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Tuesday thoughts

February 21st, 2017 at 01:30 pm

A friend convinced me to start running with her again. She's training for a 10K at the end of May, which I might sign up for too. I haven't run consistently since my first (and last) half marathon over three years ago. The weather has been so gorgeous lately that we did a couple of runs outside last weekend! I picked up a few new running/yoga shirts during the President's Day sales. More than anything, I need my work pants to fit well again.

I'm struggling with my financial goals feeling so out of reach. I should have started saving for a house the moment I started working (although, I guess I was paying off student loans at that point). My rent is doable but high. As much as I'd love to move to the west coast, I don't foresee that happening while my parents are still living, or without a viable career path. Even a 10% downpayment is SO much money, though! I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately I will need a new car before a house. I'm doing what I can to keep this one going but it's not worth properly fixing at this point. Truth - I've never had a car payment thanks to generous gifts from my family, including this car 12 years ago. I've been looking at used vehicles for at least a year but wow - high miles and high payments seem to be the norm!

I also need to bulk up my emergency fund - that's priority one!

cookies, anyone?

August 9th, 2007 at 01:02 pm

Last weekend I made some delicious double chocolate almond cookies (vegan, of course). They were gone in a matter of days. I think my father-in-law ate half the batch!



This is my second photo to make it into flickr's Explore feature, which is pretty cool. Smile My next goal is to make it into the top 100 Explore photos of the day.

This month I'm trying to concentrate on building up my emergency fund. It's only got a $100 in it, and guess whose car is making a horrendous rattling noise again? I've already botched that by ordering UV filters (and a circular polarizer) for my camera. The UV filters are basically a necessity, because I've been super worried about scratching the surface of my lenses (big $$ to replace them). The circular polarizer? Not so much.

The problem is that I keep thinking of things I want. Magnets! and a haircut! and shoes! and take-out! and and and...I really need to just stop thinking.

My net worth is up to $1,127! Whoo hoo!

3-day bake sale

May 1st, 2007 at 07:26 am

My employer is having a three-day employee shindig this week, and I have a sale table. I'm selling baked goods, all proceeds benefiting me! I've made about $20 in the first hour. Not bad! On the table, I've got orange almond biscotti, rosemary bread, blondie bars, mini banana bread, mini banana muffins, and giant peanut butter oatmeal cookies. If it all sells, I should make about $70 today. Wish me luck!

P365, Day 11: 4/30/07
Banana Walnut Mini Muffins

busy

March 13th, 2007 at 09:43 am

Well, we dug out, and guess what? Almost all the snow has melted already. It's nearly 50 degrees today! The mountains of snow are gone, replaced by gobs of mud and enormous puddles of water. Spring? Is that you?

I've been a bit MIA lately because I haven't been concentrating much on finances, and since this is supposed to be a financial blog, well... However, I have a plan to have $1000 in savings by the end of April, and pay off my smaller college loan in June. My investments haven't tanked too badly lately, thankfully. I am glad I have lots of time to let things percolate before retirement.

I've been on Topamax for about three weeks. It's been working fairly well for my headaches. Yesterday my hands, fingers, and forearms starting tingling and felt somewhat numb, like I had held them above my head for far too long and all the blood had rushed out of them. Shake, shake, shake - nothing. The feeling persisted all day, and my toes starting tingling, too. I went to the doctor, and he suggested more potassium. I'm going to maintain this dosage and see what happens. If this tingling thing doesn't go away, I'll lower the dosage, and perhaps eliminate it completely. It's a shame that side effects have to pop up...my daily headaches are finally starting to subside, after five years of putting up with them.

One day, I tried one Zomig to treat a migraine and was stoned for five hours straight. The doctor suggested I try Maxalt instead, so that's what I've got now. I guess trial and error is the only way to go!

And, my latest obsession, food. Vegan food, to be exact. I cashed in some American Express points and bought

Text is Becoming Vegan and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Complete-Adopting-Plant-Based/dp/1570671036/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-1874377-8672954?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173803523&sr=8-1
Becoming Vegan. It's chock-full of great advice about nutrition and how to become vegan the right way. I have been moving away from dairy and eggs and feeling better overall. Whether or not I ever become fully vegan, I think eating less animal products and more fresh, whole foods is a good thing. My in-laws bought us a juicer for our birthdays, too, which is a great addition to our kitchen! I'd post photos of the great food we've been making, but again - this is a financial blog! I may have to create a food blog...

Mom is still in Florida - yeah, I'm not even kidding. They are having so much trouble getting help from anyone. Hopefully she will be able to come home next week.

SO and I are going on a date later this week to a play and dinner - the play tickets were half price, thanks to a discount through my employer, and the dinner will be paid for by a gift certificate, thanks to my former employer! Cheap date! My favorite.

Oh, and by the way - I'm going to The Police! Smile

new headache drugs

February 8th, 2007 at 11:34 am

Had a doctor's appointment this morning - Topamax and Zomig, here I come. I really like my doctor; he actually takes the time to listen to me, considers what I've said, does a little research on his laptop, and gives me a few options to choose from. He's very thoughtful and considerate. I appreciate that. I find it sad that his type of medical care is unusual.

Luckily, he gave me ample samples of both new drugs, so I don't have to fill pricey prescriptions until I know they work.

I am so incredibly tired of having a perpetual headache.

Last night SO and I used a soon-to-expire restaurant gift certificate. It was a nice place. We did something we've never done before - sent back a bottle of wine. It didn't seem spoiled, just...gross. The restaurant was empty, so we didn't inconvenience our server; we just felt bad about doing it. The second bottle was much better. On the way home, we had to create a pep talk for ourselves - it's ok to politely refuse something unpleasant and ask for a replacement if you're paying for it. That's harder for me that it should be.

We had to take a "strengths finder" quiz at work. Turns out I am intellectual, adaptable, empathetic, have a craving to know more, and am inspired by the future. Didn't really come as a surprise to me, but I'm not sure how to apply that to my career.

I received a very nice birthday gift of cash from my aunt. I'm spending half of it on books and a

Text is writing computer program and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Writers-DreamKit-4-Win-Mac/dp/B000I8FADG/sr=8-1/qid=1170963083/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8456391-9184651?ie=UTF8&s=software
writing computer program (a.k.a., my kick in the pants). The other half will go into savings.

I wish we were going to Mexico this weekend!

resisted takeout

January 31st, 2007 at 10:00 am

I finally did it...wrote a long post, and then *poof*, lost it. *sigh*

Last night we really wanted to pick up a pizza for dinner, but resisted. We were out looking for the

Text is Winter Carnival Medallion and Link is http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/special_packages/winter_carnival/treasure_hunt/
Winter Carnival Medallion, a treasure hunt put on by the local paper (cash prize if you find it). We walked around in sub-zero temps for a few minutes before realizing we could better strategize from the car. I am pretty sure I know where it is, but alas, I'm working today and cannot search for it. We had a mediocre frozen pizza at home instead of takeout.

I've been thinking about what LuckyRobin said about migraines and diet. I think in order for me to do it, I'd have to list what I can eat and come up with a meal plan - menus, perhaps. It would probably be good for me to try it. My problem lies in that I truly hate cooking during the week.

My former boss is finally retiring, and her goodbye party is tonight. I crocheted a wool scarf and hat set out of super-thick, reddish-black yarn. I hope she likes it. It's hard to believe she's truly leaving the organization after so many years at the helm.

Last year for our birthdays, my SIL gave SO and I a gift certificate to the vegetarian restaurant where we had our first date. We haven't used it yet, and it expires next week. Hopefully the migraines will stay away, and we will dress up and go out on the town this weekend!

recognition

December 19th, 2006 at 12:18 pm

What a nice day!

Someone on another team complimented my team, so we all got little balloons on our desks. Nice. I had my annual review this morning...not sparkling, but my boss assured me that I am doing a good job, and told me to keep on doing what I'm doing. No news on a raise yet, but we'll all be finding out soon. I realized that any raise I receive will go straight to inflated medical costs - insurance went up a ton this year.

I'm the new employee trainer again today...not my favorite thing in the world, but I just have to remind myself that next week I won't be at work!

Bittersweet moment last night...I know my massage friend is happy to return to her home country, where she is a doctor, but she's sad about leaving too. She invited us to visit someday. I'd like that.

Trying hard to concentrate on my big savings goal -

Text is Mexico 2007 and Link is http://www.kaboodle.com/zeenes/zeeness-vacation-plan.html
Mexico 2007. So far, I've got $360 in the account.

We have only spent about $150 on groceries this month, and that will be all we'll spend. That's some sort of record, especially for December! We picked up four very cheap artichokes at Trader Joes, steamed them, and had them for dinner the other night. They were sooooo good. I love artichokes...they will always remind me of Chile. I ate them constantly there. I wish they were cheaper here!

I'm reading the Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (it's a bunch of short stories). She crafts a great story, and is quite skilled, but every single one so far has been depressing! I hope at least one ends well.

We don't have a flake of snow on the ground, but they say a storm is on its way. I heard people on the bus complaining about the lack of snow. I couldn't be more pleased with 45 degrees!

car thoughts

December 13th, 2006 at 09:18 am

Yesterday I talked to a friend about how much I've spent on car repairs this year - $1368. Now, that's only about $114 a month (much cheaper than a car payment), but it doesn't get driven much these days, since I normally take the bus to work. I think as it sits idly in the driveway, it concocts new clunking sounds, lights to burn out, and parts to throw to the ground. As I drove to work this morning, I contemplated my future with this car.

Since I don't drive much right now, I don't really need a new car. I am pretty tired of throwing money at it, though. The engine had a brand new whine this morning when I started it up.

I expect to pay off my smaller college loan next summer. If I could find a car payment that tops out at $200 a month, I think I could swing it. The only problem is that the cars I like are twice that much. Wink Something to think about. I'm glad I have the luxury of time and alternative commuting methods.

Last night I avoided Target...tonight, I will not be so lucky. The key is to walk in with my list and not deviate from it. I need cellophane bags for fudge and mini muffin cups for truffles. I'm nearly done with my crocheting projects! Whoohoo!

I'm hoping to get a raise soon. Overtime work this fall has not panned out like I thought it would. I need to canvass the house and throw some things up for sale if I'm going to have enough cash for a vacation. I think I'll try amazon.com for books and such.

Free breakfast and lunch at work today, with vegetarian options this time! Yeah!

you CAN pack lunch

December 11th, 2006 at 02:28 pm

I have a friend who complains bitterly about the quality of food served in our cafeteria (aren't we lucky to have one?) and not having any money. I finally told him that there's an easy remedy to both problems - pack lunch. But - it's too much work! I don't have time! I don't know how!

Look, it may be hard at first, but it packing lunch can become second nature, just like anything else. I've packed lunch nearly every day I've worked in the past five years. It normally takes me about 5 minutes to pack my lunch in the morning.

~ Eat breakfast before you walk out of the house. I spend 5 minutes cooking and eating my bowl of oatmeal every morning, and it keeps me going until my 10:30 snack.

~ Always have lots of snacks on hand, stuff you can quickly grab-and-go: apples, bananas, grapes, pears, oranges, yogurt, granola bars, mini V-8 cans, string cheese, chocolate, pretzel rods, raisin boxes, crackers, etc.

~ If you cook dinner (and you should be, if you're trying to save money and your waistline), make things that create leftovers. After dinner, pop what you've made into individual microwavable containers, and slide them into the fridge (or freezer). In the morning, grab one of these containers, a few of your snack options, and viola! Food for the day.

~ If you eat dinner out, and you can't eat it all, box up the rest for lunch the next day.

~ Keep non-perishable goods in your desk drawer. I've got a jar of peanut butter, a variety of tea bags, and some ketchup/salt/pepper packets. Sometimes a simple tablespoon of peanut butter keeps me going until lunch. If you just can't eat breakfast at home, bring a box of shredded wheat to work and tuck it into your desk drawer. I'd keep a bag of chocolate there too, if I could keep my hand out of it.

~ Make lunch the night before. If you're having burritos for dinner, fold up an extra one and wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. Toss it in your lunch bag with a snack or two and a beverage, and place the whole thing in the fridge so you won't miss it the next day.

~ Buy frozen meals on sale and with a coupon. Stock your freezer for the inevitable no-food-in-the-fridge mornings. Just be careful not to rely too heavily on them!

Any other lunchtime tips and tricks? I know I've saved tons of money over the years by packing my own lunch.

2007 vacation

November 28th, 2006 at 07:27 am

In 2007, I am taking a vacation, come hell or high water.

If I'm frugal for the next couple of months, I'll have plenty of cash saved up by mid-February. I'm still dreaming about a week at

Text is Isla Holbox and Link is http://www.mexicoholiday.com/destinations/holbox/xaloc.html
Isla Holbox in Mexico. I could take a bite right out of that piece of paradise...swimming with dolphins! Gazing at manta rays! Kayaking through mangroves! Digging my toes into the sand! Sounds like heaven.

I've been working on my year-long 2007 budget, and I added a vacation fund. I plan to have my smaller college loan paid off by June 2007, and my holiday savings fully funded by August.

My sister noticed my budget spreadsheet and asked about it. She seemed really interested in developing a budget - I'll have to make one up for her. I often stop and think about how much being a part of this website has helped me over the past couple of years. I think about money and acquiring "stuff" differently, and I'm proud of that!

Have you ever gone back to a salon and complained about a haircut? I got mine done last week at a new place, and I really donít like the cut. I'm leery about having the same person fix it. Certainly in this case, having a coupon did not pay off. I should have just gone to my regular salon!

what goes on in billing depts?

November 9th, 2006 at 01:54 pm

My chiropractor's billing department has taken to sending me a bill every month, for services rendered in August...services that were also paid in August. They don't answer the phone, and don't return phone calls, so today I wrote a letter. Enough is enough.

A different doctor's billing department just got around to sending me a bill from services rendered in August. I still haven't received a bill for September. I guess they aren't too concerned about getting their money!

My health insurance is going up $427 a year. Ouch. I am lucky enough to work for a place that allows me to have my SO on my health insurance. We will split the extra cost. Bummer, though!

I'm making a list of things I can make to send to people for the holidays:

- jewelry
- bubble magnets
- framed photographs
- rosemary bread
- truffles
- snicker's fudge
- dipped pretzels
- biscotti

Any other ideas? I can crochet as well, but just about everyone has received a hat and scarf (or 2).

fending off the 'want' demons

September 28th, 2006 at 07:24 am

Jamming to tunes with my new MP3 toy. Thanks for the music recommendations, baselle!

This morning I provided slapstick comedy for my fellow busriders by slip-sliding down the rain-slicked aisle and nearly plopping onto a teenager's lap. The teenagers found it highly amusing. I had forgotten how juvenile humor thoroughly amuses high school students.

The pottery class last night was a bit...disappointing. Four of the seven students have taken this particular class more than once, and the instructor seemed more interested in chatting them up than helping out the newbies. He was completely unprepared to teach. Afterwards I was quite frustrated, but tonight I am going to the library to scour the pottery how-to books. If he's not going to teach me, I'll figure it out myself. At least I have access to the clay, wheels, glaze, and kilns.

I'm signing up to work overtime during the holiday season again this year. I could stand to make a decent amount of money if we have high product demand. Wish I could tell you what it is! Stick Out Tongue

I found a bunch of random gift cards in my purse, so I decided to tally up the leftover amounts. It came to $155! Nice! I'll have to make sure to use them up before the annual penalty fees kick in.

I decided on a digital SLR camera a few days ago (thought I wanted a Nikon until I actually held it in my hands - way too big!). Yesterday I tip-toed onto dangerous ground. I researched the best price, and then checked out 0% financing credit card offers. I talked myself out of applying for any. I could potentially have the money to buy it by the end of November, if I work hard at it. What's more important, though - a fancy new camera, or that long-desired trip to Mexico? The selfish me says both! Stick Out Tongue