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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!

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.

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).

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?

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!

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.

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.

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!)