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Archive for September, 2012

No Eating Out in Sept. & Gearing Up for Oct.

September 30th, 2012 at 03:00 pm

The No Eating Out Challenge for September:
I had fast food once for lunch.
DH had fast food three times (but he didn't know about the "challenge").
I bought ice cream out when MIL was visiting.
DD did the best and packed a lunch every day!
As far as a complete meal out we only had pizza delivered for dinner. That means only one family meal that we did not make ourselves.

There were several times we were tempted to order out or stop and pick something up, but my family was supportive of my wishes to not eat out. Smile

I say *Success* for September.

The goal for October will be to allow for one family meal out. I know DH will have a few fast food lunches, but he is committed to keeping that to once a week or less. I will allow myself lunch out once for the month.

I plan to continue grocery shopping only every other week. DH did pick up a gallon of milk today because we were not going to have enough to get us to next weekend. That was the only purchase. Hooray!

September's grocery spending came to $570.
There has been plenty to eat, so no one is going hungry in case you're wondering. Wink

Cell Phone Stuff

September 27th, 2012 at 04:56 pm

For fun I thought I'd show my "Cell Phone Evolution".





The only phone not pictured is my first phone which was just a non-flip, grey Ericson. I might still have it somewhere, maybe the bottom of the toy box or something. I think I got that first phone early 2002. It was on AT&T and I think it was $45/mo taxes and all.

The second phone is that Nextel on the left. My DH had that phone before me and when he got a new phone that was mine. It's a brick. HaHa! It's been dropped at least 100 times.

But, seriously they do not make phones that sturdy anymore. This is the phone that I was using for the past five weeks while I was waiting to get my newest phone. The old thing had been in a drawer for two years (since the last time I used it as a stop-gap-phone) I charged the battery and it fired right up.

The middle two phones are Nextel/Sprint phones also. Both lasted me almost exactly two years each. The same length as the contract. Coincidence? I think not! All some great conspiracy I'm sure!!! Wink

I can't quite remember what the Nextel bills were in the beginning. It ranged between $45/mo/phone (taxes & all) up to $120/mo/shared plan (taxes & all). Last year I was so thrilled because I got it down to the bare-bones plan and it was $80/mo/shared plan including taxes, etc.

Then hubby got his iPhone and we *had* to have a more fancy plan. BOO!
That plan has been running $150/mo/shared including taxes & all.

But, NOW my new phone on the far right is with Ting and my monthly bill is $16/mo including taxes and fees. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

What it really boils down to is that now I'm paying less for the newest phone instead of paying a premium for the cheapest phone.

I reduced DH's plan with Sprint to the lowest plan he could get with his blasted iPhone. It will be close to $80/mo. Our usage is pretty much the same and both phones run on the Sprint network, but the cost difference is.. well.. amazing.

DH really likes his phone and he is in a contract until next December. I am *praying* he will be ready to switch come next year as you can see how much we would be saving.

I l-o-v-e my new phone, but I really L-O-V-E the low bill!

Grocery Store Success

September 22nd, 2012 at 03:14 pm

I went to the grocery store late this morning. Major success on two points.

First, it has been two weeks since I've stepped foot in a grocery store. By having produce delivered, the garden and laying hens we really don't *have to* go to the store more frequently for perishables.

Second, I planned to spend $200 today and I spent $198.37. Big Grin

We are fully stocked with the staples, breakfast, lunch and dinner fixings. We have fresh fruit and veggies coming out the wazoo. The garden has been bountiful and with the bi-monthly produce boxes we are scrambling to get everything eaten before it goes bad.

Total grocery spending for the month: $566.

CC Payoff Progress. Other News.

September 20th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

$16,921 - Previous Balance
$16,898 - Current Balance

Yeah, as predicted I couldn't put much of anything toward pay down. I paid the amount that we charged on the cards this billing cycle. I paid the interest to the one card that accrues interest, plus a tiny bit more. No lost ground, per se, but this is not how things are going to get paid off either.

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Trimmed the nails on a friend's cat. She is paying me $15 each time I do it. I figure that will be every six weeks or so. She thinks she will want me to do it every month.

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I filled up on Tuesday night and it was down to $3.99/gal.

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My new cell phone arrived Tuesday and I am officially switched over to Ting. More on that later...

Halfway Through September

September 17th, 2012 at 04:53 pm

Jeez, halfway through the month already.

"No Eating Out Challenge": We ordered pizza and a family salad last night for dinner. We had planned to do this because the 49ers played in the Sunday Night football game. It was a special meal deal from one of our favorite local places. $30 total with delivery and tip. That makes this the first 'eating out' for this month. Very likely the only time this month too.

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I fell and twisted my ankle this morning. I was carrying DD's trumpet and when I fell I broke the corner of the case. Trumpet is fine. Phew! I am really thankful we own this trumpet. I guess we'd have to buy a new case if we were renting?

The ankle is a little swollen, but it hasn't been too busy here at work so I've been mostly sitting and sitting helps. When I get home I hope to get a little sympathy from the family and I'll get to put my feet up for the evening. Smile

Sunny Saturday. Budget Juggle.

September 15th, 2012 at 05:37 pm

Right now I am sitting in the backyard. It has been a beautiful day today. Really, the whole week has been wonderful, mild weather. Still not having to use the AC or heat. Smile

I worked this morning for my co-worker who is sick. I don't mind working Saturdays occasionally because I get a few more hours on the paycheck, don't have to pay for childcare and don't have weekday traffic to deal with.

I decided to treat myself to Starbucks this morning and used the drive-thru. When it was my turn at the window they told me their system was down so they couldn't take my money, so my coffee was free! Smile

Free coffee was a very nice way to start my day.

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Trying to juggle the budget because of the lower income due to DH being gone. He did get some of his time off as paid vacation. Even so, we are about a third short of what he would have made had he been home. In addition to lesser income he spent money while he was gone. A double whammy.

He has $800 coming to him from his side work with the fire department at the raceway, so that *will* help *when* it shows up. Until then I am dipping into the EF to cover the shortfall. Phooey!

Cutting back on the grocery spending is going to be essential now. There also won't be much progress on the CC repayment this month. Frown

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DD had her first 4H meeting on Thursday. It was $33 for the yearly enrollment and another $32 to buy presale tickets for the fundraising BBQ. She has signed up for four projects. Her first project meeting is 'Canning & Preserves' and it meets tomorrow afternoon.

Just This 'n That

September 9th, 2012 at 03:24 pm

DH is coming home this evening. I am planning to make the hash brown quiche that everyone loves so much. I'll add either a fruit or green salad on the side.

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I paid DD her new higher allowance today. $20/two weeks and $5 for mowing the front and back yard.

I also set DD up with her own email address. She was thrilled.

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I went to the grocery store this morning. $157. I bought five boxes of cereal because they were $2 each and I had a $2 off 5 boxes coupon. I like cereal, it's good for breakfast, snacks and sometimes dinner. Wink I don't plan to go shopping again for two weeks.
Going to get that grocery spending down this month. Smile

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My BFF had her baby girl this morning! Big Grin

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The weather has been fabulous here the past week. Mild. I haven't had to use heat or AC. I love that! Big Grin
Right now it is 80F and just beautiful.

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I checked my $1k that I invested in my ROTH a few weeks back and it is up $14. Smile

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Getting excited about all our favorite shows as the new season starts up. I so enjoy curling up on the couch on cool fall nights and watching TV.

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Had some corn from our garden two nights ago. It was not quite ready, but still very good. I've also been getting lots of green beans and I need to pick more today. Getting plenty of zucchini and summer squash. Enough for us and anyone we know. DD's pumpkins are thriving. I bought more spinach seeds so I can replant that area. I've had several lemon cucumbers and a bell pepper. The tomatoes are really taking their sweet time getting red. I've picked one red one and the puppy pulled one off and the chickens ate two almost red ones. There are *tons* of green ones.

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The Amazon seller that we ordered DH's book from offered to refund my shipping *IF* I change my feedback (3 stars). The shipping was $7. I don't know if I want to change the rating; they should do a better job. Still, $7 back in my pocket.....

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Off to watch the second half of the 49er game. When it ends it'll be time to switch to the SF Giants game.

Zero Eating Out. Nice Family Visits.

September 8th, 2012 at 09:39 pm

I wasn't "officially" working on the No Eating Out Challenge, but we have not eaten out. Not a meal anyway. I did buy ice cream when MIL visited last weekend. As I said before, it was a nice visit. MIL was way more relaxed.

The last four days my mom and dad came and stayed. With DH gone to Alaska it was wonderful to have the extra help. They drove DD to and from school, watched DS while I was at work and fixed dinner each night. So very nice for me to not have to drive kids around or make dinner after work. I know that helped keep me from eating out or getting food delivered.

On Monday, DD picked 65 apples off our neighbor's tree (with permission of course) and she made three pies. Two 9" and one 6". There were still a lot of apples left so my mom made apple cobbler or an apple crisp the past four nights. It was such a tasty treat to have it fresh and warm topped with ice cream each night after dinner. Big Grin

The visit with my parents was really great. They are so funny.

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We did a little shopping this morning. DD had a $10 gift card for Old Navy and $10 in "Old Navy cash". She shopped the clearance racks and bought three really cute tops (clearance) and a hoodie (regular price) and grandma paid the difference of $13.

I spent $0 today. Smile

Dream Homes

September 4th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Non-Frugal Post.

I am sure we all have a *dream home*.
Mine is a large, open layout house with a wraparound porch. I have always loved the log house look so that would be a plus. One story or two story; as long as everything I wanted was there. Preferably a four or five bedroom. Maybe a three bedroom, but with a little guest cottage so when visitors stayed there would be plenty of space.

Our dream home would be on at least 3 acres of property. I would love to have a barn and a covered arena. Garden space and a manicured lawn area. Maybe a pool, hot tub and/or sauna.

Well, every so often I get to looking at places for sale in my area. Usually, I start by looking at recently sold places comparable to our house just to get an idea of our home's worth. Then I can't help but start looking at current For Sale homes.

My recent search yielded a few *Dream Home* candidates.

This house is 3800sf on 4.25 acres with a barn, guest house and garden.




The list price is $1.5 million.

How in the world can I buy it? Suggestions? Big Grin

I saw a few others, but this one so far was my favorite and the most expensive, of course, lol.

What is your *Dream Home*?

Happy Labor Day Holiday!

September 3rd, 2012 at 02:48 pm

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday!

It's a very low key Labor Day here with just me and the kids. Doing laundry, washing all the bedding and doing some general pick up are the only things happening today. For dinner tonight I am going to fix spaghetti noodles to go with our leftover sauce.

DS is coming down with a little cold. He has a runny nose that bothers him at night and wakes him up. Hopefully it clears up soon because we both get cranky when our sleep gets interrupted.

My mom and dad are coming Wednesday for a visit and to help me out by watching DS and picking DD up from school. The kids and I are looking forward to them visiting and helping out. Big Grin

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Just before DH left, he and I agreed to give DD an allowance raise. We added poop scooping to her daily chores, something we had been paying for based on amount picked up. We increased her pay from $5/week to $10/week. She was totally jazzed. Smile

She wants to open a checking account soon. I think middle school might be a good time for that. I am going to check what, if any, age requirements there might be so we can plan based on those.

I had my first checking account when I was a high school freshman. When did you get yours?

Starting September *Smiling*

September 1st, 2012 at 05:20 pm

My MIL is visiting until tomorrow. So far the visit has been very pleasant and low-key. Smile

This morning we went to a neighboring town and walked through the main street shops. I bought a birthday gift and card for our neighbor's son for $7. DD and DS are in the bouncy house at his party right now.
I bought two board books on sale for DS for $8.
I bought a pair of handmade copper hoop earrings for myself for $27. Which I thought was a very good price when compared to similar pieces in the same store, made by other artists/jewelers, were priced at $48 and $56.
And, I treated all of us to ice cream (the place that makes all it's own flavors) for $13.

Looking back in Quicken at August we spent $830 in groceries. My goal for September is to be as low-spend as possible in every category, but especially to work on the food spending. Our pantry and fridge are very full, so I do have something to show for that spending at least. September, October and November are usually pretty good as we settle into the school routine and just stick close to home.

Speaking of sticking close to home; how's the gas prices in your area? Ours have shot up. Like $.50/gal in the past three weeks. When I fueled up a few days ago it was $4.09/gal. Blah!!!