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Archive for August, 2015

Differences of Opinion on Gift Giving?

August 31st, 2015 at 07:12 pm

So ... NE and I were talking last night. Somehow we got onto the subject of gifts. It came out that he had been curbing his gift giving to my style. (small, always less than $50, usually more like around $10 ... but trying to be thoughtful.) He told me that he was used to previous girlfriends giving him $300+ gifts, and he reciprocated.

I just can't fathom giving those kind of gifts.

My parents (mom mostly) showered us with gifts as we (brother and I) were growing up. Although I always told her I appreciated her thinking of me, I also told her that she didn't need to do that much. To this day I still tell her that she doesn't need to get me anything, but will give her ideas since I know it's not a battle I'm going to win.

I guess in my mind/viewpoint that I have so many money related goals, and not that much money to stretch to reach them, that buying someone a $500 camera or $300 tv that they don't really need .... is just ludicrous. NE doesn't see it that way ... he sees that buying stuff like that is fun.

I think it is so much more fun to know that I'm getting closer to my goals of having a house, retiring, doing some travel ... and to come up with small, practical and thoughtful gifts.

Not to mention that I already feel like both he and I have WAY too much stuff as it is.

He told me that he doesn't think of himself as frugal, but as someone who makes better decisions with his money than most other people.

He also mentioned about me buying the iPhone and my planned (canceled) trip to Des Moines, etc. I asked him if he resented that I spent money on those kinds of things, but wouldn't spend that same kind of money on gifts. He said he didn't.

I guess the whole conversation made me start wondering if maybe I'm being selfish. Not just now, but throughout my life. I've never been one to spend a lot of money on gifts for other people, and I've never expected them to spend a lot on me. They just have! (like my Aunt offering to pay for my flight to CA for Thanksgiving ... I would NEVER expect nor ask for her to do that - was totally planning on paying for it myself - but she WANTS to do it for me. I definitely am not in a position where I could reciprocate, other than letting her know how much I appreciate it and maybe treating her and grandma to a mani/pedi while I'm out there.)

What do you all think? Is it fair for me to do homemade/inexpensive gifts for others when they give me things that are definitely not inexpensive? How can I figure out a way to help NE not feel like he's getting shortchanged, but also keep with my own values/goals?

NE just called - coming over unexpectedly. Gotta go. Smile

August Accounting ...

August 31st, 2015 at 06:47 pm

So ... it was a spendy month. September and October probably will be too...

Between losing my phone, doing a staycation, celebrating NEs birthday, etc. ... the money flowed.

I did take some money from my slush fund in order to balance the budget (which is the slush funds job in my budget). Mostly it was the unexpected purchase of a new phone that threw things off. My vacation category was mostly wiped out to be put towards the phone, although I did let myself spend some of it on eating out a couple times and a movie.

I'm not really sure what happened with groceries ... I really need to reign that in.

So .. here it is in all it's glory.

Groceries - 177.65
Phone - 18.58
Natural Gas - 21.94
Electricity - 55.25
Fuel - 22.33
Medical - 25.20
Kari - 34.20
Car Care - 82.46
Electronics - 363.91
Household Goods - 15.66
Gifts - 31.38
Movies Out - 5
Treats - 24.20
Restaurants - 33.47
EF - +10% + $50
ROTH - +$200
Slush - -88.94

Extras -
Swagbucks - $50
Pinecone - $15
Receipt Hog - $10
PerkTV - $25 AGC
Bing - $5 AGC
Liberty - $50 Account bonus
Overtime - roughly $70

Hefty Trasbags Deal on SBs, updates

August 30th, 2015 at 09:47 am

If you like free trashbags, and even making a little money on them ... then check this out. On Swagbucks right now there is a deal where you buy 1 (any) Hefty trashbags and get 400 SBs or buy two (any) and get 1000 Swagbucks. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt and a picture of the product(s) and email them to iredeemedhefty@swagbucks.com. 60 days later you will get your SBs.

Now here is how you can make money on this deal. Currently in the coupon section of SBs there is a $1.50 off ANY Hefty trashbags. Use two of them, and add in the $10 of Swagbucks, and you can purchase up to $13 worth of trashbags for free! Not too shabby if I might say so. Smile(The 1000 SBs could actually be worth more than $10 if you use them towards one of the discounted gift cards. I don't get them, so for me it's worth $10.)

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Last night I did a September shopping trip. Yes, I know it's fudging things a bit, but 1. I won't have the time or energy to do this kind of shopping trip on Tuesday, and 2. Some of the rebates/offers I wanted were expiring on the 29th.

So I went to Walmart, Target and Walgreens. I used the shopping apps: iBotta, Shrink, SavingStar, Checkout51, Snap, Walgreens Balance Rewards, and the Target one. I also used ReceiptPal and ReceiptHog.

I spent $88 at Walmart after coupons, $16.10 at Target after coupons and discounts, and $43.31 at Walgreen's after coupons and discounts.

I earned $9 in rebates from iBotta. I will be getting $10 back from Swagbucks (Hefty deal). I also earned about 1.60 in cashback from the other shopping apps.

I am now set for toilet paper, peanut butter, jelly, trash bags, flaxseed, dry cat food, frozen veggies, etc. for a good long time. At Walgreen's I got Claratin D and Flonase - am going to try Claratin to see if it works any better than Allegra ...

I do plan on going back to Target (the SuperTarget this time)to get another bag of cat food with a coupon they gave me, and canned cat food. (Purina One Beyond)

I was supposed to earn a 6k point bonus from Walgreen's for a $30 purchase - it printed on my receipt, but the points aren't there. I'm going to give it a couple days and then contact customer service.

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Yesterday afternoon I was FINALLY able to get into my hotmail account. So I was able to get my $5 AGC from Bing, and do all but one Mypoints emails (it expired.) I also was able to resign into Bing (and changed my main email address.)

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Today I ordered from Amazon my pea protein powder, two wall plate hangers, and a pair of haircutting scissors. After the $30 in AGC credits, plus $2.68 in Discover cashback, it cost $12.98.

The plate hangers are to hang two decorative plates I have. The scissors are ones I saw recommended for DIY ponytail haircuts ... which with a bit of trepidation I am going to try.

I'm trying to decide whether to take the $12.98 from the Household category or the Beauty category, or maybe split the amount between the two.

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If you're interested in any of the shopping apps and would like to try them out (and help me out Big Grin ) just let me know and I'll send you my referral link(s). Ibotta has a team thing where you can earn extra bonuses depending on how much rebates/earnings your team does. All of them do have fresh fruits/veggies, and non-branded items options (not a lot ... but some.)

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This morning I am finally back to the weight I was at before my little staycation. Amazing how quickly the pounds go back on, and how much more time it takes for them to come off again.

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Something pretty cool on Thursday -- a delivery person from Jimmy John's came by the office to give us free sandwiches. She asked something I never thought I'd hear ... any vegetarians? Sweet! The sandwich was pretty good too. Smile

Funnies

August 26th, 2015 at 06:16 pm

Some things that have amused me recently:

1. Got a call from the call center/medical survey place I worked at for about six weeks when I first moved here. They were wondering if I'd be interested in working for them again ... LOL! Only if I was uber desperate.

2. I was able to log in to my new credit union account tonight - and found out that my $50 bonus has already posted! (I'd been told it would be 45 days after opening.)

----
I made it to the gym again today. Did 30 minutes of stronglifts, and 25 minutes of walk/jogging. I was trying to get to 7k steps.

I can't remember the name of it, but I heard about a website/app based in the UK that pays for steps activity in the US (gift cards - Walmart is one of them.) You have to get over 7k steps to earn 5 points. A $5 gift card is 700 points. So ... it'll be awhile. LOL But, every little bit counts, right? Smile

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I haven't heard back anything from Microsoft regarding my hotmail troubles yet. I really hope they can figure it out so I can get into my account!! I want my $5 AGC from Bing! (Plus I can't Bing anymore ... Frown Frown Frown - every day I can't Bing, I lose 25+ points.) Pooh!

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I decided to go ahead and book the hotel rooms for my mom's stay. I'm counting it as a spend for September though. I was just worried that if I waited much longer, we might not be able to get what we wanted.

Gulp. 4 nights at the hotel we compromised on .... $420.xx (3 nights x $86, 1 night at $103 + taxes and fees - last night we are staying in O city.)

But .... I booked it through Expedia via the Swagbucks site. That means I'll get about 3200 Swagbucks back as a shop and earn, plus around 650 more for using my Swagbucks credit card. So, nearly $40 back.

My mom and I decided that we'd split the hotel cost, and then after all is said and done, add up all the other expenses and divide it.

Otherwise though, no spending has been done by me!

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I did confirm that my salary should be getting a 2.25% bump this coming paycheck. It's the annual cost of living bump via the union contract. I sure won't refuse it! Smile

I'm going to let myself play with the bump for a few months, but in January, I'll probably have to lower my deductions, and so the bump will go away. (I'll decide for sure after I do my taxes.)

September is going to be expensive ...

Is it Really Only Tuesday?

August 25th, 2015 at 05:11 pm

The last two days have been so busy and frustrating.

Yesterday at work was the saga of the lost wallet. Today was the saga of the Uni bus drivers not knowing all the places they're supposed to stop ... (new rules for the Uni buses - only stopping at designated stops. Other buses stop at pretty much any safe corner.)

Then of course the hotmail troubles continued today. I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep ... then preceded to spend 45 minutes in chat with a hotmail CSR - with no resolution. This afternoon I spent another 60 minutes or so in chat with another one. This time managed to create a temporary account so that I could send an email to customer service.

Also this afternoon finally figured out what was going on with the new credit union's website. Now I have to wait til tomorrow night to be able to finish the registration process.

THEN today I got a package from my former employer's 403(b) holding company -- the one I was trying to rollover to Vanguard. They said they couldn't complete the rollover because in their records I was still employed!! It's been ten years folks!

So ... made a few phone calls to deal with that. Got voicemail from former employer of course, so will have to wait and see.

I am just SO tired right now. I think the cream cheese I bought this past Sunday is bad or something - because I ate some on Sunday with a bagel, and ended up with a sour stomach that night. Then I had it again Monday night, and had major nausea/yuckiness this morning.

No spending so far - only 6 days to go for August.

Hotmail Troubles

August 24th, 2015 at 05:38 pm

So I tried logging into my hotmail account today to get my reward from Bing, but it wouldn't let me log in! I tried resetting my password - two times! It still wouldn't let me log in, even with the new password.

Next I tried creating a new account so I could email customer service. No good! I got to the part where they test you to see if you're a zombie or not, and I couldn't get the captcha to work - I even tried the audio option, and it wouldn't play.

Ugh!

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I accidentally left my phone at home today ... playing SB Mobile TV. I had forgotten to turn it off (which is also partly how I forgot to bring it with me ...) When I got home I had 240 points - mostly from bonus rounds. Oops. (not complaining!) This weekend I got tons of bonus rounds too. I have the feeling this is some kind of glitch.

--
I went to the gym today for the first time in a month! After I got there I realized I hadn't downloaded my Stronglifts app. So I did my workout from memory (reducing the weight though since it had been awhile.)

Kind of like how when I was at church this weekend and realized that I didn't have my Bible app or my hymnal app ...

I wonder how most apps got redownloaded, but a few didn't (and how did I not notice this?)

Oh well, being fixed now. Smile

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I tried setting up my online access to Liberty First CU yesterday, but kept getting an error message. I'd planned on calling them today during my break, but of course, I didn't have my phone with me. Smile

I'll have to do that tomorrow.

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I have a seed stuck in one of my teeth from my smoothie this morning. It's been bugging me all day!

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You could definitely tell it was the first day of classes for the major university here. We had at least three wallets and two sets of keys left on buses today. One of the wallets created a good bit of drama - I called dispatch about it and was told that the driver HAD the wallet. I checked that the name matched.

The kid stood out there (missing his first class) waiting for the bus. He checked with all 4 of the buses on that route. None of them had it. His mom calls me - I find out the name of the driver who has it - and again, double check the name.

Still no wallet for the kid.

Turns out the wallet the driver had was for another person who'd lost their wallet. The kid's wallet had been taken by another student and turned in to campus police.

It ended well, but was the source of multiple and more frantic phone calls ...

Word of advice. Whenever you ride a bus, make sure you #1 know the intersection you got on the bus, #2 know the route #, #3 know the TIME you got on it, #4 know some kind of description of the driver, #5 a bus number would also be a really good thing to know.

Then if it so happens that you leave something on the bus, you can give someone really good detailed info - making it much more likely we'll be able to locate your item!

You would be shocked at how many people who call in know NONE of that info.

Updates

August 23rd, 2015 at 01:23 pm

I got my new to me phone on Tuesday (managed to have them hold it at the main Fed Ex place and miraculously managed to find the place without GPS without getting lost.)

Had some trouble getting it set up and almost thought I was going to have to send it back and get a different phone (my computer wasn't wanting to recognize it - several hours later it suddenly decided to recognize it ...)

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Talked to my mom today about hotels for when she's here (in 3 weeks!) She's going to check if she can find a better deal than the one I found (she has a special number or something for the particular hotel.) If not, I'll book it with Orbitz which will give me a $10 rebate through iBotta.

3 nights will be about $300 with taxes and fees ... gulp. Plus one more night in O town (going to stay there Sunday night and then spend the day in O town before taking her to the airport there.)

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Did some grocery shopping today. They had bananas for $.33/lb - I bought a little over a pounds worth. Kept 6 out for this week, then broke up the rest and put into baggies in the freezer - enough for two weeks of smoothies.

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I cashed out on the following this week:
$10 - Receipt Hog
$25 - Swagbucks PayPal (makes $75 this month!)
$5 - Bing AGC
$25 AGC - PerkTV
$100 - AGC from YouGov (survey site)

The $100 one I won't get for a few weeks (in the mail??) If you're interested, I have a referral link in my sidebar. Smile It did take me about a year to get to the $100 cashout, but the surveys are all pretty easy.

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I have about $1.55 til the 1st. (in my August budget) So that means 8 days of NO SPEND DAYS! must happen.
I think the only thing I'll need next week will be apples, and maybe I can figure out something else for my lunch fruit - or just buy $1.55 worth of apples. Smile

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I'll be leaving in about 90 minutes to go to the big University welcome thing. I'm going to get around 4 hours of overtime for it. Smile I might see CreditCardFree's daughter while I'm there. Smile

That overtime money is going to come in handy for paying for my mom's visit here in September! (I unfortunately have had to use the OT money from the school events and most of my vacation fund to pay for the new phone.)

I will most likely be going into my slush fund for the hotel/whatever else we do while she's here. That can be refunded in October when I've got a 3 paycheck month.

End of Vacay :( Some KonMari pics

August 17th, 2015 at 07:41 pm

4 days went by way way way too fast. I could use another 4 ... Smile

My phone is in a city an hour away as of the last update from Fed Ex at 8 p.m. Sunday. I really hoped it would be here today. Sigh.

This probably means that it'll be Wednesday at least before I can get it (they'll try to deliver it tomorrow while I'm at work of course ...)

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I ended up only watching one movie this weekend - Inside Out. Enjoyed it. Smile

I was going to watch Mission Impossible today, but I didn't want to be out of the apartment more than absolutely necessary.

I did go to Dollar Tree and did open up the checking account for the $50 bonus - plus got the info I needed to change over to it for the 2.5% interest rate!

While watching one of my library DVDs I put all my frozen fruit into one cup portion baggies. There's enough for about 9 weeks of smoothies. Smile

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The KonMari bug kind of faded out by Sunday. I did take all the stuff I wanted to donate to the Goodwill today.

I also took some pictures of my drawers and my closet (although I took more hangers out after the picture) and figured out how to do a shared icloud album so you can actually see the pictures Big Grin

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B075oqs3q4tKfE

My folding is quite as neat as some other peoples I've seen, but it's a good shot neater than what my drawers used to look like! Big Grin

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I watched a really powerful movie tonight on Netflix (NE is signed into it on my computer because we watch movies on it sometimes here ....) Ragamuffin: The Rich Mullins story. Full disclosure - he was a Christian artist - Amy Grant used many of his songs, but he also produced his own albums later.

What I love so much about his story is how REAL he is about God, about life, about Christianity, about how none of us are what we *should* be - but God loves us just as we are.

Anyway, the first time I heard of him was in connection to his work with the Navajo kids in Window Rock, AZ. Powerful story.

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So ... here's hoping for a good attitude from myself by 8 a.m. tomorrow ...

Anyone live in or NEAR Nebraska? Anywhere in Nebraska!

August 15th, 2015 at 05:31 pm

If you do, AND you have an Android phone with NFC capability, there is a really easy secret shop for payment of $65!

If you're interested, comment here (make sure you use an email address you actually check) and I'll forward you the email with the form/info you'll need.

Day Two of Vacation :)

August 15th, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Ahhhh.... Can you hear the sweet sound of relaxation and stress relief? Nearly two days away from the phone calls, the endless, relentless phone calls (especially this past week ....)Two more full days away to come - all to fill with what I want to do.

Friday I got a late start on it, but I DID manage to KonMari ALL of my clothes - the only exceptions being what was in my laundry baskets.

I completely filled a medium sized box and a smaller box with clothes/other items to give away. This is after having let go of at least 3 large trashbags full of clothes before I moved here a year+ ago. I probably could still let go of more...

Funny thing is, I think it will stick.

Today after church I immediately hung up my dress (after passing the sniff test), folded and put away my slip, folded and put away my shrug, and replaced my shoes in their place. Granted, it wasn't anywhere near second nature, but that will come if I keep repeating the gestures.

I have taken some pictures of my drawers and my closet, and may post them later. I'm just too much into my vacation mode right now. Smile

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The rest of today is for napping (check), reading, watching movies (later tonight), and anything else I feel like doing.

Sunday will probably start out with my earned movie (Inside Out I think.) Then brunch out at a new to me restaurant that serves crepes as one of its mains. Possibly a pedi/mani.

Then it will be time to earn my Monday fun. I plan to KonMari my kitchen and bathroom. Then probably also clean them too. The pedi/mani maybe should wait til Monday ... Smile

Oh yes, it will end with making dinner with the SO.
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Monday will begin with Mission Impossible, eating at CiCi's, shopping at Dollar Tree and Walmart, figuring out the best way to organize/put together smoothie packets so I know how many days worth I have of various ingredients, perhaps cooking up some freezer batches of food for lunches/suppers. Then more rest and relaxation. Hopefully also setting up my new to me phone!

Either Sunday or Monday I want to go to the gym and use the pool - since thanks to KonMari'ing my clothing, I found my long lost swimsuit!

I may also add in there doing a major KonMari of my car too. NE is putting me to shame in the way he is keeping his new to him car free of clutter and trash. Mine used to be much cleaner, now it is definitely not.

Mom will be here in less than 5 weeks .... I wonder what she is going to think about my drawers of folded up clothing? Smile

PS - I know all of this doesn't sound like a very frugal way to do a vacation. But it is all being done with money I'd specifically set aside to do a vacation with. Circumstances made it so that it became a staycation ... so I decided to play and splurge much more than I normally would within a 4 day period.

I almost scrapped my play/splurge plans due to the unexpected phone costs, but I just couldn't do that. I REALLY need this break. Desperately. I can whack the phone cost from other categories, and if necessary the slush fund. That's what it is there for anyway.

An expensive start to a short vacation. Sigh.

August 14th, 2015 at 09:13 am

So last night when NE usually leaves to go to the grocery store after being here, I asked him if I could come along since I didn't have to be up at a certain time. He was happy to oblige. Smile

While walking through the second store, he was like, we haven't made dinner together for awhile. So .. we then bought $17 worth of ingredients for his Tater Tot Casserole. (Tater Tots and veggie burger alone was nearly $9.) (We are splitting the cost.)

It was an enjoyable evening all together, even with deciding to make an expensive dish. (which I will probably save my leftover half and freeze for lunches.)

---
Phone ... Sigh.

I got my phone unlocked from ATT as of yesterday afternoon. I started the activation process last night - but before I could do that I had to update my operating system, back up my phone, switch out SIM cards, and then restore from my backup.

Long process.

All to find out that as a GSM device on Ting, I have to use T-Mobile's network here. Coverage in my apartment is practically non-existent.

So... another long story a bit shorter .. I ended up purchasing a refurbished 5S from Ting for a total of $323. It should be here by Monday or possibly Tuesday.

This SO is not in my budget, but I have to have a phone. I could have gone with a 4S for $100 less, but I decided it wasn't worth it since the 5S should be good / last longer (i.e. support iOS updates) than the 4S. (As long as I don't pay another stupid tax by losing my phone yet again.)

--
I SO need this 4 day break from work. So needed it.

I'm going to catch up on journals and then make myself get off my duff and start on my Kon Mari my closet and dresser project! If I get that done today, I'm rewarding myself with a matinee showing of Mission Impossible on Sunday. Smile

---
Oh, I do want to give props to Ting's customer service. I emailed them Wednesday night telling them that I thought it was pretty bad not responding to a help email for 4 days (sent the email on Saturday.)

I got a response Thursday morning apologizing and giving me a $25 credit for my trouble.

More Phone Updates, Cr. Union Deal!, etc

August 12th, 2015 at 05:09 pm

So I got the SIM card from Ting today. I remembered from last time how to change it out. So I did that. Then I restarted my phone.

It's still locked to ATT!

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I sent an unlock request to ATT ... says it'll take up to two business days.

Sigh.

BTW - I have had absolutely NO RESPONSE from Ting to the email I sent on Saturday about losing my phone. None. I hate to say it, but I'm getting less and less enthralled with Ting's Customer Service.

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My boss today handed me this card she got at an event she went to last week. It was a deal for opening a checking account at a local credit union.

$50 within 45 days of opening with a $50 deposit. That's the only requirement. Big Grin

It gets better though. If you have a direct deposit sent to that account, do one bill pay per month (free), and 12 debit transactions ... you get ... (drumroll please) 2.5 % interest on up to $25k !!!!

Um .... somehow I think 2.5% interest would be worth the hassles of doing 12 debit transactions a month. I could put all my money into that account. Have savings and checking all in one nice big account. I'd actually earn some real money for interest!

That'll have to wait til I get my Nationwide bonus though. Smile

The Credit Union is Liberty First CU - I'm not sure what the residency requirements are for it though.

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At work today I did the FINAL touches on the 200+ page document which has been causing so much stress for the last six+ weeks. It is done and over with!

My boss let me log off the phone, and took all the window customers so I could 100% concentrate on it. Good thing too, otherwise there's no way I would have finished it on time.

The calls have been insane this week - with school starting today.
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Oh ... speaking of insane ... I have to tell you what came in today to lost and found. Inside of a bus pass folder was a baggie of what looked like .... weed! At least 4 other people agreed that it was very much similar to weed.

I called the police and they sent someone over. He said he thought it was either an organic herb or K2, but not weed. Then told me to just throw it away. ??? So ... I did. Seemed pretty bizarre to me.
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Tuesday after I was done with my school event (went well, kept pretty busy) I stopped at Supersaver again and picked up $20 worth of stuff that was on pretty good sales.

I rarely get to a Supersaver since I have another grocery store just less than a block from me .... so that was fun. Smile

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I got a text from my brother (texting on iPad still works at least ...) I have the feeling that he is wimping out on the September trip. ARGHH! So, it'll just be mom and I.

Hopefully I'll have phone service soon so we can talk and I can find out what is going on.

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Tomorrow is my Friday for this week. Big Grin I'm SO ready for my 4 days off. SOOOOO ready.

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I cashed out for another $25 PP from SBs today. That makes $50 for August (plus the $25 from July I cashed out in August.) I did the Visa thing for 500 SBs, (connected to a card I don't use, but monitor easily), so am back to nearly 800 SBs towards my next one. Maybe I'll make another $25 in August? Smile

Phone update, etc.

August 10th, 2015 at 07:40 pm

Well ... the good news is that NE let me borrow his GPS unit so I could get to the after work school open house events Monday and Tuesday.

Also good news was that NE hadn't given me back the phone I'd let him use - so it wasn't thrown away by me.

Bad news is that my phone is still missing. Frown

Also bad news was that NE's phone was still on his account, so without Customer Service being open, there was no way to put it on my account.

Oh well. With NE's GPS unit I at least was able to navigate to the school tonight, and will be able to tomorrow again. I just don't have cell service.

The officer who comes by every other week came by today, and I told him about my phone. He told me about an online reporting thing for this kind of stuff. So I've filled it out, and now will see if anything comes of it.

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The event tonight was mostly boring, but it did get busy at some points. Did more info giving than actual selling of passes though. (double checked every one to make sure I didn't make ANY mistakes!)

I stopped at a grocery store near the school (SuperSaver) and bought something called Nibblers - a cheese pack. It was pretty good actually. (I had eaten half a bagel at 3pm. but was still hungry, and knew I wouldn't eat again til 8:30 ...)

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Found out today that the mom of one of my best friends passed away today. Frown She lived in Duluth, and her memorial service will be sometime next week. I'm debating on going possibly. First I need to find out when it'll be ... then figure out if I can make it work or not.

It'd be a bit of a long road trip.

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Not much else to say I guess.

So Upset with Myself

August 8th, 2015 at 07:39 pm

In the annals of absent mindedness of FrugalTexan, this one takes the cake.

So this afternoon I go out to the park near the local children's zoo to go walking with some people from my church. There's two people going biking, and then myself and one other church lady going walking.

I get Runkeeper started on my phone to track mileage/time. We have prayer, and then get started.

As we are heading towards the beginning of the trail church lady (CL) notices a couple playing with two teeny tiny puppies. She wants to go check them out. So we do.

We talk with the couple for a few minutes. They let us hold the puppies (two month old Chihuahuas) and then we head on out.

Now the problem started here. In order to hold the puppy, I put my water bottle and phone on the ground.

Twenty minutes later I realized that I had my water bottle, but did NOT have my phone.

We headed quickly back to where we'd seen the puppies.

No phone.

We go over to where we had gathered as a total group.

No phone.

We go to the ticket window for the Zoo to see if someone had turned in a phone.

No phone. (Did leave contact info.)

At this point CL let me use her phone to log in to iCloud and see if I could locate my phone.

My iPad and my old iPhone showed up - located at my house. My new phone showed up - as not online.

CL tried calling my phone. It went straight to voicemail.

So whoever found my phone, turned it off.

When I got home I set iCloud to remote erase my phone the next time it is connected to the Internet. (If someone found my phone with the intention of returning it - they would have turned it in to the zoo office. That is the only logical thing. Hence, I figure they don't have the intention of returning it.)

I then called Ting to get my old iPhone set up and activated with my number. Sat on hold for 45+ minutes before being hung up on. (Used Google Hangouts on old phone.) It was the end of business hours.

I looked to see what I could do online. I suspended my account (so it's basically unusable except on WiFi.) Then I tried to set up my old phone. Except I need a new SIM card -- for $9 --- which won't ship til Monday.

I planned on going to Dollar Tree tomorrow. I *think* I have an okay idea of how to find it without GPS.

However ... Monday and Tuesday nights I have after school events at a place I've been ONCE. I was counting heavily on having my GPS to make sure I got there, and home.

I'm going to see if NE will let me borrow his GPS unit for these trips - although he uses it in his delivering sometimes ... Hopefully we can figure something out.

This also makes going to the gym not as good ... I have to be able to use celluar data to be able to have Pact check me in for my workout.

I am just SO frustrated!!

The only good thing about all this is that I do still have my old iPhone from ATT & I can use it on Ting now. If I didn't have that, I'd have to buy a new phone.

(The other phone I had, an Android, which I used on Ting, and let NE borrow to use on Ting ... I think I threw it away because I knew I was never going to use it, and NE didn't want it ... and the operating system was really outdated ... yeah, in hindsight, that wasn't smart. If I had that still, then I could easily and quickly get back into business .. at least as long as it took to get a new SIM card.)

The two Android phones I got a few weeks ago also wouldn't work because they are Net 10 phones - can only be activated with Net 10 network. (whatever that is) (I only use them for paid video streaming over WiFi)

Cost of Not Paying Attention

August 8th, 2015 at 06:29 am

So Thursday is Treat Day at our office. We rotate through everyone who wants to participate - which is 8 people. Yesterday was my turn.

Wednesday night I was really tired and did not feel like making anything. But I also didn't want to buy anything since I already had the brownie mix (bought on sale a few months ago.)

So I started putting the ingredients together about 8:30 p.m. Dumped the mix in the bowl, dumped the water in, broke the egg, ... then it was time for the oil.

Instructions called for 2/3 cup of oil. Somehow in my frazzled brain I read it as 1 2/3 cup.

I didn't realize my mistake - even when I used up all my bottle of oil and had to open a new one ... - until I poured it in the bowl.

So Thursday morning I left ten minutes earlier than usual to stop by the grocery store. $7 later I had the treats for the office. UGH.

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Thursday after work I did the school event - selling passes at the Open House. It went pretty well, although I found out on Friday that I had mistakenly overcharged someone for their two passes. I'd had several people before them buy a StarPass and 20 ride pass so I had that number in my head I guess .. this person bought a StarPass and a 31 day pass.

UGH! When I do the events on Monday and Tuesday, I'm going to just have to go slower, even if it means people have to wait.

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Friday was a no spend day. I was uber tired and just came home and vegged.

Finished reading Marie Knodos book "The life changing magic of tidying up." Overall I liked it (some hokey stuff in it though.) I might start on my clothes this weekend.

Leaving for church in a while. Today will be my second time picking up the Sabbath School offerings (and counting them) for this church. Thankfully the job doesn't require me to be there early enough to distribute the envelopes, otherwise I'd be in trouble. (I just can't seem to get myself going on Saturday mornings .. doing good to get to SS before the praise/request portion is over.)

Tomorrow I plan on going to Dollar Tree to get more frozen fruit. I'll probably also stop at Walmart which is nearby to get my regular groceries.

Then I'll tackle my clothes. That'll be a big project, but hopefully worth it.

Cars and Shoes & Accident PSA

August 5th, 2015 at 05:51 pm

Today I got to leave work a little early so that I could take my car in to have the oil changed. I also decided to have the front end aligned because I'd been noticing it pulling to the right a lot lately, and NE had mentioned it too.

So about 20 minutes after I got there they asked me to come back to the garage area so the mechanic could talk to me. Apparently there are 7 points? in the suspension/alignment throughout the car. Something called the Toe? and another one, and then something called the Custer. The Toe and the other one are the important ones that can be aligned. The Custer - nothing to do about it.

Somehow I hit a pot hole or something, and now my Custer is off by 7/8". He told me that there is no fix for it - it's just something that happens sometimes to small economy cars like my Yaris. He reassured me that it isn't a potential safety issue, and won't affect tire wear. He just wanted to make sure I understood why my car will still have a slight pull to the right.

Who knew alignment was so complicated? (I only had the front aligned, he said the back was fine.)

So that was $78. (19.99 for the oil change, $58 for the alignment)

---
After the car was finished I headed to the mall to return my shoes.

You'll never guess what I did though. Smile

I got out of my car and powerwalked all the way to the entrance. I even held the door open for someone and started to go inside.

Then it hit me.

I don't have the shoes with me!

DOH!

My shoes were still in the car. Smile

I had no issues returning them. I'm going to let that money sit in the clothing category - may need to replace some underthings soon. Smile And they're not cheap. A good sale is 2 for $50 at Lane Bryant.

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I did stop at Taco Bell. I was very hungry and didn't plan that very well. For tomorrow when I go to the school event, I'm going to have something extra in my lunch box to snack on.

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I got both of my SBs Paypal cards today. So that was $50. $25 of it counts towards July (I waited til the 3rd to cash it out in order to get it at a discount) and the other $25 counts towards August. I'm about halfway to my next $25 card now. Smile

I also got paid for my second parking garage shift today. $29.xx

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I just need one more Pinecone survey to be able to cash out. Anyone else finding that the surveys aren't coming as often? Or crediting as quickly? The survey I got credit for today I took back in July.

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Recent news almost makes me hesitant to go to a movie theater anymore. Almost, but not totally. Hopefully there won't be any more copycats.

We had a sad crash here today around noon - I found out about it before it was even reported on the news. Someone called saying that two particular intersections were closed down because of a crash - they wanted to know what the detour would be.

I found out later that it was an incident involving a Chevy Tahoe and a 30 yo man on a scooter. Tahoe won. Frown

Please be aware of the motorized two wheelers around you! I always try to give them a wide berth and get extra looky loo before making any moves if I notice one near me. It can just happen too fast.

Pride Goeth Before a ....

August 4th, 2015 at 07:38 pm

Today after work I stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a couple of things (had a raging headache, even with Allegra D ....)

On my way to my car I noticed this really really CUTE guy sitting in a jeep parked in front of my car. He must have seen me look at him or something, because he nods his head at me.

At this point I have my door open ... and I proceed to nod my head back at him ... just being friendly. Smile

Instead of smoothly flowing into my seat and driving away .... I end up bumping my chin on the top of my door! Then land in my seat doubled over from laughing at myself.

The guy calls out asking if I'm okay, so I manage to contain myself enough to let him know that I was fine. Just my pride was damaged.

They say that pride goeth before a fall (of which I've done plenty ...) but today it's more accurate for me to say ... pride goeth before a chin bump!

----
Work was okay today. Had a good bit to catch up on from yesterday (mail in orders, end of the month bus repair reports -- so funny some of them, etc.) I had a couple of delightful callers - one is a repeat lady who makes me smile big as soon as I hear her voice; and the other was a little old lady trying to figure out the system and just SO appreciative of my help.

Kind of helped to cancel out the guy who was ticked off because the fare box ate his card and kept asking how that could happen. Um ... fare boxes eat cards sometimes?? If you saw the bus repair reports ... it's amazing more bus passes don't get eaten. (He hung up on me before I could figure out exact bus/route/time .. if I had that info then I could have had the driver contacted to check the story and get the guy a new pass.)

---
The other day I took a survey abut a local e........y company. One of the questions asked about whether I'd experienced any power outages. Well, in the year or so I've been here (to that point) I hadn't!

Today that changed! A few minutes after I sat down for lunch (finished microwaving) we had a 20-25 minute power outage at the bus station. It was so weird and so quiet.

Today was my 1 yearaversary at work. Talking with my boss made me really wonder if I want to try for something else. It's not always a sure thing that you're going to find good bosses.

Plus I'm thinking about the gym ... if I go to this CC, I'd have a 20+ minute commute home and then a 15-20 minute drive to the gym. Maybe a 30 minute commute straight to the gym (not stopping by home first). I'm worried it'll be even easier to excuse myself from going.

I'm still going to do the application package though ... nothing says I will get a job offer and nothing says I have to take said job offer if it happens. Won't hurt to try.

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Spending:
Amazon - Kitty flea/tick collar, ink for printer - $23.xx after $30 in gift card and $1.50 cash back discover

Walgreen's - $2.75 (major headache cure attempt ... not health food.)

NEs Birthday, Feeling Ugh

August 3rd, 2015 at 12:04 pm

So today is NEs actual birthday, but we did the celebration yesterday.

We drove out to Nebraska City to a Chinese buffet. There wasn't much selection of veggies not mixed with meat ... in fact I accidentally took some mushrooms which had meat mixed with them. Frown NE found plenty to eat though ...

Afterwards his GPS unit took us on a merry chase finding this state recreation area he wanted to check out. We finally did find it - it has a really nice access point for boats to the Missouri river.

When we got back we ate some of the cake I had made earlier (who knew the Jiffy mix was for layer cakes, and not full sized ones? Oh well.) He also drank some of the koolaide he'd asked for ... (said it wasn't quite like he'd remembered - I had him make it himself actually so he'd know how much sugar, etc. was in it.)

I guess I was kind of not in a great spirit because earlier that day I'd had to buy a pitcher in order to make the dang koolaide and was kind of annoyed to be adding all these extras on top of dinner out.

Then of course he's not in the mood to do anything when we get back because he ate way too much. UGH.

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Earlier in the day after my grocery trip and making the cake, I spent a few hours working on the application for the library job. On the background check form they want address history for the last TWENTY years! Um.... I can give you city and state for that time frame, but I barely remember the name of the roads I lived on five years ago (3 different places while going to grad school) let alone 8 or 9 + years.

I tried finding a way to search public records to get that info, but couldn't find a way to do it without paying for it. Ugh.

I have until August 12 to submit all my documents/application. Need to put together a cover letter and update my resume, scan my transcripts (find them first .. they're somewhere around here), scan my certifications (after I locate them ..)

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I cashed out for a $25 paypal from SBs today - got the 50SB swagup. Apparentally there's been some kind of mix up- the special offer swagup should've been up first for 150 SBs. Hopefully that'll get sorted soon - I have enough to get a second $25 PP once that is fixed.

I also cashed out for a $25 AGC from PerkTV - that should come sometime today.

Tomorrow I'll have enough Bing for a $5 AGC.

Once I have the $30 AGC, I'm planning on ordering a flea/tick collar for Kari from Amazon. She's picked up fleas somehow - I've tried a variety of other things which haven't helped much. So I'm hoping this collar will. (Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar) It supposedly is supposed to work for 8 months. It better for how much it costs! ($43.xx)

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So I'm posting in the middle of the day here. Called in sick from work - I think something I ate at the buffet didn't agree with me. In a major way.

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I'm going to see about making an appointment at Brakes Plus on Wednesday to get my oil changed and see if they can do an alignment too. If I get that appointment I'll be near the mall where I can return my shoes.

Then Thursday I have my first school event from 4 - 6:30. Can you say 90 minutes of overtime?!

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I checked my FSA balance. I have just enough for 3 more Synthroid prescriptions. Then the FSA year starts over. I'm planning on upping my contribution by $10/month. I didn't use my dental insurance at all this year, and my Syntrhoid ended up being more than I had thought it would be. I still need to find out if I can do a prescription for Allegra D to have it covered by the FSA - if so, I'll need to up the amount by $30-40/month. (Our FSA year runs November to October.)

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August Spending:
1st - Fazoli's - $13
2nd - Grocery store - $57.xx (groceries, cat, NE birthday stuff)
Chinese buffet - $25 for two
3rd - hopefully none!

July Accounting

August 1st, 2015 at 07:02 pm

Well, I updated my numbers for July. Groceries and treats were my problem areas. For August I have decided to increase my grocery budget to $150 for two reasons - 1. There are more grocery trip days; and 2. One of the reasons I think I went a bit overboard with the treats and grocery spending overall this month is because I kept looking in my fridge at dinner time, and nothing appealed. So, I'm giving myself the room to be a little more lenient with my groceries in order to not spend so much on the junk.

--
I did get a full refund from Airbnb for the money I paid for my reservation. So all of that is back into my Vacation funds.

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Extra income included:
Swagbucks - $50
Pact - $16
Parking Garage - $33
Amex Cash bonus - $125
Interest - $8.36
---
Spending in areas other than fixed amounts:

Car Fees - 175 (registration/wheel tax)
Groceries - 145.91
Phone - 26.26
Internet - 67.61
Gas - 21.97
Electric - 37.88
Auto Fuel - 28.48
Medical - 40.64 (Allegra D)
Kari - 12.57

Clothing - 37.31 (two pairs of shoes - will be taking back one pair)

Toiletries - 7
Electronics - 19.45 (two android phones)

Household Goods - 20.45 (folding chair, off spray, paper towels)

iTunes - 6.41 (clothing app)
Treats - 42.70
Restaurants - 8.82
-------------------
Savings:
PT (Personal Trainer fund) - 60.15/350 (funded by extra earnings)
EF - 10% of net income + $68 = 8449.91/10,000
ROTH - $200

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August will have car insurance (funded) and some spending from my vacation fund for a staycation.

I anticipate a good amount of extra income in August, due to overtime from my main job, and getting paid for the last parking garage shift. (I'm not scheduled for any in August yet.) That money will be split between PT, Vacation and EF funds.