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Archive for June, 2009

I Clean Up Before I Leave....

June 30th, 2009 at 06:48 am

I'm sure this is the quickest way to insanity. I have this habit of cleaning my house before I leave on vacation. I guess there just isn't enough to do! Did you read my sarcasm there?

I think I inherited this from my mom. Thanks Mom!

Today I need to do the following:

Clean bathrooms
Vacuum
Dust
Take out trash out to curb
Sweep kitchen floor
Do several loads of laundry
Bake banana bread

Okay, I don't need to bake banana bread, but the bananas are ready. I will make two loaves, one to leave for the neighbors watching our pets and the other for us to eat before our very early plane trip. Easy.

I also need to sew the waistband to my daughter's shorts, since they are a little too big.

Wish me luck!

Yesterday, I was able to finish birthday shopping for my daughter. I have all the gifts wrapped, too. We just need to sign the card!

I will leave you with a picture of the pile I'm making of things we need to take with us on vacation.

Automatic Makes It Easy

June 29th, 2009 at 05:59 am

Payday is coming up, as is our vacation departure. All but the water bill are on automatic payment. This makes it easy. On payday, I simply need to record the bills as paid in our checking account.

The water bill won't arrive until after we leave, but isn't due for a week after we return. I will pay it then.

On payday, I will get to add some more money to our Mickey Fund, too. I can't wait!

Reunion and Birthday

June 28th, 2009 at 08:02 am

We had a reunion with my DH's family yesterday. It was decendents of his grandparents. Only one daughter living, DH's Aunt. We lucked out and it was in our town and we didn't have to travel! We're the only ones who live here, others are nearby, but in smaller towns or much farther away. The aunt is from Arizona.

We spent time in the hotel lobby and bar before dinner. Dinner was good and filling. It cost our family of four $58 with tip.

My sister in law along with others took lots of pictures. Don't know if we'll see them again. It's been 7 years since we were together and that was at my father in law's funeral.

One of the cousins put together a couple of nice books explaining family history and plenty of photos! Each family received a copy. It will be treasured for a long time.

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DD2 will celebrate her bithday in a week while we are on vacation. I will be out shopping for her today. The plan is to take only one of the gifts in the suitcase with a gift bag and tissue. The rest she can open before we leave and then leave them here at home.

It turns out DD doesn't have a long list of birthday wants. I was able to get a few ideas from her by taking her to a few stores to look around. I'm thankful she does not have a lot of wants.

Forgetting = Expensive

June 26th, 2009 at 07:45 am

Just a little story to share.

My neighbors left for their Disney World Vacation a few days ago. I received an email asking to check if they left a full bottle of their daughter's medication on the counter. Yep...they did!

Last night they asked if I would Express mail it to them today. This morning I paid $17.50 to get it to them by noon tomorrow. They will pay me back.

This is probably cheaper than the alternative of going to the pharmacy. I had a friend visit from out of town last year. They forgot their son's meds. We went to Walgreen's and she paid $5 per pill. Luckily she only need two.

The family I just sent meds to would need at least 13 pills. I can't remember is she takes those once or twice a day. Based on $5/pill they would have spent $65 or more to get the medication she needed. Remember insurance won't pay if you just recently filled a prescription. Of course, the money may be worth it if it the only option.

If you go on vacation....remember your medication!!

I Was Productive!

June 24th, 2009 at 03:45 pm

I had a productive day. Here is what I accomplished:

Hair cuts for the girls and I.
Confirmed pet sitter.
Typed a note for pet sitter.
Found key for pet sitter.
Picked up dance recital videos.
Bought gas for van.
DH scheduled oil change.

Wrote list of things we still need to buy before trip.
Wrote a list with dates for things that need to be done prior to our departure.
Printed hotel, car rental and airline confirmations.
Printed certificate for free admission to SeaWorld.

Found DD2's birth certificate (will used for Disney World on her birthday to obtain a gc for $63 in merchandise).
Printed directions to hotel, SeaWorld, and other destinations in Florida.
Completed laundry.

Did a trial packing...to determine number of suitcases and weight. Only 35 pounds!
I've also made breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family.

Whew! I'm tired, but feeling less stressed and much more together for this vacation. To make this a finance related post, I will say that it sure pays to be organized. Checking only one suitcase will save us $30!

I'm Better Today

June 24th, 2009 at 06:51 am

I'm still stressed, but not quite as much as yesterday. Can you believe that it seemed to stem from finding sun hats of all things?

DD1 has a specific type of hat she wants and it has to be white and reversible. On Monday, I found a similar one...but a little big and not reversible. I also bought one I thought would work, but not really like what she wanted. It was a bucket hat, tan, not reversible and had a blue checked ribbon around it. Turns out she is okay with it. So, yesterday I returned two hats as well as a pattern to sew hats. I actually thought I'd feel comfortable sewing hats less than two weeks before our departure! Yikes. I've never made a hat before.

So, with items returned and hats that will work for both DD's, I feel less stressed. Today...haircuts. How stressful can that be?

I'm also in the process of making a list of things we need to buy at the store before we leave. We need more hair products, kitty litter, undergarments and gum. The list keeps growing and I only have about $120 in the checking account until next week. Some of these purchases will need to come from vacation money. I'm just taking it one day at a time, to see what I can accomplish.

It is to be rainy later today, so I think I'll start printing off confirmations and maps for the trip. That will feel good to get that in order.

Anyone have any birthday ideas for my soon to be 9 year old daughter? She doesn't have any ideas and neither do I. She will turn 9 while on vacation, so I need to take at least one gift along for her to open while we are there. I will shop this weekend for her.

Thanks for reading!

Stressed Out

June 23rd, 2009 at 06:19 am

I'm stressed out from all this Disney preparation. The saving, the spending and the planning is just getting to me.

Right now there are so many things I still need to buy. Unfortunately, they are not just quick trips to the store. We're on the hunt for hats right now. I've purchased three and at least two, if not all three, need to be returned to the store. They just didn't fit right.

Today, we'll return them and look around a little more. I was going to make them, but after buying fabric and bringing them home. I felt even more stressed! Let me just say it is hard to concentrate on sewing pattern directions when you kids are bouncing around the house. Ugh.

Luckily, I didn't cut the $12 pattern. I will return that as well. Great. One more thing to do. Ugh.

I wish I could just relax.

I hope you didn't get stressed out reading this!

Bottle Deposits to Mickey Fund

June 21st, 2009 at 06:50 pm

In our state, we pay deposits on cans and bottles. We turned in enough today to add $5 to the Mickey Fund!.

New Total = $1,982.00

I had DH get the money in quarters, since we'll need some change for toll roads while we are in Orlando.

Our trip is getting closer. I'm excited and stressed out all at the same time. So, many things to keep track of!! I'm backwards planning on paper, so that helps a little.



Going to the Farm for Free

June 20th, 2009 at 10:20 am

There's a history/museum farm right in our town. We're going today. We'll use our membership we bought last June. It is good through the end of this month. I don't think I will renew it. We've had fun there, but I'm ready to try new things!

My parents are going, too. I don't think I can get them in on our membership. I found a buy one admission get one free in our Entertainment book. That will save them around $10!

It's going to be a sunny and mild day for being outside. Enjoy your Saturday!

Father's Day Under Budget

June 19th, 2009 at 07:57 pm

My sister put a bug in my ear. Dad needed and wanted more shirts. Specifically, he loves shirts from Eddie Bauer, size XL Tall.

So, I found a solid polo shirt for $16.99!! Wow. With tax, I spent $18.01. I had budgeted $25. I did pretty good, huh?

I also did well for DH. He's getting a CD that I spent $10.50 on, as well as a pair of running shorts for $14.99. Again, pretty good. He's card is going to be one we used from last year. It's one of those musical cards where you can record your voice. We'll re-record if we can. It's a good card...it just fits him to a T.

My dad's Father's Day card is one that I bought at a Hallmark store that was closing. I think I paid about 50 cents!!

The wrapping for both gifts comes from my stash of gift bags and tissue that I reuse. They won't mind or care, which makes me happy!!

Happy Father's Day to all of you Dad's.

Financial Happenings

June 19th, 2009 at 07:21 am

I thought I'd just give a peek into the financial things happening in our daily lives the last day or so. I hope it is not too boring!

The girls and I had dentist appointments yesterday. Since we are military the girls and I pay a premium monthly in order to have dental coverage. The premium is $30.29 per month. Because we go to an approved dentist, we pay no money out of pocket for regular cleanings twice a year.

This money does cover 50% of orthodontic work...with a $1500 max. I think I only have $1100 left of that max. I hope I don't need it all. DD1 will be getting braces, hopefully before school starts up again. She has one more baby tooth that needs to fall out.

After the dentist appointment, we picked up McDonald's. I spent about $15. I wish that I didn't eat the fries or second cheeseburger!! I didn't need it. I even had a drink in the car.

I picked up food because the car was packed up for a mini trip. I drove the girls to meet my mother a little over an hour away. The girls went to spend about 48 hours with their grandparents. Free time for me!! Of course, I spent a little money in gas for the trip.

After I arrived back home...I had to decide what to do. Well, I went shopping!! I needed shorts for vacation. I mean I'm going to Florida in July! I spent $50 for 3 pairs of shorts. Not bad.

Once DH was home, we went to the gym. I was still thinking of those fries I ate! Great workout followed by DH's desire for chinese food and beer. Ugh. I'm having trouble with food today can you tell? We spent about $20 for this meal. It was really good. I had sesame chicken.

We watched a movie called What Happens in Vegas. It was from Netflix and really good and funny. Okay it was predictable, but still good.

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Today, I have to spend my free time getting my Dad's gift for Father's Day. I have a plan and hope to spend about $25.

My parents are bringing the girls back tomorrow and they are spending the night here. I guess I need to clean in preparation for that and buy groceries. Fun...more spending.

Have a great weekend fellow bloggers and readers!

Ebay Challenge Update

June 17th, 2009 at 06:37 am

I sold the roller skates on ebay. Net proceeds $9.13! Can't complain. I made out pretty good on the other pair through craigslist. I have added this money to the Ebay Challenge totals below.

June Total = $55.25
May Total = $197.75
April Total = $22.22
March Total = $83.13
February Total = $66.50
January Total = $4.95

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I have added the proceeds of the sale to the Disney Vacation Fund.

Our new total is: $1977.00!!

HEL Update

June 16th, 2009 at 06:17 am

I made the obligatory payment to the home equity loan yesterday in the amount of $118.01.

We paid $76.18 towards principal!

The new loan balance is: $6,847.10

Is it terrible to say that I can't wait to come back from vacation, so I can continue tackling this loan? It's been two months of seeing the balance trickle down. It is painful to watch.

I will really be celebrating when I can get the balance under $6K. Keep moving forward, right?

Mickey Fund Update!

June 15th, 2009 at 06:15 am

Our Disney Vacation is getting so close! The girls are even asking how many more days. Smile

Today is payday. I added $642.00 to the Disney Vacation Fund. Our new total is:

$1968.00!!!

We are so close to the $2000 goal, too.

We have one more paycheck before the vacation. I hope to add close to $1K to our total before we leave, which will be more than enough to enjoy Mickey and all his pals.

Eight out of Ten?

June 14th, 2009 at 07:41 pm

T mobile says 8 of ten people pay too much for their cell phone service. We saw this on a commercial tonight.

DH says, "Why don't they just say 4 out of 5?"

Well, because four out of five dentist suggest Trident!!

Just saying!!

My New Favorite Drink

June 14th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Homemade Iced Coffee.

I pour cold coffee over ice. Then I add in skim milk and a little sugar.

Mmmm...yummy and refreshing.

Healthy? Probably not. It does seem to keep me from drinking as much diet soda. So that is good.

Up: The Movie

June 13th, 2009 at 06:50 pm

Yes, we saw UP today at the movie theatre. We saw the matinee and paid $25 for the four of us. It was pretty good. Although my 8 year old did mention that it was kind of sad. And yes, it was, I almost cried. We went right after lunch and skipped the snacks. Even DH, skipped getting a diet coke! Trust me, that is a miracle.

This evening we went for an hour long bike ride. That translates to about 7 miles! We can't ride any faster than smallest one in our party. I think DH & I could go about twice as fast. Oh, well. It was some exercise and free entertainment!! Gotta love that.

Updates

June 12th, 2009 at 08:33 am

I have two ebay items that will end on Sunday evening. No bids yet, but they are being watched.

I went through the girls clothes yesterday in preparation for our Disney Vacation. They had a few things that no longer fit. I will list a few of those items on ebay. We still have clothes to buy for our vacation. A couple of us don't have any shorts!! I think capri's will be too hot down there. Don't you?

I've been able to have the air conditioning off for a few days now. That always helps with the utility bill. Luckily, my DD with allergies is handling it fine, too!

Payday is Monday. The paycheck is pending in our bank account. I'm looking forward to making another deposit to the Mickey Fund!

Another Free Day with the Kids

June 11th, 2009 at 02:53 pm

I thought I'd share a few of the things we did today. One daughter wanted to go to the Science Center today. That would have been a little costly, so we found some free things to do!

They created things with clay that we already had at home. There were a couple pots made and a many kitty sculptures. They are now drying. Tomorrow they will paint them!

We went for a bike ride near our home. We tried to play on the playground...but too many bugs!

They have watched some TV. A pbs show and Gilligan's Island that came from Netflix. Last week we had the Brady Bunch here.

Finally, I made a bubble mixture from water, corn syrup and dish soap. I put it in a bin out on the deck. We found some string and plastic butter tubs to make rings out of. The bubbles were huge!

Oh, and we also made banana bread together. Yummy snack and good practice in the kitchen.

Wow...quite the day and we didn't really plan any of it. It just unfolded. I hope all you mom's and dad's are having fun with your kids, too!

Cancelled Class...Got a Refund

June 10th, 2009 at 09:04 am

My oldest thought she wanted to take lessons for her flute this summer. Her first class was yesterday. Umm...the teacher, not so good. Or at least didn't mesh with my daughter. DD was upset.

There were to be only four lessons. It was just for fun. She does fine with the lessons the school provides. So, we cancelled.

Today I picked up the refund. There was a $5 service fee for cancellation, but I did get $85 back!!

Now...off to buy toilet paper!! Actually, I'm going to put it back into this weeks budget. I will put any leftover towards Disney after payday.

It's Finished

June 9th, 2009 at 07:32 pm

After a marathon day of scrapbooking, my vacation from two years ago is complete!! Yipee.

Umm...can you tell I was a little motivated to get this done. I do have another vacation coming up, in case you haven't heard.

Financially, my checking account has about had it, too. We now have $65 to last until Monday. We should be okay. Cars are fueled up. We have pop for DH. We have food for all meals!

Now, I do hope I have enough toilet paper...I'm not kidding! Smile

I hope we can avoid spending the next three or four days and use some of the money to see a matinee movie. It's been about 3 weeks since DH's has had a day off. I think he'd like an outing. As would the rest of us!!

Should we see Night at the Museum 2 or UP?

A Little More Mickey Money

June 9th, 2009 at 07:04 am

I just transfered my net ebay proceeds to our checking account. The amount $11.32! I only sold two small items.

Disney World Savings = $1,326.00

All those small amounts have really helped!

First Day of Summer Break

June 8th, 2009 at 08:26 pm

Today was the first full day of summer break from school for the girls. Okay, they were off Saturday and Sunday!!

This is how the day played out:

We slept in. We went grocery shopping. They helped unload groceries. We went to the library. They watched a video from library. One daughter printed photos from the computer in preparation for scrapbooking.

Tomorrow. Band lessons in the morning. Scrapbook and craft a good portion of the day. I still have to finish our trip from two years ago! I will finish before this trip.

Weather is so cool and rainy. Can't swim at all this week. Boo hoo. That's okay. I'm still trying to keep money in check for the vacation that is coming up very soon!!

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I have two items on ebay. Both are being watched!!

Free Amazon Gift Card

June 8th, 2009 at 06:54 am

I joined swagbucks awhile back. I earned my first $5 Amazon gift card back in April. I finally used it!!

I purchased a book and CD. The purchase before discount was over the $25 threshold so I received free shipping! My total for the two items $20.98. One item is a gift.

Technically, I think one could accumulate several of these gift cards and use more than one towards a purchase. One might be able to get some holiday gifts for free, if you start now.

Personally, I've been a little lazy about using my swagbucks tool bar, so I have been missing out on some points, but I am halfway to another gift card!! I'm going to see what I can accumulate by the end of November to use towards a gift of some kind. Wish me luck.

P.S. There is a link to join swagbucks on my sidebar if anyone is interested.

Ebay Challenge Update

June 7th, 2009 at 09:21 am

I'm going to list at least one item on ebay later today.

Last week I sold two items on ebay. My net proceeds were $11.12. I will add this to the ebay challenge money.

June Total = $46.12
May Total = $197.75
April Total = $22.22
March Total = $83.13
February Total = $66.50
January Total = $4.95

My monthly average is currently $70.11. I'm still not hitting the $100 goal I set, but I have no complaints!

Lunch with Friends

June 6th, 2009 at 03:56 pm

Today, I went to lunch with friends that were visiting from out of town. I took the girls with me. We ate very well for $17.40 including the tip. My oldest didn't really qualify for the kids menu, but that is what they charged me for. I saved about $2!

We walked from our restaurant to the state capital building. It was a least a mile, mostly uphill. Of course, at the end we were able to walk back down! Free entertainment was welcome by me as well as our friends. Parking was even free!!

The local farmer's market was ending as we arrived, the girls and I received free samples of organic lip balm. We took 6 tubes and gave some to our friends! Can't beat that!

I Found More Cash for Vacation

June 5th, 2009 at 09:37 am

Duh. Why didn't I think of this before?

We are paid twice a month. I just realized about 2/3 of the money we use for gas, groceries and incidentals can be used to supply meals and fuel while on vacation!!

I usually set aside $700 two times per month to cover those variable expenses listed above. Since we will be on vacation 10 days, I figure I can use at least $465 of that money towards vacation. Yipee!!

I can't add it to the fund, until I receive it, which is a couple of days before our trip. I'll update it then!

Sold Another Item

June 4th, 2009 at 05:45 am

I sold an another item on ebay on the Buy It Now option!! Yes.

The other two items are ending today. One will sell for sure. Fingers crossed on the other one. I plan on listing at least two more items on Sunday.

I will update my challenge totals once all the money is in and I pay my fees.

Wow!

June 2nd, 2009 at 05:35 pm

In my last post I mentioned that I had some roller skates on craigslist. They have been listed for a couple of weeks. Today, after I mentioned it in my post, I received an email inquiring about them.

The best news: The woman just picked them up and paid me $35 cash!!

I'll add this to the Mickey stash. Smile

I will also add this to the Ebay Challenge money. Here's the update:

June Total = $35.00
May Total = $197.75
April Total = $22.22
March Total = $83.13
February Total = $66.50
January Total = $4.95

Smaller Bills Welcome

June 2nd, 2009 at 03:03 pm

The water/trash bill came today. I set aside $51/month to cover it. This month's bill was $45.59!

Turns out next month the trash portion is increasing by $2/month. Darn.

I think I will keep my budget at $51 for now. I will revise, as needed.


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