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Archive for August, 2006

Short week!

August 25th, 2006 at 10:11 am

I took Mondy through Wednesday off, just to hang out at home, so I only went to work yesterday and today. Makes for a short week! Smile

Yesterday while driving to work, my little '98 Saturn rolled over to 100,000 miles. I was disapointed when nothing happend, I kind of expected confetti to shoot out of the heat vents and maybe a little song to play. Guess they didn't include that in the '98 model year... Wink Kiding aside, the car still looks and runs great so I have no plans to replace it in the next 2 years. So nice not to have a car payment (although Tim's truck payment is high enough for two cars, but that's a topic for another day...).

On Wednesday I went out with my mom, who is in town with my dad over the summer to escape the heat of Arizona. They go back home next week and I wanted to have a "mother-daughter" day before they leave. We went out for lunch (Mom paid! Smile ) and then went window shoping at the mall. Then we went to the riverboat casino, mom want me to show her how to use some of the more complex slot machines, the electronic ones with the 9 paylines and bonus rounds. Anyway, I won $150! (mom lost $40). I gave it to Tim to help pay for more lumber for the fence.

Speaking of the fence, we finally have the south line done, all that's left is the back of the yard (the west line). But since that has a chain link fence already from the neighbors, Missy is now able to run around without a leash! She's having a high ol' time, chasing the neighbors cats and all the squirels. She won't catch them, and even if she did she just wants to play, not eat them so it's all in good fun.

Tim got lots of overtime last week so this weeks check is nice and big. Good timing too, we had to order our extra prints of the wedding pictures, and we had to buy $400 worth of lumber for the fence all at once because it was being discontinued. Between the two, it kind of wiped us out, so the OT will more than make up for it, especially since he's getting a lot this week so next week's check will be a good one too!

My Quicken experiment is still going well. I can't seem to get it to update my credit card statments though, I'll have to work on getting that figured out. Otherwise it's working quite nicely.

Easy come, easy go...

August 18th, 2006 at 09:14 am

DH got paid today. Out of that his truck payment and insurance must be paid. The rest pays of two of DH's "one time" bills. He has more ways of wasting money sometimes, I could kill him! This comes out of his overtime money, but I wish he'd cut back on some of it (he won't and it's not worth the fight, and it's his OT afterall). One of them is for a "collectors" train set and the other is for some dumb "book of the month" club, and he doesn't even read! He just likes hard cover books (he works in the printing industry, I guess it's just professional curiosity!).

Anyway, after that's all paid, there's nothing until next friday, and next weeks checks pay for the mortgage, gas, and gorceries. Spent before it's even made!

In other news, my new Quicken program is working nicely. It really helps to see our cash flow situation and I can see how upcomming bills will affect our current balance and future deposits. I can see anu shortfalls before they happen and can hold off on certain bills or transfer money between accounts as needed. I've never bounced a check or payment but there have been a few close calls when I forget about an automatic payment or that I mailed a check for a one time purchase or bill. So far, so good. Well see how I still like it a month from now!

Also, I'd like to thank all you readers out there. I just noticed I have over 5,000 views on this blog, which to me is amazing since I don't think it's very interesting! Thanks for reading! Smile

It's not easy being green.

August 14th, 2006 at 06:57 am

We have a huge, 80 year old sycamore tree in our back yard. Over the winter we noticed a lot of smallish branches and twigs falling from the tree. We weren't sure what to think, we've never owned a tree before! In the spring, there were very few leaves and they all fell off after a few weeks, along with even more small branches and leaves. It re-leaved a month later and looks okay, but we knew something had to be wrong with it.

We called an arborist (tree doctor) and they came out, said our tree had some type of desease (I looked it up on the internet and the symptoms matched, so we knew weren't being jerked around). They recomended that they prune it, give it an injection to cure the disease, and then fertilize it in the fall. Plus they want to inject it again next spring, aparently it's been sick for a few years and they don't think 1 injection will clear it up.

So, they pruned it and did the injection. $250 for the pruning (it did really need it, especially after that huge branch broke off during the wind storm last month) and $450 for the injection. I think the fertelizing will be another $200 or so.

Expensive, but much cheaper than having the tree die and paying $3000 to $4000 to have it removed (or worse, fall over onto our garage or the neighbors house!). Plus, it's an 80 year old tree, we don't WANT to cut it down, even if it had turned out to be cheaper to do so.

Someone remind me again why I wanted to move to a single family home? I didn't have to deal with this stuff when I owned my condo!

Yeah! I bought Quicken!

August 11th, 2006 at 01:06 pm

I'm such a geek! I'm so excited and can't wait to go home and intall the software so I can start to play with it. It will have to wait for tomorrow though, I'm going out with my friends tonight for a girls night out, the first one in a VERY long time! I'm paying for it out of DH's OT this week.

Put $620 towards paying off the CC today, that's $900 so far this month, if DH gets more OT and doesn't need money for the fence, then I'll be paying even more this month.

Gas was $3.19 at Mobil this morning. At least I only have to fill up once a week.

Time for a new budget!

August 8th, 2006 at 11:51 am

I've been using the same budget for years now. Not the same numbers (I wish!), but the same format. And it's just not working.

I've got too much stuff as "miscellaneous" or just flat out not listed (like car maintenance, for example). At first it was $5 here, $10 there each month, no big deal. But now there are just too many purchases of all sizes falling through the cracks, and I really need to get a clearer picture of where our money is going. We charge almost everything to a credit card that we pay off monthly, and the latest statment was much, much too large. We had the money to pay it, but I had to dip into savings, which is NOT a good thing. We've got to nip this in the bud, and right now.

So, I'm going to bite the bullet on Friday (payday) and buy Quicken (right now it's all in a plain old Excel file). We use Turbo Tax for taxes and they are compatable, so I figure it's the best bet. I've already sat down and listed every single catagory and sub-catagory that applies to us in my Excel sheet, so it should be quick to get everything transfered over to the new program (by hand, I doubt it will be able to import it, but who knows!). Now it will just be a matter of getting Tim to give me all his receipts, so I can mark stuff in the appropriate place! It should even help at tax time, now that you can choose to deduct either your sales tax or state income tax. We can track our actual sales tax spending and pick the one that gives us the bigger deduction. IL state income tax is only 3%, so given how much we spend, I think sales taxes could wind up being a higher deduction!

I'm a spread sheet geek, so I'm actually looking forward to getting this all set up. I think it will go a long way towards helping us met our financial goals.

Why don't I get to buy anything fun?

August 2nd, 2006 at 11:48 am

We ran out of pop on Monday night, so yesterday I ran to Jewel on my lunch hour to stock up. I noticed they had a mail in rebate for $5 if you bought two 12 packs. Great! Got back to the office and noticed you had to buy the pop by the 31st, and yesterday was the 1st. Drat!

However, while at the store buying pop I noticed Lean Cuisine's were on sale 4 for $10, or about $1 off each. So last night afterwork, I ran out and stocked up on a month's worth of them. I eat them for lunch at work everyday. So, since I bring my diet pop from home (19 to 23 cents a can, depending on how much a case is running) and just have an LC to eat, I'm having a hot lunch for less than $2.75 a day AND losing weight at the same time. Not bad! And as a bonus, one of those coupons printed out at check out for $2.00 off my next purchase of 10 Lean Cuisines. I'm thinking of going back tonight (sale end's today) and buying some more just to use the coupon and get the sale price too, but our stand-up freezer is starting to get full. I'll have to see if I can re-arrange things.

Today, I had to go buy Missy's expensive dog food at PetSmart. Purena is cheaper, but from the research I've done, it's low quality. Keeping Missy healhty and out of the vet's office is cheaper in the long run, plus I want Missy to be happy and healthy just because I love her! Anyway, it's $30 for a huge bag (lasts a good two months though!) but I can do a rebate for a $5 PetSmart gift card. And the rebate can be done online, nice and easy!

After PetSmart, I run to Costco to get the pickles that Tim loves that I can only find there (at least their cheap!) and also pick up a few other things we are low or out of. I love Costco, but my biggest complaint is that they don't have low fat or fat free versions of many items. They have Triscut crackers, but not low fat Triscuts. They have cheddar cheese in every form imaginable, but all are full fat, no reduced fat or 2% cheddar cheese (same with mozzerella). Campbell's cream of mushroom soup is the regular kind, they don't have the reduced fat. I could give you 10 more examples of items that I'd buy from them if they were only the "diet" versions. So, I'm stuck with the sales at Jewel (which sometimes are still a great deal, though).

And I'll be doing more shoping tomorrow, Jewel has a huge BOGO sale starting Thursday and they've got a bunch of stuff that we normally buy, so I'll be stocking up even more.

All of this shoping, and it's all boring stuff like groceries and pet food. Why don't I ever get to buy cool stuff like clothes and shoes? Oh, wait, that's right. I'm a cheap skate! Smile