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Archive for February, 2009

Adding to the $20 Challenge

February 27th, 2009 at 02:44 pm



Let me pump up the volume, at least slightly by adding $5.27 to the $20 Challenge. While I'm not so good at stimulating the economy as President Obama - I did do my part today and spent online a bit on some new acrylic paints - I'll offset the price of these by selling some of my older (perfectly fine & usable) ones to FrugalSon who is in need of some. I just prefer this other brand when I can get them. A win-win situation. I get to upgrade for about $2.00 in price difference and he gets good servicable paint.

$20 CHALLENGE
$016.82 balance
+005.27 addition
_______
$022.09 Feb MTD

2009 Challenge Total $43.24
Cumulative Challenge Total $1046.02


Listed five items today on ebay - 4 books and a t-shirt. I did not spend any gas today, and am staying in for supper - cooking chicken and mashed potatoes w/gravy.

Spent about 45 minutes in the basement cleaning and re-arranging today! Yeah ME!!! Trying to get myself in gear so FrugalSon can move down there and use the bigger room. Must be cleared of FIL's estate stuff and we just piled it in there at the time of his passing. There is much to be done to make this room usable, but it's doable. Just too easy for it to be - out of sight, out of mind! FrugalSon and I have been spending at least 30 minutes a day for the last week working down there.

State Revenue Increased by $62.50

February 26th, 2009 at 10:53 am


Seen on the web, not my st8e!


I've got to go get my truck tag today. It's not horrible and I've saved for it, so wave bye-bye to $62.50 outgoing. I could mail it off but they charge an additional $2 fee for that, so instead I'll combine it with a trip to the post-office to mail off two items that sold on ebay, totalling $14.85 minus $1.03 paypal fee = $13.82 incoming. Lucky for me my little tag office has a post office window in it. Nope - no vanity pl8s 4ME!

Think I'll add the $13.82 to the $20 Challenge:

$003.00 balance
+013.82 ebay sales
_______
$016.82 Feb MTD

2009 Challenge Total $37.97
Cumulative Challenge Total $1040.75

Well color me shocked!

February 20th, 2009 at 09:57 am



The other day my Mother & her husband gave me & my siblings a gift each of $**,***.**. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!

I am awaiting as I type a call back from our accountant verifying my thoughts on keeping this VERY generous gift tax free for years to come. I'm thinking of my state's municipal tax bonds, and not co-mingling it with any other monies currently so as to always know where any income it generates came from.

I do believe it will soon be enough to pay my house taxes each year if I let it compound and grow (assuming we stay in the same house).

THANKS MOM & HUBBY!!!

edited to add: The accountant says since we aren't in a high tax bracket to begin with it doesn't really matter if we pay taxes on it or not. Hmmmm, I just hate paying taxes, and currently my state's municipal bonds are paying a nice interest considering the economy. I haven't checked their ratings yet, but I'm still going to mull over my options. If you've any good ideas, pipe up, I'd love to hear them. I could conceivably put this money inside my Roth and finish fully funding it for 2008, all of 2009 and some of 2010 when we get to that point. For today, I'm taking it to the bank to deposit then moving it to a savings vehicle until I make a final determination as to what to do. I'm thinking NICE & CONSERVATIVE on this pile. Of course, there is a tithe to be returned on this, so after paying that I may have to add some of our other funds in to meet some of the bonds purchase price.

And, I'd like to hear any ideas on what extra special thoughts should be included on the thank you note I'm currently writing.

Please, let me hear your thoughts...I'm open to everyone's ideas.

Slave On Money, Slave On!!

February 18th, 2009 at 07:31 am



"Make thy gold multiply." ~George S. Clason, Richest Man In Babylon, No. 3 of the Seven Cures for the Lean Purse


I added $1000 of the $1300 truck accident money...

(see back story: http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2009/01/04/she-did-a-costl...)

...to my Grrls Just Wanna Have E-Funds account. It had been sitting in my checkbook earning zip, so moving it to there at least temporarily. I have some other household plans for it, but meanwhile it should be working and earning some interest. The $300 went else-where.

Slave on Money, Slave On!!


GRRLS JUST WANNA HAVE E-FUNDS
$0386.50 1/20/09 balance
- 5.00 contribution to the Playing For Change Foundation 1/21
________
$0381.50
+0000.06 interest income 1/31
+0010.00 Feb Savings Allocation 2/1
________
$0391.56
+1000.00 Truck accident - temp. parking 2/18
________
$1391.56

See 1/22/09 blog post for more about this worthwhile organization.

http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2009/01/22/crash-boom-life...

For the best explanation of wanting your money out slaving & earning children $'s & grandchildren $$'s & great-grandchildren $$$'s for you, take the time to read George Clason's "The Richest Man in Babylon".

This particular account is not the most aggressive that I have for interest bearing but is the only one I have that has a checking feature built in and I want these particular dollars quickly accessible.

I started this account in April of 2008 as an experiment on Fidelity's Smart-Cash balancing feature (so I'd be familiar with it when we begin withdrawals in our retirement accounts) and this $5 check to this foundation was the first time I've written a check. So far it hasn't cleared and I'm uncertain now if the $1000 deposit hasn't defaulted my rebalancing setpoints that I originally set.

I think I set them relatively low (maybe $250??) as I don't keep a lot of cash in my other local checking account and didn't want the auto-leveling feature of an expenditure to take my local checking to the point of an overdraft.

Adding to the $20 Challenge:

$20 CHALLENGE
$000.75 Feb balance
+002.25 wallet cleanout
_______
$003.00 Feb MTD

2009 Challenge Total $24.15
Cumulative Challenge Total $1026.93

Happy Valentines Day 2 My Fruggie Frenz'

February 14th, 2009 at 07:25 pm


Happy Valentines Day to My Frugal Friends! XXOXOXOXOX, Lux

QUickietta - BA style

February 13th, 2009 at 02:50 pm


You See TomAto, I See TomaTOE!



A BA style 'QUickieTTa' -

Went to an art show today. Spent $8 to get in, and $8 for lunch plus OUGHTA BE A LAW ****$3.00**** for a bottled water. Also spent $1.00 entering a raffle for a really good cause and $40 on artists goods while I was there. $5 to $25 of it was for items that I might give away for Christmas if I don't hog them for myself!

Had a good time and now I'm tired. My favorite part was the student art competition, but alas it was also where the judges ought to be shot for not awarding this one child Best of Show - Boo Hiss! Art is so subjective. And juried panels seem so easily influenced by the loud and overbearing judge that's generally in the group.

Saw several pieces I'd love to have in my home just don't have the $8000 and $2800 respectively to spend on art right today. Some beautiful things there.

Is it just me or do you see one of George Bush's ancestors sitting on the right??

Deep Cleaning For Muscle Memories

February 11th, 2009 at 06:32 am

Warning - long winded pondering ahead w/associated painting below...


I've been busy attempting to rebuild my painting skills as a possible way to earn money in the future. Besides being somewhat of a burning passion (as my family will tell you I will paint it if it stands still - so, keep moving.) I think I could earn some extra dineros!

Yaaa Frugalis! -

This earning of money for my art would be easier if I wasn't so darn privately drawn in my personality. I am not shy in the slightest, but private to a fault. It's uglier than it is pretty in an extroverted world and to effectively market these creations I'll have to come up with a compromise that works FOR ME. See INFJ and Scorpio profiles on the web for privacy and introverted features of the Mrs. Frugalis gene-pool.

To get out there and financially win however, excercising painting muscles that haven't been used in 20 some-odd years equals an exercise in patience, something I'm woefully short of.

FYI - One of the best ways for writers to learn to write is to copy those who are masters. One of my best creative writing teachers had us literally copy paragraphs of great writers.

To me, painting is similar.

You attempt to copy what someone else who's a known 'great' does in order to build your own talent base. That way when you get going on your own ideas that other 'stuff' is in your veins and just flows naturally.

So, I've been spending a lot of my time working out the dust-bunnies in my muscle memories to get back in the groove on certain painting techniques and skill-sets. When I go to town doing my own creations I want the skills to again be there to back up my ideas.

Well folks, all I can say is, my ideas for some paintings are still cooking on the back burner. I have ideas and plans that I can't execute as well as they deserve to be done YET. They'll have to wait while I work up a good head of steam so to speak. The sketch book is filling up.

In other words it's gonna get ugly before it gets any better. That's frustrating to me, but part of the process. You know, all the old cliches, "to bake a cake you've got to break a few eggs", etc., come to mind.

All that said folks, in order to tell you that copyright laws prevent me showing you works that are a direct copy of someone else's artwork or photo. So, I can't show you anything unless it's my own original idea and I haven't been doing much of that.

Yesterday the day was spent working on COPIES OF ORIGINALS (so I can't show you) - a VIVID flourescent abstract in acrylics and later in the evening on a rose topiary painted in girly pastel colors in oils. Uggg-leeeeee! My abstract copy is a hot mess and the pastel one just doesn't suit my tastes - (like the form - hate the shades).

I love the brights.

See, this is good to know about oneself!

I do think that although I'm not necessarily happy with either one they do provide lessons. The abstract one teaches me that ugly can come and stay awhile before beauty emerges and abstracts are not just a few splotches thrown at a run.

The pastel one teaches that I'm not a pastel girl any more AND better - that the old color mixing lessons are still in the head somewhere down in deep dark storage and they'll float up given enough airtime. Although, I seem to have forgotten everything I ever knew about painting flowers (roses & anemones were called for). And, I learned that I can do the work of getting outside my comfort zone to try something different.

So, while we're all waiting on baited breath for my headspace to be completely revamped (yeah RIGHT on all points! - Breathe people, this could take a while), I'm going to put up a picture I did late last year. When I was younger we owned a LOT of exotic animals. We did in fact own a buffalo, who's name was Buffy (how original). He chased Hubster once! And he could flatfoot jump over the hood of a car given a running go at it. I give you 'Buffy Remembered'.



Artwork Copyright by the Artist


Yes, he's wild - verging on purply-hot pink, horns of silver, has red hair and neon yellow on his hump and my signature was done in the shades of the minty green turquoise grass blades as an effort to blend in and fade out. If this ever sells, that is not the original title of the painting.

This is a scanned image and may not be the best way to relay it to others. To market artwork you have to be able to reproduce it well, so I'm having to work on my tech skills as well - do I scan or photograph? Do I have the right equipment, etc.

He's done in acrylic, on a 5x7 canvas panel now resting in a silver-toned frame. Funny how the colors do not all translate thru the scanning process.

I love children's literature and would like to eventually be good enough to do illustrations for children's books that support tribal memories & cultural awareness for Native American children. My 'tiki' dream would be to actually write and do the artwork for my own Indian children's book.

My Dad did Indian art for years before the laws became stricter. I'm still not 100% sure how to refer to his items. He's not a tribal member, but I am through my mother's bloodline, so I can legally call myself a Native American Indian artist, while he can not.

Dadio's way better at it than I am. My brother and nephew are also tribal members and artists. I'll put up something my brother did some time and something of Daddy's too. I don't think I own any of nephews - his are pretty cool pen & ink drawings (B&W & colored) that are a combo of native art & anime - he's a child of his time.

Of financial note - I spent about $23.00 at the art store on Monday (canvas, frame & 2 tubes of oils on clearance at $1.45 each-SCORE!!)and finished using up a Christmas gift card on part of it, so only had a small outlay.

Live From The Frugalis Paint Studio

February 7th, 2009 at 02:00 pm

What I've been working on recently.

(**removed - see below)

I forgot and signed it before I remembered to photograph it for you guys, hence the edited in spray paint job! There's no black globs on the actual. Sorry ladies and gents, it's the Scorpio & INFJ thing combined. Privacy is a big, Big, BIG issue for me! It's hard enough to actually share the painting! Big Grin

It's been a long time since I painted fur. And harder than you might imagine.

If you click on my pictures themselves and give it a second you can see a much larger (better) shot of it. Once it's loaded in a separate window (at least on my computer you can then left click on the mouse and get an even larger view.) Then just click the back button to bring you back to SavingAdvice.com.

The inspiration to paint a fox comes from the one that runs around the creek area in back of my house and that I see occasionally crossing the road by the house. So exciting when I catch a glimpse! The best time of day to see it is during my early morning quiet time doing bible study in the sun-room and I look up and see it crossing the road. Always a thrill and it feels like a special blessing, you know? I need to learn to take MY camera in there and get my own shots to work from.

The painting is full of texture and not nearly as brave as I'd like it to be in the choice of colors. I'm really attracted by the current fauvist paintings - some of which might have blue cows and purple suns and such. Do a google search for Fauvism. Gerry Baptist & Diane Whitehead are a couple of names that comes to mind as being inspirational to me.

Below is a close-up of some of the texture:



To make this financial - I got a great deal on gesso at Christmas time when I got a gallon of it (49.99) for half price because I had a 50% off coupon. Used a lot of it gooping up the texture on this bad-boy!

**Removal: Sorry guys, after reading around a bit on the internet I've taken down the picture of the painting I worked on and the link to the photograph I worked from.

Seems it is a no-no and to respect the rights of the photographer I've voluntarily taken it down at my own instigation. It was up for about an hour - if you saw it - great, if not, then I'm sorry! I'll post another when it isn't so directly a copy of a copyrighted photograph.

Never fear - No one could mistake my painting as the original photograph! ...but - I had given credit to the original photographers and a link to their website.

Sorry to be such a tease, so I'm putting up just the rear-end of the picture - enjoy instead the look of the smallish room we call a studio. I just hate to take this whole entry down.

One day soon I hope to paint the studio walls - maybe come spring & some dollars for a gallon or two of paint! This northern facing window sits on the second floor & runs parallel to the aforementioned tiny creek - see below.


{FRUGAL NOTE: See the very expensive (I mean FREE with services) papertowel roll holder attached to the table?}

(What's up w/the Pinesol, Dawn & Vaseline? Used to clean & shape brushes. Wax-paper? Makes an excellent inexpensive throw-away pallet.)

The creek is about a foot and a half wide here at this point and usually has water running in it approximately 75% of the year so we do get a lot of wildlife back here.


FrugalSon's Job Interview

February 7th, 2009 at 08:02 am



Went with FrugalSon yesterday to his job interview - they let me sit in. He did well answering their many questions. The lady has two more guys to interview and if he isn't chosen for this job his name will still be in their database for 60 days. This is a large metro hospital.

He put in for a cafeteria worker, housekeeping or floor care person. Pay is over $9 an hour plus uniforms and good benefits and 40 hours or more per week (he offered to cover other folks shifts).
Keep us in your prayers. I could see him making a good lifetime's worth of work here.

Later in the day I took both boys to the free AARP tax prep place. This time we got there by 1:00 - they close at 3:00. Again - we are too late. BAAAAH!

We WILL be there Tuesday at 10:30 - they open at 11:00!

Went and got cash out to do Angelfood this month. It's been awhile. I'll do their regular box and one of the meat boxes. With Hubster laid off this is a good deal for us.

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes about CashHappySon's life, too much to go into here, but the rest of the afternoon was spent doing some private detective work and other police related paperwork on his living situation. A domestic dispute with his now ex-roommate who's girl was one of the one's who stole the car.

Monday The Hubster and I are going to try and go with him to his court date - driving an uninsured and untagged car - $788 ticket.

The judge told him to get insurance on the car and a tag. Thing is? He doesn't own the car that he was driving (his side-job boss's) so that he can't follow her orders (even if he could he doesn't have the money or either job now). He went by himself to the last hearing. Perhaps if we go the judge will listen a bit to some of the facts.

I hate going.

I don't want to be one of those parents seen on Court TV trying to excuse Juniors actions. I'm not excusing them. Not at all. The little turkey shouldn't have been driving that car.

Because the title is not in his name - I do however wish to explain to her that he's not being belligerent or uncooperative when he says he can't tag & insure the car. She will likely (and well deservedly) suspend his driver's license.

Oh the joys!

Cost of accident report and police report yesterday on the stolen & crashed car he did own - $1.25 out of Mom's pocket because of course CashHappy's got 'NO Mun'ey!'

Did I mention I think they're going to give me my very own free assigned parking spot down at the police/court complex?????????? Maybe even a frequent visitor's pass???????? I'm kidding. But it seems that way.

Sheeeeesh! Before this I've never been to one of these places except to get married at the court house. Since he moved to that town I've been about 8 or 9 times now. I've told him if he gets locked up in jail not to call me because I'm not coming. Boo Hiss!

Sunbeams, Jobs & General Updating

February 6th, 2009 at 05:52 am


Sunbeam Tiger

Mine was very similar to this only with a more metallic blue paint job.




I'm off this morning to take FrugalSon to the hospital where we applied for him a job online about a week ago. They called yesterday and set up an appointment for him today. Weeee-dogs! I hope he gets it! Fingers crossed & prayers up! His Arches of Gold job's hours have been cut back drastically and he needs more income if he's going to date and plan on moving out someday.

I got up early and balanced checkbooks and decided against buying a large lot of acrylic paint that was tempting me on ebay. I would use it but can't really afford it right now - maybe it'll be relisted???? Hope so! I mean, I have the money, but it would run me close to my edge and I don't wanna play that game, you know? Spent time shredding papers this morning and filing, and just general paperwork & desk cleanup.

Adding to the $20 Challenge from what was found under the keyboard.

$20 CHALLENGE

$000.00 Feb balance
+000.75 keyboard change
_______
$000.75 Feb MTD

2009 Challenge Total $021.90
Cumulative Challenge Total $1024.68

Of other note, CashHappySon got fired from his job day before yesterday. This boy is in a downward spiral! Five jobs since he started working at 18 - five jobs that he's been terminated from. He's 20 now. He just doesn't get it. No car, no job, no prospects. Gaaahhh! These two boys couldn't be more different.

Yesterday was a no spend day. I updated the sidebar over on the left yesterday evening. Added the Dream Car Fund category over there. I owned the Sunbeam convertible back when I was in high school and wish I had never sold it. Ahhh, Foolish youth!

$480.42 what I'm starting it out with - Have been saving that little bit of money for awhile and just yesterday decided to give it a goal. I've got a picture of mine actually here ?somewhere? that I'll post sometime if I ever find it.

The Secret of Happiness

February 5th, 2009 at 09:38 am


credit: Calvin & Hobbes




"The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring." -Francis H. Bradley, 1846-1924, British Philosopher


Today is a NSD. Updated the sidebar.

Can A Leopard Change It's Spots?

February 4th, 2009 at 10:42 am



Went yesterday with CashHappySon trying to get his taxes prepared so he can have money for a large ticket that he has to pay. No fast action there as we got to the free AARP tax assistance at our local library too late in the day to get on the list - they closed at 3:00, we got there at 2:15 which was the earliest he could make it after work and they were already booked. Will try again on Friday.

Yesterday was a spending day as I paid for some custom reframing of an Native American Indian art print that my Dad had gifted me years ago and the picture had slipped from the matting and it needed help. Updated the matting to new colors and it looks great. That cost me $43.00 & some change, but well worth it. Love the new look.

Also bought fast food chicken sandwiches for the crew & FrugalSon's girl-i-o who has now been back in the picture for a few weeks. So, she was over to the house to eat yesterday before they went out to get his haircut and to the community center to workout and walk on the indoor walking track there, then he dropped her at work. Lunch for 4 - $8.32. His hours have dropped drastically and she was told they would be on 'cheap date' status until his hours pick up again. Here's Mom hoping a leopard can change her spots!

Hubster sold one of his old, Old, OLD computers yesterday for $25 to a young girl off of Craigslist. She'll be happy with it. Another old one he's got on there for $50 hasn't generated any response yet but was put up late yesterday afternoon.

I went Monday over to my booth and collected a check there for January sales. I met my booth rent and made enough to keep me satisfied with the low amount of effort that it takes to generate that income (+$169 & change). I sold a couple of small items on ebay (+$17.82) and shipped them out on Monday (-$2.35).