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Archive for January, 2012

January Accounting

January 28th, 2012 at 08:43 pm

Although it isn't quite the end of January, I don't plan on spending any more money this coming week, so I decided to go ahead and post my accounting. One of my goals this year was to be much more consistent with recording my spending/saving in YNAB, and to facilitate that I plan on posting my monthly spending/savings summary.

Some of the money I spent was from Christmas gifts and was spent for stocking up - also some of the money was spent on a reimbursable seminar trip - I should be getting reimbursed by March (hopefully.)

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January Spending/Savings

Tithe - 150.00
Offering - 10.00
Groceries - 218.57
Restaurants - 39.10
Phone & Internet - 142.41
Household - 66.04
Office - 14.50
Prescription/Medicine - 52.21
Miscelaneous - 360.66
Kari (Pet) - 32.88
Library - 10.90
Entertainment - 11.72
Gas - 32.29
Car Repairs/Maint - 9.51

Savings
ROTH IRA - 100.00
Emergency Fund - 652.93
iPhone 5 Fund - 45.00

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Groceries - I ended up getting a bit lazy with my grocery spending after coming back from the seminar trip - probably accounts for an additional $20. Also included in this amount is my Costco trip, where I used part of a gift card to stock up on food supplies. Next month I hope to keep this category to $100 or less.

Restaurants - This is all reimbursable from my seminar trip.

Phone and Internet - I somehow did not pay December's internet bill, so this represents my normal cell phone bill and two months of internet. (I now have the internet being paid automatically so I won't miss any more deadlines.)

Household - Mostly this is stuff for my dishwasher (soap, etc), stocking up on things at Costco (laundry soap, shampoo, etc.) I won't need any of this again for a long while.

Office - Ran out of black ink for my printer.

Prescriptions/Medicine - This includes my normal monthly medicine (Synthroid) which increased by $2, as well as the generics of Nyquil and Dayquil, a 5 pack of Alavert and a 10 pk of Allegra D. Ugh. I really need to find a cheaper way to handle my allergies.

Miscellaneous - This includes my dishwasher (I was given the money to purchase it), my reimbursable hotel stay, and the watch/face wash which I actually took back to the store (and added to the EF.)

Kari (pet) - This includes stocking up on cat litter (Costco) and also stocking up on wet food (Family Dollar).

Library - Two books I bought in CA on sale.

Entertainment - 4 DVDs I rented, plus $2 in fees for using a CC, and a slurpee. (Have decided to go back to Netflix.)

Gas - I don't remember the last time I spent this little on gas in a month. This represents 1 1/2 fill ups. One was here in my small town, and the half fill up was at Costco. I have about 1/4 tank left right now.

Car Repairs - Lost gas cap at fill up. Frown

Savings

Roth - This is the minimum I can send each month. Until other savings goals are reached, I can't increase this.

Emergency Fund - I lucked out this month on "finding" various amounts of money which hadn't been accounted for previously - which all went to the EF. I also redeemed some credit card rewards points for a statement credit, which I put in the EF. December was a 3 check month, so that helped also.

My goal is to have this funded to $5000 by June, and then move on to working on my car savings.

iPhone 5 - I want to eventually replace my current phone. I hope to have the $200 saved by June.

Rainy Day Funds

Car Insurance, Clothing, Doctor, etc - also all received some funds

Other Income:
Christmas money - (including dishwasher) ~$450.00
Swagbucks - $10 AGCs received

My EF and Roth savings total approximately 40% of my December income. I go by the YNAB philosophy of using last months income to generate this months spending plan. (January is the first month I've been able to allocate BOTH paychecks completely to February's budget plan since I was laid off from my oil and gas job in February 2009. What a great feeling!)

How Did I NOT Know This??

January 27th, 2012 at 09:23 pm

Tonight I was reading on the YNAB forums, and found out something that I had not known previously. What was this tidbit?

Paypal started offering the ability to take a photo of your checks and deposit them into your account (via an iPhone app) back in 2010!!!!

So my keeping the Compass account, and eventually switching to BofA was really quite unnecessary! I could've been doing the check deposit thing with Paypal all along!

I don't get checks all that often, and cash on even rarer occasions, but when I do (especially where I am now) they linger for weeks (and sometimes months) before I do anything with them. Right now I *still* have the donation check from mid-December, as well as a tutoring check I found in my purse from last July ... both languishing in my purse awaiting my remembering to stop by the BofA ATM the next time I'm in big town. (that will be tomorrow ... the problem is the remembering of course since it is not part of my usual operandi!)I would just do the Paypal thing with them, but I do also have $70 in cash that needs to get deposited before it ends up getting lost (Christmas money.)

Well at any rate, it is getting late and I must be heading off for some zzzz's so I can be rested up for church tomorrow.

This bit of news will be quite helpful in the future though whenever I get the rare check.

Good Mail Day :) , etc

January 26th, 2012 at 06:30 pm

Yesterday I took the day off from work - I hadn't been feeling that great since this past Thursday and had been sleeping as much as possible to try to fight it off. Finally I decided to take a day off - seemed to have helped a bit.

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One of our wonderful SA family messaged me on FB a few weeks ago to ask me if I could use any of the books she was cleaning out. I received the package today (it may have come yesterday ... but I didn't get out of the house then.) Thank you!!

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I called my doctor on Tuesday to see if she'd write me a prescription for generic Allegra D because buying it 10 tablets at a time OTC is extremely expensive and extremely annoying. (I can't get more than 10 tablets at a time because I get the 24 hr kind ... the kind which messed up people think are great for making meth out of - ugh!!)

So I found out today that even the generic of it is not available through prescription anymore. Frown So ... it's ten tablets at a time until the generic comes out OTC. I have been using Nyquil (generic brand) and Alavert 24 hr to try to keep my allergies at bay - but it really isn't healthy to constantly use Nyquil, and Alavert doesn't work all that well for me. I'd tried most of the other allergy meds out there, and the generic of Allegra D is the one that worked best for me. (letting my allergies get ahold of me is the main way I get sick ...)

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I took my two DVDs back to the store today - two days late. I apologized to the store owner -- the nice thing about living in such a small town (and being the librarian where I am) - he forgave me the late fines. Smile (His son goes to my school.) I won't make a habit of it, that's for sure.

However, I am thinking that I am going to reinstate Netflix. Between the two movies I rented earlier, plus the two I rented tonight, I spent nearly $10 (due to a $1 charge for using a credit card.) If I do reinstate Netflix, I'll wait until I really want to watch something. Not having to worry about late fees in itself almost makes it worth it. I still do need to check and see what the library has - although they charge too, so not really that much of a deal over the video store or Netflix.

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I received my W-2 today from the school. I'm still waiting for my W-2 from my summer job. I emailed one of the people I worked with there to find out how to make sure they have my new address. Maybe they'd be willing to email me a PDF. Smile

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I gave all my paperwork for my travel reimbursement to SrN on Tuesday. Today she came by the library while I was just starting class with my second graders and told me it was missing a paper! I looked through my papers, and didn't see it. Thankfully, she called me later and apologized - she'd found it! So she's going to turn it in again to the right people.

I wonder how long it will take to get it? Smile

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I had the opportunity to go to Baltimore, MD next month for 5 days for an Americorp convention -- all expenses paid. I declined and deferred to next year ... mainly because of one of the people going. I was very glad I had declined, because not even a few hours later on FB I saw this person stating that he was going to introduce the other two ladies going to the club scene there. If I'd have gone, I'd have been seen as a wet blanket - having NO desire whatsoever to take part in any kind of club scene. Next year I will go though, and hopefully get to see a good friend of mine who lives in D.C. who I haven't seen since 1994 or so.

Fell on the Ice Today

January 23rd, 2012 at 07:36 pm

We had a bit of a snow/ice storm on Saturday evening. When I went into the school on Sunday afternoon, it was a bit slushy and there was a couple inches by the library steps.

This morning as I was following the mid-schoolers to the chapel, I watched as one of the 8th grade girls slipped and fell on the ice. Silly me took her same exact path - guess I thought if I took it slowly enough ...

Nope. Slipped and did the splits bow legged. Thankfully I wasn't wearing a skirt! Also, thankfully only teachers/adults witnessed my fall! I had several people come up and help me up. Lots of people heard about it and asked me throughout the day if I was ok. Other than my hip and lower back being a bit sore, I am/was fine.

I'm just glad I didn't re-injure my tailbone. (Wincing even at the thought!)

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We are supposed to get more snow/rain/ice tonight and possibly in the morning. If we do, I wouldn't be shocked to get a two-hour delay, or possibly even a snow day (ok, I'd actually be shocked for that - because we're only supposed to get a couple inches.)

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Today I finally introduced my 8th graders to the remainder of the books I'd bought over Thanksgiving. I found out as I was cataloging them yesterday that we already owned two copies. Oy! Before I do my next book shopping extravaganza away from a computer, I must get our cataloging system upgraded -- then I'll be able to have a searchable book app on my phone and can avoid purchasing books we already own.

Anyway, most of the new books I intro'd went right away. One of my students did a book talk on "13 Reasons Why" by Asher. He was the second student to read it (maybe third?) but after he finished I had two girls clamoring to read it next. Big Grin They actually were trying to take it away from the student who had just renewed it that day. Rolleyes

I was really surprised that some of the boys took out titles which I'd kind of thought only the girls would go for... Sara Dessen/Rebecca Friend/Meg Cabot. Books about relationships and high-school ... maybe that was the draw, high-school. Smile These are definitely books that I won't let anyone under 14 check out. So, some of my 7th graders would qualify, and all of my 8th graders.

I've had several requests for the one Sonya Sones book we don't have - I'd almost purchased it before, but some of the reviews made me question the wisdom. However, as I've been seeing some of the other books in our library, and if I kept it limited to 8th grade ... I'm also looking at the book series that starts with "Crank" -- School Library Journal says 8th grade and up. It was requested by several students today.

Of course, I am all out of gift card money right now, so unless we get another monetary donation ... the kids will have to wait. Smile I just love seeing teenagers (especially boys!) so into books. Big Grin

One other book I intro'd to the 8th graders a few weeks ago - The Scoripo Races - was checked out for the second time today. (It helps that a fairly popular boy read it and liked it .. he's also the one who did the book talk today) -- It won the Printz Honor today. Printz is an award for outstanding literature for young adults.

The majority of the books which won the various awards and honors today, I have not read. However, as I have Scholastic Dollars or gift card money, I will be changing that. Big Grin

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Oh! Today at the teacher's meeting SrN said that a donor called and was very upset at hearing about the pre-school being broken into and wanted to know what she could do to help. So SrN pulled out our wish lists and gave the donor some ideas. I'm curious to find out what (if any) items from my list will come. Smile I'd be most estatic about a second slanted book cart - although if I really do end up having an assigned assistant next year, it won't be such a big deal.

Truly though, I'd be ecstatic with anything off the list. Big Grin

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So ... I've had several spendy days in a row this weekend. Saturday, Sunday and today. Not a whole lot in the grand scheme (maybe $30 worth total) but probably at least $12 of it was completely unnecessary.

I didn't go into the big town for church this weekend - ended up sleeping/resting most of Saturday and part of Sunday. I guess I was really tired (Friday morning I was 5 minutes late for work because I kept pushing Snooze.)

I really need to call my doctor about getting a prescription allergy medicine. One of the things I bought this weekend was a 5 day dosage of Alavert --- $6!! Ugh and double ugh! I don't know if it will work or not for me yet, because I had one dose left of the OTC Allegra D. Will find out tomorrow.

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I also need to contact the company I worked for this summer to make sure they have my current address. Just waiting on their W-2 to do my taxes.

I have all my paperwork put together for my seminar reimbursement -- should be about $468 if they accept all my per diem receipts.

Between the tax refund and my seminar reimbursement, my EF will have a nice boost in February. Big Grin

Secret Santa gift - a month late :)

January 20th, 2012 at 05:03 pm

Today SrC came back to school. She's been out most of the second semester sick. She was my Secret Santa, so she brought my gift today. It was a $20 gift card to Sizzler and a bag of Reese's Peanut Christmas trees. Yum. Big Grin Well worth waiting for. Smile

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This afternoon I talked with SrN (principal) about the possibility of having a full time assistant assigned to me. She told me that she'd been considering resplitting the position into computer and library, and letting me have my pick. I told her that I enjoy doing both, but I just don't have enough time to do my best at both. If I had someone assigned to just me that I could train and *count on* and would be accountable to me ... that right there would save me hours of work. Which would make it possible for me to get much more done! It sounded to me like she was agreeable to the idea.

So ... next year I *really* may have an assistant!! (I'd love to steal the 6th grade assistant away - cuz I know he is a hard worker, very computer literate, intelligent, and we get along really well ... but I don't think that will happen.)

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Yesterday I stopped at the local video store to see their prices. I ended up renting two videos - older ones - $1.99/5 days. New releases are $3.99/3 days. I don't see myself getting videos there all that often, but maybe once in a while.

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I sent home overdue notices on Tuesday (well, I gave them to the teachers to send home Wednesday.) Out of about 8 books which I marked "Lost" and added the cost of replacement, as of today, 5 of them have been returned. Amazing what seeing the figure $19.99 next to a book your child checked out and hasn't returned in over two months will do! On Monday we had over 100 books overdue, and as of this afternoon, only 49 are still out. Only one person paid their fines though ... but at least most of the books are back!!

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I showed the 5th and 6th graders a number of book trailers today. It got several kids interested in a book (Because of Mr. Terrupt) that I'd previously book-talked unsuccessfully.
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Don't remember if I mentioned this or not, but on Tuesday night when I filled up my car, I left my gas cap at the station. I didn't realize what I'd done til I got to the hotel. So last night I stopped by the station in the off chance that someone had turned it in. Nope. So I stopped at the auto parts store to see if they had one. The lady there told me that she was getting one in Friday -- of course I remembered this about 15 minutes ago ... after they were closed!
So I guess I'll have to get it on Monday. Hopefully another 60 miles or so of driving without the cap won't hurt my car too much.

And ouch! The replacement cap will be $8.19!!

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I'm going to have to get some more Allegra D OTC tomorrow. My allergies have just been awful lately. I meant to call my doctor today (and yesterday too) to see if she'd prescribe the generic non OTC version (so I could actually get a months supply for less than ten days of OTC Allegra D!) Unfortunately I got way too busy both days to do it.

I'll have to see if she's open in the morning ...

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Oh, I spent my Amazon money, plus $7. One of the books actually came from the donation order, but the original seller couldn't locate a copy. Rolleyes The other two (yes, only two!) were ones recc'd by Judy Freeman -- Press Here and 10 Experiments that Failed. There were a ton of really good books I was tempted by, but these two looked to be most immediately beneficial. (And now I have to wait for my next giftcards .. Could be awhile because Swagbucks has been kind of stingy with search wins the past week or so - both few in number and low in amount. Frown )

Having fun, fun, fun Book Temptations ..

January 18th, 2012 at 08:41 pm

This morning started out with a made to order omlette and a danish for breakfast. Yum. Smile Then I was off to Judy Freeman's seminar about the best children's books of 2011. A few of them I'd purchased for the library (Okay for Now, Charlie Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading, and another one ..) but most I had not heard of before. There were two or three that I'm hoping Scholastic will have so I can use some of our funds to purchase - although I saw great possibilities in numerous books. She showcased 80 of her 110 best book picks.

I didn't get any free books, but the seminar guide has about a dozen Reader's Theater's which will be helpful.

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For lunch several of us ate at this Mexican resturaunt next door. I had the vegetarian enchaladia. It was good, but it was supposed to come with sopapillia's and honey - the waiter never brought them. Frown As I was checking out, I mentioned it to the cashier and she gave me a to go bag. But of course I was full by then and several hours later after the program, they were cold. Yuck.

After the program I went to Costco. I filled up with $2.79/gallon gas (about $10 worth - I'd filled up in my town on Tuesday for $3.09/gallon!) Then I went into Costco. I bought 3 containers of kitty litter, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, oatmeal, spinach & something patties (vegetarian), broccoli soup, rasins, bean/cheese burritos, cinnamon, diced onions, and garbage bags.

Total -- $129.xx

I had 90.12 left on my Costco gift card, and then paid the remaining balance with my ING debit card. I think I am pretty well set for most things for a good while. Big Grin

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Seminar reimbursable expenses:
Seminar - $299
Hotel - 89.xx
Per Diem - ~~$30.xx (only get back what I spent)
Mileage - ~$150.xx

So I estimate that my EF will soon be about $568 higher. Big Grin Just have to get all the receipts turned in. Big Grin

I got a nice little vacation out of this - stayed at a NICE hotel, day off work, eat at nice places, shop at Trader Joe's and Costco PLUS got to put more than 600 rewards points on my credit cards (food and gas places are double points.)

Sweet. Smile

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The only NON-Sweet thing about my trip ... When I did my first fill up on Tuesday, I somehow got distracted and forgot to put my gas cap back on. Ooops! So, that means I need to buy a new one. Ugh. Unless by some miracle the gas station still has it! I will have to go by and check tomorrow. *cross fingers*

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Just checked my Chase rewards points balance -- I had enough to redeem! So I chose a statement credit. Then I sent that money directly to my EF!

EF addition -- $23.63

I also signed up for the current points promotion - gas and Amazon. I wish I'd known gas was part of it -- already filled up (completely) twice this month, and probably won't again til Feb. Oh well - will make sure to use it in Feb and Mar, then back to MyPoints for gas. I wish now I'd waited to order my dishwasher til January too - that would've been a nice bit of extra rewards points. Really, other than gas in Feb and Mar, I don't see myself buying anything off of Amazon. Oh wait - I think there is a book I pre-ordered (5th in a series one of my 8th graders is way into) that comes out in March .. however I have enough gift card money for that already. Will have to see how the months go I guess. Smile

7 Years! Nice Day $$$

January 17th, 2012 at 09:31 pm

Today makes 7 years of blogging here at SA. Who knew when I started way back then that I'd still be doing it now. Smile I've seen so many people come and go - and a few return again. Some who've gone I've really missed their insights - I won't name names because I'm sure to leave out someone! The best thing though is that the general feeling of SA blogs hasn't changed. We are a family, and even when we might not agree with each other, we support each other and defend against those who attempt to be rude or mean.

Love ya guys Smile

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What a great day today was. School went pretty well. Then I was off on my approximately two hour drive with my music blasting. ( Combination of my iPhone and the portable speaker mom gave me for my birthday.) I'm sure I got some interesting comments from truckers as I zipped by singing loudly with Whitney "I will always love you" or with Bette "Under the Boardwalk" or pounding the steering wheel to "walk 500 miles". But who cares, I was having a blast. : D

I got here and checked in. NICE room. Not only do they have a fitness center, but they have an indoor pool. If I would've gone, I could've had two complimentary drinks (I wonder if they would've made me a Roy Rogers?) Big Grin. Instead though I ate at a CA Pizza Kitchen that was directly across from an Apple store. I also saw that there was a Nestlé Toll House Cafe, but resisted temptation. Smile I did however go to the Trader Joes that was across the street. I got a pkg of choclate crisps and 4 containers of soup. Cheaper than Walmart Smile. I told my dad and brother that I almost felt like I was in CA (except for freezing - wouldn't have hot choclate in CA!!)

Tomorrow I think I'll go to Village Inn across the street for lunch ( although I wonder how hungry I'll be after a made to order omelette for breakfast - complimentary.) I kind of wish I could be here for a couple days just to enjoy the hotel ammenities. At $90 night though, it's way out of my personal budget.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and learning about all the great books. I just hope it won't make me salivate to much ... Smile

Non reimbursable money spent - $11.xx TJs

Ran Dishwasher :) IRA musings

January 16th, 2012 at 05:54 pm

Sheepish smile Smile After searching all over tarnation for a faucet adapter and coming close to ordering one off of Amazon, I decided to check *everything* one more time. Guess what? I found the adapter!

I hooked up the hose to the faucet. It leaked for a while till I finally figured out how it needed to be positioned. The long cycle took about two hours. Most of the dishes came out pretty clean. It doesn't do well with peanut butter, so I'll have to be sure to pre-rinse any spoons/knives with pb on it.

I didn't do too much today other than laundry and a load of dishes. I really should have gone into school for a few hours, but still am not feeling 100%.

Tomorrow straight after school I head off to Albuquerque where I'll spend the night. Then Wednesday I'll be attending a seminar given by Judy Miller about the best books of 2011 for children. I'm hoping to come away with some free samples. Big Grin

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I put Netflix on hold last night. I do use it and enjoy it, however I'm not sure if I really get $9/month use out of it. I'll probably just use iTunes or maybe Voodo (sp?) for a few months whenver the urge hits to get a movie. If it starts looking like I'm running up against the $9/month average, then I'll turn Netflix back on. Otherwise, I think it may be cheaper for now at least, to go this route. Summer may be a different story.

(I would have waited til I got back from my trip to put it on hold, but my next charge date is the 16th, so I would've ended up paying for another month.)

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I'll be doing a Costco run on Wednesday after my seminar. Although really other than cat litter, I'm not too sure what all I'm going to get there.

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I'm getting reimbursed per Diem for my trip ... so I plan on eating out tomorrow night and after the seminar too. I get up to $35 per day.

All the money I'm spending on this trip I have budgeted from funds I already have. When they are reimbursed, they will be going straight to the emergency fund. Altogether will be around $700. So that will be a nice bit of a boost. Big Grin

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I need to contact the company I worked for this past summer to make sure they send me my W-2 form here. I'm so ready to get my taxes done and over with this year. I expect a nice bit of a refund I think (all of which will go to the EF, except maybe 10% or so for some treat or another.)

I've been debating about whether or not I should continue putting my retirement savings in a ROTH or a traditional IRA. If I stay here, my salary is likely to never go up, or if it does, it would be very incremental.

The advantages of continuing to put money in a ROTH is that in cases of dire and extreme emergency, I *could* take money out. (And I do mean *dire* emergency ... I came close to it where I was just about completely out of money ... then I got this job!) However, it seems like tax wise later on, ROTHs are better for people who think they'll be making a large amount in retirement. ...Considering how much I have saved right now in retirement and stocks (roughly $30k for a 36 year old) and that for at least the next three - four years I'll be able to add *maybe* up to $1500/yr to that (until I have my EF and CarFund savings up to par) ... I don't think my income at retirement is going to be much to write home about.

So ... if I put my retirement money into a traditional IRA instead, I would get a small portion of it back each year. That money could then be either put towards cash savings, or right back into the IRA, helping to beef it up a bit.

But then if something happens where I get a job in the future that pays twice what I get here (which would be laughably easy - at least in the public schools, not necessarily getting a job, but being paid 2x++ what I make here), and I have a 401k again plus maybe be able to make larger contributions to an IRA, therefore creating a larger retirement income ... using a Traditional IRA wouldn't make much tax sense. I think.

I'd almost go with splitting my IRA funds between two types, but my ROTH fund now requires a minimum of $100/mo (it used to be $50/mo), and if a Traditional one required the same ... well, it is not feasible. Plus it would greatly reduce any immediate tax refund benefits.

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I got another AGC from Swagbucks today. So far I have $20 in Amazon credit. It's nice to see it build back up again. I've been doing really well resisting the temptation to buy books for the library. Of course, the generous donations helped to get a lot of that out of my system. Big Grin

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Sunday and Monday - No spend days. Big Grin

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Oh, on the Per Diem, they only reimburse what you actually *spend,* otherwise I would be spending the bare minimum. But I figure if they'll reimburse me, I may as well enjoy a couple nights of nice restaurant meals. Big Grin

Still Haven't Run Dishwasher

January 14th, 2012 at 07:37 pm

So tonight I stopped at Home Depot to get the faucet adapter so I could actually run my dishwasher. .... They don't carry them! The guy I spoke with suggested I try Ace on Monday. I will call them before going, because that would mean an extra trip which I'd really rather not make!!

I'm also going to write Amazon's customer service and shake some cages about why this part was not included as advertised.

Ugh!

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I decided to skip Sabbath School today - the extra rest was really needed. I stayed after for potluck, and then went to the nursing home and sang with three other people. We all had about the same level of singing skill (namely, not much) but the people still seemed to appreciate it. Smile

After the nursing home our group went to the hospital to visit the pastor's wife who'd just had a baby girl this morning (1:02 a.m. by c-section after 17 hrs hard labor - her tail bone was twisted??) What a sweet little thing. Smile

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After Home Depot I went to Walmart where I returned the watch and the skin moisturizer/spf. The watch I returned because I found my other one, and the moisturizer because I used it once and it got in my eyes and burned (plus I was having a really hard time stomaching paying almost $11 for something like that.)

Since my dishwasher will still be out of commission for who knows how long, I bought a good bit of canned soups and microwavable meals, as well as some plasticware. If I end up actually getting dishes washed by hand tomorrow and don't need the plasticware, I'll just take it back. Smile

I got a refund of $17.08, and spent $47.xx on grocery type items. That pretty much wipes out my grocery budget for January (except for my $100 Costco card). I think though that I have enough food in the house to last til February, with or without the convenience of the dishwasher. Smile

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Oh! The organist who was in a car accident last week was in church today. He had a neck brace on and seemed to still be in a bit of pain. He has a daughter in town who is helping him out with meals and such not.

I also found out today that most people here had assumed I was in my early to mid-twenties. :roll eyes: The head elder told me, "Whatever you're washing you're face with, keep doing it!" lol! Ummm, I don't really wash my face with anything ... I also hardly ever wear makeup.. if I do, I might use Cetaphil. I also sometimes use ponds cold cream (I think Ima mentioned once that she uses it ...) But more often than not I do *nothing* in regards to skin care. Which probably is why I was having such a hard time paying nearly $11 for a moisturizer/spf cream. Big Grin

Sore throat :(

January 12th, 2012 at 07:34 pm

I was feeling okay this morning, but by the afternoon I was really starting to wear out. By the time 3:30 came, it was all I could do to walk to my car. One of my 6th grade students was walking my way and said hi. I said hi back to him and he was like "you don't sound too good Miss ..." Must be bad if a kid can tell ..

Ugh. Just have to make it through tomorrow and then have a 3 day weekend.

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Darn cat. I really thought Kari had finally gotten the message not to mess with my food when I'm eating. This morning I'm halfway through my oatmeal when out of nowhere her paw swipes my spoon. Without thinking I put the contaminated oatmeal/spoon back in the bowl. Ugh. I ended up eating a granola bar instead.

It feels really really cold here right now. My computer says its 23 degrees so that it is warmer than it has been at times - just feels colder for whatever reason.

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I could've gone to Baltimore, MD next month for an Americorp meeting -- all expenses paid. I do have a good friend in that area I've not seen in many, many years, so that would've been nice. However, next year I'll be the only 2nd year Americorps member here ... so I'd feel better about asking to go. Plus maybe it'll be in a warmer place!! Big Grin

K, heading off to the showers and then to bed. Hope I can actually *get* to sleep and *stay* asleep till the alarm goes off.

--_

January No Spenders - +1

Made $.30 today :)

January 11th, 2012 at 05:20 pm

My two other blogs (Living Frugal and Children's Books) have a paid advertisement thing on them. I cashed out about a year ago for $10 in earnings, but then kind of fell off on the posting (and didn't keep a paid ad up ..) So I got an email telling me that they'd sent me $.30. I'm not sure if they are closing shop, or if they are dropping me since I haven't logged in to the site in forever and ever. Smile Oh well, that's $.30 to my EF. Every bit counts!

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Last night as I was watching the yearbook stuff, I realized that I had totally missed a deadline!! It was the one for choosing the yearbook cover art. Somehow I had the idea that the only deadline I had was in March. Oops! I called our account manager this morning and he walked me through finding the covers on the website (I hadn't received the hardbound catalog I was supposed to.) He also told me to not worry about having missed the deadline, since we weren't doing an original cover.

The journalism kids took the entire 40 minutes of class to pick the cover out today - but at least it is done now. It was funny to me how the ones they disliked, they were all in total and quick agreement on. The two (of 35 choices) that they semi-liked they were also in agreement on.

AL, our tech coordinator, twisted her knee today. She ended up walking out on crutches. Frown She's seeing a doctor in big town tomorrow morning (her brother is driving her) -- really hope it isn't anything a few days of rest won't take care of.

It just goes to show how fast someone can get hurt -- she was just on her way to answer her phone.

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The temperature here must have dropped 20 degrees today. At noon I was comfortable enough to go to lunch without my jacket. By 2:30 when the 5th grade girls came in, the wind had picked up and it was bone chilling chilly. Then by 3:30 when the busses were leaving, I was freezing *with* my jacket on.

So far there is no snow in the forecast for the next ten days ... which I'm quite happy about. I leave for my seminar on Tuesday after school and come back Wednesday after my Costco run. I'd really hate to have to fight snow on either route.

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January No spenders: 6

Tried to Set Up Dishwasher/Narrowly Avoided Spending

January 10th, 2012 at 06:02 pm

Today I ended up not eating lunch at the cafeteria an so only had some trail mix. By the time 3:30 rolled around, I was *hungry*. I was *sorely* tempted to stop at Blimpies and get a cheese sandwich. But I reminded myself that I had plenty to eat at home, and that most of it wouldn't take too long. So, I persevered and headed home.

When I arrived home I had my dishwasher staring me in the face. It's been here a week now and I hadn't attempted to set it up yet for a variety of reasons. Tonight I decided that I would set it up - so I ate a granola bar to give me a little energy and set to work.

Problem ... there is supposed to be a faucet adapter included inside the dishwasher. It is nowhere to be found. So ... I got everything else set up, but am unable to hook it up. I *briefly* thought about running into big town (30+ miles one way) but decided that since I'd waited this long, I could wait a few more days. Sigh....

I know I have another box of plasticware around here somewhere ...

Tonight I had a can of Amy's Lentil soup + a pkg of macaroni. I should have cooked it one minute longer so the macaroni would've been soft. Otherwise it was really good and filling on a cold evening.

Tomorrow I have my journalism kids and must really watch the yearbook set up videos tonight ... ugh. What I really want to do is go to bed early. (I already took a bit of a nap this afternoon.)

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Question --

How long can eggs stay good in the refrigerator? I have some eggs that are over 6 weeks old ... (can you say procrastination???)

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January No spenders - 5

Found Watch!

January 9th, 2012 at 07:58 pm

I personally hate watches. Until this past September, I hadn't worn a watch since June 2005. That was when I quit teaching. Unfortunately, using my phone for time doesn't work that well when you don't generally have "normal" pockets. So, a watch it is.

Saturday night I bought my third watch this year. The first one got washed. I thought I had lost the second one ( I hid it before I left for vacation so Karii wouldn't mess with it. I forgot where I hid it.)

Last night before going to bed I decided to cut my nails. Guess what else was in my bag with my clippers? Smile

So now I can take the third watch back and put $4.88 back into my budget. Big Grin

--___--_-------
Oh! The maintenance guys from the mobile park came by the library today. I guess I'd squeaky wheeled enough - finally. My shower is fixed (replaced knobs) so I can use my nice shower head again!! The problem with the washer was just that whoever fixed my water heater never turned the hot water back on for the washer!! Only took 4 months to get this done. :roll eyes:

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No spenders Jan - 4

"Found" $35 :)

January 8th, 2012 at 09:31 pm

It's funny what you find when you start going through papers and trying to organize a bit. Smile I found a check from July for tutoring which somehow did not get cashed! It was for $35. I texted the person who wrote the check to make sure it was okay to cash. She texted me back and said it was fine. (I wanted to make sure because ... well, she'd asked me several times to hold checks before. That's probably what happened with this one - I was holding it, and forgot about it!)

So, that's another $35 to my EF! Yahoo!

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I had a really late start today. Didn't get out of bed til nearly ten. Then lollygagged around til one. Finally got off my duff and finished grading the tests and headed over to the school. Altogether I put in about 8 hours of school related work today. (mostly at home though)

I've enjoyed my S days, but I think I'll do just fine with 5 days of no sweets coming up. Big Grin I still haven't set up my dishwasher or made my casseroles. Oops.

I need to see if I can find the name/email of the one lady at church that I kind of talk to. Then I can see if she would come with me to visit the organist after church next week. I'm not sure how I'd keep a casserole cold though (corn, sour cream, cheese, cornmeal, eggs - baked) would that be okay to get room temperature?

Today was a NSD. Hope to have 6 of them this week. Smile

Ok, need to read the blogs and then head to bed. Can't laze in bed tomorrow!

Found a Bump on my Head, etc.

January 7th, 2012 at 07:30 pm

Tonight when I got home and was in the process of putting my purchases away, I went to scratch the back of my head. OUCH!! I put down what I had in my other hand and went to the bathroom to try to see what it was ... no luck (I have a hand mirror somewhere ...). It is either a tick, spider bite, or some other kind of bug bite. I didn't notice it this morning when I was washing my hair, so it must have happened today sometime. Weird.

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I've just about given up going to Sabbath School (like Sunday School, only on Saturday i.e. Sabbath.) I don't get anything out of it, and the main teacher frustrates me - he is SO opinionated and legalistic. Today we were discussing the lesson about the Trinity. He asked if anyone had any questions still ... one man raised his hand and asked, "What do they exist on?" Meaning, what do they eat, do they breathe air, etc. I'm not sure whether the question was a serious one or not, but R's reaction to it totally blew it out of proportion and wasted almost ten minutes of class time! If it had been me, I would have simply said, "You know, that is an interesting question and I really don't know the answer. Lets all take a look this week to see if we can find it and share next week what we find." R's response was essentially to call the guy stupid. No, he didn't use that word, but his 6 - 8 minute diatribe could be boiled down to it. His wife even at one point told him to just let it go and move on. (btw - R is a high-school history and shop teacher ...)

I did stay for potluck today and had a chance to talk with someone who's been pretty friendly to me, but we haven't had much time to talk. It was nice, though kind of stilted.

We found out today that the man who plays the organ was in a bad car accident last night. His car was totaled and he cracked one of his vertebrae. I seriously thought about going over to visit him ... but ... he is single (maybe late 40's??) ... so I was afraid it would look strange or something. He is a nice man, and we have talked some, but otherwise I have no interest -- but me going over to see him ... I also thought about asking if I could go with someone else who was going to see him .. but again, perceptions ... I don't know, maybe I overthink this. But as a single woman who still appears fairly young (and even though I am quite heavyset), I have quite often gotten the feeling from women married to men within a 5 - 15 year range of me, that they'd rather I stay 100 feet away from their husbands. So ... I try to be very, very, very careful. My friendliness/smile sometimes I think (in fact, I know for a fact it has at least twice) is misconstrued as flirting -- when in truth, all I'm doing is being myself and trying to make friends/have a conversation/be polite. (His injuries aren't serious enough to cause paralysis, etc. I'm not sure if he is at home or in the hospital.)

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In other events today...

I went to the library and got a card. I found a couple Lori Wick books I hadn't read, and a book on Psalms 23 which looks interesting. Then I went over to the children's library and found two books on a subject one of my 6th grade boys whispered in my ear on Friday. Our catalog said we had one on the subject, but when we went to the shelf to look, it was nowhere to be found. He's pretty good about getting books back, so I think I can trust him with a book on my card (I'm going to have him choose one of the books.) I just felt so honored that he trusted me enough to ask me for help finding it, that I felt I *had* to come through for him. He's one of those kids who is a 40 year old in a 12 year old's body, and doesn't get along well with the other kids at all.

After the library, I talked to my dad for a while, and then went to Walmart. I bought some of the generic brand 3 in one dishwashing tablets as well as Lemon Shine (highly recommended by my dad as well as one of the teachers here.) I plan on getting my dishwasher set up tonight and run my first load. Yay!

I also picked up a pair of sunglasses for $5 (my last pair were over ten years old and had finally fallen apart a few months ago), as well as yet another watch (somehow lost the last one) for $4.88 - le sigh. I also picked up some moisturizer with sunblock -- something else I did over Christmas was get my first facial ever (gift from an aunt). The technician told me I needed to use moisturizer with sunblock because my skin was really dry in spots and getting the beginnings of sun spots. The moisturizer she recommended cost $59 for 2 oz. The one I bought tonight cost $10.48 for 4 oz.

In all, I spent $51.xx at Wal-mart ... but I forgot to deposit my cash and checks at the ATM. I can do it next Saturday though - not in a rush.

When I got back to my town, I stopped at Family Dollar and picked up 8 cans of 9 Lives for $.33/can (regularly $.40/can), as well as flavored carbonated water (better than soda ... sorta), and a few other things. In all, I spent $6.50.

Oh, while I was at Family Dollar I ran into three of my students. Big Grin They were so cute --- Hi!!! Miss N!!!!!
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Tonight I was able to cash out for another Swagbucks AGC! Smile only 445 to go to the next one. Big Grin

I'm almost to 4900 points in Beezag. Only 3100 to go to cash out!
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I have the feeling tomorrow is going to be a LONG work day. I need to finish grading the tests, grade the projects, get the grades recorded, and then most likely add all the electives to the grading program (and then of course enter grades for journalisim class) ... and then I have about 20 books that need to be cataloged .. then I need to do lesson plans ... and hopefully if I have time, I can work on getting the shelves straightened. Oh wait, I also need to find time somewhere in there to watch the intro video on the yearbook (how to use their program) and open the box which has been sitting unopened for a month or more from Lifetouch (yearbook company) ...then I need to figure out how to set up each of my journalism students with their own accounts so they can work on the yearbook. Oy!

I'm really glad next weekend is a long weekend. I'm gonna need the break! Smile

"Found" $96!

January 6th, 2012 at 04:56 pm

This afternoon I received an email from the account where my scholarship money was kept. I get one from them monthly reminding me to "check in" on my account. I've ignored them for quite awhile because I thought I had spent all the money in that account. Today though the email was different. It said that I was about to be charged an account abandonment fee ... so I decided to check.

I'm glad I did!!! There was $96.xx in it! Straight away I went to one of my credit cards (the only way to get money out of that account without using an ATM) and made a payment for that exact amount.

So that means now that I have $96 that I didn't previously know I had. Where should that money go? Well, that's easy. Smile My Emergency Fund of course!! Big Grin

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Today went pretty well for not having anything really pre-planned. I introduced the new books to the 5th grade boys and the 6th graders - by the time the 3rd section was done checking out, 60% of the new books were gone. Big Grin

I resorted back to my Nyquil equivalent last night ... I just *had* to get some sleep. I slept almost right up to my alarm ... so it worked. I just really don't want to make a habit of it. Not good.

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Today was another no spend day. Smile

Tomorrow after church I plan on staying for potluck and then going over to the "local" library and getting a card. I may use them to rent movies from (they charge $1 for movies and $.50 for audiobooks - I guess they have a high rate of theft???) Then once it is sunset, I'm going to get some dishwashing soap so I can use my dishwasher!!! Then when I get back here, I'll stop at Family Dollar where they have 9 Lives on sale for $.33/can (normally is $.40).

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I found a neat website to help you memorize bible verses - free. Smile memverse.com

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I'm getting *really* annoyed. Over a year ago I requested some auto insurance quotes. About 8 or so people called me, and I decided to stay with Geico. For the next six months every month near the beginning of the month I'd get multiple calls from about 10 or so different numbers. I asked multiple times to have my name and number removed. Finally it seemed to die off. On Tuesday it started back up in full force. Only this time one company is taking it even further -- they're texting me!!!! Each text has the message that if I want them to stop, then text STOP. I have now done that 4 times. It has used up 12 of my 200 text messages for the month. (They text me, I text them STOP, they text back to let me know they got my message.) If this makes me go over my limit, I will be *TICKED*!!!

I probably need to call and see if I can get the number blocked.

2 NSD's in a row :), Cool Library budget news/ramblings! $vacation ramblings

January 5th, 2012 at 09:15 pm

Today made two non spend days in a row. I picked up the last of the book packages from the PO. It was kind of funny - the guy remarked, "You order a lot of stuff." I told him that I'm the librarian at SB and that most of the books I order for the library I have sent there. Smile

Today also made two days in a row that I kept to NoS (mainly in the realm of not eating chocolate.) Smile

Now if I could just get myself to actually do the exercise I said I was going to do ....

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Today I got a call from Scholastic to confirm the dates of our book-fair (Mar 16 - 23 - books arrive on the 16th, so I have the weekend to set up. Oh joy.) While talking with the representative, I was ecstatic to find out that we have $475 in Scholastic dollars left from last year's book-fair. We made a total of over $2k, so I'm not sure where that went (maybe to pay for Destiny??? our cataloging system?) In looking at Scholastic's site, I'm not sure how I'm going to use the money.

*warning - librarian ramblings ahead -- financially related though Smile *
I really think before I spend any more large sums, that I need to finish going through *all* the donated books and catalog them. Then I can upload our library catalog into this free program which will tell me what my weak areas are (I have a strong feeling it will be in non-fiction, but I'm not exactly sure in which areas.) Probably 75% of the books I have been getting this year are fiction. I'm not totally thrilled about Scholastic's selection of non-fiction titles -- I did some extensive searching via the Dewey numbers on topics which I thought *might* be weak in our library.

Maybe what I should do is give the students and teachers a survey of what types of books they'd most like to see added (as in topic areas.) I also think I may keep the money to use next year, and then divide up what we make at this years book fair +475 between the school year and the grade levels -- perhaps minus $200 to be used the next year ...

I'm also kind of leery about getting too many more books in the library this year. The kids are almost coming to expect hearing about new books. There's no way I'll be continuing the same volume of purchases next year ... I need to see if there is a way I can catalog all the donated books, but keep them unsearchable by the kids ... then just put them out a few at a time once a month ... stretch it out. Although I don't know if I could stand it. Big Grin

I also need to find out who decided how the book fair proceeds would be spent/divided. If I can put half of it into cash and *not* have it absorbed into the general school funds, then I could possibly participate in the Junior Library Guild selections .. which I would seriously love. Smile (They send out several selections each month - you can send them back for an exchange or no charge as long as they have not been processed -- you can also change out the selection they'll send you before they send it ... plus if you buy a certain amount of books, you then get a certain number free ... highly recommended by librarians on the listserve I participate on.)

*end librarian ramblings* Smile

I forgot to tell you all about an interesting experience I had over Christmas. My dad, grandma and I were invited to eat at the Loma Linda mayor's house! (before you get too impressed - my dad was his minister when he was a young teenager ... they found each other again at the tree lighting ceremony this year) It was a really nice meal and a very friendly family. They are vegetarian, so the whole meal was vegetarian. Yum Smile

I learned about a tradition I hadn't known about previously -- English Crackers. They are not something to eat. Smile I think I may have seen them before in stores, but not known what they were for. Basically, they are rolled up papers tied on each end -- inside is a paper with a joke, a small toy and a paper crown. When you pull it apart it makes a cracking sound. Hence it's name. Smile

When we were at the farmer's market in LA, we found a set of 8 crackers for $9 (50% sale) so we got them and then used 3 of them for New Year's Eve. Perhaps a new tradition for us. Big Grin

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I'm seriously considering telling my parents that I will make one visit of 8 days to each of them once a year. I also am thinking that I am going to hold off on my Spring Break trip until 2013.

I have the feeling that I will be dealing with some intense pressure and hurt feelings from both of them. The reasons I think this is the way to go is because:

1. I don't know of very many mid-30-year-olds (single or married) that see their parents *every* year, let alone several times a year.

2. It seems to me that it is not very financially smart for someone on my income level to be taking 4 or more vacations a year -- whether or not part of the expenses are paid for by someone else. 2 vacations a year probably is excessive -- especially before getting my EF and car funds in place.

3. I'd like to take a vacation (a real one) sans family (or even with ....) to someplace other than CA or TX.

4. I'd really really like to go on a cruise for my 40th birthday (or at least sometime that year...) and in order to do that, I need to get my basic savings funded so I can work on that long term dream (less than 4 years now!!) Before I was laid off, I had just begun working on this dream fund ... (only it was supposed to be for my 35th birthday ...) I'd really like to do a European cruise ...

5. (won't mention this one to them) I appreciate being treated and everything ... however, if I had fewer vacations, then I'd have more time to save for them so that *I* could do more of the treating (I treated to a cheap $20 meal at a pizza restaurant.) I hate to think how much money my dad and grandma spent while I was there ... especially when I would have been just as happy with home cooked meals and not *going* somewhere everyday ... Really, just going for a visit is enough for me -- I don't need to be entertained. My brother put it really well - it's draining to be "entertained." *and yes, I have tried to tell my dad something along these lines, but he always comes back with "I want to treat you, etc..."

I don't know ... would it be totally selfish and cruel of me to say -- Mom/Dad, you can choose to have me for 8 days in the summer or 8 days during the Christmas break. Then the next year I'll switch - that way each of you will get me every other Christmas and every other summer. If you want to come visit me at my home in the meantime, I'm more than happy to have you -- just don't expect to be entertained constantly.

--- you see, this is one of the areas where it would be so much easier (for me at least) if I was married, or at least in a serious relationship .. then I could use that as a reason --i.e. we're starting our own traditions, or, this year we'll visit his family, then next year we'll visit you ... Whereas with me being single, they somehow have this idea that I'd be terribly bereft if I spent a holiday NOT around family. (for my mom right now I think its more a case of *her* being totally bereft ... )

*and yes, I do know that married people can have just as much problems wrt vacations and family ...***

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I have no idea what I'm doing with my classes tomorrow. Our internet was non-functioning until late this afternoon. We found out that one of the snow plows had somehow managed to break a cable ... Which is why we had no internet at the school the first 4 days of the week (Sun - today.)

I've been sleeping really poorly the last few weeks. I think maybe I got kind of used to using the Nyquil equivalent to sleep ... and so without it, I can barely get 4 hours (if that.) Makes for one tired librarian. Frown

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I'm less than 50 points away from my next Swagbucks AGC. It sure helps when you are consistent about visiting the site for the easy daily points. Smile Plus their adding the Beezag type videos has helped.

Ok, I think I better sign off here to try to get some sleep, plus this is *way* long ... sorry about that.

My Dishwasher! :D Savings Ramble

January 3rd, 2012 at 04:00 pm

My dishwasher arrived today! RW our mobile home park manager met me at the thrift store to pick it up and take it to my house. While I was there waiting for him, I found a bread machine (I don't know how much it was, didn't want to ask in case it was a really good deal - not sure if I'd actually use one...) and this really neat trio of stuffed snowmen sitting on top of each other for the library (free! since it was for the school.) Smile

Anyway, RW brought the box into my kitchen and asked me where I wanted it. Thinking he meant the dishwasher, I told him on the counter. He placed the box on the counter ... and then left!! I managed to get the box off the counter with the help of a chair, but then discovered it was upside down. So ... carefully I got it onto the floor in an upright position. Then using the weight lifters stance, I managed to pull the 60 pound dishwasher OUT of the box and place it on the counter!

Whew!!

I haven't tried to hook it up yet because when I was shopping on Sunday I forgot to get dishwashing detergent. Ooops! My dad is sending me a box of things I couldn't fit in my carryon and is including a baggie of detergent to last until I get to the store again. Sweet guy, huh? Smile

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I received about half of the books I ordered before leaving for break today. Already have them all cataloged. Big Grin One of the boxes I'm anxiously waiting for (and really wish had come!!) is full of graphic novels that my 2nd graders will go for. Hope it gets here tomorrow - I have 2nd grade on Thursday. Although I think the boys will be quite happy with the 10! Star Wars books I got. Smile

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It looks like today is actually going to be a no spend day! Yahoo ! I hope to have lots of those this year.

I was reading on another frugal forum and one of the message threads was the goal of being a "miser" in 2012. I don't know if I want to go quite that far ... but I am rethinking some of my spending lines. I want to make sure that I have a *little* something for fun, while at the same time am socking away as much as possible. My car is not getting *any* younger, so the need for a replacement fund is quite urgent. I have very little room between me and being in debt again if any big expense were to happen -- so the need to get my EF loaded is also urgent.

However, I don't see any way around traveling for Thanksgiving and for Christmas ... and I can't count on generous people paying for my airfare (like my mom's guy friend paid my Thanksgiving tickets 2011) so I must prepare for those expenses. I also feel that it would be really remiss of me to not enjoy some of the wonders of this area ... so I plan on taking a trip during Spring Break to a place about 5 hours from here - where I'll do either a one or two day camping/horseback trip into a place which will help me learn more about the Navajo.

As for the summer travel ... I know both of my parents want me to come see them. However the cost of doing that would just about kill my other financial goals. So ... I'm going to tell my mom that she saw me last summer (the whole summer really), so this summer I'll spend time in CA. Then next summer I'll spend it in TX with her.

And of course, the iPhone 5. Smile I plan to wait til at least next January to actually purchase it (so most of the kinks will be figured out). My current phone by then will be nearly 4 years old -- way older than ANY of my previous cell phones.

My Holiday and an Awesome Gift!!

January 2nd, 2012 at 02:42 pm

I think I'll start off telling about my awesome gift!! Big Grin

Those of you who've read my blog the past few months may have noticed how often I mention how my dishes stack up ... and how I *really* need to get them washed. Well, on another frugal forum I visit I'd mentioned how the only thing my home really lacks is a dishwasher. Someone saw that and suggested that I get a portable dishwasher from Craigslist, etc.

I don't know how the idea had never crossed my mind before, but as soon as I saw it, I knew that was the answer I've been looking for. Smile

My dad and grandma and I were going to go out to the local outlet mall and do clothes shopping - my dad and aunt's gift to me. Instead though I told them about the portable dishwasher, and how I really couldn't think of any clothes I *really* needed (other than some new bras ...) ... They thought it was a terrific idea.

Dad and I went to Home Depot and Lowes to see if we could see any in person - but they only had ones that you could special order. So I ended up looking on Amazon, and found this: SPT.

I paid an extra $4 to get one-day shipping, and it should be delivered to the mission office tomorrow. RW our mobile park manager said that he'd get someone to bring it to my place and help me lift it on the counter. Big Grin

Seriously ... if this was the *only* gift I got in all of 2011 and 2012, I would be an extremely happy camperette!! Big Grin

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I had a pretty enjoyable time overall with my dad and grandma in CA. We went up to Oak Glen the first Saturday I was there - where we saw this person who has three llamas in his yard. We also went to Santa Monica where we walked along the boardwalk and the pier, and dad and I took our first rollercoaster ride in about six+ years!! Then of course we hit Farmer's Market in LA where we ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Our waitress was really good - one of the few people who can keep up with my dad -- later found out that she'd graduated from college a few years earlier and had moved cross country to LA *after* paying off all her student loans, to pursue a career as a comedian. We all were pretty impressed. Smile

On another night we all went out to eat at a nice hotel/fancy restaurant called Mission Inn. It was a gift from my aunt to the three of us. The food was ok, but definitely not worth the cost. If any of us had been meat eaters, it probably would have been more cost worthy. (We all got the buffet.)

Something else I did which made me quite happy ... I closed my Compass Bank account! I then opened an account with BofA - it is one with NO fees and NO stipulations, other than you have to do any and all transaction online or via an ATM. There is a BofA ATM right next to the Walmart I shop at here ... so that works perfectly. For some reason I thought BofA was the bank you could do the phone scan of checks, but that is actually Chase. Oh well, as long as I can put cash/checks into the ATM, that is all I really need. I'll still use ING as my main bank.

Oh something else that made me happy ... dad and I checked at Costco about whether or not someone without a Costco membership could use a gift card to purchase things. We found out that it was true! So my dad bought me a $100 gift card (I was going to pay him back for it, but he later told me he wanted to cover it for me. Sweet.) I didn't get a chance to use it when I got back Sunday night, but I plan on stopping there after my seminar on the 18th. Big Grin My trunk will be filled with cat litter. Smile

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Something kind of cool that happened on my trip back here on Sunday. I was at the gate in Phoenix waiting for my flight (which later turned out to be wrong because they changed gates on us ...) and the airline person who checks you in announced that the flight to Austin was way overbooked. They were offering to put people up in a hotel and a $325 voucher *no restrictions* to anyone who volunteered to be bumped. The lady sitting next to me (we both were using the electric plug) got up and volunteered. It turned out that the seat she gave up went to a young military man. Later as he got on the plane he came over to her and personally thanked her. Big Grin

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Well, I was going to put in five hours at school today. However, when I went over there today I found out that the phone lines and internet were both down. So that put a big crimp on doing most of what I'd planned on doing. There were other things I *could* have done, but once I realized I couldn't do most of the other stuff ... I wimped out and went home. Big Grin

Tomorrow I'll be picking up a bunch of deliveries from the post office (hopefully!!!) -- books I ordered thanks to the $200 donation to the library. Since our system will still probably be down tomorrow, I'll go ahead and catalog the books at home. I should've taken home barcode/spine labels today to print -- will pick those up tomorrow.

I talked to our principal today. We're going to have our Christmas parties on Friday afternoon, but will not be rescheduling the Christmas program. I also found out that *this* is my week for morning prayer/cafe duty. A three-day week? I'll take it!! Now just have to find three prayers. Smile

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I was checking FB earlier this morning and saw that one of my coworkers had gotten food poisoning from an order of onion rings at BK. I also learned something disturbing (for a 20+ year vegetarian who loves onion rings from BK) and that is that BK makes their onion rings in grease that has meat particles. Intelligently, I think I probably already knew this ... but ignored it because of how much I love their onion rings. But now can no longer ignore the info. Sigh. Onion rings aren't all that good for me anyway.

I bought my coworker some baby wipes and went over and walked a dog that she's dog sitting (the dog only knows to go #2 on a walk ...). My coworker and I were discussing how many times we've gotten food poisoning here, as well as two restaurants in the area shut down due to health violations recently ... and both agreed that maybe just staying home and eating in was a better idea. Big Grin (considering that that is my plan anyway ... good to have some extra reasoning power behind it, right?)

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I had both of my Swagbucks AGC's come in during December. So right now I have a $10 credit on Amazon .... Also my dad had enough Swagbucks by Thursday for him to redeem his first card (which he's going to give to me.) Big Grin

I have almost 4500 Beezag points, so more than halfway to my next cash out. Big Grin

I think it is funny how Beezag videos are infiltrating all the different rewards websites. Both Swagbucks and Mypoints now have them. So it is possible to watch the same video for a reward 3 x in one day on the three different sites. Just mute the volume and keep your eyes out for the numbers, and you're good to go!! Big Grin

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Almost forgot -- New Year's Eve dad, grandma and I went to Pasadena and drove up and down Colorado Blvd. Unfortunately due to Sunday Blue laws, the parade wasn't til today -- so nobody was there. Frown We now have two bags of marshmallows prepared and ready for next year though!! The trip wasn't a total bust - we went through Sierra Madre and checked out all the Christmas lights. Most of the neighborhoods in that area were decked out in different themes. Very nice - especially considering that *very* few people in my dad and grandmas town did any decorating with lights.