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Archive for May, 2007

couple of financial things

May 31st, 2007 at 08:43 pm

-Had another a/c problem (in addition to the pipe freezing). The same company came out & fixed it free of charge Smile
-Since I had to wait for the a/c guy, I didn't go into work early, therefore losing out on 3 hours of OT
-I am planning on buying the water heater this weekend. Installation is going to nearly as much as the unit. But it'll be worth it since I can't do it by myself. AND they'll haul the old one away for me. I'm working to find coupons.
-I am starting to shop for car insurance. I'm getting some quotes and I even got my free annual copy of my CLUE report just to see whats on there. Nothing is showing, which is very good
-I have an eye doctors appointment tomorrow for a medical issue. So I have to pay the specialists copay of $30.00.
-I'm going to head back to the library tomorrow.
-This weekend, I am going to total my May spending. I can already tell that I grossly overspent in the eating out catagory, so I do plan on making some changes
-I did update debt & savings balances on the side for all to see.

Air Conditioning Update

May 30th, 2007 at 03:53 pm

I used a small company to fix my air conditioning & I feel like I really lucked out. They were very professional and were able to identify and fix the problem quickly. So quickly, that I was able to get into work on time & even get in an hour of overtime! Originally, I took a vacation day for today, because I didn't know how long it would take. I'm glad I didn't have to use the vacation day after all!

I did also find that I have a small leak at the base of my hot water heater (not the faucet). Its the only thing in the house that wasn't in the last 2-3 years. At least according to my home purchase papers Smile So its been on my to do soon list. Now its on my to do immediately list. I'm going to go shopping to price hot water heaters & I'm going to ask around to see who my family and coworkers have had good experience with. I don't have the skills to do the insulation myself, so I'll need to pay for that too.

Total Overtime income for 2007

May 30th, 2007 at 03:49 pm

Just for kicks, I totaled the amount I have earned in overtime since January 1st. The grand total is...... $3,152.54. This is out of 9 paychecks!

I am planning on working 3 hours of OT tomorrow to round out the month. So I'm still due about 25.5 hours of overtime. And I still have the ability to do more OT on Mondays through June.

**edited to add**

Oops, I also forgot the $400.00 in gift cards that I won last month. Its possible that I may be eligible to get them again this month, but its wait and see since my job capacity changed

Lots of upcoming expenses

May 28th, 2007 at 08:36 pm

Just a not-so-quick update

I worked 8 hours of overtime today. The unlimited overtime ends on June 1st. After that, OT will only be available on Mondays for June & likely ending altogether for July.

Halfway through the day today, I called my mom and asked if my family wanted to come over to have some food for the holiday. So my mom supplied baked beans and hotdogs & buns. And I made pasta salad, baked fries, hamburgers and all the fixings. It was completely last minute, but very yummy.

Iíve been stalling on handling my bee problem at the back of the house. But theyíre wood boring bees and Iím actually seeing sawdust on my deck from where theyíve dug on the side of the house. Itíll be pricey to get the guys out here, but I guess itís necessary.

I called around & got several quotes, they all quoted a service of roughly $300-350.00. This includes 2 visits because the bees may come back. Even the guy that came highly recommended to me (the one that did my termite inspection) said $325.00. They are on the roof as well as under the eave, so I can't do this by myself.

I turned on the a/c for the first time yesterday, due to the humidity. However, the a/c sounds like its struggling to work and I went into the basement to check it out and found a big puddle on the floor and it looks like one of the pipes is freezing. So Iím going to make a call tomorrow. Iím Ďcomfortableí right now (my ceiling fans are helping), so Iím going to go into work at 8am for some overtime & I'll call and schedule the appointment for sometime between Wednesday and Friday. I'm hoping this will be an easy fix, but I'll have to wait and see. This problem trumps the bee guy, so Iím going to wait on that for another week or two.

My sister & dad kept playing with my fan in my living room. And they did something to the remote, so I canít get the fan to respond to the remote anymore, although the light still does. I donít have any instruction manuals since the fans came with the house, but itís a Hunter fan, so Iím going to call their customer service tomorrow & see if they can help me. I REALLY hope so!

On Sunday, I signed up for paper delivery (I got caught at a weak moment at the grocery store). So I am going to call and cancel tomorrow.

I also need to call the trash service & let them know Iím going to be putting that broken tv out for pickup. I donít want donate it, since itís completely unusable. When I put it out for trash, Iím going to put a note on the tv, so nobody thinks itís a great find & takes it home.

My electric bill came over the weekend; it was pretty low since I had no heat or air on for the whole month, just the fans when needed. My water bill also arrived. It was higher than I would have liked. Itís on my to-do list to replace the tank parts on both my toilets, since one leaks sometimes and one runs unnecessarily. Iím going to use the $100.00 gift card to Lowes to help with this one.

Iím also going to use the gift card to get a curtain rod, since I 'found' these nice white curtains with flowers embroidered on them from Pottery Barn that I bought in college. Iím going to put the curtains up in my bedroom.

I also need to get something to treat my lawn, which has been neglected. There are a lot of weeds and a large section is pretty brown. So Iím going to buy some lawn stuff to help kill the weeds and grow the grass.


So my game plan for the week is to not spend any unnecessary money. So Iím packing food for tomorrow. Iíll make those necessary calls from work. I do have a few dollars cash, which I'm going to use to get a few more veggies from the store.

I get paid on Thursday & I already planned to send $400.00 to my student loan principle. But depending on the charge for the a/c, I might not send it. It's wait and see for that one. I'd prefer not to dip into my emergency fund right now.

quick updates--more spending :(

May 23rd, 2007 at 07:56 pm

A few posts ago, I made the declaration that I was not going to spend any more money on eating out for the rest of the month. Yup, well that only lasted a few days. I'm in the second day of a migrane and instead of taking meds and staying home, I'm in training at work for a new job that I DONT want to do, that is causing a lot of stress for me AND doesn't get me paid any more. Plus, the tylonol just isn't cutting it.

Today, I ate some food from home & bought take out today. AND I'm planning on doing the same tomorrow.

I've been using some of the leftover money on my birthday visa gift card to pay for the food. Now its gone & I'll be using cash.

On a brighter note, I had a $20.00 gift card to Bed,Bath & Beyond, where I bought a Black and Decker Wet/Dry Vac dustbuter (with 20% off). This way I can clean out my car easily. There are no electrical outlets in the front of my house & I've been pondering how to vaccum out my car easily... I had planned on buying a long indoor/outdoor extention cord & dragging my vaccum outside, but this is a MUCH better idea.

I also got a 3 draw plastic container. I've been wanting one to hold my nails and picture hangers and screws and stuff. I've been using an old tissue box, but this way, things will be much more organized & easy to see.

I also used some cash to buy my mom a pack of those magnetic clasps for jewelry. She's been looking for them for awhile & I saw a pack when I was at the register. She's been buying me a lot of meals recently, so I was happy to get them for her.

I did get 8.5 hours of overtime in last week. I'm probably going to get about 4 to 6 hours in this week. Then I'm going to try to get 4 hours in on Monday (the holiday). And another 4 to 6 hours throughout the rest of next week.

Once June starts, OT will only be able to me on Mondays (my day off). So I'm going to try to take advantage of them for the full month, but we'll see.

I'm reworking my monthly budget. And I'm going to work on setting weekly goals for myself. I'm taking care of that over the weekend.

I also need to shop around for car insurance since my company is increasing my rates and I'm sure I can do better. The company has been good to me, but its getting way too costly.

Just some quick updates

May 20th, 2007 at 09:08 pm

Hereís some random updates:

-I worked 4 hours of OT instead of 5 because our systems went down and I left early
-I mowed the lawn, but I only had one row left when the mower ran out of gas. So instead of having a no spend day, I spent 20 on gas, to fill up my container that I use for the mower & to put some gas in my car. I didnít fill all the way because the prices were high for the weekend & I know the prices will go down later in the week. Other than the gas, this was a no spend day.
-I looked up the value of my car on Kelly Blue Book: The Trade in value is $4,775 and the Private Sale Value is $6295 Ö for a 2001 Hyundai Sonata with 63,959 miles on it
-My car insurance renewal is coming up in June. They were nice enough to send me the new contract along with a letter stating: ďDue to increased costs, blah, blah, blah, we are increasing our rates 10%Ē. They did the same last year & the previous year. Most people I know are saying their rates are DROPPING. So my priority this week is to stop around for car insurance.
-My mom visited some garage sales yesterday & hooked me up with a few books & dvdsÖ Thank Mom!
-I spent no money eating out todayÖ my goal is to do that the rest of the month
-Iím heading to Bed, Bath & Beyond tomorrow armed with a 20% off coupon & $20.00 in gift cards.
-Tomorrow, Iím heading to the bank. I share a safety deposit box with my parents & Iím getting out all my savings bonds. Time to add them up and cash them out. I was just waiting for them to come due

I've been bad, bad, bad with my spending

May 18th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

In the last week and a half, I've been VERY lax in my spending. I've been eating out a lot & its cost me... A LOT. I'm not going to make excuses (of which there are plenty), so I'm just going to suck it up and move on.

I am going to get in a much OT as possible by the end of the month. I've had some changes at work, which make the overtime not so beneficial, plus much more stressful.

So I'm going to do what I can with the OT. In the meantime, I am challenging myself to not eat out at all from today to the end of the month.

I went grocery shopping today and I'm going to pack breakfast & lunch for work tomorrow. In fact, I'm going to leave my cash and credit cards at home. I'll bring my debit card (and leave it in the car while at work), because I need to get gas tomorrow. But thats it. I swear.

I haven't been very good at following through lately, so I'm working on it. I will be spending my lunch hour at the library, which should help. I have a few books to pick up AND I requested The Game (that Michael Douglas movie). It was on tv a week or two ago and I didn't get to watch it, so I requested it from the library instead.

I also have Pan's Labyrinth from Netflix (which I am cancelling at the end of the month).

January Numbers Compared to today's

May 13th, 2007 at 05:42 pm

I was just updating some numbers for myself to see where I stand and decided to share.

January I had a total of $2852.63 in cash savings.

Today I have $9038.44 (not including 401k, IRA, and savings bonds)

Seeing the numbers makes me want to save even more Smile Right now I'm playing on the computer & watching a movie borrowed from the library. I have the heat off, windows open and the lights off. I want to keep my electric bill low, all the extra in that budget catagory goes to the student loans too Smile

I'm going in for overtime tomorrow. Somewhere between 4 & 7 hours. We'll see how I hold up. I'm still feeling a bit ill. If I'm up to it, I have $20.00 in gift cards to Bed, Bath & Beyond, plus a 20% off coupon. Its about a 1/2 hour drive there, but I might go & try to get a few gifts for my gift closet. I have some birthdays coming up soon.

I have about 3500 points in my MyPoints account. I'm thinking about cashing that out too, so I can use a gift card for the birthdays too.

Busy Bee Today

May 12th, 2007 at 05:17 pm

Whew, I'm beat. Today I...

-Woke up at 6am
-Worked from 7am to 5 pm
-Came home and mowed the lawn
-Sprayed a bees nest (getting some on me)
-Showered the bee spray off
-Cleaned the kitchen, washed the floor
-Cleaned the downstairs bathroom
-Picked up dusted & vacummed the living room
-Vacuumed the stairs
-Made dinner
-Quick cleaned the kitchen again
-Ran the dishwasher

Now I'm sitting down to watch thunderstorm thats just starting. Then Im going to watch The Good Shepard & have a cocktail. I really like Amarettos Sours Smile

Tomorrow I'm hanging out with my mom & I'll be tackling the upstairs.

$400.00 in gift cards

May 11th, 2007 at 11:51 am

I won that contest at my work for April. We get $400.00 in gift cards if we make 160% of production, which I hit! YAY!

Anyway, next week I'll be getting:

$100 gift card to Lowes
$100 gift card to Walmart
$200 gift card to Super G

I plan on using the Lowes to replace the insides of my toilets (they keep running). I'm using the Walmart to get some gifts for planned birthdays, some clothes (just for work)and some groceries.The Super G is my regular grocery store, so that should cover my grocery budget for 2-3 months. I'll be putting that grocery money from the budget towards my student loan.

Very nice!

why I do things a little different than Dave Ramsey

May 10th, 2007 at 10:09 am

I love listening to Dave Ramsey's show. I like his Baby Steps. I like the straight up, to the point advice he gives. I think he has a common sense approach to finances.

Now, I started paying attention to my finances before I ever heard about Dave. I had made a budget and given myself goals and set out to achieve them in a manner somewhat similar to Dave's.

However, there are 2 things I feel conflicted on... stopping retirement savings altogether and paying off all my debt with only $1000.00 in an emergency fund.

My parents talked to me for years about the importance of retirement savings. Iras, 401k, ect. I can't seem to get my dad's voice out of my head when I think of stopping the contributions. SO I am bringing it down to 5%, which will allow me to still receive the company match.

Since I am a single woman, living alone, I feel the need to have a much higher emergency fund to feel comfortable. I feel that I need a larger safety net because if something happens, such as breaking a leg & ending up in the hospital, I'm the only person I can rely on to pay my bills.

So I have set a higher emergency fund goal. Its not quite 3-6 months of expenses, but its definately more comfortable. PLUS I do have another source of savings that I'm basically pretending isn't there.

When I bought the house, my county had a down payment program that provided me a $5,000.00 loan towards my closing costs. I had the cash, but I accepted their loan because for the first 3 years, it is completely interest free. So I have my $5,000 cash in my ING account, earning interest and waiting to pay off off the loan in September 2008. If there was ever any major problem, I could touch it, but I REALLY wouldn't ever want to. So I really just pretend it isn't there.

I feel comfortable where my emergency fund currently is at $4,600.01 (I need to update my sidebar numbers). So from now on, all my extra income from overtime, bonuses, ect is going straight to my private student loan. This is something that my parents cosigned for and although they do not have a problem with it, I really want to pay it off as quickly as possible. Then I will work on my Federal student loan.

I'm going to be working up a projection to get the Private loan paid off in 2 to 3 years. Definately doable.

Another Library trip

May 9th, 2007 at 02:04 pm

I have been stressed and sick and whatnot recently, so although I've been doing overtime, my goal is to destress as much as possible this week.

So in the interest of relaxing, I stopped by the library & picked up a few things:

-Green With Envy: Why Keeping Up with the Joneses is keeping us in debt (by Shira Boss)
-Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back (by Karyn Bosnak)
-Haunted Honeymoon on dvd (an old Gene Wilder flick, very funny)

I also have the Total Money Makeover to get through.

At the end of the month I'll be cancelling my Netflix subscpription (I've paid through the 25th). So in preperation, I've requested several new(er) movies from the Library. I'm in line behind several people, so hopefully it'll be my turn around the time that I cancel Netflix.

And as for Netflix, I currently have at my house The Good Shepard, The Guardian, and Unhitched.

Financially, I'm still meeting my goal to track all my spending. I've done very well with this. Each day, I write down any spending in a tiny notebook I carry with me. Then each night, I update it into an Excel spreadsheet. Its been a good system so far & my goal is to track for the whole year. I'm almost halfway through!

I also need to redo my budget, I have some changes that I want to make on it.

As for an overtime count:
Last week I did 15.5 hours
This week I've done 11 so far, with a goal of 16.5 plus any Sunday hours available.

got lots of gripes & a few good things (vent)

May 8th, 2007 at 02:45 pm

The last few days have not been the best. I've been feeling sick again. I have been sick for almost a month now! I am tired, pretty much a Ms. CrankyPants all the time and to top it off, my house is in disarray because all I do is work and sleep.

-So I've been sick.
-My neighbors keep parking in my driveway.
-I'm so ANGRY that my neighbors take advantage of me (and that I couldn't confront them at the time) that I couldn't sleep last night.
-I need sleep because I'm sick
-I bought lunch today & since I collected the money for the group& felt bad for the delivery guy, I put in too much money for tip since others tried to stiff him
-This resulted in me overspending for today
-I was so unable to sleep that I went into work even earlier than I would have and now I"m even more tired. And cranky.

Ok, rant done. Sorry. I just needed to get it out.

Just to throw in a few positives:
-Over the weekend, my mom gave me a huge bag of books that she collected from some friends & yard sales. I love free books and my mom always knows where to find them!
-I finally got Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover from the library...which I'm starting tonight
-I haven't turned on the heat in over 2 weeks
-My parents bought me dinner 2x since last Thursday
-I went to my nephew's karate class and he was a huge show off for his Aunt, it was so cute Smile
-There are new episodes of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on tonight. After which, I plan to go to sleep at exactly 10pm

A LITTLE SPENDING TODAY

May 4th, 2007 at 02:27 pm

I packed dinner for work today and they provided free pizza for lunch. I gave .20 to a coworker for a soda and I spent $1.00 for a library fine.

I was tempted to buy dinner becuase what I packed didn't sound that good, but I just sucked it up and ate what I brought.

I did 2 hours of OT today, I'm working on Sunday for 5 hours. My goal next week is to do 14 hours.

Tonight I'm making a mealplan for next week & I'll be heading to the grocery store on Sunday.

Library dissapointment :(

May 3rd, 2007 at 04:10 pm

I was all excited that I received notice that the book The Total Money Makeover was available for me to pick up at my local library! During my lunch, I drove over to the library only to find it closed! Thursday is their normal closed day & I forgot! For some reason, I keep thinking today is Wednesday! Ooops! So now I have to wait until tomorrow Frown

Back on track,plus any Lost fans out there?

May 3rd, 2007 at 10:58 am

Today was a no spend day... the first of the month! I packed all my food & drinks for work today & I have meal plans for Friday and Saturday.

I'll have completed 10 hours of OT by Friday, and if there are any hours available on Sunday, then I'll work then too.

Yesterday I sent an additional $75.00 payment to my school loan.

I was paid on the 30th, paid all my bills that I pay out of that check. Then I set aside cash for expected expenses between now & the 15th. Since I received the $50.00 visa gift card for my birthday, I decided to use that for some of my expected spending (groceries & gas) and use that extra $50.00 cash towards the student loan. I also used a 10.00 deposit (received for signing up on e-statements on my checking). I also squeezed another 15.00 from the budget.

So between now & the 15th, when I get paid again, I have:

$18.75 Spending money
$40.00 gas money
$10.00 gift (need to plan for mothers day)
$20.00 oil change (need to do asap)
$20.00 medical (expected 3 month supply of 1 prescription)
$6.03 clothes (which I'll be carrying into June)

Plus I have some money sitting in my house checking, ready for my mortgage, water, ect.

I've been listening to Dave Ramsey pretty regularly, so I decided to get the Total Money Makeover from the library again. I'll be picking it up on my lunch break. I'm excited to re-read it.

My goal for May is to limit my discretionary spending as much as possible. I need to prepare for the loss of overtime at the end of May. I also need to look to find alternate sources of income. Fun stuff Smile

And for any Lost fans out there... did you see last nights episode?!? It was SO good. I hear the season finale is going to be a 2 hour episode! Woo hoo!

Terrible Tragedy in my state

May 2nd, 2007 at 08:08 am

Today the road in front of my work was closed due to a school bus driver being stabbed to death on the side of the road. If you look at the attached link, the brick building in the background is my work.

Luckily, this occurred before any children had been picked up on her route. But still it is such a sad thing. She was only 31 years old. I feel for her family and friends.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070502/NEWS/70502019

What really gets me is that people were more concerned with being late to work than with this tragedy. I don't know if its desensitization to violence or just plain selfishness, but I don't understand why my coworkers aren't more affected by what happened.

Dollar Store Fun

May 1st, 2007 at 02:00 pm

I ended up at the Dollar store yesterday & ended up with a bunch of stuff. I got sandwich bags, snack bags, freezer bags and aluminum foil. All of which I last bought (from the dollar store) when I moved in October. So they lasted a long time. I also got a container that I can put my cat food in since the bag keeps ripping open & I ended up with stray cat food in the kitchen. Then I got a couple of birthday, congratulations and thank you cards (all .50 each!). I also picked up a couple of gift bags for my gift box that I keep for unplanned gift giving.

AND the best thing... I bought 2 large posters of Spiderman for my nephew. He can hang them in his bedroom with the Batman posters that he already has. Very cute Smile