feel relief to get those done. I even hand delivered them to the post office to make sure they got on their way. I love our post guys and gals, but they walk a long way around our neighborhood. A nice kiddo delivered an errant piece of mail to us the other day that got misdelivered to his house. Doesn't happen often, but I sure wanted the tax papers in the brick building and on their way. We're getting around 400 back and that will finish off the fence fund. It's exciting that we have a fund almost completely funded--outside of last year's Christmas Club, I haven't had that success yet.

Looks like the budget took a hit on the kids front this month. We saw various combinations of the kids three different times this month. That includes gas, some eating out, etc. It was so worth it, but I find myself not wanting my end of month savings totals to go down very much. I'll have to save in other areas. And that's okay.

Wow, the hardware store was packed with people yesterday. I guess we are all in that period of time here where we can actually do some outside repairs and inside planning before the extreme heat and humidity hits and we melt just breathing. I picked up paint samples and other small things. I used the new self check out. Since those poor people have a ton of checkouts, but only two people working them, it takes forever sometimes. So I need to remember that I can check out those easy small things myself. Got the samples spread out all over the dining table. Making the decisions is the hard part for me. I am really glad I've been putting money into the household maintenance account. It took a big beating with the plumbing, but now I can buy paint supplies with it. Going to be a busy spring......

Bullies...

April 12th, 2007 at 07:56 am

My little elderly neighbor called me last night. The one who has me and my daughter mixed up. She was upset. Our area has been besieged since the hurricane with unscrupulous people who claim to be contractors, or roofers, or tree people, etc. She got a tree person. He quoted a large price, but she said no. Then they settled on a smaller price, and she designated all she needed done. He agreed, then didn't do but a very little of it and demanded money. She said no because he hadn't done much of anything he agreed on. He cursed at her, called her vile things, and threatened to have an "accident" on her property. He was doing this to a little elderly lady while he stood there with a crew of grown men. She stood up to him. He left without his money. She called the city and the police took a report. Hope they find these guys and run them out of town. They were bullying a little elderly lady. Too bad she didn't call the neighbor on the other side of me. He was home yesterday and would have easily handled those bullies. I sat with her a bit. We got to talking about finances. When her DH passed away in his eighties, she had never paid bills and didn't know anything about their finances. She's had to learn the hard way. And his pension stopped on his death. And she said he left some debts, probably from his final illness. She is rather upbeat about it all. She wanted to know if my insurance had changed the windstorm coverage like hers had. She has to figure out how to come up with a large lump sum at her age. She does have family here that could help, but it made me think. I am very glad that I help do finances and know where everything is. I am very glad we are getting out of debt. I'm very glad we are starting to plan more for retirement. Wow, it sure was a wake up call....
She sent me home with half a cake and a wonderful candle. She's so sweet!

Back away from the baked goods....

April 11th, 2007 at 01:25 pm

Hubby needed a couple of things from the store, so I went to pick them up. Apparently, Wednesday is the day that the store sets out baked goods that are priced for quick sell. Because last Wednesday I succumbed to the lure and bought some yummy muffins. And another kind was there today. Cheap. I know that I can make muffins. I know there are still some in the freezer. I know that I want to do a killer job on the grocery budget this month. I have about 40 left out of 200. I have never had this much left over. And with only 4 days left. So I dawdled. Contemplated. And put them back. And walked away. Whew! That was hard! Next time, maybe I'll skip Wednesday....

Retail Therapy...

April 10th, 2007 at 10:51 am

okay, I did it. I indulged in a little retail therapy yesterday. Wasn't a good thing because it is the last week on my month and the categories are about depleted. We'd had a great time on Easter--crazy weather, but DD was home for a couple of days and we had fun. Monday was a bit stressful because she had to go to the doc to get her meds changed and readjusted. Symptoms were coming back, and we were stressed because we had to figure out the best combination to try to get back on track. It is such a tricky thing to get the meds right and I could tell she was frustrated. The doc is great about letting her decide what is working for her because she is inside the body. But it is hard to tell what is normal feeling and what is symptoms. For some reason, we had a two hour wait to see him! We had a great lunch afterward with Hubby, and off she went to return to school. Hubby went back to work, and I was in another town with a little time. I went to the bookstore.....

I need to answer a couple of questions I found on my blog. Sorry that it took me so long. I think baselle asked about why Hubby couldn't write over a $25 check. I sure was confusing, wasn't I? It is because he can't spend money. And paying bills while I'm out of town about does him in. He can spend on gifts for others really easily, but everything else is hard. So I had to write the check returning his extra money to old company. He couldn't have done it very easily.

Sunshine Suz: My memory is like a sieve these days, but the thing I think I was referring to is in a little town between the Louisiana border and Houston off interstate 10. The little town is called Winnie and I checked the website to see which weekend it is, since I haven't been there in a long while. It said it is held the weekend after the first Monday of the month. It is called the Old Time Trade Days or something like that. On over twenty acres of land. There is another thing between Houston and Austin, but I can't remember how far and I've never been. I just remember there being LOTS of cars trying to get in. The one in Winnie was easy to get in and park, had refreshments and was really interesting. Course it might have had hurricane damage. But I enjoyed it. Was funny to see DD's school principal selling things one time we went. Small world!

Hubby is out of town today. I'm eating leftovers, staying home, and staying out of the stores.

This has been taxing.....

April 7th, 2007 at 12:44 pm

waiting for the corrected W-2. A thank you to the lady we reached that sent it the next day. So I have been able to pencil in the figures for the tax return. Hubby has looked over my numbers and the lines they are on--you can accidently do so much craziness if you aren't careful--and I am ready to finalize, copy and send. We went from owing taxes this year to getting a smidge back. That's just fine with me. Hubby has adjusted his forms at work so we won't be getting big refunds anymore. I've learned from this site that we don't need to loan out that money. We need to put the savings into our accounts and make it work for us! The amount we are getting back is going to the fence fund. It should just about complete the fund. This saving for stuff is a good thing....

As the Wind Blows....

April 5th, 2007 at 02:39 pm

Our insurance company has decided to drop windstorm coverage. We have to get coverage from the state. I met with the agents today from our regular insurance to get the facts and figures. It is going to cost a bit more, and we have to decide on deductibles and so forth. We can have this in escrow, but I think we might do this like the flood policy and pay it ourselves. There is no grace period so the payments have to be on the nose and I don't want there to be a hangup with escrow or the bank. Since I've learned from people on this site to put money aside each month to pay for these once a year things, I know I can do it. We just have to figure out what policy particulars we need. I also have had the lightbulb finally go off from reading posts that we need to put aside the deductible amounts on auto and homeowners and whatever. Makes a lot of sense! So, now we just have to hope for gentle breezes.....