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Archive for July, 2010

Lots of Bargains today!

July 31st, 2010 at 11:37 am

Today, I met up with a friend and we headed to some local Goodwill for Super Saturday. 50% off all clothes. I came home with some GOOD deals.

- 2 pairs of jeans. I currently own one pair & they are getting a hole in them.
- 2 pairs of work pants



- 6 long sleeve shirts
- 1 short sleeve shirt



- 1 pair work shoes (brand new condition)



- 1 pair snow boots (brand new condition)



- Christmas decoration (to be a gift for mom)



- 3 Clue puzzles, 2 board games



Total Spent: $35.00. $7 of that was the games -a splurge since that wasn't 50% off

We went next door to a farmers market (diff than the one closest to me) and she bought a gift for a party & we both tried tons of yummy free samples

Next we hit a liquor store, where I scored a GOOD sale on a wine that I like. Ended up with 3 bottles at $6.99 each (normally $11.99).

And at the liquor store, they were providing wine & cheese samples. Between this & the farmer's market, we didn't even have to stop for lunch.

It was a great day and I am very happy with ALL my purchases.

Lots of Updates

July 28th, 2010 at 11:10 am

Well, my vacation last week was great. I was at the beach Tues thru Thursday, then at a concert Festival Friday and another concert at the state fair on Saturday. Sunday was a lazy day. Breakfast with friends, and then home to unwind.
This week has been uneventful socially. I havenít done anything. I even skipped my weekly Tuesday night at the local pub. I was feeling tired & I wanted to not spend money since I went overboard on vacation 

Yesterday, we had free health screenings at work. Iím a little skeptical, but they did blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body fat. Iím all good except that I am in the overweight category. They havenít explained much yet, but they are going to be starting a health program where we can earn points on a gift card up to $200/year. The first step was this screening, so Iím assuming the hoops they want us to jump through are to change anything that was not in the Ďgood rangeí. Since Iím getting back to the Weight Watchers (Yes, I know, Iím on again, off again), I could earn gift cards for doing what I already am doing. AT the screening, they also gave us a free granola bar & some water. I like freebies.

I am working on my new monthly budget Ė which will include the car payment. It will be tight for the next few months as I do not want to change the amounts Iím paying to debt. But in January, my take home pay should increase as I can now greatly reduce the amount of money I put into my HSA since the big medicine I take FINALLY came out with a generic and is about $100/quarter less!

I have another vacation (Mini) coming up in August. Friends & I are going to be going to the beach for a few days & just renting some hotel rooms. WE have a pretty good deal, but there will be eating out and entertainment. I have funds saved towards that & am looking to add income from a few Craigslist sales to increase that amount.

Since I havenít been going out this week, I have been heavily utilizing the library. Iím on season 5 of Angel and have gone through 3 books since Sunday. Iím a fast reader & LOVE to read.

Hottest Summer - and vacation plans

July 16th, 2010 at 03:01 pm

Where I live, the temps have been on average about 90 degrees this summer, without having a real spring. According to the paper, 'June and the three-month period from May to June were the hottest in 116 years of record-keeping'. So yeah, its hot. I've been utilizing the programmable thermostat and ceiling fans, but the A/C is still running... a LOT.

In other news, as of 3pm today, I am officially on vacation for a week! I am not going anywhere specific and I am looking to not spend a lot of money. But I am planning on having fun.

I have the weekend and Monday to just hang out and have some down time. I am hanging out at home with some friends, reading & watching movies. I might have lunch with my mom Sunday, but its all open to what I feel like doing. Which is definitely different than what I have to do, or what I already committed myself to doing. I am only going to do what I feel like doing Smile (I hope to keep spending to about $25)

Tuesday, I am getting a mani/pedi with a gift card (free) and attending a birthday party in the evening ($25 budgeted).

Wednesday, I am heading down very early in the morning to go to the beach. My sister & her boyfriend rented a house with their kids for the week. I plan on bringing mid-week groceries in exchange for a night on their couch. We plan on going on a Pirate Ship ride ($20), hanging at the beach (free), having dinner & hitting the boardwalk.

Thursday, I will hit the beach alone (which I LOVE) & head back home at a reasonable time. For the 2 days at the beach, including gas & dinner out, I'm looking at at budget of $145.00

Friday, I am attending an all day concert. With food & drinks we will be bringing, parking & emergency water for the 100 degree weather, I have budgeted $90. I hope I am WAY overestimating. But if water inside the complex is $10/bottle, I will be forced to buy it becuase Heat exhaustion is no fun.

Saturday, I am heading to the state fair with friends, we will be seeing Paramour. Entrance into the fair, plus some fun stuff $40 budgeted. Hoping I overestimated here too.

I have cash for all of these activites, but am definitely looking to shave off spending anywhere I can. Tonight is a night in by myself. Roommate is out and I am planning on laying around and enjoying the house to myself. $0 spent for that!

Quick update

July 16th, 2010 at 07:38 am

Still doing very well on the lunch challange. Which is good, because money is somewhat tight. I am off work all next week and although I'm not taking a real vacation, I have several fun things going on. And they cost money.

So I will update with my spending plan/goals for my vacation later. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a good friday!

I"m off to get my tuna sandwich from the work fridge. Yummy lunch Smile

Groceries, Meal Plans & Lunch Challange

July 11th, 2010 at 09:15 am

I picked up some groceries and veggies and am working a meal plan for the week. I am planning on taking breakfast, lunch & snacks to work.

I am prepacking portioned out pretzels, animal crackers, and pb crackers. I made a big bowl of pasta salad that can be taken to work easily. I have apples & bananas. There is NO reason for me to spend anything on food at all.

I meal plan, but switch meals based on what sounds good that night. But here are my meals for the week.

1. Shake N Bake chicken & potatoes
2. Pasta with spinach & ground turkey
3. Meatloaf muffin & potatoes
4. Pasta salad
5. Pasta with spinach & ground turkey
6. Sloppy joe
7. Meatloaf & veggies

Rainy Lazy Saturday & Roommate security

July 10th, 2010 at 11:04 am

Its pouring out and after 2 weeks of 90-100 degree weather, its much needed. Because of the extreme heat, the ground is not prepared for so much rain & I will be checking the basement for water. Although my basement is pretty well sealed, it never hurts to keep an eye on it.

Since its raining, I decided to put my errands on hold & will be going for veggies tomorrow. Tonight I'm heading to a friend's house for movies & bbq. I will bring some type of side, but it will be from the pantry and today will be a no spender!

As for the roommate situation - she paid her 2nd months rent early (yay) and she's been an awesome roommate. I don't have to worry about her moving out too quickly (last roomate stayed 4 months) She's brought a lot of furniture & worked to make the bedroom hers. I'm glad to see she's settling in and it appears for the long haul. So this way, I have steady rental income. Makes me feel VERY good, espectially with the added car expense.

Hope everyone enjoys their Saturday!

Planned weekend expenses

July 9th, 2010 at 07:09 am

I am SO glad today is Friday. Its been a long, stressful week & I need to relax.

My lunch challange has been going well. I have used up my one planned spend day. So I have to be careful to not use anymore.

Tonight, I invited some friends over to play some board games & enjoy the beer in my fridge. But its all last minute, so I don't know who/if anyone is coming yet. If nobody is, I will still have fun as I have some library movies to watch. Tonights spending will be $0

Tomorrow, I have no plans. I will be doing some grocery shopping - veggies only, with a $10 limit.

Sunday, I am watching a horror movie with a friend and her preteen kid. No money should be spent there either.

Since I put pretty much all of my cash to the car deposit, this is very good.

In addition, I have goals for my 'lazy' Saturday. Its still lazy to me, because I do things at my own pace.


-farmer's market for veggies
-laundry
-clean bedroom
-finish cleaning downstairs bath
-organize financial papers (I keep pushing this one off)
-compare homeowners insurance offers
-redo budget
-make plans for summer vacation week
-mani/pedi at home

Bought a car!

July 8th, 2010 at 06:40 am

Well, the insurance confirmed they won't be covering anything with my car incident. I figured as much, but they wanted to check the car out anyway. If there had been any true fire damage or body damage, they would have paid something out. So basically I was left with a not working car.

The car place gave me $500 for the car. Given the car was 9 years old with 88.5k miles on it and the blue book value for that car in 'pristine' condition was $1700, I"m very happy getting $500 for a car without a working engine.

I did have to take a loan to buy the car (booo). The loan is 0% and is 4 years. I hope to have it paid off in 2. I am going to be working very hard to minimize my budget & throw all I can to my debt.

This is not the most ideal situation (I would have wanted to pay cash) but I am already starting to plan for future car expenses/purchases. I won't be surprised by circumstances again.

In other news, I've packed breakfast, lunch & snacks every day of work until today. I didn't get home until late due to the car buying and I was so stressed from this week I just sat on the couch for an hour then went to bed. So I bought breakfast today ($1.05). I have peanut butter crackers & cottage cheese for lunch & popcorn for snack, so I'm cool wtih that.

I will be reworking my paycheck budget for the 15th and my monthly standard budget for the rest of the year to add in the car payment & extra payments. That should be fun.

I also have a few things to put up on Craigslist. I want to use the extra cash for the vacation week that I have scheduled in 2 weeks. I am selling some dvd sets, a wireless router, a cookie press and some other things. Wish me luck!

And lastly, I am back to doing my 5 Things lists. Here are 5 things I will accomplish today:

1. Add new car to insurance
2. Take pics & put up ads on Craigslist
3. Change sheets, put away clean laundry.
4. Pack food for tomorrow
5. Deposit rent check in bank & make payments/transfers as budgeted for the rental income

Ode to my dad and his home repair knowledge

July 7th, 2010 at 08:47 am

My father is a wealth of homeowner knowledge. He has had his own home for 30+ years as well as 25 years of experience repairing appliances as his job. Because of the nature of his work, he has had 2 major back surgeries & cannot do a lot of what he used to. But he is still willing to help me repair things & to pass the knowledge onto me.

For example, last night, he helped me replace the garbage disposal. He let me do a lot of the physical work & talked me through things. But I know that 1. I can do this myself 2. When it comes time to do it in the future, I will have the knowledge. Thanks Dad!

Heís taught me tips of the trade and how to use tools. He gifted me my own (pink) tool kit when I bought the house & has given me many hand-me-downs. Extra screwdrivers, hammers, a drill with bits. But mainly, heís given me the knowledge on how to repair things.

Since Iíve bought the house, heís helped/taught me how to:
-paint a room
-replace the innards of a toilet
-fix a plank on the deck
-clean out dryer vents
-repair dryer issue
-walked me through a hot water heater leak
-change out a garbage disposal

Heís made sure Iím not afraid to try things myself. I certainly can get help when I need it (like around major electrical jobs), but I have the basic knowledge to do things for myself when I can.

So THANKS DAD!

Happy Tuesday!

July 6th, 2010 at 09:29 am

I'm still in a holding pattern on the car situation. Although I can't imagine that the insurance is going to cover anything, they want to send someone to look at the car. I"m not going to argue if they really want to do it.

My mom is still allowing me to use her car. I am doing chores, ect for her in exchange. (Her physical capabilities are limited & my dad has a bad back).

Today, on my lunch break, I went to the library, which was packed! I'm assuming it was so busy because the library was closed Sunday & Monday for the holiday. I picked up 7 books and 1 movie (The Fourth Kind).

I packed breakfast, lunch & snacks today. Tonight I plan on spending $10 on my regular Tuesday night outing with friends. I have taken my spending to pretty much none, but I am going to go out tonight and have a beer and play some darts.

I also plan on buying some contact supplies, but they are covered by my HSA. This is the last year for that benefit!

Had to work today

July 5th, 2010 at 05:39 pm

My friends and family had the day off, but my work did not. Instead we earned a floating holiday. I could have used that to take the day off, but I decided to save it instead.

Being a day after a holiday, the parking lot was only 1/3 filled and the office was very empty. It was a fairly slow day & an hour prior to my end time, a manager called & told us to leave 1 hour early. That was a nice surprise!

I spent $5.00 on groceries from the dollar store & roughly $85 on a new garbage disposal. Not a planned expense for this month, but a necessary one since the kitchen sink is backed up from the old one breaking.

I packed all my food for work & already pre-packed food for tomorrow.

I'm still waiting to hear from the car insurance company. I just need to confirm they talked to the auto repair place about what happened & that they will close the case. I do not think anything will be covered since this technically was not an accident. They only opened the claim because the car had been on fire.

So hopefully, tomorrow I hope to hear that they closed the case. I just didnt want to buy a new car & put it on my insurance when I haven't gotten rid of the old one. Wish me luck!

No spender yesterday

July 5th, 2010 at 04:55 am

So yesterday was a no spender. My mom was nice enough to pick me up and take me to my friend bbq where she ended up hanging out too. Childhood friend who knows my mom well invited her. I supplied a veggie tray & tried to give money to my mom who picked up dip, but she refused. So it did end up being a no-spender.

I did not make it to the University fireworks, although some people from the party headed over. I wasn't feeling so hot, so I headed home around 9 & went to bed.

Today, I've packed breakfast (breakfast potatoes & cottage cheese), lunch (tuna on bagel thin) and snack (all bran crackers and popcorn).

I have borrowed my mom's car today, so I will be running a few errands - library, dollar store. I am pretty much stopped with spending until I deal with this car situation, but I do need a couple of things from the dollar store to hold me over.

Making Do

July 3rd, 2010 at 05:56 pm

Well, while I am settling finances in preperation for buying a car, I am in a self-imposed spending freeze. I bought some veggies today, but other than that, am hoping to have no spending until at least Tuesday.

This weekend, I am carless. I will mostly be at home until my mom gives me a ride to a bbq tomorrow (in her neighborhood) and I will borrow her car tomorrow night to get to work Monday.

However, life happens & I had to find ways to make due.

1. I have a problem with the kitchen sink. My dad has promised to come over Tuesday night & help me fix it. In the meantime, it will drain small streams of water, but clogs the second a larger stream happens.

I have been handwashing dishes, then rinsing in a big mixing bowl. Then pouring the water in the bowl into my downstairs bathroom sink. Its not pretty, but it works.

2. My tomato plant is growing & I needed to stake it. Howver, I have no plant ties or twisty ties or anything like that. So I used gift ribbon. Its kinda pretty to be honest Smile



3. I am bringing a veggie tray to the bbq tomorrow and in addition, I wanted to bring a gift. So I am portioning off some of my mint & giving that as a gift. The host loves plants & recently gave me some aloe, so I know she will appreciate this.

4. I wanted a plant stand to put my Meyer Lemon tree nearer to the window. I re-used an old ikea table that was down the basement. Works perfectly!

Saturday To-Dos

July 3rd, 2010 at 06:31 am

Well, I am carless today, but my mom has kindly offered to drive me to the bank as well as the store for some groceries. Other than that, I will be housebound today. So I am taking advantage of the time & getting some stuff done.

1. Bank to cash savings bonds [done]
2. Grocery shop [done $10.48 at farmer's market]
3. Brown ground turkey & portion for freezer [done]
4. Make a pasta salad for the week [done]
5. Clean kitchen, wash floor [done]
6. Clean living room, dust & vacuum [done]
7. Clean nook by basement stairs [done]
8. Clean litter box [done]
9. Clean downstairs bathroom [done]
10. Tend container garden [done]
11. Clean upstairs bath
12. Clean bedroom
13. Clean out closet
14. organize rest of financial paperwork
15. Give self mani/pedi
16. Laundry [2 loads done]

Car Situation - not the best, not the worst

July 2nd, 2010 at 07:20 pm

Monkeymama mentioned she was looking to see if I'd been saving for a car & I will admit, I've made a mistake here. My car was in pretty good condition and there'd been no indication of any major problems. I planned putting more toward auto savings starting this summer for a new to me car in about 2 years (when my car hit about 11 years in age and closer to 100k miles).

Well, plans change & I have learned to not make assumptions on the longevity in my car. I have about $2.5-3k in cash to put down, so thats something.

I am looking at a car payment though, at least for a little while (I will aggressively be paying down the loan asap). I also have been scouring online & local dealers and I'm having trouble finding any reasonable used cars.

I think that based on the economy, people are keeping their cars longer & there seems to be less deals on used cars out there (the car I have now had 20k miles at 4 years with only 1 owner when I bought it). Now I'm seeing 40k milage on 3 year old cars.

So I have opened my options to include new cars. It would be my first if I went that route. I am an advocate of buying used, but sometimes there are deals to be had with new.

I will update you all with what I do, but I can tell you, I'll be moving quickly. I'm at the mercy of my parents who drove me around today & are letting me borrow their car Monday.

June Lunch Results - what were yours?

July 2nd, 2010 at 02:02 pm

I did really well in July! My goal was to pack breakfast, lunch & snacks for all the work days in June except one.

I love hearing how everyone else did!

I packed for all but 2. The 2nd day being that I needed a quick snack due to not feeling well. So I have learned my lesson. Keep snacks in my work desk.

I am very happy with the results. I plan on continuing into July - but this will be out of necessity. I am on a bare bones budget given my car situation.

My Bosses & Coworkers Are Pretty Cool!

July 2nd, 2010 at 01:25 pm

Well, after the car breakdown on Wednesday, my coworkers and managers couldn't stop talking about what happened. I think they felt bad because although I was working through my lunch & leaving early yesterday, my manager insisted we go out to lunch to Bertuccis.

I got my favorite meal & drank water, and when it came time to pay the bill, my managers paid for me. It was really unexpected and appreciated. Then my manager sent me home at 1 instead of my waiting until 2 when I was already set to leave.

In addition, I was told not to worry about making up the missing hours (I am an exempt employee).

Several coworkers called and offered to give me rides too and from work & just to make sure I was doing ok.

Really, it was very sweet. I'm off work today & they gave us a casual day for Monday. I had 2 different coworkers text me to let me know. I really do work in a nice place.

As for the car - its done for. No real trade in value either because the engine is blown Frown More on that later.