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Archive for November, 2008

Decked the Halls...Cheap!

November 30th, 2008 at 03:25 pm

Yesterday, we decorated our home for Christmas. Of course, we don't buy new decorations every year!! Some years we need more lights or more garland depending on where we are living at the time.

This years total for decor: $3!

I buy new red bows to hang from the outdoor light fixtures. Only needed three and they were $1 each.

After the holidays, I will try to pick up a few of those on clearance so I don't need to buy at full price. Clearanced lights aren't a bad idea either since there always seems to be a string that goes bad!

We were also blessed with snow while decorating!! Just perfect...and free, too.

Debt Free Christmas

November 29th, 2008 at 06:31 pm

We made it to our goal, with one day to spare!!

Old Balance = $733.01
Nov Interest $26.39
Pinecone $3.00
New Balance = $762.40

The goal was $750, so we exceeded that by $12.37! Any excess after completing our shopping is going to the home equity loan.

I have 8 items up on ebay, with four that have bids. The other 4 look like they may sell as well. This money would have gone to my holiday challenge fund, but now it will be set aside to make a payment to the home equity loan in December.

It's going to be a debt free Christmas!! I'm thrilled! How about you?

Time to Relax

November 26th, 2008 at 02:35 am

Today, I had lunch with a friend. Then did a little shopping. I came home and felt the need to unwind before the kids started arriving home.

I made myself a cup of hot cider and sat at my kitchen table in the sunlight. I had relaxing music on...what a blessing to be able to have had that experience today. For that I am thankful!!

I hope each of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and find some time to relax as well.
My husband paid for a business expense out of his own pocket because it was the right thing to do at the time. Cost $16.50.

Today, his superior reimbursed him for the expense. We were not expecting to be compensated, so it was a nice surprise.

Guess where this money is going? Our Holiday Fund!! I'm so close, with only $16.59 to go.

Old Balance $716.51
Reimbursement $16.50
New Balance $733.01

Paypal Dispute

November 25th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

I had my first paypal dispute. Buyer felt I misrepresented the item. I did make a mistake, but it was unintentional. In my opinion, it was minor...but apparently not to the buyer. Buyer was asking for a $27 refund. That was half the cost of the item!

I decided to counter offer. I asked for the item back at my expense and I would refund all but original shipping charges. I figured I could relist item without the error and still get a bid better than his offer.

In the end, because we communicated we decided to leave the transaction as is. Buyer does believe that I made the error unintentionally. I sure wasn't out to defraud anyone. It did and does pay to communicate!!

I turned on our gas fireplace on Saturday night! This is not exactly a utility savings measure. I had turned the pilot light off back in late April or early May...I think I probably saved some gas by doing that. Does anyone know if our home heating cost are going down like auto fuel is?

Same Old Investments

November 24th, 2008 at 02:53 pm

With the economy tanking, we haven't changed one thing with our investments. That's what you are suppose to do, right? Buy low, sell high.

We have continued to send in our daughter's education contributions as well as our Roth contributions. Same amounts, same time of the month. We even are investing in the same mutual funds we have always been in.

Those low prices allow us to buy more shares in those mutual funds than we could before. In time, when the economy recovers, those same shares will be worth much more. I'm looking forward to those days, too! And they are coming...just don't ask me to predict when!!

Let the Sales Begin!!!

November 23rd, 2008 at 09:01 pm

I have 8 items ready to start on ebay this evening. Two are new with tags! Most of the items are children's holiday dress wear...perfect timing, huh?

If I sell all items I will gross a minimum of $36.60. I'm starting most of them pretty low, hoping for some hot bidding wars! I'll let you know how I do in a little over a week.

I expect this to be some of my last sales for 2008. Did you know I have grossed over $1000 on ebay this year? I only sold things we have around the house and no longer need. Just think what you could do with a grand! If you didn't alreay have one, you could have a baby emergency funded by this time next year...or sooner if you have lots of stuff!! Start that pile, today!

Spent Money on Needs...and a Want

November 22nd, 2008 at 11:47 pm

We spent our Saturday shopping and driving in the covered the lawns, but the sidewalks and streets are just wet...isn't that the perfect kind of snow?

We bought dress shoes and snow boots for our youngest daughter at Target. Spent $45. These were needs.

The pets are about to go hungry, so we bought cat and rodent food at Petsmart, and spent $43.00. The cat food should last 3 months and rodent food could last at least 6 months. I went to Petco originally because I had a 10% off coupon, but their regular prices were significantly higher than Petsmart...the coupon didn't even help make it even!

We also bought body butter at Bath & Body Works. DH has pretty dry skin and discovered last year that this stuff works really well for him. It lasts awhile, too. After the coupon I had we paid $22.26. Two stocking stuffers were included, too.

The extra dish of ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. We never go there, but I had a coupon for a free dish for my birthday. One was free, paid $4.50 for the other. It was very good!!

Total spending for the day...$114.76. We still have $174 in the checking account until December 1st. We will need to use some money for wine, gas, and to chip in a little cash toward the dinner on my in laws side of the family. Looks like we'll be good!

Almost There....

November 22nd, 2008 at 04:19 am

I am so close to meeting our holiday cash account goal of $750. I'm less than $34 away.

I added a $3 Pinecone check today. I also decided that the Land's End gift card I received in the amount of $119.25 would also go to this fund. If you want to know about that...see the previous post.

Old Balance $594.26
Pinecone $3.00
Land's End $119.25
New Balance $716.51

Only 9 more days to accumulate more! I expect to make up the difference with ebay sales and interest on our money market account.

Side note: I've been amused at myself with this challenge. I think it is interesting that I decided to save this way for Christmas, rather than using this technique for paying down our HEL. Of course, after the holidays I won't have any other choice but to do so!!

I Feel Guilty

November 21st, 2008 at 03:00 pm

The background is this: About four years ago I bought a slipcover on clearance from the former Land's End Home for a 1980's couch I inherited from my parents. I paid about $60 with shipping.

The problem: It never really fit right, but it worked okay in our basement. We moved two years ago and the couch moved to our front living room. I decided the slipcover made the couch look worse, because it did not fit just looked down right sloppy.

Initial solution: I decided to sell the slipcover. I tried ebay, craigslist, and two garage sales. Keep in mind this is a high quality slipcover, made of durable fabric and was free of rips and stains. It was a moss green color, so still fashionable. I couldn't sell it!!

The guilty solution: Instead of donating the slipcover, I decided to take advantage of Land's End Lifetime Return policy. They will take any item back for any reason at any time. I inquired about this in July. I just had to mail the package. I was so in conflict with this I waited until two weeks ago to mail it back. I finally did...hoping to get a few dollars for it to apply to my holiday fund. It cost me about $11 to send.

The result: Two days ago, I received a Land's End gift card in the amount of $119.25. Wow!! I didn't expected to be compensated for the full retail value. I didn't even send in my receipt...I didn't even have it. I thought maybe I'd get $20-$30.

Now, I feel guilty! I sure could use this for holiday shopping, but should I?

More to My Holiday Cash Account

November 20th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Yesterday, I wrote that my holiday cash account had a balance of $549.11. It is now at $594.26!!!

I made a sale on ebay and netted $45.15.

I am now only $155.74 away from my $750 goal....I'm so excited!

Principal Payments

November 20th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

The principal payments on our home equity loan are small...since we are still near the beginning of the loan.

The regular payment is $118.01. Only $28.55 went to paying down the principal in November. The new balance after the regular payment is $14,778.43!!

My goal is to get the balance just under $14,000 by the end of the year. I only need $750 to meet this goal, since I expect December's principal payment to be a little more than November's. Why does that number seem familiar....

Oh, yeah, our holiday account goal is $750!! Still working on that one. The focus will remain there until Christmas shopping is complete.

Two goals to meet in such a short time...wish me luck!!

Update: Holiday Cash Account

November 20th, 2008 at 12:06 am

Several posts back, I explained that I have been trying to accumulate the cash for the holidays outside our regular budget. Most of the cash has come from ebay sales. The goal is $750.

Currently, I have accumulated $549.11! I am short only $200. I will continue to put items up on ebay until at least December 1st. I also will add the interest that is earned in our savings acccounts at the end of the month.

I only started this challenge for myself back in late September after I made $60 at our garage sale. I decided to stash the cash away for the holidays. I honestly never thought I would get so much cash outside our regular budget...but I did.

If I can do it, so can you! If not this year, maybe next year. If not for the holidays, then maybe some other goal.

Just a note: I have actually started shopping in small amounts, so the amount I have on hand is less than the amount above...but I'm keeping track of everything so I know whether I meet my goal or not.

I also have a small goal not to spend the whole $750...the extra can go to our home equity loan!


November 19th, 2008 at 12:15 am

My oldest daughter lost her glasses after swimming class on Friday. They looked everywhere at school, but they could not be found. I brought her a spare pair and she has been wearing them since.

She has asked the secretary the last two days if they have been turned in...they have not. She can't see the board very well at school, so after school we went to JC Penney's optical to order a new pair.

The lost pair was only $49 back in August. This same pair was $79 today. Obviously, the sale was not as good. We also tacked on an additional $10 to get them by Friday of this week. Of course, it was not money I wanted to spend, but was necessary.

If the glasses are found...we will have a duplicate spare pair. The two older ones we have could then be donated. I'll let you know if we ever find them.

Money spent today: $89.00
We ate dinner at home. We had french toast and juice, but it was so tempting to pick something up since we were out running the glasses errand around dinner. I did good!!

My Sales Results Are In....

November 18th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I listed 10 items for sale on ebay a week ago Sunday. I sold 6 items! I'm a little disappointed that the others didn't sell...several people were even watching them. Sign of the economy?

The gross total was $50.02! I have yet to figure the net, as I am still waiting on payment for one item.

All of this money will help fund the holidays. Tomorrow I will update my holiday fund for everyone. I mentioned in an earlier post that I am attempting to find $750 for holidays outside our regular budget. So far most of the money is a result of ebay sales. It's been a fun challenge.

I will be putting more items up on ebay this week, or by Sunday, at the latest. I think only one of the items that didn't sell will be relisted. The new items I have are a girls coat and a girls holiday dress. Every bit helps!!

It's My Birthday!!

November 17th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I spent most of my birthday with two friends at Panera Bread. We spent the whole morning there, eating breakfast and lunch! We really have a hard time stopping the conversation when the three of us are together. It was great.

I received $100 from my parents, a candle from a friend, and lotions and soaps from my sister. I will spend some of the money on a few things for myself. This may be too much information, but I could use a new bra!!

I bought this item on Saturday at the antique store. It just makes me happy.

Tomorrow, I will update you on my ebay sales...stay tuned!