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Do I want to be a quitter?

March 15th, 2008 at 07:57 pm

My husband and I have been having an ongoing discussion about whether I should quit the "office" job. (He wants me to quit....) We can easily meet our monthly income requirements between his job and my booming side business, and all our "benefits" are through his job, so the "office" job isn't a necessity.

Emotionally, I'm ready to quit, but mentally I keep putting it off because I like having that extra money each month guaranteed -- as opposed to having to go out and pimp myself to more clients for the booming side business.

If/when I do quit, a number of our expenses will go down. For instance, I won't have before- and after-school child care expenses (which is only averaging about $60 a month, so it's not huge but still a savings.) I also won't be paying for as much dry cleaning since the booming side business doesn't require even getting dressed if I don't want to. I'll be driving slightly less, so that means slightly less gas costs. And, Hazel the Housekeeper most likely will be let go since I'll need something to break up the days working at home, so pushing a vaccuum again might be in my future.

Not working at the "office" will allow me to have a life again. The booming side business has kind of consumed everything, so without the "office" job I can start working more regular hours at home instead of piecing together work hours here and there. I also can go back to being an anti-social/agoraphobic curmudgeon who rarely leaves the house, which is when I'm at my best.

I am now telling myself that I will give my 6 week notice on May 1. I'll be gone for about two of those weeks, so that's really 4 weeks notice. I could give them less notice, but I did tell someone I would help them out the last week of June so I figure I should stick to my word there.

Of course, I could come up with a thousand excuses not to quit between now and May, so this may all not come to pass but a girl can dream....

A day of nothingness....

March 14th, 2008 at 05:00 pm

I'm sure you're all dying to know why I've been so quiet for the last 24 hours. Well, to squelch any rumors that might be floating around out there, it's because there's simply not much going on here.

I didn't win the $200 million lottery jackpot. I haven't gotten any challenge additions this week (not even a measly buck left by the Laundry Fairy). And I haven't been spending up a storm.

I did splurge on a 12-pack of Pepsi for $3 today and put it in my trunk, so we'll see how far that goes in solving the impulsive trips in search of sugary, caffeine-laden drinks. Now my big concern is that I'll forget the Pepsi's in the car since I rarely go into the trunk. ...

I officially found out that Beauty of "Beauty and the Beast" fame is 5 pounds overweight. (I say "officially" because I knew she was packing on the pounds when she couldn't fit behind the bed anymore, but the vet "officially" told me this today. My response: who ISN'T 5 pounds overweight???)

So, now I'm either going to have to drag her out running with me (probably not likely given her short legs), or slap a "Wide Load" sign on her butt and leave it at that. (Where's my duct tape????)


Sucking it in to save money

March 12th, 2008 at 06:31 pm

At least once a year, I'm forced to dress up in something either than jeans and a t-shirt, and be my husband's Trophy Wife at a black-tie event related to his work.

In the past, I've gone shopping for gowns in January, which is when you'll usually find such things on sale. I've always lucked out and have never spent more than $100 on gowns that were originally much more than that.

Last year, I actually lucked out and came down with dysentery or some other cleaver excuse not to go (the exact nature of which currently escapes me). And, this year, I figured I would be off the hook since my husband switched jobs last summer.

Boy was I wrong. I now have two prom-like-events-for-the-geriatric-crowd coming up in the next month that require "formal" attire -- both of which involve me having to sit at a table with the same people, so wearing the same dress to both events won't work....

Aside from the fact that I didn't bother with my usual January gown shopping outing this year or last year, I've also put on a few pounds so I now either need to shed some weight fast, suck it up and invest in a new dress, or just suck it in and hope that nothing "pops."

The things we do for love.....

Changing my ways and other odds and ends from a wasted weekend....

March 9th, 2008 at 09:53 pm

After a month of stealing the neighbors' newspapers (kidding....), I renewed our subscriptions last week at the much lower rate and while doing so signed up to get two Sunday papers for the coupons. Today was the first day they came and after spending way too much time clipping and filing coupons, I've decided not to clip them from now on until I actually go to use them.

I've been storing them in baseball-card holders inside a notebook, but now I'm going to dig out an expandable file and just mark the date on the entire bundle of coupons each week and then take it from there.

***


My grocery savings this week were pretty much a wash because the Grocery Game folks said I would find two coupons in the paper today that weren't there so I ended up paying full price for the items -- plus I bought Tide on sale, which is like buying any other detergent at full price

***


I'm not sure if it's the time change or the slight cold I've got, but I ended up getting a whole lot o' nothing accomplished today. I did book the beach vacation early this morning, but from there the day went downhill as far as productivity. I got very little work done on the booming side business -- mainly because I was redoing something that someone else worked on before me and it was a mess that took forever to fix (GRRRR....) Of course, it probably didn't help that the whole family laid down for a nap after a late lunch and the nap turned into a two-hour snooze fest for my husband and I while the kid and dogs bounced on the bed every few minutes while watching Monsters Inc. for the 50th time this weekend. (Please don't send me any nastygrams for sleeping while my child and dogs were running amok. We were all in the same room, sober and watching/listening to a G-rated movie -- not exactly "quality time" for Mini Me, but I'm sure she'll get over it....)

***


This cold is just annoying enough to make me want to lie low for a few days, but I have a bunch of commitments this week so I don't think that's going to happen.

I promised I would put in a few appearances at the "office" this week. In my line of work, it's usually a bad thing to go in if you're sick but I'm not so blatantly sick that I should stay home (then there's the whole no play/no pay deal I agreed to, so financially it's at least to my advantage to "suit up" and show up for at least a couple minutes every now and then).

Mini Me's also got a "gallery opening" that I have to attend this week. Yes, at the tender age of 7, she is having her first art exhibit.... I don't know how it happened since her kindergarten teacher once questioned her artistic ability (to which I reminded the wench of Jackson Pollock and others who looked at the world through a different lens). But no matter now, because the little Picasso's artwork was chosen for a display at a local gallery -- a real gallery as opposed to the gallery on my refrigerator.



To give you some idea of what we're talking about, here's a self-portrait that she did, which I thought was so good that I got it framed and it's now hanging in the area between the kitchen and living room.

Going to the beach

March 9th, 2008 at 10:46 am

I finally was able to book my vacation (with cash), so this is going to be me at the end of May.

It could be a pricey day for me or a GREAT day

March 8th, 2008 at 07:05 am

My husband and Mini Me are off to see the accountant this morning while I head out to see what's going on in the "office" for a few hours. We think we'll get about $1,000 back on our taxes, but none of us are mathematical geniuses so who knows....

Assuming we don't owe a bunch, then tonight we're booking our cash-only beach vacation. It's OK if we owe a little because I've got a bunch of cash saved up for the trip, so we'll just scale it back a bit. Even Mini Me is excited about going to the beach. I used it as a bribe to get her out of bed this morning -- if you want to go to the beach in May, you need to get out of bed NOW!

I'll report back with either good or bad news later.

Oh, and I discovered a rock that the laundry fairy left me in the washing machine this morning. I wonder what that means....

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....

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.

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.

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....

A no spend/no fresh air day

February 28th, 2008 at 04:22 pm

Mini Me is home sick so I went no place and spent nothing today. In fact, aside from a mad dash to the mailbox, I can't say that sunlight ever touched me.

I did get a workout on the treadmill this afternoon. As I've said before, I hate running on the treadmill, but there is one good thing about it -- an excuse to watch TV.

We don't have cable and don't really get television reception where we live. But we do have free access to DVDs from the library. I rarely even watch those, though, because I can usually find a bunch of other ways to fill my time. However, I've been curious about the show Lost, so I got the first season from the library and have been watching it whenever I find myself on the treadmill. It's great for making one want to jump out of their skin every now and then.

People tend to find it surprising that we don't have cable and/or watch TV on a regular basis. Initially, when we got rid of it, it was very much a money-saving decision. Now it's more a lifestyle choice.

A Housekeeper's Cheaper than Divorce or Death

February 26th, 2008 at 02:17 pm

Today was Hazel the Housekeepers' day to come work her magic on the hovel we call home.

It's been suggested that I drop Hazel the Housekeeper and put the $80 I spend on her every two weeks toward debt payoff. In the end, I don't think it's worth losing my marriage or life over, so Hazel stays.

My husband has a very demanding full-time job and is working on another degree in his "free time." As I've whined about here numerous times, I work two jobs, which equate to more than 40 hours a week -- plus I have a 7 year old and two dogs to pick up after, not to mention the countless hours of volunteer work I do.

If my husband and I were to clean the house, it would take a full day, which is something neither of us has available to give up at this point in our lives. In the days when we did have a day to give up for cleaning, we would bicker over who was going to clean the bathtub. Now, it's a no brainer. Plus -- and here's the big clincher -- I have issues with chemical smells and asthma, so it's better to leave the cleaning to a professional and skip the whole gasping and wheezing part of the experience.

Hazel is not the greatest of maids, but she's better than the alternative -- living in filth or lying dead from an asthma attack. (Plus, I love walking into the bathroom after she has left to find the perfectly folded towels....)

Will I starve to death?

February 24th, 2008 at 09:07 pm

After reading Kim's blog and finding myself in awe of her incredible weight loss, I've decided to start counting calories again.

I should probably preface this by saying I'm not really over weight. I just want to clean up my eating habits while shedding a few inches here and there so even at my ripe ol' age I can still wear a bikini this summer. I'm 5 foot 7 and the last time I checked I weighed 150 pounds, so tomorrow I'm going to weigh myself again and then multiply that weight by 10 and try to keep my daily calorie intake at that amount.

I do run and swim regularly, but I also spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer and a little time noshing on Doritos and Ding Dongs (if the mood should hit me).

What does this have to do with finance? Well, by cleaning up my eating habits, I will be saving money by not buying things like Ding Dongs and -- ultimately -- saving money on health care costs.

My big concern, though, is that even when I was trying to keep my calorie intake at 1,700 calories a day (just a random number that I came up with based on some article I read) I felt like I was always hungry. Anything less than that and I may start gnawing on my nails....






A new house isn't in my future but 'dunch' is

February 23rd, 2008 at 08:09 pm

Today while killing time until lunch, my husband and I decided to look at model homes. This little outing reinforced my belief that we're not moving until they back the hearse up to the front door and wheel us away to the morgue.

At 3,000 square feet (including the finished basement), our house is the perfect size for our family of 3 humans and two dogs. Best of all, it's perfect for when we're old and decrepit, and the kid has abandoned us. It's a ranch that is set up so one can live on the main floor if need be (i.e. two laundry rooms -- one upstairs and one down).

Also, the rooms are all really big (better to maneuver in the wheelchairs and walkers when the time comes for that); and while we have great neighbors, we can't reach out and touch their homes -- or even see their homes in most cases.

This is huge with me. I just can't justify buying a home for a half million dollars only to find that the neighbors can see into the whole house.

So, we're staying put until death comes knocking....

As for lunch, we budget for one meal out a week so we usually make it Saturday lunch. My husband has this thing about lunches out on Saturdays. He thinks they're "decadent." Personally, I just know lunch is cheaper than dinner and Saturday is as good a day as any to eat out. We usually eat a little later lunch (Mini Me refers to it as "dunch") and then we skip dinner, so in our own sick, twisted way we're saving money.

(And before you get on me about dining out with all that debt over there on the left, remember my goal is to still live my life while paying my debt off so this is one luxury I'm not giving up.)

Speaking of debt, I made an extra $400 payment to one of the credit cards today with the challenge money I got in the mail. I also put $96 into my tax savings account. And I put the rest into our travel account.

Extreme Home Makeover ... kind of

February 20th, 2008 at 08:12 am

Since Hazel the Housekeeper didn't come last week, I decided I couldn't live with the filth so in between the two jobs and the kid I've been doing some serious power cleaning. In the process, I started compiling a list of things that needed replacing or fixing.

Tops on the list were a couple of table lamps from the master bedroom. We've had these lamps since we bought our first house way back in the early '90s. Over the years, the lampshades got ripped, the paint became chipped and the bases became wobbly. Yet, we never got around to replacing them.

Then, yesterday, while running on the treadmill in the basement family room, I found myself staring at two lamps that are rarely used and look brand new. The basement family room has become Mini Me's toy emporium. We rarely hang out down there as a family and the overhead lights are the only ones that are ever turned on.

When I was done with the run, I hauled the two lamps upstairs and replaced the bedroom ones with them. Surprisingly, they really looked nice; and I was even more pleased last night when I got home from the office job and my husband had them turned on. It's amazing what some not-so-new light can do for a room. Best of all, I didn't have to spend a dime for my little makeover....

Karma

February 18th, 2008 at 01:08 pm



Despite being an overly educated, rational, fact-based person, I'm also a strong believer in karma -- what goes around comes around and all that other stuff about good and bad juju.

So the other day when Mini Me fed 50 cents of her own money into a snack machine for a pack of Lifesavers at the rec center and the machine proceeded to then spit out about $10 in quarters, I talked to her about how the right thing to do was to take the money to the rec center cashier and explain what happened since the money wasn't hers.

We had this conversation while about 5 boys who were slightly older than Mini Me surrounded us in awe of all the quarters we were holding. I'm pretty sure I heard one of the boys sigh and say "Oh, man...." when I started in about "doing the right thing."

So Mini Me took the money to the cashier and left with her pack of Lifesavers as the gaggle of boys took their turns trying to hit their own snack machine jackpot. As we left, I told Mini Me, one day your good deed is going to come back to you in the way of good karma.

I was reminded of this today when I went to the automated postal machine to mail some sea glass that I sold on eBay. I actually had two bags for sale and only one went. Instead of relisting the second bag or just hanging onto it, I decided just to combine the two bags and give the winning bidder all of it -- even though the person hadn't asked for it or even know I was sending it.

Of course, I didn't think about the weight difference, so shipping was more than I had listed on my auction. If I sent the package with the extra seaglass, shipping alone was going to cost all the proceeds the buyer had sent -- plus a big 50 cents out of my own pocket.

I was standing at the postal machine lamenting this and decided "what the hell." I've made some decent money on eBay over the last month -- about $300 -- so giving someone a freebie seemed like the right thing to do. Now, here's hoping some good karma comes my way.....

A simply nice Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2008 at 07:04 pm

Since my husband and I celebrated our anniversary last week -- yes, we got married on Valentine's Day; you can all go "ahhhhhh, how cute" and I'll smile nicely and try not to barf -- tonight we took Mini Me out to an early dinner following her candyfest/party at school.

We got to the restaurant before 5 p.m. so we were able to get a table without even waiting. A few years ago on Valentine's we tried to go to the same restaurant -- a popular Cajun place that doesn't take reservations -- and couldn't even get in the parking lot.

Today was particularly nice because my husband took off work early to attend Mini Me's school party. He also bought us both flowers that he picked up at the grocery store. We agreed not to exchange gifts since there's nothing we really need, so he kind of cheated but I'm not complaining.

I am celebrating and staying within my budget!

February 8th, 2008 at 01:48 pm

The earlier posting on this topic must have been aimed at me. Tonight my husband and I are going out to celebrate our anniversary at a fancy schmancy restaurant.

Now before you start flinging mud at me for not staying at home to eat Ramen noodles (which I love, by the way), let me say that my husband and I have already saved up a wad of cash for this outing and the little pink envelope is ready to go. We both are serious foodies, who have cut back on the fine dining drastically over the last few years of economic stupidity.

However, since we have survived 13 years together, we feel like we can afford to take this one evening to blow some bucks on something that we both enjoy.

Yes, I could probably stay home and make something just as delicious in my own kitchen, but there's something to be said for having someone else do the cooking and cleaning (plus we did the stay-at-home thing the last two anniversaries....)

I kind of miss the dryer -- like I miss the ozone layer....

February 8th, 2008 at 08:11 am

It finally appears to be warming up enough today that I can do laundry -- good thing because going commando lately has really sucked....

I managed to get a load of jeans and socks done before Mini Me left for school and hung them out to dry when I got back from the bus stop. My fingers and toes are now frozen. There's something to be said for using the dryer down in the basement....

I'm off to the volunteer gig for the morning. With any luck, the clothes that are now outside on the line will be dry by the time I get back so I can toss some more stuff up.

I can hardly wait to see the electric/gas bill for this month. It better be good....

Challenge money and other odds and ends

February 7th, 2008 at 01:00 pm

I started the day off by making another $12.61 on eBay so that brings the challenge total to $1,220.98.

That was followed by a one-hour commute to the "office" job this morning. Every so often, I have to leave my nice, cushy office location, which is five minutes from my house, to drive to another part of town to put in an appearance. After spending three hours at the location across town, I took a wrong turn coming out of the facility and ended up in another state practically. I finally worked my way back to the booming side business (and the even nicer and cushier office located in my house) to find a pile of work waiting for me (told you business was booming....) and an email from the Adult Kid saying he might be getting back together with Girlfriend #301.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with Girlfriend #301 -- if you don't mind the trashy look -- but the Adult Kid admits he's not in love with her so I'm wondering why he's wasting his time. But he is an adult, supposedly, so I'm just going to let him make his own bed and lie in it for a while (until they break up again, which they undoubtedly will....)

Meanwhile, I was flipping through a catalog the other day and saw these. Does anyone else see something sexist about them? Why not just slap some rags on the bottom of my husband's feet and have him walk around the kitchen with a spray bottle of cleanser????

The pink envelope club

February 4th, 2008 at 07:36 am

A few people have been talking about the “envelope system” here, so I thought I would share that my husband and I belong to the “pink envelope club.”

After coming up with a workable spending plan that put our needs first and our creditors’ needs second, we gave each other – and Mini Me – a personal allowance (aka our expense accounts).

Every two weeks, I go to the bank and withdraw cash in certain denominations. Along with my withdrawal slip, I hand the teller a note with how many 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s and 50s that I want. Yes, the teller usually looks at me like I’m an anal-retentive freak, but I figure it’s better than handing the teller a note saying to give me all her cash and nobody will get hurt….

Back to the pink envelopes, the adults in the house get the exact same amount – ranging from $200 to $300 every two weeks depending on the month -- and Mini Me gets $10 in cash. In the case of the adults, this money goes toward clothes, shoes, personal growth, personal care, hobbies and lunches out; and each person has their own envelopes for each category. (Mini Me puts her money toward paying for unnecessary junk that she may deem necessary when we’re out and about.)

We came up with the amounts to stick in each adult’s envelope by recording how much we spent and on what for a month and then taking an average of each category. Because I’m more likely to spend $200 on shoes while my husband is more likely to spend $2 on shoes, we kept it fair by giving the adults the exact same amount of money to spread over the same number of categories. That usually means that I have to save my pennies up to buy shoes while he has to save his to buy wheels for his bike.

The basic rule of thumb is that it’s up to each individual to decide what he or she is going to spend their money on – unless the person is walking around in holey shirts and the fashionable spouse says it’s time to spend some dough on clothing or if you’re under the legal drinking age and you’re trying to buy tequila.

The other primary rule is that once your allowance is gone for the month, there’s no more to be had so you better spend wisely. This rule is not always strictly enforced; because if there’s extra money in checking, we can take an advance on the next allowance period. However, the advance cannot exceed the excess money in checking.

As for the significance of the pink envelopes, there is none. We simply had a bunch of pink envelopes lying around when we first came up with this money-saving idea, so that’s what we used.

The pink envelope club

February 4th, 2008 at 06:29 am

A few people have been talking about the “envelope system” here, so I thought I would share that my husband and I belong to the “pink envelope club.”

After coming up with a workable spending plan that put our needs first and our creditors’ needs second, we gave each other – and Mini Me – a personal allowance (aka our expense accounts).

Every two weeks, I go to the bank and withdraw cash in certain denominations. Along with my withdrawal slip, I hand the teller a note with how many 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s and 50s that I want. Yes, the teller usually looks at me like I’m an anal-retentive freak, but I figure it’s better than handing the teller a note saying to give me all her cash and nobody will get hurt….

Back to the pink envelopes, the adults in the house get the exact same amount – ranging from $200 to $300 every two weeks depending on the month -- and Mini Me gets $10 in cash. In the case of the adults, this money goes toward clothes, shoes, personal growth, personal care, hobbies and lunches out; and each person has their own envelopes for each category. (Mini Me puts her money toward paying for unnecessary junk that she may deem necessary when we’re out and about.)

We came up with the amounts to stick in each adult’s envelope by recording how much we spent and on what for a month and then taking an average of each category. Because I’m more likely to spend $200 on shoes while my husband is more likely to spend $2 on shoes, we kept it fair by giving the adults the exact same amount of money to spread over the same number of categories. That usually means that I have to save my pennies up to buy shoes while he has to save his to buy wheels for his bike.

The basic rule of thumb is that it’s up to each individual to decide what he or she is going to spend their money on – unless the person is walking around in holey shirts and the fashionable spouse says it’s time to spend some dough on clothing or if you’re under the legal drinking age and you’re trying to buy tequila.

The other primary rule is that once your allowance is gone for the month, there’s no more to be had so you better spend wisely. This rule is not always strictly enforced; because if there’s extra money in checking, we can take an advance on the next allowance period. However, the advance cannot exceed the excess money in checking.

As for the significance of the pink envelopes, there is none. We simply had a bunch of pink envelopes lying around when we first came up with this money-saving idea, so that’s what we used.

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....

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....

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....

A little 'family' time

January 21st, 2008 at 07:12 pm

Thanks to the space heater I bought a while back, my office is the warmest room in the house, so the whole family has started gathering here.

Mini Me is playing a game. My husband is working on his laptop. The dogs are huddled at my feet. And I'm supposedly working.

Because Mini Me loves soup, I made homemade minestrone for dinner. It was delicious, but my husband has an aversion to any type of soup and only ate about three bites. His mother could possibly be the world's worst cook and I think he has bad memories of soup from his childhood. On nights I make soup, though, he just has to suck it up and endure because I'm not a short-order cook and soup is one of the best ways I know to get Mini Me to eat her veggies.

As a result of my husband not eating dinner, I was left with four Tupperware containers of soup that are perfect for Mini Me's lunches and even breakfast. She has been known to eat dinner for breakfast, which is OK since we've been known to have breakfast for dinner.

I did stop at Whole Foods after the postal drop/Taco Bell run and picked up dog food (yes, the dogs eat organic), some of my favorite tea, and a roasted chicken to make enchiladas with tomorrow. Mini Me has issues with meat, but will eat chicken nuggets so I told her she's just going to have to eat the chicken enchiladas tomorrow as well. (I have the feeling we'll be cutting up some tofu for the little midget tomorrow in addition to chicken enchiladas.....)

What to do??? What to do???

January 21st, 2008 at 08:57 am

It's Monday morning. It's a holiday, which means no school for Mini Me and no mail -- thus no checks -- for me. And the projected high is only in the teens today....

So, on that note, I'm trying to get motivated to come up with some fun plans for the duration.

I thought about a movie since I have two free movie tickets and a $25 gift card to the theater, but the only kid-appropirate flicks playing are Alvin and the Chipmunks and Veggie Tales -- neither of which I'm sitting through. National Treasure: Book of Secrets was briefly considered, but it's too iffy with Mini Me's age. (If anyone's seen it and thinks it's OK for a 7 year old, let me know....)


I had originally thought of having this kid who we shall call "Nellie" over for a playdate. (Nellie as in Little House on the Prairie Nellie.) However, Nellie's a whiner and I don't feel like putting up with it today.


Then again, Mini Me might just be happy going to the postal drop to mail some eBay stash with me, then swinging through Taco Bell's drive-thru, and then coming home to play in the basement Toys 'r Us before going to her 4 p.m. karate class.

Ummm ... that sounds like the best plan to me....


I can't believe I'm resorting to this....

January 19th, 2008 at 07:59 am

I think someone here posted a link to A Year of Crockpotting. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge crockpot fan. However, to take some of the pressure off in the domestication department, I've decided to use it once a week through the winter months.

My first endeavor is going to be the corned beef recipe. Mini Me doesn't eat meat, but she does eat potatoes and carrots and I can cut up some tofu to go with it. I haven't bought corned beef ever in my adult life -- let alone cooked it. So this should be interesting. Here's hoping I don't end up with a dry chunk of flesh that resembles something the dog has gnawed on....

I'm game

January 18th, 2008 at 03:39 pm

Thanks to the folks over at We Need To Be Debt Free, I’m now involved in a game of tag. I was incorrect to assume it had anything to do with a “Kick Me!” sign or someone spray painting my big butt.

Instead, here are the rules:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

I’ve accomplished one and two, so now onto three….
1. I’m really good at picking things up with my toes.
2. I’m very sensitive to smells, tastes, sounds and textures. One whiff of cigarette smoke can ruin my whole day.
3. I hate business meetings of any kind. Sitting on my bum listening to a coworker go blah, blah, blah is worse than a root canal in my book.
4. I’m an expert eavesdropper. Whether you’re talking on your cell phone at the grocery store or to the person sitting across from you while eating dinner, if I’m nearby chances are I’m listening.
5. My favorite drink is a venti black iced tea from Starbucks (aka Tazo lightly sweetened black tea). I save money by buying it bottled at my local Whole Foods.
6. I’m married to a nice guy who is incredibly patient and loving even when I am not.
7. I don’t like chain letters/e-mails/games of online tag and am usually the first to break them, which surprisingly I’m not going to do here.

I always hate to infringe on others unless invited to, so feel free to ignore this game if your blog is mentioned here:

Debt Kid

MerleSneed

Where’s Mommy’s Prozac

Imasaver

Broken Arrow

Six Figure Debt

Pennywise Meanderings

An addition to the challenge....

January 18th, 2008 at 11:56 am

I got a couple more payments from eBay sales to the tune of $10.11 (after shipping and packing supplies), so my grand total is now $290.33.

Also, I've been "tagged." I'm not sure what that means -- do I now have some sign that says "Kick Me!" on my back? Am I contagious? Did someone spray paint my ever-expanding ass while I wasn't looking?

I need to go figure this out before I respond, but once I do I'll get back to you all.


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