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Archive for February, 2005

Cheapskate series- any takers?

February 28th, 2005 at 10:05 am

First off.. The Definition:
________________________________
Main Entry: cheap·skate
Pronunciation: 'chEp-"skAt
Function: noun
Date: 1896
: a miserly or stingy person; especially : one who tries to avoid paying a fair share of costs or expenses
_________________________________


Now the Premise:

I'm currently thumbing through "The complete cheapskate" by Mary Hunt. The books seems good... the frugal tidbits sound very helpful. I kinda have a gripe about this series though. Mrs. Hunt knows the "cheapskating" (so who coined this term anyway lol) public aren't quick to part with dough. So why charge a fee to chat in the forums? I perused the website and kept getting snagged with "please sign in". Naturally I clicked register as I figured most talk forums are free... wooohoo was I mistaken.

I was suddenly in a "bookstore" deciding whether I wanted option A B etc etc... dejected, I closed the webpage and went back to browsing the book.

The Conclusion:
I wonder if anyone here is a subscriber ... if so, how does it strike you? Please. let me know as I am inquisitive by nature Smile

Storm a-comin'!

February 28th, 2005 at 09:55 am

Funny how when a weatherman forecasts a smidgeon of snow people go haywire out here. People are cancelling classes, postponing events, fearing the worst lol.

This weekend I spent a bit of cash on mostly necessary things (year riight).
I bought a copy of Microsoft Money 2005 (and downloaded the 20 buck rebate form from amazon whoopee!) so I can have all my finances in order. After playing with the program for a while, I realized I can pay my mortgage off in half the time. Hubby and I are mapping out long term & short term goals that seem doable on one salary.. there's only one problem..... What if we have to move? Military life is hard due to the constant moving Frown
Butttt....
I have balanced my checkbook info and the budget is pretty much set for March. Now to get some money in lol.

Stainless Steel all grimy? Try Rubbing Alcohol :)

February 27th, 2005 at 08:57 am

Here's yet another nice tidbit that I've learned and I am willing to pass to y'all Smile

*************************************************

Ive been meaning to tell you guys for those of you who have stainless steel appliances I found the cheapest best thing to clean them after trying 8000 other things and having wiping them down 500 times a day .
Rubbing alcohol ! We were at a friends of Herbs house and she has stainless steel and I was telling her how I hate it with a passion and in the new house forget it I am not getting stainless steel etc etc and she told me about the rubbing alcohol I have been using it ever since , Just put it in an empty spray bottle and wipe no streaks or anything . For those of you with the NEW stainless steel that SUPPOSEDLY Doesn't leave fingerprints/streaks etc I dont know how it works on there try it in a spot that's not noticeable and see how it works .

Just thought Id let you know for 3 years Ive been trying to find something besides my windex (w/vinegar) to wipe it down (which still leaves streaks) the alcohol is great

MYO Salt Rub

February 27th, 2005 at 07:14 am

I used to buy a ton of cleansing scrubs until I ran across this post on a savings board... Figured i'd pass this tip to all my frugal friends on here...

*********************************************
A friend got one of those expensive spa "salt glow" treatments and raved about it, so I checked out a sample of Salt Rub from Origins thinking doing this at home would be a cheaper route. Wrong! $28 per jar. But that wasn`t going to deter me. I took note of the simple ingredients and I made my own salt rub. Use Epson salts for the bulk, then slowly mix in either almond (better) or baby (cheaper) oil until the mixture is like wet snow. Optional: Aroma therapy oil adds a nice scent. Swirl on body in a hot shower and viola! Gorgeous skin! Hint: If you don`t like the oil left on your skin, simply soap up afterwards - - you`ll still be silky.


Good stuff lemme tell ya!

Cellphone plans

February 27th, 2005 at 05:25 am

If there is anything in the world more annoying than a chipmunk-voiced telemarketer barking offers during dinner time, it would definitely constitute walking innocently into a " blah blah wireless" store and being approached by a cellphone Shopping Mall Snake.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I remember a time when people DIDN'T need to be called IMMEDIATELY- wherever I was- on the spot- even if I was in a line where 100 people stood patiently in front of me. Those folks don't want to hear about how my professor looks cute in a navy blue cardigan or how Bo and Hope shouldn't make any more excuses and just cut to the chase!

It wasn't that long ago. I remember whipping out crossword puzzle books happily.. or even carrying yarn and a crochet needle. Nothing better than crochetting to make people stare in amazement lol.

BUT... Mom wanted a cellphone.
AND... Mom wanted to buy one as soon as possible.

Defeated, I walk into the newly formed CINGULAR Wireless- ripe with old confused AT&T customers like myself. The slithering snake smelled interest and stealthily slid towards us (Say it aloud a few times... doesn't it tickle your alveolar ridge? ahhh the joys of alliteration heheh).

Mr. Culebra (snake in spanish) informed me that I had to buy a new phone for myself and I had to switch over to Cingular. To make a long story short, he wanted me to pay triple what I pay now for some impossible number of minutes and a phone with crappy ten second video capacity. (Again.. I remember a time when I DIDN'T find it necessary to carry video capability on my phone... I like my digital camera but come on now!).

I convinced mom NOT to get into it (minimum 2 year contract required) and since my current contract expires in July, I am going to drop the phone in order to adapt to simpler, more frugal methods of communication (Smoke signals, Yelling, and quite simply "I'll call when I get home darnit!!").

Early Sunday morning battle tactics

February 27th, 2005 at 05:08 am

Last night my neighbor called to inform us of a super sale at a nearby clothing store (her daughter is a manager). Usually my neighbor qualifies as a "spendthrift" but due to downsizing she's lost almost all of her income and her purchases are beyond frugal lately. So I asked "How much are we talkin, baba?" (My toddler can't pronounce her full name so she's conveniently cut it down syllabically lol)
"Shirts are down to $3.50 from $40.00 original!!"
Well.. say no more, I figured to myself... I called a friend of mine and we will scour the perimeter at precisely 1100 hours sharp!

Question is... just how much should I take with me? I usually spend 80% of the clothing budget on my daughters so when it comes to me ... lol well, you know how it is.
I've been verrry good. My savings goals are on track. My envelopes are fat and overflowing but I've no desire to pluck from them (Yet).

By the way, I got my hands on Mary Hunt's "The Complete Cheapskate"... the book is awesome! I'm going to use some of her principles on my current budget to test its effectiveness.

But back to my war tactics... Hubby has OK'd the spending limit to 200.00- money that will be deducted from my annual clothing budget. I figure it'd take cash with me so I am not tempted to overspend.

Bananas...

February 26th, 2005 at 07:28 am

BANANAS
This is interesting. Thought I'd pass it on to my fellow advicers through my journals... After reading this, you'll never look at
a banana in the same way again. Not sure if all the info is accurate.. but it makes for good dinner conversation?

Barb

**************************************************

Bananas containing three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose!
and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained
and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just
two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute
workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the
world's leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It
can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses
and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst
people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating
a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of
protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you
relax,
improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills, eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it
contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your
mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production
of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high
in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat
blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has
just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the
fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school
were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at
breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.
Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning
by making
pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can
help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the
problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to
make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms
the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted
blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your
system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if
you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to
keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream,
try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin.
Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and
irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the
nervous system.

Overweight and at work: Studies at the Institute of Psychology
in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food
like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients,
researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in
high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid
panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels
by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels
steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against
intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It
is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in
over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces
irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a
"cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional
temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example,
pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool
temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD
sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up
smoking. The B6,B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and
magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of
nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize
the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's
water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises,
thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with
the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal
of Medicine,"eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the
risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!"
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want
to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on
the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in
place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When
you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice
the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin
A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also
rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So
maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A
banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Frugal Saturday?

February 26th, 2005 at 07:25 am

Yet another day indoors for me. I've got alot of articles I need to read for class so hopefully I won't move any charge cards whlie at home (who'd have thought there would come a time when a compulsive shopper could face temptation at home through the internet?!)

Last night I followed a series of links over to this website that deals with the book "rich dad, poor dad". I remain skeptical at any book that promises lucrative ventures if you follow the directions. Dave Ramsey only echoes the sentiments i've seen here on this website... only difference being this advice forum is free.

While I have only a few things to do today (cook dinner, make beds etc), I'll take inventory on the envelopes (which I have followed through faithfully) and post the end of month tally.

Physically, I'm feeling a little better now that I have passed on smoking. I know it'll be a while before I am back to decent condition so these extra pounds that are creeping up on me don't bother much!

ING Rate Hike | Child Support Woes

February 25th, 2005 at 08:52 am

I got so happy today when I looked at the ING website.. they raised the interest to 2.60%- the exact same rate i'm getting from capitalone right now lol. I have more money in ING though... so i'll just stick to what I know and periodically dump loot into savings #2.

A couple of years back, my ex tried to take my first born through a custody dispute. Now his method of payback is lagging behind on support payments in a subtle enough manner to go undetected in the court radar (2 missed checks in a row turns on wage garnishment). I don't want to re-open the case because then my high priced pit bull lawyer will charge me the astronomical fees that I once COULD afford lol.

To do list:

February 25th, 2005 at 04:53 am

The mommy list 2/25

1. Scrub top floor rooms & bathroom (kids love fingerpainting ugh)
2. Return library books & get new ones Smile
3. Start weekend loads
4. Prepare garage items for salvation army dropoff (tomorrow)
5. Commence the friday meal preparations (need to complete by 1600 as DH goes to school until 2200 tonight)

I won't be out much as I have alot of things to catch up on but I've prepped my wallet in case I do.. (took out debit & credit cards, inserted a 10 dollar bill lol)

and off I go!

Curbing the impulse

February 25th, 2005 at 04:41 am

Last night I had one delicious dream... I was in some cloudy cafe in Paris...enjoying the art of 'chatting'... cigarette tucked in one corner of my mouth- coffee cup in hand. What language was I speaking? It didn't matter!
The dream made me fiend for cigarettes even more. Ughhhh!
I've had cravings but each time I reason with myself, the urge seems to subside. This bout of cessation was brought on by the Pamila Laffin story.

http://www.s-t.com/daily/12-95/12-05-95/smoking.htm

Funny how one story can change your perspective!
Here in New York we pay the piper for a pack of cigarettes ($7.00) and the sad part is.. you will find younger kids paying their older siblings to get some.
Quel Dommage.

Snow.. ughh

February 24th, 2005 at 03:01 pm

So the weatherman finally got one forecast right... it's snowing woohoo. My evening class was cancelled so now I get extra time to do some chores before bedtime (oh woe is me). I made Ziti before I left for school today (meatless & used $0.59 diced tomatoes instead of the $1.79 canned spaghetti sauce) so the family is chomping down on that as I type. Hubby and I have made an appointment to see a financial rep at our bank so hopefully we'll join the thousands of Americans who plan for their futures for a change Smile

I did manage to clean the rest of my house and fiddle a bit with finances to plan a day out this weekend (kids et al.) . We're looking at a museum trip complete w/ mommy 'witches (thats what my 7 year old used to call my sandwiches when she was in preschool heheh) and boxed Hi-Cs.

And by the way... today was a no-spend day!!! YIPPPEEEE!!!

One Month of Passing on cigarettes- still here :)

February 24th, 2005 at 04:20 am

I woke up happy with my financial progression thus far. It has been one month and two days since I've put down the cigarette in exchange for healthier living. While I still feel a little buzzing going on here and there, I spend alot of time looking for new ways to occupy myself in hopes of making frugal living a PERMANENT lifestyle.

Change#1: After reading several journals, I caved in a visited my local library. What a treasure trove! Geez... it makes me sick to think of all the money I could have saved by borrowing instead of buying.

Change#2: Re-defining Keywords in my life is certainly helping curb the desire for unnecessary habits. A friend of mine who "quit" smoking in November is now back in the habit because her mom is in the hospital. Sure news like that is distressing but the whole idea is not to be a chronic hospit- ahhh bleah.. I won't get into the anti-smoking rhetoric lol.. I know, I know the worst non- smoker is the ex-smoker lol. Another word I've filed under my list for obsolete words is "shopping". In the past, shopping was my excuse to bring home piles of junk that in turn accumulated into basement fodder. MORAL: Do not SHOP... step out for necessities instead Smile

Change#3: Keeping up with financial information can really affirm a situation and prevent wanton destruction (ex: overspending on the credit cards, auction rummaging). I devote some time to finding little ways to save more everyday and keep my budget handy so I can gauge the progress in a pretty little notebook I call "the Finance TOME". My kids know not to touch it and hubby is impressed at my book-keeping neatness Smile

What CHANGES are you making towards your future? Please post them and perhaps we can all learn more from each other Smile

Wednesday's roster

February 23rd, 2005 at 04:14 am

I wish I could sprout some extra arms and legs to complete my tasks!!

TO DO:
*Head over to the city to pick up something for hubby.
*Steam clean the bathrooms, straighten up the first floor
*Bedroom Linen Load (I confess, i'm wayy behind on this task lol)
*Take DD to the library (weds are girl days)
*Make a two-day ziti (Ziti that feeds all of us for two days lol)

Wish me luck!
Oh and I'm borrowing someone's metrocard so I don't have to pay for parking or public transportation out of pocket. Aside from the gas I'll use to go to school (I'M LATE!) and library, it should be a minimal spend day.. (KEYWORD: SHOULD)

Ciao!

One Question Tells How Greedy you are!

February 22nd, 2005 at 05:18 pm

A good friend sent me this and I thought I'd share....

************************************************ One Question Tells How Greedy You Are!

We are a greedy nation. When faced with that classic question--"Which would you rather have: More pleasure or more money?"--we choose the money hands down. Fully two-thirds of those polled picked treasure over pleasure, according to a poll of 1,001 adults conducted by Blum & Weprin Associates for The Rich Dad Company, an organization that teaches personal finance and business.

Why do we need so much cash? The answers are revealed in other areas of this fascinating poll:
--40 percent admitted they would run out of cash if they were unemployed for three months.
--66 percent say they do not have enough cash to cover a year of unemployment.

The rich really are different:
--Rich people think about their money more, but worry about it less.
--55 percent of those making more than $150,000 spend a lot of time planning for their financial futures, but only 14 percent of the wealthy spend time worrying about their finances.
--45 percent of those making less than $50,000 spend time worrying about their money, but only 25 percent of them spend much time managing it or planning for retirement.

What's the best way to secure a bright financial future? The answer may surprise you. It's not a safe, secure job. Instead, the key is to get a financial education, learn the difference between an asset and a liability, and rather than work for money, learn how to get your money to work for you, says Robert Kiyosaki, co-founder of The Rich Dad Company and best-selling author of the "Rich Dad Poor Dad" series of personal financial books. "People are just eat, drink, and be merry and pretend we don't have a problem in the future," Kiyosaki said. "Americans need to wake up! Safe, secure jobs are about as common as Indian-head nickels and carry the largest tax liability."

Spending Sprees

February 22nd, 2005 at 04:21 pm

Ughhh.. just when ya think ya have it all mapped out Frown
I'd planned on not spending but I forked over 250 bucks on a bill I totally forgot about (honestly). I've been paying it in cash quarterly and lol I was already a week behind Frown

Morale: Make sure you carry your organizers with you and the information should always be accurate or else! Grrrr!

It's a little late here but I have to cook or risk hubby ordering takeout!



Froid Tuesday

February 22nd, 2005 at 08:11 am

It was pretty cold out there this morning! Luckily the snow didn't accumulate as much.. so the city wasn't "crippled".
I haven't spent a dime yet but I did shell out alot of bucks yesterday. Today I have but a few tasks:

1. Go pick up ONE book at the library
2. Place one item for sale on Ebay

Hopefully I'll have enough strength to cook, clean, and take care of the babies in between Smile

Bottled can deposits- a negative thing?

February 21st, 2005 at 05:45 am

While out with friends, we discussed the recycling can dilemma and how futile it can be when trying to recover a meaningful amount. Every end of month, hubby and I return our cans and get about five bucks a month (hubby loves soda) from recycling. The neighborhood recycle facilitator (aka the person who goes in your trash and creates an awful mess trying to find cans) doesn't bother to look in our bins anymore lol. My gripe is this.... since the beginning of the deposit craze (mid 80's), the price has stayed at five cents for redemption.. why not increase the redemption to stimulate the economy? I know it'll never happen.. but hey- one can dream, no?

Eeeek.. Snow!

February 21st, 2005 at 05:34 am

Ahhh the joys of winter!
Just when you thought the snow bouts were over... we were blessed with some last night (ugh). Yesterday was nice... we spent a little too much but at least we kept it under $130 (the maximum I set for spending). I just finished reading the article of loose change costing money and I couldn't agree more! Last month I counted two hundred bucks in change and felt elated at the prospect of using the change to pay groceries. Before I set out for shopping that day, I visited the coinstar website to see just how much they'd charge in fees. I sobered up real quick (nine cents per dollar). It doesn't sound like much but when you do the math that's almost 20.00 from my 200.00!! Wayy too much loot to part with when you consider how it got into my pocket in the first place. I proceeded to roll up change and deposit five rolls during various trips to the bank (they charge .50 per roll after the first five rolls). I do think it is ridiculous that banks are now charging fees for accepting out pre-counted/rolled change. We work hard to pay our bills and would like some money back but I also recognize they have salaries to pay... ughhhhh

Pre-Christmas Shopping bargains!

February 19th, 2005 at 06:36 pm

Today was an exciting day here on the homefront. We did our grocery shopping and I managed to hold on to $80.00!! Yippee!!

As an added bonus- hubby took me to a store that is currently under liquidation. I was a bit skeptical upon first glance since the store looked as though a hurricane passed right through it.. but the frugal chick in me took over and accepted the challenge! Hubby and I usually spend ALOT of money during Christmas on the kids & family.. not to mention we often wind up giving presents to many soldiers in the unit. Well.. last year we gave the soldiers mini stockings that I filled with candy.. I think the going price was $0.89 each (booo).
::wicked grin:: So I wandered up and down the aisles and happened upon a shelf filled with the cutest little christmas tins! I picked one up and examined it further. The sticker price of the tin said $1.99. I was about to put it back when I looked up and saw two price reduction labels above the tins.. one for 40% and the other read 75%. This piqued my curiosity so I asked one of the cashiers to double check the price... wellll Smile turns out the price was 0.99 and it was 75% off!!
Needless to say, I walked out of there with 45 tins and 10 packs of giftwrap paper for a whopping $13.75 Smile

So.. recap... 80 bucks left over for the monthly food budget and 45 christmas gifts & tissue paper for 13.75 hehehe
What can I say... today was a good day Smile

Curious question.... Hydrogen peroxide?

February 19th, 2005 at 06:55 am

Why does Hydrogen peroxide foam up when you put it on a cut?

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is something you can buy at the drug store. What you are buying is a 3-percent solution, meaning the bottle contains 97-percent water and 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. Most people use it as an antiseptic. It turns out that it is not very good as an antiseptic, but it is not bad for washing cuts and scrapes and the foaming looks cool.

The reason why it foams is because blood and cells contain an enzyme called catalase. Since a cut or scrape contains both blood and damaged cells, there is lots of catalase floating around.

When the catalase comes in contact with hydrogen peroxide, it turns the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2).


H2O2 --> H2O + O2
Catalase does this extremely efficiently -- up to 200,000 reactions per second. The bubbles you see in the foam are pure oxygen bubbles being created by the catalase. Try putting a little hydrogen peroxide on a cut potato and it will do the same thing for the same reason -- catalase in the damaged potato cells reacts with the hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide does not foam in the bottle or on your skin because there is no catalase to help the reaction to occur. Hydrogen peroxide is stable at room temperature.
________________________________________________

Before I started steam cleaning, I used to apply hydrogen peroxide to various cleaning surfaces and I'd get a kick out of the foaming effect when it came in contact with moldy spots.

Other uses for Hydrogen peroxide?

Apply a drop or two to your toothbrush and brush your teeth prior to applying toothpaste. Goodbye expensive white strips!

Brush your tongue.. it kills the bacteria that live on your tongue.. (the ones that cause yucky breath)


Shopping Day!

February 19th, 2005 at 06:48 am

Ahh today is grocery shopping day in my house. I'm armed with coupons and a list as long as my arm. Hopefully I'll stay within budget because I've got a whole week and a half of meals to make! Hubby is taking me to another base to go food shopping this month- I love military bases.. so much history!
A friend of mine is looking to open a consignment shop in this area of the island- I just may be her #1 contributor lol. The recent housing booms in New York will definitely put a damper on her initial opening costs... it's all about location around here.

I'm just about done doing the laundry & chores for today.. hopefully my day won't be too eventful as I need all my strength tomorrow. My friends and I are planning to visit a museum and check out "the gates" in Central Park. I'm trying to gauge the importance of bright orange flags (bright orange makes me think of ING- good marketing technique!!) aside from the fact that it's bloomberg's way of creating temporary jobs to boost his credibility ratings. Bleah.. I can't knock the man.. he's a republican Wink

Reality Bites (for real)

February 18th, 2005 at 05:41 pm

Ripped straight out of http://planabudget.com/budget-setup.htm:

Determine what you are spending now

This is a hard part for a lot of people, being honest with themselves as to where the money goes—it may be tough to admit to yourself that you are spending $100 a month on cigarettes, $50 a month on manicures, $75 a month at the hairdressers, or $200 at the golf course. In fact, most people are quite surprised when they actually start tracking where they spend their money.

Sounds like they're addressing me and my family LOL-except I spent more on cigarettes ($112) and manicures ($60)!! My hair's grown too long and each time I go it's at least $30 for the wash & cut.. golfing? uhm.. i'll pass. The closest I come to golfing is using my foot as a golf putter & launch my kids' toys across the room.

I'm resisting the urge to go to the movies tonight.
Getting back to the serious stuff... I made a startling discovery (been havin alot of those lately!).

**If tweaked carefully, I can retain 30% of our monthly income after all bills, amenities, necessities and savings accounts have weaved their way through the paycheck (THAT TAKES SKILL!!!)**

Let's see what else I can manage while stuggling with boredom and two incredibly hyperactive girls on a friday night without hubby lol


Exhausted.. and my day is STILL not over! (It never is, actually lol)

February 18th, 2005 at 11:04 am

Although I played hooky two days out of the week I feel completely drained! Ughhhh! I picked up the moneypit (minivan). Hubby laughed as I grimaced when the fast talking mechanic read our price aloud. 183.00 labor. For 20 minutes of works tops? The only reason we took the vehicle to get serviced by the honda dudes is because of a silly little light that goes on after a set amount of miles. According to them, only honda mechanics can shut it off (I call it Honda auto mechanic JOB SECURITY) and much to my displeasure both honda vehicles have had this issue (my pepboys buddies couldn't figure out how to do it). This week I'm -$440.00 from both repairs and auto "maintenance" (What an injustice!) .

On a more positive note, I managed to get dinner in the oven early and am on my way to shop at the commissary. I love it there! Things are soo much cheaper than civillian grocery stores.. BUT you have to know what to buy.. sometimes the prices are a bit steep (Hubby almost bought a $5.00 basket of cherry tomatoes). I've devised my grocery list and will now rummage through my coupon bin since i'm on a tight food budget til payday.

Happy Friday all....

Mid Month Savings Data

February 17th, 2005 at 10:31 am

I've decided to post my savings numbers here to remind myself of how I'm doing (and to stick to my plan) since I read and post often....

FEBRUARY MID MONTH:

Date 2/17/05: 17/28

Old Habits/ New Habits (-/+)

- Cigarettes: $84.00
- Manicures: $40.00
+ Recycling: $2.75
+ Rebate Savings: $4.20
- Gambling: $200.00

This month (so far) - 11 days: $330.95

Funny how habits add up?

Back in the black (well, sorta lol)

February 17th, 2005 at 10:25 am

Isn't it funny how things call you to buy them.. even though you know you're broke? I opted to pay two bills in full that have left us broke until payday. Hubby was a little upset as payday isnt for another two weeks and as luck would have it, my daughter is off all next week from school. I'm hunting around for places to take her- so far I've got two days planned woohoo.

So I'm mulling over this one thing thats calling my name right now. I may buy it just for the points lol but that would entail saving up to pay it at the end of the month. I'm not sure yet.... arrgh lol.

On a lighter note, when I went to pay one of the monster bills- the lady informed me that we saved ourselves a finance charge of $49.77 by paying the bill in full. NICE! This month's interest in the savings account is actually earned now... woohoo!

Catharsis | My analogical equivalent of a One Point Conversion?

February 17th, 2005 at 06:36 am

Was watching L&O: SVU last night... the episode with John Ritter as babykiller... wow.. what an episode! I've seen it more than once yet I cry every single time! Aside from waking up with swollen eyes, I'm feeling alot better today. No dizziness, My physician claims the dizziness is normal since my lungs are beginning to feel "real oxygen" for a change lol...

I managed to "convert" a friend of mine into a "saver" - at least temporarily... this is her baby step into frugality Smile

*********************************************
The Kamikaze CSI savings plan:

Goal: To take back a few bucks a month from school & put it into ING so I don't feel so poor lol

SOLUTION 1: Pluck out $1.25 from my wallet before I go to school (my soda munny) & fill my thermos with juice or water.

OR

SOLUTION 2: Check with the Psych Department to see if they have paid cash experiments that dont involve ingesting anything that will eventually make me sprout an extra appendage or turn on the microwave (while i'm sleeping). So far I've done 2 @ $8.00 (you should do it too Barb)

ORRRRRR

SOLUTION 3: Mug my parents for 10 bucks a week LOL

*************************************************

Be gentle with her.. she's only 19 lol. I spent a good part of an hour summarizing my savings goals with her and now she's doing her own financial planning. I am very upset that there are no pre-finance courses in high school to date. More and more college age kids file bankruptcy because they fall prey to the label game- I'm 30 and i've yet to buy any Dolce & Gabbana, Bruno Magli or Versace for ANY social event/ gift giving. Obviously these lessons are reserved for the parents but kids at that age won't listen so what's the point?GRRRRRRRR I hate mute points!!!

Roth IRA

February 16th, 2005 at 10:18 am

I've been reading alot about IRAs because

#1. I'm looking at my growing pile of excess cash and wonderin how long I can hold off on spending it.
#2. This whole hype about a bankrupt social security scares the pants off me
#3. I see what my poor parents are going through (One thought they'd beat old age by just not planning for it and the other has become the first New york bank with 0%interest and a whole lot of fruitless collection attempts from the other party) In a sad way, they remind me of the whole ant/grasshopper story.. and although my husband is wonderful, I'm too scared to rely on good fortune and forego the traditional retirement planning many years before it happens.

It all sounds so sweet.. but I'm a little nervous about any "stipulations" that may exist regarding retirement accounts. You've seen them.. the void on any thursday during a hailstorm when user carries a red umbrella while dressed in full uniform deal. Perhaps it's just my nature to be cynical. I am a native new yorker after all Smile

Tweakin the cable guy yaaaaah!!!

February 16th, 2005 at 10:07 am

Woke up to a mediocre day filled with mild activity and lots of kid screams (The seven year old is still home sick and the two year old cries whenever she feels like it.) I'm starting to feel much like Roderick from fall of the house of usher (excerpt provided for lit buffs like me)

:There is a peal of THUNDER outside, and Roderick covers
his ears as if pained, Tim watching with a frown.

TIM
Is something wrong with your ears?

RODERICK
(beat; agitated)
Hypersensitivity. Any loud noise -
lightning, a shout, the sound of a
slamming door - seems like a pistol
shot, close by the ear.

Tim, moving a chess piece, is listening with concern to
Roderick:

RODERICK
(distressed)
I have a heightened sense of sound,
of smell, of colors.

There is more loud THUNDER, Roderick wincing. He sighs
in frustration, giving up on the game:

RODERICK
I am sorry, I cannot concentrate.

Soooooo.... I managed to tweak my cable service today. I threatened to switch to the dish and got 37 bucks knocked off my cable as part of a "promotional" offer. This 37 bucks will join the 30 bucks salvaged from my phone bill in the lovely envelope I created yesterday (67.00*11= 737.00 saved in a year for complaining to them heheh).

Moral of the story? If you're nauseous, complain to everyone you owe, you may get to save some money just in case you have a wee one on the way lol.

If you ask nicely.. (I arm wrestled a bill and won!.. well, sorta)

February 15th, 2005 at 04:05 pm

Wow.
I built up enough courage to flip on the phone company today and have managed to strike a deal where they will reduce my phone bill by 15 bucks. Fifteen bucks is fifteen bucks... thats 180.00 extra a year.. yippeeeee!! So of course, these extra bucks are going into one of those infamous Barb envelopes... this one will say "Bill Haggling Kickbacks" Smile Smile Smile

So now it's a total of 6 envelopes!!!!!!!!!!!! YAYYYYYYY!!!

So now i'm looking at what else I can cut off at the pass.... I've eliminated one major 1600.00 bill today.. now i've got two more to go...


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