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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.

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

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.

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!

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

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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!

Our July Budget (Starts 6/30/08)

June 30th, 2008 at 05:27 pm

OUR JULY BUDGET

INCOME
My Pay (After Taxes & 3% 401K): $2,065.78
BF's Pay (After Taxes): $900
Personal Loan Reimbursement: $235
Surveys: $27.50 ($7 + $20.50)
TOTAL = $3,228.28

EXPENSES
Rent: $875
Cable Internet: $57
Electric: $75
My SF Card: $199.65
BF's SF Card: $18
Car Loan: $180
Student Loan: $51
SF Insurance: $155
BF's Car Insurance: $115
Personal Loan: $113.61
Cingular Cell Phones: $125
Pet Supplies: $325 ($75 + $250)
Food: $100
Gas/Maintenance: $600.02
Shipping/Household: $20
Entertainment: $40
Hair-Cuts/Personal: $15
BF's Health Insurance: $0
My Health Insurance: $114
Health Co-Pays/Over-Counter: $50
TOTAL = $3,228.28

ANY SURPLUS = SF CC PAYMENT

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A few notes about our budget for July:

-I included an estimated $250 in the Pet Supplies Category to account for the cost of the pup's bigger crate.
-Cut Hair-Cuts/Personal to $15 because BF is growing his hair out, and won't be paying for a hair-cut this month.
-Entertainment is more because we are expecting visitors, and plan to try and do something fun while they are here.
-BF's Health Insurance is zero because we pre-paid for 3 months of coverage.
-Co-Pays/Over-Counter is more because BF intends to go to the doctor about a cyst, and I think that is the co-pay.

PUBLISHED!!! ... and an Orange Account.

June 25th, 2008 at 07:23 pm

Yes, my Associated Content articles were finally published. So here is my shameless plug, if anybody is interested:

My Associated Content Profile Page
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237343/silly_ole_me.ht...

"How To Free Your Pet From Ringworm"
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/833833/how_to_free_...

"How To Live With A Great Dane"
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/834149/how_to_live_...

I think I'll also create a separate page where I can list my published works. Keep in mind these are my first two articles, so nothing stellar. Now that I am a little more familiar with how the site works, hopefully I can create some quality stuff.

If anybody missed my blog about joining AC, it works by paying you for the number of page views that your published articles/songs/videos get. Right now I have to get 1,000 page views to get $1.50. Not a fortune, but it's a start, and this site has taught me not to discount little extras.

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I also started an ING Orange savings account last night for BF & I. I like the way it lets you have "linked" external accounts with no fees. I think that will really help us to make more deposits (even if they are small) whenever we have it. Even if it will eventually go to a bill, it can gain a little interest or keep from being spent on other stuff for a while.

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I only spent $1 today, and that was on a sweet tea from McDonalds after work. I managed to take my lunch, and didn't have to buy gas (thank goodness). We also made out the car payment to mail. Tomorrow will be a bill-paying day, as we have to find out what is going on with a few of them.

Our cable bill was due today, and we have never gotten a paper bill. But then again, we did get somebody ELSE'S cable bill (same apartment number, wrong building)... so maybe it's the mailman's fault. But our electricity bill is due at the end of the month, and we haven't gotten a bill for that either. Neither of the websites will allow you to look up your account balance, so I guess we'll have to call them.

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On a side note, I thought I'd share some thoughts I had today. I usually try to refrain from judging other people's financial decisions, because I know everyone's situation is different. BUT... some of the people at my work are just amazing!

Take "De"... she's a 40-ish married woman, she works retail (cashier) and her husband is a middle school janitor. They have 3 kids, one in middle school and two that are graduated but living at home. Long story short, she's always commenting on how their electricity gets shut off because they couldn't pay the bill, or how her shoes are almost worn through on the bottom but they can't buy new ones. One of their daughters works part-time and pays a bill or two every month for the household (she's 18).

And here's the part that rubs me. This same woman has spent SO much money on plants for her garden. She buys all kinds of flowers, is always getting fast food for lunch, and just today, her husband was asking if we could order bamboo windchimes. If you can't pay your electricity, do you really need flowers for your yard or bamboo windchimes? She even told me that they have NEVER bought their children clothes. They've always been given clothes from relatives, or her husband has taken the "lost and found" clothes from the schools he works at. When the kids got older, he went from an elementary school to middle school, so that the clothes would be bigger.

I guess what really got me to thinking about all this was after a customer left the store today. She had bought two flowers, and was discussing with "De" that she had never tried that variety before but it would be an experiment. After she walked out, De turns around to me and says (mockingly) "Oh look at me, I can just come in and buy flowers for an experiment... I have good credit and can pay my bills, what a nice life."

I didn't say anything of course, but I was just in awe. I know I'm not a budgeting expert (by ANY means), but even I know better than to act like THAT. Geesh.

Pain Pills, Hotdog Stands, and Freelance Articles

June 20th, 2008 at 07:14 pm

Well, I'm pretty excited right now. Usually at this point (when my day off is ending), I get a little depressed because returning to work is on the horizon. But since I worked yesterday and took off today, that means I only work tomorrow... and then I'm off again on Sunday! So it's a little better to know that I only have to go back for one day.

Determined to get a little done on our day off today, BF & I ran a few errands. First of all, we ran to the vet's office to get the pup's pain medication. They gave us a 60 day supply for around $65. We STILL need to mail those x-rays, so I think I might have BF do that tomorrow while I'm at work. He'll need to go to the post office since we need a special envelope. But at least the ball will be rolling on the surgery consultation.

While we were out, we also stopped by Walmart to pick up a can of wet dog food. Our pup is so picky - he always has been. We have put him back on a better version of dog food, especially for giant breeds, to make sure that his joints are getting the right levels of everything. The problem is, it's like he senses that it's healthy, and refuses to eat it alone. So we by the same brand of wet dog food and mix it, and up until a few days ago, that has worked really well. Now the little fart has decided that he's tired of even the mix, so we'll have to adjust it. The closest place to get the good brand of food is 20 minutes away, and we didn't even know if they carried another flavor we could use, so we decided to pick up a small can of cheap food at Walmart, just in case he refused to eat at all. We also ended up getting a bottle of hand sanitizer and McDonalds. (gasp!!!)

I still haven't gotten around to updating our spending trackers and budget today. But since I don't have to be at work until later tomorrow morning, I can afford to stay up a little bit tonight. Maybe I will get around to it... if so, I will update our Budget page on here too.

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And perhaps the funnest part of my day - I talked BF into going to the library with me while we were out! It's in the city next to ours, which is quite a bit bigger than we're used to... so when we ended up downtown it was such a weird experience. Walking in, there was an actual hotdog stand out front! I have never seen that except on movies or TV... craziness. I am proud of myself for thinking to check out the books I've wanted to buy.

I ended up getting "Inkspell", the sequel to "Inkheart" that I read a few months ago. I've been looking for it in Walmart every time I go, but no luck. I'm glad that I was able to borrow it today, even if I had to go to the Children's section to get it! Books are one of my favorite things to buy, and therefore one of my biggest financial weaknesses. Even though I usually get the cheap versions at Walmart, it's still going to save me alot of money to get them at the library. Plus, a little less clutter around the house when I get done reading them!

Because I was a little embarrassed to be checking out with a "kid's" book, I also got "The Lovely Bones" to balance it out. I've wanted to read that for a while too, and I am very impressed with what I've already finished.

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And last but not least... BF told me I should write a book today. Lol. I think it's just because I actually like to read (which he finds fascinating), but he has mentioned this several times, even saying today, "What? I would read it!" Well, I would hope so!

Anyways, instead of launching into a novel, I did a little research on some freelance writing online. I ended up at www.AssociatedPress.com, where you can get paid based on the popularity of your articles. I figure there's nothing to lose, so I've submitted my first article for approval. The topic is spectacular... "How To: Free Your Pets From Ringworm". Smile

What can I say, you have to stick to what you know, right? Perhaps someone will find it helpful. Anyway, I guess if it gets approved and is published on the site, I will post it on here for anyone that is remotely interested. Yes, expect some shameless plugs. Wink

If anybody is interested in doing the same thing, I have my own referral link:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/join.html?refer=237343

I have no idea if that link even means anything, or if it just takes you straight to my published stuff, but I thought I'd offer it just in case. There is also an option to subscribe people (via email) to be alerted every time I post a new article, if anybody is interested in that. Come on, you know you want the answers for ringworm! Wink

Okay, I'm done promoting. Back to reality.

Payday, Ebay Profits, Mystery Knockers, and more on BF's sister!

April 3rd, 2008 at 06:00 pm

Today has been a semi-productive day. The dog got me up early, reminding me that I HAD to go get his dog food this morning. I also had to take my rent check to the office, as I realized yesterday that I hadn't paid it. I wasn't sure what the grace period was (or wasn't), so I wasn't going to feel at ease until it was taken care of.

At this point, I started wondering if the rent was indeed $875 like I've been saying all along, or if it was $895. I knew it was $875, but for some reason I was doubting myself and decided to check. When I was skimming over the lease, I noticed a part that says the landlord has the right to require all rent payments in money orders or certified checks.

WHAT??? So I'm freaking out because there is no way I can get a money order OR a certified check in this state. I have all of my money in my old checking account in my old state. So I wait patiently until 9:00 when the BBT banks open. I was planning to explain the situation, and hope that they would let me cash a check from my other checking account, if I deposited some of it into the checking account I have with them.

BF called on his break from work, and I was so stressed that he said he hoped my day got better, and that he'd pray for me. Ten minutes later, at exactly 9:00, I decided to try calling the leasing office to verify that I couldn't just write a check. And what do you know, she said that was fine! Apparently they use the same lease for the hundreds of properties owned by the management company, so that particular clause didn't apply to me. Better yet, she said I had until the 5th to even drop it off. I called BF back to let him know that his prayers worked. Smile

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I also picked up some paper mess that the pup had made while I was in the shower yesterday, and was startled by a knock on my door. Not knowing who it was (and we don't have peep holes yet), I didn't want to answer. The pup was barking like a guard dog, and I just sat completely still, and didn't hear anything else.

I told BF about it later, and he said it might've been someone who just had the wrong apartment, which made me feel a little better, since there was no note or anything on my door from maintenance or package delivery, etc. So I go do my errands and come back, and I'm right in the middle of a survey when my doorbell rings. It's a rather loud doorbell, and hardly anyone uses them, so it scared the crap out of me. The pup is barking again, and I'm sitting in my computer chair frozen. I wait about 15 seconds, and don't hear anyone walking or talking outside the door. Just when I go to get up and see if there was a note, the doorbell rings again. I freeze again. Still no talking, no offering of who they are, no walking away, etc. Then about 10 seconds later, there is a knock. This time, it wasn't just a regular old knock, it was the EXACT rhythm that BF used to use when he would come to my old apartment, so I would know it's him.

So of course, what do I think? BF has crossed two states to surprise me, and he's going to move in even earlier than I expected!!! Yay!!!

Not. I grabbed the pup's collar and opened the door a crack, only to be faced with a middle-aged man and woman, dressed professionally, and then be battered with questions of how I'm doing and do I attend church, and did I before I moved.

Now, I am a Christian, and I do wish that I could get into a comfortable church here, but is knocking at strangers doors at 7:30 at night really the best way to go about recruiting people? I was really surprised to find out that they were from a Baptist church (which is what I attended back home), because I've really never encountered that. Anyways, after 10 minutes of them doing all the talking and me trying to keep the pup from escaping between my legs, I was handed a card with their cell phone numbers, and a pamphlet about their church.

All in all, I'm a little relieved to know who it was knocking at my door earlier, but I'm also a little freaked out that they came back twice, and were pretty persistent the second time. They also kept asking me alot of personal info, like my first & last name, if I was married or moved for work, etc. Kind of freaky.

It also sucked that in my pathetic state I thought it was BF at the door. Frown

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On to the financial stuff...

The shipping for all my ebay items totalled $13.80, plus about $2.75 that I had to spend on packing supplies. The total payments I received after the fee from PayPal was $23.65, so my net profit was $7.10.

It's not alot of money, but it's more than I had a few days ago! Also, it's a little less clutter of unwanted items around the apartment.

I've decided to take any extra income (overtime, surveys, ebay, etc.) and put it into our State Farm savings account (AKA Our Wedding Fund). I'll wait until the end of the month to mail in the deposit, in case there is anything else I might get to add.

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Pay day is officially Saturday, but I got my pay stub yesterday, so I know the amount I'm getting plus what's being deducted:

Net After Taxes: $1,075.66
Health/Dental/Vision: -$56.76
401K: $0.00
Net Deposit: $1,018.90

This check also incluses 1.12 hours of overtime, which amounts to about $6 more net pay. I'm going to add that to my $20 challenge, and put it in the Wedding Fund at the end of the month if it's still extra.

The good news: The net pay after taxes is a little higher than what I had budgeted for (based on two pay periods per month), so that may be a surplus at the end of April.

The bad news: The amount deducted for my insurance benefits is about $2.76 more than I budgeted from each paycheck, for a total of $5.52 more per month. I will check my next stub, but I will probably change the amount budgeted for that next month.

The other news: I had forgotten that my 401K contributions will not start until after my third month with the company. So at the end of the month, if I don't need the money to cover some other problem budget areas (like the insurance deductions), then I will stick it in the Wedding Fund.

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I requested payment from a survey site today, so hopefully I will get a $9 check in the mail this month. More for the Wedding Fund maybe!

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Gossip News: For those of you who read my post about the "situation" with BF's sister getting married again, around the same time as we would be starting to plan our wedding, I have some extra news:

Not only is one of BF's girl cousins getting married in June (they've been planning for like a year), he just found out today that one of his guy cousins is moving his wedding up to the end of May. They were originally planned for December of this year, but due to some unforeseen circumstances (one guess what it is), they will be doing it in May.

So... if my intuition is correct and me & BF will be getting engaged in the next three months (I could be wrong, I haven't exactly asked him, but I have a pretty good feeling about it), that will mean that at the same time we're announcing our engagement and starting to plan our wedding:

1) His cousin will be having his wedding in May.
2) His sister will be having her "shot gun" wedding in June.
3) His other cousin will be having her wedding in June.
4) My uncle's baby is due for July.
5) His cousin's baby is due in November.

And we're both VERY close to our families (uncles, cousins, etc), so each of these events will be a big deal for our families. It's starting to look like I am going to have to give up on waiting for "our moment" to be the sole event... if I want to get married any time in the next 10 years!!!

BF Left... Back to Blogging!

March 29th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Well, I had an excellent visit with my BF the past few days. He was able to make it up on Wednesday night about 8:30, which worked out well because that's just about the time I was getting home from work that day. This might be a weird choice of words, but it was really "refreshing" to be with him again! We have never gone longer than a day or two without seeing each other, even when we lived in different towns, and it had been a whole month this time. So yea, I love him Smile

The bad news is that I was so excited Wednesday that I forgot to stick to my "no eating out" rule (or at least that's my excuse), and I spent $3 on breakfast at McDonald's. BF paid for dinner Wednesday night, so I don't have to count that in my spending. Then Thursday, he paid for breakfast when we went to Wally World, but I did end up buying a new collar & harness for the puppy. The good news is that I still had money on my Walmart giftcard to pay for it.

Thursday night I cooked his favorite meal (salmon patties), which turned out pretty decent. I had to work on Friday, so I just grabbed a bagel & cream cheese before we left the house, and BF brought me lunch at work. Friday night, he cooked chicken & potatos, which was AWESOME (so much better than my salmon patties), and the best part was that we already had the groceries to make it.

He left early this morning as I left for work, and I have to admit that so far, it hasn't been as bad as I was thinking it would be. In my mind, I had worked it up so much that I thought it would be even worse this time than when he had to leave the first time. Although today is only the first day, I think it's going to be a little better this time. Plus, I know when he comes back in a month, he's coming back to stay! No more boring nights or days off alone!

Because I was in such a hurry this morning to leave before he did (it was a psychological thing, lol), I didn't have time to eat breakfast. When my coworkers were taking orders for someone going to get breakfast, I caved again. Another $3 to McDonalds.

So in total, from Wednesday to today, here is the spending:

Wednesday: $3 Breakfast (cash)
Thursday: $7 dog collar (gift card)
$8 dog harness (gift card)
Friday: $0
Today: $3 Breakfast (cash)

I do have to say though, BF insisted that I take $150 cash this morning before he left, "just in case" I needed anything that I couldn't write a check for. He's so good to me Big Grin I told him I didn't need it, and my plan is to still have most of it when he gets back, when we can either put it in the Wedding Fund or pay off that much more debt. We'll see though, I may have some expenses that I don't see coming right now.

Ebay & Today

March 24th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

I could've posted this yesterday, but I forgot! When I was going about listing a few random items on Ebay (mostly stuff I got for Christmas that I'll never use/wear) to see if they would sell, I checked my Paypal account and realized that I had $34.13 left in there that I had never transferred to my bank account when I sold a textbook last month. I have no idea how I forgot about it, but it was a nice surprise!

I have two other books that I might try to sell. I usually wait until early January or late August, so that people are needing them for classes, but I guess I might as well try now, before they're obsolete!

As far as spending goes, I didn't eat out again today (I'm really on a roll with this), but I did buy two packs of cigarettes on my lunch break. It's kind of weird to even put that down as an expense, because I'm not really even a "smoker", so it's weird to even think about them as an expense. I usually only smoke sporadically when I'm around my brother, etc., but since I have a 40 minute drive to and from work, and I'm by myself except for the dog & cat, I have started out of boredom I guess. I go through about a pack every two weeks, so the two packs I bought today should last about a month. That should be about the same time my BF is moving in, so then I won't be bored anymore! Ha!

Anyway, the cigarettes were $7.94 with tax, and I paid cash. I also had to get gas this morning, which I used my debit card for, and it was $15.

I also got my signing bonus today!!! Apparently they didn't want to direct deposit it like they did my other two paychecks, so I had a paper check waiting in my manager's office. The total amount is $2,952.50, which is about what I had expected.

The mail brought my health/prescription cards today, and those are effective the 1st of April, so I should be set there!

So mostly good news, but I do have one nagging little issue going on. My new checking account, which I had opened online before I moved (in the hopes that it would actually be up and running when I got here) is getting so freaking complicated. It seems like opening a checking account would be one of the simpler things that banks do, but apparently not!

First of all, when I submitted our account application online (a month ago), I was told that I would receive notification via email in a few days to let me know it had been accepted & opened. This was true, a few days later I got the email thanking me for opening the account, and telling me that we would be receiving a "welcome kit" in the next few days with our account documents. Fast forward a few days and I am already moved, and a few days after that I get the paperwork in the mail, but it has a signature document in it that we (me & my BF) are both supposed to sign and apparently mail back in.

Keep in mind that my BF is now TWO states away. Needless to say, he gave me permission to sign his name & I mailed it back in. Prior to this, I had tried to call the 24 Hour phone support number they have to ask where we were in the process of actually being able to use the account. Unfortunately, you cannot access anything to do with your account unless you have a "security code" attached to your SS#. If you don't have a security code (which I didn't of course), you had to request one, and then they tell you it will arrive in 7-10 days!!! So I requested the code, and meanwhile mailed the signature paper off.

A few days later, me & BF both received our debit cards, and called to activate them. I tried to get online and check the balance, since I had received a notice that they had posted my opening deposit of $50, and it kept telling me that I already had an online account. I finally ended up calling the online support number (different from the 24 phone support), and she told me that I had a username & my password was the last 5 of my social. Could someone not have told me this, either over email or in the series of documents I was sent?

So I check the balance and it says that I have a $20 debit for gas (which was fine), and then a $1 debit three days later for "credit card...." The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I am getting charged to use my debit card???

I haven't used the card for anything else, but the second charge was 3 days after my gas purchase? I would call about it, but I haven't received my security code yet!

Now on to the next issue... checks. Apparently we are not getting any with our new account, nor are we getting a check register or deposit slips. No problem, I think, I will just order my own. I go to Walmart check printing online, and I find some simple inexpensive checks that will cost about $7, try to order them, and it asks for information off an EXISTING check. So I decide to try and order through BBT, even if it might be a little more expensive. I go to the online site for ordering through the bank, and picked out a style that I didn't particularly like because there was very little selection. I get almost all the way through the ordering process for one box of checks before it tells me the price. $29 for one box, of about 100 less checks than the Walmart site!

Long story short, I refused to do that. I plan on calling them (as soon as I can figure out how to actually speak to someone) and ask about both the $1 charges and the check ordering process.

Until then, I am not going to deposit my signing bonus into that account, not if it costs me $1 every time I use my debit card to spend my OWN money. I also need to close out my old checking account, which now has a balance of about $3,500, before my BF moves up here, but I don't want to do it now because of how complicated it's all been!

Eh. This is what I get for trying to be prepared and open an account before I actually needed it.

Well, enough of my rant, I am going to see if I can actually get something productive done tonight. Smile

Another NSD Yesterday, Pay Day Today!

March 21st, 2008 at 02:54 pm

Forgot to add yesterday that it was another No Spend Day! It wasn't too hard because it was my day off, but I did have to resist the temptation to sneak off to Walmart or run to McDonalds.

I am really impressed with myself and my goal of cutting back on the amount of money I spend on eating out (especially lunch while I'm at work). Starting on Monday, I haven't eaten out once this week! Thanks to bringing my own lunch, and some free food at work, I have saved probably $20.

In other news, I finally got my debit card for my BBT account, and my boyfriend got his too, so I think it's finally opened! I am debating now on whether I should order checks, depending on how much they cost. I really only use them to mail a few bills, but I guess I should have some just in case, before I close my other checking account.

Today I stopped to get gas so that I wouldn't have to in the morning before work, and that was $20. At least I could use my debit card and not have to worry about putting more on the credit cards! So far that is the only expense I've had, but I do have a few bills I need to pay online or put in the mail tonight. I'll have to update later when I figure out what those are.

I left a message for my old apartment manager this afternoon, she is supposed to be getting back to me on the total amount of my last month's water bill, and the total amount I'll have to pay for breaking the lease. I have been estimating $2,000, but it would be great if it was less!

Another good thing happened today, I got my first paycheck from my new job! Actually I just saw that it was deposited into my old checking account. I had about $525 for the first week, and then about $1050 for the two weeks after that. I still haven't seen the signing bonus I am supposed to get "the first full pay period" after I started. I assumed the first full pay period would be considered the full two weeks that they paid me for. Apparently not though, I guess I need to call or ask someone about that.

Also, when I checked the mail today, I had an Easter card from my grandmother (my dad's mom), with a $20 bill inside. Usually she just gets us one of those little boxes of candy for Easter, so I was surprised. I have the feeling she did it because I am two states away and I won't get to go home for the holiday. It's a nice little extra either way.