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Archive for February, 2006

February recap & March goals

February 28th, 2006 at 03:47 pm

FEBRUARY GOALS:
~ Pay double on my smaller college loan: YES
~ Change Roth IRA setting: YES
~ Cancel extra credit card (discovered in credit report): YES
~ Limit groceries/Target/eating out to $220 (was $370 in Jan): NO - went $107 over the goal, but better than Jan
~ Drive to work no more than 4 times: NO - drove 7 times, but better than Jan at 12 times
~ Have $1000 in emergency fund by March: YES

MARCH GOALS
~ Pay double on my smaller college loan
~ Limit groceries/Target/eating out to $250 (was $327 in Feb)
~ Drive to work no more than 5 times
~ Put $300 into savings
~ Donate $25 to one organization of choice

I've done a few crazy things already and it's not even March. I ordered a set of hypnosis for weight loss CDs, since I almost called in "fat" this morning. Not really, but NOTHING in my closet fits and I am sick of it. If the CDs don't work, I have one year to return them.

I bought several hair products that I had run out of from an online discount place. I had to order $50 worth to get free shipping. I don't know why free shipping was so important to me.

I ordered an Entertainment Book per retire@50's post. I'm hoping we can find some good deals in it. I did get $10 off and the $25 restaurant coupon, but still, not something I desperately needed.

Finally found out that my massage friend is trapped in another country (I don't quite know why), so that monthly expenditure is zapped for the time being.

AAA renewal is up in March too...haven't used it for a couple of years but I feel better about driving my car when I've got it. I have used it with this car more than once.

March is a long month. I need to reign in my spending already! eep!

hatchet in head

February 27th, 2006 at 03:34 pm

Had to take a prescription painkiller to make it in to work today. Ugh. I hate these headaches. All I have to do is think about Paula Kamen's All In My Head, though, and I am thankful that my headaches are not nearly that bad.

I went out to eat and back to the grocery store this weekend, so I am over on my challenge. I also forgot that I was tracking cash food purchases, too, so I am significantly over on my challenge. I have done better than last month, though, so that's a good thing. It helps that it's a short month.

Did my taxes this weekend and I'll be getting a nice chunk back. Now I just have to mail the forms in and wait for my payment. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, though....pay off my smaller college loan sooner? Fix my car? Put it all in savings? I suppose that will depend on how much the car fix costs.

I helped a very pregnant friend clean up her house this weekend. I did a good deed but it took up half of my weekend, and this headache took up the other half. I could use another one!

I am not a zombie

February 23rd, 2006 at 05:41 pm

I drove to work again yesterday (didn't get out of bed until 7:15am). Booooo. SO brought me to work this morning, even though I got up early enough to catch the late bus. I don't know what my problem is. I go to bed around 9 or 10 and still can't get up in the morning.

I went from one extreme to the other. In my last job, I couldn't get people to stop talking to me. I was a veritable unlicensed psychologist for my boss. At my current job, people won't even look at each other when they pass in the hallway. They either plod around with zombie-like stares or travel in packs. It's totally bizarre. Happy medium, anyone?

I've still been looking at Mexico vacations (thinking May now) and used cars (thinking I should take my own to the shop). I probably shouldn't do anything until I bring my car in and find out how much it's going to be to get it back into relatively good shape. Then decide on everything else.

Life! It gives me a headache.

done with Feb birthdays

February 21st, 2006 at 09:20 pm

Our party was nice. Not too many people could make it, but the mojitos and snacks were worth it. I wasn't feeling that way the day after, but the body is amazingly good at healing itself. I might lay off the mojitos for a while though.

A little too much drama for me this weekend. I am a definite drama-avoider until it involves me directly. I'm just prepping myself for the next time it comes around. Sometimes I'd like to move away from everyone and live in a quiet cabin in the mountains (ocean view required). I didn't grow up with extended family around, so I am new to this constant-family environment and the drama that comes with it. Ish.

Spent more on groceries than I intended, but we won't have to go again this month. We spent what I thought we would on the party, but a little more on beverages. Oh well, liquor keeps, and at the rate we normally drink it, it should keep for a long time.

I'm about $20 over on my groceries/eating out/Target challenge. I also drove to work this morning because I had to carry a homemade cake in. That brings my driving total up to 5. No more driving for me this month! All I have left to pay for is rent, a prescription, and my credit card bill (in full).

-31 degrees F (windchill)

February 17th, 2006 at 06:10 pm

Rest of Today
Colder. Mostly sunny late in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Highs 5 below to zero. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts to around 35 mph. Wind chill readings 25 below to 35 below zero.

Tonight
Colder. Mostly clear. Lows 15 below to 20 below zero. West winds 5 to 15 mph.

For those of you who don't know what -31 windchill is like -- you walk out the door and it's like someone has just punched you in the chest. The air is sucked right out of your lungs. Your lips immediately begin to crack, your eyes tear up, and even though you've got on a jacket that is qualified for -30 degree weather, the icy wind somehow manages to snake its way through. The 10 feet from your door to the car feels like miles. Your legs immediately start to feel like blocks of ice. Any exposed skin immediately begins to feel like it's burning.

I can see how people die so easily and quickly in the Arctic.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not bad. Where I grew up, it gets to -90 with the windchill. They cancel school on those days (go figure!).

This morning I frittered away some time looking at ocean-front property in Oregon. A dream, perhaps, but one I'd like to make reality, STAT. Stick Out Tongue

Have to buy some beer and perhaps some groceries in preparation for our party tomorrow. Less people are coming now than we originally thought, unfortunately, but the up-side of that is that we can spend less on prep.

sweaters galore

February 16th, 2006 at 09:20 pm

Groceries/Eating out/Target: $30.30 left. So far, doing well with my not-driving-to-work challenge.

Yesterday I bought four sweaters for $20. Not bad. I am quite pleased with myself.

I haven't taken out cash for a while. I am tempted to keep myself in check by not taking out cash. I like having it in my wallet 'just in case' but then 'just in case' turns into 'gone in two days.'

We were supposed to get slammed with snow today, but not a flake has fallen (I'm not complaining).

Perusing a billion different makes and models of small SUVs...I made an Excel chart to keep track of what autos.msn.com says about each model's reliability for years 1998-2005. It's been very helpful. Now if only I could find one of the reliable ones for $10,000 with less than 50,000 miles. or even 60,000 miles. Not an easy task.

blue 2002 mustang

February 15th, 2006 at 03:40 pm

I found a 2002 blue Mustang on craiglist.com with 44,000 miles on it for $9500. People, this is my car. I have been pining for a Mustang forever (and preferably one in blue). I've daydreamed about rims, the sound system, the exact color... I hate the new design, though, so it's going to have to be an older one. I wish Mustangs were a little better in snow and got better gas mileage (though this one is a V6, so not as bad as the V8). Hmmm.

I was checking out all the small SUVs around me on the way home yesterday, and liked the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota Highlander too. I'll be looking them up today. The CR-V looks like a toy car next to them.

SO and I are having a joint birthday party this weekend (he's a February baby too). We need to come up with vegetarian appetizers and decide just how many mojitos we're going to make. I'm looking forward to it.

The cookies turned out great! I would have made a double batch if macadamia nuts weren't so darn expensive.

I bought a pair of dress pants for $6 and a sweater for $7 at Old Navy the other day. I love the sweater, so I'd like to go back and get another one in a different color before they disappear. Not in the budget, but how can I pass up $6 pants, when all of mine are tight? You can't beat that.

Speaking of tight pants...I feel like a hibernating bear. I need to get some sort of exercise regime going on here, and kick the carb addiction. Only a couple more months of winter!

spinning wheels

February 14th, 2006 at 04:02 pm

I drove to work again this morning. Boooo. That is number four this month. Can I go the next nine work days without driving? We'll see.

I am so tired. I've been having nightmares every night this week, which doesn't lend itself to restful sleep. Throw in the furry monsters who insist upon tearing apart the bedroom at 5:00am every day, and the result is a very crabby me.

SO made me breakfast and lunch this morning...very sweet. I'm going to bake him white chocolate macadamia nut cookies tonight.

I now have $42.28 left in my eating out/Target/groceries category. Doesn't seem like much for only being halfway through the month.

I love edmunds.com. I think their information is so incredibly helpful.

This morning while driving through the freezing rain (the roads were sheets of ice), I noticed a Honda CR-V next to me that was spinning its tires like mad. It could hardly get going. The tires didn't look threadbare. My car had no problem getting going because it's so heavy. It made me think twice about the CR-V...maybe I should just get my car fixed.

productive member of society

February 13th, 2006 at 06:18 pm

Still haven't heard from the massage lady. Her phone is not accepting voicemails anymore either. Strange. I guess that will save me $80 this month if she doesn't call or show up. Hear that noise? It's my back muscles screaming in protest.

I have $61.14 left in my groceries/eating out/Target money for this month. It would be so great if I could hit that goal and not go over!

I have driven to work three times this month already. It will be hard to stick to the goal of four times, but I am trying. I sprinted to the bus this morning and made it. Bus culture is such an interesting thing. I always have entertaining stories after riding them.

Still wishy-washy about the car thing. Should I fix mine? Should I look for a new one? I'm sure SO and my FIL would help me look. It's such a daunting task for me, and I can't figure out why. Maybe because my parents only went car shopping once, for me. All the rest of their cars came from relatives or friends. I hate being around salespeople because I always wonder if they are trying to pull a fast one.

My sister is doing a charity event so she asked me to donate. Not in my budget, but I am going to contribute anyway to support her. I should also start contributing to other things (NPR, my former employer, NARAL, wildlife conservation organizations, breast cancer research, etcetcetc) but I'm not there yet. I suppose even an occasional contribution would make a difference, though.

Looking forward to this week - nothing is planned whatsoever until Saturday night.

SO's grocery spending

February 9th, 2006 at 02:28 pm

What happens when SO goes to the grocery store without me? He comes back with Fritos, popcorn, chips, chip dip, donuts, the most expensive olives, a huge box of chocolate...

I'm not complaining about the chocolate, of course, but I never buy donuts, and I always get the cheapest olives. Oh well. At least he got some things that we needed, too.

Thanks, baselle. It's easy for me to feel like a complete weirdo sometimes. I do want to buy a house someday, just not here. and I'd sooner do that than get married!

The massage lady did not come last night. I will have to call her today to find out why. I'm pretty sure I had the right date written down.

Yesterday I went through every month of my budget and shuffled things around to make sure I only spend what I actually earn (crazy concept!). We'll see how that works out.

chocoholic

February 8th, 2006 at 10:11 pm

Work is soooooo slllooowwww today!! I am trying to keep busy but it is hard to find something interesting to read/do. The last couple of weeks have been super busy, so I shouldn't complain about a lull!

The key to not spending? Not having any money in my wallet. I can't buy lunch, or chocolate, or beverages, nor can I pay for parking. I'm trying to hold out until the 15th to take out any cash, too.

I have already consumed all the chocolate I brought today, which probably amounts to two or three Snickers bars (eep!). I'll attribute that to boredom and stress.

Frugalocity for today:
~ bringing breakfast, leftover bean soup, chocolate, and pop from home
~ taking the bus (finally!)
~ avoiding my favorite internet shopping sites
~ making more mini-savings goals for the rest of the year to prevent myself from spending and show myself how much I can save

Got a bit of a case of Jonesing going on - my friend is planning to buy a big, pricey home. They're already talking about having four TVs, a new computer, new furniture, etc etc etc etc. They make a lot more money than I do, but still...I hate feeling so behind people my own age. I know I shouldn't compare myself to others, but it's hard not to. Especially when we have the same background and same education (except mine was way more expensive!).

All this talk of home buying makes SO want to buy a house. I'm so afraid that if we do that, we'll get stuck here forever. He is dropping hints about wanting to get married, too. Yikes! I must be the only woman on the planet who doesn't relish the thought of marriage!

Tonight the massage lady comes - yay!

great birthday

February 7th, 2006 at 05:41 pm

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Smile

I had a fabulous birthday. SO and I had a delicious long lunch with my former boss (she paid). He and I went to Ikea afterwards and chipped away at a gift card we received for Christmas. I got a new dresser! I am so excited! After Ikea, we went to dinner with another couple at a great Thai restaurant (SO paid for me). Back at my place, we had ice cream cake, and I got a few very nice gifts. All in all, it was a great day. The sun was even shining - what luck! The art institute was closed, so that's why we didn't go there.

The concert on Friday was excellent, and we did eat dinner at home beforehand. I got to catch up with an old friend there, too.

We went to Brokeback Mountain on Saturday with another couple (SO had free tickets) and I paid $11 for concessions for both of us. It was a good flick. Heart-wrenching, but good.

I stayed home all day on Sunday. A migraine was building and culminated on my birthday, but I squashed it with drugs and some alternative therapy that my massage friend suggested. She's coming again on Wednesday, so I'll have to tell her that her suggestions helped.

So, not much spending on my part this weekend. It was so nice to have three days off. Wouldn't you know it, my co-workers didn't even notice I was gone! and my cube is right by theirs! Nuts. I'm glad I decided to spend the day with SO and friends instead.

cats eat bagels

February 3rd, 2006 at 06:16 pm

It was sooooo nice to come home last night, open the door, and have the scent of dinner waft over me. I should use the crockpot more often.

Frugal things I've done lately:
- made Bisquick garlic cheese biscuits to go with the crockpot black bean soup instead of stopping at the grocery store for garlic bread
- directed the car HOME last night instead of going to any store
- baked cookies
- got a ride with SO this morning
- am resisting the urge to buy a hot chocolate, even though I am freezing at my desk, and can't have food products in my desk anymore because of critters in the office

Tonight I'm going to try to eat dinner at home before going to a concert with SO, instead of eating out.

This weekend I am going to try to eat all meals at home, even if friends stop by (I'll cook for them).

On my birthday on Monday, I'm planning to go to the art institute instead of shopping. We'll see how that works out. SO is taking the day off, too, so that will be fun!! Big Grin

Need to keep plugging away at the jewelry-making, so I get better at it. It's easy to get frustrated.

Also need to practice being calm with the cats, even if they eat my bagel with cream cheese off the counter and lick crumbs off of the cookie sheet. They are just being cats (dog-like cats, really).

birthday gifts

February 2nd, 2006 at 03:48 pm

Groceries/Eating Out/Target ($220 goal): $54.37 spent

Driving to work goal (4/mo): one down

Tonight's dinner is simmering away in the crockpot. We'll be dining on black bean soup. I altered the recipe a little, and will toss in some corn when I get home tonight. I hope it will still be good.

Preparing tonight's dinner this morning made me late, of course, so I had to drive to work. I was still 15 minutes late anyway. I'm so glad I took next Monday off. I'm having so much trouble getting up in the morning!

I'm trying to convince SO that we do not need to buy each other birthday gifts. We have a large Ikea gift card left over from Christmas. I think it would be fun to go together and pick out presents - they'd be free, and we wouldn't feel deprived. He seemed to think that was a good idea. My birthday is first, so we'll see. Neither one of us is rolling in the cash right now, so it would be nice to do it that way. We certainly don't love each other any less if we don't buy birthday gifts. Besides, we might throw a joint birthday party later this month and invite all of our friends.

Ditto with Valentine's Day...I'd rather make dinner together and give him a big batch of homemade cookies than go all out!

Four other birthdays this month...ack!