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Archive for December, 2009

Farewell to 2009

January 1st, 2010 at 04:55 am

I'm ending the old year watching "Wild Hogs" on TV, and then heading outside to feed the animals in the moonlight. Not an exciting evening by any means, but I don't really need excitement to enjoy!

I haven't had a lot of time to think about new goals for 2010, but hopefully I can do that soon and wrap up the old year. I don't really think we accomplished much financially or healthwise or organizationally. It's sad but true. On the other hand, I love thinking about wiping the slate clean and starting over.

Enjoy whatever you do this evening, and talk to you next year!!

My husband the comedian

December 27th, 2009 at 03:45 pm

As they were advertising all the after Christmas sales on TV, my husband turned to me & said "We have to go to Macy's!" Huh? We don't ever go to Macy's.

His reasoning? They were showing all the models in underwear and stating it was 25% off. He wanted to know which 25% of the ladies were going to have their underwear off! Smile Smile Smile

My Christmas Eve

December 25th, 2009 at 12:33 am

I had today off from work, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I spent the morning surfing the net looking at things with DH - things he wanted to look at. It made him happy.

I fed & watered (with some help) our animals. They are always so happy to see me...or at least to see me bringing food. It made them happy.

I took SS to do some shopping. It's hard to tell with him, but I think it made him happy.

And all that was left was to make me happy! While at Walmart with SS, I picked up a few last minute groceries and a few things for me as a gift from DH. He insisted that I get something, even though I couldn't really think of anything I wanted. I bought a big soup bowl to take & keep at work so I can bring in cans of soup to heat up for lunch. I bought a blouse that I just saw someone wearing yesterday and really admired it. Who knew they got it at Walmart? I rarely see this person, so I went ahead & bought the same blouse for me. And then I bought two bras. Woo hoo! And that will be my Christmas.

But then the best part? I've been baking for the last few hours. So far I made brownies, banana bread, cinnamon swirl bread, and I'm about to make chocolate chip cookies. Some of the breads are in these cute little loaf pans that I bought. They're just tossable aluminum pans, but they are so cute for the mini-bread loaves. I'll be making a gift basket of the goodies for our neighbor and a friend, both to be delivered after Christmas. I'm having such fun!! The weather outside is frightful, so it's the perfect night for baking.

Enjoy your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, whatever you're doing. And travel safely!

Need suggestions

December 15th, 2009 at 03:05 am

This isn't exactly financial...well, maybe little bit. I have made it thru the whole year and lost a little weight and then gained it all back plus a few extra pounds that I REALLY didn't need! I called a weight management place that sounds promising on their ads - no gimmicks, no drugs, just support and a personalized plan. The initial consulation is free. (I imagine it's pretty much a sales pitch). Then there is an up front fee of $249 for various testing. I can get a health risk assessment free at work, but that only dropped it down to $205. I'm not sure what all is included, because I was pretty disheartened after hearing that it didn't drop the price by much.

Then, there is a $99 fee for 10 visits. Fair enough. But then, the kicker. They "require" you to buy various supplements, starting at $1.95 and up, and most people need 2-3 of those per day!! Holy cow!

I can't figure out why I even considered calling them, since we don't have THAT kind of money to spend. I don't care how much it saves over time; I just can't justify the cost right now, and I can't justify the cost when I know that I can DO this on my own. I just have a really hard time committing to it.

So, I started really thinking about this today, and listing some sample meal plans that would work for me. I could get down to 1500 calories per day, and if I started walking again, I think that would be enough to get things moving in the right direction. It all sounded good in theory, while I was at my desk at work, and then I realized my biggest problem lately. I have a long drive home from work, and I often stop to pick up groceries or other items we need on the way home. While I'm there, I frequently pick up a snack "for the ride home". That is going to be a tough habit to break!!

So....I need suggestions. What are some of the ways you (if you've have a situational habit you needed to break) successfully distracted yourself enough to break the habit? I listen to the radio if I can find something I like. I don't have an ipod, MP3 player, CD or tape player in the car, or I'd consider listening to books on tape or something that I knew I wanted to hear. I definitely don't want to talk on the cell phone while I'm driving, even though it's tempting some times. (Paying by the minute is the cure for that temptation.) I just really need brainwashing. LOL

Any helpful suggestions?

Sick of clutter

December 14th, 2009 at 06:24 am

I finally did it! I spent several hours yesterday and today attacking my "office". It used to be an office and now it's really just a storage/junk room. The desk is still in one corner, but that's the only part of it that resembles an office!

I came up with:
* One bag of trash
* One bag for Goodwill.
* One box for electronic recycling.
* A winter jacket with a broken snap, and DH was able to fix it.
* an air mattress bought not too long ago that I'd forgotten to return, and the receipt is taped to it!
* 3 nice pairs of gloves I'd forgotten all about
* a box of baseball caps we'd ordered with our logo on them and forgotten all about.
* 13 items that I listed on CL, some freebies
* A wide variety of candles, air fresheners, and health & beauty aids that I might use to make up gift baskets

There is still a lot to go thru, but I was able to organize many of my shipping supplies better so I can actually see what I have for a change...now if anything would actually SELL on Ebay that would be helpful! I shouldn't complain, since one of my CL items already is sold in theory. The woman that wants it will mail me a check and postage so I can ship it to her. It's a local check so no worries there.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the progress made. The best part is that I FEEL great and not so out of control. With the holidays coming up I don't know how much more I can get done, but every little bit helps.

Nifty thrifty

December 12th, 2009 at 06:33 am

I had a coupon that I printed worth $5 off a purchase at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. It doesn't specify a minimum purchase or anything, so I went yesterday to look around. An hour later I came out empty handed! I don't know if it was the mood I was in, or what possessed me to NOT take advantage of that coupon. Surely I could find something to give for a gift? Nothing jumped out at me. Surely I could find something for myself? Nope, nothing really appealed to me. I thought about a bracelet they had and even tried it on, but decided against it in the end. I have a ton of greeting cards already, so I don't need any more. No one I know collects any of the various mugs, doo-dads, and whatnots that they have.

I thought about just laying the coupon down for someone else to find, but kept it just in case I think of something in the next week that I can use it for.

Today, on the other hand, was a success. I just had 20 minutes after work before a local thrift store closes, so I stopped in. For this particular store, 20 minutes isn't nearly enough. It's huge! I found a nice new-looking basket for a plant, and I've been looking for one for awhile. And then, with just 5 minutes to spare, I spotted a nice sweater. It's off-white with gold trim, and really quite nice. After I tried it on and fell in love with it, I saw that it has a stain, possibly ink, on one of the cuffs. The sleeves are long enough that I can just turn the cuffs back if I can't get the stain out. $1 for each item, and I was on my way!

It looks like someone already tried to get the ink out since it's faded, but if anyone has suggestions for how to get rid of it, I'd love to hear them.

I loved my mail today!

December 10th, 2009 at 02:27 am

It was a very nice mail day. $20 in rebates from Prestone antifreeze, and $40+ reimbursement from my Health Spending Account. Yesterday I got a $5 rebate too. And, wonder of wonder, there were no bills either day.

DH & I celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss today too. Our high dollar celebration was pizza from Walmart and milk. Yum! Our farm help didn't show up today, so I get the pleasure of spending the next hour or so outside in the freezing cold finishing up the chores. Do we know how to celebrate, or what?!

And that's my day....

Sidebar updates

December 7th, 2009 at 04:24 am

I've updated several things on the sidebar today. I was tired of seeing old numbers (from May in some cases!), even if they looked better than they do now.

Credit cards are way up. Weight is back up. Ugh!

Rebates are up a little though too, so that IS a bright spot.

My coupon savings isn't as good as I thought it would be. About a month ago, I decided I was REALLY going to buckle down and try spending $40 or less on groceries, and that's it! Hah! I knew it would be hard, but it turned out to be nearly impossible. There were stockpile-worthy sales too good to pass up, and many times I find that we run out of several higher dollar items each week. That's something I wasn't considering. I was just thinking of the 2 gallons of milk, 5 loaves of bread, 1 box cereal, 1 lb. cheese, etc items that added up to almost $40 each week -- not the $8 coffee, $5 bacon, $5 tp, $7 meat that popped up in week 1. The $40 quickly turned to $60, and it's stayed closer to that each week. I think I did better when I didn't try to set a strict limit!

Or, maybe my strict limit was too low. I thought that we were averaging $45/week on groceries, and $60/week on dog food. When I look back over the records, it's more like $60/week on groceries and $50/week on dog food. Maybe I'll try again with a $50 limit and see how that works.

I just noticed today that our BOA savings account incurred a $5 monthly maintenance fee for the first time. I wasn't sure why until I went and read the rules again. The balance has to stay above $300 each month, or there has to be an automatic transfer set up. I'd forgotten totally about the minimum, and transferred some money out last month, dropping it way down. Dumb! I set up an automated transfer in from our checking a/c each month, so hopefully that fee will never be seen again.

One step closer

December 6th, 2009 at 12:07 am

We have "preliminary approval" on our refinancing. One step closer, but it's turning out to be a long drawn-out process. The reason is that it's an agricultural finance, and going to be sold to Farmer Mac. I'd never heard of them, but found all the information online, and then checked the company we are going thru out online.

It will give us a little breathing room in our finances, at least.

I haven't started shopping for gifts. We thought we weren't going to do much, but then I realized that other people are still going to get something, so we'll be prepared to reciprocate. I might do "goodie baskets" with baked goods and fruit and other tasty treats. Those are great for people you don't know what to get. Everyone likes food!

I found a dime on the floor at McD's today. Shouldn't have been in there in the first place, but I might as well find money when I'm in there!