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Long Time No Blog...

June 2nd, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I've been lurking, but I've been too busy to write a thing! So here's a quick, rather random update!

Thanks for the messages, friends... I'm doing fine, but working way, way too much. My job this year has been completely overwhelming, and once the school year ends and I have a little more time, I will have plenty (money-related even!) to say!

The good news is that I have a job, and I'm thankful for that. Things on the financial front are going fine, too. Saving money, getting cars repaired (not unexpected,) kids' activities paid for, plenty of food and clothing... gas prices are crazy, still, but we've been walking everywhere we can. A swimbaby is graduating from college in a week, which is hard to believe! Another is getting braces, another just got a job, and the last is headed off with her choir for a trip. All good!


January 7th, 2013 at 12:06 am

I haven't set a "for sure" goal for the selling of things, extra money, etc. yet... but I'm thinking of $1000. That's less than $100 a month, so I'm thinking that it's doable, but also worthwhile.

I sold some CDs on Second Spin today, and took advantage of their special, which was an additional 20%. I need to pack up the CDs and get them shipped, and then I should have $50.04! Not a bad start just 6 days into the year.

I also have a big box of things for eBay, but I haven't had time to deal with those yet.

A sweet little bonus today... I had done some Christmas shopping at Williams Sonoma and when I was sorting and filing receipts, I noticed that there was a separate receipt that said it was "Good for $20 off a future purchase." It didn't say that there was a minimum purchase amount, so I figured I'd try it out. I was heading to the mall to finish some returns anyway, so I stopped in WS. Good heavens! Hardly anything in the store for around $20 or less. I thought about getting a few new dishtowels, but I opted for food instead. I got two bags of pasta (1.25 pounds each) for $4.99 each and some vanilla. Out of pocket, it was $1.XX. I was pleased. We cooked one of the bags of pasta tonight and it truly WAS delicious... better than Ronzoni or Golden Grain or Trader Joes or Whole Foods, which are the kinds I usually buy. I told the kids to enjoy it--- I would NEVER pay $4.99 for that amount of pasta!

The Husband has been finding money all over the past few days. I think he's up to $1.80. Not a fortune of course, but that's two pounds of "sale" pasta!! Smile Haha!

Flat Tire

January 1st, 2013 at 10:10 am

Yesterday the tire pressure indicator went on in my car (new to us car last April.) Since just the day before, The Husband had mentioned that he needed to check the tire pressure, I assumed that the indicator light had gone on for him, too. And he had told me when we first got the car that the tires were "run flat." So I didn't worry.

My sister and I ran a few errands together. The tire looked lower and lower, so I finally stopped at a gas station and had The Husband meet me there to check the tire.

-not "run flat" tires
-husband had been looking at a different tire, thinking it had looked low... hadn't seen tire indicator light
-tire has a hole in the side wall

He filled the tire enough to get it to my sister's house. Today he'll take the wheel off, and and he and BIL will try to get the tire repaired. I hopehopehopehope that the tire can be repaired and we don't have to replace it. It's a fairly new tire.

Bleh. Money out.

Gift Cards and Thinking Ahead

December 29th, 2012 at 08:25 pm

We (The Husband, Swimbabies and I) got $200 worth of gift cards from a place that we do not shop... and probably will not shop. I'm trying to decide what to do with them. I may end up re-gifting because I know lots of other people who would like shopping at this particular place. I'll probably just stick them in a drawer and wait for the need to arise.

I need to re-evaluate our pre-tax medical and see what the numbers should be for next year.

I want to increase the amounts that The Husband has deducted for his 401K and that I have deducted for my retirement. It's probably just a quick and easy thing to do, but I haven't even had time for that.

The Swimbabies got some cash from various relatives, which is great. They are all busy planning and deciding how to use it. All are saving a portion! Hurray for that!

I've got a few more days off from work, and I'm grateful for that. I've caught whatever bug is going around, complete with fever and headache, so I've been resting all day. I'm hoping it goes away quickly so I can enjoy some of my days off!

Returns... A Pleasant Surprise

December 27th, 2012 at 02:31 pm

I have a few returns to do. The Swimbabies didn't like a couple of things, and I ended up with a few extra things. So last night I was digging through all the receipts to find the ones I needed for returns.

I happened to look at a receipt from REI and noticed that I was charged twice for a $32.99 item. I was completely annoyed! But I got up this morning and marched to the store, receipt in hand. I explained that I had bought three items, but was charged twice for one of them. I showed the receipt and... no problem! They apologized and immediately issued the credit. I was worried, because I knew I couldn't prove I only bought one, and I was afraid they wouldn't believe me. I said, "I'm usually so careful, and I heard the total and thought it seemed a little high. But my husband just handed over his credit card, and we were busy talking and planning our next shopping stop, and thinking about other things." The customer service rep said, "That's probably what we were doing, too."

So happy! I was hating the thought of $32.99 lost!

Time to Set Goals/Make Some Plans

December 26th, 2012 at 06:45 pm

Well, I'm feeling eager to sit down with The Husband and make some goals and do some planning, but I haven't had time, yet.

Things that are on my mind:

*Our cell phone plan... we've been talking about changing carriers/plans, but it will take some time and research. I'm hoping we can get to this while we're both off work.

*Food planning... I just feel like we always pay too much for food! We have been busy and haven't planned the way I like to the last two months, so I'd like to get back on that.

*We are hoping to take a family vacation this summer, and I want to get a budget set for that.

*I have a few boxes of items that I want to sell on ebay. I'm not sure if there's a "best time of year" or not... and maybe this isn't the best time. But I want to get going on that. Cleaning out, and hoping to earn a few extra dollars to send to savings.

*I want to start planning some little way to add to the savings. I'm already sending a decent amount, but I want to increase and might try saving change and $1 bills, or sending the amounts I save with coupons or discounts to savings or something.

*And I need to double check the pre-tax medical and get one of the swimbabies to an orthodontist.

I just updated car insurance, so I won't need to look at that. Our utilities are going well. We could probably do a little better on gas/combining trips/driving less if it's close by.

I actually love this time of year ... great time for planning and goal-setting, which I love! Smile

Buyer's Remorse on Christmas morning! Aaagh!

December 25th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I'm trying to give myself a break.

It has been such a busy few months with the move and the job, and I just could not think about Christmas until Friday, when I knew I would be off work for several days.

I was happy that I could get all the shopping done on Friday and Saturday, and I should remember that.

But as everyone was opening presents, I was looking at their gifts and thinking things like...

"Too bad I didn't get that online. I probably could have found a 20% coupon and gotten some cash back on ebates."

I'm actually laughing at myself now. Sometimes speed and convenience win out over money. Sigh.

Happy day to everyone!

Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2012 at 03:48 pm

Well, I managed to get the shopping done... the mall wasn't too bad, and I got some good deals. I had a list ready so there were just a few things that required decisions.

I did spend more than I wanted to spend on three items. I was a little bummed. But, it was a matter of spending a little extra or trying several other stores. Meh. I just paid the little extra. I've never really done this much last minute shopping. I usually buy everything online, and I'll plan to get back to that again next year. Much easier. I just didn't have the mental space to deal with it this year.

But it's done now.

One snag: I had bought a pair of pajamas for one of the swimbabies. The hanging tag said one size and the tag sewn into the clothing said something else. The size was completely wrong. I discovered it when I was wrapping last night. So, I had to run out this morning and find a replacement. Are you kidding? Decent pajamas for a kid on the 24th?! Well, I got lucky and found something great, thankfully.

I'll have some returns for later in the week, including the wrong-sized pajamas. I ended up with a couple of extra items for one kid, so I'll take those back.

I love stockings at our house. They always get filled with things the kids really need. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, their favorite shampoos, etc. So even though I spent money on those things for Christmas, I won't need to buy them in January!

We're having a very peaceful Christmas. Quiet. Just The Husband, Swimbabies and me. Not our usual, but we're all perfectly happy with the plan right now!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Today it Begins

December 22nd, 2012 at 08:38 am

Good heavens! My vacation starts today...

As will my Christmas shopping. OMG.

I've been so completely consumed with the new job that I haven't done a thing. I'm not that worried, though. I have a list ready, and there isn't too much on it. We will give our kids some presents and some cash. I'm doing Happy New Year gifts for my friends, so that's not a rush. I don't really know the new neighbors, so no worries there. And while I will do a few things for extended family, we won't see them until the 30th so I will have plenty of time.

I need to plan some food for the next week, so I'll be grocery shopping some, too.

Not that worried. I won't be going shopping crazy or anything. Smile

I'm just so darn happy to have time off from the fabulous and stressful new job!

Happy Day!

December 10th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I got word today that my salary is going up about $1000 a month. Yahoo! I was thinking this might happen and hoping it would work out. Smile Great news!

Inexpensive dinner:

And so incredibly delicious. It's not terribly nutritious, so we topped it with some of the toppings listed plus some steamed broccoli. And we had lots of oranges on the side. It was warm and yummy.

Today was a completely wonderful day at work, even without the news above. Just very pleasant and productive. And then I spent the afternoon with a friend. I spent $3.80 on a latte, and it was worth every penny.

At work, there's a little Secret Santa thing going on. I made some decorated sugar cookies yesterday to take for my treat. My Secret Santa left a Starbuck's card in my mailbox! So I can get a few more lattes... I like to do creative things for activities like this, and I'm still trying to think of ideas.

Nine more days of work before I get some days off for the holidays. I am very happy with my new-ish job, but I am ready for some rest, too.

Have a great week!

Lots and Lots and Busy, Busy, Busy...

December 9th, 2012 at 08:12 am

Where to start?

First, I'm annoyed. I didn't take benefits for my new job, because I'm on The Husband's. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. We could have cancelled his and taken mine, but the possibility exists that next August I won't have a job. Depends on many factors... but if we had cancelled benefits through his job, we couldn't just automatically get them back in August. And darn. The benefits offered to me were full health, full dental, full vision... all at zero cost, so I probably should have taken them anyway. But again, that would be great for the next 9 months, ... and then what? Hopefully when open enrollment comes around, I'll have a better sense of job security, and can take advantage of this. The Husband has a pretty small amount deducted for the same benefits but we could have saved that money... I haven't looked at the amounts lately, but it's probably around $120 a month. Arg. Grr. Blerg.

Next, we sold a car. Finally. Had been on the list for ages, and the Husband just didn't have time to deal with it. Car was in decent shape body-wise, interior-wise and all that, but it had several mechanical issues that were getting worse... and we'd driven it 241,000 miles. So we were glad to get a decent price. Purchased by some mechanic, who will probably fix it up and sell it for double what we sold it to him for. Sigh. But it's not our problem anymore. Last week we bought a hybrid Civic from a friend. For half of Blue Book price. It gets 45 mpg and we could not have bought it from a more reliable friend. She gave us all the service records. That will be the car for the swimbabies to get around in.

The swimbabies' activities in the new area are turning out to be expensive. This really applies only to competition. One SB has a competition in January that is out of state. Good heavens. She's 13. It seems pretty ridiculous to me, but we're going to do it. And it's a little bit of guilt that is pushing me. Everyone has done well with the move, but there have still been difficult moments. Most of this SB's new friends are involved in the sport, and it feels a bit crazy, but this competition is a chance for more bonding with her new friends. And of course, it's a chance for competition that I think she's ready for. So I'll be starting to shop for some plane tickets... Might just take the whole family if I can get a decent deal. Make it a long weekend, and squeeze in a bit of sightseeing.

I've not done much in the Christmas shopping department. I need to get a few things for kids. We have our "pajamas on Christmas Eve" tradition, which they love. I think I'm going to check out Old Navy for those... seems like I saw some cute things there. Then I need to figure out a few small things for each kid. I usually get things they need/ask for. And we will probably give them a little spending money. I usually do a bag of goodies from Trader Joe's for our parents, and I want to do some baking for friends. So pleased to have crossed "Christmas cards" off the list.

I need to do laundry, iron, plan the week's menu, make some cookies for a "secret pal" gift, and possibly run a couple of errands today. I'm hoping also, for a quick drive to the redwoods or beach and a walk. That's probably a stretch, though. Wink

Happy Sunday, friends!

Christmas Cards

December 2nd, 2012 at 10:27 am

I wonder how much longer people will send Christmas cards? Will everything go the digital route?

I love sending and getting Christmas cards. I usually do something really creative, but I just don't have it in me this year. I ordered photo cards from tinyprints.com during the Thanksgiving weekend. They arrived last week, and I addressed them today.

It's a bit expensive to send cards... the cost of the card (I did have multiple discounts which made the cards cheaper than Costco), and postage... but I like doing it, and we ended up with a nice family picture this year.

The cards will go out tomorrow. I'm so thankful to cross that off my list!

I have hardly given gifts a thought...

Black Friday Shopping. Never!

November 23rd, 2012 at 01:49 pm

I can't imagine a deal good enough to make me go shopping today! It just sounds like the worst thing ever!

My family is hanging out together at the relatives' house. A few of us dashed out for pedicures (the cheapest I've ever had, but decent at $15), and some are watching football. We're planning a walk to a park later, and there will be some photography... different smaller families are all wanting to take Christmas card pictures, so we'll do that.

Everyone (except me) helped a little with the cooking of yesterday's dinner. And tonight we're going to make tacos with all the leftover turkey. The pies are nearly gone, so we may have some of the teenagers make some cookies for dessert.

I didn't help with dinner yesterday because I was sick. We suspect that it was food poisoning from something I ate on Wednesday when we were on the way to the relatives. I stayed in bed basically all day, sipping ginger ale and nibbling a few saltines by the afternoon. At 5:00, when the family was eating dinner, I crawled out of bed and ate a tiny piece of toast and a spoonful of mashed potatoes. And then I got back in bed. Even with being miserably sick, it's been wonderful being surrounded by family!

Today I feel much better, and I tasted some stuffing for lunch, though I still don't feel like eating much. Who would have thought?!

I'm pretty thrilled to have a few days off, because the new job is quite challenging, though I do love it. I slept late today, and plan to do the same tomorrow. Thankfully, I cleaned the house to perfection before we left, so we will go home to a nice, clean house on Sunday.

I hope you all had a great holiday!