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Archive for September, 2009

Refund Received

September 30th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

I'm still waiting on the airline refund, but I did receive the refund from the orthodontist in the mail today.

I called the orthodontist's office just yesterday to explain that the insurance is paying more than they originally calculated. Remember, I had paid in full for a 5% discount after the insurance money was applied. They were more than happy to refund my $76!

The made the check out to my husband. I guess it is only fair...he carries the insurance and makes the money! I just need him to sign the check and it will be in the bank!!

Last Day of the Month

September 30th, 2009 at 04:45 pm

I'm always a little antsy the last day of the month. For one, it is the day before payday. I can actually see the pay pending in our checking account on this day! I occasionaly see that large sum of cash for its possibilities. Yet it has responsibilites, too.

On this day I look forward to seeing the interest we've earned in our savings account. Although in the last year or more, that isn't much to talk about! It does add up and it is exciting to see our balance rise to new heights.

Sometimes, I'm antsy because the spending money is gone and I can't wait to get my hands on more cash! I don't feel prosperous with nickels in my checking account. It's like being told 'no' by a very harsh voice.

My feelings are mixed. I don't know whether I'm rich or poor. Sure, we all have feelings concerning money when we find an unexpected gift. A penny on the ground or a rebate in the mail. We are devasted when the car repair bill wasn't in the budget this month or our health insurance premiums rise.

My feelings about money seem to also cycle with paydays and calendars. Have you noticed the same thing? Is it just us financial types? Does everyone feel this way? I wonder if they felt the same in the days of bartering?

Just something to munch on over lunch...

I Can't Help Talking About It

September 29th, 2009 at 02:12 pm

Last night I received final numbers from my husband regarding his recent trip spending. Originally, I thought we'd get $300. Then I lowered my estimate based on his spending to $110. The actual number we will receive appears to be $271.68!

We are just waiting for the travel vouchers to be approved. Within a day or two we should have the cash! At the same time, we will receive the money we paid for that incorrect airline ticket. That amount is $644.00.

Here's the cash update:

$100 couch sale
$10 wood shelf sale
$150 excess funds from current paycheck
$888 excess funds Oct 1 paycheck
$644 army to refund an airline ticket
$271 per diem excess
Total $2,063

You might have noticed that the amount above is MORE than what we need to pay back our emergency fund for those braces. This could be completed this week...depending on that travel money payment!!

What a relief to see the end in sight!

Another Craigslist Sale

September 28th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I put three items up for sale on craiglists on Saturday after we purchased our new sofa. As you know, I sold the couch yesterday for $100.

This evening a woman paid $10 cash for an oak wood wall shelf. Yipee! I love cash in my pocket.

Two items down, one more to go. The final one, I'm actually torn about selling. I have it listed a little high. If and when I get an inquiry, I'll make the call about whether to sell it. I have it listed for $150. The cash would be nice. We still like the item. It just doesn't really match anything any longer, so I suspect it will end up in the basement pretty soon.

Seeing Green

September 28th, 2009 at 02:15 pm

I'm expecting lots of cash to flow into our lives the next two weeks. I'm making the list primarily for myself...buy I know my readers and lurkers wouldn't mind a peek!

$100 couch sale
$150 excess funds from current paycheck
$888 excess funds Oct 1 paycheck
$644 army to refund an airline ticket
$110 per diem excess
Total $1,892

I have the couch money. The excess in the checking account right now won't be known until after Wednesday. The per diem amount is an estimate (DH spent more than I thought).

All of the above cash will go to paying back the emergency fund for the braces. We are getting VERY close to the goal!

Guess what? There's more money coming, too. In addition to future paychecks, I expect the following in the month of October:

$50 verizon phone refund
$76 refund from orthodontist
$10 my survey check
$50 global test marketing survey check
Total $186

SALE x 2

September 27th, 2009 at 09:58 pm

Umm...I think someone is on my side today. I sold the ugly couch!! For $100. The cool thing is it is going to a college kid who is colorblind...he doesn't care that the colors are outdated! Perfect.

Turns out Wii game systems are on sale this week. I bought ours at Target. They dropped their price by $50! Since this is the only thing the girls want for Christmas, I jumped on it.

So a very spendy weekend in some respects. However, our spending money for the remainder of September sits at $200, which is awesome for us. I think I can use the most of this toward paying back the EF for the braces later this week.

It's all working out...even if the plan has changed a bit along the way!

Yes, Yes I Did

September 26th, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Yes, Yes I did buy the sofa today!! I also bought a coordinating round ottoman.

Here's what has been in our living room:


To see what I'm getting in a couple weeks go here. We are getting the first sofa that appears in the advertisement, but in the color of the sectional beneath that picture. We are also getting the round ottoman that appears with the sectional.

I'm thrilled!! We paid $762 for the two pieces. This includes our sales tax and $19 delivery!! Yipee.

I came home immediately and listed the two items above on craigslist. I've listed the couch before with no takers, so my hopes are not too high with that one. If they don't sell by the time the sofa arrives, I will donate them to the Salvation Army and take the tax deduction.

Furniture Shopping?

September 26th, 2009 at 03:20 pm

Crazy. We are thinking of going furnture shopping today. Of course, this is different than furniture buying, right?

We have a 90's mauve and green printed sofa in our front living room. It was given to us several years ago. At the time we kept it in our basement. Now...it sits in the first room visitors see. Ugh. I'm so tired of it. I tried slipcovers, but they are sloppy.

This week, I saw an ad for a couch I'm interested in. We are going to look at it. The ad states it is $499.00. Great price! But I need to see the quality.

I actually may go with it even if the timing isn't right. This couch is becoming a need. My sanity can't take much more of this crazy couch.

The couch is actually in great condition. No tears, holes, or rips. It's comfortable to sit on. It is ugly! Word to the wise, don't purchase a printed couch...it's just going to look outdated in 10 years.

Sometimes You Just Have To...

September 25th, 2009 at 06:14 pm

go out to lunch. I went to lunch with my neighbor this afternoon. We picked a noodle place that had COUPONS!

We purchased two noodle bowls. With the coupon one was free. We opted for water, as well. I spent $3.60!!

Now, I'm off to purchase groceries to cover meals through the end of the month.

Shopping Spree

September 24th, 2009 at 07:16 pm

Yes, after four no spend days, I went shopping. A true planned outing of spending. Because I had coupons!!

I had two $5 off any purchase coupons for Old Navy. The girls need fall shirts. In the end, I bought four shirts for $20.14!!! A great deal.

I went with a friend. For lunch we picked up pretzels. With a coupon!! Buy 1, Get 1 Free. Total $2.75. My portion $1, since I did the driving. Yipee! Oh, that pretzel tasted soooo good, too.




Looking Good

September 23rd, 2009 at 02:56 pm

I ended up with a no spend day yesterday with my Mom. She bought my lunch, bought ingredients for dinner and picked up the tab for a couple items at the health food store (items I intended to purchase).

We visited the new sculpture garden. It's so new they just took the fence down yesterday morning! The grand opening is on Sunday. I think the whole family will want to go then. I love free art. Oops, I did spend $0.75 to park my car. I guess I did spend money yesterday!!

Today, I have school activities to help with and a walk scheduled with a friend. I think today will be another no spend day! That will make 4 days if you are counting.

We still have $350 in our checking account. Payday is 8 days away. I'm positive we would have far less if DH hadn't traveled this month. There are still things to buy...groceries, gas, and a few fall clothing items for the girls. It's just nice to be in a good place!!

Made a Trade

September 22nd, 2009 at 03:18 pm

My husband has cash in a rollover IRA, that we are systematically moving back into the market.

Yesterday, with the market down, would have been a better day. But, I'm doing it today anyway. I'm no market timing expert, so I'm not going to pretend I am. The fund we are buying is still lower than it was several years ago. So, I think we are okay to move in and still find growth ahead of us.

Trade specifics:
$3,000 of Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX)

Yep, No Spending

September 22nd, 2009 at 01:56 pm

I did make it through yesterday with out spending. In fact, I found a way to put a few dollars back in my pocket!

I turned in our cans and bottles to get our deposit money back. Yep, I live in one of those states where you pay a deposit at the time of purchase. So, I turned in $3.60 worth of bottles and cans. Yipee! Money in my pocket.

I checked our bank accounts today. We earned a mere $0.13 in interest on one of our checking accounts. They did reimburse us for $3.00 worth of ATM fees, too. Nice to have that money back!

Update: Turns out the sparkle fairy did not make a return visit, even though she knows my Mom is coming to visit today! Hmm. Sparkle fairy needs to get her act together! (Oh, if you don't know about the sparkle fairy, see the previous post)

Sparkling

September 21st, 2009 at 04:52 pm

Yesterday, was a no spend day for me. I'm hoping for a couple more this week, too.

I spent a good portion of my day deep cleaning the kitchen. There is still more to be done, but it is starting to shine! Here's what I cleaned:

Sliding glass doors
Kitchen sink blinds
Two lazy susans
Outside of dishwasher
Outside of stove
Outside of refrigerator
Under the refrigerator
Kitchen sink
Swept kitchen floor

I still need to clean inside and outside of the kitchen cabinets and deep clean the kitchen floor. I'm dreading the outside of the cabinets the most. They are painted white. As you can imagine, they are NOT dirty hand friendly! The cabinets were painted when we bought the home. They were the one thing we didn't like about the house. Guess what, I still don't like them!

I might play sparkle fairy some more today. Or not. Either way, I'm not spending money!!

Big Survey Money

September 20th, 2009 at 07:46 pm

Finally, I am pleased to report that I redeemed 1000 points with Global Test Marketing for $50!

This company begins payouts at 1000 points. And it seems to take quite awhile to get there. However, I do enjoy a $50 check once in awhile!

The check will take at least four weeks to arrive. Again, one must really have patience to work with this company.

Looking Forward to February

September 20th, 2009 at 04:06 pm

Oh my! I have been doing many nerdy calculations regarding our debt. I'm obsessed with getting it paid off! But, I must admit that I'm getting tired of watching every penny. It's draining. It makes me feel poor, when we really are not.

My nerdy calculations show that the money for the braces will be paid back by mid October of this year!! Only one more month to go.

The calculations also show that we can have the home equity loan paid off by the end of February 2010! That's only 5 1/2 months away.

While paying the home equity loan, I decided it is important to save some cash along the way. I'm not going to send every penny into the loan, like I normally tend to do. That technique works, but it is stressful. For me. For my family. We leave ourselves without any wiggle room in the budget. I don't like saying, "Can we wait until next week to buy that?"

While we pay down the HEL, we will pad the extra checking account with savings for when life happens. We have our emergency fund, of course. This extra pad will just be available for when things come up that aren't emergencies. I guess its a way of planning for things that aren't always in the plan.

Honestly, we have had an extra pad in the checking account before. Turns out we don't have it any more. I guess what I'm really doing is setting it up again!

At any rate, I'm looking forward to February. I like that I've set up the journey there to be less stressful.

Another $75

September 19th, 2009 at 03:34 pm

I claimed our debit card rewards in the amount of $75 last night. This money will go directly to the emergency fund!

Remember: we are paying back the money we borrowed to pay for the braces in full.

Payback Total Remaining: $2,015.00

We keep making progress! Gotta love that.

Per Diem

September 18th, 2009 at 02:25 pm

My husband has been traveling. This often works out as a financial benefit to us. While he travel the Army pays his all of his expenses, including food and lodging. Meanwhile, I don't have to buy groceries here at home for him. He also isn't buying fuel to travel locally to and from work.

I asked for this trip if he knew what the per diem was for meals. No, he did not. I looked it up. For this location it was $46 per day. The trip was for 11 days. Because two of those are travel days he will get reimbursed 75% of the per diem. My trusty calculator says he can spend up to $575 on meals for 11 days. Wow! I realize when travel meals can add up, but this is for one person!

I told him before he left it would be nice if we could make a little money on the trip. Honestly, I'd be fine with $10 a day or $100.

He says he's buying meals at the nearby Air Force base, where a soda is $0.30 and a large salad bar salad is $0.60. He's also buying a meat, vegetable and starch for all under $5! It's like he's gone back to the 1950's. Really, where in the United States can one get so much food for $5?

Turns out he's only spending about $10/day on food! Um...that's a lot left over from a $46 per diem. We may end up with over $300 extra in our pocket! It's been awhile since this has happened to us. Usually, he doesn't travel for that many days in a row. Usually, he just spends carefree without knowledge of the per diem.

Oh...I just got a great idea how to use some of the money. My husband has a birthday in October. I'm going to get him something really good. Really good! And no... I won't use all the money!

As a side note to this positive income news, I do feel guilty that we make money this way off the government. I'm sure this is not exactly wise use of government tax dollars. Right now, those are rules and sometimes we use them to our advantage.

Instrument Rented...Now Owned

September 17th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Two years ago, I signed a contract to rent to own a flute for my daughter. I also purchased the rental and maintenence agreement, which came in handy several times.

I recently contacted the music store to confirm the remaining payments. I just couldn't read my copy of the agreement. My inquiry prompted them to offer me a discount, if I would pay the account in full!

Instead of 5 more payments that would equal about $179, I will pay them $111 next week. A nice surprise savings of $68! My daughter will finally own her own flute, which she has been looking forward to.

By renting to own the instrument, I did pay more than if I had paid for the instrument in full at the beginning of lessons. At the time, $750 seemed like so much money to lay out for an instrument my daughter had not even begun to play. I didn't know if she would practice, or even like playing it! The rental contract allowed us an out at any point in time. We could have simply returned the instrument and be free of future monthly obligations. Turns out she loved the flute! And she plays it so well.

It is what it is. Now I'll have a little more cash in my pocket each month!!

Can I Just Say This?

September 17th, 2009 at 01:00 am

I love it when the stock markets go up! It's so much more fun to track investments that way.

A Little More Debt Paid Down

September 16th, 2009 at 05:56 pm

I made our regular home equity loan payment yesterday. The regular payment is $118.01. The pricipal portion was $79.69.

Our new balance is $6,262.36.

Someday in the near future I won't have to write about this loan. Someday it will be paid off!! I can't wait.

Since the braces will be repaid in the near future, our focus will return to this loan. By the end of December, I hope to have made another significant dent in the balance.

Finally! A Braces Update

September 15th, 2009 at 06:33 pm

Yipee!! It is payday!

I have paid all of our recurring bills and finally moved money back to our emergency fund. As you may remember, we used our emergency fund to pay for our daughter's braces in full (we received a 5% discount equal to $185).

Today, we are paying ourselves back in the amount of $1501.00. This will leave us with $2090 left to repay. The goal is to complete this by the end of October.

I received good news regarding the braces yesterday. The insurance company will pay $80 more than we were expecting. When the orthodontist recalculates our portion, we will get a refund of $76!! I hope I see that check very soon.

What I Did on My No Spend Day

September 14th, 2009 at 07:31 pm

Today is a no spend day for me. It helps to have things to do that don't cost an additional outlay of cash! Here's what I have accomplished today:

1)Worked out at the gym
2)Mowed the lawn
3)Packaged and mailed our old cell phones for recycling. Shipping was free. They are so old, I didn't get any cash Frown
4)Picked up 4 books at the library, while I returned one
5)Finished watching a Netflix movie
6)Wrote this blog post

This is all in addition to the tasks I do everyday! It doesn't look like much, but it was all free!

Tomorrow is payday and I have a long list of things we need! I'll be running errands all day. I better rest up!!

So Far So Good

September 13th, 2009 at 06:31 pm

The weekend has been great as far as keeping spending to a minimum. We have $32 left in the checking account and payday is Tuesday. I completely expect tomorrow to be a no spend day!! I must say it feels good to be in control of the money.

Yesterday, we picked up $17 worth of items at Walmart. Only $8 of that was an unnessary eyeglass case for our youngest daughter. It is a hard case with a magnetic closure and she'll have it for a long time. The free one given with the eyeglasses is soft and has a open side. Not the best kind for a child!

Today, I ran to SuperTarget and bought minimum groceries to get us through the next two days. Much of it will cover lunches for the remainder of the week, too! I spent $18.

On Tuesday...I will make a much bigger grocery run. I think I will aim for buying for about 10 days. I guess I need to start writing a meal plan and grocery list!

Right now, I'm off to make mini loaves of banana bread and jello in case the kids need a snack! After that, I'm thinking about finding some items to list on ebay. I'm dreading that though.

The Effects of Plastic

September 12th, 2009 at 02:33 pm

Okay...since this is a financial website you might think I'm referring to credit cards! I just wanted to share a video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You can make your own choices after viewing this short video.

After I wrote and posted this, I headed off to our Honda Dealership to pick up the windshield wiper and arm for the rear window of our Odyssey. The parts which cost us $48.91, came wrapped in plastic!! Ugh. In a sarcastic tone, I said outloud "It's a good thing these windshield wipers are wrapped in plastic, we wouldn't want them to get wet!"

Don't you just love how much we spent on those? We could have bought them online for half the amount, which would have included shipping. I won't go into how that may have happened.

Let's finish up with some good news. I sent the video link to my aunt, among others I know, who lives in California. She called to state that my email convinced her to go to a beach cleanup next weekend! She's going to bring friends. Yipee!! I don't live near a beach, so this warms my heart.

Waiting For Payday

September 11th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

It's four days until payday and we have $67 in our checking account. I might need a few food items and one daughter needs an item for school.

Sometimes I feel that we are living paycheck to paycheck. But we aren't. We have cash, some of it just isn't set aside for spending. I hope to make this a very low spend weekend.

The good news, the last two days have been no spend days. Yipee!!

Abundance

September 10th, 2009 at 04:23 pm

I'm seeing signs of abundance!! Yipee.

The first sign is in the form of tomatoes. Usually, I just walk to the garden when I need a tomato and pick a few. Last night, I went out for an onion and realized there are lots of tomatoes ready...and some that were ready last week (oops!). I came in with 31 tomatoes. It's been a good year!! I also picked three cups of cherry tomatoes. Now I have to figure out how I want to use them.

The second sign of abundance is our retirement accounts. We have reached a new high of just over $90K! We were close to this a year and half ago, but you know how things went. If the stock market hadn't tanked I'm sure we would be over $100K by now. I think we are doing pretty well considering, we only had $25K in 2003!

What signs of abundance do you see in your life?

Honestly Unmotivated

September 9th, 2009 at 06:22 pm

I'm one of those people that does pretty good about getting rid of our excess stuff/clutter. In the past, I have held garage sales, sold on ebay, listed on half.com, taken clothes to consignment sales and stores. I've sold used books, and old cell phones. But right now...

I'm unmotivated.

And the truth, I have stuff to sell. The girls are always growing out of their clothes and shoes. They've recently decided to give up Barbies, Polly Pockets and Bratz. There's an extra coat in the closet. There are movies we won't watch again. There is real stuff to sell.

Right now is when I SHOULD be motivated. I have braces to pay my emergency fund back for, and a home equity loan that I want desperately to go away!!

But for now...I'm not motivated. I'm just being honest! Maybe I'll think about it more tomorrow....

I Am Working On It

September 9th, 2009 at 12:08 am

Some of you may have noticed I haven't updated the ticker for the braces. The braces are the priority right now. I definitely haven't forgotten.

I currently have about $880 sitting aside to be put back in the emergency fund. I did have more, but remember the crazy airline ticket I had to pay for? Plus, I dipped into some of that money for the new cell phone. Smile

Next week, when my husband gets paid, I should have another $657 to add to the pot! I'm also expecting that airline ticket money to come back to us near the end of the month. That was $644!!

I'm not going to update the ticker until I actually put the money back into the emergency fund account. I see a few things on the horizon and want to have some cash to handle them if necessary. Just a tad silly to put it back in, if I'm going to need to pull some of it back out!

Once it all gets put back, you will be the first to know!!

One Thing After Another

September 7th, 2009 at 09:47 pm

It's been a spendy few days. On Friday, we switched cell phone providers. It is somewhat of a forced move, since our previous provider was ending their service. My phone was free. My husband wanted a slight upgrade. His cell phone was $92 with tax, but we will receive a $50 rebate in a few weeks.

We went out of town for one night to visit family. We bought gas, food, snacks, beer, and wine! Too bad these visits just can't be free. Oh, but I did get some KFC for free....since I waited over 30 minutes to get our food. I don't think I will ever go there again. Ever.

Today, instead of buying a kitchen sink and faucet, we went to the zoo for just under $20. That was a good move. We stopped by a state park with a lunch packed from home for a picnic. Also another good move. We had a great conversation with the kids...love those!

My husband took the van to be washed...and lost our rear windshield wiper blade!! The part is only made by Honda since our van is less than 2 years old. That will be an expense for later this week.

I've bought the groceries for the week and wrote a check for my youngest daughter's school pictures. Here's crossing my fingers that there are a few no spend days ahead!


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