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Archive for April, 2011

Late Payment faux pas

April 29th, 2011 at 06:51 pm

Can someone please tell me where my time goes? How is it that 1/3 of the year is over, and I remember New Year's Eve as if it was yesterday? I feel like March and April came and went in the blink of an eye.

The financial repurcussion of losing track of time: I missed the deadline for my credit card payment. It was due on 4/28 and I just paid it today. This is super frustrating because I have no excuse beyond my own disorganization. And I can't even call up and have them take pity on me, because I did the same thing at the end of last year when I completely stopped tracking my spending. The finance charges shouldn't be too bad because I paid it in full today, but I'm sure the late payment fee is in the neighborhood of $35. An expensive lesson in organization...

Wow, that's a bummer.

Needless to say, I'll spend some part of the weekend paying the rest of the month-end bills...

Hanging Tough

April 23rd, 2011 at 07:50 am

I am definitely going through one of those phases where I'm so busy with life that I'm not focusing on my finances as much as I should. Which means that I need to make it a point to get here and post more regularly to keep me on track.

I made a decision to back off of couponing for a while. I was keeping all of the coupons that come out, in case opportunities to match them to great sales came along. Keeping it all organized is sapping me of energy, and I'm not sure that I'm getting the most bang for my buck (no pun intended), so I'm going to take a break. I'll keep coupons that I know I'll definitely use, but other than that, I'll let them go. I can always go back to it again.

I received the PediaSure rebate and a small deposit from half .com. I also got an email from ebay that I can list 50 items for free. I haven't yet gone down this road, so I'm going to see when the offer expires and try to post some items.

I need to go out today to get some items for the kids' Easter baskets. Nothing major; they're both old enough to know about the Easter Bunny, but I'll get them a few small things. Easter dinner will be at MILs, which means no cooking and cleaning for me, and plenty of leftovers Smile.

I hope everyone who celebrates has a great day! That didn't come out right...even if you don't celebrate Easter, I hope you have a great day too!

Cascade and Clothes

April 18th, 2011 at 06:09 pm

An unlikely combination, but I got both over the weekend. The friends who came for dinner on Saturday got a high-end (SUPER high end) dishwasher when they remodeled the kitchen. Apparently, the manufacturer recommends Electrasol, so they gave us the Cascade they had on hand. 2 big bottles of liquid, and a box of powder! This will last me for months!

So that was the savings. On the spending side, I went to Kohls on Sunday to buy clothes for ME!! I rarely by clothes for myself, and needed them desparately so I don't feel at all bad about it. Everything was on sale, I had a 20% off coupon, and I used a discounted gift card. I still ended up spending about $250, but got everything I needed.

The only other discretionary spending was for the new Harry Potter movie. It's technically a birthday present for DH. We pre-ordered it over the weekend from Best Buy, and they had the Blu-Ray for $24.99. We're watching it now. I'm not a huge fan, but hubby and the kids dig it, so it's a good family movie night...

Great Find - New Farmers Market!

April 17th, 2011 at 05:52 am

We had friends for dinner last night. I was going to try a new recipe that required kaffir lime leaves. I've never used them before, but apparently they're popular in Thai restaurants, and they can be found in Asian markets. I don't know if we have any around us, so I stopped in a farmers market in the next town over. Couldn't find the lime leaves, but what a find otherwise! Everything was SO CHEAP relative to what I usually pay, with a huge selection, and everything looked so fresh. Here's a sampling of what I got, and what I normally pay at the regular veggie store:

yellow onions 2lb bag - $.99 ($1.98)
thyme and chives - $1.00ea ($2.00ea)
basil bunch - $1.59 ($1.99)
red onion - $.79/lb ($.99)
scallions - $.33ea ($.42 ea)
pears - $1.29/lb ($1.69/lb)
lemons - 4/$1.00 (3/$1.00)

I walked out with thiese and other things for $28.00. It easily would have cost $40 at the other place. I'm so excited! I'll be going here each week. (And the meal was great, too).

So now I have a clean house, leftovers to nibble on, and I'm going to dad's for dinner tonight, while DH and the kids are at grandma's. Before I go to dad's, I'm going to have a cup of coffee and catch up on my finances, but I had to post this find first!

Spring Fever

April 15th, 2011 at 01:51 pm

I'm not quite sure why I have it, but I do! It's only in the upper 50s, but sunny, and after all of the miserable weather lately, I'll take it. It also felt like a summer Friday at work. A lot of people were out or left early - a total ghost town. I took advantage of the quiet to get organized at work (I'm on a kick there too), and it's left me totally inspired.

I paid a few of Those bills today - you know, the ones you don't really remember until they're due? I signed the kids up for religious ed next year ($145), and signed DD up for a week of camp at the end of June ($125). Didn't have either of those planned, even though I should have known.

Hubby is going out with the guys tonight, so I'll look at the finances and plan out the rest of the month.

Hubby's Birthday

April 14th, 2011 at 06:34 pm

It's hubby's birthday today, which meant dinner down at MIL's, and a super-sickeningly sweet chocolate cake. (It's his favorite). The kids and I got him 2 dvds, including a pre-order for Harry Potter 7 that comes out tomorrow. All in all, an enjoyable way to celebrate the day.

On the financial front, I paid our estimated taxes today. That's the killer - it's bad enough taxes are due April but to have to pay estimated tax for next year is tough! I get paid tomorrow, so I'll need catch up on our finances this weekend.

I'm reading a book called Getting Things Done. It's a time/organization management book. I'm hoping that it helps me get on track. I'm looking forward to continuing the decluttering the I started with all of the book/dvd sales.

We're having friends over for dinner on Saturday, so I need to plan the menu, hopefully without breaking the budget. I always wait until the last minute (hence the need to get organized!). Then Sunday will be dinner with my dad. Should be a good weekend.

$76 for gas!!

April 9th, 2011 at 06:04 am

Full disclaimer - I drive a gas guzzling SUV and it was absolutely on fumes. But still, $76.00 for gas? I've been driving for 23 years and have never paid that much! I don't have the receipt handy, but believe it was $2.69/gallon. Ouch. And this is one of those tough categories to reduce. I could probably do a better job combining trips, and maybe walk to the train station instead of drive (once the weather is nicer), but it's not like I go driving through the countryside for hours at a time just for the view. I'll have to give this some more thought and get creative.

I finally made it to the post office on Friday. The one book should have gone out Monday or Tuesday. I sent it first class, so I'm hoping it gets to the person quickly enough that I don't get bad feedback on half ,com. I have another sale to get out today, along with two books I'm getting rid of through paperbackswap .com.

I've got some shopping to do today. I got 2 Barnes & Noble groupon deals a while back that end on Monday. ($20 credit for $10). I'll take the kids to get some new books, and maybe pick up one for myself Wink. I also have a gift card from Kohls that I bought discounted online, and I need to pick up a few things for myself there.

Speaking of discounted gift cards, I need to go online and pick up a Petsmart gift card, and a JC Penney gift card so I can do some spring clothes shopping for the kids in the next week or two.

The rest of the weekend will be all about cleaning the house and doing the laundry. My dog ripped apart one of his stuffed animals and I have stuffing everywhere!! DD has a soccer game tomorrow too, so her uniform will be in the first load.

This and That

April 6th, 2011 at 07:45 pm

It's been a quiet start to the month. I got my RiteAid rebate for about $18, and my Theraflu rebate. Both of those will go into the bank. I desperately need to get to the post office to get 2 dvds and a book out in the mail. I've been procrastinating all week and one is really late.

We got the taxes back from the accountant. Ugh! It was a much bigger hit than expected. He primed us for the Federal tax due, but we also have NJ due, and estimated federal and state due for next year (also due 4/18). And his bill. And a SEP IRA contribution. All in all it's a boatload of money. We have it, fortunately, but it's definitely a lesson learned for next year. We need to save for taxes as we go.

I'm meeting my sisters for lunch tomorrow, so that'll be cash out of pocket. And a much needed haircut to cover those grays!

March Wrap-Up

April 1st, 2011 at 03:23 pm

I don't usually post on this site on April Fools Day, thanks to a prank pulled by Jeffrey several years ago, but it's been a few days since I posted last, so I had to do it. Escaped the day without falling victim to any pranks, but I did do a double-take when I read Ima's blog before I said, "nah, can't be"!

OK...I wrapped up my March financials. Made it through another month, though April will be a tough one.

I was only able to put $48.16 toward my HELOC. This was a big drop from January and February, due to slower half .com sales. My total ytd was $596.85, so I tossed in the extra $3.15 to make it an even $600 ytd. If I could do $200/month, that'd be $2,400/year, which I'd be pretty thrilled with. I need to come up with some new alternatives for bringing in money.

I also tossed in $70 to bring my emergency fund up to $5,000. This is where it usually is, but I had to tap into it last fall, so I'm glad that it's back where it belongs. Going forward, I'll put $250/month in. I'd feel more comfortable with it up around $10k.

Beyond that, bills are paid and I'm ready to take on April.

Newsflash: Rutgers University is paying $32k to Snooki to speak?! This is a state university...is this really what my tax dollars are paying for? Toni Morrison, award winning writer, is being offered $2k less from whatever school she's speaking at. Incredible...