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Archive for February, 2006

My February wrap-up

February 28th, 2006 at 08:09 pm

We only had 4 no car days and we ate out 2.5 times (the 0.5 is dh with the boys for lunch). One was paid for with a gift card.

We didn't get our clothesline up. That's something I really need to get dh to do.

I didn't start my garden.

I don't have the numbers for gasoline (dh puts it on his card and I have to wait for his cc statement to come in.

Here are the good and the bad: (category/budget/actual/difference)

Grocery 300 414.46 114.46
Elec & Gas 200 150.72 -49.28
Eating out 150 84.68 -65.32
Misc 300 1013.89 713.89
gift 50 100.44 50.44
medical expenses 25 95.22 70.22

The miscellaneous includes the new computer and printer, but does not reflect the rebates we will be getting from them ($250 total). The eating out was actually $22 less as that went on the gift card, but I count that as income and it's a separate category).

DH stocked up on our gift category this month because he found a going out of business sale. I expect there to be little or no expense in that next month. The Grocery category reflects a stock-up too (as well as the fact that apparently if we have milk we will go through it like water).

The medical expenses were high (for us) this month. It reflects the sick visit for my kids and their medicine. Also, some vitamins for us.

Our miscellaneous category is frequently out of control. It's the one area where we really need to work (well, that and groceries).

I will update gas totals when we get the cc bill.

The good news is that even if we were way over budget on gas, we were still under our income, so we still spent less than we made.

New idea to make money

February 28th, 2006 at 07:56 pm

or, rather, revisiting an old idea.

So, I'm working on revamping my website. I have a new webhost and am working on getting my registry info changed to get a new registrar.

Once that is done, I'm going to load some blog software on my site and start a naturalist blog (and use some of the google ads).

Okay, all that is stuff I've mentioned before.

My other idea is to use it to sell DH's nature photos. He has some amazing photos and by combining my blog to draw traffic (I have a set of friends who will be willing to link my blog) and cafepress, we can sell a line of products with no real outlay of cash. We will also do a set of limited edition prints for higher quality photos (which we will print when we get orders).

I hope to also develop some art skills (just line drawings) to add to my blog (one of dh's new toys is a printer/scanner/copier).

I want to also get my kids involved and maybe give them their own blog on my site.

Surprise on my cellphone bill

February 27th, 2006 at 10:03 pm

I think I mentioned it here, DH found out that through is work we can get a discount on my cellphone.

I just got my bill, the discount his almost $5 after taxes.

YAY!

Now, if he can decide that he wants to join mine and do a family plan, we'll have that bill to a reasonable level.

I'm going to call this income because it is an expense we already had.

Oh OUCH

February 27th, 2006 at 09:49 pm

It looks like I'm starting a sinus infection. This is the first one since 2004, but that one was major, it took 6 months and 3 rounds of antibiotics to go away.

I'm rinsing my sinuses with a homemade saline solution (recommended by an allergy doctor) and (this is gross, so skip if you want) I'm getting lots of gunk to wash out, but the pressure is still there. Especially if I bend over.

I'm so far behind at work. DH agreed to be responsible for picking up the kids today so I could put in a fulltime day (I normally work 6 hours). I worked straight through lunch, but came home some early. I ended up working 8.5 hours today. And, I really didn't get that much more accomplished.

I told my bosses on Friday that I was drowning, so today they spoke to one of our other office workers and will have her help me with the easier stuff. I think that I should be able to funnel a lot of just paper pushing tasks to her (like making copies, sending invoices, cleaning up scanned documents).

I did finish the major project today. My boss wanted to only charge $1500 for our fees, but I reminded him that we rushed this through and I put a lot of work on hold for it (pissing off some of our current clients) so we decided to charge $2100 - which I still think is a little on the low side. We set up 2 new corporations and a new limited partnership for him - doing all the paperwork and filing with the secretary of state.

I have one more business project to do. This one has required 3 hours of conferences with the client. One thing I like about him, though, is that we gave him example documents and he put them together to fit what he wanted so all the attorney has to do is make sure he didn't contradict himself anywhere.

I'm so ready to get these done and get back to my regular tasks. Of course, Tuesday is foreclosure sale day and I have 15 foreclosures set, so I'll have to do bids, deeds, affidavits and bills for all of those. That will easily take all day. I'll see if the helper can help with those, I've got the bids mostly done and the documents are set up as mail merge documents (if I use a form, I set it up as a merge to make sure I get all the fields filled in and to save time).

Please God, let this sinus thing be a virus and resolve itself without needing a sick day (or at least wait until next week).

In other news - I bought a soda today - 65 cents frivolous spending.

Well

February 26th, 2006 at 09:13 pm

I think I might have gotten rid of the kitten.

When we started walking to the restaurant tonight, it followed us. This was unacceptable, we were going to be walking on a very busy street, it would get hit.

So, I made it follow me home, put food in a box, put the kitten in the box and then closed it (just closed the flaps, not secured it). It was gone when we got home and hasn't been back since.

I put more food out for it, so we'll see. Maybe it has found a new home to hang out at.

Poor kitty, I hope I didn't traumatize it too much. I just didn't know what else to do. I couldn't put it in the house with my kitty and locking it up somewhere else seemed to be inviting poop and pee everywhere. But it would have been killed if it followed us.

Expensive day

February 26th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

First, we went out to eat. I went ahead and ordered a soda and it ended up being a can - so no free refill. I paid 99 friggin' cents for a can of soda. I thought 65 cents was too much.

Then we went to the movies (the cheap movies, but still ...). Luckily we resisted the movie popcorn and soda (one reason I had soda with lunch, we let the kids have it, that way if they asked at the theatre, we could say "you already had your soda").

We ended up spending $40 today. Geez, not so frugal family fun day.

On the good side, we walked to do all that. So it was a no gas day.

Uh-oh

February 25th, 2006 at 08:45 pm

We had an adorable kitty follow us home tonight. He looks really young - 4-6 months at most. He's sooo skinny, but he looks healthy otherwise.

If he's still here Monday, I'll have to try to convince dh to let me take him to the vet - which will be $$.

MIL is in town. She took us out for supper tonight, we'll take her out for lunch tomorrow. We bought tamales for lunch today (I guess we'll call that a grocery bill?) and just generally hung out at home.

We did walk to the restaurant (a little exercise to work off the calories) and well, that's how we got the kitty.

Webhosts

February 24th, 2006 at 11:27 pm

I've used siteturn networks as my webhost and I am soooo frustrated with them. They always treat me very poorly. Getting them to do anything requires jumping through a million hoops and then you still aren't sure they've done it.

One for instance is that when I changed my email address, I let them know, they didn't note it anywhere. So, I had to call back when I couldn't get into my site (apparently they decided to stop taking discover card for a while). So they changed it, but they didn't change it on my registration and didn't tell me that there were further steps I needed to take.

So, their charges are out of line - $130/year for very basic stuff. Stuff you can get for $30/year at other sites.

So, I'm in the process of changing hosts. DH found a host he likes, so I'm working on getting that set up. Siteturn, however, are being jerks about releasing MY domain name. They agree that I own the name, but that's about as far as they will go.

I swear, if I didn't love the name, I'd just give it up and go on with my life. I'm so frustrated dealing with the hoops and being told I was done and the changes were being made only to find out later that nothing was done.

I really want to start a naturalist (not naturist) blog on my site. It fits with the name and I think it's something I will actually do if I have some accountability. Plus, I can then work on making some money from the internet.

So, if you are looking for a webhost, stay far, far, far away from siteturn.

Tough Day

February 24th, 2006 at 10:32 pm

I'm losing control of my workload. I finally told both my bosses that I am so buried I'm not sure where I am at all. I haven't missed any deadlines, but there are things that need to be done that I haven't done.

MIL is coming tomorrow so DH is in power mode. We apparently have to unpack every single box he's been ignoring for 2 months. And along with that, I have to clean up all of his messes and the kids' messes.

I have to admit, I love the way the house looks. I just wish that dh wouldn't be such an ass to get it that way.

We decided we aren't going to the estate sale tomorrow. I'd rather get a little extra sleep and relax before MIL gets here. Plus, we just don't have the cash right now. We'll move the futon in here where we have our two office chairs and the barstools. Then we'll set up the airbed (has a frame and a memory foam pad) in the front room for her to use. I really wanted to get that set up tonight, but dh says he isn't ready to do it.

DH and his deals

February 23rd, 2006 at 09:29 pm

Now this one is a little hard to complain about, but ... He found a coupon code for $40 off an office chair (we've been needing one for the boys' desk) and matched it with a sale where the chair was priced at $39.99. He had to buy something else because he was afraid they'd refuse to apply the coupon code if the transaction came out -$0.01. That's the part that I can complain about. He paid $13 for a file box. Yes, I wanted a file box (my filing "system" has consisted of putting everything in a box), but this seems awfully high to me.

He really wants to go to this estate auction Saturday. We do need some chairs, but we've really spent a lot more than we should have this month - and it's a short month! Plus, I'm not sure if we need cash or they'll take a check. I guess if it's cash then we can go knowing we won't spend over a certain limit.

Car work today

February 22nd, 2006 at 08:59 pm

I took my car to the muffler guy my mechanic recommended. He said there was a crack that was leaking and that it wasn't in a place he could weld, so he had to replace the part. $40 and 30 minutes. I was flabbergasted, I didn't know you could get any work done for $40.

I walked around under the car looking at it and asked him about my exhaust system. I've never had any work done (it's a 1998) and I live in a high salt area (close to the gulf). He said the muffler looks great and should last quite a while longer.

He guaranteed the exhaust system would pass inspection so that's what I have to do tomorrow. I have a highly developed sense of guilt, so I know if I go past the expiration date I will freak everytime I see a cop (I just got my brakelight fixed and the entire time it was out my heart would beat about 120bpm every time I saw a cop car which happens at least 2x/day).

When I got home, dh was home (he had meetings in the town on the opposited side of our town from his office, so he decided to work from home once those were done and save the gas (which just took a 25 cent leap in prices).

Since he was home and the library books were due back tomorrow, we decided to walk to the library. That means we walked 2-3 miles.

Necklaces I made

February 22nd, 2006 at 07:37 pm

I'm going to try to post pics here. We'll see if it works.














I've made 3 necklaces, 2 sets of earrings (only one is pictured) and a bracelet (not pictured).

These are what I'd like to sale. We'll see if I can get any interest locally.

New Computer for the kids

February 21st, 2006 at 09:08 pm

DH remembered his wallet today and went to buy the computer. I came with speakers, a new keyboard and an optical mouse.

DS1 is sooo excited. He continued his research for his report tonight. He said "one page isn't enough, I want to write more. Maybe I'll get a 150!". I had to tell him it didn't normally work that way and that he should check with his teacher before writing a report longer than she asked (he didn't get the idea that sometimes teachers don't want to wade through a tone of words and that sometimes it's harder to write a short report than a long report).

DS2 doesn't care at all. We'll probably put the old 'puter in their playroom until it dies completely. It's got some learning to read software on it, so it should help DS2 with his reading.

Amortization Schedules

February 20th, 2006 at 09:15 pm

There was a question about setting up amortization schedules. I use excel to do this. It's pretty easy once you get started.

You first need a bit of information. The first is your interest rate. The second is how is your interest calculated. Most mortgages are calculated as monthly interest (so the timing of your payment isn't important as long as you get it in before the late charge kicks in). Most cars and other loans are calculated as daily simple interest and the timing of your payment can make a big difference. You also need your current balance.

To figure your monthly or daily interest rate, divide your yearly rate by 12 or 365 (occasionally there will be a 360 DSI loan, but you'll catch that when it comes along). Don't forget to convert interest rates to decimals - 8% = 0.08.

So first, set up your columns. We'll do mortgage first, since it is simpler.

Column A - the month.
Column B - the current principal balance
Column C - =B*the monthly interest rate
Column D - the payment you are making
Column E - =B+C-D (this is your balance after making your payment)

Then it's a matter of cut and paste to get the rest. Column A you fill in, Column B - type "=E1". When you cut and paste it will go to "E2" etc. Note - I say E1, if you are on any row other than 1, use that row.

Okay for cars you need an extra column
Column A - the date you are making the payment
Column B - =A-the last date you made a payment (when you set this up, after the first row just put A2-A1, again changing the cell numbers if you need to).
Column C - current balance
Column D - =B*interest rate*C
Column E - the payment you are making
Column F - =C+D-E (your new balance).

This probably makes as much sense as mud, but open excel and see if you can figure it out. If not, maybe Jeffrey and/or Nate can walk me through posting a screen shot of an excel worksheet.

There are shorter ways to do this, but this provides a lot more information and is easy to work with.

Frugal Day

February 20th, 2006 at 07:38 pm

DH intended to buy our kids a new computer (theirs is older than they are and can't run their learning software). He went to the store, picked it out, took it to the register and then didn't have his wallet. So, no new computer. I really want them to have one we can turn off (if we turn this one off it may or may not boot back up) and save some power.

DS2 is not getting what he needs at school, so we're using the computer to help him learn to read, etc. DS1 is using the computer to research reports and email with his grandparents.

So I consider this a good buy. I'm not letting them use mine.

I made beans yesterday to add some heat to the house and tonight we had beans and cornbread for supper. I mashed the rest of the beans and I now have two full containers of refried beans in my freezer for this summer.

We did have to spend some money today - $10 for DS2 to take a field trip, and $3.35 at the grocery (butter and clearance salad mix).