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Archive for January, 2008

Dinner anyone?

January 30th, 2008 at 08:34 pm

I've been enjoying 10 days off from my "office" job, but that's all about to change as I head back to the stage Saturday, and will be gone just about every night next week and part of the week after that. This doesn't bode well for the spending plan since I tend to blow off cooking when I'm working both jobs (or all four if you consider caring for the family and volunteering two additional jobs).

So this afternoon, I made enough homemade pasta sauce for dinner and two more meals. The recipe requires simmering the sauce on the stove for hours on end, but it's definitely worth the effort and beats anything that comes out of a jar.

I also plan on pulling out the crock pot and seeing if Broken Arrow will share some of his recipes with me so I can get stuff going in the mornings next week. (I've still got 6 pounds of ground beef in the freezer, BA, so send me a recipe for crock pot meatloaf -- no pressure though....)

I'm also going to put my husband to work on nights I'm not going to be eating with the fam. He's actually a baker, so he knows his way around the kitchen. But he tends not to cook when it's just him and Mini Me. However, if I can get him to make some real meals on nights I'm gone then we can eat leftovers the next day and it'll take the pressure off me.

Our anniversary is coming up in the next two weeks as well, so one of the few nights I'm free we're going to treat each other to an over-priced but delicious dinner out. Mini Me's been uninvited since she's taken to wearing her winter gloves at the dinner table and whining about how cold the house is. Plus her first-grade humor has deteriorated to farting jokes and burping so no need to embarrass anyone outside the family....

A no spender

January 30th, 2008 at 05:40 pm

Despite my intentions to pay for some photos today, I ended up putting that errand off until tomorrow and instead didn't spend anything today.

I like the idea of having one no-spend day a week, but I'm not sure if it's possible. However, I'm going to try.

A picture's worth not a whole lot....

January 30th, 2008 at 08:07 am

A month ago I took Mini Me to a photo studio to have her portrait taken. Last week, the photographer left a message saying the management would like to use some of the portraits in the studio's marketing material. In return, we would get two free pictures -- worth all of $32.

Since I hadn't ordered any photos yet, I figured it was a ploy to get me to actually buy some photos. I'll admit that Mini Me is the most gorgeous child I've ever met (of course, I'm biased). However, the timing of the whole thing is just too suspect.

Nonetheless, I was planning on buying some photos at the end of the month anyways, so the time has come to go sign the photo release and fork over some more cash for the additional pictures. The two free photos will go to the grandmas and my out-of-pocket expense adds up to $75 -- not too bad for a sucker....

Saving money by not showering...

January 29th, 2008 at 07:07 pm

at home that is....

Usually I run outside, but I'm tired of dodging ice patches so today I decided to run on the treadmill. I could have run on the treadmill in my basement, but the ceiling in the basement is low so when I run down there I always feel like I'm going to bump my head.

Faced with the option of a skull fracture or keeping all my gray matter intact, I headed off to the neighborhood rec center to run instead. Since I knew I was going to work up a good sweat, I skipped the usual AM shower routine, and just hauled all my clothes and toiletries to the gym to shower after my run.

While standing under the hot running water, it occurred to me that I should take half my showers at the gym each week since I should conceivably be there that often to work out. The problem is that I'm not always consistent about going to the gym. I used to go 4 days a week at least, but lately I haven't been so diligent (lately as in the last two years). However, now that I have the whole money-saving shower idea to egg me on, I might just haul my fat bum to the gym on a more regular basis....

One of those days.....

January 28th, 2008 at 09:51 pm

After spending the morning volunteering, I came home to a house without power. The county is doing major construction on the road down the street and someone cut an underground cable -- or so the utility company said. As a result, the neighborhood was left in the "dark" from 11:48 a.m. until about 5:30 p.m.

As I've mentioned before, the booming side business is run out of my home office, so a power outage does not bode well for my productivity. Not only was I unable to do any work all afternoon, I couldn't clean the carpets, make the pasta sauce that has to simmer for 3 hours or do any more loads of laundry.

After visiting with my neighbor for a while, I came home and laid down. Two hours later I woke up to a dark and cold house. By the time my daughter got off the school bus, it was clear we were not eating anything homemade from my kitchen so after conferring with my husband we decided to go out to eat. We had plans to dine out tomorrow as part of a fund-raiser for Mini Me's school, so we just switched it to tonight and the school will have to do without our money.

Of course, just as we were walking out the door to go to dinner, the power came back on. However, by this point, we all were tired and hungry -- and I was cranky from lack of productivity today -- so we opted to continue on to the restaurant.

When we got home, I was able to complete one project -- a pro bono job that I do monthly. But somehow in the power outage my printer got screwed up, so I can't officially finish it until I can get that figured out -- probably in the morning.

Meanwhile, I was surprised at how fast the clothes dried on the outside line today. I was able to get two loads of laundry washed, air dried and put away. I put one load in the drier because it had stuff I needed to dry faster, but I think ultimately it would have been speedier to hang everything outside.

Also, I did get a free drink at Starbucks this morning because they messed up my order. Unfortunately for me, two venti teas is more than my bladder can handle, so I ended up giving the extra one to the saintly lady who sits with Mini Me during math time and tries to make sense of what's going on in that brillant little mind of hers.

I now think I've crossed the line into babbling, so that's it for me tonight folks....

More for the challenge

January 28th, 2008 at 06:07 pm

I finally had the missing eBay buyer pay up on an item -- 3 weeks after the auction closed -- so I'm adding $5.30 to the challenge. The new total is $386.83.

Airing my not-so-dirty laundry

January 28th, 2008 at 08:16 am

My husband took advantage of the nice weather yesterday to put up a clothes line that can extend across my entire back porch. I had mentioned that we could help the environment and save money by air drying more things, so he jumped right on it. (Probably spurred on by the $271.48 utility bill we got last week....)

Although it's windy today, the sun is out and it's still supposed to hit 50 degrees so I thought I would try hanging some jeans and tops outside to dry before the subzero temperatures return.

When I was growing up, we air-dried everything and this morning when I was outside hanging up the first load of wet laundry I had fond memories of my mother doing the same thing when I was a little girl back in the Stone Age. Of course, my little girl didn't seem to notice what I was doing because she was too busy trying to get in a game on the computer before the school bus came....

More money for the challenge

January 27th, 2008 at 04:07 pm

I sold one of Mini Me's dresses on eBay today. After shipping, I made $8.01 on the deal, which brings my challenge total up to $381.53.

My husband and I have re-thought our tropical getaway and have decided to push it back to late May since Spring Break is now out due to having to pay taxes on the booming side business.

The good thing about pushing it back is that we'll be saving $1,000 on the package since it will be in between high and low season where we're going. Also, we won't be pulling Mini Me out of school. The original plan was to have her miss 3 days of school so we could extend our trip a few days past the end of break.

Assuming a certain client forks over some dough soon to the booming side business, I should have all the cash in hand for this trip by the end of March.

A good thing that came out of this endeavor is that I've decided to start putting 25% of the booming side business' income into the tax savings account just to play it safe. If nothing else, I'll have more money next spring to pay down the debt and take another trip.

Went to a free flick

January 27th, 2008 at 02:48 pm

In need of a few laughs after our dismal discovery last night, my husband and I took advantage of Mini Me being gone for the day and went to see Juno.

We had two free movie passes plus a gift card for the concession stand so we didn't have to pay for anything.

The movie itself is very funny and did put us in a better mood.

At least I saved some money today....

January 27th, 2008 at 10:13 am

The grocery guy just came. After coupons and sale prices, I got $128.31 in groceries for $88.57.

The person who did my shopping at the store did substitute breaded tilapia for non-breaded tilapia, which throws off my menu a bit this week. But it's still doable.

I can always tell if someone who cooks from scratch is doing the shopping. Those who know how to cook from scratch always substitute things that really can be used to make the same dish. Those who don't cook from scratch just throw whatever into the order. (For those who don't have their groceries delivered, you have the option of accepting substitutions if the store is out of what your ordered. They are supposed to get you the same item, but just in a different brand. However, this doesn't always happen, as witnessed today......)

Bad news

January 27th, 2008 at 07:55 am

It doesn't look good for the vacation in the tropics. My husband did a rough estimate of the taxes and my business situation; and instead of frou frou drinks poolside, I'll have to settle for plain water while continuing to slave away at the ol' salt mine.

Ugh....

Biting my nails....

January 26th, 2008 at 07:35 pm

I'm a little nervous about having to pay taxes this year. My booming side business was booming more than I had planned for in 2007 and my income was much higher than I thought it would be. Now I'm worried that I didn't put enough toward taxes.

If that's the case, the trip to the tropics that I was planning may have to be called off, which promises to put me in a big funk.

I'll know for sure in three weeks when I see the rock 'n' roll accountant, but in the meantime my husband is going to do some calculating and see how it works out without all the deductions and such.

I'm really feeling the need for a frou frou drink delivered poolside while my big hunk husband rubs suntan lotion all over me, so the numbers better be in my favor...

There's hope for the adult kid ....

January 24th, 2008 at 07:41 pm

Since I was rippin' on his dad earlier this month, I thought I should share that the 23-year-old son got a $19,000 bonus today at work.

After taxes, it'll end up being about $12,000. He reports that he plans on paying off his credit cards, buying a new computer and putting the rest into savings.

I guess his dad's errant financial thinking didn't rub off on him afterall. Thank God!!!!

You have reached a number that has been disconnected....

January 24th, 2008 at 02:58 pm

The problem with working at home most of the time is that people know you're at home and expect you to drop everything for them.

For example, the house phone has been ringing off the hook today. Because today is the one and only day that I have this week where I'm not running off here or there for whatever reason, I'm trying to plow through a bunch of work projects. But every 10 minutes my mother-in-law or my sister or some unknown person who keeps hanging up without leaving a message has called. I've only answered one of the calls. If I answered all the calls, I would never get work done. And without work, I don't get paid (thus the financial bent here....)

When I used to work in the corporate world, I had an assistant who would run interference for me. If someone came in unannounced, he'd go down to the lobby and deal with them. If my phone rang, he would answer it and either make the problem go away or say I was "in a meeting" until I had time to deal with the person.

The closest thing I have here to an assistant are the two dogs -- neither of whom can talk, but both of whom are really good at chasing away uninvited visitors....

More toward the challenge

January 24th, 2008 at 11:17 am

Sold and shipped something else on eBay this morning for a profit of $13.65. That bring my challenge total up to $373.52.