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$20 Challenge

July 28th, 2008 at 05:14 pm

I was inspired by Lux Living Frugalis! Now that I'm back on the site more, I picked out a few of my favorite authors, and started looking at old entries. I came across Lux's first foray into the $20 challenge, when she started with all of $.34. She was so excited! I decided that I could probably find a nickel or a dime to get started too, so why not?

I actually participated in the challenge a while back and did quite well by selling books. Unfortunately, most of the books I have now are not worth anything, so that probably won't be a good avenue. As I declutter my house, I'm going to see what I can get rid of on ebay, etc.

I also revamped my categories, so I can better find old entries that I'm interested in. One of the things I did a while back was to go through every line item on my budget and brainstorm what else I could do to lower it. It's been a long time, so it may be worth it to revisit them and see what I've slacked off on.

The eye of the disorganization hurricane!

December 31st, 2006 at 05:26 pm

What a great day. We cleaned out the closet that is at the center of all of our disorganizational woes. (btw, after catching up on some other blogs, is December 31st the official day to clean out closets, or what?!)

It's the kind of closet where, if we could just get it cleaned out, it would make room for stuff from other rooms, which would make room for other stuff, which would eventually get us to the point where the whole house is organized. That's the plan at least.

So we made progress. The closet is cleaned out, and I was able to start organizing some kitchen cabinets by moving things from there into the now cleaned out closet. Slow and steady wins the race.

So while I started the "organization" resolution early, of course I'm holding off the "healthy eating/lose weight" resolution until 12:01...Not quite THAT bad, but I'm sure not skimping on anything, including the gnocchi we had for dinner (in a light cream sauce)...wahoo...

Looking forward to a fantastic 2007...hope everyone has an enjoyable evening, and a happy, healthy year!

Status Quo

December 11th, 2006 at 01:57 pm

Not much happening here...

We went into NYC on Sunday. It was totally congested (100 times worse than normal, which is pretty bad), but fortunately travel in and out was smooth.

Went to the American Girl store, so DD could spend some of her birthday money. The marketing people at that company are geniuses. If you're familiar with American Girls, you'll know what I mean. If you're not, consider yourself lucky...

Made some more progress on Christmas shopping. I only have a handful of things left. I can't wait to compare this year vs. last year's gift total, because I think it should be alot better.

Speaking of comparing, I'm starting to analyze where I ended the year and set goals for next year. Hopefully they'll be ready to post before 12/31!

Watched a Charlie Brown Christmas

November 27th, 2006 at 07:27 pm

I had a pretty productive day! I mailed invitations for a Christmas open house. It's 3 weeks away, and I'll plan the menu once I figure out how many are coming. I also wrote out thank you cards from DS's birthday party, and will mail them out tomorrow when I get more stamps.

Got the first of many Christmas gifts delivered to the house. (I LOVE internet shopping!). Now I have to find a place to hide them, as the kids pretty much have full run of the place and have already discovered my first two places. The trunk of the car is looking pretty appealing...

Received a $10 rebate and a $3 check to apply toward my cell phone bill. Also, I got information in the mail about a class action suit against Verizon Wireless. If I sign up for a 2-year extension (which I would do anyway), I get a $30 credit on my bill. So that's cool.

One of our Christmas traditions is to watch a Christmas show/cartoon each night. Tonight it was A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's such a classic...I get so moved when Linus does his speech...best holiday show by far!

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2006 at 07:23 am

It's so easy to lose sight of all we have to be thankful for, when we're mired in the day-to-day. Thanks everyone, for reading my blog and commenting, and have a great holiday!

I'm working from home today and off on Friday. I'm going into school for DD's Thanksgiving party, then to the library, and to get the kids haircuts. Thursday will be at hubby's cousin's house, then my dad's on Friday.

This weekend, we'll start decorating for Christmas! (As an aside, one of the local radio stations started playing 24 hour Christmas music 2 weeks ago! I like the music as much as anyone, but on November 15? Come on...)

I've done a great job making progress on my Christmas shopping. Ordered a bunch of stuff from American Girl (free shipping), and from Amazon (using discounted gift cards). I still have more things to get, but at least I know what I'm getting, so I'm ahead of the game and not at all stressed. I need to dig out my Christmas cards and get started on them, and send out Thank You cards from DS's birthday party.

I updated my October budget, and need to get caught up with November so I can see what kind of progress I've made in 2006. No doubt it will be some good, some bad. I did just receive my auto insurance renewal, and it was around $3,075. I have to look up last year's policy, because I could have sworn it was closer to $3,200. That would make my day!

So that's it for now. Have a great holiday everyone!

You think you know a person...

November 16th, 2006 at 08:41 pm

It's funny to read the lists and see how close my impressions of everyone were...Here's mine:

1. I'm a follower, not a leader. Hence my decision to wait until all of you posted your list before I posted mine.
2. I use ... alot.
3. Jane Eyre is my favorite book. The first time I read it (in high school), I stayed up until 4am to finish it.
4. Ferris Bueller is my favorite movie ever. I know the entire thing by heart!
5. I'm the youngest of ten, hubby's an only child. (Opposites attract).
6. I'm 100% Irish and hubby's 100% Italian. (Opposites attract).
7. My brother (5 years older than I am) hated me growing up. We fought like cats and dogs. Now we vacation together every year.
8. I used to run varsity track and cross country in high school (before I discovered beer!)
9. I have a really varied taste in music. My favorites are Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, and Bob Seger.
10. Both of my kids have the same name as my previous bosses at work, though I didn't really plan it that way.
11. When I'm not dressed up for work, I'm home in sweatpants, a T-shirt, and my hair in a ponytail.
12. The only makeup I own is lipstick, and I never wear it.
13. My middle name is Rita. I have no idea why.
14. I curse more than I should.
15. My big talent in 4th grade was gargling songs with water.
16. My nickname in college was Chuckie, because I looked like the character from the horror movie, with red hair and freckles!
17. My parents were 44 and 46 when I was born.
18. I'm totally organized at work and totally disorganized at home.
19. My oldest sister had twin boys on my 1st birthday.
20. I hate greeting cards and wrapping paper. Two of the biggest wastes of money ever (imho).
21. I never saw the Godfather, or Star Wars.
22. I love all puzzles. Sudoko, Kakuro, and crosswords are my favorite.
23. I'm great at math and english, horrible at science, history, and languages.
24. Hubby's a chemist. I have absolutely no idea what he does.
25. I have no artistic talent whatsoever.
26. We're big Dallas Cowboy fans. Went to Dallas on our honeymoon on the way to Hawaii to see the Cowboys play the Giants on Monday Night Football.
27. Went back on our 1st anniversary, and were next to another couple who were there on their honeymoon.
28. I think New Years Eve is the most overrated holiday ever. I've only had one stellar one in 36 years!
29. I love sports and hate shopping. I tell hubby that's why I'm such a catch!
30. I'm pretty cynical.
31. Love Connection with Chuck Wollery was my favorite show in college.
32. I love to cook gourmet meals and eat them with a glass of wine (or two)!
33. I love watching David Letterman and I met Jay Leno 20 years ago (before he was big).
33. I think I'm pretty fun.

I've really gotten a kick out of reading everyone's lists!

Plumbing Progress

November 8th, 2006 at 03:56 pm

The contractor came today to fix my kitchen sink, which broke last Tuesday night. I've never been so happy to do dishes! Having to cart them from the kitchen to the bathroom and back has NOT been fun!

The kids are off tomorrow and Friday. I'm working tomorrow, so the kids are going to grandma's. On Friday we're taking the day off to go to lunch and the planetarium with my sister and nephew. The kids LOVE the planetarium, so it should be a great day...

I overestimated my dependent care for the year, so I'm going to lose some $ in my flexible spending account. The amount was already set when I switched departments (and hours) at work. Because I was going from one p/t job to another, I couldn't switch the amounts mid-year. Depending on how much I use the aftercare at school through the end of the year, it could be as much as $500. I'm trying not to stress too much, because $250 of my contributions are paid by hubby's company, and the tax break I'm getting on what I have used more than makes up for it, but still...

On the flip side, I'm excited about my health care FSA for next year. I increased the amount based on this year's usage. Now that otc medicines are eligible for reimbursements, I can double dip by submitting them to my FSA (and thus paying for them pre-tax). Pretty cool...

So that's about it here...we're in a lull, thank goodness!

Anniversary Weekend...

November 4th, 2006 at 03:00 pm

My anniversary is tomorrow - 12 years! To celebrate, kids are sleeping over at grandmas and we're going to a PTO fundraising dinner. Tomorrow, we're bringing the kids home and hanging around the house all day.

It's been COLD here - high in the mid-40s today, same tomorrow. I'm hoping hubby will light a fire tomorrow. First one of the fall. The chimney guy cleaned it out on Tuesday so it's ready to go!

DS's birthday is Monday (6!). We'll go to Grandma's for dinner so we can celebrate together. I still need to go shopping for his gifts. I know what to get, just need to get to the store.

Speaking of gifts, it's time I turn my attention to Christmas. I had the kids' pictures taken on Thursday and got them back today. (Talk about fast service - what a pleasant experience this was)! I think I have Christmas cards that I bought after Christmas last year, so I can begin writing them out at my leisure so they're ready to go Dec. 1.

I'm getting to be a Scrooge about Christmas cards. Aside from a few people that I'd really like to touch base with, why bother sending a card to someone just because I've done it every other year? There are so many people on the list that I only communicate with through Christmas cards (and vice versa), and I don't know that I'm really brightening their day by sending a message of good cheer. I'll have to ponder that one (more likely, see how many cards I have leftover lol!).

I also need to take a look at my gift list. DD's is easy, because she wants everything under the sun. DS is harder, because he's a pretty content kid, and I usually use up all of my ideas for him for his birthday. I'll need to think about hubby, too. I'm pretty good about writing ideas down during the year, just need to check back and see what I have.

As for the others, again, I'm going to cut down where I can. It just gets crazy. On the flip side, I always "adopt" a few kids through a program at work, and I feel awesome about that, because these kids would have nothing if not for the volunteers who take them. The kids are old enough to get involved with that, too this year.

Sorry for the long, rambling message. Haven't had a chance to post frequently, so I figured I'd have a brain dump and get it all out now...

Super Halloween!

October 31st, 2006 at 03:12 pm

We had SO much fun today! I was in school for DD's Halloween party, and the parade. We got home, and ventured out at 3:30 to go trick-or-treating. We were back at 5:10, which was absolutely perfect timing. The kids (5 & 7) were BEAT. The weather was perfect, too. Near 70, which is something else for the end of October...I put them right into the bath (after having a piece of candy, of course). We're about ready to eat, then an early bed, if they're not too sugared up!

That will leave me time tonight to finish the October numbers and see where things stand. Looking forward to a quiet night.

Catching Up

October 30th, 2006 at 11:20 am

I'm in a good place with October ending. I'm off today and tomorrow, so I'm able to get some things done. (Nothing great, just the typical stuff I normally have no time for).

I'm looking forward to Halloween tomorrow. The kids are so excited. They have a parade at school, followed by some trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.

I need to tally up all of my October spending and check the budget. I'm anxious to see how much my gas bill went down now that I'm taking the train to work. Also, the gas company is coming tomorrow morning to install a special meter that they can read from the street. That'll allow me to actually get an actual reading each month...hoping this will go down too.

It's going to be an expensive week coming up. Our anniversary is Saturday, and DS's birthday is next Monday. I also scheduled the kids' Christmas pictures for Thursday afternoon. It's getting to be that time of the year again...

Swamped

October 24th, 2006 at 07:52 pm

Wow, it's been a week since I last posted. Where does the time go? I'm on this site everyday catching up on the blogs, but I haven't had the time to sit down and write one myself!

Things are hectic but fine. October was a good month financially. I got a small bonus at work (unexpected) and MIL gives us some money each September, so we have that in the account as well. It came in handy. We paid off the small remaining balance on our HELOC ($1700+), so now we have about $20k on 0% ccs from the addition we put on the house. The 0% on one card expires in March, and the other next September, so we'll be working to pay those off in time.

We also took some of the extra money and boosted up our emergency fund. We near-depleted it last April when we paid our huge tax bill, so although it still isn't as high as I'd like, I'm at least comfortable with it.

The remaining money is going to sit in the checking account through the end of the year. In addition to the bathroom remodel, we have both kids' birthdays (and parties, presents, etc.), and Christmas. So rather than feel pinched, we'll leave the buffer in there and get through the end of the year...

The bathroom remodel is going slowly. Our contractor took a look at it and said he would do it. We haven't had time to pick out fixtures/tile, and he hasn't sent us the estimate yet. On the one hand, I'm ok with the pace (the slower it goes, the longer before we begin paying!). On the other hand, he said it would take at least a month to do it all, and I'd prefer not to be under construction through the holidays. We'll make due, though.

So that's about it...hubby's been travelling, the kids are busy with school and activities, and I'm busy at work.

(Forgot to mention, I had a RAOK done to me today. I left my monthly train ticket on the train today. Luckily I had my name and # on the back of the ticket, so the woman who found it called me. She gave it to the conductor, and he was going to put it in the lost & found at the station for me. So I'm hoping to get it back tomorrow. I have a single ticket to get me in tomorrow, but if I have to replace it through the end of the month it'll cost me about $60!)

Keep the Change

October 17th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

So I signed up for Bank of America's "Keep the Change" program last year. Every time I use my debit card, they round the amount up to the nearest dollar and transfer the change to my savings account. Transfers are made daily. In addition, they match what they transfer. For the first 3 months, they were matching $ for $, thereafter, they match at 5%. Once a year they transfer the matching amounts to the savings account. I just received $27+ in matching funds!

OK, so it's not going to pay off my mortgage or anything, but considering it cost me absolutely nothing, I think it's a good deal. Also, I used the debit card aggressively the first 3 months, but only sporadically thereafter. I kind of like it, though, and think I'll use it more. (Which is the whole point of the program).

No big financial news. I sent out a $3 Musselman's applesauce rebate, but that's been about it. Status quo is the way to go...

Drowning in Paperwork

October 16th, 2006 at 03:50 pm

I made some serious headway into the mounds of paperwork in my house. I signed up for some health benefits under hubby's open enrollment. I need to do the ones we get from my company tomorrow. Also wrote out checks for picture days and a scholastic book order. Gathered up my Box Tops for Education and Campbell's Labels for Education.

(Shameless begging: for any blog readers who don't have young kids or whose kids' schools don't do box tops, I'd appreciate it if you could send them my way. You can find them on Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Ziploc, Kleenex, and a whole host of products. Each box top gets $.10 back for the school, to help fund things that are inevitably cut in the budget. So if you have them and don't need them, send them my way!)

Shameless plug over. October's been a good month. Bills are paid, and I got a small bonus thrown my way at work, which will help with some of the work on the bathroom. I realize (pleasantly) that I haven't really thought about Christmas yet. We're decorated for Halloween, and I've picked up / picked out a few things for Christmas, but not much more than that. Usually by this time of year, Christmas pix of the kids are done, shopping's done, etc. (Though I do need to get the pictures scheduled, just because those places get nuts once November hits!)

So that's about it here. Just plugging along through the end of the week...

Free trials

October 13th, 2006 at 08:37 am

Check out an interesting article from MSNBC on Trilegant, the company behind those 30-day free trials:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15104735/

Basically, it's about how your bank may be partnering with this company to provide credit card information, so that after the "30-day free trial" is over, they can continue to bill you. The Connecticut BBB has received over 300 complaints about this company in the last 3 years.

To be fair, I took advantage of every one of their programs (sometimes 2 or 3 times!) earlier this year, and never had a problem. But I was also very diligient about calling to cancel within the 30-day period and checking my credit card and bank statements to make sure nothing was amiss.

I guess it's like everything else - let the buyer beware!

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!

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...

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...

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!

Catch Up Day

August 15th, 2006 at 06:22 am

I'm working from home today, so in addition to work-work, I can get some other things done. I need to go to the bank to deposit some checks (never made it yesterday) and to town hall to pay the tax bill. I also need to get the car's oil changed. It's pouring rain, so I think when I get back from that I'll stay in for the rest of the day! I have a few loads of laundry to do, and the dishwasher to run. I also need to continue to declutter. My niece will be moving in a week from Sunday, and I need to clean out the room she'll be staying in.

I told hubby that as social coordinator for the family, I am keeping Sundays to ourselves this fall. I'm just beat from all the running around we do. So Sundays will consist of Church, football, and cooking. My plan is to break out the bread machine (which I haven't used in YEARS) and the ice cream maker and spend the day cooking and baking for the week (snacks for the kids' lunchboxes, soup, a hearty meal or two that can be reheated, stuff like that). I really enjoy cooking, so I'm hoping it works out. I'm so excited that I'm planning the meals already!

So that's the scoop. I need to post a message in the forum to check on the status of the Northeaster and Caboose. As far as I know, it's moving along, but I haven't seen a post lately, so I just want to make sure. I have a BUNCH of pet food and baby coupons that I need to unload...

Guerilla Savings!

August 10th, 2006 at 06:39 pm

In advance of paying the bills on the 15th, I looked at our credit card statements. Oh boy...we went COMPLETELY off the wagon this summer, particularly with vacations. We made different plans with different people all over the summer and all of the spending is hitting this month. I'm trying to remain upbeat about it...it's the kick in the pants that I need to get back to serious saving again. Now I need to look at the details to see exactly how I'm going to deal with this damage.

For starters, it should be a cash-free weekend for me. We're going to the town pool with friends tomorrow (no charge - they have guest passes). Saturday we're going to dinner at a friend's house, and we only need to bring a bottle of wine, which we have. Sunday, we're staying home all day. I have food in the freezer, and fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden. One day at a time...

We're going to have a houseguest for a month or two. My niece is going to a college nearby, but is on the waiting list for a dorm room. She should be in no later then 10/15, so she asked if we could put her up. Of course, we'd love to have her. She'll be in school and at work much of the time, and she's often a help to me with the kids, so I'm hoping it works out well.

To the beach!

August 6th, 2006 at 06:47 am

Every summer, we go to the Jersey shore with mil. She pays for the hotel and food, we pay for boardwalk, rides, and things like that. We'll be back Wednesday. That will be it for summer vacations, and I'll prepare for the back-to-school madness. I've let the focus on finances lapse over the summer, and need to get back to it for September...

Stolen Social Security #

August 2nd, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I came home today to a message on my answering machine from Discover Cards. Seems as if someone applied for an account using my SS#. However, my birthday was slightly off, and the address to which they wanted the card sent was different from the address on my credit report, so it was flagged to their fraud department. I called them back and told them I didn't apply for the card, so they cancelled the application. I also called Experian and put a 90-day fraud alert on my ss#, where they'll call me before authorizing any credit. (They notify the other 2 agencies as well). I called Citibank, with whom I currently have credit cards, and they said that they can't really do anything proactively, but it would be a good idea to change my password from my mother's maiden name (which is easily gotten) to something else. So I need to do that, as well as log on regularly to my credit cards online to make sure there is no unusual activity. I'm trying to take comfort in the good news that the Discover application was filled out on 7/24, and they caught this, so maybe no other damage was done. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Other than that, I'm swamped at work, which is preventing me from getting much done at home. Still plugging away, though. I'm off to check credit card activity...

Lots to do!

July 24th, 2006 at 07:36 pm

This vacation is kind of sneaking up on me...I'm just realizing how much I need to do before I leave!

First off, some more good deals at Walgreens, including a bunch of back-to-school type stuff for $.10 each, envelopes for mailing out the coupon trains, and two more rebate items I didn't get last time. Total spent: $23.95, using a previously issued WAG giftcard, and I'll be getting $6 more in rebates back.

Also went to Shoprite to do dad's shopping, and got all of my non-perishable stuff. Not too big a list, pretty much just taking advantage of sales and coupons.

Finally, went to the Post Office to mail out the 2 half.com orders. Should receive in the neighborhood of $8.50, and it cost me $3.20 to ship, so not bad.

Called the pool company again. Now they tell me that they don't have my warranty card, and can't give me another because they're all serial-# specific, but that they went on the company's website, and I should be ok just sending in the form with my receipt and the dealer number. I'll do it, and I'll document my frustration from the last month. And if the company doesn't pay out the $200 rebate, I'm going to tell my pool company that I want $200 taken off of my closing cost. I've had it. We really like them, but $200 is a lot of money, and I'm really getting mad!

Lots to do tomorrow and Wednesday. I need to stop the mail and paper, go to the post office and bank, order and RX, pickup dry cleaning, do laundry, and pack. I also need to arrange to have the plants watered. I'm sure there are other things, but I'm just so tired now, I can't even think of them!

Fruit Picking

July 23rd, 2006 at 05:28 am

We went to a farm that had pick-your-own and got some (lots!) of peaches and raspberries. Also bought strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, and a pie (couldn't resist) while we were there. On the positive side, the fruit is fresh and fantastic, and the pyo was priced well relative to stores. ($1.19/lb for the peaches and $4.99/lb for the raspberries). On the other hand, we picked far more peaches then we can reasonably eat in the next few days, so I'll have to figure out whether to freeze or bake the rest. The other fruit was overpriced, but the freshness compensated. I'm chalking the whole day up to "Entertainment", so it shouldn't blow my grocery category out of the water. (BTW, JodiM, blackberries are also $4.99/lb when they're in season. Not sure how that compares to your area).

Today, we're going to a birthday party for my friend's two kids. I already have gifts for them, so no money out-of-pocket for that. The kids do want to see Monster House, so we'll do that tonight.

Otherwise, I'm just wrapping things up before I go to California on Thursday. I need to do a little itinerary planning, stop the mail and paper, stuff like that. I also have to call the pool company first thing tomorrow (Frown), and visit my dad tomorrow night.

No pool info

July 20th, 2006 at 01:54 pm

Of course the information from the pool company didn't come, so I had to call up (again!) and lay into them a bit. "Ann" assures me that she will take care of it today. She must be the only one in the place I haven't yet spoken with, because everyone else said the exact same thing! *Sigh*

I got the Northeaster coupon train today. Right on the heels of the caboose going out. It seems like it's chock full with good stuff (as always), but it's too close to dinnertime for me to give it the attention it deserves. I usually need to set aside an hour or two for this...

I also received a free sample of a razor in the mail. I don't sign up for too many free samples, and don't really keep track of them, so it's always a pleasant surprise when I get something!

Another quiet night tonight. I did a great job of planning the menu for the week, so I've cooked dinner every night! This hasn't happened in a long time, so I'm pretty excited about it...

Forgot to mention: I called Pillsbury a few days ago to check the expiration date on a product I have. They asked me if I wanted to be included on a panel to answer surveys and the like on their products. I said yes and just filled out the introductory info. Nothing offensive. They said I'll receive a welcome letter in a few days, after which time they'll send me occasional surveys. Compensation differs by survey. I"m not expecting much - heck, I'd be excited if I get some good coupons out of it. Just another reason why it pays to call those customer service centers...

Quick update

July 19th, 2006 at 08:37 pm

I received an order from half.com. Two books @ $2 each, plus shipping reimbursement. It's been a while since my last sale and these things usually come in bunches, so maybe this is the start of something great!

Not much else new here. Just work and home today, same for tomorrow and Friday. I need to get down to my dad's before next Wednesday to do some grocery shopping for him. STILL waiting for the information from the pool place, despite calling on Monday (again) and having them assure me they'll get it out in the mail that day. If I don't get it by tomorrow, I'm going to have a fit, because the rebate expires on 7/31 and I'm going to California next Thursday, so it has to be wrapped up by then. I'm not normally a betting person, but $10 says I don't get it tomorrow...

Closed out my Sharebuilder accounts (mine and the kids). I also wrote a letter to HSBC to close that online savings account. At this point, I have two others that I still need to close (one soon and one when the 6 months is up), which will leave me with 3 checking accounts and 1 savings account, all of which I use. It feels good to get some of these things crossed off my list...

Rebates

July 17th, 2006 at 02:44 pm

Great mail day...I got two $10 rebates for signing up for two gift card trials, and I got a $5 gas rebate back that I've been waiting on for weeks. I'm still waiting on two more $5 rebates, so I'm hopeful that they'll come to.

I also closed down one of the bank accounts that I opened for the bonus. I wasn't making use of it, and they sent me a letter that it was going to convert to an account with an $11 monthly fee because of inactivity. Forget that...

I also caught up with a few friends that I haven't spoken to in a few weeks. I still have a few more, but at least the list is narrowing.

Relatively quiet night tonight, then back to my to-do list tomorrow!

A Day at the Beach

July 14th, 2006 at 06:34 pm

Totally spur-of-the-moment, hubby and I decided to take the kids to the beach today. It was 85 and sunny, perfect weather. We had an absolutely great time. The kids were fantastic and we had a load of fun. No "buyers remorse" here, but it was a bit of an expensive day. I haven't added it up yet (I'm afraid) but between gas, lunch and dinner, boardwalk rides, and beach passes (good old NJ...charging $$ to get on their beach!), it'll probably run close to $100. Heck, it's 160 miles round trip, so gas alone will be $25. Spending quality time with the family: priceless.

I was disappointed with the mail today. We needed to buy a part for the pool, and it came with a rebate that expires 7/31. When the pool company installed it, they didn't leave me the warranty card, which I need to submit with the rebate. I called the pool company and got somebody totally clueless, who said she'd look into it and get it in the mail to me. After a few days, I called and got the owner, who knew exactly what I needed and said he'd get it in the mail to me. I haven't gotten it yet, so I need to call him back tomorrow. I hate frustrations like this. When I do my job, people don't need to tell me how to do it right, they don't need to remind me of deadlines. Why do I feel like my second (unpaid) job is babysitting grown men and women who don't have their act together? Totally frustrating!

But it's not going to ruin my great day...I'll update my progress tomorrow.

Random Musings

July 12th, 2006 at 05:34 am

Hubby and I both get paid on the 15th, but I have the stubs already, so I'll be able to update my July numbers. I'm looking forward to seeing how I'll end up this month, because I have no idea, and knowing is better than not knowing...

I mailed out the coupon train, and got a $2.74 Aquafresh rebate in the mail.

I also received my 2nd mail order RX from Medco. I wrote about this a few months back. Both hubby and I take prescriptions that cost $25/month to fill at CVS. Going through Medco mail order, we pay $50 for a 3-month supply, saving $100/year on each prescription. Can't believe I didn't know about this sooner. When I was on their website, they also list all the RX that we've filled recently at CVS, and the savings if we switched to Medco. In most cases the prescriptions were one-shot deals, and so not eligible for mail order. But even my kids prescription vitamins, which are $9.95 at CVS are $5.83 at Medco. Worth looking into for sure.

I was pretty proud of myself on Monday. A children's clothing store near MIL's house was going out of business. They're clothes are inexpensive normally, and now they are just dirt cheap. I went in thinking I'd pick up some things for the kids. Found a few things they could use, but nothing that totally wowed me. I picked up those few things, but the checkout line was huge, so I said "forget it" and put everything back. I may go back again before they close at the end of the month, but I was proud of myself for not spending "just because it's on sale".

In fact, other than takeout last night ($12.50), I haven't had many unbudgeted expenses. That's key for me.

That's about it in mjrube land...

Identity Protector

July 6th, 2006 at 08:01 pm

A few weeks ago, I cashed a $15 check to enroll in Citibank's credit protector 30-day free trial. They must have thought I was a good find, because they just sent me a $10 check to sign up for their identity theft 30-day free trial. I'm disciplined enough to cancel before the 30 days, so I'm thinking of doing it.

(By the way, re: the credit protector, they normally charge $.89/$100 balance. In the promo materials, they say they waive it for people that pay their balance in full, but when I received the materials, it wasn't anywhere in there. I'm going to call and cancel tomorrow, and see what exactly the deal is).

Other than that, a pretty uneventful day. Hubby's friend is visiting for the night, so we ordered takeout Greek food ($30). We have a pretty quiet weekend planned. Sister and nephew are coming for a sleepover tomorrow, and hubby's friend from HS will be here with his family Saturday. I'll need to check the freezer to see what I can cook. We may go raspberry, blackberry and peach picking on Sunday.

Hope everyone is well...


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