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Archive for October, 2006

One Week, One Goal #3

November 1st, 2006 at 04:02 am

Still working on my Frugal Failing when it comes to food.

By 10p Tuesday 11/7 I will...

Clean out and organize my fridge, freezer, and pantry.

I know I've got leftovers in that fridge somewhere, my frugie sense is tingling all over! I've got a mostly full pantry, and completely full freezer, but nothing has a designated home.

Well, obviously the freezer stuff has to stay in the freezer, duh!

What I mean to say is freezer leftovers are mixed around with bags of veggies, potatoes, biscuits, and at least 7 species of meat. Hard to maneuver in there. The pantry and fridge are no better, so I've got a week to work on it.

Headline: Bank Teller has Issues with Numbers!

October 31st, 2006 at 07:57 pm

Argh..... ARGH I say!!!

Backgroud
I have one savings account online (Grand Yield Direct), and a membership at a local credit union.

At said credit union I have

* Savings, known to the credit union as my "member account"
* Primary Checking where money goes in and bills come out, known to the credit union as my "10 account". This is the only checking account with any activity in the past, oh, year.
* Secondary Checking: the only thing linked to PayPal, known to the credit union as my "11 account"

Primary Checking has overdraft protection by way of the savings account. Meaning, something comes in PC can't cover, it pulls automatically from savings at no cost. Secondary Checking isn't set up with this feature since it is linked to PayPal. Side Note: both checking accounts have $500 'courtesey pay' limit (aka standard overdraft protection).

The Issue
Today is payday (yippee!). Since I have worked my budget and worked it well, I keep only enough in my primary checking account to pay my bills. I withdraw grocery & allowance money in cash, and everything else gets parsed out to savings accounts. Secondary checking sits there with $21 earning half a percent. HA! Since it is the last day of the month, PC is sitting at just about nothing since all bills were paid 2 weeks ago. No biggie.

I get my paycheck today, and endorse the back and specifically note to put it into the '10 account' (aka Primary Checking). I get a deposit slip for the '10 account' and fill it out for my deposit, minus allowance and grocery money through next Friday.

I go through the drive up teller, make my deposit, get my receipt and go about my lunch hour.

When I get back to the office, I go to the bank website and find out the teller has kindly put my paycheck in the secondary checking account! Moreover, the cash I witheld from the deposit 'came' from my primary checking, which put it below 0 and resulted in money being pulled out of my savings!!!

GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I'm pretty lucky that this isn't generating any overdraft fees, but it's the principal of the matter that annoys me. To fix her mistake I had to transfer my paycheck from secondary to primary, and then deposit the 'overdraft' amount from primary to savings in order to put everything back where it should have been to begin with.

I am upset about this because A) bank tellers should be able to deposit money in the right account! and B) my savings account has a max of 6 withdrawals per month (it's a fed thing). What if her mistake had put me over my 6/month limit?

OK, well, I feel a little better now *sheepish grin*

One Week, One Goal #2: Results

October 31st, 2006 at 03:29 pm

Read about My "One Week, One Goal" quest here

Also, visit the new thread "What is Your Goal This Week?" to see what other folks are doing!

The Goal:
By 10p next Tuesday 10/31 I will...

Cook three meals that result in enough left-overs for me to freeze (rather than just toss them in the fridge, never to be seen again!). This 1W1G episode is intended to fight my Frugal Failing when it comes to food.

The Result:
goal set, goal met (and ahead of schedule!): i made not 3 but 4 meals that generated enough left-overs to freeze:

* chili (2 servings stashed)
* chicken stock (3 quarts remaining)
* spaghetti sauce (2 quarts remaining)
* dirty rice (4 quart size freezer bags each half full)

best of all, i used the chicken stock to make the dirty rice.

The Reward:
I will splurge today and buy myself lunch out while running errands. It'll be a taco from Barbaritos ($2.99) plus a small cheese dip ($0.75) before tax. The tacos are huge and easily count as full meal: chicken and black beans and fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. I ask for it in soft corn torillas b/c I don't like the crunchy ones and they give you more filling this way! *grin*

I have a loyalty card from this place, too, and I'm 7 $2.99 tacos away froma free $6.50 burrito. WooHoo!

** UPDATE ** my reward cost $4.04 after tax, and the nice lady double-punched my card. now i'm only 5 tacos away!

Despair.com = Too Funny!!

October 31st, 2006 at 12:49 pm

OK, so you've seen those posters some places put in the work environment, the ones with the black border and a big word at the top like TEAMWORK, COMPETITION, MOTIVATION, etc? There's an apro-pro picture and a wonderful quip at the bottom designed to inspire productivity and a thrilling workplace.

At any rate, if you want a laugh today check out Despair.com, which has this same kind of thing but all of their quips are de-motivating. IT'S TOO FREAKIN' FUNNY!!!

I've included the titles and quips below, but go to the site to see the pictures (didn't want to post a picture-rific entry two days in a row).

Achievement
You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.

Adversity
That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

Agony
Not all pain is gain.

Ambition
The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly

Apathy
If we don't take care of the customer,maybe they'll stop bugging us.

Arrogance
The best leaders inspire by example. When that's not an option, brute intimidation works pretty well, too.

Beauty
If you're attractive enough on the outside, people will forgive you for being irritating to the core.

Bitterness
Never be afraid to share your dreams with the world, because there's nothing the world loves more than the taste of really sweet dreams.

Blame
The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.

Burnout
Attitudes are contagious. Mine might kill you.

Change
It's a short trip from riding the waves of change to being torn apart by the jaws of defeat.

Change (winds)
When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles.

Cluelessness
There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots.

Compromise
Let's agree to respect each others views, no matter how wrong yours may be

Conformity
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

Consulting
If you're not a part of the solution,there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

Dare to Slack
When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness.

Defeat
For every winner, there are dozens of losers. Odds are you're one of them.

Delusions
There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but in the ocean of reality.

Demotivation
Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

Despair
It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.

Destiny
You were meant for me. Perhaps as a punishment.

Discovery
A company that will go to the ends of the Earth for its people will find it can hire them for about 10% of the cost of Americans.

Disloyalty
There comes a time when every team must learn to make individual sacrifices.

Disservice
It takes months to find a customer, but only seconds to lose one... the good news is that we should run out of them in no time.

Do it Later
The early worm is for the birds.

Doubt
In the battle between you and the world, bet on the world.

Dreams
Dreams are like rainbows. Only idiots chase them.

Dysfunction
The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.

Effort
Hard work never killed anybody, but it is illegal in some places.

Elitism
It's lonely at the top, but it's comforting to look down upon everyone at the bottom.

Failure
When your best just isn't good enough.

Fear
Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea

Flattery
If you want to get to the top, prepare to kiss a lot of the bottom.

Futility
You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and, statistically speaking, 99% of the shots you do.

Get To Work
You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.

Goals
It's best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.

Hazards
There is an island of opportunity in the middle of every difficulty. Miss that, though, and you're pretty much doomed.

Humiliation
The harder you try, the dumber you look.

Idiocy
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Ignorance
It's amazing how much easier it is for a team to work together when no one has any idea where they're going.

Incompetence
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

Indifference
It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn't take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face.

Individuality
Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.

Ineptitude
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Insanity
It's difficult to comprehend how insane some people can be. Especially when you're insane.

Inspiration
Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99% perspiration, which is why engineers sometimes smell really bad.

Intimidation
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but you'd be a fool to withhold that from your superiors.

Irresponsibility
No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.

Laziness
Success is a journey, not a destination. So stop running.

Leaders
Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here.

Limitations
Until you spread your wings, you'll have no idea how far you can walk.

Loneliness
If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you're not alone. And yet you are alone. So very alone.

Losing
If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.

Madness
Madness does not always howl. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "Hey, is there room in your head for one more?"

Mediocrity
It takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late.

Meetings
None of us is as dumb as all of us.

Misfortune
While good fortune often eludes you, this kind never misses.

Mistakes
It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Motivation
If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.

Nepotism
We promote family values here - almost as often as we promote family members.

Overconfidence
Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you.

Pessimism
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, but lightning kills hundreds of people each year who are trying to find it.

Persistence
It's over, man. Let her go.

Planning
Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

Potential
Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.

Power
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it rocks absolutely, too.

Pressure
It can turn a lump of coal into a flawless diamond, or an average person into a perfect basketcase.

Pretension
The downside of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume you're pretentious.

Problems
No matter how great and destructive your problems may seem now, remember, you've probably only seen the tip of them

Procrastination
Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

Quality
The race for quality has no finish line- so technically, it's more like a death march.

Regret
It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they're big enough, the pain only lasts a second

Retirement
Because you've given so much of yourself to the Company that you don't have anything left we can use.

Risks
If you never try anything new, you'll miss out on many of life's great disappointments.

Sacrifice
Your role may be thankless, but if you're willing to give it your all, you just might bring success to those who outlast you.

Sacrifice (Temple)
All we ask here is that you give us your heart.

Strife
As long as we have each other, we'll never run out of problems.

Stupidity
Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win AND never quit are idiots.

Success
Some people dream of success, while other people live to crush those dreams.

Teamwork
A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.

Trouble
Luck can't last a lifetime unless you die young.

Underachievement
The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower.

Wishes
When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor.

Worth
Just because you're necessary doesn't mean you're important

Pics: Saturday's Day-Trip to the Mountains

October 30th, 2006 at 04:57 pm











this one was showing someone else's pics? should be a lady carrying a baby through a crevass known as Devil's Kitchen












self portrait!








this one was showing someone else's pics? should be a pic of my town 30 miles away

Best Toilet Seat Money Can Buy!

October 30th, 2006 at 04:15 pm

And I mean it, too.

See, I'm married, and as DH is a boy he is prone to the messes that, um, boys make. No offense to the guys here, but how the HECK can you get golden droplets everywhere? I used to have an etigere behind the commode, and there would be pee on the back of this thing! It's like the magical JFK bullet in urine form, I'm telling you!

Anyways, the bathroom is an area where the concept of "you made the mess, you clean it up" just doesn't get through. And I personally find it gross and somewhat humiliating to clean pee off of, well, anything. So when we bought our house, the upstairs toilet had no seat and I happily plunked down $30 on a toilet seat. You heard me, $30!!!

First benefit is this sucker is self-closing, so the seat and lid don't slam shut. Pretty nice, but not worth $30.

The fact that the seat and lid are designed with quick release hinges? PRICELESS!!!!!!

All I gotta do is flip 2 hinges, throw this baby in the tub and hose it down (or spray with bleach). The rest of the toilet is now exposed to be brushed clean with the toilet brush and then wiped with disinfectant. No flipping the seat up to clean one part, flipping the seat down to clean another part, getting grossed out and frustrated by the eeeeewwww that invariably hides in the cracks along normal hinges.

NO MORE!!!!

Best $30 I've ever spent, and I fully intend to spend $40 to get the elongated version for the bathroom downstairs when we redo it.

Now, if I can just get the cats to stop staring at me and silently laughing when I clean their litter box...

Frugally Festive: It's Only October!!!

October 29th, 2006 at 07:57 pm

** UPDATED ENTRY W/ A HEADLESS COSTUME PHOTO! IT'S A PIC OF A PIC, SO NOT GREAT QUALITY**

Yes, it's only October but that means the holidays are here. Part of the whole commercialization thing, in my book, is the fact that all holidays now begin at least 2 months early. Drives me batty.

At any rate, all the holiday hubbub has gotten me thinking about things that are frugally festive, and I decided I wanted a category just for this topic. Frugally festive can be any event, not just Christmas et al. It's about getting the juices flowing and thinking 'outside the box'. Or, in my case 'outside the wallet'. Big Grin

So, here are my ways of being Frugally Festive for Halloween

1. Costume: get an old prom/wedding dress from the thrift store or yardsale of your choice. Many options here: princess, fairy godmother, bridesmaid, Bride of Frankenstein, dead whatever.

2. Costume: My all-time favorite and one I wear year after year since I can't top it. Guaranteed to make drunk people scream! Get a trench coat from the thrift store or yardsale of your choice. On either the right or left side remove the lining from the pocket, and carefully rip the seams on both the top and bottom of the slit for the pocket. Stuff some gloves with whatever you have on hand and pin them inside the arms of the coat. Stuff the arms and torso of the coat, leaving room near the pocket you have altered. Make yourself up to look all dead from the neck up, slip into the bottom of the trenchcoat and poke your head out through the pocket. Wrap one of the stuffed arms around your head and stick the hand in the pocket. TADA: you are now a 7ft tall headless guy!!! Tip: the top half of a Swiffer handle works well to hold up the torso, so you don't have to.


3. Entertaining: I don't do candy (I mean, I eat it, but I won't buy it for a party, too pricey). I make peanut butter eyeballs, witch finger cookies, breadsticks shaped like bones with 'blood' (marinara) dipping sauce, and *chuckle* kitty litter cake. EEEWWW!

4. Drinking (hey, I'm young!): I make jello shots with pineapple off-brand gelatin and set them up in little Dixie plastic bathroom cups. They look like urine samples. Again: EEEWWW!

5. Decorating: If I'm having a party, I'll do up the bathroom (it's cheap!). Buy a clear plastic shower curtain ($1), 2 white handtowels ($1 each), and a small bottle of red acrylic paint ($2). I also add a strobe light since I already have one. Take shower curtain & towels outside, lay them on the ground, and splatter with the red paint. Hang up shower curtain and toss handtowels around. Since I have the strobe light I also rig up man out of stuffed clothes, hang him from the shower head, and put the stobe in the shower pointed at him. Even more effective is to disable the rest of the lights in the bathroom! All of this decor at $5 is reusable year after year...

And that is my Frugally Festive Halloween!

Fun with Dick and Jane

October 29th, 2006 at 06:20 pm

The movie "Fun with Dick and Jane" is on TV right now: I caught the first 30 min or so before DH flipped the channel & I went back to the kitchen. Anywho, I've seen it before, but it being on TV today reminded me of this group so much it was eerie!

For those not familiar, Dick & Jane both work & live in a McMansion. Their son speaks mostly Spanish b/c he's being raised by a Spanish speaking nanny. Dick gets promoted, Jane quits her job, Dick looses his job, and hilarity ensues. After selling all their possessions, trading in the beemer for a used whatsit, and having their lawn repossessed, they decide to become criminals in order to be able to provide for their son. Everything works out in the end, they get most of their stuff back, and the bad evil corporate guy that 'caused it all' gets his come-uppance.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight...

At any rate, it's the lawn getting repossessed that gets me every time. First of all, just the thought of having a lawn repossessed cracks me up. They're rolling up the sod, putting flowers back into pots, the whole 9 yards. Needless to say, the neighbors are all out & about and intrigued by what's going on.

Even better is the way Jan reacts. She's flustered for a minute but then, quick lady that she is, starts picked up pots and shoving them to the workers screaming "This isn't right, none of it's right, this isn't what I ordered at all!!!" That way, you see, the neighbors won't know that her lawn is being repossessed.

Bear in mind that the neighbors all know Dick has no job. Several of them also lost their jobs, and are probably in the same boat. But Jane's doing her best to make it look like everything is fine.

Thing is this movie only did OK at the box office. It was funny, it was timely, all that good stuff, but America wasn't quite into it. My theory? It hits a little too close to home for the majority of our country. Forget living paycheck to paycheck: how many folks do we know are just one layoff away from having their lawn repossessed?

About as good as the lawn is the fact that once everything gets straightened out, I'm pretty sure D&J go back to being stuffaholics (i'ts been a while since I've seen it the whole way through). Now, if you've just been through times hard enough to take a shower in the neighbors sprinklers, why would you turn right back around and fill your house with a bunch of things that represent money you can't use to keep your own water on?

At any rate, the movie cracks me up when I see it, and now moreso than ever. See, I don't intend to ever end up like Dick or Jane.

Then again, who does?

Plugging Along

October 29th, 2006 at 03:30 pm

Here it is, Sunday morning, and my blog is still reeling from the Starbucks rucus. BTW, for those interested in Google's most poular searches, the Zeitgeist keeps track of it weekly. Hehehehe *evil grin*

Just to play catch-up: Allowance and grocery day has come and gone. Chickens were on sale $0.39/lb, more on that later. DH spent Friday afternoon with his father and came back with a load of firewood & about 20 lbs of venison sausage. Plans for the sausage include: dirty rice, spaghetti sauce, breakfast this morning. Yum, yum, and yum! DH needs to visit his folks more often!

Saturday was pretty much fun all around. Grocery shopping, and then a drive up to the mountains to see the fall colors and crawl around on rocks. Cost: gas there & back, so in my car about $4.00.

We also had a poker night scheduled with DH's sister & boyfriend. Luckily, the boyfriend is a former chef/part-time caterer who needed to test a new recipe, so dinner was free couscous, asparagus, spinach-artichoke dip, and 10 oz LOBSTERS!!!!! OMG!!!! Tasty and yummy and free, some of the best things in life!

I funded my poker night with $10 from the Change and Buck Bucket and came out the big winner: got my $10 back plus another $15. As I got my winnings in all $1s, they went straight into the Bucket...

And here it is, Sunday morning. I've had coffee, made a fire, and have a chicken boiling in a pot for chicken stock/pulled chicken. And tonight: spaghetti.... Add those with the chili I made earlier in the week, and I will meet my 1W1G ahead of schedule once again!

Biggest Day Ever!

October 28th, 2006 at 03:38 pm

Wow, yesterday was my blog's biggest day ever for pages viewed and visitors. Maybe I should rant about Starbucks more often! Big Grin

"Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks": Why I'm Enjoying a $2 Cuppa Coffee

October 27th, 2006 at 08:51 pm

Somethings are worth paying money for, and in my opinion flipping off Starbucks is one of them.

Background
My parents currently own a coffee/cigar store, and used to have another coffee shop in a nearby town. We are all bona fide coffee snobs. We take our own coffee pot, filters, and coffee when we stay in a hotel. We tried 20? 30? kinds of coffee before deciding on the blend to serve in our store. At home, I go through a half pound of a fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee blend called 'Bean Martin' every week.

I kinda like the stuff.

With that being said, Starbucks charges obscene money for what is, to me, really bad coffee. They roast the beans a tad too much, and as a result when they grind then up they overheat and wind up tasting burnt. Bleech! In our shop, we have a bumper sticker on the counter that says "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks". HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

There is another coffee place here that actually has good java. They only have 2 locations, it's all drive through (therefore not really our competition), and their prices are acceptable for retail coffee. For me, the biggest selling point is that they are a locally owned business, and even sell locally baked muffins & cookies (from the same baker we used to use, actually).

Anyways, I've always had a hard time rationalizing buying their coffee when I'm out and about b/c I can get piping hot coffee from our store at, ahem, no charge. See the quandry? But I silently root for them to keep afloat b/c they're local.

Enter Starbucks (aka StarCrooks)
One of the locations for this local chain is in front of a shopping center with a grocery store in it. Said grocery had a StarCrooks inside. Not really any competition for our hero the local coffee business, since drive through customers aren't likely to get out and go inside the grocery for coffee. No biggie.

Then StarCrooks, in their infinite !@$(*&# wisdom decide to close the location inside the grocery and build a brand new buiding, you guessed it, right next to the local chain. Those dirty dogs!!! Corporate America strikes again, trying to push the little guy down!

So What Now?
Well, as I said at the beginning of this post, I feel that flipping off StarCrooks is worth spending a little money on. So, every Friday afternoon during my lunch break, I go through the drive-thru and get a $2 cuppa coffee even though I could drive the same distance and get it for free at our store.

Why?

Well, our store gets 95% of its traffic from the cigars and there's no way StarCrooks can change that. The coffee is just a bonus. This little establishment, though, is likely to go under once StarCrooks opens, and I hate the thought of our area loosing yet another local business.

Remeber: "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink StarBucks. At Least Buy Local!"

Frugal Does Not Mean Poor, Dag Nabbit!

October 27th, 2006 at 04:53 pm

BTW, I wanted to say something other than Dag Nabbit, but didn't know if it would be socially acceptable to mildly curse in the blog title. So, translate 'Dag Nabbit' to whatever your heart desires!

Seriously, though, when did being frugal make everyone think you were poor? I mean, Mother Earth News started publishing in the 70s as kind of a frugal/environmental hodge-podge and has been going strong ever since. My mom tells me stories of adding fabric to the legs of your pants to make them into bell-bottoms, and that's the way everyone did it. It was OK, they didn't 'have' to be bought that way.

Was it the 80s? Was that when it became socially unacceptable to be frugal. I'm starting to think that might be it.

At this point, people look at me like I'm from Mars when I go around the grocery store with a list, coupons, comparing prices. Heaven forbid I have a calculator or another store's sales paper! I get to the checkout with coupons in tow (and my own grocery bags but that's another issue), and have actually felt uncomfortable writing a check for my purchases. Why should I feel uncomfortable writing a check, I know I have more than enough money to cover what I'm buying?

It's the people, you see. Here I am, a late 20s chica in jeans & a T-shirt buying nothing but sales priced and couponed items. For most folks, this screams "POOR!!!!" and as a result I get the 'look' when I whip out the checkbook. They take down my DL #, home phone, & expiration date, as if they just 'know' the check is going to bounce. Annoys the !@#$ out of me!!

I've started buying my groceries in cash at this point, just because I'm tired of the looks. Samething when I go clothes shopping at sale + clearance time. The fact that I enjoy getting a $300 purse for less than $40 doesn't mean I can't 'afford' to pay for said $40 purse (or even the $300 one).

SIDE NOTE: Yes, I did actually pay $40 for a purse, and yes it was originally over $300. It is extremely well made, good thick last-forever leather, and properly maintained could easily last me till retirement. $40 / 35 years of usage = well worth it in my book!

I guess the gist of it is I'm tired of feeling poor because I am frugal. Actually, let me reword that: I'm tired of *other people* making me feel poor because I am frugal. I don't like feeling poor when I am poor, much less when I'm actually *not* poor. Sheesh!

Maybe I'll just stop by the ATM every day and get a balance statement to carry around. Just in case I need to whip it out and yell "Who're you calling poor NOW, huh?" to put someone in their place!

*chuckle & snort* Not that I'd ever do it, but just picturing the scene in my mind does my heart good!

What a Difference 10 Makes

October 27th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

Degrees, that is. Today it is 10 degrees warmer outside than it was yesterday morning. There's only a degree or two difference inside my house, but it definintely feels less chilly in here that it did yesterday morning. Funny how that works, seeing as it's the same temp inside that it was yesterday... Maybe it's mental. Hey, in that case I just need to practise thinking it's 51 outside all the time!

Headline: Buy Life on Sale, with Coupon

October 27th, 2006 at 02:25 am

I love cereal, and I should eat it more often. It's tasty, fast, good for me, and after 2 bowls I'm definitely full. See, the first bowl leaves me "not hungry", but that second bowl puts me right over the line into "full" territory.

Luckily, cereal is on sale at Publix next week: General Mills is BOGO for $3.99, and I have a wad of $1 off two coupons. I can get a Life for $1.50! Big Grin Actually, I can get several kinds of Lifes (Lives?). Hmmmm, cereal reincarnation. HAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHHAHA! Laughing because reincarnation is, of course, serial by nature.

Boy, maybe I'm a little sleepier than I thought....

Grand Yield Direct #4

October 26th, 2006 at 09:12 pm

Alright, just a quick update on my new GYD account.

I set it up to take $200/wk every Friday out of RLC (part of my budgetary diplomacy). I got an email yesterday just to remind me my automated withdrawal will be made this Friday, and to please make sure I have the funds available to cover it.

Personally, I don't need the reminder, but I like the fact that they send it out as a courtesy.

Stashing Cash Wk 2

October 26th, 2006 at 07:28 pm

I started stashing the change and dollar bills from my allowance 10/12. Here's my progress:

----------------------------------------------
PREVIOUS TOTAL
----------------------------------------------
  $33.44 total as of 10/19/06
- $ 2.55 reward on 10/22 for meeting 1W1G #1
--------
  $30.89
----------------------------------------------
THIS WEEK
----------------------------------------------
  $ 6.00 dollar bills
  $ 6.25 quarters
  $ 3.70 dimes
  $ 1.40 nickels
  $ 1.19 pennies
--------
  $18.54 total this week
----------------------------------------------
  $49.43 total as of 10/26


About a third of this week's change was found in a bag in my dresser when cleaning out for 1W1G #1.

Growing (shrinking?) Pains

October 26th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

I don't know if these would be considered growing pains (since they are due to intellectual and financial growth) or shrinking pains (since the available disposable income is shrinking). Who knows, makes my head hurt!

Either way, I've made some excellant (cue Mr. Burns!) progress regarding sticking to my financial guns. Well, at least where I'm concerned (more on that later). All the bills are scheduled and covered to come out of my two paychecks, as are my allowance, the weekly grocery money, and 300/month for taxes, insurance, holidays. No problems here, it's all smooth as silk.

Since DH and each get an allowance, I had intended to take the extra 1100 per month and stash it in savings till the end of the year, then use it each month to aggressively pay down debt starting in January. This is a good and sound theory, but DH is not particularly happy with us not having as much disposable income as we did pre-budget.

Yes, I know that saving disposable income is the goal of a budget. I also know that between the two of us, we get enough allowance to more than cover entertainment expenses. Regardless, DH isn't buying into the current budget, which is making life unfortunate, making him grumpy, and making me feel like the bad guy.

So, here are my thoughts. See, the $1100 extra each month comes in as $550 every 2 weeks. My revised strategy is to auto-transfer $200 per week from RLC (real life checking) to the online savings at 5.25%. This will leave $300 per month, $75 per week, of cushion while still stashing $800 per month.

Adding the $75 cushion to the $100 grocery budget gives us $175 per week for groceries, random household necessities, and all the other things that have DH feeling deprived. I know it's way more than necessary, but it's not so much that I'm breaking the bank. Plus, if it gets DH to buy into the budget and not want to dip into savings, it'll be money well spent.

So, what do you think? If my spendy DH knows that as a household we have $175 on Friday and that is it until the next week, could that be enough to keep him content and out of the savings? Or, am I just rolling over and being a schmuck because of my Frugal Failing with telling DH no?

"Rolling" with the Punches, Still!

October 25th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

Alright, more info regarding my quest to roll my 401k in to an IRA, then from IRA to a Roth (fully aware that the tax man cometh). I am interseted a small-cap aggressive growth fund (WGGFX) for a portion of my money, and have been researching a more conservative place for the rest of it. I think I may have found it in PRBLX.

*FYI: I'm selecting socially responsible funds that perform rather in-depth screens on the stocks they choose, so I'm expecing higher than normal expense ratios...

Parnassus Equity Income Fund PRBLX

Exp Ratio 1.07%
Redemption Fee n/a
Max Front Load % 0.00
Max Back Load % 0.00
*Min Inv 2000
*Min IRA 500
Manager Name | Start Date
Todd Ahlsten | 5/01/2001
1 Yr Return* 12.04
5 Yr Return* 8.92
10 Yr Return* 10.54
Since Inception 11.2


Winslow Green Growth Fund WGGFX

Exp Ratio 1.45%
Redemption Fee 2.0%
Max Front Load % 0.00
Max Back Load % 0.00
*Min Inv 5000
*Min IRA 2000
Manager Name | Start Date
Jackson W. Robinson | 4/01/2001
1 Yr Return* 5.85
5 Yr Return* 16.35
10 Yr Return* 18.14
Since Inception 17.82

One Week, One Goal #2

October 25th, 2006 at 02:35 am

OK< a little more frugal this week:

By 10p next Tuesday I will...

Cook three meals that result in enough left-overs for me to freeze (rather than just toss them in the fridge, never to be seen again!). This 1W1G episode is intended to fight my Frugal Failing when it comes to food.

Frugally Fabulous in the Cold!

October 24th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

It's 33 this morning in upstate SC, which is downright cold, I don't care where you are!

But here I sit, in a house with no heat, cackling with glee and joy. How, you ask?

Right now it's 57 in my house and 33 outside. The house stays relatively warm (well, not-cold!) because it is approximately 80 yrs old and is built like a brick @#$! house! Walls are amazingly thick.

I'm drinking hot coffee and wearing socks, flannel pants, and a sweatshirt, all very cozy. There's a cat in my lap, providing more heat than either of us needs.

The propety we bought had a ton of downed-limbs, 5 yrs worth, plus we had to take down a 140 yr old oak tree in august. So, we have plenty of free wood for the woodstove.

"But what about sleeping?" you ask. "How can you sleep when it's cold, and the woodstove is downstairs?"

The answer my friend is the awe-inspiring heated mattress pad. Went and bought a new one last night in anticipation of this cold front (old one was too small for this bed). Dual control, 10 hour auto-shutoff, and absolute heaven.

We spent 79.99 before 5% tax, and before you run screaming *grin* let me put things into perspective. Last winter I lived in a 900 sf rental house, and kept the thermostat at 65 during the winter. I had a gas bill that ranged from $180-$256 per month. ACK!!!!!!!!!! Big chunk of change for 4 months.

We bought this house in the heat of summer, but noticed that a) it was also gas heat, and b) it is 1700 sf. Visions of the gleeful gas company danced in my head... I called them to move the service, and they wanted another deposit because the house has a bad payment history. Not me, the house.... Does your house pay your bills? If so, how does it write the check? Needless to say I told them nevermind and to cut everything off. Spiteful, I know.

Regardless, I'm sitting here, comfy and cozy with no heat, flipping the gas company off in my mind. Very frugally fabulous!

Who are you, and what did you do with my husband?

October 24th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

Sitting over dinner last night, DH started talking about setting it up so he can contribute 6% to his 401k. Not weird for some folks, but downright unusual for DH.

He'd decided before he didn't want the 401k b/c the company match was only in company stock, and that's not necessarily where we want money... But, then again, 6% pre-tax is pretty nice...

Either way, he brought it up and asked me what I thought and we started talking about the possibility of a Roth for him instead. No decisions made yet, but it was still a noteworthy conversation!

"Rolling" with the Punches

October 23rd, 2006 at 08:49 pm

As many of you know, I'm debating about what to do with 6-7k sitting in my old 401K. It's pretty funny, because I feel like this money is burning a hole in my pocket. Not that I want to spend it, but that I want to plant it somewhere, water it, and watch it grow!

I think I've decided to go with Scottrade, but I'm holding out until the end of the year. Scottrade's low fees attracted me, their office 2 miles from my house enticed me, and what's pushing me over the edge is that they offer the mutual fund that I've (almost) decided on.

And which one might that be, you ask? Winslow Green Growth Fund (WGGFX)
*Max Front Load 0%
*Max Back Load 0%
*Redemption Fee 2%
*Min Inv 5000
*Min IRA 2000
No loads are nice, the redemption fee I can live with, and the minimums aren't a problem since I'm rolling the 401k. The big pluses for this fund are
A) It is a socially responsible fund that screens stuff I don't want to support with my money
B) Its 5yr, 10 yr, and inception returns are all hovering around 15% give or take

WooHoo!!

And yes, I know past performance is no guarantee of future results, blah blah blah. It's the stock market, I know it's a crap shoot!

One Week, One Goal: Rules Update

October 23rd, 2006 at 11:45 am

I've decided to sweeten the pot for myself in my One Week, One Goal quest. Yes, I've read the threads on 'rewards' and 'treats' and all, but I figured a carrot dangling in front of me couldn't hurt!

So, if I meet my goal in less than a week, I get to buy myself a treat out of the Change and Buck Bucket.

Please note the 'less than a week' clause: if I put my goal off until the very last minute but still finish on time, it doesn't count. BAH, procrastination, TAKE THAT!

Since I finished 1W1G #1 on Sunday, I bought myself a cup of coffee and a pumpkin spice doughnut from Krispy Kreme. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmm! Cost a whopping $2.55!

One Week, One Goal # 1: Results

October 22nd, 2006 at 07:34 pm

Read about One Week, One Goal here

The Goal:
By 10p next Tuesday 10/24 I will...
Go through my clothes and donate at least one bag to the thrift store. I will also make sure my remaining clothes all have a home in either the closet, the dresser, or in a plastic bin waiting for next summer.

The Result:
Woohoo! Got a 30 gallon trash bag full of clothes, plus filled 2 boxes with stuff that's been waiting to be donated. I put it all right by the door so it would be in the way until I took it out of the house, and today it's in Goodwill's hot little hands.

The Reward:
One cup of coffee and a pumpkin spice cake doughnut from Krispy Kreme. Total: $2.55.

My clothes all have designated homes, and summer stuff has been put to bed. This of course means it'll be 80 next wk =/

Headline: MacGyver, the Ultimate Frugie

October 22nd, 2006 at 05:32 pm

That's right, MacGyver is the ultimate frugie, and where I find much of my frugal inspiration. Don't believe me? When you take all that is MacGyver and boil it down, you get the two all-encompassing rules of MacGyverism.

1. Work with what you have, because you might not always have what you want.
2. Always have a plan B.

Sound frugal to anyone else? Hm?

Think about it: who else but a frugal frugie could rig a bomb out of a paperclip, lye, a running hose, and a shoestring? OK, fine, anyone with a fair understanding of chemistry could figure that one out, but you all know what I mean (and I know you do!).

All hail MacGyver, the Ultimate Frugie!

Great Day Numero Dos

October 21st, 2006 at 05:03 pm

Hey, I don't speak Frensh and wasn't sure on the spelling of deaux, ok? Spanish is still a Romantic language! *chuckle, pun intended*.

The burning question on everyone's minds: "Well, was yesterday a great day or not?!?" The verdict is in, and yesterday was pretty darn OK. Left work with a problem to work on Monday, but that's nothing new. Did get to tweak an internationally known logo, which is always a warm fuzzy and may bring a different type of revenue into the company. 1 point for a great day!

Went grocery shopping and spent my money wisely and conscienciously. Another point for a great day! Plus, I got some food storage containers & freezer bags that were on sale & had coupons, and they will enhance my ability to cook big freeze small. Third point for a great day!

All in all, yseterday was great in its own little way. Today is pretty fantastic, too. Woke up awake again, and at 10 till 7. WOW, is that odd for me, especially on a Saturday. In the past 5 hours I've had 3/4 a pot of coffee, filled a 30 gallon trashbag full of donation clothes (plus two boxes of random junk!), done 4 loads of laundry, cut up tee-shirts for cleaning rags, made a curtain to go under the bathroom sink to hide *insert nasty toilet accoutrements here*, and started putting away my summer stuff.

Whew, is it nap time yet?

Still on today's plate: a trip to the thrift store, recycling a !#$!@load of plastic grocery bags, buy a gift certificate to the bookstore as a birthday present, and then at 2 the grand prize: birthday party at a hoity toity restaurant with all expenses paid. WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! There is such a thing as a free lunch!

Grocery Shopping and Revelations

October 21st, 2006 at 11:40 am

FYI, it's 7:40a EDT, even though this post says it's way earlier than that. See, I'm not a psychotic weirdo forum-freak (or blogging freak).

Yesterday was allowance day and grocery money day. WooHoo! I didn't feel like I got a whole lot of bang for my buck until I sat down and realized all the non-food items I got.

$ 7.00 - 3 - 12 packs of soda
$ 2.97 - 3 - lrg tubes Aquafresh
$ 3.99 - 1 - 2 pack of toothbrushes
$ 3.99 - 1 - Feline Pine scoopable litter
$ 5.00 - 2 - Ziplock twist'n'lock containers
$ 2.60 - 2 - 22ct boxes Hefty 1qt freezer bags
$ 2.19 - 1 - pk double roll recycled TP

$29.13 - TOTAL W/ 5% TAX


OK, well, that means I spend less than $70 on actual food yesterday, which makes me feel much better... Plus I realized I managed to go all organic except for 5 items, so that makes the $70 even more gratifying for me.

Milk
Bagged baby spinach (I live on the wild side!)
Red potatoes
Sweet onions
Bulk-bin dehydrated veggies
Bulk-bin rice pilaf
Chicken breats
Yogurt *
Bananas
Apples
Chicken broth
Orange juice *
Gatorade *
Frozen green beans *
Frozen corn *
Tomatoes: paste
Tomatoes: diced
Tomatoes: crushed
Canned black beans
Canned pinto beans
Canned kidney beans

As you can see, I like beans and tomatoes. Yuuummmmmmmmm... And Publix just started carrying them in their organic GreenWise brand, so I can still pay a reasonable price. WooHoo!!

The revelation when I shopped was really quite simple: they don't make coupons for almost anything I buy food-wise. All-natural and unprocessed does have a drawback Frown

On the plus side, I've not been sick enough to go to the doctor in over 10 years (everybody knock on wood!), so the money I'm spending on food I'm more than saving on co-pays, deductibles, and prescriptions (which also don't come with coupons).

Grand Yield Direct #3

October 20th, 2006 at 06:31 pm

Alrighty, my $5 initial deposit from Real Life Checking has appeared in GYD today. It's what, the 20th? My account was approved 10/17 and the $5 left RLC on 10/18, so 2 business day turnaround. Not bad...

Headline: Blog 3 Hours Behind, Owner Not Psychotic

October 20th, 2006 at 03:11 pm

alright, what's up with the time stamps on the blogs?

it is 11:10a EDT right now, and my last comment said it was written at 8:10a. not in and of itself a big deal, but that means my comments/posts from 7a look like 4a!

even funnier, the forums don't have the funky time stamp issue, so some folks out there might think i'm posting, falling asleep at the computer, and waking up mouse in hand ready to type again.

really, i PROMISE, i'm not a psychotic weirdo forum-freak. well, not always...

It's a good day, I can feel it!

October 20th, 2006 at 01:36 pm

Ever have one of those, where you wake up wide awake and feeling good and as soon as you step out the door you know somehow that it's going to be a good, maybe even great, day? That's today!

I woke up before either of my alarms this morning. Even better: I woke up awake. Enjoyed my morning of coffee, reading, and snuggling the cats. Got ready for work, headed out the door, and stopped in my tracks on my porch. We had rain last night, and the whole street looked... good. The sky looked good. My new-to-me yellow Focus 2dr looked great, and there were even birds chirping in my yard. Low, patchy clouds were zooming across the sky like you would see in a movie or commercial, and I could just hear the voice-over guy "At that moment, she knew the world was hers." HAHA, take that, world!

I dunno, it's weird I guess, but today just feels like it'll be fantastic. I got allowance & grocery money on my way in, walked in the office and immediately fixed a problem logo left over from yesterday, and now I'm struggling to reverse-engineer 4 yr old Java code while drinking, well, java. Nothing that seems to fall under the heading of a great day, but that's alright.

THE DAY IS STILL YOUNG!


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