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Archive for March, 2006

March recap, April goals

March 31st, 2006 at 09:28 am

I did very poorly on my March goals.

MARCH GOALS
~ Pay double on my smaller college loan: Yes, more than double
~ Limit groceries/Target/eating out to $250 (was $327 in Feb): Not even close, way more than in February!
~ Drive to work no more than 5 times: drove 6 times
~ Put $300 into savings: only $100 due to car repair
~ Donate $25 to one organization of choice: Yes

APRIL GOALS
~ Pay double on my smaller college loan
~ Limit groceries/Target/eating out to $300
~ Drive to work no more than 5 times
~ Put $600+ into savings (if tax return comes)

And my next Big Goal, get $1000 back into my emergency fund by June. I had to drain it to get my car fixed.

no keyboard

March 29th, 2006 at 11:42 am

So, the eBay guy selling the keyboard decided after I had sent payment that he needed an extra $50 for shipping. Uh, no. If you have a UPS calculator on your eBay page, and that calculator determines that shipping is $25, don't come back to me after the auction (and after I paid) and say shipping is suddenly $75. Luckily, he is fully refunding my money, and so graciously said he will not leave me negative feedback. Totally sketchy. I think I will lay off the eBay scene for a while. The only plus is that I have an extra $200 now. A bummer, though.

This really is the crappiest week. sigh* I guess when it rains, it pours, huh? I'd like to put my head under the covers and not come out for a few weeks.

*sigh*

March 28th, 2006 at 07:24 am

Thanks for all your thoughts. I got the dreaded phone call this morning. I am going to either visit my sister this weekend or have her come visit again. That's all I can really do, I guess. I told my parents to consider coming to visit next month, too. It would be good for them to get away. I wish this was the end of it...but they have a 28 year old horse. *sigh* It is particularly difficult when all of the animals are up there in years.

I'm glad there are people here who understand what it's like to lose a pet. My parents are getting no sympathy whatsoever from co-workers, and my sister's "friend" rolled her eyes at her! No compassion. Maybe we get too attached...but I'd venture to guess that those people are too afraid to let themselves GET attached in the first place.

I went home early yesterday. A migraine started building around 9:30am and I knew I wouldn't make it through the day. I slept - a LOT - and I'm feeling a bit better today. This is the weirdest cold I've ever had. It hit me like a freight train but I'm recovering fairly quickly.

Let's see...in other news...I won a keyboard on eBay this morning! I have been planning to return my hypnosis CDs (the woman's voice is way too annoying to even concentrate), and my massage has been canceled again this month, so it all evens out in the end. I got a great deal on a 76-key professional keyboard, stand, and gig bag. Smile Looking forward to playing again.

SO still hasn't done his taxes. I want to get some sand between my toes, but that Mexican island trip might have to wait until next year. Maybe we can land a cheap flight to San Diego for a long weekend instead.

I've had better weekends

March 27th, 2006 at 07:39 am

What a crappy weekend.

I got really sick on Friday night and it stuck all weekend. I am still feeling ill today and am contemplating going home early. We'll see if the meds kick in or not.

My sister's childhood pet is dying. My parents are going through the awful pain of watching it happen and my sister is devastated. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time crying and not much else. I feel helpless. I know exactly how she feels, since my cat passed away two years ago. I wish there was something I could do. My parents are in very rough shape.

We did go to the zoo yesterday as a distraction procedure for my sister. Here's a little lion yawn to represent Mondays across the globe:

Friday snippets

March 24th, 2006 at 09:05 am

My friend still hasn't had her baby yet. He's due tomorrow. I can't wait! I took some photos of her giant preggo self for posterity. Wink I'm hopefully meeting her for lunch today - I bet it's the last time I'll see her before the baby comes!

Reading about Cercis' gossip session with her coworker makes me long for that kind of connection at work again. I miss having someone (or several someones) to talk to! It seems like the only person I talk to on any given day is SO. I'm certainly not complaining, because I'm lucky to have him in my life, but I miss having interactions with other humans. My cats do plenty of talking too, but it's more along the lines of "FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME!" It's just bizarre, being surrounded by hundreds of people and not conversing with any of them. Lonely in a crowd, anyone?

I've been ogling 76-key keyboards on eBay lately. Anyone own one? I'd love to have a piano but don't want to lug it up or down the stairs, and we don't have room for one anyway. I'd like to have a large keyboard instead but don't want to pay full price. There are a few nice ones online...I'm just waiting to see how much they go for. If I could land one for $150, I'd be thrilled.

SO still hasn't done his taxes, so the Mexico trip is still up in the air. I refuse to talk to him about it until he does his taxes and finds out how much he has to pay in. Perhaps that will motivate him to do them this weekend!

The playing gig will bring in $125! I'm super excited. Now I'm contemplating how to find more gigs like this. I know there are churches out there that love woodwind groups. I just need to find other (sane) players who want to form one. I put an ad up on craigslist...we'll see what comes of it.

Vivo para el fin de semana! Have a good one!

sister sister

March 23rd, 2006 at 08:17 am

I can't believe there are 8 more days in March. On one hand, the year is going by at lightening speed, but on the other hand, I need more money! I haven't budgeted well at all this month.

My sister is coming to visit for the weekend. I have nothing planned and I'm not sure I want to plan anything. I'm already overbudget and she doesn't need constant diversions. Maybe I will leaf through the Entertainment Book and see if there is anything worthwhile. Otherwise, we will just chill. She likes to cook, so she can have free reign in the kitchen as far as I am concerned!

I may have a paid playing gig coming up in a few weeks. I don't know how much it is going to pay, but it's a church service, and I haven't done one of those in years. I am trying to be a little more assertive about getting paid for my talents and not just handing them out for free. The book I'm reading is definitely helping. You can't get ahead if you do everything for free.

I put a post-it note up on my computer that says "Pursue Prosperity!" There is nothing wrong with making more money!

Neutrogena refund

March 21st, 2006 at 09:31 am

I've decided that Neutrogena is a great company. I bought their new mineral powder foundation but wasn't happy with it at all. I wrote them a nice complaint email and told them I was disappointed in the product. They sent me a refund check immediately! I am impressed. I've loved their other products that I've tried, so I figured it was worth an email to them, and it was!

As predicted, the Target/groceries/eating out budget for this month was a bust. We went grocery shopping last night and bought a lot of things to build up the pantry and freezer again. I am happy though, because it will keep us stocked for a while, which means I am more apt to cook.

Of course, that was negated by the Indian takeout we picked up for dinner, but that was wonderful as always, and I don't regret it. How could I anyway, when SO so sweetly insisted on paying?

I'm reading Secrets of Six-Figure Women (thanks to the person who recommended it!). It's fascinating. I need to develop more self-confidence in my abilities, that's for sure. I also have to stop thinking that making that much money is an impossible goal! It's possible! I am an intelligent, educated, strong woman! (rinse, lather, and repeat)

Happy Spring!

March 20th, 2006 at 09:58 am

Friday's evening spending consisted of all of $12 for dinner. Not bad. We ended up staying at my house all night. No spend days on Saturday and Sunday, yay! I have to go to Target though (we're out of kitty litter and several other things, like milk and eggs), so I am totally not going to meet my goal this month. If I spend as much or less than I did in February, I'll be ok with that.

On Saturday I made homemade donuts and french bread. I made dinner both Saturday and Sunday, too. I love cooking on the weekends! I need to build up my pantry a little more, to make it easier.

We did get another five inches of snow, but it is melting already. Hopefully it will be gone soon! I can't wait for summer (funny thing to say on the first day of spring, I suppose).

I think I could do the 8 day/7 night Mexico trip for $1075. I'd need to dip into some savings to pay for it. Still debating whether or not I should go for it! I'd really like to! If I really scrimp in April, I think I could.

bills, babies, & buckets of snow

March 16th, 2006 at 07:22 am

My credit card bill is massive this month, but it's all because of my car repair. Luckily, I have the emergency fund to fall back on. It is quite nice to have that safety net - I've never had it in the past. Now comes the task of building it back up again. Speaking of car repair, I updated the totals in my previous post. It makes me sick to see how much they charged me vs. what they should have charged me.

More snow today! We're expecting 5-8 inches, and it's been falling all night. I hope we don't get that much. I made it to work this morning, though, and on time, so I'm pretty pleased with myself. The bus showed up this time (though 20 minutes late)!

I'm doing great on my driving challenge - I've only driven to work twice so far. Smile I will not be able to meet my savings goal because of the car repair, but I can live with that. I'm still putting away $75, which is better than nothing. I'm doing fairly well on my eating out/Target/groceries challenge this month. I have about $42 left to spend.

With two weeks left, though, I hope I can make it. I'm going out with friends tomorrow night to celebrate St. Patty's Day, but we're going to avoid the crowded Irish pubs. Hopefully we can have a good time rather inexpensively.

A friend of mine is about to have a baby, and I'm so excited! I bought a gift a few months ago when baby stuff was on clearance. I am looking forward to the phone call!

Otherwise, not much going on...this is a slow month, and I'm greatful for it.

snow photos

March 13th, 2006 at 07:49 pm



run down of car repairs

March 13th, 2006 at 07:13 pm

This is for Russell (and anyone else interested in car repairs):

- Lube, oil & filter ($29)
- Tire rotation ($24)
- Replace exhaust flange ($70 labor, $32 parts)
- Exhaust replace, converter back ($100 labor, $125 parts)
- Replace LS inner tie rod ($199 labor, $74 parts)
- 4 wheel alignment ($90)
- Brake adjust & clean ($50)
- Belts R&R - A/C belt ($50 labor, $70 parts)

- Supplies $47
- Disposal $2.50

That's the repair shop's list on the invoice. $900 total WITH a $92 discount. Ouch!

snow

March 13th, 2006 at 11:09 am

Unfortunately I have no idea how to properly link photos, but I have a great one showing how much snow we've gotten overnight. I couldn't get my car out of the driveway, so I hiked to the bus stop, only to wait an enternity and never have a bus show up. I went back home and have been in bed ever since! Delightful.

Not much to report on the savings/spending front. I've been lying low after shelling out the $900 for my car. It runs so much better now. I'm hoping it will last for at least another 20,000 miles. Pretty please?

good news, bad news

March 9th, 2006 at 08:10 am

Yikes, thanks for that article, DivaJen! I've been without Excedrin since Monday. No super excruciating headaches to speak of since then. I will definitely start limiting myself more - is that why my massage friend is always telling me my stomach is bad??

Good news:
I had a job interview yesterday and it went quite well. I'm not sure if I want the job, though. It would be slightly more interesting than what I'm doing now, but I can't see myself staying there forever, either. It may give me more graphic arts and Macintosh experience, though, which appeals to publishers. We'll see. They are going to let me know in the next couple of weeks. If it's more money, I'll definitely take it.

Bad news:
I brought my car in to the shop last night (finally). Russell will be pleased to know that I am no longer attempting to asphyxiate myself by driving the Deathmobile. However, the shop called this morning and it's going to cost $900 to fix (and that is WITH a AAA discount). Ouch. I was expecting it to be high, and I have an emergency fund to fall back on, but I am still bummed. I hate handing over my carefully saved money for something like this.

I may decide to use my tax refund for a Mexico trip instead of using it to pay off part of one of my college loans. I am tired of being practical! and I want to go to Mexico!!! I guess we'll see how I feel once I have the money in my hot little hands.

potential

March 6th, 2006 at 12:57 pm

I have a potential opportunity coming up. I'll post more when I know more.

What a relaxing weekend. Dinner with the in-laws was wonderful - they opened up more than usual. I should have stayed out of the stores yesterday, though. I bought a magazine, a book, and a cookbook - tsk tsk! Also picked up the dreaded Girl Scout cookies and some crafting things. I'm way overbudget, as always. I rarely plan for these "others" like books and beads and cookies. They just happen, and then I scramble to cover the deficit. It's a recurring theme.

I was thinking about using my tax refund for my college loans, but you know what? I'd much rather go on vacation. I found a beautiful, secluded beach resort in Mexico that is just what the doctor ordered. We'll see.

I was going to attempt to live without Excedrin for one week...and failed miserably on the second day. My head was just killing me yesterday. I haven't touched the bottle today, though, so here's me, trying again. I want to make sure they aren't just rebound headaches.

Hallelujah, Friday

March 3rd, 2006 at 07:48 am

For mjrube94 (my favorite devil's advocate):
1) SO is all for moving. Especially somewhere warm and by the ocean. He misses it, too.
2) There are other schools in other places, namely Canada. Brrrr. I found a few other schools in Los Angeles, and they are options, too.
3) I'm still researching all the schools and options...but I will definitely do my research on placements.
4) This particular school has two sessions - Tues/Thurs full day classes and four-nights-per-week classes. If I took the night classes, I could definitely work a day job, and that's what I'd do.

Having said all that, I'm not sure that I will definitely set off in this direction, but it's simmering in the back of my mind. Also simmering is the idea that I should move out east (since that's where the publishing jobs are) and give this publishing thing one more shot. I'm also considering throwing up my hands and staying home all day (not really, but it would be nice).

Yesterday I was completely despondent, thus no post here. "In a funk," as another blogger put it. I need to sit down and sort through all the things going on in my head. Buy new car or fix my car? - Buy a house here or move elsewhere? - SO wants to get married, do I? - Publishing career or give it up already? - Mexico trip or save money? AAAARRRRGGGGGG!!!!!

Thank God for Fridays (and the weekend).

crazy dream

March 1st, 2006 at 01:36 pm

Since this publishing job thing isn't really working out too well (unless I move out east), I have been daydreaming a bit.

Today I stumbled across a professional makeup artist school. Being a makeup artist is my second chosen profession. I used to do makeup for all the school plays and have done makeup for weddings, parties, etc. I love, love, love makeup.

I'd have to move to Hollywood and shell out $12,000 for a 12-month program (four nights per week). After that, though, I could do theatre makeup, or movies, or fashion shows. It would be so awesome to do prosthetic makeup - I built my Halloween costume one year, and it rocked.

I probably wouldn't make any more than I am right now, I'd have to move to LA, and who knows what kind of work I would find after I finished the program. Still...it's tempting...and hard to make that leap. SO is already all for it! Wink

ahh March

March 1st, 2006 at 09:33 am

Thanks for the support! I guess I did do pretty well with my goals for February. Hopefully March will be better.

I think you're right, baselle, taking the bus will be a lot easier once it is lighter and warmer. I was horrible about taking the bus in January because of the weather. March is a notoriously bad weather month in MN, too...hopefully this year will be different! We always get at least one huge snowstorm in March.

My smaller college loan is going to take a little more to pay off than I thought. Somehow I had calculated the outstanding bill to be about $400 less than it is. I still think I can pay it off by August, if I am diligent.

I'm going to a movie tonight with a friend at a cheap theater and hoping dinner won't be too expensive. I'm trying to watch my diet a bit better, too, so I'll be avoiding the theater candy (and that extra cost).

I chose a restaurant and printed my $25 Entertainment Book dinner gift certificate because SO and I are planning a date night for later this month! Yippee! The old Guthrie Theater is closing after 43 years and reopening at a new location, so we'd like to take in Hamlet before the old theater is closed.

One of my infamous spending cycles is threatening to ruin my March goals. I can think of all kinds of crap that I want to buy, and the urge to buy it all is SO ridiculous. Resist! Resist! I'm really good at justifying it, too - like yesterday, when Almay wrote back to me and said that yes, they have discontinued my favorite moisturizer. I promptely went to eBay and purchased a few bottles of it. Granted, they were $5 cheaper than in stores, and I'm going to have a heck of a time finding it now that it's not being made, but.... *sigh*