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Archive for December, 2006

Cool Beans

December 31st, 2006 at 10:37 am

Hi, everyone. I decided to check my retirement account online to see how it is doing. I don't check it very often, so I figured New Year's Eve would be the perfect time. I have only been contributing since July and already have $3432.36. Wow. I had no idea it would grow so much in only 6 months. At this rate of growth, I could have close to $10000 by the end of next year. I like this. We can just adjust how it is invested at any time, but we can't choose specific stocks, bonds, etc. I think I will let it ride another year and then open an IRA in 2008. While I love working in my library, I don't want to have to work when I am 70 or be living on food stamps and social security. I want to have fun and travel then.

$20 Challenge and Other Stuff

December 30th, 2006 at 02:32 pm

Howdy, all.

Well, the end result with my $20 Challenge is a surprising $18.50. Not bad, I say, seeing as I started it on Dec. 26th, I think. I had budgeted $100 to the cc, so I sent that plus this $18.50 to the cc. I'm feeling really jazzed.

Add on top of that the fact that the college I work for has health insurance, which we only have to pay for twice a month. Since I got 3 paychecks in the long month of December, I have about $27.00 extra in my account. I am putting that on my $20 Challenge for January. Wow. That's cool. I've already met my $20 Challenge for January. I'm not stopping there, though. Big Grin

I went grocery shopping this morning and saved $14.55 with store specials, my store card, and using my own bags.

I also made regular deposits to my Dream Account and Short Term Savings Accounts.

My husband will get his first paycheck, probably about $250, from his new job on Tuesday. It is the first step to getting our truck fixed so we can drive it. In the meantime, our car is also not very reliable, as we think it may have something wrong with the transmission. I have been riding my bike to work for the last 2 weeks (yes, it has been very cold, and some days, very warm here in the midwest) which has not only save me a lot of gas money, but has given more strength and stamina. (I have asthma, so this is important.)

Despite the car and truck problems, I feel really fortunate and blessed to be a part of this group that shares ideas about how to save money, the struggles to pay off debt, and create a better life. I want to wish the best for all of you and your families for 2007.

Happy Birthday to Me

December 28th, 2006 at 08:04 am

Howdy, friends and neighbors. If you notice in my bio to the right, a digit in my age has changed. Yes, I am a year older. Am I mortified? Feeling old? Feeling sick? No, to all of the above. My Papa (grandfather) had a story he told about one time when he was in his late 80s and went to sing and play his saw at a nursing home. A old man was there and was moaning and groaning about being old. Papa asked him "Well, how old are you?" and the man said 65. Papa said, "I am 89 and I don't feel old." Papa died in July 2000 just a few months shy of 97. He remained very active until about the last year or so before he died. He lived a very good life and so I try to practice his philosophy of feeling good about yourself no matter what your age is. I feel fortunate and blessed to be alive and healthy.

What Kind of Shopper Are You?

December 28th, 2006 at 07:48 am

I took a survey titled What Kind of Shopper Are You? at http://www.memolink.com. This is what it has to say about me. This is very true, as I go to the store with a specfic list of what items I want, brands, sizes, quantity, and whether I have a coupon or it is on sale. This is not to say that if I see something else that is a better deal, that I don't go for it, though.

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We'd bet that if we ran into you at the mall, you're there to get something in particular - not to browse. You're probably the kind of shopper who ventures into the retail realm armed with an idea of what you want, where to get it, and how to get out of there as fast as you can.

Maybe you're on the hunt for a birthday gift for Mom or a housewarming present for your best friend. Then again, maybe it's a new outfit for yourself for a special event. Whatever the occasion, you're not too likely to make impulse buying or window shopping a standard practice. While some shoppers may get easily distracted, you're most likely to stay on track in pursuit of your intended purchase.

Prosperity Journal

December 25th, 2006 at 12:32 pm

I feel really happy with my life right now and grateful for all the many blessings that I have. I have a really great job with a lot of job security. I work with some really great people who like working with and for me. I have a wonderful husband who has really been there with me through the thick and the thin. I am grateful for the friends I have that have been there for me in the last year. I am grateful that both of my vehicles are paid for. I am grateful to have a computer at home so that I can read email, surf the internet, and pursue my education.

While I have everything that I really need, I also want:

both of my vehicles in good working order by the end of February

a different house to live in in my current town

have enough money that we don't have to borrow money from anyone by the end of next year

to start a second master's degree program in June next year

I don't know how I am going to make this happen, but I can definitely visualize these things. Since I don't know how it will happen, I will let the universe decide how to make it happen.

$20 Challenge

December 25th, 2006 at 09:55 am

Hello. I am starting a New Year's Resolution.

I am beginning a resolution to save an extra $20 per month and pay it towards my credit card. This extra money will come from pocket change I will toss in my piggy each night when I come home from work, rebates, refunds, and unexpected money. We are also going to cancel my cell phone, since I don't use it very much.

I have been maintaining a payment of $50 per month without fail no matter what the balance is. From now on, I will continue to make that $50 regular payment, but also pay a separate $20 payment.

My current challenge balance with all the pocket change I have is $7.59. I know it's the 25th of December and I may not make $20 by the 31st, I am going to try to accumulate as much as possible. I will report my progress here on the 1st of each month.

Bad End to a Great Day

December 23rd, 2006 at 05:14 pm

Well, after my "great day" blog earlier today, I logged into the credit card online to make an online payment. I discovered that the balance was up over 2K - again. I had had it under 2K, so this really ticks me off. My husband had purchased a cd online that tells you how to make money on ebay a couple of months ago. It seems that when he did so, he also inadvertantly signed up for some kind of service or membership. It is free for 14 days, then they charge. My husband tends not to read the fine print on these things. I have told him and told him to read the fine print on what is included, and not included, in the transaction when buying online. I also told him to stop using the credit card altogether, which he did, but we were not aware of this "membership." It was later this afternoon when I found this out and the business is not open until probably Tuesday morning at the earliest so that we can shut off this "service." It is really hard to think positively when stuff like this keeps creeping up on me. AArrgh!

A Great Day

December 23rd, 2006 at 10:02 am


I don't usually like shopping, especially right before a holiday. I hate crowds, waiting in line, and everything that goes along with it. But today was a great day.

To start the day off, I went and cashed in my lottery ticket and got $7 cash. Whoopee.

I took that $7 along with $5.50 in rolled coins to the bank. It's going straight to the credit card later today. Yes, I know that $12.50 doesn't sound like much, but it is something.



Then, I went to Walmart. I don't usually shop at Walmart because I hate walking through a huge store just to buy one thing I couldn't buy at some other store. I bought Vive Pro shampoo with a $1.00 off coupon, two boxes of Chore Boy scour pads with 2 $0.75 off coupons. I also bought a very small can of hairspray for those cold days when my hair is full of static when I get to work.


Next, I went to the grocery store and got everything I need for about $62.00. I saved over $15.00 between the coupons I used, my store card, and bringing my own bags.



I also went to three different thrift stores to look for a thermos with a glass liner. My doctor has told me to, if at all possible, avoid cooking in microwaves and avoid plastic food containers. Well, I wasn't able to find a thermos with a glass liner, but I did get a thermos. I will keep looking for another one and upgrade when I do. I also snagged a couple of coffee mugs for $0.19 each.

I am a happy camper. Now to update my spreadsheets and send my online payment to the credit card.

More Savings, Debt Payoff, and an Oops

December 17th, 2006 at 02:51 pm

Hey, everybody. I just realized when looking at my Financial Freedom Plan spreadsheet today that the debt amount in my info at the right is wrong.



Somehow, I had not included credit card debt in that calculation. Anyway, it's updated now.

I just got paid on Friday. I sent off the final payment for one of my medical bills. Woo-hoo! I'm excited. So far, I have 4 out of 8 debts paid in full. On Monday, I will deposit some spare change in the amount of $5.50 to checking. When it clears, I will send an online payment to the credit card.

I saved $15.92 between coupons and using my store card for grocery shopping yesterday.



I also made regular deposits to my Dream Account and Short Term Savings.



My mother sent me $150 for Christmas. Whereas I really want to send it directly to the credit card, I have to use a small part of it on a trip to a nearby city to take my husband to a doctor. The rest is being allocated for repairs to my truck. It won't pay for the whole thing, but it will pay for part of it.

A Bunch of Stuff

December 9th, 2006 at 01:06 pm

Howdy, friends and neighors.
Well, I went out into the big, bad world of shopping during Christmas season today. I have decided to only buy a couple of gifts this year. I bought one "gift" for an employee I supervise (I bought her pezz candy because she loves it) and a gift bag to put it in. I also bought some special pecans for my mother, which I will mail to her. I will also buy my uncle a sweatshirt from the school where I work.

When I used to live in major metro city, shopping, even for groceries, during Christmas was a complete nightmare. People thought nothing of slamming your cart, grabbing something out of your hand, and just being plan obnoxious and rude. Well, I live in a smaller town now, and it's a lot calmer here, but it's still not pleasant. So, I have decided that that's all the Christmas shopping I will do. Christmas doesn't really seem to be about family and togetherness anymore. It seems to be about who can buy whom the best or biggest gift.

Oh, on my trip to the grocery store today, I saved $13.32 between coupons and store specials with my store savings card.

My husband just found out yesterday that he will a local store manager for a tax preparation service office. We discussed what we are going to do with his pay. First, we are going to get the truck running again. (The mechanic has not looked at it yet, but based on our description of what happened, he thinks we need a new transfer box, a part that costs about $500 from a salvage yard.) After that, we want to pay off our credit card debt and set aside money for down payment and closing costs on a house.

Off Topic Post

December 5th, 2006 at 05:12 pm



I hope no one minds me posting an off-topic joke I received by email from a co-worker. I think a sense of humor is important to your overall being, including how you feel about your finances.
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The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma omplications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.

The grave site was piled high with flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who may be having a crumby day and kneads it.

Dream Savings & Short Term Savings

December 4th, 2006 at 03:42 pm

Someone asked about what my Dream Savings Account is and what I do with it. Well, I haven't done anything with it yet, because there is not much money in it. But it is for all those things that we dream about: house, different car, vacation, retirement, and whatever else you can think of to dream about. I decided to call my Dream Savings rather than Long Term Savings to make it sound more interesting.

I nicknamed my other account Short Term Savings instead of Emergency Savings because I don't want to be putting idea out there that I will have an "emergency".

Followup on Things to Not Buy in 2007

December 4th, 2006 at 03:36 pm

Someone asked about the significance of the Wall Street mint silver bar and whether that is something I advise not to buy. On the contrary, I want to buy less of stuff I don't need so I can have a lot more money. I do own some silver coins, but nothing like this Wall street mint silver bar.

Goals for 2007

December 4th, 2006 at 01:56 pm

I saw that someone else did this for their blog, so I thought it was a great idea.

1. Maintain a positive attitude about finances. However bad it seems now, I will keep my mind focused on it turning out right and being grateful for what I have.

2. Accumulate $300 in my short term and dream savings accounts combined.

3. Pay off credit card in full and then hide both cards (mine and my spouses's) in a place known only to me so it cannot be used except in extreme emergency.

4. After credit card is paid off, divide money previously paid to credit card among medical bills, short term savings, and dream savings accounts.

5. Deposit amounts for all rebates into either short term or dream savings accounts.

6. Take change out of my pockets every night and put it into my piggy. At the end of every week, be sure I have dumped all pocket change and bills into it. Deposit it into short term savings.

7. On payday, evenly divide the "remainder" left in checking from the previous payday and transfer to short term savings and dream savings accounts.

Things to Not Buy in 2007

December 4th, 2006 at 01:35 pm



I saw that someone else did this on their blog and thought it sounded like a good idea, so here goes.

Trips to a Professional Salon (beauty school only)

Makeup

Perfume

Laundry Detergent (found alternative)

Limit Lunches Bought Out to 1 per week

Clothing (limit myself to underwear, socks, and thrift store shopping only)

Books (borrow from the library I work at)

Magazines

purses

shoes (have 2 great pairs of shoes)


Other Things I Will Not Do in 2007

Take My Husband with me when I go shopping

I just did this and spent about $20 more than normal. Plus, he hates coupons and store discount cards and would have a fit if he knew I used them.

This Past Weekend

December 4th, 2006 at 08:13 am



Here is a picture of my Mustang and my Blazer. On Friday afternoon, my husband and I left town to go north to be at a funeral on Saturday morning. The roads were bad, really bad in some places, but we made it there fine in our 4WD truck. All went fine with the funeral and I got to meet some of his family and friends that I had never met before. We started back home on Saturday at 11:30 and stopped somewhere on the way for lunch. When we were about 1/2 hour from home, we started hearing a high pitched whining noise under the truck. It got louder and louder. Then, my husband said he thought the transmission went out, because suddenly we lost acceleration. He was able to get off at an exit and get into a gas station okay. We called AAA and a tow truck driver came and got us and took us home. (Just as a side note, I have to say AAA is worth every penny it costs and it has saved us a few times.) We are still waiting to be able to call our mechanic. The vehicle is not operational, so he will have to come and get it and fix it.



I transferred money from my checking to my two savings accounts for short term savings and dream savings. As soon as I accumulate some more pocket change, I will take my piggy to the bank for deposit.



My last win is that I have the last bit of a medical bill paid in full! Woo-hoo!

The last thing I have to say is that I was caught in the snowstorm that hit the midwest. My 68 Mustang was completely covered in ice, and because the windows don't fit tightly, there was even frost on the inside of the car. My truck is non-operational at the moment (see above paragraph), and so I was unable to even get out of my driveway this morning to go to work.