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Archive for July, 2008

We need advice... pronto! :)

July 31st, 2008 at 11:01 am

Okay... I have a few financial decisions coming up, and I need some advice before I make any decisions.

First: my truck.

It's a 1999 Toyota Tacoma, in fairly good condition, and the last time I checked, I got about 20 MPG. I've had it since I was 16, and it's always ran well for me. Recently though, I've had to replace the front brakes and the starter, which cost a pretty penny. I'm worried that I've started on a downhill spiral.

Now, the last time I got new tires was about 4 years ago, and one in the front keeps getting low. This morning, it was completely flat. BF is going to look at it when he gets home, but I guess I'll have to replace it. BF says we need to go ahead and get two new ones for the front if we're going to replace one.

My question is... I've been thinking about getting another vehicle for a while. This is the only one I've ever owned, so I'm not the type of person that has to have something new every year or anything. My pros & cons:

Pros:
=Pretty dependable.
=Paid off!!!
=Decent Gas Mileage.

Cons:
=Possibly starting to deteriorate.
=No room for the pup to ride with me.
=No extra cab or backseat for carrying anything.
=Gas mileage doesn't seem so hott when I'm driving 90 miles/day.
=Now needing new tires.

And just to throw an extra monkey wrench in things... my step-dad called to let me know about a buy-back program that Toyota is offering. Apparently, for some 1995-2000 Tacomas, there was an error in the corrosion-protection, and some have had extensive frame rust.

I have already called Toyota, and they told me that my VIN is one that could possibly be affected. So, the next step is to have an inspection with a Toyota dealer (got an appointment for next week), and see what they say. If the rust is repairable, they will do that, and Toyota pays for me to have a rental car in the meantime. If it is not worth replacing, Toyota will buy back my truck at 150% of the "excellent" Kelly Blue Book value!!!

Excellent value for my truck is $7,755... which would mean a check for $11,632. That would be freaking AWESOME. Obviously, if this is the case, I really have no choice but to take the deal.

But what if it just needs repairs, or not even that? Should I trade it in, or keep with it?

I would like to get something with better gas mileage, but I also need something that has some room for my big dog & (hopefully) one day family. I don't want to have to be buying something else in a few years. I was thinking a mid-sized SUV, which would probably get similar gas mileage, but have more room?

Should I go ahead and buy two new tires, or just one for now? Would one just be stupid?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Second issue: buying a house.

Obviously, this isn't something that I need an answer for right now. But it is something that I want to start thinking about, as I don't want to miss an opportunity.

Here's the deal. I know you should have a good downpayment for a home, which obviously, BF & I don't have. But common sense is telling me a different story at the moment.

With my job, we will be moving in early spring to another location, hopefully somewhere with lower cost of living, but who knows. At that time, we can either find somewhere to rent, or buy a house. Then, in about a year after that, we'll be moving again to a "permanent" location. If we can't sell our house in 30 days, my company will offer to buy it from us at the appraised value. If we do sell, they pay all realtor's commissions, travel for us to look at new houses, etc. The relocation package is really pretty good.

So with the housing market the way it is, and us paying $900 rent right now, it makes sense to me that we should start investing part of that $900 in a home. I know without a downpayment, alot of it would go to interest, but even if $300 went to the value, that's $300 that we are wasting now. And with my company buying the house and paying relocations expenses, we should come out ahead, right?

I am probably missing something, but in general, is this right? I just can't imagine how trying to save $100/month for a future downpayment WHILE throwing $900 out the window in rent is a good financial idea?

Any help on either of these two situations would be GREATLY appreciated. (Especially the truck as it is a current decision!)

Thank you all!

This Money Pit.

July 30th, 2008 at 07:06 pm

Well, not much to report. Things with BF are better, but I'm still not 100% sure what I want or what I should do about everything. I have more or less been trying NOT to think about it, because I always over-analyze and I feel like I'll gain clarity faster if I focus on something else for a while.

So that something else has been work. I've completed a number of my correspondence courses, in between working my butt off at the store itself.

I think I'll try the expense tracking again in August. We improved at it in July, so hopefully August will be even better.

BF has decided that he is going back to college whenever we figure out where we'll be for more than 6 months at a time. He doesn't want to take a bunch of classes that won't eventually transfer to wherever we end up and where he gets his degree from. I was a little shocked when he told me. We've talked about him going to finish his Associate's before, but he said he's going to get a Bachelor's. That is a big step for him, and I appreciate it. I think our relationship will benefit alot when he is on "level footing" as far as having a college degree.

I know it shouldn't matter, but he gets depressed sometimes that he isn't the "provider", and thinks I'm not proud of him for anything. I tell him that I am, for the person that he is, his work ethic, his kindness, etc... but I think it is something he needs to do for himself. And of course I will be thrilled if he can find a better quality of work, with better working conditions & pay.

I transferred $20 to our Orange Savings a few days ago. Even though I'm really trying to focus on paying down our debt, I know that we need to be saving some for the holidays, so that we don't end up racking up more credit card debt right before the pup needs surgery.

I'm thinking of trying to work a few more hours per week at work. The good part is that I'm technically an employee of the corporation, not the store, so the no-overtime rule doesn't apply to me. The bad news is, that I don't get paid very much for overtime (to discourage it I guess). But even if I can just get there 30 minutes early on days that I work... I always end up staying 15 minutes later to close anyway. So that might add up to an extra $4/day by the time taxes are taken out. Then that would be about $20/week, or $80/month.

Another reason I'm working so hard is that I am trying to make sure I get done a little early. Spring is our busy time, so I'm afraid if I wait until March (my supposed end date), they won't want to move me in the middle of it. Then I'd be waiting another 4 months to begin my next segment.

Plus, wherever we end up, the cost of living just about HAS to be less than here. If we can get rent for $500, and live close enough to work that our gas is $200, we will be saving $800/month automatically! That's not even counting the raise I'm supposed to get! So yea, the sooner we can get out of this money-pit, the better!

The (Really) Inconvenient Truth

July 26th, 2008 at 07:15 pm

For those of you that read & commented on my last post, I have decided to be completely honest, if only with my SA friends.

At the conference, there were about 9 guys, and only 3 of us girls. The first night we were there, one of the girls ended up spending the night with one of the guys (professional, right?). So the rest of the conference, it was just myself and one other girl to hang out with.

Let me be clear, I love BF. I really love him, with all my heart. We have been through alot together, have grown alot, and I really believe that we have something special.

We've been dating for 3 1/2 years, since I was a freshman in college and he was a senior in high school. We've had many disagreements and spats along the way, usually over differences in how we were raised and what we wanted for the future. Coming from parents that were messily divorced, I think I am probably a bit paranoid at times that my relationship will be strolling along and then out of the blue BF would decide he didn't want what I wanted. I always wanted to get differences out on the table and explained/understood as soon as possible.

To be honest, I'm not sure how we started dating in the first place. We were friends for a while, and he even had a crush on my best friend. He wasn't anything like my "type" or anybody else I'd dated. I usually went for country boys, wearing jeans/boots, outspoken and with big plans for farms and horses, etc. BF grew up in a subdivision, and while he likes to camp and fish and be outdoors, he doesn't care at all to farm or even live on one.

This has always been a piece that bothered me, because I feel like being "country" and a farm lifestyle is something that is engrained in me, and a very important part of how I envisioned my own kids growing up.

I am also very ambitious, and BF is not. He's not lazy by any means, he will work all the time if he needs to, but he just doesn't feel the need to succeed or move up the ladder. My mindset is trying to be the absolute best I can be, and his is that he isn't going to change unless it's absolutely warranted.

Ever since about a year after we started dating, I started thinking about getting engaged. I know that sounds way too early to many of you, but you have to understand that where I'm from, it's not abnormal to get married right out of high school, or at least a few years later.

BF & I actually argued over the future of our relationship alot for about six months, and I was so exhausted from it. I felt like there was no solution, because I wanted him to want to marry me. He always said that he wanted to, but he just wasn't ready then. I would always ask for a reason he wasn't ready (was he not sure I was the one, or did he want a better job before he proposed, etc), but he would NEVER give me one. It was really hard for me to understand and accept his position, when I never got a reason for it.

I can remember one particular fight, when my emotions were rolling, and I said to him "That's fine, because you know what? You're going to wait around so long, that when you finally do feel the way I feel right now, you're going to propose, and that's when I'm going to say that I don't feel the same anymore."

Fast forward a few years, and our relationship is, in my opinion, the best it's ever been. We have argued about alot along the way, but always managed to come to some compromise. I have always thought that we were "meant" to be together because we have struggled through so much.

BF was upset when I decided to accept the job I'm in now, but he finally decided to be supportive. Then two months after I moved, he moved with me.

Along the way, I have gotten to be pretty good friends with alot of guys. Through college, I got to know alot of them, and every now and then I'd get the urge to flirt with a cute one, but never really felt anything more than just excitement at gaining a new friend.

In the past six months or so, I've been thinking alot about our relationship. I guess it's normal because I know that we'll actually be engaged soon, and to me, that is taking it to a whole new level, even if we are already serious and living together.

There is alot that I'm not particularly happy with. For one, we aren't very social at all. Of course, it's hard because we're in a new state, where we don't know anybody. But even when we were at home, we never went on double dates unless it was with one of his sisters and their husbands, or with my brother and his girlfriend. We could never just go hang out at a party, or go visit with old friends. Part of the reason is that he has a social anxiety problem. It's a physical problem that has always been hard for me to understand, but he has taken medication for it in the past. Now, when he tries to start the medication, it makes him so sick that I can't bear to have him stay on it.

I'm also starting to feel a little bitter at times, and I don't really know how to explain it. I guess the fact that I wanted to get married long before he did, and now that he's finally ready, he gets the luxury of knowing that I feel the same way. It seems unfair that I had to suffer through my feelings for a long time, just waiting on him.

I'm really ambitious, and the field that I'm in is related to agriculture to some degree, so we are total opposites where that is concerned. He is always in awe of my accomplishments and how "everything is easy" for me. What I've tried to get through to him is, everything is NOT easy for me. I just know what I want, and I go after it. Just because I get it done, doesn't mean it was easy.

-Okay, now back to the work conference, the reason for this post.

I went down, and the first day we had team-building activities all day long. The ice was immediately broken because you are forced to get comfortable with everyone when you are walking high-wires together, sharing scar & injury stories, and laughing at everyone else's mistakes. As the facilitator said that day "You can learn more about someone in one hour of play, than you can in one year of conversation."

3 girls and 9 guys, we worked through all the activities, and got to know each other a little.

For the next five days, we would be together almost all day long, either in meetings or presentations, or at lunch, etc. The fact that everyone meshed so well that we wanted to socialize together at night added to this.

You've probably guessed the root of the problem at this point... a guy. I want to say that when I first met everyone, he didn't stand out to me. It's not that he was the best-looking, there were other guys that were physically more attractive.

As the first few days went by, I started to realize that I was actually excited to be hanging out with them. Usually, I would look for a reason to stay in my room or with one of the girls, but I found myself actually looking forward to our evening plans.

And then I started to realize that there was one person in particular that I was excited about being around.

Ugh. That sounds horrible. I feel horrible. I never wanted to develop a "crush" on someone, and I'm not sure when I realized that's what it was.

I'm a logical person, so I try to tell myself it's because of a number of rational reasons.

Number one, he is a bit older than me (and BF), and he has his life in order. He has a nice truck that he's worked hard for, and he is ambitious and outgoing without being overbearing.

He was also so funny, without really trying. You know how there are just some people that you can't help but like? I was talking to another of my guy friends from the conference (that I got to know better than the other guy, but had no attraction whatsoever for)... and even he said "Yea, you just have to like XXX, he's such a good guy."

He's country, probably more than myself even. He's physically attractive, although he didn't start standing out to me until I got to know him. Thinking back on it now, I think it was the little things that struck me most.

He was talking about how he didn't like a particular athlete, and when somebody asked him why, he said it was because he had been watching the athlete on TV with his grandfather, and the athlete had started cussing on screen. He said "I just felt like, if he didn't have any respect for my grandpa, I don't have any respect for him."

He's from a very southern state, even more than where I'm from, and it was really shocking to see that although I've always considered BF a polite person, there is definitely a difference. This guy would hold the door open for anybody, be the last off the elevator, and always called everyone "sir" or "ma'am".

Another little part that got to me was when we would all go out for drinks or food. We were sitting at a restaurant, everyone chatty and happy and sipping margaritas, when he asked everyone if they wanted him to say the blessing before we started to eat. He finished the prayer and then started cheesing as he started to drink his margarita again. It was one of the most honest, simple things I have ever seen.

The night before our last day, I found myself dreading it. I didn't want to leave, didn't want to wait until two months from now when we will all see each other again. It wasn't just that particular guy, either... I had enjoyed my time with them so much, I didn't want it to end or change.

The feeling of having a "crush" is all too real. And the worst part about it is, this guy and I weren't particularly close. We were just as close as everyone else, but by no means closer. I keep thinking that if he knew what was going through my mind, he would think it so strange. And it's weird to me too, I keep telling myself how ridiculous and stupid it is, and how much stress I'm causing myself for no reason. Here I am checking this guy's myspace, thinking about a song he was singing all week long, and I'm about 99.9% sure he hasn't even thought of me since we left. It just wasn't like that.

Now I keep flashing back to different little insignificant moments, like when we were all hanging out by the pool (the guys swimming, the girls just hanging out), and he asked me to hand him a cigarette. He went out of his way to thank me multiple times and use my name. Then he asked "So where are you from, it's far from where you're placed, right?" That is such a normal, stupid conversation.

Then we were partners in one of our training sessions, a competition between the groups. We were always the two laughing uncontrollably at something, and it was even funnier because the moment I noticed someone doing something weird, I would glance at him, and he would always be thinking the same thing. The moment I realized it had gotten bad was when another guy said "What is it with you two, you are always laughing, and then you make us laugh!"... and I felt such a rush of emotions at "you two".

He was the type of person that is quiet when you first meet them, isn't bossy, but steps up to be a leader when it's needed. The type of person you hang out with just because they are really just that cool of a person.

I feel so crappy about this. If I knew BF were having these feelings about another girl, I would be heart-broken. I kept telling myself that I would be so happy when I got back home, that I would forget all about it. But then as I pulled in, I just got depressed.

It's horrible because I want to be happy with BF. I want to go back to feeling SO overjoyed at just thinking about getting engaged or married. I really hate that while I was at the conference, I was actually happy that I wasn't married yet. How wrong is that?

It's also horrible because it's not like this guy is asking me out. In reality, he's probably "out of my league", as I'm sure every girl he meets probably has some of the same feelings as I did. He could probably have his pick of anyone, and like I said before, he would no doubt be very shocked to hear that I was even thinking these things. That makes me feel all the more ridiculous and loser-ish.

And the kicker - BF noticed almost immediately that something was wrong. He started kidding me about the guys, then started to act like he was flirting with a girl at his work. And the worst part... it didn't really bother me, I was really thinking, I could deal with that. I can deal with you liking that girl, as long as I can like this guy. That is so wrong, and I know that in my "right mind" a week ago, I would never have thought that.

I was at home by myself all day today, and depressed. It has been such a long time since I have been in a state of not being able to get someone off my mind like that. When you're dating someone steadily, it's not such a nagging, stressful thing to think about. But when you have new feelings, BAD feelings, it is horrible.

And so, I called BF a bit ago. He could tell that something was wrong, and asked if I had been crying. As soon as he asked, I knew I couldn't lie. I told him I wanted to talk to him about things when he got home, and of course he is stressed out about it now. I hated to do it while he still had an hour left of work, but I also don't want to let myself out of it, and I knew if I went ahead and told him on the phone, I would be forced to talk about it tonight.

So now I'm waiting on him to get here, and I'm not sure what I'm going to say. I plan on being honest, because that's what I would want him to do for me. Hopefully he will realize that it's not me trying to be shallow or running after any guy that is physically attractive. I never crossed any lines, and I'm sure that guy hasn't even though about me. My problem is with my own feelings of dissatisfaction.

And all this comes at a very inconvenient time. BF was probably planning on proposing in the next few weeks (a leak from his sister let me in on that little secret), and now I feel like it's ruined. It really sucks that I was excited about it for so long, and now that it was about to be a reality, I had to go and start getting nervous to be around someone else.

There you have it... for anyone that's still reading. The grisly details, the crappy feelings. I will update you guys on the outcome, if I am in any shape or mood to do it.

As always, comments, suggestions, or advice would be greatly appreciated. Don't hold back.

I am struggling.

July 26th, 2008 at 11:56 am

Well, this month has been a struggle to track expenses, and I've all but given up. With visitors, weird bills, and a work conference, I haven't kept up with it like I should have. I did well the first half of the month though, so I can go back and look at that I suppose. Otherwise... here's to August!

My work conference was GREAT. I had dreaded it a bit before I left, mostly because I thought I'd be miserable without BF and feel left out because I didn't have a roommate, etc.

Looking back on it, the group of people I was with was truly amazing. We're all around the same age (22-26), and we all got along so well that it was really surprising. I expected to be in meetings and presentations all day, then at night for a few people to hang out, but mostly be in my hotel room. It turned out the complete opposite.

We had alot of speakers, and met SO many executives and even the CEO. It's weird to stand up and introduce yourself to the CEO of your company, especially when he already knows everything you're about to tell him. And afterwards, we all hung out together. One night it was a structured event because we had dinner with some execs from different departments, but the rest of the time it was up to us. It's kind of crazy that we all came in not knowing each other, and in 5 days, we were seriously sad to leave.

I did miss BF, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We were so busy with structured stuff during the day, and socializing at night, that it wasn't that bad at all.

We all came out as friends, with some people closer than others. The girls were grossly outnumbered by the guys, but everyone meshed really well. Every meeting we went to, the presenters or facilitators would end up telling us "My stomach hurts from laughing with you guys so much" and "I've never seen such a close group".

When we got out of our last bit of training yesterday afternoon, everyone was tired, but ready to go back to our individual work places and put it into action. A few of us stayed a little longer to exchange some self-study materials, and it was cool to walk out of the building and see your whole group waiting on the rest of us, not wanting to leave.

And then we all decided to run to McDonalds for our last meal together, and there were alot of handshakes and hugs afterwards before heading home. We joked that we were going to insist on all being in the same district. We'd either be the best or the absolute worst in the company, lol.

I'm off work today, which I would normally be pumped about. But having so much stuff I want to get started on, change, learn, it kind of sucks that I have to wait until Monday now. While at the conference, I did get a binder about our big project at the end of our training, so I could start looking through that today. I can also try to knock out a few more self study assignments I suppose, if I really feel like accomplishing something.

I have been depressed all day, and it's kind of hard to pin-point the reason. Part of it is going from a very busy, very social past 5 days, back to the same ole routine. I went from Starbucks, meetings, training, executives, having drinks with new friends, and travelling to new places, back to an apartment that needs to be cleaned, a truck that needs to be washed, and bills that need to be paid. And BF did have to work today, so now I am sitting alone bored.

Another thing I'm struggling with now... at our conference, I really got to compare my life with the other people's. I know it's difficult to tell what's really going on in someone's financial life, but since we're all around the same age, in the same job, with the same salary (yes, we all figured that out)... who better to compare yourself to?

And here's what I found out: 3/12 of us were engaged, 1/12 was married, 3/12 were in long-term relationships, and 5/12 were single. 3/12 either owned a home or were in the process of buying. From the vehicles that I saw, most were 2004 or later models. Everyone I rode with had a navigation system, and XM radio. Everyone had nice clothes and cell phones... fitting for young business people I suppose.

I know many of you will look at all that as over-the-top, and I really tried to, but I couldn't help but get a little depressed over my situation. I live in the highest cost-of-living area out of anyone, and I also pay the most in gas driving back and forth. (Rent would be much higher if I lived closer to work). I have a truck that has been dependable for the most part, but is starting to show its age and wear. No navigation system, I got lost and ended up at an international airport on the way down because I was trying to read BF's handwritten directions. And the radio I have usually doesn't even change channels. I push all different buttons, but it stays on the same channel until it feels like changing.

While everyone was wearing Ralph Lauren shirts, I went to Target and got 2 shirts for $6, because I literally had nothing else but dress clothes. And the dress pants I had, I got at Walmart the day before I went.

I know my situation could be alot worse, and I am truly thankful for what I do have, but it's difficult when you see people in the same position in life, and they are able to do so much more just because they live in a different area, where they pay $500 less rent every month, and $400 less in gas. Grrrr.

Now that I'm done whining, I will say that I could go out and buy a navigation system right now. But then I'd just want to get a satellite radio for the long drives to and from work. And why get a nice radio and satellite system when I have no room for anyone in my 2-seater truck, and it isn't too fancy itself.

So the grim realization is that I have debts to pay, expensive rent due in a week, and gas isn't getting much cheaper.

It's depressing, it really is. I don't want to look back when I'm 30, and be in the same position as I would've been if I had actually spent some money on "frivolous" things that would've made life a bit more fun. I guess I just have the temporary mentality of - you are only young once, why not enjoy it?

Well, now that I have talked all this out, and maybe understand it a bit better, I think I will go see about paying some bills. Maybe it will make me feel a little better to see the amounts on BF's student loans go down a bit, as well as our credit cards.

The only thing I do seriously consider is the truck. If I were to get a gas-saving car, I could almost justify the trade. I get about 20 MPG in my truck, and with $3.90/gallon gas and driving 90 miles every day, the savings could add up. But then again, if I'm going to have a car payment, I would want to get something that I'm going to be happy with for a long time. With BF, and a big dog that likes to ride, I don't know if a Civic is the best choice.

I don't want to go buy a Civic or Corolla, and then the next training position I'm in be somewhere with lower costs, where I can live right next to work and save $800/month. At that point, I could deal with paying a car payment and having the gas mileage of a smaller SUV.

Something to think about. But right now, I'm struggling with all kinds of emotions. The best solution may just be to pay some bills, and chug along on my work assignments, hopefully I can get to that cheaper location sooner.

From the work conference...

July 21st, 2008 at 08:45 pm

-SPENDING 7/19/08-
3 Cans of Dog Food: XXX
Milk: XXX
Redbox: $1.06
McDonalds: $11.00

-SPENDING 7/20/08-
Gas For My Truck: XXX
2 Beers @ The Bar: XXX

-SPENDING 7/21/08-
Food From Walmart: XXX
Cigarettes: XXX
Mexican Food (Reimbursed): XXX

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, so my expense tracking isn't going as well as it should. But until I have time to sit down and go over our accounts/receipts, I'm just trying to keep up with the individual trips. Hopefully I can knock the details out later.

I'm at my work conference right now, and it's going well. It's really incredible to be meeting with the Senior Vice Presidents of different departments, and actually conversating with them. Makes me feel like I don't deserve to be here, haha.

It's also nice to have my own room. I thought I would feel left out because I am the only one without a roommate (odd number of people)... and it is like that a little, but for the most part it's nice. I don't have to worry about my roommate coming in drunk with a guy in the middle of the night, and I can spread my stuff all over without anyone caring.

The group of people here is pretty good as well. Alot of Type A personalities... which isn't really me. It's so funny when you get pegged as a "quiet" person just because you can't get a word in edge-wise. And we are all going through the same program, and are from different states, so that is interesting. It's neat to see the few people I knew, and meet others that I never would've known.

I do miss BF though, and my pup & cat. He is holding down the house like a true bachelor pad... I think he had plain biscuits for supper. Poor thing, lol.

Well... guess I'd better get to bed, I've got to get up early again tomorrow.

Leaving For My Conference Tomorrow!

July 19th, 2008 at 03:49 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas For BF's Car: $XXX
Retractable Leash For Pup: $22.04
My Food @ Work: $2.69

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WOW the past few days have been so busy. BF's family was here, and it was pretty much total chaos. His niece is sweet as can be, but so sensitive that the dog kept upsetting her. It was their "vacation", so they wanted to go do things all day long, which of course meant spending money for us.

All in all, it wasn't as bad as it could've been. We drove to show them where BF works and picked up his check while we were there. Then we visited a small farmer's market that was nearby, which was free since we didn't end up buying anything. We also visited the nearby outlet stores & mall, where BF got a much needed outfit (all his clothes are SO old) for a decent price, and we ate a food court meal. After that, we headed to Chuck E Cheese's for his niece, where we picked up $20 of the $30 food tab. It was more than our share, but they were using their gas while driving around, so we went ahead and paid the $20.

We also did miniature golf, which was $10 for BF & I, but we only ended up playing about 12 of the holes because it was unbearably hot outside.

They stayed with us, and we cooked dinner two nights, got McDonalds on the third. We had to go out and get chicken for the second meal, but they bought a pie for dessert.

It's amazing how being around people that are on a "vacation" or "spending" mindset can affect you. Obviously we wouldn't have spent that money if they hadn't come.

It was a good visit, I'm glad we got to see them, and we had a good time, but I was okay when they went home. There was just so much chaos, and I was so worn out from running around.

I had to go back to work yesterday morning, and early again today as well. I leave for my work conference tomorrow at about 7AM, and I'm going to be gone until Friday night. I have been so stressed trying to make sure I've got everything ready, I still have to pack everything and finish washing clothes. I don't even know what I'm wearing tomorrow! Ahh! Stress.

I will miss BF while I'm gone. It will suck, but at least it's just a week. He is gone right now to get one of the $1 movies from Walmart: 10,000 BC. I've wanted to see it, and he caved since I leave tomorrow. He's also picking up the makeup that I just ran out of, so it will be interesting to see if he gets the right kind/shade. Boys.

Well... I'm a little behind on tallying all our spending, but I've been trying to make sure we get all the expenses down. I'm going to take my laptop to the conference, so maybe if I have some downtime in the hotel, and they have internet access, I can get everything up-to-date.

Spending Tracker 7/16/08-7/18/08

July 16th, 2008 at 05:07 pm

-SPENDING 7/16/08, 7/17/08-
Food @ Mall: $12.67
Chicken & Swiss Rolls: $8.97
Chicken For Pup: $6.97
McDonalds For Me: $1.06
Chuck E Cheese (Food): $20
Miniature Golf: $10
Clothes For BF: $27.12
Cingular Cell Phone Bill: $132.16
Personal Loan Pmt: $113.61
Gas For BF's Car: $15.10
Dish Soap: $2.73

-SPENDING 7/18/08-
Gas For My Truck: $52.23
Shoes For Conference: $24.37
Socks/2 Pants/2 Shirts For Conference: $67.59
2 Ears of Corn: $0.48
Brother's GF's B-day Gift: $20.53
Uncle's Baby Card: $0.53
Puppy Poop Bags: $1.06
BF's SF Card: $66.10 + $18.90 pmt


-INCOME-
BF's Paycheck + $72 Holiday Pay: $576.75
Starbucks GC-> Cash: $3.50

I have superpowers.

July 14th, 2008 at 06:54 pm

-SPENDING-
Spot Shot: $4 ($172.70/$20)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, maybe not. But I did poke a hole in our wall with my finger tonight. Just one finger, my index to be exact. I was vacuuming in the dining room when I noticed a small bump on the wall. I thought it looked like a bubble in the paint or something, so I poked it (gently) with my finger, and my finger went straight into the wall. I can't wait to explain that one to BF. The 90 pound dog swings old shoes and toys against the wall, and doesn't so much as dent it. I poke it, and now there's a hole. Superpowers I tell ya.

We've gotten alot of last minute tidying up done today. BF did alot before he went into work, and I've done some since I got off. We still have a little laundry to do & put away, and need to clear off the dining room table of all our paperwork and randomness. His sis, brother-in-law, and niece will be here at about 5:30 tomorrow night, before I get home from work even.

I realized that my brother's girlfriend's birthday is today. I called and left a message for her on my brother's cell phone, and I'll have to get a gift card and put it in the mail to her tomorrow. I don't know why I was thinking it was the 21st?

Our pup is doing much better, or at least it seems that he is. He didn't poop at all from 6pm yesterday until about 7pm tonight, and then it was a little firmer, without noticeable blood. Still not quite right, but closer.

And he's been running around like a madman. I took him out a few minutes ago to pee, and he proceeded to slip out of his collar (I always feel like it's too tight, and then he does that), run like wild across to the other buildings, and start sniffing. I finally caught up to him and threw it back on, but it took way more energy than I had planned on. I didn't even have my shoes on all the way! Then we got back in, and before I knew it, he almost had his leash chewed in two. Currently he's laying beside me on our LEATHER couch, which he has NEVER been allowed on. He really just jumped up here like he owned it, and now he's sleeping and I don't have the heart to make him get off. He gets away with alot by his good looks. If he punctures the leather, and I have to tell BF how it happened, I am gonna die. He always says that I spoil him.

Well, I'm off to make BF's favorite dinner... salmon patties.

I have superpowers.

July 14th, 2008 at 06:54 pm

Unbudgeted Expenses... Gotta Love 'Em.

July 13th, 2008 at 08:16 pm

-SPENDING-
Milk/McDonalds/Coke: $12.61 ($34.80/$100)
Razors/Throat-Meds: $10.74 ($168.70/$20)
Chapstick/Cat-Food/Pedialyte: $13.53 ($450.35/$325)
Gas For BF's Car: $15 ($249.52/$600.02)
Gas For My Truck: $65.83 ($315.35/$600.02)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BF found out today that he is supposed to be getting a paycheck on Wednesday. That will be awesome. We have bills to pay, but I've been unsure how much I could afford to pay now if BF wouldn't get paid this week.

Our pup is still sickly. He has diarrhea still, but no more vomiting. I will take that as a good sign I guess. We've been continuing with the chicken & rice diet, but we haven't seen any change in his stools yet. They are still kind of bloody, which is obviously not good. We're not going to take him back to the same general practice vet (since we had such a rude experience the first time), so if things get no better by tomorrow, I'm calling another one that looks promising for an appointment.

In the meantime, we got him some unflavored Pedialyte to replace the electrolytes he has lost with the diarrhea bouts, and some plain Chapstick for a raw spot on the top of his nose. I think he is rubbing his nose on his crate during the day while we're gone, although he's never done anything like that before. Tomorrow, he only has to be alone for about 3 1/2 hours, so hopefully he will do better.

I also read the side effects of the pain medication he has been on, and it lists bloody stool and vomiting. The emergency vet had us stop giving it to him, but now I'm not sure I'd want to start it back anyway.

I have noticed that he is going to the bathroom less frequently this evening, so maybe that is a sign that his system is giving his food time to digest before shooting it out. (Sorry for the visual picture there, lol.)

In other news, I got gas at two different stations on the way home today. I had to get it halfway down the interstate, but I had a feeling it might be cheaper in our town, so I only got $20 at $3.97. Sure enough when I got home, it was $3.89. Not too bad.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have come to realize that there were quite a few omissions in our July Budget. First of all, I didn't budget anything for my work conference. It's a week long, and even though they will reimburse us for gas mileage, meals out, etc., I will still need to pay for it upfront. I am also going to have to get some clothes for the meetings & meals out, so that is unbudgeted spending.

And number two, I didn't budget anything for us when BF's sister's family visits. They are only hear for 2 1/2 days, but I know they will want to go out to eat. I really don't want to use all of our food budget on a fancy restaurant on one night. AND... if they want to go to the zoo or something, that will be costly as well. I guess at this point, all we can do is damage control. We will see how it all turns out at the end of the month, with our unexpected/unbudgeted expenses, and BF's unknown net pay, it may be a doozy. BUT, at least we're budgeting, trying to stick to it, and tracking. That is a big step forward for us.

Sicky Puppy & New Carpet Cleaner

July 12th, 2008 at 06:22 pm

-SPENDING-
Carpet Cleaner (DC): $148.34 ($154.66/$20)
10PK Clothes Hangers (DC): $1.24 ($155.90/$20)
Laundry Detergent (DC): $2.06 ($157.96/$20)
Chicken/Rice For Pup (SF): $18.56 ($436.82/$325)

+INCOME+
BF Found: $10 Cash

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After the pup's rough day yesterday, he has been trying to recover today. BF said he slept alot this morning, and he is sleeping again now. He is still having diarrhea everytime he poops, but the good news is that he hasn't vomited up his food anymore. He has gagged a little, but hopefully it's getting better.

I fed him one can of his special dog food tonight, and I'm going to give him the boiled chicken & rice later. I figure smaller amounts are probably easier on his upset belly.

It's weird, because I've always had pets, but I feel like something strange is happening to me with him. Granted, we always had outside dogs, cats, horses, chickens, pigs, etc., so I wasn't around them 24/7 like I am our pup, but it's still different. It's almost like I can feel my motherly instinct coming out or something.

When I was laying out his fresh blankets (smelling of dryer sheets), it felt good for me, just to know that he would enjoy them. Weird...

I got the new carpet cleaner today, and put it together, but haven't shampooed yet. BF was excited to see how good it works compared to our old one, I just hope it's AS good. It came with a bottle of the cleaning solution, which is nice.

BF gets off work in 40 minutes, and I have no idea what I'm doing for our supper yet. I'm sure all this late-night eating is doing wonders for our weight-loss goals, but I feel bad eating without him, and I feel like it gives him something to look forward to when he gets off. I made some pretty good crusted-fish the other day, and I'm thinking I'll do the same thing with chicken tonight. Maybe.

BF is supposed to find out tonight whether he is going to get a paycheck next week. I found out from the girl that I work with that also works part-time at the same chain as BF, that they get paid bi-weekly on Wednesdays. But, I'm not sure if BF will get a paycheck this time, because he just started and all. It would be VERY nice if he did. Alot of pressure off the budget.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my day off, and the day that BF & I go grocery shopping, but I have to work now. I switched days so that I could have off when BF's sister/bro-in-law/niece come up, but it is making for a long work week. They will be here on Tuesday night, and I have alot I need to get done before then around the apartment.

That's it for now, I'm off to create some supper for the hungry boys!

Emergency Vet Visit = OUCH.

July 11th, 2008 at 08:19 pm

-SPENDING (7/10/08)-
Gas For BF's Car: $25 ($234.52/$600.02)
Milk/Flour (SF): $5.48 ($21.14/$100)
Candy @ BF's Work (SF): $1.05 ($22.19/$100)

-SPENDING (7/11/08)-
McDonalds: $2.29 ($24.48/$100)
My Health Ins: $56.76
Emergency Vet (DC): $232.29 ($378.25/$325)
Pup's Dry Food (SF): $40.01 ($418.26/$325)

+INCOME (7/10/08)+
Mom's Reimbursement: $130

+INCOME (7/11/08)+
My Paycheck: $1045.81

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, you guessed it, we had to make a trip to the emergency vet tonight. Our pup hasn't been eating like normal the past few days, and he had vomited on Tuesday, had diarrhea on Wednesday. He has been known to eat anything he possibly can, so we just figured he would be fine after he got it out.

But when we got in from work today, the poor little guy had peed/pooped/vomited in his crate. He has NEVER done anything in his crate. I know he must have felt really sick to get to that point, and I just felt so sorry for him.

While BF started to clean up the mess, I took our little guy outside. He had diarrhea, no solids at all. We started to think of anything that could be wrong with him, from bloat (very dangerous in Great Danes), to Parvo (he had 2/3 of his puppy shots, but you never know), to just reacting to the change in his wet food. We have him on a super-premium dry food, but we have to mix it up a little with the wet food we mix in, or he gets bored and won't eat it.

Besides the vomiting and diarrhea, he was acting fine, trying to chase the cat and everything else. So we decided to wait it out and see if he was better by the morning. Right before I left to go get a new carpet cleaner (I told you we'd need one!)... the pup started gagging again, but there wasn't much left to come up this time. BF took him down to use the bathroom, and it looked like there was blood in his stool.

Needless to say, we felt like that was serious business. Two and a half hours later, we are back at home, and $232 poorer. They ran tests to rule out Parvo, and said it didn't look like bloat because he was still acting so well and didn't have tension in his stomach area.

The instructions now:

We have to take him off his pain medication (for his hip) for now, until his stomach settles down. They gave him an injection of "coating" for his stomach to protect the lining, and also an injection of some sort to stop the vomiting/diarrhea. We paid $10.50 for three cans of prescription "bland" food. We also have two bottles of pills that we have to feed him at different intervals, one of which is dissolved in water and fed with a syringe.

SO... that's where we are. The vet thought it was either the pain medication affecting the lining of his stomach, a chronic diarrhea that dogs sometimes get, or his system was just upset because he'd eaten something like rabbit poop. The rabbit poop might indeed be the culprit, because they are always running around in the backyard of our complex, and I've seen their little round terds laying around myself. Why he would want to eat that, the world will never know.

We are supposed to keep him on this strict "bland" diet for a while, meaning we either have to buy more of the cans, or we can make it ourselves by boiling skinless chicken and white rice. We are leaning towards the latter, both because it's cheaper, and because then we know that he is ONLY getting chicken & rice, no supplements or extras thrown in.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

He is becoming one expensive little category this month. The cat hasn't cost us a dime - the pup has cost us alot of food money, a new HUGE crate, a new carpet shampooer, and now $232 (and counting) for the vomiting/diarrhea. The budgeting side of me is cringing.

But as I type this, he is laying on the ground right beside of me, in a deep sleep, on a fresh soft blue blanket. He's worth it. Smile

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Not much else went on today, just people getting on my nerves at work. A girl started drinking my sweet tea today, fully aware that it was mine, fully aware that I was standing right behind her. Very strange, I think.

I REALLY wish someone would email me about pet/house sitting or babysitting. I could really use the extra money, to pay off the charges we've put on the Discover Card this month, and keep our budget even! Frown

But it's a challenge, and I like challenges. We will just have to cut more from our spending on our food and try to save as much as possible. It's bound to get better.

R.I.P., carpet shampooer.

July 10th, 2008 at 05:12 am

-SPENDING (7/9/08)-
Gas For My Truck (DC): $58.41 ($209.52/$600.02)

+INCOME (7/9/08)+
Bro's Loan Check: $110.00
Survey Checks: $27.50

Well, good news for yesterday is that I finally made the deposit for my brother's reimbursement check (I pay the bank, he pays me) and two survey checks I had been holding. So a total of $137.50 added to our BBT account.

And what appears to be great news - my mom deposited her reimbursement check (same thing, I pay the bank, she pays me) into my old checking account to cover my gas emergency the other day. I just checked the balance, and the deposit is showing, but the gas transactions aren't! Even though I would have thought since it's all electronical now, the transactions would've posted overnight, apparently being two states away does make a difference. So unless something weird happens where they back-date the transactions (you never know), then I am saved of the $30 overdraft fee! Oh yes.

Yesterday did have its bad points though. As soon as I was able to pull myself from bed, BF met me with some bad news. Apparently, in the hour that they had been awake before me, the pup had chewed completely through the cord on the carpet shampooer. Sigh.

He had already looked up the cost of replacement (he knows me too well), and it looks like they range from $85-$130 for a similar model. I really hate to spend that much money on something that we shouldn't have to replace yet, but I also don't want to run out and get the cheapest one that isn't going to work.

We have a vacuum, but since we've been using this shampooer, I've realized how much cleaner you can get your carpets. That is especially important to us because we have both a cat and a dog, and we are renting... so we'd like to get our deposit back eventually. Plus, it gives me piece of mind to vacuum & shampoo really well before we are expecting guests, because I know everything smells fresh.

I thought I might still have a 10% off coupon for Lowe's, but it expired in May. I did dig out an older BoA Visa gift card that my mom had given me earlier this year, which has about $18 on it. The only thing is that those gift cards are so darn hard to use. It seems like there is always a catch - you can't use them to partially pay for a purchase, you have to know exactly how much is on them, can't purchase online without a pin number, etc. But it's worth a shot if it will save us $18 of cash.

Today is my last day off, then I work 5 days straight. At my last job, I was used to Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:30, off on the weekends. Now that I'm working retail, I've been getting off on Thursdays and Sundays, but other than that my schedule changes a bit.

However, I volunteered to work this Sunday if I could get off on Wednesday/Thursday for BF's family coming to visit. BF is still not sure what day he will be off. I kind of hope that he gets both days, even though I know he probably won't, just because it will be kind of awkward to spend all day alone with his sis/bro-in-law/niece. Plus, I have a feeling his niece is going to be scared to death of our pup, because she's only used to little house poodles. And he's definitely not that.

I put some of my clothes up on Craigslist in different lots. I figured that I should at least try to get a few bucks out of some of them, since they've only been worn a few times (or not at all). Especially since it's free... and if it doesn't work, I'll donate them. No bites on them yet though.

There are a few things on my to-do list today. I still need to call the pup's surgeon back and see what the game plan is for the future. I also need to run to the library either today or tomorrow. It's more fun when BF goes with me (and he's working 2-10 today), but I'm sure I'll enjoy it when I get there and pick out some new books. I'm going to see if I can renew InkSpell, since I haven't finished it yet.

My week-long conference for work is getting closer. It's the first time I've done major travelling for a job, so I'm kind of nervous. I keep thinking I'll forget something important - like I won't pack something, won't fill out the right expense reimbursement forms, won't fax in everything I'm supposed to beforehand, etc. I also have no idea what clothes I'll take. It's supposed to be business casual (khakis & a nice collared shirt), but the only khakis I have are the cheap ones I wear to the store to work. They have stains all over them! I can probably dig up some shirts to look nice, but the pants will be a problem. I also have no dress shoes, just boots and tennis shoes. When did life get so complicated, and where did all my clothes go? Ahhh!

I think expense-tracking just COST me money.

July 8th, 2008 at 03:55 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas For My Truck: $9.01 ($151.11/$600.02)
Coke at Work: $1.00 ($15.66/$100)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Kind of. While I was updating our expenses in my blog last night, I had to dig out the receipt for the pup's crate from my wallet.

When I left for work this morning, I gave BF $30 of the $50 from the sale of the crate to use for gas, and I decided that I would keep the other $20 at home and put my gas on the DC, since it would be alot more than $20.

I was running low on gas this morning, but because I had to leave at 6:30, I didn't want to be late because I stopped at the gas station. So after work today (in the boiling heat), I walk out to the truck to find that I have LEFT my wallet at home. I had no cash because I'd left it, and no checkbook, credit cards, anything.

I was freaking out, and then (thankfully) I found my old debit card that had fallen into the bottom of my purse. I wasn't sure how much was left in the account, but I knew it was probably under $5. So I stopped at the first station and got $4.01. Unfortunately, that lasted me only halfway. I had to stop again, and got $5.01. I just checked our updated balance for that account, and it is $4.41.

That bank charges $30 PER overdraft. Thankfully, the first one should be fine. But the second one could cost me $30 for $5.01 in gas. ((Puke))

My only hope is that the debit won't go through until Friday (it varies), and I can somehow get the $5.00 in there to cover it. The worst part is that the bank is two states away and has no branches here... so I am going to call my mom and see if one of them can run a deposit there for me.

I still have the two checks from her and my brother for the loan reimbursement that I haven't deposited yet, so I may tell her to just go ahead and make out another check to deposit into THAT account, and I'll rip up the one I have here. Surely, since her account is at the same bank, they would deposit it to my account the same day?

If we have to pay the $30, it will hurt. We've been doing so well this month with budgeting and expenses and tracking, I would hate this setback. It was definitely avoidable... if I had taken time to ensure that my wallet was with me this morning, but at least it wasn't just purposely spending on stuff we didn't need.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In other news, I'm going to list some of my clothes on Craigslist. I have so many (shirts especially) that have only been worn a few times or not at all (Christmas presents), maybe someone will be willing to pay a few bucks for them. I also have several pair of name-brand jeans that don't fit anymore, so I'm listing those too. It's free, so there's no reason not to try.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Work was horrible today. With the manager on vacation, it seems like everyone wants to be bossy and get an attitude. Even people I typically like, they have all started acting like they're the boss. And even worse, I am actually supposed to be telling them what to do in some cases.

I am very worried that I have become too friendly with some of the other employees. When I was here by myself, and knew nobody, they were the only ones I talked to and I started to become friends with a few.

It didn't help that the manager never gave me any authority or responsibility, unless she wanted to unload an unwanted task on me at the last minute. I understand that you have to work in the trenches to learn any job, but it would kill me when she would let other (part-time) employees do inventories, paperwork, price changes, etc. I honestly felt like she forgot that I was there to be trained.

And now that she's gone on vacation, suddenly I am left with all this responsibility and coworkers that obviously don't view me as someone they need to listen to.

A specific example - today I told one of the cashiers (who I am friendly with) that when the pallet jack was returned, I was going to tell the warehouse guys to bring up a pallet of product for the front display. I walk to the back to get paperwork, and when I get back, the pallet is there. Why did she think it was okay to go ahead and do that? There were plenty of other things she could've been doing, tons of stuff to put on the shelves.

Now I am just trying to figure out what my action plan needs to be. Do I go nazi-manager-trainee on them and demand that they listen to me, or do I try to gradually (but firmly) enforce what I say?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One small bit of good news is that I got a nice little package in the mail yesterday. It was a free gift from Nexxus, two full-size bottles of hair products. I participate in an online forum about beauty products and research, and this was a reward for part of it. Yay! Smile

NSD Yesterday, Food from Mom, and $50 from Craigslist

July 7th, 2008 at 05:34 pm

-7/6/08 SPENDING-
NONE!!!

-TODAY'S SPENDING-
Pup's New Crate (DC): $128.30 ($145.96/$325)
Rent: $875 ($875/$875)
Student Loan Pmt: $51 ($51/$51)
My SF Card Pmt: $199.65 ($199.65/$199.65)

+INCOME+
Pup's Old Crate (Craiglist): $50

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We finally got the pup's new crate today. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a plastic pan in the bottom, so hopefully he will be okay with his comforter in there. I'm not too worried about cleaning, he won't pee in his crate, and we don't put water in there with him.

I had to put the crate on my Discover Card (DC). I hate to do that, but we just have no other choice right now. Our checking accounts are pretty much drained, and my paycheck doesn't come until Friday. I will need to put my gas on the DC, but BF can use the cash we got from selling the old crate today. As soon as my paycheck goes through, I'm initiating a payment to the DC for the total amount. I just did a balance transfer from the DC to my State Farm card for decreased interest, and I don't want to carry a balance on it again.

The good news is, that because we were able to get his new crate here and put together, we were able to arrange for a woman to pick up his old crate. We sold it for $50, and we only paid about $75 for it earlier this year, so I don't think that's too bad. Plus, they came to get it. It felt good to switch the crates AND land $50 in cash. I am going to scrounge around and see if I have anything else that someone might be willing to buy via Craigslist. Smile

My mom and little brother left for home this morning. We had a nice visit, but an 8-month-old Great Dane and a 4-year-old boy make quite a pair. I didn't think the pup would ever go to sleep on Saturday night, he was still so excited from playing/romping.

Yesterday, BF had to work from 2-10 so he didn't get to be with us all day. We all went out to eat at Bob Evans for an early lunch (pot roast sandwich = addiction), then came back so that BF could change clothes and play some Playstation with my little brother before leaving for work. It was even funnier because they were "smack talking" each other over a cartoon racing game. Knuckleheads.

As always, my mom insisted on buying some extra food stuff for us while she was here. I have paid my own bills since I was 16, and have never asked for (or accepted) money from her. It frustrated her alot to begin with, but I always knew that she didn't have alot of money to spare, and so I felt like I should be able to pay my own way, so I did. But now that I live so far away from everyone and only get to see them once every month or so, I feel like it would actually be mean of me not to let her do little things. We don't need help, but I don't want to make her feel unappreciated, either.

She wanted to make dinner for us last night, so while BF was at work, I went with them to Walmart to get the ingredients. It was my fave - "hobo meals". She got the chicken, carrots, onions, aluminum foil, salad stuff, and cob corn, then wanted to make something special for BF. He ended up getting strawberry cake with cream cheese icing, and chocolate chip cookies. Along the way, she would sneak little stuff into the cart that she knew we liked - trail mix, cereal, chips.

Now, we have quite a bit of extra left. There was extra chicken, onions, and cob corn, and she had brought a watermelon and 3 cases of soft drinks on the drive. Oh... and 3/4 of a strawberry cake, a box of tea bags, and a big bowl of mixed salad. Our food budget just heaved a sigh of relief.

We finally heard from the pup's future surgeon on Thursday. I didn't want to call him back over the holiday weekend, so I will try to do it tomorrow. From the voicemail he left after looking at our x-rays, he still thinks it is too early to do anything now, as his growth plates are still so open. His estimate is around 6 months from now, with x-rays and consultations before that. He said our medicine was on track, but mentioned another pain medicine that we could get for him, and was in the process of describing an injection we could get for his joints when the voicemail cut him off. He was rather long-winded!

So for now, I just want to know what our next steps should be. If we get him the other pain medicine and arrange for the injections at the vet, when should we contact the surgeon for a consultation, in 5 months? I hate when I don't know specific timelines, especially when it's out of my control.

Work has been going semi-well. The manager is on vacation for over a week, and the day before she left, she gave me a bunch of vague instructions about random things to do. I like that she's finally giving me some responsibility and acting like I'm more than a high school cashier, but the fact that it was the day before she left was kind of weird. Plus, it's hard to have "instant" authority when telling warehouse guys what to do, when I've never had any before. I feel like they're probably looking at me and thinking, "Who does she think she is?"

She also gave me a set of store keys before she left, and the combination to the safe. Oh well, at least I am progressing, even if it's slow. I will just have to find a way to deal with trying to tell my "peers" what to do, without sounding like an idiot.

BF seems to be liking his job. It's a smaller store than he's worked at, so apparently everyone is impressed when he handles their "busy" days so well. Their busy days are like his old store's slow days!

Family Visiting :)

July 5th, 2008 at 06:09 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas For My Truck: $40.01 ($142.10/$600.02)

Just a quick note since my mom & little brother are visiting. I wanted to update our spending, even if I can't really make a complete entry. No slacking here! Smile

Hope everyone had a great Fourth!

Bring on the RIBS!

July 4th, 2008 at 04:05 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas for BF's Car: $17 ($82.06/$600.02)
Gas for My Truck: $20.03 ($102.09/$600.02)
2.77 Lbs of Pork Ribs: $4.13 ($12.17/$100)
2 Ears of Sweet Corn: $1.00 ($13.17/$100)
Pack of Butter: $0.99 (14.66/$100)

Since our checking account was on the blitz yesterday, BF & I decided that we'd better not go all-out on the dinner for celebrating the 4th. I suggested spaghetti with chunked chicken in the sauce, which he agreed to. Actually, he isn't much on pasta, and spaghetti is about the only kind he will eat.

Today I checked our account, and both of the false transactions have cleared from it. Our pending balance is just about the same as our actual balance, which is GREAT! By the time we pay rent, and BF's student loan payment, we will only have about $18 until my paycheck a week from now.

BF used $20 cash to get gas today, and I used my old debit card. As of right now, I think we have about $40 in my old account, and $14 in our new one. Hopefully we can get by on that until next week when the payday hits.

I was looking through a grocery sale ad at work today, and noticed they had country-style pork ribs on sale for $1.49/lb (they're usually $2.79). And since the checking account was okay, I decided that I'd surprise BF with a barbecue ribs & corn cob dinner tonight. He doesn't get off until 10PM, so we won't be eating until 10:30, but I think he will like it! Even better, I just noticed as I was tracking the expense that the ribs rang up at $1.30/lb! We will probably use one pack and freeze another, so the total out-of-pocket for dinner will be about $3.20 (we already have barbecue sauce, biscuits, and salad stuff).

My family will be here tomorrow evening when I get off work, so we've got to finish our cleaning tonight. That's what I'll be doing for the next two hours, then start getting prepared for dinner at around 9:00. Maybe our neighbors will be shooting off fireworks again tonight.

In the baking mood.

July 3rd, 2008 at 07:26 pm

-SPENDING-
Carpet Spray & Powder: $6.32 ($6.32/$20)
Milk & Bread: $4.21 ($8.04/$100)
Hip Pills For Pup: $8.45 ($17.66/$325)

I forgot to mention yesterday that BF got some free canned dog food from his work. Apparently the company had shipped the wrong quantity, and it would've expired before they could sell all of that kind, so his boss told him he could just take it home. They are the mini-cans, so we'll have to use two to mix in our big pup's meals, but free nonetheless!

I just checked our BBT account to see if those two "fake" transactions were cleared yet, and something even weirder has happened. Now instead of the two separate transactions, there is just one amount ($470.93) labeled as "Balance Adjustments". Why would they move to that category? For a second I thought that must mean they were about to clear from the account, but then I noticed that the $470.93 is still being "held" from my available balance. I hope it's all okay by Saturday!!!

Currently, there are people outside our apartment building setting off fireworks. I'm all for celebrating, but why couldn't they wait until the actual 4th? It's 10 PM and they are setting off some pretty loud ones. It doesn't bother us, but I can just imagine that we will all have notes on our doors tomorrow morning from the property management.

I got into a baking mood tonight. I used the stuff we already had to make some homemade biscuits, which are one of BF's favorites. He's really a bread person for some reason. Then since I already had flour everywhere, I went ahead and whipped up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. The recipe said fluffy - and they ain't kiddin. They were almost like cake!

All of this took place AFTER I cleaned the kitchen. (It didn't make sense to me either.) Needless to say, I'll be wiping everything down again tomorrow afternoon after work.

Speaking of cleaning, I didn't get as much accomplished today as I would have liked. With all the bill-paying, account-balancing, freaking out, and driving forever trying to find a bank, my cleaning time was cut short. What I did manage:

=Pick Up Living Room
=Vacuum Living Room & Hallway
=Organize Pet Closet
=Take Pup On A Walk
=Sweep Kitchen
=Clean Kitchen Counters
=Mail BF's Student Loan Payment
=Balance Checkbook
=Wash Dishes
=3 Loads of Laundry (Washed & Put Away)

So overall, not a bad day. I called my mom and she confirmed that they are still coming up this weekend. Apparently it's just going to be her and my littlest brother. I don't know why I had thought my other brother was coming too. Hmm.

Someone is supposed to be coming on Monday evening to pick up the pup's crate for $50. Not bad, considering we've used it for 4 months and it was only around $75 new. Hopefully she really shows up!

Testing Our Willpower

July 3rd, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Well, I was in between loads of laundry and dishes today, and decided to go ahead and make out BF's student loan payment.

Then I decided that since I hadn't really balanced our checking account in a week, I'd go ahead and do that, and then make out the rent check too.

So what did I find out when I looked at our account online? It was about $500 less than I thought!!! I was in shock for a second, because not only is rent due in two days, but we won't have a paycheck coming in for another week! So as my face began to get hot, I tried to figure out what the heck went wrong.

Thankfully, we hadn't made such a huge error that we were really $500 short. At BBT online, it shows you your "current balance" and your "available balance". The available is the amount you actually have to use, when you take into account all the "pending" transactions that have some of your money "on hold".

Usually these pending transactions are things like gas or grocery purchases, and within a few days they are posted to the actual account balance and everything is equal again.

Two of our pending transactions are from the online pet stores that I had attempted to order our pup's new crate from. The first one was the online-only store. We had decided to go ahead and purchase from there and pay shipping (before we knew BF was going to start work in TWO days), but then it wouldn't let us finish the transaction because we were using BF's debit card, and the addresses didn't match. I guess he still has his address listed as our old state, and that didn't match the shipping address, so it wouldn't let us use the card.

So, before digging out my card to use, I decided we should just wait. The next day, BF found out about his job and we ordered the crate from PetSmart. Later in the day, I found out that I could special order it through my work and it would be cheaper still. I called and was able to get the PetSmart order cancelled.

So guess what the $500 was missing for? Two transactions from PetSmart and MuttMart. They were from 6/29 and 6/30, which is weird because usually it only takes 24 hours for them to clear or post to the account. One was cancelled, the other was never placed, and yet they BOTH are holding $200+ apiece from our account.

I called the local branch, and she agreed that it was weird that they hadn't cleared or posted yet. But apparently there is really nothing they can do about it at the bank, I just have to wait for the two vendors to clear. Right now, I am PRAYING that they're gone by Saturday, because that's when rent is due.

If not, I have no idea what we are going to do. I really don't want to have to get a cash advance check from one of my credit cards. Even if we pay it back at the end of the month, that is still interest and stress.

And to top it all off, I had about $260 worth of checks that I wanted to deposit today. I looked up directions to the nearest BBT (10 miles away), and set out. 30 minutes later, I was still looking for the darn place. Gas wasted, time spent, and I am back at home with the checks still.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And now the challenging part... as of right now, we have $83 in my old checking account. The BBT account won't be able to be used until those transactions clear and I can deposit those checks.

BF & I will both need gas tomorrow, and we also need to pick up some food and other stuff for before my family gets here. Of course, the old trusty credit cards are laying in my wallet waiting to be used.

That would be the easy way, to use them for purchases until it's straightened out and then hope we didn't spend too much. BUT, I hope we can exercise some willpower and determination, and get by on that $83 until we have the rest to run on. That will mean limiting our purchases at Walmart for food & other stuff, and only getting about $20 apiece in gas for now.

Ugh. It is times like these that I like to kick myself for my past financial mistakes. But there's no going back, so we can only try to do better. Wish us luck.

A Day For Cleaning.

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:44 am

I'm off today, but BF isn't... so that means I will be here with the kitty & pup by myself. He just left for work, and it already feels weird like last night. But it's kind of nice, because I feel like I can really focus on getting stuff done.

In theory, it should be easier to get more done when BF's here, what with having two extra hands and all... but it just isn't sometimes. He helps alot, but we tend to get distracted by watching TV together, or talking, etc. I get more done when I'm bored, lol.

With some of my family expected Saturday evening, there is alot I want to get done, and I need to do it today because I'll have to work Friday & Saturday.

The To-Do List:
=Pick Up Living Room
(the pup has ALL of his toys out in here)
=Vacuum Living Room, Hallway, Bedrooms, and Dining Room
=Shampoo Living Room, Bedroom 1, and Hallway
=Sweep Kitchen & Bathrooms
=Wash Dishes
=Do Laundry & Get All Clothes Folded/Hung In Closets
=Change Kitty Pan
=Wash Walls (if I can figure out how to do it without taking the paint off!)
=Clean Bathroom #2
=Organize Pet Closet
=Find a doctor for BF to go to next week about his cyst.
=Clean Out Refridgerator
=Take Out Trash

In between all that:
=Take The Pup Out For Potty Breaks & A Walk
=Give Pup His Pain Pill & Afternoon Meal
=Figure Out & Prepare Dinner
=Make A List For Walmart Tonight
=Call My Mom To Confirm Their Plans

I'm sure there's more, but I'm just going to try and work my way through this list and get as much done as possible.

The kitty's birthday is tomorrow (or at least when we celebrate it, since we adopted him from the Humane Society)... so we're thinking of mixing a can of tuna in with his cat food or something. Smile

By the way, does anyone know how to wash walls without taking the paint off? We've always had paint that you could wipe down (the pup gets drool everywhere), but the paint here is not glossy at all. Every time we try to wipe it, it looks like the drywall is wet, and it stays dark for a while. Any fix for that?

Also, what kind of doctor do you go to for a cyst? It's just a small lump on the back of his shoulder, and before he just went to his family doctor. That doctor said it was just some kind of "extra skin" that would probably go away on it's own, or he could get it cut off. But it hasn't gone away, so we want to make sure it's still okay, and he wants to get it cut off either way. Would you go to a skin doctor for that? We're clueless.

Farmer's Market Coupon

July 2nd, 2008 at 06:33 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas For My Truck: $20.06 ($65.06/$600.02)
Food For Pup: $3.76 ($9.21/$325)
(7 Cans, 1 Pig Ear)

I signed up for an email list with a local farmer's market. Today, I received an email with a list of their current available produce and a coupon for 10% off a purchase. There are a few different farms and pick-your-own places around here, but I think it would be nice for us to visit one soon. The 10% coupon will help!

I'm home right now without BF, which is weird. I can't decide what I'm going to make for dinner, but I might make his favorite... salmon patties. If I can dig up the ingredients. Hopefully he will still be hungry when he gets off!

Also - I had someone email me and offer $40 for the pup's old crate. I don't know if I should take it or not, I might wait and see if I get any other offers in the next few days. I listed some clothes on Craigslist too, a bunch for $20. Most of them have only been worn a few times, or not at all because I just didn't like the way they fit (Christmas presents). Someone emailed me about those too, but they won't really say when they'll be able to pick them up, so who knows.

Order Was Cancelled!

July 1st, 2008 at 06:40 pm

-SPENDING-
Gas For My Truck: $20 ($45/$600.02)
Chips (BF @ Work): $3.33 ($3.33/$100)
Coke (BF @ Work): $0.50 ($3.83/$100)
Cancelled Pup's Crate: -$246.93 ($5.45/$325)

I don't think I've ever been so happy to hear that my online order was cancelled. BF forwarded the email to me today, and the PetSmart order was officially cancelled! That means we can save $110 by ordering the pup's crate through my work. I went ahead and placed the order today, so it is supposed to be here by Monday.

The pup did okay in his old crate today. He wasn't happy about it of course, but BF said when he got home, he was in a good mood and went running out the door for a walk. Hopefully, the only days he has left in the old one are tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and Monday.

BF had a good first day at work. Apparently his department boss rarely likes anyone, and the manager told him that he is one of those rare few. BF is amazed that he can just be himself and get so much admiration, lol.

It was kind of weird today though. I kept waiting for him to email me (on my cell phone), and then I'd remember that (duh!) he's working too. Tomorrow he works late (2-10pm), so I will be coming home without him here I suppose. That will be weird, like it was before he moved up here. :S

Since he is working full-time too, I am trying to take more responsibility around the apartment. We split dinner tonight, him grilling chicken and me cutting lettuce for a salad. So we had a somewhat healthy meal. He cleaned up a bit when he got in from work today, so I think I will do our laundry and dishes tonight.

Other than that, there's not alot going on. I took my lunch for work today (canned soup), and we had birthday cake for a coworker too. (Chocolate, yay!)

Besides the food, work has been getting on my nerves lately. My boss (the manager) never really makes it clear what I'm supposed to be doing. More than anything I get stuck running the cash register, even when there are "cashiers" there. Today, I wasn't even supposed to have a register, but then another girl walked back to get cake and never came back. Thirty minutes later, I realize that she is helping somebody do inventories.

So I am stuck running the register the rest of the day, which means I can't do anything else. Exactly WHAT did I move 2 states for? To get trained on how to run a freaking retail store! Instead, this girl (who only works there when she's off from college... she's going to be a teacher) always does everything. I guess because I'm not really a butt-kisser, maybe that's why. Or maybe they don't realize it's a big deal to me. But I just think, if something like that needs to be done, why wouldn't they ask me, I am the one who is going to NEED to know this in a year! Ah!