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Archive for November, 2005

November 30 - officially sick

December 1st, 2005 at 02:52 am

Well, that's that. I'm definitely sick. Had a sore throat all day and just felt like crap. Oh well. Hopefully this will be short-lived. At least the kids were in a better mood today. I had a nice surprise - a birthday present in the mail from one of my closest friends who now lives across the country in Phoenix. She sent me chocolate covered espresso beans Smile That really made my night.
My parents are taking a week-long trip to Philly, Atlantic City, and Long Island (to see relatives). I have been dying to go see my new cousin, born in July, so they told me that if I could get myself there, I could ride back with them. I was on the fence about it, but DH looked up the airfare and told me I was going Smile I love that guy. I think he has seen that I could use a weekend away. So I have written to make sure it's alright with my relatives (which it always is) and then I will book the flight. It's only $84 one way on Jet Blue. I have also been looking up spa packages on E-bay. I found a few on the Island, but I don't know how close they are to where I'll be staying. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my cousin (the new mom). All in all, though, the weekend will still cost less than $200 and it will do me a world of good.
No money spent today - I never left the house. I dressed myself head to toe in fleece and hunkered down. I am a miserable sick person. I did spend some money last night, though, after I posted. $36.80 on magazine subscriptions (half for me, half for gifts). No income today.

November expenses: $7212.81
November income: $7087.93
Saved money today by: making turkey pasta for lunch and turkey soup for dinner with ingredients on hand (turkey is officially GONE!), not leaving the house Smile
A little disappointed that I ended up in the red for the month, but not too bad. This month was highly unusual. If you take away my large commission check and large student loan payment, that would approximate more closely a typical month. So, my real income and expenses is more like $3500. I didn't sock any into savings, but then again, we have adequate savings at this time, so extra money is better spent to pay down loans.

November 29...a better day

November 30th, 2005 at 02:44 am

A rather nice day today, aside from the kids being cranky. I really think they are getting sick. DH has been sick, and I just got a sore throat today, so I guess we are all going to be hit. Oh well. Nothing too exciting today - work, eye doctor, home. I spent a lot of money on my contacts. $330 total. $60 for the exam and $280 for the contacts, but I got $10 off. I will also get a $60 rebate on them since I ordered 4 boxes at a time. This is one of my extravagant expenses that I budget for. I could probably buy a years worth of contacts for less then half the price, but I splurge for the Night and Day contacts (the ones that you wear up to 30 days straight). Being blind as a bat and rather lazy when it comes to taking my lenses out, I will gladly pay extra for these. With the piddly amount my insurance will reimburse me though, and the rebate, the final bill won't be as bad as it sounds. The unfortunate thing is that DH has to order his too (the same kind).
However, the really good news of the day...I took my car to a repair shop and will not have to pay a dime! A few months ago a mechanic broke my ABS sensor while repairing my brakes. After initially being told that I would need to pay $120 for a new part (excuse me??? After he broke it???), they replaced it for me at their cost. Well, the sensor broke again. The mechanic said it had a hole worn right through it and apologized to me! They will be fixing it again for free when the part comes in. I was so petrified that it was going to be a problem with my brakes rather than just the sensor. Whew!
I have two good options to use for any payments this month, so I have to analyze this to see which is better. If I use my BOA debit card with the Keep the Change program, they will round up my debit and match it. But if I use my Discover card, they will pay me $1!!!! (up to $20 this month only). So it seems that I need to use my Discover card for everything until I reach 20 transactions, as that is a guaranteed cash-back dollar, whereas the BOA will always be less than $1. However, if it seems that I will be over 20 transactions, then I will need to start using my BOA card when I charge things that will earn me a lot of money when rounded up. I'm a little bummed that these deals didn't come at different times!
No income today.

November expenses: $7176.01
November income: $7087.93 (darn! in the red again!)
Saved money today by: taking lunch and snacks to work, drinking water, ordering all of my contacts at one time to get the rebate (basically amounts to one free box), using my Discover card to pay for my lenses (I will pay it off at the end of the month, so I am not paying interest to earn a buck!), made dinner from scratch using what I had on hand.

28 on the 28th...happy birthday to me :)

November 29th, 2005 at 03:54 am

Not the best birthday in the world, but I still have a lot to be thankful for. We had to put our dear old dog down this morning. She was 13, had cancer, and was obviously in a lot of pain. It's kind of quiet here now...seems weird after so long.
Otherwise, normal day. We had a little party at work for myself and three other people with birthdays this week (a little rare, given that there are only about 20 people in my office). I have a real estate closing coming up in a week, so that will be another nice bonus check, although it will be the last one for a while as I have no more deals pending. I just got a call from a long-time investor client tonight who wants to get out of a contract for a lot he has listed to sell. However, it's not my decision, and my broker will not release him from the contract unless he pays half of the agreed on comission for time and expenses incurred. So I feel caught in the middle. I'm really not a great business person! I tend to identify too much with my clients and want to help them out, even if it's at my expense. If it was my call, I would let them out of the contract and I know they would return to me in the future (they do a lot of transactions and have referred several clients to me). However, now I get the feeling they are a little ticked off, so I am worried that they will take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, I did make it clear to them up front that my broker would try to collect a commission from them if they pulled out of the listing, because they already pulled out of a prior listing. Ugh.
No money spent today by me. DH spent $8 for school supplies and $25 on gas. Misc income of $317.

November expenses: $6846.01
November income: $7087.93
Saved money today by: taking lunch and snacks to work, free entertainment at night (pinochle match).

November 27 - star envy no more!

November 28th, 2005 at 03:04 am

Yeah! I got some stars!!! Just as I was getting so jealous of everyone else. Thank you Smile

Nice relaxing day. My turn to sleep in, so that always puts a good start to my Sundays. DH and I did some things around the house today, but mostly spent too much time on the computer while the kids were sleeping. Then we made jambalaya tonight for dinner (new recipe from recipezaar.com, very good - we made it with brown rice to be South Beach compliant and tasted no difference), then off to bowling. DH did not bowl so well, but I shot a 455, which is almost exactly my average (152).
Expenses today: $15.00 babysitter, $20 bowling, $3.50 beer for DH at the alleys, $18.08 at grocery store for juice, snacks, lunch and dinner tomorrow, few other things.
No income today.

November expenses: $6813.01
November income: $6770.93
Saved money today by: getting a free $5 g.c. to Petco (found on this Freebie site), eating dinner before bowling and waiting until I got home for a snack rather then buying food out, leftovers for lunch (turkey AGAIN!)

November 26

November 27th, 2005 at 02:53 am

Wow, did I spend a lot of money today. I decided to surprise DH with a short trip to Vegas for Christmas, but after trying to wade through all the offers to book it, I decided to let him in on the surprise so he could help me Smile I also had him agree that it would be our present to each other for Christmas (aside from a few small items), as it was such a big chunk of money. He has never been west of Buffalo, and I know he has always wanted to go, so he seems to be happy about it. We have been searching online for days now and finally settled on a package tonight. We were originally going to fly out of Buffalo (about a $100 savings for both tickets), but after looking at the additional mileage, gas, and parking, we decided to pay a little extra to fly out of Syracuse. That way, we can have someone drop us off and don't have to worry about parking. All together, the price was $644 for the flight and three nights hotel stay. I still have to book the car. Right after I booked the trip on Expedia, I got a pop-up ad to try Entertainment.com free for 30 days and receive $25 on my next Expedia booking. So I signed up for that - it will cover a day and a half of car rental, plus DH is already scoping out the Entertainment site for Vegas coupons. Now I just have to remember to cancel in a few weeks or pay $9 a month (I'll have to print out as many coupons as I can before I do that though!).
I also went shopping for a few hours today. I was hoping to get some new clothes, but didn't find anything at the thrift store. By the time I got to the mall, I was too tired to try on clothes anymore! I was hoping to get some Christmas shopping done as well, but didn't really find anything that looked appropriate for anyone. I have a lot of shopping left to do still.
Expenses today: $644 Vegas trip, $20 Sears (for me), $.65 shirt for ds2 at the thrift store, $27.27 ordered digital pics at Winkflash.com - $.12 a print
Income today: None today, but I just realized I missed a check about a week ago...$317 misc.

November expenses: $6756.43
November income: $6770.93 (still in the black after the trip - yeah!)
Saved money today by: Eating all meals at home, eating leftovers for lunch and dinner, taking DH's car shopping (better gas mileage)

November 24 and 25...still full

November 26th, 2005 at 02:28 am

What a lovely, lovely holiday. Second only to Christmas. We ate our first dinner next door at my brother and SIL's house, then drove to Binghamton in a snow storm for our second dinner. The roads were fine for the first 45 minutes of our trip, but they got very, very bad as we neared Binghamton. We were pretty much driving in white-out conditions for the last half hour - pretty scary, but we just went really slowly and kept in the tracks ahead of us. A trip that normally takes about an hour and twenty minutes took over two hours.
We had another wonderful dinner and got to see some relatives we don't see too often. DH's grandparents were there, who are usually in Florida for Thanksgiving, but are late in going this year due to some health problems. They will be leaving tomorrow, so it was nice to see them before they left. After dinner we had a friendly little game of Texas Hold 'Em poker, won by yours truely. I love getting the "sure, you know how to play poker" looks by the male relatives, then kicking their behinds Smile So I walked away $20 richer, although I guess $5 doesn't really count since it came from DH!
Today we headed back home. The kids were exhausted and slept all the way home. They both went to bed early tonight too. We let them stay up WAY late last night with all the excitement. We got a little scare when we came home and my parents were gone with the dogs. Our one dog is terminally ill and probably will need to be put down soon Frown so I was afraid they might have taken her in (the only place our dogs ever go is to the vets). But my dad had to run some errands in the truck and just took them along for the ride. So we have her for a little while longer. She does not seem to be in pain yet, only some discomfort, but we don't want her to suffer. So I think the end is near.
Aside from getting gas on our way home ($50.05), we haven't spent any money these past two days. Tomorrow, however, I plan to shop Smile For some reason, I have just been itching to go "thrifting". Maybe it's because I need some smaller clothes! Smile Smile Smile
November expenses: $6064.51
November income: $6453.93
Saved money today by: waiting to get gas until we were near a BJ's ($2.29/gal compared to $2.39), eating leftovers for dinner.

November 23 - missed Santa :(

November 24th, 2005 at 02:06 am

We took ds1 to see Santa today at the mall, but he did not get there until 3, so we missed him. Oh well. There is plenty of time to go back. We bought a few presents there so some money spent today. And I got some more dark chocolate covered espresso beans...my splurge while on the South Beach diet. Two or three of them will head off a sugar craving, and since dark chocolate is allowed (in moderation) on the diet, I don't feel bad.
Spent the rest of the day just hanging out and getting ready for tomorrow. I made some honey wheat bread dough for rolls and will make some butter rolls in the morning. I also made a rye dip. I LOVE Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we are having dinner at 12:30 at my SIL's next door, then driving to Binghamton for dinner at 4pm with my in-laws. We are going to be STUFFED.
Expenses today: $25 g.c. for my MIL's birthday, $5.61 for espresso beans, $10 for a Christmas gift (paid for with a gift card though, so I guess I won't count this as money spent), $34 at the grocery store for Thanksgiving supplies, $200 car payment
Income today: paycheck $834.21

November expenses: $6014.46
November income: $6438.93 (yeah! back in the black!)
Saved money today by: making homemade soup - lunch and dinner and some for the freezer, made homemade rolls and dip for tomorrow instead of buying them.

Oh yeah, I also wrote a letter to Nextel telling them how unhappy I was with their service. I asked for a credit to my account since I had to keep my other wireless account open for an extra week and a half during all this fiasco. I'll be anxious to see their response.

November 22 - getting close to my birthday :)

November 23rd, 2005 at 02:59 am

Less than a week until my birthday! The countdown has begun...this year I celebrate my champagne birthday - 28 on the 28th. My SIL just turned 30 on 10/30 and introduced us all to the concept of a "champagne" birthday, so now I get to make a big deal out of it Smile Unfortunately DH's just passed (28 on 6/28) before we heard the term, so no champagne for him this year.
Today at work I got a free catered lunch for a staff meeting. We were supposed to chip in for it, but when I gave my money to my supervisor after the lunch, she told me she already had enough money and wouldn't take it. I told her I would be sure to get my money in early for the next luncheon.
They finally got our cell phones straightened out. One less thing to worry about.
Expenses today: $16 grocery store, $4.75 post office (DH mailed his E-bay sale), $30 vet for check-up, shots, and nail clipping (I was really surprised this was so cheap). I realize that I forgot to include DH's coffee purchase the other night - about $50. Should last him a long time though. Also $6 spent on E-bay by DH.
November expenses: $5749.85
November income: $5604.72 (added DH's E-bay sale)
Saved money today by: Getting a free lunch (who says there is no such thing??), cooked dinner from scratch using things on hand or out of the freezer, DH bought a car charger for $6 from E-bay rather than spend $20 at the store.

November 21 - grocery shopping again

November 22nd, 2005 at 01:17 am

Quick entry, got things to do tonight...have to stop at Wal-Mart for diapers, coffee, fresh fruit...and stumbled upon a bunch of marked-down meat. I bought a few things of hamburger and stew beef to put in the freezer. DH gets nervous when I tell him I found "bargain meat", but all of it is still before the expiration date by a few days, so I don't worry. I love a good find Smile But I did end up spending $50. That's it for money spent today.
I am still working with Nextel to try to get my prior phone number ported over. I finally got them to do it today, but then they ported it to DH's phone instead of mine!!! Now they are telling me that they can't get DH's old number back. GRRRR. I hope this is not indicative of their customer service or else I will have a very unhappy two year contract. I am going to write them a letter tonight telling them about all this.

November expenses: $5643.10
November income: $5576.71
Saved money today by: bringing lunch and snacks to work, drinking water and tea at work, bargain meat!

November 20 - what a nice day

November 21st, 2005 at 03:34 am

I got to sleep in again this morning, at least until 8:30. Hey, I'll take it. Then we piled in the car and went down to Binghamton for the day to see DH's parents and go to his nephew's birthday party. When we got there, the house was empty. DH called his mom and she was in the ER, getting her finger looked at because SHE SEWED THROUGH IT ON THE SEWING MACHINE! Luckily, she's fine - they glued her finger up and sent her home. Ouch. This is why I don't sew Smile Anyway, we had a nice visit, and then we went to the birthday party and saw the rest of his family. My boys got to play with their cousins. It was just really, really nice. Smile Smile Smile
We didn't get to bowl tonight because of the party - we still have to pay our $20, but at least we didn't have to pay the babysitter. Had to stop on the way down to for a drink and snack, and then got lunch after we arrived. We will definitely plan better next time.
I spent a while talking with my SIL at the party about her E-bay income. She has been buying things at thrift stores and clearance sales to resell on E-bay and says she is doing really, really well. She says the secret is to list things in big lots under the wholesale heading rather than just in the clothing sections. I might try again, I don't know. Her lots are at least 30 items or more...that would take quite a bit of upfront costs. Something to think about...we had a little debate about whether it was ethical to buy from thrift stores to resell - I thought it was okay, because the store is still getting your money for their cause, and it's not like they ever run out of clothes to sell, but my MIL wasn't too hot on the idea.

Today's expenses: $49.52 gas for the minivan, $1.50 convenience store, $10 lunch, $20 bowling
No income today.

November expenses: $5593.10
November income: $5576.71
Saved money today by: Buying gas at BJ's (few cents cheaper and it was on the way), not having to hire a babysitter.

November 19 - again :)

November 20th, 2005 at 01:30 am

I see I labeled yesterday's entry as the 19th...oops. Even though DH thinks I obsess too much about money...and that I am too anal about keeping track...he wants to make sure that I mention his superb money saving move last night here in this journal. He went on-line to place his next order for Gevalia. He usually gets four boxes every few months. Well, I read that even though the shipping increases with the size of the order, it was still cheaper to order more at once. So we decided on our order (12 boxes), which got the price of each box down to near $7 (it was well over $8 when we only ordered 4). Then, just when we were about to order, he noticed a box to enter a promotional code. So he did a Google search for "Gevalia promotional code" and found one on the first site for free shipping with 10% off. We ended up saving nearly $20, and it brought the price of each box down to a little over $5. Kudos to DH! Maybe I am rubbing of on him Smile So, whenever you are about to buy anything online, a quick search for promotional codes can save you a bunch.
Had to show houses today again for four hours...and after it all, my buyer said she might just wait a little while longer till she figures out what she wants, as she can't find anything she likes in her price range. Frown That's the downside of working on commission - no sale = no commission. Oh well. So I got home about 2 and spent a few hours with DH cleaning and organizing. I listed a few items on our local free yard sale site (rock records and Reader's Digests), but no bites. I think I might also list a vintage dress I have (that is so cool I can't bring myself to give it away, but a little money might make it easier!) and some other things I have around. If I get no bites, I'll just Freecycle it. We haven't seen that E-bay money yet, so I can't count it as income. I got a few notices for secret shops, but I won't be going in the area of the store in the next few days, so I can't cash in on those.
Expenses today: $.99 for a loaf of Italian bread, which I found out after the fact that my mother had already bought. So now we have two loaves...and it's not even on the South Beach diet Frown
No income today.

November expenses: $5512.08
November income: $5576.71
Saved money today by: bringing my lunch and snacks while out working today (ate in the car), not doing anything!