Home > Archive: October, 2006

Archive for October, 2006

Bye Bye First Credit Union

October 30th, 2006 at 10:02 pm

It's kind of a sad day but I just closed out my first bank account and credit card. I opened the checking account when I Was probably 15 or so and got my first credit card when I Was 16.

I finally got around to trying out a local credit union, mostly because I like to mail my deposits and the US mail has become increasingly slow. Plus there are many reasons to have a local bank. Since we tend to pay cash for cars from private parties, etc., one of these days we may need to get a cashiers check, and I am also going to open a safety deposit box. Etc., etc. We have had issues a couple of times people not taking checks that were not from local banks. So overall it was a good move, about time really - we have lived here 5 years!!! But I just wanted to try out our new bank for a while. Well, they are super awesome, their online bill pay trumps my old one by a mile, and now when I pop my checks in the mail they arrive the very next day. Plus if I Was so inclined there is a branch right down the street from my house, if I Was ever in a huge hurry to make a deposit. I have yet to step inside, but I actually lived about 30 miles from my old credit union before and I don't think I ever stepped inside that one either in the 10 years I lived in the area.

Oh yeah, so I got my new rewards card and a $15 annual fee bill for my old credit card in this last week or so. I decided it was time to close it out - haven't used it in years.

Oh well, it is just a little bittersweet to cut up the first credit card I ever owned. Mostly because it all kind of symbolizes how well my parents taught me about credit and banking, making me start young. I am grateful that I do not rue the day I got my first credit card. Wink

Oh yeah, I also went by the Dollar Tree at lunch and spent $16 on stocking stuffers and gifts. I had a little too much fun. The good thing is I didn't grab a basket and I reached a limit to how much I Ciould carry. That was when I knew it was time to go.

I think just dh's family left with the whole christmas thing. & my one son actually. Getting there...

Going on a Cruise...

October 30th, 2006 at 02:43 pm

I must say I was a little dissapointed when my dh coming up with a fabulous trip for my birthday, came up with a trip down south which we can do anytime. We were gonna splurge a little and I am sure it was gonna be a great trip, but for a second when he was telling me his idea I thought he was getting at going on a CRUISE!!! This was before the whole cracking down on our finances thing and keeping in mind I surprised him with a trip to Vegas for his 30th.

& then when he freaked out and said we couldn't go, I was more than a little annoyed. But whatever. I figured maybe in January we could go somewhere for free on his mom's timeshare - monterey or something. So we put it off a few weeks - we put it off as we wait for his vasectomy date and also in case he found a weekend job, etc. IT was more than just we couldn't really afford it. We could have made it a cheaper trip.

BUT his mom was over this weekend telling us how great her new timeshare thingy is. For one, the old one she was getting annoyed with and told us she wanted to give it to us. Just like when she tried to pass of dh's $20k life-insurance - crazy premiums and all - I said NO THANKS!!!!! LOL. So instead they put MORE money into timeshares after just telling us they wanted out of their old one a year or 2 back???? Whatever. I know some day we will inherit those beauties and I will HATE them, but for now they are pretty sweet. WE always get a weekend away free 2-3 times a year. So this weekend she just said that her mom was going ona cruise and she was looking into joining her. & she found it it is FREE through her timeshare thing. Then she said she had to use up her many many points and would WE like to go on a cruise? I jumped on it - yes yes yes!!!!! So I will have to probably wait a few months, but maybe in the summer we can swing it. I am well aware it is not FREE - that there will be many charges associated with it. But the initial $1k charge or so - yeah - is gone. I am going. Yay!!!!!

I am so excited I get such a super cool birthday present after all. I have never been on a cruise. This one leaves out of LA and goes to Catalina Island, San Diego, and somewhere in Mexico. Forget where. I don't even care - LOL. Woohoo.

The best part is I earn an extra week of vacation this year. This particular cruise runs M-Th which kind of sucks, but with mye xtra week of vacation, oh well. Will work out okay.

Last year we were a little spoiled with our travels and I look forward to more spoiling next year after all. Wink

Bird Poop & Weekend Update

October 30th, 2006 at 12:47 am

We got a quote for $150 and they will clean up the area, just not the rest of the house - whatever that means. Not sure why the rest of the house owuld need it. So they aren't as thorough as the other guy, but sounds like they will take care of it. Price sounds good to me. Other place never called back so we'll move forward with it. I Am just releived it is not a few hundred dollars. We'll see how it goes.

Ah yes, I don't even think I mentioned that we had more Merrill Lynch issues. Ah. I decided to set up dh's new Vanguard account today online to speed up the process, but I Could not print the forms, ACK!!!! Printer was not working, dh was out. Hopefully we'll get it squared away tomorrow, want the forms out in the mail tomorrow - get our money AWAY from ML ASAP. I need to move it first now and then do the ROTH conversion because ML still hasn't done it. We sent in our forms like 60 days ago. 60 days to get it done, has to be done this YEAR. Gah! Hopefully Vanguard is easier to deal with. I am just sending all the forms at once with a letter I need the conversion done ASAP!!! I give up on ML. I hope never to deal with them again. Don't even ask - Friday was bad and dh has to be so difficult about the whole thing.

I just activated my new rewards credit card and they asked when I wanted my due date. I am like, um, well, I would like the cycle to close on the 30th. Okay they say, so your due date is the 13th. Are you kidding me? My other credit card is due on the 29th. Oh, whatever. my other credit card doesn't give me 3% back either. BUT I think it is interesting how they market it as "choose your due date." Just indicative of what a paycheck to paychck society wants - they have to pick that due date well. I don't care, I am just annoyed it is only 13 days. LOL. What is the average time? I thought 20 day grace period is normal. But then wonder why I have 29 days with state farm. Interesting, is this some hige perk most cards don't offer??? What is this 13 day thing??? I will find out more soon enough I guess. I just hope I heard her wrong, but it doesn't really matter in the end. 29 days sure beats 13 days when it comes to slow mail and stuff out of your control.

Dh finished clearing out storage today - YAY!!!! Next month our bills will go down $56 for storage and about $20 for HBO. IT feels great. We also have Blockbuster Online which we LOVE (saw that netflix vs. Blockbuster thread) BUT they just informed dh that they will no longer in-store coupons with it. THat sucks. He said he may be willing to cancel it now. Save 20/month. Yay!!!

This week I am planning to square away dh's IRA, best I can, and close my old VISA and credit union account - get my $25 out.

The following week I am hoping we get our estate papers signed and open a safe deposit box.

Getting there... Getting somewhere anyway...

Oh yeah - today the house is 69 degrees. Feels a lot warmer THAN THAT, but I Am not sure how long we can last with no heat or ac. Bummer... We usually set it around 68 for winter. Almost time to turn it on... Well, we lasted about 60 days with no heat or ac. Unless another heat wave kicks in. IT has been rather warm...

The Problem with Bird Poop

October 27th, 2006 at 04:10 pm

I don't think we'll save much this year. This month's extra to estate lawyer. & next month to clean up bird poop. *sigh*

The pigeons love our house and we paid upwards of $1k a few years back to pigeon-proof the house. The guy was awesome though, he put spikes up all around and CLEANED UP the mess that was accumulating. We seriously had a hill of bird poop accumulating in the backyard - disgusting.

All was fine but the pigeons were starting to move in again. We had our house on the market earlier this year, we thought with prices falling was a good time to make a lateral move, since it has been too expensive otherwise, but quickly gave up after looking at houses for another $100 to $200k, sellers not budging on price, houses that weren't even NEARLY as nice as we already have. We decided to wait it out in the meantime. But during that whole thing I had called the Bird Guy, thought it would be could for a cleanup, and never heard back.

Forgot about it, because the bird situation wasn't too bad back then, but just looked out the window last night and saw a mountain of poop accumulating on our roof. I Also noticed the driveway was looking pretty icky. Gah!!!! So I Called today and the guy answers. Unfortunately he is in Arizona now. Boo. HE recommended Clark PEst Control. All I know is Clark charges you an arm and a leg for regular pest service, so I am wary. But I Can't find anything else so I Called. They said they don't even do cleanup. Oh well, what are you gonna do - *sigh*. They are going to come reinforce the area that the pigeons are hanging out and I guess we are going to clean up the mountain of bird poop. Honestly I don't mind doing it. I just am not sure if we will do a good job. Plus the other guy came out and cleaned ALL of our gutters, and scrubbed with the right chemicals, etc. I will have to do some internet research. Look up good bird poop removal techniques. At least this time is just localized to ONE area. Though I am not so sure fixing that one area will eradicate them. There are a few that like to sleep in our front windows but with the homeowners rules we can't put big spikes up front. Will talk to Clark about less noticable ones I guess... OR maybe simply sealing off the one area that have gotten back into it will eradicate the mess. I hope. There were a bunch of spikes AND it was sealed off but they wormed their way in. Pigeons are evil.

Oh well, Clark is coming out for the quote today. I hope it isn't too bad...

I know I know - need to start a bird poop emergency fund. LOL.

ETA: After doing a little research I don't think doing it ourselves is a good idea. I called another company for a quote after a lot of looking. IT is more of a hazardous waste issue - ick...

In other news my kids are making me work extra too. I noticed my older son figured out all the cabinet and drawer locks a couple of days back. Frankly I Am surprised it took this long. I have friends whose 1-year-olds were into everything. SO I Consider myself lucky. All the same, some items probably need to be moved, like steak knives and scissors. Actually that is how I noticed because he decided he needed the scissors and just went and got them himself. Ugh. Then last night after bath I put the kids in my older son's bedroom, closed the door, and ran out for a minute to pick up towels. Immediately the door opened and I start yelling, "DO NOT open your door" to my older son. I Am yelling/explaining that he can not open the door and for the millionth time that this is not for him, it is for his brother - he is too little to go out unattended, etc. After my tirade my older son yells - "It was the baby." LOL. I peaked in his room and yes my older son is playing quietly in the far corner where I left him. Indeed it is true that the baby, immediately after I left the room, got up and walked out the door.

Trouble I Tell you...

Damn lever doorknobs.

Overall it's okay - I Would not leave him alone in that room for more than a minute anyway, there is a big bed he likes to climb onto and he is too little to be careful not to fall off, but now my 1-minute upstairs holding corral needs some improvisation. Time to get the gate back out I guess. The second the 3-year-old graduates from all the gates, it is time to bring them back out!!!

But I must say I Am proud he opened the door all by himself. A milestone...

Won again at Bunco!

October 26th, 2006 at 06:10 am

But no cash - Frown


LOL. But I did win a prize. A cute halloween mug and some pencils and bubbles - probably will give to the kids. I'll keep the mug for myself - super cute!!

So I did keep my winning streak. Though bummed I have no cash to add to my stash. Wink Dh was joking and asking how much it was all worth - that I should hawk it. LOL. All 50 cents worth, eh?

So this week speeds ahead very crazily. If I am good I will stay offline and get a lot of work done. Work is a little crazy. Saturday and Sunday are filled with halloween festivities. The kids are wearing hand-me-downs and I haven't checked that they fit. *sigh* I should probably try them on tomorrow so in case one of both boys are too big - would not be surprised - I have time for a backup plan. Wish me luck - LOL. People keep asking me what grade my 3-year-old is in so that is probably a bad sign that he may have outgrown his costume from last year - ack!!!

Here is to a calm November... Please?

Cash Stash Update

October 25th, 2006 at 08:58 pm

Cash Stash:

$35.33 cash for 2006
- 1.08 BK Lunch
-12.00 Bunco
$22.25 remains

But if history holds true I should win money tonight - LOL.

Actually I haven't spent much cash in about a week. Not since Friday anyway.

& $11 for bunco tonight. The one night a month I get to escape. Wink
The sad thing is that it is a Halloween theme tonight and I just realized my good old standby - cat ears and tail - are MIA. Probably in storage. Most of the storage is sitting in my living room in boxes, but I wouldn't have a clue where they would be and I have about 1/2 hour to drop off my son from preschool and get ready and turn around. Hmmmm, I may be a party pooper and no costume. Wish I had more time.

I did make super cool eyeball cookies, I wanted to post a pic later.

Oh yeah, I drove the van to san jose and back over the weekend, and then last night occured to me maybe I should get gas. Tank wasn't even empty! I pumped out about 23 miles per gallon - my word - a new record on this gas guzzling van. My husband told me when he got the oil changed they pushed the air filter change to increase gas mileage. I told him it was BS because we had asked our mechanic before. Not on this car, but one that has another 20k miles and has never had an air filter change. So I was annoyed dh fell for this and not sure why he would in the first place because I know they are always pushing this air filter thing. Anyway, that was a while ago and of course my gas mileage around town remains the same. But I am impressed with this whole freeway driving thing. Of course we rarely drive it to San Jose because dh gets all grumpy out gas mileage and so we pack into his Escort, which I Admit gets pretty awesome gas mileage, and 1/2 the time I wonder why I bought a minivan just to commute. Seriously, we drove 400 miles down to Deisneyland scrunched up in the Escort. Oh well, I Didn't mind so much because we didn't have the baby so I could lean back my seat a tad - just enough not to squish the baby carseat anyway which was still very much in the way baby or not. The Escort does get 35 miles + per gallon, what can I say. Yeah, it should be the commuter car in the family and dh with the kids all day should probably drive the van, but he doesn't do big cars is what it really comes down to. That and he doesn't want me to drive his baby.

So anyway, back to the topic, is there something to this air filter thing or is this just the first time I really drove the van on a long freeway drive? Hmmm...

Updated Stats

October 25th, 2006 at 05:11 pm

All the bills for the month are done and paid so I updated the stats. I love looking at my progress. The kick in the butt I need.

I am estimating what the costs on card will be but we have so far had a pretty spectacular month. So I estimaed my boost in savings. $30 interest, $100 from extra income this month (ebay & cookie lee), +$150.

$150 is probably more than my target savings each month, we are so breakeven on our budget, I Am trying to save minimum $50/month. The extra money made all the difference. BUT I am very pleased to report that I actually saved $1000+ this month. (knock on wood since just a few more days - don't want my car to explode). I just did not put it over to the emergency fund because I need it for the estate lawyer. I am so pleased to have the cash to pay her now and not dip into anything else.

I am pleased as punch because though we had a $250 credit on our credit card this month which helped, I had $150 expense on there for my cookie lee sales. IT was our last month paying $56 on the storage. Plus we did about $150 worth of christmas shopping (most of it), bought some clothes for the kids, and spent $40 on birthday gifts. It was a pretty excessive month overall and our credit card bill will be around $1100. $1100?????? In my old budget I just targeted around $1650 - that was my goal. IT was usually closer to $2k. I can not believe what a good month we had, we were not deprived in the least. Includes our anniversary dinner and everything.

Anyway, I need about $700/month to set aside for property taxes and insurance which I never do. But somehow I have it all covered through Dec. 31, so if November is as good I may have $700, at least, for the emergency fund next month. Only thing big is Thanksgiving. but even that family really helps out with food (we host) and I think we will have another banner month. Yay!!!

It was kind of disheartening when I joined the site and thought I Could maybe set aside $50/month. I knew I needed to do something- it was better than nothing. But to see that I have saved $500 in the last 60 days is pretty awesome.

Hubby is dragging his feet on the job thing. IT seems like we are back to square one on that issue, a little extra money could really help. But I don't foresee him really pulling it together. Oh well, at least he is helping me to maximize my income and our savings, it is something. What else can I do...

We are doing so well I Decided to resume extra mortgage payments in january if I get a raise. I started right before my last maternity leave and we just never had the money after that. Then I felt like we needed to save more. We probably do, but I am not happy until I Am paying that sucker down faster... But only if I have d ecent raise to boost our savings and then be able to add to the mortgage. I'll find out in january. Depends what our health insurance premiums go up to too - *sigh*

I just had to say to I had a real estate agent acuqaintance tell me that it was stupid to pay down a mortgage because you pay so little. LOL. She has 2 homes she owns with ARMs. Personally I think *that* is stupid. But anywho. Um yeah, our very first mortgage we had a 15-year loan for 1 year and we paid off $10k over the course of 2 years. Our current mortgage we have had for 5 years and have paid off $11,000. That is $21,000 in 7 years. YEah, we have paid nothing off our house - *rolleyes* Okay maybe $21k is nothing to some people, but it is a lot to me. Oh sure if it wasn't for the kid thing and 1-income thing we would have kept the 15-year loan. Instead I like that our minimum mortgage payment is decent, with a 30-year fixed, and we will add another $500/month when my hubby is working substantially again. On 1-income I am looking to pay $5k off of it next year, just normal payments + 1.5 extra payments, or an extra $150/month. Nothing spectacular. Oh well, I am one of those weirdos who looks forward to not having debts, vs. accruing more. I was also a weirdo who wouldn't buy a house without 20% cash down, so hey. Just call me weird. Wink

Made $78 on EBAY

October 24th, 2006 at 02:49 pm

My baby carrier just sold for $78!!!! cool.

Basically with shipping and handling the buyer is paying $90 for something that cost $92 brand new.

I am still not sure how much in fees will be eaten up by ebay and paypal - I don't really care. Just glad to gross so much for it!

Yeah now I REMEMBER why I had to pay $92 for the dang thing. LOL.

I am so happy my first ebay auctionw as so successful. But I don't really see any more in my near future.

Estate Attorney Meeting & Weekend

October 23rd, 2006 at 02:03 pm

The weekend was pretty awesome. Met with the estate attorney. She usually charges $1800 for EVERYTHING and will charge us $1200. OF course, she is a funny one and originally threw out $10k. I thought she was serious - LOL. Totally kididng but I Am like do not do that to me - hehe. My husband did her $2k wedding video for about $1k so I bet that has a lot to do with it, though she said it was the friend discount. Anyway, we are hoping to sign all the papers in 3 weeks. I am SO relieved just to get it all done, and relieved as well the cost won't sink us, we have been making so much progress on our savings, I would like to keep it that way. I have a new respect about why going to an attorney beats doing it in Quicken though. I feel like I have a basic understanding of all of this will and trust stuff but she pretty much spent an hour answering all of our questions. She also brought up a lot of good points I would never think of on my own and Quicken wasn't quick to bring up. So I feel like this is money REALLY well spent.

Saturday night we changed our minds and considered going to a movie after all, but looking throught he listing it all stunk. So instead we thought it would be fun to go to a night of comedy. Something spontaneous - we just never get out these days. We lucked out financially because it was sold out. We figured at $30 it was 10 times funner than a $20 movie night - LOL. But it was funny as we walked over to dinner, I Was trying to remember what exactly we did as poor college students. We went to the cheapie movies and the nickel arcade, both which are now closed. : ( The ironic thing is we used to go to a lot of concerts which now we feel are too pricey now that we make 5 times as much. Funny how things change. Really, concerts are very pricey these days compared to 10 years ago for sure. That was the other thing - there is a wonderful BEenfit show every OCtober in the Bay put on by Neil Young and his wife - always an awesome show. We decided to pass this year because the lineup though good wasn't the best, and saving money, etc. PLUS the weather always sucks and we are miserable. So we go out saturday and it is hot. I bring my jacket because I know it will cool off. WE went to our $30 dinner downtown which was pretty darn awesome by the way - Chicago Pizza and we come out at 8:00 and it feels like 75 degrees. WE look at each other and say if we knew the weather was this nice we would have gone to the concert. The last couple of times it rained which really stunk - it was outdoors. How rude for it to be so nice when we don't go. Bah!!! I guess on the plus side I see a few more weeks of no heat at this rate. The house has settle at a nice 75 degrees. No a/c or heat in a month or so...

YEsterday we went to the pumpkin patch and I got some really cute pictures of the baby - put one up here. My older son was in hog heaven - $8 for 4 jumpy houses and a slide. Ack. On the pricey side. But grandma paid for it, so it left our entire weekend of fun $30. We paid for our dinner and that is about it. Our family is nice that way - a lot of free food...

It was a nice weekend.

This week is crazy on the otherhand. Crunch week as Oct. 31 is a deadline. & then with all of the halloween festivities. I hope to squeeze some time on here, but I need to work some overtime, etc., etc. For me at least November kind of calms down. It is just the calm before the storm,a nd then december is crazy between work and christmas, and my life is over come january with tax season. So I will get through this week and try to enjoy november best I can. Phew.

EBAY, Buying lots of crap

October 21st, 2006 at 02:51 pm

Cash Stash:

$36.32 cash for 2006
- .99 Bag of chips
$35.33 remains

I pulled out a dolalr to pay for my tape. Dang sales tax gets me everytime. Blah. But I ran to Walgreens on my way home to pick up some tape on sale. Not bad.

In other news, on another message board I belong to there was discussion of ebay. The question was posed, "what do YOU buy on ebay?" If I thought about it in the last 3 years or so I have pretty much bought party supplies and gifts. Thinking harder I know I brought a new breast pump (why I signed up in the first place - a great deal). Also a diaper bag and some shoes for the baby. Some of those Robeez knock offs. They are soft shoes for baby - good for when they are learning to walk, etc. Oh well, I bought those like a year ago and he is still wearing them. I bought one pair and she sent 2 pair - so nice. That is what I love about Ebay, always seem to get some extra too, etc. But yeah I bought a super large size since big feet run in the family. I figure as a baby who cared if they were a little big, they just needed to cover his feet, and now that he is walking they fit pretty well.

I was kind of taking offense whenever I brought up ebay, because I am newly excited about it, and people say - oh - I find people who shop on ebay buy too much. overall. Stuff they don't need. I try to defend myself. Well, that is not how I am as a shopper overall. Um okay. I do admit I was tempted by a cute monkey sock purse - LOL - but I resisted the temptation.

But then on my message board the piles and lists of what people buy cam out. Oh my goddness!!! I see what you mean. All I have to say is that I don't buy stuff like that. I buy one thing I need and I keep it until it falls into shreds, and then I replace it. LOL. That is about it.

But I see what you mean. It gets old hearing people whine about their finances and how broke they are, just to see them spending hundreds of dollars on ebay every month because things are cheap. I will never understand why you need 20 handbags and 20 pairs of shoes, and why you spend hundreds on a night out of drinking and go to Disneyland every single month. LOL. Then I see why you are so broke. My word.

I don't know, my house is so full of excesses as is, I am no angel. I look around and wonder how we got so much crap. I don't feel like we buy much but what little we buy finds a way to overwhelm us. Oh well, I have been on purge mode the last year or so. One day I would like to get the crap down to a minumum. I have the boxes from storage to go through now. Most of which will inevitably GO. But I look at people buying all this crap and I truly wonder what do they do with it all???

Reminds me an article I saw a while back that the average american household has more THINGS than an egyptian pharaohah. (I know I spelled that wrong too). I believe it...

Oh well, gonna spend a lot of money today. I thought meeting with our estate lawyer friend may cost a few hundred. Now I hear could be THOUSANDS. My word. I didn't even ask because I Was scared. LOL. It is something that needs to be done and no one else will give us a better deal than a relatively newly practicing lawyer that is a friend. If it cost TOO much we just do the basics. This is why we are so low on cash these days. $3k for ROTH IRA conversion - thank you IRS - and now I am looking at my emergency fund wondering if we have to dip into that for something that is so awfully necessary, *sigh* BUT I think if it does end up a couple of thousand that we can swing it through the end of the year without touching the fund. We'll see how it goes. Both of these things are just so necessary for our long-term well-being. I have put this off long enough.

The worst is the birds are really doing a number on our house and we have to call back the bird guy. I think we paid $1k to him last time to clean up all the bird poop and put up spikes, etc. I don't think it will cost near as much this time, they just broke through the mesh he put up in one area and there is cleanup. But still, another few hundred easily that needs to be taken care of sooner rather than later - before the dang pigeons really damage our house. Who new pigeons could cost so much - blech.

Teaching Financial Literacy...

October 20th, 2006 at 08:51 pm

I had a few things to blab about but I Wanted to say it feels real good to have GOALS. I really needed this. I have been feeling pretty blah lately like now what, kind of an early mid-life crisis. IT was like school, school, school, buy a home, get my CPA license, buy a better home, have kids. check check check. Okay, now what. That's really how I have felt lately. Now what??????? I know raising kids is a big endeavor, but at the same time I feel like I need another goal in my life.

I just put 2 and 2 together, thinking today that renewing my financial goals has really motivated me. I Am a goal person, I always need to be working towards something. Some things I have put off like getting an even higher education until the kids are much older. It is something I would like to do, but I know I do not have the time to devote. So I have been feeling like, what do I do in the meantime? On the other hand I look at us financially and think we have done pretty awesome. I Wasn't really scrutinizing or making any goals in that area. Now that I Am scrutinizing I wonder what the hell we have been doing. LOL. So what if we are loads ahead of the saps around us, what does it matter, we are BEHIND. I want to retire young!!!! But it isn't going to happen without a lot of work on our part. Ah, but it is a worthy goal to keep me occupied.

Along the same vein I was ready to devote a little more time to volunteering again after things were settling down from the last few years of bearing children and caring for small babies. I Feel strongly that financial literacy really needs to be taught in the schools because parents are not doing it for sure. I was looking into financial literacy programs and saw my state CPA society has a program so I signed up. I have not heard anything in months, which I Was kind of relieved because I do not enjoy public speaking - hehe. I know it is a good cause and I Want to do it - but overall I am pretty scared.

So yesterday I got an e-mail about a training next week. I am absolutely freaking out. I tell myself, calm down. I joined a local professional group for about a year between pregnancies and I spoke to the group a lot, and you know what they liked my speaking. But then I think - gosh - there were professional adults interested in any free tax advice they can get. How am I going to talk in front of high school students???? Can't I talk to the 4th graders??? LOL. But oh well. I Am trying to suck it up and move forward. All I Can do is try. If it is the most miserable experience of my life I don't have to do it again, right?

I actually wanted to start with doing some presentations for the state society and move on from there - getting more involved in the financial literacy movement. We'll see how it goes I guess. I need all the support I Can get though -t ell me I Can do it! Wink

Spending Update

October 19th, 2006 at 08:18 pm

Cash Stash:

$44.40 cash for 2006
- 7.00 Buffet Lunch
$37.40 remains

I know I wanted my cash stash to last until Dec. 31, but I Am cheating a little. My birthday is Dec. 1 & so I figured I would get some cash then to get me through. Hehe. In the meantime it is going fast. But I do allow myself $20 at the ATM every month - in the budget - which I won't need this month or next at least. Plus bunco is next wednesday, where I got my stash from in the first place. I am going to win at least $50 this month. YEah! (Okay, I wish anyway. LOL. Though my luck will probably run out soon. I am not sure I can pull off winning 4 months in a row!! If I win even $5 there may be a mutiny).

I made a lot of money yesterday and spent it all. Sold a bunch of jewelry and made $60. Spent $10 on a christmas gift and then $40 on myself. I figure my birthday was coming up, and since my jewelry was selling pretty well, I should get some new stuff to wear. Imagine if I actually WORE it - it would sell even better. I have been super lazy. $10 left when all was said and done. Oh well. I haven't bought any jewelry the last few months. Whenever I sell I usually use my profits to buy - that is why I signed up in the first place. But the last couple of months I sold a good amount and bought nothing for myself. That's my justification anyway.

Just met a friend for lunch and with our anniversary dinner, probably the only real eating out this month, besides me occasional $1 fast food run anyway. I don't feel like we usually eat out much more but looking in Quicken we have been averaging $100-$200/month. This month is load below. Yay!

My friend was also trying to help but in the end is not helping. LOL. My work decided this year to go out to dinner for christmas instead of the usual potluck. Knowing my boss we will be expected to pay, and they are looking at some fancy places. I was thinking dh probably couldn't go because they were talking friday night. Our family babysits often, but they live 2 hours away and friday night is tough. At first I thought, oh dh can't go. Then I Was thinking good because it will probably be pretty PRICEY. I mentioned something about it to my friend at lunch and she mentioned she would watch the kids. I had never mentioned babysitting swapping with her because she only has 1 kid and lives about 1/2 hour away. BUT she lived by my son's preschool and heck if we go out, we could go out to dinner over there, etc. IT was like a lightbulb went off in my head - we should totally do some babysitting swapping. IF she is cool with the unfairness of only having 1 kid. We'll work it out I guess. We joined a co-op and tried some swapping but I HATED it. But they were littler kids and I have said before I don't really like kids much. LOL. HEr son is much older, and watching 1 kid though maybe less fair, sure beats watching 2 on top of my own. Plus its my son's best friend really so it is a whole different thing. I Can handle toddlers better than babies at least and my co-op is all babies - ick. Oh yeah- but yeah that is really nice but will make our dinner twice as expensive. I'll think about it at least... If I don't take her up this time we have to work something out once a month or something. My dh and I keep saying a regular date night should be a priority, but something always gets in the way. First cost. Then the co-op was a bust. & now things are so tight we figure what could we do anyway. But if she could watch the kids and we could go for a walk in the mall, it would be nice. Doesn't have to cost anything. Maybe we will try to work it in...

Oh well - that's my update today. BAck to work!!!!!

October 18th, 2006 at 04:36 pm

This is a little gem I found a while back.

Text is and Link is

I was just telling dh if we didn't eat out the rest of the month that maybe we could go out to dinner this weekend for our belated anniversary celebration. He didn't leave much room when he slashed the monthly eating out budget to $30, and I Was planning to go to a $5 buffet this week for lunch.

But I Decided to look up my good old and I Was surprised to see how many new restauarants have been added in recent months.

BAsically you order a gift certificate - most of them are $25 g.c.s that you pay only $10 for. There are a lot of catches, like applies to dinner only (sometimes), doesn't apply to alchohol (fine for us) and the kicker is most of the time a $35 minumum purchase. We found a lot of the time we just ordered more food and paid the same in the end as we would otherwise without all the extra food - so it seems. We weren't really coming out ahead - just fatter and more leftovers - LOL. Though with the kids it would often be big savings if we ordered them a meal, etc.

We haven't used them in a while because only had g.c.s available to a couple of restaurants in our area. But I was looking in the Bay Area since we will be there on saturday and there was a list of restauarants a mile long. We'll have to give it a whirl - splurge on a fancy dinner and maybe stay in the budget...

It is so rare we get out to a movie that is what we originally planned - a matinee hopefully - since we'll have babysitters (family). But dh said he didn't want to waste all that money on a movie. They are all so bad these days anyway. Blech. But I am really impressed with dh. HE is doing his part for sure...

Today he is taking the kids to the zoo and to a local kid park thingy. We have memberships for maybe $30/year each, and believe me we get our use out of them. The only thing is the zoo just got a train and they charge $1/ride/person - even the baby because he is 1 (oh please). So I told him to take some of my cash stash for a train ride. There is no saying no once my son sees that train - he is obsessed. Oh well, the zoo is a good cause. Though I am less likely to go over there lately with that dang train.

& tomorrow they have library preschool storytime.

Ah yes, what a deprived life we lead frugally. LOL. I know people who think it is terrible I do not take them to all of the fancy/expensive places all of the time. I think they are okay...

Trading Up

October 18th, 2006 at 02:17 pm

Text is and Link is

Just read an article about this guy who started trading up a red paperclip in the hopes of eventually getting a house. Really crazy.

Entertaining website of the day...

While searching for articles on the subject I came across a story about a guy in California who did the same thing - he started with lint.

$63 and up and up on Ebay!!

October 18th, 2006 at 04:58 am

Wow, before bed I figured I would check my Ebay listing. It is already up to $63 with 6 days to spare. Oh my goodness!!!! I Was just telling hubby I will probably get $60+. IT was at $35 around 6pm so I Was shocked to see all the bididng since then.

Wow - I have no idea where it will end up. Considering you can get a brand new one on ebay for $70 - I am not sure it will go up much more. But I think mine is a newer model than the others - might make ALL The difference. Now I remember why I had to pay $90 for it myself. ; )

This is too cool.

I checked the kid's closet and I have 7 really nice outfits that do not fit in the least. They are all summery so I will probably wait until spring to list them, when there is more demand. The best thing is they will be so easy to ship.

I know they have a few things with tags sitting in their drawers as well. I'll have to do a search...

Even with all the Christmas shopping this month I think it will be a good month for the Emergency Fund. I am expecting 2 more Cookie Lee orders this week as well. An extra $200 - $300 this month with little work. Yay!

Cash Stash Update

October 17th, 2006 at 09:20 pm

Cash Stash:

$45.48 cash for 2006
- 1.08 BK Lunch
$44.40 remains

It's going going fast. LOL. It was funny today I was telling my coworkers I Was only spending $1 on lunch so I Wasn't going with them for the gas station lunch. The gas station on the corner actually serves up some fresh food - rice and meat, eggrolls, etc. I have never been. But they invited me and I Asked if there was anything for $1. LOL. Beacuse I was going to BK for my $1 lunch while they had their high-class gas station lunch. Then someone told me if I Waited until 2 or 3, after the lunch crowd, that the gas station cuts its prices in half to clear out the food. My one co-worker apparently stocks up for dinner there almost every day. & they do give you good portions. I will remember that next time hubby is sick or needs a break from cooking duties. Sounds like a good deal overall - and convenient. I think she said $5 for dinner for 2 - really decent servings. Would probably feed us and the kids for $5.

In other news I got my first ebay bid - woohoo. So far it stands at my starting price - 29.99. But to get s bid so fast sounds good to me. We'll see what happens.

Gosh those 4 shirts I was looking at actually ended up going for $18!!!!!! I can do better at the thrift shop without shipping. BUT I am definitely going to put up some of the endless clothes with tags I have. Family has a hard time listening when I say size. They always second guess me. I didn't mind it so much with my older son because I Saved it for future children, and they have gotten well used. But now I am not planning on any more babies. I have given so much away, but if I Can put up 4 dinky shirts for $18 - I am in. LOL. I know for now he has a few cute outfits - 2 pieces or shirts with overalls. They are nice brands too - not like the target brand I Was bidding on. I see more extra income in my future - yippee. Next time instead of grumbling when I get the wrong size I Will turn it into cash, eh?

May be a good thing to put up before christmas too, huh? I was specifically looking for clothes with tags since it would be a gift. Maybe in the next couple of months clothes with tags get an extra premium. Maybe???

My First Ebay Listing!!!

October 17th, 2006 at 06:45 pm


I had in mind to sell that baby carrier and I just got an e-mail from ebay that they would waive their fees if I Decide to sell my first item this week. Just the kick in the butt I needed. I got it listed. My only competition is not as nice and is at $57 with 1 day to go. I expect to make $60 easy - if not more.

I Was cheking the manufacturers website for some info and saw they are selling brand new $90. I think that is probably about what I paid. I bought it in mind I would sell close to full price someday, as they are impossible to find used - very high demand.

Well, we'll see how much I can recoup. I am already eyeing some unused clothes in baby's closet - new with tags. Stuff that is easy to ship. We'll see how it goes, though obviously going something small to ship and high dollar is the best way to go. Not sure I have much else to offer in that category.

I got way outbid by $3 on those clothes, but oh well, would have put me over budget. Instead I Stopped by Target yesterday and scored with their clearance rack. Got 2 shirts and the cutest skirt you ever saw for about $14. I went $1 over budget for christmas with niece - oh well. Well worth it. I am pleased how good I did on $16 - a pile of nice stuff.

YEsterday was icky, I worked from home. I actually got some work done too - phew. Try working and watching a 15-month-old. I pulled off 3 hours of work, only 1/2 hour with the help of t.v. LOL. & then 2 hours at nap time.

Not a fulll day but beat calling sick this crazy time of year. Dh feels better today.

Was gonna meet a friend for lunch but she backed out. Now I have to go get a $1 lunch - blech. I just need to bring a lunch every monday for these kind of things = or even a frozen dinner. This is the second time this month. I don't really want to eat out since I plan to meet her for lunch thursday instead. Thank goodness for cheap fast food.

Oh yeah - and I am so frigign sick of baby showers. I HATE them. I am so sick of being invited to showers for people I don't really know, for their 2nd, 3rd, 4th child. You know what, it's tacky. IT seems to be the norm these days though. When you get pregnant by accident the 3rd time on the SAME form of birth control you have always used - um yeah - maybe it is time to change. I know you think I am rich and well off and you are so poor, but honey, now I know you make twice as much money as I do. Do like the rest of us do and go buy some used things, go to some garage sales. Maybe then you wouldn't be so "broke." & While you are at it, try some new birth control please. Thanks for not talking to me for an entire year and then inviting me to your shower because you "need" things. I fell for that with #2. I am out. No more baby showers for this lady. If you are not related by blood and I haven't seen your face in person and talked to you on the phone this last year, I am out. I am not going to your gift-hoarding baby shower. I am so fed up. If you invite me to a shower that is gift-optional or a baby celebration, you know what, I Will probably show. But then again, anyone who has the tact to do that, well I probably wouldn't mind getting them a gift after all. ; )

Gosh, I Feel better now. Rant over. Phew.

Sick Sunday

October 16th, 2006 at 05:54 am

I can not put my finger on it but my husband never gets sick. Since 1 child in daycare setting, sick sick sick all the damn time.

The weirdest thing is I have escape a few things. Usually I am the one who is always sick. Weird.

Anyway, he just informed me he has a 103 temperature, and I just informed him I am sleeping downstairs. Blah! I do not want to be sick. These next 2 weeks are crunch time at work, and worst thing is I brought 3 hours of work or so home this weekend that I could not do because I was missing some info. Just enough so I could do NOTHING. So I am 3 hours behind from last week, and tomorrow isn't looking so promising.

Anyway, we'll see how nasty it gets. My mother just reminded me maybe it was all the birthday parties. Probably. No more stinking birthday parties - gah. We went to one in April - the first one we were invited to through preschool and everyone there got that nasty bug where you just puke every 15 minutes for a day or 2. It was the worst. We should have learned our lesson. Hopefully this is something minor and mild. *fingers crossed*

YEah, my husband and my son in general have immunities of steel, so I do not know what this whole daycare germ thing is about and why it is so pervasive. My son got his first ear infection (and 2nd and 3rd) at 3 after starting preschool and has been sick a few times aleady after never really being sick his first 3 years. You know it is not like he was not around other kids a lot, but there is something about being exposed to the germs on a regular basis for prolonged periods of time or something. ??? & why dh is so susceptible I can only imagine. I have no clue.

Oh well, in money saving news the storage is just about cleared out. My living room is filled with boxes. Oh well, I will take a house full of boxes and be glad to wipe that monthly expense out of the budget. Yay!

Most of the stuff from boxes will end up going I am sure. I just am not sure when I will find the time. In the meantime we can live like we just moved I guess. ??

I won some more ebay auctions - woohoo. No more bidding wars - I like it better thay way overall. I Was actually surprised because I went to take a nap and just put my real maximum bid. Woke up and was surprised I had won. My christmas shopping is almost done! I have one auction that ends Tuesday and I already put in my maximum bid. We'll see. If I win I Will have 4 brand new shirts for $13 or less, and a tiara and fairy princess wand for a grand total of my $15 budget for my niece. I will be pretty pleased. If I don't win, I have about 2 months to find something better on ebay. I am just so pleased what I pulled out on such a small budget - I think it will be a nice gift. Same for all of them so far. I intended to get my mom one $20 gift but I got her 2 awesome gifts instead - thank you ebay.

Cash Stash Update

October 15th, 2006 at 03:33 pm

Cash Stash:

$48.73 cash for 2006
- 3.25 Nachos/drink
$45.48 remains

I splurged on a nachos and coke yesterday at birthday party. IT was at a small kids park and I know my nacho weakness so since we have an annual membership it is a place I take the kids often but have taken to not going near lunch time. Or if we do, pack a lunch and have a picnic.

Yesterday was rush and rush and no avoiding the time since it was a birthday party. So I got a nachos and splurged. We also got a slice of pizza for the big kid, but dh put it on credit card.

He was really nitpicking at me. I said dude, as long as this is within the budget, don't nitpick me. I want nachos dammit. LOL. I had my cash stash which is beyond budget anyway. No matter what I was having my nachos. They were only $3.25 and they gave me great joy. Aaaaaaahhhhhh.

Dh really needs to learn to chill on the small things. We were getting into a fight over my pepsi drinking the other day. I honestly read an anti-caffeine book a while back in the hopes of scaring me off of it but all I could grasp was my little 8 oz a day amounted to squat. Plus I find if I can have a little sweet pepsi drink I can resist any other bad foods. So I informed him I Was sick of hearing it. HE could deny me my pepsi, make me miserable, and I would probably eat a lot worse overall. HE just needs to let it go. Gah.

Speaking of all that though, I am pretty pleased this week. Frugality = healthy liestyle in a big sense. I grew up never eating fruits/veggies and I am working hard on this. I was always pretty thin/underweight even and gained 10 pounds with kid #1, 10 pounds with kid #2. The kicker was after I had #2 my hormones then went whacked for a while and I gained anouther 10 pounds. I had to pretty much go on a diet to stop gaininng weight and have been a lot more on track eating better. Junk has been out, fruits & veggies in.

Anyway, hormones got back in whack and the 10 pounds dropped off. But since then not much. I haven't tried much since then but I was pleased that busy tax season when I always gain a token few pounds every year - but this last year I didn't gain a thing even with my whacked out hormones. Anyway, this last month I have been so busy and distracted with money I find myself not thinking about food. It is like replacing one addiction for another. But replacing a bad addiction with a good addiction. It is pretty amazing the results. Being extra frugal with the food as well I dropped one pound this last week.

All I keep thinking is imagined if I exercised and stuff - hehe. I do, but with baby's sleep so out of whack I got out of it. I need to get back into exercising since sleep has been better.

For now I would really like to fit my wedding ring again and my old clothes. I have a bunch of size 14 pants I Can barely squeeze into. Getitng close.

On the flip side I look pretty good in a 12/14 and I don't want to lose too much weight because honestly I don't want to have to buy new clothes. LOL. But I could lose 20 pounds and still fit my clothes I suppose. If I lost 10 pounds I would be pretty happy.

I really look forward to the upcoming busy season - I think it will help keep me distracted from food.

This whole being extra frugal with the groceries thing has gone a long way though to help my healthy eating. IT isn't even so much about the weight at times as just trying to set a good example for my kids. I don't want them to grow up and not know what a fruit or veggie is even like I did.

Power of Positive thinking

October 15th, 2006 at 03:06 pm

I have always believed in the power of positive thinking. I am a very "glass half full" person and little in life really gets me down. In fact, some would argue I am too optimisitc. LOL.

I find it in a similar vein, extremely interesting that putting a little extra effort to frugality and financial goals, how much the money gods seem to be raining on us lately. I have done NOTHING different with my selling jewelry but suddenly I have 5 orders vs. the usual 1 per year from my mom. LOL. They beauty is I didn't have to do anything!!! Dh thinks I am crazy, but I think it is interesting.

I am just kicking myslef for falling asleep at the wheel these last few years. We could have done so much better. I am looking at our budget this month and I am AMAZED at how little we spent and how on track we are. But I am so excited at the track we are on. If overall frugal people have this much to improve, I have no idea what the hell joe blow average is doing. Wasting a lot of money I guess...

Spent some money this weeked. Ah, but it was FUN. I was doing some christmas shopping on ebay. We had budgeted $30 for each kid and I had no ideas for the baby. I was perusing ebay and the abundance of "pretend play" toys like toy tools and toy food, etc. inspired me. I know I do not like the electonic toys overall but looking around we have a lot of flashy toys. I would like to make an effort to build up more of the back to basic toys. I am inspired by my son's preschool which is very big on pretend play. So anyway, I saw a little toy kitchen that I thought was great. IT was cheap but shipping was $20. In the end I went $7 over budget but I think it was well worth it. I will probably buy some toy food to go with it can get for under $5 on ebay. Anyway, it was FUN because I got into a last minunte bidding war and won. I had never done that before and was proud. Instead of $12 I paid $14.50 but I think it was well worth it. The kids will LOVE it. & I am glad I found something so cool for the little one who gets so overlooked. He deserved something big because frankly he never gets anything big. I feel okay with it.

We decided to get my older son a play digital camera. I am keeping an eye out for one in the $30 range. I think he will LOVE it - Fisher Price makes a "kid proof" one.

Today I perused craigslist and ebay for prices on some things I am trying to sell. I think I am going to try my hand at Ebay in the next few weeks - selling. I usually only Sell big things, I find donation and freecycle much easier for little things. & not interested in shipping big things. BUT I did buy a baby carrier a while back for $80 or so. It was the best of the best and they were IMPOSSIBLE to find used. So I bit the bullet and figured I could get most of it back. Since I barely used it - it's in great condition. I was pleased to see a couple on ebay going for $50 with days to spare on bidding. Looks like they are easily going for $60 or even more in the end. I will be glad to get most of my investment back because that purchase was a tough one to swallow.

I also priced baby's highchair, jumperoo and exersaucer at about $30 each. Not quite ready to sell yet, but will be some nice ash in a couple of months. Will try Craigslist.

I am not sure if I ever sold anything on Craigslist. I put a few things up there last year and ended up not going over well. I ended up freecycling them just to be rid because I was in a hurry at the time. But I have vied so much for above said items - I know they go fast. Plus considering I paid $20/$30 each myself - yay I will breakeven in the end.

Totally Off-Topic but FUNNY

October 13th, 2006 at 04:53 am

& now for something light and cute...

Ah, I have a good story today. Dh has been teaching my 3-year-old about planets and all that using a toy monkey as the earth and something else as the sun - a ball or something. For some reason we live on the butt of the monkey in all of his analogies. My son is at the "why? why? why?" stage and sometimes a visual makes more sense. Not that we expect him to really get it.

Anyway, hubby just informed me that today my son asked if we REALLY live on a monkey butt. LOL!!!!

The funniest thing is he was asking me just the other day something about the sun and I Went to the monkey analogy and he said, "mom - we don't really live on a monkey." LOL. It was like he was scolding me for getting it all wrong.

Apparently since then we have majorly confused him.

Poor kid.

I remember all the things that really confused me as a kid and the weird things I thought and I really try to keep that top of my mind when I say things to the kids. But frankly, there is no way to know what they are thinking sometimes. Though this may be kind of an obvious one - a way to really confuse your toddler!

& yeah, I find it frustrating all this "why?" stuff. I really try to answer in terms best he can understand for the first 50 whys, but after that I start to burn out. Inevitably you have to end the conversation with "I don't know" or because "that's the way it is." With the more science-y stuff I always end with "go ask your dad." LOL.

Cash Update/No-Spend/Yes-Spend

October 12th, 2006 at 09:52 pm

$48.73 cash for 2006
- 2.00 Water Bottles (2)
$46.73 remains

I'll still do the challenege the remainder of the week, but pretty much I am out.

I posted in a thread how I had to spend money on water - did not expect 80 degrees in OCtober - gah. But oh well, what I learned is next time I go on an exhuasting field trip with preschoolers, I will bring my own water. Even in winter it is enough to kill you - you will probably get thirsty. LOL. Actually it was pretty fun - cute cute kids!!!

I left the 2nd booster seat in my car today so the kids could not go to library preschool time. I felt SO bad. : ( They went last week and were so ecited today. Oh well. Imagine they walked to the park instead... Beautiful day! It has been good for the electric bill - no a/c or heat in the near future.

I also did not put the food away last night and wasted 1-2 meals as dh says. To my credit I never put away the food and dh always does. So when he asked me why I didn't put it away, I Said, "huh?" LOL. He's been out every night editing a movie. I guess I will have to make it part of my routine, just to check. If it's not part of my routine I most likely won't notice. IT bugs me too dh lets it sit out until bedtime, I should just start putting it away right after dinner. I do sometimes so I guess he figured I would notice. I think he will double check from now on too.

I have been so breaindead lately anyway.

Went to target and was bad. Got the things from list, saved a lot of money. got a gew things that were on sale plus used coupons. Yay!! BAd thing was I had 4 coupons and lady messed them up and cost me 25 cents. Oh well. She had to scan them 100 times like I was the only one who has ever used coupons. LOL. I decided next time I will check the receipt before I walk away. She accidentally scanned a 75 cent one twice and missed a $1 one, but oh well. at least she didn't miss my $2 coupon.

I also spent $2 on christmas gift for niece - the cutest tiara and wand.

HAd some magnetic notepads for $1/each which I love for grocery lists so I stocked up. I had some lists laying around (free) that I intended to glue magnets to, but this is the next best thing. Especially since I haven't got around to it - give me a few more months. ; )

Spent $1 on thanksgiving decorations. Not necessary but at that price - too cute. Will be cute touch to Thanksgiving dinner.

The downside was I wanted to get this cute shirt for my 3-year-old. I wrestled with the idea yesterday. I decided yes. Then I thought about it and decided no. Not necessary. THen I thought if it was only $5 or so what difference does it make. I thought I could buy a larger size, spend $5, he could wear it 2 halloweens, and baby could wear it 2-3 halloweens. Plus they don't have much clothes.

So I went to peak and they were only $5. But they were so dang cute, they were mixed in with the baby ones. I Decided they needed matching outfits. Total impulse.

If I hadn't of planned to go to Target this week I probably could have resisted. Oh well. Put it in the money I did not need to spend category. & dh pointed out that they each have way too many shirts. He has a point. Oh well. They'll be cute. I honestly wouldn't have bought them if they weren't so cheap though. Sales can be bad really!!!!!!!

Even though I fell off the wagon I will continue with my no-spend challenge just to get mroe insight into my spending habits. & even so, just because you stumble doesn't mean you should give up. Right??

The insight I have gained so far is I am spending so little on things I find myself justifying more. LOL.

& next time I see a cute shirt I Will resist saying, "where did you get that????" I will admire its cuteness and just assume it is out of my price range. Right?

No Spend Challenge

October 11th, 2006 at 09:07 pm

Well today is pretty much a fluff day.

Lunch was provided - pizza and soda. Ahhh, I am STUFFED. & then I leave ina few for the Pumpkin Patch - yay!!!!

Oh yeah, I volunteered to drive because of course my control freak side does not want ANYONE else driving my kids anywhere. So I figured I would drive him. Looking at the van and its built-in carseats though, I did mention I could carry 4 children pretty easy - with no carseat maneuvering. Ah, what was I thinking???? LOL. Driving 4 little brats. Eh. I LOVE my kids but I just don't "do "kids as I have said before. Hopefully another adult will drive with me. Hehe. They are all pretty little so no matter I am sure they will be fine. THen again, hmmmm. Little screaming kids. Maybe not so fun. The drive is not far at least. Well, it will be an interesting afternoon! The pumpkin patch they are going to has slides, hayrides, animals to pet, etc., etc. I am sure they will have a BLAST! & a friend of mine will be there as well, I talked her into joining this daycare while back and on the plus side I now have a good friend at all the events. Not why I talked her into it, but hey. Side benefit. Plus we never get together because she lives 30 minutes away, but I See her all the time now and the kids are best buds now - it is cute. Since this daycare is pretty central beween us - close to where she lives and where I Work.

Anyway, I am trying my first no-spend challenge this week - the unplanned one. No spend challenges are in general pretty easy for me. I just don't shop much, don't spend much, all my expenses are pretty planned. That is just how I have ALWAYS lived. Put it this way, I am not a spontaneous person. BUT when I first saw these boards and all these "no spend" days I am thinking, huh, what is this, how hard is it not to spend a few days? Again with my non-spontaneous nature you see where I am coming from. But at the same time, since being on these boards, I have noticed that I have spent a few dollars here and there and not really thought about it. Nothing big, but even to Miss non-spontaneous I am starting to see how it could be a challenge.

So when I Saw the no warning, no spend challenge I thought, sure. I can give this a whirl. It is more interesting because it wasn't planned. If I plan to not spend for a week - easy peasy. But if it wasn't plan and I had to decide today, can I do it? Without stocking up on things first? Looking at the next week the first thought to me is "Easy peasy." Then again looking at the last month I do see a lot of little things did come up unexpectedly - unplanned spending. So in the week ahead I wonder what will come up and if I will be able to say no. I think it will be a learning experience. We'll see! & what's the worst that could happen? I may spend less money than I Would have otherwise. SOunds good to me!

I was even thinking ahead on it today and thinking when my car got low on gas I Could drive hubby's car to work for a few days. In the end I decided that is just silly because it is all the same in the end - I have so and so on my calendar I am going to drive to all these planned events, and to work, no matter what. So in the end it is all the same. I could use his car and not buy gas for a week but then we'll have 2 empty tanks and it's all the same in the end. We'll just have 2 buy 2 tanks of gas next week instead of 1 this week and 1 next. So in the end I'll pass. HE hates it when I drive his car - not worht the wrath. LOL.

Lunch Update Tuesday & Dead Car Batteries

October 10th, 2006 at 08:37 pm

Cash Stash:

$50.01 cash for 2006
- 1.28 Taco Bell Lunch
$48.73 remains

This budget thing is really turning into a full-time job. My word. LOL.

Was going to drive home for lunch as my mom was going to visit and dh was going to work on clearing out storage.

She called me today at work to say she wasn't feeling well and wasn't driving up. So I had to sacrifice $1.28 for lunch. Considered going home anyway but gas would have been about $3 for the drive so I decided a quick lunch would be cheaper.

OF all things my work is providing lunch for us tomorrow. I am not sure if they have ever PAID for a lunch for us before. They host often, but we always have to pay our share. This is the kind of thing dh and I Were fighting over on the budget. Sure I don't have to but geez even the poorest person participates. LOL. I Can order a salad or something cheaper than usual of course. Anyway, when I saw the e-mail headline about lunch in I Was thinking - gah - my budget!!!! Now I choose between eating out with friends or eating in with people I see every day - or telling them I am too porr to participate in a $4 lunch. Ack! But I was very pleasantly surprised to see lunch would be provided. A first in 5 years? Awww, the money gods are in my favor this week.

Downside, 3 days of junk for lunch, but oh well. HAving pizza tomorrow.

Yeah, we are still trying to move money out of MErrill Lynch and having all sorts of problems. Back to square one on moving ALL of our money out. For the best. I am so ready to just completely cut out the middle man. OF course dh tells me today I Am the difficult one in the ML debacle. I have never met this guy or talked to him, but man he works some magic voodoo - turning dh against me - LOL. I Am like - dude, you said he said we shoudln't sell this fund and you wanted to keep it. I Said, "fine" though I Was not happy in the least. Now he says we can't keep it - so I Say, "fine" - I am happy to just leave. Then dh says I changed my mind and made it difficult. ????????? Oh well, I just have to let it go... Over and done with soon enough - I hope anyway. Obviously the sales guy in Mr. BRokerage is trying to sway dh to stay and it is annoying me to no end he is falling for it.

Speaking of falling for it, after the budget talk, dh went in for an oil change and they talked him into some work he didn't need - change the air filter or something. ?????? The rule is we ask our trusted friend/mechanic whenever they suggest anything - 10 times out of 10 it is BS. I Can not believe after talking budgets and all this he fell for it. IT was on our new van which has 1/2 as many miles on his car and we have asked our mechanic repeatedly on this issue because every time we go in they say new air filter on his old car. MEchanic says BS. I don't know where dh's brain was this weekend. Gah.

Speaking of cars the 2 gardeners working at my office, their battery died in their van. Apparently all the men were out of the office. Secretary asks around if anyone can give a jump and all the women look like deer in headlights. LOL. I am thinking I don't have my car today and not sure if I have jumpers. Then she pretty much tells the guys to wait until the men get back. LOL. They of course had jumpers, and so I bravely offered to give them a jump. IT was kind of funny. USually it pisses me off because I always offer and whoever needs a jump settles for a man for whatever reason. so today was my day of glory I guess - no alternative.

But I was thinking that I don't know what it is but society today does not have a clue on what is involved with a jump. I remember one time we were stranded in the middle of nowhere on I-5 - my dh's car just happened to die at the gas station as we were filling up. We asked 20 people for a jump and 19 looked at us like we were crazy. It felt like bizarro world - we thought maybe it was a small town thing. LOL. But looking at the same response today I think, um okay, people in California have not a clue what a jump is or how to go about it. I guess I have had my fair share of dead batteries. HAs no one else?????? IT is not exactly rocket science. & of course my dad taught me the basics of cars like jumping a dead battery and changng a tire, because you know it is important to be able to take care of yourself and not be a stranded, weak woman. I guess with cell phones and AAA it is more rare to find a woman, or a man that can fend for themself. I have to say my husband would not have a clue how to jump a dead battery or to change a tire either. I notice that a lot like when we are out together someone will ask for HIM For a jump and then I say okay and get out the jumper cables and hook them up - LOL. & they are looking at dh like, what is going on here??? LOL. But I think it is kind of an interesting phenomenem.

The end result? Don't expect to find a jump when you have a dead battery. Call AAA I guess. At least not in these neck of the woods. I grew up in a very large city and it was never an issue. Cow town folk are scared of car batteries is all I Can figure. LOL. Totally kidding. ; ) Cow town folk and women, eh?

Lunch Update

October 9th, 2006 at 08:55 pm

Cash Stash:

$51.09 cash for 2006
- 1.08 BK Lunch
$50.01 remains

My cash stash is extra important now that dh is in "budget nazi" mode - LOL. But we spent so long this morning arguing budget I Was late to work and just figured, eh grab Taco Bell for lunch. But I forgot I had checks to deposit by mail and BK is by the fast post office so BK won.

Dh was so cute - he called me this morning and said he went grocery shopping and spent $56 for the entire week and even stocked up on stuff. The bonus is the new Bel Air has a gas station and whenever you spend $50 you get 10 cents off per gallon. It is a pretty good deal. We hoarde all the 10 cent coupons for the van since the tank is twice as big as his little compact car. So he made sure to spend at least $50 of course. But last week we ate on $100 so we'll see how this food stash lasts.

Some things he did was clear out the fridge and see what needed to be used. 1 - since he had more room he stocked up on milk for sale - we go through milk like it is nothing and he said usually you can buy the second gallon for discount so he will start doing that more. 2 - HE planned meals for the week based on what we had unused in the fridge. I am sure in general we waste a lot of food. Not a ton, but more than we should. I am not sure this will work every week, but it is a good start. If we get too good there should be nothing left in the fridge, right? ; )

I still can't believe we were at the "there is no way to save money on groceries" fight on saturday, to this. Who is this person and what did he do with my husband? LOL.

In other news we only used 1/2 our peak cell minutes this month. From months of overused, to well underused. Goal met - yay!!

A miracle has Occured in this House

October 9th, 2006 at 02:29 pm

No more HBO!!!! Hallelujah!! LOL.

I don not know how many times I have broached the subject that we don't need HBO, heck cable since we are not saving much money, etc. Dh has always staunchly been opposed.

This morning I woke up and he had been up all night slashing the budget. I Was really scared to look but the only thing we really fought about was the christmas budget. & after arguing it out there is only 1 thing we disagree on.

I almost fell over when he told me he is cancelling HBO.

Honestly, I know we have communication issues. We try to write down stuff because we always have the "you neevr told me" fight about our plans every week, and so in the end I Said if it is not on the calendar you didn't tell me. Since we wrote it all down, no more fighting. Seems the same with the way of the budget.

I was pleased he did not cross out the gardener either. If he crosses it out he can do the work - I just refuse at this point. Just glad something I thought we would fight over. I can give up anything but that. & of course he hasn't goven up cable but from $60 to $40 whatever - it's a step. He was pretty on par with what I came up with but besides the HBO we lowered eating out to $30 - mostly for my social life, and miscellaneous from $250 to $170.

Overall I know I am relinquishing some control, which is hard for my control freak side, but it feels so good to truly have him on board and understand where I have been coming from so long. This is why I nitpick when he buys things, I am not sure why me telling himw e didn't have the money got through his head and this does, but oh well.

HE applied at Best Buy and Target - just for the rest of the year. We might actually save a lot this year. Yay!

Digging deeper and getting some time to talk, well he is all freaked out because he thinks we have been saving money all these last few years. I have NO IDEA where he got that impression - you are right - he is on another planet - LOL. Um the fact that are savings has dwindled down to 5k is a BIG hint we are not saving money darling. & he is well aware where our finances stand. Men!! Anyway, I made clear since he has not been working we have saved just about zilch. We haven't really gone in the red with the exception of a car we just purchased - which basically brought our savings to 0. But we certainly haven't saved a dime. Get real.

Today even with the quibbles I see in the future about little purchases, and the fact my husband is acting like a parent to me somewhat today, I Feel like a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders. Aaaaaahhhhh...

Edited: Oh yeah - I knew it was TOO good to be true - LOL. HE mentioned as I walked out the door this morning that he checked the listings and none of his shows are on until March - *rolleyes* I guess we will fight over it in march. At that point if he wants HBO I say it will come out of his allowance. Oh well, at least 6 months of no HBO - $120 saved. I am pleased that we will not pay for it while we are not using it at least - well duh.

Grocery Fight!

October 8th, 2006 at 03:07 pm

Yeah, well was having a discussion with my hubby and we were arguing over groceries. *sigh*

HE does all the shopping, and I think really since I am a control freak, he does not want to relinquish control over the groceries - so he is fighting over it tooth and nail. Well, that is my psychological insight anyway. I don't want to take control I just want to save some money - aaaaarrrrggggghhhh...

Actually it all started when I was looking up some of those books on the book thread as I was putting some on my christmas wishlist. I was kind of bored with the selection and telling dh if you read one frugal book you've read them all. I was raised frugally and have garnered little from these types of books in the past. I guess I am interested in more investment books at this point. Though I then proceed to tell dh that one area I think we can improve on is our grocery shopping. When I look at our budget we pay little for may things, we have our luxuries, and then groceries pop out of me - that we should be able to trim them down. Then dh tells me I am insane and there is NO way we can save any more money. I think he is insane! So my reply is, what, if I lost my job we could not survive on $200 a month? Of course we could. Then he says he doesn't want to eat Top Ramn every night. Well the people I know saving money don't eat Top Ramen every night - gah. I don't know why he is so resistent to even giving a try!

Oh yeah, and then he says I used to get mad when he stocked up on stuff for sale. I have no idea what he was talking about until he mentions I did not want him to buy a leapster game on sale - OMG! I am talking "necessities" here - I remember that argument because we did not have the money for it and he was determined to buy it regardless. He said he was going to buy it anyway and I wouldn't let him buy it on sale. Pffffttt. The whole point was I didn't want him to buy it at all. Gah. I assured him I would not complain if he stockes up on grocery items while they are on sale - gheesh. I am not talking about toys and games here which we do not need!!!

Well, we spend around $500/month. I just lump all the grocery bills under grocery category, but this month I am sorting everything in quicken by food items. I have the categories dairy, fruits/veggies, meat, soda, cat, diapers, non-food, etc. So over a couple of months I would like to see how much we are actually spending of FOOD. & trying to look for sales on non-food items elsewhere, etc. We have been clipping a lot of coupons. We have noticed since we buy generic most of the time, generic is usually cheaper than the coupons help in the end anyway - tend to be for name brands. But of course I am encouraging dh to stock up when generic stuff is on sale, etc. & there are always a few great coupons regardless...

I have also been clipping coupon for walgreens and rite-aid - they have really good deals on some items - which I could pick up on my way home from work, etc. I don't necessarily want to spend all of our time driving to different stores - there is a cost/benefit here as well. But a stop on the way home I can deal with. But it will be interesting to see how all the coupon clipping pans out this month. Also, we are trying to plan our meals around the sales more.

I was reading the grocery threads for more ideas and saw some intersting ones. There is a Big Lots by my work that I have never been in. I guess I should start perusing it for grocery deals. & other deals as well, eh?

I was telling my dh about double/triple coupons and did not really understand then - he said it was all BS. I realize now because looking at that thread, there are no stores in our area that do that. Oh well, that would have been easiest, eh?

The tip that strikes me as odd as that gas stations have sales prices on some items. Too weird. I will have to check it out. Who knew?

We always figure we would get a Costco membership eventually when the kids are older. I just don't think now is the time. But maybe we are missing out.

I know there are a few disocunt stores around so I am not sure why dh is so set on Raleys, Bel Airl, Safeway, etc. He is pretty familiar with those stores and knows which ones have the best deals on certian items, etc. HE plans his shopping around that. Maybe he just doesn't want out of his comfort zone. & we would have to drive far (10 miles? & gas sucks lately) to these other stores - there are none near us. Raleys has yes been more high end in the past but lately they have been cheapest by far - they are revamping their strategy to be a low cost leader. & we have a new Bel Air down the street which is empty most the time so we both love to go their to beat the crowds.

Besides that we don't buy much in the way of processed foods, try to limit meat, etc. So we kind of have had the basic tenets of saving grocery money down for a while. We do good home cooking almost every day.

Oh well, it will be interesting to see what we can do in the next few months. Anyone has any good tips in general or Northern CA though - let me know. I hear a lot about Trader Joes but that is another one that is a good 20 mintue drive to get to.

Saturday Blahs

October 7th, 2006 at 01:40 pm

HEy I just noticed I had 1300 points so I bought myself a black user name - pretty sweet. Black is my favorite color. I Would have got a glowing name - well I don't think I had enough points - but I use firefox and not internet explorer. That sucks. LOL. I might buy it anyway in the future. I use explorer on occasion.

I am just vegging out waiting for the kids to wake up. Baby slept through the night again. I in turn was wide awake at 5am, but that is good. I feel like my life has been turned upside down the last few months. Usually I wake up early to work out and get stuff done, but that has been so out the window of late. It feels good to have some time.

Well yesterday I spent $30 at amazon. I invested in some mutual fund books. I figure it was a good investment and I Was too lazy to go used. I intended to look at the used options on amazon but they were only $1 or $2 cheaper than new so I figured what the heck.

I also started my christmas shopping. I had intended to start sooner, and I Was feeling silly yesterday that I Felt so behind though it is only Oct. 6 or so - LOL. I am kind of laughing at myself - still have lots of time. But during my lunch break yesterday I perused ebay and found some cute things for my mom. Spent about $20 on 2 gifts (most of it as shippping of course). I had budgeted to buy her one gift - $20 so I was pleased I squeezed out 2. HEr birthday and christmas shopping is DONE - woot.

I also donated $20 to a co-workers grandkids' school - in return for wrapping paper. A good cause and one less thing to buy otherwise - eh. I usually do pretty generous with that stuff so spent 1/2 as much as usual. well within my donation budget.

But overall a lot of money spent this last week.

Set up an appointment with the estate attorney who is a friend of the family. We'll see how that turns out. We don't have significant assets on one hand, but if both my dh and I bite the dust we have $1 mil insurance between the 2 & significant home equity house. I decided we really need to get things squared away. ALive not worth much, dead worth a lot. Don't tell the kids. ; ) Plus as a CPA I know you really need to get your affairs squared away - because when you don't it gets ugly - see it time and time again with clients. I should know better, the fact it has taken this long is inexcusable. Anyway, hopefully by the end of the year we will have our affairs in order.

The Merill lynch guy has not sold any of the funds we asked him to. I am back to square one and want all of our money out - I am so fed up with him - I have no idea what the deal is. It is dh's IRA so he has to take care of it - and he isn't actually in a hurry. Gah. Something else I would like to take care of NOW which there is no reason why I couldn't have transferred the funds by now. I just wanted him to sell so I knew how much cash was in there. I am tired of waiting, will probably start one of the transfers, I guess it doesn't matter if he hasn't sold it yet - I have an idea how much money is in there. LEt the new custodians ask for the money...

I hope to get some time this weekend to go over the budget with dh. PArt of the problem is I do all the money and then he kind of does his own thing, and we don't communicate great. HE doesn't buy much, but one month I will be thinking we need to crack down, and he'll go out and buy a DVD or something. Anyway, I have made a sample budget but he hasn't put any input in, so I am hoping he can look at it this weekend and we can revise it again to fit both our needs. Same with the christmas budget - I put it together but may be missing something he intends to buy, etc.

Communication is good - LOL.

I also had an epiphany. When I Was on maternity we lived on very little. It seemed we spent A LOT less on gas which really helped, and little incidental work expenses. But otherwise I Wasn't really sure why we did so good.

Anyway, our credit card bill averages $1800/month, my goal lately has been $1600, and without all of our vacation stuff and gymboree which I paid for with extra money, our cc bill would have been $1200 this month. Why? I then had the epiphany that when we felt broke we didn't spend money and well, that is why we got by so well on maternity leave - LOL. Seems simple but I didn't really get it before. The amazing thing is we didn't feel at the time we gave up that much. That is the beauty of budgeting I guess - if you do it right.

My husband laughed at the "it would be $1200 except for this and this and this" reasoning - but this is all stuff out of the budget now no problem. We are not going to disneyland or spending $300 on my birthday again anytime soon. Guaranteed...

I am starting to see why I should have $700/month for the temp savings funds - it is really there. Yay!

Also, I have always been a general budgeter but once we started throwing everything on cards to get cash back I have really struggled. Obviously where I went wrong was budgeting a total for the cc. IT used to work, but we only put very miscellaneous and extra things on it before. It was never going to work until we sat down and did a line by line budget by expenses on the credit card -and look I saved $600 easy peasy. IT's crazy. Well, we're getting there anyway...

Glorious Sleep!

October 6th, 2006 at 03:06 pm

Ah, I wish I had more time to puruse the boards, but I have too much work to do today - LOL. Darn work! ; )

I did ramble on about rents which I know no one cares - I live in crazy land. LOL. This is why no one randomly visiting my blog and viewing my stats can not appreciate that I own a very nice house in CA and only owe $215k on it. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I am STILL reisisting the urge to pay it down faster and put more money in savings. It is hard. I know I need liquid cash more. The fact that we owned a home at 22 (with 20% down) is cause for applause. Sometimes we dream of moving to ORegon and putting a good $400k in the bank (well last year when our house was worth more anyway). Plopping $50k down on a similar house and semi-retiring while the kids are young. But for now we are suckers and stay. More for family than anything... Though when our equity was up to $500k for a while I Was ready to throw family out the window - we could fly down and visit every weekend with that money. ; ) But housing prices have dropped considerably. So yeah if you paid me $500k I would move from family, that is what we have learned in recent years - the price of family - LOL.

In our first home we had over $100k equity when we committed to this house - we were going to have a $100k mortgage here when we moved. But it dropped overnight. So live and learn. I know friends in other states who can not get past our equity, but I can't get too excited about it. Here today, gone tomorrow. Even if we decided to cash out today there is no guarantee we would be able to get what we think we could - anything can happen tomorrow. So I no longer get excited about equity. Frankly I am just happy we own a home. Extremely extremely grateful. I grew up thinking we could never afford to live in California at all.

Oh anyway, I meant to post and tell everyone who is getting a good night sleep to have a good night sleep on me. ; ) You know those of you wihtout small kids and multiple jobs and staying up studying, those of you without sleep disorders. But I must say I have gotten some REAL sleep this last week. I really hesitate to say it without knocking on wood. But things are well in sleepy land. The only thing worse than my son not sleeping well, due to teething, is the constant input from other people about all we are doing wrong regarding sleep. Okay, my son has horrible painful teething and that is hy his sleep has been disrupted. But over time with the lack of sleep you ebgin to question yourself and wonder if everyone else is right. & then finally your baby sleeps full nights and even begins to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Hallelujah. I don't know why I let other people get to me. Phew.

Ahhhhh, sleep is such a luxury these days and I feel in the lap of luxury today. Feels good...

I will enjoy but try not to get used to it. More teeth are on the way...

Birthday Gifts

October 5th, 2006 at 04:35 pm

Well I Was motivated and went shopping yesterday. I went to Ross and stocked up on $5 books (they were REALLY nice big books), a dominoe game, and some puzzles. I then went to Target because I wanted to get a lighty spinny thing (I have no idea what it is called) for each kid, but they only had 1 left. So I got 1 of those, 4 high bounce balls, and some stickers and halloween magnets (really nice) all on clearance. 1/2 came from the $1 bin which my friend had suggested. I think I made out far better at Target than Ross even. Well now I know. I spent about $48 for 4 kids. I was thinking of going to the dollar store for birthday cards, but dh who HATES cards said, "can they read???" I thought about it and decided no they don't really need cards. HE is right sometimes. Saved a few dollars. So $12 per kid, and I think I got some pretty cool stuff...

One of the kids we are really close to and I may go splurge on him a little more, but beyond that not bad. I am not sure if I will take it out of the gift budget or the misc. budget or what. I like to be flexible and if one month I want to spend more on something and take it from another envelope so to speak, oh well. Well that's why I have just a misc. category. We'll see. It is only the 5th, and the month is long.

Oh yeah Ross was bad because I bought some winter clothes for older son. Whenever I buy anything though I think, this costs $13, but it should last through both my sons. Hmmm. So it feels more like spending $6.50 on each. I had bought his winter wardrobe for $40 or so at the thrift shop last month but they didn't have much in the way of jackets. Too bad because I Scored good last year. SO at Ross I saw some nice jackets but spent more than I Would have otherwise I guess. $22 for a jacket, hooded sweatshirt (since the one I had bought thrift didn't fit over his head), and a winter hat for his growing head.

Anyway, the thrift shop I go to is great for kids clothes and that is about it. Mostly shirts and pants. What I really need to do is start checking out other thrift stores in the area. I don't know why but as much as I Shop ebay and thrift, it is always an afetrthought. I would never spend more than $50 or something unless I checked out my used options first. But there is so much under $50 that I don't think twice buying new. I am trying to get out of that mindset. Like reading someone's blog it just occured to me to do some Christmas shopping on ebay. Well duh, why didn't I think of that sooner. Or even in the thrift shops.

We also have a new store out here called "Stupid Prices" ( that looks pretty good from its ads. Furniture, clothing, groceries, etc. I am going to check it out I guess.

So much of this stuff is over by my work I see more shopping in my future. Blah, I hate shopping. But if they have great grocery prices I can help out dh a bit I guess.

Anyway, I need a big note on my wallet or credit card that says "CHECK EBAY FIRST." Something like that to keep me budget minded on the small stuff.

I don't know why I have always been so frugal minded on big things but not little things. ?????? Something I am learning I guess...

I think in the past I often choose convenience over savings. I would shop shop shop internet all the time, because I hate taking the time to go shopping. I truly dislike it. I LOVE internet shopping in turn, and find that I don't get distracted like I do in the stores, by things not on my list and such. But oh well, that is what EBAY is for. Ebay often is nice, but shipping puts it in the realm of not that frugal a lot of the time... I think I will start doing a littl more in person shopping. More shopping to save money, eh? Sounds like an oxymoron. LOL. & I will put a note that says EBAY in my wallet. No more buying anything without checking Ebay first! In the meantime I need to become an area thrift shop expert...

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