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Archive for February, 2008

Ticker Update Time

February 29th, 2008 at 10:49 am

Hurray, time to start the pay off again. I am starting with $406 which isn't a lot but my big payoffs come at the end of the month.

Me, impatient, never!

Don't forget to live a little!

February 29th, 2008 at 10:38 am

Here's my little rant for the day.

Don't live solely for tomorrow! It may never come!

Maybe my background colors my view on this but having watched my mother die at the age of 36 and having had my father go through 2 back surgeries before the age of 40, I have to say, not everyone is going to make it to retirement healthy and hale.

I am all for preparing to live forever, just remember to enjoy life a little along the way. Too many posts lately have suggested having absolutely no fun and I don't understand the scrouge complex.

I get that a lot of people want everything now, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to have anything now. Balance people, balance. If spending too much is a problem, then so is refusing to do anything because it might cost money.

Frugal is being aware of how you spend your money but you become cheap when your "frugality" begins to make people miserable (including yourself).

*steps off soapbox*

I apologize, I have just encountered too many posts lately that seemed hyper critical of enjoying life's journey a little. Lord knows I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to judging what I deem to be overindulgence (I am working on overcoming this hypocritical stance) but I can't see judging someone for wanting a little pleasure in the day to day living. So long as they are moving in the right direction, they should be able to enjoy themselves.

Another raise for DH

February 28th, 2008 at 07:18 am

My DH got a rather large increase to his base pay yet again thanks to the company restructuring the bonuses. It means the high won't be quite as high but he is guaranteed more. It doesn't change our budget because we already were guestimating a certain amount for bonuses but its nice to have a bit more certainty.

We went out to eat to celebrate and spent $17 total. It was really just an excuse to eat out but that is a small enough splurge to not be an issue. Especially since that is all we are spending.

This month I will have fun updating the ticker, we will be paying in full a $2100 credit card. Now I just have to wait for March, grrr...

Monterey Bay Spice Company...

February 25th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

is about to save me a lot of money. My DH and I have recently turned into major tea drinkers and the lack of bulk tea in our area is breaking the bank. What I have been paying for 3 ounces will pay for a pound of tea.

Needless to say, this should help my grocery bill immensely.

While on the website, I also noticed they have 1/4 lbs of spices for cheaper than I can buy them in bulk locally so next time I need spices I will be keeping this in mind. Obviously this won't help most people but when you cook almost everything from scratch, you tend to burn through the spices.

Financial Check in

February 25th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I discussed with DH our finances last night. Found out that we have exceeded his allowance for out to eat food, yet again. He decided that the easiest way to avoid that is he will actually start pulling the cash out at the beginning of the month and when we run out, we run out.
He will do the same with his allowance or fun money too.

Me, I just need to stop spending. Since we seem to need something from the grocery store every week, I will translate my grocery money into a weekly limit instead of a bi-weekly limit. $60 per trip should get that expense back down to size. Also, only one grocery store per weekend. The double trips are really killing the budget.

No more eating out at work, that isn't where I want to spend my money so its time to crack down(AGAIN, and I was doing so well before January).

Fortunately, despite our setbacks, we are still on time to our payoff date. We just need to be very careful and make sure we pay attention to what we are doing.

Ready for the weekend

February 22nd, 2008 at 11:32 am

Just plugging along. I did a 0% balance transfer to avoid paying the rate hike that Bank of America is doing. This brings my interest down below 7% for total credit card debt. I wasn't going to do this because I have been paying the card quickly but I can't beat 0% and it will allow me to pay them a little bit quicker.

I think I might make March an eat up what we have month since we have been over the top the past two months. Part of the issue here is trying to eat healthy by eating more fruits, vegetables and fish. The other part is feeding the friend who is struggling at the moment, especially since she has no idea how to cook and thinks TV dinners are good meals.

Relaxing Weekend

February 12th, 2008 at 09:24 am

I didn't spend anything this weekend (noteworthy only because weekends are when I usually go grocery shopping now). DH bought us one meal at Brother's BBQ (very yummy)and the rest of the weekend we stayed home and relaxed.

Finally perfected a crusty artisan bread thanks to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois' book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Love the fact that it takes almost no time.

Of course this means we will be spending lots more on balsamic vineagar and olive oil but there are meals that are far worse for us then bread and this dip.

Still contemplating how to adjust my clothing budget so I don't run out of clothes. Think I might have a plan so I will give that a shot and see how it works.

New Allowance and New Budget

February 8th, 2008 at 07:24 am

So I ended up tweaking my allowance. As much as I want to be debt free, having a too aggressive payoff that doesn't allow for clothing, vacations or any splurge money qualifies as needing adjustment.

Its only $50 but it will give me some breathing room for both things I need and things I want.

I am getting this money by dropping my 2 credit cards that I am not currently doing massive payments on to their min. payments.

Part of the reason I need to do this is that I have other expenses that have climbed on me.

New Budget
Water and Sewer $40
Savings $25
IRA $150
Cell Phones for 2 $84
CC1 $68
Electricity $110
Cable Internet $62
CC2 $126
CC3 $1700 + any monthly bonus from DH (est ~$500)
Groceries $250 (if this goes over, it comes from my allowance)
My Allowance $160
Netflix $15
Student Loan $194
Bus Pass $60
His Allowance $250 (vacation money needs to come from this as well)
Rent $750
Eating Out $100

One thing you will notice is that this is a budget that includes money from both DH and I. We are working together to get rid of my credit cards so that we can be debt free by September.

Grrr...too many choices

February 6th, 2008 at 03:31 pm

So I have an allowance now. Its not a big one, but its an allowance that is guilt free.

I just found out that Masterpiece Theatre has released some new Jane Austin redos on DVD and fanatic that I am I really really want them.

Only problem, is that I was already planning on buying 2 very nice pair of boots for work, one black and one brown to replace the 2 pair that are almost completely worn through. I have good reason to believe that these nice boots are almost sold out and need to be bought quickly if I really want them.

So do you know what will happen? I will buy the movies and just not get the boots. This is how I ended up with such a limited wardrobe in the first place. There is always something that I want more than clothes.

At least I only buy movies that I know I will watch obsessively, the rest I see through netflix.

I suppose I could afford 1 pair of boots and all the DVD's but then I would be broke. Frown

Nope, my footwear will simply have to limp along and make it through the end of the season. I knew I should have had them resoled before I wore through the main part of the heel...

Update on the Vet issues

February 6th, 2008 at 02:02 pm

Vet finally called me after I left her a message asking what the status of the results were. The results came back negative for any problems. She did back off of claiming that my dog was dying and didn't ask for us to come back until 6 months down the road.

When I asked her if dehydration could affect the results since my dog hates water, she admitted that it could have been responsible for the high values. She didn't really explain why no one had asked me about that when they got the high results.

I am currently looking at a vet that does housecalls (our dog was literally shaking the last couple of times we took him to the vet so housecalls seem less tramatic). I have had a vet that did housecalls before back in Michigan and she was great so I am a bit biased in their favor. They tend to actually listen to you and learn about the animal.

Ugg...and this is just the vet issues

February 4th, 2008 at 11:57 am

My pug has cost a lot of money this month. Took him in for his shots and annual checkup. He kidney values were a little high (1/10 % off from normal) so they did a urine and blood work up. The urine was fine but the kidney value was still above normal so now we are waiting on the results of yet another urine test. (Can you see the dollar amounts climbing?)

After all this, we will need to come back in 3-6 months for yet another blood workup. If that one is still at that level they might accept that it is normal for him or they may want to go out another 3-6 months to make sure its normal.

In other words, all this may be for nothing. In fact, given that the urine test was fine and my pug likes to take 6 mile walks and then bounces around the house after said walks, kidney failure or even pre kidney failure is highly unlikely.

But this didn't stop our vet from talking like kidney failure was a foregone conclusion...As if panicking us for no good reason isn't bad enough, I saw on the receipt of our latest visit that they claimed we were overdue for 3 shots!!!

Ask them to check since we were just in for shots, the receptionist has to go to the paper file to realize, oh yes, you did just get those. At the time of the shot visit(previous week's appointment), I had to remind the lady with our paper file that yes, we had just gotten the bordetello shot and were not overdue...

The combination of not being able to keep track of the shots our dog needs and doesn't need and panicking us on something that may turn out to be nothing is not making us very happy with our vet.

I know when the vet calls today with the results of the urine test (which according to her is most likely going to be negative for urinary infection), she is going to try and get us back in 3 months from now and its not going to happen. 6 months I can see but not 3 months. If we saw changes in anything, we would bring him in sooner but nothing has changed.

Even though their prices seem to be on par and they are really conveniently located, we may need to find a vet with a better bedside manner who we don't have to constantly second guess (just ask me about the time they wanted me to pay them to pull baby teeth rather than wait for them to fall out).

Random thought on pasta

February 1st, 2008 at 08:49 am

This was provoked by BA's blog Wink

My dh and I recently started making our own pasta from scratch and we have discovered that half whole wheat and half unbleached flour make the best pasta.

Its flavorful while still having a nice texture.

The best part of making our own pasta is that we can jazz it up since plain old pasta is boring. That and now we can't run out when we want to make something. Big Grin

Now if I could just convince DH that we use a lot of flour. We keep running out because cooking from scratch goes through a lot of it and he looks at a half full container and can't imagine us using it up (two recipes later we are completely out...)