Yesterday, BM earned his yellow stripe in his martial arts class. It was quite a ceremony.
The irony is that he tends to goof off whenever I am there, and never practices. I mentioned this again yesterday and he said, "Teacher didn't say I have to practice." Oy vey! Though admittedly, I think dh discourages some of the practice at home - so he doesn't break his neck and such.
So the teach, after class, tells me how much she loves my son and blahdeblah. All I could think is Lord knows why. LOL. I don't go very often, so he must have some better days. Though dh, who takes him ever week, said she just wants our money. LOL.
Well, she clearly sees something in him. To put up with him. (I am ashamed to admit he is really good at goofing off behind her back too. That might be part of it!)
Reminds me, BM had an awesome progress report from school. He is challenged and happy. Last year wasn't bad, at all. But this year he is in his element. It didn't occur to me that superior behavior, effort, and attitude, would result from an awesome teacher and a "just right" challenging education. But it seems to be the unexpected side benefit.
I probably bring it up too much, but I feel so blessed with our school situation. As our school district falls into further shambles. Ugh! I just feel little else but lucky, for this school. I am definitely giving daily thanks, as I read the local news and talk to all the parents in the public schools. It's just a complete mess.
Lord knows, no one in my community wants to hear about a good school experience.
I've got lots of homework to do while the family is gone.
I figured I would take the time to get all set up at Alliant Credit Union.
T Rowe told me, "from their experience with said bank, the CD rollover would take another month."
On a whim today, I peeked at my T Rowe account. I really didn't expect anything. Clearly it's not there yet. But I had a strong urge to peek.
Wouldn't you know, it transferred yesterday?
Suddenly I have got some homework to do!
I have about $2500 to invest. The other $4k stays in cash, to round out my ROTH Efund. I already invested more liquid $4k at awesome stock lows. The lowest days of the market this past year. I fared well. This CD rollover replenishes my liquid cash.
Today I peeked at the Dow. It was at 11,700 when I invested in the CD. Today it is at 9740, give or take. That is a solid 16% decrease.
I feel pretty confident that I will just plow it into my T Rowe Target retirement fund. I got a decent discount for waiting. I earned 5.5% in the interim.
I need to decide what to do with the cash though. Ugh! I will probably just leave it in cash.
When I made the decision to keep a portion of my Efund in my ROTHS, in order to max out a year I wouldn't have otherwise, the MMMFs paid decent interest rates. Now I have fewer options.
Lots to think about.
Also, did I mention I am so glad I didn't waste my money on a medallion stamp, for the rollover? I reasoned that the bank might not care. That reasoning could have backfired and delayed the rollover. Last time I rolled money over, Merrill or whoever said they didn't require the Medallion signature, but it turns out they did. But I risked a nightmare to save $10. Glad it worked out! My new rule of thumb is "brokerages care; banks don't." Which makes chasing CDs easier with ROTHs. I didn't want to pay a $10 fee for every rollover.
ETA: I decided to move some of dh's IRA into cash, and to deposit the whole chunk of my CD into my Target Retirement fund. Dh has Vanguard, and I think their MMMF has fared a little bit better due to their extremely low fees. It's done. I can always change my mind later!
I don't think I am ready to jump back into bonds, but I am getting there. Cash isn't faring so well in my retirement accounts. I need more options. & I expect that in the next year, that I will want to expand into some "safe" taxable bond investing. As my cash reserves gets back up to snuff. I am definitely saving cash up for our next cars, in conservative monies and such. Thing is I don't know if I will need it tomorrow, or in 10 years! I am thinking bonds will be good middle ground. Bond funds, that is. I am sure I will be called too conservative, but I never would have invested that stuff in stocks before, and less desire to, now!
I have been reading up on the subject of bonds.
I found this article yesterday, and it pretty much summed up what I have learned, myself. But I thought it was good to share:
& though the bond funds I've seen recommended have not fared as well as my cash the last couple of years - the truth is they are faring FAR better now. So I may spread out my Efund a bit. Don't worry, I am playing it ultra conservative when it comes to the Efund. At this point I just have more reading and research to do.
MIL just bought a pile of Sears pics of the kids. So as school picture time has arrived, I tossed it all in the recycle bin. Eh. I am not a huge fan of school pictures - not in the digital age.
So um, they had pictures at preschool. & dh and I joked that they would probably be awesome and too cute to pass up.
Boy, did we nail it! LM came home with a shirt yesterday with his picture on the front - a shirt which advertises his preschool and the photographer. Lovely. But it's probably the best picture I have ever seen of him. I haven't seen prices so I guess will see. We will buy the cheap package. Blah!
BM? Terrible picture last year. I bought it because it was Kindergarten!!!!! It was so sentimental. No doubt he took an awesome picture this year. We will find out soon enough.
It doesn't help that in all these "free" pictures I have from MIL, that she had them in some hideous outfits. The pictures are cute, but the outfits ruin it for me. I am extra appreciative she let them wear jeans last year. She buys pictures because in this digital age, we don't see the point. Of course, she way over buys, and I am stuck with a million pictures I don't want or need, anyway. Which is all the more reason I don't pay for the stuff. !!
Archive for September, 2009
Yesterday, BM earned his yellow stripe in his martial arts class. It was quite a ceremony.
I got a promo e-mail a while back from my professional association, about their "partner credit union." I peeked at the rates and was impressed. What struck me was the interest rates on the kiddy accounts, at the time. That's a tough one. I like that the kids can go to the bank down the street, but it pays them pennies. Maybe we will earn interest elsewhere, and pass on bigger interest rates to the kids. I don't know.
I also looked up the branches and nothing terribly close to where we live. Eh. Plenty in the Bay Area which we pass through a lot. & don't get me wrong, my old CU had one branch in a city I probably never set foot in. But, I have gotten spoiled with a branch just down the street from my house, at our current CU. Everything there is awesome, but not so great on the rates. We use Ally for online savings, but they are starting to lower their rates a bit. They are still good, but I think the writing is possibly on the wall there. (I've heard mixed things about how troubled they are, etc. But regardless, they are in the midst of a complete restructure, and I have certainly noticed declining interest rates).
I saw this particular CU mentioned again and thought, "isn't that the one I heard of already." I delved a little deeper, and I am totally signing up.
Savings rate is 3%. $5 minimum. I will transfer most of my Ally (currently at about 2%) money over.
Better: They offer no-fee HSAs with 3% interest. Um, did I read that right??????? I have been shopping HSAs for ages. The fees and low returns on cash investments, have kept me out of the HSA market. I am still "out" due to tax reasons, but I am sure I will eventually be "in." Seems like a good place to start. If we can go one year without any medical expenses, it is possible the HSA will be the better tax way to go, for that year. & I will need the money for near-term medical expenses, for sure. So not interested in investing it beyond cash.
Best: They have a trust application. They seem to understand and cater to living trusts. Go figure. I was starting to think those would be impossible to fund, beyond our home.
I've got $1k in my trust savings at my current CU. It took forever and a day to set it up. But the interest rates is so dismal, I don't keep any real cash in there.
I have lots of paperwork to fill out. But I thought I would share.
The CU is actually based in Chicago (I was surprised to read). So you can join if you live or work in some of the areas surrounding Chicago. OR, if you belong to one of these organizations:
Not sure what the odds of most of you qualifying, but FYI!
My professional association has awesome insurance rates (life and disability). But most of the rest of the deals they seem to offer are rather ho hum. Usually they cost more than what we are already paying for certain services, etc.
But this looks like quite a deal!
I wasn't even really looking, so I am excited about the find.
Net worth is up $27k, today.
Since my annual goal is $25k-$30k, that isn't half bad.
I am still at the whim of Murphy and the market for another 3 months though. No need to get too excited.
My cash is up $6k for the year.
Kids' Investments up $3k (2k market; 1k contributions).
Retirement is up $16k (about $11k contributions and $5k market).
Paid $2500 off mortgage - regular payments only.
That about sums it up!
This year is the first year, probably ever, that we are contributing monthly, in order to max out a ROTH. My old method was to lump sum when I did my tax return (when they were deductible IRAs anyway. We just put away whatever made the most sense. & we have done less of that even, since having kids).
I am thinking ahead as January fast approaches. I can automatically contribute to my own ROTH in Jan, Feb, Mar, April and apply it to the prior year. I am trying to decide if we should plump as much as we can into 2009. (We still have a second, spousal ROTH, to consider). In past years I have done this, with dh's earning prospects so up in the air, etc. My goal was just to put as much as possible into the ROTHs, because who knows.
As we get on better footing, I am thinking of just letting 2009 go and focusing on 2010. Thing is, I think we can max out $10k for 2010. Certainly if we have 16 months to do it!
I had a thought about the flip side. The flip side is all we need is a $5k unexpected windfall, and we could regret not attempting to max 2009 first.
The thing is I also think the odds of $5k falling out of the sky, are pretty slim. Our parents are both facing their own financial setbacks, and even my employer seems to be facing financial pressures (a stark contrast to the abundance of the past decade. Not that I am worried about my job, but not expecting a huge raise or anything).
I almost forgot to mention. I got a notice about some new push to insure children in our region (health, dental, etc). Sometimes the poverty guidelines for our area shock us. I know many would read my blog and not be impressed with our spending. But in the region, I knew very few families who could live as well as us on $50k, a few years back. (Though admittedly, we relied on savings a lot during that time).
In lower income times I look at the aid we were eligible for and often wondered about it. If we retired early, we'd be eligible for all sorts of aid. It always bothered me that those things tend to be based on income more than assets. It probably has come up a lot because we have settle for lesser income with small kids, and likely will in the long run as our assets grow enough to supplement our income, etc.
So anyway, I clearly do not expect to get free health insurance for my kids, but I look it up anyway. What is the income cutoff? about $70k for a family of 4.
Seriously???? My income is like $75k. I easily pay $5k a year for health insurance for the kids. It would be the same to ask for a pay reduction and to take the free health insurance.
Gah. Talk about tempting.
I know for the long run, I am much better off pressing on, and paying our own insurance. I won't sweat it. I mostly share because it amazes me that on my income we are so close to eligible for any kind of aid. It's absurd. The area is expensive and my income is below the household median, so that's how it goes.
I guess with time I realize these things are rather flawed. A family with 2 incomes who make $70k can be in a pretty precarious financial spot in an "expensive" area like this. But, one family living on one $70k income by choice. Should that same family be eligible for aid? Hmmmmmmm. The two aren't really the same, at all.
Anyway, I told dh that was good to know, if we ever faced less income or job loss, etc. It's good to know there are options, because health insurance is darn expensive! It's certainly been the biggest pain in our side, financially, the last few years.
I would probably be more outraged if we qualified for help. So I am rather glad we don't. Makes you wonder who is paying for this. We are, somehow. With our insane health insurance premiums, for one.
This last weekend was interesting.
I got my long-awaited 3-day weekend in my favorite area of the state.
Not sure it's my favorite area any more.
Anyway, we had a very nice time. No doubt about it!
I budgeted roughly $500 for the weekend. Not really sure where we came in. Will see as everything hits the cards in the next couple of days. & I will tally it up.
We decided to drive down along the coast since we had plenty of time. The bad side was there were few choices for lunch. Our planned fast food stop became a $30 gourmet meal. (A salad and a hamburger? Split? Water in a cup?). Thank goodness for the GPS, lest we missed the only food for miles. The thing was awesome for the trip. (We knew it would be since we borrowed the in-laws' so much, in the past).
Saturday we made up for it. We went to an Italian deli I had heard about. We primarily went for the gelato. But OMG, we both had the best sandwhiches we have ever eaten. For $6.95! Mine was so huge I could have finished it for dinner and been content. I always think of as food as the most expensive part of traveling (particularly with the kids). So the deli was quite a find!
We ordered pizza in one night and had an excellent Thai feast the next night. So I think we struck a good balance.
Yesterday we spent a few dollars at Burger King, and filled up with gas. (We piled up on leftovers for brunch, before we hit the road). The drive wasn't so bad. Though taking a cat nap at my folks' house helped, before the last leg.
I did get to sleep, and kayak. Watched some movies with dh, read a little. The relaxing weekend was a success. I find these days I can even go a day or 2 withou missing the kids too much, with helps. By Sunday, dh and I missed them terribly though.
Today I transferred over $500 from savings, to pay for the trip. I think that shores up my negative 9/30 checking balance. It should work out.
We did receive $150 for our anniversary, and will probably deposit $100 in the bank. That will help too - but I will just deposit it with my paycheck.
This morning as I made sure all the bills were paid and all is well, and transfers made for the 30th, etc., I pondered upcoming expenses.
I almost forgot about my pesky vehicle repair. Ugh. Dh said he would call about that when he returns from Florida - since they said if we need the part, it is backordered for a month. Well, it was a few months ago anyway.
Seems fair. Would like to pay for that in November. Though, it's not certain it will be a pricey repair. It's just likely, I guess. But we will take it in this month, in case it takes a month to get the part. Want everything kind of settled before the Holidays.
Apparently we missed a 100+-degreed weekend. Phew.
We had perfect weather by the beach! Lots of clear, sunny days (rare). Phew! We lucked out! Though we certainly saw plenty of fog, too.
Back home, after another scorcher today, it looks like weather will settle around 75 degrees.
One day it's 100 degrees. The next we will probably be turning up the hot water a bit, and digging out blankets for the beds. Not much in between I guess. September was "summer" through and through, for whatever reason. That is rare too.
Anyway, back to my favorite area of the state. Well, I hadn't made it down there in about 10 years, and yes, things have changed much.
On the way down I was telling dh about Ima Saver having lived in a RV for a while and how it was no longer her dream. I told him I was sure if I lived on the beach any length of time, it would lose it's allure. Particularly around here. We have cold beaches.
It's funny how wise those words were. On the way back up I told dh, "It's not like I remembered." I remember the area being this amazing place I wish I could live.
Instead, I think we have found a much more appealing home in Sacramento. It's funny how much has changed in a decade. I told dh that I know I have said it before, but lord knows why our area of the state is so cheap and looked down upon. I have officially converted. I rather live here than the beach, yes. It is so much more beautiful here, and there is so much more to do. Maybe I like that we are so central to everything. The beach, San Francisco, Tahoe, etc.
I had a nice time, but there is definitely no place like home.
Dh and I also reflected a lot, on our long drive, about our low-cost-of-living haven, and how it has turned out for us. I think our move has turned out better than we had ever imagined.
We talked about our friends and family and how difficult everyone's lives seem in comparison.
We definitely made the right choice!
I wasn't a blogger here in 2002 when we made such a life altering decision, to move. But at the time, we were bitter. We were bitter that we could not justify paying for the high cost of living in our hometown. We were smart enough to realize it was a losing battle. But the decision did not come with great joy. The joy was shallow. The joy was that we could actually afford a single family home, etc. It helped to lessen the blow, of leaving everything we knew and loved, behind.
Bitterness has given way to serious contentment, with time. True joy, beyond anything material. I share because I know there are many, many people out there who struggle in extremely high cost areas. Who struggle if they should move, etc. If you do your homework, it can be extremely rewarding. I have a lot of friends who moved up North who aren't happy. But they are WAY farther out from their family and I think the weather factor is pretty shocking. (The "up north" move wasn't near in the realm of cost savings we found, either. We were lucky to be able to make a far simpler/smaller move for far more cost savings). From that, I know it can go both ways.
I guess I Feel lucky too, that we ended up happy with our move.
I think my parents went through a similar metamorphasis. All I remember is them longing to get back to the mid-west, when I was a child. These days, they could live anywhere, and they rather just stay put. I feel like our own journey has become very similar.
Well, I am now gearing up to be "single" for a week, since my family is leaving for Disney very soon. It is definitely not boring here!
I mentioned earlier, that I was short a lot, in checking, for the month of September. Excess spending just kind of snowballed from my dad being in the hospital and everything, in the spring and summer.
I also said that I am making "pay myself first" a priority, and how it all seems to work out in the end. Not exactly worried about it!
Dh had a good sales run this month. However, a $50 items did not sell on ebay yesterday. He had a high minimum because it's the type of thing that can sell for too low, once in a while. I think he will easily sell it before the end of the month.
But assuming that doesn't sell, I currently face -$200 in the checking. Which is not bad. It was -$500.
Dh's family is big on cash anniversary gifts, so I won't be surprised if they give us $100.
The -$100, that will probably remain, will probably transferred from savings, as "emergency expenses."
I will be so glad it wasn't the original -$500 or so I saw at the beginning of the month.
Credit card bill for this month is rather benign. We are up to $1200, and I think all I have is $60 due for karate. That leaves about $250 for gas and groceries. We budget for about $1500 on the card, monthly. We pay EVERYTHING on the card.
We will take $500 out of savings for our beach vacation. I will probably transfer it over Monday, so that there is enough in checking for all the 9/30 payments (mortgage and health insurance). I'll probably be $100 short otherwise, as mentioned. Speeding up the transfer makes it easy. Actually, gives me another month to come up with $100. Now that I think about it, I may not need to transfer money from savings at all. Which is how it all snowballed in the first place).
I don't want to jinx it, but September has been rather low key. Phew! Even with our rather impromptu beach weekend, our expenses will probably be under $4k for the month.
I am not sure what October will bring. The rest of the fam is going to Florida (on MIL's dime). BUT I am sure there will be some expenses there. But, with them being gone, it will be pretty low spend here for a week. October can go either way. We already have halloween covered though, so that is good.
In November, we should probably get my car taken care of. It still has a potential $1k repair. November is just kind of slow at work and probably a good time to get it taken care of. I just needed some time after all the car repairs of August!
I finally give up. One of the few things I spent any money on with my kids was their nursery. In the grand scheme of things it wasn't a lot, but I did spend in the realm of $200-$300 for the crib bedding and decor. I have been trying to sell it for a year at $40, $30, $20, $10. At $10-$30 I had PLENTY of interest, but just interest from a LOT of really flaky people.
So I give up. My posting expired, and to the donation pile it goes. Some charity comes by every other week or so, so I will set it out next time I get a pickup notice.
I guess not very many people want a sophisticated leopard print theme for their nursery. I LOVED it, and it was worth every penny. I had just hoped to get a little something for it. *sigh* Hardly spent so much on anything else *baby.* But most everything else was extremely re-saleable.
De-cluttering of the last year is complete! Yay!!!!! Now it is time to hit the closet, as I also mentioned. Time to go for another round! Hopefully I will have the motivation and energy while the family is gone. I am taking 2 days off work to enjoy the peace and quiet. Here's to being productive. (Fall gets me in the de-clutter mood, not sure what it is!) I assume true fall weather will arrive in October, and will help. Though even in this heat I have been eager to de-clutter.
That's the long and the short of it. Boring can be good.
We treated out last night since BM lost his tooth. Main reason being we have been encouraging him to wiggle out his "stuck" baby tooth. We had been promising frozen yogurt since his new permanent tooth already came through - many weeks ago. Spent $30 on fast food and frozen yogurt. Was a nice treat!
I got a cheap tickets promotional e-mail, and perused airfare prices. Nothing tempting, which is good. I perused Vegas and Denver airfares, etc. But I looked at Kaui airfare for next summer, and almost fell over. Looked at spring and fall too. I think if I ever see $500 tickets to Kuai again, I will bite. They don't even sell tickets for September 2010 yet, though. But I'd go in May if I saw a good price. I can usually find cheaper tickets to Oahu. But I think Kaui adds a fair amount of cost. I barely saw anything under $800 per ticket. !! Though, yes, I saw $500 per person tickets, earlier in the year.
I will start keeping an eye on things and set up a price alert - maybe for May or September airfare. I didn't really want to decide anything until next summer. But it doesn't hurt to start pricing things. I think if I saw a good price I would nab it though. I got the Hawaii itch!
P.S. I found $500 RT tickets for May. But I will hold off. It was flying out of Oakland. Which works for me, to save $600!!! I think this is why we never spend much on airfare. We have 4 major airports at our disposal. Of the 4, one will usually have some pretty discounted airfare. You can never tell which one. Last time we went to HAwaii, starting in Sacramento was pretty cheap. As of today, that would be the most expensive starting point. Will see!
How much does the tooth fairy pay at your house?
$1 seems reasonable from what I have heard. Just curious.
Hallelujah! BM's tooth fell out. Well, dh had to "yank" it. There wasn't much to yank. It was bothering him today, and hanging by a thread.
As I mentioned, the other tooth had already grown in. It hadn't changed in about 6 weeks, so I just mentioned to dh that we should at least make a consult appointment with the dentist.
BUT, now there is no need! No sooner than I spoke the words, and it decided to come out on its own. Phew! $1 is no big deal - we saved a lot not going to the dentist!
I read somewhere that Fall started today (is that correct?)
I am trying to talk myself into aerobics class, though it's the last thing I want to do in the 100-degree heat. Ugh!
The room is air-conditioned, and I will be fine when I get there. Just not real motivated as I sit in my stuffy office. Blech.
That's my whiny evening update.
I read this article, and sent it to dh, and told him I appreciate he didn't spend much money on all this crap:
!! I was surprised when he said the commenters were harsh and that the Wii was a decent deal for new. Which makes me even more relieved. All I know is we have game systems out our ears, and I didnt spend a dime on most of it. Phew!
I noticed it the other day when I realized that seemingly out of nowhere that LM had amassed like 30 leapster games. & when we went to San Jose and BM pulled out 2 game systems and a MP3 player out of his overnight bag. Most people who don't know us from adam, I assume would think we waste a LOT of money on this stuff. When we discussed it last night, dh reminded me that a lot of our games came from Scholastic, etc., too. I don't really know where it all comes from. I just know it doesn't come from my paycheck!
I couldn't help but feel that dh should write that article though. How about a Wii for free, accessories and games galore, too. Now, that is a steal!
As with anything, it's relative! I just couldn't relate to the artcile, one bit.
Our 9-year wedding anniversary is this week. (More importantly, we have been together over 14 years!). I think this year is a little more meaningful to us since we know SO MANY people divorcing this year. We feel like more of a rare breed than we have before in our young lives. I think we tend to take our anniversary for granted. This year we maybe have a bit more to celebrate. Last year we cleaned out the garage to celebrate. This year we will relax by the beach.
Next year I want to go to Hawaii, but that might have to wait until year 11.
I think the locals have abandoned summer, though it is a 100-degree week.
We went for a 12-mile bike ride on Sunday. It was nice, though hotter than I preferred. But the usually busy lake and recreation area was eerily quiet. It was like everyone had given up and assumed fall would have been here by now.
I do hope we can enjoy our next bike ride without melting!
Updates on my dad. He went to the emergency room yesterday (it had actually been quite a while, phew). I haven't heard an update so I think all is well. His blood pressure had gotten low and he fainted. They keep changing around his medications at this point, due to side affects like these. In addition to his blocked arteries and such (Recent developments), he has always had kidney problems, and is actually lucky to even be alive past childhood. But all these medications keep messing with his kidneys, which is another concern. But literally, he was in the emergency room like every day for a time (always nothing). So I am glad it has been a while, though I feel myself worrying a bit more.
For a time I was thinking I probably should have just gone to Florida with the fam. But with this recent development, I am relieved to stick close to home. Their trip is just in a couple of weeks.
In other news, his employer has been a real PITA. My dad REALLY has wanted to return to work for a while (6 weeks???), but they keep giving them the runaround. I keep waiting for news there, but there isn't much to report.
I noted on Baselle's blog the other day that I am not very observant, and so rarely find change. (That, and the short ones are always looking for it anyway - they would find anything before me).
So I was overly proud of myself when I spotted a penny in the Water Park's wave pool yesterday. A strange place to find a penny. Approximately $60 spent for a day at the park. One penny found. Woohoo! (The kids found a penny last time too - but think it was elsewhere).
You know you have been on the SA blogs too long when a penny can bring such great satisfaction.
We put off our final 2009 season Water Park visit to yesterday (last weekend opened) and it worked out perfectly. We had a REALLY nice day.
For one, the place was practically empty. Though the weather has been hot, it wasn't so bad yesterday. IT was pretty darn nice. HAving most of the park to ourselves was rather unexpected, but VERY nice!
I am looking, at it was 91. It felt more like 80 degrees. Was just a nice, warm day. Since LM couldn't ride any of the slides at our location, we didn't do much. We floated down the lazy river endlessly. The parking is more expensive at our location ($10) and we bought a $8 snack to pass the time a bit. (Yes, *choke choke*). Thus, though we broke down each visit to $40 (not bad for 4 of us) we had quite a bit more extra expenses than usual.
But we will definitely get season passes next year and take more advantage as the kids grow and can do more. I (& BM) much prefer the San Jose location, so we will plan more trips there as well. Dh and BM can hit this park more often on their own - since BM can ride everything.
I've been having hot flashes. I figured I Was too young for this. The other night I resisted the urge to turn on the air, and woke up on the cold side later, so was glad I Resisted. The first time "hot flash" crossed my mind.
Last night was terrible. LM woke me up around midnight and I was just sweating and miserable. I didn't even care, I turned on the air. IT was just that bad.
It couldn't have just been me. The air turned on for a LONG time to cool the upstairs back down to 78. Usually it's enough to set it to 78 just before bed, and turn it off for the night. I was too tired to turn on a light and see how hot it had gotten. But, yeesh! It felt like it was 85 or something.
Weather forecast is literally 100-degrees for much of next week. What the heck???? Extremely unusual. But the weather has not been usual lately, that is for sure.
This weekend would no doubt be our summer "last hoorah" (& lucky to have such pleasant weather so late in September). BUT, we still have our beach getaway coming up in a couple of weekends. & plenty of summer weather remains here.
I actually sold something for money!!! The kids' tricycle sold yesterday, for $15. I knew that one would sell closer to christmas, if nothing else.
My other listing expires tomorrow. I listed that one a handful of times over the last year. I will donate it if it doesn't sell. There is a lot more interest at my rock bottom price, but only interest comes from major flakes! Figures. One lady was really pushy, and then just didn't show up because "she slept in." & that was a few days ago - still never showed. Dh has had enough with helping me sell these things!
De-cluttering has been going quite well.
I switched to de-clutter mode when I had my kids. NEsting kind of takes over, and also, they took a lot of my storage space. That was when I discovered freecycle (which is ingenious)! So many things that would have gone to the trash, otherwise.
We cleaned out the garage last year (There really wasn't much), but some of the items I am getting around to were found in that cleanup. It's about time.
DH has a lot of space in the house (2 rooms for his electronics and such). I don't know if he will ever get around to cleaning some of that out. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. It's funny because he can be so anal about the rest of the house though. But lord help me if I suggest he clean up his own room.
Which pretty much means, I only have one more area to hit - the Master Closet. IT's big, and a I have a lot of crap in there. I haven't been very motivated. Fall often motivates me to de-clutter, so I am trying to get myself in the spirit to work on it while the family is in Florida for a week.
I've gone through and gotten rid of some of the obvious. Off the top of my head, I have a pile of CDs that dh will probably work on selling (any worth value anyway). They have been replaced by MP3s. Others I will have dh put onto my Mp3 player. I need to go through and prioritize what I really want to keep, etc.
I've done a few passes over the clothes. Could probably do some more. Thankfully, I don't have much of a "skinny clothes syndrome." Most of my adulthood has been "underweight" or "barely overweight." Not much in between. Since I have no desire to be underweight again, the "skinny clothes" are long gone. As they should be!
Of course we are going on a bike ride today! Yay!
The heat will make us leave far earlier than we would have otherwise. Blech.
Ready to try out our bike locks and my new bike computer on my favorite ride. Though we will cut it short with the hot weather probably.
I usually look SO forward to fall as I HATE the summers here. But this year I definitely felt we made the most out of summer. It was also on the mild side, which helped immensely. So I find I don't look forward to fall as much as usual. But I know I will enjoy it! Once it comes down below 90 degrees?
More important than giving blood is probably convincing others. I have a friend who "got out of the habit" about 18 years ago when having children, and who lives down the street from the blood bank. So I talked her into it! & dh doesn't seem too opposed, though I will have to make sure he actually goes (blood drive next week which should work).
I am going to bring up to another friend who lives by the blood bank. Not sure what her response will be!
Well, the weekend was a much better time to freecycle. BUT, yesterday I got rid of some old CD storage (4 pieces) AND my giant bed!!!! So, took 3 days from listing Monday.
So the garage is now cleared out a bit. Might not look like much, but we were able to put a couple of bikes back where the bed was. (Guess the bed pieces were stacked sideways). Plus, all those garbage bags are just bottles and cans to recycle. We can move some more of that stuff out of the way and make room for the rest of the bikes (dh's and BM's bikes, etc.).
Dh wants to get some storage for the bikes. For the long run, I think it's a good idea. For the short run? Hardly a priority!
So, the bed... It was my childhood bed. My parents are really into large, fancy waterbeds. Thing is I have always had a large bedroom. I pulled out a picture of it assembled in my old rental, and I appreciate how LARGE my room was. (I rented a room in a house throughout college, the bed looked small in that room!). & I had a fairly large room when I lived at home. But these modern houses go big on the kitchens and the Master Bedrooms (our Master closet is as big as a bedroom). They really scrimped on the rest of the bedrooms. So, though I have been holding onto this bed for all this time (for my future child), it didn't seem very practical once the kids did arrive, and their rooms filled with other furniture. The bed has probably been sitting in the garage since we set up LM's nursery and moved BM into my "room," in 2005. It used to serve as a guest bed. BM has since claimed the mattress that was in the bed.
It's a nice piece of furniture though, and I tried briefly to sell for a few dollars. But I give up. My parents would be upset if they knew I gave it away, but really, who wants a GIANT piece of furniture? I don't even have any of the waterbed parts any more. I have used just with a regular mattress since I have always live in a split level since moving out of my folks' home. It's just too heavy and not practical to use as a waterbed in an upstairs room.
I am glad someone took it who seemed appreciative. I had people interested in using the wood for other things, which made me sad. Though I did just want it gone. But the guy who picked it up was down on his luck and needed some furniture. I hope it gets some good use!
I have succeeded in some major declutter. Bike, bed, old telescope (missing parts, or I'd keep!), and CD storage.
I have a kid item that I think will sell closer to Christmas, if not now. The other item is going to get donated if it doesn't sell soon. I paid a lot of money for it, but it is unique enough that no one is particularly interested. I will re-list one last time at $10. But I give up. At this point it's just about my pride. !! I've listed it a few times at lower and lower prices... *sigh*
In the garage, we still have a large "coffee table" that doesn't take up much room. The legs are off and it is propped against the wall.
I am not sure what we will do with it. Moved it when kids were walking (Was a hard wood - worried about bumped heads - and took up a lot of room anyway). I don't know if dh wants to put it back in the house now - will have to discuss.
That table brings back memories. One of the only furniture items that we bought new, together. I would say the main reason our house is filled with hand-me-downs is because we don't value spending a lot of money on furniture. As long as it is functional, and not hideous, could care less about the rest. & when we were younger people always gave us nice/used furniture. BUT the important second factor is that we can not AGREE on anything!!!!
Our sectional was a compromise I have grown to hate (never really liked the colors), and the table in the garage took a long process of "fighting" to agree upon. I like the table, at least. The more I think about it, the more I think it will stay in the garage a while. The family room is the kids' playroom. I am now recalling we agreed it was best to keep it in the garage until the kids outgrow "playroom age." They jump all over the furniture in that room and everything, anyway. Probably for the best. IT will be nice to take it out of retirement someday, though.
I gave blood, and survived.
I've probably gained 50 pounds since I last gave blood. & seriously, mostly good pounds. I was always told I had good/easy veins, but yesterday was a little different. I am not convinced I have changed. My arms are skinny as can be. BUT I lucked out and got a new nurse - LOL. I was scared spitless. She looked very carefully at my left arm and asked if she could use my right arm instead. Seriously? What happened to my great veins? That was the point I got scared.
I am always told I have great veins and rarely even feel the needle. & though I haven't given blood in a while, I have had blood tested more recently, etc. So I was scared at this point. She was very slow and cautious - clearly new at this. It hurt a bit, but nothing terrible.
So I can't help but wonder if it was more her or me. I am sure age and weight could obstruct my veins "a bit." Will see, next time.
I could care less about the freebies, but got a movie pass, and a soda, for my efforts. The hard part was I had a long drive home. It was only a few miles from work, but far from any freeway. It seemed like it took forever to drive home, my arm was so sore immediately after.
The GPS also came in extraordinarily handy. Phew!
I just got a message about a blood drive in our community in a couple of weeks. I am trying to get dh to go to that. & if he gets a free movie ticket, maybe we can go on a date to celebrate our good deeds.
Paulette kicked my butt in gear.
Actually, it's a long story. But I stored blood for (my own) surgery at one point (age 16?) and realized that it wasn't so bad. So I signed up to donate, but alas, weighed too little. (I know - what problems to have!)
Of course, through storing my blood, I got on the list, and they used to call me all the time. & I had to repeatedly point out I didn't qualify. IT was actually rather obnoxious.
So at some point, post college, when I actually became a regular sized person, I decided to donate blood. I signed up 3 or 4 times over the years, but heck if anyone would call me back.
Doesn't that figure?
With time and distance it lost its appeal I guess. It doesn't sound terribly fun, though I've had times in my life where I was poked and prodded often, so I know it isn't the end of the world, and you get used to it.
So I read Paulette's post that she gave blood, and I tried again. Her post was just perfect timing. "Yeah, I should do that!" As I have said many times before.
My dh knowing my whole blood giving saga, just laughed when I told him. I told him I would show up uninvited if I had to, this time. He didn't seem so convinced. HE said, "Good luck with that."
So, I decided to skip Red Cross altogether. I decided maybe the issue was them - maybe they have more donors than they know what to do with. Maybe there is a mark on my record that I am uncooperative - because I kept telling them I weighed too little. I don't know!
I found the biggest supplier of blood in my region, and became even more convinced as I read on their website about how much giving blood saves lives, etc. I was also extra pleased it was only once every 8 weeks (at most). I didn't want to give blood like every week or something (something that stopped me in the past - not wanting them calling me incessantly, etc. I have low blood pressure, I faint easily, and I probably wouldn't want to do it any more than 6 times a year - no matter what the standards are. So I was rather relieved they weren't going to badger me to give blood every 2 weeks or anything like that. I just didn't know what to expect!).
So I did their little online form, and somebody immediately scheduled an appointment for me, tomorrow.
Boy, that was 10 years in the making...
I thought I would try to convince dh to give blood. I thought he may be hard to convince, but he was like, whatever.
Well, that was too easy. Paulette unexpectedly spurred me to action, I thought I would do the same here.
& I feel good knowing that it was so needed. Clearly, the need is there. I didn't expect I would be doing it TOMORROW! No time to get cold feet, eh?
**Today is Monday, and boy is it manic. Just a crazy work day.
**I read the PF article on winterizing and stuff like that. I am making a mental note to add that to my list of why living here is cheaper in many regards (though it's a "pricey" area). I have nothing to "winterize." I often read winter posts around here and think the same thing (during winter time anyway). Though I know you would all find our "non-seasons" rather boring. But hey, it's frugal!
**Dh and I both got some pretty mild flu bug. Not *that* under the weather, but not quite 100% either. We decided at the last minute not to go to the Waterpark. I was going to take the kids to a local park that we have membership too, instead. Something simple - I didn't mind going out - just not into a lot of walking and climbing and swimming, etc.
Our plan, prior, was actually for BM and dh to go to the water park and for me to take LM to a little amusement park. Dh wanted me to warm him up on some of the rides, since they are going to Disney in a few weeks. I hadn't felt up to the water park, etc., so had agreed. But as our plans changed again, BM really wanted to go there too. I really thought he was mostly too big, and told him so, but probably mentioned it cost too much money.
So, stupid me, I found a $20 bill in my wallet, quite unexpectedly. I am usually so organized that I don't just find money laying around. I mean, come on. So, I screamed with delight that I had found $20. I was very excited about this.
So BM saddles up to me before I even have time to think, and he says, "Mommy, can we go to Funderland now that you found $20????"
Aw, he got me! I said, "Oh sure," before I even really thought about it.
Then it's like, "Wait a minute!" LOL. Does my 6-year-old know how to get what he wants, or what?
I counted up the cash I had to spare and told the kids we could go if they both contributed $3. They flew to their piggy banks the second the words were spoken.
Unfortunately, I read my coupon wrong and had to break my "emergency $20" after all that. Oh well! Just for $2 or so. I also made clear to them that no food would be bought.
In the end, it worked out. The day was rather cool (but extremely pleasant to be walking around outside). I ran into a friend, and we had a good day.
**While we were gone, I asked dh to install my new bike seat and bike computer. Yes, he spoils me rotten!
Anyway, BM and I went on a short ride, after. The seat is divine, though I probably need to adjust it a bit. The bike computer is pretty cool. We are definitely doing a big ride next weekend, now that we have decent bike locks too. We are doing a long ride with an eating stop mid-way.
OF course BM now wants a bike computer. Not sure how I feel on that. Mine is precariously mounted in that I worry it might get shifted in transport, etc. I am not sure he is gentle enough to handle it, though it did only cost $9.99. *sigh* Will maybe consider a more expensive one for Christmas or something. He wanted to borrow it, but I had to explain how it worked and how the magnets were installed on my bike, etc. He will have to be a little patient. But hey, definitely a great Christmas idea, for him. Dh can probably talk him parents into getting him something a little sturdier.
**September is working out okay, financially. I seemed to be way negative in the checking, I think I mentioned before. I mostly tracked it back to when my dad was in the hospital - just a lot of little, unexpected expenses, that I probably should have pulled from savings. But it kind of snowballed from there.
However, dh has had an awesome run. He may net $300 this month easy (he usually neys $100 on ebay selling and such, but has netted nothing in recent months. Kids have been home and no doubt his time has been hampered, but business has been much better in September too - it's not just him). I also got a $250 rewards check from Chase. SO, the hole is closing fast, thank goodness.
I feel bad not to be able to save that $250, but am telling myself to get over it.
When we made far more money than we lived on, our philosophy was very "save the left over." & really, it worked fine. I mean, we saved FAR more than we do now even.
But with more expenses and less means, "pay yourself first" is the way to go. I tend to pay ourselves rather aggressively, but it always seems to work out in the end. I realize more and more, as time passes, that this is the way to do it.
I just have a mental block about it. Historically, any unexpected money would go straight into savings. So I still feel a little "bad" when something extra comes along and I "need" it. I have to keep reminding myself that the only reason I can't save it is because I saved a lot already. Duh! IT will take me a while to completely work past this mental block.
In the meantime, I am saving more than I really can justify, and all the extra seems to swoop in so I don't have to dig into the savings. & that's pretty cool. IT's just amazing how things seem to work out.
Well, the negative account in my checking (as of 9/30 anyway) looks to be around $100 at this point. I can live with that. I've got about 16 days to find $100, anyway. If not, I will just transfer some money from savings for October, a few days early. $100 I Can definitely deal with - it doesn't really affect anything. Not like a few days of interest amounts to much, anyway!
**Oh yes - so we spent my found $20, which doesn't really count. It won't affect our budget anyway.
I called it - the only other thing we bought all weekend was FOOD.
Oh - I did get BM a costume. He wanted to be Dracula for whatever reason. The whole shebang was $10 so I snatched it. (LM is happy with the hand-me-downs we have). But we did spend about $15 on food. Junk. Oh, it was bad. I knew I would pretty much spend no money but food. But I went a little crazy and not sure why. PArt of it was I was trying to get the kids to agree on a treat. It never happened, and I just kept finding more and more food while they fought over it. Then I told them to get their own thing. I won't do that again! We usually pick up fiddle faddle or whatever is on sale there (Walgreens). But I made the mistake of letting them decide, and it went downhill from there. NExt time it will be 99-cent fiddle faddle!
I was a little disturbed though as the kids delighted in hideous and grotesque costumes. Not my little babies any more! BM would have taken anything more grotesque, if it was cheaper. Blech. (Probably best they weren't cheaper). I was a little thrown off. Last year they were happy with the cute little fuzzy costumes. What happened??
& we thought his newfound fascination with Dracula was strange? LOL.
All my packages arrived at once.
I didn't expect my bike stuff to arrive so fast! I shouldn't be surprised. The free super shipping usually ends up being faster than standard mail, through amazon. For books and stuff. Clearly for bike supplies, too...
I am not feeling 100%. I would chalk it up to allergies, but dh has similar symptoms. A minor bug I guess.
SO, I doubt I will go on much of a bike ride today. But will talk dh into helping me install all my new gear... New cushy bike seat (for longer rides), new bike computer, new bike locks, and an air pump I can attach to the bike. Phew.
I was talking with my dad and he has a bike storage bag I can have. Yippee! Glad I brought it up - saved some money there. The fanny pack is totally fine, but will be nice to have more storage options.
I still probably want to buy a portable multi-tool, and a first aid kit. I have some picked out - quite reasonable in price and highly recommended. & I will need a patch kit at the least. Will probably make another round of purchases in October, and be done. I hope. I don't foresee endlessly buying bike supplies. It's just hard to start with NOTHING. But perfect example of my style. Spread out the purchases, find used or hand-me-down options, etc., etc. Research endlessly for best price and quality.
I did end up finding some workout clothes at Marshalls, for a steal. So that worked out well. I still need some pants, as the weather rapidly gets cooler. I considered buying more higher priced items at Target, but then remembered everything I buy there seems to fall apart so quickly. Marshalls didn't have much in my size, for pants. BUT, I actually have some workout pants that aren't falling apart, so I have some time. I really had no workout shirts, before.
Yesterday I ended up spending like $7 at 7-11 for some food. We were with our parents all day. Can I say, thank goodness for that? We were going to run by Walgreens and it was closed. So more than I prepared to spend. BUT, all day after that BM kept saying, "I'm starving!" HE's in some major growth spurt mode. So I felt relieved we stocked up on a few things - would have eaten my parents out of house and home.
My parents' bought me Togos for lunch (kids just had PBJ) and the in-laws bought some Thai food for dinner. Plus we were invited to their next door neighbor's party for a time. Food food food galore. The kids ate like ALL DAY. Thankfully there was so much food available. $7 wasn't bad for all that we ate yesterday (usually how it goes - we get spoiled).
We decided to come home today - not much planned. May spend a few dollars, but still in low spend mode.
I am so excited though! A large reason we went to San Jose yesterday was to take BM on what of my old favorite bike rides.
We didn't do my ride, 100%. We stuck to the dirt paths, which I am not a fan of. BUT the paved road had a fair amount of cars, and the end of the ride was pretty steep. So in the interest of safety, I played along.
Going up was fine. I could get into it. Going down is another matter. I was slow as molasses, which took away some of the fun. I am just not comfortable at all on the dirt paths. I have only ridden pavement before.
I tried not to have too many expectations on the ride. It's easily been a decade. I figured, I was young, in shape, and had a far better bike last round. So I was wary if it would kick my butt, or what.
I came off the ride rather impressed. It was easy peasy. I may not workout as much as I would like to, but I was pleased with added weight, a lesser bike, etc., etc., that the ride ended up being quite easy. In much better shape than I would have thought. I also was able to give all my gears a good trial run (really haven't had the chance) and all seemed well.
I also got a true comparison of some of our new rides we have been trying around where we live, and I think the one I have come to love is very comparable. Thank goodness! I told dh I miss the hills, but truth was, I am not much of a hill rider. I like something more than complete flat. BUT by the same token, I am a little too cautious to want to go down a huge hill. So I feel better about things. I think I can be very happy with bike options where we live.
I've always felt the one thing I missed moving here was my bike rides. & well, that no longer seems to be the case! (Plus, heck, we can hop in the car and ride anywhere we want. Now that we have bikes, I am sure we will bike ride around San Jose more - we are there enough anyway).
Since having children, I have not had the money nor the time to tend to most of my hobbies. Time has probably been the bigger issue. But it feels nice to move on. Life returns to some "normalcy"?
Pictures from my ride:
If you want to read a very long post, I have one prior to this one. (I'm chatty today, apparently).
I am attempting a low-spend weekend, anyway. I pretty much have no money to spend this month. Which is fine. Got money for gas and groceries, but that's about it. & our little vacation coming up. Which is what we sacrifice for (that and the car repairs of late).
Should probably make that 2 weekends, no spending...
Will go swimming, on bike rides, hang out with the family, last 2 weekends water park is open, etc. PLENTY to do.
Doing my pent up shopping online, was good. Everything's paid for. Hanes orders should come in any day. New bike stuff, next week perhaps?
BM wants to try the 2.5 hour ride on his new bike. When MY new seat arrives, sure. I think we will make it in 2 hours this time. We were VERY slow last time.
So all this stuff will roll in to maybe curb buying impulses? Will see?
I actually don't shop that much, usually. I will be fine. I tend to spend my money on food more than anything. That is the impulse to curb.
**Well, my 5.5% CD matures in September. I thought it was October. Glad I was on top of things - it was end of September. Ack. But got all the paperwork in to roll it over to my brokerage. It is a CD in a ROTH.
So, I made out well for the short time that interest rates were "decent." They haven't been most of my adulthood, that is for sure.
(I Also spent most of 2007/2008 earning 6% on credit card arbitrage).
I was actually going to roll my CD into a mutual fund in 2006, but at the time, I saw a great deal on this CD - for THREE years. I decided to go for it. I had a feeling this whole housing mess would implode. I didn't expect it to be so hard and fast. Funny enough, I regretted this decision early on...
Of course, the market has been so hot lately. I don't know. I am just transferring it into cash. If the market is significantly lower than 2006 (hard to say without looking at it) I will just buy into stocks. If not, I may slowly buy in. I have a little research to do.
Has my attempt at market timing panned out? Perhaps. All I know is I am consolidating my retirement accounts further, and don't plan to chase CD rates any further. It's pretty much a PITA. When rates improve, I will chase them in my taxable accounts. But no more of this CD ROTH business.
This CD is an old relic from my "young and saving my retirement in cash, because I didn't know any better" days. I am ready to move on.
(Hmmmm, DOW was 10,600 in Sep '06 and is currently 9,600. I can't help but feel I Would be better off waiting a bit though. But, I don't know. Will see where the DOW is at when the money appears in my account!)
Truth is, I have come out ahead and should just invest it! I shouldn't be greedy - I already leveraged this CD for some low stock buying - in the DOW 7k range. I took some liquid ROTH cash and bought at some of the low points. This CD will refill my ROTH Efund Cash reserves. I am relieved it is maturing, for that reason.
**Education - isn't that a hot topic lately?
I am so PLEASED with BM's education right now. 1st grade has far exceeded my expectations. I am sure this is one of those areas where "luck" plays a part, but GOOD, affordable education is extremely important to dh and I. It is something we will always strive for. Certainly didn't fall into our laps. While so many friends and acquaintances were so concerned with "appearances," our attention to true substance has paid off.
But yes, the school has certainly talked to talk. Their walk has exceeded my expectations and I am so happy for that.
I also feel extremely alone in my feelings. When I rolled my eyes about acquaintances misinformed ideology on class sizes, I realized this year maybe I Was too narrow minded in my thinking. With the economy as it is, and budgets being slashed, class sizes are growing once again. (All schools in our district have increased class sizes, but the Charters who are hanging on to small class sizes for dear life).
Maybe the private school crowd had it right? Or did they? I have friends who are leaving Private schools because they are so under-enrolled this year. Isn't that interesting? My one friend actually prefers public school, but the private school is cheaper for full-time care (cheaper than after school public care). So, she has stayed, but she is worried about there only being a handful of children in the class. Her school is not known for doing well with the higher grades though. She just wants out before her child hits 3rd or 4th grade. & also doesn't want going from a class size of 10 - to 30 - to be a shock. !
Anyway, everyone seems to have educational worries these days. Public private, etc.
It's not all roses for us. The assigned middle school leaves much to be desired. But, that is so far off. I can only take one thing at a time. Who knows, those whoas may all be resolved in 5 years anyway... & there are certainly other affordable options than our "assigned public school."
(I forgot to mention - because of my friend I did look up after school care costs. Yowsers!!!!! More affordable than preschool childcare? Yes, but not by much. Dh can stay home a few more years. Yeesh).
**Um, I learned something new?
When I last checked my credit report, it occured to me that some of that stuff should start dropping off soon. Didn't we refi out of our first mortgage in 2000? Why would that still be on our credit report, anyway?
I went on a quest to learn more about credit history and such.
I was surprised to learn that "bad stuff" drops off your report after 7 years, but "good stuff" stays on for 10 years, after an account is closed.
I had no idea.
I am continually perplexed by the misinformation out there about credit history, etc. But the truth is this, nothing has ever dropped off of our credit report. Everything we have ever had is still on there. Our many mortgages, and our many credit cards.
No wonder closing old cards hasn't amounted to a hill of beans as far as our FICO.
I also read uninformed forum talk about how it can take 20 years to build a 800+ credit score. Okay, yes it CAN. But if you pay all your bills on time, it is possible to get there in just a few years. It does NOT take 20 years!!! The discussion was about how fast it could happen. Seriously.
So basically, since I always close an old card when I open a new one, and none have dropped off my report, than my FICO score is none the wiser. Thing is, by the time my 10-years-closed cards drop off, I have already built 10 more years of credit history.
So, does it really matter? My experience has been no, but this points out why.
Obviously everyone's situation is different. There are other factors at play. But, yeah, I learned something new.
I guess our first mortgage will drop off our credit reports in the middle of 2010. But we have 10 years of on-time payments to show for it, since.
What will be interesting to see is what happens when my first credit card drops off. I closed it around 2006, after having it for over a decade? Then again, I tend to keep my cards about 10 years before something better comes along. Could be worse if I switched cards every year? But averaging 10 years doesn't seem to matter much.
Yeah, I am not losing sleep over it...
BM is worn out by karate. He LOVES it, but it is on a bad day. The long school day isn't jiving with it.
I am sure I could find him more expensive classes elsewhere. On a better day. Ugh. But I really don't want to. Will see! (Price just doubled since he turned 5, as is. For 2 hours vs. 0.5 hours per week. HE only goes one hour a week since it's a bit of a drive though).
He did get into his other extra-curricular class, after all. The school opened more classes due to high demand. Another $80 down the drain.
Of course, that was before this karate development? At least this class is less physical.
Piano... Was I supposed to be teaching him that? It's been frustrating getting into homework habits and practice habits. Too much at once?
BM always begs to stay after school with "the other kids." But he whines when he can't come home and crash. Which is understandable - such a long school day for a small child. I'm afraid he doesn't know what he wants.
We didn't sign him up for soccer because it started at the same time school let out. ! I now think it was for the best.
I am definitely not one to over-book my child. He loves sports. We think it's important he learns music (he is interested). & he's still at that stage where we are just "trying new things." I guess it just happens, huh? I guess dh and I hated sports, so we didn't have to choose. BM has more to juggle in that regard. Throw in a long school day, and here we are.
It is kind of depressing when no one wants the things you paid a lot of money for. *sigh* HEck, I'd be happy with $5 at this point.
I will probably slash prices Saturday, and if nothing sells this weekend, move everything to the free pile.
In the interest of anonymity, I don't want to disclose what I am selling. But I will whine about it at a later date.
"Free items" were taken off our hands within minutes. Literally. So I am hoping if I can't sell, they will go fast in the free pile. I haven't freecycled in a year or 2, so was shocked and overwhelmed by the response. The last piece we gave away (a year ago?) was an OLD chair. I bet that would go a lot faster in this economy, sad to say. It was a very sad piece of furniture, but hey, it was a free rocking chair and priceless with our babies. We just covered it's hideousness with a blanket. Was an OLD hand-me-down. I listed that for several weeks, and got a couple of e-mails from people telling me how ugly it was. LOL. (Why did they think I Was getting rid of it???) But someone eventually took it. I can't help but wonder how fast that chair would go, today.
Weather is still hot here. I just wondered when we would end up turning up the water heater. Our bill was $7 for August. We used same amount of gas as last year (exactly) but prices are still coming down. So, $7 is probably some record.
At this rate, we can keep it turned down through September. I am sure some more chill will be in the air by mid-September. But as long as the garage is a million degrees, the gas water heater doesn't work very hard. (I looked it over and determined it is a regular old tank water heater. I couldn't find anything special about it except that it is covered with insulation. Because of that, I don't have a brand or model. All I know is I probably wouldn't waste my money on a tankless heater. & supposedly they make them more efficient these days? This one is circa 2001).
I am sad to start to say good-bye to summer!
Summer has been hard to get used to, in our low-cost-of-living haven. I come from "70 year round" territory. It's just HOT here. But it's been a rather mild summer, and I rather enjoyed it. I also acclimate a little more every year.
Reminds me, I once read weather was lowest on the list to consider when relocating. Yeah, whatever! I think it's like #1 on my list!!!!!!! We talked so much about moving to Oregon/Washington. LEt's face it - I wouldn't have lasted 2 minutes!
This year I will have a new adjustment. I usually just don't go outside in winter. Which is fine. (Same for summer, really - which made this summer unusual). Funny enough, the winter average is only 5 degrees colder here. No kidding? I Was worried I wouldn't ride my bike in December or January. Interestingly, the winters are more in line than I realized. Maybe it won't be so bad...
This weekend we have a bike ride and a trip to the water park planned. Guess it's our last summer hoorah (besides our beach weekend getaway, after).
I believe we each spent $40 on our season passes. This would be 4 visits, or $40 a visit, for the entire fam. Not great, but not bad. I am impressed how many slides we were able to get LM on. & BM is in water slide heaven. At least next year he won't have to be measured on every ride. He is just right on the cusp, for now.
I expected dh to take BM a bit more, but it's just been kind of hectic.
IT will be perfect to splurge on pre-season tickets, just as tax season ends, for 2010. Definitely a worthwhile investment. We are buying next year. It helped that besides the $6 city parking every visit, that we didn't spend a dime inside the park. Makes it palatable.
Work has been interesting. To say the least. I was feeling rather "caught up" (first time in YEARS) and worried the summer would be a bit slow. Ah, what a silly worry!
As everything was winding down, I even started to feel a bit bored. For like a minute.
But no need to fear, it's just been a little crazed since. We have some new tax deadline on 9/15. (Which is good, but a bit of an adjustment).
Reminds me, I have 3 clients who are apparently in no rush to file their individual tax returns. Procrastinators drive me batty! I will be babysitting them the next 30 days or so. Like asking for their info 5 times hasn't been enough...
I've been working on all sorts of random stuff though, for the most part. I am trying to enjoy my "freedom" since December - April can get pretty hectic. I have a few random Fridays off work, as well as some seminars to attend for required education, etc., etc.
I shouldn't get too used to the slow pace.
I probably can't spend any money this month. We have $500 set aside for our weekend getaway. & we did a ton of pent up shopping last weekend. The rest of the month is "groceries and gas." It's all we have room for. Which is fine (We don't need cash for our weekend plans).
Dh is itching to buy Rock Ban Beatles. Ugh! We waited this long to buy Rock Band, and he CAN'T WAIT to buy it? He gets that way about some things - drives me nuts.
I am lobbying hard for him to put it on his Xmas Wish list. Will see! His family will buy him whatever he desires. I think that's the way to go. Like RB1 & 2 isn't enough to occupy him? We just got it!
With Pepsi points, he has been snatching up a ton of Rockband songs. (I do love Pepsi, but these were mostly swiped from the garbage. Dh has been dumpster diving!). He just got some Dr. MArio game with the pepsi points too. I must admit, it was pretty fun. Some sort of 4-person mode with the kids. Oh boy - is that one bad addictive game. Think I played it 2 hours last night. At least one hour was with the kids? Dh was telling me about this 4-person mode, and I was totally uninterested. But, 1 hour later... (Dr. Mario is tetris, essentially. I got hooked on it in th 1990s. I try to stay away from it... But we have like 10 versions between all of dh's dang game systems. Ack!).
First, I finally got off my butt and posted a pile of stuff on Craigslist.
For the free pile, I had my SAD bike (paid something like $20 for, but with a flat, it's worth even less now). I honestly thought if I left it sitting outside, no one would take it. It is that sad. Wasn't even going to try to get any money for it.
I also have a telescope. I guess I forgot we agreed to try to sell it for money. Problem is I can't figure out how to use it any more - completely lost the manual - and it is a little complicated. I am not 100% sure I have all the parts, etc., etc.
So I posted those up along with a few things I expect to get money for. Now, I have used Freecycle a LOT before. I often get a big response, but nothing like this. Thankfully, I checked my e-mail only one hour later (not expecting anything) and my inbox was full of about 30 e-mails about my free items. Yikes! I pulled the ad. I think I got it covered.
Dh will stop griping about the bike in the garage. He will gripe I didn't get money for telescope, but I am just glad to be rid of the thing. It's been sitting in our living room FOREVER.
I am trying to sell my old bed for some $$$, but am glad it will probably go fast in the free section (if it comes to that. We need to make room in the garage for all these bikes!
I, of course, have no takers (in one hour) for anything I asked money for. !
It's got to be the local economy. More people are "settling" for free stuff, clearly. I can only imagined if I turned off the computer and checked my e-mail tomorrow!
Part of the reason I got off my butt to do this chore is because dh had an awesome run this weekend. HE sold FOUR game systems. Most of them he has been trying to sell for MONTHS. It's been really slow, etc. Suddenly, he had so many responses to one add, he just offered all the other ones instead. People snatched them up. One of them he just bought Friday, too.
Super ironic, is most of the buyers were planning to resell them, from what dh could gather. (I think dh took a chunk of their profit margin since he is a "dealer" - not sure how well they will make out, but who knows).
BM and I went back to the place of our big ride, though we kept it much shorter today. 1/2 hour in and 1/2 hour out.
I was SO relieved. Last time was ALL just professional cyclists and people decked out in top-of-the-line bikes and gear. I mentioned on here, it was not "that much" of a ride, to do a section of it anyway, and we saw no kids really. IT just struck me as odd. I was annoyed too. Since when did anyone with a bike had to spend a ton of money and go all top-of-the-line. It was bizarro.
Today was complete flip opposite. IT was a pretty similar time of day, BUT we mostly saw casual riders. & a LOT of kids. Phew. WE stuck out a little less. BM didn't get any attention though - so not sure how he liked that!
Anyway, we apparently just missed a forest fire (geez - should I add burn care to my First Aid kit????) and apparently we missed a "big snake in the road." Kind of glad we missed both. We saw the aftermath of the fire, and were warned of the "big snake," which apparently left the trail before we made it. Phew! Both could have been rather scary to witness up close.
Anyway, BM did exceptional with his new bike, and we made good time. Hard to tell how well. When I get my new seat and our new bike locks, we will probably attempt the entire loop again (with a stop for lunch or a snack in town, at the halfway point). When I get my little bike computer gadget, I will have much better statistics to share. (Like true miles ridden, etc.)
Today it felt like we covered much more ground in less time (thanks to BM's new bike). But the computer will tell us for sure!
Today we also went swimming. It was a nice "staycation" of sorts. Our community pool was empty, as usual.
Next weekend will be filled with much the same. We have a trip planned to the waterpark, and a different bike ride planned (boy, I hope my new bike seat arrives soon!!!).
I recently came to the realization that BM is WAY too big for his bike. We didn't think he would outgrow it anytime soon, about a year ago when we decided to buy LM a bike.
I guess we forgot how FAST they grow. Yeesh!
Let's face it though, moving up 4 inches in size isn't very practical (even if he is way too big for his 16").
I have been searching out a 20-incher with gears, which isn't very easy to find.
I did see one at Target, but I figured I was crazy because I can't find anything about it's existence (online) in a 20" size.
I was going to drag dh and BM to Target today to check it out, and maybe stop by Wal Mart. (Admittedly, this bike did look huge. Not 24+ inch huge - but rather big for BM).
But, I lucked out. The Craigslist bike pickings have been slim. A lot of way overpriced bikes and such. I figure this rare bike would be near impossible.
But I checked anyway, before we headed out, and I found it. It looked like a pretty decent bike for $35. Had 10 gears, was well cared for, etc.
The seat had to be lowered with a wrench, but guy said it lowered. We hadn't really sized him on any 20-inchers, so we took it. I was going to have a talk with BM before we got there, but hadn't. I didn't want him whining if he didn't like the color, etc. Let's face it - this is as good as it gets.
No problem - he immediately fell in LOVE with the bike, even though it was a bit big and hard for him to handle.
When we got home we realized the seat did not lower after all. I was a little bummed that this bike was not going to work currently. But no huge loss, we could certainly sell the thing (even at a profit). It is a nice bike.
I started perusing 18-inchers (didn't think to look before - didn't seem practical since on size charts he is "too big."). I perused the Wal Mart reviews and wrote down all the 18/20-inchers with good reviews. I figured we would do some sizing for something that would work NOW.
I would have spent some time trying some 20-inchers on for size, but they were all too high up, and I figured I could drive the sales people nuts pulling down a bunch of bikes for me. The 18-inchers were much smaller and I got a couple of them down (all the ones I had seen online were in stock - phew).
BM was too in love with his other new bike, so he wasn't very enthused. But I talked him into a shiny bike with both handlebar and coaster brakes (probably good for transitioning). I assured him we could keep the other one and he will grow into it soon enough (certainly by next summer). He's only really a couple of inches too short for the seat level.
As far as recommended size for 18-inches? Pfffft. He will obviously fit it well for a while. It fits perfect with room to grow.
The funny thing is the new bike came with training wheels. Those came off immediately!
So our household is complete with 14", 16", 18", 20" bikes. LEt's face it - it will be nice to have some extra bikes when his friends come over.
I can not say enough good things about Wal Mart's bikes. It is *the* place to buy a bike. The same bike was $100 at Target, and had glowing reviews. It was $70 at Wal MArt, and already assembled.
I knew it was the place to go, because we got such a good deal on my bike. The pre assembly is definitely worth something! (Though when I was at Target it looks like they now do the assembly too). Wal MArt's selection is hard to beat though.
I try to avoid Wal Mart, because I just don't like the store. It's in a terrible shopping center, etc., etc. BUT, we will likely buy any future bikes there.
When I was shopping high end bikes in the spring, for myself, never thought I'd end up at Wal Mart. !
Boy, yesterday ended up being a little crazy. A LONG day.
But a fun day, for sure.
We went to the Old Sacramento Gold Rush days (going on through Labor Day). I highly recommend to anyone in the area, particularly with kids.
The kids had an absolute blast.
We started out panning for "gold." I was just the watcher/picture taker, but the adults and kids could not be motivated to leave and make room for others. I guess panning for gold is rather addictive.
Finally tore them away from the gold panning, and they exchanged their gold for certificates.
The certificates were good for 5 treats at participating stores. I guess the idea was the treats were for the kids, but some stores gave the adults treats too.
Signs throughout Old Sac read:
"Gold Rush Economy Certificates Accepted Here! Use Them Wisely!"
One of the treats was Mardi Gras beads (from the sock store). There was also a lot of sarsaperilla around. A bar was passing out coins for free sarsaperilla, so the best picture I got of the day was of the kids sitting at the bar drinking their sarsaperilla. Looks like Mardi Gras, with all the beads, and alcohol in the background.
We also teased BM, because he has a perpetually loose tooth:
The story on that is that his permanent tooth has come through but the baby tooth won't come out (the new one is behind the old tooth). Ugh. I can't say this happened to dh or I. We have been advised to wait a few weeks and it will work itself out. (That it's relatively common). Otherwise, we might be paying for a tooth pulled. (It could be simple or he could still have a lot of roots - we haven't yanked it ourselves because it seems to be rooted pretty good). LM already has a shark tooth (an extra baby tooth that grew in front of his others), so now they both have a shark tooth. !!
Either way, BM will not have a gap in his mouth, with his first tooth loss.
Anyway, so we teased him and I think he thought we were serious about yanking his tooth. They had all sorts of interesting historical dental instruments to admire. BM was not amused. !
After our day in Old Sac, we did keep our dinner/swim date with friends (though I was exhausted).
We had our bargain watermelon, and dh ended up getting Papa Murphy's. He baked while we swam, so it worked out.
Not much money spent, but fun was had by all.
As far as Gold Rush, it was only $8 to park. We could have easily spent no other money there. But Grandma spoiled the kids rotten and paid for parking, etc. So it was a pretty cheap day for us, in the end.
We got free donut holes, candy, root beer, food samples, etc., etc. Besides that, the kids got some rocks and some other less than exciting trinkets.
Not sure what it is about the restaurants. We have eaten at a TERRIBLE restaurant there - one that we now stay away from. I am not sure we have ever had such bad food, except for yesterday we stumbled upon another one. Ugh! I had eaten there before, and they had a nice view. But the menu had a lot of mistakes, and the food was cold, and it was just bad all around. Blech. I felt bad because I said I had eaten there before and it was okay. (I didn't remember much about it - but didn't remember it being awful. IT was pretty expensive, to boot). That was the only bummer of the day. All I have to say is research your dining options before you EVER visit Old Sac. I am sure they have some good places. We usually just eat at their Round Table Pizza. Now I wish we had, yesterday! Pizza for lunch and dinner would have beat that crappy lunch.
Dh and I have absolutely nothing planned for the rest of the weekend. How bizarre! I don't know if we will do chores, or just be lazy bums. Probably a nice combo of both.
With my new cell phone and ability to take pictures off the camera (the old one had a camera, but we couldn't figure out how to get the pictures off without spending $$). With that, I thought I would take a lot more pictures.
Apparently, the only thing interesting around here is the sky!
The first one was on the drive home from work, again (these cloudy summer skies are awfully unusual).
This one was a sunrise on a bike ride. The foreground is a pile of empty home lots. No doubt, if the homes were built, my rides wouldn't be so nice and scenic!
In other news, I Was so shocked of the low price of our hotel for our anniversary (or moreso the expesiveness of the price at every other travel site) that it didn't occur to me I could get a further discount. Like, I know I could call and ask. But I Was fine to just book it, and figured any further savings was a crap shoot.
So I happily booked a $300 stay that came out to $700+ on all the travel web sites.
Of course, after I booked it, they had said very little about their rules and cancellation policy, so I poked around the website a bit. As I did, I found that there was a 10%-off offer PLUS $20/night dinner gift certificate, if I had seen this promo code and used another link to book.
So I e-mailed them and asked if I could apply the promo code, or if it would be easier to cancel and rebook. With no answer, I figured we'd call today (yesterday I was trying to work and stuff).
They eventually called us back first and we decided just to cancel the reservation.
I haven't rebooked it yet, but since we got 10% off with AAA, I am pretty sure the new offer voided the AAA offer. So we won't save any money on the room. BUT we will get $40 of free food. Which was really going to be the most expensive part of the trip, besides the room.
I am pleased as punch!
We will probably go out on some interesting, exotic lunches. & then just stick at the hotel for dinner. The restaurant hotel is a Marie Callendar's. I think we may buy some pie too.
After I had done my Hanes order, I realized we had bought some sweatshirts for BM through Hanes, last year. They are allowed to wear sweatshirts as part of their "uniform." Which is pretty much all he wears when it gets colder.
SO, I perused their website and saw they were on sale for $5 each.
I did another order for those. Ordered 5. 20% off, free shipping, means I paid $20 for 5 brand new sweatshirts. (The ones I bought last year are fine - they have held up well - but they are just getting small).
This is why I rarely shop thrift for the kids any more. I used to a lot more, but I usually can get similar prices new, for FAR less time and hassle.
I am glad I thought to look.
Not much planned here - for the weekend.
Dh picked up some watermelons for $1.47. We have been heavy on melons this summer - lots of great deals.
We have a historic section of the city that is always fun to visit. It's only a few minutes from our home.
Anyway, this weekend is Gold Rush weekend though, and grandma wants to visit and take the kids. Sounds pretty fun:
"Two hundred tons of dirt will transform this already rustic landmark heritage site into the appropriate mid-1850s California Gold Rush setting. Walking along the dusty trail, be prepared to witness a flurry of time-piece bands, costumed Wild West reenactors, horse-drawn carriages and Gold Rush activities for all ages — such as gold panning."
& if it's not a million degrees, we may ride the train too - free with our train museum membership. (LM is 100% train crazy!!)
Actually, the weather is supposed to be pretty darn nice!
Of course, I had been trying to plan a swim date for Saturday. We will try to squeeze it in - we invited my friend/kids' friend over for an evening swim and dinner.
Our pool historically closes after Labor Day, though I think now it stays open through September. I just don't remember, for sure. So we will pretend it is the last weekend, and get lot of swimming in.
I would like to go on a long big bike ride this weekend. Once I get a helmet. Will see.
I determined that BM is too big for his bike. The search is on for a 20-incher with gears. There are some around. But it may take a while to find an affordable/good one. We may peruse the stores this weekend and see what we can find. At least size him on it. He is like the bottom end of size for 20-inches, BUT he is about 4 inches too big for his current bike!
Finding a bike with gears will be the hard part. He is clearly ready though. & we will be a very even bike partner once he has gears. HE had to walk so much of our last ride because he couldn't possibly ride up some small hills on his cheapie kiddie bike.
Besides all that, not much planned. I look forward to a mostly lazy weekend!
Today I did my shopping spree. I guess it's a little akin to spending a paycheck. The credit card closed yesterday and I could put the month of August to bed. Phew! We put off a lot due to the spendiness of August - with the van door replacement in particular.
Dh went grocery shopping and bought some printer ink. (Um, the printer has needed ink for YEARS!)
I did my underwear shopping (sale, free shipping, 20% off final order).
I bought a new bike seat and looked at bike locks. I decided to buy a portable air pump and a bike "pedometer" for lack of a better word, because they were cheap/on sale. I ended up buying 2 bike locks. Free shipping on everything - everything on sale.
Our GPS does have a bike mode, but I rather carry around this $10 bike computer. I hadn't thought of it, but of course all the little gadgets pop up when you are buying bike supplies.
I was rather surprised to find the after school activity that BM wanted to do, was filled up and sold out. Didn't expect that at all, with the economy. Can't say I am sad to save $80 though. There is always next time.
On the school spirit clothing front, I think I was looking at bulk discount pricing by mistake. I perused everything today and it was too expensive for my blood.
I will stop by Target tonight and hopefully get a bike helmet. I want to try on before buying. I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent reviews on the brands Target carries. (Like, "My head got ran over by a car and this $20 helmet saved my head!"). Well, if they say so! I wrote down the highest rated ones.
Ideally, this weekend I will hit Marshalls for some workout clothing. Though I may put it off a bit. Online shopping is one thing. In store shopping is a PITA.
I was just mentioning "Taste of Home" to another blogger, and decided to see if our new favorite recipe was up on their website yet.
Yup, it is.
Okay, though this is so yummy and simple to make, it's not going to win any points for health.
But I share it anyway. It's like a slice of potato heaven on a plate!
With the whole car repair thing, I am putting off expenses more than usual. Credit card closes Thursday. Friday I can go wild with September spending - yeehaw!
1) Bike helmet (had put off one month but decided I should buy a seat now since I am riding a lot. Fall is ideal biking weather).
2) School logo clothing (for workouts). May go workout clothe shopping this weekend. Need more/brighter clothes for bike riding.
3)Underwear - I was thinking I needed some more and Saw Hanes.com has free shipping and a big sale through Labor Day. Guess it's a good weekend to shop?
4)I have to pay for an extra curricular class for BM (he is all excited about it and I told him he could go if they still had spots on Friday).
That would be about it - not a HUGE list.
BUT, dh secured babysitting so I told him I am booking the hotel ASAP. !!!!
Wait a minute, I better wait until Friday. *sigh*
Anyway, what I totally forgot about is SCHOOL. I am still adjusting. Dh is staunchly opposed to taking BM out of school. I pretty much refuse to go on vacation if we can't leave Friday a.m. LOL. I will win. Womenly wiles will win. But either way, we came to the realization that the journey is going to be a large part of our weekend away. We better enjoy the journey and not just the destination. (It's only 10 hours of driving. Which is why we never make it there any more, living more up north!).
We may work out a compromise on the school, but we might have to drive 5 hours straight and leave later than I had planned. Which is why we better enjoy the journey. Will see!
I will fish out prices. The cost is coming out of savings anyway, so maybe I should jump while prices are good. I will check their last minute prices for this weekend to see how they compare...
What else is up this month? Probably some clothes shopping for BM. I guess it adds up fast!
Lord know what is on dh's list.
The cupboards are bare and usually he doesn't participate (when I ask him to hold off shopping a couple of days. He never listens). But he told me he was grocery shopping Friday. I am glad he is being nice this month. He realizes how spendy August was, I guess. I am unaccustomed to empty cupboards though. But it's doable.
It was a nice surprise, but our net worth actually went up in August. Imagine that!
It went up from $219k to $219.5k. Even though we had over 2k in car repairs - paid in cash.
Year-to-date we are up $24.5k. Which only puts me $500 from my annual goal. (Goal to increase our net worth by $25k-$30k, at the least).
It doesn't mean much, we are still very at the whim of the market. The market is what saved our bacon is a spendy month.