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Archive for January, 2009

Free Book about Selling on Ebay

January 31st, 2009 at 09:58 pm

As I was reading through various blogs today, I came across this post. Since so many of you are into Ebay and participating in DisneySteve's challenge, I thought you may be interested in this post.

Free Book On Selling On Ebay

The post provides you with a link to download the book. Enjoy!

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My post for Saturday probably wouldn't be terribly interesting to any of you here - kind of a link love / advertiser love type post. Smile Feel free to check it out anyway if you want. Big Grin

I realized something today

January 30th, 2009 at 06:44 pm

This morning when I did my usual check-in of my various financial places, I noticed that Yodlee wasn't able to log in to my MyPoints Visa account.

I wanted to figure out why, so I went to the actual site. MyPoints Visa is a WAMU branded card, so Chase is taking over it. The problem was that they were forcing me to change my username! I couldn't use the same one I was using - I HAD to change it!

I tried about 6 different variations, and they wouldn't accept any of them. So I finally had to go and make a really long that will be a PAIN to type in.

Once I got on to my account, I noticed a big button saying something about learning about the changes. After reading that, I came to the realization that my easy way of earning lots of points will soon be a way of the past.

After March 1, I'll only be able to earn points by reading emails or buying stuff from linked websites. Le sigh.

It wss good while it lasted.

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My post today: Friday Funnies: Men At The Office.

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I'm looking forward to tomorrow night. I'm going to be attending a meetup at a vegetarian restaurant. They have quite a good selection. Their prices are pretty good too.

A little padding for your trouble . .

January 29th, 2009 at 06:32 pm

Yes, this is another post about the gym saga. Smile I talked to E today and asked him what was up with the $35 NSF fees, and told him I'd be willing to work tomorrow afternoon.

He didn't really answer me about the NSF fees (we 'communicated' via voicemail tag) but did say that 'they' were going to pad my next check with an extra $25 - 50. He didn't say if that was including the NSF fees or not.

Personally, I would rather just get the fees refunded ASAP and know for sure that when I'm given a check or other form of payment, that I can feel confident in depositing it into my bank account.

I'd prefer not to get 'padding,' because quite obviously, they really can't afford it!

What do you all think? Should I tell him to not give me any extra? That I wasn't making the fuss because I wanted more money, I just wanted what I had earned?

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My post today is: A Meme . In case you don't know what a Meme is, it is another word for an interview. Another blogger sent me five questions after reading through my blog.

It was fun! Big Grin

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The weather started out really bad this morning. Really, really THICK fog. When I got to my office building's grounds, there was even some leftover ice which my car of course found. It likes to do the slide apparently. Smile

By the afternoon though, things had warmed up quite nicely. That's Texas weather for you. Big Grin

Frozen Shut!

January 28th, 2009 at 06:56 pm

Those of you who live in places that have been getting hit hard this winter will probably laugh at me. But that's okay. Smile

This morning, for the second time since I've lived in Texas, my car doors were frozen shut!

The first time I experienced frozen car doors was my Junior year of college (1996!) I was supposed to go home that weekend, but between my car doors being frozen shut and the main highways near where my parent lived being shut down - I didn't go anywhere. Smile

Today though, I did manage to get my door open with a lot of chipping at the edges using my car key. Yes. My car key. Big Grin Bright thinker that I am, I left both of my ice scrapers inside my car.

After about 30 minutes, I had my car defrosted and deiced, and headed off to work.

There is a slight incline from my complex's parking lot to the street. I didn't drive down it - oh no - I SLID sideways down it! That probably should have been a good clue that I needed to wait a bit longer to go to work.

Of course, I didn't wait. I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it back UP to my apartment - so figured I should go on ahead. My usual 20 minute morning commute took a little more than an hour, but at least I made it safely.

Unfortunately, at least 5 people in Texas died due to the icy conditions and driving. One of them was a 22 year old teacher. Frown

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My post today is: Do You Want To Meet People Who Are Like You?. You may recognize some of the things I mention. Smile

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I don't remember if I mentioned that along with the lost Toll Tag, I also had a missing glove.

I've searched through everything I took to CA with me, and it still hasn't turned up. So, tonight I stopped at the Family Dollar and picked up a new pair of gloves for $2.

They had quite the interesting selection of gloves. I had to really dig to find any that were .... er.. normal looking.

Of course you know what's going to happen now that I've bought myself a new pair of gloves, right? Today will be the last cold day of the season! Big Grin (I can dream right?)

Ice, Ice, Baby! :)

January 27th, 2009 at 04:57 pm

Yay! We were let out of work an hour early today due to ice storm warnings.

Traffic and weather weren't bad at all on my way home, so hopefully it remains that way for other people today.

We had a birthday party for our company's owner today. The most delicious ($40) chocolate cake and ice cream.

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Thanks to dmontgrey, I realized that my today.com blog wasn't letting non today'ers leave comments. That's all fixed now. Big Grin

My post today is probably pretty funny considering just how much I'm into sports and all. Wink

How To Celebrate Superbowl 43 Inexpensively.

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When I got home tonight I had a note on my door from the apartment management. It told me that if I signed a new long-term lease, my rent would go up by $5/month. Or, I could go month to month and have my rent increase $50/month.

Somehow, I had thought that the month to month rent was much higher than the long-term lease.

I'm having a lot of debate in my mind over whether to keep the question/possibility of CA alive or not. Given the state of the economy right now, and the utter lack of job availability I've seen so far in the area I'm wanting to go to . . . plus the fact that I have a job that in a few weeks I'll have been at for 3 years . . ????

I'm just not sure if I should go for the 6 mo lease for only $5/mo more than now, and then less flexibility if a job should miraculously turn up that fits my criteria, or bite the bullet and go for the month to month lease for the extra $50/mo.

Right now I'm really leaning towards telling my dad I've decided NOT to pursue the idea of moving out to CA. I just am not firm enough on that to make the step of signing on the dotted line of a long-term lease.

Seeing RED!

January 26th, 2009 at 05:44 pm

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will probably be able to guess what I am talking about. I can't be specific in naming what I'm talking about for a number of reasons.

*I just deleted a couple paragraphs after thinking better about it.

To sum it up: Got an email telling me I was no longer wanted at a company (not gym.) Am royally ticked off. Supposedly will have a chance to be wanted again in a few days. Am supposed to 'review' materials. Funny thing though, I can't log into my account?!

-Although it's probably a good thing I can't log in, because then I might say something in the forum there and *really* be locked out. Rolleyes

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Deep breath here. On to other subjects.

I went to the dentist today. She told me I need to floss more. (sheepish grin) But otherwise my teeth look fine. Whew!

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It's rainy and cold here. In the morning it's supposed to be rainy and freezing -- icy roads. Fun.

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My main post today: Do You Have a Grocery Store Rewards Card?.

I also posted a youtube video of a *really* funny cat video set to a rap type song called Mean Kitty. (I don't like rap much, but I liked this song . . your mileage may vary.)

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After the dentist visit today, I was just famished, and could not resist the siren call of fast food. My first idea was Taco Bell, but then I changed my mind to Burger King.

Not healthy food at all.

I asked for a BK Veggie Whopper w/cheese. What I got was a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayo?, and a slice of cheese - no gardenburger!

I asked for a small onion rings. Got that.

I asked for a small shake. Got the shake, didn't get a straw.

I'd held out for six weeks on eating fast food -- and breaking that tonight just wasn't worth it.

If you like Panera's ..

January 25th, 2009 at 04:06 pm

Before my dad moved to CA, he enjoyed going to Panera's for a drink or a small sandwich and then using their Wi-Fi since he didn't have access where he was living.

I ran across this info about Panera's on another frugal forum I visit, and thought some of you may be interested.

Panera's is serving free coffee on Wednesday, January 28, along with free samples of their breakfast foods.
Free Coffee at Panera's

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Today has been a pretty slow day for me overall. My allergies really are bugging me, so maybe that's why I'm feeling so tired.

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My dad gave me a list of websites of places that supposedly are hiring in CA. I went through all of them, and the only thing I found was a head start teacher, but that would pay about what I'm getting now.

I passed along an email I got from ChaCha looking for sales reps in Texas to my mom. I think she'd do a really good job of it, once she caught on to how great ChaCha is. Smile She's applied already, and is now waiting to hear back.

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My post today is: Sunday Sustenance: Jan 25 - 31

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It's hard to believe that there is only a week left of the first month of 2009.

Time waits for no man (or woman.)

Don't Leave Home Without It!

January 24th, 2009 at 05:53 pm

Without what you may ask?

A. Credit Card
B. House Keys
C. Camera

Well, both A and B are very good things to have with you, the answer today is C.

Until this Christmas I had been without a good working camera of any kind for, oh I'd say at least 4 years. I had a camera on my phone of course, but eh..., easy to take the pictures but not so easy to transfer them somewhere useful. So, I got out of the habit of picture taking.

Now though, I have been taking more and more pictures of various things.

So, this afternoon I headed over to the library to pick up a book that was on hold, and drop off a couple other books.

As I headed into the library, I passed by this car and had to do a double take. In the car there were not just one, but TWO large dogs. One dog was sitting in the drivers seat, and the other was sitting in the passenger seat.

It would have made for such a funny picture - but alas! my camera was still at home. Frown

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My post today is: Simple Pleasures - A Birthday To Remember .

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So E never called me today like he was supposed to do. This doesn't really surprise me too much. Now I guess we'll have to see if he actually remembers to come up with a plan. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give the chance of it happening a 3, and that's being optimistic.

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Did you read about the model who had a UTI that got into her bloodstream? The doctors had to cut off her hands and feet, but the infection still ended up killing her. She was only 20. So very sad.

She probably thought she had it all.

Life is so precious. We really need to treasure each and every day we are given.

Better day ;)

January 23rd, 2009 at 07:38 pm

Work was good today - kept pretty busy throughout the day. Got the letter sent off to the RRC to fix my mistake.

I went to the deli for lunch. They have two selections that I can eat - Egg Salad or Spinach & Swiss in a Pita. I very much prefer the Spinach & Swiss, but they don't have much demand for it, so don't have it very often.

I hadn't been to the deli since probably sometime in November.

Today I walked in and got in line. As I checked out what they had laid out, a "YES" escaped my lips because I spied the Spinach mixture. Smile One of the men behind the counter smiled at me and asked "You want the Spinach and Swiss right?"

The other ladies behind the counter also knew what I wanted. Smile Then I got to the register, and the manager saw me, smiled, and said, "Spinach and Swiss, right?"

I chose a good day to treat myself to the Deli. Big Grin

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After work I stopped by the gym to talk to E. I basically told him that I couldn't continue working for the gym when I never knew whether my check would bounce or not. Then I handed him my key that opens the other gym.

He pretty much apologized and said that he understands where I'm coming from. Then he told me that he really hopes I would change my mind because my few hours a week is pretty important - not many are willing to do a 3 hr shift once a week.

After talking for a bit more, I told him that I would be willing to keep working for the gym, IF I could be 110% sure that whenever I am paid, that there are NO chances of a bounced check.

He said that he will work on a plan for that to happen. Since my pay is roughly $45 or so every two-weeks, he may just make an exception and give me cash.

I felt much better after talking with him, but time will tell whether I am in the gym next Friday afternoon or not.

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My post today: Friday Funny - Did You Forget Something At The Office?.

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My poor grandma. She was scheduled to have a colonoscpy (sp?) yesterday. She stopped eating the night before and -cleaned- herself out. Then yesterday her appt was for 2 p.m. Her and my dad were still waiting at 3:30 p.m.

Finally Dad got the attention of someone, and the doctor saw her. She was told she didn't need it because they don't usually give them to people over 80. Polyps take 7 years to grow, then another 7 years to develop into cancer -- plus if they did any kind of surgery in that area, it would be much more difficult -- and really not worth it.

So, after nearly 24 hours of not eating, she and my dad went to the local Souplantation and ATE!

Back to work

January 22nd, 2009 at 06:43 pm

This morning I felt much better, so I went to work. I was *very* busy all day long.

I made a pretty big mistake though. There was this report I was working on to send in to the Railroad Commission. I had all the numbers figured correctly after having painstakingly entered a years worth of them for two different companies on a spreadsheet - then calling the companies to verify my numbers.

I needed to finish that report today, and get it sent off. So, I figured out the total, and started entering it on the first line. However I caught myself making a 6 instead of a 9. Fixed it with a little white out.

Sent it to the manager who has to sign the paperwork. He signed it and gave it back to me. I put it in the mail.

6 hours later . . .

Sh, the person who asked me to do this project, came to me and showed me the folder I'd filed the copy of the form I'd mailed. Changing the last 9 to a 6 wasn't my only mistake. I had also replaced the 9's in the thousands place with 0's - and hadn't caught it.

I *really* thought I'd done a good job on it. And yet, I muck up again. Ugh!

I've written a letter to the RRC to explain the accounting mistake, and hopefully rectify the situation. We'll see what happens I guess. (I had the numbers written correctly on the draft sheet - but somehow got 0 in my head!)

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So E calls me tonight - leaves a voicemail. Not word one about the bounced check - just 'Laura could you help me out by opening g2 in the morning?'

I called him back and left a voicemail telling him I'd do it - but that we needed to talk tomorrow - in my most serious unhappy sounding tone possible.

He leaves me a voicemail (this time I purposely didn't answer) and tells me thanks, and sure we can talk tomorrow. All in a cheery voice.

I don't think he gets it does he?

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I bought groceries tonight.

$11.67 from Walmart - fruit, frz dinners, pizza, chocolate Frown

I could have just gotten the fruit and been fine - but yesterday got craving pizza and almost ordered delivery - so decided to buy myself a Totino's for $1.12 instead tonight.

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My post tonight: How To Save Money on Your Home Phone.

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Sorry for kind of a downer post.

I may have goofed

January 21st, 2009 at 04:23 pm

Um . . do you remember my post on Friday about my second gym paycheck bouncing and how mad I was about it? I wrote E kind of a brusque note letting him know I wasn't happy about the situation - I was very formal in my writing, not my usual style. I think he got the picture that I was really upset.

So, today I got an email from him telling me that I wasn't needed to open the gym for the next two Friday mornings, but still needed for closing. Hmmm ... There's only two reasons I can think of for that - he's decided to open later or he's replaced me with someone else.

I have been considering quitting altogether before all of this happened. It's been difficult not having my Friday afternoons to get errands done before the weekend.

What do y'all think? If I did quit, that would be the end of my free membership - but I do have plenty of exercise equipment at home that I could use. It would also be the loss of about $100/mo -- but I could probably make that up via ChaCha or other resources.

If I did quit, then I also wouldn't have any need for using Chase anymore, since the main reason I opened my account there was to deposit the gym checks.

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I stayed home sick again today. Felt a bit better than yesterday, but still not good enough to go into work. Ugh.

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My post today: Like Music? Want It Free? Try This!

President Obama and Pancakes :)

January 20th, 2009 at 04:36 pm

I wasn't feeling very good today - in fact I think I caught some kind of a stomach virus - cuz last night and this morning, I saw a lot of my bathroom. Ugh.

So, I stayed home from work today.

Since I was home anyway, I decided to go ahead and watch the historic event happening today. The inauguration of our new President.

As you may have gleaned from me before, I don't have cable. I suppose NBC would've been covering it - but I ended up watching it live on MSN.

It was so beautiful and inspiring. (even with my internet connection hiccuping at least once every 10 minutes!)

I hope President Obama hasn't set his sights too high, too lofty. But, I also hope that WE The People will be willing to help him bring about the goals he set before us today. THAT is the only way true change can come about.

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As I was watching the broadcast today, I was also thinking about September 11. I was trying to think if it would have been possible in 2001 to have watched a live feed via the internet.

I remember being glued to my tv that night, and all of the next day - watching MSNBC transfixed. I had cable then.

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I was checking stats on my today.com blog, and saw that I had had another hit from Google! I checked to see what the search terms were, and was SHOCKED to see that they were 'quinoa pancakes'!

I clicked on the search link, and found out that my blog was THIRD in the search results!!!

I think I'll have to post my recipe for it. Too bad I ate them already, otherwise I would already have a picture to use.

ETA: I double checked it, and it was actually google.ca the one for Canada that my site comes up third. Interesting.
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My post today is What To Do On A Tuesday Night - For Free .

An offer I had to refuse

January 19th, 2009 at 06:38 pm

Eta: Speaking of cats, I saw this *hilarious* post on another blog and just had to share it! Sunday Comics With Daisy The whole blog is pretty cute and funny really, and is written by Daisy the cat. Big Grin

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Today at work my former carpool rider told me that the kitty she took in to her home about 8 months ago, needs a new home. The kitty had a litter of kittens, which carpooler found good homes for, but kept Mama Cat.

The problem is that carpooler has a much older cat (16 yo) and Mama Cat is a youngster and likes to play and bugs older cat a lot.

Carpooler wanted to give Mama Cat to me (spayed, all shots, declawed, a sweetheart) because she knows I'd be a good home, and because I'm in the same complex, so she could visit Mama Cat.

My heart wanted to say yes. Many of my reservations about getting a new pet - all the vet costs, neutralized. But, I had to say no.

The timing just isn't right. If I knew that I was for sure going to be staying here for another year or more, then it would be different. But, right now I don't know if I'll be here a month from now.

It just wouldn't be fair to the Mama Cat or to the carpooler. Frown

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On a lighter note . . . check out what the Absentminded Technician did tonight . . . How To NOT Check Your Smoke Detector!

Productive Day :)

January 18th, 2009 at 04:51 pm

Although I stayed up WAY too late last night (err.. this morning?) I still managed to accomplish some things that I had put off.

Don't laugh . . . I got all my stuff put away from my CA trip! Big Grin

One of the bad things about having a king sized bed is that more than half of it can be covered with a suitcase, clothes, etc., and it can still be slept on quite comfortably. (I really should have taken a before picture .. err no.)

I also did a major trash run (bags in front of my door ready to go out in the morning.)

Then of course did a dish run and a load of dishes in the dishwasher. I also cleared my kitchen table off of all the accumulated mail, advertisements, etc which had been building up.

Last, but not least, I entered 10 codes for the Coke Rewards points. (I have a shoebox full of the cardboard codes and cap codes still to enter - 99% of them given to me by my mom and stepdad who drink lots of Coke -mostly diet Coke.) I don't know why I'd been procrastinating so long on doing that. Every time I go to my mom's I get loaded up with more . .

If I would've entered these when I first got them, I would've had enough for the first movie ticket - back when they were only 330 points. But now it looks like they don't even have them anymore! Yikes! I guess I can try for the 1-day pass to Universal Studios for 1000 pts. ... just wouldn't be the same purpose. Ack. Procrastination hurts!
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Saturday and Sunday were NSD's. So, I think that means I have 12 NSD's so far for January. (I don't count things such as paying tolls or paying monthly bills as spending. Gas, groceries, etc count.)

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I'm listening to Pandora.com right now and one of my favorite songs is playing - Bubbly by Colbie Calliat. Whenever I hear it, it puts a smile on my face. Big Grin

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My post today is my meal plan for the week if you're interested. Smile

Sunday Sustenance: Week of Jan 18 - 24

4 Years Ago . .

January 17th, 2009 at 07:41 pm

4 years ago I posted my very first blog entry for Keeping It Frugal in Texas. At that time I was going through my last year of teaching, and trying to figure out just what I wanted to do when I grew up. Smile

Eventually the school year came to a close, and life took several interesting turns. By February of 2006 I wasn't sure if I was going to find another full-time job, but my fellow bloggers sent me the good job vibes, and I found my current job.

Not very long ago, I had someone ask me what is it that makes it worthwhile to keep a blog here at Saving Advice.

This was my answer:

I would say that there is one really big advantage to blogging at Saving Advice -- The Community!

We stick up for each other. We share our ideas with each other, ask for advice, and even vent our frustrations without worrying about being belittled or put down or thought less of. Once in awhile we will get someone here who doesn't quite 'get' the fact that no one will put up with someone putting down another blogger.

I've seen it happen a number of times where a comment has been made by a 'passer by' that is unkind, and WHOOSH they are kindly, but firmly made aware that that isn't acceptable in our blogging community.

No, you can't make money off this blog - as in actual earnings from the website. However, the ideas generated from the many people who come here, along with various challenges bloggers propose throughout the year (not to mention the ongoing $20 challenge) you could potentially SAVE a lot of money.


Thanks for the memories. Big Grin

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Now for a bit of laughter, my post today
Laughter, the Best Medicine . It includes my first ever video uploaded to Youtube! Big Grin

Happy! But also so annoyed!

January 16th, 2009 at 08:50 pm

Okay, I'm going to start with the good.

Work was good today. I stayed very busy the whole day, and a vendor bought pizza for all of us. Free food. Smile

If you remember, I lost my TollTag sometime between Dec 24 when driving to my mom's and Jan 6, driving back home. I had the feeling that it would be okay for me to continue to go through the Toll Tag area, even though my tag wasn't on my windshield. I had found my tag on the floor of my car a number of times before *after* getting to work, and had never received any violations.

However, Tuesday night my mom made me worried that maybe I had been wracking up violation fines. So, W, TH, and Fri I went through the pay booths. Ugh.

Tonight I stopped at the Toll Tag office on my way home from working at the gym. I explained the situation, and was told that I was right. Since my license plate is registered to my Toll Tag, it automatically goes against my account - no violation fines. Whew!

I had to pay a $25 fee (can be refunded if I find my tag) to deactivate my old tag since I didn't have it to turn in. Thankfully they have gone to a new type of Toll Tag that is similar to the car registration/inspection stickers which stick to the inside of your windshield. I guess enough people complained about how often their tags fell off that they changed the design! Big Grin

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I was looking at my stats today for my today.com blog. It shows you what websites your unique visits are coming from, and if any of your posts are showing up in Google searches.

Guess what? Big Grin I had TWO unique visits from a Google search which gave them my post on MyPoints Visa vs Chase Rewards Visa! Woo hoo! I've been indexed! Big Grin

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Unfortunately my day turned less great when I got home and checked the mail. In the mail there was a letter from Chase telling me that my last gym paycheck had been returned for NSF.

That by itself really made me annoyed.

But, it's worse. By the 13th, I figured the check had cleared and it was safe to go ahead and move it, plus some other money to ING. So, I scheduled two withdrawals for the 14th. There would be about $20 left in my account after the two withdrawals.

The check bounced on the 13th. (Must have been after I checked my balance.) The first transaction went through fine. However, there was only $88 left in the account when the 2nd transaction of $100.00 went through.

So, in one day's time, due to one bounced check, my Chase account is now in the negative.

This is the second time I had a gym paycheck bounce. The first time it *only* cost me a $10 NSF fee, which was eventually refunded by E. (It took until the next payday to get the bounced check + fee refunded though!) This time however has cost me $35 in NSF fees and caused my account to go negative.

I was NOT a happy camper.

I sent E a screen shot of my bank account page showing the numbers so he' have "proof" of the numbers. I also told him that I wanted to have the full $82.xx in CASH by no later than Wednesday so that I can bring my account back in the positive.

I also told him that I had lost any confidence I had in him telling me the truth when he says 'the money is there to cover it.' From this point on, I will be calling their bank to see if the money is actually there to cover it.

I was pretty close to telling him that I had had enough - to find someone else for the job. But then I got to thinking about the average $150/mo (including the cost of free membership) that I'd be losing . . and bit my tongue enough to give him a chance and see what he'll do.

I vented my frustrations in as positive a manner as I could by writing about how the Economy is Hurting Gyms .

Year 33: Month One Review

January 15th, 2009 at 08:03 pm

Personal Goals:

* Find a balance between making more money and having a life.

--What this means:
-----Limit myself to 10 hrs a week doing anything related to ChaCha.
-----Accept only one extra gym shift per week.

Well... I have kind of been on a ChaCha hiatus since a bit before Dec. 15. But instead I've added my today.com blog which is taking a lot more time than ChaCha ever did. BUT I have kept to just one morning a week at the gym. Smile

* Build existing friendships
----Contact at least one friend each week via email or telephone.
----Invite a friend(s) to my place at least once a month.

I have contacted a friend at least once a week. However, I haven't invited anyone over just yet. My excuse is that I was in CA for two weeks! Smile

* Build new friendships
----Attend at least one Vegetarian meet up per month
----Join and attend bookclub once a month

Um . .. moving on.

* Give Back to Others
-----Participate in at least one volunteer activity each month

I did sign up for something this past weekend, but then overslept and missed it. Ooops.

* Have home be able to be company ready in 15 minutes (similar to flylady w/o the emails)

Nope - not even close.

---Do an initial cleanup run - trash, dishes, etc.

Did do that before CA. Need to do again.

---Divide apartment into cleaning and decluttering zones. Focus on each zone for one week.
Not Yet.

Financial:

Car Fund: Finish funding to $4,000.00

DONE! (After this month's interest from HSBC at least.)

House Downpayment: Save $5,000.00 towards it.

Cruise 2010: Save $500 towards it

Vacation(s): 2, possibly 3. I'm estimating needing roughly $1,000.00.

Okay, definitely a case of progress but not perfection. Big Grin

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Today was a SPEND day!

Gas: $17.27
Walmart Groceries: $26.25
Target Groceries: $16.90

I made it out of Target without picking up any junkfood! All I got were Amy's Burrito's for my work lunches (10 @ $1.69 each!)

Today was also a good day at work. A coworker and I went out to lunch at a mall (she treated) because she needed to exchange something. That was fun. Smile

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My today.com post today is about How to Get Healthy Without Spending A Lot

Good Day :)

January 14th, 2009 at 06:24 pm

It was pretty busy today at work. I was the Queen of the Copier for a large part of the day, which made me very glad I wore my flats! Big Grin

Today marked my 6th No Spending Day for this week, and a total of 10 for January. This really is remarkable for me. I've had some uber stressful days this past week, and my coping mechanism has usually been to get something to eat on the way home from work (i.e. junkfood.)

Tomorrow also marks one-month of no soda. Big Grin

I've only made it to the gym to workout once since getting back to TX. Mainly I have slacked on going because I haven't been feeling 100%, and of course, jet lag. Smile I'm hoping that by next Monday I'll be feeling more back to normal and get my routine going again.

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I had my first comment on my today.com blog last night! Woo hoo! Big Grin

Tonight I wrote a follow up post of sorts to yesterday's called: How a Pocket Notebook can Save You Hundred's of Dollar's a Y...

I'm so happy with the camera I got for Christmas from my mom and stepdad. Big Grin It is SO easy to transfer pictures from my camera to the computer - just need the memory card and then plug it in. Voila!

I've been without a good camera for so long, it's going to take me awhile to get into the habit of taking pictures again.

I'm also trying to figure out what I could do videos of . . . .hmmm??

How Classic!

January 13th, 2009 at 05:16 pm

I really wasn't feeling very well today, so didn't do my gym run time this morning.

Work was ultra busy today. Ever get the feeling like you can't do anything right? Well, yeah, had that today. Frown Got better by the end of the day though, so that was good.

So tonight when I got home I decided that I probably ought to check my mail. Most of it was the usual junk, but there was one very interesting item.

Some of you may remember how at the beginning of 2008 I was hired to be a part-time SAT tutor at the company my mom works at. (Or, should I say -worked at- she quit yesterday!!) I only went to the first training session, because for numerous reasons I realized that the job wasn't a good fit for me.

I never got paid for the two training hours. After a round of emails back and forth between myself and the person handling the money, I finally decided to just let it go. $20 wasn't enough for me to go real hardball - esp. since I didn't want to make things hard for my mom.

So, in the mail tonight I received a W-2 form for $20!! I *never* received the check - and I certainly *never* cashed it!

I sure don't want to pay taxes on money I never had - even if it is only $20. Now I am in the mode of contemplating how I want to handle this.

Perhaps a certified letter with copies of the email exchanges, as well as a reassertion of my never having received the check? Perhaps ask them to provide me with both proof of payment as well as proof that *I* signed the check?

Perhaps to have a CC to a fictitious lawyer?? (Actually, I think I may know a real lawyer who'd be willing to do me a favor. Hmm. . )

I'd love to hear any suggestions you all may have. Even if it is for me to just let it go. Smile

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Today was a no spend day. (I think this makes 5 days in a row!)

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Oooh! Oooh! Good news!

I was just getting my supper ready a few minutes ago. While I waited for the microwave to finish Smile I checked some mail I had on the table. One of the items was that letter from the PA District regarding the class action suit against Wachovia.

I thought the deadline to claim your refund was January 9, and that I had missed it. But, after re-reading the paperwork, I saw that it actually is MARCH 4! Even better, you can submit your claim online! Yes!

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I know from previous posts here that many of you can relate to feeling like you are sometimes subsidizing the librarian's salary.

Today I posted a blog about How to NOT Pay the Librarian's Salary. As a bonus, there is even a picture of one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my apartment. Smile

Kind of an eh.. day

January 12th, 2009 at 06:37 pm

Looking on the bright side:

1. No spend day
2. Didn't eat any office goodies
3. Made it back to the gym this morning
4. Had library books to pick up
5. Was really busy at work

The eh . . part -- some things at work really got to me. Probably more so because I didn't get much sleep due to going to bed at 1 a.m. I was working on my other blog, figuring out advertising, etc.

I did make a surprising discovery though in the process of writing my post today }MyPoints Visa vs Chase Rewards Visa There ended a preconceived notion for me. Smile

Slow day and a funny from Facebook :)

January 10th, 2009 at 04:57 pm

Today is going to be a no spend day. It's also a day that I didn't get out of the house at all. Smile Let's not even mention what time I finally got OUT of bed. The jet lag really hit me I guess on a day I didn't *have* to be up at a certain time.

I wrote a post for my today.com blog. I had to edit it a lot to make it a bit shorter. I'm really going to have to discipline myself to be more brief. Smile

While I was writing my post, I got an email from Facebook telling me someone had requested that I add them as a friend. It just so happened to be the first guy I had dated my freshman year of high-school in Minnesota! Wow, that really brought me back a few years. Smile He was a Senior, and I was a 13 yr old freshman. (Don't worry - there was no hanky panky going on - I didn't have my first kiss till I was 17! LOL!) He's married and has a couple cute boys now. Big Grin

I keep wondering who is the next person I'm going to run across on Facebook??? Smile

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I'm off to watch CSI:Vegas now, then am going to finish putting away my stuff from the CA trip. Smile



Uh Oh! Earthquake!

January 9th, 2009 at 06:08 pm

I can only say this now, since there wasn't much damage done and there was no loss of life (as far as I know at least) but someone asked me in a previous blog entry if the Mobile Home was on a fault line.

Apparently the answer is, if it's not ON one, it is NEAR one!

I talked to my dad this afternoon, and he told me that they had experienced an earthquake on Thursday evening! It was only a 4.5 or so, but it's epicenter was in San Bernadino which is near Loma Linda.

Even though he'd lived in CA when he was younger (late high-school/college) this was his first earthquake. He said it felt like an explosion or a large crash.

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Ugh. Some one thinks I want to hear their rap Rolleyes music. They're sitting out in the parking lot with their windows open and car stereo loud.

It would be nice to have some kind of electronics scrambler to point at vehicles of people who insist on sharing their version of music with the world. *evil laugh*

(Someone must have said something, the decibels moved down a couple notches -though I can still hear it.)

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Today was a no spend day. Smile

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E asked me if I'd like to take over opening the gym on Monday mornings. I told him that I had made a promise to myself not to do more than one morning a week (unless an emergency.) That my exercise routine just suffered too much when I did the extra shifts. He was understanding. -- The extra $13/wk sure would be nice, but my workout days are already reduced to just Monday to Th - not worth $13/wk to lose another morning.

Busy day at work :) Thinking about taxes.

January 8th, 2009 at 06:44 pm

Yay! Two days in a row where I was busy the whole day! Plus, I have enough left over to keep me occupied for at least the morning tomorrow. Smile

My company switched HR companies as of Dec. 26. As soon as I got the email with the sign up information, I filled out all my info and signed up for all the benefits I'm eligible for.

I didn't get it done though early enough for my Jan 2 check to be direct deposited. Our Office Manager has been out sick yesterday and today. So this afternoon I asked the owner's daughter if she could see if I had a check in our OM's desk. I did! (I was slightly worried because she told me that our OM hadn't gotten a check on Jan 2.)

I realized tonight that January is a 5 paycheck month.

I'm considering putting $400 of it to my Car Fund, which would finish it. Then in February I'd be able to concentrate really hard on my house down payment savings.

But, I'm also wondering how much I'm going to owe in taxes this year. Last year I owed $144. I made pretty much exactly the same this year at my main job, but from ChaCha and the gym I've probably made an extra $1500, plus I've made a lot more in interest income. So, I'm wondering if I should set it aside for taxes, then whatever remains of it can go towards whichever savings goal I have that needs funding.

OR, I could just go ahead and put $400 of it into my Car Fund, then once I know how much my taxes are, I can just fit it into my budget for March and April.

Hmm.. . I think I like the last idea the best. I deposited my Jan 2 paycheck, and my gym paycheck, plus some cash my dad gave me (for the baggage fees) into my local checking. Once I have transferred them to ING, I will count my Car Fund as fully funded! Woo Hoo!

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I have found another way to make a little side income. (So, yes that means I'll have 3 places I'm earning side income from.) Smile

The website today.com is accepting new bloggers. It can be about any of a variety of topics - but need to be at least 100 words or more per entry. (Ha! No trouble for me!) They pay you for one post per day, plus for page views.

I've been coming up with ideas of things to write about there that are somewhat different from what I post here, although still on a similar vein. It will be challenging for me to keep my posts close to the 100 word mark - but probably good for me too. Smile

If you'd like to check my blog out, it is:

http://thesinglefrugalton.today.com/

I'm going to add it to my sidebar as well.

Oh, if you do join, and get accepted, let me know and I'll add you to my blogroll!

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spending today:

Wal-mart: $9.96 (bananas, Rice Dream, sweet potatoes, 1 frz dinner, sm box Jr Mints)

Back to work, dreaming of houses

January 7th, 2009 at 08:04 pm

Updated sidebar. I'm within $400 of fully funding my Car Fund! Woo hoo!
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I pulled into my parking space around 7 p.m. last night. It was so good to be home. I had a really good trip, and was really really spoiled . . but it was so good to be home. Smile

I didn't sleep very well at all last night, even though I was really tired. Even so, I managed to make it to work this morning on time.

Most people seemed happy to see me back, and I was happy to see most of them. Smile

There was a good stack of work waiting for me on my desk, and more was added to it through the day. Yay! Smile

I seem to be missing my toll tag. I noticed it this morning just after I breezed through the first toll station. Ugh. It's not in my car - it has a habit of dropping off the sticky tape and falling on the floor. I need to do a through search of my apartment in case I for some reason decided to put it in here for 'safe' keeping.

After work today I stopped by the library and dropped off about 10 items, and picked up 7 new ones. Smile Most of the new items are part of a series I started reading out in CA and wanted to finish, the others are by the same author.

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Of the 5 applications I submitted in CA, 3 of them have already been filled, and the two others I have not heard about yet.

My dad and grandma *really* want me out there in CA with them.

While I was out there we stumbled across a really great deal on a mobile home. It was in the same mobile home park as another home they really wanted me to see. (I think they get that I'm not too excited about sharing living space with them.)

The Mobile Home park itself is *very* nice and very well kept. They are in the process of remodeling their Social Club building and swimming pool area.

The lot fees are $600/mo (may possibly be less). (For comparison sake -- a cheap/very trashy mobile home park in the same city has a $350/mo lot fee -- another slightly more upscale mh park w/smaller lot spaces has a $1200/mo lot fee.) The lot fee includes sewer, water and garbage, plus community upkeep.

I fell in love with this home. The land around it is mostly covered with gravel = minimal outside upkeep. There is a fully grown and producing orange tree. There is a roomy covered porch (where I could place a porch swing!) There are two good-sized storage sheds, plus a covered parking area on one side of the house. In the backyard, behind the storage sheds, there is enough space where I could put in a veggie garden if I wanted to.

The house is over 1500sq. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The dining room/family area has a gas powered fireplace. The kitchen has a really good sized pantry. The laundry area is more spacious than at my mom's house! The master bath has a double sink with a curved counter (very pretty) and a spa tub. The appliances (fridge, stove, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc) go with the house. They would also be willing to sell me their dining set (mine is falling apart.)

The roof is less than 4 years old. The AC unit is less than 4 years old. The flooring is parquet (sp?) throughout, and ceramic tile in the bathrooms, less than six-months old.

It is very well kept inside and out.

The family who is living there right now, is wanting to move back to Argentina to be near the husbands mother. They are an SDA family (I'm SDA as well.) The house is mortgage free. My dad broached the idea of them possibly carrying the note . . . they sounded very willing to discuss that idea.

My grandma has stated that she'd be happy to help me out with a loan. I'm not sure if that means she'd match the loan she gave my brother (which he's already paid back) or possibly more.

I haven't totally played with the numbers . . . but here's what's kind of running in my head.

Homeowner is asking 55k.

I would offer 53K (including dining set) with a down payment of 30k. The remaining 23k would be paid in monthly installments plus 5% interest for 7 years. (I'll ask for 10, but be willing to settle for 7.)

The 30k down payment would break down like this:

$7500 - First time Homeowner Credit (have to check if I could get this for a mobile home where it is not a bank mortgage)

$5500 - From my savings - would have to use part of my emergency fund, plus housefund - but would still be left with at least 3 months expenses (with house).

$13,000 - I would borrow from my grandma with a payment term of 10 years at 5%.
(Depending on how the First Time Buyer Credit works, may have to initially borrow 20,500k.)

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Property taxes are $300/year. Average utilities for a family of 4 running a home based catering business $180/mo.

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I'm guessing it will run me around $1300 - 1400/mo for the first 7 years.

On what I make right now, that would not make ANY sense at all. (Be roughly 80% of my take home!)

BUT, the only way I'll even move out to CA is if I find a job where I make a good bit more than I make right now (and has comparable or better benefits.) So . . if I could get that amount to be more like, oh . . 60% or less . . I might bite.

Yes, I do know the wisdom of keeping housing to 30% or so of salary (is that take home or gross though?) *Remember, I have no debt - no car payments.*

I'm also aware that Mobile Homes aren't known for their appreciability. I'm willing to take the chance that in another 5 years if I wanted to sell, I'd be able to at least get my money back, plus possibly some more -- or at least get most of it back. To have a place of my own . . .

Needless to say, this all really is probably a huge pipe dream - because in order for it to have an iota of a possibility --- I have to find a job in CA while living in TX!

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You may have gathered that I don't have a strong belief that I will be able to find a job in CA. Smile My dad on the other hand strongly believes that I will. LOL

I have to tell my apartment management by January 30 whether or not I will be signing a new lease. My actual lease isn't up until March 30 - but they require a 60 day notice.

If I don't sign a new lease, and am still here, I would have to go month to month. That would mean an increase of at least $120/mo (maybe more).

However, if a miracle were to happen, and I *did* find THE job in CA, then having the flexibility to move within a few weeks time would be very handy.

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Seriously, I wish I hadn't seen this place. I told my dad I thought it was really silly to go looking at housing (especially to be talking to homeowners!) before even having a job lined up! Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

Le sigh.

The damage is done though. I am besotted with the idea. Maybe though I'm so besotted with the idea that the reality of that much money going to housing isn't hitting as hard as it should.

Sure, I'd be more than doubling my living space (including yard/storage areas) -- but I'd also be nearly doubling my housing costs.