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Archive for January, 2010

$20 Challenge Challenge

January 27th, 2010 at 04:48 am

A big component for my 2010 challenge was going to be the use of the Caregivers Marketplace rebates. If you buy certain items geared toward old/young people (e.g., diapers, denture products), you would get some money back for each item. I shop for my dad each month, and he drinks a ton of Ensure ($1 rebate each). He also uses Polident, which was another $.75 or so. I was making over $10/month on this last year.

Well Ensure and Polident are not participating for 2010. I'm totally bummed. That's $120 I'll have to make up some other way to meet my goal. Hmmm....

Argh, lost my entry

January 20th, 2010 at 04:28 am

Well that's frustrating. I timed out after writing tonight's entry and it didn't take. Ugh.

Not much to report. Things are slow and steady, just plugging along, trying to stay on track. I did call the auto insurance company about my rate increase and was told it was across the board. I need to get my checkbook balanced and up to date. I've been swamped at work so I haven't been paying as much attention as I should. That's the goal for the next few days.

I also need to concentrate on the $20 challenge, by submitting a few rebates and checking out some book sales. I did find $.03 on the street over the past few days, so that's a start...

2 Feet in the Pool

January 11th, 2010 at 09:15 pm

Boy, there's no easing into the New Year. After the kids being off for 10 days and me spending a quiet week at work, I thought I could ease back into the craziness that is my life. No such luck, two feet in the pool!

I'm doing well with the spending plan so far. The one glitch is that we got the final bill from the landscaper from last fall and it's legitimate, but higher than I thought it would be. I really want to get off on the right foot with the Freedom Account, so I don't want to start borrowing money from one account to pay that bill. I'll have to think about that one a bit.

I received the checks for the two book sales, as well as the $5 Rite Aid rebate and a total of $11.50 in CVS ECBs, for a total of $53.66 to be added to my $20 Challenge, bringing me up to $94.00 so far this month. I have a few rebates to get in the mail over the next few days.

I need to call our auto insurance company. It looks like my rate is going up $150/year, and I'm not sure why (no tickets or accidents). I'm really disappointed about this, and am sure they'll say it's an across the board increase, but I'll make the call anyway.

I should be able to see my 1/15 pay stub any day now, which will give me an idea of what my new taxes and take home will be. I'll spend some time over the next day or so getting my checkbook in order and making sure everything's up to date.

That's about it for now...

First addition to the 2010 Challenge

January 4th, 2010 at 01:27 am

I went grocery shopping today, to CVS and ShopRite. I'm applying some of my coupon savings toward my 2010 challenge:

I had 3 CVS ECB coupons, for $10/$50, $10/$50, and $5/$25. I also had a $5 ECB coupon and a coupon for a free 6-pack of Ensure ($8.99). I planned it out really well, buying stuff I would buy anyway, matching sales and coupons. I picked up Ensure for my dad too, which he goes through like water.

At Shoprite, I turned in recyclables for $1.10, and used canvas grocery bags, which saved me $.25.

Grand total to Challenge: $40.34, which I've already transferred over to my HELOC. Off to a great start!

Day 2, still on track

January 3rd, 2010 at 04:38 am

Ok, I know it's 2 days and not 2 months, but I'll take it.

We spent some money today, all budgeted:
1) Cleaning lady - $100
2) Coaches gifts - $20
3) Misc food & stuff at soccer tournament - $20
4) Allowance for next week - $80 ($60 hubby, $20 me).

The cleaning lady is going away after next week. We usually have her every 2 weeks, and she needs to go back to her home country for an unknown amount of time (a few months?) to take care of a sick relative. This woman has been with us for almost 9 years. I told her that if/when she was able to come back to give us a call and we'd be happy to hire her again.

I always thought the cleaning lady would be the last bit of disposable income I would give up. Between working, the kids, my dad, it's just such a help to me to have someone come in every 2 weeks and do a thorough cleaning. When she first told me she was leaving, we figured we'd hire an agency to come in and do it until she comes back, but now, I think we're going to give it a go ourselves and see if we can save the $200/month. Hubby is committed to helping, and I'd certainly like to save the dough, so we'll give it the old college try.

I submitted a $5 rebate for Rite Aid today, planned out our menu for the week, and the grocery list. I'll be going out tomorrow morning to get that out of the way, then spend the rest of the day watching football.

It is FREEZING cold and REALLY windy. We have more than a few trees that we're really concerned about, and hope that none of them come down in this weather.

Off to a good start

January 2nd, 2010 at 05:17 am

We had a totally low-key day today. A "hang out in your pajamas and do nothing" type of day. I was able to get done a lot of bookkeeping type stuff, and had a good financial day:

1) It was a no-spend day, which I almost never have.
2) I filled out a $25 rebate for Showtime (we ordered it to get Dexter. The rebate was a bonus).
3) Filled out another rebate for Dove Conditioner.
4) Balanced my checkbook and paid off all Christmas bills so I'm starting the year fresh.
5) Tallied up all of our investments and debt to see where we stood. I was actually pleasantly surprised that a lot of our mutual funds seem to be rebounding a bit. My 401(k) in particular is looking pretty good.
6) I'm seeing the benefit of my Freedom Account already. My daughter's soccer team signed up for a last-minute soccer tournament tomorrow ($15) and one of the parents is collecting for the coach/team mom gift from the fall season ($20). Normally this would catch me off guard but not now! I have $275/month for the kids' "extracurriculars". (Sounds insane, but it really is that much for all of the sports and activities). So I'm all set to pay this tomorrow. Smile

So 1 day down. Let's see what tomorrow brings...

Financial Resolutions

January 1st, 2010 at 04:47 pm

I meant to post them yesterday, but didn't get to it. I'm keeping the list short and sweet this year in an effort to make sure I keep to it. Here we go:

1) Implement and maintain a "Freedom Account". This is an account where I put money aside each month for irregularly occurring expenses (e.g., car maintenance), so that when the bill comes in I have money to pay it. This kills me every time, so I'll feel better having it.

2) Pay $100/month toward our HELOC. We haven't paid anything other than interest on this in years and it really bothers me. I plan on putting all of my challenge money toward this, but at least $100/month if my challenge can't cover it.

3) Plan the menu and improve the grocery shopping. This has been on my list for years, and I've yet to be successful. Time to give it another go.

That's it. I'll report on my progress...

Hope everyone has a happy, healthy 2010.