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A Good Grease Monkey Is Always Prepared

November 21st, 2009 at 12:11 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Took Mom & FrugalSon to Lunch

October 23rd, 2009 at 01:45 pm

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

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

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

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

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

It's ALWAYS Something - Keep Vigilant!

October 17th, 2009 at 07:29 pm

Not much going on here - except I spent a bunch of money buying frames for mine and FrugalSon's artwork at the 50% off sale. That took a load out of my wallet and now I'm nigh on to broke in the checking account department. But we got lots of frames for artwork we've had sitting around, as we say in my neck of the woods, nekkkkid.

Good news for FrugalSon as he sold an artwork this year. His first. Big doings, and he had prints made of it and has sold those as well! He's now a PRO. Momma Frugalis is sooooo proud.

The dog herd left this morning again after another round of sitting. Another tiny bit of inflow here for the dog-sitting, and I'm going to take $20 of it and put it toward this month's $20 Challenge as that seems to be lacking and the rest I'll put towards the RV Land Travel fund LATER, if I don't have to have it to run on later in the month.

That frame expenditure ran me close to empty and I do have an out of town trip to make later this month that will likely take cash.

Today will be a No Spend Day.

Housebudget spent yesterday $90ish for groceries, and I spent $15 for a name plaque to go on the bottom of one of my paintings that will be going to a museum later this month as well. So, all said and done, I'm experiencing a temporary cash flow problem! Oh well. I can always pull back out of savings if I had to, but I won't do that unless absolutely necessary and I can't see any upcoming expenses that I haven't already accounted for.

The tree guys are all gone and Hubster has much chainsawing left to do on some big pieces - the base of one tree stump sits at 37 inches before it flared out toward the roots! Our collective emergency fund said OUUUUUUUUCHHHHHH over that expenditure, but twas needful. Back to boosting that savings now.

BEFORE after death by FREAKISH ice-storm

AFTER very sad, it changes entire look of main approach to house:

These are only the corner on one side. There were about 8 more gigantorific trees that had to come down all together all around my house. The back of my house now feels naked and VERY exposed! They cut to 14 inch length & stacked most of it.

While Hubster was out trying to get the rest of it cut up his chainsaw stopped oiling itself, so it's back in the repair shop, and who knows what that'll cost.

It's always something. ;{

Took one load of the wood to my Dad's this week, there are about five or six more loads to go! He'll have wood to burn all winter and some for next year likely.

Our phone bill came and whatever special we had signed up under has now ended adding another $20 a month to that expense, and there was a 'CRAMMED on' charge for IDL - some kind of identity thingawhich that we did not ask for at $12.95 a month, and now have to wangle around to get taken back off the phone bill. Ought to be a law. The phone owner cannot ask for it to be removed, it has to come in the form of a credit from the CROOK who crammed it on there to begin with. They have you by the neck!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGG!

Photo caption: Abott & Costello?

Did I mention? It's ALWAYS something. Vigiliance is key. Somebody always trying to play GOTCHA in the wallet department!!

$000.77 balance
+020.00 Wooof-woof!
$020.77 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $983.05
Cumulative Challenge Total $2036.81

I've Been Meaning to Tell You...

October 6th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I've been meaning to tell you guys that the main reason I was absent here most of July was that my little black doxie died that month. I miss her still. She was the one who had broken her back and she had healed up pretty good and was getting around actually fairly well with a noticeable wobble. She was a pound dog and she was pretty old (estimated between 9-13) when we got her to begin with. She had about four or five good years with us.

Last month when Mom's three little doxie's came to visit was bittersweet, but gave our other pupster some friends to play with for that week. We had a whole 'herd'.

Three Amigos on Aunt's Lap

All the pet talk here just kept bringing up the thought that I hadn't told ya'll about her passing, and, well, I just needed to let you guys know that. You all were so supportive when she got hurt.

She was a sweet loving little lap dog, and I miss her. That's her in the top picture.

We are not planning to get any more dogs for a good long while. The other dog here actually belongs to CashHappySon and if he ever goes to live in a house will likely mean he'll want to claim her. I'm not willing for him to take her to live in an apartment and be cooped up. She loves to run!

Right now she's happily licking my sugar-free Jello cup!

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.

Calculator Tape is Flying

March 31st, 2008 at 01:33 am

We are kneedeep in calculator tape here this evening. Hubster still working on Father-In-Law's Estate's Final Accounting numbers. We have personally loaned the estate a potful of money.

He can't turn in the numbers yet as he has to call tomorrow and sell the Prudential stock that the estate owns.

So here's where we set:

$**,***.** loans from Mr. & Mrs. Frugalis
+0*,***.** Hubster's 1/5th portion sale of home & assets
-0*,***.** furniture purchase from estate
$**,***.** check cut to Mr. Frugalis

(Sorry to be so vague, but let's just say there is enough loaned out there to easily pay off our house and then some! I, for one, will be so happy to get that portion of the money back and separated from the estate. If something were to happen to Hubster it might take a long long time to get it returned, ya know?)

There is also some jewelry, coins & photos to be disbursed. Basically they will set jewelry & coins up as an auction, with each child being able to bid on the pieces that they want to own. Proceeds to be divided by five kids, so basically you get a 20% discount on your purchase.

I'll have to look at it again, but we might only bid on one or two items. There are 3 boys and two girls. Mom didn't wear a lot of jewelry, and Pops wore quite a bit. He also walked alot and found lots of jewelry pieces that he kept, so it's kind of hard now to know what had sentimental value to them. The girls will know more about this than either Hubster or myself. Hubster mentioned something about getting some of the nicer pieces of jewelry appraised so he can start the bidding at somewhat of a fair market value.

There are also coins. I don't think there are any of much value but that still has to be determined and them disbursed as well somehow. Estate is going to buy a 2008 coin book and we'll see how it goes from there in at least trying to determine value.

Then there are pictures. Guess we'll have a picture party at one of our churches and spread them all out and try to divide them up fairly. That might be hardest of all. I've already done a bit of sorting on this front. Getting everyone of the grandkids school pics in a pile to go back to that family.

Had to loan the estate an additional $300 tonight to cover this past month's utility bills on the house and hopefully any final bill that comes in after we had the utilities cut off at the house on the 26th. Those are all autodrafted out of an account that Hubster held jointly w/FIL. We just never switched it as the estate had no money of it's own to pay those until after the sale of the house. The final attorney bill will be paid out of the estate account, and then we can shut out the books and hand out the sib's checks & cut one to pay ourselves back.

It won't be much as the in-laws were a one-income blue collar family that raised five children. They were frugal and did okay by themselves, but there won't be a lot of money left to distribute after the house set on the market for two years racking up utility charges. Small charges, but still they diminished the value as did the kids poking around getting the house cleaned out plus a bursting real-estate bubble.

If the house would have been sited elsewhere but the neighborhood it sat in we could have cleared an additional $20-25K. Location, Location, Location.

My MIL tried for years to get FIL to sell and relocate but he'd have none of it. In the end, the neighborhood had deterioated so badly that much of the value of their equity was diminished.

Adding to the $20 Challenge:

$18.63 balance
+08.75 addition
$27.38 Mar MTD

2008 Challenge Total $81.82
Cumulative Challenge Total $675.50

Miss Toffee is doing much better. She still falls over and sits a spell. Tired from her efforts. But on some hops she is doing really well using all four legs. Her little spine is crooked looking still and might always be so. Here's hoping lots of rest and the meds do their part to help her to a full recovery.

Utility Bills and the Good News is...

March 28th, 2008 at 03:21 pm

Sweet Black Toffee got to come home from the vet last night. She is trying to walk herself around again. She wobbles and falls over a lot. Back left leg working great. Right rear leg comes and goes. We are to do physical therapy with her three times a day and she has some meds.

As long as she can eliminate on her own I think everything will be okay. As the doctor was explaining it to me the first day his scenario was we'd be doing basically a colostomy bag and physical manipulations to help her go potty, which wasn't the type of life we wanted for her or ourselves.

So far so good. She went potty by herself this morning and is on predisone which is keeping her thirsty & kidneys going as well. Mostly she is back to her usual sleeping all the time. You can wake her up and interact with her on any given day and within 2 or 3 minutes she'll tire out and curl back up to sleep. She is after all a little old lady!!

Toffee - 2005

Vet bill on the CC to the tune of $180.00. Will pay that out of the Veterinary Fund. Thank goodness for pre-planning, although obviously there isn't enough in there for anything major.

Talk about your up and down days!!!

Right before we left for the vet my sister called and asked 'when was the last time I had talked to our Mom?' I had spent about 2 hours on the phone with her just the day before. Okay, she says, now she is wearing one of those heart monitor packs for 24 hours. Say what??? Both my parents are falling apart at the same time. I live one hour from my Dad and an hour and 1/2 from Mom.

I get off phone w/Sis, go to the vet w/Hubster & CashHappySon thinking we are going to say goodbye as they closed w/i 15 minutes, find the dog much better and get Toffee, come back home and call my Mom.

Seems she had recently changed health clinics to one closer to her home and they had changed her medications from one she takes twice a day to a time released type. The new one appears to be what is making her heart race.

After I got off the phone w/her CashHappySon started acting the 'wicked-child' again and I frankly did not need the additional stress. Hubster had his job cut out for him again trying to referee!

Ay-Carumba!! Thankfully the rest of the evening smoothed out and I went to bed early w/a warm corn-bag (microwave heated) and de-stressed w/a good book. I'm reading about the Ochs family who started the New York Times newspaper. Very interesting. The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family behind The New York Times, Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones, Little, Brown and Company, 1999.**

Giving parental units time this a.m. to get up and running and I'll be calling to check in with both of them!

$007.38 balance
+003.25 wallet cleanout
$010.63 March MTD

2008 Challenge Total $65.07
Cumulative Challenge Total $593.68

When I was paying bills yesterday I thought I'd do a little addition and check how the utilities are running. This is more for informational purposes into the retirement planning stages because if we pay our house off and stay here I wanted to see where we'd be.

Going to try and start logging them here monthly.

Utilities for March 2008

$90.68 Phone*/Cable/DSL
$97.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$49.40 Water/Ambulance Fee**

*Landline charges. I recently ended my cell phone contract that I'd had for about 6 years and have gone with an Emergency Use Only tracphone (pay as you go.) Cell is now paid out of my budget and Hubster doesn't carry one.

**A couple of months back the rural water district we live in decided to start charging us $2.50 month for emergency medical services fee in the off chance we need to use an ambulance. If we had our druthers we'd pay for an ambulance IF and when we needed one. Boo Hiss!

Okay, back to the utilities, so w/the projection of having the house paid off right about retirement time and adding in current house taxes of apprx. $56.00 a month and we'd be sitting here (in today's dollars) paying right at $370.00 to live in our home. Not too shabby, eh folks??? But, we must not forget to factor in that nasty inflation!!

$370 a month - That's low enough that we could stay here and hire out the lawn care, if we wanted to. Ahhh, the joys of not buying TOO MUCH house!

I personally had a no-spend day yesterday.

Uncle Jay Explains & $20 Challenge

March 27th, 2008 at 04:44 pm

Busy here this morning balancing checkbooks and seeing what bills need paying and filing, etc.

One day this week? When??? ...Anyway got a call from my stepmother that my Dad had another mini-stroke TIA last Thursday and had his arm go completely numb for about 15 minutes. He drove himself and went and had a brain scan this week and was going to drive himself about 4 hours away for a delivery. GAAA! My stepmother is disabled but she can drive! Why didn't she take him to the doctor? Why didn't she call an ambulance? Call us sooner? Call me in time to drive him for the brain-scan? At least she finally called! I do check in on them every week or two, but still she can afford a phone call!

I am beyond p.o.'d!

So, I dropped everything that day and ran down and drove him to and from the place he had to make deliveries. He's previously had 5 bypass surgery and a massive stroke before. What is wrong with this woman that she can't call???????

I chewed them both out - why not call us and let us know at the time something is happening. Yes, it might be scary, but I'd rather be informed in time to help than to be left in the dark until sometime in the future when it might be too late!

On my doxie - I took FrugalSon & went to see her yesterday at the vet's office, didn't get to talk to the vet, but there wasn't any visible improvement. Unless we do a very costly (to us in our financial situation) surgery then it is unlikely that she will recover the use of her hind legs and as she is apprx. 10-13 years old and already sleeps 23 1/2 hours a day we will likely have to put her down. If we did the surgery, there was no guarantee that she wouldn't have the same thing happen w/other vertebrae, etc. We just can't afford to do it.

Myself, Hubster and CashHappySon will go visit today, and if there is no signs of improvement we will let her go. So sad. We got her from the pound when she was about 6-8 years old, and she's had a good run here with us. We just can't see that if she doesn't improve she'd have much quality of life. Too sad to write about it any more today.

To keep you kiddies entertained while I do my bookkeeping...

Uncle Jay explains the Stimulus Package
Text is and Link is


Uncle Jay explains the Congressional Recess
Text is and Link is


$007.29 balance
+000.09 keyboard change
$007.38 March MTD

2008 Challenge Total $61.82
Cumulative Challenge Total $590.43

FIL's House Closed & Sick Doxie

March 25th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

THANK YOU LORD - We closed yesterday on FIL's house. Next is to wrap up a sale of some stocks and divide the remaining photographs and some coins with the siblings and do the final accounting and then disburse checks and that should just about wrap things up.

The older gentleman who bought the house would be someone my FIL would have approved of and he reminded me of him very much. They were of the same generation, both veterans, snappy dressers - he came to the closing w/a walking stick, pinky ring and a nice suit and hat on. He served in the same branch of the military as FIL and everything.

My one gripe? I had to insist about 10 minutes into the closing that they stop and introduce us (buyer/seller) to each other. The closer went on ahead as if I hadn't spoken. I pinched Hubster under the table and he finally stood up and introduced himself and me to the gentleman. Then the dumb girls doing the closing finally apologized. They all knew each other and I don't know I guess forgot??

I would certainly do things differently if I were the closer. I didn't like it one little bit and if I ever have my druthers again, we'll be using a different closing company.

I am decidely not a timid mouse type and I'm certainly not used to speaking to a group of people (I used to run corporate meetings & large seminars) and having people act as if you haven't even spoken at all. Like everyone else, I suppose I do not like being ignored. Big Grin Anyway that part was WEIRD!!

Nicely done was our realtor's projected net to seller estimate. She was within $300 which isn't horrible estimating in my opinion. We weren't all that excited by the lack of some requested actions during the course of the listing contract, but she did get the house sold.

Funny thing is that I'm the one who got all emotional on the way home at having the last real physical marker of his family childhood home & parents gone. Hubster is/was his usual 'ROCK'. Accurate in his "Mom and Dad have a better home now and I'll go visit them one day, and it hasn't been home w/o them there for a long time."

But still I teared up. Sad.

But glad that the financial/physical drain of maintaining the home is gone. After getting the check to the bank yesterday I came home and collapsed like a limp-rag. I think I've been holding my breath for the last month since the initial offer!! The boys cooked supper and cleaned up. Good thing because by that time I was worthless.

TO-DO today:

Call the closer w/FIL's Social Security number so that the official tax reporting on the sale of estate property can be recorded correctly. If there is a chance I'll be asking for an exit interview w/the owner of the closing company and explaining the etiquette snafu and grim picture it left of his/her company.

Call his realtor and make sure when he's going to get utilities in his name, as I am planning to call today to have them taken out of our name. I don't want to leave him in the dark if he went ahead and moved in.

This is a strange dealywho as I am always proactive about this for us whenever we've moved and had a firm time set up with the old sellers so that I knew when I could get the utilities switched to our name. I'm not sure if this isn't the very first house this gentleman has ever owned. It seemed that way.

At any rate, I'd like to coordinate it w/his realtor as she even picked him up and drove him to the closing and promised to take him to the courthouse for some other paperwork later on, so I'm not sure if he even owns a car. If she's helping him, maybe she knows of his plans on the utilities. I got the impression that they went to church together and that's how they got acquainted.


$006.29 balance
+ 1.00 quarters from CashHappySon
$007.29 Mar MTD

2008 Challenge Total $61.73
Cumulative Challenge Total $590.34

Of other probably costly note my little doxie (which are notorious for their bad little backs) has had her hind legs go out on her and so I'll be taking her to the vet ASAP this morning. Maybe cortisone shots will do the trick but she may need surgery. Her little self is a sad sight. I don't want her to have to be one of those little wheelie doggies. Frown Usually when her back gets wobble-sloshed I can do a deep tissue massage on her and get her back into alignment. Not so this a.m.

My Dog is Worried About the Economy

February 22nd, 2008 at 03:00 pm

Photocredit: by Daphne

"My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money." -Joe Weinstein

Quada! - A Blessed & Relaxed Sunday!

February 17th, 2008 at 01:20 pm

Adding the quarter from earlier in the week that I drove around in the movie parking lot to stop and pickup. Money is money folks and it does add up. Smile


$008.10 balance
+000.25 quada from the lot
$008.35 Feb MTD

2008 Challenge Total $40.25
Cumulative Challenge Total $568.86

Last night was Valentine's dinner at the BBQ/steakhouse with our SS class - $23.98 which included the gratuity for Hubster and I to both have a very nice juicy GOOD steak and taters and pop.

A nice time visiting w/class members - I've had to miss SS class for the last three weeks because of being sick, so it was nice to get to go out, sit and visit. Hubster and kids have been attending w/o me.

I was seated at the end of the table across from two single guys - one who is going thru a divorce w/2 kids and another who is long divorced w/2 kids. I did my best to keep up the ol' conversational ball and ask them about their lives. I remember those days when I was single and going to events w/couples - it can be sucky! Hopefully they weren't too bored talking about themselves!! Big Grin

After coming home and commenting here on the blogs I went to bed early to read and let dinner digest - it was just enough - not overstuffed like you sometimes get - but just right. On the reading bedside table is: "Your Money or Your Life" by Dominquez. I'm re-reading it again for about the fourth time trying to get into doing ALL THE STEPS to see what I've missed that could be helpful in the ol' monetary quest.

And, "Daring To Be Yourself" by Alexandra Stoddard which points you towards living a life of graciousness and niceities and joy and such. Noting the small things and taking pleasure in them. Nice to be reminded to take time to smell those roses and to enjoy your home and to pick a lifestyle and creating a refuge and peaceful home that is pleasing, warm and loving to you and your family & inviting and welcoming to your friends and guests!

While I was sick I re-read a bunch of my Paul E. Erdman books. If you like money and reading then I think you'd enjoy most any of his fiction books.

I'm up early by myself this morning, having coffee w/the pupster dogs and reading some and blogging here. Off to get ready for church. Still soggy and rainy here. Spent $5 this week having Miss Sweet Black Toffee's toenails clipped. CashHappySon paid $5 for Miss Carmelita Corn to get hers done. It was one of the smoother easy-going times we've had together this month!

Lunch will be Yummy Steak -a chicken fry steak meat w/brown gravy and onion soup mix cooked in the crocko'pot, baked potatoes (foil slipped tightly over the top of the crock & small tates forked and slipped on it, domed lid on tight), green salad, iced tea and cherry cake for dessert.

Hope everyone has a blessed and relaxed Sunday. Enjoy yourself and love on your peoples!!

How about you - do you re-read books?

When it asks you to do literal steps do you sometimes do like me and just skip them thinking they don't apply?

The "Your Money or Your Life" book is a good one to re-read as there is much I missed and/or forgot/forget!! Good to be reminded!

I am going to try to actually do ALL the steps they suggest.

Have you read this book and done the steps?