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Archive for March, 2006

Fastest 3 months on record

March 31st, 2006 at 08:43 pm

The older I get, the faster time goes. I'll never finish my TO DO list.....there just isn't time.

March's goals are still sitting here taunting me; I didn't get much accomplished.
DID: find out the furnace really needs a memorial service. Dead Duck. However, the wood stove kept us toasty warm & now we're not even lighting it most days....
Result: Not going to do anything.

DID: get a paltry handful of acorn squash seeds planted indoors. Not much of a beginning on the garden I'm counting on feeding us. Will keep this on the list & aim for a little more variety in our diet!

DID: get the antique booth opened up at a local mall. have it barely stocked. Will continue working this angle to fund my $20 Challenge, visiting weekly to stock with new items.

DID: come up with 2 more places to advertise the new sewing/knitting business, ads will start in April.

Generally, I am so much more aware of my finances and finding more to learn each day. I'm jealously reading others blogs about net worth, absolutely in the dark as to what mine is. Going to ad that to my list of things to do for April.

My main goal will be to tighten up the budget, eliminate items that I won't be needing after my client moves out in June and begin to add some income to the equation. If the next 3 months go as fast as Jan - March did, I'd better hurry up.

My life's rules...........Rule #1

March 31st, 2006 at 09:48 am

I've had this rule for as long as I can remember, in fact..........I think I was raised with it. My parents didn't talk about it like I do, so I don't remember being "taught" this one; I just absorbed it.

I call it my "24 Hour Rule". It has governed my life, my household, raising hundreds of other peoples' kids and has probably saved me thousands of $$ up to now.

I don't make any major decisions in the NOW. So, I'm never pressured into anything, saving $$ and stress. (mine, not others....I'm sure my rule has ticked off many a salesperson!) This is one level of the rule, however the more personal level has evolved into more of a lifestyle than anything.

This rule has smoothed out our household, given me something to use as back up when parenting multiple kids, difficult ones too. This rule was on the top of our sheet of House Rules & I can't remember veering from it. (only fire, flood & blood qualify)
I used the 24 hours to my benefit, although it turned out everyone benefited, as I was more able to assist everyone. Everyone relied on me for transportation (we lived 7 miles from the nearest public transportation system, much to kids dismay) & they needed to request my help 24 hours earlier for rides to activities, jobs or social events.
If someone needed treats for a meeting, class, etc...........you got it, 24 hours necessary lead time. (saves tons if these things are planned ahead. Again, saving stress AND $$$)
Works for added guests too.........either for a meal or sleep over.
The household schedule ran smoother......I was less apt to be cranky........the kids learned to plan & organize; a definate WIN-WIN in my book.

As I look at some of my adult kids, now raising families......most of them have adopted the 24 hour rule too. These days, there are more things pulling families in different directions and having a 24 hr heads up for things certainly helps.

"Blaming" the House Rule is easier than having a band of kids on my case too. House Rules were carved in granite in my home, so there was a non negotiable status with them. Saved my sanity many a times (did still end up gray however)as kids didn't think it was ME out to get them, they could mumble under their breath or swear to the roof tops.... about the stupid rule!

Something was missing

March 30th, 2006 at 09:44 pm

Finally, something was missing from the antique booth.....I can't remember what, but that means at least one little something sold! (please, oh please....let it be sold and not have sprouted legs and walked to someone elses' booth) I didn't have to pay next months rent, which is odd, the month is up. Who am I to tell them how to run their busines; it does tell me things are pretty lax. I'm just hoping they do a better job at advertising and pull some customers in. I'd like to have great big holes in my space, where some of the larger pieces sell....that is just too fun to go in and find it like that. One time where upset and messy are good things!

Answering the question this week.........Just how far can 2 chickens go??? We've been eating off them all week, still not to the soup stage either. Going to pop the remainders in the freezer & do a shrimp/pasta event tomorrow night.......before the chicken isn't welcome any longer! Will pull it out for Chicken Surprise next week.

New contest rules

March 30th, 2006 at 10:36 am

OK, I'm taking the $20.00 Challenge to a new realm. How far in the hole can I go?? I've done nothing but spent money so far....and tomorrow the rent will be due on the antique booth space at the mall. Hmmmm.......... Anyone else loosing money on the challenge, or am I in a contest all by myself?

I know 30 days isn't long enough for this to take hold and begin making money, but to what length am I willing to go here?
The only costs have been printing price tags, booth rental and gas to get to the booth (23 miles round trip). This first month I haven't had it full, as it takes alot of work to get enough items cleaned, marked and hauled in. Full spaces sell more, people feel more like shopping I guess. I've been taking additional loads of things weekly and have a new batch of items to mark this morning and take in today. It might look full after todays additions.
Since I'm doing this project alone, unlike when I did it with a partner a couple years ago, I'm limited as to what I can take in by myself. I've got a great dresser to get cleaned up....but then I started trying to visualize how to get it out of the van and actually into the booth. I can picture it, it's just not pretty!!

I did get the #2 file cabinet emptied and almost everything re filed in order even. Novel plan. All my files pertaining to the questions on my "info for tax lady" list are sitting behind the desk, waiting for that part of the job to be finished. Going to tackle that tomorrow and get at least a beginning FAX off to the woman.
In the process, I've now got a huge box of check registers to organize. I've always kept them since on occasion they have saved my behind. Planning to organize them before putting them away this time.

March is almost over and I feel like it has been extremely productive. Besides deciding to quit my job and live the 2nd half of my life doing something else......I can tell a real mind shift here. I've not had any major changes in spending (because I hardly spent anything already) and I didn't make any huge changes to save money (I'd done most of the things on all the "50 things to do to cut your household bills" type lists years ago). What I have noticed is a focus on money and finances.......or perhaps how everything relates to money & finances?? I have seen so many small things that I would not have noticed prior to my joining this list and beginning my financial boot camp of sorts.
Looking forward to April (even tho' it is property tax month!!)

Will be paying booth rental and of course using gas to get to the antique mall......but no other expenses.

no turning back

March 29th, 2006 at 06:57 pm

I did it. I sent off the last notice, so it's official.........I'm retiring from my job in June. I feel a huge surge of relief and only a tad of anxiety.

I won't NOT work, just not at the same job I've been doing for the last 33 years. (I can't believe it's been that long!!! I started when I was 6!!! HA!)

Life as I know it might change a bit....or I might decide to change it totally. Not feeling like I really have to pin it down at this point.

I would have liked a few more of the bills to be paid off prior to making this move, but timing is everything and if I didn't quit in June, there wasn't going to be a GOOD time.

I'm hoping some of my brain cells regenerate, living with autistic kids has taken a toll..........

favorite day of the week; Wednesday!!!

March 29th, 2006 at 07:30 am

I'm always so glad when Wednesday rolls around........it's cleaning day here at our place...and someone else does it!! There is nothing like having a totally clean house, all in one day...effortlessly! I do have to pay for the service, but it is well worth it. As one of the discussion questions tosses around, what do you consider Luxuries?? Well, this is definately one for me.

The benefits are so many,at least for me. We no longer purchase cleaning supplies, what I have on hand will last for years, plus we make most of our own anyway. Cheap, cheap, cheap. I can do other projects on cleaning day, getting way more done this way. And, having this gentleman help out weekly has put the household on a schedule where I'm not considered the one with the whip and the chair; making people tow the line and pick their stuff up. Now, when it is Tues night, people know if they want their areas cleaned, personal stuff needs to be picked up, handled, washed, whatever. I'm out of the loop and I get the clean house feeling too. Just can't beat Wednesdays around here!

Dinners done, will be serving what was on the menu last night and got pre empted by the Autistic Kid meets the Dry Cleaner Event we had yesterday.

So,that leaves me in the bookkeeper role again today. I hate, hate, hate income tax time. The only good thing I can find about the days I'm working on this project is my file cabinets are getting organized............and I love being organized. Music & coffee didn't even help yesterday.....I ended up with unexpected company and I was way too happy to put the many stacks of file folders on the back burner. Visited the day away and I'm no closer to having my ducks in a row to start faxing numbers in. Drat. It won't be so bad next year....is what I keep as my mantra here!! It won't be so bad, it won't be so bad.........................

change in plans = increased $$ spent

March 28th, 2006 at 09:43 pm

The best laid plans & all that.......... I had planned to take my client to the dry cleaners this evening to pick up his coat he "plays" Mr Rogers with (way long explanation I'll politely skip here)......the receipt said to pick it up this evening after 5. So, the plan was to go get it at 5:30, then come back here for dinner, which was all ready to heat up...
The cleaners had just put his jacket into the machine....and told us it would be ready in an hour. Not wanting to go home & right back, needing to feed the autistic kiddo and waiting not being his best skill.........we moved to Plan B.
(Plan B's always cost money in my life here)
I checked my entertainment book I always have in the van & there were no coupons in our little town........rush hour, there was no way I was going anywhere else for dinner, we wouldn't make it back before the cleaners closed either.
So, off to the mexican restaurant we went. Gads, I had no idea things had got so expensive. Even if we had the special for the night, both entrees were just over 10$.
As if that wasn't enough, the coat wasn't pressed yet.......so next door to the hardware store to pick up something to use for a compost bucket in the kitchen. (really did NEED this one, somehow ours got mangled in the move & we've made do since Oct.)
Finally, the coat was finished & we added another 9$ to the evenings expenses.

Even with all the changes, I had a happy kiddo by the time we headed for home. It was just interesting to me how even tho I plan, plan, plan.........I can't smooth all the bumps in the road. And, bumpy roads sure cost more money, at least for me!

something from nothing

March 28th, 2006 at 06:56 am

My favorite thing...........making something worthwhile from things that were going to be tossed. Today, I'll plant my seeds from the acorn squash I saved this winter. I don't have a greenhouse, so I'm starting these indoors; hopeful I will have a tangle of vines come harvest time......covered with acorn squash.

I finally found the seeds I had brought with me from the old garden; will have to wait a bit longer to plant directly outdoors, but there are a few more I can jump start inside. It looks nothing like spring here today however..........gray and drippy.

Just the kind of day to force myself to tackle the other file cabinet as I continue to search for files necessary for the tax project. 4 drawers to go, then I can start replacing the piles I've got everywhere. Some good music and a pot of coffee........I can be finished by this afternoon. An added bonus, when I get the project done, it should leave me more room in the new space for my sewing room to spread out.

Anxious to see the mock up for my ads today. More money out.........but I really can't spread the word adequately without paying for some real advertising. Spend $$ to make $$ it seems.

Giving Notice

March 27th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

I'm working my way up to giving notice and retiring from my job........been doing the same thing for 35 years now & I'm pooped. Too exhausted to think straight most nights. I sent off one email today, letting my respite worker know, then I have my clients mom, the agency I work for..........and then my client. Hoping to have them all notified by the end of this week. Feel crappy about doing it via email, but I can't do anything in person, as the client is always here. Can't use the phone, since he stands here and echo's everything I say when I try to use the phone.

As if I needed a push to quit, this afternoon was just awful here. Life without this kiddo will be absolutely heaven. Way less money to work with, but I'll manage........at least I'll have my wits about me.

Meeting with the newspaper folks tomorrow, to put an ad in re; my sewing/knitting business. Hoping to pick this up to full speed by June when the income takes a nose dive. Also meeting with a woman who answered my ad about renting a room here.....the thought of getting rent from an adult is a novel idea.........no care involved there!!! Each piece that fits together here is helping to offset the loss when the state paycheck stops. (feeling very motivated after the afternoon we had here)

Dinner from leftovers........bless the microwave!

Picked up my box of dishes from the Freecycle wanted ad.........Way nice, the woman said she would be getting me more, took pity on me I think, I had kids with me & must have looked desperate!

Went out for brunch with my mom, she paid too.......again.....She is really pushing me to quit this job and move in with her......telling me I wouldn't have to work at all. Decisions, decisions.
Drove, so I used gas & spent .83 cents on postage today, but it was a pretty cheap day all round.







no spend days still lagging behind

March 26th, 2006 at 12:46 pm

It has been a bad month for my NO $pend Days. Today is one, but they have been few and far between for March.

Still digging for paperwork for my tax preparer. (I know, should be doing those myself, but YUK, I hate numbers) I've got most of the purchase prices located, now working on collecting all the improvements to 2 separate pieces since buying them. Can't wait til I get this project done. I dislike having to do something by a deadline, and then when it involves numbers too......I can procrastinate better than most!

I've begun cancelling the first of the trial offers I signed up for & can't believe how persistant the folks are. I did have one that I got a second level offer of sorts, one more free month, they would send me 4 certificates to get my oil changed if I would not cancel yet. I did try this out........ The rest are difficult to get out of, but as long as I'm doing this while my kiddo is in school, I'm OK. Uninterrupted phone time is necessary.... I can see why they don't let you cancel on line....they want a fighting chance to convince me to give them my $14.95 a month for whatever.........

All meals out of the freezer or pantry today..........makes me feel frugal & self sufficient. Can't hardly wait til I can go out to the garden in the morning and pick the days produce!!! Fresh salads; a reason to put in a veggie garden!!!

dishes for a tree

March 25th, 2006 at 02:25 pm

Using my local freecycle group today.......trading a tree for a new to me set of dishes.
I have a tree in the front yard that is just too odd, pussy willow sorts of poofs on it, then they explode into yellow little burst events. (I have a no yellow rule in my garden) So, the tree is getting dug up.....and I'm not having to do it........it's happily going to someone elses' yard.
And, the flip side........I was getting frustrated with not enough dishes to get through a couple days here, so I advertised for Corelle dishes. Just like magic, I've got an appointment to pick up a box full of the same pattern as mine on Monday. Such a deal. Thanking whoever thought Freecycle up!

Got some positive results on my electric bill today.........I don't think I will need to wait much longer before calling to get the averaged monthly bill lowered. I'm racking up a credit every month, even during the winter here. I knew $150 was too high, but that was the best I could get it to when we moved here. Good to know this is the highest is it going to be.

A no spending day..........and the meals for the week end are all from the freezer/pantry. Only 2 clients here this weekend, pretty quiet.

tax time & new filing system

March 24th, 2006 at 03:55 pm

Back from a couple days off and the new goal is to compile all the paperwork needed by my tax preparer person. YUK
The only good part of this, is I will definately have a nice neat file system completed too, when I have recovered the necessary paperwork.
(note to self..........don't let helpful friends & family pack file cabinets in the future.)
I have dedicated the next couple weeks to this project, setting up a table near each of the 4 drawer file cabinets. I'm using post it notes like crazy. Piles of folders, covering all surfaces. Hoping to come up with a useable system at the same time I'm locating things like purchase price of a house from 1989, all improvements to the same house until the present and other little details. I knew 05's taxes were going to make me dig for documentation, but I had forgotten all the stuff that goes with a rental.

The new posts are in for the clothesline......I can hardly wait til it is functional. Bye-bye dryer!!! Looking forward to some LOW electric bills as we get to our spring/summer season here.

Another life decision crossed my path this week. While spending time with my mom, she was really pushing the plan for me to move into her place and us pool our resources. This would allow me to actually retire, with no job. Not sure if I'm ready for that step, but it is a nice safety net in case I want to try the other plan of sort of retiring!

Lots of great free mail type stuff when I got home. Just applying for a couple a day keeps a steady stream of very useable, necessary items coming in. Wonder why I didn't do this before??

A no spend day, other than the gas to get home this AM, & technically, the full tank of gas was from mom!

I survived the exit interview

March 22nd, 2006 at 02:37 pm

It wasn't as bad as Fridays meeting, in fact, it seemed as though the inspector had a change of heart/attitude. She came across almost nice, and she corrected everything that she had initially found out of compliance. So, we're good to go. Thanks everyone, for the kind thoughts, they helped!!!

I did sneak in a 20 minute session on my treadmill today, a new habit I'm trying to add in to the days here.

Picked up a Dave Ramsey book Financial Peace at the library, anxious to thumb through it this week.

Heading to moms, will take gardening items, so I can bring home a van full of free plants.

Everything on one day

March 22nd, 2006 at 08:27 am

I've packed a weeks worth of things into today........so, taking a deep breath and diving in. It's cleaning day here, so I've already done my run around picking things up routine......before A. gets here to clean.

I've got armloads of paperwork to take to my appointment with my tax preparer this AM. (yuk) Hoping like anything, she estimated the $$$ right, when I asked her to guestimate how much I will need to pay in capitol gains tax. I've got it in a short term CD........I would love for that chunk to be enough.

After the tax appointment, I'll head home for my exit interview from the annual state inspection last Friday. Another YUK. Friday was so terrible, I can't imagine how I'll feel after todays event. 3 people are coming today....not just the inspector person. I can't wait to see what regulations I'm out of compliance with.........the group I got cited for on Friday were not mentioned in my license requirements. Anyway, I'm so far down my road of making a life change, I'm just going to sit at this meeting and try my hardest to keep my mouth shut. Contemplated knitting through the meeting........but will most likely just take notes.

After I've made it through the exit event, I'm taking myself & the dog and going to my moms to stay overnight. We have a new pact, with gas prices so high.......we're going to stay over & get more from a visit if possible, without spending more for gas. Going shopping with her for more new furniture for her remodeled house. Asked her if we could do meals at home, no spending, less calories.......so it should be a great couple of days. Hands down, I've got the greatest mom, we have such a good time together.

Hoping for enough time between tax meeting to dash through the library, return books and pick up the things on hold (finance something or other) and still have time to use the treadmill here for at least 20 min.

Looking forward to having today behind me, totally against all my live for the moment tapes in my head!!!

Treadmill Tally

March 21st, 2006 at 02:23 pm

OK, so I don't have any stairs to climb here.........can't possibly make any headway on the one step into the house at the front door! So, I'm going to start tracking my treadmill minutes here.... (I'm definately at minutes, not miles or half hours.....)

Today: 20 minutes!!! Yeah me! I got this treadmill on freecycle, so no money spent (wasted, if not used). But, I haven't started using it to hang clothes on yet.

Went to antique booth, still can't see any obvious holes where anything sizeable sold. Deposited money at the bank, found a branch of my bank just blocks from the antique mall. From now on, will group these two trips & walk between them instead of drive.

Used up a "found" sack of weed & feed from the previous owner ......on what could loosely be described as my front lawn. Some day it will be a lawn....
Took another handful of cuttings from the trimmings dumped in my front yard from the landscaping company; got them planted.....free shrubs!

Oh, so quiet here this week without my autistic young man. I'm getting to actually think about things; impossible to do with him here.

Turning off my water heaters when not in use has almost become a habit. Each time I add something like this to my day, I can almost see the money start to add up...........or not add up as the case may be.

Here's hoping I can make this treadmill deal with myself & actually get on the thing daily!!! Can't be that much harder than remembering to turn my water heaters off & on.

homelessness

March 21st, 2006 at 07:06 am

Over the years, I've had my own little ministry, helping homeless men get back on their feet. I didn't start out trying to do this, but a phone call here, someone introduces me to someone.......conversations shed light on things; and next thing I know, there is someone either sleeping on my couch (only did that once) or there is an old trailer, camper or RV parked on the property. (have done this lots)
This morning, we've got a new "resident" .....the trailer came in after dark as I'm sure it isn't licensed or insured, sorta has that "look". It won't do anything for my property values, but I absolutely love doing this.

I'm again struck by how quickly lives can go sour and how small details become insurmountable. I watched the Oprah show yesterday, all about this same thing....poverty & homelessness in the US. Hopefully, "john" as I'll call him, will be able to catch up while staying here. I have so much that really doesn't cost a thing to share, and I get such a kick out of seeing someone head out on their own again. Not sure what all this gentleman can use/or needs, but we'll find that out as we go here. The thing that seems to be the biggest help is just the ability to use an address. That's an easy one. Next is the phone, although he has one........but minutes seem to be a problem. Food's always easy to share, we have plenty (and AH-HA.....he can help get the veggie garden planted!) I've also been peoples' banks, not in the loan business, but writing and mailing checks off for them, when they give me the cash. I forget how handy a checking account is and how difficult it might be to get a stamp, envelope and the money all in the same place. Little things, really simple things become huge hurdles and then just don't get done.....

Grateful here for all I have........and appreciating the ability I have to share it today!

Close to a no spend day, just using gas to get to my antique booth to add more treasures. I have no kids here til Friday, so this week will be the closest thing to a vacation I'm going to get for awhile. Enjoying the freedom of doing what I want, when I want and how I want.

assets & liabilities

March 20th, 2006 at 07:49 am

I'm still stuck on assets & liabilities after hearing whoever the author is of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.... His point about a home being a liability has really put me on a different track here, although that wasn't the point of his PBS program. I do see the basic problem, houses TAKE money. Seems like all the time!
I'm trying to come up with ways to make this one even out the equation, if just a little bit. I have always used my home as my job in a way, taking clients into my home and getting paid for it. Couldn't do it without the house.......so I'm probably not as far off the mark as it feels. Will continue to keep this idea in mind however; and try to come up with more ideas to MAKE $$$ with the house & property.

A no spend day today......staying home, eating off that same roast from Friday. (not to worry, I stuck chunks of it in the freezer) Soft tacos tonight with shredded beef, home canned salsa....even have a touch of sour cream left. Yum.

Trying to justify my house cleaner in my attempt to shave the expenses in preparation to quitting my job in June. I've still got this expense in the KEEP column........not much justification yet, other than I love having someone else clean my house ..........and hmmmm...he brings all his own supplies, so I don't need to purchase cleaning equipment or supplies??? I could switch to 2X a month, since the house won't be getting such a workout without the full time client here. Possible.

Love that it's Spring! Even looks like spring here, although it is 28 degrees this AM......supposed to be 55 today. Daffodils from the garden here on the desk, trees blooming......delightful.

They say "change is good" ???

March 19th, 2006 at 07:01 am

If change is truly good, I ought to be in great shape here. I have changed so many things in the past 48 hours and I can see God meeting me more than half way here.
I made a decision, started doing what I could do..........and voila, things are beginning to fall into place. Love it when that happens!!

One more call to make, cancelling the chicken coop project, the chickens were mostly entertainment & chores for the boys here. I never did consider them a money saver..........maybe we broke even. Eggs will be cheaper in the store. With the bird flu scare, my usual source to order the chicks has started having difficulties already with regulations, etc. Perhaps this is the right time to put this project on hold anyway. Will have the contractor finish the clothesline however, since that will save money for the rest of my stay here at this place.

The other adult that stays here (this is really a convoluted deal......she hasn't paid rent, let's call it subsidized housing) has given me cash towards expenses now, twice this week. Totals almost 1000. Nice........very nice. Now, to keep this regular, that will be the trick. Her income is rather hit and miss.

Also planning on speaking to one of the parents of my part time clients, letting him know I'm available for more hours, a different, creative plan for his son..... This is a private pay client, and money is truly no barrier to them. An area I plan to tap into. Better care for their son, less hassle for them and increased income for me. Win, win and win.

A no spend day here, up to 6 now for the month if I remember right. And, I did manage to get a picture posted on Craigs list, advertising the refrigerator in my living room. Posting pictures was a goal of mine, since I've got this unending supply of stuff I could sell....but pictures are imperative. So, did it once........TA DA!!

Listed 17 books online last night. Sure wish I had a crystal ball to know what other people are wanting to buy. Again, I have books that cross my path on a regular basis, no charge to me. Last night was an odd combo, some poetry, history, mystery and a couple coffee table type books. (the shipping on those might kill me, but I thought I'd see if there was an interest)

Very frugal couple of days food wise here. The roast, rice, gravy and brocolli from Friday has been transformed into a great meal of fried rice, another of stuffed acorn squash, a kettle of beef barley soup and for tonight, beef for soft tacos. Cooking a roast is like having someone fix the meals for the next couple days!! Comes out to pennies per serving too.......if I was any good at math, I'd figure it out!

B.B.B

March 18th, 2006 at 08:15 am

No, not the Better Business Bureau.......but the Bare Bones Bills. I just recalculated the expenses for me, to see what life will be like after June.

I come to $2,269. as the monthly bare bones, no frills total. This doesn't cover the 500. a month I've got coming out in auto deposits to savings/investments. Hmmmm... I'll aim for making 2800 monthly & see how that stacks up.

Income after June for me will be sparse to say the least. I will have 1125. that will remain the same. So, I need to aim for 1675 additional monthly income. Possible.

Sending out some emails today, making advance cuts to the expenses here, in preparation for the changes. Also sent emails last night re; placing commercial ads in local papers, which won't be finalized til Monday. If I can start up my other ventures now, and still have the other income from the current contract, things should be rather smooth.

Anxious for my meeting Wed with my tax preparer. I'm hoping to find out I don't owe more than I have set aside for this bill. I sold some real estate, bought another house, leased a house, switched jobs and closed out a business.......all in 2005...so I can't imagine how complicated this is going to be. I had asked the woman for an approx $$ amount to set aside & have it in a short term CD, just waiting to send off... Will miss seeing that total in my asset column here! But, the filing of this years taxes will signify the real end to the business so I can move on.

A no spend day, think I'm on my 5th now for March. THAT number will be going up with this new B.B.B. program!!!

rules, regulations and receipts

March 17th, 2006 at 09:26 pm

I'm so angry after the inspection meeting here this AM. I am being written up for not adhering to policies I have never seen. When asked for the policy, the inspector couldn't give it to me, couldn't tell me where to get it.... One regulation is not even from the agency I work for, it's an L & I situation she said. Labor & Industries...now, why would I know I needed to comply with their rules....and which ones, pray tell?? Gads, this is going to make me a crazy person pretty darned quick. I have to wait now, for Wed & the exit interview.........which sounds dreadful.
Nothing about this morning was about the care given to this client of mine.... I will never understand busy work requirements in a social service field.

Anyway............my finances are uppermost on my mind. I had all I could do to restrain myself during the inspection. I wanted to get my keys & just leave. Call my bank, transfer money to some other country & never look back. (seriously, did think about it!!!)

I will be spending much of this week looking into other options re; a real job. Ack..........haven't had one of those for decades. Probably not even employable any longer. Creativity has been my middle name.......I'm changing it to my first name as of NOW. Thinking outside the box, going to brainstorm until I come up with an alternative. I will not do this inspection bit again.....plus, I can't envision how awful life will be after my little guy is out of school in June. Since he will be 21, he will be here 24/7 and I will be a certified crazy woman by July. Can't keep this up.

I have my list of all the bills that can be cut after my client is moved out. That will cut the amount of money I need to clear by hundreds. I am capable of living a bare bones lifestyle, prefer that actually....I'll come up with the new figures this coming week.

Driven to find a new path, it's amazing how much energy anger creates.

inspection day

March 17th, 2006 at 07:37 am

I've got everything done that can be done for this inspection. All my records, bank statements, checkbook are laid out & waiting. The house is clean, the wood stove is lit, dinner is in the crockpot and dessert is baking. Time to sit down with a cup of tea and try to grab a bit of quiet. (hard to do with it being a no school day for us)

It's a no spend day here, my 4th for March. Usually, it would be the other way around.......4 days of spending! This inspection required some expenditures, the regulations didn't come until the 3rd so I didn't get a chance to spread them out or watch for a better deal. I can take them off my taxes next year however.

Still messing with my hot water tanks. I think tank #2 is in need of thermostats, but there was no way to get that accomplished before the meeting today. So, the circuit breakers are off and I'm running hot water for anything I can think of prior to 9AM.

After rounding up the savings accounts, sharebuilder and my mutual funds....I've moved up to depositing $400 a month in the combination. Each month I get a little more confident about raising that number...hoping to get back to my $650 where I was prior to the move in Oct. I've also worked out the monthly amount needed for real estate taxes needed in Oct...........think perhaps I'll use the ING account for that, since it is SO simple to transfer the funds from checking.

Time's up, cakes done.........and there wasn't any "quiet" here. Back to work, company coming for dinner and two young men staying overnight. I think I can find something to do. It's my Monday.......better get to work.

Getting rich quick???

March 16th, 2006 at 08:57 pm

I finally received my first paid survey! A whopping $2.00 too. Smile Good thing I can see the big picture here & am not counting on my survey income to support the household! (I did mention, just yesterday, that I was thinking of other ways to pay the bills here, come June!! Maybe surveys' are the answer??)

Listed 8 more books on half.com. Have approx 12 on now, have sold 1. Not a get rich quick deal either, better not count on this for June either??

Did get the first cash handed over re; the new rental payment plan I worked out here at the house. Pretty nice to see it so soon after we talked. This person has been staying here rent free for decades. Used to help instead of paying rent, but since Oct, no help AND no rent. Feels so much better to me with her paying her way, this could be something to offset the expenses now......and in June.

Rent for pasture late: Due on the 12th, tenant is out of town now til Monday....so payment will be a week late at least. This one is going to continue, these folks are HAPPY with the property & where their horses are, so I can feel OK about counting on their $$ each month, even if it isn't on time.

A no $pend day. Only my 3rd for the month. I did sign up for a Sharebuilder account, but the money won't come out of my bank until next week. I scheduled it to be withdrawn after all my checks come in for the month.

the need for emergency $$'s

March 16th, 2006 at 07:06 am

OK, here's another life lesson for me. I had my visual last week about the snowball theory & paying down cc debt.......and just in case I wasn't a true believer about the emergency fund idea.......I've got a mysterious difficulty that involves plumbing AND electricity!!!! (which translates to $$$ and more $$$)

I've been trying to get our hot water tank #2 to give us 120 degree water for our inspection tomorrow, and I've got it down to 140 now. Still not passing. I have a plumber called, we're "on his list", not sure what that means, but I'm assuming he won't be here in time for all to be fixed for the inspection. I tried his suggestion of flipping the circuit breaker to the tank, but we've still got 140 at the faucets. Obviously, the thermostats on the tank are KaFlooie!

Last night, I discovered the power is out to a corner of the house. Flipped the switch on the elec. panel, thinking the water tank was wired with the bedroom/bathroom........but no. So, we are fine in the daytime, (thank goodness the inspector is coming at 9AM) but night time is "just like camping" according to my autistic kiddo.

Have an electrician called too. I'm just waiting for the preverbial 3rd thing to go wrong here! Smile I'm grateful I've subscribed to the emergency fund for years, and have money stashed to get both of these pesky problems handled. Was even thinking about getting one of the new water heaters, the on demand deals. I've heard they are more spendy at first, but save down the road..........will look into that. But, if i'm just needing a thermostat, will just replace and put the money towards whatever re wiring or re do the circuit breakers....no idea what is wrong there. Just terribly coincidental that I was flipping switches yesterday and then poof, out the power goes to that same corner of the house.

Another thank you this AM......I appreciate the tips, thoughts and experiences of the rest of the list here. I have happy feet this morning; I took a tip from someone & bought boys socks. I've been buying mens socks for years so they last longer, but the fit was terrible. Duh! Boys socks!! My feet are thrilled! Thanks to those of you who mentioned this tip. During my days this week, I'm trying to be mindful of the things I do differently, habits that have changed, as well as things I do without. Just since joining in January of this year, I can really see/feel a difference in my daily routines here. Thanks much!!

March; halfway point

March 15th, 2006 at 01:49 pm

Can't believe March is half over already.
The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. Really drives home the need to save/invest early on.

Errand day for this week, spending what seemed like lots for me. Total was 90 something, but I did remember to use the 2 gift cards, so it was 80, and 20 of that was for someone else.......So my total wasn't as bad as it felt at the cash register. I truly am allergic to spending money I think. I took a list and was very good, got only items I had planned for. Couldn't even find one thing on my list, so saved some $$ there.

Made a bank deposit, had a small check as well as the cash that had been paid back, the bank balance was looking good enough I finally paid for the horse boarding policy. Who knew one needed a special policy for this?? It's only an annual thing, and the tenants monthly rent is covering the insurance, but it was a sizeable chunk out of my account today.

Doing some deep soul searching after a long talk with my mom yesterday. I have a change coming up in June, my autistic young man will no longer be in school.... This will mean no free time, or down time for me AT ALL. I can tell by the way I'm longing for respite time now, that by June I'm not going to be able to cope with this as a full time deal. So......that means finding a job....e-gads! Or, making this place make money somehow, or as my mom suggested, investing some money of hers that will be coming my direction when she dies (awful thought) so there is a monthly income. Deep thought needed. Creative thinking needed. Good thing I have a few days off next week, going to spend it with mom, visiting, helping out at her new place .........and brainstorming about how to move on to something new & different in June.

tough money conversation

March 14th, 2006 at 08:28 pm

I did it. Had the conversation I had been putting off since the move in Oct. I have an adult that lives in my home & the agreement was always she would help with expenses. It has got so loose, there was no help at all lately.
I now have the opposite problem, she is giving me her money to manage. Truly, she isn't good at this, is on a govt. disability, so there isn't much to manage anyway. But, I'm going to take the offer as it stands. It will make me less resentful, she might understand it takes money for her to stay here.........and the money will help pay the household expenses. During our conversation, she handed me $300. & said it was the 2nd half of her car insurance. (We have ours together, as it makes me qualify for a multiple vehicle discount.)With me handling her money, I can budget the payment & hold it, so she doesn't fritter it away on fast food; her major expense in life.
I also challenged her to come up with some creative ways to use the property & buildings here to turn this into an asset, instead of the liability it is.
So, my tough money subjects I have committed to dealing with are slowly getting handled. Only one more to go!
Feels good to be making progress on this catagory, Money Owed Me! I spend so much energy working up the guts to have these conversations........I wonder if any of these people think twice about the outstanding amounts & the agreements we have?
Did a new thing for me today; I bid (& won) on some yarn on Ebay. Nice price, including shipping. I think this will be my new way to shop for yarn, cheaper even than online or catalogs.
I'm also trying to figure out how to get pictures posted on line; I've got some items to list, but they really need a picture. So far, all I can do is email the picture to anyone that is interested. I've had this on my TO DO list now for as long as I've had my new camera!!! Feeling old & behind the times tonight!!!

Take what you like--------

March 14th, 2006 at 07:20 am

---------and leave the rest. That's the method I use when reading/learning about anything. I was reading some differing opinions about Dave Ramsey's money makeover program (which I just listened to) and dug deeper as to why I liked.......loved it.
I loved the humor first of all. And, he did seem to practice what he preached.
But, I'm not doing everything exactly like he says. I can see the big picture, so I don't need the immeadiate gratification of paying of the smallest balances. The snowball method makes more sense to me, (especially after my burn pile visual this past week) as does getting all the bills on zero interest.
I still love getting my brain working by listening to others points of view, and that certainly doesn't mean I swallow all they have to say. Sometimes, it is just a tiny morsel that sticks in my brain to remind me at a later date.....

Bottom line, I still loved the book. The attitude he had is what I took from listening to it.

On another note, I had a negative experience at a chain restaurant last month. It was just a minor deal, but I came home, found the website & let them know of my experience. Got a nice phone call last night from the district mgr, apologizing, asking for more details so he could follow up and 2 VIP comp breakfast vouchers. Pretty nice, considering I hadn't eaten when we went, I had just purchased breakfast for my autistic young man.
I confess, I'm thinking about the negative these days........Smile, not so much that it colors my world, but I AM going to be more diligent about mentioning both the bad and the exceptional when I do pay for something. (not spending really cuts down these opportunities!!)

Off to a No Spend day here.........enjoying the beginnings of spring.

Some Pretty Hot Water.............

March 13th, 2006 at 06:04 pm

The #2 hot water tank feeds supplies the 2 bathrooms in the bedroom end of the house........#1 tank takes care of the laundry, kitchen & another bath.... In preparation for my annual license inspection here; I was testing the temp of the water from #2 & found it registers a tad over 150 degrees! Yikes. I had no idea it was that hot. Talk about a waste of money. Now, I can't seem to get it regulated any cooler. Even after showers today, it remains at 150 or above. The thermostat on the heater says 110. Have a couple more days to mess with it, but I need it to read 120 on Friday for the inspection.

I should be getting another small paycheck this evening.....but I paid out 50% of the labor for the carpenter putting up the coop & clothesline, still money to the plus side however.

Spent the day fine tuning the house for the inspection. Cleaned places that haven't been touched since we moved in, packed some things away so they could be locked up, and generally looked at the place through a strangers eyes. We have a dog and cats & it looked like we were covered in fur. I just get used to it, some gets cleaned up each week......but I love my animals more than a spotless house. We'll see how we fair at the exit interview. My job depends on this license, so we need to pass with flying colors.

Getting a glass of wine & putting my feet up for the evening.

burn piles & snowball theory??

March 12th, 2006 at 03:43 pm

As if I needed a visual to really "get" the snowball theory to pay down debt........ The kids & I were outside at the burn pile & leaning on my pitchfork, I could visualize the credit cards as the big piles of stuff that needed to be burned. We were all working on our own at first, then throwing caution to the wind, I asked for the boys to work on one pile with me. We finished that in short order. Moved on to the next, etc. We're almost through 3 huge piles of branches that weren't showing any progress with all of us working on different piles at the same time. The kids weren't the least impressed, but it was a pretty neat visual for me. (I have been doing this method on the cc's but this was just fun to ponder while out baby sitting the fire)

No Spend Day #2

March 12th, 2006 at 10:06 am

I've been spending more than saving this month, here it is the 12th and I'm only on Day #2. Yikes. Have to buckle down on the second half of the month!
I listened to the Dave Ramsey Money Makeover CD's yesterday & got myself so jazzed up, I can hardly wait to cross his steps off. What a motivation! I need to reserve it from the library on a regular basis, just to keep the excitement up.

The highest CC has now been paid off, and actually closed. I thought to leave it open, but realized it had an annual fee, so closed it is. I paid the total monthly charges on my cc I use for online purchases yesterday.......that felt good to have it in order too. I also sent in for a trial offer, $10.00 credited to my account for 30 days of some anti theft program.......Promptly logged that into my To Be Cancelled list!

Yesterdays mail included 3 more samples.....even with sharing these with my sons' care box, we are benefiting from the free items. My dishwasher is running with free soap, the washer is on, again- free soap, I've got 3 free magazines to read today and I've used the free treatment to "prevent damage that causes aging". All for free! I'll be clean, wrinkle free & well read by this evening!

Heading outside to get some free exercise, otherwise known as yard work here. Free is definately my favorite 4 letter word......followed closely by-
Work.

drowning in paperwork

March 11th, 2006 at 07:27 am

I love details.........and organization.........but I'm overwhelmed with the paperwork this week. I've got my annual state inspection for my license this Fri and then Tue & Wed of next week....in addition to my appt on Wed for my taxes. I'm working on the license bit first, since after the first meeting on Friday, the rest are more like exit interviews....so, I'll work on collecting the paperwork/documentation for the tax meeting over the week end.
I didn't get to choose the scheduling for these, which is probably making me a tad more negative.
The tax meeting will be one more hurdle to cross re; the closure of the business last year. Can't wait til all the hurdles are in my past.
Success yesterday.......the largest rent check was in my mailbox.....on the day it was due! My reminder emails/FAX and voice mails worked; I think it was the bcc to the exec dir that actually made the system work. Either way, the money was on time. Nice, finally. I was getting tired of the excuse that they didn't get paid on time, so then their check was late. Too bad, figure out a different system.....
Deposited the 2 checks I had yesterday & did get my haircut. Also forgot to use the Target gift cards, just not a shopping person.....plus I had my autistic young man with me; so I should be glad I got home with the items on my list....(and absolutely nothing else!)
Just forgot to use the free money......I need to remember to write FREE MONEY on the list next time, maybe that would help?

Spending just $15.00 today.....It's helper day here......the young man I've hired to spend 3 hours with my autistic kiddo comes this morning, so I get a little reprieve. Enjoying this, the boys are still pretty shy, there isn't much interaction, but I get a break and that is what the goal was in the first place. Now, I just need to clone this kid and pull someone in a couple days after school too.

Home made clam chowder for dinner tonight.....it's freezing here, so that should be a good choice. We've got everything it takes, (but I never start out to cook something that I am missing parts for....) I'm not one to know how much a recipe costs, but this has got to be pretty darned cheap. I buy the bacon in bulk, use dried milk, have the clams in the freezer and using up potatoes that are at the bottom of my bin..... I'll make a huge pot too, so it will cover us for lunches tomorrow too. Aiming for a soup meal at least weekly here.

Got 2 samples in the mail yesterday; each time I say thank you to those of you who kindly post the addresses here.
Each offer individually, doesn't seem like much, but I've begun to see that I can run my dishwasher this week for free, wash clothes for a couple weeks also free in addition to the benefits that add up from each days new goodies in the mail. ( I should be looking years younger soon too......due to all the creams/lotions I've received ) Smile

Enough here, back to collecting documents and organizing paperwork. I'll put on my CD I got from the library yesterday (Dave Ramseys, Total Money Makeover) & maybe it will make the job less of a job.


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