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Archive for February, 2006

February Wrap up & a peek at March

February 28th, 2006 at 09:28 am

I have been working hard to come up with some things I've finished towards my Feb goals.........I don't know what I did the first 3 weeks of the month! Sit around I guess. Smile

Feb Goals:
Order seeds for this years garden on line Did it (just yesterday)
Set up the IRA: Not done
I finally got the 3 outdoor light fixtures off, so I can replace the bulbs, again, just yesterday! I'm about 2 days away from completing the outdoor lighting goal, to have it all energy efficient.
I've contacted 2 of the 4 people that owe me money. Hard for me to do & yes, did it just yesterday
Begin advertising my sewing/knitting business; Did this, however, not swamped with new clients yet.
I did sell the wood stove but I'm still the proud owner of an extra fridge, currently in the living room.

I did complete the 3 online bank accounts for the Daily Challenge, seemed like this took forever, but it's all finished.
I have paid off one CC, and the other 2 are now 0% interest.

I know none of these things are going to make an overnight difference in my finances...........But, the switch in my attitude has been nothing short of amazing. I believe the biggest tool is the daily blogging and the reading I do here about other peoples struggles and achievements with their funds. I feel so accountable to both.......writing and reading on a daily basis, much more so than if I was just journaling on my own.

So, in the name of progress.........I will try to round up some of the details that I've still got here & call them my March Goals:
-Meet with contractors & decide what to do with the apparent dead duck furnace here
-Start seeds indoors for the garden project
-Pay for laborers to meet me at the other house to dig up plants. The labor costs will be less than purchasing new plants for this place & the renters aren't going to know a perinneal from a weed!
-Open up my booth at the antique mall (starts tomorrow), commit to actively working this angle to make money for the $20.00 challenge.

I found a free pizza coupon in my daytimer, expires today, so it's pizza for dinner tonight. Another thing I need to do, is file these coupons so I don't waste them! Will be buying fabric this trip to town, to finish up a childs rocker for the antique booth. All the bills are up to date, although I've mentioned how close I cut things this month. I realized it was not just because I paid extra on the CC's but that I paid cash for the new wood stove, the kitchen floor and the 2 new doors. I filed my receipts from this last month and it became clear the money didn't just disappear! I made some solid improvements to this new to me place!

On to March.........anxious to read everyone's steps towards being in control of our finances.


vandals lurking in the bushes??

February 27th, 2006 at 10:05 am

Trying to fit in a banking run between interviewing contractors again. I've got the rental check (finally) that needs to go in along with the cash for the stove. (the fridge appt. didn't happen yesterday, she said it would be today for sure----crossing fingers).

Made one call to the tenant, couldn't reach her, will try emailing the exec dir of the program, she is more responsive, but not involved in the finances. But, it is a step for me.
Haven't done any of the other contacts either re; monies owed me. Horrible on this. The most I did is locate the blog of one person, he is working now, so that is a good sign. Have 2 others to still deal with too. March goals perhaps? If the money all came in, it would be just a little over $7000, so it is worth me getting the lead out here.
The rental bit is not an increase, other than the agreement we signed included a daily late fee, which they have never paid. And, they have never paid on time. I am a lousy landlord. If I really didn't need all the monies from the rental to cover costs of the other house, I would turn this account over to a mgmt firm.
It's a no spend day here, meals are all done, thanks to the bulk cooking session yesterday. I still have some packaging to do today too; "banked" 6 meals for the freezer, in addition to the meal for tonight. Easy way to get ahead on my cooking chores..........prep while I'm already cooking one meal, if I have to be in the kitchen, I want to make my time count!
After closely monitoring my spending since joining here; I've discovered my largest expense in the loosely labeled Misc catagory is gifts for others. I really enjoy this, so don't plan to quit. I am extremely frugal with this too, shopping for best deals, etc.. And, I rarely give a Thing......but a service or experience. I have no other vices or expensive habits, so plan to continue this as it is too fun to surprise someone, or better yet, gift them anonomously.
Found out the horses that are boarding here, were let out by someone messing with my fencing. We couldn't find a break in the fence anywhere, but did find all 3 hot wires unhooked at the insulators & laid back so the horses could just walk out. I have no plan or ideas for a plan as to how to counteract this sort of nastiness. We're going to wire the spot closed, so they will need wire cutters to do the same deed again. The horses are moved to the back of the property for a week or so.......but who in the world would do this?? And, it has messed with my naive little view of my corner of the world here.... which I am totally ticked off about. I'm on a dead end street, no teenagers, 6 other homes, all but one retired couples or singles. Makes me want to move further out in the bushes!

running out of calendar

February 26th, 2006 at 12:50 pm

February is just too short to get all my goals met! I've got just 2 days to finish up this list:

I DID sell the wood stove!
I've got someone coming to see the fridge today (first appt. out of lots of emails)
No seeds ordered yet for the garden
Lights down outside, but no bulbs to fit
Haven't decided where to open the IRA yet either, still trying to figure out IRA's. Can't fund it yet unless I take money out of the remodel fund or wait for March paychecks.

So, the next 2 days will have me flying here to play catch up. I like being accountable here however......otherwise I just keep re doing my TO DO lists with many of the same items on them. Doesn't help much, except to make me feel like I'm getting behind!

Spending the day doing some bulk cooking, as I found items when transferring things from the old freezer to the new one that will be more helpful here in ready to go meals. Smells great in here, really confusing the kids, as this isn't whats for dinner. Smile

I'm making a feeble attempt to cook something that is a bit different, I was going to try a new recipe each month as I'm so bored with cooking. Just breaded chicken cutlets tonight, not a recipe, but different than putting the chicken in the crockpot!

If I was really wealthy, I'd have someone else do the cooking! It just seems so time consuming for a product that is so fleeting. I'd rather sew or knit.

While things are cooking, I'm getting in a few more prep hours on my antique booth items. Have one box finished and loaded into the van already today. Progress on the $20.00 Challenge too.

late train = increased spending

February 25th, 2006 at 06:45 pm

I even called ahead to find out if the train was on time, Amtrak said 19 min early of all unheard of things. We threw ourselves into high gear & went to warm up the van...........only to find the 4 horses in the street. Escape artists they are! (I'm real sure now; no horses for me) A kind neighbor offered to entice the horses inside the yard with a kettle of dog food.....as I left to get my autistic kiddo on the train to see his mom.
Whoosh into the station only to find out the train is over 2 hours late. No idea how the wires got crossed the agent said, but no train either......Now, waiting isn't my kiddos best skill...but we did it. However, it cost me. Breakfast at Denneys' and then some grocery shopping, including a 40 lb sack of carrots for the horses. (cheap entertainment for us, feeding the horses)
Finally got the kid on the train, then headed home to enjoy my almost 24 hours off.
I did sell the old wood stove this evening, $500 cash! Nice. Also got the invoice for the monthly paycheck & called that in right away.
Had someone here to change the outdoor lights to the new bulbs, however.....the new bulbs don't fit. Drat. Back to the store this week.... I won't get this done for Feb like I had planned. But, when I look at the day here......nothing much went as planned anyway. Smile
I did spend several hours pricing and packing items for the antique booth (part of my $20.00 challenge); feeling a little more organized.

Antique-ing: AKA cleaning, painting, etc

February 24th, 2006 at 12:05 pm

I started (finally) working towards getting things cleaned up and ready to take into the antique booth on the first of March. Got the shelving and items I'll be using for display pieces out and started cleaning and painting. Need another item before the 1st, the hooks to fit in the slat board. My last booth was peg board, so I need new hardware here.... I won't have much to fill the space with the first day, but I'm doing this on my own this time, so it might be a good idea to just take the van full the first day & plan to return the following week with more (given I can unearth the rest of my things and get them ready by then.)
Felt good to get moving on this project.
The freezer didn't come yesterday, it is supposedly on the way now. Good thing I hadn't taken everything out for the transfer!!
Got a good deal on a full load of wood yesterday, nowhere near filling up the wood shed however. I'll keep my eyes open for wood this spring & summer so I'm prepared for winter. I can't wait to see the power bill since we're only using the wood stove for heat.
My buyer for the old stove didn't show, although she called & begged me to hold it for her. I've got 2 other emails too....hoping this moves by the week end. I'm getting tired of having it in front of the house.
Also have an old freezer in front of the house (I know, it is sounding as bad as it looks), but I'm waiting for our local power co. to re institute a rebate program for old appliances. There is supposed to be money to fund it by next week. Instead of paying to get rid of it, they will pay me for it. So, being the cheap side of frugal, I'm waiting.
I've cut my financial corners as close as I want to this month. With opening the new savings accounts, purchasing the appliances & such......and paying any extra funds onto the CC (I've got both cards now at 0%), I've got my bank balance as low as I'm willing to go before payday. Squeaking by until I get a check in the bank tomorrow morning. I've found my comfort zone....and then passed it. Won't cut it quite this close next month.
Traced the property tax bills, they had sent them to the old address. I know one bill, the other 2 I'm guestimating.....thinking the total is approx $5000 needed by April 31. I just need to pay it and not think about it, I don't think I'm getting my moneys' worth!
The freezer just arrived, who knew unloading a freezer was aerobic exercise? Never knew I could move that fast. Making a cup of tea now & sitting down to warm up.....

A Day at the Office

February 23rd, 2006 at 11:57 am

Since I work at home, I almost have to schedule an Office Day here. Bookwork seems to multiply when I turn my back. I have made some physical changes in my office area, making it nicer here while I take care of details. I've got music on, a yummy smelling candle lit and the fire going. I also began a garden area right outside my office window. I notice my desktop is clear, the to be filed container isn't overflowing and the garbage is even emptied. All little things, but I know myself..........and they make this type of work seem like it's no work at all.
I re did a chart to record my monthly income. I get 6 different checks each month & not all at the same time...and my last effort didn't pan out, not enough room to note what came in. New system looks better. I even called my tenant, had to leave a message, but I did ask for the money to come in on the proper day this coming month. With the agreed upon late fees too. New for me, I am more comfortable just dealing with it being late.
I also set up a system to note the days & phone numbers I need to call for the trial offers I applied for yesterday. Thanks all for the suggestions......Hopefully, I'll be able to stay on top of this. Visions of multiple magazine subscriptions, shopping club memberships and such make me just a tad nervous!!!
Need to pay for the freezer & the firewood being delivered today, so it is definately a spending day! But, I've got the first really interested potential buyer for the wood stove coming this afternoon, so that will even things out for the day. Crossing my fingers & praying she will buy the stove. (hoping crossing fingers doesn't negate the prayers going up!) Smile
Contemplating how much of my budget & finances in general.......focus on planning. The big picture is; with enough planning, I'm able to take care of the household now, and into the future. Planning for the eventual emergencies to planning what to serve for meals tomorrow; it all saves money and eliminates any stressing on my part about the finances. Good thing I like to plan; lists, notebooks, my daytimer.........they are all helping in my quest here.

new territory for me

February 22nd, 2006 at 01:54 pm

I stepped........carefully..........into new territory. I applied for my first free gift card! All this trial offer, freebie, gift card stuff has me a little confused (happens pretty easily, I'll admit) How do people keep track of all this?? I'm tentative about doing much, as I'm sure I'll forget to call & cancel these things during the 30 day trial period. I have designated one CC just for these types of things on line, the one I pay off each month...so maybe that will help, but I can still see 30 days zipping by and then I have a brand new something or other that I have no business buying! ACK!
Took the day to do an errand run....got gas first & for the first time ever~ I made a note of the mileage, amount and such, with the hopes of figuring out the mileage my van gets. I've had no idea & I don't drive much, but this is one area I've paid absolutely no attention to.
I did buy $3.00 more to get my $20.00 Challenge going. Needed a hole punch and ribbon to finish off my price tags for the Antique Booth. Getting busy on this project, my things can go in March 1st! Others are making headway on their challenge & I'm going backwards!!
Also bought a refurbished freezer, to be delivered tomorrow. I've been using a loaner from them & I'm anxious to get the new-to-me one. Bigger & an upright. Also bought a cord of firewood, our wood shed isn't full yet & I've got a teenager available on Sat to stack wood......can't pass up that offer.
I still have money left from selling our wood at the other house (I wasn't going to move the firewood). Just watching for good deals & picking up a cord here & there til I use up the wood money.
And, to top off my afternoon, I treated myself to lunch out & a flat of annuals for my front porch. I usually don't buy annuals, but I'm so tired of winter & there isn't much in this new yard, this way I've got a few plants at the front door! And, when I got home, the housecleaner had finished, my home is clean and I didn't have to do it!

Taking stock

February 21st, 2006 at 11:08 am

Reviewed my February goals & I'm lucky there is still a week left in the month! No progress so far on much of anything.
-I haven't ordered the seeds for the garden
-I've made a feeble attempt to advertise my sewing/knitting business
-The wood stove & fridge have been advertised, a couple interested people, but no buyers
-The Roth IRA isn't set up yet........paperwork arriving today I believe.
I still have the outdoor lighting to change too........the fixture it too high up for me to be comfortable doing it with the ladder I have. Not sure how to accomplish this one.
So, as I head into the last days of Feb....I'm going to have to DO something every day, not just sit here and read & write about it. Thinking doesn't make it so.

I did read a great article this AM about new years resolutions being for the eitire year, not things you expect immediate results on. That helped a little...........realizing I have implemented so many new things and made dozens of changes associated with saving and finances; I shouldn't look at what I haven't got accomplished, but at what the bigger picture is.

Spending money today...........the first of my potential contractors is coming for an appointment, and now most all of them are charging to do a bid. I tried & just couldn't get around this. He'd better be worth it for me to end my streak of NO SPEND days for him! Smile

Enjoying the game

February 20th, 2006 at 11:13 am

Feel like a contestant in a game show. Spend less, save more!!! I'll bet it would never be a prime time success.........no one would believe it!!
I'm continuing to add the tiny little hints, as well as implement some of the bigger changes as well..........everything from not using my blow dryer in the mornings to sending in the paperwork for my Roth IRA.
I have been thinking about a comment I read about budgets being all about sacrifices & I'm not feeling like that is relevant here at all. I haven't felt a bit deprived; in fact........it feels better to me than not paying close attention to my money. Back to the game idea I guess........I'm just a sucker for competition, solo, or with others.
A no spend day, other than some gas to go get a freecycle item. Dinners in the crock pot, a roast which will provide the basis for many meals this week. Washer running on cold, wood stove is heating the house and I can spend much of the day knitting. Just found out this AM that the baby coming this July in our family is a boy.....Too much fun!!

no spend day again

February 19th, 2006 at 09:23 am

These no spend days are sort of enforced here. With the extra kids on the week end, there's no way I'm going anywhere with them. But, I'm so in the habit of not aimlessly shopping, I doubt I'd go spend money anyway!
I too, applied for the shell phone card & received it. I'm attempting to spend at least some of my usual goofing off time here at the computer, applying for the free offers. I had an AH HA moment last night re; the free offers.........and will be stockpiling them for my son who will be approaching me this coming summer for some help (he's expecting financial) I'll have a stash of items he can take from if he so desires. Works for me!! I'm done helping financially, or with housing.
I don't know how all the freebie items get found....but, to all who are spending time searching & sharing, a BIG thank you!
I can't wait til our cold blast is over here. I've had to keep lights on in our pump house, to keep the temp up.....and I have to say; it is really bugging me!! I know turning the lights off would equal more expense in the long run, but darned if I'm not just ticked every time I see the lights on out there!!! Too funny.

advertising vs. willpower

February 18th, 2006 at 11:48 am

I've been watching more TV this past week, than usual.....with the Olympics on, I've either been watching or listening to almost all the broadcasts both on Canadian and US stations. I don't know if it's because I don't find the games as interesting this year or what; but I'm more caught up in the advertising than the competitions.
Maybe it's because having a daily dose of the posts here has made me notice all the referances to money/finances/lifestyle??? I'm not usually a heavy TV watcher & when I do, I'm knitting too..........but this week has been eye opening. I'm so grateful I've got whatever it takes......willpower.......goals........a really cheap gene........ that the ads don't suck me in. But, wow.......what promises they come up with. According to the ads, life just isn't good without CC's, new vehicles & goodness knows what else. The ads come right out and say things about life is about choices, use VISA to choose life.
I'm grateful I feel no pressure to join in with the herds of people buying into this mindset...........but also feel angry & wish I could think of some way to counteract all this.

Better stop....too much deep thought will make my head hurt. Banked a couple checks today, now will move them over to the ING acct. Going to make a phone call re; money owed me. Got the loan info re; the other loan owed me........so am ready for that conversation tonight. Can't work on the other 2 until Tues due to the holiday. It really does change my attitude when I'm being proactive re; my finances. I think I've passed proactive however....I would have to say I'm headed straight into aggressively attending to my finances.
Another no spend day. Just used a tad of gas on the way to the bank.

It's not Friday here..........

February 17th, 2006 at 10:47 am

That's right.....I'm on Monday for my work week. I've got myself organized for this weekend, so feeling pretty good. Also, the toughest client is going camping with his 1:1 starting this afternoon & not returning til Mon night.... So, I'm down one for the whole holiday weekend. (that makes it almost a vacation!!)

I went over my prediction yesterday at the outlet store. $125 instead of $100. But, I believe I can make these items last 2 months instead of just one, so........perhaps I will be below budgeted amount?? I felt very frugal yesterday, coming right home and re packaging the huge sacks of things into manageable sizes here. Sealing them up, or freezing them........so nothing will be wasted.

Today is a no spend day........still looking for the last 2 checks to come in for the month. One is getting later & later it seems. Definately need a banking day next week, to get all these in the account. Bills are all paid up for Feb........I just love that feeling!

In the process of all this intense focus on my finances, I have got a couple personal loans out that I really need to make some move to collect. I'm not good at this, but I've decided I'll do something instead of nothing. Since I couldn't find any money in the last 2 Daily Challenges..........this was my next best idea----
#1: The largest, I know I'll get paid back on this one, but I will meet with the woman & review the deal we had made, just so I can cross this off my list.
#2: Money promised me from a real estate deal that I haven't got all of it yet. He paid me half and said the other half was coming. Need to drop him a note & let him know I'm still waiting for the other half.
#3: Emergency money loaned to one of my previous foster kids, not really expecting to get this back, it isn't much, but the principle here is bugging me more than the other 2. Not even sure where this kid is, but I will contact his grandfather & leave my new address & phone with him, just so he can't say he was going to pay me but didn't know where I was.
I'm again conscious of how much I have left to do re; finances etc. It was an area of my life I really did think I had all together. HA. Miles to go before I reach anthing close to all together!

Thawing out my car

February 16th, 2006 at 08:21 am

I've got the car running, it hasn't gone anywhere yet this week & it's 20 something outside!!! I've got a training to attend, or I wouldn't be going anywhere yet! The training will fulfill 6 of my 10 required hrs, it's free and they provide lunch. It will take up my whole day..........but, I'm taking a new knitting project (and my business cards!) so I'll feel like I'm getting something done besides just listening.
The topic is one I've already had many trainings in, so I'm not expecting any real breakthrough moments..........I can always make notes as to the "little things" I can do re; budget & finances while in class!!
Planning a grocery run to an outlet/ restaurant supply store on the way home; usually runs about $100 but lasts a couple months. I'm hoping to get better at keeping records; some of the other posts here have made me aware how lacking I am in this food & household piece of the budget.
Got my 2nd check in payment for the horses boarding here. Nice!! I'm absolutely enjoying the horses, they are so fun to watch; even if they belong to someone else. More enjoyment BECAUSE they belong to someone else!!
I am getting to know the woman who owns the animals & am seeing someone who doesn't have their finances in order. I see how much money it takes to keep the horses & have to just wonder. I'm pretty sure I would have sold my horses if I was in her position.
Hoping the car is warm & toasty.......After today, I'll only have 1.5 hours left of cont. ed to finish in 06. Not bad for it only being Feb.

financial baby steps

February 15th, 2006 at 09:46 am

I feel like I have graduated to a new level..........just made the call to open a Roth IRA for the first time. I actually have earned income, so I qualify as of Oct 05. TA-DA. I don't know if I can get it funded for last year since property taxes are also due in April, we'll see.
I've been able to cross of the daily financial challenges with regularity here lately; since moving, I've done the phone, cable, internet & garbage....along with the water & power. All are as cheap as I can get. Combined the phone, cable & internet and got a good package. Almost $50.00 less per month than individual providers. We have a well, so no water bill........dropped trash pick up, since the truck was tearing up our gravel access road. I've started using the trash compactor that came with the place & concentrating on recycling all we can. I think a trip to the dump every other month is going to suffice. That will cut over $100 from the bills.
(Maybe the Roth is going to get funded!!!)
Will actually be spending money today...my autistic kiddo has an invite to go camping & it is supposed to drop to 17 degrees here.....so long underwear are a must. Not even sure if he will wear them, but I'll feel better.
I'm checking all my outdoor faucets to see that they are insulated for the next couple of really cold nights.......and I'm going to remember to let an indoor faucet go all night with a slow drip; WAY cheaper than re doing pipes after they freeze.
Off to light the wood stove & get busy, so I warm up. Snow still on the ground here.........looks pretty, but Oh, so cold.

appreciation

February 14th, 2006 at 10:18 am

Sitting here in my makeshift office........enjoying the view of our new snow. Doesn't happen often here but it is just the most beautiful thing! I'm so grateful I don't need to go anywhere to work.......nothing on the schedule until tomorrow & this is supposed to be all gone by then.
I've got the wood stove cranked up.......things are toasty in here & there is just a nice cozy sound that comes from a wood stove too!
I found paper in my stash & made my price tags for the antique booth (one part of my $20.00 challenge) I need to be working towards move in day March 1st....this stuff won't jump up and price itself!
I'm still enjoying reading past posts here in the journals, as well as the forum. What a plethora of info....I used to think I was on top of my finances, but I'm discovering new things every day.
I did get one of my outdoor light fixtures changed to chalk up something done towards my Feb focus. Still have 4 to go.
And.........finally.........another no spend day. Thinking of keeping track of these next month! It sure will help curb the money spent that is hard to track here at my place.

no spend; wins again!

February 13th, 2006 at 12:28 pm

Yes, another no spend day, unless I count the utilities I'm using here at home.
All the meals are from leftovers over the week end. BBQ beef for lunch & Chinese food tonight with the leftover chicken. Encore meals, as I've learned from the group here. I've got plenty of the BBQ beef, made from leftover roast.........to put some meals in the freezer too. With my new freezer section in the kitchen, all my ready to go meals are in there, so no more digging around in the big freezer for these dabs of things.
Still waiting for the Feb checks to finish coming in. I think I can count on all of them by the 15th of each month....but it will probably be another couple months til I know for sure.
Half done with the first baby blanket & will have enough yarn to make a matching hat for each set. I'm absolutely no good at estimating the yarn I need for projects. Sewing I can do...........but yarn for some reason, escapes me. I'll have to come up with a pattern or two that uses up the leftovers.
I've decided to add hand knit/crochet items to my booth at the antique mall, they approved, as long as the things are hand made; new is OK. This should help fix my problem of too much time on my hands too!!

racking up another no spend day!

February 12th, 2006 at 01:48 pm

Spending the weekend cooking from the freezer & pantry. My Sat, Sun & Mon are the rest of the worlds Mon, Tues & Wed. I have the most to do on the week ends, then get my break on Tues, Wed & Thurs. Just off from everyone.........again: Contrary1. The name seems to fit.

No spending today again. Worked in the yard, sunny here in the Seattle area. Warm enough for no jacket! Have my bed ready for the tomatoes, compost all hauled in there today. The yard is starting to look like a gardener lives here! Mowed the lawns for the first time yesterday.

I've got my 100 trees from the state nursery; I just need enough motivation to start planting them. This is an inexpensive way to add trees to your property if you have more than a city lot. Not much choice and the size varies each year, but the price is right for my budget. Pennies per tree! I've done this every year for 17 years now, and some of my first ones are getting quite nice!

Enjoying the Olympics, especially since my yarn & needles came! I'm getting the baby gifts done while just sitting.....I love knitting, it makes me feel productive while I'm just sitting around.
I also refuse to go to the baby showers without a hand made gift of some kind. Both of these babies are coming into exceptionally frugal families too.....so my gifts won't be the only hand made items.

Still haven't done much on my Feb goal of seeing to the outdoor lighting situation here. Just because the days are getting longer, we're using less, but that isn't what I meant! Smile

new fertilizer applicator!!

February 11th, 2006 at 03:02 pm

Just in case I wasn't totally SURE .....in case I had any nagging bit of a wish for a horse of my own still........ This morning I see 2 of the 4 horses calmly applying fertilizer to all my gardens & lawn (several acres) By the looks of the prints outside, they have been everywhere but inside the house.
One call to their "people" and I just got to watch the show. I did get the front gate closed....but noticed they had been outside the gate too! They must have been out all night. The grass should grow well, I got some exercise & my horse fix is all taken care of! The fence repair is not my responsiblity either!!
It's a no spending day here........got the big mower fired up and mowed all of the lawns I can get to, things look really nice. Have the burn pile going (the rural way to clean up your yard) and dinner is from the freezer.
I'm going to settle down for an evenings worth of Olympic events.......with a glass of wine.

a day for me

February 10th, 2006 at 05:25 pm

I spent money today; some just for me, as a treat. I had appointments all morning, picking up items from freecycle (in hopes they will be workable for the new antique booth)........& I bought myself lunch out! Not a regular happening here at all. I also drove approx 100 miles! Unheard of! It was so beautiful here, & I got to visit a couple local towns I haven't ever spent time in, just buzzed through on the way to somewhere. So, in the process, I decided I wanted to make sure to put myself on the list for a fun day like this a little more often.
Finished off the spending by purchasing a bag of juicer type carrots, all for the horses that are boarding here. (the horses that aren't mine but I get to enjoy anyway!) Walked out to the pastures later & treated the 4 tenants to a snack. Getting my horsey fix!
Signed the rental agreement for the antique booth space, I can take things in starting March 1st. (part of my $20.00 challenge) Looking forward to this. I'm thinking it might fall into the catagory of "no money fun". If I use today as an example........between the gas & lunch out, the items I got will just about cover the cost of the day. But, I'm OK with this. I will be getting out of the house, talking to adults & doing something fun....can't beat that!
I also got approved today for another 0% CC. I called my #1 CC & confirmed I have a zero balance on it now & it is closed. (only because it was set up with an annual fee & NO WAY am I paying that again!)
I had to pay last years sales tax for the closed business.........yuk. I'm hoping each time I pay something business related, that it will be the last thing. I can't wait to box up all those records & put them out of sight!

hard work=exhaustion

February 9th, 2006 at 07:22 pm

Pooped. That's what I am tonight. I didn't sleep much last night & today I left home early (reminding myself all the way.........how grateful I don't have to drive anywhere to work), to go help my mom with her house. She is re doing most of the original home, getting ready to move back in this coming week. I painted closets for her as well as unclogged a shower drain, yukky. Moved many heavy objects, getting ready for the contractors to come back in & install the moldings.
In the process of working side by side with mom............we talked about lots of things, but finances were high on the list. She was very interested about this "blog" business as she called it. I learned so much from her and told her so today. Funny thing.........when we were discussing retirement readiness, etc.......a guy walked up to the door & he was from a local investment firm. We had to laugh! I don't know if he believed me when I told him we had been discussing finances & investments all day long! I'm sure he is more used to women saying they had no interest, or they would give his card to their husband.
We had a great talk about the difference between enthusiastically saving.......and just being cheap. My mom has a twin & I can see such differences between the two of them. My mom (& dad when he was living) were VERY frugal. But, they were also generous & thoughtful. My aunt & her family have ended up alone, no friends to speak of......and she complains about having to spend anything.
Being frugal allows my mom to be able to do things like totally re do her home, travel, whatever she wants.........
It's been a great lesson in contrasts with the two twins in my family. I tell my mom often, I'm sure glad she is the one that is my mom!!
It was a no spend day.......other than the gas used to get to moms' house. She also gave me several items to sell in the antique booth & a cabinet to use as one of the display shelves. Procurring things for free & then selling them! One of my favorite activities. Free is my favorite 4 letter word!
Heading to bed, hot pack already on my sore muscles!

Haircut & a chicken coop

February 8th, 2006 at 05:15 pm

Today was a hodge podge of errands & appointments. Started off meeting with a decorator I've hired to help with the master bedroom/bath remodel. I'm going to learn first hand if the rumor is true, that a decorator saves money in the long run. At this point, it seems so to me. I have done the same project myself in the last house, so it should be pretty easy to compare.
I'm more than excited to see the plans and look forward to actually getting the project started.
Spent actual cash and got my hair cut today. $16.00 is the cheapest I can get in our little town.........skipped the blow dry, as that cuts it down a bit. I will investigate the beauty schools, I used to get my haircuts there, but now......I'm thinking the gas to get to one would just about even out the price I'm at. Will check however, to make sure.
Just to finish off the afternoon......I met with a carpenter who is going to start my chicken coop & run tomorrow. Also, pouring the concrete for the clothesline posts!! I did pay him for the supplies he needs to pick up tomorrow & will pay the rest upon completion.
Looking forward to the clothesline saving me money in the long run, the coop will be a while before it saves anything.........but I do love watching my chickens!!!
Interesting day......when I look back on it, every single thing I did was just for ME. Unusual, but necessary, especially after yesterdays meltdown here. I've got an evening by myself scheduled here..........a bottle of wine is in the fridge......A very good day!

meltdown

February 7th, 2006 at 06:35 pm

After 13 months, my autistic kiddo had a major meltdown this afternoon after just getting off his bus. I was totally taken by surprise. Now, I'm just exhausted, brain dead and waiting til I can quit for the night & it's lights out.

It was a no spend day..........one good point for the day. The sun was out, which for the Seattle area is a new & unusual thing! I did some more prep work in the yard, getting ready for the gardens.

I had 2 more emails re; the knitting classes. One sounds possible. My needles I ordered on line came today........now I'm just waiting for my yarn. I need to get some projects in the works if I'm going to have students. Important for them to have samples to see I think.

I'm still listening to the audio book, The Richest Man in Babylon. Very good... started me to visualize the money coming into the household and the money going out. I need to get this more clear in my mind, and create a place for the savings part.......Too tired to flesh this out in my head.

Praying tomorrow is better; praying for wisdom to know what to do in these meltdown situations!

I thought it was a "want"

February 6th, 2006 at 07:02 pm

My own horse. I was sure I wanted one, before I died.........even moved to a house with a barn & all the fencing in. But, I've come to the conclusion it is no longer on my want list!!
I leased the pasture out to a woman with 4 horses.......so I get to see them, hear them and go chat with them if I choose. But, the responsibility and the financial liability isn't mine this way! With our nasty weather this week, the horses have been spooked and have been tearing up their blankets, and other destructive little behaviors. I just made a phone call........and didn't have to deal with the details myself. I am pleased to find all this out about myself without having to spend the big bucks!! I'm more than satisfied to watch someone elses' horses!!!
This is a good lesson......before jumping into something all the way, try to find ways I can get involved to see if is a fit for me.

On another note..........the new fridge is here today. It is newer, energy efficient & all that. I had to move the food from the old fridge to the new one and found a couple things I hadn't used up in time. (slapping my own hand here) I will continue to work on this business of managing my fridge space & the leftovers situation.

I had 2 inquiries re; knitting classes today. I don't think either of them will sign up, as they are too far away from my home. Craigs list pulls from a large area, even tho I listed the county I was in.

Another no spending day here. All meals at home. No driving either. Worked in the garden, prepping for strawberry plants I'm being given sometime in the near future. I've been putting the word out to anyone that will listen, that I'm up for any plants, veggie or flowers. Hoping to fill out this yard without spending much.

anything but football

February 5th, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I must be one of the few here in the Seattle area that aren't going to be hooked up to the TV & the Super Bowl. I'm taking 2 of the boys shopping. Yarn shopping..........I'll be able to get the things I need in order to start working on my new projects, have a couple baby blankets to do before June. So, there will be money spent today, but, in the long run, money saved too.
One of my boys is on SSI & I have to see that he keeps his money spent down. If it gets to $1700, I need to report it to his case manager. It feels so weird to be made to spend money. This particular guy doesn't have much he needs & fewer things he wants, so it is a lesson in creativity to get this spent. I've had to spend like crazy, since he got a lump sum for money owed him ........I had a friend build him a computer, I ordered one of the MIGO phones for him, signed him up for Netflix & got him his own DVD player. He has a couple people he can travel to see.........so Amtrak & Greyhound tickets are ordered too. I find that I'm still watching his money like a hawk, getting the best deal possible and wishing we could save this up! What an odd system.

Challenge Standing

February 5th, 2006 at 12:00 am

I'm still in the group that hasn't made any money yet with my $20.00. In fact, I've spent some of it. $7.98 I think it is. Shipping on my Free business cards. Not quite free that way, but cheaper than I can get locally.

The cards are here, today is the first day I will be able to distribute any of them. Heading to our local swap meet event, a combination of street fair, farmers market & thrift store sort of deal.............inside (pacific northwest necessity). Hoping to drum up some interest in the sewing/knitting business.

Also got the call from a local antique mall, my name came up and there is a space available March 1st. I sign the contract this week. Rent is $75 a month. Items for this booth will be free to me, my tenant buys storage units at auction and there are always things she can't use or sell. They tend to be the cutsey sort of collectables that will be perfect for this mall. I'm looking forward to starting this again........ I was making money with it when I did it a few years ago.

So.........the bottom line is down, but looking up!

power outages

February 4th, 2006 at 02:02 pm

we've been experiencing a bit of a wind storm since the middle of the night....power out, cable out, etc. Just came back on & everyone scurried off to their electronic devices! (Including me!) We did OK, kids were reading, knitting, playing games, etc....I'm pleased to say, we all remembered how to do things that weren't powered by something.
It's a no spending day, although we had plans to buy something for dinner if the power didn't come back on, but the crock pot is simmering away with our very frugal chicken dinner.
The first of the paychecks came in the mail today, so I can start the February book work here. The rest of the monies should be in by Monday night.
My business cards came in the mail today, so I'm ready to spread them around. I'm confidant I'll scare up some sewing customers soon. Once it starts, I believe I'll be busy. Can't wait. Money for the challenge.

All sealed up

February 3rd, 2006 at 07:39 am

Wow, what a good job was done yesterday putting in the new front door. After the mouldings were removed, there were slivers of daylight all round the old door......Big slivers! With the new door, we now have sealed the openings with insulation foam, as well as added weather stripping to the casing. I love the new door, & hope to see some savings from the project. I'm doing so many things to the house..........I know I won't know which one affects the bottom line, but collectively, it should keep the bills down to rock bottom.
I took the online energy audit someone posted the link to.......and discovered there were things I didn't know about this place. So, added to my TO DO list are things like insulation; attic, wall & crawl space.......how much?? I will be able to see whats in all 3 when the remodel starts on my bedroom.
Errand day today, so there will be some spending.....But, it also starts the round of paychecks coming in. One client tonight, one tomorrow and then the regular checks next week. First week of each month & the bank balances all look healthier.
I filled in some work sheets from another site, How Much Money Do I Owe & How Much Money Do I Own. Interesting exercise. In the process, I uncovered some things I don't normally have upfront in my head....even remembered a loan I should be getting paid back for one of these days. I've still got more figures to fill in, but it is good to see written down. It puts my cc debt in some sort of twisted context. When I see how much I've got, the Owe page is hardly a bleep. Thank Goodness. But, it is so stupid to have the cc debt in the first place. (need to remember most of it is due to CY closing & the icky stuff it created; moral.........don't open a business with a family member)
Off to my day........Fridays are my Mondays here, will be working with a full house as of 4 this afternoon.

Credit Card Cha Cha

February 2nd, 2006 at 02:12 pm

Definately dancing here today. Had to post again, as I think I've now got the CC all lined up.
* I transferred the high interest card to a 0% one, it's not due til March, so I haven't paid on it yet.
* I am now paying all my excess on card #1, the highest interest card I have, which is at 10% now. Not sure it is worth messing with it, I should have it paid off in 2 more months
* I paid one card off today, but will keep it open as it is the one that gets used online for things like Netflix, etc. I will vow to pay it off monthly, no matter what!!!
So............with a large fanfare here....
The balance going into this challenge was: $10,809.95 and today it is............ $8,366.30
I'm feeling very accomplished!! With the same rate of payment, I should have the balance gone by this time 2007.

auto insurance challenge

February 2nd, 2006 at 08:09 am

It was funny yesterday, I almost felt disappointed I couldn't get a cheaper quote! Reminded myself I was ahead of the game, have been with the most inexpensive co. now for a few years. Smile I have researched my policy & should be getting a call back from my agent today. Think there are a couple points from todays challenge that might knock down my premium....a couple dollars is a couple dollars.
I find the oddest reactions from people like the insurance companies.......I tell them I'm participating in a Financial Challenge & todays assignment is__________. They don't even have a response! Apparently every other customer just pays what they say, no questions! When I told Geiko they were approx $100 higher than my current co, the agent asked me if I was going to purchase his policy with a credit card? What was the number? I reminded him his cost more, he told me that was OK, I would see the difference in the type of service I received when/if I was in an accident.
This challenge has been opening my eyes to other peoples views of money & finances along with helping me to fine tune my own. I don't know which I'm more interested in!
Spent time this AM filling in a miriad of forms online for free samples. Planning ahead for Christmas stockings & kids grab bag sorts of events during the year here. Shouldn't have to buy a thing.
Have been bartering with a local landscaping co, they have been dumping their trimmings on my property & now they are clearing out my garden beds! I've got a tomatoe bed ready for plants this spring! There are other beds in the works too...... I've never been this ahead of the garden game!
Getting the new front door installed this AM, anxious to have closed off another of the big energy drains there.

February Focus

February 1st, 2006 at 11:36 am

I'm zeroing in on outdoor lighting this month, to see if I can cut costs. Who am I kidding?? I will cut costs!!
I have 2 energy efficient floods ready to go in the fixture I can figure out....the rest will need further study to get them apart. I'm temporarily stumped.
While at the hardware store yesterday to purchase the insulation for the switchplates, etc......... The funny part was the guy that was helping me said his electric bill was sky high this past month. I thought that was so odd, since mine was the lowest it has ever been & here I was trying to close up energy leaks anyway. I was trying to find a solution to closing off the floor heat vents, since our heat pump is dead & we're using the new wood stove for heat. He didn't have anything to sell me for this, but suggested crumpled up newspaper??? I thought it might work, but then thought it would be a pain to pull back out when/if a new furnace gets installed. Ideas?
I wouldn't have given these vents a thought, but I removed a couple last week in preparation for the new kitchen floor & the cold air was just flowing in. (we're a rambler with crawl space underneath) Now, I do think it would make a difference if I could cap these off somehow.
I am deep into the research on auto insurance. Have 2 quotes, both higher than current policy. Have a call in to my agent to raise the deductable & ask some questions. I have been paying for something called "other than collision" and have no idea what that is. Also found an omission of an anti theft device on one vehicle that should give us more of a discount.
One thing I do here on auto insurance is to combine mine with my tenants. She has lived with me for over a decade & had a perfect driving record, so it wasn't a risk. We get a discount for multiple vehicles this way......and she pays the premiums for her 2 vehicles & I just pay for mine. Makes mine cheaper than if I did it on my own.
Got my email from Emigrant today, they are coming in first out of the 3 online bank accounts I set up.
Listed a book on Amazon.......read other blogs about doing this, used to, but got out of the habit. Easy money!
Goals for Feb:
1) purchase seeds for this growing season on line
2) advertise sewing business every week end
3) sell the old fridge & wood stove
4) set up an IRA