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Archive for May, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

May 31st, 2010 at 08:04 am

Happy Memorial Day to everyone! I've been having a fun weekend. Saturday was horse races, yesterday was a BBQ at my sisters (and a no spender!). Today is getting stuff done around the house. I spent $40 in gas for the car & the lawn mower. But thats it!

Its very warm out (HOT!) but I still have yet to turn on my air. I have house fans going & am drinking lots of cold drinks. As long as I'm not super uncomfortable, the air stays off!

I'm looking forward to puttering around the house today. When my house is clean and organized, I feel clean and organized. So even though there's lots to do, I'll be doing it while watching tv or taking breaks. Anything I don't get done, just doesn't get done.

My to-do list is as follows:

1. Laundry (DONE)
2. Mow lawn (DONE)
3. pull weeds
4. Work on container garden
5. Clean kitchen, vacuum floor, oil kitchen table (DONE)
6. Wipe kitchen blinds
7. Clean, dust, vaccum living room
8. Clean basement floor, change kitty litter
9. Vac spare bedroom, fill in holes left by old roommate, use magic eraser on walls
10. Clean bedroom, change sheets, vac floor
11. Clean upstairs bath, scrub tub
12. Make meal plan (DONE)
13. Food prep for the week, lunch & dinner at home (DONE)
14. Clean out car (DONE)
15. Organize stuff for verizon rebate (DONE)
16. Anything else that I can fit in! haha

Another June Lunch Challange Invite

May 30th, 2010 at 08:01 am

Hello All! Hope you're enjoying the holiday weekend! I just wanted to reissue an invite to join me in a lunch challange for June.

You can make your own rules -

-How many days in June do you want to pack breakfast/lunch?
-Do you want to add a dollar amount that you can use to supplement what you bring?

For me, I plan on packing my lunch 21 of the 22 work days in June. I also am planning NO spending on additional items.

MonkeyMama is planning to pack 16 out of 20 work days

CrazyLibLady is planning to pack nearly every day
with $2/day for extras

Scottish Girl is planning 16 days

Ima Saver is going to try to eat lunch at home every day.

Dmontngrey packs 99% of the time already - that's something for me to aspire to Smile

My meal plan for this week (and it is subject to change)

Sunday (going to a bbq)
Lunch: Salad w/ tuna at home; food at bbq
Dinner: Pasta with meat sauce

Monday (off work)
Lunch: salad; tuna sandwich
Dinner: shake n bake chicken; potatoes

Tuesday
Lunch: salad, meatloaf muffin
Dinner: Pasta salad

Wednesday
Lunch: Pasta salad
Dinner: Chicken & potatoes

Thursday
Lunch: Salad w/ tuna
Dinner: Sloppy joe over pasta

Friday
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Meatloaf, green beans

Saturday
Lunch: Salad w/ some type of protein
Dinner: Pasta with meat sauce

Great start to the weekend!

May 29th, 2010 at 03:25 pm

So I found some extra money in my budget & upped my entertainment budget from 5/28-6/14 to be $104.19. Which is good, because 2 days in & I've already used a LOT of it.

Last night, I had dinner at home, then met friends at a bar for drinks. They had dinner, I stuck to my one beer. Total $6.00.

Today, I got sandwiches from Subway ($10), waters & snacks ($3.17) for my friend and I, grabbed some beer leftover from my last party, packed a cooler and headed to some horse races. $15 to get in, we set up a table, had our drinks and sandwiches in a cooler, sat on a blanket and watched horse races, while playing games in the sun.

There were some promotional tents set up and I scored a small reusable grocery bag and 2 travel size sunscreens. Fun!

Tonight, I am watching tv/dvds that I have at home. I declined going out and am ready to enjoy a nice meal at home.

It's been very hot out and I've been able to resist turning the heat on with the help of ceiling fans. Yay!!

Friday

May 28th, 2010 at 06:36 am

Happy Friday! I'm ready for my long weekend! Today is payday and already I know that my budget is wayyy too tight. Suffice it to say some things have changed with my income, I no longer have the part time job or a roomate, expenses are creeping up and I have a TON of social obligations coming up.

So I am going to control everything that I can. I have 19 days in this pay period. And for this time, I have (after bills are paid)

$110.00 in my grocery budget
$50.00 in my gas budget
$83.19 in my entertainment budget
$45.00 in birthday gift budget
$21.19 in house budget
$20 Old Navy gift card
$15.00 Target gift card
$10.00 Blockbuster gift card
$25.00 Barnes & Noble gift card

Its going to be tight & I'm going to have to be creative, but I defitely can do it!

Upcoming social expenses

May 27th, 2010 at 10:47 am

Well, I had hoped this weekend was going to be a total stay at home and get stuff done weekend. But of course, its not. Darn me for being so social! ha

Tonight, I have a work happy hour for a higher up that is being promoted. Should be fun & it doesn't hurt to schmooze. (Estimated spending,including some food, $15.00)

Then off to a 2nd bar where my sister is hosting a little birthday celebration for her boyfriend. I am planning on buying them both a shot. (Estimated $15.00)

Friday is a friend's birthday at a local brewery. PLan on eating at home, but will have a beer or 2 ($10) Also need to get a bday gift ($25)

Saturday, I'm driving to the next state with some friends for horseraces. All day event, $15 to get in, plus food/drinks that we can bring as well (estimated $30)

Sunday, my sister is having a bbq. I'm brining a veggie tray - (est spending $7 for veggies & dip)

Monday - a TRUE day off! I plan on hitting the gym & maybe starting to get my downstairs bath ready to paint. Hopefully no spending is needed.

Next week, I have another happy hour (I swear I don't drink a lot!) on Wednesday and a potential date Thurs or Friday.

Also, thanks to those who commented on my June Lunch Challange post! I will repost an invite on Monday to see if anyone else wants to join, or comment!

Lunch Challange -anyone want to join me in June?

May 26th, 2010 at 10:06 am

Of the 3 of us doing the work lunch challange, one backed out halfway through the month and my other coworker is doing better than me! And thats becuase I didn't pack enough & ended up getting an extra snack or soda on 2 occasions. Still within the parameters of the challange, but I really wanted to do better.

So next month, I'm doing another challange. Is anyone interested in joining in? I'm sure some of you already do this pretty regularly, but its something I struggle with and I find it kinda fun to challange myself.

Here are the rules:

1. You can set any rules for yourself, just try to pack food a majority of the time. If you want $1/day for extras or to have 4 freebie days, thats cool. The goal is to save some money!

2. This is just for fun, so if you fall off the wagon... just get back on track if you want Smile

So for me, for June: There are 22 work days. I plan on packing breakfast, lunch & snax 21 of them, with NO spending at all on additional items.

Please comment if you'd like to join me and each week we can update how we did. I know this is a bit early, since Jun doesnt start til next Tues, but that just gives us time to plan our meals!

Already looking forward to the weekend

May 25th, 2010 at 06:59 am

I live near a beach - about 1.5 hours away, but everyone travelling to that beach goes through my area to get there. Roads are backed up, people are jerks in traffic, and the beaches get crowded. So while a lot of friends & coworkers go down to the beach this weekend, I will not.

I have a limited entertainment budget, so my goal is to entertain myself at home. I really just want to rejuice my mental batteries and get my house in order. Especially since I did not do that this weekend.

I already have plans in mind: renting some movies from REdbox, starting redecorating in the downstairs bath (no money out yet - just removing things, spackling and sanding), treating a little mold in my basement, gardening, hitting the gym and just resting.

What are you planning on doing for the holiday weekend?

Gargage Sailing and Farmer's Market

May 22nd, 2010 at 06:20 pm

I went yard sailing with my mom today, from 8am to 12pm. There were a ton of community sales, so we found a lot of bargains. I personally spent $20 and hit pay dirt in the board game catagory. I've been trying to add to my board game collection. Here's what I bought (with pics!)



Yard sale 1: 7 round planters for $3.00. I'm going to grow leaf lettuce in most of them. And some cat nip in one. Also hoping to transplant some mint so I can grow more this year.

Yard Sale 2: Slap Scrabble game & 2 picture frames $3.00



Yard sale 3: Bon Appetite Sign $1.00 (to go in the kitchen)

Yard Sale 4: 3 board games - Sequence, a strategy game I've forgotten the name of (not pictured, as I left it at my friends' house) and Mindtrap $1.00 total.

Yard Sale 5: Bottled water (from kid's stand) $1.00, 7 games & puzzles (Mind trap 2, 4 player air hockey game, Buried Blueprints puzzle, Scatagories, 7 piece combo game set, Jenga, Impossibles puzzle) all for $3.50!!

I found it funny that I found Mindtrap at the the one yard sale & Mindtrap 2 at the next! Also, the air hockey is for my nephew. A present for finishing school & starting summer.



Yard Sale 6: 10 piece gardening kit and Tabletop grill $4.50





Yard Sale 7: 8 paperbacks and 1 hardback for $3.00 (also not pictured)

After yard sailing and a flat tire on my mom's car. I went to the Farmer's Market with some friends. I also brought some of my new games over to play & ended up leaving one at their house. Boooo!

At the farmer's market, I got: Bok choi, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, vine tomatoes (for a mozzerella, basil & tomato salad), celery, carrots, basil, garlic, green peppers and apples. Spent about $19



In the evening, I went to my nephew's ball game, then home to unpack my car! Busy, busy and spendy day. Tomorrow hopefully will be much less Smile

Pays to ask and to pay attention in the first place

May 21st, 2010 at 06:48 am

Last week, at the gas station, I accidentally hit debit instead of credit when paying. I was in a rush & just went with the debit. A few days later, I noticed a $1.50 service charge to my checking from that transaction. I though (and this was dumb) that it was due to my hitting debit by accident and the gas station charged me the fee.

Enter today, when I went to the company ATM (Which has always been free to use) and withdrew some funds. No notice came up at the screen or on the receipt. An hour later, I went online to my checking and found another $1.50 fee. My own bank is charging me a service fee! I've been with them 10 years and this has never happened.

So I called. Turns out that they sent notices back in March that going forward, you get 2 free ATM withdraws at other banks, then they would be charging. I explained that I did not get notification and that I do not recieve paper statements. Since I balance my checkbook off the online, I never even open my online statements - becuase I've already seen all of the activity. LESSON LEARNED - always check statements, even when you have the online activity.

So I explained that I had missed that info the statement & why. And I just asked "is there anything you can do for me?". They credited the $3.00 back. Going forward, I'm on my own though.

I have to rethink the bank I"m with. Good customer service and free checking. But if there's another bank with free checking and no fees at other ATMs, I might switch.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I printed out the statement with the account changes. Yep, the info was all there. Still, I saved myself $3.00!

Happy Friday!

May 21st, 2010 at 05:20 am

I'm so glad for the weekend. Now if only the work day doesnt drag on!

Yesterday, after work, a friend & I walked 3.5 miles around the college town near work. She lives right off the Main ST. After the walk, some friends had text us that they were at the bar around the corner from her place, so we stopped by. 3.5 mile walk, followed by 1 beer! haha - And I was able to do it while on my Weight Watchers. Friends bought the beer, so no spending there.

I did stop at the grocery store & bought 10.45 worth of stuff. I got a new brand of popcorn, which was on sale, but its awful, so I"m returning the 3 other boxes (they were $1 each).

Today, I have a happy hour after work, but I'm only going for 1 drink. Its more of an obligation than something I want to do, so I'm hoping to leave early & head over to the gym.

I have LOTS of things on my To-DO list for this weekend. I really want to get my house/life organized again.

And in less positive news, my airbag light came on in the car, but I can't figure out why. Googled the problem, but didnt get any answers. Probably just a funky sensor, but still annoying.

Frugal Evening!

May 20th, 2010 at 05:49 am

Last night was a challange for my wallet AND my weight loss journey. I went to happy hour with some good friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We've been known to get there around 4:30 and stay til 9, having dinner & several margaritas.

I went with a budget of $10.00 in my head and a 'point budget' for my Weight Watchers. I went a little off plan food-wise, but came in right at $10.00 budget-wise (Including tip). I had 1 margarita and a half order of chicken nachos (Literally chicken plus cheese and tortillas). Even with that splurge, I still technically stayed on my WW plan. Just no more splurges this week unless I earn them with exercise! lol.

Hope everyone's doing well. I'm feeling a little out of sorts due to my house being in a bit of a mess. But I have no major plans this weekend and I hope to be able to rectify that!

Todays spending so far includes a soft pretzel (.55) and a soda (1.35). This is the first soda I've had since Saturday & I only really gave in due to a nasty sinus headache I woke up with. Caffine helps my headaches (go figure).

I also want to get back to my 5 Things list. This is 5 Things off my To-Do list that I will accomplish today.

1. Walk with friend around the university
2. Make dinner at home & prep lunch for tomorrow
3. Put away all clean laundry
4. Make bed
5. Find lost heart rate monitor in house

Wednesday Updates!

May 19th, 2010 at 10:57 am

Well, I'm doing 'ok' with my tight budget this pay period. I don't have my budget in front of me at work, but I have about $35 left in my entertainment budget. I have a work happy hour tonight (Estimated $10) and another Friday, which I'm thinking of skipping out on.

This weekend, I currently have NO plans. Other than a baseball game for my nephew which will be free.

I am hoping to entertainm myself this weekend with some books/movies from the library, planting, cleaning, organizing and going to the gym.

I never made a meal plan for the week, but I'm doing great with packing food for work! I've spent $1.10 this week on soft pretzels only & its been 4 days since I've had any caffine/soda.

I have plenty of food in the freezer: Meatloaf muffins, sloppy joe, ground meat cooked with onion (For pastas or over baked potatoes) and chicken breasts.

On my financial or frugal to-do list for this week/weekend
1. List 5 items on craigslist
2. Take pictures of spare room & put ad on Craigslist
3. Make a financial backuplist (account information, ect)
4. Give self mani/pedi
5. Start planning 6/1 budget

Payday Tomorrow - New budget

May 13th, 2010 at 04:48 pm

Payday is tomorrow & I've already made my $0 based budget. Outside my normal montly bills, I have variable spending in the following catagories:

$45.00 gas
$129.50 groceries (need a good stock-up)
$50.13 entertainment
$26.00 Communion gift
$8.00 misc cheer up gift for a friend

Its going to be a tight month and I'm going to have to get creative with my entertainment. This budget takes me through to the end of the month.

I have 2 work happy hours, 1 friends happy hour, 3 or 4 of my nephew's ballgames, a wine tasting and a movie to fit into that entertainment budget. Should be fun! Luckily the baseball games are free. That helps.

Tomorrow is Friday - I've already packed breakfast & lunch. After work, I will be hitting the library, the dollar store & the grocery store. Then home for an evening in.

Saturday, I'm going to my nephew's ball game, then driving 2 hours to a Communion party, driving 2 hours back home and going to a housewarming. I already have a gift for that.

Sunday will be for the gym ($0), the farmer's market, the other grocery store & cleaning.

I have Monday off work and will be cleaning & organizing the house, hitting the gym and heading to my nephew's ball game that night.

I am hoping to list a few items on Craigslist this weekend as well. Any extra income will be welcome!

Other updates:
Heat went back off at hte house this morning.
Lunch challange is still going strong
Still looking for the roommate

Lunch Challange - And eating healthy on a budget

May 13th, 2010 at 05:46 am

My 2 coworkers and myself are still going strong with the lunch challange. I used the $1.00 rule (allowed $1/day for supplementals to lunches) on 3 occassions - buying a soft pretzel each time.

One of my friends used one of the two freebie days & bought her lunch when she forgot it. The other friend has used the $1/day rule one time when she bought water (Little over a dollar, but since she never used the $1/day, we were fine with it!)

So all in all, things are going very well. I"m working to reduce my grocery spending, plan my meals and stick to my weight watchers.

I find it harder to keep the grocery budget down when trying to eat healthy. For me, it seems its a lot easier to find cheap snacks and foods when they are unhealthy.

There are several things I do to try to keep my healthy grocery budget small:

1. Meal plan
2. Utilize sales on lean meats
3. Use the Farmers market for fresh produce

Stand-by meals for breakfast include:
-cereal & milk
-fruits
-oatmeal
-cottage cheese
-yogurt

Stand-by lunches:
-Salad with chicken
-Salad with tuna
-Pasta salad
-Leftover dinners
-Lean cuisines when on sale & used ONLY when I need a last minute lunch
-Tuna sandwich
-Penut butter & crackers

Stand-by dinners:
-Large salads with tuna or chicken
-Meatloaf muffins
-Shake n bake chicken
-Tacos
-Pasta with meat sauce
-Sloppy joe
-Turkey bacon BLT


I'm looking for new low calorie/fat low expense lunches & dinners. Feel free to share your favorite recipes!

Tight Budget

May 12th, 2010 at 06:45 pm

Well, the roommate is gone (as of last month) and I'm looking for a new one. In the meantime, my budget is TIGHT.

So I am grocery planning, meal planning, gift planning & entertainment planning Smile

I am lowering the cable bill (it was increased with the roomie). I am hoping to keep the air/heat off as much as possible to lower the electric/gas. I am utilizing the library more and am working to stay home & have friends over more often.

Today, my work group volunteered for a thing called "Beauty in the Community". We do yardwork for homes that house special needs people. Couple hours weeding, mulching, trimming & we headed out to lunch. Spent $17, but worth the good company.

Tonight I stayed in and am watching dvds from the library.

Tomorrow, I'm hanging out with a friend - hoping to keep it a free day. We'll see how it goes.

The heat is on today (has been since Sunday due to the crazy chilly weather we're having)

Race for the Cure Philadelphia

May 10th, 2010 at 04:56 pm

Yesterday, I participated in the 20th Annual Philadelphia Race for the Cure. Local news is estimating there were 120 thousand people there. I think the first year, they had under 2000.

We raised a bit of money for the cause and got a nice healthy 5k walk in! They handed out a LOT of freebies - juices, drinks and food.

I came home with a bandana and some coupons for local stores. Food-wise, Wawa literally shoved into my hands: 2 water bottles, a donut, soft pretzel, banana, 2 bags sliced apples, 2 bags grapes, 2 cheese sticks,and 3 large bags of candy.

I drove home to have brunch with my mom, sister, her boyfriend and my nephew. Then had my parents over for dinner - we had take out at my mom's request.

The candy went to my nephew. Rest of the goodies went in the fridge for me!

Today's Food/Spending:
Breakfast: Granola bar & soft pretzel (.55 spent)
Lunch: Pasta salad
Snack: popcorn
2nd Snack: small tomato salad
Dinner: Penne pasta in tomato sauce with homegrown basil and 1 cup spinach. Leftover salad from last night's takeout.

My little indoor garden is growing. I planted some catnip, chives, parsley and something else I can't remember. I have several basil plants going & a tomato plant that I have to transfer soon.

It got really cold over the weekend and I ended up turning on the heat last night. Keeping it at 65, but the heat still is kicking in once in a while.

Day 5 of Lunch Challange!

May 7th, 2010 at 06:17 am

This weeks's spening (so far)
Monday - no spend Packed breakfast & lunch
Tuesday - no spend Packed breakfast & lunch
Wednesday - packed breakfast & lunch
.55 soft pretzel
19.85 groceries
Thursday - no spending for food at work - packed
5.65 veggies at produce stand
40.60 gas
Friday - packed breafast, no lunch at work
.55 soft pretzel

I am heading to the hospital today. A good friend of mine is having back surgery & I"ll be keeping the family company in the waiting room. I packed lunch for work, but found out the surgery got moved up & I'll be heading to the hospital at 10. So no lunch at work for me! HOpe I get to eat the food at some point though. I plan on offering to get lunch for the family - sandwiches or something. So today will be a spender

Lots of plans for the weekend... hope everyone is doing well!

HH

Day 2 May Lunch Challange & a No Spender

May 4th, 2010 at 07:06 pm

Today was Day 2 of the Lunch Challange: Sucess!

Packed breakfast, lunch, snacks & 1 soda. Today ended up being a no spender. I'm hoping tomorrow will be too, but maybe not as I need a quick veggie run for salad stuff.

I had a homeowners informational meeting tonight (go me as VP). we're discussing some law changes that govern our maintenance organization. This is one of three meetings.

Today's Meals:

Breakfast: Granola & cottage Cheese
Snack: popcorn
Lunch: Pasta salad
Dinner: Salad with tuna
Snack: rest of popcorn

Tomorrow, I'm going to my nephews baseball game. Will eat dinner at home first and take a snack/drink with me.

Thursday night is the last HOA meeting
Friday will be movie night at a friends
Saturday I am going to a party, but have leftover beer from my fridge to bring.
Sunday I am walking the Breast Cancer walk in Philly. Already paid for - but I'll need to buy gas. Afterwards, I'll be taking my mom out for Mother's Day.

Todays 5 Things:
1. Call comcast
2. Library drop off
3. HOA meeting
4. Pack lunches
5. Catch up on personal email

Today Started Something Old and yet New

May 3rd, 2010 at 04:08 pm

Well, a while back, I did a lunch challange and it helped me 1. Save Money and 2. Eat Healthy.

For the month of May, 2 coworkers and I are doing a Lunch Challange. There are 20 work days in May. We have challanged ourselves to pack our *HEALTHY* lunches 18 of the next 20 work days. We did set a $1.00 allowance daily to supplement the meals - so if someone wanted milk for their cereal, ect... but I plan on skipping that unless I really, really need to Smile

I'm also trying to curb my soda addiction(AGAIN!) I will drink several throughout a day. I had 2 cans (from home) that I drank at work - there will be NO soda tonight. Hoping to get to 1/day at work for the rest of the week and then go from there.

So today was a no spender. I worked extra hours to be able to flex some of my time on Friday to sit at the hospital while a friend has surgery.

I also was talking about food with some coworkers and I mentioned I was interested in baking my own bread - my manager mentioned she had an unused extra one. So we'll see if she follows through and brings it in. Wouldn't that be awesome?

I turned on the air yesterday mid-day due to it being 88 in the house & extremely humid. I kept the air on overnight and left the air on at 78 while I was gone today. Turned the air off when I came home since it cooled down a bit. Windows are back open and the fan is going!

And I'm going to get back into my 5 Things - I feel so much better when I get something done off my To-Do list, even if its not all of it!

1. Stay on food plan (DONE)
2. Call & reschedule doctors appt (DONE)
3. Make dinner at home & prepack food for tomorrow (Working on it now)
4. Search HOA records for info needed (DONE)
5. Litter box (DONE)

Today's Food:

Breakfast: Granola bar, 1 cup fat free cottage cheese (didnt get to eat the fruit I brought)
Snack: 1 mini bag popcorn
Lunch: LARGE salad with buffalo chicken (grilled)and low fat blue cheese dressing
Snack: Tomato salad
Dinner: Whole grain spaghetti with basil from my plants, tomato sauce & ground turkey with a side of garlic bread