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Archive for April, 2006

Going through my great-aunts house

April 29th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

First, I gotta say YAY! I got more giftcards in the mail today:
$20 Bed, Bath & Beyond
$20 Lowes
Grand total in Gift Cards: $120.00 NICE!

Spent most of the day today with my sister at my great-aunt's house. She passed away last year. We're selling the house at the end of May & we've been sorting through all her stuff. Most of its been falling on my mother's & my shoulders, with my sister helping a little bit.

As sad as it is, we've been dividing up her stuff. Some of it was in her will, but most of the stuff is to be divided between my sister, my mom & myself.

As I'm looking to buy a home soon, this is a blessing. I'm getting the Cherry Dining Room set, which is a table, chairs, buffet, china cabinet & server. All beautiful pieces. I was willed the china. I'm also taking the kitchen table and chairs...they're a pretty oak. I'm taking part of a bedroom set, not all of it is worth taking, so I'm only taking the dresser & the bookcase.

My sister is taking some mirrors & the nicest bedroom set (she's loved it since she was like 6), as well as a loveseat. She also picked out a classic set of Charles Dickens books.

My mother is taking the silver, the tea service and a table.

It seems like I'm getting much more than my mother & sister, but neither one wants or needs any more than what they are taking. When I told them I feel guilty taking so much, they yelled at me. I'm starting with no furniture, so it makes sense to take more.

We've already sorted the most important stuff...the memories. Decades of family pictures & memoribilia. We'll be making copies of the most important pictures & making scrapbooks for each of us as well as a few cousins.

My roommate was surprised that we will be giving the rest of the furniture to an estate company (we get a fee & they take it away). She said she would have kept absolutely everything. I told her we didn't need all of it.

If my aunt's house wasn't in another state, we wouldn't probably use the estate company, but rather sell the pieces ourselves. But with all the travel required, this is just easier and less stressful. As it is, we'll be using a moving company to get the furniture we are taking to our homes.

I'll have to put the pieces in storage until I buy a house...time to revamp the budget again.

cat problems

April 27th, 2006 at 07:51 am

The vet recently put my cat on medicine food due to having crystals. Its a little more pricey, but I love my cat & its really no hardship. But you know its bad when she throws up at least a half cup of food and all you can think is "look at all that food wasted...I wonder how much that just cost me".

All I have to say is that Resolve Carpet cleaner works wonders on that kind of stain. Thank goodness, its new carpet.

$100 left till next Thursday

April 26th, 2006 at 10:15 pm

$100 is no sweat, all my bills are paid for the month, the car is gassed up. I have a big lunch tomorrow which I'm planning on spending about $40.00. I'll pick up a few veggies & stuff for lunches next week (estimated $20)& I'll probably have about $40.00 left to go to school savings.

Things are starting to get tight in terms of income. My work quit offering overtime & they've changed our incentive plan so that the average 1500-2000/mo I received as a top performer is reduced to 200-800/mo. This month, which will appear in my May paycheck, I might get around $300.00 give or take.

I have NEVER budgeted based on my incentive or overtime, but in the time I've been in my department (8 months) I've saved $9000.00 from incentives, paid for a small vacation, bought some much needed bedding and moved. So it was good while it lasted.

Now I REALLY need to buckle down. I've re-evaluated my school savings plan. I miscalculated a little bit on my tuition reimbursement and I definately miscalculated on my books, so I looks like I have to scrounge up more.


My current school savings is $4055.53
My current school goal is $7614.00
My planned savings will bring me to 7485.53 by August, leaving me to find an additional $838.47

I can do it such a short time frame, I just have to buckle down, maybe pick up some extra income...we'll see.

busy day

April 25th, 2006 at 08:32 pm

Very busy day at work today. Plus I cleaned, did laundry, went to the library & ran some errands all before work. Rented 2 movies from the Library.

Treated myself to lunch today--I love the salad place by my work---I can get tons of veggies, turkey, cheese, egg and pasta in one salad...because of all the ingrediants & what I would waste if I went to the grocery store for all of it...I think the salad's a good deal every once in awhile. I do have regular salad fixings at home for everyday lunches.

I've got some small work obligations--we have to send a sympathy gift to one of our managers & we have a birthday this week, plus a promotion for another manager. I'll be shelling out a few bucks for each. I plan for these type of expenses, so it won't hurt too bad.

Now I just have to get through tomorrow at work with no spending. I have off Thursday for my birthday, my mom & I are going to the movies (her treat) and then Friday is my 'liquid' lunch with my friends. yummy.

reading recommendations?

April 22nd, 2006 at 08:26 pm

I finally signed up for the Library early last week. I haven't had a public library card since I was a kid.

I didn't have a lot of time to explore, but I did pick up the following books:
Nice Girls Don't Get Rich by Lois P. Frankel PhD and A Girl Needs Cash by Joan Perry.

I didn't relate to Dr. Frankel's book that well for multiple reasons, but I'm really enjoying Joan Perry's book, mainly due to her writing style. It is a narrative of womens intellectual and emotional dealings with money. The book is giving me a lot to think about.

I will be going back to the library on Monday & I'm very open to any reading suggestions. I'm planning to browse for Tightwad Gazette and for a book on first time homebuying. Let me know whats on your must-read list.

Jackpot!

April 22nd, 2006 at 03:47 pm

I've been reading a lot about how much people like getting the mail to see what surprises came that day and let me just say I think its great too! I love getting surprises!

Since I'm living in my current residence for a short period of time, I have all my mail going to my parents house. They're 20 minutes away & I visit once a week, so its no trouble to get my mail there.

I went today & picked up a little over a week's worth of mail which included:
$20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble
$40.00 gas cards
$20.00 Circuit City gift card
all courtesy of MyPoints. They came really quick too.

I received 2 sets of printable coupons this week for gas & pharmacy rebates. This was a bit problematic, since the first part of the rebate was for gas/pharmacy purchases between January and March. I'm not sure that I have any receipts left for either one of those. I'll have to dig through my stack of papers on my desk. Otherwise, I'll still get at least $30.00 in rebates from each through the year.

Since I've signed up for so many MyPoints programs, I've made a nice Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the dates I signed up, what the gift was, when to cancel, ect. Its actually pretty easy to work with & it keeps me on track.
On Monday I have to cancel a few of these programs.

I paid my credit card in full again on Thursday. This starts my new resolve to no longer use my credit card in an attempt to control spending. We'll see how it goes. I've got a LOT of family & friend birthdays coming up. I'm hoping to use the CC & B&N gift cards for some of those.

I gave my dad $10.00 of the gas cards for helping me to fix my headlight a week or 2 ago.

This upcoming week is my birthday & I budgeted an extra $40 to go out with my friends on Friday. We're going to a restaurant & have fun girlie drinks while sitting on the deck on the river. I'm really looking forward to the splurge.

controlling impulses

April 20th, 2006 at 09:03 pm

Today was not the best spending wise. I planned to eat lunch out & budgeted for $10.00.

I spent:
2.59 at Burger King for breakfast
7.49 for lunch at work
1.25 for soft pretzel at school.
I did have a late dinner at home after class.

Tommorrow I have all my food planned. I will not spend for food or drink. However, I'm stopping at the pet store for cat litter...its desperately needed.

I received a small bonus in this paycheck that I wasn't prepared for & I ended up putting another $120 towards school. I have a certain amount of savings budgeted for each paycheck...so now I only have to find an additional $506 to meet my August goal. Definately doable.

Lessons Learned

April 19th, 2006 at 08:10 pm

I work in banking and I realized today that the people in my department have a saying:

"The one thing I've learned from this job is what not to do with credit card debt"

I've done well so far, pay my card off every month, but I've also realized that I use the card way too much. I rationalize that I'm paying it off, but because I can do so, I use it more than is necessary.

So I am focusing on not using the cards at all (except for school expenses, while waiting on my tuition reimbursement).

For the rest of April and all of May, I vow not to use my credit cards. I will use the cash I have budgeted for and when its done its done. Wish me luck.

Guilt over spending

April 19th, 2006 at 07:14 pm

I packed my dinner as planned, but I didnt prepare for lunch. Today I woke up, worked on school work til 11 & then had to leave for work. I gave in to hunger & stopped at McDonalds on the way and spent $5.00. Well, it didnt cause me to break the bank, but boy am I feeling guilty.

On the upside, I'm mailing out a few rebates today-including 2 from Mypoints trial offers-one for $10.00 of gas & one for $10.00 prescriptions. Hopefully I'll actually see the money. Its a wait & see situation with these programs.

Saving money, now need to make money

April 18th, 2006 at 08:43 pm

No money spent for food or drink at work yesterday or today. Already have my food planned & made for tomorrow. So far so good.

I get paid tomorrow night & I'm looking to put as much as possible into savings. I'm leaving only enough for gas, food & spending in my checking. That way I'll think twice about splurging on anything. I am heavily motivated to save as much as possible so I can quit my job.

Part of the reason I want to find a new job is the income and the lack of career opportunities. I just want to leave, but I want to have money to pay back my tuition reimbursement when I leave. At the same time, I think it would make more sense to wait until August when I graduate with 2 MBA degrees, before finding a new job. So I've set my savings goal to be completed by August.

Total School Goal:
$3311 Tuition for my last 2 classes
$4000 Tuition Reimbursement
$150 Books for last 2 classes
$7461 Total

Current Savings: 3400.00
will deposit 625.00 4/20

On my planned budget, I will have a total of $6835 in savings at the end of August, missing my goal by $626.00.
So my goal is to find that money through
incentive at work, overtime & saving on normal expenses.

I'll keep a running total of what I've saved and how much to goal.

My new budget

April 16th, 2006 at 08:31 pm

While reviewing my budget yet again, I found a few things to reduce & put into savings. I get paid biweekly & plan my budget that way. Other than my fixed expenses like cell phone, school loans, car insurance, rent & medications, I plan for food, gas, spending money, cat, and savings.

Currently, I've been lax about certain expenses, so I am challanging myself to limit my groceries and spending money to a total 80.00 biweekly. It was previously $110.00. I'll keep you guys updated.

Today I spent an unplanned $6.00 at Wawa for forgotten items my parents required for Easter---mustard for the ham...how could they have forgotten that one??

I'm mailing out a $2.00 rebate for some alcohol I bought on Friday...we needed Peach Schnapps for mixed drinks. Who knew that alcohol even had rebates. This is a first for me!

the little things I found while cleaning

April 15th, 2006 at 08:58 pm

I moved a few months ago, yet I still have unpacked boxes. Just 2 of them, but I took the time in the last week to go through them. Some of the things are school related, some just junk and some are my misc. stockpiles. I have birthday & holiday cards that I've bought 2 for $1.00 at the dollar store. I have a small pile, but since I'm also the birthday person at work, that pile comes in handy. I had bought some Easter cards that I had forgotten about...so good timing on that!

I found some old jewelry, nothing special, but I did hit the jackpot when I found a small bag of watches. Every other Christmas, my aunt gave me a watch. It always worked out conveniently that my current watch battery would have just run out. So now I've got about 5 watches, all unique and perfectly wearable, just waiting to have new batteries. She just passed away last year. I plan on taking a few dollars out of my incentive check next week and buying some batteries...I do love jewelry & now I have a pleasant memory of my Aunt!

I found a notebook of financial info from my college days. Apparently, my habits haven't changed...I still write out my budget over and over just to tweek things when needed. It was very interesting to see what little income I had then & what things I spent my money on.

I got Walmart's Swiffer Sample in the mail today. My mom LOVES them, so I gave it to her.

being 5 years old again

April 15th, 2006 at 02:57 pm

I spent $10.00 on lunch for myself, my mom & my 5 year old nephew. After lunch, my nephew & I played outside. He had a bubble machine, so we had a bubbles war & the wind was so active, that waves of bubbles would float through the yard & we should chase after them. I felt 5 again myself.

Tomorrow I'm going to help my mom make dinner for the holiday & I'll help unpack some boxes in their basement. I'm giving my newphew $20.00 for Easter. He told me today that his mommy and mom-mom always take him to the movies & he wants to take them. Now he can! He's SO cute!

Then I'm coming home to make my meal plan for the week, do my homework and do my laundry. I'll probably try to sign up for some new trials through my points. I'm limiting my sign-ups, because if its too much at once, I'm afraid I'll forget to cancel one.

my secret obsession

April 14th, 2006 at 06:26 pm

Recent posts have made me reflect on my frugal habits. Flash's post about trials made me realize I'm obsessed with mypoints. I read the emails, sign up for the newsletters and sign up for the trials. I have a whole spreadsheat of the dates I've signed up, the terms, the reward and when I need to cancel. I definately think its worth it.

However, my family & friends can't be told. They would think I'm crazy, or "cheap". They don't see the need to watch their spending or to concentrate on saving, so they definately wouldn't see the benefit in this type of program. So I do this for myself, but I do it in secret...only sharing with you guys! Glad to have a place to share!

Pididdle!

April 13th, 2006 at 08:49 pm

So, I've been driving around in a pididdle (a car with one headlight out) Who knows how long its been out. I'll pick up a new bulb tomorrow & I'll replace it myself (Dad taught me well).

Next week I am trying to be strictly on budget. I tend to leave myself wiggle room for food and drinks, which I end up using up almost every time. So next week, I plan on bringing my lunches/eating at home every day, except my weekly lunch date on Thursday. All I need is a little self-discipline.

coulda done better today

April 10th, 2006 at 08:09 pm

Still had a bit of a headache, but headed to work anyway. Forgot my packed lunch, didnt have any cash on me, so I used my credit card to buy lunch instead. $7.50, but it'll just come out of the spending money I had for the next two weeks.

So tomorrow is another day. I took the day off to get some things done. Some are just chores & studying, but there are a few frugal things:

-Sort through dvds and video games to go to the resale shop
-Sort through my clothes for Goodwill
-Have dinner with my parents (free meal)
-Cancel my subscriptions for 3 free trials(signed up to get some gift cards)
-Review my budget and finalize my goals for school
-Buy shampoo from Rite Aid & submit for the Gift Certificate Rebate they have.

I did do my grocery shopping today: budgeted for $45.00, paid $37.00 and got everything on my list! Lots of sales. I did pick up an impulse purchase, but I put it back before getting to the checkout...YAY for me!

feeling better

April 9th, 2006 at 03:17 pm

Just woke up and I'm feeling better. Thanks to everyone who wished me well. I'm not 100%, but I'm getting there. I've had migranes since I was a little kid. I have certain triggers, but then sometimes they come without warning.The problem is that even after all these years, my doctor and I are still trying to find the right medicine to stop it completely. I'm pretty sure that work stress caused my headache today tho.

On the upside, my roommates (who own the house we live in) have been gardening all day & have decided that grilling is the way to go for dinner. So we're having burgers, hotdogs, homemade mac-n-cheese and a cucumber & tomato salad. I don't want anyone thinking I'm a big moocher. They tend to feed me on the weekends...because, hey, whats one more mouth, but I pay them back in labor--cleaning the kitchen. Its usually a huge disgusting mess after any meal. They are both WONDERFUL cooks, but not the neatest people ever.

So while I'm laying on the couch, waiting for dinner, I decided to make my grocery list. Usually Sundays are my grocery day, but I'm obviously not up for going out today.

I work from 12 noon to 9pm, so I usually grab food at home for breakfast/lunch and pack a mid-day snack and a dinner for my 4pm lunch break. I'm trying to eat healthier and pack simple meals, so I'm planning my food for the week &
I'll do my shopping after work tomorrow. Its actually a REALLY good time to go, nobody's there.

Here's a sample of my upcoming meals:
BLT and 'baked' fried (cut up potato slices, heavily seasoned and baked), tuna sandwich, sloppy joe, hamburger, fish filet, pasta salad (loaded with veggies, less on the pasta)and regular salad. I also have oatmeal on almost a daily basis for my nightime snack. Its very filling.

I've seen a lot recently about setting more specific goals for ourselves and I just wanted to throw a few out there. This is by no means all of my goals, just a few immediate ones:

1. Spend NO money at work for food or drink or cups of ice (which my work just recently started charging 10 cents for...I'm stopping just short of the normal rant I have on THAT topic).
2. Eat at home (or pack) except for my lunch date with a friend on Thursday. The lunch is already budgeted at $7.00
3. Save all my change in my froggy bank (sorry, no pig) to be used for fun stuff when I go to the beach this summer.
4. Review my budget. I find that each time I look at it, I can scrimp a few extra dollars towards school.

For anyone thats interested, I'll have my tuition goal of $3,600 completed with my next paycheck. My next goal is to save up the $4000.00 tuition reimbursement money that I will need to pay back if/when I quit my job. Currently, I have that planned to be completed by August. I'd really like it a lot sooner.
For my house goals: I have $8174.31 of my own saved money and $8099.98 of money I inherited from my great-aunt.
There's another $2,500 coming when the estate is settled, but I consider that emergency fund money for when I do buy the house.

one way to save money

April 9th, 2006 at 07:44 am

Got a migrane today, so staying inside with soda, food in the house, a dark room and the tv. My meds will put me to sleep in the next few minutes & then I'll sleep til evening. So no money spent, but nothing acommplished either. Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

money attitudes

April 8th, 2006 at 08:05 am

In my 'research' into personal finance, I've become very interested in peoples attitudes about money and where they come from. Of course, some of this is my Psych Major rearing its ugly head, but its still interesting. My parents were big influences. We were never poor growing up, but money was very tight.

My mom is the deal finder, she's really good at finding sales & coupons and saving as much money as possible. But she also buys things just for the deal. Their house is crapped up with about 20 years of junk and unopened items that were bought on the cheap. Recently, they had a pipe burst in their basement and had to junk a lot of it...hope that gives them something to reflect on.

They've had a LOT of financial set backs over the years, huge medical problems, hospital stays & bills,plus a housefire that resulted in us having to move into an apartment for 6 months. AND most recently, the pipe bursting.

I've been very worried about their financial situation, knowing that in their later years, it will be up to me to help them if necessary.

Due to my being in school for Financial Management, my father has taken me aside & shown me their retirement and investment accounts to get some advice from me and he revealed his "secret" to financial planning. He explained it to me this way: Knowing my mother and his spending habits; over the years, he has purposefully kept them cash poor, by heavily funding 401ks, Iras and investment accounts. So they have a lot of savings, much more than I expected, so they're actually much better off than I thought. YAY Dad!

So now I'm taking a hard look at my retiremnent. And as of this last pay period, my 401k is over $10,000.00 This is pretty good considering I've only had the 401k 2.5 years.

On a brighter note, here's a funny story about doing anything just to save a few cents: When I was a kid, my friends dad came home from the store and was all excited because between a sale and coupons, he saved $3.00 on dog biscuits. His family responded "Thats great Dave, but you know we don't have a dog, right??" He was so consumed with the savings, he didnt see that he was actually wasting money by buying the item at all. Ironically, he gave the dog biscuits to his frugal mother, who also does not own a dog, but who fed the biscuits to her cats!! I love that story and it happened like 15 years ago.

Planning my escape

April 7th, 2006 at 08:48 pm

Right now my plans have been to save as much as possible to 2 major goals: The first is to save 3700.00 to finish my last 2 graduate classes. The second is to save $4000 to pay back my tuition reimbursement when I leave my job. (They've paid about 12k, but if I leave, before 2 years, I have to pay back 2006's reimbursement).I'm planning this way, because I don't want to touch my "house" money to pay for school. In the meantime, I AM looking for a new job and if I find one, I may just suck it up and pay back the tuition reimbursement from my house money. My sanity is important enough to put my house goals on hold for a few extra months. So right now I'm in a wait and see situation. On the upside, I came home to a free dinner and a movie. My roommates had made Tacos and rented The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Plus they made margaritas...pretty cheap Friday night for me!

Ha! More money in my paycheck!

April 6th, 2006 at 07:58 pm

Recently I was given a raise at work...normally I'm really good at figuring my net paycheck amount when I get increases in pay or when I change my 401k contributions, but in addition to my raise, I also am receiving shift differential. This change occured a month ago, but between overtime and my incentive bonuses, I still haven't received just a "base pay" check. But today I was paid & I finally was able to figure out that my base take home is $80 more than I thought it would be! All of it is going to savings for school and my house! I'm very excited

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments...I definately don't want to take on more of a house or mortgage than I can handle. I'm thinking very minimal for my first home. 2 bedrooms, 1.5+ baths, townhouse or single family home. I've been reviewing houses in my area, keeping up with the prices and I know exactly what range I'm in. I'll keep the updates coming!

Explaining my name

April 5th, 2006 at 07:29 pm

I know, I know...its a bit much, 2 entries in one night, but I'm so excited about this Blog. I just wanted to explain my name. I really want to buy a house. I've been saving for the last year. Between savings & an inheritance, I have about 17k total. I want to be in a really good position before buying the house, since I'll be doing it as a single person.

I have 25k in student loans, but no credit cards or auto payment(while saving in the last year, I've worked to pay them off). Mainly, I'm concerned with affording the mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities. I really want to find a more stable job before I buy.

Hello all!

April 5th, 2006 at 07:23 pm

Figured I'd just start out by introducing myself. I'm 27 years old, renting, working full time and going to graduate school part time to receive 2 MBAs (one in Financial Management & one in Human Resource Management). I'll be graduating in August and as soon as I'm done I want to find a new job. I am really unhappy at my current one.

I've been weighing my options with leaving my current position now instead of waiting. I currently am receiving tuition reimbursement, and work was providing full reimbursement up to 2006. They changed their policy this year & now I have to pay $3700.00 to finish school. I've saved up the money for these last 2 classes.(Yay me!) So now the issue is that if I leave my position, I have to pay back the tuition reimbursement from 2006...which amounts to $4000.00. I'm seriously considering my options since I'm so stressed out at work.

In terms of spending, and dieting, I was bad today. I brought my nice healthy lunch, but I was so upset at work that I went with $8 worth of comfort food from the cafe instead. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.