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Archive for April, 2009: Dmontngrey's Personal Finance Blog
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Home > Archive: April, 2009

Archive for April, 2009

Ever have one of those days?

April 27th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

My day was fine, but apparently my silly turtle felt the need to shove his head in a kleenex box and stay there! He is one feisty troublemaker when the weather gets warm, but at least I trapped him on the third floor this time! Put a board across so he couldn't get down the stairs. Like I said - troublemaker!

Electronic bad luck struck again and took out my printer yesterday. It's now a malfunctioning Epson that wont recognize color cartridges. Figures - I bought several aftermarket cartridges for it not long ago. A neighbor gave me an old Dell printer, but I really don't like it. I will freecycle that one along with mine (if anyone wants it) and the ink. I found a refurbished all in one direct from Epson for only $29.00 shipped. I like Epson because you can get really cheap ink for it. Good enough for my printing needs. I did have a printer that came with my laptop, new in box still. It doesn't run on Windows 2000, which my desktop is still running. I might just try to sell that one - cheap since I don't like the reviews I read about it. Many of them just don't work straight out of the box? Yuck. I don't want to deal with it. Well, with my "new" AIO, I'll also be able to get rid of my scanner that works half the time. Free up some space around my desk.

I sure did enjoy the weather we had this weekend. I'm a nice shade of pink to prove it! I normally don't go in the sun since I'm so ridiculously pale it's not even funny. It does happen sometimes though. I spent a good portion of the day helping DH clean out and vacuum his old car. I gave him limited choices for the morning: CVS first or car first? He chose CVS then car. See? Worked well there with no other choices. It took us several hours to clean it out, but it looks presentable now. NOW can he list the stupid thing for sale?? My living room is now full of the crap that came out of/off the car - including 4 wheels/tires.

Well I think I will try and find at least one small productive thing to do this evening. Always baby steps around here.

I will end this with my tulips that are currently blooming!

Groceries, coupons, and a dime!

April 21st, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Stopped at one grocery store (on my way home) to pick up a few groceries. I mostly stopped there because they had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent really cheap. 6.99 buy one get one free, -1.00 store coupon for buying two, -1.00 and -1.00 printable manufacturers coupons. 3.99 for two bottles of this is great - especially since they are the larger size bottles! I have two more coupons and I can print another store coupon, so I'll make another trip there tomorrow. I also splurged on some Marie Callendar frozen meals on sale for 2.50 each. Buy "25.00 worth" (based on shelf price) and get two 5.00 catalina coupons. Shelf price was 4.29 so I had to buy six. 15.00 out of pocket and I got back 10.00. Not bad and a nice change of pace for a quick meal.

Off to the other grocery store (just past my house) because that's where my bank is. I had to deposit my FSA check = 323.20 yeah!! Free to apply this to DH's car since these were medical expenses already paid for.

I don't know why, but I almost always find change at this store. I ALWAYS keep my eyes on the ground when I go in there! It's where I found a quarter a few weeks ago. Well sure enough, tonight I found a dime! I was pretty psyched about that!

A couple of weeks ago I got a "coupon mailer" from Proctor & Gamble. Too bad my coupons disappeared and all I got was the front and back cover of the book. Frown So I sent them a quick email telling them how I enjoy their products and I was disappointed that I didn't get to see what they were sending me - tips along with coupons. Today's mail brought me a nice note from them and a replacement coupon book! Great customer service!

DH's birthday gift arrived today - and his birthday isn't for 3 more months! HA HA HA! Any idea how many gift ideas he'll toss at me between now and then? My standard reply is ready: "Sorry, I already bought your gift." It drives him nuts. I really think he'll like what I got him. Just one of those things he would like to have but wouldn't spend the money on. I found a really good deal. I think I'll wrap it and stash it in the closet. I'll probably forget what it is by then!

Ok, dinner is done, so off to do something constructive.

Tapeworms & $100 poorer

April 21st, 2009 at 12:44 am

On Saturday I discovered that my beloved mutt has tapeworms! Don't ask, but EWW! Fairly "easy" fix, but I'm nearly $100 poorer after a trip to the vet. Three weeks from now, another $17 for her 2nd dose of pills. At least it's a free tech visit and just the cost of pills. Oh well, this is why I have almost $1000 in my mutt account, right? I usually don't touch that money if there's enough in checking to cover the charge in the first place. Smile So soon enough this smiling face will be worm free!

Here she is helping me with laundry over the weekend.

Well after walking dogs and wrestling a cat into a cat carrier, my evening was over! Just finishing up a yummy salad and relaxing before DH gets home from work. My mutt forgave me for dragging her to the vet, so all is well.

Earth day perks + pennies

April 19th, 2009 at 05:09 pm

Huh... didn't expect any perks for earth day, so I was quite happy when the Target cashier bagged my stuff in a red, reusable Target bag! I was thinking of going to the other Target nearby and the free bag sold me on it. Picked up a 2nd one at that store. I was only there to check out the 90% off easter stuff! I mostly just picked up a bunch of dog-friendly easter bunnies for 39 cents each. Smile

I thought of everyone here a little while ago when I heard a commercial for cici's pizza. Don't know WHY I heard a commercial - there isn't one anywhere near here! Anyways, they are doing a penny promotion. From their website

"To reward the Penny Picker uppers of the world, CiCi's is putting a million pennies near their restaurants all over the country. And on the back of thousands of them, we're giving away a free trip to our endless buffet. Plus, every specially marked penny that is brought back to CiCi's will be donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America."

Very interested promotion since we know so many folks do not pick up pennies! Rewards the rest of us who do. I stopped and picked up a penny outside of Target last night.

It's a beautiful day out today. My head is still swimming with all the stuff I want to get done and don't feel I have time to do. Well I got the music project done yesterday, so now I want to redo the music on my ipod. I still need to put all my laundry away and tackle the dreaded closet. Well, off to work I go!

Resourcefulness + extra money

April 18th, 2009 at 02:55 pm

I love being resourceful! It's one of the qualities I like most about myself. I'm always looking for another/better way to do things. The other day when I needed an ice pack for my filing cabinet injury I had to improvise. I dumped out a bag of hershey kisses (bought for 12 cents after Christmas), put ice in the bag, used a rubber band to close it, taped a paper towel around it and I was good to go! The trash bags supplied by the cleaning crew don't fit my shredder at work. Rather than buy the special bags, I just empty the shredder bag into another bag and move along. Yes, I can do this without making a mess!

So anyways, I am trying to get the music copied from my desktop to my laptop. My desktop is a dinosaur to say the least, yet still the most used computer in this house! The laptop is shiny and new and compatible with current devices. It also has a card slot on the side. We want to be able to use my laptop to put music on our ipods and on one of the SD cards I just bought. No problem, I'll just use an SD card to transfer the music. Does DH know where he put the card reader?? *SIGH* So I am lacking a card reader for the desktop. Wait... isn't the camcorder technically a "card reader" if I hook it up to the computer? Smile So right now I am "patiently" copying music to an SD card housed in the camcorder. As soon as these folders are done copying, I'll swap out cards and start the process again. That way I can copy to the card on this computer while I'm also copying from the card on the laptop. Yeah, it's a process but it'll be worth it when we're done. Part of this process also involved getting all the music in ONE place.

I did my weekly finance stuff this morning. This is a chore I actually like to do! I paid a lot of boring things plus the following:

$150 to student loan 1
$290.82 for my car payment
$200.00 to post next week on the Citi BT

I also found an "extra" $400 after setting up other credit card payments - ones that are paid in full. I put $100 in the account DH set up to save towards his car payoff. I transferred the other $300 to ING and will probably use it to make my monthly payment on his car. I'll update my sidebar info next week after payments actually post to accounts.

I need to get started on some decluttering around here. I WILL force myself to start today! I WILL!! It's so overwhelming that my head just spins thinking about it. Yes, even just trying to tackle one area is just too much on top of everything else that needs to be done. I've already washed 4 loads of laundry today and need to put away all the clean stuff. I WILL tackly my closet today though - I have to!!

Spendy week

April 16th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Well I sure feel like spending this week! I'm not beating myself up over it because I do have some discretionary money. I jumped in on a good deal on three 8 gb SDHC cards. I missed the last deal I saw like this so I didn't hesitate on this one. Sold out by the end of the day. I got the cards today and I'll be sending the rebate out tomorrow. The cards will be $6 each after rebate. I'll be putting two with my camcorder and the third will be to go with the present I ordered for DH. His stereo in his old car had an SD card slot and I think he really misses that. I don't know why - it's just too "complicated" for him to use his ipod in the car. Cds don't hold enough music for him. Anyways, found a deal on fatwallet for an FM transmitter that has ipod input, usb, and an SD slot - less than $7.00 shipped. Everyone who has received theirs already doesn't see how the company can sell these so cheap. It's coming from Hong Kong, so it'll be a couple weeks. I actually debated over this for a few days and finally jumped on it. With the 8 gb card I think he'll be very happy!

I made the $336 payment for my crown yesterday. I should be done for a while with dental expenses. I'll file for FSA reimbursement as soon as I get the EOB from my dental insurance. Mostly I just want the crown!

Made a freecycle "swap" yesterday. Technically swapping is not allowed but I wanted what she was offering and I had what she wanted. I got a nice watering can that I needed and she got a little cd player boombox for her sister. Good deal all around I thought!

I updated my sidebar because the payment posted to DH's student loan. Well, one down!

Tonight I'm enjoying some "me time"! Soaking my feet and giving myself a pedicure. Had yummy fried chicken leftovers and a salad for dinner. I'm in an ok mood tonight - that's an improvement!

Filing cabinets HURT!

April 15th, 2009 at 12:07 am

So I realized I could start a blog entry early in the day and add to it as the day goes along - and I think of things to add!

Started the day off with that deposit posting to my bank account. I scheduled the 952.85 payment to DH's student loan and I will update the sidebar when that posts - hopefully tomorrow. Not much euphoria with this one, but I'll get there when I feel like I'm making a lot of progress.

I had some "extra" money in this account, so I transferred 350.00 to ING. I'll dump some of it into the car payoff account and send the rest to DH for his discover card payment. 175.00 of this money is reimbursement from the car dealer for a repair to his leather seat. I scheduled the payment for Monday so I need to get the money in DH's account by then!

I got to work and about an hour later I was ready to gouge my eyes out! So itchy! Something in the air is bugging me. It's making me feel run down. So... on to the filing cabinet. You know how the top drawer of a 5 drawer cabinet has a door that swings out and up and slides into the cabinet? Well this door is VERY heavy and as I was lifting it up to slide in, I was also coming up with my left hand to pull the drawer out. The door slipped out of my hand and whacked my wrist bone right at the base of the thumb. OWIE!!!!!!!!!! It left a nice mark, but the ice has helped the swelling go down a little. It still hurts very badly and typing isn't helping. Gotta remember not to loop my dog's leash around my wrist like I usually do!!

I was really in the mood for something unhealthy and fried for dinner. I got creative and fried up some onion rings and chicken strips. It was pretty good and I have leftovers! Smile Got that craving out of my system.

Just as I was finishing up dinner, I got a call from my student dentist. FINALLY, after three times in for impressions, the lab work looks good to send out for the crown. Yeah too bad the dental school never bothered to charge me for the crown and now I have to pay before the impression can be sent out. Just another hangup in this long process. I have to call them tomorrow to make a payment over the phone. I refuse to make payments while I'm at the dental school because of one of the cashiers. His smug "I'm better than EVERYONE" attitude has often made me want to jump over the wall and punch him. Funny thing - not that long ago they actually had to restrain a patient from doing just that. Last time I was in there I heard a lady screaming for someone to talk to about the guy at the desk with an attitude problem. This guy is a liability to the dental school!

So, $336 that I have to pay tomorrow. Then I can submit for reimbursement from my FSA. I just put in claims today for around $220. Don't know why I hadn't claimed them before. I didn't even know who the FSA administrator was - it's through DH's work.

Well, my wrist is feeling better this evening so maybe I can get caught up on some email correspondence.

XM and other things

April 14th, 2009 at 12:20 am

Forgot to mention in my last blog entry that I'm keeping XM for at least 5 more months. I called to "cancel" because I refuse to pay the ridiculous price they charge for this service. I was coming off of 3 months free. I knew what offers were floating around and I knew which one I wanted. Wow, they gave me the offer I wanted right off the bat! The rep was a bit lacking in her job skills though. I said I wanted to cancel and she said "You don't want to take advantage of our promotion?" Uh.... ok.... WHAT PROMOTION?? Immediately offered me 5 months for $19.95 total. That's the most I was willing to pay for this service. I find it very lacking in that I only have the receiver in my car. Also, they cut off free online listening - have to pay more for that. Well anyways, about $4 a month for another 5 months and then I'll see. I really can live without it if it comes down to that. I just wanted to try it out for a while because I can. Smile

We got the $1000 check we were expecting from DH's parents - his part of the settlement from his grandmother's estate. We originally were going to just sit on it for a while but I dunno - awfully tempting to just pay off that 4.99% student loan, isn't it? It should clear the bank tomorrow, then I'll make a decision. DH indicated he wants to just pay off that debt! He's making progress...

I thought it would be a typical NSD today, but I had to gas up my car. Oh well - tried out the new gas promo going on with my grocery store and the gas station I usually go to. It's a pain cuz you can't pay at the pump. You pump first, go in and they scan the card, then pay. Well it saved me 10 cents per gallon - a whopping $1.19 total. Not bad and better than nothing! DH seems to think he should use the discount since his car takes more expensive gas - he found out AFTER he bought it! Uh, 10 cents is 10 cents and it's a matter of who puts in more gallons. I know how many I put in usually - need to find out how many gallons he gets. His car is bigger, so most likely him. I was just trying out the promo today to see how it worked. I'll NEVER drop the $300 or more needed to get the 60 cent per gallon discount! Not even sure it will be often I spend the minimum $50 needed to get the 10 cent discount. Well, I'll use it if I get it. I just signed up online to track the usage. I do still get my 5% back on my rewards card - at the gas station AND grocery store! Smile

So far so good with the "new" cable modem, but I'm still shopping for a backup/replacement for it. This one didn't come with a power adapter, so I'm using the one from the old modem. Yeah, not smart since it's not rated for it, I know! I have no way of getting a replacement adapter for it that I can see. I just plan on getting another modem on ebay - as soon as I find the right deal. Used is just fine and I have a price range in mind.

Oh, as far as fessing up with my spending today - I also sprung for three 8 gb SDHC cards. It's a good size rebate ($90) but the cards will be $6 each after the rebate. This is a pretty "safe" rebate and shouldn't be a problem to get processed. I plan on using these for my camcorder I bought a few months ago. I'd just like another battery for it at some point. The 8 gb card that's in it now is my micro SD card I bought for my phone, then promised to DH, then stole it back for my camcorder. He can have it after I get these. I might even try selling one or two of the cards locally when I get them. We'll see.

Well, I think I'll get offline and go do something else for a change! Smile

Back online & an update

April 12th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Grrr... I don't ask for much and can do without a lot - but NOT my internet!! About 24 hours ago the modem started acting up. Just randomly stopped working, or would reboot itself. Either way, VERY frustrating for someone who likes the internet! I kept restarting it, but it would quit again after 10-15 minutes or so. This morning I posted a request on Freecycle looking for a cable modem. Well, I got one. It's ancient, but I'm still online now aren't I?? I did have to spend half an hour on the phone with Comcast, but it appears everything is running now. I did find out I will have to call again to register a new modem, should it come to that. For now, we'll see if this works. Really, I was only down for less than 24 hours so I shouldn't complain.

Yesterday we went to Lowes to pick up 50 lbs of play sand and 40 lbs of organic compost to build a nesting box for my gravid turtle. I was worried about the cost, but it was only $5.46 for both. Naturally, said turtle could care less and has already climbed out of the box twice. Bet you didn't know turtles were good climbers! She's scaling a 10 inch wall and her shell measures about 6 inches. Strong little animals! No progress on the egg laying front and I really have no idea if she has any more in her. She laid two in the water, but she's still acting funny. She is eating and swimming normally though. This is all new territory for me!! Again, these eggs are NOT fertile, but we have to give her an appropriate nesting area to do her business. It's up to her to determine whether or not it's appropriate!

I paid another $100 towards DH's student loan and $1.00 towards his car. The $1.00 was just to empty my checking account so I could close it. BOA redistributed my credit limits so they are more even between accounts now. This gives us more breathing room on that balance transfer so we may sit most of the money in savings until closer to the BT end. It's at 0% so we hope to have the money saved up by then. Sidebar has been updated.

We splurged for lunch at BK yesterday since we were out and about and hungry. I always use the coupons on the back of the receipt for a free whopper. A value fry and value drink costs $2.10 and gets me a free whopper. Well worth doing the survey in my mind! DH sprung for an expensive meal, so the total was $9.23. Oh well, at least he SHOULD be cutting down on fast food with the diet he's on.

For the first time, we didn't do anything for Easter. Usually we go to my mom's, but that just didn't happen this year. I hear she had a couple friends over for dinner - good!

Well, that's about it. I think I'll go browse the internet now that I'm back up and running. Happy Easter everyone!

Tough day today

April 10th, 2009 at 12:13 am

It has been a tough day today. Battling issues in my mind and it has been eating at me all day. It didn't help that DH and I snapped at each other before work, he flew out of the parking lot, and that was the last I heard from him. He's at his part time "job" tonight and I don't expect him home til around midnight.

Just as I was griping to a coworker about my problems, my mom called to say that my grandfather's wife passed away. My grandfather will be 85 this month and this is the third wife to go in a little over 7 years! They were married two years ago and April 20th would have been their anniversary. I know she had health problems and was on oxygen. She complained of not being able to breath and he called 911, but she was gone before they got there. They lived in TN and I only met her a couple times. He seemed very happy with her though. I need to find a card around here to send.

I just wrote a check for $315.65 for the water bill. This is for six months of billing. I need to get the electric bill paid. I pay by a CC that gives me either 2 or 3% (can't remember) rewards so why not pay it that way? I pay this card in full each month and this is the only thing I charge to it.

Not sure I'll get any sleep tonight due to anxiety issues. I really could use some sleep!!!!!!

Dentist today

April 9th, 2009 at 01:06 am

I had a dentist appointment today and that always makes for a LONG day. I get my work done at a dental school, so my appointments aren't like what most people would be used to. There are many reasons why I go there, but mostly because I do like what the school has to offer much more than a dentist out in the "real world".

To go to these appointments I have to leave work at 3 pm, drive to the T station, take the T into Boston for a 4:30 appointment, back to the T station, then a 45 minute drive home. I get home between 8:30 and 9:00 on nights I have to go. Tiring!!

Since I had to take the T, I had to spend some money today.
Parking: $5.75
T fares: $3.40 (paid for already on my Charlie Card)

So long day and pricy! I am working on crown #6 right now. It has been a long 9 years since the first tooth broke.

(Side note: Did I ever mention a former dentist of mine is in prison? Elaine Hatch Brown - tax evasion. BIG story because she and her husband were holed up in their "fortress" and the feds tricked them to get in.)

So that's the update for today. Oh, DH did tell me that the settlement money we are expecting ($1000) is supposedly in the mail. We'll see....

Not a Tuesday person

April 8th, 2009 at 01:13 am

So... Tuesdays are my least favorite day of the week. Monday - no problem! Tuesday - bleah. I work in payroll and Tuesday is my payroll deadline. Just makes for a trying day most weeks. I'm usually brain dead by 2 pm! Well, another one is over without much trouble.

It was a no spend day today. Most days are for me. I go to work, pack my own lunch, come home.

Came home to find that the cat pooped on the rug by the front door, someone puked there (lab? beagle?), the beagle pooped on the stairs and peed in the bedroom. *SIGH* I had a massive headache too. So I got to vac, scrub, mop, wash, etc. Tossed the "cat's" dog bed in the washer with the runner and everything is now dry and clean. That's just life around here sometimes.

I wont see DH much this week at all! Last night he worked, tonight and Thursday he's at his part time volunteer "job", tomorrow I have a dentist appointment and wont get home til close to 9 pm. I think I might see him again Friday! lol... He'll probably work at the part time gig on Saturday if we don't go up to see my mom. We'll see - that's still kinda up in the air right now. I don't mind this part time thing since it's something he LOVES and it keeps him out of trouble! Yeah, unpaid, but he's learning some great skills that'll be useful in life - especially if he ever ends up doing this as a career.

I'm just trying to enjoy the rest of my evening. Caught up on a couple emails: one to my MIL to thank her for my birthday gift and the other to my brother. Less than two months before he's scheduled to leave Iraq! It doesn't count until he's back in the states though. Recently a woman was killed over there just 7 hours before she was to board a plane to come home. My brother is in Mosul and there are constant bomb attacks. Not much any of us can do but wait. He wants to go to school when he gets home!! Wow, then we would both be college educated - a rarity in my family it seems.

Well, not much else to report tonight. I usually go over the finances on the weekend and that's when I'll see any improvement to the debt progress. One day at a time.

Oh - for all you folks who watch for spare change: I found a penny and a dime at Target on Saturday, and then a quarter at the grocery store Sunday!! Great weekend!

Hope you all had a nice evening.

Updated sidebar

April 7th, 2009 at 01:15 am

Ok, I updated my sidebar! As suspected, having DH's car paid off did not last long AT ALL. It's a record - he's had that car for over 5 years! It's just time for it to go. So yes, he has a "new" car. You can see - he did oh so well saving up and paying cash for it. /sarcasm
At least we did manage to put down $1400 towards the car. It's a step in the right direction and if it'll shut him up about his commute - it's worth it!! So where's the old car? Still sitting here. *sigh*

So... top priorities right now are to get DH's student loan and his car paid off! Both are on balance transfers. I actually can't believe the student loan is so close to being paid off!!! Not long ago, that was over $7000 and a 14% variable interest rate! Transferring it to a "for life" BT was a great decision at the time!! DH's car is on a balance transfer because that was the quickest, cheapest way for us to finance it. The interest rate through financing was over 10%! Huh?!?!? His credit is near perfect with a score in the high 700s!

Well, any day now we are expecting a settlement check from his grandmother's estate. It's only $1000 but will help greatly in getting this stuff paid off!

In other news: still stressing about work, my mom, my brother, etc. Just too much pressure on me at the moment.

Oh! Last year for my birthday all I wanted was a Roth IRA! I funded it through the Suze Orman "save yourself" promotion. I am happy to report that I got my bonus AND I've put $700 in there. Smile Great present to myself! Yeah! $804.62 right now!

Ok, so I put all my debt (except mortgage) out there in the hopes this will motivate me more. DH is on board since he loves his precious car so much and really wants it paid off! We'll get there - some day. I'll try try try to blog more for my own sake. I blog in my head on my commute, but just never feel like blogging by the time I get to a computer. I'll get there....