Friday, November 29, 2013

Shopping in my pj's

Let the shopping and decorating begin! DD and I tried to go to Kohl's last night when they opened at 8pm. It's only a mile from my house. We pulled into the parking lot and it was FULL and overflowing into the other (closed) stores lots. Hundreds of people were standing in a line that went on forever. We turned around, went back home, and I ordered the stuff online. All that insanity there wasn't worth being able to use the $10 in-store coupon I had got in the mail.

I felt I did well with the 2 things I wanted to get.  Another twin sized down alternative comforter. We have these comforters on all our beds and love them and DD wants one to take to college next fall. It's not to be a gift, I just want to get it now because of the price offered. Twin regular price is $100. They were on black friday sale for $24.99 plus I had a 15% off code, making it $21.24 - a 79% savings. The other item I wanted was a pair of nice earrings for my mom. We had gone to Kohl's the day before to find what we wanted and found 3 we liked and DD snapped pictures on her phone. I couldn't find the one I liked best for sale online, but did find my 2nd choice.  They were regularly $100, on sale for $39.99 plus all fine jewelry was another 20% off, plus the 15% coupon code. Got those for $27.19. I was a couple dollars short of my $50 goal....for free shipping and $15 in Kohl's cash, so I threw in a clearance lingerie item for $2.55. So, for basically $35.98 (including getting the Kohl's cash) I got 2 nice things, including one Christmas gift off the list.

I really want to get myself the Bissell Little Green machine spot cleaner, but there was no way I was going to Target last night and it's not available online. I can't seem to figure out if Target's door busters end at a certain time today or go all day. I don't like to go to big shopping crowds by myself and DD probably won't be home from work until this afternoon. She had to start at 6am this morning, as they figured they would need a host earlier than normal (8am) with all the shoppers out and about coming for breakfast. I checked prices for it at other stores, but no one has it on sale. Walmart is $90, but Target is offering it as a BF deal for $50.  So, I might not end up with that deal.

Target also has a Sony Blu-Ray player I want to get DH on sale for $55 (reg. $120), but again - not available online and most likely they are already sold out in store by the time I'd get there today. But, I did an online search and see Sears and Walmart are also offering at that price and can be purchased online. I decided to purchase through and got 9 points per dollar in MyPoints and when I was checking out I realized I had some "shop your way rewards" to use. $5.54 that I didn't remember I had. Must have gotten them from when we purchased the filter and hose for our old shop vac. That brought the price of the blu-ray player to $49.45 and I choose pick up at store, for free shipping. The store isn't too far away and easily stopped at on my way home from work one day.

Wednesday I ordered DD a cute macbook sleeve she wants from Amazon. It was $13 and I was able to use my giftcards from Swagbucks on that, so it didn't cost me anything. I have a $25 Kohl's gift card on the way and will probably give that to DD as a gift, and that didn't cost me anything either.

I'm also really liking the new "app" from MyPoints where it automatically pops up that I am shopping in a store they offer points for and how much.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where'd my payment go?

DH had a doctor's office visit last summer. His new insurance (that I changed them to last spring) denied it as pre-existing condition. Well, first they denied it because they wanted to know if there was other coverage. Once that was cleared up, then they denied it as a pre-existing condition. In the past, when I had changed insurance companies, all you had to do was provide proof of your continuous prior coverage and they would waive the pre-existing. So, I thought that's what would take care of it this time, but no, now they say since the previous plan was a "catastrophic plan" (that's all I've ever had them on) they will not waive it. Ok, so I owe the $95 doctor bill. I paid 1/2 of it online 2 weeks ago. I get a bill in the mail yesterday that I still owe the $95.  I called and told her I made an online payment of $50 and it came out of my bank account right then and she say's well sometimes it takes a few days to get on your account. Two weeks? She still didn't act like she was worried about it and then I said - maybe it went to my account? Sure enough- there was a credit sitting on my account. I asked her how that happens when I was logged into HIS account to pay HIS bill?  Well, at least it's fixed now and I'll pay the balance when I get paid on Friday.

DH is due for his 6 month medication check/re-fill appointment the last week of December, but I'm going to schedule it for January and since I'd have to pay for the visit either way (current plan due to pre-existing and the new Obamacare plan will be high deductible) I'd rather have it go towards next years deductible and be able to claim it as part of my FSA. I still haven't signed DH and the kids up for a new plan yet.  One reason is I was waiting for the mess of it all to get fixed so I actually could sign up and another reason was I'm still waiting to find out what is going to be DS's status. He is STILL waiting on his work visa! He finally got to talk with someone who at least was able to tell him that Canada has approved his application, but apparently they send it on to the U.S for now that's the hold up and who knows how long that will take. It's been 3 months now. Ridiculous. I'll just put DS on the insurance plan for now and can cancel him if he ever does get to start work.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good and bad

I picked up my new glasses from Costco yesterday. No problems with them and I really like them, so I'm happy I decided to give them a try and really happy that I saved so much money. Hopefully, I'll get my $100 reimbursement from my vision insurance soon. It's nice to be able to read better again!

I had to stop back in Costco on my way home today to pick up DH's prescription..the last 2 months I filled it at another store that price matched Costco, but when I went to get it last month it was a Sunday and Costco was closed and they couldn't call to check their price. The lady told me she would call the next day and get back to me. She never did and when I went to pick it up, they said the best they could do was $66 (Walmart price) because Costco's price was below their cost. this month I took the prescription (a low dose narcotic) back to Costco...and it rings up 3 times higher than what I had been paying there for months and months! Geez - I give up! Why would the price triple, up from $26 to $75 just for a generic type medicine? I had to pay it, of course, but sure makes it tough to budget when you can't rely on a similar cost each month.

Then I stopped back in their optical dept and had my new glasses adjusted. It was pressing in too much behind my ear and really hurting all day. Seems better now.  

Only 1/2 more day of work and then a nice 4 1/2 day weekend....though I'll probably end up spending my Wednesday afternoon off doing some work for my side job. The owners have another meeting with their CPA in mid December and want November financials done by then. That's going to be a little tough for me to do. Their office manager hasn't even sent me November's deposit info yet. I might just have to do a little estimating and it will be close enough for what they are trying to estimate as income/expenses for the year.

I haven't done FSA deductions from my paycheck in quite a few years. I did it the year DD had braces and one other year, but for the most part I found it to be a pain in the you know what compared to what I saved in taxes. Apparently now you can't pay for OTC medicines and stuff with it anymore, unless you have a dr's prescription for it. I always had a hard time estimating, so I would end up way underestimating, because there was no way I was going to lose any money if I didn't use it all. Doing payroll I have seen people loose hundreds of dollars because they over estimated. That's just dumb. In reviewing our paperwork on it for enrolling for the new year I see a new rule in place for next year - we'll be able to carryover up to $500 if we over estimate. That makes me feel better to give it a try again. But I'm still having trouble estimating....especially if pharmacy prices are going to fluctuate so much. Plus, being the only income earner in the family, along with itemized deductions, I don't end up paying much of my income in federal income tax - about 4% plus 7.65% for social security, so approximately 12% of what I would have withheld for FSA really would only save me about $160 a year. I've never thought it worth the hassle it always was before.

But that's about $13 a month that I could save in payroll taxes by using it and I guess that is better than nothing, right? We get a debit type card that I can use to pay for most of the medical things, rather than having to go through the hassle of submitting claims and waiting to get reimbursed. I might even estimate a little higher (in earlier years I used it I was always way under) and then just carry it forward into the next year, if I need to. DH takes an OTC laxative, and would be covered if the dr actually writes a prescription. Doc is the one who told him to take it, so I'm sure he wouldn't have a problem writing a prescription I can submit to the FSA administrator company. I spend about $150 a year, just on that medicine, alone, so I might as well include it and take advantage of every dollar of savings I can.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A good Target run today

I did pretty good on my Target shopping trip today. Thanks to for always posting all the deals.  I had a $10 off $50 food/beverage purchase coupon and was able to get the following for $27.65 after stacking coupons and 5% discount:

(6) cans Del Monte vegetables
(5) cans Campbells condensed soups
(2) bags Market Pantry noodles
(1) cake mix
(3) bags M&M's (saving for xmas stockings)
(2) bags of Hershey's "bells"
(1) small jar Skippy peanut butter
(3) small bottles of Coffee Mate liquid creamer
(4) Heinz gravy
(1) Stove Top stuffing
(2) large boxes of Cap'n Crunch and PB Crunch cereal
(1) box donuts (no coupon - we just wanted them!)

Total came to $50.14, less $18.10 in coupons, $2.98 in Target Cartwheel savings, $1.58 in 5% red card savings = $27.65.

Cashing in some points

This year I decided to try and save up my points from various sources all year and cash in now for some extra Christmas "money". I don't get a ton of points, for a couple of reasons. I don't have referrals to add to my points and I don't buy very much online (and half the time I do, I forget to go through the points portal first!). But, I at least try to get the minimum by opening the emails and doing the searches.

This year I was able to get $40 in gift cards (I chose $25 in Amazon and $15 in Target) from Swagbucks.  (If you aren't familiar with Swagbucks - you can check them out from my link on the right). I have a search toolbar and every day I do several searches until I hit upon some points. Then I answer the daily poll, good for one point. Just doing this every day you can easily earn enough points for $30 in Amazon gift cards (450 point for $5). I also occasionally remember to check out, which lists any current codes available for more points.

The other points site I use is MyPoints. This year I was able to get a $25 Kohl's gift card. I didn't get near as many points as I could have this year. There were weeks at a time where I didn't open my yahoo email, so that I could click on the emails and earn the 5 points (if offered - not all the emails offer points just by clicking on the offer), so I lost out on quite a bit I could have earned, but hey - I'll take the $25 gift card :-).  MyPoints also just added a new tool, that I downloaded, which automatically credits you the points if you shop in one of their partner stores and forget to open the MyPoints portal first. I see they now offer points for Amazon (probably the place I shop online the most), and I don't think they offered that before.

Every little bit helps and I only spend a few minutes a day "working my points". I'm going to try and be more diligent about opening my yahoo email (the email address I use specifically for coupons, online shopping and such) and getting the MyPoints taken care of.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Just another Friday

I've been trying to make up a grocery list that comes up to $150, so I can get a free turkey. Most weeks I spend about $100 at this store, with other things bought at Target or Walmart.  It's been hard making sure I have enough on my list for $150. I've been writing prices that I know next to it, or my closest estimate of what it will be. As of right now I still need about $11. I just don't want to add something on there, and pay more than I normally would, that would kind of defeat the purpose of getting the free turkey.

I'm also working on a shopping list to take advantage of the $10 off $50 food purchase at Target. Unlike the grocery store you can apply the $10 off before coupons are taken off and I have lots of coupons to use, so I'll probably end up spending about $25 for $50 worth of food. The coupon expires tomorrow, so I plan to get over there tomorrow morning.

This morning I went and had my annual mammogram done. Appointment at 8 am (I almost forgot this morning that I needed to get up early and get to it!) - back in my car at 8:09 am. Quick and easy.

DD went over to my mom's and helped her get her Christmas lights and decorations down from her storage in her garage. She sent home a couple more lighted displays, a Santa and some bells. She's been putting less and less up each year, as she gets older and it's so much work. For years her little place was lit up everywhere, and then some, on the outside. It was very festive. But, now she tries to whittle her collection down a little and passes it on to me.

Three weeks and one day until DS gets home. He said he's just going to try to have a friend pick him up at the aiport and drop him off here and then just walk in the house and be like "hey Dad...." LOL

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Home sweet home

I got DS's plane ticket paid for yesterday morning. I'm so excited that we'll get to see him for a couple of weeks and I'm also happy because 1) it's paid for in cash, not charged (not that I could anyway) and 2) that I had enough money in savings that I didn't actually have to wait until I get my work bonus to buy the ticket. Then the price probably would have been higher, if I had had to wait longer. Not being in debt and having a savings can save money because I could take advantage of a lower price now. The airlines does offer a price guarantee so if I do see it go lower, I guess they will credit. So, I'll watch every day, just in case it goes lower. It's taking everything I have NOT to tell DH and DD that he is coming home for Christmas!

Tonight DH and I went and took a gun safety class and then a friend who is really into guns met us there and we tried shooting several different ones. What a strange experience! I have never shot a gun before (except for a bb gun) and a semi automatic handgun is loud and scary. Towards the end I was feeling a little less nervous about it. I was too much of a weeny for the last gun we tried though. I'm petite and very tiny and just didn't have enough of a strong grip so it would jam on the second shot. Most likely though, we'll end up getting a shotgun for our home defense.

That's all that's going on this week so far.  My blog was acting weird yesterday, but it seems back to normal now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday update

I feel like all I have been doing lately is sitting in traffic! I had to work at the office on Friday. I was going to leave at 3pm (my normal time I leave when I am in the office) but my boss came over to me at 2:15 and said I could leave, because everyone else was going to be told they could leave at 3:30 (nice bosses!). I was all excited thinking I was getting out of the city early and would be home before 3:30. Um no..didn't get home until 4:05. Today's drive home took me an hour and 35 minutes. Ugh.  Thank goodness for my books on CD to listen to.

The weekend was ok.  DD spent time with friends. Some new ones from work on Friday night and an old friend on Saturday night. DH woke up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday and complained about everything under the sun for the 11 hours I was him until I went to bed! At least he didn't get up until 11am. Then Sunday.......I think I made a mistake on his medication Sunday morning! His pill box goes through Saturday and then I usually fill it up for the week sometime Sunday. So, I always wake him up to take his 8am pills (he usually goes to bed like 3am or whenever and gets up around 10 or so) and he goes back to sleep.  He takes 4 different medications in the morning and I was getting them out of the bottles and remembered his cholesterol bottle was on my desk because I had ordered a refill on it the day before and left it on my desk. Also on my desk was an old bottle of my flexeril muscle relaxer. I had put it in my purse when I went to the dr to remind myself to ask her for a refill and took it out and left on my desk. I went over to my desk to grab his cholesterol bottle and I have a feeling I grabbed the muscle relaxer and gave him one of those instead of his cholesterol! A couple hours later when I went to fill up his whole weeks worth I realized the cholesterol wasn't w/all the was still on my desk...and the flexeril was with his pills on the counter! The pills even look kind of similar. I don't even keep our pills together. Mine are in the bathroom and his are in the kitchen. He slept around 11:30, which isn't all that unusual.  Then he was only up for about 45 minutes and went and fell asleep on the couch - until 4pm! By then I was pretty sure I had accidentally given him the wrong pill. He woke up and said he just slept the best he has had in years! I still never told him what I think I did. Even though it was a one time fluke thing, he'd ask me every single time if his pills were right.  I don't feel like spending the next 20 years going through that!

I emailed DS this morning and asked him if he'd like to come home for Christmas for a couple of weeks and I'd buy him a plane ticket. He was excited for the news and I'm going to book the flights tomorrow morning. It will cost $436, but worth it to me! He was in Australia last Christmas and we don't want to miss him again 2nd year in a row.  He and I are going to do our best to make this a surprise for DH and DD! He'll be home about 16 days. He still hasn't been able to get his work visa. He checked again on it today and finally at least got more info on what is the hold up - it's the U.S.! Figures. I didn't realize the U.S. also had to approve it and the Canadian immigration person told him it was approved on their end, and the U.S. is being super slow getting the applications back to them.  What you do want to bet as soon as I book the plane ticket (figured me might as well come home awhile if he's not working yet) that his visa will come through and he'll need to start his job? I figured I ended up saving probably at least $250 by getting my new glasses at Costco from what I originally budgeted, so that and a little of my upcoming bonus can buy the plane ticket.

He'll fly in on a Sunday evening and so far the only plan I can come up with to keep it a surprise and leave the house at that time for a couple of hours is to get DD to go to a movie with me. Then we'll just keep on driving to the airport. She'll figure it out as we get there, LOL, and DH will be surprised when we show back up from our "movie" with DS! I can't wait.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Well so much for that!

Well, within hours of President Obama announcing we could now keep our 2013 plans (for 2014) my state's insurance commissioner has already announced he will NOT be allowing the insurance companies to offer the same plans. So, so much for Obama's change to "help" American's like me out. Amazing! What a screwed up mess this country is in!

Two good news today

I just got the (still secret to rest of company) news that we made our sales goal for 2013. That means another 5% of our annual salaries will be paid out in a bonus by the end of the year!!!  After taxes that will be a nice check of $2,444 for me.  Plus, since they have to withhold 25% in income taxes, so I'll probably end up getting some more of it back on my tax return.

I also just listened to the news and the president's "fix" to now allow those of us who already had healthcare plan we liked to keep least for 2014.  From the way I am understanding this, it would be up to the individual state's insurance commissioner's to allow the old plans to be put back into effect. Let's hope my state does the right thing! Being able to keep the plan I was on will save me $4000 in insurance premiums for 2014. I'm glad I haven't spent any time trying to register and apply for a new plan on the exchange.  It took me a couple of weeks before I could even get the info on what plans and prices were being offered. Once I saw the huge increase in price, I didn't bother trying to apply (not that I probably would have gotten my application through the awful website anyway). I figured I'd wait until the beginning of December to worry about it. Maybe now I won't have to at all, thank God!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Took the plunge


These will be my new glasses! I went ahead and got them from Costco - so keeping my fingers crossed that the progressive lenses won't be any problem. The frames were $60 and the lenses were $170. I don't know what the lenses would cost at the optometry place where I had my eye exam, but just the few frames I looked at while there were $200 and I'm sure their lenses would have probably been double what I just paid at Costco. I paid about $500 for DH's frames and lenses at a different private optometry practice. I looked the frames up online and most places that listed a price for them was in the $160-$180 range. I tried on several frames and nothing jumped out at me or DD and then I saw these ones and we both instantly said they were the ones for my face.

I'll have to submit a claim to my vision insurance company and will get back $100 of what I just spent. Hopefully, I won't be on here in 10-14 days saying "oh I wish I hadn't done that"!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New specs

I went to the eye doctor this morning for an eye exam. I've had these current glasses for almost 3 years now and have been noticing a change in my eyesight - getting harder to read again and some general blurriness in my left eye. I need my eye glasses prescription tweaked a bit, as expected. I went out to their optometry department out in the front to look at new frames, but I ended up leaving because my eyes had been dilated, so everything was a bit blurry, and because to try on frames, I have to take my glasses off and then I am basically blind! I have to get my nose 6 inches from the mirror to even see anything! Doesn't quite make for a good view of what a new pair of glasses look like. So, I decided to go back another time. I still have a couple of pair of contacts leftover from those days, that I could at least pop in to wear to try on glasses....and take DD with me as an "advisor" of what looks good.

Now, I'm sitting here, with my printed out prescription, trying to decide if I should just give Costco a try for getting the glasses prescription. The eye doctor place I went to is a nice place, good quality doctors and optometrists, and expensive frames and lenses.  But, since I need progressive lenses I'm really scared to try someplace like Costco. DH had so much trouble with getting his progressives at Walmart. He could never see right out of them, so I finally took him to a private eye doctor (not where I just went) and his new glasses they made for him worked perfect....because they use a much better quality of get what you pay for....

Just a peek at the pricing on a couple of the frames I tried on was almost $200. My insurance only covers $100 towards frames/lenses, plus 20% discount on the balance. I'm sure the lenses will be similar in cost to what I had to pay for the ones I have now and DH's (both gotten from same place), so probably another $250-$300 on top of that. I also have to get all the "extras" for lenses because I have such bad eyesight, I get the rolled and polished lenses to they aren't so thick looking. More than likely I will save money by getting my glasses at Costco....BUT, will I be happy with the quality? I'm trying to decide if I want to take a chance and hope I get a good quality of progressive lenses at Costco.

I think I might at least go look at Costco frames and see what selection they have. Either way, even though Costco isn't part of my vision insurance, I get a $100 allowance towards frames/lenses. I might just have to pay upfront and get reimbursed, if I go the Costco route.  Anyone have any experience with progressive lenses from Costco?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A shopping weekend

Spent the weekend shopping with DD. She wanted to spend a little bit of all the money she has been saving! Saturday morning we went out to breakfast that cost me a whopping $8 plus tip. DD had a coupon for a free breakfast when one is purchased, plus she got her 20% employee discount and our server didn't charge us for our drinks (perks of being a friend/employee, I guess). I ended up tipping her almost as much as the whole bill was - haha! I always tip on what the bill would have been, if we had had to pay full price. Then we went to Kohl's to look around. DD found a cute little wall plaque on clearance with piano keys on it, so she got that for her piano playing best friend as a gift. It was regularly $22, on clearance for $4.39, plus we had a 30% off coupon.  Then she decided to look for some nice earrings for herself. What a deal on those! Pretty, small hoops with diamonds. They were regular priced at $275, on sale for $96.25. She had $10 Kohl's cash to apply towards it, plus another 30% off (she put it in my Kohl's card to get the 30% off and then paid me back). Total price on the earrings: $60.35 and they are so pretty - I want to borrow them! Oh, and she got another $10 in Kohl's cash back.

Then yesterday afternoon a friend asked her to go shopping, so she got some jeans and a sweatshirt.  Today, we went out to a bigger mall in the next city from us. First we stopped at Harbor Freight Tools, since it was out in the same general area and picked up a couple of things DH wanted from there.  The only thing I wanted to buy today was a covered cake plate. I've always wanted one. I have a tupperware cake plate/cover but it is not tall enough so the lid always gets into the frosting. The Harbor Freight was right next door to a Goodwill store so we stopped in hoping to find a cake stand with cover. No luck. Then we looked at Penney's at the mall....they had one...on clearance for $60 - regularly $150! For a cake stand!! Are you freaking kidding me?! Even $60 was way more than I was willing to pay. Then we went to Macy's and they had one on sale for $25, but I was still not sure I wanted to pay that much for something I wouldn't use too often. We left to go have lunch (our annual or sometimes every other year treat when we go to this mall) at the Bistro inside Nordstrom. Pricey ($26 for the 2 of us and I didn't even have a beverage). DD looked online using her phone to see what Target and Walmart sell the cake stands w/lids for. Both were $40, so I decided to get the one at Macy's. I put it on my Macy's card and got another 15% off, so I am happy with a nice glass cake stand w/dome lid for $21.  DD found 2 sweaters and another pair of jeans at JC Penney and another cardigan type sweater at Nordstrom and we were done for the day. I came home and took a nap with the dogs.

Dinner is in the oven, a little later than normal. DH went with our neighbor. He was buying something off Craigslist and was to meet up with the guy, so DH offered to go with him so he wasn't doing it alone and after dark. Hopefully, I've timed dinner for about when they get back. It should take them about a half hour each way.

I have tomorrow off work, so DD and I are going to go with my mom to a casino where DD can play bingo, now that she's an "old" 18 year old now. Should be a fun morning and we'll have lunch too.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Neighborbood update and credit scores

Just doing my check I do every month or so on our credit score via CreditKarma and our property value via Zillow. I've checked our credit scores 3 times since mid July. DH went up from 691 to 693. Mine Has gone up from 677 to 692. Getting close to 700! Our property value continues to decline since the beginning of September. Between June 1st and Sept 1st it steadily increased almost $8k. Since Sept 1st it has decreased to below $1k what it was on June 1st.  Not good news.

I also noticed on Zillow that the piece of property for sale, kitty corner behind our good neighbor has drastically dropped in asking price. The lady was initially asking $75K. She had a pending sale, but it fell through. Apparently because most of the 1.25 acres is unusable wet/swamp land. We are up on higher ground, so no issues with that, but as you go farther and farther behind our property it gets worse and worse. Now, I see the asking price is $45k. She'll probably be lucky to get that. In looking at other acreage in the area, you can get that same size in much nicer, non-drug dealer infested neighborhoods for the same price.

Our junkyard neighbor wants to buy it (even the realtor trying to sell it told my DH that when he called to let them know someone was on the property cutting trees down). But, I really don't see that happening. Thank God - he already owns 2 pieces of property that us and our other good neighbor are sandwiched between - we don't need another junk yard added to the neighborhood. And I don't see him coming up with the money to buy the property......the electric company showed up last week and turned their power off and sealed off the meter! It appears to be back on now, but how much do you have to be behind to get to that point? Plus his other dump he rents down at the end of the street - when the new tenants moved in the husband told DH he tried to call the power company to see about getting the billing in his name and was told no, it had to be left in the property owner's name because he owed $2000, so obviously, he's way delinquent on both his properties power bills.

I have a feeling most of the issues we are dealing with regarding this neighbor are going to implode on him soon. He's already been told by the county he can no longer operate a firewood business in a residentially zoned neighborhood. They also have to remove all the stacks of firewood, which his meth addicted 36 yr old son is gradually doing. But he spends most of his time sitting inside an open ended container getting high......along with the wife of the renters from the other property. And for some reason a drug dealer who used to always hang out at another place back behind us has moved in with these new renters, apparently living in a shed they all just built (with no permit). Probably because he supplies the wife with her drugs. The husband has now lost his job, so the annoyance of him driving a semi truck in and out of our private street is no longer an issue. They'll probably be gone soon, as they won't be able to pay junkyard/slum lord property owner rent, especially as the wife seems to spend it all on drugs.

We can't sell, as our property values are too low to get out of it, but we are now considering renting this place out to get out of here. We could actually rent a very nice house in a nice neighborhood for less than we are paying in mortgage here (mortgage high because we have that home equity loan we took out, when we thought DH was still going to be able to work), so even if we can't get in rent what we pay in mortgage here, we might come out close, with renting or buying another place less than we are paying now. Guess we'll wait and see over the next 6 months or so what is still going on. Junkyard owner's drug addicted son will most likely end up in jail again soon as his drug use appears to be escalating - it's his regular pattern with his life, and as he is causing most of the problems, that issue would be gone. I also see the renters as short term. The place is a dump and not even livable, really. Slumlord's ex daughter in law (who used to live there but finally got herself out of the mess) said that legally only junkyard/slumlord is allowed to live there, it is not up to code for renting. If someone wants to live there, I guess that is up to them, as long as they are quiet neighbors not causing problems, but these people are not. Their 3 teenage kids and the drug dealer that moved in walk and drive up and down our quiet little private road 24/hrs a day.....going down to the corner to meet their drug buyers or going to see drug addict on the other property. One of our security cameras points out toward our gate/street area and you should see how many times someone is walking up and down at 2...3...4am. Our motion light on our shop goes off constantly.

Meanwhile, we keep trying to make our little rectangle in this area as nice as possible. Those little privacy trees we planted around us can't grow fast enough!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Missing payment

A year or two ago our garbage service updated their website bill paying program. We are billed every 2 months and I get the billing via email and then the due date isn't for almost 2 months. So, as soon as I get the bill I go online and set it up for a scheduled payment on the due date. Usually a day or two before it's due I go back online to make sure I did indeed set it up for payment. Twice now, since they have implemented this new billing payment program, I have scheduled a payment and then when the due date comes my payment is not done and the next day it's showing as unpaid/late.

I went online 10/30, the day before the due date and verified it was still scheduled for the next day (pay day and due date) and it was. Today I noticed it hadn't come out of my checking account so I went back online and nothing was there. Frustrating! I paid it right away and sent an email saying that this is now the 2nd time this has happened to me and to please adjust off any late fee.  I guess I just need to go online and set it up as a recurring payment. I don't know why, but I have always preferred to set the payments up myself when they are due, not have it come out automatically.  I guess it goes back to the days when I might actually have to pay it a few days late, because DH's self employment income didn't come in when expected, so the money might not be in the account to cover it.

But, we don't have that money issue anymore and since my garbage bill is the same exact amount every 2 months, I guess I'll just automate it and hope that helps solve the problem of the occasional mystery of the disappearing scheduled payment.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2, 4, 6, 8

It's time to face reality............I am no longer a size 6. I've fought it as long as I can, but tight jeans and a muffin top are not working for me. Turning 50 blows! I wear jeans every day and have about 4 pair that are size 6 (I finally got rid of my size 4's last year that were in my drawer for years). Now, I have 2 size 6 jeans that I just don't even try to wear anymore, they are just too tight and not comfortable. The other 2 pair aren't too bad, but tight enough that they make me look like I now have a muffin top.  Up until about 8 years ago I was around a size 2 or 4 - since I was a teenager. I had a rock hard stomach. Then I got in the car accident and I think between that and hitting my 40's the weight has gradually added on. After the car accident I didn't do any exercising at all - it just hurt my back and neck too much. So, I went up to a size 6. I've been ok with that, being in my late 40's.

But, last week I finally faced the truth - I need a size 8. Crap. I went to Ross and found a pair of size 8 in the brand I like. They fit nice, my stomach doesn't hang over the sides anymore. I guess I'm a size 8 now.....

Monday, November 4, 2013

She's in!

DD got her acceptance letter from the university she wants to attend! She was so excited Friday evening when she got an email to her phone that said "You're In". Then in Saturday's mail came the "fat packet" with more info.  She only applied to one college - it's the only place she really really wants to go. Not that I had any doubt she would get accepted, it's "just" one of the state universities, not like she's trying to apply to Harvard or something. But, I didn't realize she really only had not much better than a one in four shot at getting accepted. The congratulations letter with the packet said they have 2800 freshman spots and get approximately 10,000 freshman applications.

She applied the first day she could and with getting her acceptance on the first day they went out, she should also have a good shot at getting into the dorm of her preference. At least I've got until next September before I have to start crying :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Still calculating

As DD is sitting at the dining room table doing her accounting homework I saw her using the TI scientific/graphing calculator and realized, boy, we sure got our use out of that purchase! We bought it when DS was in junior high. I think it was around $130, probably purchased around 9 years ago. He used it for several years and then passed it on to DS and she's used it ever since...and just said it's going to college with her too. I'm glad there are at least some things that are still useful and don't always need to be replaced or upgraded.

Too bad I couldn't say the same thing about my 4 slice toaster.......that is now only toasting 2 slices....

Payday Payoff

Today I finally made my last payment to pay off the MRI DH had last year (that went to deductible). It was almost $1000 in total. It felt so good to call and make that last payment! When I originally called to ask if I could set up a payment plan I had $75/mo as my request. She set me up at $25/mo with no interest ("just in case you have month's where you can't pay $75"). Most months I stuck to my $75 payment. Once I think I paid $50 and then the next month paid $100.  So, now I have an extra $75 in the budget to put towards our soon to be increased health insurance (I'm not even going to go there again, on how mad I am about that........)

I called Comcast the other day to see about getting our bill cut back down after they upped it $20/mo. I got it lowered for another year.......but I had to agree to a 2 year contract. I really don't like committing to contracts, but we have been with Comcast at least 4 years now for our phone/tv/internet and I see no reason we would change. Certainly not back to that slower internet the phone company provides. I like Comcast for our tv and we are all happy with it and enjoy the "on demand" feature. So, I said ok. I do have 30 days to change my mind.

I am still in hope that I might get a company bonus at the end of next month. Sales have been just short a few months during this half of the year, but we made it over our goal this month. If we can make it the next 2 months I will get a bonus of $3630 at the end of the year or first of January. As we are all celebrating the email news that we made our sales goal for October, my boss emails me that while we got the orders pushed through, there are hardly any future orders on the books waiting for release. That is not good. That means that we won't be having many sales in the coming 6 months. I wonder if the owners are going to give out Christmas bonus's this year -  They have the last 3-4 years and I just realized yesterday that the nice Christmas bonus ($1500 net) started after they stopped our bonus program in I would doubt they will be giving us a Christmas bonus, if we are getting the regular sales bonus. Would be nice to have both though!  The owners had also told us last year that if we made our goal and received our 10% bonus for this year that they will up the bonus to 20% next year (back to what it used to be before economy crash). I could use an extra $1200 a month!! haha!

This is also my DD's birthday month. I have gotten her 2 gifts. A Carhartt jacket. I paid for it through Bill Me Later. I have received the jacket and just went back into my Bill Me Later account so I could write in my budget for next month how much I owe for it ($40-ish was sticking in my mind) and it is still shows it as a "pending" transaction, but for $56.71!! What?! My email from the company I ordered it from confirming my order was $42.08. I now have an email into their customer service asking what is going on.

I also got her a nice ring that was $30 and some chocolates for $6. I'm going to give her an additional $25 cash and we are going to go to the bingo area of the casino, where 18 year olds can get in, and they also have some new type of bingo/slots that 18 year olds can do. Grandma is going with us and we'll have lunch (most likely grandma will buy lunch). So, I'll be into her gifts for a little over $100.