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Archive for March, 2008

It's my anniversary of sorts.....

March 31st, 2008 at 06:29 pm

One year ago today is when I started this blog. As I recall, I was busy digging under the couch cushions for spare change and rolling coins last year.

I've definitely tightened the spending belt considerably since then. I gave up cable, trimmed my grocery bill from more than $100 a week to $50 a week and generally turned into a frugal fanatic -- while still managing to enjoy my life.

If you'll look to your left, you'll notice that I've managed to carve $12,000 from my debt while socking away an additional $15,000. Not bad for one year.

More for the challenge

March 31st, 2008 at 01:35 pm

The state tax return came and my mother gave me $200 for my birthday last week, so I'm adding $236.44 to the challenge. The new total is $7,864.78.

My little ouch is going to become a big OUCH....

March 31st, 2008 at 11:16 am

Went to the dentist this morning for the achy tooth. The doctor cleaned it up and then shot the gum full of antibiotics to try to clear up some infection. He then referred me to a periodontist to most likely have the tooth yanked and an implant put in. I've secured an appointment for three weeks from now for the initial visit. I'm hoping to put off the BIG pain until after the new insurance kicks in this July....

Summing up my day....

March 30th, 2008 at 08:14 pm

Gil the Grocer came back with my missing bag of stuff. He felt bad that he messed up the order so he threw in some extra tater tots. Funny, because I never buy things like tater tots, but I wanted to make a tater tot casserole to see if Mini Me would possibly like it (she hates everything resembling food....).

My tooth is feeling better, so I might be able to hold off on the dentist a while longer.

And, I did manage to get six things listed on eBay today. I still have plenty left on the dining room table, though, so I'll get back on it later this week.

Grocery deals R us

March 30th, 2008 at 05:32 pm

Gil the Grocer just made his weekly stop here and I ended up with $102.54 in groceries for $63.38 (including delivery) after coupons. Most of the stuff ended up in the basement mini mart since it was on sale, but not necessarily what we needed for this week's meals.

I am, however, having Gil redeliver a bag of things that he overlooked while unloading the truck, which is one of the negatives of having groceries delivered. At least if I'm doing the shopping and delivering, I have a pretty good chance that all my groceries will end up in MY house and not someone else's.....

For Sale!

March 29th, 2008 at 08:22 pm

I have been collecting stuff to post on eBay tomorrow and right now my dining room table looks like I'm holding a garage sale in my house. Here's what it looked like before I filled up the other side of the table:



My husband used to brew his own beer, but gave it up so he's given me all his brewing stuff to sell. I don't even know what half of it is. I don't want to push my luck with him, so I'm not going to point out to him that he could sell the stuff himself and put the money toward the new mattress he's been whining about.....

Another challenge addition, plus my husband's whining

March 29th, 2008 at 04:12 pm

I got another freelance check in the mail today plus a Pinecone check, so I'm adding $700.50 to the challenge. The new total is $7,628.34.

My husband is itchin' to buy a new $3,000 memory foam mattress for our bed and I'm itchin' to pay down a credit card. He keeps asking me when we can buy the mattress. I was just sitting here trying to figure out how to distribute the freelance money (between savings and debt) and he started whining about the mattress again.

I think I'm going to have him sleep on the couch for a few nights, so he'll shut up about a new mattress and be happy with what we've got.....

An even bigger challenge addition

March 28th, 2008 at 08:53 am

Stop the presses!!!! The IRS wasn't joking. They deposited $2,641 into my checking account first thing this morning, so I'm putting that toward the challenge. Forget the measly buck I added earlier today. The new challenge total is $6,927.84.

Now if I could just get the state to cough up some money.....

A tiny challenge addition

March 28th, 2008 at 07:53 am

I sold a pair of Mini Me's shoes on eBay for a buck so I'm adding that to the challenge. The new total is $4,286.84. (Hey, a buck is a buck, right....)

I decided to bid on the Japanese backpack that I mentioned the other day from eBay. I set my maximum bid at $75, but was outbid so I've decided it's simply not meant to be.

Speaking of eBay, my goal this week is to post a bunch of items for sale again. I took a week off to work on the spring cleaning, but have accumulated a pile of stuff and am gearing up for more sales.

Just curious....

March 27th, 2008 at 08:31 am

I was sitting here thinkin "Hmmmm... I wonder when our tax refund might be showing up???" So I went down into the scary, dark basement and then into the even scarier domain known as my husband's office to dig out a copy of our tax return.

After quickly grabbing the tax return and running back up the stairs like I was being chased by a creepy guy wearing a hockey mask and wielding an axe while scary music was playing in the background (think Halloween), I logged into the IRS site and clicked on the link that said "Where's My Refund?" (Personally, I think the IRS needs to lighten up a bit by changing that link to "Where's My Refund, Jack?" or something else along those lines....)

After entering a bunch of stuff, I was told the refund should be deposited in the checking account on March 28. Hmmmm... isn't that like coming up???? Wait, that's TOMORROW!!!!

Life is good -- at least until I have to go back into the scary, dark basement to clean up the scary playroom later today.....

There it goes again.....

March 26th, 2008 at 10:14 am

That pink streak is back ...



... from the art museum, which is one of the many stops we made yesterday while celebrating my birthday.

Mini Me had fun doing kid-friendly activities from an art pack we borrowed from the museum.

The pack was a "randoseru," which is a Japanese backpack for elementary-age children.




Mini Me loved it so this morning I went trolling on the web for one since her backpack is falling apart (you can actually see daylight if you look through the bottom of it). The best I could find was one on eBay for $119. I don't think soooooo......

Back to ME, ME, ME. ... Before we hit the art museum (where the pink streaks were taken as Mini Me hopped around trying to "pop" bubbles projected onto the floor in the contemporary collection), we went on a tour of the U.S. mint. It was a free tour so even though I thought Mini Me wouldn't be that into it, I figured it was a bargain worth checking out. Surprisingly, Mini Me loved it. She was particularly excited to see millions of unpressed coins being fed into presses, which then spit out shiny new pennies. (Sorry, no pictures. They strip you down to nothing before you go into the joint....)

Way before we hit the mint, we went to the local REI store with my dividend check and the $50 from my mother-in-law. I was able to get water shoes for myself and Mini Me with the dividend check, and with the $50 I got two wicked "wicking" shirts to workout in/sweat my way though the jungle beach vacation in.

We followed that up with a stop at Qdoba, where I was treated to a free lunch thanks to a coupon I got as part of their birthday club.

Fast forward to after the mint and museum, and Mini Me and I could be found at a Starbucks downtown snacking on mini scones and my favorite tea (plus a tall strawberries and cream with NO whip) -- all free with the gift cards I got in the mail the other day.

We then stopped in a local kid's clothing store where I bought two baby outfits on sale for a shower that I'm going to Sunday. The cost: $21.

We then continued our stroll down to an excellent seafood restaurant where we met up with my husband, who treated us to dinner and a flaming baked Alaska for dessert. (Cost unknown since he paid for it and I just sat back and ate my way through a mound of crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters and mussels.)

Overall, a very nice day.

What in the world is that????

March 25th, 2008 at 07:54 pm



Wondering what that pink streak is? I'll tell you tomorrow when I'm done celebrating my birthday.

More for the challenge and other money issues

March 24th, 2008 at 04:23 pm

My mother-in-law sent me $50 for my birthday, so I'm putting that toward the challenge -- and some clothes. The new total is $4,285.84.

I took Mini Me to see Horton Hears a Who since today is the first day of spring break. I had $9 left on an old gift card, so only had to pay 50 cents to get into the movie. However, we did get popocorn and drinks, which were the equivalent of the entire fiscal budget for a small island nation. I really should remember to sneak my own drinks and snacks into the theater next time we go. ...

On the way home, we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a new shower curtain and towels for my husband's bathroom. He's been asking me to redecorate it for a while, so I've been hording the Laundry Fairy "droppings" to put toward it. We did get a good deal on towels that were 40 percent off.

(Yes, I have moved the spring cleaning into the bathrooms and let me tell you there is nothing worse than cleaning under a sink that hasn't seen the light of day in 10 years. If you should hear of an ebola outbreak in the U.S., you can assume it originated under my husband's sink.....)


Easter events with no financial bearings whatsoever...

March 23rd, 2008 at 07:18 pm

The Easter bunny showed up at our house last night around 11:30, which is when Mini Me ran into our room because she thought she saw an Easter basket in the living room. We assured her that it wasn't Easter yet and that there was no basket in the living room, so she went back to sleep. About 20 minutes later, the Easter bunny snuck into the living room and relocated the Easter basket in case Mini Me decided to investigate further. Fortunately, she didn't and this morning she had no recollection of the incident, so the lore of Easter was preserved for yet another year. (One of the benefits of having a kid with memory issues....)

After a quick Easter egg hunt in our living room this morning and digging through a basket of snorkeling gear that the Easter bunny left Mini Me (the Easter bunny is nothing if not practical....), we went off to our annual Easter brunch at a nearby resort. (Yes, we are heathens who only go to church for funerals and weddings. Get over it. ...)

In addition to the great food at brunch, face painting, balloon art, and a visit with the Easter bunny himself, the resort held another egg hunt for kids. Being an old pro at this, Mini Me managed to load up her basket with candy in less than 3 minutes. Then she promptly shared her treasure with a set of twins, who arrived late on the scene.

After Mini Me's good deed for the day, we then trudged home where the rule for the afternoon was "eat all the candy you want, but let mommy and daddy rest for a couple hours." This went over well -- along with the Hannah Montana video mommy provided shortly before passing out in a heap on the bed.

By 2:30, though, we were up and on the road again. This time to pick up the crazy grandma who was returning from her Vegas getaway. Crazy grandma apparently spent 6 hours lost in the Venetian hotel yesterday. Fortunately, she was staying there with her other daughter (my sister) and son-in-law, and had plenty of quarters to feed into the slots while security was scouring the hotel grounds looking for her. Once found, rumor has it she insisted she wasn't lost and wasn't budging from the slot she was playing because she was sure it was going to pay off at any second.

After retrieving crazy grandma (my mother) and her entourage from the airport (where my sister tried to ditch crazy grandma again....), we all retreated to a local restaurant for a tasty Italian dinner. Still stuffed from brunch, I ended up bringing most of my dinner home to eat later this week. Plus, crazy grandma gave Mini me three shopping bags full of "stuff" -- including a big box of Ethel M chocolates -- and a quart-size Ziploc bag full of change that she hadn't gotten around to playing during her 6-hour slot machine binge yesterday while "lost."

With crazy grandma and her dog now safely reunited back at my childhood home, Mini Me is now in official sugar "quarantine" here at home. No sugar shall touch her lips again for the next 24 hours. She is downstairs playing in the basement Toys 'R Us (hate them....) while mommy is contemplating lying down on a heating pad (bad back aggravated by too much running, swimming, water lifting and kitchen cleaning).

So, happy Easter everyone. Hope your day was as fun as mine.