Home > Archive: November, 2010

Archive for November, 2010

Oh How Lovely It Would Be ...

December 1st, 2010 at 03:17 am

Tonight I logged on to my university account to see if my scholarship money had been posted yet. Once it is posted, then I can pay the remainder and be finished with paying for school. Smile

Well, I received the shock of my life. Underneath the listing for my $400 scholarship, there was *another* scholarship listed for $2000.00!!!! I clicked on the link to find out what it was for. It said that $1k had been awarded for the first semester, and $1k for the second semester. I then Googled the name : USC continuing students. From the information I found, it appears that it is a scholarship for students who are continuing students at the University of Southern California.

I've already emailed the financial aid office to let them know. Sigh ... it sure would be nice if that money really *was* mine. Maybe I should have gone to USC instead (though their tuition is probably that much higher too.)


I'm up to 2,454 Swagbucks now. So tomorrow I'll be able to start buying my December Amazon cards. Smile

Scholarship Info, etc.

November 30th, 2010 at 01:41 am

Tonight when I got home from my tutoring sessions, I had an envelope from my university. Inside of it was the information on how much my scholarship is for next semester -- $400! Yay! I was really hoping that it would be the same as the one I got for this semester, but now I know for sure. Smile So, my last semester/class will cost just under $500 (although I don't know what the graduation fees, etc., will be.)

I really had meant to cancel Netflix, but I kept procrastinating on doing it. Tonight I was *really* glad I hadn't done it yet. My high-school boy tutoring student was supposed to watch a television drama from the 1970's or earlier, and then write an essay about it. Then he was also to watch a current drama, and then compare the two.

Well ... he didn't do it over break. The assignment is due tomorrow. I searched about a dozen different dramas on my Netflix app on the iPhone before I finally found one with streaming episodes. Bonanza! We watched it over the 3g network - the first 20 minutes or so were perfect, then for about ten minutes or so it stuttered and froze a good bit. But we finally managed to finish both the program, and his essay. (He'd watched Season 8 of 24 recently.) Our session lasted over an hour longer than regularly scheduled, so it will probably replace our normal tutoring session on the 17th (when he probably won't have anything to do anyway!)

So ... I guess I can now consider my Netflix subscription tax deductible? Big Grin (I'm joking, really.)

Man, there were a ton of videos on the Swagbucks offer walls today - plus one on the rotating slider (homepage top.) Those videos, plus 6 Swagbucks TV wins, 3 codes, and 2 search wins (so far) put me up to 2,262 SB's.

I found out about this really cool Firefox browser add on which helps scout out deals for you on other websites when you do online shopping. I made a post about it on my

Text is Living Frugal blog. and Link is
Living Frugal blog.

No spending today, and I don't plan on spending anything tomorrow. So, I think this pretty much wraps up November.

November Spending, etc.

November 29th, 2010 at 03:11 am

Groceries - $77.89
Auto:Gas -- $74.32
Auto:Insurance -- $206
Auto:Repairs $127.50
Gifts - $57.36
iTunes -- $11.30
Prescriptions - $45.30
Subscriptions/Fees - $60

Groceries - Two main reasons I think this category was under budget this month. One is the challenge between my mom and I (me, limited sugar; mom - one 12oz coke/day.) Two, was I cooked and froze 2lbs of pinto beans, and 8 servings worth of lentil soup - plus ate quite a bit of homemade burritos. It could have still been less, but on the most recent shopping trip (after the challenge) I bought more sweets than I really should have.

Auto:Gas - This would have been less if I hadn't made an extra trip to L************ to help the local church school teacher. This extra expense was offset though by her giving me $20 in gas money - which I first refused, but then accepted.

Auto:Insurance - My six-month premium with Geico. Reflected is a 10% Defensive Driving discount, plus an additional $6.60 for Roadside Assistance. (I canceled my $3/month RA plan with AT&T as of Friday.)

Auto:Repairs -- Replacing three outside belts to stop my car from squealing constantly.

Gifts -- Mostly Christmas gifts, but also one Mother's Day gift. All bought via Mypoints or Swagbucks.

iTunes -- Got a bit carried away with purchasing tutoring apps for my new preschool student.

Prescriptions - Renewed Walgreen's Prescription Discount card, plus monthly prescription.

Subscriptions/Fees - $60 - Renewed professional memberships in American Library Association and Texas Library Association.

"Passive Income"
In November I earned around 1200 points at Mypoints. I need another 1200 points to redeem for a $50 Wal-mart card. I may be able to do this by sometime in January. (Most of the points are from two sources: clicking on paid emails, and survey non-qualifiers. I did make one purchase this month (gift) which gave me 200 points, and I did upload a pet photo for a contest and shared it on Facebook - for another 225 points.)

I redeemed 2,250 Swagbucks for $25 in gift cards. Plus I have earned an additional 2,109 Swagbucks in November. I will most likely use those to get another $25 in gift cards in December. I have at least one family member who may sign up under me (mom), and am going to try for two others over the holidays.

I redeemed 8900 Chase CC points for $89.00 in statement credit.

I found out yesterday that I earned $2.86 in advertising income through my Frugal blog for Of course, I can't get that money until it reaches $10. Which may be never (considering this was from a sale in August ... the only sale so far.)

Tutoring Income
Also in November I acquired two new tutoring students. This added an additional $150 income. Which almost made up for the week of Thanksgiving where all but my new students canceled.

Future Spending/Income

In December I am pretty sure that both my gas and groceries categories will be a good bit less with my going on vacation from the 21st thru the 3rd. My family will pretty much not let me pay for anything. Although I will offer - and I am looking for the $3 deal for a $25 gift card. I'd like to treat to this one particular vegetarian place.

Also, I should receive the scholarship money I was granted in November. However, I will also be paying my last semesters tuition (Due December 20?? I think. Smile

This and That - November Spending

November 29th, 2010 at 02:24 am

We had a pretty small group for Sabbath School this weekend, just six kids. Of course, church itself was pretty empty. I guess a lot of people out traveling.

Yesterday I got an email from Amazon telling me that they had money for me, but didn't know how to get it to me. (I'm an Amazon Associate on both of my blogs.) So I went to the site to find out what they were talking about. I had to search all the way back to August to find ... one person had bought two items (quinoa and something else)through one of my links! My advertising profit? $2.87. Big Grin Of course, the minimum payout is $10, so I'm not sure why they were stressing about me setting up a payment method. Big Grin I think its so funny that I made my first "sale" through my frugal blog on which I have *very* few Amazon links, rather than on my book blog in which I have links everywhere! Smile

This weekend has been incredible with the wins on Swagbucks TV. From Thursday through today, I have had an average of ten wins per day. That's nearly half of a $5 Amazon gift card! (The normal average is two-three a day.)

Today my stepdad and I went over to my moms new apartment and helped her get more settled in. We brought Buddy with us - he was so happy to see mom. He followed her everywhere she went. On the way back home I asked SD to stop at a gas station because I wanted a Cherry Coke (challenge is over! thank you very much) Buddy went nutso in the car with SD while I was in the store. I think the little guy is getting a really bad complex. Frown

Friday I went out grocery shopping pretty late. If I hadn't needed to fill up with gas for the weekend, I would have just skipped it.

I had about 15 items in my cart - all the lanes were packed (that were open.) So I chose the one with only one person who had two FULL carts. I figured that the one person had a better chance of getting through quickly than a line of 5 people with 15 - 20+ items (more chance of um... problem customers.) So anyway, while I was waiting, a cashier opened up the register just behind me. When I noticed it, she was about to start ringing a guy up behind me. He saw me notice it, then looked at my cart, and told me to go ahead. Big Grin Really cute guy too. (Probably early to mid-twenties though. Too bad.)

I forgot to make an actual list, so didn't pick up spinach. SD picked that up today for me though.

So groceries -- $27.40 (fruit, cheese, Rice Dream, Orange Juice, hot chocolate, marshmallows, etc.)

Gas - $2.49/gallon $22.86

November Spending:

Gas -- $74.78
Groceries -- $77.99
Auto Insurance -- 206.62
Subscriptions & Dues - $60 (
Prescriptions, etc. - $45.30
Gifts - $57.04
iTunes - $11.xx
Auto Repairs/Maintain - $127.65
Phone - $80.62

I did really well with my grocery spending this month. I think doing the challenge with my mom had a large part in it. Also, making crockpot beans and freezing them, as well as lentil soup, and eating lots of homemade burritos, cut down expenses.

Gas was okay. It would have been less if I hadn't gone down and volunteered at the local church school (I could have waited till December to fill up.) But .. I did get $20 in gas money from the principal/teacher (which I did try to refuse, but she insisted.) That isn't figured into the gas amount.

Auto Insurance - I chose to stay with Geico. The amount reflects the Defensive Driver's Discount, and adding back Roadside Assistance. I called AT&T on Friday and dropped their RA, which cost $3/month versus $1.xx/mo for Geico.

Subscriptions/Dues - After much thought I decided to renew my membership in the two professional organizations. Hopefully next year I'll be working in a library that will provide those dues for me, but for now, it will be good to have on my resume.

Prescriptions, etc. - My monthly scrip, plus a renewal of Walgreen's Prescription Club Discount card.

Gifts - Most come from an order with Lakeside Collection. VERY slow shipping. The order also earned some points through Mypoints. A few of the others are from two different photo deals I did through Swagbucks. My Christmas shopping is done. Smile Oh yes, almost forgot - one gift was for Mother's Day (also a Swagbucks deal.)

iTunes - Got a bit carried away finding apps for my new tutoring student (pre-schooler)

Auto Repairs - Replaced three outside belts when the squealing got really bad in my car.

Phone - This should go down a little bit next month, now that I've canceled Roadside Assistance

I did have some unexpected new sources of income this month, such as the two new tutoring students, and the reimbursed gas money. I also redeemed $25 worth of Amazon gift cards (through Swagbucks) which are currently sitting in my Amazon account. Not to mention the scholarship I found out about! Smile

So, I definitely could do better next month. After the 21st, I doubt I'll be spending much of my own money (being out in CA.) I will offer - but will more than likely be turned down. (I am hoping one of those $3 codes come out so I can get a gift certificate for this one restaurant out there and "treat" for at least one meal!)

Strange Thanksgiving/Friday

November 26th, 2010 at 07:19 pm

Thursday morning around 10 a.m. my stepdad left to go have Thanksgiving with his daughters and their families. Mom and I divided our time between making cottage cheese roast, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and turkey and packing her things.

We sat down to eat around 1 p.m. We'd talked about maybe going to a 4 p.m movie. Then that got nixed. So we talked about going to a 7 p.m movie. That got nixed.

What were we doing till nearly midnight Thursday night? Packing, packing, packing.

This morning we got up at 7 a.m. and continued to pack. The movers arrived at 9 a.m., and left with her stuff a little after 11:30 a.m.

She took 6 full wardrobe boxes of clothes with her, plus numerous boxes of clothes. There were a lot left in the closet. I'm curious to find out how she's going to fit all those clothes into her one-closet 900 square foot apartment.

I really had to bite my tongue a couple of times. She was talking about how stupid she'd been to have "let" my dad walk away with his full retirement (husband before stepdad.) What she forgets, is that she cleaned out all of their savings accounts, and maxed out most of their credit cards (included in that money was funds from a second refi of the house -- set aside to pay taxes for the next three years.) Ooops. There were other things too, but it'll just be beating a dead horse (or snake ...).

Buddy of course was not getting what was going on with the movers, and so was barking up a storm. Before leaving, mom fixed him up a plate of his wet food -- fine. Then she added three large pieces of turkey!! When I said something about it, she about bit my head off. When I answered back that it would be MY bed he'd be throwing up on - she was like, "Well, I could just take him with me!" So I responded by saying -- "Well, he's your dog. So whatever!"

Ugh! I hate to say it, but I'm actually glad this *finally* seems to have come to a close. She has a signed apartment lease for six-months (Seriously?? Is she really planning on moving in six-months???) She's leaving Buddy with us for now since she'll be gone a lot, while here there is usually someone around most of the day.

There's a sale on giftcards at Swagbucks. I have enough to get 3 $5 Paypal cards, but I think I'm going to wait and see if the Amazon cards go on sale. All day yesterday I just let Swagbucks TV run, and checked on it once in a while. I accumulated 10 wins. Today so far I have 6 or 7 (5 SB's per win.)

Later today I might go out grocery shopping. Right now though, I think I'm going to go take a nap.

Ack! Just When I Thought the Backyard was Safe!

November 25th, 2010 at 05:17 am

Both of my blogs are updated - Living Frugal and Children's Books.

I've been keeping busy the past few days doing just about anything but schoolwork .... but I did finally put a half-hearted attempt at the TWO assignments due this week.

Tonight I had the two new boys who I started working with last week. I was way over prepared. Smile

Tomorrow is the end of the challenge between my mom and I. Up until Monday I was doing pretty well with it. Today I was back on track though. My mom ... I think I still beat her. Big Grin

Okay, for those of you who don't like snake stories or pictures of snakes, now would be a good time to do a swift scroll to the comments section (if you want to leave a comment, of course!)


Okay .... I warned you!

This afternoon I took Buddy out in the backyard for his pit stop. I had barely put him down, when in the corner of my eye I spotted something moving. When I looked fully at what had moved ... not 3 seconds passed before I had screamed, picked Buddy up, and ran inside the house yelling for my stepdad. What did I see? Well ... here's a picture of what I saw *after* SD (SuperD...!) had finished with it.

I am not sure what kind it was. I really hope it wasn't a pet snake or something. SD had to chop at it with the shovel multiple times - it's exoskeleton was very hard. Even after all that, it wasn't still fully dead.

No more letting Buddy out in the yard without a leash! (We've been letting him slowly have a little bit more freedom, as he's earned it.)

Anyone have any idea what kind it is? It was over 3 feet long.

ETA: Picture of its head:

Enjoying my weekend

November 22nd, 2010 at 12:45 am

I have truly been enjoying this weekend. I have next week to look forward to with only one tutoring session, and the end of the challenge with my mom (me = limited sugar; mom - limited soda).

Yesterday at church we again had 14 kids! I just can't say how much I loved it, even though it was quite crowded. Most of the reason we had so many was because the school was putting on a Thanksgiving program. So, in the middle of our lesson story, half of our class left to go practice. Hopefully those who don't normally come will be interested in coming again. Of course ... we don't really have space for more ... God will take care of that. Smile

Other than church yesterday, I didn't really do much of anything.

Today I slept in a little bit. Oh luxury! (Can't sleep in too much, otherwise an anxious puppy will let me know how badly he needs to go!) I goofed on the net for awhile, checked out the coupons and advertisements for this weekend, and then goofed some more on the net. Big Grin

This afternoon I was getting ravenous. So I decided to make a burrito. I used a tortilla which had been bought at Sam's club two years ago (frozen and moved several times - recently dethawed.) A 1/2 cup portion of the beans I made a few weeks ago (from the freezer), spinach, shredded cheese, and rice. It was so yummy and SO filling!

After I was done eating, I made my

Text is Grandma's Corn Pudding Casserole. and Link is
Grandma's Corn Pudding Casserole. I was going to make it on Friday, but by the time I finished with an assignment that was due, it was after 5 p.m. I was tired, and just didn't feel like doing it. *The link goes to my Living Frugal blog with the recipe and pictures. (I'm freezing it for Thanksgiving.) I entered the recipe into the Swagbucks recipe contest. Crossing my fingers!

I have my first Swagbucks referral! Woo Hoo! Well ... it actually is my dad. Big Grin I talked him through the process step by step over the phone.

The bananas I got on Thursday are already going bad. Frown SD got some more today - they're much greener than the ones I'd found.

Tomorrow I'll be going to the church school and helping out the principal/teacher for the day. I can't donate much in the way of money, but I can donate time once in awhile. I do have two assignments I'll have to do this week, plus I may try to complete two of next week's assignments to get ahead a little bit.

I hope my mom decides quickly about whether or not she's moving out on Friday or not. If she isn't, then I'll make an appointment with the University Health center for my TSH (thyroid) test. (Discount days start on Friday.)Hopefully the traffic wouldn't be too crazy around the university.

iTunes - App store: 4 different apps for pre-schoolers. ~$6.00 (prepping for tutoring)

York Photo - $7.xx - two photo magnets (Christmas presents)

Tomorrow anticipated spending:

Either Acrylic Paint or Fabric Paint, Masking tape (Christmas presents), Spinach (my bag is going bad already)

**Any ideas on how to keep a bag of spinach from going slimy so fast? I eat it as fast as I can, but ...

Possibly new students, Spending, Car Insurance

November 19th, 2010 at 02:05 am

Last night I worked with two new tutoring students, a 2nd grader and a 5th grader. They're both great kids and I think it is going to be lots of fun finding things for them. Their mom insists on them having homework between sessions. My mom had been working with the fifth-grade boy, as well as his two older brothers. But she wasn't able to work with the second grade boy.

Today as I was waiting for my high-school boy, I ran into the mom of two of my mom's former students. (She'd exchanged hair styling for tutoring.) She asked me if I'd be willing to work with her 4 year old daughter and help her get ready for kindergarten. One or two times a week for an hour each. Right up my alley! We'll possibly start in January.

Then near the end of my tutoring session with the high-school boy, his host mom came home. She's the same person who has essentially helped me get most of my students. She asked me if I thought I could tutor someone in Algebra 1. I gulped, and said that I thought I could. I'd have to get some books and such from the library to review, but I think I could do it. As long as I stayed ahead of the student.

Wow! if both of these new students pan out, I'm going to be quite busy! Yay!!

Grocery Spending:

11/17 -- $8.01 supper, chocolate oranges (2)

I needed something to eat before tutoring my two new students. CVS had the chocolate oranges on sale 2 for $5. I *love* those oranges, and that is a good price. So ... they are put away until Thanksgiving when the challenge is over. Smile

11/18 -- $7.06 bananas, shredded cheese, green onions, frozen veggies, cream corn,

I decided to make the corn pudding for potluck on Sabbath, so needed a few more ingredients.

Wow! Yesterday I completed a special offer on Swagbucks for comparing insurance offers. (It gave me enough to get my 5th Amazon card, and have 300+ left.) This morning I was inundated with phone calls and emails. On Tuesday I had written a blog post on

Text is how I've managed to stump car insurance agents. and Link is
how I've managed to stump car insurance agents. This morning to my utter shock, someone actually managed to beat my rate by $3 (per six-months.) I told them I didn't want to make a decision right away, but would need to think about it. Or, in other words, research the company.

Good thing I did! It has absolutely terrible ratings for customer service and claims handling. As I was talking to the five different people (the ones I actually answered the phone for) a reoccurring statement made was that I had only been insured for one-year. I thought that was really strange since I was pretty sure I'd been with Geico since at least 2001. I also found out that Texas passed a law raising the amount of the mandated minimums.

So I finally went ahead and gave Geico a call. I found out that most agents when making a quote will just automatically put one-year, and that I had been with Geico nearly 12 years. I also found out that I won't need to worry about the increased coverage rate until my May renewal. Then I asked the agent to add roadside service back to my plan. I couldn't remember why I had taken it off my plan in the first place ($6/term). He reminded me that it usually is only available for people with comprehensive, but that since I've been with them for so long, he'd make an exception. It just so happened that he was a supervisor!

As I was typing this I got a call from the mom of the 4 year old. She and her husband have decided to have me work with their daughter twice a week! Yes! Apparently she has to pass a test to be admitted into the particular Kindergarten. The mom is going to talk to the pre-school teacher to find out what skills need to be worked on. I'm really running the gambit here - working with 4-year olds all the way through college!

Power Outage, Credit Cards, Dancing w/the Stars

November 17th, 2010 at 03:22 am

Last night around 10:30 I was typing away on an entry here, when Poof! the power went out. It stayed out for over 90 minutes. We'd had a little bit of thunder and lightning, but nothing major. So ... that was weird.

I cashed in for my 4th Amazon $5 gift card yesterday, and deposited the second one in Amazon. I love free money. Big Grin

Last night my mom asked me to help her with two of her tutoring students on Wednesday nights. This particular family has 4 children. I'll work with the two youngest, and she'll work with the two oldest. That adds an extra $200/month for me! Woo Hoo!

Today I spent quite a bit of money (well, for me anyway.) I decided to renew my memberships in American Library Association and the Texas Library Association. A total of $60 for both of them (student rates!) I'd been debating on it ever since I got the renewal notices. I finally concluded that if I want to have any chance of getting a job, it probably is a good idea to have a professional membership.

I did something else really unusual for me today. I opened up a credit card offer! It was for a Citi Visa for students. Even more highly unusual for me is that I applied! What got me? Two things: 1 - You can earn up to 4,000 points per semester based on your GPA; and 2 - Every month you pay on time you get 25 points. Boo Ya! Easy free points! I was approved for $4,000.00. I'm hoping that I can send them my grades for Spring semester and get the first 4,000 points. Big Grin It'll motivate me to work even harder to make sure that one class this semester that's making me nuts becomes an A, for another 4,000 points.

Speaking of Credit Cards. Today I checked my Chase Visa account, and I had enough to redeem for $100 cash. Before it changed over to Chase Freedom, I could just apply that as a credit on my statement. But now they have a feature where you can apply a credit to your statement for *specific* purchases and purchase amounts. This is good and bad. I'll probably use it more often, since there is no incentive to save for a better deal on statement credit. However, it is very rare that an item is exactly within a certain range. Like today, I didn't have anything that was in the 70 - 75 range, but I did have a number of items in the 23 - 25 range. So, I ended up using 8900 points for an $89.00 credit. Next statement I'll have enough for a $20 credit (the minimum.)

I was supposed to buy bananas tonight, but totally forgot. By the time I was finished with my high-school boy (we worked 80 extra minutes) and made it through the construction traffic, my brain was fried. So, no banana for breakfast tomorrow. Frown

I watched last night's Dancing with the Stars tonight. Wow! I just so love Jennifer Grey. She is so fantastic. I haven't heard the results yet from tonights vote off, but if a certain person on there stays, and Jennifer goes ... ARGHH!

Nice Cool Weekend

November 15th, 2010 at 12:22 am

This has been a pretty relaxing and cool weekend. On Saturday my Primary class that I teach which up until this weekend had only had a high of 10 kids, had 14 show up! It was pretty crazy, since both my assistant and I were only prepared for 10. It all worked out though. Big Grin

After church I got some free food. Smile They're starting a childrens choir. Since J and I were still around counting the money (offering, tithes, etc.) we were offered some food. Yum!

I spent a lot of time goofing around on my other blogs today. Added a few design elements and deleted a few. I also signed up with a new blog advertisement tool (free.) I also wrote up a post (first of a series) on Swagbucks which will post in the morning.

My stepdad is sad. His huge big screen tv seems to be broken. He's going to try replacing the bulb. It's over 6 years old (the tv) so I don't know if that is just a normal life span for those behemoths.

Well it's just about time for me to chat with my class partner on our project. We'll be using gmail messenger. I've never used that before, so it'll be interesting. I also have never worked collaboratively via Google docs. Good to have new experiences. Smile

Temperature Extremes, Spending Report

November 13th, 2010 at 03:00 am

Today was an interesting day weather wise. This morning it was rainy and windy, then by noon it was very warm and humid. Coming home from my tutoring student I had to put my a/c on high. Then by about 5 p.m. it was cold and windy again -- so much so I had to put a jacket on when I took Buddy out.

What can I say ... that's Texas for you!

I did a bit of grocery shopping today. I had a total of $37.xx left ($17 from last week, plus this weeks $20.) I did a bit of a stockup, and got one little extra.

4 cans mushrooms, 2 cans refried beans, 1 bag shredded cheese, 2 half-gallons orange juice, 1 loaf of bread, 1/2 dozen eggs, bag of spinach, bag of cornbread mix, Rice Dream (milk), generic Ziploc quart bags, 1 pkg wet dog food, and 1 box of small dog treats.

I unfortunately did not have any coupons for any of the items.

The total came to $24.11. The only thing I can think of that I'll need to buy in the next two weeks are bananas. I didn't get them today because we have a few left, and I'm hoping SD will get more on Sunday. We go through bananas quickly in this house. Smile

That leaves me with about $13 to go towards next weeks spending budget.

I was thinking about making my cornbread casserole and entering the recipe and a picture of it in the Swagbucks recipe contest. That's why I got the cornbread mix at first. I wavered on doing it this week though. I may do it next week (deadline is next Friday) and make it for our Thanksgiving church potluck. Two birds with one stone. There's a few other ingredients I'd have to get, so I'll have to see where my grocery budget is at.

Speaking of Swagbucks. I redeemed SBs today for my third $5 giftcard. Then I did a few easy peasy special offer deals, and am back up to 230. I just need 220 more for my next giftcard. I decided to link it to my Facebook account. It will only post 3 - 4 times a day, when I get search wins and when I get SBs for finding a code. So hopefully that won't be too annoying to others, and maybe I'll get a few referrals.

Received First Gift Card

November 12th, 2010 at 03:46 am

Today I had another happy news email. My first $5 Amazon gift card had arrived from Swagbucks. I went to my account and copied the code, then went to Amazon. So I now have $5 waiting for me to spend at Amazon. Smile

I'm roughly 25 points away from my third gift card.

I didn't spend any money today. So that's always a good thing. Smile

My next big project for one of my classes is writing a grant application. It should be interesting, especially since it has to be done with a partner. Doing things with a partner - especially when the other persons last name is before yours (which means their responsible for submitting different documents) - makes my hackles rise. Depending on other people when my grade is at stake, really is unappealing. Collaboration is great otherwise. Smile

I finally completed one of the two assignments I'd been procrastinating on doing this week. It wasn't really that difficult, just time consuming. I think I'm at the point where I'm really, really tired of school. Good thing I only have one more class left! (Except it is a research methods class ... meaning lots of research papers.)

Doing the Happy Dance!

November 11th, 2010 at 02:03 am

I just checked my email and found out that I was awarded a scholarship for the Spring semester! Yahoo! It didn't say how much it will be for, but I'm hoping it'll be at least $400 like for this semester. That'll definitely help put a little extra breathing room in my budget. Big Grin

Last night I was really, really bored and not feeling like doing school work. So I made the first video for my Living Frugal blog, and then I also made a second video for my Children's Books blog. Smile It's a book review in an interview format.

Text is Book Talk with Dan and Laura and Link is
Book Talk with Dan and Laura.

Spending Report:

Filled up with gas: $23.57

Bought bananas: $1.43


I'm about 70 Swagbucks away from redeeming my 3rd Amazon gift card -- and I haven't even been doing it for two full weeks yet! Of course, the proof will be when I am able to actually redeem the gift cards. Smile

I did some Mypoints emails today, and looked at the rewards page. Recently, it had looked like 60% of their gift cards were gone. But it must have just been a glitch, or maybe they restocked. I have about 5600 points right now, so I could get a $25 gift card, or wait a few months more and get a $50. I'm debating on getting a Walmart card and use it for new clothes, or get an Amazon card to add to my SB winnings for something larger. I'll probably end up waiting to have enough for a $50 card.

I feel really badly for my sixth grade tutoring student. Last week he had his finger slammed between 50lbs of weights when he was in weightlifting class. He actually broke the tip of it! So today I had him do his vocab quiz orally, and then I was his scribe for our essay writing work. (It was his writing hand.)

My mom may have found the house she's going to move into. She's going to leave Buddy here for the most part so that he's not alone for 8 or 9 hours a day. He's going to be one confused little puppy. Frown

Found a fun site :)

November 10th, 2010 at 04:03 am

I am signed up with a couple of listserves serving librarians. This past week or so, a number of posts have had links to videos made by this one site. My professor in one of my classes this semester has also created several of her lectures using it. So tonight I was feeling a little bored (even though I have plenty of schoolwork I should be doing!) and decided to play around with it. Big Grin

I posted the end result on my living frugal blog. Here is the link

Text is Cooking Lentils and Link is
Cooking Lentils.

Today was a NSD.


I worked with Korean Boy this afternoon. A week or so ago he'd made a 31 slide PowerPoint on WWII without my help. Today I was helping him write notes for presenting it to his class on Friday. Oh boy. He essentially went to a Korean Wikipedia site and copied the translated information, and pasted it into the slides. A few of them make sense, but most make very little sense at all. He's already turned the slideshow in, so there wasn't anything I could do about that. But I did help him at least make his notes for the presentation sound halfway decent.

Another NSD ; Adgitize

November 9th, 2010 at 02:00 am

Today was another NSD.

I redeemed some of my Swagbucks for a second Amazon gift card, and have 200 towards the next one. My earnings are going to slow down a good bit probably, because I finished all the profiles, and completed most of the special offers which didn't require a phone number or credit card info (or a download).

I think I'm going to stop recording no spending days, and just record when I actually spend money.

I finally input my paypal address to Adgitize so that I could get my money. Adgitize is an advertising company for blogs. When I was more active with my living simple and childrens books blogs I actually bought an advertisement one month -- and thus earned most of the cost back. Until today however, I just kept forgetting to put my paypal address in!

So ... Income: $11.97 Big Grin


November 8th, 2010 at 03:53 am

This morning I worked with Korean Boy for 2 1/2 hours. We managed to get a very rough rough draft completed.

I was thinking about stopping and picking up some spinach, but the traffic on the way home was such a boor that I had only enough patience left to go straight home. So ... today was a no spend day.

I finished up the final draft of my second big paper. I think I did a pretty good job on it. I hope my professor agrees. Smile

I spent way too much time today on Swagbucks. I did a couple of surveys, and completed one "task" on an offer wall. The task is not something I'd do again - spent 90 minutes on it for 15 SB's. Not worth it. But stubborn me would not quit till I finished. Smile I am up to 522 SB's right now, so I could go ahead and redeem for my second gift card. But I read somewhere that they sometimes discount the gift cards closer to Christmas. So ... I'm going to wait. Big Grin

While aimlessly watching Swagbucks tv, I started reading Janet Evanovich's latest book "Wicked Appetite." It features Diesel. Yum. Smile I'm about 60 pages into it right now.

Last night I watched "The Baxter." I'd never heard of it before, but looking through my choices, it was the one that appealed to me most. I'm so glad I watched it! Such a sweet,quirky, romantic, funny and unexpected movie. One of the cleanest romantic movies I've seen in a long time. Safe to watch with your parents - no squirming around "love" scenes. Smile

My church is going to be holding a weight seminar soon. The date hasn't been set just yet. The leader of it is looking for group leaders. I offered to lead a group depending on what day of the week it was on, and if there were not any requirements for the group leader to already be at a healthy weight. If it's on a weekend night, I'll definitely do it. I'm not going to go overboard though like I did the last time I was part of something like this. I did lose 30 pounds, and came in 3rd place ... but it didn't take long for those pounds to find me again. Frown

Relaxing NSD

November 7th, 2010 at 01:25 am

Sabbath School and Church went relatively smoothly today. We had one girl who is deaf, but wears a hearing aid. I really hope I didn't make her feel like I was condescending to her - was just trying to make sure she understood what was going on. My sign language skills are *very* rusty.

Came home and goofed around on the net a little. Signed up for a couple of special offers on Swagbucks, none of which have credited yet. Ugh. I'm up to 300 without those offers, but if they go through, I'll have enough for another gift card.

Took a nice nap, which I really needed. Then I looked on my school website and saw I'd received my grade for two assignments. One was 100, the other was an 89. Boo. Oh well, I have 100's for everything else in that class. Overall, all three classes seem to be winding down on the amount of work for each week. So if I do get the new tutoring student, it won't be too difficult to work school around him.

I'm thinking about watching a last movie from Netflix (my current month didn't end until the 10th, so will cancel tomorrow.) Yesterday I checked into what it would take to take money out of my ROTH. T Rowe has excellent customer service! The person who responded calculated how much of my account was my contributions, and told me I could "redeem" any amount of that to my bank account. It would take two to three business days. The sad/funny thing is, with all the ups and downs of the markets the past few years, my balance is almost exactly equal to the amount in my account. Knowing I have this fairly easy option to access more money helps me to breathe a bit easier. Of course, I won't do it unless I am out of other options (other than asking family for a loan.)

I tried reading Jan Karon's book "In The Company of Others" today, but was just too sleepy. (It's the second book in the Father Tim series. Father Tim was the main character in the Mitford series.

Tomorrow I'm working with Korean Boy at 10 a.m. in an attempt to write a rough draft of an essay due Monday. We've already spent the majority of two sessions working on it, and are not very far. Then I need to put the final touches on the second major assignment for one of my classes.

His Eye is On the Sparrow!

November 5th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I don't know why I have such a difficult time trusting that God is truly watching out for me. I think it's a case of "easier said than done."

This morning 3 things happened which reminded me that I truly am not alone.

1. If you remember, one of the upcoming expenses I was stressing over is my 6-month doctor visit and blood work. Last time it cost me approximately $200. This morning I managed to get in touch with a real live person at my university's health clinic. I found out three things: a) TSH test cost $41 on Nov. 29 and 30; b) Physicians visit (for prescription) is free, and c) I would need to pay a $15 service fee since I am not a campus student. So, for less than $60 I will be able to get my prescription renewed!

2. I received a call from the person hosting Korean Boy and College Korean Boy. She had a 4th tutoring student possibility for me, the son of a friend of hers. It would be a possible $400 - 500 month extra if it works out.

3. The biggest of all three! I took my car to the place I get my oil changed at. The mechanic who met me at the bay just so happened to be a former Honda dealer mechanic. I explained to him about the squealing noise and that I thought it might be the timing belt. He looked at me and was like, "It's not the timing belt. The timing belt wouldn't squeal, it would just break." He asked me when I'd had it changed last, and I told him it was about 60k miles ago. He said it didn't need to be changed for at least another 20k. Then he said that what probably was causing the squealing noise are the outside belts (can't remember their names.) AND he said that to change them out with parts and labor would run about $120! I told him to go for it!

An hour and half later my car was finished. I'd also asked him to look over it and see if there was anything else I needed to be aware of. He told me that overall it looked pretty good, but that one of the three engine mounts was bad. I asked him what kind of time frame I was looking at to get that fixed -- he said it could be 6 months, 1 year, or even 3 years. So ... I'm not going to worry about that right now. Smile

I did a couple of surveys on Swagbucks today (finally qualified!) and completed a few of the profiles. So am now up to 175 SB's.

Spending log:

Decided I didn't need any groceries this week. So I spent of my $20 for the week: $1.50 - stamps; $1.39 bananas. That leaves $17.61 to add to next week. Smile

Not buying junk food really cuts back on the expenditures!



My car :( ... Spending Log

November 5th, 2010 at 04:01 am

For the past few months my car has been emitting a squealing noise from time to time. At the time of my mom's neck surgery, a tutoring student of my mom's was riding in my car with me and mentioned it. The Korean Boy student also has mentioned it (although he thinks my windshield wipers going on when we go over a bump is hilarious.)

I've been worried about it, but have pretty much ignored it. Hoping for nothing to happen. The last week or so, it has gotten progressively worse. To the point that today it was almost constantly squealing.

The people I've mentioned it to think it is probably my timing belt. I think that is very probable. It's probably been about 60,000 miles+ since it was last changed, and 7 or 8? years.

Tomorrow I'm taking it to a place across the street from the school I tutor at. I'm hoping that the guys there will look at it and confirm for me if the timing belt is the problem, or if it might be something else. If they think it is the belt, then I'll have to check and see if the *trusted* person our family has used many, many times is available. It is a 40 mile trip to him.

I've already called my Sabbath School assistant and told her that I probably won't be able to come on Sabbath. I'm scared to drive my car right now more than I *absolutely* have to.

If you recall, my funds are *very* *very* low. Replacing the timing belt will just about wipe them out.

So, I am back to considering the option of taking money out of my ROTH. I need to make sure I can do that without tax consequences or other penalties. There isn't much in there, but it would at least help relieve some of the pressure.

I feel so conflicted with all of this. I want to trust that God will work it all out in the end, but then I know that we're also supposed to do our part.

SD was suggesting that maybe I should check and see if my dad's side of the family's offer to help me buy a new car was still valid. With having no guarantee that I'll even find a job which pays enough to live on *and* repay a loan, I just can't stomach the thought.

On a lighter note. I redeemed 449 Swagbucks last night for my first $5 Amazon gift card. It says that it'll take between 10 and 14 days to arrive. As of right now, I have 60 SB's towards the next one. Smile

Spending Log:

$1.39 - Bananas

Korean Boy finally paid me today. I'll be making a deposit tomorrow.

NSD, Almost enough for first gift card!

November 4th, 2010 at 12:41 am

Today was a NSD.

I'd finished my big assignment for the week, so took some time today to goof around on Swagbucks. As of now I have 448 SB's, and will have 3 more once a video credits. That will give me enough for my first $5 amazon gift card. Yay!

Today was fairly cold again, but no rain. I need to find my close toed shoes, because my feet were getting really cold today.

My crockpot beans turned out pretty good. However, I learned a lesson. Don't cook beans overnight! I cooked them over Saturday night. I got up around 4 a.m. to check on them, and my mom got up around 5 a.m. to check on them. The smell of cooking beans is hard to ignore when you're trying to sleep!

Has Winter Come to Texas? Spending Log

November 3rd, 2010 at 01:09 am

Brrr...! I think I spoke to soon yesterday about wondering when winter would ever arrive. Cold rain and temperatures in the 50's are a complete turn around from yesterday. I really need to find my umbrella!

I'm liking Swagbucks for the most part. So far I have 355, so am almost able to get my first Amazon gift card. There are a couple things about it that annoy me, but not enough to not take advantage of the opportunity for a little extra spending cash. Smile


$25.30 -- Monthly prescription
$20.00 -- Renewed Prescription Discount Card

I called around again this year to check the prices on my monthly prescription. Even with the extra $20 for the PDC, Walgreen's price still was lower. I didn't refill my prescription in October (oops! missed a few days), so that budgeted overage amount covered the card.

In my previous calculations, I forgot one large (for me) expenditure coming up soon. My doctor is going to insist on seeing me again before renewing my prescription. Minimum of about $200. I know that I can get thyroid testing done at the university, but I need to find out if they'll write a prescription, or you have to go to a doctor to have the results read. I really can't let this go again. After leaving teaching, and before getting the oil and gas job, I went for about 8 months without taking it. My dosage when I got back on it was exponentially higher. (I take brand name Synthroid. Yes, the generic is cheaper ... in the short run, but can wreak havoc with your numbers in the long run.)

ETA: I forgot to mention that due to the rain today, I fear that I might be receiving a red light ticket soon. I was going the speed limit when the light turned yellow and wasn't sure if I could make it through. So, I started slowing down. Of course I couldn't brake too hard because of the wet roads. I realized a split second before the light turned red that I wasn't going to be able to stop -- so went on through. Ugh! Just what I don't need!

Happy November! Spending log

November 2nd, 2010 at 02:54 am

Happy November everyone! Today sure didn't feel like it was winter around here. I don't know what the temperature was, but I was sure quite warm. Smile

I just finished my first draft of the second big paper for one of my classes. We had to assign peer review partners within our groups. That was some interesting drama. One person proposed that we partner up by last name. Normally I would have no problem with that, however, in our group we have at least two people who consistently turn in assignments late. Luck would have it that she'd be my partner.

So, I proposed the option of pairing people up with the person who posted the previous assignment before or after them. A few others already had an idea of who they'd like as a partner. We ended up doing a combination of my idea, and choosing your own partner. 4 people chose their own, and 9 were paired up via posting time. Whooh!

Spending Report:

$1.50 - Stamps for my brother's birthday cards. He's turning 30 on November 4! Yikes!

$24.26 - Filled up the gas tank.


Korean Girl paid me $75.

Korean Boy did not pay me today - says he'll have it tomorrow. This is a regular occurrence with him, but he does eventually pay. I didn't work with College Korean Boy today, but probably will tomorrow.

Buddy's leg seems to be doing better today. But then he started having multiple sneezing fits. Hopefully he's just allergic to something, and it isn't anything else.

I am tired!