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Feeling Better

March 26th, 2007 at 06:58 pm

I woke up today and did not want to crawl back into bed for the first time in 11 weeks. My doctor prescribed some antibiotics last week that made me sick, and I am finally done with those, too. Its been tough with the exhaustion, nausea and food aversions, but I think I have finally crossed that bridge. I sat down and planned meals for the rest of the week without feeling sick, so that will mean less ordering out! Of course we will see what happens next week in Florida. I don't know what the In-Law's plans for meals are, but hopefully we won't be going out every day.

Ultrasound and Florida Update

March 13th, 2007 at 02:53 pm

He/She is so little (about the size of a grape at 9 weeks) and the little heart was beating so fast. It was so amazing! At my next appointment, in April, I will be able to listen to the heartbeat and the Doctor said we can schedule the C-Section! I won't be able to find out the gender until sometime in May...gosh that seems so far away...LOL.

FIL called DH today and said that he will take care of our airfare and car rental in Florida, so it won't cost us anything to go! He said he figures he "owes" us because he pays for 2 BILs to go to Nascar races 2-3 times per year and countless snowmobiling trips in Maine and Wyoming. FIL is a "millionaire's next door"...he sold his electronics company that he started 1995 in 2000 and made millions. DH and I ever ask for or expect anything at all from them, and it is a very nice surprise when they offer to do things for us.

Updates, $20 Challenge, Etc.

March 12th, 2007 at 04:32 pm

I've been slacking with my challenge updates lately....
Last week I received 2 payouts for $10 from survey companies and today I received 2 survey checks worth $8.50.

Old Total = $1362
New Total = $1380.50

I've been spending more money than usual grocery shopping, and have been eating out more than normal. Just like with my first pregnancy, I am having terrible food aversions. I will make a perfectly good meal, then the thought of it will make me sick....it's even worse with leftovers.
Hopefully, these aversions are only temporary......

A few weeks ago DH's parents invited us down to their vacation house in Florida in June...turns out that it is going to be rented in June, so we are going in April instead. They offered to pay for one of our plane tickets and we have to chip in for the rental car. It will probably cost us $450 (plus food, etc.), which isn't bad for a week on a beautiful golf course in Florida. I am soooo excited!!!!

New Carpet

February 27th, 2007 at 03:57 pm

DH and I decided back in October or November that we would spend our tax refund on carpets for the bedrooms. We went to 3 different stores to compare and Home Depot was the best. ($2,000 for 720 sq. ft of carpet). We held off on ordering for 2 weeks because it is difficult to get to the store together working opposite shifts. When they entered all the information in the computer, one of the salespeople remembered a meeting they had a few days before about a new promotion not yet being advertised....free padding and 10% off the carpet...brought the total to $1,300!!!! Sooooo glad we waited. Big Grin
They are coming Thursday and Friday to do the installation.

Stress & Challenge Update

February 12th, 2007 at 01:18 pm

Two more survey checks to add to the challenge.
$5 from Survey Spot
$5 from Your2Cents

Old Total = $667
New Total $677

I also received 2 coupons for a free item (up to $3.50) in the mail from Kraft/Nabisco because I sent them an email telling them about a package of Oreo cookies that I purchased were all broken. Not sure if I should all this to the challenge or not.

I've had a very hard time concentrating on anything for the past few days. My father is having bypass surgery on Wednesday...it is the last chance to save his leg, so we are all very worried about how it is going to turn out. This will be his 3rd bypass in 4 years. The last one was last November. I haven't seen him since DS's birtday in October because they live in MN. I really want to visit, but a crowded plane and a 16 month old who won't sit still for more than 5 minutes do not mix.

I don't know how other people travel with small children. A 30 minute car ride practically kills DS.

I Will Have to Change My SA Name.....

February 5th, 2007 at 04:56 pm

It's official...DS will be a big brother in October!!!! I took an at home test at 5:30 a.m this morning so DH would know before he left for work!!!

I was almost 100% positive about two weeks ago when I took DS out of his crib and had to put him right back because I felt like I was going to pass out...team that with the total exhaustion and slight nausea I have felt for a week, and there you have it. Big Grin

DH and I are so excited...just as excited as we were when we found out about our first!! What an amazing blessing little ones are. Smile

Words of Wisdom?

January 31st, 2007 at 05:15 pm

A couple of times a year I feel compelled to check my horiscope in the daily paper. Most of the it is just some generic comment (read: crap) about financial windfalls, relationships, etc.

I thought today was different, and since it coincides with the subtitle of my blog, I decided to post it here.

"Each task your perform, regardless of how small it may seem, is a step toward or away from your goal(s)."

At Least One of Us is Lucky...

January 30th, 2007 at 02:02 pm

DH's grandmother entered our DS in a 30 week lottery, and it turns out he won $200!

She took out the $30 for what she paid into it, and gave the rest to DS! As soon as she gives us the winnings I will put it in his Emigrant account.

I am going to add the $170 to my $20 Challenge.

Old total = $487
New total = $657

Double Payment

January 23rd, 2007 at 02:29 pm

Whenever I get my small savings/slush account up to a few hundred dollars, I transfer $50 here and there to my home equity loan.

When I looked up my loan status the other day, it said that I didn't owe a payment until April.... GRRRRRR..... that means that I am prepaying the loan instead of applying the extra payments to the principle. I haven't been able to get to the bank to ask about it.

The normal payment date was approaching, so set up a transfer for regular payment amount from my checking account.

Guess what happened...the payment was automaticlly withdrawn from my checking account, so I ended up paying double. Since I have a budget worked out this month, I know how much I need to keep in my checking account at all times. Anything extra gets deposited in my ING account.

So I decreased the amount that I have scheduled to be paid on my 0% Discover card, and everything worked out fine. And my Home Equity Balance is that much lower too!

Job Interview--This could change everything

January 22nd, 2007 at 05:37 pm

About a month ago, DH emailed his resume to a company that was looking for help. Today he got a call and set up an interview for Friday.

I know he really 'dislikes' his current job. I guess it has stopped being challenging for him, and he is bored most of the time. The job he is interviewing for is what he went to school for, and something he really enjoys doing so he is pretty excited. The pay is comparable (maybe a couple dollars more an hour) to what he is making now...not sure about benefits yet.

I know I should be happy for him.......The problem is, we work for the same company on opposite shifts. The flexibilty is great. They allow him (an hourly employee) to work a straight 8 hours, with a 15 minute paid lunch, so that he can leave when I start work. I bring DS to work with me, and DH takes him home.

If he takes this job we will have to find a part time daycare for DS. And if we have another baby this year, that will be 2 kids in daycare part time. The reason I started working 2nd shift is because I didn't want to use daycare. I could change my hours to go in a 2 hours later, but still don't know if he could get home that early...plus I don't want to get home at 1:00 a.m.!!!

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself a little bit...I know its only an interview. I feel terrible about hoping that he doesn't get the job when I know that it is something that he wants. Plus, I don't want him to walk away from what could be a great career move.

After the interview on Friday, I will see what he has to say. I will wait until then to discuss all of my concerns with him. Whatever happens, we will work it out.

Another No Spend Day & Other Stuff

January 17th, 2007 at 04:37 pm

It is soooo cold here in SE Mass today. In the single digits with the wind chill. BRRRRRRR. Those new windows we put in over the summer are definately helping out...the pellet stove is set on 3 (of 5) and the house is warm and toasty.

I had another no spend day today, which is good because it looks like the weekend is going to be expensive.
DH needs a haircut, the truck needs an inspection sticker, and Wicked is Saturday afternoon. I am so excited..I have wanted to see it since last year!! After the show we are going to a new Brazillian Restaurant which is $27/person, plus drinks, tip, etc. Fortunately MIL watches DS, so we don't have to pay for a babysitter. Smile

DH and I got our first paychecks with 6% (up from 5%) going to the 401k. The good thing is that we won't even notice it is missing.

I finally had some time yesterday to go to the out of the way Credit Union we used to open a savings account for DS. I honestly don't know what we were thinking by using that CU...it is soooo inconvenient and only pays 0.5% interest. I had some cash from his birthday (in October) sitting in my safe until 2 weeks ago when I decided to open an account with Emigrant. So yesterday I closed the account and added it to the Emigrant account. Check that one off my 'to-do' list.

I am on day 3 without chocolate. The first day was pretty rough, but I am doing ok now. Smile

Non-Financial Challenge--No Chocolate for A Week

January 15th, 2007 at 04:33 pm

Ever since Thanksgiving I have been surrounded by chocolate...at home, at work...pretty much everywhere I go. I can't remember a day in recent history where I have not had a piece (or 5) of chocolate.
After reading my free Weight Watchers newsletter this morning, which suggested setting small weekly goals each week to achieve weight loss, I decided the chocolate habit has to go.
So, here I am...at work...sitting next to a candy dish full of dark chocolate that was thoughtfully provided by a favorite vendor as a Christmas gift to my boss and I. It has been quietly calling my name for a couple of hours now, and it is taking all of my willpower to ignore it. Sigh.
I tried to squash the craving by having a spoonful of peanut butter, but all I could think of was how good it would taste with a piece of that chocolate......

Amazing Asparagus

January 11th, 2007 at 01:32 pm

Taking BA up on his suggestion to discuss asparagus.

Snap off the ends and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Spray with oil or butter, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for 10 -15 minutes, and enjoy!

401k question

January 3rd, 2007 at 07:48 am

I just found out from HR that I cannot increase my 401k contribution to 6% because I am at the max of 5% (?!?!?!?!).

I thought that the IRS allowed around $15k. Even with the employer match I am not even close to that amount.

Can employers set limits on contributions?

Mortgage Going Up.....Blasted Taxes!!!

December 13th, 2006 at 07:40 am

I just got my year end mortgage statement, and because taxes in my town have gone up, yet again, the mortgage will be increasing by $61/month. Since we bought the house in 2004 the payment has increased by $100. GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
If I want to pay the 'escrow cushion' of $167 it will lower the new mortgage payment by $13 or so....big deal.
The good news is that my principle balance went down by $3075, so the new balance is $197,378.84.
I have never made an additional principle payment on the mortgage, because I have always had too much other debt. But I wonder if it would be worth it to allocate some of the extra money (maybe $25 - $50) that I would have put toward the truck payment to the mortgage....what does everyone think?

Trying to stay on track

December 11th, 2006 at 04:30 pm

I remember when I first made the decision to be more frugal. I challenged myself everyday to seek out new ways to save money. I reduced the grocery bill, miscellaneous expenses, lowered the cable bill, the electricity bill, the list goes on.
The hardest part for me was to stop shopping for the sake of shopping. I love to shop. I love to buy clothes and jewelry and shoes, etc. And for the past few months I have done well...very well.
Enter Christmas shopping. I have been forced to shop and look around in stores that I love. I have seen what I have been missing and it is HARD!!!!
For the most part I have been good. I have bought 2 shirts for myself (for a good price) and today I walmart while waiting in line I saw some new Aquafina lip hydration oil that I threw into the cart without even thinking about it.
I know these are not huge expenditures, but it got me thinking about how easy it can be to slip back into old habits.
I love the holidays, but now I can't wait for them to be over so I can stay away from the stores. I need to get back into the Frugal State of Mind!!!

Goals for 2007

December 6th, 2006 at 01:34 pm

I have been giving a lot of thought to what I would like to accomplish in 2007, and came up with the following goals.

My main priorities are 1) Writing a Will and 2) researching and purchasing life insurance.

I have almost panicked at the thought of what would happen to DS if something were t happen to DH and/or I . Doing these 2 things will help me sleep easier at night.

After the above items are taken care of, I plan to invest in some mutual funds. Before I found this site, I did not feel I knew enough about investing. Now I am much more comfortable with the idea.

And, of course, I will continue with my frugal-ish lifestyle to pay off debt and increase savings.

My list of 20

November 16th, 2006 at 05:26 pm

1.I skipped school a lot during my senior year. I still have dreams that I have to take a test for a class that I haven’t been to in a month. ( I am not proud of this)

2.I still got excellent grades even though I skipped school a lot.

3.I originally wanted to be an accountant. But changed my mind when I was 20 and decided to be a chemical engineer.

4.I started my first savings account on my 17th birthday with $100. I had $3000 by the time I graduated high school a year later.

5.I have been working for the same company since I graduated high school.

6.The same company paid for almost 100% of my college education.

7.I bought my first house when I was 19 for $80,000.

8.I went to Disney World on my honeymoon.

9.My favorite movie(s) of all time are the Back to the Future Trilogy.

10. I cannot parallel park or back into parking spaces.

11. When people read my first name, they mispronounce it 90% of the time. I have only met one other person in my life who has the same first name as me.

12.Because of this I will give my children 'traditional' names.

13.I have never broken a bone.

14.The first time I stayed in a hospital was after giving birth to my son via C-section (……..after 16 hours of labor)

15.I want to have another baby within the next year.

16.This is weird, but I cannot sleep barefoot.

17. Besides my mother I am the biggest chicken I know.

18.I am very shy…people often mistake it for b*tchy.

19.I used to be a cheerleader, and once won a state competition.

20.I love to read.


November 13th, 2006 at 04:57 pm

I have been stressing out about what to buy people for Christmas. It seems that everyone I know buys whatever they want, whenever they want...but never know what they want for Christmas when you ask them. GRRRRRR
This weekend I spent a little bit of time thinking...and voila! I came up with some super gift ideas(within my budget, even!) for 5 people on my list. It was a really great feeling.
I went to the mall to buy 2 of the gifts today, and bought another 2 gifts online. I got FREE shipping and some free samples for me!!!

I had a productive day

November 7th, 2006 at 02:45 pm

Today I closed an idle passbook savings account ($739) earning 1% interest. I put 1/2 of the money from the account toward debt and the other half in my ING account.

I also switched my checking account/package to one that requires a smaller minimum balance ($10k vs. $25k) I plan to use some of the money that I had to keep in the accounts at that bank to pay off our HELOC ($1700) and transfer most of what is left to an ING CD or something with higher interest.

DH and I signed up for a bzzblast where we each get a FREE Sonic Care electric toothbrush (each worth at least $65). If you are not familiar with bzzagent, check it out at www.bzzagent.com. I have received TONS of great products to try out.

Survey Check---Christmas Fund

October 24th, 2006 at 03:04 pm

Today I received a $200 check for participating in a product test for 2 weeks. Not a bad deal. Smile
Since Christams is coming and we have caught up on the bills, I have added that to our Christmas fund that I started on Friday. We are putting all 'extra' money earned in it until Christmas is paid for. Amazingly it already has $348 in it!!

$200.00 Product Test
37.50 from Excise Tax Refund
60.00 DH fixed a motorcycle this weekend
45.00 DH autocad drawings
6.00 survey check
$348.50 (the .50 went in the change jar)

DH also got a check for $62.50 today for mileage...we will use that for oil & filters and then put whatever is left in the fund.

Can I keep it a secret?

October 19th, 2006 at 02:45 pm

Well, its the 3rd payday in October, with one left to go, and I already have enough $$ in my checking account (with some to spare!!) to pay my mortgage due November 1. All other bills for this month have been deducted from my checking account This is a good feeling...a few months ago I wouldn't have had enough until Nov. 15, and probably would have had to borrow from savings to make the payment!
The dilemma is...should I tell DH?? He has gone along with the spending changes without complaining, and is happy about the progress made so far, but I can tell he is starting to get the old itch to buy something. If he knows that the money is available, he will inevitably want to spend some of it. He would never take it without telling me, thats not the problem...I just don't think he 'gets' that this is a lifestyle change that I am trying make, and not just a temporary fix to a problem.
Maybe I will try to work out an allowance system.

401k Statements

October 18th, 2006 at 07:08 pm

It is that time of year...our 401k quarterly statements came in the mail today. Both gained 2.71% for the quarter. Everytime I get them I am pleased to see the money adding up. Because we have been contributing for so long, we don't even notice the money that is taken out every week...it is like it doesn't exist.
I sent an email to HR today to see if I can increase my contribution by 1%...but I think I will have to wait until January to do that.

Paying Extra

October 12th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Today I paid an extra $150 on my car payment and an extra $100 on the Home Equity Loan. I am determined to get rid of this debt!!!

I went a little nuts

October 10th, 2006 at 06:21 pm

I thought I had it all under control...but I freaked the day before the birthday party thinking I wouldn't have enough food for everyone. So I went back to the store and bought more of everything. Well, I would have been fine, and now I have a ton of extra food. I am going to do my best to use it all up so it does not go to waste.
Does anyone know if you can freeze Ricotta Cheese?

He's 1!!!!!!!!

October 5th, 2006 at 07:07 pm

DS turned 1 yesterday and we are having a party at home for him this weekend. We're expecting about 25 - 30 people at the house.
Today I did the shopping....
I am making a lasagne
A veggie tray
Cheese and Crackers
Chips and Dip
Cake & Ice Cream
Soda and Coffee

I got really good prices on everything at PriceRite...spent $28 for the food and drinks.

My sister is making the birthday boy cake (Elmo's face), and we are ordering a cake from the Bakery for everyone else.

I'm making favors of with little cupcake picture frames bought for $1.29 each at the Christmas Tree Shop (MIL had the idea and bought 10 frames...I had to buy 8 more)

So all told, the party will cost us about $60 or so, not including his gift, which will be about $35, plus a small deposit into his savings account.


October 5th, 2006 at 02:53 pm

DH and I got our cost of living increases this week...finally. The increase will be retroactive from Sept 3 so our next checks will be nice.
I should be getting another raise soon...I recently was promoted to 2nd shift supervisor, and was promised that a pay raise would follow after cost of living raises were distributed.
The plan is to add another 1% to each of our 401k accounts, but we cannot make that change until December (company policy).
Until then all extra money will be put toward our truck payment.

Online Survey Tally

October 2nd, 2006 at 01:21 pm

This past week I received $82 for taking online surveys....a pretty good week. I have been keeping track of all of my earnings (cash and gift certificates) and decided to add it all up this weekend. Not counting sites where I earn prizes (magazine subscriptions, books, etc.) I have earned $1067 so far this year!
This total will be going up...right now I am in the middle of a test that will pay $200 on completion. I also have 3 more survey invitations in my inbox!

My Goals

September 26th, 2006 at 07:09 pm

The reason I started for looking for money saving ideas in the first place was because I couldn't seem to pay my mortgage or car payment on the due date... I needed to take full advantage of th 15 day grace period, and even then had to withdraw funds ($100-$200) from my savings account.
So...Goal #1 was to pay the mortgage by the 1st of each month.
Goal #2 was to pay the car payment by the 15th of the month.
After only 2 months of making some changes (mostly small changes)the car payment was paid by Sept. 15 and the mortgage payment will be paid on the 1st of October...after paying the mortgage there will be almost $200 left over in the checking account.
Now onto the next goals...paying off the truck and the home equity loan early.

Big Changes

September 25th, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I mentioned in my About Me blog that my life has changed a lot in the past year. I knew having a child would change everything, but I really had no idea.
I took a 12 week leave from work when DS was born last year, 8 weeks which was partially paid. I had just paid off my 2002 Chevy Camaro Z28 so there was some extra money, which I thought would be put toward a daycare expense.
During my leave I realized that there was no way I could be a SAHM...financially DH and I could not swing it....we weren't always careful with our money.
The first example of this is our Camaro Z28. How practical is this car in New England? (But it was soooo cool!!!) So....we had to buy a 'winter car'. Fortunately DH's grandparents had a 1992 Oldsmobile that they were ready to part ways with. Although we got it relatively cheap (paid cash), it was always in need of repairs, not to mention the extra expense of having another car on the road. We thought about trading in the Z28 when DS was born, but neither of us were ready to give it up.
Second, DH had a pickup truck without an extended cab. So after being without a car payment for 3 months, so we traded it in...enter a new car payment....there goes the extra money for daycare.
Luckily a friend offered to watch DS free of charge. We 'paid' her by bringing small gifts and buying dinner once a week. But, when things started to go bad 2 months later I had to get him out of there fast! Without the luxury of time to find a suitable daycare, I asked my boss If I could work the second shift temporarily until I could make other arrangements.
So here it is, 7 months later and I am still working nights. It hasn't always been perfect, but I figure this is saving us about $9500/year...with the added bonus of getting to spend all this time with DS!
In July, when DS outgrew his 'baby' carseat, I realized that I could not fit his new carseat in our beloved Z28..well it would fit but it was extremely difficult getting him in and out. We were hoping to trade down, and have a very small car payment or none at all.
My dad offered to trade his 2003 Impala for my 2002 Z28 and give me $1000 cash...WOW!
So this enabled us to donate the oldsmobile (DH and I did not feel comfortable selling it...it needed some work). All totalled this saved us almost $800/year with insurance, taxes, registration and inspection fees.
These are my 2 big money savers this year....but we still have a long way to go.

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