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Archive for June, 2012

Saturday Doings. Checking Acct Fees.

June 30th, 2012 at 08:17 pm

This morning I went to the grocery store. Safeway is running their spend $75 get $10 off coupon promo this weekend. I also needed to spend $9 on selected dairy items by the end of the month to earn two tickets to the new "Ice Age" movie.

I spent $93. Included in that was several boxes of cereal priced at $1.88/box and a few BOGO free items.

The snag came at checkout when the coupon printer didn't print my movie ticket vouchers or my $10 reward coupon. Had to go over to customer service and after a few minutes she got everything for me. Smile

Other Saturday stuff:

Bought new sneakers for myself and DH. $83 total.

Bought a new set of scrubs for work. $42.

Going to pickup DD from camp today. Yay! I've missed her and can't wait to hear how camp went. Big Grin

MIL is coming this evening to stay for two nights.
Two nights is just fine. Wink
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A $3 service fee was charged on our checking account this month. A checking account which is supposed to be free. Rolleyes

Do you remember when I posted about having to change my account a few months back (Oct. I think) and I thought it was so odd that it was called "College Checking" but it didn't matter what your age was or whether or not you were in college.

When I called today I was told that because our account is "College Checking" it's only free if you're under 24. Doesn't matter that I was told in the branch that your age didn't matter. *Really..Grr!*
And I guess it doesn't matter that it's been free for months and neither DH nor I have been 24? (I wonder if my birthday last month triggered this fee to start? Hmm.)

The CS rep for the bank asked if I'd like to change my account to a "Value Checking" package.

"You only need to keep a $1500 average daily balance for it to be free. Otherwise it's $9/mo."

Hu? Let me see... I can keep what I've got for $3/mo or switch and every few months (or maybe every month) I'd get charged $9 because the A.D.B would be too low. No thanks. I'll stick with this for now.

As I've said before I would consider a switch to our credit union. The advantage the bank has over the CU is: Convenience. Lots of branches/ATMs/easy online uses.

I do plan to stop at the branch where they told me age doesn't matter. And I'm a bit curious; sound like age discrimination?

Summer Salad

June 27th, 2012 at 04:15 am

Just DS and myself home tonight for dinner. DH is at firefighter training and DD is at camp. I just wanted to fix something quickly. I ended up making veggie burgers, baked baby potatoes and this salad...



I noticed my spinach is growing like crazy, so it's fresh spinach from our garden, ripe strawberries and avocado. I mixed up a little batch of oil, vinegar and honey to use as dressing. It was great! The only thing I wished I had was some of that feta from the goat dairy, but I ate that all up last week. Smile

Pay to Play

June 24th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

A bit of spending here at our house this weekend.

I took DD and one of her school friends to see "Brave" in 3D on Friday night. It was a GREAT movie! I liked it very much. Very good mother/daughter film. The 3D keeps getting better and better each time I go to the theater. We had frozen yogurt before the movie.
$22 for tickets. $9 for frozen yogurt.

Saturday I picked up a long time friend of DD who lives in the next town up. Then we all went to the fair. We were able to get in for free again this year. (A friend who has family that works for the fair gets us free passes in.)

DD's entries all won first in their respective classes! Big Grin
But not Best of Show in their categories, so I don't think she'll get any prize money. *shrug* It's just fun to exhibit in the fair, winning money is just icing.

At the fair I gave DD $15 to spend. DH and I spent $35 on glorious fair food. Smile (foot long corndogs, fried artichoke hearts, lemonade, cinnamon rolls) We tried a deep fried Twinkie this year - kind of tasted like a donut to us.

This morning I took DD to the sporting goods store for camp related supplies. $61. She'll be gone on her first sleep-away camp for five nights.

Gas Prices Dropping

June 21st, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I filled up this morning and was shocked (in a good way) to see $3.69/gal. About three weeks ago it was $4.15/gal. I heard on the news the 'experts' are predicting gas prices at or slightly under $3/gallon by the end of the year. **fingers crossed**

$61 to fill up.

What is the gas going for in your area?

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It seems that our Labrador "Maxx" has some neck pain. Hopefully a simple pinched nerve and not a ruptured vertebral disk or worse...

It's just been one health problem after another with our furry family in the last 10 months. I really can't take much more. Frown

Comparing the Annual Spending on Children

June 16th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Going off Ceejay's post yesterday...

I'm home from work and it's hotter than heck out, so I enjoyed sitting inside with the AC putting this post together. Spent some time looking thru Quicken. Pretty convenient that we are exactly halfway thru the year; it was easy to come up with some averages. Smile

If you missed Ceejay's post here is the USDA report she cited -
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2011.pdf

I used the Western Region/middle income bracket. Page 28

USDA Figure [Our Actual Spending]

For DS (2 years old):
Housing: $4670 [$0]
Food: $1440 [$950]
Transportation: $1780 [$162]
Clothing: $800 [$300]
Health care: $800 [$250]
Childcare: $2750 [$6750]
Misc.: $1020 [$700]

For DD (10 years old)
Housing: $4670 [$0]
Food: $2460 [$1900]
Transportation: $1970 [$162]
Clothing: $750 [$300]
Health care: $940 [$250]
Childcare: $1950 [$1260]
Misc.: $1230 [$1000]


Housing:
DH and I would have bought this house or a similar three bedroom house regardless of having the kids or not.

Food:
I figured our yearly food costs. I was going to just divide it evenly between four people, but obviously DH and I eat way more than DS. So I just figured DD would eat about half of DH or I and DS would be about half of DD.

Transportation:
The USDA definition was "expenses related only to family-related activities". We do trips and such, but we would do those even without children. I just figured 5% of the annual fuel expenses per child.

Clothing:
Kids get gifts of clothes all the time. I figured an average of $20/mo/child, plus two pairs of shoes.

Health care:
"..the share of household out-of-pocket health care expenses spent on children.."
I've listed copays for annual dr. visit and bi-annual dentist visits.

Childcare:
These are crazy low averages IMO. I get that many people might have family watching the kids for free or work opposite hours so one parent is watching them. Anyhow, our total is much higher than their average.

Misc.:
"..(personal care items, such as haircuts, toothbrushes, etc.; entertainment, such as portable media players, sports equipment, computers, etc.; and reading materials, such as nonschool books, magazines, etc.).."
For DS this is where I counted his diapers, wipes, haircut every 4(ish) months, books, occasional toy and gifts.
For DD I count her gifts, twice yearly haircuts, extra activities (camp, craft classes, movies, trumpet etc..).

My Traveling Family

June 16th, 2012 at 04:34 am

DD and DH left this morning on a Father/Daughter motorcycle road trip. Celebrating Father's Day weekend. Tonight they are staying at my sister and her BF's house. Saturday they will stay in a hotel. Sunday they are staying with the inlaws. Monday they'll be home. They saved cans for pretty much a year. Collecting them from here at home, from DH's work and any where else DD could find. They cashed them in last week to pay for all their fuel and most of the hotel. Their plan was to travel on the cheap and have no impact on the household budget.

I work a half day tomorrow. Not a big deal. The time will fly because we're booked solid. It is supposed to be very hot tomorrow. Today was 88F, but it took until 8:45pm before it cooled down to a comfortable 74F. Now that it's dark it's cooling quickly.

My mom will be visiting Sunday before she heads for the airport Monday. She is meeting with my aunt in France for a cruise. (Yes, I'm a little jealous!)

Sunday my sister will stop by to see both my mom and I. She is flying to Arizona to help a girlfriend drive a car back here. (Not very jealous. I don't want to go to AZ in June Wink )

Monthly CC Payments

June 16th, 2012 at 03:59 am

Made the usual monthly payments.
I was able to chip $46.75 more from redeeming reward points.

$17,940 Previous Balance
$17,387 Current Balance

Pictures

June 14th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I said when I had time I'd post some pictures. Smile

Here is our garden boxes. I still want a few pavers or stepping stones to place between the boxes so I can walk out in my bare feet.



The sad thing is our peach tree was so loaded with fruit that the main trunk split and we had to cut it off (in the pic behind the garden). Then the other half bent and cracked in the wind. I don't think we'll be able to save the tree now. Frown

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Sunday I took DS, DD and one of her friends to a local humane, sustainable goat dairy. (Redwood Hill Farm - you might see their stuff at Whole Foods.) Their "Farm Day" was free. You could pet and hold kids, milk a goat, brush goats and sample their products. I spent $22 for four types of cheese. Yum, So good!








Sonoma County vineyards on the drive to the farm.


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These are DD's fair entries.
Fused glass plate.
Painted notecards w/envelopes.
Decorated blown egg.



It cost $1/item to enter.
First prize for the egg is $25. **Fingers crossed** for DD!

Working. County Fair Coming Up.

June 13th, 2012 at 05:01 am

Phew! Busy here. I am working six days this week because our receptionist has gone to visit family for the week.

It's been hot here the past few days. Today was hot, but by the time I got home (6:20pm) it was a beautiful 76F. Just wanted to veg in the backyard with a cold beer Smile, but I had a bunch of "mom stuff" to do. And I realized that I had to run DD to the craft store so she could get a few small things for her decorated egg that she is entering in our fair. I spent $6. Fair is next week.

I also checked the dates and times for entry drop-offs and I missed the window to drop off my photographs. Frown I spent $6 to enter. I am going to try to take them when we take DD's items, but I'm not holding my breath. Bummed, but not the end of the world.

Went to a dairy goat farm on Sunday with the kids. I want to post a few pics when I get time.

Our garden is loving the hotter weather. I keep taking pictures to post, so I'll do that soon too.

Grocery Spending

June 9th, 2012 at 02:54 am

In yesterday's post I had checked Quicken and our total grocery spending for May had been $1005. Tonight I looked more carefully and there was a Costco transaction categorized as 100% groceries which was only part grocery. After deducting that, the total spent was $897. Our produce box was delivered five times in May also. But even so, we did a lot of food buying in May!

My goal for June will be half that of May. Smile

Cool Beans (coffee beans that is..)

June 7th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Just a few days back I got a $15 Strbks card as a reward in the mail. And I wrote how nice and easy it was to earn.. Well, I just got another email from BoA to do the same thing. Big Grin

Just a few quick clicks through the email link + pay our cell phone bill in a few days with that card = A second $15 gift card.

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Beautiful weather here. Nice and mild at about 75F. Going to have BBQ chicken breasts, baked sweet potatos, corn on the cob and maybe a few other fruits/veggies that need eating tonight for dinner. Once I finish up on the computer I am going to get a bunch of strawberries cut up for strawberry shortcake for dessert. Smile

I see a few posts about grocery spending. Well, I just checked Quicken and we spent a whopping $1005 in groceries last month! That is much higher than usual. I'm going to look through it and see when I spent all that. Our chest freezer and fridge/freezer and pantry are all FULL so we have something to show for all that spending.

A Few Things

June 6th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Just arrived back home about an hour ago. My grandma's memorial was Tuesday. Thankfully it didn't rain or snow, the sun even poked out (Thanks Grandma!) for the whole afternoon.

It was a sad event, but our family had a really nice visit afterwards. I was able to see two of my cousins and their kids, including a new baby, that I haven't seen in almost five years. We were all over at grandma and grandpa's house and there weren't tears or sadness. Instead we looked at old pictures and laughed together. That seemed to make grandpa pretty happy too. It makes me sad now to think about how much grandma would have loved that and she "missed it". I do feel like she was 'there in spirit', so maybe I shouldn't feel too sad. Smile

My BFF was there also. It was nice to visit with her on part of the drive. As well as driving together with my mom and dad. But, I visit with them more often than my BFF. Money wise, because I drove everyone in my car, my parents paid for all the gas.

Today feels like a Sunday now because I took two days off. I have to keep reminding myself that it is really Wednesday. Ha! I get to work for two days and then it's the weekend again!

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Because it is Wednesday we have a new produce box..


Lots of good stuff. Strawberries, carrots, beets, green onion, avocado, nectarines, corn, bananas, zucchini, oranges, lettuce, chard.

A Bit of Spending

June 3rd, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I did go back to the grocery store this morning. Unfortunately, gift cards are not counted toward a $75 purchase. I did buy a few items I forgot to buy yesterday. So I spent $15 today and $119 yesterday on groceries.

We did buy a new lawnmower on Memorial Day. $294.

Sent out checks and registrations for DD's summertime activities.

Planning to get the oil changed and the car washed tomorrow in preparation for the long drive this week.

(SO happy this is a five payday month! All of the above is covered.)

Foolish spending:
I am sending off a check for $25 to the state. My RVT license was due for renewal this past month. That was fine. But, because I did not update my address soon enough I have to pay a penalty. Really pretty silly because they are printing a new license and all that stuff because of the renewal. Silly mistake on my part because I never thought about updating my address when our office moved 18 months ago. Oh well...

Second thing was $7.50 in library fines. Rolleyes

Third thing was something I had been 'wanting', not needing. I bought it with birthday money. Now I might return it and apply the bday cash to the cc payment. I really like said item, but I don't NEED it. Wrestling with what will make me happier.

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The rest of this afternoon I am working on laundry and enjoying the beautiful weather. Can't wait to watch the season finale of "Game of Thrones" tonight! Big Grin

Attempts to Maximize Rewards

June 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 pm

My $15 Starbucks gift card came in the mail today from BoA. It was a reward for using that cc to pay our cell phone bill. I hope I get more email offers like that ... SO easy to "earn" free treats! Smile

I treat myself once weekly or less. I have been taking advantage of special offers and Free drink coupons from a client at work the past few months. I've only spent $12.30 in the past three months. $10 of that was to buy a $15 giftcard using a grocery store promo. I used my empty Stbks ground coffee bag to get a free drip coffee while I shopped today.

Speaking of grocery store promos; Safeway is doing the spend $75 & get $10 promo this weekend. I went to the store this morning. I am thinking I will go again tomorrow and buy a gift card for groceries to earn another $10 reward. Provided I can do that.

At some point this month I will probably buy some gc for groceries just to 'max out' on my 5% back on grocery store spending. June is the last month. Until I started reading posts here I would never have thought to do that. Smile