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Archive for January, 2010

Ah, That Warm Baked Cookie Smell.....

January 31st, 2010 at 12:19 pm

is doing me in. Can you really save money on store bought baked goodies when the smell of baking in your house lures both you and Hubby to warm cookies? As a kid, I baked cookies on the weekends for our family. Now, I am rediscovering how enjoyable that is in the winter. Warm kitchen and the smell of cookies. Sigh. I make it a point to eat one of the first batch and one of the last. Hubby is having a harder time of it.

I was filing away a few receipts and found that I had saved about 7 dollars in sales and coupons in the last couple of weeks. Coupled with the 41 cents we found on our walk yesterday, that makes 7.41 to add to our January total. Hubby is really good at this finding money thing. He finds most of it.

I was so excited about hitting our debt harder this month. Then, we got a tuition bill from DD. Sigh. When DS started the per credit cost was about 50 dollars. Now, the per credit cost is almost 250 dollars. No wonder we are going around in circles on this. This is the last semester though. Then, perhaps I won't feel like I'm around and around the same ground......

Coupon and savings money 7.00
Found money .41

total 7.41

Maybe This Will Work.....

January 27th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

because I've made my goal for January of adding at least 20 dollars to the dryer fund. I counted up all the change from the Frog which includes the found change from quite awhile. I ended up with 9 dollars to add to the fund plus a 1936 Liberty head dime. Pretty cool. Note to self...pay closer attention to what coins are in the Frog. You don't know what you might actually find in there. Then, when I went to the store, I saved with coupons and sales at least another 3 dollars. I'm a beginner on the coupon stuff. So, I added 12 dollars to the January total which made the total over 20 dollars. I added the 20 to the dryer fund. I had been putting some extra money in there for a bit before I got the idea to get consistent. It is now up to 100 dollars.

I have decided to ask Hubby to let me count his change before he adds to the Frog. Most of the time, he keeps it. But, most of what he keeps are quarters. So, if he is going to add to the Frog and I am going to be adding found change to the Frog, we don't want to be counting some of it twice. So, I am going to count it when it goes in instead of when it comes out. Mostly, because I don't always put the found change in the Frog. Sometimes, it ends up in the car change thing or purse. This way I can be consistent...and sorta honest with myself.

I went to the doc to pay for some documents they filled out for me, and they returned the self addressed envelope I had given them. Anyone know how to get an unused self stick stamp off an envelope?

Thank You, Ima Saver.....

January 26th, 2010 at 10:50 am

because you've made me think. Hubby and I got into a conversation over a restaurant dinner (I had a coupon and we shared!) to set the parameters of our challenge. I thought that the coupons for things like the dinner which we probably wouldn't have done without it wouldn't be counted in the challenge. But, the things we would need or buy or things on sale that we would normally use anyway we'd count. We wouldn't count sales from some stores that we knew weren't sales at all compared to other stores but just handy at the time. Like Hubby's cokes. At the regular market they are often on "sale" but I know that their usual price at another place is that price anyway. So, it isn't really a "sale" at all. Sound confusing? It is going to take some time to sort out and get into a habit.

But, to explain things in the conversation, I referred to Ima. I told him about her challenges, and that she physically puts the money in an account. I told him about her envelope method and that she puts the extra into these accounts. I then told him that over the last few years, I have watched her save 15 to 20 thousand dollars each year. His mouth dropped open.

Unlike Ima, I'm going to have to use the extra over the budget for debt repayments. But, we are going to save the change, coupon money, and found money and when it adds up to 20 dollars, we'll put it in the dryer fund.

One day, when all is paid off and the kids totally on their own.....I'm aspiring to be another Ima Saver.....

Found money .23

Breathing Easier.....

January 24th, 2010 at 11:22 am

in our neck of the woods. Yesterday, I walked out with the dogs and nearly couldn't breathe. The air was heavy with a horrible odor. We get this sometimes with a refinery/chemical company, but not like this. I was really worried something had happened out there. We're not near anything, but with the right weather conditions it can get a little rank out there. I called the emergency notification line but there wasn't anything major reported by any plant in any of the expanded area. Hubby went outside and told me it was a refinery-like smell rather than chemical. I finally thought to get online and found out that a tanker had run into a barge in a canal passage not even near where we live. The smell was from crude oil that had leaked. Most of it had been pumped out or contained. But, if that is what a small amount of spilled crude smells like even at this distance, I can't imagine what it smelled like nearby. Hubby said it was sulfur so I figured it was a heavy sulfur crude and it was. The hydrogen sulfide is toxic, and I believe flammable. They did evacuate a bunch of people, but said there was no danger. The breeze that kicked up yesterday and today has dissipated what we had hanging around here. I was impressed with the response stuff, and they have a ton of people cleaning it up. We were very lucky I think. It could have been a very big disaster.

On another breathe easy note, Hubby doesn't have to have any more surgery at this time. He's on a medicine/exercises/new type of pillow, splints on the hands regimen. So far, the exercises have helped his shoulders and the splints his hands. The meds have helped his legs, and we just got the pillow. We're working on it. The doc said it wasn't one thing this time. He has several issues at once. We go back in six weeks and we'll find out what he thinks of our efforts. Other than that, the MRI gives him a couple of places to watch.

We took a walk yesterday at the mall since outside really did stink. It was part of the exercise regimen. We promptly found 14 cents. Finding coins was something we used to pass the time during the exercise part of his surgery recuperation. We are just too curious this time to see how much we find total. So, I decided to keep track here of found money and coupon savings. Might motivate us even more. The coupons are only for things we will actually use. I'm thinking of putting the money in the dryer fund. So here's the start:
found money .14
coupons-grocery 1.25
coupons-household 16.00

total day one 17.39

It Always Seems So Quiet....

January 17th, 2010 at 02:01 pm

when a visiting kiddo leaves. DD and Fiance visited for a couple of days this weekend, and I sure appreciated all the technical help they gave me. Our kiddos always help me with the electronic gizmos that I have questions about (like what on earth am I doing). I get a crash course on stuff they do as easy as breathing.

We spent a little on eating out as we were all on the run at times. I had snacks and breakfast and drinks but we ate here and there. We often shared things though, so it shouldn't be too bad. We shopped for a couple of needed things, but most I got on sale. They talked themselves out of all things they saw and that is good. They are doing a better job of control than I am. We did find out that Fiance is going to be out of a job by the summer. That's both a relief and a worry. He doesn't like where he is, which is sad because he's a very easy going guy. But, they also have no idea what's next. We will be supportive of whatever they decide to do.

Hubby is having such mixed results with the medication they tried him on that it will be a relief to revisit the doc and find out what was supposed to happen. That will happen this week. Having company made the time move faster. What is getting confusing is that they don't feel that this time the things with the hands/shoulders and legs/feet are the same problem. So, we may be addressing two issues at once. To top it off, he had to go out to the plant one night and work all night to help fix something then all day, so he's been so tired and bodily wore out that we can't tell if that affected some of the results.

Why is it that they put all the multitude of instructions on the steroid medicine on one bottle in such fine print that neither one of us can really read it without a magnifier? We finally read it off the accompanying paper and made marks on the bottle in large print to remember how many pills on which days. We could make out the words, but the numbers were almost impossible. Sixes look like fives when they are that small. And, vice versa. We also needed the help to remember what day we were on. Sheesh. I have trouble remembering why I walked into a room. This getting older is getting more funny by the day. You have to laugh. What else can you do....

Nickel and Diming....

January 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am

just might work better for me. I tend to save up and try to pay things in big chunks. Sometimes, when the month rolls around, I forget what I had planned from last month. I could blame it on my ADD or something, but I'm not going to let myself get away with that. I have finally joined the recent century and learned bill pay. Wow, the things you can do with that. I've already been sending little chunks of money WHEN I HAVE IT and watching balances go down. No more waiting until the statements come and wondering if I am still following the original plan or have I already changed my mind for another one. Sheesh. No wonder I wasn't getting anywhere.

Hubby got an expense check a couple of days ago in between the running back and forth to the Big City for medical tests. The check was for mileage for meetings. It always covers gas and then there is a little bitty cushion because mileage is a bit over gas costs. For now. Gas is going up, so I'm not sure how long that will work out that way. I took the little remainder and put it on a credit card. Instantly done. Wow. Wonder why it took this old dog so long to learn this new trick.

I'm thinking that this will also keep me thinking about each purchase. I do it anyway, but mostly to see if this purchase will fit in the budgeted amount for that category. Now, I'm wanting to hang on to the money because I can put it somewhere more useful right now. The debt balances. It might be a slow road, but a tortoise I am....

What the Heck....

January 10th, 2010 at 05:03 pm

happened to the gas in the truck? We got into the truck to pick up my prescription today and no gas. Hubby had made sure it had at least half a tank when the freeze hit three days ago. And, we've only gone one place since. Last night, we went out to pick up a salad he wanted at the deli. I almost had a no spend day, but he wanted it and at this point in his stressful waiting period I wasn't arguing. And, we had half a tank of gas then. Last night, the alarm went off late, but I figured the black cat next door set it off again. But, today the gas tank is empty. Zip. On "E." The only thing we figure is that someone siphoned the gas out last night and set off the alarm. It has gone off several times lately, so I think they've been trying to figure out how much they can do before it goes off. It is usually pretty sensitive. We went down and filled it up. It would have been awful to find it empty in the early wee dark hours and 25 degrees tomorrow. But, we figure we lost at least 30 dollars of gas. We went down and bought some locking caps. We'll put them on tomorrow when we can see better. I guess I'll have to ask the elderly neighbor next door if we can put a light on that side of the garage. There isn't one because that's where her bedrooms are. Sigh, I guess this is better than the vandals that smashed our windshields or messed with the tires. We've also had the neighbor's car stolen. We've had egged cars and scratched paint. Sheesh. Well, it got rid of one of the things on my list for hurricane season. I've always had to put my car in the garage (which right now is full of stuff to work on the house) during hurricane season for the reason that gas is often hard to find or expensive if you've gotten several storms in a row. I've worried that someone would resort to taking what gas they can find...even out of our cars. I wanted to get these caps for awhile. I kept wondering why I seemed to have lost a few gallons lately in the car. I don't drive much in town so I couldn't figure out why my gas seemed to be lower than it should be. There are a bunch of kids renting across the street who have a ton of people coming and going and throwing stuff in the yard at times. Maybe, it isn't even someone from the neighborhood...just passing through as a guest. So, we'll try this. Punched a little hole in my gas budget, though.

Goals, What Goals.....

January 9th, 2010 at 07:44 am

We don't do resolutions in January. We set goals for the year. Sometimes, it seems just to survive something with a happy face. This year we were really optimistic. We have DD finishing college and her wedding. And, we have the ton of college debt to make disappear. We spent last year saving because of economic uncertainty and the job layoffs at the plant. This year was debt. Plain and simple. Then.....

Hubby's legs and feet got worse really fast this time. We've got an appointment with the surgeon next week, but I'm pretty sure we'll have the deja vu deal of surgery for the same deal in the same time of year. Actually, our appt. is a week later than two years ago. This is too weird. I think part of our stress comes from hoping that something can be done. One of the docs last time said that he'd be permanently disabled if they didn't relieve the pressure or irritation on his spine. Last time, we knew it was a couple of discs and some bone. I am thinking that the more difficult surgery they decided not to do at the last minute might be in the picture this time. At least we know the doc and have trust in him. However, we know the more difficult surgery takes longer in the hospital and longer to heal with more pain. We don't have that much sick time or vacation time to use and DD's wedding will use some. Maybe, we can work something out.

Then, we got the news that DD's fiance probably won't have a job after June. They aren't getting married for awhile after that, but with her just graduating and him no job....this is getting to be a frustrating first week of the new year. My goals are crashing down all around me.

On another front, we made it under budget for Christmas. I have already started next year's Christmas fund. And, I've finally paid off Windstorm insurance and have started the fund again for next year's. I also owe about 1000 on the truck. I can't wait to see a zero on another line in the budget. Or better yet, remove the thing from it altogether.

I guess this means also that the house repairs are in limbo again. Not only will we need the money for the surgery stuff and deductibles, but Hubby will not be able to do the outside repair stuff that needs to be done. And, with the wedding and final school expenses we won't have money to hire it done. I'm still trudging along on the inside repairs, but maybe I can hire DD's fiance this summer to help me outside......