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Archive for September, 2006

Net Worth IQ for September

September 30th, 2006 at 08:11 am

After a little bit of confusion (and entering Septembers data into August, temporarily overwriting it) I now have my Net Worth IQ statement for September. I'm looking forward to October, and even more to November, when I actually start paying more than just interest on my high student loan.

At least the dreaded timeshare is gone, that helps!

Assets $ Diff % Diff
Cash $512 $194 61.01 %
Retirement $23,339 $528 2.31 %
Cars $2,355 ($25) -1.05 %
Total Assets $26,206 $697 2.73 %

Debts $ Diff % Diff
Student Loans $36,428 ($34) -0.09 %
Credit Card $17,910 ($130) -0.72 %
Other $9,178 ($7,792) -45.92 %
Total Debts $63,516 ($7,956) -11.13 %

Net Worth ($37,310) $8,653 18.83 %

There goes that idea.

September 28th, 2006 at 05:33 pm

I was going to strive really hard to not have to put any more gas in my car until payday. Then today I got asked to go do some customer training at a local site that's about 70 miles away. I am seriously on E, was going to put my last $6 in tonight and avoid driving as much as possible until payday (Thursday) but I'll be going up to do the training on Tuesday or Wednesday...

So what I think I'm going to do is put the $6 in tonight like planned and take $25 from one of my childcare gigs on Sunday or Monday nights and put that in my car for gas. When I get back I'll submit an expense report and get reimbursed for like $0.40 per mile. When I get the check for mileage, I'll put the $25 into wherever it was going to originally go and do something else with the rest. That should work. And I won't have to pull from other monies to make it happen.

No drive day!

September 27th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

Man I spent so much in gas already. But I sort of knew that would happen. I have $6 left in my gas budget to last another week. I walked to the gym and to work today. I have no plans after work so I won't be driving anywhere today.

Of the days until payday (8) I only need to drive 3 of them. A total of about 50 miles. With the gas prices these days, I think my $6 worth will just barely squeak by.

I am bound and determined to not spend more than my budget amount for gas. Even with going to the coast and driving out to the other side of town a couple of times(not normal occurances). I was tempted to pull the $3 I have in my dollar jar and I might if something comes up and I have to drive more than I'm anticipating.

But for now, I'm enjoying the no drive day.

Three Phase Plan.

September 26th, 2006 at 12:41 pm

The excuses were plentiful. Ranging from 'it's too confusing to figure out a goal time frame with people paying me back for stuff' to 'I don't really know what I want to do with this extra money so why bother'.

But I did it. I sat down and worked out exactly how I wanted things to get paid off. I figured out roughly how long it would take to do it, at least for the first phase. And it actually looks do-able. Nothing like a plan of attack that might actually work. I'm basically trying to get as much taken care of before I make the last payment on my consolidation loan.

My ideas and plans keep shifting but once I put them on 'paper' they seem to solidify a little more.

I put my Three Phase Plan on a Google Spreadsheet, a link can be found under Sites I Frequent. I plan on updating it whenever any of the three phases changes. The hope is that any dates or figures listed are worst case senarios. I know I will have Phase One completed before the end of February but going by what I know I can count on, that's the date that presents itself.

As for the things I know I need, well I will put off getting two new tires until November. I have enough in savings now to pay for them but I want to wait until the last possible moment to pull that money back out. And the Bed. Well, we'll just see where my Emergency Fund is at when September '07 rolls around.

Saver's remorse?

September 25th, 2006 at 05:27 pm

I'm waiting for my Emigrant Direct account to be set up. In the meantime, I'm wondering if this sort of saving for a large ticket item is prudent at this juncture. It was one thing when potential childcare opportunities were sporatic but now I've got one set in stone and some of the sporatic are potentially more regular.

I'm wondering if I shouldn't either make it part of my Emergency Fund, the money I'm setting aside in Emigrant. Or if I should just use it to pay off debt. Basically, I'm looking at a guarenteed $100/mo (although don't know about the tax ramifications yet) plus potential for extra. Since it's guarenteed, I have a hard time saying I'm using it for something frivolous, like a bed.

Or perhaps...I should change it from Bed Fund to Necessity Fund. A good bed is a necessity but so are tires. I can stash the excess money away and just use it for whatever Necessity comes up. Like for example, I need two new tires. I was going to pull the money out of my Emergency Fund, but it's not really an Emergency more of a Necessity. At some point too, I imagine my car will give up the ghost. Once it does, I will only have my Emergency Fund to use for a downpayment. But if I have money in a Necessity fund, that could make things a little brighter.

For some reason I just feel with the sudden influx of extra money, that I'm being irresponsible to save for a Bed. But just for a general, all purpose 'larger items that are bound to come up' it seems to make more sense in my HeadSpace.

I think I need to think more on this.

I suppose the stupid mantra that's behind this all is a signature line I saw on the creditboards a while ago that states 'a penny saved is a penny not going towards paying off debt'. I realize the importance of some savings, which is why I'm working on building my EF, but in my head, anything more than that is frivilous.

But on the other hand, I like to have backups for my backups. For example, I know that I spend a little bit of money so I created a 'Personal' category in my budget and if I don't spend it all it goes into my savings when the next check arrives. But on top of that, I also try to give myself a cushion in my checking account of another $20. No reason, just mainly so it doesn't turn out that I get down to a whole $0.10 in my bank before the next check arrives.

I like the idea of an EF but I'm worried about potentially spending it for non-emergencies that seem like emergencies at the time.

Anyway.

I'm back!

September 25th, 2006 at 08:38 am

The weekend was absolutely fantastic. I felt like I should help out a little more (do dishes, alternate holding kids during meal prep so the moms could actually cook, keep an eye on some while the others were being tended to, there were 4 kids total the oldest is 3) so I did and then got gently scolded for doing so because apparently I was on vacation too. Smile

They went crabbing on Saturday and I went off for a hike nearby. It was more difficult than I expected, not bad, but I was lazy and didn't change my shoes but I probably should have. It was nice though to hike down to a secluded beach and just watch the waves and walk along it for a bit.

All the kids wound up going down before the parents left for dinner. That wasn't the original plan but they were so wiped out that it just happened that way. So I watched a movie and knitted for a while.

Spent a little on breakfast and lunch on Sunday, we all went out together for breakfast and then I got lunch on the way home. I had to leave earlier than I'd originally planned because my part time job started that afternoon.

The job itself, went great. I wound up being with the toddlers because there weren't any infants. It's apparently pretty hit and miss sometimes. But the kids I did get to work with were great. And a couple of the moms were really happy as it appeared some of them really took to me. Score! They're going to pay me weekly but don't know yet if I'm going to be cash (ie no taxes involved), Independant Contractor (I take care of all the taxes involved), or a regular W2 type paid employee. It's so little money, I'm good with whatever. Obviously, I'd prefer cash but whatever works for them. Shoot at this rate even as an Independant Contractor I wouldn't have to file as it won't be $600 this year.

My brother also paid me $60 towards his debt, so that means $143 has been sent off to CC2 this morning via their website. He's planning on another $60 at least next paycheck.

I was going to make a deposit today but then realized I really should wait until tomorrow. I'm working tonight as well, childcare for some night classes, and will just have to go to the bank again tomorrow. Might as well just make it one trip.

Picked up parttime job!

September 22nd, 2006 at 04:46 pm

Just got off the phone with the gal I interviewed for about a week and a half ago. It's a pretty simple job, infant childcare for a church, two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Pays $100/mo. I don't even have to change diapers, just make sure everything's bleached before the kids get there, keep the kids occupied during the service, and make sure the right kid goes home with the right parent. I think I can handle that.

The only question I have is where to put that money. I'd said any extra babysitting money would go to the bed fund, but this is regular work even though it's extra work. I think what I'm going to do is this... put all extra income money into my Bed Fund account up to $100/mo. Once I've deposited $100 whatever else comes in will go to emergency fund savings. After all, if I start saving now, and put in $100/mo, I'll have $1100 just in deposits by the time Sept '07 rolls around. And I'd decided I only was going to save $1000 max for my new bed related purchases.

I don't know how they are going to pay me, if it'll be once a week or once a month. I'm also starting an 8 week, $20/night, 1 night a week child care job on Monday. That one I know is paid weekly, and I might not be needed all 8 weeks.

It's kinda nice trying to figure out what to do with the extra money. I know if I don't plan specifically what to do with it, it'll just get spent and I need to avoid that.

Once EF and Bed Fund are at their goal levels, any and all extra will go towards debt.

Knitting!

September 22nd, 2006 at 07:44 am

I have done only one project so far and I wanted to do another. With my trip to the coast this weekend (I'm actually leaving tonight after work since book club is next weekend instead) I thought it'd be nice to have a knitting project to work on.

I made my first ever anything on my trip to Croatia. You can see me here starting it (well you can't really see but this is a picture from the night we stayed in the lobby of SeaTac and that's when I started it)

http://www.goingthere.net/gallery/Travel/P5270019

There are other knitters on the trip, I'm the one on the far right.

And then here I am at one of the airports on the way back almost done:

http://www.goingthere.net/gallery/Travel/IMG_4338

I wanted something to go with it. Everyone knits scarves. I don't want another scarf. I have a beautiful one that my aunt knitted for me. So I'm making wristwarmers instead. You can see the ones I'm going to make here:

http://knitty.com/ISSUEsummer06/PATTfetching.html

The trip to the yarn store cost me a pretty penny, only because I dont' have the right needles yet. So I know if I continue it won't be so costly. It was $19.95 (out of my $30 set aside for 'personal') for double pointed needles, tapestry needle, cable needle, and yarn. We'll see how it turns out! I know I'll have trouble when it comes to the thumbs but that's ok. I have two great friends who knit beautifully that can help me out once I get there.

Of course, I realized last night that I'd messed up somewhere. I was using the tail from the start as a guide for counting rounds. Since I'm using four needles instead of three it actually works out ok because the last needle is the only one that I complete a set of stiches on. But, I got halfway through my third round and there was the little tail. Umm. So I think I'm going to take it out an redo it.

That was fast. Figuring out Citi

September 21st, 2006 at 08:43 am

Ok so I just got the email stating that the transfer had been completed! Seriously, I got out of the shower, had been contemplating the Citi portion of this entry, so sat down at the computer, had no new email, clicked New Entry and an email came through. Sweet!!! Now it says that there is a 48 to 72 hour delay in updating their database with the information. But that still gets me out of there before October 1!! Yipee! I'm going to wait til next week though before spending the money. Just to make sure everything clears. Oh man what a load off.

Ok onto Citi. I was looking at the new statement I got today and trying to figure out why the daily average balance for the balance transfer didn't get affected that much. And I think I figured it out. For some reason, I was under the impression that the interest you acrue on the higher balance would just get added back into the higher balance and keep acruing until you paid the balance transfer off. I really wish I knew where I come up with this stuff. Anyway, I think it's more along the lines of, they take out all interest payments, they apply it to purchases that are in grace period, and then whatever is left goes to principle of the balance transfer. Since this is the first statement with the balance transfer it looks sorta odd. But I also forgot to add in the fee associated with the balance transfer so it makes sense now. Plus it doesn't help that I'm still paying bills with that card. I figure it'll be November's statement before I can get a real idea of how this will work without me incurring more debt.

Until then, I'm keeping track of when my stepbrother pays me back. I am using my own figures to calculate interest since my regular payment is also being used to pay off his balance until the balance transfer is paid off. My goal is to have the bt paid off before my stepbrother is done paying me back, that way whatever he is still paying me I'll just use as extra payment to make up for the months when I wasn't making a dent in my own balance.

I'm going to use their Balance Subject to Finance Charge as a comparison for how much is left to pay on the balance transfer. According to the statement, the balance subject to finance charge is: 1,901.67. The amount my spreadsheet says my stepbrother currently owes me is: 1,970.60. So I'm definately on track.

Current budget for this payperiod

September 21st, 2006 at 08:05 am

Incoming:
1204.69 Salary
-6.55 left over from last check *
-------
1198.14

Outgoing:
100.00 Rent (save for October)
93.17 Insurance
250.00 CC1**
60.00 Student Loan
35.00 Savings
121.00 Personal Loan (save for October)
100.00 Food
60.00 Storage
170.47 Timeshare (hopefully not)
65.01 Electric (equal pay plan)
40.00 Gas (car)
30.00 Personal play money
50.00 Croatia Trip***
-------
1174.65

Leaves: 23.49 when all is said and done

* I sent in a check for $20 for an application fee in March. Turns out I didn't need to pay it, but they've not returned my check nor cashed it. So I pretend it's still there but allow myself a $20 cushion before pulling extra cash from savings. I was not overdrawn.

** Part of that payment is made up of my Cell bill and Cable bill money. If the timeshare does go away I will pay cash for my cable bill this time around (not due til Oct 9 so it can wait) and next month pay cash for both. The goal is in October to still be able to pay $250 towards CC1 while paying cash for the other two bills.

*** Went to Croatia in June for a mission trip. The plane tickets were more than anticipated so teammember wound up charging the difference. We are trying to figure out ways to raise the last of the money due ($5500) but until then we each pitch in monthly towards the minimum payment. Teammember says I don't need to contribute for a couple months because I keep giving her double what she asked for initially from each of us. I tell her to take all she can get to throw at it. I'm working on her though, she did call and get the interest rate lowered by 3% and as soon as the new house she bought craziness settles down we're going to start looking at other options to perhaps transfer the balance to a lower interest rate card.

Soon as I hear that the transfer has processed for my timeshare I plan on taking that $170, putting $61 towards the cable bill, $30 to pay back a friend for ticket she bought me, and $80 towards CC2. Plus my brother gets paid tomorrow so any money he starts paying me back will also go towards CC2.

New tires now or later?

September 20th, 2006 at 01:05 pm

I need one new tire. Which really translates into two new tires. I know I really should replace all four but I just can't do that. Two will just about break the bank. The rims that my car came with are specialty. Which means the tire is not standard and costs a little bit more. Considering that I've had the car for three years and haven't had any tire trouble that couldn't be easily fixed, I consider myself lucky.

When I got a flat fixed at Les Schwab they showed me how one of the tires really needed to be replaced. I had him look it up to see how much it would cost. For two tires it'll be $140. I checked around and it seems to be an average price.

I really should get the new tires before the rainy season hits full on. It's been raining the past couple of days but then it'll be nice for another week (if the forecast is anything to be believed). So it's not a necessity yet. But by the end of October I definately need to get them.

I have $162 in my local savings account (the rest is in ING). So I have enough to cover the cost of the tires, but it will definately drain my local savings. Something I really would prefer to avoid. If I wait til end of October, I should have $222 in my local savings which would mean pulling money out for the tires wouldn't totally spend every dime I have.

I wish I got the paper so I could see if/when my size goes on sale. But for now, I think I'm going to wait.

Payday and Timeshare update.

September 20th, 2006 at 09:26 am

Today is payday. I expected that my timeshare transfer would have processed by now. I called and spoke with Owner Services and they said they had the paperwork, it was being processed, and they verified that I had submitted my email address to be notified as soon as the transfer was official. The problem I have is, the money I set aside to pay for the timeshare is out of this check that I received today. I don't want to spend the money in case it doesn't process and I get charged. But since it's in the works, I should be safe right? At any rate, I am just going to hold off spending it right now just in case. Until things are final at any rate. The person I spoke with said I'd be notified within 72 hours of it going through.

But that sucks for me because I was hoping to use that money for other things, like actually pay my cable bill instead of charging it. [side note: I pay a couple of bills with my credit card, take the cash I would have used to pay those bills to help make up the minimum payment on my credit card. Not pretty, but it works. However once the transfer goes through I shouldn't need to do that anymore.]

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point. I guess just stick with the plan of pretending I have to pay it like normal until I hear otherwise.

In other 'news', I pulled cash out for my grocery and gas budget instead of using CC2 like I had been. Since they're changing the cashback bonus to not be as favorable for grocery/gas purchases, I really don't need to have that temptation in my wallet. Now to just work on getting it paid off like it's supposed to be.

I had $3 left over in my wallet from last pay period. I put it in my dollar jar for use later in case I need extra cash for something imediate.

Carnival

September 19th, 2006 at 12:40 pm

The Carnival of Personal Finance is up over here: http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2006/09/carnival_of_per.html

I scanned through the posts and picked out just a couple that I thought might be interesting to read. I did note that there were a couple on teaching kids to save, so there might be something of interest to those of you with kids as well as just regular saving tips. Anyway.

Enjoy!

The cost of babysitting this weekend.

September 19th, 2006 at 09:12 am

I hung out with a friend that I babysit for sometimes last night, haven't done that in too long. She asked what I was doing this weekend. Her family and another family that I sit occasionally for are going to the coast and staying at her husband's partner's newly acquired beach house that's going to be turned into a B&B.

She wanted to know if I could come out and watch the kids one night. In exchange, I don't have to pay for lodging or food. Now, I have a book club meeting Saturday morning so I'd be going up after that and coming back sometime on Sunday so it's really only a short trip. And it's about 100 miles away so there'd be a large gas expenditure. But she also said I could possibly bring a friend along, which would help with the gas. And prices are going down, which is nice.

I told her I'd do it. I love the city they're going to be in. I love their kids. I love hanging out with the parents. It really is a win win situation. Except for the gas. But really, free lodging and food. And they aren't really planning on going out until the kids are in bed so it's not like they're asking a lot of me.

I'm waiting to hear back about the room situation to see if it would be feasible for me to bring a friend. If nothing else, it'd be a nice weekend away.

Doing what I can to steer him right.

September 18th, 2006 at 05:13 pm

My youngest brother has been avoiding credit card, or really any debt, for a while. He realizes the traps they can lay when you get in bad positions, etc. Or so I thought.

He had to walk home in the rain, he was unprepared for it, and his iPod got damaged. Just the screen. It's not covered under warrenty. It still plays, he just has no idea what's playing. He was thinking about applying for a credit card so he could get a new one.

Alarm bells went off for me considering he hasn't even gotten his first paycheck yet from his job and his job is temporary just until December assuming he lasts that long. Not to mention the fact he owes me close to $600 for picking up his rent for a couple of months, among other things.

I think I talked him out of it. I've become quite skilled in the art of negotiation. Instead of telling him what he should or shouldn't do, explain to him the risks and benefits of what he's trying to decide on. Once he knows all the facts, if he still chooses to do it fine.

For now, he's waiting til Friday when he gets paid so he'll have an idea of how much money he has coming in. The other red flag that went off was his comment that he was hoping if he got approved soon that he would be able to buy food with it now. I would much rather he owe me money for food than a credit card company. I stocked him for about a week, he's got some left over but not much. I haven't been able to make it back to his part of town so I haven't helped him restock any.

I guess we'll just see what happens.

Making the most of gc's

September 18th, 2006 at 05:05 pm

A few weeks back I was at dinner with a friend who started going through her wallet. She pulled out three gift cards for movie rentals (two for blockbuster, one for hollywood) and handed them to me saying she'll never use them.

One of the blockbuster ones had definately expired, it was just for a one free rental. The other blockbuster one says I have to go into a store to check the balance. How annoying. So I don't know if that one has anything on it. The hollywood one had $5.06

This past weekend a friend of mine and I decided to veg and watch a movie so I pulled out the hollywood gift card and said I had that bit covered. The movie we rented was a new release ($3.79) but was also on the return early get a dollar credit deal. I dropped it back off that night after we watched it.

So...my gift card now has a balance of $1.27, plus I should have a $1 credit at the store. Doesn't quite make a second free rental but it gets it pretty darn close. So long as I use it in the next 24 months that is. Smile

Now I just have to happen to be by a Blockbuster when they aren't busy to check the balance on the other card. If there's nothing on it, I want to chuck it.

Spoiled yet jealous

September 15th, 2006 at 01:56 pm

Some days I feel really spoiled by having a salary position. I have a budget that is based on the same amount of money every paycheck and I don't have to worry about getting enough hours to cover all of my bills. Talking with friends and reading stuff online about people getting hours cut really makes me wish they find some way to make it up without too much trouble.

But then, I hear about all the overtime some people get and it makes me jealous. I have no option for overtime on salary. I do get extra money for being 'on call' certain nights the month before but it's not much ($35/night) and I usually only get about half of it after taxes are factored in so I never really budget for it. And something usually comes up to suck that money away.

I used to work for a place that had Hourly Salary positions. Which meant that you got paid twice a month the same amount, like a regular salaried position, but if you worked any overtime you actually got paid for it. I like the idea but don't know if anyone actually implements it.

Fundraising ideas.

September 15th, 2006 at 10:51 am

I am all tapped out of ideas. Here's the deal. I went on a mission trip that some friends of mine organized last May/June. The only thing we had to pay for was the plane tickets. Well, thanks to the World Cup the ticket price doubled. We trudged on ahead thinking we'd still be able to come up with the excess. But that was not the case unfortunately. We were still short before we left, and because we'd committed to buying the tickets, regardless of whether or not we went we still would have had to pay for them. (Some people had told us perhaps we shouldn't go since we didn't have enough money but we were past the point of no return money wise so we went) The excess that we were missing, one of the gals put on an empty credit card with the intention of continuing fund raising when we got back.

And we did. We got back, more money had come in, it got sent to the credit card. But it wasn't enough. Now we're just contributing personally to send in the monthly minimum payment every month because we're all tapped out resource/idea wise.

I do not have anyone else to ask money from. I've written all the letters I can, received all the money I'm going to. The balance on the card is about $6k.

Now this isn't all me, I'm not the only one trying to raise this money. Just we're all in the same boat.

The rainy season is here, car washes are out of the question as are garage sales. I'd thought about talking to various restaurants about fund raising options (ie slow week nights all sales that come in with a flyer we get 10-15% of) but one of the places my friends are boycotting besides the fact that the nearest location isn't conducive for high volume traffic. I do not have a workplace where I can peddle candy bars, well I have a workplace just not a big one and I've done it before and it doesn't work well.

I don't know what else to do. Except perhaps make tshirts/sweatshirts that just say 'Please give me $1 Thanks!' and spend weekends wandering around downtown and see what happens. Sort of a low key pan handle (which I absolutely loathe but if it would work...)

The other thing is...we all really want to go back and work on the project again in May. If this doesn't get taken care of, we can't. Argh!

Oh my other idea I'm going to pitch is for everyone to scour Craigslist for odd one time jobs and just donate the cash to the credit card, especially if it's Independant Contract work since it's tax free. For example, I have (I think, it's a little confusing with their correspondance so I don't really know) a 6 hour job on Sunday promoting Sun Chips at the finish line of a race, handing out samples and cheering on the finishers. Pays $14/hr.

Be Careful what you wish for.

September 15th, 2006 at 10:35 am

So I started this whole Bed Fund idea right, thinking I'd just throw extra cash at it from things like the occasional babysitting gig or survey. Now look what it's turned into...

Starting Sept 25th I'll be doing child care for two hours on Monday nights, for six weeks potentially, pay is $20/night.

I had an interview this morning for a church that has a paid child care position, two hours a week on Sunday afternoons, ongoing with potential for nights off if they know in advance, pay is $100/mo. They'll get back to me in a couple of weeks but I think I've got it.

Because of the interview and knowing I would have to give references, I contacted one of my friends who I babysit for on occasion and asked if she wouldn't mind being a reference for me. She said no problem and oh by the way, if I want more steady babysitting she and her husband are thinking about having an every week Date Night and if I'm up for it I can sit for them too. They pay me varing amounts of money. Because usually the kids are asleep by the time I get there and I'm just in the house and check in on them on occasion, I just take whatever they give me. Usually it's anywhere between $15 and $30 a night depending on how long they're gone and how much cash they have on hand.

So that's three nights a week now that I might be doing child care. Potentially. I went over to a friend's work after the interview to kill time before work, and she mentioned that our mutual friend had also told her about the Date Night babysitting so we're thinking perhaps we can trade off on it so it's not an every week commitment for one of us. That's fine by me, she really needs the cash more than I do.

If this all comes to pass, I think I'm going to rethink the bed fund. Either stash it all away and once I hit my goal start using it for something else, or change my goal to be max deposit of $100/mo and once I've hit that send the rest of the money to something else (EF or CC) Going to wait and see what actually comes about first.

Credit cards.

September 14th, 2006 at 11:30 am

I have learned a very important lesson. I think. I cannot be trusted to have CC2 in my wallet. Originally, the idea was to just use it for grocery and gas purchases since I get 5% cashback and I don't spend more than my budget. But it's become my emergency and what the hell I'll pay it off soon enough crutch just by being in my wallet. I don't need to freeze it or give it to someone else but just keeping it in my drawer and not in my pocket is enough.

Since Citibank is doing away with 5% cashback on grocery and gas purchases sometime in October, I was going to stop using it soon anyway. I am going to continue to use it until next week when I get paid again for groceries. Then it goes back into the drawer.

What happened? Simple. My favorite band came through again, this time doing a bunch of nearby in-store, free, shows. I filled up on gas a few times to get to the shows as one was in Olympia (110 miles away) and another was in Seattle (150 miles away). Plus I worked in between so it's not like I went to one, stayed for a couple of days, then went to the other. Then a bunch of us went out to dinner at a place that wound up being more spendy than we'd anticipated. And knowing how everyone's on a tight budget, I just decided to pick up the tab for the four of us. To the tune of about $58 after tip and taxes. Then, I decided to pick up 5 copies of the new cd, one for myself and the rest as gifts. Although, one of the guys I gave one to paid me for it. Still, that's another $65.

I have not adjusted my habits enough to have the card in my wallet. I realize this now. In a week, it will be put away.

Ikea catalog

September 12th, 2006 at 09:18 am

I glanced through my friends Ikea catalog to get a better idea of bed frames. I think I've decided on a platform frame, something where you should only have a mattress and no box spring. They mostly had twin or queen no doubles. I know what trouble my friends have with their queens as far as finding room in their rooms for anything else beside the bed so I was thinking I'd just go for a double but I may end up with a queen after all.

So prices range from $149 - $369 for frames. About what I was thinking really. I don't think I'll be buying the mattress there though, from what I've heard of Ikea mattresses they're like futon mattresses, good in the beginning but not so good as time goes on. I think $400 is probably a safe estimate for a decent mattress isn't it? I've never bought one so I really don't know. But I'm thinking on the high end/worst case senario.

Another thing I hadn't factored into costs is new bedding. I have no sheets for anything that's not a twin. Although my main blanket in the winter is definately large enough to fit on a queen bed.

So I'm thinking perhaps I should up my goal for my bed fund to 1,000 just to be on the safe side. And actually, I think this is totally do-able. I've got 6 weeks (potentially) of babysitting at $20/night and I'm going to be interviewing this week with another church that needs childcare on Sunday afternoons for $100/month. Since we're looking at about 11 months between now and when I'll be buying it, if I get the regular childcare job that'd be $1,100 saved just from that. But once I hit $1,000 I'm not going to put any extra in instead I'll divert it to regular savings or something.

Anyway. Honestly, I didn't see anything in the catalog that totally jumped out at me as 'I must have this one!' but I'm expecting there to be more of a selection by the time their store is in place here. Especially considering it's to be their largest North America store.

Almost spent an extra $14 today but didn't.

September 9th, 2006 at 02:55 pm

I walked to the library and the store today. I didn't have so much shopping to do that it couldn't be carried home in a backpack plus extra to be carried by hand. And the store is only a half mile away.

I forgot about the Street Fair going on today. Looked through the stalls but nothing jumped out as a must buy.

At the library I picked up a cd, a movie for my roomate, and The Millionare Next Door. Can't wait to start reading it. I have some cards to write today still (I write til my hand cramps up then I find something else to do) so maybe later this evening I'll start it.

Soon as I walked into the store the table of 60% off clearance jumped out at me. My first thought was 'gifts! I might need something later' since everyone here has been talking about that sort of thing. But alas, it was mostly kids stuff, and I don't know that many kids. However, the last table is what really held my attention. On that table was Scene It the TV Version. I love the Scene It movie game I have, but I'm good at memorizing things so it's not something I like to play with people who haven't played it. I've wanted the TV version as well for a while now. And with the 60% off clearance it made it only $14 or just under.

I walked all over the store with it in my cart. Pretty much forgot about it really until I got back to the checkout stand. And I realized two things. A] I was walking, it wouldn't fit in my backpack, and it would be uncomfortable to carry home and B] I really don't play games all that much, even though I like them a lot. So I put it back on the table. *sigh*

It's probably just as well. What I did go home with was heavier than I'd anticipated and the game would have just made for more uncomfortableness.

Flight to see friends

September 9th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

My friend's baby is getting dedicated in October. I have not been down to visit since they moved over a year ago. They live in the Bay Area. I looked up flights to see what the damage would be and I'm looking at about $166 just for flight. Not sure if I'd need to rent a car, or go in on a rental with other people that might be flying down, etc. Haven't gotten that far in thinking yet.

Then I remembered that for my trip to Croatia I signed up with United's Mileage Plus program because every leg of the flight, except between Vienna and Split, would earn air miles. Just for kicks I logged into their site to see how much a flight would cost via air miles to the Bay area. 15,000 miles. How many miles do I have? 15,168. Hmm. That definately makes a difference as to whether or not I could make this trip. I guess the question now is to find out who else is going and if they'd be interested in sharing a rental.

But it also means I probably won't be going to my dad's for Christmas. But I wouldn't have enough air miles for a free trip anyway (costs 25,000 miles).

Something more to think about.

More on the bed fund.

September 8th, 2006 at 02:21 pm

I started thinking about this more and have decided to start diverting any extra cash I earn to my currently non-existant bed fund. So not only babysitting money, but any mystery shops, any odd jobs, any paid surveys, any paid to click/read payouts, etc will go into this bed fund. I have about a year to build it soley on that sporatic extra income. I think I can do it. I will continue to put money regularly into EF savings, anything that I sell will go to my EF savings since it was originally something I spent money on. It's the best way I can think of to differenciate between what should go in as an emergency and what should be saved for a needed big ticket item.

Money money money.

September 8th, 2006 at 01:26 pm

This morning I realized that it had been six days since someone had won my eBay auction but had not paid yet. Umm. That's a little long isn't it? I couldn't remember so I consulted eBay's help section and found where it said it was ok to email the buyer anywhere between 3 and 30 days after the auction ended. Good deal. I also looked at his feedback. At least one item that had recent feedback for he bought AFTER mine. Tsk tsk. So I emailed him a couple hours ago. He replied just a bit ago to say he would be paying via PayPal in the next couple of days, probably today. If he does pay, I don't really see giving him any negative feedback but it would have been nice if he knew ahead of time that it would be a week before he could pay to contact me so I wouldn't sit and wonder.

I really need this one to come through because I have three other auctions that I relisted and if they don't sell I'm going to owe eBay out of pocket money for it. And his winning bid ($41 when the rest are going for $3) will more than cover that extra cost.

My step brother just called. I've been debating the best way of handling things with him, ie how often to call and remind him that I need payment soon. He's been fairly good about being proactive and calling me about it so I decided to wait until the 10th to say 'hey, don't forget my cc payment is due on the 14th). But he called me today so I don't have to worry about it! Of course, this weekend is a drill weekend so he's pretty much going to be stuck there the whole time. But he's pulled out cash and we are making plans to meet up this evening or tomorrow. When we do meet up, I'll give him my account information so he can set up the allotment. And until then he will give me cash. Totally fine by me. I never told him that my regular budgetted minimum payment totally covers the increase from the money I borrowed for him. He needs to be responsible to make a payment to me before the bill is due. I don't mind making an extra payment on my cc since the sooner the balance transfer is paid off the sooner the interest on everything else will stop getting added back onto the total.

I just checked my email and I have another Pinecone Research survey waiting for me and a response back from a posting I saw on Craigslist about a one day event that pays $13/hr as an independant contractor. Don't know if they'll want me to work for them but I might as well try.

And I start babysitting for some church classes on the 25th. Since they don't know how many kids they're actually going to have, I might not actually do it for the whole two months, but I'll take the nights they need me!

Zoo membership.

September 6th, 2006 at 09:48 pm

I'd actually considered this a while ago, and then forgot. But today in the mail I got a letter from the local Zoo saying that a 14 month membership would only be $59 if I bought it before December 8th. The level of membership that is $59 includes one free guest once a day and includes a ticket to the concerts they have in the summer.

I know what you're thinking, will I actually use it? I think I would. If I had it. It's normally $9.50 plus $1 to park. That means that if I went once a month for 7 months, by myself, I would save money. Not to mention the concert tickets or the specialty things they have during the year, like ZooLights and stuff. Oh and the membership includes parking.

But I don't go now so would I go? I really think I would. What stops me from going now is in part the cost and in part, I forget about it but that has to do with the cost. IE if it costs I conveniently forget about it. But I do have people who visit from out of town on occasion, and it'd be nice to have some place to take them 'for free'.

Not to mention, the animals are just darn cool. But where am I going to come up with the $59?

Well my birthday is coming up in November. People always ask me what I want and I never know. Usually I say nothing but this year I can say, I want a Zoo pass and it costs more than I expect anyone to pay individually, so why don't you all go in together on it? Between DB2, DB1 & SIL, DF & DSM I think they could swing $59.

Now that that's settled, I just need to remember to remind them when the time comes.

Busy morning.

September 5th, 2006 at 08:29 am

Roomate comes home tonight so I am tidying up the front living areas after my explosion of boxes from storage that I was going through. Finished up last night, took out 5 more grocery bags of paper (3 just recycle, 2 shreds) and one 13 gallon garbage bag. The end result of things to keep (either to really keep or to keep for sale at some point) mostly fit into one of my 12 gallon boxes. Now to find room for that.

While tidying I found an offer from Citi. Normally I'd shred/toss these but the 0% APR on balance transfers until Sept '07 was really tempting. So I tried applying for it online and it claimed I put in a wrong number. Hmm. Ok so I think I'll just mail it in. But first I check to see what the regular APR is and *shock* it's prime plus 23.99%! Hello? I don't think so. Even if I was only going to use it for the balance transfer, I'm not applying for that card.

I finally got ahold of someone at the clinic where I usually send in $100 towards my dr bills and tests. I was pretty sure I was ahead of the game temporarily but wanted to be certain. She said there wasn't a balance because they were still waiting to hear back from my insurance. Last time it took about 3 months for them to reply about my Echo so I think this month and next month are fairly safe to use the money for my dentist bill. Fortunately I'm on a go see the dr every three months rotation now instead of once a month (or in the beginning, once every 2 weeks). So I can expect that once my last Echo is paid for, I won't have a bill from them for a while. Which will be nice. More for savings or debt repayment!

Bed fund.

September 4th, 2006 at 10:01 pm

I've been saying ever since Ikea has been rumored to be coming to Portland that I'd buy a 'big girl bed' once they are here. Well, after the furor over the store died down at any rate. I am very much in need of a new bed. My twin mattresses were purchased by my grandmother, new and they were the cheapest she could find, almost 20 years ago. My frame broke the last time I rearranged my room. It's ok to sleep on but if I move, chances are it won't go back together once it's taken apart.

I tried looking online to see what options they have but they don't put too much online by way of stock, they just have too much. The one frame they did have didn't look bad and it was only $129. I expect to pay at least $250 for mattresses, although I'm not sure if I'll get a bed/box set or what. Probably depends on the bed.

I want to pay cash for it. I expect it to be about $500 at least. I don't want to pull it out of my emergency fund, I'm already going to be doing that for tires although that's somewhat justifiable.

I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to save for it. If I end up doing more babysitting, perhaps that money could go towards it. I could open another ING account, or perhaps an Emigrant (sp?) account. Keep it seperate but perhaps earn a little extra while I'm waiting for Summer 2007 to roll around.

I could totally have $500 saved in that time. Hopefully more, in case my estimation is too low. The question just becomes, what money do I set aside for the bed fund? I don't want to take from my regular savings until I've gotten my EF up to goal. Something to think about.

Respons to DivaJen's post

September 4th, 2006 at 12:38 pm

I was going to make this a comment but decided it was getting too long so I made my own entry. It's in response to her post about the fact that in southern california, a mother with two kids can expect to receive only $753/mo from the state.

When my parents divorced my mom went on welfare. Not right away but after a while when she was having a hard time finding work and my dad wasn't regular with the child support. She worked really hard to be able to get off of it and in the end the state garnished his wages so we had a steady payment every month of $696. For my mom and three kids. She stayed on food stamps, that was the only concession she made to any state help. She did what she could to find a job she could work, child care wasn't an issue since we were older.

Our rent, for a really crappy but large three bedroom two bath apt: $435/mo It was kept low by my mom's refusal to let them put in new carpet to replace the nasty green shag stuff. Well, not like we could have stopped them really but the apartments kept changing hands so stuff like that got forgotten.

I don't know what our other bills ran, but I do know that we never used the AC between 2 pm and 6 pm, the hottest times of the day and the most expensive time to run anything electric. Instead we would go to a store and wander around enjoying the cool air, or go to a fast food restaurant and just drink free refills for an hour or so.

When I was in jr high, I started babysitting so I could pay for my own school clothes and help relieve my mom of the stress of finding the money for it.

We were also supported by a friend of my grandmother who spent a lot of time 'dumpster diving' for clean trash, the stuff on top nothing that had to be dug for. She collected rebates, used her garbage finds to gather UPCs, and certain stores (like Longs Drug) didn't list anything but the price of items and the date purchased so she'd keep an eye out for stuff like that to send in with the rebates. She would give us a few every week to send in, and once they started coming back it was nice to get the small checks every week or so.

That was living in Redding, CA between 1990-95.

When my mom died, I assumed guardianship of my teenage brothers. I graduated college, couldn't find a job, needed to be working to provide for the family so went back to Burger King. Made $800/mo plus child support from my dad (don't recall how much that was) and my brothers got about $93/mo each from social security for survivorship benefits. We made it work. Granted I got snowballed by debt trying to keep them in clothes since they were still going through growth spurts. But we survived.

It's not a lot of money. I've heard that comment over and over again, how can people exist on minimum wage. I know I got lucky with my fast food job, the manager knew the position I was in and did what she could to make me the highest paid non management employee.

Somedays I consider myself a failure. I have so much more coming in than my mom did yet I still live paycheck to paycheck. And my definition of paycheck to paycheck is as soon as I get paid the money gets allocated and there's no breathing room. Yes, I save some. Generally $45/mo between two savings accounts. But the money that goes into my local bank savings account usually ends up getting drained by something every few months. And when that goes usually something else comes up that drains my ING account.

I know I need at least two new tires before the rainy season hits. That's November. It'll cost at least $140 for two tires because the rims I have are specialty. That's just how it was when I bought it from a friend of mine, not something I did. I'm hoping that when the time comes I can get a better price but I'm afraid that when the time comes, they'll tell me I really need four new tires. Which is essentially a planned spending of savings but still it'll put a dent in things.

And I've totally lost my train of thought so I'm ending this post here. I've read it over too many times.

Day at the fair

September 3rd, 2006 at 11:00 pm

I didn't do as bad as I expected. I headed out this morning with $41 in my pocket ($36 from garage sale and $5 from money I pulled out to go out to lunch at the garage sale but never spent). I came home with $21. Not bad at all. Still gives me some breathing room since I had to cut out my personal budget this next pay period.

I found out after church that the couple I rode with to the fair were going to treat me to breakfast so I didn't have to worry about that. I did pay for dust masks*, water from the store, parking**, fair entrance fee, and a deep fried snickers bar***. My friends bought a funnel cake but couldn't eat it all, even between the two of them, so I got some of that as well.

Animals were looked at. Llama show (agility maybe) was viewed. Small dog agility was viewed. 4 H exhibits were viewed. Food was consumed. Exhibits featuring items my friends had entered in the fair were viewed (bread, jam, dried herbs, and a bunch of different knitting things). Bunnies were looked at, and my friends purchased an orangeish angora bunny (that took 3rd place even) to replace their recently departed angora bunny. They have to go back tomorrow though to pick it up after the fair is over.

*the dust masks had nothing to do with going to the fair however we stopped at a Fred Meyer's for water on the way and I figured since I was there and I wanted it for this evening so I could continue working on the paper monster without having alergies that I should go ahead and get them.

**the fair does offer free parking however the line of cars and traffic lights to be gotten through to get to it, not to mention the winding through the parking lot to find a space, was just more than we wanted to deal with. We saw a small parking lot offering parking for $3 and decided it would be worth the money and the walk to avoid the headache. And it was. I paid for parking instead of contributing to gas. When we left there were bottlenecks in the parking lot trying to get out and the line to get in was just as long.

***I had to try it to say I've tried it. I didn't like the fried shell. It was almost like a corndog batter, very thick, that encased the candy bar. I was expecting something more along the lines of fried ice cream in terms of the outer bit. Although the inside was a nicely melted gooey mess of chocolate and carmel with peanuts. And the powdered sugar and chocolate sauce was a nice touch. I'd still like to try the fried twinkie and fried oreos but not for at least a year.


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