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One lonely penny

January 6th, 2010 at 06:21 am

I found my first change on the ground of 2010. One lonely penny, and it wasn't even heads up. I picked it up and put it in an open plastic container on the car seat and then proceeded to dump the container when something else slid off the seat and knocked the container when I stopped a little too quickly. Now it's lost in my car. I wonder if I'll find it 2 months from now, and think it's another "found on the ground" claim!

I signed up on a team for the heart association's Fit Friendly Challenge, so hopefully that will help with my exercise goal for the year. It doesn't officially start for another 2 weeks, but I'm not going to wait. As I write this, I realize I haven't done anything for 2 days, but that's just because I've been scheduled at both my full time & part time job both days. That leaves little time for exercise!

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!

Found a quarter

November 29th, 2009 at 12:55 am

That's it for my financial news du jour. LOL!

We had truck troubles in the wee hours last night after I'd met DH at a sale. Fortunately I was following him home, and fortunately we were within a few miles of a 24-hour Walmart. I went to grab a few supplies so he could do a quickie battery switch and get home in the truck, and there was a nice shiny quarter waiting for me at the store.

Zippity do dah!

Slow-paying side job

November 14th, 2009 at 02:59 am

I got a check today for my work through May for a mail decoy company. When I get something in the mail, I just log it and it takes a minute at the very most. So, for the past year, I've been doing this. DH thinks it's stupid, but the way I see it, that's money I didn't have before - all $29.50 of it.

The only bad part is this company pays 1 quarter behind, so for my work through May I should have been paid in August. But they it was delayed, and delayed again, and again. After 3 emails, they finally sent the check and I received it today. I think you have to have $25 for them to pay, and I just added up the work accumulated since May and it's not $25 yet. So at this rate, if I get enough mail to log by the end of November, I should get paid in February, but it will be more like April. Crazy! The other interesting thing is that since I started questioning I've noticed the volume decreasing. It might be a total coincidence, as I was getting 2-3 items per day for awhile from one particular client. Maybe they just had a contract for a certain period of time, and now there won't be anything from them.

I also got a $2.00 rebate and I found a penny on the ground in the post office.

I think it's supposed to be nice tomorrow, so I hope to get a few more things done outside to prepare for colder weather. Enjoy your weekend, whatever you do!

I don't want to be the parent

November 5th, 2009 at 03:13 am

I had an interesting, if not frustrating, conversation with hubby today. He went to look at an old, I think '34, truck somewhere yesterday that someone told him about. (I'm gonna get his friends and family duct tape for gifts to tape their mouths shut!) He wants it, really, really wants it. He knows that finances are very tight, but it's one of those deals that don't come along every day, supposedly.

He mentioned it first, as in "do you care if I go look at it?" Do I mind if you LOOK? No, of course not. But I know that doesn't just mean he will look at it. Naturally, he made an offer on it, and told me different things he could scrap out to come up with the money. My thought is that if we could scrap out those things and come up with money that we ought to put it toward some good use like paying down our debt.

This is not a new thing for us. But, I gave up a long time ago saying no, because it just made us miserable. He was miserable because his wife was telling him what to do. I was miserable because he was miserable, so I finally told him one time that I was tired of feeling like the "parent" in this relationship. It didn't really change anything, except it relieved me from feeling that I was carrying the decision-making burden alone. We still may not agree that some of these purchases make sense, but I tend to step aside and let whatever he thinks needs to happen, happen. Sometimes he ends up buying whatever it was, and sometimes he doesn't. Only time will tell if it will leave us with more financial struggles down the road. I hate taking that chance, but I hate fighting over money more.

My logical brain tells me that if he buys this particular truck it will be something we could sell later if needed. His brain doesn't work the same way. He's very reluctant to sell any of his "treasures" that have accummulated over the years. I tried teasing him today saying that if he were a kid I'd be telling him no news toys until he gets rid of one of his old toys. He was not amused!

~~~~~

As I read back over this before posting, I can't decide if I'm complaining or whining or venting or just stating my random thoughts on the topic. Who knows? Maybe it will get out some of my frustration on the topic.

~~~~~

In definitely positive news, I found another dime on the sidewalk in front of another grocery store. That's 2 dimes this week! That beats 20 days of finding pennies, but it's all really the same.

And then, hubby cooked dinner tonight! Smile I asked if he was trying to butter me up because of the truck discussion! But no, his son was here and not feeling well (suspected hangover), so he thought he could get him to eat something. Whatever the reason, I'm pleased as punch! Treats like this don't come along often, like maybe 2x a year.


Shopping after work

November 3rd, 2009 at 05:52 am

I did some grocery shopping tonight after work. With the time change, it was already getting dark, but in one case it worked to my advantage. As I exited the store, the street light was glinting off something on the ground...a nice shiny dime! Kind of makes up for the fact that the cashier forgot to deduct 10 cents from my order because I brought my own reusable bags.

I dedided to try grocery shopping with cash for a change and truly trying to limit myself to $40 each week. I started off great tonight and only spent $15 (out of pocket) for these groceries:
2 gallons milk
laundry detergent
2 2-liters coke
3 Lean Cuisine meals
12 oz. package cheese
1 box saltine crackers
Betty Crocker potato mix
4+ lbs. bananas, reduced
5 lb. bag grapefruit
1 box Kashi cereal
2 pouches Bumble Bee tuna
1 bag fritos
1 bag Halloween candy
rubbing alcohol

I clarified this as "out of pocket" expenses because included in the list is $9 worth of stuff I got at Walgreens using register rewards from a prior purchase. I thought that was a pretty good trip either way!

I saw an interesting post on Money Saving Mom about a free download of an ebook called Thriving on Less. I downloaded it but haven't started reading it yet. http://thepowerofless.com/2008/12/free-ebook-thriving-on-les...

Planned leftovers and 1 year ago today!

November 2nd, 2009 at 02:23 am

I just finished making a delicious dinner and have planned leftovers to take with me to work tomorrow. Round steak with peppers & onions, cooked in some black bean flavoring mix I've had in the cupboard forever. The steak came from some my MIL gave us last year from a cow they butchered. The peppers came from the garden, and I paid at most 25 cents for the mix from a discount food store over a year ago.

Add fried potatoes, broccoli (from our garden) and a little bit of shredded cheese, and it was a wonderful meal. Maybe not the healthiest...but cheap and wonderful!

I upped my found on the ground total by 2 cents I found yesterday while out running errands.

Today was a busy homebody day. I fed the outdoor animals, cleaned the dog crate, cleaned 3 bird cages, vacuumed, dusted, washed a few windows, did 3 loads of laundry, fixed a lampshade, fixed the latch on the front door, and set up my "Rat Zapper" in the kitchen after DH saw a mouse. It's a nifty device I bought last year when we had a rat problem in our barn. It kills them with an electric current - no blood and no mess. The first one we had ended up having issues too quickly (although we did kill several rats and mice with it) and the company sent us a new one. I pulled it out of the box around 11am this morning, set it up on the floor but didn't turn it on, and an hour later checked to see if they'd taken the bait (dog food). They had. I baited it again and turned it on. In about an hour, it lit up indicating there was something inside. Sure enough, it had zapped a mouse. I took it ouside, dumped the mouse and the remaining 2 pieces of dog food out, put the dog food back in and came in & turned it on. While I was cooking dinner, I checked and the light wasn't lit, so nothing had been caught. We sat down to eat in the other room, and when I took our plates back in, voila! Another one bites the dust! I love it!! It didn't come cheap, but with animals in the house I don't want to put out poison or a regular trap.

I'm on day four of no diet soda. I tried to use a coupon I'd printed for a free Cherry Coke or Coke Zero at Kum 'n' Go yesterday, but they were all out. My goal is to not necessarily cut it all out, but to cut way back both for my health and my wallet. I figured free or cheap was ok, but it just wasn't meant to be.

I just noticed after I posted this so I had to go back and edit..DRUMROLL PLEASE....It's been 1 year since I started blogging here. Woohoo!! I can't say that I'm any further ahead financially than I was then, but I've learned a lot and I've very thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the community. Smile

3 weeks since I posted

October 19th, 2009 at 12:47 am

I don't know what happened. I'm almost at my 1 year anniversary for blogging, and I just haven't been in the mood. Ok, even after I wrote that I "don't know what happened", I realized that wasn't exactly the truth. I really DO know what's happened. Our finances are a mess right now, and I am so depressed about it that I have no urge to document anything. I guess I've been hiding my head in the sand.

We're not able to pay extra on anything, and I know we are still spending more than we bring in. I haven't updated the sidebar debt because it's too ugly.

On the bright side, I did manage to finally catch up on documenting our spending and coupon savings and all that, hoping it would provide something positive to write about. The summary is:
Found on the ground - added a penny! woohoo!
Rebates & coupon savings came out quite nice. Since I had last updated those months ago, I was worried that we might have fallen off the track on the goal of keeping the grocery/household/dog food spending around $100 per week ($60 for dog food, $40 for food, etc). While we're above the $100 mark, the average per week has actually gone down from just over $110. That's some tiny progress, at least.

Also, I think I remember getting some Purina rebate coupons in the mail yesterday, but now I can't find them. I hope I didn't really lose them! It's 10 $7 coupons. They're really checks but they are used like coupons. That would be a really bad move on my part if I actually did lose them!

I haven't been doing as much with coupons as I used to. I had to get brake pads for my car today, so I stopped in the grocery store and flipped thru the coupons in the Sunday paper. There were some dog food ones, so I could make my money back on the paper plus some extra, but I just didn't see anything else that thrilled me. I didn't buy it, and I probably won't tomorrow either. I find myself doing that a lot lately. I just don't want to be bothered clipping.

I've got $20 in rebates to mail in on some antifreeze we bought, and I'll be trying to get that in the mail this week. I've had quite a few bigger rebates like that lately. When they are $5 or $10 each, they add up fast.

I've also been trying for weeks to list things on eBay & CL. It never becomes important enough for me to set aside time to get it done. DH gets mad already at the amount of time I spend on the computer, most of which is checking my emails, printing coupons from various sites, and reading some blogs. The minute I open up eBay or CL, he wants me to look up some obscure things for him or read him some of the items in the categories. Within 30 minutes, I'm about to fall asleep from the monotony of it, and I never get around to the SELLING!

~~~

After reading back thru this, it fits how I've been feeling lately. Up, down, up, down. There is no logical flow of thoughts, and it seems like things are very disjointed. I can focus on small details and spend hours tracking dollars & cents, and then feel like I accomplished something. But in the grand scheme of our life, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. We have bigger things to resolve, and can't seem to come up with a real plan for solving them. Ugh!

I think I'll quit for now before I become a whiner. Oh....too late? Sorry!!!!

Pennies and dimes, and other tidbits

September 24th, 2009 at 04:51 am

Two or three days ago, I found a penny at one store and a dime at another. Yesterday, it was the same thing. I don't know what the significance of that is, but maybe third time is a charm and some wonderful luck (other than finding pocket change) will come my way. I'll keep looking!

A friend of a friend is supposedly interested in some of our horses, but they "need a week or so to get their money together." I used to get excited when people were interested like that, but not any more. It almost always translates into no action. If we had just 1/2 the money that's been supposedly coming our way from other interested people over the years, we'd be very very rich by now!

Fleas...ugh!

September 20th, 2009 at 04:58 pm

I hate fleas. I can't seem to get rid of them on my dog(s), no matter what I do. We only keep one dog in the house, but now she's had puppies and they have fleas too! (They aren't in the house anymore. Once the puppies turned 3 weeks old, I moved them all to our barn.) There isn't a lot you can give the mama dog when she's nursing, and not much will work on the puppies except frequent, frequent bathing and a touch of flea spray. Ugh!

Yesterday, I moved our birds outside, prepared for flea bombing (well, actually a spray), and set it off & we left for a few hours. When we got back, I did a thorough cleaning. I'm sitting here on the computer this morning, and felt a flea on me. What?! Can anyone tell me something that really, really works? I've heard steam cleaning the carpet will help. I might do that next too.

~~~~

In better news, I found 11 cents this past week, and I got a $5 rebate check for Zantac. The funny thing is that when I bought the Zantac which we might or might not ever use, it was $4.89 or something like that. I had a $5 printable coupon, so I got it for free. But I knew that I would get the money back a 2nd time from the rebate, so that's why I bought it. LOL.

I've got some other rebates to organize. I think one of them was for $10, but I've got to find $30 worth of receipts for "grilling items" - meat, condiments, napkins, ice, etc. It shouldn't be a problem because it doesn't all have to be on one receipt, and it covers a 6-week period of time, I think. Just finding the time to dig thru my receipts is what I'm having trouble with. I don't know why though. It can't possibly take me more than an hour, so that would be $10 an hour that I would have earned for that hour!

The overall problem is that I seem to be having organizational breakdown lately. I spend a lot of time accomplishing nothing. I haven't even been on here much, so I can't blame it on that. I just can't seem to get my act together to organize the bills or paperwork or the house for that matter. Yesterday was a good start with the cleaning, so maybe I can build from there. I think what has really zapped my time lately is spending time in the garden or working on what we pick from the garden, so to say that I "accomplished nothing" isn't really true. It just seems that I don't balance that with all the other stuff I need to do.

Well, maybe I should quit writing about it, and just go DO IT!! Smile

Where does the time go?

August 1st, 2009 at 04:11 am

I haven't been on here almost all week, and I haven't posted in FOREVER! Hopefully before the weekend is up, I'll have some updates on coupon savings etc for the last month or two. I've been trying to catch things up.

I'm intentionally avoiding posting updates to our debt. It's totally disgusting and depressing. We haven't figured out a real solution to come up with sizable chunks of cash on a regular basis. Ugh! I went for a health risk assessment, and they said my blood pressure was up a little. No wonder!! Stressing over money will do that to you.

Actually, though, when he told me the reading, I thought it was good. 123/70. That used to be ok, but apparently anything over 120 on top is now considered pre-hypertension. oh, swell.

~~~

In cheerier news, I'm down another 1/2 pound. That's not really something worth celebrating by itself, but it puts me down 11.5 pounds, so I'm happy with it. I also found a penny both yesterday and today.

It's supposed to rain here tomorrow. Hopefully after I get done with outdoor chores and running errands, I'll have a chunk of time left to do some organizing. My office is a mess, and I have some things I'd like to list on Ebay or CL.

Clink, clink

July 21st, 2009 at 03:11 am

That's the sound of the quarter and penny I found today dropping into my coin jar. The penny was actually in my driveway and it was barely recognizable as a coin in the gravel. It's all corroded and dirty, but somehow I spotted it.

The quarter was outside in the parking lot of a grocery store. It was raining, and I glanced into one of the parking spots as I walked past. I almost didn't venture off the sidewalk to look further since I thought it was a bottle cap. Glad I looked! The people in the parked on either side were watching me, but I don't care.

I've been dragging lately at work, and my stupid solution is to hit the vending machine for a quick snack. It's so stupid for many reasons. #1. I'm trying to lose weight. #2. I really can't afford to waste the money. #3. I'll scrounge around for coupons and only buy good deals at the grocery store, yet I'll waste 75 cents on a single serving of something? The sensible me just flies out the window, and it doesn't help if I bring healthy snacks from home. I'll have those, but then I'll ALSO have something else. Ugh! Must put a stop to it!!

Jackpot!

July 19th, 2009 at 01:57 am

Maybe my dry spell of not finding much on the ground has ended. I found a dime at a tractor dealer today. (I had just spent 50 cents on M&M's, and we were about to spend $500+ on parts, so it wasn't quite as big a thrill as it should have been.)

I found another dime at Walmart by the register, and it wasn't even at my register. It was a self-checkout one and something made me look back at it as I walked by. Sure enough, it was waiting for me.

The jackpot came at another parts store. I saw a small wad of "paper" and thought to myself that it looked like the big stamp that's on the book of stamps. I know it's not really a big stamp but hopefully you know what I mean - the part they scan. I picked it up and that's what it was with one stamp on it still...until I flipped it over. Holy cow!!! There were all 10 stamps still on the other side!! It was folded so much that I have to guess it was jammed into somebody's wallet or pocket, and fell out when they pulled something else out. It wasn't even near the register, so it wasn't when they went to pay. They are Forever stamps too.

So, 44c x 11 = $4.84
plus 10c
plus 10c = $5.04

Now that's what I call a GOOD day.

~~~~

It's sadly overshadowed by the fact that we keep needing parts to repair equipment, and our debt is accumulating. But, I've learned to take the little doses of good luck for the momentary happiness they bring to my day.




Simple pleasures

July 11th, 2009 at 05:14 am

I've decided that I must be pretty easy to please. Aside from all the negative things that have been happening financially, I took simple pleasure in the past few weeks from:

1) a 25 cent teddy bear I bought at Walgreens to put on my desk at work. He makes me smile, so it was worth a quarter.

2) $2 shoes that I bought at the thrift store. I needed a better pair of black shoes for work. I tried on several different pairs, but none fit right. Then I saw this one other pair that wasn't my normal style. Kind of like clogs, because they have no back to them. Thick soles, sort of platform like, but not real tall. They were not my normal "style", if I really have one, but it felt like I was standing on a big thick cushion. They are the best!!! The comfort sold me totally, especially since my heel has been sore lately, either from a stone bruise or heel spur. I've worn them almost every day since at work and they are GREAT!!

3) a nickel I found on the ground at a quick shop. It was under the counter, sort of, where someone must have dropped it. One lousy nickel, the first money I've found in a month! But it made my day that day.

4) a free heart health screening. I paid for one of these back a few months ago, and then I saw a local hospital is having a free one at the end of the month. They measure height, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. This will be super, since I've been dieting and really trying to improve my eating habits (okay, except for the last week or so). I might try to lie to myself, but the numbers won't. I know the scale is down close to 9 pounds since I did the last screening. What I'm so interested to find out is whether I have improved my cholesterol levels, which were running a little high. They just HAVE to be better. I went from eating a lot of junk food to eating 2-3 fruits a day, cutting out a lot of starchy foods, and eating fresh veges more. Three more weeks to go until the screening. I hope to be down three more pounds by then, and I hope to see some improvements in all the measurements.

Wish me luck!!

Spent money for motivation

June 5th, 2009 at 02:53 am

Today I signed up for a weight loss challenge at work. I spent $10 to join, and set a goal to lose 15 pounds in 12 weeks. It's been HOW many weeks since the beginning of the year, since I've been trying off & on to lose weight, any weight! So far, no luck. So, why did I spend $10 on the same venture? I'm hoping the motivation of the prize money will keep me on track better. Everyone who meets their goal splits the prize, so I'm sure it won't be a huge prize. But it's still worth trying for, right? I celebrated my join-up by having a 3 Musketeers candy bar after my lunch today. Boy, was that good...but DUMB!

Our fridge is trying to quit on us. It did, more or less, but hubby might have temporarily nursed it back to health. We did a lot of coil cleaning, unplugged it, let some ice built up in the freezer melt, and plugged it back in, hoping that maybe some drain thing was plugged. I don't know. We did this one other time with another fridge and it only lasted an extra few weeks. Ugh! We've just about depleted the E-fund, so this will probably be a 2nd hand purchase at an auction, yard sale, craiglist or whatever. I don't know, though, don't they claim that the newer ones are much more efficient and save money for you in the long run?

After a long week with no findings, I spotted a quarter on the ground today at the grocery store. Mine! I also picked up a free plant at work today that someone had brought in to the break room. Yay! I'm almost ready to plant things in a flower bed we made, so this is perfect timing. And it's a perennial, so plant it once and be done with it - my favorite!


Dear customer

May 29th, 2009 at 01:52 am

I opened my mail Tuesday to find this notice from one of my credit card companies.

Dear Customer,
Your xxxx Business Card account is funded by an independent trust which owns the balances you owe on your account and provides funding for new transactions. We expect the trust to stop funding activity on our accounts. The trust also restricts our flexibility to fund activity on your account. Unfortunately, as a result, effective May 30th all xxxx Business Credit Card accounts, including your account, will be closed.

This means that you will not be able to use your card or account for new transactions, including purchases, checks, and balance transfers beginning on May 30th. We understand that you may have written checks on your account before May 30th and we will make every effort to honor those checks that are presented to us for payment by June 3rd. If you use your card to make automatic recurring bill payments, you will need to make alternative arrangements for those payment promptly.


It's not a big deal on the surface for me since I have just one recurring bill charged to this account, and I was able to catch it (just barely) and switch it to another card. It was for a business that I have more or less shut down anyhow, so it doesn't really have an impact in that regard. They are honoring the cash back balance that has accumulated, which is minor for me. But, how bad will the elimination of the $12,500 credit limit hurt me?!

Plus, all I can think of is the what ifs. What if I had just set the letter aside for a week or so? (Something I do often when it's a "notice about your credit card", since it's usually just a privacy notice or something minor) What if I had been out of town for the week? I'm sure some people are. It sure wasn't much notice!

In other news, I planted a little more in the garden tonight - turnips. Yuck for me but DH loves them raw. Radishes and lettuce are starting to poke thru the ground also. That was quick! We just planted them last Saturday.

I found a penny at the auto parts store. It was about 6" back under a movable display rack. I'm ashamed to say I moved the rack to get it, but I really thought it was a nickel when I did it. LOL!

I'm loving this long weekend!

May 25th, 2009 at 04:05 am

We've got our garden about 1/2 planted this weekend, in between rain showers. Lettuce, radishes, spinach, onions, pole beans, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, peppers and cantaloupe so far. Still need to do cucumbers, watermelon, and turnips. I'm not sure what else. There is still a lot of room left! I think the area DH designated as the garden area is too big, but maybe he'll come up with something to put there.

The funny thing is we usually don't lack for any veges during the summer. Between family members and our neighbor, we've always had all we needed given to us, at least of most things. But, we decided it was time to do our own (again), and maybe we'll have things to trade. My legs are killing me from all the up & down action. I guess I don't use some of those muscles very often!

I found another penny on Saturday. It was in my car, but I don't remember dropping it, so I counted it in my Found on the Ground tally.

I also (finally) finished updating my grocery spending and my total is now up to date on the side bar. $1,078+ saved with coupons for the year! I thought some of my big coupon-filled trips lately would bring my savings percent up some, but it actually dropped down 1% to just 31%. I'm not complaining, though!

The average spent per week is back down to $113.45, and that's after a HUGE total this past week of over $217. I can't imagine that we should need to spend ANY money the next few weeks on groceries, but there are always the basics that we don't stock up on like milk & bread. If I can keep the spending way down, I should be able to inch the weekly average down little by little.

I'm loving that this is a 3-day weekend for me. Usually by this time on Sunday, I'm so bummed thinking of all the things I didn't get done over the weekend, and I have another whole day to get them done this time! Yippee!!

If I sound giddy over all these little things, it's because I'm trying desperately to find things to be happy about and take my mind off big worries. We keep having to dip into savings to keep up with bills and payroll. When I say "dip", I don't really mean little dips, either. We HAVE to find some way to increase income, and soon. I'm considering a part-time job, even though I know it would wipe me out physically. Hubby and I talked quite a bit about the state of things today, but didn't really resolve anything. I'm trying not to get sick to my stomach just thinking about it all. I hope to list a few things on eBay or CL tomorrow. They sure won't bail us out of the mess, but at least we'll be making an effort.

A penny saved....trivia

May 22nd, 2009 at 03:48 am

I found another penny today, so that puts my total for 2 weeks at 50 cents. At that rate (not likely), at the end of one year, I'll have $13 I didn't have before.

And here's the trivia:

Who said "A penny saved is a penny earned"?
a) Abraham Lincoln
b) Benjamin Franklin
c) Bernard Madoff
d) Donald Trump

LOL! I couldn't resist.