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Pay day and catching up a little

April 3rd, 2015 at 05:40 am

Thursday was another no spend day. I think that makes 4 this week. That's pretty exciting! I didn't go to Mom's house or the nursing home because I was just too flipping tired to do much at all.

I did make a delicious crustless broccoli quiche and between that and the soup I made Wednesday, I shouldn't need to buy any meals at work and there's no excuse to do the "I'm too tired to cook, let me just grab this on the way home" thing. I don't do that often but need to do it even less often. The quiche is also marvelous for a quick breakfast and it freezes, travels, and reheats very well.

I needed to do laundry yesterday but plumbers were working in the laundry room all day so I hand-washed two shirts, an apron, and some stockings and hung them to dry. I have clean pants so I'm good to go for today and tomorrow. Since Sunday is Easter and the store is closed, Mom and I are going to have dinner at her house. I'll take my laundry over there that morning and get it tended to. Yeah, I'm 52 and take my laundry to my mother's house but I go there several times a week and it was her idea years ago for me to do that. To wash and dry in my complex costs $1.25 a load. That doesn't sound like much but it really adds up so I'm thankful Mom doesn't mind me doing laundry at her place. I buy the detergent and usually wash, dry, and put away at least two loads of hers while I'm at it so it helps us both.

Today is pay day! Once I confirmed my pay was in my account, I paid the rent and water which came to $587.00, $21.32 to my Chase credit card bringing the balance to $100, and later today will pay $80 to Target. That's an account Mom and I both use and pay, though I generally use and pay more than she does. Once the $80 is paid, the balance will be $2,797.12. I really want that one gone but right now am doing well to make the minimum and a little more when I can so I suck it up and deal with it. I paid the electric bill of $54.87 Wednesday and paid my internet bill last week so after I make the Target payment this afternoon, I won't have any bills due until the end of the month. Wooohooo! I need to go to the bank on the way to work for cash to fund my grocery and gas envelopes.

After the funk I found myself in when the ex died, I didn't care about bills. I paid them but wasn't concerned if they were late and I indulged in a little too much retail therapy, eating out, and general irresponsibility. That put me behind and led to more stress, just deepening the funk. I'm so glad I'm back on track with logging income and expenses and using my envelope system. Doing those things doesn't give me more money but it ensures the bills are paid on time and the necessities are covered. I still run with just a small amount of money in my checking account but I have some money in savings, bill payments are timely, I have food to eat, and a job I love or least like a lot most of the time so I feel grateful! The stress level is decreased and that's a very, very good thing.

This site is so motivational and y'all just rock! It's difficult for me to read some of your blogs because I don't understand stocks, bonds, and having large sums of income or large sums of savings but each of you is inspirational, nonetheless, and I thank you.

Happy Friday!

Update on work, eating at home, not smoking, etc.

February 4th, 2012 at 05:56 am

I haven't posted in a bit. I've been pretty busy with work, though. It's going great now that the wild and crazy season is behind us. This week I was only scheduled for 22 hours, though, which isn't enough. My boss wrote me in for four more hours then another 14 hours. That put me at 40, which is what I'd hoped for. Unfortunately, Wednesday I woke up with a sore throat and by Friday I was sicker than a dog. I went in anyway but they sent me home after two hours. So much for that 8 hour day on my pay! I work today, though, for six hours and I hope they let me stay the entire time as 32 hours are definitely better than 26. The month of February is historically slow so the hours will be slim and I'll be grateful for any and all I get!

I'm doing well without cable TV. The fact that I still pick up TNT, CNN (a little snowy but quite viewable), and a few others helps. Not sure how I'm still getting them but I'm glad I do. I don't watch much TV, though, and when I do it's usually a Law & Order episode I've streamed via Netflix on my PS3.

I'm very tired of my too large cell phone bill and want to go back to a prepaid phone. I'm just about at the point of paying the $200 to get out of the contract. I have a Straight Talk phone I bought months ago when I was having issues with Verizon's service. I used it for a month and it's now inactive. I can port my current Verizon number to it but it's not an easy phone to txt with and since I do txt a bit I need to be able to do that easily. So, perhaps I need to find another Straight Talk phone that's a little easier to txt with. The biggest problem with Straight Talk, though, is that it doesn't seem to work that well when I travel to Austin. Of course, I only do that once or twice a year but it's a five hour drive and I take some back roads and a working cell phone is a thing of beauty on those drives! I'd hate to have car trouble on one of those back roads and have no cell phone. Hmm, what a quandary.

I haven't been out to eat in awhile. Quite awhile. I'm still spending more than what I like on groceries but a lot less than what I was on eating out so that's a good thing.

Today is Day 50 of not smoking! Yes, I haven't had a single cigarette or puff from one for 50 days today. Smile I've saved about $425 by not smoking, too! That's nothing to sneeze (or cough) at. Wink

Quiet weekend off but educating myself about IRAs and other investments

January 22nd, 2012 at 10:05 am

I'm off again this weekend. Oh my, this is the third one in a row! I work the next few but sure have enjoyed these breaks.

I was off Friday, too, and a friend and I went out for lunch then to the tiny asian market in our town where I spent $16 on some things I want to try then to a newish coffee shop that opened a piece down the road. I spent $3 there. The owner of the shop said she recognized me, asked if I work at a particular Starbucks, and told me how impressed she is with the service I give and experience I seem to have. Aww, that just made my day! She basically offered me a part time job, too, but it won't start until May if it happens. I think I'd like that, though. I gave her my number and told her to call me if she needs some part time help.

I stayed home yesterday so it was a no spender and later today I'm going to a friend's house to watch football. I'll probably buy a Diet Pepsi to take with me but other than that, there should be no spending. Yaaay! Speaking of Diet Pepsi, if I get one it will be my 4th in 3 weeks! I've cut way back on them.

By the way, I still haven't had a smoke. Today is day 37 and I haven't spent about $314 on cigarettes!

Okay, so someone I know online is educating me a bit about Roth IRAs and other investments. You know, over the years I've tried to learn a little here and a little there about investing but I've never been able to put it to use. Or rather, I simply didn't put it to use. I won't be able to act on this until later this year but I plan to open a Roth IRA, most likely with Vanguard. I did check my 401(k) this morning and found out it relied too heavily on common stock so I changed that. Meh, it's something.

I've spent a good deal of today reading about IRAs but now it's time to do laundry and clean the place!

Have you walked away from cable television?

January 3rd, 2012 at 08:03 pm

I'm on the verge of canceling my cable television. I'll keep cable internet as it's one of very few internet options where I live but I can save somewhere near $38 a month by giving up the television option.

Update - I just called the cable company and I currently have "enhanced" cable internet. If I get rid of the cable TV, the monthly cost for just the internet will be about $90 and there's a one time fee of $45 billed to me. The total bill is about $116 a month so I'd save only about $26 a month by getting rid of the cable TV.

The only thing that's holding me back is uncertainty about whether there's enough web based viewing options to satisfy me. That might sound silly but let me explain. I very rarely watch local news or any news. I get almost all news online. I don't watch shopping channels or cooking shows and only rarely watch the occasional comedy show. So what do I watch? Movies and what I call "The Law & Order channel", TNT. I also watch USA and History. I like series like 'Bones', 'Lie to Me', and 'The Mentalist' and am into biographies and history shows, also. I'm not necessarily opposed to other shows but find myself drawn to shows like the aforementioned ones and am not sure there are enough shows like that with web based only viewing.

I have Netflix and at the moment have both streaming and DVDs but am going to streaming only this month.

So, have you given up cable television for web based viewing? If so, how has it worked out for you? I'd really like to do it!

Quick wrap up of 2009 & today's spending

December 31st, 2009 at 02:19 pm

Okay, so this year was good, bad, and even ugly financially.

The Good:

The man person's business is doing pretty well and pays most of the bills. I'm still working at the job I've had for two years and we manage to save a good portion of what I bring in or we use it for "fun" stuff.

In May of 2009 I opened a 401(k) with my employer and while there isn't much in there, it's something. I also have a very small pension amount with them. I doubt that I'll be with the company for 20 more years but who knows? It could happen.

We're about 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF but feel pretty good about what we have in it now. Even the amount we have gives us some security.

We rarely are late to pay a bill now. When it does happen, it's because I simply forget to deal with it, not because we don't have the money.

Our credit reports look a hell of a lot better than they did two years ago.

The Bad:

There isn't much in my 401(k) or pension account. Yeah, they've only existed for a few months but I want them stuffed with goodies..now!

We're only 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF. I want it fully funded..now!

Once in a while I'm forgetful and we don't get a bill paid on time. I want to have no bills to pay..now!

Our credit reports, while looking a lot better than they did two years ago, still have a hickey or two on them. I want them cleaned up..now!

Okay, so I'm a little impatient.

And the Ugly:

We have that $45,526.52 hospital bill to tend to. We have a payment plan set up with the surgeon but will throw extra at it and are paying on the pathology bill and will throw extra at it, too, but that hospital bill just looms over us as we try to figure out the best way to deal with it.

All in all, I'd say 2009 was a good year for us financially. Not spectacular but better than 2008 and certainly much better than previous years.

And here's hoping the upward trend continues in 2010.

Oh yeah, here's today's spending:

Laundry - $2.50
Cigarettes - $4.70
Denise Cell Phone - $80 (this is normally around $45 but I got a new phone and part of the monthly charge was pro-rated so this bill was higher than usual)
Americano to have while washing clothes - $2.11

Figured out how to keep track of expenses!

December 30th, 2009 at 10:41 am

Our expenses for December ended up being very close to what we had on the planning sheets we prepared at the end of November and that's a good thing, indeed. But I've been agonizing over finding a better way to keep track of expenses. It dawned on me, finally, that I already knew the way to do it.

Some years ago the man person created a Filemaker database for me to keep track of blood sugar readings, meals, exercise, medication, physician's visits, etc. and I still use it. It's great and it's so easy to sort and find things. Why not do the same for expenses? Duh! I could even use it for income.

So, I sat down and made a list of the things I need it to have and he's pondering it for a day or two before he gets started on it. Apparently its better to get it right the first time than to revise the thing once its done.

I can't wait until it's ready and I can start entering things into it. I'm turning into quite a numbers geek. Wink

Received itemized statement for the man's recent heart procedure = : {

December 23rd, 2009 at 11:46 am

Jiminy Christmas! The itemized statement for the heart cath, stent placement, and slightly over 24 hour stay at the hospital is 4 pages long and that's with a small font! I haven't a clue how we're going to pay this bill. If we give them $200 a month it will take a little less than 19 years to pay off. *sigh* We can afford to send them that but anything we pay is going to eat into money we should be saving/investing for retirement. Grrr, just when we're starting to get ahead!

Damn you, life! Wink

A little admiration & almost a no spend day!

December 11th, 2009 at 03:45 am

I have serious admiration for the young man in this story:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/1115004.html

He must have some serious moxie and I hope he does beautifully in school, work, and life!

Would/have you gone to such lengths to prevent or eliminate debt? I haven't and although I'd like to say I'd be willing to go so far, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and I can admit that. I'm just sayin'....

On a more personal level, yesterday was one of my set NSDs. I almost made it but not quite. When I got to work I discovered that something was desperately wrong with the heat in the store. The section I work in was hot and I mean hot! It had to be at least 82 or 88 or 112 and even with a couple of the front doors open it stayed hot all day long. Yes, ALL DAY LONG, from 7:30 to 4:00 PM! It was so hot the customers didn't stay long at all and they complained and complained.

I'd taken chili to work because chili is good in cold weather and even though in the midst of that heat and sweat I didn't want chili I ate it when lunch time came. I couldn't bear the thought of more water (since I'd been drinking it a good portion of the day to keep from dehydrating) so I bought a glass of tea. Yes, on a NSD I bought a $2.15 glass of iced tea. And damn, was it good!

Oh well, I tried and will try again today, even though it isn't Tuesday or Thursday. Wink I only work a 4.5 hour shift and I don't have anywhere else to go so I should make it today.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Smile

Back to the basics for 2010 & $146.13 in change!

December 7th, 2009 at 02:21 pm



Actually, we're starting a little early with a checklist of financial things to do now and in the coming year. One of the more important tasks was to revamp our zero based budget to reflect the changes the business has undergone in the last year.

So, this morning I dug out the Dave Ramsey Monthly Cash Flow and Irregular Income Planning sheets and we've spent most of today, in between patients, coming up with figures to put on those sheets. Since our income and expenses vary substantially we budget a little over what the average for each expense is and any surplus goes in a separate envelope in case we need it for the same expense in the near future. It's a little complicated that way but we don't come up short on any bill payments. We're just about finished with the Monthly Cash Flow sheets and will work on the Irregular Income Planning tonight.

We also hauled 27 lbs. of change to the bank to be rolled and deposited into our main account. They charge 10% to roll and wrap the change but neither of us is too enthused about doing it and it's worth 10% to not have to do it. The man person guessed there was at least one hundred dollars and I figured the total would be over $125 but I just checked the bank account and discovered $146.13 was deposited. Sweet!

More on 2010 finances later...

Spendy weekend. Ouch!

December 6th, 2009 at 06:51 pm

We went to Natchitoches, Louisiana this weekend for the Festival of Lights. For those who don't know, Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-A-Tish) is where the movie, Steel Magnolias, was filmed. It's also the man person's home town. We don't celebrate Christmas in any way but this festival is a big deal in Natchitoches and we like the fireworks display and enjoy seeing his family so we decided to take the three youngest kids, 19, 18, and almost 17 for the weekend.

We stayed with the man person's aunt and cousin which negated the expense of a hotel room. Thank goodness! We managed to find a free parking spot with a walk of a few blocks to the festivities. The last time we went to the festival there was no entrance fee but apparently, in an effort to keep out the riffraff, they've implemented a paid armband system. Just to get in to see the parade on Front Street cost $48 for the 6 of us!

Unfortunately, the parade was quite a disappointment. It was very slow and the participants lacked enthusiasm. The marching bands didn't perform much and the ones who played their instruments appeared to not enjoy it and in my opinion, marching bands should be energetic and excited! Of course, the weather was cold and they walked at least three miles, literally, to the spot where they started marching. Maybe they were just exhausted by the time we saw them and the fun had worn off. Regardless, the parade was one of the worst I've ever seen.

After the parade we hung out on the hill across from the stage and listened to Ronnie McDowell, the singer. We'd hoped to catch the several different bands until the fireworks display a couple of hours later but the cold finally got to us and we wimped out after being at the festival for only 6 hours. But between armband fees, food, hot chocolate and coffee we spent a little over $100! Ouch! $100 for a festival we didn't even enjoy much!

The kids may go back on their own some time in the future but the man person and I probably won't. Each time we go it's less impressive than the last time we went and it's simply not worth the money anymore. However, if you're in that area any weekend between November 21st and the first weekend of January, you might want to check it out. Just make sure you bring layers of clothes and plenty of money!

Agonizing over a cell phone!

December 1st, 2009 at 04:58 am

I've had cell phones for several years and have never given much more than cursory thought to the cost of having one. As long as it was 'affordable', I'd take the bait. Well, the phone I've had for over two years was ready to finally give up the ghost so for two days I've agonized over what kind to get, which provider to use, etc. Jiminy Christmas, one would think I was about to hand over millions by the way I agonized over this decision!

I researched companies and phones and read reviews until my eyes were about to fall out of my head. Okay, the eye thing is an exaggeration but y'all know what I mean. It's no easy feat to decide on a provider, phone, plan, etc., especially when there are just so many choices out there. Cost is certainly a major factor but so is reliability and the customer service track record of a company.

I really, really want an iPhone but the monthly cost is prohibitive. I can afford it but I don't want to pay that much for a phone, even one as beautiful as the iPhone. Wink

The $45 a month plan from MetroPCS is appealing because of the low cost but there are too many complaints about them. I travel a little, mainly around Texas and Louisiana and a phone that works where I go is good and MetroPCS doesn't have coverage in most of those areas.

I called AT&T, Sprint, and some others and wound up getting a Blackberry Curve 8330 (a slightly older model) with a pretty basic plan from Verizon. I've been on my mother's Verizon plan for almost four years and their overall service is the best I've found so sticking with them just makes sense. My line is a $10 line so the monthly cost will be around $45, the same as MetroPCS with much better service, and less than half of what service for an iPhone will cost.

No, a Blackberry isn't an iPhone but it's definitely an upgrade from my old, cracked, worn out Razr v3 that turned itself off and on at will, and its affordable. And hey, I discovered last night that I can turn it off and it turns itself back on in the morning to ring the alarm! That really is a SmartPhone and I think I'm a smart cookie for getting it ;.)

I loves me some end of the month money!

November 28th, 2009 at 04:18 pm

November is just about over and after bills are paid and money is put into savings, we have close to $2000 left! Woohooo! We're not sure if we should throw it at savings or earmark it for investment or perhaps do something else with it. It sure is nice to know we're on the right track, though.

Here's hoping we can produce similar results in December! Smile

Unexpected expense this morning

March 13th, 2008 at 05:58 pm

DH has eye problems yet again! We just went through this in mid January and here we are, going through it again. Yesterday he called a different doctor, a local ophthalmologist he trusts, for an appointment.

She examined him and told him he has 'recurrent corneal erosion', a long term problem and not an infection, dilated his eyes, gave him artificial tears to put in before bed to help keep the eye moisturized, talked to him about the condition then presented him with the bill of... $215! Gulp! We didn't expect it to cost quite that much but are thankful we had the money for it. We didn't even have to take the money from the EF but we would have if necessary. He has a horrible time working when his eye is giving him problems and that constitutes an emergency to us!

Anyway, we'll see how the artificial tears work. If they don't do the trick, some kind of laser treatment is a possibility. We don't have the money for that so here's hoping the artificial tears help.

Keep us in your prayers, please...

Oh, while I waited in the waiting room for him to come out, I got some great sounding recipes from a couple of Diabetes magazines. I'll try those next week, probably. And I found a quarter lying on the floor. Cha-ching! Wink

Just thinking aloud in a virtual sort of way...

February 22nd, 2008 at 09:30 am

The medications & supplies I use cost $1800 to $2000 a month and that doesn't include physician visits or lab work. When I didn't work and DH's business had a loss I qualified for free medications and supplies through the pharmaceuticals. Now that I'm working I still qualify but barely and if I keep the job and make more money the time will come when I don't qualify. As DH's business grows and profits the chances of my qualifying become slimmer, also, but the point at which that becomes an issue is a ways off.

I talked to the benefits department of my employer this morning and I'll qualify for health benefits in July. The choices are fairly limited, too, and regardless of which plan I choose, after the $30 co-payment, the company will only pay $500 maximum annually for prescriptions. I'll use that the first month so that option isn't a good one. Insurance through the state's high risk pool will cost me about $800 a month. There just isn't a good option from what I can see.

It's ridiculous but it seems as though I'm better off not working. I don't want to not work but I don't want to not get my medications, either.

If you have thoughts on this, please share them with me...

Not a no spend day but a good day, nonetheless

February 18th, 2008 at 05:52 pm

Today and tomorrow I'm off work but I got called in this morning to cashier. No problem, that's five more hours of pay for me. Yippeee! I talked to my man person during my break and he reminded me that we needed bread, milk and a few other things. I had no cash with me but did have one check so I used the check and when we made the deposit tonight I took that same amount from the food envelope and deposited it into the checking account. I'm trying very hard to stay within the confines of the budgeted food amount so that was the best thing to do.

DH had a good day today so he gave me the cash for his Yellow Pages ad and I'll deposit it tomorrow and send the check for that payment. It isn't outrageous, just $63 and he's already getting a response from the ad so that's a good thing. The bill payment isn't due until the 26th but here we are paying it a little early. Yaaaaaaaay!

After years of struggling with not only not enough money but no knowledge on budgeting, bill paying and saving money, being able to pay the bills on time or early and have money in the bank is a real blessing. You're all great support and I want to thank you! Smile

Hey, I just realized something!

February 17th, 2008 at 08:07 pm

Today was a no spend day! DH didn't go anywhere all day and I worked from 3:30 to 8:30 but didn't stop anywhere on the way to and from work and didn't buy a thing from work. Oh wait, I did get newspapers this morning for $2.50.

So it wasn't a no spend day but it was a low spend day! Wink Ehhh, that's better than a spendy day so I'll take it.

I'm off Monday and Tuesday (unless I get called in to cashier) and plan to wash some clothes and do some cooking for the week.

Our FPU facilitator is gone on a cruise so we have no session tomorrow night. I'll miss it, I'm sure! I really like the sessions but DH finished putting all our financial information into spreadsheets to make it easier for me to keep track so we'll probably go over those tomorrow night. At least we'll be doing something finance related. Wink

Simple pleasures

February 14th, 2008 at 09:42 am

A day off

Not smoking for two weeks

Enjoying the company of my cat

Visiting with family

A bowl of freshly made chili on a cold day

Perusing the pages of Reader's Digest

Writing out checks for the phone and car insurance bills on the same day and mailing them with the solid knowledge that not only will the checks not bounce but the payment of said bills doesn't totally drain the checking account!

February so far...

February 8th, 2008 at 08:52 pm

We started on February 1st using Dave Ramsey's envelope system for our personal expenses of food, gas, clothing/laundry, and entertainment expenses. And so far we're doing very well. We'd budgeted $86 for food for 14 days and we're at $108.22 only 8 days into the month. Interestingly enough, that's about the amount we haven't spent by not smoking, which right now is $108.19. Ha!

We've definitely spent more than we'd budgeted. However, we still have $24 in the food envelope. The difference between the $108.22 and the amount we've spent from the envelope, $46 and some change, came from a combination of our personal spending money and entertainment money. A little over $24 of that was actually for nicotine patches rather than food so it isn't quite so bad as it looks. But I include it all in food here because I'm lazy. Wink For you purists, I have it all properly broken down in my spreadsheet, though.

This month we're trying to spend as little as we can for most things. We're hot and heavy on the trail of an increased emergency fund and paying the bills! In light of that, we're using quite a bit of food from our pantry and eating meals like slow cooked beans, rice with a little chicken gravy and tossed salad, homemade taquitos, chili, etc. We have a beef roast, some ground beef, and several big hens in the freezer but I'm cooking with less meat for health and wealth. So rice, beans, small amounts of meat and lots of vegetables are the way to go this month!

So here's what we've spent so far:

Business rent, utilities, advertising, etc., $1000

Food, $108.22 This includes spending for groceries, eating out, snacks and drinks at work, and cat food

Gas, $49 (budgeted $86 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$100 for Financial Peace University

$35 to oldest stepson (we'll more than likely do this every week or couple of weeks for awhile so I might create a new envelope for it)

$60 supplies for office (not something we buy monthly - we usually don't spend even $5 on office supplies in a month)

$15 personal (budgeted $20 each for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$7 laundry and $11 for a work shirt for me (budgeted $21 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th and will have to increase that amount a little I think though I don't buy any kind of clothing every month much less every two weeks)

So far, so good. We have bills due again starting in a few days but we have most of the money for those and will have the rest by their due date, I think.

All in all, Financial Peace University and the envelope system are really helping us. And it's great to know the bills are paid..or almost paid!

Today's goings on

January 28th, 2008 at 09:00 am

This morning I paid the electric bill of $64.19 for the little house I still rent. The bill would have and should have been much lower but the neighbor who checked on the house and Bob the Cat for me recently was worried that Bob would get too cold so she kept the heater running most of the time. Now that the cat isn't there, there's no need to run the heater so the next bill should be somewhere around $20, give or take.

Since I'm off today I plan to go the laundrymat and to the bank to open the savings account. It figures that I'd open one when the interest rates are so low but I need to get the money out of my immediate reach and that's certainly one way to do it. Opening a savings account is one of my main goals for this month and the month is almost over so I need to get on the ball and just do it.

Tonight is the first night of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class we're attending and I look forward to that. We didn't attend the orientation but since we listen to his show and have read TMMO I figure X amount of what's presented, including most of the orientation, will be review for us. I really am excited about going, though. Thanks for all the input about FPU. I believe it will be a worthy investment for us. By the way, someone asked if the cost is $100 per person or couple. The $100 is for a couple and it includes the kit and access to the paid areas of Dave's website, apparently.

I'll post updates on FPU now and then for others who might be interested in it.

Not a no spend day, darn it!

January 21st, 2008 at 04:01 pm

DH had to see his eye doctor again today. The medication prescribed for his eye infection seems to be making the problems worse, not better. The doctor now thinks it might be a fungal infection so he wants him to see another doctor if it doesn't start improving by tomorrow night. The visit wasn't too expensive, just $15 for a follow up visit.

I spent $1.15 for toilet paper today so our total for the day is $16.15. Not too bad but not as good as $0.00, either.

I'm off for two days and since I have to send some bill payments tomorrow I'm hoping the next day will be a no spender.

Here's to hope eternal!

So, where is it going?

January 15th, 2008 at 05:16 am



Last night when I couldn't sleep I perused some blogs. Ima Saver had a brief entry in hers about using the envelope method. I like her way of doing it so I figured out how much we would need to put back per week if we did it the way she does it rather than how we do it now. In reality, there isn't much difference but my mind was reeling last night so I was up late playing with numbers. What was left came to about $200. The shop income varies but that's a rough guess. Huh? $200 a week after we pay bills? We never have that much! So, where is it going?

Let's figure this out. From the $200 let's subtract $40 for cigarettes. Yes, I know we need to quit but honesty is vital here so I'm stating for the record that that is an expense. Okay, we have $160 left per week. Now let's subtract $50 a week for gas, understanding some weeks it might be more and others it might be less. We now have $110 left each week. Most weeks we spend about $45 at the grocery store. Again, this varies but that's a fairly accurate figure. We're down to $65. Throw in the $8 or so a week for laundry, the $20 or so DH gives me throughout the week for whatever I might need and we're down to $37. From that subtract the drinks and snacks he likes to get when out and about and whatever little incidentals might come up. Uh huh, that's where it goes! But wait, somewhere in there we eat out and we do it too often! Hmmm, no wonder we're always short on bill paying money!

So now I know why we never have $200 after putting money in the envelopes. The question is: what can we do about it?

Well, the first and most obvious thing we can do is quit smoking. That frees up about $40 a week, though not immediately as we'll use the nicotine patch which is expensive. It's cheaper than cigarettes, though, and once we're finished with them the money spent for them will be available. We're already pretty frugal with groceries and because of dietary restrictions we can't get much lower than $45 a week so that will need to stay about the same. However, we can reduce the food we waste and further reduce eating out which will help a lot.

So if we just quit smoking and cut back on eating out, $70 or so a week will be freed up. Hmmm, in theory, anyway. This all looks fine on virtual paper but how realistic is it? That's what I don't know.

Something else for me to ponder today while at work....

Monday's spending, new challenge total and more

January 14th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

I spent $6 on a dozen homemade chicken tamales this morning. The maker of the tamales does a very good job and delivers them hot and fresh. I don't get them weekly but talked to her about giving me a discounted price if I buy 6 dozen or more. She agreed so I might do that soon. It's nice to have them in the freezer for nights when I work late or we're simply in the mood for them. They're great with a little chili on top, reheated for lunch at work. Yum!

Later we went to Wal-mart for a few groceries and spent $34.75. We used $8.80 in coupons for free stuff so that was a nice savings and that $8.80 goes in to my challenge money. The new total for the challenge is $42.83.

I have my lunch and snacks packed for work tomorrow;a turkey pastrami on whole wheat sandwich, a few potato chips, a tin of kippers (I run everyone from the break room with those!) and an apple. I have no drinks to take but I can get free ice water from the grill so I'll do that.

This week we'll have two of the four needed signs installed for the shop. It will cost $200 for the two big ones to go by the road. Next week we'll have the two smaller ones brought in and install them ourselves. Those signs will cost about $100 but we'll save $100 by installing them ourselves rather than have the sign company do it. The signs are vital, though. We're on the major drag in this town but the little office complex we're in is easy to miss. Signs will help increase the business and make us easier to find for the ones sent here by the local optical shops. A well written map doesn't seem to do the trick!

I also need to get my car registered so I can drive it instead of the truck. That will cost about $60 plus gas for the 50 mile trip to get it registered. And I need to pay my car insurance, about $55.

Wow, this is going to be an expensive week so I really need to make sure to take my lunches and snacks to work and not buy a thing that isn't necessary. Fortunately, the shop gives us some daily cash flow but today was slow as was the last part of last week. I get paid Friday, though. Half of that goes to savings and the other half to bills if we need it. If not, it will sit in savings. Hopefully the rest of this week will be good for the shop and we can save more than half of my pay.

Hey, a girl can dream! Smile

To what/whom do you give?

January 14th, 2008 at 05:03 am

Recent entries and mention of giving and setting up budgets for giving have me wondering to whom others give.

We don't have a church home and I don't give to churches or TV evangelists. I do give to a local mission, a food pantry, and a couple of organizations in Israel. I also have this thing I do which involves giving directly to particular families I come across during the year.

So, out of curiosity, do you give and if so, to whom? You needn't name names - I'm just curious about giving in general.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!

January 13th, 2008 at 07:55 pm

In response to an entry posted on Somer's blog at http://somer.savingadvice.com/ I mentioned something my mother used to say to me, generally after a discussion of wants vs. needs. After she'd coached me about knowing the difference between a want and a need, complete with examples from her own life, she'd pause then say, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!"

Oh, how I detested that momism! It was something I absolutely dreaded hearing and each time she said it, I'd roll my eyes (inwardly of course, I didn't dare roll them visibly!) and sigh a little. After all, I knew that as a single parent receiving a small amount of child support she provided most of my support. I knew that although she had a good paying job, it couldn't be easy raising a girl or two or three. She made sure we had a nice and safe place to live, electricity, water, and food, bought us good quality clothes, and gave us allowance. And she always had a good car to drive, carried nice purses, wore nice clothes, and seemed to have money for extras, too. Another momism she would pitch at us was "Quality over quantity!". But we weren't rolling in the lap of luxury, by any means. We wore our clothes until they were outgrown or not good for much but the rag bag. We ate well but we didn't eat expensive foods. Our houses were safe and in good parts of town but they weren't large or new. Most of our furniture was in great condition and was treated well so that it could be sold later at a garage sale.

It wasn't until years later that I learned that although we got brand new clothes, her own clothes often came from thrift shops. And that most of the nice purses she had were given to her by friends. And that a lot of our furniture and household goods that were sold at garage sales came from garage sales. Or that she wore her nice looking thrift store shoes until they had no support left, at which time she'd throw them out and get another pair. I suddenly understood why she used foil and plastic wrap several times if she could, why she saved the brown paper bags from the grocery store, and why she insisted that although we could have two servings of the main course at dinner, we couldn't pig out on it. She apparently took "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" seriously.

As the years passed and I married then became a stay at home mother of three kids of my own, living on the small income from my husband's job, I greatly appreciated the momism I'd detested so much in my youth. I found myself remembering it when I was tempted to buy something we didn't need. I even said it to my own children a few times, though not many. I did try to teach them that when they wanted to buy something, it was good to not buy on impulse and to just wait awhile before purchasing it. I also taught them to consider if they already had something that would do the job of the thing they wanted to buy.

Now that my kids are grown and it's just me and my husband trying to pay bills and save for the retirement we always thought we'd have time to save for later (see my previous entry entitled "The best ways to ensure you'll be and stay broke") I think of those words my mom practically drowned me with as a kid and I'm thankful. I'm very thankful.

I think of them every time I wipe clean a piece of foil, dry it, and save it to use later. And I think of them every time I buy clothes at a thrift shop. Each time I add a few more cents to my challenge money, I hear those words and appreciate them again.

So here's to moms and dads and other folks who irritated us with their sayings and adages about money and thrift. May we irritate our own kids...and theirs..and theirs....

Creative ways to save money

January 13th, 2008 at 07:06 pm

I was perusing the web for creative ways to save money and found some sites that have helpful information. To a lot of us, the suggestions given at these sites aren't news but here they are, in no particular order:

10 Easy ways to stash away thousands -
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney...

20 small ways to save big -
http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2007/02/savebig.h...

20 ways to save on a shoestring -
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/Savemoney/...

101 Creative ways to save energy - http://www.powerhousetv.com/stellent2/groups/public/document...

Save big on a tiny income -
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney...

Spend wisely to save money -
http://www.earticlesubmit.com/64652_62_Spend+Wisely+to+Save+...

Creatively frugal ways to save -
http://www.countingthecost.com/cf/cf125.htm

Maybe the ideas you read at these sites will spark something in you to save even more! But even if you learn just one new trick and it saves you a few cents here and a few dollars there, add it to your challenge money or save it for a rainy day. Every little bit helps. Smile

The best ways to ensure you'll be and stay broke

January 12th, 2008 at 09:45 pm



1. At a tender age, get the thought in your head that saving money isn't important.

2. Once you have #1 down pat, add the belief that you're invincible and there's always time for saving later. Bonus points are yours if you can throw in the thought that you're going to have a very successful career in (insert career choice here) and you'll make so much money and will start saving at that point.

3. Once you've achieved #1 and #2, marry someone who believes the same things. Better yet, marry someone whose beliefs are the opposite of yours. That will set you up for years of tension, arguments, and possibly even high cost attorney's fees.

4. Live beyond your means. It's best if you can live way beyond your means, continuing to believe that there's time to save later. Buy a house you can't afford, get many credit cards and run them all to the max paying the minimum payments or not paying them at all, even buy brand new gas hogging cars, preferably more than one. Just make sure they're very expensive cars and the payments are the kind that will keep you up nights. If you can throw in some trips to exotic places, all paid for with the above mentioned credit cards, of course, kudos to you!

5. Be late on your payments for the things you've purchased on credit, making it certain that you'll have high and unnecessary fees to pay.

6. Flaunt your lavish lifestyle and be the one with the deepest pockets. Treat all your co-workers and distant relatives to lunch at the fanciest places in town. Pay the bills of friends and family members who blow their money irresponsibly. Join the most exlusive and most expensive country club in town. Don't worry if you don't play golf. Get a great set of costly clubs to go in the trunk of that car you can't afford and fake it. Or get really creative and take on a very costly addiction or hobby. Use your imagination here!

7. Make sure your kids think you're rich and that they're rich, too. Buy them the most expensive clothes and send them to the most expensive schools, even if the education isn't worth the price you pay for it. And don't forget to hand them unearned allowance every week and then generously buy what they want after they've spent the allowance. In being faithful about this one you're making sure the future of your kids is about as good as yours.

There are a lot of other things you can do to ensure that you're broke and stay that way but I've given you seven of the best ways I know. The rest is up to you. Smile

Envelope system and saving update

January 11th, 2008 at 10:55 pm



DH and I sat down this evening to evaluate how the envelope system is working for us. There isn't enough in any of the envelopes to pay that bill but there's money in each of them and we have two to three weeks to get the money for the current bills and that should be very doable. It's only been six days but it appears that the system is definitely working for us.

While we were discussing this, DH told me that he wants to try to pay the bills from shop income and save at least half of what I earn. Wow! If we can do that, we can have some decent savings in short order! The shop is making enough to cover all the bills but only if we stop frittering away money. We still do that and although we do less than in the recent past, cutting back on that more will ensure we can pay our expenses with the shop money and save a good portion of my income.

Frittering - it's so easy to do! We eat out too much which isn't good for the pocket book or the health. And DH likes to buy soft drinks and snacks while we're out and those are hard on the budget and health, too. I admit I do it occasionally, too. But if we just cut back on eating out, that will make a big difference.

I think if we keep track of every penny we spend for awhile it will show us again just how much money we're frittering. When we did that before, it stopped us in our tracks and caused major overnight changes. But that was a few years ago and we're complacent again, I think. Now if I can just talk him into doing that again. But that's the kicker. He knows we blow too much and he knows we need to stop so he will probably remind me that he knows those things and say there's no need to track every penny again. If he does, I won't bring it up again.

I'm grateful, though, that he's working to improve our financial situation and is aware and willing to work on it with me. Yaaaaay for husbands who man up! Wink

Too many days off, money to the challenge, and weekend plans

January 11th, 2008 at 07:38 am

I'm off today and tomorrow and then work Sunday (and wouldn't you know, I'm scheduled to work during the Cowboys game!) and am off again Monday. In fact, this coming week I have four days off. That's too many days off. I'll enjoy them, I'm sure, but the bank account likes to eat larger checks rather than smaller ones. Ah well, it is what it is.

My challenge money is up to $32 now thanks to change I found, some change DH gave me, and a couple of meatless meals.

Sometime today I absolutely must do laundry. I've been meaning to for several days and still it sits! But now we're down to almost no clean clothes so it really must be done today. It's going to take me quite awhile to do it so I'm procrastinating but the more I procrastinate the longer it's going to take. Bite the bullet, Denise, bite the bullet!

Tonight's dinner will be creamed chicken over toasted english muffins with salad and green beans. We have some of the chicken I cooked in the slow cooker leftover and some of that great gravy DH made so I'll thin that with a little milk, add the chicken and a few vegetables, and it will be good, I'm sure.



I was just emailed the electric bill for the little house I rent. It's almost $65! Too much considering I was there maybe three nights during that period but a neighbor was watching my cat and worried he'd get cold so she kept the heat on for him. Ehhh, $65 for a non-frozen cat is reasonable. Wink

Okay, off to separate the clothes, again....

A fun (and fairly cheap) Thursday night

January 10th, 2008 at 08:31 pm

DH wanted an Arby's sandwich for dinner so we went there. I've eaten at Arby's once before - for some reason, its just not a place I choose. Tonight I had their Reuben sandwich and it was good but the bread was weird. We spent about $12 then went to a get together of musicians and singers.

DH plays guitar and I just listen but we had a good time. This is a group of people that meet twice a month to play gospel and a little country and just talk and have a good time.

We were there about 2 hours and met some new people and DH got the chance to play with others that are pretty good.

$12 for a happy DH. Not bad! Smile

Envelope, job, & challenge updates

January 8th, 2008 at 06:16 pm

I wrote this then added to it and am now adding to it again so I edited the name, also. I might as well post just one entry rather than three.

So far the envelope system is working! Yes, it's only been three days but there is money in each of the envelopes, including the savings envelope. Smile

It feels great to know our bills are paid for the month and we're working for the next round of them. We have a ways to go before we have enough for the next round of bills but we'll get there, I know.

Yaaaaay for envelopes, cash, jobs, and a little discipline!

Speaking of jobs, I'm a reasonably intelligent person and am capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. But correctly marking cups at work boggles my mind and I'm close to admitting I've been outsmarted by paper and plastic!

I did pretty well today but still messed up at least 6 cups. I either had the wrong size or marked them incorrectly or something else stupid. It doesn't help that customers often don't ask for an item by the name on the menu board. So I think they're asking for one thing and they're really asking for another. Example: "I'd like a Chi Tea." I mark the cup for what I think is Chi Tea. Then I look around and don't see Chi Tea anywhere. After doing this three times I realized they were asking for a Chi Latte!! Doh! When I ask what size, they say they want the medium and I mark it. Then they change their mind and want a large. Okay, no problem, I can handle that. I get another cup and mark it and bam, now they want the other one again!

It's fun and I love my new job. Wink

My $20 challenge is up to $27 now thanks to a couple of meatless meals and not buying a snack or drink while out running errands. I have some change to add to it tomorrow, about $2. Yippee!


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