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Archive for December, 2009

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

December 27th - January 2nd menu

December 28th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I worked until 6:30 last night so it was a YOYO (You're On Your Own) night. The man person had a sandwich made with some of the barbecued chicken I prepared yesterday and I had some Dreamfields pasta cooked in beef broth with a little stewed tomato and garlic. It wasn't exciting but it was cheap, hot and filling while watching the Cowboys game!

Tonight we're having garlic baked salmon with salad and steamed carrots.

On New Year's Day we'll have black eyed peas, cabbage and fish of some sort for lunch.

The rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Roast beef slow cooked with sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions, served with tossed salad

Open face roast beef sandwiches (made with leftover roast beef) and green beans

Vegetable beef soup using the last of the cooked roast and vegetables

Sticky Chicken cooked with fresh green beans and served with salad

Homemade chicken pot pie (using Carbquick to make the crust), salad, and steamed spinach

And that's it for this week, tasty, nutritious, and thrifty food!

Happy eating!

Post holiday stuff, more this and that, here and there

December 27th, 2009 at 08:27 am

Even though I don't "do" Christmas, I really enjoyed taking Mom and Pop to Dallas to see the family. Both of my sisters were there, both nephews, two of my three nieces, etc. The ex husband of one of my sisters was there and he brought his best friend from waaay back, someone I hadn't seen in well over 20 years. The food was great, the company was fantastic, and the day over all was wonderful! I got some pictures but most aren't too good, darn it. We only stayed a few hours and headed back that evening. The traffic wasn't bad at all and I wasn't too late getting home.

The next morning I had to be at work at 6:30, which I wasn't thrilled about but oh well, such is life. It was a crazy, busy day, though! I think the post -holiday sales brought more people than the pre-holiday sales and we stayed very busy all day long.

The man person and I did a little grocery shopping this morning and I do mean a little. We don't need much and spent a tad over $13. I'll fund that envelope again Friday morning but until then we have $9 left to spend on food. Woot! Wink Like I said, though, we don't really need anything so that's no real challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I'm working on 2010 goals and not getting very far. The hospital and physician bills we have to deal with have crimped the plan and I'm not sure just what to do so I'm pondering it and considering options before proceeding with next year's goals.

Okay, time to head to work. Have a great day, all.

No white stuff for us!

December 25th, 2009 at 04:35 am

The storm cell that was to bring freezing precipitation broke up and we woke to very cold but dry weather this morning. We had a few tiny snow flurries yesterday but not enough to notice unless you were actually looking for them.

So, I'm headed out in awhile to pick up my mother and stepdad and get to Dallas for the day. It will be good to see my sisters and nieces and nephews and just spend time with the family. Too bad my boys won't be there but the oldest left me voice mail last night saying they aren't mad and wishing me a happy holiday. I think they were mad and had time to cool down and realized that perhaps they weren't being fair.

In any event, have a safe and healthy day and a great weekend!

Major plan muck ups and a better late than never menu

December 24th, 2009 at 03:36 pm

It's Thursday and it's been sleeting a little and now it's snowing. It isn't a heavy snow and it probably won't stay too long since the ground is too warm but we're under a winter weather advisory until tomorrow morning, anyway.

Unfortunately, this weather put a crimp in my plans. My sons are in Dallas but they have to head back to Austin tonight or in the morning and I had planned to go see them but by the time I left work the meteorological nastiness had started. I can't drive in unfamiliar territory in the dark and a trip to Dallas in this was just too scary for me so I decided not to go. I'm afraid my sons are miffed at me now and I understand why but as much as I love them and want to see them, it's just too risky to head out in bad weather for a 2.5 hour drive. So, I'm going to take a week off in January, I hope, and take Amtrak to Austin and spend that time with them. I hope they don't stay mad too long. I hate when that happens!

So, it's Thursday and I'm just now getting around to posting this but oh, well!

Sunday we had baked cod with spinach and salad.

Monday we had Swiss Steak with mashed cauliflower and green beans.

Tuesday we had homemade chili I'd prepared in the slow cooker. It was exceptionally tasty with a couple of crackers and there was plenty left to have for lunch the next day.

Wednesday night we had

Text is Jewish Chicken and Link is http://plainolfood.blogspot.com/2008/10/freezer-food-friday-quick-comfort-for.html
Jewish Chicken with steamed broccoli and wild rice. No self respecting Jew would eat it, I think, not an Orthodox one, anyway, and I didn't name it. But oh man, is it good!

Thursday night's fare is YOYO, You're On Your Own. We have some leftover Jewish Chicken and a nice selection of deli meats and cheeses so finding something won't be hard.

Hopefully I'll be with my family in Dallas Friday, weather permitting. If so, there will be turkey, dressing, green beans, desserts and most of the traditional fare. Yum! And if things pan out the way I hope they do, I'll bring home plenty of leftovers and we'll have those over the weekend.

I'll post next week's menu on Sunday, provided I don't forget. Wink

Happy eating!

I don't do Christmas but....

December 24th, 2009 at 01:25 pm

I hope you all have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday. Enjoy your loved ones, eat til your appetite is sated and cheer your favorite football team!

In the event you have a few minutes with nothing to do, you might look at this site:

http://adventconspiracy.org/

It's Christmas related but at least they seem to be headed in a better direction than most folks and I think a lot of you will appreciate their purpose.

Peace out and stay safe!

Totally OT but a tornado just touched down near us!

December 23rd, 2009 at 02:54 pm

It's done some damage but is moving away from our area at this time. However, we're smack dab in the middle of a nasty cell that's spawning a few of them... please keep little ol' Denise and her family in your prayers!

Whew! That cell has moved on but more nastiness is on the way, apparently, and we're under a tornado watch until 9:30 or so tonight. The tornado touched down about a mile from us and stayed on the ground for about 20 miles. They aren't sure how much damage was done but know there was some.

I just love living in East Texas!

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

Look what I saw!!!!

December 21st, 2009 at 07:25 am

Yesterday, I walked out of the office to head to the van and this is what I saw!



I ran back in to get my camera and grabbed a few shots of the balloons as they went by.



We were a little concerned about how low this one was and the man person got a photo of it with me in the foreground.

Anyway, it was interesting to see several of these lovelies floating so close to us. I hope you enjoy them!









I sure did!!

Probable explanation for why business has slowed...

December 20th, 2009 at 01:41 pm

As I mentioned in an

Text is earlier entry and Link is http://pinchthatpenny.savingadvice.com/2009/12/12/pardon-me-but-youre-stepping-on-my-budge_55791/
earlier entry, the man person's business has been slow recently. It isn't dangerously slow and we aren't really worried but it's a little troublesome. This week the shop brought in a little over the minimum we need it to and that's a great thing but since October there's been a definite lag going on.

While we were out today we went by one of the businesses that very often sends referrals our way. The man and the employee at said business started talking shop and the employee mentioned that her company didn't hire new folks for the holiday, implemented a hiring freeze, is consolidating management, and is laying off quite a lot of people. She also stated that they're having a hard time meeting last year's numbers much less exceed them as they're expected to do and they're being pushed to sell, sell, sell. Ahhh, this explains why we don't get so many referrals from them and it's exactly what we thought was going on!

The pressure is more than likely on all the corporate stores that send us referrals and the smaller local shops are probably feeling it, too. We're still not worried but we're very grateful for our low operating expenses and emergency fund which we haven't needed to tap but lends some feelings of security.

Dave and Suze (and other money savvy folks) are right - everyone needs the security of an emergency fund, call it what you will, and if you don't have it, 2010 is a great time to get it. Start now by selling what you don't need or want, working extra hours, cutting back on whatever you can until you have at least 3 months of living expenses. Once you have that, work toward having 6 months, then 9 months, then a full year.

Trust me, the security alone makes the effort worth it. And a good night's sleep goes a long way toward making all sorts of rough times liveable.