Thursday morning I woke up for some reason around 3 am. For some reason I decided to take a look at my phone - I guess to see what time it was. What I saw was that I had two text messages from my brother. I opened them up to see what he had to say.
They weren't actually from my brother, but from his landlord/good friend. He was telling me that he'd taken my brother into the emergency room for food poisoning. I texted him back asking if there was any news (the text was about 20 minutes old) and an interminible 30 minutes later got the text telling me he was ok - htat he'd gotten fluids and meds to stop the vomiting and was being made to walk around.
About an hour later I got a text from my brother telling me he was out and had orders to stay home from owrk for 3 days and NO WORKING OUT for 3 days. He was really bummed about that.
So I checked on him throughout the day Thursday, and he sounded like he was doing okay. I checked on him a couple times today, and he sounded like he was doing okay .. until the last time I checked on him. He said he was feeling worse - worse than yesterday and that he was talking to his landlord. I texted back if he was thinking he needed to see the doctor again .. and have not received a reply yet.
I'd tried calling our Aunt yesterday morning to let her know what was going on, but got her voicemail. I didn't realize that she doesn't check her voicemail. So I called her again a little bit ago, and then called her landline and finally got in touch with her. She's going to try to get in touch with him (or his landlord) and then decide what to do. So I bet she's going to go up there to stay with him, or maybe bring him to her house.
Ugh! I wish I wasn't so far away! I'm just SO very thankful for his landlord/friend. An ambulance had been called for him, but when they got there he told him he was fine. His landlord stayed - and that's when he got much worse and so took him to the ER.
Update (while I was finishing the above section)- Aunt got in touch with him. Said he sounded okay and for us to not worry. She told him if he got sick like that again, to call her and she'd meet him at the ER. Hopefully he'd actually do that. (she's an R.N.)
Wednesday night I talked to my mom. She wants me to be an usherette in her wedding. I really, really don't want to - mostly because I don't like the idea of being an usherette. But I guess I'll do it - it sounds like it is really important to her.
She also asked me to make a list of 6 things I'd like for birthday/Christmas - even though I'd told her that the ticket there and back was more than enough and that I'd not have much money to do gifts. So am trying to think of things to put on there ... gift cards, haircut/highlights, warm socks... ummm...??? Money towards a remote car starter?? Money for car floor mats?? Auxiliary cable (to plug my phone into car stereo)?
She's having a lot of medical problems right now - stemming from the gastric bypass she had in 95? I think. She had a colonoscopy today to see if they could figure out what is going on. I don't know if staying obese for that amount of time would have had the same effect on her health or not. All I know is that I'd rather do it naturally - even if it takes forever.
I got my first earnings from GymPact - $2.30 for 5 days.
I also found out that the My Weight app ties into another pay for success/tracking app called Acheive Mint. And that app ties into RunKeeper (which ties into GymPact.)
So I now have my walks recorded with RunKeeper earning me points/money in two different places.
Not bad if I do say so myself.
I am looking at a $50/month plan with Tmobile where I'll be able to keep my phone - just switch sim cards. Unlimited data/voice/text. That would save me around $24/month. I looked at the $30/month plan as well, but that only has 100 voice minutes which wouldn't be enough.
I need to go in to Walmart and check more into the plan(s). (That's where they're offered.)
This would at least be a way to save a little on my cell phone until Ting can do iPhones.
I signed up with PenFed for an account and their CC. The one I signed up for has no annual fee and 5% back on gas purchases. So this is the one I'll use when Chase and Discover don't have their gas deals.
I thought about signing up for Southwest Airlines card. But I just don't know if I could do $1000 in 3 months (to get the $800 in airfare.) If I'd known that I was about to buy a car, I could have gotten it early enough, and then easily done it. Oh well, such is life.
Archive for November, 2012
Thursday morning I woke up for some reason around 3 am. For some reason I decided to take a look at my phone - I guess to see what time it was. What I saw was that I had two text messages from my brother. I opened them up to see what he had to say.
So ... November was a spendy month. The largest expense of course was the purchase of my new to me car + associated expenses. (Car, extra gas expenses, Carfax purchases, and $8 of Fun Money towards treating friend to drink during road trip)
Although the groceries did end up going over the $100 goal mark, it was definitely MUCH better. I think in December I will be able to stay well *under* the goal mark.
Tithe and Offering were higher this month due to a 3rd paycheck, although I did take a portion of that back towards gas money due to taking care of the pastor's dogs. (Although considering that they lent me their car during that time period ... I'm not sure whether I should give that back or not. I did overfill their gas before returning their car (had just at 1/2 gallon when I got it - returned it with a bit more than 1/2 gallon.)
This month due to the car purchase, I had a negative savings rate. But that will change in December.
I had several sources of extra income this month. Sold my Honda - $200, 2 $5 AGCs from Swagbucks, 1 $5 AGC from Irazoo, $50 AGC from MyPoints, $30 babysitting money, $44.46 from Credit Card Rewards. Probably a few things I'm forgetting too.
I upped my Fun Money spending amount for December due to my birthday coming up and not knowing what I'll need while back in TX over the holidays. (What with my mom getting married and all.)
You might notice that some categories have red balances in them. For all but one of them I just had the amount withdrawn from the available to budget amount for December, and one (Fun Money) I had subtracted from that category balance.
I did some major playing around with the numbers to find the extra $1000 I ended up putting down on my car that I hadn't meant to do. But, I was able to make it work AND still pay a $200 first payment (whenever I get the payment info set up!)
I've agreed to be an usherette at my mom's wedding which means I have to buy a new dress in the color of the bridesmaids dresses. Luckily it's a color I like, but I'm really not sure when or where I'll be able to find one!! (She has said she'll pay for it for me - but it's still a matter of finding one!)
A few months ago I opened up a new Citi card in order to take advantage of the Netflix free for a year promo. This made it so I had two Citi cards (I'd opened the first one a few years ago while in graduate school for some offer I can't remember now.)
So in an effort to reduce the number of open credit cards, I decided that I should go ahead and close that one. (Especially since I signed up for a PenFed credit card last night .... 5% gas.)
When I called about transferring my Thank You points to my new card and closing the old one, I was told that the points could not be transferred. So I had enough points for a $5 Starbucks card which did not excite me at all ... so the customer service agent added enough points for me to get a $10 gift card - Amazon unfortunately wasn't one of the choices, so I got a Macy's card which I'll probably give to my mom.
After that was taken care of, I was sent to the account specialist. I explained that I wanted to close my card and just stay with my new one. Short story -- I was offered 3,000 TYpoints if I spend $300 in the next 3 months. $300 in 3 months is something I could do - even if I take gas and groceries out of the equation. Maybe pay my car insurance and some other things that don't qualify for any of the 2 pts or 5% deals.
Now I guess I'll have to actually put the card back in my wallet!
I've come to the realization that I may have been losing out on cash back rewards by using my MyPoints credit card. For some reason the "2 pts per dollar" translated into my head into "2%." But ... it's not. The least expensive $50 gift card is 6,250 points. So at 2 pts per dollar (assuming that you only earned points through the CC) it would take $3,125 in gas and grocery purchases. 1% of that would be $31.25. 2% would be $62.50. So for the least expensive card, it is about 1.5%. But for the card I get, which is 7,600 points it works out to this: You'd need to spend $3,800.00 on groceries and gas. 1% of that would be $38.00. 2% would be $76.00. So the 2 pts per dollar works out to be about 1.3%.
Hmm... ok. If I'm doing the math right, it isn't actually too bad. Especially since they count Super Walmart as a grocery store, and most other cards don't.
Probably the smartest thing to do is try to spend pretty low during the times that none of the credit cards have the 5% cash back on groceries, and then during the months they have it, use that time to stock up on staples. (Now if I could just get myself to spend UNDER my grocery budget until a 5% promotion period happens ...) But then you also have to figure out if the extra 3.7% cash back is more than the extra you're spending in a normal non-Walmart grocery store. Need a price book for that.
I'm wondering though if I could find a better credit card for gas purchases though? (with no annual fee - I just don't spend enough on either gas or groceries to ever make an annual fee work out to my advantage.)
Well, anyway, just thinking here.
So last night I was taking a look at all my CCs and bank balances as I updated YNAB 4 when I noticed a pending charge on my Discover Card ...
I was expecting a $2k pending charge for the car, but it showed $3k!! What?
I looked through my purse and found my receipt from the auto dealership, and sure enough, it was for $3k, not 2k. After realizing this, I checked the numbers and realized that neither I nor the co-owner/salesman had noticed this during the transaction. The car loan is for the correct amount (I double checked!)
I'd been told that they could only take up to $2k on a credit card, so I based my check amount + cash amount off of a total down payment of $6k - 2k on the card.
Now though, it appears my total down payment was $7k! It's okay, I can manage to scrounge up that extra $1k before the CC bill hits, I'm just having to do a bit of whack a mole (emptying out various rainy day funds) to do so.
So my gift fund is zeroed out. I took 50% of my medical fund (enough left for my monthly prescription next month.) I hit up Kari's fund (her shots can wait til January ..) I reduced my next Roth contribution to the minimum, and eliminated my EF contribution for December. I also decided to reduce my first payment from $200 to $160, and took money from a couple other rainy funds.. All that plus cleaning out the last little bit of money in the source I didn't want to touch, will pay off the entire $3k on the CC. Whooh! I still have a small EF so if anything were to happen, I'd still be ok.
(I was thinking I might have to dip a bit into my ROTH to do this, but thankfully was able to do it without dipping into anything already put in to it!)
I guess I should have double checked the numbers!!
In an effort to rebuild my cash reserves as fast as possible ... anyone think that I could get $75 for my Asus EE PC netbook? I bought it for $300 in 2008 I think. It still works perfectly, just the software is kind of out of date. (It would include a carrying case, mini mouse, and protective sleeve.) Or would that be way more than what it's worth now? (There isn't a Craigslist for our area .. not unless the person was willing to drive 50+ miles to meet me halfway somewhere ...)
Btw - drove my car to church yesterday. LOVE IT!
Yep, although my preference on a Black Friday is to be snug and warm at home, today I braved the shopping frenzy and headed out to the big ABQ.
My co-worker NC and I left shortly after 8 and arrived at our destination a bit after 10.
What was our destination?
A car dealership!
Yep, I bought a car today. Gulp.
I test drove and looked at two - a 2011 Nissan Versa ($10,900, 35k miles) and a 2010 Toyota Yaris (47k miles, same price.)
When it came down to it, I managed to force myself to ask - 10,500 including tax, license, etc? When told nope - not even 10,900 including those ... my friend and I actually walked off the property. Nobody followed us or tried to stop us.
We went to a Jack in the Box a few streets down and had a drink. 30 minutes later we went back, and I bought the .... Yaris!
The big differences between it and the Versa: power windows, power locks, keyless entry, nicer radio/stereo, more get up and go, and THE most important of all ... it is Blue!
I put down $6,000. $2k on my credit card (offering 2% cash back for Black Friday spending), $285 cash (from sale of Honda, babysitting money, etc.), and the rest in a check.
The remainder is being financed at 1.99% for 36 months with no early payment penalties. After signing the paperwork, the co-owner/salesman said that it was the lowest finance charge he'd ever seen ($170 something.) I told him that I don't plan on paying most of it (the finance charge.)
So now that I have replaced my car, I need to do three things:
1. Pay back the loan
2. Save money for car repairs/next car
3. Get aggressive with saving for EF
My monthly payment is $154 something. I plan to pay $200/month on normal months. Months where I have a big boost in income (3 paychecks, tax refund) half that big boost will go towards the loan. I think I should have it paid off in 18 months or less.
I plan on putting the next $100/mo in the car repair/replace fund. This is a 3 year old car. I have to be ready and prepared for any maintenance items that might come along sooner than later.
The remainder of my savings quotient will go towards the EF, as well as 1/2 of any big income boost months.
This is the plan until I have the loan paid off. After that, I have an idea of what my plan will be.
A few days ago my pastor asked me if I'd watch their dogs and cat again while they go on their trip to see family. I reluctantly said yes - reluctantly not because I didn't want to help them out, but because it is a 20 minute one-way drive.
So today I went out there to get the house key and to make sure the animals remembered me. On my way though I had several cars honking at me. Then I noticed in my side view mirror that smoke was pouring out from behind my car. I pulled into a different lane to see if it was really smoke, or if it was dirt. I also adjusted my side mirror to see if I could see anything. Nope, it was smoke.
I got to my exit and pulled off. While crossing over the bridge, my engine started billowing smoke. Huge plumes of smoke. I immediately pulled over and stopped the car, grabbed my purse and keys and jumped out. (I was slightly afraid the engine was going to explode or burst into flames or something.
When nothing happened after a few minutes I called my brother and told him what happened. He told me he thought it sounded like a cracked radiator and/or blown head gasket. He ran it by our Uncle who knows a thing or two about cars, and he agreed.
Some of you know the saga I've had with my car over the time I've blogged here. You know how many times I have resisted the idea of saying goodbye to it and getting something else. I've kept saying - just a little while longer. It's still a good car. But today ... was the final straw. I thought about putting in another $1k worth of work into a car that probably isn't even worth that much. I thought about having my dragged to the nearest Honda dealer (near Albuquerque) and then having to deal with it from far away. I decided enough.
I decided to send my car to car heaven. The junkyard. Maybe I could have sold it to some young kid who could have rebuilt the engine and shined it up for a little more than the junkyard gave me ($200) but I really don't have the energy for that. I need to keep my focus on school and finding my "new" car.
The head elder of my church was out on his copier run (he fixes copiers) and did a little leg work to find out a junkyard that would take my car. He also is going to work on finding a car in the area for my price range ($5k or less.) My pastor picked me up from the junkyard and helped me get everything out of it. He and his wife then let me borrow their second car until Sunday so I don't have to rent a car yet. (I've also been asked if I'd be interested in being an assistant treasurer for the church ... I said yes, as long as it wasn't *every* Sabbath.)
I bought this car brand new - less than 50 miles on it in June, 1997 in California. It's final mileage was 146,497. So many memories - especially memories involving my dad.
So now the search is on for a good condition, good gas mileage, small 4-door car in the $5k range or under. Wish me luck.
In other news ... A few weeks ago I applied to be a reviewer for the American Association of School Librarians 16th program. Today I got an email telling me I'd been accepted! What it involves is looking at proposals for programs / breakout sessions for the 16th program and deciding whether they are a good fit or not. It isn't a paid job, but it sure will look good on my resume - especially if they think I do a good job and reinvite me the next time!
This afternoon my two colleagues and I set off on our mostly daily walk. One colleague brings along her dog Zoie (a huge dog, maybe a bull mastif?? but super super super docile and sweet.) We also had another neighborhood dog named Sky tagging along with us.
Sky is what caused our walk to be eventful. She is a good, sweet dog who had puppies in Septmeber. Her puppies are now all gone - either died, given away or humane society. She's gotten really friendly with us because JB who has the dog Zoie feeds her sometimes.
Usually she doesn't follow us out of the trailer park, but today she did. While we were walking along on the road that is just outside of the park, another stray dog came along the road - it looked like a German Shepherd. It was pretty harmless by itself - rubbed noses with Zoie. But then another dog came along - and Sky got separated from us. I was having a BAD feeling in the pit of my stomach ... with good reason apparently because soon we heard the high pitched whine of a dog in trouble.
NC and I both picked up sticks and ran toward the 3 dogs. Both of our sticks broke quickly - so I started stomping and yelling like a banshee. It worked. The two strange dogs ran off, and Sky came slinking back to us. I was glad she realized that I wasn't yelling at her.
We continued on our walk, and came across some more stray dogs. All of us yelled and shooed them away. One kept following us from a distance, but finally gave up (after I gave another banshee performance.)
I really like Sky - she is a sweet dog and I feel bad for her - even though she has a home of sorts, she's not really taken care of that well. But we really can't have her following us like this - who knows if our scare tactics will continue to work.
I spent the majority of the day today working on a new website for our media center. This was after watching a ton of profesional dev webinars, including a couple on making websites with google sites. I hadn't realized that I could get Google sites to do the kind of navigation I wanted, otherwise I would've started with it a couple years ago. Oh well. I have the basics up, and now just need to slowly add the content.
*This was of course done instead of the housework, working on coursework, or working on electives ... I did get my dishes washed though. So that was something.
I did also make brownies and bake up my sweet potatoes tonight. This necessitated a run into the local mom and pop store for eggs. I was going to get cottage cheese too for my CC Roast, but not at $2.51 for 8 oz!!! (when I needed 32 oz.)
I saw this posted on FB the other night and thought some of you might be interested:
I'm thinking about maybe trying out a few of the ideas.
Friday afternoon my 4th grade girls were speedy woodpeckers in getting their books checked out, so we had about 10 minutes left before time to go home. So I decided to let the girls look through one of my librarian candy boxes and see which books they thought were good choices. They picked out around 10 - some of them were ones I had planned on choosing, and some weren't. So it was interesting to say the least. (I did explain to them that I wouldn't be able to get ALL of them. One of them asked me how much the books cost, and I told them - anywhere between $17 and $30. They gasped. )
Yesterday I made it to church on time (almost didn't because Kari fell asleep on my lap and I hated to wake her...) I actually stayed for potluck - mostly because I needed directions to the church members house I'm going to on Thanksgiving. We had a yummy sweet potatoes dish AND stuffing AND green cabbage ... some of my favorite foods.
I was thinking about going to a movie in town either today or tomorrow, but neither of the ones I was interested in are playing here (Lincoln and Alex Cross.) So I'm going to content myself with Netflix (currently watching My Boys ... 3 episodes in and not too sure if I like it or not.)
Today I also worked on my long term project for my class (6 month cohort) where I'm going to make videos showing how to create different Scratch projects and then put them all on a website which I'll then have to promote to various educators. (I wonder ... could I propose it as a webinar on Simple K 12 too? That might be kind of fun. )
I also downloaded the apps GymPact and RunKeeper. GymPact is an app where you make a commitment for how often you're going to work out during a weeks time period, and then you make a bet/stake for each workout (from $5 to $50.) If you fulfill your commitment, you get PAID (up to $3.50/week.) However, if you don't fulfill your commitment/pact, YOU pay whatever stake you made.
It is only available for the iPhone currently, and you have to use RunKeeper for tracking your workouts. Workouts must either be in a verifiable gym (not home gym) or be outside trackable by GPS and last at least 30 minutes/2 mph. If anyone decides they want to try this out, you can get a beginning $5 (and I'll get $5 too) by using my referral code: pecdelaura
I used it for the first time today, and it seemed really easy to use.
Since I realized that I won't be doing a movie this week, I decided to use some of my fun money for eating out -- i.e a sub from Blimpies tonight. Sunday and Monday they have my sub for $5 / foot long. It makes two meals for me.
I'm making microwave peanut butter fudge for Thanksgiving. It is a recipe that our first grade teacher here made for our Halloween get together and then shared with all of us. I'm thinking that I'll make half the batch just plain peanut butter, and then the other half I'll add chocolate syrup to and maybe some pecans or walnuts. (the second half won't go to the dinner ...)
I cashed out my My Points today - I debated for over an hour between a $50 AGC or a Walmart card. The Walmart card would have been 100 points more than the AGC, but it also would have ended up not being spent on books for the library - and that's kind of what I have committed my My Points and Swagbucks AGCs to ... to help reduce my real dollars being spent on library books.
Today as I was going into the computer lab, I for some reason or another looked down at my shoes. When I did this, I noticed that the sole on one shoe was cracked. I was really hoping to make this pair of shoes last two seasons (winter) but I'm not sure if I'll be able to do that or not. I have another pair of shoes for work which I got from the Christmas Dinner thing last year which I haven't worn yet, so at least I won't have to go through the hassle of shoe shopping. That is something I truly dislike - almost as much as swimsuit shopping.
On the advice of one of my co-workers, I bought some Rain-x de-icer last week. I've now used it twice. It works *great* at quickly melting the ice. However, both days it almost immediately refroze ... while I was on the road to work. The first day I had sprayed some windshield wiper fluid to clean the windshield, which I thought was maybe what made it freeze over. But it did it again today, albeit not so badly. I ended up driving about 3/4 mile with my window rolled down and my head stuck out trying to see. Not fun (nor very safe, I know!)
Tomorrow I need to make sure I get out early enough to do the deicing several times and see if that works better. (Or just scrape it normally!)
This afternoon I stopped by the doctor's clinic and paid my balance. I had put it off for a while for no real reason, just hadn't gotten it done. $38.xx
Yesterday a box of books came from one of the companies which lets librarians "preview" them, then send back any you don't want. I was expecting this box. My heart sank as I looked through the books, because I found *many* that would thrill my kids AND fit into my goal of upgrading the non-fiction. Of course the cost of the many would be upwards of $1k due to library binding.
Then this afternoon just as I was about to head out to the busses, EM brought by another box. This one also was from a preview company, but not one I was expecting. I also looked through it, and found many books I'd really like for our library.
Since I have nowhere near the approximately $2k to get all the books in the two boxes (plus it would leave me with NOTHING for anything else, except my pocketbook) I have decided to give myself a budget of $300 between the two boxes - concentrating on books which fit in the sections that desperately need updating.
Today was our 2nd of 3 paydays for this month. It's hard to believe that half the month is already over. I know I lamented in an earlier post that I didn't think I was going to make the $100 grocery budget and so upped it a good bit. I still don't think I will make the $100 limit, but I don't think I'll go over it by too much. Especially if I can talk myself out of making stops for "just" a sandwich like I did today. Other than paying for my doctor ofice balance and a $5 donation at a bake sale last week, I have not spent anything since my last grocery shopping trip.
Next week I'll have the whole week off. I want to do some casseroles that I can freeze into individual servings, do some cleaning and decluttering in my office, get a lot done on my elective classes, spend a day in the library and take in a movie (probably Alex Cross - love the book series!)
Kari (my cat) is sitting in front of my monitor right now and refusing to be moved. So I guess that is my signal to finish up at the computer.
Before I go though, can anyone explain to me how to set a programmable thermostat? Thanks
This morning I woke up to the first snow of the season. It is still snowing right now - I expect we'll have 4 inches or so by the time it's done.
I went to big G yesterday afternoon to do my grocery shopping. The store (Walmart) was really crowded - I expect partly due to the impending storm, as well as possibly getting ready for Thanksgiving. One thing I don't mind about stores putting out holiday stuff early ... Terry's Chocolate Oranges! Yahoo! I treated myself to one.
After spending nearly $60 on grocery only stuff yesterday, I think I've decided that a budget of $100/month just is not going to cut it. It is just stressing me out to have that budget and then not meet it. So, I think I'm going to make it $175/mo and then try to keep it well below that. If I do, then it'll go to savings. If not, then no big deal.
I bought some de-icer yesterday at Walmart. If I wanted to go anywhere today, I could test it out and see if it really works. One of my co-workers swears by it. I'll wait til I really *have* to go somewhere though.
The storm hitting the West Coast is called Brutus. I texted my brother about it, and he laughed. Why? Our family had two dogs named Brutus - Brutus 1 and Brutus 2. Both of them were really great dogs.
I am glad for this long weekend. This past week at work wasn't a bad one, it just felt *really* long. I had a surprise visit by my principal on Tuesday morning when I had my 7th grade boys. Thankfully they were on good behavior! This was the initial observation visit. The next official one will be arranged. I plan on asking for her to come observe me with the 4th grade girls. She'll see plenty of interaction with that group.
We had several different groups of donors come by the school this week, dropping off boxes of donated books. It kept my assistant busy going through the boxes and seeing which ones were worth keeping. One of the donors asked me what books I would really like, and I told him *current* non-fiction. In the boxes of books there were two non-fiction books - one from 1958! and one from 1988. Ummmmm....
I want to let you know about a great tv show I ran across this past week on Netflix streaming. Warning - it is very saccharine and heartfelt - may be nauseating to some. 18 to Life - about two 18 year old next door neighbor kids who get married. There are only 24 episodes (2 seasons) but every 24 minute episode left me with a smile at the end.
So tonight after getting back from my evening walk with a couple of my co-workers, I go out to my car heading out to Family Dollar to pick up some more cold medicine.
When I get to my car, guess what I see? There is a flattened piece of metal with a bit of a strip hanging off of it, stuck inside my driver's side keyhole. At first I'm flabbergasted, and then I try to pull it out. It was stuck in there pretty good, although I did managed to get it out.
The only conclusion I can draw is that some kid was trying to break in to my car. Why, I cannot even begin to fathom. They could easily see I have NO radio (the space is completely empty with cords hanging out..) The only things visible are some books, an umbrella and some miscellaneous papers/trash. In other words, absolutely nothing of any value.
Maybe they wanted my car. HA HA HA HA!!! (It's in really bad shape cosmetically. Rust, some kind of white substance on the paint, crunched up hood ... etc, etc.)