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I have resigned as CFO

April 15th, 2010 at 05:09 pm

of our little household. I am sick of trying to be frugal and stay on track, only to have DH decide he is going to go on a little trip to watch the Sharks play tomorrow night. I know, not a big deal right?
Well it is when you have $3000.00 to taxes, $2000.00 to new windows that DH ordered without any planning, (other than me mentioning accountant said to get any windows, etc replaced this year), and a large AMEX bill due to some work travel, all due.

I scrape, I sacrifice, I pinch pennies until they bleed and he pretty much does what he wants. This was the final straw.

I got both checkbooks, wrote in the balances, printed out activity from both checking accounts and the savings accounts for the past month. I printed out all the web sites along with log-in names and passwords, made a list of monthly bills and when I paid them, took the tax stuff, current bills, put everything in a big folder and said, "here".

So now I can stop worrying, planning, juggling, etc and do what I want to do (which is gardening, quilting, and frugal living). Now if we have no money when we retire, it will not be my fault!

PS I should say this was one day after I decided to accept a job with the company my job was outsourced to. Since we are paid by production, I have no idea how much money I will be making really, especially since I am only working 4 hours a day.

Another epiphany....

April 3rd, 2010 at 05:12 am

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 03:26 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 04:56 am

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 01:00 pm

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

We got hit again....

February 4th, 2010 at 06:51 pm

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 3rd, 2010 at 08:11 pm

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 06:52 am

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 02:13 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 6th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

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 05:30 am

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!