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Archive for October, 2008

A full tank for $20?

October 30th, 2008 at 04:28 pm

I decided I would attempt to use my stupid/useless prepaid rebate card again - at the gas station.

S'posedly I can pay inside; not at the pump.

So, we'll see.

Was kind of being lazy and dragging my feet - thinking, "Maybe next week..."

BUT dh's tank is about empty and the credit card doesn't close until Tuesday. I'd like to avoid more charges this month.

I ran the math on the gas prices I saw today.

Wait a minute. $20 will fill the whole tank?

Why does that blow my mind so much????? A free tank of gas - now we're talking!!!!!

Well, it's 8 gallons for $20, but since the "no fuel" light has not come on I assume that is all I will have to fill anyway.

I can only figure some of you are nearing $1.99 - we are so slammed with gas taxes here in Cali.

October Wins...

October 30th, 2008 at 07:42 am

I think October will win for spendy month of the year. Well, I hope it does. I don't want a spendier month!

Yeah, our months have averaged $5k/month spending, but this month looks like almost $6500. UGH. ($1500 being dental bills - is the culprit. But we had a LOT Of other stuff going on - so it is a little overwhelming as I pay all the bills).

I entered all my November bills in Quicken to get an idea where we were at. & I updated all my totals to the left.

Short-term savings is bulking up - all will pretty much go to property taxes & homeowners insurance in December (will be $3500 in then, for a short time before the account is obliterated).

We've exhausted the fund so any more car repairs this year will have to come from mid-term savings. I was up to $3k for a short time, but it dipped down with so many expenses. $2400 for now. Haven't posted interest yet, though. Will be a few bucks only; my CD has expired and my balance transfers have all been repaid.

Medical fund sits slightly negative. I obliterated it for dental bills. Any further dental/medical will also have to come out of mid-term. I think I will be lucky to have a dime left in the mid-term fund, come January 1.

Will make a more noble effort to build it up next year.

Mortgage balance dipped below $207k. $205k is the next goal of note. Then $199,999. Another 18 months for that one! Dh is holding out for when interest is less than principle. But that's like a decade - I need some more immediate things to look forward to! I am sure I can get a cheerful response from him when we dip below $200k though.

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Today is going to be one hectic day. I got some dry hack cough. Any home remedies? Ugh, it's driving me nuts. I am going to sip on tea all day, and have some hard candies. Right now slowly sipping orange juice seems to help. Keeping the throat lubricated. I guess fluids are good. I think my allergies have crossed over to virus. It's hard to tell - the symptoms if I look them up are the same for allergy. But it has taken a nasty turn. My spring allergies usually consist of little more than a runny nose, sore throat, itchy eyes. For now my sinuses are clearing, but the cough is nasty. At least my eyes have been fine. Itchy eyes are the worst.

The weather is cooling off during the day but interestingly warming up over night. So it is predicted more 70 day/50 night. As opposed to our quite odd 40 degree nights and 80 degree days. I am not sure what it means for the heat front. Loss of sun, which largely has been keeping our house warm. So though it will be pretty mild overall, the house may cool considerably. Right now with all the warm/sunny days the house is at 75 degrees at 8 am. Looks like it didn't go below 50 degrees last night.

We'll see!

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Oh yes, yesterday was a NSD but for a $3 haircut for LM, at BEauty School. Long overdue.

All the NSDs in the world haven't helped me for OCtober. Wink I guess because most our spend days were extra spendy.

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ETA: I answered my own question. Walked BM to school and considered bringing juice along. Thought I'd be miserable but the exercise and/or crisp/cool air "cured" me. The long drive in the car to preschool brought back the cough. Bah. Will take some walking breaks today if need be. Overall, much better.

I almost fell over when I saw $2.50 or so gas at the Valero. Chevron by my office - the meter for expensive gas - was a mere $2.60. Considering it was still $3.30 solid last week, at the cheaper stations, I was shocked and pleased. !! A dollar drop in a week. Now I can play along (I've been jealous of all your posts about cheap gas!)

Not much to report, I guess...

October 29th, 2008 at 04:25 pm

Seems like it's been quiet here.

Funny thing is I haven't been terribly posty either. Couldn't tell you why. I guess busy with lots of family drama. Way too much for my taste. *sigh*

BTW, I caught the best documentary I had ever seen (or the most jaw dropping and yet hysterical at the same time - better descriptor). It was "I didn't know I was pregnant," or something along those lines. Anyway, I was a miserable pregnant woman. I would argue 9 months is too long! LOL. But my jaw just dropped to see all these women who went in to the ER with cramps only to find they were in labor.

O.M.G. I could not even IMAGINE!

Yeah, I like to prepare for things. The thought of an unplanned pregnancy absolutely makes me cringe. So finding out a few minutes before the birth (or after the birth in some cases) was a little too nightmarish for me. I couldn't quite wrap my brain about it.

Those are some stories to tell though. Whew!

I kept thinking, how do you tell your family/friends/boss? OR even the baby daddy? BTW - I just had a baby? LOL.

IT was also hard for me to wrap my brain around because I only gained weight in one place (the belly) and my kids both used me as a punching bag. Yeah, it was pretty dang obvious, morning sickness aside.

I guess it just ain't so obvious for everyone. Which I wouldn't say is exactly preferable! I'll take my 9 months of discomfort. I appreciate it a little more now. Wink

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Well, car was very jittery when I started it today. I was wary but I drove it to work.

I went home at lunch just in case. Figured I didn't want to get stranded at 5:00. I couldn't re-create it, but the engine seemed rather squeaky. Maybe a belt? (I read the jitters, in park, could mean spark plugs). Either way, hopefully something simple. Decided to take it in Friday. I welcome the excuse - the brakes feel wimpy to me and dh thinks I exaggerate (hasn't noticed it). I can't help but think he doesn't notice anything though. So I am happy to get the brakes looked at too.

I'll be happy if it is just paranoia. The last thing I need is a big bill.

*sigh*

Weather here is almost 80 degrees again. IF not for the allergies from hell I'd say I was REALLY enjoying.

Of course, first rain on the season predicted tomorrow - and also rain for Halloween. Bah!

They finished the park by our house. Well, let's put it this way - they finished it MONTHS ago. BUT they removed the gates yesterday. Neighborhood kids have been playing in there for months and mine have been very patient. I feel like we are the only ones who played by the rules.

Downside is the park was REALLY crowded when we went to check it out last night. Usually it is rather empty and we get it to ourselves. But they put in basketball courts, tennis courts, and a new BIG playground. That brought the kids and teens out.

Dh and I discussed putting tennis rackets on our wish list for Christmas. Will have to take advantage!

I guess since it gets dark earlier we made it out closer to dusk. Outside no longer than 5 minutes and I got 2 horrible bug bites on my feet. Oh - these are the WORST!!! (itchy and very swollen - and itchy itchy itchy) Happened to me a while back. No more sandals I guess. You think I'd have learned...

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YEah, we may have to search the house for umbrellas. Rarely need/use them. But may need them for friday!

Halloween is easy on us this year though. Phew. Kids are doing all sorts of fun stuff at school, and we're off the hook!

IT's just kind of nice. I've mentioned before, BM is Mr. Extrovert, and the rest of us probably could hardly be more introverted. That boy just exhausts us. Since infanthood! HE just sucks our energy dry.

So, I imagined school being this huge (difficult) adjustment. But instead, it's been kind of a breath of fresh air. He's got a lot of new places to channel his energy, and we don't have to be involved 24/7. Not saying we're not involved. But we get a break from the crazy one. Even LM appreciates it, for sure. Preschool a couple of days a week was middle ground, but this is even BETTER!

I am not sure I had thought about it that much. But as my friends ran through their jam packed weekends for halloween activities and such, that's when it hit me. The kids have all this halloween stuff planned through school, and we're pretty much off the hook. We're good for Trick or Treating, but that's about it. Kids are happy and adults are happy. Win-win.

I think even LM is thriving with BM in school. He probably had no idea there could be such peace and quiet. LOL.

Weekend at the Cabin

October 27th, 2008 at 04:20 pm

I guess we went back and forth, with all the family drama, but we ended up going to the cabin after all.

Had a REALLY nice time.

We are certainly the more relaxing bunch of late. They kept commenting how much easier our kids were than the 1 & 3-year-olds they have charge of. Um, yeah? Well, LM is 3. But he is easier to watch with a 5yo than to watch with a 1yo. For sure. Plus, he is just pretty independent.

So, even though it was nice to hear how easy and pleasant our kids were all weekend, I don't think the comparison was exactly fair.

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Was surprised to see gas for $3.01 on Saturday (had hovered around $3.30 before then). But with our grocery store gas coupon we paid $2.76/gallon for the van. Was almost half of what we paid in the summer. Was NICE.

We fed 7 people at Taco Bell for about $19.99. What a load of food!

We had actually planned to hit up Apple Hill on the way up, but it was just packed. We changed our minds. The cabin is just minutes from there, so we went in the morning SUnday, before heading home. Were about the first ones there. We ate donuts and kettle corn and caramel apples, and the kids got their face painted and did pony rides. Kids had a blast. We left and laughed at the line coming in. Suckers! It was crazy. Actually, we all commented it was all so NOT worth the line. We wouldn't have waited in those lines to drive in, but we enjoyed our edge.

Sunday we had picked up breakfast at the store. $15 for fruit, granola bars, milk and fruit. We treated for that.

Grandma slipped us $40 for gas, so in the end I guess we came out ahead. As usual.

Was just a nice weekend. I would say simple and nice, but for all the spoiling of the kids at Apple Hill.

Was near Tahoe - just gorgeous - was like a spring weekend (weather wise) with a bit of fall in the air. The leaves have not turned so much yet, but we did see some pretty shades of orange.

Everyone was looking forward to snow - I think it will be a while, at this rate! IT was really warm up there, for October.

2009 IRA Limits

October 23rd, 2008 at 10:07 am

I could have all put you out of your misery last month I guess - sorry.

& reminds me, I know a few people told me that IRA limits would be $5500 next year like I Was some idiot. I thought, "we'll see." I guess it bugs me when people think they are tax experts. Wink

Though really, I did expect them to rise too. But I knew nothing was set in stone.

IRA contribution limits remain $5k for 2009. $6k if you are over 50.

I noticed the contribution limits were strangely absent from all the IRS pension inflation numbers, so I decided to look it up with my professional research library.

The library had calculated all the index adjustments last month.

They officially calculated that IRA contributions will remain unchanged for 2009.

This is definitely official. They also correctly calculated everything the IRS just released, this week.

Anyway, the headline for the pension data said, "All but one of the many limits changed for 2009." It didn't say specifically what did not change, but I think I just figured it out.

Sorry charlies!

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Today I also got word that social security wage based increased to $106,800.

& $102k was just so easy to remember. *sigh*

(For you highly compensated folk out there... FYI.)

Spend Spend Spend

October 22nd, 2008 at 10:26 am

Why Not???

Dh sold 2 things on Craigslist yesterday - around $100. Crazy. IT was just like everything went after days/weeks of flaky people.

Phew.

I made $50 in 2 days - just old baby stuff.

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Some charity is coming for donations pickup Friday. So, just in the nick of time. I was going to just set it all out. All the strollers and such. (I tell ya, they come often. Various charities).

But I decided I will set out the old/cheap fan, my 3 old dresses that are on the cheap side and impossible to sell, and LM's outgrown clothes, unless our relative lays claim to them beforehand. We can pawn them off this weekend when we see the fam, otherwise. So the load is lightening.

It feels like it never ends though.

The garage is REALLY getting there. It's about empty. I dropped off about 10 giant boxes in the dumpster today (forgot last wednesday). We just need to sell/donate the bed. We found room for more bikes anyway - once the boxes were packed in the van. The bed will give way to lots more storage space. Space that we shouldn't use...

The rest of the house - has a ways to go.

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I wanted to go to a seminar tonight on gifted children, but was hesitating about going alone. I don't know why. Dh told me he could go with me and the kids really wanted to go to the drop-in daycare place anyway. I rolled my eyes. We cut that out of the budget entirely with all these dental bills. IT makes me sick to think about spending another dime this month.

I wish I had thought of it sooner. The neighbor girl would have watched them for $5 an hour. Or her parents, for free. I just felt bad asking so last minute. It was around 9 pm when dh talked me into the idea, last night.

So I gave in. Sure, whatever. I told dh we could do it if we just pay cash. We still don't have our rewards card replaced from the fraud anyway, so it's no good (no reward) to charge it. We made so much yesterday we decided to splurge - it will be about $25 for 2 hours care.

Anyway, I am excited though. It may be a silly date - to go to a seminar - but I think it will be good for both of us to attend. & it will be nice as a little date. & the kids will be THRILLED. IT's been a long time for them.

Next time I need to plan ahead better. I really just figured I was going to go alone. But yeah, excited by our impromptu date.

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I found a cute bike today on CL for $20. The reviews aren't great - it's a cheap mountain bike. But it beats no bike. I think it will do the job and I will keep my eye out for something better. (& it looks CUTE - so hey). Hopefully dh will pick it up for me today.

Didn't get the $40 bike - it was too good a deal and it sold fast. Bummer.

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One of our rebates on dh's computer parts came in the form of a debit card.

Boy do I HATE that thing. I tried to use it at Bed Bath Beyond and the clerk could not figure out how to split the payment. Fine enough, since I returned that stuff anyway, since.

So I figured I'd try at the gas station, but one again, DECLINED.

I Was fed up with the whole thing. So I set up an account online so I Can look at it closer. It says you can't pay at the pump. Could they not tell you that when they sent you the card?????? I was going to put this $20 in savings (thought it would be cash) so would prefer to use it for gas - some kind of "necessity."

So I will try again - supposedly I can pay inside.

I had the grand idea to send the rebate in my name. Dh keeps telling me he is positive he can use it at Target for groceries. Goodie for him, but it's a "Credit card" with my name on it. & they are pretty good about checking IDs and such. So I will try the gas station again.

I am not risking my discount again on a declined card. So it will be expensive gas to boot. But whatever, $20 in free gas.

We are expecting another stupid card rebate.

I have NEVER had problems with rebates, but I have to tell you, this is a new level of annoyance.

I am NOT a fan.

The only other thing I have considered is a $20 gift certificate at Target. It's easy and I need to get some gifts anyway. IT would equal the amount on the card. I don't see any other way to do it. (Oh yes - the card can not be used at restaurants. On and on an on... Something else they don't bother to tell you unless you register online. Gah.)



I'm In Tune with the Universe Today...

October 21st, 2008 at 01:03 pm

For whatever reason.

Sold 2 strollers - $40.

People showed up and everything!!!!!!

The ironic part is I inquired about a nice bike on Craigslist - listed for $40. Came with helmet - was like new.

Not holding my breath, but I think it's funny how $40 cash materialized today. Big Grin

Person has not gotten back to me. If I can get the bike, it's a steal. Wouldn't be surprised if it was sold already though.

I just perused CL on a whim since I was getting excited about taking BM on more rides. Fall is excellent riding weather. IT just doesn't get too cold here, and if it is not raining, we have many biking months ahead of us. !!!

I know of one bike trail in the area and can't wait to take BM. I will have to research a few more...

I'll keep my eye out on CL. Dh and I both think our old bikes may be in our parent's garages. So we may luck out. I think we may need to buy helmets - even for LM and BM. So, we'll see. Maybe our Christmas gift to ourselves this year - we'll get Christmas money probably.

(My mom just informed me helmet is law for adults in Cali. Seriously? I guess we need helmets. Otherwise I Wouldn't have even thought it for dh and I).

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Anyway, dh tried to pawn off the nice/unused umbrella stroller (was a gift) on the buyers, but as usual, no one wants it.

On a whim I called up the preschool. "Eh, they don't need a whimpy umbrella stroller. They need more double strollers," is what I thought.

Nope, she has been REALLY wanting one and almost picked one up at a garage sale last weekend. Because often she runs errands with one kid or something.

Oh, I am so glad someone can use it. I was going to donate it otherwise, which is fine. But I am so glad I thought to ask her.

& there you go - 3 strollers - gone!

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We have an old bed taking space in the garage. IT was nice at some point but it has been moved so much and is a bit scratched up. I am ready to freecycle it. Dh wants to ask $50.

We'll try I guess.

Dh just said we shouldn't get bikes until we sell the bed.

Well, um, okay, sell the bed!!!!!

He has been resistant to it. So now I have some pull I guess. The bed is really the only thing taking up any room in the garage at this point.

(I need to do another box run at work tomorrow - may be the last - big boxes to the dumpster. I am going to try to talk dh into tearing down the TV box as well. For now it is a fort but I think it has run its course).