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Archive for May, 2006

First Time for Everything

June 1st, 2006 at 01:47 am

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 02:14 pm

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 31st, 2006 at 01:41 am

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 30th, 2006 at 05:43 am

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 03:25 pm

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 05:06 pm

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 09:17 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 08:24 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 24th, 2006 at 04:37 am

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 07:47 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 22nd, 2006 at 01:46 am

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!!!!