<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Not necessarily financial
 

Viewing the 'Not necessarily financial' Category

MyPoints, Our Pup, Truck Update

August 24th, 2008 at 01:08 am

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

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

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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 23rd, 2008 at 01:28 am

Food @ Work (BF & I): $8

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Lots Of Money Stuff To Do

August 20th, 2008 at 11:18 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

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

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!

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

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.

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

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!

Our Bikes & Battlefield Trip

August 17th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

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

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

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).

"It's In The Cards."

August 16th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

This is completely un-financial, but I forgot to mention it in my post earlier tonight, and I'm just a tad excited.

I was joking around with BF tonight, he said he wanted to play Playstation, and I said I wanted more days off work together. He said he wanted to go camping, I said I wanted the Harry Potter movie to come out in November. We kept at it, each time getting a little more extreme. I finally smiled and said, "I want to get engaged."

He smiled back and said "It's in the cards."

Of course, I've kind of known it was coming for a while, so I just laughed and said "surreee it's in the cards."

Then he walked over to the counter, opened his wallet, and pulled out a business card from a local diamond store. Yikes! It really is in the cards! Smile

Picking The Bikes Up Tomorrow!

August 16th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

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

+Survey Check: $8

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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

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 11:07 pm

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

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*

Replacing The Mini-Blinds

August 14th, 2008 at 01:19 pm

No spending so far today, but then again it is only 9:15AM.

I listed two textbooks on Ebay last night, and I had one "watcher" as of this morning. I really hope they sell for some good money! (Or any money really, what good are they to me now?)

When BF left for work this morning, the pup ran to the window (he usually watches him get in the car) and managed to tear up the mini-blinds. I'm not even sure how he did it, but with one swift swipe of the paw, we're going to have to replace them. It makes me feel a little better to know that we put away some extra money this month, as well as paid some extra on our debt, so this little hit doesn't seem so bad.

We've decided to delay our trip to Red Lobster tonight. Instead, we're going to pick up a few things at Walmart (including mini-blinds) and see if BF can replace them.

In the meantime, there is alot of stuff that I need to get done today. The apartment is getting out of hand. It's not the worst it's ever been, but there are so many little things that have piled up since BF & I have both been working alot. If we were to have unexpected company (which is unlikely since we're 2 states away from everyone)... I'd probably have a heart attack.

Our store picnic is this Sunday, and everyone is supposed to bring something. BF will find out today if he was able to get off work for it. My manager called yesterday and wanted a head count of everyone that was coming, because she said if there isn't enough... we're not going to have it. I think that's kind of rude, mostly because one of my coworkers is hosting it at her house, so no doubt she's already been preparing for it. Other people have already signed up to bring their spouses & grandkids, and what food they're taking. BF requested off work for it.

I think I'll take mini corn on the cobs. We are having burgers and hot dogs, and other people are bringing potato salad and baked beans. I figured cob corn would be cheap, easy to make, and something I'd feel confident about everyone eating!

Well, I'm off to (hopefully) get something accomplished today. I need to stop checking my Ebay items compulsively in order to do that!

Future In-Laws Complaints :P

August 13th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

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

BF's Paycheck: $538.54

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

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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 13th, 2008 at 02:04 am

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


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

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

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 10:35 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

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

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.

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

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!

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

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 09:50 pm

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

(I'll put actual amounts later tonight.)

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

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 12:31 pm

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

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

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!

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

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 10th, 2008 at 01:19 am

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)

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

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.

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

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

My little brother has a girlfriend. :)

August 7th, 2008 at 02:15 am

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)

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

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 6th, 2008 at 12:56 am

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

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

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 10:50 pm

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

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

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 09:03 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)

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

August Budget, Missing Stimulus Check?

August 3rd, 2008 at 02:22 am

OUR AUGUST BUDGET:

INCOME
My Pay: $1,990
BF's Pay: $1,000
Survey Check: $5
Travel Reimbursement: $190
TOTAL = $3,185

SPENDING/BILLS
Rent: $875
Cable: $57
Electric: $50
My SF Card: $195
D's SF Card: $20
Car Loan: $180
Student Loans: $51
SF Autos/Renters: $300
Personal Loan: $114
Cingular: $130
Pet Supplies: $60 + $50 Bark Collar
Food: $100
Gas/Maintenance: $600
Household: $20
Entertainment: $10
Hair Cuts: $10
Health Co-Pays: $50
My Discover: $163
Brother #1 Bday: $23
Brother #2 Bday: $33
Sister Bday: $23
Grandma Bday: $23
Orange Savings: $48
TOTAL = $3.185

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

So that's for August. I have decided to track our spending on paper, just because it's easier for me to pull out when I have a quick second, and that way BF can see it as well. I might check our progess in a post about mid-August, but we'll see.

I really tried to look ahead and see what unusual expenses we might have, since I did such a poor job of planning for last month. August is a killer birthday month for us, so we'll be forking out money for gift & greeting cards for everyone.

I have been trying to scale back on the gifts, but it still adds up when there are so many at once. It's not like they are second-cousins or anything, either. Two are my brothers, who always manage to get me something, even though they are younger and one is still in high school. One is BF's sister, who always manages to buy him something she thinks he'll like. If it was his other sister, I would just send a card, because she always seems to find a reason NOT to get BF something (not even a card).

And then my grandma's birthday is this month too. I usually send flowers to her with a card, especially since my grandpa died and I feel like her birthdays might not be as "happy" as they used to. She's really had a hard last 10 years. But since I'm where I am, I am going to send her a gift card to Michael's craft store, which I think she'll really like, along with a greeting card that says "You're classy, You're sassy... you're still kick-assy." A perfect fit for my grandma!

I may have a little to add to the income side, if my mom & brother send me their reimbursement for the personal loan. Sometimes they forget for a while though, so I don't want to count on it for this month.

When I was updating our savings/debt totals for the end of July, I really anticipated being depressed. I was actually shocked to see that although I failed to plan for my work conference expenses AND we had the expensive emergency vet visit for the pup, we still decreased our total debt! So now I only get slightly depressed if I start to think about how much that total would have decreased if it HADN'T been for those unexpected things.

Another little bonus was how much my 401K is growing (and therefore our total savings/investments). I guess I never realized what a company match can do for you. Free money, yay! I can't wait until I can contribute more to it.

Our Orange account has $30 in it. It's amazing how good that $30 feels though. It may not seem like alot, but just knowing that I have that tucked away, makes me feel a little better.

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

BF's stimulus check is missing in action. For some reason, I thought he had gotten & cashed it before he even moved up here, but he brought it up a few days ago and said he was still waiting on it. We checked with his parents at his old house - nothing. He called the IRS and said he could only get an automated system, which relayed him to another system, and then they wanted to send him a text message about something. He is supposed to get almost the whole $600, at least that's what his pre-check letter said.

He is really stressed out about it, so I'm going to see if I can find a number or something for him to call. I have a feeling that he wants to add this amount to what he's got saved for my engagement ring... so I feel really bad for him having to wait so long. Any ideas on who to call or what to do?

As I type this, my 3 favorite guys are all sleeping. BF is on the couch... we had rented a $1 movie, but he's so worn out from work that he fell asleep at 9. The pup is laying on the floor beside of him on his preferred blanket, and the cat is in the bedroom at the foot of the bed, stretched out like he owns it. It's rather nice to be the only one stirring... I can actually hear myself think. Smile

What do you think of us?

August 1st, 2008 at 11:50 pm

As I sat in what seemed like never-ending traffic today, I remembered something that one of the VP's from my company said during my conference last week.

He had just gotten through telling us that we were the future of the company and that any one of us could be the next CEO... and then he added "even though you're a bunch of Generation Y'ers... which scares the hell outta me."

We all laughed... but afterwards, we started to ask "What did he mean? Scared him like we're gonna screw the company, or scared like we're gonna stab him in his sleep?" lol.

Of course we all view ourselves one way... and before I share exactly how I view "Generation Y", I thought it would be neat to get everyone else's opinion! Especially related to work, finances, etc.

So if you have any opinions or comments, please share! (Don't worry, I won't get offended, you can generalize us all if you want.)

Smile

This Money Pit.

July 31st, 2008 at 02:06 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The (Really) Inconvenient Truth

July 27th, 2008 at 02:15 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am struggling.

July 26th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbudgeted Expenses... Gotta Love 'Em.

July 14th, 2008 at 03:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emergency Vet Visit = OUCH.

July 12th, 2008 at 03:19 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The instructions now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think expense-tracking just COST me money.

July 8th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 8th, 2008 at 12:34 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day For Cleaning.

July 3rd, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did job offers get so complicated?

June 29th, 2008 at 02:54 am

I've blogged about BF's job interview yesterday. A recap & update (and rant):

BF put in an application online for the grocery store on Tuesday. Thursday, a guy from the store calls and leaves him a voicemail, saying that they were originally looking for 2 part-timers, but with BF's experience, they might be able to give him full-time with benefits. Then, before BF had even noticed the voicemail, the guy calls back again on the same day. This time BF answers, and the guy tells him the same thing... he could probably get full-time with is experience. They arrange for a face-to-face the next day (Friday).

BF goes to the interview, where he is told by the same guy that the starting pay for part-time is $7.50/hr, but that's for young kids with no experience. BF tells him he'd really like full-time, and would probably have to have at least $9/hr for our budget. The guy tells him he understands completely, he thinks BF will be great, and BF can probably move up the ladder just like he is (I'm guessing the guy is a department manager or something). He tells BF that he will talk to the boss (the manager?) and see what he can do for BF.

So he calls BF this morning and tells him that they just CAN'T start anyone out at more than $8.50, but that he could work a month and be moved up to $9.50/hr. BF tells him he's not sure if that will work, and the guy tells him that he can start work next week, and get 25 hours.

So BF calls and tells me, and I am pretty much ticked at this point. Why would that guy call and leave a voicemail saying they could probably get him full-time, then call back, then have an interview and act like he completely understands what BF will have to have, and then call to offer PART-TIME and $8.50/hr? And the fact that he was promising a whole $1/hr raise after a month of "good work" made me uncomfortable. Would that ever really happen, and if so... why not just start him out at the $9 he wanted? It just pissed me off because, if you know you can't hire someone full-time or pay them what they need, why waste their time?

Fast forward a few hours, BF calls to tell the guy he just can't do that, but thanks anyway. Then, magically, the department-head guy says, "Well, what if we can get you $9/hr and 40 hours/week, just no benefits? Would that be enough for you to come?" BF tells him no guarantee, but that would be the minimum. So the guy tells him (exact words), "Well, I'm gonna go to bat for you man, and if I fall on my face... so be it."

Am I just being super-paranoid, or does this sound SO car-salesman-ish? This guys is the one that contacted BF, that called his references, that read his reference letter, that interviewed him, and that has called him back since. And yet he has to "go to bat" for BF to the boss? If he doesn't have the authority to hire people, why is he leaving messages and interviewing them? And why did he tell BF that $8.50 was the absolute most they could hire at, and now he's saying it's possible to get more? Does he not see that he's cross-stepping himself?

Ugh. So here we are. The guy is supposed to call and let BF know whether he can get him $9/hr and 40 hrs/week on Monday. I'm even more confused on whether I want BF to take it or not. $9/hr is what we were shooting for, but I'm just not sure it will be what this guy is promising. Are they allowed to work people 40 hrs/week consistently without making them full-time? I know in our old state, if they did that for 3 weeks in a row, then you were automatically considered full-time, and eligible for benefits. So I'm afraid they'll give him 40 hrs SOME weeks, and less others, to keep under the threshold.

*Sigh*. BF says to look on the bright side, that he even had a job call and offer. I know that's the way to think, but it's just exasperating when I feel like we've had to wheel-and-deal for a GROCERY STORE job. I didn't negotiate that hard for the position I have now.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts & comments on this situation... we need BF to have an income very soon, but we also don't want to get screwed over.

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

Good news for today... our two trial deposits for our ING savings posted today, so we were able to verify them. Now the ING account should be officially open for depositing & saving. I'm hopeful for what we can do with it.

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

As far as our budget, I am debating on whether or not to start our "fiscal" month of July tomorrow (June 29th). The perfectionist in me wants to say "July is July", but the logical side of me says otherwise. Tomorrow is my day off, and we need groceries. So if I wait until July 1st to start tracking expenses, it won't include our groceries from a few days before. I may end up waiting until at least Monday before I start tracking July spending. Still undecided.

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

I finished The Lovely Bones last week (one of my library reads). It was really good... moving at times. Made me appreciate just being alive a little more, and being able to experience life thus far.

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

Well, I'm off to balance a checkbook, clean the apartment, and smack BF around a little for his texting to his cousin. (Hello! $0.20 per text!!!) And maybe some reading out of my other library book, InkSpell. Maybe.

BF's Job Interview, Extra $ To The CC

June 28th, 2008 at 12:51 am

Well, BF had his job interview with the grocery store today. According to him, it went really well, and the guy who was interviewing him wasn't much older than us (24 I think). He was from down south too, so they had that in common, and he seemed impressed with BF's work experience and references. They usually don't give new people full-time, but I think this guy is trying to work it out for BF. When he read the reference that BF's old manager had given him to bring up here, he said "Wow, this is serious... you should be interviewing for my job!" Lol.

The semi-bad news is that he said part-time people start at $7.50/hr. There is no way that we can afford that. Of course, he said that's for 16-year-olds with no experience, but he couldn't nail down what BF would get either. Of course it would be higher if he got full-time, plus he would get some paid vacation and benefits. BF told him that he couldn't work for less than $9/hr, and he would really prefer full-time. The guy seemed to respect that we have a budget and need to know where the money's coming from.

So... he is talking to the head manager tomorrow and is supposed to let BF know. If he hasn't called by 5:00, BF is supposed to call him.

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I really expected the full-time pay to be higher than even $9. BF was making $9 back home working part-time, and that is a much lower cost of living. Here, I figured he could make $10/hr part-time or maybe $12/hr full-time. Ugh.

On the other hand though, he seems to think he would really like it, and was even talking about how he could transfer to another one of the stores when we moved (it's a national chain)... and maybe move up the ladder like the guy he interviewed with. So I don't want to rain on his parade.

The Pros:
+We can start getting the income sooner.
+BF's health insurance costs might decrease.
+BF gets paid holidays & vacation days.
+BF could possibly advance w/ the same company, as they are national.

The Cons:
-The pay isn't what I expected for a full-time job.
-He would have to work evenings alot, which means our schedules would be opposite.
-It's the same work experience that he has already, no new skills.

I am wavering between just telling him to take the job if he can get $9/hr, and telling him to hold out for something else. I even emailed him a bunch of customer service jobs off of CareerBuilder, but I don't know. AHHH!!!

The good (and weird) news is that we apparently don't have an electricity bill this month. For some reason, when I check the account balance online, it says we have a $2.00 credit and nothing due. We have been waiting for the paper statement to make sure, but haven't gotten anything. So I called tonight, and the automated system told me the same thing... $2.00 credit and nothing due. The due date is the 30th of this month, so I know it would be showing by now. The only thing I can figure is that when we called to get the balance last time, it didn't include the payment we had mailed... so we had paid for two months at once? Maybe? I don't know.

Anyway, as long as we're not getting double-billed next month, that is fine with me. And just to make sure that "extra" money was put to good use, I went ahead and applied $50 extra to my credit card bill.

Pmt to SF Credit Card: $149.65 (min) + $50.00 (extra) = $199.65

I also paid the personal loan by transferring money from my old checking account (what I had left) to the loan account. I haven't done that before, but hopefully it will work and save me $0.42 in stamp cost.

Pmt to Personal Loan: $113.61

Paid our cell phone bills, it was high this month because we added BF to my plan. We had to pay an activation charge to add his line, but I've switched it to FamilyTalk, so it should be considerably cheaper next month.

Pmt to Cingular: $182.01

I started to mail a payment to State Farm for my brother's life insurance ($14.01), but decided not to. We don't have much extra money, and my brother doesn't have any debts at this point that makes life insurance a necessity for my mother to have on him, so I'm not going to pay it anymore. I got it when I worked in insurance, and he always said he would pay for it, but I never asked. I'm going to contact my agent and have her change the address on the policy to my mom's, and let my brother know that he can continue to pay it if he wants.

So the only bill left for June is the cable bill, which we haven't gotten a bill for, but I know was due on the 24th. I tried to call tonight and pay it, but they closed at 5PM, so BF will be doing that tomorrow.

-----------------------------------------

And last but not least... I am getting everything ready for our "fresh start" in July. I want to start the second half of the year ready to go with our budget and tracking our spending.

In the next few days, I will be preparing our specific budget for July, and hopefully evening out the financial stuff we've got hanging in the air. I have two checks from my family (reimbursement for the Personal Loan) that I need to deposit, and I want to get our Orange Savings up and running by July.

So yes, we are determined. Every penny will be tracked, and every dollar budgeted. Smile


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>