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Archive for June, 2006

net worth addiction

June 30th, 2006 at 07:08 pm

This is the second time today I have refreshed my Yodlee account to see my net worth. The first it went down $20, but now it is up by $50. Not bad earnings for sitting on my butt all day Smile Of course, with the stock market the way it has been, it could be all gone (and more) soon. Wow, this is really addicting to watch! It was such a pain to keep track of before that I only did it once a month.
We had a nice evening here. My MIL and nephew came out tonight to celebrate DH's birthday. A nice cookout, cake and ice cream, a day by the pool...and we are all wiped out! TOmorrow and Sunday we have grad parties, next weekend is my future SIL's bridal shower, the weekend after is her bachelorette party - then two weeks until the big wedding. Busy time of year for us.
I don't even want to add up the costs for this wedding. It's not that I mind - I was totally thrilled to be asked to be in it. But it does get pricy. Dress ($150), shoes ($7.50), shower costs ($125), bachelorette party ($70), plus all the other costs like getting my hair done, gifts for the wedding and shower, etc. A funny story about the shoes - when we bought our dresses, nearly every other bridesmaid bought the dyed-to-match shoes. I just stood there looking at the $40 cheapest pair of shoes thinking that I could NOT justify the costs. Since it was still 6 months till the wedding, I decided to shop around to see if I could find a pair to match (the dress was celadon, a light green). I figured it was a long shot, but I could order dyeable shoes within two weeks, so I figured I had plenty of time. Last week, my diligence paid off. I found a beautiful (although uncomfortable, but they will come off after pictures) pair in the exact color I needed. $40 - discounted half price, with another final clearance discount of 50%, for a total of $7.50. HA! It pays to wait and shop around.
I might hit the garage sales tomorrow morning - missed them last week and am feeling the urge to get out there. I have less money in my account now than I have had in probably several years, but I still feel the need to do this. maybe the few dollars I spend without too much thought is what keeps me from ever feeling deprived, so I am willing to loosen the belt a bit for my garage sales Smile

I need more clients!

June 29th, 2006 at 07:34 pm

I finally sent out some letters to past clients...four of them. I had already sent out letters and thank you gifts to people who have bought or sold a house with me - this time, I wanted to send out letters to those people I had worked closely with, but never completed a sale. I only came up with four people! Maybe that says something good about me - I almost always complete my sales! Anyway, I am sending a short note to those people to let them know my new contact information and that they can call me if they have any real estate needs. hey, it was next to no work, and two of the people might actually be in the market again for a house. If it turns into a sale, it will be well worth the time.
Let's see...not sure what else I can do to find some new clients. I just don't have the cash for advertising. I have a friend who spent $15k in one month alone on advertising (in a very competitive, high-priced market). I'll have to think some more on this one. Maybe an ad in the paper or shopping guide???
I have been watching my net worth daily now that I have signed up for Yodlee. It was rather depressing at first...but today things were much, much better. Up about $700 due to stock increases alone. Now, if only it would stay there...

Sallie Mae- done

June 27th, 2006 at 08:13 pm

DH remembered to call and consolidate his student loans today - all by himself! So that's one thing checked off the list. Tomorrow I have to take care of some medical bills and send the lucky coin to someone else - I keep forgetting.
I'm starting to panic now that I realize just how little money is coming in every month - it's just my part-time income ($562 every two weeks, after insurance and taxes) for a family of four. It's enough to make ends meet, since we don't have a housing payment - but these is not much leftover at all to pay down debt. Sigh. I guess it will just take us a little longer than planned. I cannot wait for DH to finish school and start looking for a job.
I showed two more houses today - no go. Sometimes this is a very frustrating line of work - many hours spent with no return at all (or even a promise of future returns). But then again, sometimes the commission checks make it all worthwhile. I have done nothing recently to promote my business and try to get new clients - and now would be a good time to work on that to increase our income in the next few months. I need to get rolling with that again.
Tomorrow - off from work. Things need to get done around the house. Tomorrow is also Dh's birthday - 29!

Yodlee!

June 26th, 2006 at 07:54 pm

Lovin' this Yodlee so far. I have set up an acocunt through BOA. I just got everything registered and haven't even started to play around yet, though. I'm sure I will love it even more when I see what it can do!
I was only slightly depressed by the net worth - about $9k, thanks to $22k in student loans (and rising). I also do not have the car loan figured in there, since they do not have online accounts - so subtract about $1500 from that. But if you add in the value of our cars, net worth will rise by about $15k, which does make me feel a little bit better Smile
Dh still has not called Sallie Mae to consolidate his loans...grrr. I keep reminding him - maybe on Wednesday when I am not working I can dial the phone and put it to his ear for him Smile I don't want to wait until the 30th as I dont know how long it takes to process.
Spent $4.08 today on postage for the coupon train caboose - on it's way to flash. Also spent $.50 on a soda as we were having a movie training with popcorn - and who can eat popcorn without soda? No other money spent.

Holy guacamole!

June 25th, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I continued my cooking streak today with a batch of guacamole - my first try. I tried guacamole on a high school trip to Mexico in 10th grade and thought it was awful. For years I had myself convinced that I hated the stuff - until my brother made some for us last year. It was GREAT. So I got his recipe and tried it out - yummy. The directions were a little complex - first coat the avocado and lime juice, pour the lime juice off and reserve, mash the avocado by hand, add this and then that. The heck with all that, I thought, and dumped the whole mess into the food processor. I don't have time for steps! Anyway, turned out great. I told my brother, who is the most anal cook in the entire world (he measures out the water to boil noodles in for mac and cheese because it says 6 cups on the box), and he gasped a little but didn't faint. But now...we are out of the good wheat tortilla chips - so what else do you use guacamole for??? (until I get more chips, anyway!)
I finally met a client today that I have been corresponding with for a few months via e-mail. He and his family just moved to NY from FL and need to find a house. I showed them one house today, but they didn't care for it. Hopefully I will be able to locate something for them and make another sale. I can't wait to get my hands on the commissions from the two deals I have going on now. We are living right now on my part-time income only, so anything extra will be great to go toward debt reduction. Otherwise, we won't be making any progress at all until DH gets a job (at least January). Which reminds me...
I have been hounding DH to get moving on his student loan consolidation - but he keeps forgetting. I will have to call home from work tomorrow to remind him. The bad part is that we will need to take out loans for the next two semesters (maybe only one if my commissions come thorough), which we will not be able to consolidate at the lower rates. Darn.

betty crocker, lookout

June 24th, 2006 at 09:05 pm

I am on a wild baking spree. Yesterday it was cookies, banana bread and muffins, today it was rhubarb cake and sausage bread (stromboli type bread filled with sausage, peppers, onions, and cheese - got rave reviews!). Of course, I have to pick the most inconvenient time to run the over - it's 90 degrees here. But at least we have the AC installed now Smile
This morning ds1 and I ran all over the place getting presents for DH's birthday and Father's Day (yeah, I know, I'm really late). We were able to get him a lot of nice things - total spent was about $66, plus $20 on a g.c. But some of the gifts were for my mom to give him (I usually do her shopping for him), so I will get $37 back. I didn't spend too much and I think he will be pleased.
I did splurge on lunch today at the mall - Chinese. Ds loved it. In fact, he ate most of it, so I had to get a snack when we got home. $4 spent. We drank water, both to save $ and because all they had was soda, which I don't give ds.
I also went grocery shopping today and spent $51 ($14 saved with coupons, Shopper's Club - I was disappointed that it was not more). I did have a few impulse buys though. That's $80 spent in the last two days alone. Time to stay out of the stores for a while.
Now that I have the time, I have to figure this out. I was going to purchase a value pack of hamburger for $1.99/lb ($16 total), so that was about 8 lbs. Instead, I purchased two smaller packs at $2.29/lb for about $9 (4 lbs. total). I did this because the packs each had $1 coupon if you bought a pack of taco shells. I also had a coupon for $1 off/2 packs, so I figured I would get $3 off and get the taco shells for close to free. So, 4 lbs of meat at the cheaper price would have been app. $8, plus the taco shells would have been $3.86 ($4.86-$1 coupon) = 11.86.
By buying the two packs, I spent $7.16 on meat ($9.16-$2 coupons), and still spent $3.86 on the tacos, for a total of $11.02. Huh. So I guess I did alright. I could not concentrate on this in the store as I had a very cranky toddler. The big question, though, should be whether I would have bought the tacos at all had I not seen the coupon on the beef? The taco shells will definitely be used, but it was an impulse buy. It is so hard to figure out these things when you are standing the aisle contemplating a purchase!
So anyway, ds and I came home and I cooked like a wildwoman all day. My father and DH are rerunning the plumbing pipes, so after I got all done, I had no water to wash the dishes - what a mess. We had company over tonight for a card match (luckily just my siblings and uncle as the house is a disaster) - and another free night of entertainment. Time for bed now - we might head off to a local pancake breakfast in the morning.

letting go

June 23rd, 2006 at 08:19 pm

Why is it so hard to just let some things go?? I am writing in reference to all the PAPER around my house. I have puzzle magazines dating back to 1997 that I cannot get rid of the because there are still puzzles left undone. I have spent hours going through these books (I probably have 20 of them around) trying to finish the puzzles so I can throw them away. How STUPID is that? I am doing puzzles that I don't even enjoy! And then there are the magazines that I don't even subscribe to, but that my SIL gives me when she is done. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them - they are parenting magazines that I do occasionally get some good info out of. But I feel like I need to read every article in them, even the ones on older kids and teenagers - like I am going to remember that in 14 years when my kids are learning to drive? C'mon, someone tell me how ridiculous I am being so I can stop. Please.
Does anyone else have this problem? It's like I am afraid of what I am going to miss. Luckily I don't have this problem with the newspapers (we get two daily) or else I would never get anything done. Come to think of it...my mom has this problem too. We can't throw away any newspaper until she has read it cover to cover (we have piles all over the house). Darn, it's genetic. Maybe there's no hope after all.
Smile

well, pat myself on the back

June 23rd, 2006 at 08:13 pm

it's been a busy day! I switched my work day from Friday to Thursday, so now I have a three day weekend. It seems like I was able to get a lot accomplished - and I still have two more days before going back to work!
-finished weeding the garden
-took care of a two separate piles of paperwork that needed to be filed, thrown out, etc.
-handled half a dozen work related calls
-made two batches of cookies (with my mom - she's making all the cookies for my brother's rehearsal dinner) and banana bread & muffins
-did the dishes
-made dinner
-went grocery shopping ($31.37)
-went through the coupon train, added my coupons (this seemed to take forever, there were so many!)
Whew! Why am I not more tired??? And between this all, I played with the kids outside for a good chunk of the day. This is making me look forward to the future when we plan for me to stay home after DH gets a teaching job!

Yahooooooo

June 22nd, 2006 at 07:53 pm

Guess who finally refunded my $25 incorrect charge? Yahooooooo! I'm doing the happy dance here. I'll have to contact the BBB tomorrow to withdraw my complaint. I love how quickly things get done when they are involved Smile

lovin' the farmers markets

June 22nd, 2006 at 07:31 pm

I missed the local farmers market in town today...but happened to drive by a little mom and pop farm stand on my way to an appointment today. I got a huge bunch of rhubarb for $1.50 (I've seen it upwards of $5/lb in the grocery store), some cukes, zucchini, tomatoes, bananas, and sweet peas for $10. Yum. I can't wait though until the garden is ready to produce all this good stuff for us. This year we planted: yellow squash and zucchini, yellow and green beans, beets, spinach, mesclun mix lettuce, swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes (cherry, grape, and regular), cucumbers, peppers (green, banana, and jalepeno) and herbs. I can't wait, I can't wait! We spent about an hour weeding it out tonight - what a mess. But it will pay for itself many times over.
No other money spent today. Thought I would have to pay to park when I went to an appointment downtown today, but I happened to pull into a spot that had nearly an hour left on the meter. Things like that make my day Smile

june 20

June 20th, 2006 at 07:56 pm

Quick entry - I'm tired. I now have to go to work at 7 am tomorrow for a visit. Luckily it's only 5 minutes from my house, and I get to come back home afterward since it's not my typical work day, but still. Who wants to work at all on their day off?
We got all the inspection sign-offs for the houses I am selling - yeah! Now just to get through the appraisals and get all the closing details worked out. Things are going almost too smoothly.
My parents took us all out for ice cream tonight. We stopped at the playground with the kids first. They had a ball, we had a ball, and it tired them out Smile My dad decided to give my ds and my niece an "ice cream cone" per week for the rest of the summer for their birthdays. A very sweet gesture - but then the won't let us pay either when we go too! They are very stubborn people, my parents. But very generous.
I finally finished the task of transferring all of my paperwork over into the file cabinet from my two overexpanded file folders. This will really help me to keep the bedroom clean as now the papers are where they should be - in the office.
Goals for tomorrow: Set up card match and mail out the scores from out last match. Finish sorting and filing all the miscellaneous paperwork I found while cleaning out our bedroom. Weed the garden.
(wow, not one mention of money in this entry...guess I need to stay on task a little more!)

three cheers for the BBB!

June 19th, 2006 at 07:24 pm

After chasing Yahoo for over a month to get a refund on a charge that I did not make, I gave up on them and e-mailed the Better Business Bureau. A week later and I had not heard anything from Yahoo or BBB...but then, in my e-mail tonight, a letter from Yahoo apologizing not only for the charge, but also for the time I had to spend rectifying it. And a promise, in writing, to have the refund back within 7-10 days.
I LOVE the BBB! This is two for two that they have come to the rescue. Hip hip hooray!
Oh, another good thing that I forgot to put in my original post - I have gotten through BOTH home inspections with no major problems. We have signed off an all contingencies and are moving full speed ahead with both transactions - even hoping to close by the end of next month. And I have three more houses to show tomorrow afternoon too, so maybe more sales will be coming my way. Smile

so far behind...

June 19th, 2006 at 07:20 pm

...in my entries. Has it really been that long since I posted?? We had a busy, but very nice, weekend. Friday night we played pinochle (free entertainment!). Saturday we went to my niece's birthday party next door - it was SO hot that day. Everyone came over after presents to swim in our pool, a very refreshing 75 degrees. Watching a four year old open a mound of presents and pass over each one quickly to open the rest, without taking a pause to thank the giver, only strengthened my resolve to keep my son's birthday gift free (except for immediate family). In previous birthdays and holidays, ds1 has been so enamored with each gift, saying "Oohhhh", stopping to look at it and wanting to play with it immediately - that we have a hard time getting him to move on and open the rest of his presents. We finally gave up at Christmas and opened them for him, as he would be off in the next room playing. That is the appreciation that I want my children to show for the gifts that were picked out carefully by those who love them. Maybe this year will be different - maybe the wonder will wear off in the face of a pile of presents - but I hope not Smile
Sidetracked again...we got my niece a $50 savings bond, an outfit, and a book. She actually paused to look over the book, which made me very happy. She is a delightful little girl and I absolutely love her to pieces.
Saturday night my aunt came over and we played poker - I ended up winning almost $10 (not chump change when we all started with only $3). It was very fun.
Yesterday we traveled to my SIL's house in Owego, nearly two hours away. It's a very long trip with a 1 and a 2 year old - they only slept about a half hour on the way there and 45 minutes on the way back. But we had a wonderful time there and visited with all of DH's family. I wish they lived closer. We spent about $22 on gifts for Father's Day and food (ok, actually beer). We bought a pack of Guinness for DH's grandfather, gave a g.c. to Barnes and Nobles to his father, and I am going to give my dad a chocolate cake each week for the rest of the summer. A few years ago I gave him a "Dessert of the Month", but by the sixth or so month, I started to forget...I figure I can keep this up for two more months! Chocolate cake is his absolute favorite, so I know it will be appreciated.
I fell way behind on my 5-minute cleanings this weekend. I think I own 25 minutes now, counting tonight. I already did about 15 minutes today, so another 10 will catch me up. It's amazing how bad our room got in only four days - this will keep me motivated to not let it happen again.