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Need Help...Anybody Remember?

December 15th, 2011 at 03:02 pm

Hey guys, there's a friend I'm wanting to help. I used this tool and now want to pass it on. I'm wanting to find a guy on here who had some nice grids that were used to help you pay things off early. He had one shaped like a house and one shaped like a car. You gave each gridblock a dollar amount towards the total owed and then colored in each block when you paid that portion down. A visual aid to help you pay down your debts. Anybody remember who I'm talking about? Or do you have a copy of those aids?

I was reminded yesterday and have started it up again...of a little trick I used to play with myself. Yesterday I drove an hour out of town to a funeral. On the way there I did use the turnpike to the tune of about $2.50. I decided I would come home the other way and save the change. I also was planning to stop at MickeyD's and buy myself a smoothie for breakfast - I had already had a banana. I sailed on past the exit and saved myself $2.32. I ALWAYS stop at my favorite restaraunt in this town to buy myself some of the best hot dogs to be had for lunch. Didn't do it - had half a pimento cheese sandwich at Dad's house. Saved myself about $4.00. So when I got home I rounded up those savings and came home and sent $10 online to my Roth. Not a big savings day, and not a total No Spend day but over time these are the things that can help you add up to a comfortable retirement. Here's to saving!!!

Somebody asked the other day about CashHappy & FrugalSon. They are both at home (disabled) and doing well as of the moment. CashHappy dug himself a deep debt hole while gone from home that we are slowly digging him out from. Of note for FrugalSon is that because of new BUSY traffic location he won't be able to drive from here to a job. So, we sold his little vehicle and moved those dollars into his ROTH as he only worked half a year this year and that just covered that half year income plus a little bit more that we just moved to regular savings. He's a happy camper and not as upset by this necessity as many guys his age would be. Both will be looking for new jobs after the Christmas holiday is over. Guess who'll be back to playing taxi-mom?

Anybody have a link to that guy's blog mentioned above????? Thanks bunches.


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!

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.

My continued absence...

June 10th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Since I was last here...I've been on a weeks vacation in NM and AZ w/the parental units visiting family, then my brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly, then another week's vacation in Missouri w/FrugalSon as Hubster stayed home to be with his sister, then my older brother passed away and we had his funeral.

Many of you may remember my posting about the last time he was in hospital...COPD and diabetes. Give up smoking now and save your family some grief later, okay?

We then spent some time cleaning up brother's affairs and then we (Hubster, FrugalSon and CashHappySon and I) went on another vacation, this time to Arkansas. Now, I'm back in my spot, hopefully for the summer and can catch up with you guys here on Saving Advice dot com!

Vacations? All paid for in cash AND I ended the travel season w/$60 left to put back in the pot for next year's vacations. YEAH for advanced anticipatory budgeting! It works.

Another financial event of note is that while we were gone on the last trip Hubster's final tier of unemployment benefits have ended. We are now totally going to be dependent on our retirement savings, Social Security and his carpenter's pension. I think we've got life covered, but it may run close at times. Saving MORE while you're working? Always a great idea!!

Back from the Races

October 29th, 2009 at 01:18 pm

Yesterday was a new day at the Frugalicious races...

Got up early and Hubster and FrugalSon loaded up the back of my pickup with wood for my Dad using the wheelbarrow as I was not venturing back into the muddy yard with my truck again after getting sunk and stuck the other night. I picked what appears like the last of my tomatoes for the year and took about half of them for Dad.

Then Frugalson & I loaded up and went to the bank and got my signature on Hubster's Carpenter's Pension notarized and then scooted on over to the post office and got it mailed off.

We took off on the backroads and drove the hour and half trip to my Dad's and he and FrugalSon unloaded the wood while his wife and I visited. They got through and I got to visit with my Dad for about 30 minutes and then we started heading back.

Dad had slipped me $40 for gas. He can well afford it and if he didn't get wood from me? ...he'd be buying it from someone. Nice. It takes about $50 to fill my truck and I can get one full trip to his town and back out of it, plus some other running around my town. Last trip was on me.

I needed to treat my helper to lunch so at his choice we stopped for a burger basket, frosty rootbeers and had the rare treat of fried pickles as an appetizer. Yummers. $17.23 + $3.00 tip.

After lunch we stopped at a good garage sale. I bought myself two nice little side-tables - they are very heavy, have a cute rustic style to them and are formica-ed on top. So useable with those tops & too Too TOO cute to pass up.

I don't know that I NEED them, but will try to work them into the house. If they don't work out I might sell one or both of them in my booth at a profit. Or maybe FrugalSon can use them downstairs in his apartment. They are sweet little tables & at $25 for the pair, I can easily double my money. The finish on the legs is a bit aged, but they could be really cutened up w/some beige or antique white paint on the legs! Or, even some barn red or a forest green for a bunkhouse or cabin look. Here's one of them before cleanup:

Also bought myself a cute new to me denim jacket for a $1.00, and the guy running the sale, who was flirting with me ended up giving me a paperback for free - wooo, a big spender type! Big Grin

He was a nice man, but kind of overtly obvious with the compliments, thinking my son was my husband because obviously I couldn't P.O.S.S.I.B.L.Y. be that old, etc. Yeah, right. Nice to hear, but you know it's patently not true. I do look younger than my age, but not THAT young.

Also got two paintings in frames for $3 each. We'll probably paint over the canvases and have the frames to use for our creations. Cheap art material!!!

Then it was off to my Mom's house where they gave me a very nice metal patio table. They had three outdoor sets? I think one of them was from stepdad's Mom's estate. They are closing in their back patio and now have one inside that room and one set outside and this set just extra. Nice. I had given CashHappySon my old set when he moved away.

This patio set is black. My other outdoor set ALMOST matches it but is white/yellowish. The white set is 'chippy' and likely this coming spring, I'll wirebrush it down and paint it out black to match. I spot-shot the rusty areas the other day w/rustoleum to get it thru the winter. I nearly STOLE the white set late last year at a thrift store. All seven pieces for only $27.00! The other little table Hubster is using indoors for his printer stand.

(note one of the little arched water spigot cubbie covers that Hubster made the other day over on the left)

Mom THINKS she knows where the umbrella and stand is at in her storage building.

I'm counting my parental units as Corporate Sponsors! They're members of the Golden Eagle Elite Club!! Thank God for our parents. They've all done so much for us through the years.

We visited with Mom about 15 minutes and admired stepdad's handiwork on the new patio room, then jumped back in the truck.

Stopped at vitamin store and spent about $30 there, needed more magnesium for routine maintenance and also Sambucol to keep the sore throat and flu bug away. Pricey stuff but needed for to the keeping away of the creeping crud & the blue funks!

Then we stopped at the Dollar store for FrugalSon to buy more minutes for his Tracphone.

Then we got home by about 3:15 and I crashed! Then I got back up and took vitamin herby stuff to keep from being sick as I felt achy, and ate the rest of the Tortilla Soup from the other day at about 5:00 p.m. and then laid back down.

FrugalSon stayed outside and unloaded all the new bunkN'junque off the back of the truck.

FrugalSon then went out and helped Hubster who was mowing on the rider, by pushmowing the garden area and then the top-yard for the last mow of the season and to run all the gas out of the mowers so they can be winterized.

Hubster spent the day yesterday raking up all the leaves and twigs and general messiness that the tree cutters left behind and trying to repair a cheap-o rake that kept breaking on him. The last rake we had lasted about 15 years. This one? Lasted less than one season! Come on folks lets manufacture something worthwhile could we????

Then they stayed outside till dark-thirty chainsawing and stacking the rest of the wood in the front part of the yard. We are racing trying to beat winter! I had made Hubster promise not to chainsaw until I got home. I rushed around as much as possible for this daytrip to get back so he had some daylight left to work in. Supposed to be cold and wet the rest of the week here.

After all that cutting & stacking they came in and FrugalSon heated up the Black Bean soup that was also in the frig and they had that and sandwiches and marble cake for supper while I was going thru a nice little sleep cycle on the couch.

Poor FrugalSon had quite a busy day off!
I am feeling much better this morning. Like a new woman. Bouncing up at 5:30 a.m. Hubster is still sawing logs. In bed, that is!

Taking the $8 I didn't blow at a garage sale to the $20 Challenge.

$022.82 balance
+008.00 garage sale leavings
$030.82 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $993.10 (think I'll beat a thousand this year? Who'll give me odds?)
Cumulative Challenge Total $2046.86

*Little known L.L.Frugalis factoid: I used to jockey as a pre-teen.

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.
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link to PDF file about a Predictable Secure Pension For Life - has a nice checklist:
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October 18th, 2009 at 04:32 am

1)Laundry DONE

2)Paint ceiling in Dining Room 1st coat DONE (prep work so Hubster can get crown molding up in that room) Needed because WACKED OUT bug spray man hit the ceiling in here with his bug juice making BIG ugly stains! Saving myself the cost of hiring a painter worth it's price in a post-whiplash neck-ache to a Frugalista such as myself. Ben-gay here I come.

3)CashHappySon's coats & winter wear from basement DONE

4)Cut up last of canteloupe likely for this season before it's gone-by freshness date DONE

5)Hang up clothes on top of dog cage DONE

Five Things Challenge Update-The Sunday Edition

October 4th, 2009 at 06:44 pm

Five Things Challenge Update

The Sunday Edition

d-o-n-e, done, Done, D-o-N-e, ..and DONE!!!

On today's list were:

[x]1)House Budget checking account balanced. - This is different than the other two I did the other day. Account is rather on the empty side though, so watching House Budget spending extra closely for a day or two.

[x]2)Cook Sunday lunch trying a new recipe. Used another out of Kraft's Food & Family magazine. Not horrid, not bad, but probably won't repeat - Chicken & Stuffing type casserole.

I did try one in there last night that FrugalSon said was FABULOUS. (Haven't heard that in a while!) It was the Chicken Caesar Wraps. I wouldn't say fabulous, but Hubster and I both agreed they were pretty good.

I, of course, being me, changed the recipe around to make it a warm wrap by heating the bacon, chicken & cheese before filling the warmed tortillas. Served with soup as I wasn't sure how filling it would be and it was rainy & damp by supper time yesterday.

I am trying new recipes because we had gotten into somewhat of a rut AND I'm trying to cook more since CashHappySon is not here to trade off cooking with FrugalSon & I. Have to get myself back in the cooking habit!

[x]3)File all the paperwork from bills paid. This tends to stack up! There were several months that needed doing.

And for future to-do's, there is still purging that needs to be done in filing cabinet. That might make the actual filing a more enjoyable thing if it weren't crammed full!

[x]4)Write a thank you note. A native friend sent me FREE copies of two books he wrote. I wanted to send my thank you note on native stationary, but it was in the other room and I put this off ALL WEEK rather than get on up off my duff and go dig it out. Took me all of 15 seconds once I made myself get it done! How often do we do this to ourselves? The packing envelope has been dragging me down all week sitting here on the desk LOOKING AT ME waiting to be done! That procrastination on my part was making me lose the joy of the gift!

[X]5)Clip and sort coupons. I've not been using coupons much the past few years once I lost my nice organized coupon box, but I can save money when I use them, so since we're getting ready to be 'fixed income' folks? I might want to get back into the habit. I sorted them by use-by date & put them in a ziplock in my wallet, at least until I see if I want to get back into couponing more seriously.

On another note I sat up in bed and slapped myself on the head this morning. Even though we've decided not to put our MM money into CDs for the moment until the SS & pension checks start coming, what is stopping me from moving it over to just drawing more interest? I don't know. How silly. Moved it just now! Gaaa!!! Then if we don't need it, it can slip right into some CDs.

Didn't get the chest of drawers painted because it clouded over all afternoon yesterday and I was afraid to risk it. Sure enough, we rolled it on the dolly back into the utility room and no more than 5 minutes later? Raindrops!

Maybe early some time this coming week it will get done. I know for sure I don't want it sitting in my utility room for very long. Needs another 30 minutes or so of sanding. I walked by and caught Hubster giving it a 'feel' to see if it was done right! Big Grin Still cloudy & rainy looking here today so, no-can-do today.

He finished installing crown molding yesterday evening in LR. Next to do is fill nailholes and joints then touch up paint. We may have to caulk a few places at the ceiling line as this old place (built 1942ish) has a few wavy spots on the ceiling line. IOWs, not much was level to begin with on this project. Pics to come when finished. Then it's on to the dining room molding!

Today will be a stay home and No Spend Day! Maybe some popcorn, a movie in the DVD player and a nap.

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!

Sunbeams, Jobs & General Updating

February 6th, 2009 at 01:52 pm

Sunbeam Tiger

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

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

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

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


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

2009 Challenge Total $021.90
Cumulative Challenge Total $1024.68

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

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

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

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).

Johnny Law and CashHappySon

January 31st, 2009 at 08:42 pm

I've been working on my ebay listings today (14 new items listed), so there's that for future income. I've also priced a couple of old fashioned outside metal chairs and an enamel bucket for sale in my junque booth. I go on Monday to install them in the booth and pick up my January sales check.

Adding to the $20 Challenge

$015.91 balance
$021.15 Jan MTD

2009 Challenge Total $21.15
Cumulative Challenge Total $1023.93

CashHappySon called today wanting to pick up his W-2 so he can go do an instant refund thingawhichie. Thing is he can't really afford the fees for a fast back refund. Not sure if he'll even get a refund since he cashed in part of his retirement (401-K & IRA) this year to pay off his car loan to us.

He did go buy himself a Go-Phone (something like a pay as you go Trac-Phone) blaming me saying that I complained that I couldn't reach him. I explained to him that my statement of fact did not constitute a complaint nor a need for him to spend money he doesn't really have! Oh well. He WANTS a phone.

I hope he can use it in jail when he gets to court on Monday. That's a whole 'nuther story about the $1000 clunker car he signed for from his side-job boss (against Mom & Dad's advice) and got stopped by Johnny-Law and it got impounded because he had no insurance on it nor did it have a tag.

Tickets for that little part of this fun-tasmagoric saga equal $788.00.

Since the car was not offically in his name yet the impound lot hasn't dunned him - YET! The boss says to forget about the car and just let it set there as he doesn't want it or the title back.

Oh yes, he also mentioned that the apartment managment is fining him $100 for having a pet in the apartment without having come and put up the proper pet deposit. All of which was carefully explained to him when he went to rent the apartment. I know it was because I was there when the guy laid out all the rules for him. Ho-Hum!

You breakie the rules - you pay-ee!! He'll learn I suppose.

On sale at the local grocery this weekend was our favorite big-name brand pop at 69 cents a liter. We bought a bunch! We bought 30 bottles! Since it's hard anymore to find them on sale for the normal 99 cents and usually priced at $1.25 this seemed like a great offer. Of course I fell for it and bought a couple of other things - like the slicing tomatoes & cream cheese I went in after! I didn't know they were having the sale so it was a happy surprise.

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.

CRASH BOOM Life Is In The Pits!!

January 22nd, 2009 at 06:38 pm

I'm back to the quiet side again as CashHappySon's life just went in the crapper and I'm busy digging him out w/o totally saving his hide.

The short story is that a couple of days ago two girls he knows stole his UNINSURED car and totalled it. They were both taken by ambulance to the hospital and are home with stiches in their heads. His story checks out with adult people I trust so I know that in actuality this time it happened as he says.

His Mom & Dad here busy with getting him around for his job, police reports, car impounds, major stress, reiterating all the good things Moms & Dads say during such times as these such as 'We told you so about hanging with the wrong group of people', etc., etc., etc.

Pray for us.

This is what I'm listening to, in an attempt to relieve some of the stress.

It's marvelous! Enjoy!

Text is and Link is

More later...

3 Thumbs Up! Laundry Dog Makes Discovery!

January 18th, 2009 at 05:30 pm

FrugalSon found a nickel in the laundry to add to the challenge.


$005.49 balance
+000.05 laundry donation
$005.54 Jan MTD

2009 Challenge Total $005.54
Cumulative Challenge Total $1008.32

No, he's not in the doghouse. I start the clothes to washing and he moves them to the dryer and folds and puts away as part of his daily chores that come along with still living at home. He also does dishes on his nights off and every morning puts away the dried dishes from the night before. He's 22. For those of you just tuning in he also pays a small Room & Board stipend to the First National Bank of Mom Frugalis.

I am feeling some better. Yesterday I was dressed to shoes, with makeup done and everything and think I'll be able to get to the same level of alertness today. I do like the newish mucus relieving medication - sorry, this is gross, but it does thin the gunk so you can rid yourself of it. 3 Thumbs Up! Uhhh, yeah, well, I didn't say it doesn't make you loopy! So....ummm yeah, Two Thumbs Up!

Yesterday I was feeling so much better that I got about 10 items listed on ebay. And woke up this morning to see that one of Hubster's computer peripheals did sell and he's busy packing it up now for shipping tomorrow. It was one of four sets he had bought for resale, so at least he's on his way to paying back the CC.

And a few of the things he had listed on Craigslist have sold as well. YEAH HUBSTER. My deal with this is not that we don't have room, but that technology moves at such a fast pace that it's better to move it along while it is still viable!

FrugalSon is down with this creeping-crud now. CashHappySon came by to pick up his **OMG $968 OMG** cell phone bill & several letters from the bank on overdraft charges!! Did I say OMG? O.M.G.!!!

The boychild is one stubborn kiddo and will only learn his lessons the hard way. Of course the cell phone company cut your phone off! What the holy-heck do you do to rack up a $968 phone bill???????

Yesterday was a No Spend Day!

Change on the Desk & Sad Mom

January 7th, 2009 at 03:04 pm

Sculptor: Tom Otterness

More change on the desk needs to go towards feeding Piggy.


$000.25 balance
+000.96 change on desk
$001.21 MTD

2009 Challenge Total $001.21
Cumulative Challenge Total $1003.99

GRRR! Waitiing on CashHappySon to come over to go with him to pay a traffic ticket. His money, just don't trust him anymore to give it directly to him - it came from his online savings that he has no access to except thru me at this point as he pawned his computer. The judge told him day before yesterday that if the money wasn't there by Feb. 5th he'd revoke his license. First time to ever have a ticket. Speeding.

Of course as his Mom I'm sad & aggravated #1 that he's speeding. #2 that he doesn't have any of his own money on hand to pay it and #3 that he hasn't called to tell me why he's late and #4 I'm just sick of his excuses and #5 that his insurance will go up and #6 that his car insurance premium draft was just refused by the bank. Things are terribly frustrating right now. He's bouncing checks like a madman and refuses to discuss things like a normal adult and is hanging with the worst possible crowd. The discussion got so lively last night that I hung up on him. Hating this!!!

We keep praying that his adult brain cells will kick in anytime now! Pray for us all.

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.

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

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!


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.


$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!!!

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?


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.

New Category 4 Me-Houseboat Savings

August 13th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

I didn't make it over to the junk booth yesterday so I'm going to try again today and THANKFULLY CashHappySon's ex-girl-i-o had the good graces not to show up last night.

I'm going to add a new category over to the left - Houseboat Savings. This is my retirement dream - but definitely not Hubsters. Anyway, I'm going to try and add one of those slide-tickers. Stand ready all you pros to help me, please? Every time I've tried in the past they turn out gigantic and throw my pages off.

Today's Houseboat savings balance $175.00. It may fluctuate a bit as it's invested over at Sharebuilder. For now my goal is to add to it monthly at the rate of $50. The $30,000.00 is totally an arbitrary figure. I would assume that I would be buying a used one and not paying nearly that much, but who knows. That's a pretty plain jane new model w/only the basics and no frills.

One and A Spare - Not Bowling!

August 12th, 2008 at 02:26 pm

Found 20 cents on my keyboard, likely from CashHappySon, so I'm taking it to the Challenge.

Then, we are off to take his little Toyota into the shop for what sounds like a loose wheel bearing.

Afterwards we're heading to the grocey store to shop for tonight's date night - tacos after an outing to see Dark Knight at the matinee. FrugalSon and TheGrrl seem to have covered over a rough spot (her flirting w/other boys) and now CashHappy's girl is giving him trouble. She's awfully young and fickle. I believe that it's her (high) school year starting up and new prospective boys there that have her waffling! CashHappy has graduated and settled into a job that he loves.

They've known each other for over nine years. She thinks she can count on him to be there and date when she wants and to fix her computer and such but when someone more exciting comes along she wants to rush off to them. I've tried to warn him, and he's beginning to see that usually I'm right about these youngish girls and their often times skittish behaviours. You gotta hate it when Mom is right, BUT, what's a Mom to do? Just say nothing? Not in my makeup!

Although she broke up with him on the phone he insists that she come tonight to tell him why! Won't that be comfortable for everyone??? NO! Aggghhhhhh!!! Her question was "Are you still going to come to church with me?" I've tried to tell both boys that some girls like to have "one and a spare". They are beginning to believe me. Her other 'friend' won't go to church with her, he's a bad-boy type so of course he's interesting, but alas he won't sit with her in church.

Here's hoping she's smart enough not to show up tonight.

After our grocery shopping we're planning to run off to the junk booth if I get some stuff priced to do some restocking and rearranging!

It's cool, gray and rainy here today, feeling very fall like!


$220.61 balance
+000.20 change
$220.81 MTD

2008 Challenge Total $407.76
Cumulative Challenge Total $936.37

Dressing the Wine Cellar

August 8th, 2008 at 08:02 pm

Well, I've been working on my basement -in my head mostly this last month. This is what I do - an idea festers around for awhile, then I research, then I look for photos for ideas and then I scour my house and junk booths gathering my stuff then one day it all just gets to be too much headspace rattling and I spring into action. It can happen at anytime - sometimes it's the middle of the night even. Does it work that way for you?

Yesterday was finally THE DAY. With both boys off we spent some time emptying the little apartment room of CashHappySon's stuff. He's basically back living upstairs 99% of the time anyway. For those who've been reading for awhile his attitude is MUCH improved.

We keep thinking one of these days we are going to sell our house and I've got to get the basement 'storage pit' cleaned out if it's ever going to happen.

It will never happen here unless I'm the one that instigates it. Everyone else is happy with the status quo, until they go to searching & cussing for whatever they just know they threw in the pit at some point. As Flylady says, your house doesn't have to be a dumping ground!!

Anywhos, yesterday we started. I have a funky little space under my utility room that needs dirt to be dug out and then cement poured. I'll try to add photos later so you can tell what I'm talking about.

In that area of the basement is like a 3 foot high crawl space and it opens up into what I formerly called the hidey-hole room (we live in tornado country) in the basement, which we've been using as CashHappySon's apartment. So, that dirt area needs to be dug out about 5 or 6 inches down and cement piped into it. That would give a more stable storage environment there for general junk such as camping supplies.

It is also the one area of the basement that needs to be slathered down with that hydraulic cement to keep it from leaking. We did most of the basement when we first moved in. Money constraints at the time didn't allow it all to be done at once. So, that's a need to be taken care of. When it rains heavily that little dirt area leaks water down onto the floor of the hidey-hole room. The hydraulic cement guys are gonna love working in there lying on their backs! NOT!! Needs doing!

The hidey-hole room is the room that I want to dress out as a wine cellar. Yesterday we got all of CashHappy's stuff out of there with the exception of his microwave & dorm size refrigerator. His couch is now in his old room along with his housekeeping stuff all boxed up. Did I mention he's saving $200 a month towards moving out? He's got about $1600 put back right now. I'm good with that but I'd really like him to buy a condo rather than rent an apartment.

Back to the basement. Today we swept really well and vacumned down there. Needed is a good down on your knees scrub out w/some bleach in the water to get it all doozied up. The floor in this room I painted hot pink long ago and it has paint sealer over it, but it's still just a concrete floor and some of the crevises are just going to stay dirty looking as there is no avoiding that.

I took my old ice-cream table down there and some other decorative items from around the house down there. Today I did an "Ima-Saver Liquor Run" and went and bought some wine to fill the racks. What fun! We do enjoy going to wine tastings and the occasional bottle of wine with dinner, and we'll enjoy this wine cellar ourselves with it still helping to sell the house eventually.

CashHappySon is a run to the basement open the door and pitch stuff in kind of kid. I've threatened him to within an inch of his life if he puts anything in that room!

Want to do: Fix the crawl space. Paint the room either a golden or red color. Maybe both?

Get some real wine cellar racking down there. Change out the el-cheapo counter with a nice cabinet. If I can't find the wherewithal to replace the cabinet then do some artistic manueverings to get it to look better than it does now.

Close off the old window space that opens into the rest of the basement (my pantry and library is in that portion along with furniture storage for young men about to fly the coop). If all else fails get a curtain up there to cover that window. I'd love to have a wrought iron grate over it, but I might have to get creative with one of those rubber door mats that look like wrought iron. Get a ceiling up in this room. If that fails to at least paint out all the pipes and wood a deep black, so it fades.

Also while we were down there today I noticed that the little sink has a small leak when the water is turned on - it doesn't leak the rest of the time??? Is that weird? I'm not sure. Will have to get Hubster on that. Wish I could find a great cabinet first and then just fix the leak and change out the cabinet at the same time. The cabinet that is there is one my Dad & I threw in there when we first moved in. I wanted a sink down there and we used an old cabinet from my Mom's last house remodel & a small sink out of my Dad's old travel trailer, so it's just a toss up job that needs mucho refining!

I like the idea of a wine cellar and it's one that's been fermenting in my mind since we first bought this place. My husband has a distant cousin who lives in Austria and makes an award winning wine. His family was also instrumental in starting a major winery the next state over. Our last name is German and we have far distant relatives still in Germany with an open weinhaus that's been operating for generations. I've even been known to brew up a batch or two of honey mead and strawberry and blackberry wines from time to time myself.

I'll try to get some 'cellar' pictures up so you can get a visual on the space. Meanwhile I've added a new link over on the side about freeing the grapes. Some states do not allow shipping of wines. Pooh!

Text is
and Link is

edited to add actual photos: Keep in mind there is still much to be done and that my house was originally built in 1942! When we moved here this room was unpainted, there was no sink, the floors were plain concrete and the rock wall did not have the white in the concrete lines. I spent a lot of time painting those in there. Gaaa! It was a cave. When CashHappySon was living down here I called it the belly of the whale - now I'm gonna call it "The Black Grape". Come on in and have a sip!

The pillows are for the small church pew that currently resides beside my back door. It's now white and will have to be painted out black. Much floor scrubbing needed.

One of the two black holes! One has a lift-up door over it (See rough wood over to the left behind the mirror). This slot has a door it just hasn't been installed (see it laying in there all crooked on the dirt pile?). This dirt area is all one big space that sits under my utility room. I only want to dig out just a few inches and get the dirt covered w/concrete. If you look carefully into the mirror in this shot you can see the window & door on the walk-out side of the basement.

As you can see it's a small narrow room, probably 8 x 10. I've got a nice black wall cabinet that's supposed to be going up on those wooden boards that are currently hanging down in the back. Mirror & chest of drawer belong to CashHappySon and will leave home when he does. The window area in the back right hand corner used to be the outside of the house before it was added on to years past. That area needs help. Pipes need rerouting, etc.

The poor little sink that needs help! If all else fails I've got some black & white toile fabric to make a sink skirt. The door seen in the mirror leads to the pantry/library/storage area of basement. The tree may not stay, it was just sitting in the storage area and we hauled her in for quick ambiance. The sink looks off kilter #1 because the floor slopes to a floor-drain in that corner and likely #2 because my house was built in '42.

The mosiac artist pallet was already here in one of my booths. New purchase to make the room? A cheese knife for $2.98. This project is likely to cost me a lot more before I'm through!

Birthday Steak and Signs of the Times

August 6th, 2008 at 03:14 pm

Rump Steak

Monday night found Hubster and I taking the two youngest boys and their girlfriends out for a steak supper. We are beginning August and our heavy birthday month. We had a really nice evening out w/a few dollars spent. The restaraunt is one of those that provide free cake to everyone in the birthday party. Woo-hoo! Nobody's had their birthday just yet but we've got four to celebrate this month and we had to go when everyone was off work. We normally eat at home and MomFrugalis cooks their favorite meal for them, but this year one of the boys wanted to eat out at a steakhouse. Less work for me, the steaks were wonderful and I looked FABULOUS!! Big Grin

Then last night both their girls were over and the kids all cooked spaghetti, salad and garlic toast and then after they cleaned up the kitchen they washed both dogs, popped some corn, and we watched an old movie together. Cheap date!

Monday day found the boys and I going south to my Mom's to visit, take stuff to my junque'booth down there. We spent a bit of time in GreatUnc's old house, he passed away about two years ago. The parental units let us sift thru some of the 'good stuff' that had piled up there and we brought home several items to be priced out and sold in my booths.

I haul it out of here and more comes back! It's all good as it usually keeps me in gas money to run down there and see her. The lady at the antique mall there said they had some days last month with zero sales which is quite unusual as it sits on a major highway running north & south and she said they had more than several last month who did not meet their booth rent.

While on our travels we also noted many of the smaller car lots that usually have 10-15 cars on them. Most all of those types had only ONE car sitting on their lots. One of my favorite junk-type consignment stores is closing their business too. T'would appear that times are getting harder in my neck of the woods.

Small Change Added

July 29th, 2008 at 01:34 pm

Adding 33 cents in small change to the challenge that CashHappySon gave me.


$005.19 balance
+000.33 small change
$005.52 July MTD

2008 Challenge Total $169.62
Cumulative Challenge Total $698.23

So You Think You Can Dance?

June 21st, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Bellydancer Suhair Zaki

Music to read by:
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and Link is


Got cases of chicken noodle soup yesterday at the scratch-n-dent for $3.88. Only catch? No labels. So, I spent a bit of time yesterday writing the contents on the cans & boxes. Each year finds somebody sick and wanting chicken noodle soup! Other good buy was pretzels 4 bags/$1. And I got Hubster some funky color shoe-polishes for his cowboys boots which are funky colored for .88 a can.


Yesterday my step-dad paid me $50 on the computer he bought from Hubster. These dollars have to go back in the kitty. Sorry Hubster! Big Grin


This past week I finally got through all the paperwork on CashHappySon's 401-K offerings and got him signed up. Reading them is bad enough but explaining those things to another person is complicated to me, so I fell back on the nice explanation found around page 90 in David Bach's 'Automatic Millionaire' book. We set CashHappy's deferral rate to 18% which should just about match what he's been putting into his Roth.

Still left to do is stop CashHappys' Roth contributions for now. With his car payment, paying room & board here plus trying to save for moving out he can't afford to do both right now.

His 401-K plan does not offer an employer match that I could see. But, it did have a place to set up automatic 1% yearly increases, which we did. Thing is, the kiddo is 19. How likely will he be to stay at this place of employment? Ehhh, not too sure, but we're doing what we can while we can.


Also yesterday we spent some time on the phone with FrugalSon's employee benefits office getting him signed up for health insurance. He finally got some small scrap of paperwork saying the open enrollment dates, which window was mighty short for use in view of vacation plans. There were no written explanation of benefits forthcoming!! BAHHH! It's complicated enough - try doing it without the info in front of you!

Eventually we got him signed up for health & dental insurance yesterday. They offer disability but the lady did not tell us about it and we'll have to call back another day to get a rate quote! Sheesh, it's always something.

Also on FrugalSon's we'll have to adjust his Roth contributions downward by about $30 a month in order to make his small salary cover everything. He's been contributing the maximum, but we'll just have the insurance and lower the contributions for now and if no huge expenses come up during the year attempt to fully fund his Roth from his emergency or car repair savings at the end of the contribution period.


What I want to know is how do parents with 6 to 15 children handle all the paperwork for all their jobs??? Good grievies!!! I'm tired with just two of them still at home!

My parents generation never had to help with all this stuff because it didn't exist back then! They can say life is easier now, which may be true, but it is more complicated and comes with more hoops to be jumped through - what with the limited open enrollment dates and such! PHEW!


For myself there's a problem in my Sharebuilder account which requires me to send a notarized letter. I went to my bank last evening (long hours) and no notary was on duty. I'll be going back this morning to get the darn thing notarized and off in the mail. Due to security reasons it could not be handled over the phone. Pain in the patumpkus!!

This entry reminds me of one of my favorite HAPPY songs - I Wanna See You Bellydance by the Red Elvises! Stop the music from up above & listen to a clip here:

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and Link is

or listen to the entire song & watch them at:
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Great Album!

No, I don't think I can dance - but if they keep those hoops low enough I think I can roll through them! Big Grin

Anybody have any bunion pads? Ben-gay??

edited to add:
Found money in house clean-up:

$022.74 balance
+000.28 clean-up
$023.02 MTD

2008 Challenge Total $164.10
Challenge Cumulative Total $692.71

FREE Sandy Loam! Estate Accounts Closed!

June 19th, 2008 at 07:55 pm

With all the rains the drainage ditches around my house have filled up again and the county is out here digging them out. I went out and spoke with the foreman and they agreed to dump two loads of the sand on our property.

There's a spot that the old owner of our property, who owned his own dump truck, put out a lot of old paving. By county order he was supposed to cover the entire bunch of it but never did as there is one probably 20 x 20 spot that he never did cover over. They've dumped one truck load so far and are still out there digging.

IF we can get it spread before more rains come along then maybe some of it will stick down in the craters that the paving has got. Mowing and weed-eating this area has been a pain for over 7 years. Time to get something done.

Not certain if it'll hold as the area sits on a slope, but any is better than none and if it washes it will wash into another area that could also use the help. The burms (mini-levees) by our creek were about an inch away from being crested yesterday morning.

So, if it washes, that's the area it'll head. So - FREE sandyloam stuff!!! We were just talking about buying a dump load of dirt ourselves. If this will work, all the better. FREE is good!

Something else that's been happening this month is that FrugalSon took most of his Economic Stimulus check and paid for driving lessons. He finishes the *fingers crossed* last one on June 30th and they've got a tiny little car that he's going to use to drive during the driving test scheduled for July 1st and hopefully he'll finally pass that dumb parallel parking requirement. He's 21. If at all possible I NEED him to be driving his'onsomeself around! He could never pass it driving his little extended cab S10 truck. Hopefully with their little car it'll be all systems go!!! PRAY HARD.

Today is a no spend day for me!!

We got all the siblings checks cleared on FIL's estate and closed both of the accounts. FIL's & Hubster's joint account and the estate account. It is done except for jewelry, coins, pics. Those will be finished after our family vacation. YEAH, YEAH, YEAHHHHHHH!!!! As my faithful dear readers know I've been gnashing at the bit because we had beauque'$_$$,$$$.$$'s loaned out to the estate w/no interest being paid. It's back in my hot little hands! Big Grin YEAHHHHHH!!

We will decide after family vacation what exactly we're going to do with that money and Hubster's inheritance money. Most likely we'll finish funding our IRA's for this year with some of it and I'm not sure about the rest. Some will go to tithe - likely we'll handle that portion by starting either a Family Foundation or putting it into a charitable trust so our tithing will be increased for years to come! I've got a good little sum set aside to make this happen.

Then the rest will go towards ome kind of retirement planning, with the exception of a few minor household things that need doing. Tub & Tile in bathroom appx. $1500 & $500 to widen the return air vent. Other than that it looks like retirement for those dollars. I'd like to do a municipal bond ladder but am not sure I can convince Hubster. Guess what we'll be talking about on vacation?

At the wrapping up, Hubster got the money from the sale of our personal car to one of his brother's two years ago. He was supposed to be making payments if the estate house did not sell by a set date. Well, he never made a single payment. Frown

I never said one word. (A miracle if ever there was one!)

I can hardly eat with the hole in my tongue, canshhhuuuusheee??

So, from brother-in-law's inheritance check we got $2900.00 back. I added a hundred & stuck it in a one year CD this morning.

Rates suck!

It's ideally for car replacement #3. We've already got car replacement CDs for Hubster's car & one for my truck. So, this is for the next vehicle after those so to speak, unless we just need it before then for something. What we do is sell our vehicles outright and then add some money (the CDs) with what we get out of our cars to purchase the next one for cash.

I'm running behind on the $20 Challenge - so I'm cleaning out the wallet($20.50) and adding in some change that was found in various parts of the 'hood (.71) and some ($1.52) that CashHappySon gave me.


$000.01 balance
+022.73 assorted
$022.74 June MTD

My second load of sand was just dumped. Yeah FREE!!!!

Map Making - Tracking the Flow

June 5th, 2008 at 04:00 pm

No, not me - I'm MUCH prettier!!! Big Grin

...and modest too!

I'm over here today making myself some maps! Financial maps of a sort.

With today's ability to link accounts at various financial organizations I thought it was about time I mapped out where all the tie-ins were on the old push/pull of EFTs (electronic fund transfers).

For me it's important to do this and keep it for my own information as well as Hubsters or anyone who survives me to find out where all my little stashes are! I'm notorious for stashing money! A bit here and a bit there. None of my eggs are in one pot it seems.

Besides, there are so many nice enticing bonus savings & CC offers out there for those who can roust up enough change to participate. However it can leave money scattered all around the globe. NICE! IF you can remember where it's all at! Not so nice if you lose track of it.

I need someway to get a visual on it! I try not to be a total rate 'ho and chase rates daily, but I do join in the merry-making from time to time. Can't you just see some accountant going ditzy and cracking his/her mental health over the state of some folks books on their money making efforts from running after all these cool rate offers???

So, how to do it? I just drew a circle with the primary account holder in the center of a piece of paper and drew lines out to various checking, savings and investment accounts. Those that have a push/pull get a double ended arrow connecting them. I'm planning on keeping them with my Emergency Control Journal. Those of you familiar w/Flylady will know what I'm talking about. Anyway, it is something that I will have to keep updating.

Mine is a bit more complicated than some as I'm on all my kids (5) accounts as well as joint owner. So there are accounts spread everywhere and yon w/my name connecting them. And some we do transfer to/from in our own personal family bank kind of system. Example: CashHappySon wants to buy something off ebay and he doesn't have an account. I'll go in on my ebay account and bid/win/buy for him and then we'll just go online to our bank and transfer the money from his account to mine. Or FrugalSon has autodrafted the car insurance for both of them off his account. CashHappy has an automated draft covering his portion transferred monthly to FrugalSon. Saves a lot of check writing!

Plus for the moment we still have two open accounts for FIL's estate.

Anyway, it can get confusing if you've a bunch of accounts. Time to make the maps. One for each person in the house as to their own accounts.

How about you? Is it time for you to make a map/s? Or, do you have a better method? I'd love to hear about it!

Raises & Stimulating The Family Coffers

May 24th, 2008 at 04:05 pm

On Wednesday FrugalSon got a raise on his last paycheck of 20 cents an hour. Yeah FrugalSon!! Then he comes home on Friday and says his boss told him he's getting another raise on the next check another 35 cents an hour! WOOO-HOOOO! Hope it shows up. I do know that he'll be getting more when the mandated minimum wages go up in July. Is that 2008 or 2009? Anybody know off the top of their head???

Earlier in the month CashHappySon paid us back 421.00 from his tax refund on his car note. Today we got another $200 from his Stimulus Check to apply to his loan. He got $600 all together. So he spent $100 for fun (PRESENT), $200 for debt reduction (PAST), and $300 goes to help replenish his emergency fund so that's for the (FUTURE). Of course, he'd of liked to have blown it all. As it was he spent $75 buying himself a used TV off of Craigslist that is set up for easy gaming and then spent the other $25 on ebay buying new games.

So our inflow this month back to the FrugalisMoneyMarketCoffers account sees another $200 addition. That makes me happy. I hate having money come out of there because it was so hard for me to round it up in the first place so to have some we loaned out come back into the coffers? Oh yeah, that makes me smile! Big Grin

It reminds me of one of my favorite books, Mama's Bank Account, by Kathryn Forbes:

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Read it if you get the chance! Or watch the movie that's based on the book.

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