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downfall of the month

September 13th, 2006 at 10:56 am


I've done it again - spent too much on books. It's an interesting pattern I have going here (Clothes, Books, Personal Care, Hobbies). I've spent $140 on books this month, and only a small fraction of that was a gift. Yikes. Good deals, yes. Necessary? No. I get a little overzealous with book shopping sometimes. Yes, I visit the library, but when the library says it won't order a book for me and it will take a month to get it from another library, and I can't renew it....that places me square in Half Price Books. Oh well. I need to clean out my bookshelves and pass on those books that have already been read.

Last night I cleaned up my coupon mess and organized it all. My coupon train packet is bulging and will hardly close! Can't wait for the train to come so I can pass on some good deals.

Anyone need Silk soy milk coupons? I have about a billion, and can't possibly use them all.

Also picked up a new CD - Be a Bright Blue by Saxon Shore. Really mellow. Good for listening to while you do something else (clipping coupons, for example).

Doctor's appt this afternoon...not looking forward to it. Hoping the results come out ok. Also have to deal with the fact that they billed the wrong insurance company last time and now I have a big bill sitting in my purse - not cool, and they haven't returned my phone calls. It's been a month of struggling with people to get things right!

stockpile spread out everywhere

August 31st, 2006 at 09:41 am

It's a good thing, knowing what's in your stockpile, right? I've realized that I've got mine stashed in all four corners of the house. A couple of days ago I bought an enormous container of laundry detergent...turns out I already have one sitting upstairs. Last night I bought a pack of Q-tips with coupon...turns out I already have one stashed in the closet. It's not really saving money if you're just duplicating stuff that you didn't know you had.

Next challenge - make a household stockpile list!

Also, I need not hang on to any more hair product coupons. We have enough to wash, condition, and style us into next year. It's a weakness of mine, trying new hair stuff - anything to tame this mane.

I just got a lovely email from a coworker (via my boss) praising my work. How nice! Some recognition and appreciation! Definitely made my day. Smile

great week...and wishing I was still there

August 28th, 2006 at 12:56 pm

I blinked, and a whole week flew by. I had a great time...shopping, sewing, taking photos, brushing the 28-year-old horse, rubbing the 15-year-old cat's belly...wish I could go back already. Wishing I hadn't left, actually. Spending time with my family and being back in my hometown really reminds me of the dreams and goals I've had. I'm not meeting any of them here, unfortunately. I feel stagnant. I'm not happy. I think big changes may be on the horizon. Time to break out the tarot cards again.

My sewing...well, let's just say it didn't turn out so well. I found that I can sew in a straight line, but the pattern I chose was not at all flattering on me. It seems I think I'm a wispy, willowy woman, when in fact, I have hips. Large ones. *sigh* My mom and sister claim that I have the same body type as my sister. Hard to imagine, considering I have about 60 pounds on her. I always thought she had my mom's body type, given that she has always been within five pounds of my mom's weight. The last time I weighed what my sister weighs, I was 16, and it lasted all of 15 minutes... Wink In any case, I clearly need to be more realistic when choosing patterns.

Band starts next week...and I'm not going back. I've found I'm happier without it. Perhaps I'll change my mind and go back in the spring, but not now. I've had my fill of playing boring holiday music for four months out of the year. I'll save $30, too.

I spent way too much money in the past two weeks - so much so that I have to dip into savings. I picked up lots of things for my family at Ikea, a few thing for my sister's birthday, developed some photos, bought some books and beads... Ugh. I'll have to have some no spend weeks soon to make up for it.

a riddle...mystery..enigma

August 15th, 2006 at 04:40 pm

It seems no medical doctor can figure me out.

I'm having symptoms similar to an episode from a few years ago (I'll spare you the gory details), so I went to the doc this afternoon. Still a mystery. He prescribed antibiotics and I'm hoping they magically clear it up again. If the sample I provide them shows evidence of something bad, well, there will be plenty of specialist visits in the future. Please, no. I've just about maxed out my sick time this year, and it's only August.

It's like this with so many things. The eyeball I shouldn't be able to see out of...the mind-numbing headaches that no one can melt away...and now this thing is back in all its glory. I just have to remember that I can see out of my eye, there are plenty of drugs I can take to alleviate the headaches, and antibiotics should help. Plus I'm not disabled, my mind is fully functioning, and I have lots of people who love me. Hard to remember all that when you're hugging the toilet, though.

Luckily, only a $15 copay and $10 for meds.

No word from the job interview front yet!

poor baby

August 11th, 2006 at 07:02 am

My cat got two shots and a microchip last night. He's not feeling so hot this morning. He wouldn't eat a morsel of food, which is completely unlike him. I hope he starts feeling better...I'm worried about him.

The bill? $115. Ouch. I suspect it was worse for him than for me, though.

I just cannot sleep well anymore. Every night this week has been filled with nightmares. I'm not sure what is going on with my pysche, but I'd like to get a good night's rest already! Blood running from faucets, snipers trying to kill me, bears attacking...I've about had it. I'm always a vivid dreamer, but enough is enough.

So glad it's Friday...

expensive weekend

August 7th, 2006 at 07:36 am

After such a great no-spend week, I can't say I'm too proud of the weekend.

Our dinner with friends on Friday was probably one of the most expensive nights out I've had. SO has this thing for insisting on paying for other people when we go out...admirable, but not when the bill is astronomical. Sushi plates galore, not cheap. It ended up being double what I'd budgeted for the month...all blown on one meal. Sigh. SO probably would have paid for it fully himself, but he forgot his wallet, so it went on our joint credit card.

Then I went clothes shopping and found a beautiful blue-gray suit, originally $200, on sale for $80. I bought it, a pair of pants, and a few shirts. I have an interview this week, so it will be nice to wear something other than black from head to toe. I hope the interview goes well - the job is at an actual publishing company, and it would be a pay increase.

I saved $20 at Target with my fat stack of coupons. The cashier was impressed, and a bit envious!

Our electric bill this month is astronomical. I should have expected it, given the 100 degree temps and our use of the air conditioner, but it is still a bummer.

My plump black cat is going to the vet this week. We were quoted $75 for shots and his checkup. Uh...I don't think so. He had all of his shots last year, and I don't think they all need to be administered yearly. If it truly is $75 for one cat, we'll be switching vets pronto.

I picked up two newspapers yesterday for the coupons. It's interesting to see which coupons are in our two major papers. They weren't the same. There's also this ridiculous city rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul, which makes me laugh a little when I can't find the Minneapolis paper in a St. Paul gas station for the life of me. There were huge displays all over the front of the store for the St. Paul paper, but the tiny Minneapolis stand was tucked away in the middle of the store, at knee level. Bizarre.

I can't afford to eat out for the rest of the month, so we'll be cooking! We'll have onion roasted potatoes and perhaps a lentil loaf for dinner tonight. I made up another loaf of cinnamon bread yesterday, which reminds me - Ima Saver, my bread maker is a Regal Kitchen Pro model K6725. I don't usually bake bread in it because I don't like the shape, but it makes fabulous dough for buns, breadsticks, pizza, cinnamon bread, etc. I bought my mother the same model on eBay a couple of years ago, and she loves it too!

great deals & coupon delights!

July 9th, 2006 at 05:27 pm

About a week ago, I checked out the Coupon Train forum and read all about it. It sounded really interesting...but I thought to myself, "I don't even use coupons as it is! How can I join a coupon train?" So today, I did my best to pull out the coupons I've saved up and use them.

Today I saved $33.05 using coupons, and got $10 back in rebates!

That's not much compared to some of the coupon greats around here, but they are inspiring me to do better. Perhaps I'll dip my toes in the Midwest Coupon Train the next time it rolls around.

PetSmart is giving $5 rebate gift cards if you buy certain items in-store. Mostly big bags of cat and dog food qualify, but since I had a $5 off Science Diet coupon, I used it and saved! Yippee!

I also used a ton of coupons at Target and came away with a lot of pop (thanks to those Coke Olympic coupons). My stash of soda is nowhere near the quantity of ImaSaver's, but it will do. Wink

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. The only thing I splurged on this weekend was a stack of books (a trip to

Text is Half Price Books and Link is http://www.halfpricebooks.com
Half Price Books set me back $42). I have a penchant for novels about the Tudor family, Elizabeth I in particular, and they had a couple of thick books I couldn't pass up. Also got a cookbook,
Text is Vegetarian Cookbook for Cheese Lovers and Link is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581823460/sr=8-1/qid=1152490935/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-2693566-1241407?ie=UTF8
Vegetarian Cookbook for Cheese Lovers. Mmmm, my kind of cookbook.

Several family members are popping in and out over the next couple of weeks. I should really plan menus. I have a lot of cleaning to do, too.

I didn't scare the birthday girls too much yesterday, and they were really excited about our present to them - time with us. I need to remember that time together is often so much more valuable than a book or a trinket.

psychotic cat

July 7th, 2006 at 02:54 pm

I'm cat-sitting for a friend of mine who is out of town for a couple of weeks. I've known her cats since they were kittens...in fact, I lived with them for two years. So no problem, right?

Wrong. Last night I picked up one of them and within four seconds, she swiveled around and slashed a nasty cut in my eyelid. No hissing, no growling, no squirming to get away - no warning. Just slashing. Totally psychotic.

I skipped work today and went to the doctor because the cut hadn't stopped bleeding. He said he couldn't put stitches in at this point, so he taped it back together as best he could and now I cross my fingers, hoping that it doesn't get infected (Neosporin at the ready).

What baffles me most is that the cat has never been anything but loved - never abused, always been indoors, lived a pampered existence. I'd expect that kind of behavior from a wild outdoor cat, not a spoiled indoor cat. It surely makes me appreciate my sweet little beasts! My previously-outdoor cat has far better manners.

Not looking forward to sharing this with my friend when she gets back. The only saving grace is that her other cat is quite sweet and was very happy to see me.

Tomorrow I'm going to SO's nieces' birthday party, looking like Igor with my puffy, bruised, taped eye. SO has taken to calling me a prize fighter. I should thoroughly frighten all the 6 year olds.

So, $15 more dollars down the drain for today's doctor's appt. I'm so thankful that the cat didn't scratch my eyeball, or I'd probably be blind.

Signing off for now - stay clear of vicious house-pets,


visited Aldi for the first time

July 3rd, 2006 at 02:00 pm

I visited Aldi this past weekend, with high hopes and expectations based on all the rave reviews here...and I'm sad to say, I was disappointed. There wasn't much in the store, and all the produce I picked up had mold on it. I bought a few mold-free things, and I will try them out in the coming weeks. A gallon of milk was a pretty good deal, but not worth driving to the store. Perhaps it's because the Aldi I visited was in a sketchy part of town? or because it was a Saturday? but I wasn't impressed. I may try another store at a different location, just to compare.

I also didn't realize that it was a cash-only kind of place. Oops! Had to use the cash machine and pay the convenience fee. I was ready with bags from home and a quarter for the cart, but not enough cash.

Next up, find a discount bread store nearby. Paying $3.00-$3.50 for a decent loaf of wheat bread is lunacy.

looking back on the last six months

June 30th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Six month averages

Savings: $171 per month
- Definitely not as high as it could be!

Normal bills: $788 per month

Medical bills & prescriptions: $118 per month
- Much higher than usual with all this chiropractic/headache care stuff

House/Pet needs: $168 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Food (including eating out and snacks at work): $260 per month
- Way too high. My grocery bills may put me in the Thrifty Plan of the

Text is USDA chart and Link is http://www.usda.gov/cnpp/FoodPlans/Updates/foodmay06.pdf
USDA chart, but eating out is busting my budget.

Entertainment: $175 per month
- Pretty high, what with all the crafting, photo-taking, and anniversary celebrating.

Gifts: $88 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Personal products/Clothing/Haircuts/Massages: $158 per month
- Pretty high for not having had a massage for half of those months - it's the spring/summer clothes.

Gasoline/Parking/Car Maintenance: $213 per month
- So high only because I finally fixed the car in March! Without that, only $63 per month.

The worst part about this? The average total spent is more than I take home per month. *sigh*

It's easy to feel like this!

(taken at the Como Zoo in March)

Target is the bane of my existence

June 26th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

and I was doing so well...

SO and I went out for ice cream on Saturday night. If anyone living in or visiting the Twin Cities has not yet been to

Text is Grand Ole Creamery and Link is http://twincities.citysearch.com/profile/5522986/saint_paul_mn/grand_ole_creamery.html
Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul, GO! It's a little pricey but so worth it. It's delicious, rich, homemade ice cream, and they put a little malted milk ball in the bottom of your waffle cone to prevent ice cream leaks. So cool! It's a good thing I don't live nearby. Afterwards we stopped by Walmart and $65 spontaneously flew out of our hands and into their cash registers.

The next day we went to the Arboretum...such a gorgeous place. I had never been. Next time, we'll bring a picnic basket and lie in the shade of the trees. Even with a full parking lot, it was easy to avoid the crowds. Afterwards, we went to Target, The Bane of My Existence. Yes, we needed cereal and yes, we needed a wedding gift. But $206? *sigh* We'll see how long we can go without visiting the grocery store/Target again.

I had made some financial goals for June, simply because I couldn't not make goals. Unfortunately the eating out/Target/groceries goal is a distant memory. I am happy to report, however, that I have only driven to work three times this whole month. Rock!

SO and I made our anniversary B&B reservation. I'm soooo looking forward to it. Smile Four years together certainly flew by.

Also looking forward to the chiropractor tonight! I think my new headache meds might be helping ever so slightly, so it will be nice to report an improvement.

And now for my latest career thoughts...I like researching people. I can find things on the internet like nobody's business and it's fun for me. I think it would be fascinating to do geneology research or work in a history museum doing research. I found a MA program in Milwaukee that sounded interesting - a double degree in Anthropology and Library Science. Still tossing it around in my head. It's 51 credits and about $9K per year if I'd get Minnesota reciprocity. I don't know that a degree is necessary, but it certainly is difficult to get a job at the Minnesota History Museum. and...Milwaukee??

I have contemplated being a private investigator, since that deals with researching people too. I just couldn't be the one sitting in the car for hours staking out the cheating husband, you know? I'd much rather be in the office, looking up information.

striving to not spend

June 20th, 2006 at 09:01 am

Not spending is going fairly well here. Every time I think about going shopping, I remind myself of the fact that I will most likely only have $12 left in my account at the end of this month. Not much wiggle room.

Free lunch today, courtesy of my employer. Can't complain!

On Sunday we went to a friend's barbeque and swam all afternoon. It was lovely and fairly inexpensive...just had to buy a few groceries. Last night we visited SO's parents and had dinner with them for a belated Father's Day gathering. Free food and lots of love, as always. I'm dragging today, since we didn't get home until around midnight.

This week I'm meeting a friend for dinner (hoping it won't be too expensive) and maybe going to the zoo with another friend. Next week I have a chiropractic appt, and we both took our anniversary off from work. We'll hopefully be going to a bed and breakfast (SO has yet to make reservations, so we'll see about that). We both agreed not to give each other gifts, but what did SO's parents do? Bought us something! I have no idea what it is but I am a little afraid of how much it cost. Every time we see them, it's like Christmas.

Have to make a vet appointment for one of the kitties...dreading the cost of that. Perhaps that's why I've put it off all month?