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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!

A day off....

January 7th, 2008 at 07:20 am

I don't have to work today but unfortunately I can't just laze around all day. I was hoping for a no spend day but it isn't to be.

I have clothes to wash and have to get some stamps to mail the bill payments DH and I wrote out a couple nights ago. I also need to do some cooking for the week since my work schedule is wacky and subject to change. I'm supposed to be off Friday and Saturday but won't be surprised if that doesn't pan out.

I also have to buy a few shirts and a pair of black shoes for work. What I have doesn't meet the dress code so yep, today will not be a no spend day for me!

So, I'm off to plan meals for this week and do some piddling things around the office.

A great day & input/suggestions needed

January 5th, 2008 at 05:41 pm

DH and I paid bills last night . Almost $1300 - gulp! But at least we had it to pay! It was great paying those bills and knowing we still have some money left.

I had a no spend day today and I really love those. The fact that it was warm today was a special bonus!

I got to work at noon and it was crazy busy. During my 15 minute break I drank one of the diet sodas I'd taken. Later in the afternoon I needed to eat but wasn't scheduled for a lunch period. I told my boss I was weak and shaky and needed to eat (I'm diabetic) and she let me sneak to the breakroom long enough to wolf down some chicken wings I'd brought from home and a couple of crackers. So no money spent there.

I got home and we had fish, green beans, and salad. No money spent there, either.

I have to be at work at 7:30 in the morning so I'll head to bed before too long.

But it was a nice no spend day. I hope I have many more soon! Smile

By the way, I'd like some suggestions and feedback on this. DH's business is doing well considering that it's only 5 months old. It isn't paying all the bills yet but it's paying for itself and giving us a little extra. It's a mostly cash business so we have an almost daily cash flow now. And I'm working and get paid every two weeks. The last two checks have been good but the next check or two might not be so good as hours are being cut. However, we can handle that for a short while. The problem is that neither of us is good with money. We're like little kids with it - if we have it we want to spend it. We've used the envelope system before and we think we need to get back to it.

So, we set up envelopes for the business expenses (rent, advertising, electric bill, supplies, etc) and one for saving and each envelope has the budgeted amount for that expense written on the front. The plan is to sit down every evening and put cash that came into the business that day into the envelopes, $10 here, $30 there, and allow a small amount for his pocket. My checks are deposited into our account. I think if we do this regularly when it's time to pay the bills, voila, the money will be there. We can then deposit the cash into the account and write and mail the checks.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to handle it? We have to find a way to ensure the money for expenses is there and that we don't spend it. We know from experience that if it's in envelopes we won't spend it. If it's in his pocket we will!

Suggestions, input, and advice welcomed!

Fall is MIA.. really, it must be

October 9th, 2007 at 07:43 pm

But according to weather underground (http://www.wunderground.com/) by the end of this month we should be averaging temps in the low 70s. Oh please, please, come a little sooner! I miss Fall! Not that we really have much of one here - it goes from green to brown to dead, basically, but the cooler weather means no need to run the AC and possibly not even the fans and that means a lower electric bill.

Of course, on the tail of that is winter and that means trying to stay warm and a higher electric bill. But hey, it isn't so bad in Texas. We can put off using the heat for quite a while and enjoy those lower bills.

But really, I want Fall.. now, please!

My bill envelope

October 7th, 2007 at 08:33 am

I don't use a multiple envelope system where there's one envelope for each bill that's coming due but I use a single envelope system. It's a bank envelope and the amounts due are written in list form on one side of it. Once the entire amount for that bill is in the envelope, I check it off. I can easily look at the envelope and see how much is in it, how much I still need to get, etc. But it's a new system for me and this is my first month using it.

Right now there are no unchecked items and it's only October 7th! I just put in enough money to pay the storage and electric bills. The electric bill isn't due until the 24th but I'm going to pay it early this week.

Wow, it feels great to have all bills paid or the money for them set aside so early in the month.

The system I'm using seems to be working.

Go, Denise! Wink

A very pleasant surprise!

October 6th, 2007 at 02:46 pm

I checked my electricity account online and got a great surprise. The amount I owe is $72.06 and not close to $150 like I suspected I'd owe. Since this is the first full month and the first electric bill which was for 9 days was almost $40 I just knew it would be between $120 and $150. I'd figured my average daily kWh as 22 but the bill shows it to be 20. What a pleasant surprise to get a utility bill that's actually about half of what I thought it would be! I've tried not to use the AC much but I'm really not sure how it worked out this way. But hey, I'm not complaining.

And I managed to keep the kWh at 20 or less which has been a goal.

Yaaay, go me!

Yuck! I had to spend money today!

October 5th, 2007 at 09:14 pm

I had to spend money today, money I hadn't planned on. I have a Mac Mini and a beautiful ultrathin keyboard shown here:


I cleaned the keyboard this morning and couldn't get all the keys to work afterwards, although I didn't douse it with anything. I tried letting it dry in front of a fan but that didn't help so I went to a local place to get a new keyboard. None of them had USB ports and since I thought the cord on my Mighty Mouse was too short to reach the back of the Mini, I got a new mouse, too.

When I got home I found out the keyboard works fine with my system but the mouse doesn't. Fortunately, the Mighty Mouse cord is long enough so I'll return the other mouse next week. I'm also going to ship my Apple keyboard to my son in Austin and he'll take it to the Apple Store for repair or replacement and ship it back to me.

The total for the new keyboard and mouse is $37.64 but when I return the mouse I'll get about $16 of that back. I'll keep the keyboard - it's nice to have a back up, just in case!

But I sure miss that sexy Apple keyboard..and my $37.64!

On my way home from the store I stopped at BK and spent about $3 on a double cheeseburger and fries. I don't eat that way often but I was very hungry and it was very good!

So, I spent a little over $40 today. Ugh...

Cash on hand

October 3rd, 2007 at 09:55 pm

Right now I have $17.48 on hand and $15 of that is spoken for. Wooohoooo! I won't get too far on $2.48!

But my bills are paid for this month, other than electricity and storage, neither of which is due yet, I have enough food to last a couple of weeks, and I have a full tank of gas in my car. I also have a house to clean tomorrow and will get $60 for that but it all goes into the bill envelope.

Oh well, I'm set for at least another week and a half to two weeks so all is well. It's just kind of sad to only have $2.48 in my pocket...maybe I need to run a coin rescue like baselle does!

Average daily electricity usage

October 2nd, 2007 at 02:27 pm

I was curious how much electricity I'd used since I got my first electric bill (for just 9 days) so I just checked the meter. I've used 562 kwh since that first bill.

My average daily usage on my last statement is 17 kwh. With today's reading and the number of days since the last reading, I can guesstimate that my average daily usage now is almost 22 kwh. Not as good as 17 kwh but it's been really hot and though I've kept AC use down, I have used it here and there. I'm also cooking more than I was the first 9 days I was here. So I can see the increase being reasonable. But I'm using the AC less than I was so I figured it would stay the same or be slightly less. Things that make you go hmmm....

On a website about green technology and tips to reducing electric consumption I found this:

"Monitor your electric usage daily. Chart it, if it helps. Keep a daily eye on it; like one would you were living off-grid. This will keep your focus on conservation. Set a goal for daily kWh usage, achieve it, and then try to go lower. An average American home uses 40 kWh per day. Efficient homes use as little as 14 kWh a day, which includes winter heating (electric heat pump). Some off grid homes as little as 1 kWh a day!"

So, my consumption is right at slightly less than half the average American's and that seems about right considering there's just one person in the household.

Since I want to reduce my electric bill, I'm setting an average daily use goal of 20 kwh or below, starting right now. I don't know if I can do it but hey, it can't hurt to try! If I can get it down to 20, I'm going to try for 18 and see what happens.

Here are a few good links about energy to check:

Find out how much energy is used by common household appliances:


And here's how to do a home energy audit on your own home:


And here's a nice heat loss quiz:


I imagine most of you know about the Energy Guy and others like him but it's still interesting information!

Out of curiosity, what is your household's average daily kwh usage and how many people are in your home?

I just love freebies! And cheap stuff, too.

September 30th, 2007 at 07:35 pm

Today I went to lunch at Cheddar's with my mother, stepfather, and some of their friends. I didn't have to pay so it was a very nice free lunch and I brought home quite a bit of my Dijon Mushroom Chicken and will have that tomorrow for lunch or supper. That was my first time at Cheddar's and I imagine I'll go back some time.

In yesterday's mail I got 25 coupons for a free bottle of Country Bob's all purpose or spicy hot sauce. I just love that sauce and will buy it when I have no coupons but I'm happy to do as Al asked and get 4 bottles for myself and give away the other 21 bottles. I have no problem spreading the word about such a great sauce! If you haven't tried it, go to countrybobs.com for a coupon for a free bottle of it. Tell 'em Denise sent ya. Wink

I also got a very pretty hand made hot pad from a friend online. It's varying shades of green and looks nice in the kitchen.

And today I finally found a clothes line for inside the house. My back yard, if you can call it that, is too small for a line and I wanted something that would work inside. Today I found a retractable clothes line for less than $7 so I bought it and installed it over the tub. It has shorts drying on it and so far, so good. Anything that helps save me money is a good thing! $7 isn't much to pay to stay out of laundrymat, huh?

And I've now spent all but $6 of the $50 I got for groceries for 2 weeks. But I'm set for boneless skinless chicken breasts, ground beef, frozen vegetables, and coffee. Yaaaaay!

It's been a good couple of days for freebies and cheap stuff. Smile

Some little financial goals for October

September 28th, 2007 at 09:12 am

There are a few money-related things I need to work on so I've set some goals for myself for the month of October. They are:

1. Learn more about maximizing coupon use via thegrocerygame.com, CVS ECBs, and other methods. I've paid for membership with GG for October, November, and part of December and that should give me plenty of time to decide if I like it and if it's worth the money to me.

2. Keep my grocery spending at or below $125 for the month. Normally I go for $100 but with Thanksgiving approaching I'll need to buy a few things for the family get together.

3. Cook less and make better use of leftovers so little to no food is wasted. It's difficult to cook for one after years of cooking for a horde - or even a few people who eat like a horde!

4. Look for a local part time job.

5. Have at least two no spend days every week.

6. Put aside for savings 10% of all money I bring in.

There are other things I need to work on but if I try to do too many, I won't succeed at any!

Making a realistic budget

September 25th, 2007 at 10:27 pm

So, I've been working on my new budget, trying to come up with a realistic one.

Originally, I'd budgeted $100 a month for food. I'm slightly over that for September and the month isn't over. But the grocery money is gone so I'll make do with what I have for the next six days. And I really do think I can do with $100 a month as long as I'm very careful about what I buy.

I registered at thegrocerygame.com and will see if that helps. Of course, after I registered and paid, I found groceryguide.com which is almost the same but free. Argh! I talked to a few people who have tried both and they all prefer the grocery game. I'll try it for the few weeks I paid for and if I don't like it, it's worth the money to know that.

Most of my expenses are fixed and I'm trying to keep the ones that aren't fixed under control. One of the big concerns I have is paying the electric bill. For nine days in September it was almost $37. Of course, those were nine very hot Texas days!

That doesn't sound too bad until you multiply it by 3 and see that a month of electric usage is about $120. That might not seem like a lot to some people but that's more than I can handle right now so off the AC went and off it's going to stay for some time. Unfortunately, the unit that cools is also the unit that heats so once it's cold, I'll have to use it unless I come up with an alternative. There's always layering clothes and hot coffee, though.

Here's to cooler weather and low grocery spending... may they be with me for awhile. Smile

Ugh, 86 degrees outside...

April 28th, 2007 at 02:57 pm

It's 86 outside, 83 in the house. I'm debating turning on the air conditioner. I really want to but it's just the end of April and we can't afford it right now. Of course, it IS 86 degrees. I don't know how long I'll be able to hold off but I'm trying. I really am trying...

Finally, a no spend day for both of us!

March 8th, 2007 at 07:46 pm

Generally, if I stay home while DH is out I spend nothing and he spends money for gas, a soft drink, a snack, etc.

Well, today we both stayed home all day and spent nothing, zilch, zippo! Since we didn't go anywhere we didn't even use gas. Smile

We did work on the garden beds today and got a few things planted in pots. We also picked up some garbage around the yard and burned it.

It was a productive and cheap, cheap day! Smile

Friday doings...

March 2nd, 2007 at 12:46 pm

I've washed a load of clothes and a load of towels and hung them on the clothes line to dry.

DH and I moved the antenna away from the house and closer to the fence. Since we did that, we haven't lost our connection - it seems much more stable. We didn't gain any speed but not dropping every few minutes is worth something!

I straightened up the kitchen, swept the floor, and made more tea. Earlier today I browned the ground turkey for tonight's goulash. We'll have that with spinach and green beans and rolls with butter and everyone will be fat, sassy, and very happy.

Today we got a water bill for $35.22. That's the lowest it's been in a long time. This is the first full billing cycle since we've initiated a couple of changes.

One thing we did is put a brick in the toilet tank to reduce the water flow and I think that's helped.

We're basically down to three people now rather than four and the one who isn't here is the one who took 45 minute showers so that's helped. He still pops in now and then to shower but it's rare and I limit him to 10 minutes.

In addition, I've stopped washing dishes in between meals. I used to run a sink of dish water 5 to 7 times a day because I really dislike dirty dishes in the sink. Now I generally wash dishes 3 times a day, just rinsing anything that turns up between after meal washings. Surely that's made a difference, too.

Hopefully that difference will stick with us. Now if I could just make such a difference in the electric bill but that seems to be an impossibility.

Oh well, one bit of progress at a time...

Not a very productive day

February 27th, 2007 at 02:27 pm

Ugh, I didn't get much done this day. I did finally get the clothes out to the clothes line but not until about 3 PM. I've taken two brief naps today and still don't feel good. I hope I'm not getting sick. That's the last thing I need.

I paid $75 on the $223 T-Mobile bill. It isn't due until March 7 but if I pay it in chunks as I get the money I should have it paid off by the due date which is my goal.

I've stayed home all day (one advantage to not having a car) so I haven't spent a cent. I imagine DH bought lunch but I don't know that for sure. It's almost 4:30 and I haven't heard from him since he left the house at 7:30 this morning. He should come rolling in any time now.

Okay, time for me to nap again! More later.

A few recipes for homemade house cleaning items

February 26th, 2007 at 02:56 pm

This is a great carpet freshener:

1/2 cup borax
10-15 drops essential oil or fragrance oil (I use Sandalwood)

Mix together in a container with a fork, then sprinkle on carpet. Let sit for 10 minutes then vacuum.

Something like Oxyclean:

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix well.

This stuff is great and even removed old blood stains from a pair of gloves.
Just soak the item in it for 20 minutes to overnight and then wash as usual.
This will not harm fabric like bleach and seems to be color safe, too.

Something like Febreeze:

1 1/2-4 tablespoons liquid fabric softener (any brand and fragrance you like)
25 ounces water
32 ounces spray bottle, new and clean

Mix in a bottle and use as you would Febreeze.

Carpet Cleaner:

1/2 cup liquid Tide
1/4 cup Clorox II
1/4 cup white vinegar

Add this to 1 gallon of hot water in machine.

If you need to pre-treat some areas you can mix this in a spray bottle and spray the area before you start.

Daily After Shower Spray:

Fill a spray bottle almost full with hot water then add:

1 teaspoon borax
1 teaspoon washing soda
1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap (Dr. Bronners)
1/2 cup vinegar

Shake well before using. Make sure you put the hot water in first or it foams a lot. If you can't find the castile soap, try a few drops of Dawn dish soap.

Definitely not a no spend day & good news on the horizon!

February 26th, 2007 at 02:21 pm

The repair on the truck was only $135 instead of being around $700 as we figured. Yippeee! While we were out this morning we bought the double minutes plan for DH's tracfone, finally! Last month we went over the 600 minutes on my T-mobile and we've done it again this month. I don't use the phone much but with our ISP down for 3 weeks, the T-mobile was all we had and DH has been using it for business when we're out on a job so the bill is way too high. Now that he has his Tracfone that should end. We paid $140 for the double minutes plan and that included 420 minutes. Those will last him 2 to 3 months, probably.

There is a bit of good news, though. He did two wireless jobs over the weekend and has at least one and possibly two scheduled for tomorrow so that's more money coming in. I'm taking a bit out of all that comes in and putting it away. No set amount yet - just a little here and a little there. It makes me feel better to have a little bit stashed away. But we absolutely have to get caught up and that's where most of what he gets for the next two weeks is going.

We have plenty of food to last us so that shouldn't be much of an expense. The wireless jobs are all fairly local so gas shouldn't be a major expense, either.

Hey, I think there's light at the end of that long, dark tunnel!

Not a no spend day but not a high spend day & a bit of good

January 25th, 2007 at 02:37 pm

We had to run to a nearby town to pick up some checks and cash them - another $150 toward the money we have to give the bank tomorrow.

We had to put gas in the car so we spent $17 for that. But even though we were both very hungry and wanted Chinese food at our favorite place, we passed and waited until we got home to eat. That was $13 we didn't spend eating out!

While there I called my Dr's office and found out my Novolog insulin was in so I went to get it. The pharmaceutical company sent me 4 boxes of Novolog Flexpens. That's about $720 worth of insulin at no charge! That's good news, indeed! Thank God for Patient Assistance Programs! And if that's not good enough, the needles I use on my Byetta pens fit on these, too, so I didn't need to buy needles!

I also heard from the bank and they don't need $1200 from us tomorrow, they need $1033 so that's a little less we have to pay them. That's good news, too.

Now I'm tired and about to go watch a DVD and probably fall asleep on the couch.

First attempt at a zero based budget - how is it?

January 24th, 2007 at 05:55 pm

So far this month we've deposited $1,618 into the bank. The balance in the account and the expenditures for which I have receipts total $1,599.19 so somewhere out there $18.81 is unaccounted for. Argggh, I wish I knew where it went!

But considering that this is my first attempt at a zero based budget, that isn't too bad, I don't think.

Is it?

It's great being able to see just where our money has gone - at least all but that $18.81!

Alright, this might work for me..it might just work.

So the no spend day wound up not being one!

January 21st, 2007 at 06:30 pm

When I went to get my son from work, I picked up some Immodium AD and Pepto Bismol for my man person. Those two items cost $6.75 so that was my spending for today. Drats, I so hoped for a no spend day!! Finding those is rare for us. Frown

Doing away with non-necessities

January 19th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

We got rid of one of our VOIP lines so we only have the one and changed the service to the $22 a month package rather than the one that cost more than twice that. I've also switched our cell phone to the 600 minutes a month plan, saving us another $15 a month.

We canceled DirecTV but are going to continue our Netflix membership since we get little to no TV where we live. We have the $19 a month membership but might switch to the $10 a month membership.

We're selling a very old Honda GoldWing that is in very rough shape. We probably won't get more than $350 for it but we'll see. We're also going to sell my Yugo. I absolutely love that car and it's one of the cheapest methods of transportation but it needs a new engine and has been sitting dead for over a year. So we'll sell it for whatever we can get. Even if it's $200 that's more than we have now.

So, I'm looking over expenses to see what else we can cut out.

Crappy ISPs, leftovers for lunch, and cheap medications

January 19th, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Our ISP has me so enraged right now, it's not even funny. Our service has been up and down (mainly down) for four days. They're making some kind of changes and it's really creating havoc with the customers. They might give us a day or two credit on the next bill but they might not. This is wireless and costs us $92 a month (that cost is split with my son who lives here) and you'd think for that much money, it would be reliable! But nooooo... we don't get cable here, ISDN is close to $300 a month and dial up doesn't work well at all since so wireless is about our only choice and there's only one company that provides right where we are. So we suck it up and just gripe. Wink

This morning we had to run errands and rather than eat Chinese at our favorite joint we came home and had leftover fried chicken. I'd rather have had Chinese but that would cost about $14 with the tip for both of us so we used our heads and just ate at home.

One of the errands we had to run was getting DH's metformin. He's diabetic, too, but met seems to work well for him, or sort of well. At any rate, we picked it up at Wal-mart-$8.00 for two months of medication. Not bad!

I've been approved for both the Lantus and Novolog Patient Assistance Programs and I should get both insulins some time next week. The cost to me? Nada, zip, zilch, zero.

Thank Yah for His goodness!

Not sure if I should feel hope or despair!

January 17th, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Gloom, despair, and agony on me!!!

I got Dave Ramsey's TMMO book in the mail today (free from someone who read it and passed it on to me) and read chapters 1 through 8. I'm not sure if I should feel some hope or if despair is called for.

I feel somewhat hopeful because his plan, while obviously not easy, appears to work. And (this is a biggie!) we don't have $85,000 in debt like so many people who sing Dave's praises. We only have about $16,000 in debt, not including the mortgage. However, we also don't make $120,000 a year! We've taken a loss the last two or three years so I can't say we really make anything at all. As Dave puts it, we don't have a business - we have an expensive hobby. And there's the crux of it all. Sure, we spend money on things we shouldn't at times but the reality is that we don't make enough money to cover our basic expenses. Last year our income taxes showed our $11,000 loss. So no matter how much budgeting we do we're still in danger.

After I read the book, my man person asked what I'd learned. I told him "Not a lot" as I'd listened to so many of Dave's archived radio shows and read so much online that the book was really a refresher more than anything but that I did learn a couple of things. He asked what, of course. I hesitated a bit and finally told him I did learn something I'd suspected. He asked what and I said, "I think it will work for us but to make it work, there would need to be major changes. I mean really major changes and to be honest, I'm not sure we'll make them." There, I said it. I've hinted, alluded, and suggested but tonight I finally flat out said it. He asked me for details. "Our problem isn't just too many expenses. It's also not enough income." He agreed and I told him that the only way out of that is to increase the income.

So, we talked for a few minutes and he told me that he's decided our business isn't working and that he'll just go get a job. Whoa! He hasn't had a "job" in the 13 years I've known him. He's been self-employed in one fashion or another and nothing has made him get a job, no matter how desperate we were.

I haven't the foggiest how this will pan out. I don't think he'll actually get a job. Why? Because I've told him more than once (and more than 10 times) that a job paying him $300 a week would be better and give me more security than a business that might or might not provide $2000 a month. I've tried to explain that if I knew we had $300 a week coming in, I could deal with that one way or another but not knowing from one day to the next or one month to the next what money there will be leads to insecurity for me. In all the time I've told him this he's never understood.

At any rate, I told him I'd get a job and he said no, we can't do that. I'm not sure what he meant by that but that's what he said. Since we only have one vehicle and he uses it during the day, I've told him before that I'll work nights but he won't hear of it because the only night jobs around here are at convenience stores and that's just too dangerous for me. That's nice and I would worry, too, but we're desperate. And have been for awhile! So I don't mind getting a night job if that's what I need to do.

So I'm wondering..what if I worked days and he worked nights? That would be hard but it could be done. Many couples have done that. He wouldn't like it nor would I but it's something to consider.

Anyway, I'm just rambling. Trying to figure out where we're headed, if we'll ever dig ourselves out of this mess, and just how we're going to do things. There might be light at the end of the tunnel, though. At least he listened to me and he said he'll read the book. And he's admitting that the business isn't working out and he needs to get a job.

That's progress. I think.

Just saved us $28 a month!

January 5th, 2007 at 08:18 am

I called Lingo and changed our calling plan from the office plan to the chatterbox residential plan. There's a $9.99 charge for changing but a $28 savings each month from the office plan. That works for me!

Today's frugal doings

January 4th, 2007 at 07:12 pm

I washed clothes but they won't go on the line til morning because it was raining a good deal of the day.

Dinner was a beef roast (was that on my menu plan I posted a few days ago? noooo! but it's what we wanted and we had it in the freezer, purchased at .99 a lb of course!) cooked with a head of fresh cauliflower, carrots, and green beans, all seasoned with a spice mix given to DH today by a
Homemade Gourmet distributor. I'd never tried any of their products before but this woman called us about putting an ad in the next issue of the directory and DH met her and she gave him this sample for me to try. It's the Grandmother's Sunday Roast Seasoning. I liked it but it isn't something I'll buy. Rather, I'll figure out how to make a clone version. The instructions called for the entire $4 package to be used for one roast and vegetables but I used about 1/5 of the package and that was sufficient. It was pretty tasty and DH said it was cooked "perfectly". It was certainly tender and we cut it without a knife!

I made a few more bucks working online. Hopefully next week I'll get a check of $50 or more.

DH came home for lunch again today so that was money saved. He sold some ads and our salesman called tonight to say he'd sold quite a few ads. Yippeeee! And we have an idea for the business. I'll post about that tomorrow!

Revised monthly expenses

January 4th, 2007 at 08:23 am

I went over the list of expenses I posted on December 30th and with my man person's help, I revised it. He brought a couple of things to my attention so here's the revised list of expenses.

Mortgage $270
Food 200
Electricity 200
Water 55
Propane 20
Property tax 55
Gasoline 200
Phone 54
Cell Phone 50
Satellite 55
ISP 92
Netflix 20
Toner 40
Paper 45
Clothes 20
Household 25
Medical 100
Auto Maint. 60

Total $1,561.00

The medical isn't accurate because we're both diabetic and need to test very often. If we test as we need to, the monthly cost of that would be closer to $400. Ouch!

Anyway, that's the breakdown of monthly expenses. Now I just have to figure out how to get that much coming in consistently...

Money and life saved so far

January 3rd, 2007 at 07:57 am

I didn't quit smoking on the 1st as I'd planned but I did quit on the 2nd of January. This is what my quit gadget just gave me:

17 hours, 55 minutes and 29 seconds smoke free.

60 cigarettes not smoked.

$7.00 and 11 hours of your life saved.

Wow, $7 saved already! Impressive Smile

Frugal plans for today

January 2nd, 2007 at 08:29 am

I've washed a load of clothes and have them hanging up. The towels are in the washer now and when they're finished, I'll hang them on the line.

I've kept my eyes open today for change lying around the house to add to my $20 challenge fund. So far I've found 23 cents and a jar of pennies I forgot about! I don't know how many pennies there are but I'll count them later today or tonight.

DH and I are in our yearly winter thermostat war. Rather than get dressed and even wear thermals if necessary, he usually sits around the house in shorts and short sleeved shirts and of course, he's cold so he turns up the heat. I'm fully dressed wearing some warmer clothes and I'm comfortable. In an effort to help with our ridiculously high electric bills, I want to turn the heat down to 68 or so but he wants it up around 72 or higher. Last night before going to bed I checked the thermostat and it was on 76! I turned it down to 68 since he was already in bed and I was headed there. We have a wonderfully warm down comforter and stay toasty warm with the heat down. But he gets up earlier than I do and he's cold when he gets up so this morning when I got up it was on 72. He just left and I turned it down to 67. In his defense, I'll say that he's been wearing thermals the last few days and is still cold. That's odd and very unlike him but he's at least trying to help by wearing the thermals. And I'm thankful for that.

Okay, I'm off to vacuum and dust and hopefully find more change. Wink

January 1 spending

January 1st, 2007 at 04:48 pm

I'd hoped today would be a no spend day but we had to meet a client so we had to put gas in the truck..again. That was $10. We also got two drinks at the gas station so the total was $12.35. There isn't a Wal-Mart Supercenter in our town so while we were in that town we stopped at WM and got:

Milk $3.58
Altern $5.24 (WM's version of Splenda)
2 cartons of half & half $3.34
Several boxes of sugar free pudding and gelatin $4.95
5 dozen eggs $5.82
Colombian coffee $5.58
Sugar free peanut butter $2.27
Regular peanut butter $2.23
2 bunches of celery $1.00
12 ounces walnuts $4.18 (ouch! DH wanted these)
whole wheat bread $1.36
Cottage cheese $2.26
3 lb. Smart Balance $4.38
Creamer $$2.26

The total was $50.83 but we shouldn't need anything but milk and bread for the next week or so. I generally get milk for $2.99 at a convenience store near where we normally shop for groceries but I knew we wouldn't be anywhere near it today so we paid the higher price for the milk at WM.

Spending for the day $63.18
Business Deposit $125.00

I don't know that we'll even leave the house tomorrow. I hope we don't so we don't spend a single cent!

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