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Okay Let's Try This Again!

September 6th, 2016 at 09:32 am

Today's is DH's 58th birthday and our 38th anniversary is in 2 days. Since January 2015 many changes have happened in my life. #1. I quit my job. Yes I am hoping this time that I don't have to go back to work. We are not prepared but I could not take the physical and mental stress anymore of being in charge of over 50 employees and almost 100 elderly residents.

I was very good at my job, but I had nothing left at the end of the day to enjoy my life. It was incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly demanding. I used up all my stores in my body and mind giving 150%. So I am starting week 9 of retirement.

Also my youngest daughter, her legally blind, former Marine husband and my two granddaughters moved back to Southern California where my SIL will be back on base as a civilian because of a job dropped in his lap. He had a good finance job up here in Northern California, but they really wanted to be back in the Temecula/Murietta area so off they went.

I have so many goals/responsibilities for being home. I realize I may have to go back to work at some point, so I am not wasting any time in doing what I should have done in 2010-2012 when I started my last position. My yard is looking great and slowly but surely I am reclaiming the house.

But today it's making a one layer German Chocolate Cake and potato salad, along with that Texas caviar? It is black beans, tomatoes, onion, roasted corn (leftover from last night), avocado and maybe some garbanzo beans, mild salsa with lots of cilantro. DH will be barbecuing steaks for his birthday dinner.

Just to refresh, DH has done virtually 100% of grocery shopping and cooking over the past 36 or so years.

I went down to SoCa for my granddaughter's birthdays (August 12, 18, turning 2 and 8) and will be returning next week for a trip to Disneyland with my daughters and granddaughters, and I think one SIL.

I need to read blogs and wrap my mind around the things I need to do to be able do stay home. It is definitely fall here in Humboldt and my 60 year old Japanese Maple is turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange and brown. Fall is my favorite time of year!

Have a great day!

Sick on Thanksgiving.....Ugh!

November 27th, 2014 at 11:12 am

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

2015 is bringing big challenges AND big blessings. I have been promoted and am running a 100 apartment assisted living facility. I love my job and consider myself very blessed when just a few years ago I thought I would never be able to work again.

My youngest daughter and her family are living with us for what is planned to be 2 years. My Marine son-in-law is losing his vision due to a rare disease called Stargardt's disease. Luckily having passed the 8 year mark he is eligible for military retirement. My oldest granddaughter is now 6 and my younger one born 8/12/14. They moved up late in September from the San Diego area.

My husband and I realize at 56, almost 57 in my case, we will not retire before age 70. We also realize this may be the only home we ever live in and thus are planning for that.

My current goal is to get my 401K signed up for before January 1st. We are using YNAB for budgeting and DH is actually using his phone app to put in grocery receipts. Hurray!

My Birthday Wish Came True!

December 22nd, 2012 at 03:20 pm

Today is my 55th birthday...(aaahhhh). I have been very sick for the past 9 days, but have still managed to work most days at least part of the day.

The last two years have been pretty much a free for all financially (as have the last two months). So I was hoping to talk to DH about finances, planning and him helping me out in the budget department in 2013.

We have been married over 34 years and I have done EVERYTHING pertaining to our finances. I love reading about saving money articles, grew up with very frugal parents, but I have not been that great at translating that into wealth. We have done okay muddling through, just think if we had a plan and stayed on the same page??

I take as much of the blame since I have a strong fabric addiction and have a hard time not buying for our sweet granddaughter.

But this morning, after DH made me breakfast, I paused the DVR'd Project Runway and told DH I wanted to talk to him about something. This always immediately makes him put up walls, but I asked him if he would be willing to help me with the planning and execution of a money plan.

I had gotten an Email from YNAB with their updates and now that I have a mini Ipad I think that I will be better about entering transactions. However, with DH doing 95% of food and household shopping, it was imperative he be on board.

Well guess what? He is!! I am so happy. It will mean upgrading to Version 4 and getting the apps for our mini Ipads, but I couldn't be happier or more relieved. We are going to make a reasonable budget and I took half the blame for our current overspending (last months and this month's AMEX bills have totaled over $9,000). No more impulsive fabric buying for me!

My daughter and granddaughter are back on the East Coast with my son-in-law for his deployment, so I am having a stress free Christmas. Along with being sick, nothing is really expected of me! I am watching Lifetime movies, drinking tea and juice and fooling around on my laptop!

Merry Everything! Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.

Any way to block that Chinese spammer??

September 9th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Messes up us being able to read blog entries, very frustrating!

OMG Almost Another Year Gone???.....

April 25th, 2012 at 09:02 am

Where is the time flying?

The past year has had it's ups and downs. The up is somehow we are surviving financially without my income. My disability ran out around December 1, 2011 and I could not bring myself to sign the unemployment form that said I could accept full-time work.

The other weird thing is that after my last post, my husband's "flu" turned into a 4 day stay in the hospital with pneumonia! And now that I am in South Carolina with my daughter, Marine SIL and granddaughter, my poor husband has come down with a very bad cold that has him very congested.

I noticed someone today saying they just made their monthly goal of updating at least once a month. That will be my new goal.

I am totally embarrassed to say I have NOT been paying attention to our money. I did put in my 2012 Roth IRA contribution in, but I stopped paying attention around the time I stopped following everyone's blogs closely! Hmmm.....think there is a connection?

My son-in-law has received orders to San Diego which means I will get to see my granddaughter more often for shorter periods.

I was called by my daughter for the help when Ally's day-care was less than desirable. She is so busy with weddings and photo shoots until she moves, so grandma to the rescue.

I packed up in 24 hours and drove cross country arriving on April 18th. It took me 5 days. I had a lot of time to pray and reflect on my life and things I need to work on (that includes money management!).

I also learned a lot of things about myself, the first that I can do it! I am 54 and drove cross country with my little dog. The first night was in Tehatchapi,CA. Then just over the New Mexico border. Then Oklahoma City, then Dalton, Ga, then onto Beaufort, hitting Metro Atlanta at rush hour. The traffic still moved much better than Bay Area rush hour!

I had a unique encounter with an artist who did beautiful African type art with recycled materials. We ended up chatting so long, he gave me the framed Ghana symbol for craftiness and intelligence. It was a special moment. My very shy daughter realized my ability to talk to anyone about anything can actually be an asset!

I am assuming the 5 Fitness challenge is 5 things...I already walk every day per my rheumatologist's orders. This morning I managed to get out of the house by 7:15 a.m. with everyone still asleep, even my dog who usually goes with me. It has been heating up with humidity going up too, so I need to get up and get out early or it is going to be too hot! So that means I need to come up with 4 more things. Mmmmm.
2. Chasing after granddaughter and walking with her while she rides her bike with training wheels.
3. Continue to eat as low carb as possible, which is difficult here. I am shocked at the prices of fresh produce!
5. Oh I know, go back to the core strengthening program...I had been planning to do that when I got home, but can at least stretch when getting home from walking each morning.

Until next time....PS It will not be another year!

Forgive me friends for I have strayed.....

April 28th, 2011 at 04:27 pm

I have just been overwhelmed with life. My pain got worse and worse until I finally asked my doctor to refer me to a rheumatologist in the practice. She thinks I have an autoimmune disorder, so I was put on new drugs and have more tests coming up.

On the other hand, I LOVE being home, taking care of the house and cooking. The only thing I have not liked is shopping since that always causes me a lot of pain or I should say did.

My new doctor put me on a prednisone taper that made me feel much better and it has continued along with the new drugs she put me on.

My sister challenged me to buy no food except perishables for an entire month. That month is going to be May. I have inventoried my pantry and freezer and am just about ready. I do need to do a little bit of shopping. I am almost out of brown rice and whole wheat flour.

So I am back to keep myself on track. I am embarrassed to say I have not been tracking spending and barely pay attention to money, which is ridiculous since I am probably not going back to work any time soon.

I have missed what is going on with everyone too!

Ode to Procrastination!

January 5th, 2011 at 08:25 am

I love looking at blogs of women who actually accomplish things…. here is my new favorite:


In thinking about Ally and YD on a long plane ride, I thought her Airpline Art Binder would be perfect to send with Ally to keep her occupied (which is nearly impossible these days, she is so busy, busy, busy).

I knew I had some stiff interfacing because 31+ years ago I had the same sort of idea, but an entire book, the directions I found at some Humboldt County fabric store. I had even started the little activity book, but never finished it for my firstborn.

I started digging this morning and found this:

and this

and this

All the fabric is horribly ugly so I am going to recut everything out with cute fabric from my stash, but I have one week! This is a test.....can I do it?

On the money front using coupons and careful planning, I bought a crapload of food last night from Safeway. I used to totally avoid Safeway except for some random ingredient we forgot at Winco, but with the new programs they have, and my careful coupon search, I was able to get some great buys.

My favorite was I had a rain check for Precious string cheese for $2.49 for 16. I had a $1.00 coupon from Sunday's paper, making it $1.49. Our favorite salad croutons were 10/10 at Safeway and they had a $.55 coupon for real California cheese. I picked up 3 grated bags for $1.76 a piece (my personal price until 1/11/11), making them $1.21 for 8 oz.

In Sunday's paper were coupons for Athenos Greek yogurt, which was on sale for 99 cents, I bought 2 and got $1.00 off making them 49 cents. I have never tried it, but like greek yogurt, so what the heck. Activa 4 pack was $1.88 and I had a 50 cent off coupon... anyway you get the picture. It was really fun!

Now I know some women and Jeffrey can do much better, but I am very satisfied.

So off to work on Ally's Busy Book, since they are going with the neighbors to the Discovery Museum's weekly play group in Eureka, and it will give me pretty much all day since they go out to lunch, and then it is nap time. I hope I get lots done!

Sort of, kind of offered a job!

November 20th, 2010 at 08:42 am

I visited a new hand therapist yesterday (as part of my ongoing comp injury/claim). Since I am a talker as is apparently the office manager, (who was filling in for sick receptionist), we got to talking and I mentioned I used to do medical billing. Are you looking for a job?? I said, "Well I do not want to work full-time". Her eyes lit up even more and she went on to tell me her part-timer was leaving to go back to school and here take this application and fill it out and bring it back to your next visit.

So I will pursue this. I really liked my hand therapist, who completely understood my workaholic ways, always wanting to be accomplishing something. After going back and forth about it I finally said, "Are you a Capricorn too". She laughed and said Yes! So she did understand me!

Therapist gave me some exercises for my cubital bunnel syndrome and trigger fingers, and has ordered up a couple of night braces for me. She thinks she can fix me up so I can go back to my workaholic ways with some modifications! So hopefully I will be able to garden next spring and will be able to get back to knitting and quilting and cleaning and organizing and all the other things I enjoy!!

On the frugal living front, I encountered a woman at Rite-Aid, who had a binder propped up in the seat area of the cart. I thought she was an employee going through and changing prices, but upon closer inspection I realized she was shopping. Being the naturally curious person I am, I asked what her binder was, getting closer to it.... she said it was her coupons. Her mother's women's group just had a speaker about using coupons and how to organize them. I have seen this method talked about on line, but never actually saw one. It was really cool, using baseball card sheet holders with tabbed categories making a very organized holder.

She told me it was very time-consuming and she was not quite sure yet if it was worth it. She did say if you could view it as a hobby, it would be easier. I can't even seem to get my desk organized, much less a coupon binder, but it is something to keep in the back of my mind when my organizing gene finally kicks in! I keep a handful of coupons in my wallet, and I do try to use them.

We still have $1300.00 left for the month for all expenses. So I think it has been a darn pretty good month so far.

Lastly, here is my dog Landon, suffering in his police uniform for Halloween. We and the poor boy are fighting fleas right now. We are vacuuming about 3 times a day, picking fleas off him 3 times a day, sprayed the floors, washed his bedding and got him groomed and dipped a few days ago. Now it is a matter of getting it under control. I will never skip Advantage again! ( I skipped it for several months actually).

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

August 17th, 2010 at 08:12 pm

First of all, I am so proud to say we did not eat out during our entire Tahoe visit. We did buy deli sandwiches in Reno while bridal dress shopping with MD. On the drive home, we stopped in Redding, CA to pick up some serving dishes we loaned for the family wedding, and I got deli meat, cheese and mayo along with some Costco rolls out of the ice chest and made sandwiches.

DH must be getting kind of used to me being a housewife, because he told me "I want 2" as he passed through the kitchen with another load of serving dishes, hauling them to the truck.

Monday was a mad work around the house day, unpacking, laundry, cleaning the house.

Today I cooked and helped DH prepare for his annual bow hunting trip. I baked peanut blossoms, made macaroni salad for the first time, garlic butter, shucked corn and prepared fresh asparagus for roasting.

Then I cleaned the kitchen up after he left. Whew this housewife stuff is tiring!

My disability check arrived on time, our rent check arrived late, but had the late fee added, so I deposited those yesterday.

Need to pay rental house payment tomorrow along with our gigantic AMEX bill. I had physical therapy this morning too. It has been a busy couple of days.

Hello from South Lake Tahoe

August 14th, 2010 at 10:57 am

Using daughters iPad. Missed Friday the 13th wedding. Unlucky migraine with accompanying severe nausea hit that morning so I missed husband's nephew's wedding. I felt bad as my SIL needed my help, but DH took over my duties in addition to his own barbecuing duties.

We have 3 uncooked tri-tips to take home. That was our contribution to the small family wedding. We also rented a house and have been eating here instead of restaurants.

Wedding was on the lake, and we are heading over to help clean up and DH and future SIL are thinking about a gondola ride up Heavenly.

Dh leaves for his annual bow hunting trip next week and daughter and granddaughter are heading down to pick up Marine SIL in San Diego. So I will be home alone for a few days.

My plan is to get a fall garden in, finish a baby quilt for oldest daughter's friend and sew buttons on granddaughter 's sweater I finished this morning.

Have a relaxing weekend everyone.

For the first time in my adult life......

August 10th, 2010 at 04:26 pm

I am unemployed. It's official, I just e-mailed my resignation after talking to my boss (my former employer is several states away). I just reviewed my blog entries and I have not even mentioned taking 3 weeks off work for medical leave. Since my comp injury 1 year ago, I have never taken time off work to try to get better. I finally decided to just take it even if the doctor did not give me total disability (I have been on partial disability for several months). Well my shoulders are much better, but my wrists are worse, so I am keeping this short!

My right hand has a nice little lump of a ganglion cyst and my left hand is numb when I wake up in the morning.

So after discussing with DH, we decided to bite the bullet for a while and let me try to recover or figure out some type of work other than medical transcription.

Now I really have to get frugal!

Tonight is barbecued chicken pizza and I hung out a load of laundry to dry. I went to physical therapy and now need to get packed for our trip to Tahoe tomorrow for a family wedding. The rented house is already paid for and I have menus planned for the entire family. Need to pack up the food I am taking and make a list of what to buy.

Wow is my life going to change. Any advice anyone?

Mother of the Bride..... again.....

August 4th, 2010 at 05:54 am

DH and I were running errands on Saturday, both starving and decided to go ahead and be cheap and have hot dogs and soda at Costco instead of spending more money.... Good thing too! Middle daughter's boyfriend called and said he was at our house! What? They live 6.5 hours away in Reno, Nevada. He needs to talk to us. I freak, call oldest daughter and ask if MD's BF if in trouble? No she says.... now you must wonder what is wrong with me. You see he was just here a week before for a friend's funeral and he was turning 30 in a few days. MD and BF have lived together on and off for 9 years! Well his brother and nephew were down from Washington State. We told him we would meet him at Starbucks. By the time we got there, we pretty much knew what it must be. Yes, he asked if he could marry our daughter. DH said yes before he even finished asking.

Sunday BF and his mother came to our house for breakfast before he took off for home. My stomach was in knots all day. What if she said no?? She called at 6:30 p.m. very excited. She said yes.

For some reason I thought this would be a calm wedding situation since they have been together for so long and are 29 and 30, will both be 30 by the time of the wedding, but NOOOOOO!!!! MD and YD were on the phone giggling and crying and she wants to go dress shopping next week with her sisters and I. Luckily we already were planning to go to Tahoe for a wedding on Friday the 13th, so we are leaving a day early so we can all go dress shopping together. She already is searching for venues, trying to figure out the guest list. This is day 2 of engagement!

YD's wedding was planned and executed in 13 days since SIL was deploying for Iraq. We had 13 days of craziness and then had a lovely wedding. In this case, I think we are having 10 months of craziness (tentative date 06/11/11).

Luckily I have our contribution saved (same as the cost of YD's wedding), and am thinking I should put the same amount aside for OD just in case. I'm sure MD's wedding will cost twice as much as YD's. Luckily we are locked in to the cheaper amount! Ha Ha. MD was happy as she said it was more than she was expecting from us anyway.

YD has one of her photos on a billboard at Camp LeJuene, NC, as the welcome home for a battalion from Afghanistan. She had taken the picture previously of a couple and the wife submitted it in a contest and they won! We are very proud of her.

The Ax Officially Fell

March 13th, 2010 at 08:16 am

Thurdsay meeting at noon in the admin conference room. Boss had to scramble. I contacted her on Tuesday and said I wanted to meet with her. Well she must have figured it out. The outsource HR person was on speaker phone during our meeting encouraging us to apply.

I was completely prepared for the meeting with my 4x6 card with my topics/questions to cover. A coworker who works at home who was at the meeting (I was not sure until I walked in what kind of meeting it was going to be) told me I was very prepared and calm with my questions/topics.

The only real issue I have other than the way this entire episode is being handled is that the HR person did not tell the truth about our flexible spending accounts. She said the money was gone on my date of termination (still yet undetermined). I said, "So you mean I have to submit all receipts by my termination date?" She said yes. That did not sound right to me so yesterday I called the administrator of the plan, which is also the administrator for our health insurance. She told me the facts correctly which are I have until 12/31/2010 to submit receipts/bills. The medical expense must be INCURRED by my termination date.

Another interesting little tidbit. I can spend up to my entire years election, not just what has been taken out of my check so far. So 3/23 I have a female exam, 3/24 I have a vision exam and 3/25 I have a dental exam. I am going to get new classes, contact for a year and then buy as much over-the-counter stuff as I can. I called in a bunch of drug refills even though I don't need them yet. Why wait to run out??

On the other hand I am almost assured of getting on with the new company (coworker heard doctor I mainly transcribe for tell the COO he wants me doing his work with the new company) and will be working from home again. Yippee!! After working "in-house" at the hospital for 15 months, I am definitely ready to go back home. Also I am paid by production so that I can get up and stretch and take a walk and load the dishwasher and throw clothes in the washer, etc. The level of lines to produce to be considered full-time with benefits is very reasonable and I know I can produce enough after I am used to the new software in 4-6 hours depending on the dictator. So all in all I am going to be much happier.

However, my focus on food has slipped over the past few weeks, probably because I have been waiting to find out what is going on with my job. Also I was surfing food sites and blogs much more last month and I think I was so inspired by all the cheap foodie blogs out there. Not that I have been spending, we have just not been enjoying our food as much. Time to get back into that and being creatively frugal. Just last week we bought those new baby heads of lettuce at costco and we have not used one head!! Because we are out of salad dressing and let's face it I can't make basil ranch dressing like Tomaso's can. So this morning I am running to town to get some milk and half and half at Costco, then over to Winco to get a few things including Tomaso's basal ranch dressing where it is the cheapest in the area.

All of my homemade bread, cookies and muffins are gone, finished off Thursday so I am going to do some baking today and tomorrow. Now that I know bread slices just like commercial when it is completely cool, I cannot stand the thought of paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread or $2.59 or whatever the double pack at Costco is. We do not eat that much bread so a homemade loaf lasted a while in the freezer.

Lastly DH caught a ride to Reno with MD's SI to pick up from our oldest daughter his truck. He will be gone a few more days, stopping in on one of our business to see how things are going. He filled 3 Rubbermaid large containers with wood so I could keep the fireplace insert going with a warm fire.

Oh and lastly, I upped the speed of my internet for $10.00 more a month to fastest possible and received a card in the mail (I completely forgot about) to get a prepaid $20.00 Visa.

Time to get up and get my frugal day started.

Oh I almost forgot! 5dollardinners.com has a garden form to keep track of when and what you planted. I know smart Excel people can make these up themselves, but I am not one of those smart people! I printed one out and already have my lettuce I started about 10 days ago to put immediately on the form.

Happy Daylight Savings weekend!

Every little bit helps!

March 8th, 2010 at 02:26 pm

Just called Direct TV and was shocked at how little our bill would go down over the premium package we have now. So I told the guy I was losing my job and he decreased our bill $15.00 a month for six months! Of course I may have to cancel the whole thing when the job loss happens.

We only spent $118.59 of our Costco Amex rebate check, put the rest on a cash card. We both had eaten too much at lunch so it was not fun at Costco. We ended up getting 2 large cans of tomato sauce, case of italian style tomatoes, 25 pounds of dried pinto beans, case of canned black beans, case of canned kidney beans and a case of carbanzo beans, soy sacue, 2 gallons of white vinegar, asparagus, red peppers, mixed nuts, cranberry juice, yellow onions, olive oil and puppy food to donate to Miranda's Rescue who are out there every first saturday taking donations.

We usually get at least $50.00 a month worth, but this time only got the one bag. I feel bad about that, but until I know what we are facing with Cobra, unemployment, etc, I have to be conservative.

I crashed and burned yesterday, had no energy, slept in until 7:30, etc. DH made me a really nice barbecued steak dinner along with a coffee pudding with choco whipped cream from Tyler's Ultimate on Food Network. This is his new favorite show.

So back up and at work today. Tacos for dinner tonight with venison burger from the freezer.

I called my flexible spending people to see if they got my fax and I called to find out how to submit my contact lens receipts to get reimbursement for that.

I called the local vet to find out about rabies clinic because Landon is due. Luckily every Saturday from 12-1:00.

We had a cold snap with rain today and there is snow in the low hills of Humboldt County again. Hopefully it will not effect my lettuce seedlings!

My Orange debit card arrived

December 15th, 2009 at 07:30 pm

and so far I only have one signature purchase, even though I used it everywhere including Target where I spent $166.00 on Toys for Tots.

Anyone know what the trick is? I am afraid I am not going to get enough signatures for my bonus because the one signature was for a huge amount of money (new Riccar vaccum).

The girls will all be home for Christmas (hopefully my YD, SIL and granddaughter will arrive in time) and I am looking foward to that.

I received a surprise bonus for over $500.00 from my work last week along with my regular paycheck stub (direct deposit).

My SIL is not deploying after all. Unfortunately the kids just finished selling or giving way almost every possession since YD and granddaughter were moving in with us for the year. So they are starting over. They are still coming for Christmas and SIL will be flying back to SC, but daughter and granddaughter will stay here for a few months in order to build up their savings.

Carpets were cleaned today, house is shaping up pretty good with all the stuff we have gotten rid of, which is nice.

Putting off the inevitable (my five for the day)

November 29th, 2009 at 05:44 am

Got home last night from our trip. Something smells in my refrigerator, which is weird because as soon as I got home and started to put food away (that we took to Reno and our stop at Trader Joe's), I threw everything suspicious out, but it still smelled this morning. I guess that means I have to take everything out and wash it out. That is usually my first weekend of the month chore.

My five:
1. Pay December bills.
2. Figure out rest of December budget.
3. Do paperwork for Flexible spending and 401K since papers must be turned in Tuesday by noon (this involves going to paycheckcity.com and figuring out how much can I put in my 401K and still have a big enough paycheck to cover whatever it is we decide my paycheck covers).
4. Okay which means doing the 2010 budget, crap by Tuesday??
5. Laundry.

Another five:
6. Clean bathrooms (okay at least the sink and toilets).
7. Prepare Seattle Filmworks roll of film for mailing (picked up mailer at Ace while buying Ally's tent/tunnel play combo, have no idea what this roll of film is, have had it laying around for 10 years, who uses film anymore?).
8. Pick up free 8 x 10 at Walgreen's (THANKS DEB!).
9. Plan week's wardrobe and hem navy pants? (Maybe I will do that next weekend...hem the pants anyway).
10. Watch Dexter!

Oh one more thing:
11. Submit over the counter receipts to FSP for this year.

DH is sleeping, I got up at 5:00 a.m. so I guess I'd better get started on this financial stuff!

PS Trader Joe's has some yummy oreo type cookies with peppermint filling called Trader Joe Joe's. I bought 2 boxes! They had an open box at the checkout for customers to try.... well yes I bought 2 (for work). I am a classic sucker.

Thoughts on September

September 28th, 2009 at 04:30 pm

September is traditionally the most beautiful month here on the North Coast of California and this year was no exception. However, looks like the temperature is going below 50 the next couple of nights so we need to harvest our butternut squash.

We have decided to not waste our time on tomatoes next year. The time, effort and water used to try to eak out a few is just not worth it. Besides FIL grows them 1.5 hours south of us and we get plenty once he starts harvesting.

In fact this weekend DH made salsa and jalapeno poppers from his dad's garden bounty. Earlier in the week I had made roasted tomato sauce for a chicken cacciatore dish, enough for our elderly neighbors next door too.

Has anyone noticed that 3 paycheck months don't actually seem like the extra check comes that month, but the month before or after? This month it was before and I was able to save $2200.00 this month.

Also our renters owed us the summer rent money since they were out working all summer. Another $1300 now and another $1900.00 by October 1st.

Then yesterday YD told me that when my SIL gets his re-enlistment bonus they are paying us back the money they owe us. So that is a nice surprise. I told her I would rather they just save it and we won't buy them Christmas presents this year, but she said no, they want to pay us back. Why is it so hard to take money back from my kids that I loaned them??

So the big news is that DH has agreed on a frugal year with a goal of saving a fairly large amount of money by 9/1/2010. My two older sisters and I have challenged one another to an entire year of buying only what we need, no wants... Of course I had to let him buy the gun safe at Costco (actually I encouraged him to buy it) since we really should have a gun safe now that we have a granddaughter visit (not that we keep loaded guns around, but you get the idea). It will also be a place to keep our important papers as it has a few shelves in it too.

A Kohl's opened up yesterday in our old Mervyn's at the mall. We did not go, nor do I actually plan to since I am embarking on a no spend year. Mmmmm..... that doesn't start until Thursday October 1st and I do have a doctor's appointment in town tomorrow after work.....NO!! I don't need anything. I can make it a year without new clothes or shoes or socks or under garments and so can DH!

My one exception to this rule will be yarn. I started Ally this over the weekend:

But I will only buy yarn for a specific project that I am starting immediately like this ladybug coat. I hope to have it done by Christmas and hopefully before.

This month's spending:
Food/eating out: 431.89 (eek a little high except we have been feeding our neighbors too at least once a week, 2 meals out).
Gasoline: $327.80 (we both filled up over the weekend, mine will last 2 weeks).
Household: 788.47 which includes cleaning supplies, garden spending, pets and the above gun safe.

I ordered up Direct TV which will be installed Thursday October 1st. That is going to save us $17.00 a month over cable with more High def channels, more normal channels and fox business (that we don't get now, it was going to cost more, which motivated me to finally call Direct TV) so I can watch Dave Ramsey and stay motivated (I love personal finance stories).

My beauty money saving tip

September 16th, 2009 at 05:26 am

Have your husband, partner, significant other or friend color and cut your hair for you. I waited for DH to get home from work Saturday morning to color my hair. He has never done it before and the last time I did it myself, when I washed it out I still had gray, so I figured he would do a better job. He did. He then trimmed it off for me too. Savings: $60-80. I used Nutriese Garnier Golden medium brown. It was a shade darker with a little more pizazz than my own hair. I found a coupon this week in the Sunday paper and it is on sale at Rite-Aid so I will be purchasing my next box for $3.99.

Now I gotta go find some change to pick up!

Weekly spending/Valentine's Day

February 15th, 2009 at 08:44 pm

My Valentine's Day was uneventful except for 1 big thing! DH was out of town working, but he called to say he wished he could be home to make me a nice dinner. He then told me how much he appreciated how hard I was trying to stick to the budget and get our savings back up.

Now maybe this doesn't sound that big, but most of the time I feel like a receipt nazi, hounding him for every receipt, constantly talking about saving, saving, being frugal until I'm sure he would like to gag me! So it was nice to hear he actually appreciates it!

I had an almost no spend week. I spent $3.00 at a back sale for The Boys and Girls Club being held at work (hospital). I bought cupcakes for a few coworkers. They were 2/$1.00.

Otherwise, we have not grocery shopped now for 8 days, but I'm sure DH will stop into Winco tomorrow. I am certainly rubbing off on him. He took out a package of leftover noodles and cream sauce and a package of turkey Italian sausage and cooked it up along with the rest of the asparagus and a red bell pepper leftover from the week. It was pretty tasty even though the frozen cream/noodles mixture was leftover from a seafood dish that the shrimp and scallops were eaten out of. Ha Ha. Yes that's how cheap we are!

My lunch for the next 2 days is homemade mac and cheese with broccoli I fixed for myself Saturday night. I made a pitcher of iced tea and Crystal Light Raspberry lemonade that I mix half and half and take to work along with a container of milk and cereal for breakfast, nuts for snacks and an individual container of applesauce.

I am going to a luncheon on Thursday, which will cost me $12.50 and a couple of cans of food. The speaker is the chairman of Operation Homefront, a charity that is near and dear to my heart.

I have not spent any of my $100.00 allowance this month, so it will come out of that envelope!

I rolled more coins today with the help of my older sister (visiting from Salem, OR) and my mother, who lives nearby. I definitely felt like my mother's daughter, who couldn't come over until she took her clothes off the line outside!

Ended up with $109.50 and have dollar coins left to roll, but need to get some rolling papers from the bank. Note to self: As DH to check with the bank tomorrow. The bag is so heavy I could not pick it up since it included $54.00 in pennies!

Quick weekly update

February 8th, 2009 at 08:13 am

This would have been a total no spend week, but my doctor called and between the 2 of us, decided I needed a few more days of Bactrim. Otherwise, no spend week!

DH was out of town again for a few days, splurged and stayed at the Motel 6 one night. I deposited $138.00 in rolled change yesterday, along with my $100.00 allowance for the month. I discovered over $50.00 in my wallet so I figured that could do for the month.

I will be transferring over $3000.00 into ING today to savings. Woohoo. It's amazing what a mind set, a real job with benefits, sticking to a plan and having DH on board can do!

I am starting to feel like the kindegartner who didn't go to preschool and see to be picking up every bug at work. This week I was home on Thursday with a stomach bug. Luckily I was able to return Friday.

Found out my oldest brother is having a heart procedure (angiogram maybe) down at the SF VA. This finally also hit DH between the eyes (10 years older than us) and we are committed to exercise and eating less (we eat right just a lot!). I have been using our treadmill, DH has not. So looks like the treadmill is going to get more use. So instead of couch potatoes we will hopefully be treadmill zucchinis!

Today I'm sick

January 10th, 2009 at 08:39 am

so I can't come up with a catchy title. I figured I would write something up before I hunker down with the TV, DVR, some Kleenex and OJ, hot tea.... My cold is full-blown and DH is out of town.

I spent no money all week. The Costco soup DH bought came in handy, I ate the last of it Thursday night.

Thursday was potluck at work for a coworker who was leaving. I managed to make ravioli and sauce, took it in to work in the crockpot, turned on low until lunch. I received rave reviews, which is a total crackup because the raviolis I am totally embarrassed to say were WAAAYYYY past their use by date in the freezer. However, the delicious sauce, based on a jar of Trader Joe's vodka sauce covered up any lingering freezer burn taste. I'm sure the last of the fresh parmesan cheese we had on hand helped too.

There was about 2 bites left in the crockpot at the end of lunch break.

I didn't use all the sauce though and ate the rest last night with some more frozen raviolis that were NOT past their due date that are in the freezer too.

So DH left Wednesday for a business trip and drove the "back way" across rural Northern California, managed to hit an icy patch in the road causing some damage to the truck. Luckily my procrastination has paid off. I had not yet raised the deductible like I planned on. We have not had a claim that was "our fault" in 21+ years. Boy do I feel old writing that. 21 years, most of you have probably not even had auto insurance for 21 years.

OD called me from her bed in her new bedroom this morning at 7:00 a.m. The sun was coming up! She "locked in her rate" at 5.75% for 30 years, which is not maybe what she could have gotten now, but she is happy with it, so I did not say anything. She plans on living in her new home for as long as she can see into the future. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with a lovely master suite. DH and my bedroom is on the first floor so as we age, we don't have to climb stairs (of course we have about 20 to go before that is a concern).

I have not been this sick with a cold for a long time so my plan is to do nothing but relax and watch TV (DVR movies) and drink juice and tea and blow my nose. If I feel energetic, I may knit, but probably not!

Lowering limits/Credit Scores/Credit Reports

January 4th, 2009 at 01:59 pm

So after my last post I did order my credit report and guess what, there is a "ding" on it. It was a credit agency in NC for Progress Energy Carolinas. Well I live in California, but my SIL and YD and granddaughter all live in NC. So I called them and asked if that name was familiar. My SIL said it was their old water company when they lived in an apartment, before they bought their house.

The report was made October 2008. My DH and I did cosign for YD who was 19 with no income and my SIL was in Iraq when we moved her back to start college and await his homecoming. SIL immediately ordered up his credit report and the "ding" was not on his report. YD was ordering hers up next and I have not heard from them yet on that. They insisted they paid up everything when they moved to their house.

The interesting thing is I would not known if the whole HSBC letter had not come and I felt motivated to find out what my limit was because I blogged about it. (By the way, my credit limit was also $10,500).

Good idea Ima, I may give them a call. First I need to find my credit cards in my file cabinet. I always throw new ones in there that I don't use, but yes I have decided to make a small purchase occasionally to keep them opened.

So my advice, it's a good time of year to order up your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com

It costs $7.95 to get your FICO score, which I did not do, but free to get your report from the 3 different reporting agencies. Unfortunately I could only get one because I have a hyphenated name and the other 2 companies would not give it to me online.

Wow I am part of the new club!

January 4th, 2009 at 11:22 am

What new club? Well I received a letter on Friday from HSBC saying they were lowering our credit limit. We have not used the credit card in 3 years or so. I have to say they lowered it to $300.00 which is really low considering our limit was $10,500.

Oops just reviewed DH credit report and it says it is closed. I must have had one in my name. Something tells me it is time to order my free credit report and get some things organized and figured out.

I watched Clark Howard's first show on Headline News or CNN or one of those. He did say that lowering our credit limit will effect our FICO score. Normally I would not care, but with interest rates so low I am considering refinancing our house since it is currently a 7/1 ARM from ING Direct with 5 years to go.

I think it's time to get off the computer and start getting some financial records organized!

Frugal weekend/French Toast Casserole Recipe

November 23rd, 2008 at 07:23 pm

Frugal list for the weekend:
1. Breakfast leftover recipe from below, frozen and reheated in microwave both Saturday and Sunday.
2. Homemade chicken soup made from leftover roast chicken carcass, carrots, potatoes, the last of the celery, onion and swiss chard from my mother's garden (2 day process).
3. DH trimmed my hair this morning.
4. I did my own waxing...
5. Rented 3/$3.00 movies that are not new releases, but we had not seen.
6. Bought a can of frozen OJ instead of a carton.
7. Received a $3.00 off coupon for next Safeway visit when buying #6. Promptly went in and used it to buy a 4-pack of Skinny Cow cones that I passed up when buying the OJ because I thought they were too expensive, $4.50 down to $1.50! Usually I forget I have a coupon so glad I went right back in and used it.
8. DH split a pack of turkey lunch meat from Costco and vacuumed sealed the second package so it would not go bad before we ate it up.
9. Spent $20.00 on a turkey for Thanksgiving which is what we are contributing towards family dinner at the in-laws.
10. Had steak, roasted rosemary potatoes and carrots/cauliflower for dinner with enough steak leftover for tomorrow. Steak from freezer.
11. Treated doggies with Frontline bought on line for way cheap in bulk that we drew up in a syringe ourselves.

French Toast Casserole (great for making the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas for easy pop in the oven breakfast).
1 pound italian/french bread cut in cubes
8 ounces cream cheese (I use that low fat neufatschel cheese)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional (I would use almonds if using almond extract, but have not tried it)
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Place 1/2 of bread cubes in 9 x 13 greased pan. Microwave cream cheese until melted. Stir in half of the sugar and the extract. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes (or dab it around). Sprinkle nuts over cheese layer. Top with remaining cubes of bread. Beat the eggs, milk, cinnamon and melted butter. Pour over bread cubes. Let sit overnight in fridge or freeze at this point. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve with syrup, fruit or powdered sugar.

NOTE: If frozen, take out of freezer night before, then bake as usual. Leftovers also freeze well, reheating in microwave in individual squares.


Holes in my shoes/spending log/weekend brunch....

October 11th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

So DH bought 4 pairs of Wolverine DuraShocks aabout 10 years ago thinking they were slippers, for my daughters and I for Christmas one year (we all wear the same size shoe). The girls hated them and promptly handed them over to me. The most comfortable shoe I had ever worn. Well my 4th pair is finally starting to look pretty shabby. I had an appointment and decided to wear my black slip on naturalizers. I was sitting and realized they felt a little funny on the sole of my foot, I took the shoe off turned it over and low and behold a hole! I checked the other and sure enough one on the right shoe too!

Time to buy new shoes. I hate buying shoes, hate, hate, hate it. DH needed a break and decided to go with me. Ugh, the cute ones slipped on my ankle. Another was just ugly. Another was too tight in the top of the foot area and slipped on my ankles. I finally ended up with two pairs of leather ballet slippers and a pair of clogs because I was sick of the slipping on my ankle. DH pointed out clogs would not slip on my ankle, why didn't I try a pair?

The older I get the more I need comfortable shoes, so what can I say, 3 pairs of Clarks for $169.42 and that was with a 20% off discount. Ugh. Hopefully I can go another 5 years or so since I can still wear the Wolverines and the naturlizers around the house.

Onward to Costo where I exchanged the jeans for a "short" pair since they were just too long and picked up an additional brown pair since I have been offered the supervising position of my current job, which means I have to leave my house and drive the few miles to the local hospital and work "in-house". Double ugh! So I am "trying it out" and will work 3 days a week for a few months to figure out if I can committ to it and if my body can stand working so much. Luckily my boss is very understanding about it and if it doesn't work out I will go back to my contract position. But with times being what they are I think I really need to give it a go. The health insurance and retirement would be a nice thing to have (well theoretically anyway!).

Gas was $3.6999 a gallon yesterday and was down 4 cents today when DH filled out the truck.

It was so cold that I stopped at a local coffee drive-through and got a latte' but I have gift certificates so it cost me a dollar in a tip.

Today DH invited his parents, his brother and SIL from out of town and SIL's mother all to brunch tomorrow along with an additional brother. So we went to Safeway (since our usual Costco and Winco are 15 miles away) and spent 56.61 on brunch items and a $10.00 bottle of wine. Oh yeah, that's why we rarely shop at Safeway.

So spending log:
10/10 Gottschalks shoes -169.42
Gottschalks, Columbia fleece zip jackets-$51.46 (29.99 x 2 x .20 discount + tax) DH and I got new ones.
Costco - 68.95, (lunch meat, milk, avocados, bottle of pinot grigio, an additional pair of pants, 2.5 pounds cheddar Tillamook, and tub of salad lettuce.
Costco - Toyota Camry fill-up 53.00
Coffee - $1.00 tip

10/11 - Safeway 56.51
Costco - Truck fill-up $73.00 (DH estimate, too cold to go dig the receipt out of the truck)

Brunch menu:
French toast casserole
Clark's quiche
Sausage potato Casserole
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
Raspberry Almond Coffeecake (substituting blackberries grown wild locally).





DH is making 2 quiches, one as the recipe calls for and substituting venison sausage for the ham. The other one with broccoli and sausage.

It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks!

October 8th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

Spending log:
10/04: Lunch out $21.00 (oh yeah that's why we don't eat out much, but is was yummy!)
10/04: Costco - $108.70, (what?? oh yeah, 2 extra bags of puppy food for the rescue group out front, new pair of jeans,then the usual food purchases).

10/06: Safeway- $5.00 or so.

10/08: Safeway - $15.00 or so.
Where are those receipts??

Anyway so I already quit the new job. I was using the mouse too much and my back and right shoulder were so bad I knew there was no way I could continue the job. I'm not 30 anymore and my body does not like sitting at a computer for 8 hours using a mouse intermittently.

However, my supervisor at first job is leaving so there will probably be more regular transcription, which is a bit easier at this point. Voice response is not quite there yet. Well okay maybe there for perfect dictators, but mumblers and stumblers, you might as well just type it yourself.

Okay I know things are bad. My brother and his family are not going to Mexico for Thanksgiving for the first time in 7 years. They cannot afford it.

My middle daughter asked for a raise in her contract after 7 years at the same rate for a group of docs and not only did they refuse, they only want to pay for keystrokes, not what prints out on the page. I may be talking in a foreign language to some, but there computer programs that use short-cuts for transcribing, such as typing "tp" and "the patient" prints out on the page. She has decided to give up her flexible lifestyle and get a "real" job. Luckily 911 dispatchers make decent wages and she has 3 years experience.

She passed all the testing and was offered a conditional job (based on passing lie detector, fingerprinting, etc) right when we found out we were having an addition to the family. She stupidly passed up the job knowing she would want to stay in NC for an extended period of time like I did. Of course she is kicking herself now. Should have taken the job and asked for a week off and it would probably have been granted.

OD was at her new job for 2 months when new granddaughter was born. When hired, she told the docs (she is an ultrasound tech) what she wanted a week off for her first niece's birth. What could they say, they are perinatologists..... of course she got the week off.

Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, right?

DH killed a buck last weekend so between that one and the one SIL got last week, our freezer is full. You can only take 5 pounds of dry ice on an airplane, so he could not take that much venison home, but he took what he could.

Okay the doorbell just rang, thank goodness the dogs were in the back yard and not in the house. Second time today a little boy has arrived at my door selling something. First was a raffle ticket, I gave a buck for that. This time I don't want that Boy Scout popcorn, but it was the cute little boy across the street so I just gave him $5.00 in lieu of the yucky popcorn. Trying to eat low carb anyway! Time to stop answering the door!

Spending log/New job

October 3rd, 2008 at 03:33 pm

First spending:
10/1-gas fillup for truck $85.16 Costco
10/1-prescriptions $124.16 (asthma inhalers, migraine pain pills)

10/02-Grocery store for tea, sugar cubes and cream for our coffee, estimate 10.00 since DH left this morning to hunt and I forgot to tell him it's a new month and we are keeping track of everything again.

So I have a new job. My current contract has been a bit slow in paying and I think it's time for back up income. So I applied on Monday and by Thursday I was training. I guess my testing went pretty well. It will be interesting to see how much I make. It is editing per line (medical records). I have not done this before, so as long as it is more than an office job, I will be happy. Besides it's better than leaving the house every day and having the costs incurred with working outside the home. It will take a good month for me to get my speed to optimum.

Our new checks came for US Bank today. DH feels like he doesn't need a separate account for groceries anymore. I am not sure how this is going to work, but I am willing to try it. Since we are both being pretty frugal and are committed to it, hopefully it will work. We should know by the first of the year and can always open another one if we feel we need to.

I am going to get back on YNAB which went totally haywire with me being in NC for 6 weeks. Starting back up today.

My computer is having memory issues, it's very annoying and is starting to freeze up. Using the internet seems to really suck it up. So I have a computer guy coming next week to work on it. Luckily that is tax deductible since I am self-employed.

Where is Contrary??

September 24th, 2008 at 01:17 pm

Anyone know? I still have her frugal gardening site in my favorites, but there has been nothing since October 2007 posted and nothing here.

Settling back into life. Made a huge casserole (will we ever be able to NOT make a huge casserole) with pasta, the last of the homemade tomato sauce from FIL's garden last year, nonfat ricotta and low fat mozzareela and some leftover roasted veges along with turkey italian sausage. I ended up giving a bunch to my mother. So it ended up being two dinners for DH and I and 2 lunches for me.

Today I am making a crockpot dish from the crockpot365.blogspot site. Mongolian beef. I am using the linked recipe since I did have Hoison sauce in the frig.

DH is being very cooperative with my frugal/healthy cooking (well okay healthy for us). I am making a brown rice pilaf to go with the beef and steamed cauliflower. I made nonfat milk instant choco pudding last night so we will have that for dessert.

I cut up a small watermelon for snacking, but need to run to the store today to get lunch meat for DH's lunch. He normally eats out lunch every day so this is a huge change for him. Safeway is running their deli meat in California for $4.99 a pounds, well a few of them anyway including turkey, which is what I will be purchasing.

Payroll work is finished for the day, the front is watered, dinner is in the crockpot, time to get back up and start cleaning. Being gone for 6 weeks means dusting and mopping are needed desperately even though DH did pretty good on keeping up with house pick up and sweeping doggy hair.

Beautiful sunny Northern Coastal California day!

Back to Real Life

September 20th, 2008 at 07:16 pm

Okay one of the biggest events of life has happened, we enjoyed it (probably a little too much) and it's time to get back to financial reality.

I spent 6 weeks in North Carolina enjoying my new granddaughter and spending way too much money (rented a house on the sound side and another on the beach side of the outer banks, rented a car, tried to economize on food, but did eat out some.

The sunsets in North Carolina were beautiful.

DH flew out twice because he was convinved the baby was going to come early so he had to fly home and then back a week later. Okay he didn't HAVE to, but how could he miss the birth of his first grandchild?

Our older daughters came to. It was wonderful. Yes it's true, this 6 day old baby girl smiled responsively.

The first thing I did when I got home was download and balance our checking accounts and AMEX account. I paid all our bills on line. DH would call and tell me what had come in the mail. He is worthless on a computer, so that was the easiest.

Next thing... clean the master bathroom. Nothing further needs to be said. Luckily DH is deer hunting so I have 5 days to reoriente myself to Pacific Standard Time. I woke up the at 4:30 this morning, which was better than the 3:30 a.m. the day before. Trying to stay up past 8:00 p.m. is tonight's challenge.

So for the rest of the year... no spending, well except for Walgreen's for photos. If you order online by tonight and put "half" in the coupon code box, your photos are half price, but you must spend at least $10.00. I had over 200 photos to print.

One of those rare days on the North Coast

April 11th, 2008 at 06:06 pm

of California... over 70 degrees today. And what was I doing? Running errands in town. Went to lunch with DH, took a thank you gift (brownie bites from Costco) to DH's insurance agent who helped me get his Cal-Osha Injury Prevention Plan done.

Then I went to the fabric store to find something to make latest Ally quilt more girly. I found some lavender flannel gingham to put in between the rows. I used a 50% off coupon to get the backing for the quilt in the last post. I am spluring and having that quilt professionally quilted by a fabulous artist who uses a machine, but she is very good with the machine!

Tomorrow is a sock knitting class I plan to go to, but in the meantime, we have a dinner invite at our neighbor's house.

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