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Archive for January, 2007

Let's Lose a Person!!

January 30th, 2007 at 07:35 am

Inspired by Nance (on PricePlus's blog), I want to start a 2007 weight loss challenge. Similar to the regular 2007 money challenge that we participate in...everyone sets their own goals and approaches it differently, but we post here so we can see our progress and encourage each other. My goal is to get enough people to join and succeed that by December, we can collectively "lose a person" (180 pounds?)

(Given the financial nature of this site, we can also tie it back to the financial implications associated with getting healthy...gym memberships, fewer meds, etc.).

So jump on board if you're interested. Here's my starting point (as of 1/1/07):

1. My "Kick in the Pants" was when...I went to the doctor for a checkup in December and my cholesterol was 263! It's usually around 212, and both the total and the bad cholesterol levels were up. She told me I had 6 months to lose weight and start exercising to get it down, or she would recommend that I go on medecine. That's all I needed to hear.

2. Goals:
Long-Term Goal (Dec.) - Lose 10% of my weight (17.6lbs).
Medium-Term Goal (Jun) - Get my cholesterol back under 215.
Short-Term Goal - Lose an average of 1/2 lb. per week, not sweating it if I lose 1 lb one week and nothing the next.

3. Age: 36
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 176 (on 1/1, 172 now)

4. My plan: Rather than follow a traditional plan (Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc.), my doctor told me to eat between 1600-1800 calories per day. I like the flexibility that provides, and it forces me to make good choices, because it's really not that much when you get right down to it.

5. Exercise: Walk on the treadmill at least 5x/week. I started the first week of January walking 20 minutes at 3 mph. Each week I increase it by 1 minute (and I lost track one week), so I'm now up to 25 minutes per day. My plan is to continue increasing 1 minute per week until I get to 40, then increase the speed.

6. Financial impact so far: +$35. Last year I averaged $35/month eating breakfast and lunch at work. This month, I've brought it from home every day and have spent nothing (with 1 day to go).

Join me. Let's see if together we can lose a person!

2007 Challenge Here I Come!

January 26th, 2007 at 07:16 am

WooHoo! I put up my first 3 auctions ever on Ebay. 1 didn't sell, 1 sold for $1.25+ shipping, and 1 sold for a whopping $23.57+shipping. When I tell you that this last thing was a gift that I received that I never had any use for, and it's been sitting in my closet for literally the last 10 years, that $23.57 feels like $100 to me! This will be the first deposit into my $20 challenge (minus the ebay and paypal fees, of course).

Meeting with the school today to see how they'll handle son's speech therapy needs. I'll post an update later.

I'm going to try another order with Peapod tonight. Also have to stop by CVS to get some of their freebie deals...

Dinner out...

January 23rd, 2007 at 09:35 am

I'm on this site at least twice a day, and could have sworn that I posted an entry at some point since the 18th, but I guess not...

Maybe I was subconsciously feeling guilty for going out to a (too) expensive dinner Saturday night. We were supposed to go to a housewarming party that was cancelled. The kids were already scheduled for a sleepover at Grandma's, so we decided to go out to dinner. Instead of going to a local pub-type place, we opted for the really nice Italian place by hubby's work. It was fantastic, but instead of buying a small housewarming gift ($10-$15), or a relatively inexpensive dinner, we broke the bank. I have total buyer's remorse too, because as good as it was, it wasn't worth it...

Other than that, life's on autopilot (which is not a bad thing). Still walking on the treadmill, still watching what I eat (I'm down 5 lbs total from the beginning of the year), still not buying breakfast/lunch at work. So far so good.

I listed 3 things on Ebay during the $.20 listing sale (my first ever). I have watchers on all of them, and have had questions for 2 of them, but no bids. I have a few days left, so I'm hoping I'll get something. Even if not, it was worth it just for the experience!

Tax-related stuff has been dribbling in. As soon as I get my W-2s, I should be ready to do a rough estimate. Hoping (desperately) that I don't owe...usually wishful thinking.

Oxford

January 18th, 2007 at 10:37 am

OK, Christmas stuff is down, holiday dishes put away, etc. (The boxes are all in my living room...I'm going to have hubby bring them downstairs when he gets home!). Big sense of accomplishment there.

I sent in for a Musselman's rebate. It wasn't actually a rebate, instead I got a $3 check good toward my cell phone bill (?!). Sent it in and saw that it was applied to my account today, so that's progress.

I also had to follow up with Chase. I got an offer in our local Val-Pak (coupons) for a $10 check if I paid 3 bills online. So I did that back in September but still haven't received the check. They're researching it and will get back to me.

The other big financial thing is my ongoing battle (may be too strong a word) with Oxford, our health care company. My son is getting speech therapy. I paid $350 for the initial evaluation to a doctor still listed as in-network (so it should only have cost $20). Now, he goes for weekly therapy, with an out-of-network doctor (that they approved at in-network rates, because they don't have a doctor in-network that can do it). She charges me $100/half-hour, and I'll need to submit her invoices to be reimbursed. Again, it should only be my $20 copay, but I don't know if they consider $100 Reasonable and Customary, so I have to see what the deal is there...I hope they resolve it soon, because it's costing me big $$.

So that's the deal for the day.

Cruising along in 2007

January 15th, 2007 at 08:21 pm

Halfway through the month and things are going "pretty, pretty, pretty good" (any Curb Your Enthusiasm fans out there?).

I am on track for the whole "workout/eat better" resolution. I've been on the treadmill 5x/week both weeks, and have eaten 1600-1800 calories per day. My reward: I'm down 4 pounds. I'm trying to let Baselle's words of wisdom temper my excitement, but it's not working. (I'll have to save it for the week I don't lose anything (or worse, gain!!!)). A side benefit: I haven't spent a dime at the cafeteria at work. Last month I averaged $35/month. So far, nada. I am going to lunch with a colleague on Friday, but it shouldn't be more than $3 or $4.

Along the financial front, I got my gas bill and it was great. My actual use was about $60 less than my budget billing, which is amazing for December (though it was unusually warm). My only concern is that it says Estimate, but it should be actual because they put a thing on the meter to be able to read it from the street. If it is actual, that would be a really great start to the winter heating season.

I've also been taking advantage of the monthly rebates at Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS, which is allowing me to stockpile some stuff, much of which is free or close to it.

The indoor Christmas stuff is coming down tomorrow. That'll help me along the whole organizational front, because I have decorations all over the place. I'm ready to move on to the rest of the year!

Discovered Peapod!

January 9th, 2007 at 08:28 pm

I just discovered Peapod for at-home grocery delivery. They are affiliated with Stop&Shop in my area, and I never really considered it before, because I thought it would be so much more expensive than going to the store. But a friend of mine used them and raved about it, so I gave it a try.

First off, the pricing follows the Stop & Shop circular, so you get all of their weekly deals. They also accept manufacturers' coupons, and double up to $.99, just like in the store. You place your order online, indicate whether or not you'll accept substitutions, pay by credit card and set your delivery date. Mine will come tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. My friend had a problem with some raspberries she ordered. She called up customer service and they credited her account right away.

Delivery charges are $9.95 under $100, or $6.95 over $100. I had a $10 coupon for my first order, and my friend said that they send you 4 $5 coupons for your next 4 orders, making delivery close to free.

The best part is that I only ordered exactly what I needed (no walking down the aisles picking up stuff I didn't come in for), I don't need to take the kids with me (saves me a boatload right there), and I don't have to use my precious weekend time with the family to go grocery shopping. Wow, I hope this really works out...

More plumbing problems

January 8th, 2007 at 02:20 pm

Well, one way to meet my goal of being more organized is to have a flood in the basement force you to clean everything out.

Our water softener overflowed, and we don't have a pipe to catch the overflow because we don't have a floor drain, so all the water spilled out onto the basement floor. It happened sometime between 4:30-6:30 Sunday, and by the time we got to it, there was about 3/4" of water on the floor.

Once again, we're thankful that we noticed it before severe damage was done. (Could you imagine if we were away on vacation?). Also, the water level did not reach the bottom of the appliances, so our washer, dryer, and extra refrigerator and freezer are safe.

However, it was more water than hubby could clean up on his own, so we called the company that cleaned up after the bathroom flood. $400, but they were done in an hour. So my goal over the next few days is to go through everything down there and see what boxes got wet, rebox stuff we want to keep and THROW OUT stuff that should have been gone years ago.

Other than the plumbing, all is well here. Took advantage of the beautiful weekend to get the Christmas lights down, haven't spent a dime eating at work (which was another one of my resolutions) and have been exercising and eating better. So far, so good in 2007.

Hitting the books...

January 5th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

So far so good in the new year. A bit of a setback, as I just checked our credit card balances and between leftover Christmas stuff and the big car maintenance bill from the end of December, it'll be a big hit. But I haven't been spending anything not budgeted, so I just have to hang in until February.

Still doing well with the exercising and eating decently. I'm just waiting for it to become routine, instead of a big deal!

I'm going to revisit some book-selling sites. I did a Google search on ebookdrop to see if I could get a feel for whether or not they were paying out (seems that they are), and it brought me to a site called bookthink.com, which lists about 10 different sites that buy books back. I'm going to create a spreadsheet with all the ISBNs I have and run them through the various sites to see if I can get any money for them. This will meet my dual goal of making money for the $20 challenge and organizing my house!

Speaking of $20 challenges, Chase sent me two coupons for people to receive $50 if they open an account. If anyone read my $20 challenge last year, I made about $750 receiving money for opening new bank accounts. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll send the coupon along...

So that's about it for today...

January 2 success

January 3rd, 2007 at 08:12 am

Little successes, but they add up. Went on the treadmill again for 20 minutes. Ate pretty well. Transferred music from our cds to my cell phone and hubby's ipod. (We've been meaning to do that for a while, so it was a big accomplishment to get it done). Spent money, but none that was unbudgeted, so I'm still on track after Day 2! Wahoo...

So far, pretty good

January 1st, 2007 at 06:20 pm

Today went pretty well, resolution-wise. Not perfect, but pretty well. Walked for 20 minutes on the tread mill, and drank 32oz of water, which is big for me because I hate water! Had unexpected company, so I put out some cheese and crackers and we ordered pizza, both of which I ate, but not as much as usual Smile. Also, hubby paid for the pizza out of his allowance.

I'm off tomorrow, looking forward to a relaxing day to recharge after the holidays!