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Archive for August, 2011

Property Taxes Increase

August 31st, 2011 at 07:53 am

I received the yearly notice about our property taxes yesterday in the mail. Our taxes increased from $2,820 to $2,942. That is an increase of $122 per year or 4.3%. Most of the increase is to our city and the school district, so I won't complain too much. They seem to do a good job with the resources they are given.

I recently received our homeowner's insurance bill, too. It also increased.

I save monthly for these expenses. With the increases, I am short. I will make up the difference out of the regular paycheck and then increase monthly savings with the hope of being on target next year. Although...next year we might have sold the house and be renting. Smile

Craigslist Sale: Fail

August 30th, 2011 at 08:43 am

I had a couple items listed on craigslist. I thought I had an interested buyer. Yesterday they were a no show. I did have an email much later in the day, indicating they were no longer interested. That was nice. I guess. I was looking forward to a $40 sale. Darn.

Today, I'll be painting our interior garage door with paint I have on hand. Free home repairs make me happy!

Once I'm done with that, I need to clean bathrooms. DH will be home for several days this weekend. Yipee!

Free Newspaper

August 28th, 2011 at 06:37 am

I cancelled our newspaper subscription last month. We have missed it. Today, I ventured out to fill our gas tank with fuel and buy a paper.

Turns out my newspaper was free with the purchase of fuel!! Yipee.

This might be my new Sunday routine. Smile

Minor and Cheap Repairs

August 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 am

I tried to write this post yesterday. I lost it and gave up.

I have been starting to do some small home repairs and maintenence on our house in preparation for selling or renting. Our move is coming we just don't know when or where yet.

Over the weekend, I recaulked two sinks and a shower. I throughly cleaned our storm door glass and front window. This included taking a razor blade to them to remove small splatters of paint from when we had the house painted last year. They look much better.

I also began making some drywall repairs. Very minor. Just filling in with spackling, sanding and repainting. Yesterday, I opened four different colors of paint to complete the job. I feathered out the paint and it seems to blend pretty well.

Today was basic mowing of the lawn. It needs to be watered more and fertilized. I took down the garden about two weeks ago...we planted too late, thus no produce. Oh well, for the best likely. That area now needs to be reseeded. Need to borrow a rake to flatten the area out.

So far I've used spackling, caulk and paint that we have on hand. I'll need to buy the fertilizer and grass seed. I'll probably head out to do that today.

And the list goes on...there is more to do. Including making a decision on replacing some vinyl in the laundry room. It has chips in it...just like it was when we bought it. We probably need to price it to decide.

Received Moving Money

August 19th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

We received our payout for the DITY (Do It Yourself) move. It was less than estimated. Boo.

We were quoted $1,141.68 based on 1000 pounds and mileage of 1117 miles. DH moved 980 pounds and I assume drove that distance(!). We received $989.94. A difference of $151.74.

As I write this post, I looked up the Travel Advice of Payment (AOP) and it shows the amount I estimated based on the new weight of 980 pounds: $1,118.85. But then they subtracted out $128.91. Boo again. Not sure if the constructive costs changed from the time we received the estimate and the move occured.

The AOP shows our out of pocket expenses were $603.20. This means per army records we earned $386.74 on the move. This will be considered taxable earned income for 2011. I've got to remember to keep an eye out for that tax form!

All the money for the move has been paid. Things are getting back to normal, as much as they can, considering we are living in different parts of the country. I'm beginning to put my extra time towards small home repairs, improvements and cleaning in preparation for moving or renting this house out.

Lucked Out at Target Optical

August 18th, 2011 at 05:14 pm

Eye appointments were yesterday. My oldest daughter wanted to get the same frame as last year, so we headed to Target Optical. I was expecting to pay around $180. Instead I got away with paying only $26.50 (includes tax) for a whole new pair!!

Last year I bought the worry free guarantee for $25. Which would replace the glasses if there was a prescription change or damage to the lenses. It is valid for 15 months.

For a $25 copay, we are getting the same frames and lenses with her new updated precription. All we have to do is give them the old pair when the new pair arrives.

She won't have a recent back up pair, but at 14 we rarely have issues with lost or damaged glasses. And we can get glasses made in an hour if really desperate. I actually could have her pick out a inexpensive back up pair at Walmart. Hmmm...something to think about.

Just thrilled with getting two new pairs of glasses for a combined total of $126.44. Average price: $63.22. For a years worth of vision it feel nearly priceless!!

Truck Loan Goes Down Again

August 18th, 2011 at 05:54 am

Our truck loan payment posted yesterday. We pay $329.13 each month. This month $40.04 was interest, and $289.09 went to principal.

The new balance is $13,599.30.

Back To School

August 17th, 2011 at 06:36 pm

My daughters are back to school. We kept spending on clothes to a minimum with needs only. Unfortunately, for one daughter that meant new capris since she put holes in each pair she owned over the summer. We bought the basic supplies and supplemented some with used items from last year.

Today the girls visited the eye doctor. Eye exams were covered by our insurance. Only have purchased one pair so far...at JCPenny's for about $99. The other pair is likely to be purchased from Target. They have a sale...so maybe that pair won't be too much more. Finger's crossed.

School pictures are coming up. Getting ready to dole out some money for those. These are really the only professional photographs I have of my kids, so I try to keep the cost in perspective and buy a pretty basic package each year. I think the pictures turn out pretty good.

My ice maker part is not yet in, or I haven't been called yet at least. Since the leaking part outside of the refrigerator seems to have stopped, I'm not so worried about how quickly I get the repair for the ice maker done. I should just go to making my own cubes. I did order the part, or authorized it, so I feel obligated to follow through. I'm just second guessing my need for the part, if I can just make my own cubes.

That's the financial news from here. Just trying to keep spending to a minimum. And it is working pretty well.

Freezer & Ice Cube Update

August 12th, 2011 at 01:46 pm

Well, no charge for today's service call, since I have a part on order now. The service man was not entirely sure what was causing the frost build up. Maybe opening the freezer too often? We are just going to watch that one for the next few days. It actually wasn't leaking in the last 36 hours. So maybe nothing!

The ice maker has been making too few and hollow cubes for some time. It does appear that it is dripping and freezing. Athough very little water. Thus a possible leak, but with too few cubes, it also isn't filling right. The water fill valve is cheaper, so we are starting there. That is the part on order and with the service charge, part and labor it will still cost me $150. Luckily, only once service charge for the two visits.

If I end up having to replace the ice maker it will be $125 additional. If I was really short on funds, I would just turn off the water to the ice maker and use basic ice cube trays. Of course, I'd rather not spend the money, but I do have it.

Stay tuned. I'm sure there will be more to this ice cube saga.

Now I Have A Freezer Problem

August 10th, 2011 at 02:26 pm

I made an appointment for a service person to look at the freezer portion of my refrigerator. They can't come until Friday afternoon.

It seems that ice from the ice maker is clumping up in the bin. I also noticed that frost is forming on the lower portion of the inside door. And then, I think it's melting, causing some water to first pool on top of the fridge door, and some then drips to the floor.

For now a towel will mop up the water. Luckily it isn't a huge amount. If it gets worse, I may need to call another company. I used this company last year for my gas stove and they did a great job.

I've done quite a bit of online looking and my guess is that it is the defrost timer that needs to be replaced. I think it is defrosting too frequently for the fan to keep up. It could be a bad seal on the door, too, but it looks okay to me. I'll let you know how it works out.

Rent Is Paid Through September

August 10th, 2011 at 06:23 am

My husband left school early, with permission, to get a money order to pay the late rent and outrageous late fee. He drove over an hour round trip to the management office. I thought it was closer. Guess not.

He is paid up for August and wrote a personal check for September's rent. He received receipts for both payments.

All very irritating. Caused my husband to lose sleep over it. Since the company still didn't have the check, all we can think, was the postal service didn't do their job. Lost in the mail literally.

We did put a stop on the original check and the rental company was informed of this. Nice thing is our bank didn't charge for this service. Maybe most banks don't. First time we ever stopped a check.

I have reworked our budget to handle paying the rent at mid month. We did stop college contributions for the remainder of the year. I'm also stopping our automatic Roth contributions for a time being. I expect, we will still make all of our contributions, but it helps to not have that money flowing out when things are a bit unstable with two households. Besides, I have until April 15th to make sure I get those contributions in.

We are still waiting on a payment from the government for my husband doing his own move. It should arrive in the next two weeks and equal over $1100. I'm looking forward to that.

Late Rent!

August 8th, 2011 at 07:24 pm

Ugh. My husband mailed his rent check to the address as instructed. He mailed it on Saturday, July 30. It was due by Friday, August 5th. It apparently has not arrived, even though it's destination is a 20 minute drive north.

He arrived home today to a late notice. He has to pay a 10% late fee, plus some other concessions that generally are waived if payment is due on time. Total late fee is over $185!!!

My husband was warned by front office of his apartment complex when he moved in that they are very strict on late payments and even went as far as to suggest he drive a check to the office each month. Their office hours are 8-4:30pm Monday thru Friday. Guess when my husband has class? Right during those times.

DH is quite upset. I'm upset, but know that we simply learned a lesson about the type of company we are dealing with or the postal service. Not sure which. We will pay the fee, of course. And we are even going so far as to pay September's rent now. DH will call the company in the morning to clarify that they have not received the check and then leave school early to drive there and make the rent payment, late fee, and next month's rent. Oh, and we might just put a stop on that check that was mailed. We'll decide that tomorrow after speaking to them.

Frustrating at the very least. We tried to pay on time, but it just didn't seem to work out. New plan of attack is for DH to pay the rent in person out of our mid month pay. And get a receipt!!

Made A Donation

August 3rd, 2011 at 09:24 am

It seems there is always someone who is suffering more than us. Right now, my thoughts go out to those in Africa, who are without food, water and even shelter.

I decided that we have cash to spare even though at times it feels that money is tight. I made a donation today to the American Red Cross to help those who are in much greater need.

The Red Cross also accepts donations of hotel and airline miles, rewards from some credit card companies and matching donations from your employer. I know that you can donate your MyPoints, too. This would require nothing out of your pocket, but help those who are greatly suffering.

Do you know of other creative ways to help those in need? Please share so that we all may help others in their greatest hour of need.

One Weeks Groceries

August 1st, 2011 at 10:05 am

One weeks worth of groceries for three came to $71.41. Actually, it may be eight days worth of meals.

Pasta x2 with sauce
Baked chicken, corn on the cob
Soup and Salad
Breakfast (eggs or pancakes)
Tacos (have frozen beans and meat in freezer)
Micro meals x3
Homemade pizza

We supplement our meals with fresh fruits and veggies. We have grapes, strawberries, apples, carrots, cucumber and corn on the cob. Yum!!

We also bought basics like bread, butter, skim milk, almond milk, eggs, two boxes of cereal and granola bars. And I bought the very bad for you diet pepsi and ice cream. The girls indulged in the ice cream. The pop was mine. I'm trying to cut back!

In other news, we sold three books on half.com. It was one buyer, so we made a little extra with the shipping for a total of $3.90 profit. My daughter will receive $2 and I will retain the remainder. Fun to get a surprise sale here and there.