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 milk...it 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 too...so 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?