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Archive for September, 2005

Gas going downnnnn

September 29th, 2005 at 01:42 pm

YAY!
I passed by the gas station on the way to class today and saw the price at $2.93.. BIGGG difference from two weeks ago ($3.29). I'm still feeling yucky and the kids aren't helping mommy at all lol. They both have the sniffles as well.

Financially things are looking up, especially since I started my savings full force this month. August was a bit of an impromptu attack on the budget considering we'd gone back to the spendthrift (dark) side. My goal is to get to 5K in savings by graduation. If I continue going the way I am, this will be do-able without choking the budget. A friend has joined in on the challenge- lets see how far she goes Smile

Bleahhh day.. under the weather

September 28th, 2005 at 06:26 pm

I wish I could say I spent the day sleeping... that would be a luxury far too costly for me to indulge. I have caught the almighty laryngitis/sore throat bug that seems to be plaguing DD's school (the job has its perks lol)
As I sit here in my robe and flannel pjs, I kmow I have a fever but I refuse to lay down.

DH and I have decided to go with the loan (thanks for the advice Smile ) considering I am going to start a FT job in January and have a side business going. The money I make will pay off this monster loan while hubby concentrates on the rest.

I almost leapt out of my seat when I read the front page article of SA... delinquincies!?
DUHHH... considering the recent Hurricane catastrophe/s, how are these people going to pay? And how's it going to affect us (the rest of the country)? My heart goes out to the families down there & all I can do is pray for them.

One Love.
AW

Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul

September 27th, 2005 at 02:02 pm

I am thoroughly puzzled. It sucks because I should be focusing more on my twenty million classes and chores... but I just can't seem to make up my mind. My problem is financial in nature and well.. what better place to rant about it than this lil' ole corner of the net I call home Smile


The problematic Paul
------

Hubby has over 20K in Student Loans that are deferred until he gets out of the service. Problem is.. the interest YEAR AFTER YEAR gets tacked on to the principal.. and well.. it is growing exponentally. We haven't paid since 2002.

We traded in a leased vehicle that we hated for a nice vehicle that we love. Problem? Well.. the leased car wasnt paid off so now we pay for the new vehicle AND the remainder of the leased one.. ouch! We're talking over 30K here. We pay 700/mth on this monster alone.

My Car is still not ours.. I've got until 2007 and the monthly payment is a choker (500/mth)

A few other bills (non credit) have surfaced so we pay them monthly ( approx 400/mth)

Bottom line.. these bills are choking the budget, offering NO tax deductions, and frankly.. they're driving me bonkers.

TOTAL 1600/mth



The protagonist Peter
-------

We have been preapproved for a loan that will wipe all these debts, plus leave a lil pocket money for us to play with. The PROS: our cars will be OURS, the loans will plague us no more...

THE CONS: This house will have NO equity whatsoever. We'll be paying this loan right alongside the first mortgage.. and so, i'll be freaking out more than the usual ...

TOTAL: 1600 in payments becomes approx 700...


What would you do?

School Lunch... BLEAAAAH

September 26th, 2005 at 12:54 pm

Today my DD came home with three notes from school. One was good news, the other a reminder.. and the other....

Judging from the pristine white envelope marred with red pen I knew it couldn't have been good. It was a letter stating that we have to pay full price for her meals in school. Normally the careless spender in me would shrug off the news and pay whatever they charge.. BUTTTTT

The difference is HUUUUGE! (36.20 FULL PRICE FOR ONE MONTH VS. 5.60 FOR REDUCED PRICE ONE MONTH)

Highway robbery I say!
Currently, I have the luxury of being YARD DUTY MOM two days a week- partly to watch my daughter AND to recoup a couple of my hard earned greenbacks.. so in short, I've seen what qualifies as lunch

AND I am NOT having it!

I called the school, scheduled an appointment with the principal, typed up a letter stating that DD will not be eating school lunch anymore, and well.. I'm still waiting for my blood pressure to get back down to normal.

BUT.. I do have some good news.. I have saved some money on my car insurance by switching to ALLSTATE. Geico could kiss these grits for all I care Smile

Hubby vs the supergiant cable company...

September 24th, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Today I taught my husband a valuable lesson.
We sat TOGETHER and mapped out our financial plan for the next 5 years. We've got a few expenses coming up that are guaranteed budget killers. After a moment or two of silence, I suggested he call the cable company to "cancel the cable service". He managed to shrink the bill down by 18 dollars.. which in my envelope terms means more greenbacks whooopeeeee!

The Budget Breaker strikes again!

September 23rd, 2005 at 03:13 am

Funny how we never calculate finances to the "T". After paying my bill, I now owe a little over 600 from various bills, show tickets, and things of that genre.

I am currently working on the business plan for my company and the college publication since i'll be fairly occupied today. I'm in good spirits thus far (a rarity at 6am lol) and remain pleasantly optimistic despite my lack of gym exercise routine.


Now for the nightmare Frown
I ran out of contact lenses yesterday so I went to my regular opthalmologist- only to discover that he'd relocated with his family. Good for him! Staten island isn't really a good place to raise a family in my opinion... but anyway... I had no choice but to be seen with 'the new guy'. This person was very unprofessional and kept his gaze sturdy on other 'things' while talking to me- which made me feel extremely uncomfortable but I needed to get my lenses. Needless to say, I told my husband about this ogling and my husband has assured me that he will be going there to pick up my lenses personally- glowering all the while.

But enough of that... i've got some work to do and some numbers to crunch... toodles!

Barb

Hectic Days are here again

September 22nd, 2005 at 01:14 pm

Wow.. the five classes and part time job is starting to weigh me down a bit lol. As if I wasn't busy ENOUGH, I have now been voted on the board for a visual arts magazine on campus which will meet two days a week and one saturday a month. I am also the business manager (the treasurer, etc.. aka the one who does up the pretty budget!) so I will be even more stressed out because we handle tons of entries and editings... yum!

I made a superhuge payment to one of the rewards cards today so I'm expecting some change back in reward munny next month.. just in time for thanksgiving. Speaking of rewards, I got my $75 Gap gift certificate complements of Amex in the mail today. Funny.. when I was younger, I'd have hightailed it over to the mail and spent it already.. but now it's all about being practical. I'm going to buy a few sweaters at a gap outlet and give them away as christmas gifts.

Anyhow.. i'm off to do some homework... ciao for now Smile

HSBC $50 for opening free checking and getting a debit mastercard w/paypass

September 19th, 2005 at 06:08 am


Just thought i'd pass this along to my saving friends....

expires sept 30, 2005
open up a free checking account and apply for a debit card/w paypass.
no minimum balance
no maintenance fee
no direct deposit needed

must keep acct open for 180 days to keep your bonus.

$50 deposited in account upon opening

go to us.hsbc.com, use "BCARD" in special promotion box.

Copy and paste this link to read up on the terms and apply:

http://us.hsbc.com/personal/checking/freechecking_debitbonus.html?code=bcard

The envelope Queen vs. the charge card King

September 18th, 2005 at 10:25 am

The Positive Side:

What a wonderful Sunday!

Despite the nice weather outside, I've been here at home- catching up on my blog reading and finance surfing. During my little over one month recommitment to not smoking and spending frivolously, i'd managed to save up exactly $773.68 in 6 envelopes for the month of August. My September envelopes are filling up slowly but surely. Judging from the entries in my finance log, the savings total a little over 1K in what I call 'free money'. It's quite an accomplishment- considering this is all money i'd be giving away in the guise of habit (smoking, overeating), finance charge (credit cards), regular prices (formerly known as the anti-coupon mommy), can dumping (although the 5 cents is money already paid, consumers throw cans away to eliminate bulk can recyclings) . It's funny because my neighbors look at me like i'm crazy when I lug my cans in to the nearby supermarket. I smile because it's doing these things (recycling cans, passing on cigarettes, etc.) that have given me back some of my cash. I'd spend over a thousand bucks a year just buying cigarettes alone- this is money I'd never see again (at least not in the form of cash, anyway). When I see a can, I think to myself "I just found five cents!" Truthfully, if you examine your own budgets, I am almost positive there is some money waiting to be freed up. Here's an example of what I do:

Common Electricity bill in my house: 147.00 After replacing bulbs : 121.00 (-26.00)
Cable (Modem & Cable TV) 150.00 After negotiating with rep : 110.00 (-40.00)
Phone: 60.00 After changing package 51.00 (-9.00)

Now it doesn't look like much when read initially.. but if you calculate the total, I am now saving 75.00 in bills. BILLS THAT I'D USUALLY PAY BLINDLY. So what does Barb do? She takes that 75 bucks, creates an envelope called bill savings and adds it to the monthly envelope.

At the end of the year, Barb has 900.00 that she shouldn't have. Hence the term, FREE MONEY lol. That's just one envelope though. I have 6-7 envelopes on average during the month.
So when I load all those cans in my car when I go grocery shopping, I smile because it's doing these little things that give me a chance to open a CD with free money?


THE NEGATIVE SIDE...
**updated Monday Sep 19**

Ironically, my husband has been charging up his brand new store charge card because he has a 6K credit line. The problem is... the APR is 19.99%, and I am almost positive we'll have a carryover balance in October! I've manipulated the budget to include my envelopes and a little bit of ING funding but there is absolutely NO cushion for credit cards. So far his total on the card is 980.00 and coupled along with the gas card charges, we're looking at credit card bills around 1100.00 Frown

So now the debate begins... do I tap my envelopes or do I make him sweat it out?

I've got a little while to think about it though... let's see what happens Smile

Unexpected windfall breaks monotony chez moi :)

September 17th, 2005 at 04:47 pm

Funny how life is! Today I started the day a little grumpy... payday was two days ago and we're back down to BROKE lol. Hubby and I went shopping at the commissary and found great wholesale bargains at the tent outside the store. I bought 5 packs of 15-Roll Bounty Paper Towels at 7.35 each (the very same bounty I bought at Costco earlier in the week for 14.99). We spent a whopping 160 bucks but all of it was 100% justifiable.

On the way home from this plastic shopping spree, I felt a little bummed because I wanted to have a girly beauty day (hair, nails, waxings etc) this payday. Hubby was all for having me splurge via the plastics but the frugal in me rebelled against the idea.

When I got home, I checked the mailbox and found a refund check from school. Apparently I'd made an overpayment last summer and got $187.75 back. MONEY BACK FROM SCHOOL? I ran over to the bank and cashed it right away.

And thus.. the day of beauty reigned!

Barb: Hair, Nails, Waxing
Hubby: Waxing (Eyebrows.. he looks so cute hubba hubba!)
Kitty: Hair
DD: Hair
Mom: 20.00 in cash since she didn't go with us for beauty day.

It was a beauty day for all of us.. and I still managed to save $57.75 of this unexpected money in a new envelope entitled Freaky School Payout Leftover heheh.

The Dividend Game

September 16th, 2005 at 07:59 am

After perusing several financial blogs, I am kicking myself because I didn't maximize my frugality last month! Supermarkets and Drugstores are selling gift cards which if purchased with the Citi dividend card gives you 5% cashback... duhh!!! I bought 200 bucks worth of giftcards at the actual stores and well... it would have been nice to see some loot coming back to me.. even if its only 10 bucks. I've added this info on here for 'dividenders' who havent read the citi fine print regarding this way cool card:


CITI® DIVIDEND PLATINUM SELECT® CARD REWARD PROGRAM INFORMATION
Your Citi Dividend Card account ("Card Account") will receive a rebate based upon eligible transactions appearing on your current month’s billing statement. Such eligible transactions include purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, which will show cumulatively on your statement as “Dividend Dollars”, as long as your Card Account is open and current. (Rebates on cash advances and balance transfers may take up to three billing cycles before they appear on your billing statement.) However, if your Card Account is no longer current, you will not be able to earn or redeem Dividend Dollars. If your Card Account is closed, you will no longer be able to earn or redeem your Dividend Dollars and unless you reopen your Card Account within 90 days of closure, you will forfeit any accumulated Dividend Dollars.
You will earn 5% on purchases made at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations and 1% on all other purchases. Supermarkets are defined as stand-alone merchants that primarily sell a complete line of food merchandise for home consumption. Drugstores are stand-alone merchants that primarily sell prescription and proprietary drugs and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines. Gas stations are merchants that primarily sell vehicle fuel for consumer use.
Purchases not eligible to receive the 5% rebate include, but are not limited to, purchases made at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores. In addition, online, catalog, mail order and telephone purchases are not eligible to receive a 5% rebate unless the merchants identify the transactions as being made at a supermarket, drugstore or gas station. We do not determine whether merchants correctly identify and bill transactions as being made at a supermarket, drug store or gas station. However, we do reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for the 5% rebate.
You will earn 1% on cash advances and cash convenience check amounts billed at the standard cash advance rate. Cash advances and cash convenience checks billed at a promotional rate will not receive a rebate unless specified otherwise. You will receive five Dividend Dollars for each individual balance transfer transaction, including individual balance transfer transactions made with balance transfer checks of $1,500 and greater.
You may accumulate a maximum of 300 Dividend Dollars in any calendar year (eligible transactions appearing on your January ­ December billing statements). Dividend Dollars earned on purchases through the Citi Dividend Merchant Network are not subject to the $300 calendar year maximum accumulation.
Citi Dividend cardmembers must be registered for Account Online and must activate their Citi Dividend Merchant Network account to be eligible to earn Dividend Dollars on purchases made through the Citi Dividend Merchant Network.
As soon as you’ve earned 50 Dividend Dollars or more, call us at 1-866-676-4672 or visit www.citicards.com so that we may send you a check for the total accumulated Dividend Dollar amount shown on your monthly billing statement. We cannot issue you a check unless you contact us. Checks cannot be issued for amounts less than $50 unless you’ve already received checks totaling more than $250. Cardmembers must be registered for Account Online in order to request a check at www.citicards.com.
Returned purchases, disputed or unauthorized/fraudulent transactions, finance charges, and Card Account fees do not earn a rebate unless otherwise specified.
You are responsible for any taxes that may be due on checks we may send you for your Dividend Dollar balances. Dividend Dollars have no cash value until such time as you may request and receive a check for your accumulated Dividend Dollars and you shall have no property rights or other legal interest in Dividend Dollars. You may not assign, transfer or pledge your Dividend Dollars.
We may revise any of these Citi Dividend Card Terms and Conditions at any time with 30 days prior written notice.

Be back soon,
B

Turning over a new leaf... a greener one :)

September 15th, 2005 at 05:29 pm

So here I am.. back at the greatest site on the planet. I haven't completely disappeared.. was just lurking around for a bit. My schedule is rather hectic: 5 college classes, 1 part time job, 2 delightful little girls, and of course " tryin' to make a dollar outta fifteen cents".

I did resume the nasty habit for a few months.. but I stopped again in late July. Come to think of it, I abandoned my envelope system and completely splurged for a few months.. but I resumed my quest in August.
I have managed again to save a total of 340.00 in my phillip morris donation box (I took an old recipe box I found in the basement and printed out some grotesque pictures of blackened lungs, the skull and crossbones symbol and the marlboro logo. I then pasted it on the box and each time I think about it, I put 7 bucks in there!)

Curiosity got the best of me so I calculated some peculiar totals:

July-September: 340.00
October: 112.00
November 112.00
December: 140.00

Potential Phillip Morris refund/ Savings for the year: 704.00!! (talk about transposition lol)

2006: $1456.00

Interesting... 28.00 X 52= 1456.00!!
(and yes.. I smoked 4 packs a week!)
It makes me sooo sick to think how much i've spent on those things.. but hindsight's a %*^$!



I stopped the newspaper service (the paper girl is just too disorderly!) so I decided to count those totals too (yes. I have too much spare time at school on occasion lol)
2005=$22.50
2006=$78.00

Hey.. it's not much but it's more than I have in my purse right now!!

Well.. i'm off to do my homework.. i'll report more tomorrow.