It seems like all we've done is spend lately!!
- I like to shop Staples and do the free after rewards deals. I've shelled out a few bucks there lately! I flip it back into cash with free after rebate deals, so no harm done financially.
- DH's truck failed inspection. We knew it would. He took it to get inspected using that to diagnose the problem. He replaced all four ball joints on Saturday, but there are still front end problems. He'll do the sway bar end links and the pittman arm this coming weekend. Then maybe it'll pass inspection?
- Our dog had his surgery last Tuesday - $650 for surgery/biopsy. Eek. That's after the $200 we shelled out for the previous appointment and pre-surgical screening. The tumor ended up being a hemangiopericytoma. Malignant, but at 15 it's more likely something else in life will take him out before this thing grows back. 8 more days until the stitches are out and he can stop wearing that awful cone...
- I'm learning Wordpress and getting into blogging more. Trying to at least! I signed up for a free blogging class and got a free 1 year of hosting through godaddy. All of a sudden I had four more things I needed to log into! So I organized all my website info in a spreadsheet - then sat DH down to do the same with his. This involved reassessing domains and hosting for him. We are transferring one domain to a different registrar and cancelling his two (why?) hosting accounts. We then signed up for 3 years with another hosting service and transferring an expiring domain to them. One domain comes with the package, so that saves a few $$ since we don't have to pay to renew that one.
We did absolutely NOTHING yesterday. Well, aside from the website stuff. I'd still say we did nothing! I can't remember the last time we had a day like that. 2010??
We had a little money roll into the house too. Three $50 Amex cards arrived from the gift chain promo. We received two $20 Amex cards the previous week. We also got two $20 MC cards from another promo: Spend $200, get $20. I registered two cards for that and made payments on our car insurance!!
My mom confirmed she got her $50 Amex card. She quickly went from thanking me to getting MAD that she couldn't buy anything fun with it and had to buy her medicine. *sigh* I give up...
Look at that - another blog entry. I think as I go along I might get better about this. I just have too many places I want to blog! I'll get things under control eventually. I hope.
It seems like all we've done is spend lately!!
Eh, why not? Figured we'd give them a try and see if we liked them. Hey, every dinner should feel like we're at a fancy restaurant now! They should go so nicely with our vintage 70s corelle plates...
I love this time of year and hitting the after Christmas sales! That's how we ended up with the napkins in the first place. We picked up a few gifts for next year, as well as a few things we can use now. We are good at thinking outside the box with clearance items. My mom still wants a new Christmas tree, but I haven't found a price I like yet. Still looking...
We made it through Christmas ok. It was rather quiet and not too many gifts - just how we wanted it. Got to meet my brother's new girlfriend. Wow, she didn't seem crazy. Very polite and nice. That's quite a change from the ex-wife.
Other than the holidays, it's just been life as usual here. Always something. My dog has to have surgery on Tuesday to remove a LARGE tumor/cyst from his rear leg - up toward his butt. He started chewing at it during our road trip to see DH's family, and it's been nothing but a bloody mess since then. We went to the vet on the 19th and the earliest they could get him in for surgery is January 3rd. It's been a LONG couple of weeks. We finally have him in a soft e-collar and he is miserable. I figure we have at least another week or two of collar wearing. Poor thing. He didn't need the collar after his last surgery, so I have no idea how this one will go. He's a 15 y.o. neurotic mess - quite unpredictable. So we get to start 2012 shelling out a nice chunk of change. His health is "perfect" otherwise, so this is really affecting his quality of life at the moment. He starts biting at it no less than 5 minutes after the collar comes off. Yes, it must go.
We thought something was wrong with the beagle too! That seems to have cleared itself up. She was limping when she first got up from laying down, then she would walk it off and walk normal. We suspected arthritis, but I think she just hurt her leg somehow. Seems fine now.
I'm trying to get caught up on some things this weekend. As usual, too much I want to do and not enough time to do it. Oh yeah... I also have WORK to do. The joys of working in HR this time of year. I have just a few changes I need to get into the system by Tuesday. Losing two days for holidays this time of the year really does not help matters. Fine in theory, but I don't entirely get to enjoy the days off if I have to work.
Happy New Year everyone!! 2011 was such a difficult year for us. I need to see some good things happen in 2012.
Ok, so maybe I had a little to do with it as well.
Between Small Business Saturday and the Amex gift chain this week, we did great! A whole week of Amex sponsored shopping - who would have thought?
DH and I had 4 cards registered for Small Business Saturday on November 26th. We did all 4 transactions at two local liquor stores that we usually go to. Spent a total of $108.11 and got back $100.00 in statement credits a few days later. Plus we have $20.00 in rebates pending on the items we purchased. We were hoping to get one more $10 rebate, but we didn't notice until after the purchase that the rebate started two days later. Ugh. I hate it when distributors put rebate forms on products enticing you to buy before the promo starts!
We were quite happy with the day, so DH posted on Facebook how much he loved Small Business Saturday. One of his friends said between that, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday - there needed to be a Buy More Tuesday. DH said he would if Amex would pay for it. Little did we know Amex would pay for us to shop for a whole WEEK!
Monday morning I signed up for the Amex gift chain: https://giftchain.amexnetwork.com/
My final tally by the end of the week, 24 transactions spread across three cards:
Total spent: 615.32
Total value of gifts: 672.50 + 3 Shoprunner memberships
9 WalMart $25 gift cards
2 Visa $25 gift cards
1 TRU $25 gift card
2 TRU toy purchases - legos and remote car for local gift drive
2 TRU $25 Toys for Tots donations
3 Nike $25 gift cards
5 BBB $25 gift cards
$40 AMEX gift cards
$84.50 statement credits
$100.00 statement credits for next purchase
$8.00 4X shareable $2 Dunkin Donuts gift cards
$40.00 4X shareable $10 AMEX gift cards
$200.00 4X shareable $50 AMEX gift cards
$200.00 4X shareable $50 AMEX gift cards - on a 2nd card!
3 Shoprunner memberships
I still have one missing gift for the TRU egift card purchase on Wednesday. Despite that, I am just THRILLED!!
We still have some shopping to do for the local gift drive - we are matched up to two boys we are shopping for. We plan to use a couple Walmart gift cards and the TRU gift card to finish buying what we need.
The shareable $50 Amex cards spread perfectly across both our immediate families. A very Merry Christmas to all!
In other news, we have a busy busy week coming up. Have a lot of things to get done around the house. Things that need to be done anyway - but especially so with holiday travel coming up. I suddenly don't feel like I have enough time to get things done - bleah.
Got the front struts replaced on my car yesterday. Oh boy, what a difference! It's still not perfect, but my car does have 96K miles on it. Doesn't feel as sloppy anymore though. DH did the work himself and I "helped". Mostly I just stood there and handed him tools as needed - sometimes offering a second hand. Definitely made the job much easier. We ran into trouble with the right side sway bar end link, so I had to do an emergency parts run. I feel better that we replaced that part since he did the driver's side a couple months ago. Sure didn't care for that part to go bad - my ears were ringing for weeks after the first one leaked all the grease out of the bushing. Talk about sounding like the whole front end is about to fall off the car! Ah well, hopefully my car will behave for a while now. It's an 07 Elantra, so not *that* old!
Well this day is not over yet, so I'm sure I can accomplish a few more things. I already straightened up/rearranged things on the 3rd floor. I need to clean tanks, vac, steam clean, make cookies - not all today though. Better get moving though.
Meeting with state reps?? Yeah, that was my reaction too.
My mom sent me an email Friday saying something about going to a meeting. She mentioned a couple state reps, unemployment, a random group of people looking out for other's well being, store associates, etc. Huh?? Then she added there had been an article in the paper that morning. Thank you internet!! I went to the paper's website and could see an article listed on the front page, but it was not available to read online. I'm not local, so I got on Facebook and asked if anyone in the area could scan the article and send it to me. Within minutes my cousin said she would go get one out of the machine out front and send it to me. 20 minutes later the article was in my inbox! How neat!
So it turns out the random things my mom has been telling me about the job situation are all true. The store employees were originally told they would not have to look for work while out. Apparently this was when the store thought they would reopen in a month. Now we're looking at April or so. The unemployment office came back and told everyone they had to start looking for jobs in order to collect benefits. The only problem is: the store is saying that no one can accept a job at a national competitor or they will be terminated from employment. One girl apparently got a part time job stocking shelves at Kmart and was told she would lose her job (and benefits) if she took that one. She was just trying to make ends meet since unemployment isn't enough!
So this nasty catch 22 that everyone is stuck in has caught the attention of some people. That's great!! I don't know what can come of it, but people are listening. There was a follow up article the next day and that one was available online. My mom's picture was on the front page of the paper! She was very excited about that.
In other news, I've been happily shopping for Thanksgiving dinner - for FREE! Someone from my mom's company called to offer her a free dinner. She turned them down, telling them I was getting all the food for free anyway. Her BF told her she should have accepted it anyway... Why? Someone else could have used it instead. She did the right thing!
Our local Shaws grocery store has been running a promo this week: buy 100.00 in participating gift cards, get 20.00 to spend on your next order. Ooh, fun! Thank goodness the gift cards were limited this time. We really went overboard last time they ran this and gas cards were included. This time we picked up some Amazon, Sears, Lowes, JC Penney, TGI Fridays, and Chilis cards. Had plenty of certificates to buy the turkey, all the fixings, some extras, and some things we wanted around the house anyway. We've had a lot of fun shopping the last few days and are quite happy with our purchases!
I'm running out of time in the day and I still want to do more planning for drug store shopping tomorrow. Won't do much at Rite Aid and CVS needs some serious planning on my part since I don't have any ECBs to start. Not sure what we'll do at Walgreens - not too much, but there are a couple things we want. Then Friday it'll just be some free after rebate software at Staples. I have almost 200.00 in Staples rewards to roll back into cash. Sure, why not? I think there are also some free after rewards items we'll pick up too. Having WAY too much fun at the office stores this year.
I actually spent 40.00 of my Staples rewards the other day. I picked up a 2 TB Western Digital external drive. It was on sale for 79.99 - 25.00/75.00 coupon - 40.00 rewards + 0.94 tax = 15.93. I'm happy about that! Not like me to SPEND rewards, but this was something I wanted. Only thing left on the "want list" is a new laptop for DH. We'll probably get that with our Office Depot rewards early 2012.
Ok, need to keep moving and finish getting ready for Thanksgiving. Heading north and they got snow up there earlier. Joy, oh joy. Going to be a sloooow drive up I guess. Roads should be mostly clear by now.
Safe travels to anyone who is traveling! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Well, in a perfect world it would have been - wouldn't it?
A little background:
A lot has happened in the last couple of years. My mother got a live in boyfriend. My brother went through a NASTY divorce and landed on my mom's couch. These both are important points to know.
(Fast forward to now and my brother signed the lease on an apartment LAST WEEK! My mom doesn't know this yet. YAY for him!)
Before the BF moved in, I had things under control for my mother. All bills were paid, she had $1400 in savings for emergencies, plus a little extra to spend. That's what she seems to do best - SPEND. It's all gluttonous spending too. Clearance deals where she works. Gifts for everyone under the sun because "it was a good deal!"
One thing I learned a long time ago is that the concept of money completely escapes my mother. She will spend money on whatever she wants and ignore everything else. If it's not FUN, she's not interested. That's why this struck a nerve for me last week:
Yup. I can relate. I'm certainly no fun when it comes to finances.
So the BF moved in and that didn't work out financially as expected - does it ever? Then my mom had someone to dote on and buy things for! He didn't ask for anything - not mooching at all - she just WANTED to buy him things. That's how she is. Wasn't it nice she got approved for a store card (after sending the first one to charge off years ago) and could now buy whatever she wanted? I mean... credit is just free money, right??
BF responded by telling my mother she "earned" this, "DESERVED" that, etc. My mom's car (perfectly fine, paid for) developed an exhaust leak. She was quoted $1000 to fix it. We asked her to crawl under the car and take a picture of the exhaust. My DH was going to order the parts for her to get installed by a small repair shop. BF convinced her she DESERVED a "new" car instead - an overpriced, V6 (why??) Ford Taurus. Oh, but it has leather seats and a sunroof! Side note: it's a piece of junk and falling apart - but it should be paid off in March!
I lost it. I had told my mom to run this decision by me before doing anything. She promised she was just going to LOOK. She signed papers instead. I basically told her that her finances were her own problem now if she didn't care about my input.
This worked until my grandfather needed heart surgery and my mom had to go to Tennessee to be with him. With things up in the air, I volunteered to step back in. That's when I learned all her bills were two months behind...
I decided I just couldn't "save" my mom anymore. I've done that before - more than once. Thousands of dollars I'll never see again. Learned my lesson? You bet! My mother feels "entitled" for some reason. Entitled to what, I have no idea. She just can't be bothered by anything financial - or important. Well, things *I* think are important at least. She wants to do what she wants and just have FUN! After all... she *deserves* it.
So if I can't give her money - where does that leave me? With knowledge. That's something I have plenty of to share. So I stepped back in to "fix" the situation - with knowledge only.
Nearly impossible!! It's just a constant battle between what needs to be paid and what my mother would rather spend money on. I can't physically stop her from doing so. So I sat back and did the best I could to get bills paid, watching things spiral rapidly downward. I knew as we approached winter, things were going to get UGLY. I just couldn't convince her of this. My pleas fell on deaf ears.
Then Hurricane Irene hit.
This picture was taken the following morning. See the water line on J.C.Penney? It's about 5 feet up the building. It had subsided quite a bit by the time this picture was taken. It's still hard for me to look at pictures - hubby and I were shopping in this plaza the WEEK prior to Irene.
My mom works in this plaza and has for many many years. While most stores are (THANKFULLY) open again, two remain closed. Yes, she works at one of those. She was fortunate enough to receive emergency pay for a few weeks, then get placed on a Leave of Absence. Unfortunately, the store is scheduled to reopen a month after the LOA expires.
So this is life as we know it now - or rather, as SHE knows it now. I am a bit displaced from things, but it still affects me greatly. I'm the one that gets the phone calls nearly every day. I'm the one that has to deal with the requests to pay for this, buy that...
Just getting my mother to file her unemployment claim in a timely manner has proved to be a nightmare. She can't be bothered!! I was SHOCKED that she filed it this past Sunday - and I hadn't said a word to her. She can't comprehend that the sooner you file - the sooner you get the money.
I've also had to deal with "Oh, I'm going on a retreat in a month and I'll need money for that. But don't worry, it's in a month so there's time!" Uh... No money now means no money in a month means NO MONEY for things like this. Yet somehow she makes it happen. She got a check from her FSA and she used that money for the trip. I only offended her and got a sigh of disgust when I asked how the hospital bill was going to get paid - you know, the one the money was FOR? That doesn't fit in her plan.
And the guilt I have over all this? Oh boy... let's not go there. I just can't set myself back any further financially - with nearly $20K in student loans and under water in a mortgage on a place we want to sell. I just can't.
Besides, there are currently two guys in her house that could step up to the plate a little more than they have. I did get my brother to cough up the cash for the property taxes that are due. The BF has been paying more toward things - not happily though. Great team player.
Ah but don't worry about my mother. She's going to retire in a few years! All her friends have convinced her she DESERVES this. It's going to be GREAT! My brother got mad at her one night and said, "Don't you even CARE about your future?!?" She replied, "My future is fine. It's just getting there that's a problem."
It really *shouldn't* be, but my mind was bored tonight! Another Excel lesson mostly took care of that - thankfully. I really hate it when my mind is bored. Especially when there is no reason for it.
I am taking an Excel 2007 class for free through my local library. It's all online through Universal Class. I'm glad it's free for many reasons - but mostly because it's not written very well at all. I've already pointed out a few blatant errors to them and I just argued a true/false question I got "wrong" on an exam. The feature they were asking about is found under a different icon, so I answered "false". They said that was wrong... I disagree! The answer can't be "true" if the feature isn't found there in the first place. Ah well... I am learning a few things, but not too much. Nice to see I managed to teach myself plenty over the years. I only signed up for this class because... my mind was bored. Yeah, happens often.
The week started off on a sour note. Always fun when I have to steam clean the bedroom and hallway at 6 am when I'm trying to get ready for work. Life sure is interesting with a dog who is showing signs of senility. My black lab mix - he's around 15 or so. We don't know exactly, and are basing that on what we were told when we got him almost 5 years ago. I thought a 10 year old dog would be nice and mellow for us. No....... Instead we got a very high-strung, neurotic dog. Toss in a bit of senility and OH BOY! Taking it in stride as best we can.
Moments like this help:
Our lab mix and our "new" cat. They hit it off almost immediately.
So of course I was late to work *again* - always something these days. As soon as I got to work, I got an email from accounting saying the HSA money came out twice. *sigh* Thankfully that was a fairly easy problem to fix with the HSA folks! We had a technical problem last week when we tried to submit the info - resulting in a duplicate file.
Then my mother called and left me a voicemail saying her car insurance took money out and there wasn't enough money in the account. Then she called again while I was eating lunch - I don't even remember why. They she called again while I was driving home to say she needed to buy a prescription... and orange juice... and cough drops... and, and, and. *SIGH*
So I updated my sidebar to say that I somehow fell into managing finances for THREE households - ours and two others. This has become life for me. I wish things were different, but I'm rather stuck for now. Especially with my mother. I want a separate blog entry to explain that one! It's tough to write - depressing for me most of the time.
Tell me again why my mind gets bored? I just don't understand it.
DH and I went out last night. Our "dates" are slightly unconventional at times! A local liquor store does wine or beer tastings a few times a year, and we like to go. Last night was one of the bigger wine tastings they have. This liquor store is in a former grocery store and the place is HUGE. They have everything you could imagine there - very large wine selection. The wine tasting had a $5 suggested donation to St. Jude children's hospital. It's not required that you pay, but why wouldn't you? So $10 for the two of us to taste wines at 28 different tables. No... we certainly didn't hit ALL of the tables! We don't try all the wines either. We didn't plan to buy a lot of wine this time, but we always go overboard. Hey, we kept it under $100 this time!
When we got there, the parking lot was PACKED and there were cars lined down side streets. Really?? This has me calling BS on the economy around here. I know there are folks around here that ARE affected by the economy, but I still don't see some of the economic things others report - lack of shopping and such. I've been saying this all along! Last night certainly was no exception.
I planned ahead and brought a BOGO coupon for Ruby Tuesday, so we could do dinner as well. I didn't tell DH ahead of time - we usually just hit BK afterwards. I wanted something different though. We drank water - since we'd certainly had enough wine already! DH ordered a petite steak with a jumbo shrimp skewer, and I ordered a pasta/chicken/broccoli dish. I had leftovers for lunch today! After coupon, our meal came to $15.93. Don't worry, we tipped on the full amount... even with tip added in, that's a "cheap" date! Can't beat that price for dinner and all the wine we could drink. The major expense was the wine we bought, but that will last us quite a while. We tried a lot of new things and got some great deals. It was a lot of fun!
In other news: I'm suffering from slight writer's block. I have things I want to write about, but I'm struggling with where to start. I know it'll be easy to continue writing about once I start, but why is it so hard to get started? I'm having this problem with another blog I want to write as well. If I could only START it! I know it's not just me. A friend just got a new blog up and running and has put a LOT of time into getting it started. She's got a great start to it, but I know she was stuck at first too. I really need to try and get unstuck this weekend. I'm certain I will just talk myself in circles and make no sense. I'm used to that I suppose!
Shh... hubby is in the kitchen cleaning up and starting dinner. That *never* happens. In fact, I did the dishes yesterday and he came downstairs and said "You did the dishes? So much for me making an effort!" What is he up to??
Well, I'm not going to complain. I'm sitting here playing with my new toy! I've been wanting a "real" netbook for a while now. I have a 7" Asus EEE, but the screen is just too small. I've seen this deal at Target a couple times before, so I decided to jump on it this time. I splurged on an 11.6" Acer Aspire One. It's on sale this week for $197. I thought that was a GREAT price for this little computer.
I actually picked it up Thursday at full price, then went back today for a price adjustment. I didn't care to get to Target early and I wasn't sure how popular this deal would be. I couldn't believe how easy the price adjustment was! No effort whatsoever. I'm quite happy with the netbook and the price adjustment experience.
While we were at Target, we decided to wander around and look at clearance. Picked up a cute Halloween costume for me and a polo shirt for DH to wear to work. Then we wandered by the piggy banks so I could laugh at the new designs. There was only one piggy bank I wanted - the chrome piggy - and I found that at a yard sale this past summer. Well, well, well... I could not believe my eyes today!!
Whoa. Best bank EVER!! Yes, it's riding the conveyor belt to come home with ME.
I don't usually spend money on myself, so this has been an odd weekend. The netbook was a purchase I've been planning for a while - and the dinosaur was a total splurge! That part is not like me at all.
We also ran to Rite Aid to roll our +Ups. Is it sad I was so excited that the deodorant I use was a money maker deal? Picked up 4 deodorant and 4 laundry detergent - preferred brand for my mom and DH. It was a really great shopping day and we didn't do much at all.
Other than that, we mostly took things easy this weekend. We both had a very long week and weren't up for much. Got a few things done around the house, so can't complain.
Well, for now at least... not much of a storm here. That may change later of course. We're right on the edge of the rain/snow line, so it's a mix here. Sorry to hear Patientsaver is getting hit so hard! My brother was out and about west of here, but called to report he made it back to NH safely. You'd think he might have checked the weather report before heading down to MA, but noooo...
He said there were a LOT of cars off the road.
This was a fairly normal day for us. No panicked storm runs anywhere. I did need to go to the bread store and the bank. The bread I like, normal well over $4 at the grocery store, was on manager's special: 3 for $3. Sold! I went to the bank to drop off $265 in rebate checks. My bank is in the grocery store and boy was that place INSANE today. Yikes. I wanted to check out the manager specials in the meat department. We had some good luck there last Saturday. I found some good deals: 1.35 lbs ground beef for 3.21, four 5 oz packages of Butterball turkey for 0.79 each, and a package of shaved steak for 2.54. I went over to the discount bakery rack and found some rolls for 1.65. I thought these were all great prices, but for some reason there's a random line item on my receipt "CUST SERV ADJUST -5.00" I didn't notice it until I was going over my receipts a few hours later. Oops. So I only ended up paying a little over $5 for all the items. The screen said $10.xx when I swiped my card! That was quite strange.
I donated 1.00 to someone collecting money for Alzheimer's and 2.00 to a group of veterans outside. I'm a sucker for veterans! Put a bunch of older gentlemen in uniforms out to collect money and I'll give every time!
So we had shaved steak subs for dinner. We'll have them again for lunch tomorrow. Then chili for dinner. Yum!!
After my errands I helped DH with a "minor" repair on his truck. He thought he had a bad tie rod end, but it ended up being a bad idler arm instead. The local parts store had one in stock for 42.99. I found a coupon code online for 10.00 off 30.00 or 20.00 off 50.00, so we added a pair of 9.99 Mechanix gloves and paid 35.xx with tax. Nice deal! He got the part installed while I cleaned up the garden. It was just starting to sprinkle when I got his text asking for help. He just wanted help cleaning up his tools. The rain really started coming down just as we got the tools packed up. The truck still needs some work (brakes, tie rod ends *eventually*) but it should be a lot safer to drive now. The brakes should be a simple job.
We're just taking it easy tonight. Silly us, just sitting here with our laptops and watching Criminal Minds.
I've been around. Still here for the most part. I read the blogs and comment sometimes, just haven't been interested in blogging.
Around the time I left blogging, I started getting into couponing more. That wasn't something I wanted to blog about here, so I posted it on my Facebook page then "graduated" to Blogger. Life got in the way and I got burned out in every aspect of my life.
We started 2011 by losing 2 turtles, and our 16 year old black cat died of cancer after a 3 month battle. We had to put her down the night before my birthday in March. It was just too much to deal with all at once.
In July, the day after DH's birthday, we adopted a new black cat. He is 3 1/2 - 4 years old and a TERROR!! Oh boy. It has been a challenge, but he's starting to get better. He is buddies with our black lab, won't give the beagle the time of day, and terrorizes my poor tiger cat.
Since my last blog post: DH got rid of his 2001 Grand Prix GTP and bought a 2000 Ford F150. That was quite a change! We recently got back DH's Neon that my brother had borrowed for 2 years. Never thought to see THAT back in our lives again! So that's DH's daily driver while he makes some repairs on his truck. We have spent a pretty penny on car repairs lately - including swapping the transmission on the Neon! The vehicles are all paid for though. DH has done most of the work himself, so this has been a great learning experience for a relatively "low" cost. He even found a used transmission for $320 shipped to us - and put that in himself with the help of my mom's BF.
Oh... I paid off my car.
I'm still couponing, but not as much as I was last year. I'm having a lot of fun at the office supply stores at the moment. I was thrilled to find out I made Staples Premier status! Yes, the things that amuse me...
Just NEED to tackle that student loan debt. I want to blog here more to try and keep finances front and center again. They are for the most part, but you all know it's much easier when you're answering to others.
I'm just NOW starting to come out of the fog from the events earlier this year. I'm hoping I can stay level-headed and tackle this stuff.
I have more updates, but I will save those for other blog entries. Please give me a swift kick if I disappear again, OK?
Several months ago I opened a bank account just to get a bonus they were offering. I think it was $100.00 - easy free money. Every week $10.00 gets direct deposited into the account, then transfered out a day later. The account runs on autopilot, so I don't think much of it. I got my most recent statement and imagine the shock at what I saw in the middle of the page! It's very strange because nothing is unusual in the transactions - nothing at all! It's almost as if this doesn't even belong on my statement in the first place - just randomly placed there somehow. It sure doesn't match up to the transactions! I'm still laughing and shaking my head...
I don't have any plans to call the bank just yet. I honestly think someone hit the wrong button and I wouldn't be surprised if something like this shows up on everyone's statement. I certainly WOULD call if it said I was $161K in the hole - but it says I have $1.00 just like it should.
In other news:
- I paid off the balance transfer!!
- I nearly had a heart attack when I opened my student loan statement and saw how much interest I've paid over the years. How "nice" of them to put that on there. I did the consolidation and put the payment on autopilot - then never thought any more of it. I think this is the first time I've looked at a statement in *ahem* a few years. Needless to say, this one's going next! I'm shooting for 2 years at this point.
- DH wants a "new" car. Yes, seriously. Anyone else remember him getting the last one LESS than a year ago? He announced this the day after I paid off the credit card. That didn't go over well with me. After I showed him the student loan statement, he said "wow, it would be very selfish of me to get a new car right now." The next day, back to car talk. He just doesn't like the car he has. It's "not working out". He has been told it will be a VERY different transaction this time. He will negotiate (hates confrontation of any type), he will wait until he has enough money saved up (no instant gratification here), he will test drive the model he wants to buy, but will not test drive the exact car he wants to buy (to get a general idea of the car), he will talk to the sales guy - then walk away (again, no instant gratification). I did not like how my car purchase was handled and certainly didn't like how his last car purchase went.
- We finally "fixed" our laminate floor on the first floor. There was a lot of gapping right in a high traffic area. We've been putting this off as long as possible because we needed to move 29 and 52 gallon tanks. I wasn't worried about the smaller tank, but the large tank houses a LARGE pacu that I vowed to never move again. This project involved tearing up half the floor and reassembling it. The other half will need to be done at some point, but the gapping isn't too bad. I sure do ache today - we did the project yesterday. I'm really good at bending at the knees to pick up the buckets of water. Who knew it would be such a good butt workout moving 160 gallons of water one bucket at a time?! Owie. The project went well and we can walk through our living room again.
- My head is just starting to come out of the fog I've been in since fall. Stress did this to me. I'm still far from 100%, but I'm having some clearer thoughts. My work performance is suffering the most from this fog. What's kind of sad is that I can still function at 50% and out perform everyone else. I'm not happy with my work performance, but everyone else can live with it just fine.
- The mutt had another round with the abscess. I don't think it fully healed the first time. This time she got it to drain on her own. The limp is mostly gone now and I think she's 99% back to normal. Still keeping an eye on her and keeping the two of them apart as best we can.
Well, I think that's about it for now. Time to get back to tracking my coupon shopping in my spreadsheet. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
I've been really depressed lately thanks to work/home/mother/etc. Bleah, enough already! Just one thing after another. Nothing really earth shattering, but this past week did throw me for a loop. What's the worst thing that can happen? My precious mutt, my tiger cat, got sick!!! One unhappy cat = one VERY unhappy ME! Here she is a few minutes ago - naptime on her elephant! What an improvement over a few days ago!
Long story short: Noticed she wasn't walking well Monday night. Rushed her to the vet Tuesday assuming she was constipated. Turns out she had a HUGE abscess under the base of her tail - most likely caused by a clawed swat on the butt from the other cat. She wouldn't eat, would barely drink, couldn't sit. She just laid on the floor by the heater, mostly lifeless. She got an antibiotic shot (they make these now!!) and by Thursday it still hadn't drained. She was worse. I called to schedule her to go in on Friday, but a couple hours later the floodgates opened. By Friday morning: happier mutt = happier me! She's MUCH happier today and is eating. But EW, heal already! That thing is disgusting! She'll probably have to go in to be checked sometime next week, but we're on the mend for now!
Christmas wasn't as bad as I expected - not many gifts at all. Ok, so where did all my mother's money GO? I blame the boyfriend - blame him in a way that he's not asking her for anything, but she feels obligated to buy him things. Her store card is near maxed out, her bills are all late, and her bank account is negative too often. Quite different from just four months ago when her bills were paid in full and I had shuffled $1400 into savings for her. I had to distance myself from her. To make matters worse, the boyfriend rolled his truck last weekend and now has broken ribs. Oh yeah, and a totalled truck. She only calls me these days if she needs something. All I hear is "I'm having FUN!" How's that working for ya?
I made my own stupid banking mistake this week. NOT like me at all!! I just wasn't paying attention when I scheduled a payment. Ugh, too much stress these days. Thankfully, I found out I have the BEST BANK! I ran off to one ATM to get cash from a different account, then off to this bank to deposit it. By the next morning, they had re-ordered my transactions to post credits first, then debits. Yay, no overdraft! That's the first time I've ever done something like that and you bet it'll never happen again.
I lucked out this time.
What started out as a really stressful week, ended up working itself out ok. Yeah, I'm still stressed and I still brought work home, but my mutt is feeling better, I didn't royally screw up our finances, and not complaining at work is paying off. My boss handed me paperwork to process a $1000 bonus for myself. $730 after taxes/401k - I'll take it! DH's eyes nearly popped out of his head when I told him. Wow, he didn't even ask if he could spend any of it!! I'm not sure what I want to do with it. Just sit on it for now I guess. I did finally order a new filter for one turtle, but this is something I've been procrastinating for months. It didn't have much to do with the extra $$ I'll be getting.
I haven't been blasting away debt lately. Too many expenses. We BOTH needed new tires, plus added gas expenses for our road trips. The electric bill is up - electric heat - and the water/sewer rates are going up soon. Oh yeah, our car/home insurance payments started back up too. I plan on blasting those away by summer like I did last year. I still need to call and discuss insurance options for DH's old car. It's over-insured.
Well, back to working on getting my netbook "workable". I didn't like the Xandros OS, so I installed eeebuntu. Still need to find a program to run the webcam on it. Ah well, it's a learning experience. The good thing about the netbook is that it's small enough that I can work on it AND hold the mutt!
Snow! Lots of it! We did go out earlier and the roads weren't too bad. The crews are doing a good job cleaning them. We were out between 1:30 and 2:30 pm - by the mall and all the shopping plazas, even Walmart. The area is dead for the Sunday before Christmas! Not good for retailers, that's for sure. Good for shoppers though - no crowds at all.
I "needed" to go out so I could get my free after ECB items at CVS - and my free after rewards batteries at Staples. Yeah, necessities! I was also out running errands yesterday morning and stores still weren't as busy as I'd expect them - except for the grocery store. Yikes!!! My bank is in the grocery store and I have never seen the store that busy. I'm thankful I only needed to make a bank deposit and not shop. So glad I have enough food here to feed a small army.
The work crunch has calmed just a bit. Still working a lot and not having fun, but I think the worst of it is over. I'll be glad when the holidays are over, but there are a lot of loose ends to tie up with the health plan changes. Stuff that all falls on me as well as my "no pressure" payroll job. Yup, looking forward to my 3 day New Year's weekend - no plans and loving that!!
Here's a rare moment with the mutts yesterday. I think it's been at least 6 months since I've seen the black cat on the bed. Three out of four of them are there now as I type this. I hear the tiger cat munching away at her food bowl.
My old boy, the lab, took a nasty tumble Friday morning. DH was walking the dogs and let the leash go so he could run around. That dog has quite the energy for a 13 year old!! Well he ran by and DH accidentally stepped on his leash. Dog faceplant with all four legs out from under him. It was FREEZING out and we were trying to convince him to get off the ground and into the house. He finally got up (favoring his back left leg) and went in. Well, what can you do but wait things out? So we've been doing that. He was MUCH better by evening, but he's still having trouble getting up on our high bed. This is causing massive panic attacks and DH and I haven't gotten much sleep the last couple of nights. It hasn't been fun. He's been with us for 3 years now, but was abused prior to coming here. He's hurt, scared, and doesn't understand what's going on right now. If we even raise our voice for any reason, he pees where he's standing. We were getting ready to take them out last night and I yelled at the beagle for something. Next thing I know - dog pee all over the entry way. Ugh! I'm a cat person... We still just have to wait this out for now. Just worried since he's an old, neurotic boy.
Well my other gift I got for myself, a "refurbished" netbook, is FINALLY up and running on my home network as of today! It's an Eee PC 701 that came installed with the Linux Xandros operating system. Apparently there was a conflict between the OS, the wireless card, and secure networks. It connects just fine to an unsecure network. I tried EVERYTHING to resolve this, with no luck. So this morning I installed eeeubuntu on an SD card and created a live boot situation. Online to MY network within just minutes. Ok, now maybe I can begin to learn to use this thing now? Quite the learning process so far. I know nothing about this stuff!!
After the holidays I plan on jumping into a massive payoff on those loans. Still tossing around plan ideas at the moment.
Well, Christmas cards don't address themselves, the vac doesn't self-run, turtle tanks don't self-clean, and the laundry wont fold itself. Perhaps I should get back to work?
There must be!! The car is acting up, go figure. It's nothing overly major, and it's not a safety hazard. I heard a pop near the glovebox and I apparently have blown a blower resistor or something like that. The fan blows normal on 4, not so great on 1-3. It heats fine though, so we wont freeze. And yes, we ARE hitting the road Tuesday night. My car is still under warranty, we just can't get it fixed until at least next week. If it's not covered for some odd reason, it's around $50 for the part and DH can fix it himself. Just bad timing of course. You'd think my car would appreciate the oil change and the new tires it got this weekend! Ingrate.
Well I'm kind of aggravated with the girl I sent that care package too. I just found out she's running around with a married man more than twice her age - and has been involved with him over a YEAR! I never said before how I "knew" (never actually met in person) this girl, but a good friend of mine is in jail after getting her pregnant 4 years ago when HE was twice her age. The baby did not survive. To top it all off, these two guys are practically best friends. Ugh, people really sicken me.
I'm still busy at work, to the point it's making me sick. I told my boss today that I don't care what happens, I am GONE as soon as payroll is processed Tuesday. Can't they just figure everything else out without ME?? I can't work myself sick like I have been.
Speaking of, I have packing to do and pumpkin bread to get out of the oven. I'm in ok shape for the trip if I can just get off my butt and back to work.
We need to run some Christmas gifts by the local program Tuesday before we skip town. Called this weekend to get matched up to two kids. We had a BLAST shopping! A 12 y.o. boy is getting an MP3 player, a remote control jeep, batteries, and a gift card for clothes. A 3 1/2 y.o. boy is getting cars and trucks, coloring books and crayons, a car carrying case, a warm winter jacket, hat, mittens, pants, shirts, and socks. That really was a lot of fun and I'm feeling SLIGHTLY better about Christmas. Still can't help but feel like everyone I know suffers from serious gluttony though.
Speaking of our own gluttony: we hooked up our new tv Friday night. So much for "no cable"! Best kept secret in many cable markets: If you have basic cable (just network channels) and you get a new tv with a QAM tuner, you get the ENTIRE cable lineup. That's correct, it's not currently scrambled and comes across as clear QAM. DH is in heaven now! Yes, I know it wont last forever.
Ok, enough random babbling from me for today.
So... my new mixer arrived last Monday and I finally got a chance to try it out on Saturday. I was feeling a bit down, so I made myself dozens of smiling stegosaurus cookies! Those poor dinosaurs didn't stand a chance with the work day we had today...
Did I mention I LOVE the mixer??
Thanksgiving went ok. I was still glad I kept the trip really short. I just needed that right now. My brother was very appreciative of all the food I brought up. His wife thinks what I do with coupon shopping is kind of strange. She's the type that if she runs out of Coke, she just runs right out and pays $5 for another 12 pack. HUH?? I just don't get it. SHE wasn't overly excited about the food, but my brother happily rearranged their kitchen and got it all put away. He was very happy with everything.
My brother showed up at my mom's house Thursday carrying the tiniest living ball of fur I've ever seen! She's an approximately 3 month old toy poodle. My brother's wife delivers newspapers and supposedly found this white ball of fur by the side of the road in 29 degree weather. They rushed her to the emergency vet and the vet suggested they put her down, she'd never survive. My brother nursed her all night and when they went back the next day, the vet refused to believe it was the same dog! Three weeks later and she is one ridiculously cute ball of fur! He named her Karma.
Ugh, work has been so ridiculous lately! My employer decided to roll out a very different health plan next year - a high deductible plan with a HSA and a wellness plan. Guess who's been taking all the calls? My boss has been on the road all week doing presentations about the health plan, so the calls are just falling on me. I have two choices: I can do my work OR I can answer calls. Doing both isn't working. If I do my work, I don't have time to call people back. If I take the calls, I can't do my work! Stressed just doesn't cover it at the moment. If that wasn't bad enough, my bossed pushed off implementation of an upgraded payroll software because he wanted some things cleaned up in the old software first. Turns out, there would have been less headaches if we just cleaned it up in the new software. "We" is used loosely... I mean ME! I just ran my second payroll with this software - one I had virtually NO training on. Our payroll company showed me all around the software EXCEPT actually payroll entry. The first week of this coincided nicely with getting the open enrollment packets out and that crazy catalina shopping deal I had in my "spare" time. I just don't feel I can properly convey how difficult these past couple of weeks have been for me! DH is happy he only has to work three days this coming week. I told him that would be nice if I didn't feel like I had to do two weeks of work in those three days. Yikes...
In other news: we're spending Thanksgiving with my MOTHER! We're going to try this out and see how it goes. I'm still having major issues with her these days. So, we're driving up late Wednesday night and coming back here Friday morning. Oh darn, DH had prior commitments for the weekend. I think a short trip will be best for everyone. Yes, this does mean we get to meet the roommate/boyfriend I blame for being such a bad influence on all the spending she has done lately. I'm still just sitting back and waiting for that to all come crashing down on her. Not sure what she'll do then.
During the last catalina deal, I asked my brother for a list of things he might like. I'm not sure if he ever went and tried it out himself, but I did tell him he may regret telling me he needed a few things. I've been piling things up for my mother as well. Mom is getting 8 bottles of laundry detergent, tuna fish, mayo, wheat pasta, soup, cereal. Brother is getting a TON of cereal, soup, rice mixes, noodle mixes, hamburger helper, peanut butter, mayo, fruit snacks, etc. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting. I had too much fun getting all this stuff and you know I LOVE to share! I have 38.50 left in catalina and I'll be picking up the turkey and fixings tomorrow. I'll just be glad to get this pile out of my house:
This is where the mutt hangs out on the third floor - on her elephant. Who needs a fancy cat bed when you have a huge elephant? The WB Mason boxes in the background have food stashed in them. This is my "pantry" since the cupboards downstairs are all quite full. There's also a ton of cereal and pasta stacked under that turtle tank, and even MORE stacked under the tank to the left. DH says he'd be concerned if so much of this wasn't already scheduled to leave the house. Well... it's not hard to give away FOOD and I have fun getting so much for free.
I updated my sidebar with recent debt totals. I feel kinda stuck paying off my debt "backwards". I'm starting with the smallest/lowest interest because that's credit card debt and who knows where credit cards will go. It does have a "for life" promo rate, but does that really mean anything? I feel like the car has to go next even though that's the middle/middle rate. It's a car and we all know cars are unpredictable. Yeah it's a 2007 Hyundai, but I drive a LOT. I really want that student loan consolidation paid off but it's just so intimidating at the moment! Well, I'm determined and patient. I sent 550.00 to the Citi card the other day and I'll send another 350.00 to it on Monday.
I did put a little bit of money into a "fun money" account for DH. Poor DH... I think steam is going to start pouring out while he figures out how to spend it. So hard to narrow down which of his "wants" to get. I'm thinking it will be a TV. Part of the reason I put that money there is because I've been so "selfish" lately buying things for myself. Well, in my defense this is a FIRST for me. I got tired of catering to everyone else first and finally bought myself a few things I've been wanting. First I ordered a 200+ bulb package. I got those all planted last weekend. By the time I was done, I had myself convinced at least 5000 tulips should come up next year! That's what it felt like I just planted... So, we'll see what spring brings.
I've been wanting a new mixer for a while now. If I don't get one - no more of my famous Christmas cookies! No more anything - my mixer is toast. It rattles when I shake it. The speeds are unpredictable. I splurged on a pretty blue KitchenAid aritisan stand mixer. It should arrive on Monday. I feel I got a really good deal on it. I can't wait to try it out! I've never anything nice like this before.
Well I did splurge on one more thing for myself, but I don't have it yet. I'll save that story for another entry. Let's just say I ordered a teeny tiny netbook for myself two weeks ago. I still don't have a teeny tiny netbook in my hands. I've since learned that customer service where I ordered it is quite lacking. I'll file my complaint with the BBB once I see how this ends up. Yes, it's that bad. I should have had this thing in my hands a week and a half ago.
Well, I'm just getting caught up on some boring household stuff today. On that note - back to the laundry!
I've been out of the loop here for a couple of days. There's another killer catalina deal going on at the grocery store - could I resist? NO! It has taken up most of my time since Friday. I have a lot more food I want to get between now and Thursday. So far, I'm ahead by $41.79. I expect to lose some of that "profit" though, depending on how I can structure the rest of the deals. I think it will be more important to get soup and such to add to the stockpile. My brother has said he'd like some soup and I warned him he may regret saying that!
I still haven't recovered from the last catalina deal, so this time I really might shop til I drop!
Well I updated the sidebar to reflect the now paid off loan.
As a treat for myself for all my coupon shopping (over $3800 saved YTD) and for getting debts paid off, I bought myself a couple of gifts. One is due to arrive tomorrow and the other on Wednesday. I think I will wait to announce them when they get here. Ooh, this is better than Christmas!! I never get myself anything.
My brother contacted me today to let me know he got a message from the girl I sent the care package to. She basically was fishing for ideas on how to show her gratitude. I mentioned it to DH and he got a message from her as well. She knows my brother, but has never met me or DH. She just knows of us and has friended us online. She seems like a great kid from a rough life. Just knowing she appreciated the package is really all I wanted.
It was such a beautiful day here today and I took advantage of the weather to rip up the garden for the winter. I still need to bring in the hose, but I may need it this week. That sure was a lot of work for a teeny tiny area!
On our way back from the grocery store this morning, we stopped at a yard sale. They said the stuff was priced to sell and they weren't kidding! DH picked up a Uniden bearcat scanner for $1.00. It seems to need a new battery since it only wants to run plugged in. He's not sure he wants to replace the battery. He only picked it up because he liked the antenna it had. Worse case scenario is that he'll put this antenna on his scanner. I found this for 25 cents:
Oh yes, I WILL use it if I need a trivet! Cute and functional.
Still not much word from my mother. She sent a Halloween card to a friend of mine and told him I was upset with her. Well yes, but I've calmed down a bit. It's HER that doesn't call, doesn't respond to my emails, in general just doesn't let me know what's going on in her life anymore. She's still spending up a storm and I will not bail her out again. No no NO! Yes, I AM bitter about her spending, especially where I loaned her so much money and she never paid me back. I learned my lesson - never again.
These days - I worry about ME. Everyone else just needs to figure out their own issues. It's so hard though since I'm so giving. Yes, there's a box upstairs for my mother - 8 laundry detergents and 10 cans of tuna fish. It's from my last catalina run. I can't help it since I know it's stuff she could use and I got it for next to nothing. I have boxes started for my mother, my MIL, and my brother. Just can't help it.
Yes, that is correct! I just sent the payoff for Student Loan 1! "WHAT?" you ask? Yeah, me too. Where did that money come from? My only guess is: the money you "can't save" from couponing. I'll be keeping quite the interesting watch on things now, while I tackle that balance transfer. I still need to go downstairs and tell DH! Hee hee.... The payment should clear at the beginning of the week and then I'll be down to just my student loan consolidation. Yes, that one is intimidating.
The giant box arrived at its destination Wednesday as planned, and she picked it up yesterday. Oh boy - I would have like to see her face when she got it!
Glad I warned her about the size of the box. I wasn't exactly thinking in that respect - she's just a petite thing. The friend that lugged it halfway across campus for her scored some cereal and some chex mix. Grateful college students! I'll send her another, perhaps smaller, box in the spring.
One goal this weekend will be to kill off the $63 in catalina I have left for the grocery store. They expire 11/2 - 11/5. We found lots of "fun" things on sale that we'd like to buy as a treat. I think we'll do ok spending the catalina. I was worried at first since we sure don't NEED anything. Giving so much food away didn't make a noticable dent.
Well, I think a celebratory glass of wine is in order - on top of the one I already had!
I'll leave you with the view from my desk last weekend. This is the pond on the other side of the apartments next door. I see just a small portion of it, but it sure is pretty this time of year.
Oh, I have been having way too much fun lately! Too much fun at the grocery store with catalina deals and too much fun at Walgreens with register rewards (RR).
This is what I ended up with on my little catalina binge:
3 Clorox Wipes
1 Diet 7-up
6 Hartz Crunch N Clean biscuits
2 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Penne
7 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Rotini
10 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Spaghetti
13 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Thin Spaghetti
2 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Penne
19 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Rotini
11 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Spaghetti
10 Fiber One cereal
8 Chex Mix
13 Nature Valley granola bars
4 Warm Delights Mini
4 Fiber One yogurt
2 Milkbone dog biscuits
2 Yo+ yogurt
6 Cinnamon Toast Crunch
12 Cascadian Farms granola cereal
7 Gold Medal flour
4 Golden Grahams
18 Pillsbury crescent rolls
15 Progresso Soup
16 Pillsbury cinnamon buns
8 Pillsbury Grands
5 Total whole grain cereal
5 Betty crocker fruit snacks
I spent 48.55 and still have 77.00 in catalina. This gives me a 28.45 "profit".
I also got:
4 Nestea for 0.04 profit!
18 Shaws solid white albacore tuna for 4.50.
9 Healthy choice frozen meals for 0.09 profit!
I catalog all my coupon shopping on my facebook page and I get a lot of questions. A young lady I know, who is a freshman in college, commented that I should send her some stuff since she gets hungry studying. I know she was just joking, but I called her out on it. I had her go through the "catalog" and pick out some stuff. She made a nice selection of healthier items and mentioned a couple of things she would like but didn't see pictured: index cards and Pepperidge Farm goldfish.
Oh boy, I ran right out and rolled my Walgreens RR into money maker deals over the past two days. Even with buying 8 bags of goldfish, 3 packs of index cards, several Puffs Plus tissues, and a diecast car for DH - I STILL came out ahead! Between yesterday and today I'm ahead by 5.78. I still can't believe my head hasn't exploded yet!!
Well, this is what I've got so far:
Wont this be a FUN box to get?!?
I've never actually met this girl in person though. We know of each other due to some unfortunate circumstances, and are just "friends" on social networking sites. We come from the same town and know a lot of the same people. I know a lot about her past and she comes from a tough life. Bright kid though - did high school in three years and plans to do college the same. I also remember what it was like going off to college. I bet she'll have no trouble sharing this stash of goodies! There are a lot of things on the lower layer that you can't see: 6 boxes of Puff tissues, 3 boxes of microwave popcorn, 2 bottles of listerine, + more. I'm not posting this on facebook because I want it to be a surprise!
I can ship this to her via UPS using my company's account (for a discount) and paying by credit card. It should cost me around $15 to ship it ground and she'll get it Wednesday.
All this couponing stuff really is like having a part time job - I need a vacation!
In other financial news:
I fired off a $450 payment to Student Loan 1. HA! Take that!! I'll update next week after that payment hits. Not too much longer on this loan.
I'm still slowly watching my mother spiral downwards. There's nothing I can do since she's "just having fun!!" This is what I hear from her. I hardly hear from her anymore - she's too busy with her "new boyfriend". I can't be bothered with her childishness. There's no way to avoid the pain of watching her spiral downward. I hate seeing my mother do this to herself, but she does NOT want to be responsible for anything it seems. Plus - of course I'm still bitter about her spending when she owes so many people money. Yeah, I don't go out of my way to make an effort with her either. I have no choice but to distance myself.
Well, DH brought home a leftover kielbasa dish and is downstairs heating it up. Not sure if I'll like it - but I certainly have learned to be grateful for what's in front of me!
It will be a miracle! My head hurts looking at all these catalina scenarios. I've gone a bit overboard the last few days. Just waiting for DH to put his foot down! Ah well, he "happily" goes along and buys what I tell him to. We spent so much time at the grocery store this morning - I had to take him to BK afterwards to get him to stop pouting! LOL! It was my first trip for this sale and I'm just not that organized on the first trip. I'll have my butt in gear from here on in. I need to check with my mother and brother and put together boxes for them. Then I should plan a trip to a food pantry. I still wont be in danger of starving. However, I need to learn how to get creative with pasta!!
Basically I've spent 30.88 OOP and I have 40.00 remaining in catalina. I'm 9.12 ahead of the game here!! I post pics and details on my facebook page and I get a lot of questions! Can't really get anyone to join me though...
My haul so far:
3 Clorox Wipes
1 Diet 7-up
6 Hartz Crunch N Clean biscuits
2 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Penne
7 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Rotini
10 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Spaghetti
13 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - Thin Spaghetti
2 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Penne
19 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Rotini
11 Ronzoni Smart Taste - Spaghetti
6 Fiber One cereal
4 Chex Mix
5 Nature Valley granola bars
2 Warm Delights Mini
4 Fiber One yogurt
2 Milkbone dog biscuits
2 Yo+ yogurt
2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch
2 Cascadian Farms granola cereal
2 Gold Medal flour
This is absolutely exhausting!
In other news: I'm already flipping that dead printer I grabbed from the trash at work. A little over a month ago, I bought a wireless printer for around $20 (after HP trade-in) just because I had a dead printer begging to be traded in. The retail price on this printer is 179.00. It was "worth" $100 to me if I didn't use it: 50.00 to sell the ink and 50.00 to flip as another trade. I decided it might be worth us having a wireless printer though, so I put it in use. Next thing I know, I have three coworkers asking me to find them a deal like this! Well, one coworker can't be bothered with a trade. This one and another both thought I was crazy when I found the printer for 40.00 after trade and said that wasn't good enough. Well lo and behold, yesterday a deal pops up to get this same printer for under 25.00 after trade. I ordered one just for the ink! One coworker ordered one for herself and the other one told me to keep the ink and she'd buy the printer off of me. Yup, no kidding! I wont be out anything with this deal, I get a set of ink cartridges, AND I'll come out ahead when I trade in the dead cartridges for Staples credit. Three very happy people! The other coworker was out for the day and missed out on this deal.
Well it's getting late and I still don't have more store trips planned out for tomorrow. Plus I need dinner! Pasta it is...
I was ready to come home and get caught up on tidbits from the last few days... only to come home to find news that a classmate had passed away unexpectedly! I remember her as a healthy, energetic person. I can't comprehend her complaining of a headache and chest pains for a few days, and then being found unconscious at her home. We weren't really friends, but my class was relatively small and everyone knew each other. Word spread like wildfire on Facebook. Facebook is funny in that respect, and it IS nice that we can all grieve together if we'd like to. I still have tears in my eyes. To my knowledge, we hadn't lost a classmate yet.
I cleaned a turtle tank to try and get my mind off the news.
I haven't been feeling too good myself the last few days. Sunday, just before dinner, my stomach started bothering me. No clue why. Dinner didn't go over well with an upset tummy. Yesterday and today it just feels like someone punched me in the stomach. Just pain, that's all. Last night I had one of my favorite comfort foods: Campbell's cream of chicken soup. It didn't help like I had hoped. Tonight, another comfort food: Burger King Tendercrisp sandwich. DELICIOUS! I splurged on it for myself. I had to! Tummy still hurts and I still don't feel good. I don't regret getting it though. Worth a shot.
Woo hoo! My most recent payments hit the student loan and the balance is now 1115.65. Soon, very soon.
I think I confused them though. I don't really understand why they recalculated my payment. It was: 80.85 for 11 months, 79.29 for 12 months, 77.86 for 12 months. It's now 53.82, then 52.79, then 51.83. Aw, how nice of them to allow me to pay this off over the next three years. Uh, NO.
Just taking it easy the rest of the evening. I ran a load of laundry for DH earlier. Dishes DESPERATELY need to get done, but that might have to wait. I'm too tired. Work has been really tough the last two days - no boss and no assistant. Just ME! Ah well.
It was a good day at RiteAid today - almost like a treasure hunt. I didn't realize how many goodies they had free after SCRs until we got to the store. We didn't even buy all of them! We ran this up in two transactions and we'll put the 2nd rebate info under my mom's account. The way I see it, it's the equivalent of me just sending the money to my mother - indirectly. Here's what we bought:
Total spent: 55.41
Rebates pending: 63.14
Profit of 7.73 !!
This is the stuff that makes me laugh!
Yes, I realize I don't need Polygrip - but that product alone was a 1.99 money maker. I'll find someone to donate it to.
The best part? I thanked DH for going with me and he said it was FUN! I questioned his reasoning and he said it was fun as long as we were making money. Yippee! Nice having him on board. Well, he's not stupid. He understands that making money on this stuff means 1) We never have to buy it since we have it on hand and 2) It frees up money for other things.
Well, other than that it's been a rather laid back day. So much stuff I SHOULD be doing, but I'm not. I'm on my third load of bedding to be tossed in the dryer, which means the bed has clean bedding on it. Yay! I need to fold and put away laundry, run the vac, get the A/Cs out of the window (A MUST!), and go pull all the tomatoes off the bush. It's supposed to get quite cold tonight last I heard. I'll double check before I go pull them off. Also need to do the dishes and test the water in one of my tanks. Never run out of things to do around here!
I TALKED to my mother earlier - yes, TALKED! She wanted to know the network key for her wireless network, so I had to walk her through finding that on her computer. This would have been a lot easier if I had written it down. Then one more call later to see if I could help get her friend's laptop online. Nope. He'll have to call tech support for that. Laptops can be so fickle. The network is fine since DH and I can both connect when we're there. Eh, life as usual with her and we did NOT discuss our disagreement. This shall be how life goes on. She expressed a few things that I have issue with and I got the canned "I'm having FUN!" reply. Just not my problem anymore. Nope. But we did hold down a conversation just fine.
I think I will go check the weather forecast, then head out to take a pic of the garden spider I saw outside earlier. As long as his web didn't blow away!
It wasn't working last night! You know, it's one of those things you just use so often. As soon as it doesn't sound right - you KNOW. It wasn't filling up with water all of a sudden. Faulty fill valve. Off to the store we went this morning to buy a new one. We could get a basic one for $7.48 or a "water saving" one for $11.48. DH opted to go for the more expensive one in the hopes it would save water over time. We'll see. I wasn't upset AT ALL over the cost. Sure beats hiring a plumber and I am not afraid to try. Who fixed it? ME!!!!!
I still need to figure out the water adjustments, but at least the tank fills now. Standing on your head under the toilet really is not as much fun as it sounds.
We've had a really good day so far. I'm just sitting here with a huge grin on my face. I've been laughing a lot lately, just happy about a lot of things and my frugal ways really make me laugh. I'm listening to some new music I got at a yard sale and I'm VERY happy with my purchase. We spent $5.75 and got: 6 cds (3 each), a diecast car for DH, a Nascar license plate frame for DH, and a new harness for the beagle. The harness was a steal! She's had hers for over 5 years now and it's getting really ratty. It's almost not even blue anymore. We paid $1.00 for this one, it looks brand new, same size, same brand - everything! I think we paid at least $12 for hers when we got it. We got our money's worth for it and it's nice to know this one should last just as long. Still not ready to swap it out, but we have it now.
Went to BK for lunch and got our usual: value fry, value drink, free whopper with coupon on receipt. $2.15 for me, more for DH since he opted for cheese. We had a good laugh over the guy in front of us: dressed in a business suit, punching away on his little electronic toy, making a loud fuss over not having enough money in THAT account to pay for his food. He marched off with his large drink and large meal - after having his buddy pay. We were more than happy with our food purchase and didn't pay anywhere near as much as he did. Oh, and didn't have a problem paying either. I KNOW where my money is.
Then we headed off to Walgreens to kill off the rest of the RR that were expiring tomorrow. A couple weeks ago we spent $31.82 at Walgreens and got back $35.00 in RR. I've been working hard to get these spent but it's HARD! I got 4 boxes of tampons, 1 box of kleenex, 8 candy bars (fillers), vaseline lotion, + some other stuff - and I still have $25.00 in new RR!! I just don't remember picking up this:
After that we stopped at a local church's pumkin patch and picked out two smallish pumpkins. Spent $8 - more than we would have spent at the place we usually buy them. This supported a church though, and I'm always in favor of doing so. Odd, since I'm not religious, but I do still believe in supporting churches. Maybe I'll bake one tomorrow - then time for the annual fight with the beagle for the pumpkin carcass! We're getting that on video this year, that's for sure.
I just updated my sidebar with the new total for Student Loan 1. Looks like interest hit along with all my payments last week. I just made $475.00 in payments for this week and I'll update my sidebar when those payments hit. It would have been more, but I realized my water bill is due around now and I haven't seen it yet. Odd. The water bill is twice a year. I opted to save some money for that bill for now.
We have nothing planned for the rest of the evening and that is just fine. Dinner is even in the crock pot - pork ribs soaking in BBQ sauce. It smells AMAZING!!
Off to just relax the rest of the night - hopefully.
It feels kinda good.
I finally got the courage up to try my EA Sports Active for the Wii again. I bought this at the end of June with high expectations. It looked like it was just what I needed to get active, as strange as that may sound. I don't feel comfortable going to the gym, or running/walking outside even. It's a little weird jogging in place while the "you" on the screen is running around a track, but you get used to it. Anyways, I read that this kicks your butt and they weren't kidding! I loved it! JUST what I expected - well, almost...
I didn't realize my feet were so screwed up, so the fourth time using it I promptly destroyed both feet. Posterior tibial tendinitis - OWIE!!!!!!! Yes, BOTH. I could barely walk and they were swollen like you wouldn't believe. Yup, of course the left was worse than the right and I drive a 5-speed! It took almost a month before I sheepishly hauled myself to the doctor to find out what was wrong. Nothing I could do but sit still really. Yeah, not possible. So today was the first day trying again. I did a nice little cardio boxing/light running workout. I feel slight pain, but it's not bad. At least now I know what the problem is, and I can stretch/rest as needed. I also know exactly which exercise I injured myself with and I wont do that again - ever.
I had to gas up my car today and pick up a few things from the grocery store. There was a catalina deal where if you bought $20 worth of participating items, you'd get a $5 coupon for your next shopping trip. DH needed coffee and I wanted to pick up some flour. Naturally, they were out of flour! He just told me he was almost out of coffee, otherwise I would have picked this stuff up the first day of the sale. Well, it's based on pre-sale prices, so I got two huge canisters of coffee and two cake mixes. I spent $13.98 and got back a $5 catalina. Not too bad. I sure didn't need any more cake mixes though! I'll have to find someone to donate them to. DH will be very pleased with the coffee purchase. Hey, at least he mentioned this before he ran out of coffee and before the sale was over.
I took a Pinecone survey yesterday and got the $3 in my paypal account today. It should transfer to my bank in a couple of days. I've been getting the $3 survey payments every 7-10 days lately. Not bad.
Lastly, guess what arrived in the mail today!
The message on the back of the envelope said "Hope it was a great day! Sorry I forgot to turn the page to October!" Even though we haven't spoken, I do feel a little better now that the card arrived. It's just NOT like her at all to not send a card. I will send a brief email thanking her for the card and telling her about our anniversary dinner and the harbor cruise. Nothing more for now. I think that's best.
is MY treasure! I scored a "dead" HP inkjet printer destined for the trash today. Well, if it wasn't dead before, it is now. We broke it trying to get the two ink cartridges out. Hey - those are worth $3 each in Staples rewards! The printer can be worth $50 towards an HP trade-in. Our IT guy put it in the trash because he was cleaning out his office. I agonized over it all day. I didn't feel comfortable just asking for "trash" and couldn't sneak it out of there. All of a sudden I had an idea!! I went up to him and said "Hey, instead of throwing the printer in the trash - mind if I haul it away for recycling?" Well, I really will be recycling it as a trade-in and the cartridges get recycled at Staples. I wasn't lying!!
Sunday we went into Boston and did a sunset harbor cruise. This is regular $22 a person, but I bought "groupons" a while back for $12 each. First time redeeming a groupon and it was nice and easy. The cruise was GREAT!!! It was very cold out on the water though. They take you out by Old Ironsides as she fires her cannon at sunset! The Queen Mary II was docked in Boston. Uh, large just doesn't describe that boat! It was rather intimidating!
Sunset over the Zakim Bridge
On the way home, we stopped at T.G.I. Friday's to use our free burger coupons (Facebook promo). We each ordered a beer and burgers and were out of there for under $20 including tip. The burgers were really good, but I'm not sure if I'd order it again.
Yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it's been that long already. We went out to T.G.I. Friday's, but DH's jaw (sinus infection) was bothering him so he didn't want to use a free burger coupon. I had the free chicken sandwich this time. I liked the chicken more than the burger. Not something I normally would order, but it was really good! I had three more coupons left, so I gave two to a coworker. I saved one so DH could try the chicken sandwich before the promo ends.
I'm feeling kinda bummed today because things are still not resolved with my mother. I still don't feel I did anything wrong. I just didn't agree with her car purchase, so I told her so. Honestly, I'm not sure who's not speaking to who!! I just know it's been almost three weeks since I sent her that email telling her I couldn't manage her finances anymore. Nothing since then. Oh, the reason I'm bummed? My mom ALWAYS sends us an anniversary card. Nothing so far.
The payments hit my student loan, but I'll update that info on Saturday when I go over the finances.
Finally, I know this post has a lot in it, but I just HAVE to share this pic I took while I was writing my last blog entry!! My pain in the butt mutt again!!
Ah, nice rainy Saturday morning to do my normal finance stuff and do some cleaning around the house. I don't mind the rain on days like this.
So I should be sitting in my comfy office chair, but instead I'm stuck with a folding chair. I'm not moving this!
Not a lot going on finance-wise this morning. Everything is running smoothly.
The current balance on Student Loan 1 is 2192.05.
I am sending the following payments from three different accounts:
Whoa. I don't see this loan in my future for much longer!!
Not much else to report. I need to make my shopping lists for tomorrow. Later today we're going to check out a new Goodwill store that opened nearby. DH desperately needs "new" clothes.
Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!
Another LONG day at work! Thank you TD Bank for making my day just that much more frustrating. People never want to believe their bank is holding up their direct deposit. It HAS to be the payroll department, right? I actually read about the problem here in the blogs while I was at lunch. It explained a lot of phone calls I got today.
Anyways, stopped at Target on the way home to use up another set of coupons for 49 cent Purina One cat food. I have one more set for 49 cents and one for 99 cents that DH and I will use tomorrow. I also got a free 3.75 oz bag of Chex mix (that I just polished off!) with a $1.00 Target printable. I ended up spending a total of $16.40 on the cat food, Chex mix, a polo for DH, a tshirt for me, 6 pairs of dress socks for me, a cami for me. More than I planned on spending, but not bad at all!! I think DH will be thrilled with his $3.00 polo shirt.
I got home to find my $30 Staples ink rewards and a free $40 visa gift card! The gc was for signing up for a free trial of something that I canceled in the first 30 days. EASY gift card! I'm thinking I'd like to spend the Staples rewards towards a new computer monitor. I have six weeks or so before they expire, so plenty of time to wait for the right deal.
So I sat and chuckled over how nice the evening turned out, scarfed down the chex mix, and smiled.
I'm getting antsy to go over the finances this week now that DH's car is paid off! My raise went into effect and I got three weeks retro pay. I want to see how much I can throw towards Student Loan 1. Eh, maybe not tonight. I usually go over this stuff Saturday morning anyways. Just getting antsy!!
Oh, everything worked out ok Wednesday with my brother and the car. It passed inspection - no problem! I paid the $29 for the inspection, topped off the gas tank for about $10, and sent him and his friend back north. It buys him a little more time with the car. Decision time comes again when the insurance renews at the end of December. For now, the car is on loan.
Now I'm just doing some laundry and trying to sit back and relax for a few minutes. Don't get that often!!
I'll leave you with a pic of the two brats sharing a sun spot recently. They hate, hate, HATE each other - so this was unusual.
Ok, more like tossed quite a few text messages back and forth about the car. Hello? September ends tomorrow and with it, the car inspection!
It took a few messages before I was able to determine that 1) he was sorry he hadn't taken care of this sooner, 2) he's really stressed about life, and 3) he wants to fix this as cheap/fast as he can.
Oh boy... it sounds to me like he can't even come up with the $$ to get the car inspected. Well, since DH technically still owns the car, it falls on us to get it legal again. Brother is en route here now as I type this. I emailed my boss to say I'll be in late tomorrow. Not sure how involved I'll need to be. In all this, I didn't even THINK to ask if he has any reason to think it might not pass inspection!! At least we're taking it to a shop that has passed it many times before. I just worry because the exhaust is not "stock". It IS stock, just off a different model. Some places have given us crap for this.
Between my mother, my brother, and sometimes even my dad - could somebody please tell me exactly where *I* came from?!?!? Not this family. No way.
I feel really bad for my brother. I don't think the army was what he expected and now is just not the time to be trying to find a job. He jumped into home ownership while in the army and now what? Yeah, he didn't make all the right decisions - but he's my brother and I still feel REALLY bad for him. A troubled marriage isn't helping the situation.
Eh, on the bright side: the house is a little cleaner now! My inlaws were here a couple weeks ago, so I just needed to vac, change bed, etc.
In other news: I found $200 to send to Student Loan 1 this past week!! I think I'll have that knocked off in no time.
I'll leave you with a pic of the other feline mutt in this house. Uh, I wasn't baiting her - honest!! Ha ha ha... She didn't know what to think and kept looking at me like "WOW, I didn't know we had THIS!"
*Nascar side note* DH just dragged me upstairs because for some reason I needed to see Logano's wreck NOW. With the amount of yelling he was doing - I thought for sure someone was dead. The kid is fine, but how am I supposed to want my own husband to be a race car driver? That car flipped quite a few times. They're quite "safe", but still...
We did a little bit of shopping this weekend and they were successful trips.
DH found 2 pairs of shorts: 3.24 and 4.24 - good for working at the shop.
We bought 2 bags of Purina One Sensitive for 0.49 each. Stacked 3.50 give-a-bowl coupons with 2.00 Target coupons. I have two more sets of coupons for 0.49 bags and one set to get a 0.99 bag. These are for an elderly friend of ours whose cat only eats this food.
I was afraid of running out of soap - the one in the dish was the last one! I prefer Irish Spring and RiteAid had 3-packs for 1.49 through yesterday. I picked up two along with a 4 oz box of Wheat Thins and a Clean & Clear face wash. The Wheat Thins were free and the face wash was a money maker with coupons. I only spent 2.63.
1 Fusion razor: 8.99 - 4.00 q
1 Herbal Essence shampoo: 2.99 - 1.00 q
1 Herbal Essence conditioner: 2.99 - 1.00 q
4 Dentek dental floss: 2.00 each = 8.00
3 Halls Refresh: 1.00 each = 3.00 - 1.00 q
2 Vaseline lotion: 6.99 each = 13.98 - 3.00 q
Total spent: 29.95 + 1.87 tax = 31.82 OOP
I got back 35.00 in register rewards.
I have a few things I'll need to buy in the next couple of weeks, boring personal care items that aren't normally free. Might as well get something for them. I already did a preliminary mapping of the sales and see some things I could use.
I talked with DH a little bit last night about ADHD. Boy, it's great that he seems so willing to openly discuss these things!! I'll take what I can get. I mentioned that I KNOW I'm lucky in some respects - he doesn't toss money around like a lot of folks with ADHD can be prone to doing. He admitted that he does have the temptation sometimes to say "Screw it, I'm buying myself something big". He also admitted to being able to see the "big picture". He wants to move to Indiana and he wants a race car. He really does understand that a big screen tv would slow this down. He said not spending/frugal spending is so ingrained in him now that he doesn't think he could ever go back. YAY!!!!! While he's not thrilled he doesn't have everything he wants - he still appreciates the way things are most of the time. We inadvertently made some right decisions along the way. Not sure how that happened!
Hey, I can't complain: he happily comes along on my coupon trips! He usually wanders aimlessly around the store while I hunt for the items. Then I go find him, hand him what he'll be buying along with the coupons, and off we go. He's not hard to find - he's the one happily singing along to whatever is playing on the music system.
Er... tried to? The mutt was in a MOOD this morning. We had a lengthy discussion over other available sun spots in the house before I finally dragged her upstairs - to the full sun third floor.
When I finally got my desk back, I got caught up on the financials for the week. I have things running so smoothly that I can just do a quick update when I don't have a lot of time. That was last week when my inlaws were in town. This week I wanted to dive into things a little deeper now that DH's car is paid off.
Next up? Student Loan 1 and Citi BT!! Six months?? We'll see. I paid off DH's car in six months, but this is a little bit more to pay off. Well, I updated my sidebar and then scheduled another $125 to Student Loan 1. I still need to take a look at my other bank account and see how much "extra" is there.
There is a down side to having DH's car paid off: he now thinks he can move on to his dream of driving a race car. *SIGH* Is it just me, or is it really more complicated than "buying a race car"? He KNOWS this too!! He volunteers on a pit crew for a Super Late Model car at a local track! To make matters worse: his parents will happily hand over $1000 for him to do this if we'll move back to Indiana. C'mon - who wants to scream with me?!?
Here's a little background: an untreated ADHD mind can destroy your life financially if you're not careful. He's diagnosed, textbook, and currently untreated. His mind isn't currently capable of seeing the impact his decisions can have in the long run. He wants a race car and he wants it NOW. I'm still trying to figure out how to get us working on the same page. He just sadly says our priorities are different.
Here are MY priorities, not quite finalized:
1. Pay off Student Loan 1
2. Pay off Citi BT
3. Build emergency fund - dollar amount TBD
4. Build "baby" fund
Then, I'm really not sure. You can absolutely count on #4 disappearing if we can't work out our differences on the race car issue. No way will I ever be able to explain the costs associated with medical bills, nevermind anything else.
Don't get me wrong: I WANT him to be able to race cars. I just don't see HOW we'll ever be able to afford it.
Well, those are the demons I'm battling today. And here I thought my biggest problem after the car payoff would be to talk him out of a big screen LCD TV...
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