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Farewell to 2009

January 1st, 2010 at 04:55 am

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

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

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

My husband the comedian

December 27th, 2009 at 03:45 pm

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

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

Need suggestions

December 15th, 2009 at 03:05 am

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

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

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

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

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

Any helpful suggestions?

"Are you ever going to upgrade your phone?"

December 1st, 2009 at 06:53 am

That's what a friend asked me last weekend. "That's like the first phone I had!" It's kind of funny she said that, since I never really think about the style of cell phone I have. It's definitely not the latest & greatest, and it wasn't even the latest & greatest when I got it. But:
(a) it was cheap
(b) it still works

I think I got it about 3 years ago. I was almost out of a 2-year contract and didn't want to pay for a brand new phone or get a new phone free with another 2-year contract. So, I got a refurbished one for cheap. It was a flip phone with a camera. I never used the camera, and started having problems with the phone, so I turned it back in for another refurbished flip phone with no camera and went with prepay when the contract ran out.

I'll never fit in with the crowd, and I'll never be a trendsetter! LOL

It makes me realize just how far behind the times I am when it comes to techno-gadgets and keeping up with things. No cable, no satellite tv, no tivo, no dvr, my digital camera is 7-8 years old, no texting, no facebook, no twitter, no myspace. My car is from the mid-90's.

I do, however, have satellite internet, so it can't be all bad!

Installing Christmas lights

November 22nd, 2009 at 05:33 am

As I was driving to my class this morning in a nearby city, I saw a sign hanging on one of the light poles. "Christmas lights installed, call xxx-xxx-xxxx".

I'm sure it's not a new service, but I don't recall seeing it offered before. It made me wonder if the person offering the service brainstormed different ways to earn income because they are out of work, or if it's something they do every year to make a little extra income for holiday spending. Would they get any calls? Is there really a need for this kind of service?

I often think things like that when I see services offered that I wouldn't ever consider hiring someone to do. And then I realize that the service exists because someone perceived a need for that service. If the service persists, there is a definite need. For this service, there are probably a lot of people that like the decorations, but HATE the actual decorating, so they probably will get some calls. I hope so. I like to see creative ideas succeed.

While I'm on the topic, another creative idea that I've heard a roofing company advertise is an annual maintenance contract. I don't recall the annual amount, but for their service they will come inspect your roof once a year and look for problems that need to be addressed. They'll also clean your gutters "for free", but I don't know if that's once a year or twice a year. Is it a gimmick or a legitimate need? I'm not sure, but I thought it was an ingenious service offering. Do you really need someone to inspect your roof every year? Probably not, but maybe it's not such a bad idea in an area that often has high winds and a sprinkling of tornadoes. And it's much cheaper to fix the source of a leak than it is to repair the inside damage after a leak starts, right? And then, the gutter cleaning is thrown in "for free". So, I thought it was a smart, creative idea, even if I would personally never purchase it.

Well, that's my deep, rambling thoughts for the day. Or, it might be all I come up with for the weekend.

oh, except for the good news that I sold one item on eBay (under $5, still waiting for payment...) and have bids on 4 more. With 14 items that I listed, that's less than 50%, so I hope a little more activity happens tomorrow!

What a way to run a business!

November 15th, 2009 at 03:43 am

A month ago, my husband bought some rubber boots at a local farm store. Of course, he didn't try them on, but he asked if he could return them if they didn't fit. The man told him yes.

They didn't fit. He has wide ankles and not a lot of flexibility so I knew there was no way he'd get into them, but I wasn't here to put in my 2 cents worth when he went to get them.

I was running errands 2 weeks ago and stopped by to see if I could return them without the receipt (the tag is still on them), and they were quite unhappy with the request. The man brought out a stack of receipts and started flipping through them to see if he could find the original purchase, but it was a real half-hearted effort on his part. I had to get to the bank by noon, so I told him I'd go home & look again for the receipt. Never mind, I thought. I'll list them on CL. I had one inquiry but no takers.

Fast forward to today. I threw the boots in the car and got to the store a little earlier this time. I explained to the girl in charge the story again, and in walks the guy who gave me a hard time last time. I told him I had looked but couldn't find the receipt, but related that the older gentleman that had checked out my husband told him he could return them if they didn't fit. I then added "I have more time to wait around today if you want to find the original ticket." (Hint: This means I'm not taking no for an answer). He got the hint, but his reply was a big sigh and an "I guess"!

What a way to run a business!

DH offered to go in and make him apologize for the rude treatment, but I declined. I got what I wanted, which was the cash back in hand. I never really cared for shopping there in the first place, but now there's an extra reason to find elsewhere to buy. Do you think I might mention this bad experience to several others? You betcha!

Last minute lunch and over-budget already

November 13th, 2009 at 04:36 am

It's week 2 of trying to limit grocery spending to $40 a week, and I'm already over this week's limit by $10. Hopefully, next week I can scale it back a little to make up for it.

I've been trying to make a list during the week for the following week of everything we need or are close to running out of. Then I try to split the list into must-haves and can-wait-a-week items, and shift things around if there are sale items that can be combined with coupons I have. The week starts out good and I try to save some money back for the extra milk or bread I know we'll need at the end of the week, but then more things creep up unexpectedly. Oh, well, I'll keep working at it. Practice makes perfect, I hope.

Today I was in a rush leaving for work and found I didn't have any more Lean Cuisine meals to take for lunch. I didn't have anything to make a sandwich out of, so I scanned the cupboards. Tomato soup - not in the mood. Cereal - nah, just had that for breakfast. Nothing else jumped out at me until I spied the potatoes. That's it! I grabbed a potato, a partial bag of broccoli, and threw some shredded cheese into a microwavable container. Voila! It was a tasty lunch, and much cheaper than grabbing something on the go.

Got some good deals at Walgreens tonight. These are some of what put me over my budget, but I couldn't resist. A small bag of trail mix for the ride home from work, 2 big boxes of Kleenex, and 4 cans of Glade air freshener for....$3.97. Of that, I paid $1 cash, and used the exact remainder of the money on my Revolution Money Exchange card for the other $2.97, so it wasn't really cash out of my pocket. I didn't even need the Glade, but I can submit the receipt for a $5 SC Johnson rebate. When I figured out the individual items by price, the 4 Glades cost me just $1.25. Gotta love it! I'll spend a dollar or two every day if I can double or almost triple it each time. Now if I only I could figure out how to do that with hundreds of dollars.

2 days til payday

November 12th, 2009 at 04:10 am

I don't like living this close to the edge. I can't wait for payday to come, but the majority of the money is already earmarked to pay various bills. Somebody called tonight about taking a look at one of our horses, but I don't know if they'll really come thru or not. It would be nice!

Nothing else is going on related to finances, so this is a short and not-so-sweet entry!

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you to all who serve(d)!

Too much clutter & coke rewards

November 8th, 2009 at 03:39 pm

You know you have too much clutter when...you trip over something in your junk room. I have got to get to that room and do some organizing and down-sizing. I tripped yesterday climbing over a dog crate which was wedged betwee a file cabinet and a table. I slammed into the desk and bruised my arm pretty good. Fortunately that was all that got hurt. My husband was in the next room with his cousin and they both thought I just knocked something over. I guess if I hadn't come out they would have gone in to check on me...or at least I hope so!!! LOL

I just added 18 more codes to my tally on Coke rewards. They should accumulate much slower now since I weaned myself off of it. I just had 2 glasses all last week instead of the 2-4 glasses I was drinking every day. I don't really miss it, once I got past the first 3 days. Anyhow, my points level is now 1475, so I went window shopping to see what I could buy with it. I've done magazines and t-shirts and donations in the past, but this time I was looking for gift cards to give for Christmas. Nothing jumped out at me, although my nephew might like a $20 Nike gift card. I usually give something of $25 value, though, so it's a little less than normal. Then I saw 2 free tickets to Silver Dollar City (a theme park) in Branson, MO. That would be a nice day trip for me & the hubster (or me & a friend if he doesn't want to go). I haven't been to their holiday light display in about 10 years, and it is just beautiful. I don't even know what it costs for admission anymore, but it wasn't cheap the last time I went. So, this is a really good deal. Hmmmm, I'll check with him today and see what he thinks. Those points are now burning a hole in my pocket wanting to be spent, after I've spent over a year adding to the total without redeeming for anything!

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.


How much time do you spend online?

November 4th, 2009 at 04:00 am

Just curious...how much time does everyone spend online "playing" each day, on average? (not counting time spent making money blogging or doing surveys or selling online)

I have a routine almost daily of checking 2 email accounts, reading some blogs, and checking for coupons. Somewhere in there I peek at Craigslist also. If you asked my husband, he'd tell you I spend about 5-6 hours a day online, but it's really more like 2-3 hours. That still seems like A LOT!

I went back to Dillons again tonight after I found a few coupons online and identified 10 more items to get for their mega saver event. I couldn't resist! For $3.58 I bought:
3 Lean Cuisine meals
2 Betty Crocker potato mixes
3 Chex Mix
2 Bumble Bee tuna pouches

I also bought $4+ of ground beef at another store, so of our original limit of $40 for the week, I still have $17 left. Tomorrow I'll hit up a discount store for bread and fuji apples. Last time I was there the apples were 49 cents a pound, and they are huge. Lets hope the price holds until I can get there.

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

$10 rebate and other tidbits

October 31st, 2009 at 04:14 am

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!

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

Widgets & tax calculators

September 13th, 2009 at 03:21 pm

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#


Overheard at Walmart

September 10th, 2009 at 03:41 am

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!

Laser hair removal

September 5th, 2009 at 01:03 pm

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!)


Marathon paperwork is done!

August 13th, 2009 at 04:43 am

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.

Anyone take fish oil?

August 5th, 2009 at 03:30 am

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?

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!!

Dreamed I met Ima! Hilarious!!

July 12th, 2009 at 02:58 pm

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? Smile

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!!

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!!

Anyone watch Wife Swap?

June 7th, 2009 at 05:58 am

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 Smile

Updates du jour

May 30th, 2009 at 05:06 am

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?

Thankful it was just the shingles that blew away!

May 9th, 2009 at 04:04 am

We had some wild, wild weather here this morning! Our house is now minus several shingles in one section, and we have some tree damage in the yard, but I'm thankful it wasn't worse!!

Our neighbor's garage/shed is gone, POOF!, like it never existed. Fortunately for him it was just used for storage, since he's got a double garage attached to the house and parks his truck and 4 wheeler in there.

Over a mile or so further, someone we know had lots of tree damage, a cattle trailer had rolled over & over (dented on all sides), and another flat bed trailer was sitting upside-down. I don't think they had any damage to their house, but there might have been other vehicles that got hit too.

I believe it was all straight line wind damage rather than a tornado, since it's not a certain path of destruction - just spots here and there. Our power has been out since 10am, but we've got the generator going so we can carry on just like normal. After several days without power back 3 or 4 years ago with bad winter storms, we now have a generator for these situations.

A feel-good story

May 5th, 2009 at 03:34 am

I just remembered something that happened about a month ago that was just so sweet. I was hanging out in McDonalds taking advantage of their free wifi. An elderly lady sat down at the next table over and was eating her lunch or snack or coffee or whatever she had.

There were a few tables of young people here & there. (Young = late teens/early twenties.) One of the young ladies got up from her table and passed by to go up to the counter to get something, but she took the time to stop by the elderly lady's table and comment how she liked her blouse, with its pretty colors. I thought that was just so sweet.

Not only did she brighten the woman's day, she brightened mine as well just because I witnessed it. And here I am a month later remembering it again. It's amazing what kind words can do !!

Repurposing items

May 3rd, 2009 at 03:42 am

I haven't had much to add this week. Most of it was spent in a big funk, partially weather related I think, since it's been so darn rainy and gloomy.

I took advantage of a free skin cancer screening today, and nothing of interest was noted by the dermatologist. I didn't think there was anything, but it never hurts to check.

Totally off topic of anything related to my finances, I saw this web site today and spent awhile goofing around looking at fascinating pictures of recycled items - from beverage containers to housing made from storage containers to this one, art made from recycled cardboard.http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/upcyc...

I am nowhere near that clever. I tried to repurpose my stepson's belt into a dog collar, not noticing that in addition to it being worn, the buckle was also broken. It lasted 10 seconds. I did braid another dog collar out of twine from our hay bales and stick it on one of the dogs that we've (temporarily) adopted. It lasted about a month! I just noticed it's gone today. I hope I find it somewhere so I can make another one, but use the same buckle. Also, so I don't "find" the buckle with the lawnmower. I guess it's light enough that it wouldn't do any damage, so I probably don't need to worry too much.

Tuppence....times two

April 28th, 2009 at 02:55 am

Yesterday I found 2 pennies, one at Walgreens and one at Walmart. Today, I found another 2 pennies, one at the auto parts store, and one right outside our front step. (Ok, I didn't really find it, DH told me it was there). I went out, in the rain, to pick it up! LOL

I spent all of my $40 that I was going to allot for groceries this week between yesterday and today. We will be out of bacon after tomorrow, out of milk in another few days, and I want to buy 10# of potatoes that are on sale for $1.77 thru tomorrow. So, alas, I can break my goals just as soon as I set them!

I looked back over my receipts to determine how I could have stuck to the goal better: (1) I could have put off the $5 Folgers coffee purchase at Walmart, since we aren't out, but I was afraid the price wouldn't last forever. (2) I could have used the coupon I had for the Folgers - didn't realize that I forgot it until now! (3) I could have skipped the 3 lb bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast for $3.97. It wasn't on the list, but it was a heck of a great price. (4) I could have just bought 2 packages of shredded cheese instead of 4, but the price was also great, just $1.19 each. (5) I could have, and should have, passed up the cookies for 99 cents. So, if I'd bypassed these deals, I would have still had $12-$13 in the grocery bucket, and that would have purchased the rest of the items for the week. I guess I can't pass up great deals!

Totally off topic, did you know that the boxes of aluminum foil, saran wrap, etc. all have little indentations on the end of the boxes that you can push in to keep the roll from falling out of the box? I read this in my last Redbook magazine (at least I think that's where I read it), and had to go look for myself. Who knew?!

Some happy things

April 22nd, 2009 at 02:44 am

My last entry was quite depressing, so I'm forcing myself to look for things to be happy about or thankful for.

#1) It was a gorgeous day here today!

#2) I did my mile walk at lunch!

#3) I snagged some packing peanuts and bubble wrap on my way out to walk today at lunch! (It was set out for trash pickup)

#4) I got some great deals at the grocery stores I went to!

That would have been it, but I have to now add:

#5) I am not allergic to wasps! A VERY good thing, considering I just got stung as I sit here at the computer. I put my arm on the armrest of the chair and BAM, it got me! I jumped up, freaked out because I couldn't see it anywhere, and DH said it was on my back. He tried to swat it away, and in the scared little wasper's break for freedom, it hit me on the side of the face, and BAM AGAIN! Those little buggers sure do hurt. It's been about 30 minutes and still tingles/hurts quite a bit.

Reminds me of a silly little joke....what did the bug say when it hit the windshield??

"Ain't got the guts to do that again!"

(The wasp doesn't either. I squashed him good!)





Down in the dumps

April 19th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

After a few weeks of not recording all our expenses, I finally caught up again this weekend. And it stinks! I am very depressed about it all. With my forced job change, our income is not enough to cover our expenses. I thought we were keeping things under pretty tight control; instead, We've managed to spend all the extra money we came up with earlier in the month from some unusual windfalls. What are we going to do the rest of the months?!

I don't want to reveal too much of our personal details, but many of our expenses are farm-related, and it's not like we can really plan those. I mean, to some extent, we can average the expenses that we've had in the past, but with less income now, we can't set aside the money because we don't have it to set aside! The farm does not pay for itself in any way, shape or form. When things break down, they need to be fixed. DH isn't able to do a lot of what needs to be done, so we have employees hired. I think we need major adjustments but I don't think DH is ready to commit to those. He sort of jokingly asked today, "so what do you want to do, sell everything and start over and buy a house on the lake?" "Yes!!! I would love that. It would get us out of this money pit that we're in." But, it was just that - a joke to him. He wasn't serious. I am. I want to sell everything and reorganize our life to make it more jointly enjoyable, less stressful, and financially workable. And I don't care if it's by a lake or not.

I may try to bring this up again another time, but it's so tricky to do that. DH reads so much more into things like that than he should. He says things like "you hate it here" and "you're just sick of me". No, and no, but I am sick of all the stress that we have currently. He is too, but he wants to figure out something that will bring in more steady income from the farm. That would be great, but it requires spending money to make money and we don't have it to spend!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. This is one of my PMS-induced mood swings, I'm sure. As I reread the last paragraph, it's full of "buts", which will just come across as excuses. Maybe they are. Tomorrow, I'll be back at work, and will be able to push these blues back somewhere beneath the surface. We'll find a way to survive the finances, because something will sell and we have some money saved back. My problem is that I don't want to rely on those things to get thru each month.

This is part of the reason I never updated my goals on the sidebar. What would they say? #1 - work some magic. #2 - get old job back. #3 - pray. So, waaaahhh, I feel better actually after writing all this down. I still don't know exactly what we're going to do about it. We did, however, take one action step today, and filled out info on LendingTree to see if we can refinance our mortgage. That's a teeny amount of progress, I suppose.


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