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Archive for October, 2005

Busy Day

October 31st, 2005 at 06:13 pm

I got to work about 30 minutes early and was really hopping till just a bit after 5 (I'm supposed to go at 4pm). The new package of assignments came in, so that made it alot easier to make people's schedules for the week.

When I got home it was already dark (5pm traffic, plus daylight savings.) Dad had supper ready - a baked potato with cheese, sour cream, veggie bacon crumbles, and cottage cheese. It was yummy and warm. Smile

I finally went ahead and ordered my family's Christmas gifts from mypoints. I got my mom a gift card from Macy's, my brother 2 gift cards from Gap (they only had the $10 ones left), and my Dad a webcertificate that can be used anywhere online. I hope they arrive in time for Christmas. I also got a notice that the gift card I bought for my brother's birthday shipped. I hope it gets there in time for his birthday (Friday).

So far tonight nobody's come by my door trick or treating. Frown I sure don't want that whole bag of candy sitting around here, so I guess I'll take it to work tomorrow - maybe give it to the front desk lady to give out - or put it in the breakroom for the drivers!

So far my ebay sales aren't going very well. I have one watcher on one of the items, but not much in the way of looksie loo's. If I could figure out a good way to describe my scarf and the bracelets, they'd probably make good Christmas gifts for someone.

Last night I gave myself a french manicure and also painted my toes with a sparkling red polish. My toes turned out good enough (not much skill involved there) but the french manicure --- well, let's just say nobody would mistake it for a professional job. Smile

Hard to believe that it's already the end of October. 2005 has just gone by so fast. Only six more weeks till I'm out of my 20's - Yikes! Sure am not where I wish I would've been by now financially (or in other ways too.) I guess its good that I've learned my financial lessons the hard way now, rather than later. Though I do sometimes envy people who somehow seem to have it all together financially (and otherwise) from a young age. No use in crying over spilt milk.

Spending:
Newspaper (for dad): $.50
York Pep Mints: (4) $.46

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Boredom

October 30th, 2005 at 04:56 pm

Well I really didn't do much at all today, except sit on my duff and surf the net. What a productive day - NOT! My neck an shoulder are feeling enough better so that I can turn my head without wincing or shouting miserably, so I should be able to go to work tomorrow with no problem. I'm not sure whether or not I should do my exercise routine or Pilates routine until it's more healed.

One of my surveyors called me ad nauseum today, trying to figure out how to catch the bus she's supposed to be surveying. I'm not really sure why she kept calling me after I told her the only idea I had for her to do. At least it was only using weekend minutes and not anytime minutes.

I was catching up a bit on the forums here, and came across Jeffery's $20 into $5000 challenge. It started back in July I guess. I'd been considering trying to find some ways to make some money, as well as get rid of more stuff, so this challenge I guess was just the kick in the pants I needed. I rumaged around a bit and found this prepaid phone card I'd gotten as a gift eons ago, an ethernet cable that I had never used, and a One-Year Bible (have SO many Bibles!) and then I listed all of them on Ebay. I also found some books, some scrabook pages, a beautiful scarf that came from somewhere in Europe - but I really have no use for it, and some silver bracelets an ex of mine gave me years ago that I've held onto for some reason. I'm going to list the other items maybe tomorrow. I'm not sure how to list the bracelets exactly, because I really don't know much about jewlery -and I'm not sure about the scarf either. I'm going to ask my dad also if he has anything he'd like me to sell for him. Smile

I also spent some time today looking at my website. I'm really not sure what to do with it. It represents several hundred hours of designing and maintenance time, but it was purposed for when I was teaching. I really hate to delete all of that work and time I put into it, but it's just not serving any purpose for me anymore. I still own the domain name (not a name that anybody else would think of in a million years, I'd imagine). I'd like to use it again, and maybe sign up for google's ad sense and a few other affiliate type things, but I'm not sure what I'd put on there to draw traffic. Maybe make it a blog and call it "Musings of an Out of Work Frugal Singleton." Smile

Well, it's not quite time to head off to bed. Maybe I'll spend some more time surfing the net - or horrors! maybe do something more productive, like, heaven forbid - put my laundry away???? Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas

Laura

Pain in the neck! Bite in the wallet :(

October 29th, 2005 at 08:21 pm

Well, I woke up this morning totally planning on going to church, taking a nap in the afternoon, then getting my costume all put together for the Halloween party, then of course having a great time at the party. Unfortunately my body seemed to have other plans, so none of that happened. Frown I got up, and did my usual morning wake up stretch - when OW! I pulled a muscle in my neck!!!

For the first couple hours I could NOT move my head to the right, and if I had to bend down to get something I had to do a deep knee bend and then bend from the waist. Finally I took some extra strength tylenol, and sat in my recliner with the full body masage thing I got from Wal-mart at an after Christmas sale with a gift card two years ago. I guess my cat took the vibrations from the chair to be like purring, so I got a lapful of cat purring loudly away, which made it difficult to adjust myself to get the full effect on my neck and shoulder (cuz ya know if the cat wants to sit on your lap, who are you to make him move! Wink ) After a couple hours doing that, I was feeling *slightly* better, but the heat/massage function just was not getting to the sorest part, so I decided that I should go to Walgreens and get some of those spot specific heating pads.

Let's just say that driving - especially backing up - when it hurts to turn your head more than 5 degrees to the left, is painful and not reccommended. Somehow I made it to Walgreens without backing over anyone or anything. I went to the pharmacy and asked the lady what she reccomended (besides heating pads.) She told me since the tylenol wasn't working that great, there was something else over the counter I could try - of course after searching high and low for it, turns out they didn't have any in stock! At first I took a box of the name brand Therma pads - along with a $.55 coupon. When I got to the counter I asked the lady if they happened to also be on sale. She looked in the circular, and found out that that brand wasn't on sale, but another one was - $3 less, even with coupon. It ended up that she actually went and found a box of the sale brand for me (cuz I couldn't find it, and the employee in that section couldn't find one!) I still wanted that Orubitz (sp?) that the pharmacist had reccommended, so I went to Krogers (nope) and then to Walmart. Walmart didn't have it either, but it did have the same brand of heating pads I'd gotten on sale, for $.7 less than Walgreens sale price. I went ahead and picked up another box.

About the heating pads. Let's just say that they don't stay on very well - at least not on the neck/shoulder area - and especially if you can't get all your hair out of the way (which is difficult when it's painful to use both arms to sweep hair off of neck!) I ended up spending the afternoon with an empty water bottle behind my neck holding the "adhesive" heating pad in place, sitting in my recliner, finishing a book, then watching Disc 2 Season 5 and Disc 1 Season 6 of S*x and the City.

Not quite how I had planned my day to go. Tomorrow I'm supposed to do an assignment (due to my supervisor hours being cut, I'm taking routes to make up the hours). But with my neck as sore as it is, I don't think that riding on a bus for 6 hours would be very good for it, and I'm not sure if I should try for an hour long one way drive just yet. So, I think tomorrow I'm going to continue nursing my neck/shoulder, and hope that by Monday morning it will be back to normal.

I've never pulled a neck muscle before, and I pray that I never do again. But one thing this has shown me is one of the not so great things about being single (as if I didn't already know.) In watching the different seasons of S*x and the City, one thing I've realized is that even when none of them were in a relationship, they always had each other to rely on and to hang out with. That's something that is definitely missing in my life. I have awesome friends who are only a phone call away, but I don't have any friends that are close enough to just go hang out with, or go to a movie, or whatever.

Sorry. Didn't mean to go into downerville.

Bright side - didn't use half a tank of gas to get to the party and back - saved $12 - 14

Walgreens: $3 - heating pads, $3 junkfood ( I know, I know, but chocolate's good medicine, right?)
Walmart: $2.92 - heating pads

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Laura

Defensive Driving

October 28th, 2005 at 06:33 pm

Last week I completed a defensive driving course online (only $25 - let me know if you'd like the link) for my insurance discount. One of the things it stressed was the 12 second rule. Basically that you should always be looking ahead and around you for 12 seconds ahead - to be alerted to possible "collision traps." Well, tonight I was driving home from having to go into work (on my day off, long story) and was pretty tired. I was about five miles or so from home on a stretch of road that I've driven many, many times, and is not in an area where you'd expect to find pedestrians. I wasn't keeping my 12 second vigil. Something just happened to catch my eye, and I realized that there was someone walking across the road in front of me with a dog! I came with in inches of hitting the person and their dog. All I can say is that it had to have been an angel that caught my attention. It just makes me sick to think about what *could* have happened! Thank God nothing *did* happen!!!

Today I saved myself some money, and I spent money. I called SBC (phone) to find out how much a basic, no frills line, plus dial-up, plus my cell phone would be - ~$95/mo. Then I called Charter (cable) to cut back to basic cable, and cut my cable internet. I did end up cutting back to basic cable, but I was offered a really good deal to keep the cable internet. So, I decided to stick with it (instead of going to dial-up). I am saving approximately $70/mo by doing this.

I bought my brother his birthday gift from Circuit City via mypoints.com. He must have a sixth-sense or something, because a few minutes after having bought it, guess who I got a call from? Only my favorite brother in the world. Wink Smile Then I purchased "you need a budget" from Karen's blog. It looks much better than anything I've ever put together before, and much better than Quicken or MS Money. I'm going to have to spend some time exploring it.

When I had my car inspected today, it almost didn't pass inspection. All because of my windsheild wipers!!! Luckily the garage I had it inspected at had wipers, so I just bought them there, and passed inspection. When he first said those words though " doesn't pass inspection" I think my heart sunk to my stomach!

After getting my oil changed, my dad and I went to Walmart to pick up some Morningstar (veggie) products. Walmart has them on sale right now for $2.28 and we have a *bunch* of $1 coupons. Smile Smile While we were there I got a call from one of my surveyors telling me that their Palm had lost the survey program. He has an assignment early tomorrow morning, and needed his Palm for that. So it ended up that I had to drive an hour there (because of traffic) and an hour and a half back (traffic) just to fix his palm!! There went a 1/8 of a tank of gas!

Something else I did on my way home was to stop at Albertsons. My dad had asked me to pick up a paper, and I had decided on a new costume for the Halloween party I'm going to tomorrow night and needed safety pins. I also picked up two bottles of nail polish and a bottle of nail polish remover. One of my rewards in my exercise plan is to give myself a manicure - so I bought a french manicure set (I love the look of a french manicure.)

Btw - I am going as "static cling." I'm going to wear my black pedal pushers (longish shorts) and a black shirt. Then I'm going to safety pin various pieces of clothing all over me. Wink Safety pins are more expensive than I thought they were, $2 for a package of 50. Frown

I switched over to a new electric company this past week. Today in the mail I got a notice from ERCOT telling me my account had been switched over - making sure I had done it, and not someone else. Ironcially, I also got my monthly bill from TXU, which was MUCH MUCH better - only $60. Hopefully with my being more vigilant about keeping unneeded lights off, as well as the new companies lower rates (we'll see) my next bill will be even lower.

A pretty spendy day overall.

B-day gift for Ryan: $30
YNAB: $20
Car Inspection: $40
Wiper Blades: $8
Oil change: $22.47
Gas: $20 (not quite full - $2.31/gallon)
Albertsons: $18.31 (newspaper, nail polish, french manicure kit, remover, etc)
Music Download: $.95 (walmart.com -- part of my reward system)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Headache :(

October 27th, 2005 at 07:25 pm

Earlier this evening I was checking around the site to see what was new. I found the avatars - a whole bunch of them. But I picked the one I'm using for one reason -- it's an almost exact replica of my cat Monkey!!! I also thought it was pretty cool how you can now add a picture to your profile. If anyone wants to see a pic of me and my favorite guy, check out my profile. Smile Smile

My cat woke me up this morning an hour before my alarm went off. I managed to get back to sleep for a little while, but by the time my alarm actually went off, I *just* could not make myself get up out of bed to go exercise. So I decided to take this morning as my morning off from exercise.

Then, work was just hassle after hassle after hassle. Nothing terrible really, just kind of frustrating. Mainly computer and Palm Pilot troubles. The surveyor's use a Palm Pilot with GPS as they ride the busses, and we've had lots of problems with the battery packs not working, the routes not being entered correctly, the Palms freezing up, etc. etc. The new assignments didn't come in today, but I wouldn't have had time to do anything with them anyway.

With all of that activity, I didn't manage to eat "lunch" till about 3pm I developed a major headache, due to I think stress, not eating, and over tiredness. This headache still has not left me. When I got home, I took a walk with my dad, hoping that getting some endorphins pumping would help. But it didn't help very much. I had an even worse headache on Monday afternoon. Asprin is NOT helping. I have a cold water bottle behind my neck right now, and that does seem to be helping a little bit.

I don't work tomorrow, which is good so I can take care of some things. I have to get my oil changed - amazing how fast the miles add up when you have a 30 mile one-way commute 4 - 6 days a week! Then I need to get my car registered. I was going to do it last Friday, but I didn't have my insurance papers with me (I went to a Nichole Nordeman concert in Dallas and stayed overnight with my mom.) I saw gas today for $2.37 - I hope I'm not making a mistake by waiting till tomorrow to see if it's a little less. I may actually be able to fill up with a $20 bill. Long time since that's happened.

I didn't spend any money today, which is good. Though of course tomorrow I'll probably blow through $100 or more. I need to get my brother's birthday present bought (I'm getting him a gift card for Circuit City - he loves video games, and I have no clue which ones he has or doesn't have) through mypoints.com, so I'm taking care of his gift, plus I'm earning some more points. Smile I have almost 10,000 points. I'm thinking of using them for Christmas gifts this year for my immediate family. Anyone know how long it takes for gift cards to arrive that you order with points?? Btw - this is over two years worth of points - haven't spent any yet. Smile

I'm going to start tracking my spending again for November. I think I've totally lost sight of how much money I'm actually spending since not having a steady monthly amount coming in. Until I got this job, whenever I needed money, I just made another transfer from ING, which made it pretty difficult to track actual spending (without writing it all down of course.)

Ok, I think I'm going to get a cold washcloth and go to bed. Maybe this headache will go away SOON!

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Update

October 26th, 2005 at 06:15 pm

Hi! I can hardly believe its been so long since I last posted here! The last time I posted, I mentioned about the possibility of my having FINNAly found a job. Well .... I got it! Smile Smile For the first week I was an assistant supervisor/surveyor. Then the supervisor decided that she couldn't handle the job, and quit. SO, guess who got a promotion?? Smile Smile

I am so loving it. I get to sit in front of a computer all day, synching the data the surveyors bring in, helping problem solve various issues that come up, making schedules for the surveyors, etc. It looks like it is going to last till Dec 11, which is a couple more weeks than I was expecting, which is very good.

Lynn, the person whom I'm in contact with a lot at the employment agency, has pretty much assured me that I won't be lacking for another job when this project is over. Now whether that means a permenant job, or another temp job, who knows. But it does feel pretty good to know that I wont' have to be touching my savings again for a couple more months.

A couple weeks ago I graduated with my class from Pathways. Yay! No more spending there! Smile One thing I decided to focus on during my last weekend was to become a more healthy person. My first goal has been to make exercise a reflexive part of my life. So far, so good. I have been working out at least four times a week - using some previously owned video's, plus I purchased a book on beginner's Pilates as well as a DVD called "Easy Pilates." This is my fourth week in a row to have 4 workouts or more. I'm planning on reevaluating my progress and deciding whether I'm ready for my next goal, on December 10.

As far as money goes, I think I've been doing okay. I haven't been tracking like I should. I just find it very difficult when you never know exactly how much is going to be coming in each week. My second electric bill here really threw me for a loop - especially since I don't think the air was turned lower than 80 degrees, if it was even turned on at all -- $100!!!! I was used to more like $40 - $60. Hopefully it will be less this month.

Sunday night I took my cat to the vet because I he was having diffuclty with a bathroom action. It was an hour's ride to the vet (night clinic) and half-way there, he no longer had trouble with that action. I went ahead and took him to see the vet anyway because I was worried that there might have been something going on that caused it in the first place. Thankfully it turned out that he checked out just fine. Night Visit to vet = $88.67 ; Getting home at 2 a.m. = little sleep ;
Peace of mind about my cat's health = Priceless. Smile

Ok, I'm off now to watch disc one of S*x and the City -Season 5. Smile

Hope everyone is keeping warm. Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Laura