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Archive for August, 2008

State Of Our Union

August 28th, 2008 at 06:54 pm


Nope, 'twas well before our time!


Hubster has had his 62nd birthday this year and we are checking our facts and figures here. Upcoming work at his job is looking slim. Could we make the jump to full time retirement?

Yesterday I worked on updating our Net Worth Statement for August and things are looking UP! He was pleasantly surprised and had drastically under-estimated what we had so that was a nice bump up for him while he's worrying what his employer is doing.

Yes, you know me and my money tucked here and there style, while I slip him little pieces of paper every now and again and say we've got $XXX,XXX.00 amount of dollars here in this account and $X,XXX.00 here - it had been some time since I had given him the entire BIG picture.

He thinks he'd like to just stay employed and eventually just go to working part time where he's at. Hopefully more work will flow through the pipeline and be scheduled for when they run out of what's currently on tap.

But meanwhile back at the house even if he decided to take early Social Security we wouldn't go too hungry. We wouldn't be living the life of the Astor's but still we'd do okay.

Life's good! Carry on dancing!

Upping the Challenge Balance

August 27th, 2008 at 12:47 am




Adding to my $20 Challenge from change given to me by CashHappySon.

$0242.78 Aug balance
+0001.60 change
________
$0244.38 MTD

2008 Challenge Total $0431.33
Cumulative Challenge Total $0959.94

Today's My Blogoversary - since '06

August 23rd, 2008 at 08:42 pm




I've been here at Saving Advice since August 23, 2006. Wow. Glad I set up the blogoversary button to remind me.

Went to the wine-making class this morning. It was an hour and a half class and about an hour into it I got too hot and thought I was going to pass out and had to step outside to cool off. Got in the car and started up the air-conditioner and headed home. The class took place about 45 minutes from home.

BUT - I recalled that she'd mentioned that we'd get a FREE bottle of wine to take home. I was about 5 minutes away and turned back and finished the last 15 minutes or so of the class, got my FREE hooch and headed home. It's a black raspberry merlot. Will give it a taste here in a few days. It's from a four week wine kit. The lady who teaches the class has wine in several stages of production so this was ready to be bottled and is ready to drink.

I'll let you know how it tastes.

It was tempting but I didn't buy any equipment today. She was very nice and didn't do a hard sell at all. I'm wanting to but am hoping the desire will pass, if it doesn't then I will probably buy off of ebay if I can get it cheaper.

Today's free wine is counted as INFLOW.

Clash of the Titans - Harry Hamlin Aside

August 18th, 2008 at 06:36 pm



My weekend was the scene of the small economies and we rewatched the 'Clash of the Titans' I think the title is - with Harry Hamlin (va-voom!).

While cleaning my bedroom on Saturday morning I found about 7 partially used bottles of lotions (a good sign that I need to re-join the flylady emails) that I downsized into four. Most of these were gifted but still 7 on one bedside stand is WAY too much AND birthday and Christmas and the lotion gifts that might be incoming are on the horizons.

So I combined those even going so far as to add a splash of water into the near empties to get that last little bit of goodness out. The combo jar is what I use to moisturize my feet with before I put on fresh socks for bed so it's of no big import that it's a mixed bag of juicieness in there.

Also on the beauty front I colored my own hair again on Saturday night. My normal night of Lux's House of Beauty treatments! Cost has gone up at the dollar store from $2 a box to $2.75! Frown


I spent a bit of time on Saturday combining the multiple open bottles of jelly, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce and pickles in the icebox. Why do males open another jar instead of looking to see if there isn't another one open already???? Hmmmm?? Probably the same thing that makes women have 7 bottles of lotion going at once!! Ha!

Also in the kitchen we had the ongoing battle of the wire mesh coffee filter vs. the paper ones. I dislike paying for the paper ones but Hubster prefers using them. Don't ask me why as he can't say. GRRR!


vs.


Anyway I saw that we are down to the last little stack of paper ones that I got when a grocer was having a 20 for $10 sale about three years ago. That made them 50 cents a bag rather than their normal $1. I bought $5.00 worth that time.

IF I can get in there and get the coffee made first or set it up the night before we use the wire filter. If Hubster makes it sure as shooting it's one of the paper ones. I think I paid $2.98 for the wire mesh filter years back. Ho-hum. I think it's better to use the wire one! I have four reasons - number 1)it costs less in the long run and number 2) the paper ones sometimes fall down leaving me with grounds in my cup and number 3)I can empty the wire one more easily into my garden for composting efforts and number 4)it saves cutting down trees to make more paper ones.

No big fuss but along with shopping carefully for big purchases I think it's these little differences that can make a difference too in the long run on your money.

A tip I use is to buy flavoring extracts and to use dropperfuls of it to flavor our coffee instead of buying the more expensive flavored coffees. It works!

Two Hips & A Hurray for making the little efforts. Say what you will but in the clash of the Titans I still contend that the little things add up to a bit fatter wallet! Speaking of Titans, Mr. Rockefeller believed it too, according the biography about him called "Titan"!

I'm going with Mr. Rockefeller on this one!

Outside the boys and I go to work on the backyard jungle left from the ice storm! Lots of limbs still to be removed from trees and brush to be burned and bagged. See ya on the flipside hopefully without too many skeeter bites!

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!

Heat'n Up The Cooktop, Oven & House

August 16th, 2008 at 10:50 pm



A cooking mood has struck of late. Last night was homemade pizza night. Tried a new flatbread recipe for the dough - ehhh, I like my AmyD Tightwad recipe better. Back to the old tried and true.

Cooking moods seem to come on when the weather cools down. It has been about 10-15 degrees cooler here than normal so it's been nose to the cooktop this afternoon. I find that if I cook ahead on Saturday it saves me time, frustration and most of all money when the question after church is always, "Hey Mom, what's for lunch?"

I made a 9 x 13 pan of Dark Chocolate Brownies for lunch tomorrow. Thank you Betty Crocker. When that came out I baked four potatoes for tomorrow's meal plus a 9 x 13 pan of hot rolls all which we'll heat & eat tomorrow.

For lunch today we had the original 'po white trash lunch of Spam, Cheese, fried onions & Durkees sauce sammies, with chips, dip & pork n' beans, iced tea. Lawn mowing on the agenda this afternoon for the male Frugalis types.

For supper I made a new recipe for me. I didn't have all the ingredients to do a traditional Gyros or a Lebanese wrap called a Shawarma, so I did an adaptation on both.

I made the traditional Lebanese Garlic Sauce (yummers).

Then instead of pita bread I used tortilla shells that I had on hand.

Didn't have any lamb, so I used a cube steak that I had in the freezer. Sliced it thin, browned it off w/a tiny hint of olive oil & mint, garlic salt, allspice, cumin, worsesterchire sauce & a smidge of liquid smoke. It was meant to feed Hubster & I on a night when the boys are both at work. Well, I needed to use it tonight to feed three of us which is what sent me on a search of something to do with it.

In the frig were lettuce, tomato, onion. I got busy w/the chopping.

So it went together like this:

Warm tortilla shell in skillet. Put on plate. Spread on lots of garlic sauce. Add line of shredded lettuce down the middle, top w/tomatos & onions, (these onions are supposed to be spiced but I hadn't the time) and the surprise ingredient is a dill pickle spear laid down the middle. Top w/four or five chunks of the browned meat. Wrap or fold like a taco and eat over something that can catch the drips. Wear a bib.

Very good and that yummy garlic sauce helps clean out the sinuses! Do a google search there are various recipes out there. I changed this one around a bit:
Text is
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Thick-Style-Lebanese-Garlic-Sauce/Detail.aspx?prop31=2
and Link is

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Thick-Style-Lebanese-Garlic-S...


I didn't have sea salt, so I just used regular salt, only 1/4 cup of lemon juice from the plastic lemon, and I added about a teaspoon of parsley to mine as it was blending. Blender wanted to blog down towards the end - so in reality probably only used about 1 3/4 cups of oil. Oh, I also didn't have a fresh garlic head, but jars of chopped garlic that you buy at Aldi's. I just used about 1/4 cup - give or take. Yeah, I'm that kinda cook. Smile

While cleaning up the kitchen tonight I got all soppy over my little kitchen tools. It's amazing what all one can do with the right tools. Supposedly I need an immersion blender to do that sauce. I don't have one - my old glass blender had to do. I wouldn't mind having one, so I might put it on my Christmas list. My knives are shabby, chipped & worn and that could also be a future purchase.

I can forsee the days when I'm back to cooking much more than I have in the last few years as the kids have always done so much cooking while learning & honing their kitchen skills. My tupperware & equivalents are looking pretty sad and sparse as well. I suppose I should let the extended family know that I could use a few updates in this area before they get all industrious and get all their Christmas shopping done. (I've been doing a bit of online Christmas shopping myself.)

What got me all misty today? My little red pastry brush shaped like a man & my measuring cup that looks like a chemistry beaker of sorts. Mine, isn't this brand but looks very similar, was a gift from Mom.



They've been with me a while and I appreciate that they are always in the drawer & cabinet ready to whip up something good for my family.

Silly, I know! Big Grin But that's what happens when you have time to ruminate while burping garlic over a sink full of suds & dirty dishes!

Good sturdy kitchen tools are worth the original expense!

I looked at an oil mister yesterday at the store and passed it over. Today I could have used it as I was out of cooking spray. Well! Hummmpf! To the rescue? My little red man pastry brush. It may not be au'current, but he still works and I probably paid less than 50 cents for him at a junk or yard sale years and Years and YEARS ago!

Did I mention?

FrugalSon passed his driving test!!

YAAAAAAA-HOOOOO!!


See my blog roll for the BIG story!! Poor kid - it only took him about 7 or 8 tries to get past the parallel parking!
Text is
http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2008/08/16/good-good-good-news-vs-bad-news_42227/ and Link is

http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2008/08/16/good-good-goo...


Let the good times roll!!

good Good GOOD News vs. Bad News

August 16th, 2008 at 07:13 pm

good Good GOOD News vs. Bad News

Are we going or coming?? Travels or Travails of the Frugalis Familia?



You decide:

FIRST the good Good GOOD news is that FrugalSon just had his 22nd birthday this month and a few days later?

HE PASSED HIS DRIVING TEST!!!


Hallelujah and pass the beans!! He has driven himself to & from work a few times now and I think we'll see his self confidence grow by leaps and bounds in the near future! Thanks to all of you who've been reading and praying along with me on his trials and tribulations to get past that darn parallel parking portion of the program! See the back history under the tag of FrugalSon as his learning disabilities have held him back for far too long. God bless the sweet little easy going man that he got this time that passed him! I refrained from kissing the test examiner all over but to say we are pleased is a great understatement!

FrugalSon has since his birthday broken up with TheGrrl. She wouldn't quit flirting with another guy at work and even went on a night-walk with him on her break (FrugalSon & she work together) while Frugalson had to stay working, even after he'd asked her nicely not to do it. He'd given her several chances to stop and it continued rather blatantly in his face, so - So long, see-ya si-a-nar-a senorita!

He'd told her that he didn't mind her being friends with the guy but the flirting & walks needed to stop. This girl is 24 years old and I believe FrugalSon was considering buying her at least a promise ring for Christmas this year. In my humble, mother-love aside, opinion I do believe this girl just messed up big time. They've been dating almost a year.

She's gone on a family vacation this week. I told him I'd hustle up another job while she was gone and be out of there before she ever came back if it were me. He'll probably stay, but I'm hoping that she either truly sees the light OR he finds someone else NICER to date rather quickly.

As I already posted earlier, CashHappySon's girl broke off with him earlier last week. So, no girl-i-os around for the moment.

The other BAD news is that yesterday we got a letter from the IRS on some of the income from father-in-law's estate that we did not claim. We had varying pieces of advice from different tax people as to what needed reporting, so it was probably to be expected.

I just quickly glanced over it and gave it to Hubster since he's the one who dealt with all the estate stuff. There is likely an appointment to be arranged to visit with them to see exactly what's what as their paperwork is mightily confusing!

Oh well, in my mind the driver's license outweighs the IRS & girl news in this balance-off! Heads, HE WINS!!

I'm going to give it a month or two for him to smooth out on his driving and then it'll be time for me to dust off my resume and either hit the school yard and/or the work-force!

Other good news is that earlier last month one of our other grown sons finally got married - this is ManOfTheYearSon! She's about to graduate from college w/a psychiatry degree. Big doings party wise went on. I failed to mention much about it because we weren't actively involved in the planning. Her family threw a big party in her hometown which is halfway across the state. We gifted from the registry - a nice fat Lowe's card for "the woman's touch" that's needed at his house. He lives across the metro area from us in a suburb town. Our daughter who lives in California came into town for the 'do'.

Meanwhile back at the house our trash service just posted an increased charge of an additional $1.40 a month. Not too bad, BUT they haven't bothered to pick up my trash at all this month - TWO WEEKS worth and it is beginning to stack up big time!

I've called them and Hubster's called them. They have yet to come get the trash although they autodrafted our payment as usual the first of the month! GRRR! Equipment troubles. Yeah well, rent a pickup truck and come get our trash!! GEE-WHIZ-LOUIZ!!



Hubster made a call yesterday to a new service and they'll be out Monday w/a new cart for us.

Adding to My Houseboat Fund & Etc.

August 16th, 2008 at 04:01 pm



I added $2.00 to the Retirement Houseboat ticker over on the left! New total $177.00.

Also new on the left is the Grrls (Lux's Personal) Just Wanna Have E-funds! ticker. See below for a more detailed explanation. New balance $335.00.

Spent $11.05 yesterday on new black t-towels and those multi-color candles for the Frugalis Wine Cellar. What wine cellar would be complete without a Chianti bottle with a candle and all it's drippings hanging about? Will post a pic of it when we drink the Chianti and get a decent amount of wax built up! Who knows maybe it was a 70's thing?

I also signed myself up for a FREE wine-making course in the next couple of weeks. I want to see if I really would enjoy a full on wine-making setup before expending dollars on the equipment. The wine I've made in the past was done in my kitchen w/gallon pickle jars, plastic wrap & rubber bands.

Currently brewing is a bottle of homemade rootbeer. I'll let you know how it turns out. The extract I had is kind of old so it may be a waste of sugar water.

I did finally get pictures up the other day of the wine cellar before we got the floor mopped (this area gets run-off from the hole in the wall when it rains heavily):

Text is
http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2008/08/08/dressing-the-wine-cellar_41970/
and Link is

http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2008/08/08/dressing-the-...


Scroll down for the pictures of my hole in the wall!

----
I also added a new ticker as well called "Grrls Just Wanna Have E-Funds!"

This is a checking account I recently started at Fidelity and it didn't really have a purpose. I've been married for 25 years so I don't really think I'm gonna have to fend for myself as in a divorce situation but I figured I'd take the going apartment rental rate here as a good figure to start with. Small studios are renting here for $450 a month. Add another 900 to cover first and last months rent and a 50 to round it up gave me the 1400 figure to start with.

Hubster and I have our combined years worth of emergency fund at another bank. I doubt he's running off* anytime soon (likely NEVER) leaving me stranded but I needed - in my minds eye - to give this account a goal. That's it. It's my personal emergency fund. If I never need it so much the better. (Plenty of women have never seen it* coming!)

I plan to update and adjust the rental rate figure each year on Hubster's birthday which is sometime soon this month.

I have this checking account set-up with an autodraft addition of $10 a month out of my hometown personal checking. Mainly

I started it because I wanted to see how Fidelity's SmartCash checking accounts work before we eventually use them to withdraw from our retirement funds. I've had the account three or four months now and have never written a check on it.

Somehow it has an auto-leveling feature that pulls from one account to keep the balance at a minimum that you set. Checks were free, but it currently pays only 1.49% interest a month. Ehhhhh & Bleck!!

I need to write a small check some time and see it in action. I started with $50 in there in late April. I deposited $250 a day or so later and I earned 5 cents interest on 4/30, .38 on 5/30, .37 on 6/30, added $10 autodraft in July and earned .39 on 7/31. Added another autodrafted $10 on 8/1 and yesterday I added $13.81 in there to round it off to a nice even number of $335.00.

Feeling generous with myself while at Fidelity yesterday I also rounded up my 2008 Roth IRA contributions by $12.00.

Today's mission - clean up my sidebar! I'm doing that by adding some of my historical stuff to the "My Pages" section of our blogs. Did you know we could do that?

Ticker Help Needed? How to Update?

August 16th, 2008 at 02:14 pm


Gomez Addams Reads Ticker Tape


Okay boys and girls I need help. How do I update my ticker? It says it needs to know the address of the ticker and my PIN. The pin I can handle. Where exactly am I going to find the address where the ticker resides? Am I overlooking the obvious?

AND, when I read their FAQ it says to just click on my ticker and it will take me to the right page. I click and it goes NOWHERE, just as if I've not clicked at all. Any clues?