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Sold House, Moved to Condo

August 28th, 2011 at 03:40 pm

Long time no check in!

Short story that took a majorific LOT of work... On 6/24/11 we sold our three story house and downsized into 3 bed 2 bath condo. Paid cash. Moved. Still debt free!

Went on vacation on 8/13-8/20. Home. Still debt free w/$130 still in the vacation fund to apply to next year's vacation.

The condo we bought is in a nice gated quiet community. One story unit with very nicely done courtyards front and back and no neighbors upstairs. Security guards make the rounds several times a day. Some one else does all the yard work & outside maintenance. Pool is just across the walkway. Very close but far enough not to hear any noise. All bills paid except electricity in the presently very reasonable HOA fees of $290 a month. Showers are already geezerhood ready w/nice handbars and a low threshhold, etc.

We are very happy with the major decluttering that took place to get here. Many items went to auction, given to friends and family and lots of Craigslisting and ebaying went on and many many trips to donate to the Goodwill!

Paying cash for the unit has run us to the nearer end of the bottom of our cash position, so that will have to be re-beefed! Still have not begun to withdraw any $$s from retirement funds and don't expect to have to for quite some time. Paying the HOA fee & electric bill by autodraft is making life pretty simple. Now I just have to pay the CC bills which I still payoff monthly. The unit is all electric so that's a switch that I'm having to get used to, but so far the two electric bills I've received seem reasonable enough.

Hubbie just turned 65 this month and he made it to Medicare with no major medical mishaps which would've likely wiped us out financially as we had no medical coverage for him. Hurraaaaaaay for him on all counts!

For you new folks who don't know me - I just want you to know that saving and being in anticipation beforehand of life's financial events can turn out okay for you! Don't give up!!! Budgeting may be a pain in the patumpkus at first but the benefits are worth the effort.

Well, folks that's all the current news fit to print. More again later if I think of it. If it seems as if I had abandoned you all, I apologize. Life was just too too busy to even think about much computering!


Habitat's Resale Store Comes Through!

August 31st, 2010 at 09:35 pm

We've been looking for a new cabinet to go over the stool in the bathroom remodel. The one I had up there was an antique-y looking one (crackle paint & old hardware) and Hubster thought it time for something else for prospective buyers. Ehhh.

The ones at the big box stores look like crap and they wanted at minimum $115 plus tax for them. I had checked at three different stores and nothing looked any good and the prices seemed awfully exaggerated for what you were getting. No sale.

CashHappySon and I went yesterday to metro area to do some banking and while we were there I thought we might as well take a chance and look at Habitat for Humanity's resale Store where they sell old and new lumber type items. Score! I wasn't exactly sure it would work so took Hubster over there today and we found the closet doors we also need for another room and the right cabinet. Total for 2 solid wood louvered closet doors and a bathroom cabinet? $16.28. Yippy-Ya! Lurv a good bargain.

I will have to repaint the cabinet, but I don't mind - I'd much rather do that than overpay for something ugly to begin with. I'll try to get some pics of the before & after looks to post later.

Also, I will likely take the old cabinet to the junque' booth and sell it at a good profit. It'll be all profit as I got it for free to begin with.

Lux Bites Bullet In Upcoming Bathroom Re-do

August 28th, 2010 at 11:40 am



This past week - we've met with and ordered from our plumbing contractor a new bathtub and surround, which will run about $1610 installed. Had to do it - the vinyl bathtub has been cracked for awhile (whoever installed it before we bought the house did not get the concrete base down correctly) and the tape job Hubster did to keep it from leaking was an okay short-term fix, but it's been needing doing, so we're biting the bullet. One less thing for potential buyers to balk at.

I went earlier in the week and bought the new hardware for the shower and replacement matching faucet for the sink, new towel hooks, toilet paper holder, new toilet seat, flush handle, valves, doo-whichies and doo-ma-bobs, etc. to the tune of $400.

Waving bye-bye to $2000 not so fun necessarily, but something we have saved for, so nothing debted for.

While I was at the big-box lumber store I was happy to see that to just buy the stuff to do the tub & surround in the materials we chose? $1474 plus tax, so it is very much to our advantage to have someone who knows what they are doing being the wrecking crew & installer instead of us. Cost difference is minimal - $136!

http://www.onyxcollection.com/onyx-shower-wall-panels.html

Boys and Hubster working hard on the yard this week. We got another load of the ice storm firewood to Dad, and there are probably 8 or more loads left! I bought my crew ice cream sundaes last night to the tune of $11 and change. Ordered a birthday DVD gift for $25ish yesterday off ebay.

A Good Grease Monkey Is Always Prepared

November 21st, 2009 at 12:11 am


"Ohhh! Now THAT's gonna cost ya!"


"Very few people have knowledge of their true expenses. Because they do not consider intermittent and irregular expenses as regular monthly obligations, their expenses turn into emergencies and financial crises." -Mary Hunt

As we are lately revamping the Frugalis House Budget, I thought I'd give a breakdown on what we put back each month on automotive expenses over and above repair/maintain/replace funds, gasoline expenses & the auto insurance escrow.

Many people overlook these costs listed below and then are caught short when it's time to pay the piper. Some of these things come up at the most inconvenient times.

These are monthly amounts set back for future costs. Yes, I literally move them into savings to hold until the money is all there. I also set back a small bit of money each month to replace our driver's licenses. On the side the date listed is when we anticipate needing these things replaced.

On the car:
Car Battery $2.15 /$50 - 2 years
Car Tires $10.41 / $250 - 2 years
Car Tag $6.95 /$83.40 - yearly
Car Oil Changes $8.75/$105-$35x3 times year
_____________________
$28.26 per month


On the truck:
Truck Battery $2.15 /$50 - 2 years
Truck Tires $22.22 / $400 - 18 months
Truck Tag $5.20 /$62.40 - yearly
Truck Oil Changes $5.83/$70-$35x2 times year
_______________________
$35.40 per month

Today was a No Spend Day for me. The housebudget spent money on dog food $11.45 & getting the dog's toenails clipped $5.00 and stocking up on dishwashing soap while it was on sale for 69 cents a bottle & some ice-cream $8.44.

A nice change of events (I'm afraid to call and find out why) but I got our recent electric bill and it's down about $30 lower than usual. I'll take it!

My Honey Bear & His Sidekick

November 2nd, 2009 at 03:40 pm

Yes, Hubster is an awfully sweet man, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about my plastic honey bear, Hank. He's about to get all likker'd up inside.



On Saturday I went to our local farm store where they were having a 20% off everything that fit in their 'green' bag sale. You had to buy their 99cent bag. So worth it.

They were having honey on sale. 5 lbs. bottles - which normally sells there at 13.99 a bottle, on sale for 10.99.

I had four dollar off coupons. I ended up getting my honey at $7.99 a bottle. Almost half off. SCORE!! How Sweet It Is!!

I bought four jugs. Honey does not go bad. It might crystalize, but stick jug in warm water and the honey melts back. This stash should last a while.

I have been weaning myself off of white sugar and have gone to using honey as my main sweetener.

I refill my little honey bear, Hank, from the big jug. A savings device. Buying those individual little bears can get costly. I'd like to have a nice glass or ceramic honeypot. Maybe I could put it on my Christmas list, along with the tea ball I'm asking for?

And as for honey bear's sidekick?

Meet Poppie, The Popcorn Clown.


Not OUR Poppie!


A hold over from my childhood days. We keep our 'currently using' popcorn in an old Grapette Syrup bottle in the cabinet. Our storage for larger supplies is elsewhere. Poppie, kind of scary in a droopy sort of way, but friendly none the less. These are neat old bottles that had a slot in the top for making him into a bank.

Here the 1 lb. bags at the grocery had been going for .88 a bag for years. All of a sudden they are up to 1.39 a bag! I like to stock up so I don't have to wander out in the snow and ice later. Said farm store had 12&1/2 pound bags on sale for $5.49. Since they fit in the 20% off bag? I got two bags, making my outlay for popcorn at .359ish a pound. SCORE!!



Popcorn - an inexpensive, yet filling snack. It's a Sunday afternoon tradition at my house, no matter how large the luncheon feast, we pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle in for a movie & nap.

My bag was heaaaaa-vy - 45 lbs plus. I also stocked up on a few spices while I was at it. I can pack a bag let me tell you! And, now I have another nice little green bag to go with my others.

Hank & Poppie, a couple of friendly faces when I open my cupboard - they, along with Pigger, help me save & stretch our food money.

Today and Carpenter's Pension

October 28th, 2009 at 03:29 am



Tonight we filled out the online forms for Hubster's Carpenter's Pension to begin. We had busy busy daylight hours today that kept us from getting it done during the day.

It has to be printed out and taken in for a notarized signature. Spouses are protected from being left out of pension benefits and decisions by the law requiring that we sign off on the decisions. It's rather a strange thing. His application signature? Requires no notarization. Mine as spouse? Does.

Anywho, I plan to go first thing in the morning to the bank and get it notarized and off in the mail. The way I understand it we are asking for it to begin on 11/1. Not sure when the first check will arrive though. It will be back-pay from 11/1/09 though no matter when it actually starts.

First we had to get an estimated payment paper from them, which we did, telling them when he was planning on applying. That & the online application gets them on notice that he's to be put in the starting line up. Once they receive the notarized paperwork evidently they spring into action and send you a letter telling you when the first check will arrive.

We're going automatic deposits on this as well.

Once it's up and running they notify the authorized state insurance agency that he's eligble to go with that HCTC (I think it stands for health care tax credit) thingamadoodle that will get him the 65%-80% discount on some health care insurance coverage. The money in the pension check will be nice, but the healthcare benefits that we're hoping to get until he qualifies for Medicare? EXCELLENT.

Step by step folks. It's a process.

Keeping yourself going lockstep through the process can be, shall I say, taxing. He hates paperwork and gets majorly frustrated by all the little boxes to be checked and legally jargoned disclaimers that are made.

Also required are copies of birth certificates and marriage license. Fortunately that was all still out of the safe from the SS office visit.

Once this starts I will be so relieved. If you've been reading along with me from the beginning this was the mysteriously disappearing pension. I fought long and hard thru Congressmen, etc. to find out where it was 'hidden' and get it on somebody's radar that several million dollars of this company's pension funds had just slipped silently away after a company bankruptcy and was hidden deep within several layers of insurance buyouts by a major insurance company and it's many subsidiaries - I'm not naming names but it almost barked like a dog in it's commercials, Charlie Brown.

Finally we were able to get it taken over by this Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. It's a really AWESOMELY GOOD thing that they are doing protecting people's pensions in these trying financial times.

Today was a personal No Spend Day for me.

Today we went to another town to deliver some of CashHappySon's winter clothes.

Today the nearly local parental units came over. Since early this year they now live 30 minutes away instead of two hours away.

Today I got my truck stuck in the muddy yard trying to load up more wood to take to my Dad's tomorrow.

Today my Step-dad helped get the truck unstuck.

Today I baked a chocolate marble cake.

Today I balanced the housebudget checking account.

Today I called the bank on the sudden $15.47 checking fee that they whomped on our housebudget account. Because of Hubster's age we have a FREE Senior checking account.

Today they refunded the mistaken monthly fee.

Today my Mom had a brain scan and a check on her caratroid (sp?) artery to see why she's getting so confused and forgetful. No indication of when the results would be back.

Today my Mom told me the same story for about the 100th time.

Today I acted like I heard it for the very first time, again.

Today we had quite a spirited family discussion of the moral tone of our country and bashed various and assorted politicians.

Today I cooked a pot of Tortilla Soup for lunch.

Today I paid two CC's in full, as I do every month. We are still debt free. Housebudget paid.

Today I paid the water bill, 3000 gallons this month - $40.45 - that's for 3 adults, 2 of us who are home all day every day now. Housebudget paid. $2.50 of that is for prepaid ambulance service. ARG!

Today I cooked steak, baked potatoes and a salad for supper.

Today Hubster worked all afternoon cutting up the biggest chunks of the wood into small enough pieces so my Dad can carry them.

Today was quite a day.

Now, I'm going to bed w/the lumberjack! Talk to you all later.

Good night Gracie!

---
link to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
http://www.pbgc.gov/


link to PDF file about a Predictable Secure Pension For Life - has a nice checklist:

http://www.pbgc.gov/docs/a_predictable_secure_pension_for_...

---

The Week Flew By!

October 25th, 2009 at 03:22 pm

Yesterday was a No Spend Day.

I spent about two hours in the basement yesterday looking for Hubster's Honorable Discharge paper, and realizing that I've a ton of work needing done down there - out of sight, out of mind.


Photo caption: Fortunately NOT my basement!


Ours is bad, but not THAT bad.

The biggest part was moving boxes out of the way of our long-term filing cabinets. Ninety-nine percent of those boxes came from MIL & FIL's estate. I am going through the boxes and selling stuff in my booth, it just takes time. Gaa! They were major hoarders though - not her maybe, but my FIL definitely was.

Tomorrow morning we have our appointment with Social Security to begin Hubster's SS payments. Wish us luck. Hopefully I have gathered all the necessary papers.

Hubster spent yesterday working on making some very nice vent & water connection covers for the outside of our house. The construction of our house is a wild mixture of cement block, rock and siding. There's a weird little arched recess where the water hose connects out front and he's decided this year (we've lived here since '99) that it needs covering. Whatever. It'll be nice. The man does good work.

Last week while I was out running around - museum presentation, breast cancer awareness party, and a funeral - he got the dining room trim up and painted. I'll get pics later.

The ceiling trim there & in the living room looks fabulous and makes the rooms look completed to my eye. He could care less, but it drove me batty from the day we arrived, the rooms just didn't look finished. Now we still have all three bedrooms, the utility room, the bathroom and the strange pass thru area between kitchen and dining room that need the same treatment. But they'll wait till later (hopefully spring).

I've yet to get the bed drug out and veneer filled & painted, but it's been piled with 'stuff' out of the dining room all week. Hope to get it all unloaded and then tear the bed down and get onto fixing it. I'll need to buy more paint so thinking that'll run about $20.

On Friday I rode along with parental units to a funeral (it was my nephew-in-laws mother who passed) about two hours from home and we stopped beforehand for lunch $5ish at fast food place, and then we went to a nearby town for a few hours in an antique mall. I spent nothing there which was a real feat as I had a long time in there as my Mom picks up every single item (or so it seems)! My Stepdad and I each made about six laps around the mall in there and Mom only got half-way thru before we drug her out! Then we ate supper on the way home and I spent $6.00 for a burger basket & fries and drink and $2.00 on the tip.

I balanced two checkbooks yesterday.

Need to take Ms. Carmel to the puppy groomer and have her nails clipped - $5.

Need to send money to the plumber for that hot water repair earlier this month - $300.

It's bill paying time and most everything is automated these days so it'll be interesting to see how my little routine differs now that there is no house payment to be made. I am planning on setting up an autodraft for the old mtg. payment amount out to savings for a future roof, HVAC, carpet, etc. fund.

Took Mom & FrugalSon to Lunch

October 23rd, 2009 at 01:45 pm




Last year at the Breast Cancer Awareness party I won a gift certificate for $15 at an eatery in another nearby town. All year long I had tried to use it when I went through there, but it was never the right time for me to stop, or they weren't open.

I even spent a bit of time trying to find where it was even located at first. Had to make long-distance call to the coordinator of the party to find it's location.

Once I located it I could never hit it with my hunger and their hours coinciding. However on Wednesday it was Breast Cancer Awareness party day again and I was able to take Mom, FrugalSon and myself to lunch. Our lunch meals were on special for $4.95 each, so all I ended up being out was for our drinks and a tip, at about $6.50 total.

Ta-da, my wallet is lighter as I'd been carrying that envelope in it all year long.

And, we had a good time and even brought some leftovers home for the pupster!

Some BIG Spending

October 8th, 2009 at 12:04 am

Plumber yesterday to replace all hot water lines in basement = $300.00

Tree surgeon to remove about 10 trees & haul off all brush = $2700.

OUCH!

My Frugalicious Gene is puckered up TIGHT!! aUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Our poor House Budget.

A Peach, a Bull, An Eagle & Lincoln?

October 3rd, 2009 at 02:19 pm

A Peach, a Bull*, An Eagle & Lincoln?

What do these things have in common?

They are all on the coins I pulled out of my wallet in an effort to get my October $20 Challenge off to a start. Here we go!

That's right boys and girls, three quarters and a penny. Seventy-six cents. 7 - 6. 76 centavos, 76 Cents.

Hello October Challenge.


...and A.WaY we go!

$20 Challenge
$000.00 beginning October balance
+000.76 interesting coinage mix
_______
$000.76 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $963.04 (only $36.96 remaining to break that $1000 ceiling!)
Cumulative Challenge Total $2016.80

*The bull is the skeleton head of a bull on the Montana quarter. It caught my eye as I pulled it out of the wallet and thought it looked like a fake-o coin! They came out in 2007, but I think this must be the first one I've noticed.



Yesterday was a No Spend Day for me.

House-budget bought $40ish worth of lumber supplies for home updating. After Hubster finishes with putting up of crown molding** in living room, we are continuing into the dining area and putting some up in there as well. That's what those supplies are for. It would've been $50ish, but I had a nice coupon!

**If I had known that FREE (with purchase) crown-molding stuff was in my attic since we moved here? We'd of put it up week one, well maybe, week five. This has bugged me for ten years unnecessarily!!! Ratfinkus!

Right now we are waiting for some spackle to dry and then later today I will paint an area that had a 'dry-wall fall-apart' as Hubster went to nail some of the trim up the other day. Then, he'll get to finish his portion of the program. It looks AWESOME! Well, maybe not to everyone, but if you've been wanting something done nigh on to foreverish? What he's got done already? Looks SOOO gooooooooooooood!!!

FrugalSon bought himself a radiant oil-filled heater yesterday at Lowe's for $39. The same one at Walmart? $63!!!!! Pays to shop around.

Yesterday afternoon after I got back from the lumber yard, where I went while my carpenter took a nap, I went outside and spent about two hours sanding on the carcass of my chest of drawers. Hope to get some paint slapped on her today and get that finished so I can start on the bed. Want to get this stuff done before the snow flies this year. Or at least before cold weather sets in.

Looking At & Laying in

October 1st, 2009 at 04:59 pm

FrugalSon & I went yesterday to see my Dad who lives an hour south. Breakfast at MickeyDs for two $5.12, and lunch out dutch-treat at a restaraunt I worked at as a young girl - it's really good food only available there in that town, ie not a chain, so $7.96 there, plus tip $2.50. Those were out of my personal spending account. Used a half-tank of gas which the house budget takes care of.

Got to look at my Dad! Priceless!

He's 78 and has had a stroke and five bypass surgery in the past. He is VERY VERY VERY active on his ranch and does a LOT of physical labor, iow, he can and does quite literally outwork people 58 years younger by running rings around them! But, we all know life can change in an instant. He's my fountain of knowledge - when I want to know the answer to ANY question and the computer's not on? Call Dad. A walking encyclopedia.



While down there we went to the scratch-n-dent grocery where I found some good deals on cold & sniffles supplies for the upcoming winter (fav cough syrup usually $12 bought 2 @ $4 each). Remaining on that list to get laid in? Sprite & orange sherbert!
O.S. is my comfort food when I have a sore-throat. Probably not the best as in feeding sugar to my germies, but it soothes & rather numbs the savage flames in a raging throat big-time. At least for a little while.

I have already laid in my supply of Sambucol for the clearing up of any throat tickle the other day. (Sambu is also a name it's called by - it's basically elderberry juice. The one I got has echinachea & something else I can't recall at the moment.) A little pricey, BUT can stave off all kinds of bad germies if taken in time. I usually don't end up with many colds, but Hubster usually managed to come home with one from work before and FrugalSon is still out there mingling with the masses. If they'd listen to Dr. Mom they wouldn't have as many, but alas, that is not always the case.

Good to get a visit in with my Dad as my Mom (whom he is no longer married to) has taken up a good deal of my summer energies with her move closer to me & 2 surgeries. Dad got the short-shift this summer.

We took the long way home on the back roads and hit an antique store. I managed to get out without spending any money and may have found a buyer for some of FIL's political buttons of which he only had a few, but they are here waiting for me to research them and get them sold. This guy did say he'd rather I priced my own stuff out and then he'd see if we couldn't come to some sort of agreement. Good enough.

Looking at Dad & laying in supplies made a good day. Money all well spent as far as I'm concerned.

Took Long Enough

September 30th, 2009 at 01:51 am

It took me long enough but I managed to meet Househopeful's 5-Thing Challenge and got my list done today. It's now mid-evening here and I'm just now finishing up. A couple of things threw me off schedule.

a)Hubster is a perfectionist and I had to sand the drawers on the chest longer than I wanted too! It'll be better in the end for it, but yeah, now my hand's cramping. Ha! How did this wonderful man end up with slap-dash me?

b)First thing this morning I got wayyyyyy sidetracked on a special assignment (no pay) for a local agency. It was very important and it got done with my assist. Took about 3 hours that I hadn't planned. Done for a good friend.

c)I called my Mom to check in on her after her recent vacation thinking it would be a five minute call. Well, no, after about 45 minutes I finally got my ear unbent! Shouldn't have taken this long as they came and picked her dogs up the night they got back in and had dinner here, so, it wasn't like I didn't already hear this story once already. Gotta love my Momma! Then my step-dad got on the phone & reiterated everything she had just told me and they had both told me on Friday night! Love them! Hate to talk to them on the phone!


So, after the distractions, what were my 5 Things?

1)Balance house budget checking & money market accounts. DONE. Enjoying the fact that no mortgage chunk needs to come out in a couple of days! Big Grin YAY-YA-LU-YAHHHHHH!

2)Load of Laundry. Washed, folded, put away. DONE. Part of the normal routine.

3)Paint the other four drawers on the chest. DONE. Before they could be painted they had to be sanded to perfection! Well, that's what happens when you're married to a Master Carpenter. He never SAYS anything, just makes tsk tsk sounds. Pooh. Still to be done is sanding and painting the main body of the chest of drawers.



4)Spend five minutes going thru a stash-and-dash box of papers that got stashed when relatives came in town. DONE. More time in the box still needed!

5)Walk three times today for 10 minutes at a time with the timer. DONE. I need to do this regularly for leg circulation purposes as sitting at the desk most of the day kills my legs. Must get up and move around, as I don't want to throw a clot!

Thanks Househopeful!

And, while I was outside getting scrutinized on my project Hubster was busy setting up his table saw and stuff getting ready to put up my crown molding! Yeah HIM!! Maybe tomorrow??? I'm going to be gone but he'll have the house to himself, so maybe it might happen. Sky supposed to be clear tomorrow.

Not on the list but done anyway? Added Hubster to FrugalSon's Roth IRA as a contingent beneficiary and made a market order for FrugalSon on some gov. bonds in that account as he had a bit of cash sitting idle. Out to work you go dollars!!

Also got the crack in my deacon's bench filled, sanded and painted. It still needs a coat of clear laquer or something over it. It normally sits outside the back door for Hubster's smoke-hole out of the rain.



Am also wanting to paint my garden hose reel-away box before I put it away for the winter AND the little bridge that crosses my back creek. These will have to wait as the rest of the week when I'm free? ...rain's predicted.

Here's my little buddy who checked on me all day at my desk! At this point he's about five feet away. A little out of focus but cute!



I had a No Spend Day. House budget bought burgers tonight as the old grey mare was too tired to cook from all that sanding! Tsk tsk!!

IT IS FINISHED! We are T.D.F.

September 21st, 2009 at 05:38 pm


"Does this smile make my wallet look fatter?"



We are TOTALLY Debt Free!

I came home from the bank after wiring the mortgage company their money and decided I wanted to have a MOMENT of debt-freeness. So, who else did I owe?

I had small balances on 2 credit cards. These are from this month's charges as we don't carry a balance EVER any more. Went online and PAID OFF. Balance $0.

And, I'm planning on calling them and getting our credit limits lowered! Who needs all that exposure to rip-off? I do have an open dispute with one CC company over a $31.54 charge to McDonald's. I've never spent that kind of money there EVERRRRRRRRRRR! Should've been $3.54. I am a dollar menu shopper unless I'm splurging on a salad.

We owed our accountant $147. I just now wrote him a check and took it to the post office. Balance $0.

We are totally and completely debt free.

We don't owe anybody anything - other than the utility companies their normal monthly charges - any money whatsover!

We are UTTERLY FREE!!! Taaaaaaaa-daaaa!

It feels awesome now, but it will feel extra special good-a-licious Each and Every first of the month when I don't have to send off a wad of cash to the mortgage company.

Paid off 4 years and 8 months early from our contractual obligation!


Breaking the chains of debt? It can be done!

Now, we'll be fueling even more dollars into our House Maintenance Fund for future repair needs on the house - carpets are getting worn, roof in the next ten years likely, and heat/air-conditioner could need replacing at any time.

We do need to do some bathroom repairs relatively soon too as we need to replace our bathtub and the resulting sheetrock & tile work that goes along with. Even if we decide to sell and downsize, the bathroom will HAVE TO be repaired or made allowance for.

I will likely split what was going to mtg. to my retirement funds and this House Maintenance Fund.

I am a happy camper with minimum household utilities running currently around $315 average and $135 a month going for household taxes (apprx. $660 year) and insurance (apprx. $800 year) and other 'slush fund needs'.

So, our household expenses are sitting right now at ONLY $450 a month (not counting saving for repairs & upkeep).

I can tell you friends that's a wonderfully scenic place to be sitting looking at retirement!

Now to convince Hubster we need solar, a woodstove and a water-well and we could get those things lowered even further!! Big Grin I would like to say that I was being tongue-in-cheek, but what sane person likes to pay the utility companies???? I don't.

Either we've got to get those things OR get our investments up in order to have them paid for by the investments in my mind's eye. I know it is probably silly, but wouldn't it be fun to own enough dividend paying electric stock to where your own electric bill became a wash? and gas bill, water bills, etc. doing likewise????? I would ADORE THAT!

A new goal!!! Big Grin Everybody needs something to shoot for, right?

Stay Tuned!!



P.S. I wanted to buy us a treat for today, but suceeded in not spending any money while I was out! So I outlayed a boatload of money today, but not out of my personal wallet, so today's a No Spend Day!!

I did grab two FREE suckers from the bank counter (after telling the lady if they were paying decent interest we wouldn't be doing this) and we have steak, stuff for baked potatoes, salad and a good bottle of wine for tonight's celebratory meal! Don't worry, I won't abandon my Frugalicious Gene ways, I just got the sirloin steaks out of the freezer to defrost - they have an orange REDUCED label on them - cost? $2.33! The wine was bought at case discount costs on our last vacation.

Breathing freely!!! Now off to paint some crown molding trim that was in the attic when we bought the house. Hubster is going to put it up for me as soon as I get it painted.

I'm Soooooooooo Excited!!

September 21st, 2009 at 02:48 pm



Well, Hubster and I were having a lovely discussion this weekend about having to do SOMETHING with his 401-K rollover that has been sitting in cash. We are cash heavy and he likes it that way, and I don't. I would like to invest it and get it to earning, dagnabit! He'd be happy with it all sitting in CDs or buried in the back yard. I want growth and have a larger risk capacity than he does. We are constantly trying to meet in the middle. Can you say BALANCED investment profile? I'm trying to!

In the midst of this discussion I was AGAIN mentioning that if we have this cash sitting in our MM, why not pay off the mortgage in case the economy totally tanks and it's all Confederate dollars after the war is over. If that's the case, then I'd rather have my house PAID FOR than worthless blips on a computer screen.

All of a sudden the man (GOD I LOVE HIM) turns to me and says, "Let's just get this one point out of the way first, would you like to pay off the house?"

Duhhhhhhhhhhh, (I didn't say that part out loud, but I thought it! Big Grin)

"YEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! That's what I've been petitioning (some might say arguing) for, for the last six or so years, isn't it????"

He said, "Then do it!"

"Payoff the house?"

"Yes."

"Okay, I will - Monday morning first thing!"

"All right."

"Now let's get back to the discussion about the 401-K."

"I'll have to think about that some more."

So, the 401-K rollover money is still up for discussion, but I am leaving my house RIGHT NOW and going to the bank to wire the money to our mortgage company (was Countrywide, now Bank of America after a takeover).

Can you believe it?

The man is slow to come around, but he finally gets it that we are earning diddly on our cash and paying 6.75% interest!!!

Can you say INFLATION RISK????? Opportunity Cost????
LOSER at the banking game?????

Well, no more. Today, the mortgage will be retired!

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!

I will let you know how it goes. I have accessed the payoff amount and instructions on the BOA website, I have hand-written them AND printed off their page, and I have called my bank and they can do the wire transfer if I'm there before 3:00 p.m.

It is now 9:47 a.m. and I'm off to pay off my mortgage.

You faithful readers know that this has been my dream since before Day 1 here at SavingAdvice.com!

Now this, people, is what excitement is all about for us who are frugal, conservative, and interested in some type of security that can only come from being TOTALLY DEBT FREE!!

(BTW, he is still on unemployment AND may be getting ready to push the early Social Security button - he was laid of in January '09 and has only been granted TWO interviews in that time. TWO! Extended unemployment is about to run out. He is 63 yrs and a few months. Likely we will start his SS at 63 years and 6 months. Discounted but income. We have yet to meet with a financial planner (can't get Hubster rousted around for it) AND we have other retirement money that we may decide to tap into first...all that needs DISCUSSION. He'd rather enjoy his unemployment and play video games instead! Hurumphhhhhhhh!!! He has been trying for work as our plan was for him to work til 70 - he loved his job.)

Even though those BTW facts are disturbing ME, I will not let them cloud this day's EXCITEMENT!! I am here testifying to the fact that continual discussions in a marital relationship between not only May/Dec romantics, but those of differing risk aversions, can be fruitful. Stay the course and keep petitioning for the best LONG-TERM financial outcome for your family! The war may be a long one, but if you pick your battles carefully and execute strategies with a sense of cooperation and try to be sensitive & concilatory throughout the process, things can get accomplished!

Would it be better to keep the money and keep it invested at a rate greater than inflation in some kind of conservative instruments? Probably so! But Hubster was never EVER going to go that route. He just likes the feeling of having cash around. AND, there is no telling how far down the U.S. economy might go. We are buying a sense of security here I suppose.

I am going to be doing the happy dance ALL THE WAY TO and FROM the bank!!

YIPPPPEEEEEEEE!

Mini Vacation - 4 days, 3 nights

June 9th, 2009 at 01:21 pm



Back from mini vacation and need to resolve to tighten purse strings, because before we left I had gotten into a 'spoil me' spending hoo-hah that has to stop! Maybe it was rebellion against the unemployment thing or something. Budgetary restraints have got to prevail here.

House budget spent $22.84 yesterday on gasoliine, used a $50 AT&T reward card to make the purchase, this card was saved for gas for the trip. Used $22.00ish =/- of it on gas while we were gone, and this refills car afterwards. Remaining balance somewhere around $5.

Trip was good - just THE Hubster and I - we got comped dinner out for both of us on two different nights and tickets to two different performances. This was a close to home trip - about 4 hours away. Paid FrugalSon $20 on Saturday for house/dog sitting while we were gone. He had free eats while here.

I'll post some pics of the accomodations when I get a chance. Need to upload them from camera.

Just so you know, this was an inexpensive trip - a 'resort' sales pitch weekend. We paid our dues by listening to the sales presentation, rather got the bums' rush since Hubster still unemployed. However, to their detriment to my way of thinking none of them ever asked us if we had the financial resources to buy w/o a 'salary'. Phhppttt...for all they know I might be a heiress or somethang! Doncha' know!

No biggie, as we already own a timeshare elsewhere and can trade into their resort anyway, plus I'm already on the deed to this place as a co-owner with my parents, I had just never seen the place. I'll inherit it some day and that's the main reason I went was to check it out. I just don't like it when people presume to know our financial status based solely on income. It's a false reading.

Anyhow, back to costs - we had paid a small fee about $99 last September when he still had a job for this package. We ate frugally and packed a box of groceries/snacks/pop along with us. Figured it best to use it while he had the time off. No telling when/if he'll get back to work. Budget for entire trip was $200. Came home with some cash, have yet to count it, but well under budget.

I had a no spend day yesterday.

A good quote I found on a 'horror'scope page - "The border between discipline and habit is often hard to distinguish, but that is precisely the difference that you have to keep in mind... Habit is mindless and unconscious, whereas discipline is self-imposed and suited to achieving your goals."

No Such Thing As Spare Change

May 1st, 2009 at 08:21 pm



"There is no such thing as spare change.
There's only "unassembled dollars."
~seen on an email tagline


Yes, I've been way out of touch - FrugalSon got moved into the basement and I've been busy helping my Mom move much closer to me. The woman has a LOT of STUFF!!!

Much drama in the CashHappySon dept. Too much to even try to relate.

While out of pocket I did manage to make the complete $6000 IRA deadline for 2008 before April 15th!!!

Paying bills today. So, lots of outgo.

Adding to the $20 Challenge

February 27th, 2009 at 10:44 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 06:53 pm


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

QUickietta - BA style

February 13th, 2009 at 10:50 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 02:32 pm

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.

FrugalSon's Job Interview

February 7th, 2009 at 04:02 pm



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!

Can A Leopard Change It's Spots?

February 4th, 2009 at 06:42 pm



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).

Ronco SprayHair Paint 4 the Hair Tear Outs?

January 29th, 2009 at 02:58 pm



On ebay one of my books sold this week and Hubster sold one of the computers & monitors laying around the house extra (he's got a bad habit of upgrading REPEATEDLY) for more than we had in it so we're up. And, better - that money ($525 minus ebay & paypal fees) has gone back into the emergency kitty. And nice too - it's out from underfoot where we really had no place to store it so it's been decoratively sitting at the end of my bed.

Also this week FrugalSon paid the kitty back $100 on his remaining balance for his new motor - so he's still down to us to the tune of about $600.

Yesterday Hubster braved the 2009 ice storm to ship out the computer ($35.77) which was covered by the buyer and got the tag renewed for his car which cost $83.50.

A small bit of financial smiles came forth when Hubster reminded me that the checks we are out of will be replaced FREE because of the type of 'Old-Timer' account we have at the bank. Yeah FREE! I'm calling them today to order up.

FrugalSon although not on the schedule (when is he ever on the schedule any more??? They've cut his hours at Burger Arches quite harshly) yesterday got called in for four hours worth of work unloading the truck. When the ice storm lets up we are going into the metro area to see if we can get him on at one of the several major hospitals in our area.

CashHappySon called a night or two ago wanting to know if his W-2s had showed up yet or one of the two checks he's got coming is in. 'Nope' to all three, but I'm fine thanks for asking!! :< He's so self-centered these days - I didn't talk to him but his Dad did - the boy did not even say good-bye but just hung up when he had his answer. GAAAAA! What kind of child have I raised?

I tried to reach him the other day to take him with us when we went to see the new baby, but his cell phone has been cut off - Not a big surprise. I don't know if he's going to work or not - supposedly some girl he works with was going to be giving him a ride. Hopefully he is more polite to her than he's been to us. Fact is, he told me the other day he doesn't care if he keeps his job or not! Exactly the problem I tell him.

Really, does this bald spot on my head show where I've torn the hair out?? I've tried that colored hair spray paint but I'm not sure it's going to work for such a major balding!!! Big Grin How much is this 'coverage' going to cost me??????


To the $20 Challenge I've got:

$005.54 balance
+010.37 in a purse cleanout
_______
$015.91 MTD

2009 Challenge Total $15.91
Cumulative Challenge Total $1018.69

I listed three more books yesterday and will try to get some more done today. There are scads and scads of them that need to go!

Yesterday was a NSD for me as the only time I left the house was to drive FrugalSon in the ice ruts to work.

Going To the Dogs-Waiting for the Clinic To Open

January 15th, 2009 at 02:41 pm



"A house without a dog is not a home."~~??



Sick, snotty, aching and waiting for the clinic to open. YEACH!

Adding to the challenge.

$20 CHALLENGE
$004.08 balance
+000.19 change on desk
_______
$004.27 Jan MTD

2009 Challenge Total $004.27
Cumulative Challenge Total $1007.05

Went grocery shopping yesterday the first time since the 26th of December for $135.15 and what did I get? Nothing too exciting just rising prices everywhere. The biggest jump I've noticed is in dry dog food prices which used to run in the $9-10 range are now $13.50-$18.00.

Oh and I forgot to mention that Hubster got a call from his old boss the other day and their plant will be closing permanently and will be liquidated, so there is no going back there! That ship has sailed.

...and now to send you to an interesting place to read with some great monetary cartoons...


http://www.analyticalwealth.com/


...did I mention it's snowing on top of the rest of the pits around here???

No?

Well.

It Is!

Off to bundle my sorry self up to my eyeballs and go out and dig out the car and slip off to the clinic. Thank God we have insurance to at least the end of the month then it's on to figuring out how to pay the awful-oughta-be-a-law COBRA fees.

Another Bird Leaves The Nest!

December 8th, 2008 at 03:22 pm



"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard." ~Sloan Wilson



LONG time - no post! Missed you guys.

Of news: CashHappySon moved out on November 1 and I spent most of that month freaking out as he went C.R.A.Z.Y. by going on a debit card rampage and soon racked up LOTS of overdraft fees. Thing is it wasn't a thing he NEEDED, only wanted.

Luckily, I had gone before he moved out and got my name removed from his checking in the unfortunate knowledge that he'd likely do such a thing! He had to sign a power-of-attorney form of some kind. It's weird, I can still write checks on his account, still monitor it via the internet, but will not be held liable if he bounces! After several tongue lashings from Dad & I, he went and cashed in all his savings bonds to be able to bring his checking even.

Thing one. He owed us over $4100 on his car. After much heated discussion he cashed in his retirement savings (BOO HISS) and paid us off. I didn't want him to cash this in, but I also didn't want to worry myself silly over him repaying us and/or losing it when someone sues him over non-payment of such things as his lease, bills, etc.

Thing two. He still owes the hospital about $1300. I'm concerned whether he'll pay them. He has some money left from his retirement cash in checking and we're discussing having him pay them the $300 or so he has currently in checking. He has an agreement with them to pay them $35 a month. As far as I know he hasn't paid them the December payment.

I am trying to divorce myself from obsessing over his finances. I realize he will have to scrape his own knees before he learns - he's always been that kind of kid.

Once's he's flying straight I will of course feel better, and am actually already feeling that way some as emotionally he and I butted heads quite often and it was time for him to wing free on his own.

For Mom to remember:

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." ~ Thomas Merton



On another front - FrugalSon's job has cut his hours way back. Fortunately his only bill is his car insurance and his room & board he pays us. His insurance will go up next month as he and CashHappy were on the same policy and I want that changed. They are on each other's car titles as well so they could receive a multi-car discount. That will stop. I don't want one to be responsible for the other's accidents, etc., especially with one away from home doing who knows what.


The Hubster's job is somewhat stable at this time, but there have been lay-offs in his shop, but he'll be one of the last two to go if it comes to that. Currently he is eligible for early retirement and we could gather in pension and Social Security after unemployment benefits run out so there is not too much to worry about there.


I recently returned from a trip to the sunny pacific coast with my Mom to visit my aunt, her sister. We had a wonderful stay and I left home with $125 in cash to spend and came home w/$53. That was after I spent money each day for breakfast for me and Momma as Auntie didn't cook - and we ate lunch out each day and saved half for supper each night. Auntie is 82 and doesn't cook. I put $30 on my CC for that dumb $15 bag fee each way. For my birthday (FYI: I passed one of those monumental numbers on the hill climb)Mom paid my way there and for a nice rental car. Thank you Momsie!! My job was to help her with all the heavy luggage and do all the pathfinding and driving and see that we made all of our flight connections, etc. A really nice trip.

Upon our return my stepdad's Mom passed away and we had that funeral last week. He had stayed home to tend her during her last days. We were actually afraid that she might pass while we were gone. She was a neat lady and had been my step-gran since I was about 12.

Hubster and I had our 26th wedding anniversary last week. I renewed his contract for another year! Big Grin

I'm back selling some on ebay, and am emptying out one of my junque' booths as the sales there were pretty slim!

I will add another entry later updating my sidebar stuff as I have kept track of it.

Adding 50 cents to the December $20 Challenge.

Things Look Up When You Look Down

August 18th, 2008 at 03:44 pm



Adding to the $20 Challenge. This money will be added to my Roth IRA.

My Discovercard $20 reward hit the bank and I've got .12 cents here on the keyboard to put towards the challenge. Those rewards should stack up again rather quickly as we've been putting our gas on the Discover Card as they've got a 5% Cashback bonus going right now on gas purchases thru September.

Who says it doesn't pay to look down??

I found the twelve cents. Eleven of it was found in the lobby at the Dark Knight movie last week and a penny that fell in the floor from taking clothes from the dryer this weekend.

$20 CHALLENGE

$222.66 Aug balance
+020.12 Discover & found & laundry
_______
$242.78 Aug MTD

This is my best challenge month ever thanks to Hubster!

2008 Challenge Total $429.73
Cumulative Challenge Total $958.34

Yesterday I had a personal No Spend Day.

Housebudget bought a newspaper (FrugalSon & I both looking the employment ads over), cold meds, and trashbags at Walgreen's and paid McDonald's for supper. Hubster has the creeping crud of the lunger sort so it's AlkaSeltzerPlus time for him. And there is STILL one corner of the back yard that needs a lot of small limbs picked up & bagged from the ice storm last winter! It's returning to jungle back there and both boys are off today so we've got a plan of attack for it this afternoon if the rain holds off.

In case you missed it last week - FrugalSon passed his driving test FINALLY!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-DOGGGIEEEES!!!

Waste Is A Resource Out of Place

August 17th, 2008 at 12:50 am



Did anyone else see this? Ethanol made not from corn but from beer mash???

This morning on TV - it was quite early here as I hadn't even had my coffee yet - was a morning show of some kind talking about Coors and their ethanol reclamation project.

With our trash service broken it caught my attention. I was beginning to crazily wonder what I could do creative w/ about 17 days of trash???? Later today I found this out on the web from the tag line that I remembered from the show 'waste is a resource out of place'.

"Minimizing our impact on the environment is the right thing to do and it's good for our business," said Molson Coors CEO Leo Kiely. "Bill Coors used to say that waste was a resource out of place - that thinking still drives us today to recycle, reuse and reduce our consumption of energy and materials when and where we can."

I'm not a beer fan but I'm going to try to remember this phrase! I do try often to reuse stuff but I'm disinclined to save 25+ oatmeal containers if I've no use for them. I wish there was a better way to sort & distribute such stuff as you know would be good for churches, schools, scouts and other groups to use in their projects.

"Reduce, ReUse, Recycle!" I recently painted such a sign on an old barn board I had laying around. Put it in my junque booth.

As I'm typing this guess who just drove by? My OLD trash service and FINALLY picked up the trash! They don't know they're out yet! Come Monday they'll find out as Hubster's calling them up AGAIN! And I'll be wanting a refund for the last half of this month.

Oh, did I tell you? FrugalSon PASSED his driving test!!!!

Woooooooooooooohoooo!

Jun &Jul Utility Figures OH the Excitement!

August 1st, 2008 at 08:11 pm



Looking backwards I see that I didn't post our June utility records. And I want to keep going forward tracking those costs here. So here are June & July!

July utility figures for Frugalis Family of four adults (1 female/3 males):

$97.33 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$94.00 Gas
$66.00 Electricity
$38.85 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
_______
$310.18 July total

The cable/phone bill went up because I added a feature to block all those annoying 800 number calls that were coming in with no one on the other end of the line! So sad that a consumer has to protect themselves this way and there is no way to get them to stop calling you five or six times a day. GRRRR! Anyway, that's why that went up. I did some investigating online and it seems that many people have this same trouble and there seems no way to stop them from dialing! OUGHT TO BE A LAW!

Water bill was down for July because we were out of town for 10 days on vacation.

---

The June utility figures were:
$90.75 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$91.00 Gas
$64.00 Electricity
$49.40 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
_______
$309.15 June total

~~~

AVERAGE FRUGALIS UTILITY BILLS - 2008
$310.18 July totals
$309.15 June totals
$309.15 May totals
$318.70 April totals
$313.08 March totals

Since I started tracking here the average is $312.05 per month.

~~~

I did get a notice from my trash carrier that starting in August they will be taking a bit more on the old autodraft payment to cover gasoline prices.

Ho-hum!

It's to be expected and they were the one company that had not adjusted their rates since we moved here in 1999! They are well worth the trouble to keep me from hauling stuff myself to the dump which would cost me exactly the same amount PLUS my gasoline & time/energy to do the hauling.

I can't locate the paper at the moment that stated exactly how much they'll be going up but it was rather a small increase and I'd say well deserved!

FYI: I have a two story home w/a walk-in attic & a walk-out basement that has central heat & air. The basement is not heated/cooled but stays at a naturally regulated temperature year round. It's always nice down there!

Upstairs I keep the shades drawn all summer and have curtains over all the blinds except in the kitchen & utility room.

We did put new energy efficient windows in last April. I've yet to do the homework to see if heat/cooling bills have gone down. Funny, huh? I should do that!

With attic & basement space we run about 3600 square feet. We keep 1600 or so sq. feet on the main floor of it 'conditioned' at all times.

We don't monkey around w/the thermostat and it stays set at 72 summertime, 78 wintertime. I use portable fans in the areas we need extra cooling in from time to time and I sleep w/one of those Vornado fans blowing on my face all night every night year round for white noise & I like a BRISK breeze.

In the winter time we do bring up a space heater from the basement to use in the bathroom. 28 days out of 30 we never use it, but sometimes it is extra nice if you've been out shoveling snow or some such and need a hot bathing experience.

I always figure if we're too hot we can take more clothes off or if too cold we can bundle up more!

I wash one load of colored laundry per weekday & Sunday and 2 loads on Saturday (1 whites/1 colored).

Dishes are done once a day by hand. We use cloth napkins.

Computers are turned off every night. I try to unplug everything that isn't absolutely necessary - in the kitchen this means the microwave, coffee pot, tv, toaster, etc. are all unplugged if not in use. In the bathroom hair-dryer is unplugged after each use. Two electric clocks in the house - all others use rechargeable batteries and all bulbs that can be are CFLs.

We have natural gas for heating & cooking.

Some one is home all day every day.

---
Paid bills today and requested my CashBack Bonus from Discover card today. That $20 should show up in the old bank account in a day or two if not today. When it does I'm adding it to my $20 Challenge.

Automatically Cutting It Short

August 1st, 2008 at 04:16 pm




To finish up July books while cleaning out the wallet last night I added $17.33 to the $20 Challenge.

$005.52 balance
+017.33 wallet cleanout
_______
$022.85 July total

2008 Challenge Total $186.95
Cumulative Challenge Total $715.56


Just went online and paid my mortgage payment. New balance $17,469.22!

Contractual remaining on mortgage 5 years and 10 months. Actual payoff, if we continue paying the $71.04 extra principal per month as we've been doing, is in 5 years. Sooner if we can prepay more as we go along. Today I finally set the payments along w/the extra principal on autodraft. We've been paying the extra little bit for the last year with no problems so I think it's safe to go ahead and make it automatic. Big Grin So far this little extra will cause a reduction in the term of our loan by 1 year and 10 months. Gotta keep spinning my web of financial support for old age!

Hopefully I'll be back later today to update my utility bills recording.

Since My Summer Vacation

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:28 pm



The Frugalis Fam got back from vacation a few days ago. Everyone had a grand time and we left w/$490 in cash to spend and came home with $332. More to spend on the next vacation. Big Grin

Ten days in a fab-o resort obtained thru my time-share exchange - our condo was right on the water with fabulous water views from the balcony. We ate out three times as per our norm. We eat out one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner during the week, besides our drive-thru meals on travel days. Those 3 meals went on the charge card to be paid off next month along w/gasoline charges. Groceries were put on the charge card as well. Had extra groceries left over that were brought home. The pups were split up, Toffee my little doxie went to Moms and Carmel went to the kennel. I missed the little buggers. Possibly more vacation details later.

Frugalis - Family of Four
135.00 exchange fee - paid
100.00 kennel fee - paid
114.87 grocery charges (prices were HIGH!)
097.99 meals out charges
089.56 gasoline charges
158.00 cash expenditures - entrance fees, momentos, t-shirts, ballcaps, drive-thru meals, tips
______
695.42 spent
332.00 back to vacation savings

I've added a new etf - FCG over on the left - to my portfolio this week. Put it on automatic investments w/Sharebuilder.

On Tuesday the Frugalis Housebudget purchased a new printer. We've had the old Epson for about 10 years! It was time for a 'refreshing'. Yeah, no more wavy lines and thin ink spots. I'm not sure where the ticket is to give a price but Hubster did his usual research before buying some kind of Canon printer (apprx. $84.00). Ink prices are the kicker, of course.

This week I bought two new light fixtures to update the kitchen and utility room 'rent contractor' el cheapo stuff that is here. Ugh. I'm second guessing myself now and will go look one more place before I have HubsterDearest install them. These I bought are okay, but are fairly tame. I'd like something a little more creative like a mini-chandelier over my sink area. Then, when looking at the ceilings it appears the kitchen ceiling needs to be repainted before that light can go up anyway. Something new makes the old look shabby. Isn't that always the case?

Hope everyone has a happy 4th!


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