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Archive for September, 2006

September net worth

September 29th, 2006 at 07:23 pm

I love the last day of the month because my finances always look GREAT! (As opposed to the other 29/30 days). Net worth went up 5% for the month, and is up over 35% for the year, due primarily to a strong stock market and some incredible 401(k) performances. (Mine is up over 10% for the year, hubby's is up over 8%). The slow and steady payoff of debt (mortgage, car pmts, etc.) helps too.

Second observation of the day (keep in mind that I'm a technical dummy), wireless internet is great! I just got a new laptop for work, and it has wireless capability. So instead of sitting at a desk by the computer, I can sit on the couch while online. Pretty cool.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. This cold is still knocking me out, despite 3 days of antibiotics, but I am feeling a bit better. Tomorrow after soccer, hubby is taking the kids to his mom's for dinner, while I go for a 1 1/2 hour massage (with gift certificate I've had since Mother's Day), so no money out-of-pocket. Sunday is supposed to be pretty rainy. I need to get back to my baking and cooking after taking 2 weeks off.

Here's a rant: Why are savings bonds so hard to redeem? I went to the bank where my kids have their passbook accounts, figuring it would be no big deal. The employee made it seem like SUCH a big deal, they needed a special stamp, yada, yada, yada. Never got done because I had to get going. I also found out that when SIL purchased 2 of the bonds, she made them out to herself and not the kids. So I was told that she'd have to cash them, which is a problem because I almost never talk to her! I'm going to go to my bank and see if it's easier there...

So that's it for now. I'm going to revel in my great net worth numbers before facing the day-to-day reality of my financial situation tomorrow!

Still Sick

September 28th, 2006 at 10:42 am

Home from work again today. The doctor gave me some horse-sized antibiotic yesterday. I'm on Day 2 of 7...hopefully I'll kick this soon. In the meantime, I'm taking DS to the doctor today. He's still coughing, and I want it checked out in case he needs an antibiotic as well. I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of winter.

I did, however, have the chance to sit in bed and go through the huge packet of coupons Flash sent with the trains. I thought the complaints about expired coupons was overblown until I threw out at least 500 hundred of them! I was going to go back through the garbage can and count them, but it wasn't worth the effort. They're all fixed now and ready to go.

I got the $10 Pepsi Labor Day rebate yesterday, so anyone else waiting on it -hang in there, you should get it soon.

Sick as a Dog

September 27th, 2006 at 05:54 am

So I caught whatever DS had. (Do you think that it has anything to do with the fact that he hangs all over me breathing and coughing)? Wouldn't trade the snuggle time for anything in the world, but I'm paying for it now!

I have been sneezing, coughing, etc. for 24 hours now. I'm actually calling the doctor for an appointment today (which I NEVER do), that's how bad it is. Everytime I cough I can feel it in my chest, so I just want to make sure it's not bronchitis or anything.

So I stayed home from work today. I need to participate in a few meetings, and other than the doctor's, I don't think I'll have energy for much else.

It will be a great opportunity to get my trains organized. We're making a few changes to the Northeaster and the Bullet trains, and Flash mailed them to me a few days ago, so I may get them later on. We're rolling out some new rules/guidelines to make sure that the trains can be tracked a little better, and to make sure that everyone is doing their part. One thing that confuses me are the comments about how many expired coupons show up in the packets...it costs more to mail a heavier package, so why not take the expired coupons out before going to the post office? Don't get it...

I'm also going to request my RiteAid rebate check, and fill out the Walgreens Sep rebate and the second Ensure rebate. I think I'll be pretty caught up after that.

Off to call the doctor. Blech...

Vacation Day

September 25th, 2006 at 08:19 pm

I took a vacation day today. Had every intention of sending the kids to school, then getting some things done, until...my son got sick. Started overnight Saturday, lasted all day Sunday, and was still congested today. Hubby took a wah day, so he could stay with DS while I did some things, but it's still not the same as having the house to myself.

That said, I did manage to get things done. Went to the post office and mailed out some coupon packages. Went to the bank to deposit some checks, and generally got organized.

I have back-to-school night tomorrow and Wednesday. Babysitters are required both nights; fortunately it should only be 1 1/2 hours total.

Went to dad's this weekend. I was thrilled to see a rebate for Ensure in the rebate forum. He drinks a TON of this stuff, so I bought it at two different stores and plan on filling out a form for me and one for hubby (sent to MIL's house). Somewhere I read that you need to be careful about doing the multiple address thing, because if you cash them through the same bank account it can trip you up, so I'll need to remember to keep them separate.

Deal of the weekend: RiteAid had Herbal Essence styling product far to $3.99. I had a $1 coupon, so I ended up paying $3.27 (incl tax) and will get back $3.99, plus the hair spray. Love those deals!! I need to submit my Walgreens rebate tomorrow before getting ready for next month's offers.

Random musings

September 22nd, 2006 at 03:16 pm

I'm trying to spend some time this weekend getting organized. First stop - coupons. I went through the coupon wish list thread and matched up people's wants with what I have and don't need for the Northeaster. As I get people's addresses, I'll mail them out.

I had a mail in form for Campbells Label for Education. Submit 10 upcs with the form and get 200 bonus points. So I need to get that off my list.

Also need to mail in a St. Ives form. I bought 2 products, so I send in the form and get 1 free...

Finally, I need to get my Box Tops together. I forgot to submit them at the end of last school year, so I have about 30 lying around. I'll send them in with the kids on Monday.

Somehow I ended up on the ToysRUs mailing list. Today I got a coupon for $10/$50, expiring in mid-October. I also have gift cards that I bought at a 20% discount. I'll need to see if I can combine these with a good in-store sale...

I can't wait for the next electric and gas bills. (When have I EVER said that before?!) It's been so cool for the last few weeks that the a/c has been off, and despite it getting pretty chilly at night, we haven't turned on the heat. (Twice, the house has been 63/64 when we woke up, but I'm trying to hold out until at least October 1. Flannel sheets are going on the beds this weekend, and the kids will be in their feetie pjs if necessary) I'm hoping I'll see a big difference in the bill.

I'm hoping for a quiet weekend. We have soccer tomorrow, then the kids are going to grandma's for a sleepover. Instead of going out to eat, I'm taking 2 steaks out of the freezer, and we'll have them with a great bottle of wine. I do need to go to the veggie store and pick up something to have with it.

Sunday I'm going down to my dad's...

$.20 cup of coffee

September 20th, 2006 at 08:48 am

I must have been really bored...I calculated how much it costs me to make coffee at home. We get our coffee mail order, and received a shipment a few days ago. So I actually figured out how many cups are in each bag, and how much the sugar and 1/2 and 1/2 would be, and it came to $.20/cup. Just wanted to reaffirm that it was really worth it. (Certainly more so than Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. I can get coffee at work for $.25, but it's not as good!)

I did well at ShopRite with the triple coupons. Stocked up on things for the pantry. I bought a lot of Campbells soup, and need to remember to take off the labels. The gym teachers at our school collect them for sports equipment. I gather that people don't like this program as much as BoxTops for education, for a number of reasons, but free stuff is free stuff, so it's worth peeling the label...

I need to stop down to dad's this weekend. His home aide quit because he got a new dog (she's deathly afraid), so I need to do some research and secure him a new helper. Always an adventure...

$3 Rebate!!!

September 18th, 2006 at 06:26 am

Tomorrow is my birthday (36...yikes!). We celebrated yesterday, with cake and presents, I had breakfast in bed...the whole bit.

As I was accumulating the trash, I saw the receipts for my gifts, including one for a CD hubby got me. It had an extra receipt and a form for a $3 rebate! (Of course, hubby didn't realize it, because he never pays attention to that kind of thing, but I was SO EXCITED! He thinks I'm nuts, because it absolutely made my day. I filled it out right away and will be getting it in the mail today. Wahoo!

I stayed home all weekend, so aside from whatever he spent, it was a spend-free weekend. DD had a double ear infection on Friday that required $35 worth of meds.

I do need to go to the store today. ShopRite is having triple coupons up to $.99, no overall limit (4 coupons for the same item allowed). So I made a list, and checked it twice, and will head over there after work.

I also have chili in the crockpot. 2lbs of beef, plus beans and everything else, should easily be enough for 3 meals...

Another trial, and cooking

September 12th, 2006 at 04:45 pm

I bought something from Lillian Vernon today. After checkout, I was offered a 30-day free trial to Reservation Rewards, with a $10 bonus for my next Lillian Vernon purchase. I suspect this will be like all the other trial offers (i.e., not worth the monthly fee), but I'll check it out and cancel within the 30 days. I don't shop at Lillian Vernon a lot, but I can certainly find something, especially with Christmas coming up.

I also forgot to mention my cooking from the weekend. Week 3 included homemade peach ice cream (used up the rest of the peaches from when we went picking), fresh bread, potato-leek soup, and beef bourginon. Yummy!

Free coupons

September 11th, 2006 at 02:16 pm

I was at the Grocery Coupon Guide last week and I signed up with a few companies. Today, I received 1 free coupon each for Alberto VO5 and Tresemme. Excellent!

Not much happening on the financial front. I'm waiting until the 15th to get paid and take care of my first round of monthly bills. We got a letter from our gas company, saying that they were going to attach something to our meter to let them read it electronically. That'll be great, because they always estimate my readings, so I never have a true picture of my usage.

THat's it for now...

Electric Progress

September 7th, 2006 at 07:14 pm

Be warned: Boring post about electricity usage!

I went online and looked over my last 13 months of electric bills. In August 05, I averaged 68 kwh per day. This August, it was down to 58 per day, despite the fact that the average temperature was 5 degrees higher this year (and the A/C was on non-stop). So I feel like I'm really making progress.

During the summer, when the pool filter and a/c are on, usage varied from 50-58 kwh per day. During the rest of the year, from October through May, it ranged from 22-34.

I'm going to keep tracking this over the next few months and comparing it to the same period last year, to show me that it keeps getting better. I have plenty of room for improvement, too, considering that my kids (and husband) keep every light and television on all the time!

Grocery Shopping

September 7th, 2006 at 12:28 pm

I went shopping while the kids were in school today. First stop: Walgreens, to take advantage of their monthly rebates.

Bought 3 packages of Kotex @$3.49 each = $10.47, minus $3 in coupons = $7.47. Will get back $10 Walgreens gift card, leaving me with 3 free packages +$2.53. I have a bit of a stockpile from the last time they ran this deal, but they don't go bad, so may as well stock up. Also bought a Zone nutrition bar ($1.50, far), and children's Tylenol and Motrin. (Buy 1 of each get a $5 gift card. Used a $1 coupon, too).

I then went to Shoprite. Didn't do quite as well here, as I needed to buy hubby's (expensive) razor blades, and they had beef tenderloin roasts on sale, for $4.99/lb and $5.99/lb. So I bought one of each. I'll freeze one for Christmas dinner, the other I'll make into filet mignon steaks, and beef bourgignon.

I received a $5 Walgreens gift card from last month's rebates, so I'll need to add that to my challenge, bringing my total to $90.36. Missed out on a $25 offer from Citibank to pay 3 bills online. Disappointed in myself, but the offer expired on 8/31, and things have been crazy the last few weeks so I'm not going to lose sleep over it. THere'll be other offers. I also have an offer for credit protection on my credit card. These strike me as an amazing waste of money, but if they're going to pay me $20 to try it out for 30 days, I may as well. Just need to write myself a note to cancel...

School starts tomorrow

September 6th, 2006 at 07:06 pm

Kindergarten and 2nd Grade. Yipes...Did they grow up when I wasn't looking? I had to work late today, so I couldn't relax and ease into things as well as I'd like, but the kids did pick out their clothes and get their backpacks, and I'm filling out all of the necessary forms (and writing the necessary checks)!

I'm taking tomorrow off, but I do need to the grocery store and Walgreens. School is only 1/2 day, so I'll use the rest of the time to get caught up on some chores...

Challenge envy

September 5th, 2006 at 05:54 pm

I decided to quit the 2006 $20 challenge at the end of July, when I used the money I was saving for vacation. I think I was a bit burnt out, between the whole e bookdrop experience earlier in the year, and all of the bank account openings.

That said, every time I get an unexpected source of income, I immediately think "Challenge Money"! I miss it, especially as I read everyone else's entries about how they're doing. So I decided to dip my toe back in the challenge pool!

My challenge savings account (the first one I ever opened with a bonus!) currently has $61.65 in it. I don't have a goal for the money - I'm just going to accumulate it until something strikes me.

Today in the mail, I received a $13.71 Eckerd rebate and a $10 Walgreens gift card so I'll transfer that today, bringing the account to $85.36.

On the Outstanding Items list, I have a few things to add:

$10 Chase bonus for online bill pay
$10 Pepsi rebate
$24 Bali (Buy2Get1 Free, *2)
$10 Everyday Values grocery voucher
$10 Everyday Values grocery voucher #2

I think there are others; I'll check my notes and add to it later. I'm excited to be back in the game...

Cinnamon Rolls - Yummm!

September 4th, 2006 at 09:03 am

Week 2 of my "challenge" to spend part of my weekend cooking some food from scratch. I made chicken noodle soup, enough for hubby and me to have one night, then a bunch of individual servings for me to have when he's out for dinner. I made pulled pork in the crockpot for dinner tonight, and cinnamon rolls that are in the oven now. I also need to use up some of the remaining peaches.

I've made the cinnamon rolls one other time, and they're fantastic! But I need to start tracking how much it costs me to make all of this stuff. I think it was Retire@50 that used to itemize the cost of her meals (where is she, anyway? I miss reading her blog). I need to do the same. Is it really cheaper to make them for scratch (yeast, cream cheese for the frosting, etc.), then just buying Pillsbury refrigerated rolls on sale with a coupon? I know they taste a lot better, but I don't know if they cost less.

I went to BJs on Saturday and I'm making progress on my bottled water issue. Hubby willingly agreed to switch to Brita filters, but I hadn't had time to price them out. (BJs has the pitcher + 1 filter for $22, and 5 replacement filters for $22. I need to figure out roughly how many gallons each filter is good for). Until I get around to that, BJs had the Poland Spring 3 liter bottles for $.90 each (instead of $1.59 each at the store). So I bought enough of them to hold me over for a few weeks until I check the Brita information.

Cheap day today - bike riding in the park. It finally stopped raining, and is clear, but cool (65 degrees or so). My favorite time of year...

Thank goodness for net worth!

September 1st, 2006 at 03:34 pm

I ran my net worth as of August 31st and it went up over 5% last month. Nothing like automatic 401(k) contributions to make the finances look better!

Also on the financial front, I tried a new commute (again). Once the kids start school, I can take a train to work. The net result will be a little better than what I currently have, some of my out-of-pocket will come out pretax, and my auto insurance should drop a little, because my round-trip commute dropped from 60 miles/day to 14. That should help with my enormous gasoline bill, too. So I'll start this daily on Friday.

Checked out the various rebate programs for September. Walgreens, as usual, has the best. Specifically, Pepcid 8-ct far, zone perfect bar far, 2 kotex maxi pads far, 4 pepsi 12-pks far (and different from the mail in pepsi rebate, so you can do them both!). Also rebates on batteries and children's tylenol and motrin, both of which I need to stock up on.

Also, I don't know that I'll take advantage of them, but they have buy $20 proctor and gamble items get $10 gc, buy $20 Huggies products get $10 gc, and buy $10 lysol get $3. These could be good deals if you combine them with coupons. In fact, I'm trying to figure out if I'll be invited to any baby showers coming up, because it may be worth getting the huggies deal and giving the diapers and wipes as gifts.

It's going to be pouring rain through Sunday, so it's a good opportunity to scour the sale ads and the coupons.

I'm planning a trip to BJs tomorrow, too. Haven't been in months, but I'd like to stock up on some things for school, and also for all of the baking and cooking I'll be doing this fall.

I've been working like a dog, and will certainly enjoy my relaxing long weekend. Hope everyone else does the same.