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Archive for March, 2013

Wrapping Up March. Shopping Successes.

March 30th, 2013 at 08:51 pm

Again, I will say how fast this month went by!
It feels to me as if we should still be in the middle of the month.

March didn't turn out nearly as bountiful as I was hoping. DH made less than usual and the unexpected trumpet purchase resulted in a "break-even" month rather than a "get-a-head" month. Phooey!

Well, on to April!

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I scored some nice deals this week.

I went grocery shopping this morning and bought a bone in ham for $0.80/lb. We will have some of it tomorrow (of course), ham/bean soup Tuesday and a ham/onion frittata latter in the week. The ham was $8.60.

I finally stopped at the mall and went to Victoria's. I had my $50 gc from cc rewards to shop with in addition to a $10 off and a free panty coupon. I left the store with a bra, a panty and a "secret reward" gc for use in April. I spent $0 and have almost $10 left on my gc.

While at the mall I bought seven hand soaps and two small hand sanitizers at Bath&Body using 20% off and free product coupons I paid $12.

I reloaded my SBucks card with $20 and received a $5 cash back credit on my cc. SBucks is an occasional treat for me, so $20 will last me six weeks. More if I buy at my grocery store where my club card gets me a grande for $2 for the next month.

Murphy Stopped By

March 26th, 2013 at 07:03 am

The troubles at my house in the past week..

* DD's trumpet was stolen out of my car.
It was sitting on the backseat. Seriously we do not live in a high crime town. Argh!
Pretty $h!tty when someone steals a child's musical instrument. A big negative in the Karma Bank!
After much searching, talking about renting and looking at used trumpets we ended up buying a new one for $220. DD will play in 7th grade and likely 8th grade, so renting doesn't make sense in the long run and the used ones that were worthwile were close to $300.

* Leaking pipe discovered in the wall between our bathrooms.
DH happened to be outside in front of our house when he noticed that when I turned the hot water on in our shower that steam was coming out from under the house. So he poked around and yes, when the hot water is turned on the in-going pipe leaks.

The options to get to this is tear out a plastic shower surround in the front bathroom or tear out some of the tile in our bath. *banging head*

Once there is money and time I think we'll opt to take out the plastic surround to make the repairs. Until then we will shower in the front bathroom.

* DH's work has been very slow.
This means less money coming in. Remember the "Yay, five payday month" I was chanting?
Last week his paycheck was $300 short. Phooey!


It is all manageable, it has to be. And in the big picture other people have much worse problems; we are blessed in so many things and ways.
Still..
Please Murphy, let me show you to the door...

Happy St. Patty's Day! More on Payroll.

March 17th, 2013 at 08:24 pm

It has been a wonderful weekend. The weather has been very nice and mild. We have been enjoying "hang out" time as a family both indoors and out. I have even had plenty of quiet time to read this weekend. Not much got done yesterday..*shrug*..who cares?!

Today it's laundry, dishes, general pick-up. DD and DH are getting the garage organized for a garage sale next weekend.

I'll be starting the corned beef soon. I'm going to make soda bread tonight because I have not had that in years. It is very easy to make - flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt.

After dinner I am going to a girlfriend's for dessert and a chick-flick with her and another girlfriend. Very likely I'll go over in my PJ and be comfy. Smile

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My coworker got her check replaced in cash before anything effected her checking account (her account never went negative.)

I think that my check cleared because: (A) I put in the bank first or
(B) because he instructed his personal banker to pay my check before any other.

I asked the boss about doing direct deposit. He told me he pays the rent that way and if the account is empty the direct deposit is declined so that would not be a solution.

I know with certainty that our withholdings are okay. All our insurance and such is covered. He pays IRS like he should. Thankfully he does conduct his business legally. Unfortunately he sucks big time with money management, budgeting and so on.

When my coworker was talking to him about things she said he told her "the kids really *need* their cell phones nowadays" among other things.. Rolleyes

She told him she wasn't going to work this Saturday. She just didn't want to be there. A bit of payback, I think, because he had to have his family work with him.

I don't know if he really can't say "No" or he can't figure out what to do. It's frustrating!

Hey! It just occurred to me that I should duct tape him to a chair and have him watch a Suze marathon! Wink

Warm Days. Bounced Payroll Check.

March 14th, 2013 at 01:41 am

It was 78F here today. Tomorrow is supposed to be 80F. Wow!

Both DH and I were off work early today. He has been busy, busy working outside. He is widening our driveway by about 18" using free cement he got from a job. He's been moving dirt and using it to fill dips and uneven spots in the lawn.

I think we might start our garden early this year. Maybe as soon as next weekend even.

We also are planning to pick out some baby chicks soon. New laying hens to "freshen" our flock. Smile

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Now the not so sunny part:

My co-worker's payroll check bounced. Our boss told her this morning that it had been returned. He told her he will pay all the fees associated of course, but the hassle? Blah! She was so upset. Frown

He can't give her the money until tomorrow...

Just to further prove our boss totally sucks with his money.

It would be different if they were scraping by at home. That isn't the case. There are cell phones, premium cable, gym memberships, ice skating lessons, ski weekends and on and on...
The business gets treated like an ATM.

I have had many conversations with him saying how when times get tight you have to cut out the non-essentials.

Why would that be so hard?

A big reason (or maybe the whole reason) is both he and his DW don't want to "deprive" their children of anything (the "kids" are 24, 22, 20 now). Add to that a healthy dose of "we-make-plenty-of-money" keeping up with the Joneses mindset.

Very frustrating.
Plus worrisome when it gets so bad it affects payroll.

Dragging A$$. Juicy Chicken. Ting Credit Correction.

March 12th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

How is everyone doing with the time change?

The time change has been a little rough on me this go around. It doesn't help that it is dark AND foggy when our alarm goes off in the morning. Plus, little DS has been running a low-grade fever that started Sunday night and the guy just wants to sleep until his "normal" wake-up time. I feel bad that I have to get him up when he could really use that extra sleep.

I don't think I have much problem when we fall back, but the spring forward has me dragging a$$ for the first 90 minutes of my day.

Of course the flip side is that I feel like I am slipping out of work early. And the weather here is absolutely gorgeous! The afternoons are full of sun and fresh springtime air. Smile

So much so that I am thinking about starting on our garden boxes early. Several of our clients have been thinking the same thing too. I was talking to a few this morning and it seems there is widespread Spring Fever.

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We had *fabulous* BBQd chicken Sunday night for dinner. Super juicy.

Saturday night I opened the package by mistake so I put the boneless, skinless breasts in a glass dish. Sprinkled them with a bit of black pepper. Then I slivered three cloves of garlic and layered it among the chicken. Then I took some oranges (4) and lemons (2) that were getting squishy, cut them in half, and hand-squeezed the juice over the breast until they were all covered. Tight plastic wrap on the bowl and refrigerated them. Sunday evening DH BBQd them with our regular sauce and they were awesome.
Great use for citrus fruit that isn't bad, but is getting too soft to really peel and eat.

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EDIT:
I was mistaken about Ting's credit - with the referral credit *YOU* still get $25 off, while *I* get the bonus double credit until 3/15.
Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Still it's a great way to save money - so give it a try. Smile

Truck. Credit. Weather. Quicken.

March 9th, 2013 at 08:22 pm

My DH took our truck in for its smog test and to have a tire repaired. $65. The yearly registration for the truck is due the end of this month.

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I got a comment on my blog that someone used my referral code. I checked my Ting account and it was a $50 credit! They are running a promotion until March 15 were I get a double credit for each one.

Two more months of free cell service! Big Grin

I am going to snowflake that money to a cc payment.

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The weather is beautiful. We had some rain on Tuesday night, but the system passed through quickly. We really need more rain, but it's hard to complain about the sun, 70F days and lovely sunsets.

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Just wanted to say again how much I love using Quicken. It is so useful for tracking, but also so useful for planning.

I worked a system out months ago where I input income and expenses a month ahead at a time. It makes it so great for planning because I can see which week might be tight or flush. I can change a payment amount and, without doing any work myself, see how that impacts the rest of my month.
And categorizing expenses is so easy; I love the colored pie chart. Big Grin

If you are on the fence about trying it - do it. I wish I started sooner.

Utilities

March 7th, 2013 at 04:56 am

Lost this post the first time, so here is a less detailed post.

We received a $13 credit by reducing our gas usage compared to last year. Smile
DH turned our water heater down. But the savings might also be because we didn't host Christmas (see below).

Our natural gas doesn't really cost us all that much considering we have gas water heater, stove/oven and furnace. In winter it's about $2 per day up to $5 on some weekend days. In the summer our gas costs us $0.25 per day.

Electricity is pretty steady throughout the year except for the hot days in the summer when we run the AC.

Our water bill was 65% lower this December-January compared with last year. That is about 4400 gallons of water less and over $20 in savings. I figure it is because we didn't host Christmas this year. No extra people in the house and no extra dishwasher loads. Our bill (water & sewer) runs about $85/month on average.

Garbage is $43 every three months.

Cell phones are $16/mo for me (Ting) and $85/mo for DH (Sprint).

Internet/Home Phone/Cable runs us $150/mo.

House Values

March 3rd, 2013 at 10:50 pm

The market is pretty strong in my county right now. I started looking at houses and prices about two weeks ago. A friend is house shopping and my co-worker and I have been perusing the listings. It's been interesting because prices are climbing steadily and inventory is tight. If a house is nice and priced right it isn't for sale long.

I looked at my neighborhood (about a five block radius) and in the past four months there have been four sales all about $300k. Currently there is a house listed for $325k one street over from ours. It is a slightly smaller house, smaller lot and only a single car garage.

Zillow has our house estimated at $285k. If comparable houses are selling at $300k I think it is more reasonable to say our market value is $300k. It's rather exciting to gain value even when it really doesn't matter for us right now.

There are still plenty of foreclosures. I know some people just walked away because they didn't *want* to pay the inflated mortgage when the house lost value. Of course there are also people who couldn't afford such a huge payment anymore. At the height of the bubble our house sold for $506k.

Is the market gaining steam in your area too?

March - The First 'Extra' Payday Month

March 2nd, 2013 at 06:42 pm

DH and I are both paid on Fridays. A few months each year have five Fridays, thereby giving us an "extra" payday. March is the first for 2013.

I am laying out a plan for all the "extra" payday months here and now. This will keep me accountable to sticking to my plan and keep the money from "evaporating" into the usual monthly money flow.

March

$300 Truck Registration
$500 EF
$500 CC Payment

Actual: $1223
$300 Truck
$500 EF
$423 CC



May

$1300 Roof Replacement


August

$500 Summer Camps/Classes/Activities for Kids
$800 Vehicle Repairs/EF


November

$500 EF
$800 Christmas Spending




Starting March

March 2nd, 2013 at 05:09 am

I am glad it's March, but *wow* I had a rough day to start the month.

This morning on my drive to work I nearly ended up in a four vehicle accident on the highway. It was scary. Somehow I managed to steer to the left toward the median to avoid the accident. Then steer to the right to avoid the cement divider. There was a CHP officer behind me and he told me I did a great job of driving. He could've ended up in the crash too if I hadn't maneuvered out of it. I am so very thankful and relieved nothing happened to me and DS. (The other drivers didn't seem hurt, just smashed up cars, but it would have been worse had I plowed into them.)

At work it was very busy - pretty much non-stop all day. I know my nerves were frayed from the morning and that just wore me down. I was so glad to end the day and look forward to the weekend.

I was thinking all day about maybe changing my work schedule to four days. That way I would save myself a day of commuting. Right now I work two half days. Tuesday I could work all day and then drop Thursday. Although, I don't know who will work Thursday morning. I could give my boss a two month notice on not working Thursday and for the next few months I would be making that extra money from the extra hours - and that wouldn't be so bad...