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Archive for June, 2008

I've waited 10 weeks for this..

June 30th, 2008 at 05:39 pm

Anyone remember way back to April when we bought our new HDTV at cost from my BIL? We'll today the $200 rebate finally came in the mail.

I've never had a rebate come back so slowly. Or, maybe I have. When it's $200, you keep track of it just a little closer than if it was $2.00. Well, I do anyway.

Thrilled to finally have it, too. It is arriving at a great time, with a few travel trips ahead of us and a birthday this weekend. Just a nice cushion of cash to have available if needed.

I would really like to see it go to the home equity loan, but I will need to wait to see how a few things shake out.

Off to put it into the bank...via online deposit. I love it!!

Tomorrow's Pay Day

June 30th, 2008 at 08:56 am

Around here, we look forward to the first of the month! It's payday.

We spent the weekend trying not to spend money. We did okay...but we did spend. It seems when DH is around I give in to his wants. This weekend it was Chinese food and long island ice tea mix. See why I say...wants? We did not need either of these. We had other food in the house and we didn't need to drink.

So, tomorrow is payday, we will stock up on groceries for the week and pay our regular bills. Life won't feel so tight again.

I need to pay the mortgage, flute rental, phone bill (includes cell phones & internet), send in college contributions, add money to our own escrow account and add money to our savings. The water bill will arrive soon and I'll need to pay that, too.

Also, need to pay off DH government travel card. Yuck...don't like when he overspends and doesn't get reimbursed!

Olympics Here We Come!!

June 29th, 2008 at 03:30 pm

Airfare: $0
Gas: $60.00
Tickets for 4: $120.00
Food: unknown
Lodging: free

Total cost to enjoy the Olympic spirit:
$180 plus food

I've loved the Olympics ever since I went as a kid. I went when they were held in Los Angelos in 1984. It was so fun. You could just feel the competitive, yet unifying, spirit in the air.

All four of us get to see the U.S. swimming trials next week. We don't know which events or which swimmers we will see, but we sure hope to see someone advance to the final team!

This is held here in the US, not Beijing! Hence, the reason we are able to go so inexpensively!!

Free Home Repairs

June 28th, 2008 at 05:14 pm

The remainder of our day has involved some home repairs. The nice thing about it is that we had all the supplies we needed! We handled two paint projects and our patio screen door.

The first paint project was to repaint the wood window frame behind the kitchen sink. I only painted the lower portion, where the paint was peeling off. The glossy white paint came with the house!! I just mixed for about 10 minutes and it was ready to paint with. I even had a sponge brush to put it on with.

The second paint project was outside. The trim around our garage door began peeling this winter. Not so sure about the quality of the paint job the last owners did. I think the whole thing may need to be painted again before we move. DH pulled out paint I used on the front porch railing last year and touched up around the front door and garage door. Again...free for today!

The screen door project did involve an exchange. For some reason, the original one I bought a few weeks ago just didn't fit. We returned it and went to another hardware store. It was actually about $1 less! So, with new patio screen door we are letting in all the cool breezes tonight for no additional cost!!

Oh, just remembered that I also caulked outside in a few areas that were in need. This was done with caulk leftover from another project. Did you know you can insert a screw into an opened tube of caulk until the next use?

It's fun to see what projects can be done around home with items one already has on hand. We feel like we've been productive and frugal all at the same time! Unfortunately, not all home repairs can be done frugally.

I did read in our local paper about the Habitat Restore. I assume many areas may have these as they had one in my last state, too. The store accepts donations of used building materials and fixtures, including opened cans of paint. These are then resold to the public for their own frugal home repairs. Apparently, ours actually gets new items in, from contractors and building supply places. Great resource, if you are short on money for these projects.

Now...time for a glass of wine with my hubby!

Already Spending

June 28th, 2008 at 11:09 am

I was hoping that we would avoid spending any money this weekend. Not happening.

We headed out to our local farmers market this morning to enjoy the outdoors and the atmosphere. I did intend on buying sugar snap peas. They are so yummy right now! I bought two large containers for $6.

However, we also bought a large loaf of ciabatta bread for $5. I also bought the girls a juice drink to share for $4.75 along with a large cookie for $1.50. DH also bought a coffee...not sure on his total. I bet we spent over $20.00. Parking was free!

We then moved our van to another location a couple miles away to enjoy our local art fair that is going on this weekend. The art is pretty expensive to buy, but it is free to look at. One daughter got a free balloon. We stopped to listen to free music while the girls ate the cookie from the farmers market.

My husband is now mowing the lawn while the girls play with the neighbor girls. So, maybe now we can keep to no more spending this weekend.

We do have one errand to run. I need to return a patio screen door that did not fit. Hopefully, we can find the right size for the same amount that I spent on the original. I want a screen door so I can have my patio door open to let in all the nice breezes we are getting today!

Oh, on a decluttering note, I tossed out our old gazebo cover today. We replaced it with a new one this year as the old one was getting pretty torn up.

Now...to find something free to do!

Will Declutter for...

June 26th, 2008 at 11:34 am

cash, stock options and or real estate !

Really, this would be a job I would love to help people with. I have only received pay once...and that was from my sister!!

The satisfying feeling of order is what drives me to dig through piles of junk. When I was still a teenager, I even sent away for information from the National Association of Professional Organizers. Well, college got in the way and I earned a degree in finance.

Now, I'm a stay at home mom with a finance degree with time on my hands to help others declutter and organize. Has anyone ever hired one? How much did they charge?

I really think this would be a flexible and fun way to earn some cash. Any ideas on how to promote such a thing? What would you pay someone to help you clean up and organize a room?

Kicking It Some More

June 25th, 2008 at 07:01 am

I'm fired up!! I made another payment to the home equity loan today in the amount of $5...yes, $5.00.

Why such a small amount? It's my Pinecone survey check I received in the mail yesterday. All survey money is going to the home equity loan.

In the last 7 days, I have made three extra payments to principal on the loan. Two for $25.00 and one for $5. My regular payment on this loan is only $118...so I've almost made an additional half payment.

I'm so excited to get moving on this, even if it is just a small dent at this point. Having paid off some debt in the past I know that the small payments make a difference, too!!

2008 Financial Goals Reviewed

June 24th, 2008 at 10:44 am

Some of our goals for 2008 are:

1)Save 15% of gross salary - retirement
2)Save $2000 for each child - college
3)Save down payment & purchase newer van
4)Begin to payoff home equity loan. (Really would like to pay off by May 2010)

We are on track to meet goals 1 & 2. We make contributions monthly to meet our yearly goals. Retirement is automatically. I do write checks for the education accounts...same time every month.

Goal three was accomplished last month with the purchase of a 2007 Honda Odyssey. We've been waiting over a year to make this happen.

I began working on goal 4 as of last week when I made my first extra principal payment of $25. Today I sent another $25.00 payment towards the loan. By the end of June, I hope to be able to send over $350 extra per month. I also intend to put any extra money on I make on ebay, craigslist, garage sales, and surveys toward this loan as well.

Here's What I've Been Doing...

June 23rd, 2008 at 05:36 pm

thinning out my filing cabinet. Wow, I don't think that I've been through these papers in over 2 years...maybe even three. I had utility bills from my last house in there.

The picture is of two bags of shredded papers for recycling. One bag is not shredded but also ready for the recycle bin. Did you notice the trash can is still full of shredded paper? Also, there is a small pile of paper that my DH is going to shred at work for me. My shredder can't keep up with the amount of paper I'm finding!!



I feel so much lighter. I noticed that some folders didn't have anything current in them. You know why? I receive those items electronically now and actually save them on my computer. Reminds me that I want to get a flash drive to back up some of those things.

Keep decluttering and erasing the evidence! I hope some of you are working on erasing your evidence of debt, too!!

Erase the Evidence Update

June 23rd, 2008 at 08:23 am

Yesterday, I was getting the house cleaned up. My DH was coming home after 3 weeks out of state. I was able to erase the evidence (ETE) all day long. My girls even joined in and erased their own evidence. That was a huge breakthrough. I hope it continues!! I save so much time, if I don't have to pick up after them.

Another beautiful day here. Nice enough to open the windows and turn off the air. I've had at least four days this month with no air!! I'm guessing weather wise there could have been more, but youngest daughter's allergies also play a factor.

Yesterday, I bought groceries and spent less than $100 for our family of four. This should be enough to get us through the end of the month. I also used my new canvas shopping bags. I brought only one plastic bag coming home. I think I usually come home with at least ten. Huge difference!

Today's Numbers: $4.29, $13.50, $730, $200

June 21st, 2008 at 07:22 pm

I did go to Aldi for my first time yesterday. I took my girls. They loved that you had to put a quarter in to get a cart. We didn't actually get a cart, but the liked the idea. My daughter even brought her own quarter to use!

We picked up 3 things. Baby carrots, bag of red onions and ice cream bars for the girls. My total was $4.29. The woman ahead of me had a cart full of groceries. Her total was $79! I was very impressed with many of the prices. I'm sure I will be back.

This morning we traveled to our downtown farmers market. We bought 1 quart of strawberries for $5, a quart of sugar snap peas for $4 (later saw these for $2 at another stand), a dutch letter for the girls to share for $1.50, and romaine lettuce for $2. Parking was free as was the poetry reading, the music, the view of the river that is finally beginning to recede but is still higher than normal. We saw a three month old puppy, cool art, and many pretty flowers.

I really would love to make this a regular Saturday event for my family. It is just a good time. I think I need to go just a bit earlier next time, so that it is cooler and the crowd is not as thick.

We received $25 rewards from my debit card the other day. This is the extra money that I sent off to the home equity loan payoff. I expect to get a little interest on our money market account and some funds from ebay sales...all will go the home equity payoff.

Today was the sign up for dance and tumbling classes. I paid for the year in full in cash...$730. One daughter decided not to take dance because we expect she might be a bit busier in middle school with homework. This saved me from spending another $300. Love that!! I will hold on to it, in case we did to make a payment towards braces.

I reworked out escrow account today, too. I decided to start saving for dance classes for next year. Turns out instead of my previous monthly amount of $124, the new amount will be $200. I will split this evenly between the two checks we receive each month.

It was a good money day. Tomorrow I must grocery shop because my dearest soldier husband is coming home from three weeks of training. Can't wait to see him.!!

If you don't know what ETE is...read my post from yesterday. I did great with it today!

ETE

June 20th, 2008 at 09:59 pm

Those letters stand for something and I'll let you know what it is in a moment.

By knowing what ETE is I am able to:

save time
save money
feel calm
have a party at the drop of the hat

Wow! What could possibly do all that?

ETE refers to erase the evidence. It is a little organization helper, that reminds me to pick up after myself. If I make a turkey sandwich, I must clean off the counters and put everything away so that it appears I was never even there.

ETE saves me time, because I put things back where they go...without misplacing or redirecting them. ETE saves me money for the same reason. I know where all my bills and library books are.

I confessed to my sister just today that I was a little compulsive about order at times. Why? It really seems to make me calmer. Although, I've realized in the last 6 months that there are other ways to relax. I also deserve to relax even before I get everything in order.

ETE means I don't have to pick up for company. I've already done it as I go along. Of course, I'm still trying to teach the rest of the family.

Disneysteve...anyone else want to try? See if it works for you this week. Think ETE...Erase the Evidence. Do it all day long or just once a day. For me it's both! Remember, I told you I'm a bit compulsive.

Garage Sale Find & A Way to Avoid Spending

June 20th, 2008 at 03:25 pm

We decided last night that the girls and I would go to some garage sales today. We lucked out and found a neighborhood sale of 10 homes that we could park and then walk to.

The girls had to spend their own money on anything they wanted to bring home. Many of the houses had kids selling drinks and snacks. I did buy them a donut and a lemonade.

I bought three large rubbermaid containers. When I say large...it mean it. These are 31 gallon size. Each was $2. I paid all in quarters that I had leftover from my garage sale!

Older daughter bought a lava lamp, while younger daughter bought a Bratz doll in a case. Not too bad!! I avoided bringing home stuffed animals. In fact, the rule was if they bought a stuffed animal they had to get rid of 5 when we returned home.
I just hate bringing stuffed animals home when we already have so many...beside where have they been?

In an effort to avoid, spending more money I completed a project today. I bought caulk for our kitchen counter backsplash over a month ago. Today, I scraped off the old stuff and applied the new. I'm good at caulking, so it looks much better than before. Yea me!!

I'm very tempted to take my kids with me tonight for our first visit to Aldi...but I need to get dinner going and clean up a bit. Aldi has some good prices on produce this week...maybe every week, but this week I noticed their advertisement.

Small Steps to Home Equity Payoff

June 19th, 2008 at 11:04 am

Some of you may have noticed that my goal of home equity payoff is going very slow. So far, I have only made regular monthly payments. As a result, I'm only paying about $23 towards principal each month.

Today I have made an extra principal payment of $25. I know it is a bit small. I'm a bit out of shape with debt payoff. The last debt I paid off was about 4 years ago. It's hard to let go of what I feel is extra money...money to hold in my savings account or even spend on something else.

The $25 that I paid today is a symbolic of my desire to really pay off this home equity loan. Did you hear that home equity loan? I'm coming to get you. You are not going to survive my extra payments for long!! There are more to come.