<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: April, 2006
 

Archive for April, 2006

Tax Time

April 12th, 2006 at 05:39 am

Am I the only one who does taxes at more than one place?

I did 2 free online programs. It always amazes me how I can enter the same information and come up with 2 different numbers. Not largely different, but different none-the-less.

OUCH!! Gas

April 12th, 2006 at 04:15 am

$2.679 for regular. Just yesterday it was $2.599. I didn't get it yesterday because I thought I didn't have time. That will teach me.

Almost $30 for less than 11 gallons. I'm glad I don't drive much. My car is only getting about 22mpg because it's all city driving. The fastest I get is 45mph and that's for all of about 4 blocks (IF the traffic in front of me actually drives).

This on top of finding out that our electricity retroactively increased by 3 cents/kwh (retroactive to November).

Science fair update

April 11th, 2006 at 02:40 am

We finished the volcano. The only thing we bought was spraypaint.



We made the base using a water bottle which had the top cut off. Inserted a container which held single serving applesauce. Built newspaper around it, taped that down and then papier-mache over the top of that.

When the papier-mache dried, we spray painted it brown. When that dried, I poked holes in the volcano with a tiny knitting needle and we poked springs of rosemary and other plants from our yard.

Then, we made the poster. We did have to buy the posterboard. I printed headings using my computer. We walked him through the demonstration and talked about what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar - how it forms a salt (sodium acetate) and carbolic acid, which then breaks down to CO2 and water. The CO2 is what makes the bubbles we see. Carbolic acid is what they add to soda to carbonate it.

I put red food dye in the vinegar. Poured it into an old squeeze mustard bottle and mixed it. I put a label on that "lava juice".

It sounds like I did a lot and I did, but DS was right there helping and learning with me. I made him to a test run and give a shpiel about it. I hope he remembers tomorrow.

Hee, hee

April 11th, 2006 at 02:33 am

Well, I called it. He spent $35.

On the good side - he bought the stuff we needed for my clothesline and actually strung it up. AND he brought home chicken for supper.

He also bought himself some underwear (needed because he's lost a lot of weight and has only about 4 pair which fit). Then he bought aloe vera gel and some stuff I don't remember. An extension cord? We have several huge extension cords, so I don't know (I thought of "Men don't buy tampons").

So what will DH come home with today?

April 10th, 2006 at 10:32 pm

He's buying supplies to finish the science project - paint and posterboard. He's also supposed to buy bananas.

That's his list - should be less than $10 right? We'll see what's in the bags.

Frugal Science Fair

April 10th, 2006 at 02:21 am

So last week we got notice that the science fair is this Tuesday!!

Now, I knew there'd be a science fair so you'd think I could just start whenever and be prepared right? No, the teacher has to approve the projects and she won't do that until the date is announced.

This is one reason I really dislike this school. They think one week is more than enough notice for big events. We have to prepare the experiment and a poster describing it.

So, we chose a baking soda volcano. Today, we created the volcano. We used a water bottle with a half cup container (from single serve applesauce) in the top. Then we built around it with newspapar and papier mache. Now it's drying.

Tomorrow we'll figure out how to paint it. I've considered just gluing leaves and grass to it, but dh and ds don't seem to like that idea.

I guess we'll have to buy posterboard. I have no idea what to put on the poster. I guess a pic of it before it's painted, maybe a pic of a similar water bottle and half cup container.

Then? I don't know. We'll make it up as we go along.

AAAAHHHH Scholastic Books

April 10th, 2006 at 01:21 am

So we got an order form for my kindy kid. I generally just throw these away, but this time I actually looked through it.

I found a whole set of books we've been considering for about $1.50/book. These are a minimum of $3/book in the bookstores. You can't even find these used for less than $2.00/book (plus shipping).

Then, they had a book from a current series for less than half price. Another 8 books of a series we'd started for $2.50/book (these are about $4.50 in stores) and a book for $1.00.

Total? $62.80. For 36 books. I've heard that you can find these at garage sales, but I don't know if people here just don't buy books or what, but I've not found these at garage sales. Plus, when I do find a kid's book at a garage sale, it's usually torn.

This is sooo not in budget right now. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't give the books to the kids at school, if I could get them at home so they'd be a surprise and I could give them as a gift, well, that wouldn't be soooo bad.

Frugal garden containers

April 9th, 2006 at 05:45 am

Crown Tire planters:



(image copyrighted and used by permission)

Crown tire planters are nothing new. People have been doing them since the 50s. They are harder now with radial tires, but still possible.

To start:
1) cut one wall of the tire into zigzags

2) (this is one that having another person will help) turn the tire inside out

3) paint.

If the tire is still on the rim, this can be easier and creates a stand.

Line the tire with weed control fabric and then fill with soil and plant.

I had several of these in OKC. The one above is from my front yard.

DH and the master gardeners created ours. The first one took some time, but after that, they managed to do them in 15 minutes or so.

Trike-a-thon, or Who Thought it Would Be a Good Idea for an Early Morning Event

April 8th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

on a Saturday???

This morning was trike-a-thon at 9am in the park that is a ways away.

So, the alarm goes off at 7:30. We get up, eat b'fast and send the kids to get dressed. I get dressed, dh goes out to wrestle with the bike rack and the bikes.

Of course, the tires need air. Then, we couldn't find the helmets (we did find them). Then - oh wait, sunscreen! We need sunscreen, where is that? Oh wow, it's cold! It's only 68, where's the heat? It was still hot last night at 3:00 when I woke up sweating. Great, I don't have any biking pants, I guess I'll just freeze in shorts.

They planned a community breakfast afterward. We were asked to bring 5-8 cold drinks. We forgot to put them in the fridge last night, so dh stuck them in the freezer.

It turned out to be a decent event, but I'm tired. I was trying to keep up with 2 extremely fast kids. I thought they needed an adult with them, they didn't think so.

Profit sharing plan at work

April 8th, 2006 at 04:19 am

So, they will pay 3% of my salary into the profit sharing plan whether I contribute at all. I have to fully vest to take all their contributions with me, but that doesn't seem so bad.

So now, I have to decide what I want to contribute. It isn't entirely clear to me if my contribution will be pre or post tax. I have forms for both. I think, maybe, that's in case I want to put more away than I can tax free. I think. But I'm thinking that won't be an issue for me.

Free soda

April 8th, 2006 at 04:12 am

One of our clients brought in 4 packs of soda. It was a gift to the ladies who had helped him. They never took it home and it's been three days.

So today, I again got the shakes (our 10:30 clients came at 10:00 and I didn't get a snack until 11:30, I can't go that long without eating). I tried eating some sunflower seeds and chocolate chips, but it just wasn't helping.

One of my coworkers saw my hands shake and asked if it was a no caffiene thing or a sugar thing. I said probably sugar. The soda was hers and she said "that's there for everyone, go get one".

Clearly, I need to take some more food to work. My snacks work fine IF I can eat at 10:00, but if it gets pushed back too far, I can't get things in balance.

I have been tested for diabetes 3x (2x while pg and once before) and test as being fine, so I don't think it's diabetes, I think it's just a tiny stomach combined with a decent metabolism and so I blow through my food too fast.

I came home and snarfed some turkey and an eggroll. Then I had a glass of milk and some candy. Then, dh came home and I took a nap. Now, I feel great. Wide awake, but great!

My boss finally admitted they needed to hire another person. We've all been under stress to turn stuff out. I have a will that's been on my desk for a month. There's just more stuff than we can do in the time we have and stuff isn't getting done. AND they just took on a HUGE new client. So yeah, we need at least one more person. I think they should also look into figuring out a way to get me set up to work from home since I'm usually up at least an hour or two after everyone has gone to bed. If I had access to the stuff from work, I could easily get some stuff done and get closer to being caught up.

Frugal Garden Art

April 7th, 2006 at 04:03 am



This image is copyrighted but is used by permission.

Gazing globes are a big thing in gardens and have been for a few years. Once, they were only metallic and reflective, but now you find them in handblown glass and all kinds of other nice colors. The only problem with them is that they break so easily. Mow your lawn and hit a rock and there goes your globe.

So what can you use that is round, comes in all colors and patterns and won't break? A bowling ball. The above picture was actually taken in the garden of the President of the University of Oklahoma.



This was my house in Oklahoma City. The blue ball is a bowling ball. I had 5 balls or so, but that's the only picture I can find. People loved my "gazing globes".

I paid 99cents for them from thrift stores. You can often get them for free from bowling alleys (or so I've been told, I've never found one that would give them away).

If you have one and you don't like the color, you can epoxy pennies or glass tiles to them.

Low Energy Day

April 7th, 2006 at 02:38 am

Which sucks for work. I've got sooo much on my plate right now and I was so tired I actually had the shakes. I fought off going to the vending machine, though, so I'm proud of myself.

I ended up falling asleep on the couch. Good thing my kids are old enough to follow the rules of "STAY IN THE HOUSE" and "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR". DH woke me up when he got home and sent me to bed.

I did wake up in time for a pick-up meal and then I went out and mowed 1/2 the front yard. DH mowed the other half. Now we just need to work on the backyard. Unfortunately, we have johnsongrass back there and the reel mower won't cut it.

Digital Cameras

April 6th, 2006 at 05:04 am

I've spent the last year and almost half thinking I lost our digital camera in the move (our old one). I hadn't seen it, I mentioned it to DH once and he said he didn't know where it was, so I've been upset about it.

Yeah, turns out he didn't know where it was *right then*. He knew about where it was, he'd had it and put it away.

So, tonight he pulled it out for me, we replaced the batteries and he walked me through downloading pics from my camera.

I guess that sparked a little fire in him and he spent 30 minutes filling picture frames with pics he printed for christmas.

I'm a little upset. I was sure I had taken a bunch of pics, but I can't find any of them. BUT, now I have the camera and 32 megs total of memory. I'm ready to become a snapping fool. Of course, the camera is "only" a 2.1 megapixel (it's from 2000).

Frugal Family Night

April 6th, 2006 at 02:54 am

Tonight was Jenga. We were hoping for a quick game because we walked to the library after supper.

It wasn't quick. We got to 31 complete levels. Even the 5yo did great!

Walking to the Grocery Store

April 4th, 2006 at 04:22 am

This is supposed to save us money. If you walk 1) you use less gas and 2) you can't buy as much because you have to carry what you buy.

Our first mistake was getting a cart rather than a hand basket.

We needed milk, so dh bought 3 half gallons (we buy organic milk). Then he picked up a half gallon of organic orange juice. Then we bought cans of enchilada sauce and coconut milk. Eggs. Hot dog and hamburger buns. Then there was a special on pork (which we love). Then dh realized he needed eggs for popovers. $43 and about 30lbs later, we were done. Sooo much fun to walk home carrying 15+lbs of food. I have a great bag from Mexico - almost indestructible, but the handles really suck. They are too small to fit over my arm and up on my shoulder, so I have to carry all the weight with my hand. And the bag is too long to carry with my arm straight, so I have to keep it bent. My elbow is killing me.

DH uses a backpack and he had the milk and OJ. I think I need to get a backpack for these types of trips.

One Year Anniversary

April 4th, 2006 at 03:43 am

Tomorrow I've been at my job for one year.

I've learned a lot in that year. I had never written a will, a power of attorney, a medical power of attorney (didn't even know they were separate documents) and a directive to Physicians. Last week I put togther an outline for my boss to give a presentation on those things.

I also had never formed a business and didn't have the first idea what they'd need. Now, I've set up limited partnerships, LLCs, and corporations.

Along with all that knowledge, now I qualify for the profit sharing plan. Maybe some of you can help me figure this out:

"III. Employer Contribution Election

To help you make an informed decision on the level of your own salary reduction contributions, if any, your employer must declare the type of contribution it will make within a reasonable period of time prior to the plan year beginning January 1, 2006. Your employer elects to contribute to a SAFE HARBOR 401(k) contribution for 2006 of the type selected below:
... (3) A Nonelective Contribution equal to:

(X) (i) 3% (not less than 3% of your compensation)"

I think I'm missing a form, it goes on to refer to the SPD. I'll ask about that tomorrow. But does that sound like they contribute at least 3% no matter what I contribute? I need to see the SPD to figure out the vesting schedule and my minimum amount to get the full 3%.

I definitely want to participate. They have a deal with one of the local developers and they buy discounted real estate from him. Those notes are currently charged 11-13% interest (with 13% being the highest). We do our own foreclosures if anyone defaults (not a very high default rate, surprisingly) so the only expenses there end up being less than $100 for filing and service fees.

Beach Sunday

April 3rd, 2006 at 08:23 pm



Yesterday was the first time we've gone to the beach since christmas. Way too long.

It's a not completely frugal day - we use about 3 gallons of gas - which is $8 right now. PLUS, we have a fish place we love to stop to eat. It isn't too expensive - about $25 for the 4 of us (all you can eat fish for DH and I) with tip.

Yesterday was worse than normal. We stopped at the fish place on the way to the island, so of course we were starving when it was time to leave the island. Since we left at 7:00 and the kids go to bed at 8:00 and it's an hour drive, we stopped at a drive-in and spent $12.00.

But it was a great day. For once the kids behaved really well, no whining at all. I can't remember the last time we did something like that where there wasn't at least one meltdown.

C

Minimum income required?

April 2nd, 2006 at 05:50 am

On another board people were saying that it's very hard to have a nice life on $50k or less.

The median household income in the US (median means that exactly half make less and half make more) is $44k. So over half the households in the US are not living a nice life?

I just can't wrap my mind around that. We just now make $50k. This is the first time in our lives that we've had this much income. Yes, some years have sucked (the year that neither of us had jobs for 3 months and then moved 750 miles comes to mind). But for the most part, we've always had a good life.

We have more CC debt than I'd like. Most of it is from that year mentioned above, but we did have some before. So, technically we weren't living fully in our means. But, we've always had a positive net worth. If we had had to, we could have paid off all of our debt.

I told those people they were full of it. Half the people in the US are not living bad lives. Some people may be feeling that they don't have enough "stuff" but they have all their needs met.

I think it takes a lot of hubris to say that you HAVE to have more income than over half the nation to have a good life.


Supporting Sites: