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Archive for October, 2009

Beginning of My 10 Day Vacation From Work

October 24th, 2009 at 12:49 am

Woohoo! Today at 3:30, I started the beginning of my 10 day vacation! I don't go back until Tuesday 11/3 Smile

After work, my friend & I went to the dollar store (picked up a makeup travel bag = $1.00). Then to 2 Halloween stores to look at costumes for the Halloween party on the ship. I wanted a new, cute costume, but couldnt justify the price. So instead, I am going with an old sorceress costume that I have (free!).

We went to Michael's crafts after that. My friend is trying to be the skipper from Gilligan's island and wanted to make a life preserver to go with his costume. He got all those items and I ended up buying a piece that was meant for a floral arrangement, but would actually make a good sorceress wand. $2 and it made my costume feel like new! I am hoping to hit the costume stores AFTER Halloween and maybe pick up a good deal on a costume for next year.

I leave for the cruise on Sunday, so I'm spending tonight & tomorrow organizing, cleaning & packing. I am spending time with the kitties who I feel BAD about leaving.

Today's 5 Things:

1. Get bloodwork done before work (DONE)
2. Clean downstairs bath (DONE)
3. Clean out fridge (To be determined!)
4. Do laundry (DONE)
5. Take deck furniture into basement (NOT DONE - came home after dark)

I also cleaned my bedroom and walk in closet, so I did accomplish more than I thought I would.

I also entered Savings Bonds that I have into the treasury calculator. I have a little over $1000.00, which I mean to cash in soon. However, I was checking a specific one that a family member gave me in 1980 and my mom just found in some old paperwork. That thing has a face value of $75 and is worth over $240! I'm heading to the bank to cash that one & 2 others out. I'll leave the rest alone for now & deal with them in 2010.

Hope everyone has a good Friday night!

Christmas 2009 Plans

October 22nd, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Well, I have a budget for Christmas. Normally I'm done my shopping by the first week of November, but I'm running late with this vacation coming up. I'm hoping to have it almost all done by November 15th.

I've already ordered some photos that I'm planning on giving from Snapfish at less than 5 cents per photo. I also supported my nephew's school & bought brownie mix at $10 (ripoff!) which I will make & bring into work at the holidays. I also got a great steal on some painted pub glasses for 2 of my friends for $0!

Family Presents: $156.75
Friend Presents: $84.00
Shipping to London for Uncle: $8.00
Gift wrap/Ribbons: $5.00
Cards: $2.00
Work Party: $20.00
Postage: $8.00
Trees: $60.00
Baking: $10.00

TOTAL budget: $353.75 All of which, I have saved and ready to spend!

Today I am taking a night off from being social & I'm getting a few things done around the house. And maybe I'll do a little playing around with clothes to pack for the trip! Lol, I am SOOOO excited.

And in a nice little surprise, the weather warmed up here & I've had the heat off the last two days.

Today's 5 Things:
1. Pay Bills
2. Go through, file & shred paperwork
3. Clean upstairs bath
4. Organize closet
5. Start pre-packing

Tomorrow's 5 Things:

1. Get bloodwork done before work
2. Clean downstairs bath
3. Clean out fridge
4. Do laundry
5. Take deck furniture into basement

Gearing up for my trip!

October 22nd, 2009 at 12:04 am

I leave Sunday morning & I have a big to-do list to complete this weekend. I want to be prepared to step right back into my daily frugality and organization.

When I leave on Sunday, I will have a clean house, a meal plan for the following week, a grocery shopping list & freshly cleaned bed linens Smile

Tonight, my 5 things are:

1. Organize photos on computer (DONE)
2. Clean kitchen (DONE)
3. Clean living room (Working on it)
4. Clean out car (DONE)
5. Make meal plan & grocery list for 11/2 when get back from cruise (DONE)

Yet Another Migrane

October 19th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I woke up yesterday with a full-blown migrane. There was no chance to pre-empt some of the pain with my normal migrane meds. I did what I could, then called my sister who came over with some soda & crackers. I was too sick to even down that, so she drove me to the medical aid unit. $30.00 copay and one shot later, I was feeling better. Not 100%, but much better than before.

I didn't pack any food for work today given my problems yesterday. And I'm not up to making dinner, so I grabbed some on the way home. Unexpected spending, but definately needed.

I did try to plan 5 Things for today. Mostly sitting down Smile

1. Laundry (DONE)
2. Change sheets (DONE)
3. Meal plan tues - sun (DONE)
4. Budget for rest of this pay period & next pay period. (DONE)
5. Packing list for trip next week (DONE)

Oh yeah, I'm leaving for my cruise on Sunday. I can't wait!! Cruising from Baltimore to Orlando then over to the Bahamas. I have a ton of stuff to do at home before I leave. My mom will be stopping by & taking care of the cats.

Making Decisions on Medical Benefits

October 16th, 2009 at 01:10 am

I work for a big company which sites across the country. So we usually have multiple options to choose from. Its that time of year and once again, I'm comparing my benefits to make my choices for 2010.

VISION: There's only 1 Vision plan option, so I'm going with it Smile I wear glasses & contacts, so I definately need the insurance!

2009 Per Paycheck Cost: $3.80
2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $3.53
2010 Per Paycheck Savings: $0.27


DENTAL:

Plan A 2009 Per Paycheck Cost: $7.00
Plan A 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $7.00
Plan B 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $7.45
Plan C 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $5.05
2010 Per Paycheck Savings With C: $1.95

I currently have Plan A because their cost was not always as high and my dentist, that I've been with for years, was not in any of the plans. The office manager would always discount me and I wouldn't end up paying a difference for being out of plan. That has changed since a new office manager has taken her place.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to break up with my dentist and I've done research to find a new one. I'll be able to switch to plan C.


MEDICAL:

A little background: I have always with one insurance company (B) since I was a teenager. I loved their customer service. But last year, I switched to a new plan (A) due to costs. I wasn't as happy with (A) and was considering switching back to (B). However, that has changed now that I have evaluated the plan options:


I took more than Cost into consideration.

- Plan C covers both in & out of network providers, but only 90% In Network after deducatable and 70% out of Net work.

- Plans A & B cover mostly the same things. However A does not require referrals, which is why the cost is higher. I have a very good relationship with my primary care physician and feel confident that if I need referrals, I will be able to get them and in a timely manner.

Plan A 2009 Per Paycheck Cost: $29.00
Plan A 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $22.70
Plan B 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $64.79
Plan C 2010 Per Paycheck Cost: $38.04

So ultimately, I decided to stay with Plan A.

2010 Per Paycheck Savings with A: $6.30


In conclusion, my premiums will be going down a bit. This is good because I am increasing my HSA amount from $1000 to $1100 this year. Smile

Had To Turn the Heat On :(

October 14th, 2009 at 09:21 pm

Well, temps dropped overnight and a big storm is on its way. I came home from work to a 63 degree house. So the heat went on! I'm officially out of the No Heat Challange. BOOOO !

Getting Colder

October 14th, 2009 at 02:13 am

Oh boy, its getting colder. I'm in the fleece pants and have the down comforter on the bed. The kitties are snuggling with me, so I know they are noticing the tempreture changes, lol.

We're expecting a Nor'easter soon and that is going to make things even colder. I may have to turn the heat on, but I am trying to hold off until the last possible second. I think we're in for a very cold winter.

Today's spending was .55 for a soft pretzel and $7.50 for groceries. Tomorrow, I'm hitting a movie with a friend.

OH! And I found the missing $12 from my budget. I forgot about a return credit on a credit card that I no longer use. I'll put that towards my next gas purchase Smile

Today's 5 Things:

1. Meet buddy at gym (DONE - spent 1 hour for strength training and cardio)
2. Grocery store (DONE)
3. Pack food for tomorrow (DONE)
4. Upload photos to send to mom (DONE
5. Start new stretching routine (for flexibility) (DONE)

Somebody's Got a Case of the Mondays

October 13th, 2009 at 12:23 am

Well, its Monday. I SO can't wait until Friday comes around again!

Today, I skipped the gym and have been chilling at home. We had a big temperature drop today & I'm snuggled up in fleece pants and long sleeve tee & sweater. I'm still hoping to keep the heat off for a while. When I go to bed tonight, I'm putting the down comforter on the bed.

I had a no spender. Packed cheerios for breakfast & pasta salad for lunch. Made a really yummy dinner and have already pre-packed breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.

I did accomplish my 5 Things Today:

1. Reconcile Spending/Budget (DONE)
2. Clear out email Inbox (DONE)
3. Clean kitchen (DONE)
4. Put away laundry (DONE)
5. Plan Meals for this week (DONE)

Meal Plan:

Monday:
Lunch: Pasta Salad
Dinner: Farfalle with tomato sauce

Tuesday:
Lunch: Salad with pasta, soup
Dinner: Taco wrap

Wednesday:
Lunch: Cucumber salad, meatloaf muffin, soup
Dinner: Sloppy joe

Thursday:
Lunch: Salad, meatloaf muffin
Dinner: To be Determined (eating at parents)

Friday:
Lunch: Pasta salad
Dinner: To be determined (possibly eating out)

And I can't believe that NOBODY commented about the dudes in coconut bras in my last post. That was funny to see in person!

Fun and Fairly Frugal Weekend

October 11th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I had a GREAT weekend. Friday night I went to the movies with friends. We saw Zombieland, which was very funny. One friend had free movie passes & refused to let me reinburse her, so I splurged and bought us sodas as a treat ($5.00).

Saturday, I hit the gym, then packed & drove up to a friend's house in the center of West Chester, PA. About an hour drive through some pretty areas, which I enjoyed.

A group of us had tickets to a Brewfest. 40+ breweries to sample. We had great weather and we able to walk around tasting beer for a few hours.

Here's a pick of just a bit of the crowd.



That night, we ordered pizza (my share, $4.00) and stayed in and played games & watched movies. I spent the night and today, we met up with another friend to walk to the local Chili Cookoff 1 block from their house.

68 different groups participated. $10.00 for a wristband and unlimited chili tasing options. Weather was great again and I enjoyed being outside on one of the possible last good weather days of the season. The only other spending was for a fresh lemonade ($3.00) and for a Phillies tee-shirt ($10.00). This has been on my to-buy list for a while & they had cute shirts for a great price.

Here's a view of the tents & crowd.



The tents were run by local businesses and groups and a few had themes.





On my way home today, I stopped at Sears to return a dress (29.99 return). I went to the farmer's market for fresh veggies (4.15) and Walmart for other groceries (6.26).

I am now doing laundry (which I find kinda relaxing). I'm making dinner at home & lunch for tomorrow. Then I'm putting my feet up for the rest of the night.

I hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did!!


Happy October :)

October 9th, 2009 at 12:31 am

So its that time of year. I'm actually a little late putting out the Halloween decorations. I finally got around to it tonight! Woohoo!

Today I packed lunch and came home right after work. So today was a No Spender! I skipped the gym today and came home to have some more Me time. I made dinner at home, cleaned the kitchen, took 10 minutes to pick up the living room & then lugged stuff from the basement to decorate the house for Halloween. I'm not going to actually be in town for the holiday, so I"m not putting anything on the outside of the house.

Here's a few pics:

One of my favorite pieces from PartyLite. If you look close, you'll see the fish bone in the kitty's tummy!



And these are the kitty's counterparts:



And here's an obligatory picture of my naughty little kitty Jack. He knows he's not supposed to get on that table!




Today's 5 Things:

1. Put out Halloween decorations (DONE)
2. Pick up living room (DONE)
3. Pack lunch for tomorrow (DONE)
4. Review benefits options (DONE)
5. Pack library & gym bags for tomorrow (DONE)

Busy, Busy Once Again :)

October 8th, 2009 at 02:27 am

Today was a good day. We had great weather, work was not boring for once, I stuck to my Weight Watchers plan, went to the gym and hung out with a friend tonight. I'm home now, catching up on some email & packing stuff for work food & gym clothes.

AND I still have the heat off, even though its getting cold at night. I'm probably going to pull out my down comforter this weekend.

While at work (and totally allowed), I made some calls as part of today's 5 Things. I got into it and made a few more that were on my to do list.

Today's 5+ Things:

1. Called the vet about cat vaccinations (DONE)

2. Call Comcast (DONE) & got them to bring my bill back to under $100 for cable, phone & internet. My last promotion ran out & the bill jumped up $50 bucks. I got them to knock it down by $60! Woohoo

3. Call eye doctor to determine when I need to come in again (DONE)

4. Research dentist recommendations from coworkers. I need to find an In-Network dentist. Next, I need to break up with my current one. I'm not looking forward to it because I've been with them for like 6 years. (DONE)

5. Research 2010 Benefits changes. There are some small changes, so I'm weighin my options. I have time to decide & I'll definately post about my decision (DONE)

6. Called Home Owners insurance to verify new policy info. My rates actually went down $1.00 from last year and I did some research and I feel like I am still getting a very competitive rate!

7. Redo Meal plan through Sunday. Life happens and I made some changes yesterday & today. All for the good. Had some really yummy pasta for dinner tonight! (DONE)

8. My standards: go to gym, make dinner at home, pack food for work & pack gym bag (DONE)

That Time of Year!

October 7th, 2009 at 02:04 am

As it hits the last quarter of the year, a lot of upcoming financial things come into play.

- Open Enrollment for Insurance. Got the email today and am hoping to go over the options this week. I am not happy with the (cheaper) plan that I currently have and am going to switch back to the moderately priced one that I went with in years prior. The price difference was not worth the problems and hassle that I had this year.

- Holidays. I'm hoping to get Christmas shopping done by the first week of November. Usually my goal is the end of October, but since I'll be on a CRUISE Smile the last week, I'll give myself the extra time.

- Winter. I need to winter-proof the house & car. And get new tires!

- Homeowners Association Fees - $75 per year. Due November. Tonight, I went to the annual meeting for the first time since I bought the house 2 Octobers ago. There was a minimal amount of people although there are 177 houses in my neighborhood. And at the end of the meeting, they were choosing board members. Guess who got volunteered by a whole group of strangers to be Vice President? Moi Smile Well, maybe I can help make some changes or at least learn about the HOA. Its basically a meeting every two months with possible small projects thrown in. Something fun anyway!

Woman with a Plan!

October 5th, 2009 at 04:19 pm

Happy Monday All!

If you haven't already noticed, I am a fan of lists and plans. Following them is always a challange though, because I don't like being told what to do. Even if I'm the one doing the telling! LOL

I have a spending plan, meal plan and workout plan for this week. While at work today, I made a little chart on paper:

MONDAY
Planned Activities: Work, Gym
Planned Spending: $0.50 library fine
Meals: Pasta salad/Shake N Bake Chicken
Exercise: Gym 45 minutes

TUESDAY
Planned Activities: Work, Gym, Civic Association Meeting
Planned Spending: $8.00 groceries
Meals: Sloppy joe/Tuna Wrap
Exercise: Gym 45 minutes

WEDNESDAY
Planned Activities: Work, Gym
Planned Spending: $0.00
Meals: Tuna sandwich/Pasta with meat sauce
Exercise: Gym 45 minutes

THURSDAY
Planned Activities: Work, Park for walking, Nephew's baseball game
Planned Spending: $0.00
Meals: Salad with pasta/Soft taco
Exercise: Park 25 min walk

FRIDAY
Planned Activities: Work, Gym, Movies
Planned Spending: $10
Meals: Turkey Meatloaf Muffin/Salad with pasta
Exercise: Gym 45 minutes

SATURDAY
Planned Activities: Gym, Kennett Brewfest (beer tasting event); Spending night in West Chester
Planned Spending: $15-20 dinner
Meals: Salad & meatloaf for lunch/Dinner out with friends
Exercise: Gym 45 mins in early am.

SUNDAY
Planned Activities: West Chester Chili Cookoff
Planned Spending: $10.00 Cookoff Entrance fee, $5-10 drinks
Meals: Unknown breakfast; chili lunch, salad at home for dinner
Exercise: Walking around cookoff


In other frugal news:

- My heat is still off. I even had the windows open for a few hours yesterday.

- Most of my entertainment (other than planned events) has come in the form of books and movies borrowed from the library & new Fall shows on tv.

- I'm packing all my food for work & saving a bundle

- The addition of exercise into my routine has helped me sleep better and have more energy. Hopefully, in the near future, it will help with some of my health issues.

- The laundry I'm doing tonight will not need the dryer, so all of it will be line dried in the spare room.

Weird Weekend and More Things to do

October 4th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Yesterday, I went to my nephew's baseball game. Spent $5 at the snack stand. Was still feeling really off and I splurged for some food & caffine to help that out.

Afterwards, instead of hitting the gym like I planned, I went home. I thought I'd take a half hour nap & then hit the gym. I laid down & slept for 3.5 hours! Crazy.

I woke up, got dressed, and made some food before heading out to the ghost tour with friends. Ticket was already paid for and someone else drove, so no spending for that even. I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit cheesy. I'd love to go back to Fort Delaware during the daytime and explore.

This morning, I woke up and headed straight to the gym. Then I headed to the grocery store & farmers market. I had a set list, and stuck to it. This pay period (30th thru 14th) I have a budget of $80 for groceries. So far, I've spent 54.97. I have $25.03 left and should be ok since the only items that I have to purchase would be perishables.

Then I came home. Suddenly, I felt really ill and a migrane came on without any warning. I must have pushed myself too hard this weekend, since Friday's migrane came back with a vengance. I have a physical scheduled later this month. I am going to have to talk to my doctor about this.


I would like to thank everyone who picked up my 5 Things. I just wanted to put out there some small goals for myself and the fact that others are joining me, helps motivate me as well as keep me accountable!

Today's 5 Things were:

1. Gym (DONE)
2. Grocery shop (stay within budget)(DONE)
3. Meal plan, pack food for tomorrow (DONE)
4. Clean kitchen (DONE)
5. Prepack library bag (to return), gym bag (DONE)

Tomorrow, my goals are to have a no spend day and to do the following:

1. Gym again
2. Clean living room
3. Laundry
4. Prapack food for Tuesday & Gym clothes
5. Return shirts to Old Navy

Day Off and not finishing things

October 2nd, 2009 at 08:22 pm

So I've learned that although I have a To-Do list, things don't always get accomplished. Lol - I'm sure it happens to everyone Smile

I did not accomplish my calls yesterday, but I completed the other items on my 5 Things list.

Today, I had off of work. I have running non-stop trying to keep my house, life, finances and health in working order. And today, my body told me to STOP. Got myself a nice little migrane.

Today will be a no spender (not that I wasn't planning on that already). I'll be spending most of the day sleeping, but as I seem to have a pattern with migranes, I should feel better for awhile in the afternoon. So I revamped today's 5 things to be the following.

1. Have a me day and rest!(IN PROCESS)
2. Make a yummy lunch & dinner at home (LUNCH DONE, WORKING ON DINNER)
3. Play with the cats (BEEN GOING ON ALL DAY)
4. Upload pics onto computer to send to family (DONE)
5. Read through the posts I've missed on here and post myself (DONE)


I really enjoyed the play that I went to last night. I kept on budget with dinner out, spending $14.00 (including tip) for shrimp and a salad bar. Pretty healthy and yummy.

The play that we went to, Girls Night, was really awesome. The actors were very good, the plot was interesting and the songs and feeling of the play were just plain FUN. It was a really great night.

Tomorrow, I am going to my nephew's baseball game in the morning (FREE). My best friend is meeting us there, so it'll be good to catch up with her (Also FREE)

I hope to hit the gym tomorrow afternoon (depending on the headache) and then tomorrow night I'm taking a Ghost Tour with some friends at Fort Delaware. I'm really looking forward to this one. We will take a ferry over and have a 2 hour guided tour.

Sunday will be grocery shopping & housework. I'm asking my parents over for dinner. Should be a pretty frugal weekend overall.