Friday, December 30, 2011

Ready for the weekend

It's been a fairly productive day, lingering headache not withstanding. I woke up yesterday at 4am with it, it seemed to just pound every time I woke up last night. I'm glad I have today off. Today has been kind of a dull ache.  Usually when I get these lingering headaches it's related to my messed up neck and the only way to finally get rid of it is to take a muscle relaxer. I just didn't want to take one last night, as then I knew I'd be a slug all day today and I wanted to get some stuff done.  I will probably have to take it tonight :-(

I got the grocery shopping done.  Spent $180.  I wish I could get it lower, but at least it's at what I budgeted for and this amount did include stocking up on a couple of things.  I also spent $33 on some more Christmas clearance items.  A tree bag to store our tree in, a box to store ornaments in, a lighted bow tree topper and some bows.  I think am now done with Christmas clearance shopping......unless I come across a great deal on holiday dinnerware set, but I haven't seen any in stores so don't think I'll be finding that.

Then Dd and I got tree undecorated and stored and all the other decorations in the house put away and organized.  Pulling the tree apart and getting folded up for storage left quite a few little "twigs", so then I went ahead and vacuumed the whole living room and dining room and the couch off, while I had the vacuum out.  Dd organized all the bags, boxes, bows and wrapping paper.

I was going to make a hashbrown casserole for dinner - I had actually bought all the ingredients last shopping trip, but then never made it. Well...I forgot that I had used up the sour cream to make some dip last weekend, so I had no sour cream.  I was tempted to go get take out, but instead I looked at my menu for the week and substituted some Beef Tips w/Noodles. 

It will just be a quiet weekend here, no partying for us boring folks!  I'm not sure if Ds and his girlfriend are doing anything tomorrow night or not. Tonight he is visiting an old friend he just got in touch with after a few years of silence. Ds made the first move and the old friend called him back and said "what can I say? I was an asshole".  They talked awhile and then made plans to get together.  The friend (he is a couple years older than my son) lives over an hours drive away and has a new little baby with his girlfriend, so sounds like alot has been going on in his life.  Ds was excited to get to see him again, they were best friends for quite a few years.

Dinner's almost ready and after I will go ahead and take that muscle relaxer and read until I get sleepy (usually takes about an hour) and then I will be out for the night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clothing budget

I'm ready for tomorrow to be here so I can get paid and start my new month of expense tracking. I kind of dropped the ball right before Christmas, which I had a feeling would happen - too busy and too many receipts to track and figure out.

I got to thinking of things I might "need" in the coming months.  The only things I could come up with are a new pair of jeans for work (one of my pairs are getting pretty frayed at the hem) and another pair of shoes for work - that's it.  I got several new tops/sweaters and some pj's for Christmas and already have lots of clothes, so that is all I should  have to purchase in 2012. It will be interesting to see if I can keep myself to that.  I'm not a big spender on clothes at all, but 2 items does seem a bit drastic!  I will probably keep an eye out for jeans at Ross, as they are cheap at $10-20.  The shoes I want run about $30.

Dh will probably need one pair of jeans and one pair of shoes too.  He just wears jeans and t-shirts (he has 40 t-shirts, I'll bet!) everyday with a sweatshirt on cold days and he got 2 new sweatshirts for Christmas.  He usually needs a new pair of tennis shoes about twice a year, as his feet need good support.  Ds already got his dress work clothes that will last him this year and his girlfriend got him a jacket, jeans and a pair of sneakers for Christmas.  If he needs more he can buy them himself now with his own money.  Dd is the fashionista, but other than school clothes shopping in summer, she buys her own clothes throughout the year with allowance/Xmas or Birthday $.  She may need a dance dress, but she's always been good about picking out something very reasonably priced with sales and department store coupons   Both of her last 2 dresses were so cute and one ended up costing $35 and one $25. I couldn't imagine paying $200-$300 for a dance dress, like some do. 

So, that's one of my goals for 2012 - very minimal clothes spending.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Need blogging technical advice please

Maybe one of my blogger readers can help with this question.  When I compose a new post and save it to draft it seems to get stuck with that date and time?  For example, I made my 2012 goals post last night and saved it to draft. This morning I tweaked it a bit, re-saved it, and then published it. It now shows up with yesterday's date and time.  Anyway around this little glitch?  I want it to show the date/time I published it, not when I originally started writing it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goals for 2012

I hate New Year's "resolutions".  I never keep 'em.  But I do need some goals to work towards.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

Immediate goals (i.e. this week):
Take down all Christmas decorations and get them back in storage - NEATLY! I'm getting my bedroom walk-in closet somewhat more decluttered and organized and need to keep up with that. About half of my xmas decorations are stored in the closet.  I think I might look for some of those under bed plastic storage units to move the decorations to. I have quite a bit of room underneath my side of the bed.

Take bagged up clothes and old floor lamp not used to Goodwill

Keep working on getting through the boxes of old papers and misc junk.

Short-term goals (i.e. January):
Make dh an eye dr appt.
Keep up with current paperwork filing away or tossing.
Keep my desk clean (so far so good from my cleaning a couple of weeks ago)

Long-term goals for the year:
Bring EF to at least $2000
Set aside $30 a month for next year's Christmas gifts - or use money to start buying gifts and stocking stuffers ahead of time
Start getting a big stockpile of food and household and personal care supplies from sales
Stop wasting and throwing out extra food
Start contributing to my company's 401k plan again
Eat healthier foods (and hopefully reduce the exhaustion I feel daily)
Less fast food/take out dinners for Dh

Comments on the above:
I think I've got Dh on board with starting to stockpile.  I haven't done much of it because I just don't have enough storage space in the house.  It's not the "good deals" he cares about, but the thought of being prepared for a big emergency appeals to him.  He's even agreed to give me some shelf space in the garage.  Our neighbor has a huge shop and I guess he has really started stocking up on emergency food and supplies and I think that helped convince Dh.  So, I can satisfy my need to get good deals and he can feel like he is getting prepared :-)

We waste so much food.  No one (but me) will eat leftovers and I don't know how I will ever get them to.  Dh just plain refuses (he said he grew up with his Mom's crappy cooking and there was no way he was going to eat it a 2nd night in a row!). I have a bunch of plastic containers and I just need to start using them.  I can always have leftovers for lunch or dinners for me when I do get Dh take out, since I rarely eat from fast food places like McDonalds and Wendy's.

I had to stop contributing to my 401k plan when Dh had to quit work and my company stopped their bonus program (all around beginning of 2009).  I was really hoping that I'd get that raise now so I could at least start putting in a little bit each paycheck, but now I am just going to have to hope for getting a raise in June.  At least when I had to stop contributing my account my company started an annual profit sharing contribution of 3.4% of our salary into our 401k, so at least something is going in there each year.  If I can start contributing again, my company will also match 1/2, up to 3%.

The main reason I hate making dinner is because by that time of day I have almost no energy left. I really need to find something to help with that.  Doctor tests show no problems but I'm sure my diet has a lot to do with it - too much sugar, I'm assuming - and I need to drink more water.  So, I need to start doing some research on a better diet plan so that by 3pm I am not drained of energy.  I have a lot of energy for about the first 6 hours I am awake - the rest of the day is just downhill from there until I go to bed around 9:30.  I just started taking a multi-vitamin last week (for better energy support per the bottle), so maybe that will help too.  I am allergic to caffeine, so that is not an option for me to help stay awake, as it seems most people I know do.  I can handle a small cup of coffee but more than that and my heart is beating like crazy.  Most of the time I just have decaf.   I am just terrible about eating healthy foods. I hate most vegetables and don't eat enough fruits either.  Ugh! Diet and exercise I've never been good at, though until a few years ago I've never had to worry about dieting for weight - I'm petite and was 105 pounds since I was a teenager until I had a car accident 5 years ago. I've put on 15 pounds and seem stuck at that weight now. My whole life I have never had a lot of energy, but I got less active after my car accident and it has been worse since then.

So, that's my start of goals for 2012.  Hopefully I can start seeing some progress!

Back to real life

I'm having a hard time getting back in the groove of "real life"!  We had a very nice Christmas this year.  We open our gifts on Christmas eve, so I made a turkey dinner for early afternoon and we invited our neighbor over to eat with us. He's a single guy, about our age, with no family around.  It was a nice meal and good conversation.  Later in the evening, we opened our gifts to each other.  Dh passed out the gifts (we open one at a time) and even took pictures while we were opening.  Everyone seemed happy with their gifts and we had a nice relaxing evening.  Ds's girlfriend came over late and we exchanged our gifts with her. She's just a little bundle of Christmas spirit, so always fun to have her around :-) Christmas day we went over to my Mom's for dinner.  We have a small family, so it was just us, my mom, grandma and uncle.  My mom gave me a Nook Color! Woohoo! I am loving it so much already.  Ds helped me figure out how to borrow books from our library to dowload to the Nook - very cool!  I had enough MyPoints for a $10 card, so I ordered a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card.  I'm hoping I get some more gift cards to B&N for my birthday next month.  It's so tempting to buy books now, but now that I'm hooked up with the library, I think I'll manage to resist the temptation and as long as I can get an occasional gift card to B&N, I should be good.

Dd and I hit up all the stores yesterday to check out Christmas clearance sales.  One store was down to 75% off already, so we got some gift bags.  At Joann's I got a container of 40 Wilton cookie cutters for half off at $10, and at Kohls I bought a holiday door mat for $4. I'm kind of waiting for Target and Walmart to go down to 75% off and see if I can get some more silver and blue ornaments.  I'm also looking for a blue/silver tree skirt.  I found one online at Sears that is now half off at $17, but I'm going to hold off a few days and see if it comes down some more in price.  I also used my Macy's gift card I got from Dh and bought a nice sweater.

I only have 3 days of work this week and then another 4 day weekend.  My boss told me to just work from home these next 3 days, as she won't be in the office all week (along with about half our staff) so it's very nice I don't have to make the hour drive each way that I would have had to do today and Thursday.

Next up - goals for 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Enjoying the season

I'm just sitting here with my cup of coffee and 2 Christmas sugar cookies - hey, I only make these once a year so might as well enjoy them for breakfast ;-)  They are from my mom's recipe that I can remember always having as long as I have memories back.  They are so yummy!  Though I was a little bummed I ended up making these by myself yesterday as Dd took off to exchange gifts with her 2 best friends.  In digging through the "dark hole" of one of my cupboards for the once yearly used cookie cutters I found a Christmas cookie jar I forgot I bought on clearance after last Christmas!

It's been so nice having the last couple of days off.  I got my final stocking stuffer gifts purchased on Wednesday and all my gifts wrapped up.  Yesterday I went and did my grocery shopping for the next week, including the remaining stuff I needed for the turkey dinner I am making for tomorrow (we open our gifts tomorrow and then stockings on Christmas morning) and Christmas day will be a ham dinner at my mom's. I have neglected my expense tracking the past 3 days so I really need to get caught up on that, but I am feeling really good that I still will have about $400 left over from this month when I get paid on the 30th.  I plan to transfer that "leftover" direct to savings and then I will have over $1500 in my EF.

Usually I take off the week between Christmas and New Year's, but my boss took it off this year as she has family in town.  It's only 3 days of work anyway as we have Monday and next Friday off.  And my boss told me since she wasn't going to be in the office (along w/half the staff) she didn't care if I just worked from home those 3 days, so yay - I don't have to make the hour commute each way for the 2 days I would've had to drive up to the office.  Plus, I'll save on gas.

Today's plan is just to clean the house real good.  I worked some more on decluttering my walk in closet yesterday.  I have a small chest of drawers in there with a drawer filled with photos, one with school supplies and 2 with old, old craft stuff.  I threw out most all the craft stuff (on top of the chest was a big shoe box of old dried out craft paints that had been sitting there for years) and kept a drawer empty so dh can store some of his photos. 

Well, I'd better hop to it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My cell phone plan

Last February I was able to drop my contract cell phone plan and get on a pay as you go plan. I choose T-Mobile. I rarely use a cell phone, I basically have it for emergencies and occasional quick phone calls or texts. I purchased a cheap basic phone at Walmart (I think it was $30) and bought a $100 airtime card with 1000 minutes. From what I read online and what my cousin told me, this was the cheapest way to go, especially going into the next year. The $100 card gave me "gold" status where I got 15% more minutes on my next card uprchase and whatever unused minutes I had could be rolled forward into the next year, as long as I purchased another card before a year was up. From what I garnered, before my year comes up, I could just buy a $10 card, my unused minutes will roll forward now into the next year. I guess we'll see. I am hoping that is the case and that I do not have to purchase another $100 card. I still have over 400 minutes left, which based on my average usage, should get me though most of next year....and if I can spend $10 to add 100 more minutes and this all lasts another year - I will have only spent $10 to use my cell phone in 2012. But, hey, even if I have to buy another $100 card - that's still only working out to $8.33 per month to have a cell phone - pretty cheap. Of course, this wouldn't work for those who use their phone a lot, but for me, it's working out great and saving me quite a bit of money! I have a reminder on my outlook calendar to purchase the new card by the end of January, so I will know soon after, when my 1 year is up, if this method works or not.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

Thought I'd join in on the "Sunday Night Chit-Chat" with Carla and Mysti!

Dinner was a Bertolli frozen meal - Chicken Marsala.  Dh's new favorite meal.  It's just the two of us tonight as both kids are gone for the evening.

I just finished reading "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard.  Very disturbing in some parts but amazing the resiliency of human nature to survive and go on.  Not sure what I will watch on TV tonight.  When Dh gets back inside from working out in the garage he'll probably flip channels until he finds something.

Listening to...
Hmmm....well our parakeet is back to constant banging on his cage - so that is what I am hearing all the time!  I moved him from his normal place last week to put up my little Christmas Village decorations, so I guess he's not too happy with me.

Looking forward to this week...
Only having to work Monday and Tuesday and then having a week off until the Tuesday after Christmas!  Either Wednesday or Thursday Dd and I will make some Christmas cookies.

Sunday Stuff

It's been such a random day for me - so my post will be too, I guess.

Slept in until about 9am, which doesn't happen very often.  Lazed around on the computer until everyone got up (which was another hour or more) and then lazed around a bit more.  Dd took off about 11:30 for a birthday party that has so many activities planned (sweet 16) that it is an 8 hour party!  Then Dh, Ds and myself sat around and watched a good movie (Inside Man with Denzel Washington) for a couple of hours. 

Finally we all got moving and the guys went out into the garage to work on stuff and I worked on getting some of the old paperwork and crap out of 2 of the 3 boxes in my closet.  Some of those papers were more than 10 years old. Ridiculous.  But, I got a bunch of it thrown away, another in a bag for shredding and combined the 2 boxes into one.  Still have 2 boxes in the closet, but at least it's a start. I also bagged up a bunch of old clothes I had been piling on top of the boxes for Goodwill, so now that is ready to go. Now my walk in closet can actually be walked in again.  Lots more to do and pare down but I am slowly getting there.  My clothes that are hung up have been reduced by probably half over the last year.

Dh got busy last week, after I bought him a few plastic storage bins.  He emptied out all his coats in our entryway closet.  He has SO MANY coats that he has gotten over the years - coats he had made up for his company, coats other companies had given him etc.  They were all so stuffed into that closet we never even used it for our everyday coats as you couldn't get a thing in there.  Plus there were a bunch of coats Ds had collected too, in his bedroom closet. Dh was only able to part with 2 of the coats for Goodwill (he has trouble getting rid of things that he thinks have memories) but now the entry closet only has a few coats in it and I was able to move my every day winter coat from my bedroom closet hook. I'm not sure where he's actually going to put the plastic bins (they are stacked up in our family room right now) but he says he'll make room out in the garage (it's heated).

I also transferred a $1000 of my bonus into savings, so I now have $1122 started as an emergency fund. That feels so great.  I just hope Murphy stays awhile for at least a little while longer and lets me enjoy seeing that balance in there every time I log into my bank account.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Day!

I got to work this morning to see an email from my mom saying that the recliner I was planning to buy (as Dh and my Xmas present) was on sale today and tomorrow morning only for 50% off!! It's been on sale for 10% off (regular price $500) the past 2 weeks and this afternoon I got it for $250! It was the last one they had, too. Dancing the happy dance :-)  Dh loves it and it's so comfortable.  About a year ago I saw a coffee table I wanted there that was about $200, so I was hoping they still had it and I would get it with the $200 saved on the recliner, but they no longer have it, darn.

Work was a half day and then we had a holiday lunch and party and got our bonus checks  $1500 net (so really over $2100 total).  Dd and I went thru the drive through at Taco Time this evening (the trip to purchase the recliner pretty much took away my dinner making time) and the girl tells us that the car in front of us paid for our order!  So we paid for the order on the car behind us :-)  Would love to know if it kept going forward or not.  I've heard of people doing that, but it's never happened to me before. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank You's

What's your opinion on this? Last year, after our annual extended family (step siblings and a cousin and their families, I all see about once a year) holiday get together, my mom kept asking if my kids sent thank you notes to the aunts and uncles (my step siblings).  My son got a little annoyed about being told to send thank you notes and I tend to agree with him.  He (and my daughter) both said thank you when they opened the gift and then said thank you again and a hug to each person, when it was time to leave the party.  I really didn't feel it necessary for them to either send an email or handwritten note thanking them.  Sure, it wouldn't hurt anything, but on the other hand their kids don't send me a thank you note for my gift to them and I don't expect them to, since I was there to get a thank you in person.

I have a feeling this is going to come up again this year with my mom (though I'm sure she isn't telling my step siblings to have their kids send me a thank you).  I think if it does I will just tell her that I really don't think it's necessary since my kids thanked them twice already, in person.

Good grades

Good news from Ds last night.  His fall quarter grades were posted and he got two 4.0's and a 3.9!  I am so proud of him.  The 4.0 grades were computer networking classes and the 3.9 was a Business Communications class (where the class average was 72%).  He only has 4 classes left to take for his Associates Degree. He will take 3 winter quarter and then one spring quarter. Since he now has his job, he didn't want to try to do 4 classes in one quarter.

His job is going well, though he doesn't like all the driving around everyday.  Sometimes he has to go to several offices in a day.  But I keep reminding him he's on the clock while driving and getting reimbursed his mileage.  The guy who was hired to do the area north of Ds's area did end up quitting, I guess.  They have been having the guy who works the area north of that area handle the extra work, but sounds like next week they asked Ds to work it and said if he needs to put in over 40 hours that's ok for overtime.  I am surprised they haven't hired someone for that area - you'd think there'd be people lined up for the job!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On a roll!

I must have inspired myself with my post about my desk area because I got to work and cleaned it up today! I'd say the mess is 99% gone visibly, though I did not got through the huge pile of paperwork related to my side job (just stuff that needs to be filed). I cleaned out half of one of the upper cabinets (it had papers that just needed to be shredded or thrown away and several big printer cartridges that need to either go to Staples for recycling or just thrown away) and just basically hid the paperwork up there for now. I'll have to get to it sometime, but the way the desk was looking was stressing me out and making me not want to go through it all and just keep ignoring it. Dd and I went to Staples this afternoon and I turned them in for $2 credit each.

I threw out half a years worth of coupon inserts that were too old to use. My little garbage can is full of papers that just didn't need to be kept any longer. I had my son get online with his bank account and sign up for paperless statements, so I didn't have to deal with that anymore. I got online with our power company and signed up for paperless (I was on paperless, but this month they changed their online billing program and we had to sign up again). I tried to do it with the health insurance, but while they have paperless EOB's, they don't have paperless billing.

I put my RiteAid UP rewards and Walgreens Register rewards and a PetSmart $5 off under a push pin on my desk wall, so they don't get buried under papers and then I forget to use them by their expiration date. I still have a small pile of coupons to go through that have either come in the mail or I printed from online. And I wiped the desktop and what I could down with Clorox wipes. Whew - that all sure felt great to get accomplished!!

2012 Goal

I'm not really a New Year's resolution type person. I've tried that in the past and I never keep them. But I do have a goal I want to work toward and that is trying to get AND stay more organized. I am just not an organized person. I file in "piles" and while I know what all my piles are and what is in them (for the most part) it just doesn't look organized and makes me feel anxious. Weird part is at work, I have a pretty clean and organized desk. I do have a couple of piles, but nothing bad and it doesn't look messy (my boss is worse than me!), so why can't I do this at home?

Dd, on the other hand, is the queen of organizing! She obviously didn't get that from me - LOL. Her closet is organized, her school binders are organized, her life plans are organized. I want to grow up and be like her!

I've made some good progress over the past couple of years in most areas of my home. Eliminated a lot of clutter and things have their place and I can find them easily, though at times I tend to stray back to clutter, but I have stuck with it. I just can't seem to get my work area at home organized. I got a new desk last year with lots of cabinet and drawer space and it looked so pretty when I set it up. Now it's a big pile of MESS! I just keep adding to it and feel more overwhelmed to tackle it.

I guess I need to come up with a plan in order to reach this goal. I think I thought if I was able to get other areas in my home decluttered the work space would follow....but it hasn't. I HATE papers, but there are so much of them. Especially coupons and ads and then add in all the paperwork from my side job. One half of my desk is personal papers piled up and the other side is work paperwork (with my monitor in the middle). I just want to dump it all into a box, haha! But then I know I'll ignore what's in the box. Ugh. When I try to make small baby steps to organize it all, more stuff just gets added and I never seem to get anywhere. I guess I need to do more than baby steps..

Here's what my desk looked like when I first set it up. Plus, now I have one more overhead cabinet. As you might guess the overheads are now crammed with papers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

End of pay period

Well, today is the end of my first half of December pay period and I did very well tracking my expenses. I am over $40 on takeout, but under $32 on groceries. I am over $5 on gas, but $40 of that I will be reimbursed for as business mileage. I didn't budget anything for pet expenses (need to add that to my monthly budget) but spent $24 on 8 month supply of flea drops for the cat. I also added $50 to a budget category for home maintenance/repairs type stuff. I spent $84 - home maintenance, curtains for Dd's bedroom and more xmas lights for outside and the tree I bought last year on clearance (it's white, so I needed white cabled lights). I'll have to see after a few months if $50 is a reasonable estimate, as I've never paid attention to how much is spent on this since it's not a "regular" expense (like buying groceries each week), it just comes up as needed.

I'm going to end up about $120 over on my Xmas present budget, but it was kind of a guess and of course we ended up spending a bit more on the kids than planned, but I'm not unhappy with $120 over. I have the money and nothing was charged on credit cards and I did stay within my budget on all the other family members gifts.

All in all I think I did pretty well estimating so far and am pleased with myself :-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

A no Take Out food weekend

I used willpower this weekend and did not get take out! Friday night I was good and made dinner. I was soooo tempted Saturday, because by the time it was getting close to make dinner I was tired from the day's shopping and what not, but I made myself fix up dinner.Sunday night wasn't as bad and I made a meatloaf, but thank goodness Dh wasn't suggesting take out either night or I would've caved.

But then I caved and got take out last night :-( I was tired from working all day and right when I left work I started getting a headache that finally went away around 5:30 - this morning. Ugh. I only spent $12 though, mostly for Dh, as Ds was still at work and Dd and I just split a quesadilla, as neither of us was very hungry.

Tonight will just be soup and sandwiches and tomorrow I have a pork roast to put in the crockpot, so I know I'll be good then next two dinners :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Working on the expense tracking

My November expense tracking was too messy of a spreadsheet, so I didn't take the time to go back through it and tally up by category, though I know I was about $200 over on groceries, $50 on misc household stuff/repairs, and $85 over on take out meals. The meal did include a $36 dinner out to a Mexican restaurant for the 4 of us. I didn't budget for it and we do try to go out like that about once every 2 months.

This month I have revised the spreadsheet to keep a running total of each category. This is a big improvement and let's me quickly know if I'm going over or getting near my budget. I did up my grocery budget some for this month, knowing I have obviously been underestimating. But, I think I'm still going to go over! I budgeted $375 for this pay period (1-15th) and have already spent $209 and still have groceries to buy for the next week. I budgeted $35 for take out and have already spent $62. I do have a menu plan through next Friday, which does not include take out, so hopefully I can keep dh from wanting take out before payday next Thursday or me from being too tired to cook. I would have actually been under on my gas (auto) estimate by $40, but I had to take a business trip yesterday that was almost 300 miles round trip. I'm out the money now, but will be reimbursed for it at the end of the month. I'm on track for my xmas spending too, so that makes me happy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Disappointing Day

Well, guess I'll be keeping the already cinched tight financial belt on the same notch for 2012. I had my "performance" review today. And while I scored "exemplary" on everything and my boss just couldn't say enough good things about my work, I am not getting a raise because they are only giving raises to those employees who have not had one in more than 2 years. It was quite a letdown to think I was going to have a review along with a salary increase today. I wasn't expecting anything large, but a small cost of living increase would have been nice. I guess I will have to consider my xmas bonus my "raise" for the year.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dh and shopping

It's always scary taking Dh (ie "the spender") to a store! Fortunately for me he really does not like to go to stores and deal with the crowds, stand in line and the walking involved is quite draining on his muscles. But, he's been feeling a little "trapped" as of late - just being home all day, everyday. He mentioned last week that he'd like to get Dd an Emergency Kit for her little truck. When Dd and I were shopping yesterday she saw some of those kits and stopped to look and said she'd really like one - and then she mentioned it again later during the day. I told Dh when I got home, so he decided he wanted to go together to buy it.

So, what started out as a quick trip to Walmart last night for one $33 Emergency Road Kit turned into a $117 trip! He picked out quite a few things for her truck, including a nice set of Mag flashlights (he thought the one in the kit was too plastic and cheap) and then he decided to get Ds one of the flashlight kits, too and also a steering wheel cover.

Between what I already had got her and these items she has quite a few gifts already and I've only spent $100 on her (thanks to my spiffy new spreadsheet that tracks totals!) and I've spent $85 on Ds so far. So, I should easily be able to stay at my $150 (maybe $200) budget for each of them.

And Dh got a little trip out of the house and a little retail therapy. He also got to feel like he has picked out a lot of their Christmas gifts, which he usually hasn't contributed one idea to in most of the past years.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Busy Saturday

Lots of receipts sitting in front of me from today's shopping trip, but the total isn't as bad as I thought it might be. $125.11 got me the following:

4 xmas gifts
huge 16lb bag of cat food (this will last months) - along with wanting to adopt a kitty at Petsmart:-) (we used willpower to walk away!)
Misc. grocery items (pop, toilet paper, coffee, bagels, chips)
$4.03 lunch at McD's for me and Dd.
Thermal curtains for Dd's bedroom window - (she is at the cold end of the house, so maybe this will help keep some of the heat in her room)
Dh's prescription ($15 copay)
Free John Frieda haircolor (with coupon, I just paid tax)

I also got back a $10 Target gift card for future use and a $5 Petsmart coupon to use on future purchase of Purina.

My order of flea treatment for our cat arrived already. I always purchase "kit" of the Frontline flea treatment. $24 (including shipping) for 8 doses compared to PetSmart's 3 dose pack for $58! It's easy to use, just measure out an eyedropper from the vial and put on back of cat's neck.

I've realized one thing from my tracking spending - I need to add about $50 a month for misc home repairs/maintenance type stuff to my budget, as something always comes up. I've also revised my spreadsheet to not only total what I've spent each day but also give me a running total on each category - then I won't have to spend time at the end of the month trying to add them all up. Much easier!

Dd got some her her xmas shopping done - she is pretty creative with her gifts for her 3 best friends. She is having personalized necklaces made for 2 of them by a local lady who makes jewelry. We stopped at a cute little crafter's boutique and she got a cute little handmade sign for one of them. The 3rd friend is getting a "movie night" basket of 2 movies, candy, and hot chocolate that she is putting together. She also found a very adorable hand-knitted hat that she bought for herself.

Now we are going to spend the rest of the day decorating the inside of the house and putting our tree up.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's up to me

What to do with the Christmas bonus's?  Well, put it into my savings, of course!  I am so excited to be able to quickly get my EF to over $1000.  I don't think I'll put the whole $1800 in, but at least $1000 and probably closer to $1300 (as I'd already kind of budgeted to receive and spend most of the $500).  I've been wanting some new wood - or faux wood - blinds (we have some old vinyl blinds that I am tired of and one of them is broken) for our living room but just haven't had the extra money.  I have 3 windows and I think, before, when I priced out the cheapest ones I could find they were $50-$60 each.

One thing I am not doing is telling Dh about these bonus's.  I know - it goes against what a marriage should be about, but he has absolutely ZERO money management skills. He spent his life growing up with parents who lived on debt (still do and his  mom is almost 80) and never had any money saved, whatsoever.  He has no concept of setting aside money for a rainy day (one of the reasons his business failed so quickly when the economy tanked) and if I were to tell him about getting the bonus, he would have it spent before I even get it.  I am a saver and he is a spender and part of the reason we never have any money is because I have always felt like I should tell him what we have and then of course he finds something to spend it on.  He can come up with any "rationalizing" necessary to spend it,  and then add in his depression due to his medical condition and it's way too easy for him to spend.  Well, I've finally realized that the ONLY way we are ever going to get some money saved up for emergencies and then (hopefully) just general savings, is if I do it on MY own - and if that has to be behind his back, then so be it.  At this point, I'm the one responsible for our future.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And another bonus :-)

Well, maybe the economy is taking a little turn upwards, finally.  I just got a very nice surprise email from the owner of the company I do my side job for - he told me to add $300 to my billing for November as a Christmas bonus!  $300 more that can go into savings - how nice is that?!  It will be so nice going into the New Year with some cushion to fall back on and also to not spend all what I usually have in December for Christmas gifts and then be broke again.  I'm thinking 2012 is looking to be a better year than the past 3 years have been for us.