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 www.myregence.com 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!