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Archive for July, 2008

Fell off the savings plan this month

July 31st, 2008 at 08:40 pm

Well, I should have known this would happen. I fell off the savings program this month. We were doing so well. But, I had some unexpected expenses this month. I paid for my dad's funeral flowers, had to buy a new dress for the funeral (nothing old fits my post-baby body yet. but that will change!) , had to pay for a sitter, and didn't keep track of what we were spending. Plus, I am getting my hot tub repaired tomorrow. that thing is my own personal money pit, but at this point I'm so deep in it that I'm not giving it up out of principle.

So, I had to take $400 out of savings today and put it in checking to cover misc. I had to subtract it from my goals column, which really made me feel bad. I hope I can get back on track in August.

Tiki challenge back on track a little...

July 30th, 2008 at 01:57 am

Well, despite all the stuff in my personal life I did manage to add about $38 to the tiki fund.

It would have been more, but I got soaked on some shipping for an eBay item. I guess that was my amateur mistake. It cost me $22 to ship the lamp when I had budgeted $14. Oh well. Thankfully I didn't lose money on that one.

Next month should be better because I'll have some money coming in from Google Adsense. And I may try to post some more items to sell on Etsy.com.

9 things that are helping me cope with my dad's death

July 29th, 2008 at 02:36 am

I am feeling a profound sense of loss at the loss of my dad this month. So profound, it almost as if I can't even process it. But, I am coping. Here is how.

1. Knowing he is still with me. Your dad is always with you, even after he is gone. I know it's true every time I see an asparagus.

Dad's love of asparagus was bested only by his ability to spot a 4-inch tall asparagus growing against a fence post 100 yards away. Even when he was driving 60 miles an hour. Many Sundays on our way home from church, dad would spot one, bring the car to a screeching halt, and make my sister and I wade through a field full of ticks and weeds in our church clothes to go get it for him. Later that night, before I'd even managed to get all the burrs out of my hair, he had drowned that sad little pile of a half dozen asparagus in cream sauce and was eating them for dinner. I'll think of him every time I see one.

2. His entrepreneurial spirit.
I inherited it from him. He owned businesses my entire life. He treated his employees like gold. many times we went without a paycheck so his employees wouldn't have to do without. And when times were good, he took all of his workers on vacation with us. I will honor his memory by running my own businesses and doing the same for the people who work for me.

3. My son. I am sad that dad didn't get more time with his grandson, but I am happy they did meet. Dad went into the hospital in Feb, when I was 7 months pregnant. He told me he knew he was dying. ( we didn't get the cancer diagnosis until June) I made him promise to hold on until he could meet the bean, and he did. I am forever grateful for that. Plus, the baby has really helped my mom get through this. He has really cheered her up and given her something to look forward to. He arrived just in time.

4. My mother. She is an inspiration. She has lost the love of her life, but is trying her best to keep living. I know she is sad, but she has always had a quiet strength. She reminds me that you have to keep on living even after you have lost someone you truly love. It's the only way to truly honor their memory.

5. Dad wouldn't want me to cry for him. Even after he found out he was dying, he had no concern for himself. When he got the news, he only said "Are you OK?" to my mother. He never complained, said "why me?" or anything. He only wanted us to be OK, to the very end.

6. I am my father. Some say you live on through your children. With me and dad it couldn't be more true. I look like him, I think like him. I am him, only younger and a girl. So in a way, he's not really gone at all.

7. The little things, too. Today, my hubby wore one of my dad's Hawaiian shirts to work. He didn't remember it was my dads, but I do. I was there when he bought it. It makes me happy to know that the things that made my dad happy are still out there every day being used. Not that stuff matters, but it does remind me of him in my everyday life. He will not be forgotten.

8. Dad's life is a reminder that life needs to be lived, to the fullest. This ordeal has been a reminder that life is short. You don't have forever with your spouse. That dream vacation can't wait another year. Your excuses for not doing things on your dream list are lame. The time is now.

For instance. My dad was a race car driver, played the accordian, owned bars and muffler shops, took us camping or someplace exotic on a vacation every year rain or shine. He played in a rockabilly band in the 1950s. My point: No excuses. Pursue all of your interests. It not only makes you happy, it makes you a more interesting person.

because of this, I've decided to stick around for another season of Roller Derby, sign up for a jewelry making class, and the hubby and I are finally committing to taking that two-week trip to Mexico we've been talking about for 6 years!

9. My dad loved his family. It makes it easier to know my mom and dad were in love until the very end, without regrets. 39 years together. They laughed a lot. It reminds me that I take after him, and that my marriage is similar to my parents, and I can learn from it. We laugh a lot too.

Dad: inspiration for the tiki bar

July 28th, 2008 at 04:01 pm



My dad, who as you know just died last week, always owned his own businesses and often told me that working for yourself is the only way to work. Those messages stuck. I inherited his entrepreneurial spirit.

He even at one time owned a bar. I used to roller skate on the dance floor when the bands were setting up.

I found this photo in my mom's albums. It's dad, in the office of one of his muffler shops. It was taken around 1974.

I pinned it up above my computer, as a motivator and a reminder that I too have what it takes to run my own business.

When I open my tiki bar, I will hang it above my desk in my office.

Of course, I should also thank dad for the tiki influence. He is the one who took me to Hawaii twice when I was little!

Dad is gone.

July 21st, 2008 at 02:29 am

Well, it happened. dad died this morning. We only found out he had cancer a week before father's day. I am officially 33 years old, missing a dad, and have a three month old baby, his only grandchild. I am so sad, but holding together for the sake of my mom, who is putting up a brave front but finally cried a little bit for the first time today.

New roof: $22,800 or $7,900

July 18th, 2008 at 05:37 pm

I'm an eco geek. I admit it. I am redoing an 1957 ranch house and am trying to make it substantially more green. So far, I've had luck. I've put in a geothermal furnace that also heats my hot water for free in the summer. I have rain barrels, compost bins and laundry lines. I bought new energy star windows.

Now, on to the roof. My dream roof is made form recycled aluminum. But, it's $22,800. I was expecting about $15,000. The installed tried to sell me on the idea of using my budget AND taking out financing for the rest. And get this, the financing is a GM credit card with an 18 percent interest rate.

I said no to this several times, but he kept insisting. Uh, I don't think so.

Isn't this how we got into this housing mess? Oh, use your savings and then when that's gone, go ahead and take on debt. Then, you'll not only be broke, you'll owe more!

So, I just got the quote for the normal 30-year asphalt shingle roof-- $7,900.

With that much difference, it doesn't appear to pay to go green on this project.

$29.74 to tiki challenge- finally!

July 17th, 2008 at 01:08 pm

Put the vibe out into the universe and it's returned to you!

I made an unexpected $19 profit in Web sales from my adopt-a-monster.com Web site this morning. This will be over and on top of what I earn from my two eBay auctions this week.

Then, I got a $10.74 refund check from State Farm for our car insurance. We apparently overpaid a bit. That's going to the tiki account because it's unexpected cash.

I feel sooo much better about the tiki challenge, after I earned NOTHING in June and it looked like July would be the same way.

Yay! I can almost taste the Mai Tai now.

Bank stocks are in the toilet, so I bought some...

July 17th, 2008 at 02:52 am

When the market tanks, I like to think of stocks as being on sale. Most of our money is in Vanguard funds, but we do have some money we use to buy individual stocks.

So, since they were so cheap, I bought 100 shares each of Huntington Bancshares (pd $4.50/share) and National City (pd $3.50/share). I am very familiar with the operations of both of these banks, thanks to my job.

For very little cash outlay, I picked up 100 shares of each. I figure at these prices, I won't lose too much if they go down more, and if (when) they go up, I could stand to make quite a bit. The key is to sit tight and let the market work out the kinks.

Tiki shoes for the tiki challenge!

July 16th, 2008 at 02:38 pm

Since my contributions to the tiki fund have been so pathetic, I put up my second eBay auction for the month, a pair of tiki shoes.

How appropriate-- tiki shoes going to the tiki bar fund. Good use of shoes, I suppose. They were a gift and they don't fit, so it's better than letting them sit in the basement!

(http://myworld.ebay.com/klompenwinkel)

Exotic adventure for two: $3856??

July 15th, 2008 at 01:52 pm


FINALLY! The check for my last big freelance project arrived, the IRA is maxed out, and it's time to stop being so responsible all the time and start doing some of that traveling the hubby and I have talked about since we got married.

With the last freelance check in hand, and after the IRA maxed out, the exotic adventure budget stands at $3,856. Hubby wants the trip to be part brainless beach vacation, and part adventure. We also want to go somewhere where the exchange rate doesn't kill us. He also said "he doesn't want to have to think" on this trip, meaning he wants it to be easy because life has been challenging since the baby came.

Our three top picks have been Mayan ruins in Mexico, Argentina including the cruise to Antarctica, and Prague and Budapest.

Thanks to the weak dollar, Prague and Budapest is out this time. We want to go to Argentina when we have enough for the arctic cruise, so I'm not sure this budget will cover it.

So... after some homework, it looks like we can take an 8 night 9 day whirlwind tour of about 10 Mayan sites for $2400, then tack on a week at an oceanfront cabin in Tulum for another $1,000. Two weeks in Mexico: $3400. Sounds ideal.

We have been so responsible since we've been married: working on our careers, saving for retirement, buying houses, etc.
We both miss the freedom and traveling we did when young and single. And have often wondered what went wrong. Why, when we have more money than ever are we traveling as little as ever?

Before we were married, I had backpacked through Turkey, spent a month in Greece, and seen another 10 countries. He had been to Europe and Costa Rica, and even studied Kung Fu in a monastary in China. But we haven't done anything that exciting together.

Watching my father die from cancer now, I realize life is short. You are only young once, and you don't have forever with your spouse, so the time for adventure is now.

From now on, we're going to take a two of us adventure every year. I'm excited.

tiki challenge back on track??

July 14th, 2008 at 02:15 pm


Well, June was a very disappointing month for the tiki challenge: I added a whole $2, all from bank interest. Despite the challenges in my personal life right now, I have to get back on track. I listed a cool lamp ( I like it but the hubby hates it, so on ebay it goes) on ebay. I might make a dollar after fees and shipping, but hey, I'm greasing the wheels! (http://myworld.ebay.com/klompenwinkel)
When the bean goes to sleep I may list a couple more items that have been in the basement gathering dust. And, I have some scrap metal and cans to recycle, which might bring me up to $10 this month. Hey, better than nothing...

Darn you WalMart!

July 11th, 2008 at 04:19 pm

I try to shop at Wal-Mart as little as possible. yes, I'm one of THOSE people. I really think your money is your vote, one way you help decide what kind of world you want. In Ohio, I usually shop at another grocery because they pay higher wages and I am pretty sure they are unionized. So, I shop at Wal-Mart maybe once every two months and only when I need things like shampoo, which is soooo much cheaper at Wal-Mart that I can't rationalize shopping anywhere else.

That said, I was shocked that a bag of lentils was only 72 cents at Wal-Mart but $1.32 at the other grocery. Made me think twice. Usually the price differential on most of the things I buy isn't the great.

What to do? I heart saving money. So do I got to Wal-Mart more often and sell out the other store, which actually pays workers benefits and a living wage? Or do I just decide to pay more than I really have to for groceries?

AAA discounts

July 9th, 2008 at 03:09 pm

I just renewed my AAA membership. I have used the card for towing and to get an occasional hotel discount. I just flipped through the benefit book that came with the card. I had no idea I could get discounts at so many other places, like Target, Payless, and Barnes and Noble. And, even better, on FTD flowers. I send flowers a couple of times a year, and now they can be 20 percent cheaper.

That's what I get for not paying attention. I could be saving even more money!!

Do any of you use these auxillary discounts? Am I crazy that I haven't noticed these before?

Finally got paid, $776 to IRA

July 7th, 2008 at 06:47 pm

One of my freelance clients finally paid, so that's another $776 to the IRA. $25 left to go.

I am expecting payment soon for work I did in March for another company. (yes, they are way late, but that's the joy of freelancing...) That will shore up the last $25 I need to max out my IRA for the year.

Not sure what to do with the rest of that check. I may pay down the student loan, finish funding the 529 plan for the year, or put it toward a new roof. I may even be frivolous and put it in an exotic vacation fund. The honey and I are planning to go somewhere that requires a passport next year, and I don't mean Canada.

I do wish the limits on an IRA were higher than $5,000. I could more, but I just don't want to mess with a solo 401k this year. Too much else to worry about with the new baby Bean and all.

$400 roller skates

July 4th, 2008 at 04:02 am

Yes, I own a pair of $400 roller skates. Did I mention that I play roller derby with the Ohio Roller Girls? Hence, the skates.

I'm normally pretty frugal with the cash. Sure, we buy what we want. The trick is we don't want much.

I was thinking about the skates today, because I really haven't used them as much as I would have liked. I played one game in them, then got pregnant and couldn't play anymore. I have skated maybe 30 or so speed skating practices in them. I just found out today that our league is restructuring and in such a way that a player like me, who has been on maternity leave for 10 months, will have a hard time getting any playing time on game day. My heart is a bit broken.

And, of course, I want to get my money's worth on those skates.

So what do I do? Do I stick it out, go to practices, etc. and risk not getting to play? Or do I leave the league?

I just don't know.