Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2nd

It's been a LONG time since I've had a TRULY Zero Spend Day.

May 1st was all about my dad, getting him to the VA to pick up his final paperwork and then off to the Assisted Living Facility ... which meant I had to write a check for $2,600.00 ... holey cow that was tough. I will be reimbursed $1100 once his social security comes in, but still ... it was a tough pill to swallow.

The good news is that all parties seem to agree that he will get the VA Aid and Assistance, which could be as much as $1700 a month applied towards his living costs there. However, until that time where they finally review and approve, we have to pay it ... so my dad gets a whopping $1,159 a month ... after his $50 payment plan to VA (don't ask, no idea whatsoever how he got such a huge balance on that!) he will have $1,100 to give forth towards the $2250. The ALF is giving us a break at $2000 til the VA kicks in, then it goes to $2250 a month. And the BEST news? VA will pay back what we've already paid ... I just hope it's sooner than later!

So ... that means, NO EXTRA MONEY to be thrown around. Huh. I suppose it's good that I do know how to live frugal when I need to ... but still ... I'm a little frightened ... what if I lose my job ... what if Mark loses his job and so on.

Not to mention all these little incidentals that come up such as a few minutes ago a phone call came that my dad fell and was asking for Tylenol, which the doctor did approve but now we need to GET the Tylenol ...I have some at home but they want it now ... uggg ...

So, I'm aiming for a few more Zero Spend Days for May ... starting with the Grocery Challenge I talked about over on the other site (Frugal In Florida) ... I think I can do it since I really have NO choice ;-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012

Geesh, can you believe it's the 21st day of April already?? I know I can't. Time seems to be flying by around here.

Anyways, an update (and I just didn't have the heart to type UPDATE in the header yet again.

Spent $15 at The Fresh Market and then $30 at Publix this past week. Hubby just came back from the store with sauerkraut (for the pork roast I pulled out of freezer), red potatoes, Vernor's, and olives. Pretty much all stuff for HIM as I don't particularly care for any of that.

Need to go and get a $20 gift card for a 14 year old girl from Ulta today ... and a 6 pk of yummy-licious beer to share with the mom for a party this evening.

Sent the Boy $100 for groceries and miscellaneous stuff. Another $60 was paid out for his bus pass to come home for a week (beats what it would cost for gas and a 6 to 7 hour car ride)

Had to put in $60 worth of gas into the truck this week as 2 trips to the VA this week really suck the gas ...

I will need to tweak the budget YET AGAIN to work out the ALF for my dad. He gets $1159 a month in social security . The ALF is $1875 a month AND he needs to pay for his prescriptions which is approximately $450 to $500 a month. No, he does NOT have insurance and he does not have Medicare Part D although I need to see if we can get him enrolled NOW that he's moved to another state. In the meantime, the VA has ZERO co-pay for 2012 due to his income level this year. Which is really nice and helps tremendously (being a pretty bad diabetic with all these other unknown issues is really freakin expensive, by the way) ...

VA has a program that is called Aid and Assistance where they will pitch in to help pay for assisted living. I just can't figure out HOW they calculate how much to pay out ... sort of stinks that I will be flying by the seat of my pants to see how much and WHEN he qualifies. Uggg. Hubby keeps asking me what else I need to do. Sign the lease, stroke a check, pack up dad and stuff and drive him there. Dad is not please AT ALL, needless to say, but I think he does understand that I cannot provide the care he needs AND deserves. :-(

That my friends, is why I'm thankful I tackled the new year with a Year of Zero ... it's sort of put me in training to do THIS now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Again :-)

I am back from Indiana and have my dad in tow. It's been an interesting few days to say the least.

A few things of note:

He can't find the bread in this house. Ummm, probably because we don't eat bread and I had to make it a point to stop and get some.

He wants to go buy a book for his scanner. It can't cost but maybe $20., I think I can find the codes for you online (I didn't think he needed the book, silly me).

He wants to go buy some new sunglasses. And shorts. And cookies. And binoculars. And this and that., dad, you need to be saving every penny you have for the ALF. \

He is trying so hard to show how independent he is. Yet, he forgets to do 2 of his 8 insulin shots (yes, EIGHT) and ate half a package of oreos (yes, one whole row) and wondered why his sugar was over 400. Uggg.

This is all so new to me. And I'm trying real hard :)

So far, Zero Spend for Monday and Tuesday. Unless I count his purchase (I used his card) for the bread. $3.99

I promise to try and make more frequent, exciting posts!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updates and Such

Boy, I really need to get back in the groove of things. It's been mobbed at work and the personal crap is taking it's toll on me too.

I met a few girlfriends Friday night for prickly pear margaritas @ Canyons. Yummm. Except, I got there AFTER Happy Hour, so I ended up spending $12.75 for ONE drink. Yikes. But my girlfriends all pitched in and bought me another and another (3 total). That was nice of them. And I managed not to become a blubbering drunk ;-)

Then Saturday night, my BFF and I went to a little party together. We got there at 7pm and got on the road back home by 9. Got home at 9:30, Hubby had the pool all lit up and pretty and was making burgers. So we chilled at the house til midnight just enjoying the small talk about nothing. I really needed it and I think everyone could see that.

Sunday was a day of running and looking at ALF's out west. I say out west as in 10 miles straight west, 30 minute drive. Not so bad for a Sunday afternoon. Only downside? Cost. $1875 starting. IF his VA kicks in on it, much more doable, but the question is if I can handle the excess until that time AND what IF IT DOESN'T kick in?

So I've been reviewing the budget yet again. Technically, IF I was to stick with the really strict budget and not get sidetracked, I'd have about $1400 a month to provide. That's fine and dandy in addition to my dads $1100 ss check.  BUT the ALF is $1875 a month. Includes room and board, 3 meals plus snacks, excursions, daily activities and so on.  Cable in his room is extra (we'd have to buy a tv, no biggie really) and he could have a little refrigerator for snacks and water if he wanted.  My #1 selling point was the medication management. 5 insulin shots a day is alot for me to worry about. :(

IF the VA kicks in, he'd only be responsible for about $600 a month. But we would have to pay the full amount until the VA kicks in and IF they approve, then they would reimburse us back from the first day in. So it sounds promising but just a lot out front.

THEN of course, we'd have his medication to deal with. Not sure how much that would cost, or the whole procedure on that. The one ALF states that a local pharmacy delivers to them. He should be getting VA meds, and he was at one point, I really need to get on top of this and find out what's going on so we can get it squared away once and for all.

So April should be my LAST big American Express bill (the past 3 months have had flights, funerals/cremations, hotels, rental cars, etc.) and then I can get totally focused on finances.

My math is looking a little fuzzy lately and I'm not at all pleased with that!

And now tonight, another girlfriend wants to meet me at Shooters ... I'm wondering what the heck my face must be looking like that everyone is wanting to take me out ... yikes!! :) But that's what good friends are all about, being there when you need them most!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4 Days of Zero Spend!

Woohoo! Not a whole lot of exciting stuff going on around here but hey, I've not spent any money for FOUR DAYS! That's an excellent thing, don't you agree?

I finally got around to doing the freezer inventories, 2 of the 3. Wow, I have a LOT of food. Really should only need to be picking up fresh produce and maybe milk (although I currently have 2 1/2 gallons and 1 gallon of almond milk at the moment).  I do need to replenish the lettuce and spinach but otherwise, good to go.

In other news, a trip to Indiana is coming soon as apparently, my dad is ready to be released at the end of this month. Rather bad timing in that it's the week before Easter and do you really think tickets will be somewhat affordable? I need to fly up there and get him (along with all his medication and whatever else I can think of quickly) and then turn around and fly back to Florida with him in tow. This will be interesting.

Curious what this will do to the budget temporarily. I mean, he has 'some' money left over every month since I turned the car back to the bank. He does have bills that need to be paid, I am working my way through them, trying to prioritize what I have here and there and deciding what NEEDS to be paid, and what can be possibly negotiated. Yes, bad debts. That is what I'm talking about. And I am so not ready for the bill collectors to figure out he's living HERE and calling our house for him. Uggg.

He will stay with us for a bit, a few weeks, possibly longer, til I can find him someplace to live. I just don't know why, but Mark and I are not comfortable with him being here by himself 10 to 12 hours a day. I've got tile everywhere, steps here and there, and well, it's just a big house. And if he's coming and going on his walks, how do I make sure he locks up when he leaves (sorry, he's not used to arbitrary break ins like we are down here, daytime break ins are 75% more likely than night time ... and the list goes on and on.  I feel very bad in that we DO have the room for him, I've got a guest room, guest bath and a guest kitchen, plus the Florida room located on the other side of the house. We could go for days without seeing each other, technically. But yet, come Friday and Saturdays, when we entertain, the music, the activity at the bar area, the laughing etc., could be 'disturbing' to him. Yes, I'm worried about inconveniencing HIM. What the heck??

Anyways. We will have to wait and see how this works out ... but in the meantime, Zero Spend Days? Bring them on!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New and Improved Budget

This should be an improvement, simply because I’ve added in the Boy’s stuff which I failed to do the last time (doh).
The Boy Food                                                  $100
The Boy Bus Pass                                            $50
FPL                                                                     $300
AT&T                                                                 $30
TMobile                                                            $225
Sprinklers                                                          $50
Water                                                                $130
Bug man                                                           $24
Netflix                                                               $22
Comcast                                                           $115
Gym                                                                   $62
Credit cards                                                     $400
Medical                                                             $25
Food                                                                  $350
Gas                                                                    $100
Savings                                                              $400
Total Expenses:                                               $2383.00
Income should be as follows:
Weekly pay:                                                     $572
Bi-weekly pay:                                                 $2162
Monthly Contract:                                          $400
Bonus (average)                                              $300
Total Income:                                                  $3434
Difference:                                                       $1051
This difference really should be divided up into a fun savings account and then the car insurance, house insurance, wind storm insurance, flood insurance, property taxes and other predicted household expenses. And then we still have the college stuff, which I am STILL waiting to see if we qualify for ANY ASSISTANCE. Yeah, it used to be that Hubby paid ALL that stuff but now we sort of split it, not 50/50 but I pick up my share … he obviously saw the $1000 plus that should be floating around at the end of the month. Heh. Then again, more should be applied towards the credit cards too.
There are other things that should be factored in, such as date night out (Hubby generally picks up that tab, this is MY budget), miscellaneous things, like clothes, etc., but I am trying to live a Year of Zero (I need to keep reminding myself of that and giving myself a BIG pat on the back when I remember!)  
Oddly enough, I just got done doing our taxes and filed them (thankfully!) and we were both shocked at how MUCH money we made, yet again. I think, for starters, we always think: “Not so bad for 2 kids that didn’t finish college and started off dirt poor” which we did, seriously, and then “Really?? Where the heck did all the money go??” This is our second year getting a tax refund only because we both pay in extra on each paycheck (I contribute $150 more a month and he contributes $300 more a month) because we got TIRED of paying at the end of the year, every stinking year, no matter what we did or didn’t do. (BTW, I am all for a flat tax base, trust me, would make life so much simpler instead of having to deal with tax brackets, etc.) …
So there you have it, the new and IMPROVED Budget….let’s see how it rolls out in April!

Do you have a pretty strict budget? And if so, do you find yourself tweaking it as necessary? Just curious!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Technically, I've had ONE Zero Spend Day, and that was Saturday ... only because I felt like crap. No, it was NOT because I had the Espresso Martini's on Friday (and an impromptu Fry Fest with friends) but because the sinus infection reared it's ugly head again.

Sunday, I had to take the Boy to his friend to get the ride back to Orlando. Stopped at the bank and withdrew $100. Gave him $60 for his bus pass and $30 to his friends mom for gas. That left me with $25 in my wallet for the week coming up. Time for me to pull out the debit card and American Express and stash them in the drawer again.

I will be staying OUT OF THE STORES this week for the most part. Mark and the Boy did a Costco run for me on Friday (sweet, I suppose, as much as I wanted to go) and stocked up on the every day things I was needing (eggs, milk, salad stuff, cheese, etc.) ... so not a whole lot of things I can think of that I need at the moment!

I need to hit the American Express bill today with $600. That will pretty much wipe out my bank account for the next 4 days until the 15th where I get my 2 week check. Then that will pay the balance of the car insurance, cell phone bill, water, cable and a few dollars towards credit cards. Uggg.

I hate feeling like I'm upside down. It seems that I go from great to shit and back to great again.  I know that this last month with the stuff going on with my dad and my brother's crap, well, I knew it would be tight. Oh and learn (hopefully!)

I am also hitting the gym tonight as I slacked off last week between being sick and the Boy being home. When I workout, I find I spend LESS MONEY. Is there some kind of psychological connection there OR is it just because who wants to stop at the store when they are all hot and sweaty? I know how I feel!

Friday, March 9, 2012


It's been a rough week to say the least. I've been sick with this sinus issue. Mark finally went to the doctor yesterday and got himself a z-pac, but I'm holding out.

The Boy arrived Monday afternoon so add that to my general illness and I've been completely out of the loop.

Which means ... over budget. Grrr.

Not horribly so. But enough to make myself bummed.

I figure once he leaves Sunday, it's back on the bandwagon (btw, just read somewhere, if you are jumping on the bandwagon, you are TOO LATE ... this applies to buying stocks) ... and get back in the groove.

I mean seriously, is this REALLY THE YEAR OF ZERO??

YES. YES IT IS. Snap to!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Happy Leap Year ...

It was a Zero Spend Day, thankfully!  Of course, that would be probably because I was running late this morning to work and then went straight from work to the gym ... and who wants to shop after being all hot and sweaty, right? I should take that approach much more often!

I stopped by Target last night (no working out, obviously) and picked up a pair of boots for $11.98. Yes. Cheap. Shoes. Yippee! Mind you, it's been 80 plus degrees and humid. But I will wear these boots ... trust me ... I've been on a boot wanting kick this past season and now I have 3 pairs. I think that is MORE than enough so no more ...

I will be setting up the cell phone, credit cards, american express and electric bill for payment by Friday. I just realized I didn't get the $400 today so need to make sure I get that deposited too ... I will need to hit AE hard this month :-( Ugg.

I'm thinking tomorrow should be a Zero Spend Day also and hopefully Friday too. However, Mark will be on me to get the truck washed and I can get it done for about $15 or so. And it will look like new (the body shop where we had them check something out and they had it for 10 days while I was out of town, they had it parked inside so it's got all that body shop dust) ... we will see. I know, I can wash it myself, but honestly, I just don't want to dedicate 2 hours to cleaning it ... lazy? Yes, maybe, I am, but I have plenty of other things to do with my 2 hours.

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

I can't believe the 2nd month of the Year of Zero is coming to an end! And as depressing as it may be to actually TYPE this, things are not working the way I had hoped. I suppose nothing ever does go as planned.

I am going to continue with a reduced grocery budget of $20.00 a week through March, hopefully. I was doing so very well prior to the trip back for my Dad, and now feel the NEED to continue for another 4 to 5 weeks. So, this morning, I put 3 fives and 5 singles in my wallet. Already, I need to get half and half ($3) but that's it so far. I'd like to pick up some potatoes but we will see.

I am going to be hit hard on the American Express Bill. The cost of hotel (unexpected) and the change of the ticket to return home. Not to mention a few miscellaneous charges that were put on while in Indiana. So the $400 I get from the attorney is going straight to AE. Along with any other money that might show up ...

We also may need to do a quick trip to Indiana NEXT WEEK already. Get there Sunday and come back Tuesday evening. Hubby has some stuff he may need to tend to (legal stuff) and I would go along to do a quick check on Dad since it would be the 2nd week for him there. Ugggg. I need to get my ducks all lined up. Can you say STRESS?

Bills are all paid for the month as of today (thankfully) and I have 2 $143 checks to deposit, along with a $60 miscellaneous check. The $60 is being applied to AE. The $286 will hang out until the 1st, which then if all is well, I will hit AE with that too. The $400 comes on Wednesday and will hit AE there too ... so $746 right off the top ... makes me feel a little better! Of course, I'd like to have that in my savings account but I have different priorities this month.

So that's my update for the day. Not much to really show but hey, it's about being disciplined and following through for me at this point.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Catching Up

I've lost count of how much money has been spent in the past 10 days.

I ended up staying 4 more days in the Midwest to take care of my dad and get him settled in to the rehab facility. Yes. A nursing home. My brother and his wife decided at 5pm on Friday that they no longer wanted to care for him. Not so nicely either. And not at all ethical in the way it was done. And that is really not the complete worse of what happened. Let's just leave it at Family Drama.

So ... lets see. Approx $350 for the tickets (since I had to change my return date, I no longer got it dirt cheap), hotel for 2 nights (for me and dad til I got us situated) $170, clothes, toiletries, etc. for dad (for 2 days til I could get the rest of his stuff) $80. Car rental $310 or so. Food for dad for 2 days at home $45 (he's a bad diabetic and I had cleared everything out of the fridge and freezer before all the stuff hit the fan), $109 for locksmith to change locks on trailer, $100 for Humane Society (4 cats to be euthanized, sorry, there was no other options folks, all the shelters were full and would NOT accept the cats as they were in poor health), about $300 more in miscellaneous eating and packing material, garbage bags, etc. And then about $200 in gas (a lot of driving) ...

It was an expensive trip after all. But at least I managed to get the trailer 85% cleared out. Had I known the way things were going to turn beforehand, I would have been able to get in close to 100% but alas, things never go according to plan!

I am planning on relaxing this weekend and will resume the Year of Zero and hopefully have some Zero Spend Days as I certainly am in dire need of them!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday and Tuesday, February 13th and 14th, 2012

Monday, Zero Spend Day (yeah!) ... busy day at work and the people picked up the bowflex after work.

Tuesday, $19.87 spent at the store: 2 loaves of bread, gallon of  milk, bag of cat food, head of iceburg, container of baby greens and box of cheerios. I would have totally waved off the cheerios but Mark was protesting. I did stop at BK in the morning too, $4.76 for the quick fix breakfast. Doh. Dumb of me.

I fly out Wednesday so will try to post updates as I go. I've got the $200 from the bowflex in my wallet. I'd like to come home with $100. I also would like to stay straight cash while there. We will see (already, my brother and I are butting heads on the trailer, I say donate, he wants to store? Why??)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 10th to 12th)

Technically, 2 days of Zero Spend ... but I did stop at Macy's Friday to pick up some undergarments ... used a gift card I've been saving. See below for Saturdays events.

I've not stepped foot in a grocery store since Tuesday and probably won't hit one up until Tuesday again ... need to stop and get a few things before I head out of town.

The flight was surprisingly cheap for a non stop trip. $183 total round trip. Of course, once I'm there, a few dollars will leave my account.  Will probably stop at Costco before I get on the highway (one right there within minutes of the airport) to pick up some cleaning stuff, water bottles and a few other things to contribute to the households ... As I've been told that my father wants to clear the trailer out and get 'rid of it' ... I will hopefully be able to make a sizable contribution in the cleaning. Whether or not he will be there with me is another story. He is staying with my brother and wife and does not want to go back there, but rather come down here with me. Forever. Yike. It will be a little uncomfortable sitting for a long time to spend time with my dad at their house, so I am thinking of a few things to get him out to do ... movie, dinner, lunch, etc. Plus I will go with my father in law to look at some assisted living places he was checking out for me ... I'm hoping this will go well. I will also take him out for dinner one evening as appreciation for what he's assisting me with.

We sold the Bowflex today, $200 ... I had it listed for quite a while and have been knocking down the price every week. We were down to $250 but a young couple came over, left, called back and made an offer, so of course, I said YES because we were getting ready to donate to a non-profit rehabilitation facility....that $200 will be applied to the $1200 car insurance bill coming up. There was also a $140 check received from an old investment account we had ... not quite sure what it's for as we had moved the account several years back ... so $350 approximately to be applied towards the insurance which means I can apply to:

My hair. On Saturday, I broke down and went and got my hair done. Hubby kept dropping subtle hints. And not so subtle. My usual girl is on maternity leave, so went down the street here, figuring it couldn't be too much more than what I usually pay. I was fine until I got the parking ticket. Damn it. $300 for color, highlights, scalp massage, cut and blow dry, style and parking ticket. 4 hours. Done. I regret that it cost THAT much, but it does look great and he did a fantastic job. Need to look for other options before May (Vegas bound).

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wednesday and Thursday, February 8 and 9, 2012

Ahhh...2 more Zero Spend Days ... makes me a happy camper. I've been good in going straight to work out after I leave the office, and well, heck, who wants to browse a store all sweaty? Not me!

Mark has had jury duty all week and will most likely be in for the next week too on a trail. Interesting but of course, can't say a whole lot about it. They asked some pretty detail questions about what I do and who my attorneys are, but he's not said much to me. Did ask me what a Wild Deed was last night so that definitely perked my ears ... that's a SERIOUS title defect that NO ONE wants to tackle to cure ... so I'm starting to imagine all kinds of things!

I still have $11 in my purse (I hope, I've not seen it!) and I dont' think I need anything for the weekend, except, maybe a loaf of bread ... but not sure who will eat it. Oh, and maybe cat food. He's getting low (no litter, yeah!!)

I leave for Indiana on the 15th, and know that my Zero Spending will go out the window but am going to be ultra conservative while there. My father is being released from the hospital on Friday and he is (apparently) going to stay with my brother and his wife for a few weeks. Interesting, very very interesting. My brother was sending me texts at 9pm Thursday night but I didn't see them til I went to bed at 11, so need to follow up with him this morning.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Zero Spend Day ... excellent.

No issues to be had: made scrambled eggs for breakfast to take to work, took along leftover stuffed shells for lunch, worked out at the 5:30 class, came home, had a couple (yeah, 2) margaritas and went to bed.

Easy peasy. (and watched the freaky movie on ABC, The River).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not quite sure how it happened, but the day started off with a drive thru BK.You would think after the 'pink slime' report on McDonald's, I'd be done with fast food. NOT. $4.76 for a mediocre sausage/egg on croissant with a side of tater tots (oh, wait, those are hash browns?) and a coke. Good grief. Not sure what makes me more upset, the $4.76 or the fact that I could have easily made this at home. WEAK MOMENT. I admit it, my hands freaking hurt and I'm feeling blah. Better find something quick to take care of that! I left the anti-inflammatory meds at home this morning. Not a good start.

Skipped the gym, tired, hands hurt, and I needed to just go home. Stopped at the store (fresh market) got a huge container (Costco size!) baby spinach for $4.99, gallon of milk $3.99 and some bananas for 69 cents a lb. Publix prices. Sweet. $11.70 total.

Stopped at pet store to get the cat flea stuff. $57. Good grief. Even with a $2 off coupon. Need to check out 800PetMeds.

Also, the final kicker for the day, booked a flight to see my dad next week. I need to SEE him. $183. Not so bad round trip for 5 days, you know? Will need to rent a car but that won't be much (Mark works for a major car rental company), and will probably stay with my father in law (ummm, I don't think I can pull off MY dad's house). So next week will be a challenge.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, February 4th and 5th, 2012

Went and worked out Saturday at 9am. My girlfriend was going to meet me but backed out at the last minute as she's been fighting a sinus issue for weeks now. We had planned to go get coffee and bagels at this little place afterwards, and I'm glad it didn't work that way. Not excited about a $5 cup of coffee, that's all. The day ended being a Zero Spend Day again ... so I'm pretty happy about that.

We have a SmartTV ... Mark held out til the old one died and then we shopped for ever to get this one. So basically, the TV has wifi connection ... and I just finally got around to setting up the Pandora account on the TV this morning. So all day long been listening to Kid Rock Radio while cleaning house. I think I may have messed it up though as I was adding other artist to the play list and now it's giving me some pretty funky music. Black Eyed Peas, no problem, Rhianna? No thanks. And then it goes in to some pretty hokey country stuff. Good grief! Gonna have to delete the station and restart.

Then instead of going out for dinner, I did a mock Olive Garden night ... Garlic Tuscan Chicken, salad with OG dressing and bread sticks ... pretty damn proud of myself. Had to share the kitchen with Mark as he was making his stuffed shells to go with the pizzola meatballs for the game Sunday.

Sunday turned into a Zero Spend Day too (woohoo!) as I put off going to get the 'weed and feed' for the cat (flea medicine, it's a joke in the house) ... will have to get it this week on my way to work one morning (utilizing that save an extra trip mentality) We wanted to have a Super Bowl Party but opted not to as a) it will be a late night, b) I didn't want to go buy a bunch of stuff and ruin the $20 a week plan for February (cheap? perhaps, but still) and c) neither team is a team we really care much for so it would be hard to root and cheer. We will watch in the background (me for the commercials, Mark for the chat factor this week) ... but I'll probably be messing on the computer and Mark will be doing something else too ...

So there we are, a new week and I have $27 to shop with this week. Sweet. Glad I didn't go to Aldis Sunday like I wanted to ... not a necessity although I will have to stop and get spinach and milk and really, bagels or bread for the Girl on Monday (and the weed and feed, but that's not in the budget anywhere, should be).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Friday which always a HAPPY day for me for the most obvious reasons. It's also the former "swing by the store and see what looks yummy" day, but not any longer. Which I am perfectly fine with.

Doing my own nails is not all that difficult. I miss the pedicures though. Wondering if I can't slide that into the medical category since I only typically spend $10 for one script a month and then $25 every few months for a dr ... I've given myself $50 a month. I suppose I should leave that alone. BUT a pedicure could be considered medicinal since I have slight feet problems. Yeah, you see me trying to justify that? Anyways. I've got one nailpolish that just won't set right. Even with the topcoat. So last night, I sprayed Pam on them after I applied the polish, sat for 10 minutes then rinsed off with cold water. HA. It works. And it makes your cuticles feel softer. And the polish is uber shiny and smooth. (I say this the morning after!). And I always have Costco sized cans of Pam in the house. One more thing to add to the list ... excellent! Another plug to Rule #10.

I withdrew $100 and deposited it in the Boy's account so he can get his bus pass coming up. He will also have some money for food then. His girlfriends mom is driving up next week for a day so she can take a care package for me (protein bars, drinks, veggie chips and so on that I had picked up at Costco last time I was there) ... I will just send stuff that I already have on hand here ... keeping it simple but at least that will work for him.

I also stopped to make a $60 cash deposit into the NO TOUCH account. Hmmm. The debit card won't work. Said to call customer service. Apparently, if you don't use it for 6 months, it's deactivated. So had to go to branch during lunch hour and get a temporary one and make a deposit there. Busy place it was, Friday afternoon at 12:30? Not a good time to go.

After my excitement last night of The Fresh Market, I realized the mineolas were $1.30 EACH as I ate one. And unfortunately, I didn't think they were worth that much, so I probably will not be buying those from THERE again. I'll stick with the little clementines instead.

I got the electric for my father paid this month. $137. I set up automatic bill pay on the credit cards for the month. Of course, I need to add another $10 to the one as the minimum amount went up by $10. Good grief. Will pay the remaining float (whatever is left of the $400 budget) to the Macy's account at the end of the month. I had also transferred $560.xx to another savings account on the 1st ... this was money that was left in the account, so it was my 'sweep'. Of course, I still need to pay $700 for the AE bill and the car insurance is due on the 18th. So it probably will not stay there long. But at least I put SOMETHING in the No Touch account.

And then, I stopped by Ulta on the way home ... I wanted to look for this cuticle cream and some new polish (maybe) ... ended up getting cuticle remover, cuticle pushy thingy, buffer, another 2 buffers and an eyeshadow brush ... $30. Ack. Crumb. But that's ok, this will last me longer than a $25 manicure ... gotta think positive!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Uhhh...I had to break the streak ... but not too badly.  I stopped at The Fresh Market (it was KILLING me) ... all I was going to get was bananas.  I also got 2 mineolas, 1 navel, a Meyers lemon (lemon drops??), and 2 small containers (less than 1 lb total) of olives for Mark.  Total spent: $12.67. I used the debit card. So I broke the $20 and pulled $7 from my savings envelope and put the $20 in the savings envelope. Tomorrow, I deposit $60 to the NO TOUCH savings.

I may be booking another flight to Indiana ... my dad had another TIA but at least he was at the hospital when this one happened. Good grief. So they took him off the PT floor to the Stroke floor and I told Mark I probably need to be booking a trip soon. Freaking my brother out though for whatever reason.

So here we are, $7 left for groceries, nothing urgent really needed and I feel 'good'.

Tuesday and Wednesday, January 31st and February 1st, 2012

Tuesday - Zero Spend Day ... DAY SEVEN! That was a good feeling last night to be in for the night and be able to say that!

Wednesday was ALSO a Zero Spend Day, EIGHT DAYS!!

The Fresh Market opened Wednesday in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Like, I will drive by it every morning IF I don't take the scenic route. Um, like I need to take the scenic route :) I really want to go but I'm holding out only because I know I'll BUY something. Yikes.

I did a DIY lip wax earlier this week. If you want to know (and SEE the results, click over to the other blog). That's pretty impressive that it works AND that it didn't hurt all that bad, not to mention, easy to do. Yes. I saved myself $10. Woohoo. Next up are the eye brows, not so sure how THAT will go.

Mark took me out for dinner Wednesday to the japanese buffet. He paid. So no money out of MY pocket. Hence, it was still a zero spend day. I've had this same $20 in my walled for 9 days now. Wow. It feels good and there isn't anything that I need. I really wanted to get some sparkling water that was on sale but the sale is over, and I'm not dying yet, so it goes to show, missing good deals are not the end of the world.

Need to move the remaining funds from checking to savings (about $500) and start setting up bill pay for those bills that are coming in. After a bleak January, I'm aiming HIGH for February. Need to also get the modified budget up for review.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Another Zero Spend Day! Sweet! That makes 6 days in a row. I know that the days are numbered: I need to hit the grocery store ... well, no really a necessity, but there's a few things I'd like to get while on sale and coupons ... and stay within that $20 range I gave myself per week for the month of February.

Went and worked out too. That was good. Finally got motivated and managed to keep up. I seriously think its because I guzzled lots and lots of water from 3pm to 5pm ... I'm bad about that and now that's why I'm not dripping in sweat when done like I should be. AND I found what exercise it is that makes me woozy ... the squeezing of shoulder blades, I feel a crunchy and burning feeling leaving it buzzy feeling and then my head goes WOOSH. So ... something up there. Not read to follow drs recommendation and see neurologist for pinched nerve just yet but will see if there isn't some way I can get it loosened up on my own first.

Also stopped at Kmart to return the 2 items I purchased a few weeks back. $17 and change back and that went straight in my No Touch Savings envelope. Have $50 plus in there right now. Changed out the 5's and singles for the $20 in my grocery envelopes as I'd rather NOT have a bunch of singles to deposit (those 1 by 1 transactions take forever!)

So, 6 days of Zero Spend. I feel good!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, January 28th & 29th, 2012

The weekend is coming to an end and I'm so thankful to be able to say: Zero Spend for both days! That makes 5, yes FIVE days in a row. Excellent.

Of course, Mark took me out to dinner last night after our fast day out on the water. And he went to the store today to get some Cubano bread to go with the huge pot of red sauce he made (I'm afraid to look at the pantry and see how much of my tomato sauce he used, 8 28 oz cans??).  As he is not completely on the Year of Zero, he's entitled, I suppose, to cave in and run and get what he feels is necessary once in awhile :-)

I don't think I need to hit the store tomorrow or Tuesday at this point. I do want to go by Wednesday evening though to get the LaCroix sparkling water that on sale and I also have a $1 off 12 pk coupon. I should be able to get 2 12 packs for $2.50 with the sale and coupon ... this could help spread the wine over the month ... I've given myself $20 for each week in February for groceries. Lets see how it goes.

My menu plan is already messed up in that I wanted to make chicken kiev for dinner (and document for the other blog) but Mark took over the kitchen doing the sauce, so maybe I can prep it in the morning for dinner tomorrow ... we shall see.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 26th, 2012

It's Friday ... I love Friday's nowadays. Used to be sort of my grocery shopping day, but not any more! I think I prefer that! Besides, I don't believe I could possibly need anything after the Costco trip this week.

Mark hit the gym after work. I came home and cleaned, menu planned, and put together a little mishmash of appetizers for dinner. And had a few beers.
It's another Zero Spend Day. I'd really like to take the truck and get it washed over at the local car wash place. But about $20 ... even though, in MY opinion, it's well worth it. The truck is D. I. R. T. Y. Dusty and wheel cleaner/black stuff splashed on the fenders. And they vacuum and wipe down the interior. PLUS the one manager loves my truck because it's so new looking (1999 Tahoe with 44000 miles, never wrecked, garage kept at night and covered parking during day, it lives a privileged life) so he makes sure it's taken care of.

So 3 days in a row with Zero Spend. There may be hope after all!

On other news, my brother called me Thursday ... dad is back at the hospital, had another stroke (#4?) and now they think it's his blood thinning that's causing problems (well  his sugar starts it and the blood thickness finishes it). He's already on thinner but now they are going to tweak it and he will be borderline danger on thinness, not a good thing for an old guy. Dad was rather cranky when I spoke to him, said they were starving him out. Well, come to find out, when he drank some water, he started choking, rather badly, so they said no food or water til further testing. He doesn't understand that but I think it's because they want to make sure there is no damage from the stroke, so will have to wait til the cat scan is done. D also told me that they got him set up on energy assistance program for electric. Good because it was something I tried to do here but couldn't because too much paperwork and copies of stuff needed that I was unable to do from here. Was just planning to do it when I got there. This shows how much lack of communication there is here. So regardless, his bill should be 12% less, but no one can tell me how much (I did the math, $120 vs $137). (I checked online later, and still see the balance and the same program he was on before so will pay the $137 Tuesday and check again next weekend to see if the program is changed). Dad was better today and they moved him out of ICU and will give PT over the weekend.

**Now I hear that it was NOT a stroke, but a TIA. However, my brother and the wife are requesting a 2nd neurologist to come in as they say it IS a stroke. But Dad sounds better than he has (speech wise) and this would be his 4th incident and I really  think his speech has improved this time around. I kind of, sort of think they want it to be a stroke so he can get further assistance :( Visiting nurse, etc.)

I've still not re-worked the budget and MUST get that done this weekend. Otherwise, February starts and I will feel just clueless yet again. Thinking of a No Spend for the kitchen since it's only 28 days and I'm pretty well stocked ... maybe $20 a week for salad and milk stuff?

**I've went ahead and took the 94 cash in my wallet that I had and divided it up into the 4 food envelopes, $20 in each. The $14 is in the No Touch savings account envelope. I'm committed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday and Thursday, January 25-26, 2012

Thankfully, I can say both were Zero Spend Days ... wohoo! Be nice to go thru Monday saying the same, that would be FIVE days straight. Can I do it?

I was budgeting out the income through the end of the month and thought, heh, not so very bad that I can put in savings, but them I REMEMBERED that Hubby picked up half of the Gold AE bill (which I had put the funeral services on in December) so I need to cough up the balance of $700. He would have paid it all but I wanted to take care of some of it myself. We are odd like that.

Speaking of which. We have separate accounts. We each pay certain bills, and split up others (taxes, insurances, etc.). He pays the Boy's rent whereas I pay the Boy's food, classes, books and transportation fees (which I've put NONE of that on the budget). He pays the mortgage and other household stuff like that, whereas I pay the utilities and food.

Does it seem odd to most people that we do that? I have his pin number to his card and he has mine, but we are not co-signors on the accounts, nor do we have a card to each others account.  We are joint acount holders on the Gold AE and that's it.

Our tax refund last year (first time in like 10 years!) was put into my account only because we were going to VEGAS BABY and well, I was in charge of the cash on the trip. Here's hoping the same can be said this year too for my 48th birthday (we ARE going to VEGAS BABY again in early May and I'm hoping to have a tax refund to play with).

Well. Now that I deviated AWAY from the real topic, I'm back :) Zero Spend 2 days in a row. Sweet. I'm hoping I can do Friday too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tried to make a motherly statement this morning and FORCED the girl to get up and go to work, tired or not. She went out with a bunch of friends at 10pm last night and has to be at work at 7am. Well. I told her that she needed to remember that, and sure enough, 4am she rolls in. Brat. I do NOT worry about her, nor was I overly concerned as she was with a group that were celebrating a friend that is on his month leave after being deployed for almost a year. I'm sure they were at someones house (for once, thankful it wasn't MINE) and they are all of age. So. I do not believe I will be nominated for Mother of the Year just yet.

Moving on. Made myself a fried egg sandwich in a hurry and tossed the remaining chicken tenders and potato salad into a container to bring to work ... wasn't that I was running behind or anything, just got sidetracked and again, not paying attention to the time!

Knew it would be a Zero Spend Day but certainly was NOT anticipating the Costco trip to be so overwhelming. Figured if I went after working out (aka, sweaty) and closer to closing time, I'd be in and out with any time to browse. Uh. Not so much.

$384.84 later. AND gas (which I frantically drove thru the parking lot because I thought they were closing up!) ... $3.35 a gallon for a total of $71.01 (tried to get even at $70, missed and shot for $71, missed again) ... this gave me a full tank and then some so I'm hoping (HOPING) that maybe, just maybe, I can get away with only $40 in February.

Because of this, I'm seriously thinking of imposing a 28 Day No Spend for February. You know, alot of the mommy blogs (not knockin them, I LOVE THEM!) do 30 Days of Nothing, Pantry Challenge, and so on ... well, I think maybe that is what I need to do? Ick. Not wanting to. But maybe that's what I do to give myself a good kick in the rear to pick it up and move on. Remember, this is a YEAR OF ZERO!

On another note, I've got $200 in my checking account (I think, need to really go look), $20 in my savings account and another $15 in the No Touch Savings account. ACK. I've got $400 and $143 coming this week and $60 from Paypal (for the Textbroker writings). Then the 31st, my big check comes in but that goes for February. I still need to pay the water bills ... I think that's it. Then sweep everything over to the savings account. Nothing has been contributed to the No Touch. Geesh. Maybe I should just split the difference at the end of the month to at least contribute SOMETHING.

I'm rambling. Need to get breakfast and lunch together. Here's to a Zero Spend Wednesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eww. What a day it was today. Besides being exhausted from yesterday's events and getting up earlier than normal for Mark to fly out, and then a closing seriously blowing up at the walk through ... ack, I could seriously use some comfort and spending would certainly make me feel better but NO I will not do it!

I do need to get to Costco but was going to maybe hold out til Wednesday BUT I'm exhausted and DO NOT want to go work out. Seriously, just plain blah. Ick. Regardless, it's not a Zero Spend Day, $202 for Tmobile and $116 for Cable. Over and over.

I also stopped at the store to get milk and coffee cream to tide me over til Wednesday as we are OUT and the Girl has been drinking coffee AND milk lately, whats up with that?? Got sidetracked (restraint??) by the chicken tenders on sale for $5.99 a pound. Had to get a pound and half for dinner along with a small side of potato salad (that was $2.99 and I thought it was $1.99) ... so $17 out the wallet just like that. Good news? I handed over $100 bill and put the rest in my little wallet.

Ok, moving on. I've got the Money Saving Mom book on my Kindle. Yes, I paid for it but used my swagbucks to convert to amazon gift cards ... (sorry, this is a plug, if you click on either link above and then buy or sign up, I will get a little compensation). I love swagbucks, but not so sure of the book itself. Common sense. And borderline 'scolding' although I'm not sure that's the word I want to use. Eh. I don't know. I'm having a hard time getting through it (granted, I've been reading a real book too) ... but it has started me back to going through stuff and I decided to swap out the flatware with the REAL silverware and feel pretty damn special when I use it ... so that's an improvement in my opinion!

I'm going to keep reading it...plugging away every night. I suppose maybe I should make notes? Eh. Nah. That's too complicated.

All in all, not a horribly bad day. Not a great day, not a bad day. Tuesday will be a Zero Spend Day!

Friday, January 20th

Oh Thank God It's Friday! Seriously. What a week. It's been the week of "Beat Up Jan" ... well, so I think anyway. Slightly dramatic, I'm sure.

I have no need to go to the grocery store after work today, yahoo! I was planning on cubanos but I ended up making a nice chicken stirfry using what we had on hand, including the rice I froze the other night. Sweet.

I know it's not a big deal, and better to have done it this way but I stopped at the gym last night to cancel my membership. It's done 2/27/12 ... so I had to pay a $25 termination fee which would at least avoid this month and next month of $21.20 ... but I fought tooth and nail on it ... which was no use. Then when I was leaving the manager reminded me that Mark could still bring me along as a guest when I wanted to come ... oh yeah, I totally FORGOT about that. I guess he felt bad that he couldn't 'do' anything to help out with the early termination fee.

It's not a Zero Spend Day afterall ... needed to get gas so stopped and put $30 in, gave me almost half tank at $3.56 a gallon. Good lord it's not even creeping upward, it's shooting.

Saturday, January 21 - a Zero Spend Day (every one do happy dance!) ... we ended up making chicken thighs in mojo and black beans and rice. Just a general stay home day and night, although friends called us from bar down the street at 10pm and Mark was ready to walk over ... but I said no, too late, we've already had a few drinks, no need to go blow $100 for an hour of drunk fun :)

Sunday, January 22 - another Zero Spend Day but not a happy day. Had to take in Gman, the old kitty who we foster, to the vet and off to the big party. I can't believe how upset I was at having to do this. The $124 charge was paid by his old master, who used to be a pretty good friend. She borrowed a credit card from her father (??!!) to pay it instead of making me. I'm still very sad over this.

There is a Costco trip scheduled for this week. That makes me giddy and a little apprehensive. See, I'm taking CASH with me and leaving debit card at home. YIKES. No way around it then, huh? Although I will have the AE with me so I can get gas there ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19th

I made a quick decision this morning at 7:50am to make this face wash wipe things. Not that it was a big deal to do it (it's super easy!) but the fact is I leave the house no later than 8:30, I was still in my pajamas and had not made breakfast or lunch as of that time. For a moment, I said, "I'll just drive thru BK" ... just like the old days.

Ha. No. And I didn't. I brushed my teeth in the kitchen while I toasted the bagel and fried an egg. I washed my face (using my new face wipes) while tossing stuff into a Publix shopping bag for breakfast and lunch. Really. Egg sandwich with some shredded cheese tossed in. Cheese sticks. Fruit snacks. Bottled water. Banana. Yeah, an odd assortment but beats the hell out of a drive thru! Oh, and my large cup of coffee (in the Starbucks Tervas Tumbler with lid and straw that the Girl gave to me). That pretty much covered me for breakfast and lunch. Mark needs new dress slacks for work so we are heading to JCPenney's after work to shop for them. And then we will do our dinner out. $30 preferable, $40 would be the MAXIMUM which includes tip. I'm NOT paying, I have $2 in my wallet at the moment, and it's staying that way until Sunday.

It's been a rough week at work (although something totally came through and paid off today!), and dealing with my brother on the dad issues has not been at all soothing. I've just had to turn off my cell phone and ignore the text messages, otherwise I was going to get all worked up and I don't need to be doing that. Of course, it's financial stuff and rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who has gone through this but OMG ... is there an END? Work has just been busy ... one of them weeks where I could have used an assistant ... but I can't justify hiring someone as next week could be dead quiet. So I deal with that on a day by day basis. But I do see a pattern that stress makes me want to spend money. Not intentionally, but just that 'make me feel better with something' type of attitude. Ack. Wish I could channel it to exercise!

So all in all, today is a Zero Spend Day on my side ... Mark, well, that was his call. He needed new slacks and it's hard to find NICE dress slacks for work, 2nd hand. So he needed to do it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday, January 18th

I wish I could say it was another Zero Spend Day, but nope, I can't.

I did however take some actions against food waste this morning and will do a few more things this evening.

Had to stop at Publix, cat food, cat litter, small cherry tomatoes, bananas and .... seems like something else? Just a little over $19. Ick

The Boy needed to get 2 more books, so $250 was deposited into his account and that left him with about $50 extra for food. He said that he filled up his pantry the last time they went to Aldis which made me pretty damn proud of him. He said that his girlfriend doesn't like it so much there anymore but he LOVES it, that was a quote. :) Gotta love him just for that. I know, it's because he can buy bagels for $1.39 instead of $3.99 and a gallon of milk for a little more than $2 instead of $4. Yeah. He's a smart kid I think.

Came home and dialed up the Insanity Plyometric Cardio workout ... ummm, sorry, couldn't do it all, no ambition, desire, etc. Plus I was just freaking HOT. Should have done the dance class instead but left the office too late.

Also paid the Macy AE and Amazon today, $40 and $80. I know its MORE than the minimal but I have such a hard time doing that. A few dollars over ... so when I redo the budget next week, I'm rounding them all up to the nearest fifth ... I'm also going to add in for the Boy's groceries AND my dad's electric. Uggg.

Yes, I believe things are about to get a little tougher around here.

Dusting Myself Off

I've gotten back on the horse today.

This morning, I did the following to keep Rule #9 intact ... so I can say this is not a complete failure after all!

1. Froze large container of chili that was still in fridge. This will make a nice middle of the week soup night down the road. Will toss in a bag of cheese on top once it's frozen so I can be sure there is cheese to go along with it!

2. Sliced up and froze a banana that was on its way south. The little bag went into the BIG smoothie bag in the freezer (this bag contains cubes of frozen yogurt and any other mini frozen fruit)

3. Took the 32 oz container of yogurt and filled up to ice trays. Will divide the cubes up this evening into little bags and put them in the BIG smoothie bag (3 cubes per bag is a perfect amount for a smoothie)

4. Froze the rest of the rice leftover from the other night. NOTE: I want to look at the one bag of steam rice and veggies I have in the freezer and see if I can't replicate that? That would be awesome!

5. Used up the rest of the spicy steak dressing for lunch today ...

I need to evaluate the oranges, grapefruit and strawberries to see if they need to be processed for the freezer too? Will most likely see if I can't juice the oranges and grapefruit as I'm not so sure I want to freeze them, you know?

Also may look at freezing some of the pork loin I made Monday. That would be another nice surprise mid week meal during a busy week ... love the thought of that!

Yes. I am trying!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Obviously, a Zero Spend Day. I must stay FOCUSED.

The Boy has 2 more books that I need to get paid for $120 total. I am making a deposit on Wednesday to his account of $150 so he can have a few bucks for groceries. Then I need to give the lecture of GET A JOB. I know it's hard for him but he needs to keep trying.

I've also got to get some bills paid today. Usually I set up bill pay as soon as I get the bills, but not sure why I've not done that yet this month. Damn if I'm late on a credit card I'll be screaming. Yikes. No No No.

I'm crabby ... I'm beating myself up over the past week. I need to just move forward but I've really messed up ... I know, gotta keep going. But still.

The plan to stay out of the stores this week is not going to happen 100%. After all that money spent, I still need to get cat food, litter NOW and then I'll also need some salad stuff coming soon. I will stop a the store today, spend probably $20 for the cat food and litter which should get us through the month. Wondering now if I should just make a line for the cats on the budget. No kidding.

Speaking of budget. I will probably try and re-work it next week as the month will be just about over AND Mark will be out of town. That will give me some quiet time to really focus. Uggg. I'm so bummed. Again, move forward. Live and learn.

On an off topic. The wife of Boss #1 was in yesterday doing some 'work'... she brought in her Rosetta Stone Spanish program. AND her new camera. Nice. My boss went to Costco, two days before Christmas and bought her gifts. Camera. Rosetta Stone. Panini maker. The camera is NICE. 2nd lens. Definately confusing and difficult. The green monster reared his head just for an instant. I want a new camera and would LOVE to have one like that (Canon Rebel) ... BUT realize that it's not in my path at the moment ... but I could so see it there!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Complete Fail

I expect to hear air horns going off and saying "abandon ship!" (Oh, and by the way, what about that CRUISE SHIP? Can you imagine?? Yikes!)

Yeah, it's that bad.

I've lost a 'few' dollars in the past week.

Poor planning on my part.

Carelessness ... you know, treating your money with respect doesn't work IF you just toss it in the purse and expect it to be there later. Um, yeah, especially IF you don't zip it close on top of it.

Don't ask, not quite sure where it went. But it's not in the purse.

Grocery shopping was way over the top. I've technically tapped out the grocery budget for the month within the first 14 days of the month. Huh. NO I don't think I need to re-work that in the budget. Just better planning. And now I'm going to force myself to make do with what I have (except, I do need cat food, cat litter and will need salad stuff and just never ends).

And learning to say no.

NO to my neighbor (who is going through some pretty radical cancer treatments) when she ask to go to the Casino. Ummm...yeah, that's real conductive to a Year of Zero. Let me tell you all about that ... NOT.

NO to Hubby when he wants another bag of fritos to go with the chili ... especially when there was a bag sitting there not even opened.

NO to my girlfriend who asked me to meet her for an earlier class, forcing me to stop at Kmart and buy a workout shirt to change into (I already had the yoga pants on and a long sleeve T, but I knew I'd sweat my ass of and really pass out wearing it) ... that was poor planning on my part ... I knew that I'd be going to the gym at some point, should have just packed one in my car.

And finally, NO to ME. I need to learn restraint, willpower, forgiveness and eliminate the GUILT in all aspects of my life.

Yeah. Complete fail. It's gonna be a rough 50 weeks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Yippee, it was another Zero Spend Day!

I came so very close to a drive through for BK though in the morning after I gave blood. Wouldn't have been so tempting except I had to wait an hour and 15 minutes at the lab place. At least it was interesting people watching and I had the Kindle with me to read ... but still. I was starving when I got out of there. Munched on a cheese stick and ate another when I got to the office.

The water bills both came in the mail. $20.47 is due on the sprinklers and $106.60 on the house ...they must have sent a meter reader by as the sprinkler is more than normal and the house is less than normal. Go figure.

Looks like I will be picking up my dad's electric bill this month. Said no to the car payment. $350 for a 5 year old car that is crapped out. I am trying to pursued everyone to just give it back (I know, not ethical or right, but he's living on $900 a month now with NO Medicare D and severe diabetes) and let Mark find him a car that we will pick up for him (2 grand should be a good deal) ... I don't know what else to do. He wants to come down here, seems to think this will make the world all right. And maybe it would for him, but I just don't know.... finally told him that we will bring him down for 3 weeks or so and see how he likes it. Who knows, he may hate it ... we may love it? It will definitely be an adjustment but it's not like it's for the next 20 years of our life, you know? And then I can at least keep an eye on him.

And just what does that last paragraph have  to do with the Year of Zero, you ask? Nothing and everything, depending on where it goes.  It's certainly NOT looking like I will have $900 left to roll to the savings account at the end of this month, that's for sure.

To Coupon, or NOT?

This is a duplicate post from my other site ... if you follow both, sorry for the repeat ... otherwise, enjoy my latest opinion on coupons.

I went through the phase there where I'd buy 4 papers on Sunday, print coupons from 5 to 6 different computers (heh, working at an office with reduced staff is good for that) ... AND constantly stalk the coupon notification sites like a hawk. I also would constantly check in on my favorite website for the local grocery chain, Publix. Michelle does a bang up job on the site and IF you have a Publix in your area, you should check it out (I still do but only get what I need, not what's a good deal) ...

I never did get an organization program together that worked for ME although I did try the binder system, the shoe box and the bag. Just had to rely on my memory and lord knows, that leaves a lot of open areas!

Yes. I did save a ton of money. Yes. I did stockpile a LOT of stuff. Yes. I did try a lot of new stuff that I'd never have bought before.

However, I do not coupon like that anymore. Why? Well, several reasons.

Buying stuff just because it's a good deal is not really thrifty if you get right down to it. I mean, sure, it's nice to have 10 bags of chips but who is going to eat them all? YOU? Really? Is that what you want to be eating?

Stockpiling is fine and dandy, and trust me, I'm glad for the supply of pantry items I have at the moment. It should be able to keep me from doing any major shopping for a while (yeah, right. That takes WILLPOWER). However, It's killing me to know that I have all this food, and just the 2 1/2 of us to feed. Not even ... Princess is not home for dinner 70% of the time and Hubby will be traveling 2 of the 4 weeks this month. So that pretty much leaves me (and the Cats) ...

Not to mention, stockpiling on food is not always the healthiest way to go. Yes, some of it is, but the majority of stuff is so stuffed with preservatives the list of ingredients tops 20 ... I was aiming for 5 maximum for a while there and gave up on that ...

And then there is this: Cash is cash, and when it's gone, it's gone. I find myself (just this past Saturday, matter of fact) walking the aisles looking for a certain product that I had a coupon for and lo and behold, other items make it in my cart because a: it looks like a good deal; b: it looks yummy/interesting/tempting and c: there's a coupon on the package to encourage me to try. Umm, that list with 5 or 6 items turned into a cart with 25 items for about $50 more than I should have spent. I had that $5 off $50 tucked in my wallet just in case, along with the $1 off produce, $1 off fresh meat, $1 off dairy, cat litter coupon and that was all I was suppose to get. Ick. Whipped out the debit card as it was more than the cash in my wallet (the debit card is now tucked away in a safe spot at home til I go to the bank for the next withdrawal). Coupons, I think, make ME spend MORE at the chance for a good deal. That's the way I am.

So, for the most part, I do NOT coupon anymore. I do clip coupons for cat litter (the kind that I like, not Tidy Cat), cat food, dairy products (cheese especially), juices, and any time I see meat or produce (but not the bagged salad stuff ::shudder::). Health and beauty items, yes, but I've been buying that stuff from Costco for a while there rather then trying to play the Drug Store Game ... and that's pretty much it. Oh, I do grab the beer/wine coupons when I see them ... and let's not forget the $5 off $50 that Publix will honor from Albertson's ad every week or so. I suppose I should say that I do use coupons but ONLY for things that I buy anyways. NOT TIDY CAT (pet peeve!)

This is NOT to say that I won't go back to it more actively someday. But at this stage in my life, it's not worth the time and effort for stuff that I don't need/use/want. Sonny Boy will call me frequently and ask where he can find a coupon for something (and seriously, that makes me so proud of him for seeing the value in that) ...

Do you coupon? And if so, what IS your strategy?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Wow, another Monday, another work day. Quiet at the office, a little eery in that the phones are so quiet. I know it will pick up soon but seriously, paying the bills and my payroll leaves about $500 in operating account. And only 2 closings on the book for January so far ... ick.

It was another Zero Spend Day which makes me happy. Why is it that I celebrate a successful Zero Spend Day ... it should NOT be such a big deal, yet it is ... wonder how long I could really go for?

So Sunday night, was feeling down, just blah, and not at all happy and bubbly about things in general so I thougth I would console myself and made a nice mug of nutella and warm milk. It really is good and actually satisfy the sweet tooth. I believe this may be my new favorite treat ... hope the 2 large containers of Costco size Nutella last a while ... that stuff is expensive at the grocery store!

I declined lunch out with the bosses, had my salad with steak and homemade dressing that I was really looking forward to ... it was delicious and I'm glad I didn't let it go to waste. It would have, had I went out (even at no cost to me).

Dinner ended up being a plate of nachos for me after I got home from working out. Yeah, nice, I know....Hubby got chicken and brocolli (tossed it all in a skillet to saute while I waited for him to get home) ... I need to try the Green Smoothie things (as always, recipes are posted on the other site) ... it would be so much healthier than nachos, don't you think?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, January 7 & 8, 2012

Saturday, January 7th

One week in ... did a free class with girlfriend this morning (thought I was going to toss my cookies and pass out yes, I did sign up ... $39 a month, need to revise the budget).

Then stopped at the grocery store. Really, only had 6 things on the list:  milk, cat food, cat litter, diet coke (Mark, he felt it necessary), a new brita filter (been without over a week) and canning lids. Ummm... $92 later and a lot of 'stuff' ... good lord. This would pretty much leave me with $25 for next week ($35 at Carrabas and then $92 this week ... $150 for the 2 weeks allowable).

I feel better today from yesterday. Opted to take Tylenol as my head aches today too. But surprisingly, after nearly killing myself at class, I feel pretty good now. Not much pain but probably because I'm so freakin weak ...

I need to make sure to cancel the other gym membership tomorrow ... this gym is more money than I wanted to spend (it's actually dance classes) but I know that I will go here as it's on my way home from the office and the classes are a good time ... plus my girlfriend goes Monday through Thursday. This is also good in that gas is going up by leaps and bounds ... whats up with that? I paid $3.23 last Saturday and today it's $3.47. Can't believe that.

Sunday - January 8th

Had to do a run to Walmart this morning, $26 later. Ummm, it was for feminine products that both I and the Girl needed. Also got 2 trellis things for the tomato plant that is taking over the garden.

Ran to Kmart with Hubby where he kindly picked up a pair of boots (YEAH) for me for $19.99 on clearance. Yippee Yahoo, I got my boots I wanted!

All in all, the first real weekend was a little more spendy then I wanted it to be (the grocery store, much more so) ... need to complete convert to CASH and remove the debit card from purse.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Here we are, the first Friday of the New Year! Woohoo. This is generally the night that Mark and I would have a few cocktails and get 'happy', at home. But I don't think we will be doing that tonight as we did it LAST night. WTH?

I am sending the dinner I got last night with both of us for lunches today. No sense in letting it go to waste (especially to the tune of $25) ... I'm still bummed it cost that much but oh well. Someone did eat the soup last night I see. And I ate some of the bread and stashed the special herbs for dipping aside. I'm going to try and decipher just how it's made and try to replicate it ...

Today is also the first day to get the $143.68 paycheck for the no-touch savings account. Can I tell you the anxiety I am having by knowing that this money will NOT go through the checking account? All of a sudden, we are down to the wire, I have less than $400 in my checking account ($370 I believe?) and the $261 electric brings it even lower ... and this money is not going in the account to give me safe, good feelings. Ack. I do need to dig out the debit card and pin number to stop and make a deposit. There is a Chase bank on every freakin corner it seems, BUT none of them are convenient for ME to get in and out of  (on wrong side or road, etc.). But I suppose that was the whole purpose?

In other news, the Tide I ordered on the 28th from Amazon (4 100oz bottles for $35) arrived on Tuesday and I completely forgot to mention ... I was very impressed seeing that Saturday, Sunday and Monday were considered no ship holidays ... excellent turn around time. I highly recommend you go to Amazon and check out the deals (or click over here, and you can use my affiliated link). If you click or belong to Subscribe and Save (they ship to you every so often, you decide how often) then they knock it down to $40 and change. I had some Swagbucks that I cashed out to Amazon gift cards (450 swagbucks gives you $5 ... if you haven't checked THAT out, you really need to ... here's the link for that) ... and used the $5 off for that too. Seriously, a good deal. I just happened to think to mention it since I put a load of darks (work clothes for the Girl) in and opened up my first bottle.

Then I wasted about an hour and half at work browsing for stuff for my dad...trying to find assistance for him as he's living on $970 a month. Not so bad, I'd say EXCEPT: $385 lot payment, $350 car payment, he's diabetic and does NOT have Medicare Part D (don't ask, we are still trying to piece all of this stuff together since my mom passed) ... and well, seriously, after factoring in food, scripts, cable, insurance (house and car), electric, cable, phone, he's doomed. It's downright pathetic.  Depressing. Stressful. And then I find out for whatever reason, the Township Trustee did NOT pay the lot rent this month, that a check from my father's account was delivered. Uggg. I may have to pick that up for the time being (seriously thinking that the budget is going to get a serious re-working at months end) ... and me & Mark both agree that he should give the car back to the finance company and Mark will buy him a cheap, safe, efficient vehicle for about $2000. That would free up probably $400 in monthly car stuff. Its' hard being HERE and then piecing together the information HE gives me and then trying to pry out the facts (100%) from my brother and SIL. Don't get me wrong, they are doing great things with him, but nothing seems to come to fruition when they say it's done. Trustee payment for example.

Put a call in to the Rhuematologist to see if I could up my dosage of anti-inflammatory or if it came in a stronger dosage, said yes and yes BUT she was still waiting on my blood work (yeah, I didn't do it yet) and would not give me a stronger pill till she gets it back. But in the meantime, I can take 2 for the next 3 to 5 days. Thank god because it feels like someone put both hands in a vice and twisted. :( I hate Lupus and degenerative joints.

I did manage to make it a Zero Spend Day at the end...thankfully (and insisted on making baked shrimp scampi according to the plan)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

I can't believe we are already 5 days into the New Year. Don't ask me why I'm surprised by that, I don't know!

Sent the Boy on the road at 7am back to Orlando this morning. It really is bittersweet. Again, reminded him that he needs to continue the job hunt as this is really crunching the household budget. I know he's  trying, and the job market is tough, but keep going kid.

I was aiming for another easy Zero Spend Day today, but it didn't work out that way. Mark convinced me that I needed to go meet up with a girlfriend at Carrabas. Two for one drinks and I was only planning on 2 beers @ $4 plus tip. I mean, seriously, I probably could have gotten out of there for $10. But no. It was 7:30 and we ordered takeout on separate tabs. I got something that the Girl and Mark could split (The Johnny) for $19. And toss in some bread and that yummy dipping stuff too please? And the soup instead of the salad. Yeah, so all in all, I spent $35. That leaves me with $25 in my wallet to last me through Monday, since I took out $60 for the grocery fund (heck, it was Thursday already) and figured I would just use that for my night out and what was left would be for groceries. It's not that I need anything so to speak (milk, cat food, litter. That's it so far).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I was looking at these OXO grip push top containers on Amazon and realized that WHOOPS I was falling into the consumable mode again, just like that. Holey cow! It happens really quick. The $99 price tag sort of startled me and made me realize what I was doing. Had it been $49.99 or something I probably would have clicked on 'buy it now'. Yikes.

I tossed out the menu plan for dinner and opted to toss some stuff in the crockpot before I left for work. White Chili (using the chicken that was already cooked and shredded from freezer) ... really need  to make an effort to get at least one freezer organized so I know what we have ... I've not been to the grocery store yet this week and am hoping to hold out til at least Sunday ... don't ask about Costco, please! NOT GOING THERE.

Then, forgot my purse at home this morning. Sent the Boy to the bank with my debit card to get out $200. Didn't tell him it's for his bus pass, gas for the ride back tomorrow AND the rest is his food fund ($100) for the month. AND on top if it, the last class he was holding out for came open so he enrolled in that for the tune of $300.000.

Just like that, while I'm at work, $500 is out of my account. Netflix also posted to the account today at $21.18. My account currently shows a balance of $410 ... frightening for me to see that.

The main thing that stayed with me ALL day though is how fast I wanted the storage containers when I saw them. Amazing. Makes me wonder just how the rest of the 361 days are going to go?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to work today. And I've gotten a lot of stuff done.

Already paid one credit card payment this morning as I noticed when reviewing the statement it said I was one payment behind. I'm quite certain I wasn't, but further review showed that I failed to make the MINIMUM payment (by $10), therefore, they consider that delinquent. Nice. And a late fee of $35.00

So today, already, before 8am this morning, I spent $107.00 out of the credit cards $400 budget.  That leaves me with $293 to pay the others. Not a problem, but certainly do not see any real additional money being put towards the lowest balance one this month. FYI - the lowest balance card I have is $285.00 which means that this should be paid down in NO time at all with the next card being $587.00 (AE) or HSBC (BestBuy) $683.  As I sat there and got the balances, I went ahead and made a payment on AE for $25 and one on Best Buy for $45.

The remainder of the day was fairly simple, work, drive home and then discover that both kids were home this evening ... Hubby and I decided to take them to dinner as we've not done that yet, and the Boy will be leaving Thursday morning. Sweet Tomatoes it was since I had coupons. $43 out of pocket cash. I still need to get to the bank and withdraw the grocery and gas funds for the 2 weeks ($190).  We did go over our goal for dinner out but we also had 2 additional mouths to feed,  so I'm fine (real goal is $40, my goal is $30).

So day 3, not so bad ... just very upset by the stupidity of forgetting to double and triple check the minimum payment due ... live and learn.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reviewing Credit Card Statements

In the past, I've not reviewed the credit card statements, nor have I even really looked. I mean, seriously, I get ONE in the mail, the rest are online.

PROBLEM #1 - Failure to review and confirm that the minimum payment really is the minimum payment creates issues. As in "LATE FEE" and "WARNING" on top of the statement.

Hello?? I need to call Capital One today ... I went online to get the balance to enter in the binder and notice that my minimum payment for January was $107.00. That's about $47 more than I had slated.

Because I was paying $50 two times a month for a while there ($100 total) I thought for sure the $50 was the minimum (and I had just been doubling up on it since for awhile it was the ONLY credit card I had) ... well gosh, was I WRONG. Minimum payment is and has always been $60.00.

So I will call today and see if I can't get the $35.00 late fee waived (I mean seriously, $35??) ... this is why I hate credit cards.

I know, I screwed up on it, I admit it ... but geesh.

Balance on the card? $2,600. Yikes.

Microdermabrasion (or face scrub) - DIY Beauty

Ok, this little trick is for Rule #10...and I've been doing it for awhile and am very happy with the results.

I have sun spots (not freckles, larger) on my face and this has actually been lightening them ... I'd love to say removing them but no so sure that's true ...

3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp water

Mix the two in a small dish (I've been using a plastic 1 oz size cup) and apply to face in small circular motion. Rinse well and marvel at how clean your face looks and how smooth it feels.

NOTE: this makes MORE than enough for one washing so you can reduce the amounts by just remember, 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water (so 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp water, etc.). Leftovers can be used on your feet or just save for the next time by adding a little water again when ready to use. It will be more abrasive the 2nd time around so use caution!

Definitely an excellent DIY Beauty treatment for Rule #10.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2

Day 2 is showing as another Zero Spend Day which makes me a happy camper!

Of course, being home all day with a slight headache and light heady made if easy.

Was planing on baked shrimp scampi for dinner but believe I will toss some stuff in crockpot for soup.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

At Last!

I'm so glad that I woke up this morning without a hangover (miracles do happen!) and I'm focused!

Of course, it's Sunday. It's New Years Day. Which should be NO problem for it to be a Zero Spend Day, right?

I should make a family breakfast, perhaps the coffee cake I just saw on FoodTV ... but then again, nah, everyone can toast themselves a croissant when they wake up.

I plan on cleaning up from last night (3am was too late to clean), do some laundry, take down the Christmas stuff, drag tree outside and menu plan for the week.

I also need to clean out the fridge and try to stick with Rule #9 as there is a lot of food in there that needs to be properly packaged up, labeled and located in one spot of fridge to eat first.

And I need to make the salad stuff for the week lunches. Sonny Boy goes back on Thursday now (wah, it was Friday) and we need to discuss his needs coming up for January and budget it out. Yeah, I know, it's not in the budget and I already am starting to realize I need to add in his transportation ($50) and his food ($150 or so) which would add $200 more a month to the Budget. Not bad considering I should have about $750 to $1000 floating around at the end of the month. We will see.

We also need to discuss his books for next week but I won't know until NEXT WEEK. I'm telling you, this college stuff just drives me nuts =D

Going to pull the Binders out this morning and 'perfect' them for maximum effect ...

And, last, need to empty out the coolers ... I think there are 2 bottles of champagne left and a few beers, thankfully. Not sure what the damage was to the liquor but it shouldn't be bad as we were all fully functional by night's end!

How are you starting off the New Year?