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I've been gone for two-plus years

May 5th, 2010 at 08:37 pm

I haven't made an entry for over two years. I still post over on the forums just not as often as I'd like to. I really haven't had much to report in the financial world. I'm plugging away.
I just paid off my car (2-year 0% interest) so that's done. I have $47,000 balance on my mortgage which I hope to have paid off in no more than three years but at the worst it would be 4 years, 7 months. The student loan in almost gone.
We're going to look at new flooring options tomorrow for the kitchen and two bathrooms. That might lead to spending more money. I'm in no hurry to replace the floors but DH wants it done.
I've had two big trips since my last post - one to Germany/England/Scotland and one to India. I'm not sure of my next destination but it probably won't be until 2011 since I've used up most of my vacation days for this year on the India trip.

THE Vacation Fund

February 6th, 2008 at 11:11 am

Since May 2007:

107.32 Coins
6.80 Bottle deposit refunds
121.00 Gifts
181.21 Rebates
159.10 Business expense reimbursement
63.83 DH Biz expense reimbursement
385.33 Flex Spending Acct reimb.
100.00 online surveys
773.00 my side jobs
363.03 interest from savings accts.
151.00 part of Fed tax refund
- - - - -
2411.62 Total

One of the things I've learned here at SA is giving names to my dollars. I started with the vacation fund but need to do it with some other categories in my finances.

I started the above last May and it represents a total of 62 deposits from 11 different sources of cash.

I decided that any check I received would go into the vacation fund. For example, I had traveled for my job and had to pay a few things out of pocket. At the end of the month, I still had money left in my checking, so the out-of-pocket expenses didn't hurt me. When I received the reimbusement from my employer, I put the check into the vacation fund. Similarly with rebate checks and online survey checks, etc.

I also took some of the interest that I earned in my various savings accounts and money market accounts and credited that to the vacation fund. Some of the interest I earn each month stays with the original account though.

Both DH and I have over 50,000 airmiles with United so we're set for a flight. Now we just have to decide where and when we're going!

Using up leftovers

February 3rd, 2008 at 10:52 am

I'm on a quest to use up leftovers and to also clear out my upright freezer.

Today I made a wonderful fruity sauce that I'll use over chicken tonight. I had some leftover fresh pineapple and a mango (49-cent score from Aldi). I pulsed these in the food processor. I added a bit of minced fresh ginger, a sprinkling of brown sugar and a tsp. or so of garam masala. Lovely.

There is enough for two servings which means I'll freeze half of it. Doh! That interferes with wanting to clean out the freezer!

Mall Shopping

February 2nd, 2008 at 04:04 pm

I do not like shopping but today I headed to the mall. The place was packed. I avoided the traffic by staying in just three of the department stores.

I didn't do too much damage. I spent $58 on clothing which consisted of two pairs of pants and one sweater.

I used a gift certificate to pay for a large frying pan that I have been wanting.

All shopping urges are satisfied for the forseeable future. I probably won't go back to the mall for a couple months.

Looking for a meaningful challenge

January 29th, 2008 at 07:40 am

I like reading about how others have 'No Spend Days.' However, this just doesn't apply to me. Most of my days are no spend days and it has been like that for a long time.

I pack my lunch for work every day. I don't usually buy anything from the vending machines. At both my old job and my new job, there are no shopping places along the commute and I have little desire after a day of working to go out of my way. My spending mostly consists of going to the grocery store on the weekend and filling the car with gas. On the weekend I might also stop into a hardware store.

My guess is that I have maybe 6 spend days a month. I'll keep searching for a challenge.

Resurrecting the blog

January 27th, 2008 at 08:21 am

Trying to figure out if I want to get back into blogging. I took quite a break after I went from being unemployed to being employed. For a while after starting my job I didn't have time to even read the forums and blogs. So here goes.

Little finance bits:
1. I found 15-cents at work!
2. I submitted the info necessary for both DH and I to receive the $25 refund for being assessed surcharges on our international credit charges. No idea when that will come.
3. I received a raise at work and now make more than when I lost my original job.
4. DH has been off work for two months. Surgery. In his line of work, no work = no pay. We're managing.
5. After 6 months at the new job, I am finally eligible for the 401k. My first contribution was on Friday! Yeah.

In 2007 I tracked every cent that I spent. I have it all in a spreadsheet. I just need to compile the results. DH did not do the same. I am hoping to get all of our tax numbers and income and then compare it to what I show as outgoing. This will obviously leave the amount that DH spent. I expect it to be something to the tune of several thousand dollars. Then I'm going to ask - where did that money go?
So far in 2008, I have not been tracking every cent. It has been hard to break the habit.

First Paycheck at new job

July 13th, 2007 at 09:35 pm

Today was payday! I checked my bank online today and see the deposit. Yeah! The only thing I'm not happy about is that my new job pays me every two weeks. I much prefer to get paid only once a month.

I don't understand why companies pay every two weeks. Isn't it more expensive for them to have to run payroll 26 times per year rather than 12 times?

I miss this place!

July 10th, 2007 at 06:29 pm

Okay, so I have not posted in a while. But worse, I haven't been reading at all! After almost seven months of unemployment I landed a job and I started a couple weeks ago. In the run up to that I hadn't been visiting the site because I had a 100 things that needed to get done before starting the new job. Now that I am at the job, I am tired at night.

I was never a frequent poster but I loved to read about all of you. Even though my financial situation has improved because I am once again employed, I am still very interested in reading the blogs and forums. I'm just into it!

The only bad thing about my new job is that I'm not able to contribute to the 401k for 6 months. This means I have little to no tax sheltering available to me for 2007. I have made a resolution however, that when I can start it up in 2008 I am going to make the max contribution (15500? or maybe it will increase for 2008).

May 2007 coupon usage

June 5th, 2007 at 05:33 am

2.95 Free Prego
0.75 candy
3.00 razors
3.00 razors
2.00 razors
2.00 razors
0.35 zest soap
0.75 pledge
1.00 salad dressing
1.00 meat
0.40 mayonnaise
6.00 Anything at Wags.
1.00 Cereal
0.50 sour cream
2.00 razors
0.25 downy
2.00 meat
0.35 bathroom tissue
1.00 glad products
1.00 coffee
1.00 coffee
0.75 egg rolls
1.00 salad

Not a great month compared to previous months.
In addition to the coupons, I used a $10 Kohls gift card that was from a grocery store promotion. I also used $20 in Kmart gift cards that were from a spend $50 get $20 promotion.

I received two coupons for free pet food which I'll use this month.

Job Offer!

June 4th, 2007 at 10:24 am

On the six month anniversary of leaving my old job, I received a job offer. Recall, I was part of a corporate merger which moved my job to another state.

I have to call back today or tomorrow to formally accept the offer. I like the company and had hoped that I would find something there. The salary difference is almost negligible so I’m definitely happy about that.

I celebrated over the weekend by buying annuals for my containers. Without a job, it was one of the things that I was going to give up this year. I have a few other little splurges that I’m going to indulge myself with now that I’ll have a paycheck again.

I can’t contribute to my new 401k for the first six months. That means I won’t be able to start until January 2008. In the meantime, I’m going to have to figure out what I can do to get a tax break on my income for the rest of 2007.

Yeah! I have a job again!

Swimming in Interviews

May 17th, 2007 at 04:31 pm

I'm now at 5.5 months of being unemployed. Up to now I've mostly had phone interviews and they've come in about once every other week. This week and next are a completely different story!

I have one phone interview scheduled for next Monday.

I have one phone interview that is actually a second interview that will either be scheduled for tomorrow or Monday.

I had an in-person interview on Tuesday. They called me back today and want to fly me to another city next week for a second interview.

Lastly, I have another hot job contact that I am pretty sure is going to lead to an interview.

Wow... months of a dry spell and now this.

April 2007 Coupon usage

May 1st, 2007 at 03:42 pm

1.00 frozen veg
1.00 frozen veg
1.00 Lubriderm
1.00 lipstick
1.00 excedrin
0.40 ziploc
0.25 downy
1.50 Advil
1.00 candy
1.50 candy
1.00 toothbrush
1.00 Aleve
1.00 excedrin
1.00 milk
1.00 Aleve
2.00 Benefiber
1.00 cat litter
1.00 coffee
3.49 meat
0.55 shave gel
0.40 yogurt
0.50 mints
1.00 Pepp. Farm cookies
1.00 advil
1.00 gum
0.55 brownies (Free!)
0.55 brownies (Free!)
2.00 Advil
5.00 Soy Joy

Several coupons were used in conjunction with a Free-After-Rebate program so they ended up being money-makers. I think it turned out to be $7.50 in money-makers this month.

I ended up getting four Bird's Eye 1-lb bags of frozen peas for 25-cents each.

The brownies were reduced for quick sale to 50-cents and I had the 55-cent coupon!

I'm not able to use coupons much for food. I don't buy the types of food for which there are coupons.

Easy, Inexpensive Chicken & Peaches

April 19th, 2007 at 06:22 pm

Tonight's dinner

$2.44 Six chicken thighs
$0.79 One can peaches
$0.25 Blanched Almonds
$0.05 2 Tbs Vinegar
$0.10 1 tsp Curry powder
$0.10 1 tsp Garam Masala
$0.05 Cornstarch
$0.59 Fresh Green Beans on the side
- - - - - - - - -
$4.37 Total.
Two chicken thighs leftover for lunch tomorrow

March household spending

April 4th, 2007 at 11:31 am

Third post for today. Since I used my other two posts to talk about how much I had saved for the month, I thought I should also throw in how much I spent for the month.

$193.00 Groceries/Food
$9.00 Meals out (sushi)
$10.54 Cat Food/Litter
$5.75 Cleaning supplies
$49.99 Health & Beauty (This includes the $25 at CVS for 2-180ct bottles of advil)
$66.95 Beverages.

The beverages number may seem high but it includes $18.79 in coffee beans that I had to purchase in order to use my $9 worth of coupons by the end of the month. It also includes $9.50 for gallon refills of water because we don't drink the water from our well.

This is for two adults.

Resisting the urge to shop CVS this month

April 4th, 2007 at 07:27 am

...so far anyway. I had a great month last month at CVS.

For $25.98 out of pocket (not including taxes or bottle deposit) I purchased the following bundle of goods in combination with coupons and ECBs:

180-ct Advil Liquid Gels
180-ct Advil Liquid Gels
12-pack Mountain Dew
12-pack Mountain Dew
12-pack Mountain Dew
12-pack Pepsi
6.2-oz Toothpaste
60-ct Viactiv chocolate chew vitamins
60-ct Viactiv chocolate chew vitamins
16-oz Infusium shampoo
16-oz Infusium conditioner
250-ml mouthwash

DH is loyal to the Advil liquid gels. We go through one of those 180-ct bottles about once a month. My non-sale price on this item is $13.79 at Target. I usually have a $1.00 coupon for it. So 2*13.79 – 1.00 – 1.00 = 25.58. For the price of what I normally pay for Advil, I got the remaining items free. Advil does go on sale but I’ve noticed that when the 180-ct size is on sale the liquid gels are excluded.

DH drinks Mountain Dew and Pepsi so we’ll go through that. DH is loyal to his toothpaste so I’ll end up using the free toothpaste. I don’t normally use the Viactiv vitamins (or any vitamins for that matter) but I am at least trying to remember to eat one of these every day. DH is loyal to his expensive salon shampoo so I’ll be using the shampoo. (Anyone getting the idea that DH is a little too brand loyal?)

Anyway, the CVS deals worked out great for me last month and that was the first time I had ever shopped at CVS. I don’t know if I’ll do it again this month. I was all set to go on Monday and had to talk myself out of it. First, CVS is about 15 miles away. Roundtrip, we’re talking about a gallon of gas. However, I had been trying to incorporate it into other trips into that neighboring town.

The deals for the first week of April are not things that I can see myself using. To get the ball rolling, I would have had to purchase a lipstick for $8.99 and some liquid soap for $4.49. I don’t ever wear lipstick. The two tubes I have in my drawer are stale now so it wouldn’t hurt to get a replacement for special occasions, however, Walgreen’s has it Free after Rebate this month for 5.99. And in that case, I’ll get the money back, not have it rolled over to ECBs which have to be used at CVS again. On the other side, I do have coupons for $1.00 on each of the above mentioned items, so it would be a ‘money-making’ deal. Additionally, I had a save $5 when you spend $20 that expired yesterday. I still have a save $3 when you spend $15 and I also have $3 in leftover ECBs. I don’t know what to do. The deals for the first week of April didn’t interest me that much but I see ones for next week that do interest me. I just don’t know if I want to commit myself to doing this again. On the one hand it’s a hassle to go all the way over there and my house if fairly well stocked with any and every toiletry I could possibly need and it takes time to think about the deals and put them together to best advantage. On the other, it is FUN to do and it is fun to add up the totals as I did above.

March 2007 Coupon usage

April 4th, 2007 at 06:25 am

4.67 *FREE* Cat Food 3 lbs
4.67 *FREE* Cat Food 3 lbs
4.67 *FREE* Cat Food 3 lbs
4.67 *FREE* Cat Food 3 lbs
2.99 *FREE* Cat Food 1 lb
3.00 Razors. With a $5 rebate, these were FREE
3.00 Shampoo. With CVS ECBs this was $0.50/bottle
3.00 Conditioner. With CVS ECBs, this was $0.50/bottle
0.75 Cleaner. With $1 rebate, final price was 0.75
1.00 Glass cleaner. With $1 rebate, final price was 0.50
1.00 Advil (DH is brand loyal)
1.00 Advil
2.50 Tampons. Final price 0.50 for 16-ct box.
Not my normal brand, but for 0.50 I’ll try them
2.50 Tampons. Final price 0.50 for 16-ct box
0.50 Tampons. Final price 4.38 for 40-ct box. Normal brand and I bought these in conjunction with a spend $20 on P&G products, get a $10 Kohls gift card.
0.50 Tampons (same as above)
0.50 Tampons (same as above)
2.00 ALL detergent. Sale 3/$10 - Final price $1.33
2.00 ALL detergent. Sale 3/$10 - Final price $1.33
2.00 ALL detergent. Sale 3/$10 - Final price $1.33
1.00 Toothpaste. Free after rebate, so this was a money-maker.
1.00 deodorant. Item was B1G1, plus get rebate. FREE!
3.00 Bulk Coffee – Expired 3/31 had to use all coupons this month. Not a problem b/c this is the brand we normally buy.
3.00 Bulk Coffee
3.00 Bulk Coffee
0.75 Frozen potatoes. Final price 1.25
0.75 Frozen potatoes. Final price 1.25
0.75 Frozen potatoes. Final price 1.25
0.75 Frozen potatoes. Final price 1.38
0.75 Frozen potatoes. Final price 1.38
0.75 Granola bars. Reg Price 2.99 Sale price 2.00 After coupon 1.25
0.75 Granola bars. Reg Price 2.99 Sale price 2.00 After coupon 1.25
0.75 Granola bars. Reg Price 2.99 Sale price 2.00 After coupon 1.25
0.75 Granola bars. Reg Price 2.99 Sale price 2.00 After coupon 1.25
0.25 sour cream
0.25 sour cream
0.55 yogurt
0.50 yogurt
0.75 Frozen eggrolls
0.75 Frozen eggrolls
0.50 Frozen breakfast pastry
0.50 Frozen breakfast pastry
0.50 Frozen breakfast pastry
0.55 bread
0.55 brownies. Paid 2.00-0.55=1.45. Will receive rebate for 2.00
1.00 Popcorn. FREE
1.50 Popcorn. FREE and a 50-cent moneymaker
1.50 Popcorn. FREE and a 50-cent moneymaker
1.00 Cereal. Final price 1.16 per box.
1.00 Cereal. Final price 1.16 per box.
1.00 Gum FREE
1.00 Gum FREE
1.00 Gum FREE
1.00 Gum FREE
1.00 Gum FREE
1.00 Gum
1.50 Chocolate bagged candy. Final price after rebate $0.88/bag

Total = $83.82

An above average month because of the free cat food coupons. I did my first online coupon trade this month to get another one of those cat food coupons. Yeh! I had two of the coupons from the newspapers that I bought and I had one extra from my mom’s paper.
Most coupons were for nonfood items because normally I don’t buy much in the way of brand name and/or prepared food. I did buy quite a few of the frozen potato products. Obviously these are much more expensive than buying fresh potatoes but it is convenient to have them on hand and I have room in the freezer.

The granola bars are for DH. The products were new, hence the sale price and decent coupon. Again, this is another prepared food but he takes these to eat in the car and it keeps him from spending $$ on lunch.

The frozen eggrolls are something I buy only when they are on sale and when I have a coupon. Such was the case this month.

The frozen breakfast pastries are not something that I normally buy but they were on sale and I had the coupons. They worked out to $1.16/box. I bought them as a treat.

I doubt my total for April will be anywhere as high as this month.

New soup w/ Reduced for Quick Sale Meat

March 23rd, 2007 at 11:07 am

As much as I want winter to end, I can't help longing for it and the wonderful comfort food that goes with it. This year has been a big year for soup.

I tried a new recipe today. When I was at the store yesterday, I noticed smoked sausage on clearance for 99-cents because it was close to the use-by date. No problem for me.

Smoked sausage
Can tomatoes
beef broth
Cayanne pepper
salt & pepper
bay leaf

I had the rest of the ingredients in the pantry. It is mighty tasty. It will go great with the bread from the bread machine.

Drugstore rebate games - March Totals

March 22nd, 2007 at 06:36 pm

As you may recall, I am unemployed and I have an excess amount of time on my hands. (Excess time, not cash!) In the past couple of months I have really upped my coupon usage (but only when it makes sense). I have also started playing the drugstore games at two of the national chains. I decided to share my success for the March rebate period.

There is one week left in March but I think I'm done shopping!

2.50 Hershey’s bag candy
2.50 Hershey’s bag candy
2.50 Hershey’s bag candy
2.50 Hershey’s bag candy
-1.50 Mfg coupon when you buy 3 bags
-5.00 WAG Rebate

2.99 Colgate Toothpaste *Money-making Deal*
-1.00 Mfg coupon
-2.99 WAG Rebate

3.49 Listerine Mouthwash *FREE*
-3.49 WAG Rebate

2.50 Windex
2.50 Fantastick Spray
-0.75 Mfg coupon
-1.00 Mfg coupon
-2.00 WAG Rebate

0.99 Juicy Fruit 17 stick gum *Almost FREE*
0.99 Juicy Fruit 17 stick gum
-0.80 WAG coupon
-1.00 Mfg coupon

3.99 Fructis hairspray *FREE*
-3.99 WAG Rebate

2.99 Reach Toothbrush *FREE*
-2.99 WAG Rebate

6.29 105-count feminine product *FREE*
3.79 48-count feminine product
-10.00 WAG rebate

2.97 Three packs of Orbit gum
-0.97 WAG coupon
-1.00 Mfg Coupon

10.00 Four bags of Dove chocolate
-5.00 WAG Rebate

2.98 Crest Toothpaste *FREE*
-2.98 WAG Rebate

1.99 Ten-pack Big Red Gum *FREE*
1.99 Eight pack Extra Gum
1.99 Ten Pack Big Red Gum
1.99 Ten Pack Juicy Fruit
-1.98 WAG coupon
-1.98 WAG coupon
-4.00 Mfg coupon (4x$1.00)

6.00 Two packs of 18-count feminine product
-5.00 Two 2.50 Mfg coupons

7.99 Three pack Schick Quattro disposable *FREE*
-3.00 Mfg coupon
-5.00 WAG Rebate


+ 78.42 Merchandise
- 43.44 WAG Rebates
- 5.73 WAG coupons
- 18.25 Manufacturers coupons
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
$11.00 for all the above !!

Summary of products:
8 bags chocolate candy (Easter candy for nieces and nephews)
2 packs of 17-stick Juicy fruit (Easter candy)
3 packs Orbit gum
4 multipacks of 5-stick gum, 10 packs per bag (Easter candy)
2 tubes toothpaste
1 toothbrush
1 hairspray
1 mouthwash 250 ml
1 window cleaner
1 all purpose cleaner
3 disposable razors – brand with four blades
Lots of feminine hygiene products

How do you get high?

March 21st, 2007 at 02:16 pm

You know how people get a rush wearing something flashy and expensive or driving a nice car? There’s that whole brain chemical thing going on that gives them a rush and they are able to get external recognition by drawing attention to whatever this pricey thing is and therefore they get a rush again. The cycle repeats.

Well, I’m on a HIGH today. I’ve got a spring in my step! But I’m happy for completely different reasons. I had a CD come due today. I went to the credit union to cash it out. I then drove to my bank and deposited it in my checking account. Tonight I will start the bank to bank transfer process to move the money to my newly opened HSBC online account. I am so pleased with all the interest that I earned on the money while it was in the CD and I am pleased with the interest it will earn once it gets to the HSBC account.

Next, I was at the grocery store and used a coupon for a free 3-lb bag of cat food. This is my fourth free bag! I had two of the coupons from the newspapers that I bought. I got one coupon from my mom. I traded a free coffee-mate coupon for the fourth coupon. In all I received 12-lbs of free cat food! I wish I could find more of that coupon!

Anyway, these are the things that made me high today: Interest and free cat food. I am so pleased with myself.

My problem is…. I can’t just go around and advertise these things. It would be tacky to talk about how much money I have and I would look cheap for talking about coupons and free cat food. So, I’m advertising it here! Interest ROCKS! Free cat food ROCKS!

I’m just curious if other people are on a high when they save money or when they perform some frugal act. And if so, what is it that you do that puts you in a good mood?

February 2007 coupon usage

February 28th, 2007 at 02:22 pm

1.00 chips
2.89 free bread with purchase of meat
0.50 yogurt
0.55 veggie dip
2.00 granola bars
1.00 gum
1.00 cereal
1.00 lotion
0.50 oatmeal
0.50 spray cleaner
2.00 nuts
2.00 razor
2.00 razor
2.00 razor
2.00 razor
3.00 duster (Free!)
1.00 toothpaste
3.00 coffee
0.75 chocolate
1.00 advil
0.35 lettuce
1.00 salad dressing
0.40 yogurt
0.55 meat
0.35 toilet paper
1.00 cereal
-2.00 extra papers for the razor coupons
TOTAL = 31.34

I bought extra papers one weekend because of the coupons. Not only did it have the $2 coupon on DH's razor, it also had $3 coupon for the coffee we drink. I need to use those four $3 coupons up next month.

I received my January Walgreen's rebate and I also sent in February's rebate.

Mouse in the House & new HSBC account

February 27th, 2007 at 01:40 pm

Another mouse got lodged in the blower of our furnace. I had the heating & cooling service guy out today. I'm sure the bill will come to $75. I think that's what it has been on his previous visits for the same problem.

On the plus side though, at least our furnace is working. After this weekend's ice storm there are still plenty of people in the area that don't have electricity. We were only out for one night.

I started to open an online savings account with HSBC today but I'll have to wait until DH gets home to get his driver's liscense number before I can finish. Thanks SavingAdvice! I would have never even dreamed of opening an online account before I started reading this site!

Going out of business sale

February 21st, 2007 at 02:27 pm

One of the local discount grocery stores is going out of business. I went there yesterday and made some purchases. In today's paper there was an advertisement that indicated the discounts were even steeper. I returned there today. HBA was 60% off. I now keep a Price Book (thanks to reading saving advice!)of the items that I commonly buy. Thanks to that price book I was able to determine whether or not 60% off was a good deal on various items. Grocery store HBA is usually more expensive than other places, but at 60% off it was a steal! I am sufficiently stocked up on a number of products. Cleaning products were 40% off but according to my price book I could find a better deal elsewhere!

The cards and gift wrap were seriously marked down. I think it came out to 90% off. I stocked up on some wrapping paper for $0.40 a roll and on some gift bags for $0.56. I also bought loads of stickers for the nieces and nephews. They were 11-cents and 22-cents a package. I'll put those in the Easter baskets or in birthday cards. I also bought a decorative candle and candle holder as a Mother's Day gift. Grand total for the candle gift and the tissue paper and the gift bag: $1.39. This is not a little rinky-dink votive candle either. I think the candle and holder were on clearance and then they took another 90% off.

Food items were anywhere from 25-40% off. I bought three bottles of a gourmet brand of salad dressing for my dad's upcoming birthday. I bought three jars of a gourmet brand of jellies/jams for father-in-law's birthday. Both are retired and don't need any junk so I usually get them something consumable.

I'm pleased with my purchases but also sad. I am so sad that this place is going out of business. It had a great selection and decent prices. It had a great produce section. Now I'm left with HyVee or Walmart for groceries... and I don't do Walmart.

Job Interview and Tuition Reimbursement

February 13th, 2007 at 05:23 pm

This is week 11 of being unemployed. Is that possible? The time has gone quickly. No serious financial strains yet.

I had a job interview today for a job that I am interested in. The company is only a 10-minute drive from home! That would be nice. I have a phone interview tomorrow with a different company.

I received a tuition reimbursement check today from my former employer for a course I took prior to the merger/acquisition. I am happy to get this money back.

January 2007 coupon usage

January 31st, 2007 at 10:26 am

0.75 – can’t remember what this was for
0.35 – Dole lettuce. On sale for 0.97 - .35 = .62
1.75 – Emerald Nuts. Final price = 1.25
1.00 – Angel Soft TP
2.00 – Cat litter
2.50 – Breathe Right strips (for DH)
2.00 – Advil (for DH)
0.50 – Lysol
1.00 – Cereal. Final price 1.34
0.25 – Cascade. BIG box on Clearance at Target $4.07. Included free Rinse agent.
1.00 – dried fruit 2/$3 at Walgreens. Final price $2.00 for 20 oz.
0.50 – Dawn. Final price 0.50 for a little bottle.
1.00 – Prego. Final price $0.24!!
0.35 – Dole lettuce. Final price $1.32
0.25 – 3 boxes of Puffs
2.00 – Cereal. Final price 1.50 per box
2.00 – Coffee. Final price 3.88 for 12 oz Eight O’Clock coffee
3.00 – Coffee. Final price $3.00 for 24 oz Eight O’Clock coffee
6.00 – Razors. Final Price 4.99 (on sale!) -2.00 = 2.99 per 4-pack
0.50 – Tampons
0.35 – Dole lettuce Final Price $1.32
2.00 – Popcorn. Final Price FREE. On sale for $1.00 each - 1.00 coupon.
1.00 – Lubriderm (for DH)
1.50 – York Peppermint patties

33.55 – TOTAL

I’ve decided to keep a detailed record of all my shopping and coupon usage this year. When it comes to food, I tend to buy a lot of store brand items so I don’t get to use many coupons for that. I also don’t buy too much packaged/prepared food. DH has the problem of being brand loyal to certain toiletry items. That limits me incredibly. I’ve tried to use other products but he absolutely won’t use them. We end up with two toothpastes, two lotions, two shampoos, etc. I use the cheap or free stuff; he uses whatever product he is attached to.

I did not include the Walgreen’s coupons. Walgreen’s has a tendency to be overpriced. I’ll only buy something there if there is a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon and if the resulting price is lower than elsewhere. I do go in for the Free-After-Rebate offers. Those are not included in the above total.

Grocery Money

January 30th, 2007 at 06:21 am

I'm now into week nine of being unemployed. I've been cutting back the spending. I never really spent that much before so there aren't many areas to cut. I'm working on the grocery spending. I found coffee (good coffee, not the stuff that come in cans) on clearance for 2/$6 for 12 oz bags. I had a coupon for $2 and $1. I ended up getting that coffee for 2/$3. I'm happy about that. I've also been doing the Free-After-Rebate at one of the drug stores. The store is normally expensive but they do offer the rebates and they also let you use a manufacturers coupon in combination with their store coupons. I've been finding some ways to save there.

Bankruptcy in the family

January 23rd, 2007 at 02:12 pm

I visited my parents last week and found out that my brother and his wife declared bankruptcy. I am so devastated by the news. It has been bothering me for days. It is so not like my brother to get into debt. I strongly suspect that his wife is the source of the problem. However, I know I can't completely point the blame all to her, afterall, he "let" it happen even if he was just a bystander.

My parents are equally upset about the matter - especially since they found out about it by reading it in the newspaper! My parents do so much for those two (free babysitting, free meals) so it is really difficult for them to stomach.

What makes it hard for me is that I can't talk to my brother about it. At this point my mother says I am not to mention it to him.

They are now on a payment plan for the next four years to get things turned around. That is good... but I fear the brother's wife has learned nothing from this and will go on spending, spending, spending.

2006 Medical Expenses - Yikes

January 11th, 2007 at 10:55 am

Grand total = $4791 for TWO people.

Insurance Premiums = $1920
Out of Pocket Expenses = $2871

Of the out of pocket expenses here are some biggies:
$1212 = DH chiro and accupuncture
$ 94 = DH MRI on spine
$ 114 = DH epidural for bulged disc
$ 111 = Me new glasses
$ 40 = Me ultrasound
$ 42 = DH new lenses
$ 359 = permanent sterilization

The remaining out of pocket expenses were for dental, copays, prescriptions and all over the counter medications.

I did participate in an FSA for $2100 for the year so that will reduce my taxable income. However, I didn't claim any medical mileage. I need to figure that into my plan the next time I am on a FSA plan since it is now $0.20 a mile for 2007 and since the chiropractor is a 30 mile round trip.

Back from Vacation, Job Search

January 10th, 2007 at 01:33 pm

We returned home from our three week European vacation on 12/30. It was a fantastic trip but we were both ready to come home to the pets after that long away. The exchange rate in England killed us. The rest of Europe wasn't too bad. We definitely spent more than we intended to and we didn't even buy much in the way of souvenirs or gifts. It was nice that half of our nights were with relatives (mine and his) so we didn't have hotel expenses there.

I'm now into my sixth week of being unemployed. It doesn't feel like it has been that long. I'm spending my days getting things in order related to my separation from work... Cobra, 401k rollover, etc. It's all a big hassle. Part of my severance package requires that I apply for state unemployment benefits (the company is actually the one paying the benefit). I've been applying for 2 jobs a week and wouldn't you know it..... One of them is interested in me already.

I had an interview last week. The HR person sent me an email to ask for my reference info yesterday. I guess they must be interested. However, I'm not ready to go back to work yet. I'm at the point where if they offer me 75% of my previous salary I either have to take the job or lose the weekly unemployment check. Grrr.

Unemployed since Thursday

December 4th, 2006 at 06:27 pm

It’s official. After waiting for almost a year I am finally unemployed. On Friday I had to get up early and take DH to the hospital for an appointment. On Saturday, I proctored an exam in the morning and early afternoon. It was great to sleep in this morning on a Monday.

It was sad to leave work. There are a few people there that don’t have email either at work or at home so it is unlikely that I’ll be able to talk to them again. I am happy to be out of there though. It is time for something new.

I have to get my paperwork started at the unemployment office and also have to get things rolling with the severance package. I’ll fill out the paperwork tomorrow.

On Saturday we are heading to Europe for three weeks. It will be a nice distraction and hopefully I’ll forget all about ever having had a job! I have no idea how long it is going to take me to find something new. I have a decent severance package so I can last for quite a while before I have to dip into my savings. Even though I’m pretty relaxed about it now, I wonder if I’ll start to worry in January and February. I’ve got an emergency fund which is about a year’s worth of net pay. I like having that cushion and don’t want to have to dig into it.

Stay tuned… more to come on my job search.

Three days left at work

November 27th, 2006 at 06:27 pm

It was nice to have a four day holiday weekend prior to my final four days at work. It didn't seem long enough though. We had to travel to both sets of relatives because we'll be out of the country in December.

I have two offices located in two different towns. I drove the 80 miles over to the one that I don't go to much these days. I went out to lunch with about 15 of my coworkers/acquaintences from there. I also visited some of the other people at that location and said my 'goodbyes.' Now I just have to make it through three days at my local office. I have to finish cleaning out my desk and deleting old email and files from my computer.

I'm looking forward to this. It wasn't my choice to leave; I was downsized when another company bought my company. It's okay though. I've been wanting to get out of there for five years and just never had it in me to leave on my own.

Spending for today: $0. (My former manager bought my lunch!)

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