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Archive for September, 2005

not much going on

September 30th, 2005 at 03:02 pm

But I am looking forward to the weekend!! I'm not sure why b/c I still have a long list of things to do at home. Maybe its b/c I can do them at my own rate of speed and not worry if someone is looking over my shoulder.

DH and I will be working around the house this weekend. I'm in the mood to clean and he hasnt accomplished much this week, so we hope to get a lot done this weekend. The more I think about it, the more I really want to get some yard work done. I'm not sure how long I will hold up, but now that the temps are cooling down, I want to get outside and get some exercise!!

As usual, I have a stack of homework that I need to dive into. I will get started tonight and see if I cant get it finished by tomorrow morning. I'm feeling a bit more optimisstic that a master's degree will pay off in the long run. I wasnt so sure while I was bogged down in the middle of it. Time will tell. I'm still not completely convinced.

As my health slowly improves, my ability to concentrate and organize is also improving. This has been a wonderful thing to regain. I truly thought I was losing my ability to reason and be linear. I couldnt read lists or think sequentially - and at times, it still slips away, but overall, I am seeing an improvement. Could this mean miraculous things for my ability to manage money?? Lets hope so Wink

I went on-line at noon and found some very good deals. I've been rinsing my sinuses with Sinucleanse. Its $7.95 for a box of 40 at Walgreens. I found a site that sold it in quantities of 100 for $9.95. Even with shipping, it was still nearly half the cost of Walgreens. So I bought 200. That will last me for a while. I'm so enjoying my sense of smell again.

I also found a fantastic shampoo by Auromere. Its Auyurvedic (sp?) and they have formulas for dry or oily, coinciding with the auyurvedic body types and traits. I like it b/c I can also use it as a body and face wash. The oily formula is a little bit drying, so I'm going to try the one for normal to dry skin. I'm so ready to reduce the number of products I use every morning. And the price was good as well. $5.95 for 16 oz. I also oreded some cleansing mud clay powder. Its supposed to clean and exfoliate without soap while drawing impurities out through the skin. As a product junky with sensitive skin, I am always on the look out for non-irritating, inexpensive fru-fru stuff. The oily formula smells sort of yummy, like licorice and sandalwood. The dry formula is stinky, like medicine or some funky herb that escapes me.

I spent about $50 total, but that's not too extravagent (sp?) considering they are items I need and I cant find locally for such good prices. Sometimes, shopping on-line can be less tempting for me to stray. I've become very goal oriented with it lately. Its all about finding the lowest price. I dont mind the wait for the package to arrive. I like having these things delivered to my door.

Online its also easier to do research on the product and see if other people have rated it or made comments about their experience. I find that I'm doing it more and more and overall, my spending is down. I pay in cash for local items. Sometimes when I order on line, I get everything in my basket and then print out the form and mail it in with a check. That really cuts down on the impuse buying b/c between the time I covet the item and the time I have the money to write out the check, things usually cool considerably. Overall, I feel I'm making progress around spending. I'm still viewing the Master Spreadsheet and yearning for that day of debt freedom. At this point, more so than ever before, I am confident it will happen. The numbers show that it's possible and the lifestyle changes that support those numbers are every improving as well.

Overall, things are going well and the forecast is that they will continue to do so.

It was easier to come to work this morning

September 29th, 2005 at 12:21 pm

The crush hasnt started yet. Nor do I plan for it to for a couple of weeks. I still have plenty to do with current responsibilities, but am letting the wheels start to spin so all gears will mesh when it does happen.

I went over the master spreadsheet last night. It's like a bolt of lightening, but I've started including some of the regularly purchased items in my budget. It helps my need to spend. I know what it coming and since its planned can stick to the budget and feel less likely to stray.

This weekend I have quite a lot of homework, though not as much as previous weekends. I will be taking some work home, but would like to get out and do some other things. I'd really like to work on our yard. The "grass" is getting to b a foot or so deep in many places. Last weekend we had someone come pounding on our door to see if we would hire his son to take care of it. He looked at me like I was nuts when I said it didnt need it. It does need it, but I was ill and didnt feel like dealing with someone else's child when he spoke no English and my Spanish made me sound like a crazy gringa. Maybe I'll start tonight in the evening when its cool. Do a little bit at a time. I know our neighbors must wonder what the H we are doing. Unfortunately, they cant see all the work we are doing on the inside of the house.

I think I got a promotion today

September 28th, 2005 at 06:43 pm

Around 4:00 today my boss ambled into my office and with a big smile, told me there had been a re-org and I will be taking on substantially more responsiblities than I currently have!!! Its been something that's been in the works for several months now and I sort of knew about it. But I wasnt counting on anything. People were already starting to ask me questions about the details of these new responsibilities, but I kept telling them that nothing was official yet.

But today it did become official. It took about half an hour for it to really sink in. Then I went into my boss' office and thanked him. I know he supported me and said some very good things about me for this to happen.

I'm speechless. This has been in the system for several months and initially it looked like it wasnt going to happen. But I like the work I do so much that I could continue on in this position for as long as we needed.

I have a feeling there will be a raise somewhere with this. I've heard mention of this as well. I'm not sure how to approach this yet, but will work on that.

So, the wise part of me knows that I could/should put all new money into savings, but the consumer voice won out. One thing I would really like to do is get a professional wardrobe again. I've been looking, but havent purchased. Since I lost weight, I've purchased casual things that I can get away with for work. Then I dress up when I have meetings. But I think spontaneous meetings will become more and more the norm, so I prefer to be prepared.

What I really want to do is re-invent my image. I've lost weight and recently cut my hair shorter than its been in a while. I have a tendancy to go too classic when I purchase clothes, almost to the point of frumpy. I would like to get a little more hip, but definately not trendy. I also need to find summer clothes that are relatively dressy. T-shirts and jeans just dont do it.

I think I might do the European thing and buy a few very nice pieces that cost more than have a whole lot of stuff that looks mediocre. We'll see what happens. I'm already spending money I dont haveWink

numbers are on-line!!

September 27th, 2005 at 07:50 pm

The electronic version of my paycheck is online. I went through the bills and paid everything. We are still waiting on the gas and phone, but I've allocated an estimate, a high one, so they will be covered. It feels so good to get these taken care of. I really get antsy when the stack starts to grow but payday is a week away.

Lots of little things came up, like a co-pay for a dr. visit where they didnt charge me enough and a couple of other things that have already slipped my mind.

I didnt cut myself short this month like I did last time I was paid. I didnt leave too much wiggle room, but do have enough cash left over that should I need to purchase more supplements, it can be done. I wont need to lean on the plastic to make it happen.

I have to say it again. My overall debt is going down. I still have a long, long way to go, but its coming down. And to make it even better - I'm still able to purchase the things I need...and want from time to time...without feeling the pinch. I'm not living like a white knuckled miser and I'm still able to pay off my debts. This is a first. As the feeling of success increases, it gets easier to pass on frivolous spending. This morning, I was hungry when I got to work. I considered getting a bagel or something to tide me over. But I passed and just had a Pria bar that I have stocked my desk with. It was better for me and I incurred no new debt. A very good feeling indeed.

I was going to run some errands at lunch tomorrow, but have decided to put them off until they will fit into the budget. That may be a month from now, but I really feel better knowing that I can pay cash rather than go deeper into debt. Smile such a good feeling Smile Smile Smile


September 27th, 2005 at 01:09 pm

This week is moving along rather slowly. I am waiting for my electonic paystub to become available, so I can start making out the bills. Last night I sat down and organized everything, i.e. return labels, stamps on envelopes, grouped the on-line payments. I also sat down with the master spreadsheet and went over the numbers. I am very impressed that the sum total is lower than I thought despite of the fact that I've been buying so much health related stuff during September. This is very pleasing. It also means that maintainence wont be as bad as I had thought financially.

DH treated me to lunch. We had a two for one coupon. I thought it was very sweet of him to call me out the blue. AND he won points for bringing the coupon, too!!

My sinus infection is going away and I've noticed a dramatic difference in my personality. I actually want to talk to people and interact. I finally have the energy to be social. What a difference. I do feel a bit tired as the day goes on, but I can tell that health is slowly returning.

I have class tonight, but it should be a quiet evening after that. I have some homework, but I might just opt to catch up on sleep instead.

First day back is a killer

September 26th, 2005 at 02:58 pm

This morning, after I got out of the shower, I had to think for a minute or two. I was at a complete loss as to how to apply my cosmetics. And the day has jut gotten better from there.

I seem to be in this warp, like Ground Hog Day, with several projects at work. I cannot seem to get them off my desk. The other people who are involved aren't moving very fast with their end, so things are just dragging on and on. Today patience is not my forte.

Spending for today has been $2.66. I got a yogurt parfait. Never again. Twenty minutes into it, I got a major stomach ache. Friday is payday!!! and I think I've spent less than $15 on my employee account. I havent tracked it, so I am eager to see how much is deducted from my check.

Otherwise, I'm sort of wiped out from being sick. I'm probably half present and that half of me feels like there is water in my head. None of the things I have to do are difficult, they just require a lot of leg work to get from A to B to compensate for my stolen computer.

Friday is payday. I have to repeat it to remind myself why I keep doing this. I hope the week goes quickly. I really need another weekend.

Su nday - grouting and homework for the Supplement Queen

September 25th, 2005 at 02:13 pm

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am beginning to feel better. I've been rinsing my sinuses to get rid of this infection and today, I really do feel considerably better. Getting many, many extra hours of sleep also helps the healing process. This morning we got up at 10. I could have laid in bed all day, but we had to get the rest of the grouting done. Which we just finished up, by the way!! DH has the time line all planned out and in two weeks we should be moving the furniture back in the guest room!! That will be such a good day b/c it means that half the stuff we are randomly storing in the living room can migrate to the rooms it belongs in.

I still have all my homework to do. I put it off b/c I could not concentrate, forget the possibility of forming higher thoughts and relaying those into coherent sentences on paper no less! Dont know if I'll be able to do much better now, but at least it seems like a possibility at this pointl.

While purging the freezer on Friday, I found all the ingredients needed to make stuffed peppers. So they went into the crock pot this morning. They took about 6 hours on low, so they probably arent something I would make during the day while I was at work. But they are a good weekend food and the crock pot doesnt heat up the house. DH likes them, so that is what he will have tonight for dinner while I get the leftover soup I made yesterday. It turned out very well, and I think it is going to be a staple for the winter.

Nothing looked good in the Sunday paper. that means less running around for me today and during the week. I do have to go online and order some supplements. That is going to be painful - as in a couple of hundred dollars. Over the past several years I've really been bad to my body - not getting enough sleep, eating the wrong types of food, drinking far too much caffeine and not enough water. I was also working for a very evil boss who I swear was an energy vampire. Nothing was ever really good enough yet the rules were never fully explained, so you never really knew what you were doing. Three years of that will fry a person's nervous system.

Now I am really paying. All of my glands are out of whack and my system is very, very out of balance. But, rather than reverting to traditional medicine which just covers the symptoms, I've become the Supplement Queen. Its an unconventional way to address the situation, but I do feel my body returning to its natural state; like a set point that it is most comfortable occupying. Among other things, I've suddenly developed a strong dislike for meat. I used to be an ardent vegetarian, but got lazy. My body just doesnt digest and assimilate meat, but I wasnt listening. Over several years of not listening, my body just couldnt deal with the abuse anymore. Now, I'm going to continue the supplements and revert back to a simpler diet and lifestyle. I'm going to swallow a lot of capsules along the way, but I am so tired of being sick all the time that it will be worth it in the end.

The financial side of it will be painful. I've had to weigh that one carefully. In the end, my health won out. I am hoping that once I feel considerably better, somewhere in the range of "normal" I wont have to take as much stuff and will save money that way. Prevention is so much cheaper. I am going to remember that...


September 23rd, 2005 at 09:33 pm

Today was almost a no spend day, but then I had to get some saline and Sinucleanse. I was home today with a sinus infection. I slept nearly the entire day away....several 3 or 4 hour naps. I felt this coming on Wednesday, but chose not to do anything about it, hoping I was just imagining the symptoms. But this morning when I woke up I knew it was for real. So, rather than run to the doc, I've been doing as much as possible at home, besides sleeping, to clear this up.

This weekend, no major spending in the plans. We need to grout the floor in the smaller guestroom. I'm not sure I will have the energy, but really want to get this done We've put it off a couple of times now and the procrastination is beginning to bother me.

I'm in the mood to clean things out these days. So tonight I went through the freezer taking an inventory and making menus for the week. Tomorrow is bean and bacon soup in the crock pot. I will probably also put together something in the bread machine so we'll have soup and fresh bread after a (hopefully) long day of physical labor. Tomorrow will be more of the crock pot. And Monday too b/c I have class until 8:00. From this perspective, it should be a rather smooth week. But we will see as it develops.

The goal for the weekend is to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and do the eternal homework.

More of the same...

September 21st, 2005 at 06:21 pm

Today was a no spend day!!! I've started marking them on the calendar above my desk here at home. If it is a spending day, I mark the amount. At a glance, I can see how I'm doing.

The day was okay. Nothing stellar, but allergy season is starting and I probably wont be clear headed until the first frost. I was debating whether or not to go in. I finally got moving around noon. If this keeps up, I may have to take some time off just to recuperate.

Tonight, I have a whole lot of homework, but no desire to do it. I have class tomorrow night, so I should get some of the reading done.

Otherwise, still just more of the same. Its quiet, but right now that is a good thing.


September 20th, 2005 at 03:14 pm

Okay, today I have been able to function and get a few things done. I'm feeling a bit more put together and am rather enjoying the challenge of working the system to make Plan B work. There are still lots of files that I will need to recover or see if someone else will give me a copy, but overall, things are going to come together in the end.

Today's spending so far has been $3.84 for two bottles of water. I got home very late last night from class and did not have time to put together anything for today. I did make some dinner and brought leftovers today, so I didnt have to buy lunch, so that saved some money.

I did, however, go on-line and order some major supplements. I spent a lot, like $200, and it was on the cc. I feel kind of bad. But they are things that I do need. With this last paycheck I overpaid on the mbna and left myself without cash for the rest of this month. At the time it seemed like a good idea and I really thought there was nothing I needed. I guess I'm going through these supplements faster than I thought. I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'm doing very well overall. And these are items that are critical for restoring my health.

Tonight is class and then home. DH wants to go out for dinner, but I'm not sure I will have the energy. Didnt make any solid plans for cooking anything for dinner, so I'm not sure what we will do. Going out seems like the path of least resistance.

At lunch today, I went to the park and looked at clothing catalogs. Sigh. So much that I would look good in. I will make a list and then figure out the total and feel the sticker shock before I go on-line. I really do want a nice wardrobe, but really dont want to have to spend that much. What is a girl to do....?

Computer stolen

September 19th, 2005 at 08:36 pm

Today was rough day. I went to work to find my computer stolen. It took me half the day to get over the shock and begin to realize what I had lost. I could not work for the better part of the day. I was so brain fried.

I was especially worried b/c I've done banking over the lunch hour on that machine as well as check cc info, etc. So I've gone to the appropriate companies and changed passwords.

I'm way too frazzled. I thought I would write more, but now that I'm here, I just cant put my thoughts together.

no spending Saturday

September 17th, 2005 at 08:16 pm

This day flew by!! I studied and napped it away. But I did not spend!! I left the house for a study break to pick up a special order at the health food coop. When you order by the case, you get an extra 10% off. I bought rice milk because I've been drinking lots of shakes as a substitute for snacks. The coop is always out of it when I need it, so I bit the bullet and bought the case - paying in cash of course.

Tomorrow - more studying. One course in particular is taking all my time. DH and I want to go downtown (15 minute walk) b/c a group of dedicated volunteers has restored one of the original movie houses. They are showing two free films - very old films - and we are going to see if we can get in. Tix are free, so who knows if we will get in.

Otherwise, tomorrow will be about finishing up homework, which I want to do in the a.m. Then I'll go through the Sunday paper as a reward for studying. In the forefront of my mind is the desire to stay out of stores period. If there is a super good, fantastic deal, I might consider, but right now I'm soooo not in the mood to be running around chasing sales.

Found something that works for me...

September 16th, 2005 at 01:04 pm

So, I'm not doing a very good job at saving. Instead I'm working on not spending and paying off the cc's at this point in my life. The challenge I have is that (like this week) I clean out the checking account to make a huge payment on the cc. This brings the balance on the cc down significantly and one day will result in a big ol' ZERO balance Smile this will be a very good day.

However (always a however) it means that I have little (no) cash on hand until the next pay period at the end of the month. During my days of impulse spending, I would use the cc to cover wants until the next pay period, charging as much as or more than the last payment. This was like treading water. Actually, it was even worse, b/c interest accrued, adding to the balance even more. And with plastic, its so much easier to spend freely.

After the warm fuzzy of making a huge payment wears off, I feel this sense of anxiety which leads me to believe that i NEED everything that even remotely appeals to me. About 10% might be legit, but I could pass on them if I worked at it. Its a strange feeling that takes over my thinking even though I KNOW we have everything, everything that we need in the house and we are covered until the end of the month. In my more logical moments, I see that I have nothing to worry about.

To resolve this reasonless anxiety, I've come up with a plan. When I feel this mood come over me, I pull out the master spreadsheet and budgt the item into the next pay period where it will fit. Right now, the splurges are being put into the end of October budget. My goal is still to make large payments on the cc's. On my list are: a new lunch bag - one that will keep food cold, but it easy to clean. The current one is getting past it. I'm starting to wonder what lurks in the corners; a couple of products from Neutrogena; and some nutritional supplements that I want to stock up on while I have the cash to do so. Looking at the numbers, I'm already maxing out the late Oct budget. But I suppose that better than maxing out the cc!!

This helps to allay my anxiety for now. I am reassured that I can have these things should I still want them in the future, so I'm not feeling deprived. And who knows, by the time I get to late Oct, I may not really want any of them - or even better, a less expensive alternative or will have come along in the meantime.

I've found a solution, but it also shows me again that the acquiring of stuff drives a lot of my thinking, which in turn drives my actions. That still bothers me deeply. There is a poverty of spirit about it that bothers me.

I'm going to work on that...I will try to avoid shopping as much as I can for the next couple of weeks. I'll try to make it until I get paid again. That will be a stretch, but if this method is going to work for me, this will be a good test. What if I see a really good sale? hmmm....the wiser part of me says I am fine with all the things I currently have and I should pass. The consumer in me screams BUY IT!!! BUY TWO OR THREE. YOU MAY NEVER SEE IT AT THIS PRICE EVER, EVER AGAIN. I think the consumer in my is out to undermine me in the long run...Can that be exorcised, I wonder?

q quiet payday

September 15th, 2005 at 02:56 pm

I went to lunch with a frienda and picked up the tab - $17 including a tip. I walked and it felt good to get the exercise. My friend then gave me a ride back to my office. I would like to get out more now that the weather is starting to cool down.

I brought my lunch but will save it for tomorrow. Dont have plans; maybe I will study....hmmmm...sounds productive, but I'll see how I feel when I get there.

This morning, I found a job announcement that I am interested in. It could potentially be more money, though would be more driving. I highly doubt the price of gas would offset the raise, so I'm going to look into it. I've done some preliminary asking around to see what the environment is like and if there is already an internal candidate. But I think I will revisit the resume this weekend and do some updating.

Today has been quiet and I'm enjoying it. This weekend will be all about homework. Tonight I need to sit down and get a grip on what needs to be done.

DH and drew up menus for the next several days. I find that if I plan more than four or five days out, it doesnt work. We usually end up with too much food and leftovers get wasted. I think we might take a picnic on Sunday and do some more hiking. Depends on how much homework I get done on Saturday.

Small success

September 14th, 2005 at 04:52 pm

i just paid bills, both written and scheduling payments on-line. I cleaned out the checking account for this pay period, leaving myself $4.10. However, I paid $750 in my mbna. My overall debt is THE lowest its been since I started tracking and being generally more frugal!!! That was around the turn of this year. Its fluctuated for the longest time and I've finally bought all the stuff I could want and have settled into a quiet routine that helps me see I have everything I need...and for now, everything I want.

This is fantastic. And to make the victory even sweeter, I have my needs covered with a good supply of extras on hand. This means no NEED to go shopping before the next pay period!! I think I will be okay and wont have to think about money until I'm paid at the end of the month. Finally, this is starting to pay off!!

To add to this, the water/gas bill was $30 lower this month than the last. That's good news.

I'm going to let this soak in for a while. Its a small step but in such a different direction from where I've been going. Wow.

tomorrow is payday

September 14th, 2005 at 01:33 pm

I went on-line for find out the grand total for the pains of my labor for the pate two weeks. Its rather anti-climactic. But it will allow me to pay off the things that are due up to this point for the month.

Today is looking like a no-spend day. I was supposed to go to the grocery store after work, but I'm feelin lazy and will probably pass. The problem is that if I wait too long, all the sale items are usually out of stock.

I too have been very routine for some time now. I am finding a peace in the regularity. I think its because there is so much activity in my life between work, grad school and remodeling the house. If I can contain these things, encountering them in regular, measured spans of time, then their unpredictedness (?) is a bit easier to handle. I'm getting a little bored with it, but dont have the energy to deal with excessive randomness just yet. So, I will maintain the routine for now.

One advantage is that I tend to be more prepared to save money, i.e. lunch is packed, tea is made and lists are drawn up for a smooth errand running venture. I feel less stress when its all been thought out at least once.

With prices about to go up, I've been thinking about doing a little stock piling of dry and can goods. The reality is that we tend to eat fresh things and you can't put those away. I could freeze, but should the power go out, that would be a massive waste of resources. Will have to think about and research that one a bit more. We have a good stash on hand, buying things on sale, as most frugalites do. I'm just feeling the need to be a little more prepated, just in case.

My health is still on the forefront of my mind. I've really been making an effort to get enough sleep and to take it easy when I get home from work. I am becoming more comfortable with leaving things undone at the end of the day. So far, so good. I'm not a complete zombie during the day, but still feel tired a lot. Overall, i think I am making progress and firmly believe my health will return to its former state. Time is what I need.

Tonight I dont have class, so I will sit down with the master spreadsheet and the checkbook and do away with as much debt as possible. Yesterday was a rough day and I seriously entertained thoughts of quitting my job. But then I got angry with myself because I have tethered myself financially to a regular source of income. Until I have something else to go to, this is where I am going to be spening 40+ hours a week of my time. That needs to change. I've been slacking lately in my motivation to save. I need to find a plan that works for me to keep my eyes on the prize. I think that setting far reaching goals undermines me. I need to focus on what can be done daily and then see my success as I look back. In my current method, I tend to look forward and then play catch up with the activities of my daily life. Will have to examine that to get a better idea of where I stand with it....hmmmmm.

Sunday ending not so badly

September 11th, 2005 at 09:35 pm

Today was an interesting combination of events. I did run errands. Target and Albertsons. Did very well at Target. I stuck to my list and found a couple of things that were cheaper than the last time I bought them. I also had a fistful of coupons so the total only came out to $36. I did splurge and buy a new wallet. I was just sort of looking but found one that is small and has spaces for everything I need to carry. Iíve been feeling unorganized lately so this might help. I also wanted a new purse and went to Marshallís but found nothing. Iím not grooving on the current styels in purses for some reason. So I left Marshalls without spending a dime. This is a small miracle in itself. Marshallís can be a true downfall for me.

Grocery shopping was uneventful. Stuck to the list but I forgot to bring the$5 off coupon they sent in the mail just yesterday. Could have used it. The total came to $38 and change. I will remember next time.

Then came home did some homework; took a nap until DH got up. He woke up early since we had agreed to do something together. We went to see Ladies in Lavendar. It was a good film. The thing that struck me was the pace of life these two women lead and the small town they were part of. It was truly at the pace of human life. Oh, how refreshing. The focus was on talking to the people around you!! Not about getting stuff!! So refreshing.

Then we went for icecream and came home. I was in go mode, so I unloaded the dishwasher, packed lunch for tomorrow, made tea, and cleaned the kitchen. It almost looks like something out of Better Homes and Gardens Ė for a couple of minutes anyway. But everything is put away, the counters are clean and there are no dishes in the sink!! The sink even shines because I cleaned it too.

I have these brief moments where I really think this house is becoming organized. I can actually find the iron and take down the ironing board for use. And then when I am done, both items have a designated place to return to, facilitating the prevention of clutter. This is a lovely change. I hope to be doing more and more of this.

Thursday is payday. I am looking forward to it. This entire check is about paying off ccís and other bills that are more in the ďwantsĒ category. The second check of the month is about paying off the needs Ė mortgage, utilities, etc.

Too tired for anymore. Going to bed early to prepare for the following week.

small revelation

September 11th, 2005 at 07:43 am

It finally dawned on my why I havent been very regular in my posts lately. I'm not thinking about money. Grad school has a lot to do with that; its taking nearly all of my free time.

But something else is happening. It has to do with how I'm reorganizing my priorities. I look at the sales and have become very picky in that I will only purchase the things we are 100% certain to use. I've given up on looking for substitutes that may have a lower price. This means Iím doing less shopping so that means less running around. Iím going to buy what we like and be done with it already.

But also, at least for the past couple of weeks, once the errands are run and the bills are paid, I put the check book away and forget about the master spreadsheet and start getting on with my life. Iím really beginning to see how consumerism has taken such a massive hold on my outlook on life. I never used to be this way and Iím not sure what the turning point was but I donít like what the situation has become. And that seems to be about getting rather than being. If something is on sale, buy several, stock up but be sure to get it at the lowest price. One could spend all their days waiting for the lowest price to come along. Too much of it is crazy making.

So Iíve stepped back a bit. Iím running errands on the weekend and thatís it. This is also because I donít have time after work anymore and Iíve decided to keep my lunch hours free during the week at work.

Is this what they call Frugality Fatigue?? Been doing it too intensely for just a little too long? Its something I LOVE to do, but also need balance in my life. With classes taking all my time and bringing additional stress and with my health telling me to slow down and chill out, its become very clear that I need more balance.

So, having gone on about that, Iím going to complete my homework as best as I am able (wont be anywhere near done, but education is about learning) and let it go. I have some errands to run and then I want to do something fun. I might take in a movie or go for a walk. DH worked all night, so I may have to go it alone. This will be a pleasant change.

blathering on about my saturday...

September 10th, 2005 at 05:05 pm

Today has not been as productive as I was hoping it would be. I had a hair appt at 10. But got up early to work on homework. I am taking two grad classes this semester (paid for by employer!) and one of them is going to be a true beast Ė lots of reading and then we have to summarize. To be honest, most of it is social criticism that was written at least 50 years ago, based on theories that Iíve never had explained to me completely.

Iíve spent the better part of my day working on one summary that Iím going to have to throw the towel in on. I donít understand. Class is Monday night so I wont have a chance to ask before then. I think that is what I will do. Since my health has become an issue Iíve decided not to stress over things like this. Iíll take a B in the class. I donít care that much. Iím already employed in the field and Iím sorry to say that I will not receive a promotion of any sort once I get the degree. Its not worth my health.

Iím going to move on to the next bit of homework for the other classÖI feel more sane already.

Today was a hair cut. Iím going shorter much to DHís dislike. Iím tired of dealing with my hair in the morning. It never dries fast enough and Iím always running late so I need something quick and simple.

Had lunch with MIL at a new restaurant. Food was okay. Cant say its at the top of my list for repeat visits. It was good to see her. We went shopping at a new store I found. She found a very cute dress for $6 and a t-shirt that was also on clearance. She was happy.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent doing homework. The cats are sacked out in their kitty donuts (beds) and dinner smells good in the crockpot. Laundry is in the drier.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a pretty good day despite the snag with the homework. I hope to get most of it done today. Iíd like to run errands and go hiking or something physical tomorrow.

Errands today

September 5th, 2005 at 02:23 pm

DH and I got quite a lot done this weekend. Not a lot of it was work related.

Yesterday we went hiking in the mountains. We bought a seasonal pass from the state parks dept and really need to take advantage of it more than we do. But we packed a picnic lunch and then went for a 2 mile hike afterwards. It was a tough one - nearly up hill the entire way there, but also almost as strenuous on the way down because of the grade. You had to work to keep from sliding down the hill. But it was good to get the exercise and I'm going to recommend that we do it more often when time allows. It was a great way to get rid of some of the stress that has been accumulating in our lives lately.

We just finished running some errands. I went through the Sunday paper and found the sale items that we normally use. Then I "mapped the route" so I could make one big circle around town. And away we went!! All the items we purchased today were on sale or had a rebate except for a $3.00 eye shadow that I splurged on at Walgreen's. I rather regret the purchase because I'm not as crazy about the color now that I'm wearing it. Frown I'll try it out a couple more times before I write it off as a total loss.

We got some very good deals. I also calculated price per unit to make sure the sales were good sales...
Walgreens: 2 for 1 on saline and Q-tips
Albertsons: Cat litter $.21/oz - THE lowest price I've been able to find; got three 30lb pails
Target: John Freida shampoo and cond; on sale for 4.72 and I had three $1 off coupons
Then for the grand finale - JCP. A couple of months ago we were given a new king size bed. This of course means we will need to buy bedding. JCP had a 40-50% off sale of nearly all linens and bedding. We bought a king duvet, four pillows, and a full set of sheets for a king size bed for $180! This is with a savings of $160!!! I love it when I can save almost as much as I spend!! Even DH was amazed at the final price (in a good way.) So he took me out for lunch.

The purchases at Target were the only ones on cc; about $12. That makes me feel pretty good. I have about $20 in cash until payday on the 15th. This should easily last me b/c I've been VERY good about bringing my lunch to work. My desk drawer is packed with healthy snacks, so there is no temptation from the vending machines.
I made some large purchases on my Discover, but will be able to pay them in full when I get paid next week. When I plan like this, paydays dont seem so far apart.

Overall, things feel like they are going well financially right now. Last month was a disaster, but I feel I've recovered quickly. I cant say it enough - the items that we use regularly are being purchased with cash. So when they are used up or we need to replace them, we arent still paying off the previous batch. That is such a liberating feeling!! I want more of that.

Also as we remodel more and more of the house and things finally find their forever resting spots (things are being put away where they will be for the duration of our time here, i.e. linens in the linen closet) and the house becomes more organized, I feel more like I already have all the creature comforts I need around me. Getting the new bathtub installed was a biggie. Now I can take a bath at the end of a stressful day rather than medicating with food or some other unhealthy form of diversion.
The other side of this is that in putting everything away, I've gone through a lot of stuff and moved along the items that we havent used in the past five years. That was also liberating!! More room for the rest of the stuff. We really arent clutter bugs; we just held onto things we thought we might need when we moved to the SW. Now that we realize we either dont need them here or we can easily find a replacement, we are adapting our stuff to match the situation. But, not buying more to replace the volume we are letting go of. Its been fun to see the shift and great to see some of that old stuff go out the door. DH is still holding onto his snowmobile suit from WI and somewhere I still have silk long underwear...just cant part with them!! Spent too many of our formative years in a cold climateSmile


September 1st, 2005 at 09:53 am

Like so many others who have posted, this morning finds me updating the money tracking spreadsheet and figuring out where to put the resources for the next two weeks. All bills are paid and $300 went to the mbna.

Overall, I've started paying in cash when I make a purchase; nearly all things in cash actually. I cover our needs and a few wants and then I pay the cc's. This way I'm not increasing cc balances and am still paying them down at a rate I am happy with. I used to do it in reverse. Pay the cc's and then figure out how to get what we needed. Which usually ended up on the cc. This lead to over spending because there were no immediate limits.

Its really helped me get a more accurate feel for what I am spending. And as the research proven cliche goes - I spend less when the cold hard cash is leaving my hands (or checkbook). The numbers feel like they have more consequence. Using plastic feels too much like play money.

I started using my Discover as my main card again, replacing the mbna which I am diligently paying down. But this time, I am keeping my purchases low and have made a condition that I use it only if I will pay it off every month. That should be simple enough. And once this cycle gets moving, it will be easier to maintain.

Last month, due to events beyond my control, spending was far too far out of control. I'm still on track for paying off the mbna, but the date for zero balance has been moved back to December. That will be a nice holiday present.

I havent been counting my no spend days, but have been very good about bringing my lunch and tea or water to work. I've also loaded up my desk with Pria bars. Vending machines are now a thing of my past.