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A ho hum Sunday.

October 12th, 2008 at 04:27 pm

Not much financial going on.

It's the first real cold and dreary weekend of fall here. I finally relented and turned the heat back on. Also, I had to get some laundry done this weekend so I ended up using the dryer for the first time since last May.

I did sell a couple CDs on eBay so I'm adding $6.23 to the challenge. My new total is $12,899.45.

Otherwise a very quiet weekend here...

Letting go of a dream

October 8th, 2008 at 05:09 pm

I've decided to definitely NOT buy a Vespa next spring as planned. With private school looming in the not-too-distant future and the economy tanking, I can think of other ways to spend the few thousand dollars that the Vespa would cost.

That decision coupled with the very likely closing of my daughter's current school and our need to relocate her and ourselves has me feeling down in the dumps. Plus, there's the whole economy mess, my debt and the general disarray of the world.

Yeah, I'm really in a great mood today...

On another note, I made $33.33 selling more junk on eBay. See the new Challenge total over there on the left if you're interested.

Real estate "window shopping"

October 5th, 2008 at 06:35 pm

We spent the weekend "window shopping" for a new house. We don't necessarily want or need a new house, but as part of the eventual move of my daughter to a private school we will most likely be relocating as well.

Right now, all the schools we're considering are not in this city because this city simply is lacking when it comes to providing educational opportunities for non-traditional learners.

The schools that do cater to non-traditional learners are all in the city where my husband works; so assuming The Midge goes to one of those schools, we will eventually move in order to save commuting costs for both my husband and myself (aka The Midge's personal chauffer...)

Ideally, we'd like to either downsize our mortgage or simply do an even swap. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is very doable. I was afraid all the houses in the other city would be way over our price range. But we did find a few that could work.

Of course, we will be giving up a lot of space, but I'm actually OK with that. I don't particularly like having a huge yard and house, and the thought of unloading at least half my belongings is oddly cathartic.

For now, my husband and I have decided to just keep visiting schools and occasionally checking the MLS so we can keep an eye on home prices. Then, by February we'll hopefully know where The Midge will be going next year and we can move forward with the house hunting.

On another note, I'm adding $29.26 to the challenge, so my new total is $12,859.89.

Of today's addition, I'm putting $6.76 toward the Vespa fund, so the new total there is $292.51.

Rethinking the Vespa

October 3rd, 2008 at 11:11 am

Yes, I'm having doubts about buying the Vespa next spring. Not because I don't want it anymore, but because I'm thinking that money will be better spent elsewhere.

We are thinking of speeding up my daughter's move to private school because the combination of her learning differences and the public school situation here is not getting any better.

Also, even if we don't move her to private school next year, I'm thinking I would like to either pay cash for our next car or make a very large down payment.

For now, though, I'm just going to keep saving away for the Vespa helmet and rearview mirrors....

On that note, I'm adding $90.96 to the challenge. Of that, $7.38 is going toward the Vespa fund. Here are the new totals:

Challenge: $12,830.63
Vespa: $285.75

Persistence pays off

October 1st, 2008 at 07:17 pm

Today I went to United's website to purchase a ticket home for the adult stepson. The ticket was a gift for my husband, who is graduating with yet another degree in December and who asked that we fly the adult stepson home for the graduation ceremony/party.

I was able to find an airfare for $279, and I wanted to apply a $100 travel voucher toward the cost of the ticket and then pay for the rest of the ticket out of pocket.

I got to the screen where you pay when I realized there was nowhere to enter a voucher number, so I called United's customer service number and was told I would have to call the reservation line to book the flight if I was using a paper voucher (which I was).

Before I go any further, let me explain how I got the paper voucher. Last October while The Midge was traveling back from California with my sister, United decided at the last minute to cancel their flight because it was way undersold. Instead, they stuck them on a later flight. However, they didn't cancel the flight until The Midge had arrived at the airport. Then they made her sit at the airport for 10 hours and she didn't make it home until 11 p.m. -- not good for a 7 year old who had to be up the next day to go to school.

My sister threw a fit, which caused an earthquake in southern California. The skies opened up and the gods bestowed on my daughter a $100 travel voucher for the "inconvenience." A travel voucher that was fully transferable.

So back to today ...

I call the reservation line and I'm told I will be charged an extra $25 if I have a real live agent book the flight, so I go through United's automated phone system instead. Everything's going along swimmingly up until the point where I have to pay for the ticket -- and, again, no way to enter a voucher number... .

At this point, I repeat a dozen times "Agent please!" and I'm eventually connected to a real live human, to whom I explain that I'm trying to buy a ticket with a voucher so my adult stepson can come home. (Home as in he lives in one state and I live in another state where home is... .)

I'm then told that in order to get the quoted fare I will need to go to the nearest airport within 24 hours with the voucher and The Midge and the adult stepson -- who lives in ANOTHER STATE!!!!

HELLO!!!!! KIND OF HARD TO GET US ALL TOGETHER AT THE SAME AIRPORT WITHIN 24 HOURS UNLESS SOMEONE'S GOING TO BESTOW A FREE TICKET OR TWO HERE!!!!

After I explain all this to the agent on the phone again, she puts me on hold to "check with her supervisor" (also known as checking with her brain).

A while later, she comes back and says I can have the adult stepson fax or e-mail a copy of his government-issued identification to me and then I can mail it along with the voucher -- and a copy of a government-issued ID for The Midge -- to some address in Michigan within 24 hours.

"Uh, what if The Midge's government-issued ID is sitting in a safety deposit box that I can't access until tomorrow at the earliest," I ask, totally forgetting that her passport is actually sitting downstairs in my husband's office.

"If we don't have a copy of both government-issued IDs and the original voucher postmarked within 24 hours, we won't honor the voucher," I'm told.

"So, explain this to me: we got this voucher because of your lousy service, but we can't use it because of your lousy service," I ask.

"Yes, sorry," is the response from the United agent, readily admitting that her employer provides lousy service.

In the end, I did end up buying the ticket with the voucher, government-issued ID for both "children," and cold-hard cash -- but only after spending an hour dealing with United and promising them my left arm, all future earnings and any future grandchildren the above-mentioned children may spawn. ...

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Oh, and as long as I'm here, I'm adding $37.50 to the Challenge from a small job I did for a client of the booming business. That brings my new total to $12,731.67.

Tootles...

Quick check in

September 25th, 2008 at 05:11 pm

Shipped more eBay stuff, so I'm adding $19.66 to the Challenge and Vespa funds. The new totals there are:

Challenge: $12,694.17

Vespa: $278.37

My daughter got a coupon for free ice cream at Baskin Robbins for her birthday and we also got a 2 for 1 coupon there in the paper last week, so we're going out for ice cream tonight after eating the chicken dinner I made in the Crock Pot. (Chicken that's been in my freezer forever, but good chicken nonetheless....)

A tempting offer, but I'm not falling for it....

September 23rd, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Today is a fund-raiser night at a local restaurant to benefit my daughter's school. I don't particularly care for the food there -- plus I already planned to cook tonight -- so I've decided the school will get over our NOT being there.

This morning I had to go to the doctor for a biopsy thing I have to get done twice year. The doctor was "concerned" that he didn't get a good enough sample and suggested I might need to come back in two months for another biopsy. I happened to be in excrutiating pain at the moment that he said this and suggested he might want to refund my $30 copay if he didn't do his job "right." He didn't think it was that funny... .

After the not-so-fun doctor visit, I stopped off at the post office to ship off a jacket that I sold on eBay, so I'm adding $9.54 to the challenge and to the Vespa fund. My new totals are:

Challenge: $12,674.51

Vespa: $258.71

Pine Cone Check and other odds and ends

September 19th, 2008 at 07:18 pm

I got a $3 check from PineCone, so I'm putting that toward the challenge. My new total is $12,664.97.

It was a spendy day today since I got gas for my car, haircuts for both myself and The Midge (plus some hair products), and we met up with my husband for dinner.

Tomorrow is The Midge's birthday party. I'm already feeling like I've been run over and trampled by a bunch of rabid kids jacked up on sugar, so no telling what tomorrow will bring....

Challenge money and ChaCha

September 18th, 2008 at 04:51 pm

Got another check for the booming business. After I put some of the $1,140 aside for taxes, I have $855 to put toward the challenge, so my new total is $12,661.97.

I applied to be a ChaCha guide a couple weeks ago and was accepted, but haven't activated my account because I've been so busy.

I'm hosting 8 little girls for a party this weekend since it's The Midge's birthday, so I doubt I'll have time to do it until next week but I definitely want to get started on it so I can start putting more toward the Challenge -- specifically the Vespa fund.

Today's addition is actually going toward my vacation fund. I've got a Thanksgiving trip coming up that I'm paying cash for and I'm also planning to pay cash for another trip in May so I want to jump start that fund as well.

I have a few more auctions up at eBay, but nothing terribly exciting. With any luck, next week I'll get more stuff posted there as well.

And, to update you all on my husband's sleep apnea, he wore the CPAP machine for the first time last night and I have to say it was a wonderful thing not to have him snoring all night long....

Mo' money

September 10th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Got more eBay stuff shipped off today, so I'm adding $17.93 to the Challenge and Vespa funds. The new totals are:

Challenge: $11,806.97

Vespa: $249.17

I need to get more stuff posted on eBay, but don't know if I'll get around to it this week.

Also on my to-do list this week is to get my flex pay stuff submitted, so I get reimbursed for the glasses and contacts. My plan is to drag my husband out with me Friday to pick new glasses, then submit the flex pay stuff over the weekend.


I splurged and ate Taco Bell for lunch today since I was out and about running errands. I've been really good about eating lunch at home every day (yummy, homemade leftovers from the night before). But because I didn't cook last night, I decided one lunch out was more than reasonable -- especially since I hadn't spent any of my personal expense account money this week.

I am jacked up on too much Pepsi now, though, and I'm having a hard time focusing on my work for the booming business so next time I might rethink the "run for the border."

eBay sales and cereal deals

September 9th, 2008 at 06:00 pm

Sold and shipped a couple of my daughter's outfits. My "share" was $8.88, which I'm putting toward the Challenge, so the new total is $11,789.04.

I had to take some money out of the Vespa fund -- not for a Vespa tire, but for something else that I hadn't budgeted for -- so my adjusted total there is $231.24.

I had to get my eyes examined and order a year's supply of contacts today, so I spent $310, which I'll be reimbursed for from my flexible spending account. I also need to order new glasses for those times that I can't wear my contacts. I'll be doing that later this week after I recover from writing the check for the contact lenses....

On a good note, I took advantage of this deal and got four boxes of Kashi for $1.

Challenge money and barium swallows...

September 3rd, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Finally shipped off this week's eBay stuff and I ended up making a mere $10.74, which I'm putting toward the challenge so my new total is $11,780.16.

Of that, I'm only putting $1.52 toward the Vespa Fund because I used the rest on stuff for The Midget's birthday party, which is coming up in a few weeks, so I now have $304.35.

After a no drive/no spend day yesterday, today has been a whole lot o' driving and spending.

First thing this morning, I had to drive downtown to get an x-ray of my esophagus taken. Let's just say that a barium swallow to start the day is NOT FUN!

After that trip to hell and back -- plus a whole lot of water to wash away the barium taste -- I took my car in to the tire place, where I was informed I needed two new tires to the tune of $200.

I also need to order The Midget's new karate uniform today and the infamous Beauty (of Beauty and Beast fame) is off at the groomer's, so that will set me back at least $36 as well (plus Beauty and her boyfriend, the Beast, need their special bank-breaking dog food so I'll be buying that while I'm at the vet/groomer's as well....)

Saving on landscaping

August 31st, 2008 at 06:59 pm

My husband has been working on our front yard landscaping and decided we needed some big rocks to accent the plants. Rather than buy them, he dragged us to the mountains today and loaded up my trunk with free rocks.

Tomorrow, he's going to make a small retaining wall with some of them.

In other news, I sold the Twilight book I finished reading last week (which I received for free) and made $5.43, which I'm adding to the challenge. My new total is $11,769.42

More for the challenge

August 30th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

The postman delivered a check for the booming business in the amount of $1,080. After setting aside some for taxes and meeting my basic spending plan requirements, I was able to put $353.96 toward the challenge, which brings my new total to $11,763.99.

We did go out for falafels tonight and I have Gil the Grocer making a delivery tomorrow morning. Plus, next week I have to get some work done on my car, so there's no hope for a no-spend day the next few days.

More for the Challenge and why I wish I had stayed home....

August 23rd, 2008 at 05:47 pm

Shipped off some eBay stuff and made a $5.04 profit so my Challenge fund is now up to $11,410.03 and my Vespa fund is $302.83.

There's a big convention coming to town next week and one of the "events" is this thing called the "American Presidential Experience." I humored my husband and let him drag me there today. I should have stayed home and continued nursing myself back to health....

Not only am I now feeling worse (thanks BA), but we also spent $40 to get into the thing, which was worth more like $4.

I did manage to stay home yesterday and not spend money so I logged another no-spend/no-drive day. The Chinese food craving has passed, so I think I'm safe for now....

Dragged myself to the post office and...

August 21st, 2008 at 10:58 am

Mailed the eBay stuff, so I'm adding $190.59 to the Challenge, which brings my total to $11,404.99.

Of that money, $158.14 is going to the Vespa fund, so I'm now up to $297.79 and think I might be able to buy a tire now.

I'm still feverish and generally yucky all over, but I'm struggling to get some work done for the booming business today so I can go back to bed.

The only reason I left the house today is because the lunch lady sent my daughter home from school with a stamp saying she only had one lunch left on her account. Since I just wrote a check for lunches Monday and she's only eaten one lunch at school since she went back Tuesday, I figured she either bought lunch for her whole class or there was a huge mistake.

Rather than try to deal with it over the phone, I drove The Midge to school this morning and paid a visit to the lunch lady, who explained she just hadn't entered the check I wrote Monday into my daughter's account. Kind of ticked me off since I was on the verge of passing out and a school cafeteria was last on my list of places I wanted to be....

If only I didn't feel so bad...

August 20th, 2008 at 01:35 pm

I would run the rest of my eBay stuff to the post office, but I'm coming down with a cold, the flu or ebola (not sure which, but it's not pretty....)

Since today is the first full day of school for my daughter, I decided it would be my work-at-home-all-day-without-passing-GO-and-spending-$200 day (i.e. I didn't have plans to go anywhere or spend money). However, tomorrow I was planning on volunteering at the school so I figured I would mail my eBay stuff on the way, but then I woke up feeling bad and decided I should probably stay home again.

So basically I'm sitting on almost $180 in challenge money that I can't claim until I mail the eBay stuff.

UGH...

Hey, but on a good note, I pulled our credit reports today and despite my attempts to muck them up with all that debt over there on the left I somehow managed not to.

And, of course, I didn't drive or spend money today (and with any luck won't be for the duration of the day since I'm now going to lay down with a bottle of Nyquil...)

Sold more on eBay and got a check in the mail

August 18th, 2008 at 07:50 pm

Sold and shipped some more eBay stuff, and Pinecone sent me a check so I'm adding $22.60 to the challenge (but only $19.60 to the Vespa fund since I have other plans for that Pinecone check).

The new totals are:

Challenge: $11,214.40

Vespa fund: $139.65

The Midge heads back to school tomorrow. I'll be sad to see her go, but might be able to get more work for the booming business done with her gone most of the day.

I'm limiting my volunteering this year to Thursday afternoons, so hopefully that will save me time and money (in the form of gas).

I also discovered a store three doors down from the Midge's karate place sells my favorite tea, which I usually buy at Whole Foods every couple weeks. The price is comparable, but I'll be saving even more money on gas by eliminating the drive to Whole Foods.

Challenge addition

August 17th, 2008 at 02:18 pm

I shipped off three old phones that sold on eBay last week and after shipping and fees I made $109.74, which I'm adding to the challenge.

I'm only adding $87.14 of that money to the Vespa fund, though, because I put the rest into my general savings account. (Slowly, but surely, I'm going to build it back up after the huge vet bill....)

So my new totals are:

Challenge: $11,191.80

Vespa fund: $120.05

Sad little addition to the challenge

August 11th, 2008 at 03:30 pm

I sold two shirts for 99 cents each on eBay today. After shipping and fees, I made $1.63, which I'll put toward the challenge and Vespa fund. The new totals are:

Challenge: $11,082.06

Vespa fund: $32.91

Challenge money and time for a clock

August 10th, 2008 at 03:37 pm

I gave in and bought an alarm clock to replace the one fried last week. I was holding out, but in reality it was driving me mad not being able to see what time it was from my side of the bed so I went to Best Buy and bought one for $24. Nothing fancy beyond REALLY BIG numbers.

I sold one of my daughter's sweaters on eBay today and after shipping and fees I made $9.55, so that brings my challenge total to $11,080.43 and the Vespa fund to $31.28. (I think I might have enough to buy a spark plug for the Vespa now....)

I have a bunch of other eBay auctions coming to a close this week, though, so those amounts should change quickly.

Challenge addition, and other odds and ends

August 5th, 2008 at 11:43 am

I sold a pair of my daughter's shoes on eBay. After shipping and PayPal fees, I made $9.78 to put toward the challenge and the scooter fund. So:

Challenge Total: $11,070.88

Vespa Fund: $21.73

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My dog came home from the vet today. She's incredibly perky considering she had major surgery yesterday. The vet showed me the stones they took out of her and it's amazing she didn't have symptoms earlier. All the stones combined were the size of my fist, which is the exact size of her little bladder.

She'll be on antibiotics for the next 2 weeks and is now on a special doggie diet, but otherwise seems just fine.

I transferred the money to cover the surgery this morning. It was money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

=======


I'm still waiting for the gym manager to call me back to discuss why they haven't been debiting my checking account for my monthly membership fees. I called him again today and he was in, but his computer wasn't on to access my records so he was going to call me right back. That was three hours ago....

You would think that if someone is willingly calling you to give you money, then you'd call them back as soon as possible.

I'm think I'm about done with "doing the right thing" here.

=======


I am now taking my daughter out to the garage to paint 18 birdhouses that we got for $20 from Oriental Trading Company. My plan is to let the little Picasso go at it using some old paint and brushes I have from various past projects. Then she's going to give each of her uncles and aunts a birdhouse for Christmas.

Made money on eBay

July 29th, 2008 at 06:10 pm

I sold one of my daughter's toys on eBay today and after shipping costs and fees, I made $11.95. I'm adding this to the challenge, so my new total is $11,061.10.

More importantly, this marks the beginning of my Vespa fund, which I'm now tracking over there on the left.

Another challenge addition

July 27th, 2008 at 02:38 pm

I got a booming business check in the mail yesterday and after paying taxes and setting some aside to cover my basic expenses, I have $126.29 to add to the challenge.

My new total is $11,049.15.

A little for the challenge

June 30th, 2008 at 04:55 pm

I sold an old dog training apron on eBay yesterday, so I'm adding $4.25 to my challenge money. The new total is $10,922.86.

I only posted two things on eBay last week and one didn't sell. I'm taking this week off since I think a lot of people will be on vacation. In fact, I'm thinking of taking all of July off and starting back on eBay again in August when people will be home and gearing up for the start of school.

More for the challenge

June 14th, 2008 at 04:34 pm

A check for the booming business came in. After I socked some away off the top for taxes, I have $538 to add to the challenge, which brings my new total to $10,918.61.

A no-spend day and more for the challenge

June 9th, 2008 at 07:32 pm

I managed to spend nothing today -- our first real day of summer vacation at home.

We made use of our pool and ate lunch at home.

I also waded through all the mail from the last two weeks and found some checks for the booming business. After I made my spending plan minimums on payroll and taxes, I had $77.58 left to put toward the challenge, so the new total is $10,380.61.

Also in the mail was the statement from my one and only personal credit card. I was thrilled to see the balance was 0. I don't think it's ever been 0. I might just have to frame the statement for future inspiration.

Broke $10,000 on the challenge

May 10th, 2008 at 06:26 pm

I had a couple freelance checks come in today, so after setting some aside for taxes I'm putting $330 toward the challenge. My new total is $10,303.03.

More for the challenge

May 3rd, 2008 at 05:45 pm

Another freelance check arrived for $690. After I meet my minimum spending plan requirement for the month, I have $247.73 to put toward the challenge. The new challenge total is $9,973.03.

More for the challenge and paying down debt

April 26th, 2008 at 03:28 pm

Another freelance check came in the mail today. After putting $262.50 into my tax fund, I'm putting the remaining $787.50 into the challenge. That brings the total to $9,725.30.

I also got the rest of my payout from my savings to put toward paying off my credit card debt so I've adjusted the savings and debt figures over there on the left.


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