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Archive for September, 2006

Made $20

September 28th, 2006 at 07:23 pm

Just made $20 selling my Cookie Lee Jewelry. I didn't have to do anything, just had a co-worker ask to look at the catalog and took an order. She said she may order more.

Just got a check for $120 ($60 profit) from another co-worker, but already counted that money in a blog last week - went to gymboree.

Anyway, my problem is I sell the CL just to get the discount and buy my own. I was thinking of quitting this year. I have to spend $300 (or sell $600 - I only pay 50% - annually). I just couldn't see forking the money this year. I think I only sold 1/2 what I need to. With holidays coming up I was invited to a group show so I think I will sell there - I can make $300/show. IT really isn't bad, just after working FT I feel time with my family is more important, so I generally don't do the show thing, though the money is pretty good. I also just don't have the personality for it. I can hand out a catalog and take orders but that's about it. & I think it's important to like your job. I don't like shows so I Won't suffer. I rather live on a shoestring. 1 show a year is fine. But try doing 1 show and not getting 100 referrals. Truth is it is a great way to make money. It just snowballed too much for me so I had to quit.

Anyway, if I do this particular show or push my wares a bit I may be able to get my minumum and sell another year. I do not think I have spent a dime this year on the jewlery. Yay me!!

Anyway this week: + $5 costume, +$20 jewelry + $90 anniversary gift = $115 this week thus far. The week isn't even over. If every week was like this hubby would not need a job in the least. ; )

Oh yeah - I forgot to mention at seminar yesterday was so funny. I totally wasted $4 on that puzzle book because I forgot I signed up for seminar with the comedian instructor. Funny funny class. But it was so ironic because he had a huge section on BUDGETING and personal finance. The class was "Tax Planning for Families." Did I learn much? Not really because guy jokes more than he teaches - LOL. But he does compile a huge list of useful websites. If savingadvice.com is not in the list I will e-mail him and have him add it. I have the feeling it is. He is sending us his updated sites in a month or so. We'll see.

I have been SO addicted to this site I was looking for a breath of fresh air and getting budgeting off my mind for a day - stuck in class. No such luck - LOL. Was just too funny...

Spending Day

September 27th, 2006 at 01:36 pm

Alas, I said yesterday I never spend money. who me? But alas today is a bit of a big spend day. OR today and yesterday.

I have seminar today for my job. So will cost me some extra gas, and lunch, but luckily not parking today. On the days it costs me parking too, eh, it's for my job and my CPA license so what am I gonna do??? I know I do not have to eat out but I Decided to splurge. Don't worry I never eat at the $20 hotel lunches - my goodness! But I am looking forward to a little Round Table Pizza Buffet.

I also stopped for gas last night and decided to grab a puzzle book at the grocery store. $4 down the drain, but good for my sanity in case class is too boring, and to fill in the breaks. I bought one a few months back at seminar and my husband and I got completely addicted to fill-in puzzles aka griddlers. Unfortunately I could find none of those puzzles.

Oh yeah - but I filled my tank for $30 - WOOT!!!!!!!! Ever since we got the van I have been a little stressed not only in all its "newness" but I underestimated its gas guzzling ways. Plus gas has been sky high - I have filled the tank many a time for $50. Gas has dropped from $3/gallon to $2.50. It was pretty sweet... Plus it had been 10 days since last fill-up (instead of my usual 7 days) and my tank wasn't completely empty. I know my hubby's car can make the 400 miles to Disneyland on 1 tank so if we fill up here I know on this end will only be $25 instead of $30. I had no idea prices had dropped so much since I haven't gotten gas for 2-3 weeks myself. Yippee.

Then tonight it is bunco. I don't play for the money. I swear someone invesnted the game just so moms can escape for one night every month. ; ) & that is why I go. My old group I played 1 year and came out ahead, and this year I Was weary because buy-in is $11 instead of $7. BUT 2 nights already and I won upwards of $50 both times. So I made enough to play the rest of the year. I am feeling lucky tonight!

Instead of running to the store last minute I did buckle down and make brownies for tonight. I had to plan ahead and this week was not the best week - it has been a little crazy. But saved a little $$$. I did make pre-packaged brownies so wasn't as frugal as I could be, but they were already in the cupboard - a sunk cost.

The downside is someone is bringing a pony keg (football theme tonight) and announced she paid $60. I wish she had gone in with a few people. I thought if we all gave her a buck or 2 it would even out, but not everyone will so I'll probably give her $5. From my bunco winnings last 2 months so whatever. I may even spot her more. Oh well. I have only played with alcohol twice, I am not much of a drinker and neither are my friends. But it is a little more interesting with alcohol involved - LOL.

Anyway, if you don't know what bunco is, it's a dice game pretty much all luck (no strategy). So wish me luck tonight. I want to win BIG. ; )

& Now For Something Completely Different...

September 26th, 2006 at 09:49 pm

***Three-year-old buys pink convertible on Internet***

Tue Sep 26, 7:31 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Jack Neal briefly became the proud owner of a pink convertible car after he managed to buy it for 9,000 pounds ($17,000) on the Internet despite being only three years old.

Jack's mother told the BBC she had left her password for the eBay auction site in her computer and her son used the "buy it now" option to complete the purchase.

"Jack's a whizz on the PC and just pressed all the right buttons," Rachel Neal said.

The seller of the second-hand car, a dealer from Worcestershire, central England, was amused by the bid and agreed not to force the sale through.

"Luckily he saw the funny side and said he would re-advertise," Neal said.

=====================================

Just saw this and had a laugh.

Disneyland in Just 1 Day???

September 26th, 2006 at 05:17 pm

Disneyland Story:

I just wanted to say it was funny because I do not know how many people have asked about our Disneyland trip this weekend and said, "How long are you going? What? Just ONE day????" I am trying to think back and I only ever remember going one day. In fact, I thought we were splurging, because with the toddler we figure we better stay 2 nights. Drive up, sleep, 1 day at DL, sleep, and all day Sunday to drive home. IT's about all we can squeeze in. & then the whole, with gas so insane, "Isn't it cheaper to fly????" I budgeted $60 for gas and that will do. Get me 3 airline tickets for $60 and you got me sold, I live down the street from the airport - LOL. & I think 1 day in DL is about all my son can handle. I know he will be EXHAUSTED. Even flying is such an ordeal I don't think it would save much time. We could fly down Friday afternoon, sleep, go to DL one day, and fly back Sunday. Doesn't really lend to more time at DL.

Granted, in all my one day trips to DL, we have never been to CA Adventure, or Legoland, or any of the new parks. Maybe sometime down the road - in years - we'll make a week of it with the kids. For now 1 day at DL is more than enough to entertain the 3 of us. & yeah I think we are going more for us than the kid - LOL. Baby gets to stay home with grandma. Phew...

Improvised Toys gone BAD

September 24th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

The other night hubby was out and I gave the baby a wooden spoon to turn his buckets and tupperware into drums. He was having a blast, but my 3-year-old got a little jealous. HE wanted a spoon too! So I gave him one. I noticed it started splintering and told him to settle down with it. But he was beating the hell out of this spoon. It culminated with the spoon snapping in half. LOL. Okay, no more spoons for him.

The funniest part was the next morning my husband looked in the trash and could not fathom why there was a broken spoon on the top of the trash. HE approached me and was like, "What were you doing last night???" LOL.

My son was SO cute Friday too. Wednesday driving home from preschool we stopped by a used bookstore. I just heard a woman in my moms' group owns this store and it is right around the corner from his preschool. So we went in, it was a pretty nice store, bought a few books for ds - $5 maybe. So of course Friday he says he wants to go to the bookstore again. BEing very budget minded I told him we could not go. & mentioned his preschool is sucking me dry - LOL. I put it nicely because I do not want him to stress about it. But all the same I want him to know we can not do x and x because we are putting our effort into this one thing that he LOVES. & as a result we sacrifice other things.

Anyway, he was really cute because I started telling him about how cool libraries are and I Would take him to one soon. We used to go a bit, but since the baby, hasn't been very fun - LOL. But I am thinking we can start fitting in weekly library visits. I was telling him just how cool libraries were for letting you BORROW books, and you don't have to pay money. HE just got all excited and said "I want to go to the library NOW!!!" I did tell him that the library unfortunately did not have cats like the bookstore did, but at this point he was too excited to care. Was just cute how he got so excited. & glad I found an alternative to his beloved bookstore. ; )

Blech - Sickness is Here

September 24th, 2006 at 03:12 pm

This week stinks. Older son was sick (mild), then baby (worst). Then daddy, and today me. Plus side I didn't miss any work and hubby was well enough for me to sleep all day yesterday. Downside, weekend sucked. LOL.

Anyway, when I Was whining about my budget I didn't say the PLUS side. Unless I am missing something, which I may be, I found the $700 or so we need to set aside every month for insurance/property taxes. I had been settling on $300 and then I haven't even been able to do that for a while. The budget is a wonderful thing.

We also figured out a compromise on preschool. We are looking to switch ds to 2 full days a week. IT would save us $15/week, save money on gas (don't have to take him home at lunch) and goes to my other goal of focusing on maximizing money from my job. Right now I take him home at lunch 2 days a week and leave early one day since he has to be picked up by 5 on the full day. LEssening all of this nonsense to 2 days will be great, especially with crazy tax season coming up. 2 full days is just super cool enough it won't feel like less to him. HE LOVES the days he stays all day.

$60/month saved. + gas and time saved. (probably $10 gas per week).

We are clearing out the storage before we have to pay another month. $56/month saved.

Eating out - I am narrowing it down by $75/month for now. Not that we always spent $150. We never really eat out - don't even ask - it just seems to explode with a family of 4. Though I don't remember the last time we all 4 ate out together. ??? So I am not sure how it adds up so fast. I will be looking closer at it.

70 + 56 + 150 = $276/month saved.

I whittled down my misc. category to $200/month. It put our annual budget in to the positive numbers. Woot. Maybe +$100 for the year - LOL. But something. Implementing it will be another story. We'll see how it goes.

It seems silly for hubby to get a job when I can work overtime and get $33/hour. I am focusing on working OT 3 hours/week the rest of the year. That's $100/week. November is iffy but October & December the work wil be there. Downside is I get this paid randomly by bonuses, and if my boss feels I am just not productive he won't give it to me. For this part of the year though I should be working more, and I should get it in the form of Christmas bonus, which would be great.

Hubby is knee-deep in an unpaid video project right now, but he is looking into seasonal things all the same. Something temp to bring in a few bucks, help out the end of the year.

The downside of our budget is we really have no room for the unexpected. I guess that is why me working more and hubby working will pad our emergency fund a bit. I want to get that sucker UP.





Made Progress on Budget...

September 22nd, 2006 at 07:13 am

I just did a quick annual budget and it was pretty depressing...

I put in everything month by month for the year, and I know Oct - Dec is off, because I pretty much went off my 9 months data in Quicken. I didn't even put in christmas - too depressing. IT is just possible christmas cash received will be greater than christmas purchases, so we'll wing it for now.

With that I had a $1k loss for the year, but lately the in-laws have been pretty generous and throwing $1k at us here and there. It will cover it.

It's super depressing because rates on everything seem to raise come January. Just hope I get a raise to cover inflation.

I didn't detail the clothes and DVDs, etc. we buy every year and just threw in $300/month. THat is just for everything I didn't have categorized really - probably more than sufficient. Throw in vacation to that category too. I put 0 on the vacation budget because this last year we went to Vegas and HAwaii (Hawaii was paid for but we still spent $500 - on food mostly). If we can't afford to go anywhere to stay in budget, so be it. We had a good run this year.

I skimmed through the budget and all I Saw was insurance and gas (to drive to work) and stuff that just can not be cut. I decided in the meantime we just can't save a dime. Yes, the gardener, the preschool, and the cable all stand out as not necessity. BUT they are necessities to our sanity. There is just no way. IF we couldn't pay the bills, fine, but for now it all has been working out.

On the flip side, we were looking to move this summer and we are paying $56/month to storage. That can go... So by the end of the year I Want to make it a priority to clear out the space. & give up on moving - we just can't afford it right now.

As far as eating out, we can scale back. Maybe go from $100/month budget to $50.

Looking at the budget those 2 things popped out. I hadn't even really thought about the storage until then...

Beyond that I am paying $215/month on that personal loan. When that is paid off it is $200/month to build up our emergency fund. & if I get a raise in January, the same. So there is some hope.

I didn't even include the extra money we receive here and there from other work and other windfalls, etc. So it probably isn't as dire as it seems. We usually save all of this above and beyond the norm.

That's about all I can see for now. Hubby has to get a job, plain and simple. Something steady. We'll give it a whirl next summer probably. Another $200/month steady income would be pretty sweet right now, doesn't have to be much...

So what happened here??? I can narrow it down to 1 thing - preschool. I looked into it last April and found something for about $300/month. Just M/W/F 4 hours each day. But in this area that is about as cheap as it gets. I had some money saved, and figured we'd give it a try. IT was a bad move - LOL. No, it was a great move for my family, but unfortunately we absolutely fell in love with the place and there is no going back. We are now paying closer to $365 so he can stay all day Wednesdays. HE just loves it so dang much ... Plus gives the baby some one-on-one time with daddy. When I look at the budget it glares at me, but it has crossed the line to necessity. My son has just blossomed there like you wouldn't believe in such a short time. & cutting back would no less than break his heart. So yeah, before this and the loan we were doing pretty good. & since then things have been pretty dang tight.

So what do we do, we will go find more income. & we are working on cutting little things as well. Every little bit helps...

I just wanted to clarify that this is a pretty temp budget. We are just trying to bide our time until the baby turns 2 next summer and childcare options are more abundant and cheap. Thus the reluctance for hubby to get a job before then. Work is crazy for me December - April because of tax season and with a sleepless teething baby I am not sure we can handle much more.

I realize I am pretty stubborn on a few things in our budget, but we have a lot of untapped earnings potential and I Want to tap those first before we start cutting out certain things.

I am working on saving $300/month on health insurance which would kind of wash out this preschool predicament we have gotten ourselves into.

Regardless of our savings my boss is adding 10% of my income to retirement. An extra bonus as the more overtime I work, the more goes in retirement. I really just need to work more...

A strategy I am looking into is a PT job for my hubby with full health benefits. There are a lot around (state jobs & healthcare jobs). Full benefits would save us upward $600/month. This is the worst part of our budget I Feel. It really bugs me - we are not even 30 yet and I shudder to think what our premiums will be next year when I hit 30. Imagine if any of us were actually sick or something!! : ( Oh well, we officially can no longer afford our healthcare...

Budgeting and Vasectomies

September 22nd, 2006 at 05:01 am

Well, I could go on and on all day about the advantages of having a man who stays home while the woman works. (For 1 - maternity leave is pretty awesome - kind of like vacation with both of us home).

But I just found the big downside - vasectomy!!! It's like 5 days of no lifting - yeah right with a baby. I Am just hoping we can squeeze it in this year. I have 3 days vacation and we'll make it work. But I keep thinking to all the men I know who were back to work in 1 day. & then I think - duh - most office jobs don't require heavy lifting like my hubby's job does. Blech. Big baby boy is 25 pounds and not walking yet, so I got to stay home a few days with the kids.

We'll work it out. I just really wanted him to take care of this this year, because I wanted to switch to a high-deductible plan Jan. 1. We just can no longer afford our premiums. In the meantime, I will call and ask how much the procedure is. THey told him today it was only $250, but I find that hard to believe. IF that's it, piece of cake, we'll be saving $300/month with reduced premiums. I find it hard to believe because that is what they charge us NOW for any procedure. I think he was misinformed. ; ) Then again, as a preventive measure - maybe. Costs them a lot less than a pregnant woman I guess...

Oh anyway, he went to an info meeting on it tonight, since he finally called the hospital, etc. HE came home pretty whiny and I am afraid to say I Wasn't very sympathetic. After doing the birth control thing for many years and giving birth twice, eh, I think I have done my duty. I am actually just about doing the happy dance that the responsibility is shifting and I can throw the birth control out the window.

I am working on my budget and I am just planning for the worst when it comes to medical. Maybe we will be paying the big premiums another year. If he can't get the big snip now, it will be next summer earliest.

Anyway, I read on here about using Quicken and budgeting in Excel, but it just seemed kind of silly. Anyway, I was researching spreadsheets today for work and I started getting distraced by all these personal budgeting spreadsheets. After looking at them a little closer I started seeing the benefit. I think I Will give it a whirl. Dh is gonna go crazy because I started entering all of our grocery items more detailed, etc. I swear all I do in my spare time (what spare time?) these days is budget, invest, etc. Oh well, but I like it. I have done budgets in excel before, but I guess over the years our finances have just got so dang complicated. So I am working on a budget for next year - just putting something together, will be tweaked as we go for sure. In the past I just used round budgets, and I budget enough in my head that I always know where we're at, and we neevr spend more than we have. BUT, I need to get a "down to the penny" budget written down that we can stick to, and so we can work on our savings a little more.

Monthly budgets are nice, but I keep getting thrown off by the one-time expenses every year. So I am working out some all-inclusive monster budget. We'll see how it goes. ; ) Then I can track our progress each month. But I really look forward to seeing the big picture. (Or maybe not...).

Dh has been taking the grocery shopping thing pretty seriously. HE has been stocking a lot on sale, and though we rarely buy brand names, the few things we do, he is coming home with generic lately. Hope this helps the bottom line... I got a bunch of Target coupons and think I will go stock up on some things as well. A big investment this month, but worht it down the road.







The Best Toys Money Can Buy - ; )

September 21st, 2006 at 02:09 pm



LOL. I could not resist posting this.

To date these are the kids' favorite toys by far. I know I Said in an earlier post that most of the people I hang around of late do not get any concept other than spoiling their kids rotten. & I am always saying they don't need every little thing their heart desires. Anyway, their favorite toys are case in point I guess, that you don't need to spend a lot of money to keep your kids happy. ; )

I got the shovels and buckets (10 or so buckets in total) for $4 off of ebay. It was probably $12 once you consider shipping, but I needed a bunch of beachy stuff for a beach-themed party. I handed a couple to the kids because I didn't need them all, figuring we'd take them to the park in the future. I can not believe how much they play with those inside the house. My 15-month-old's favorite toys by far!

The tupperware are hand-me-downs from grandma (notice the 70s color scheme) and they are the nicest tupperware pieces I own by far. But this was always a favorite toy for my older son, and now baby is enjoying.

I kicked off my socks yesterday after a walk because it was so hot and baby played with them the rest of the evening.

Oh yeah, and when I was gathering toys for this picture I spotted his little credit card. It was one of those little paper ones you get with the credit card offers. For some reason baby claimed it and thinks it is the best toy ever. I don't know if this means I will have extra trouble teaching him about money, or he will be easy - LOL. It is kind of funny though the way he carries that thing around, almost like a security blanket. It's making me a little scared...

In short, a bucketload of fun for $12.

I also think it is kind of important for the kids to play with toys that are not flashy and electronic - not all the time (believe me they have PLENTY in that category). I don't think we have done as good screening with the baby, have gotten lazy, but it is nice he enjoys some of the non-flashy things. A lot of the time, he prefers them...


Buy Used to Avoid Debt

September 19th, 2006 at 02:42 pm

When I Tell people we have really had no debt, except our mortgage, they look at me like I am lying for the most part. LOL. I think the general concensus in mainstream society it just can not be done.

I have had people tell me that it is impossible and I can't have a decent credit score then. Well my credit score last I checked was 700/800. But that is another post for another day.

Anyway, as far as the school, people then say - well your parents paid for your school. Um, no. I went to public school & community college. IT so happens the college in my hometown had a pretty stellar accounting program, but I didn't even know what my major would be when I started. That was the point my parents said uh uh no way. I really wanted to go to UCSD, but wihtout a major in mind my parents said I could go to community college or State for a while, and live at home. I did State for 5 years actually, but supplemented with classes in the summer at community colleges.

I was pretty stubborn and moved out on my own pretty fast. I was frustrated my I was out on my own and my parents weren't paying, but that I could not get assistane due to their income. I just had to work a lot of jobs. THe last year I had a semester or 2 paid by sholarships though.

I probably learned how to survive overall from my dad who's parents were too poor, and so he did it on his own. So I followed his example essentially.

I am sure my parents helped a little, but it was not an expensive education overall. Nothing that would have left me in debt either way.

I have taken this philosophy and am not into college funds for my kids. My goal is to pay off our mortgage by then so the money is there if one of them decided to be a doctor or a lawyer. BUT beyond that I leave it up to them to work for it if they want it. I have been pleased after being told over and over this is dumb, that Suze Orman agrees. ; ) I know we can pull the money together if they need help, but they are going to public school, that I Can guarantee...

The other thing no can believe is I have never had a car loan. My philosophy has been to always drive old. Find a car with lo miles (30k at most) that is a 7-10 year old model - even older - and you get a new car that is pretty dang depreciated. The key here is to have a trusted mechanic to give you a thumbs up befoe you buy anything. Though I did look at plenty of cars that at a glance you could tell were not worth it - not maintained well, etc. Big red flag. IF you go for those well- maintained cars, guess what, they look as good as new too since they are so well cared for. I wouldn't say we have had junkers, we have had nice cars, they have just been old. We have 2 very nice cars today. We have probably saved 100k over the years in car payments and interest. I am even getting a cute (used) sports car just for fun in a year or 2. We'll have the money no sweat with all we have saved on cars. & mostly that has freed up a lot of money for other things.

But it is not just the big things. The furniture in our house and a lot of our clothes. IT is all used, used, used. At face value no one would know. We buy the things that people bought and turned around and sold the next day. You can get "new" things and take the benefit of depreciation. Washer and dryer - we have always gotten used ones from the paper. $50/each and we used for about 10 years. we just recently bought a new washer/dryer because we felt we had the money. BEfore then the used did us well. Honestly, I miss the old ones - I like them better - LOL.

Another one is we wanted a 2nd fridge so we got one out of the paper for $50 or so. Was a little ugly but just sat in the garage - what did I Care. ; )

I spend $100/year on my sons' wardrobes. USed/used/used. I mostly buy things neevr worn and with tags still attached.

I have hardly bought a baby item new - people use them for such a short time - there are a lot of nice things to be had used.

Look out for those used bargains and watch yourself bound ahead financially. & keep in mind that used does not always mean it was really, well, used. Take advantage of the things that other people regret buying. ; )

I do like to think that one day we will buy some more "new" stuff. But the more we have the means for the "new" stuff, the more I don't want to waste the money. It really feels like a waste. & Frankly we still can't afford it years later with substantially more income and assets. Maybe one of these days I Will have enough money that the idea of buying new won't feel so overwhelming. In the meantime, I keep buying used...





Christmas

September 17th, 2006 at 03:59 pm

My general philosophy on Christmas is I pretty much don't like it - LOL. Our family and friends don't really want for much AND the materialism of Christmas really annoys me. I would rather give give give all Christmas and not receive a thing - donate toys for kids and work in the soup kitchens. Unfortunately, most people I know do not feel the same, or I would totally donate money in their names as a gift. I probably should regardless of what they think. ; )

Anyway, we generally don't spend much and I have never budgeted for it. Most of our family and friends have stopped exchanging gifts, because we all feel a little similarly I guess. I don't remember the last time dh and I exchanged gifts, we just don't see the point, we buy/need what we want throughout the year. I guess it's a pretty good place to be. Though if we had more money sure we'd splurge on each other.

BUT our downfall is the kids. Every year I say I will spend $20/each and donate $100 each in their name because they don'tneed anything and there are plenty of kids out there who really need things at Christmas. But inevitably we stop by Toys R Us and all the toys suck us in. I See cute thing online, and next thing you know I spend $200 on the kids + the $200 donation.

Anyway, due to our usual finances this overage never really made much difference, but this year it just ain't gonna fly. LOL. I don't have $400 to spend just on the kids. So we'll see...

& dang it when I Say I am just going to spend so much on the kids, I want to stick with it. Putting it in writing will make it an easier goal to stick with I am sure. I hope anyway. In the meantime I am staying away from all toy stores and toy ads. ; )

& as a total case in point I bought the kids picture frames last year that spell out their names. I just saw them sitting in the closet unopened. That is not going to happen this year!!!

I am going to go work on a budget!!!

Warning - Impounds with your mortgage

September 17th, 2006 at 04:46 am

Bad Idea!!!!!

Eh, it probably ain't the worst idea. IF you are a planner and disciplined, etc., etc. they are a bad idea. If not, maybe they are good for you.

BUT, in recent years I have heard more and more of mortgage companies not paying your homeowners insurance and property taxes on time. I think it has come to light a lot more in recent years as homeowners insurance is so hard to come by, and the increased outrage of being dropped when your mortgage company does not pay your bill for you.

But here is a new bad in this equation -a VERY bad incident with a family member. They paid off their house in the last year or so. (Very good, right????). Apparently, this family member had the impounds set up. Upon paying off the mortgage, and not receiving a bill when the homeowners insurance expired for the year, it lapsed.

Maybe they would have fiugred it out sooner rather than later, but right after the lapse a woman tripped in front of their house. She threatened to sue for injuries due to a large crack in the sidewalk. They called their insurance company to discuss their options, only to find out they did not have coverage. OMG!!!!!! IT is a blessing that they found out so soon, but the curse they found out too late.

The city denied responsibility for the sdewalk due to a new law in the last few years that homeowners were responsible to call and tell them if there were repairs to be made. Something like that.

Just a BAD confluence of factors, and unfortuantely my relative will be left holding the bag.

Anyway, hadn't heard much in a while and assumed it went away. Found out today they are officially being sued. *sigh* That just sucks!!

As it stands, insurance companie have agreed to pay anything above $100k and they are maybe okay with that. However, said relative has been bursting with glee that retirement is in less than 2 years for her. does this mean she will have to work longer???

Will this case be thrown out as frivolous??? Stuff like this just doesn't seem right...

Send good thoughts I guess.

In the meantime, if you do have impounds and you pay off your mortgage soon (or have paid it off recently), make sure you don't lapse your coverage. Because only you are looking out for you.


Cell Phone

September 16th, 2006 at 02:32 pm

Bummed to admit we went over on our minutes for about 5 straight months. I really have no idea WHY. I look at our phones as an emergency vehicle, not much else. Though I do use often to call long distance.

I am not sure if we had EVER gone over our minutes before this last year.

Anyway, 2 months we went over in a planned manner because we were on vacation and used them out of convenience. At least once we paid extra that month for more plan minutes. Plus both vacations cost $0 to us so we decided more money on the phone was okay. But I have no idea why we have gone over every month since.

We cracked down this last month and I Was shocked to just open our bill and see we were 30 minutes over. That is $12. Blech!! So much for cracking down.

I have a habit of calling my mom whenenever I am out. & from work since it is long distance. Whenever I am home I have pretty much resorted to the land line at only 3 cents/minute. It's nothing really. & from work I ALWAYS call and have her call me right back.

Obviously I called my mom too much from the car this last month!!

This month I will try harder. I think overall I will get back to the emergency mindset and just put the phone down. I bet you all of those calls could have waited until I had gotten home. ; )

Thinking about some Quotes...

September 16th, 2006 at 02:02 pm

"Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else" -Dave Ramsey

"The more I am willing to be disciplined, the more numerous my options. The more carefully I plan, the bigger I dream, the better my life becomes and the more joy I experience." ~Mary Hunt, of Cheapskate Monthly

I have heard the Dave Ramsey quote in recent months and the Mary Hunt one now on this site. I LOVE these quotes so much, they speak to my lifetime financial philosophy.

Those around us scoff at many of our financial choices, our choices to buy very used cars (people looked at me like I was crazy when $5k was my car spending limit). I don't spend money on makeup and clothes, and I have many friends who think A am absolutely deprived. I don't like coffee and never go to starbucks, again always with the peer pressure (why would I drain my money on something I do not LIKE???). & then mention not being able to go to a $100 spa on the weekend (I hate massages and all that anyway - I guess lends to my frugal nature) & imagine the looks of PITY!! Beyond that I think last week I did not want to spend $25 to go to a concert for kids. OF course I sound absolutely deprived.

People do not realize it is not that I Do not have the money or the means to do so. But I choose other things with my money. Obviously what I value is reflected in my budget. & things I do not value I do not mind giving up in the least.

On the flip side, people come to our house and their jaws drop. YEah my husband has a dedicated home theatre room, but with some frugal choices it probably cost less than most t.v.s I see around here. HAving a 5th room on a house for this dedicated room is another story, but we moved somewhere cheaper to afford such. Yeah we have a really nice house and a smaller mortgage than anyone in our age range that I know. I just think it is proof that the little things add up. I think the only thing more shocking than seeing our house is people finding out they are paying more for rent or mortgage than we are on our mortgage 90% of the time.

I have been told I Am stupid for not believing in ARMs, but all I know is I Can sleep at night. & I have locked in a low rate for the next 30 years, what can beat that?

The looks of wonder and amazement when I Was able to take not only the standard 12 weeks maternity leave (CA has disability pay for this time) but even another month or 2 even though my hubby doesn't work.

The jealousy that my hubby doesn't work.

I get the feeling that many around us have not put 2 and 2 together. The sacrifices have reaped the rewards.

So seeing those quotes just nailed it all on the head for me. We do really live like no one else it feels a lot of the time in all of our frugal choices. Yet I also get the feeling we live like no one else in our options. & as mary Hunt points out, I Feel that we are happier than the average joe blow as a result. I love my job, I feel like working part-time to support my family is an option down the road, and I guarantee, barring the unforeseen, that we will retire young.

I Found $180!!

September 14th, 2006 at 04:19 pm

Okay, so I Was just reading another friend's blog on another site and she is extremely religious. Her ends were not meeting, and she prayed, and the lord provided with extra money here and there.

Well, I am not religious in the least, but I have a similar post - LOL. I guess personally I Always find that things just tend to work out. IS there some higher power that arranges this? I am not so sure, but haven't ruled it out. But anyway, when things don't work out, I know I try my best to make them work. & I know in my friend's case she did not sit and wait for the lord to rain money on her, she did have quite a hand in it herself.

Anyway, so in this case I have a little bit of *luck* and a little bit of *action* on my part to thank.

I wanted to sign my baby up for Gymboree because I wanted to do something special 1-on-1, and my work schedule has just sucked at me being able to keep up with friends and plan playdates. With my odler son we did the weekly park playdate, but those friends have moved on and did not have further babies, etc. I frankly don't have the energy or the will. If I pay for a class, it is not very frugal, but I know I will be motivated to show up every week, and I do not need to keep the energy to maintain friendships. At the same time, I feel bad for the interaction my younger son is missing out on. HE is home with homebody daddy during the day and sees lots of older kids with me (brother and his friends) but not much of kids his own age.

So I signed him up. It was about $180 for the rest of the year, and like his older brother's preschool I figured I Would make it work because I think it is important.

I did have friends pushing me to sign him up for Baby Signs and Kindermusik which came out to $20/week - just INSANE. Gymboree I could swallow at closer to $11/week. + you can take him to free plays up to 2 times a week for merely another $20 over 16 weeks. I am sold!

I played Bunco this month and won $75!!!!! I paid $11 & won $75 for a net of $64. I just started the month before and won that month as well, so this was pure profit. That is the luck part.

I have been chasing a $65 refund from a music studio for my older son since may. I just got a tip from a friend who to talk to and when she is there to get the refund. Sent dh yesterday and he came back empty handed but woman is looking into it (we were told 3 times check is in the mail by owner already). He swears he will not leave without the check if he has to go back next Wednesday. I believe him - surprised he was so soft on her yesterday.

Finally, I made $60 this month selling my Cookie Lee jewelry.

Add it all together and I have my $180 for Gymboree - woot. I am a happy girl.

I was also going to make around $200 helping a neighbor/client set up Quickbooks (on the side). I was going to use it for Gymboree, but now I think I will put it in savings. This month has proved well so far!

I have been reading about Pinecone (survery) and am considering giving it a whirl to come up with the $20 for the Gymboree free play days. We'll see!!

Anyway, Gymboree through December is taken care of and come January he will be old enough for the Community Center classes whch range from $5-$7/week. Phew.

Giving This a Whirl

September 14th, 2006 at 02:40 pm

Well, I joined this site because I need to get our finances back on track. I need the reality check of a community who is careful with their money, and savings & budget-oriented.

It is easy in our society to become very complacent. Looking at everyone with their fancy toys and debt up to their eyeballs, not a penny to their names. It is easy to feel like you are doing damn good in comparison to those around you.

Then you come to a site like this, see the super savers, and feel REALLY behind. But it is a good reality check. Just because we are doing better than average joe blow, really means squat.

My husband stopped working 4 years ago to stay home with our newborn son (now 3). He was actually laid off when I got pregnant so hence the 4 years. We now haver a new baby as well. WE had saved so much at that point - WAY ahead of the game at 25. We figured we would just try to get by on 1 income and then in a few years he would go back to work and we would save his entire paycheck again.

We were on a strict budget, but over time with raises we started enjoying certain luxuries. We didn't worry about saving for the long-term.

I just kind of woke up recently and started to worry that my hubby may not return to work soon, not ever. We were complacent about saving because we figure saving 100% of his income before and after was plenty. But being out of the workforce a few years, tax concerns, the nuances of working with kids, all that makes me wonder if it is worth him to go back to work anytime in the near future. & by the time it is time, will he be able to find a worthwhile job, having been out of the workforce so long?? Will my paycheck cover all of our needs by then? Maybe. So we are starting our savings strategy again with the assumption he will never work again. Not a FT 40-hour week anyway.

Anyway, I wish someone had smacked us and made us think about this a little more 4 years ago. LOL. We thought we had it all figured out, but maybe not so much. Looking back at the last 4 years, we could have invested better, we could have put $100/month away to start and built up from there. We could be so much further ahead.

Well, as far as our stats, we are both just about 30. We own a 500k house with a 200k mortgage. We have no other debt & close to 50k in retirement savings. We have 5k in other savings. That is where we lack and are trying to move forward. I would like to save up a good 30k as an emergency fund. It feels like it will take forever, but I will try.

Oh I lied, we bought a minivan and took a 5k personal loan. I owe 4k still and would like to pay it off by May. So we do have a little debt for the first time in our lives. It sucks - LOL. We could pay it off but interest is only 2-3% & I do not want to drain our savings right now, so we wait a few more months. This is what hangs over my head for now.

After years of buying extremely used cars ($1k here, $5k there), it is nice to have 2 relatively nice, new cars ($8k & $14k), but man it is a big chunk of change. The benfit I hope is to not need to replace them for a long while and repairs so far have been NIL. I thought we were redy to shell out a little more for the cars, but maybe not. Time will tell!! We bought hubby's car (the 8k one) quite a few years ago and from not working it has little miles and little wear and tear. It is worth it's weight in gold. I am just not so sure on the minivan as we paid far more than we have ever paid for a car. It stressed me out frankly. I have no idea how people do the new car trade-in every few years. ?????? I am sure it will work out, and I am glad it will be paid off very soon. That is for sure.