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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.

Electric bill is WAY down!

October 13th, 2006 at 12:51 pm

I opened my electric bill today and it was $67.80!! That is the lowest it has been since moving into this house 2.5 years ago. The highest was $153 this past August.
Its nice to see my effort paying off. I've been turning off lights, the computer, using the air dry cycle on the dishwasher, and unplugging quite a few things when they are not being used.

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.


October 2nd, 2006 at 02:32 pm

I noticed I am using fewer coupons lately, but I am also spending less at the grocery store.
Part of the reason is that I am doing a lot more shopping at PriceRite, a store that has very low prices, but does not accept coupons. The other reason is that I am using fewer 'convenience' foods. (Rice and pasta mixes, packaged and ready to bake cookies, frozen meals, etc.) I have been cooking more from scratch and buying big bags of rice and potatoes for side dishes. I don't buy things that I normally wouldn't 'because I have a coupon', unless it is something new that I have to try out. Smile
When I would get competitors store coupons for $8 off if you spend $80, I would go to the store and spend $80 just to get the $8 savings. I would buy a bunch of stuff I did not need.
I am down from about $70 a week for groceries to maybe $40 most weeks.
I also don't shop unless I need to. I used to go every week, and now I go every 11-12 days or so, and sometimes longer.
I still regularly use coupons for household cleaners, diapers, cat food and litter.

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!

no choice but to spend $70

September 28th, 2006 at 06:58 pm

Last week my not yet 1 year old DS learned how to climb out of his crib...So as you all can imagine I am a nervous wreck about leaving him in his crib unattended. The minute he wakes up DH or I run in to get him. How quickly these little babes learn...he is really taking advantage (lol).
So, being sleep deprived and seeing no other option I went to Babies R Us to look for a net to go over the top of the crib...turns out only 1 model is available and it cost $70!
DH and I thought about just putting this money toward a toddler bed but decided he is still too young for that.
The only good thing is they are going for about the same price on ebay...so when I am all done with it, hopefully I can make my money back.

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.

About Me

September 25th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

I have often thought about starting a blog, but the events in my daily life, while fufilling to me, may not be very interesting to other people. Since a lot of people from this site blog about their money saving ideas, goals, etc. I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts and see what people have to say about them.
Just for some background about me, I am 30 years old...married for 6 years, and have a DS that will turn 1 in a few days. My life has changed a lot in the past year...when it was just me and DH I knew we would always 'get by'. Now that DS is in the picture things had to change. I didn't realize that right away, but now that I know, there is no turning back.

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