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Taxes done!

March 8th, 2014 at 08:52 pm

I'm relieved to know I do not owe Uncle Sam a dime. I need to change my exemptions. I'm getting a small amount back but next year is uncertain in more ways than one.

No update on the restructure. Feeling angst/depression over the whole situation. We're all hanging on a limb without any information which is why I have strived to reach financial independence for the past few years. I don't want ever want to feel this way again. The story/emotions are so much deeper than I can share. I want the drama to stop. Just rip off the Band-Aid and tell us where we stand.

In the meantime, the resume is updated. I'm searching outside employment as well.

The positive...I had the most beautiful sunset today. I was in awe of nature's splendor. Life is good no matter what challenges are thrown my way.

In Shock....

February 28th, 2014 at 07:45 pm

My company is in the process of a major reorganization and we were hit today with a major restructure. I have to reapply for my job. The one I have held for 15 years. If I get my job back, the benefits and pay rate will change. I don't have any information yet. It's unsettling not knowing if I will have a job that will keep my salary to cut to save money.

Needless to say, I worried. I am wired and don't forsee much sleep tonight (or weekend for that matter).

Trying to keep positive thoughts during this uneasy time.

Why buy new when used will do?

February 17th, 2014 at 05:01 am

I've been furniture shopping with a friend this weekend. We've been to Thrift stores and shopping Craigslist and found some amazing deals. A lot of the furniture is high end. Most people are moving and don't have room or they are moving long distance and the expense to transport is too high. It's also been fun, meeting different people and getting to know a little slice of their lives. Everyone has been super nice. A lot of people talk about craigslist nightmares but we've been fortunate. The rule is bring someone with you and visit during the day (mornings/early afternoons preferred).

So far, my friend purchased a lovely solid wood with iron accents dining room table and 4 chairs in excellent condition for $150.

Recycle/reuse.

Why I love gift cards......

February 2nd, 2014 at 01:19 pm

I ran out of coffee (which is unheard of in this household Wink). I walked to Starbucks to purchase two bags of coffee. I like to create my own 50/50 half decaf/half caffeine mixture. Starbucks is not my favorite coffee but I made it work because I have a gift card. My coffee was free and will last at least 2 months.

I went to Target to purchase a few things for Superbowl (crackers, water and nuts). Total cost $3.00 because I had a $20.00 gift card.

Gift cards help in lean times as long as you can put them to use. If I receive clothing store gift card, I'd re-gift it. I honestly only want cards for the things I need (grocery, Target, Pet Store), etc.

Have a wonderful day!

Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch

January 29th, 2014 at 06:43 pm

has not experienced the generosity of a friend/coworker treating them to lunch.

Lucky me. I had a fantastic lunch today with old coworkers. I hope we can get together more often.

Reorganizing and layoffs

January 27th, 2014 at 06:50 pm

Our company is in the midst of a major reorganization. I'm sad to see long time friends/colleagues go. Some will receive great packages. They earned it after 30+ years of service. Our organization is no different than any other in America (hence the saying "out with the old/in with the new" (cheaper) labor. Sad Frown

Thrift store finds....

January 11th, 2014 at 05:50 pm

One of my resolutions this year is to avoid retail shopping like the plague. Smile I will repurpose/reuse as much as possible. I will do my shopping at thrift stores, yard sales, etc. No new purchases (if at all possible).

I am fortunate to have several thrift stores nearby. I have my favorite which donates all proceeds to help the blind.

Today, I found a several "new in packages" deals. My first find is a new package of Britta water filters. A 5 pack for only $4.19! Retail $25-32. Sweet!

I found an LL Bean child's backpack for $2.19 (retail $35. (A gift for my niece). A baby gift (Carter's head support for car seat or strollers ) $2.00 (retail $15). This will go toward a shower gift in April. A metal vanity stool for $7.79. I've been looking for one for myself but it's such a deal, I may sell it on e-bay.

Testing the waters.......January

January 10th, 2014 at 06:19 pm

I spent the last few weeks going over my budget, setting goals for 2014 and beyond. I made a board with "post it's" listing short term/long term goals. Looking at the board everyday gives me the inspiration and confidence to believe I can really reach most of them. It's a mix of personal, financial and general(eg. household fix it)goals.

I'll post more after I give this month a test drive. It's only been 10 days and I'm happy to say it looks good.

Happy New Year!

Holiday smoliday...

December 17th, 2013 at 07:44 pm

Our company holiday luncheon was today. I should have stayed at the office. It was lackluster, boring and most people were just there to eat and move on. There was no entertainment, the d├ęcor was lacking and just plain boring. I think the lunch line in high school was more exciting! ha!

Maybe the reason for everyone's holiday spirit was lack of raises. I received a stellar performance review. I did not receive the raise I was expecting. After all, when you put in 150% everyday and OT when needed, you expect to be rewarded. It's not the economy. My company is making large sums of money. Just ask our VP's who are showing off their new expensive cars and vacation homes.

On the positive, I delivered many holiday treats and the recipients were thrilled. Make my day!

California had a huge lottery this evening. Going to check my ticket now. The above may be irrelevant tomorrow morning. Wish me luck! Smile

I cannot be trusted.........

December 10th, 2013 at 06:49 pm

A few weeks ago, I purchased eight Peppermint Bark snack size candies from William Sonoma for stocking stuffers. I have three left. Yes, I devoured five out of eight and I don't expect the remaining three to make it to the stocking. Sigh~ Smile

I'm looking forward to the New year. I need to regroup my finances in a big way. Too much outgoing and not enough $ coming in.

I'll be baking up a storm the next few weekends. I love giving baked goods because they are well received.


Ebayers....

November 20th, 2013 at 07:12 pm

If you win a bid, I go out of my way to ship within 12 hours of payment. Someone had the nerve to leave a negative comment about shipping fees two weeks AFTER they received the merchandise. If you place and win the bid, you agree to all terms of the sale. If you disagree then don't waste my time. Shipping is not free and my expenses need to be covered.

That's it. My first negative comment selling on e-bay.

It doesn't deter me from selling. 99.9% of my sales have been positive.

Dang ticket

October 10th, 2013 at 05:57 pm

I wasn't paying attention. Traffic was crazy. I made a left turn at a busy intersection. Apparently, it was a no left turn zone.
Dang! He should have let me off with a warning. It's my birthday for Pete's sake. Whatever! What bugged me was his condescending attitude. "Don't let this little bump ruin your day. Have a nice birthday".

The financial impact is going to set me back. Ticket/traffic school.

He did not ruin my day. I'm on my way to the theatre and dinner with the most wonderful people in my life.

Life is good!

Tired....

October 5th, 2013 at 07:00 pm

I don't know about you but I get tired of tracking my spending. It's monotonous and leaves me frustrated. It feels all consuming at times.

My local grocer is having amazing deals so I'm splurging and stocking up. So far I've spent $110. The best deal is wild salmon on sale for $5.99lb but they were out. I got a rain check for 2lbs but I wanted at least 6-10 to freeze. I'll check again tomorrow.

Spent $50 on gifts today. Children's clothing for $3-4 a piece NEW. Definitely beats my thrift store deals.

Babysitting tomorrow... should net $50 which negates what I spent on gifts. win/win

addendum to pet peeve

September 26th, 2013 at 09:57 pm

I received new coupons from Orowheat (Bimbo bakery) for the bread thins quality control error.

Not a single comment from the company, just a standard envelope with their standard comment "dear valued customer...blah, blah, blah.."

Whatever...at least I have compensation for my original complaint.




Is this the new normal?

September 23rd, 2013 at 08:02 pm

I work in a mid size office for a major corporation. One of my coworkers is getting married. The one and only person in the office invited to the wedding sent out a luncheon invitation to celebrate the coworker's upcoming wedding (at an expensive restaurant) and also asked for donations toward a wedding gift.

I really want to back out but politically I can't. I really wish people would stop this office nonsense.

More motivation to become financially independent Smile!

Pet peeve

September 20th, 2013 at 06:18 pm

A few weeks ago I noticed the Oroweat Sandwich Thins I purchased was short one bun. The package is supposed to have 8 and it only contained 7. I wrote the company to raise awareness of the quality control issue.

Today I received a few coupons in the mail from Oroweat. To my surprise the coupons do not include the Sandwich Thins product. Really?

So...I wrote them again. Why would they send me coupons for product I did not purchase. I would rather have my purchase price refunded or coupons for the product I did purchase.

Sheesh!

Sept goals/great friends

August 30th, 2013 at 07:17 pm

This September I am having a low spend month. I'm allocating $100 to food, $70 to gas and $125 to medical. That's it. No frivolous spending.

I am blessed with friends that share my philosophy of sharing. I want to repaint my bedroom (for the 10th time). A friend has numerous half gallons of paint in the color pallet I have chosen for the room. I will blend the paints to create my unique color. I have had great success in the past.

This friend only uses the highest quality paint so I only have to use one coat! YAY! Let's hope this is the last paint job Wink

August......

August 7th, 2011 at 08:47 pm

I've decided to go to the extreme this month with my budget. I think moments of temporary insanity borrowing from Peter to pay Paul has caught up with me.

So......here's my budget minus fixed expenses:
Food $100-$28.42 = $71.54 for the month
Gas $60-25 = $35 for the month

I'm doing well. I spent $28.42 on food today paying close attention to coupons/sale flyers. I've developed the habit of walking to the markets carrying only what I can handle. I do admit, today was heavier than expected but I made it. My trips are usually 1.5 to 2.5 hours. I love walking. It's a huge stress relief but walking with a heavy load 3 miles or more is not my idea of a good time Smile

I've been working long hours (12 day) sitting in front of a computer and it's taking a toll on me mentally and physically. My sciatic nerve has kicked in and I can't sleep more than 2-3 hours a night and it's not a sound sleep. I usually only sleep 5 hours a night and working in a high stress job I need to sleep. I'm going to see a doctor this week.

I'm confident I can make my budget work this month and the rest of the year as long as put my mind to it and ignore the distractions.

Staycation....

July 14th, 2011 at 03:44 pm

I'm on a staycation this week. It's not like I'm saving money (LOL). I spent $500 in 3 days replenishing food and miscellaneous items which have been depleted. I noticed prices are rising again. Is it coicidental...gas prices going down and food/consumer goods going up?

I went to Walmart to do price comparisons. I spent $110 (unintentionally). The prices were much better than Target. I also stocked up on things I use the most. Honestly, I have not been to Walmart in 4 years. I usually shop at Target, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Farmer's markets. I'm not a Walmart hater (like some people). I have to drive at least 20 miles so it's not convenient. I also like to shop local. There are rumors Walmart may be coming to my town. If so, will Target survive if Walmart is within a 1/2 mile? I'm not so sure...

On another note...I've been walking at least 4 miles round trip every morning. I call it a walk with a purpose. It can be a walk to my local Spouts to pick up fruits and vegetables or my local hardware store to pick up items needed for minor repairs I'm doing around the house. Our mornings have been unseasonally cool so I'm taking full advantage. (Last week it was super hot). I'm taking leisurely naps in the afternoon. Don't know what I'm going to do when I go back to work. I love taking naps Smile LOL!

Vacation/Staycation

May 2nd, 2011 at 09:46 pm

I really wish my employer would pay out unused vacation time instead of having the "use it or lose it" attitude. I understand the importance of taking time off to regroup, relax and break free from the everyday grind. A three or four day vacation payout would allow me to go away for a long weekend instead of staying home working on endless projects.

Just a thought..

Getting back in the groove.......

May 1st, 2011 at 02:34 pm

Let's try this again.....

I lost sight of my goals (and to be honest) became frustrated with all the money issues. My entire life centered around money (or lack thereof)and it got me thinking "is this it? When is the money bleed going to stop?" I needed a break.

I started focusing on little things I could accomplish myself. Eg. painting the hallway in my home. I tested three color samples (which are not cheap)and didn't care for any of them. I decided to use the left over primer/paint from the bathroom. It's not my original color choice (swiss coffee) but it's a neutral and works. I saved at least $200 for paint/supplies and labor.

I spent an entire weekend spring cleaning. I boxed items for charity, reorganized/boxed winter clothes and brought out spring/summer items (clothing/bedding, etc.) I love a clean house.

Today, I took a nice walk to CVS (approx 1 miles each way) with a broken toe. The weather is absolutely gorgeous. Spring brings allergies and I should know better than to walk after 11 am. LOL!


CVS
1st transaction....
Colgate Max Toothpaste $2.97 -$.75 coupon (PLUS $2.97 CVS bucks credit. Made .75!)
Pantene 2/$6.97 - $3 coupon/$1 CVS bucks = $2.97
Sally Hansen Pedicure brush $5.99 - $3 coupon = $2.99
Reese's mini's 2/$6 - $2 coupon = $4
CVS in store coupon .50 off any item
2nd transaction....
CVS batteries Buy 1 get 1 free $6.99 - $3.77 (CVS bucks from previous transaction)= $3.22
Total w/tax $18.20
Total savings $24.62

I was happy to see the batteries on sale. How can all the batteries in my smoke detectors go at once? Just when I thought I had it figured out, another one would start beeping. LOL!

I made a double batch of whole wheat/banana/peanut butter/dark choc muffings. They freeze well and I have enough for two weeks. I also made tuna/pasta/veggie salad. For lunches, La Brea bakery whole garlic bread with tomato/basil/cheese toasted. YUMMMMMM! I also have a variety of items I premade and froze to pull from this month.

My goal for MAY? Just BREATHE! Smile

Trying to stop the money bleed.......

March 6th, 2011 at 05:21 pm

The main sewer line clogged again. It has to be cleaned every 12-14 months. This time it was really, really bad. The tree roots were HUGE. I have never seen so many pulled at one time. The line was inspected with a camera and I wouldn't have believed it if I had not seen it for myself. Tree roots throughout the line. I've been told by three different plumbers, the old clay line needs to be replaced with the pvc line they use now. It's a substantial cost ($5,200). I'm trying to buy time to budget for it or sell the home. They recommended high pressure water jetting. The cost $525.

I'm trying to research the water jetting but haven't found much about it. They say it is the most effective method. Anyone tried it? If so, I'd be interested in your opinion.
Thanks!

Project completion

February 14th, 2011 at 04:40 pm

The bathroom project is finally finished! YAY!
The figures are:
Primer 18.97
Paint: FREE (thank you SG)
Mirror 34.99
Light fixture 79.28
Switchplate x (2) 6.99
Caulking 6.98
Toilet Seat 30.00
Labor: 300.00
Total Cost: $477.91 and worth every penny!

It was an exhausting weekend. The plumber pulled the toilet, the tile man fixed broken tile, my handyman/painter was sealing cracks/patching walls, priming, painting, installing new light fixture the entire weekend.

I've painted the interior of my home numerous times.
It was nice to have someone else do a room for a change. I also appreciate the attention to detail. I estimated $1000-1500 for both kitchen and bath projects. The total for both is $797.94. If I add the unexpected expense for the exterminator ($350) the grand total is $1,147.94.

I'm feeling overwhelmed with the outflow of cash lately. I also paid my homeowners insurance and my car insurance is due in a few days.

I also have visitors coming in for a few weeks in March. If anyone can tell me where the money tree is located, I'd greatly appreciate it Smile

Exterminator

February 5th, 2011 at 07:28 am

I finally called an exterminator. The rodent problem was not eraticated by sealing the opening in the kitchen. I also heard them in the attic. Traps were set in the attic and under the house. So far, it's been effective. This process will continue for the next week or so. A thorough inspection was done around the house and all openings have been sealed.

This is a huge problem in my area. We also have problems with opossums, racoons and coyotes. We can all live together on this earth....just not in my house! Smile

Total cost $350. Money well spent.

Let them eat cake!

January 31st, 2011 at 01:15 pm

Someone from the office brought in a DELICIOUS Chocolate Bundt cake today. I didn't want to be rude and refuse Wink.

This has nothing to do with finance or budgets. Just a grand way to end the month!

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

What are you doing to stretch your dollar?

January 20th, 2011 at 05:12 am

I thought I would share some of the things I've been doing recently to stretch my dollars.

1) Save coffee. If I have anything left over in the pot, it goes into a jar and placed in the refrigerator to be added to the next day's pot. Also comes in handy if I want a cup in the afternoon. Just reheat instead of brewing another pot.
2) Reuse, reuse, reuse. I repurpose containers for other uses (eg.baby food jars for storing/transporting small portions like salad dressings, dipping sauces, etc). They are also great as a tea light holders.
3)Depending on the number of items needed, I walk to the grocery store (approx 1 mile). This eliminates impulse purchases. I can only buy what I can carry. I am also getting exercise to boot!
4)I make a big pot of soup every weekend. I eat pretty healthy but do have a sweet tooth. Eating a bowl of soup a day ensures one healthy meal. I rotate between 3-4 of my favorite soups. Some are freezable.

Running totals:

$113.10 overbudget (cash)
$20 TJ's gift card - SPENT
$2 CVS bucks

Coupon brokers & strange happenings at Target

January 16th, 2011 at 01:25 pm

Last week, there was an article about becoming a coupon broker. There is money to be had doing this.
I think you need to be extremely organized and patient. It involves a lot of time doing tedious tasks (sorting, clipping, organizing).

I purchased a lot of 16 coupons for a specific product I use regularly on e-bay. It cost $23 (including shipping)for coupon values totalling $48.
Ordinarily, I would not bid this high. I had a $25 gift card I wanted to use up. The amount of the gift card is nominal for the kind of purchase I would want to make on e-bay. I don't want to incur additional debt so the gift card was not good for me. The person selling made a tidy sum. If you have the time and patience, it can pay off.

A side story....a woman in line in front of me at Target was on the phone with her husband while checking out. Her 7 month old baby was trying to get out of the cart and she just watched her. She commented to her husband their daughter was trying to get out of the cart but did nothing about it. The woman continued chatting with her husband when the cashier rang the total and took her mastercard. Transaction completed, right? Oh no, the woman looked down at her hand full of coupons and started SCREAMING into the phone "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!" "I FORGOT THE COUPONS". She carried on for a good 3-4 minutes. Finally, she turned off and walked over to the courtesy counter asking if she could get credit for her coupons.

Pet peeve......don't talk on the phone when you should be A)paying attention to your child, b)paying attention to the cashier.

It was shocking and funny at the same time.