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Archive for August, 2008

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.

Another no-spend day....

August 27th, 2008 at 05:43 pm

Managed another day without spending money. Aside from taking The Midge to karate, I didn't go anywhere today.

The French dip sandwiches I made yesterday in the Crock Pot were delicious, so I ate one again for lunch this afternoon.

Tonight I'm making lemon linguine with prosciutto and I also made a peach cobbler for dessert -- both of which should provide another yummy lunch tomorrow.

I do need to make my monthly run to Costco tomorrow, though. It's also my volunteer day at The Midge's school, so I'll probably treat myself to a Starbucks to sustain me through 3 1/2 hours of small creatures following me around....

A necessary evil

August 26th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Ugh... I just mailed off a huge stack of paperwork to get my daughter evaluated for learning "differences" at the local children's hospital. Of course insurance won't cover it, so we're paying $900 out of pocket to have a bunch of testing done before we decide where to place her for school next year.

There is a possibility that her current public school will be closing next year or that a number of new students will transfer in because another school in the district may be closing. Either way, this doesn't bode well for her because she needs to be in a very small classroom setting and/or have one-on-one assistance throughout most of the day.

Because of this, we are thinking of putting her in a private school that will better suit her needs. The tests her current school already conducted to assess her needs weren't thorough enough, so that's why we're having to pay out-of-pocket for more testing before we decide on a school.

Our flexible spending account for health care will cover the tests, but that means less money available for things like dental care, eyeglasses, real medical "issues," etc.

GRRRRRRR!!!!!!

OK, enough ranting.

I did manage to haul the Midge to karate and back yesterday without splurging on that certain Asian cuisine that I've been asked not to mention anymore -- lest it lead to mass cravings here. (As predicted, we ate Ramen noodles instead....)

Despite the craving for the above-mentioned Asian food, I've been particularly pleased with myself because I've been pretty much staying home during the day and working -- and not splurging on things like Starbucks, trips to Target and lunch out. For instance, today I warmed up a leftover Greek burger that we made from scratch Friday when the Asian food craving first hit (I know ... Greek/Asian -- not the same thing...)

And, for dinner tonight, I'm making French dip sandwiches using the Crock Pot for my husband and I to eat after we get done with back-to-school/squeeze-your-adult-body-in-a-chair-meant-for-the-Midge night.

I'm guessing there will be more than enough left over for me to eat tomorrow for lunch as well.

What is that smell?

August 25th, 2008 at 02:37 pm

Someone in my neighborhood spent this morning either painting or staining something. Because I'm overly sensitive to smells, I've been struggling all day not to close the windows and turn on the AC.

However, my sensitivities finally won out and I have since sealed up the house and cranked the AC.

Grrrr....

On to other financial-related matters, I posted four pairs of my daughter's jeans on eBay today. They are in perfect condition (just too short for her) and three of the pair came from Gymboree (don't worry I didn't buy them for her). I'm hoping I get some bids on them after my good profits last week with eBay.

I have to take the sprouting Midget to karate later so I'll be driving. While she's learning how to kick butt, I'm walking two doors down to the natural food store to pick up some odds and ends that weren't available with my regular grocery delivery.

Since my husband is working late tonight, we may give in to that Chinese food craving I had last week now that there's money in the spending plan -- or we may just come home and eat Ramen noodles, which is about all I feel like cooking now that the stench of paint/wood stain has soured my mood....

Taking it personally

August 24th, 2008 at 06:16 pm

I took a "sick day" today and didn't leave my house, so technically I had a no-spend/no-drive day. I say "technically" because my husband did bring me Arby's for lunch -- but he paid for it so I figure it doesn't count against me personally.

The problem with working at home full time is that you can't really take a "sick day." I still found myself wandering into the office every now and then to chip away at a project I'm working on for the booming business.

But, for the most part, I spent the day napping and reading Twilight, which someone sent me for free along with the second book in the series.

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....

Someone, please talk me off the ledge....

August 22nd, 2008 at 10:18 am

I'm home alone today working (as usual) with no real plans to spend money or go anywhere, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Hmmmmm... Chinese food sounds good."

I'm trying to justify it by telling myself:

1. I've not been feeling well (thanks to the virus BA sent me)and Chinese would make me feel better.

2. It's the end of a long week that saw The Midge head off to 2nd grade and she loves Chinese food so it would be a nice treat for her.

3. The Midge is having hot dogs for lunch at school and our dinner plans tonight called for grilled burgers and dogs, so this way she'd get to eat something different for dinner -- plus something healthier.

On the other hand, the rational, smart, thrifty side of me is saying I should stay home, grill the burgers and tofu instead of hot dogs, and thus have a no-spend/no-drive day.

Someone STOP THE MADNESS please....

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

No-drive and no-spend day

August 16th, 2008 at 07:11 pm

Thanks to a rare rainy day, I didn't drive or spend money today.

All but one of my eBay customers has paid up after I sent them each an email reminder. (I'm giving the other person until the end of this week and then I'm relisting the item.)

I'll post the challenge additions tomorrow after I ship the stuff that did get paid for.

My general savings and money market account aren't looking too good this month because of the huge vet bill so I'd debating putting the eBay money toward that instead of into the Vespa fund, but I haven't made up my mind yet.



Show me the money!

August 15th, 2008 at 09:41 am

I'm slightly annoyed. Over the last two weeks, I've had numerous eBay auctions close and I've either not heard from the winners or they've said the money order is in the mail and I still have nothing to show for it a week later.

I try to be nice about it. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But, my patience is running out.

Pay up people!

Oh, and as long as we're on the subject, a few clients of the booming side business are running behind on checks too.

What do I look like? Free-Work-Is-Us???? I don't think so. ...

Updated the numbers

August 14th, 2008 at 06:50 am

Finally got around to updating the debt and savings totals over there on the left. The debt is slooooowly going down, but then again so is the savings. The savings dropped a huge amount because I did take some money out to pay off my one-and-only credit card a while back, but also the stock market isn't helping me any these days (not to mention the $1,000-plus vet visit we had this month....)



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.

Bad day for gadgets

August 6th, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Today our DVD player broke along with my alarm clock.

Because we don't have cable and we get virtually no TV reception without it, I borrow DVDs from the library for The Midge so a DVD player is nice to have.(Not a need, though, since The Midge could be doing other things with her time.....)

Fortunately, I was able to salvage an old beat-up DVD player (read "on it's last legs too") from our basement. It was a remanant from our cable days when we had both TVs hooked up to everything under the sun. Now the giant TV in the basement isn't even used, so for the time being the basement DVD player will work perfectly upstairs.

I did go to Best Buy's site and priced new ones. I have a $20 gift card so I'm thinking I might budget for a cheapo replacement in the next few months -- plus I can buy it online and get MyPoint credits.

Awhile after the DVD episode, The Midge knocked a glass of water over on my nightstand and it fried my alarm clock. Because I'm blind without my glasses or contacts (seriously not kidding), I had a special alarm clock with super large numbers. I could replace it, but for the time being I'm going to try going without for the time being as well.

My husband has an alarm clock on his side of the bed, so if I really need to see the time I can put my glasses on and climb over him to see it. As far as the alarm goes, I can set my phone alarm to go off if I need to wake up at a particular time.

On another note, someone posted on here earlier about not buying things they didn't really need just because they were "good deals." I read it right before I headed to Walgreens to stock up on Kellogg's cereal and cash in on the $10 rebate Kellogg's is offering. After reading the post, I decided I didn't really need anymore cereal since we have 12 boxes down in the basement, so I stayed home instead.

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.

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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.

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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.

Dog update and no-spend day

August 4th, 2008 at 02:42 pm

The dog came through surgery just fine. Her bladder was almost completely full of stones, so the vet said he thinks we'll "be seeing a totally different dog soon." Since the only sign of illness was her incessant need to pee before, I'm hoping the big change will mean my carpet won't be stained anymore....

Because she'll be spending the night in the hospital, I haven't actually paid for the surgery yet and ended up with a no-spend day today. Kind of a nice little treat considering tomorrow I'll be shelling out $1,400 to the vet.

The "talk"

August 4th, 2008 at 09:59 am

I had to have the "talk" with my husband this morning. You know the one. ...

"Did you spend $50 at some place involving bikes?" (said as I was waving around his personal credit card statement)

"Yeah. I gave a donation to someone in a ride."

"Uh, yeah, and like how did you expect me to pay for that?"

"I guess out of my monthly expense account."

"You mean the monthly expense account that you already spent for August on an iPhone?"

"Ooops. Yeah. Guess that won't work will it?"

"Ooops. Guess not. So how do you think I'm going to balance the spending plan this month if you randomly spend $50 that you don't have and then conveniently forget to tell me about it?"

"Sorry."

"Yeah, you'll be sorry when you're eating Alpo in your old age, pal!"

I'm thinking I'm not the only compulsive debtor in this household....

Free lunch in exchange for dinner and a dog sitter

August 3rd, 2008 at 12:21 pm

My mom met my sister and brother-in-law here this morning. They're going gambling for the day and then we're all meeting up later for my mom's birthday dinner at a local restaurant.

Aside from bringing Spud, her Shi Tzu over so I could watch it (and give it a bath since it managed to fall in the mud in the mess that is my garden...), my mom also brought over rice/fish cakes for lunch.

MMMMmmmm.....

Tomorrow morning Beauty, the Bichon (still not her real name) is going to the vet for her surgery. She'll spend one night in the hospital and come home on a special diet so hopefully she won't develop any more stones in the future.

My husband was completely against getting Beauty at first. He didn't want another dog since we already had one, but now she is "his" dog.

I thought he'd not be happy about using the furniture fund for the surgery since we were saving to buy a new mattress at his request. Instead, he's fawning all over Beauty and keeps saying we should do whatever it takes to make her "all better."

Oh, and the gym guy did leave a message yesterday telling me to call him back to discuss why they haven't been charging me for membership, so I guess the free ride will be over soon....

There goes the furniture fund....

August 2nd, 2008 at 09:35 am

My little Bichon is riddled with kidney stones and has to have surgery Monday morning or risk going into kidney failure. To pay for the $1,400 surgery, I'm using the contingency to the contingency fund and furniture fund (no new mattress for me this year...).