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Archive for May, 2008

No more putting it off despite the cost

May 31st, 2008 at 04:40 pm

Monday I am leaving for San Diego with my daughter to visit my mother/her grandmother. Tickets and rental car are paid for - they weren't cheap. Fortunately, I'll be there until Thursday, so this won't be an expensive trip.

I will be bringing only one checking account and my debit card to it - no credit cards! I've got a set amount in the account while there; my plan is to be careful not to spend extravagantly. I'll be asking myself if I need this item, or need that one.

I felt the need to go see my mother, especially after she experienced what might have been a mini-stroke. Life is a very complex entity; for many of us we can never know when our time is up on this planet. I wasn't there for my father's passing on, but he and I were estranged. Also, he had an extremely painful death from cancer. I seriously doubt I could have handled watching him suffer.

My mother is healthy and robust despite having had surgery just recently. She is looking forward to going back to work; staying home and simply relaxing isn't her forte.

Anyways, whatever money I end up coming back with will end up going to the $20 Challenge. I feel if I keep my focus on the challenge, it will be to my advantage.

$20 Challenge: Need to Start Over

May 21st, 2008 at 03:00 pm

Alas, I had to "break into the bank" this morning. I'm talking about my 2' tall plastic Coke bottle bank. I had $114 tucked away from the $20 Challenge which I needed to access and put into my Health Savings Account. I also included a $50 check into the account.

I am in desperate need of a new eye exam and eyeglasses. Since I don't have eye vision insurance, I will probably get a discount for simply having insurance, but I know I will be footing the entire amount. I am going to go to Sam's Club since there's an optometrist and they take walk-ins. But before I seat myself in the eye exam chair, I will see what kind of a collection of frames they have and how much they cost.

So, that said, I am starting from "ground zero" again, which will be tomorrow. It's payday at Cracker Barrel.

Another way to save.......$20 Challenge

May 18th, 2008 at 07:21 am

There are numerous ways to save, I mean truly save. The key thing is that you learn to discern the offers out there to make sure you won't be *had*. I have a checking account with US Bank, which offers cash rewards if I use the debit card to purchase items from their connected shopping link to 150 sites.

For me it's worth it, since drugstore.com is one place I buy from every month. For clothing, it's Land's End and Eddie Bauer. What's key is that I hit drugstore.com the first week of each month because that is when GNC has their 20% Gold Card savings. I also treated myself to a few Vera Bradley accessories, including a small handbag from e.bags as a Mother's Day "entitlement." All the items were on sale, AND, I received $5.00 cashback. This is actual money that *collects* in my rewards account. I can transfer this money to my checking account in increments of $5.00. Not a bad deal.

Discernment is important to know if you are truly saving. Since I go to GNC via drugstore.com, I can tell if prices are deliberately inflated to get their money back. They aren't.

For now, that's not a bad deal. It's also a good way to add to my $20 Challenge account.

What health insurance?

May 17th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I buy my own health insurance. It's an HDHP with HSA. Because I turned 50 last month, my premium jumped almost $50. I have two riders on my plan, yet when I go to the doctor to see about more medications for my fibromyalgia, they send me an EOB stating that my doc visit isn't covered because of a rider. What rider? Because I filled in a square where the symptoms bunched together are headaches, neuromuscularskeletal, low back, neck, shoulders, blah, blah, blah. Even tho I wasn't diagnosed with fibro prior to getting health insurance, they feel they should not cover it.

This includes Lyrica, a brand new Pfizer drug for fibromyalgia. I went to Sam's to get a 90-pill supply. It cost me $186. There are still 30 pills remaining to be filled; I wasn't able to afford the full $250.

When all is said and done, all that health insurance companies are interested in is the profit margins and their year-end bonuses.

Everyday is a No Spend Day at work

May 16th, 2008 at 04:05 pm

I work at Cracker Barrel on the retail side. You know, the side where all the neat and unique items are displayed. I have to admit that it is very difficult to resist taking something home after each shift. And the fact that something might be marked down plus my discount card makes it truly tough.

This may have been the case initially; I was practically spending my meager paycheck there. But things have changed now, since coming here and seeing how the $20 Challenge works, plus other interesting ways to save.

My [plastic] Coke bottle, which stands 2' tall, is getting fuller with the continued addition of my 1s, 5s and 10s each week. I started the Challenge with $86. I know now that I am over $100, or close to it.

NOT shopping at Cracker Barrel is a challenge in and of itself, but I have the willpower to succeed, if nothing else than to tell myself it's that much less I will need to pack for our eventual move.

Challenge off to a good start

May 13th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

I got a check in the mail from the IRS yesterday. I thought perhaps it was my rebate check. When I saw the amount of $25, I knew that wasn't it. So, what was it for? It seems I paid too much in what I owed the IRS, so got a refund for overpayment.

Since I wasn't expecting this, I went ahead and deposited into my Challenge account. I am going to want this baby to grow, grow, grow! Smile

How-To....

May 11th, 2008 at 06:46 pm

How do I add a TickerFactory ruler to show progress on my side bar?

thx in advance....

Mother's Day was a NSD for me....

May 11th, 2008 at 05:49 pm

I am happy to say that I did not leave the house to visit stores or even eat out. I have the weather to thank for this. Today was an absolutely bad day for going anywhere. The wind was blowing so hard - gusts up to 49mph! EEK! There was certainly enough rain with that. I am glad no plans were made.

I did all my running around yesterday after work. Since I knew that the weather was going to be truly lousy on Mother's Day, I decided to buy a few groceries and pick up my prescription before heading home. Fortunately, my SO took me out to dinner Friday afternoon, and then afterwards we went to Barnes and Noble, just across the street from the restaurant.

So, I can thank the weather for keeping me at home and staying out of trouble. Big Grin

Am Getting Disciplined

May 9th, 2008 at 11:27 am

Woohoo! It is finally working! I've reworked my budget (YNAB) and using the BudgetMap registers to keep track when I am unable to enter transactions online. I am able to avoid overspending in each budget category because I've given each of my earned dollars a job. Nothing gets put into a miscellaneous or other category. Also, as soon as a deposit from any source is made, it gets put into the needed categories.

I can't believe I've finally done it. It's all good..... Smile

Shopping with a list and coupons

May 3rd, 2008 at 11:34 am

Had to run a few errands this morning; thought it was a good idea to hit Walmart very early to avoid the "herd." After all, this was a payday weekend.

I put together a list of items and associated coupons into a pouch, along with my debit card and checkbook from which I'd be making the payment. No worries about overspending because all that was in the account was my weekly "allowance" for food shopping.

At the checkout, the total for everything, even tho I slipped a wee bit, came to $25 and change UNDER budget; this also included the savings from the coupons. The money from the latter was taken out and put in a separate budgeting column titled "Coupon Savings." Perhaps I should title it "$20 Challenge" and save from what I get back using coupons and rebates.

Why not? Yes?