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Archive for February, 2015

February Accounting

March 1st, 2015 at 02:28 am

I was waiting to make this post until I could know for sure whether my third $25 PP would deposit before March or not ... it didn't, so it'll go for March.

Extras:
NM tax refund - $87
NE tax refund - $142
Fed tax refund - $540
Swagbucks PP - $50
FB sale - $30
PerkPoints - $25 AGC
Pact - $16
Pinecone - $10

Total: $900

Expenses:
Tithe: 10%
Giving: $30
Rent: 430
Car Insurance: Pd 215 6 mo. premium, added 36
Groceries: 69.30
Internet: 64.96
House Gas: 39.36
Electricity: 44.53
Auto Fuel: 14.53
Restaurants: 39.24 (2 ff and Chinese buffet for two)
Kari - 22.66 (stocking up on food w/coupons)
Treats - 23.21 (before starting 40 day challenge)
Gifts - $12.13 (NEs Valentine's)
Tax Prep - $34.98
ROTH - $200
EF - 10% + $1,068

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So ... for this month it gives me an approximate 70% savings rate (I'm not including the car insurance payment in this calculation because it was previously accounted for in expenses only in monthly "installments")

My groceries category is way low this month mainly because I was eating the food I purchased in January from the store that went out of business, plus the frozen fruit I bought from Sam's in December managed to last til Friday (supplemented by two bags of ff I'd bought from closed store.)

I expect my grocery bill to be much higher for March, but that will be countered by no money spent on treats (until March 31 ...) Smile


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March is going to be interesting. I'll not only have my 2.5% raise going into effect, but I'll also have the 7% retirement contribution be taken out AND I changed my deductions from 2 to 3. Of course that income won't factor in til April, but I'll at least get to see what it's gonna look like. Big Grin

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After factoring in what I know I'm going to spend in March and estimiating some other expenses, my goal is to put $300 extra into my Efund in March. (above the 10% minimum)

However, there are some items I'm contemplating ...
Shoes - $20 x 2 (my work shoes are pretty much shot - I am planning on ordering two pairs so I have an extra pair on hand in case this style goes away before I need it again - good, comfortable dressy shoes .. worth their weight in gold.)

Kari supplies - ala Cat Whisperer - second litterbox with high sides ($12), one or two mechanical toys to help with boredom while I'm at work ($30-40), food puzzle ($10) automatic food dispenser ($50)

The litterbox and food puzzle are the only two items I'm sure I'm going to get, the others I'm still contemplating. I have roughly $90 in AGC, which would easily cover what I want, plus some. I'm also hoping my reward from Achievemint will arrive soon ($100 visa gift card)

Gym - $39/month ... I won't have a chance to check it out this weekend, but I plan to next Sunday. I also want to see how my paycheck pans out for March to see if I'll feel comfortable deducting $39 from it ...

Fitbit upgrade ... I love my Zip, but the cheap batteries I got from eBay don't last more than a month or two. They were 5 for $2. To get a battery that lasts 4-6 months, it'd be $10+. So ... I'm thinking about upgrading to the next level where you don't have to have a battery - you charge it via usb cord. This would be approximately $100, although I saw a mention on YNAB forums today of someone seeing it at Walmart for $29!! If I see it for that, I'm grabbing it, no question!

Google Flights / Gyms

February 27th, 2015 at 01:00 am

I've been doing some looking into a trip out to CA in September for my grandma's 93rd birthday. I priced out Greyhound, AmTrak and Southwest. All of them came out about the same price, but Southwest was 7 hrs travel time versus 40+ hours. Driving would be ~29 hours.

Today I ran across a neat little tool - Google Flights. You input the dates you'd like to travel between and it finds the dates which would save you the most money. I found one flight for 340, but I'd have to stay for 14 days ... No can do. But I do think I'll be able to leave from L instead of O, which is what I thought I'd have to do to get a good deal. (just will have to pack very lightly)

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It got COLD here last night and today. Brr! It was -8 at noon today.

Glad I have plenty of hot chocolate to keep me warm. Smile

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Yesterday I went to a city health fair (during work hours!) and got a nice free chair massage. I also talked to a lady from a local gym.

*indoor track
*indoor/outdoor pool
*pilates classes (included in membership)
Plus all the usual weight, cardio, etc.

The city employee rate is $39/month for a 2 year membership.

I'm really, really tempted. The track and the pool are the two biggest draws to me (really the track is the biggest draw.)

I'm just not sure if I want to commit to $39/month for two years ... I'm most likely to use it when it is either too cold outside or too hot outside for me to feel comfortable walking outside (or most of the winter when it gets dark so early.) However, I would probably use the weights too.

I *can* exercise at home for free. No extra gas spent, and don't have to make sure I'm clothed decently. Smile

I just think a track would help me make actual improvements, vs. stepping in place at home.

It would be about a 20 minute drive (one of the closest places to me. there is a $10/mo place no contract that is about 30 minute drive, but no track or pool)

I think I'd most likely use it Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Maybe Saturday too (too hot/cold to walk to the library)

I also like that for my Pact app that I could just check in and not have to worry about making sure I get enough movement in to count (it has a feature for home workouts which tracks accelrometer movement.)

If I do this and actually USE it, future Laura will thank present Laura for this. (health wise) If I do this and don't really use it, future Laura will beat up present Laura. Smile (waste of money that could've been put towards savings goals)

I'm thinking I might check and see if I can get a one week membership to test it out and see if I will really DO the 20 minute drive after work during the week ... plus to see how crowded it is during the times I'd want to go. I know they'll do a one day trial, but that is hardly enough to really test it.

I just know how hard it is sometimes for me to make myself do workouts even with the motivation of watching a new episode of POI... Will I really be able to make myself drive 20 minutes .....

Nice Meal Out, etc.

February 25th, 2015 at 01:04 am

Sunday night NE and I went out to a Chinese buffet with his friend/wife. It was nice to spend some time with them, and NE was able to have his will witnessed.

I ended up only getting one semi-sweet food - mainly because I was stuffed! (I ate way too many corn nuggets - yummy!)

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6 days out of 40 are down now in my 40 day challenge! So far I'm not finding it too difficult to stay away from the temptation of buying junkfood ... of course I also haven't had any majorly stressful days this past 6 days. That's when the real test will come.

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I read "The Mockingbird Next Door" this past week at work. It's about Nelle Harper Lee - the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was REALLY good. Towards the end of the book it mentioned the movie Infamous with Sandra Bullock (based on the Clutter family murder in the early 60s in Kansas - which Truman Capote wrote the book In Cold Blood about.)

NE and I watched it on Amazon IV last night (only $2 to rent! paid out of my Amazon credits). I liked it, although I think NE was slightly bored because it was mostly talking/interacting and not too much action.

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Today I started reading "The Cat Whisperer." I am *really* liking it so far. Ceejay, you might want to check it out if your cats are still having issues.

No spending since Sunday - groceries and dinner - roughly $48 total. With 4 days to do, I think I'll be putting over $1000k to my EF! Big Grin Wish every month could be like that. (I'd have to earn a whole lot more!)

Nice Surprise & Some Questions

February 21st, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Yesterday when I got home and got on Swagbucks I saw I had had a 1500 SB infusion. I was wondering what that was from, so checked my account ledger.

It was from doing my taxes on TaxAct! I had clicked through the link when I did my taxes, but hadn't seen anything in the Shop and Earn tab or anywhere else saying pending .. so figured that since I already was a customer of TaxAct that I wouldn't get the points.

Glad I was wrong. Big Grin I just need 400 more now to get my next $25 PP reward. Sweet!

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I also had a nice surprise EOB from my bloodwork. I wasn't asked for a co-pay at the time, and was expecting to pay at least $30+ for my part.

Today I got the EOB - My portion? $0!!

I have to say, I *really* like my insurance plan. Smile

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I walked to the library today and brought back a number of items. Picked up some things that were on hold. One of them was "The Rosie Project" which I'd seen recommended by a number of people on YNAB forums.

The lady behind me saw the book and told me that her book club had just read that book, and that there is a sequel to it (The Rosie Effect.) I told her that I was looking forward to reading both. Smile (I considered asking her about the book club, but I was in my scruffies and wasn't sure what kind of impression she'd have ... Smile )

Later as I was heading out the door, she was behind me. She told me that she'd seen my keytag for the library card and hadn't known they had those - so she got one too. Smile I told her that I found it pretty convenient as long as I had my id with me! (I have my id on a lanyard with the library card keytag.)

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I'm curious what your opinion is on this ...

Tomorrow NE and I are going to eat at a Chinese buffet with his friend BT and his wife. I'm paying for NE's and I's meal. At the buffet there is a fairly good selection of sweets.

Since I am paying for the buffet as a whole, if I took some sweets as part of my meal, would that count as my buying junkfood?

I'm thinking that it doesn't, since I'd be paying the same amount no matter what. So it isn't like I'm paying specifically for the sweets section.

If I were in a grocery store shopping, then buying a candy bar, etc., would be a clear cut no. Or if I was at a restaurant where you order desert separately. But when it is already part of a meal?

Just curious what you all think. Smile

(This is in relation to my 40 day goal of not purchasing junkfood.)

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I helped NE fill out his Last Will Friday night. He asked me if there was anything specific I wanted of his ... had a hard time thinking of anything, but finally came up with one of his fishing rods. He's going to have his friend BT and wife sign it as witnesses.

I probably need to do something like this too, but I'm not sure how legally binding something like this really is. A document you get off a CD from Office Depot and print out?

How/Where do you include account information, etc? An addendum or something? Should you include a clause in there about how you want social websites handled?

My 40 Day Goal, etc.

February 20th, 2015 at 02:37 am

I don't celebrate Lent in my faith, but after having spent three years working in a Catholic school and seeing how much it meant to the people there, I have thought about making my own Lenten type commitment.

When I was having issues with eating out too much and made the goal of no eating out for 60 days - I succeeded and in the end pretty much completely got rid of the bad habits that had been forming. Not that I don't stop for fast food once in a while, or eat out, but it isn't the norm.

So ... with my recent blood test results (lipids) I realized that there are two things that could help reverse those results. Eating less junkfood and being more consistent in my exercise.

So ... for 40 days (starting Wednesday, the 18th) my commitment is to not buy junkfood (may eat it, but cannot purchase it)and to get a minimum of 20 minutes of activity EVERY day.

My hope is that by the end of 40 days I will have broken through the bad habits I'd fallen back into the past 4 or 5 months with junkfood, as well as regaining good habits of exercise which kind of went by the wayside both with the weather and it getting dark early plus not feeling well often.

This of course will also save me money. Big Grin

So far so good. Smile

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I got the new label maker yesterday just before heading home for the day. Today I got to play with it. Smile Our new computer system doesn't allow us to install programs on the computer, so I can't access all of the neat features - at least not until GK installs the program for me. Smile

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I cashed out Pinecone points for $10 tonight.

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NE wants to take a friend of his to dinner this weekend (either Sunday or Monday) to tell him about his upcoming surgery, etc. Since he paid for Valentine's, it's my turn to pay. (this will be a cheaper meal - Chinese buffet vs. the V pizza buffet.) I've been in the mood for Chinese for awhile, so it'll be nice.

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I'm on track to put $1000 in my EF this month - as long as I'm really careful with my grocery spending for the coming week. There isn't too much I can think of that I'll need to get other than bananas and sweet potatoes .. oh, mouthwash too.

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I saw a recipe on MyFitnessPal for black bean oatmeal burgers. It's a fairly simple recipe, and I'm pretty sure I have everything needed. So I might make those this weekend - would be great for lunches next week, and maybe freeze some too if I have enough black beans to make extras.

http://happyherbivore.com/2011/08/easy-black-bean-burger/

Oatmeal is supposed to be really good for lowering cholesterol. I used to eat it a lot for breakfast, but really prefer the fruit smoothies (frozen fruit, banana, flaxseed, chia seeds, PB2 powder, water, sometimes carrots if I remember to get some ...)

So maybe I can get the oatmeal in at lunch in these burgers. Smile

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I really need to get to the bank and figure out if I want to try for the $150 bonus. Every time I think about doing it I end up having one of my major sinus? headaches and am not at all productive after work.

I'd think about taking an afternoon off to do that and get my hair cut/highlighted and a few other odds and ends that aren't easy to do after work ... but with NEs surgery coming up in a few weeks I'm not sure how much time I'll need to take off for that.
At least one day for the surgery, and then he'll need me to take him home the next day - might have to take off the third day, or at least part of it. So ... will be using some of my vacation time.

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I'm thinking that I'm going to CA in September. It'll be my grandma's 93rd birthday. If I can schedule it around Labor Day, then I won't have to use too many vacation days.

My brother and I are working together to have him and mom come here (NE) in May - probably Mother's Day weekend. I'll use a few vacation days for that too.

I haven't heard anything more about my high-school reunion ... am kind of questioning whether I really want to do it anyway. NJ isn't exactly my first choice of vacation destination ... Smile

Monday Report - Sales, Doctor, Goodwill, Visit

February 17th, 2015 at 12:46 am

The lady who said she wanted my DVDs yesterday came by with the $30. I had just lain down for a nap (not feeling that great) when she knocked on my door - so I missed it. Luckily she hadn't gotten too far away when I heard a ding letting me know I had a FB message - checked it and was able to get her to come back!

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I called the place I have had a term life insurance policy at for the past 5 years and canceled it. It was due to renew on 3/15, so I was running out of time to cancel it before being charged another year's premium. (I'm going to be covered by my work life insurance as of 3/5 and can take it with me if I leave.)

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I got in contact with an actual person at the doctor's office today. Looks like my thyroid is under control now with the current dosage! My Vitamin D level was really low which is why they prescribed me Vitamin D pills (one a week for 8 weeks, then retest.) One somewhat surprise was that my lipid panel showed my cholesterol was high 258? I think. The nurse suggested fish oil capsules ... yuck, no!

I know what I've got to do ... I just have to *really* cut out most of the junkfood/sugary junk I've been stress eating. I also need to get much more consistent with my exercise. 20-25 minutes of walking at work isn't enough.

My weight and my numbers are telling me I need to do something different.

I've just got to figure out how to rewire my brain for what I go for when I'm stressed out.

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Stopped by Goodwill today and dropped off 4 boxes of books and 1 box of miscellaneous items. Also broke down several boxes and threw away a few others.

My living room is now empty of boxes. I do need to get a two-shelf bookshelf for the things that aren't fitting on my one bookshelf in the living room.

The futon I was trying to buy from someone on FB yesterday has been sold Frown It was $25 and looked in pretty good shape. I'll just have to keep looking.

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My visit with the pastor this morning went well. We talked nearly two hours! I really was trying to be succinct, but there was a lot of backstory needed ... He gave me some helpful suggestions and told me to let him know if I needed to meet again. I'm really glad I did it.

Decluttering and FB sales

February 16th, 2015 at 01:58 am

I didn't go anywhere today. Wasn't feeling very good and it was just too cold outside (colder than yesterday.)

I did however manage to go through about five boxes in my living room. Three boxes of books, plus another box of odds and ends will be heading to Goodwill either tomorrow (if they're open) or Tuesday.

I also went through my DVDs and picked out 3 that I definitely could not get rid of. The rest (17 of them) I took a picture of and posted on the local FB garage sale page. Tomorrow afternoon I should have someone coming by with $30 to pick them all up! Sweet!

I also found a futon for $25 on the FB garage sale page, but NE ended up not coming over tonight, so I might lose out on that one. (He has a luggage rack on top of his Subaru so we could have tied it on to there.) If it is still available tomorrow, I'll be getting it. Smile

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I made enough on PerkTv tonight to redeem for the $25 AGC. Should have that by Monday night.

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While looking on the FB garage sale page I found something I'd been looking for for awhile - I just hadn't been sure what it was called. A perpetual calendar. People ask me all the time what the date is - so if I had one on the counter, they wouldn't have to ask. Smile (I'd just have to be sure to change it each day!)

The one on there already had a taker, but I found one on Amazon. None on Office Depot (which is where we are supposed to order all office supplies from.) I'll have to talk to my boss about it on Tuesday to see what can be done.

Early Valentine's Doings, Doctor's Report, and Interesting Idea

February 14th, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Friday night NE and I ended up going out to eat at a local pizza restaurant buffet that starts with V. When we first dated back in 2004 I had a surprise birthday party for him there. That was the last time either of us had been there - he was saying that now that we've been back together for almost two years (1 yr 9 mos) that maybe it was time to try it out again. Smile

It was good food, but as is the problem with buffets, it is hard to eat reasonably - and I definitely overdid it. Good thing we don't do that very often!

I gave him the maple syrup (and a card.) He seemed to really appreciate it.

He's really nervous about his upcoming shoulder surgery (March 11) - so much so that he bought a packet of last will/testament +POA from eBay and plans to have his apartment cleaned up by that date.

He'll be in the hospital for at least two days after surgery, and then have at least a 4 week recovery time, two of which he isn't supposed to drive.

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I got a message from my doctor's office - twice on voicemail on Friday. One of the things I had tested last week was my Vitamin D levels - it must have been pretty low because they called in a prescription for Vitamin D supplements to my pharmacy - take one per week for 8 weeks and then redo bloodwork. Nothing was said about my TSH level, which was the main reason for the bloodwork! If they're open on Monday hopefully I won't have to play voicemail tag with them (they close at 4:30, which is when I get off work.)

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I have an appointment to talk with my pastor on Monday.

I'm thinking about going to see a movie - Old Fashioned - afterwards. I mentioned it to NE and he had no response .. which usually means no interest. Oh well, I can go see it by myself. Smile

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I read an interesting article today which was linked to in a journal on the YNAB forums - one of the ideas in it was that what trips most people up when making goals or plans is that they get overwhelmed by everything they'll have to do to reach the goal/finish the plan. The better thing to do is to think about the goal/plan on what you need to do to reach it *that day*.

An example given is "I want to play lead guitar in a rock band." Instead of thinking about how many hours of practice that would take and getting overwhelmed and most likely not doing anything towards that goal, think about what you can do *today*. I will practice the guitar today.

In finances I could see an example being "I want to retire at 55." That could be overwhelming in the big picture. What is a small step? What can be done *today?* I will call my car insurance to see if I can get a better price. (reduce expenses) or I will work on learning *skill* which I can eventually use to earn side income. etc. etc.

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I cashed out for $25 PP a couple days ago and already received it. Then today I cashed out again (after cashing out my Bing points) so should have that by Wednesday or so I'd guess.

I'm getting close to my next $25 AGC with PerkTV - this one's gone much slower because they reduce the point values on some videos.

Ebay update, etc.

February 13th, 2015 at 02:00 am

Wow! I don't know if my emailed apology did something or what ... but the buyer closed the return - they decided to keep the movie even though it wasn't the one they thought they were getting! Now I just have to wait and see what kind of feedback (if any) they leave me.

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I am so looking forward to this long weekend. It was SO nice sleeping in a little on Thursday (had a doctor's appt in the a.m.) If I could start work at 10 and be done by 5 I think that would be just about perfect ... Oh well.

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NE has been talking a lot about pure maple syrup lately .. so I decided to pick up a *small* bottle for VD. Smile That stuff is expensive - $7 for 8 oz!

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At work on Wednesday we had a whole big issue with the copier. I've been printing single labels and sometimes multiple labels for one of the people there - reusing the same sheets. Apparently that is a big no no in copier world according to the copy repair man who came out.

So ... we were talking about the option of a typewriter or a small printer. CT our office manager found something evn better though - a label printer! It prints labels of all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be hooked into a computer so you input the label info into a spreadsheet or word document and send it. You can do singles or multiples.

As soon as GM is back from vacation I'll be sending her my order for it, along with label rolls to go with it. Smile (she's our order person - we only order office suppplies through Office Depot.)

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I'm really enjoying having a 15 minute break in the afternoon. I'm now getting nearly 25 = 30 minutes of walking time = split into 12 and 13 roughly, but still is more than I was getting during the work day. Smile

My boss and CT though are ending up having to be there while I'm on break because the others who signed up to cover the shift don't really know enough of the route info, etc. to be able to answer questions if they get a route info call (some people know the direct number, so route info calls get through even when I've logged off.)

I feel bad for them, but I'm just too happy to have the break!

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We all got new computers today at work!! It was a bit of a mess because one of my two screens couldn't attach to the new computer without an adapter. Then once we got that going, the AVL (how we track the buses) wasn't loading right.

Also I lost all my bookmarks in FireFox that I constantly use, and some of them I didn't realize weren't there until people called with questions where I needed them!

I think I'm all set now though. I'm just glad we're using Windows 7 and not 8!

I asked about what they are doing with the old computers - they are going to be set up in various places around the bus depot for employees to be able to check their paycheck statuses online or do other online work related requirements. (If they didn't have a plan for them, I was going to suggest checking with local schools ... Big Grin )

Sinus headache + Hectic Day = Money Spent

February 11th, 2015 at 04:52 am

Today was a very hectic and chaotic day at work.

One thing I do is mail passes out to people who send in order forms/money. TWO different people I mailed passes out to last Wednesday/Friday have not gotten them yet. One of them is a mentally challenged person who can be quite abrasive. The other one is an older gentleman who is frustrated, but polite.

I feel very frustrated because I did my part - got the passes out in the outbox as soon as they came in ... now it's the post office's part. But I'm having to deal with the mail not getting there on time. Ugh.

I also found out I made some really stupid mistakes on Friday - totally forgot to make a receipt for one of the mailed out passes (thankfully had a record of it in the mop book!) plus a couple other things ... my boss jokingly? asked me if it was because I was off probation now ...

It sure didn't help things that by about 1 pm I had a horrible headache - most likely sinus.

By the time I got off work my head hurt so badly that I felt nauseous. I thought maybe food would help ... so I stopped at BK and at Family Dollar ... $13 later ... the food didn't really help, nor did the soda. What did help was a Dayquil and taking a 90 minute nap.

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Tomorrow I have a doctor's appt for bloodwork at 8:30 - TSH and cholesterol, etc - so no breakfast before going.

I had planned on getting a breakfast crosanwich from BK on my way to work after the appointment as a treat (LOVE them, but very rarely get them) but now I don't know if I should since I spent so much tonight. Sigh. Plus I'm not sure how NE and I are splitting our early Valentine's meal (Friday night) - we've talked about getting a heart shaped pizza from a local pizza place and maybe cheesecake from a local place .. we'll see what actually happens.

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I'd planned on checking out the US Bank offer this afternoon, but because of the headache/nausea didn't do it. There is a branch right near NEs place, which is also near the PO I have a box at (which I need to cancel soon before it renews again!)

I found out at work today that my raise doesn't actually go into effect until my March 5 paycheck. Boo! I understood why, just was hoping to get it sooner.

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I really hate my allergies. You'd think in winter they'd be non-existent ... They affect my sleep (as in lack of sleep) .. they affect my day at work (as in huge headache can't concentrate) .. they affect my time with NE because if the headache is bad enough that I take some non-daytime medicine, then I get so sleepy / out of it while he's here - but if I *don't* take it, then I can barely stand to hear him talk ..

Ugh!

It used to be I took Allegra D when it was a prescription - reasonable price for a 30 day supply. As an OTC, NOT reasonable price and NOT able to get a 30 day supply (get ten at a time and only once every two weeks ...) Allegra D was what seemed to work best for me without making me so darn sleepy.

Now I have found other stuff that works, is somewhat reasonable, but most of it makes me really drowsy. So .. can't take it during the day.

Ebay - Good and Bad

February 8th, 2015 at 03:38 pm

I got a best offer on a book I've had up on eBay for nearly a year now. While I was contemplating accepting the offer ($4 less than my BIN price) I got another email telling me that same person had gone ahead and bought it for full price! Sweet! It was a book I used for my technology class a couple years ago. After shipping and fees I think I'll make about $8 (not real profit because I paid around $25 for it. But better than nothing!)

Unfortunately I also got an email that the DVD I sold last week had a return request. Frown I admit I mistakenly did not put all the correct info for it. I had used the pre-filled stuff for the upc code and didn't double check it closely enough. Totally my fault. So, now I wait for it to be returned. Frown Ugh. (The cover looked exactly the same, the year was the same, just a slightly different title. made all the difference though.)

Hopefully this isn't going to put a ding on my 100% rating. Frown

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My allergies are really bothering me this week. I've been taking allergy meds which have allowed me to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep most nights ... if I take a full dose, then I'm a zombie the next day. The lack of sleep is really getting to me.

At least the last two nights I haven't been woken up or kept awake by loud vehicles in the parking lot!

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I plan to do some grocery shopping today (don't need very much) and get some cleaning done as well.

I also might make a stop at two local fast food places that have a $4.50 shop associated with them - quick jobs. Smile I will resist purchasing anything!

I redownloaded Receipt Hog last night and plan to start using it again. I'm only 100 points away from being able to cash out for a $5 PayPal. I probably won't though, because you get a better deal if you wait. I'm going to ask NE if he'll let me have some of his receipts because I'll only have one or two a week at most - you can input up to 7. (I need to find mine from last weekend, they'd still be in the 7 day period.)
(If you're interested in Receipt Hog, I have to send a referral link via email - they don't have a clickable one like Ting or Ynab, etc.)
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Tonight NE has agreed to drive me along one of the bus routes so I can make notes on the best places to catch the bus and landmarks to pinpoint them. Eventually I hope to do this for all of the routes - it will make it so much easier on me telling people where to go/where to stand.

Good Day :)

February 7th, 2015 at 12:51 am

Today I finally had my 6 month evaluation - my boss thought she hadn't gotten the paperwork yet, but A let her know that I wouldn't get paid for my sick leave (for upcoming doctor's appt) if I wasn't finalized. That's when A also let her know that she'd sent her the paperwork in her email. Smile

So .. the end result is that I am offcially off probation AND got a 2.25% raise. Big Grin About .40/hour Smile Better than nothing - especially since starting with my 3/5 paycheck I'll be having 7% taken out for retirement.

Work was crazy busy all week - I didn't have time to be bored. So many calls about "Are the buses running?" or "How far behind schedule is ...?"

We had about 15 inches of snow between Saturday and Wednesday. I was super glad for the snow boots my mom gave me for my birthday!

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I got my NE and Fed refunds this morning.

My Discover Checking is now fully funded for the $50 award after March 31.

I think I'm going to have at least $1k to put to my EF this month if I'm really careful with my spending - maybe more. Big Grin

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This weekend I hope to actually be productive and get some cleaning and maybe some cooking done. We'll see what actually happens though ... Smile

I do hope to get a couple walks outside in since the temps are supposed to be pretty good.

3:30 AM Is a Good Time to Scrape a Parking Lot. NOT

February 6th, 2015 at 03:12 am

My apartment building has three parking lots surrounding it. One parking lot is for my building, one is for an apartment building nearby, and the other one is the parking lot for a medical building.

Guess which parking lot is located directly by my bedroom? Yep, the medical building parking lot.

So .. this past week we had a total of nearly 15 inches of snow. This morning the owners of the medical building hired someone to scrape their parking lot. Starting around 3:30 (maybe earlier, but this is when I first looked at my phone) and continued to around 5:00 AM!

I get that they have to do it while there aren't cars in the lot ... but still!

It was kind of funny though watching Kari's reaction - she was standing on my dresser (which is located next to the bedroom window.) If you've seen those cat videos of cats standing on their back legs with nothing to support them ... that's what she was doing. Staring intently at the curtain. I was really surprised she didn't stick her head out the curtain - maybe she was intrigued, but also scared?

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With all the snow this week, I was really glad for the snow boots my mom gave me for my birthday. They don't fit very well (too tight) but they still served their purpose!

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I got my NM tax refund yesterday. It was less than I remembered .. not sure what happened there. I probably need to log on to the Tax site and see if I'm just remembering the wrong amount.

I should have my federal refund tomorrow (according to the IRS site.) No clue on the NE state refund.

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This week at work has been fairly good. Mostly because I have been legitimately busy! Tons of phone calls on Monday and Wednesday asking one question ... Are the buses running today? Then Mon-Thurs fielding lots of calls asking how far behind schedule the buses were ... Lots of buses getting stuck on ice or in snow drifts or in small accidents (somebody backed into a bus!!)

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I almost have all the funds in my Discover bank account to make the $50. I have to have the $5k balance by March 15 - I'll probably go ahead and get the funds in there sooner so they're not sitting at ING (I know, I know) at .75%, and then pull all of them out except $500 until September - just in case there is some problem with closing the account before six months.

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I got an offer for a local bank here - open up an account with a minimum deposit of $25 AND have a direct deposit of at least $500/month for three months - get $150.

There are local branches around here - one not far at all from me. I still need to check into fees and such, plus find out if I can have one paycheck DD to one bank, and the other to another one. If not, I could have them both DD to the one bank, and then just transfer the money.

That would be a pretty sweet kick to the EF!

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I am now officially in my 7th month at my job and am no longer on probation!! I am using my first two hours of sick leave next week for a doctor's appointment. Big Grin (TSH bloodwork, etc)

I asked my boss about my 6 month evaluation, and she told me she still hasn't heard anything. Booooo! I want to know if I'm going to get a raise! (Possible 2.25%)

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Other than Sunday when I went to Walmart and Sam's, I haven't spent any money this week. I was tempted, but I knew I had so much food here (especially from all the shopping I did at the now closed local grocery store) that I really shouldn't do it!

However ... my dress heels for work are starting to come apart. Walking through slush apparently isn't very good for them to hold together ...These were a $30 pair I got from Sears in July I think .. not sure if it's worth it trying to find someone to resole them? Or better to just get a new pair? I *really* like these shoes. It's hard for me to find good shoes ...

January Spending Recap

February 2nd, 2015 at 12:06 am

January up til the last week or so looked like it was going to be under control ... sigh. I will do better this month.

Tithe: 130
Giving (other) 70 (hadn't put it towards anything for a few months)

Rent: 430
Natural Gas: 36.97
Electric: 37.97
Auto Fuel: 15.48
Internet: 65.60 Sigh...
Groceries: 256.xx Huge sigh (a lot of this was from a local store closing ... at least $120 worth)
Restaurants: $16.64 *hardee's twice*
clothing: $4 (washing clothes/ drying)
Kari - $3.61 (canned food)
Toiletries: $6.49 (hairspray and deodorant)
Treats: 36.13 (I think the number is higher than this .. I just didn't track as carefully out from groceries the whole month.)
Beauty - $25 groupon for highlights/cut for future
Tax Prep: 34.98 (federal + two state efiled)

Savings:
EF: 471.91
ROTH: 200

Extra Income:
Swagbucks: $50 PayPal
PerkTV: $25 AGC
Pact: $17
Pinecone: $5
eBay: roughly $16 after fees/shipping

Will be coming -- $100 Visa ecard from Achievemint (cashed in about two or three weeks ago.)

Twenty Minutes to DeSnow the Car!

February 1st, 2015 at 10:19 pm

When I went to bed Saturday night I knew it had been snowing a good part of the day - but it mostly hadn't stuck. Apparently it snowed all night.

This afternoon I went out to go to Sam's Club and Walmart and it took me at least 20 minutes to clear my car off enough so I could see out the windows. That was not even removing the ice - that I had to wait another ten minutes for because my hand was frozen.

The roads were pretty slick. Getting on to the road towards Sam's, there was a semi-truck stuck trying to turn right on the other side of the road. It still was there an hour later on my way home! There were stuck cars all over the place on the side of the road.

I made it out to Walmart with only a little slip and slide at the traffic lights. Of course I didn't write my list down, so I forgot to get the PB2 at Walmart - Sams of course didn't have it. Gas was $1.85 at Sam's, which was only a few cents cheaper than the corner station here.

Walmart - $28.xx (cat food, Fage - coupons for both, 5lb frozen veggies, bananas, etc)
Sam's - $13.28 cat food for NE (he'll pay me back- put on Discover card towards the 1k spending)
Sam's Gas - $14.48 (Discover card)

I now have a load of laundry in the dryer. I need to empty the dishwasher. I'd planned on walking over to my landlord's to deliver the rent check today ... but yeah, no. I'll take it over after work tomorrow - hopefully the roads will be more clear.

I can just guess how many times I'm going to hear the phrase "I'm freezing out here! When's the bus coming?" tomorrow .... Or my favorite - Tell me EXACTLY when the bus will be here ...

Need to Find a Way to be Content

February 1st, 2015 at 05:00 pm

Last week was a long, stressful week at work. I spent most of Saturday wondering how I could make it work if I were to just plain quit.

I figured that I could survive at least 9 - 10 months with cash on hand, plus selling my non-inherited stocks - possibly a little longer.

Of course that would mean no health insurance.

I think part of what is so stressful to me is how utterly bored I am most of the time. There are spates of busy activity where the phone is ringing off the hook and I have lots of orders to fill or people at the window. But there is a LOT more time where it is just DEAD.

I've been doing a lot of compensating for stress by ... eating and eating and eating. Not healthy food. The few pounds I managed to lose have found me again. This is bad for my waistline and my pocketbook.

Deacon's Wife (Laura) mentioned that she thinks she might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm kind of wondering if I might have something like that too.

Quitting my job isn't the answer. It might rid me of the stress of having to deal with some of the aspects of the job I hate, but whos to say I'll find something else less stressful or better.

So ... I need to figure out how to be content with where I am at.

How have I been filling my time when it's dead? Mostly by reading books I enjoy or checking out news stories on yahoo and cnn. The yahoo news/finance stories seem to be pretty repetitive, and cnn doesn't change their stories very often.

I do have a set of musical notation flashcards that I have gone through a time or two.

Once I'm off probation, I'll be able to take classes and have them reimbursed if they're something related to the job / department.

So maybe I can figure out a class I could take which could be reimbursed, and then use the dead time to study for that class?

What I'd really like to do is figure out something I could do which would result in more money during the dead hours. Something that would make it so I could retire even earlier than I think I can right now.

I really don't want to go back into a classroom - I've been out of a regular classroom for long enough that I wouldn't be "with it" on the current jargon - not to mention the whole Common Core fiasco currently engulfing education. To get a school library job I'd have to take enough classes to renew my certification and retake the certification test (it expires this May.)

Honestly, I don't know that I want to go back to working 60 hours a week even if it means a much bigger paycheck. One of the biggest benefits of my current job is that when the day is over, the day is over. I have some overtime opportunities coming up over the next four or five months, but not that much.

One of the people I work with told me his wife works at the police department dealing with the people coming in = and that she has people like I dealt with on Thursday half a dozen or more times a day. I wouldn't last long there.

I just am not sure what to do.

If I did quit, I probably could get rehired back at the call center, which would bring in 6 or 700 a month ... but that job was more stressful than this one ... It would make it so I could stretch my funds nearly indefinitely ... just no health insurance and no retirement fund matching. It would also really limit the time NE and I could spend together ... but also make it so I had plenty of time to exercise and make healthy food.