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Archive for March, 2008

Finally paying myself back

March 7th, 2008 at 07:38 pm

Back when I was actively debting and running amok with the bucks, I "borrowed" from my various savings accounts for God-only-knows-what. For the most part, I didn't keep track of that money, but on my last bender I did. Now, thanks to the challenge, I'm paying myself back for the first time ever. I owe about $800 to myself from that last little mishap, so now that I've got other stuff covered I'm slowly chipping away at that "debt."

My challenge money is anything above the basic income I have detailed in my spending plan each month. When the challenge money comes in, I automatically put 25 percent into my tax savings account since the bulk of it is from my booming side business and I'm basically trying to cover my butt. The rest I divvy up between savings and extra debt payments. Since I've been making extra payments toward student loans and the credit cards lately, I've decided it's time to show my bank account a little love. For example, after I put $12.50 toward taxes from today's challenge money addition, I then added the remaining $37.50 into the trash account (trash as in trash pick-up).

I'm really loving the challenge. It's making me account for my money and as a result I'm being more responsible with it....

Another challenge addition

March 7th, 2008 at 03:59 pm

Just got another tiny check for the booming side business for all of $50. After putting it toward the challenge, my new total is $3,875.84.

If only I were a size 2....

March 7th, 2008 at 11:35 am

In addition to the cookies and ice cream, my mother brought over two pair of new pants for me yesterday. They're Royal Robbins capris, which I would definitely wear -- if only I could get more than one leg in them at a time.

According to my mother, she bought them on clearance for $10 each and didn't bother to check the size. (Who cares what the size is as long as they're dirt cheap. Yeah, ma. This thinking really works for me.... ) She's now banking on my sister fitting into them, which is highly unlikely since my sister is shorter and a little rounder than I am. If that doesn't work, I'm in charge of finding someone who can wear them, so eBay here we come.

What is it with my family buying clothing/shoes that don't fit just because they're on clearance????

A no-spend day, but I did get dinner out

March 6th, 2008 at 07:46 pm

I didn't go anywhere today until we went off to Mini Me's school for parent-teacher conferences. My mother came along to watch the little Einstein while we chatted up the teacher. Then she took us all out for sushi afterward. She also brought us 3 pints of ice cream and about 100 homemade chocolate chip cookies, so we're set in the sugar department for a while. I think I'll be doing a few extra miles on the jog and swim this weekend....

A sure-fire way to rid us of snow

March 6th, 2008 at 07:49 am

A few weeks ago when we in the middle of a huge snowstorm, my neighbor and I discussed how we could afford a snowblower. We decided we should chip in with another neighbor to buy a used snowblower.

The first neighbor is a mechanical genius and is always fixing things around the neighborhood and loves his "toys." The other neighbor is a widower who travels a lot and has a bad back, plus he has alots of extra space in his garage to store the snowblower. All I bring to the equation is myself, a husband and a kid. My husband and I will help "man" the snowblower when the first neighbor isn't around. And, one day when we're all too old and decrepit to run the snowblower, we will teach Mini Me how to use it.

The two neighbors have been looking for a used snowblower ever since I had my discussion with the first guy and I've been setting aside money in our household fund for the anticipated purchase. Yesterday, they found the "dream snowblower" on sale at our local hardware store for $240 and came knocking on my door to tell me all about it. We all chipped in $80 and got a mammoth snowblower that can clear a small parking lot! I am not kidding -- even my husband was impressed when he saw it.

Now, of course, we're betting it won't snow again ever; but it's nice to know that if it ever does, we're prepared....

My dumbest purchase....

March 5th, 2008 at 09:02 am

Debt Kid, who I just adore and want to fix up with my hottie niece (if only they lived in the same city), is having a contest. He wants to know about the dumbest purchase you've ever made.

Well, as a compulsive debtor and reformed compulsive shopper, I know all about dumb purchases.

There was the $400 bowling party for Mini Me that I fessed up to yesterday (which was probably more like $500 when all was said and done).

Then there was the $5,000 piano purchased in hopes that one day Mini Me would become Mini Mozart. (Not gonna happen, folks....) The piano is beautiful, though; and works great as a dust and fingerprint catchall in my living room.

Then there was Beauty (not her real name), who I bought while seriously depressed and suffering from a serious physical ailment a few years ago. (I won't reveal the price because I don't want to incite a riot...) She might be cute, but like I said before: she'd eat your face off in a second -- then she'd go poop on the floor just to show you she can. My husband has often said that if she didn't cost so much he would have gotten rid of her by now. His nickname for her: Ka-Ching!

Oh, but the absolute dumbest purchase was the $200 car seat for Beauty. Yes, I succumbed to the thinking that Beauty would only be happy in the car if she could sit in her own little perch and look out the window. Of course, Beauty had other ideas. Instead of sitting obediently in her car seat, she would jump out of the car seat and try to sit with whoever was driving the car. As if that wasn't bad enough, she was strapped into the car seat and would end up choking herself as she dangled halfway out of the dog seat and halfway in the driver's seat. This would then send the driver into a fit of panic, causing said driver to slam on the brakes at inopportune moments (say like when cruising down the highway at 80 miles an hour....). The doggie car seat has since been sold at a garage sale for $1 and Beauty has been banished from the car for life.

(Obviously not a picture of Beauty....)

Another no spender

March 4th, 2008 at 08:40 pm

With Mini Me sick all day, I went nowhere besides putting a brief appearance in at the office job and spent nothing once again. Of course, now I feel like I'm coming down with the crud as well, so this may be a no spend week.....

Drats! Foiled again....

March 4th, 2008 at 02:03 pm

So my husband found a way around our little disagreement about what should become of the $50 parking money. Yesterday he called to ask for the ATM pin. I asked why he needed it since we rarely use it to withdraw money, but just to deposit money. He said he was in a rush to get to a meeting and had to pay for parking because the place didn't take credit cards.

While digging around in the black hole that is my purse for the number, I asked why he had his car downtown in the first place since he usually parks it at the train station for free and then makes use of his organization's free car service if he needs to go someplace while working. He mumbled some excuse and said he had to go.

When he got home, he said he got $20 out since he forgot his expense account money. I asked what he did with the change since I know he gets a discount for parking and he's not paying $20 for daily parking. He claimed he's "hanging onto it" for further parking needs. I claimed he was full of you-know-what and told him I'll be watching him like a hawk as far as the "parking" expenses go. Then I claimed the REI dividend for myself so we're about even now....

And I thought my child was spoiled...

March 4th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I know a kid's first birthday party is a big deal (witness the homemade Cheerio cake I made for Mini Me on her first birthday), but this couple just so don't get it....

Scored a deal and didn't even know it

March 4th, 2008 at 09:54 am

I got a catalog-like thing from REI yesterday in the mail. I started to throw it away and then decided I would flip through it to see what summer outfits might be in it since I need some things for my beach vacation in May. I tossed it on the stack of stuff to be read on my nightstand and finally got around to going through it in the middle of the night. Good thing I didn't toss it. Inside I found my dividend check for REI members.

The check was for $41, plus there was a 20 percent off coupon for members. I'm hanging on to both and next month I'm going shopping for some shorts and t-shirts. My birthday is coming up and I will inevitably get a check from my mother (who doesn't believe in shopping for gifts). My plan is to use the check and the dividend check and the coupon to score some deals.

The little germ factory is at it again

March 3rd, 2008 at 07:29 pm

Mini Me missed two days of school last week with a high fever and cough. She went back today because she didn't have a fever and seemed to be on the mend. However, when I picked her up this afternoon, I could tell all was not well.

Although she's not running a fever, she is coughing a lot and looks miserable. She's also got very little energy.

Rather than send her to school to be miserable tomorrow, I've decided to keep her home again. She's off for parent-teacher conferences Thursday and Friday, so if she doesn't make a considerable improvement tomorrow I'll just keep her home Wednesday as well.

The problem now is that I need to show my face at least twice over the next two days at the "office" job. My husband has agreed to come home early tomorrow, but Wednesday is still questionable for both of us. Where's a grandma when you need them????

The Germanator (aka Mini Me) is not one to hang out in the doctor's office. In fact, she may be the only 7 year old in the modern world who has never had antibiotics. Since she hasn't been sick for more than 10 days yet and is eating OK -- and has a wet nose -- I see no need to haul her in to the monster of all germ factories -- the doctor's office. Instead, I'm just going to ply her with lots of liquids and sleep, save the $30 copay, and hope for the best.

More money for the challenge

March 3rd, 2008 at 05:21 pm

I sold my light table yesterday on eBay and made $95.90 after shipping and fees. Then today I got a check for $116.41 from the drilling company that is raping the land in Oklahoma. All of it is going to the challenge, so that brings my new total to $3,825.84.

Happy Gotcha Day!

March 2nd, 2008 at 07:16 pm

Today was Gotcha Day at our house.

Seven years ago today, Mini Me arrived from Korea at the age of 5 1/2 months. To this day, she remains the best thing that ever happened in my life. Here's the first look we got of her in December of 2000:

As we like to say, she's our little bird her flew across the great blue sea to make our house a home and our family complete.

Just when I thought the worst was over....

March 2nd, 2008 at 09:11 am

It was 70 degrees here yesterday. I had the windows open and thought there was hope for an early spring.

It's now snowing and 27 degrees....

Who's right?

March 1st, 2008 at 07:15 pm

My husband recently gave up his parking spot and started riding public transportation to work as much as possible. After purchasing an Eco pass for the train and bus, we're still saving $50 in parking fees. However, some of that money may end up going toward parking anyways on days he needs his car and has to drive.

In his mind, he should be getting that $50 in cash to do whatever he wants with if he doesn't spend it on parking since he says he's the one making the sacrifice. (Oh, cry me a river. It's so tough to sit on the train and IM people and read the paper....)

In my mind, that $50 should sit in our checking account and he should use his debit card to pay for parking when he can't take public transportation. We'll then have a receipt for tax purposes; plus if any of that $50 is left at the end of the month, it will just remain in the checking account as a cushion for months when money is tight.

We're not fighting over this. However, one of us IS pouting, so I thought I'd put it out there to see what all of you think.

Your thoughts?

More for the challenge and other odds and ends

March 1st, 2008 at 05:26 pm

Excuse me why I wander all over the place here today....

Another freelance check arrived in the mail today. After I took out 25% for taxes and covered my basic income, I had $9.70 left to put toward the challenge. The new total is $3,613.53.

That $9.70 won't buy me much, but I did put it in the new car fund. At the rate I'm going, it might buy me a gallon of gas when I finally get the new car.

Both our regular paychecks showed up in the bank yesterday, so I paid some bills and updated the debt/savings numbers over there on the left. I only paid "some" bills because the balk of our bills are automated and will be withdrawn from our checking account over the next few weeks. I do nothing but make sure there's money in the account.

Most of the projects I've got going on the booming side business this month are being delivered in bits and pieces, which I don't particularly like. Mainly I don't like it because I don't bill for jobs until a project is complete and at the rate these bits and pieces are arriving I won't be seeing another check until April. Out of 11 jobs I've got on my plate for February/March, I've only managed to get one complete job done in the last two weeks. Blah.....

In addition to putting the challenge money toward the new car fund and debt, I've also been saving up for a vacation in May. I am holding off actually booking the vacation despite having all the cash in hand until after we get our taxes done next week. I don't want any "surprises" coming back to bite me in the you-know-what. I noticed when I went to check the prices again that the rates had jumped in the last two weeks, which is making me nervous.

Mini Me is still sick, which has put a damper on the weekend -- but has also saved us money. We had to skip vision therapy today, so that was $97 not spent. We also skipped our usual Saturday lunch and ate leftovers. We're still planning a celebratory lunch tomorrow -- for an occasion I'll explain tomorrow -- plus a family outing if the little germ machine is well, so there's still the potential for serious spending this weekend.

I'm now off to shampoo the carpet in Mini Me's bedroom. She was coughing so hard last night that she threw up on the floor. I then promptly stepped right in the mess when I went to check on her in the dark. Kids....

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