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Viewing the 'Big Plans (and not so big ones too)' Category

Found on the ground....and other updates

February 5th, 2009 at 04:22 am

I was pumping gas today when something that blew across the parking lot caught my eye, and it looked a whole lot like MONEY!! It was a $5 bill!! HOly cow!! I used to think I was lucky to find a dime or a quarter, but this was like winning lotto Smile

I'm way behind on blogging and reading and updating my grocery spending spreadsheet, and even updating my checkbook. I've been very busy working. I logged 60+ hours at my part time job for the last two weeks, and I'm happy about that, since there is no full-time job yet.

My full-time career is in IT and I've only been called for one interview. I'm waiting (not-so-patiently) to hear if they will hire me. I've applied at other companies also, but haven't been called for any interviews. It led me to the drastic step today of sending my resume to a recruiter for a position in one of the larger cities that is about 200 miles away. It's a shot in the dark, but since the recruiter thought I had a nice match for the skills, I decided to go for it. It would mean commuting back & forth from home every week and spending just weekends with DH. I'm not thrilled at all about that, but if it means we don't get further in debt and/or lose everything, I'll do it. It would be for a 6 month contract, with a possible expansion. I'm trying not to dwell on the emotional negative aspects of it, and instead thinking of it totally with a positive financial slant. The opportunity presented itself, so I must act on it!

Took a break and "found" $5

January 30th, 2009 at 02:24 am

Okay, my last two blog entries were rather whiny so I took a little break. I've been reading and commenting but really didn't have anything of my own to write.

Now I do. My last paycheck from my job that ended in December came through. It will pay our bills through the middle of February. We've got some money in the EF to tap into, and I have income from the part-time job. Hopefully we can squeak by into March. I think we'll have to drop health insurance, which will reduce spending by just over $900/month. Cobra isn't an option, since I've been self-employed for years. DH will be covered, or at least sort of, with the VA. We always kept his insurance up anyhow, just because he has a lot of health problems, and we don't want to run into something they won't help with. Plus, he really doesn't want to deal with a VA hospital. I think there is some type of insurance available from the part-time job, so I need to check into the cost of that. Should have done it already. I'm anxiously waiting to hear the hiring results from a job interview I did a few weeks ago. I recently found and applied for 2 more jobs in the area that fit my skills also, so I hope something will come thru from one of them. In a normal job market, I'd think my odds were pretty good of getting 1 of the 3 jobs. In this market, I don't even know WHAT to think!

In other news, I bought dog food at Walmart today. I had two gift cards from the store that have been in my wallet for a long time, maybe even a year. I found them the other day when I dug around looking for something to scrape ice off my windshield. (They worked, although it was slow progress!) Anyhow, before I paid for my order, I tried using the cards. One had no balance, but the other one had $5. It barely made a dent in the price of the dog food, but five dollars is still five dollars!



Doormat

January 24th, 2009 at 09:08 pm

I am a doormat today. I'm lucky enough to have a part-time job that is really busy right now (tax season), but today is my day off. It just so happened that DH made plans with his brothers to go look at a truck or parts or something mechanical that one of them needs. That leaves me alone in the house! Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo!!! It is truly a rarity around here, because my DH is usually here 24/7. With it being winter, and the cold really bothers him, he's in the house 24/7, in the living room 24/7, asking me what I'm doing 24/7. I love him to death, but it drives me batty!!

I have a to do list that can rival Santa's list at Christmas time, so I'm always doing something, whether it's on the computer or organizing or whatever. He won't come find me and hang out where I am, and when I'm in the same room on the computer I'm "ignoring" him. So, I was thrilled to have the house to myself to concentrate and do some things...until SS called and wanted to get some groceries. He can't go himself (lost his license), didn't want to go with the guys and stop by the store on the way back (I'm sure that would have been boring and an inconvenience for him). So, doormat that I am, I agreed to take him. ARGH!!! My one and only chance, and I blew it.

What did I sort of agree to do?!

January 23rd, 2009 at 03:16 am

This is a little off the topic of finances, but not too far. So here goes. A few weeks ago an acquaintance saw me looking for a job on the internet and sort of mentioned that I really needed to talk to his wife about how to look for a new job. Short story - she is in a dead end job, making just minimum wage, and hasn't had raises or any real job benefits for years. It's a small company that she works for, so that explains some of it. I sort of agreed that sure, I could talk to her. We didn't make any concrete plans, and we don't normally do anything with them as a couple.

Well, I saw her once after that at an event that wasn't really suited for discussing job hunting. It was an event that most people would have dressed up for, but some were there in neat casual attire. Not her. Sad but true, as I was talking to her with idle chit chat, I noticed a distinct B.O. She was dressed sloppily and I don't believe she had bathed for a few days.

Last week, I passed along a job lead that I saw on the internet to her husband when we saw him. Then, today, I asked again if she'd followed up on it. No, she really just doesn't know how to go about getting another job, he said. I kind of brushed it off that I needed to find my own job before I really spent any time helping someone else. So, I backed off, but not backed out. But what in the world have I gotten myself into?! Thinking back over the years, I don't think the poor hygiene is an isolated incident, but I had completely forgotten about it. This would be WAY more than just helping someone put together a resume, and introducing the concept of preparing for an interview and the etiquette of cover letters and such! But I wouldn't be comfortable suggesting anything else. This isn't a young girl either; she is grown and they have a family. I just think she is shy and unsure of herself. She sort of "fell into" the job that she has now.

I'm open to suggestions how you would approach the situation if it were you?




Cut & color, please...

January 15th, 2009 at 04:19 pm

I'm on my way shortly to get my hair cut & colored. I don't know why, but I'm too chicken to try to color it myself. The directions don't look all that difficult, but I just never have tried it. Instead, I go pay $45 every 5-6 weeks to do it. It seems like a lot to spend in the name of vanity, but from what I've seen at the roots I don't think I could handle just letting it go.

Why am I chicken? How hard could it be? I really think it all comes back to having a mother that didn't bother coloring her hair and just having brothers. No one to experiment with! I had friends in high school & college, of course, but I think the most extreme anyone ever did as far as hair color was bleaching a little streak or maybe washing in a funky color for Halloween. We just didn't experiment like I think is more common now. Heck, maybe there wasn't even do-it-yourself kits "way back then"! LOL. It was just during the 70's & 80's. Seems like just yesterday.

I guess I look at it as my one luxury. I don't do tanning, or massages, or manicures & pedicures, spa treatments, facials, or any of the other girly extras. Maybe I'm entitled to go let someone else color, wash, cut & dry my hair as long as I can afford it. After all, I cut way back on my diet coke addiction starting this year. Surely I have some money left over to put toward the hair treatment!!!

Dream job and free tax software

January 13th, 2009 at 05:13 pm

I found my dream job! This is on the yahoo headlines, but I thought it was neat enough to post here as well: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090113/od_afp/lifestyleaustra...

I don't fit the qualifications, but a girl can dream, right?

~~~

The free tax software I mention is TurboTax Business. It's a free (federal) download for Windows. I'm not recommending it or endorsing it in any way. As a matter of fact, I normally have used TaxCut instead of TurboTax in the past, but I saw this yesterday and downloaded it for free just to check it out. I'll actually be preparing taxes for people this year, so this is kind of silly for me to promote, but the part I wanted to check out is the ability to create W-2 and 1099-MISC Forms on plain paper. I have several to do, and in the past I've always lugged out the typewriter and prayed the ribbon wasn't all dried out and hoped I didn't make too many mistakes! If you're interested, here it is: http://www.turbotax.com/lp/ty08/ppc/ttb-learn-more-biz-free...

So far behind, but lots of updates

January 3rd, 2009 at 03:31 pm

I've missed a few days here and I feel so far behind. Not only have I NOT wrapped up my 2008 spending and reviewed it all, but I haven't posted any 2009 goals either. It's been a whirlwind few days, some good but some very bad.

My dear MIL that I wrote about a week ago or so passed away on January 1. I visited her just 2 nights before that and thought she was doing pretty good. It all went downhill the next day though. We thought we'd have more time, so it's very hard on us all. She didn't suffer long, at least not that we know of. She was such a strong woman, not really ever complaining, so no one knows for sure if she was in constant pain before she finally went for the diagnosis just before Christmas.

~~~~

In brighter news, I went for a job interview that I think went very well. It was kind of a preliminary aptitude test, but they liked my scores and HR thought my background would be well-suited to the job. Keeping fingers crossed...

I also started a part-time job yesterday. It's just something to keep a little money flowing, but it will not sustain us long.

And, as part of my 2009 goals is to gain control over my weight problem and my horrible eating habits, I started a blog about that over on blogger. It's http://gainingcontrolovereating.blogspot.com/. I actually started it a week ago. Check it out!

The grand finale!

December 31st, 2008 at 06:08 pm

Well, here we all are at the end of 2008. Like it or not, a new year starts tomorrow. I think I'm ready! 2008 is not ending so wonderfully, so I'm ready to start fresh.

The Amish tradition for today, at least around here, is to race up and down the road from house to house. There are many buggies flying past our house, first in one direction and then in another. It looks neat and quaint and all that, but I just had to go run an errand and swap cars with BIL that lives about 5 miles away, and it was awful for about a mile of that. There were 5 or 6 in a row, and then they start passing each other and pulling back in line. Well, I'm never sure if they can hear the car coming behind them, especially with that many steel wheels making racket, so it was tricky trying to pass. Then, I'd come up on the next bunch of 5 or 6, and then more in the next bunch. Crazy! I'm sure they were having fun though.

As for us, we have no big plans to ring in the new year. We might take a few lingering Christmas gifts to people we haven't seen yet, and that's about it.



How about you? Any interesting traditions?

Horrified! Any helpful ideas?

December 27th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

The good news is that I am not horrified at anything monetary. The bad news is that it is my weight! OMG!!! What have I done?! I had about 50 lbs to lose a few months ago and somehow now it's closer to 60 lbs. I can blame it on depression regarding the loss of my job, or winter, or holidays, or whatever I want, but really I know I can only blame it on eating a lot more. I seem to have been on a big binge lately, and have been feeling powerless to stop. I knew my clothes were getting tighter, and I feel worse, but I just kept avoiding the scale. But, today, I took the brave (or dumb!) step of hopping on the scale and I REALLY am disgusted.

So, along with my financial goals that I'm still working on for 2009, I have some major goals to set regarding weight loss. I feel like if I can control impulse spending, I ought to be able to control impulse eating, but for some reason I have a much harder time doing that. I've come up with a few ideas that should help both in terms of the budget and weight. I am planning to quit my awful diet coke habit. I easily drink about 2/3 of a 2 liter bottle ever day. Assuming 5 bottles a week, that ought to trim anywhere from $5-$10 a week off the budget, assuming that I don't replace it with other diet-type drinks like Crystal Light or flavored water. I also plan to cut out the sweets. My downfall is the junky, cheap, treats that are probably the worst of the worst. Maybe that will trim another few bucks. But, what I struggle with is how I can get this awful weight off, and not break the grocery budget buying healthier food. Any helpful ideas?

Nothing handmade after all

December 26th, 2008 at 04:21 am

I've been reading so many stories about people baking goodies and making crafty gifts, so I came up with 2 ideas in the fall. I was going to "make" DH a book from winkflash. They have a special from time to time where you can make a hardcover book with up to 100 pages or photos for around $20. I started it a few months ago, and then we agreed to not exchange gifts, so I just stopped loading pictures to the site. I also started playing with some of our sisal twine from hay bales, and made a few lead ropes for our horses. I tested different methods of braiding and decided I should try to turn some of it into a small throw rug. I thought if it came out half way decent looking, I would give it to my mom to use in her entryway from the garage to her house. Well, the idea sounded better than the project actually started looking, so I quit that too. I may continue one or the other project at some point in the future, but I decided that my dedication to "making" a gift rather than "buying" it isn't as great as I thought it was. I highly commend anyone that creates homemade gifts...They take a LOT of time!!!

We had a very low-key holiday. I cooked plenty for a small gathering. We were expecting 3, in addition to DH and me, but one went to the hospital to spend time with MIL instead, one didn't show up at all, and the third was a misunderstanding. I thought he'd said he was coming, but we saw him leave earlier this morning to go somewhere else. (It's a neighbor with a very difficult speech impediment, so I'm sure I just didn't understand him.) Oh, well, plenty of leftovers.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed whatever your celebrations were, or at least survived them. Judging by some of the horror stories trying to plan get-togethers and coordinating "to give or not to give" decisions, it may just have been a day to survive.

yukky day and expensive day

December 17th, 2008 at 10:42 pm

It's a yukky (yucky?) day outside. Gray, dull, and cold. I'm not a big fan of winter weather at all, but at least if it's a pretty snowfall and the sun is shining, I can live with it. It's just icy and dreary instead.

I'll be traveling for a few days, so I'm trying to get ready for that. I'm looking forward to the trip itself (part work and part fun to see family), but the getting ready part is crazy. Get the laundry done, get food for people and animals, get Rx ready for hubby, make sure any bills due within the next week are paid and mailed, figure out what clothes to bring, clean house so it doesn't overwhelm me when I get back, on and on. Sometimes, I dream how nice it would be to go away like this for a few days and come back to have all that stuff done while I was away, but I know better.

On the expensive side of things, I haven't even looked at paying the bills that came in the mail and need to be paid before I go, but so far today we've spent $136 on horse feed and $250 on shavings for the barn just running errands. I also ordered $425 of propane yesterday, but that doesn't have to get paid until I get back.

The big kicker is a piece of property near ours is up for sale and DH wants, wants, wants it. He's already spoken to the bank and thinks we can handle the extra money it will take, and hoping they will refinance what we have now to a lower rate also to have it end up costing us the same money or just slightly more in the long run. I need to pull together papers tonight for him to proceed with that while I'm away. I'm not so sure we can handle it money wise, since we're already going to be in a precarious position. Ugh! We just don't see eye-to-eye on money sometimes....ok, MOST of the time!! I'll stop now before I rant myself into a horrible mood and say things I can't take back. Just wish us luck working this all out.

I'm normally much more Pollyana-ish than this, but she's apparently taken the day off. Sorry for all the griping!

Wish me luck!

November 18th, 2008 at 07:46 pm

I have a job interview this afternoon. It's not a permanent job but for a seasonal position that starts after the 1st of the year. I can't stop looking for my permanent job if I get this because I really only wanted this to be part time in addition to a permanent full time job. I'll just have to be as delicately honest as I can in the interview, but I'm not sure how to do that exactly. How do I explain that based on what I have lined up for next year so far (which is nothing), I want as many hours as they can give me....but if I find a permanent job, I will want totally different hours and a lot less of them? I hope it doesn't come across as offensive or wishy-washy. I need to give them something to plan on, but that's so hard to do! Anyhow, wish me luck!!

Puff, puff, puff...NOT

November 11th, 2008 at 05:17 pm

One week ago, DH said he'd quit smoking his cigars to reduce our spending a little. He really CAN quit anytime apparently because he's done great. We did find a few in one of the vehicles that he smoked up when he found them, but there have been no new purchases.

Now, I know it's not technically correct to claim that he quit, since he is still smoking a pipe and does that most of the time now. It's really just substituting one for the other, but the cost should be quite a bit less. By now, I would have had to make 2 purchases of the 50-pack of cigars that he smokes. Instead, I've only done one purchase of the tobacco which costs about half and there is still plenty left.

The money saved will be stashed away in our emergency fund.

Talked myself out of spending....for now

November 10th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

I want, Want, WANT a color laser printer, but not a real expensive one. My color inkjet printer quit months ago, and the only other printer I have is an 8-year old black & white laser that won't even connect to my new laptop because it has no usb connection (the printer doesn't, that is).

I've been shopping ads, and I saw the $30 rewards bonus from Staples if you bring in an old printer and buy a new one, so it's really tempting. I even picked out which printer I most wanted from their sales flyer last week, the Samsung CLP-315, and the reviews were pretty good. I even loaded up the kaput printer with me when I knew I'd be running errands by a Staples.

But, I talked myself out of it for 2 reasons. One, I had run too many errands and was tired and ready to go home. Two, I had just spent another $100+ to upgrade our website package to a better one that allows for multiple websites the night before and I was feeling much too spendy.

I really think I just postponed the inevitable, though. We have a personal website where we promote our horses and dogs, and I used the color printer in the past to print business cards. We're out of cards. Also, both the website upgrade and a new color printer are part of an overall plan to generate some type of income besides ebay via the internet next year, and I would use the new printer for business cards, brochures, etc.

So, for now, I talked myself out of it. That printer is no longer at the great sale price, so I won't be tempted again this week, even if the $30 trade-in deal ends. There will always be another sale, and maybe the sale will coincide with when I need, Need, NEED a new printer. I can get by without one for now.

Not keeping up with the Joneses

November 6th, 2008 at 08:20 pm

A few of the blogs about cash & lists for the holiday have me thinking. Since the beginning of the year, I've been squirreling away any "extra" money for our Christmas gift giving. Like creditcardfree, I put away ebay and extra money here & there. I add rolled coin from a jar on my desk every month or so. I accumulate rebate checks and deposit them as well. I have roughly $1100 or $1200 saved, and it was for our big xmas/anniversary gift to each other of a new digital TV, as well as gifts for other people. We'd talked about the tv earlier in the year and more or less planned for it. Except for one thing...

DH announced last week he wanted a 60". Um, I was planning on more like a 36" or 42". He said he'd decided a long time ago when he went through very rough times that if he ever got to where he could afford the best, that's what he'd get. Now, I know if we want to get out of debt, we should just be sticking with our regular analog tv & converter box (which is personally what I would be happy with), but I like to make him happy once in awhile too. It is an absolute want rather than a need whether it's big or small.

But, fate has intervened since we had that latest discussion. Since I now have to look for a job for next year, and so far nothing is on the horizon, we are obviously getting NO new tv, at least not until we have financial stability figured out. And the way I see it, prices on tvs will surely keep coming down. We might end up spending far less in the long run on the new TV, or we might buy a used one from someone else that went in too deep. Maybe in the long run, we'll spend what I'd planned on spending and get what DH planned on getting, and that waiting will work out best all around.

DH decided to quit!

November 4th, 2008 at 06:52 pm

In preparation for tightening our budget, DH decided to quit smoking his cigars for now. He smokes them just like cigarettes, so this is BIG, not just an occasional or nightly thing. I'm sure it will be hard for him, but he's quit before as needed (before surgery once, and to try to get SS to quit another time). He says it's no "big deal", and he can quit any time he wants. We'll see...

It could save us $150/month, although his pipe-smoking may increase instead. That's still cheaper, but I don't think it's any healthier. Also, I sell on ebay and have to be real careful so the smokey smell doesn't get into my items.

I asked if he expected me to give up something to "match" him, and he said no. That's really a good thing, because I can't think of any habit or spending that I have each month that even comes close to that amount.

I hope the next few weeks don't become unbearable for us both, as he adjusts to the change. Wish him/us luck!!


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