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Archive for May, 2006

First Time for Everything

May 31st, 2006 at 06:47 pm

For the first time in my life, I've kept receipts for everything I've purchased this month. Also kept a tight rein on the checks written....

Paid the normal bills online, and wrote 5 checks for the month of May. Spent a total of $792.98 between checks and cash expenditures for the month. (the largest bill is the housekeeping, which I pay for my moms too) So, not bad at all. Didn't have any receipts for things that didn't have a purpose, nothing I couldn't account for.

I did learn that I need to close off the file of receipts each month, I have been tossing them in a folder on my desk for the last 4 months, and that wasn't the easiest method. I don't think I need to repeat this exercise, as there isn't any out of control spending, nor money disappearing, etc. My receipts should just go in the to be filed section, and put in the proper places during the month. It was nice to know that my 'feeling' about what I was spending, was right on.

I'll still continue to pay bills online, as that is one of my favorite things this computer does for me. I'll write fewer and fewer checks each month, as I add regular bills to the online account. And, I'll continue to cash one of my smaller paychecks each month, using that money as cash in my pocket. I always have most of it left by the end of the month........and either make a deposit with the extra or choose to not cash the next check.

I paid bills today, giving another payment to the 2 zero interest CC accounts. The balance was just over 10,000 when I started with the two (nasty leftover business/sister situation)............and todays total for the 2 cards is $8663.17 I am making progress! With the huge cut in my income this summer....I'm not going to see major changes in this total, it will still be going down, but not by much each month. Frustrates me to have something so negative hanging around....but, I see no other way.

housemate agrees to HALF!!!

May 31st, 2006 at 07:14 am

The planets must have been alligned right last night, as we've had a financial 'awakening' here at my house. The person that shares my house.....not the bills.......has just agreed to cover half the expenses for the house each month. Good thing I was sitting down. Good thing I don't suffer from a weak heart or something. I am stunned....and impressed with her....Finally!

So, my share of money to magically make appear by the first of every month is approx $1300. I can do that. If we could just find a 3rd person to add to the mix here, it would be even nicer. I continue to advertise & tell everyone I run into.

Along the lines of monthly expenses & this housemate person .........we've started a new habit. She is the one that goes to the storage unit auctions and has just mountains of stuff she sells. But, she has never really got off the couch to do much active "selling". She was more the wait til some prospective buyer just happened to come to the door type....

So, the new deal is.........every morning, we have our coffee at my desk and I read the Craigs list WANTEDS to her & respond to all the posts that match some of her junk. I've got her so busy, the couch thinks she's moved. And, her cell phone battery did die for the first time she said! This weeks hot items are a collection of 70's era speakers and a bunch of tires! Who knew?

Aiming for a no spend day today, I've been gone for a few days so there is a bit of a back log on my TO DO list here. Gardening of course........and getting the van packed with things for the weekly re stock trip to the antique booth.

And a big TA DA..... I've got leaf lettuce mature enough to pick to add to the salads tonight. Makes my day to pick free food. The cost of the seeds, under a dollar, we've got our own water......didn't need to fertilize, so it adds up to pretty close to free food in my book. Now, I just need to remember to sow some more salad greens every other week to keep us in greens for the remainder of the summer.

Off to preview the Wanted posts on Craigs list...........time to see who is "shopping"!!

Financal Advisors........Pro or Con??

May 30th, 2006 at 06:41 pm

I jumped right back to work this AM after leaving my moms........had 3 days there, getting waited on and spending almost nothing.

Picked up a freecycle item.........free chicken wire for the on going coop project here...then, got a MUCH needed hair cut from my sewing customer. She has referred my name & number to more people over this holiday week end too....yeah. And, she does a fine haircut too!

Then, I was close to the bank & thought I would swing in & make a deposit and see if I could check with their financial advisors to get a better deal on some money I have in their platinum savings account. I know it isn't in the wisest place, but I rarely have time with no kids.........so this was my first oportunity. Listened to some info, took a self evaluation thing to see where I fall on the risk assesment....(Very risky, I am!) I knew that from the last time someone walked me through those same questions. Anyway, bottom line, the person I needed to speak to only works Wed, Thurs & Fri.........in the afternoons. Of course. So, that means I can't get anything different done with this money until July, unless something odd happens to my schedule.

I didn't have to do anything to get the interest rate increased on the accounts I do have. The bank person just changed those, said I qualified for a special deal due to the number of accounts & $$. Wonder how long I was missing out on that??

I will meet with the person when schedules permit, but I'm just not all that comfortable with someone else telling me what to do with my money. Mom & I talked about putting our accounts together & having a bigger sum, wondering if that would be any help?? Just thinking and wondering at this stage, but both of us feel we're not in the right place with these little pots of money.

Mom's going to a finance seminar for women this coming week, I can't go, so I told her to take great notes & we would look at them together next chance we got.

Did some work getting an apartment of moms cleared out........now ready to get new toilet set, carpets cleaned and then a day with my Oh So Great Housecleaner!! She will be ready to rent the apt then........for more money than she ever has too. Way to go Mom! She is also going to rent the garage seperately I think, as I've been sending her Craigs list postings, & she has seen how dear garage space is around her area....she could ask lots more than just offering it as a bonus to the tenant......for nothing.

It will feel good to sleep in my own bed, but I'll get a rude awakening tomorrow AM when I'm back to cooking here!

Me, At a Store............

May 29th, 2006 at 10:43 pm

Yes, I went shopping, at a real store, not a thrift store, or garage sale. Spent actual money too, not a g/c. I had to meet my week end kiddos mom and as the schedule went, we were hours early. So, not being near my home, we headed to a store with a garden dept & I picked up some more veggie starts I didn't have.

Since shopping isn't a vice for me, I had a hard time wasting enough time in the store & we ended up almost an hour early at the pre appointed meet up site. (I had already taken said kiddo for a walk at the track)

I always have a tablet & writing utensil with me, so I spent the hour writing a couple articles and ideas for articles for www.frugalgardening.com Better use of time than staying in the store, in my opinion.

I was amazed at the stuff for sale in the store. Not sure when the last time was that I was in something that qualified as a store......definately last year. Been years, plural, since I've done anything close to a mall. Felt like I was wandering in another country.

I'm spending one more night at my moms, then heading home in the AM. Stopping on the way to pick up a load of chicken wire (thanks Freecycle) and then getting my much needed haircut. (my first new sewing customer is a hair stylist, so I'm going to her......needing to remember to thank her, she has already sent referrals my way!!)

3 day holiday

May 27th, 2006 at 08:25 am

I'm heading to my moms again, for a 3 day break. I will be taking one of my "boys" with me, but he is an easy guy to be with.

So, the biggest treat of all, is the no cooking feature! Mom loves to cook & I don't do any of that when at her place. I trade and handle all the little things that cropped up on her TO DO list.... Still working on the touch up paint project there.....just can't seem to get that tackled.
Also helping her come up with a formal letter for one of her tenants she wants to have move. We need to do some research into the landlord/tenant act, so we follow the law with timing, etc. Her tenant knows this is coming, and has mentioned it to my mom, so it isn't going to be a nasty situation, but we still need to follow guidelines, etc.

Will also help get her apt. spiffed up to rent. She had some work done this week & is ready to put the sign up. I think I've got her convinced to ask the going rate for her rentals for the first time in ages. She has always been WAY under market on these, but now she has to hire any repairs done (dad used to do them) and the property taxes are so much higher.........she needs to make the rent cover the costs.

We have plans to go walking with friends over the week end and a short trip to the beach just for fun. Also, a shopping trip to the local thrift stores; we're looking for clothes for mom and yard art for her new garden area we're putting together. Mom says she can never find anything at the thrift stores, but LOVES a good bargain, so I'm going with her to see what the glitch is.

I've also got an outdoor job to finish up there, some drain tiles I had removed a couple weeks ago to find a clog in the system .... Cleaned it out, but didn't put everything back. Need to finish that up.

So, a change of scenery, no autistic kiddo, someone else doing the cooking.........sounds like heaven.
Not coming home til Tuesday!!!

The Art of Bill Paying

May 26th, 2006 at 10:06 am

Love online bill paying. Usually. I am over being ticked at the mix up with the house payments last month. Gads, what a snafuu.

The changes the online bank helper & I made to the multiple accounts has shown up and seems like it has solved the difficulties.

Noticed a direct deposit to my checking account of $93.00 but I have no idea who the money is from. Love added funds, but would like to know from where??? Couldn't get more info from online, will have to look into it some other way. Money from half.com is regularly making it's way into my checking account, not going to support myself with these deposits, but I like them anyway.

Not as anxious to pay off the cc balance since the whole amount is at zero interest at this point. Funny to me. I have the money in other accounts, but here I am paying monthly to cc. Guess I'll go along like this til the increase in interest moment....then pay it off. Might as well earn interest on the money until then. I am paying 3 times the minimum anyway.

Just another tidbit to add to my odd bits about me........I love paying bills. Just like I love ironing. Something about a routine activity & seeing results of my efforts I think. I can turn bill paying into an "Activity" here. Favorite music, cleaned off desk space, flowers, candle .......the whole shebang. Even when I didn't have enough money to go around. Even when the list of those who wanted my money was WAY longer than my dollars available, I've enjoyed paying bills. Go figure.

2 new clients today

May 25th, 2006 at 02:17 pm

I feel like I'm back in business today. I've already had one sewing customer this morning, a new one.....and I've also completed her job. She will be returning this afternoon to pick it up.

Just got a call from new customer #2, she is on the way, got a little lost. She will be waiting for her order, or leaving postage so I can mail it to her when finished.

And, my first customer in this new venture is coming to pick up another order this afternoon.

So, 3 people in one day. TA DA. Feel like I'm on the right track. The ad has been in the paper 6 times at this point, 2 of todays people are from that ad and the other is from Craigs list, so I need to continue with that too.

Just getting back to this entry, have had customers all day! So fun! And I get paid for it. Gotta love that. And, I didn't have to go anywhere, nor did it cost me anything. All good things. And, I met some very great people in the process.

One more pick up this afternoon for an order that is all finished, then I can call it quits and get started on the "other" job for the day...my kiddo's bus will be here in 15 minutes.

Just tossed a loaf of banana bread in the oven, getting my kiddo ready to go camping this weekend, and buying treats is out of the question. Have cookies done already.......now we just need to get him packed this evening and I get 3 whole days without him. Can't hardly wait.

Writing for G/C

May 24th, 2006 at 01:24 pm

If anyone had told me a year ago I'd be writing for gift certificates I would have told them they were nuts. But, here I am, halfway through the current campaign with InsiderPages.

The latest deal is to write 50 reviews and receive a $50 G/C from Amazon. I can do that!! Actually have finished 27 in 2 days.......so I think I'll be OK. Project needs to be done within 2 weeks of starting it. I've finished all the reviews that are the kind I can think of right off.........now I'm having to do a bit more digging.

A quick look through my daytimer will jog my brain again tomorrow. And, if I can't come up with enough that way, I'll thumb through my file system here at the desk.

This will be a couple easy Christmas gifts I figure. I can get $50. to go a LONG ways!

Word of Mouth Advertising

May 23rd, 2006 at 09:37 pm

I've got another sewing customer!!! I've been on the phone and have the appt set up to meet & get started on a custom riding blazer, with sequin trim no less. Too fun. ( I used to design & manufacture dance costumes, so this won't be much of a stretch!) Feel like I'm getting into familiar territory, since this customer was a referral from my first customer already. Nice. Can't beat that word of mouth advertising.

Have a customers order half done this week, need to finish tomorrow as she is picking it up (and paying for it) on Thursday.

It's been so long since I've been able to sew; either for myself & the household.....or for others professionally, that I have almost forgotten how much I love doing this! Getting very excited about building this up! One of the phone inquiries I got today was from someone in Seattle, quite a drive from my place, but she said she hadn't been able to find anyone closer. I was concerned about how far off the beaten track I am these days.....

Again, I'm grateful I have a skill that is marketable. And, for the woman I worked with decades ago at a Singer retail store in Seattle. She told me how she had earned enough money to pay her way to America from Switzerland as a young woman, all with her sewing skills. Then, she convinced me to try the same thing! I did & quit the Singer company pretty darned quick!! Loved being able to sew enough each month to pay for my bills.........and then have free time too. Looking forward to capturing that same feeling again.

............and two steps back

May 23rd, 2006 at 12:47 pm

I shouldn't have written down the "plan". Naturally, the next day I get an email and a phone call, the potential housemate is checking out one other option, closer to her job and the gentleman with the RV didn't get the RV...so, I'm not as close as I thought to having July solved.

Went to the antique booth today with a van full of stuff. Again, it all fit in but I couldn't identify anything that had sold. Something MUST have!!! (crossing my fingers) I am starting to stack things up, since the first month I was really spreading them out to fill up the booth. Things are being moved and looked at, which are both good things.
I did spend some time and re arranged most of the displays, I used to notice things sold better if they were in different places at least monthly.

Did the banking and the post office run at the same time. Stuck to my gas saving plan of driving below the speed limit too.

Got an email invite to write reviews for InsiderPages today. Sent off my request to be included. 50 reviews in 2 weeks for a $50 g/c from Amazon. Definately worth tapping out a few reviews here. I did 4 this AM, and did some thinking about other possibilities as I was driving today. This is more my kind of deal.........the trial offers just didn't pan out for me very often.

Gads, I just had an AH HA moment here. I have always thought I should start keeping track of my No Spending Days here, just as another tool in my frugal kit.... And, a quick look to the right of my monitor, shows my catagory of No spending days......... DUH.... It's right there for me. Since January when I began writing here........I've had 62 NO Spend Days!!! They do make a difference in the bottom line!

Just got another call for sewing....from a blurb I put on Craigs list. (need to remember to put that in on a regular basis! Stupid not to take advantage of a free source of advertising)

After reviewing my options for July, it is interesting to me that they are the same things I was brainstorming over when trying to come up with what I could do for the $20.00 Challenge. Instead of it being a lark at this point and a fun way to save some money, it is going to be the new retirement plan..... I think that is a tad on the humerous side.

Back to my writing.......if I'm going to get 50 reviews done, plus a couple for insurance....I've got to get cracking. This isn't a task I can do after school unless I am trying to sound like a pre schooler!

on-line shopping & new retirement "plan"

May 21st, 2006 at 06:46 pm

Surprised myself and actually did some on line shopping today. Thought it was a no spend day, but had time to put one of those deals together so many here have talked about.

Used My Points to get books from Barnes & Noble, also paid for the memb. bit from there.........and cashed in my g/c I had redeemed from my points for B & N. Managed to find what I needed to get shipped, went just over the total necessary for free shipping and I think it is going to work. Shipping books to an incarcerated person, I can't ever ship things that aren't new, must come from the company, etc, etc. I was determined not to spend any more than I had to, and now I've got more points to redeem another g/c........so I think it is almost going to be a wash. Amazed myself that I got this accomplished. We'll see if it all goes to where it needs to go....I haven't been too successful in the past.

Down to 2 kids this evening, feels like a vacation!

Had a drop in visitor, another person who is willing to rent space from me & live on the back 40. We're meeting again tomorrow when I don't have 3 boys milling around asking me a thousand questions.

All my little ventures might add up to enough income to make this new retirement "plan" of mine work. (thank you to all of you who have given me encouragement to just keep waiting for the windows to open here)

The "plan" as it looks from here:
-have current house mate pay more than her share for the first time in decades so I'm not really paying for housing.
-new housemate paying rent starting 7/1
-monthly rent from parking boat
-1/2 the power bill paid from "Navy" person staying on the property
-monthly income from 2 part time clients here on week ends
-monthly income from antique booth
-monthly income from boarding the 4 horses
-brand new income from sewing customers (have no recent numbers from this, but I was always able to make as much as I wanted when I did it before.)

So, with all these taken into account, I'm only using the figures I know.....I'm less than $100 off what I will be giving up in income as of July 1st. Not bad. I just need to come up with a little more sophisiticated accounting system here, so I can keep track of who has paid what!!

Feeling quite positive tonight! Grateful I have a piece of property I can MAKE money from, as well as some talents I can get paid for.

And, just to put the whole thing over the top, the whopping 1 book sale a month from Half.com!!!!

Sunday Update

May 21st, 2006 at 08:45 am

I'm limping along here........haven't attempted to put my foot with the broken toe into a shoe yet, so still shuffling along in slippers.

Still all 3 boys today......it is looking like a LONG day to me. One of the boys is just out of sorts, started right off at 5AM-ish being horrible. I've tried almost all the distractions I can come up with, getting tired of creating new and amazing things to re direct him with.

We've been blessed with a terrific woman to share the house as soon as our full time kiddo moves out. I'm excited to see how the changes affect the household.

I notice things all the time that will be different for me & really can't imagine the huge sigh of relief that will come with this big change. No more walking on eggs.......no more horribly loud "singing", no more food/meal oddities to deal with. I can't see July 1st coming fast enough!

Discovered yesterday, our cable TV is all out of whack. At least, it is for me. I'm expecting the repair person today, to tell me it is something stupid that I did or didn't do. Honestly, I'm so short on brain cells, nothing would surprise me. My TV is acting like it isn't hooked up to cable, the main TV in the rec room doesn't pay any attention to what channel you select, it is just random but, fortunately the autistic kiddos TV seems to be working just fine....(thank you Jesus!!!)

everything looks better in the morning

May 20th, 2006 at 07:14 am

Isn't that a wonderful thing? At least, I think so, but I am a morning person through and through.

I did get a nights sleep, thanks to some good drugs (thanks to all who sent well wishes re; my stupid toe accident yesterday)...
I did get the rent check from the tenant (although missing the requisite late fees).....
My toe isn't throbbing any longer...YEAH.
And, it's barely raining, the best kind for the garden AND I don't need to go out and water this week end.
And, the autistic wonder kiddo, is doing fine today. That's the usual pattern for us, if he has a meltdown, then he's good for awhile.

I did meet the potential house share person yesterday, feel pretty good about the match. We did pass her inspection too. Will make my decision today, making use of my LIFE RULE about waiting 24 hours before making major deisions.

It's a no spend day here, tomorrow too (& yesterday for that matter). If I'm busy here and don't go anywhere, it is easy for me to not spend.

My Points thoughts: I had gone into my account pages about a month ago, when I redeemed points for a Barnes & Noble g/c. Right when the announcement came that they had sold..... I noticed I had been pretty restrictive re; my interests so I changed those. Well, something was alligned right, since I've already surpassed the points I redeemed, in a third of the time. I haven't done any trial offers, so it's just the email reading level. Pretty OK with me. I'll be able to just repeat the same g/c since that's a store I can use to ship books from.

Have to actually cook today; the fridge is looking too bare to magically make meals appear from! This needing 3 meals a day for the bunch is just not fun for me. I would rather be doing anything but cooking; however, I'm too cheap to do this any other way then from scratch!

Better get to work here........not much gets done when I'm at the computer!


May 19th, 2006 at 06:59 pm

I can't even tell anyone how.....but somewhere this afternoon, during my autistic kiddos meltdown...... I broke my toe.

It's throbbing and I have it up with some ice on it. All the kids keep asking "what happened?" I have my toes all taped together which feels a tad better.

I have done this so often,I could break my toes off on a dotted line I think.

We survived the meltdown, I can't even remember what started it. During the event, he tromped through my newly planted rows of seeds, calling me all sorts of names. Have no idea what made him go off. Can't remember the toe either........do remember bringing the remainder of the seeds that were in my hand inside & they got put in a ziplock. And, then I went to my room for a time out......and to find an ice pack & tape for toes! He calmed down and has been great since dinner. Even went out and mowed the lawn for me. Always a puzzle & no answers. Exhausting.

Got my last call back from the state licensing board, re; my tenants. They are now being placed on probation. Not really sure what that means, but the state assured me they are still full with kids & being paid......so I should not have difficulty with rent checks. HA!

Can't wait til it is bedtime here. Going to take something for my toe & hope to go right to sleep.

Still Gardening Here

May 19th, 2006 at 08:47 am

I'm spending any bit of time I can scrape up in the gardens. Trying to get more of the veggies in, before it is really too late to bother with here.

It's a nice cool day today, so I can work longer without passing out!! But, having to fit my stuff in between kid stuff......Not always the best.

Still have peas & beans to get in and 2 more of the tomatoes to plant. Haven't been able to sneak away to get more veggie starts, so may have to pass on them. Foo.

Feeling better about my rental....but will continue to inquire as to the extent of their licensing problem. Wondering if this is the time to approach them about some part time work??

Listed a couple boxes of books on Half.com last night. Decided I can do them quicker one at a time instead of the multiple listing bit. For some reason, that way just takes me forever. I'm all ready for the flood of sales now! HA......... Let's see if I can sell 2 a month! That would be a new record.

I'm starting to list some odd ball things on Craigs list...we'll see how I do. This weeks offering; A wedding dress, train & veil. Found stashed in one of the storage units at auction. Getting some practice with my camera, that's for sure.

The Power of a Phone Call

May 18th, 2006 at 08:19 pm

Update on the rental situation........

I left voice mails at all the numbers I have for the company leasing my other house. I also sent off emails to the same people. No responses.
So, being more than curious and pretty cranky, since the rent was due on the 10th.........I googled them. I found a press release from the Seattle Times, saying they had been given a stop placement from our states dept. of social & health services. Yikes. My imagination started going at this point. Where were the kids? Were the kids still at the house, was it empty, had the woman just skipped.... Overdrive......that's right.

I put in a call to the state licensing dept. Explained my situation. Got the list of infractions, none at "my" house, but in the neighboring county. Said they were working with the owner to get them back in line, but yes, there was a stop placement order.

Within an hour of my talking to the state, I get a call from the admin assist. from the tenants office. The check has been held up, but will be in the mail tomorrow. I asked about the late fees.........she had no idea, but promised to call me tomorrow.
Feel much better, will be able to sleep easier tonight.

I've still got some calls to make to get my facts straight about the rental & their contracts with the state, but I ran out of business hours today. Tomorrow being Friday, kiddo home from school, appointments here for potential house share person AND, the state workers frequently don't work on Fridays...I'm guessing it will be Monday before I get some concrete answers.
I'm glad this was bugging me enough to keep at it. And, I'll not count on the money until I actually cash the check.

Enough for tonight...........I've had plenty for one day!

First Time for Everything

May 18th, 2006 at 03:07 pm

Amazing, but true. I just got a package, saying I was a winner in the SC Johnson Clean Home Journal Sweepstakes! TA DA
I got a full size container of air infusions. (fancy name for air freshener, what will they call it next?)

Truly, I don't usually win anything, so this was pretty out of character. Must have been from one of the websites where I signed up for something free, as I'm not into sweepstakes.

On the bad news front: Still can't reach the tenants in the rental house. Did do some research and found the state had put a stop placement on the company....which would affect my house. Drat & darn. Waiting for a call from the state licensing dept, to see what's up. Hoping like crazy, they have the situation resolved and the company is still afloat.

schedule surprise

May 18th, 2006 at 07:26 am

As a rule, I'm not fond of surprises......unless they are like finding a beautiful waterfall when coming around a bend on a trail. Those are great.

This morning I found out there is a half day of school tomorrow. Definately not on the district calendar, no notice sent home in the daily journal, nothing. Just an off the cuff comment this AM from the bus driver. Gads, I have appointments scheduled tomorrow, and now I've got my kiddo home. (we just don't do half days here, it is too big of a schedule snafuu for him...easier to skip it and stay home)

So, gearing up today for a 3 day session with all 3 boys home. Better haul out a big chunk of some sort of animal from the freezer........ Going to hold off on baking for one more day, to get it a little cooler in here.

Have my repeat sewing customer today, and the rest of the day is mine. Planning on no spending, unless I can locate some more veggie starts at a local nursery. Didn't get to that yesterday & could still use some more plants.

Have a rental check that is getting to be WAY too late for comfort. Have left voice mails & a couple emails with no response. This is on my TO DO list today to actually speak to a person re; this. Hate this part of rentals.

Heading to the garden, still fairly cool out this AM. Have a new outlook for my gardening these days.........it feels like money in the bank the more I work out there...realizing the harvest will be almost free food. Just the cost of the seeds & starts. Gotta love that!

It Must be the Heat

May 17th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

I've lost it. Just had people put their dinner dishes in the dishwasher, only to find out they were all clean. Well, they WERE all clean, prior to dinner. So, we've got Twice Washed Dishes. A brand new cycle.

I'm tired from the heat here, being a Pacific NW native, I can't hardly function when it gets this hot. Only 77 it says today, but someone is lying. It's hotter than that here.

I did part of my errands today, spent just over $100 at the hardware store, which seemed horribly high, but there were some things on the bill that made it go up fast. I did get some more veggie seeds and got another couple rows of things in and watered. Looking forward to next week and promised showers........so I can skip this 2-3 times a day watering chore.

Repeat sewing customer called, appointment set up for tomorrow. Good, good, good. Potential house share person coming to look around on Friday. We've visited on line and now on the phone a couple times, she sounds like it just might work. I'm so used to sharing my home with anybody that arrives, it just isn't a concern with me. But, I might just be way too weird for her!!!

Must call the local paper tomorrow, it came in the mail today & my ad isn't in. Drat. The deal was for it to run continually until I cancel. Seems like having something happen like it is supposed to is becoming a rare item!

Weaning people off Netflix here. Changed our plan to 2 at a time. I don't think anyone is going to notice.
Hit the outlet bakery for this month, have a freezer full of carbohydrates now. Found out an unadvertised special they run all the time, 25% off things if you buy 5 from the same section. I had, but didn't do it on purpose........Will plan on it next visit. Had a coupon for 1 item free, got 2 addition free items since my total was over $20.00. It pays to only go once a month.

Clean House Wednesday

May 17th, 2006 at 09:52 am

It's housekeeper day today...... Love Wednesdays! Laundrys' on the line, dinners in the crock pot, gardens watered already & it's only 9-ish. I do get more done with the plain old cleaning chores farmed out.

Spending today...........but for things for the garden & a few more supplies for the chicken coop. So, technically, food budget I guess.....in the long run. Will be taking my autistic kiddo with me, so no chance I'm over spending, or straying from the list. He is "keeper of the list" when he goes with me, so we REALLY stay on task. Hoping to bring home a van full of veggie starts, things that work better here in zone 8 to have a bit of a head start. Also going to get more salad greens, so I can continue to plant another container each week, hoping to stretch out my almost free salad makings.

Taking library books back on the same swing through town.......skipping any new ones, as I'm all out of time to read since the garden is now in. Will keep my 'wish list' going at my library's website, just not ordering any of them until things slow down a bit.

In my quest to continue lowering my monthly bills; I have 10 I pay monthly. Out of those, I pay 9 online....so it feels as thrifty as possible right now. There will be some changes made as we get to July, but for now, all of them have been critiqued, questioned, combined, zero interest-ed (like that word?) and looked at through a microscope.
There are 6 bills paid on an annual basis, or semi annual.....none of which I can cut or lower at this point. (I tried) All of these are paid on line.

Aiming to stay cool here .........supposed to hit 80 again today. Unheard of in western WA this time of year. No a/c here either, just getting very skilled at which windows to open at which time of day.

Income Sources; How Many Does It Take?

May 16th, 2006 at 07:17 am

There might be another able bodied, employed room mate in my future. I got an answer to my Craigs list post yesterday & the woman has an appt to come check us out on Friday. I also got a phone call last night from the gentleman who wants to park his boat here on the property...he is getting closer to moving, says the boat should be here next week.

If I add enough of these odd little income sources into the mix, I am going to be able to paste together enough money to cover the costs here. I've got a ways to go........ Once I get the expenses covered, I can relax a tad. Spending nothing is OK by me, however I would love a bit more cash monthly to be able to continue working on the house & yard.

I feel like I won the lottery......I got an email saying some plants that were offered on Freecycle are MINE to pick up!!! Woo Hoo. Some ground covers (established) and a couple ornamental grasses. Can't beat FREE! (there's an article on the sister site www.frugalgardening.com about Free Plants) Picking these up today and coming right home to get them in the ground here.

Have my van full of items for the antique booth trip today; hoping to see some vacant "holes" in the display, meaning something has sold. Would be nice to get a sizeable check on the first. Interesting that this started out as my 'solution' to the $20.00 Challenge here. Now, it is part of my master plan to get enough of these little income sources so I don't need to go get a 'real job' after I retire in June.

Conveniently, the post office is a block from the booth space, so I'll mail the book that sold today too. Another $5.00. Postage for this will be the only spending today. Wish I could find the magic in this book selling deal....it is such an easy way to add dollars, but at one a month, I'm not going to be able to add much to my income total with this method.

I forgot to post to the forum, the coupon train arrived this week end. I've gone through them and pulled out some terrific ones for our household.......now I've got to file my new collection and then this package is off to Oregon!

Heat Wave Hits WA State

May 15th, 2006 at 11:01 am

I know there are those of you experiencing weather in the 80's regularly......however, for us here in the western part of WA state, this is really unusual. Supposed to hit 84 where I am today. I fade fast at 75.

So, I was up at the crack of dawn this AM, have the laundry out and some of my new veggie garden planted. Wanted to come in when it started to get past warm for me.

I just need to remember to water again this evening, so my new seeds don't crisp up and die before they get a chance to provide the table with fresh produce here. Added onions, several kinds of lettuce, radishes, zuchinni's and cucumbers today. I'm so bad at keeping track of expenses for projects like this, but I can't imagine I'll have over $50.00 by the time I get it all in. Some of the seeds for todays work party were from last year, I finally uncovered them in the garden shed.

It's a no spend day here. I'm cooking once & tossing an extra meal in the freezer too.

Sold a book on half.com. I'm holding at selling one a month now..... Thinking seriously about taking a grouping of them down and posting on Amazon. The sale today went to a book store back east, which tells me I really had a low price on it.

Since yesterdays post about telecommunication expenses.......I really started the morning off aiming to switch to dial up. However, when I checked to see the price of phone service after dropping the cable modem, I wasn't going to save at all. Plus, (naturally) the cable co. gave me 6 months at a promo price, so now I'm cheaper than if I had switched to dial up.
Dropping the cable box in my kiddos room would only cut $5.00 from the bill, so I'm leaving that. When we rent out that room, we would most likely need to add the cable back in then, and of course there would be a hook up fee.

August is the renewal date for our cell phones; I will look into the pre paid minutes bit then. We only use them a couple times a week at the most, always have tons of time left, so we're really paying through the nose for this convenience.

Off to brew a pitcher of iced tea for the afternoon.

Free Horsey Fix

May 14th, 2006 at 11:12 am

I got my horsey fix this AM when the "horse lady" came to ride. I get to groom one of the horses now when they are going out.........what a fun way to start my day. I learn a couple new things each time and am getting my comfort zone back up to speed with the critters. All for no money too, can't beat that!

I'm working here today, but have things pretty planned out, so I'm on auto pilot already. Meals all under control (love that feeling) and it will be a no spend day here.

My dozer friend only charged me $140. to work for the day here. I need to do something nice for him, since he gave me such a deal price wise. I did tell him about my financial changes here, and apparently that made a difference on what he charged me.

REMINDER: Don't forget to mention budget constraints to people when you are needing to buy goods or services. The worst that can happen is nothing, the best is you get something free or at least reduced.

I just got a room full of vintage items brought in, so I've got plenty of work to do today & tomorrow. Cleaning and pricing, getting things ready to head to the antique booth on Tuesday. Better get to cracking here!

appointments; cancelled & kept

May 13th, 2006 at 11:02 am

This AM started off well, then the teen I hire to help me on Sat mornings, sent an email through his mother........he had forgotten he was going on a hike today. We weathered that here, the autistic one did OK with the change, said "fooey" and went on with his morning. (THAT was progress!!!)

Then, ahead of schedule, my friend with the dozer/tiller called & said he was on his way over. (wasn't supposed to be til next week during school hours). So.........that meant a quick trip to the veggie plot & taking off the stones/blocks and the 3 HUGE, really HUGE pieces of black plastic. (sure glad I had already showered...NOT) Didn't get much help with this project, it was pretty dirty & wet to get the autistic one to do more than watch me and laugh his head off.
I ran in and changed, no time for another shower until tonight and the 2nd adult is here..........

But, the up side is.....the veggie garden will be done today and the piles of fill that have been in my front yard since October are going to be smoothed out and tilled in. Yeah. A front yard, at last.

Kiddo #2 arriving for lunch & staying til Monday evening.

Horse Lady coming to groom all 4 horses & go out for a trail ride. Hoping to get my 2 kids out there & help groom. Good for my guys & I get my horsey fix.

That should just about fill up my day here. Meals are all prepped, thanks to my mom; she sent home enough food for an army. Blessings to her! I just need to pop something in the oven for desserts and I should be on auto pilot for the next couple days.

Big bill today; Paying for the dozer time here. I did tell my friend I need the budget price plan, so he isn't spending hours out there grooming us to look like a golf course. Good thing the rest of the week end is a no spender...

Can't wait for Tuesday; Back to the antique booth with more new things and off to the nurseries to get plants & more seeds for the veggie garden!!

Home..............and back to work

May 12th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

It's my Monday and I'm back at work after a delightful break at moms. (use the term break loosely.......we gardened, mowed and painted for 2 days)
I convinced mom to plant a couple bedding plants, including a Wave Petunia in a vintage metal wagon...too cute. She is more of a plant everything in a row gardener, so this was a huge leap for her. I do think it was her favorite thing we finished in our Mothers day work party! As soon as her plants start to take off, I'll post a picture here.
(for other cheap to free items to use as planters, check out the post at www.frugalgardening.com)

One kiddo back today, the full timer, the one that makes me nuts within 5 minutes. No breaks in sight now until perhaps Memorial Day week, and then it will be a long stretch with no breaks until he moves out at the end of June. I can tell I'm pretty much all used up; when I'm counting the days already!

I did get the TV guide sub. cancelled (thanks ImaSaver), my kiddo can't read it with the new format.
I also called about the no int. energy loans our power co. is doing for heat pumps/furnaces. Bottom line, I don't qualify. If my furnace worked at all, I would qualify. Since it is officially dead, no go. Seems dumb to me, but that was the final answer.
I did bring home the push mower, so the smaller patches of lawn will be mowed with Contrary1 power, saving gas and adding to my fitness program, such that it is (or isn't)
Found a great poem in a Mothers day post on another list I'm on..........I saved it and will unearth my calligraphy supplies to make a wall plaque for my foster dtrs baby shower. I didn't want to add to their stuff, but I wanted to take something to each of the showers....and this will be perfect for one of them (knitted blanket already finished for another). No cost, other than perhaps a frame, if I can't scare up one here. We have an agreement about 'gifting'. Neither of us enjoys spending money just to spend money. I have everything I need, they put 2 households together so don't need anything either and there are so many relatives waiting for this baby, it has too much stuff and it isn't even born yet. I need to ask if they are using cloth diapers & if so, I'll get a month of diaper service, as it would be a nice time saver at the beginning. With that, I would be done with the gifts and I can just sit back and watch my little gal with her little one, which is a pretty amazing thought!!

a break from the usual

May 11th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

I am still at my moms, taking a break from my usual routine. Did things today that are really so simple, but impossible at my house.
-Enjoyed going back to bed after getting up to walk my dog......how indulgent!!
-Sat & visited with mom over & after breakfast.......in jammies......until almost 11AM Very relaxing!
-Had my son in law come over & fix a couple things on moms PC that I couldn't get to go.....definately an operator difficulty here. (me) We got to sit & visit with SIL for hours, had him stay for lunch. No kids in sight....again, very unusual
-decided on the spur of the moment mom & I would go out to dinner. Really nice, chose a great little local diner type place....cheap & good. More relaxed visiting.

Don't want to go back home and back to work tomorrow.....whining a bit here. We had a great mothers day break; early but just as nice.

mini vacation here

May 10th, 2006 at 09:44 pm

I've escaped to my moms again, for 3 days....and this time I have no kids with me. Amazing, but true. Can't remember when this has happened.

We spent today working on more projects to get her place back to how it used to look, prior to her renting (I use that term loosely....) it to her grandson & family for 2 years. (we have more than 2 years of work ahead of us to get it back to shape)

I planted all her mothers day flowers, unclogged a drain in her driveway (my nephew had apparently been disposing of his motor oil by dumping it down the drain) and I sprayed all her weeds, I know.......all the organic gardeners are gasping for air here! There isn't a way I can think of to keep 2 big places semi weed free without using some chemicals. So, I do. Apologies to all you organic folks.

We are pooped, but can see the differences with each day we put in. It is fun working together, but frustrating to see how my nephew treated this place. I lived here when my parents built the house, designed the yard and kept it like a park. I just don't get it.....how they could not take care of it when they were really blessed to be staying here. Beats me.

Should be a no spend 3 days for me, other than using some gas when we go shopping tomorrow. We have some things mom has to pick up so we can continue on with the TO DO list here. I've got a couple gift cert. for restaurants, so we will most likely have a meal or two out, as it will be fun and a novel experience to not have any of my "boys" with us.

Dial up is becoming my best friend after being here.....but moms keyboard is making me crazy. I need to figure out what to do different on my PC to make the switch from cable to dial up.....I'm going to say I'll have this figured out before the month is over. Good goal.

Cleaning, painting and pricing

May 9th, 2006 at 07:36 am

Today is a prep day for the antique booth "business". I've been blessed with a delivery of free goodies, just waiting to be sorted through. Also, I've got a ton of painting to do on my collection of little tables & such. So, no need to think of what to do today.

Hoping to get a sizeable collection of my stash ready & priced and make my weekly trip to the booth today. It is my only opportunity this week. I do know from the last time I did this, the more often I visited the booth, the more money it made. Not sure what the connection is exactly, more inventory is obvious, and I do keep it all cleaned up and organized by being their regularly. I try to make a major change monthly so everything is viewed differently & regular shoppers 'see' something different when they return. Anyway......donning my painting 'outfit' as soon as I'm fortified with my AM coffee here.

Today is a no spend day, just using the gas to go to the booth & back. Put enough No Spend Days in a row and it starts to feel like I'm making money!!

Switching to a 4 "horse" mower

May 8th, 2006 at 08:09 pm

I've contacted the woman who boards her 4 horses here, & she would love to extend the pasture out into where I usually mow. So, to save gas & time here....I'm accessing her 4 "horse" mower instead of buying this expensive gas for my john deere.
It won't make a huge difference, but it will cut back my lawn area by about 1/3rd.

I will attempt to find my dads old push mower this week when I go to my moms. Using this on the little patches of grass near the house will help too. I can hold off on the rest of the mowing, perhaps doing the big areas every other time.

Each small change will affect the big picture here. I was reading in a blog on another site, someone was poking fun at anyone cutting back on small items......saying there was no point. Jump right in to the big arena; investing & such. Well, I do some of that too, but if I didn't watch the little things, there wouldn't be as much $$ to manage. Makes no sense at all to me to not know where ALL my money goes.

A No Spend Day here..........did use a gallon of gas I imagine, when picking up my freecycle dresser. I'm only responding to items in my own community these days....limiting the gas I consume to pick up a "free" item. The dresser is great, it will clean up well & be close to perfect. I did pick up an office chair too, from the same freecycle woman....& it is going to be my "gift" to my mom for an early mothers day. We haven't been buying things for each other for years, but funny little things when they appear are more our style. Mom has been using a chair from her bathroom at her computer desk, wrong height, wrong color & no wheels obviously. With a little scrubbing, this new chair will do everything but enter info on her PC. It is pretty fancy, way better than mine. She will be jazzed.

I got paid from another client tonight, after just dropping a deposit off at the bank today. (naturally) Will take it on Wed, when I will be passing the bank on the way to moms.

Got paid from my first sewing customer too. Nice! She already has a 2nd job for me, most likely next Mon, as I'll be gone the rest of this week. Got the sewing room WAY more organized this morning; found I need a power strip, radio and a clock. Will poke around here, as I know we have all 3.

Mondays plans

May 8th, 2006 at 07:40 am

I'm off to pick up a dresser from Freecycle this AM.......it is supposed to be a "project" dresser the ad said. Just perfect for what I want. Freecycle; better than any mall in my opinion. If I was a gambler, this would be a great substitute for my vice...it is a gamble of sorts when I reply to a post; will I get it or not??? Hopefully, I can clean this piece up and haul it in to the antique booth as a display piece for my antique linen "dept". I have them scattered about now, but they look so much better sort of spilling out of drawers.

Since I have to go out for the dresser, it is automatically "errand day" also. A run through the bank and library are on the list.....and a hardware store to continue my quest for the little peg things to hold up shelves in a book shelf that somehow lots its pegs during the move. I need somewhere to store my books I have listed for sale online and the huge bookcase is still peg-less...no help at all organizing my stash.

Still need to do my customers order for this afternoon..........heading to that project right away. Usually keep things about a week, giving me time to work on them, but I'm leaving for 3 days this week, so crammed her in today. Being able to leave is such a different thing for me; haven't been able to do this for decades.

Lots on my list today; none of which gets done when I'm sitting here!!! Off to work!

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