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Had to turn on the heat.... booo!

October 23rd, 2008 at 09:30 pm

Had to turn on the heat tonight. The living room has been 61/62 in the afternoon/evening, probably a little lower in the night. Outdoors has been about 45-50 degrees. Tonight temps are supposed to go WAY down and while I've been pretty comfortable, I'm sick right now and the cold is messing with my sinuses. Sinus AND an ear infection. Lucky me.

So, I'm going to turn on the heat to 65 and I'll turn it down when I go to bed. I've put the down comforter on my bed, have pulled out the sweaters and I'll be setting the programmable thermostat to kick in right before I get up for work, to go lower during the day & kick back in right before I get home from work. Hopefully it won't turn on too much.

Anyway, I'm just trying to make it through work tomorrow and then I'm on vacation for 9 days! I have plans for Christmas shopping and doing some stuff around the house. But first I have to rest up and get better.

Tonight, I'm watching The Strangers. I love, love, love horror movies. A friend had rented it from Blockbuster & offered it to me to watch. All I have to do is return it to the Blockbuster, which is right near my work. Easy to do & I got a free movie out of it!



Looking at Electric usage and another vet visit

June 28th, 2008 at 12:47 am

So its been a full week since the little kitten got declawed. And last night, as I was preparing stuff for my trip to the beach, I noticed little bloody pawprints on the hallway carpet. It looks like he pulled one of his stitches and had been too active, which reopened a wound.

Poor little guy was apparently in no pain though. He was still running and jumping around and I was able to clean his paw with no problem. Thank goodness, I would have felt terrible if he was hurting.

Anyway, the beach trip is now postponed until tomorrow and I headed to the vet this morning. Luckily, there is no infection and I just have to keep the kitten confined for a few more days. The best part- the vet didn't charge me for the visit. Thank goodness, I really couldn't afford another vet bill right now.



In other news, I just received my electric/gas bill. Both are supplied by the same company, which is how my state does things. Anyway, the new bill is 69.87, down from 71.84 from last month.

And because I'm a big nerd, I looked up the past electric/gas bills to analyze them. Since I bought the house in October of 2006, I've paid a total of $1,730.72 for electric and gas. Which averages out to $108.17 per month.

I'm doing my own version of budget billing. I've budgeted $119.00 monthly for electric/gas. When my bill is less, I'm socking it away in an ING account and when the winter months hit, I have a surplus to use for those higher bills. I'm thinking about increasing it a bit since its likely that prices for electric/gas will continue to rise.

I am also working on conserving more energy. If I do get that roommate, the usage will go up, but I've already allocated a portion of the rent to cover potential increased utilities, which are electric/gas, water and sewer (which is based on water usage).

One more thing that I did is compare bills for the same month in the prvevious year. For example, this month was $0.82 more than this month last year. And the prior 4 months (Feb-May) were under what they were in 2007. The heavy winter months this year were higher than last years though. And keep in mind, I'm just comparing the bills, not the usage.

March Positivity

March 13th, 2008 at 12:28 am

Even with the car problems and the toilet, March has had some good stuff going on.

I had some cashflow goals for the month and I think I've done pretty well so far.

I've managed to cashflow:

$27.00 for the Defensive driving fee (yay!)

$156.93 of my $338.84 car repair fee (yay!)

$0.00 for my new pantry door (boo!)


ALSO, my new balance on the student loan is $3,795.49! WOO_HOO!


But I'm ok with not having the funds for my pantry door. First, the one I wanted is not currently available. I'm hoping Home Depot will restock soon. Second, I may be able to fund the purchase through a gift card from Mypoints. I'm just waiting for some points to hit my balance.


I've been sticking to the Lunch Challange. Today I brought:
Oatmeal & pears for breakfast; cheese sandwich & salad for lunch; soda from home; free water at work

Tomorrow, I have planned:
Breakfast: Cheerios with milk, Lunch of spaghetti salad - tons of veggies, turkey pepperoni & a bunch of spicy goodness! YUMMY! Snack will be popcorn.

I also have been talking to someone from Craigslist about my room. Hopefully they'll be able to meet this weekend. Anyone with advice about how to handle bringing a roommate into your house, please share!

Its a Murphy Month

March 11th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

In addition to the car repairs, I have a leak somewhere in my downstairs bathroom. I noticed some water on the floor in the corner Saturday night. I attributed it to my nephew playing with the water while washing his hands. But I checked on it again last night. And there was a tiny bit of water again. I checked the basement, no signs of a leak & turned the water off to that bathroom.

Then I turned the water back on tonight. Theres more water. Maybe a couple an ounce or two. I checked the basement again, no water showing. I checked the toilet pipes, no water that I can tell. Then I pulled off the ugly brown plastic baseboard the last owner put on. (I'd be able to refix it to the wall, if I want to.)

I checked behind the baseboard. No wetness in there either visually, or by hand. So I have NO idea where the water is coming from. So what I've done is this. I wrapped tissues around all the connections of the toilet. And in the gap between the linoleum and the baseboards. I'm going back to check later to see if any the tissues are damp.

UGH. Its always something though. At least I got a kick out of using the hot pink tool kit that I got for Christmas a few years ago (at my request). It felt all girlie and independent at the same time Smile


****** UPDATE ******

I found the leak! Its the toilet bowl. Not near the pipes, but the actual tank is creating condensation due to a weak spot at the edge. I've drained the bowl, put a towel down for any possible residual water. And tomorrow, I'm heading to Lowes to buy this Plumbing Putty thats made for this type of situation. Its not a permanent solution, but its a good temporary one! I'm all proud that I identified the problem myself Smile

Fixing the running toilet

November 3rd, 2007 at 02:00 am

Today my parents and I went to the movies and grabbed some lunch. Then my dad and I went to get a 13.97 kit to replace the fill valve, flapper and tank lever and then my dad helped me install it. Ok, I watched and he installed. But no more running toilet! I am thankful to have family members to help me out with this learning about home ownership stuff!

Little things I do

October 13th, 2007 at 03:35 pm

I just wanted to share a few tips that I use to save me money.

-I try to drink at least 64 oz of water a day. Instead of buying bottled water, I went out and bought some Sports bottles like this one:



I got them in the clearance aisle of my pharmacy. I now have 4 or 5 of them that I cart around and keep at work. Many of my coworkers bring in bottled water or buy it from the vending machine. I fill these bottles up with the free filtered water that my work offers.

-I preplan my meals. It helps me stay on track with spending on eating out. Although I do eat out occassionally.

-Now that its FINALLY getting colder, I've started breaking out the blankets. I like to layer up with clothes and with blankets. I keep extra blankets on each of my couches and in my bedroom.

-And I know this is completely girlie, but with the layering up clothes, I like to layer a bright colored tank top under a bright long sleeve tee and then with a button down sweater. I do make sure I match Smile But seeing all the different fun colors while I'm vegging around the house makes me happy. And it makes it easy for me to WANT to layer up instead of just turning up the heat.

I also have fun looking socks in bright colors and patterns like these for the same reason.



For an added bonus, knee socks really keep my feet warm!

-I utilize my programmable thermostat. This was really the best purchase I made for the house last year!

-I buy 2 liter bottles of soda to use at home and 12 oz cans to take to work. I'm trying to limit my soda intake, but I still drink it. What can I say, I'm only human Smile

-I buy my non-aspirin and ibuprofin at the dollar store. As long as you keep an eye on the expiration date for the meds, they work just fine.

-I turn making a meal at night into making a few. That way I can either stock up the freezer by making a bigger batch of food. Or I can stock up the fridge with food to take to work during the week. Then maybe I can skip cooking the next night Smile

-I watch the free movies from Comcast On Demand. I don't have digital cable, but they gave me a box for free to use the On Demand options. I use their free exercise videos and free movies. They have a big horror section called FearNet. Its not the mainstream blockbuster stuff, but its still good. I also can watch some of the Network tv shows that I missed during the week, like CSI.

- I utilize the library for lots of things. Movies, books, cookbooks, decorating books. I also utilize my computer and the internet for entertainment a lot.



Electric Bill and some spending

September 27th, 2007 at 02:44 pm

My electric bill was 74.03! Way under the 120/mo that I budget for electric and gas. I probably have another month of low bills before I have to turn on the heat. Possibly two months if the the weather holds.

Today, I'm taking a half day today and am planning on picking up my nephew after school. In the meantime, I plan to do some spending.

I want to find some of those plastic deck chairs to have outdoor seating for my party. Some of my friends/coworkers smoke and I don't want it in the house.

I also want to pick up some party supplies, including disposable plastic shot glasses to make jello shots. Its a tradition with my friends.

I'll also be keeping an eye out for some decorations for my downstairs bathroom. It has absolutely nothing in it, so I want to get a trash can, some guest towels, ect.

I am also going to do a little clothes shopping. I do actually 'need' some long sleeve tops to get me through the winter. I'm also going to look for short-sleeve on sale to stock up for next year Smile

I also am planning to pick up some toiletries at Eckerds with a gift card that I have from a prescription transfer.

And in the midst of all this, I'm goign to be looking for some Christmas presents. I really want to have all my shopping done by the end of October.

So have a good day all & I say Happy Shopping Smile

#275 in line at the library

June 21st, 2007 at 10:32 pm

I forgot that Janet Evanovich's new book Lean Mean Thirteen came out recently. So I went onto my library's website to request it. I'm #275 in line to get the book. However, the total Delaware public library system has about 67 copies of the book. So hopefully, I'll be able to get my copy within a month or so.

I've also been putting myself on the library wait list for a lot of movies. I have a pretty varied taste, but the library has a good selection. Just to name a few that I'm in line for: Blood & Chocolate, Because I Said So, Breach, Epic Movie, NCIS Season 1, and The Pursuit of Happyness.

I've been kinda lost the last few days. Spending more than I like, when I need to reign myself in. So I am going to make some changes. I have been saying that for awhile, but I really need to hold myself accountable.

Also, there's some things I've been wanting to do around the house that I'm either going to put off for awhile or do myself. There's some terrible bramble bushes in between some trees at the end of my property. I was hoping to hold off & get a professional to get in there & haul the stuff away. But now I"m thinking of doing it myself. Maybe do a bit at a time.

In other news, its been really hot and humid here, so being without a/c has been very uncomfortable. We seem to have a break in the humidity tonight, so I'll be able to sleep comfortably.

Monday is the A/C installation day. Its my normal day off, but I usually go in for overtime. So the game plan is to meet the workers myself and about 10am my mom will come over to be around while they're there & I'll head into work for some overtime. This week, I'll have worked 21.5 hours. Next week, probably about 15.5 hours due to a meeting & doctors apointment that I have scheduled.

AND... I heard back from that home improvement store that I had such problems with. The manager of the store that I visited called to get some more information about the situation. He will be calling me back tomorrow. I'll keep you all updated with what happens. I have to share that I was all flattered because he told me that my letter was very well written. I'm so glad I waited until I had calmed down a bit before writing and mailing it.

Got the quote for the A/C unit

June 14th, 2007 at 11:04 pm

UGH. I knew what range it was in (high numbers), but when I heard the actual price, I almost threw up. I had gotten quotes from a few other companies, but this is one that I really trust. They were straight-forward, gave me options on the different models and were generally nice to me. They also had the best price.

So I've converted the bill into overtime hours: The full amount minus the $400.00 gift card = 172 overtime hours! Yuck. But its ok, I have the cash. I'm going to use some money (not showing in the balances on the left)that I have set aside for a small interest-free first-time homeowners loan that I don't have to pay back til 10/2009. I'll be able to pay myself back in a few months easily. And I'll still have my emergency fund.

In the mean time, I'm buckling down on the overtime. By Saturday, I'll have 23 hours to put towards that total. Next week, I'm doing a minimum of 19 hours. That leaves 130 hours to go.

I'll also be adding to paying myself back from other sources, like paycheck funds that would normally go to savings.

I am REALLY tired right now. I am going home and making some food to bring to work tomorrow. Then I am going to bed.


Need to find $50.00 and a $22.00 discount

June 14th, 2007 at 02:39 am

I have a specialist visit with my gastroenterologist at the end of the month. I used up some of my medical budget on a new medicine I'm trying, so its a little depleted and I have a few 3 month supply of prescriptions to order this month. So, I am going to find little ways to make up the $30.00 copay without having to dig into my medical or other budget catagories.

I also have to get my car inspected, which will likely be a $20-25 fee. I'd like to complete it by the end of the month.

So I want to find ways to come up with $50.00.

First, when I get paid on the 15th, I have $10.00 of the budget going to personal items (shampoo, ect). Since I already have a $20.00 gift card to Happy Harrys (owned by Walgreens), this covers my personal items for the month & the extra $10.00 isn't needed, so I'm starting off this personal challenge with $10.00.

I'll keep updating as I find other funds.

I also came home to a nice surprise. I received the air conditioning repair bill from last week. I had been quoted $322.00 for the visit, but the bill was for $300.00. Yay! When I have the estimate tomorrow, I do plan on asking the guy to consider that I just shelled out such a large amount to their company.

In other news:
-I found out that the $400.00 in gift cards from work is going to come in the form of a Visa gift card as opposed to store cards like last time. I'm hoping to put this amount towards the new A/C unit. I'll have to talk to the company's office, but it shouldn't be a problem. My family has done business with them for years.

-I worked 3.5 hours of overtime yesterday & today. I won't get any in tomorrow because of the appointment for the estimate. But on Friday, I'm going into the office at 7am to do some system checks for the boss, so I'll get in 4 hours of OT, maybe 4.5 if I decide to take a 1/2 hour lunch again.

-And in even better news, the overtime is back on for next week, so I have some opportunity to earn some more OT hours.

Its funny, I keep thinking of the cost of the A/C in terms of OT hours. I'll calculate exactly how much I'll need once I have the figures tomorrow Smile

I already packed food for tomorrow & I plan to have a big breakfast before I leave. So tomorrow WILL be a no spend day for me Smile
Well, I'm off to bed, I'm beat!

Air Conditioning Update

May 30th, 2007 at 10:53 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.

Lots of upcoming expenses

May 29th, 2007 at 03:36 am

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.

Ive been stalling on handling my bee problem at the back of the house. But theyre wood boring bees and Im actually seeing sawdust on my deck from where theyve dug on the side of the house. Itll be pricey to get the guys out here, but I guess its 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 Im going to make a call tomorrow. Im comfortable right now (my ceiling fans are helping), so Im 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 Im 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 cant get the fan to respond to the remote anymore, although the light still does. I dont have any instruction manuals since the fans came with the house, but its a Hunter fan, so Im 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 Im going to be putting that broken tv out for pickup. I dont want donate it, since its completely unusable. When I put it out for trash, Im going to put a note on the tv, so nobody thinks its 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. Its on my to-do list to replace the tank parts on both my toilets, since one leaks sometimes and one runs unnecessarily. Im going to use the $100.00 gift card to Lowes to help with this one.

Im 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. Im 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 Im 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 Im packing food for tomorrow. Ill 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.

More spending for April

April 30th, 2007 at 01:52 am

Well, my ear infection is back & since I didn't use my primary care for the first appointment, the only way I'm going to get antibiotic is to go in to see her, so I'll be spending $20.00 for the office visit & $10.00 for the generic antibiotic. Not fun.

I'll be heading in for overtime tomorrow, I'll be working around whatever time I can get the doctors appointment.

I have to call & set up an appointment for someone to come in & get the large bees nest in my gutter. I'm not able to take care of it myself. I'm probably looking at $100.00 for the visit Frown

Today, I bought groceries (part of the normal budget) and new sneakers. I got a pair of New Balance for 32.00 on sale. My last pair of sneakers lasted about 5 years, so I don't mind spending a little more to get long term wear out of them. My old sneakers were ruined when I mowed my lawn. (I didn't think ahead and they turned green). Well, they were pretty grungy anyway & since I wear jeans & sneakers to work on Fridays & Saturdays, so its definately time to get a new pair.

I've been shopping around for furniture for my deck. I think I found the set I like, and its a little more than I was wanting to spend, but definately less than most places. Then again, I might hold off on buying a table & chairs altogether. Mainly because I don't know what I want.

On the upside, money-wise. I got a 25.00 credit on my chase amazon credit card. They had a promotion, so I used it for some normal purchases (paid it off immediately) and got the $25.00 credit. I've also received a $5.00 Pinecone check.

Also, I'm looking at $10 to $20 for switching to online statments for my checking accounts. I'm not sure if I'll get $20.00 since I technically have 2 accounts with the same bank, but we'll see. The deposit will be made to the account by 5/30/07.

AND the best expected income is a gift card that I'm hoping to win at work. If I make 160% of my personal expected production for April, I'll get a $400.00 gift card to wherever I want. As of Thursday, I was at 174%! I'll probably ask for a prepaid visa card, so I can spend it as I like.

Well, I'm hoping that May will be as frugal a month as possible. I'm reviewing my monthly budget & I'm going to try to find some areas that I can do better. There always are Smile

Electric/Gas bill went DOWN!

March 27th, 2007 at 01:41 pm

I haven't gotten the bill with the breakdown between gas and electric yet, but the website gives me the total and I am happy to say that my electric AND gas went down by $38.19 !! This is based on a much larger month than the February was. So even though there were more days in this cycle, I still paid less.

I really want to see how much my gas usage has changed... mainly because I installed that new programmable thermostat. And I didn't install it until about a week into March, so I still should see more savings in April. I'm also hoping that it'll warm up soon & I won't be using heat as much. I was able to open my windows up on Sunday (it was beautiful out!) but then it was back to heat on Monday.

Overall, I'm happy at the savings and the extra between what I budgeted and the actual amount will be going directly into savings!

spent .80 today (Almost a no spend)

March 10th, 2007 at 12:42 am

I got a $5.00 coupon towards lunch at my work cafe. I used it for lunch, but really wanted a cafine soda, so I spent .80 cents today because my lunch plus 20 oz soda came to $5.80. It came out of my spending cash, so no worries.

I'm heading to IKEA on sunday with some friends. Mostly to do some wishing. I'm looking for a small clock for my upstairs bathroom. Just to be able to keep an eye on the time while I'm getting ready for work. Also, I'm looking for some small organizational things and I'd like to get some ideas for stuff for the house too.

I'm going with my spendy friends, so I'm setting a dollar amount limit $40.00 and if I really want something more expensive, I'll take down the tag info & hold off. That way there will be no impulse buying. I can go back on my own later if I decide to get it. The IKEA is about 40 minutes away, which helps on the impulse buying too.

quick note- loving my thermostat

March 4th, 2007 at 04:14 am

I installed that thermostat on Monday & I am LOVING it. I can set it for 5 days & 2 days (work week vs weekend). But what I really love is the hold feature where I can change the current temp, regardless of where the settings are automated. I can put a temporary hold on where it will go back to the auto temps at the next scheduled change, or a perminant hold that can only be turned off manually.

So tonight I'm heading to bed earlier than I normally do, so I set the temporary hold to what I keep it set at during the night. That way, when the morning hits, the heat will be up again through the automatic settings. But my heat will go lower earlier than normal since I'll be snuggled up in bed.

And tomorrow when I leave for work and will not be home for at least 8 or 9 hours, I'll put the perminanat hold on to 60 til I get home.

Obviously, I'm easily entertained... but I couldn't help sharing, because I think its neat Wink

whew! my electric bill!

February 27th, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Got my electric/gas bill today. Its the first month in the house that I had the heat on the full month. WHEW it was high. $149.00. UGH! I have the money in my budget, but its really the principle of the thing!

Part of the problem is that the thermostat the house came with was unreadable. I couldn't tell if the temp was at 65 or 75. I had to go with my comfort level as a guide. So I'm sure it was higher than I wanted. Plus, the heat was on at higher levels when I wasn't home.

So last night, I installed the $29.00 programmable thermostat that I bought at Lowes last week. Now I have it set at 60 when I'm not home & 65 when I am. I'm planning on bundling up & we'll see how that goes for my bill for March. I should see a big difference.

Survived the snow & house stuff

February 26th, 2007 at 03:01 am

We got a few inches of snow, then it turned into sleet. But it was over after about 3 hours. I was able to clean off my car, as well as shovel & salt my walkway & a path to my car. Unfortunately, we had sleet again afterward, so my driveway is a sheet of ice.

I am going to try to go into work tomorrow for some overtime. Becuase people around here seem to have a mass hysteria over snow, I am going to wait and go in around 9 or 10 when there are less people on the road.

Tomorrow, my family is coming to dinner. We're having spaghetti. And my dad is going to take a look at my icemaker & hopefully help me install the programmable thermostat.

I spent a good part of my afternoon cleaning my house. I deep cleaned the kitchen, the living room and the downstairs bath. My major accomplishment though, is that I installed my kitchen clock radio all by myself. Its one of those ones that hang under a cabinet. I am so proud of myself over such a little thing, but hey... I did it by myself!

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about things to do around the house. I'm trying to do a little at a time and to use the most out of what is already there.


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