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MyPoints, Our Pup, Truck Update

August 23rd, 2008 at 06:08 pm

My Food @ Work: $4.50
Groceries: $7
Gas For My Truck: $15
Gas For BF's Car: $41.33

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Okay, since yesterday's post was so negative (thanks to the IRS & kid backing into me)... I've decided to start with the good points today:

I did some more MyPoints activities (pretty much just clicking on ads and then exiting). I now have a total of 1,180. Once I get to 1,400 I can redeem them for a $10 gift card to either Chili's, Red Lobster, or Barnes & Noble. Or I could keep saving them to get bigger gift cards. But with Christmas looming in the not-so-distant future and our finances in a bind, I think I'll cash in and give someone a $10 gift card for Christmas.

I also picked out the gift card I wanted as a reward for referring BF to my insurance agent. I picked a $10 gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and plan to give it as part of BF's sisters Christmas. Just saved us $10 in Christmas shopping money! Big Grin

I signed up to try and be a ChaCha Guide. My initial registration was approved, so I filled out all the information and took the first three parts of the Guide registration, and passed those. So tonight I read the training materials, watched the videos, and looked at the website. The next step is to answer some simulated questions, which are graded. If I pass that part, I get to be a paid Guide. I've accomplished alot tonight, but I am too sleepy to do the simulated questions right now. Smile

A guy emailed me about the vacuum cleaner I had posted for sale on Craigslist. I emailed him back to let him know that it was still available and the area we lived for pick-up, but haven't heard anything else. Hopefully he wants it!

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And the not-so-happy news: I made a few calls about our incident with the truck. My agent's office had left me a message this morning, and wanted to know if I planned on filing it under the other person's insurance. That freaked me out because I thought I HAD made the claim under the other guy's policy when I called last night. They transferred me to the claims department, and after being on hold for a while, a claim rep told me that they would have to open a new claim # under the other guy's policy, and they would just need to verify his side of the story. I told him it hadn't been disputed at the scene or with the police officer. So, after they check with him, they are supposed to call and let me know about taking my truck to get fixed, and the new claim number for getting a rental car, etc. Fun.

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BF & I are off tomorrow, so I am excited. So far, our plans just include grocery shopping (even though our food budget is SO out of control already). I mostly want to get stuff that will let us avoid spending money on eating out or at work. We need some stuff we can take with us for snacks, as well as some stuff that we can prepare ahead and freeze for nights when we both have to work late and don't feel like cooking much. Any ideas would be appreciated! Smile

Then we want to take the bikes out somewhere. We'll probably just drive the 10 minutes to BF's work and try to find elusive biking/hiking trail we've heard so much about. I think we'll try to pack lunches & water and NOT spend any money while doing that!

I may be able to talk him into going to Starbucks in the morning before grocery shopping... to treat ourselves using my gift card for there. Caramel Machiatto... yum.

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The pup's x-ray appointment is for Thursday next week. I'll have to drop him off at around 8AM, then pick him up in the afternoon sometime. I hope it goes well. :S

We have to fast him the night before, and I'm supposed to call back and ask if he's allowed to have his pain pill the night before.

The day should be interesting for two reasons: First of all, I'll be driving into Baltimore by myself for the first time. I'll also be by myself, with no BF to stop the pup from randomly wanting to climb in the front seat. Second of all, I'll have to take BF's car to take the pup, and he has to work so he'll be driving my truck. It's a manual! He's not so hot on driving the standard transmissions... so we may need to practice a bit tomorrow too. :P

My Poor Truck :(

August 22nd, 2008 at 06:28 pm

Food @ Work (BF & I): $8

My Paycheck: $997.04 (Taxes, 401k, Health Taken Out Already)

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Well, today has been a heck of a day for us. Referring to the title of this post... I got backed into on my way home from work tonight.

I had pulled onto the road that our apartment complex was on (could literally see my apartment building), and I had to stop behind a red car. Apparently the red car was letting a big box truck turn left out of a gas station parking lot. So we waited, as the truck inched out. Then, the driver of the red car seemed to think that the box truck was going to scrape their car while turning, so he threw his car into reverse... and backed into me.

Turns out, the kid was 16, and his mom was in the passenger seat. I looked up the police station's number on my phone and called to report it. While we were waiting, BF and our pup walked down to us (we were that close). It took the cops 30 minutes to get there, and I kept getting paranoid that they were somehow going to try and blame it on me.

Another guy that had witnessed the whole thing came down right after it happened, and told them to move their car forward. I was still in my truck, and when they pulled forward... my truck went with it! They were stuck together!

I was like "Can you stop? I don't think we're supposed to move until the police get here." Geesh.

The cop gets there and as the mom starts to tell him about the truck pulling out of the parking lot, he interrupts her to look at me and say "So you rear-ended them, right?"

Uh, NO. Wouldn't it be smart of a police officer to let the actual parties of the accident say what happened, instead of jumping to a conclusion? I couldn't help but think... if the mom wasn't so honest (or maybe just didn't think about it), she could very easily have said "Yes! That's what happened, we stopped and she rear-ended us!" Then it would've been my word against theirs, when I did nothing wrong at all. I wasn't liking the officer's vibes from that.

Finally, he took all our info and gave each of us copies, then told BF & I that the other driver was obviously at fault, and since we had all the insurance info, to just go ahead and file through our insurance. So, with that, we parted ways... the mom kept thanking us for being so nice about it all.

The damage to my truck that is visible isn't too bad. He did back up pretty fast, so one of the bars underneath my front bumper (for towing/pulling something) had been pushed not only through the front bumper of my truck, but also all the way through their back bumper. When it was all over, I had to hold the brake while they slammed on the gas just to get them unhooked.

I called the insurance place (we both have State Farm) and gave them all our info, as well as what happened and the case # from the police. The claim rep is supposed to call me tomorrow, so I'm waiting until I talk to them and make sure everything is a "go" before I make an appointment for an estimate/repair.

I talked to my old boss (a SF insurance agent) and she told me that if the boy was driving his grandfather's car, then the boy's insurance might not cover it, we'd have to get his grandfather's. She also said to make sure I don't sign anything at the repair shop until they've done the estimate under the bumper, because the frame might be bent or something.

AND... to add confusion, the boy's mom called me earlier. She wants to know if we can settle it outside of the insurance companies, with them just paying for my repairs. She said it was just "inconvenient" to go through the insurance, because it was such a "minor" thing. I wanted to be nice, because I know her son's insurance premiums are going to take a hit after this... but at the same time, I did nothing wrong, and I need my truck to get back and forth to work.

Who knows how much the estimate will be, especially if there is something wrong other than just the outside bumper/bar. And it's much more "inconvenient" for me to have to try and work something trustworthy out with a stranger & repair shop than it would be for me to go through State Farm's claim service.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm not going to put myself in a bind. So I pretty much told her that I had already called to report it to my agent, and that I was going to wait until I got a call tomorrow to do anything. I didn't want to make her mad, in case I end up needing to get the kid's grandpa's insurance info... but I wasn't about to tell her I'd settle it outside of the insurance.

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So that is all fun. BF also called about his stimulus check again today (or the lack of it)... and bad news there too. Apparently, when he filed his taxes this year, he forgot to mark an exemption for himself. He pulled out his paperwork and verified that he had in fact left it off, but then he had all the information from his parents to prove that nobody else had claimed him as a dependent, so it was just an error on the computer when filing.

But the IRS guy said it didn't matter, that the only option BF has is to complete a form 1040X, and the correction would take 4-5 months. When BF asked what would happen if he didn't get his stimulus check this year, the guy said he'd have to file for it somehow on his tax return next year. So for now, we're kissing that $600 goodbye. And with a $5,000 surgery coming up, Lord knows we could really have used it.

What I don't get is why BF was mailed a notification letter with the amount he was going to receive. The guy told him they just sent out those generic letters to everyone, that it didn't mean you were eligible. WHY SEND THEM OUT THEN? Geez.

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In an effort to make this post a little less negative, I do have some good things to report:

BF mailed the textbook I sold on Ebay:
$40.96 sales
-$1.49 PayPal Fee
-$8.63 Ebay Fees
-$4.67 Shipping
=$26.17 Profit

Every little bit helps.

Extra Income Challenge!

August 21st, 2008 at 06:35 pm

Groceries: $1

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I did manage to get a little accomplished today, although everything seems to be broken down into steps for some reason.

I called to schedule the pup's x-ray appointment, and talked to an actual surgeon, who said I'd have to call back and speak with his receptionist tomorrow to schedule it, that they were kind of closed. "Kind of" closed at 3pm? Okay. Anyway, the good news is that he knew exactly who we were, so apparently the other surgeon did call to give them a heads up. So tomorrow, I'm calling to speak to the receptionist and hopefully set an appointment for next week.

I also called to close our State Farm savings account today. We have $181.50 in there, and since we need it now for veterinary costs, we've decided to go ahead and close the account. Making deposits/withdrawals wasn't really convenient, and we have our Orange account now. The process was miraculously easy. I called and spoke to a representative, who seemed not only willing but HAPPY to help me close the account, and she even took my BBT checking information to do a direct deposit of our funds. Now instead of waiting for a check, the $181.50 should be in our checking account by Tuesday.

I also did some laundry, dishes, and shampooed the living room today. BF got up early to take the pup out, and he'd already done one load of laundry and vacuumed the living room before I even woke up!

And as for my "additional" income challege:

=Emailed a woman on Craigslist that was seeking occassional childcare.
=Listed an extra vacuum, lot of books, and lot of beauty products on Craigslist.
=Registered as a ChaCha guide. Now I have to read the training material and answer some simulated questions, then hopefully I can become a paid guide.
=Got a survey check in the mail today ($17)!

I have quite a few survey invitations in my inbox, so hopefully I will qualify for some paid versions when I get around to taking them.

For now, I'm off to get some dinner started & finish folding laundry.

Lots Of Money Stuff To Do

August 20th, 2008 at 04:18 pm

Gas Station Iced Coffee: $1.50
Gas For My Truck: $30.01
Food @ My Work: $3
12 Pk Diet Coke: $2.50
Redbox: $1.06

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Tomorrow is my day off... thank the Lord!

I have so much I need to get accomplished before I go back to work on Friday:

=Lots of Cleaning Apartment
=Laundry
=Get Work Stuff Organized
=Mail Ebay Stuff
=Call To Make Arrangements For Pup's X-Rays
=Lunch/Dinner For BF & I
=Meal Plans (Or Just Prepare Work Lunch Stuff)
=Get Organized On What Days We Need Off For Family Visiting
=Mail Bills/Birthday Cards
=Get Target GC For New Baby Cousin & Mail
=Call About Closing SF Savings Account
=Apply For Loan For Pup's Surgery

The list could go on and on with stuff I COULD do, but is not necessarily a priority right now.

No changes in the Ebay items as of yet. Both auctions end in about an hour, though I doubt there will be more bids. I had really hoped that Book #2 would sell, dangit!

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I'm trying to think of some stuff I can do for additional income streams. I have been working on it for a while, but not hardcore. Now that the pup's surgery has been moved up so much, and with Christmas coming, and things we'd like to do (beach, Washington DC) before we move, we can use every little bit extra!

So the game plan is:

=List Old Books on Half.Com Or Amazon
=Join Etsy & Start Selling Craft Items
=Try to Join ChaCha as a Guide
=Do More Surveys
=List Some Stuff On Craigslist
=Be On The Look-Out For Loose Change
=Get More Published on Associated Content
=Make Sure I Get A Full 40 Hours @ Work

To keep myself accountable, I'll try to post my progress with any of these things in my daily post.

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Well, I'm off to get started on something... although the first thing may be spending some quality time with BF. Big Grin We're watching a new release movie (thank you Redbox) since I am off tomorrow, and he doesn't work until the afternoon. Who knows about dinner!

Pup's Surgery In September?!

August 19th, 2008 at 03:44 pm

BF Food @ Work: $1.30

Transfers:
$50 from "Slush" to "Pets" account.
$50 from "Slush" to "Christmas" account.
(Totals will come at month end.)
$50 from BBT Checking to "Pets" account.

Bills:
$113.61 Mailed to Personal Loan
$179.78 Mailed to Car Loan (#33)
$27.40 Paid to Electric Bill
$20 Given to Brother #2's Birthday
$30 Given to Brother #1's Birthday


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Book #1 is up to $32.01 on Ebay. Yes!!!

Now if I could only get a bid on Book #2. I have two watchers still, but nobody has bid yet. Grrr.

I am thinking of putting some books on either Half.Com or Amazon.Com, since I doubt I'll ever read them again, and they don't hold any sentimental value. I know I won't get much for them, but anything would be a plus.

Work was alright today. My boss's boss was there, so that's always a little stressful. We were busy, but not necessarily with customers. I can't wait for Thursday (my day off)!

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Finally got ahold of the pup's surgeon today. He shocked me when he said he'd talked to the head vet surgeon for hip surgery at Ohio State (the premiere research place for the surgery)... and with the new implants they use, they can do them in younger dogs. He suggested that we do our pup's next month!!!

He reassured me that it wouldn't hurt anything to go ahead and do it, and I figure it can only help... as his affected leg is already showing some atrophy from not getting as much use as his others. The sooner we get him fixed up, the sooner those muscles can catch up to the rest.

Plus - I was really stressing out about his surgery being around Christmas. The recovery is pretty intense, and I didn't know how we were going to accomplish giving our pup the care he needs while trying to Christmas shop and travel for the holidays. At least this way, the two month recovery time would be over by the holidays.

So added to my to do list is calling the surgical center and setting up an appointment for a consultation & x-rays in the next two weeks. Assumming he is okayed for surgery and put on the list, we'll have to put down a $500 deposit, and pay the rest after the surgery to the surgical center. While I've got them on the phone, I'm going to see if they offer the veterinary financing plan that will allow us 0% interest. If not, I'll have to go back to the banks and get a personal loan for the amount. I was approved the last time I inquired about it, so I should be okay now.

Even though the expense is coming alot sooner than we expected, if it all works out, it will be nice to have no FUTURE debt to dread. I think we will really feel like we're "over the hump" then, even if it is a long road ahead.

Now I'm just starting to stress about the surgery itself. My poor little guy... we'll have to leave him for two days, and I don't know if they even allow visiting before/after surgery.

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And some pure randomness: my mom called me obsessively at work today, so I thought something might be wrong and answered. She then proceeds to tell me that she just bought us a TomTom. Why? Because I'm "such a wonderful daughter" and she never gets to do anything for me anymore. It is totally out of the blue, but I guess she was trying to think of something to do for us, and remembered all our stories of me getting lost on work trips, and BF misreading directions to hiking trails.

Of course I'm very grateful, and still a bit shocked that she did it... but I also kind of wish I could've waited until Christmas for it (just so that I could've researched which one I really wanted). But I'm sure there's not too much difference in what we'd be using it for, and it was free, so I definitely cannot be anything but appreciative.

It was after I got off the phone with her that I realized how difficult it is for me to show appreciation sometimes. I have no idea why, because I definitely always am appreciative... but I think maybe because I hate for anyone to think I need help or even offer it to me. Sounds weird, I know, but I've always been almost obsessed with self-sufficiency.

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Nothing more to report for now - I may update this post a little later if I end up paying some bills or moving some money around. Smile

Stiffness!

August 18th, 2008 at 06:14 pm

Gas For My Truck: $25.03
Gas Station Slushie: $1.30
Bread, Milk, Etc.: $4.50

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Okay, for those of you that read my post yesterday about our grand adventure biking around Gettysburg Battlefield... I am so sore! I was tired yesterday, but the muscle stiffness set in today. (And the day I had to do alot of lifting and moving around at work, of course!)

It's good to know that my body is aching for a good reason though... I look forward to more exercise. Smile

Not much to report, we've got a lot of "to-do" things, but haven't gotten around to alot. The pup's future surgeon hasn't called me back from the message I left a week and a half ago, so I guess I'll call him again tomorrow. He's one of the best surgeons for that type of surgery, so I hope we haven't made him mad somehow. :S

BF still has to call and track down his stimulus check. They are only open weekdays until 5pm, so it makes it hard for him to get in contact with them. His dad did tell him a story about one of his friends who was missing his stimulus check, and it turns out they had sent it to his old address... and the NEW occupant had cashed it! How is that even possible? Now we're more stressed about it.

Book #1 is up to $28.01 on Ebay, and Book #2 still has two watchers but no bids. I just lowered the "Buy It Now" price, so maybe that will entice more people to bid. I guess I just realized that it's not doing me any good, and the longer I hold on to it, the less I'm going to get anyway.

Well, I'm off to do some laundry for work tomorrow and start dinner for when BF gets home. Fried chicken... yum!

Our Bikes & Battlefield Trip

August 17th, 2008 at 03:36 pm

Breakfast: $8.50
AA Batteries (For Camera): $5
2 Mountain Bikes: $35
Lunch: $17
Beer: $12

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Well, we did manage to get up to Pennsylvania and pick up our mountain bikes today. Since we were going to be close to Gettysburg, we decided to explore some as well.

We're really happy with the bikes. They even inflated the flat tire for us before we got there, and it's held up very well so far.

Once we found our way to the park/battlefield, we parked in the back lot and broke out the bikes for a test ride. BF had to adjust my seat down some (and then back up some, lol)... but they are even the perfect size for us. We kept saying all day that we were amazed we'd gotten such a good deal.

Grabbed a map, then decided to just kind of explore and see what we find. Ended up going the perfect trail, and had alot of the monuments/areas to ourselves for a while. Also got some pretty cool pics:



BF & I are both suckers for anything historical/nostalgic... so we had a blast. The bikes were awesome, absolutely the best way to get around a place like that.

Took alot of pictures, and ended up eating at the museum's restaurant. We knew it would be overpriced, but we wanted to eat somewhere that we could only eat in Gettysburg. It's wasn't too bad - $17 for both of us, and that included drinks.

Then we headed home, and BF wanted to stop and get a case of beer on the way. And now we're home, trying to rest up and prepare for work tomorrow (bleh).

Picking The Bikes Up Tomorrow!

August 16th, 2008 at 03:49 pm

Cat Food: $7.50
Food @ Work: $1.75
Orange Savings Deposits: $30

+Survey Check: $8

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Thanks to Blue Eyes & LuxLiving for responding to my last post, I finally figured out the sub-accounts feature for our Orange savings account.

I sat down and thought about what categories or events we could try to save for on a regular basis, so that when we need the money, it's there (or at least some of it). Here's what I came up with:

Wedding Fund
Pets Fund
College Fund
Vehicle Maintenance Fund
Christmas Fund
Trips Fund

I also kept our original account as a general Slush/Emergency Fund.

I funded each of the six new accounts with $5 a piece from our BBT checking account. So that was a total of $30 more that we've managed to scrape into savings this month. I'm going to update our Savings Tracker (sidebar page) to include our new sub-accounts, and I look forward to seeing them grow (little by little).

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Book #1 is up to $26 on Ebay (+$1 from yesterday)... and I have had a few questions from a possible bidder on Book #2. Hopefully they will both sell, we'll take any extra that we can get.

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I got a voicemail about our Craigslist bikes today! The lady said we could come and get them tomorrow, for $35! We are super pumped about it.

After a conversation with one of my assistant managers today, I decided against going to the store picnic tomorrow. First of all, we would have to ride around with the food in the car for 3 hours before we got there (bet that would be yummy), because we'd be picking up the bikes beforehand. Then I learned that only about 4 people were actually going, and the rest were just going to be their families or friends. The manager herself wasn't even sure she'd be there on time. So, I decided to scratch my name off the list and leave the socializing to the 4/5 people that go every year.

So that pretty much frees up our whole day. I called the lady about the bikes and asked if we might be able to pick them up in the morning, which she said was fine. Now we've just got to get up early to clean my truck out enough to get them in there! It also means that I don't have to buy/cook a bunch of corn-on-the-cob, which is a plus.

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BF got to bring home a bunch of fresh flowers from work for free. They were about to "expire" and have to be thrown out, so they let some employees take them. We unwrapped them & added the fertilizer to their water, and they are pretty as can be sitting around our apartment. Smile

Possible Bikes, ING Sub-Accounts?

August 15th, 2008 at 04:07 pm

Dry Food For Pup: $41.29
Canned Food For Pup: $3.99
Gas For My Truck: $56.54

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I managed NOT to buy food at work today, yay! I fixed a salami on toast sandwich this morning to take with me, and had a peanut butter/jam half sandwich & coffee for breakfast. At work, they got pizza to celebrate a coworker's last day, so I got to grab a free slice. Smile

I think we need to start celebrating the little wins again. When I first started this blog, every day I was proud of myself for not spending money at work. Lately, I have gotten lax about it. So we're going to make little things a big win again.

BF was off today, and didn't spend anything except the pup's food. I picked up canned food for him at work.

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Does anybody know how to make sub-accounts with an ING Orange savings? I think I've heard that you can create sub-accounts under the same savings account, to make tracking different goals easier. I've tried, but for the life of me I can't figure it out... or maybe I made all that up to begin with?

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I finished Plum Lovin' yesterday. Now I've started another of my library books, "The Sound and The Fury" by William Faulkner. It's quite the contrast, but interesting.

I haven't gotten a response from the woman selling the two mountain bikes. I offered $35 and pick-up, and I was hoping we could arrange to get them this Sunday before/after my store picnic.

Then my coworker mentioned that his daughter had two bikes they never used, and they cost $500 each new. He is supposed to let me know tomorrow if she wants to sell them, and if so... how much. Otherwise, hopefully it will work out for us to go look at or pick up the Craigslist bikes on Sunday. I'm getting really excited to begin our biking, so I almost can't wait! I know BF is, too.

My Ebay items are doing okay. I have one book sold for $25 and the other has one "watcher" but no bids yet. I think I put a $40 minimum on it.

*crossing fingers*

Ebay, Craigslist Bikes, Groceries

August 14th, 2008 at 07:43 pm

Groceries: $47.21
Household Stuff: $8

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Well, a few odds and ends have been going on. I got alot done around the apartment today, but there is still alot that could be done. Mostly did laundry, dishes, and some random stuff like washing our rugs and rearranging the food/dishes.

For some reason, when I moved in, I decided to put the dishes in the cabinet beside the fridge & stove, and the food in the cabinet beside the sink, above the dishwasher. I think it might've just been the first place I threw them. At any rate, it's already more convenient when loading/unloading the dishwasher, getting a glass of water, and putting groceries away. A tidbit of organization.

I have an official bid on one of my books on Ebay! So far it's at $25, which is fine with me. I listed shipping at $8.95, I hope that's enough to cover it. Maybe there will be more bids, but I don't want to get my hopes up!

I mentioned before that I was emailing a few people about Craigslist ads for used bikes. One woman sent me some pics on my cell, and the bikes look pretty good. She said they just need to be tuned up... tires inflated more, oil on chains, etc. At least I know they don't look like they're from the 60's or something now.

They are only asking $25 each, which I think is reasonable, but she also said it was negotiable. I emailed her tonight and offered $35 for both - and we'd come pick them up. The drive will be a little over an hour's worth of driving out of the way, but I figured we'd only be using about $12 in gas. So if they accept the $35 + $12 gas = $47 for two bikes. As long as they don't fall apart on us, and we're able to ride them, that will be worth it for us.

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I went to the grocery and spent more of our exploding food budget. We are already way over - but I knew that. We did need some staple things, and I went ahead and picked up some good sales that will last forever in the freezer (those little frozen popsicles in plastic). BF really likes them, and they will stay forever. Also picked up some soup for BF & myself to take to work for lunch, so there is no excuse for us to spend money at work anymore. I got some lunch meat & we already had bread.

At the dollar store, I found some decent deals. Got two 3 packs of Tupperware bowls for $2 total, then 8 animal cracker packs for $1, some bread crumbs for battering our meat $1, a nice bottle of Dijon mustard $1. I was going to go ahead and pick up the alumninum foil-ish platter to take food to the store picnic, but then I thought I might as well see what Walmart's price was. Unfortunately, Walmart was $3.50 compared to the dollar store's $1... so I will have to drop back by and pick one up, if we even end up having the picnic.

Got the electric bill - our total is $25. Last month it was $15. I'm afraid this is some kind of "averaging" that is going to correct itself in a few months and we'll have to pay MORE than our share. I'm not complaining because it's cheap, only if it ends up biting us in the butt all at once.

Future In-Laws Complaints :P

August 13th, 2008 at 04:16 pm

Food @ My Work: $3
BF Food @ Work: $1
Groceries: $4.50
Redbox Movie: $1.06

BF's Paycheck: $538.54

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BF is picking up a new release from Redbox tonight when he gets off work. I wish I could've gotten it, since he gets off so late, but I seem to have lost my debit card somewhere in the abyss of my truck or the apartment... so he'll have to use his.

Tomorrow we are planning to use our Red Lobster gift card for supper. I'm excited... it's been SO long since we've went to a real restaurant for a meal. The only time we've been to one since we've moved is when his parents or my mom came to visit, lol.

Anyway, I managed to get my truck fairly cleaned out today while I was searching for my debit card. There is still alot left to take out, but not much trash stuff. I also have alot in my toolbox. I grabbed 3 textbooks from college, I'm going to list them for sale on Ebay I think. I hate to pay the fees, but I'm not sure that they'd do well on Craigslist. I wonder if Amazon is cheaper than Ebay?

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Great news! I "qualified" for a focus group study today. It's done online, and I will supposedly be compensated $75 at the end. I'm not going to count on that until the check is cashed, but boy would it be nice!

I also got $6 just for qualifying, so I requested that check today. I think we should be getting some small checks soon.

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I have been emailing several people who had posted bikes for sale on Craigslist. The few that were within the price range I wanted to pay (under $50 per bike) haven't responded with any pics yet, which makes me nervous. Even if the price is cheap, I don't want to waste gas money going to look at a piece of junk.

BF found some bikes on Walmart's website for about $100 new. I know these probably aren't the best quality, but surely they'd be okay for us just starting out? Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

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We emailed some pics of BF's sis/bro-in-law/niece from their visit with us a few days ago. I actually uploaded and emailed all the pics to them, and even edited one of his niece with a cute border & color scheme. BF said that his sis emailed him and told him thanks to both of us. It kind of hurt my feelings... I was the one who uploaded and emailed them, as well as took the time to edit the one of his niece for a cute snapshot, and she couldn't even hit "reply" to tell me thanks? I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but it just kind of makes me feel left out.

And when his grandma emails him, she will always say things like "we miss you... can't wait until whenever XXX gets done with whatever she's doing" or "miss you here, can't wait till XXX is done with her whatever". She might not mean anything by it, but it kind of incenses me. I have a pretty good job for someone my age, certainly compared to the other women in their family (or men for that matter), so is it too much trouble to call my "whatever" a JOB or TRAINING. It makes me feel like they don't respect anything I do.

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Oh! Forgot to add that when I was going through the junk in my truck, I found a $1 bill, some change, a mocha-colored fingernail polish I'd been missing, and a brand-new eyeliner. It feels like I went shopping, but without the store or actually paying!

Gotta Visit Some Places

August 12th, 2008 at 07:04 pm

BF Food @ Work: $0.73
My Food @ Work: $2.00


Pmt To BF's SF Card: $28.60 (charged) + $100 (extra pmt)

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I forgot to add yesterday that I did $5 worth of surveys. Can't wait to get some checks in the mail.

Work was kind of fun today, I got to ride with an expert from another segment of the company, kind of shadowing his job. He was an excellent person to go with, really knew his stuff, and took time to explain everything to me.

I got back to the store and somehow got stuck on the cash register. I wouldn't have minded, because I only had about two hours until we closed (an 8:30am-7:30 pm workday today)... but when I had three people in line and the other two employees just stood around talking instead of helping, that kind of annoyed me. So I decided to practice my forklift skills in the back. I'm supposed to be certified for it at some point, so I thought I'd practice while they ran the front for a while.

While I was out today, the guy kept telling me that I should really take advantage of where I'm living, and visit as many places that I can, while they are close enough for a day trip. According to him, in the next 6 months, we need to figure out how to visit Baltimore's inner harbor, Washington D.C.'s monuments, Gettysburg's historical sites, and take a tour of New York City. And I'm thinking... "yea, but where is the MONEY coming from for this?!"

We'll have to give it the ole college try I guess. First stop - some free hiking and managing a trip to the beach.

Looking At Some Trail Bikes

August 11th, 2008 at 03:35 pm

Cigarettes: $4
Food @ Work: $4
Gas For BF: $35.50
BF's Cigarettes: $5
BF's Food @ Work: $1.50
Canned Food For Pup: $2

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BF keeps mentioning that he wants to start either hiking, or biking. I haven't had a bike since I was like 10, so I have no idea how practical it would be.

I think we would both really enjoy it, and it's obviously something we could take part in wherever we move to. Exercise would be great!

We don't have any plans for getting them, but I did want to go ahead and look into the approximate costs. Of course, we'd try to go used, since we really don't need new ones. I looked on Craigslist, and the average price for a used trail bike seems to be about $100. I thought that would be the NEW price, geesh!

I thought about getting BF one for his birthday in October, but then it might be useless if I didn't have one too. Plus, it starts getting colder in October, so is that a good gift for then?

Any suggestions? Any info on which type of bike to look for, what types we need? I think he wants to do some trail biking, but one that will also be okay if we want to take it on the blacktop. I'm clueless.

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Our food spending is out of control this month. The sad part is, that we haven't even been out to a real restaurant. It's all been us eating at work, the groceries we've bought, and an outing to McDonalds.

I am going to have to change something for next month's budget. I think part of the problem is that $100 might not be reasonable for the two of us, when we both work full-time and sometimes don't get home until late. A bigger part of the problem is that I have gone back to getting snacks at work. Some of it is breakfast because I'm starving when I get there, and some of it is an afternoon snack.

I can't let myself get complacent and start spending our money away on stupid food at work. I'm re-grouping now and getting determined to take food from home again. Gotta stay accountable!

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I started reading Plum Lovin' last night, and while I only got about 20 pages in, I like it so far. It's definitely alot different than the fantasy-series books I've been reading recently, but it's funny too.

We watched some of the Olympics last night, and the women's gymnastics team was stressing me out! I always get sucked into that stuff like I'm there myself... especially when they are doing all that tumbling, it feels like they're so out of control!

Plum Lovin'

August 10th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

Food: $10
Pet: $39
Gifts: $42
Clothing: $3.18 ($3.18/$0)

(I'll put actual amounts later tonight.)

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Well, most of our day panned out for us. We set out about 10:30 this morning, and BF was so excited about getting to the hiking place that we passed up the exit for Starbucks (or that's his excuse, lol). I didn't notice it until later, and we thought we could take a back road to get back to the Starbucks. Fifteen minutes later we still don't see it, and I tell BF that if we're not getting Starbucks, we're going to have to stop and get something to eat. We ended up at McDonalds, which certainly isn't in the budget, but it was nice just to be able to sit down and eat somewhere, not worrying about the dog/cat, not rushing, etc. So I'll let us slide on that one. Smile

Then we set out to find our hiking spot, as BF tried to remember the directions he had looked up online. We ended up driving for like 25 minutes, when the place was only supposed to be 10 minutes from us. I had forgotten my cell, or we could've googled our way there. We finally turn onto the road that BF was trying to get us to... only to realize that it was just a housing development. He was really confused, then we realized that he must've just typed in the name of the hiking trail, and Google defaulted to the ROAD name. We did end up getting some neat pics from that elevation though:



After that, we decided to go ahead to the library. We were there for about 45 minutes (I like to take my time), I got 4 books & BF got one. Mine were:

The Baker's Boy - J.V. Jones
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Sound and The Fury - William Faulkner
Plum Lovin' - Janet Evanovich

A weird mix, I know. Recently I've been on a fantasy-series kick, but I never know when I'll be in the mood for something else, so I got a variety. The Janet Evanovich book I got because the others were so highly recommended by many of you guys (FrugalTexan). I looked for the numbered series, but the only one they had in was #8, and I didn't want to start in the middle. I just checked online, and it says the first one should have been there, so maybe I just missed it. Anyway - I'm going to try out Plum Lovin' for now. Smile

I'm out of ideas for my next fantasy series. Eragon is supposed to be coming out with the third book soon, as well as the Inkheart third book. Any ideas, anyone?

Well, I'm off to do some household stuff (or get distracted and start reading my library books).

Big Plans & Extra CC Payments

August 10th, 2008 at 05:31 am

Extra Pmt To My SF Card: $150
Transferred to Orange Savings: $50

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I noticed that we seem to have a bit of an excess in our checking account. I'm not sure how it happened, because we certainly haven't been under budget much. I think it may have been certain amounts that I've allocated for things like BF's health insurance, etc. that we had to prepay a while back.

At any rate, I wanted to see if we would be needing this money in the near future... but BBT's online banking is down, so I can't check the amount we have right now. Another reason we need to look for another bank.

I know we have about $1300 in there right now, minus $60 I spent on gas yesterday, and a check from my work that hasn't cleared yet. So, just to be on the safe side, I'm estimating a conservative $1,000 to start with.

Now (10th): $1,000
Estimated Extra: $300
Amount Left For Expenses: $700

-$50 Food
-$100 Gas
-$60 Pets
-$125 Gifts
=$365 LEFT

(13th): +$500 (BF's Paycheck)
-$75 Electric
-$200 Gas
-$180 Car Payment
-$20 Food
-$40 Pets
=$350 LEFT

(22nd): +$980 (My Paycheck)
-$50 FFB Card Pmt
-$57 Cable
-$200 My SF Card Pmt
-$50 Discover Card Pmt
-$114 Personal Loan
-$51 Student Loans
-$100 Gas
=$708 LEFT

(27th): +$500 (BF's Paycheck)
-$875 Rent
-$50 BF's SF Card Pmt
-$150 AT&T
-$120 Gas
=$13 LEFT

So that works out about right, with some fairly liberal estimates for spending on food & gas (I think!).

This includes paying most things pretty early, and all of them by the due date. Because I estimated the amount we had available now pretty conservatively, I feel confident that we can take out the $300 to put towards other things.

So, where is it gonna go? I like the idea of putting a little in savings, while the majority goes to debt repayment. It is so rewarding to see our savings go up every month, even if it's only by a little bit.

I think I will split the $300 in three ways: $150 to my SF Card, $100 To BF's SF Card, and $50 extra to our Orange Savings. The payment to BF's card will have to wait a few days, until his updated balance is showing. He put one of our expenses on his card the other day because I had his debit card, so I want to add that amount to the $100... so it's actually $100 EXTRA, not just $100.

This doesn't count the $50 I've already added to our Orange savings this month.

I'm pretty excited!

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

You may also notice that I've updated one of our goals on my sidebar. Originally, I had a goal of getting our total debt to $14,000 by the end of this year. But, since I've started putting a little bit of our "extras" into our savings account for emergencies and Christmas gifts, I don't feel like $14,000 is realistic. I want our goals to be a challenge, but not impossible. So, I've changed it to $15,000 by the end of the year. That will still be a challenge, but doable I think. We'll see!

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I've been up with the pup since 5:50 this morning, which kind of stinks because it's my day off and the rare day that I get to sleep in. But even after BF got up at 7:30 and offered to let me go back to sleep, I didn't really feel like it then. I'm afraid if I go back to sleep, I'll waste away our day off together and we won't get to do anything.

It came as a shock to me that BF went along with most of my plans for today. The only thing he wanted to nix was the eating at Red Lobster, which he suggested we do on Thursday night instead. That won't be bad because he gets off at 5 and I'm off all day on Thursday.

He even added that maybe we could check out a hiking trail instead. We have never been there before, and we're not even sure how to get there, but we're going to load up with bottled water and some snacks and try it.

So, in theory, our day will involve:

~Starbucks (gift card)
~Hiking (if we can find it)
~Library (they're open 1-5pm)
~Birthday Shopping (gifts & cards)
~Take Pup To The Park

I have no idea if we'll get all (or any) of it done, but it would be nice! Well, I'm off to take a shower! Everyone have a great day.

Freebies! And a fierce competitor.

August 9th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

Gas For My Truck: $60.61 ($155.02/$600)
Food @ Work: $3 ($100.49/$100)
Gift Cards From Restaurants.Com: $7.60 ($108.09/$100)
BF Food @ Work: $4 ($112.09/$100)
Beer: $5 ($117.09/$100)

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Forgot to mention yesterday that I received a free lipstick in the mail from a survey that I completed. I got paid pretty well for the survey itself, then they sent me a full-size new kind of lipstick to wear for a week and then give them my opinion of it. Yay!

I did a survey yesterday that was basically the same deal... only this time I get free feminine products. They're not new or anything, just a specific brand to try.

AND, I got a letter from our insurance office offering me a $10 gift card for "referring" BF to them for his car insurance. I get to go online and pick the place I want it from, so I haven't decided which one yet. Smile

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

I am scared to tally up our Food spending so far. I know we are probably already at our monthly goal, and it's only the 9th! Ah!

But to be fair, we have had to buy a few staples that we have recently ran out of. We've also done terribly at the "eating at work" part. I've figured out that I hardly ever buy lunch at work - it's always breakfast because I'm starving by the time I've been up for 3 hours when I get there. Plus, we really don't have much breakfast stuff that I can take with me (mostly cereal or oatmeal, some eggs)... so if I don't get up plenty early, I'm out of luck.

So I think I may look into some inexpensive ways to add some reliability and flavor to breakfast. That should help us with the food bill next month.

Speaking of the food budget, I did take advantage of the offer MariRDH posted about today from Restaurants.Com. There were so many good restaurants near us, or near my work! I ended up getting $110 worth of gift cards for $7.60. I even found one for a restaurant in my old hometown, which will be perfect to either give to my dad for his birthday or Christmas, or use whenever we get back there again.

I'm debating on whether I should go ahead and get a few of the generic Restaurant.Com gift cards to use as gifts for Christmas. There weren't a whole lot of choices for places around where most of our family lives, but perhaps by December there would be more. Also, they could always use them when they go on vacation somewhere. I almost just can't pass up paying $2 to give someone a $25 gift card! I may wait until BF gets home and see what he thinks.

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BF & I both have the day off tomorrow, so I have been looking forward to it all week. I'm not sure how we managed it... but I'm glad. We are having our store's company picnic next Sunday, so I'm hoping that he will be able to get off work in time for us to go. Since I won't be here for next year's picnic. Frown

I have been kind of making plans for tomorrow (scary since BF hasn't had any input)... and I keep envisioning this wonderful day where we wake up and get Starbucks (I have gift cards from my birthday)... then head to Walmart & Michael's to pick up the rest of our family's birthday gifts/cards, then perhaps Red Lobster in the afternoon for a late lunch or supper (again, we have gift cards, lol). BF won't want to go to Red Lobster if it's super crowded, so I'm hoping we can go early and be okay.

We also need to get a few groceries... even though our food budget is bleeding at this point. I am in the mood to get healthier, fresher foods like veggies and fruits, but I want to make sure they won't go to waste if we do. Oh! And I need to check and see if the library is open tomorrow, so I can exchange my books and BF can get some if he wants.

The potential problem with all this is that whenever I start planning ahead and looking forward to social, getting-things-done day... it never fails that BF will come home, and say that he is looking forward to just relaxing the day away tomorrow. Noooooo!

So, despite all my grand dreams, we will probably end up staying in, doing laundry, and I'll read some of my older books while he plays playstation or gets on the internet. Not that I mind days in, but I feel like we haven't "done" anything in forever! We're 22 (and 21) for Pete's sake!

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

This pup is driving me a bit nuts. He gets in these mischievious moods where he will grab some random object that he KNOWS he's not supposed to have (like a pen, marker, lighter, my shoe) and bring it over right in front of me, as if to say, "Look what I have!"

And of course, as soon as I say "No!"... he takes off running for the dining room. And this is the ridiculous part, I end up chasing him around and around that stupid table fifty times before I can finally catch him off-guard enough to catch him. I've tried using the chairs to block one side of the table, but then he just crawls under them.

Today, I didn't feel like putting forth much effort, so I was just walking slowly in circles. The pup would walk just as slowly, all the time with my shoe hanging out of his mouth, and his eyes locked on my position across the table. When I finally surprised him into dropping the shoe, I grabbed it and did a victory dance. (I know, I was provoking.) He was so mad that I'd gotten the best of him, he was jumping up in the air trying to snatch it back out of my hand. If anybody had been filming this, they'd definitely think I was crazy. But he's a fierce competitor. Wink

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

August 8th, 2008 at 05:11 pm

Groceries: $22 ($94.49/$100)
Paper Towels: $2 ($9.71/$20)
My Food @ Work: $3 ($97.49/$100)

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I did venture to the bank today. I had planned on calling them again, but then I decided I didn't want to sit in a hot vehicle on my lunch break, and then have them NOT call me back like yesterday.

So I went in, was SUPER nice (maybe nicer than I should've been)... and got nowhere. I have fair skin (gotta love freckles), so whenever I get upset or angry you can definitely see the blood rushing to my face. I could feel my face getting hot as the conversation wore on, but maybe because I work in retail, I was determined to stay polite.

Pretty much, the lady that was helping me didn't understand the charges either, but she was acting like she did. I explained the situation, and before I could even finish, I saw her reaching for a stack of pamphlets on "when your money is available". Of course, the pamphlet only said "next business day", which is what my receipt said.

I was told on the phone yesterday that the deposit wouldn't be credited until 9AM Friday, when I went in today, the lady told me it was credited yesterday. So, I asked her, if it was credited yesterday, why did I get charged another overdraft for a charge that was posted yesterday? And if our rent check really came in on the 6th, why wasn't it in the pending charges or posted on the 6th? Why did it show up on the 7th and have a date of the 6th?

I explained to her that I could have deposited cash yesterday to cover additional charges, if someone had called me back to let me know what exactly was going on, when my money was going to be available, etc. She pretty much refused to address the fact that someone had dropped the ball on returning my call. Never even said "sorry for the inconvenience" or "we don't know how that could've happened", nothing.

Then, as I am telling her that I just don't feel like it's fair that I deposited a payroll check on Wednesday afternoon, and I'm getting charged an overdraft fee for something coming in on Thursday. To this, she has a brilliant idea! Why don't I open a savings account with them and put some money in it, and I could use that as overdraft protection? Or better yet, why don't I join their "constant credit" program, and get a line of credit to draw on in such cases?

I felt like saying, "Can you please at least listen to my problem before you try to sell me another account/service?" And if I'm complaining about the customer service, why would I be interested in adding another service? So you can get a bonus for signing me up? Nope.

In the end, I told her that I would be willing to pay the first fee, but I felt the second should be refunded to me. She went away for 5 seconds and said she "tried", but it wouldn't let her. I thanked her for her time, and asked if BF would have to be present to close the account, because his name is on it too. She looked completely shocked, and literally had her mouth hanging open for a second. Then, she said "Well, let me go to the other side of the floor, and call to see if we can do anything. I'll call you shortly to let you know, okay?"

So I leave, and four hours later, they call while I'm at work. I couldn't talk long, so when she said they couldn't refund the money when it wasn't technically a "banking" error, I thanked them again and told them we'd probably have to think about closing it. I didn't even give her time to give more excuses, or offer the "constant credit" again.

Now, I'm not sure if we really will close the account, but we're thinking about it. There are lots of banks closer to where we live. In fact, when I went to make our deposit on Wednesday afternoon, I went WITH a coworker who was going to do the same thing at Bank of America (her paycheck was even from the same company as BF's!). She went in and deposited it, and it credited at midnight. I've heard some bad things about BOA, but apparently they can process some deposits at least.

The bad thing about switching would be the cost of ordering new checks in a new account, and the time it will take to set it up, plus switching over both our paychecks to direct deposit there, and our insurance drafting. Plus we'll be moving in 6 months or so, so maybe we should just put up with BBT until then if we can.

I probably won't be back to that branch though.

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

I also found time to call the pup's future surgeon today. I had to leave a voicemail, but hopefully we'll get in touch soon. I really just want to know when we should be contacting him to do the consultation and x-rays. And to ask about some injections for joints, and the pain medication we had taken him off of when his stomach was upset. And payment arrangements! If we pay him through the surgical vet's office, then I think we can use the credit system set up for veterinary costs, which offers no interest for a while. That would be preferrable, but if we have to get outside financing, I need to know ahead of time. Okay... so I guess there was quite a bit I need to ask him!

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Just watched the opening part of the olympics - wow!

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I'm going to start making mini-payments like many of my fellow bloggers do already. I think it will be motivating to be able to add little $2 or $3 payments to our credit cards throughout the month.

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BF still needs to call again about his stimulus check. I'm afraid he's going to wait until too late and never get it! And then it will still be taken out of his refund next year, right? Ick.

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Since the checking account is (hopefully) okay now, I am going ahead with the $100 payment to my Discover card, and the $50 transfer to our Orange savings.

Edit: I forgot to add that I also completed $17.80 worth of surveys today (one big one). I went ahead and requested the check, so hopefully it will get here soon.

Recouping Bank Fees:

$70 Fees
-$7 Surveys 8/7/08
-$17.80 Surveys 8/8/08
=$45.20 Left To Recoup

Only an okay day off.

August 7th, 2008 at 05:14 pm

BF Food @ Work: $2.00 ($72.49/$100)

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Today has been only an okay day off. Having to deal with the bank issues early in the day just kind of set the mood I guess.

And just when I think I've accepted that we will just pay the $35, and perhaps look for a bank that will fit us a little better, I start thinking about all the other things that can possibly go wrong with the account, since I never got a call back from the bank today to sort through it.

I really hate confrontation, so it almost makes me nauseas to think about having to go through all that mess if we end up getting charged more fees between now and then.

Anyway, not much else to report, financial or otherwise. I did do $7 worth of surveys today, so hopefully I'll be getting those checks in about a month. I also finished "InkSpell", so I won't have to renew it at the library again. BF is actually thinking about checking out a few books the next time we go. I'm surprised that he's willing to put down the Playstation controller long enough to do that! Wink

Well, I guess I will do some laundry, dishes, and start dinner before long, so that we can eat when BF gets off work. I want to feel like I've done a little something productive with my day.

My little brother has a girlfriend. :)

August 6th, 2008 at 07:15 pm

Food For The Pup: $4 ($4/$60)
Milk: $4 ($65.49/$100)
Food @ My Work: $5 ($70.49/$100)

Car Payment: $179.78 ($179.78/$180)
Student Loans: $51.00 ($51/$51)
My SF Card: $195.00 ($195/$195)
BF's SF Card: $18.90 ($18.90/$20)
My Discover: $63.00 + $100 ($163/$163)

Transferred to Orange Savings: $50 ($50/$48)

Survey Checks Deposited: +$10.60 ($10.60/$5)

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I finally deposited some checks today! (Yay!) BF's last paycheck & two survey checks, but I'm only counting the survey money as income for August.

I need to check our list of monthly bills and see what I should go ahead and pay. Don't want anything to sneak up on us.

My mom just called and told me that my grandma's birthday was today. Gah! I don't know why I thought it was the 8th... at least I've already bought her card. Now I just need to get the Michael's gift card and put it in the mail, before it's horribly late.

Mom also told me that one of my brothers has an official girlfriend (he's 16)... they are already saying "I love you". Smile I would say that they won't last a week... but I started dating BF at 18, and we're still together. My other brother started dating his GF at 15, and they are now still together at 19. So who knows, lol!

That's it for now, I'm off to read some more of my twice-renewed library book, "Inkspell". Hopefully I can actually finish it before it's due back this time. Smile

The pup made a friend.

August 5th, 2008 at 05:56 pm

Gas For My Truck: $56.09 ($94.41/$600)
My Food @ Work: $1.68 ($56.20/$100)

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Well, I'm tired. lol.

Work went by very slowly today, which stinks because lately it has been pretty good. I think the fact that we were so slow with business, and there were so many of us there, made it seem like there was nothing to do all day.

I called our insurance office today, to find out how much will be drafted out of our account for our two cars, life insurance, and renters insurance, and was told the same amount that it was BEFORE adding BF's car. So... I asked how BF had set his up, and she said he had it on a monthly billing mode, completely separate from mine. I told her to combine them so that it all gets drafted from our account, but it still kinda pushed my buttons.

It was going to cost us $4/month in service fees just to pay monthly, where with my account we only pay $1/month. I don't know why she would tell BF that it was simpler to separate them, especially having one on bank draft and one on regular billing. Plus, he had to pay two months worth of money down the way she did it, when he should've only paid one month down to have bank draft this month.

So... long story short, I had to set them straight. The good news is that we don't have to pay BF's insurance this month, since the extra downpayment will come into effect. Lesson learned, never send a guy to do a woman's job. Wink

I just took our pup for a walk when I got home, and he made a friend! There was an extremely nice woman out walking her dog, and we struck up a conversation about puppy food. We were out there for a good ten minutes, and she gave us some tips on where we could take the pup swimming for free in a little river. Apparently it's the thing to do with your dogs... who knew?

Right now, there are three or four girls (or women?) outside our building singing some sappy song. I don't know if they're drunk or just tune-deaf, but it does not sound good. Smile

Well, I guess I'd better get off here and get some housework done. It's really the last thing I wanted to do when I just got in from work and have to be there early in the morning... but there was a note on the door saying that the apartment maintenance people and someone from the electric company will be entering our apartments to check our meters tomorrow at 9AM. I hate when the apartment looks messy or there is laundry out when they come. I'm glad they give so much notice!!!

A Beach Is 2 Hours Away?!

August 4th, 2008 at 03:50 pm

BF's Food @ Work: $0.69
My Food @ Work: $1.83
($54.52/$100)

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Still haven't deposited BF's last paycheck or my survey check. Ahhh!!! But, better to be undeposited in my wallet than deposited and spent, right?

I just can't seem to make it over to the bank on my lunch breaks. Grrr.

Today was relatively un-spendy. We are finally going to watch "Good Luck Chuck" tonight, we rented it on Saturday, but BF fell asleep before we could watch it. On the one hand, I really hate to pay an extra $2.12 for a movie we could've watched already, but on the other hand... I couldn't really blame him for being exhausted as he's worked so much lately.

Our pup is doing so good... he's so smart. Sometimes it's not a good thing though, like when he takes my tennis shoe and runs laps around the dining room table to get away from me. I try to switch directions and catch him - and he switches directions. I put a chair up to block one side of the table, and he crawls under the table. He doesn't even want the dang shoe, he just wants to aggravate me. Too smart.

I will have to get gas tomorrow, but I'm actually not too stressed about it since we are tracking our spending and I just saw gas for $3.75. Now watch it spike to $4.00 tomorrow morning, lol.

Other than that, not much going on. I just realized that we live less than 2 hours from some beaches here. I had thought we were at least 3, but realized that is to the "party beach" that is made for college students & tourists. We can drive less than 2 hours and be at a smaller beach I think, probably less expensive surroundings, too. As soon as BF gets that Thursday off, we're going to plan it. I'm excited, haven't been to a beach since 2006. Smile

8/3/08 - I lied...

August 3rd, 2008 at 02:03 pm

Groceries: $52 ($52/$100)
Cigarettes: $5.29 ($57.29/$100)
BF Food @ Work: $1.33 ($58.62/$100)
Gas For BF: $38.32 ($38.32/$600)
Laundry & Carpet Stuff: $7.71 ($7.71/$20)
3 Birthday Cards: $7.80 ($7.80/$102)
Redbox Movie: $3.18 ($3.18/$10)
Rent: $875 ($875/$875)

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Well, I lied... I am going to track our expenses on my blog. I started writing them out on paper, and I just didn't like it. It was unorganized, and it would've been hard to look back at the end of the month and see exactly what we spent money on, besides each category.

So I'm making a second attempt at doing it here, and if I run into a day when I don't have time to log on, then I'll write it down until I can.

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I still have to deposit BF's last paycheck and my $5 survey check from the end of July. I'm counting the survey check in our August income, but not his last paycheck, since that was technically a July paycheck, it just wasn't direct deposited. Supposedly, his next check WILL be deposited automatically, but we'll see.

Today has been an average day so far. I'm off, but BF doesn't get off work until 10 tonight... blah. He hates that he has to work late hours, and says it's boring when the store isn't busy, but other than that he doesn't seem to mind it too terribly bad. I think finally working somewhere BESIDES the cushy store he worked at for 5 years has really impacted him. Heck, I think the whole move up here has impacted him.

He's even told me that he's glad we moved - something I never thought I'd hear him say. To be honest, I'm glad too. I eventually want to be back closer to our families - but I don't know if I want to live in the same town. There is a certain freedom in living away, where your family only has to know what business you WANT them to know. lol.

It's also kind of empowering, to know that I moved here by myself, knew absolutely no one except my boss (that I had met once)... and now we have a happy, normal life here. Now it's weird to think that this place was ever really strange to me.

Working at a new place, with some annoying bosses, has also renewed BF's desire to go back to college. Before, he would only contemplate finishing his Associate's... now he is set on getting a Bachelor's. He is thinking about Communications, which is a good idea I think. His dream job is to be a radio broadcaster, but he's always put it off as impossible. I keep telling him that he should go after it - even if he doesn't land the radio job, a Communications degree is good for all kinds of business and sales jobs. He might even decide that he doesn't want to do radio along the way, but at least he would have figured it out.

We haven't nailed down the details yet, but I know it might be difficult with him working full-time and taking classes. On one hand, he could only take a few classes... but that would mean he'd be in school longer. On the other hand, he could only work part-time, but that puts pressure on my income, especially if we're going to plan on buying a house, having children, etc. anytime in the near future.

I'm thinking that a little bit of the pressure to "get out on his own" will be relieved now, since we live together and will hopefully be getting engaged/married sometime soon. Hopefully that will make it a bit easier for him to just focus on work and school, until he graduates.

We may talk about him starting some kind of classes when we make our next move in early 2009. He would have at least a semester, and I'm sure he could start taking some more of his general education classes that would transfer wherever.

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A bit of randomness - I cut my own hair today. Scary, right? I was a bit nervous... but then again I knew that my hair is long enough, if I make a hack job out of it, I could go to a salon and have it fixed, and still have plenty of hair left, lol. All I really did was trim the split-ends off, maybe taking 3/4-1 inch off the length. I hadn't had a hair cut in a LONG time (maybe 9 months) and it was driving me nuts.

From what I can tell, it doesn't look half bad. Nothing fancy... just comes down past my shoulders, with a bit of long layers that were already there from the last time I got it cut. At least the split ends are gone.

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BF is taking off on a Thursday sometime soon, and because I'm normally off on Thursdays, we are going to head to the beach. We may never live within 3 1/2 hours of a beach again, so we might as well take advantage. We will have to arrange for doggie daycare though, since we will be gone too long to leave him at home. I'm sure he won't mind, he's up for anything that includes other dogs, humans, or playing. Smile

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!

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

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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)

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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.

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)

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.


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