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Archive for June, 2008

Fresh Start & BF's New Job!

June 30th, 2008 at 06:08 pm

-Spending-
Gas For BF's Car: $25 ($25/$635.02)
Pup's X-Rays Shipped: $5.45 ($5.45/$325)
Pup's New Crate: $246.93 ($252.38/$325)

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Our fresh start for the second half of the year has certainly started well for us.

First, BF got a good call about work this morning. They are giving him full-time with benefits at $9/hr. That is more than we thought they would do! The way they were car-dealing about the pay, I figured they wouldn't go for BF's $9/hr and 40 hrs/week minimum. Apparently they thought he meant full-time with benefits or nothing, so that's what they gave him!

I'm excited for him, and he seems genuinely enthused about it. It's good to see him like that, because it seems like he has a purpose to work towards now. And apparently they are really expecting alot of him, the head manager (who he actually got to meet today) told BF that he'd like him to be the "second man" for the Grocery Head, because BF knows what is supposed to be going on.

Even so - BF has said that when we get settled in a year or so (when we're done moving for my job), if his job isn't advancing or if it's not going to be enough for the future, then he will go back to school to at least finish his Associate's Degree. He already has some credits under his belt, and he left with good grades, so the only issue will be time & money. He will continue to work full-time if he goes back to take classes, but at least he is admitting that it's something he may need to do.

He starts work tomorrow, and unfortunately, will have to work until 10PM on Independence Day. So no fireworks for us. Frown But that's okay, I think he gets paid extra because he's full-time and it's a holiday, and I think it's a good sign that his first official day on the job will be the first day of the month.

With BF working comes a predicament, though. We have no idea what we're going to do with the pup while we're both at work. He can still fit in his cage for our short trips out to the grocery, but I feel bad to leave him in there for that long. He can stand up in it and turn around, but he has to kind of lean his head down a bit. I guess if we have no other choice, he will survive a few days.

We did order the bigger crate from PetSmart this morning. I had budgeted $250 for it, and it was $246.93 with shipping, so pretty close. It was supposed to be here by Saturday I think.

THEN, when I got to work, I thought to ask if we ever special-ordered large items like that. (We carry some pet stuff, but not a huge variety.) And to my surprise - YES! We looked through the catalog and found a crate that has the same dimension as the one from PetSmart, and because it would be shipped at the same time as our regular stock orders from that vendor, I wouldn't have to pay shipping at all!

The total for the crate from my work will be about $130. COMPARED TO $246.93!!! I couldn't believe it. So the first thing I did when I got home was go online and try to cancel the PetSmart order. No luck. It said you couldn't cancel, you just had to ship it back to return it. That would have been pointless, because the shipping itself would be $100 both ways. So I called their customer service, and the lady said she would send a request to cancel it at the warehouse. I am supposed to get an email to let me know whether it was successful or not. If not, she said I could return it at a retail store (again, opposite of what the website said) and then call customer service for a credit on the shipping. That would be the longer route, but I'd theoretically still get all my money back, and end up saving the $110 on the crate.

So, I'm going to go ahead and order the crate at work tomorrow, and it will be here on Monday of next week. I'm off Thursday/Sunday, so we just need to figure out what to do with the pup for this Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat/Mon. Stress!

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I'm listing his old crate on Craigslist tonight. I've also emailed the guy from my pet-sitting ad on Craigslist again. Apparently the week he needed someone was the week I am going to be out of town for a work conference, so that sucks. But he said they might need someone for a few days before then, so I emailed him the amount I would charge. Maybe that will work out.

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Well, I'm off to wash my (and BF's!!!) work clothes for tomorrow. Oh - forgot to mention that I had a free lunch today because we had a retirement party at work for one of the guys. Lots of good food, and free! So the soup I brought from home was saved for tomorrow. Smile

Our July Budget (Starts 6/30/08)

June 30th, 2008 at 05:27 pm

OUR JULY BUDGET

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

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

ANY SURPLUS = SF CC PAYMENT

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A few notes about our budget for July:

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

Groceries, Dog Crates, and Pet-Sitting

June 29th, 2008 at 04:58 pm

I've decided that I won't start my expense/budget tracking for July until tomorrow (6/30). I just feel better about starting it on a Monday, and closer to the actual start of July. We went grocery shopping today, and ate fast food (bad, I know). BF is aware of the new all-encompassing system we're going to follow in July, so I told him this would be our last day before that starts. Hence the visit to Arby's, lol.

At Walmart, we got some chicken & fish for our dinners, and some soup & yogurt for our lunches. We are both making an effort to eat healthier and lose some weight, but he is doing much better than me. They also had 24-packs of Diet Coke on sale for $5, so we got a pack. We've been trying to just reuse our water bottles, but that's still a work-in-progress. Hopefully we can do better with our fresh start tomorrow.

I am going to finish the budget for July and will make a separate post about it as soon as I get done. It always helps me to have things in writing, I guess it feels more like a committment.

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BF is supposed to hear about his job tomorrow. I am trying not to get my hopes up for anything, especially with how confusing it's been so far. I will try to post a short update whenever we find out something for sure.

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I can't believe July 4th is coming up so soon. We had some preliminary plans to go to the big fireworks show in the town next to us on Friday night, since I get off work at 4:00. I figured it would be a good way to celebrate and do something, but without spending much (or any?) money. But on the off-chance that everything works out with BF's job, I can imagine them wanting him to start this week, and they'd surely need him on the 4th. So our plans may be cancelled if I am staying home alone.

Normally that would be depressing, but we are expecting some of my family to visit us on the 5th, so it won't be so bad. I enjoy getting to see them of course, because it's been about a month and a half. The only thing is the stress with getting everything ready. They will be staying with us, but all we have for extra sleeping space are couches and an air mattress... so I guess we'll just makes sure the sheets/pillows are clean. Smile

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I had an email today from a Craigslist ad. It was a guy looking for a pet-sitter for when he & his wife go on vacation. He had wanted me to call him, but my cell was dead at the time, so I emailed him back and let him know the dates I would be gone for a conference this month, and told him I would call him if he felt like our schedules could work. As far as I know he hasn't emailed back yet, so I'm starting to wish I had just waited until the my phone was charged. Oh well, we'll see.

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Also checked on a big dog crate for the pup while we were out today. They didn't have the size we needed at PetSmart or Petco, and we even asked if they could order them. It's weird that they can't order them when I can find the one I want on PetSmart's website.

But anyway, the cost for the crate & shipping from PetSmart is about $245. I found another place that has a similar crate (same dimensions) for about $230. Every other place was going to cost more with shipping. I'm undecided on which to order. I'm familiar with PetSmart, and I can have the crate in 3-5 days it says. The other site doesn't give an estimated time for arrival, and I've never used them before. I'm starting to think we should just go ahead and pay the extra $20 or so and know that the crate is going to get here, and relatively soon. Especially with BF's work schedule up in the air right now.

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Well, I guess I should be getting to some other things besides blogging. I want to finish our July budget (and then post it, hehe), clean the bathrooms (taking it one step at a time), get the pup's x-rays ready for BF to mail tomorrow (finally), and wash my clothes for work (yay).

When did job offers get so complicated?

June 28th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 27th, 2008 at 05:51 pm

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.

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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

BF got a job call!

June 26th, 2008 at 08:03 pm

So I did manage to go through some clothes today. I have two LARGE trash bags full, and the hanging space in my closet it filled to capacity. Now I just have to finish going through the rest of my piles of clothes and figure out where I'm going to hang the rest I'm keeping. It is weird to have your clothes hanging in other bedrooms? Lol.

I'm currently watching the "Fear Itself" series on NBC, and I have no idea why. Those kinds of shows always scare the patootie out of me, but I always get so sucked into them. At least BF is here now. Smile

The trip to the park today was fun. We ended up taking sandwiches and chips, and of course some water for the pup. We tied his long leash to the picnic table while we ate, then let him "explore" the park area. It was actually alot bigger than I thought, I guess you can only see so much of it from the road. There were all kinds of little bridges over the stream that ran through it, and trees and such. Apparently there is even a public pool up there, which we had no idea about! But in summary, a good time was had by all. The pup was so worn out from his adventuring, I didn't think we were gonna be able to get him up the stairs.

Other good news, BF had a job call today! It's a grocery store, and they said they were originally looking for two part-time people, but since he had experience, maybe they could offer him full-time. He is going tomorrow for an interview of sorts, so I guess that's when he'll find out if it's actually "full-time" with benefits, and the pay and all that.

In our budget, he needs to make $900/month, or about $225/week (based on 4 weeks per month). So I figure, with taxes, he'll need to work 40 hours/week and make $9/hour. Of course, he'll want retirement and health insurance taken out if he is eligible. But we are already paying for individual health coverage for him, which is probably more expensive anyway, so it will hopefully be a wash. So everyone please keep your fingers crossed that he gets good news tomorrow! $9/hour and full-time with benefits would be incredible at this point! Smile

Free "Women & Money" Book (Suze Orman)

June 26th, 2008 at 02:03 pm

Just saw on Oprah, and thought some of you might be interested. She had Suze Orman on her show promoting her new book Women & Money... and they have arranged for a free download on Oprah's website. The book is almost 300 pages, and downloading it is simple (I just did).

Just go to www.oprah.com and follow the links for Suze Orman. Hurry though, it's only available until tomorrow (6/27) at 5 PM (Pacific Time).

It retails at $24.95, anyone want to add that to your challenge? Lol.

Decluttering, Visitors, and getting "active".

June 26th, 2008 at 11:10 am

Well, we had a late start to our day. I always try to sleep in a little on my day off so that I can "catch up" on my rest, but I hate when I get up and feel like half the day is gone.

I have started to go through my piles of clothes and decide what I can get rid of. As hypocritical as this may sound after my last blog, I plan on asking "De" from work if they can use any of my gently used jeans/shirts. Even though the way her and her husband act about finances is totally exhausting for me, I feel sorry for their kids. If not, I am going to drop them in a donation box outside my work. The important thing is... less clutter in my closet (maybe BF can finally put some of his stuff in there).

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I can't wait for my Orange account to be up and running. As soon as they make the trial deposits into my checking account so that I can verify them, I can start making other deposits. All I need is the money for those deposits, hehe.

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BF has gone to Walmart to pick up some random groceries and household items. We needed more clothes hangers to help in the de-cluttering effort. He might pick up a $1 movie too, I want to see "Definitely Maybe" or "10,000 B.C." (complete opposites, I know).

And because I'm determined that we're going to start being "more active", we are taking a trip to the park today. I guess I have always thrown "fun activities" and "spending money" in the same bag, so I have sacrificed planning stuff for us to do because of our finances. But, thanks in part to many people on this site, I realize that we can do lots of fun stuff for little money, or maybe even free.

I kicked off my little plan last week with the library trip. Even though BF isn't that into reading, he had a good time visiting with me and helping to pick out my books. Maybe as we go, he will pick up the habit. Smile

And last night I drove by the park on the way home from work, and decided we should try that. It's really small, but less than a mile down the road. I know there are picnic tables and grass... and I'm hoping they have grills for us to cook on, or else we can just take sandwiches. Anyway, we're taking our pup, and hopefully it will be a good (and inexpensive) way to spend my day off.

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I'm starting to get nervous about the visitors we're expecting next month. My mom, brothers, and brother's girlfriend are coming up on the 5th and staying until the 7th. Then BF's sister, bro-in-law, and niece are visiting from the 15th-18th. I've already requested off a few days so that I can actually enjoy their visits, but I'm nervous about getting everything done before they get here.

We have one air mattress, but need to make sure we have clean sheets, pillows, etc. The spare bedroom needs to be cleaned, as well as the rest of the apartment, really. We are trying to tackle it early, so we've started cleaning out the closet and stuff today.

And from the 20th-26th of July, I have a conference for work that I'll have to travel for. I'm nervous about meeting all the new people, and leaving BF to fend for himself with the pets! :S

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We might look for a bigger crate for our puppy today too. We'll have to order it online because he is too big for even the biggest they have at PetSmart or Walmart. The shipping will probably be atrocious, but we have no choice. He can barely stand up in the one he has now, and when BF starts work, he won't be able to stay in there all day.

The upside is that once we get his new crate, we should be able to sell his current one on Craigslist. It cost us $80 new, and we've only had it 5 months, so hopefully we can recoup some of that.

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It will all work out I suppose, I just hope for as little stress as possible.

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

June 25th, 2008 at 07:23 pm

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

My Associated Content Profile Page

Text is http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237343/silly_ole_me.html and Link is
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237343/silly_ole_me.ht...

"How To Free Your Pet From Ringworm"
Text is http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/833833/how_to_free_your_pet_from_ringworm.html?cat=53" and Link is
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/833833/how_to_free_...

"How To Live With A Great Dane"
Text is http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/834149/how_to_live_with_a_great_dane.html?cat=53 and Link is
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/834149/how_to_live_...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I need another savings account?

June 23rd, 2008 at 05:43 pm

I have been trying to simplify our finances, since combining together and moving to another state has us all spread out. Right now we have two checking accounts, and one savings. BF has already closed his checking and savings.

I see alot of you can do transfers from your checking to your savings online anytime you want, and I'm thinking that would be REALLY nice. I know it would be more incentive to stay, especially because the only way to deposit money into the savings we have now is to mail it. Then we have to find an ATM that supports that bank to get it out.

If we're going to follow through with my plan of budgeting everything monthly & then putting whatever extra into our savings until the bill comes, then I'll need a savings that is easy to deposit & withdraw from. I guess I should check into that.

Which banks are you guys using for that? We have BBT for our checking account here.

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BF & I took our $1 movie back to Walmart tonight. We didn't rent another one, mostly because all the good movies are coming out in a few days.

We picked up some odds and ends groceries, but not much. Then I made a stop at Office Max to get an organizer for work. I started out carrying my paperwork back and forth in a manilla folder, but in four months, I have gathered 3 more folders and they are tearing apart. We looked around forever, but I finally found exactly what I wanted... a brown leather outside, zips up, 3-ring binder for papers, pockets, and places for business cards. It ended up being $14, so I was happy with that.

Then, since we were in the same shopping center, we went to the dollar store. BF wanted to get some more of these shaved ice things they have (he's attempting a diet). They are $1 for four of them in a pack, so we picked up some snack food. We don't snack alot (I'm always working), so it's so much cheaper for us to just get some random things at the dollar store... cheaper than Walmart even.

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My AC articles still aren't published. I'm getting a little worried, even though there's really no reason why they wouldn't be approved. Ugh.

I am feeling a little motivated, so I think I may help BF in his job search. None of the retail places he has applied to have called, but maybe that is a blessing in disguise... maybe he will get a better-paying job with a more predictable schedule. That would be nice! I also need to finish sending my thank-you cards for my graduation gifts. People have probably given up on me by now! :S

Fresh Start For The Budget!

June 21st, 2008 at 06:23 pm

We are determined again. I've been trying to track all our spending this month, but have fallen short with all that's gone on. Especially since we've been using cash more, which is ultimately hard to trace.

And so I've decided that I will continue to track our purchases, but the June summary will not reflect all our spending. I just feel like I would be leaving alot out, and I want to make sure that if I look at anything analytically, that it is a true representation of our habits. All I know for sure is that we have spent more than we budgeted for this month.

I'm also going to go back to tracking our spending using this blog... I'll just post a short description of what expenses we had each day. That way I can have it all saved for the end of the month tally.

And finally... the budget is done! It will probably always be a work in progress, but I think we have some pretty good estimates in there now. I've broken down all our expenses to monthly, even if they are actually paid quarterly. At the end of the month, we will take the money we had set aside for that eventual expense and mail it to our savings account. It can collect interest for a month or two before we withdraw it for its actual purpose.

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In other news, we converted our cell phones to a FamilyTalk plan tonight. The change will take effect on July 8th, so I'm not sure if it will be reflected in our next bill or not. Our separate plans gave us 450 anytime minutes apiece, and cost about $120 before taxes and fees. The FamilyTalk plan gives us 700 anytime minutes to share (unlimited in our network), for $105 before taxes. So hopefully in the end, we will save a little money.

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I haven't heard anything from the woman I had talked to about babysitting. She emailed me from Craigslist, and said it would be a while before she needed me, but it would be nice to have the extra money soon.

I also attempted another article on AssociatedContent, this one about living with Great Danes (something I have LOTS of experience with)! It can take 2 days for them to get approved, so once I have something published I will put the link in a blog entry or somewhere.

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I'm off work tomorrow, so yay. That means I get to do some more free (library book) reading! We might rent a movie as well, since it only costs $1 out of the Walmart machine.

I got quite a bit of my coursework done at work today. We have independent study courses that we have to complete along with our regular training, and we have been so busy that I feel like I've fallen behind with it. I was able to submit four completed courses today, and request materials for four more, so hopefully I am headed in the right direction.