Monday, December 1, 2008

November Wrap-up

So, November is done, where did it go? Where is this year going? Hard to believe there is only 1 month left of 2008! Here is how November looked for me.
  • Groceries: $114.37
  • Gas: $45.50 (yeah! $34.50 UNDER Budget!!)
  • Dining out: $38.99
  • Entertainment: $14.00
  • Gifts: $25.04
  • Clothing: $222.92 (I shouldn't have to buy any new clothes for a LONG time!)

I earned $267.55!!! from surveys! $50.56 from sales! And I added $570 to my savings account!

I didn't do much in the way of Christmas shopping at all, so I really need to get going on that. I am taking this Friday off for the annual marathon shopping day with my mom and am hoping to knock most of it that day! Thankfully I don't have that much to do.

I only had 15 no spend days in November and I think for December I am going to try something different. I think I will not keep track of no spend days, but rather just try to spend as little as possible, even if that means spending every day, but less overall. Does that make sense? I think sometimes I get so hung up on a No Spend Day, that when I am having a day where I spend, I tend to splurge. We'll see how it goes.

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving and is looking forward to a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fortune cookie's wisdom coming true????

About 6 weeks ago I went out for Chinese food with an old friend. My fortune said something about coming in to some money in the near future. I didn't think much of it at the time. But in yesterday's mail, I received some information about the mineral rights being mined for on my land in North Dakota. Hmm, looks like I will be receiving a royalties check soon. I wonder how much it will be....

I'll keep you all posted......

Friday, November 7, 2008

Keeping things in line...

well, here it is a week into November and I am very optimistic about my saving and spending. A few things have come up, but I have been able to keep it together and haven't overspent any where yet. The weekend is looking to be fairly mellow. A football game to go to tomorrow, then otherwise I think I will be spending most of it at home. It's suppose to be a very wet and blustery weekend, the perfect kind to spend indoors. I tend to become a hermit in the wintertime, I just don't like to venture out in to the cold much. I've had a few more sales on and a few things listed on Craigslist so I have been able to do a little bit more cleaning out and earning a bit of money is always nice. I'm slowly but surely getting the money to pay the loan off that I owe my parents. I am very optimistic that I can pay the loan in full by October next year, but am really hoping to have it all by April when my next payment is due. It will feel so great to have that paid off and no longer owe any money to anyone except for my mortgage. What a stress reducer that will be. :)

I have ordered a Christmas present for my niece and nephew today. They are getting a gift together and it's actually a gift certificate for an experience they will be able to enjoy as an entire family. I decided that they have WAY too many toys and games and there is no way I was going to buy them more things. I would rather buy them something to go do and even better that they can do it as a family. I only have a few more gifts to buy and I am very excited about the things I have decided to give this year. My 4 nephews in Alaska will also be getting a family gift certificate for something they can all enjoy together.

I'll continue to look for ways to reduce my spending, save my money and earn more. Frugality is my way of life....

Friday, October 31, 2008

October wrap-up...

WOW! I can hardly believe October is over and we are heading in to the holiday season!!! Here are my October numbers...

Groceries: $111.90(I raised my grocery budget up to $120, so I am happy to report that I stayed under budget.)
Gas: $32.00 (yeah! $53 UNDER Budget!!)
Dining out: $18.00(doing better every month)
Entertainment: $8.00
Gifts: $13.07
Clothing: $15.66

I earned $91!!! from surveys! $30 from a rebate and $10.85 from sales!I also added $555 to my savings account! Not as good as I had hoped, but not too bad either! Going on vacation at the start of the month kind of hurt the savings, but I had a great time and am glad I went.

I also managed to have 20 no spend days! Yeah! I'm looking forward to November and the challenges of staying within the budget during the holiday season.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some extra money coming is always nice..

As I said in my last post, I am working really hard to try to do whatever I can to have the full $20,000 needed to pay my parents off in April. I decided to do a little spring cleaning and have listed several movies and books on and am pleased that I am already seeing some sales come in. Yeah! I will put that money straight into my ING savings account so it can earn the most interest. Next month I will also be depositing my 12th deposit into my TD Ameritrade account in which I will then receive a $100 bonus. Yes!! I love, love, love free money!

I am also doing everything I can to continue to cut my expenses and save money wherever possible. Right now I have 19 no spend days this month, and I am doubtful I will be spending money tomorrow, so I will once again achieve my goal of 20 no spend days! Yeah!! November is looking like it will be fairly quiet for me too, so that is great! I don't anticipate any extra expenses next month and if I can continue having at least 20 no spend days, I think I will do really well.

I did take a couple more small surveys that will amount to about another $9, not much, but every bit helps. Then when the are deposited into my ING account and compounding interest kicks in, then you really see your money work for you.

I didn't buy any candy for Halloween as I won't be home. This is good for two reasons; 1. I didn't have to spend money on candy and 2. there isn't the chance that I will have leftover candy to tempt me!! I will be at my brother's house and will probably head out trick or treating with the kids. Then we will head over to my parents house for a bit too.

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to tighten the purse strings...

I have decided that I am going to really pursue getting the money together to pay my parents back ASAP. Right now I have $14731 to put toward paying off this debt and I need $20,000. I would really like to have it all come April and be done with this loan. I am going to look at EVERY possible way to earn money (legally!) over the next 6 months and hopefully I will have it all together and will be able write a check for $20,000 and be debt free with the exception of my mortgage! Yeah!

A few things I have done to make this easier to achieve are lowing my phone/internet/cable bill by cutting premium services. I am trying to make due with the food I currently have, dining out less, eating less in general, finding free options for fun, no clothes shopping, and decreasing expenditures any way possible. I am going to revisit the lifestyle I had while I was paying off my original debt. I'm going to print out my list of things I did back then as reminders of how to live this way again. Thankfully this time it will only be for 6 months. I'm fairly optimistic that I will be able to get this all together and pay off the loan. After that, I will loosen the purse stings and have a little fun.

I would appreciate any helpful hints that any of you have to offer on how to earn the extra money or how to cut costs. Thanks! I'll keep you all posted on my progess, and if along the way, I find some good money savings tips, I will certainly pass them along as well. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just a quick check in and updates

It has been a very busy past week, but a lot of fun. Over the weekend we celebrated my Grandma's 91st birthday and had a really wonderful time with a lot of extended family there to help her celebrate. What fun it was to see so many of the family and to see Grandma bring in another year still being in good health and sharp as a tack, it was quite a site to see. I can only hope to be as happy and healthy if I am fortunate enough to live like her. She traveled from California up to Washington for her birthday and is staying for a week, so there have been many get togethers other than the big party over the weekend, and it has been so great!

Over the weekend I also had a football game and tailgate to attend. The tailgate was a lot of fun and the weather was beautiful, making it even better! I love tailgating because it is a great social event and a lot of fun, plus there is a ton of food and each person typically is only bringing one thing to share, so it's pretty economical! And being that I am not much of a drinker, it's really pretty cheap for me. :)

Friday night was a quiet night at home catching up on chores; laundry and cleaning. Sometimes nights like that are necessary and I sort of welcome them. Seems like we get so busy and are constantly going, going, going that when we get a chance to slow down, it feels really good. With the holidays approaching I know life will get very busy, so I will take any quiet times that I can. :)

Today I took a couple of surveys online today, earned another $22, so any money I can make between now and Christmas will really help out. I have started on my Christmas shopping and am pleased that I will not have many gifts to buy this year as most of my friends and I no longer exchange gifts. Yeah! I have it all figured out as to what I am buying for the few gifts I need and I should be able to get through the holidays with my budget fully intact! Which really, really makes me happy!

Well, this week should be very, very inexpensive for me. I won't have to buy gas this week or groceries, thanks to all the leftovers from the birthday celebration, and I don't have any other expenses coming up that I am aware of. Hoping there are no surprises that pop up!

Hope everyone has a fantastic week and a very happy Halloween! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This year is flying by....

This month, like all the other months this year, is flying by!! Where has 2008 gone?! I am feeling really good about my finances right now, with the exception of my retirement accounts. But right now there is nothing I can do about that. I am sure it will bounce back, but it is frustrating to watch. I have kept my spending in check this month, even with going on vacation, I don't feel like I have overspent in any category and I still have money in my checking account. :)

Yesterday I made a deposit of $57 into my savings account from survey checks I have received. I love having extra money like that come in. And I took advantage of a $30 rebate for which I received the check in the mail after I had been to the bank. Isn't that always the way?! Oh well.

My dining out has only amounted to $16.00 so far this month, and that includes while I was on vacation. My friend and I mostly ate at her house, or we took advantage of some gift cards I had with me, also earned from surveys.

I have been adding money to my savings like a mad-woman and have over 70% of the money needed to pay my parents back in full come April. I am really hoping that with some belt tightening I can have all that I need to pay the loan off in full. If not, I will pay half of it this April, and the other half will be paid off next October. Wish me luck! I'm going to go after every money making idea I can to get all of this money together and get the loan paid in full. That will be such a great feeling to have paid them off 8 years early (or 7.5 years if I have to wait until October). I'll keep you posted on the progress.

I have started my Christmas shopping too. So far, I only have one present purchased, but I have been doing a lot of research and figuring out what I am going to get everyone. A friend and I also have decided not to exchange gifts this year, so that will make things easier and less expensive. :) This should be a lower stress holiday season for me and I am really looking forward to that!! I hope everyone is having a fantastic October and is looking forward to a frugal, fun-filled holiday season as well! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feeling overwhelmed...

I'm not sure why, but I have this overwhelming anxiety about my finances right now. I'm sure it's probably related to the market doing so poorly and every day watching more and more of my retirement accounts dwindle. I understand that now is actually a great time to buy, but it's so hard to wrap the emotional side of my brain around it. Next week I will be getting the 2007 match from my employer and am wondering what I should do with it. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I am doing everything I can to tighten the belt and reign in the spending as much as possible. I'm working on eating through the food that I already have and only buying fresh, perishable items, or things that are the REALLY great bargains that the stores use to lure you in. I'm good about only buying what is on my list when at the store, so it doesn't scare me that I might overspend by shopping, so I'm good with that. I have had 9 no spend days so far this month, and that's even with me being out of town on vacation for 5 days. Not bad! I am hoping for 20 days total and I am fairly confident that I will make it.

I am getting a lot of extra income from surveys as usual. :) yeah! So far this month I have received $98 from them and am contemplating doing a few mystery shopping trips too. This might help me get going on my Christmas shopping. I have done really well on getting most of what I need so far for stockings, but haven't delved much into the actual gift buying. Thankfully there will only be 6 gifts total that I need to buy, so it won't be too bad. Is anyone else getting their shopping started??

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by the state of their finances??? I look forward to hearing what you have to say....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from vacation...

and a little lighter in the wallet!! Oh well, isn't that what vacation is for? I don't like to go too crazy spending money while on vacation, but at the same time, when I am on vacation I like to spend a little more freely. I had a great time and all in all, it was fairly inexpensive. My friend and I drove to Sedona one day and had a wonderful time. She had to work part of the time while I was there, so one day I stayed at her house and just relaxed and zoned out. :) Another day I went to the mall for a few hours and here is where I got into trouble! As I said earlier, I have recently lost weight and now none of my clothes fit, more specifically my pants. So I had decided that it was OK for me to spend some money on some new clothes. Wouldn't you know it? I found everything but pants! I came home with a pair of boots, a pair of shoes, a purse, 3 tops and a sweater!! Although I shouldn't really complain, I spent less than $250 for all of that, so it's pretty good! And I just received a retro paycheck from my raise, so I think it's OK to spoil myself a little bit. Hope everyone had a great weekend too!

Now, I have to get back to doing some more surveys to earn the money that I just spent! HA!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A question about surveys...

I received a comment about doing surveys, wondering if they are safe and worth it. I have to say yes to both. I have been doing surveys for a long time, probably about 4 years and have earned quite a bit of money from them and been able to test a lot of new products too. I have a lot of fun with it and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of extra income I have been able to receive. I know not everyone thinks it is worth it, but for me it is. I log on to each of the sites every morning to see if there are any invites, even though the invites come in my e-mail. I have found that just be a quick logging in and having that activity in my account, has increased the number of invites I have received.

Now, as to whether or not it is safe, I am not sure what you are asking. Typically I receive checks in the mail for my payments, so the only info I am giving out is my address, although some sites will pay you through paypal. You aren't giving out your personal information or any bank account info, so I say yes, it is perfectly safe. Please let me know if you have other concerns that I am perhaps not thinking about. But in answer to your general questions, yes I have found it to be both worthwhile and safe.

In fact, just this weekend I was chosen to participate in another study that will require 2 30 minute sessions and will pay out $85! Not too shabby. :)

I welcome any questions that you might have about surveys though, and mystery shopping, this has gone fairly well for me also. These are fun to participate in and the payout is nice too. Of the two though, I prefer surveys because I can do them at home and on my own time schedule. :) And in my PJ's if I want!! Ha!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Locked out of a blog I really enjoy reading...

Hi there Set goals and stay disciplined. Just wanted to let you know that I can't see your blog anymore and I miss checking in on you. Anyway, leave me a comment if you want me to be able to see your blog and we can go from there. Hope all is well with you.

A fall weekend...

It looks like fall has finally come around here. :( Today and the rest of the weekend is looking to be pretty grey and gloomy. Really makes me happy that I am heading to Arizona next weekend. One nice thing about crummy weather, it makes me want to stay inside and not venture out too much, which in turn helps me not to spend money needlessly. :) Now that is something I like to think about. I am home tonight with plans to watch a movie that a co-worker brought in for me. Tomorrow I will get up early and do some grocery shopping, then a quick trip to Target. I will go see my niece's soccer game and then head home. Sunday I am going to a friend's little girl's birthday party, she's turning 2!! I haven't figured out what to get her yet, but I'm planning on finding something at Target, so it shouldn't too difficult. So, other than that, I don't have too much going on, so it should be pretty relaxing and mellow. Hope you all have a nice, pleasant weekend too!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Forgot to add another October goal...

if I can earn enough each month from surveys and secret shopping trips to pay for my condo dues, I will really do well. I will need to bring in another $192.01 each month for this. And just now I have ordered another $10 check for payment from My Survey. I have really done well with survey sites, and I know a lot of people don't think you can make money from them, but I have done really well. I log onto each site daily, just to show some activity and that I am interested in seeing if there are any available surveys, just doing this has really increased the number of invitations I have received.

The $192.01 that I will have to pay monthly for my condo dues actually covers quite a bit, so I am not too concerned about it. This fee includes my water, sewer, garbage and recycling which is great, but it also includes access to the on site gym and the pool along with the movie theater and Internet stations within the clubhouse. I can also reserve the clubhouse for any get together I may feel like having and will only have to pay a $25 clean up fee. Not bad! Oh, and the landscaping is also included as well as housekeeping twice a week for all common areas. Not a bad deal, I must say! :)

October goals...

...some of these are easily measured, while others are not. Regardless, I think it's important to set goals and see if I can work towards achieving them.

* I will add at least $550 to my savings account, hopefully more. I'm really enjoying the compounding interest that I am receiving and it's quickly helping my savings grow. :)

* I will do less grocery shopping and eat what I have on hand. I have been buying more groceries over the last few months, now it looks like I have a surplus. Will see what I can do about cleaning out the pantry a little bit.

*Not overspend on vacation next week.

*Try to alter some of my clothes I already have before buying new. I have lost a lot of weight recently which is great, but hard on the wallet. I think I will also try some thrift store shopping to build the wardrobe back up.

*Find any leaks in the budget and plug them.

*I will not buy my lunch any days this month and will try to keep all dining out to under $40.

*I'm hoping to get started on some of my Christmas shopping. I don't have too many gifts to buy, but I would like to knock at least 3 of them off my list this month. Thankfully I already know what I am getting most everyone, it's just a matter of getting to the stores and buying.

*As usual, I would like to have at least 20 no spend days.

This list isn't looking too daunting, so I think I will do pretty well with it. I realized this morning that I have 70% of the money needed to pay the loan off to my parents and I'm hoping that if I really buckle down, I just might be able to pay the entire thing off to them this coming April instead of paying half in April 2009 and the other half in April 2010. What a sense of freedom it would be to have this paid off and no longer on my list! So, any extra monies I can cut out of my budget will go straight toward my savings to pay this off ASAP!! :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September wrap up....

WOW! What a great month September has been!!!

Groceries: $106.33 ($6.33over budget! Oh well, a girl has to eat!)

Gas: $65.00 (yeah! $15 UNDER Budget!!)

Dining out: $42.85 (even better than last month)

Entertainment: $-10.00 (sold a ticket to something I had previously purchased, so this offset my entertainment spending this month)

Gifts: Nothing!

Clothing: $86.56 (but I got 2 new pair of jeans, a bra, and 7 pair of panties)

I earned $191!!! from surveys! And $199 from the garage sale!! Wahoo!!

I also added $580 to my savings account! Not as good as I had hoped, but not too bad either!

I had my 7 year review at work and received a decent raise and the promise that next year the review wouldn't be 13 weeks late!

Gotta run for now, but I will write up my October goals tomorrow morning! Have a great night everyone....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All good things must come to an end...

OK, I really don't believe that ALL good things must come to an end, but yesterday one of my good things ended. I will be forever thankful that it lasted 18 month though. What am I talking about you ask? After moving in to my condo 18 months ago, as of October 1, I will have to start paying my condo association fees. Darn it! At just under $200 a month, not having to pay these dues has saved me almost $3600!! I'm quite pleased with that and had gotten use to paying them anyway, but I was paying them to my savings account instead of the association. I'm happy that I had put this line item into my budget from the start, otherwise I think it could be a really reality check to suddenly have to "find" another $200/month to pay this bill. This just means that I will watch my savings account grow at a little bit slower rate now, OR, I will have to figure out a way to earn another $200/month to not see a change. I could probably be a little more aggressive in finding some of the mystery shopping assignments and maybe I should try to fill out EVERY survey I receive an invite too. Sometimes I get so many that I just delete them if I don't feel like trying to qualify. I guess now I could try a little harder with these. I'm a pretty determined person when I want to be, so I'm sure I will figure out a quick way to continue having this $200 to add to my savings account. At least I'm always up for a good challenge!! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The garage sale went really well

Day 2 of the garage sale was almost as good as Day 1. I earned another $79 on Saturday. Grand total for the garage sale earnings for me was $199! I'm quite happy with that! My parents also got rid of quite a bit of stuff, as did my brother. What didn't sell was boxed up, labeled garage sale and put away until the spring when we try it again. My parents have SO much stuff to go through that I'm sure they will have enough stuff for several more garage sales! This will also give me the opportunity to go through my stuff more thoroughly and hopefully have more things to sell next time.

Not much else to report from here, things have been relatively quiet, which is of course a good thing! This week isn't looking like too big a spending week for me. Yeah!

Happy day all!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Garage Sale: Day 1

So, while I was at work today, my step dad decided to go ahead and start the garage sale. He sold almost all of my stuff today and has $120 for me. I told my parents I would be up tomorrow to help them with the sale, so tonight I spent about an hour going through more stuff and collected another good selection of things to sell. It's funny how you think you have already looked everywhere and when go through a second time, you find so much more. Maybe I'll take a quick walk through tomorrow morning and see if there is anything else I would like to part with. I love the idea of garage sales because for one, I can clean out a lot of stuff that I no longer and using, but someone else might really enjoy. Secondly, it's nice to make some extra cash off of things I have lying around and third, I think it's good for the environment when you can buy secondhand. A win, win, win! Not sure what I will do with my earnings. Maybe I will hold onto it and use it as spending money when I go to Arizona in 3 weeks. I'm sure my friend and I will be doing some shopping while I am visiting and this extra money will be great to have. I'm also using my survey money that comes in before I leave to add to my spending money. So far that is at $105 since I started saving it just for this vacation. And, I just ordered another $25 in payments from the various sites I survey on.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll let you know how day 2 of the garage sale is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Finally, the review is done and the raise is in place

Whew! Glad that is finally done for the year. I don't know why I always get so anxious about it, I know I do a good job and they are happy with me, but you never know. The review went really well, and they had nothing but excellent things to say about me and the job I am doing. I even got a nice hefty raise to go along with it. :) The raise should definitely help me get more money put away and get this debt to my parents paid off sooner rather than later. I already have $13,000 of the $20,000 saved so I'm hoping that this will be paid off ASAP!

My parents are having a garage sale this weekend and I am putting some things in it that I hope will sell and give me a little extra cash. :) I've earned over $65 this month from surveys and I have more coming in still. And I'm sure I will bring in at least another $100 from the garage sale.

I am still laying pretty low from the appendectomy, so I won't be out partying it up and spending much money. Ha! Like I ever go and really party it up! :) Hope you all are having a good week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I did not drop off the face of the earth

Sorry to have been gone and not been in touch at all. Last Monday night I had to go into the hospital and have my appendix removed. Ugh! What an ordeal! But thankfully I am doing much better and am getting back into the swing of things with life. It's amazing how something as simple as having an appendix removed can really throw a curve ball into life. Thankfully I have great medical insurance and so far I have yet to see a bill for any of this. We'll see if that status changes, but for now I'll enjoy not seeing any bills.

Since I was out from work all last week, I am still waiting for my review. Tomorrow it will be 13 weeks late!! We are scheduled to go to lunch and finally get this taken care of, but I'm not believing it until we are actually sitting in the restaurant all together. In my office, plans have a way of changing rather quickly. :( I have talked to 2 of my bosses a little bit about tomorrow's plan and they know I am anxious to have this done and they would like to mark it off the list as well. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, and hopefully I will have a big, fat raise to tell you all about. :)

In the meantime, I have lots of blog reading to catch up on. Sorry I haven't been around to any one's blogs lately. I hope to get all caught up by the end of next weekend. Happy Tuesday...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Just earned another $15....

I have completed some more surveys today and have just cashed in another $15 to be received in the next couple of weeks. That's $50 just between yesterday and today! Yeah! Let me know if you have any questions about surveys. If you are interested in giving it a try yourself there are 3 links off to the right that will take you to 3 of my favorite sites.....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pretty mellow spending weekend

I didn't spend any money on Friday, but spent a little money yesterday and a little bit more today. But, I still spent less than $15 for the whole weekend, so I'm happy. Friday night I had a family dinner to attend which was fun, great to see everyone and way too filling!! Ha! Saturday was the home opener football game, so of course that means a day of tailgating and again, eating WAY too much! I had made several kinds of cookies for tailgating, my brother provided the hot dogs and hamburgers and everyone else fills in with the extras. We usually take turns providing the main dish, but my brother told me this season that if I will bake for every game, he will take my turn at the main dish. Sounds like a good deal to me. :) Today, I have stayed home and done chores, made a quick trip to the grocery store and had a relatively relaxing day. I've spent some time online this evening and took some surveys and requested payment. Over the next couple of weeks I will be getting another $35 coming in. Yeah! This upcoming week is looking fairly quiet. My brother's birthday is on Thursday, but I already have his present, so I don't think I should be spending any money until probably next weekend. I should very easily be able to make my monthly goal of 20 no spend days again. :) Hope everyone else had a great weekend too!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

August Wrap up...

I was able to reach my goal of 20 no spend days, actually I had 22!! for the month which pleased me very much!!This month I was good!

Groceries: $108.85 ($28.85 over budget, I have changed the budget to $100 next month)
Gas: $80.00 (yeah! Right on the money!!)
Dining out: $45.34 (even better than last month)
Entertainment: $14.00
Gifts: $38.68
Clothing: $19.60

I earned $286!!! from surveys!

I also added $860.94 to my savings account! I'm hoping to keep up this habit of adding at least $800/month to my savings, that will really help me get this loan to my parents paid off in no time. :) That will make me a very, very happy girl!

Still no review at work. I have no idea when this will be happening. We have had an almost unbelievable, tragic event happen that we are all still reeling from. I think we are all still shell-shocked and I have no idea when we will be able to begin to function normally again. I wish I could tell you about it, but it has to be kept very hush, hush. We had a long company-wide meeting to discuss this event and we all kept saying how shocked we are and need some more info in order to process it and move on. We all, also need to talk about it, but we can really only discuss it with each other. It's very frustrating and tiring to be dealing with something like this. :(

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another August goal reached...

I was going for 20 no spend days, and as of today, I have 21! Yeah! Not too much else to report from my end, things have been pretty quiet which is good, means I haven't been spending too much money and things are looking good.

I still haven't had my review at work, I am really hoping that it happens next week, and that a raise is retroactive. This is starting to get ridiculous. This is not unusual for them to be running behind on them, but over 2 months is pretty late. And so far they have been making everyone elses raises retroactive, so I hope that bodes well for me.

I have a relatively quiet weekend planned and I'm looking forward to it. Staying home tonight, having some friends for dinner. Tomorrow, I will probably head to the open air market and pick up some fruits and veggies. Then if the weather is nice, I will head to the pool. Sunday I have a BBQ to go to and Monday I have some relatives coming for dinner. Other than that, I have picked up some books at the library and will probably plow through them.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy labor day weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Upcoming review at work

I have been at my job 7 years and 2 months today! The interesting thing about this is that I came to work here for only a week, just filling in for someone's vacation. I always joke that I must have done something right that first week! ;) As my 7 year anniversary was 2 months ago, I am 2 months late in having my annual review. I will be very curious to find out if my annual raise will be paid retroactively or if they will give me a bonus as they have done in the past when my review has been overdue. I have never asked for a raise, at any job I have held and when the raise has been offered, I have never tried countering. I am thinking that I would like to do that this time, but I don't even know how to go about it. Any suggestions? This past year has been a very trying one for our company. I feel that I am a very responsible and dependable employee and because of that sometimes I am taken for granted. I work for a very small company, one in which whenever someone is out, all work will fall to whomever is in the office to handle, regardless of whether it is your responsibility or not. A very close co-worker was out for a month when her father passed away and during that time, I really stepped up and took on many responsibilities that are not mine. I also worked an immense amount of overtime, however, being a salaried employee, I didn't benefit financially from it. I was just e-mailed my portion of my review to fill out, I will turn that in and wait for my supervisor to fill his section out and wait for our meeting. I really don't like review time, I mean, I know I am doing a good job and they don't have any complaints about me, but I always stress out about it anyway. Any suggestions you might I have to help eliminate this anxiety, I would really appreciate! Thanks!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Today was definitely a SPEND day

I had several errands to run and just about every one of them were going to cost me money. It started with a trip to the grocery store for a few things. $29.63 spent there, savings of $17.87 according to the tally on the bottom of my receipt. Next stop, Starbucks, thankfully I had a gift card, so I was able to treat myself to a skinny vanilla latte without spending any money. :) Next, off to Target for a few things and to meet up with my niece and nephew to purchase their new lunchboxes for school. It has become a tradition that I buy them a lunchbox every year, and I was proud of them for each picking fairly well made ones this year instead of the cheaply made ones they normally like. I also had to pick up several other things for myself, Target total, $41.33. Next off to the gas station, $34. At least that was less this time than it normally has been. Off to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, only $10, thank goodness for insurance!! When I got home and grabbed my mail, I was excited to see my Office Depot Worklife Rewards gift card in there and decided to head out and use it. I got my brother a Lowe's gift card for his birthday. Since he is doing a lot fix it type things around the house, I thought this would be a good gift idea. And since I was able to use the Office Depot gift card to buy it, it didn't cost me anything. :) I also picked up some colored pencils and other art supplies to put in stockings for Christmas. I'm going to a BBQ this evening and I have made a pasta salad for that; should be fun. So even though it was a spending day, I felt it could have been a lot worse on the wallet than it was. And I was able to get several errands done that I had been putting off, so all in all, it was a great day! Hope you all had a good one too!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wow! What a month for extra income...

here it is not even the end of the month and I have already brought in an extra $282 from surveys!! I have never had a month that has been this good! Wahoo! Not sure yet what I will do with all the extra money. So far it is just sitting in my ING Direct savings account earning 3% interest. I think I should do something fun with it this time, instead of just saving it. Any ideas??

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I just earned a $25 gift card from....

Regence Blue Shield, my medical insurance company. They have a really great program on their website full of useful information and programs you can participate in to better your health. And we all know better health is a frugalites best friend! The money you can save by being healthy is amazing! Funny that I would earn this gift card today, the day I am going to the Dr. for my annual physical! :) Anyway, on the website for Regence you can set up your account and view all of your past medical claims as well as keep a register of all medications you are taking. Keep a full review of any health issues you have had and participate in all kinds of programs, read great news articles, research health topics and so much more. For doing all of these things you can earn points, points you can then turn in for a $25 gift card to one of MANY retailers in your area. I'm really looking forward to receiving my $25 gift card to Bath and Body Works and will splurge on some fun stuff for myself. Fun!! I'm not sure if other insurance company's do this, but it might be worth checking it out. Who doesn't love a free gift card?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A No Spend weekend...

I have just spent an entire weekend busy doing all kinds of things I love, and I haven't spent a thing! Not one red cent! Friday afternoon I went to my Gramma's house and helped her with her new laptop. She is getting ready to go on an 8 week trip and is looking forward to keeping in touch with our large family via e-mail while she is gone. It was fun (?) and frustrating (!) trying to teach a 78 year old about her new computer and how laptops work differently than her usual desktop computer, but it also made me realize that we are never too old to learn something new. I hope I am as open to learning new things when I am her age. Then I went out with friends from work, we went bowling and I had a gift certificate for the bowling alley that I had won some time ago at an auction.

Saturday dawned a beautiful, sunny day and I jumped out of bed and headed out for a run, going to the beach then back up the 2 miles, mostly uphill to home. My sister in law called to say she was heading to the farmer's market and did I want to come along? Sure!! Sounds good to me! She and the kids picked me up and we wandered around the market and looked at all the beautiful produce and flowers. We went to Starbucks and I used a free coupon I had received for one of their new Vivanno drinks! All I can say is, YUM!!! If you haven't tried these yet, you really must, they are DELICIOUS!!! And full of all kinds of good for you stuff! When I came home I weeded my flower pots and cleaned up the dead flowers, basically spending the next couple of hours playing with my flowers. :) The rest of the day I spent reading a great book on my deck and finished the evening off with a movie I had checked out at the library.
This morning turned out to be another gorgeous day and I happily went out for another run, again to the beach and back. I love beautiful, sunny mornings! When I got home, I decided to sit on my deck again with a cup of tea and the Sunday paper. I have called my parents and chatted with them for awhile, I do this every Sunday morning, and now I am getting ready to bake an apple pie to take to a BBQ this afternoon with friends. What a wonderful way to spend a weekend. :) I hope you all have had as lovely weekend as I have.....

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've achieved one of my August goals

and it's only the halfway point in the month! I have added $857.94 to my savings account! Yeah! I'm wondering if I will be able to add any more before month end. We'll see! I don't have much going on for the rest of the month, so I'm hoping to add some more, maybe even bringing it up to $900 or $1000. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When politely complaining pays off...

Last week while I was on vacation I was contemplating getting rid of my cable tv service. Then I received a promotional piece of mail that had some really good pricing, so instead of cutting my cable, I upgraded! I know, seems a little silly when I was trying to save money. But I realized that I would really miss having cable tv and am not ready to make the cut yet. So, with the promotions they have going on right now, it would only cost me about $3 more per month and I will have about 50 more channels. So, sign me up!!! After calling to get this set up and waiting on hold for 45 minutes, only to be hung up on, I was a little upset. I finally get through to a customer service rep who tells me that instead of being $3 more per month it will be $6. Ok, still not too bad, but I was irritated that they were sending out incorrect info. So, I signed up for it anyway and sent a polite e-mail to the president of Comcast letting him know they are sending outdated pricing. I was nicely surprised with a $100 credit to my account, an additional $10/month reduced price and 1 free On Demand pay per view movie a month for the next 12 months!! Right on! I love it when I am pleasantly surprised like this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

From a child's perspective...

I had my niece (6) and my nephew (10) for a sleepover the other night. They live in a 4000' + house and have an entire room designated just as a playroom, a basketball court and fort in their backyard, always wearing new clothes, etc. I live in a 750' condo and tend to have fewer possessions than most. I like to think I live a more simple life. Anyway, my niece made several comments about how small my home is, and that I don't have very many "things." It was somewhat interesting to hear these things from a 6 year old. She asked me if I was ever going to get a new car and do I want to go shopping for new clothes, lots of things like this. Well, then finally she asked the big question I could tell had been eluding her so far. "Auntie, are you poor?" I was kind of taken aback! How do you answer something like that to a 6 year old? I told her that I live in a smaller home because I live alone and that I am a one income family so I have to be choosier about what I spend my money on. I also told her that I like to put a lot of my paycheck in the bank so that it is there in case I need it sometime, for an emergency. I didn't want to give her too much to overwhelm her with, but I wanted to get the basics across. My nephew was in the room, but not participating in the conversation. He did however speak up and ask me if I always put money into savings. Since he is older, I gave him more information and told him about my budget. He was very interested in this and wanted to hear more. My niece had gotten bored with the conversation at this point and was back to coloring, no longer interested in hearing whether I was poor or not. I was really proud of my nephew though and his interest in money and budgeting. He told me that he is saving up to buy a game he wants for his Nintendo DS, but he also thinks it might be time to start saving money for his first car. He says, "you know, Auntie, I want a really cool car and they are expensive, I should start saving." I imagine that when it comes down to buying his first car, he will be happy with anything. I know I was. :) I think this was probably my favorite part of my 10 day staycation! I was so proud of him!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Does anyone remember the name of the...

website where you can watch tv shows for free? For some reason the name has totally escaped me. I'm noticing lately that I don't watch much tv at all and am wondering if I should drop my cable tv service. There really aren't too many shows that I watch regularly, would I even miss them if I couldn't watch. I know a lot of television networks run their shows online too. Would I really miss cable tv? Just a thought. If anyone can help me out with the name of the website, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This staycation thing is really great...

I am really enjoying my staycation. I have been doing a whole lot of nothing and it has been fantastic!! I've been to the pool everyday for a couple of hours, been out walking every evening and have managed to really, really relax! The weather has been phenomenal too! I'm sure some people would think my time off is somewhat boring, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I did go to the eye dr. this morning and all was well there, still no need for glasses, yeah!! I've done a little shopping and have had a chance to catch up with several friends.

I have logged in to my work e-mail and taken care of a few things. My only reason for doing this is because the few minutes it takes me to care of a few things now, will make it so much easier when I return to work next Monday.

I've even managed to have 2 no spend days already! Still it's going to be tough to reach my goal of 20 no spend days for the month, but I love a good challenge! I've already figured out who I am going to put away the $800 into my savings this month, so that's great! It looks like I will be adding at least $850!! Maybe even $900!!

I hope you are all having a really great week!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August goals..

My big goal for this month will be to add $800 to my savings account. This seems so small compared to last month when I added over $3600, but $800 seems achievable; while still making it a bit of a challenge.

I'm also hoping to have 20 no spend days again. I am on vacation the first 10 days of the month, so this will really be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to trying to get there.

I have finally lost the weight I had been working to achieve, so this month will be all about maintaining it. This might be easier than I think, I am disgusted by the high prices of food when I go grocery shopping, so that right there might keep my weight down. I will be much more choosy when shopping and won't be spending money on junk food. I'll go to the open air market for fruits and veggies which are way more affordable there, so that will help.

And a less measurable goal will be for me to work on having a more positive outlook on life and being happier. I don't feel like I have been as happy as I usually am and would like to figure out why this is and what I need to do to get back to being happier.

Well folks, those are my goals for August! I'll keep you posted on my progress. :) I'm off to enjoy my day off and head to the pool!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July wrap up....

July seems to have been the fastest month yet this year! I can hardly believe we only have 5 months left of 2008!! July was a great month for me, and I hope it was for you as well.

I was able to keep to 20 no spend days for the month which pleased me very much!!

This month I was good!
  • Groceries: $84.34 ($4.34 over budget, but I am usually so far under this doesn't bother me)
  • Gas: $79.00 (yeah! $1 under budget!!)
  • Dining out: $54.42 (much better than last month)
  • Entertainment: $10.00
  • Gifts: $19.38
  • Clothing: $19.60

I earned $50.92 from surveys and freebies I received were Nivea face cream, Aveeno night cream and a year membership to Blockbuster Rewards. (my payment for the $125 focus group won't hit until next month).

I also added $3653 to my savings account. Next month I will add $700 from my paychecks and $85.44 from eBates. I am going to be on vacation Aug. 1-10, but the things I have planned should keep my spending in check, so I am anticipating another good savings month. Not as good as last month because I am not expecting big payments, but with my frugal ways, I'm sure I will be able to add another healthy chunk to boost my savings.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer, getting out and enjoying some time outdoors! I will check in periodically while I'm on vacation, but may not post much, depends on what I end up doing. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Upcoming stay-cation

I am taking this Friday off and all of next week, so I have been trying to figure out what do with my time off. For starters, I will finally take advantage of the pool at my condo. I have yet to go in, so I am looking forward to this. There will also be a big festival in town the last 3 days I am off and I know I will probably go to that each day. It's a fun place to run into people I haven't seen in years. ;) I'm going to a BBQ for friend's birthday and I will be taking a day trip to see another friend I haven't seen in a really long time. Of course, I'm sure I will spend some time out on the lake water skiing. I'm also going to spend some time cleaning out my storage closet and finding things for my parents garage sale that will be held in a couple of weeks. So, now that I have figured all of that out, I don't think I will have much free time to worry about how to fill my days! I'm hoping to also have a couple of lunches and dinners with various friends that I have a hard time finding time to catch up with. I'm really looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing during my 10 days off.

Has anyone else done a stay-cation this summer? Did you think you spent more or less money than when you travel on a regular vacation? I'm hoping to keep the expenses down, but I also don't want to skimp on experiences, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm going on a trip in September or October to visit a friend in Arizona, so I will travel for that one. But I have 4 weeks of paid vacation each year now, so I think I will probably end up doing a lot of time off at home. Which is just fine with me....any day off from work that I am being paid for is a good day in my book!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

This weekend is looking to be another fairly relaxing and mellow one. I am going to participate all 3 days in the survey that will earn me $125. A friend is coming over and we are going to the open air market in town and will probably grab a coffee. (I have a gift card) Sunday will be another day of chores and laundry probably. I got a call from the library that some books I had ordered are in, so I'll pick those up tonight on my way home today.

I was invited to go water-skiing for the weekend with some friends and I seriously considering it. My friends are leaving today and going to be gone all next week on their vacation. They had asked if I wanted to join them Friday-Sunday. I know it would a lot of fun, but it's a 4 hour drive each way and then camping for 2 nights. I decided that I didn't want to drive that far for only 2 nights, plus most of the first day would be setting everything up. So, I opted to stay home and save the money. Maybe next year we can plan it so that I can go for a longer time. Besides, the weather forecast doesn't look that great for the weekend and that would really tick me off if I drove that far and then had crummy weather.

And I must wash my car and vacuum it out, it is filthy! Ugh, not a chore I enjoy at all, but it must be done. So, what do you have planned for the weekend?? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What a lovely weekend....

I had the most relaxing weekend, it was great! Friday night I went home, sat out on my deck with a glass of wine and a good book. I watched the sun set and felt very peaceful. Saturday morning I woke up quite early and just laid in bed for awhile listening to the birds chirp and looking at the beautiful sunny day ahead. When I finally got up, I made a nice cup of tea and read the morning paper. My neighbor was out of town, so I read his paper, he doesn't mind. Then I slowly started on chores I needed to do, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc. But I was sidetracked when I went out to sweep my deck and ended up playing with my flowers and cleaning them up for about 2 hours. :) Saturday evening I was suppose to go to a party, but I didn't feel like it, I was completely enjoying my quiet, solitary weekend and wasn't feeling too social, so I called the host and made my regrets, then sat down again with my book and read for several hours. Sunday dawned another sunny, beautiful day and I was feeling so content. I spent the day in much the same way I spent my Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then late yesterday afternoon a friend called to see if I wanted to go see Mamma Mia, so I decided it was time to get out of the house and be somewhat social. I am so glad I said yes, we had the best time!! I don't think I have laughed so hard in such a long time. It was a great show and we had a blast! What a great weekend!!! And I only spent $10 for all that fun!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I have just been invited to participate

in a 3 day survey next weekend. I will log on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and answer the questions necessary each day. It is not expected to take longer than 30-45 minutes each day and when I am done, I will earn $125!! Now that is what I like to see! A survey that really pays you for your time. I do a lot of surveys and so far this year I have earned $316.40 for my time. I usually do the quick little ones that don't take much time, but also don't pay a lot. They are fast and come frequently. It usually doesn't take long for me to build up to a $10 or $20 check. Some nice extra pocket money, without a lot of effort.

If you are interested in trying out surveys for a little extra cash flow, there are 2 links in the sidebar to the right which will take you to 2 of the sites I like. Or leave me a comment with your e-mail and I can send you referrals for any others. Sometimes I am asked to try new products which they send to you, and that is always fun to be able to try something new without having to pay for them, and then getting paid to try them.

It's fun and a great way to earn some extra money!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So far this has saved me $3000 and counting....

When I moved into my condo last year, I was the very first person to move in to the complex and they are still doing construction. While construction is going on and until every unit is sold, owners do not have to pay condo association dues. I love this! Right now the last building is set to open up for selling sometime in September and I don't imagine they will sell out before the end of the year. In the meantime I have been continuing to keep the amount in my budget and have been making the payments to myself in the form of savings deposits. What an easy way to add $2400/year to my savings!! This will really help me get the money together to pay the loan to my parents. I'm doing really well on that front and am actually looking forward to writing them a check for $10,000 next April. If all goes really well, I can pay the final $10,000 off to them in October 2009. But I will keep you posted on that. So for now, I hope the units continue this slow selling process and that it is sometime next year before I have to start paying my monthly dues. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July goal reached, yeah!!!

Finally, yesterday I received my economic stimulus check, so what did I do with it? I took it right to the bank and deposited into my savings and stimulated my account! :) With that deposit and some other small checks I had, I added another $700 to my savings. This brings my July savings to $3650! Yeah! And I was hoping to at least add $3600, so I am really happy to have surpassed that. And we are only at the halfway point of the month, so I'll see what else I might be able to add before the 31st.

So, did you receive a stimulus check? And if so, what did you do with it?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

D'oh! I was fooled.....

Last night I came home from work, grabbed my mail and headed into my condo. I saw an envelope from the US Treasury and on the back in big red letting it says, Stimulus payment! Oh yeah I think, I'm finally going to be stimulated!! But no, I was fooled! It was a confirmation letter stating that yes I will be receiving my Economic Stimulus check in the amount of $600 and if I don't receive it in 6-8 weeks of this letter I should contact them at blah, blah, blah! OK, I know they sent this out before and my check is in the very last batch to go out, which is suppose to mail this Friday, so it should be here sometime next week, but do they really have to send 2 notifications of this? That seems like a very unnecessary expense they have gone to for this thing! Sheesh! I can only imagine how many more ways they find to waste money....

So darn it, no stimulus check yet, but I'm hoping it comes early next week! I'll keep you posted. Oh, and when I receive it, I won't be going out shopping, instead it will be going right to my savings account! Yeah!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July is off to a great start...

so far this month I have added the $2950 to my savings and I am only $650 away from my goal of adding $3600. And I still have yet to be "stimulated" by our government! I'm hoping that this will mean that I am going to surpass this goal and add even more to it. ;)

Other categories in my budget are looking to stay pretty low this month. I love summer, it seems the time of year where I spend the least amount of money! Yeah! I have really been enjoying our nice weather lately, sitting out on my deck reading or going for walks. It's been great! And with it staying light later and later, I am not having to turn on the lights in my condo, so definitely saving money there. Also, I have been using my BBQ to cook with, oh, I love the smell of BBQ! :)

I had a nice quiet weekend at home, not spending much money at all. I went grocery shopping and spent $32.80, other than that, I spent no money all weekend! I watch the free fireworks show at the church next door to my condo! Went to the library twice and read a ton, just enjoying being outside.

I hope everyone else is having a great summer too!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday! And a very enjoyable weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Main Goal for July

Now that we are at the halfway point of the year I decided to take a look at where I am now and where I would like to be 6 months from now. I am saving like a madwoman to get the money to pay my parents back. I want this monkey off my back and the sooner the better. So, with that said, my main goal for July is to add $3600 to my savings account, hopefully more. To do this I will add the $2200 from the land lease money, my $600 economic stimulus check and $700 from my mid-month paycheck. I'm also hoping that my continuing to be frugal and smart with my spending, I can add more than this. I will also add any monies I get from surveys and I have a $20 rebate that should come in this month too. And as always, I am keeping my eye out for money everywhere. So far this year I have found $116.58 on the ground and everywhere. OK, most of that was from the $60 + bag of quarters I found, but still, that's a hefty chunk of change to find. :)

Happy Saving!!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

June wrap up....

Well, I started out really well, then faltered a bit, but reigned it back in for a fairly good finish. I'm pleased.

I was able to keep to 16 no spend days for the month which I really didn't think I would accomplish since I had only 5 by the middle of the month. Very pleased with that. In the past once I feel I have failed, I decide oh well, I've blown it, I may as well give up this month, I'll try to get back on track next month. This month I was good!

Groceries: $37.01 (that really is my month total, my parents gave me tons of their food when they unpacked and moved into their new house, so I have non-perishables coming out my ears!) :)
Gas: $80.00
Dining out: $87.97(OUCH!)
Entertainment: $26.00
Gifts: $88.21
Clothing: Nada!!

I earned $75 from surveys and surprisingly this month I wasn't sent any freebies. Darn it!

I also put $1312.33 into my savings account. Next month will be great because I will be able to add my stimulus check, my land lease money and $700 from my paychecks. I'm making a goal of saving $3600 next month. Let's hope I can do it.

I hope everyone has had a great June and is looking forward to a safe and happy 4th of July!!

Received my money

from our land lease! yeah! It was so nice to open the mailbox on Saturday, first to see there were no bills, then to see that my check came for the oil land lease. I will take that to the bank this afternoon and will tomorrow send the $2200 to my ING account. I'm keeping the remaining $50 to do something nice for myself. :) Have to spoil ourselves a little bit, don't you think? It will be great to add this to my savings and let it earn some interest, even 3% is better than nothing. I might be a CD with it, but not sure yet, I'll keep looking at the rates.

Monday, June 23, 2008

That was definitely a frugal weekend....

I didn't spend anything, not one dime!! I can not believe I didn't spend anything all weekend, and I was busy too! I didn't have to fill up the car yet either, that will probably be tomorrow. I'm sure it helps that I stayed home all day yesterday. Unfortunately that was because I had such a horrible migraine and couldn't stand the thought of even getting up or eating. Ugh! Definitely not the way I would have chosen to spend the day if I had a choice. Hmm! Still not feeling great today, but doing better.

Did anyone do anything fun this past weekend?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Frugal weekend ahead....

Yeah! I am hoping to have a very frugal weekend. I have plans tonight, a BBQ with family and friends. I made a big pasta salad for that. Tomorrow I am going to a skincare party, I'm not planning on ordering anything, but a gal I work with asked if I would place an order for her. So, I get to go to the party and not have to feel weird about not ordering. :) Sunday should be a pretty mellow day at home, doing chores and relaxing. I'll probably have to fill up the gas tank this weekend which never fails to amaze me how much it can cost to fill up a Honda Civic, but thankfully it usually lasts me at least 2 weeks. So, other than gas, I don't think I will be spending any money this weekend.

Do you have any plans this weekend? Do you think you will spend a little or a lot?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just when I was doing so well...

I had been doing so well so far for June, not spending too much money on food or eating out. Ugh! Then came the weekend and I blew it! This just reinforces why I need to go to the grocery store! I worked in grocery stores for 14 years, so that must be why I dislike shopping so much, but I have to get over it! Friday night, I didn't feel like going to the store, so I ordered a pizza and salad; $18. Saturday, still didn't feel like shopping, so I went to McDonalds, >$7. Sunday I had to go to the store for my share of Father's day dinner, so what do I do? I only buy what I need to make my share of dinner. Why didn't I do more shopping while I was there? Because I was irritated that it was so busy and all I wanted to do was get what I really needed and get out of there. So, I had yesterday off from work, would have been great to go shopping in the middle of the day when it's not busy, but no, I called my aunt to see if I could take her to lunch for her birthday which was last month, $35. Who do I think I am? The Queen of Sheba? Yikes!! I really, really need to get my spoiled butt to the grocery store and pronto!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nearly the middle of June already...

where is this month going? Time is flying by! I am doing pretty well sticking to my small spending plan, but I really, really need to go grocery shopping. It's already the 13th, and I haven't gone to the grocery store yet! Surprisingly I haven't spent that much eating out either. But, I have to go to the store so I can at least cook some real and balanced meals.

Today, I took another vacation day, my mom took the day off too and we had a great time. We went to a furniture store that was about an hour away that we had been meaning to go for several months now. Then we went to the art festival that was going on in town, wandered around quite a bit and just checked everything out, didn't buy a darn thing though. :)

I'm looking forward to a nice long weekend, I have Monday off too. Yeah! ;) Not too much planned for the weekend, so hoping to not spend too much money. I will get to the grocery store though, I have to! I hope everyone has a great weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Taking a vacation day

this Friday, yeah! I have too much vacation time on the books and if I don't use it up soon, I will lose it. No way I was going to let that happen, so I am taking the day off. Unfortunately it's going to be one of those days with lots of errands, which means lots of money spent! Darn it! Oh well, it must be done. I am getting my eyebrows waxed first thing, using a gift certificate for this, so that will be nice, and I have a Starbucks gift card that I will probably use to start the day. Then I am going to get my hair done, color and cut, this should cost me about $100!! Ugh! Next up is taking the car in for service, hopefully this will be $250 or less, oh well, also needs to be done. And, I must remind myself, it's cheaper to maintain a car than it is to replace one. I also have a Dr. appt later in the afternoon. Boy oh boy, doesn't this sound like a fun filled day off??

Anyway, a day off from work is never a bad thing, especially when you are still getting paid for it! :) Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Debt payoff

I have changed my mind again in regards to how I am going to pay off this loan to my parents. What can I say, I'm a woman, it's my prerogative to change my mind! :) Since they still haven't done anything with the check I gave them almost 2 months ago, I can tell they aren't desperate for the money. So, I have decided that next April when the next payment is due, I will pay them $10,000, then the following April, I will pay them another $10,000 and be done with it. Along with the $2100 I have already paid them, I will have paid them back a total of $22,100 which is still higher than what I would owe them at 5% over 3 years on the original $20,000 ($21579). So, not only will I be glad to have it paid off, they will get a deal too. And I don't have to remember to write them a check every 3 months.

Now, if I could just get them to deposit the check I gave them already! Sheesh! Does anyone else get irritated when it takes people so long to go to the bank with checks you have written them???

Monday, June 2, 2008

May wrap up....

May is done, boy that went!! May wasn't nearly as good a small spending month as April had been! Darn it! I must get back to my frugal ways....

Groceries: $56.18
Gas: $74.01
Dining out: $117.36 (OUCH!) I even bought my lunch 4 days this month, up until now I had brought my lunch every day this year.
Entertainment: Nothing!!
Gifts: $89.82
Clothing: Nada!!

And to top it all off, I had 15 No Spend Days!!

I also earned $49.80from surveys. I also received my eBates check of $123.46 and my Office Depot Worklife Rewards of $142.57 which I turned in for gift cards, one of which is a $100 Visa Gift Card which will really help out with the grocery budget next month. Hoping to use that to build back up my pantry again. I have been cleaning it out for awhile and now it has that Mother Hubbard effect. In May I also received a free brick of cheese from the grocery store and 2 cans of tomato soup that were a trial. Oh, and 2 rolls of paper towels which should last a really, really long time since I mostly use cloth napkins and towels for everything.

For June I would like to get back to my more frugal ways again, I felt like some of my spending was really out of control in May and that to me is a really unsettling feeling. My money will be coming in, in June for the mineral farm land lease so that will be nice to add to my savings; and I am forcing myself through auto draft to save another $1000 from my payroll to savings. That should really give the savings a boost, and if it's not in my checking account, I can't spend it! :) So, here's to a much more frugal June than May was!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thoughts on regifting......

Ok, so I want to know what you all think about this. I received an external hard drive that I have no use for, I already have one, but the problem is, I don't have any documentation to return it. I do however have a graduation gift that I need in a couple of weeks for a very good friend who I know would like it. He would have no idea where I got this from or that I am regifting it. Is it ok for me to give it to him? Let me know if this is tacky or ok, thanks! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mineral farm land money

in yesterdays mail I received confirmation from the bank that the lease will be paid out to me by June 25th. I had to send in the endorsed bank draft, then they submit it for payment from the company leasing our land, who has 30 (banking) days to pay. So, I was excited to see that all the paperwork had been taken care of and that I should be receiving my $2250 by late June. Yeah! Just in time to make my 2nd $2100 payment to my parents. Oh well, at least I won't have to take the money out of my savings to make the payment to them. That will make it easier.

Has anyone else ever dealt with bank drafts like this before? The whole thing is new to me and I'm somewhat concerned about how they work.....

Friday, May 16, 2008

So, I think I have decided what to do about paying

back my parents. Thank you to all of you who weighed in on this, I appreciate your advice greatly!! I am going to pay them $2100 every 3 months through April 2010. That final payment will actually be $4779.05, but it's the best I could do to get it paid off exactly 3 years after I borrowed it. Although I liked the idea of leaving it in my savings and collecting the interest myself, I think the thrill I will get out of paying this down sooner to them will be so much more worth the interest I would be earning. It will be really nice to update my spreadsheet with a 10% reduction in debt every few months. Now, if I could just get them to remember to take the first check I wrote them to the bank. Sheesh! I wrote it 4 weeks ago! At this rate, they will have 2 checks to take in before they know it! Oh well, at least I know I have written it to them. Thanks again to all who left me comments, I really do appreciate it!

Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rethinking my payment plan...

to my parents. What do you all think of this? I was going to start paying them back $2100 every 3 months. They are expecting payment once a year of $2100 for the next 10 years. But due to the misunderstanding of the payment terms, I want to get this paid back to them ASAP. As in, by April 2010, I want this debt to them paid off. But I was thinking about it this weekend and since they aren't expecting another payment from me until next April, why don't I wait and make my next payment then? Now, I could make them a payment then of $10,000 and pay the balance the following April. OR, I could just pay the $2100 as expected and the following April (2010) pay the balance in full. The reason I started thinking about this was that if I left the money in my savings longer, rather than paying the $2100 every 3 months, I could take advantage of earning more interest on my money while it sits there. So, what would you do? Either way, I am going to have this paid off to them in April 2010, making the length of the loan 3 years instead of 11 (10 years of payments of $2100, 1 year after the loan was made.) Help! I really need some feedback on this one! What to do, what to do.....Thanks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Well, we signed a lease on the mineral farm land

So, the meeting with my relatives and the lawyers yesterday was interesting, to say the least, but thankfully it was also productive. We came to a decision on the 3 offers and signed our leases today and sent them back to the company. Now, we wait, 30 days from now I will have a cashier's check for the initial land lease, yeah! From there, we wait until drilling begins, hope for the best and big royalty checks! :) I'm not getting my hopes up too much, I will feel very blessed with anything at all that we make off this land, and if all it amounts to is the initial land lease payment, I will be happy with that too.

Now, for the entertainment part of the meeting, as expected, several of my cousins had already signed the original lease offer we received about a month ago for a piddly amount and no option for royalties. Now at the meeting while seeing the other offers, they asked if they could switch lease options. Um no! They didn't seem to understand that they had signed a legal leasing document and there was nothing they could do about it. I'm sure they are kicking themselves about it now, but it was their own fault for jumping so quickly. That's not to say that if we had waited longer we might have gotten a better offer too, but maybe we wouldn't have either, so we made the best decision that we could with what we had. Hopefully it works out for us, but like I said, if I never get anymore than the original lease payment, I'm happy with that.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Let the bidding begin...

About a month ago, I received a message from my brother that a company in Montana wanted to lease our land in North Dakota to drill for oil. Well, since then, we have been approached by 2 other companies that also would like to lease our land. So, tomorrow my brother and I will join several of our cousins, and an aunt and uncle to discuss our options with an attorney and try to figure out what best to do. So far the best offer I have seen is for $500/acre and a 3/16th royalties. I have done some research about the land in North Dakota and am shocked to find out there is SO MUCH information online right now in regards to this. Apparently North Dakota is becoming a very popular place for this type of drilling, so we'll see what comes of it. Should be interesting. If nothing else, it will be amusing to watch some of my cousins foam at the mouth at the thought of this money. I'll let you know what I find out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April wrap up...

Wow, April went fast and I can hardly believe that tomorrow is May Day!! April was by far the smallest spending month I have had in ages. I can't believe how little I spent and yet I didn't feel like I was living so frugally. I had a great month.

Groceries: $51.08
Gas: $55.00
Dining out: $23.97
Entertainment: Nothing!!
Donation: $50.00
Gifts: $40.83
Clothing: Nada!!

And to top it all off, I had 25 glorius No Spend Days!!

I also earned $32.60 from surveys and I found a bag of change while out walking that had over $60 in quarters! That was crazy! I have found lots of money while out walking, usually just small change on the ground, but this was a big find!

Next month is looking to be a little tight again, as I am working really hard to get the money together to pay off my parents ASAP, but I also have some extra money coming in from eBates and a gift card from Office Depot Worklife Rewards that will be almost $150. I can use that to buy other gift cards, like Visa that I can use for everyday expenses.

I will be watching my niece and nephew for 4 days the first weekend of May and will be staying at their house. And I will be getting paid from my brother for it. Normally I would not let them pay me, but they are insisting as it is for several days. OK, I'll let them. :)

I won't be getting my economic stimulus check until July, but when that comes, it will be going straight in to my Roth IRA. While I am working to get the money to pay my parents back, I will still be fully funding my Roth. That is non-negotiable!! I should be able to pay them another $4200 before the end of the year. Yeah!

So, I hope everyone had a great April and with all the showers we had here, we should be seeing some beautiful May flowers.....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I am a woman on a mission.....

Last week I made my first loan payment back to my parents. They loaned me $20,000 to help with the down payment on my condo a year ago. This is why I hate borrowing money from family and/or friends...

So, I was sitting in my parents kitchen yesterday and I asked my mom if she had given the check to my step dad to take to the bank yet. (She tends to forget stuff like that.) He asks what the check is for and I tell him the first payment on the loan. Now, when we set up the loan I was told I could pay them back starting one year after I borrowed it and I could either make annual payments or monthly payments, whichever was easier for me. I thought I would go with annual payments, one less bill to worry about monthly. The terms of the loan were a straight 5% of the total, my understanding was making the total $21,000. Hence, my first payment was $2100. He asked why I wrote it for that much and I explained that it was 1/10th of what I owed and I would pay that same amount annually. He then went into this long winded explanation of APR's and amortization schedules, all of which I understand, so I tuned him out for the next 20 minutes. When he was done, I explained that I understood all of that, but it was my understanding that the interest was again, a straight 5% of the total, but if I was wrong, please, let's get this figured out now so I know exactly what I owe at any time. Oh no! He has this way of trying to make you feel dumb when he is talking to you and says, it's fine, we'll do it your way, even though that wasn't his understanding of the loan terms. UGH!! My poor mom is sitting there very uncomfortably when he looks at her and says, what do you think? She says she is fine with either way, and let's just keep it the way I understood it to be. Then he says, well, it probably won't come out that much different anyway. UGH! Well, now you can bet they are going to get their money back much faster than over the next 10 years! I want this paid back to them ASAP!!! So, it will now be my mission to be able to write them a check every few months for the $2100 and have this monkey off my back sooner rather than later!

And that my friends is why I don't like borrowing money from friends or family!

And by the way, I wanted to say to my step dad, that it isn't his money anyway, it's money my mom got from life insurance when my dad passed away, so what the hell is he so worried about?? But I refrained.......for now! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oooh money has been tight this month...

but it is my own doing, so I really can't complain too much! I have set some lofty savings goals for myself and I am doing my best to stick to them. I made my first loan payment back to my parents and it felt really good! I'm hoping to be able to make another one to them in 6 months instead of waiting until next year.

I also have been aggressively contributing to my Roth IRA and adding money back into my savings that I took out to make that first loan payment. Next month it's looking a little tight too, but I think I can do it! I have looked at the money coming in and going out and I feel pretty good about the savings I can accumulate if I just stick to it! June is looking to be much better as that extra paycheck month will hit at the end of May, making things a little looser in the wallet. Of course, knowing me, I will just think that means I can put more in savings. I really should try to do something nice for myself during this time.

As for April, I have done really, really well so far! I am on day 18 of no spending this month and I should hit at least 23 if not 24 before month end. Groceries, I have only spent $45 on and gas is still at $31. Not much action in my wallet this month for sure. It's strange to see so little activity, but I'm liking it! :)

I hope everyone else is having a great April too!

Friday, April 11, 2008

April check-in.....

1/3 of the month is gone and I am doing really, really well on my budget this month! So far, I have not eaten out at all and I have had 8 no spend days! 9 if you count today and I don't anticipate any money leaving my wallet today either. I did go grocery shopping the other day and my total after the reimbursements from work means I spent $45.36. I really don't think I will need to get groceries for at least another week or so. Yeah! Gas, I have spent $31 and the needle has barely left the full line, which means this should be good for quite awhile too. Still no new clothes and no entertainment costs, although last night my mom and I went to a movie, but I had a gift card and she bought the snacks. I'm heading to the library after work today and probably stopping by Blockbuster, I have a gift card for there too. So far, April is indeed looking like a very small spending month for me. I hope this continues for the rest of the month.

This weekend is suppose to be the nicest weather we have had yet this year, maybe even up to 70* on Saturday! Yeah! I can sit out on my deck with a good book and a glass of wine! :) Hope everyone has a fantastically frugal weekend!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wow, groceries are getting expensive

I stopped at the grocery store on my home from work today, with my list in hand and I only picked up 3 items that weren't on my list, but were on sale. I think I contemplated EVERY single thing I put in my cart! I don't think I have ever done that! I got out of there for $65, of which $19 will be re-imbursed from work for some office supplies and a birthday treat for a co-worker, but still, how could I have spent$46 on food just for me?! At least when I got home the groceries filled up my cupboards and I should be good for quite awhile, but still!! Sheesh! I will definitely have to really keep my eye out for sale items and stock up when I can. I am pretty good at buying the same things all the time so I know my prices and I know a lot of items I can get cheaper at Target, so I will start to do that. I am also happy that the farmer's market is opening next week and is right on my way home from work, so this should help out immensely! :)

Is anyone else getting as frustrated with the high cost of groceries?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What a nice surprise for a Monday morning...

This morning I get to work early and log on to my e-mail. There is a message from my brother with "inheritance" in the subject line. Hmmm, I think, I wonder what that's about. I quickly look at the calendar to make sure it's not April Fool's day, he is famous for pulling pranks on me. In the e-mail he tells me that our dad's aunt's estate, she passed away at least 15 years ago and at the time had left us some mineral farm land in North Dakota and some money, is contacting us again. This time someone wants to "lease" our mineral farmland for $675 each. My brother didn't give me many details of it or didn't have the letter at work with him, but he was writing to let me know that they were trying to locate me and several of our cousins, there are 52 of us on this side of our family!!! He's going to call me tonight with the details and who I need to contact so that I can find out more about it as well. Should be interesting and would certainly be nice to gain some extra money. I'll let you know what I find out.

On another topic, today is my 6th no spend day this month! I'm hoping to have 20 no spend days for the entire month, so I think I am off to a stellar start! :) I know I have to stop at the gas station tomorrow morning and probably at the grocery store for a couple of things on the way home, probably won't have to buy much the rest of the week.

Oh, and I did treat myself this morning with a latte using a gift card on my way to work. ;)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Omaha Steak review

OK, so I got home from work yesterday and there was the lovely, HUGE Styrofoam cooler on my doorstep, it looked lovely, I must say! So, I quickly lug it inside, and I must say it is HEAVY!! I open it up and am blasted with coldness. A good sign since there is meat packed in there. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning sorting through all that is in there. Oh how fun! I sort it all out and organize everything, double check my packing slip against the inventory and am pleasantly surprised, there is an extra bottle of steak seasoning. :) I rearrange everything in my freezer and just barely get all my new stuff in there. It's so full now it's pretty dark in there because the light is now being covered up by all the meat! Hmm, what to have for dinner tonight? I decide to try the burgers out because I have buns in the freezer too. I pull out 2 patties, have to cook one for my lunch for tomorrow too, and 2 buns to thaw out. I go outside, oh by the way, it's the warmest day we have had this year and the sun is shining, and fire up my new BBQ that my parents gave me for my birthday! I can hardly wait to try these burgers, they are really big and look really great! I swear it took the absolute longest time EVER for that meat to cook, I think that's just because I was so excited though! ;) Finally they are done and I am happy to report, there was minimal shrinking, a sure sign of good hamburger is minimal shrinking, less fat! I get it on the bun, add all my condiments, grab a beer and sit down to eat. OMG, this burger was DELISH!!! Yeah! I'm so pleased! And lucky me, all I can think is, I am having one for lunch tomorrow too! Oh, it was heavenly and I'm quite pleased that there are 18 more of these burgers in my freezer along with a wide variety of steaks. Yum Yum! Can't wait to try more of these great treats this weekend. Yeah, I am happy that this venture turned out so well and am already dreaming of what I will want to order next time. I just hope I get another gift certificate again and can find a great online savings code to really stretch my dollars. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Oh, the bank can be so irritating...

I log on and check my bank balance every morning, just to keep tabs on my checkbook and verify what has cleared. Well today, for the 3rd time this year, I have had to contact the bank because they have cleared checks for the wrong amount. This time it was only $.10 over what I had written it for and the store had shanked it as, but this is the 3rd time this year!!! I wonder how many of us are losing money by not paying closer attention to this. And why is it that each of these times, they have cleared the check for amounts over what I wrote them for, never less than? Hmmm! I guess I will have to continue to keep tabs on this, very irritating for sure!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April better be a small spending month...

I was crunching some numbers this afternoon, wanting to know exactly where I would be financially this month. I'm happy to report that I don't have much planned this much, so it should be pretty easy to get by on what I think I will have to spend. As I said earlier, I am hoping to have at least 20 no spend days this month, I think, given the numbers I saw this afternoon, that will be easier than I thought. It looks like I will have only $250 for gas, food and any other necessities. I could put less in savings and have more to spend, but I don't want to. I think I will be just fine with the $250 and if something comes up, I know there is money in savings if I really, really need it. It's nice that the weather is starting to get better too, I can go out and do more that won't cost me anything. Plus, tomorrow my Omaha Steaks order will arrive giving me lots of food to eat as well as what I already have on hand from my big shopping trip last weekend. So, I have another challenge for myself this month, I'm up for it, bring it on!!!

OK, to be fair, I also have lots of gift cards if I get a real hankering to spoil myself at all. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March wrap up

Well, I was doing fantastically, staying under-budget in SO many categories for March, right up until the very end. Last weekend shot the budget all to, well you know!

I went over my grocery budget by $16.03!

Gas budget was also over by $.01, darn nozzle!!!

Electricity was over by $19.76, which I guess isn't too bad, it was only $69.76 for 2 months!!!!

I had to pay an extra $570 for my property taxes too!!

And my savings was under by $55!!!

On the positive side of things, I had 20 No Spend Days! And I only spent $28.66 eating out for the month. I also overpaid my mortgage, adding $103.61 to principal, so that helps.

I also earned $29.10 from surveys, $10 referral to my ING account and got loads of free stuff in the mail!!!

I'm hoping for a very quiet April!!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Drop in net worth

I decided to add the debt to my parents into my net worth total. UGH! Boy did that make it look ugly!!! But, I think seeing it there will really motivate me to pay it off sooner and will give me a more clear picture of exactly where my finances are. At least next month I will see the loan drop by 10% as I make my first annual payment to them. :) Easy come, easy go....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finishing up March...

I hope on a high note. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow and other than hosting dinner for my girlfriends, I don't have much planned. I should end the month with 20 no spend days!! I ended up doing a pretty major grocery shopping trip yesterday and have stocked up on quite a bit of food. This should keep my April grocery spending in check. Also, I received a gift card for Omaha Steaks, and placed my order on Friday, this should be arriving on Thursday. I've never ordered from them before, but I'm excited to see what the products are like. This will really stock my freezer up and I shouldn't have to buy any meat at all for the next couple months. I'll let you know how it is.

I filled the gas tank this morning too, which usually last for me about 2 weeks or more. If all goes well, I should only have to buy gas one time in April.

I am challenging myself to spend less than $50 eating out in April as well as having at least 20 no spend days. Also, no buying clothes in April.

April my first annual payment is due to my parents for the money they loaned me for my condo down payment. I will be paying them $2100/once a year for 10 years. I'm hoping to have it paid off sooner than 10 years though, I don't like owing money, especially to family. I know they don't mind, but it makes me feel strange owing money to family.

Other than that, I don't anticipate much excitement in the month of April. I would be very happy if this rainy, snowy, crappy weather would subside and the sun would come out. I'd really like to pull out the flipflops and dust them off! Let the sunshine!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

A part-time job in my future???

A customer/friend of my current employer is taking me to lunch on Tuesday and would like to discuss hiring a part time bookkeeper. He wants to know what to pay someone and discuss the job. He didn't say he wants to offer me the job, but I think if I told him I was interested he would be willing to hire me. He wants someone for only about 5-7 hours a week which would be easy for me to fit into my schedule, he pays really well and we already get along great and know each other quite well. The duties he mentioned on the phone today are already things that I do at my regular job, so the learning curve would be minimal, but the extra pay could really help me attain and exceed some of my goals. I'm really looking forward to having lunch with him on Tuesday and I will keep you all posted on how it goes. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I hope you all have fabulous plans! If it stops snowing here, I will be quite happy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A great day of mail

The other day I opened my mailbox to find all kinds of fun stuff. Checks from 3 different survey companies, a survey to fill out and mail in with a $1 bill in the envelope and a product to test for the next week that I will later fill out a survey on and be paid $8 for participating. Not a single bill to be paid was in the mailbox, nor was there any junk mail. Yeah! What a fun day to open the mail. ;) I look forward to more of these days, hoping they come more frequently.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random thoughts....

This past weekend I helped my parents clean their new house, they should finally be able to move in next weekend. UGH, what a pain that was to clean. Why 2 people feel the need to build a 4700' house for just them is beyond me! Cleaning it gave me a whole new appreciation for my <800'!! :) Then I got to thinking what their heating bill is going to be like! Yikes! Again, I love my little condo! Speaking of which, I can't believe I have been in my condo for almost a year now! Wow, time flies!

Today I reached my 18 day goal of no spending days this month, and I still have almost a week go to. Hmm, I wonder how many days I will really come out without spending this month???

Today is my nephew's 10th birthday! Holy cow, again, I ask, where does the time go? Seems like it wasn't long ago that my sister in law was calling and asking if I wasn't too busy that morning, would I be able to drive her to the hospital?? I remember driving her in a panic during rush hour and timing contractions!! ;)

So far this month I have earned $24.10 from surveys and loads of free stuff, I'll fill you in on all of that at month's end.

I'm taking a vacation day from work on the 31st, no particular reason, just want a day off. And if I don't use up all of my vacation time I lose it, so rather than have that happen, I am going to take a day for myself and relax and enjoy.

Hope spring is looking good for everyone.