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Archive for October, 2005

Oct Goals

October 31st, 2005 at 07:03 pm

Didn't walk today because I had a really bad stomach ache.

My goals for Oct were:

1. Only spend $400 for groceries, gas, entertainment, clothes, household basics and misc.
Way over on this. Total was $537.50

2. Walk at least 20 times this month for at least 45 minutes each time.
Done

3. I'm going on vacation for a week this month so I'm not setting any eating out goals. I know I'll be eating out a lot. My goal is to spend $300 or less on my vacation.
This was under which is good because I used the extra to cover my monthly spending goal overage. Total was $167.20

4. Save $880 above my 401K contribution
I saved the money, but didn't invest it. It's going toward my shower redo.

5. Try two new recipes
Didn't do this.

6. Put another $100 in my cash reserve.
Put $200 in the reserves.

So not too bad, but not great either. I definitly need to tighten up on the monthly spending. I think I'll increase it a little next month, between gas and groceries it's getting harder to keep it under $400 each month.

Total spending for the month was:

Groceries - 196.20
Fast Food - 11.08 - not very accurate since I used a lot of my vacation money eating out
Restaurant - 44.31
Nieces - 54.32
Clothes - 51.00
Books/Newspapers - 60.61
Gas - 53.29
HBAs - 143.49
Entertainment - 0 - vacation covered this
Other - 3.68

xmas - 160.90
gifts - 40.80

I'll have to do my networth for Oct later, the website for my 401K is down.

more snow

October 30th, 2005 at 08:05 pm

Turned my furnace on today when it started to snow outside. Didn't get a lot but it's cold. I was hoping to wait till Nov 1 to turn it on, but didn't quite make it.

I got gas at 2.59/gal spent $26.41
Went to the grocery store and stocked up on candy for halloween and a $10 bag of shrimp which will last for about 3 months. Spent more than usual $49.22 saved 18% according to the receipt.

Total spent so far this month = $537.50

I got yesterday's mail and I had a $6.50 rebate and also my flex care rebates. The dentist and other over-the-counter items got reimbursed really quick. I need to go through some of my old receipts and see if there's anything else I need to claim.

I finished reading the library book Undead and Unappreciated by Mary Janice Davidson. Vampire. Good book. Cute.

I also finished reading the library book You Don't Have to be Rich by Jean Chatzky. Finance. Pretty Good.
I definitely like the premise of the book, which is money can't make you happy, unless you're desperately poor.
Something that bugs me is how many finance articles or gurus there are telling you how to be rich. I have nothing against being rich, I just think it's a ridiculous goal, all by itself. If you want to be rich so you can have a certain lifestyle or to meet a certain goal that's one thing, but it seems to me that people want to be rich, just to be rich. Like somehow being rich will solve all their problems.

While I wouldn't turn being rich down, it's not my goal in life. My goal is to have enough money in savings and investments to finance a comfortable lifestyle so I don't have to work if I don't want to. This amount is well below the amount needed for what I would consider to be rich.

This book asks what makes a happy, successful life and how much money you really need to have one. The book details a survey regarding people's attitudes towards money and how they manage money successfully. It asks the same survey questions in the book and helps you define some of your thinking about money.

She lists a simple set of strategies to help you control your money, spend smartly, eliminate debts, and set and reach financial goals. Most of these strategies are well known, but still worth reading.

Kitchen changes

October 29th, 2005 at 08:32 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

I've been thinking about some changes I want to make to my kitchen. It involves changing the laundry area and adding new cabinets and replacing the coat closet with pull-out pantries, this would give me about 3 more feet so will need new upper and lower cabinets for that area and then I want new countertops in the whole kitchen. Estimated cost $10,000. I think I'll put it on my wish list and start saving for it after my Canada vacation next year and new carpet in about 3 years. I might get to the kitchen in 10 years or so Smile

I have a revolving list of wants and each year I budget $100 a month for what I call short-term goals. I look at the list and rate it by what's most important to me right now, then I start saving for it. Currently I have the money saved for a new laptop or PC I'm just waiting for the right deal to come along. I also have about half of the money for my Canada vacation next year. I'm planning to use my Extra fund for the Canada vacation also. The Extra Fund is where I put all my rebates, CC rebates, loose change, bank bonuses, half com sales and other extra money that comes into my life in.

I read the library book Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts. Romance. Excellent book. She's such a great story teller.

smaller pants

October 28th, 2005 at 08:55 pm

walked with mom for 55 min. My pants have been feeling lose the last couple of weeks. I had a smaller size in my closet and when I tried them on today, they fit great. I've lost two pants sizes since I started walking last March. I don't think I've lost any weight though which is weird.

I took one of my vacation days today. It was nice an relaxing. I have several days that have to be used up by the end of the year, so I'll be taking a series of 3 day weekends. I like those kinds of days off. When I was a machinist I worked night shift most often because that was my preference. I also worked 4 day work weeks. I loved that. I'd like to go back to that schedule. Having 3 days off a week is great. I hate having to do most of my errands on a Saturday or Sunday. It seems like the stores are so crowded and I get kind of claustrophobic around a lot of people, so half the time I give up and go home without finishing all my errands and then have to make another trip. Working only 4 days a week allows you a week day to do errands.

Went to the library and read two financial magazines.

I opened a Virtual Bank account today. If you have a referral, and if you open an account before Nov 30, 2005 for $100 they give you a $20 bonus. I've recently started reading MyMoneyBlog.com and Jonathan is giving referrals to Virtual Bank. He also has $10 referrals to Emigrant Bank. I'll probably open an Emigrant Account next month.

Here's the link if anyone is interested.

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/archives/2005/10/easy_bank_bonus.html

So far this year I've made $85 from opening bank accounts. Virtual Bank will make $105, Free money Smile

Finished reading the library book Afterburn by S.L. Viehl. Sci Fi. Very Good

Great Fun rebate

October 27th, 2005 at 09:09 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

I got the Great Fun/Buy.com rebate for $25 in the mail today. That program turned out to be pretty good except for the gas cards. I signed up for a trial membership at $1 month and they sent me $20 Exxon/Mobile gas cards. Unfortunately we have no Exxon/Mobil gas stations in the state so I ended up giving them away. I think I found a web site that lets you swap cards two days later Frown They also had a deal for a $25 rebate from Buy.com. I spent 25.84 on books for xmas and got the $25 rebate today. I was about to write it off because it's been so long and I canceled the membership after a month so I was pretty happy to see it.

I didn't feel like cooking tonight so stopped at McDonalds for dinner. Spent $5.54 but I got a $3 Best Buy bucks coupon. Just have to remember to use. I think I have $7 total now almost enough for a CD.

Total spent so far this month = $461.87

It's interesting that Keeping it Frugal in Texas discussed her My Points points today. I just signed up for that program yesterday. Nice to know it worked for someone else.

I finished reading the library book One Shot by Lee Child. Mystery. Very Good.

only 1 more car payment

October 26th, 2005 at 08:22 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

Made my second to last car payment today, only one more to go. So happy Smile

I got my citi dividend platinum select card bill today. This card gives you 5% back on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases and 1% on everything else. I see they have a referral program now. You can refer up to 5 people and for each one that is approved you get $25. If you have this card and know of anyone who wants one, that's a pretty cool deal.

I read this very scary article in Time magazine today. It's called Broken Promises and it's about how so many companies are defaulting on their pension promises. It's also about how unlikely it is that people will be able to retire the way our parents retired. Most people may not be able to retire at all. It talks about how underfunded all the company and governement pensions are and how overburdened they will become in the next few years. Talk of rising taxes and less pensions and SS benefits. It was pretty scary. My retirement planning doesn't rely on my two very small pension promises, but it does account for them and I hope I get to collect them. As for Social Security I'm hoping to get it, but could make it without. I'd be very unhappy about it though and life would be more skimpy than I would like. I guess the best I can do is keep saving and investing and pay attention to what's happening in the world. I'll have to make my final decision about if I'm truly comfortable retiring at 50 in a little more than 5 years. Even if I decide to work a few years longer for security, it's still a lot earlier than most people can retire.

Nesteggz rewards

October 25th, 2005 at 08:40 pm

walked with mom for 35 min. After the time changes I'm going to have to move my walking to the middle of the day instead of going after work. I can't afford to take off and hour and a half in the middle of the work day so I plan to take 1 hour. We took a new route today to see what we can fit in that 1 hour time frame. That has to include driving to her house and driving back home, so this new route works pretty good. I normally don't take a lunch hour I just eat while I keep working and work a straight 8 hour day. It will probably be difficult for me about 4 the first few days when I realize I have to keep working till 5. At least I won't have to get on the freeway at 5 to come home.

I had another coupon for a free McDonalds breakfast so I got that this morning on the way into work. Normally I run errands after work, but I didn't have anything to do today, so I didn't spend any money. Very rare on days I go into town. It's pretty easy to not spend money when I'm basically home all day working Smile

Someone posted a link to PineCone research under the Freebies section of this website. PineCone is having a recruitment week. I signed up for it, but haven't heard anything yet. From what I've read it seems they are one of the most legit survey groups.

Someone sent me an email today regarding Nesteggz saying they were planning to join and wondering if I had a referral code to give them. I thought that was really nice. Anyways I went out to Nesteggz to see if they had a referral program since I didn't know of one, I usually don't pay attention until someone tells me Smile I found out that if I have an email address and a first and last name I can refer someone and they will get 5 Nesteggz bucks which translates to $5. After they build up $25 in the program I will get $5 for referring them. That's cool. I know I talked about Nesteggz in one of my previous posts. I think it's a pretty good rebate program, plus if you get their credit card you get 3% back on gas purchases and 1% on everything else. I've gotten several rebate checks from them so far.

I finished reading my book Born to be BAD by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Romance. Very good. A popcorn book.

embarrassed

October 24th, 2005 at 07:43 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

Mailed the half.com book I sold of my mom's today. Cost = $1.84

Total spent so far this month = $456.33

While I was walking with my mom today, she asked me if I had looked in the book she gave me that I sold on half.com. I said no, it was in really good shape so I listed it as like new. Anyways she told me she had inked out all the swear words in the book and she thought the book was filthy so there were probably a lot of inked out words. I was horrified. I had already mailed the book. It wasn't her fault because she didn't even know I had listed the book. She said she had almost called me last night but forgot. I sure wish she had, because at least I wouldn't have mailed it already.

I emailed the buyer and told her about the change to the books status. I told her if she wants to keep the book I'd refund half her price and if she didn't want to keep the book, she could return it and I'd refund all the money. I'm really embarrased about this and I feel bad for her. She wrote back asking if she can still read the words in which case she will keep the book. I told her I don't know since I hadn't seen it. I doubt it, since my mom is the type to totally erase them. Oh well, that will teach me to pay more attention to my mom's books. I've only sold my books before and I know what's in them. I never write in my books and I just ignore swear words in books and movies. My mom's very sensitive to them.

I made mashed potatoes tonight to eat with my salmon. I had a bunch of little potatoes I needed to use up, so I made a lot of mashed potatoes and made potato salad with the leftovers. I love my potato salad. I got hamburger at 99/lb this week so plan to make some mini-meatloaves tomorrow or Wednesday to go with the potato salad.

I changed the percent I'm contributing to my 401K from 19% to 12%. I did this so the contributions last thru the rest of this year. That means I get the total matching amount from my company. It also means I'll be getting more in my paycheck for the rest of the year too.

Some companies are sneaky with how they match your 401K funds. They portion their matches out as if you were contributing throughout the year, if you stop contributing early because you maxed out, they stop contributing too, so you may not get your total match. For exampe, if you make 60K and if the company matches 5% of your salary. They will match $3000 divides by the number of paychecks in a year which would = 3000/26 or $115.38 each paycheck. Suppose you max out your contributions this month. There are 5 paychecks left this year. The company stops their contributions the same time you do, even though you've maxed out. So you lose out on 5 paychecks of contributions or $576.92. This is a little known rule that a lot of companies use and I think it stinks. I lost out on several years of full matching before I found this out, usually only100-200 a year, but it still stinks.

endless shrimp

October 23rd, 2005 at 08:06 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

Went to the grocery store this morning and spent $47.60 I saved 37% I had over $19 in coupons. I have a $3.99 rebate to send for also. I ended up with 3 free items.

Met my parents for lunch at Red Lobster. I love Red Lobster it's my second favorite restaurant. First is Outback. Anyways they were having thier endless shrimp deal. I pigged out. It was so good but I ate way too much. Spent $18.43 using my discounted gift cards.

My mom gave me a bunch of old books a while back to take to the used book store. They didn't want them so the other day I dug them out and listed them on half.com, I didn't think they would sell because some of them are 30 years old and a lot of them are religious books. But one of them sold today Dream Lovers - the story about Bobby Darin and Sandra Lee. It sold for $15. That's amazing Smile Anyways I called and told my mom about it, she hadn't known I listed the books. She thought it was pretty cool. Maybe it will inspire her to give me more to list. She has a bunch of old books she'll never read and my philosophy is get rid of it now instead of making me deal with it after they're gone Smile

I finished reading the library book Without Fail by Lee Child. Mystery. Very good.

Lazy day

October 22nd, 2005 at 08:15 pm

Slow, lazy, relaxing day; the kind I love best.

Finished reading the library book The Persuader by Lee Child. Mystery. Very good.

Friday

October 21st, 2005 at 08:17 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

I'm so glad it's Friday, because I work from home most of the time I generally get up 5 - 10 min before work starts and stumble up the stairs to start working. I'm not a morning person in fact I hate mornings, it doesn't matter how much sleep I get I don't like to wake up and it's 10 times worse on cloudy days like today. Anyways I woke up at 7:00 this morning and looked at the clock and thought only one more day I can sleep in tomorrow. Smile I didn't actually get up at 7 instead I snoozed until 7:50 and then got up. I love to sleep, or even lie in bed day-dreaming, it's one of my most favorite things to do. And it's extremely cheap money wise, not so cheap timewise Frown

I checked my HSBC savings account today and saw that the $35 bonus was credited. More money for my extra fund Smile

I got a Tide with Febreeze and Bounce with Febreeze sample in the mail today to add to the other stuff for my brother's xmas. My sister sent me email and wanted to know what I wanted for xmas, still no clue on something I want. Both neices are getting MP3 players and I want to get them download cards. I don't know anything about MP3 players. Does anyone know of a good place to find deals on these kinds of cards?

Finished listening to the library book on tape Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich. Mystery. Very Good. Her books always crack me up they are so funny.

ordered new shower

October 20th, 2005 at 08:27 pm

walked with mom for 55 min

The guy from the acrylic shower place came over today to give me a quote. To get new acrylic walls, a new shower base, new sliding glass doors and a shower caddy will cost $2579.22 After researching it I think this is the way I want to go. It has a lifetime guarantee, the walls and floor are non-porous so that means the hard water won't be staining them like normal tile or fiberglass. The other big plus is that the shower will be done in one day and can be used the next day, plus they cart all the bathroom debris away with them (the old doors and shower pan).

I really like the look too, I ordered Ivory marble for the walls in 12" simulated tile and a biscuit colored shower pan. I had to pay half today and will pay the second half when the shower is completed. I had a $100 off coupon and will get 1% back on my credit card so I saved a little bit there. This will take almost 3 months of my investment money though. I feel grateful that the money is there, even if it wasn't my prefered option for spending it, and I don't need to finance or charge it.

I finished reading the library book Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy. Supernatural. Very good. This is a new author that I haven't read before. I always like finding new authors whose books I like. I will have to watch for the next one.

rebate day

October 19th, 2005 at 08:13 pm

walked with mom for 55 min. It was really foggy and damp kind of cold but we did it anyways.

I forgot to mention I stopped at Walgreens on the way home yesterday and picked up this months rebate and sale items. Spent $18.69. I also stopped at King Soopers. They had Cheerios at $2.00 each. I got 3 boxes for $5 because I had a coupon for a dollar off.

Total spent this month = $388.46

I filled out several rebate forms today and mailed them. 1 for Walgreens for 10+. 1 for Sears shipping rebate for 8+ and one for my flex account for my dental appt and misc over the counter items. 122+ It will be nice when all of those come in Smile

I'm trying to accumulate all the freebies I can before xmas to give as part of my brother's gift. He hasn't had a job in 4 years and mostly lives off my parents. I'm trying to get food and household items to give him. I got a free sample of Wisk in the mail today that will join the pile. I'll buy my usual gourmet foods and grocery gift certificate for him also, but thought he could use the extras.

I finished listening to the library book on tape Summer in Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz. Romance. Very Good.

sore eyes

October 18th, 2005 at 08:20 pm

walked with mom for 55 min we barely had time to get our walk in. I didn't get home till 5:30 and we started at 5:45 it was almost dark by the time we were done. It's going to be very difficult to get walking time this winter. I hope I continue it though.

I had a coupon for a free breakfast at McDonalds so I stopped there on the way into work. I fixed my lunch so no spending there.

My eyes are really sore from looking at the computer all day the last two days. I guess my vacation got my eyes out of shape Smile I need to build my tolerance level back up.

When I got home my dad's xmas present had been delivered and left on my front porch.

Finished reading the library book The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn. Sci Fi. Kind of like a fairy tale. It would be a good book for teen or pre-teen.