<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: November, 2012
 

Archive for November, 2012

Carseat Drama

December 1st, 2012 at 02:19 am

Finished the month with a respectable $381 in savings/other income:

http://monkeymama.savingadvice.com/little-savings-add-up.html

--------------------------------------------------

*FINALLY* sold two old booster carseats. I am beyond annoyed at how many people asked how old the seats were, and then berated us for trying to sell them (manufactured 2007). Seriously? It annoys me from an environmental standpoint. It's a glorified phone book to sit on. I'd be a little less annoyed if these were more serious type baby seats - though I am sure the whole "Destroy it because it is 5 years old" idea is still pretty ridiculous, no matter what kind of seat it is. Secondarily, maybe if we lived in an extreme climate or somewhere it might matter - Rolleyes

Anyway, I think it's just a sign of the times. Usually these types wouldn't buy a used carseat in the first place. ?? Or booster seats are okay to settle for used, just not old? Or the carseat industry is pushing this "old deteriorating plastic" thing more than in the past. I don't remember it being an issue when we sold the baby seats - they must have been about as old.

Well, I am just relieved we got them sold! I couldn't have destroyed them based on principal. Would have had to find a way to recycle them. Glad I don't have to. HA!

This & That

November 28th, 2012 at 03:02 pm

Almost up to $300 in savings this month:

http://monkeymama.savingadvice.com/little-savings-add-up.html

-----------------------------------------------------

**I was trying to pay all my bills yesterday since the visa closed. Could not succeed. Time to renew IRS ID#, but the system was down. Time to renew home insurance, but I think they are still reprocessing it for a higher deductible. (Insurance agent just happened to call me about something else, and so I inquired. I made a split second decision to increase deductible to $5k. Really doesn't save a lot, BUT I would never make a claim for that little, so it seems I should take the savings no matter how piddly. I was going to call and ask, but he saved me the trouble).

I will try again today or tomorrow.

I also renewed my CPA license. Good for 2 more years. Employer already reimbursed me the fee. I am annoyed as it seems I have to pay by check. Next time I will ask employer to just make the check out to the Board. I am trying to go check-less, and have mostly been succeeding.

**Reminds me, HOA sent me the good news that I can now pay online, by credit card, etc.

Rolleyes Rolleyes

If... I am willing to pay insane fees with every payment. I honestly don't even see why anyone would do so. Their fee to pay by bank account was just as absurd. I was dreaming of credit card rewards, but my hopes were quickly dashed...

**We are obviously back from our beach weekend. We didn't think about it until Monday, but abandoned plan to drive home and visit family on the way, when we started thinking about the traffic. So we instead went the way the GPS wanted us to go (was about the same mileage either way). About 100 miles through hills and vineyards, and old abandoned farmlands, etc., east, until we hit the interstate. It was just a beautiful beautiful drive. The other way may have been more green and beautiful in its own way, but I have probably seen that road a thousand plus times. So, it was a nice change of pace. In the end we got home around 6:30pm and didn't see ANY traffic for the whole 5 hours. I didn't expect that! I figured we'd hit some traffic once we reached civilization.

Total cost of beach weekend:

$400 for beach view hotel
$130 Food
$ 70 Gas
---------
$600

I had $500 in credit card rewards set aside for this. The rest of the gas and food will just come from regular food/gas budget.

**I'd probably never pay this much for 2 nights in a hotel. Verdict on the ocean view? I didn't find it any more spectacular than last time we went and got "partial ocean" view. So, was definitely not worth the extra. But we splurged, and now we know. Anyway, I don't remember the last time we actually paid anything for a night in a hotel, so that was my justification for the splurge. & technically I didn't pay for it anyway - Chase did.**

**We are planning next trip. Dh really really likes the weekend away/no kids thing, and so we are planning that for his birthday. We settled on a date and are thinking Carmel (short drive). It will be after January so will be a nice mid-tax-season kind of break. We will get a free room and not spend much money.

I do not believe we did any nights away without the kids this year. ??? I am just at a spot where I don't find it that exciting. The kids are old enough we get "plenty" of alone time and all that. Maybe means more to dh since he is stuck with the kids more. We obviously had a few other vacation priorities this year!

**Reminds me, our beach weekend was a huge hit with the kids. I thought they might be a little underwhelmed right after Florida. They had a blast and it is possible we will make it a tradition of sorts. We talked about going there every October when the kids get off school. Staying more days mid-week when it is cheaper. I LOVE this idea. Post Thanksgiving wasn't a bad time either. The hotel seemed pretty full Saturday night but then everyone left and we like had the place to ourselves Sunday and Monday. Pretty sweet!

**Totally switching the topic, but I swear my conversations at work any more are about how insane health insurance is. I talked to client whose spouse was quitting job - so their insurance would be about $1,000 per month. I said, "meh, could be MUCH worse" as she is my parents' age. Just to give her some perspective - we talked about that. Then another client told me his wife was losing her insurance and his was about $2k/month for the family. He is my age. OUCH! It's a sign of the times. How and when this all comes to a head, I don't know. Everyone I have had this conversation with has the means to deal with it. I am sure many many many don't.

I have some novel to read about taxes and Obamacare - I have a headache just thinking about it. Probably some Christmas reading for me. !! So far all I have gathered is my medical expenses will be less deductible. *sigh* I honestly am not stating a political opinion and don't know all the details - just that the only part I am aware of to-date is how I will be worse off in the year 2013. Will see... I hope to read some good news in that big old tax novel. I suppose "job security." Is that the good news???

Paradise

November 25th, 2012 at 03:04 pm

I wish I could figure how to share pictures from phone. I am watching the most beautiful sunrise on the beach! We got here just in time for a gorgeous sunset too.

Best surprise was that the drive was only 5 hours. Everything here is closer than I remember. Anyway, that means two less hours in the car. Phew. & my dad wants to travel around and take some pictures but decided to do on the way home. This means lazing around the pool and beach all day today.

To The Beach

November 24th, 2012 at 04:14 pm



I am SO Excited about our beach weekend. Big Grin

It took "forever" to align our schedules, and my parents aren't very vacation-y, and so this is definitely the first fun vacation thing we have ever done with my kids and parents. (We might have done some camping with my dad, but not with my mom).

Unfortunately, both kids seem a little sick so I am stocking up on cough drops and packing the inhaler. I was really worried yesterday, but they seem okay today. They never particularly get sick, so I am not surprised they seem pretty okay today. BUT, it's been so hard to align our schedules and they are probably due for some big illness. ??? For example, LM has 3.5 years perfect attendance. He just never gets "sick." Though they are both a little allergy and asthma prone. So when LM was sick - you see why I think he might be due for something bigger than just a sniffle.

Anyway, I think our biggest worry this weekend will be that I will probably want to let them swim and run in the ocean and dh might have a cow. But, will see. (I don't see the point in taking them and telling them not to do anything fun - they have pretty tough immune systems).

Oh, and the weather looks to be GORGEOUS the next 2 days. Don't know how we lucked into that - but will see. Which is funny, because we got odd comments about going to the beach. I think California beach weather is the same pretty year-round. Cold and foggy. More sun in the fall. I know we are pushing winter, but I also didn't think it would likely be any different than July. Crossing my fingers that weather forecast is right on. Sunny and warm!! I don't know how we could pull that off - it was so gorgeous last we went a couple of years back. I am skeptical until we actually get there. (Any other memory I have of the place is cold and fog).

We are going to Pismo Beach. About 6 hours drive for us. The long drive is a little prohibitive, but is a special place for my parents and I. We do need to find an inexpensive beach hotel closer to home. Many decades ago my dad just found this hotel on the beach and it's pretty reasonable, even to this day. (Like $80 per night?? Beach front!) I used to be in love with the area, but I no longer have friends there and it's such a long drive that I am a little bit over it. But going with my parents will be special.

We splurged on an ocean-view suite - paid for with credit card rewards. OF course!!

I'd Rather Be At Work

November 21st, 2012 at 04:18 pm

My To-Do List today is totally insane. I'd much rather be at work! Big Grin

Tomorrow we host T-Day, but overall is not a biggie. We do more of a potluck thing. I Decided to change it up this year and cook everything ahead of time (I usually do the morning of - but makes for a long day - and I always end up exhausted).

I will boil the eggs tonight for deviled eggs - might give me an hour to sleep in or rest tomorrow. I will do my 5-minute fudge tonight. I still have bananas and pumpkin so will bake 3 more dozen muffins. I probably should have done that Monday or Tuesday... I just decided I needed to do so since I will have 20 people to help us eat the muffins, tomorrow.

Actually, the bathroom is shiny and the dining table is ready, so I don't have a TON to do on that front. BUT today I was also largely devoting to cat clean up. I need to shampoo the carpet around her litter box, scrub her old litter box, and clean a new box that I set up but she refused to use (at least that one needs little more than a rinse). FUN! Just chores I long put off, but I need to get rid of all the giant litter boxes from around the living area...

I should probably make sure that all the baths are decent. 20 guests might need 2 bathrooms used at once. Third bath in an emergency.

We did enough over the weekend that if we fell ill at the last minute I wouldn't have a heart attack. Also, I like to break everything out into smaller pieces, except I don't think I did any of my chores the last to days so am now feeling the pinch! Today wasn't supposed to be nearly as hectic.

On top of all that, the kids have two playdates.

On the flip side, dh is VERY helpful - and he is doing some other cooking. OF course he did all the groceries and such. This used to be a far bigger ordeal when the kids were small. It's a totally different ballgame when they don't need our full attention AND can help chip in. When they were babies we maybe had to take turns cleaning and cooking. Now, any cleaning seems to be done lightning fast with 8 hands and 4 heads. It frankly feels like magic at times. !!

So I better shut up and get to work. Big Grin

Dinner

November 20th, 2012 at 12:07 am

The house smells so good.

Greek chicken - a very easy and tasty crockpot recipe:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Greek-Chicken-Dinner-2

+$100

November 18th, 2012 at 04:17 pm

Dh listed three video games on Amazon, and they sold right away (gross was over $100, I am estimating net $100 after fees). WE are already up to almost $300 extra income/savings for the month:

http://monkeymama.savingadvice.com/little-savings-add-up.html

I am not doing anything with the money as everything I listed is what we need to "survive" with our aggressive savings goals, and is how we keep our costs down. {Exception is that the $50 monthly credit card reward we get is directly deposited into our ROTH}.

I am trying to get into a better habit of using coupons, and may consider putting all coupon savings to the mortgage. (Coupons that I am not accustomed to using anyway, to get into a better habit). I am trying to remember to "never buy anything" without checking out the coupons first. I am improving... I would probably never buy anything online or at kohls (or dine out or get a haircut) without a coupon, but in other instances where it isn't a habit I just mind-space.

I'd maybe consider throwing this $100 at the mortgage, but we have been requested about $60 for school-related expenses recently, so I figure it is a wash. ($40 for two t-shirts, $10 for a coach gift, some eating out at competition, etc. With the holidays, I am sure there will be more).

Reminds me, my MIL and mom both gave me Kohls coupons they were sure I could enjoy. "GET 20% OFF if you open a credit card (fine print)." No thanks! I was ecstatic that my mom gave me a $10-free-at-Kohls coupon, but the minimum purchase requirement was $30. I haven't gotten the "free $10/no strings attached" in a while. Their loss - I rarely actually stuck to the $10. HA! Anyway, I know they shared because usually they are able to give me really nice coupons this time of year - I think they just didn't read the fine print. At this rate, I don't see going to Kohls any time soon.

I did buy some Kohls items deeply discounted a couple of weeks ago. At about $5/each the kids agreed they were great gifts for each other. So, DONE!! They both owe me $5 and that is done. We will probably go in one some wish list item for dh (movie or CD or video game).

One of the Kohls items was a Mario Kart lunch box. I probably didn't mention that LM found his lunch box after all. It disappeared for a couple of months, and ended up in the lost and found after that time. !!

Things I can not imagine buying for years:

--shampoo
--laundry detergent
--razors (Stocked up with amazon gift cards)
--soap (got tons free with smart phones reward)
--school lunch boxes (have 3 extras now)
--TP (dh stocked up on to get an awesome grocery reward - another $16 off our next gas purchase!)

What's funny is we are generally not stocker-uppers. I more believe in using things sparingly. I bought a giant container of shampoo not knowing I had one already, so I think "well that is going to last YEARS!" We have determined a large container of laundry detergent lasts exactly one year. I am sure we could save money going the coupon/stock-up route, and we certainly have the room. But the savings to be had just doesn't seem to be worth the effort, for us. All that said, we are definitely getting into a habit of stocking up for the year ahead - getting into the habit of buying things ahead of time off-season, etc. I'd say it just wasn't a luxury we had when our income was significantly lower. But once you get in the habit, it's hard to get out of it. You are then always well-stocked and buying ahead for next year. I've got all year to find laundry detergent on deep discount - when it is we will jump. Stuff like that.

Baking Day

November 17th, 2012 at 07:40 pm

This weekend marks the end of extra-curricular activities for the kids. Phew!!

Supposedly there was a soccer game today though it rained all night and morning. I doubt enough people showed up. We skipped it for other commitments. It hadn't even occurred to me the game might be cancelled except I got an e-mail that it was still on. HA! We picked a good day to skip it. If they make them play in the rain (mud) - what a mess!!

We skipped it because BM has his final robot competition today.

---------------------------------------------------

I've got some mushy bananas, and dh got a giant can of free pumpkin as a grocery store reward. So I decided to bake to heat the house again (though it is not as cold this weekend).

I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

I had scored some dirt cheap cupcake type wrappers at Michaels. They were pretty and like 50 cents for a pack.

Well, my pumpkin muffins burned on the bottom. In fact, there was all sorts of burning smells coming from the oven, which was worrying me. I saw why when the pumpkins came out.

I don't know if it is just this recipe, how hot the oven was, or if the paper is meant more for cake than muffins. What a bummer!!

I thankfully had enough plain old paper wrappers for the banana muffins. Just trying random recipes off the internet. I had the idea to add pumpkin spice to the banana muffins, but checked online before I ruined the batch. Apparently I was not the first to think of it. I still have 15 oz of pumpkin left, so might try one of the banana pumpkin muffin or bread recipes. Sounds divine! I've still got several mushy bananas. As is, I just made banana muffins with some pumpkin spice - it sure SMELLS good - haven't tried them yet - cooling off.

I have never made banana bread before. Seriously. Don't ask me why not! (We usually eat our bananas pretty well, or freeze them for smoothies later). But, since I had 6 mushy bananas... I also don't throw things away very lightly.

P.S. I turn 36 in a couple of weeks, and today someone told me she thought I Was in my early 20s (was shocked I had a 7yo child - more shocked when I told her I also had a 9yo). HA! I usually find the young comments annoying - as I get condescending comments a lot professionally. BUT I haven't got that so much lately and thought my age was showing more. I am getting more grey hairs... So today I enjoyed it as a compliment.

Dentist & Payday

November 16th, 2012 at 06:04 pm

**Went to the dentist this week. Only the second time at this one - oh how I LOVE:

--a dentist in the same city
--I am not sure my teeth ever been so clean?
--the cost of a local dentist (much cheaper; much lower overhead - esp. rent)

We were traveling 200 miles round trip for our dentist for my "forever dentist" about a decade after experiencing some horrible highly-recommended scammy local dentists. UGH! Yeah, I Could have tried harder, but gave up until my "forever dentist" retired. & then I was dreading that whole process, but am just so happy and relieved that we ended up in a better spot. Change can sometimes be good. Wink

There is also no doubt that local dentist has considerably cheaper overhead and so it is nice to see that savings passed onto us as well. That should be one of the benefits of moving somewhere considerably lower cost.

-----------------------------------------------------

**Today is payday so I will pay off all the credit cards and pay the property taxes. A couple of weeks early - but I am moving past the desparate need for interest. {I generally wait to the last minute to pay bigger bills and squeexe out every drop of interest that I can from our savings}. More to the point - I have the cash flow and don't need to move any money around, so might as well pay it a few weeks early.

This is the downside of rising home values. Our taxes will likely go up $1k next year - or about $100/month. Ouch! BUT, I appreciate the lower taxes in recent years, all the same.

**Reminds me, I just got a note that our HOA bill remain unchanged this year. WOOHOO! Our HOA has been excellent - no price increases even though a large percentage of homeowners here are foreclosed and/or in default of dues. I have a strong sense of what to look for when we buy our next home - which will be a condo or a townhome - will probably never experience home ownership without an HOA. But we have only had positive experiences. This could have been SO bad considering the timing of when we bought. Thankfully our HOA has always been very fiscally conservative. We pay less now than we did 10 years ago.

**General plan for the rest of the year?

To fund:

--$500 beach vacation (charged this month - pay Dec.)
--$700 ER bill (charged this month - pay December)
--??? taking car into shop next week - nothing wrong with it but expecting maybe brake work or something since hasn't needed anything in "forever." Wanted to get it looked over before our long drive/vacation.

--$650 to mortgage - will be more principal than interest for the year
--Max out ROTHs in December - just regular contribution, nothing extra.
--With those goals set, hoard as much cash as possible. Not sure it will be much with all of the above, but will see...

--Charge all insurance bills to pay off in January (Homeowners, umbrella, flood, etc.) We bought our home in December - can you tell?

--Jan. 1 will be a time of reckoning. I think it's likely the first time *ever* I will not get a raise. Health insurance went up as always. Our internet bill is still insane though we have tried threatening to leave - still working on that one - I put off to Jan. to figure out. Property taxes will go up. Payroll tax holiday will likely be lost - other taxes will likely go up. Might even owe AMT for 2012!?! AMT would be a huge tax increase for us (we generally don't have enough income to pay income taxes of any note).

What's funny is that I have 100% saved the tax holiday for the past 2 years. I under-estimated how much I would mourn the loss of that money. I got really used to the savings boost. I am going to have a tough time losing that. I know it was smart to save it, but under-estimated how "used to it" I would get.

2013 looks pretty sucky.

On the plus side, I am seeing signs of economic improvement at work. It's interesting because the economic slowdown was VERY slow to affect us. But over time it no doubt has. I now see signs of things really improving. I don't know if I am now seeing the early signs, or if it is just a fluke. But crossing my fingers. I am just now looking at the books for July, Aug, Sep for several clients, and my jaw is dropping at their dramatic profit increases. & the bank balances for some of the others who never did too poorly. I am nagging a lot of people about the $250k FDIC limit, all of a sudden. Good signs - more money is flowing to small business owners again. & it's not a slow trickle - it's a big/sudden/dramatic boost.

Gas/Grocery Update

November 14th, 2012 at 05:27 pm

**Our grocery store is changing around their rewards system, which is really annoying. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

BUT, they happen to be running a promo this next week where if you spend $100 you get $1/off per gallon. Dh just happened to shop yesterday (did not know about promo) and couldn't quite believe his eyes when he got the receipt.

I redeemed it today because the van was out of gas. If we can get gas in the van at same price as the gas sipper ($40 for a 350-mile trip) then we will reconsider driving the van to Southern California next weekend. Since we are vacationing with my parents and can cut down car trips. Plan A was to just be cheap and worry about ourselves. (We could all squeeze into my parents' car if we went out to dinner or something - you can only fit 4.5 people in our gas sipper - my parent have a new vehicle that might even have a middle shoulder belt).

So anyway - I paid $2.59 per gallon for gas today - 16 gallons.

The promo ends T-Day and we can't really stock up on fridge/freezer food next week with T-day at our house (we always try hard to empty the fridge on the days leading up to Turkey day). BUT dh thinks he can hit the goal with cat food, TP and such. Will see...

We still are a long way from figuring the best way to maximize new rewards (or if we should switch stores, etc.), but we keep getting random free stuff in the interim. Free loaves of bread (score!) and dh noticed that cases of bottled water were free yesterday - the kids like those for school.

----------------------------------------------------

I am considering another credit card reward. $500 in Amazon gift cards. We have kind of missed the endless supply of gift cards. I'd rather have cash, but Amazon gift cards are the next best thing. Big Grin

Actually, I am totally saturated on them - I even stocked up on household goods with prior rewards - things like that. So I am pretty much out of ideas - but I know dh will find something. It will pay for his toys and keep extra peace in our marriage. Wink

Cold Feet

November 14th, 2012 at 02:02 am

**I suppose I was incorrect. I mentioned that the boys could live in an igloo and I could sleep in an igloo. (I am mostly a cold weather whimp - but prefer to sleep in the cold - all bundled up of course).

This is mostly correct, except dh seems to be developing a "cold feet" problem with age. He has always had bad circulation to his hands - I suppose the same for his feet.

Last year he was really whimping out at night though we have *never* turned on the heat at night. I put a knit blanket at the foot of his side of the bed, because he kept complaining that his feet were cold. Wala - problem solved!

This year he got out the blanket, but it doesn't seem to be helping. So I got out a heating pad for tonight. He thinks he just needs to warm his feet before bed, and the blanket will keep them warm all night. In the interim, he may go wool sock shopping - something like that.

It's tough getting older!

---------------------------------------------------

In other news, today was lining up to be the *worst* possible day for jury duty (for many many reasons).

I was regretting saying it would be no big deal. HA!!

Somehow we dodged that bullet. I figured there was no way in heck dh would be called in tomorrow because it is a perfect day for it. What do you know - he got called. How did we get THAT lucky!?!

I have a web-based seminar from home tomorrow - and it's one that I don't need the full 8 hours credit for. (If I miss some time picking up kids and such). Granted, we also have a parent-teacher conference tomorrow which dh might have to miss. I guess there was something jury duty had to muck up!

Will see how it pans out...

{Oh - one thing we forgot was the kids get out of school at 1:00 all week. HA!}.

Doings

November 5th, 2012 at 10:34 pm

**While in San Jose over the weekend I went to the Target right by my folks' house to look for a specific jacket. They didn't have it, but the kids section was very large and I found piles of school uniform shorts on sale for $3.88 (70%-off). Score!! I bought 4 pairs and saved a fortune. I did not look at anything else, which was apparently wise since the kids don't need anything else. But, I need to make a mental note to frequent that Target for clearance items. The selection was huge. (I had to pay a higher sales tax, but still came out ahead).

I found a jacket "close enough" for $20. BM is set clothes-wise for the foreseeable future.

It's funny to me how little in clothing I usually buy for BM, and yet how much ends up tricking down to LM. I was chuckling to myself when I cleaned out their drawers this weekend. I am sure I come across as the big cheapskate who barely has a budget even for the kids' clothing. But somehow I am dumping a giant bag of clothes with every season.

I could not believe how much of their clothes I had to go through, since I did the same already in the spring. I think I held onto a lot of the very small sized clothing that still fit, but liberally tossed it this time because I was running out of room for bigger sized clothing.

-----------------------------------------------------
**Oh, and I lucked out, because a charity came by for pickup today. So, I cleared/moved clothes around over the weekend, and today it's all long gone. Woohoo!

--------------------------------------------------

**Paid a ton of bills today.

$700 ER bill
$145 AAA renewal

Gave some money to the school and to the Red Cross

Did some birthday/Christmas shopping for myself (Etsy)

I had so many charges to "paypal" for the donations and Etsy that I am sure my card will be put on hold for suspicious activity. It happened when I paid for the kids' school stuff this year since they had to do it in 6 different transactions. Rolleyes

Will see!

Dh stocked up on groceries for the first time with our new credit card - will get 6% back on the purchase.

Next week probably we will take dh's car into the shop for a safety check. Initially we always drove really old cars and it seems like they were in the shop often enough that we never had to take them in for any additional maintenance. Of course we keep up oil changes on our cars, but that is about it. It's been 2 years since the older car has needed *any* work (aside from tires, batteries, oil change), and so I think it's best to get the brakes and fluid levels checked before our beach weekend (coming up!!). I'd love to wait one more month and put off paying that until 2013. & who knows - they may not find anything to work on. But, since we are going on a long car drive I think it is prudent. I have a couple of concerns about brakes and a weird noise the car makes when you turn the wheels left. Anyway, we tend to do safety checks once a year but haven't done one in a while. Maybe we did one last fall - maybe they didn't find anything since I don't see any repair charges last year - maybe we just had them check everything over when we replaced the tires last year. I won't bother with the van because it seems in tip top order and don't plan to drive it more than 100 miles any time soon.

Little Things add Up

November 3rd, 2012 at 05:51 pm

Oops - the site ate my post!! I usually copy and paste and all that but wasn't thinking. Grrr...

I added a page to my side bar.

http://monkeymama.savingadvice.com/little-savings-add-up.html

I don't know if I will keep up with it, but trying to remember to share all the little savings.

Surprisingly, I've been able to come up with something every day. Saved almost $100 this month, already.

Most of it is pretty usual.

Of note, I had to do some back to school type shopping for BM. The kids rarely wear pants, but I guess BM's new school campus is on the cold side. Considering it's like pulling teeth to get them to wear pants in January (when it's often 30 degrees when they walk to school), it must be really COLD!

So, usually I don't buy a whole school wardrobe, and try to hit the thrift shops or wait for a sale. But it was rather last minute and I couldn't remember the last time I bought any school clothes. So I hit Target for that yesterday.

They also had some really nice jackets at Target, but none in his size. They weren't online at all. I will be in San Jose today so crossing my fingers that the closest Target to my folks house has some jackets in his size!

While perusing online for school pants, I found some clearance items at Kohls. They might be good items for the kids to give each other for Christmas - so they might reimburse me for those. If not - presents or stocking stuffers.

Reminds me, I am not doing any Christmas preparations because I am mostly *out* of the Christmas spending. Dh's family goes big, but they also give us cash - so they just pay for their own presents and dh takes care of all that. IT's not just us - no one else we know is just into the materialism. So it's been a pretty mutual thing over the years with the rest of our friends and relatives.

Anyway, I asked dh yesterday what he was thinking about the kids for Christmas, because I was thinking the $20 I spent yesterday was probably enough. (Dh will get free books and games, and already bought them a few things throughout the year). Thankfully, he was totally on the same page. Phew! We both agreed they were WAY spoiled last year and for their birthdays, and so we look forward to an uber modest Christmas under our own roof. Dh is into having the kids buy us and each other gifts to teach them money management skills, which is fair enough, but I am not even into that so much any more. I think I am just so over the materialism of it all. I don't remember the last time dh and I regularly bought each other gifts. I have no gifts in mind for dh - he is spoiled too. Big Grin

----------------------------------------------------

P.S. I really like creditcardfree's snowflake posts. I suppose I wanted to share as a reminder that there are probably 1 million ways to snowflake. I know we all do it a little differently. I think my snowflakes are heavy on the credit card rewards (which have been more like giant snowballs the last couple of years - yeesh!)

All the little savings aside, last month we actually pocketed $578 cash from other income sources:

$85 focus group
$10 sold costume
$8 ATT settlement
$470 credit card rewards
$5 sold old cellphone to Sprint

I will include all this stuff in my "Little Things Add Up" page - going forward.

This & That

November 2nd, 2012 at 02:24 am

**Whoa! Only 3 weeks until Thanksgiving!?! How did that happen?

I will let you know when I enter the "no heat" challenge. Ha! It is still hot here - the leaves aren't even changing. Completely unusual. Oh, but I was thinking about T-Day because usually it is a challenge to keep the heat off until then. As of right now the house is 75 degrees, and the forecast is for 80 next week. Yeah...

I am extra lucky because I believe I have three online courses to take at home in November (3 week days). Usually the only reason no one turns on the heat is because all the boys in the house can live in an igloo, I Can sleep in an igloo, and I get free heat at work. I can tough out the weekends and keep busy and active, but "sitting at the computer for 8 hours" was going to be a sure recipe for turning on the heat way early. But obviously not when it is 80 degrees outside...

-----------------------------------------------------

**Oh yeah, literally due to the Hurricane/Cyclone, our recent rain was postponed until 8pm Halloween night. How nice was that? Seriously, the kids lucked out. (I saw on the news that the storm was pushing some storm systems out of our way - more west).

**It's funny because I am so moderate in most things. I always say, if I have a religion, it's "Moderation."

Anyway, I think I mostly get moderation on the financial front. Heck, it's probably my strength in many ways. BUT, there is some part of me that is always "Go Big or Go Home." So I am trying to recognize this in myself and re-program. (Which is not all bad because keeps it interesting. Moderation *all the time* is probably pretty boring! Big Grin )

I never give to charities in $10 denominations. When I hear people need money, I think $50 or $100. Maybe even $25. But, even that is unlikely. So, I share because I bet we could all spare $5 for the Red Cross and the recovery efforts back east. & you know this is so unlike me. I am always first to say, "Forget the money - help with your time!" But, I am telling myself just to send $10 now and regroup at the end of the year when we do our usual donations (& we can probably send much more at that time). & I think we all need to hear this. I think we can ALL do something to help. No matter how little it is.

Giving blood is another helpful deed for those who can.

**Aside from that, I was reading the blog posts today, and thought, "It's November? Crap - I forgot to pay the bills." LOL. There is nothing due today or tomorrow or anything, but a few bills are due around the first week of the month and take a few days to get sent in online bill pay. (I am way too much of an "accountant" to do auto bill pay). Anyway, what happened was I didn't get my paycheck until way late the last 2 months due to vacations and holidays and such. But in those cases I looked at my bills ahead of time and paid them. This month I suffer from, "What, It's November!?!" I was well aware yesterday was the 31st, but time is just flying and I totally spaced.

So I better go pay my bills... My paycheck is deposited already, BUT I didn't need it to pay anything. DOH!!