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Archive for March, 2006

Fastest 3 months on record

April 1st, 2006 at 04:43 am

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 05:48 pm

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 31st, 2006 at 05:44 am

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 06:36 pm

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 30th, 2006 at 02:57 am

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 03:30 pm

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 29th, 2006 at 05:43 am

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 02:56 pm

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 28th, 2006 at 03:04 am

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 08:46 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 10:25 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 11:55 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!