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Archive for August, 2010

Busy Weekend, gonna be a busy week!

August 30th, 2010 at 02:08 pm

Well, this weekend was busy. In addition to all the social activities that I had planned - picnic Sat & BBQ Sunday, I also managed to get some things done around the house.

I also want to share that I went to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with life actors, yelling things at the screen and throwing toast. Its a weekly tradition for years at a small movie theater near the university. I have never gone, but impulsively, a friend & I decided to go.

Paid $5.25 for the ticket, $1 for a bag of goodies to throw and $2.00 for a drink. There was lots of audience participation, weirdos to watch and general craziness. Very fun and unique experience.

Sunday, I did some cleaning and yard work. Managed to pull up some weeks in between my deck & my neighbors. I let it get out of hand this year. Ended up with several bags of yard waste, which I promptly took to the yard waste drop site (Free). By state law, I would have to have paid extra to have yard waste picked up by my garbage company. Dropping off is free, but messy. So now I need to vacuum out the trunk of my car Smile

This week will be busy. I have scheduled at least 4 days this week of working out/walking. I have plans to see a movie with my dad, go to my weekly pub night and have a girls night in with an old friend. And all of that is BEFORE next weekend starts!

I packed lunch today, breakfast & snacks. I'm hoping today will be a no spender.

And I am going back to my 5 Things list. To recap, I always have a large TO-DO list going. It seems never ending, so I have determined that getting just 5 things done of the list is an accomplishment and managable

Today's 5 Things:

1. MAke call to wellness program for a free 'session'
2. Finalize budget for payday. This includes a grocery budget and meal plan
3. Change sheets on bed
4. WAlk or hit the gym depending on weather
5. Pack food for Tuesday, eat dinner at home.

Update on the week

August 27th, 2010 at 02:47 pm

I havent been around much this weekend, but I have been checking out everyones posts!

This week, I stayed on plan with my August Lunch Challenge. I have stayed on plan with my weight loss and exercise plans. And actually, the extra activity has helped with me spending less for entertainment/eating out.

Monday I worked 7:30-4, then walked 4.75 miles with a friend near the University FREE

Tuesday I worked 7:30-4, then went to the gym for strength training Paid subscription to gym

Wednesday I worked 7:30-4, then went to the grocery store & home (no unplanned spending)

Thursday I worked 7:30-4, then walked 2.9 miles at the local reservoir. Was supposed to meet a friend, but he got stuck at work FREE

Friday I work 7:30-3, then I will be meeting friends at a local bar to sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I have $10 to spend. That will be 2-3 beers plus tip. NO food. I will eat dinner when I get home

As for weekend spending, I have $24 left in my grocery budget which I will spend on veggies, fruits, and dairy. No crazy spending there!

Saturday, Im planning on getting up early & hitting the gym. That afternoon, I will be going with a friend to his company picnic. I know a lot of people he works with, so it should be fun. This will be free.

Sunday, will be a walk in another park (Possibly with a friend), then a small bbq at a friends house. I have offered several times to bring something, but shes refused it. Shes not a drinker, so I cant show up with a nice bottle of wine, so Im kind of stumped. I hate to show empty handed, but I also dont want to show up with food and duplicate something they already have. Spending should be $0-$5?

Staying on track - now with more Health

August 25th, 2010 at 12:57 am

I have been sticking to my strict entertainment & grocery budgets. I have also been staying on plan with my August Lunch Challenge & look forward to doing another one in September.

Money-wise, not much is going on. I use cash only for my discretionary spending & I have very little left between now and the 31st. Its doable. I have $20 in entertainment left. $10 will be to the movies with my dad and $10 for a work happy hour.

Last post (and I know its been a while), I mentioned the Wellness program at my work. Jump through a couple of hoops for points. Points turn into dollars and I can improve my wellness and earn up to $200 for the year.

I have been a week and a half back on Weight Watchers. I also have started weekly activity goals. One of the wellness options (hoops) is to engage in physical activity based on the CDC's standards.

CDC recommends '150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (or a combination of moderate & vigorous activity) per week. PLUS muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups'.

My Wellness program offers $20 a month that you meet the guidelines weekly for up to 5 months ($100 total). There are other goals I could meet much more quickly, but health and exercise is something that I'm personally working on. So I decided to make this half of my Wellness goals. I will take the $100 I've earned after the 5 months & buy myself some (hopefully) much smaller clothes.

This is all money related because:

-Good health means less medical costs
-watching what I eat means I plan (and therefore budget) food more carefully
-Getting more activity in means more free or semi-free activities.

Last week, I had 253 minutes of moderate exercise and 40 minutes of strength training. This included a hike in the state park with friends ($3.00 entry fee), a walk into a private park near work with some coworkers/friends(free), 2 gym trips (monthly fee $19), and a walk around a county park with another friend (free).

This week, I have already taken a 90 minute walk with friends (free) and hit the gym (no extra funds out). I figure by the time the whole 5 months end, exercise will be a HABIT Smile

My Work's Wellness Program

August 16th, 2010 at 02:01 pm

In the last month, my work has been promoting a Wellness Program as part of their EAP (Employee Assistance Programs). They have different program steps you can complete to earn points in the program. Each point = $1.00 and you can earn up to $200 per year on a debit card.

Step 1 - Get a screening. This included a free on-site blood draw & weight check. I was able to get my cholestorol, blood sugar & BMI numbers (25 points)

Step 2 - Take an online assessment. 10 minutes tops to enter your #S from the screening & to answer a few lifestyle questions. (50 points earned).

So for about 20 minutes of my time, I earned $75.00

The next steps are harder. Set health goals, complete them, talk to counselors, ect. I plan on working on my weight. Unfortunately, my company's programs only push Nutrisystem and not other lifestyle programs, such as Weight Watchers. I find this a shame because Nutrisystem is the one that provides meals for you. They aren't teaching you any health skills and as soon as you stop eating the meals - you're likely to gain the weight back.

I plan on earning the other $125 by jumping through a few hoops with little effort. Talking to a counselor about my weight loss journey isn't a problem for me. Its all done through the phone & private.

What I can't understand is that there are very few people in my office that are jumping at the free money that the program is providing. You don't have to be overweight to do this - your health goals could be around lowering cholesterol or increasing activity. And did I mention, its pretty much FREE MONEY? lol. I already have the 75 points posted. This will be going onto the debit card & will be used for Christmas.

Christmas Shopping

August 15th, 2010 at 01:11 am

While on vacation, I happened up some books on local lighthouses that would be the perfect Christmas present for my dad. So I picked up 2 for $42.38.

During the Super Saturday event at Goodwill the other week, I found a Christmas Tree craft about 3 feet tall that lights up. Perfect for my mom and I only spent $3.00.

On my sidebar, I have included my Christmas budget & will update with spending as I get things. I hope to have ALL Christmas shopping done by the first week of December Smile I'm not a fan of how nasty people get in stores around the holidays so I avoid stores as much as possible.

I also want to point out that my nephew's bday is a few days before Christmas, so I always just include him in my Christmas budget.

My total Christmas budget has changed recently and is now at $473. I hope to come in very under budget.

And since I like to plan things out -
Mom - 45 - 3 spent
Dad - 45 - 42.38 spent
Sister - 45
Nephew - 40
Nephew Bday(the 20th)- 30
Best Friend - 40
Friend 1 - 33
Friend 2 - 15
Friend 3 - 20
Friend 4 - 15
Friend 4's kids - 10
Sister Boyfriend - 10
Sis's BF's son - 10
Sis BF's daughter - 10
Wrapping - 5
Misc/decorations - 40
Tree - 60

Back From Vacation and a Payday!

August 14th, 2010 at 05:32 pm

I came back from my beach vacation last night. I unpacked and crashed on the couch Smile I paid cash for everything, except the room, which I put on a card. But I transferred the funds for payment to the credit card this morning.

I had a great time, we stayed in a a very nice hotel. The weather was fun, and I am reallllly relaxed. Great week!

This morning, I am right back on the frugal wagon. I sold an extra wireless router I had lying around - $20 cash. Then I stopped by my parents & brought them the sugar free fudge from the beach. They treated me to breakfast at IHOP. Thanks Mom & Dad!

I paid some bills, got some groceries and headed back home. All of this was done by noon.

I am now watching a movie and when its over, I will be doing some laundry, cleaning & decluttering. The cats definitely missed me, as they are following me room to room. And I now have 2 additions to my pet family - 2 hermit crabs. I haven't had any of these since childhood. They were a total impulse purchase. But boy, are they fun!

For my envelopes this pay period, I started with $40 for gas, $100 in grocery money (need to stock up on some stuff), $10 personal items, $5 car washing supplies and $45 in spending money). I plan on sticking with it!

I was able to turn the A/C off today. Its a little hotter than I like, but with ceiling fans, its very comfortable in here.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, I know I already am!

Nice Weather for a Saturday

August 7th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Today, I got up, went to the Farmer's Market $5.25 spent for salad stuff. Then I returned some books/movies to the library. I was expecting a $0.25 fine, but the person who returned the dvd to the system made an error and I ended up with no fee Smile My lucky day.

I then went to the Grocery store where I spent $4.48. I picked up a movie at Redbox, $1.02 and headed home.

I have eaten breakfast, lunch and soon to be dinner at home. I had someone come pick up a cookie press that I had put up on Craiglist - $10.00 paid by a very excited pre-teen girl, LOL.

I've been doing a bunch of cleaning and laundry. And then I spent 4 hours dealing with a nasty virus on my computer. I purchased an anti-virus package, but they couldnt help me, so I cancelled the package (and will get a refund), then actually found a free program (from a reputable site) that was able to fix the problem. Yay Smile Took a lot of time and patience, but my computer is working again!

Today has been great weather - I've had the windows open and ceiling fans on. I'll definitely take the electric savings!

All in all, a frugal day. I had a very social night last night. Took some beer to a friends house for a game night. We got a little rowdy Smile So tonight, I'm having a movie night in.

My total Craigslist profit has been $40.00 for 3 items sold. A lamp $5.00, a calculator $25.00, and the cookie press $10.00. Woohoo

Cash-strapped, yet taking a small vacation

August 5th, 2010 at 12:12 am

I've had plans in place for a year to take a couple days down at the beach with my best friends. We will rent hotel rooms for 2 nights and unfortunately because of scheduling conflicts, we've changed the date around and are not really getting a good deal on prices. But this is really important to me (isn't everything that I WANT? lol).

I have cash to pay it, but thats a few hundred dollars that really could be going to my debt. So I am working to sell some things on Craigslist to help suppliment the debt.

I have listed about 10 things & have sold 1 so far. None are truly big items though. What I sold today, was an Ikea lamp that I paid $15.00 for and got a good 7 or 8 years out of. I sold it for $5.00 cash.

I also have someone coming to pick up 2 dvd sets tomorrow night and a graphing calculator. They would be worth more on ebay, but I have a definite hate on for ebay after being scammed. So I will take the cash & if the person who purchases makes a profit, so be it Smile I should get $16 for the dvds and $25 for the calculator.

The calculator was an expensive purchase in 1996. I used that thing through high school, college and grad school and its been sitting in a drawer for the last 5 years. So I definitely used up the original cost!

I also have a duvet cover set, more dvds, a scientific calculator, some picture frames, a wireless router and a cookie press. I have a bite on the cookie press, so hopefully I can sell that tomorrow too ($10.00).

I have made a budget for the mini-vacation. We are planning on doing some costly activities - renting jet skis and doing parasailing. I have researched & found the best prices and coupons, but I hope to still be able to do both. At the very least, I'd skip the jet skis and just do the parasailing.

In the meantime, I have $5.00 in my entertainment fund & roughly $25.00 in grocery money.

Book club is tomorrow night (which is always held in a restaurant), I plan on ordering a soda and with tip, that will take most of my $5.00

A/C Back on and went home from work sick

August 4th, 2010 at 03:44 pm

Well, I went into work today feeling ok. 2 hours later, I had the chills and sweats. So I went home instead of infecting anyone else. Yuck. I'm home on the couch, watching tv. No fun.

I also had to turn the A/C back on at 10 this morning. I had had the windows open since Friday afternoon, but the humidity kicked up and with not feeling well, I'm not up for playing with the heat. Booo, I wanted to use as little electricity as possible.

Quick Stop In

August 3rd, 2010 at 02:14 am

Been very busy lately, so I haven't had time to post. A couple of quick updates.

- Watched a free Redbox movie with the roomie (Book of Eli). It was interesting, if a little slow in parts

- Listed 7 items on Craigslist. Hope they sell, I could really use the money

- Finally got some decent weather and have been able to open the windows as opposed to the A/C since Friday night. This will really help the electric bill!

- Will be looking for more items to sell from the basement tomorrow night.

- Been packing work food 100% -so keeping up well with the lunch challange. Will continue the personal challange through August.

- Transferred a bit of debt around for a lower rate - worked out really nicely.