Here in California we have been seeing plenty of video and photos from areas hit by Sandy. Lots of flooding in areas where that type of thing "never" happens.
Whenever they show the map and the storm passing over I think about our SA friends in that area. (Such a strong storm to move so far inland too!)
I hope everyone is safe and clean up is quick.
Archive for October, 2012
Here in California we have been seeing plenty of video and photos from areas hit by Sandy. Lots of flooding in areas where that type of thing "never" happens.
We have started putting our Christmas list together. We have the kids, our parents, my sis & BF, SIL & family, cousins, great grandpa, bosses & coworkers, DD's teacher and the kids' childcare providers. Yesterday and today I started price checking some of the gifts we will be purchasing. Especially the "Santa gifts" - bikes and helmets this year.
Our total Christmas spending is budgeted at $800-$1k. (Of course the goal is to spend less!) This money is regular cash flow from regular income. November is a five paycheck month, so DH and I agreed a portion of the "extra" pay will fund Christmas and the rest will go to cc payment.
I have some gift cards, cc reward points and "loyalty"/frequent shopper reward points that I will use toward gifts. Additionally, I am on the lookout for coupons and promotions, but that is how I always shop anyway.
First, I bought gas last night. It was $70 to fill up. I was pleasantly surprised to see the price had dropped to $3.89/gal. That is down $0.60/gal from a few weeks ago! That is a serious difference.
Secondly, I stopped into a local auto parts store for some odds/ends my Pathfinder has been needing. I bought two wiper blades, a package of headlight bulbs, a brake light bulb and a second small bulb for the brake light "strip" in the rear window. The total was $96. Just these little items can add up fast. DH changed out all of the above for me.
I really appreciated the new wipers and headlights with the recent rain I've been driving in.
We did get a pretty steady rain that started Sunday night. It rained sporadically through Monday and was windy too.
We lost power at work for over an hour when someone had a car accident and hit a pole. We lost power right when I was going to have lunch. That meant I couldn't heat my food up in the microwave and it wasn't something you would eat cold..Blah. So, I went out for lunch yesterday. I picked up soup and a cannoli from a local grocery store near my office. $6. They have the best cannolis and I really got lucky yesterday because the pastry counter man gave me a $1 off.
Last night it rained too. Not as hard as Sunday night, but still a second night of rain.
I think fall has finally arrived.
I paid DH's cell bill today. $61. There was a credit from my phone line being cancelled and downgrading his plan. Too bad I can't expect a $61/mo bill for his phone. It will be more like $84/mo.
Thanks to FrugalTexan I don't have to pay my cell bill this month. She used my referral code and I have a credit on my account. Whoopee!
Last night was so cozy inside our house while it was raining. We ate a tasty dinner while we watched the SF Giants win the final championship game and move on to the World Series! WooHoo!
I had to turn the heat on this morning. My mom was here visiting and she and DD slept in our living room. This morning it was 61F in the front rooms and my mom really doesn't like the cold. (I am not about to freeze my beloved mommy. )
The furnace only cycled a few times this morning and then I turned it back off. We had another beautiful, sunny day, but not nearly as warm as it had been getting this past week. A few days back it was in the upper 70s to the low 80s. Today it might have gotten to 70F.. maybe.
Tonight I am baking a pasta dish in the oven. Again, using the oven for the dual purpose of cooking and heating. I don't plan to have the heat on overnight or use it tomorrow morning. It might rain tomorrow night, if so we will have the heat back on.
It's a quiet afternoon here at work. I was just perusing the newest issue of Time and there was a little article on Halloween spending.
Average spending on costumes - up 6.8% from 2011 ($43.60 average spent)
Pet costumes - up 19%
Decorations - up 13%
Overall spending is expected to be near $8 billion.
So far we have only purchased one pumpkin. DD got a second one for free at her school's fieldtrip.
I don't know what DD wants to dress up as yet and I haven't thought about a costume for little DS until just now. DH and I won't be needing costumes.
I will buy some candy to pass out. I know that we will end up buying some sort of decor item. Maybe just some fake cobweb - that would be nice and cheap.
What's the Halloween spending looking like at your house?
Tuesday night DD had her first 4H beekeeping project meeting. Before the meeting she was telling me that she wasn't sure she was interested. I had originally urged her to check it out because I would like to have bees in the backyard someday. She agreed that she would see how she liked it after going to the meeting.
Well she must have really liked what was presented because when I picked her up she was waiting in front of the barn with a complete bee box (hive) setup. Luckily, the club had a bunch of used equipment donated for the kids. The project leader is the nicest older lady and she said come early spring the club will collect unwanted swarms so no one should have to buy any bees.
This afternoon DH and I had lunch together at a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich place we had wanted to try. I was able to print an online coupon for a free soda - we shared. Total spent $12.
It had been a really long time since we had gotten to have lunch together. We both decided it's something we need to do more often.
I told DH that next month I'd like to go see the new 007 movie with him and maybe do dinner or dessert. I still have free movie passes from my girlfriend to use.
Filled up this afternoon and the price had dropped a bit to $4.32/gal. Even still it cost $84 to fill up.
Tonight is a big sports night for me. I have to flip channels back and forth from the SF Giants playoff game to the SF 49er/Seattle game.
Come on guys!!!
A few Mondays back (a month back, just checked the calender) I fell and twisted my ankle. It was puffy and swollen for pretty much the whole week after. Then it was bruised and tender. Now it just hurts occasionally when I step a certain way or flex it just so. I sure hope it all heals up and I don't have any long term pain.
In other news, I bought DD a new pair of athletic shoes this weekend. October seems to be the time of year when I buy new shoes. Changing season, worn out summer shoes..yada, yada. She can now wear women's sizes. Her shoes were $70. I told her to take very good care of them because they will have to last all school year.
DS didn't get left out. I bought him a pair of jeans and two long sleeve tshirts off the clearance rack at Gymboree for a total of $20. I was pretty pleased with that because the regular price just for the jeans was $23. There were some crazy adorable PJs that I wanted to get, but they were not on clearance and cost $21. I'm going to check (maybe even call the store) in a week or two and see if they get marked down.
No heat yet, but it's been really, really close. Last night I baked turnovers so I could warm things up a bit without turning the heater on.
This morning it was 63F in the house. And if DH had been home I'm pretty sure we would've turned the furnace on. He was gone to an all day hazardous materials training class for the fire department and his EMT class. The other reason I held out on turning the heat on was because the weather is going to be warming back up again here. Today it was 74F and so lovely out.
Late this afternoon I started a big pot of soup. Beef, veggie and barley. It's the third meal the pot roast has provided. I also cleared out some hodgepodge veggies that needed using up.
That's the thing about when I make soup, I keep adding stuff until I end up having a full pot. (Like I might be eating soup all week.)
This batch has beef, barley, carrots, baby potatoes, celery, onion, garlic and a mashed squash (no one will even know it's there! HeHe!) I had some frozen corn and zucchini, but I didn't think I needed to add anymore stuff.
Toasting some buttered sourdough bread under the broiler right now and then it's time to eat.
DD had her monthly 4H meeting last night. Before we went we (DD, DS and I) stopped for frozen yogurt. It's a place where you serve yourself and they charge by weight. This was a *want*. DD was frugal and just made small portions for each of us. $5.
I filled up with gas at the Costco gas station. I wasn't empty, but the 4H building is really close to Costco so I figured I'd save myself a stop later. It was $4.49/gal. That is 10 cents more per gallon than I paid on Sunday! I sure hope this price starts heading down soon.
The statement period on my cc that I use for auto paying bills closed yesterday. But, darn it, the cable bill just squeaked in yesterday too. Of course it's going to be paid, but I would have preferred it going to the next statement period and 'buying' me another month before I had to pay it.
Lastly, a big THANK YOU to FrugalTexan for using my Ting referral code. She earned me a $25 account credit. That is enough for a month and a half of cell service for me (my bill is $16/mo).
I took the day off work so I could drive DD to and from a school field trip. It is to a close regional park for a fall festival. Her school does not have buses, so if they take a big trip they have to rent them. That means at her school most field trips require parent drivers. I don't have the increased coverage needed to drive other kids, but I can drive DD.
This worked out great for today. Thursdays are a half-day at work and I was able to be home to see the SF Giants win their playoff game. Whoot!
Our pot roast was so tasty last night. Little DS really ate a lot of the meat.
I agree that the slow-cooker is great all year round, as many of you commented. It's especially nice to use when it's hot during the summer and you don't want to use the oven or stove. I haven't made any desserts in mine, so that's something to try one of these days.
This morning I scheduled payments for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, our cc balance increased this month. There is no avoiding it. These were the charges from last month when DH went to Alaska and he wasn't home earning money. There was also a medical bill I had paid finally.
I am really feeling discouraged. This year will be over in a blink and so much I had hoped we'd accomplish has not been done. This increase in the debt sucks. The somewhat silver lining is it is on a 0% card.
I was reading the other new posts and it seems like many of us are fixing slow-cooker meals this week.
This morning I started a nice big roast in my crock pot. I added new (baby) potatoes and baby carrots. Seasoned everything with some salt & pepper, garlic and a packet of onion soup mix. It was already smelling so good when I left the house.
What I love is when I get home I'll be able to smell it before I even walk in the door and nobody has to cook; it'll be all ready to eat.
The roast was $12.50. The potatoes were in our produce box (maybe $3) and the bag of baby carrots were $1. There is always enough for two dinners, plus seconds. Sometimes on the larger roasts I'll have enough meat for a third dinner. I'll make shredded BBQ beef sandwiches or tacos, because you really don't want to eat pot roast three nights in a row no matter how good it tastes.
Enjoy your slow-cooker meals everyone.
The past few days have been so busy! I was happy to get back to work today just so I could rest from the weekend.
The weather has been fabulous here. Last week we had some near record heat. It was crazy! Now the last few days have been beautiful, sunny, mild days. I wish you all could visit my area right now - it's just wonderful!
My parents came for a visit starting on Saturday. It was DH's birthday. I went grocery shopping, cleaned the house and did some laundry. DD participated in a charity walk in the evening.
On Sunday, DH worked a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the fire department. My mom treated us to breakfast there. Afterward we drove to a family farm and picked apples (and a pumpkin). The apples were organic and huge (think softball sized). My mom purchased the farm share and the apples, I bought the pumpkin for DD to carve. $16. Yes, more than I was wanting to spend for sure. I took a bit of comfort knowing the money was going right to the family who owned the farm. (Father and son would cut the pumpkin you picked, sister and niece helped in the apple orchard and mom collected payment.)
I stopped for gas and paid $4.39/gal. Supposedly a fuel shortage here in Cali.
Then we rushed home for the 49er game. They won!
Tonight my sister and her boyfriend stopped in to have dinner. DH BBQd some of his catch from Alaska, salmon and halibut, and my mom made the sides and a fresh apple cobbler.
I made a Costco stop last night. We needed paper goods, meat and bag lunch items. I also needed gas.
The price of gas has shot up here. Many stations have it posted for $4.23/gal and up. I paid $4.07/gal last night at Costco. Last week it was $3.99/gal.
I spent $35 on TPaper and PTowels.
As for meat, I bought 10lbs of baby back ribs, 5lbs of New York steaks, 7lbs of ground beef and two 3lbs roasts. $117. We don't normally buy steaks, but those are for DH's birthday dinner.
For school lunches and snacks I bought 60ct string cheese, 36ct 100% juice boxes and 30ct assorted Sunchips. $28.
Slight spending fail: I bought a package of three KitchenAid non-slip cutting boards. $16. We have needed a new set in the kitchen for a long time. I did not *need* to buy them, but it was a reasonable purchase.
DD has a sixth grade camping trip in May. The school asked for either full payment now or set up a monthly payment plan. I opted to pay the $180 in full now.
We signed up for one after-school enrichment class this semester. $45.
Her monthly childcare contract was due yesterday. $128.
She is participating in a charity walk this weekend. All her idea. Very sweet. We donated $25.
Click here or copy and paste this great Ting coupon (referral) link.
By using my Ting referral code you get $25 off your phone purchase or $25 account credit if you bring your own phone and I get a $25 account credit. (Think of it as a $25 off Ting coupon - That's a valuable coupon!)
Please feel free to pass it around!
Really, who wouldn't want a coupon??
With Ting I have the smallest number of minutes/texts/data and my monthly cell phone bill is $16.19.
My thanks to Frugal Texan for pointing out that there was a referral code for Ting.
(Thank you very much FT! )
9/19/2013 ETA: My Review of Ting After One Year
Basically my review is this:
I am so happy I switched to Ting. Love the service. Love the savings. Love my Galaxy S3.
If you are interested here is the link to my review post.
Additionally, Ting is now helping to bail you out of your contract by paying a portion of your cancellation fee. Be sure to check it out on their website.
4/3/2014 ETA: Saving $80 + per Month With Ting Now
Yup, switched my hubby's iPhone to Ting cell service a few months ago. Now we are a three smartphone, Ting using, stickin' it to the big guys, money saving family!
All the details are here:
6/1/15 ETA: $100 in Ting Credit - Limited Time
Still extremely pleased with Ting service and especially the savings.
Upgrading DD's phone as her graduation gift to a refurbished Samsung Galaxy 3.
Limited time $100 savings for new customers until 6/8/15. Use my referral code.
All details in my recent post:
My challenge for October is to make it a *Needs Only* month.
I am aiming for 100% needs only spending.
Anyone else have a challenge planned for themselves this month?