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It's been awhile...

January 15th, 2009 at 08:44 pm

It has been awhile since I last wrote.

Christmas went very well. Family got into town the Sunday before Christmas and we managed to keep our budget on track.

We even managed to go on a little road trip to visit some theme parks that the Hubs had free tickets to. We also happened to get discounted rates at the hotel we stayed at because of the company the Hubs works at. Nice little surprise.

New Years came and went. We had planned to go to a little get together with some friends, but the host ended up having surgery :-(. So needless to say it was canceled, but he recovered. Thank Goodness. And we saved money, kept safe and just stayed in that night. New Year's Eve was the night I met the hubs, so it was a nice little date night for us anyway :-).

School started right after New Years...and while tuition is very reasonably priced...books cost half of my tuition! Sheesh.

I started a personal blog to possibly help with the procrastination that ensues my life sometimes. I felt very upset with myself in December for yet again not accomplishing my goals. So I'm doing my best to stay proactive and finally get done what I need/want to get done.

On the financial front we are still surviving all the cost that never fail to make themselves apparent Nov-Jan.
*Home Association Fees (Paid)
*Xmas, New Years, Birthday, and Anniversary cost (Paid)
*Travel Cost (Paid)
*Medical Cost (Partially paid)
*Termite Bond and Treatment (welcome to the south! lol)
*Cat & Dog state registration fees
*Tuition, Books, and Supplies (Paid)
*Car Maintenance (Paid)
*Sams Club Renewal (Paid)

We also signed up for a savings account through the Hubs benefits to save pre-tax for medical cost. Besides prescriptions, the cost of co-pays and deductibles are going up every year.

Other than that the Hubs and I are just getting back into the swing of things after Holiday Vacation.

New Years? Wait! No! Not Yet!

December 7th, 2008 at 05:28 am

It seems like every year, and I mean every single darn year...I join in on the fun of ambitious wishes that is "New Year's Resolutions"

Let's face it, accomplishing what we set out for on January 1st is not always a reality by December 31st.

Life happens. Marriage happens. Bills happen. Well ... economic crashes happen. Emergencies happen. The ever so "Wow, I didn't expect that." happens.

And of course (I'm just speaking from my own personal experience here) LAZY happens. And I don't mean the lazy as in "sit on the couch watching Oprah all day" lazy (ok maybe one or two of those days) but the "lazy" that ensues when we put everyone/everything else first.

Yet again...Laundry, errands, work, school, homework, dinner on the table, feed the dog/cat, budget/pay bills, clean the house, be here, do that, blah blah blah. It always happens. So that by time "work out?" "cook healthy?" "read this or that?" "Learn this or that (for fun)?" comes around I'm completely exhausted and can think of nothing less than a hot shower and a comfy bed.

Only to wake up the next morning to find out New Year's is less than a month away. "Wait? What? No, not yet? I just set my goals yesterday?"

I fully believe that everyone is responsible for themselves, and therefore I have no one to blame but myself for letting yet another year go by without all my goals accomplished.

With that said... Figure out the problem, find a solution, and move on.

Problem: Self-laziness
Solution: Working on it, but getting close.
Moving on?: I have high hopes.

I become quite a pro with putting my wants aside "for later" and then later passes me up and I'm looking at the face of "too late."

So my "New Year's Resolution"...well wait. Let's not call it that, it seems to be bad luck.

My Goal is to find a balance between daily responsibilities and goals that I want for myself.

So let's make a toast shall we? To an even better year, and accomplished goals.



Guilty

December 2nd, 2008 at 10:46 pm

So Hubby and I decided earlier in the year (after the whole moving, holiday, wedding madness) that we'd be better prepared this year and save cash for it.

We each saved a birthday fund for ourselves...and together saved a Christmas fund.

We didn't go on any shopping trips pretty much the entire year.

So finally Thanksgiving weekend was here! We spent Thanksgiving at home putting up decorations and having dinner. Well we spent it at home with the exception of a CVS trip. I spent 16 dollars and got 85.98 back in rewards!! :-)

Friday we went out for my first Black Friday experience. We didn't do any big department stores like Walmart or Target. We hit Office Max and I treated myself to a flash memory camcorder (60 bux) and the rest was Christmas gifts. Then we went to Micheal's Crafts, I only spent 20 for some scrapbooking supplies. Next it was on to CompUSA so hubby could get a few computer parts, 20 bux there also.

Saturday we took a road to trip to a mall about an hour away to treat ourselves to our birthday shopping. Hubby did awesome and bought basically a new casual wardrobe for around 150 and I did the same. We also bought some more xmas gifts.

Sunday was my birthday so hubby so kindly bought me a new winter coat (a wool pea coat for 75 dollars marked down from 200!) and took me to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (mmm my fav).

Monday we ran errands to renew tags on all three cars (hubby still has his first car) and renew my license, grand total 143.00. Next it was walmart, grand total 45 dollars. And finally the eye doctor.

Ugh we were in the eye doctor for 3 hours! sheesh. Anyways, I have glasses but I don't need contacts, so I picked out a pair of new frames. Grand Total: 145.00 after insurance payment.

So (sorry it took forever to get to the point)...I know that we saved up for this whole event but I can't help but feel guilty for spending all the money. TONS of expenses have come our way as they always do the holiday season.

The home association fee, termite bond, license tags, drivers license renewal, new glasses for me, new contacts for hubby and expenses that come along with family visiting for the holidays all came up this month.

It will all be covered it will just be a tad bit tight.

Do you feel guilty about spending money on yourself?

Bonus!! Wait...What?

November 13th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Confusion...

Happy confusion none the less.

So while corporate is busy packing their bags at my husband's company, spending has also come to a complete halt. Not paying for any flights, moving expenses or extras unless absolutely needed.

So imagine our surprise when my husband went to work yesterday to find out he got a one thousand dollar bonus!

This is where the confusion comes in...they tell my husband that at some point (maybe 2 months, maybe 2 years) he quite possibly may be laid off, yet give him a bonus?

Either way, fine with us. I'm just glad his management finally recognized all of his hard work. We can only hope that this means his job is safe, for now.

We talked about it and I whole heartily think that he should take a hundred of it and buy himself something nice (he NEVER does) and save the rest. He deserves it. Ironically he has a birthday coming up :-)

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I'm ALMOST done with holiday shopping. Just a few more items. And guess what? I came in at budget!!

I'm waiting until black Friday to buy a few of the items. I'm NERVOUS lol. I've never done black friday shopping before at the mall. A friend of mine went to Sears a couple years ago, and she came back with nothing but horror stories. Haha. She said some lady tried to push her out of the way to get a small tool set...

Craziness.

If it is too crazy, I'm turning my car around and coming home. But I plan to hire a body guard (AKA my hubby) :-)

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I got registered with school on Monday. Two of my classes only had night classes open...so on Tuesday and Wed. I will be making two trips to campus. Joy. But if that's my only choice, then w/e.

Tuition without book cost came to 1,048.00, books will be about 400. Not too bad for full time. About what I expected.

Unfortunately, this means that our first anniversary (Hubby & I) will have to celebrated on the weekend...my first day for Wed. classes (a morning and evening class) lands on that day.

So many hoops :-)

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Oh! By the way, if anyone would like a nice christmas gift idea...

Snapfish.com is offering a 8x11 photobook for free.

http://www2.snapfish.com/info18?AID=10423416&PID=1225267&SID=u0t0f0fp15383c0s652&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.snapfish.com%2Ffreebook2008

It must be redeemed by 11/16, and you have to pay 7$ shipping.
If you are new to the site, and create a new account you can also get 20 free 4x6 prints.

I took advantage of this to make a wedding book, we didn't order one with the photographer (they wanted a hundred bucks....7 sounds better lol).

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Tomorrow will be a better day

November 8th, 2008 at 12:44 am

My mom used to say that to me a lot when I was a kid (I'm a stresser! lol)

And today was just that...a better day.

Hubby & I discussed the job issue and feel better.

We're in a rather odd situation because while most people are applying for jobs and getting ready to be in the job market again (with the layoffs on the way), my hubby can't. He is unable to do this because the company not only paid our moving expenses but they bought our previous house when it didn't sell in 3 months. Hubby signed an agreement to stay with the company at least 2 years or he will have to pay back the moving expenses.

October 09 will be 2 years.

SOOOO....unless the company cans his position, he can't do anything. He is a sitting duck.

Anyways, we talked about it and we're just going to do all we can do. We're going to go on normally (being frugal and saving money) and be prepared for the worst. There is nothing else we can do.
Besides he might have his job for another year or more, and by then the moving cost wouldn't be an issue.

This doesn't mean that I don't think the whole situation is morally wrong, but what can you do about it? Pray and hope for the best :-)

By the way, thanks to everyone who left such nice comments, it honestly made me feel better. I appreciate it. :-)

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So I got the school ball rolling. I'm excited that so far (Knock on wood) it has gone so smoothly. In a 24 hour period I've been able to submit my membership application, apply for financial aide (FAFSA) (and have it finalized - usually this takes a week or two), fill out the student loan application, set up my student account, do the online orientation and set up appointments with the academic adviser and financial aide for Monday!

I really hope that my English and Math credits transfer, I really don't want to do these two over again. Blah.

Once I have my student loan processing going I can register for classes.

Crossing my fingers it all goes well.

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So who is a black Friday shopper? Or do you shop cyber Monday deals? Neither?

I have a few things on my list for xmas gifts but I'm debating holding out until that weekend to see if there will possibly be any deals for them. I just feel like I'm being a last minute shopper (usually my shopping is done by now lol). But oh well, I really don't want to go over budget this year. I manage to go over budget EVERY year ... every darn time lol.


Happy Holidays!! We're letting you go.

November 6th, 2008 at 09:04 pm

It's been awhile since I've blogged. Been a bit stressful lately, with an extra helping of aggravation.

Let me say a few things about my husband. He is the hardest working person I know. He puts the effort towards always being dependable (He may get out of work on time 3x per month), keeping up with ever growing technology, and never complains to anyone. He has been with his current company since he was 18. He started out working weekends, night shifts, and doing all the crap no one else wants to do. He graduated college, and moved up to be a systems engineer. Since then (5 years now) he has been on call at the least once a month - getting woken up at all hours of the night to fix something, continues to work weekends and travel, MOVE for the company, and still never complains one bit. Did I mention that he doesn't get paid over time or get comp time?!?

Nope - what reward does he get? The threat of losing his job. Corporate is facing a MASS layoff here soon in his department, and were not sure how it's going to trickle down to other locations through out the country. Or maybe I should say when. All we know is the big guys have said "We're only keeping the experts." What the hell does that mean?! There only keeping the highest ranked Engineers, or are they keeping who they "consider" to be the expert?? Ugh.

I feel so much for him - he has done nothing but what he has been asked to do (and more).

The sad thing is, is that he isn't the only one in this position. I figure half the country is feeling this right about now. Explain to me again, why outsourcing & allowing other countries to come in and take over our companies is allowed? It's doing nothing but hurting the people who work hard to pay taxes (middle class). But I suppose if their family is sitting on millions and is taken care of, then it's not their problem (BS!).

But (I'm pulling the religion card, brace yourself) I have faith that God will provide and we will be fine. My husband is a VERY hard working, educated, self motivated person. A job CAN be replaced. How easily it can be replaced is another story.

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Ok, now that I have all of that out :-)

In an effort to save as much as possible I have cut our grocery budget down quit a bit. For the past couple weeks, we've been between 35-45 a week for groceries, households and pet items. I'm pretty excited, the last couple weeks I've saved more than I've spent! :-)

Thanks to coupons. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to be one of those wives that had the whole coupon binder bit, and strategically planned out her shopping trips on a weekly basis. But here I am. I must say...I'm enjoying it. Kind of takes the "boring errands" feel out of it.

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So the holiday season is finally here. I LOVE the holiday season. I love decorating, baking, gift giving, etc. Mostly I love spending time with everyone. Society in general just seems to treat each other in a nicer manner. Too bad it isn't like that all year around.

Hubby has vacation scheduled for Thanksgiving (Ahhh, vacation lol) so I'm planning a "frugal stay at home vacation". I figure we'll cook up a nice Thanksgiving day dinner (it will only be myself and my hubby so nothing to big), put up some holiday decorations, make a gingerbread house (I've never made one haha), SLEEP IN, watch movies, just ... be relaxed (knock on wood).

I quit eating meat so it should be a rather interesting Thanksgiving dinner. I think I will buy my hubby a small turkey though - I'm not going to force him out of meat just because I don't want it.

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving? I could use some ideas for something interesting.

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Tomorrow I am going to register for school. I'm praying that everything goes smoothly - no student loan - no school. I'm going to a community college though, and Hubby and I plan to pay for books out of pocket. So hopefully since I wont be requesting too much $, it will be ok.

We have good credit, but who knows in this economy.

I HAVE to go to school and finish my degree, so one way or another, we'll figure something out.

Maybe I'll come across a scholarship?

"Wanted: Scholarship. Stay at home wife, no children, husband possibly to be laid off, desperate for mercy."

What do you think?! lol, just playing.

It's been quiet....

October 14th, 2008 at 01:01 am

It's been pretty quiet around here lately, thank goodness. Besides a few bumps in the road (like not getting my last paycheck)...everything has been pretty smooth.

I was worried about our budget on one income again, but it seems to be working out ok, so far, knock on wood.

We've even been able to keep up with hefty (as in several hundred over the minimum payment) credit card payments. We hope to have them paid off by the end of next year. We'll see how that works out. I've learned not to depend on a "plans"...something usually happens to change them.

I'll be registering for school here soon, I'm not looking forward to yet another loan. But if I don't go to school and finish my degree I'm not going to have much of a chance at a decent income. So while were baby free I think I'll take the opportunity to go.

Even the grocery budget has been going well, I've managed to spend only a hundred or so for October (2 grocery shopping days) which includes household and pet items of course. Why I never budgeted groceries before is beyond me. When hubby and I first moved in together we'd just go to the store and wing it. Sometimes we'd spend ..... are you ready .... 800 bux on groceries and going out to eat!!! Ugh, you live and learn right? :-)

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One thing I've taken notice of when we started seriously budgeting was entertainment. When "rough" budgeted (other wise paid all the bills on time, then did w/e with the rest) we'd just go see a movie whenever, go out to eat, go to the theme park, go out Saturday night with friends....While I don't regret doing those things, they cost ALOT. Of course when we first starting dating, neither of us had much financial responsibility either.

Now it seems like we get board more often, lol. Which is fine, we're becoming more productive. Getting some house work done and what not.

We'll get used to it.

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The cat is home, and my goodness she has slept for 5 days. Shouldn't she be getting back to normal here soon? She has a follow up visit Wed....ugh. I love her, but she gets sick after surgery. When we adopted her she had just gotten fixed, and she was SO sick afterwords. And here yet again, she's sick. The last time all her meds and what not cost 60+. I hope she doesn't need all of that again.

Speaking of...her vet quoted us 218 for her surgery. Ok fine, we agreed. Then I go in to pick her up... 295!!!! They charged us 41 bux because she was over 6 months, come on seriously, 41 dollars? Then the rest was medications and her collar. Thanks, I appreciate it. Grr.

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Hubby & I sat down to plan out the rest of the year over the weekend, and family finally made up there minds when they are coming to visit. They are coming for 1.5 weeks :-) Yay! I'm a little bit home sick (I miss my family) what can I say?

Anyways, I don't think Hubby and I saved enough! lol. It's ok, we'll make ends meet. We set a holiday budget(saved up the funds), that I'm sure we can stick to. I saved up money for my birthday, and Hubby wants to go stay on a beach for his (which shouldn't cost too much), and I already bought my Mom's birthday gift. That leaves New Year's (we always celebrate with something special because that's when Hubby and I met) and our wedding anniversary. Then, voila!, another holiday season will be past.

We'll see what happens.

Productive

October 7th, 2008 at 08:04 pm

Well tomorrow is 1 week down as a stay at home wife, and I have managed to get quite a bit done. If no one is willing to hire me right now for work, than I plan to at least get as much as possible done at home.

First thing on my list: Closet Overhauling! We moved in a year ago and our closets were stuffed with unpacked boxes. Well, I finally got to them. 4 closets are successfully cleaned, sorted, and organized. :-) I ended up spending $71.00 on organization but I got (3) 4 shelf units and 2 medium plastic bins (PINK! for my closet). Not too bad I think, Lowes had the wired shelves for $50-70 a piece or the plastic shelving units for 20 a piece. Since they went into closets for only storage, I decided plastic would be just fine.

I also decided against switching the pets room and the guest room. I just used the guest room closets for storage :-).

Hubby and I are going to make a trip to Goodwill this weekend (we packed 4 big boxes of stuff to donate!) and the recycling center to drop off a broken TV and monitor (that the movers so kindly busted for us).

Ahh...I love organization!

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Lucky, knock on wood, no new big expense have come up (KNOCK ON WOOD!). The cat is getting her claws done tomorrow, so hopefully that will be the last biggy for a bit.

We fully funded our holiday fund last week, but I think we'll continue to contribute all the way up until we go Xmas shopping. Even though I don't plan to spend a bunch this year, we can save the left overs for next years Xmas fund or put it in the emergency fund.

Personally I like to do my holiday shopping in October. But this year is the first year Hubby and I will buy almost all our presents together and he likes to shop online (particularity after thanksgiving). Which is fine, I can do his way too :-) I'm hoping for some good deals because I want to save money for when family is down to visit...I can't wait for them to get here. I think maybe we'll take a road trip to some theme parks here in FL since hubby has some free tickets :-)

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So I must say that I have a love/hate relationship with CVS. More love than hate lately. My only gripe is that they will put something on sale and then move it from its normal spot (sometimes) and I look like a fool roaming CVS looking for w/e or sometimes my ECBs wont print, then I have to go through customer service...we all know about customer service.

Anyways, today was a love day. I managed to get (2) Eucerin lotions (normally 15 a piece), (4) Listerine (2 small, 2 large), (3) bars of soap, (1) 3pk of hot patches, (1) hand sanitizer, and (4) sticks of deodorant for 7 bucks :-) I still have 25 in rewards for next week.

If only I could manage that sort of deal with groceries :-(. Oh well, I'm working on it.

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So I bought myself a book the other day (Ugh...why WHY don't I just go to the library? lol). Anyways...it's call "What to Eat", it covers EVERYTHING about food from organics to the chemicals in your food and anything in between.

Basically, I've come to the conclusion that unless you grow your own fruits and veggies and that is ALL you eat, your damned if you do...damned if you don't.

Soy for instance...there is just about equal amounts of literature (from what I've found anyway, I could be wrong of course) that states 1) it helps prevent a list of diseases 2) does nothing for you and 3) causes the disease it claims to help prevent.

LOL. Not to mention all the crap that is in our food. It seems to be unavoidable.

I think I'll just go on as normal. I try my darnedest to educated myself as much as possible when I don't fully understand something, but sometimes there is just a no win. Besides, I have several family members who eat nothing but straight JUNK FOOD and they are living pretty darn healthy into their elder years. Not that I plan to eat only junk food by any means.

The only thing I hope to wiggle into our grocery bill is a bit more organic food. Not all, just some (dairy for instance, and some produce that absorbs the most).

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My last day

October 1st, 2008 at 07:13 pm

So yesterday was my last day at work. It was sad to say bye to everyone (I never have been very good with the whole good bye thing anyways). It's not very often that most of your co workers make you laugh on a daily basis. Hopefully we'll keep in touch.

Several of them said that they knew of somewhere or another hiring, we'll wait and see how that is working out.

The job market right now...sucks. Looking for something to fit my schedule and close to home doesn't make things easier, if not darn near impossible.

Something always works out though, sooner or later.

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Last weekend was a bit of a spendy weekend. I spent 120 on groceries BUT I stocked up our kitchen to the brim! Publix had a rather large BOGO free sale, so I stocked up. I even managed to get some completely free items (not included in the BOGO sale obviously), like bread and veggies (frozen)...even managed two free bottles of shampoo. I don't mind free, that's for sure.

I'm going to go grocery shopping tomorrow (since I'm home...ugh), just to pick up a few odds and ends. I'm trying some new recipes this week :-D. Tonight I'm trying a Sara Snow recipe, home made Mac and Cheese with roasted tomatoes on top ... mmm.

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So I managed to pay off 1/2 my credit card and save almost 1K while working at my job. Not to bad for 6 months. I think I'll put my savings into the emergency fund, it will be a nice boost since were about to take 200 out for the cat.

Hubby and I also saved quite a bit in the Christmas fund (we'll be fully funded in the next two weeks) and saved 250.00 for my birthday fund.

I don't make a big deal out of my birthday, but every year since I was 12 or so I like to go shopping for clothes for the next year. It's just my thing, so I save up for it.

Hubby's and Mom's birthdays are 4 and 5 days after mine, so its nice to have some money put back for some extras.

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I don't know if this next presidency is going to make, break or maintain us but I hope we see something good come out of it.

To be honest I'm an undecided voter. There are so many issues on the table it's hard for one candidate to have all the right answers, so to speak. On that note, there are so many issues on the table I'm not confident that we're going to see any major changes for awhile. But maybe we'll be rather surprised and find that everything works out for the best in a timely fashion. :-)

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Fall is here! Living up north I LOVED summer time, but now that I live farther south...fall is gorgeous. It's not humid, around 65-75, and the ocean air smells just awesome. I'll be looking forward the next couple months are far as weather is concerned...




Can you afford to buy "healthy"?

September 22nd, 2008 at 01:00 pm

So last year I embarked on a weight loss journey, like most of us do at some point in our lives. I lost 16 lbs over a years time (I yo-yoed a bit), and maintained since then.

It's no secret that you can lose weight by eating less and moving more. But does that mean healthy?! No, eating less junk doesn't make it healthy.

So about two or three months ago I started to research organics, chemicals, vegetarian living, "green" living, etc. I've found that the studies, never ending books, and internet articles are rather interesting...and alarming. The amount of chemicals and junk in the food we eat is awful, and the stuff in our house hold items? Ew.

But anyways, my concern is...HOW do you make this work on a budget? While it sounds strangly backwords, it seems to be cheaper to buy junk than "healthy" food. Not in all cases of course, such as in season produce and what not. For instance, let say that I have cereal & bread on my list. I need to feed my hubby and myself for a week. The supermarket has Special K on sale buy one get one free, and I have a coupon (lets sayit comes out to 3.00 for 2 boxes). But now I'm looking for organic and natural chemical free foods...so I look for my new found product and low and behold...its over 5 dollars for A 12 oz box. Next I go for bread, regular whole wheat is buy one get one free (2.79 for both) OR the organic loaf is 3.79-5.00 per loaf. While this doesn't seem like much, over a period of time...adds up.

Next on to house hold products. I have toothpaste and laundry soap on my list. I have a coupon for Colgate toothpaste (1$ off) and its on sale for 1$...FREE! But then I turn to find the "all natural" stuff...and its 3-4.00 per tube. On to laundry soap, a months worth of Era is about 11 dollars or so at Sam's...the natural stuff is 15.00.

All in all I'd probably be looking at a 20% increase on my grocery/household bill. This is not good...conidering in 7 working days I'll lose my job and we'll be on one income again.

But if everything I've read is true (I know you can't believe every single thing) than would it be a worth while investment for my hubby and I?

What have you given up?

September 19th, 2008 at 02:07 pm

Slow, slow week at work. Ugh, I'm doing my best to stay awake. I hope it isn't like this the remainder of my time at this position.

Since I had time on my hands I planned out my shopping and chores for the weekend. We don't need a ton, so I'm pretty sure we'll only need 60 or so for groceries and households. It would be nice if I could stay in the 175 range for the next two weeks.

I'm fixing our grocery budget. I started tracking monthly spending in the middle of the month, so it messed up my whole spreadsheet. So I'm going to track for the remainder of Sept. by itself, then track month by month starting with October. I'm also concidering keeping track of my savings (via store sales and coupons). Why not know how much you didn't spend, as well as what you did?!

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I read something interesting on CNN today. "What have you given up?". Readers wrote in about what they are giving up with the economy downturn.

I was amazed to see so many people struggling to the extent that they are. I wasn't completely oblivious to the ordeal, just didn't sit down and actually focus on it. While I completely understand that life happens and as a result we all have hard times...we've all been there. But as I read more and more entries about giving up cable, shopping for new clothing on a regular basis, and not going out to eat 3-4 times a week...I had to wonder, are we having hard times or pissed cause we have to cut back on luxeries?! Both maybe?

My great grandma used to say "you can live with a lot less than you think you can" (spoken like a true depression survivor). She was completely right. While I understand giving up things that you enjoy are tough and not in the least bit fun, I don't think it defines "I'm not making it".

Since when does a luxery rack up in the same catigory as food and shelter?

Just, odd.

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I finally have the cat's appointment set. October 8th, 218.00. Ugh. I feel strange about the whole thing, we're spending a good portion of money and putting her through surgery for something "cosmetic" (if you can call it that). But I don't want to replace all the furniture and trim in the house either. She's made it very obvious that shes a home wrecker lol. Just the other day I decided to leave her out while I ran to the store, I came back and she pulled the table cloth off and busted my salt and pepper shakers. I'm sure that it would cost much more than 218 to replace things that she has scratched up or broken.

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Hubby got an assinment to go on a work trip Sept 29-Oct 10. Grrr. I feel like I just picked him up from the airport! At least work will pay for this trip. He is going to get some training for a large project to do here at home, so when he gets back I'm sure he will be working plenty of over time. That should be fun
:-(. He doesn't get paid OT, he is salaried...a nice cherry on top for the situation :-P! BUT at least he has a good job that pays well (knock on wood).

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I'm having a bit of a personal conflict. Back in MO I didn't finish my degree and worked full time. When we moved I got a full time job that pays well but now I'm being pushed out the door (laid off). I'm sick of this job to job crap (excuse my language), I want to go back to school and finish my degree. Hopefully that will help with some job stability. I don't feel like I'd be making a ton more with the degree, but I feel that I will def. have more oppurtunities.

My conflict is...should I work full time and put school second? Or should I go to school full time and put work second (PT)?
Hubby and I are ok on his salary alone. It is a bit tight, but nothing extreme. We still end up with some left over every month.

Decisions...Decisions...

Insurance fix, Grocery budget, Gift Making.

September 15th, 2008 at 07:51 pm

Hubby called the insurance agent yesterday and they are going to adjust the insurance bill we got last week (for 700, it was quoted at 350ish)...so knock on wood that all works out.

We still need to meet with the insurance agent about lowering some of our cost because while I'm happy to have the bill fixed, were still spending 4500+ per year on insurance. I understand that we live in a "hurricane" state, but any help we could get to soften the blow everytime we get an insurance bill would be much appreciated.

Some had left comments about our auto insurance (thanks!) and I believe were about as low as we're going to get on that. We have a lowered rate for being married, no tickets or accidents (KNOCK ON WOOD!!), and so on. I haven't checked into the safe driver course though that some have mentioned...I'll def. have to do that.

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On another note, grocery shopping.
I started keeping track in the middle of the month (back in april or so) now when I calculate the "previous" month spending it accounts for the last two weeks & the first two weeks. I don't know why I haven't changed it. Ugh. Put it on my to-do list.

But anyways, Hubby & I spent $310.12 in the last 4 weeks on household and groceries. $89.88 under budget. Hopefully I can keep it at that, or better yet, keep going lower.

For awhile after we moved it seemed like the grocery stores didn't really have a ton of sales around here...until recently. Publix has started B1G1 sales and 50% off sales (usually frozen veggies) which have helped a ton! Most of the time I have a coupon to match the item. I got veggies this week for .60 per bag, and .20 per bag the week before.

I'm hoping to adventually work my way down to 250/month on groceries. I have a small stockpile going (thanks to the publix sales!) which obviously will help once that grows.

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Speaking of stockpile...Hubby & I were talking the other night. We are running out of storage! So even if I wanted to have a larger stockpile for sale items, baking items, or house hold items...I don't really have anywhere to put them.

Well, I have to make a confession here. The pets have thier own room. Since the dog broke her legs we are extra precautious about her safety (She stays on the floor at all times, no jumping on and off furniture) so when we have company over or we aren't around to watch her (shes a jumper) she has her own room.
Don't worry, a "pet room" was not a requirment when we were house shopping...we just happened to have a small extra room in the house that we weren't using. And of course Maggie (the cat) moved in there with her. So, since the cat is older and were getting her declawed and the dog is calming down a bit we think were going to move them out of there and make it a storage room (we have other things that need to be stored too). We'll leave it open so the animals can still get in there beds, food and potty areas but the cat will sleep where ever and the dog will stay in her (large!) cage at night while we can't watch her.

At least the good side to the "job ending" situation in a couple weeks is, I'll have plenty of time to do all of these things!!

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I've been thinking a bit about holiday shopping (seeing as how I like to get it out of the way in October or so) and I want to stay frugel and well, helpful this year. Buy or make things that will actually mean something and the recipent will actually USE!

So, I've decided that I'm going to take advantage of my scrapbooking hobby and make all of our xmas cards (I have the supplies I need already) and I'm going to make some scrapbooking gifts. It's something that is low cost and doesn't have to come out of our holiday budget because I already have all of the supplies. Besides a picture is worth a thousand words...right?

As far as something they will use, well what do you buy for someone who has everything they want/need?? I think we might be doing a good amount of gift cards this year (gas cards maybe? or Visa gift cards?)....Idk, we will see.

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The count down is on, 11 working days left. The job market is not at it's best right now. Finding a decent paying job (that isn't 45 minutes away) & works with my pending school schedule as well as hubby's schedule seems to be all but impossible.

It will all work out, in time. My impatience isn't helping :-)



Insurance: The service you buy, hope to never use.

September 13th, 2008 at 07:42 pm

So, a moment of thought/frustration on insurance.

Hubby and I have auto insurance (for 3 cars, one of which is hubby's first car (a Beretta, my Cavalier, and a Cobalt), house insurance, personal liability, personal property (our wedding rings), and flood insurance.

Back home we paid around 2300/year for all of this except the flood insurance (which is about 400).

We recently switched insurance agents (same company) and got all of our policies adjusted. The agent told us the personal liability would probably be around 350-400 dollars...OK we can deal with that. We get the bill....700 dollars!!!

Then we sat down and totaled up our insurance cost for one year...over 5000 dollars!!!

5 Grand for something we hope to never use?! Ugh, but I'm afraid it is something that we feel is important. Yeah, you may never use it but it only takes one time, then you'd wish you had it.

What gets me even more so is that it seems if you ever need to make a claim (and Lord forbid you need to make 2 claims in a 10 year period) that 1) your rates hike up or 2) they drop you!

It's a vicious cycle. But what can you can do?...Pay it.

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Hubby & I ran some errands today. We decided we needed a new pan (one I tend to use daily). Our current one is Teflon coated and the coating starting coming off! Ew, can not be good for your health. So we went out and bought a stainless steal pan (23 dollars)...I'm sure I'll use it forever and then some. I won't be buying anymore Teflon coated pots or pans.

I also treated myself to a chopper for the kitchen, I had a coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond so it was only 8 dollars. I cut up onions and freeze them...it was a decently agitating experience to stand in the kitchen cutting up a whole bag of onions to freeze (my eyes were rather red and watery).

I went to Wal-mart to grab a few household items...they had Fabreeze noticeables on sale for 5.97 and I just so happened to have a 5 dollar off coupon :-) & I had a BOGO free coupon for Febreeze fabric refreshers. We ran into Office Max, because I had a $10 off $10 purchase and could use some Post It notes..So all in all I saved 22 bucks today. I'm always up for a good deal.

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So, has anyone started holiday shopping? Or do you shop all year around?
I tend to do my shopping in October. I have a serious problem with holiday shoppers. Just the public in general while shopping (is it so hard to say excuse me? Id be happy to move for you), but it seems like the holiday season shopping is just awful sometimes.

Anyways, Hubby and I save up a holiday fund all year and luckily we don't have a bunch of people to buy for. Just our parents (we're only children), a few friends, and each other. I'm going to stick to the holiday budget this year! I tend to spend way too much on gifts every year. Maybe I'll make some gifts? I'm mostly looking most forward to family coming to visit, so I'm not going to be overly concerned with gift buying...it shouldn't be all about gifts anyway. right?



Busy Week

September 12th, 2008 at 04:01 pm

What a crazy week. Hubby left town this week, and work was on overload. Seeing as how we are closing out, everything that needs to be done is being assigned...3 weeks before D-day. Ugh. Oh well, I have half my to-do list done :-)

Hubby is coming back today, and as far as I know, it was basically a free vacation for him. His flight was free, he stayed with family so no need for hotel or food cost. :-) Usually we spend 500-1500 per vacation so that was a huge savings.

We're going on a book store date tomorrow (dinner and the book store), but I have a coupon for dinner and don't plan to spend to much in the book store. I know people usually say "go to the library" which makes sense, I know. But I trade my books & DVDs on SwapTree.com...besides if I like a book I'll read it a good 4 or 5 times before trading it off (BTW I usually only buy clearance books, why pay 25 bucks for a book when it will be on clearance in a month).

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So I'm gearing up for my last day at work. I'm really going to miss my weekly paychecks. I'm trying to stock up a bit on non-perishables and house supplies while I'm still contributing to the grocery/household fund. I'm also trying to put as much in savings as possible, the over time this week will help. Hopefully something part time will come along not to long from now.

Speaking of stocking up, I got my order of coupons in the mail yesterday. I used to think it was so goofy to pay for coupons. But I order high value coupons with a bit of time before they expire...usually things I will use on my weekly grocery shopping trip (pasta, soup, cheese, juice, house hold supplies). I got some coupons for $5 off the Febreeze Noticables plug ins...has anyone tried these? The lavendar scent is awesome, just FYI :-)

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I still have to call and make an appointment for the cat to have her claws removed (I'm going to schedule it in October since I'll be home to take her). I'm rather aggitated because we pay 16 dollars per pet per month for a 'wellness program' to cover office expenses. This has saved us a TON...it pays for vaccines, regular check ups, etc. I THOUGHT it paid for basic anesthesia cost should one of the animals need it, well it doesn't. Ugh. Oh well...looks like were stuck paying for the bill, along with the monthly fee.

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So just out of curiosity, would anyone be willing to give up their cable or dish to save money? Or have you done this already? Hubby and I record a few shows that we like (and we do watch them together so its kind of nice) but other than that we really don't watch a ton of TV. So I'm wondering if paying for Dish every month is really worth it?

Get paid, pay it out.

September 7th, 2008 at 06:26 pm

It seems like as soon as you get paid, your paycheck is gone. This is nothing new to most people I'm sure. Just something that frustrated me a little bit today. (I get paid weekly, therefore I pay my bills weekly, IE Credit card)

My weekend spending:

Perscription: 49.78
Gasoline to fill the tank to full: 20.00
Gift: 3.00
Other/Misc: 8.00
Groceries: 55.00 (45.00 under budget!)
CC Payment for this week: 100.00
Downtown parking for work: 85.60 (last time I have to pay this! There's always a silver lining right? lol)
Magazine Subscription: 19.97 (I decided to subscribe to All You magazine, since I buy it monthly...and I'll get back 26% of my purchase through ebates :-) )
SwapTree Monthly Charge: 30.00 ... Lots of trades this month. But still not bad for everything I traded off.

Grand Total: $371.35 (Ouchy)

Ugh...Oh well. Work to live right? :-)

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Hubby and I tried a new recipe last night. In honor of our "Veggie week" (We decided to try an entire week of vegetarian meals)we thought we'd try some spinach enchiladas that were getting quite the review online. I made them, exactly by the recipe. Lucky for us, we had a plan B. They were not the least bit tasty....at all. So needless to say all that food got wasted, but it was luckily a decently cheap meal to make.

Our plan B was Salserita's. But I had a buy one get one free entree coupon, so it was only 10 dollars for us to go to plan B :-).

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Another big expense is about to come our way, we need to get our cat's claws removed. She is an indoor cat only, I wouldn't do it if she was an outdoor cat. She is starting to take quite the toll on our trim work. Ugh. It's either take her claws out or end up replacing any trim up to 2 feet off the ground all around the house. The vet quoted 200 bucks! That's what you have an "expense savings" for though right?




I tell you what, these animals of ours cost a pretty penny. But they are worth it.

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Hubby and I are thinking about planning a long weekend vacation possibly in November. A friend gave us some tickets to an amusement park about 3 hours from here, and my Hubby gets a nice hotel rate through work...so it wouldn't cost that much. I think a small vacation would be nice...Who wouldn't though, right?

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I hope everyone had a great weekend.



Expenses

September 4th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

First off let me say that in the recent months we (Hubby & I) have managed to avoid some rather high cost bills. In July I had my wisdom teeth removed, and Insurance paid 1450 of the 1500 bill. Also, Hubby is flying out next week and FIL gave him his flyer miles to use...so he got a $450 flight for free. For all this, I am grateful. Very grateful.

I'd really like to keep our savings going strong, but I'm rather concerned that when my job is finished up and were on one income again, that keeping savings going will be a rather difficult task. Difficult but not impossible! Even if we can only put 25 bucks a month into savings, its something, right? :-)

The first place I obviously can cut from is our grocery/household/entertainment budget. I budget 400 per month for groceries and household...about 100 for entertainment (we go out to each usually once a week). I don't go over budget, but I don't exactly stay under by a large margin either. I seem to come in at about 350-400 per month. Of course I have been trying the whole coupon thing...but I have a gripe about couponing.

I have Publix, Winn Dixie, Super Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens within 5 miles of the home. Great. Usually I'll shop the best deals at all of them. But here is my gripe. None of them double coupons, nor do the coupons hardly ever match up the sales. Even if they do match up with the sales, it's not things hubby and I generally eat. Our staples consist of baking supplies, meat (ground turkey and chicken), bread, and produce. Most coupons are for processed goods such as poptarts, chips, granola bars. I make our snacks from scratch...granola bars, muffins, fruit salad, etc.

Granted I do find some coupons to use, for some soups, cheese, etc. Generally I use about $5 per week in coupons for groceries (which in all honesty $5 savings per week does add up over a year, 260 bux!). My question to anyone who cares to put in their 2 cents is, if you're in this situation, how do you cut cost? Also, is 400 (all other bills are paid before this amount comes out of our monthly income) a reasonable budget for 2 adults (this does include household products which I tend to buy in bulk at Sam's if I don't have a coupon/sale for it I.E. toliet paper and kleenex)? I use coupons, shop sales and deals to stock up when I can, try to buy generic, and go to a farmers market for produce (I LOVE the farmers market!). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :-)

I must say though, I am rather envious of this lady(link). She has mastered couponing by all means.

http://jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.blogspot.com/


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On another note, if you haven't figured it out by now (hint: Winn Dixie) I live in the south and I'm rather concerned about the hurricanes coming our way. Hurricane Ike in particular. Cat 4 already! Over night! Ugh. My husband is going to be out of town next week when it possibly hits the US so I'm seriously concidering just putting up the shutters before he leaves and heading up to see family about 6 hours north for the week. I have the option of doing most of my work from home if I have to. The problem being that if I don't get called for anything, then I don't get paid. LoL. But I'm deathly afraid of storms (I grew up in Tornado country!) and my hubby wont be here, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Besides I could use some family time. Most of my family is still back in MO, and I miss them.

I must say that I really feel for the people in the Bahamas, they are getting slammed by every storm coming through! Seems like as soon as one storm leaves, a new one is literally right behind it. Ugh. Our enviroment is changing, slowly but surely. Very active hurricane season.



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I wanted to say Thank You for all the lovely "welcome" comments yesterday. I appreciate them! :-)

Have a good day everyone.

The New Kid

September 3rd, 2008 at 04:49 pm

Well, here I am, the new kid. :-)
Hello everyone.

It has been a crazy year, and now that things are starting to settle down, hubby and I are recovering. This is my attempt to organize my thoughts, get on track, and hopefully retain some well needed advice from time to time in this crazy world of couponing, mortgages, and budgets.

We bought a house back in MO, then about a year later hubby got a promotion that would involve a move. A move 17 hours away!! So we packed up and headed south. In the meantime, we were planning a wedding and gearing up for the holiday season (which tends to be quite an expense for us. With 3 birthdays, 3 holidays, and 1 anniversery in a 6 week time frame, its a bit stressful on the wallet).

The move happened in October of last year, the holidays were well...the holidays, and the wedding came and went (all that planning and it came and went so fast!). Then came the damage assesment. We came out with CC debt (shocker! lol), a mortgage (at least it was just one mortgage, for a 3 month period we were paying 2 mortgages waiting for our house to sell. Then prayers were answered and his company took it into there inventory), student loans (hubbys), 2 car loans (I begged my husband to get a reliable car...he was still driving his first car and it kept breaking down), and everyday/monthly exspenses.

We have made quite a bit of progress over the past 6 months though. We have paid off half of our credit card debt, and built our savings back up.

Our savings took a pretty big blow last year. Not only with wedding and moving expenses (theres always something you didn't plan for) but a storm came through and damaged our garage door on the house in MO and we had to replace it (1K gone). Then our little puppy (1 lb pomeranian at the time) broke 2 legs!! That was a BIG expense, about 1-1500 we didn't expect to spend. But luckly she didn't need surgery, just cast. It was totally worth it, she is happy, healthy and full 5 lbs!! Luckly in the recent months we have been able to build our savings back up to normal, including a holiday fund! :-)

...Then came the bad news. The company I work for (a property management firm) is not going to be resigning the contract this year. Our company also does not have any other property in the immediate area, the closest being 3 hours away. What does this mean for me? This means that in 4 weeks, I will be out of a job. I found out about 2 months ago, so I've had time to digest it and get over it. I talk with hubby quite a bit, and we discussed the budget. I will be taking this oppurtunity to go back to school (spring of 2009) and finish my degree.

In the meantime I will be looking for a part time job that fits into our schedule (this in itself could be a pretty big challenge).

All in all I think we'll be fine. I hope no one is reading this in hopes of finding never ending advice on budgeting, finances, etc. Truth be told (I know, as if it wasn't obvious before :-)) I'm new to this "game" and I'm learning, so any (well intentioned lol) advice is always appreciated!