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Another epiphany....

April 3rd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Every year I start out gung ho on tracking every penny and usually by March/April it becomes overwhelming.

My epiphany is I spend too much time on the internet reading, tracking my spending, planning and not enough actually doing!

Case in point: DH drove up to Oregon to do some maintenance on our rental home. He called and said let's grab a rice/bean/cheese burrito when I get home (Lent). Well I had spent a few hours yesterday entering receipts into quicken and YNAB (don't ask). I started thinking I don't want to spent $15.00 on a couple of so-so burittos at the local Mexican food place. What is wrong with me? My BFF is half mexican and gave me her grandmother's rice recipe and we have canned beans. I checked the frig, yep have tortillas. Wow I even have sour cream and TJ's chips, plus we always have Tillamook cheddar cheese.

I had all the ingredients for the rice including an open container of chicken broth in the frig. So by the time DH drove up an hour or so later I was finishing up the ingredients and was heating the tortillas.

I did so well in February with food when I was in a challenge with my sister, so I need to have that mind set all the time!

My job ended Friday the 26th of March and I received my last check yesterday. I am working on contract until the outsourcing company takes over the hospital transcription department. I have been offered a job Tues-Sat 8-12 with the company. I am happy to have a job, but do not feel the great relief I thought I would feel after finally talking to the HR department. I am apprehensive as I hate change!

I am going to start using envelopes to budget instead of tracking every penny. That way if I have leftover money in an envelope I know we did well. If I run out or look like I am running out, I know I need to be careful. Till Debt Do Us Part is sinking in.....

I did splurge on Easter books for:


But then she is my only grandchild and lives so far away. Easter really snuck up on me this year so I ordered from Amazon yesterday and paid extra for the books to be delivered today.

I would love to go back to the East Coast for a visit before they come at the end of June, but at this point with starting a new job I just don't know when I can fit it in. I know it is only 2.5 more months, but it has been 2.5 months since I saw her last (and could hold her and kiss her and read to her) and I am having painful withdrawals! Luckily we both have webcams so I do get to see her and talk to her, but she seems more interested in my dog than me!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Life goes on....

March 19th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Today was payday and along with my automatic deposit form was another check for 3 days of jury duty. I had completely forgotten about this after I had told my boss I didn't get paid, that was what 6-8 weeks ago? Anyway nice suprise.

I also called my comp carrier to find out what is going on with my shoulder claim and that I have not received any disability pay. I have been on half time for about 10 weeks.

My FIL fell Wednesday and ended up getting flown out of our area because we have no neurosurgeon coverage here. Luckily his "bleed" healed itself and he was discharged from the hospital the next day. DH had to drive to where he was flown and is driving his parents home tomorrow since his father needed to stay in the area another 48 hours just in case. He is 85 and stepped wrong off his tractor hauling horse manure to his garden!

However, now DH can go to Home Depot and take advantage of 26 cents brick type blocks for our garden edge and go to Trader Joe's and get some 2 Buck Chuck for cooking.

It's a warm beautiful day here on the North Coast of California, but the clouds are moving in tomorrow.





My tulips are in full bloom and there are bumble bees buzzing close to the ground driving my little Jack Russell nuts. I think he might be a little afraid of them!

I thought I had killed this peony last year, but it is almost ready to bloom.



And lastly, my Azalea is in full bloom. It is 1 year old.



Oops forgot to add, I added $1000.00 to my retirement funds today too.

The ax has fallen.... or is falling soon.

March 6th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Found out on 3/4 that I am losing my job at the end of the month. We got our AMEX/Costco rebate in the mail yesterday, $333.48. We are using it to stock up on staples. The freezer is pretty darn full. So I have revised my budget (other than rebate stockup) to $250.00. DH may be hitting a Trader Joe's next week and we definitely need peanut butter and a few other items we like to get there.

I am downgrading Direct TV and we are giving up garbage collection. DH can take it to work on dumpster pickup day which he generally has twice a week(our business). We just have to get into the routine. I would like to take this opportunity to switch cell phone plans too. All our kids have Verizon, so we have cut our hours tremendously. I should find out if they have a pay as you go plan. We are also asking the older girls and actually already did, to take over the insurance for one truck we loaned them that they can share permanently between them (it's nice to have a truck around). Between that I can squeeze at least another $100.00 a month out of the budget. Thank goodness it is almost gardening season and I will have time to invest.

If my stomach would just settle down I think I could come to peace with it pretty easily. I found on line that the Cobra Assistance is extended through layoffs that occur before 3/31/2010. Apparently you only have to pay 35% of your Cobra costs. I have an appointment Tuesday for my precolonoscopy appointment and my doctor's office said they could fit it in before the end of the month (employees of the hospital get any hospital costs written off).

So I guess I should say they are outsourcing my department (transcription). My middle daughter works as a contract employee for the same hospital and will not have the safety net I have, so I really am not happy they are not giving us much notice. But how radiology can tell their transcriptionist and HIM doesn't tell their employees, did they really think it would not leak out? I have known something was coming since last October (approximately), but had the signs as early as last June after I had only been at the hospital 6 months. My boss' attitude towards me change so drastically I was stunned. Then for a while in October she became downright rude and lately she has just avoided me as much as possible. So actually good riddance for that reason, but I work with the nicest bunch of people really. I will miss them.

So my plan is to study at AHIMA to get my certification in coding, which will be much easier on my upper body. I may have trouble getting a job with transcription because I have an open comp claim right now for my shoulders and neck. Same with individual insurance coverage, my broker said I may have trouble. So I will need to get on group coverage in what?? 18 months or so when Cobra runs out. 18 months should be enough time to figure that out.

Anyway there are many positives including taking more time to get physically in shape and be able to spend some time with my sisters who live out of state (Oregon, Washington) and daughers who live the other way (Reno, NV) and my YD and granddaughter who live way east (South Carolina, Coastal Beaufort).

Luckily the February food challenge with my sister made a switch in my head with food costs. We did "okay on food spending, but in February I took it to another level and started participating in shopping and cooking more, really watching the ads and even shopped at CVS with a few coupons. DH actually ate my food without dumping hot sauce on it first!

I have many, many projects to work on besides studying. My physical health (getting in shape, losing at least 15 pounds), my pictures of 31+ years of marriage, quilts, knitting, the yard both the flower and vege garden. I will not be bored! In fact I wish I could start now!

Today's plans are the library for some good books to read, Costco for stockup purchases and cleaning the house! Dh is still sleeping (it's only 5:00 a.m.) so I will pay bills (it was payday) and work on the budget until he wakes up (or just catch up on blogs!).

I worked at home for 10 years before taking this in-house position 15 months ago and I have to admit I was much happier at home with some flexibility in my schedule. And now with my aging mother I think it is even more important to have that flexibility.

So I would like to have prayer from those that do that I find peace and not worry and try to enjoy this time of transition (I have never in my 52 years collected unemmployment).

Happy weekend everyone!

Walgreen's free 8x10 photo today

February 25th, 2010 at 09:00 pm

Just wanted to let you all know. Hope everyone is having a great day!

We got hit again....

February 5th, 2010 at 02:51 am

Another earthquake at lunchtime today. DH is out of town, the wind is blowing so hard it broke a limb on the flowering cherry tree in the front yard. Now it is pouring down rain. The weather was bad enough that DH did not want to drive home from central Northern California over the mountains here to the coast.

It was 5.9 a quick jarring sensation then over. Not like the one in early January that went on and on and on. My little dog barked and stuck right with me.

I picked chard and kale out of the garden thinking I was making stir-fry and ended up just having salad with some chicken pieces I sauteed in a pan. Then I baked the chicken breast I was going to stir-fry. The weather is so bad I keep thinking we are going to lose power any time.

Glad tomorrow is Friday. Still have only spent the $5.00 on Starbucks Monday. So I have 3 points and $195.00 left for the month for food.

I went to Costco today to pick up a

February 4th, 2010 at 04:11 am

prescription and found a dime right in front of the membership area. (I think my granddaughter got ahold of my AMEX/Costco membership card). I managed to browse all the food demos and did not buy anything other than my prescription!

I made lentil soup in my crockpot before I left for work and it was delicious. It's amazing what a quart of chicken broth with added water, a package of lentils, a pound of italian sausage and half an onion can make.

A coworker's partner made her a 3 layer chocolate cake for her birthday and she brought in a large hunk to share. I took a thin slice home and had it for dessert after a bowl of lentils with a big glass of milk while I watched Lost that my brother-in-law recorded on DVD for me (since we don't get local channels with Direct TV...grrrr). DH is on a business trip. His costs are all deductible so I am not counting them towards the $200.00 limit I have set for us.

Tomorrow is our middle daughter's 29th birthday... gosh I feel old....



Ever the practical mother, I sent her a $100.00 Winco gift certificate. Her she is with my granddaughter (no she is not her mother) who loved to dig in my purse during her 6 week visit. Now if I can just find my AMEX card.

We made the National News

January 10th, 2010 at 02:52 pm

and not for being the marijuana growing capital of the world....

I have lived in California my entire life and I think this is the worst I can remember or maybe because it is the most recent.

I was sitting right here working on finances when the earthquake hit. It was hard getting to the door of my office, which I had closed to keep Ally out. My little dog was running down the hall. I scooped him up and got to the front door. My husband, Ally and daughter were in the dining room area where DH scooped up Ally and they made it outside behind me. Our hanging flower baskets were still swinging 20 minutes later.

Financially we don't have earthquake insurance because it is so expensive. No damage done to our house, but we are about 30 miles north of the epicenter.

Also DH pointed out that our half a case of water is not doing to do much, so we need to get an emergency kit made and put out in our shed or somewhere we can get to it.

Otherwise on the financial front, earlier in the day, we ran out errands and paid cash everywhere sticking to our cash only challenge for the year.

Staples was running a rebate on paper for $1.00 a ream after rebate. I ran out of paper this week (I don't use that much) and went in to get a ream while DH checked out at Winco (spent $41.92)and luckily they had a standing ad right when I walked in the door. So I got 2 reams (limit was 2). I think it may run through today if anyone needs it. They had other items that were $1.00 after rebate too.

We spent $42.37 at Costco, which included $12.27 for dog treats, so our total groceries for most of the week was quite low, but we have lots of meat in the freezer and a full pantry. So basically we bought milk, half and half, big bag of broccoli, big thing of salad lettuce, bananas, apples, tomatoes, yogurt, bread, lunch meat, Diet Rite raspberry soda, brussel sprouts and Gerber snack items for Ally.

DH just left to drive to town which was much harder hit, to check on his business and his parents who lost their old china and glasswear.

Ummm.... found my mistake

January 7th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I entered the AMEX payment as 1/1/2009 instead of 2010. Whew at least I found it. I have been using Quicken for the past 10 years or so.

However, I use YNAB for budgeting. I know it is time consuming to enter both, but until I am sure the newest version of YNAB is adequate for tax reports, I will continue to download into both. If I enter transactions every few days it is not that bad.

Okay I confess, last year I quit using YNAB around July/August when life got way too crazy planning both my mother's 80th birthday party AND my granddaughter's 1st.

I am not throwing any huge parties that I know of this year, so I am hoping to stick with it.

How can quicken be messed up already?

January 7th, 2010 at 06:01 am

It's January 6th, what is going on?? I made a $2000.00+ payment to AMEX and quicken is not showing it in either the AMEX account or the bank account it came out of, yet my bank account balance is correct, AMEX is not. What did I do??

Isn't this the year I am going to finally be organized and on top of things??

Maybe I should just start over with a new quicken file for 2010, especially since I cannot download Chase right now and need to make a new account. I don't really compare from year to year, well I do, but I print out at the end of the year a total spending category report.....

DH and YD are at a San Jose Sharks game tonight, and I am home alone with my granddaughter for another 24 hours. Today went good. She is the happiest baby ever. Hoping DH can stop at Trader Joe's on the drive home to pick up some peanut butter.

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 24th, 2009 at 01:30 pm

And all the other holidays too!

CreditCardFree's post reminded me of a stupid purchase I made at Mervyn's (closed so of course I can't return them) when things were on clearance, clearance.... I bought two cute sweaters that were a little small, but I'm going to lose weight right??? Okay so I am finally losing weight, but being petite (okay short), the shoulders just do not fit right. Ugh, now I have 2 sweaters to get rid of. I am hoping my daughters or sisters or someone can wear them. If not, off they go to donate.

Of course I could not return them, but I vow to not make any stupid purchases in 2010, time to begin!

My birthday was the 22nd, and DH bought be my first Ipod. I hate to say I was a bit underwhelmed by it until I realized I can probably download books on tape!! Then I started thinking about all the ways I can use it (apparently it has a record video feature), and the possibilities. Now I just have to figure out how to use it.

On the saving money side, DH spotted Foster Farms boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Costco yesterday for half price! They are dated 12/26 and they needed to get rid of them. Luckily the Costco butcher is a neighbor of ours and gave them to us for a little less for buying an entire case. We now have 108 chicken breasts for a little over $100.00. I think we are set for the entire year in chicken breasts!

DH picked me up from work and we went back and bought ourselves a Christmas present, a new reclining love seat for our TV room. We got rid of the old one (that was really ripped up and looking bad, but oh so comfortable) when we were planning on daughter and granddaughter living with us for a year while SIL was deployed. Now that deployment is put off indefinitely and they will only be here six weeks.

We sat and reclined in Costco at least 30 minutes deciding if it was comfortable since we will probably have it 15 or more years, making sure there was room between us for the dogs. Many people smiled and commented and one woman was downright excited, having I guess never seeing a reclining love seat. She said she wanted to get her husband a recliner, but did not want to sit away from him.

SIL and DH got it situated in the TV room and my dogs were so happy to have a love seat again, my little Landon jumped right up and spread out, I put a blanket on it first. I promised DH I would keep a blanket on the leather for the dogs at all times. At the same time, it is for our enjoyment and comfort and not to "look good".

I reminded DH that our new live on his salary alone was starting January 1st.

I am still mulling over the mechanics of how to organize things. I met my Orange Account purchase requirement at Starbucks.

My older daughters and SIL will all be gone on Tuesday, so I hope to really sit down and hammer the budget out. I did purchase the upgraded YNAB and hope to phase out Quicken. I may need to use it for our rental property though, still need to figure out that one too.

Winco gives local business the option of buying gift certificates at a 10% off face value for bonuses and we purchased $2000.00 worth. Between our chicken purchase at Costco and those gift certificates, I am hoping to keep household/food spending to $300.00 a month. We still have a fair amount of other protein in the freezer too.

We have our family altogether Christmas morning/early afternoon only due to SIL's entire family living here too. We are going to Children's mass today with SIL's family.

I guess I should quit yacking and get up and get ready for work. Have to be there in an hour. Hopefully off early, depending on the workload today.

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

I found a quarter

December 19th, 2009 at 02:16 pm

right by the sink in one of the lady's restrooms at San Francisco Airport yesterday.

We drove down to pick up YD, SIL the Marine, and our darling sweet granddaughter.

Down and back in one day is not easy, but well worth it. We paid for their flight home from South Carolina (since SIL is not deploying, YD and granddaughter are not living with us for a year), but that is their Christmas present.

With all the postings about found money, I just had to post mine. That's all.

Black Friday Spending

November 27th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

We are in Reno, Nevada at our oldest daughter's house along with Landon and Lola. MD came over and a friend drove up from Sacramento, so it was the 5 of us for dinner. DH spent way too much time cooking and he told me today, never again, (yeah we'll see). He says he spent way too much time to have mediocre food. Yes for his cooking it was mediocre, but then it was not his kitchen or tools, but hey the pie was great! (Recipe posted earlier).

So this morning OD is working a 12 hour shift at the hospital (her moonlighting ultrasound job), so DH and I decided to shop a bit until MD got up and met us for a little more.

The day started out good with Starbucks not having any decaf ready so DH got my coffee for free (daughters do not drink coffee, so we buy when we visit). I can only have 3/4 cup of regular coffee a day, so I got 1/2 regular and half decaf. $2.15 for coffee plus DH always tips $1.00 so today of $3.15.

Home Depot for new fake tree: $52.77. We are still using the tree that DH's neighbors (when he was a kid) gave us a few years back. You have to manually stick the limbs in and DH said he was throwing it away this year he was sick of dealing with it. We found the an acceptable one at Home Depot, that already had lights, but missed out on the 99 cent Poinsetta's. Oh well. Don't need to poinsettas. I NEED a Christmas tree.

From there we went to Ultra to get specials for OD that she was not able to get since she was working. Of course I ended up getting the eye stuff and face color from Bare Escentuals for myself too.

Ultra: $22.15 x 2=$44.30. Since purchase was limited to 1 per customer, DH was a trooper and came in and purchased one set too.

Then to Ace Hardware where they had a tent with a tunnel for $14.99. Just the thing for Ally! We had been hoping to find one and Ace had one at a very good price. While there we picked up 2 under counter fluorescent lights for OD (She said she has a Daddy-Do list for DH, and that was one of the items on it). Also walked by puffy mailers that I need to send off a roll of Seattle Filmsworks film that has been lying around for at least 10 years discovered while DH and I were purging and decluttering to make room for YD and granddaughter who are coming to live with us while SIL is in Afghanistan for a year. Did I blog about that??

Anyway total for Ace Hardware $33.90.

Then we met MD at a new shopping area called Legends that has a huge sports store called Scheel's I think it is. Ended up eating some breakfast there and bought granddaughter Ally a little soccer ball for a total of $23.00.

Then we headed to the outlets connected to Scheel's and that is where..... (hanging my head in shame)..... I made the mistake of going into Ann Taylor that was having 50% off everything including their already marked down merchandise.I ended up spending $48.09 ($5.00 was a donation to ST. Jude's Children's Hospital) on 3 sweaters. I could justify the makeup because I did need the undereye cover, mine is almost out... but 3 new sweaters was definitely breaking my buy nothing for myself for a year vow. DH was very sweet and thought I was being way too hard on myself. I said okay I can't buy anything unless it is 50% off at least. Okay, okay apparently I have no will power.

Then off to Osk-Kosh outlet where I bought Ally a pair of pink striped overalls just like her mom wore and 2 other cute little outfits. Total $36.70.

We then went into the Carter's outlet and DH finally had had enough. Weren't you just in that store he said as MD and I walked in. We both decided we should not spend anymore (she bought 2 tops at Guess and Ally another little outtit) so we turned around and walked back out.

Then we stopped at In and Out Burger where we spent $7.83 for lunch. DH dropped me off, MD went home to her dogs and I came home to catch up on the blogs.

Now MD is here with her dogs and DH is on his way to Cabela's. He is buying a gift for his hunting friend who gave us the truck (did I blog about that?). Anyway a 1999 Chevy Truck.... so he is getting him a nice back of truck mattress for hunting.

Okay the dogs are going nuts, must go now!

We are debt free.... except for the mortgage!

November 12th, 2009 at 05:03 am

I thought my 0% lasted until the end of the year. I was surprised with my last statement from our last credit card to see that I owed over $100 in finance charges. That's it. I transferred the money from ING and just paid it off in full.

I am embarrassed at how long it took us, but we are finally out of credit card debt. So now all we owe is our mortgage on our home and our rental home.

Our E-fund took a big hit, but with my buy nothing challenge for the year (personal spending), I am hoping it will be in a comfortable range before too long.

I can't even share the news with DH as he is asleep, still on East Coast time since he just arrived home yesterday after spending a week with:


By the way, I knitted the ladybug coat she is wearing. It is a bit long, but hopefully she will be able to wear it for a year. It is made out of baby alpaca yarn and the pattern is here if anyone is interested:
http://www.petitepurls.com/Fall09/fall2009_ladybug.html

We have started a new challenge tonight of how long can we go just buying fruit, veges, bread, milk and coffee. Our freezer is brimming with food that needs to be eaten including leftover party food from Ally's first birthday party in August.

Happy Veteran's Day to all our Veteran's, especially my 85-year-old father-in-law who served in WWII, my two older brothers who both served in Vietnam, and my dear son-in-law who is currently serving in the Marine Corp and is getting ready for his deployment to Afghanistan. He has not been overseas since 2006 to Iraq. 2010 is going to be a tough year for my family.

Can I do it?

October 26th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Attempting work today. Hopefully I make it through my 7 hours. That's all.

Swine flu is bad

October 21st, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I think I am going to survive, Tamiflu seems to be helping, that's all.

Umm maybe that Oregon trip was not so frugal after all

October 17th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Yesterday was payday and since I woke up a little early I decided to get up and check the bank accounts and go ahead and pay for the new washer and dryer. I process that payment at my bank web site, then I consider maybe I should go ahead and pay my AMEX bill.

Then the dilemma is should I pay everything that is owed to this point or just the balance due (closing date 9/30). I pay my Amex in full every month, but sometimes I pay several times a month so I don't have a huge payment at the end of the month.

Okay I will pay it all off, so then I download into Quicken the transactions. Costco, Coleman Co, AT&T, Direct TV, Costco, Comfort Inn, Comfort Inn, Costco.....wait Comfort Inn. The motel charged us??? We paid with gift certificates from our local radio station shopping show. We had to give them our credit cards in case we made a long distance call or something.

Grr.... get them on the phone, starting the conversation with them when DH says, "we didn't stay at the Comfort Inn". Fraud alert!! "Have your manager call me when she/he gets there at 7:00 a.m. please".

I immediately call AMEX and cancel my card, dispute the charges. I am fuming.... someone stole our information. I have been a victim of forged counterfeit checks several years ago, so I was very upset.

So I finally get off the phone with AMEX, am 15 minutes late to work. I call my mother's bank to check her VISA card to make sure there was no fraudulent activity since she also gave them her credit card (I am on my 80-year-old mother's accounts). No everything is fine on her account.

About 10:30 I realize Comfort Inn has not called yet, so I call them. Oh yes, she was just going to call me back. She remembers me, I was coming up for the US Figure Skating competition. Um... gulp... Yes "she is sorry, we did not call to cancel and they were booked solid so they charged my room"....

OMG I went to the wrong motel! No wonder Best Western Horizon Inn did not have a reservation for us when we got there (they had empty rooms though)!! That should have been my first clue.

"I am an idiot, I am so sorry". Assistant manager giggles and says "that's okay, I can refund you one night, but not both".

Umm yeah, I am lucky they didn't charge four nights of rooms since I also made my mother's reservation using my credit card.....

I'm telling you menopause does something to your mind. Luckily my dear sick husband was very nice about it. He didn't feel good enough to laugh, but told me "things happen".

So I might as well have set a match to a $100 bill. Ugh!

Another trip is planned, turns out to be frugal too!

October 15th, 2009 at 12:05 am

The Marine Corp 234th Birthday Marine Ball is on November 6th this year. Last year my granddaughter was 3 months old and I went back to take care of her so my YD and her DH could go (I had just flown home for 8 weeks after being there the first month after she was born).

This year my coworker grabbed that week off before I could... So DH is going back to take care of our little southern belle.




I found a flight on cheap tickets for $530.00 from here to LA to Dallas to Savannah, but it involved an overnight stay in LA. So he said try United Airlines (which is DH's business Visa Card). Their price was $630.00 out of here (which is cheap, we usually pay somewhere around $1000.00 for round trip from here to the Carolinas).

Anyway he says let's just check if we can use miles. Now may I just say we have never been able to use miles out of Humboldt except once when it cost us 40,000 miles to fly to Las Vegas. Otherwise there are simply no seats. We have to drive to San Francisco or Sacramento to use our miles.

So to humor him I pull it up on the computer and low and behold, we can book the round trip flight November 4-10th with miles. $10.00 fee and we splurged on the 5 extra inches of leg room for $79.00. Wow I could not believe it. First time ever. People must not be flying as much.

Now DH just needs to get over the flu that he came down with yesterday. DH is rarely sick so it is quite difficult. AND expensive. Yesterday he wanted Nyquil. Today he wants Thera-Flu. We were just at Walmart in Oregon (no sales tax)and I looked right at the Nyquil and thought we still had some... but no we don't. So yesterday I spent $8.96 on Nyquil and today $7.03 on Thera-Flu! Hopefully tomorrow he will not think of a different cold/flu medicine he wants.

Hoping I don't get it....

I ordered up the black yarn to finish up the ladybug sweater. I hope I get it by Saturday. I really want to finish it in time to send back with DH.

A frugal trip is planned

October 10th, 2009 at 05:37 pm

We are leaving soon for a trip up to Oregon to see my 10-year-old nephew participate in the US Figure Skating 2010 Western Regionals.

Our local radio station has a Saturday morning advertising/shopping show in which I obtained 6 nights (2 for us, 2 for my brother, 2 for my mom) at the local hotel for $44.00 a night. This is a $25.00 savings over the special price for skating visitors. I also purchased $40.00 worth of "blue money" for the restaurant across the street for $20.00.

One of my favorite quilt stores is in Medford and I am not even going to visit. Better to just stay away than fight urges that I vow to beat for the entire year (ending 9/30/2010). I am hoping to finish the red yarn portion of Ally's ladybug sweater over the weekend. My brother's family lives in Seattle, so this is a nice chance to get to see my nephew skate live and it is only 3 hours drive!

I am pretty sure the rooms have microwaves and I cooked enough oatmeal this morning for my breakfasts. We already have bottled water and I made iced tea to pack and take too. Still have some individual packs of that yummy trail mix from Costco with the M&M's in it.

While in Oregon which has no sales tax, we are making a stop at Walmart (closest from us is 1.5 hours) for some general merchandise including their almond face scrub. We were going to buy tires up there and have them put on but DH called the local chain tire center and they matched the savings so they are down being put on now. Cost $426.11 for 4 tires for my Toyota Camry.

DH is getting on board more and more and last night made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with the last of the ham cooked last weekend. He used the last 2 Costco sandwich rolls too. They were yummy with the addition of the last of the avocado and tomato. Unfortunately we ran out of milk and didn't want to get more since we are leaving town for a few days.

My friends daughter will be feeding the dogs:



Lola's old blanket that she curls up on to sleep at night (behind the love seat in the TV room) is in the new washer right now. It is so nice to not have to go to the laundromat to wash bulky items. Plus the last time we washed our bulky items it was about $5.00 a load!

It's a beautiful fall day on the North Coast of California, but a storm moves in Monday.

I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend.

Okay I confess....

October 5th, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I bought a new washer and dryer set on Saturday. However, we paid cash for the Whirlpool Duet set with the steam option. I am hoping to save money on dry cleaning and the water savings should pay for our garden next year. This was a planned purchase so should not count for the no buy anything for myself year.

I have been really down the past few days after seeing my granddaughter on Skype. She is growing so fast and we are missing so much. DH will probably travel to see her the first week of November. I cannot go since my coworker beat me to asking for that week off (she is going to a Nascar race) that the kids need us to babysit so they can go to the annual Marine Ball.

This is what makes me happy/sad:




I have not seen her since August 21st and will not see her again until the end of the year when I managed to get a week off. I hope Ally remembers me and greets me like this:



I am knitting this:


I should have it done by the time DH goes back to South Carolina.

Time to get up and use up the last of the zucchini in this:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/zucchini-gratin-recipe2/index.html

and then if I have enough energy left I am going to make this:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/shortcakes-with-warm-strawberry-sauce-recipe/index.html

Up and at em!

Dodged my first bullet

October 4th, 2009 at 09:39 pm

A new Kohl's opened this week in our area. While this may not be a difficult challenge for some of you, we have Ross, Sears, Target and K-Mart and now a Kohl's.

We received a $10.00 off coupon in the mail and DH needed some new T-shirts so we decided to go yesterday. First we went to our business for DH to make a schedule for the employees and take care of the cash register. Then we went over to his mother's house and had breakfast (I brought some bacon and some frozen french toast made last week to use up some bread). Finally it was after 9:00 a.m. and off we went. Well if we filled out a credit card application we received 20% of all our purchases that day and received another $10.00 coupon. DH and I both filled out applications so we had a total of $30.00 off purchases.

DH said he admired my goal of not buying anything for a year, but he thought it would be "okay" to get something. I admit I sort of looked but thought NO!

So we used the cash off to get my granddaughter a book and a Christmas Ornament. DH got about 10 new T-shirts at $4.80 a piece and my FIL's 80th birthday gift of an insulated looking long sleeve shirt with a matching Columbia Fleece Jacket.

So I did it, passed up the cute shoes, the Simply Vera Wang and the Dockers pants that would have been a nice addition to my work wardrobe (I live in jeans and T-shirts otherwise).

My five things for the day:
1. Got up, made coffee, let the dogs out and then tried to keep them quiet until DH woke up (we both rarely sleep in but wish we could).
2. Fixed the hem on 2 pairs of my winter wardrobe work slacks.
3. Doing laundry (this should count for more than 1).
4. Just got off the phone with Direct TV and got the HD football added for free after I screamed and yelled about their misleading advertising in their flyer and told them I would not pay the cancellation fee and it could go to collection for all I cared and actually it probably would fit a class action lawsuit if I could get enough people to say they had been misled too.
5. Going to go sit and knit and try to calm down after getting all worked up with the customer service people and getting transferred 4 times... yes 4 times before getting #4 resolved.

DH's 5 list:
1. Made breakfast.
2. Cleaned up kitchen really well including Clorox Cleanup on the drainboards.
3. Took a 1966 console stereo for the elderly folks next door to a secondhand shop since it still works and they hated to dump it.
4. Making split pea soup even as I type for same elderly neighbors for their dinner.
5. Has had lots of patience all day with menopausal me.

Today is the day...

October 2nd, 2009 at 01:47 am

My self-imposed 1 year not buying anything that I don't absolutely genuinely need. No clothes, no shoes, no socks, no undergarments. No new makeup, unless I actually run out of something. No new moisturizers (I probably have enough assorted brands to last 5 years). No books, no magazines..... No nothing!

I had my first evaluation at my job yesterday and had no negatives or any place I needed to improve. That felt good. Today I saw the worker's comp doc and I felt ready to bump back up to 7 hours a day. My shoulder is much improved.

We had Direct TV installed today saving $17.00 a month over our cable TV with many, many more HD channels too.

DH is on board for this year, which is going to really help since he does 95% of the cooking and household/grocery shopping.

Our Christmas present will be flying back to see our sweet granddaughter, oh yeah and YD and SIL too.

I miss being here...

September 7th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I so wish I could keep up with posts. If only I could get on at lunch time at work, but practically every site is blocked, even ones I need sometimes.

Yesterday was DH's birthday and tomorrow is our 31st anniversary.

Not sure what my problem is, but this is the 2nd month in a row that I entered my mortgage payment in Quicken and then failed to actually make the payment. Since my mortgage is held by ING, I just transferred from savings so it would be credited immediately. Then I transferred $2500.00 into savings along with making a payment to AMEX which is mostly Costco shopping and gas.

August was an expensive month paying for this:




But paying for the kids flight home AND the party was still cheaper than us flying to South Carolina, renting a house and a car for a week.

We also had 2 weddings and my mother's 80th birthday party this summer. Since DH and I did all the planning and most all of the cooking (my siblings all live out of state), they (the siblings) ended up paying for all of the party and the quilt I made for mom.

I am still trying to figure out what type of savings plan to start for granddaughter. College is already covered due to her daddy being a Marine (not sure how this works, but that is what SIL tells us). We are considering a DRIP or mutual fund or savings bonds.... have not made a decision yet, but need to soon. I told the kids that I was not going to buy my grandchildren crap, but would do savings accounts for them. We did buy a ladybug set of bath toys from Costco.com for her. That is a ladybug cake she demolished.

Our garden is still growing, just made a yummy zucchini gratin last night for both us and our elderly neighbors next door who were happy to get a home made meal (made mashed potatoes and baked pork chops, homemade rolls). I should say not frozen first. Their daughter (who lives 7 hours away by car) comes up and makes and freezes meals for them as often as she can.

I am cut back at work to 4 hours a day from a comp claim on my shoulder. It somehow became frozen (probably from working 7 hours a day on a computer). It is doing a bit better after some physical therapy and exercises. Another reason I am not here as much as I would like!

THIS JOB IS SERIOUSLY CUTTING INTO MY FREE TIME!

June 8th, 2009 at 08:58 pm

I absolutely hate working full-time. I just don't have the time to keep up anymore. Like Ceejay I read nearly every entry each day. I still read as often and as many as possible.

In the meantime, the garden is in, the new budget/plan is in place and I am on my second successful week of taking cash out on Saturday and making it last until the following Saturday. I take $200.00 a week out for groceries, gas and spending.

The only reason I have time to post today is I am home with a migraine (almost time for another pain pill). Meanwhile every hour I go change the hose to drip on another rose.

I know Suze Orman would tell us if we wanted to buy a 6-pack, we could not afford it, but I just cannot wait to see my granddaughter again in August. People first then money, right?



DH used United Miles for his recent trip to the Carolinas where he helped YD's family move from North to South Carolina (30 minutes from Savannah) so I think that has been the cheapest trip ever for either of us back to the Carolinas.

Need to find a nice rental cheap on the South Carolina Coast and will be using miles hopefully again to fly back so that will help with the costs.

Coupons??

March 8th, 2009 at 10:42 pm

This is the reason I do not use coupons:
This week's Sunday newspaper coupons:
1. Ken's Dressing 3-$1.00 off various products.
2. Trident Gum, 2 coupons, 1 for 75 cents and 1 for $1.00 off 3 packs.
3. $4.00 off a DVD when you buy Sunmaid raisens.
4. $3.00 off Mega Red (better than fish oil).
5. 1.00 off 5 pounds of Cuties and 55 cents off 3 pounds(mandarin oranges).
6. Coupons for Olive Garden (the closest Olive Garden is 3-4 hours away).
7. BOGO and $1.00 off Airwick spray.
8. JC penny's portrait, assorted coupons.

That's it. Last week's are equally worthless to me. So I don't use coupons. It is rare to see one that is something I would even CONSIDER buying, much less something I regularly buy. Oh well, watching for sales on things I buy works.

Last week Walgreen's had Blue Emu cream on sale for $9.99 for a little jar. I bought 3, saving $24.00 in one swoop. DH uses this stuff on his elbows and when my back was flared up I used it. Today I bought Classico pasta sauce for $1.99 a jar, which is usually over $3.00 a jar. I bought 18 jars. (We don't have Trader Joe's or I would buy that brand, which I do whenever I am near).

Yes it is cheaper to make my own and I do sometimes, but it is nice to have it ready to doctor up a bit too.

Quick money saving tip

March 7th, 2009 at 04:35 pm

Smell cleaning products before buying. I just, thank goodness, finished up my one and only bottle of Clorox Greenworks "Natural" toilet bowl cleaner cleaning both bathrooms this morning.



It stinks like a skilled nursing facility, seriously. Will never buy it again. The frugal part of me could not just throw it out even though every time I used it I could hardly stand it.

Now watch one of you guys will think it is great. Another one to avoid... Orange Glo. That sickeningly sweet orange smell is just too much for me. I would rather use ammonia and bleach (separately of course).

Okay back to your regularly scheduled blogs.

DId I just end my no eating out?

January 25th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

DH and I went grocery shopping at Costco and Winco. I ate a hearty breakfast and took my own ice tea to drink, but after stopping at MIL's first to visit a bit, then onto Winco where we saw a few people we knew, stopped to chat. By the time we got to Costco I was hungry. I ate lots of demo food (the Asian Salad kit is yummy), but got a hot dog and soda for both DH and I as we left since it's another 25 minutes back home.

Now my OD says that didn't count, what do you all think?

We spent $67.46 at Winco and 25.27 on food at Costco keeping it under $100.00 for the week the third week in a row at $92.73, plus $3.22 for the hot dogs and soda making a grand total of $95.95.

DH filled up my Camry at $16.66. He filled up the car last Thursday so that represents about $3.00 a day in gas costs for commuting for me.

We also bought toilet paper at Costco and granddaughter a cute new pink sleeper with ladybug print. It will go in her first Easter basket. So the Costco total was actually $55.28, pretty good for Costco. Also half and half, eggs, turkey lunch meat and salted mixed nuts (all on the list).

Winco included some longer lasting items including 2 packages of tea, a small jar of jam, some sugar free pancake syrup and Chex Cereals that had a coupon stuck on each package, $3.00 off any 3 making it $1.38 a pack. Cherrios were also $1.50 and I bought a box of those. Another great find was peanut butter and choco chip rice cakes. It will be interesting to see how they taste. 2 pounds of Tillamook cheddar was green tag, $1.00 cheaper than Costco's price, but still higher than last year at $6.78.

This week's menus:
Tonight: Carnitas
Monday: Chicken cacciatore
Tuesday: Fish
Wednesday: Leftover Chicken.
Thursday: Tacos

All meat from the freezer including the already cooked carnita meat that was cooked, sealed and frozen a few months ago. Fish is either orange roughy or salmon frozen from Costco.

I went to K-mart yesterday to get vacuum cleaner bags and was shocked at the price, over $3.00 a bag. I need to find a cheaper place to buy them.

So again, another no spend week is planned.

Another NSW

January 24th, 2009 at 03:39 pm

That's a no spend week! On Thursday I got up and was scrounging around packing my lunch and was considering buying lunch in the hospital cafeteria. I started thinking about Suze Orman on Oprah earlier this month challenging everyone to not eat out for a month. I started thinking and realized I have not eaten out yet the month of January. Well that's it. I am making it until the end of the month!

What makes this a lot easier is last month sometime DH found little chicken sandwiches at Costco "on sale", which made them 50 cents a piece. It is really easy to grab and thrown in my Coleman "lunch pail". I don't get sick of the same thing day after day, well okay I am sort of getting sick of them now after eating them almost every day for a whole month. Uh oh, I just went out to the freezer. I have 2 left, which means I need to plan for this coming work week. Safeway has bags of lettuce on sale for $1.00. I will probably get a few of those and see if I have some canned salmon. If not I can cook up some chicken breasts (in the freezer) and use those in my salad.

I get my $100.00 allowance for February next Sunday. This month I spent $95.00 of it on January 1st shopping with my mom and sister. The last $5.00 went to the little boy scout across the street selling raffle tickets for a cord of wood.

Speaking of Boy Scouts, etc, the little girl we bought Girl Scout cookies from the past few years has gotten totally lazy. We came home from work to a phone call asking us to call her if we wanted to buy cookies this year. I am sure her sales will be way down. We live in a neighborhood so it is really easy for her to go from house to house. I was pretty surprised. She must have saved the phone numbers from last year's form.

One more item of interest: For those of you who have considered taking 0% interest money and sticking it in a savings account, making the minimum payments, then paying in full before the 0% runs out. I did it. I was so worried I would miss the pay off date, I kept thinking never again! So back in June Bank of America called me and said they could loan me $23,000 until February 2009 billing cycle and it would cost me $99.00 "transfer fee". She caught me on a bad day and I agreed. I immediately transferred it into ING Direct and paid it off 2 weeks ago. Never do that again I thought. Then I added up what I made from it. $350.00 after the $99.00 fee. The key is that it has to be a large enough amount to make it worth you while. I doubt another offer like that is going to come along.

I have a long list of to do's for the weekend including the sock box and hopefully cutting out one of the summer outfits for my granddaughter. I bought the patterns for $1.00 each and the fabric 50% after last Easter. She was not born yet, but I knew I would want to make her some clothes.
So I could start with this:



or this:


Here she is wearing a sweater I knitted:




Okay Saturday is off and running with lots to do, getting back to my roots. Happy frugal weekend everyone!

Dodged that bullet thanks to all of you!

January 18th, 2009 at 02:15 am

So it's Saturday, grocery shopping day. I have been craving beef bourginon the last few days, so asked DH to make it this weekend. Ah yes, he says, whole sirloins are blah, blah, blah at Costco. He will buy one and make a big pot of bourginon. Yeah good. Off he goes to work early with the plan to call me later for grocery list and shopping (Costco 2 blocks from work).

I am still recovering from my cold so my goal for the weekend is to get the laundry caught up. So I bring my morning cup of coffee in here to the computer and start catching up on the blogs. It suddenly hits me that WAIT A MINUTE! Buying a whole sirloin to make one dish and freezing the rest is what the old us would do. The new us would buy a smaller amount of beef or see if there is something in our freezer we can use. So I called DH and told him my thoughts. We are supposed to only be spending $100.00 a week on groceries and if we buy a whole sirloin that would most likely put us over.

He agreed somewhat reluctantly, but came home having spent a total of $68.48 at Costco and Winco for the week. He's getting pretty good on the self-check out at Costco.

My only spending for the week was $35.75 to fill-up my Camry (DH actually drove it to work on Thursday so he could fill it up at Costco, cheapest gas in town) and $5.00 donation/raffle ticket from the little Boy Scout across the street.

DH has gone to the local college basketball game with a friend and is getting a hot dog at the game for "dinner". I had leftover chicken and S&W piquinto beans. I think I will finish off the Dreyer's Peppermint ice cream in the freezer tonight.

My low-energy day was spent comparing TV packages and I think I have found one through Direct TV that will save us about $30.00 a month over our current local cable company. Luckily I can add the sports block to a cheaper plan to get even cheaper a plan than I originally thought.

Now I need to work on the cell phones, since our contract is up in about a month. I rarely use mine, but DH uses his a lot with his work and traveling.

We offered to pay for YD, SIL and granddaughter to fly home for a visit. They really are trying to not let us pay for it, which I appreciate. If they can't come by March, I am going to have to fly back to NC. It's been 2 months since I saw my granddaughter and I am sure she has changed so much. She will be 5 months old tomorrow.

Money was spent

December 21st, 2008 at 03:35 am

Seeing Sara Bareilles in concert last night.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Bareilles

She is a local girl made good, nominated for 2 grammy's this year. Small venue, but dinner before was $$$$. Our friends ended up paying for dinner, since we bought the concert tickets, but we left the tip. We did not expect them to pay for dinner. Theoretically it was my birthday gift, since Monday is my birthday.

The opening band was so loud, I would have told my own kids if they were playing the music to turn it off! Then I realized I didn't really like rock concerts when I was a teenager, why would I like them at 50??

But Sara's beautiful voice and talent made it all better..... I almost felt young again!

Noise and flashing lights unfortunately did bring on a migraine by the time we got home, so today has been a low energy day. The same friends we went out with last night dropped off 2 dungeness crab, which DH picked and made crab stuffed baked potatoes with lots of crab left for tomorrow.

I swear they were better than last night's restaurant salmon dinner that was $24.95!

Another benefit to working...

December 10th, 2008 at 03:24 am

Working in a hospital, I did not think I would get to take advantage of "drug rep's" freebies. Well I was wrong. The medical staff secretary's office is kitty corner to mine. She comes in to our common area with 3 trays, one of veges and dip, one of little pinwheel sandwiches and one with little dessert bars of some sort. Apparently they were left over from a presentation the drug rep had given some of the docs at the hospital.

I had a ziploc quart bag I filled with the little sandwiches and another with veges. I chopped the broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots and bell pepper up, added a cubed sweet potato and roasted at 375 degrees for 1 hour after tossing in olive oil and garlic salt. Had that for dinner along with leftover standing pork roast. DH is taking the little sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.

Unfortunately it was a spend day. DH paid our property tax, bought us each a Columbia fleece hooded jacket for $19.99 at Gottschalks and found J Henckles Knife sets regularly $138.00 for like $29.99. He bought a set for his parents who need them for Christmas. He also found a miniture snow globe with our granddaughter's name on it! Spelled wrong, but we think we can change an I to a Y!

He also picked up a prescription for me at Costco and a few pictures our daughter downloaded of our granddaughter. The prescription is a certain cream that perimenopausal women use. I was shocked at the price, did they run it through my insurance, almost $100.00!?! My new insurance takes effect January 1. I am thinking maybe I should up my FSA contribution. I started with $50.00 a month.


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