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Verizon Wireless

March 29th, 2016 at 04:24 am

I used to be pretty good about calling companies like Verizon every 12-18 months to see if I could get better rates on my plans. Yesterday, I needed to call Verizon Wireless because we had used up our data for the month, with 2 days left on our cycle. The rep said that they came out with a new plan last fall, where we can get 2 extra GB per month, and pay $30 less. No gimmicks. She signed me up retroactively to the beginning of my cycle so I could get it for this month.

I'm thrilled, but also a bit annoyed. I understand why they don't just automatically pass the savings along, but it would be much easier if they did.

I was also on the phone with my insurance company yesterday. They're going to send me out a form to change my deductibles. Somehow they're only $100 (!) and I'm going to change them to $750, but they won't do it without a signed form.

Today I'm going to call Verizon about my FIOS/Internet/phone plan, because that's definitely another one where I may be able to shave off a few dollars.

Some slow and steady progress, but better than nothing.

Car troubles and emergency fund

March 21st, 2016 at 05:00 pm

I'm back after a crazy couple of weeks.

The good news: My emergency fund topped $1,000. I've been adding $100/month to it for a while, but every time it got up to $500+, something would inevitably happen to drag it back down. It's now $1,031, and I have no intent of dipping into it. Next goal: $2,000 by the end of the year!

I'm keeping my hands off of it, despite the bad news I got about my car. It's a 2005 with 135,000 miles. I put a bit of money into it last year, hoping that it would keep going for a while. I took it in for an oil change last week, and they said that there is a problem with the engine. Not a "die on the side of the road on my way home" type of problem, but very definitely a "it's going to die sooner rather than later so start planning" type of a problem. A new engine would be way too expensive for such an old car, so we'll need to start planning for a new one.

My hope is that we can keep it at least through the end of the summer, and preferably through the end of the year when I get my bonus from work. Hubby normally drives this car and he works from home, so he puts on low mileage and all local driving. Fingers crossed.

Downside is that DS will be getting his permit in November. DD learned to drive on this car, and I hate the thought of DS practicing on a brand-spanking new one. It's nerve-wracking enough to watch them learn in a junker!

And by the way, does anyone ever go in for "just an oil change" and NOT come out with a big bill?

Momentary Panic

March 9th, 2016 at 02:25 pm

I had one of those panic moments today - like when you lose sight of your child for a minute at the park, or you can't find your cell phone. (Yes, I know the kids are far more important than the phone, but you get the idea). I thought I forgot to pay my cc bill.

I pay my cc bills online, and I usually schedule them during the last week of the month. I've been swamped at work lately, so I set a calendar appointment for Monday morning at 10 to remind me to pay the bill that was due Tuesday. I was in the middle of something Monday at 10, so I turned off the reminder. I just went into an absolute panic thinking that I forgot about it, which would have resulted in late payment and interest. Fortunately, I actually did take care of it later on Monday and just forgot about it. So I dodged a bullet, this time.

I'm doing some spring cleaning today. It's over 70 degrees and absolutely gorgeous out. Windows are open. I'm excited to turn the clocks ahead next week and get to the longer days and warmer weather.

Gathering Dad's Taxes

March 4th, 2016 at 04:31 am

The beginning of March (did I really just say that?!) has gone quietly. I usually don't feel financial pain until mid-month, when I realize that certain categories may be off track. Anyway, I need to pull together dad's paperwork to file his 2015 individual and estate taxes. The individual piece is pretty straightforward. On the estate side, in addition to gathering all of the expenses, I need to get SS numbers from each of my siblings (9 of them!). I have about half already, but a few of them will be more of a challenge to get. Hoping I can get this done this weekend so I can cross another item off my list and be closer to closing the estate.

Closed? Or Not Closed? *Rant*

February 27th, 2016 at 07:38 am

I'm glad I read Keeping It Frugal's post before I wrote this, so she knows she's not alone!

I'm selling my dad's house. We were supposed to close 2 weeks ago, then last week, then Wednesday, then Friday at 11:00. I gave limited power of attorney to my lawyer so that I didn't need to attend the closing. At 12:30, I hadn't heard anything, so I sent an email to lawyer and realtor asking if we closed. Lawyer responded that it was pushed back to Friday afternoon, and he would let me know when it was complete.

Needless to say, I didn't hear from him after that. I emailed both of them again this morning to ask if the closing happened, and still no word. Grrrr. In addition to the peace of mind of just knowing it's done, I need to cancel the insurance, turn off the utilities, etc. and would like to get all of that taken care of.

It is *SO* frustrating when people don't get back to you timely with simple answers. I don't want to talk to anyone; email is fine, and I don't really care if it is pushed back again, I just want to know one way or the other. I'm really annoyed.

On the financial front, I'm wrapping up my month. I went over on our "eating out" category, but under in groceries, so that should be a wash. I know next month will require a little creativity too, so I'll prepare for that.

I did receive the check from Replacements.com, and had some leftover allowance from last week, so that will add to my snowflake total. The goal today is to continue my decluttering. I'm making a lot of progress, but there's so much to go through that I have plenty left!

Peeled the onion today

February 24th, 2016 at 06:20 pm

I found out about another unbudgeted expense today - $47 each for 2 Advanced Placement tests at D's school. The money ($94) was due by March 1st. I started "peeling the onion" and realized all of the other unbudgeted expenses I have coming up related to the kids - SAT test expenses in June, sending SAT scores to colleges in September, college applications in Nov/Dec/Jan. And that's just for D. S turns 16 in November and will need driving lessons (required in NJ) to get his permit. That's another $300.

While it all added up to many hundreds of dollars, they're spread out over the year, and I feel better knowing about them and getting them on the budget spreadsheet. I have some more tweaking to do tomorrow just to smooth everything out, but at least it's accounted for. And I already added a reminder for this time next year (D will be taking 6 APs, which will be a bill of $282)!

Extracurricular expenses

February 23rd, 2016 at 05:13 pm

I got hit with a big expense today for a club the kids are in at school. They travel to several tournaments in the spring. We got the bill for the first two, one local and one in Ohio, plus the uniform shirt. Total for both kids: $550. Ouch. I knew it was coming but didn't know exactly when or how much, and didn't have it in my budget this month, so that will be a lot to absorb. I'll need to adjust the next two months to account for the remaining trips.

We also ate out tonight - Greek. Sooo filling and soooo bad for you, but soooo good! I still had money left in the "dining out" category this month, so I didn't go over budget, but I am having some buyer's remorse as I sit like a lump on the couch and digest Smile

Decluttering continues, though at a slower pace during the week. I'm sure the garbage men weren't happy when they picked up at our house this morning!

I'm just waiting for my final pay stub for 2/29 so I can wrap up the expenses for the month. I find when I pay attention to my finances, I get really antsy to get everything tucked away and accounted for.

Cleaning House

February 20th, 2016 at 10:22 am

In addition to regular weekly cleaning, I've continued to declutter the house. I got rid of my shot glass collection from college, which I haven't looked at in the 25 years since I've graduated. What was I thinking? I never even liked doing shots!

"What was I thinking" is the mantra I find myself repeating while decluttering my house. Today I spent time in my kitchen. I got rid of so many extra measuring cups and spoons, utensils, etc. that were just so unnecessary. I got rid of extra travel mugs (did I really need 7?), and dozens of matchbooks. I realized that I have enough office supplies to run a small Staples store, and enough crafts from kids projects to run a small AC Moore! My problem is always going out to buy things that are needed, instead of checking first to see if I already have it. Hopefully now that I'm getting organized, I'll know what I have and can avoid doing that.

A benefit of all of this cleaning: I'm finding things that I really like, but totally forgot about, including a pair of small gold earrings, and a ceramic travel mug with a Monet painting on it. I've also been burning candles non-stop since Thursday, because I do get a lot of joy from them, and don't want to throw them out, so I need to use them up instead!

Given that I'm focused on cleaning all weekend, it should be a pretty inexpensive few days. I need to stop at the grocery store later today, but that should be it! I've spent less than 1/2 of my grocery budget so far this month, so I'm hoping to have a decent amount left over on the 29th!

Declutter Motivation

February 18th, 2016 at 04:04 pm

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get rid of a Hefty bag worth of stuff every week. I could sell it, donate it, or trash it, but it needed to leave my house. I've been pretty good about getting this done, some weeks better than others.

I found two things today that will help me keep my motivation. The first is a list of 200 things to throw away. So many great things on this list that jumped out at me. Why do I keep menus when I can view them online? And how many tea light candles do I have and never use? (I'm now on a mission to start burning them, because I really like them, I just never think about it). When I'm struggling to find things to toss, I'll start with this list.

http://embracinghomemaking.net/2015/04/200-things-to-throw-away/

On another site, I saw a reference to a January declutter challenge. The idea is that you toss the number of items that corresponds to the date (e.g., Jan 1 - 1 thing, Jan 2 - 2 things, etc.). I'm going to try to do this and see how long I can go. I started tonight throwing away 18 unmatched Tupperware items. Like the pantry yesterday, they've been cluttering up the drawer for a while. So great to be able to see what I have and know that it all matches!

Food Waste

February 17th, 2016 at 03:56 pm

The downside to finally paying attention to my finances: I have to face the music for all of my neglect!

I cleaned out my pantry today. I had to throw out a bunch of food that had expired (by at least 6 months)! In total, I lost some faro, red lentils, black beans, kasha and rice (can you tell I was on the "starch shelf"?) Oh, and a bag of chips too. I had gone through the shelf with canned goods too but fared better there.

It was painful, but it's done. And I can now see what I do have, which will hopefully lead to better planning so I don't get caught like this again. To start, I had a bag of wheatberries that I've had forever (no exp'y on the package), so I put them in the crockpot to cook overnight. I read that they'll stay for 2 weeks in the fridge / 1 month in the freezer, so I'll plan on making a few salads with them.

I had previously cleaned out the freezer and fridge, so I know what I have there as well. I'm going to try to use up as much as I can between now and the end of the month and check back in.

In other news, I'm still using You Need A Budget. I'm getting used to it, so I think I'll keep it when the trial runs out. Not as simple as my trusty old Excel sheet, but I guess I need to get into the 21st century at some point!

Deep Freeze

February 13th, 2016 at 06:32 pm

Northern NJ is in the middle of a deep freeze tonight. Temps of 0 degrees, with wind chills of -20. I am hunkering down for the weekend. I went to the grocery store today and am stocked up. I don't think I need to leave the house until I go to work Tuesday morning, so I'm shooting for no spend days tomorrow and Monday.

My big goal is to continue decluttering the house, and getting 1-2 hefty bags to go out with the trash on Tuesday.

Avoided a Vet Bill

February 12th, 2016 at 06:47 pm

Now that I'm getting back on track with my budget and spending, I'm watching every dime.

My pup was sick on Wednesday afternoon. I could tell he just wasn't "right". He was sleeping off in a dark corner of the house, wasn't eating, etc. I decided to wait until Thursday to see how he was. He ended up feeling better last night, finally ate something and was interacting with the family more, and today he's back to his normal self.

Of course I would have been happy to take him to the vet if I needed to, but I'm glad I didn't have to. For some reason, I never know what to expect - sometimes I get out of there with a $35 bill and other times it's $350! I'm just glad he's feeling better.

Other than that, it's been pretty quiet money-wise. I got a few more payments from the book sales in. Also heard from Replacements. I'm only going to get about $20 from them, rather than the $50+ I thought. A few pieces were too scratched up (not surprised) and a few were cracked / chipped in transit. I don't have the receipt from USPS to file a claim, so I have to eat it. I think their valuation is fair all things considered, but I don't think I'll deal with them again.

$23.08 spend day

February 9th, 2016 at 07:46 pm

I was all set to write that I had a No Spend Day. Then I remembered I bought 2 hard boiled eggs at work for breakfast this morning because I didn't have time to cook them at home. Shoot. OK, so I was going to write "$1.08 spend day". Then I remembered I filled up the gas tank for $22. So I'm at a "$23.08 Spend Day." I'm not very good at No Spend Days!

I received the $1.08 for another book sold to Chegg, so that will go into my snowflake total. Still waiting on the others. I'm also making a big deposit into my 365-day challenge. Hubby went on a business trip today and emptied his pockets of change. $6.32! I snatched that right up and will add that to the challenge Smile.

I took a vacation day tomorrow. Couldn't wait until President's Day on Monday. Looking forward to relaxing with the dog!

No Spend Superbowl Sunday

February 7th, 2016 at 10:27 am

I'm in for the day, and ready for the big game! I went grocery shopping yesterday ($95 - met my goal of keeping it under $100). I got the fixings for chili, which is in the crockpot now and smells amazing! I should have plenty of leftovers for lunch this week too. I also bought some snacks for the game, along with things to get me through the week.

I signed up for the free trial of You Need a Budget. I think Laura should get commissions from them for everyone who signs up - she got on board in the very beginning and is a great spokesperson for it! I have much of my budget info at work so I'll need to wait until tomorrow to get everything entered, but I'm off to a good start. It seems pretty intuitive, and I love the fact that there's an app so I can access my info right on my phone. I'm excited to give it a go!

Just heard news today that one of our friends was laid off from his job last week. They are our age (mid-40s), with two teenagers. Hoping that he can find something quickly. Also hoping that they have a good safety net to weather the storm.

Ebates

February 6th, 2016 at 07:47 am

I just received an unexpected $19.94 from Ebates. I'm not a huge online shopper except at Christmas, and I always try to remember to use Ebates when I do shop. They only pay out quarterly, though, so I completely forgot about it until it showed up. That increased my snowflake total to $33.27 for the year, with a few items still outstanding. Slow and steady...

I need to go grocery shopping today. I didn't go last week, so I'm pretty low on things, but I'm going to try to keep it under $100. We decided to have meatballs tonight, which I already have in the freezer, and a beef chili for the Superbowl, which should be pretty inexpensive. It feels good to be focused on finances after a long time completely ignoring them!

Sloooowly moving to Cash system

February 5th, 2016 at 05:41 pm

I love the convenience and perks of credit cards. I charge most things, but always pay off the balance at the end of every month. Even though I'm not paying interest, I'm always a month "behind", in that I'm spending February's money for January's stuff.

I've been slowly trying to move off of the credit cards to a cash-based system. It's tough to do, because it essentially means paying double the amount one month (the credit card plus the current month). I'm at the point now where all of my utilities (gas, electric, phone, wireless, etc.) are drawn directly from my checking account. Now I'm moving on to other categories.

First is gas. Thanks to super low gas prices ($1.53 yesterday!) I came in $70 under budget last month. I took that amount out in cash, and will use it to buy gas the rest of this month. I'll likely need to charge a few fill-ups when the $70 runs out, but I'll be way under budget again next month, and will cash out the rest and repeat. By my estimates, I should be caught up and paying exclusively be cash in March, April at the latest.

I was also $50 under my grocery budget last month, so I'm doing the same thing there. That will take some more time, though, so maybe July? That's the goal.

Binge watching Netflix

February 3rd, 2016 at 05:22 pm

Hubby is on a business trip and the kids are out at a school event. I came home from work, made dinner from stuff I had in the house, and am now on the couch binge watching "Making of a Murderer" on Netflix. Cheap evening!

I received the $12.25 from Powells, so I'll add that to my snowflake list. I also scoped out pricing for selling used cell phones, and may be able to get about $50 for 3 of them. I'll probably tackle that this weekend, because I'll need to remove personal info from them all.

The beginning of the month is usually pretty quiet, financially. I'm not complaining!

Virtual Day

February 2nd, 2016 at 06:01 am

I'm working from home today. The kids have "virtual days" from school today and tomorrow. They have school-issued laptops, so the teachers assign work and hold class online, while the kids log on from home. They tried this idea two years ago when we were battered with many bad snow storms, but the state didn't "count" the day because the logistics weren't planned out and it didn't meet some technicalities in the law. Now, with the states blessing, they are trying it again and these days will count.

I'm a bit conflicted about it. On the one hand, I applaud the school district for being innovative, and virtual learning is a "thing" that's only going to grow in the future. At the same time, I'm a bit of a traditionalist, and I pay big tax dollars to support the schools! They'll be sending out surveys to students and parents tomorrow; I'm curious to see the results.

If nothing else, I save on gas and tolls from my commute, and I can hang out in comfy clothes instead of getting dressed up for work, so it's a win for me!

Ready for the Post Office

January 31st, 2016 at 01:18 pm

I continued my purging of books, dvds, etc. I boxed everything up and I'm ready for a trip to the Post Office to send them on their way and get me closer to my snowflakes! Here's the tally:

Replacements .com: $57.68
FYE .com: $9.85
Decluttr .com: $6.50
Sellbackyourbooks .com: $5.90
Chegg: $1.08

Total: $81.01

That's in addition to another $1.08 from Chegg that I just got, and $12.25 I'm waiting on from Powells.

Regarding the books and dvds, it really pays to shop around, as the offer prices for books and dvds vary wildly. You do have to be aware of minimum # / $ amounts, and the terms for their free shipping offers, but it's definitely worth the extra few minutes.

Purging my house of this stuff is also helping me to meet one of my other challenges for 2016, the "Bag a week". I'm trying to rid my house of at least one hefty bag worth of "stuff" every week, in an effort to declutter, simplify and organize. The "stuff" can be sold, donated, or tossed - doesn't matter, as long as it's out of my space. Hubby and I cleaned out a corner of our garage two weeks ago and found receipts for stuff dating back to 2008! I'm not kidding.

I think my next focus will be on CDs and old cell phones. We have one or two old iPhones lying around, as well as other non-smartphone models. Not sure if they're worth much, but I'll at least check it out. Anything is better than nothing.

$1.08 Snowflake from Chegg

January 30th, 2016 at 08:13 am

I go through my books, dvds, etc. a few times each year and see if I can sell any online for a few dollars here and there. Last week, I sold 1 book to Chegg for $1.08 and 3 books to Powells for $12.25. I've sold to both for years always with good results. I received the $1.08 from Chegg today, so that's the official start toward my goal of $1000 in snowflakes this year!

Has anyone ever sold to Replacements.com? I have some old china from Dad's. I listed on Ebay a few times with no results, so I considered them. It'll probably be worth about $50 from them, but I'll have to pay the shipping. Better than nothing I guess.

Identity Theft Protection

January 29th, 2016 at 07:32 pm

My company gave us a new benefit beginning in January - paid Identity Theft protection for me and my family. In addition to the monitoring, I used them to get a copy of my credit report, which I haven't done in years. I was happy to find that there was only one negative item in there - a fraudulent charge of $900 to some utility company that had gone into collections. I disputed it right online, and it should be resolved within a week or two. I also ran hubby's report, and it was completely fine. I wasn't able to run the kids' reports online; kept getting an error message, maybe because they're minors? I sent in a message to customer service and I'll see what they say.

I can get reports from 3 different companies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax), so I'm going to set a reminder every 4 months and I'll alternate the companies so I can keep an eye on it throughout the year.

This weekend I'm going to pull together tax info and see what I'm still missing. In addition to our taxes, I have to pull together dad's paperwork and get that off to his accountant as well. It's an exciting life I lead Smile

Executor Stress

January 28th, 2016 at 03:10 pm

My dad passed away last April at the ripe old age of 90. He was in good health and "with it" right up until the end, so while it's never a good thing, I couldn't have asked for it to happen any more peacefully.

I am the Executor of dad's estate. He was super organized, and I was very familiar with his finances, so I thought it would be relatively easy. WRONG. It's not that it's so hard, just really tedious. I am drowning in paperwork, phone calls, etc.

I'm also in the middle of selling his house, which has gone pretty smoothly so far, but the buyers are in the middle of the inspections, so we'll see. Even though it's being sold "as is", the house really fell into disrepair as dad got older, so I'm sure they'll come back looking for me to knock down the price. It's complicated by the fact that I'm actually 1 of 10 kids, and even though they've all been supportive of me, I'm aware of wanting to make sure I do right by all of them.

Fingers crossed, it will all be wrapped up by the end of June. And the first thing I'm going to do when I get my check: Pay off the HELOC that has been dogging me for years! Anything more will likely go toward the kiddies' college funds. Except maybe a well-deserved day at the spa for me Wink.

Hello Old Friends

January 27th, 2016 at 05:04 pm

Has it really been 3 years since I've last posted? The entries don't lie - April 2013 was the last time I logged on. Time has flown by since then, and I have paid precious little attention to my finances and frugality. No damage was done, but I still need to get back on the horse. I need to update my sidebar with new goals (except for the goal to lose weight - that never seems to go away!).


I'm glad to see so many old friends still on here; I can't wait to catch up on all of your blogs.


Quick update

April 16th, 2013 at 07:28 pm

So I ended up with bronchitis. I went on anti-biotics last Monday for 5 days and feel much better, but haven't gotten rid of the cough.

But I persevered...it was hubby's birthday on Monday, so we went to his mom's for dinner and cake. Kids are back in school after spring break, so I feel like we're getting back to a bit of a routine.

I caught up on all of my April bills, and balanced my checkbook. Next step is to do my net worth as of 3/31. I try to do this monthly, but life gets in the way and it usually ends up being quarterly. I think the markets were up, so the numbers should look good. Not that it matters - most of our investments are in retirement funds and I've got many, many years until I see that!

Not much else on the financial front, but I did want to check in. I've been down to weekly posts, and need to get back in the habit of more frequent posting. I also hadn't been reading everyone else's blogs, so I'm caught up with that as well.

Sick :(

April 8th, 2013 at 04:11 pm

It's been a long time since my last post. No good reason, just excuses and plenty of them. Working back from today...

I've been sick, sick, sick since last Thursday with what turned out to be some sort of bronchitis. I finally broke down today and went to the emergimed. The doctor was in and out in literally one minute (nurse spent about 5) and out I walked with prescriptions for nasal spray, cough medecine, and antibiotics. I have to take the antibiotic with dinner, in about an hour, so hopefully will feel relief after that. In the meantime, I've been MISERABLE.

Prior to getting sick, I was working like a dog, making up for some time off when my brother was here. Does work ever slow down before you retire? I don't think so. Always trying to do more with less and stretch, stretch, stretch. Nobody wants to be the one that says "enough". (Including me; I appreciate my job)!

Prior to that we had a great visit with my brother's family, but I got nothing done while they were here. So worth it to see them!

On the financial front, we got the taxes back (don't ask). A bit better than we thought, but still a tough hit when you factor the estimated tax that's also due on 4/15 and the accountant bill. I'm hoping next year we'll be in better shape, as I've adjusted my withholding and estimated tax has increased. I'm just relieved it's behind me.

I need to work on the April budget, which I've completely ignored. Probably not tonight, but perhaps over the next few days when my meds kick in.

5-Minute Update

March 28th, 2013 at 08:40 pm

Literally, I'm on the clock.

My brother and SIL are visiting from NC this weekend and are due to arrive any minute. But it's been a week since my last post, so I wanted to make sure I wrote something down. So here's the last week in a nutshell:

1) Had a ridiculously good time with DS at the gamer convention in Boston last weekend. I've never seen a more eclectic group of people in one place...young kids, teenagers, college kids, and grown men and women totally into gaming. Also, more than a few odd birds, in fabulous costumes. I'm not much of a people watcher, but it was great! Also enjoyed spending time with my sister.

2) Put $5 into the Yahtzee challenge for last week, bringing my total to $83, and will have more to add this week, but not until Sunday.

3) On the snowflake front, I received the Second Spin payment of $12.75, and I received a $6.99 rebate from Staples.

4) March was as tough a month financially as I thought. I'm not sure how much I'll have to throw to the HELOC. One more month like this, and things will be back on track in May.

5) I haven't heard from the Accountants yet (mine or my dad's). I know it's there busy time but I'm still impatient.

I think that gets me all caught up (you can see that there's not much exciting here financially). I will have a pretty sizable grocery bill tomorrow, as we eat and drink like kings when we're with DB and SIL, but it'll be worth it. Other than the food, I don't expect any expenses related to their visit.

Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Taylor Ham

March 21st, 2013 at 07:49 pm

There are a few things that I take for granted living in the New York metropolitan area: 1) Great pizza with an always perfect crust and no really crazy toppings; 2) Perfect bagels, fresh off the conveyor belt at Rockland Bakery; and 3) Taylor Ham in the grocery stores.

I don't even particularly like Taylor Ham, but I never realized how tough it was to get in other parts of the country. My sister moved to Massachusettes several years back. Every time we visit she asks us to bring boxes of taylor ham, because she can't get it up there.

DS and I are going to Boston this weekend and are staying with her, so I picked up 29 boxes at the store today, which she'll use or freeze. It's a small price to pay relative to what a hotel would cost, but I did feel pretty silly with 29 boxes on the conveyor belt.

Are there any local delicacies from your hometown that you can't get in other parts of the country?

Other than the expenditure for the taylor ham, not much else financial going on. This weekend will be pricey, including some eating out in Boston, and gas for the car. DS has really been looking forward to this trip though, and it will be a great opportunity for some 1-on-1 time for me and him, so it will be well worth every dime.

And I know one meal we won't be eating out: Breakfast. I'm thinking taylor ham and eggs at my sister's, LOL!

Hard Times

March 18th, 2013 at 05:35 pm

I just saw a documentary on HBO called Hard Times. It followed a group of people out on Long Island, all of whom are unemployed. The execution was just ok, but the message was sobering. So many middle-aged, college educated people who did all of the "right things" and find themselves in this position. The documentary touched on age discrimination (I believe it), the fact that the longer you're unemployed the harder it is to get a job (I believe that too), and the tangential effects of unemployment: mortgage crisis, depression, other medical issues, reliance on social services, relationship issues. Absolutely tragic. It was an eye opener.

It was also inspiring. I'm as energized as ever to get the HELOC paid off, followed by the mortgage, and be debt free.

I added $12 to the 52-week Yahtzee challenge, bringing me to $90.

DVD Arbitrage

March 15th, 2013 at 03:44 pm

Buy low, sell high. That's the way it works!

I ordered my first March snowflake yesterday: a $12.75 order at Secondspin .com. I'm a member of Swapadvd .com (sister company to Paperbackswap .com). I ordered Big Bang Season 1 on Blu-ray. When I opened the package it was brand new, wrapper still on, and I got it for free. I turned around and sold it for $8.75.

I was at the local library renting a DVD for DD. They were selling DVDs for $.25. I bought 40-Year-Old Virgin. I figured if I could sell it for more, great, if not, I like that movie and I'm only out a quarter. It sold for $1.50. I added 2 more DVDs that I already had for a total of $12.75!

Over the years, I've had snowflake success 2 ways: opening bank accounts for bonuses, and selling books/DVDs. Both have worked really well for me.

I got paid today. I need to balance the checkbook and pay some bills this weekend. We're also having friends over tomorrow, but they're bringing the corned beef and cabbage. All fun and no work (except for cleaning the house)!

Happy Blogversary to me!

March 13th, 2013 at 05:28 pm

What is it about March that makes people start their blogs? Taxes maybe? I just looked back at my first entry 8 long years ago. Like many, I started by lurking on the site. I wrote back then that I had checked out many other sites, and felt most comfortable here.

Truer words were never spoken. Over the years I've ebbed and flowed with my posts, but always keep up with everyone else's progress. I've made great friends, some of whom have even transitioned over to my "real" life - facebook and in one case, a real-life meet up! Such a great community...

On to the meat and potatoes...

Still waiting to hear back from the Accountant. Not suprised he's taking so long, I'm just anxious.

52-Week Yahtzee Challenge: $8 last week, bringing my total to $78.

Haven't been on Swagbux for 2 weeks because I've just been buried at work. Perhaps I'll try to go for a few surveys tonight. If not, I'll get back to it over the weekend for sure.

I'm a bit behind in getting stuff done. I have some bills to write, checkbook to balance, phone calls to make. Just stuff. I need to write it down and knock it out.

Thanks for a great 8 years...


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