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Archive for September, 2010

I love personal productivity

September 30th, 2010 at 06:27 pm

Nothing beats it. I've accomplished quite a bit today thus far:

(1) mowed the lawn (*previously typed as "moved")
(2) washed, dried, put away two loads of laundry
(3) wrote letter requesting increase in service minutes for my son which I will deliver tomorrow to the principal at the public school
(4) marinated chicken which stepdad will grill tonight and we'll have for dinner tomorrow
(5) baked a batch of chocolate chip muffins for tomorrow's breakfast
(6) made phone call about Senior Shared Housing as a possible living situation for my grandma in the spring
(7) found two new recipes to make: portabello stir-fry and a vegetarian stir-fry - added ingredients to my shopping list!

Are you being productive today?

Today I am grateful for

September 29th, 2010 at 04:20 pm


(1) My daughter's blood tests came back and everything is fine. She was to the doctor for a lump on her neck on Monday, and the doc noticed her thyroid seemed enlarged, too. "All is as it should be" said the doctor this AM at 8:15. She knew I was concerned about it, I am grateful for my daughter's health and the doctor's kindness and consideration.

(2) My first son has dyslexia and struggles to read. He is a year behind at this point (3rd grade) but is having a difficult time. I was at a meeting this morning with the District's Superintendent and the funds available for services to private/parochial school students has increased this year from $35K to $80K (federal stimulus money from the government for this one year only). My son will be able to see the Resource Teacher twice a week for 60 minute total (double what he is getting). I am grateful that the resources are being made available now, when he seems to be struggling the most.

Off to more speech and then haircuts for the kids after school. I know this is a non-financial post, but I just wanted to share what I'm grateful for!

At the point where I didn't worry about

September 28th, 2010 at 01:44 am


whether or not I had enough cash for unplanned purchases. Rewind seven weeks ago, I would have dreaded having to spend money the last four days prior to payday. I would wonder what the balance of the checking account would be if those forgotten checks came through (our school and activities hold checks for long periods of time). It wasn't a big deal to run to the store and buy the $8 bag of frozen ravioli (large) and $25 for pizzas from Pizza Hut when we entertained friends last night. The cash was there, in the wallet. It wasn't a big deal to run through the drive-thru and get my daughter a large chocolate shake after being trooper and having blood drawn.

Last night we had our limbo-Seminarian friend over as well as my best friend. A third guest bailed at short notice. My best friend came bearing a Yahtze game for the kids, as well as a dozen Dunkin Donuts for dessert. We had the best time crammed around our dining room table playing Yahtze in teams. I send our friends home with leftovers and it was a really nice time. I'm embracing Christian Hospitality, which in my translation, means spending quality time with family and friends without worrying about having the best food, the best dishes, the cleanest house, the most well behaved kids. I found that I had a nice time, no pressure. The conversation was good. My kids love to have company that is "family friendly" and wanted to know we'll have another get-together like it.

The bills are paid. Our bank gives the first cashier's check of the month free, I paid the tuition that way. Still paying $500 per month on the credit card (double the minimum). Still able to take care of the extraneous stuff. Still chipping away at the medical bills, spreading them out over four months - most of the places are fine with that. Our state refund balance check came and our EF is at ... $12,250. If you could see me now, you'd see a big ole smile on my face!!

My goal for October is to have $1,250 left over - should be a bit tight, but doable given the third paycheck. I feel that I can be doing a bit better in the grocery department. The crockpot will be out in full force now that it is getting colder here. Still no heat turned on, but close as it was 65 in the house this AM!

Bit by the decluttering bug

September 25th, 2010 at 03:16 am

I secretly feel a bit re-invented; a $7 box of hair color (dark brown) (DH also cut 4" off and I shortened up my bangs) and shopping in my closet finding skinny clothes I bought at least a year ago (recent weight loss of over five pounds made me feel trim) has given me a bit of energy. When I was out to breakfast today, I was the cat's meow (as my great grandmother used to say) and raised a few eye brows. Funny ... much different than my own self-perception of being a bit of a frump.

Anyhow, I started in my closet and went through some things, getting rid of some well-worn items and size 8s (yay!) I went through my purses (not that I have a lot) and have kept one for summer, one for winter, my obscenely expensive D&B handbag, and an evening bag. Same with the shoes - I had a trend of buying cute but uncomfortable shoes that I have never worn. Away they went.

DH was home early today and I challenged him to get rid of things that are too big, too small, or too old. He yielded several items.

I moved on to the dreaded "middle room" - a catch-all. Still weeding through there and have definite piles of out/donate/repack and move to basement. I have some dolls that were my grandmother's. I am not a doll person. My girls aren't doll people (except for their American Girl dolls and few Madame Alexander Irish dance dolls). I am going to donate those. DH mentioned something about selling them, but I don't think I have the energy or the inclination to do that.

I then tackled the boys' room - I weeded the toys down by about 50%. Old puzzles, books, games with missing pieces, all gone! I separated our collection of hardcover picture books into major holidays and will reintroduce the conept of the book basket in the living room. Then I tackled the learning things - Brainquests, Leapfrog and Books, flashcards. School supply stash. All looking better!

I certainly am having a new appreciation for simple and organized life. I'm still sort of challenged with memorabilia (cards/artwork/pictures/etc). I'd like to be a scrapbooker and will have to get to that one of these days.

All in all, liking my new self, and the less cluttered house!

Cash continues and the $1 Jar/Snack Bags

September 24th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Rolling right along with cash. DH received his cash until next Friday (payday) and our system seems to be working. I no longer have to worry about when his car will need gas or if he needs a few bucks when he attends his Knights of Columbus meeting (they are always collecting for a cause).

I'm going out this AM with my best friend who has managed to land herself in a serious financial pickle due to persuing a workman's comp claim with her company. She *might* have a herniated disc problem, but the doctors don't want to pay for an MRI. She claims the issue is muscular and PT will help, but they won't see her until the doctor gives them their notes and that hasn't happened. She's been out of work for over a week and had to take three unpaid days before disability kicks in at 67% pay. I said if we go to Panera's for bagles and coffee I'd pick up the tab (have a $5 giftcard). So cheap eats it will be!

We've instituted the $1 Jar - that is where I'm putting my singles up to $15 - the kids can take a dollar when they need it - admission to a school sporting event or for a fine at the library, etc. Takes away my need for singles or trying to break bigger bills. And I've also started a container/bin of "fun snacks" which cost at least $1.50 at the concession stand. I threw in left over Oreos from a snack pack after a soccer game/and some movie candy from a time we didn't go. I feel like by doing this I'm saving more money in the long-run. * I should add that when the kids are heading out the door to a volleyball game for their grade's team or the movie with a friend, they can grab a snack to take with them!

I do feel as though I am getting a bit smarter all the time with handling the little money leaks - aka snacks at the concession stand.

Thursday - Enjoying life!

September 23rd, 2010 at 08:46 pm


Just had to say it was a wonderful day - weather was warmish (low 80s) and breezy, and I was a chaperone on my daughter's 7th/8th Grade Walking Architectural Tour of Chicago. We had a great dossent, learned tons of things (ten major buildings), the girls asked great questions, I liked my co-chaperone (not being a very social person outside of my small close circle).

The rest of the day worked out well with my mom watching the 6th grader who was back from Outdoor Ed and had no school today, and the kindergartner who gets out at 10:30. DH took a 1/2 vacation day and got some stuff done at the rental property. I called to have the electric company come out and do some trimming - branches growing through wires.

Our new PNC Bank checking account credited my another 3,000 points for first bill-pay, and I was able to redeem for yet another $10 Target gift card (I'm saving up those cards for an I-Pod Touch for my 13 year old - and am up to $30 so far and am waiting on the $100 credit to the new PNC accounts).

NSD-er today, makes it even better!

Refund is on the way and more than I thought

September 21st, 2010 at 07:08 pm

I followed up with the Illinois Dept. of Revenue and the request for the portion of the refund withheld because I forgot to include the parcel number went to the Comptroller last Friday. The additional amount of $327 should be here by the end of this week.

Our EF account will be back up to $12,000. Big ole' smile on my face right now!

I was balancing my accounts (PNC offers a virtual wallet involving three separate accounts: Spend/Reserve/Growth) and based our living expenses/bill paying on the amount in the "spend" account. Tight, but do-able. I double-checked things today and realized that when the direct deposit went into effect adding to each of the three accounts - I ended up putting an additional $150 in the Growth Account (money market paying 1.13%). Makes me realize the added benefit of being cash only - had I noticed that there was an additional $150 to the savings account, would I have transferred it back to the spending account -- only to fritter it away on non-essentials? Can't really do that with cash!

Today's spending: $35 at Target for birthday gift and groceries.

One of *those* days ...

September 20th, 2010 at 04:51 pm


This AM was hectic, despite my best efforts to be organized and get seven people, awake, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:10. My younger daughter is heading to Outdoor Ed for three days/two nights. In the car she realized she forgot her toothbrush. Thankfully my mom lives near school, we stopped by and my child ended up with the complimentary toothbrush from my stepdad's dentist visit last week. Problem #1, fixed by my mom.

We went in two cars to school. DH parked behind me, left his keys in the car. I handed him my keys and my daughter's lunch. I helped with the sleeping bag, etc. We had to herd kids to different parts of the school - getting there earlier than normal and not wanting them to wander. DH said good-bye to Outdoor Ed girl and went to work with MY keys driving his car. I volunteered in the Business Office and wasn't stuck there, but DH had to reschedule a meeting to drive the keys back to me.

The Teacher's Aide in Kindergarten didn't see my note that the youngest was being picked up today. Thankfully I was able to get him off the bus before it pulled away. Next time I send a note it will be on fluorescent pink paper. I then took this child to speech therapy which happened to be cancelled due to the therapist calling in sick. They forgot to call me to tell me of this cancellation.

I think it is best that I stay home the rest of the day. Got some DVDs from the library (some Inspector Morse and foreign film ones). The youngest one is laying down and is almost asleep. I get the TV to myself!

Money spent: CVS $4.34 for two boxes of granola bars, yielded me $2 ECB.

Back from the weekend getaway - $ Details

September 19th, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Got back last night from our overnight to Muskegon, Michigan. The dancing daughters competed there, but we stopped in Holland on Friday during the drive up.

We planned on stopping at the Dutch Village - but it was closed during the week. We ended up taking the kids to the Cappon House and Settlers House Museums - a great comparison of what life was like for the "rich" vs "the poor". The poor was a settlers house from 1871 which cost $500 for land and materials. The rich house was a mini-mansion just up the street built for $10,000 in 1874. It belonged to the first mayor who was married twice and had 16 children in a 45 year span. The mansion held all the original contents of both families. My kids got to see report cards from the 1880s all the way up to the 1930s. People assume we are homeschoolers when we turn up during the week with five kids. The volunteers were quite nice - as we were the only people there, they charged up only for the adults $5 and piece, waiving the fee for four kids at $3 a pop (the youngest one was technically free since he's still 5). Great fun for $10 - and historically interesting.

We then were going to picnic at Windmill Island Park - last time we were there price was per car (if I recall) this time they wanted $7 per adult, $3 per child). All we really wanted was a nice place to throw a blanked at eat our picnic. We forgot that idea and drove back to the park across from the original museums. Had a blast - very nice small boardwalk at Lake Machatawa and a nice playground area.

We got to the Holiday Inn-Muskegon by 3:00 our time. The kids swam for over two hours, while DH used the work out room and sauna. As we were wrapping up our time there, other Irish dancers and moms came in. I'm surprised that I was the only swimming mom - might have to do with the sheer number of kids to keep track of, but even the moms with one child had magazines. Kind of sad to see kids swimming alone.

We had pizza in the room ordered from Dominos. Delivery with tip $22.

The competition was Saturday - we had enough time to check out and not have to rush (making for a nicer attitude for all involved). We were close enough (five minute drive) that the girls could go in full costume (less stuff to carry in). My girls danced well - out of ten individual dances, they placed in nine of them with nothing less than a 4th. One proud momma here! My younger daughter needs a first in her hornpipe, and got a 3rd, but all the practice is good for the Mid-America championships in two months. $1.50 spent on waters here - but came from DH's cash.

We then headed to Grand Haven, Michigan - a bit further south on 31. We ate at Applebees, DH and I had the $20 deal for two entreees and an appetizer. Everyone had mini icecream sundays at $2 a pop. With tip price came to $67. Again, not bad.

We stopped at Lake Michigan, parked in municipal parking and the kids had a blast in the waves. Despite my telling the boys not to get wet, they did. It was a bit breezy and I was afraid of them getting sick. When I was herding them back to the car, I was accused of "robbing the joy" and "letting the dancers have more fun" and "but I'm not cold." Being accused of being a joy robber was just too much - so I sent them back and they maintained their level of water saturation. I got tons of neat pictures - great action shots of the boys running out of the waves - my daughter dancing the slip jig and I managed to get really neat pictures of them doing leap-overs with rolling waves in the back. Free parking in city municipal lot.

Great fun for the following breakdown:

Gas $50.85
Museum admission $10
Hotel $144.90 (taxes included)
Pizza $22.00
Dance comptition entrance fee $16.00 (paid in Aug)
Dinner out $67

Just under $300. I budgeted $350. I'm anticipating a low-spend week. I'm busy driving around kids and volunteering, but the menu is planned and light and I have enough stuff for lunches.

And I have a whole day of doing nothing ahead of me! A few loads of laundry and some homework review with the kids and I'll be calling it a day.

Observations after a month of cash-only

September 16th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

It has been four solid weeks of cash only. The biggest impact has been on our frittering money away on things of trivial nature: the slim jims and coffees when DH fills up his car, the amount of candy the he buys when the random child(ren) is/are with them. For me it has been shopping to buy sale ads just because they are on sale. I would like to work to a place where I am a better planner with coupons and sales and start a stock-pile.

We've been eating better. A 3# bag of apples versus a big bag of chips, of course I'm going for the apples. The kids LIKE cucumbers and carrots with dipping sauce (whether ranch or honey mustard). I haven't stressed about lunches: I have sent diced ham and chunks of cheese, bagels and cream cheese, PB&J muffins, etc. I've moved away from convenience foods - not totally, but I'm making more soups from scratch as well as snacks (brownies, cookies, etc).

I paid for several things in cash (the first tuition of $420, outdoor ed $150, BTS fees for milk/yearbook $176, and $105 for vehicle registration). Next time I might move to checks for ease and simplicity.

I am not a recreational shopper. We shopped with a purpose: birthday gift, pjs, soccer cleats, etc. I didn't have to worry about IF I had enough, we bought these things at the first of the week. I was still able to fund outings for my kids as they popped up (the walk in town, the movie trip -discount at that-, admission to volleyball games, etc.) My children returned to an appreciative nature.

We've talked about economic choice, and the kids are wearing costumes from last year (when we bought new and spent probably $25 on each costume). Littlest gets a new one as he's been a hand-me-downer for years.

We're heading out of town this weekend, and I've got the cash for everything, plus I think I've overestimated. That is a nice feeling!

I finished up two pieces of cross-stitch in my time without the kids. I was pleased about that. I've tackled organizing the "middle" room upstairs which is a catch-all, and it is getting better. My house is clean in an organized fashion and when we hosted our party this weekend I wasn't scrambling to pile, stash and do a fake clean.

I'm better organized with the kids' stuff - sporting items, water bottles, etc. Life is running smoothly.

I went for a walk at the park yesterday with my mom instead of at the mall. Nice weather, nice company, free. And I'm five pounds lighter than when the four weeks started.

My ramble wraps-up here! I will move from cash-only, to cash mostly.

Happy Day and "You need another job?"

September 15th, 2010 at 06:34 pm


Not exactly sure why I'm feeling very happy today, but I am. Quiet evening with well-behaved kids, evening of AGT, well-rested. No menu complaints despite slim pickings. General happiness. No major money or family-drama woes. Life is good.

Life is also busy: out of town this weekend, second child heading to Outdoor Ed from Mon-Wed that I need to have planned for. Lots of planning, but I'm managing.

Weds are really busy: 3rd child goes to the public school for reading specialist appts, 5th child goes to speech therapy. Flu shots today, pick up 3rd child who stays after school to work with teacher, etc. Lots of driving.

Out of boredom yesterday during down time, I checked the employment opportunities at a place I would like to work one day. Perfect job there waiting for me - the one I want in the location I want. I can get a good reference from someone high up in the organization, and I'm sure I could have the job. I was caught filling it out by my children yesterday. Reality is I probably wouldn't work full-time right now, couldn't if I wanted to without giving up my volunteer commitments at the school.

My 8 year old said to me as we were walking to the car, "You need another job?"

Me: "Just wondering what job your talking about..."

Him: "The other job. The one on the computer yesterday."

Me: "It is a job I would like to have."

Him: "But I like the job you have. Being my mom. Being at school. I don't think I'd like it if you got that other job."

It was an "aw" moment - and I felt appreciated. I should add that my list of volunteering grows longer: I am Co-Room parents for K and 3rd Grade, I volunteer for the school store once a month, I volunteer for the prepaid gift card/fund raising program every three weeks, I also help out the Religious Ed Director though my kids go to the parochial school, etc. etc. And I'm the secretary to the Boy Scout leader for the 3rd Grade Den.

I should add that we have $23 left from our money for the two week period. Will add that to the savings account!

Red.Yellow.Green

September 14th, 2010 at 12:40 pm


We've had to implement a behavior management program at my house, things have been a little out of control (not beining nice, complaining to complain, lacking any gumption to get one's chores done, etc). I have been flexible in accounting for the "BTS" fall out, but it has been three weeks and enough is enough. The simplest system is the Stoplight One used in Preschool and Kindergarten. Green means you can use the computer, phone, watch TV, and go/have invitations. Yellow means that your privileges will be limited and/or removed. You can also expect to be doing extra things around the house. Red means that you shouldn't bother asking to do anything other than be helpful and read. Still working out the kinks, but I've got one on yellow today.

Money-front - Nothing to say. We're still eating leftovers from the party (which was a big deli spread, salads, etc). We're heading out of town this weekend for a dance competition in Muskegon, MI - we're going up Friday and are stopping in Holland, and our hotel has a pool. It will be nice to be away. The budget has accounted for this - and I'm anticipating that we'll have an excess because I still allowed "weekly expenses" for the week, though I have found I'm spending little to no money mid week.

All for now.

TGIF and October Outlook

September 10th, 2010 at 12:57 pm


For once I'm ahead of the game as far as entertaining (party tomorrow for sons and inlaws coming for weekend). The house is actually clean in an organized fashion, rather than a pile and shove clean.

I'm happily hosting playdates for the kids afterschool - some of them at least. Nice weather means they can play outside. Some even like walking the dog and I was surprised that 3rd Graders are far more mature than 11 year old girls when it comes to the dreaded poop bag.

Money situation is fine, put money into the savings account (got it up to $11,700) and have enough funds allocated for this week, including big food shopping trip today.

Outlook for October is good. We have an extra paycheck in October, but really 1/2 of the third takes care of the first of November, but I'm expecting to have a surplus of about $1,000. My goal for that is extra $ is: $250 for home maintenance (new sump pump for rental property, funds for lawn refuse bags and stickers for a tree clean up in back of rental property, drive way filler and sealcoating), $350 to son's college savings (in my disorganization I never mailed the deposit in and the funds are gone but this from his First Holy Communion and rightfully his), and the balance toward dance tuition and fees.

We had a great conversation about gratitude at the dinner table two nights ago. Gratitutde versus a sense of entitlement really. I was surprised when my kids all said they'd wear last year's Halloween costumes rather than expect new ones. The smallest one will get a new one because this is his first year in the school Halloween Parade and he has only worn hand-me-downs. It was nice to see that they are learning the value of the dollar, and also being realistic about things.

Have a good Friday!

Quick check-in

September 9th, 2010 at 12:58 pm


Adjusting much better to cash! Almost done with Week #3 (Week #4 starts tomorrow). We're having a party (low-key due to extended family drama) on Saturday, but I'm doing a deli spread and sloppy joes with salads and chips, etc. We are also having my inlaws Fri-Mon, and my menu includes a vat of chilli, a bake-ahead brunch, and left-overs. They usually treat out one meal (which is nice given the size of our family and the limitations of their budget). With the funds allocated for next week I should have $35 to $40 left over. This weeks purchases included a gift for my girls' friend, 2 pairs new PJs for the girls to go the sleepover party, AND a really cute pair of Juicy Couture earrings on great clearance ($27) for my practical daughter who rarely likes anything. She lingered long over these earings, didn't ask if I would buy them for her, and did say "I really like these" twice. Good gift for her b-day or Christmas.

Life is busier than I had anticipated. My youngest son is seeing a speech therapist twice a week to maximize our annual visit limit thru December. My oldest son is seeing the Reading Specialist at the public school on Wednesday AMs and is staying after school for an extra 1/2 hour that day to work on reading de-coding with his teacher. I volunteered for 3rd Grade Room Parent (I should say "co" because most grades/classes have moved to two parents). My name was on the list, and I was asked to "co" room parent kindergarten as well. The coordinator pointed out that there is NO conflict between the morning AM parties and the full-day parties. Yay for me! NOT. I also offered up my services to secretarial functions for my 3rd Grader's Boy Scout Troop. I was pretty clear not to count me as a "co" anything - my DH does Scouts, I do dance. Our natural division of labor. BUT I can keep track of things/badges/etc. on a computer.

This is longer than anticipated. I'm off to start a major house clean and prepare to start to climb the mountain of laundry! Have a good day!

Are we secure?

September 7th, 2010 at 06:44 pm

This is from an email that DH forwarded to me. The title of his email was "Are we secure?" He has spent some time this past weekend talking about whether or not the loss of the second income (which came from him working with my father) will in the long-run negatively impact us.

I told him I thought we were going to be fine. We ended up with an expected $375 from an unexpected sale of a dress, $407 coming shortly from the state refund tax, and some other odd small things.

These were the steps that were suggested to be "financially secure"


* Create a family budget: Do this together. Sit around the table, get everyone’s input. Shared ownership of the budget is essential. Craft a budget that starts with saving 10% of household income – even If it hurts. Why? Because it hurts more to be bankrupt.

** Build cooperation via dividends: A budget requires willing participation. So why not offer cash back bonuses? Craft an equation that shares “profit.” Maybe you’re $150 in the black this month – split the $50 equally and save the rest – use your imagination. Making ends meet is never easy, so why not make it a game it pays to play?

*** Never spend money you don’t have: Sounds obvious? You’d be surprised. Americans have been convinced that credit card “limits” represent money available to spend. Bzzzz, wrong! Credit card dollars are dollars that belong to someone else. It’s not money you have – it’s money you wish you had. Big difference.

**** Use credit, don’t let credit use you: Run expenses through credit only if you have the money to back it up, then pay it off immediately. This demonstrates your ability to pay back quickly. But don’t use the credit card when you have no other option. Think of credit cards as a convenience, not a loan. If you couldn’t write a check for the purchase – then don’t buy it.

1. Aside from charitable spending, spend money in this order:

- Savings

- Mortgage and utilities

- Food

- Transportation

- Bills

- Stuff you could live without

**** Use “The envelope method” for non-essentials: This means take money budgeted for things like clothes, recreation, eating out etc., turn it into cash, and place it in envelopes labeled accordingly. When the money is gone, you’re done. Simple as that.

** Plan for disaster: Anticipate hard times. Always save 10%, but when times are good save 20%.

** Keep your car twice as long as the payment: Have a four-year loan? Don’t replace the vehicle, but instead make the car-payment to yourself for another four years. Then you’ll have at least 75% down on the next car, plus you’ll avoid having to conjure a new payment out of thin air. In fact, your new car will now cost less per month than the old one and you can continue paying the balance into savings.

** Keep a balanced portfolio: “What?” you say. “Now you’re talking like I’m a rich guy!” No, no, no. It doesn’t matter if you’re worth $500,000, $5 million, or just starting out, the principle is the same. Place long-term savings in a balance of low-yield high-security and high-yield speculative investments. Here’s the rule of thumb: Only speculate with $$ you can afford to lose. Otherwise, wherever you chose to save, invest conservatively and make sure the account is Federally insured.

** If you’re a two-income family, pretend you’re not: Most of us are two-income, and we believe it’s an absolute necessity. It is… but not always in the way we think. Two-incomes are absolutely necessary according to the values imposed on us by a culture designed to consume. Quick story: A young couple married two years ago and set up their household budget based on one income. It’s a stretch, but that’s the trajectory they moved forward with. Currently, they’re both working, but her income goes to savings. So, when she goes back to school, it won’t cripple them; when they start a family, she can stay home if she wants to. It’s about budget, not income.



Just thought I'd share!

Unexpected money

September 5th, 2010 at 04:08 pm

I have resolved not to obsess about money. There was a brief window there when I wasn't sure about whether or not the present tenant would be continuing in the rental property. This is just when all of our monthly money moons are aligning and there is money left over each two-week pay period to deal with the extraneous stuff, etc.

Turns out that the tenant managed to pay $600 of the $725 that is due, with balance coming Tuesday. I did mention if she didn't pay, we would be giving her a 30-Day Notice.

That got me thinking about where and what I should do to trim the expenses. Anyhow, bringing me to my present post,

Dancing daughters have an intense seminar this weekend with a drilling expert from Ireland. DH went to pick the younger one up and was given a check for $375 resulting from the sale of the remaining school dress (wasn't hopeful, but not expecting anything). DH was with another father who said he had never seen one of those (the check) and had FOUR school dresses waiting to be sold.

Checked the balance of the rewards point at our PNC Point site (double the points for debit card transactions, four times the points with credit card transactions, and 25 points for each on line banking transaction). I just cashed out points (saving for a pricy christmas item for my oldest daughter). There was a 3000 point bonus credited for the first direct deposit to the new checking account. That brought me eligible for another $10 Target gift card.

So I am $375 and a $10 Target gift card ahead!

And I'm no longer obsessing about money. Enjoying the three-day weekend with the kids and DH. Enjoying DH who is around all of the time and not running to deal with my father's apartment problems. Sometimes the money isn't worth the aggravation.

Meet the new me ... Cash Geek

September 3rd, 2010 at 12:46 pm


Ok, it is payday. The direct deposit for DH's salary has gone into the new Virtual Wallet account at PNC Bank. The interest on the growth (savings) account is 1.1% and I was happy to see I made over $3 on the short time my $11K was in there.

I gave DH his new debit card and he said, "What is this? I think I'd prefer my cash." I've converted him! LOL. And he is getting his cash after work today.

Anyhow, I am heading out soon to the bank to make my withdrawal for the week. I anticipate it to be low spend, so I might just take out the $200 rather than the $250. Last weekend was quite spendy, but not this one.

This is where I refer to myself as cash geek. I have to take care of the following bills: $150 for M's Outdoor Ed, $176 for BTS Fees (milk and yearbook), $68.51 for sewer (2-month bill). I have envelopes and withdrawal slips ready for each transaction so I can pay cash. I'm really liking cash.

The tenant left a message yesterday which made me think she was paying an additional $150 toward her back rent. I was happy, but doubtful. I went back and listened to the message again, realizing she wanted to pay ONLY $150. Her logic was backward when I spoke to her. I had to say that she already owes me a lot of money and I had made it clear for this arrangement to continue she NEEDS to pay $725 every two weeks. I told her that I couldn't absorb the lack of these funds and while I was sad to do it, if she didn't pay $725 I would be serving her a 30-Day notice on Monday. Lo and behold, she'll have $600 cash today and $125 on Tuesday. She may stay yet another two weeks.

I think I'll rework the budget (yet again) for the scenario that we have no rent coming in with a realistic window of two months to get new tenants.

Ah, the joys of budgeting. On an end note, I am *really liking* cash!

Wednesday

September 1st, 2010 at 04:31 pm


My kindergartner just got home (bus gets here at 11:00) and he declared that he'd like a second breakfast and is going back to bed. Thank goodness his pleasantness factor isn't really contingent on his food/rest levels. He napped yesterday and was up late. I know this cycle will work itself out, I just wonder when.

I'm finding that a small effort in organization goes a long way. New rules instituted here at my house since the start of school:

* No phone or TV til the homework is done
* 15 min limit on phone calls
* Reading of 30 minutes a day or three books read to you
* Playdates on Fridays

I've also made sure that clothes are out the night before. I'm assembling the lunches with the exceptions of sandwiches the night before. I have a master clipboard where kids need to put the papers requiring my attention (not the smallest ones).

The weekly calendar is filling up with school volunteer activities, plus oldest DS's weekly appointment with the Special Ed teacher at the public school (he is in the Catholic school with limited resources), and now twice weekly speech therapy for my youngest son.

All in all, I'm striving for a simple plan that works for us. I spent $7.00 today ($5 in the gas tank, and $2 at the grocery store for tuna). $8 Remains - the leftovers from last week.

Pay day is Friday. We will make it.