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Archive for April, 2008

Trying to match yard pavers! Yeckkkk!

April 30th, 2008 at 09:52 pm


Lux's Cowboy Tub - Garden Year 2004



I want four more matching pavers to complete the little patio area FrugalSon and I worked on yesterday. I went back to where we got mine a year or two ago and now they don't carry them any more. What a pain. Drove around looking for other places that might have them. No luck so far but I did manage to spend $9 on plants.

There's good reason for ME to stay out of the plant stands! I'm the same way in bookstores. They are dangerous places for me to venture.

Oh well, I've been 'color-hungry' and I got a few things that will spice it up just a little bit. Plants have really gotten pricey since last I went. Will try to hang tough against all the enticing plants when I try the next couple places for pavers some time in May. I'm out of gas and I'm waiting at least till tomorrow and a new months' budget kicks in to fill it up! Oh the cringing I'll do! Frown


Adding to the Challenge:

$017.82 balance
+008.02 wallet cleanout
_______
$25.84 April Total

2008 Challenge Total $107.66
Cumulative Challenge Total $636.27

Paid my mortgage payment just now for tomorrow. New balance will be $18,438.49.

Contractual payoff: 6 yr. 1 mth.
Actual payoff: 5 yr. 4 mth.
Projected payoff: 5/2014

With extra principal payments of $71.04 the projected payoff will be 7/2012!

If extra principal continues to be paid the interest savings will be $713.50.

Total reduction in term 1 yr. 10 mths.


CashHappySon mailed off his payment to the hospital today - before the postal rates go up!

Adding To the Challenge / Crossover

April 30th, 2008 at 01:36 am




Adding to the challenge:

$005.71 balance
$012.11 leftover from a budgeted purchase
_______
$017.82 MTD

2008 Challenge Total $099.64
Cumulative Challenge Total $628.25


For those of you who know what your Crossover Point is (Your Money Or Your Life), congratulations. For the rest of us, here's where to find out!


http://www.whatsmycrossover.com/

I Won Three NICE Doorprizes!

April 27th, 2008 at 02:02 pm



Yesterday I went to my* college reunion and made a haul!

I won three of the door prizes, and came home with a bunch of radishes from my friends garden! Well, well, Well!! hehe!! SCORE! I won a baseball cap with the school logo on it, a college T-shirt and a very VERY nice 8.0 pixel, 10x zoom, Canon PowerShot SX100 IS Digital Camera w/a super little LowePro carrying bag for it.

I was invited to this 'doings, by an old friend who actually graduated from there.

*I was a commuter student there and only attended 4 classes there while doing the majority of my schooling in my nearby metro area. My old friend called me up about three months ago and asked if I minded if he put me up for the Hall of Fame nominations. Now, I've done a few things in my life, some that were noteworthy, yet no total body of lifetime achievement that I would consider Hall of Fame worthy, but after reminding him of my commuter student status and my lack of achievements, I said, "Sure, why not, and thank you for thinking of me."

(Note: Surprise!!! (NOT - just kidding) I did not make the final cut!)

Anyway, Hubster and I went and had a very enjoyable day as his guests. We picked up my friend and his other friend and the four of us made a day trip of it.

The day started off early w/a little shopping trip at a store I often frequent near there - Hubster bought me a $2.42 wreath hanger to replace one I misplaced while dressing FIL's house, and Housebudget bought a small gift for my niece's upcoming birthday for under $5.

At the reception they had a wide cookie selection, cheese and crackers, bottled waters, and coffee at about 10:45.

We mingled. We met. We explained that we weren't the real deal 'Alumni', but mainly there as guests of my friend.

We toured. A highschool girlfriend's of mine family had donated a very large sum of money and had very lovely dorm built there. Very much like a resort, swimming pool, club house, laundry room, etc. The kids do still have to buddy up. Four to a unit. Four bedrooms w/locks, 2 showers, 2 stools, 4 sinks. Each bedroom had space for their own mini-frig & microwave. Fullsize bed, desk, dresser, nightstand, all provided. Very nice. Each 4 student unit has a shared common dining space & living room.

The campus is small, but the facilities are very well-kept. In the library they had set up very large display cases with memorabilia and had a nice slide show presentation and yearbooks & scrapbooks out on the tables. Librarians standing by to make copies.

The Alumni President made a bee-line for me as I was considerably younger than most of the attendees. (Delightful to be called a youngster again, even if I am a Gran and nearer to midlife than most!)

He wanted to enlist me on the Alumni committee. I somehow managed to escape him. Hubster did not want me to participate because of the commute involved. For me it would be an hour and a half drive even if I was interested, which I was decidely not. However, it wouldn't look bad on a resume!

Lunch was in the cafeteria with sandwiches, chips and a beautiful spread of fruit and dipping sauces, and a nice veggie & dip selection. It was very enjoyable watching the 2 Hall of Fame inductees' PowerPoint presentations and hearing their life tales. My older friend hid behind me and took a snooze as it did run on a bit!

But hey, people only generally get these ops once or twice in a lifetime so it was interesting to me to watch their enjoyment of their special day and hear their life stories.

Later we toured vendors booths and participated in a few more door prize drawings. Hubster bought me a $2 bag of Kettle Corn.

Afterwards we attended a very nice catered dinner and live music presentation, ending the evening early about 7:00 p.m. while the band played on as we had to make tracks to our part of the state to pick up FrugalSon. While dropping my old friend and my now new friend that came with, they gave us the radishes. I just washed & trimmed them up this morning and will use part of them in today's lunch salad.

All in all an enjoyable time spent on a day with lovely weather! Of note to SavingAdvice.com bloggers, I personally had a No Spend Day!!! Hubster bought gas and paid tolls out of Housebudget.

I tried to pay friend for our tickets but he wouldn't hear of it. I will be buying him a restaraunt gift certificate and mailing it to him w/a nice thank you card as well as one to the Alumni Foundation Reunion staff for the doorprizes.

Hello, Cemetery? I'm Over Here...

April 25th, 2008 at 04:51 pm



I called the cemetery office this morning and gave them our new address. We've lived here almost 9 years now. But, hey, it was news to them. Hubster thinks I'm crazy, but you never know they may need to contact us at some time and better they should have our current address in their records. We bought our plots about 15 years ago.

We are also discussing going out shopping for headstones. We've talked about it several times but have never done anything about it. I think I may just have to make plans on a Saturday morning and tell him, hon, today's the day we go buy our markers. I doubt the price of those are going down any time soon and likely going up as we speak! I'd rather have them bought and paid for now so it's just one less thing to worry about later.

Yeah, I know, I can be rather morbid, but I do like to think practical whenever I can and get the smaller details cleaned up. I do not forsee us moving out of this area, and even if we buy them and not have them set, but store them in the basement (Yeah, really weird I know) and move them with us if we ever do move out of state, it's better to buy them now while we're a bit flush with the cash than wait until later - for me anyway! One or two less things for the kids to worry about. I'm not talking some giant statue or anything, just small marker stones. I believe some monument places will store them for you as well. We'll see.

Okay, so - on to lighter subjects...

Adding to the $20 Challenge:

$005.04 balance
+000.67 keyboard change
_______
$005.71 MTD

2008 Challenge Total $87.53
Cumulative Challenge Total $616.14

Took another step yesterday in the overall future financial plans. We've been planning all along to eventually put most if not all of our investments with Fidelity for retirement purposes to have a more centralized place for our retirement assets. I'm not entirely ready to do that yet, but did step along the 'goals'-line to starting a checking account with them. Over time as we begin draw-down of retirement assets they have a cash-manager program that will assist in keeping cash necessary for day-to-day expenses available in the checking account w/minimal involvment from us. Check one more item off the to-do list.

Yesterday was a No Spend Day for Me. No gas usage either.

Nose Hair Exam Anyone?

April 23rd, 2008 at 06:28 pm



Well, I've been rather quiet this month. Not intentionally, but have felt that I didn't have much to say financially except that I am spending out the wazoo for gas/tolls/meals out to drive to various health related appointments for my parents. So far this month I've had to go long distance out of town four times and have another trip scheduled for this coming Saturday. Sheesh, will the blood-letting at the pump let up any time soon? We already drive an economy car and well, frankly, it isn't any too economical when you are running hither and yon!

I did go back and do AngelFood this month w/pickup in a few days. Will have to send CashHappySon to pick it up as Hubster and I are going to be out of town that morning. I am still not too sure that it is cheaper than the way I normally buy, but I've done it and hopefully will use the menus that should be posted over at hillbilly housewife's website.

I did get officially old this month as I went and got bifocals $163 w/sunglass attachment thingawhichie. Well, they are the absolute pits. I feel as if I am up for a nose-hair exam as I've got my head leaned back a mile in order to see the up close portion. I think I need another minor adjustment so they sit higher on the bridge of my nose.

I am still in need of a hearing check, but will have to get a doctor's referral supposedly. What a pain. On that front I'm hoping I'm just heavy on ear-wax and not in need of an 'aid!

Got a PineCone Check in the mail and am adding it to my challenge money.

$20 CHALLENGE
$000.04 balance
+005.00 Pinecone
_______
$005.04 April MTD

Better get hoofing on the challenge, eh?

I spent some time in the waiting rooms rereading The Automatic Millionaire and went in this a.m. and changed a few things around for my kids on their regular pay things to make them automatic. Hopefully that will save a bit of hassle down the road.

Grocery Prices On The Rise - Why?

April 16th, 2008 at 07:05 pm



Well, in the discussion Zetta (over on the forums) started about evaluating her portfolio made me decide to head on over to MorningStar to x-ray our portfolio once again. While there I watched this video on offsetting your rising grocery costs by investing in two stocks, MON and POT. I'm not likely to be investing in either one right now, but I'll probably start watching them, however I did like the explanation as to why grocery prices are taking off like they are. An informative piece. Scroll down the page to watch it.

http://www.morningstar.com/#A1

Whack Your Electrical Moles

April 15th, 2008 at 04:26 pm




It's that time again kiddos - go Whack the Moles - the ones stealing your $$'s by eating thru the electrical budget. Don't know what I'm talking about? Go check out the backstory here:

http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2008/01/11/whack-a-mole-el...

Today, all there was on my sweep thru the house was the hairdryer and microwave. We've been doing better with this lately.

Roths, Taxes and Cemetery Flowers!

April 1st, 2008 at 09:15 pm



I just added the last of my 2007 contributions to my Roth! Yeah ME!!! Phew. Two whole weeks to spare! hahaha I used my money from Ameritrade and the bonus from Suze Orman's promotion. That and the interest it earned made me able to slide the last little bit in there.

I'm already into my 2008 contributions as the Household Budget contributes $100 a month, and I've been contributing $101 on autodraft since the beginning of the year. Though I'll have to come up w/considerable difference to max it out in 2008. Most of this difference will be from selling junque & the $20 Challenge.

Went this afternoon and had the AARP folks do our taxes again for FREE. Yeah AARP! We have a very small refund from state and Fed both. Very closely figured - under $200 back on both. So, that's good. We didn't loan Uncle Sammie too much, and yet we don't owe him any either. E-filed, so shortly to have a bit back and we'll probably split the little bit into our Roths.

Today the house budget bought Hubster some floral arrangments for his parents' graves. He waited too long last year and couldn't find any the day he wanted to go out to the cemetery. Another thing off the to-do list.

Yesterday I took FrugalSon and the TheGrrl and we went to see 10,000 B.C. at the matinee. So yesterday I spent $2.50 from my Entertainment Fund. She came back to the house and we made goulash, salad, corn, hot rolls and apple pie for supper.

Before picking up TheGrrl FrugalSon and I went grocery shopping with a list and menu in hand. I bought for three weeks worth of meals and a months worth of snacks. I'm trying to stretch out my buying time to see if I can make it to finally doing 1 month grocery shopping trips. If I get lucky I'll be able to stretch what I've got here with what I purchased and make it w/o another grocery shop this month. Will have to go to the bread store though later in the month.

Housebudget spent on groceries $138.75. Housebudget spent on snacks $21.00 (this also included some meat as they carry Owens brand frozen there and two cases of corn at the scratch n'dent store.) The main grocery shop was at Save-A-Lot.

I watched and their register showed that something like $124 worth of my purchases would have qualified to be purchased with food stamps. I had never realized their registers showed such information before. So basically everything but tax?? I'm too pooped right now to figure it out or dig out the receipt to look.

I went long on flour, corn, beans and rice this trip. This is part of my keeping a years supply of groceries on hand most of the time. I bought two cases each of canned corn and northern beans. About three big bags of flour and 10 lbs. of rice. The prices of grains are predicted to be heading up, Up, UP.

I need a case of Milnot or equivalent brand, but will have to wait till next big shopping trip. I was shooting to only spend $140 at the grocery, so I came pretty darn close. I just bought a couple of cans of Milnot instead of a case. It's figuring that running tax that gets me every time. I got everything on my list except raw popcorn. Not microwave. Can't get just regular popcorn at Save-A-Lot here for some reason. I ask every time I go for the girls to put it on their buyer's list. Can ya'll get it at your Save-A-Lots???

Today I personally have had a no-spend day.

Tonight's menu - Steak Fajitas, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, Fruit Cocktail, Iced Tea. A little pricier than I like to do at home usually, but it was at FrugalSon's request and he doesn't get to eat at home most nights as he's at work, so...for him (and his grocery hauling muscles) I'm doing it.

----
edited to update the mortgage balance over on the left:

New Balance $18,757.98
Actual remaining time frame 5 yrs. 4 mths.
If we continue making the extra $71.04 principal payment that we've been doing our house will be paid off in July 2012.