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.
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.
I love getting rebates in big chunks. The mail today brought a $10 rebate. I think I sent it in less than a month ago, so it was fast too!
We are muddy, muddy, muddy around here. Yesterday brought 3-4 inches of rain, and it was already muddy before that. There is still standing water in our yard in some places, so that mud is just delayed.
I had some nice savings on dog food at Petsmart with coupons they emailed to me for $15 off a $50 purchase. The limit was 2 coupons, so I split my 5 large bags of food plus a few other items into 2 purchases. I had a few coupons too, and then some Purina rebate checks to use. All in all, I spent $53 for $125 worth of food. With 2 bags I bought yesterday before I had the $15/$50 coupons, that should last us 3 weeks.
I've decided to cut way back on my diet drink purchases. Today is day #2 without them, and also without caffeine. I don't know about this. I was dead tired at work today, but I don't know that I can blame it on a lack of caffeine. I've been that tired other days while I was steadily drinking diet coke. We'll see how the weekend goes. I have heard and read that you should drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. So, for example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 oz. of water. That's more than the "8 glasses a day" that I'd always heard, assuming they were talking about 8 oz. glasses. That is A LOT of water!! I think I'd be spending my life in the bathroom if I drank that much every day.
I'm yawning a lot tonight, so I think I'll drop into bed and do some light reading....I'll bet I can't even keep my eyes open for one page!
We hit a new low, and were overdrawn in our checking account yesterday. $30 in charges. Yuck! Fortunately, hubby happened to check before he went somewhere and wrote a check because we were expecting his social security deposit to go thru around the 23rd to 25th, like it always does. Nope! It just went in there last night. He added some cash to get us back in the black, but it was a sick moment. We haven't had money run that close in a long time.
It made me feel extra guilty because I am on a short mini-vacation visiting friends and family. My only cost out of pocket for this trip has been a few dinners out and gas for which I scrimped together cash from my change collected over the past few months and some rebate checks. It's a well-deserved cheap vacation, but it kind of puts a damper on things when you know you're blowing money that really could have been put to better use. I was even ok with the dinner money spent, but mortified at the $14 it cost me to park in a parking garage for 4 hours. I'm sure I could have found a cheaper alternative if I had done a little research ahead of time.
Reading Jennifer's post on the value of "only" $40 got me thinking that for this short vacation I really have gotten a lot of value for the money I spent, so I have to go forward with no regrets and not beat myself up over it. I can't change the past but I can change the future, and the big challenge is figuring out how to proceed to do that. All my ideas are small. Maybe I could cut diet soda and impulse snacks from my grocery list altogether, and possibly save $10 a week. Maybe I could really go on a diet and lose weight, which would make me feel better, which would make me feel more like excercising, which would improve my energy level and my self-esteem and my heart and countless other things. I can't possibly think how that would bring in more money or help cut expenses, but maybe just having more energy will give me the oomph to get selling on ebay again. The possibilities are endless, and I know I just have to take those baby steps.
You guys really are the best! I was pretty down in my last post, and you are all so nice, luring me back in.
I'm traveling and visiting relatives this week, and stuck with a s-l-o-w dial-up connection. My connection at home isn't lightning fast, but it seems like it now!
While I'm away, I hope to get some rest and get some motivation to change some things. At the least, I've brought some "homework" with me. We're supposedly close to refinancing, but need to come up with a few more items for the lender. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one - we need it very much. Also, just before I left, I asked my current bank for a printout of our loan payments, showing the amount applied to principal & interest each month. What prompted it is I had come up with an amortization schedule by plugging the amount, interest rate & number of years into some online amortization calculator. When I asked the bank what the current balance was, they differed from the calculation I had by over $1,000. Mine might not be 100% accurate because I had to fudge some things to come up with the monthly payment the bank says. So, that's one question - why the difference. But I have never seen anything like their printout. The amount applied to principle is all over the place, not a steadily increasing amount applied to principal. One month it'll be $200+, then up to $300+, then $20+, then $100+, then $500+. I don't understand it at all, so while I'm away I'm going to call and ask them to explain it to me, even if it takes hours! It's crazy!!
So, I'm going to try to be back here more. I really do miss it when I'm not posting. I find it helps me to clear my head and think things out when I do post. One step at a time....
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!!!!
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!
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!!
I've never really heard those words when they've meant something good, until today. I noticed that 2 items on my grocery bill didn't ring up at the price on the shelf. They rang at $2.20 instead of $1.99 each. I had a coupon for $2 off each one, so the plan was that I would get them for free. In a split second decision, I went to the customer service desk to get my 40 cents refunded.
Sometimes I bother and sometimes I don't when there isn't much money involved. Today for some reason I did. The clerk looked at the items and studied the receipt, and punched her info in the cash register. I looked up and she was handing me $2.50! "If it's priced wrong, you get one free. That's our policy."
My jaw dropped! Where I lived before, that was a state law, but I don't think it is in this state. Plus, I've shopped at other stores in this same chain, and requested a refund on items that scanned wrong, and they've NEVER given me the item free. It was a nice surprise. I suppose I should have argued that with my coupon I already got both of them free, but who am I to argue?
I noticed my debt ticker had vanished. I guess I hadn't updated in several months (I didn't know tickerfactory would get rid of them after a certain period of time). Oh well, I didn't update it for the same reason I haven't updated the list on the sidebar since May. Things have swung in the opposite direction and I can't handle seeing the reality of it.
Instead, I put my weight loss ticker. I've at least made progress (small progress) with it.
I also had fun on the H&R Block website the other day. There are all sorts of nifty calculators to estimate taxes, etc. Plus, I saw some cool widgets so I added one of those to my sidebar. I really didn't want it to take up such a large amount of space so I may not leave it there forever, but for now enjoy!
If you are interested in the tax calculators, they are at: http://hrblock.com/taxes/tax_calculators/index.html#
I made a quick stop at Walmart tonight after a town hall meeting. It's always an eye-opening experience when I go to the stores in the city. Interesting outfits, bizarre makeup, and just some odd couples.
The best part of tonight's trip was the 2 conversations I overheard. The first was in the produce department where a woman was VERY LOUDLY proclaiming that their produce was awful! I kind of chuckled, thinking that she was just announcing this fact to anyone that would listen. In fact, she was calling it out to her friend across the produce department. "The bananas are way overripe!" Well, she got my attention, so I had to take a glance at the bananas. Everything I saw was very yellow, with green still at the top. I don't know WHAT she was looking at. They looked wonderful to me! Now, I'll admit that a lot of times I've seen better produce elsewhere, but tonight everything looked ok.
The second was in the bread aisle. A man & woman were looking at the english muffins and trying to decide. She picked out some whole wheat ones and he said "no thanks, I want the real deal". Huh? White bread is the "real deal"?
Now this really has nothing to do with finances, except that it's interesting to hear what other people take into consideration when shopping.
I wish I'd had a camera phone, because I would have attached a picture of the big rollback sign they had over something in the freezer department. "2 for $5.00 ~ Was $2.50". Hmmmm....you do the math.
And, the last entertainment, was in the pet food department. I was crouched down trying to get a case of canned puppy food without having to pick up individual cans. I had to shift some cans from one box to another. These are the "boxes" that are really just 1-2" tall that keep the cans together, sort of. A lady walked behind me by the fish tanks and announced to me "you have a dead fish in this tank." I guess I looked like I worked there!
AKSaves entry got me thinking about personal grooming and an ad that one radio station is airing now. In the ads, the morning show announcer (a female) is gushing about how laser hair removal can save you so much time, and she is well on her way to becoming "hair-free". The other announcer (a male) teases her sometimes by calling her Hairy. Supposedly, the time savings is from not having to mess with razor or creams or waxing or anything. It also will save you from embarrassment when you are wearing shorts or a skirt and realize you forgot to shave.
I don't know what the laser hair removal treatments cost, but logic tells me they are probably not cheap.
How much time do you really spend shaving that could make it worth it? I don't think I spend more than 15-30 minutes a week. I just grab a razor in the shower and it's done while my hair is conditioning.
Maybe if I lived in a beach area, my answer would be different. Or, if I had some type of hormonal or glandular problem that gave me a female mustache, I would do it. But just for normal, everyday life, I just can't see it.
(As I said this, a vision of a kid I knew in my 20's popped up. It was a guy and he had hair on his nose, dark noticeable hair. He was a nice guy, and I always felt bad for him. I hope he does laser hair removal!)
Our refinancing appliation was turned down by the loan company. "Turned down" sounds a tiny bit better than REJECTED! I'm so bummed. This was a different loan company located out of state that specializes in rural loans. We were hoping we could get it to go thru now, before our mortgage is up for renewal in March 2010.
It would have lowered our payments by close to $300/month. So....if we can afford it now (barely, but we don't tell them that), why wouldn't we be in a better position if we had a lower payment? I know, I know, it's just too risky for them.
I had to send a mountain of paperwork too - 3 years of tax returns and a lengthy application. They said they normally destroy the paperwork, but could send it back if requested. I told them to send it back so I don't have to re-copy everything again for the next place we try.
Just as I finally get around to making an entry, DH walked in and is looking for dinner. I don't have it ready since he was gone all day and gave me no idea when he'd be back. So, I guess I'll cut this short.
I found a penny today and another one yesterday. Maybe tomorrow will be my lucky day, and I'll find a million dollars somehow! (okay, we don't need that much, but a girl can dream)
It's always nice when grocery store sales & coupons align just right, and it seems like it's been awhile for me since I had a great trip. I've just been picking up a few things here & there, but I don't know that I've been spending less doing it this way or not.
Well, yesterday after work, I bought a back seat full of groceries, stopping at 3 stores (all on my way home).
Total cost: $30.02. Coupon savings: $34.65. Future savings: $14 (with a $4 coupon to use on a future purchase, and a $10 rebate to send away for). I also think something scanned double on my receipt, so I was overcharged about 50c. My picture angle is horrible - those candy bars aren't that HUGE!
Anyhow, that was for:
3 liter diet cola
1 frozen pizza
5 loaves of bread
1 gal bleach
1 gal milk
softsoap body wash...generated the $4 coupon for next time
5 jars peanut butter
4 jars olives
2 cans pineapple...free after coupon!
1 bunch bananas
24 oz cottage cheese
16 oz cheese slices
1 can mushrooms
8 oz shredded cheese
1 lb smoked sausage
Little Debbie brownies...diet, what diet?
2 big candy bars...ditto!
4 packs gum
1 soy candle...free after coupon!
2 lbs. deli roast beef...paid just over $2 after coupons, and it will give me the $10 rebate.
If I hadn't bought the chocolate & gum, I would have been ahead about $3, but sometimes those really are necessities so I have no regrets about wasting $3.
I'm off to the garden to pick green beans soon. I missed the past two days so I may be there awhile! I'll add whatever I get to the pickings from earlier in the week, and freeze a batch today. We don't have all that many plants, but it seems they are producing a lot!
I worked like a dog yesterday. Ok, wait a minute, who came up with that saying? My dog lays around most of the time, sleeping, and that is most definitely NOT what I did!
I got up early and checked on a litter of puppies, noticed one bunch of horses needed water, filled their tank. Decided since I was already there, I might as well feed them. Then, fed another group as well just to get them out of the way for the day. Oops, part of their fence needed fixing. Since I was there anyhow, and had water going, might as well hook up another hose and water out farther. Well, since I was there, I might as well take them some grain. Oh, another group came up out of the field, I'll take them grain as well. Just one pen left, so I fed them. They're near the garden so I checked on the veges.
A quick glance told me I would have to make multiple trips if I gathered up armfuls so I found a box in one of our buildings and picked. An hour later, I carried in a banana box filled with squash, green beans, tomatoes and radishes. It was 9 am. I was starving for breakfast, and so happy to have accomplished all that!!
My plans were to prepare all the bounty for the freezer, do a little zucchini bread baking, get some laundry done, etc. But hubby had different plans. He needed some parts he'd ordered from town, so while he went one direction to get a pickup inspected so we could re-license it (6 months overdue!), I went to pick up the parts...and go to the bank, recycle, gas station, grocery store, and I think somewhere else. These were all not in my plan, but since I was going anyway, might as well.
Rather than keep all the veges, I bagged up two sacks of squash & green beans. One for my hairdresser who mentioned just this week she really liked zucchini bread but messed up the one batch she tried to make, and she didn't have any more zucchini. The second bag went to the man at the parts store. My hubby's family has brought them veges for many, many years, so he thought why not?
While I was making all the rounds, hubby called and said hurry home, we might need you to drive the hay truck. There were 350 square bales of hay to load. I came home, but found no one in the house. Rather than go look for them, I snuck in a quick 10-minute tidying & vacuuming session. I was dreading the hay, not because I would be driving, but because I know better. Hubby is in no physical condition to load the hay, so it would be me & DSS loading while hubby drove. I snuck in a quick trip to check on the puppies again, and cleaned up old hay in the barn where I knew we'd be stacking the new.
And then, we had an unusual stroke of lucky timing. Brother-in-law showed up with his trailer, not a total surprise, but he came at the right time. A cousin called & hubby told him to come on over. (He works for us, and had missed work yesterday, so he was checking to see if we needed him.) And, another guy & girl (late teens/early 20's) that come to clean stalls showed up much earlier than we expected. We were using the tractor they use already, so hubby offered to pay them to help with the hay. The young girl drove, and with 2 guys on the trailer, and the rest on the ground tossing the hay up onto the trailer for stacking, we were able to get thru it all in two trips and three hours. Actually my 2nd trip was different. I forked loose hay from broken bales onto a separate trailer while hubby drove.
The rest of the evening was then filled by a 2nd feeding of some of the horses, checking again on puppies, 2 loads of laundry, watering the garden, burning some trash, a little bit of lawn mowing, vege prep (for freezing this morning and making zucchini bread), and of course dinner.
Somewhere in there I tripped climbing thru a barbed wire fence, and my legs are slashed in about 5 places. That was getting to the burn barrel so I could burn trash.
Today, I am sore all over. Legs, arms, back, you name it. But I have a happy smile on my face that it all went so well yesterday, and that I personally accomplished a TON of stuff!
I'm not quite so ambitious today, as all I've done so far is checked on the puppies, picked a few more veges, and checked in with you guys. But, I'm off to do the freezing & baking now. Horses & lawn mowing will come later, if it doesn't rain. Okay, wait, that didn't come out right. The horses get fed rain or shine. I would also like to organize my desk and figure out which stack of papers is to be filed and which is bills to be paid. That's kind of important, but I don't always prioritize in the right order, so it will probably wait for last.
I just spent the last several days gathering information for a loan application to try to refinance. It's a lot of information to pull together, and it took me several evenings to dig through and find all the paperwork to pull the figures from. Now we just have to sit back and wait. Keep your fingers crossed, please. We really NEED this to go through!
When I went to the post office to mail everything, I pulled out an old, old Priority Mail stamp. I used to buy them 4 or 5 at a time, since I mailed invoices to a client. It was for $3.85 or $3.95, so that probably goes back 3 or 4 years. I tried to lick it and stick it to the envelope and it just fell off! LOL. The clerk glued it on and then added the extra postage needed. I've been waiting a long time to use up that stamp!! I had to dig around my office for about 15 minutes before I remembered where I put it. It was 15 minutes well spent.
I've found a few coins here & there lately, almost a penny a day. Now if only I weren't wasting several times that amount on snacks, it would be great. If I don't quit that and get my act together, I won't make my weight loss goal in the challenge I entered. Sometimes, it's as if my brain shuts out all the logical thoughts like "is this a need or a want?" and "will this bring you closer to your goals?". I can KNOW I'm sabotaging myself both financially and healthily, and the evil lizajane just wins out.
I've had several thoughts of things I want to blog about lately, but haven't had time to sit down & do it. It's too late tonight for me to start anything requiring real thoughts. This is just a brain dump of things going on lately, so it requires almost no thought! I also am way behind on updating any of my totals, other than when I find money on the ground.
Anyone check out the meteor showers the past few nights? I spent about 10 minutes outside around midnight last night and saw 2. I'd like to do it again, but I'm heading to bed instead.
My latest health risk assessment showed that, even though I've lost some weight, my cholesterol is up, triglycerides are up, and blood pressure up slightly. It was suggested that I might try fish oil, I think to bring the triglycerides down. So, I was wondering, does anyone here take fish oil pills?
I looked at 2 different kinds at Walgreens. Nature's Bounty (or maybe it was Nature's Finest) is buy-1-get-1-free this week. I think the smallest bottle was something like 9.99 or 10.99. It would be roughly 400 pills. I don't remember the exact details, but it mentioned they are coated to aid digestion and alleviate "fish burps". Oh, yum. The other kind was just the "W" brand, and with a coupon, it would be about the same price. It didn't say anything about a special coating.
Has anyone tried either of these brands? Any fish-y problems?
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.
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!!
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 = $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.
This is just too funny. I had many, many oddball dreams last night. In one of them, we were at some type of gathering and I left the table for awhile. When I came back, my husband said he'd sold one of our dogs but bought something in return from the lady - a ferret! Once I got over the "what were you thinking" shock, I looked at the check he had, and it was signed Julie something-or-other and it was stamped in red words or maybe it was a background on the check that said "Ima Saver". So, then I was all curious who she really was, and made him point her out to me. She was in the back of the room, was tall with short hair and glasses, and had a pretty scarf around her neck that went with her outfit.
So, Julie, are you tall? Do you have glasses? Short hair? Wear scarves? Often sell ferrets to people that don't need them?
I can't imagine where in my brain this dream emerged from, and we don't even live in the same part of the country, but I came up with the following possibilities:
1) We went to an auction yesterday (a gathering of people)
2) There was a lady with a Capuccian (sp?) monkey there (not a ferret, but not a "normal" pet either)
3) Hubby bought too many things, considering we are short on money (this is most definitely where the "what were you thinking" sub-conscious anger came into the dream!)
4) I read these blogs just before going to bed last night, and Ima Saver's was one of the last I read.
My other dreams are not quite as memorable, although there was one where I went back to visit people at my old company, and made some pretty rude comments to the guy at the front desk about getting laid off. He was nothing more than a security guard, the poor guy, and had nothing to do with the decision not to continue my employment into this year.
My analysis of this one is pretty straightforward:
1) DH & I talked yesterday about checking in with them to see if they'd thought about contracting any work out again.
2) Our financial situation stinks and it is directly related to not having this job anymore, as the one I have now doesn't pay nearly as much as the old one did and which our bills fit.
3) I still have some anger or disappointment over the whole situation.
4) In order not to burn bridges, I never vented my anger with the people responsible for the decisions. I tried to handle it all professionally, although I never took it out on the poor security guard!!
Whew! What a busy night!!
I'm gonna scream if I hear that commercial one more time!! It's a radio ad for some American something-or-other credit card counseling place that promises to help you with your debt. They actually say the words "It's not your fault". Hellllooooooo! Whose fault is it then? Did someone make you spend all that money on plastic?
Now, believe me, we have a whopper of credit card debt. So I'm not talking "down" to people that do. But it IS our fault, 100%. I hope to be able to take care of it a little at a time, but never once in all the time that it took to accumulate it or the time that it will take to pay it back will I EVER think that it was not our fault.
I get steaming mad every time I hear the ad. Responsibility for one's own actions just seem to be a thing of the past.
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!!
This is my first entry in a few weeks, and I can't decide if I've just been too busy or if that's an excuse for not wanting to own up to some "failures". (Mind you, I don't personally feel like a failure because of these, since I know that it wasn't some luxury spending that caused it, but they are still failures to keep on track with everything.)
#1: Inability to pay the one credit card that we ALWAYS pay in full each month. I don't even want to look at what this added to the totals on the sidebar, so I didn't update it yet. It will be ugly. I was so happy to see the totals drop under $29K, and now I'm sure we're back over $30K. What caused it? Repairs and maintenance to equipment, lack of a crystal ball, and poor planning. Ugh!
#2: Purchase of a new refrigerator on credit! I fought this for 2 - 3 weeks, as we tried to revive the one we had. We got it working sort of, but knew it was doomed and it would be just a matter of time. I called about several used ones, but none were as cheap as I wanted to pay for used. I have to admit that we were being picky here - we didn't just want any old fridge, it "had" to be one with ice & water in the door. (*hanging head in shame here*) Anyhow, I shopped around, and did end up with a great deal on a brand spanking new one, and I love it. I bargained hard with the sales crew, and got free delivery 40+ miles from the store. And the happy ending is that it's a 3-year 0% interest credit. That sucker will be paid off well in advance of the 3 years, mark my words!
DH & I had some good discussions about how to handle our growing money crisis. Without farm expenses, we could make it just fine. Adding in the labor and other expenses to keep things going, the farm income doesn't pay for itself. We may limp along through the hay season, since that brings in some money. Most of what we cut we end up using. We'll try to sell more critters, though, and will let some of the hired help go. I don't think we solved anything, but we at least had a decent discussion. This is a big plus as most of our money discussions are chaotic, with him saying he doesn't understand where it all goes (but at the same time he doesn't want to hear the details of where it all goes). It's been a struggle to discuss things like this for many years, so maybe we made a little teeny headway.
I have to update my coupons and spending and all that jazz, but have been putting it off. I got burned out on finding great deals, mostly because money has been so tight. A great deal is great only if you really need the item or will absolutely use it. I have razors and toothpaste and deoderant in stock for the next year, so I don't need any more of those deals. I have been shopping more at a discount grocery store, and they don't take coupons, but I still consider those great deals. When I tally it all up, I'm hoping our overall spending per week will be down because of it.
My last gripe for the day is that I haven't found any money on the ground in a long time!! I used to always find coins, sometimes daily. It's so weird, like all of a sudden everybody ahead of me started looking at the ground and finding the coins, or everyone got more careful and quit dropping it!
Well, this was quite long and depressing, but at least I got it out in the open. I feel somewhat better!
I've been trying to catch up on all your blogs, but am not having much luck. It's been a very busy week!
Last night's dinner was soft tacos, made from a Taco Bell meal kit purchased at Walmart. As we were eating them, I realized it was a really cheap meal for us. The box kit was $2...minus a $1 coupon. The ground beef was given to us by one BIL a few weeks ago. They gave us about 10 pounds of ground beef and 10 pounds of ground sausage. The lettuce I got free with a coupon at the grocery store. The tomato & onion came from a different BIL. And, I'm sure the shredded cheese we used was purchased on sale or with a coupon or something. That came out of the freezer so I don't remember exactly what I paid for it. I think there is enough of almost everything left over for another taco or two apiece. I'm sure there would have been if we each didn't have three last night! They were delicious, and for $2 or less out of pocket, we might get 2 meals out of them. I know it was unusual circumstances, and it wouldn't be that cheap next time, but for today it was good.
In other news, I think I sold something on CL. The woman said she'll "definitely buy it" (we've all heard that before!), but I believe her. That will be an extra $10. Hubby said I priced it too cheap, but I just wanted a quick sale to get some cash in the coffers.
I also called in during the right song playing on the radio yesterday, and won $50! I've never done that before, so I was quite thrilled. It's all little dribbles, but it all helps too.
I just figured my grocery/dog expenses for the last 2 weeks, and updated the sidebar. Average per week is dropping! I seem to have gotten lucky lately with great sales on dog food, so much so that I'll buy 2+ weeks worth at once. I ran out of Purina $7 checks (which I earn by turning in weight circles from the food), but I had a 15% off coupon at Petsmart that I used last week. I just sent in enough weight circles to get 10 more $7 off checks, but I'll probably need to stock up again before those get here. Timing is everything!
The grocery bill seems to have decreased also. I know I'm due for a bigger trip in the next week or so, since the last two weeks were very cheap. We're waiting on a part to see if it fixes our refrigerator, which went out last week. It's a pain, but I don't seem to buy as much stuff since we have no way to keep it cold. We've probably saved at least $10 from not buying milk & cheese. I do have some milk in the freezer, and sometimes take it out overnight to thaw so we can drink it in the morning. I know we could use a big cooler and buy a bag of ice every day to keep things cold, but we're getting by so I don't want to bother! If it was a quick trip to get ice and it wouldn't 1/2 melt by the time we got home, it might be different. I know, I know...put a 2nd cooler in the car and it won't melt...but I still don't want to bother!
I got an email from Walgreens with a coupon to save $5 on any online or instore purchase of $25 or more for the next 2 days. It excludes all the things you would expect it to exclude - tobacco, alcohol, prescriptions, gift cards, etc. That's normal. But they've now added the clause that the $25 must be before taxes and after all manufacturer and Walgreens coupons and discounts.
I know that's still a nice savings, especially if you had a lot of coupons to reduce the purchase down to $25 from something a lot higher. But, I think I've become a bargain snob! I long for the "good old days" when they had these coupons and you could START at $25 in purchases, take off the $5 coupon, and then take off the all the manufacturer coupons. Many times I walked out spending $10 or less, and most of the time that $10 included purchases for items that qualified for their rebate program. Since they did away with their rebate program and changed the terms of their coupons, they are seeing a whole lot less of me. I guess that means they'll make a profit now!
Friday night's show was a very "avid" coupon clipper homebody family swapped with a family that totally lived in the moment, were always on the go, and spent money left & right. Total clash! The coupon wife tried to teach the spenders to use coupons but it was pretty futile. She was successful in introducing a little more family time, though, instead of always running here & there to events. Plus, she did get the spender hubby to agree that they needed to cut back their spending, or at least he agreed his wife did!
Spendy-wife tried to teach coupon-man to do things without coupons, and was somewhat successful but I don't think that will last. She actually had the nerve to threaten to shred all the coupons they had clipped and filed in a binder though!! That didn't go over so well. LOL. She was quite successful in getting the family to do activities outside the house, and having the kids try some sports other than Wii athletics.
I like the show for a little light entertainment on Friday's, and it's fun to see the opposites thrown together for the week. Sometimes they are dumb episodes, but other times it's interesting to see people thinking and doing things outside their norm and discovering they like to do things different.
In my little world, it's been a wonderful weekend so far. The weather has been gorgeous, and I've gotten a lot done outside. Plus, I stopped at a few yard sales today, and came away with (1) a new work outfit, (2) a pair of jeans, (3) an item to relist on eBay, and (4) a nice print/picture about friendship that will make a cute little gift. Total OOP: Just $3
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!
I added $10 to my rebate total on the sidebar. Love those high-dollar rebates!
Dreaded credit cards have also been reduced. We dropped under $29K this month, which makes me very happy, but I'm afraid that money is getting so tight that we might not be able to pay off the full balance on the card we use for gas, parts, internet purchases, etc. It's been faithfully paid every month in full since I set the money aside as we charge to it, but this month we ran short enough that I had to use that money that was set aside for other expenses. Ugh! Something's gotta give! I don't want to see that credit card balance going back up, no matter what!
I glanced at a few blouses today at the big box store. I really need a few more summer tops for work. I didn't like anything I saw on the clearance racks, and since I've been shopping at the thrift store lately, even the clearance prices on the cheap clothes seemed high! I've found much better, nicer items for just a dollar or two at the thrift store, so I guess I'll be going back there instead.
The only drawback is that I might not be wearing up-to-date styles, but since I don't pay that much attention to the "current look", it doesn't phase me much. One thing I think I think I did miss in fashion, though, is the idea of ladies having pants/slacks so long that they touch the ground. I've noticed several women at work with dress pants and high heels, and their pants are absolutely dragging the ground. (I'm constantly amazed that they don't catch their heel in the hem and fall down.) Is this really the style? Or do we just have a lot of ladies at our company that don't know how to hem their pants?
I opened my mail Tuesday to find this notice from one of my credit card companies.
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!
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