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Archive for February, 2008

February 27th, 2008 at 06:18 am

So forget that I haven't seen my Dr. since coming down with the flu. I know what he'll say so there's no reason to go spend money to hear it. And I won't take antibiotics for an infection that *might* develop as a result of the virus. It's still expensive, this bug.

I couldn't cook for four days so DH bought several meals. He also bought me a few meals, which all tasted like the same mushy cardboard, by the way. The cost? About $65.

We pillaged and plundered local cold/flu sections of stores twice to the tune of about $25.

I couldn't do laundry but needed it done by this morning so I could go to work if I felt up to it so we dropped it at the washateria last night and paid them to do it for us. I've done that one other time in my adult life, also when I was ill. The cost for that was (gasp!) $24.36! Outrageous! But it's nice to have it done.

But wait, there's more! Either a weird lower back ache is part of the bug or I pulled muscles coughing and if that doesn't right itself soon I'll see the chiropractor next door. That will cost $35.

So, my getting ill cost us about $115 and might cost more. Now DH has it. He's running about two days behind me in this and today is feeling very, very poorly. I'm going to work, though, and I hope I make it through the day. If I do and am not totally exhausted when I get off, I'll make him a nice dinner of something healthy...and frugal!

Financial Peace University session canceled

February 26th, 2008 at 03:08 pm

Last night's FPU class was cancelled because only one couple showed up. Everyone else phoned or sent the facilitator email letting her know they were sick. With what? This flu bug I have!

This is day four and it's kicking my butt. I can't stay awake for more than 30 or 45 minutes, I toss and turn all night with the body aches, sweating and freezing, and I've missed two days of work. I need to be at work tomorrow morning but don't know if I can handle it. In the meantime, I hope I can rest well tonight and be there bright and early tomorrow to do my job. I detest calling out even if I am sick and I need all the hours I can get.

Anyway, back to bed with me. I hope the rest of you stay flu-free!

A dumpster diving tale

February 24th, 2008 at 09:33 am

I'm not a dumpster diver, though I've dug through one or two full bins in my adult life. I'm also not a curb crawler, though I've found a few good things on curbs. However, I don't set out to locate items using either of those methods. I just kind of happen upon them now and then. Like this morning.

DH took the trash out at his office and seemed to be gone a long time. When he returned he came into the room where I was resting (I have the flu..ugh!) with a new plastic rolling cart loaded with boxes. Apparently, someone had dumped a lot, and I do mean a lot, of good office supplies in the dumpster. In addition to the cart itself, there were 25 expanding file folders, a case or two of perfectly good, still in the wrapper paper, both letter and legal sizes, 5 desk top organizers, several hole punchers of various sizes, a brand new AT&T phone, 35 new and unused 3 ring notebooks, 3 steno pads, and more pens, highliters, markers, sticky notes and flags, rubber bands and plastic paper clips than you can imagine.

He told me there was more and asked me to go along with him. So I did. On that second run, we got two easel pads (but no easel) a very large roll of butcher paper, a clothes hanging bag, more expanding file folders, desktop organizers, notebooks, pens, highlighters, markers, sticky notes and flags, rubber bands, and plastic paper clips. Oh, and we found change in the organizers, .44 to be exact. That goes to my $20 challenge fund. There's more but my brain isn't operating too well thanks to the virus and that's all I can remember right now.

When I feel up to it, we'll go through it all and decide what to keep and will Freecycle the rest of it. My thought through all this was, "Why would someone throw all this out??" For the life of me, I can't imagine the reason for such waste. This stuff is perfectly good and all of it is almost new. What silliness...

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...

Can one still get a bonus when signing up with Emigrant?

February 20th, 2008 at 07:21 pm

I can't find a current bonus link in the forum so thought I'd ask if that's still available.

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

Well, pooh! Where does one get coupons?

February 17th, 2008 at 08:41 am

I got a local paper this morning and a Dallas paper. They both have a few Walgreen's coupons but that's it. Where in the world do you find coupons? I can't print a lot of the internet ones because right now I use a Mac that has OS 9 on it. I do have access to one that uses X but there are still a lot of sites that require Windows to print the coupons so ummm... what now?

Come on, you coupon gurus. 'fess up! Please! Smile

Edited to add:

Okay, I found them (missed them the first time apparently) but they're pitiful. There's one for coffee I might use and a Target coupon for Colgate toothpaste that I might use and the rest are for things we don't eat/use. Ugh, see this is why I haven't bothered with couponing for so long! I spent $2.50 to save maybe $1.75.

$20 challenge update

February 16th, 2008 at 10:43 am

I finally got around to counting the money I have in my $20 challenge box and the total is $107.35, enough to open a savings account! So early next week I'll open that account and when every time the challenge money gets to $100, the money will be deposited into that account.

Go me! Smile

I heart envelopes!

February 16th, 2008 at 09:25 am

This morning I went through the bank drive thru since the lobby isn't open on Saturday. Since I've gotten into the habit of going in to the bank for all transactions I really missed it this morning! But I managed. I gave the teller the list of cash amounts and asked him to put each amount in a separate envelope. He gave me an odd look but did it.

After finishing at the bank, I went to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. I spent $35, leaving $95 for food.

Someone emailed me asking what payments are 'enveloped' and exactly how we handle our envelope system. The business and larger expenses are funded daily by money that comes into DH's business and things like food, gas, and clothing are funded by my pay.

Here's the breakdown of the envelopes funded by money from DH's business:

The business envelopes are funded six days a week because the business is open six days a week and is mostly a cash one. Each night we sit down together and record what's come in for the day. Some cash and all checks are deposited into the bank. Varying amounts of the remaining cash are put into each of the business envelopes and because we add money almost every day we know where we are with each envelope at any given time. When it's time to pay a bill the money is removed from the envelope and if we have enough in the checking account to pay that bill we pay it and put the cash in other envelopes that need more money. If we don't have enough in the checking account to pay that bill the cash is deposited into the checking account and we write and send the check for that bill and start filling that envelope for the next month. Using this system we're able to know exactly where we stand with bills, pay them on time and not worry about spending food money on advertising or some other need.

The expenses covered by my pay every two weeks are set ones and here's a breakdown of them:

Food - $130 Covers food for two people.

Gas for truck - $130 My pay for this period was less than usual so I only put $75 in it. DH will fund the remainder.

Entertainment - $25 Yes, we do budget a little for entertainment. If we didn't, we might go nuts! We didn't spend the last pay period's entertainment money until last night and it was nice to go out to eat and know it was budgeted for. No pain, no stress, no guilt!

Laundry & Clothing - $20 We don't have a washer or dryer so I go to the least expensive washateria to wash and dry clothes. I don't spend $20 in two weeks and the remainder is kept in the envelope to help with clothing expenses. We rarely buy new clothes and even if we do they aren't at all expensive. We generally spend less than $200 a year on clothes.

Whatever is left of my pay, whether it's $10 or $100, goes into savings.

So there you have it - the envelope system that works for our business and personal expenses both. Is it any wonder I have a mean crush on Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University?

Why I like paydays!

February 15th, 2008 at 05:18 pm

Today was payday and my Direct Deposit is now in action so my pay was in the account early this morning. Nice! And although I worked only a few hours one of the two weeks in this pay period, my pay was about $100 more than I expected. Also nice! But a powerful testimony of my poor skills with numbers. Wink

I made enough to fund the grocery, laundry, and entertainment envelopes for the next two weeks and the remainder, small as it is, goes to savings. DH will have to fund the gas envelope but that shouldn't be any kind of burden.

DH and I went out for Mexican food tonight. We still had the original $25 we'd budgeted for 'entertainment' and decided to use it for a meal out. We had a nice time with no guilt feelings.

I just love paydays! I feel a little bit of power on these days and even though short lived, it's a great feeling.

Most of our bills are paid for this month. We do need to pay the storage bill and the Yellow Pages bill but have a little time until those are due. We have most of the money for March rent and are working on saving for March utilities even though it's still February.

Have I mentioned how much I love the envelope system? It's been amazingly successful for us!

On the smoking cessation front, it's been 2 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, and 31 seconds. We've saved $192.84!! Go us!

Well, I offered & a question about the envelope system

February 14th, 2008 at 02:37 pm

I offered to get another retail job to help pay off debts or throw extra money at savings but DH doesn't want me to. I'm working only about 26 to 28 hours a week but he's afraid I'll wear myself out if I work too much. The business is picking up and he thinks that before long I'll have more hours at work and we'll be out of the tight spot we're in. I hope he's right but told him if he changes his mind, to just let me know.

I really am not opposed to working another job if it will benefit us and I think it would. Not that I really want to work more but 26 or so hours a week isn't many.

In other things, I spent several hours today playing with

Text is Clusty and Link is http://www.clusty.com
Clusty, a search engine I just found out about. I still prefer Google for general and overall results but if I need categorized or specific results Clusty is my new favorite. I imagine I'll use a combination of the two engines to maximize efficiency.

One of the terms I researched with both engines was 'envelope system'. Google turned up more results but Clusty's results were very neatly categorized and pointed me to specific things about the envelope system. That was handy.

In the process of reading the sites I was referred to one of the things I read over and over was that one shouldn't borrow from one envelope to put into another and one shouldn't use the debit card if one is out and about and needs/wants something that falls into an envelope category and one doesn't have the envelopes! Those are things we've done a little of here. And we know we need to stop. Most people, including Dave, suggest going back home and getting the envelopes or not getting the item at all but with gas costing around $3 a gallon, turning back for the envelopes isn't always the fiscally responsible thing to do and not getting the item isn't always the best option.

In light of that, why not use the debit card if you have one and either take that same amount from the envelope and deposit it in the bank or deduct it from the money for that envelope next time you fill it? It seems to me that either of those accomplishes the same basic thing without using excess gas and without deprivation. Yes, I understand the concept of 'if you don't have the money don't buy the item' but I don't carry the envelopes with me and sometimes need to stop for milk or bread or some such thing.

What do you do?