Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is it March yet?

I've decided I really don't like February! From a strictly money standpoint, the end of the month payday is woefully short for those of us paid hourly. Most of my bi-monthly paychecks have on average an 11 day (88 hour) pay period. This one has 9 days, which for me translates into a paycheck that is over $500 (gross) less than most paydays. Usually I have about this much left over after paying bills and expected expenses to cover all those unexpected expenses. So....not this month :-(

On a good note my company has already met our sales goal for February so it's still looking promising for that 10% bonus come July. Amazing what an incentive will do for employee morale and sales! We've just been kind of stagnant in sales growth the past few years - after they dropped the bonus program. Sales people need some sort of incentive program, that's for sure.  Luckily, the company owners are nice enough to include all the non-sales employees in the bonus, too.

Yesterday I took a rare sick day from work. I couldn't sleep Monday night - felt like I woke up every half hour only to be awake for a half hour every time, I was hot then cold back and forth, and then I woke up just feeling overly tired, generally crummy, and a bad headache. I slept a bit during the day yesterday but the headache just kept getting worse. Usually when I get occipital headaches the only thing that gets rid of them is a muscle relaxer (1/2 a pill does the trick plus it puts me to sleep), so I took one at 6:30pm and went to bed at 7:30 last night. I did sleep great, but the headache did not completely go away, so I'm sure it's a sinus headache, and now I'm trying a sinus OTC pill to see if that helps. I am working from home today, where at least I can take it somewhat easy and not over do it.

I had a chiropractic appointment this morning so I went to that and then stopped at Rite Aid on my way home. I haven't been doing much coupon/deal shopping the past couple of months, but I did see they had Finish Dishwasher tabs on sale buy one get one free. I got 2 of the large boxes of 32 ct for $7.99 plus I had a $1.25 off coupon, so 2 boxes for 3.38 each. Usually one 20 ct. box is more than that, so I'm happy! Those 2 boxes should last me about 6 months.

March also means tennis matches to go to starting in a couple of weeks. I'm am excited that DD will get to play some singles matches this season. So far with the 2 days of tryouts (this is the last day, so more just practice time for DD) she has easily won her ladder matches and the "Queen of the Court" game, which means, so far, she is ranked #1 on the team. DD also wants me to use her camera and take pictures this season for use in their season end banquet. That should be fun to do, too. And then DS wants me to video tape sometimes, so he can watch online, since he won't be home yet to watch her play.

I did e-file DS's tax return last Friday and I see that it is already scheduled to direct deposit into his checking on Friday. I did mine on Saturday, so I shouldn't be too far behind to see it in my account! Mine is still showing "in process status".

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sometimes it's the little things

I didn't get my car washed and vacuumed yesterday, but I did paint my fingernails! I used to always have my nails painted (I've never been to a nail salon in my life) but sometime a few years ago I just stopped. I think with all the stress of the year long bankruptcy and taking on a side job I just lost my desire for pretty nails. I just put on a couple of coats of a pale pink. It didn't take much more than 5 minutes to put on a couple of coats, really, but was a good little "perk me up".

Then I went and visited my grandma. I don't do that often enough - probably because I know my mom is seeing her every couple of days. She's just getting over a cold, which is no fun at any age, but at almost 95, it's really no fun. And she's tired and told my mom last week she is just "ready to go". She's still got a smile and can laugh, so that is good.

That darn Chase Fraud prevention recorded phone call came again - this time at 7am! What the heck? DD answered it and hung up instead of giving it to me and so they called back at 8am. I went through the 5 minutes of the call, even though I didn't have much time to spare right then and knowing they'd just keep trying back all day and DH couldn't answer the questions. The reason they called this time is because they declined a charge and wanted to make sure I tried to make it. I gave DS my debit card number so he could pay to have his visa for Australia extended. I had told him we'd pay this for him and gave him my debit card #. I got a message from him when I got up this morning that he had tried it and it wouldn't work, so he just used his debit card. Well, apparently Chase declined it because they didn't think I was in Australia! I didn't think to call them ahead of time and authorize the charge. So, now I'll be stopping by the bank today to deposit the money in DS's checking to pay him back.

DH is getting out of the house today, to take some car parts to be powder coated for DS, and he's got a friend (who makes him laugh) going with him, so hopefully that will get him out of the doldrums a bit. Let's keep our fingers crossed, anyways!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting lots done

I am relieved to have gotten several things to do off my plate. Friday morning I got the year end financials finished up for my side job and the Quickbooks file sent off to their accountant. Whew! Glad to have that done, for sure. Friday in the mail I received the last 1099 I needed to finish up DS's tax return. They apparently had the zip code wrong on our address so it got sent back to them and then they didn't do anything until DS emailed them asking where it was. I got his tax return finished and submitted and he will be getting back $635.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down to finish up my tax return. I had entered most of it back in January, but I was waiting for the tax forms from the kids's college. They came in the beginning of February but by then I was too busy doing other stuff to sit down and finish. I was guessing about an $800 tax return, but once I put those dollars in and a few other things, the refund is going to be $1303! That sure helps. I can put a big chunk of it in my savings, but some of it will go towards a new desk chair for DH and a new mattress for DS's bed. I didn't realize how terrible his mattress is until DH was snoring so bad one night I finally got up and realized there was an empty bed in the house I could use! But, it's a terrible matress. He has a captain's type twin bed, so I only need to buy the top mattress, so I'm hoping I can get something decent in the $200 range. Some of it will also go towards getting DH some glasses at a better optometrist office.

I had a pretty productive day yesterday. Was up early and got things done around the house. Took DH's darn glasses back to Walmart for a refund and did a bit of shopping there and then went to my bank and deposited the money from the refund and also a check I had for selling that juicer I bought quite awhile back. My boss ended up buying it from me for $60, so I am happy to be rid of that and get a good portion of my money back that I spent on it. When I got back home I cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms and dusted. As usual, by about 1pm my energy was gone. I tried to take a short nap but kept getting interrupted so I just watched some tv for a bit and read a book.

Then later, while dinner was cooking and I was trying to get my tax return finished DH was in a terrible feeling sorry for himself mood and I pretty much told him I'm doing all I can and he needs to start finding things to do to keep busy, to which he replied - anything he could do costs money and he/we don't have any. I said there are things he could do out in the shop that don't cost money, at least to start on the projects and his response was that it will eventually take money and there is none, so why bother. Don't know what he did with the $500 he just got from selling a little dirt bike that wasn't being used anymore (and I didn't think to ask that, I just thought of it as I was typing this).  I suggested again he should go to his doctor and see about anti-depressant meds. For the most part it was all a crappy conversation that got nowhere, and I don't really care anymore. He couldn't even be bothered to take 20 seconds to look in his desk files for something I needed for tax purposes. I knew he had the papers filed in his desk - I have never filed ANYTHING in his desk and I knew this was something he had. Finally I just started going through his file folders until I found what I needed. All's he had to do was look through like 4 folders to find the receipt, but that was too much work, I guess.

Even the good news from DS that he has been picked up (sponsored) to race at least 3 races (here at home and Canada) this summer, and it will probably turn into more, wasn't enough to pull DH out of his mood. His response to me about it was that he doesn't have any money to even go watch him race - which is a TOTAL CROCK!. I said how have we been going to his races the past 3 years?? Does he think we just got in free? Geez - he's feeling so sorry for himself that he's being stupid now. At that point I realized it was pointless to even try to keep talking to him.

I had planned on going to Home Depot today to get some metal posts and black plastic poultry type fencing we need for the back of our property to keep puppy on the property and not go over to the neighbors junk yard. DH had emailed me links to what exactly he wanted but after looking at them closer I realized they aren't available at the store so I had to just order them. At least free shipping for over $50 and I don't have to go to the store, so that works for me. Though I was looking forward to getting out of the house for awhile. Guess I'll have to find something else to go do. There is a movie on hold at the library to pick up. DD wanted to see Saving Private Ryan. She saw part of it in her history class and thought it looked good and I've never seen it either.

So, off to try and be productive again today. I do need to vacuum and maybe it will stay dry long enough (and my energy will stay long enough) for me to wash my car and vacuum it too.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My girl and dinner

I love my daughter to pieces. She is my best friend and thankfully we get along great and love to spend time together. But, I also know that this precious time we get to spend together is quickly making it's way toward her being away at college and off to her own life. That is why I try to enjoy every minute of it. She is so smart and so funny. There are so many times we say the exact thing at the same time and it always makes us laugh when we do. She likes to go anywhere with me, even if it's just to the grocery store. In fact, if I go do the weekly shopping without her, she gets mad at me! We message each other often during the day, via either text or email.

She decided to make dinner last night with a recipe she found online. We had almost all the ingredients and she stopped and picked up what she needed. I did end up having to help her with some of it - she wasn't sure what exactly to do with the piece of chicken breast to get it from a slimy piece of chicken into the "shredded chicken" the recipe called for. But, it was time spent together, so that was good. She even added her own touch by adding black olives. Her Southwest Crispy Chicken Wraps turned out delicious! We saved the leftover filling so we can have them again.

I'll be taking every minute I can with her the next year and a half before she goes off to college. Tonight she is going to a school play with some friends. Usually she takes me with her, but the last couple of times she has just gone with friends and that is ok too....she's training Mom to learn to be without her :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A frustrating day

AHHH! So frustrated right now. DH has been trying to adjust to his new progressive lens glasses the past few weeks. Double hard, I guess, as it's his first time wearing glasses ever and then add trying to adjust to progressive lenses with basically 3 different lenses in one.  He can see great now for distance - watching tv or driving. They are not working for the middle distance (computers) and close up (reading) at all. No matter where he tries to put his eyes or situate the lenses it's not clear. He tried to tell them that the day he got them, but they (Walmart Vision center) wouldn't listen. Told him they take getting used to is all.

So, he's been trying. I know they take a bit for your brain to adjust to but at some point there has to be a position he would be able to put his head or eyes and see to read or see the computer clearly. There is not. We stopped in last Friday to let them know and the guy working there was a jerk, you could tell he wasn't listening to the problem and we made an appointment for today for a recheck on the eye exam. DH was already in a bad mood to start with (when isn't he?) and the doctor felt the prescription was right so he then had one of the front ladies check to make sure it was ordered correctly. I wasn't back with him when he was seeing the doctor but he apparently did some "test" where he put the near and distance together, with Dh's prescription, to simulate a progressive and DH said he could see through it great. First the assistant had DH look to read something to and tells him he's not doing it right and then when he puts his head and eyes just like she says he tells her it's still totally blurry. He can make out like one line, sort of. They don't want to listen. Then when I tell her that I wear progressive and when I look through mine to read I can see clearly like half the page. She says "well you probably have high end lenses, like Zeiss". So, I ask her if they have those to put in DH's glasses and she goes off on some other explanation of why, with my small lenses, I probably had to go with the Zeiss. Again, I ask her : can DH have the higher quality lenses put in his?. Finally, after DH says for about the 5th time - these glasses don't work for me" and that he'll just use them to see distance, he got up and walked out.

So, I'm left standing there trying to figure out a resolution. Should he try the higher priced lenses? Should he just get a single vision distance pair, to take off while reading or computer work or maybe a lined bifocal like the dr. now suggested (DH said no to those)? She did say he could get a full refund if he wanted, too. So, I just left and DH yelled and screamed in the car all the way home - also mad at me because I had the nerve to take him to Walmart while I got my last pair (2 years ago) someplace else. When he finally shut up long enough I explained that I have used Walmart for over 10 years with no problems. When I needed my last eye exam and a new prescription the doctor had left Walmart to start her own optometry office and this Walmart was left without the doctor vacancy for many many months. I couldn't see a doctor there because they didn't have one! So, I ended up going to this same doctor at her new place. I need to go in for another eye exam soon and had planned on going back to Walmart in a few months. But according to DH I'm wrong for taking him to the same one I've used for over 10 years, all but one time. So, I guess I will just get our money back and take him to the doctor that I got the glasses I have now from.  She costs a lot more, and more than likely, he'll have the same problem trying to get used to the glasses she prescribes him too, and we'll be going through this all again.

It's so frustrating living with a person that cannot handle any of life's problems whatsoever. I find my self trying to avoid anything that I think might be a problem for him - probably why it took me (well, that and I needed the money to pay for it) so long to even schedule DH's eye exam in the first place. We rarely go anywhere because the stress of it is just not worth it to me anymore. Sometimes on the weekend he'll say let's go do something, but when I ask what he'd like to go do he has no idea at all and I end up not suggesting anything because I really don't want to go and deal with going somewhere with him. If he actually had an idea of what to go do, I'd probably go do it. It's all just a snowball effect, of course. He's feeling trapped and house bound but if he tries to go somewhere he can't handle the traffic, the parking, the crowds, the lines, etc. One day each of the last 2 weeks he has gone out by himself (to help a friend with some things) - which is a win for everyone. He get's out for half a day, on his own, so none us have to go with him and deal with his frustrations at the world and we got some peace and quiet at home! I cannot wait for the weather to warm up so he can at least get outside a couple times a week to mow the lawn - we have a big yard and it takes him like an hour and a half, even with a riding lawn mower. I see the grass coming out of it's winter dormancy and will need to start being mowed again soon! Thank God for small miracles.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Don't leave home without 'em

.....Coupons, that is!  It's gotten so I rarely leave home without looking for a coupon for where I am headed or a coupon for the item I'm purchasing.

Last Monday we needed dog food for the older dog. I knew that his dog food was on sale $4 off regular price at Petsmart. I had taken a look at the price when we were there the week before, for puppy training and saw it was on sale all month.  At our last puppy training class the instructor handed out some coupons, one of them being a free nail trim.  Older dog was in much need of a nail trim and dog food, but before we headed out of the house I decided to take a look online to see if there were any printable coupons for $ off at Petsmart or a manufacturer coupon for the dog food. Manufacturer coupons don't come out too often on this dog food, but I got lucky and scored a $3 off printable coupon!  The instructor had said the free nail trim was good for the $9 clip type trim, but if you wanted the grind type trim, just pay the extra $2. We have them do the grind nail trim, but when we checked out we got the whole $11 off!

Friday night we decided to go get take out from the salad bar at the pizza place we like. Just salad this time, no pizza. They have a great salad bar and the take out containers are huge. DD and I end up sharing a salad when we get home. I went online to the pizza place's website and found a 15% off your order coupon, so I saved $2.10.

Today DH wanted me to go pick up the new battery for the car DS drives. We usually use this local battery store that sells all kinds of batteries. I went online to make sure they were open on Sundays and I found a $5 off your car battery coupon!

It all adds up!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The value of higher education

One thing I am very grateful to have in our current family/financial situation is my college degree. Without it we'd be living on a lot less per year, that's for sure.

It was not easy getting this Bachelor's Degree in Business and Accounting. No, I had to take the long route to get it, but thank God I did.  I threw myself a couple of road blocks early on, along the way, but getting my degree was one goal I never backed away from.  I started out at a community college after high school. I thought I wanted to be an interior decorator, so I took the first year of classes in the 2 year program. Getting a 4 year degree in this field (at the time) meant in order to get a 4-year degree I'd have to go to a university on the other side of the state and finish it up there. After the first year of classes I decided interior design wasn't really for me. It was too "subjective" and my brain works better working with things that are black and white - like accounting. I had really enjoyed the accounting class I took in highschool, so I decided to focus on a business degree.  I pretty much had to start over, as most of my classes from the first year weren't relevant.

Then during this first year I met my DH. Don't know why I thought we needed to get married before I finished school, but we were married 6 months before I finished my AA degree at the community college. I applied for the business school at a state college (about a 40 mile drive from our home) and got in and transferred there. I worked in the city at a part time job, so after school was done at noon or so, I  drove to my afternoon job as an office/file clerk type position. Then every evening make the long trek through traffic, back home. Even though I was married now we both knew that getting my degree was a priority.

I hated the big university! It was so big and the classes were much more difficult. It was a long day for me every day to drive the hour or more each way, work and study. During my second quarter I had a pretty major health scare - my lung collapsed. DH was between jobs and we didn't have any health insurance (I'm not sure why we didn't have any, guess we thought we were young and healthy and didn't need it. And I'm not sure why either of our parents didn't advise us more, I sure would emphasise this to my kids). I had to stay in the hospital overnight and then home on bed rest for 2 weeks. I don't remember how much the hospital and doctor bills were back then, several thousand dollars, but to us it seemed like a huge amount and we had no money. Since I missed so much of my classes I had to drop that quarter anyway and since I really didn't like going there I decided to find a full time job, so we could pay my medical bills and I'd take a bit of time off school.

I quickly found a full time job - where I worked at for almost 10 years. A large corporation, with the branch I worked at having 600 employees. This company would pay for tuition and books towards a degree! As I was making plans to start back up with school, my lung collapsed again. Thankfully this time I had full insurance, so no worries there. So, after a year of just working, I found a program at a different college where I could work full time and go to school at night. This started my next 4 year journey of finishing up my last 2 years of college. I could only take 2 classes per quarter, working full time and also having the commute of almost an hour each way. I had to have some time to study. So, this was our life for the next 4 years.I'd even take one class during summer. We deliberately waited to have kids until this dang degree was completed.

During this time, since I was showing initiative and getting my accounting degree I was promoted to a newly added position of staff accountant. When I was getting close to my last 2 quarters of college we decided to start trying to get pregnant. We figured after 7 years of not trying, our luck it would take me a while to get pregnant. No, I got pregnant right away, so my last quarter of school was mixed with morning sickness. I graduated 4 months pregnant.

I stayed on with this company for 4 more years, getting a couple of promotions and making ok money. Then I took off 5 years when DD was born and was a SAHM. Looking back that was probably a mistake (financially) in some ways, but since DH spent whatever he/we had, it probably wouldn't have made much difference in the end result we are at now, anyway. I really enjoyed being a stay at home mom, but his health problems started and we needed more income so I went back to work. With his health condition such an unknown and scary at the time, and the fact that I had 2 grade school aged kids at home, I wanted a job very close to home. There aren't really many high paying accounting jobs in my town. So, I took a job as a bookkeeper at a doctors office. I was only making $35k a year, but I really liked the job and the short 6 mile commute. I also learned medical billing while there. After 15 months the doctor decided to outsource his billing and I could either stay their part time (just doing payables and payroll) or find a new job. A few weeks later I found a similar job at a larger doctors office just down the street and worked there for 3 years. But, I still wasn't making the money I could potentially make utilizing my accounting degree. At this time I was making $39,000 a year, but DH was still able to work some so we were getting by.The kids were getting older and more self sufficient and DH's medical condition wasn't getting any worse, so we had kind of learned to live with it, for the most part.

All this time I had kept in email contact with an old boss/friend/colleague, who by this time was part owner of the company I work for now. He had tried to get me to come work there a few times but there was no way I was spending over 2 hours per day commuting to and from the big city. Then he made me an offer of work at the office part time 3 days a week (come in after rush hour and leave before rush hour started) and work from home 2 days and the rest of the 40 hour work week - at $50k a year to start. It didn't take me long thinking on that and I took him up on his offer. I have been there 7 years now and my salary has increased a total of 32% since I started. I also had 2 years where we had nice bonus's of an extra 20% of our salary.  I know if I had stayed at the doctors office I would probably not be making any more than $45k by this time - probably less with their pitiful raises.

Sure, I could seek even higher paying - management type positions, but I tried being a manager/supervisor some years ago and it just wasn't for me. I valued my family time too much to spend 60 hours a week at a job. I could probably do a decent job at what my boss does, but she is there 10-11 hours a day and I just don't want the time and stress involved. If I was single (and with grown kids, like my boss) I might consider those kinds of hours.

We strongly encourage our kids to get degrees. DS has completed his 2 years computer network engineering degree and at this point hasn't shown a desire to get is 4 year degree. I am hoping he will change his mind and finish that up down the road. Most likely he will at some point.  DD is definitely going to get her 4 year degree and wouldn't surprise me if she goes past that, for a Master's. I am so glad they both realize the value of getting some education or training in a specialty beyond high school.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nook Reader freebies

I thought I would pass along this little freebie tip I have been using the past year to those of you who own a Nook Reader.  Every Friday is "Free Friday" and Barnes and Noble offers a free book to download. You can find the free book each Friday on their website's "Nook Blog" or on the Nook Facebook page. I use the Facebook page, since it shows up in my newsfeed and gives me a reminder it's Friday and a free book is available!

I download most of them (unless it just sounds like something that I totally am not interested in reading) and have read quite a few very good books over the past year! I'm currently reading one I got a couple of weeks ago - a sci-fi type set inside the world of a computer game and haven't been able to put it down. I see there is a 2nd (with more in the series coming) book in the series out too, which is probably how they get people to buy more. They get hooked on the first book or just the author in general and end up purchasing more. I did that with one book that had a sequel out, but luckily it was only $1.99 for the second book. I will look for the second book first via the library, of course. One of my few actual purchases for my Nook, since I seem to have plenty to read with the weekly free books and those I download as a loan from the library.

My Nook was a gift from my mom and I just love it. I rarely have to spend money on gas and time going to the library anymore, as I just hop online with my library and borrow books to download direct to my Nook - instant gratification.........well, unless there is a waiting line for the book :-)

A new approach to saving

I get paid twice a month - the 15th and the last day of the month. The main bills that come out of the 15th paycheck is my mortgage, car insurance and groceries. In the past there was barely enough paycheck to cover all this so I always had to make sure I had some left over from the prior paycheck. With my raise last summer and the reduced prescription costs, I don't really have this problem anymore, and have decided to take on a new approach to saving.  I'd always seen what was leftover at the END of the month (the day before I got my end of month paycheck) and that would be savings, if there was any.

Now, I can look at what is left over after each paycheck twice a month and add to savings. Friday is payday and today I have $501 sitting in my checking account. As far as I know, I will not have to spend any of that on anything and that can all go into savings! What I have budgeted to pay out of the paycheck on Friday should even give me about $100 leftover out of that.

It always seemed like a long time to me to try and budget what would go into savings when I had a whole month of unexpected things come up. This bi-monthly way works better for me, mentally. I feel like I am meeting a goal quicker and more often and that motivates me better.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who is saving $100 per month?

ME!! That's who! I went to Costco tonight to price out DH's 2 prescriptions. One was $40 a month cheaper and the other was $60 a month savings. Holy Cow! Wish I would have known a long time ago that a non Costco member could use their pharmacy and that their prescriptions are so much cheaper. Probably not a lot of savings to a person with prescription coverage/copays, but now that he doesn't have generic coverage anymore, it's a huge savings for us.

DD and I had to wait about 30 minutes for them to fill the one he needs now, so we walked around and looked and priced things. Everything is so BIG. Might be worth it for some things to get a membership for $55 - I've already saved almost twice that much in one month and while I am there picking up his prescriptions I can pick up the other items that would save money. Still thinking about it......I really just dislike shopping there.

TGIF Re-do

Normally, it's TGIF - but I think I need a do-over on this day so far. How does one walk away from their computer at night, go to bed, get up and get back on their computer and the screen resolution has changed? It messed up my desktop for when I log into my work computer, too. I had to have our IT guy at work figure it out for me and thankfully he was able to........but while that phone conversation was going on this is what was going on in the living room..........

I'm just glad it was a cheap little pillow I didn't care too much about and not one of the nice sofa pillows!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Airing my dirty laundry

I'm working from home today - I think I am about ready to run away! It's probably a good thing I was home today, so DH didn't have a complete meltdown, but OMG!

Monday our clanking washing machine started clanking even more and won't wash/spin correctly now, so Monday evening, after dropping puppy back at home after his last obedience class, DD and I headed to Lowes to buy a new one. I decided to buy it there for several reasons - the main one was free delivery and haul away of the old machine. That saves $70-80 over Sears (where we got our new fridge and dishwasher) right there. Plus they offered a $50 Lowe's gift card rebate for any appliance over $499 (the one I wanted was $499). And then just to see if I'd get approved, before I left home, I applied for a Lowe's credit card and got approved for $300. Plus 6 months no interest on purchase over $299. So I put the first $300 on the card (I can pay off when I get my tax return) and the balance of $275 paid with my debit card. At least now I have the option of holding off paying the full $300 next month if Murphy keeps on staying around awhile.

The new one was delivered this morning. I wasn't in the laundry room with the delivery guy, but DH said he stunk really bad, so that was the first thing to set DH off. Plus, our hose connections are old and you have to be gentle with them, so DH was telling the guy he wanted to do it himself. The new hoses I bought were the more expensive braided kind - didn't work so well with our set up - so after they left I had to run to the hardware store and pick up some basic rubber hoses. DH opens the plastic bag they are in and puts the new hoses on. They drip.......he's is freaking out so bad he's about in tears. He pulls them back off and says "they don't even have rubber o-ring washers inside the ends!" I say...."well, there were some in the bag......". now it's not leaking anymore. The guy at Lowes said I could return the hoses if they didn't work, so I should be able to get back $20.

I make sure to explain to DH that the newer washers (even though it's still a top load) are different from the 12 year old one we had. Different sounds, the lid locks after turning on and you have to put in the detergent first, then the clothes, then shut it and turn it on. OH NO! he can't do it that way. So, his instructions (for when I have to wash my clothes) are to put clothes in, turn on and let fill up with water about half way, then push the button to unlock the lid, so the detergent can then be added. I'm like "well, all the machines are like this now and I'm sure they tested that it cleans the laundry just fine this way, but whatever......". I'll wash my clothes just how they say to do it. LOL. Plus, he will not wash a "full" large or extra large load - ever. He'll only fill it up about halfway.......and then of course is doing twice as many loads and wonders why the machine won't last as long as it should.  I didn't bother spending more for the next prices up because the only real difference was size of machine and he won't fill it up to take advantage of the larger capacity anyway.

He's calmed down now, but it's been a crappy week with him just on edge about every little thing. I was temped to sneak him a "chill pill" that the vet gave our puppy while he heals from his neutering and calm him down ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February finances

Yay for paydays! I have a couple of "extra" bills this time.  Tabs on 2 vehicles are due at $151 and a water payment is due.  Usually I send her a check every 6 months, but starting this month the well owner doubled the monthly fee from $10 to $20 (she finally took our advice!) so I sent her $60 for 3 months and then I'll pay pay 6 months in April, when my electric bill goes down and I'll have extra money to send her a larger chunk. Then she happened to call last night to tell us since we always pay semi-annually she wanted to give us a discount for paying in advance of $40 per year. I told her I had just sent out a check for 3 months, so we agreed that in 3 months I'll send her a check for 9 months and take the annual discount. That was nice of her, but not necessary. I'd honestly rather she have the money in the well account  when she needs it. Our house payment goes up $21 a month too starting this month, due to the bank doing another reconciling of the escrow account. I wish they'd just get it figured out. Last August it went down $30 a month and 6 months later it goes back up $21 a month.

My bank is starting to get on my nerves! For about the past 3 months now, everytime I go online right after my end of the month payday and pay a bunch of bills online, I get a recorded call from my banks fraud protection department where I have to verify myself and then verify 4 recent transactions. I always sit down on a morning, with my coffee, to pay bills. Usually before or around 8am. Then,every time, 15 minutes later the phone rings (waking up the rest of the sleeping people in my house) with the recorded call. YES! I made these payments, YES, I make the same payments every month at this time. I think what has triggered this call now is the health insurance payment is now over $500. These calls started around the same time, so I think I'm going to start paying that bill a different way. The first couple of times I got the call I was like "oh, that's probably a good thing for them to check every so often" but now I'm just annoyed to be bothered at 8am on my bill paying morning.

I'm thinking of checking more into getting DH's prescriptions filled at Costco. I have heard/read now a couple of times that you don't need a membership to use their pharmacy (state law or something). I priced out his priciest prescription I am paying for (a generic) that is $85 a month for a month supply of 90 pills. Costco shows 100 pills at $60.71 - so almost a $25 savings. They don't list his narcotic pain pill, but I'm assuming it too would probably be cheaper than the $66 a month I am paying. I HATE going to Costco - we only have one in the near vicinity and it's always so crowded anytime I have been there before (when I used to have a membership or go with my mom) but the savings each month would be worth the hassle and I'd just try to find the least crowded time to go each month.

Friday, February 1, 2013

You call that customer service?

Ok, so I called Expedia again and was again, told no way, they could not change the return flight to an "open date". So, I called the airline direct again and was given the same info that I was given yesterday on how they do this (so I was encouraged that I got 2 answers the same!).  I canceled his return flight and it is "on  hold" for one year. When he knows his return date, we can call to rebook and at that time the $150 fee will be charged, along with any difference in ticket price . I felt good that I had gotten the same answer twice from the airline (and both times customer service agents who seemed to know what  they were doing and were very helpful!) and this is the same info on their website about changing/canceling a ticket. The only scary part is they don't send out any written/email type of confirmation that this change took place! Eeek! I think I will call again, the day before he was supposed to return home and have them verify to me again that this ticket got cancelled and is on "hold" for one year. He's just not going to know his return date until after March 2nd. Fortunately, once he knows he's ready to return home, he's totally flexible on the actual date, so hopefully we can find the cheapest possible and not pay any extra.

Not so sure I will be using Expedia again. This is about the 4th trip I have booked with them over the past several years and this was the first I've actually needed to speak with their customer service and get assistance. I was not impressed, to say the least. The person I talked with today was even harder to understand than the person I talked with yesterday.  My boss said she uses sites like Expedia to just get the flight times and prices when she is looking and then goes direct to the airlines website and books through them, usually same price or even cheaper. She books alot of our company employees business flights and is always having to change/cancel and doesn't usually have any problems doing this, no matter which airline she uses.

I'm glad it's resolved and I can enjoy the rest of my day......because DH actually went somewhere today and will be gone probably 4 hours! DD was as excited as I am about having some "dad free" time in the house. He wanted her to go with him, but she talked her way out of it :-)

Another TGIF!

If I ever found a genie in a bottle and got 3 wishes I honestly think one of them would be that I never ever in my life have to talk to a customer service person at a call center in India again! Seriously, it drives me crazy.

DS has an opportunity to extend his stay in Australia and preferably needs to hold his return ticket with an open date. Yesterday, I called Expedia to find out if this could be done and how much it would cost. I was told that it couldn't be done, with an open date, and it would be $75 to change to a new date, plus any extra if the new rate for the flight is higher on the return date he ends up changing it to.  This little portion about the difference in ticket price I had to have her repeat like 4 times, because I couldn't understand what she was saying. So, then I decide to try giving the airline a call direct and see if they give me the same answer. Well, of course not! I was told they definitely can do this. The ticket gets canceled and held up to one year, until he knows his date of return and it would cost $150.  There could be additional owed if the new ticket price is higher (the only part of the 2 phone calls that agree). Looking on the airlines website, I see this same information.

So, later today, I will try giving Expedia another call and see what they say this time. I'm thinking this would all be easier to handle if it could be done direct with Expedia, since he has a 2 part return flight, with 2 different airlines.

I have a feeling I'm going to end up being grumpy today.......