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Weekly Goal

February 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 pm

My goal this week was not to eat out; it was actually easier than I thought. Due to planning, I went to the market Sunday and bought food for the week. I did have an unusual situation Tuesday that took me out of the house all day AND I had an errand with a family member who needs to eat, so I took her to a late breakfast, but it was planned as opposed to randomly stopping or choosing to eat out on the way home instead of going home to prepare food.

I also went to Starbuck's twice, which is my treat on the way to work. I realize that this is $6 a week and $24 a month, and could cut it down to once a week, but I do need my little pleasures here and there.

Tomorrow a friend invited me to a fish fry at the fire station ($8 per adult), which is all you can eat. It's his treat, so that doesn't conflict with my goal, does it?

Mainly, the food I make at home tastes way better than a lot of the junk food I'd been eating out of habit, so I will continue to be mindful of avoiding fast food.

Indy Mac and Economic Downturn

February 21st, 2008 at 05:43 pm

Indy Mac has some issues so I am not sending my savings to them; they did not pay quarterly divends, for example. I know they are FDIC, but so is Countrywide and I am not saving with them either.

My cat's food was 59 cents a can last week and is now 69 cents a can.

I do not know why our gov't was so vocal last month denying the recession and downturn, but I see closed businesses in my town and the cost of pet food going up by 20%.

My mission this weekend is to find this cat food in bulk and stock up!

Indy Mac 3 month CD at 4.25 APY

February 20th, 2008 at 11:28 am

I opened one of these accounts on the internet and am considering depositing 250K into it. IndyMac is FDIC insured and I list my other family members as beneficiaries to insure the full amount.

However I am thinking that putting all of my eggs into one basket might not be so good -- altho it is only 3 months and I can't find a better rate anywhere else.

Ideas? T bills? Baselle?

I don't need to get my hands on the interest. It can compound away freely.

Crest White Strips

February 20th, 2008 at 10:16 am

I bought a box of Crest White Strips for 19.99; my teeth are reasonably good but they look dark due to the vast quantities of coffee I consume. I am on day 3 of the white strips.

In planning for packing for an upcoming trip to a place where a large mouse is popular, I am depressed because so few clothes in my closet fit me and so few from the store racks fit me. Since my husband died, I gained about 10 lbs. And for reasons that I cannot fathom, my chest has expanded into a size 40DD which is very uncomfortable and contributes to the difficulty of finding clothes that fit. My whole life I was a 36 C and now I have these pendulous disgusting breasts. I have considered plastic surgery but it seems risky and costly.

I suppose if I lost weight that might help as breast tissue is mostly fat.

They were fine when I weighed 10-15 lbs less. Maybe all the weight I gained went to my breasts?

Anyway, I don't really like my body so having to find clothes to wear for a warmer climate is a challenge and not a happy experience.

The Gas Bill as in Propane for Heat

February 18th, 2008 at 02:04 pm

& cooking.

The propane truck came today to fill the tank; the last time it was filled was Jan 7th and today, it was filled with 154 gallons.

The price is 2.69 a gallon.

Looking at 2007, they filled up with 222 gals on 2-22-07 and then came back with 69 gals in May; they didn't return until 1-7-08.

So they seem to top off the tank in late Spring.

The last 6 weeks have been rather chilly and I have kept the house quite toasty; 154 gal in 6 weeks is a lot when you consider that I used twice that from May 2007 to Jan 2008.





This Week's Goal

February 17th, 2008 at 08:15 am

I am going to make my food at home and not eat out at least until Friday. I will use up the food here, too. There is one day that this will be potentially difficult as I have an unusual morning engagement and will be away from home longer than usual (and God forbid I miss a meal!), but I will see about packing the fridge into my trunk or something.

Spendy Day

February 16th, 2008 at 05:51 pm

I rarely buy clothes for myself but child needed some shirts.

At Kohl's, scored an Arrow shirt marked way down from 38.00 to 5.70.

Another shirt marked down to 5.10.

A shirt regularly priced at 12.97 that was not marked down.


18 reprints from the Kodak machine -- 5.83

The $AT

February 16th, 2008 at 05:48 pm

Do they sell stock in the SAT?


I have spent thus far:

two PSAT tests -- about $60

one SAT (with the test copy) -- $60

one study guide for the US History Subject test -- $6.75 (EBay)

Anticipated costs:

A Math Subject Test guide

An SAT vocabulary CD (words set to music)

2 more SAT tests

2 Subject tests

Various score reports to various schools


***************************************

Seriously, what a rip off. Child can take SAT Prep Class as an elective at school, which is a savings.


A Dramatic Change

February 16th, 2008 at 12:15 am

For many years, I was married to a man who spent money freely and charged whatever he could. I will not say that he was completely irresponsible because the mortgage was paid on time; we always had food; he worked everyday and made a good salary. And spent it.

For the most part, he spent it on computer equipment, software and manuals; he also bought brand new, hardcover books.

I had little disposable income during this time. I also had no idea of how much a lot of things cost, just that they cost more than what I had. Other people would go on vacations or buy cars. I remember once having to go to a used car lot and buy a car with nothing down and apply for a 5 year loan on 4 year old car with 50K miles on it.

I knew something was wrong, but my husband was uncooperative. He borrowed 20K from his 401K and paid off some credit cards...and then charged a 7000 dollar tractor on a Lowe's account. Now, we have a large yard, but a lawn mower would do, or even a smaller tractor, but no, this is a big top of the line one.

So, my husband dies after a long illness; the last year of his life was spent on long term disability, so our income went down.

Through some IRS rule, I did not have to pay the taxes and penalty on his 401K withdrawal.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about my husband and our finances. It was very stressful for me to live that way and it is unlikely I will ever get married again because of that experience. Now that my husband is gone, I control my finances. I put my bills into a folder and pay them once a month and look at them once a week. I have a savings account. If I want to go to the movie, it is factored into my budget. I am able to buy larger quantities of things to save money. Before, I had to buy the cheapest of anything (the small one). I never charge anything. I pay cash or use my debit card.

I really miss my husband but I do not miss the way our finances were handled. And I have a tractor.

Ten Things I Have Learned From Going to Rock Concerts

February 15th, 2008 at 11:13 pm

1. Buy a small flask, fill it with tequila, and tuck it into your sock. Drinks are pricey at concerts.

2. If you go to enough shows by the same band, then at some point, ask to be put on the guest list for a show. Or maybe they will offer.

3. Do not buy their overpriced t shirts. If you must have one, look on eBay. $30 or $40 for a t shirt is a rip off.

4. If they sell an Instant Live or a recording of the show available after the concert, split the cost with a friend and then upload it to your iTunes and iPod.

5. Concerts are expensive. During the summer, there are often sales at large outdoor venues nearer to the actual date of the show; sometimes, for example, lawn tickets go on sale for $10 each. This is a great savings, and some of these places allow you to bring in a one gallon plastic bag of food, so you do not have to buy their overpriced stuff.

6. If you are flexible, go to the venue right before the show; the people outside selling extra tickets drop their prices dramatically once the show starts.

7. Unless the artist is someone special and the event is once in a lifetime, do not pay outrageous prices for tickets. My most expensive ticket was $250 for Paul McCartney -- well worth it. Most of these bands and artists will come around again.

8. Sometimes venues need volunteers and then you get to be at the show for free.

9. Radio stations have contests for free tickets all the time. Enter.

10. Public radio and TV stations often have cool music events, free; such as XPN in Philadelphia; or public radio stations that have events and contests for their members (tax deductible donations from $30 and up).

Alaska is not Maine

February 15th, 2008 at 11:00 pm

For the Alaskaphiles: I want to start in Fairbanks; go to Denali; then Anchorage and Seward and the Kenai Glaciers. I do not mind renting a car to do the driving; I found a place in Denali that has a shuttle to the bus tour. All good. I cannot go on the shoulder season as I wish to take my school-age child with me.

The odd thing is that a 7 day cruise is less $$ than 7 days in a rental car with hotels.

Anyway, I was hesitant because in pictures, it sort of looks like Maine; I want bang for my vacation buck.

Part of my hesitation is that I cannot visualize what it is like there. My mother told me there is a Nordstrom in Anchorage, which surprised me.

SATs and Seward's Folly

February 14th, 2008 at 05:05 pm

Child got SAT scores back

M 580 CR (Reading) 570 Writing 540

This is an average score and most of the schools we have looked at list a higher average score (mid range of 50%). So now I have to throw money at test prep books and such and pay for this test again.

Child feels dumb.

*************************************

Was going to go to Alaska this summer for vacation, but it is REALLY expensive. I am not getting the feeling that one can hop in a rental car and just drive along the road; do hotels fill up everywhere or just in DeNali? DeNali seems to require a day tour as privater cars are not allowed in the park. All of the tours and hotels I contacted want payment in advance with various cancellation options. It just seems like it all has to be planned to the nth degree. Any thoughts?

I like to get bang for my vacation buck. Honestly, I could go to Maine and get a lot of the same experiences for less dinero and bring my car with me.


The Road That Was Cheaper

February 13th, 2008 at 09:33 am

A close relative has a special day tomorrow (in addition to Valentine's Day), so I was going to drive to Town A to buy a balloon bouquet and then drive said bouquet to Town B to deliver them to close relative. There are no balloon sellers in Town B save for a florist.
I added the cost of gas to drive to A and B and home again, and figured it was much cheaper to call Town B's florist and have their bouquet delivered.

Emergency expense two days ago -- $96 at vet.

I had this in my emergency fund so no sweat and kitty is better.

*****************************************

I had a pet who was once very ill; he was old; rather than treat him to eke out another year, I babied him at home and he died two months later without any medical intervention. As I said, he was old. I have mixed feelings about this.

Another time, I threw a bunch of money at the ER Vet for a 17 year old cat. He died two days later. The vet told me that all of the intervention would have maybe bought another year, maybe. Sigh.

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The WeekEnd

February 10th, 2008 at 09:20 pm

On Saturday, I spent $49 at Costco:

* toothpaste and cosmetics, 28.99

* 2.5 lbs of Starbucks French Roast beans,

18.49


The Starbuck's coffee is a great deal as 1 lb of coffee at a stand-alone Starbuck's is about 11.99 here; so 2.5 lbs for 18.49 is quite the deal. Initially, I feared they were seconds or the lame beans, but they actually taste better than the stand-alone shop's coffee beans. And the big bag is cool to have.

I saved about $10 on the cosmetics stuff, too.

Other $$:

lunch out (special occasion) --18.00
child's allowance -- $40.00

And I spent zero today (Sunday).

More on health insurance: Mr. Hit & Run

February 10th, 2008 at 07:14 pm

Awhile ago, I was driving along a local road and was hit by a bigass Escalade (that was racing another car) going 90 mph (according to witnesses); my car flipped and rolled 5 times down a hill.

Mr. Hit & Run was never found.

My child racked up $9K in med bills in about 2 hours and he is THANKFULLY fine.

My injuries were different and I am still treating and my med bills almost $70K right now.

They will soon exceed $100K due to a second surgery.

Our health ins has paid most of this; the auto ins's med pay paid $12K ($6K per person).

Yes, there will be a settlement from my uninsured motorist coverage, but the point is that our health insurance was a true blessing under these circumstances.

What is challenge money? I want to play.

February 8th, 2008 at 08:23 am

I am a little confused by the references to challenge money and $20 challenge.

Can somebody clue this newbie in?


Muchas gracias!!!

How to shop at Target

February 8th, 2008 at 07:53 am

I used to be far more of a frequent Target shopper until I realized that I should be downsizing at this point as opposed to accumulating more -- but every so often, I like to go in and see what they have on clearance. Like last summer when my camo pants landed on the clearance rack for 9$.
Happy day.
Here's the 411:

http://www.wisebread.com/ends-in-4-its-the-final-markdown

Our luxury is -- health insurance

February 7th, 2008 at 08:43 pm

My biggest expense each month is health insurance as I do not receive any health ins from my part time job.

I have a Blue Cross plan with a $750 deductible; it has an excellent Rx plan; I chose the plan because doc visits are $20 co-pay (the deducible doesn't factor into this so it is $20 co-pay even if one hasn't met the deductible). I have a child and want to be able to take him to the doctor whenever necessary for $20. It's a peace of mind thing. This policy costs $397 a month.

Our dental ins only covers normal cleaning and x rays. However, my dentist allows me to make payments without any interest, so we have access to dental care.

We do not have vision coverage; we spend about $600 a year on eye docs and contacts.

Everytime I think that a cheaper med policy would save money, I think that it would also be giving up the peace of mind that my plan offers. We only need to go to the doc a few times a year, mercifully.

That is our largest bill.

Baselle's DRP Funds, etc.

February 7th, 2008 at 08:29 pm

As I mentioned, I am here because I randomly found Baselle's blog and was utterly fascinated by her DRPs and her tip box and her accruing savings. I lived vicariously.

I need to do something smart with my savings that are sitting in a money market account at 3.9% interest.

So, anyway, here is what I spent yesterday:

$25.00 in gas for my car (debit card)

$21.25 -- an EBay auction for an item for a Christmas present for my child (worth $55 in a store!)


Today:

$3.05 -- Starbuck's. Yep. You would think that as a Baselle fan, I would know better.

$5.50 -- lunch, salad and iced tea


Major financial concern: paying for college starting in Fall of 2009





I am a Baselle Junkie

February 6th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

About 18 months ago, I found Baselle's financial diary online and have been reading it ever since. I feel like I know her. Recently, I discovered that her blog is part of a lot of financial blogs, so I read them occasionally.

I am starting my own.

Today I will be buying a tank of gas ($40).

I think that's it. I have food for humans and pets in the house and no errands planned.

How do I do the little thing on the left

February 6th, 2008 at 12:15 pm

that lists assests and debts?