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Farewell to 2009

December 31st, 2009 at 08:55 pm

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 07:45 am

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 14th, 2009 at 07:05 pm

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?"

November 30th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

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 21st, 2009 at 09:33 pm

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 14th, 2009 at 07:43 pm

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 12th, 2009 at 08:36 pm

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 11th, 2009 at 08:10 pm

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 07:39 am

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 4th, 2009 at 07:13 pm

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 3rd, 2009 at 08:00 pm

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.